North Texas Chess Academy’s Winter Open 2017

Depending on who you ask, winter in Texas is not too bad, but it is even better with a great chess event on the calendar! On December 2nd and 3rd, the North Texas Chess Academy hosted its Annual Winter Open, a celebration of chess with two great events, exciting prizes, delicious food, and many strong players of all ages! Although it was not a FIDE rated event, the tournament drew players representing Russia, China, India, Lithuania, Georgia, Germany, and USA!

The Open Section event was five rounds held over two days, and guaranteed $1,000 in prizes! Three Masters (included two International Masters) joined the event, but it was Expert David Gaston that swooped in and took the top prize of $400 with 4.5/5! David is now just a stone’s throw from his National Master title.

NTCA Winter Open Champion, David Gaston, playing with the black pieces

David is also an Instructor at the NTCA, and possibly had a ‘home field advantage’ on his opponents. He took on all three Masters (scoring 2.5/3) and has generously added some lively notes to the games below. Enjoy!

Poisoned Pawns

My coach used to say, “Don’t ever take the ‘B pawn’, even if it’s good!”. Although this statement is not 100% true, I think it pokes fun at the fact that so many players have thought they are winning that pawn, and find out they are really losing the game!

This is an important lesson for all players to learn however, in a critical Round 5 game even a Master fell victim to the same mistake!

Bring Back Brilliancy Prizes!

The history and traditions of chess is a part of what you get at the North Texas Chess Academy, and we thought it would be a fun idea to offer a ‘Brilliancy Prize’ to the best game of the tournament. Anybody would be happy with a cash prize, but when that prize is the 5 Krooni from Estonia—most likely only chess players will appreciate it!

What on earth is a Krooni? In short, it was the currency of Estonia. In a remarkable gesture of respect, Estonia put Grandmaster Paul Keres on their 5 Krooni bill. In addition, he was voted their ‘Sportsman of the 20th Century’, extremely high praise for a chess player! Look him up, kids!

See if you can find his round five ‘Brilliancy’ that earned David the prize.

David Gaston vs. Axel Stephan

White to move.

“I almost took the draw… after eight minutes I found the right answer!”

–David Gaston

Final Standings:

1stDavid Gaston – 4.5/5

2ndIM Titas Stremavicius – 4/5

3rd– 4thIM Zurab Javakhadze, Azzama Bell – 3.5/5

Final Crosstable:


Scholastic Saturday

The weekend was not only for the top players. The Scholastic Saturday event drew many young players to the Chess Academy and was won by talented juniors Aryan Gutla and Andres Paredes, both scoring 4.5/5, the former taking the top prize on tiebreaks! Aryan ‘the Ironman’ played in both events for extra practice.

A fun puzzle contest was held throughout the day featuring the famous composition from Paul Morphy: White to Move, Mate in Two.

Paul Morphy Composition

White to move.

About the North Texas Chess Academy

The North Texas Chess Academy (NTCA) opened in June 2016 and has continued to be an innovator in the DFW chess community. Whether it is an Annual Bughouse Tournament, seasonal camps, GM simuls, hosting the Dallas Destiny team of the PRO Chess League, or special events for the parents/students the North Texas Chess Academy is making the right moves!

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If you are traveling through Dallas, TX feel free to stop by for a game!

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