PWNCC Jackpots – Keeping Sharp and Looking to Win!

With the COVID-19 pandemic decimating the over-the-board schedule, there are still chess activities are going. Clubs and coaches have shifted from face-to-face encounters and moved online. One of the most promising – perhaps the most promising in your author’s humble opinion – is the PNWCC Jackpot Blitz on Saturdays. So far there have been three tournaments played, the most recent on March 21st, and this report is a reflection on the that vastly strong event.

The Pacific Northwest Chess Center (PNWCC) was founded in 2018 and immediately became a force in organizing events in the Pacific Northwest, hosting tournaments, lectures, and camps. But what can such an organization do in the face of COVID-19 outbreak, especially when it is located in one of the epicenters of the pandemic?

Attentive readers already know the answer. PNWCC organizes several events during the week for youngsters and chess fans all around the US, with the premiere event the Saturday Jackpot. Here young talents get the chance to cross swords with seasoned and elite GMs. How did this event become so popular so quickly?

First, the event offers a chance to win $1,000 cash prize! And in order to win it, you do not need luck in the final standings, as long as you win all of your games. The tournament uses a point-based tournament, where each player’s individual score defines the amount of money they win.

While even the highest rated players in the event, like Jeffrey Xiong and Sam Sevian, will find it tough to have a perfect event, the idea of playing for a win in every blitz game is an exciting one, making a socially-isolated Saturday fun! Those intererested in more details on the points / payment system can read tournament regulations here .

Just as important in my opinion are the robust measures the chess center enforces against cheating. While asking players not to engage in any unfair activity, the administrators also publishing a sheet explaining how players can avoid even suspicion of foul play. These two features attracts all kinds of players, who above all financial incentive seek a good chess tournament where they can enjoy strong online competition.

The last edition on Saturday, March 21st was won by Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon. The Saint Louis-based GM scored 9 out of 11 games, finishing sole first, netting $200. While he didn’t take home the $1000 “perfect” prize, he still gets the satisfaction of winning a tournament while honing his blitz sharpness.

Before I share some of the nice moments in the event with you, I would like to let you know that the next event is today, March 28th, at 7:00 PM PST/Seattle Time. There are still spots to join!

Here are some of the most interesting moments from the March 21st tournament!



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