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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ohio Championship Visit

      Last Saturday morning there was nothing to do around the house so because the Ohio State Championship was only 30 minutes away I decided to pay it a visit.  This is the first state championship, or any large tournament really, that I’ve seen since the late 1960s and I have to say, I was a little disappointed.
      I got there about a half hour before the start of the first round and wanted to have lunch, but the “restaurant” turned out to be nothing but a dark bar with a few booths around the perimeter and I chose not to try the food.  Instead I figured to just get a cup of coffee but after standing at the bar a couple of minutes I left because, other than two guys sitting at the bar, I did not see anybody…don’t know where the bartender was and the coffee was probably bad any way. The only restaurant I saw nearby was across a double lane highway about a half mile down the street and it didn’t look like any place I’d want to eat. I finally got around to eating lunch at the turnpike rest area on the way back home.
      I didn’t see a skittles room and the tournament was split up into two small meeting rooms with the pairings posted around the corner in a hallway.  The TD had a table set up outside the door to the tournament room.  There was only water for the players…no coffee.  No book and equipment dealers either.  All in all things weren’t like I remember the state championships being. But I guess that these days when organizers do it for the money and not for the love of it they have to cut corners.
      I am guessing that with the location being in Cleveland, instead of centrally located in Columbus, that a lot of players from places like Toledo and Cincinnati didn’t play. Of course I didn’t know anybody playing except a few by reputation.  Well, there were two guys who played back when I did and I think I may have played them, but that was all. I noticed that in addition to the two titled players there were a lot of Masters...about a dozen of them.  Back in the days of yesteryear masters were rare.  And titled players?  You never saw one and GMs were mythical people who lived in far away lands.  There were a lot of kids, too; about a million of them, or so it seemed.
      The winner was 2555 IM Goran Vojinovic whom I had never heard of.  Before the start of the first round I was looking at the pairing charts and IM Calvin Blocker wandered over and when I asked him who Vojinovic was he said he was a pretty good player out of Columbus, Ohio.  According to one website Vojinovic has a pretty impressive resume.
      Vojinovic is a former resident of Serbia, a graduate of Forest Faculty at the University of Belgrade with an engineering degree, and an International Master with two Grandmaster norms.  He is a professional player and coach. He teaches both over-the-board and online and has taught students from all over the world.
Vojinovic (right) at start of rd. 1
Some of his better students include:
GM Milos Perunovic - Fide Rating, 2600, GM Borki Predojevic - Fide Rating, 2600+, GM Boban Bogosavljevic Fide Rating, 2540 and WGM Jovana Vojinovic 2332 (his daughter).

      As for IM Calvin Blocker, he stated that he really did not want to play in this tournament and was forcing himself to do so. The final results confirm that because Blocker result was +2 -0 =4.  Vojinovic was held to a draw in the first round by a local Expert and drew with Blocker in round 5 to finish tied for first with a local master, both receiving $850 in prize money.

IM Calvin Blocker (left) chatting before start of rd. 1
     IM Blocker ended up tied for 3-14 and places 3-12 collected a measly $45.  The 14-15 placed players were Experts who got $196.20.  The only other money winner got $50 for an upset.

     Something is wrong, and has been for a long time, when the two players who tied for first in the U-2000 and the U-1700 section received $613.60 and $566.40 respectively.  Personally, I don’t like class sections.  It’s old fashioned, but I liked it better when there was one big section with the bulk of the prize money going to the good players, not the mediocre ones.

     My wife tried to talk me in to registering and playing before I left the house but I had absolutely no desire to spend 8-10 hours a day playing chess for three days.  When I got there I realized there was a reason why I gave up tournament chess for correspondence. 


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