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  • Jeff Roland

2017 Scholastic Tournament of Champions

This is the first-ever event of this kind in Idaho. Five players played for the Idaho Scholastic Championship title in downtown Boise, Idaho on May 27, 2017 at the Foerstel Design building at 249 South 16th Street in Boise, Idaho. The five players were Bryan Li, Seth Machakos, Dylan Porth, Kevin Xu, and Forrest Zeng.

These players qualified to play in this event by being the top three finishers in both the Idaho Scholastic K-8 Championship (held in Boise, March 11, 2017) and the Idaho Scholastic 9-12 Championship (held in Boise, March 4, 2017), with one player from the 9-12 Championship, Thomas Connelly Reisig, not playing.

It was a round robin Game/45;d5 event, rated by the US Chess Federation. Alise Pemsler was the event organizer. Jeffrey Roland was Chief Tournament Director. Alise Pemsler and Adam Porth were Assistant TD’s.

Boise High School Junior Seth Machakos (1278P-1441P—5.0/5), won the event with a perfect score and is now officially the 38th Annual Idaho Scholastic Chess Champion.

Why was this new format tried?

One of the complaints about the Idaho Scholastic Championship over the past 37 years has been that often times the winners complain they had too little opposition to win the title and maybe only one game hard fought (if even that). This was because there were in some cases literally hundreds of players in a big super tournament and the best players only had to play each other in the final round(s), if even then. Different things have been tried over the history of the tournament, including having a US Chess-rated championship section which did help, but for the most part this particular problem has been largely left unresolved… until now.

This year, Adam Porth and Alise Pemsler have really taken Idaho Scholastics in a new and innovative direction, redesigning everything to do with Idaho Scholastic basically from the ground up.

How a player qualifies to play in the Idaho Scholastic K-8 Championship as well as the Idaho Scholastic 9-12 Championship has expanded and improved participation and/or opportunities for players to improve and play more, and for less out-of-pocket money from the players/parents. Regional events around the state make it easier for players to be part of the program, plus participation in normal open events with adult players, such as the Idaho Closed State Championship, as an alternate way to qualify. Additionally, the new Idaho Scholastic Teams Championship event adds that (teams) level to the mix, plus the Idaho Scholastic Girls Championship has been brought back as well. Idaho Scholastic Chess has definitely seen some new things this year!

This new Idaho Scholastic Champion of Champions round robin event makes it possible for a much harder-fought event to choose out of basically the top six scholastic players in Idaho for the ultimate honor of Idaho Scholastic Champion, and it’s no cakewalk. They have to play the best of the best to earn the title.

This year the fact that one player could not play, left a five-player (odd number) round robin event instead of six so that in each round, one player had a full-point bye. A rated game for the player who had the bye was played in each round against three very experienced Idaho chess players, Alex Machin, Adam Porth, and Jeffrey Roland. These extra rated games (that did not count in the tournament score) were played along-side the main tournament games on board three, had the same time controls and conditions as the tournament games, and were taken just as seriously as the main tournament games.

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