Monday, November 20, 2017

Sedlar and Boor Tie for First in Dayton Chess Club Pawn Storm

Will Sedlar and Carl Boor had a hard-fought third round draw with each other en route to tying for first place in the Dayton Chess Club Pawn Storm with 3.5/4. Boor--a three-time Ohio Chess Champion (2002, 2007, 2011)--earned the USCF Senior Master title in 2012, becoming one of the few native Ohioans to accomplish this feat while spending the bulk of his playing career in Ohio. Sedlar, with a career-high post-tournament rating of 2395, is just five points away from becoming the next member of the exclusive club of Ohio USCF Senior Masters.

Just becoming a National Master in Ohio is no small feat. During the three decades that I have been an active USCF chess player, Ohio has typically had about 25-30 NMs at any given time and many of those NMs are from other places or spent significant time playing chess in other places. International Master Calvin Blocker, a 15-time Ohio Chess Champion, achieved a 2600-plus USCF rating in the late 1980s despite rarely playing outside of Ohio and he is without question the most accomplished native Ohio chess player. Boor's rise to Senior Master status while spending the vast majority of his playing career in Ohio is praiseworthy and Sedlar's dramatic ascent in the past few years is equally noteworthy. It takes a lot of determination and focus to achieve such heights in a sport that lacks much financial incentives or recognition outside of the chess community.

This was the 40th DCC Pawn Storm and that is also a milestone worth mentioning. Riley Driver has been running the Dayton Chess Club since the mid-1990s (with much help from his wife Sharon Driver) and he has done a lot of great work to promote chess at the local, state and national levels. Under his direction, the DCC has hosted numerous big events, including the Ohio Chess Congress, the Midwest Open Team Chess Festival and several Dayton Chess Festivals (which attracted numerous FIDE titled players), in addition to traditional DCC events such as the DCC Championship and the Gem City Open.

Sedlar has emerged as the dominant DCC Pawn Storm champion, as his November triumph marks his record 13th first place finish in the event (including five straight and seven of the last eight). Les Whorton and I tied for first place in the inaugural DCC Pawn Storm (March 2011) with a score of 4/5 and he and I remain tied for second place behind Sedlar with six DCC Pawn Storm wins apiece. Boor is now fourth on that list with four wins, followed by three players with three wins each (Yuri Barnakov, Oleksandr Chastukhin and Vladimir Tkatchouk) and three players with two wins each (Ron Burnett, John Lodger Hughes and Luke Xie).

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