ORONO, Maine — A student from John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Aaron Spencer, will be Maine’s candidate to the National Denker Tournament of High School Champions for chess.
Spencer was runner-up in the state high school chess tournament on March 20. Winner Matthew Fishbein of Cape Elizabeth, only in sixth grade and the youngest ever to win the state scholastic title, is too young to attend the national high school event.
Seventy-eight scholastic chess players gathered at the University of Maine Memorial Union to duel for individual honors in high school, kindergarten-grade eight, kindergarten-grade six and kindergarten-grade three tournaments and Under 1,200 sections. The hard-fought games often went down to the last moment of the allotted time, and saw both interesting and surprising results.
Winners of the K-6, K-8 and K-12 championship sections become the 2010 state elementary, junior high and high school champions.
• In the K-12 high school championship section the top two rated players, Matthew Fishbein of Cape Elizabeth and Aaron Spencer of John Bapst, faced each other in the final round, both with 3-0 scores. Fishbein prevailed and took the K-12 title.
With the win, Fishbein becomes the youngest to win the K-12 title, bettering the previous seventh-grade accomplishment of Aaron Lewis of Falmouth in 1993 on what was the first of his six consecutive K-12 titles.
Five players finished with 3.0 scores, tied for second. They were Aaron Spencer, John Bapst; Andrew Audibert, Bangor; Margaret Bryan, John Bapst; Keji Xu, Bangor; and Ethan DiNinno, Cape Elizabeth. The third-place trophy on tie breaks went to Andrew Audibert.
The second-place trophy went to Aaron Spencer, who also became the primary candidate to the National Denker Tournament of High School Champions, Matthew Fishbein not being of high school age.
• In the K-8 junior high section, an early draw to the top seed, Wesley Parker of Cape Elizabeth, opened the door to other players while he finished strong with three consecutive wins for a 3.5 score. After three rounds, both Haley DeLuca Lowell, Airline School, and Colin Smith, Cape Elizabeth, were tied with 3 points each and played each other to a draw. The result was a three-way tie for the title, and all co-champions. In awarding the trophies on tie-breaks, third went to Parker, second to Haley DeLuca Lowell and first to Smith.
• In the K-6 section, Bethany Humphrey of Deer Isle-Stonington continued her excellent play with a perfect 4.0 score and is the 2010 elementary champion. Four players tied with 3.0 scores for second place — Laddy DeLuca Lowell, Airline Community School; Ian Youth, Breakwater, Portland; Jasper Hansel, Cape Elizabeth; and Claudia Serban, Bath. On tie-breaks, Laddy DeLuca Lowell took the second-place trophy and Ian the third-place prize.
Trophies were awarded to the top three finishers in each section. In cases of ties, the top players became co-champions or shared that tied position, and trophies were awarded based on how well the players scored in early rounds and-or how well their opponents did. Younger players may have played higher than their current grade level in the individuals, as skill and rating levels are more important than age.
Final results were:
• In the K-3 section, Ritvik Kumaran of Veazie scored a perfect 4.0 points to take top honors. Two Breakwater Portland players, Samuel Rallis and Eric Youth, tied for second with three points each, with Samuel taking the second-place trophy on tie-breaks, and Youth the third-place trophy.
• In the K-12 under 1,200 section, referring to the players’ U.S. Chess Federation ratings, Joshua Shuman of Dexter Regional High School emerged with a perfect 4.0 score and the title trophy. Second place went to Vincent DeMarco of Cheverus in Portland. Five players tied for third with 2 points each — Ben Touchette, Westbrook; Josh Audibert, Bangor High School; Yuval Boss, Orono High School; Derek Hoyt, Wilton; and Deanna Power, John Bapst Memorial High School. The trophy for third place went to Ben Touchette on tie-breaks.
• In a quads side event for adults, with proceeds benefiting scholastic chess through the Maine Association of Chess Coaches, Yuri Riabkov, Ryan Tripp and Daniel Robbins tied for first with 2 points each in Quad 1. In Quad 2, Dan Fishbein was the winner with three wins. The side event was led and directed by Andy Bryan.
The tournament leader for the individuals was Kathy Richards. Bob Solinger coordinated trophies for the event. Tournament directors, organized by the Maine Chess Association, were Dan DeLuca for K-3 and K-6, Philip Lowell for K-8 and Lee Doucette for the two K-12 sections.