By Richard Davisson
The US Amateur East was hotly contested yet again this Memorial Weekend. A record breaking 223 players competed in the main event, the largest turnout on record (dating back to 1991) while the scholastic tournament drew in 75 youngsters between kindergarten and 8th grade.
The tournament experimented with an earlier start time on the final day, allowing players to finish up and get home earlier, which coupled with the faster time control implemented last year helped every round to start on time. This isn’t to say that there was no time for fun though, as players who submitted their games were rewarded with entry into the gift card raffle held at the beginning of each round.
Players were also able to analyse their games and battle out countless blitz games in the skittles room just down the hall from the playing room. Another throng of players could be found at the vendor’s stand, where Fred Wilson offered a wide array of both new and out of print books, as well as equipment.
The tournament was once again held at the Hyatt Regency in Morristown NJ, which offers an in-house restaurant for players to sit down and enjoy a meal, as well as some sandwiches and other snacks for a quick bite in between games. The hotel also features a Starbucks, helping players get a kick-start for the early morning round. Spectators and players alike enjoyed a sitting area next to a small indoor waterfall, while outside of the hotel a number of restaurants are just steps away. The Morristown Green serves as a pleasant outdoor area to walk around in, and the train station is just a quarter mile down the road as well. Overall the tournament has found a wonderful home at the Morristown Hyatt, and if attendance is anything to go by, the players seem to agree.
As always, the last round featured fierce competition. Despite the abundance of talented youngsters vying for the crown, it was Gregory Nolan who emerged victorious in the U2200 section with a score of 5.5/6. The U1800 section was won by International Chess Academy’s Malina Pavlova with 5.5/6, while Vernon Khong claimed the U1400 crown.
Chess in the Schools, despite failing to win 1st place across the board as they had last year, managed another strong showing, collecting as many trophies in the top 2 sections as the rest of the field. A full results breakdown can be found on the following page.
With the last of the players leaving before the sun began to set, The
2019 US Amateur East concluded neatly and expediently. The lighthearted, high-spirited atmosphere in the Hyatt of Morristown may be interrupted by the intense competition of the 2019 NJ Open, but it will return yet again for Memorial Weekend 2020.