Tuesday, February 26

8th Far West Open in Reno on March 21-23

The annual Far West Open is rapidly approaching on Easter weekend this year. For those of us living in Northern California who are used to playing in G/45 tournaments, the Reno events are a welcome change of pace. It is time to play serious chess without endgames marred by time pressure. The two Reno tournaments attract more players than any of the adult events that the Bay Area has to offer. Plus there's the opportunity to watch, learn from and compete with professional players; last year's edition saw the attendance of 3 GMs and 6 IMs.

The Far West Open is the smaller of the two annual Reno chess festivals. I wrote a long article about chess in Reno and last October's 25th Western States Open in the February issue of Chess Life (with Naroditsky on the cover). Alternatively, you can read the story online at the USCF website (registration required).
  • Event: 8th Far West Open
  • Date: March 21-23 (first round is at 12noon)
  • Location: Sands Regency Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada
  • Format: 6 round swiss in 5 sections (Open, A, B, C, U1400)
  • Time control: 40/120, 20/60, G/30 (maximum length game can go 7 hours)
  • Entry fee: $115-119 until March 1, $11 more until March 14, $22 on site
  • Prize fund: $25,000 based on 250 entries including $2000 for 1st in Open section
  • Entry form (print and mail this)
  • See this website for complete details.
  • Check advance entries.

I recommend this tournament to those students who are getting serious about chess and want to move to the next level. Perhaps attending a large chess festival will offer some inspiration. While conventional wisdom says that casinos do not mix well with kids, the tournaments in Reno are an exception. For example, if you request a room in the Regency or Dynasty towers, then you can conveniently take the elevator between your hotel room and the playing hall without entering the casino at all, except when going to eat. Even the ever-present smoke has gotten considerably better in the past year with a new Nevada law banning smoking except on the casino floor itself.

My students should let me know if they are thinking of going to Reno (note: entry fee goes up after this week). I will make sure to host a pizza party for my students, probably on Saturday before round 4. Many kids have spring break either the week before or the week after Easter, which makes this trip especially worthwhile as a small family vacation. Sadly, the Saratoga group is an exception with their spring break in mid April. Those students who have school on Friday, March 21 may consider a half-point bye in round 1 if they can drive up to Reno in time for round 2 at 7pm (it usually starts a bit late).

See you all in Reno!

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