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The room is silent, aside from a few wayward shuffles as players stretch their legs between games. A handful of mothers wait for the matches to end, supplying their sons with snacks and refreshments, meanwhile seeking entertainment for themselves. Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Chess enthusiasts of varying ages compete during the second round of the Gresham Chess Open.


Ranging in age from 7 years old to 80, players at the Gresham Annual Chess Open spend two days competing for the title at Mt. Hood Community College.

“It’s what they call a swiss open,” said Geoffrey Kenaway, local tournament director. “It basically pairs the top half against the bottom half to begin, based on ratings.”

Competitors have a chance to play anyone, including any age, during the five-game tournament. Each player has two hours a match and a total of 40 moves. Games also include a sudden death clause.

“In other words if you run out of time, you must have a winning position to win the game,” Kenaway said. “However if you don’t have any way to win the game, it’s a draw.”

The 2015 winner was Nick Raptis, 40, who also was the 2014 and 2013 state champion. He said he enjoys the Gresham Open because of the opportunity to play anyone.

“I almost got beat by a 10 year old and I’m a state champ,” Raptis said during a break in the tournament.

Although the eventual winner, he said a player to watch was Aaron Garbnisky, 15, of Coquille.

“This kid is up and coming. He’s top 10 in the nation for his age group,” Raptis said. “He’s going to be something someday. He’s going to actually do something in life.”

Raptis and Garbnisky had 45 other competitors, including Kenaway. Out of those 47 players, there was only one woman.

“The ratio is very man dominated,” Kenaway said. “At the Portland Open there were several (female players), but that’s a much bigger tournament. The one here (Andrea Botez), she’s one of the leading ladies in the area.”

Unfortunately, he said, the Jan. 3-4 tournament wasn’t one of her best.

Raptis said even if you don’t win, it’s a lot of fun to get together and play chess.

“We have a good time,” he said.Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Venkat Sriteja Doddapaneni examines the chess board before making a move in a game against Yogi Saputra during the Gresham Chess Open.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Arilss Dietz rests his hands as he patiently waits for his opponent, Corbin Frias, to make a move during the Gresham Chess Open.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - James Hansen, 14, of Canby, covers his face during a match with Jazon Samillano.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Competitors keep time between moves during a chess tournament Saturday Jan. 3rd at Mt. Hood Community College.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Clemens Deng, left, and Nick Raptis study a chess board during the second round of competition at a chess tournament Saturday, Jan. 3, at Mt. Hood Community College.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Corbin Michael Frias takes a moment to relax during the second round of competition.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Yogi Saputra studies a chess board during the Gresham Chess Open.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Joshua Grabinsky, 10, congratulates his opponent, Dagadu Bapurao Gaikwad after losing during the second round of the Gresham Chess Open.

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