2024 WCA President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 31 March 2024
  • Last Updated: 31 March 2024

2024 WCA President’s Report

April 1, 2024

 

 

A reminder that US Chess has signed a contract with the Madison Marriott West to host the 2025 US Open! The dates are July 28 – August 3. The first thing to note is that that is only seven days. The 2025 event will be the first of the new seven-day format US Opens. There will still be nine rounds with the Traditional schedule doubling up rounds on two of the first three days. Shorter schedules such as a four day and most likely a five or six-day schedule will also be available. All schedules merge Friday evening in round seven.

I’m impressed by the number of new organizers and events held in the state. We have to work cooperatively however in our scheduling of weekend events. There is a problem with concurrent or adjacent weekend events that are making our players select which events they go to instead of possibly participating in multiple events. Organizers need to work together in setting dates for their events. The way to do that is to contact our tournament clearinghouse (an official US Chess post) who happens to be Guy Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He will let you know what other organizers are planning and let you know if your dates have already been taken. I suggest not signing contracts until you get with Guy.

Striking a blow to our organizational efforts is that UW-Oshkosh’s Gruenhagen Conference Center due to UW-Oshkosh’s financial problems, no longer has any staff to check people in or clean the rooms after the event. Due to this the recent State Scholastic Championship was reduced to a one-day event. For the first time since 1987, it will necessitate us looking for a different location for the Junior Open and Veterans Tournaments. If you have any suggestions for venues for any of our events, please contact a Board member.

Tournament organizers are able to add calendar entries to our website calendar and we encourage them to do so. It is free advertising for their events. After submission, you may need to e-mail me so that I can publish the event.

WCA’s financials continue to be on extremely strong ground.

Ken Rasmussen, Robin Grochowski and Reid Pezewski have terms as WCA Board members expire March 31, 2024. All three were re-nominated along with Steve Erbach, Zaher Haidar and two others. Ken, Robin and the two others declined nomination. With only three accepting nominations, all three were elected by acclimation. My thanks to Ken and Robin for their dedicated service to Wisconsin chess. I want to especially call out Ken’s dedicated service as our treasurer for the past 15 years. He did a remarkable job straightening out and maintaining our books. Thank you Ken!

We met this past week and elected the following officers of the WCA for 2024:

President: Mike Nietman

Vice President: Guy Hoffman

Treasurer: Neil Hogg

Secretary: Reid Pezewski

In addition, Neil is taking over as Wisconsin Chess Tour Statistician. Organizers or Tour events need to send their checks ($1 per entry) and a wall chart (not crosstable) of their Tour event to Neil. Prizes for the Tour come from the entries to Tour events.

The WCA sponsors the Marshall Rohland Memorial/Wisconsin Closed Championship, the Arpad Elo Open, the William Martz Memorial/North Central Open, the Wisconsin Memorial, the Game/60 State Championship, the Rapid and Blitz State Championships and the Wisconsin Junior Open and Veterans Tournaments. All are open for bids from state organizers and/or tournament directors. If you are interested in more details on how to bid for these events, please contact any board member.

The 2024 State Scholastic Championships was held in March in Oshkosh under the organization of Chris Wainscott and Alex Betaneli. They had just under 400 attend! Congratulations to University School of Milwaukee for winning the state team championship! The Milwaukee School of Languages won the K-8 state championship and the Milwaukee German Immersion School defended again their K-5 state championship.

Since the State Scholastic is a team Swiss event at the high school level, Wisconsin uses the Wisconsin Junior Open as its qualifier for the national state invitational events. Please plan to participate in the event to qualify for the 2025 GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions, the Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions, the John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions and the WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions which will be held in conjunction with the US Open in Midleton, WI. In 2024 these events will be held in Norfolk, VA. Our representatives will be Hersh Singh (Denker) and Aradh Kaur (Haring). Playoffs are needed yet to determine our Barber and Rockefeller reps. Competing in the playoffs are Nicholas Pennington-Cross and Jind Kaur in the Barber and Yueze Huang and Ishaan Harsha in the Rockefeller. Good luck team Wisconsin!

With the same format as the Denker, Barber, Rockefeller and Haring is the John T. Irwin National Tournament of Senior State Champions. We use the Veterans Tournament held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Junior Open to select our representative. Bryan Lilly will be our 2024 rep.

As noted above, in conjunction with the US Open in 2025 the National State Invitationals will be in Middleton, WI. That means that we need to identify not only our rep for each event but also an alternate who will play in their event if there is an otherwise odd number of players. The idea being US Chess doesn’t want someone travelling across the country to receive a bye. The alternate will take part in the opening ceremony and receive a medal. Alternates need to be available to play in any round in the event of someone needing to miss a round.

Also, as chair of the National State Invitationals that oversees the invitationals at the US Open, I’m waiting to see if there is room at the Marriott to expand the list of invitationals. Thanks to the sponsorship of John D Rockefeller V, US Chess is starting the Paul Morphy National Tournament of K-1 State Champions. (John will also sponsor a GM Maurice Ashley National Tournament of K-3 State Champions that will start before 2030 as well.) So, we may need to identify a rep and alternate for the K-1 event for 2025.

Congratulations to 2023 Wisconsin State Champions John Zapata for capturing the 2023 Wisconsin Chess Tour title. Organizers desiring to have their event considered for Tour status need to contact Tour Committee Chair Guy Hoffman by November of the year before the Tour. Tour standings are listed on our website www.wischess.org.

Hope to see you at a tournament or club soon!

Respectfully submitted by WCA President, Mike Nietman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2023 WCA President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 06 April 2023
  • Last Updated: 31 March 2024

2023 WCA President’s Report

April 1, 2023

I’m pleased to announce that US Chess has signed a contract with the Madison Marriott West to host the 2025 US Open! It will be the third US Open at the property (2013 and 2018) and fifth in Wisconsin (1935 and 1953). The dates are July 28 – August 3. The first thing to note is that that is only seven days. The 2025 event will be the first of the new seven-day format US Opens. There will still be nine rounds with the Traditional schedule doubling up rounds on two of the first three days. Shorter schedules such as a four day and most likely a five or six-day schedule will also be available. All schedules merge Friday evening in round seven.

For those that recall the problem we had in 2018 when the CrossFit games took all of the hotel rooms in town (or jacked up their rates to $400) I’ve been told that they were moving the games to Alabama in 2024 but they’ve since signed with Madison again for 2024. To combat a possible extension to 2025, US Chess has booked the entire Marriott and has two overflow hotels are also under contract. Hopefully there won’t be a room problem.

While still not back to full strength on our tournament offerings post-pandemic, we’re getting closer and I’m happy to see new organizers and organizations popping up. That said we have a problem with numerous adjacent weekend events that are making our players select which events they go to instead of possibly participating in multiple events. Organizers need to work together in setting dates for their events. The way to do that is to contact our tournament clearinghouse (an official US Chess post) who happens to be Guy Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He will let you know what other organizers are planning and let you know if your dates have already been taken. I suggest not signing contracts until you get with Guy.

Speaking of signing contracts, hotels seem to want to make up for a couple of years of lost revenue during the pandemic by jacking up their rates for our playing rooms. Even Gruenhagen Conference Center at UW-Oshkosh is raising their meeting room rates. Organizers need to ask for off weekends if they want to get an affordable hotel deal. If we can get into a property, expect higher entry fees. We need to start thinking outside of the box for new sites. If you have any suggestions for venues, please contact a Board member.

Tournament organizers are able to add calendar entries to our website calendar and we encourage them to do so. It is free advertising for their events. After submission, you may need to e-mail me so that I can approve the event.

WCA’s financials continue to be on strong ground.

Andy Becker, Randy Bubolz and Sandy Hoffman have terms as WCA Board members expire March 31, 2023. All three were re-nominated along with Neil Hogg and Andy Schley. Randy opted not to run. An election took place of all Wisconsin players above age 16 who played in a WCA event in 2022. Andy Becker, Andy Schley and Neil Hogg were elected to three-year terms starting April 1. My thanks to Randy and Sandy for their dedicated service to Wisconsin chess.

We have not had a reorganizational meeting to determine 2023 officers as of yet.

The WCA sponsors the Marshall Rohland Memorial/Wisconsin Closed Championship, the Arpad Elo Open, the William Martz Memorial/North Central Open, the Wisconsin Memorial, the Game/60 State Championship, the Rapid and Blitz State Championships and the Wisconsin Junior Open and Veterans Tournaments. All are open for bids from state organizers and/or tournament directors. If you are interested in more details on how to bid for these events, please contact any board member.

The 2023 State Scholastic Championships was held in March in Oshkosh under the new organization of Chris Wainscott and Alex Betaneli. They had over 500 attend! Congratulations to New Berlin Eisenhower High School for winning their first state championship! The Eagle School of Madison won their first K-8 state championship and the Milwaukee German Immersion School defended their K-5 state championship.

Since the State Scholastic is a team Swiss event at the high school level, Wisconsin uses the Wisconsin Junior Open as its qualifier for the national state invitational events. Please plan to participate in the event November 4-5 at UW-Oshkosh to qualify for the 2024 GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions, the Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions, the John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions and the WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions which will be held in conjunction with the US Open in Norfolk, VA. In 2023 these events will be held in Grand Rapids, MI. Our representatives will be Hersh Singh (Denker), Ethan Liang (Barber), Ojas Sahoo (Rockefeller) and either Simran Bhatia or Aradh Kaur (Haring) who have yet to complete a playoff this spring. Good luck team!

With the same format as the Denker, Barber, Rockefeller and Haring is the John T. Irwin National Tournament of Senior State Champions. We use the Veterans Tournament held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Junior Open in November to select our representative. Bryan Lilly will be our 2023 rep having won a playoff with Senthil Sundaram.

Of special note is that in 2025 the National State Invitationals will expand to include the GM Maurice Ashley National Tournament of K-3 State Champions and the Paul Morphy National Tournament of K-1 State Champions. We’ll need to figure out how to select those players plus name alternates for all of the invitationals.

Congratulations to Dan Phipps for capturing the 2022 Wisconsin Chess Tour title. Organizers desiring to have their event considered for Tour status need to contact Tour Committee Chair Guy Hoffman by November of the year before the tour. Tour standings are listed on our website www.wischess.org.

Speaking of the state website, I’ve received permission from Badger Chess editor Bill Williams to re-publish interviews he and his contributors printed in the magazine. If you go to the home page now, there is an excellent interview with Arpad Elo from 1982. Over the rest of the year, I’ll post additional interviews with the likes of Bill Martz, Fred Cramer, Tom Moore and a second one with Arpad Elo. I hope you enjoy the content.

Several years ago, Mark Seghers put together a BlogSpot website for the State Scholastic tournament. Back in the 1980’s I was able to find all of the winners going back to the tournament’s inception in 1970 (except for 1981) for inclusion on the travelling trophy. Now I’m trying to locate either standings or full crosstables for the events and have Mark post them. I’ve been able to find at least standings for all of them except nine. If you have any of the missing crosstables or even full crosstables for ones that we’ve posted just standings, please let me know. The website is Wisconsin State Scholastic Chess Championship (wischolasticchesschampionship.blogspot.com).

While doing this research I’ve also been interested in collecting the names of the winners of the Wisconsin Junior Open which started in 1972. I’m currently missing 1972-1976, 1978, 1984 and 1988. According to a note I found, there was no event in 1977 and 1979-1982. I’ll post what I have at this year’s Junior Open.

And more for the history buffs… Milwaukeean Mike Wierzbicki has penned a manuscript of chess in Milwaukee in the mid-1900’s. He has submitted it to the Wisconsin Historical Society Press for publication and is awaiting their decision. Once it is published, I’ll let you know where it can be obtained.

Hope to see you at a tournament or club soon!

Respectfully submitted by WCA President, Mike Nietman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2022 WCA President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 02 April 2022
  • Last Updated: 06 April 2023

2022 WCA President’s Report

April 1, 2022

Although not at full strength yet, I’m happy to report that over-the-board tournaments are slowly coming back! Proving the need for events, two recent one day events drew over 100 participants each. One problem that tournament organizers are experiencing are greatly increased site costs. Whether it be hotels trying to recoup lost revenue during the pandemic or an increase in the number of weddings that were delayed due to the pandemic now vying for space with us, hotels are getting more expensive for chess tournaments. And more expensive hotels mean higher entry fees, reduced prize funds or both. If you have any suggestions for venues, please contact a Board member.

With minimal activity in the past year, WCA’s financials remain on strong ground.

Likewise, US Chess is running national events and doing very well financially.

Guy Hoffman, James Coons and myself have terms as Board members expire in 2022. All three were re-nominated and accepted nomination. With only three nominees all are re-elected to the Board for three year terms. We thank two others who were nominated, both former WCA Presidents, but each declined nomination.

Read more: 2022 WCA President's Report

2021 WCA President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 04 April 2021
  • Last Updated: 11 March 2023

2021 WCA President’s Report

April 1, 2021

Ugh. What a year!? The pandemic has cancelled every in person event since February, 2020. Hopefully the end is near and we get back to doing what we all want to do – play over-the-board club and tournament chess!

Online chess has thrived but some just don’t trust that option. Others have devoted time to studying the game. It’ll be interesting to watch ratings once we start up again.

In the meantime, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit has opened the door to chess participation like nothing else since the Fischer boom of the 1970’s. Hopefully our clubs can open soon to bring in and develop that new found crowd.

I am saddened to report the recent passing of Mike Selig, founder of the NorthEastern Open Chess Championships and organizer and director of numerous other events around the state. He ran the Appleton Chess Club for decades. Mike was my main mentor in organizing events and deeded me the NorthEastern Open a few years ago to continue the legacy. I’m proud to announce the new name of the event as the Mike Selig Memorial/NorthEastern Open Chess Championships.

Read more: 2021 WCA President's Report

Sep - Dec 1971

  • Written by Pete Webster
  • Published: 10 December 2020
  • Last Updated: 11 December 2020

Volume 3 #3-4

This was a double issue which opened with the editor's apology for how life conspired against him getting the issue out at all. Things had cleared up for Pete, and with this issue he announced a third year of Joyous Chess would, in fact, occur.

He added an apology for errors in v2#2: He'd flipped the names of the players in Webster-Martz, and he'd omitted the light notes that Richard Kujoth had supplied for the game Annen-Kujoth (there were 4 in all).

This was followed by announcements for the 1972 State Championship in Stevens Point and the 1972 High School Team Championship, run by Mr. Baird at Boys' Tech HS in Milwaukee, as well as a tournament ("sometime in May?") at UW-Madison and the Duluth Open at UM-D.

Other notes from this issue are reproduced below.

Read more: Sep - Dec 1971

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