2011 Tracy Callis Memorial Report

As part of its series of special, one-day Grand Prix tournaments, the Roanoke Valley Chess Club held its second Tracy Callis Jr. Memorial on Saturday, August 20th at St. John's Lutheran Church, in Roanoke, Virginia. This USCF-rated tournament had a rating of 10 USCF Grand Prix points, with all money guaranteed. The tournament was played in three rounds. The time control was Game in 90 Minutes with a 5 second delay.

In the 2nd edition of what we hope is becoming a regular annual event, once more friends and family of Tracy Callis, Jr. stepped up to the plate and made for yet another wonderful memorial tournament. Mr. Tracy Callis Sr. - father of the tournament honoree - donated sufficient funds to bump this single-day event into a 10-Grand Prix point tournament! Tracy Jr.'s mother, Mrs. Jane Orr, once again put on an impressive and incredibly generous lunch, free to all comers. Usually, when a tournament announces lunch will be provided, you expect some junk food and bananas. But there were no donuts or cheap fake-fruit drinks on this table! Mrs. Orr assembled a staff of friends and family to bring together a surprisingly wide array of offerings, and in amounts that there was so much left over, nobody had to leave for dinner before the last round. After lunch, Life Master Russell Potter gave a very fine speech in remembrance of Tracy, just as he did last year. This time, he asked if people would bring some stories of Tracy to the tournament next year to share in a sort of round-table remembrance.

This year's tournament was divided into 3 sections, and at the top stood a couple of relative heavyweights: Andrew Rea of Virginia and David Saville of West Virginia, solid Experts. The pairings were up, and the games began. Or, perhaps it would be better to say the upsets began! William Mahan of North Carolina, coming in with a provisional 1898 rating, drew Rea, and this was the least dramatic upset of the round. Saville started out against one of our tournament regulars, Bob Nolan, who scored the upset win to start off a very fine tournament performance (Nolan has broken into A-player for the first time after this tournament; congratulations, Bob!). Yet another of our regulars, B-player Stephen Tucker, got paired up with last year's Callis Memorial winner, Felix McCain, and in the spirit of the round, also scored the upset win. And, just to keep the top section consistent, North Carolina tournament director Tom Hales decided to pitch in by losing to Ed Boyers.

When all the dust settled, Andrew Rea recovered from the first-round upset draw and pulled out the needed victory, winning with Black against the surprise tournament leader Bob Nolan. Bob went into the last round with 2/2 after beating Stephen Tucker, but his speculative sacrificial game was not enough to rattled Andrew Rea, who pocketed the material, point, and tournament.

In the Amateur section, there was a 3-way tie for first, the tiebreaks going to 8-year old Advait Patel of West Virginia! Advait is a student of David Saville, and didn't let a 2nd-round loss to fellow prize-winner Homer Cantrell get him down. He finished strong with a win over North Carolina's Timothy McKeown, a man playing in his first tournament in 43 years! The three with 2/3 to tie for first fell into the tiebreaks this way: Advait Patel 1st, Timothy McKeown 2nd, Homer Cantrell 3rd. Prize money was split evenly.

Two people tied for first in the Booster section: Eric Diaz and Mike Huff, both undefeated with 2.5/3.

Perhaps Mike was a bit tired out from helping set up the tournament, because that he most certainly did! Every tournament, Mike Huff shows up early the night before, and leaves at the final closing of the doors afterwards, providing absolutely invaluable assistance. In addition to holding the mid-tournament ceremony for Tracy, Rusty Potter did immense pre-tournament work, basically putting the entire event and all the related work into "cheat sheets"... thanks to his tremendous planning and help, the whole thing practically ran itself (much to the relief of TD Joshua Lilly).

We sincerely hope to see more folks come out next year, because we most definitely plan to do it all again! Tracy's memory deserves it, and all the people who pitch in make it a wonderful experience that needs repeating.


Grand Prix Points Amateur Points Booster Points
1st Andrew Rea 2.5 1st Advait Patel 2.0 1st Eric Diaz 2.5
2nd Bob Nolan 2.0 2nd Timothy McKeown 2.0 2nd Mike Huff 2.5
3rd William Mahan 2.0 3rd Homer Cantrell 2.0      

For the complete USCF tournament report of the Tracy Callis Jr. Memorial, please click here .