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August 20, 2008 > Check mate!

Check mate!

New Fremont Chess Club hosts at chess tournament

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By Courtesy of Richard Shormann

It's been 20 years in waiting, but a major chess tournament has returned to Fremont.

The Fremont Chess Club was open from 1964 until 2006 when Director Hans Poschmann passed away. Not too long after, Kenneth Zowal was looking for a club to play competitive chess against fellow adults. Hearing of the loss of the Fremont Chess Club, he began to ressurect it. Re-titled the New Fremont Chess Club with Zowal as the current director, it began anew in October of 2007.

Hosting the first Fremont Open Chess Tournament in over 20 years on the weekend of Aug 2 - 3, players from near and far arrived to strategize and test their mental skills. Contestants registered from as far away as San Andreas, Monterey, San Francisco and Reno, Nevada. Over 100 people attended the event, 80 of which participated. Half of the 80 registered on the day of the tournament.

Due to high interest - a United States Chess Federation (USCF) rated event - the event was held at the Fremont Adult School on Calaveras Avenue. Zowal and V.P. of the Fremont Adult School Mary Frendo worked together to make the event possible. "They (Fremont Adult School) were a major part of the success we had," said Zowal. Helping in conducting the event with Zowal was Richard Koepcke, who has been instrumental in putting together 50 other USCF-rated tournaments.

Players of all ages and abilities attended the tournament in two sections: "Open" for higher-rated players, according to USCF; and "Reserve" for younger, developing players. In the end, the "Open" section was won by Ricardo De Guzman, after outlasting two other competitors in a tie-breaking match. The "Reserve" section was won by Andrew Li. Both winners were awarded a trophy for their achievement, part of the sponsorship efforts of the Fremont Cultural Arts Council. In total, $2,000 in cash prizes were awarded to the competitors.

The New Fremont Chess Club does not require a membership to join its activities. About 12 people attend club meetings on a regular basis. Held at the Fremont Community Activity Center, the meeting runs from 8 p.m. to midnight every Friday. All are welcome.

The New Fremont Chess Club plans to hold the Fremont Open Chess Tournament annually.

The New Fremont Chess Club
Fridays, 8 p.m.-midnight
Fremont Community Activity Center
3375 Country Drive, Fremont
(510) 623-9935

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