The Emmorton Rec. Chess provides an environment where players can improve their game and make some friends.The Emmorton Rec. Chess Club is open to players of all ages. We are a club not classes. While we occasionally provide some informal instruction, it is a good idea to know how to play chess before you join. We meet most Thursday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Emmorton Rec and Tennis Center. Please stop by and check us out.

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We are a USChess Affiliate and hold rated events.  Most of our rated events are FREE.  If you are not a USChess member, we always hold a club rated event at the same time.  Everybody gets to play.

If you are not a USChess member and want to join, follow this link.  A USChess membership is a separate membership from the Emmorton Rec Chess Club.

Our club has two USChess Tournament Directors.  You can find a list of our previous rated events here.



Most nights we run some sort of organized event.  We hold both club and USChess rated mini tournaments.  Look at our schedule below to see what we have coming up and or join our mailing list to get a weekly(ish) email.

We provide boards, sets and clocks.  You of course are welcome to bring your own equipment.  Remember players can request to play on sets that meet the USChess equipment standards.

Below are some of the types of events we coordinate.  Members can always play casual games.

  • Rated Quick Chess – About once a month we hold USCF Rated quick chess tournaments.  If you do not have a USCF membership we usually have a non-rated section.  As the cost is low / free, we promise no prizes but often have a small token prize.
  • Multi-week events with slower time controls like our Club Championship.
  • Thematic Nights – In the past we have had thematic nights for various openings, gong chess, and bughouse.
  • Puzzles and Position Analysis – We occasionally review interesting positions, difficult puzzles, and significant games.
  • Organized trips to larger tournaments outside our club.
Date Event Rating TC
5-Oct First Meeting – Casual Chess
12-Oct Quick Chess 3Rd Swiss Club and USChess G15+5
14 & 15 Oct 3rd Annual Bel Air National Chess Day Tournament USChess and not rated sections G90+10 Rated
G30+10 not rated
19-Oct Dual Rated 3Rd Swiss Rd 1 Club and USChess G40+10
26-Oct Dual Rated 3Rd Swiss Rd 2 Club and USChess G40+10
2-Nov Dual Rated 3Rd Swiss Rd 3 Club and USChess G40+10
9-Nov Mike Picks! – Looks like it will be a G/15 Swiss Club
16-Nov All in Blitz – Many Round Swiss Club G5
23-Nov Thanksgiving – No Chess Club
30-Nov Quick Swiss – 3rd Club and USChess G15+5
7-Dec Evans Gambit Thematic 3rd Swiss Club G10+5
14-Dec All in Blitz – Many Round Swiss Club G5
21-Dec Holiday Social – Casual Chess
28-Dec Holiday Break – No Chess Club
4-Jan Move Quick to Keep Warm Club and USChess G15+5
11-Jan Mike Picks!
18-Jan Club Championship Rd 1 Club and USChess G30+30
25-Jan Club Championship Rd 2 Club and USChess G30+30
1-Feb Club Championship Rd 3 Club and USChess G30+30
8-Feb Club Championship Rd 4 Club and USChess G30+30
15-Feb Championship Shootout / G5 Blitz Club G30+30 / G5
22-Feb 3rd WHAT Time Control??? Club and USChess G5+10
29-Feb 960 / 9LX / Fisher Random – 3 rd Swiss Club G15+5
7-Mar All in Blitz – Many Round Swiss Club G5
14-Mar Big Fish Little Pond Club and USChess G20+10
21-Mar Big Fish Little Pond Club and USChess G20+10
28-Mar Another 3rd Quick Club and USChess G15+5
4-Apr Mixed Teams – 3rd Swiss Club G15+5
11-Apr All in Blitz – Many Round Swiss Club G5
18-Apr Slower 4rd Swiss Club and USChess G20+10
25-Apr Slower 4rd Swiss Club and USChess G20+10
2-May Dual Rated 3Rd Swiss Rd 1 Club and USChess G40+10
9-May Dual Rated 3Rd Swiss Rd 2 Club and USChess G40+10
16-May Dual Rated 3Rd Swiss Rd 3 Club and USChess G40+10
23-May Good God Bughouse Not Rated G5
30-May Farewell – Casual Chess
Event Descriptions

Some of our events have different names.  Here are the descriptions.

Big Fish Little Pond.
For the unrated section, the prize is a USCF membership. Only non-USCF member and those who have never been a USCF member are eligible for the prize. We will have a rated section with a prize also.

One vs. Many
We will split the group into 1/3 (higher rated) vs and 2/3 (lower rated). With G25; d5 time control each player in the top third plays 2 players in the bottom third at the same time (e.g. mini-simul)

Swiss (System)
A Swiss System tournament where players are not eliminated and can play every round. When there is a odd number of players, one player receives a bye.

A Swiss System tournament where everybody is paired in one section. We play as many rounds as we can during the night. Time control is Game in 5 minutes.

Players are listed from highest rating to lowest rating and grouped into sets of 4. These four players play a small round robin of three games. The bottom 5 – 7 players are paired as a Swiss System. For our purposes, each quad will all USCF players is rated.

Decrement Blitz
When paired, both players start with 5 min on the clock. After a player wins, the winning player starts the next game, with the same player and one less minute on their clock AND gets choice of color. When a player wins with one minute on their clock, they win that round.

Bug House
Players select their own teams of 2 players. Each team sits opposite the other and one player on each team plays White and Black. A captured piece is passed to your teammate. Instead of a move, a play may place a captured piece on the board. More details to follow.

Mixed Teams
Teams of two pair up against other teams of two. Each team can only have 1 USCF member and USCF members MUST play each other. On the night of the event, any players without a team, will be randomly assigned.

Getting Better

Want to improve your game, take a look at these resources.

How to play the game.  This video teaches you the basic rules of the game.  But that is just the beginning.

Beginners sometimes have trouble finding checkmate.  Thess puzzles will help you recognize checkmate and how to win.  mate in 1

Now move on to some harder puzzles.  Here are 300 puzzles from

Now on to practice.  Playing online is a good way to start to experience chess.  Consider playing at  You can not only play at lichess, but you can also improve your game from their vast resources.  And best of all, it is FREE!

Previous Weeks

Results from Blitz on 4/11!

On Thursday we ran 3 sections of Blitz chess. Two concurrent blitz sections, one US Chess Rated and the other club rated filled the night. Whit went 3-0 to win the US Chess rated section while Jusraj and Marc got their first taste of US Chess rated games. But much more lied in store for them on Saturday.
Section results here:

In the club rated section, Dennis Soriano and Jim Dempsey were both 2-0 going into the final round. Soriano upset Dempsey to win the section. Emerson Mowbray also scored an upset against Fox to tie for second in a field of 5.
Section results here:

After the two sections were completed, all jumped into one large section. Again, Whit went through the field untouched with a perfect 4-0 score. And while the winner gets the spoils, well the key chain, an all-in event gives club rated player a chance to take a bite out of US Chess players. Dennis Soriano took a chunk out of Val. Chris Gallo upset Brian Fox and Philp Cho took out Ben Larson. As with Blitz chess there were many more upsets.
Section results here:

As for games… Even electronic boards can get confused, but this is what we have.

Mixed Teams  4/4/2024

We had our team event last week.  Weber and Dempsey quickly teamed up as “The Winners” and took first place.  Oddly, the seemingly unstoppable powerhouse only managed a draw in round 2 against the “Sweepers,” Charles Jorge and Jimmy Menefee.

You can find the cross tables HERE.
Select a tournament (

So inspired by Jim Dempsey we have the following.

Who won the Mixed Teams event?
*The winners.
That’s what I want to know, who won?
*I just told you, the winners.
Well that is obvious but who won?
*The winners!  What don’t you understand?
Okay, for get that, who finished last?
*I have no clue, IDK (I don’t know) & IDC (I don’t care)
*I understand that may not be all that exciting but it’s kind of rude to put it that way!  Can you tell me anyone who finished second?
*The rookies finished second.
Well they might be beginners but are they really rookies?
*And horsies also.
We call them knights, not “horsies.”  Gee you really don’t know the game all that well
*Oh! And Fork You.
HEY!  There’s no need to be rude.  Let’s keep it simple. Can you name anybody else who played.
You are just not being nice!  I just wanted to know the winners of the tournament.
*You finally got it right!

Quick Chess 3/28

While Whit and Val did tie for first in the US Chess Rated Section, Whit won out on tie breakers.  Terebey, Fetters, and Vanegas shared 3rd place.  Perhaps there is something to the Marx attack as it seemed to scare Barry off in round 3.

With a clean sweep, Dempsey took 1st in the club rated section.  Fox, Cho, and Langton Killmond shared second.

You can find the wall charts and board 1 games below.

US Chess Rated Section Wall Chart
Select a tournament (

Club Rated Section Wall Chart
Select a tournament (


Manage Your Favourite Games (

Big Fish Little Pond – 3/14-21/24

Congratulations to Jacob Brandt the winner of 2024 Big Fish Little Pond! As we do every year, the winner, Jacob this year, is now a US Chess member.
May be an image of 2 people, chess and text
Jacob finished with a 3-0-1 record to secure the prize. After his win in round 1, Jacob moved to board 1 where we were able to capture his game. From there on, Jacob would not let go of the top spot. Round 3 was Jacob’s chance to take sole possession of first place. With clever mating pattern, Jacob kept his perfect score and a clear first place.
Yet round four was left to be played. Jim Dempsey took on Brandt and wrestled hard. If Dempsey wins, the two would finish with 3-1 records. You can see from the game, the two tasseled back and forth. for 50 moves. In the end both players had blockaded the pawns and two bishops would just dance to keep things even. With a very static position, Jacob held the wily Dempsey to a draw which secured his prize.
You can find the board 1 games HERE. Jacob, Jim, and Ben hogged board 1 for the tournament only allowing one other, Louis, to play a game at the top board.
Val Kattavanenos won the US Chess rated section. As is our tradition, this event is all about the club rated players. Val managed upsets to take the top spot. BTW, did you know Val has been playing outside the club. Yup that will help you get better fast!

Blitz Chess Night – 3/7/24

Blitz chess regularly produces unexpected results and last week was no exception. Emerson, Jusraj, Val and Mike each produced an upset over the four rounds of play. One player remarked after losing on time, “Wow that’s fast.”

After four rounds, Val topped the field with a perfect 4-0. Whit, Johnathan, Asher, and Jusraj all tied for second. You can find all the results via this link.

We also captured three games for review. You can find them on this website.

Chess 960 – 2/29/24

We hold a Chess 960 event about once a year.  Every year is starts with mixed reviews and by the end many love the idea.  One quote “This makes my brain hurt, but that’s a good thing.”  You can find the final results here.  Select a tournament (

Daxton managed the only true upset.  Also, we saw a bit of a rematch of the Secrest – Brandt championship match.  Barry put Jacob into one heck of a zugzwang!  You can find the analysis HERE.  If is was black to move, the game is drawn but alas for Jacob, Barry understood how to get the tempi just right.

Championship Shootout and Club Blitz 2/22/24

 Barry Secrest and Jacob Brant squared off to play for the Club Championship.  Barry took the game and the title in a 47 move fight.  Jacob kept things very even until move 16 where the counter intuitive …Nb8 provided best chances.  Secrest also missed a counter intuitive move, 17. Bb1 and allowed things to event up.  Brant decided to hit the bishop with 17… Nh5.  17… Nc5 would have created interesting complications for Barry.

And after that, that was all the advantage Secrest needed.  In the words of Jim Dempsey, “one thing about Barry that makes him so tough is that he inexorably wins his ‘won’ games”!!  Secrest simply pressed and pressed his advantage to a win.

You can find the game HERE!

The rest of us played in a G/5 all in Swiss.

We managed to play six rounds with a total of 20 players.  Steve Badger and Val tied for first place and if you look at tiebreaks, Val came out on top.  Whit, Asher, Johnathan and Pat all tied for 3rd place.

You can find the final results HERE.

A few observations about the results…

  1. Stronger players have started showing up.  This is a good thing as it helps us all improve.
  2. Pat Whitehurst seems to percolate to the top more and more often.  Ya might want to watch out for him.
  3. Jacob Brant made Barry fight and fight hard for his win.  Jacob has his sights set on Big Fish Little Pond night.  If you want that prize, you better come ready to play.

Quick Chess – 2/15/24

What Time Control?  G/5 +10

Last week we shuffled the schedule a bit and held a G/5 +10 +10 time control 3 round Swiss.  This is a bit of an odd time control indeed.

Newcomer Marc Summerfield took first in the Club rated section with a perfect 3-0 score.  Daxton pulled upsets in rounds 2 and 3 but took a loss to Marc in round 1.  Two more newcomers, Asher and Dominic, joined the section as well.

In the US Chess Rated section, Whit scored 3-0 to win the section mostly on an upset in round 2.  Dylan had another upset, a draw against Killmond.  Killmond took revenge in round 2 with an upset over Ranjan and Pat Whitehurst also scored an upset.  BTW, have any of you noticed the Whitehurst has started winning periodically.  Watch out, he’s improving!

We also debuted our new DGT electronic chess board.  This means we have games scores to review in events where the time control is too short to keep score.  The three games from board 1 can be found HERE.

Club Rated Section Result

US Chess Rated Result

Winners and Results from the 2024 Club Championship

Section winners were no surprise as both Barry and Jacob had full point leads going into round 4.  Jacob paired against Philip Cho in round 4 and Barry drew Chad Siwinski.  With a draw in their games, Secrest and Brandt would have secured their section wins.  Both pressed hard and took home wins resulting in two perfect 4 – 0 scores.


Proving that there is still fight in the final round as Sid Ranjan, James Menefee, and Naomi Hurtado scored significant upsets in the final round.  Also notable, Philip Choe took a clear second place in the Club Rated section.

But enough of my blather.
Here you can find the games.

Here you can find the final wall charts.

Dual Rated 3 Round Swiss 10/19 to 11/2

After three weeks of G/40+10 in two sections we have our winners.

US Chess Rated Section

Whit Weber took 1st place over a field of 13 players.  In the end, Weber and Siwinski finished with perfect scores however Whit edged Chad out on tiebreak points.  The US Chess results are on the US Chess website here.

On his way to sharing first place, Chad upset Sid Ranjan.  Ranjan also took it on the chin against Kromm in the final round.  You can find Kromm v Ranjan here. But watch out for Sid “Fire’n’Ice” Ranjan as he has a tendency to put a hurtin’ on strong players regularly.

Club Rated Section

Four players shared 1st place in a field of 14.  Vanegas edged out McEndree, Soriano, and Burnet on tie breaks.  Results for this section can be found here.

Dylan Burnett (892) had a breakout performance with a 2-0 result.  Burnett missed round one and we can only speculate on result if he had played in round 1.  Soriano also missed round 1.

ERC Quick 10/12/2023

Quick events remain a staple at the Emmorton Rec Chess Club.  We get a bunch of good games in and it all takes place in one night.  On this night, Jim Dempsey went 3-0 to take the top spot in the club rated section while Whit and Giancarlo both went 3-0 to share first place in the US Chess Rated Section.

You can find the club rated Wall Chart HERE.
And you can find the US Chess rated section results HERE.

Blitz Night 5/11/2023

Usually blitz chess nights don’t provide enough recorded results to make an interesting report but this week was an exception.  We ran two sections as usual.  After the USChess and Club rated sections completed four rounds, the top two finishers in each group moved on to a Quad Blitz Shootout.  The winner had rights to the prize.

In the USChess rated section there were zero surprises.  I mean none.  There were no upsets.  Whit “Princess” Weber finished with a perfect 4-0 record and Val took his sole loss to Whit finishing with a 3-1 record.  These scores qualified them both for the shootout quad.

Ben Larson went on a tear and upset Ethan Leahy right out of the gate on his march to claim the top spot in the section.  His only stumbling block was Jim Dempsey in the final round.

In round two, Jim Dempsey misplaced his king on the board causing an illegal move and Brian Fox wasted no time claiming a win.  In true Gary Kasparov style, Dempsey took his disappointment out on the following two players.  Dempsey’s 3-1 record qualified him too for the shootout on tiebreaks.

Ethan’s first round loss hurt him as it cost him a shot at the prize.  It took the third level tiebreak to separate him Dempsey.  Don’t ya just hate tiebreaks?

Two newbies arrived to play in the Club rated section.  Gavin “Pittsburgh” Hope returned after cascade night and Matt McBride arrived to play in round 3

On to the Shootout…

Weber walked through the field untouched and finished with a perfect 3-0 to follow his previous perfect performance.  Jim Dempsey had a clear winning position but Val leveraged his time advantaged and Jim flagged.

All of the results are available on the SwissSys site and the rated results are up on USChess.

Round 2 of G20+30

Upset Upset Upset!

Two weeks ago, Komiljon made perennial favorite Whit Weber work for his win.  This week, Derek Kromm did more than that by nicking the Club Champion for a full point.  For want of a pawn… We saw Derek take a pawn advantage and press it for a win.  We have the game with some commentary below.

Killmond gave Ranjan a run for his money last week.  Unfortunately the score sheet becomes unreliable before the game gets really good.  Stump stumped Gabor (sorry had to do that).  We would love to have the game as the endgame had some nice maneuvers.  Whitehurst held on for a bit however two unforced errors gave Siwinski the advantage he needed for a full point.

Absences in the rated section has left the field with an interesting matchup for the prize.  Unless something odd happens, Ranjan and Kromm should face off in the final round.

In the Club rated section, Allman and Dempsey both prevailed.  Leahy gave Allman an advantage on the dark squares that cost him a piece, and then the game.  No major upsets here.  Allman will bow out of the section to keep the numbers even, making predicting round three pairings near impossible.

Final round fireworks are this Thursday at 7:00!

Round 1 of G20+30

We saw some good games last week.  Most notable were the Weber v Rahimov and Kromm v Gabor.

Rahimov played very well and kept Weber on his toes however age and guile won the day.  You can see here how Weber gives up a pawn in exchange for an attack.

As for Kromm v Gabor, we now have showing a that score as an unforgiving rook pawn endgame taken too to the end with Kromm ultimately prevailing.

Overall, there we no upsets with an odd distribution of wins for black and white where black had almost all the wins in the USChess section and white had almost all the wins in the club rated section.

G15 – All in One Quick

Results to the G15 All in One Quick are here.
The no delay or increment time control created some interesting endings. Safe to say, we may not try that again for a while.
Congratulations to Whit for a perfect 4-0 result.

The results of our blitz event on 3/23

Congratulations to Sid and Steve for winning their sections!

USChess Rated Section:

The Club Rated Section:

2/16/2023 Congratulations to Whit Weber Our Returning Club Champion!

Whit and Pat slugged it out with Whit prevailing to retain the club title.  Here is the annotated game.

While Pat and Whit played for the club title, the rest of us played a G5 blitz.  We played WAY too many rounds for a Swiss and we had nine round.

Val came out on top by a half point.  The close packed crowd shows the tight competition.  Results are HERE.

Club Championship Report

With 30 players total over four weeks, the Club Championship had interesting games in every round and this week was no exception.
In the Club Rated Section we had a tie for first place. Pat Whitehurst and Brian King each finished with a 3-1 record. Contender Steve Chalk did not play in the 4th round. Fair warning, newcomer Matt Gabor has some sharp skills. I tell you this from personal experience. Pat and Brian played a G30 tiebreaker and Pat emerged on top. With this win, Pat earned his right to play for the Club Championship this week.
In the USChess rated section, Whit managed a win against Sid in round to secure his 4 – 0 record and the section title by a full 1.5 points. Val, who almost nipped Whit in round 3 finished with a clear second place finish. Giancarlo and Chad had a hell of a barn burner filled with nasty little ticks and traps. In the end, Giancarlo ran out of thinking time while looking to make magic out of a lesser position.
One upside to my computer loss, and thank you to Mike for filling, was an upgrade to SwissSys. What this means to you is our results are not posted on their website HERE . Of course USChess will continue to have the results for the rated sections .…

Jan 19 – Feb 9

The Club Championship.  Four Rounds of G60+5 with one round a week.  We have two sections, USChess Rated and club rated.  The winners of each section have a shootout on the following week, Feb 16.

5 Jan – Back to the Grind – G15+3 in a 3 round Swiss

Well it wasn’t a Swiss we had Quads instead.  Find the results HERE.

15 Dec – Casual Chess and Holiday Social

A night of casual chess. and refreshments.  Come on by for a relaxed evening.

3, 10 & 17 Nov – Slower and Colder 3 Rd Swiss

Below are the results form our 3rd Swiss.  Congratulations to Whit and Val for taking the top spot in each of their sections!
G60+5 is a good time control to get into some more serious chess and the games proved that out.  You can also find the USChess Rated results HERE.

27 Oct – A Club Rated King’s Gambit Accepted Thematic

At the last minute we changed things up a bit to a 4 round G10 event to allow everyone a shot at playing two games each with the white and black piecs.  A good thing too as with 16 players, a 3 round event may not have resulted in a clear winner.

There were some serious fireworks with pieces all over the board, busted pawn structures, and exposed kings.  The resounding opinion was, folks do NOT like playing the Kings Gambit accepted.  Let that sink in, most players in the club don’t like this opening.  Hmmm, what could you do with that information?

Not much of a surprise Jim Dempsey, who suggested this thematic night, seemed to fair well by securing a clear second place out of the pack of 16.  Whit managed to end up on top but there were some shaky positions for Whit too.

Not that we should look at ratings too closely, Sanat managed a 150 point increase in his club rating.  Is he a rising star?