West Michigan Chess Blog

2018 West Michigan Open Mini-Report!
By Michael Brooks on August 07, 2018

2018 West Michigan Open

Our first annual West Michian regional championship event ocurred this past Saturday August 4th. We played four rounds of G/60.  Our USCF TD was Ian McFarland who was TD of his first event.  We look forward to more events being organized and led by Ian.  33 participants competed across three sections. Every section was hard fought and the winners were well-deserved.  One of the true joys I have as an organizer of West Michigan Chess is seeing how many players truly enjoy the events we host.  This is the cornerstone to a sustainable future-well-run events that are enjoyed by all. 

We will have a detailed report in our next issue of our West-Side Chess Newsletter but we did want to announce the winners of the events.  The tournament should be rated in the next couple of days and we will share the crosstable when it is published. 

Our West Michigan U1000 Champion was Saachi Rajharia with 3.5/4! She held a draw in the final round against rival Vishal Swamy to take the title, trophy and cash! 

Our West Michigan U1500 Champion was Jason Shi with 3.5/4! Jason cleared himself from the pack in the final round the claim sole victory of the title, trophy and cash!

Our West Michigan Open Champion was Will Brooks. He was tied with Dr. Tony Palmer with 3/4, but gained the title & trphy by tiebreaks while splitting the cash!


Congratulations to all of the players who competed in this event. We look to have another great championship next year!


Michael Brooks
West Michigan Chess Network Organizer

Upcoming Calendar & Future Events
By Michael Brooks on July 26, 2018

Hello West Michigan Chess Community.

This is West Michigan Chess Network Organizer Michael Brooks. I wanted to announce our upcoming event, the West Michigan Open, and discuss what lay in store for West Michigan Chess in the future.  West Michigan Chess is a network of dedicated players, organizers, and enthusiasts that are seeking to help grow chess in the West Michigan area.  It is my belief that West Michigan can be a place for an amazing chess culture and scene. We have many strong players and a proven scholastic presence with talent coming up through the ranks.

The next step for us is coordinating with other organizers to promote great West Michigan events and grow the amount of events we currently have. These events should be well run, professional, fun, and offer a wide-variety of chess experiences.  These events will not only create a great chess culture for local players but will also be a great way for younger players to grow in their own chess abilities and experience.  I am excited to see the annual events we are starting this year, the growth of chess clubs around the region, and the excitement that new scholastic players will bring to our area.  If you are interested in supporting the growth of West Michigan Chess please contact me!  I would love to find other organizers in other parts of West Michigan that can be a part of promoting the game.

Current West Michigan Chess Events Calendar - 

Right now we have two events that are our pillar tournaments for the year.  Those are the Grand Rapids Spring Classic & The West Michigan Open.  In the Spring I hosted the first annual Grand Rapids Spring Classic which drew almost 30 players across two sections. It was a great success and this is an event I will plan to host yearly as the TD, promoter and organizer.  The West Michigan Open will be run by new TD Ian McFarland.  This will be our regional championship event, meaning that we will crown a West Michigan Open Champion, a West Michigan U1500 Champion and a West Michigan U1000 Champion. Trophies will be presented and it should be a lot of fun.  This is the first event I would like to see grow into a  2-day tournament with longer time controls. Right now, it is only a one-day event. But, we just began this journey and we are excited to see it grow.  Our 1st Annual West Michigan Open is August 4th, so please come out and support West Michigan Chess and maybe even become a champion! 


Another tournament that is run is a Scholastic event hosted by Dr. Tony Palmer and the Holland Chess Academy. This is the Holland Junior Open and it is run in the Spring. It caps off their year and usually gets a great turnout. There are other scattered scholastic events that get good turnout but are not widely advertised.  If you are aware of them we would love to include them on our calendar here.

Another Scholastic effort put on by myself is the Summer Chess Camp.  This will be a key part of our calendar for scholastic players.

Calendar Summary - 

Holland Junior Open (Holland, Spring - March)

Grand Rapids Spring Classic (Grand Rapids, Spring - May)

Castle Defenders Chess Camp (Hudsonville/Zeeland, July)

West Michigan Open (Grand Rapids, Summer - August)


Future Events & Vision

Our next step will be to grow more events outside of the Grand Rapids area.  I am currently working with those in Kalamazoo to get a fall event in the Kalamazoo/Portage area.  This would be a great service to the players out there and would grow the amount of events we have throughout the year.  Another important part of growing West Michigan Chess events is being able to attract players from Lansing and further east to our events. This comes from a commitment by our local organizers to make each event well-run and fun, but also a commitment from our players to attend whenever possible.  Our events are for the players so we hope our players will support all that is happening in West Michigan Chess.

If you have an interest in becoming a local USCF TD (much easier than you think!) or have a space that could host a tournament that is affordable and nice please contact us.  If you run a tournament let us know so we can support you in it!  Our desire is to see the 1) West Michigan Chess movement grow, 2) for new players to find our events easily, 3) scholastic players to have a space to compete and be challegned, and 4) adult players to have a regular tournament calender they can enjoy and rely on for high-quality events. 


Network Organizer
Michael Brooks