Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational

I was given the privilege of directing the 2011 Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational Chess Tournament in Lubbock, Texas, from July 24-29, 2011. I am pictured above with Susan Polgar, Heather Young of Vancouver, WA, and her parents, Ron & Peggy Young.

The winner was the highest rated player, Apurva Virkud, from Michigan with a perfect 6-0 score. Mandy Lu, also of Michigan, and Chenyi Zhao of California each were presented with netbook computers for winning the under age 13 and under age 10 prizes respectively. Mandy also won the blitz tournament in a playoff over Evelyn Chen of Georgia.

There were four scholarships given to players entering the 11th or 12th grade. They went to Vanita Young of Pennsylvania, Cheryl Liu of Illinois, Sneha Chikkila of Arkansas and Dyhemia Young of California. Each scholarship is valued at approximately $40,000 for out-of-state students who will utilize the award for their full four years in college.

As a current resident of the Great Northwest, I was very interested in the results of the girls from my area. Heather Young of Vancouver, WA, who is home schooled and will be entering 10th grade in September, finished 18th out of 46 players. Most of the entrants were champions or co-champions of their respective states.

The Idaho representative was Savanah Naccarato of Sandpoint, who plays mostly in the Spokane scholastic events. Savanah finished in 9th place with a 4-2 score. She will be entering 9th grade in the fall and has begun study in recent months with Seattle chess coach John Graves. Unfortunately there was no Oregon participant this year.

Susan provided three days of intensive training for all of the participants. I was allowed to sit in on the sessions and am very impressed with the quality of play of the girls as well as the depth of learning that is available to them as part of the event.

Many thanks to Jeff Roland of Idaho who reformatted the cross table for the 2011 SPGI event to make it easier to read. It is located here.

Here is the ICA link for the 2011 SPGI story about Savanah Naccarato.

Here is the link for the Bonner Bee article about Savanah Naccarato

And, the follow-up story after the tournament.

Thanks to the interest and energy of Rusty Miller there should be some coverage soon in the Vancouver press concerning Heather Young.

An annual fund is in the process of being established, perhaps through Northwest Chess, to support travel expenses for each year's Northwest nominees (Washington, Oregon & Idaho). My suggestion is to call it the Dr. Ralph L. Hall memorial travel fund after one of the pioneers of scholastic chess excellence in the Northwest. Dr. Hall wrote position papers on the benefits of chess for children years before anyone else even thought about it.

More details of the event can be found on Susan’s blog

I will be tournament director for the Open Section (FIDE Rated) of the Portland Chess Club Centennial Open in August. Please stop by and say “hello” if you play in or visit the event. The tournament flyer is located here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Cornell Bio

This bio has been added to my Cornell University faculty bio page and will remain there throughout my two-year tenure as Executive-in-Residence in the Graduate Program for Health Administration.

For the first six years after graduating from the Sloan Program in 1974, Frank Niro worked in the Boston office of Ernst & Young where he served health care clients as an auditor and management consultant. His consulting projects included a feasibility study for a new outpatient facility at Massachusetts General Hospital, a development study that led to the creation of the Tufts Affiliated Health Maintenance Organization, and a strategic plan for the hospitals serving the Lake Placid region during the 1980 Olympics. In addition, he was an advisory member of the firm’s national task force on alternative health delivery systems.

During his tenure at E & Y, he took a year-long sabbatical to work as a project manager for Hotels of Distinction, a hotel management company based in Boston, where he was involved in the daily operations of the Copley Plaza Hotel, renovation of the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI, and development of new hotel management contracts.

After returning to E & Y, Frank was invited by the Board of Trustees of Symmes Hospital in Arlington, MA, to serve as interim administrator during the extended illness of the hospital’s chief executive officer. After Symmes merged with a neighboring hospital in 1981, Frank left E & Y to become the new entity’s chief financial officer. He was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 1984.

In 1987, Frank was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Glover Memorial Hospital in Needham, MA, were he served for five years before being named President of Neponset Valley Health System in Norwood, MA. He was acknowledged as one of the “Top 25 Turnaround Hospital Administrator’s in the U.S.” by Healthweek magazine in March, 1989. In 1994, he accepted the position of CEO at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH, where he worked until suffering a stroke in May, 1997.

Beginning in 1986, Frank taught as an adjunct professor at four different colleges and universities: University of Massachusetts Lowell (Healthcare Finance), Stonehill College (Systems of Care), Emmanuel College (Comparative Health Systems) and Northeastern University (Healthcare Marketing & Strategic Planning). He was awarded a specialized fellowship in chess and education by University of Texas at Dallas in 2000 where he earned 18 credits towards a Ph.D. before returning to work as volunteer Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation in 2002. He retired for health reasons after a heart attack in 2003.

Frank has spent the last few years on the west coast with his wife, Natasha, working on his memoir All Over the Board. He continues to volunteer his expertise as a member of numerous non-profit boards and committees. Frank and Natasha will reside in Ithaca during his appointment as Executive-in-Residence. His office is on the third floor of MVR Hall.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I have to share this

Lori, I hope you don't mind. I was touched, and I expect others will be also...

Mr. Niro,

I've just come across your blog and have been reduced to tears reading about my grandfather, Stan Tiernan.

You may know that Grandfather died in 1993 shortly after his 70th birthday--a sudden and freak heart attack. You might be glad to hear that he did enjoy running until the end, even on the day he died.

When he died, I was 24 and training for my first race-- a 5 miler in Hopedale, which we had planned to run together. I ran it without him, but came in last! Really.

I kept up the running, however, and have completed two half marathons and this Sunday in Providence, I'll run my first (and surely, only) marathon--just 3 days shy of my 40th birthday.

My family will be there (including my daughter, Tiernan) but I am acutely aware of Grandfather's absence right now. He would have gotten a kick out of this, and maybe even run it with me--kicking my butt, I'm sure!

Thank you so much for writing about him. Various family members have read this post and it's brought back wonderful memories.

I hope you are well, and still running!

Best regards,

Lori Batista McEwen

Click twice to enlarge the news photo and the related article --->

Here's the text of my original post (excerpt from my memoir):

"My goal in 1966 was to run the entire 26 miles and 385 miles without walking. Most of my family, friends and coaches tried to discourage me. They pointed out that I was too young to enter the race as an official runner and that I would have plenty of opportunities to run in future years. Four people, however, gave me all the encouragement I needed: Richard Ramaskwich, Tom Derederian, Bob Pagnini and, most importantly, Stanley C. Tiernan.

Everyone in the area knew Stan Tiernan. He was in his early forties and lived in Bellingham. For many years he lived in neighboring Hopedale. He ran thousands of miles on the streets of Milford, Hopedale, Mendon, Medway and Bellingham. He was a local legend and a fixture on the roads as he relentlessly pounded the pavement, always in training for his next Boston Marathon. He was a daily sight for the local residents as common as the dairy truck delivering milk bottles to each home. One sure way of determining if someone was an out-of-towner was to ask if they knew who Stanley Tiernan was.

Stan Tiernan set a Hopedale High School cross county record in 1942. We still used the same course through the woods twenty years later. Nobody challenged the record over all those years. It was a benchmark that high school runners in the area measured their performances against. “I ran the Hopedale course and only finished 49 seconds behind Tiernan’s record,” I can recall saying.

His running style was distinctive. He held his hands in front of his chest like a puppy dog extending each paw to shake hands. His legs churned away while his upper torso remained perfectly still. He didn’t sway from side to side like I usually did. His style was a model of running efficiency. It was a style that I wanted to emulate.

Stan Tiernan first entered the Boston Marathon in 1950. After that, he ran every year except one. Four times he placed high enough to earn one of the coveted B.A.A. medals awarded to the top 35 finishers. He first broke three hours in 1958 when he finished 31st in 2 hours, 50 minutes and 52 seconds. His best result was 2:43:15 in 1960 when he finished 18th, ahead of both Johnny Kelleys. His best time was 2:42:39 (24th) in 1963. Until Tom Derderian and I started logging 50 miles per week on the Milford roads, only Stan Tiernan had done so. Among the locals, only Stan Tiernan had broken three hours in the Boston Marathon. I wanted to do it too. I wanted to be like Stan Tiernan.

In 1966, he held the North Medford Club record for distance covered in one hour on the track: 11 miles, 189 yards. It was a record he set nearly 10 years earlier. As a junior in high school I ran an hour on the track as fast as I could. I barely made 9 miles, two miles less than Stan’s record.

Tom and I entered an unusual competition during the summer of 1966. We ran in a two-man 10-mile relay on the track at Bowditch Field in Framingham. The relay was intervals of 440 yards. We each ran a quarter mile and passed the baton; twenty laps each with an average of eighty seconds rest while the other ran his lap. We finished in 4th place in 53 minutes and 28 seconds and were proud of the accomplishment…until we realized that if we ran another six minutes and 32 seconds we would probably not be further than 11 miles and 189 yards. With two of us splitting the distance, resting half the time, and racing each lap as fast as we could, we still couldn’t beat Stan Tiernan’s club record for an hour run. Man he was fast in his prime, we thought. His record was broken by Jim Daley, Jr., on 10/22/67.

One day in the fall of 1965, I went running where I expected Stan Tiernan to be. When he came past me I asked if he would help prepare for the Boston Marathon. “Sure, if you are serious about it,” he said. “You need to run as much as you can; you need to train every day. Your pace isn’t as important as the miles you log. If you can’t find the time to run eight to ten miles every day, then don’t bother trying the marathon. Make sure you eat well and get plenty of rest. That’s all there is to it. And keep up your schoolwork. Don’t let running interfere with more important things or your mind won’t let your body do its best. I’ll see you at the starting line.”

I followed his advice completely. I treated it like it was the Gospel handed down by the Lord Himself. To me, it was the 11th Commandment: ‘Thou Shalt not Skip a day of Training’."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Janniro & Deeth are 2011 Oregon Senior Chess Co-champions

Morgan watches the game of his owner, Jerrold Richards, at the 2011 Oregon Senior Open held in Oregon City on July 9, 2011.

Mike Janniro and Steven Deeth tied for first place in the 17-player Oregon Senior Chess Championship held in Oregon City on the weekend of July 9-10, 2011. The co-champions played to a draw in the final round. Both players had three wins and two draws in the five round event for a total of four points. Five players finished within a half point of each other in the hotly contested tournament. Carl Koontz, champion of the host Oregon City/West Linn Chess Club, earned a tie for third place at 3 ½ points with Bill Heywood and Roland Eagles.

Eagles also took the title of over-60 champion while Gerry Reiner had 3 points to earn the over-70 title as well as the under-1800 prize. Greg Markowski and Stephan Pettengill shared under-1600 honors. Dave Prideaux, playing in his first rated tournament, was the under-1400 winner.

A permanent trophy was purchased by the host club in honor of the club’s founder who recently passed away. Known as the Dr. Ralph Hall Memorial Award, the trophy will be engraved each year with the names of the Oregon Senior Chess Champions. This year’s co-champions will also receive individual engraved trophies commemorating their victory. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in honor of Dr. Hall during the Portland Chess Club Centennial Open in August.

The tournament was organized by the Oregon Chess Federation, directed by Frank Niro, and sponsored by the Geezer Gallery (

Following is the cross table for the 2011 Oregon Senior Chess Championship:

1 JANNIRO, MIKE 2071 2086 W--11 W---5 W---6 D---3 D---2 4.0
2 DEETH, STEVEN 2062 2074 W--14 W--10 D---3 W---6 D---1 4.0
3 KOONTZ, CARL 2027 2033 W--16 W--14 D---2 D---1 D---5 3.5
4 HEYWOOD, BILL 2000 2000 W---8 L---6 H---0 W--14 W--17 3.5
5 EAGLES, ROLAND 1983 1989 W---9 L---1 W--15 W--10 D---3 3.5
6 GUTMAN, RICHARD 2068 2062 W---7 W---4 L---1 L---2 W--10 3.0
7 REINER, GERALD 1603 1608 L---6 L---8 H---0 W--11 W--14 2.5
8 MARKOWSKI, GREG 1377 1419 L---4 W---7 D--14 W--13 L---9 2.5
9 PETTENGILL, STEve 1269 1353 L---5 L--11 D--13 W--16 W---8 2.5
10 BURRIS, CHRIS 1788 1783 W--12 L---2 W--11 L---5 L---6 2.0
11 GREGER, TOM 1656 1640 L---1 W---9 L--10 L---7 W--16 2.0
12 PRIDEAUX, DAVE UNR 1281 L--10 L--14 L--16 B---0 W--13 2.0
13 RICHARDS, JERROLD 1244 1252 L--15 W--16 D---9 L---8 L--12 1.5
14 BERGER, BRIAN 1569 1551 L---2 W--12 D---8 L---4 L---7 1.5
15 BANNER, RICHARD 1800 1800 W--13 L---3 L---5 H---0 U---0 1.5
16 DIETZ, ARLISS 1500 1500 L---3 L--13 W--12 L---9 L--11 1.0
17 NIRO, FRANK 1703 1700 H---0 U---0 U---0 U---0 L---4 0.5

Next year's event will be at the same site on July 7-8, 2012