From the Pig's Pen

Jeff “Pig” Jones   2 June, 2014

Welcome and thank you reading “From the Pig’s Pen” I’m your host Jeff “Pig” Jones. Don’t hesitate to call me “Pig.” I consider it a term of endearment….. After all, for all of their “wallow in the mud” reputation, pigs are actually quite lovable and intelligent animals. A spider’s web never lies y’know.  ;-)

The purpose of this column will be primarily to identify and recognize North Carolinians who reach new levels of chess success. If you’ve reached a new rating class over 1000 or have reached a milestone win, please let me know by e-mailing me at coachpigjones-at-aol-dot-com. I will try and keep up with as many as I can, but I don’t want to miss anyone.

First off I’d like to offer a hearty congratulations to FIDE Master Dr. Robin Cunningham who lapped the field at the North Carolina Invitational. Robin won his first four games at the Charlotte Chess Center a couple of weeks and outscored second place co-finishers NM Patrick Sciacca, national 9th grade champion Aaron Balleisen, and nightmare of all IMs Dominique Myers by a full point and a half. NM Peter Giannatos and NM Steve Wang rounded out the six player field.

All of the NC Invitational games can be found at:

A well-deserved congratulations also goes out to NM Chris Mabe and Daniel Cremisi who tied for first in the South Carolina Open over Memorial Day weekend.

As the scholastic season of 2013-14 has drawn to a close…. I’d like to take a moment to recognize four youngsters who had top ten finishes in national scholastic tournaments this year. The aforementioned Aaron Balleisen of Durham’s Riverside High was our national 9th grade co-champion back in December. He nearly was joined in the winner circle by Cary’s Green Hope Elementary kindergartner Alfred Ye, who finished in a tie for sixth at the same National K-12 championships in Orlando. Charlotte’s British American School’s Daniel Cremisi secured an undefeated third place finish in the K-8 division of the national Junior High Championship in Atlanta. Vishnua Vannapalli of the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy in Charlotte  also landed a third place in the K-1 division of the National Elementary Championships in Dallas. Vishnu is currently the second ranked six year old in the country so special congratulations to him on his impressive achievements.

While not a chess competition, I’d like to also note the performance of Jack and Nicholas Miklaucic at the National School Scrabble Championships in Providence, Rhode Island last month. The Miklaucics finished second in the tournament nearly becoming the third North Carolina-based team to win the title in the last four years.

Also just in, I’m happy to report that NM Craig Jones of Chapel Hill has found some success in his first trip to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Craig won the 6PM, Deep Stack Side Event on June 1st besting over 400 players. Here’s hoping for a bracelet in one of the later events…….

Congratulations are in order to each of the following for attaining new  all-time high rating levels:

Recent UNC-Asheville graduate David High for winning the Asheboro Open on May 17th and reaching expert status for the first time.

Pradhyumna Kothapalli reached 1500 and Samuel Kio and Adharsh Rajagopal both topped 1300 for the first time at The Charlotte Chess Center’s G/30 Action event on May 24th.

Kevin Xi climbed over 1100 for the first time at the Chess Achieves Davis Drive tournament on May 18th.


I intend to produce at least two of these articles per month and hopefully one per week. A lot will depend on input from the audience. Until next time, as one fellow “pig” often said……… Th-th-the Th-th-the Th-th-the That’s all folks!!!!