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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 Controversy at the Hurvitz Cup
 Bob Messenger
  November 2011

The Hurvitz Cup is MACA’s biggest scholastic tournament of the year. Competition is keen to win bragging rights as the top high school, middle school, elementary school or primary school in the Commonwealth. All players on each four-player team, plus an optional alternate, are required to attend the same school, with an exception for players from feeder schools in the same school district. The section breaks were changed this year, the four sections being for four-player teams in grades 9-12, 6-8 (6-9 last year), K-5 (K-6 last year), and K-3. The new section breaks were intended to match more closely the grade breaks in most Massachusetts school districts. A total of 40 teams entered this year, with 162 players.

The controversy in the 9-12 (High School) section began during round three, when it was reported that two players, on different teams, were in seventh grade and thus were ineligible to play in the section. As the chief tournament director I believe that this was an innocent mistake caused by a misunderstanding of the feeder school rule, but unfortunately I was forced to disqualify the two seventh graders, changing their results to forfeit losses for tournament purposes although they still counted for ratings. The BB&N team was especially hurt by this, because their win against Acton-Boxborough was changed to a draw, and without their top player, Jeffrey Yao (who had a very good tournament, gaining 47 rating points), they also lost their last round match.
Going into the last round Newton North had three match points, Acton-Boxborough had two and a half, and three teams had two, including top-seeded Lexington, which had lost to Newton North in round three. Newton North and Acton-Boxborough were paired in the last round, and it turned out that both teams were satisfi ed with a quick draw, Newton North because the drawn match clinched fi rst place for them, and Acton-Boxborough because their team was out-rated by over 200 points and they were afraid that if they lost the match they would be knocked out of prize contention. On tiebreak, Acton-Boxborough fi nished second, Lexington was third, and the players on the Weston team were given medals for the team’s fourth place finish. Some of the parents on the Lexington team appealed to MACA President George Mirijanian on the basis that the Newton North and Acton-Boxborough teams had violated USCF rules by playing prearranged draws. At its April meeting the MACA Executive Board passed a motion sustaining my decision to accept the drawn result of the match.
Things went more smoothly in the other sections. Diamond Middle School won all their matches in the 6-8 section, their ace Mika Brattain likewise going 4-0. The Gates Panther team won the K-5 section 4-0, as did Kings of Conant in the K-3.
I’d like to thank my assistant TDs: Brian Mottershead, George Mirijanian, Steve Frymer, Maryanne Reilly, and Irina Dronova. Congratulations to the players on the winning teams: Winston Huang, Tian Rossi, Jacob Fauman and Richard Han for Newton North High School; Mika Brattain, Vishnu Amrit, David Amirault and Mark Jones for Diamond Middle School; Allen Wang, Daniel Shih, Eddie Wang and Aaron Zhang for the Gates Panthers; and Alex Yu, Alexander Ying, James Cui, Ethan Zhong and Benjamin Lu for the Kings of Conant.