The co-founders of the Texas Chess Center are Jarred Tetzlaff, CEO, and David Gaston, President. Their philosophy is that “chess never sleeps”. Tetzlaff and Gaston added, “With many businesses closing or reducing their offerings, it’s important to keep a diversity of options available for young and old!”

Jarred Tetzlaff (black suit, white shirt) | Photo: Christopher Tetzlaff

Recognizing the security issues of in-person chess, Tetzlaff and Gaston allow players to greet or punch their opponents instead of shaking hands. Any player who begins to feel sick or uncomfortable before a round may excuse themselves with a half-point bye. Additionally, the Texas Chess Center offers both in-person and online options for chess play and coaching.

Before Tetzlaff and Gaston cut their center’s ceremonial ribbon at 12:30 p.m. on January 22, they disinfected the sets and boards. They provided chess clocks, preset to G/30d/5 (game in 30 minutes, 5 seconds late). The men’s and women’s restrooms were clean. A parent waiting room had refreshments and video feeds from the tournament rooms. They were expecting 40 players.

David Gaston (standing). | Photo: Christopher Tetzlaff

The students win!

Sixty-seven players, divided into four sections, started their first-round matches just after 1:00 p.m. on January 22. International master Aaron Grabinsky won the Open section with a perfect score of 4-0, netting $200.

At the University of Texas at Dallas, Grabinsky is in his second semester of a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and is a member of the chess team. Grabinsky provided scoring for his four games. Three of Grabinsky’s wins were against players who finished tied for third through eighth. Matches of other players tied for third through eighth (with 3–1) and one match for second (3½–½) can also be found at the end of this article.

Ajitesh Nair (white) against Aaron Grabinsky. | Photo: Alexei Racine

University of North Texas (UNT) engineering student Dhroov Pandey won the under-1600 section with two wins and two draws. Pandey is the president of the UNT Chess Club. “Under 1600” refers to players rated 1599 and under by the United States Chess Federation.

“Scholastic” refers to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. School players took top honors in the two lowest sections. Ananya Srivatsan won the Under 1100 section with three wins and a draw. Chaithanya Telugu won the Under 600 section with a full BYE point and three wins.

The games are from the top eight of the Open section.