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Nixon Claims Denker Title

By Bill Broich, IA, NTD

The Denker qualifier was held in conjunction with the Barber and Rockefeller qualifiers on February 10, 2024, at the Airport Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa. Niko Nixon will represent Iowa in 2024 Tournament of Champions held in conjunction with the U.S. Open in Norfolk, Virginia beginning in late July. Nixon is a Junior at West High in Iowa City. Please see the fourth-round game below the cross table.

Nixon topped a field of five players in this year’s qualifier. The marque match-up came in round two when Nixon was paired with former Denker representative, Samraat Zagade. Both Nixon and Zagade are members of the Pawn Stormers. The Pawn Stormers are a group of talented young players from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The group is the brainchild of Jim Hodina, NYTD, IA. Jim is a former Iowa Scholastic Chess Coordinator and former President of the Iowa State Chess Association. Jim relocated to South Carolina in June of 2023. Congratulations to all who competed.

Niko Nixon, 2024 Iowa Denker Champion. Photo by Vivian Nixon


Pair | Player Name                     |Total|Round|Round|Round|

 Num  | USCF ID / Rtg (Pre->Post)       | Pts |  1  |  2  |  3  |


    1 | NIKO R NIXON                    |3.0  |W   5|W   2|W   4|

   IA | 15980255 / R: 1921   ->1932     |     |B    |W    |B    |

      |            Q: 1490   ->1519     |     |     |     |     |


    2 | SAMRAAT JAGDISH JAGD ZAGADE     |2.0  |W   4|L   1|W   3|

   IA | 16147973 / R: 1864   ->1852     |     |W    |B    |W    |

      |            Q: 1592   ->1572     |     |     |     |     |


    3 | JOHANNES EDWARD BOEVERS         |2.0  |B    |W   5|L   2|

   IA | 30216060 / R: 1146   ->1150     |     |     |W    |B    |

      |            Q: 1156   ->1156     |     |     |     |     |


    4 | LANDON OSTOLA                   |1.0  |L   2|B    |L   1|

   IA | 31681502 / R: Unrated-> 768P2   |     |B    |     |W    |

      |            Q: Unrated-> 768P2   |     |     |     |     |


    5 | TOBY FRIDAY                     |1.0  |L   1|L   3|B    |

   IA | 31701272 / R: Unrated-> 743P2   |     |W    |B    |     |

      |            Q: Unrated-> 743P2   |     |     |     | 


Event "Iowa Denker Qualifier"

ECO "A45"

Opening "Indian Defense"

Annotator, Niko Nixon

White “Niko Nixon”

Black “Samraat Zagade”


1. d4 { For my second-round game for the Denker Qualifier, I was facing Samraat Zagade who I was familiar with through Iowa Pawn Stormers and other chess events, so it felt more like I was playing a friend or teammate than an actual opponent. Having white felt like a very big advantage because I knew Samraat played the Pirc which to me feels easier to play as white. I also had the advantage of Samraat being busy as a senior in high school, so with his mind being on probably a plethora of things unrelated to chess, I thought he would not be playing at his best. } 1... Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Qd2 Nbd7 6. O-O-O O-O 7. e5 { I had prepared up to here. E5 is pretty good for white since the f6 knight has to move to weird squares, and after Bh6, white's kingside pawns are able to start rolling really fast. } 7... Nh5 8. Bh6 { Trading bishops since black's is usually a good defender against the kingside attack. } 8... c6 { I think with the idea of getting the black queen to a5, or possibly to support b5 to get counterplay on the queenside. This may be too slow though since g4 is with tempo and forces the white queen getting to h6, and it is very hard to defend against the h-pawn push. } 9. g4 Bxh6 10. Qxh6 Ng7 11. h4 { White basically has gotten almost everything they want to achieve from this position and defending puts black at too passive a position to come back. } 11... f6 12. h5 Qe8 13. Bd3 f5 14. Nf3 { I have at least one of every piece putting pressure on black’s position, and at this point with low time for Samraat, at the time is seemed like too much of a headache for black to handle. } 14... Ne6 15. gxf5 gxf5 16. Qxe6+ Kh8 17. Qh6 Qf7 18. Ng5 Qg8 19. Rdg1 Nf6 { Trying to trap my queen after exf6, Rxf6, which is still much better for white, but may relieve some pressure/ } 20. Nxh7 { This secures winning of material, and black becomes paralyzed against the threat of stacking rooks. } 20... Qxh7 21. Qxf8+ Ng8 22. Rg6 { Was easiest for me since Be6, Qxa8 seemed depressing for black. } 22... b6 23. Rhg1 Bb7 24. Rxg8+ Qxg8 25. Rxg8+ Kh7 26. Qg7# *


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