The Top 10 Storylines of the 2024 Chess.com Invitational


From
the
desk
of
Owl
P.
Jackson,
Esq.

Magnus
Carlsen,
widely
considered
the
best
chess
player
of
all
time,
took
in
the
action
at
the
Chess.com
Invitational.
Photo:
DGPT

In
the
immortal
words
of
Steven
Spielberg’s
second-most
popular
dinosaur
movie
from
1993,
“We’re
back!”

We’ve
got
first-time
winners,
drought-enders,
and
raptor
legs
in
the
rearview
mirror.
So,
strap
in
for
7-10
hours
of
commercial-free*
disc
golf!
In
my
opinion,
these
are
the
top
10
storylines
of
the
2024
Chess.com
Invitational.


*Additional
fees
apply

1.
Anthony
Barela
wins
his
first
Elite
event.


“Toad
style
is
immensely
strong
and
immune
to
nearly
any
weapon.
When
it’s
properly
used
it’s
almost
invincible.”

Did
you
think
about
it?
With
Barela
in
contention
on
the
final
day,
was
it
running
through
your
mind?
When
A.B.
went
O.B.
(and
then
almost
did
it
again),
did
you
get
that
sinking
feeling
in
your
stomach?
When
Ricky
hit
a
putt
from
distance
and
turned
to
scream
before
running
it
down,
did
you
scooch
forward
to
the
edge
of
your
seat?
It
was
only
a
matter
of
time
before
the
broadcast
turned
to
replays
of
European
Open,
hole
16.

But
there
was
something
different
about
A.B.
this
weekend.
You
might’ve
been
thinking
about
last
year,
but
he
wasn’t.
Disc
golf’s
coolest
player
seemed
even
cooler.
He
was
the
best
player,
hands
down,
from
start
to
finish
this
tournament.
The
first
sign
of
emotion
didn’t
appear
until
his
final
approach
up
the
hill
on
hole
18—“Go
baby,
c’mon!”
Barela
told
Brian
Earhart
after
securing
his
first
Elite
victory.
“It
got
a
little
shaky
down
the
stretch—but
that
comes
with
the
nerves—and
if
you’re
not
feeling
them,
you’re
not
loving
what
you’re
doing.
And
I
love
disc
golf.
Just
makes
me
happy.”

A.B.
has
always
had
the
raw
athleticism
and
almost
unrivaled
power.
Now
that
he
has
a
win
to
match,
who
knows
what’s
next?

2.
Eveliina
Salonen
back
on
top


“I’m
pushing
force;
my
force
you’re
doubting.”

“If
Eveliina
could
just
find
even
a
mediocre
putt,
she
could
win.”

Who
hasn’t
thought
that
over
the
past
few
years?
She
throws
both
sides
with
so
much
power;
it’s
like
her
body
explodes
into
each
shot.
But
the
putting
has
been
weak,
and
sometimes
atrocious.
She
was
a
player
highly
capable
of
being
first
in
tee-to-green
and
dead
last
in
putting
statistics.
That
type
of
disparity
in
statistics
makes
for
a
lot
of
good
finishes
and
not
a
lot
of
winning.
As
a
matter
of
fact,
it
had
been
almost
four
years
since
Eveliina’s
last
Elite
win
at
WACO.

That
drought
ended
in
Florida.
Eveliina
went
89%
from
C1X
(including
a
final
hole
layup)
on
her
way
to
a
stellar
8-under
final
round.
After
the
round,
she
thanked
her
family
and
friends
that
believed
in
her,
even
when
she
didn’t
believe
in
herself.
If
she
can
continue
to
keep
it
close
and
keep
it
clean,
that
shouldn’t
be
a
problem
anymore.

3.
New
course,
who
dis?


“The
flow
changes
like
a
chameleon;
Plays
like
a
friend,
and
stabs
you
like
a
dagger.”

It
is
always
fun
to
see
a
new
course
on
tour
and
Olympus
did
not
disappoint.
The
Paul
McBeth
(re)design
was
a
major
upgrade
from
the
Las
Vegas
Challenge’s
Wildhorse
courses.
Like
a
swampy
Toboggan,
players
trekked
up
and
down
the
varied
terrain
that
featured
low
ceilings
and
specific
landing
zones.
But,
if
you
like
birdie-or-die
disc
golf,
this
isn’t
the
course
for
you.
The
average
3-round
score
for
the
top
10
was
-13.6
(MPO)
and
-5.9
(FPO).
For
comparison,
those
same
averages
for
the
2023
LVC
were
-27.3
and
-10.6,
respectively.

4.
New
Tech


“So
if
you
wanna
come
sweating,
stressing,
contesting…”

You
know
when
a
new
iOS
is
released,
and
everyone
loses
their
mind?
That’s
where
we
are
right
now.
With
a
new
streaming
platform
and
a
new
live
scoring
app,
there
was
more
discourse
about

how

people
were
watching
than
what
they
were
watching.
Of
course,
the
negative
feedback
is
always
the
loudest.
And
much
of
it
was
justified.
Live
scoring
went
down
on
day
2,
along
with
the
entire
PDGA
Live
interface.
The
new
DGN
performed
differently
depending
on
the
device
you
were
using.
I’ll
admit—more
than
a
few
times,
I
swiped
up
without
hitting
the
PiP
button.
And
even
after
remembering
to
tap
the
PiP,
I
instinctively
opened
up
UDisc
to
check
scores.

But
let’s
be
honest.
With
every
iPhone
update,
you
get
used
to
the
new
way
almost
immediately
and
will
someday
complain
when
the
next
change
comes.
That
will
happen
here
too.
The
kinks
will
be
worked
out.
The
picture
itself
is
already
better
than
it
has
ever
been.
The
standard
subscription
is
no
more
expensive
than
before.

TL;DR:
calm
down.

5.
FPO
Contenders


“My
peoples
are
you
with
me,
where
you
at?
In
the
front,
in
the
back,
killa-bees
on
attack.”

Missy
Gannon
was
in
the
lead
going
into
the
final
9
holes
on
the
final
day,
but
it
was
the
rest
of
the
contenders
that
showed
you
the
type
of
golf
that
Olympus
demands.
Eveliina
Salonen,
Ella
Hansen,
Holyn
Handley,
Henna
Blomroos,
and
Natalie
Ryan
were
the
only
players
within
realistic
striking
distance—all
power
throwers.
I
know,
Ella
and
Holyn
fell
behind
early.
And
yes—Missy,
Henna,
and
Natalie
bogeyed
their
way
through
the
back
nine.
But,
it
still
felt
good
to
have
so
many
people
in
legitimate
contention
going
into
FPO
final
day.
Let’s
see
if
we
can
keep
that
up
when
Kristin
returns.

6.
MPO
Top
10


“In
his
own
iniquity,
it’s
the
Master
of
the
Mantis
Rapture
coming
at
ya.”

The
MPO
gave
us
a
nice
mix
on
the
leaderboard
throughout
the
tournament.
We
ended
up
with
many
familiar
faces
in
the
top
10
like
Anthony
Barela,
Ricky
Wysocki,
Aaron
Gossage,
Gannon
Buhr,
Kyle
Klein,
Isaac
Robinson
(seriously,
where
did
he
come
from?),
Matty
O,
and
Niklas
Anttila.
However,
it’s
the
more
surprising
finishes
I
want
to
mention.

Jesse
Nieminen
was
able
to
finish
T-9th,
as
was
Joseph
“Buckets”
Anderson.
Joey
Buckets
was
even
able
to
enjoy
multiple
days
of
lead
card
action.
And
shout
out
to
Gavin
Rathbun,
who
finished
T-6th,
returning
from
a
rollercoaster
recovery
process.
Please,
somebody
find
a
manufacturer
sponsor
for
ya
boy!

7.
No-shows


“And
then
you
thought
I
was
bugged
out
and
crazy;
Strapped
for
nonsense,
after
me
became
lazy.”

It’s
almost
certainly
a
product
of
the
continued
march
towards
parity,
but
it
still
catches
you
off
guard
when
you
see
perennial
contenders
way
down
the
leaderboard.
Calvin
Heimburg
finished
outside
of
the
top
5
for
the
first
time
in
ages,
ending
T-34th
with
a
pedestrian
-3.
The
resurgent
Paul
Ulibarri
and
world-traveling
fashion
icon,
Ezra
Aderhold,
both
missed
the
top
60.
Brodie
Smith
finished
in
107th!
Yikes!
In
FPO,
the
struggle
continues
for
Catrina
Allen,
who
finished
in
26th.
She
did,
however,
still
manage
to
finish
ahead
of
Valerie
Mandujano.

Bonus
injury
watch:
Paige
Pierce
and
Paul
McBeth
looked
fine,
but
largely
“meh.”
They
finished
in
T-10th
and
T-52nd,
respectively.
Both
were
19
strokes
back
from
the
leader
and
were
entirely
inconsequential.

8.
Hailey
King
DNFs


“I’m
mad
vexed,
it’s
what
the
projects
made
me;
Rebel
to
the
grain,
there’s
no
way
to
barricade
me.”

Welcome
to
conspiracy
corner.
Hailey
King—who
seems
like
the
perfect
player
for
this
course—DNF’d.
Some
have
mentioned
a
lingering
injury
that
has
been
bothering
her.
That’s
too
simple.
I
prefer
to
read
into
the
Instagram
story
that
she
posted,
lamenting,
“Finally
I
hate
to
have
to
say
this,
but
here
we
are.
If
you
are
seen
urinating
somewhere
in
the
neighbors
yard
you
will
receive
a
tournament
warning
and
a
second
offense
will
subject
a
player
to
disqualification.
Should
be
an
automatic
DQ
(shrug
emoji)
@pdga”.

9.
Overreactions


“Raw
I’ma
give
it
to
ya,
with
no
trivia.”

You’d
have
to
be
a
fool
to
make
season
predictions
based
off
one
event.
Here
are
some
of
mine:

  • Next
    first-time
    winner:
    Aaron
    Gossage.
    He
    looked
    great
    in
    the
    final
    round.
  • Next
    big
    drought
    to
    end:
    Wysocki
    gets
    a
    major.
  • People
    who
    won’t
    win
    this
    year,
    but
    did
    last
    year:
    McBeth,
    Lizotte,
    Welck,
    Keith
  • Most
    wins:
    Tattar,
    Heimburg
  • We
    will
    grow
    to
    love
    the
    chessboard
    trophy.
  • This
    will
    be
    a
    top-5
    favorite
    course
    in
    the
    fan
    survey.
  • Only
    two
    of
    these
    predictions
    will
    be
    correct.
    And
    in
    that
    case,
    three.

10.
Cynthia
Ricciotti
throws
disc
in
huge
puddle


“Here
I
go,
deep
type
flow;
Jacques
Cousteau
could
never
get
this
low.”

Legend
has
it
that
Ricciotti
is
still
out
there,
wandering
Olympus,
looking
for
her
disc.
But…if
a
disc
falls
in
the
woods
and
there
is
no
one
there
to
start
the
timer,
is
it
ever
truly
lost?


Thanks
for
reading,
everyone!
Let
me
know
the
storylines
you
think
I
missed.
See
you
at
WACO.

Original source

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