This year's Top Dog Challenge once again featured CCFC's four master instructors facing off in standard and blitz round robins. On the line was $100 cash, the Top Dog trophy and annual bragging rights. The players were NM Arslan Otchiyev, NM Ian Harris, NM Andrew Ryba and NM Ryan Young. The format was an initial round robin at a 45 minute time control with each game counting as 5 points for a win. After three rounds of extreme fighting chess, serious complications and last second time scrambles in every game, NM Arslan Otchiyev emerged as the leader, scoring 2.5/3 equaling 12.5 points. Just behind was last year's champion, NM Ian Harris with 10. Harris was the only player with the chance to catch Otchiyev in the blitz (a double round robin).

This would be a tall order however, as the blitz games were worth just one point each. After the first two rounds, Harris was able to narrow the gap by half a point. As fate would have it, Otchiyev and Harris would face off in the final match of the day. With a two point lead, Otchiyev only needed 0.5/2 to secure the title of Top Dog, while Harris would have to win both blitz games. Late in the first blitz game, Harris went up a piece and it looked as though the entire tournament would come down to the very last blitz game of the night. However, Otchiyev showed his resourcefulness and defended hard to save the draw with just seconds left. Thus, NM Arslan Otchiyev became this year's Top Dog with a combined total score of 16.5/21!

L-R: NM Ryba, NM Young, NM Otchiyev, NM Harris