On The Road With IM Ron Burnett

Jazz Classics, hosted by H. Johnson on WABE-FM (http://wabe.org/) in Atlanta, is broadcast every Saturday night from nine pm until two am Sunday morning. H. has hosted the show for the past two decades and listening to it is like earning a Ph.D in the classics of jazz. I rarely get to listen to the whole show, but I did last night. The reason was my friend, IM Ron Burnett was doing battle with GM Maghami at the US Open and it was broadcast live, with me hanging on every move. I became frantic when, after 42…Ke8, the next move for White was also given as Ke8, which was not possible. Fortunately the mistake was eventually corrected.
In his self-published book, replete with wonderful stories from a life filled with chess, LM Brian McCarthy writes of one group of players known as the Road Warriors. Ron Burnett was Brian’s first student, and he is one of the last of the Warriors still on the Road. Brian writes, “We have lost track of the number of times we have played but we are sure it is greater than 46 and probably over 50.”
I have been on the road with Ron; just ask him about the “crazy trucker” next time you see him. After losing to Ron once he said something I have not forgotten. “I did not know you were so strong,” he said. On one likes to lose even when one knows objectively that one is outmatched, but saying what he did helped take the sting out of defeat. It pleased me that I had made Ron work to earn victory.
I watched every move of the 96 move marathon, inputting each move into a program in order to have a copy, without having the infinite analysis running. I will have to look at it later because the final round of the tournament is this afternoon in lieu of the same time as the previous rounds of the traditional schedule. I struggled with Ron to hold the draw to the point I was exhausted when the game ended! It can sometimes be tough in the armchair. The game is still up on the US Open website, but I do not know how long it will be there and I have not found a way to obtain previous games. This is the URL for the live games page: http://www.alchess.com/chess/13/usopen/?page=LIVE
I will provide the game the old fashioned way, because that is the way we did it “back in my day,” with the help of a modern, new-fangled gizmo:
Maghami – Burnett,Ron [D90]
2013 US Open, 04.08.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 g6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Bf4 Bg7 7.e3 0–0 8.h3 Nc6 9.Bd3 Nd7 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 e5 13.dxe5 Ndxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.0–0 d4 16.exd4 Qxd4 17.Be4 Qxd1 18.Raxd1 Be6 19.b3 Nc6 20.Nb5 Rfd8 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Nc7 Rac8 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Nxe6 fxe6 25.Rc1 Rd2 26.Rxc6 Rxa2 27.Rxe6 Kf7 28.Re4 Ra3 29.Rb4 Bc3 30.Rb7+ Kg6 31.Kh2 Bd4 32.Rd7 Bc3 33.Rd6+ Kh7 34.f4 Rxb3 35.Rd7+ Kg6 36.Rxa7 Bd4 37.Ra6+ Kf5 38.Ra5+ Kg6 39.f5+ Kf6 40.Bc7 Rc3 41.Bd8+ Kf7 42.g4 Ke8 43.Ra8 Kd7 44.Kg2 Be5 45.f6 Bd6 46.Ba5 Rc8 47.Ra7+ Ke6 48.Ra6 Kd5 49.Kf3 Bf8 50.Bd2 Re8 51.Be3 Rd8 52.Bc1 Rc8 53.Bd2 Re8 54.Ra5+ Ke6 55.Bc3 Rc8 56.Bd4 Rb8 57.Ke4 Rb4 58.Re5+ Kf7 59.Rd5 Ke6 60.Ra5 Kf7 61.Ke5 Rb1 62.Ra7+ Kg6 63.Ke6 Re1+ 64.Be5 Rb1 65.Ra6 Rb7 66.Rc6 Ra7 67.Bd4 Ra4 68.Be5 Ra7 69.Rb6 Ra3 70.Rb8 Ra6+ 71.Kd5 Ra5+ 72.Kd4 Ra4+ 73.Kd3 Ra3+ 74.Bc3 Kf7 75.Rb6 Kg6 76.Kc4 Ra4+ 77.Kd5 Ra3 78.Rc6 Ra8 79.Be5 Kf7 80.Rc7+ Kg6 81.Bd4 Ra5+ 82.Ke4 Ra4 83.Rc6 Kf7 84.Rc7+ Kg6 85.Rc8 Kf7 86.Rc2 Kg6 87.Ke5 Ra5+ 88.Ke6 Ra6+ 89.Kd5 Ra5+ 90.Ke4 Ra4 91.Rc7 Rb4 92.Kd5 Ra4 93.Rc6 Kf7 94.Ke4 Kg6 95.Ke5 Ra5+ 96.Ke4 ½–½
I wondered why Ron did not take the Bishop with his Knight on move 16 in lieu of taking the pawn with the Queen. Then he would have had the two Bishop’s and the better pawn structure. Hope I can remember to ask next time we are on the road.

Senior Chess Don’t Get No Respect

The British Championships are currently underway, having started July 28, and will end August 10. There are many different tournaments being held in conjunction with the Championship of Great Britain. Eight of those are tournaments for children. The British Senior Championship has begun and the first round is history. The tournament is divided into three sections. There are 65 vying for honors in the Championships, with 19 in the U150, and another 23 in the U130, for a total of 107. One of the nice features of the tournament is the 32 games being sent into the cloud! That means there are lower rated players, along with the titled players, having their games displayed for their friends and family to see. Check it out at: http://englishchess.org.uk/BCC/
The US Senior Championship was held along with the US Junior in Tarrytown, NY, May 29 thru June 6, 2013. There were 57 players. A few days later a nice report on the Junior appeared on the USCF website. There was nothing about the Senior on the USCF website. I tried to find the crosstable on the USCF website with no luck. Some days later the idea occurred to check the US Junior where I found the Senior crosstable. Still there was no article concerning the US Senior on US Chess Online. It was like it had never happened. I emailed USCF Executive Board President Ruth Haring, a fellow Senior. Her reply was that she would, “Look into it.” Finally, on July 21, 2013, an excellent article appeared by Beatriz Marinello and Nathan Resika. Included are pictures of players like GM Alexander Ivanov, GM Sergey Kudrin, IM James Rizzitano, and FM Nathan Resika, who tied for first place, and the most prolific player of my time, IM Jay Bonin. The article contains four games, two of them well annotated. You can find it here: http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12289/698/
It is difficult to understand why Senior chess in the US is like Rodney Dangerfield, who was known for not gettting any respect. Take a look at the graph provided by Ruth Haring in the May 2013 issue of Chess Life magazine, which can be found on the Chess For All Ages, by Mark Weeks, in his post 2013 USCF Executine Board Elections. (http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2013/06/2013-uscf-executive-board-election.html)
You will find this included with the graph, “Membership numbers start to decline at move 11.” That is putting is nicely. Seeing the graph made me wonder why the word “precipitously” was not included after “decline.” By age 18 the number of members has dropped to below 1000 to what looks like maybe 750. The next group to reach that number is those over 50, the first year of eligibility for the US Senior. The numbers are slightly below 1000 for each year until a decline after 65, which is understandable. Death takes a toll. I do not have exact numbers, but it would seem by quick calculation to be over 10,000 members, most of whom pay considerably more than the subsidized children. Seniors do not get a break until the numbers begin to drop at 65. I cannot help but wonder how many more Senior members there would be if the USCF decided to subsidize them? Considering the economic downturn since being Bushwhacked by the Banksters near the end of the last decade, this would be an appropriate time to consider cutting Seniors some slack.
The fact is that there are two “bubbles” in the graph brought to us by Ruth Haring. The largest consists of preteens, most of whom are concentrated in only six or seven years. Contrast that with the Senior bubble, which contains fifteen, or more, birth years. It is time for the USCF to put some resources into Senior chess while there are still enough older players alive to enjoy Senior tournaments, because there are so few players in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, there may not be enough members to hold a US Senior in the future.