Reprise of the Atlanta Kings

There was a chess league last century in the late 1970’s, the National Chess League. The games were play in different cities, with the moves being delivered via something named a WATS line, which stood for Wide Area Telephone Service, which “was a flat-rate long distance service offering for customer dial-type telecommunications between a given customer phone (also known as a “station”) and stations within specified geographic rate areas employing a single telephone line between the customer location and the serving central office. Each access line could be arranged for outward (OUT-WATS) or inward (IN-WATS) service, or both.
WATS was introduced by the Bell System in 1961 as a primitive long-distance flat-rate plan by which a business could obtain a special line with an included number of hours (‘measured time’ or ‘full-time’) of long-distance calling to a specified area. These lines were most often connected to private branch exchanges in large businesses. WATS lines were the basis for the first direct-dial toll free +1-800 numbers (intrastate in 1966, interstate in 1967); by 1976, WATS brought AT&T a billion dollars in annual revenue.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Area_Telephone_Service)
Not only is that history for you but for me as well, for until today, I never knew so much about the service we utilized. Atlanta had an entry and the name of our team was the Atlanta Kings. The games were played at a company named Scientific America. Lew Martin worked there and the price for use of their WATS line was the inclusion of Lew on the team. Since he was rated far lower, by hundreds of points, of all of the other players this caused much dissension. I was opposed to Lew being on the team, as were many others, but it was decided better to have Lew on the team than to have no team. Former Georgia Champion Mike Decker verified this several years ago when reading an erroneous article about Lew in Georgia Chess, with this being brought to the attention of the editor, Mark Taylor. Mike also said Steve Schneider was a driving force behind the team. I felt strongly that the four highest rated players should be allowed to play. I did not play in the first ever match of what came to be called the “telephone league.” Instead, I worked the phone, sending and receiving the moves, with others passing the moves to the players. Members of the press were there for that match and an article appeared in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution Sunday Magazine, which included a picture of this writer with a phone in one hand and a pen in the other. Alas, that was so long ago it is possible one cannot find a copy on microfilm. Mike “Maddog” Gordon, who has retired from the newspaper, and chess, tried to find a copy decades ago without success.

Last night I learned from Thad Rogers that he has been awarded the newest team to join the United States Chess League. Thad is to be the General Manager. I asked him if I could put it in print and he said yes. “Good,” I said, “a scoop!” It was then Thad informed me he had made the announcement at the Georgia State Championship, which was a month ago. No one has mentioned it to me. When I asked the Legendary Ga Ironman why he had not mentioned it he said, “I do not remember it.” Thad blurted, “But you were standing right beside me when I made the announcement!” Tim responded, “I had other things on my mind.” At this point Thad added, “No one paid any attention.” When asked why nothing has appeared on either of the two GCA website’s Thad said it was because the GCA was not involved. I thought that strange, because it is about chess in Georgia. The original Atlanta Kings were really big news in our small community, but then the chess community was composed of adults, unlike today when there are so few adults participating in the game other than parents. The change that has taken place was apparent at the Atlanta Chess Center. When it opened there was little need for space for parents, but near the end there was not enough room for family members of the many children playing.
The conversation with Thad lasted some time as it transpired during the last round and it was late and we were too tired to do anything other than sit and talk. I learned a great deal from Thad, including the fact that Kazim Gulamali asked for $200 per game to play. I was taken aback by that, not knowing that each and every player received at least $100 from the league. How can that be? We played for the love of the game. I realize a C-note is not much these days, but still, it is the principle of the thing. Receiving money makes these players professionals, even the lower rated ones who play last board so as to meet some ridiculous average rating requirement. There was no such requirement with the telephone league. Each team could have the four best players possible filling out the squad. Thad mentioned the possibility of New York being able to “Have four 2600 players.” I answered with, “So what? Chicago, LA & San Francisco could match them.” Back in the day New York may have had more strong players from whom to choose, but a team from DC, appropriately named the “Plumbers,” took first the initial season. (The Fabulous 70s: The National Chess League
http://nezhmet.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/the-fabulous-70s-the-national-chess-league/ & The Fabulous 70s: Washington Plumbers win the 1976 National Chess League!
http://nezhmet.wordpress.com/2007/11/28/the-fabulous-70s-washington-plumbers-win-the-1976-national-chess-league/)
I neglected to mention the nouveau riche in chess city of St. Louis, thanks to Daddy Sinquebucks, which may now be the city with the most titled players. Build it and they did come. Thad mentioned something about building a team that could “…count on wins from the bottom two boards and one draw on the top two boards.” There is something wrong with the format if the best the few adult fans of chess left in Atlanta can hope for the Kings is to find two players whose chess strength has yet to be matched by rating. I will admit to being nonplussed about the USCL, and have much the same feeling about the new Atlanta Kings.

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Hail ToThe King of Fish!

The chess program known as Stockfish defeated the chess program known as Komodo after what would be called a grueling 64 game match if played by humans. The chess world had looked forward with great anticipation to a close fight after the one-sided match between World Human Chess Champion Vishy Anand and New World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. It was written that Magnus won because he “played like a machine.” After the humiliating defeat Anand won the right to play Carlsen in a rematch by winning the tournament to determine a challenger. This turn about was a tremendous feat, proving, as if any proof were needed, what a truly great player is Viswanathan Anand. The chess world has responded with a collective yawn…An example is an article published yesterday entitled, “Major chess tournaments in trouble,” by Frank ‘Boy’ Pestaño (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/sports/2014/05/29/pestano-major-chess-tournaments-trouble-345428). The article begins, “THE two biggest tournaments in chess are in trouble.
I am referring to the world championship rematch between former champion Vishy Anand of India and current world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and the World Chess Olympiad this August in Tromso, Norway.”
Articles like this have proliferated recently, as well they should. What the chess world would like to see is a match between players like Hikaru Nakamura and/or Fabiano Caruana, but they were not invited to play for a chance to battle Magnus. So we are faced with another battle between young and old, and the chess world could care less. I, on he other hand, think this one may turn out to be a close match, possibly one for the ages. I am looking forward to the match with great anticipation, if interest and money can be found. I am “pulling” for the Madras Tiger.
As for the Olympiad…After decades of publicity about the head of FIDE, Kirsan from Ork, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mork_%26_Mindy) talking about having intellectual intercourse with Extraterrestrials, is anyone surprised? For example, see the article, “Out of this world: Russian region leader’s alien abduction story shakes officials” ( http://www.smh.com.au/world/strangebuttrue/out-of-this-world-russian-region-leaders-alien-abduction-story-shakes-officials-20100506-ucw9.html#ixzz33DRmyqaQ ), in which it is written, “They put a spacesuit on me, told me many things and showed me around. They wanted to demonstrate that UFOs do exist.” And, “I am often asked which language I used to talk to them. Perhaps it was on a level of the exchange of the ideas,” he told the television program host.
Kirsan may have actually been abducted for all I know. Many humans now claim to have been abducted. I will give Kirsan the benefit of doubt for his alien claims, but how can one disregard the pictures of the man with brutal dictators, about whom he said, Saddam Hussein was “a normal person, a politician who cheered for his republic and wanted to do good things for people” and calls eccentric Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi a friend, The Guardian reported. (From the aforementioned article)
How much interest is left in chess after negative publicity like this, and multiple cheating scandals with names like “toiletgate?” Most articles concerning the man called the “greatest chessplayer of all-time,” Garry Kasparov, go on to mention the match he “lost” to a computer chess program called, “Deep Blue.” The gizmo had Kasparov singing the blues. An exception is an article, “Cranial knowledge” by Arnaud de Borchgrave (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2014/05/28/Cranial-knowledge/1821401283996/). There one finds a picture of Garry deep in thought while playing a thing called, “Deep Junior” with a caption, “Kasparov and the Deep Junior computer concluded their match in a tie.” Most people have completely forgotten that particular match, remembering only the lost match. The article focuses more on the attempt to have programs “think” more like humans. That is something called “selective search,” championed by former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik when he devoted his time to producing a chess playing program. He failed, losing out to a method called “brute force.”
“Real brains are so impressive to computer scientists,” says Dr. Olds, “so instead of banging our heads against Moore’s Law, why not build computers more like the brain and get them to solve problems the way the brain does?”
Good luck with that!

Georgia Chess News

The big news with chess in the Great State of Georgia (do not think for a moment this means Georgia is perfect; how can it be with a Governor named “Nathan” but called “Raw” Deal by We The People?! The few times I have thought of the man has brought memories of The ambassadors of Western Swing, Asleep at the Wheel http://asleepatthewheel.com/) ) has been the unveiling of the new website, “Georgia Chess News” (http://georgiachessnews.com/). It is to replace the “award winning” Georgia Chess magazine, formerly a print magazine, if one can call a pamphlet, as were the last few issues according to several sources who scorned the thing. I missed the issues circling the drain, fortunately. “You have not missed a thing,” I heard from some who perused them. It has just appeared and new articles have been slow in coming , as acknowledged by one of the GCA board members, Frank Johnson. Frank said he is hopeful more content will be forthcoming, and in a more timely fashion. Good luck with that! The State Championship was held three weeks ago and I was recently asked about when the wrap-up may appear, though I know not why I would be asked such a question.
There was an election during the business meeting at the recent State Championship, held in a tent type structure at a hotel. Long time board member Steve Schneider, on and off the board for decades, did not even make an appearance and was defeated by the lovely chess mom, Laura Doman. Both her son, Josh, and daughter, Rachel play tournament chess. A picture of Rachel graces the home page of the Georgia Chess Association (http://www.georgiachess.org/). Laura is the 1st Member-at-large and the third woman now on the board of the GCA, none of whom are shown rated on the USCF website. In addition, Tricia Hill is shown on the website as the Online Editor. Georgia chess has never looked so good! If you wish to condemn me for being sexist, go ahead and do so because I stand guilty as charged! For years I have written about the changes taking place in chess. Chess is not changing; it has changed. After dealing with an all male board, none of whom could have been mistaken for Robert Redford, or any other “hunk” you can name, even the most die-hard cynic would have to agree the board is looking better. For an example of what I mean, click on this link and take a look at a picture I call, “Beauties and the Beast” (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/05/01/tournament-director-td-training-sessions/). The beauties are obvious. The beast is the Vice President of the GCA, Ben Johnson, who was unopposed in the election. I hung the moniker “beast” on him when his rating reached “666.” Unfortunately, his chess strength has yet to match his rating. The first time I met the man, at a chess gathering at a Barnes & Noble in Smyrna some years back, he, not knowing me from Adam, tried to argue over what constituted stalemate. How ironic this man is now pictured in an article entitled, “Tournament Director Training Sessions.” Ben also told me that evening, “I am in chess only for the money.”
These are some of the things that have so changed chess. When I first began playing rated chess back in 1970 there were few, if any, women involved with the game. Scholastic chess has changed that fact in a dramatic way. As for the men, it would have been unheard of for any man with a triple digit rating to even consider running for an elective chess office. Back then, as now among we grizzled veterans, a triple digit player had absolutely no credibility whatsoever. The men who administered chess were wily ol’ veterans who had been involved with the game of chess most, if not all, of their lives. Now members with a lowly triple-digit rating sit on the USCF board.
Most of the people involved with chess know little, if anything, about Twentieth-century chess. It is the job of we 20th century people to remind those coming behind us of those daze. After all, we “boomers” were going to change the world, or so sang Alvin Lee and Ten Years After (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJE5tvWiIQk). Then old snuck up on us and we came to the realization that The Who had it right when they sang, “Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss,” in the song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYMD_W_r3Fg).
My first road trip was with the strong Master Branko Vujakovic, an exchange student from Yugoslavia. We traveled to some city in eastern Georgia (memory fails) directed by an old codger named Robert Brand. In the first round he paired the highest rated player, Branko, with the second highest rated; number three with number four, etc. When some of the players objected, Mr. Brand said, “This is MY TOURNAMENT and I will pair it the way I want!” That was the end of the discussion and everyone took their seat. With that kind of memory, it is difficult for me to criticize the “next generation” too harshly. Maybe things were not better “back in the day.” It is possible that, like Carly Simon sang in her song, “Anticipation,” these are the good old days (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67oN0YQVgdo&list=RD67oN0YQVgdo#t=1).
Gotta take a nap to get ready for the Thursday Night Throwdown at the North Dekalb Mall. The Legendary Georgia Ironman just came in informing me the room is cool with white paint on the walls, which bodes well for not only the TNT, but for the Atlanta Chess Championship starting tomorrow, Friday, night in the same room! Has it really been 38 years since I won the ACC? It seems like yesterday…
Here is a game played by Branko prior to coming to America. This is the last game of the four played and, granted, Karpov had won the first three. Still, how many players can say they drew with a future World Champion? Another thing to note about this game is that neither of the two countries who face off in this match now exist.
Branko Vujakovic v Anotoly Karpov
USSR v Yugoslavia Match 1968 game 4
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.0–0 Be7 7.e5 Ne4 8.Nxd4 0–0 9.Nf5 d5 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Nxe7+ Qxe7 12.Re1 Bf5 13.f3 Nc5 14.b3 Ne6 15.Ba3 c5 16.Nc3 c6 17.Qd2 Rfd8 18.Na4 Qa7 19.Qf2 c4 20.Nc5 Bxc2 21.Rac1 cxb3 22.axb3 Bg6 23.h3 Rab8 24.Rc3 1/2-1/2

2014 CCSCSL Invitational

I began writing this post 24 hours ago, but life intervened. After returning to the Fortress the
AT&T-Uverse system went down, and stayed down, for hours. What can I say, they had catchy commercials. I have yet to surf over to the website of the tournaments, so have no knowledge of the results of the first two rounds.

While reading the lead article on the USCF homepage, “Sargissian & Kannappan Top Chicago Open” (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12679/763/), I learned of the Invitational at the St. Louis Chess Club, which, as it happens, started just an hour ago. (http://saintlouischessclub.org/news/2014-05-28/2014-ccscsl-invitational)
The High Plains Drifter was over earlier today (“You have the Chess Life. When did it arrive? I have still not received mine.” Mr. Vest then spent about thirty seconds flipping through the magazine before saying, “Not much there, there, is there?), and asked about upcoming tournaments. I mentioned the 2014 PEACH STATE DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP (http://www.georgiachess.org/events?eventId=896729&EventViewMode=2&CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=6/28/2014) next month, and would certainly have mentioned the tournament in ol’ St. Lou if I had been aware of it, especially if I had known my friend IM Ron Burnett was in the field. LM Brian McCarthy, while here for the scholastic tournament at the Hyatt, mentioned that Ron has two GM norms, and has had a chance to make the final norm twice, both times having black in the last round versus 2600+ opposition. That is what we in the South call a “Tough row to hoe.” There are two tournaments, a GM and IM Burnett is playing in the IM tournament.
As luck would have it, GM-elect Kayden Troff, playing Black again, is paired with the man who beat him in the last round of the Chicago Open, IM Kannappan Priyadharshan. That game can be found in the aforementioned USCF article. Young Troff passed out not one, but two early draws to GM opposition in the rounds preceding the last round. What made it even harder to understand was that the young man had White in each game. He was obviously getting prepared for a future of passing out so-called Grandmaster draws…
Troff, Kayden (2484) – Sargissian, Gabriel (2684)
23rd Chicago Open Wheeling, IL (7.1), 2014.05.25
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Qb3 Nbd7 9.Rc1 Nb6 10.c5 Nbd7 11.Bf4 Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.Bf4 Nh5 14.Bd2 Nhf6 ½-½
Troff, Kayden (2484) – Shulman, Yury (2560)
23rd Chicago Open Wheeling, IL (8.2), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nf3 O-O 8.h3 Nh5 9.O-O Nf4 10.Re1 Nxd3 11.Qxd3 Nf6 12.Ne2 Ne8 13.g4 h5 14.Nh2 hxg4 15.hxg4 Nf6 16.f3 Nh7 17.Kg2 Bg5 18.Rh1 Bxc1 19.Raxc1 g6 20.Nf1 Bd7 21.Nfg3 Kg7 22.Rh2 Qf6 23.Rch1 Ng5 24.Ng1 Rh8 ½-½

Chess Mess

I played a USCF rated game several weeks ago for the first time since the latter part of December 2012 when I played in the very first Thursday Throwdown. I played only one game, that being in the first round as a “filler.” My opponent was a young girl and although I “held the advantage” according to the Legendary Georgia Ironman, it was on the board and not on the clock. With difficulty I managed to draw. I may play again this coming Thursday night, if needed. The turnout has dwindled to the point of the possibility of this being the last Throwdown. I decided to offer my services because I well remember the painful look on the face of the players who had received a bye by being the odd man out while working at the House of Pain. The Ironman sprung for a three month membership in order for me to become the “houseman.” At my age there are worse things to be, I suppose…I opened the mail yesterday to find an envelope from the USCF in which was enclosed a nice plastic card, like a Barnes & Noble membership card, in which it is written, “W Michael Bacon is a member in good standing with the US Chess Federation.”
I made it to the “Chess Mess” for the meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, held at one of the most venerated bars in Atlanta, Manuel’s Tavern. When one of the officers of the GCA, Frank Johnson, came in he grinned, saying, “The infamous Mike Bacon!” Startled, I responded, “You could have said that to a mirror, Frank!” Good-natured laughter ensued. Then Frank said, “I meant because of the Armchair Warrior blog, which, by the way, I follow, and it is sent directly into my email inbox as soon as it is published.” I made a mental note to move Frank up in my book…Frank played in the World Amateur in Singapore recently, scoring seven points according to the FIDE website. He mentioned beating the player who finished first, the only blemish on his score. I had arrived early, hoping to be able to talk with Frank, while delivering flyers for the Ironman and his “Throwdown.” Former Georgia Senior Champ Mark Couvillion came early to set up the boards and I was able to talk with him while having my first beer in who knows when. It turned out to be a mistake as I had to leave early before playing even one game. Frank mentioned something about my not playing any chess, only writing about the game, and, although I felt bad about having to leave, the fact is I had eaten a rather large meal at one of my favorite places, “Eats.” It habitually wins an award in the category of “best cheap eats” in Atlanta. Besides, I had been on the go all day and missed my nap. At least that is my excuse, and I am sticking with it…
Earlier that day I had played a game of chess at a Barnes & Noble. I was minding my business, reading the Science section of the Tuesday NY Times and drinking my drink of choice, coffee, before breaking out the set and new copy of Chess Monthly. Before I could get the pieces set up, two young boys who had been sitting with their father, quietly reading, rushed up. “You gonna play chess?!” they asked excitedly. They looked crushed when I told them I had planned on maybe playing over a game or two from the magazine. Their father walked over smiling and we talked briefly before he took them back to the table. I learned they were home schooled and had played in the recent scholastic tournament at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta, and that they are named “Bomar.”
I could not get into the magazine, thinking about how thrilled they had been, so I walked over and told the father I would be happy to play the boys after using the mens room and purchasing a refill. “Play ME!” said the youngest. “No. PLAY ME!” yelled the eldest. I offered to let them battle it out for the right to play, but the father said they would only be there about another half hour. “Besides,” he said, they have already played today.” I asked who won and learned the game had been drawn. “Who had Black?” I asked. The older one said his brother played Black. “Then he was the winner because it is more difficult to win with or draw with the black pieces.” The younger Bomar vehemently agreed with that! Fortunately the father determined I would play the oldest because the youngest one is the most aggressive. The young boy then went into a rap about how aggressive is his chess, but piped down when his father said he meant that the young one was the most aggressive when it came to getting older players to play.
The young fellow pushed hi d-pawn forward two squares while continuing to talk about how they had studied all the openings and he was ready for anything, until I played f5, when he said, “Except the Dutch.” Nevertheless, he played a fine opening, castling on the queenside, while I castled on the opposite side. It was looking like a game in which both sides would attack on opposite sides, which he did prematurely, losing first a pawn, then allowing me to take his bishop, forking his King & Queen, bringing down the house. We discussed the game and when he mentioned something about “Attacking in the direction your pawns are pointing,” I asked who was teaching him. He responded it was his father, so I asked him, learning he is not a chess player, but had read some chess books so as to be able to teach his sons. I also learned they have a house in the Glorious Mountains of Western North Carolina and have been to the Rocky Mountain Chess Club, “held in a bookstore.” He was shocked to learn I have been to the gathering of the Dixie Chess Confederacy at the Blue Ridge Book Store on Thursday afternoons, and knew all of the players he mentioned, and one I mentioned, my friend Bruce Goodwin. It is truly a small chess world.
I have been following the Chicago Open online the past few days. In particular the games of the Frisco Kid. That would be NM Richard Francisco, a “product” of the scholastic movement in Georgia of the past decades. Richard is a personable gentlemen whom I admire greatly, and I always follow his progress in any tournament. I would like to share a couple of games he has played while carrying the colors of our Great State while in the land of the North. First I would like to mention a game annotated by the Frisco Kid on the new Georgia Chess News, an online magazine. The game is, Francisco, R – Baghwat, N USATS (Round 2), and can be found here: (http://georgiachessnews.com/category/topboard/games/).

Francisco, Richard (2263) – Kovalyov, Anton (2636)
23rd Chicago Open Wheeling, IL (1.2), 2014.05.22

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 Be7 10.O-O-O Nc5 11.Rhe1 h6 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Kb1 Bd7 14.f4 Qc7 15.g4 Rc8 16.h4 Bxh4 17.Rh1 Be7 18.g5 b5 19.a3 Qb7 20.Qg2 a5 21.gxh6 gxh6 22.Rxh6 Rf8 23.f5 b4 24.axb4 axb4 25.Nd5 Nxb3 26.Nxe7 Kxe7 27.Nxb3 Ke8 28.f6 Qc7 29.Rh2 Ba4 30.Qg7 Kd7 31.Rhd2 Bxb3 32.cxb3 Qc5 33.Rxd6+ Qxd6 34.Qg1 Qxd1+ 35.Qxd1+ Kc6 36.Qd4 Rfd8 37.Qc4+ Kd6 38.Qd4+ Kc6 39.Qc4+ Kd6 40.Qd4+ Kc6 ½-½

After going over at a game I go to the new Chessbase database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/), and/or (http://www.365chess.com/) to see where the players have varied from the “book.” These are the sources I used to find the additional games.

Ootes, Lars (2340)
Burg, Twan (2462)
Event: TCh-NED Meesterklasse 2011-12
Site: Netherlands NED Date: 12/17/2011
Round: 4.4 Score: ½-½
ECO: B94 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.Bg5

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qb6 8. Bb3 e6 9. Qd2 Be7 10. O-O-O Nc5 11. Rhe1 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. f4 Bd7 14. Kb1 Qc7 15. Nf3 O-O-O 16. e5 dxe5 17. Nxe5 Be8 18. Qe3 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 g5 20. g3 gxf4 21. gxf4 Rg8 22. Ne4 Be7 23. Nxc5 Qxc5 24. Rd4 Kb8 25. a3 Ka7 26. Qe4 Qa5 27. Rd1 Bf6 28. Qd4+ Ka8 29. Qd6 Bxe5 30. fxe5 Bc6 31. Qe7 Qxe5 32. Qxf7 Re8 33. Qf2 Qc7 34. Qh4 e5 35. Qxh6 e4 36. Re1 Qe5 37. Qe3 Qxh2 38. Re2 Qh1+ 39. Re1 Qf3 40. Bc4 Rd8 41. Ka2 Qf6 1/2-1/2

Richard could well have won that game, and the same could be said for the next, heart breaking, game. It is possible in chess to play well and have little, or nothing, to show for it.

Richard T Francisco 2263 vs IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy 2436
Chicago Open 2014 Rd 6 CK (B12)
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 Bxc5 6.Qg4 Kf8 7.b4 Bb6 8.Nf3 f6 9.Bb2 Nc6 10.Bd3 Bc7 11.Qf4 g5 12.Qe3 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.Bxe5 fxe5 15.Qxe5 Qf6 16.Qd6+ Ne7 17.Ra2 Kf7 18.0–0 e5 19.Qc7 e4 20.Be2 Qf4 21.Bh5+ Kf6 22.Qc3+ Qe5 23.f3 e3 24.Qxe5+ Kxe5 25.c3 Nf5 26.Re1 Ng7 27.Rxe3+ Kd6 28.Bg4 Bxg4 29.fxg4 Rhe8 30.Rae2 Rxe3 31.Rxe3 a5 32.Nd2 axb4 33.axb4 Ne6 34.Nb3 Ra3 35.Nd4 Nxd4 36.cxd4 Rxe3 0-1

Shaposhnikov,Evgeny (2543) vs Kornev, Alexei (2558)
Event: Tsiolkovsky mem op
Site: Kaluga Date: 2003 CK (B12)
Round: 6 Score: 0-1
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Bxc5 6. Qg4 Kf8 7. Bd3 f5 8. Qg3 Nc6 9. Nf3 Nge7 10. O-O h6 11. b4 Bb6 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 g5 14. Nc3 Ng6 15. Rd1 Qe7 16. Bb2 g4 17. Nb5 h5 18. Nfd4 h4 19. Qb3 g3 20. h3 gxf2+ 21. Kh1 Qg5 22. Rf1 a6 23. Rxf2 axb5 24. Bxe6 f4 25. Bxc8 Nxd4 26. Qd5 Rxc8 27. Qd6+ Qe7 28. Qxg6 Ne6 29. Rxf4+ Nxf4 30. Qf5+ Ke8 31. Qxc8+ Bd8 32. Rd1 Ne6 33. Qc2 Rg8 34. Qe2 Rg7 35. Bc1 Nc7 36. Qe4 Qe6 37. Qxb7 Qc4 38. Bh6 Rd7 39. Rc1 Qd5 40. Qb6 Qe6 41. Qe3 Nd5 42. Qd2 Ne7 43. Qg5 Nf5 44. Qh5+ Qf7 45. Qxf7+ Kxf7 46. Bf4 Rd4 47. Rf1 Ke6 48. Kh2 Bc7 49. g3 hxg3+ 50. Bxg3 Rd2+ 51. Rf2 Nxg3 0-1

CK (B12)
White player Karen Asrian ARM
Black player Sarunas Sulskis LTU
Plovdiv ch-EUR 2008 (0)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 xc5 6.g4 f8 7.f3 c6 8.d3 f6 9.b4 b6 10.b2 f5 11.g3 h6 12.bd2 d7 13.c4 e7 14.O-O e8 15.ac1 g6 16.c5 c7 17.d4 xg3 18.hxg3 g5 19.b5 f7 20.f4 h5 21.2f3 g8 22.c6 bxc6 23.bxc6 c8 24.b5 b6+ 25.d4 gxf4 26.gxf4 g4 27.xb6 axb6 28.fd4 a4 29.e2 g3 30.xh5 e3 31.fd1 h6 32.d6 axa3 33.c2 1-0

Ruth Haring is NOT the Armchair Warrior!

A reader brought to my attention an article on the website, http://www.chess.com, Ruth Haring: ‘Girls are bad at chess’ by JamieDelarosa (http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/ruth-haring-girls-are-bad-at-chess?page=1).
The article begins: “(Moderators – I am new here, so I hope I do not break any rules. If this is in the wrong spot, or improperly formatted, please edit it. Thanks, Jamie)
This is the link to IWM Ruth Haring’s recent “Armchair Warrior” blog entry, entitled, “Girls are bad at chess.”

https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/tag/ruth-haring/”
The thing is that the link takes the reader to this, the Armchair Warrior, blog. My blog!
The author of the chess.com article goes on to write:
“She wrote in her blog:

“I will leave it to others to judge just how good or bad girls are at chess and say only that I enjoy playing over games played by women, and in some cases, girls, because they are inferior to the games played by the best men chess players. I have also found enjoyment in watching women play golf and tennis even though they cannot compete with men.”
No, “She,” Ruth Haring, did NOT write that in her blog. I wrote that in MY blog!
Jamie continues writing as if Ruth Haring, President of the USCF, is the person responsible for the post on MY BLOG! Check it out and see for yourself. Once there you will see FOUR pages of comments on her article.
I first met Ruth decades ago when she was with NM “Wild” Bill Orton. I sent her this email:
“Ruth,
A reader brought something he read on chess.com to my attention and you need to read it because the author has attributed something I wrote to you. I find this ironic because I wrote on my BaconLOG about chess.com accusing me of printing things without attribution, then apologized, saying they were wrong and I had not, then changed and said I did! (http://baconlog.blogspot.com/2011/04/chesscom-censorship.html) I no longer go to the site even though others have mentioned articles I might be interested in reading.
I figure you have contacts with someone at chess.com and can have them correct this egregious mistake.
Regards,
Michael Bacon”
Included was the entire chess.com article. Ruth replied:
“LOL, anyone who knows me knows I would never make such a statement !
Regards,
Ruth”
I fired back with:
“Yes, Ruth…I know that, and you know that, but those at chess.com do not know that!
To which she replied:
Hi Michael,
I do not do a blog.
Regards,
Ruth”
At this point I will admit to feeling somewhat exasperated, so I sent this:
To: Ruth Haring
Subject: Re: Chess.com thinks YOU are the Armchair Warrior!

“You need to click on the link and go to chess.com, Ruth. I mean, what part of, “This is the link to IWM Ruth Haring’s recent “Armchair Warrior” blog entry, entitled, “Girls are bad at chess.” is it you do not understand? This person obviously thinks MY blog is YOUR blog!
I mention this because you have a position and I don’t. I do not want ANYONE to mistake what I write for something written by YOU. And I am willing to wager my meager net worth that you feel more strongly about it than I!
Michael”
After receiving the reply to this one I have come to wonder about the hypothetical wager…
“Hi again. I do have strong opinions, but the reason I do not blog is that I am too busy to keep up.
What do you suggest ? I could write something.
I view it as a statistical problem. When we get 50% women tournament players we can expect parity. I am working to encourage more women to play so as to increase the numbers, and thereby representation at the highest levels. If you take a random 4% of a population, you might find women tournament players outperform that random group.
Regards,
Ruth”
I am flummoxed.

Congratulations to ALL the Winners!

I would like to extend my congratulations to the three men who tied for first in the US Chess Championship, and to the three women who tied for first in the chess championship for the weaker sex. As far as I am concerned they can all justifiably claim to be Co-Champions. The souped-up heebe-jeeb games used to “settle” the tie meant absolutely nothing. The fast games allowing no time to think were silly and shameful. There is a picture on Chessbase (http://en.chessbase.com/) of the “champions” Gata Kamsky and Irina Krush standing back to back, both with a supercilious grin on their face, looking as if they are about to break into a rendition of the song “We Are The Champions” by Queen.
“We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions…”
In one of the biggest upsets in the history of the US Chess Championships, IM Stuart Rachels, from the Great State of Alabama, tied for first in the 1989 US Championship. Check out his Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Rachels) and you will find: United States Chess Champion
1989 (with Roman Dzindzichashvili and Yasser Seirawan)
What a pity it would be if insanity prevailed back then and the players were forced to play speed chess to decide the “winner.”
I would like to congratulate the worthy 2014 US Chess Champions GM Varuzhan Akobian and GM Aleksandr Lenderman, and the US Women Champions WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and IM Anna Zatonskih. As far as I am concerned they each have the right to be called a US Champion.
Before you inundate the AW with comments I would like you to consider these quotes:
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”-Marcus Aurelius
“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”-Mahatma Gandhi
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”-Arthur Schopenhauer