“The World Open Has Become a Cheat Paradise”

This comment, from Jack Lee, was sent earlier this month in reply to my post of July 13, 2013, “Players Expelled from World Open!” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/players-expelled-from-world-open/)
It has been posted there, but because cheating has been prominently featured recently I decided to publish it today.
Submitted on 2014/05/12
“I played the Under 1800 and lost to “”David Zhou”” from Quebec (QC) who was “unrated”, with 7 games in Canada, assigned under 1800 section instead of being unrated. He tied for first, clearly master strength. Wonder what his real name and rating is.
I also lost to “Michael Quan” whose moves matched Fritz 12 when I analyzed the game. For 25+ moves in a row. Quan left the hall on his move several times and talked to a guy outside, I followed him. He, Quan, has never played since World Open. Computer Cheat!
Another in the under 1800 was a Nigerian (Nwoye Nnamdi), unrated, won 6 drew 3, tied for first.
Other sections – 1600/1400/1200 had unrated players winning top prizes.
Full standings:
http://www.chesstournamentservices.com/cca/tag/world-open-2013-standings/
The whole unrated thing is a joke. There should be no prizes for unrated players, just return the entry fee.
The World Open has become a cheat paradise. I won’t be back until it’s cleaned up.”
A recent conversation at a coffee shop caused me to reflect on the comments of Mr. Lee.
The Atlanta Chess & (What other Game?) Center may have been called The Dump, but the coffee was wonderful because one of the members worked for Starbucks and would pay for his membership and other things, like books, etc., with freshly ground Starbucks coffee. I have kept in touch with the gentleman and every now and then stop by for a cuppa java and a game of chess. My friend and I have time for a quick game when he is able to take a break. After finishing a game recently a distinguished gentleman who had been watching us while reading a NY Times came over to talk. He told me he played chess in school many decades ago and had kept up with the game by reading the chess column in the NY Times. He never had time to play, but said he would break out his pocket chess set and play over the game from the Times chess column and had done so “Since before Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky the first time.” We had been talking for some time when he asked, “Why do people still play chess?” Startled, I asked what he meant by his question. He told me it was obvious to him that chess was on its way out and had been since “Kasparov lost to Deep Blue.” He went on to say there had always been a mystique about chess that was not there now that the “Best players are accusing each other of using a computer to cheat as in the ‘Toiletgate’ incident.” As we continued talking I was unsure of how to answer the gentleman’s question. I told him chess was different now because of the effect computer programs have had on the game in that it used to be the top GM’s were the final word, but now a program known as Stockfish was the final word. He said, “Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it can never be put back in. No one can ever know for certain whether or not a player has cheated because the threat will always be stronger than its execution.”

The Chess Ostrich

In an essay by Dave Cameron, “White Bred: Major League Baseball’s Intern Issue,” in the excellent book, “The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2014,” a Fangraphs production, I read, something that made me think of my writing about chess. Dave wrote, “Even within a single organization, it is valuable to have people pushing back against the accepted ideas so that traditions don’t become entrenched simply because it is the cultural norm for the majority of the employees.”
Bill James is considered to be the “father of sabermetrics,” because he questioned the accepted ideas that had become entrenched traditions in Major League Baseball. The game has changed in many ways because one man dared to question the Status-quo.
Progress is not made by conservative people who do not question. If our forefathers had accepted the Status quo we would still be subjects of the Queen of England. If Albert Einstein, and his wife Mileva (http://www.pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife/) had not questioned accepted wisdom and given us special relativity and general relativity, we would not now have GPS.
Former President of the GCA and former Senior Champion of the Great State of Georgia Scott Parker once said about my writing, “I do not often agree with you, but I will admit what you write is always interesting.” Michael Mulford, another chess “pooh-bah,” wrote in an email that he only agreed with me “about 25% of the time.” My thought was, “That much?” The Georgia Tech radio station, WREK, one of only two college stations in the world that possess 100,000 watts (WRAS, the Georgia State station being the other one, but that could change if Georgia Governor Nathan “Raw” Deal has his way: http://clatl.com/atlanta/up-in-the-air/Content?oid=11215404) used to play something that began with one bird singing, then another joining in, and culminating with many birds singing. Then a voice could be heard saying, “Here at WREK we give all the birds a chance to sing.” Everyone should be heard, no matter how outlandish one may think their opinion. Otherwise we are all “singing to the choir.”
I write this because chess is facing difficult times. There is the draw death issue, the cheating by gizmo issue, and the Kirsan the ET issue. The signs are everywhere, if one is receptive to them. For example, a decade ago chess books were crowded off the shelves at bookstores by books on poker, the latest craze. Now that the air has been let out of the poker balloon, one finds very few books on poker on the shelves (“Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire” by Ben Mezrich). The space has not been replaced with books on chess. Backgammon was the “in thing” back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, and then it faded quickly. The game is still played, and there are tournaments, but at least a zero has been taken off the number of participants.
I, and many others, believe the proliferation of short draws has diminished the stature of chess. There are enough hard fought, “serious” games ending in a draw without players agreeing to split the point before a “serious” game can be contested. What some ignorant people fail to understand is that if only one fan of chess decides he has seen enough short draws by the best players to last a lifetime and turns to something else more interesting than another boring draw, it has diminished chess and hurt the Royal game. When the news from the chess world is of yet another cheating scandal like the one now known as “Toiletgate,” it diminishes the game in the mind of the public. When the game has no credibility in the mind of the public, there is no game.
Because the issue of so many short non-game draws is so important I decided to put my post of June 6, “What Constitutes a “Serious Game?” on the USCF forum. It has, as of this writing, been read by only a couple of hundred people (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20054&sid=b5bf1c80970edc2dd56544fdd20b3c44). A few readers have left comments, including one by tmagchesspgh, or Thomas P. Magar. His comment culminates with this paragraph: “If you want the players to be gladiators at all times, selfish spectators, pony up the cash to sponsor the event. Buy tickets. Then you can demand that the players play for blood. Otherwise, just shut up and watch. There are enough deluded professionals out there who will sacrifice health, sanity, and their economic well being to provide you with free games to watch.”
The Discman sent me this comment concerning the post by Thomas Magar:
“Well that post is over the top. Spectators just want to see hard-faught games between great players.
Free lessons & DVD’s? What the heck??”
It is difficult, if not impossible, to hear the birds sing when one has, like the ostrich, buried his head in the sand.

The 2014 Chess For $eniors Challenge

Thad Rogers allowed me to take a flyer printed on a piece of paper used in most computer printers advertising the “2014 Chess For $eniors Challenge.” The “S” in “Seniors” is a dollar sign, and it made me think of the word “oxymoronic.” There are five states-six if you count the bastard state of West Virginia, with each a different color. There is a star in each state, with an arrow from the city in which a Senior tournament was, or will, be held. For example, the flyer shows “Greenville, April 19-20” for the Great State of South Carolina. I wrote about the tournament in the post of May 2, 2014, The South Carolina Senior Chess Championships (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/the-south-carolina-senior-championships/).
Virginia is the only state shown with two tournaments. The next one is in Blacksburg, July 11-13. The prize fund is only $600, as shown on the website (http://www.chessforseniors.org/index.php). So much for the $ in “Senior.”
The next “Senior” tournament shown on the website, but not the flyer, is the “World Open Senior Amateur,” a particularly reprehensible tournament because it discriminates against higher rated players by excluding any Senior player unfortunate enough to be still alive and rated over 2210. Since the tournament is called “Amateur” it can only mean that Bill Goichberg considers anyone rated 2211 or higher a professional. Since true pros are allowed to play in USCF “Amateur” events, there seems to be an inconsistency by the exclusion of most Masters.
The tournaments have not drawn well. For example, there were eighteen total at the SC Senior, and twenty five at the Tennessee Senior in Crossville, the home of USCF, on May 16-18. The most recent Senior tournament on the hit parade was the forty player event in the Great State of Virginia, where there was a four-way tie for first place between Larry C Gilden; Srdjan Darmanovic; William Marcelino; & Leif Kazuo Karell. Each won a grand total of $162.50. Now that is what $enior chess is all about!
The other states shown on the flyer yet to be mentioned are the Great State of North Carolina, and Kentucky. Having lived in the latter state I can only say that the people of Kentucky were conflicted during the War For Southern Independence, and nothing has changed.
Conspicuous in absence is my native state of Georgia, along with the Great States of Alabama and Mississippi, making the map look like one of those maps of the future in which some parts of the US next to the ocean have been lopped off. The absence of Georgia can be explained by the total number of players the past two years, eight and thirteen. The total number of twenty-one for the two most recent Senior tournaments would have been a small turnout in previous years, before Fun Fong became president of the GCA. Most Seniors stayed away from the 2012 Senior because they thought the format was “crap.” Like a lower rated chess player who has made a mistake, the man now called “No Fun” Fong by many (a fellow Senior who called Mr. Fong, “No Fun” at a recent meeting of the chess mess was surprised to learn he was not the first to use the term) refused to admit his mistake and determined to force that square peg into a round hole. What Senior organization would want someone like that involved? Fun Fong has absolutely no credibility among Senior chess players in Georgia, and obviously the rest of the South.
The US Senior Open will be held aboard the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Sept. 14-21, according to the advertisement in Chess Lifeless. The entry fee is, “$125 with cruise reservation.” After doing my due diligence by going to the website provided (
http://www.cardplayercruises.com/brochures/2014/booking-eastcarib2014.html) I learned the cheapest available cabin, an “*inside stateroom,” will set a $enior back $829.00 pp. For some reason I keep hearing Kate Winslet as Rose in the movie Titanic yelling, “Jack!” “Jack!” while trying desperately to get out of steerage…These accommodations do not sound like the ones Bart and Bret Maverick would have chosen before the game began.
What happens when some poor $enior “land-lubber” becomes sea sick? Or “sick of the sea?” What if it turns into a “three hour tour?” Have you ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle? Then there all of the reports of major problems with cruise ships in the past years, such as previously unheard of illnesses and mechanical breakdowns in which the “cruisers” had to live with their own filth and in their own excrement. Not to mention a cruise being the best way to “knock someone off.” People frequently “fall overboard” at sea. A cruise ship would seem to be a place to commit the “perfect” murder. It would be just my luck to play the game of my life against some psychotic chess player and become the “Man Overboard!”

Chess Life vs Chess Monthly

On the cover of Chess Life one reads, “THE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY READ CHESS MAGAZINE.” I wonder if that statement is true, or if it is similar to what is on the front of the New York Times, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” We know that to be a lie from the many instances the NY Times has not published a topical story when it could, and possibly should have. The latest example comes from the program, “The United States of Secrets” on the award winning PBS show, “Frontline.” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/united-states-of-secrets/)
The paper claiming to publish “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” sat on a story of criminal acts by the Bushwhackers until forced to do so by one of their own writers, who planned on putting the story in a book. By not publishing the story, which would have proven the POTUS, “Dubya,” was on the hustings lying to We The People, the Bush crime family (see: “Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America” by Russ Baker-http://www.amazon.com/Family-Secrets-Dynasty-Powerful-Influence/dp/B002T45028/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402500592&sr=1-1&keywords=family+of+secrets) was allowed to steal yet another election, to the detriment of We The People. Read, for example, “New York Times under fire for spiking NSA leaks story in 2004,” by Renee Lewis (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/5/14/nyt-nsa-leaks.html)
I was at a coffee shop with some chess magazines, one of which was the May issue of Chess Life. The other was the April issue of Chess Monthly. Unable to locate a copy of New in Chess I took to be with me caused me to think of something GM Jonathan Rowson had written in his column in the best chess magazine in the world, New in Chess, about taking his newly arrived issue of NiC to a coffee shop. I had to make do with the aforementioned magazines. I flipped through the first few pages before stopping at “Chess to Enjoy” by GM Andy Soltis. I played over the first game, which was enjoyable. Then I sat up the position from the next game from the diagram at the top of the next page. After finishing it I turned to the next page only to find, “pable of making the solid moves that wereusually his forte…” The two words are not separated in the article and I was unable to find what should have been the first part of the sentence, or paragraph, so I stopped reading the article and flipped to the next page, wondering why Chess Life is not proofread before being published. It was the “Back to Basics” column by GM Lev Alburt. The game was between a class “B” player and an Expert, which is a Candidate Master to the rest of the world. I was appalled to see it was played at a time limit of G/60, 5 second delay. I closed the magazine thinking of days gone by when a top GM, such as Paul Keres or Robert Byrne would annotate a game between the best players in the world, played at what is now called a “classical” time control.
Then I opened the Chess Monthly. The first article was the “Chess Editorial” by Executive Editor, IM Malcolm Pein. Included in the editorial was a fantastic game between A. Motylev and A. Tari from the European Championship in Yerevan, 2014. It was so good I decided to copy it to share with my readers.
Motylev, Alexander (2656) vs Tari, Aryan (2424)
Event: 15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014
Site: Yerevan ARM Date: 03/04/2014
Round: 2.57 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Byrne (English) attack
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. h3 Be7 9. Qf3 O-O 10. O-O-O b5 11. g4 b4 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. exd5 Bc8 14. Bd3 a5 15. Kb1 a4 16. Nd2 Ba6 17. Bf5 Nd7 18. h4 Qc7 19. Bg5 Nc5 20. Ne4 Nxe4 21. Bxe4 Rfb8 22. Bc1 Bc4 23. h5 Bf8 24. Qf5 g6 25. hxg6 hxg6 26. Qf3 b3 27. cxb3 Rxb3 28. axb3 axb3 29. Bd2 Qa7 30. Kc1 Qa1+ 31. Bb1 Bxd5 32. Qxd5 Rc8+ 33. Bc3 Rxc3+ 34. Kd2 Qxb2+ 35. Ke1 Rc2 36. Rh2 Qc3+ 37. Kf1 b2 38. Kg2 Be7 39. Bxc2 1-0
(http://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3885378)
Next I read the “69 Seconds with…” which happened to be GM Neil McDonald. I love these Q&A’s with the players. The GM answers the question, “A tip please for the club player” with wonderful advice: “If you lose, be nice to your opponent. Players feel generous after they’ve won, and if you suggest a post-mortem they might reveal some secrets that help improve your game.”
One of the most amazing things I have witnessed in chess was the end of the last round game between Andrey Chumachenko and Jonathan Schroer. When the game ended the combatants immediately got up and walked to the skittles room, sat down and began analyzing the game. From the demeanor of the players I could not tell who had won, so I asked. Chumachenko had won, and the victory put him in a tie for first place, so it must have been a tough loss for IM Schroer, but no one would have ever known because of his gentlemanly behavior.
I played over the Bird’s Opening of Simon Williams vs D. Ledger, and a Caro-Kann between G. Wall vs J. Houska and learned the latter has a new edition of her “Play the Car0-Kann” in the works. I read the first edition, which left much to be desired, to be kind. It needed major improvements.
I had only made it to page 13 of the 58 page magazine and it was time to take my leave. Chess Monthly is a wonderful magazine and truly cheap at twice the price. The official organ of the USCF remains Chess on Life support.

The Turing Chess Test

The headline from a breaking story at Gizmodo is: “A Computer Program Has Passed the Turing Test For the First Time” (http://gizmodo.com/this-is-the-first-computer-in-history-to-have-passed-th-1587780232)
I thought the test had been passed last century when the program for a computer, written by Feng-hsiung Hsu, had Garry Kasparov, the human world champion, singing the deep blues. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJarxpYyoFI)
Mr. Hsu is the Rodney Dangerfield of computer programing in that he is only mentioned in the Wiki article “Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Blue_versus_Garry_Kasparov) under “Further reading.” There one finds, “Hsu, Feng-hsiung (2002). Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer that Defeated the World Chess Champion. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-09065-3.” This is a very good book.

What Constitutes a “Serious Game?”

In response to my previous post, “Screw you Rex” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/screw-you-rex/), the esteemed former President of the Georgia Chess Association, Scott Parker sent this email:
Michael,

My view is that while short “quick handshake” draws may not be what you want to see as a spectator, unless you are paying a significant appearance fee to a player you have no right to tell him/her how to conduct his/her game. If you are paying a significant appearance fee, then setting a ground rule like “no draws before move 30”, or “no draws in the first time control” is fair. If a player doesn’t like the ground rules, he/she has the option not to come and take the appearance fee. Absent that, you have no right to tell a professional player how to conduct his/her business, which is what a rule against a quick draw does. Apparently there was no such rule in the tournament you reference (I haven’t checked). That being the case, a player has the right to conduct his/her game as he/she sees fit.

Best Regards, Scott

The part that bothered me was, “…you have no right to tell a professional player how to conduct his/her business, which is what a rule against a quick draw does.”
I took it to mean I would have no right to, for example, tell a professional Major League Baseball player to not use steroids, which is basically what fans told MLB. Because of the outcry from the fans of MLB, steroids are now banned from the game. If the fans, collectively, had not told MLB to clean its act, some monster ragin’ on ‘roids would have blasted 100 home runs in a season by now. Fans told professional MLB players how to act because CHILDREN EMULATE MLB PLAYERS!
I also suggested that Mr. Parker, “…read the US Constitution, and pay particular attention to the First Amendment of what is called the Bill of Rights, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Then you should go here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech) where you will find it written : “Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.”
You will also find: “The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.
Being able to express oneself is what separates our country from others where the citizens cannot speak freely.
I also wrote in reply, “If you go to the USCF Official Rules of Chess (I have the 5th edition) you will find on page 42 rule 14B6. Premature or prearranged draws. There it is written, “It is unethical and unsporting to agree to a draw before a serious contest has begun. The same is true of all arrangements to prearrange game results. In case of clear violations of the moral principles of the game, penalties should be imposed at the director’s discretion.”
“For you to be right in this matter, and for me to be wrong, you MUST believe the six move draw made by GM Finegold and GM Josh Friedel was a “serious contest.” What is worse is that you must also defend the draw Ben Finegold passed out to his son after playing only ONE MOVE as also a “serious contest.”
I also included, “Just today at the chess camp two older boys who have been involved with chess for a few years, got up from their board. I asked the result only to be informed they had agreed to a draw. I was STUNNED! I told them to sit back down and finish the game. Later I asked why they had agreed a drawn game, one said, “That’s what the adults do.” Out of the mouths of babes…What kind of example is being, and has been set by we “adults?”
Indeed, what kind of example is being set at the leading light of chess in America, the St. Louis Chess Club & SCHOLASTIC CENTER! The so-called “professionals” at the StLCCSC repeatedly violate rule 14B6 and they do so with impunity.
I see this as a problem for chess, one of the many facing the Royal game. Mr. Parker sees no problem. One of us is right, and the other wrong. In the end there can be only one. If Scott is right then what is the purpose of rule 14B6? If a professional is allowed to make a draw after only six moves, or in the case of the serial drawer, GM Ben Finegold, only ONE MOVE, the only justification is that a “game” of only one move constitutes a “serious game.” And if that is, in fact, the case, then why force the “professional” to come to the board at all? Why not let them phone it in the night before so as to be able to sleep in the next day. After all, they are “professionals” and who am I to “tell them what to do?”

The Ironman Gambit

The many regular readers from all over the world will know this is a continuation of my previous post. Newcomers may want to read it before reading this…
The Legendary Georgia Ironman finally made it to the board for the fourth round of the Atlanta Chess Championship. He amazed by winning the game versus the ‘Rock Star’ William Remick, who is a drummer in a heavy metal band. The amazing thing about the ‘Rock Star’ is that the arm he used was mangled in a wreck and he had to learn to use the other arm. The man with high energy has had some good results recently, but this was not one of them. Fortunately for the Ironman the game was short. Such was not the case for his last round game against one of the up and coming juniors, Shanmuka Meruga. The game lasted late into the night. By the time the Ironman returned I was two plus hours into the movie, “Django Unchained.” I ignored his knock upon my door. Sometime later he knocked again and I had to say, “I’m into something. Go away!” I could have stopped the movie, but did not because by that time there was absolutely no way I could stop watching and go back to it. As David Spinks would say, I HAD to watch it until the end, MAN! I was riveted for all three hours. It deserves all four stars. What can I say, it blew me away. I have now seen two movies staring Jamie Foxx, with “Colleratal” being the other, and both were fantastic. The latter ranks up there with Robert De Niro’s “Taxi Driver” as far as movies about cab drivers. Besides, from the way Tim looked, I figured he must have lost and it would be extremely difficult to go from what I had been watching for two plus hours to having to commiserate with Tim. Imagine my surprise to learn the man of iron had won the game, and with it $200! This after coming to play only the last day. What can I say, Tim continues to add to the Ironman legend.
I must admit, though, that the Ironman was showing some rust when I visited with him Sunday night, before he “fell-out.” He crashed out hard and looked like warmed over death Monday morning as we drove to the chess camp. Pragmatically speaking, the Ironman should have stayed home and rested Sunday, but that is no way to add to a legend.
I give the games for posterity:
[Event “2014 Atlanta Championship”]
[Date “2014.06.01”]
[Round 4]
[White “Remick, William”]
[Black “Brookshear, Tim”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “D00”]
[WhiteElo “1953”]
[BlackElo “2038”]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bf4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. dxc5 Bxc5 6.e3 a6 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. a3 O-O 9. g4 Re8 10. Ne5 d4 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Bb7 14. Qf3 e5 15. Qh3 exf4 16. Qxh7+ Kf8 17. Qh8+ Ke7 18. Qxg7 Qd6 19. Qg5+ Kf8 20. Bh7 fxe3 21. O-O-O Re5 22. Bf5 e2 23. Rde1 d3 24. cxd3 Bxf2 25. Qh5 c5 26. Rxe2 Rxe2 27. Rd1 Be3+ 28. Kb1 Qd4 0-1
[Event “2014 Atlanta Championship”]
[Date “2014.06.01”]
[Round 5]
[White “Brookshear, Tim”]
[Black “Meruga, S.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D35”]
[WhiteElo “2038”]
[BlackElo “1902”]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. e3 Bf5 9. Bd3 Ne4 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. O-O Nd7 12. Qc2 O-O 13. Nd2 Ndf6 14. Rae1 Rae8 15. f3 Nxd2 16. Qxd2 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Qb4 18. Re2 Re719. a3 Qb6 20. b4 Rfe8 21. Rfe1 a6 22. Na4 Qc7 23. Nc5 Nd7 24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. a4 g6 26. Kf2 f5 27. b5 cxb5 28. axb5 Qxb5 29. Qxb5 axb5 30. f4 g5 31. g3 gxf4 32. gxf4 Rc8 33. Rb1 Rg7 34. Rxb5 Rd7 35. Reb2 Rcc7 36. Kf3 Kg7 37. Rb6 Re7 38. Rg2+ Kh7 39. Rgg6 Rc3 40. Rxh6+ Kg7 41. Rhe6 Rxe6 42. Rxe6 b5 43. Rb6 Rb3 44. Rd6 b4 45. Rxd5 Kg6 46. h4 Rb1 47. h5+ Kf6 48. h6 b3 49. Rd6+ Kf7 50. h7 Kg7 51. Rd7+ Kh8 52. Rb7 b2 53. Kg2 Re1 54. Rxb2 Rxe3 55. Rd2 Re6 56. d5 Rd6 57. Kf3 Kxh7 58. Ke3 Kg7 59. Kd4 Kf6 60. Kc5 Ke7 61. Rh2 Rf6 62. Rh7+ Kd8 63. Kd4 Ra6 64. Ke5 Ra5 65. Ke6 Kc8 66. Rh8+ Kc7 67. d6+ 1-0
I would like to give more details about the ACC, but the tournament has yet to be rated. By way of explanation I can only tell you the tournament was a Thad Rogers production. I would have covered it, but decided against it after hearing the message left by Mr. Rogers on the Ironman’s cellphone in which he threatened to “Punch Mike in the face!” It seems Thad was none too pleased with the post I wrote about the new Atlanta Kings (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/reprise-of-the-atlanta-kings/). After giving me permission to print it he now claims that parts (Parts? What parts!) were “off the record.” Unfortunately I did not tape our conversation, but others did hear Thad give me permission to print. How was I too know under the table payments were being made in the USCL? From what Thad told me I understood it to be common knowledge the players were being paid by the poker money people. I will admit I have little knowledge of the league, and those who read this blog, and have read the BaconLOG, know why I have little interest in the USCL. There is, though, a recording of the threat made by Thad. I can only hope that in this case the threat is stronger than it’s execution!

“Screw you Rex”

The Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, returned from the Atlanta Chess Championship after playing his first game in the fourth round. He had taken a half point bye in the first round and had to take another half point bye in the second round, hoping to play in the third round because of having had contracted poison ivy in addition to three spider bites, causing him to break out in a red rash on his arms and legs. When it became obvious to him that he was in no condition to go play chess, he took a zero point bye in the third round Saturday night. He has not looked this bad at the board since the wreck he had on an Atlanta expressway, being found underneath the bed of a pick-up truck after going through the back windshield head first. He got out a bed at the hospital to go play chess with bloody bandages all over his head. He was obviously the talk of the tournament before he beat one of the strongest players to ever play in the Great State of Georgia, NM Randy Kolvick. Although he looked somewhat better this morning, he still looked like someone with whom you would not want to be seated on a bus. In spite of that the man had a hunger to play chess, so play chess he did. Tim came home between rounds to inform me he had won his game.
While he was here the last round of the CCSCSL Invitational began. When I told him GM Josh Friedel had offered his opponent, IM Andrey Gorovets a draw after making his ninth move, Tim let fly with enough expletives that must be deleted to make Tricky Dick Nixxon proud! Then when I told him IM Angelo Young had gone him one better, offering WIM Victorija Ni a draw on move eight and that it had been accepted, he erupted with, “That’s like saying ‘Screw you, Rex’!” I asked if I could quote him and he said, “Hell yeah!” Tim has yet to read my previous post so I mentioned it and we discussed the one move draw passed out by GM Ben Finegold at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center a few years earlier, a post for which I was excoriated by certain members of the chess community (“How dare you question a Grandmaster?!”). The post, “The Fix Is In St Louis” can be found here: (http://baconlog.blogspot.com/2011/08/fix-is-in-st-louis.html).
The CCSCSL is the leading light in American chess. It is a beacon for our small chess community, and should be leading the way, brightening the path. Is that not why it has incorporated the “Scholastic Center” to go with the “Chess Club?” From all the reading I have done about the CCSCSL much has been devoted to what Rex and his wife are trying to accomplish with the children. What kind of example is the CCSCSL providing for the next generation? Bobby Fischer decried short draws, something which has become routine at the CCSCSL.
I do not receive one red cent for writing this blog and am anything but wealthy. Pay me a stipend for writing, Rex, and I will move to St. Louis, where not only will I write, but I will play every game as I did the few I was fortunate enough to have played at the CCSCSL back in 2009. I played every game as hard as possible and each one until my time expired. The children will see a grizzled ol’ veteran doing battle with all of what little he has left and giving the Royal game all he has for as long as he has it. And I will “talk politics” with you, as you said to GM Maurice Ashley during the interview I saw during the recent US Championship, and I will argue with you until the cows come home, just like I did with my mother, a Goldwater Republican, bless her heart. I will take your money, but I will not laugh behind your back, or make you out to be a fool. Can you say the same about these GM’s who take your money and not play?

Friedel, Joshua E – Gorovets, Andrey
CCSCSL Inv GM 2014 Saint Louis USA (9.4), 2014.06.01
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Bd3 Nf6 9.Nge2 ½-½
From TWIC (http://www.theweekinchess.com/live)

USCF Demographics

An interesting thread on the USCF Forum caught my eye, “Chess and the 2010 Census”, by nolan on Fri May 23, 2014 11:24 am (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20015&sid=f8cd2da1e12b399d4e1656ea88bac60a).
In this thread one can find the number of people who, “Participated in Chess in the last 12 months,” for example. The total given is 6,896,000. There are other breakdowns as well. This PDF is included: (http://www.uschess.org/datapage/12s1240.pdf)
I found the statistics Nolan included in his next post several hours later most interesting. It is “…the breakdown from the latest age group report.” From this we learn the 32,783 adults are outnumbered by the 34,463 prepubescent “12/below” group. Back in the day before the scholastic movement most members paid a full membership fee. Since the prepubescent group pays less than a “regular” member, it would seem the USCF is taking in less money, relatively speaking. I have heard a question asked numerous times by many different members, Since it is not the children who pay but their parents, who are adults, why should membership cost less for them?
The other divisions shown are: 13-15 (8497); 16-19 (5554); 20-24 (2180). Before going on, I would like to point out the sharp decline within these age groups. The total of the three age groups above is 16,231, which is less than half of the prepubescent group. I wonder why adults are considered 20+ by the USCF. It would make more sense to consider an adult as 18+. Therefore, I would like to see a breakdown of three years, as the given 13-15 age group, by 16-18 and 19-21, then 22-24, which would seem to make more sense.
The next group is from 25-64, comprised of 22581 members. This group makes me think of the coveted age group of TV viewers, which is something like 18-49. A group with these age limits would seem to make more sense here because a member is eligible to play in the USCF Senior chess tournament upon turning 50. Why is a 50+ group not shown? I could understand a 50-64 age group, because a player must be 65 to play in the FIDE Senior.
As it is the numbers given tell us something, but more numbers with a better breakdown would bring greater elucidation. I am reminded of the quote Mark Twain attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, a British Conservative politician, writer and aristocrat, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” This is another example of a myth becoming legend. For example, see (http://www.twainquotes.com/Statistics.html) “Further background on this quote is provided by Stephen Goranson who writes on the Mark Twain Forum in a post dated 31 July 2002: Twain’s Autobiography attribution of a remark about lies and statistics to Disraeli is generally not accepted. Evidence is now available to conclude that the phrase originally appeared in 1895 in an article by Leonard H. Courtney. So Disraeli is not the source, nor any pre-1895 person; merely Courtney. The 1895 article is now available online at: http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/lies.htm Courtney may have read Carlyle on statistics (also quoted at this site); certainly, misuse of statistics was complained about before 1895.”

Chess Drawers

By the time I surfed over to check on the games being played in the The 2014 Saint Louis Invitational the round had begun a few minutes earlier. This is the first game listed:
Finegold, Benjamin – Friedel, Joshua E
CCSCSL Inv GM 2014 Saint Louis USA (7.1), 2014.05.31
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.a3 O-O 6.d3 ½-½ (From http://www.theweekinchess.com/live)
This is pitiful. Why were these drawers invited? Why play chess if this is all you can give? There are plenty of games that end as a draw because these players are so strong and evenly matched without foisting a game like this, a game that did not even make it out of the opening “book,” on what few chess fans are left.
There are only two things that will stop weak-minded and weak-willed players from blaspheming Caissa. More points can be given to a player who wins or draws with the black pieces, and/or opprobrium must be heaped upon those who commit these atrocities.
An article appeared today on the Mail Online, “Being ignored is WORSE than being bullied: Ostracism is more psychologically damaging, claim experts.”
The article begins, “The famous quote claims the only thing in life worse than being talked about, is not being talked about – and a new study may have proved this to be the case.
Being ignored at work has been found to be worse for a person’s health than people who are harassed or bullied.
Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.”
‘We’ve been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable – if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’ said University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business Professor Sandra Robinson, who co-authored the study.
‘But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless, like they’re not worthy of any attention at all.’
The researchers used a series of surveys for their study.
(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2644101/Being-ignored-WORSE-bullied-Ostracism-psychologically-damaging-claim-experts.html#ixzz33LDZJmhc)
Serial drawers should be ostracized. Why should the chess community pay any attention to these chess nonplayers? Why do organizers continue to invite these nonplayers?

Here are a few “games” from the ongoing 33rd Zalakaros Open. All took place in the early rounds:

GM Berkes, Ferenc (2665) – GM Bachmann, Axel (2589)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.1), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.g3 c5 6.Bg2 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nc6 8.Nc2 Bc5 9.Be3 Qb6 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 11.Nba3 ½-½

GM Grigoriants, Sergey (2595) – IM Petenyi, Tamas (2448)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.9), 2014.05.26
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 e6 4.a3 d6 5.b4 g6 6.b5 Nb8 7.Bb2 Bg7 8.Nc3 O-O 9.e3 Nbd7 10.Be2 c5 11.a4 Qe7 12.a5 e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.O-O ½-½

GM Horvath, Jozsef (2507) – GM Papp, Gabor1 (2580)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.4), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.e3 e6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Nf3 a6 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.a3 O-O 8.b4 Ba7 9.Bb2 dxc4 10.Qxd8 Rxd8 11.Bxc4 b5 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.O-O Bb7 14.a4 bxa4 15.Rxa4 ½-½
From: (http://www.theweekinchess.com/chessnews/events/33rd-zalakaros-open-2014)