I have been involved with Chess for over half a century and have no idea what constitutes the “blitz” time control used in the event because the writer does not mention the specific time limit used in the event. I am guessing “blitz” means three minutes for the entire game for both opponents. I could be wrong. “Back in the day “blitz” was just another word for “speed” Chess, which was also called “rapid transit.” Last century a “speed” Chess game was was also called “5 minute,” because each player had only five minutes on the clock for the entire game.
In an excellent article at Chessbase, which contains each and every game, one finds:
Herceg Novi 1970 and the Fischer Papers by André Schulz
4/8/2020 – 50 years ago today, on April 8, 1970, Herceg Novi in Yugoslavia hosted a blitz tournament that might well be the best blitz tournament of all time. Twelve of the world’s best players competed in a double round-robin. Bobby Fischer won with 19 out of 22. |
‘Back in the day’ some called speed Chess “Throw away games.” Games scores of speed Chess were rare because there were no electronic boards. The only games recorded were those played by the top Grandmasters, and a human had to actually write down the moves, called “taking notation.”
The problem is that now people who know little, if anything, about how Chess is played, write articles making it appear “blitz” Chess is Chess. There was no “blitz” in the title of the article, so for a casual reader it appears the young player defeated the highest rated Chess player on the planet, Magnus Carlsen in CHESS! One can imagine a hypothetical conversation between two people knowing little, if anything, about Chess, in which it is said, “Didja see where that young teenager defeated the top Chess player on the planet by blitzing him?”
“Yeah buddy, he blitzed him right offa the board!”
I have heard that “Any publicity is good publicity,” but this kind of thing only cheapens and devalues serious Chess, which is really all that matters.
Having had a very late start playing Chess at twenty I was never very good at “speed” Chess, which was five minutes for each player for the whole game. I therefore watched in amazement those who could play so well with very little time to cogitate. I was more like Rudy, who was “on a train to nowhere/Halfway down the line/He don’t wanna get there/But he needs time…”
I needed more time, and when playing fifteen minute Chess my strength went up exponentially. The trouble was that the speed demons did not want to play with that much time. There was a nice gentleman who was a habitué of the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, aka, the House of Pain, named Oddo Fox, who was a hairdresser greatly in demand. Oddo made it to lower class B, which means he had stopped dropping pieces and could give almost anyone a decent game. But when it came to speed Chess Oddo’s strength increased tremendously, probably because he played so much of speed Chess. I recall seeing a player in San Antonio way back in 1972 who was defeating very strong players at speed Chess, but who could no longer play over the board, classical type Chess because of a heart problem. I recall wondering why he could play fast Chess, but not slow Chess, when it seemed it should be the reverse, because the adrenaline really gets pumpin’ when playing any kind of “speed” Chess. The dude was drillin’ Grandmasters, who would get up from the board after losing shaking their heads.
The new Chess clocks with a “time added” feature have revolutionized the Royal Game. Organizers no long want to spend a whole weekend hosting “around the clock” Chess events. They are, though, pleased to spend and afternoon or evening hosting quick play events. What does this mean for the future of Chess? I have no idea. Life is change, and often not for better. Nevertheless, one must adapt to change because there is no alternative, other than to stop playing. Unfortunately, Chess has become the “go to” game for many of those with a short attention span, who will, and are, bringing the game down to their level.
The Land of the Sky Chess tournament has a special place in the hearts of every Southern Chess player because of the organizer, Wilder Wadford, who, for whatever reason, took it upon himself to host the tournament, which began in 1992. The 2023 edition will take place again in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, Asheville, North Carolina. After surfin’ to the tournament website (https://landofthesky.us/) one finds: “The People’s Chess Tournament.” I can attest that it is! This year’s event will be the 35th edition of the tournament known as the “LOTS.”
Wilder may not be aware of this but in certain circles he is thought of, and called, “The Impresario,” and it it said with the utmost respect. “Wild Man Wilder” has also been heard on occasion, although Wilder is anything but a “wild man.” He is a respected attorney who lives in Weaverville, who hails from the Great State of Virginia. Wilder is, or maybe I should say was, a tournament Backgammon player. I have never, ever, heard anyone say anything derogatory about the man also known as “WW.” He is the epitome of a gentleman and scholar. There is one tale that was told to me about Wilder when I was residing in the mountains I will share. At a Chess tournament in New York city a thief nabbed the bag of someone WW was with on the sidewalk and without hesitating, WW took off after the thief, caught him, and returned with the bag! In NEW YORK CITY!
One year the fellow who took care of the wall board for the first board could not attend because his wife booked a cruise for the date of the LOTS. WW called this writer, who had not planned on attending, and asked if I would come up and man the wall board. The answer was, “I am honored by your request and will certainly be there, my friend.” It turned out to be one of the most pleasurable visits to the LOTS because I did not have to suffer the agony of defeat! It was interesting to watch, listen, and learn from a different perspective. The task was taken seriously and watching the top board, while attempting to predict the next move, was interesting. There was time to walk around and check out the games of my friends and frenemies while awaiting the next move made on the top board. WW comped the room, which meant I could stay Sunday night without having to drive after the tournament ended. This was nice because by that time I qualified for “Senior” status.
The most memorable and vivid memory was of an incident which will tell you about what kind of man is Mr. Wadford. I was in the TD room, talking with WW, when a well-known “live wire” player entered and began reading some papers as WW and I talked. Let me add here that some, if not most, would classify this writer as somewhat of a “live wire,” so I do not disparage the man when using the term “live wire.” I was about to take leave of the TD room when, all of a sudden, the live wire began arguing with WW about the prize fund. He was not happy about something and accused WW of who knows what. All I recall is that Mr. Live Wire thrust the papers he was holding into the face of WW! For a few seconds I was STUNNED… After looking at Wilder’s impassive face, and then taking a look at the live wire, I, as was told by a bystander, “Grabbed live wire by the throat with his left hand and shoved live wire out of the door and into the hallway wall, while balling up his right fist!” What can I say? I was LIVID! The thought of Wilder being attacker that way was “beyond the pale.” Fortunately I did not slug the cretin because the look of fear on his face told me there was no need to hit him. I did, though, give the live one the boot… After returning to the room WW was still sitting there with an impassive look on his face… After gathering the papers that had been strewn about the floor after leaving WW’s face I asked if he were OK. Wilder had the strangest look on his face as he nodded, so I figured maybe he wanted, or needed, to be alone, so I headed out of the TD room. It needs to be mentioned here that Mr. Live Wire was later one of only two players that had to be ordered out of the Atlanta Chess and Game Center by this writer.
Some time later as I was headed into the tournament room there were Wilder and Live Wire standing in the hallway, talking. That’s the way it is in Chess…
I urge everyone reading this to go to the website and take the survey. Over the years I have heard some bitch, whine, and complain, about organizers who will not listen to them. Wilder Wadford listens, and wants your feedback. Please honor the man and give him your two cents worth! As noted above, he can take it…
In preparing to write this post I went to the LOTS website where four games from the 2022 LOTS can be found. Each of them was replayed. The following game stood out:
Upon reaching the final position it was obvious NM Ethan Thomas Sheehan had an advantage at the time of the draw. Much time was spent looking at the position in an attempt to learn how much of an advantage… This writer, and Chess fan, has gotten pretty good at guessing the numerical advantage, or disadvantage, the Stockfish program at lichess.com assigns a position, but still… Grandmasters do not usually offer a draw to a much lower rated unless maybe it is the last round, so I checked the cross table and it was the last round game. Because it ended in a draw GM Smith only tied for first with his last round opponent, and another National Master, Donald Johnson, from North Carolina. A Grandmaster would not offer a draw in that particular situation unless there was a good reason. The longer I looked at the position the less understanding was found. White is a pawn up, and the Black King is out in the open. It became obvious that it was incumbent for NM Thomas to reject the draw offer and at least make an attempt to defeat his GM opponent. No guts, no glory. For the rest of his life NM Thomas can tell others he drew with a GM, but when they say, “Oh yeah, let’s see the game,” he will not show it because it is proof positive he was chicken excrement that day. It is also positive proof of what is wrong with the Royal Game. There are no draw offers allowed in the Great Game of Go, which is why it is light-years better than Chess. It is also another reason all draw offers should be abolished. I do not know which is worse, agreeing to a three or four move draw or offering a draw when winning the game, but I do know that both should be consigned to oblivion. By the way, I finally estimated NM Thomas had an advantage of +1.5. The Stockfish program at lichess.com shows the advantage to be +2.4, which is considered having a winning advantage. Maybe the affinity developed for GM Smith after spending time with him in Louisville, and the well-placed Knight on e4, entered into my thinking a little too much…
One of the best things about the Atlanta Chess and Game Center was the multifarious people, who came from every walk of life while having one thing in common: Chess. I thought of this while reading an article in the New York Times, How to Change Minds? A Study Makes the Case for Talking It Out. Below the title one finds the main point of the article: Researchers found that meaty conversations among several people can align beliefs and brain patterns — so long as the group is free of blowhards. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)
There were the habitués who would pontificate loudly, but usually anyone could get a chance to put in their two cents worth. There were a few blowhards and occasionally the Forhorn would blow. During the time spent working there it became obvious the blowhards were all far right of the political spectrum. One extremely strident wrong-winger lost it once, balling up his fist before slamming it into the glass counter top, shattering the glass. He was never seen again, thankfully.
From the article:
“Conversation is our greatest tool to align minds,” said Thalia Wheatley, a social neuroscientist at Dartmouth College who advises Dr. Sievers. “We don’t think in a vacuum, but with other people.” The new study “suggests that the degree of similarity in brain responses depends not only on people’s inherent predispositions, but also the common ground created by having a conversation,” Dr. Leong said.
The experiment also underscored a dynamic familiar to anyone who has been steamrollered in a work meeting: An individual’s behavior can drastically influence a group decision. Some of the volunteers tried to persuade their groupmates of a cinematic interpretation with bluster, by barking orders and talking over their peers. But others — particularly those who were central players in the students’ real-life social networks — acted as mediators, reading the room and trying to find common ground. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)
There were myriad “meaty conversations” at the House of Pain. The President of the Georgia Chess Association, Scott Parker, was also the Tournament Director at many events. Scott was called, “The Sheriff” behind his back because he did not care to be called “Sheriff,” but with his ramrod straight deportment it fit. When The Sheriff was in the House the conversations may have been “meaty” but they were “conversations,” not shouting matches. Scott was, whether he likes it or not, The Sheriff because of the respect everyone at the House had for him.
Writing these words caused me to reflect upon those days and nights at the House and how little conversation has been engaged during the pandemic. A phone call is not the same as actually watching someone engaged in conversation; nor is an email. With that in mind I have recently been reading comments left at various websites concerning the Magnus Freak Out affair. I spent time reading the comments left by Chess fans at various websites and after copying one, wondered why I did not copy an earlier comment, so I scrolled backward and did just that. What follows could be considered modern day conversation:
Chumlychess @DohnalSteven Replying to @ChampChessTour Always admired the World Champion but unless he speaks out to his proof this seems like a wussy move
B @damnthecatt emotional damage for niemann his chess career is done
kiran.sol 🔮🦉 @kiranjaimon He has an impeccable record with no controversy. If he believes something is wrong, I am inclined to agree
David Gil de Gómez @ITStudiosi Why anyone would defend Magnus here is beyond me.
Khan Explorer @khan_explore Unfortunately Magnus has too many dick riders who will keep defending him.
dd df @dddf08021173 Disqualify Magnus for this behaviour.
Steve Holloway @JSteveHolloway A good lawyer sees a defamation suit against Magnus
Indian Sports Fans @IndianSportFan King 👑 Magnus does it again. Magnus Carlsen vs. Hans Niemann game today, a recap:
Magnus Quits.. Why. Can anyone explain. Pls. #chessdrama #chess
CryptoSala🔁 @CryptoSala Magnus should not participate in events with Hans in that case. Or provide evidence for Hans cheating.
Neil Merryll 👌🥀 @Neilmerryll True its unsportsmanlike and he has no integrity
Praava 🇮🇳 @Praava97 Magnus losing all his fans really quickly. Going down the Fischer lane..
Praava 🇮🇳 @Praava97 I’m a huge fan of Magnus but this sort of behaviour is just bullish to say the least. It’s high time now that Magnus should come forward and SPEAK on the matter.
Gerry Last @PatzerGod I feel this is some kind of massive troll, or publicity stunt. Most likely wrong but this just doesn’t make any sense.
Vishesh Kabra @visheshkabra This is the new Queen’s Gambit Declined
DK @DaleKerr Magnus should have been sanctioned after the Sinquefield Cup, either he makes a full statement and provides some evidence, or he is banned from future tournaments. His actions are disrupting tournaments and every player, not just himself and Hans.
Martin Hansen @bondegnasker If he isn’t sanctioned, that raises another point about a wealthy and influential player owning his own chess server and how that affects fair play.
Kela Siame @TheRealKela You’re in fantasy world sir.
dot @dot16060982 Magnus should be banned from chess tournaments
Big Alex @Big__Alex this summed to the fact that he will not defend his title is really a shame. He should have been punished!
Mark J. Moser @mjmoser I lost all respect for Magnus. Whatever Niemann did or not. Magnus should communicate and not just fan the flames of gossip and ruin the reputation of Niemann. The loser is chess!
Hic. @TheHigherSpace Everybody turning against Magnus .. This is weird ..
Saltybird @saltcod1 Naa.. Hugely impressive move by Magnus in my opinion. Brutal forcing strategy.. no sweeping it under the carpet now and it will ALL come out.
deserves praise for hosting a different kind of Chess tournament, the ALTO (At Least Twenty-One) tournament held recently. During the first decades of this century I was working at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, aka, the “House of Pain.” That decade saw the “youth movement” in Chess. The skittles room was eventually taken over by parents of the children playing Chess upstairs, leaving no room for skittles, or for going over a game recently played. Disgruntled older players did not care for the changes and some of them stopped coming during tournament weekends and then stopped coming altogether. The parents of the children brought their laptops and some complained about there not being enough outlets into which they could plug their laptops. During one tournament with a large number of players I had to literally step between two men who were shouting at each other over the only outlet not in use. As they yelled and screamed at each other another person plugged into the not in use outlet which almost caused a brawl! I kid you not… It was a cold and wet winter day so the outside outlets could not be used. During periods of good weather, mostly spring and autumn parents would bring lawn chairs and fight over the outside outlets.
When I began playing as a twenty year old adult things were much different. There was only one child playing regularly then, Randy Kolvick. His older brother, Bob, played tournament Chess. Randy did not act like a child, but comported himself as would an adult. The tournaments could be thought of as “sedate.” Before the House of Pain closed the description changed to “madhouse,” because most children have a high energy level and often run around like a chicken after its head has been cut off. When the weather was nice the children were able to burn off some of that excess energy by running around outside. Unfortunately, there would be screaming and yelling which could be heard in the upstairs playing rooms, which never had enough air conditioning, so the windows would often be open, and everything that happened outside could be heard inside the playing rooms. You would often hear an old(er) player say something like, “Things were better in my day,” or some such. During one such discussion at the House of Pain I interjected, “I dunno…maybe things were different, but I don’t know about better because the children have brought money into Chess that was lacking ‘back in the day’. Funny looks and silence followed…
I would, therefore, like to give plaudits to the folks at the Charlotte Chess Center for hosting a tournament for adults only, although it may have been better for the age limit to have been set at eighteen. I write this because ‘back in the day’ much was made of the fact that a young boy could be drafted and forced into going into the Army to fight and possibly die in Viet Nam, but could not legally drink an adult beverage of his choosing, since one had to be twenty-one to legally drink an alcoholic beverage. Because of the outcry the law was lowered to eighteen before being changed again. Most college students begin their first year of college at the age of eighteen. They are going to drink (think “Animal House”)
so boosting the legal age made criminals out of each and every one of them. One can vote after turning eighteen; drive at sixteen. An eighteen year old Chess player should be allowed to play in an “adult only” event.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qh4 (Chess.com has named this the: C45 Scotch, Pulling counter-attack. The Warrior has been around the Royal Game for over five decades and this is the first time learning there is a name for this move. It could not be located at “Chess Gambits Guide: Ultimate List of Gambits Every Chess Player Should Know” (https://www.chessjournal.com/chess-gambits/) 5.Nc3 (This move turns it into a “C45 Scotch, Steinitz variation”) 5…Bb4 6.Nb5 (Three different SF programs play 6 Be2, and so should you) 6…Nf6 (All 3 Stockfish programs play 6…Ba5, and so should you) 7.Bd3 (What the fork is this? This move is not in the CBDB; there is a reason. Three different programs play 7 Nxc7+ and so should you!)
There was a print out taped to the wall just to the right of the stairs at the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center that looked like this:
Every player who walked up the stairs could see it before every Chess game played at the House of Pain. The story goes that the owner, Thad Rogers, liked it and put it there for all to see. I always considered it the most apropos thing ever seen at the House of no fun whatsoever, which was heard on more than one occasion.
After the Legendary Georgia Ironman told the IM of GM strength Boris Kogan that he intended on becoming a National Master Boris asked, “Why Tim? It requires much sacrifice.” That it does, because when your friends are out at a bar hoisting them high and spending time with the ladies you are at home studying Rook and Pawn endings. Then again there are those players who will have hoisted a few, but that was at the Stein Club while attempting to win that Rook and Pawn ending on the board in front of you in which you have an extra pawn. You do this because Chess is HARD, and It Don’t Come Easy!
Playing Chess well requires many things and one of them is a tenacious fighting spirit. To advance in Chess one MUST be able to concentrate no matter what the situation on the board. A player MUST look for ANYTHING that will help his position. Complacency (A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble) has no business being anywhere near a Chess board.
In the seventh round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship this position was reached in the game between Megan Lee and Nazi Paikidze:
There is nothing for me to describe to you here because even 700 rated USCF politico Allen Priest knows Black is busted, Buster. Then again, maybe not, but every player with a four number rating would know Black is doomed, DOOMED! Nazi has a snowball chance in Hell of salvaging a draw and winning is out of the question unless her opponent falls over dead. Some, if not most, would wonder why Nazi had not resigned. You may be wondering about the time factor. Time was not a factor. The fact is that Nazi has mating material and has a Queen and Rook on the Queen side which is where the White King is located, which totals plenty of cheapo potential, especially when all three of White’s pieces are located on the King side. Look at the position. What move would you make?
The Black King now has four legal moves. If it moves to g7 or h8 White will take the Bishop with check and that’s all she wrote. If the Black King moves to g8 the White Queen will take the pawn on g5 with check and it’s game over. That leaves h6, which is where Nazi moved the King, bringing us to this position:
I would like you to take a good look at this position and cogitate awhile before scrolling down. To insure you cannot glance down to see what follows we will pause with this musical interlude in order to block you from seeing anything that may, or may not influence your cogitating:
Black to move. Think about it awhile…What move would you make?
The situation on the Chess board has changed as much as the music videos. A situation has been reached, by force by White I must add, in which the Black King has no legal moves. If, and that is a big IF, the Black Queen and Rook left the board, the position would be one of STALEMATE. A stalemate position is reached when one King has no legal moves. Then the game is immediately declared DRAWN. This is a RIDICULOUS rule. It is also ABSURD to the point of LUNACY. There are too many draws in Chess. If a position is reached in which the only move of the King will put it in CHECK then that King should abdicate his throne. For this reason Nazi Paikidze should have played the move 56…Rxb2+ reaching this position:
Fortunately for Megan Lee her opponent played 54…Qa4+ and lost. Certainly both players should have recognized the situation on the board had changed DRASTICALLY after the 55th move by Black which had put the King in a possible stalemate situation. They both had plenty of time to cogitate. At that point in the game Megan Lee had only one thing to consider: stalemate. Nazi Paikidze only had one thing for which to hope: stalemate. Megan gave Nazi a chance but she did not take advantage of the chance given.
cycledan: Paikidze could have pulled even with Irina, half game back in 2nd. Now she will be 1.5 back if Megan can convert. Tough loss Murasakibara: is 56. Rxe5 correct? because black has a draw Murasakibara: rook sac Murasakibara: and queen check forever Murasakibara: to miss that from nazi oh no cycledan: white Q can prevent the perpetual I think Murasakibara: no because after kxR there is Qa2 and Qd2 and go back and forth check Murasakibara: until king force to capture Paintedblack: yeah it would have been a legendary swindle but missed Murasakibara: im so mad at nazi Murasakibara: xd Murasakibara: was rooting for her Murasakibara: she didnt realize her king have no move because she thought her position was doom so a chance to draw didnt come in her mind Murasakibara: that got to hurt
I came to Facebook rather late in life and there were reasons for so doing. One of the reasons was to learn how the life of the love of my life developed after we parted. Initially I thought the book of faces was a good thing as I was in contact with many people involved with Chess from all over the world. People post pictures and write about their life and in some cases one feels as if he knows them better than when only knowing them from the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center or email. One example of this would be Professor Mark Taylor,
the best editor of the Georgia Chess News magazine during the half century of my involvement in Georgia Chess.
Because of the book of faces I was able to communicate with Grandmaster Danny Gormally in England
about his book, one of the most honest Chess books ever written,
and GM Keith Arkell, another Brit.
We had a lengthy discussion concerning the rising price of older Chess books. I was able to see the bread Helen Milligan
has baked in New Zealand. I saw many pictures of the publisher of Elk & Ruby, Ilan Rubin, in Moscow,
the man responsible for many of the books reviewed on this blog. I could go on and on…
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the book of faces. I have recently been in touch with a gentleman I have only seen once, that at the twenty year reunion of my high school class of 1968. After mentioning Facebook Richard cut me off, saying, “I don’t do social media, especially Facebook, because it is only dividing America.” That particular conversation started the questioning of my decision to join the book of faces…
Then there were the negative posts appearing on my screen, many filled with vitriol. Some posts spewed venom like a snake. One such screed was by a fellow who was a regular at the House of Pain, Richard Staples. There were a few obviously strident right-wingers among the players at the ACC, and Richard was one of them. Fortunately, he was smart enough, unlike some others, to take care when and where he spewed his wrong-wing vitriol. Richard is a big and tall fellow and he was the only player who wore a knife, kept in a holster on his belt, while at the House of Pain. There was another fellow at the Center who carried a knife but no one knew because it was kept in an ankle holster. That person would be this writer. The House was not located in the best of areas and there were numerous vehicles broken into during the two decades the House was rockin’. Mr. Staples posted some ill chosen negative words about a certain segment of our society. I was so new to the book of faces that I did not know how to “unfriend” someone. After contacting my friend Mike Mulford he gave me the skinny on Facebook etiquette, or maybe ‘lack thereof’ would be more appropriate, infroming me he had previously “unfriended” Richard. I immediately “unfriended” the first of what would become “many” of what I thought of as “Forkbookers”.
I had met a gentleman, Davide Nastasio,
at the 2019 Castle Chess Grand Prix tournament at Emory University, the last Chess tournament in which Senior Master Brian McCarthy played, who is the editor of the online Georgia Chess Magazine, which is basically a place where books are reviewed. There was a pleasant conversation near the area where Thad Rogers was selling books. Davide was extremely knowledgeable about Chess books and the conversation is fondly recalled. After being appalled at some of what was directed at me on the book of faces, I eradicated him, too.
Then there was Rick Rothenberg, a gentleman befriended while living in Louisville, Kentucky. Rick was a few years younger than am I and a weak Chess player, but he was interesting enough that we would get together for lunch, and sometimes breakfast, in different parts of the city. He once asked me to go with him to Indiana, which was right over the Kentucky state line, and he showed me the house in which he had raised a family until being divorced. Another time I rode with Rick for a day trip to the US Open Chess tournament in Indianapolis. When I noticed his name on the book of faces I immediately clicked on the friend request and the next time I went to Facebook there were posts by Mr. Rothenberg. Unfortunately, what he had put on Facebook shocked and appalled me to such an extent I immediately unfriended him after sending a note which read, “If I had known you were splattering this kind of excrement all over Facebook I would not have become your friend.” I have, fortunately, forgotten most of what was read that day, but I do vividly recall that in response to something Rick had written about the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris,
some woman had used the pejorative, “Ho.” I had seen, and read, enough. Rick was eradicated.
I have surfed to the book of faces for the last time. Facebook is not the solution; it is the problem. Since Facebook owns YouTube I will no longer put anything having to do with the Tube of You on this blog. In my world Facebook has been eradicated. I have chosen this path because:
After my most recent required Medicare physical I had to do the Cologuard (https://www.cologuard.com/) thing now required for Seniors. This is the second time I have sent my excrement to HQ where some unfortunate human must screen it for whatever. The day of the procedure, which includes more than just dumping and sending, I will spare you the details, for some reason I thought of Thad Rogers, long and many time President of the Georgia Chess Association.
On his way back from a Chess tournament the owner of the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, Thad Rogers, stopped at the House of Pain before heading south to Macon. Howls of laughter emanating from downstairs piqued my curiosity and an inquiring mind wanted to know what was causing such an uproar. Once downstairs I saw Thad holding up a T-shirt. “That looks like a turd on the shirt, Thad,” I said. There were more howls of laughter especially when Thad said, “That’s not a turd, it’s Mr. Hankey!” I thought about going next door to the pizza joint to have a beer, or maybe even something stronger, but I never drink during the day, even when it’s called for, as was the case that day. It turned out Thad was a HUGE fan of the TV show South Park. Evidently he was not alone…Thad would often bring in from the road Chess books and other Chess type things to sell at the House of Pain, but that day will long be remembered as Mr. Hankey day.
Before writing this post I could not recall the name of the turd on Thad’s T-shirt, so I went to the internet and typed in “South Park feces” and there was a turd with a Christmas type hat on top of its “head.” I had found Mr. Hankey!
I mention this because the thought occurred that an award should be given to the player(s) who “play” the shortest game at one of the norm tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. What better prize than a Mr. Hankey?!
For the most recently completed tournament I thought to award the prize to the player(s) agreeing to the shortest draw. After putting this together my mind was changed. What follows is the shortest draws from each of the four different tournaments held in conjunction at what has become known as the Charlotte Draw Center. The loser who wins the prize will become known at the end of the post.
Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA) Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 07
Thirteen (13) was a popular number in this section when it came to agreeing to split the point. I mention this because almost half a century ago I made a study of my games, coming to the conclusion that I had made an inordinate number of questionable (OK, BAD, or HORRIBLE, moves) when producing my thirteenth move of the game. It was more than a little obvious I was having much trouble with the transition from the opening to the middle game. After deep study my game, such as it was, improved at least to the point where I won the coveted title of Atlanta Champion a couple of times.
GM Dragun, Kamil 2555 (POL) – GM Ali Marandi, Cemil Can 2530 (TUR) Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 01
This game is included because it involves Tanguy Ringoir, a serial drawer, who averaged only twenty, that’s 20, or TWO ZERO, moves per game in the tournament. Just to think the dude came all the way from Belarus to not play Chess… The most moves in any of his games were the 37 he played in defeating Arthur Guo in the fourth round. Arthur was either, “out of form” as is said about a player who is having a bad event, or ill. We do not know because nothing is written on the blog of the CCCSA informing we fans of what is happening during the tournaments.
Bora, Safal (USA) – Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09
Amongst this nefarious group of non Chess players who will be all be execrable losers when awarded the dishonorable mention prize one player stood out among the other losers who blaspheme against Caissa. That would be Tanguy Ringoir,
a one man wrecking draw. He was bat and balls below every other player. His passport should be revoked.
It all began on the early in the week when I opened an advertisement from New In Chess with notification of the publication of two books by the excellent writer GM Mihail Marin:
Then on Thursday, June 17, GM Kevin Spraggett posted Chess and the AfterLife on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess, (www.spraggettonchess.com) which includes a segment about Chess in the cemetery, in which one sees this picture:
I was reminded of a time when a lovely young woman, Cecil Jordan, drove an old, beat up, green DeSoto all the way from Sacremento, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines. The apartment we shared happened to be close to a cemetary. One evening we went for a walk and she brought along her camera…to take pictures of us in the cemetary. Can you believe some of our friends could not understand why?
Fortunately, Kevin’s article also includes the game between the late Cuban Grandmaster Roman Hernandez and a talented 17-year old Spanish expert, David Rivas Vila, which happened to be a Leningrad Dutch! I urge you to surf on over and play over the game, of course, after reading this post and playing over all of the games, all of which are open with the Leningrad Dutch!
Then in the opening round of the National Open this game was seen at the ChessBomb:
Rochelle Wu, (2144) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)
This position vividly illustrates something I have told students over the years, which is to count the pieces on each side of the board, or total the points of each piece, if you prefer. Looking at this position Mr. Li has a lone Bishop on the King side of the board. The remainder of his army, the Queen, both Rooks, and the other Bishop, are on the Queenside of the board. All five pieces of Shabalov’s army are on the Kingside! This means the General of the black army MUST PLAY ON THE KING SIDE OF THE BOARD! Black must attack NOW. The move that best satisfies that objective is 24…g5.
c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 (SF plays 2…e5) 3. Bg2 (SF 240521 @Depth 43 plays 3 Nf3; SF 13 @Depth 30 plays 3 d4) 3…g6 (SF plays 3…e5) 4. Nf3 (SF 170621 @Depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 13 at the same depth would play 4 d4) 4…Bg7 (SF 070321 @Depth49 and Komodo @Depth 36 both play this move, but SF 070420 plays 4…d6) 5. 0-0 (Interestingly, SF 13 @Depth 35 plays this move, but SF 070321 @Depth 52 plays 5 d4; while Komodo at depth 40 plays 5 Nc3) 5…O-O 6. d4 (SF plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 (Although SF 13 @Depth 40 plays this move, SF 190521 @Depth 44 prefers 6…c6, as does Houdini) 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 (Although far and away the most often played move SF 110521 going deep @Depth 55 would play 8 Qc2; Komodo @Depth40 plays 8 Rb1) 8…e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 (The old move. Three different SF engines show 10 b3) 10…Na6 (Again, the old move. Both SF and Houdini play 10…Re8) 11. Ng5 (Three different programs conclude 11 Bf4 is the best move) 11…Re8 (SF plays 11…Nc5) 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 (TN)
I vividly recall watching a game at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center (aka House of Pain) when a young player by the name of Matthew Puckett, from the Great State of Alabama, played the Leningrad Dutch against Grandmaster Sam Palatnik. It was not often we saw a GM go down at the House of Pain, but this was one of those times. Although on duty that Sunday afternoon I continued to ask someone to watch things while I made another trip up the stairs. I was worn out that night and my knees hurt from going up and down the stairs so many times, but it was worth all the pain.
Grivas, Efstratios (2465) vs Palatnik, Semon (2510) Event: Iraklion op Site: Iraklion Date:1992 Round: 6 ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
The next game features Georgia resident GM Alonso Zapata. There are now two Grandmasters living in the greater Atlanta area, the other being GM Ben Finegold, who lives in Roswell with his wife, Karen:
where the new Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Atlanta (https://atlchessclub.com/) is located. I can recall a time when Atlanta area players wished and longed for just one Grandmaster for the area, one in particular, an educated fellow called “Foghorn,” who was particularly strident about the need for a Grandmaster, as if that would cure all that ailed Chess in the metropolitan area. The foghorn stopped blowing one day when a much higher rated player said, “Quit your belly aching, Foghorn. Not even the World Champion could help your game!”
Adharsh Rajagopal (2051 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)
d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 (Stockfish plays 7 Nc3) 7…O-O (SF plays 7…e5) 8. Bb2 Qe8 (SF plays 8…a5; Komodo chooses 8…Na6) 9. Nc3 (Komodo plays the game move, but SF plays the most often seen move according to the CBDB, 9 Nbd2; Houdini likes 9 Re1, a move seen in only one game) 9…e5 (SF plays this, but the Dragon prefers 9…Na6)10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 (TN)
Braum, Hermann Josef vs Weiland, Thomas Event: Wiesbaden op 17th Site: Wiesbaden Date: 08/27/1998 Round: 7 ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 (SF & Komodo play 3 h4) 3…Nf6 4. Nh3 (SF plays 4 c4; Komodo prefers 4 Nd2) 4…Bg7 5. Nf4 (SF plays 5 c4) 5…Nc6 (SF plays 5…c6) 6. h4 (SF plays 6 c4) 6…e5 (SF & Komodo both choose 6…d6) 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 (TN) (If given the chance SF 12 @Depth 29 would play 8 Be3, which would be a TN. SF 11 @Depth 42 would play 8 Nd2, as would Komodo. Which gives me a chance to show a game from the Magister of the Leningrad Dutch, the man who wrote, literally and figuratively, the book on the Leningrad Dutch:
Calin Dragomirescu (2259) vs Malaniuk, Vladimir P (2532)
The 2019 Mr. Phillip Taylor GA State Championship begins in a month, May 17 through May 19, 2019. Who is Mr. Phillip Taylor? Chess tournaments in Georgia have usually been named after someone who has left the board. Since I have been around about as long as anyone involved with Chess in Georgia and was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor, I reached out to former POTGCA Scott Parker with an inquiry. Mr. Parker replied,
I believe it is because of a financial commitment, but I don’t know the details. If you want to email the full board to see who might know use email@example.com. That reaches all board members. And Mr. Taylor is very much alive and kicking. That much I do know.
After forwarding the above to every board member only one reply was received, from 2nd Member-at-large Anna Baumstark, who wrote:
I wasn’t on the board for the last State Championship, but I believe that Phil donates to the GCA each year to help defray the cost of the
Basically it is a one hundred dollars to play, one hundred dollars to stay kind of tournament. There are various time controls for the different sections, but the only one that matters is the “40/90, SD/30, d10″ for the Championship section. I prefer the added time of usually 30 seconds.
The 3-day schedule has two games, the first and third, to begin at 7:30 PM. Since I will not again attempt playing Chess at night in a tournament that would mean I could take two half-point byes, which are allowed, but only in rounds 1 thru 4 (limit two) and must request before Round One, with (absolutely) no changes afterwards!
I then found the website of the hotel in which the tournament would be played, the Radisson Atlanta Northwest, located at 1775 Parkway Pl SE, Marietta. This means the playing site is not accessible via MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the absolutely best way to get around Atlanta because the train moves when traffic comes to a halt. Although there is a bus system in Cobb county, where the city of Marietta is located, word on the street is it pales in comparison to MARTA and the Gwinnett county bus system. It is well known the traffic situation in Atlanta is horrible. The northern part of Atlanta known as Buckhead has recently considered the possibility of charging people who drive into that particular part of the city in order to relieve congestion. One official said, “Ninety percent of people who work in Buckhead do not live in the city.” I lived and worked in what was known as “The Head” in the 1970’s and 80’s when it was a community and there were affordable places for employees to live. Now only the wealthy can afford to live in “The Head.” As Atlanta continues to grow more people will utilize only public transportation like many people who live in New York City and never own, or even drive, a car. This should be taken into consideration by the GCA board.
A search for comments by former quests of the Radisson Atlanta Northwest, followed. Phil G. from Knoxville, TN., posted his review on 3/30/2019, giving the Radisson only one star out of a possible five, writing, “The only reason I gave this one lace a 1 star is because I couldn’t give it NEGATIVE stars.
This is the worst hotel I have ever been to. We were in the area for a Baseball tournament and our entire team booked here. One room had bugs in the bed and throw up in the floor, literally chunks of vomit in the middle of the floor. One room had the water running in the tub and it wouldn’t turn off. We had a total of 9 rooms and of the 9, eight of them didn’t have towels when we checked in. If the other area hotels weren’t booked we would have went somewhere else. Out of the 9 rooms, 7 had to change rooms because of filth or because something didn’t work, shower, TV, door locks. When our kids went to swim in the pool, we asked the front desk for towels and the said “get them from your room”, after we just told them there were NO TOWELS IN THE ROOMS!
The hotel employees acted like none of this was important and offered NO compensation for the dirty rooms and bad service. The hotel lobby was full of leaves and the trash cans were over flowing. The hotel is next door to a really trashy nightclub, might have been a strip club by the looks of the way people were dressed going in. Sharing the same parking lot as a night club lead to coming out to your car in a parking lot covered in trash.
DONT STAY HERE, save your money. This is NOT a typical Radisson.”
A few days earlier, 3/27/2019, E T. of West Hollywood, CA, gave the hotel two stars when writing the following:
So many things went wrong with this stay and I don’t know where to even begin except to say that I never in my life stayed at a Radisson Hotel nor will I again. Oddly enough, I encountered no service issues during my stay … it was just the overall grime and yuck factor of this hotel and quite frankly it’s clientele which turned me off.
When we pulled in, there were some shady characters in the parking lot. These folks did not look like the type who would pay $120 per night for a hotel. They looked more like vagrants. However, low and behold they were staying there. Also, there is a REALLY sketchy dance club next door called Tiger Tiger. Imagine any gangstah rap video you’ve ever seen before and that is who frequent this dance club. They must offer deeply discounted rooms on an app because the hotel is filled with people staying there who are going to the club next door.
The hallways looked like a combination of a frat party/rap video. People were screaming in the hallways, walking around with red solo cups and playing loud music. The rooms have connecting doors and the walls are pretty thin, so I could hear everything in the next room like it was in my room. Loud teens and 20-something year olds everywhere. It was like staying in a college dorm room.
The hotel has seen better days … the windows to the room were crusted with white stains and you couldn’t really see out. There was a sliding balcony door which to a small balcony with no furniture which was shared with the room next door. It looked like the floor could give out at any moment.
To say the carpet was old and filthy would be an understatement. I wore shoes the whole time in the room. The overall feel of the room was a hotel from the 2003-era. Same furniture I remember, draperies, color scheme as early 2000/late 1990s hotels. The lobby seems to be where they put their money … it’s all brand new and beautiful. They have an odd little restaurant/bar which looks like it has never been cleaned and by closing time at 11 p.m. on a Friday, they were out of every beer on tap.
Next door, the club music booms until 3:30 a.m. and if your room is located on the front side of the building facing the parking lot, you’ll hear it all night long through your window. There is no escaping the sound of booming club music, so if you are a light sleeper … you will be a non-sleeper. After the music stops, you then have drunks in the parking lot making noise which comes up into the hallways and rooms.
It seemed like there were a LOT of problems with guests that were do to the overall shadiness of those who stayed there. Often we would hear people yelling at the front desk people … and twice we noticed police cars pulled up outside the hotel. This was during a 24 hour long stay.
Avoid this hotel unless you are going to get your groove on at Tiger Tiger … or really miss going to college in the 1990s in which case, staying here will be a trip down memory lane. The only reason I left 2 stars is because the front desk staff was helpful and friendly.
E “On the road again” T.
West Hollywood, CA
Parking lot from balcony minus the shady vagrants
Clubs right next door equals no sleep due to loud music
This hotel does not sound like one conducive to playing good Chess, or obtaining a good night’s sleep. After doing due diligence I have decided against playing in the event. It would seem that with the additional money donated to the tournament by Mr. Taylor a decent venue could have been found.
I do not know who is responsible for the decision to have the tournament at this particular hotel, especially considering the plethora of hotels in the greater Atlanta area, but it is obvious someone, or some group of people did not do their due diligence. I do not know why many Chess tournaments in the greater Atlanta area have been, and obviously continue to be, held in second, or even third rate, run down hotels, but I have played Chess in Atlanta since 1970 and, unfortunately, this hotel is not an exception. For example, the legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, who has been playing almost as long as this writer, likes to tell the story of the first Sweat-box Open, which was held at the Biltmore hotel in downtown Atlanta during a hot summer and there was no air conditioning. Sweat-box number two (and 2a, 2b, 2c, etc.) were held at the House of Pain, aka, The Dump, which was the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center. The Dump was known for an air conditioning system held together who knows how by Longshot Larry, defying law, rules and regulations, and the law of physics, that was down as much as it was up. When a window unit stopped putting out cold air it was usually replaced by a much smaller unit. The latest incarnation of the sweat-box Open was at the North Dekalb Mall a few summers ago when a tournament was played completely sans AC. The stench overwhelmed the senses while making eyes sting.
Having participated in Backgammon tournaments and visited both Scrabble and Bridge tournaments in the Atlanta area which were held in good conditions in nice hotels I cannot help but wonder why it is only Chess tournaments in Atlanta that have had such problems.
from the following round. I have always liked Svid since reading an interview, or Q&A, in which he mentioned Bob Dylan as one of his favorite musical artists. I have previously watched some of his round of the day videos, which were excellent. They are usually filmed after a long day of analyzing Chess when he is obviously exhausted. They are, nevertheless, wonderfully elucidating, and the aforementioned videos are no exception. After the opening moves had been played today, I watched the post-game press conference with Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana
on Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en) before watching Svid give his take on the game, which I enjoyed immensely.
While working at the House of Pain (aka, the Atlanta Chess and Game Center), I noticed Chess videos had become quite popular. Being a fossil from the days when players obtained information from books, I wondered why anyone would pay that kind of money for a video when one could use it to purchase a book. Videos proliferate to the point now when one can obtain them freely via the internet.
“I agree that kids are good to have around, in chess and elsewhere. A neighborhood with young children running round is more alive, and kids playing chess means tournaments will continue into the future, if more noisily. But they’re different now. I asked one of the Charlotte teenager Masters what he’d read to help him become so strong – My System, Zurich 1953, My 60 Memorable Games, opening monographs, or what? “I don’t read chess books.”
Good weekend to you,
On Friday, February 2, 2018
Ouch! That hurt. I love the feel of a good book in the morning. I begin most days with a book and cuppa coffee. A good day finds me with another cuppa afternoon joe, and a book!
I have read that beauty is in the flaws, or imperfections. This is applicable to Chess, for without imperfections some of the greatest games, most beautiful and exciting games would never have been played. Such is the case with the current Candidates tournament in Berlin. Peter Svidler can be heard saying, “…more mistakes are forthcoming.” He also says the games are, “…incredibly interesting and exciting,” because of the mistakes. Caruana has been involved in two of the games mentioned in this post, as has Levon Aronian. Fabiano was fortunate to win both games, while Levon was not so fortunate, yet he is to be applauded as much as Fabiano for playing fighting Chess, which has been infinitely more enjoyable than some of the draws made by other players. I hope a fighting player wins the event because one should not be able to draw their way to a seat across from the human World Chess Champion. “I’ve played pretty good fighting Chess,” said Caruana. Levon, probably the favorite going into the tournament, said in answer to a question, “Not my best; probably one of my worst.” For Levon it has been a
Myriad problems marred the beginning of the tournament. GM Kevin Spraggett detailed how bad were the conditions when he wrote, “The players in the tournament are really suffering. There is only one toilet for 8 players, the first day there was no running water! Now there is water, but it is soapy.” (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/the-laughs-at-the-candidates-tournament/)
Levon mentioned in the interview in answering a question concerning flashes from cellphones, said it was, “Not as noisy as the first couple of days.” For such an important tournament, second only to the Worlds Championship, this is unacceptable. Levon went on to say, “When you play badly your play is affected by everything, but when you play well it’s not so…” The sound of clapping could be heard from the audience.
Let us hope the Germans somehow manage to alleviate the suffering of the poor players for the last rounds of the tournament. The best human Chess players in the world deserve better conditions than they have received.