The Future of Chess

“The phrase, “All politics is local” is a common phrase in U.S. politics. The former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill is most closely associated with this phrase, which encapsulates the principle that a politician’s success is directly tied to the person’s ability to understand and influence the issues of their constituents.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_politics_is_local)

The world of chess is beset with myriad problems. For example, consider something recently written by GM Kevin Spraggett on his blog, Spraggett on Chess:

RIP: Canadian Open Championship (1956-2014)

“For my readers (Canadian and international) who were wondering about the 2015 edition of Canada’s most PRESTIGIOUS tournament, I have sad news. Not only has the 2015 Canadian Open been cancelled, but it is unlikely to be resurrected in coming years. The present mind-set of the CFC executive is to concentrate on junior chess and slowly (quickly!) phase out adult chess.

The writing was on the wall for some time now, but few wanted to believe it. Despite a well documented decline in adult membership in the CFC since 2007, and calls to organize a membership drive to remedy the situation, the CFC refused to act. Adult membership levels are now 50% of normal levels. All funding of adult-programs have been eliminated.”

Grant Oen is a junior at Emory University, Grant is a 2-time GA Collegiate Chess Champion, 2-time NJ Grade Level Chess Champion, manager of the 2014 Atlanta Kings Team, and current Emory Chess Club President. He is one of the people who are the future of chess, and the future is NOW! I have come to admire and respect Grant because he is GREAT for chess in my home state.

I received an email from Mr. Oen a short time ago, and after reading it, sent an email asking for permission to post it on the blog, which was granted. Although it may be true that “all politics is local,” what happens in my home state of Georgia, just as what happens in our wonderful neighbor to the north, Canada, affects the Royal game in the WORLD. It is not just the worldwide governing body of chess, FIDE, that impacts chess, fortunately. Chess stays viable because of the efforts of those in, for example, New Zealand, even though you may not here of what is going on with chess there, unless you make an effort do so. When the chess lights go out, for whatever reason, in any town, city, state, or nation, it has a negative impact on the game of chess. I urge you to read what Grant has to say, and to forward it to anyone and everyone, and ask them to do the same. “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect)
I believe there is a “butterfly effect.” I also believe that “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” What has happened to chess in my home state of Georgia is tragic. I can only hope that you who read this learn from the recent mistakes made here and do not let it happen in your part of the chess world.

“Good evening,

First, I’d like to thank many of you for supporting Southeast Chess in its first year of tournaments. Since our first event in March 2014, we have run over 25 events, attracting 250+ unique players from 15 states. Despite being a small operation, we have offered large open tournaments, scholastics, invitationals, Grand Prix, blitz, and action tournaments which have become a staple in the chess landscape in Georgia, and will continue to do so going forward.

Southeast Chess recognizes the following players for participating in 6 or more of our events in our first year:

Shanmukha Meruga – 22 tournaments
Grant Oen – 21
Frank Johnson – 16
Kapish Potula – 10
Amaan Pirani – 8
Sijing Wu – 8
Saithanusri Avirneni – 7
William Remick – 6
Phillip Taylor – 6
Rochelle Wu – 6

I would also like to express my personal opinions on the upcoming GCA election. The following positions are up for election at this year’s State Championship:

President: Fun Fong (incumbent), Frank Johnson
Secretary: Herky del Mundo, Greg Maness
2nd Member at Large: Steve Schneider, Ashley Thomas

The remaining board positions, not up for election this year, are filled by Vice Presidents Ben Johnson and Katie Hartley, Treasurer Amrita Kumar, and 1st Member at Large Laura Doman.

I will be voting the following ticket – President: Frank Johnson, Secretary: Herky del Mundo, 2nd Member at Large: Ashley Thomas. To have a positive say in the future of the GCA landscape, I strongly encourage you to do the same.

The GCA is in a long period of deterioration under the current administration. While scholastics have shown relative success in recent years, the GCA’s organization of open tournaments has proven to be a terrible insult to our royal game. The lethargic, unorganized, and indecisive “organization” under President Fong has devastated the hundreds of chess players in Georgia. Developing youngsters and seasoned masters alike have not been shown any respect as players by the GCA.

Fun Fong, additionally, has not fulfilled his designated role as GCA President. Supposedly, the responsibilities undertaken by his office are to support chess in Georgia through and through. However, Fun has shown a clear conflict of interest in only supporting the GCA’s events, and not providing any measure of support to the rest of the community.

For example, when former Emory Chess Club President Jeff Domozick and I were developing the idea for Southeast Chess to fill a meaningful gap in Georgia, we approached Fun to hear his thoughts and potential improvements on our business plans. His response could not have been more negative – he was critical of our idea, and warned us of the dangers and difficulties of running tournaments, strongly suggesting us to abandon the venture.

Of course, we were persistent, and although Jeff graduated Emory in Spring 2014, I have continued the Southeast Chess enterprise and hope that many of you would agree that it is a professionally-run and successful tournament business. Similar stories regarding Fun have been echoed by American Chess Promotions owner Thad Rogers and North Georgia Chess owner Kevin Schmuggerow, both of whom I greatly respect for their pursuits as chess organizers.

Throughout his tenure as GCA President, Fun has shown a clear preference for having all chess activities remain under the flailing umbrella of the GCA, and shuns all other ventures. Throughout Southeast Chess’ infancy, Fun was loathe to extend us help of any kind, threatening us not to use any TDs under the GCA’s umbrella. The President of the GCA should simply support all chess events in Georgia. Fun’s unprofessional behavior overall has led to many resignations on the GCA board and its subcommittees. Support for Fong among the rank and file in Georgia chess has been all but diminished.

Of course, there are many other reasons for which I could criticize the incumbent candidate (print magazine extinct, abuse of power, no support for players, school programs, or organizers), but I am of course also obligated to mention why I am voting for Frank Johnson.

Frank has significant chess experience in all capacities. He is an avid player, organizer, director, project manager, coach, parent, former GCA secretary, and overall chess supporter. He supports tournaments all across the state and country, and organizes and directs his own events under the popular Chess-coach.net label. He has years of experience and knowledge in working with developing chess communities, and has sponsored hundreds of local formal and informal chess meetups in the greater Atlanta area, including Atlanta Chess Mess.

As a personal aside, Frank proved essential in helping Southeast Chess get off the ground by providing critical organizational advice, helping to market the events, and playing in them himself. He served in an important management position in the Atlanta Kings chess team, a co-venture between my friend Thad Rogers and I.

Frank has shown significant expertise in all arenas of Georgia chess. Most importantly, he in unbiased in his vision to move the chess community forward. Right now there is a disconnect between players, organizers, and the GCA. Frank has essential plans in place for removing this disconnect for the benefit of all parties. He is a true chess professional who, as President, will develop the GCA into the association it should be. If you have questions or comments for Frank, he is always available at frankjohnson@chess-coach.net.

For the office of secretary, I support Herky del Mundo, organizer of the Atlanta Chess Club, active tournament player, director, and supporter. Herky has been influential in the outreach to GM Mark Paragua for the annual state championship. For the 2nd Member at Large position, I support Ashley Thomas, a long-time chess parent and player.

The election is open to current GCA members 18 years or older who have paid the $15 annual dues in the last year. A current membership is also required for Georgia players in play in the State Championship. The election will be held on Sunday, April 26 at 2:30pm, between rounds 4 and 5 of the Georgia State Championship in the Hotel Wyndham Hotel Galleria. If you are interested in voting but will not attend the state championship, email secretary@georgiachess.org to request an absentee ballot by 4/12, and have it returned to the secretary by the beginning of the tournament on 4/24.

Please remember to vote, as each eligible member can have a meaningful say towards change in the future of Georgia Chess.

Thank you.”

Grant

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Apology to Thad Rogers

In my post dated November 28, 2014, I mistakenly wrote that Grant Oen is the, “owner of the Atlanta Kings.” I took this from the Southeast Chess website (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html). Grant is the “Manager” of the Atlanta Kings. The impresario, L. Thad Rogers is the owner. My apologies to Thad. No slight was intended. I made a regretful mistake. Thad has tried for quite some time to bring a USCL team to Atlanta before succeeding.
For all of his foibles Thad has done much good for chess, not only in Georgia, but in the Southeast as well. In addition, I know Thad has helped many players throughout the years, and he has done it because he has a generous heart. One example will suffice to illustrate. Decades ago I was on a MARTA train heading to visit one of Thad’s tournaments when I encountered another chess player, called “Smokin’ Gun.” I nodded, Smokin’ Gun shot back a big grin and moved toward me. Upon mentioning I was headed to one of Thad’s tournaments and he asked, “You playing?”
“No, Smokin’ Gun, I said, I’m just going to visit. Why don’t you come with me?” He shook his head and said, “I can’t. I own Thad money.”
“What do you mean? Everyone has owed Thad money at one time or another. Come on by later if you can…Don’t dodge him…Tell him you haven’t forgotten about him, but circumstances are such that you can’t pay him back now, and he will be glad to see you..”
Hours later as I was about to leave, there was Smokin’ Gun, talking with Thad. On my way out the Gun grinned, saying, “It played out just like you said, man.”
Atlanta hosted the 1980 US Open because of Thad. When the Nashville Strangler hit it big at the World Open by winning the expert section, he made a point in the interview published in Chess Life to thank Thad for organizing all the tournaments in which he had played. FM Jerry Wheeler, along with LM Brian McCarthy, played so often some thought they lived in Atlanta. The same could be said for the “Little Hayseed,” Tom Waymouth, who took first in a “B” section of the World Open. Then there is Spencer Bledsoe, one of the Legendary Georgia Ironman’s students, who cut his teeth at the House of Pain before tying for first in an “A” section at the World Open. Spencer is best known for his part in the Survivor TV show. (http://survivor.wikia.com/wiki/Spencer_Bledsoe)
To top it off, FM Kazim Gulamali just played a match with IM Ron Burnett for the under 2500 money at the Millionaire Open. Ron, like the aforementioned Tennessee players, has played in as many of Thad’s tournaments as any Atlanta player. Kazim literally grew-up at the House. Together they brought $60,000 back South from Lost Wages!
Did I mentioned the time a former GCA President bankrupted the organization? Thad stepped in using his own money to keep the GCA solvent. I could go on and on, but why? Like everyone you know, or will ever know, Thad has entries on both the positive and negative side of the ledger, but he is one of the fortunate ones in which the positive outweighs the negative.
I know all of the above mentioned players, and the Legendary Ironman, will join me in saying, “Thank you, Thad, for all you have done for the Royal game.”

The Southeast Chess December Open

Grant Oen sent an email notice of the upcoming Southeast Chess December Open (12/5-12/7), which will be held at Emory University next weekend. Grant is an active, and strong, tournament player, who also happens to be owner of the Atlanta Kings. From all indications his tournaments are administered properly, unlike GCA tournaments, which are invariably replete with problems. All chess in Atlanta is not bad, though many may have that impression because of the ineptitude displayed by the incompetent people in power of the GCA.

I received an email from someone who attended the USCF business meetings at the US Open this year in which he wrote about looking around at those attending the meetings, who were almost all old(er), and wondering from where the next generation of leaders would come. Grant is one of those people who will lead chess in the right direction into the future. I urge you to support Mr. Oen. The GCA under the current administration has had a policy of holding events near tournaments held by independent promoters, raining on someone’s parade, in lieu of working with other promoters. As an example, only one of many, the ill-fated, and marred, 2014 GCA Class Championship, was held the weekend after the Southeast Chess November Open. Although I will not urge anyone to attend a GCA event, and I certainly would not advocate anyone consider participating in any event held by the GCA. I can, and fervently do, urge everyone to support Southeast Chess!

Grant has written an excellent article on the Southeast Chess November Open, which includes pictures and a plethora of games! Grant writes, “Prize checks were issued immediately as round 5 games started to conclude.” Contrast this with the GCA’s heterodox “The check is in the mail” policy. Check out the article at, http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/11/20/southeast-chess-november-open-results/.

The Southeast Chess December Open (12/5-12/7) is next weekend in Atlanta!

$4,000 guaranteed in 4 sections: Open, U2000, U1700, and U1400. There are place and class prizes in every section.

USCF Masters (2200+) must register by midnight this Friday, 11/28 to get discounted entry. GMs and IMs free! Early pre-registration for everyone ends next Wednesday, 12/3.

Grant Oen
Southeast Chess

Draw Eliminates Kings from Playoffs

The Atlanta Kings season ended last night when, needing a win, they could only manage a draw with the Sharks of Miami. The Kings were eliminated from the playoffs.

Week 10: Miami Sharks (MIA 2406) vs Atlanta Kings (ATL 2405)

​Tuesday, October 28, 7:40pm

1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA 2626) – Deepak Aaron (ATL 2446) 1/2

2. ​FM Kazim Gulamali (ATL 2397) – FM Marcel Martinez (MIA 2474) 0-1

3. Federico Gonzalez (MIA 2315) – FM Daniel Gurevich (ATL 2393) 1/2

​4. Richard Francisco ​(ATL 2382) – Oscar Maldonado (MIA 2209) ​1-0

Match Tied 2-2

Becerra,Julio (2626) – Aaron,Deepak (2446) [C78]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Na3 Bg4 12.Nxb5 0-0 13.Be3 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Bg5 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qxg5 17.Bxd5 Ne7 18.Bc4 exd4 19.Nxd4 Ng6 20.Nc6 Rbe8 21.Rfe1 Nh4 22.Qd5 Qf6 23.Kh1 g6 24.f4 Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Nf5 26.g3 Ne3 27.Qe4 Ng4 28.Kg2 Qd6 29.Ne7+ Kg7 30.Nd5 Nf6 31.Nxf6 Qxf6 32.Rd1 Rd8 33.Rxd8 Qxd8 34.Bd5 c5 35.Qe5+ Qf6 36.Kf3 Qxe5 37.fxe5 f5 38.Ke2 Bc7 39.e6 Kf6 40.Kd3 Ke7 41.Kc4 Bd6 42.Kb5 h5 43.Kc4 g5 44.Kd3 h4 45.gxh4 gxh4 46.h3 Kf6 47.Kc4 Ke7 48.Kb5 Kf6 49.Kc6 Be7 50.Bc4 Bf8 51.Kd7 Be7 52.Be2 Bf8 53.Bd3 f4 54.Be2 Be7 55.Bg4 Bf8 56.Bf3 Be7 57.Bd5 Bf8 58.Bf3 Be7 59.Bd5 1/2-1/2

Gulamali,Kazim (2397) – Martinez,Marcel (2474) [D18]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.d4 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Qb3 a5 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.Rd1 Qe7 13.f3 e5 14.e4 Bg6 15.Be3 Rfd8 16.d5 Bc5 17.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 18.Kh1 h5 19.Rd3 h4 20.Rf1 Rac8 21.Qa2 Qb4 22.b3 Nh5 23.Qf2 Nf4 24.Re3 Qc5 25.g3 Nh5 26.Kg2 Qe7 27.Kh1 Rd6 28.Ree1 hxg3 29.hxg3 Bh7 30.Rg1 Qg5 31.Rg2 Rg6 32.Reg1 Qh6 33.Rh2 Qg5 34.Rh3 Rh6 35.Kh2 Rd8 36.f4 Qe7 37.f5 Qg5 38.Kg2 Nf4+ 0-1

Gonzalez,Federico (2315) – Gurevich,Daniel (2393) [B30]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Nc3 dxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxc3 9.Nxc6 Nxd1 10.Nxd8 Kxd8 11.Kxd1 Be6 12.Bd3 Bd5 13.f3 e6 14.Bf4 Rc8 15.Ke2 Kd7 16.Rhc1 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Kxd6 18.a3 h6 19.Ke3 g5 20.Rc3 Rxc3 21.bxc3 Rc8 22.Kd2 f5 23.h4 f4 24.hxg5 hxg5 25.Rh1 g4 26.Be4 gxf3 27.gxf3 Bxe4 28.fxe4 Rg8 29.Rh6 Rg2+ 30.Kd3 Rg3+ 31.Kc4 b5+ 32.Kxb5 Re3 33.e5+ Kd5 34.Kb4 f3 35.Rf6 Ke4 36.Kc4 a6 37.Rf8 Re1 38.d5 exd5+ 39.Kc5 f2 40.e6 Kd3 41.Rxf2 Rxe6 42.Kxd5 Re8 43.Rf3+ Kc2 44.c4 Rd8+ 45.Kc5 Rc8+ 46.Kb4 Rb8+ 47.Ka5 Rc8 48.Rf4 Rc6 49.Kb4 Rb6+ 50.Kc5 Rb8 51.Kd6 Kb3 52.c5 Kxa3 53.c6 a5 54.c7 Rc8 55.Kd7 Rh8 56.c8Q Rxc8 57.Kxc8 a4 58.Kb7 Kb3 59.Kb6 a3 60.Kb5 a2 61.Rf1 Kb2 62.Kb4 a1Q 63.Rf2+ Kc1 64.Rf1+ Kb2 65.Rxa1 Kxa1 1/2-1/2

Francisco,Richard (2382) – Maldonado,Oscar (2209) [B30]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg4 6.Be3 e5 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nf6 9.Nd2 Nd7 10.Qg3 Qf6 11.0-0 Qg6 12.Qh2 Be7 13.Nc4 Qe6 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 0-0 16.a4 b5 17.Ne3 c4 18.Nf5 Bf6 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.Nd4 Qe7 21.Nf5 Qe6 22.Bg5 Bxg5 23.Qxg5 Ng6 24.h4 Qd7 25.Qg4 Qa7+ 26.d4 f6 27.Kh1 Rad8 28.h5 Kf7 29.c3 Ne7 30.Qxg7+ Ke8 31.axb5 cxb5 32.Rxa6 Qb7 33.Nd6+ Rxd6 34.Rxd6 Qxe4 35.Rd8+ Kxd8 36.Qxf8+ Kd7 37.Qxf6 Qe2 38.Qf3 Qxb2 39.Qb7+ Ke8 40.Re1 Qa3 41.Qxb5+ Kf7 42.Qxc4+ Kg7 43.Qb4 Qxb4 44.cxb4 Nd5 45.b5 Kf6 46.Re5 Nb6 47.Rc5 Ke7 48.Rc6 Nd5 49.b6 Kd7 50.b7 Kxc6 51.b8Q Nb6 52.Qe5 Nd5 53.Qe6+ Kc7 54.Qxd5 Kc8 55.Qf7 Kb8 56.Qxh7 Kc8 57.Qg7 Kb8 58.h6 Ka8 59.h7 1-0

Because of the rating cap it is difficult to take the USCL seriously. Each team must have an average rating of 2400 except when, “3. Any player rated above 2600 will count as only 2600 when determining whether a lineup has a legal average; this is done to reward teams for using the strongest players in the country on their rosters.” Or when, “4. Any player rated below 2000 will count as 2000 when determining whether a lineup has a legal average; this is done to keep lineups reasonably balanced.” (http://uschessleague.com/rules.php)

This makes no sense whatsoever. When the Kings played the St. Louis Arch Bishops GM Wesley So, the number ten player in the world, was rated 2751, yet for USCL purposes his rating was considered to be 2600. Theoretically, a team could field three 2700 players and an 1800 on last board under USCL rules. If the 2700 rated players were actually considered to be 2700, then the last board would have to be manned by a player rated 1500. This obviously greatly favors teams fortunate enough to have players rated over 2600, lessening the chance an underdog team has of making the playoffs. Like the tax laws in this country favoring the wealthy and corporations, now considered “people” under the law (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/how-supreme-court-turned-corporations-people-200-year-saga) & (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/03/corporations_are_people_and_that_s_why_hobby_lobby_should_lose_at_the_supreme.html), USCL rules favor the teams rich in higher rated players. Unless and until the rules are changed the USCL has little credibility.

The Kings were led this season by NM Richard Francisco, who scored an amazing 7 1/2 out of 9 games. The Frisco Kid played 3 games more than any other player, and scored an astounding 4 1/2 more points than the second highest scoring player, NM Damir Studen. He also had the highest PR. If a team MVP is chosen, Mr. Francisco is the man.

1. GM Alonso Zapata 2555 – 1.0/3 (2518 PR)

2. Deepak Aaron 2446 – 1.5/5 (2309 PR)

​3. IM Carlos Perdomo 2400 – 1.5/3​ (2524 PR)

4. FM Kazim Gulamali 2397 – 0.5/4​ (2172 PR)

​5. FM Daniel Gurevich 2393 – 1.5/3 (2412 PR)

​6. Richard Francisco 2382 – 7.5/9​ (2531 PR)​

​7. Damir Studen 2372 – 3.0/6 (2439 PR)

8. Michael Corallo 2284 – 1.0/2 (2115 PR)

9. Leonardo Martinez 2266 – 2.0/3 (2395 PR)

​10. Sanjay Ghatti 2245 – 0.0/1 (1870 PR)

11. Lawrence White 2179 – 0.5/1 (2074 PR)
(http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html)

Get Smart: Missed it by that much

Black Atlanta Kings Member Denied Ga Open Entry

Thinking the match between the Kings and Ospreys began at seven I was early in arriving at Emory University, where the Kings play. The first player to arrive was Expert Lawrence White, who was to play his first game as a King. Mr. White is a tall, large man with a huge smile, which was on display when he noticed me. He is an intelligent, educated, likable person whose comportment while at the House of Pain was always that of a gentleman.After purchasing a snack, which would substitute for dinner, as he had come directly from work, Lawrence walked over to say hello.
I have known Lawrence since he first appeared at the Atlanta Chess Center in 1997. He is a friendly gentleman and a talented chess player, who is obviously serious about his game. During our conversation I was taken aback when he said he was refused entry to the recent Georgia Open. “What?” I exclaimed, and asked Lawrence to elaborate. He explained, “The registration was from eight AM until eight-thirty and I arrived just before the closing time. I saw Fun Fong standing on something giving a speech, so I found his assistant and told him I would like to enter. He looked at his watch and said it was eight-thirty two. My watch showed eight-thirty.”
It took me a few moments to wrap my head around what I had just heard. Gathering myself, I asked the name of the person he had encountered. Lawrence did not know his name, but after describing the man I said, “That was not an assistant, but the Chief TD, Ben Johnson.” Rather than making waves, Lawrence decided he would not play in the event.
Realizing something like this would never have occurred when the GCA held their events at the House of Pain, I apologized. “Why are you apologizing?” he asked, “I know you would not have done it.” He was correct because just a few years ago every accommodation was made to allow a player, any player, to participate in a GCA event held at the House of Pain. What I did not tell Lawrence, who happens to be an American of African descent, was that I immediately thought of something my friend Mr. William A. Scott, an Expert player back when there were only a few players rated over 2000, publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, a well-respected Black newspaper, and a member of the first incarnation of the Atlanta Kings, told me many decades ago when he said, “Mike, the difference between us is that to Negroes, everything is considered racial, while to White people nothing is race related.” I have heard this many times during my life and have always tried to keep it in mind in my relations with my fellow humans who happen to have been born with a darker skin pigmentation, for I know that when that skin is removed there is no difference in the human body.
I have no idea what was in the mind of Ben Johnson when he denied entry to Mr. Lawrence White. As far as I know it could have been GM Michael Rohde, who has played in Atlanta previously, asking to enter the tournament and Ben, a member of what has become known as the “Know Nothing” party who has taken control of chess in Georgia, would not have known him from Adam. I have no idea how much race played in the Chief TD’s decision. What I do know is that Ben Johnson saw a rather large Black man standing there and the pairings had already been made, so he refused to go to the trouble of making new pairings, something made quick and simple with the advent of the computer pairing programs.
Appalled at the whole situation, I asked Lawrence if I could quote him on the blog and he said, “Sure.”
There were only a few higher rated adults entered and Mr. White would have added stature to the Georgia Open, something completely lost on Ben Johnson. Who is Ben Johnson? I have come to think of him as the “Weird Hockey Guy” of chess. The Legendary Georgia Ironman shuddered at the mention of this, and this is why. Tim and I were doing sports memorabilia shows in the 90’s before the collapse of the card market. During one show a goofy fellow appeared at our table, asking if we would like to purchase a large box of unopened Hockey cards. I had no interest, but the Ironman engaged the rather strange fellow in conversation. Weird Hockey Guy told Tim he had absolutely no interest in the pieces of cardboard of any type. “I am in it only for the money.” In the best capitalist tradition the Weird Hockey Guy would “buy low and sell high.” With the possibility of the MLB strike looming and the encounter with the WHG in mind, I decided to sell everything and get out of the business because it was obvious the card market bubble had burst.
When first meeting Ben Johnson he said, “I don’t know anything about real chess; I come from the scholastic side.” Not only did he try to argue with me about what constituted stalemate, but he also said, “I’m in chess only for the money.” It was obvious I had met the Weird Chess Guy.
Ben Johnson is the Vice President of the Georgia Chess Association. The Ironman mentioned recently that Ben Johnson had organized a one day camp for children in which he would collect $90 for each child from the parents of 30 children. Ben is rated 647. Please note that as Chief TD of the Ga Open Ben Johnson played a rated game during the final round, which he won. Once this game is rated Ben will reach the stratospheric heights of, for Ben, 697.
In his forward to the wonderful book, “The Stress of Chess…and its Infinite Finesse,” by GM Walter Browne, IM Danny Kopec writes, “There is simply no reasonable living to be made in chess in this country…”
“Instead we encourage mediocrity and top players are often left in the cold. By mediocrity, I mean situations like players who have barely reached expert level (or below) making a reasonable regular salary teaching in schools, while the great players, analysts and writers must struggle to make ends meet.”

Bob Dylan Only a Pawn in Their Game March on Washington 1963

http://www.eyeneer.com/video/rock/bob-dylan/only-a-pawn-in-their-game

Kings Lose, Francisco Wins Again

The Atlanta Kings went down to the Rio Grande Ospreys in USCL action last night. Heavily outgunned on the top two boards and having to play with only 66 minutes, versus 84 for the Pandion haliaetus, or Fish Hawks, whichever you prefer, because of a last minute lineup change that did not benefit Atlanta rating wise, the Kings almost drew the match when, down 1-2, Lawrence White, playing his first game for the Kings, managed to get a Rook, Bishop, and Knight into his opponents position with mating chances, while down three pawns! Unfortunately for the Kings the game ended in a draw by repetition.

This leaves the Kings tied for fifth in the Southern Division, but only a half game behind Baltimore and Connecticut. Wonder if one can order grits in the land of the Dreadnoughts? The regular season ends next week with the Kings facing the Sharks of Miami, while the Dreadnoughts face off against the Kingfishers. Baltimore should have spelled their name, “Kingfischers.” Although tied with Atlanta with a score of 3 1/2-5 1/2, the Cobras have been eliminated from the playoffs while the Kings are still alive. I have no idea why…

The Frisco Kid has now scored 6 1/2 out of 8 and is tied for fourth place in the USCL with 17 1/2 points. I have no idea how the USCL point system works. His PR is a Grandmasterly 2522.

Francisco, Richard (2382) – Guerrero, Alejandra WIM (2110) [C02]
USCL Week 9 Internet Chess Club, 22.10.2014

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 f6 7.0-0 fxe5 8.dxe5 Qc7 9.Re1 g6 10.Na3 a6 11.Bf4 Bg7 12.Qd2 Nge7 13.Bd3 0-0 14.Rad1 b5 15.Bb1 Rad8 16.h4 d4 17.cxd4 cxd4 18.Bg5 Bc8 19.Rc1 Bb7 20.Be4 Rc8 21.Nxd4 Qxe5 22.Nxc6 Nxc6 23.Bxc6 Qxb2 24.Qxb2 Bxb2 25.Bxb7 Rb8 26.Rc7 Bxa3 27.Rxe6 Rf7 28.Rxf7 Kxf7 29.Bd5 Kg7 30.Rxa6 Bc5 31.Rc6 1-0

Serna, Jeffrey (2074) – White, Lawrence (2179) [B90]
USCL Week 9 Internet Chess Club, 22.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.a4 b6 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.Nd2 Bb7 11.Bc4 h6 12.Bxf6 Nxf6 13.Qe2 Be7 14.0-0 0-0 15.Rfd1 Rfd8 16.Nf1 Bf8 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.Bxd5 Ra7 19.Ne3 Rc8 20.c3 Qb8 21.Nc2 Rc5 22.Nb4 Qc8 23.Bb3 a5 24.Nd3 Rcc7 25.Ne1 Qa8 26.Bd5 Qe8 27.Nc2 Rc5 28.Ne3 Qb8 29.Qd3 Qc8 30.Bb3 Nh5 31.g3 Qd8 32.Nc4 Rd7 33.Na3 Qg5 34.Qf3 Nf6 35.Nb5 Qg6 36.Re1 Nh7 37.h4 Nf6 38.Rad1 Qg4 39.Qxg4 Nxg4 40.f3 Nf6 41.Rd3 h5 42.Red1 Rc6 43.Bd5 Rc8 44.Na3 g6 45.Bc4 d5 46.Bb5 Rdd8 47.Nc2 d4 48.R3d2 Bh6 49.Rd3 Rf8 50.Na3 Rc5 51.Nc4 Rb8 52.cxd4 exd4 53.Rxd4 Rbc8 54.e5 Nh7 55.Rd8+ Nf8 56.Rxc8 Rxc8 57.f4 Ne6 58.Nxb6 Rc7 59.Nc4 Bf8 60.Nxa5 Rc2 61.Nc4 Bc5+ 62.Kh1 Nd4 63.Rd2 Rc1+ 64.Kg2 Nf5 65.Nd6 Rg1+ 66.Kh2 Nh6 67.Ne4 Ng4+ 68.Kh3 Be3 69.Re2 Rh1+ 70.Kg2 Rg1+ 71.Kh3 Rh1+ 72.Kg2 Rg1+ 73.Kf3 Rf1+ 74.Kg2 Rg1+ 1/2-1/2

St. Louis Leaves Atlanta Singing the Blues

The St. Louis Arch Bishops defeated the Atlanta Kings by a score of 3-1 in USCL action last night. Richard Francisco scored the Kings lone point with a win over FM Doug Eckert on board three. St. Louis was led by the $100,000 chess man, GM Wesley So, playing only a couple of nights after winning the Millionaire Open, who defeated GM Alonso Zapata on first board. GM Ben Finegold, with the Black pieces, defeated FM Daniel Gurevich. NM Matthew Larson also won with the Black pieces, besting the Kings NM Leo Martinez on fourth board.
Statistics on the Southeast Chess website show the Arch Bishops with an average rating of 2469, which is 69 points over the 2400 limit. How is this possible? I cannot explain this anomaly. If anyone can explain why one side is allowed to field a team 69 points over the limit, please leave a comment, or email me at: xpertchesslessons@yahoo.com.

Week 8: St. Louis Arch Bishops (STL 2469) vs Atlanta Kings (ATL 2399)
Wednesday, October 15, 8:00pm
1. GM Wesley So (STL 2751) – GM Alonso Zapata (ATL 2555) 1-0
2. FM Daniel Gurevich (ATL 2393) – GM Ben Finegold (STL 2591) 0-1
3. FM Doug Eckert (STL 2281) – Richard Francisco (ATL 2382) 0-1
4. Leo Martinez (ATL 2266) – Matthew Larson (STL 2251) 0-1
​St. Louis Wins 3-1 (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html)

The Frisco Kid has now scored 5 1/2 out of 7 games and has a 2532 performance rating.

Eckert,Doug (2281) – Francisco,Richard (2382) [A15]
USCL Week 8 Internet Chess Club, 15.10.2014

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qd1 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Nb3 Ne4 12.Be3 Bf6 13.Nbd4 Bg4 14.Rc1 Rc8 15.Qa4 Qd7 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Bd4 c5 18.Qxd7 Bxd7 19.Bxf6 Nxf6 20.e3 Bf5 21.Rfd1 Red8 22.Ne5 c4 23.g4 Nxg4 24.Nxg4 Bxg4 25.Rxd5 Be6 26.Rxd8+ Rxd8 27.Bf1 Rc8 28.Rc3 Kf8 29.b3 cxb3 30.Rxc8+ Bxc8 31.axb3 Ke7 32.Bd3 a5 33.Bc4 f6 34.Kf1 Kd6 35.Ke2 Kc5 36.Kd3 Kb4 37.f3 g5 38.Kd4 Bh3 39.Bg8 h5 40.Ke4 Kc3 41.Bf7 h4 42.f4 g4 43.Be6 Bg2+ 44.Kf5 g3 45.hxg3 h3 0-1
The Kings are in third place in the Southern division, with a record of 3 1/2-4 1/2, two points behind the Archies, but only one point behind the Sharks of Miami. Next week the Sharks face-off with the Dallas Destiny, while the Kings battle the Rio Grande Ospreys in the penultimate round of the regular season. The finale has the Kings facing the Sharks, a match which could determine a spot in the playoffs.

Daughter Maitland – St. Louis Blues (Boardwalk Empire)