The 2019 Mr. Phillip Taylor Georgia State Chess Championship

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,

Michael,

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 gcaboard@georgiachess.org. That reaches all board members. And Mr. Taylor is very much alive and kicking. That much I do know.

Best Regards,

Scott

After forwarding the above to every board member only one reply was received, from 2nd Member-at-large Anna Baumstark, who wrote:

Hi,
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
tournament.

Thanks,
Anna

Having a desire to play Chess, in addition to a desire to meet Mr. Philip Taylor, sent me to the website to learn the particulars of the tournament, which can be found at: http://www.georgiachess.org/event-3086683. There is also a PDF if interested: http://www.georgiachess.org/resources/Documents/2018-2019%20Open/2019%20Georgia%20State%20%20Championship.pdf

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.”
Phil G.
Knoxville, TN

Ouch!

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

https://www.yelp.com/biz/radisson-hotel-atlanta-marietta-marietta

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.

Advertisements

An Encounter with Senator John McCain

I never cared for Senator John McCain


(Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

because he was a Republican, and Tricky Dicky Nixxon was a Republican. John McCain was also a member of what has become known as the “Keating Five.” McCain was even called “The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five.” (https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/mccain-the-most-reprehensible-of-the-keating-five-6431838)

Yet there he was running for the office of POTUS. I thought even less of him when he chose Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate, for obvious reasons, as everyone now knows. He sunk even lower after the encounter which is detailed below.

After the election, which he lost, my thinking began to change because of comments he made about his opponent during the election. Chris Matthews,

on his MSNBC show, played a video I had not seen previously a short time before Senator McCain’s recent death. I have tried, in vain, to find the video, which could have been from the Al Smith dinner, on the internet, but this one, which I had previously seen, was located:

This, in the final analysis, is the measure of the man, a good man who made mistakes, and admitted making them. Although I did not care for his politics, in the same way I did not particularly care for the politics of my Republican Mother, with whom many political discussions were held over the course of our life. I have come to feel we, the Senator and I, could have discussed politics with both of us coming away with respect for the other, even though we disagreed on many issues. One learns, and grows, upon listening to the ideas of others, even if one does not agree with those ideas.

Senator John McCain was a war hero. Because he was the son of a prominent former Navy Admiral, John McCain, after being captured, was offered early release by the North Vietnamese. He refused. Senator John McCain was an honorable man. It has galled hearing the clearly insane man who now occupies the highest office in the land, Donald PoppinJay Trump,


(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

make disparaging comments about Senator John McCain. PoppinJay Trump demeaned himself while attempting to demean Senator John McCain. The Trumpster did not serve his country because he had a “bone spur.” Many children of the wealthy obtained some kind of deferment for many different reasons. PoppinJay Trump is the only one I ever heard of who skated out of ‘Nam with a “bone spur.” Donald PopinJay Trump does not belong in the same room with Senator John McCain.

John McCain deserves all the accolades he will be given. The traitor Donald PopinJay Trump deserves a cell in prison.

I cannot tell you exactly when the following occurred but because it involves someone as prominent as Senator John McCain the exact date can be obtained. From has been learned from my extensive research, which includes numerous studies of my brain, I realize memory is selective. Memories can be jumbled, conflated and inflated. What is known, however, is the more emotional a memory the longer lasting it will become. I have met a president but this is the closest I have come to a Senator.

Jim Peay, the fine dispatcher at Checker Cab Company in Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid-1980’s, asked me over the radio to call him on the phone. Since I needed to come by the shop to “gas-up” with propane there was no need to make the call. CCC was always trying new things and this was the latest. When I drove for CCC during the olympics in 1996 they were using Compressed Natural Gas, usually shortened to CNG. Jim said, “Mike, Senator John McCain’s group needs to be picked-up at the Atlanta Histerical (Historical) Center (http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/) and they need five cabs, all going to the airport. Since you are probably the only cab driver who has been to the place I want you to get there early and direct the others because there are five different pick-up points. McCain will be the last to leave so you should be able to see each one gets off. Radio me when each one leaves. You got that?!”

“Yeah, Jim, I got it,” I said. The tank was filled and immediately headed to the ‘Head…

I directed the other cabs, calling Jim each time one left. “One down, four to go!” Jim said, counting down until it was, “Four down and Bacon, YOUR’RE IT!”

There were limo’s there, but it was Buckhead; limo’s were everywhere, and I thought nothing off it because not a night went by without seeing at least one limo in action. Then the Senator appeared. I dropped the cigarette and stubbed it out. The Senator came out an unexpected door just to my upper front left side. The Senator was surrounded by people. Then someone broke off from the group and walked toward me as the Senator and his entourage continued walking straight toward the limo in front of me. “The Senator has decided to take alternate transportation,” he stated.

I was stunned speechless for about a nano second before erupting, “That will be a three dollar void fee!” The poor young fellow put his hands in his pockets, bringing them out empty. He shrugged before saying, “I don’t have any money.”

“Then you better get it from one of those wealthy people with you,” I said. He turned, walking briskly toward the group. He said something to them before returning to inform me they had no cash, either. Just as he ended Senator John McCain was entering the limo. He turned to me and raised his hand, giving me the peace sign along with a smile.

Beyond livid, I gave him the finger!

I will never forget the shocked look on his face. The others began hurriedly scrambling, some getting into the limo and others heading in different directions, double time. “You better come up with some money you cheap S.O.B. or I’ll have you arrested!” I shouted, as he backed away before turning and running toward the last car, which pulled away at a high rate of speed as soon as he entered. The door was not completely closed as they made their getaway…

As they pulled away I got into the cab and made the call to the dispatcher. “Jim,” I said, “The Senator decided to take alternate transportation.”

“What?!” came the reply.

“Yeah, and I did not even get a void fee,” I said.

“Well I’ll be goddamned,” was his reply. He added, “I don’t believe this SHIT!” What he said was a violation of FCC rules and he could have been fired for saying it on air. He was not fired because how could they have terminated the man when, after hearing the story, they would have probably said the same thing.

As I headed out of the Histerical Center Jim called me saying, “Mike, the only call I’m holding is a little old lady at a grocery store in Brookhaven.”

“I’ll take it, Jim. At least I know she will be there,” was the response.

The sweet woman was not going too far, something for which she apologized. “You do not have to apologize lady, it’s part of my job. You need to get home, don’t you?” She smiled and I told her the story of my recent encounter with “fame.” When I came to the end she said, “Good for you!”

She had a trunk load and lived on the top floor of a three story apartment, so up I went, making several trips. When the last bag was put down she opened a change purse like my grandmother used and took out a quarter. “I’m so sorry I cannot give you more,” she said.

This made me think of something Johnny Jones, an old man who had driven for Buckhead Safety since it began after World War II, said when I came into the office the first week of driving, bitchin’ because someone did not give me a tip. He looked me stright in the eye and said, “I’m happy if they just give me what’s on the meter, ’cause some of ’em don’t.”

“Ma’am,” I began, “You gave me more that a United States Senator, and for that I am grateful.” She smiled sweetly as I took my leave…

The following Monday I was called into the office, which was crowded. It was a family owned company and it looked more like a family reunion than an office. I had yet to meet some of these people because they did not often come to the place. Upon entering I was told to “sit-down.” A seat directly in front of the owner who ran the company was pointed out, so I took it. The owner looked at me and said, “Is it true you gave the finger to US Senator John McCain?”

“Yes sir,” I answered. He was quiet for a moment while staring into my eyes…”Well,” he said, “Don’t every flip-off a US Senator again.”

There was a three or four second delay until the room ERUPTED IN LAUGHTER! Then, one by one, they all shook my hand, saying things like, “I’ll be damned,” and, “If that don’t beat all,” and “I just wanted to meet the man who gave the bird to Senator John McCain!”

I was no longer driving when CCC had their fiftieth anniversary party but was invited. I was the only person in attendance who was not actually working for the company or a family member of someone who was working, or owned, the company. There was a drawing with many items given away. The last was a really nice CCC jacket. The son of the owner pulled out a slip we had signed and looked me straight in the eye. Then he turned to the supervisor, my friend TDub, handing him the paper. He drew another and it was the husband of one of the long-term employees.

TDub walked over and said, “Mike…” I cut him off. “I know it was my name Rick drew, TDub.”

“How did you know?” TDub asked.

“Because he looked right at me.”

“Well I’ll be damned,” he said. “You don’t mind?”

“No, because in his place I probably would’ve done the same.” My friend smiled.

Fast forward some years to when the Olympics were held in Atlanta. CCC had purchased many brand spankin’ new Crown Vics running on CNG, one of which was for me. Because I was a “new” driver this caused extremely hard feelings among some of the current drivers because there were not enough new taxis for every driver and every driver wanted one. Some were outraged and things were said, not only to me. One driver in particular was very vocal, causing dissension in the ranks. TDub took the man aside and gave him the facts of life. Later the man approached while putting CNG into the cab, and I feared trouble. He got right up in my face and said, “You really give the bird to Senator John McCain?” he asked.

“Yes sir, I did.”

“He extended his hand while saying, “Well I’ll be damned. If that don’t beat all…I don’t know what does!” As we shook hands he said, “I hope you can forgive me for the things I said. I didn’t know…”

“I accept your apology, sir. Now let’s go put some money in our pockets!” He grinned.

Weiqi (Go) Versus Chess

“Using a universally relevant metaphor, Zbigniew Brzezinski,

former National Security Adviser to US president Jimmy Carter,

wrote in The Grand Chessboard,

published in 1997 (http://www.takeoverworld.info/Grand_Chessboard.pdf): “Eurasia is the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.” China’s New Silk Road strategy certainly integrates the importance of Eurasia but it also neutralizes the US pivot to Asia by enveloping it in a move which is broader both in space and in time: an approach inspired by the intelligence of Weiqi has outwitted the calculation of a chess player.”
“The chronicle by Japanese writer Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972) of an intense intellectual duel, translated in English as The Master of Go,

contributed to the popularity of the game in the West, but Weiqi is a product of the Chinese civilization and spread over time in the educated circles of Northeast Asia. Kawabata, who viewed the Master as one of his favorite creations, knew that for China the game of “abundant spiritual powers encompassed the principles of nature and the universe of human life,” and that the Chinese had named it “the diversion of the immortals.”
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-gosset/weiqi-versus-chess_b_6974686.html)

Several years ago I contrasted the number of players in the US Chess Open with the number of players in the US Go Congress, posting the findings on the United States Chess Federation forum, and was excoriated for so doing, except for one person, Michael Mulford, who put the nattering nabobs of negativism to shame by congratulating me for “good work.” Basically, the numbers showed Chess losing players while Go had gained enough to have caught up with, and surpassed, Chess. It has continued to the point that if one thinks of it as a graph, with Chess in the top left hand corner; and Go in the bottom left hand corner, an “X” would appear.

I have spent some time recently cogitating about why this has come to pass. Certainly world Chess (FIDE) being administered as a criminal enterprise for at least a quarter of a century has not helped the cause of the Royal game. It has not helped that members of the USCF policy board have stated things like it being better to work within a corrupt system than to leave the corrupt system. See my post, Scott Parker Versus Allen Priest, of November 29, 2017 (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=alan+priest)

Now that the bank account of FIDE, the world governing body of Chess, has been closed I do not foresee anything but further decline for the game of Chess. IM Malcolm Pein,

Mr. Everything tin British Chess, commented for Chessdom, “The statement from the FIDE Treasurer was alarming to say the least, but not totally unexpected. As the statement said, we had been warned. All legal means should be used to remove Ilyumzhinov

from office as soon as possible. Taking away his executive authority has not been good enough for the bank and FIDE will experience difficulty finding another institution to handle it’s accounts and this threatens the viability of the organisation. ((http://www.chessdom.com/trouble-for-chess-as-swiss-bank-account-closed/))

Although both Weiqi (Go in America) and Chess are board games there are major differences between the two. The following encapsulates the drastic difference between the two games:

R. Saxon, Member of a GO club in Tokyo (3k). USCF B rated at chess
Updated Mar 14 2017

From my experience, GO players are far friendlier and more polite than Chess players, who are prone to both trash talk and to gloating after a win. This is especially true for club players and younger players. Chess players may engage in gamesmanship to psych out their opponent. I’ve known quite a few superb Chess players that were real nut cases. More than just a few, actually.

That has not been my experience with GO players. GO players are almost always successful and well-adjusted outside of GO. GO players are willing to say with sincerity that they enjoyed a game that they just lost. I don’t recall a Chess player ever being so gracious.

The nature of the game is a good indicator of the personality of the players that like them. Chess is an attacking game in which you try to control the center. It’s very direct and may be over quickly if a player makes a mistake. The idea of a “Checkmate” is like a home run or a touchdown. It’s a sudden and dramatic moment that appeals to a particular type of person.

Chess appeals to people who like to attack and who savor the win over the process.

GO, on the hand, is a slower game which starts at the corners and edges and only gradually moves to the center. It’s extremely complicated, but in a subtle way. GO strategy is indirect. It’s a game of influence and efficiency more than a game of capture. The best players are those that know how to sacrifice pieces for territory elsewhere or to take the initiative. Making tradeoffs are key. There’s usually no “checkmate” type moment or fast victory.

GO is a game of patience and position. It appeals to very bright people who don’t expect to win quickly but who are willing to earn success one small step at a time. GO players enjoy the process as much as the win.
(https://www.quora.com/What-do-chess-players-think-of-Go-and-Go-players)

There are many Chess players involved with Go. Natasha Regan,

a Woman Chess International Master who has represented the English women’s team at both Chess and Go, says: “When I learnt Go I was fascinated. It has a similar mix of strategy and tactics that you find in Chess and, with just a few simple rules, Go uncovers a whole new world of possibilities and creativity. Chess players may also find that they can use their Chess experience to improve in Go very quickly. I highly recommend learning this ancient but ever new game!” (https://www.britgo.org/learners/chessgo.html)

Consider, for example, this by Mike Klein: “Many cultures have nationally popular strategy games, but rarely do top chess players “cross the streams” and take other games seriously. That is not the case with GMs Tiger Hillarp Persson and Alexander Morozevich,

who long ago claimed the top title in chess, and who both now take go somewhat seriously.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/chess-go-chess-go-morozevich-beats-tiger-in-dizzying-match-2272) Check out Tiger’s website and you will see annotated Go games along with Chess games (https://tiger.bagofcats.net/). Chess Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich

plays in Go tournaments,

and holds Go classes.

(https://chess24.com/en/read/news/morozevich-on-go-computers-and-cheating)

AlphaGo has done for the game of Go in America what Bobby Fischer did for the game of Chess when he defeated the World Chess Champion, Boris Spassky, in 1972.

The number of people playing Go has increased dramatically in the past few years. After the world-wide release of a new movie about Go, The Surrounding Game,

the number of people playing Go will increase exponentially. In a very short period of time the game of Go will be unrivaled, leaving all other board games in its wake.

Sometime around 1980 a place named Gammons opened in the Peachtree Piedmont shopping center located in the section of Atlanta called Buckhead, the “high-end” district of Atlanta. In was a restaurant/bar, which contained tables with inlaid Backgammon boards.

I quit my job at a bookstore and began punching the proverbial time clock at Gammons, which closed at four am. The Backgammon craze burned brightly for a short period of time, as do most fads, such as putt-putt. Few remember the time when putt-putt was so popular it was on television, and the professional putters earned as much, if not more, that professional golfers.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/magazine/putting-for-the-fences.html)

Although quite popular for centuries, Chess lost its luster after the human World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, was defeated by a computer program known as Deep Blue,

a product of the IBM corporation. The defeat by AlphaGo, a computer program from Google’s Deep Mind project, of first Lee Sedol,

one of the all-time great Go players, and then Ke Jie,

currently the top human Go player in the world, has, unlike Chess, been a tremendous boon for the ancient game of Go, which is riding a crest of popularity, while interest in Chess has waned.

I have wondered about the situation in the world considering the rise of China and the decline of the USA.

For example, consider these headlines:

China’s Rise, America’s Fall by Tyler Durden (https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-25/chinas-rise-americas-fall)

China’s rise didn’t have to mean America’s fall. Then came Trump. By Zachary Karabell(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/15/chinas-rise-didnt-have-to-mean-americas-fall-then-came-trump/?utm_term=.59f66290ffff)

Is China’s Rise America’s Fall? by Glenn Luk (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/01/03/is-chinas-rise-americas-fall/#41bd7a0d1e5f)

Also to be considered is the stark difference between the two games. It could be that the people of the planet are moving away from the brutal, war like, mindset of a war like game such as Chess and toward a more cerebral game such as Go.

“While in chess or in Chinese chess (xiangqi)


http://georgiachessnews.com/2018/01/09/why-you-need-to-learn-xiangqi-for-playing-better-chess/

the pieces with a certain preordained constraint of movement are on the board when the game begins, the grid is empty at the opening of the Weiqi game. During a chess game, one subtracts pieces; in Weiqi, one adds stones to the surface of the board. In the Classic of Weiqi, the author remarks that “since ancient times, one has never seen two identical Weiqi games.”

“In Written in a Dream, the polymath and statesman Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072), a magister ludi, captures the depth and mystery of Weiqi: “The Weiqi game comes to an end, one is unaware that in the meantime the world has changed.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-gosset/weiqi-versus-chess_b_6974686.html

Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy

While tooling around the interweb looking for information on the Land of the Sky Chess tournament which began last night (the second, hurry-up part of the first round is ongoing as I punch & poke) I discovered a nice article featuring the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy.

Notice the sign proclaiming only “Chess Club.” I began playing at the Atlanta Chess Club, which was held in a YMCA on Lucky street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. It is where I won the 1976 Atlanta Chess Championship. My most vivid memory, though, is of the time there was a running gun battle right below on Lucky street, with real bullets being fired, between the cops and crooks. Most players went to the window to spectate. Fortunately, we were on the second floor so no bullets came our way. So engrossed in my fifteen minute game I stayed seated during the reality “show.” There was a Manhatten Chess Club, which is no longer in existence, and the Marshall Chess Club (http://www.marshallchessclub.org/), which is still open. The website shows an Adult Chess Class “Every Tuesday Night!” The oldest Chess club in the US is the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Club in San Francisco (http://www.chessclub.org/index.php). All ages are welcome at these venerable Chess clubs with no need for adding the word scholastic like all newer Chess clubs, such as the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center (https://saintlouischessclub.org/), have done.

The headline is:

Master level chess player operates Charlotte’s first center dedicated to the game at age 26
By Randy Wheeless – December 19, 2017

“Since middle school, chess has been an integral part of Peter Giannatos’ life. He’s participated in more than 200 tournaments, and is recognized as a master level player. In fact, he’s a top-10 player in the state.

After graduating from UNC Charlotte in 2014, Giannatos, 26, figured he would concentrate on joining the working world. He had dreams of making chess his career, but knew that could be a longshot.

A longshot he has spent the last three years making a reality. Over that time, Giannatos became the owner and operator of the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. Located on Camden Road, near the LYNX East/West stop in South End, the center has more than 150 members – making it Charlotte’s first full-time center devoted solely to chess.”

https://www.charlottefive.com/giannatos-chess-center/


Peter Giannatos

It looks real nice, unlike the Atlanta Chess Club & Game Center, which was also known as “The Dump” for good reason. As a matter of fact, the Charlotte Club looks downright OPULENT in comparison!

Although growing by leaps and bounds, Charlotte is no where near as large a city as Atlanta, especially when surrounding cities many miles away not in the city limits use Atlanta as their city in much the same way as people in the area of Atlanta known as Buckhead, where the Governor’s mansion is located, have done. The ‘Head has kept expanding because every business wants to be known as being part of Buckhead. One hundred fifty members seems a strong number of members for the relatively new Chess club.

I do not know the exact number of members the ACC&GC had at any time, but I do recall returning to work there when it had dropped to only a handful, or maybe two handfuls. It got back to me that the owner, Thad Rogers, said upon my return the number of members had grown to almost as many when the place first opened, which made me proud.

I hope to be able to visit the CCC&SA before I go to the Chess club in the sky. For all of my international readers, if you come down South I hope you include the Charlotte CC&SA in your itinerary.

The Laws of the Najdorf

My subscription to the best Chess magazine ever published in the history of the Royal Game, New In Chess, expired with the 2017/6 issue. Although I would like to renew financial conditions due to health issues, etc., are such that the decision was made for me. Living on a fixed income requires sacrifice. I had extra money after deciding to postpone dental work until spring and there were these two Chess books I’ve wanted to read for quite some time, Insanity, passion, and addiction: a year inside the chess world, by GM Danny Gormally, and Ivan’s Chess Journey: Games and Stories, by GM Ivan Sokolov. Greg Yanez of Chess4Less.com sent out an email announcing his Black Friday sale on Thursday evening and I was about to clear everything in order to listen to the weekly edition of Phenomenon Radio with Linda Moulton Howe (http://kgraradio.com/phenomenon-radio/) so I clicked on and examined all ninety pages of Chess items for sale, while listening to the program, ordering the above mentioned books and the new issue of New In Chess magazine because not only is it the best Chess magazine in the universe, but I am 67 and tomorrow is today. Alas, the issue contains book reviews by GM Matthew Sadler of two books on my wish list, The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, by Genna Sosonko, and Guyla Breyer, by Jimmy Adams (published by New In Chess), both of which earned five, count’em, FIVE STARS! Two more books, or another subscription to the best Chess magazine in the universe? Oh well, I can take solace in that no matter how I choose to spend my money I cannot go wrong!

Before continuing, let me say that I met Greg at one of the National tournaments for children at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta, Georgia some years ago. I purchased a stack of books while enjoying talking with Greg and the fellow with him, whose name I simply cannot recall. I spent most of my time while there in the book room, and returned the next day and did the same. The next year another group, USCF sales, had the book concession. I talked with Aviv Friedman, who was there to write an article for the USCF. I mentioned we had played a tournament game but he did not recall it. When told I answered his French with 2 Qe2 his face erupted in a big grin as he interjected, “And I played 2…e5!”
“You do remember it?” I asked. “No,” he said, “I always answer 2 Qe2 with 2…e5! Who won?” I told him he had won the game and that made him smile even more. “It is the only time anyone has ever played that move,” I said, “and I played 3 f4 because I had seen it recommended somewhere.”
Upon mentioning I had just returned from the book room he said, “Oh yeah? What did you think of it?”
When I replied, “Not much,” he said, “Really? Why is that?” Saying I had only purchased one book compared with a stack from Chess4Less the previous year, provoked another, “Really?”
“Yeah,” said I, “The place was moribund compared to last year. Man, that Chess4Less room was really hopping!” I said. Aviv responded, “Really?” Then some USCF official came up to Aviv and I took my leave, heading to the food court. Aviv did not mention this exchange in the article…

I sent my order that night and had it with the US Mail Monday at noon! I worked at the Oxford Bookstore on Peachtree road in the Buckhead section of Atlanta in the late 70’s-early 80’s, and at Oxford Too, a place for used and remaindered books and things like old magazines, later in the 80’s, and once managed a Mr. K’s bookstore on Peachtree road in the same area of town, before quitting to play Backgammon full time. I sold books and equipment with Thad Rogers on the road, and also at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, aka, the House of Pain, so I know more than a little about selling Chess stuff, and I am here to tell you that one simply cannot go wrong dealing with Chess4Less!

The 2017/7 issue of NIC is a wonderful issue. I recall the Nashville Strangler’s wife telling me that when a new issue of NIC arrived she would tell her children, “We have lost daddy for a couple of days.” This issue is a prime example of why.

What I would like to share with you is the opening of the very first game in this magnificent magazine, the game between former World Chess Champion Vishy Anand and GM Anton Kovalyov from the World Cup. That is the tournament in which the latter knocked out the former, but was then “knocked out” by ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili when Zurab verbally accosted and abused the young GM from Canada, who is in college in the USA, only a few minutes before the next round was to begin. Anton left for the airport immediately. From what I read at Chessbase, the bombastic Zurab brings lotsa cash into Chess so he can abuse anyone at any time with impunity and without any kind of reprimand from FIDE. Proof that, “Money talks and bullshit walks.”

Viswanathan Anand (2794) vs Anton Kovalyov (2649)
Event: FIDE World Cup 2017
Site: Tbilisi GEO Date: 09/06/2017
Round: 2.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Adams attack

Notes by Anish Giri

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 h5 (“This move is typical in the Najdorf, when White has a pawn of f3 and the knight on b3, stopping his pretty much only plan of g2-g4, or when White’s pawn is on h3 and the knight is on e2, hindering the g4/Ne2-g3 set-up and the natural development of the f1-bishop. With the knight on be and the pawn on h3, this move is poor. It is easy for White to prepare f4 in one go (which is more often than not his main plan in this variation anyway), and the pawn on h5 is a minor weakening of Black’s kingside pawn structure.”) 9 Be2 Nbd7 (Black’s set-up looks ‘normal’, but since it is not the 6 f3 variation but the 6 h3 variation and White gets f2-f4 in one go, Black is essentially a tempo down. You may get away with a tempo down in a Giuoco Piano, but not in a sharp Sicilian.”) 10 0-0?! (Vishy plays a little timidly, but he will get another chance to punish Black for not obeying the laws of the Najdorf later on. 10 f4! at once would have been stronger. Black has to deal with the threat of f4-f5, but neither allowing or stopping it will solve his issues: 10…Qc7!? 11 0-0 Be7 12 a4 and one doesn’t need to be Efim Petrovich Geller to see that things are not going well for Black here. To begin with, he can’t castle kingside so easily, since the h5-pawn is vulnerable.) 10…Rc8 11 Qd2 (Again, too timid. 11 f4!? was still strong. Vishy was satisfied to get a good version of the Karpov Variation in the 6 Be2 Najdorf, but the nature of that line is such that, bad version or good, the position is still perfectly playable for Black. White’s plans there are slow and manoeuvring.) 11…b5? (Another ‘normal-looking’ move that is completely out of context.)

Although I would like to give the complete game, including commentary, right out of New In Chess I must stop the comments here, because there are copyright laws and the last thing I need on my limited, fixed income is a lawyer breathing down my neck! I suggest you purchase this issue as it would truly be “cheap at twice the price.” Think of it this way…back in 1968 we would skip the awful lunch at our high school and drive to Mrs. Jackson’s, where we would obtain a meal consisting of a meat, three veggies, roll, iced tea, and dessert, all for only a buck. A meal like that will set you back ten dollars these daze, so an individual copy of the greatest Chess magazine in history will cost you about the same as that meal at Mrs. Jackson’s because that ten spot in your pocket has the purchasing power of that single dollar bill “back in the day.” If you purchase a subscription, you are making out like a bandit! I mean, where else can you obtain this kind of teaching for so little money? If you play the Najdorf, or play against it, you have just increased your understanding exponentially, and the magazine gives this to you each and every issue, plus so much more!

I will, though, provide the remaining moves of the game, sans comment, which can be found all over the internet: (This comes from 365chess.com)
9. Be2 Nbd7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qd2 b5 12. Rfd1 Nb6 13. Bxb6 Qxb6 14. a4 b4 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7 17. a5 Qb7 18. Qe3 Be7 19. Qb6 Qxb6 20. axb6 Rb8 21. Rxa6 Bd8 22. b7 Ke7 23. Nc5 dxc5 24. d6+ Kf6 25. Bf3 Kf5 26. Bd5 e4 27. Re1 Bf6 28. Bxe4+ Kg5 29. Ra5 Bxb2 30. Rxc5+ Kf6 31. Re3 g6 32. Rf3+ Ke6 33. Rd3 Rhd8 34. Ra5 f5 35. Bf3 Bc3 36. h4 Kf6 37. g3 f4 38. Be4 Bf5 39. Bxf5 gxf5 40. Rb5 Ke6 41. Kf1 Rd7 42. gxf4 Rbxb7 43. Re3+ Kf6 0-1

I went to the Chessbase Database, a fantastic FREE resource, (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/) and learned much: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 (Here Komodo prefers 8…Be7, expecting 9 Qf3 to which it will reply 9…0-0; Stockfish would play 8…Nc6, expecting 9 Qf3 Rc8) h5?! 9 Be2 (Stockfish plays 9 f4, while Houdini would play 9 Nd5) Nbd7 10 0-0?! (Stockfish would play an immediate 10 f4, but Komodo would play 10 0-0, as did Vishy, and after 10…Rc8 then play 11 f4)

This is the only other game (found at 365chess.com) with the line:

Ruifeng Li (2404) vs Guillermo Vazquez (2394)

Event: Spring Break UT GM
Site: Brownsville USA Date: 03/06/2015
Round: 1.3 Score: ½-½
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 h5 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. f4 g6 11. O-O exf4 12. Bxf4 Qb6+ 13. Qd4 Be7 14. Rad1 Qxd4+ 15. Nxd4 Ne5 16. Nf3 Nfd7 17. Nd5 Rc8 18. c3 Rc5 19. Be3 Rc8 20. Ng5 Bxd5 21. Rxd5 Nc5 22. Nf3 Ned7 23. e5 dxe5 24. Nxe5 Nxe5 25. Rxe5 Rc7 26. Bc4 Rh7 27. Bg5 f5 28. Bd5 Kf8 29. Bf4 Nd3 30. Re6 Nxf4 31. Rxf4 Bc5+ 32. Kf1 Rhd7 33. c4 1/2-1/2

The Najdorf was my favorite opening with Black “back in the day.” I won the 1976 Atlanta Championship using the Najdorf in the last round, when I was 4-0 while my opponent, Earle Morrison, was a half point back. I recall someone saying, “The Najdorf is not an opening. It is a SYSTEM,” but I can no longer recall by whom it was said…

Larry (Kaufman): “We have been seeing Komodo on its own, without a book, play the Najdorf Sicilian, which of course many people would say might be the best opening in chess for both sides.” (http://www.chessdom.com/interview-with-robert-houdart-mark-lefler-and-gm-larry-kaufman/)

While researching Chess quotes about the Najdorf I found this, which is right in line with one of the books sent by Greg:

Shock and Awe 1 – Destroying the Najdorf GM Danny Gormally
https://www.gingergm.com/blog/shock-and-awe-1-destroying-the-najdorf

GM Levon Aronian and his new bride, Arianne Caoili are pictured on the cover of NIC 2017/7 in wedding garb.

In the event you do not know what part GM Gormally plays in this story surf on over to Chessbase and read all about it: https://en.chessbase.com/post/party-time-at-the-che-olympiad

or, http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2006/06/swing-of-things.htm; or, http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/chess-beauty-triggers-feud/2006/06/07/1149359787726.html

Or, BUY THE MAGAZINE!

Led Zeppelin – Thank You (The Wedding Song)

The Cost of Chess Magazines

The Legendary Georgia Ironman loves “Chess Monthly” (http://www.chess.co.uk/). He takes it with him to lessons and pontificates at length about the good qualities of the magazine. He does this while there are copies of the best chess magazine in the world, “New in Chess” (http://www.newinchess.com/), sitting unopened, still in cellophane, in the apartment. The Barnes & Noble in Buckhead carries “Chess Monthly” and “Chess Life” but not “New in Chess.” An advertisement in the 2014/3 issue of NiC shows ten places it is sold and one of them is The Book Tavern in Augusta, Georgia, yet I have been unable to find it in any bookstore or newsstand in the largest city and the capital of the state, Atlanta.
I have purchased “Chess Monthly” at the B&N when found. This means it comes irregularly, so the Ironman is missing some issues. We usually split the cost. One time Tim received a B&N gift card and he gave it to me to use and it covered the cost of two issues. We hit the jackpot when Greg Yanez of chess4less.com (http://www.chess4less.com/) was here for the National children’s something or other at the downtown Hyatt. Greg had back issues on sale for only five dollars, and they went fast. The last July issue sold before the Ironman was able to nab one. Meanwhile the issues of NiC, which cost more, did not sell well. Everyone wants a deal. Still, I would rather have a NiC at ten dollars than a CM for five.
I was in the B&N the other day and, as luck would have it, so was the July issue of “Chess Monthly.” I had a buck or two left on the aforementioned B&N gift card, so I nabbed a copy and took it to the checkout counter. My billfold was out when I heard the clerk say, “That will be eighteen something.”
“Pardon me?” I said. Having tinnitus means I do not hear as well as I used too, what with the constant ringing in the brain.
“That will be eighteen something,” he repeated. The last one I purchased was “eleven something.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. He showed me the price attached to a price tag that covered the one on the magazine, and, sure ’nuff, it showed a price of $16.99 US. Include tax and, wah-lah, “eighteen something.”
As I was putting my billfold back into my pocket I said, “Wow…Last time I purchased a copy it was only eleven plus; that is a dramatic increase.” He gave me a blank stare. The clerk at the next register, who had been watching this unfold, gave me a look and sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to silently say, “What’cha gonna do?”
I started to grab the magazine, telling the young man I would put it back, but he jerked it out of my hand saying, “We will do that!” I was stunned, thinking, “I did not even get a chance to peruse the mag…”
I went to the coffee shop where one of the Starbucks employees is a fellow who used to come to the House of Pain and trade genuine Starbucks coffee for a membership, etc. And now everyone knows the secret of why the House had the best coffee of any chess club. I told him my tale of woe while awaiting my cuppa joe. Back in the adjoining bookstore an empty table was located, where I broke out my chess board and latest copy of the best chess magazine in the universe, “New in Chess.” I am behind with the NiC, having only recently received issues 2014/2 & 3. The subscription ended and times are tough, with the current situation being in a state of, shall we say, flux. I purchased the issues from Amazon. The Gorilla recently raised the amount for free shipping from $25 to $35, and since the price of a NiC is a little over $10, I have included it to meet the new requirement. Unfortunately, the Gorilla cannot produce an issue in a timely fashion. For example, check out the dates of the two NiC’s I have on order:
Not yet shipped
Track Package
Delivery estimate: Friday, October 10, 2014 – Wednesday, October 15, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess Magazine 2014/4
Guezendam, Dirk Jan ten
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
Delivery estimate: Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Tuesday, October 14, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess magazine 2014/5
ten Geuzendam, Dirk Jan
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
That’s right, the Gorilla has the issue out now set to ship before the previous issue! I believe 2014/4 was published in June. I have been sending emails to the Gorilla about this, but maybe I expect too much from a Gorilla…It is obvious there must be a better way.
Back at the B&N with my cuppa joe, I opened NiC 2014/3 and thought about what GM Jonathan Rowson wrote about taking his new issue of NiC to the coffee shop as soon as it arrived…Then I began to read. I discovered a letter by one Evan Katz, of “New York, NY, USA.” Seems Mr. Katz is disappointed in the price of the best chess magazine, ever, in the recorded history of the human race. NiC is truly “cheap at twice the price,” but not to Evan.
At this point I began to ponder the reason for the dramatic increase in the price of “Chess Monthly,” so I decided to ask the manager. When I mentioned the amount of the price increase she was obviously shocked. “That is a huge increase,” she said. The nice woman went on to tell me B&N had nothing to do with the price of magazines because a distributor handled it, going on to inform me that beginning in July B&N had a new distributor. I told her that explained things, and thanked her for the information, and her time.
In putting this together I did discover that chess4less.com not only provides a yearly subscription for $70, but has individual issues for sale for $7.95. The Ironman and I have not seen the May, June, July, and August issues. Even with shipping charges one can purchase two for the price of one from chess4less in comparison to B&N. Goodbye Barnes & Noble, hello chess4less!

Elton John perfoms Benny and The Jets on Soul Train