Georgia Chess News

The original purpose of this blog was to write mainly about chess in Georgia. I have received inquiries as to why I have not written more about local chess activities. Scholastic chess predominates and I wanted to focus on what was formerly called “chess,” but is now called “adult chess.” The only tournaments exclusively for adults are Senior events. Children proliferate at “adult” tournaments here and in the US. Yet tournaments consisting of mainly children are called “adult” tournaments. Go figure…I recently noticed an announcement in the local Decatur Dispatch for a chess club at the Tucker library on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings in which it is stated, “No children. Please.” Make of it what you will. I find it rather sad that chess has been so completely overwhelmed by children that anyone would print something like this, but such is the reality of the situation.
Dr. Cano left a comment to my post, “Booming Interest in Amateur Chess.” He also asked me the same question via email some time ago. His question is, “Where are the chess tournaments that we used to have here in Georgia?” This is a good question. Unfortunately I cannot answer it. I will, though, ask any member of the GCA board, or anyone else who can answer the question to leave a comment on this post, or send me an email I can publish. Dr. Cano, and many others who ask the same question, deserve an answer. These are the kinds of things discussed on the forum of other states, such as North Carolina. Those in control of the GCA have chosen to not have a forum. One can only wonder why the pooh-bahs refuse to allow their members to express their views.
I would like to direct anyone interested to the GCA website,, where it has been announced that the 2014 Georgia Chess Championship will be held May 2-4 at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest, 200 Interstate North Parkway SE • Atlanta, Georgia 30339. Since it is a Marriott, I do not have to tell you this is a tremendous upgrade from an empty space at a Mall in decline. Backgammon tournaments have previously been held at this hotel. The recent unrated tournament for children was held at this very hotel. I will leave the efficacy of the GCA holding an unrated tournament for rated players to others interested in the chess of children.
I have had several chess coaches tell me recently that the real battle these days is in the middle school because by the time children reach high school they have lost interest in chess. This was confirmed by the turnout for the above mentioned tournament, where there were only fourteen players in the top section consisting of grades 6-12, but thirty-five in the K-5 section and sixty in the K-3 group. There were an additional twenty-five in the K-1 section. This tournament is a vivid illustration of what USCF President Ruth Haring has said about the mass exodus of children from organized chess around age eleven. It would appear puberty is killing chess. For those interested, the results can be found on the GCA website at:
I have chosen to eschew writing about local events in order to be kind. A tournament I mentioned in an earlier post, “10th Annual Georgia Senior Open” (, something called the “GCA Combined,” included the Senior tournament. It has been jokingly said this event was the Georgia response to the recent Carolinas Chess Festival. If I were writing for one of the so-called “fair and balanced” extremist networks I would write, “There was a huge percentage increase in the turn-out for the 2013 Georgia Senior Chess Championship.” I prefer to tell it like it is and say that only fourteen players participated this year, five more than last year. There were only five players in the Open section, barely enough for a four round tournament. Last year’s Senior champion, Alan Piper, decided to play in the one day G/45 in lieu of defending his championship. This is a scathing indictment of the tournament and of those in control of the GCA. Former Senior Champion Chris Ferrante and Van Vandivier tied for first, scoring 3 out of 4. Captain Jeff Kidd finished clear third half a point behind. Richard Jones finished clear first in the second section with 3 ½ points, followed by Stephen Yancey with 3. I have written previously the tournament should be a true Open, with only one section. Once again, the small turnout proved my point. The results could be found on the GCA website, but it appears they have been removed. If one is interested in the results of the other events held at an empty space in a Mall that has seen better days, go to the USCF website:,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/
The Georgia Open took place this weekend at Emory University. A total of sixty-four players, appropriately enough, entered the event that had been limited to no more than two hundred fifty. The song by Arrowsmith, “Dream On,” just entered my brain, for some reason. GM Alonso Zapate (2575) and LM Chris Mabe (2326), from the Great State of North Carolina, drew their last round game to tie for first place along with class “A” player Jinseok Kim (1963). Mr. Kim drew his first game then ripped off four in a row, including an upset of Expert Donny Gray in the last round. Five players tied for 4-8 with four points. They were, NM Michael Corallo; Expert Reese Thompson; class “A” Nicholas Williams; class “B” Shanmukha Meruga; and class “D” Ingrid Guo. Only five of the sixty-four players participating in this tournament were from other states. That is only 8%! When Dr. Cano asks why we do not have tournaments like we used to have here in Atlanta, I believe a large part of what he means is that at one time out of state players comprised a large percentage of players at our tournaments. There is a reason they refuse to come to the capital of the South to play chess. To have tournaments like we had “back in the day,” it is imperative the GCA has tournaments in which players from other states want to participate.
The crosstable can be found at the GCA website:
The 2013 Georgia Class Championships, dedicated to Ruben Shocron, will be held at Emory beginning Friday night, November 22, a day that will live in infamy. Maybe consideration should have been given to naming it the “JFK Memorial,” for obvious reasons. Details can be found, once again, on the GCA website.
It would seem the GCA website is beginning to shed its “moribund” state. While researching IM Carlos Perdomo for an interview that never materialized I found a group of interviews on YouTube, including one with Carlos, as well as other players like LM Chris Mabe, GM John Fedorowicz, GM Julio Becerra, IM Jonathan Schroer, and others, by the President of the GCA, Fun Fong. This is the kind of thing that should be accessible on the GCA website. Check them out at:
Finally, it has been reported that Keith Sewell has left the GCA board. There have been rumors of dissension and rancor among board members for some time, with the possibility of other disillusioned members possibly leaving in the near future. I can only hope the GCA gets its act together, listens to wizened members of the community such as the esteemed former President Scott Parker, the eminence grise of Georgia chess, and otherrespected members, like Michael Mulford, and decides to give players the kind of tournaments they want, and deserve, in lieu of ramming down their throats tournaments they refuse to attend.

10th Annual Georgia Senior Open

The Georgia Senior is scheduled to be played the weekend of Sept. 28-29. The tournament announcement on the GCA website states registration is limited to 50 players, a pipe dream if ever there was one. Checking today the website shows 46 places left. I am not surprised. I refused to play last year and will not participate again this year. What’s more, I do not know anyone else planning on playing. The poor choice of venue was discussed in my last post, so the format of the tournament will be discussed in this post.
The President of the GCA, Fun Fong, insisted on a format for the 2012 Georgia Senior against the wishes of many, if not most, of those eligible to participate. He decided to have only one prize, a $500 stipend to the winner to be used only toward playing in the US Senior. Only NINE players participated, the lowest number of all other Georgia Senior tournaments to date. It was, obviously, a miserable failure. The winner of the tournament decided not to make the trip to upstate New York, at the strong urging of his wife. The winner, NM Alan Piper, has received nothing for winning the tournament. Alan has no idea what happened to the $500, which should have gone to him. I have been unable to learn what happened to the money. This is an open plea for any member of the GCA board to leave a comment on this blog informing the chess community of the disposition of the $500.
During an interview with the Legendary Georgia Ironman, NM Tim Brookshear, it was stated the President of the GCA reached out, asking Tim for his input on how the 2013 Ga Senior should be changed. Tim said a relative newcomer to chess, Parnell Watkins, was also consulted by the President. Tim suggested a committee of stewards be brought on board as consultants, with such Senior luminaries as former Georgia Champion and Georgia Senior Champion David Vest; former Ga Senior Champion and former President of the GCA board, Scott ‘The Sheriff’ Parker; Dr. Orlando Cano; and Kelly Hollins, along with others, being mentioned. Tim wanted to plan a good tournament that would attract Senior players from other states, such as Wayne Christiansen and Klaus Pohl from the Great State of South Carolina, Tim ‘The Dude’ Bond, along with Rex Blalock and his wife, from the Great State of Alabama. That was the last Tim heard from Fun Fong concerning the Georgia Senior. The suggestions of the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who has been involved with chess in Georgia continually for four decades, fell on deaf ears. Tim was as shocked as everyone else to learn the tournament had been planned for this fall. Word is Fun Fong wanted to hold the tournament in conjunction with the other tournaments scheduled that weekend. Could this have been his response to the recent Carolinas Chess Festival?
Fun Fong obviously liked his idea of awarding a $500 stipend because it is back again this year. The entry fee has been raised to accommodate other prizes, which were not there last year. I do not recall specifically, but it seems the entry fee is almost double this year compared to last. Fun Fong obviously thinks a large increase in the entry fee will bring in more players. The $500 stipend idea proved a disaster last year, yet Fun Fong, and make no mistake, this is Fun Fong’s tournament, insists on keeping it for this tournament. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The Ga Senior has been divided into three sections, the Open, Under 1800, and unrated. This makes absolutely no sense because there will barely be enough players for one section. The time control is G/100 with a 30 second increment. I have yet to find a Senior player who likes this time control. We Seniors played for decades with a time control of 40/2, or even 40/90, with additional time added. FIDE has announced the first time control should end at move 40. Over the years organizers have tried various first time controls, such as 30, or 35, but best by test is move 40. Most games are decided at, or after, move 40. Seniors realize the chess world has moved forward with increasingly faster time controls at a time when we are slowing down. Our pleas to hold the line have fallen on deaf ears, with the younger people forcing Seniors to follow their dictates, or else not play. Most have chosen to opt out. LM David Vest said, “My game used to be predicated on putting the pressure on around move 32.” Seniors played for DECADES with the crisis coming around or near move 40. Our motto is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Everything changes, but change just for the sake of change is not good. Sometimes “progress ain’t,” and this is one of those times. Seniors resent the changes being forced upon them. Some still play for the love of the game, but do not like it. Most have given up the game.
The fact is that the body of a Senior player is not the same as a young person. In the movie, “The Bucket List”, the character played by legendary actor Jack Nicholson enumerates three rules for an older man. One of them is to “Never pass up a men’s room.” The reason for that Seniors know only too well. Every male Senior will have to deal with the fact his prostate gland will enlarge and press on his bladder. This means Seniors must go to the men’s room far more often than when younger. With any open ended time control it may not be possible to go to the men’s room. Forcing such a situation on a Senior is uncivilized. A Senior playing on any increment may be forced to lose on time if he goes to answer the call, or piss his pants. This happened to me once because I chose to sit there in pain in lieu of going to the men’s room. Playing with a delay, although a pawn up, I lost the game and upon getting out of my chair, could not make it to the men’s room in time. I vowed then and there to never again put myself in such a situation! What Seniors desire is a time limit whereby additional time will be added, as it was “back in the day,” in order for us to be able to answer the call when nature knocks. Why is it organizers cannot understand this simply fact? It is not only their sanity I question when it comes to the matter of bodily functions. These open ended time controls seem like something the man from the “dark side,” Darth Cheney, would have dreamed up. Waterboarding sounds like fun compared to these ridiculous time controls! IM Boris Kogan told me it was important to get up after making time control in order to “clear one’s head.” That is not possible with these open ended time controls. Some have mentioned the possibility of “shooting out several really quick moves in order to build up time,” so as to be able to “run to the men’s room.” First, shooting off even one quick move in chess can lead to an immediate loss. Second, Seniors no longer have the capacity to run without possibly inducing a heart attack, or a stroke.
The first round is at noon, Saturday the 28th. I assume this is to accommodate all the players from out of town who will not be coming. This means the second round will begin at 5:30. In an email several years ago from the CCA promoter, Bill Goichberg, I was told he would not play a round beginning after four (or was it five?) PM. Not to mention the fact that the second round could be delayed by a long Queen & Pawn, or other such, ending, and possibly begin even later. From what I learned about the venue of the tournament, I would not want to be heading to the parking lot after dark. The fact is, I would not want to go to that place during broad daylight! A woman was murdered in the area during the day. See the previous post for details.
There is a picture of Fun Fong on the website of the NCCA in an article on the North Carolina Gambit titled, “Random Thoughts and Observations on the Carolinas Chess Festival,” posted September 17, 2013, by the webmaster, Gary Newsome.( Gary writes, “On Friday afternoon, Fun Fong (President of the Georgia Chess Association) and his entourage came in to start working on the NC Open.” I mentioned this during my interview with the Legendary Georgia Ironman and his comment was, “Fun travels to tournaments such as the US Open and World Open, so he knows what a good tournament is, yet he brings us nothing but crap tournaments, and you can quote me on that.” I will leave you with a quote by former Vice President of the US, Dan Qualye: “People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.”

US Masters: Round One

The first round of the 2013 US Masters is history, and the second round is underway as I punch & poke! The upset of the round went to FM Jonathan Chiang, from Texas, who beat GM Mikheil Kekelidze, from the country of Georgia
Chiang v Kekelidze
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nd2 d5 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Re1 Bc5 10. N2b3 Qc7 11. e5 Nxe5 12. Nxc5 Neg4 13. Qf3 Qxh2+ 14. Kf1 Qc7 15. Qg3 Qxc5 16. Nf5 Nxe3+ 17. Rxe3 g6 18. Qe5 gxf5 19. Qxf6 Rg8 20. Bxf5 Qe7 21. Qd4 Bd7 22. Bxh7 Rg5 23. Bd3 Bc6 24. Rae1 O-O-O 25. Qh4 Rdg8 26. f4 Qf6 27. Rg3 Rxg3 28. Qxf6 Rxg2 29. Re2 Rg1+ 30. Kf2 d4 31. Qxd4 Rd1 32. Qe5 Bd5 33. Be4 1-0
Davis Whaley of Kentucky held GM Michael Rohde to a draw:
Whaley vs Rohde
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 c5 5. Bxb4 cxb4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. e4 d6 8. Ne2 e5 9. O-O Re8 10. Re1 a5 11. a3 Na6 12. Nd2 Bd7 13. Rc1 exd4 14. Nxd4 Nc5 15. Qc2 Qb6 16. axb4 axb4 17. b3 Ng4 18. N2f3 Ra3 19. Rb1 Rea8 20. Rb2 Ra1 21. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 22. Rb1 Qa7 23. h3 Ra2 24. Rb2 Rxb2 25. Qxb2 Nd3 26. Qb1 Ngxf2 27. Kh2 h6 28. Nf5 Qc5 29. Qa1 Bxf5 30. exf5 Qxf5 31. Qa8+ Kh7 32. Qxb7 Nc5 ½
NM Bradley Denton of Alabama held GM Georg Meier to a draw with the black pieces:
Meier vs Denton
1.Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 Nd7 4. c4 c6 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 e6 7. Qb3 Qb6 8. Qxb6 Nxb6 9. Ne5 Bh5 10. Nb5 Kd8 11. Bf3 Bg6 12. d3 a6 13. Nc3 f6 14. Nxg6 hxg6 15. e4 d4 16. Ne2 e5 17. Bd2 Na4 18. O-O-O Ne7 19. Kb1 Nc6 20. h4 Bd6 21. Bg4 Nc5 22. Nc1 Kc7 23. f4 Raf8 24. Rdf1 f5 25. Bf3 fxe4 26. Bxe4 Rf6 27. fxe5 Nxe5 28. Bg5 Rxf1 29. Rxf1 Nxe4 30. dxe4 Rf8 31. Rxf8 Bxf8 32. Bf4 Bd6 33. Kc2 Nf3 34. Ne2 Kc6 35. Kd3 Be5 36. Nc1 Bd6 37. Nb3 Bxf4 38. gxf4 Nxh4 39. Nxd4+ Kc5 40. a3 Ng2 41. Ne2 a5 42. Kc3 a4 43. Kd3 Ne1+ 44. Kd2 Ng2 45. Kc3 b5 46. Kd3 Ne1+ 47. Kd2 Ng2 48. Kc3 Ne3 49. Nc1 Nd1+ 50. Kc2 Ne3+ 51. Kd3 Nd1 52. Kc2 Ne3+ 53. Kd2 Kd4 54. e5 Nc4+ 55. Kc2 Ne3+ 56. Kd2 Nc4+ 57. Kc2 g5 58. fxg5 Nxe5 59. Ne2+ Kc4 60. Nf4 Nf3 61. g6 Ne5 62. Ne6 Nxg6 63. Nxg7 Ne7 64. Ne8 Nf5 65. Nc7 Nd4+ 66. Kb1 Kc5 ½
WFM Sabrina Chevennes, from England, held IM Vitaly Niemer to a draw:
Chevennes vs Niemer
1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 Bxf3 9. gxf3 e6 10. Qxb7 Nxd4 11. Bb5+ Nxb5 12. Qc6+ Ke7 13. Qxb5 Qd7 14. Nxd5+ Qxd5 15. Qxd5 exd5 ½
The games were copied from the excellent website of the Carolinas Chess Festival, which can be found on the website of the North Carolina Chess Association (, or directly at:
Check back here for on the spot reports and games you may not find on the website!

Carolinas Chess Festival

The Carolinas Chess Festival kicks off in less than a month. The US Masters will begin August 29, with the North Carolina Open starting a day later in Greensboro, NC. For details go to the website of the North Carolina Chess Association:
The driving forces behind the Festival are former President of the NCCA, Gary Newsom, and Walter High. They have provided a list of titled players who will be playing in the US Masters, including a page of pictures of each player, which is a particularly nice touch. It can be found here: