The Dirty Laundry of Atlanta Chess

While living in Greenville, SC, the octogenarian, LM Klaus Pohl, said something that stuck with me. When asked what he thought of the new Chess Center in Charlotte Klaus said he did not like to play there because the young players offer too many draws. Upon further questioning Klaus said that with scholarships so important the young players were “afraid to lose,” so therefore made far too many draw offers. From the time I began playing in USCF tournaments rating has been King. This was, though, the first time I had heard anything concerning what the rating points could possibly mean toward earning a scholarship. Another player listening to the conversation said, “Everyone knows rating points are being bought and sold like it’s an open market.” My reply, “I did not know that,” elicited this response, “Ah, come on man. You worked at the Atlanta Chess Center. Surely you were aware of that kind of thing taking place.” With a blank look on my face I replied, “Not really.” I am not saying it did not happen, just that I was completely unaware of it if it did, in fact, happen while I was employed at the House of Pain.

There were rumors going around before I returned to Atlanta. I will not print rumors. I did, though, reach out to several people involved with Chess in Georgia, writing, “If you would like to comment on any of this, let me inform you that I may use anything you say, or write, UNLESS YOU WANT IT KEPT PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL!”

No one responded. They ain’t talking.

In an article appearing at the Georgia Chess News website, Meet the 2019 GCA Candidates (, David Hater,

candidate for the position of OFFICE OF 1ST VICE PRESIDENT writes: “I am running for 1st Vice President of GCA. I previously served on the GCA Board in this position, but I resigned from the board because, in my opinion, the board had become dysfunctional. Several months ago several GCA Board members encouraged me to run for the position again. I agreed to do so only after Scott Parker also agreed to run for President of GCA. My hope is that the next board will place personal feelings and animosity aside and work for chess instead of for their own interests/pet projects or a narrow constituency.”

The fact that Colonel David Hater felt he had to resign from the GCA Board speaks loudly. The fact that David, a man I admire and respect, felt compelled to write, “…the board had become dysfunctional,” screams out in pain. Nevertheless, David did not respond to my entreaty.

One of the board members did say, in an off hand comment at the Ironman Chess Club, they were “fed up” with all the “screaming and shouting” at the meeting of the GCA board. Although no names were mentioned the fact is that it is now, and has been for some time, an open secret that Thad Rogers was not happy when Parnell Watkins used his affiliate, American Chess Promotions to rate some of the events listed below. The thing is that Thad Rogers

and Parnell Watkins

were earlier listed as running for the same office, that of 1st member at large. The only one leaving a statement at a page mentioned earlier was L. Thad Rogers, the man who became POTGCA again after the previous president, Fun E. Fong, abdicated, leaving Chess behind like it was the plague. From reports it is obvious Chess in my home state of Georgia has quickly devolved under the caretaker leadership of Thad Rogers.

The Georgia State Chess Championship begins tonight and there will be an election Sunday. Chess players, and members of the GCA, can only hope responsible leaders, such as Scott Parker

and David Hater, gain a seat on the board.

Alan Piper was known as “The Pipe” at the House of Pain. As one of Alan’s victims eased down the stairs those below watched as someone said, “It looks like he got hit by the Pipe,” while others nodded in agreement. One wag said, “Sometimes you hit the Pipe. Sometimes the Pipe hits you.” Alan once won a state championship (I want to say Missouri, but could be wrong) when younger and was a NM. Although uncertain about Alan’s age, the fact is he has been eligible for the Senior tournaments for many years and must be seventy, or older.

The following results for the past 12 months was taken from the USCF website:

10487030: ALAN G PIPER
Current Published
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03

Rank USCF ID Name Games Wins Draws Losses
1 14916346 SHANMUKHA MERUGA 50 1 0 49
2 14114923 KAPISH POTULA 19 1 1 17
3 14299428 SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI 14 7 0 7
4 14577814 DAVIDE NASTASIO 3 1 1 1
5 15909472 TAIYE HILARY ESTWICK 1 1 0 0
6 16045110 TYLER JAMES BREDOW 1 1 0 0
7 16045235 CASEY WASSERMAN 1 1 0 0
8 14822494 TYLER SCHMUGGEROW 1 1 0 0
9 14684432 JOSHUA MORGAN KAROL 1 1 0 0
10 12365700 J PARNELL WATKINS JR 1 1 0 0

The Pipe has obviously played an inordinate amount of games with two players. The number of losses to the two much younger players is simply staggering. Usually when one is drubbed in a match there are no further matches. One of the members of the GCA board, a very nice woman, Anna Baumstark, told me it was all “public record on the USCF website.” I decided to take the time to check it out…You, too, can check it out here:

On September 12, 2015. Alan Piper played in the INVITATIONAL QUAD #10 (GA), directed by Grant Oen. The Sponsoring Affiliate was SOUTHEAST CHESS.

Pair | Player Name |Total|Round|Round|Round|Round|
Num | USCF ID / Rtg (Pre->Post) | Pts | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
1 | KAPISH POTULA |2.5 |W 2|D 3|W 4|* |
GA | 14114923 / R: 2014 ->2053 | |B |W |B | |
2 | CARTER F PEATMAN |2.0 |* |W 3|W 4|L 1|
GA | 12945576 / R: 2101 ->2108 | | |W |B |W |
3 | ALAN G PIPER |1.5 |L 2|* |W 4|D 1|
GA | 10487030 / R: 2070 ->2071 | |B | |W |B |
4 | SHANMUKHA MERUGA |0.0 |L 2|L 3|* |L 1|
GA | 14916346 / R: 2088 ->2053 | |W |B | |W |

Alan would not play again until August 13, 2016 when he participated in the CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT, directed by JOSEPH COUVILLION, with CHESS BUG ATLANTA, being the affiliate. SHANMUKHA MERUGA was clear first with 3-0. KAPISH POTULA finished clear second with a 2-1 score, the loss was to Meruga. Alan Piper won a game from a class C player, and lost two other games, one with a class B player, the other to Kapish Potula.

Let us go back to the tournament prior to the Quad, August 8, 2015, the LOGANVILLE SUMMER QUAD, directed by Grant Oen, with the affilate being Southeast Chess. The Pipe won all three games; gained 29 rating points which raised his rating to 2079. He beat Shanmukha Meruga, rated 2054, in the first round, then two class A players, Vedic Panda and Davide Nastasio.

After playing in the aforementioned CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT Alan did not play again until January 22, 2018 when he played a match with Shanmukha Meruga. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and the affiliate was Gwinnett Chess. The time control was G/30;d5. Meruga won all four games, gaining fourteen points to end with a rating of 2056. The Pipe lost twenty points dropping to 2019.

After a couple of blitz quads on July 13 the next match with Meruga took place the next day, July 14. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, using the affiliate of the acting President of the GCA, L. Thad Rogers, AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS. It was a real old fashioned, “speed,” time control of five minutes only for the games. Meruga won all ten games.

Three days later another match was contested between the same two players, named, PIPER MERUGA MATCH 2. The time control was, G/25;d5. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and it was rated using the affiliate of GWINNETT CHESS. Meruga won all five games.

Two days later, July 19, 2018 there was yet another tournament contested once again by the young whippersnapper and the old leaky Pipe. Once again it was directed by J PARNELL WATKINS JR and the sponsoring affiliate was again GWINNETT CHESS, and once again Meruga won all ten games played at a “speed” TC of five minutes for the entire game.

Three days later there was the NASTASIO-PIPER MATCH, which was held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, the seventh largest city in the great state of Georgia. The chief TD was BENJAMIN P FINEGOLD,

Meruga/Finegold in front of the Atlanta Chess and Scholastic Club of Atlanta located in Roswell, Ga.

assisted by KAREN BOYD.

Karen Boyd and Ben Finegold

The time control was G/60;+10. The three game match was drawn. In addition there was another match played that day between the same two players. The TC was G/4;+2, and Piper won 8-2.

A few weeks later, 9/8/18, Piper and Meruga were back at it, contesting not one, but two, more matches. J PARNELL WATKINS JR was again the TD and AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS was the affiliate used to rate the matches. No one will be surprised to learn Meruga won the G/5 “speed” match 9-1. What is surprising is that Piper actually won a game…Three games were also contested at a TC of G/30;d10. Guess who won all three games? Yeah, Meruga.

The very next day, 9/9/2018, the two intrepid players were back at it. Once again J PARNELL WATKINS JR was the TD, but the affiliate used was now GWINNETT CHESS. The speed match, with only five minutes per game, was convincingly won by Meruga by a score of 20-0. That is ZERO, ZIP, NADA!

It will come as little surprise by now that Meruga also won the G/30;d10 match by a score of 4-0.

The very next day yet another match was contested between the same two players, again with the same TD and affiliate. The time control was G/30;d10 and Meruga won all six games.

Have you gotten a whiff of some sort of fishy smell yet?

A few days later the Pipe was back at it, but with a different opponent, Kapish Potula. The TD and affiliate was the same, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. The time control was G/25;d5. Kapish Potula won all four games and increased his rating from 2136 to 2159.

One week later, on 9/28/18 the two players with the same TD and affiliate did it again. And again Potula won all four G/25;d5 to raise his rating from 2159 to 2179.

On October 6, 2018 the Pipe had a new opponent, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI, rated 1964. A six game match at a time control of G/35;d5 was contested and…the match was drawn! J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS was at it again.

On October 13, 2018 there was another six game, G/25;d5 match with Kapish Potula, and again it was J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. Hold on to something as I inform you that Alan G Piper actually won, and drew, two of the games played, while losing the other four.

The thing is that on that very same day, October 13, 2018, the Pipe also played another match with someone else, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI. It was another G/25;d5 with all the usual suspects present, meaning Parnell and Gwinnett Chess. The match was drawn, 2-2.

Then we come to November 19, 2018, the 2018 MERUGA PIPER “dual.” It appears as though that between 2018-11-17 thru 2018-11-19 a NINETEEN GAME MATCH at a TC of G/25;d5 was contested by the usual suspects, Meruga and Piper. The aforementioned player, Meruga won all nineteen games…J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were again the usual suspects.

But wait, there’s MORE! On November 27 the same two players contested yet another G/25;d5 “dual,” which Meruga won 12-0. Again, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were the responsible parties.

On December 7, a day which will live in infamy, 2018, another G/25;d5 match took place between Alan G. Piper and Kapish Potula. It was won by Potula, 5-0. J PARNELL WATKINS JR directed and GWINNETT CHESS sent it in to be rated.

After a couple more tournaments in December and a last one on January 26, the CCSCATL WINTER BLITZ CHAMPIONS, the record shows no more games, or matches, for the Pipe.

As a result of all these games, and others, Meruga became a 2300 rated player. Kapish Potula is currently rated 2187, knocking on the National Master door.


The Chess Book

Samuel S Copeland (2294) vs Carter F Peatman (1964)
2014 Southeastern FIDE Championship
Charlotte, North Carolina
Rd 1 11/1/2014

1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O d5 10. Kb1 Nxd4 11. e5 Nf5 12. exf6 Bxf6 13. Nxd5 Qxd5 14. Qxd5 Nxe3 15. Qd2 Nxd1 16. Qxd1 Be6 17. Bd3 a5 18. h4 Rfd8 19. Qe2 Rd4 20. a3 Bxh4 21. Qe3 Rad8 22. Qh6 Bf6 23. Qxh7 Kf8 24. g4 b5 25. Re1 b4 26. Rxe6 fxe6 27. Qh6 Bg7 28. Qxg6 R4d6 29. Qg5 Rb8 30. axb4 axb4 31. Qf4 Ke8 32. Kc1 e5 33. Qc4 Bh6 34. Kd1 Kd7 35. Ke2 Bf4 36. g5 e4 37. fxe4 Be5 38. Qc5 Bxb2 39. Qa7 Kc8 40. Ba6 Rxa6 41. Qxa6 Kc7 42. Qc4 Kd7 43. Qd5 Kc7 44. g6 Bh8 45. Qf7 Kd7 46. g7 Bxg7 47. Qxg7 b3 48. Qd4 Ke8 49. Qh8 1-0

The engines play 13…Be6, while humans play the move in the game. The transition from opening to middle game ending with 16…Be6 looks favorable for White. After 17 Bd3 the most often played, and best, move is 17…Rfd8, but still White has a solid plus. I am reminded of the time Bobby Fischer had gone over a game his opponent lost, who was flummoxed as to just why he had lost. Bobby said, “The whole line is bad.”

What caught my attention was the second move, Ne2. Back in the day I played the Najdorf and when I beginning winning with it, opponents began playing alternative moves, not allowing me to play the Najdorf. The same thing happened a decade later when Longshot Larry “got good” playing the Dragon. Some players thought Longshot, who hovered between class ‘A’ and Expert, played two classes higher when defending while attacking with the Dragon. Longshot was strong enough to almost win with it versus “Hulk” Kogan. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I happened to be watching the moment Boris reached for a piece but held his fingers hovering while the tension became palpable…When the Hulk retracted his hand it was like the air being let out of a balloon. The game was ultimately drawn. The Ironman adds that Longshot Larry did beat another Georgia chess legend, NM Guillermo A. Ruiz, a game that was published in the Georgia Chess magazine of the time.

Longshot Larry, a heating and air conditioning repairman, had been asked by Guillermo to come to his home and clean the system, so Longshot asked me to accompany him. Since Guillermo owned a cleaning service, considered too expensive by the owner of the Atlanta Chess Center, Thad Rogers, Longshot used Guillermo’s wet-vac. We were in the basement where a chess board was on a table, along with one book, an obviously well-used, dogged-eared copy of “The Game of Chess,” by Siegbert Tarrasch. I was positioned between Guillermo and Longshot, looking at Larry as he turned on the machine, beginning the extraction. When I asked Guillermo about his other chess books he said it was his only chess book. “You only need one book, if it is a good one.” Later Thad told me Ruiz had purchased a used copy. As we were talking black smoke began billowing from the machine. Guillermo must have seen the look on my face and turned around to see a cloud of heavy black smoke rising up the stairs. With the realization Ruiz literally jumped two feet into the air, then began screaming, but Longshot, with his head inside the closet containing the unit, could not hear. Ruiz ran over and began pounding on Larry, who then turned the machine off, but the damage had been done. The thing I recall most vividly on our way out is the light-colored drapes in the living room upstairs, which had been turned dark with soot. “How was I to know the thing did not have a bag?” Longshot asked on our way back to the House of Pain. “Ruiz is into the cleaning game, so I assumed the thing would work,” he said. I laughed when Longshot, who obviously did not get paid, said, “Man, I really needed that money.”

When faced with 2 Ne2 I played the same way as Carter, but is it best? Check out how Bobby Fischer played against 2 Ne2, and notice how he changed to 2…Nf6 after having twenty years to study the game before his return match with Boris Spassky. 2…Nf6 is the choice of both Stockfish and Houdini, but Komodo plays 2…a6.

Swank, A. – Fischer, Robert James 0-1
B20 USA-op 1956
1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 Nc6 3. b3 Nf6 4. Nbc3 e6 5. Bb2 d5 6. Ng3 Bd6 7. Bb5 O-O 8. Bd3 Ne5 9. Be2 Ng6 10. Nb5 Nxe4 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Nxd6 Qxd6 13. g3 e5 14. c4 Bh3 15. Bf1 Bxf1 16. Rxf1 f5 17. Qc2 Ne7 18. O-O-O Nc6 19. Bc3 Nd4 20. Bxd4 exd4 21. Kb1 Rae8 22. Rfe1 Re5 23. d3 Rfe8 24. Qd2 exd3 25. Rxe5 Qxe5 26. Qxd3 Qe2 27. Rd2 Qxd3+ 28. Rxd3 Re1+ 29. Kc2 Re2+ 30. Rd2 Rxd2+ 31. Kxd2 f4 32. Kd3 Kf7 33. a3 Kf6 34. b4 b6 35. Ke4 Kg5 36. gxf4+ Kg4 37. f3+ Kh3 38. f5 Kxh2 39. f4 Kg3 40. bxc5 bxc5 41. a4 a5 42. Kd5 d3 43. Kxc5 d2 0-1

Keres, Paul – Fischer, Robert James ½-½
B20 Candidates Tournament 1956
1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 e5 7. d3 Nge7 8. a3 O-O 9. b4 b6 10. f4 exf4 11. gxf4 d5 12. e5 Bg4 13. h3 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 f6 15. b5 Na5 16. Nd2 fxe5 17. fxe5 Rxf1+ 18. Nxf1 Nb3 19. Rb1 Nxc1 20. Rxc1 Qc7 21. Re1 Rd8 22. Nh2 d4 23. cxd4 cxd4 24. Nf3 Bh6 25. Qa2+ Kh8 26. Qe6 Nd5 27. Nh2 Ne3 28. Bc6 Rf8 29. Nf3 Bf4 30. Nxd4 Bxe5 31. Nf3 Bd4 32. Rxe3 Bxe3+ 33. Qxe3 Qg3+ 34. Kf1 Qxh3+ 35. Ke1 Qf5 36. d4 Kg7 37. Kf2 h5 38. Kg3 Qg4+ 39. Kh2 Rf4 40. Qe7+ Kh6 41. Qe2 Qf5 42. Qe3 g5 43. Kg2 Rg4+ 44. Kf2 Rf4 45. Kg2 Qc2+ 46. Kh1 Qb1+ 47. Kh2 Qa2+ 48. Kh3 Qf7 49. Kh2 Qf6 50. Kg2 Kg7 51. Kg3 h4+ 52. Kg2 Rg4+ 53. Kh1 Rg3 54. Qe4 g4 55. Nh2 Qg5 56. Nf1 Rh3+ 57. Kg1 Rxa3 58. d5 g3 59. Bd7 Ra1 60. Bf5 Qf6 61. Qf4 Re1 62. d6 Re5 63. Qg4+ Kf8 64. d7 Rd5 65. Kg2 Rxd7 66. Bxd7 Qf2+ 67. Kh3 Qxf1+ 68. Kxh4 g2 69. Qb4+ Kf7 70. Qb3+ Kg7 71. Qg3+ Kh7 72. Qe5 Qh1+ 73. Bh3 Qxh3+ 74. Kxh3 g1=Q 75. Qe7+ Kh8 76. Qf8+ Kh7 77. Qf7+ 1/2-1/2

Ostojic, Predrag – Fischer, Robert James 0-1
B93 Herceg Novi blitz 1970
1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 Qc7 7. Bd3 g6 8. f4 Bg7 9. Nf3 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Kh1 b6 12. Qe1 Bb7 13. Qh4 Rac8 14. Bd2 e5 15. Rae1 exf4 16. Bxf4 Ne5 17. Bh6 Bxh6 18. Qxh6 Nfg4 19. Qh4 Nxf3 20. Rxf3 f5 21. Rf4 d5 22. Rxg4 fxg4 23. Qxg4 Rf4 24. Qg3 dxe4 25. Bxe4 Bxe4 26. Nxe4 Rxe4 0-1

Spassky, Boris V – Fischer, Robert James ½-½
B24 St Stefan/Belgrade m 1992
1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 Nf6 3. Nbc3 d6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. O-O Bg7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bg4 9. Nde2 Qc8 10. f3 Bh3 11. Bxh3 Qxh3 12. Bg5 O-O 13. Qd2 h6 14. Be3 Kh7 15. Rac1 Qd7 16. Nd5 Nxd5 17. exd5 Ne5 18. b3 b5 19. Bd4 Rac8 20. f4 Ng4 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Nd4 Nf6 23. c4 bxc4 24. bxc4 e6 25. dxe6 fxe6 26. Rfe1 Rfe8 27. Nb3 a6 28. Qd4 Rc6 29. Red1 e5 30. fxe5 Rxe5 31. Qxe5 dxe5 32. Rxd7+ Nxd7 33. Rd1 Nf6 34. c5 Kf7 35. Rc1 Nd7 36. Kf2 Ke6 37. Ke3 Kd5 38. Rd1+ Ke6 39. Rc1 Kd5 1/2-1/2

Spassky, Boris V – Fischer, Robert James ½-½
B26 St Stefan/Belgrade m 1992
1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 Nf6 3. Nbc3 d6 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. d3 O-O 8. h3 Rb8 9. f4 Bd7 10. Be3 b5 11. a3 Ne8 12. d4 cxd4 13. Nxd4 b4 14. Nxc6 Bxc6 15. axb4 Rxb4 16. Rxa7 Rxb2 17. e5 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Nc7 19. exd6 exd6 20. Na4 Ra2 21. Bb6 Qe8 22. Rxc7 Qxa4 23. Qxd6 Rxc2+ 24. Rxc2 Qxc2+ 25. Bf2 Qe4+ 26. Kg1 1/2-1/2

1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 Nf6 3. Nbc3 e6 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O d6 7. d3 a6 8. a3 Qc7 9. f4 b5 10. Kh1 O-O 11. Be3 Bb7 12. Bg1 Rab8 13. h3 Ba8 14. g4 b4 15. axb4 cxb4 16. Na4 Nd7 17. Qd2 Rfc8 18. b3 a5 19. g5 Bf8 20. Ra2 Ne7 21. Nd4 g6 22. Nb2 Bg7 23. Nc4 d5 24. Nxa5 dxe4 25. dxe4 e5 26. Ne2 exf4 27. Nxf4 Ne5 28. Nd3 Rb5 29. Nxe5 Qxe5 30. Nc4 Qxg5 31. Be3 Qh4 32. Nd6 Bc3 33. Qf2 Qxf2 34. Rxf2 Rbb8 35. Nxc8 Rxc8 36. Ra7 Kf8 37. Bh6+ Ke8 38. Bg5 f6 39. Bxf6 Bxf6 40. Rxf6 Bc6 41. Kg1 Bd7 42. Rd6 Bc6 43. Bf1 1-0

Sheryl Crow The Book