It is the much needed rest day at the St. Louis Chess Campus which means time for the AW to put together a post. Much time has been spent the past five days watching the excellent coverage of the three ongoing tournaments. Having three Grandmasters use the Stockfish “engine” at Lichess.com does seem somewhat superfluous. I can access the SF program at Lichess.com without watching and listening to the GMs pontificate, but then I would miss the wonderful anecdotes, stories and tales related by Yasser Seirawan,
which are worth the price of admission. Still, I cannot help but wonder why Yaz does not play in the event?
It is difficult to comment on the play of the players because of the abnormality of playing during a pandemic. Some players have scraped off some the rust by playing recently while others are covered with the crusty brown stuff. In addition, it is apparent some of the players are not ready for prime time. An example would be that of International Master Igor Khmelnitsky
in the third round when facing GM Max Dlugy
in the seldom played D00 Queen’s pawn, Mason variation, Steinitz counter-gambit. After 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e4 dxe4 5. dxc5 the IM played what the Stockfish program at Lichess.com call a “blunder” 5…Bg4?? The move appears to be a theoretical novelty, and not a good one. After playing the move Stockfish considers white to have a won game. It was no surprise when Igor went down…
IM Carissa Yip
is playing with the boys in the US Junior in lieu of playing in the US Girls Junior and it has not turned out well for the girl, who has drawn two games while losing three, and is in last place, one half point behind Pedro Espinosa,
to whom she lost yesterday. Pedro is the lowest rated competitor in the tournament, sporting a 2130 rating, almost three hundred points less than Carissa. One cannot help but wonder what she is doing playing with the back in town boys when there is a separate tournament for the girls.
The US Junior girls tournament is far weaker since at least one of the girls who took Carissa’s place in the event has shown she is not ready for prime time. The event would have been much more interesting had Carissa played with the girls. This begs the question of why there is a completely separate tournament for the girls? Chess would be much better if there were only tournaments in which everyone, if qualified, could play. Wait a minute, you say, that is the way it is currently. Chess tournaments are open to all, so why segregate female players? Segregation says women are inferior to men, which is the reason female tournaments are open only to women.
Consider the following position emanating from the third round game between Ellen Wang
and Jennifer Yu:
The question is whether Jennifer Yu should play 31…Rg3? Would YOU play the move? Would I play the move? In this kind of position it is virtually impossible for a human, even a Grandmaster, to calculate all the possibilities, which is where the computer program has a distinct advantage over we humans. This is the kind of position in which humans must use intuition to discover the best move. After 31 Rb2 Jennifer had eighteen minutes remaining to reach move 40. She used about half of her remaining time to make her move. For those of you who have not seen the game it can be found here, along with the answer to the question of how much Jennifer Yu trusted her Chess intuition (https://lichess.org/broadcast/us-girls-junior-championship-2022/round-3/EnME23UK)
In the first round GM Joel Benjamin had the white pieces versus GM Alexander Shabalov, who had recently competed in the World Open and must have been tired and it has shown in his tepid play. Shabba is, after all, a Senior, and Seniors require more rest than juniors, or even middle-aged players. The following position was reached early in the game:
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!”
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
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03
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: http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?14114923
On September 12, 2015. Alan Piper played in the INVITATIONAL QUAD #10 (GA), directed by Grant Oen. The Sponsoring Affiliate was SOUTHEAST CHESS.
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 former President of the Georgia Chess Association, Fun Fong, announced his resignation in December. Although having knowledge of the resignation for some time I have not posted it because of the difficulty obtaining information other than what has been available on the internet. I have reached out to the current POTGCA, Thad Rogers, and the VPOTGCA, David Hater, neither of whom responded. I do not know the other members of the GCA board, so did not ask for comment. Some in the community whom I contacted responded by informing me they were no longer involved with Chess because their children had lost interest in the game. The people who did respond did not want their names used. For example, one person responded, “I have deliberately been staying away from GCA politics and events because of the toxic turn that they have taken in the last year or so.” There was no further elaboration so your guess is as good as mine as to what kind of “toxic turn” has been taken “in the last year or so.”
I was aware the man I came to think of as the Fun E. one
had posted something on Facebook. I do not, and have never, belonged to the book of faces. People who complain about lack of privacy and government intrusion join Facebook in droves, while divulging their innermost secrets, which makes it easy for the government, does it not? An anonymous source sent me a copy of what is written on Mr. Fong’s Facebook page, which I quote:
“I have resigned as GCA President and will be leaving chess. I am appreciative of all the good times and great working relationships that I experienced. I will be unfriending the great majority of my chess friends so as to not be lured back to chess again. If I have unfriended you and you would like to speak to me about non-chess topics, I’d be glad to keep in touch with you. I wish my chess friends well.”
I must admit to not being aware one could “unfriend” anyone until reading this, so it is news to me. It sounds pretty serious to “unfriend” anyone. It is one thing to resign an office where one is one of only fifty in the US, but to also “…be leaving chess”? He talks of not being lured back into chess again as someone addicted to heroin might talk about staying away from other addicts. There were rumors that losing for a seat on the USCF policy took the fun out of Chess.
There is a story here but I am in no position to obtain the story. According to the GCA website there is a “GCA Board Meeting, February 01, 2018 7:00 PM • Red Lobster Meeting Room, 3927 LaVista Rd., Tucker.” (http://www.georgiachess.org/)
As I am punchin’ & pokin’ this the afternoon of February 1, that means the meeting is tonight. Maybe if still living in, or near, Atlanta, I would put my journalist hat on and attend the meeting. Then again, having attended a few of the things, maybe not…
There is an article at the GCA magazine website concerning the departure of Fun Fong:
In addition, Mr. Muzquiz writes, “Dr. Fong will certainly be missed by all.”
This is not true. I, for one, will not miss the Fun E. one AT ALL! When the second Georgia Senior under his “leadership” was announced I vowed to never again play in any GCA tournament, so I was ECSTATIC to hear of his implosion! The second was just as bad as the first, so it was obvious the man had obtained power and refused to listen to reason, preferring to have yet another failed Senior rather than admitting a mistake and making changes to the failed format.
Then there was what came to be known as “The DeCredico Incident.” Fun Fong wrote the following email:
From: Fun Fong
>> Date: November 25, 2014 at 12:11:01 PM EST
>> To: Greg Maness
>> Cc: gcaboard Board , Laura , Frank Johnson , Ben Johnson , “J Parnell Watkins, Jr.” , Elena Gratskaya
>> Subject: Re: Incident with Chattanooga friends
>> I am also seeking legal advice.
>> GCA cannot sustain legal action (costs). As I said, if this were to progress to a lawsuit, we might win on the merits, but we would lose, likely losing the organization.
>> This is a conundrum. My thought is that we must avoid a legal action at all costs. I now think that Mr. DeCredico will complain to USCF and we need to have possible responses lined up. I will be using the legal advice to consider these factors.
>> Mr. DeCredico states that both he and his children were touched. This is becoming a “he said, he said” story. I think we should look for witnesses.
>> I think that we should discuss this issue at the Board in closed session, after the official Board meeting is over on 2 December. Discussion is available to non-board members now.
the very pretty young woman from Russia, was copied on this email since she was never on the board or involved with GCA politics. With all the women coming out with accusations against powerful men these days, I cannot help but wonder if this played some part in the resignation? This was during the time a television show, The Americans, about Russian agents posing as an American couple, was quite popular. A source reported years ago that when this was mentioned to Mr. Fong at a tournament in another state, where Fun and Elena had been seen together, the POTGCA became quite upset. I had the pleasure of interviewing Elena at the Castle Chess tournament at Emory University some years ago and will admit that if I had been several decades younger I probably would have asked her to be the Queen of my Chess board! What can I say? She was extremely easy on the eyes…
I had to wait some time to publish this because of only having one source. After publication of the emails I was asked by someone with interest in the activities of the GCA to provide the name of “the” person who had passed on the series of emails published on this blog. The GCA board must have been SHOCKED to learn that, like Woodward and Bernstein, I waited until there were TWO SOURCES before publication. That meant that, as far as they were concerned, there was another RAT! You will not read in any of the emails anything about keeping it confidential. The board then turned on each other, and there was suspicion, which led to rancor. There followed resignations, with the first to go taking the blame, in some minds, as the OTHER RAT. I am reminded of lyrics to For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield:
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
Further information on this blog about the Fun E. man can be found by typing in “Fun Fong” in the question box.
From what little I have been able to piece together Fun E Fong was burned out on Chess. It appears he played the Fried Liver attack once too often… It must have been challenging for an emergency room doctor who is accustomed to giving orders without being questioned to “suffer the fools” who questioned each and every decision he made. Multiple sources reported he had said he was, “sick of being questioned,” and “…tired of being “ragged on all the time,” or something along those lines. I am reminded of the current POTUS, Donald popinJay Trump,
who cannot wrap what’s left of his mind around our form of government; a man who would obviously be more comfortable as a dictator.
Like Georgia RepublicaNazi Governor Nathan “Asleep at the Wheel” Deal (or, if you prefer, Nathan “Raw” Deal),
the Fun E. one won reelection. Sources informed “the new people” loved Fun, so I was not that surprised at the turn of events. The phrase that has stuck with me is when the Fun E one said he wanted to, “Change the demographics” of Chess in Georgia. Donald popinJay Trump wants to change the demographics of US. We can only hope the Trumpster becomes tired of being “ragged on” constantly and follows the lead of Dr. Fun E. Fong.