Stacey Abrams vs Brian Kemp

Brian Kemp

is currently the Republican nominee for Governor of Georgia in 2018. In the Georgia Gubernatorial Republican Primary Election, 2018, Mr. Kemp finished second, with 154,913 votes, good enough for 25.5% of the vote.

Casey Cagle,

the current Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, finished first with 236,498, which was 39.0% of the vote. Things changed in the runoff between the two candidates as Mr. Kemp received 406,638 votes, or 69.45% of the vote, while Mr. Cagle received 178,877, which was only 30.55% of the votes cast.

What happened to Casey Cagle?

Portraits of a Casey Cagle collapse

By Isaac Sabetai

As soon as he announced his run in April 2017, the lieutenant governor became the Republican front-runner. He raised in excess of $11.5 million — more than double the man who beat him in the runoff, Brian Kemp — and amassed a long list of endorsements.

None of that mattered. Cagle won just 31 percent of the vote in a two-person runoff race. That was a drop of 8 points compared with his performance in a crowded primary election.

By Election Day, Cagle trailed with 44 percent of all early voters to 56 percent for Kemp. The fallout from a secret recording where Cagle admitted to supporting “bad public policy” to undercut a rival candidate and Donald Trump’s endorsement of Kemp had wiped him out.

https://politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/portraits-casey-cagle-collapse/LX4ImTmS7cmFlB70mozZHL/

Mr. Cagle was called a “reasonable Republican,” as if such a thing exists there days. Brian Kemp ran as a “politically incorrect conservative.” That is a quote, which can be found in this advertisement:

Much of Kemp’s success has been attributed to the above, and the one below:

Obviously, many of the Georgia Republicans liked what they saw, and heard.

Brian Kemp’s opponent for Governor of Georgia in 2018 will be Stacey Abrams.

Stacey Yvonne Abrams (born December 9, 1973) is an American politician, lawyer, romance novelist, and businesswoman who served as Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stacey_Abrams

“Though Abrams is widely considered an underdog, the possibility of her victory is real.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/stacey-abrams-georgia-democrats-701308/

The future election has garnered much media coverage the world over because Ms. Abrams is “…the first black woman in American history to win a major party gubernatorial nomination.” The whole world will be closely watching this election.

Can Stacey Abrams Turn Georgia Blue?

David Byler

Georgia is changing as the graph below from the article shows:

The next graph illustrate how much the state of Georgia has changed as most of the new people move into larger metropolitan areas:

Other articles of interest:

http://time.com/5349541/stacey-abrams-georgia/

http://fortune.com/2018/04/24/stacey-abrams-debt-georgia-governor/

Stacey Abrams is in debt and much has been and will continue to be made of this fact by Republicans.

Stacey Abrams: I’m running for governor and am $200,000 in debt

Turner Cowles
Producer
Yahoo Finance July 26, 2018

Stacey Abrams is running for Governor in Georgia. She would be the first black woman to be elected governor of a state in American history if she were to win the election. But she faces some major roadblocks.

The office of governor was staunchly Democratic in Georgia until Sonny Perdue was elected in 2002. He was reelected in 2006 and was succeeded by another Republican, Gov. Nathan Deal, in 2010.

Abrams wrote an op-ed for Fortune in April, in which she argued her personal debt shouldn’t disqualify her from running for governor. She owes more than $227,000 in credit card debt, student loan debt and back taxes. She also owes $178,500 in real estate debt and $4,434 on a car loan (but since those are assets as well as debt, we haven’t included it in our breakdown of what she owes).

She isn’t alone. Millions of Americans are in debt. In fact, the total household debt in America is $13.2 trillion, according to the New York Fed, and balances are rising on most kinds of debt; credit cards were the only debt to see balances decline in the first quarter of 2018.

Higher profile politicians have struggled with debt, including former presidential hopeful Marco Rubio. When Rubio was first elected to the Florida legislature in 2000, he reported around $150,000 in student loan debt as well as $30,000 as assorted credit and retail debt, according to the New York Times.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/stacey-abrams-im-running-governor-200000-debt-191600455.html

The current Governor of Georgia is Nathan Deal,


(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

or as I prefer to think of him, Nathan “Raw” Deal; or Nathan “Asleep at the Wheel” Deal, as he continued to sleep while Georgia suffered, grinding to a complete halt during a blizzard.

Georgia gov.: “We did not make preparations early enough”

Last Updated Jan 30, 2014 3:29 PM EST

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took responsibility Thursday for the poor storm preparations that led to an epic traffic jam in Atlanta and forced drivers to abandon their cars or sleep in them overnight when a storm dumped a couple of inches of snow.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/danger-passing-but-not-over-in-atlanta-area/

“Raw” Deal was over TWO MILLION DOLLARS in debt when he became Governor of Georgia.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/georgia-gov-candidate-nathan-deal-owes-2m/

A few years things had changed dramatically:

How Nathan Deal Became A Millionaire while Governor
by Alan Wood September 26, 2014
http://gwmac.com/nathan-deal-millionaire/

Stacey Abrams owes about one tenth what “Raw” Deal owed when becoming Governor of Georgia.

After the last US Presidential election, in which the Trumpster was out voted by THREE MILLION VOTES nationally, Democratic Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who had his skull fractured while in the streets protesting “Jim Crow” laws in the South, has called Trump an “Illegitimate President.” Which begs the question, “Why did US citizens with dark pigmentation need to be out in the streets protesting for rights given to each and every citizen of the USA over one hundred after the war of Northern aggression?”).

Simply put, there are many people in Georgia (and the nation) who will NEVER vote for a person who is not white.

After the election I received an email from a former Chess player who exclaimed, “Look at the map. It’s almost all red!”

Although he had a point, I pointed out to him that most of that red area consisted of fewer people than the blue areas in and around the larger cities. This can be verified by reading this article:

Am Extremely Detailed Map of the 2016 Election

Bu Matthew Bloch; Larry Buchanan; Josh Katz; and Kevin Quealy

Once, the late Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, told someone that, “All politics is local.” https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a36522/how-all-government-is-local-and-thats-how-it-dies/

I live in a small city surrounded by much farm land and other small cities. Franklin county is composed of almost 90% white and about 10% “Black, or African American,” according the the official US Census.
https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/franklincountygeorgia/PST045217

In the last Presidential election 7054 (83%) people voted for Putin’s Puppet; 1243 (15%) voted for Hillary Clinton.

I did not vote, not that it mattered. When young I voted. The Viet Nam “police action” (It was NOT a WAR!) was happening and my life was on the line. I used to decry the fact that “old people” with one foot in the grave were voting when voting is about the future, and those folks lived in the past. Now I am that old person and I still believe the citizens with their lives before them should make the choices which will affect the rest of their lives. The last time I voted my vote was given to my Mother, who was dying of cancer. The absentee vote did not arrive in time, so I told her I would vote for the candidate for whom she would have cast her ballot, which was Republican Bob “Dour” Dole. After voting for Bob I told my Mother the vote had been cast while holding my nose. She laughed.

Life Chess Master David Vest, the only man to hold both the title of Georgia Chess Champion, and Georgia Senior Chess Champion, was fond of asking, “Are we moving forward?” Republicans are fond of calling themselves “conservative.” They do not want change, and many wish to go back to what they call the “halcyon” days. If they had the choice to make many of them would return to an earlier time when there were water fountains for “White” and “Colored” people. I am old enough to recall the separate water fountains. I hope this country chooses to move forward in the next election cycle, and the one coming in 2020.

We Americans are the world, which is why America is called the “melting-pot.” If there is any hope for the world it is only the people who embrace change that hold any hope for the country and the world. I learned a long time ago that an old, rigid tree will crack and fall in a storm, while a younger, more flexible tree will bend with the wind, and remain upright after the wind abates. I have, therefore, tried to embrace change during the course of my life, because change is the way of life. The next election, and possibly the next one, will be called the “Year of the Woman.” That is change, and I have absolutely no problem with the change. Old white men have made a complete mess of things. Maybe it is time We The People acknowledge that fact and lend our support to the women. After all, they cannot be worse than the Trumpster.

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The High Planes Drifter

An excellent article, 1st Ron Finegold Memorial, by Davide Nastasio, appeared at the Chessbase website recently (https://en.chessbase.com/post/1st-ron-finegold-memorial).

5/7/2018 – “Open weekend tournaments in the United States are proof of chess as a very competitive high stakes sport. Local tournaments often celebrate the changing of seasons, recurring events, or, as in this case, memorialise (sic) a master player who dearly loved chess, and gifted such passion to his children. GM Elshan Moradiabadi took top honours (sic) in the inaugural Ron Finegold Memorial, held at the new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta, which was founded by his son, Ben.”

Elshan Moradiabadi wins with 4½ out of 5

“From March 31st to April 1st, 2018 At the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta was held the Ron Finegold Memorial, a tournament with 4 sections and 92 players.

Ron Finegold (born in 1937), the father of GM Ben Finegold, was a National Master who died after a long illness on July 15th, 2014. His passion for chess brought him to teach the game to his children.”

“The Open weekend tournament in the USA is proof that chess is a sport. Five rounds in two days. On Saturday one can play for nine hours straight, for a total of three games, then follow on Sunday another six hours of playing. The last three hours are quite important because the last round is what divides the winner from the losers, those who will bring home the money from those who fought for nothing. The Open section of this tournament was particularly well stocked with two GMs, plus the US Women’s Champion of 2017, and a few national masters and candidate masters.”

Reading the above made me laugh. The ‘next generation’ considers the above playing schedule “grueling.” Back in the day we played five rounds over two days at a time control of 40 moves in two hours, followed by various time limits such as twenty moves in an hour, which became twenty moves in a half hour, followed by increasingly shorter time limits for the endgame. I won the Atlanta Chess Championship in 1976 at a time control of forty moves in two and one half hours, followed by twenty moves in one hour. Granted, there was only one game played at night for five weeks, but when we sat down it was known the game could possibly last well into the wee hours. During the 1980 US Open in Atlanta my opponent, Dauntless Don Mullis, finally resigned at three thirty the next morning. The game began at seven pm. And WE LIKED IT! My heart bleeds for these namby-pamby wussies…

The address given at the website of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta is, 2500 Old Alabama Rd., Suite 11, Roswell, GA 30076. Roswell is not Atlanta. It is a city far to the north of Atlanta. In 2014 the estimated population was 94,089, making it Georgia’s seventh largest city (http://www.visitroswellga.com/). Maybe it should be called the Atlanta Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Roswell?

A game Ron Finegold

lost to Bobby Fischer

at the Western Open in Bay City accompanies the article. No date is given. The other game contained in the article is by LM David Vest, aka, the High Planes Drifter, whom I have known for almost four decades. We played many speed games over the years, with Mr. Vest usually besting me. One time the Drifter informed me he intended to sacrifice the exchange in every game, which is exactly what he did, as I lost again and again… David gave me a lesson never forgotten. I used that lesson in a telephone game with the legendary one, playing an exchange sacrifice that brought the house DOWN! I proudly showed the game to Vest, who smiled with approval.

David Vest


Scott Prichard playing against Carter Peatman | Photo: Davide Nastasio (Vest is shown in the background playing Harry Le)

is the only player to hold the title of both Georgia State Chess Champion, and Georgia Senior Champion. The man from the High Planes stopped drifting and settled down at the House of Pain. Frequently heard from the younger players were things like, “Vest got me again,” and “How come I can’t beat that old man?” They knew the Chess road led through Mr. Vest, and to best Vest was a sign that, as one young player succinctly put it, “Now I’m getting somewhere!”

Mr. Vest talks with a booming voice, which was often heard, to the detriment of the other players, when he was right outside the front door, directly below the window of the main playing room, smoking his ready-rolled cigarettes. David was known for his “A.O.” theories. That’s for “Atmospheric Occupation.” As far as he was concerned, the only hope for mankind was to get off of the planet. He could not understand why everyone did not agree with him. For some reason he thought he was the first to come up with the idea of moving off planet. He told of taking his theories to the US government, and his disappointment in being rejected…Voice booming and eyes blazing, Mr. Vest would rail against our government and threaten to take his ides to the “Communist Chinese.” One time a VietNam veteran, who had listened to some of a Vest tirade, entered the HOP saying, “That man ain’t right.” He got no argument. I attempted to council Mr. Vest about toning down his traitorously inflammatory harangues, but it fell on deaf ears…Another time one of the Chess fathers, after listening to a Vest diatribe, said, “There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that man is on it.”

As can be seen in the photograph, Mr. Vest has a large scar in the shape of a horseshoe underneath his right eye, which was obtained when he moved to Louisville and began a job working with horses, which he loved. The horse obviously did reciprocate. Dave was fortunate as a kick to the head from a horse can be fatal. One legendary Atlanta player informed me the Drifter told them he had experience with horses to obtain the job. “What he did not say was the experience came from wagering at the track!” he said while laughing uproariously. “What the hell does Dave know about horses other than the betting odds?” he added.

Mr. Vest’s rating plummeted as he continued to play Chess while pus oozed from his wound. His Master rating fell below 2100 and the word at the House was he would never be the same player. Mr. Vest proved them wrong when, after recovering, his rating steadily climbed to over 2200 once again, where it stayed for some time. After losing yet again to Vest one promising junior came down the stairs saying, “That man OWNS this place!”

Before leaving Atlanta and moving to the country the aforementioned legendary player informed me Mr. Vest was to be interviewed on an Atlanta radio station, WGST. “You’re kidding, right?” I asked. “I wish I were, but I’m not,” he said. “I just hope he don’t give Chess in Atlanta a bad name.” We listened with trepidation to the interview, with the legendary one muttering things like, “Lordy,” and “I hope he don’t mention Championship Chess.” When they went to a break I glanced over at the legendary one to see what can only be described as an ashen face. “I don’t know if I can take any more of this,” he said. He, and we, did. “Oh God,” the legendary one exclaimed at one point, “Chess in Atlanta will never be the same.” Having listened to Mr. Vest at length over the years I was grinning while enjoying the show. “You’ve gotta admit, it’s entertaining,” I stated. “Maybe in some kinda way in your warped brain, Bacon,” he said. “It’s sad Dave don’t know he’s making a fool of himself,” the legendary one said as he sat there shaking his head. “How did the drifter get on the show?” I asked. “He called in regularly,” was the reply.

By now you should understand why I decided to put Dave’s game through the clanking digital monsters at the ChessBase DataBase.

David Vest 2200 vs Harry Le 1971

1 c4 (David’s love of the English rivaled has that of LA Master Jerry Hanken, of whom Vest spoke highly) Nf6 2 Nc3 e5 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 e3 Be7 5 a3 (Komodo plays 5 Qb3) O-O 6 b4 (Stockfish plays either 6 d4 or Qb3) d6 (Stockfish plays either 6…d5, or 6…e4. Houey prefers d5)

7 d4 (This move cannot be found in the databases so must me a Theoretical Novelty. Unfortunately, it is not a good one. It is the way of Chess that the best move in the position on the previous move now becomes less than desirable.) exd4 8 exd4 Bg4 9 Be2 a6 10 h3 Bh5 11 Bf4 d5 12 g4 (I am not surprised Vest played this move, but a more circumspect move such as 12 0-0 may have been better. After 12…Bxf3 13 Bxf3 dxc4 white would have the possibility of completely ruining the black pawn structure with 14 Bxc6. There is also the possibility of playing 14 d5! Granted, black does not have to play to take the pawn, as after 12 0-0 he could play 12…Re8, for example) Bg6

Look at this position from white’s perspective and imagine your student sitting across from you. What move would you suggest, and why?

13 Ne5

After seeing this move one might question a student, offering 13 0-0 as an alternative. “Look kid,” one could begin, “You have followed the rules of the Royal game by developing your four minor pieces. You need only move your king to safety before developing your major pieces.”) dxc4

14 Nxg6 (I would be strongly tempted to play 14 Nxc6 bxc6 a5 Bxc4) hxg6 15. d5 Nb8!

(Shades of the man from the High Planes! Vest was famous for playing the Brooklyn variation of the Alekhine’s defense. An example:

IM Vinay Bhat (Earned GM title in 1997)

vs David Vest

1996 American Open

Los Angeles, California

B02 Alekhine’s defence, Brooklyn defence

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ng8 3. d4 d5 4. exd6 cxd6 5. c4 e6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. Nc3 Be7 8. Be3 Nbd7 9. Nf3 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Bf4 O-O 12. Rc1 a6 13. h3 Qb8 14. Re1 Qa7 15.Qb3 Rac8 16. Na4 Rfd8 17. Bf1 h6 18. Be3 Bc6 19. Nc3 Ba8 20. Qa4 Bc6 21. Qb3 Ba8 22. Qa4 Qb7 23. b4 Nb8 24. a3 Rc7 25. Bf4 Qc8 26. Qb3 Bxf3 27. gxf3 Nc6 28.Be3 Rb7 29. f4 Rb8 30. d5 Na7 31. Na4 exd5 32. Nxb6 Qf5 33. Nxd5 Nxd5 34. cxd5 Rd7 35. Kh2 Nb5 36. Bd3 Qh5 37. Be2 Qh4 38. Qd3 Bf6 39. Rg1 Bb2 40. Rg4 Qe7 41.Rcg1 Qd8 42. Bd1 Rc7 43. Bc2 Kf8 44. Qh7 Nxa3 45. Rxg7 Bxg7 46. Rxg7 Nxc2 47.Qg8+ 1-0)

16 g5 (I would take the pawn with 16 Bxc4. The game move is more in keeping with the High Planes Drifter’s fast & loose, shoot from the hip style, but 16 Bxc4 is best) Ne8

I could not help but wonder what Mr. Vest was thinking about while looking at this position. Many years ago the Drifter said that after 1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nf8 he was “Sucking them into my vortex!” This position has Vest in the wrong plane! Now he is the one being sucking into a vortex…)

17 Qd2 (Now 17 Bxc4 is answered by 17…Bxg5) Bd6 18. Be3 Be5 (Black has driven white back and the bishop takes a dominating position. The amazing thing about the position is that black has only one piece off of the back rank but has the advantage)

19 f4 (Vest could take the pawn with 19 Bxc4, but Nd6 20 Be2 Re8 black has greatly improved his position ) Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Nd6

21 h4 (Having been outplayed Vest decides to thrust his sword, or fall on it…It was still possible to castle even though black could then play 21…b5, protecting the pawn. Still, after 23 Bf3 white would have the two bishops versus the two horses, which may have been why Vest pushed the pawn, come to think of it…You see, the Drifter LOVES the horses, so how could he possibly bet against them? I have often watched his play without Queens on the board, in which his knights shine) Re8

22 h5 Nf5 23 Bf2? (He had to try 23 Rh3 gxh5 24 Bxh5) Qxd5 24 Rh3 Qe4

25 Qb2? (Dave could have tried (25 O-O-O as 25… Qxe2 26 Re1 Qxf2 27. Rxe8+ Kh7 28. h6 Qf1+ 29. Kc2 Qg2+ 30. Kc1 Qf1+ only leads to a draw. 25…Nc6 is better, though…) gxh5 (25…Qg2! The remaining moves need no comment) 26 g6 fxg6 27 Kf1 Qxf4 28 Rf3 Qe4 29 Re1 Nc6 30 b5 Ne5 31 Rc3 Qh1+ 32 Bg1 Nd3 0-1

The High Plains Drifter was a strong Chess player; strong enough to beat many time US Women’s Champion Irina Krush

in the last round of one of the 2003 EMORY/CASTLE GRAND PRIX. The upset win translated into a first place tie with GM Julio Becerra.

The game was annotated by IM John Donaldson in the award winning Georgia Chess magazine. I will admit to being somewhat disappointed when the Drifter informed me he had “chickened out” when offering Irina a draw, which was declined.

I have met many Chess players during the course of my life. The mold was definitely broken after the Drifter came down from the High Planes. He often claimed to be “above you humans.” Fortunately, Chess kept him somewhat grounded…David Vest is definitely sui generis.

Dust In The Wind

Although having not gotten far into the book by GM Daniel Gormally, Insanity, passion, and addiction: a year inside the chess world,

I have immensely enjoyed the honesty with which it is written. His opponent in this game is the current Champion of US women players. If the motto of FIDE is Gens una sumus, Latin for “We are one people,” why are there separate tournaments, and championships, for women? In theory we are one people but in practice Chess is divided into two separate, distinct divisions.

Daniel Gormally (2502)

vs Sabina Foisor (2260)

Rd 8
Villard de lans 2014

1. d4 e6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 d6 4. Nc3 g6 5. Nf3 exd5 6. cxd5
Bg7 7. e4 a6 8. h3 b5 9. a4 b4 10. Nb1 Ne7 11. Bd3 O-O 12. O-O h6 13. Nbd2 f5
14. Nc4 fxe4 15. Bxe4 Nd7 16. Nxd6 Nf6 17. Nxc8 Rxc8 18. Bd3 Qd6 19. Qe2 a5 20.
Ne5 Nfxd5 21. Nc4 Qf6 22. Nxa5 Kh8 23. Nc4 Rce8 24. Qe4 Nc7 25. Be3 Nf5 26. Qb7
Ne6 27. a5 Rd8 28. Be4 Ned4 29. Rae1 Nd6

30. Qd5?

GM Gormally writes, “Having played well until this point, I produce a very sloppy move when the win was just over the horizon. Unfortunately, I was very unprofessional here. I was aware that France vs Germany, a potential World Cup quarter-final cracker, was just about to start and so I was playing too fast, trying to get the game over with so I could get down to the pub. Rather justly I was punished for underestimating my opponent. 30. Nx6 Qxd6 31. Qb6 should be easily good enough for the win.”

My first thought after reading the above was, “At least he is honest.” Then a quote by the Greatest Chess player of my time, Bobby Fischer, came to mind: “Chess demands total concentration and a love for the game.”

Nxe4 31. Qxe4 Qa6 32. Ne5 Kh7
33. f4 Rf6 34. h4 h5 35. g4 Qa8 36. Qxa8 Rxa8 37. gxh5 gxh5 38. Bxd4 cxd4 39.
Nc4 b3 40. Re7 Kh8 41. Rc7 Bh6 42. f5 Rg8+ 43. Kh1 Rg4 44. Rf3 Bf4 45. Rc8+ Kh7
46. Rxb3 Rf7 47. f6 Rxf6 48. Rb7+ Kg6 49. Rb6 Rxh4+ 50. Kg2 Rg4+ 51. Kf3 Bd6+
52. Ke2 Rg2+ 53. Kd3 Rg3+ 54. Kc2 d3+ 55. Kc3 Bf4 56. Rg8+ Kf5 57. Rb5+ Ke4 58.
Re8+ Kf3 59. Rxh5 d2 60. Rd5 Rc6 61. b3 Rg1 62. Red8 Rc1+ 63. Kb4 Ke2 64. Rxd2+
Bxd2+ 65. Rxd2+ Kf3 66. Ne5+ Ke3 67. Nxc6 Kxd2 68. Kb5 Kc3 69. b4 Rh1 70. a6
Rh5+ 71. Kb6 Kc4 72. a7 Rh8 73. b5 Rg8 74. Ka6 Kc5 75. Nb8 Rg6+ 76. Ka5 Rg1 77.
Na6+ 1-0

After completing the game I sat back and reflected upon the far too many times I had cheated Caissia. Two came to mind immediately. I do not recall the tournament, and after checking my MSA page at USCF, which begins in December of 1991, I am unable to say for certain, but for some reason I want to think it was at a tournament in the Great State of Alabama. The date was July 28, 1991, a Saturday night. Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos pitched a perfect game, and being a big fan of baseball I was constantly heading to the bar to watch the game, until the ninth inning when I stopped playing Chess and stayed in the bar to watch the rest of the game. As it turns out it was only the thirteenth perfecto hurled in the history of MLB. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the victims. As for my Chess game versus a National Master…I lost.

Then there was the first round of the 2002 World Open…I was old enough to be eligible to play in the US Senior and playing in the class A section. IM Boris Kogan had once given me advice to “Get up and go to the men’s room, or just walk around to clear your head,” after making time control at move forty, or whatever move was time control. I had played a decent game and felt like I had a won game after making time control, so I took the Hulk’s advice and went to the men’s room. On the return trip to the tournament hall I encountered a friend and stopped to speak. In retrospect, this was a huge mistake as it broke my concentration. I returned to the board thinking only of getting together with my friend while allowing the game “to play itself.” After at least one weak move, possibly more, I had to dig deep and try to get back in concentration mode. You know the story…we all know the story…by then it was too late, and I went down in flames.

Something good came out of it, though. Many people had promised Thad Rogers they would come to Philadelphia and help him in the book room. Only one showed up in Philly, the man from the High Planes, LM David Vest. David was a smoker who rolled his own. I realized he would not be able to maintain sitting behind a cash register for hours on end, so I withdrew from the tournament in order to help out. Upon returning to Atlanta, and the House of Pain, I learned the High Planes Drifter had told anyone who would listen that, “Bacon saved the day!”

As luck would have it while putting this post together in my mind I went to GM Kevin Spraggett’s excellent blog (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/) where I noticed a box in the upper right hand corner, “Chess D B.” Underneath reads, “The biggest chess database.” There is much on his website, and I have clicked on most of it, but for some reason had never clicked on it previously. I clicked this day and found only one of my games, and it was the aforementioned lost game from the 2002 World Open:

Michael Bacon vs. Leon Shernoff

(England, 1805 [This is the ELO rating at the time the game was played] ) 0 – 1 (USA, 1905 [This is the ELO rating at the time the game was played] )
Event: World Open U, 2002.07.01, Spielmann Attack, Bishop (C24)

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Bc5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Nf3 d6 6. O-O Be6 7. Bb3 Nbd7 8. Ng5 Qe7 9. Nxe6 fxe6 10. Bd2 O-O 11. Na4 b5 12. Nxc5 Nxc5 13. Qe2 a5 14. c3 a4 15. Bc2 Qb7 16. d4 exd4 17. cxd4 Ncd7 18. e5 dxe5 19. dxe5 Nd5 20. Qh5 g6 21. Bxg6 hxg6 22. Qxg6+ Kh8 23. Qh6+ Kg8 24. Qxe6+ Rf7 25. Rae1 Nf8 26. Qg4+ Rg7 27. Qe4 Re8 28. f4 c5 29. Rf3 Ng6 30. Rg3 Re6 31. Qf3 Nh4 32. Qf2 Qe7 33. Rxg7+ Kxg7 34. g3 Nf5 35. Qg2 Qd7 36. Qf2 Qe7 37. Qg2 Qd7 38. Qe2 Nd4 39. Qg4+ Kf8 40. f5 Re7 41. Bh6+ Rg7 42. Bxg7+ Qxg7 43. Qxg7+ Kxg7 44. f6+ Kf7 45. Kf2 Nb4 46. Re4 Nd3+ 47. Ke3 Nxb2 48. Rg4 Ne6 49. h4 b4 50. h5 b3 51. axb3 a3 52. Rh4 c4 53. Rh1 cxb3 54. h6 Kg8 55. Ke4 Na4 56. Kf5 Nac5 57. g4 a2 58. g5 b2 59. g6 b1=Q+ 60. Rxb1 axb1=Q+ 61. Kg4 Qxg6+ 0-1

Let me state I am not now, nor have I ever been, from “England.” I am from the Great Southern State of Georgia. Although I have lived in several other states, I have lived the majority of my life in Georgia, and will be buried, per my Mother’s wishes, next to her and her Mother, the rock upon which my family was built, a woman we called, “Mama.”

I have yet to look at this game. There are not many of my games left, I am sad to report. One of my cousin’s, a woman I now call crazy cousin Linda, allowed them to become water logged, along with my collection of books. A friend, NM Chris Chambers, did put many of my games versus Experts and Masters on a floppy disc, but the floppy’s went the way of dinosaurs, so they are gone forever, which is probably just as well…

The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“I never let schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

Today is the anniversary of the brutal murder of POTUS John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The event which transpired in New York city on September 11, 2001 has been equated with what happened in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which to anyone my age is laughable. The enormousness of the killing of a POTUS dwarfs any other day of infamy.

The death of President Kennedy was announced at a pep rally at my high school on a Friday afternoon. Half of those in attendance cheered. JFK was reviled in the South, not only because he was a yankee, but also a Catholic. Southern Baptists did not like Catholics. Actually, most of them did not like anyone other than those who were like minded.

I had turned thirteen a few months earlier and was in the eight grade at a new high school where I knew only two other students, both from my grammar school. Fights broke out after the announcement. Fortunately I was not involved.

Like most other Americans my family gathered around the television to watch the continuous coverage. One could tell how important an event was this because there were no commercials broadcast for days. I saw Jack Ruby allegedly shoot Lee Harvey Oswald, if it was really Lee Harvey Oswald, in the basement of the Dallas police department. Oswald said he was a patsy. Some do not believe Ruby, an FBI informant, actually shot Oswald. Only a few people know the truth, and they are not telling. One reason may be what has been written about something in the office of organized crime figure Carlos Marcello’s office: “Three can keep a secret if two are dead,” which is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

I read Rush To Judgement, by Mark Lane, in the late 1960’s and was hooked. At one time I could count the number of books on the assassination, but that is no longer the case, and has not been for decades. Former Georgia Chess Champion Michael Decker once told someone that I “Had read EVERYTHING!” It may have been close to the truth then, but there have been so many books written now that it is virtually impossible for anyone to read all of them. Michael, like most other Americans, refused to believe anything other than what the government said had happened. On one of the many visits I made to visit him in Louisville I noticed a copy of Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, by David S. Lifton. When asked if he had read the book he looked like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He refused to discuss the matter, so I let it drop. I could discern his faith in our institutions had been shaken.

I even read discredited books concerning the assassination considered by knowledgeable people to be disinformation. When asked why I would reply, “In order to know what they leave out, or where they want you to go, so I can go the other way.” I drew the line, though, at the doorstop, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi. After all, my time on this earth is limited and reading that piece of trash would be a complete waste of time. I will admit, though, that the reviews panning it were even better than the reviews of Gerald Posner’s terrible book, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK.

I went to the Atlanta Historical Society one evening to listen to a lecture by a man some call an “eminent historian,” Robert Dallek, who had written, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 – 1963. I was in line to ask him a question when the first question to him was, “What books have you read on the assassination of JFK?” When he said, “Case Closed,” the questioner asked, “That’s all?” When Dallek said there was no need to read any other books after reading that one, the audience booed, and hissed, and booed some more. I turned and walked out. Need I tell you this is one of the highlights of my life?

Back in the 1980’s Michael “Mad Dog” Gordon, another Chess player, watched a two-hour program on the JFK assassination, which he thought made him an expert. The Legendary one, had told Mike that I had read many books on the subject, so Mad Dog began asking me questions one evening while taking a break from playing fifteen minute games. We did not play another game. Many hours later he offered his couch because of the late hour. I could not do that now because my memory is not what it used to be. I have forgotten names, dates, and details, unfortunately. The program Mad Dog had watched “proved” that LHO had shot JFK. As the man from the High Planes, Life Master David Vest, former Georgia Chess Champion and Georgia Senior Chess champion, would say, “I refuted the Mad Dog.”

Whatever one thinks of John Fitzgerald Kennedy the fact that you are here today and reading this is testament to the man because if he had not been POTUS during the Cuban Missile Crisis there would have been a nuclear war. There would have been an alternate timeline, one that possibly would not have included humans. You see, the hawks who wanted to bomb the hell out of Cuba did not know that nuclear weapons were positioned there, ready to strike the US, and that the Russian battlefield commanders had authority to fire them in case of an invasion. This was learned decades later at a conference in Cuba.

A few who have learned of my continuing interest in the sordid affair have asked me what book to read, as if there were one, and only one, book to read on the assassination of President Kennedy. My usual response has been to scoff at such a ridiculous question. Now I am old and today may be my tomorrow, so I have decided to share the titles of the books I would recommend one read, if interested in the subject.

When I began researching the subject I focused on not who had killed the POTUS, but why was he killed. This is the best book to answer that question:

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass.

Garrison Keillor puts out an edition of The Writer’s Almanac every day, which can be listened to on NPR and found here: https://writersalmanac.org/

Mr. Keillor writes in today’s edition, “As they drove through Dealey Plaza, Lee Harvey Oswald opened fire from a sixth-floor window in the Texas School Book Depository.” Lee Harvey Oswald was later that day tested for nitrates on his face, something he would have had if he had fired a rifle earlier in the day. He tested negative.

Because it is his birthday a piece on Charles de Gaulle, a former President of France, follows, which is ironic because when asked about the Kennedy assassination, de Gaulle, who had survived numerous assassination attempts, said, “His security was compromised.” This is the book to read in order to understand what happened that November day in 1963:

Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy, by Vincent Palamara.

Douglas Horne has written a five volumne set of books that is simply de rigueur if one wants to know what happened in Dallas that terrible day: Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK.

If one wants to know the empirical evidence he should read the masterful: A Deeper, Darker Truth, by Donald T Phillips.

That’s it, unless one is interested in speculation, when I would highly recommend: Target JFK: The Spy Who Killed Kennedy? by Robert K. Wilcox, the author of the highly acclaimed, Target Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton.

Then there is, THE MEN THAT DON’T FIT IN, by Rod MacKenzie. Can it really be true that these last two books are true? With the JFK assassination, anything is possible.

The Men That Don’t Fit In
By Robert W. Service
There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.

The Perdomo Class Championship

When the Legendary Georgia Ironman first mentioned the Georgia Class had been changed to the Perdomo Class Championship I was stunned, saying, “When did Carlos die?” Fortunately, IM Carlos Perdomo lives. The usual practice has been to name a tournament after someone, or even two former players, whose spirits have departed for the chessboard in the sky. Those in control of the GCA have seen fit to do things differently. For example, the current Fun E administration seems loathe to take entry fees at the door on the day of the tournament. It was therefore no surprise when the Ironman told me he had picked up an extra lesson on Saturday, the second day of the tournament. When Tim said to the chess dad, “But I thought your son was playing in the Perdomo.” (As in the “BoKo” which is short for the Boris Kogan Memorial. Since Carlos is still with us it is the “Perdomo.” Once his spirit heads to the sky it will, no doubt, become the “Domo.”) The chess dad said, “I could not enter online, and I tried many times, until finally giving up. Every time I tried to enter it would go back a page.” Sometimes progress ain’t…I cannot help but wonder how many others had the same problem and did not participate?

Unfortunately, I only learned some of the games were broadcast live on Chess Stream after the tournament ended. LM David Vest, who, according to Tim, also had trouble entering, had mentioned the fact to the Ironman, asking him to let me know, but it slipped the Ironmind. I had previously seen the announcement on the moribund GCA website (http://www.georgiachess.org/), but nothing was mentioned about any games being broadcast live, and having been to the GCA online magazine (http://georgiachessnews.com/), I can attest to the fact that there was no mention of this fact. What is the point of having games broadcast if the news is not advertised?

Mr. Vest mentioned something about Masters receiving free entry providing they jumped through many GCA hoops. The man from the High Planes did just that but said “Katie was in Alaska and by the time I was able to enter it was too late.” I was, therefore, pleased to see the Drifter was able to play four rounds after a first round half point bye. David is a fellow Senior and obviously not ready to drift away toward the sky.

There were seventy-five players in all sections combined, about what we used to get at the House of Pain when the usual suspects were rounded up. Unfortunately, there were only eight players in the top section. This makes me wonder about reports being received concerning a boycott of GCA tournaments by the higher rated players. I have learned it is not an “official” boycott per se, in the sense that anyone has led a boycott, but more of an unofficial type boycott. Word must not have gotten to the eight intrepid players who chose to “cross the line.”

NM Michael Coralllo, who has been playing very well the past several years, was the top rated player when he sat down in the first round to play a former student of the Legendary Georgia Ironman, Albert Liang, who is now learning from GM Alsonso Zapata. I went with Tim to the home of Albert where we double-teamed the young man during a lesson, and I can relate that after leaving, the Ironman and I were the ones who felt double teamed!

Albert Liang (2019) – Michael Corallo (2371)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O b5 8. Bb3 Be7 9. Qf3 Qb6 10. Be3 Qb7 11. Qg3 O-O 12. Bh6 Ne8 13. f3 Bd7 14. Rad1 Nc6 15. Nxc6 Bxc6 16. Ne2 Kh8 17. Be3 Nf6 18. Nd4 Be8 19. Kh1 Nd7 20. Bf4 Qb6 21. Ne2 Ne5 22. c3 Qc5 23. Nc1 Qc7 24. Nd3 Ng6 25. Be3 Rg8 26. f4 Qb7 27. f5 Nf8 28. Nf4 exf5 29. exf5 Bc6 30. Bxf7 Bh4 31. Qxh4 Qxf7 32. Rxd6 Rc8 33. Kg1 Qxf5 34. Bd4 Bb7 35. Nh5 Qc2 36. Qg3 1-0

Can you spell U-P-S-E-T? Mr. Corallo did not let this loss upset him, playing the swiss gambit the way it is supposed to be played by winning his next four games and taking clear first. That is showing your class in style!
I was surprised to see the move 6 Bc4 has only scored 48% according to the CBDB. Back in the day it was THE MOVE. White has scored 54% against 11…0-0, and it is the preferred move of the big three “engines” shown on the CBDB, but 11…b4 has held White to only 45%. After 12…Ne8 365Chess.com calls this the, B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Lipnitzky attack, which is a new one on me…
The game Rojas, Luis (2432) – Andaur, Claudio (2095) CHI-ch, 02/12/2002, varied with 13…Kh8 14. Bg5 Bxg5 15. Qxg5 Qb6 16. Qe3 Bd7 17. Qf2 Nc6 18. Nxc6 Qxf2+ 19. Rxf2 Bxc6 20. Rd2 Rd8 21. Rad1 g5 22. Ne2 Rg8 23. h3 Rg6 24. c4 bxc4 25. Bxc4 Bb7 26. b4 h5 27. Kf2 Kg7 28. e5 d5 29. Bd3 Rh6 30. Nd4 Nc7 31. Rc2 Rd7 32. Rdc1 Na8 33. Nb3 f6 34. Nc5 Re7 35. Nxb7 Rxb7 36. Bxa6 Rf7 37. Rc6 fxe5 38. b5 g4 39. b6 Nxb6 40. Rxb6 gxf3 41. gxf3 Rhf6 42. Rg1+ Kh6 43. Ke2 Rxf3 44. Rxe6+ R3f6 45. Rxf6+ Rxf6 46. Bb5 e4 47. Rd1 Rf3 48. Rxd5 Ra3 49. Rd2 Rxh3 50. a4 Kg5 51. Rd8 Ra3 52. Rd5+ Kf4 53. Rxh5 Ra2+ 54. Kd1 e3 55. Rh8 Ke4 56. Kc1 Kd4 57. Rd8+ Ke4 58. Kb1 Rh2 59. Rc8 Kd4 60. Rc2 Rh1+ 61. Kb2 Rh5 62. Kb3 Rh3 63. Kb4 Rh1 64. Ka5 Rh6 65. Be2 Kd5 66. Kb5 Rh1 67. a5 Rb1+ 68. Ka4 Rb8 69. a6 Ra8 70. Kb5 Rb8+ 71. Ka5 Kd6 72. Bb5 Rd8 1-0

The third round featured this game between the two Masters in the field.

David Vest (2200) – Michael Corallo (2371)

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 a6 4. Bg2 b5 5. O-O Bb7 6. b3 Be7 7. d3 O-O 8. e4 d6 9. Nc3 Nfd7 10. Rb1 c5 11. Qe2 Bf6 12. Bb2 Nc6 13. cxb5 axb5 14. Nxb5 Nde5 15. Bxe5 Nxe5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. f4 Bf6 18. Rfc1 Qb6 19. a4 Rad8 20. Kh1 Ba6 21. Na3 g6 22. Nc4 Qb4 23. e5 dxe5 24. fxe5 Bg5 25. Rc2 Rd4 26. Be4 Rfd8 27. Qf3 Bxc4 28. Rxc4 Rxc4 29. dxc4 Qb8 30. h4 Bh6 31. Rf1 Rf8 32. a5 Bg7 33. a6 Bxe5 34. Kg2 Qb6 35. Bb7 Bb8 36. h5 Qd6 37. Rd1 Qe5 38. Rh1 Rd8 39. hxg6 Rd2 40. Kh3 hxg6 41. Rf1 Qh8 0-1

This is cutting edge theory being played here in the Deep South folks, as Bartosz Socko (2631) played 8…d5 against Hristos Banikas (2572) in Beijing at the 1st WMSG Blitz Pair, 10/08/2008, and lost. Vereslav Eingorn (2560) also played 8…d6 versus Bogomil Andonov (2415) at Uzhgorod in 1988 and won after 9. Nc3 b4 10. Ne2 c5 11. Ne1 Nc6 12. f4 a5 13. Nf3 a4 14. Rb1 axb3 15. axb3 Ra2 16. h3 Nd7 17. g4 Bf6 18. Bd2 g6 19. g5 Bg7 20. f5 Re8 21. f6 Bf8 22. Nf4 Nb6 23. Re1 d5 24. exd5 exd5 25. Rxe8 Qxe8 26. cxd5 Ne5 27. Ra1 Ra3 28. Rb1 Nxd5 29. Qe2 Nxf3+ 30. Bxf3 Qxe2 31. Bxe2 Ra2 32. Bf3 Nxf4 0-1
FYI, 365Chess calls this the, A13 English, Romanishin gambit.

The fourth round Sunday morning saw the grizzled veteran facing the new kid on the block.

David Vest (2200) – Albert Liang (2019)

1. c4 e6 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 b6 7. Bb2 Bb7 8. d3 c5 9. Nbd2 Nc6 10. a3 Nd7 11. Rb1 dxc4 12. Nxc4 Qc7 13. Qc1 Rac8 14. Qe3 Bf6 15. Ng5 Bxb2 16. Rxb2 Rb8 17. b4 cxb4 18. axb4 Nce5 19. Nxe5 Qxe5 20. Qxe5 Nxe5 21. Bxb7 Rxb7 22. Rc1 h6 23. Ne4 Rd7 24. f3 Ng6 25. Rbc2 Ne7 26. Kf2 Nd5 27. b5 Rfd8 28. Rc4 Kf8 29. Ra4 Rb8 30. Nd2 Ne7 31. Nc4 Rbb7 32. Rca1 f6 33. R1a3 Nf5 34. e3 Ke7 35. Ke2 Nd6 36. Nxd6 Kxd6 37. d4 Rbc7 38. Kd2 e5 39. Rd3 Ke6 40. dxe5 Rxd3 41. Kxd3 Kxe5 42. f4 Kd6 43. Rd4 Ke6 44. e4 Rc5 45. f5 Ke7 46. Ra4 Rxb5 47. Rxa7 Kf8 48. Ke3 Re5 49. Rb7 b5 50. Kd4 Kg8 51. Rc7 Kf8 52. Rc5 Re7 53. Rxb5 Ra7 54. Rb3 Ra2 55. h3 Ra7 56. Ke3 Kf7 57. Kf4 g5 58. Kg4 Re7 59. Rb4 Kg7 60. Kh5 Kh7 61. Rb6 Kg7 62. Re6 Rd7 63. e5 fxe5 64. Rxh6 Rd3 65. Rg6 Kf7 66. Kg4 e4 67. Re6 Re3 68. Rg6 Re1 69. Kxg5 e3 70. Re6 e2 71. g4 Rh1 72. Rxe2 Rxh3 73. Ra2 1-0

As Bobby Fischer famously said, “That’s what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.” (http://www.chessquotes.com/player-fischer)
Playing over this English brings back memories of the High Planes Drifter regaling us with tales of the daze he was moving around the left coast in LA and of GM Eduard Gufeld and NM Jerry Hanken, who loved playing 1 c4. Up through 4…Be7 365Chess shows this as “A13 English opening,” but when Mr. Vest played 5 0-0 it became a, “A14 English, Neo-Catalan declined.” 10…Nd7 is the new move. Previously the two most common moves have been Qc7 and Qd7, the move of Houdini, but the new World Chess Champion thing, known as Komodo, prefers 10…Re8, but what does IT know?

Albert drew with the always dangerous Carter Peatman in the last round to finish in a three-way tie for second place with Djordje Nedeljkovic, who is a provisionally rated NM after eighteen games, and Expert Sinclair Gray, all with a score of 3-2.

Jeremy Banta took clear first in the class A section, Matt Mayhew, from Tennessee was also clear first in the B class, as was Anthony John Morse in the C class, and Sanjeev Anand did the same in class D. Not to be outdone, Harold Blackmarr also won the below section, for everyone else, a half-point ahead of the pack.

Games can be found here: http://chessstream.com/TournamentGames.aspx?TournamentID=98

Does Playing Chess Make You Smarter?

D. Zachary Hambrick is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. He received his Bachelors from Methodist College, Fayetteville, NC 1994; Masters at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 1997; and became a Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 2000, where I became acquainted with him by taking part in studies which led to his earning his Ph.D. Because of the kinds of things he studies I sought his answer to the question of what, exactly, is the state of knowledge pertaining to whether or not learning, and playing, chess can enhance intelligence. Zach emailed me a copy of Educational benefits of chess instruction: A critical review, by Fernand Gobet & Guillermo Campitelli, of University of Nottingham, which, unlike many other studies, can be found online. This study is considered by those in the academic world to be the “last word.”

The introduction begins, “Chess playing makes kids smarter.” “Chess increases mathematical abilities.” “Chess improves academic performance.” Numerous similar claims have been made about the efficacy of using chess to foster education.”

That it has…It used to be that chess was considered to be a lifetime “sport.” Now when a Chinese GM reaches the ripe old age of thirty he is forced to retire and become a “trainer,” or “coach.” The players have become ever younger, and now one sees a picture of the latest four year old “prodigy” at Chessbase. Check out, Moscow Open: The four-year-old veteran by by Albert Silver. (http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-open-the-four-year-old-veteran) The chess world is doing the age limbo; how low can it go?

The introduction continues, “Indeed, schools in various countries (e.g., USA, France, Argentina) offer chess as an optional subject, and some even propose compulsory classes. There is clearly a strong interest worldwide in the potential advantages of chess in education, and the conference from which this book stems is just another example of this interest. Implicit in all these activities is the belief that skills acquired playing chess can transfer to other domains. Is this belief based on well-substantiated evidence? Is the educational value of chess a well-established empirical fact? Or have chess players been blinded by their love of the game into thinking that it offers instructional advantages? In this chapter, we attempt, as objectively as possible, to tackle the question of whether chess is advantageous for general education. To do so, we subject research into the educational benefits of chess to the same rigorous criteria commonly used in academia for evaluating educational research.”

They begin with The question of transfer.

“The question addressed in this chapter can be summarized as follows: Can a set of skills acquired in a specific domain (in our case, chess) generalize to other domains (e.g., mathematics, reading) or to general abilities (e.g., reasoning, memory)?”

The question is simple enough. People have pondered the question for centuries. A well known and popular NM here in Georgia, a former State Champion, and Georgia State Senior Champion, and the only player to hold both titles simultaneously, the sui generis David Vest, has stated that the President of the Georgia Chess Association, Dr. Fun Fong, “is proof positive that expertise in one area does not translate into expertise in another area.” I wholeheartedly concur with his astute assessment of the situation in regard to the POTGCA. He may be a fine emergency room doctor at Emory University, but as POTGCA he leaves a great deal to be desired.

The authors continue, “This is an old question, which, for a long time, was answered positively; for example, for centuries, it was accepted without dispute that learning Latin or geometry would train the mind and prepare it to cope with other topics. However, when, for the first time at the beginning of the 20th century, the question was studied scientifically, the conclusions were rather different.”

Inquiring minds want to know, and not just accept that which is offered. The more highly educated the people the more questions asked, and the generations after the second world war are the most highly educated in history. There are more inquiring minds than ever before in the history of mankind. So when, for example, there are constant problems with the organization of the GCA; when there are problems with every tournament organized by the GCA; and when members of the GCA board resign and there is no accountability by the President of the GCA, who continues to stonewall in the same way as did US President Richard Nixon during what came to be known as “Watergate,” people begin to question. The two members who resigned have not answered my email entreaties and have chosen to remain silent. This has caused rumors of things like financial malfeasance, illegal stipends paid out, and hush money, to run rampant.

The paper continues, “A different view of transfer emerges from the psychological study of intelligence. Researchers in this field believe that one or a few transferable abilities form the basis of intelligence. These abilities are seen as general, at least within verbal or visuo-spatial domains, and are supposed to apply to a variety of domains (see Sternberg, 2000, for an overview). However, these basic abilities are also seen as innate, and thus not amenable to improvement through practice.”

“In spite of these disagreements about the nature of transfer, some results are clear. In particular, recent research into expertise has clearly indicated that, the higher the level of expertise in a domain, the more limited the transfer will be (Ericsson & Charness, 1994). Moreover, reaching a high level of skill in domains such as chess, music or mathematics requires large amounts of practice to acquire the domain specific knowledge which determines expert performance. Inevitably, the time spent in developing such skills will impair the acquisition of other skills.” (Emphasis is mine.)

Fortunately for Dr. Fong, he has already developed the skills needed to become a ER Doctor. The Georgia chess community can only hope the Doctor decides the time he is spending on chess will impair the acquisition of other skills he may need to become even better at his day job and leave the administration of chess in Georgia to those who have a clue as to what to do.

The 2014 Georgia Senior & Women’s Open

The Georgia Senior Chess Championship and something called the “Women’s Open” were held last weekend at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria Hotel. According to the statistics provided by the USCF there were a total of only thirty-one players in both events combined. There were fifteen in the Senior and sixteen in the tournament held exclusively for females.

This is not true. There were only SIX players in the Georgia Open, along with EIGHT players in an ancillary tournament, the “U1800/UN,” held in conjunction with the Georgia Senior. One of the assistant TD’s, J PARNELL WATKINS JR., played an extra rated game, bringing the total of the two separate tournaments to sixteen. (http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201409215302)
There were only four players in the Women’s Open, with an additional six females in the “U1400” tournament, and another six in the “U800” tournament.

The most striking thing about the stats given on the USCF website (http://www.uschess.org/datapage/events-rated.php) is the percentage of local participation in the Senior was only 60%. It was only a little higher, 62.5%, in the combined tournament for women only.

Considering the expense involved, and the paltry turnout, this weekend must be considered a unmitigated disaster. Once again, the GCA pooh-bahs have egg all over their collective faces.

I have intentionally waited all week in hopes something, anything, would be published about the “festival” on the moribund GCA website (http://www.georgiachess.org/), or the new Georgia Chess News website (http://georgiachessnews.com/). We can only speculate why no mention has been made of the “festival.”

How bad was it? In the last round of the Georgia Senior there was only one game contested. Mark Hoshor defeated Van Vandivier, thereby winning all four games to finish first. Mark really earned this championship because he was the only player to actually contest four games. GCA board member, Adrian T Payne, lost to Hoshor in the first round. He then took a half-point bye in the 5:30 round Saturday evening. The next morning he did not show for his game with the aforementioned Vandivier. The player who finished second, Chris Ferrante, only contested two games, winning one, but finishing with a score of 3-1.

I quoted LM Klaus Pohl over a decade ago when he said, “A Senior tournament should be an Open tournament because at our age anyone can beat anyone.” I have also written that if enough players enter a case can be made for a cut-off at 1600 for the Open because class “B” players are capable of beating the top players. If such had been the case in this tournament it would have allowed four additional players to play in the Open. With only fifteen players it is more than a little obvious the 2014 Senior Open should have been just that, an Open tournament.

I found a top 100 list on the GCA website. These are the players on the list of the Senior players I know to be eligible on that list who did not play:

1 GM ALONSO ZAPATA 2533
13 MARK T HOSHOR 2227
15 DAVID M VEST 2203
16 BRIAN MCCARTHY 2200
22 CM JEFFREY A KIDD 2107
23 JOSEPH COUVILLION 2102
27 DONNY GRAY 2073
29 TIMOTHY BROOKSHEAR 2055
34 ALAN G PIPER 2018
38 KEVIN LEE SCHMUGGEROW 2007
46 DAVID LORENTZSON 1975
47 GEORGE LEITE 1971
50 JUSTIN B MORRISON 1960
66 JEFFREY RYMUZA 1900
74 JOHN RICHARD SIMMONS 1879
MARK E COUVILLION 1879
85 JARED P RADIN 1841
86 MURPHY G CLAY 1836
88 COLIN POTTS 1831
92 JOHN D AUSTIN 1810
93 MICHAEL A MULFORD 1809
94 ORLANDO L CANO 1808
96 W MICHAEL BACON 1800

When first looking for the crosstable I went to the USCF website and typed in the name of one of the most prolific Senior players, Alan Piper, the man who won the 2012 Georgia Senior. Although he chose not to defend his title last year, playing at the same site in a different tournament, a terrible indictment of the GCA, I thought he may have played this year since the GCA decided to discontinue the “stipend” prize, which hardly any Georgia Senior thought a good idea. Since I was unable to find the crosstable I assumed the tournament had yet to be rated. The Legendary Georgia Ironman disabused me of such thinking when he told me how to retrieve the crosstable. It was then I learned former Senior Champion Piper had failed to play. If it were not so serious it would be Fun E.

Speaking of the President of the GCA, Fun Fong, he has the power and continued pounding that square peg into a round hole this year by having the “stipend” prize in the Women’s Open. It was a bad idea several years ago which did not work and it is STILL a bad idea that has not worked. Nevertheless, the POTGCA found another round hole and continues to pound that square peg, whacking away with a “whap”, “whap,” “whap.” Fun is obviously in love with his ridiculous idea and refuses to give it up, regardless of the evidence against his ill-fated idea.

The tournament had fallen so far off of my radar that I was unaware of it when Tim mentioned it to me last Saturday, the first day of the tournament. I am obviously not alone. As it turned out I would not have been able to play because of my eye. If I had been aware of the tournament and my eye had not been punctured by Copper, the dog, I would still have had grave reservations about playing because of the disasters the last two years. A decision to play would have meant having to take a half-point bye in the second round because of the late start time, something difficult to do in a four round tournament. The Sunday round times were ten and three-thirty. Why could the round times on Saturday have not been the same?

Former Senior champion David Vest would have played, but he was committed to the Championship Chess 7th Annual Fall Kickoff, as was the Ironman, and Scott Gandy. The GCA knew this when choosing the date for the Georgia Senior. The aforementioned gentlemen wonder if that is the very reason the GCA chose last weekend to hold the tournament.

As for the Women’s Open, the top female players in the state, WIM Carolina Blanco, Bella Belegradek, and Elena Gratskaya, did not play. One of the women on the women’s chess committee, Caroline Lantelme, did not play. None of the three women on the GCA board, 2nd Vice President Katie Hartley; Treasurer Pam Little; or 1st Member-at-large Laura Doman, participated in the Women’s Open. The editor of the Georgia Chess News website, Tricia Hill, did not play. 1st Vice President of the GCA Ben Johnson did not play in the Senior Open. I do not know the age of Fun E Fong, but if eligible, he too, did not play. It is obvious the GCA pooh-bahs did not support their own tournament.

Things will not change in Georgia until those who have the power relinquish it to others who have a clue.

Snap – I ve Got The power