2018 Castle Chess Camp

Michael Mulford mentioned he is now Treasurer for Castle Chess Camp (https://www.castlechess.org/) which prompted a check of the website.


Hosted on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The 2018 camp will run from June 17-22nd (Sunday through Friday).

CAMP REGISTRATION FOR 2018: An additional group has been added, and we now have a couple of spots available! Please email info@castlechess.org , or call 770-594-9562 in order to claim one of the last spots.

Castle Chess also hosts the Castle Grand Prix tournament immediately following the camp. The tournament is for campers, camp staff, and non-campers and features $13,500 in prize money guaranteed.

The 2018 Castle Grand Prix Tournament will be June 22-24 or June 23-24 (Friday through Sunday or Saturday and Sunday) GO TO TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION

Now in its 18th year, this camp brings together top coaches and top students for a week of intensive training- and fun!

The camp requires a minimum USCF rating of 1200. Average rating for the past three years has been around 1700.

Age minimum is 10. There is no age maximum!


I like the last part…

Hope the Mulfish likes the next part:

GM Timur Gareyev Lost In Space

The headline reads:

Delhi GM Open 2018: Walkover Shocker for the fourth-seed
Jan 11, 2018

“The games had begun, the top seeds were comfortably seated on their boards. For the professional star players, it was yet another day at work. 14-year-old Koustav Chatterjee, rated 2288, was the only player waiting anxiously for his opponent. American Timur Gareyev GM,

rated 2605, had ‘left’ the official car and had not reached the venue. He had decided that he will come to the venue on his own. The clock was ticking and the walkover time-limit of 30 minutes was fast approaching.
Timur Gareyev did reach the venue, but not on time. He was three minutes late. The chief arbiter Vasanth BH decided to award the point to the young Koustov Chatterjee.”

The article reminded me of the time a few Chess players were talking about favorite sci-fi TV shows. After naming the original Star Trek

as my favorite, one self-proclaimed ‘legendary’ Georgia player named his.

Upon hearing the name of the show Dubious Dave erupted with, “That’s the difference between you two. Bacon boldly goes where no man has gone before while you (the legendary one) are Lost In Space!” This brought howls of laughter. The legendary one pouted all evening…

I met GM Timur Gareyev

at the 2012 Land of the Sky Chess tournament in the beautiful city of Asheville, in the Great State of North Carolina. It was hours before the first round and I had been talking with the organizer, Wilder Wadford, when Timur came up to speak with Wilder. He noticed the book held in my hand asking if he could look at it.

I gave him the book, he talked with Wilder, then turned abruptly and walked away. I followed, yelled, “Hey you,” or some such, and he turned to gaze at me. After catching up with him I said, “You have my book, sir.” Timur looked flummoxed before saying, “I would like to read it.”
“Who are you?” I inquired. It was then I learned his name. As he was returning the book I said, “It is customary to ask before taking off with someone’s book.” He said, “Yes, of course you are right,” before turning to walk away. Since I had finished reading the book I decided to let him read it, for which he was grateful. Later I noticed Timur sitting in the spectator section reading the book while playing on board one. Someone mentioned later that he had gotten into what looked like trouble against NM Richard Francisco, from my home state of Georgia, while reading the book, before extricating himself from difficulties. Timur went on to tie for first with GM Sergey Kudrin. I enjoyed the conversation we had after the tournament ended, as I have always derived enjoyment from getting into the mind of a top level Chess player. Timur walks to the beat of a different drummer, and I mean that in the best way possible. I liked him immensely. Nothing against “normal” people (whatever “normal” is), but they are not as interesting as we who are, shall we say, “slightly skewed.”

For those of you who do not know, Timur is known as the Blindfold King, and has the website to prove it. (http://www.blindfoldking.com/) One finds this applicable quote at the site: “I close my eyes so I can see.” – Paul Gauguin

Timur and I have something else in common; our brains have been studied. His brain was “loaned” to science before setting the blindfold Chess record.

Inside the brain of the man who would be ‘Blindfold King’ of chess

Next month, Timur Gareyev will play nearly 50 opponents at once – blindfolded. Can neuroscientists reveal how he performs such incredible mental feats?

I urge you to read the article: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/nov/03/inside-the-brain-of-the-man-who-would-be-blindfold-king-of-chess-timur-gareyev

Standard memory tests showed nothing exceptional. However, brain scans suggest that Gareyev’s visual network is more highly connected to other brain parts than usual Photograph: Jesse Rissman

The scans also found much greater than average communication between parts of Gareyev’s brain that make up what is called the frontoparietal control network – used in almost every complex task Photograph: Jesse Rissman

I have participated in several brain studies at places such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and the Veterans Administration. All of these studies involved the memory. My brain:

These studies give one a new way of looking at yourself. Examples:

The Future of Chess

“The phrase, “All politics is local” is a common phrase in U.S. politics. The former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill is most closely associated with this phrase, which encapsulates the principle that a politician’s success is directly tied to the person’s ability to understand and influence the issues of their constituents.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_politics_is_local)

The world of chess is beset with myriad problems. For example, consider something recently written by GM Kevin Spraggett on his blog, Spraggett on Chess:

RIP: Canadian Open Championship (1956-2014)

“For my readers (Canadian and international) who were wondering about the 2015 edition of Canada’s most PRESTIGIOUS tournament, I have sad news. Not only has the 2015 Canadian Open been cancelled, but it is unlikely to be resurrected in coming years. The present mind-set of the CFC executive is to concentrate on junior chess and slowly (quickly!) phase out adult chess.

The writing was on the wall for some time now, but few wanted to believe it. Despite a well documented decline in adult membership in the CFC since 2007, and calls to organize a membership drive to remedy the situation, the CFC refused to act. Adult membership levels are now 50% of normal levels. All funding of adult-programs have been eliminated.”

Grant Oen is a junior at Emory University, Grant is a 2-time GA Collegiate Chess Champion, 2-time NJ Grade Level Chess Champion, manager of the 2014 Atlanta Kings Team, and current Emory Chess Club President. He is one of the people who are the future of chess, and the future is NOW! I have come to admire and respect Grant because he is GREAT for chess in my home state.

I received an email from Mr. Oen a short time ago, and after reading it, sent an email asking for permission to post it on the blog, which was granted. Although it may be true that “all politics is local,” what happens in my home state of Georgia, just as what happens in our wonderful neighbor to the north, Canada, affects the Royal game in the WORLD. It is not just the worldwide governing body of chess, FIDE, that impacts chess, fortunately. Chess stays viable because of the efforts of those in, for example, New Zealand, even though you may not here of what is going on with chess there, unless you make an effort do so. When the chess lights go out, for whatever reason, in any town, city, state, or nation, it has a negative impact on the game of chess. I urge you to read what Grant has to say, and to forward it to anyone and everyone, and ask them to do the same. “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”
I believe there is a “butterfly effect.” I also believe that “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” What has happened to chess in my home state of Georgia is tragic. I can only hope that you who read this learn from the recent mistakes made here and do not let it happen in your part of the chess world.

“Good evening,

First, I’d like to thank many of you for supporting Southeast Chess in its first year of tournaments. Since our first event in March 2014, we have run over 25 events, attracting 250+ unique players from 15 states. Despite being a small operation, we have offered large open tournaments, scholastics, invitationals, Grand Prix, blitz, and action tournaments which have become a staple in the chess landscape in Georgia, and will continue to do so going forward.

Southeast Chess recognizes the following players for participating in 6 or more of our events in our first year:

Shanmukha Meruga – 22 tournaments
Grant Oen – 21
Frank Johnson – 16
Kapish Potula – 10
Amaan Pirani – 8
Sijing Wu – 8
Saithanusri Avirneni – 7
William Remick – 6
Phillip Taylor – 6
Rochelle Wu – 6

I would also like to express my personal opinions on the upcoming GCA election. The following positions are up for election at this year’s State Championship:

President: Fun Fong (incumbent), Frank Johnson
Secretary: Herky del Mundo, Greg Maness
2nd Member at Large: Steve Schneider, Ashley Thomas

The remaining board positions, not up for election this year, are filled by Vice Presidents Ben Johnson and Katie Hartley, Treasurer Amrita Kumar, and 1st Member at Large Laura Doman.

I will be voting the following ticket – President: Frank Johnson, Secretary: Herky del Mundo, 2nd Member at Large: Ashley Thomas. To have a positive say in the future of the GCA landscape, I strongly encourage you to do the same.

The GCA is in a long period of deterioration under the current administration. While scholastics have shown relative success in recent years, the GCA’s organization of open tournaments has proven to be a terrible insult to our royal game. The lethargic, unorganized, and indecisive “organization” under President Fong has devastated the hundreds of chess players in Georgia. Developing youngsters and seasoned masters alike have not been shown any respect as players by the GCA.

Fun Fong, additionally, has not fulfilled his designated role as GCA President. Supposedly, the responsibilities undertaken by his office are to support chess in Georgia through and through. However, Fun has shown a clear conflict of interest in only supporting the GCA’s events, and not providing any measure of support to the rest of the community.

For example, when former Emory Chess Club President Jeff Domozick and I were developing the idea for Southeast Chess to fill a meaningful gap in Georgia, we approached Fun to hear his thoughts and potential improvements on our business plans. His response could not have been more negative – he was critical of our idea, and warned us of the dangers and difficulties of running tournaments, strongly suggesting us to abandon the venture.

Of course, we were persistent, and although Jeff graduated Emory in Spring 2014, I have continued the Southeast Chess enterprise and hope that many of you would agree that it is a professionally-run and successful tournament business. Similar stories regarding Fun have been echoed by American Chess Promotions owner Thad Rogers and North Georgia Chess owner Kevin Schmuggerow, both of whom I greatly respect for their pursuits as chess organizers.

Throughout his tenure as GCA President, Fun has shown a clear preference for having all chess activities remain under the flailing umbrella of the GCA, and shuns all other ventures. Throughout Southeast Chess’ infancy, Fun was loathe to extend us help of any kind, threatening us not to use any TDs under the GCA’s umbrella. The President of the GCA should simply support all chess events in Georgia. Fun’s unprofessional behavior overall has led to many resignations on the GCA board and its subcommittees. Support for Fong among the rank and file in Georgia chess has been all but diminished.

Of course, there are many other reasons for which I could criticize the incumbent candidate (print magazine extinct, abuse of power, no support for players, school programs, or organizers), but I am of course also obligated to mention why I am voting for Frank Johnson.

Frank has significant chess experience in all capacities. He is an avid player, organizer, director, project manager, coach, parent, former GCA secretary, and overall chess supporter. He supports tournaments all across the state and country, and organizes and directs his own events under the popular Chess-coach.net label. He has years of experience and knowledge in working with developing chess communities, and has sponsored hundreds of local formal and informal chess meetups in the greater Atlanta area, including Atlanta Chess Mess.

As a personal aside, Frank proved essential in helping Southeast Chess get off the ground by providing critical organizational advice, helping to market the events, and playing in them himself. He served in an important management position in the Atlanta Kings chess team, a co-venture between my friend Thad Rogers and I.

Frank has shown significant expertise in all arenas of Georgia chess. Most importantly, he in unbiased in his vision to move the chess community forward. Right now there is a disconnect between players, organizers, and the GCA. Frank has essential plans in place for removing this disconnect for the benefit of all parties. He is a true chess professional who, as President, will develop the GCA into the association it should be. If you have questions or comments for Frank, he is always available at frankjohnson@chess-coach.net.

For the office of secretary, I support Herky del Mundo, organizer of the Atlanta Chess Club, active tournament player, director, and supporter. Herky has been influential in the outreach to GM Mark Paragua for the annual state championship. For the 2nd Member at Large position, I support Ashley Thomas, a long-time chess parent and player.

The election is open to current GCA members 18 years or older who have paid the $15 annual dues in the last year. A current membership is also required for Georgia players in play in the State Championship. The election will be held on Sunday, April 26 at 2:30pm, between rounds 4 and 5 of the Georgia State Championship in the Hotel Wyndham Hotel Galleria. If you are interested in voting but will not attend the state championship, email secretary@georgiachess.org to request an absentee ballot by 4/12, and have it returned to the secretary by the beginning of the tournament on 4/24.

Please remember to vote, as each eligible member can have a meaningful say towards change in the future of Georgia Chess.

Thank you.”


New World Order

As a young boy I was a baseball fanatic. It was really BIG NEWS when the Milwaukee Braves announced they would be moving South to Atlanta in the middle of the 1960’s. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was built and the Braves Triple A team played there in 1965, the year before the team left heading South. Atlanta was not an international city then, but with a new airport and a Major League Baseball team, it was heading in that direction. It was a time of racial strife and discord because the times they were a’changing. Black folks were marching in the streets and folks of a different, lighter color, found it threatening. Young people who were going to the stadium to watch Mr. Henry Aaron swing his hammer, then going home to listen to groups with the Motown sound, like the Four Tops and The Temptations, not to mention the man called the “Black Bob Dylan,” Curtis Mayfield, were having trouble understanding just what it was they were supposed to hate about those of a different color. Then Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield responded to the the bigots by calling Atlanta “a city too busy … to hate.” (http://crdl.usg.edu/export/html/ugabma/wsbn/crdl_ugabma_wsbn_42211.html?Welcome) Some Caucasians embraced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Some did not…but the times did change, and now Atlanta is an international city, known all over the world for many reasons such as the CNN and the 1996 Olympic Games and now the CDC at Emory University. No pot has melted more than the home town I share with Dr. King.

An article by Paul Barchilon, “Atlanta Celebrates MLK Day with Stone Mtn. Hike,” on the American Go E-Journal vividly illustrates just how much Atlanta has changed. “On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015, the Atlanta Go Club and the Atlanta Chinese Go Association organized a hike up Stone Mountain, in memory of Dr. King, who referred to the mountain in his I Have a Dream speech — “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.” Feijun (Frank) Luo 7d, led young kids to play go at both the shelter in the middle of the mountain, and the pavilion on the top of the mountain. “The kids greatly enjoyed mountain climbing, playing go during the trip, and the spectacular view on top of Stone Mountain,” said Luo. Brandon Zhou 4d, who won the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Goe Qualifier in the U.S. junior division in 2014, was among the participants. “Playing go on Stone Mountain is a good way to pay tribute to Dr. King,” said Luo, “go is a board game that best displays equality and freedom — it represents equality because every stone has an equal value by itself, and it expresses freedom because playing styles are unrestricted and free.” (http://www.usgo.org/news/page/2/)



78 players entered the SOUTHEAST CHESS DECEMBER OPEN held at Emory University 2014-12-05 thru 2014-12-07. There were a dozen players entered in the Open section, including GM Alonso Zapata along with IMs Ronald Burnett and Emory “Wild Man” Tate.

The GM was nicked for a draw by IM Tate after misplaying a much better position:

GM Alsonso Zapata vs IM Emory Tate
Rd 2

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6.
Bc4 e6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qe2 Bd7 9. O-O-O Na5 10. Bd3 Rc8 11. g4 h5 12. h3 g6 13.
Nb3 e5 14. g5 Nh7 15. h4 Be6 16. Bb5+ Nc6 17. Nc5 Qc7 18. Nxe6 fxe6 19. f4 exf4
20. Bxf4 O-O 21. Qh2 Rfd8 22. Bc4 Nf8 23. Nb5 Qa5 24. Nxd6 Bxd6 25. Bxd6 Nb4
26. Bb3 Nxc2 27. Kb1 Ne3 28. Rc1 Qa6 29. Bxf8 Rxf8 30. Qe5 Nc4 31. Bxc4 Rxc4
32. a3 Rxc1+ 33. Rxc1 Rf1 34. Qb8+ Kf7 35. Qc7+ Ke8 36. Rxf1 Qxf1+ 37. Ka2 Qb5
38. Qc3 a5 39. Qh8+ Kd7 40. Qd4+ Kc6 1/2-1/2

Philippe Christophe (2431) v Arthur Kogan (2541)
2010 Andorra Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6.
Bc4 e6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qe2 Bd7 9. O-O-O Na5 10. Bb3 Rc8 11. f3 O-O 12. g4 Nxb3+
13. axb3 Qa5 14. Kb1 Rfd8 15. g5 Nh5 16. f4 g6 17. f5 Bf8 18. Rhf1 Bg7 19. f6
Bf8 20. Rd2 b5 21. Ndxb5 Rc6 22. Rd4 Rb8 23. Ra4 Qd8 24. Rxa7 Bc8 25. Nd4 Rc5
26. Rd1 Qe8 27. Nf3 Rc6 28. Rd4 Bb7 29. Rb4 Rc7 30. Rb6 d5 31. e5 d4 32. Nxd4
Bc5 33. Ndb5 Bxb6 34. Bxb6 Rc6 35. Nd6 Qd7 36. Be3 Rxd6 37. exd6 Qxd6 38. Qb5
Bc6 39. Qc5 Qxc5 40. Bxc5 h6 41. h4 Rc8 42. Bd6 Bf3 43. Bc7 Re8 44. Be5 hxg5
45. hxg5 Rc8 46. Rc7 Rd8 47. b4 Rd2 48. Rc8+ Kh7 49. Rf8 Rd7 50. b5 Rb7 51. Ka2
Bg4 52. Kb3 Bf5 53. Rb8 Rd7 54. b6 Rd2 55. b7 Bxc2+ 56. Ka3 1-0

Also in the second round Expert, and Atlanta King member, Lawrence White agreed to a draw with IM Burnett in a somewhat better position. Keep in mind the time control was a head ’em up, move ’em out, G/2.

Expert Lawrence White vs IM Ronald Burnett

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. Qb3 dxc4 6.
Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 Nfd7 8. Bf4 Nc6 9. Rd1 Nb6 10. Qd3 Nb4 11. Qb1 f5 12. e5 Be6 13.
Ng5 Qd7 14. Nxe6 Qxe6 15. Be2 N4d5 16. Bd2 Rad8 17. O-O c6 18. Nxd5 Nxd5 19.
Qc1 f4 20. Bf3 g5 21. h3 Nc7 22. Ba5 b6 23. Bb4 Nd5 24. Ba3 Qg6 25. Qb1 Qf7 26.
Be4 Bh6 27. Rd3 Kh8 28. Qd1 Rg8 29. Qg4 b5 30. Bc5 e6 31. Rc1 Bf8 32. Bxf8 h5
33. Qd1 Rgxf8 34. Bf3 Qh7 1/2-1/2

Wild Man Tate took a half-point bye in the third round while GM Zapata bested LW. The big game of the fourth round was between GM Zapata and IM Burnett:

1. e4 g6 2. d4 d6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 b5 6. f3
Nd7 7. h4 h6 8. Nge2 a6 9. g3 Qc7 10. Bg2 e5 11. O-O Ngf6 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Nc1
Bb7 14. Qf2 O-O 15. Nb3 Rfd8 16. Rfc1 Bf8 17. Nd1 a5 18. a4 Ba6 19. Bf1 bxa4
20. Rxa4 Bb5 21. Raa1 Bxf1 22. Kxf1 a4 23. Nd2 Bc5 24. Nc4 Bd4 25. c3 Bxe3 26.
Qxe3 Qb8 27. Kg2 Qb5 28. Na3 Qa6 29. Nf2 Kg7 30. Rd1 Rab8 31. Rd2 Nf8 32. Nd3
Ne6 33. Rad1 Ne8 34. Nb4 Rxd2+ 35. Rxd2 Qc8 36. Nc4 Rb5 37. Qa7 N6c7 38. Nxc6
Qe6 39. N6xe5 Rxe5 40. Nxe5 Qxe5 41. Qxa4 Ne6 42. f4 Qb8 43. f5 gxf5 44. exf5
Qb7+ 45. Kh2 N6c7 46. Qg4+ Kf8 47. Qd4 Qc6 48. Qh8+ Ke7 49. Qe5+ Kf8 50. b4 h5
51. Qh8+ Ke7 52. Re2+ Kd7 53. Qxh5 Nd6 54. Rd2 Qxc3 55. Qxf7+ Kc6 56. Qa2 Qxb4
57. Qc2+ Kb5 58. Qd3+ Kc6 59. f6 Ne4 60. Rc2+ Kb7 61. f7 Nf6 62. Qc4 Qd6 63.
Qxc7+ 1-0

Thomas Luther (2470) vs Joerg Weidemann, (2300)
Bundesliga 1991
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Qd2 Nd7 6. f3 b5 7. h4 h6 8. Nge2 Nb6 9. Ng3 h5 10. Bd3 1/2-1/2

While playing over the game I was struck by the one-sided position after move 40, the move that was considered the end of the first time-control “back in the day.” At this point GM Zapata was up an exchange and two pawns, and it became three after the GMs next move. I have no idea of the time situation in the game, but I do know that “back in the day” games like this were not continued another twenty plus moves. This is one of the major changes in how the Royal game is played these daze. With a first time control at move forty one would formerly take a break and survey the battlefield, and most likely, resign, as a show of respect for such a formidable opponent. I have come to think of the chess played today as “Rodney Dangerfield” chess.

After GM Zapata dispatched his opponent, Rachelle Pascua, who made it to the top board in the final round with three draws and a loss. Such are the vagaries and vicissitudes of a weekend swiss with too few players in a section. This left the two IMs, Tate with three points and Burnett with only 2 1/2, and playing Black, to battle it out for a second place tie with LW, who dispatched class “A” Kapish Potula, who had only drawn one of his first four games. Therefore LW was in the clubhouse with 3 1/2 points.

IM Tate vs IM Burnett
Final Round

1. e4 g6 2. d4 d6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Ne2 Nd7 5. Nec3 e5 6. d5
Bh6 7. Nd2 Ngf6 8. Be2 O-O 9. h4 Nc5 10. Qc2 Kg7 11. b4 Na6 12. a3 c6 13. Bb2
cxd5 14. cxd5 Bg4 15. Bxa6 bxa6 16. Nc4 Rc8 17. Na5 Nh5 18. Nc6 Qb6 19. Bc1
Bxc1 20. Rxc1 Bd7 21. Ne2 f5 22. O-O fxe4 23. Qxe4 Nf6 24. Qd3 Bxc6 25. dxc6
Rxc6 26. Rxc6 Qxc6 27. Qe3 Rf7 28. Rc1 Qb5 29. Ng3 Qd7 30. Qd3 d5 31. Qxa6 Qg4
32. Qe2 Qf4 33. Rc5 e4 34. h5 d4 35. hxg6 hxg6 36. Nf1 Ng4 37. f3 exf3 38. Qxf3
Qxf3 39. gxf3 Rxf3 40. Rc7+ Rf7 41. Rxf7+ Kxf7 42. Kg2 Ne5 43. Kg3 Nc4 44. a4
Ke6 45. Kf3 Kd5 46. Ng3 Ne5+ 47. Ke2 Kc4 48. b5 Kb4 49. Kd2 Kxa4 50. Ne2 Nf3+
51. Kd3 g5 52. Ke4 g4 53. Kf4 d3 54. Nc3+ Kb3 55. Nd1 Nd2 56. Kxg4 Ne4 57. b6
axb6 0-1

Carlos Lopez Hernandez (2275) v Manuel Eugenio Li Torres (2295)
Havana-B 1992

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Ne2 Nd7 5. Nec3 e5 6. d5
a5 7. Be2 h5 8. Be3 Bh6 9. Qd2 Nc5 10. O-O Qe7 11. Na3 Bxe3 12. Qxe3 Nf6 13. f3
Kf8 14. Nab1 h4 15. Nd2 Nh5 16. Rfc1 f5 17. Bf1 h3 18. g3 f4 19. Qf2 fxg3 20.
hxg3 Qg5 21. g4 Nf4 22. Rc2 Nfd3 23. Bxd3 Nxd3 24. Qe2 Nf4 25. Qf1 Kg7 26. Kh2
Ng2 27. Qf2 Ne3 28. Nf1 Nxc2 29. Qxc2 Qf4+ 30. Ng3 Qxf3 31. Rf1 Qg2+ 0-1

IM Tate could have played 21 Na4 and if the answer is Qb5, then 22 Na4, but such an end to the game in the situation, with Emory needing a win to take clear second place, would be anathema for the Wild One.
The loss left Wild Man Tate in clear fourth place with three points, while Ron tied for 2nd-3rd with future NM Lawrence White. Details can be found on the Southeast Chess website (http://www.southeastchess.com/home.html), including more games. Grant Oen has also written another fine article for the Georgia Chess News. (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/12/08/southeast-chess-december-open-results/)

The Southeast Chess December Open

Grant Oen sent an email notice of the upcoming Southeast Chess December Open (12/5-12/7), which will be held at Emory University next weekend. Grant is an active, and strong, tournament player, who also happens to be owner of the Atlanta Kings. From all indications his tournaments are administered properly, unlike GCA tournaments, which are invariably replete with problems. All chess in Atlanta is not bad, though many may have that impression because of the ineptitude displayed by the incompetent people in power of the GCA.

I received an email from someone who attended the USCF business meetings at the US Open this year in which he wrote about looking around at those attending the meetings, who were almost all old(er), and wondering from where the next generation of leaders would come. Grant is one of those people who will lead chess in the right direction into the future. I urge you to support Mr. Oen. The GCA under the current administration has had a policy of holding events near tournaments held by independent promoters, raining on someone’s parade, in lieu of working with other promoters. As an example, only one of many, the ill-fated, and marred, 2014 GCA Class Championship, was held the weekend after the Southeast Chess November Open. Although I will not urge anyone to attend a GCA event, and I certainly would not advocate anyone consider participating in any event held by the GCA. I can, and fervently do, urge everyone to support Southeast Chess!

Grant has written an excellent article on the Southeast Chess November Open, which includes pictures and a plethora of games! Grant writes, “Prize checks were issued immediately as round 5 games started to conclude.” Contrast this with the GCA’s heterodox “The check is in the mail” policy. Check out the article at, http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/11/20/southeast-chess-november-open-results/.

The Southeast Chess December Open (12/5-12/7) is next weekend in Atlanta!

$4,000 guaranteed in 4 sections: Open, U2000, U1700, and U1400. There are place and class prizes in every section.

USCF Masters (2200+) must register by midnight this Friday, 11/28 to get discounted entry. GMs and IMs free! Early pre-registration for everyone ends next Wednesday, 12/3.

Grant Oen
Southeast Chess

“Jane, you ignorant slut.”

In the event you are too young to recall the now immortal words from the title of this post, they were uttered with disdain by Dan Akyroyd to Jane Curtain on the Saturday Night Live program decades ago as a skit that was a take-off on the “60 Minutes” segment “Point/Counterpoint” between “conservative” James J. Kilpatrick and “liberal” Shana Alexander. I thought of it as left-shoe, right shoe; the ol’ two step, double shuffle. What the two commentators gave was two differing views of the establishment. When Dan spoke those words to Jane it was so unexpected one was so taken aback that it took a few moments before the laughter began.
I am currently enrolled in a study at Emory University. When being questioned by the Doctor with a PhD I mentioned that I had participated in similar studies at Georgia Tech by a young fellow working on his PhD, Zach Hambrick, who was now at a University up north I thought was Minnesota. “I know Zach,” he said, “but he is at Michigan State.” He got a kick out of the fact that Zach would schedule my appointment at the Psychology department, which was across from Chandler field, the baseball diamond, so I could walk over after finishing and watch a game.
Yesterday as I was perusing the Daily Chess News Links July 1, 2014 on the Chess Cafe website (http://blog.chesscafe.com/?m=201407) I noticed the penultimate link, “10,000 hours to genius theory questioned,” and clicked on. The article dated 30 June 2014 is by Jane Bainbridge. It begins, “The research was led by David Hambrick and looked at studies of chess players that provided information on people’s highest ability level achieved along with their history of practice. They found that between 2005 and 2012 six studies had been done, involving more than 1000 players internationally in total.”
Could it be the young man I knew as Zach? Yes, indeed, I discovered it was none other than Zach! Jane continues, “On average, the amount of deliberate practice accounted for 34% of variance in chess ability, which although an impressive proportion, was insufficient to explain why some players achieved greatness and others didn’t. And there was a huge range in the deliberate practice completed by players of different standards. One study, looking purely at grandmasters found the range of practice they’d invested was between 832 and 24,284 hours. Looking at players who achieved only intermediate level, 13% of them had completed more practice than the average amount invested by the grandmasters.” (http://www.research-live.com/news/10000-hours-to-genius-theory-questioned/4011897.article)
Further research revealed a debate on “The Creativity Post” between Zach and author David Shenk, known to the chess world for his book, “The Immortal Game” called “superb” by the Wall Street Journal (I concur). I read the post by Zach, “Intelligence Matters for Success, Like it or Not” (http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/debate/intelligence_matters_for_success_like_it_or_not) first. Who is Zach Hambrick? “David Z. (Zach) Hambrick is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. Dr. Hambrick’s research focuses on individual differences in basic cognitive abilities and capacities and their role in skilled performance. Dr. Hambrick received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology (2000). His work has appeared in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Cognitive Psychology, and Memory & Cognition, among other scholarly journals. Dr. Hambrick was the 2000 recipient of the James McKeen Cattell Award for Best Dissertation in Psychology from the New York Academy of Sciences, and is a consulting editor for Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.” http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/debate/intelligence_matters_for_success_like_it_or_not#sthash.unEtiCg5.dpuf
Zach writes, “How do people become great at what they do? What separates the best from the rest in music, science, art, sports, and so on? This question has been a topic of intense debate in psychology for as long as psychology has been a field. Francis Galton surveyed genealogical records of hundreds of scientists, artists, musicians, writers and other eminent individuals and discovered that they tended to be biologically related. Galton therefore concluded that “genius” is hereditary. The debate rages on.”
“The deliberate practice view has attracted a great deal of attention in the scientific community, and beyond. In his bestselling book “Outliers,” for example, the writer Malcolm Gladwell describes 10,000 hours as the “magic number” of greatness. At the same time, a vast and venerable literature documents the importance of basic abilities for success in a wide variety of complex tasks.”
Included in his post is a link to a New York Times Op-Ed “Sorry, Strivers. Talent Matters, by David Z. Hambrick and Elizabeth J. Meinz” dated November 19, 2011. They began the article with a question, “HOW do people acquire high levels of skill in science, business, music, the arts and sports? This has long been a topic of intense debate in psychology.
Research in recent decades has shown that a big part of the answer is simply practice — and a lot of it. In a pioneering study, the Florida State University psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues asked violin students at a music academy to estimate the amount of time they had devoted to practice since they started playing. By age 20, the students whom the faculty nominated as the “best” players had accumulated an average of over 10,000 hours, compared with just under 8,000 hours for the “good” players and not even 5,000 hours for the least skilled.
Those findings have been enthusiastically championed, perhaps because of their meritocratic appeal: what seems to separate the great from the merely good is hard work, not intellectual ability. Summing up Mr. Ericsson’s research in his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell observes that practice isn’t “the thing you do once you’re good” but “the thing you do that makes you good.” He adds that intellectual ability — the trait that an I.Q. score reflects — turns out not to be that important. “Once someone has reached an I.Q. of somewhere around 120,” he writes, “having additional I.Q. points doesn’t seem to translate into any measureable real-world advantage.”
David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, restates this idea in his book “The Social Animal,” while Geoff Colvin, in his book “Talent Is Overrated,” adds that “I.Q. is a decent predictor of performance on an unfamiliar task, but once a person has been at a job for a few years, I.Q. predicts little or nothing about performance.”
But this isn’t quite the story that science tells. Research has shown that intellectual ability matters for success in many fields — and not just up to a point.”
They point out how research has shown “…that “working memory capacity,” a core component of intellectual ability, predicts success in a wide variety of complex activities.”
They conclude their refutation of Malcom Gladwell, and those who follow his convoluted and discredited theory with, ” It would be nice if intellectual ability and the capacities that underlie it were important for success only up to a point. In fact, it would be nice if they weren’t important at all, because research shows that those factors are highly stable across an individual’s life span. But wishing doesn’t make it so.
None of this is to deny the power of practice. Nor is it to say that it’s impossible for a person with an average I.Q. to, say, earn a Ph.D. in physics. It’s just unlikely, relatively speaking. Sometimes the story that science tells us isn’t the story we want to hear.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/sorry-strivers-talent-matters.html?_r=2&)
I next read, “Response to Zach Hambrick” by David Schenk. His post begins, “Thanks for the opportunity to join this discussion. In order to point the way to the fullest possible answer of “How do people become great at what they do?” I suggest that we first need to pull back and ask a few even more basic questions, such as:
– Where do abilities come from?
– What is intelligence?
– What is innate?
– What does “heritable” mean?
I’m obviously not going to tackle all of these giant topics right now.”
Well, why not?! I will let you read what Mr. Schenk has to say (http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/debate/response_to_zach_hambrick).
I would, though, like to add the last paragraph written by David:
“But there’s also something very beautiful in the science I see — including Ericsson’s wonderful work. It is this: with the exception of people born with severe defects, most every human being has, at the moment of conception, an extraordinary potential. We are biologically designed to adapt to our circumstances. People become great at what they do when they have some sort of very deep and constant need to be great.”
I would like to focus on the last sentence. I played baseball for a decade, from the ages of ten to eighteen. I had a “very deep and constant need to be great.” I spent far more than 10,000 hours practicing and playing the game of baseball. I had everything required to play baseball except size and strength. I was good enough to have been offered a contract by both the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets to play minor league baseball, but the scout for the Cards told me, “You are good enough to play at double A, but will probably ride the pine at triple A, but you could have a job in baseball such as coach or manager, or maybe be a scout.” The part that stuck with me was “ride the pine.” I had never sat on the bench and the prospect did not sound appealing to me, so I stopped playing baseball.
I cannot help but think of the book “Moneyball,” which was made into a movie, and the General Manager of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt. Billy had been an outstanding baseball player, one who “had all the tools.” Yet he did not make it to “The Show.” He tells the story of facing a flame throwing pitcher whom he did not want to face again. On the other hand, his teammate, Lenny Dykstra, nicknamed “Nails,” grabbed a bat saying, “Let me at ’em. I’ll hit that expletive deleted!” Lenny, a much smaller man than Billy, made “The Show,” and had some very good seasons, even if it took “the juice” to do it. Like Pete Rose, Lenny has had a difficult time out of baseball, and last I heard was in prison.
Pete Rose did not have all the tools, but he had a burning desire to play baseball. His nickname was “Charley Hustle.” I tried my best to emulate his “all-out” style of play. Pete holds the MLB record for most hits, lifetime. There have been many MLB players with more talent, but none with more base-hits. Then there was Eddie Stanky, a player about whom the infamous Leo Durocher said, “He can’t hit; he can’t throw; and he cannot run. All he can do is beat you.”
“People become great at what they do when they have some sort of very deep and constant need to be great.” Does that not sound like Bobby Fischer?
There was a young man upon whom the Legendary Georgia Ironman hung the moniker, “Little Hayseed,” because he wore a straw hat. “Hayseed” came into the tournament world with a low rating and won money in every section until he made it to class “A,” where he found the going tough. Then he stopped playing. Xiao Cheng began at a young age, becoming a NM and won the Georgia State Championship. Then he was not seen for some time, until one night he came to the House of Pain. I asked him why he had stopped playing chess and he was honest enough to inform me that he gave it up because he did not like losing. Stephan Muhammad was a strong Senior Master who also won the Georgia State Championship. He lost five games at the 6TH NORTH AMERICAN FIDE in Chicago in November of 2007, then played in three tournaments in Atlanta, and that was the end of the tournament road for him. He was a Life Master who topped out at 2468, but then went into a nosedive (http://main.uschess.org/datapage/ratings_graph.php?memid=12355370).
I have often wondered if players such as these played because they loved winning, not playing. Marshall Jaffe, may he R.I.P., was a Senior who played at the Atlanta Chess Center in one of the lower sections. I noticed Marshall always used most of his time and once complimented him for it. “It takes me longer to make my bad moves,” he said. Then he added, grinning, “I just love to play the game.”
Is that not why the game is played? I have enjoyed a hard fought loss more than some “walkovers” I have played. The thing about chess is that it used to be that one could always find someone to battle of about the same strength. Until, that is, what is now called the “youth movement.” Most of the players who “just loved to play the game” have found other pursuits, to the detriment of chess. We cannot all be winners, but chess is the loser when people stop playing.

Castle Chess Grand Prix Preview

An email from the Sheriff, Scott Parker, former President of the Georgia Chess Association, and also a former Senior Champion of the Great State of Georgia, informs:
Confirmed participants for this weekend include:
GM Varuzhan Akobian
GM Julio Becerra
GM John Fedorowicz
GM Magesh Panchanathan
GM Alonso Zapata
IM Irina Krush
Best Regards,
Mr. Parker has written an informative article on the Castle Chess Grand Prix for Chess Life magazine. It is on page 46 of the June issue and includes a wonderful picture of the campus of Emory University. Emory is not just close to home for me, it is my home. I was born in the back seat of a ’49 Ford convertible on the way to Emory University hospital in 1950. My mother and I were rolled into the hospital. One cannot get closer to home than this, and the hospital is within walking distance of the tournament hall. I plan on reporting from the tournament all three days, so in a way, this is a homecoming for me.
For my international readers who do not have access to Chess Life this is the 13th Castle Chess Camp and tournament at Emory. The prize fund has been raised to $12,000, all of it guaranteed. This payout is the most guaranteed money of any tournament in the Southeast. Most of the above is from Scott’s article in Chess Life.
Scott asks, and answers, the question, “So who is likely to win the Castle Chess Grand Prix tournament? Well, to start with, you’re probably going to be a grandmaster to do it. Only Life Master David Vest, who tied for first in 2003 (by beating Irina Krush in the last round-A.W.), IM Jonathan Schroer, who won in 2004, and IM/WGM Anna Zatonskih (Why is she not considered only an IM? What, exactly, is the point of having separate titles for women?-A.W.), who tied for first in 2005 were non-grandmaster champions. The most successful, by far, has been GM Julio Becerra. Playing almost every year, he has twice been first alone, and four times he has tied for the top prize. Other past winners are GMs Varuzhan Akobian, Yury Shulman, Alejandro Ramirex, Ildar Ibragimov, Greg Serper, and Babakuli Annakov.”
It may be too late for you to, as Scott writes, “Come see Atlanta and world renowned Emory University, and see why the Castle Chess Grand Prix continues to grow every year.” But you can read all about the tournament right here, so check back all weekend for reports by the Warrior of the Armchair!