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

Georgians at the US Open

GM Alonso Zapata, FM Kazim Gulamali, and NM Sanjay Ghatti each finished with a score of 6-3 at the US Open to lead the contingent of players from the state of Georgia. There is a dearth of games thanks to Monroi.

GM Zapata was upset in the second round by a young girl, Expert Jessica Regam. She played the GM tough enough to win when the GM could not make time control. The game score shows the GM making his last move, but since he lost on time I have no idea why the move is given.

Jessica Regam (2125) vs GM Alonso Zapata (2555)
Rd 2 2014 US Open

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.O-O Qc7 7.Qe2 d6 8.c4 g6 9.Nc3 Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Rac1 Nbd7 12.f4 Re8 13.h3 b6 14.b4 Bb7 15.Nb3 Rac8 16.Qf2 Ba8 17.Rc2 Qb8 18.Rfc1 Bc6 19.Nd4 Bb7 20.Nf3 Ba8 21.Nd2 Bc6 22.Rb1 h6 23.Qf1 Bb7 24.Qf2 Ba8
25.Nb3 d5 26.cxd5 Rxc3 27.Rxc3 Nxe4 28.Bxe4 Bxc3 29.dxe6 Bxe4 30.exd7 Bxb1 31.dxe8Q Qxe8 32.Bxb6 Bxb4 33.Bd4 Bf8 34.Nc5 a5 35.Qd2 Qb5 36.Nb3 a4 37.Nc1 Qc4 38.Qb2 Be4 39.Qd2 Bd5 40.Qb2 a3 1-0

Alsonso Zapata 2549 vs Karthik Ramachandran 2257
Rd 6 2014 US Open

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nf3 g6 8.O-O Bg7 9.Re1 O-O 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Nf1 Nh5 12.Ne3 Nf4 13.Bf1 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nd4 Bd7 16.Nec2 Ne6 17.Nxe6 Rxe6 18.Bf4 Qc5 19.Nd4 Ree8 20.Qb3 Bc6 21.Be3 Qd6 22.Rad1 a5 23.a4 Qd7
24.Nb5 Qd8b25.Bd4 Re6 26.f4 Nd7 27.Rxe6 fxe6 28.Bxg7 Kxg7 29.Nd4 Qb6 30.Qxb6 Nxb6 31.b3 Re8 32.Re1 Kf7 33.Bb5 Bxb5
34.Nxb5 Rd8 35.Kf2 Nc8 36.Ke3 Nd6 37.Kd4 Ne4 38.Re2 Ng3 39.Re1 b6 40.Ke5 Ke7 41.Nd4 Rd6 42.Re3 Ne4 43.Nb5 Rd8 44.Nd4 Rd6 45.Nb5 Rd8 46.g4 Nc5 47.f5 Nxb3 48.fxe6 Nc5 49.Nc7 Nxa4 1-0

GM Zapata went into the penultimate round tied for first with nine other players while having White versus the seventeen year-old GM Illia Nyzhnyk of Ukraine. Since he is listed on the wallchart as being from Missouri, I assume he is one of the chess mercenaries at one of the colleges in the show me state.

Zapata (2555) vs Nyzhnyk (2743)
Rd 8 2014 US Open

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.O-O d6 9.Kh1 a6 10.a4 Qc7 11.f4 b6 12.Bd2 Bb7 13.Qe2 h5
14.Rae1 h4 15.Kg1 Nb4 16.Nb5 axb5 17.Bxb4 bxa4 18.Nd4 h3 19.Rf3 hxg2 20.Qxg2 Kf8 21.Rh3 Rg8 22.c3 Nd7 23.Bb1 Nc5 24.Qf2 Qd7 25.Rh7 e5 26.Nf5 Bxe4 27.fxe5 Qxf5 28.Qxf5 Bxf5 29.Bxf5 d5 30.Rf1 Ke8 31.Rd1 Rd8 32.Bc2 Nb3 33.Bxe7 Kxe7 34.Rh4 Nc5 35.Bxa4 Ke6 36.Bc6 Ne4 37.c4 Kxe5 38.Bxd5 f5 39.Re1 Rh8 40.Rxh8 Rxh8 41.Ra1 Rh3 42.Ra7 g5 43.Re7 Kf4 44.Re6 Rb3 45.c5 Rb5
46.Bxe4 fxe4 47.Rf6 Ke3 48.cxb6 Rxb2 49.Rg6 Kd3 50.Rd6 Ke2 51.Rg6 e3 52.Rxg5 Kd3 53.Rd5 Ke4 54.Rd1 Rxb6 55.Ra1 Kf3 0-1

After the teen GM played 14…h4 I thought back to a time when IM Boris Kogan was presenting a game from the US Championship when, in an analogous position his opponent had played his King Rook pawn across the Rubicon, just as Nyzhnyk. Boris moved his King Rook pawn to h3, and said while grinning, “He come no further!” I was flummoxed when GM Zapata did not move his Rook pawn, allowing his opponent to “come on down.” I was even more flummoxed when the youngster did NOT play h3 on his next move! I had been expecting the thematic 16 f5 when the much older GM played the cheap trick, 16 Nb5, losing a pawn. This move gave the advantage to the younger player. GM Zapata fought hard and after many vicissitudes had a chance to draw the game, but did not take advantage of the presented opportunities, and lost. Possibly demoralized, and certainly fatigued, the Senior GM lost his last round game with Black against NM Carl Haessler from Oregon. This was a fine win for the underdog out rated by more than five hundred points. Hopefully the game will be published in a future edition of the excellent Northwest Chess Magazine (http://www.nwchess.com/nwcmag/index.htm).

Kazim Gulamali also had a chance to finish in the second score group only a half point behind the co-champions, but alas, he too was upset in the last round, losing to Expert Mariano Sana of Tennessee. Check out this picture of Kazim in the blitz tournament here (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/07/30/2014-u-s-open-orlando-usa/). Once again, there is no game, so I will present one of the few games to appear on Monroi:

Kazim Gulamali (2397) vs Sir Jalen Wang (2206)
Rd 7 2014 US Open

1.d4 a6 2.e4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e5 c5 6.a3 cxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 8.Qg4 Bf8 9.Bd3 d4 10.Ne2 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Qa5 12.Bd2 Qxe5 13.Qxd4 Qxd4 14.Nxd4 Nf6 15.O-O Bd7 16.Rfe1 Bc5 17.Nb3 Bb6 18.Na5 O-O-O 19.Nc4 Bc7 20.Ne5 Be8 21.Rad1 Nd7 22.Nc4 Nc5 23.Bf1 Bc6 24.Be3 Ne4 25.f3 Nd6 26.Nb6 Kb8 1/2-1/2

I featured the other Georgia to score six points, NM Sanjay Ghatti, in a previous post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/nm-sanjay-ghatti-battles-french-with-2-qe2/). Here is another game:

Sanjay Ghatti (2206) vs Dakota Dixon (2131)
Rd 6 2014 US Open
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Bd3 b6 7.O-O Bb7 8.b3 c5 9.Bb2 Nc6 10.Re1 Rc8 11.cxd5 exd5 12.Bf5 Rb8 13.Rc1 g6
14.Bb1 cxd4 15.exd4 Rc8 16.Ne5 Nxe5 17.dxe5 Ne8 18.Ne2 Ng7 19.Nd4 Bc5 20.Bd3 Ne6 21.Nf3 Qe7 22.Rc2 Rfd8 23.Bc1 d4 24.Qe2 Bb4 25.Rd1 Rxc2 26.Bxc2 Qc7 27.Bd3 Bxf3 28.gxf3 Rd5 29.f4 Rc5 30.Bc4 b5 31.Bxe6 Rxc1 32.Bd5 Qc3 33.Be4 Rxd1 34.Qxd1 Qd2
35.Qxd2 Bxd2 36.f5 Bf4 37.e6 fxe6 38.fxg6 hxg6 39.Bxg6 Kg7 40.Bd3 1/2-1/2

Benjamin Barry Moon finished only a half point behind those above, scoring five and a half points, with four wins, threed draws, and two losses. BB gained sixty rating points, improving from 2084 to 2144.

Constantine Xanthos (2218) vs Benjamin Barry Moon (2084)
Rd 5

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.f4 d6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.e4 Bxf1 10.Rxf1 O-O 11.Kf2 Nbd7 12.Kg1 Qb6 13.Qe2 Rfb8 14.e5 dxe5 15.fxe5 Ng4 16.e6 fxe6 17.h3 Nge5 18.dxe6 Qxe6 19.Ng5 Qc4 20.Re1 Qxe2 21.Rxe2 Nd3 22.Rxe7 Re8 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Nf3 N7e5 25.Nxe5 Bxe5 1/2-1/2

Reece Thompson, who represented the Great State of Georgia in the Denker tournament of High School players, also scored five and a half points by winning five, drawing one, and losing three.

Reece Thompson (2089) vs Paul Joseph (1931)
Rd 4
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 d6 8.O-O Be7 9.h3 Nbd7 10.a4 Nb6 11.f4 g6 12.g4 Bd7 13.Kh1 e5 14.Nde2 Bc6 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 exf4 17.Bxf4 Nfd7 18.b3 Bf6 19.a5 Nc8 20.Ng3 Ne5 21.Ne4 Bg7 22.c4 O-O 23.Qd2 Qe7 24.Rae1 f6
25.c5 Qd7 26.c6 Qc7 27.Rc1 Rb8 28.Bxe5 fxe5 29.Ng5 Qe7 30.Rxf8 Bxf8 31.Ne6 Bg7 32.cxb7 Na7 33.Rc7 Qxc7 34.Nxc7 Rxb7 35.Ne6 Rxb3 36.Qg5 Rb7 37.Qd8 Kf7 38.Ng5 1-0

Carter Peatman also scored five and a half points by also winning five, drawing one, and losing three. A picture of Reece can be found here (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/07/30/2014-u-s-open-orlando-usa/). Just look to the immediate left of the number 134. Unfortunately, the only game I found was this loss:

Carter Peatman (1972) vs Andrew Rea (2103)
Rd 6

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Bd6 6.dxe5 Bxe5 7.Bc4 Qf6 8.Nd5 Qg6 9.O-O c6 10.Nc3 Qd6 11.Qh5 g6 12.Qf3 Qf6
13.Qd3 b5 14.Bb3 a5 15.a4 b4 16.Nd1 Bc7 17.Be3 Ne7 18.f4 O-O 19.c4 d5 20.cxd5 cxd5 21.Bd4 Bb6 22.e5 Qc6 23.Rf2 Ba6 24.Qd2 Nf5 25.Rc1 Qxc1 26.Qxc1 Nxd4 27.Ne3 Nxb3 28.Qe1 Rac8 0-1

Alex Little scored five points with three wins, four draws, and only two losses. He went from 1634 to 1792, gaining a whopping 154 points! Again it is unfortunate, but I have no game to present.

Kevin Schmuggerow, the owner of the North Georgia Chess Center (http://www.northgachesscenter.com/) scored four and a half points, taking a half point bye in the last round. Schmuggy. a floored NM, won three, lost three, and drew two.

Daaim Shabazz (2093) vs Kevin Schmuggerow (2000)
Rd 6 2015 US Open

1.e4 e6 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 b5 4.a4 b4 5.Ne2 e5 6.O-O g5 7.c3 Ba6 8.d4 Nc6 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.f4 Nd3 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 Nxb2 13.Qc2 Nc4 14.Bf2 b3 15.Qxb3 Rb8 16.Qd1 gxf4 17.gxf4 Rg8 18.Qd3 Rb6 19.Qf3 Qa8 20.Ng3 Bb7 21.Re1 Re6 22.Kh1 d5 23.Qd3 Rxg3 24.Bxg3 Nd6 25.exd5 c4 26.Rxe6 fxe6 27.Qe2 Bxd5 28.Nd2 Nfe4 29.Nxe4 Nxe4 30.Bh2 Nxc3 31.Qxe6 Bxe6 32.Bxa8 Bxh3 33.Rc1 Bg7 34.Bg1 a6 35.Bc5 Bd7 36.a5 Bb5 37.Bb4 Ne2 38.Re1 c3 39.Bf3 c2 40.Bxe2 Bc6 41.Bf3 1-0

Jeffery Rymuza scored an even fifty % with four wins and losses to go with a single draw. The beautiful Elena Gratskaya also scored fifty % by also winning and losing four while drawing one. Her opponent in this game is the man behind the excellent Chess Drum website (http://www.thechessdrum.net/), Dr. Daaim Shabazz, who has played at the House of Pain. Elena did cross over into class “A” territory, now rated 1819. A couple of hundred more points and she may be invited to participate in the US Women’s Championship.

Daaim Shabazz (2093) vs Elena Gratskaya (1792)
Rd 4 2014 US Open

1.e4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d4 5.Nce2 c5 6.d3 Nc6 7.f4 e5 8.h3 b5 9.a4 b4 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.O-O O-O 12.b3 Rb8 13.Kh1 Nh5 14.f5 h6
15.g4 Nf6 16.Qe1 c4 17.dxc4 Na5 18.Nd2 Bb7 19.Ng3 Bc5 20.Qe2 Qe7 21.Nf3 Rfd8 22.Qd3 Ba8 23.g5 hxg5 24.Bxg5 Qd6 25.Rad1 Bb6 26.Ne1 Nb7 27.Qe2 Rd7 28.Nd3 Nh7 29.Bd2 a5 30.Nh5 Nf6 31.Rg1 Nc5 32.Nxf6 Qxf633.Qg4 Bd8 34.Nxc5 1-0

Over 350 pages in the new book, “The Modern French: A Complete Guide for Black,” by Dejan Antic & Branimir Maksimovic and not one word on the second move of g3. Two Georgia players succumbed to the “Shabazz.” This sent me to the CBDB where I found this recent game:

Carlsen, Magnus (2881) vs Rodriguez Vila, Andres (2437)
Four Player Festa da Uva 2014 03/06/2014

1. e4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 dxe4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nxe4 Nxe4 6. Bxe4 Nd7 7. Bg2 c5 8. Nf3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. d4 cxd4 11. Qxd4 Nc5 12. Rd1 Qxd4 13. Nxd4 a6 14. a4 e5 15. Ne2 Be6 16. b4 Bc4 17. bxc5 Bxe2 18. Rd5 Bc4 19. Rxe5 Bf6 20. Bf4 Rac8 21. Bxb7 Bxe5 22. Bxe5 Rxc5 23. Bd6 Rfc8 24. Bxc5 Rxc5 25. a5 f5 26. c3 Bb5 27. Ra3 Kf7 28. f4 Ke6 29. Kf2 h6 30. Ke3 g5 31. Bf3 Kd6 32. Rb3 Ke6 33. Kd2 Kd6 34. Rb4 Kc7 35. fxg5 hxg5 36. h4 gxh4 37. gxh4 Be8 38. h5 Rxa5 39. Rh4 Ra2+ 40. Kd3 Bb5+ 41. c4 Ra3+ 42. Ke2 Ra4 43. Bd5 Kd6 44. h6 1-0

Thomas Jackson Campbell scored four and a half points by winning three, losing three, drawing one, and availing himself of two half-point byes. Sujay Jagadeesh also scored four and a half by winning three, drawing and losing two, with one half-point bye. Prateek Mishra won his last two games to finish with an even score, while Samhitha Dasari won and lost three to go with one draw and a half-point draw to also finish with an even score. GCA President Fun Fong also scored four and a half points by winning three, drawing one, while losing four. Michael Mulford, Steven Boshears, Ainesh Balaga, and Srihitha Dasari all finished with four points. Tom Kayma, Tyler Schmuggerow, Steven Eisenhauer, Skyler Kelly, and Shyam Dasari each scored three and a half points. Dhruv Rajaganesh finished with three points. Pranit Mishra and Sanjay Jagadeesh each scored two and a half. Anish Kumar finished with a point and a half, as did Pranav Devalapalli. By my count that makes twenty-nine players from the Great State of Georgia at the 2014 US Open, the majority of whom are children, with a few adults, most of whom are eligible to play in the US Senior. This closely matches the current demographic profile of the USCF. It is obvious from the names of many of the players that it is a good thing that Vishy Anand has been World Human Chess Champion recently. I shutter to think of what the USCF would be without the influx of Indian players.

THIS EVENT IS CHILD FRIENDLY

The title of this post was found at the website of the “Millionaire Chess Open” (http://millionairechess.com/about-us/).
What, exactly, is meant by an event being friendly toward children? This could, obviously, be interpreted in many different ways. I would ask GM Maurice Ashely to clarify exactly what is meant by “This event is child friendly.”
I must make an assumption because I am unsure of the meaning. Rob Jones, has wrote this on the USCF forum, “Today, 2014, kids make up about 70 % of the regular tournament participants.” (by DENTONCHESS on Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:05 am #282711; http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20350&sid=81c0e47d4f09f31850f80b8d5eb5d0c7)
It is obvious from the above that the Millionaire Open will fail unless it attracts a large percentage of children. The possibility of failing could be the reason for informing the world the event is friendly toward children. It is also apparent the people behind the Millionaire Open need children for the tournament to be successful. It would be honest to say the organizers need the money of the parents of those children in order to be successful. Such is the state of chess these days, for without children there are no longer enough adults to support big money chess tournaments. My question is, “Should children be allowed to play for large cash prizes?”
What amount of cash is considered “large?” Definitions will vary, but for the sake of argument I am going to consider the Millionaire Open to fall into the category of “large.” If your young Spud wants to play and you have faith in Spud going up against the adult wiley ol’ veterans, should you “ante up?”
If your little Spud played poker extremely well and wanted to enter the World Series of Poker he would not be allowed to play unless he was twenty-one years of age. Period. At the WSOP (http://www.wsop.com/) a player pays his money and takes his chances. He will sit down with the big dogs and play a game of skill until there is only one player, the winner, left standing.
If one enters his precocious Spud into the Millionaire Open, he will sit down to play a game of skill, hoping to win a large cash prize. Why is a child allowed to enter one, but not the other?
I am no lawyer, although I have previously done investigations for a one. I have no idea what the law is in the matter of children playing in big money chess events. I also know the law is subject to change at the whim of lawmakers, as happened when the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act of 2006 was passed, wreaking havoc and sending shock waves into the poker world from it has yet to recover.
“…the UIGEA was really the brainchild of two conservative senators-Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, and Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona- who’d come up with the ingenious plan of attaching it as a last-minute amendment to the Safe Port Act-no matter that Internet gambling had nothing to do with protecting U.S. ports from terrorists. The two antigambling senators, who had run for their positions on morality platforms, knew that trying to take down a pastime that millions of Americans were already enjoying was too difficult, so they’d concocted what was essentially a sneak attack.” Taken from the book, “Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a BILLION-DOLLAR ONLINE POKER EMPIRE-and How It All Came Crashing Down,” by Ben Mezrich.
Children have been allowed to play, and win, what is considered “big money” in the world of chess. What the chess world considers “big money” is considered “chump change” in the real world. It has not been enough to interest any self-serving politico, but that could change with the Millionaire Open. And if you do not believe even a politician would stoop to such a level as to use a child winning “big money” to his advantage, from what other alternate universe do you come?
I must leave the legal aspect alone because I do not have enough information on the subject. I do know there are fifty states, all with their own laws pertaining to this matter, and in addition, Federal laws, which constantly change. For example, during the Viet Nam conflict the eighteen year old boys (men?) rebelled against the law which prevented them from drinking alcoholic beverages until they reached twenty-one years of age, and because they did, the law was changed in many states, including the Great State of Georgia, allowing one to drink an “adult beverage” upon reaching the age of eighteen. After the conflict moral Republicans took control and changed it back to twenty-one, which is where things now stand.
The question I am posing is more of a “moral” question. Scientific studies, too numerous to site, have proven that a child’s brain is not yet fully developed. Should that child be allowed to battle grizzled ol’ veterans with fully developed brains? What effect does doing so have on the child? I am unaware of any studies on this subject. Young players, like World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, and Hikaru Nakamura, are exemplars of the efficacy of having precocious young boys participate with adults in the chess arena. What about all of those who do not make it? How are the ones who have left the arena affected? No one knows because nothing is heard of them once they have left the arena.
Bill Goichberg, owner of the Continental Chess Association, deems a player a “professional” as a player who has attained a rating of 2209 (or is it 2210?). What is a “professional?” I decided to check the dictionary and found this:
pro·fes·sion·al (pr-fsh-nl)
adj.
1.
a. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
b. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
2. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.
3. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.
4. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.
n.
1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.
3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/professional
As I read the definition it seemed as though things were clear until the very last part. How does one define a “skilled practitioner” in the world of chess? Compared to the average Joe playing chess, a tournament player, such as the VP of the GCA, triple-digit rated Ben Johnson, may be considered by some to be a “beast” because he plays, or thinks he does, tournament chess. Then again, maybe not…How about the Prez, Fun Fong? He is about a 1400 player who has been known to pay his money and take his chances. Some would consider Mr. Fong to be “a skilled practitioner.” I am not one of them. How about yours truly? I somehow managed to crawl over the threshold into the “Expert” category. Should I be considered a “professional?” I think I can answer the question. I have known, and played, professional chess players. Some have been friends of mine, and I am here to tell you I am no professional. Yet, according to the definition I, or any other player who has crossed the 2000 threshold, could conceivably be considered a “professional.”
Regardless of his rating, is a ten year old “Spud” who has his entry fee paid by his parent(s) considered a “professional?” What about a fifteen year old? Years ago there was a young fellow, nicknamed “Hayseed” by the man from High Plains (not the Ironman as previously, and mistakenly, written) who won money in every section until he met his match in the class “A” section. Was he a “professional” chess player?
I do not have answers to these questions. I have often wondered why the question is never asked, much less discussed. As I sit here punching & poking at the keyboard the people who will have to decide these questions are gathered in Orlando at the US Open where the business of USCF is discussed. I cannot help but wonder how many of them have even entertained the question.

GCA Hegemonic Designs

An email making the rounds in the local chess community has reached the AW. The sources are impeccable. It appears the GCA board has decided to hold a chess tournament about every other weekend in the coming year. To set the stage one should know the players in this drama.
The GCA board consists of three women, Laura Doman, Katie Hartley, and Pam Little, who do not play chess; Ben Johnson, who thinks he plays chess; Fun Fong, who plays mediocre chess; and Tim Payne and Frank Johnson, who are, or have been, rated expert. These are the committees found on the GCA website (http://www.georgiachess.org/contact):
GCA Committees
By-Law Task Force: Fun Fong, Katie Hartley, Mike Mulford, Scott Parker, Jeanne Ward
Communications: Laura Doman (Director)
Membership: Parnell Watkins
Open Events: WIM Carolina Blanco (Chair), Frank Johnson, Carolyn Lantelme, Greg Maness, Tim Payne, Bryan Rodeghiero, Thad Rogers, Parnell Watkins
Scholastic: Laura Doman, Katie Hartley (Co-Chair), Tricia Hill, Ben Johnson (Co-Chair), Susan Justice, Tim Payne, Steve Schneider, Ted Wieber
Volunteer Coordinator: Frank Johnson
Web Team: Laura Doman, Katie Hartley, Vijay Jayaram, Jagadeesh Rathnasabapathy, Keith Sewell
Committee members are volunteers who can commit to a year of working on the team.
In addition there the GCA has a “Task Force”:
GCA By-Law Task Force: Fun Fong (President), Katie Hartley (2nd VP), Mike Mulford (USCF delegate, Past Treasurer), Scott Parker (Past President), Jeanne Ward (Non-profit consultant)
Suggested By-Law Revisions to be voted on June 21st by GCA Members (http://www.georgiachess.org/bylaws)
These are the current “movers and shakers” of the Georgia Chess Association.

The GCA has myriad committees. The President of the GCA, Fun Fong, posted his, “From the President: GCA May 2014 Update” (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/05/03/from-the-president-gca-may-2014-update/) on the new online magazine, “Georgia Chess News” on May 3, 2014, in which he writes about today’s committees and those to come. I asked two respected chess luminaries, NM Chris Chambers, and former GCA President and Georgia Senior Champion Scott Parker, for their thoughts on the President’s message. This was recieved from the Discman:
Happy Monday Bacon.
“Yes I’m fine with you using my stuff on blogs.
Regarding the GCA message, he sure seems to be planning to put together lots of committees.
Are there even enough dues-paying adult GCA members to man all the spots in those committees?
At this point they’re talking about forming committees to decide how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Virtually all of the passengers (actual tournament players) have boarded the life boats and are long gone, leaving only the wanna-be TD’s to train each other how to run tournaments that nobody will attend.”
CC
Mr. Parker sent an polished, insightful and obviously well-thought-out reply:
Michael,
“Fun is very high on the concept of working through committees. I am not, nor was my predecessor, Ted Wieber. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. There is more than one way to accomplish a task. My preference, and Ted’s too, I believe, was to find a committed volunteer and put a heavy workload on him/her. Committees tend to be slow and cumbersome things, and they lack direction. Each member wants to pull it in a different direction. You’ve heard the old joke, “A platypus is an animal designed by a committee.” It’s funny because there is an underlying truth to it. Committees do tend to come out with proposals that look like they ordered from a take-out menu – something from column A, something from column B, something from colunmn C, etc.
I’m also not sure that it makes sense to operate through committees in an orgainzation that has about 200 voting members. For USCF, which has over 10,000, that’s one thing, It’s another thing for GCA. We don’t have that many committed volunteers. I prefer to work with a small number of committed people rather than a large number of casually interested people.
All this being said, I will freely admit that I didn’t do a great job of identifying those committed volunteers, and ended up doing way too much of the grunt work myself. I was so busy doing the mundane stuff that I had little time to be President. It’s hard to concentrate on your plan to drain the swamp when you’re up to your a** in aligators. My impression is that as long as I was President that probably wasn’t going to change. As long as I was President and things were getting done a crisis didn’t exist. Without a crisis, not many people jumped up to volunteer. Perhaps in the long run it would have been better if I had refused to do the grunt work and let some tournaments and projects die so that a crisis situation would exist. Maybe that would have stimulated a few volunteers to step forward. For better or worse, I was not willing to do that.
Anyway, Fun’s idea of working through committees seems to be working pretty well for him. There has been some short term dislocation, and not everything is flowing smoothly, but in general the GCA is healthy. His way may not be my way, but if it works for him, that’s all that counts. “It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” – Deng Xiao Ping.
Best Wishes, Scottt
P.S. You have my permission to use any or all of this in any way you see fit, or to copy it to anyone you choose.”

Both of these replies from my friends were received May 12, 2014. Although I tend to agree with the Discman, listening to a person who has the respect of all the chess community, as does Scott Parker, gives one a different perspective. There are always two sides of an issue and one must try, as difficult as it may be, to understand the other side.

Emails are being fired at such a rate the NSA is having trouble keeping up with the heavy volume…The first email is from WIM Carolina Blanco, Georgia Chess Open Event ( Chair).
On Monday, July 7, 2014 6:24 PM, Carolina Blanco wrote:
“Hello Everybody
Please find attached the update information for all the Open event tournaments to be organized by Georgia Chess Association from September 2014-July 2015.
Dates and location were verified according last Board meeting at Emory University on June 21st, 2014. Please note that the flyer still need to pass for one more review correction by the committee however with all these information we can see more organized our goal in maintain the tournaments organized in the past calendar year and adding two more new tournaments and new locations for the convenient and benefits of the chess community.
* Only event missing in this email ( but going to be added) is the Collegiate tournament. I am waiting for Ted Wieber to give us all the information for next year since he is the coordinator for this event.
* Location for Senior’s Open and Women’s Open is TBA since the Rivers Academy and Mrs. Justice proposal are in discussion, however the date that we saw more convenient at the board meeting in June for this event is September 20th, 2014.
* There are 4 tournaments to be held at the Wyndham Galleria Hotel and the dates in the flyer are the one that we are committed in the contract with the except of the Georgia State Championship that instead to be held on May 1st 2015. It was moved to April 18th 2015
* there are 2 new Class championship tournament added on February 27th and July 24th 2015. Beside the Class Championship on November 2014.
We are in the process to contact to Continental chess to try to extend our Open event activity from 6 tournaments a year to 12 tournaments a year for the next calendar period.
Questions?. Please feel free to email me.”
Greetings,
WIM Carolina Blanco
Georgia Chess Open Event ( Chair)

Ms. Blanco’s email evoked this response from former GCA President, International Arbiter, and chess business owner L. Thad Rogers:
On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM, thad rogers wrote:
“Why is the Georgia Chess Association trying to put
American Chess Promotions and Championship Chess
out of business.”
I have 6 weekend tournaments scheduled with the dates
with Katie.
The Georgia Chess Association is to support chess in Georgia and not put other chess companies out of business.
This is the only way I try to make a meager income. I guess you all wouldn’t mind it if a nonprofit company came along and put all of your jobs and living out the window in order to satisfy them-selves.
No board in 40 years ever tried to do such a thing. I am very proud of such a caring Georgia Chess Association. I have tried tto do nothing but help the Georgia Chess Association for 40 years.
I have five or six people tell me that Fun said he is trying to put Georgia vendors out of business. If this goes through, then I guess he will get his wish.
All my tournaments are getting to have a signed contract. If Southeast holds tournaments. Then how in the heck can anybody make any money with about 26 weekend tournaments.
Like I said, the GCA Board and Volunteers don’t have to worry because you all aren’t risking any of your personal money. You are using State Association Funds. That is something to be proud of.
Sincerely,
Thad Rogers
American Chess Promotions
I am suppose to be on the Open Events committee. I never hear a word about meetings or issues until after the fact.”

The next email is from the POTGCA:
From: Fun Fong
Date: 07/09/2014 2:49 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: thad rogers
Thad,
“It seems that there’s an unfortunate – and false – rumor circulating that the GCA is looking to put you or any other Georgia chess organization out of business. I can understand why you would be upset. You have a long personal relationship with the GCA, which we all appreciate, and many of our members have enjoyed playing in American Chess tournaments for many years. As president, my mission is to serve the greater chess community by providing a full calendar of quality events for both adult and scholastic members. It is not, nor has it ever been, to destroy another’s livelihood through the power of the GCA. There is absolutely no way that the GCA could put anyone out of business, even if it wanted to, which is certainly no one’s intentions. You will not find any legitimate conversation anywhere that has even hinted of this. Somehow, facts are becoming distorted by the time they get to you, and I am greatly troubled by the prospect of a malicious rumor mill.
It is my belief that more chess is better chess, and that the chess community will eventually expand as opportunities expand, much as have road races greatly expanded in the Metro Atlanta area. GCA does endeavor to raise the bar for quality, so that other organizers will continue to innovate in their offerings, giving the Georgia player more choices and a better selection of events to participate. This initiative should provide a better experience overall for Georgia players. I know that you have been constantly thinking of new events and ways to execute them, and I think this endeavor is working for the benefit of the Georgia player.
Still, it is my responsibility as president to promote chess and to offer our players with as many opportunities to play good competitive chess as the market will support. Besides American Chess and Championship Chess, there is the North Georgia Chess Center, Vibha, and other organizations that host all sorts of tournaments, ranging from afternoon tournaments for young beginners to multi-day events for top-rated competitive players. I believe that there is room for all because we have a large, diverse community of chess players, and tournaments by virtue of their competitive level, time requirements, or location cannot all appeal to all types of players at all times. The chess community today is not the same as it was in the past. As GCA president, I must listen to our members and respond to their demands: to expand, support, and promote opportunities for competitive, quality play.
I understand and respect your concern that an outside group may be stronger or better financed, and potentially threaten your business. We will not tolerate any organization trying to drive another out of business. On the other hand, the GCA will not act as the personal agent for a business seeking to keep others out of their “turf.” I will tell you that the GCA will be advising Continental Chess (or any other organization that we may approach or that approaches us) that we must have a balanced calendar. Similar events need to be coordinated in advance, so that they don’t overlap too often.
The GCA cannot carry out its mission if we are beholden to vendor interests – any vendor. We must maintain the balance of support to our valued vendor organizations with our responsibilities to the chess playing public. If a vendor is involved in a GCA endeavor that could be perceived as a conflict of interest, then the vendor should recuse itself from voting or debate on such an issue. As an example, and I say this with due respect, it seems that whenever the GCA proposes dates in a modest expansion of our programs, we have heard you state that the GCA has no right to do so, presumably because the proposal conflicts with your own business’ plans or calendar. We cannot function as an organization if we cannot maintain impartiality. And under my leadership, this will cease to be a problem.
Thad, I continue to honor and value your long commitment and dedication to the GCA. We are all glad to have you involved and hope that you will want to do so for a long time to come. Regarding the Open Events committee meetings, there has actually not been a full meeting of the Open Events committee yet. Some committee members are changing their commitments to some degree, and while we’re managing this, I would anticipate a full meeting this month. You’ll certainly be advised when the meeting is scheduled.
As always, I welcome your feedback and look forward to talking with you about this or any other area of concern.”
Fun

The POTGCA writes about having a “balanced calendar.” Since the GCA has plans for a tournament every other weekend, that can only mean half for the GCA and half for everyone else.
As far as “…advising Continental Chess…”, I question why the GCA would want any other tournaments here along with their two dozen. Is the chess community large enough to support just the GCA tournaments? It is well known that Bill Goichberg, from New York, has intentionally stayed out of the South. Yes, he has held tournaments in Orlando, but how many tournaments has he held in other Southern states? The Ironman mentioned one in Nashville. One. The most famous was the Continental Open, a CCA tournament in Atlanta back in May of 1973 in which Mr. Six Time, GM Walter Browne flew in from the west coast. GM Browne was on the cover of the May, 1973 “Chess Life & Review.” Walter was treated to some “Southern hospitality,” drawing with Rueben Shocron and losing to Milan Momic, and Robert Burns, before leaving to catch a much earlier flight than anticipated. As GM Browne was leaving someone asked him why he was leaving. The Legendary Georgia Ironman was present to hear what came next, now Tim’s ALL-TIME FAVORITE chess quote. Walter turned on the man like a cobra, yelling, “I DID NOT COME HERE FOR YOUR BENEFIT!”
I realize the World Open was held in the Great State of Virginia this year, but how many tournaments has the CCA brought to the Deep South in the last forty plus years? Of all the tournaments the CCA has held since the 1970’s I will be kind and say that if one includes Louisville, although having lived there I cannot imagine anyone would, the CCA has held maybe five percent in the South, probably less. The “pooh-bahs” should consider leaving the CCA alone and concentrate on holding the conjectured GCA tournaments to the best of their ability. I would like to warn the GCA of over saturation. The Ironman and I were in the sports card business in the late 1980’s, early 90’s, before over saturation and the MLB strike of 1994. When we began there were only a few monthly shows in the metro area. Then a few were added, and then there were card shows every other weekend. More were added until it became a card show every weekend in many locations. In those halcyon days the action was fast and furious. I recall being involved in major deals that were so involved that when another customer would pick a card and pay the advertised price without haggling. I would stuff the bill in my pocket and carry on with the deal. Then the customers stopped coming because they knew there would be another show the next weekend, and the next. Near the end it was so bad at one show I told the Ironman I would not eat lunch until I made a sale. My stomach was growling all afternoon until after the show when Tim took pity on me and bought me a beer and a sammy at Spondivits, saying, “A man who don’t make even one sale shouldn’t have to pay the tab.”

The 2014 Chess For $eniors Challenge

Thad Rogers allowed me to take a flyer printed on a piece of paper used in most computer printers advertising the “2014 Chess For $eniors Challenge.” The “S” in “Seniors” is a dollar sign, and it made me think of the word “oxymoronic.” There are five states-six if you count the bastard state of West Virginia, with each a different color. There is a star in each state, with an arrow from the city in which a Senior tournament was, or will, be held. For example, the flyer shows “Greenville, April 19-20” for the Great State of South Carolina. I wrote about the tournament in the post of May 2, 2014, The South Carolina Senior Chess Championships (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/the-south-carolina-senior-championships/).
Virginia is the only state shown with two tournaments. The next one is in Blacksburg, July 11-13. The prize fund is only $600, as shown on the website (http://www.chessforseniors.org/index.php). So much for the $ in “Senior.”
The next “Senior” tournament shown on the website, but not the flyer, is the “World Open Senior Amateur,” a particularly reprehensible tournament because it discriminates against higher rated players by excluding any Senior player unfortunate enough to be still alive and rated over 2210. Since the tournament is called “Amateur” it can only mean that Bill Goichberg considers anyone rated 2211 or higher a professional. Since true pros are allowed to play in USCF “Amateur” events, there seems to be an inconsistency by the exclusion of most Masters.
The tournaments have not drawn well. For example, there were eighteen total at the SC Senior, and twenty five at the Tennessee Senior in Crossville, the home of USCF, on May 16-18. The most recent Senior tournament on the hit parade was the forty player event in the Great State of Virginia, where there was a four-way tie for first place between Larry C Gilden; Srdjan Darmanovic; William Marcelino; & Leif Kazuo Karell. Each won a grand total of $162.50. Now that is what $enior chess is all about!
The other states shown on the flyer yet to be mentioned are the Great State of North Carolina, and Kentucky. Having lived in the latter state I can only say that the people of Kentucky were conflicted during the War For Southern Independence, and nothing has changed.
Conspicuous in absence is my native state of Georgia, along with the Great States of Alabama and Mississippi, making the map look like one of those maps of the future in which some parts of the US next to the ocean have been lopped off. The absence of Georgia can be explained by the total number of players the past two years, eight and thirteen. The total number of twenty-one for the two most recent Senior tournaments would have been a small turnout in previous years, before Fun Fong became president of the GCA. Most Seniors stayed away from the 2012 Senior because they thought the format was “crap.” Like a lower rated chess player who has made a mistake, the man now called “No Fun” Fong by many (a fellow Senior who called Mr. Fong, “No Fun” at a recent meeting of the chess mess was surprised to learn he was not the first to use the term) refused to admit his mistake and determined to force that square peg into a round hole. What Senior organization would want someone like that involved? Fun Fong has absolutely no credibility among Senior chess players in Georgia, and obviously the rest of the South.
The US Senior Open will be held aboard the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Sept. 14-21, according to the advertisement in Chess Lifeless. The entry fee is, “$125 with cruise reservation.” After doing my due diligence by going to the website provided (
http://www.cardplayercruises.com/brochures/2014/booking-eastcarib2014.html) I learned the cheapest available cabin, an “*inside stateroom,” will set a $enior back $829.00 pp. For some reason I keep hearing Kate Winslet as Rose in the movie Titanic yelling, “Jack!” “Jack!” while trying desperately to get out of steerage…These accommodations do not sound like the ones Bart and Bret Maverick would have chosen before the game began.
What happens when some poor $enior “land-lubber” becomes sea sick? Or “sick of the sea?” What if it turns into a “three hour tour?” Have you ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle? Then there all of the reports of major problems with cruise ships in the past years, such as previously unheard of illnesses and mechanical breakdowns in which the “cruisers” had to live with their own filth and in their own excrement. Not to mention a cruise being the best way to “knock someone off.” People frequently “fall overboard” at sea. A cruise ship would seem to be a place to commit the “perfect” murder. It would be just my luck to play the game of my life against some psychotic chess player and become the “Man Overboard!”

GCA President Rejects Scholarship Offer

Kevin Schmuggerow is the new owner of the North Georgia Chess Center. I have yet to meet him because his Chess Center is really north of the metro area. He is a reader of this blog. Yesterday an email was received from Mr. Schmuggerow. I believe it should be shared with the Georgia chess community. Because Kevin benefited from a chess scholarship in Illinois years ago he had the idea to fund a scholarship here. He sent his idea to Katie Hartley, a member of the GCA board.
On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 7:48 PM, Kevin Schmuggerow wrote:
“Katie,

I hope all is going well with Scholastic Chess.

I was thinking ways to fund a scholarship program. I’m kicking around the idea of raising my entry fees by $1.00 to be set aside for scholarships. If I have 150 players a month, that would raise $1,800 a year.
Your feedback is appreciated!”

Sincerely,

Kevin Schmuggerow
North Georgia Chess Center
2450 Atlanta Highway, Suite 201
Cumming GA, 30040
(770) 844-9204”

This was the reply from Katie Hartley:

“On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM, Katie Hartley wrote:
It is a nice idea and I’m copying Fun on this so he can add it to the board agenda when next we meet. the GCA has also talked about seeking out sponsors for something like this. i think at the very least we could put on the website a place to make donations specifically for scholastic scholarships.

Katie”

Katie did copy Fun Fong, the President of the GCA board and this was his response:

From: Fun Fong [mailto:fun.fong.jr@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 2:43 PM
To: Katie Hartley
Cc: Kevin Schmuggerow
Subject: Re: Scholastic Chess

“Katie and Kevin,

It’s an OK idea, but the real thing to do is to FIND SPONSORS!!!! That’s how we get real money for scholarships. This stuff you’re getting is chicken feed and we’re harvesting off (taxing) our own audience to do this. I’m not crazy about this idea. GCA needs to find 2 people to go to UPS, FedEx, Coke, Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, etc and make a polished presentation of what we would do scholarship wise with $10K or 20K. There are a TON of big companies that could potentially help and it really only takes ONE.

Fun”

Chicken feed? This must have come as a cold slap in the face to Kevin. I was shocked upon reading this email. Mr. Schmuggerow magnanimously offered a plan to fund a scholarship through the GCA and was not only rebuffed, but ridiculed! The next email is from a man who can be only be considered a true gentleman:

On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM, Kevin Schmuggerow wrote:

“Fun,

I apologize.

I know that my $1,800 is not close to $10,000 or $20,000, it was just meant as a gesture to help.”

Kevin Schmuggerow
North Georgia Chess Center
2450 Atlanta Highway, Suite 201
Cumming GA, 30040
(770) 844-9204”

How does the President of the Georgia Chess Association respond to such magnanimity?

From: Fun Fong [mailto:fun.fong.jr@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 4:21 PM
To: Kevin Schmuggerow
Cc: Katie Hartley
Subject: Re: Scholastic Chess

“Kevin,
You sentiments are good and well-intended. Katie knows me better, and knows that I am both ambitious and impatient in our efforts. I just think that our efforts really need to be directed towards some corporate funding. After a Communications Director, the GCA should find two people who can start looking for funding. We also need to start up our long-range planning group to figure out how to use a windfall like that.
My sense is that adult chess players in our current demographic are some of the biggest cheapskates in the world! I hope to change that demographic over time. Getting any money from them, is problematic. Scholastics is better, but I just think we should be looking towards other sources of funding. That’s really the only way that progress in the state will become palpably different.”
Best wishes,
Fun”

Best wishes, indeed. I can only say these emails provide a startling glimpse into the mind of the President of the GCA, Fun Fong. Make of them what you will.

Georgia Chess News

The original purpose of this blog was to write mainly about chess in Georgia. I have received inquiries as to why I have not written more about local chess activities. Scholastic chess predominates and I wanted to focus on what was formerly called “chess,” but is now called “adult chess.” The only tournaments exclusively for adults are Senior events. Children proliferate at “adult” tournaments here and in the US. Yet tournaments consisting of mainly children are called “adult” tournaments. Go figure…I recently noticed an announcement in the local Decatur Dispatch for a chess club at the Tucker library on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings in which it is stated, “No children. Please.” Make of it what you will. I find it rather sad that chess has been so completely overwhelmed by children that anyone would print something like this, but such is the reality of the situation.
Dr. Cano left a comment to my post, “Booming Interest in Amateur Chess.” He also asked me the same question via email some time ago. His question is, “Where are the chess tournaments that we used to have here in Georgia?” This is a good question. Unfortunately I cannot answer it. I will, though, ask any member of the GCA board, or anyone else who can answer the question to leave a comment on this post, or send me an email I can publish. Dr. Cano, and many others who ask the same question, deserve an answer. These are the kinds of things discussed on the forum of other states, such as North Carolina. Those in control of the GCA have chosen to not have a forum. One can only wonder why the pooh-bahs refuse to allow their members to express their views.
I would like to direct anyone interested to the GCA website, http://www.georgiachess.org/open, where it has been announced that the 2014 Georgia Chess Championship will be held May 2-4 at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest, 200 Interstate North Parkway SE • Atlanta, Georgia 30339. Since it is a Marriott, I do not have to tell you this is a tremendous upgrade from an empty space at a Mall in decline. Backgammon tournaments have previously been held at this hotel. The recent unrated tournament for children was held at this very hotel. I will leave the efficacy of the GCA holding an unrated tournament for rated players to others interested in the chess of children.
I have had several chess coaches tell me recently that the real battle these days is in the middle school because by the time children reach high school they have lost interest in chess. This was confirmed by the turnout for the above mentioned tournament, where there were only fourteen players in the top section consisting of grades 6-12, but thirty-five in the K-5 section and sixty in the K-3 group. There were an additional twenty-five in the K-1 section. This tournament is a vivid illustration of what USCF President Ruth Haring has said about the mass exodus of children from organized chess around age eleven. It would appear puberty is killing chess. For those interested, the results can be found on the GCA website at: http://www.georgiachess.org/news?mode=PostView&bmi=1407698
I have chosen to eschew writing about local events in order to be kind. A tournament I mentioned in an earlier post, “10th Annual Georgia Senior Open” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/10th-annual-georgia-senior-open/), something called the “GCA Combined,” included the Senior tournament. It has been jokingly said this event was the Georgia response to the recent Carolinas Chess Festival. If I were writing for one of the so-called “fair and balanced” extremist networks I would write, “There was a huge percentage increase in the turn-out for the 2013 Georgia Senior Chess Championship.” I prefer to tell it like it is and say that only fourteen players participated this year, five more than last year. There were only five players in the Open section, barely enough for a four round tournament. Last year’s Senior champion, Alan Piper, decided to play in the one day G/45 in lieu of defending his championship. This is a scathing indictment of the tournament and of those in control of the GCA. Former Senior Champion Chris Ferrante and Van Vandivier tied for first, scoring 3 out of 4. Captain Jeff Kidd finished clear third half a point behind. Richard Jones finished clear first in the second section with 3 ½ points, followed by Stephen Yancey with 3. I have written previously the tournament should be a true Open, with only one section. Once again, the small turnout proved my point. The results could be found on the GCA website, but it appears they have been removed. If one is interested in the results of the other events held at an empty space in a Mall that has seen better days, go to the USCF website: http://www.uschess.org/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/
The Georgia Open took place this weekend at Emory University. A total of sixty-four players, appropriately enough, entered the event that had been limited to no more than two hundred fifty. The song by Arrowsmith, “Dream On,” just entered my brain, for some reason. GM Alonso Zapate (2575) and LM Chris Mabe (2326), from the Great State of North Carolina, drew their last round game to tie for first place along with class “A” player Jinseok Kim (1963). Mr. Kim drew his first game then ripped off four in a row, including an upset of Expert Donny Gray in the last round. Five players tied for 4-8 with four points. They were, NM Michael Corallo; Expert Reese Thompson; class “A” Nicholas Williams; class “B” Shanmukha Meruga; and class “D” Ingrid Guo. Only five of the sixty-four players participating in this tournament were from other states. That is only 8%! When Dr. Cano asks why we do not have tournaments like we used to have here in Atlanta, I believe a large part of what he means is that at one time out of state players comprised a large percentage of players at our tournaments. There is a reason they refuse to come to the capital of the South to play chess. To have tournaments like we had “back in the day,” it is imperative the GCA has tournaments in which players from other states want to participate.
The crosstable can be found at the GCA website: http://www.georgiachess.org/Resources/Documents/results/2013%20Georgia%20Open%20Cross%20Tables.pdf
The 2013 Georgia Class Championships, dedicated to Ruben Shocron, will be held at Emory beginning Friday night, November 22, a day that will live in infamy. Maybe consideration should have been given to naming it the “JFK Memorial,” for obvious reasons. Details can be found, once again, on the GCA website.
It would seem the GCA website is beginning to shed its “moribund” state. While researching IM Carlos Perdomo for an interview that never materialized I found a group of interviews on YouTube, including one with Carlos, as well as other players like LM Chris Mabe, GM John Fedorowicz, GM Julio Becerra, IM Jonathan Schroer, and others, by the President of the GCA, Fun Fong. This is the kind of thing that should be accessible on the GCA website. Check them out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tk1_EEJuEQ
Finally, it has been reported that Keith Sewell has left the GCA board. There have been rumors of dissension and rancor among board members for some time, with the possibility of other disillusioned members possibly leaving in the near future. I can only hope the GCA gets its act together, listens to wizened members of the community such as the esteemed former President Scott Parker, the eminence grise of Georgia chess, and otherrespected members, like Michael Mulford, and decides to give players the kind of tournaments they want, and deserve, in lieu of ramming down their throats tournaments they refuse to attend.

10th Annual Georgia Senior Open

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