The Dirty Laundry of Atlanta Chess

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

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

No one responded. They ain’t talking.

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

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

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

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

and Parnell Watkins

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

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

and David Hater, gain a seat on the board.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

assisted by KAREN BOYD.

Karen Boyd and Ben Finegold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The 2019 Mr. Phillip Taylor Georgia State Chess Championship

The 2019 Mr. Phillip Taylor GA State Championship begins in a month, May 17 through May 19, 2019. Who is Mr. Phillip Taylor? Chess tournaments in Georgia have usually been named after someone who has left the board. Since I have been around about as long as anyone involved with Chess in Georgia and was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor, I reached out to former POTGCA Scott Parker with an inquiry. Mr. Parker replied,


I believe it is because of a financial commitment, but I don’t know the details. If you want to email the full board to see who might know use That reaches all board members. And Mr. Taylor is very much alive and kicking. That much I do know.

Best Regards,


After forwarding the above to every board member only one reply was received, from 2nd Member-at-large Anna Baumstark, who wrote:

I wasn’t on the board for the last State Championship, but I believe that Phil donates to the GCA each year to help defray the cost of the


Having a desire to play Chess, in addition to a desire to meet Mr. Philip Taylor, sent me to the website to learn the particulars of the tournament, which can be found at: There is also a PDF if interested:

Basically it is a one hundred dollars to play, one hundred dollars to stay kind of tournament. There are various time controls for the different sections, but the only one that matters is the “40/90, SD/30, d10″ for the Championship section. I prefer the added time of usually 30 seconds.

The 3-day schedule has two games, the first and third, to begin at 7:30 PM. Since I will not again attempt playing Chess at night in a tournament that would mean I could take two half-point byes, which are allowed, but only in rounds 1 thru 4 (limit two) and must request before Round One, with (absolutely) no changes afterwards!

I then found the website of the hotel in which the tournament would be played, the Radisson Atlanta Northwest, located at 1775 Parkway Pl SE, Marietta. This means the playing site is not accessible via MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the absolutely best way to get around Atlanta because the train moves when traffic comes to a halt. Although there is a bus system in Cobb county, where the city of Marietta is located, word on the street is it pales in comparison to MARTA and the Gwinnett county bus system. It is well known the traffic situation in Atlanta is horrible. The northern part of Atlanta known as Buckhead has recently considered the possibility of charging people who drive into that particular part of the city in order to relieve congestion. One official said, “Ninety percent of people who work in Buckhead do not live in the city.” I lived and worked in what was known as “The Head” in the 1970’s and 80’s when it was a community and there were affordable places for employees to live. Now only the wealthy can afford to live in “The Head.” As Atlanta continues to grow more people will utilize only public transportation like many people who live in New York City and never own, or even drive, a car. This should be taken into consideration by the GCA board.

A search for comments by former quests of the Radisson Atlanta Northwest, followed. Phil G. from Knoxville, TN., posted his review on 3/30/2019, giving the Radisson only one star out of a possible five, writing, “The only reason I gave this one lace a 1 star is because I couldn’t give it NEGATIVE stars.
This is the worst hotel I have ever been to. We were in the area for a Baseball tournament and our entire team booked here. One room had bugs in the bed and throw up in the floor, literally chunks of vomit in the middle of the floor. One room had the water running in the tub and it wouldn’t turn off. We had a total of 9 rooms and of the 9, eight of them didn’t have towels when we checked in. If the other area hotels weren’t booked we would have went somewhere else. Out of the 9 rooms, 7 had to change rooms because of filth or because something didn’t work, shower, TV, door locks. When our kids went to swim in the pool, we asked the front desk for towels and the said “get them from your room”, after we just told them there were NO TOWELS IN THE ROOMS!
The hotel employees acted like none of this was important and offered NO compensation for the dirty rooms and bad service. The hotel lobby was full of leaves and the trash cans were over flowing. The hotel is next door to a really trashy nightclub, might have been a strip club by the looks of the way people were dressed going in. Sharing the same parking lot as a night club lead to coming out to your car in a parking lot covered in trash.
DONT STAY HERE, save your money. This is NOT a typical Radisson.”
Phil G.
Knoxville, TN


A few days earlier, 3/27/2019, E T. of West Hollywood, CA, gave the hotel two stars when writing the following:

So many things went wrong with this stay and I don’t know where to even begin except to say that I never in my life stayed at a Radisson Hotel nor will I again. Oddly enough, I encountered no service issues during my stay … it was just the overall grime and yuck factor of this hotel and quite frankly it’s clientele which turned me off.

When we pulled in, there were some shady characters in the parking lot. These folks did not look like the type who would pay $120 per night for a hotel. They looked more like vagrants. However, low and behold they were staying there. Also, there is a REALLY sketchy dance club next door called Tiger Tiger. Imagine any gangstah rap video you’ve ever seen before and that is who frequent this dance club. They must offer deeply discounted rooms on an app because the hotel is filled with people staying there who are going to the club next door.

The hallways looked like a combination of a frat party/rap video. People were screaming in the hallways, walking around with red solo cups and playing loud music. The rooms have connecting doors and the walls are pretty thin, so I could hear everything in the next room like it was in my room. Loud teens and 20-something year olds everywhere. It was like staying in a college dorm room.

The hotel has seen better days … the windows to the room were crusted with white stains and you couldn’t really see out. There was a sliding balcony door which to a small balcony with no furniture which was shared with the room next door. It looked like the floor could give out at any moment.

To say the carpet was old and filthy would be an understatement. I wore shoes the whole time in the room. The overall feel of the room was a hotel from the 2003-era. Same furniture I remember, draperies, color scheme as early 2000/late 1990s hotels. The lobby seems to be where they put their money … it’s all brand new and beautiful. They have an odd little restaurant/bar which looks like it has never been cleaned and by closing time at 11 p.m. on a Friday, they were out of every beer on tap.

Next door, the club music booms until 3:30 a.m. and if your room is located on the front side of the building facing the parking lot, you’ll hear it all night long through your window. There is no escaping the sound of booming club music, so if you are a light sleeper … you will be a non-sleeper. After the music stops, you then have drunks in the parking lot making noise which comes up into the hallways and rooms.

It seemed like there were a LOT of problems with guests that were do to the overall shadiness of those who stayed there. Often we would hear people yelling at the front desk people … and twice we noticed police cars pulled up outside the hotel. This was during a 24 hour long stay.

Avoid this hotel unless you are going to get your groove on at Tiger Tiger … or really miss going to college in the 1990s in which case, staying here will be a trip down memory lane. The only reason I left 2 stars is because the front desk staff was helpful and friendly.

E “On the road again” T.
West Hollywood, CA

Parking lot from balcony minus the shady vagrants

Clubs right next door equals no sleep due to loud music

This hotel does not sound like one conducive to playing good Chess, or obtaining a good night’s sleep. After doing due diligence I have decided against playing in the event. It would seem that with the additional money donated to the tournament by Mr. Taylor a decent venue could have been found.

I do not know who is responsible for the decision to have the tournament at this particular hotel, especially considering the plethora of hotels in the greater Atlanta area, but it is obvious someone, or some group of people did not do their due diligence. I do not know why many Chess tournaments in the greater Atlanta area have been, and obviously continue to be, held in second, or even third rate, run down hotels, but I have played Chess in Atlanta since 1970 and, unfortunately, this hotel is not an exception. For example, the legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, who has been playing almost as long as this writer, likes to tell the story of the first Sweat-box Open, which was held at the Biltmore hotel in downtown Atlanta during a hot summer and there was no air conditioning. Sweat-box number two (and 2a, 2b, 2c, etc.) were held at the House of Pain, aka, The Dump, which was the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center. The Dump was known for an air conditioning system held together who knows how by Longshot Larry, defying law, rules and regulations, and the law of physics, that was down as much as it was up. When a window unit stopped putting out cold air it was usually replaced by a much smaller unit. The latest incarnation of the sweat-box Open was at the North Dekalb Mall a few summers ago when a tournament was played completely sans AC. The stench overwhelmed the senses while making eyes sting.

Having participated in Backgammon tournaments and visited both Scrabble and Bridge tournaments in the Atlanta area which were held in good conditions in nice hotels I cannot help but wonder why it is only Chess tournaments in Atlanta that have had such problems.

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.” (

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 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

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 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.”


The Perdomo Class Championship

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

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

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

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

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

Albert Liang (2019) – Michael Corallo (2371)

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

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

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

David Vest (2200) – Michael Corallo (2371)

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

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

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

David Vest (2200) – Albert Liang (2019)

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

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

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

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

Games can be found here:

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,

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

The DeCredico Incident

For me to comment on this would only detract from what you are about to read, which is self-explanatory.

From: Fun Fong []
> Sent: Monday, November 24, 2014 6:49 AM
> To: Laura Doman (Trinity)
> Cc: Greg Maness; J Parnell Watkins, Jr.; Elena Gratskaya
> Subject: Incident with Chattanooga friends
> Laura,
> This is a draft of what I propose to send to the USCF and to the DeCredicos:
> Dear …..
> This is our account of what occurred during out 2014 Georgia Class Championships. I have known the DeCredico family from several events and from my experience with the DeCredico family from Castle Chess Camp. The family is wonderful. Mr. DeCredico can be an emotional person, and the emotionality is usually expressed in terms of gratitude.
> We suspect that there have been some frustrations which have caused Mr. DeCredico to have had some conflict that have been building up over several tournaments. We later heard that Mr. DeCredico had had some words with Ben Johnson, a Chief TD during a Southeast Chess tournament.
> At our tournament, we inadvertently used the October published ratings to vet our tournament file. The correct information had been entered by Mr. DeCredico, evidenced by our import records, but somehow the October supplement was used to further vet the tournament file. This was certainly our mistake and we freely admit it. This had happened in another incident with a family from Alabama, and we were able to discover this issue and repair the round before the round began, making this family satisfied.
> The lower published rating caused Mr DeCredico’s daughter Zsofia, to have the lowest rating within the section and she ended up being the odd player with a unforced full-point bye. We found an extra rated game for Mr. DeCredico’s daughter with an opponent who was rated slightly higher that her current rating. She seemed to appreciate the pairing and was playing without issue. Mr. DeCredico discovered that an old October published rating was used for her during the round in progress and became agitated, demanding to speak to the person responsible. He quickly became more agitated, and by the time that he came to our Informatics area, he began verbally lashing out at our Informatics Officer, Elena Gratskaya, even before she could begin to address the issue. Our Floor TD, Parnell Watkins attempted to shield Elena physically, fearing that the situation would escalate.
> Mr. DeCredico became loud and abusive, accusing all of the staff of incompetence and intent on causing a scene in the Tournament Hall. He accused our Deputy Chief TD Greg Maness of incompetance. Mr. Maness was unaware of the previous events and responded back to him. Mr. DeCredico told his son Winston that he had to resign, that they were going to leave. He had also brought another Chattanooga player, Expert Zachery Perry, who was compelled to leave his game as well. I arrived on the scene and asked what we could do to help Mr DeCredico. Mr. DeCredico stated that he was intent on leaving, and said that he was too upset to explain to me what was troubling him. I assured him that we would refund his registration feed and wanted to know if we could help him in any other way.
> It took a small bit of time for Mr. DeCredico’s children to leave the hall. Mr. DeCredico became intent on retrieving them. He was extremely agitated and was intent on causing a scene in the Tournament hall where play had started in earnest, about 20-30 minutes into a G/120 round. Floor TD Parnell Watkins barred the door and asked our staffer, Laura Doman to please retrieve his children. Mr DeCredico accused us of keeping him from access to his children. I told Mr. Watkins that we could not keep him from access to his children, but by that time the children had left the hall and were in the corridor.
> The DeCredicos left. We later heard that players and spectators were in fear of their safety. At least one person feared that this man may have been armed. I knew Mr. DeCredico was not a physical threat, but our other staffers did not. Certainly our Informatics officer was put in fear for her safety such that our TD had to interpose physically. The rest of the day was marred with the pall of this incident.
> The DeCredicos abruptly left after the games were well in progress. Someone following one of the games on the internet wondered why one of the games ended abruptly after 21 moves. From a technical standpoint, these games must be scored as rated forfeits; however, we would do whatever the USCF recommended in this particular incident.
> The DeCredicos are a wonderful family. The kids, Zsofia and Winston, are wonderful. Mr. Zachary Perry is a amicable player and one whom we would like to continue to encourage to play. I do not know what other events may have preceded Mr. DeCredico’s agitation that day, but it was not the usual Richard DeCredico demeanor that I have experienced in the past. We will be happy to refund registration fees for these Chattanooga players. We would not necessarily want to ban Richard DeCredico from our tournaments (although some might), but we would want some reassurance from him that he will take definite steps not to threaten our personnel, or cause an explosive outburst with the intent to disrupt one of our tournaments again. Medication might well be necessary. This was a very distasteful incident for all involved that occurred this weekend, and in the interest of our other players who came from AL, NC, SC,TN, and FL to play, we hope not to experience ever again.
> Respectfully submitted,
> Fun Fong, MD
> Chief TD
> 2014 Georgia Class Championships
> 770 / 316-8483 (c)

> On Monday, November 24, 2014 2:27 PM, Laura wrote:
> Very nice, Fun. By the way, I’d like to write an article for the Jan. 1 publication of about the DGT boards. Charles Troutman, Jr. sent me a terrific story about how he was able to watch his son Charles Troutman III’s games live while he was on business in India. (His son went on to become the 6th grade state champion.) I’d like to get more info from you and ChaCha and anyone else who can talk more about the technology and make it a truly informative article.
> Have a Happy Thanksgiving, all!
> Laura

On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 4:10 PM, Greg Maness wrote:
> To All … …
> [note … I added Frank Johnson to my reply here as he was involved in the incident due to his intervention and I added Ben Johnson as his name was mentioned in reference to a prior incident involving this same person]
> I had dinner with a lawyer friend (a criminal defense attorney) last night after the tournament and had lunch with same lawyer friend today (he’s also a former tournament chess player from Pennsylvania). Yes, we did discuss the incidents of Saturday … and, no, I did not mention anyone by name. He was also very surprised and distressed that an organization as the Georgia Chess Association does not retain legal counsel nor does not have an attorney who serves as a “friend of the organization” who is either an elected board member or serves as a staff member for the board. He especially stressed this with the fact the G.C.A. sanctions so many activities that involve minor children.
> Based on the conversations with the lawyer, I do want to comment on a couple of issues. First and most importantly … Parnell Watkins and I physically barring Mr. DeCredico from the tournament hall … not only were we “well within our rights,” we were also “well within our OBLIGATION” to not allow him entrance to the tournament hall (and especially in the absence of law enforcement personal) as our concern was the ASSURANCE OF THE SAFETY of the 50-odd people who were in the tournament hall. The fact his own children (or so he thought) were in the tournament hall is irrelevant as the safety of all parties concerned supersedes that … and especially since the perceived danger to anyone in the tournament hall came from Mr. DeCredico himself. I was given the example of a Principle-imposed school lockdown where no parent would ever be given access to the building and thus their children. I was also advised that had we PERMITTED his entrance to the tournament hall (due to the obvious circumstances) … and had there been an incident that compromised the safety of anyone therein … that WE (the G.C.A., the tournament personal, the hotel, etc.) could be held responsible and liable.
> I do wish to add THREE participants in the tournament came to me (separately and hours apart) and each told me they were “afraid he was going to get a gun out of that big bag he was carrying and start shooting!” I also overheard a fourth player telling another player the same thing.
> Dr. Fong’s statements here are very well-written and very accurate! But … also many of Dr. Fong’s statements are irrelevant as they pertain directly to Mr. DeCredico’s actions. Mr. DeCredico’s actions were completely unjustifiable. Using wrong rating supplements … making erroneous pairings … etc … none of that gives justification or warrant to the actions (verbal and near-physical) taken by Mr. DeCredico. I do, however (with one exception to which I am coming), stand with what Dr. Fong has written.
> My exception: Dr. Fong’s statement “We would not necessarily want to ban Richard DeCredico from our tournaments.” SERIOUSLY?? In any other sport (and we all want chess … especially organized chess … to be given the respect it deserves on par with other sports) this type of outburst and action would not be tolerated and severe justice involving a suspension would be handed out. Imagine had this been a golf tournament or bowling tournament (both where I have experience) or a tennis tournament where this outburst had occurred … he would immediately be expelled from the tournament (do note: during his outburst I forfeited his game [the USCF Rulebook supports my action]; he didn’t need to resign) and he would be given a suspension (and probably a fine, too, if it was a professional organization such as the PGA) … and, also, we would not be implying justification of his actions or implying the sanctioning organization somehow shares the blame!. The same with any team sport … … …
> I would also strike the “Medication might well be necessary” statement from any correspondence with the USCF. That could give grounds for libel suit by Mr. DeCredico!
> Since Mr. DeCredico repeatedly, loudly, and in front of many witnesses (including the few hundred who were in the hallway for the other of the hotel’s scheduled event) was calling me a “pedophile” and saying I “should be arrested,” my lawyer friend also said I had a case to sue him for civil slander (I believe Mr. DeCredico made similar references towards Mr. Watkins). I just laughed and said we were very far from even considering, much less undertaking such action! Read that as I would just rather it be forgotten.
> That is all I have to state at this time.
> — Greg Maness

> On Monday, November 24, 2014 5:16 PM, Fun Fong wrote:
> Greg,
> Why don’t you write up your version of events? I think I have not heard your experience.
> Fun

On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM, Greg Maness wrote:
> Fun … … my version of the events is not that different from what you have already written … actually, not any different. You just had more details (spec. the incident in the Informatics room). All I could add is the number of participants expressing concerns over their personal safety. I don’t know if the USCF needs to be made aware of the legal aspects concerning our securing the tournament hall or not. If you would like to edit your draft to include notes from my comment e-mail (i.e. # players voicing safety concerns), that is fine with me.
> — Greg

From: Fun Fong
> Date: Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM
> Subject: Re: Incident with Chattanooga friends
> To: Greg Maness , gcaboard Board
> Cc: Laura , Frank Johnson , Ben Johnson , “J Parnell Watkins, Jr.” , Elena Gratskaya
> Greg,
> The way I see it, while some may feel justified in saying they were protecting the players, Mr. DeCredico has a credible assault and battery threat because he was touched. If this goes to court, then we all lose, no matter what. The best thing to do in legal matters is usually “not to play.” In this case, we need to learn how to de-escalate people as people begin to get agitated. One should always try de-escalation first. That way, something so small an item never comes to this. I am not sure this incident could have been avoided, but I would sure try my darndest to make sure that it didn’t get so far out of control.
> Mr. DeCredico has emailed me, demanding that our personnel be more people friendly and customer-oriented. I have told him that I will take steps to do so. He has apologized to me and has sent two emails, which I will first send to the Board for comments and then to the people involved. I think his perceptions in his second email may have some degree of validity.
> I think this incident has uncovered some significant vulnerabilities of the organization. For one, we currently have no liability insurance. A lawsuit would likely be the death of GCA. As much as I would like to put this event to bed, I think a “lessons learned” after-action report would be appropriate with all involved contributing.
> I don’t think we will have any further action from Mr. DeCredico. Let’s learn from this and see if we can prevent another incident like this again.
> Fun

On Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM, Greg Maness wrote:
>> To All … …
>> I was not a witness to anything that occurred in the Informatics Room, so I can not address that. Apparently, Mr. DeCredico claims someone touched him. If that happened in Informatics, I was not there to witness … and perhaps it is better I do NOT know! If that happened outside the tournament hall, I did not witness it. Also, when Mr. Watkins and I were denying his entrance into the tournament hall I made special effort to NOT touch him … as did Mr. Watkins. Now, as far as the action of denying his re-entrance to the tournament hall … I stand by what I previously stated — which is what I was advised by a criminal defense attorney … “we were ‘well within our rights,’ we were also ‘well within our OBLIGATION’ to not allow him entrance to the tournament hall as our concern was the ASSURANCE OF THE SAFETY of the 50-odd people who were in the tournament hall … (and) had we PERMITTED his entrance to the tournament hall … and had there been an incident that compromised the safety of anyone therein … that WE (the G.C.A., the tournament personal, the hotel, etc.) could be held responsible and liable.” Note he (the lawyer) included the HOTEL as being liable as well!
>> I agree with Dr. Fong on several points. Yes, if this were to ever to go to court, “we would all lose.” Even if we (the G.C.A.) were to “win” … and I am sure we WOULD win in court in this situation … we still “lose.” No argument from me. As far as trying to de-escalate a situation … I was under the impression that was attempted; it just did no good in this case — also as Dr. Fong has alluded.
>> Mr. DeCredico has apparently “demanded our personnel be more friendly and customer-oriented.” Being “more friendly” is a perception, but I will give him that one. I am not sure what he means by “being more customer-oriented.” Apparently pairing errors were made … okay, those were just honest mistakes. Remedying that is an “in-house” issue. As far as “customer-orientation,” what is perceived as a problem(s), I would need more information before I gave my opinion there. Also, any past issues involving Mr. DeCredico and Southeast Chess, et al, is not relevant here (unless deemed so by the USCF in establishing a pattern of behaviour).
>> Dr. Fong is dead on with this has uncovered some significant vulnerabilities! Remember, I stated my lawyer friend was “very surprised and distressed that an organization as the Georgia Chess Association does not retain legal counsel nor does not have an attorney who serves as a “friend of the organization” who is either an elected board member or serves as a staff member for the board. He especially stressed this with the fact the G.C.A. sanctions so many activities that involve minor children.” Add to that, as Dr. Fong has mentioned, the lack of liability insurance never entered my mind! [Perhaps another phone call to Kelly Hillyer is in order.]
>> Should further action be taken by the G.C.A. (and the USCF) against Mr. DeCredico? That is not for me to say for the record. But … three tournament (adult) participants (and a fourth who did not address me directly) clearly stated to me they were in fear for their own personal safety! I can only imagine what was going through the minds of the many children who were witnesses to this situation. If the G.C.A. does not take action, I am afraid the perception of the G.C.A. in the eyes of many members and players will not be very favourable.
>> — Greg Maness

From: Fun Fong
>> Date: November 25, 2014 at 12:11:01 PM EST
>> To: Greg Maness
>> Cc: gcaboard Board , Laura , Frank Johnson , Ben Johnson , “J Parnell Watkins, Jr.” , Elena Gratskaya
>> Subject: Re: Incident with Chattanooga friends
>> I am also seeking legal advice.
>> GCA cannot sustain legal action (costs). As I said, if this were to progress to a lawsuit, we might win on the merits, but we would lose, likely losing the organization.
>> This is a conundrum. My thought is that we must avoid a legal action at all costs. I now think that Mr. DeCredico will complain to USCF and we need to have possible responses lined up. I will be using the legal advice to consider these factors.
>> Mr. DeCredico states that both he and his children were touched. This is becoming a “he said, he said” story. I think we should look for witnesses.
>> I think that we should discuss this issue at the Board in closed session, after the official Board meeting is over on 2 December. Discussion is available to non-board members now.
>> Fun

GCA Spends Lavishly, Delays Payment to Workers

It is obvious that with the three recent resignations by GCA board members, Frank Johnson, Tim Payne, and Treasurer Pam Little, the GCA has been rocked, and is reeling with the feeling. Rumors are rampant and abundant emails are rife with accusations of malfeasance. There are reports that although the GCA spent lavishly for the recent 2014 Grade Level Championships, some, or maybe all, of the workers have not been paid, or are being asked to accept delayed payment because the GCA has no money to pay.

Exact information is difficult to come by because all of the players have “nutted-up.” There has still been no word from the GCA concerning why the three GCA board members resigned. This is especially troubling since one of those who resigned was the Treasurer. What does Pam Little know, and when did she know it? Taking a page out of the Woodward and Bernstein book about Watergate someone needs to “Follow the money.” This is extremely difficult when the books remain closed, but occasionally something surfaces, like furniture on the ill-fated Titanic.
The Legendary Georgia Ironman went by the 2014 GCA Grade Levels. All he could talk about was the “Big urns of coffee, and sandwiches piled high, along with a mountain of salad and huge vat of pickles.” Tim continued, excitedly saying, “It must have cost $500…maybe $1000!” I thought the Ironman was exaggerating. The following expense report shows Tim was right on the mark.

GCA Grade Levels 2014 DRAFT (Nov 9, 2014)


Section # Players Entry Sub Total
Entry Fee 294 $25 $7,350
Volunteer Entry 25 $0 $0
Vendor sales (12%) ? $0
Total $7,350


Expense Amount
Lead volunteer & TD honorariums $0
Venue – Marriott Perimeter Center $3,252.38
Prize – Stipend awards* $1400.00
Security $0
Trophies (Crown) $1,031.44
Paypal Fee (294x$.85) $249.90
Volunteer Food & Supplies** (setup/b’fast/lunch/snacks/food for HS section in lieu of trophies) $829.77
Copies (signage, result slips) $54.33
Bulb rental $50.00
Insurance $0
USCF Rating Fee $189.50
Total $7,057.32

*hotel coffee was $195 (included in venue bill)

*Final count for stipends used will come later – max amt included in draft

Income – Expenses = ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬$7,350.00 – $7,057.32 = $292.68

The total coast of food and coffee is $1024.77. Keep in mind this was the tournament in which 170 children were, at one time, on a “waiting-list,” with many more not on the list because word got around the community there was no reason to add little Spud to the list. Also, the high school players did not turnout because they do not care for the quick time limit, so one room was mostly empty. Another 80 players could have filled that room. It boggles the mind that any organization would pay over 3 grand for an inadequate venue.
What jumps out at you is that the GCA had no security and no insurance. One would think that with no insurance the GCA would NEED security. There are those in our society who would point this out as a reason to come to the tournament well-armed.