d4 f5 2. c4 (Stockfish 250022 @depth 54 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 52 will play 2 Nf3. Then there is SF 14.1, the latest and greatest…until 14.2, or whatever name will be chosen for the next incarnation, appears, which will play 2 Bg5(!?) Could that be the reason GM Titas Stremavicius, one of todaze leading exponents of the Leningrad, err, strike that… The dude recently essayed e6 in lieu of d6… [https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/03/12/the-saint-louis-spring-classic-tournaments/] …has had to face 2 Bg5 in sixteen games in the past few years? (https://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?submit_search=1&eco=A80&bid=211209) 2…Nf6 (SF 14 shows 2…e6 at the ChessBaseDataBase. It has been the most often played move with 5037 games in the CBDB and it has scored 58% for white against a composite player rated 2409. The second most popular move has been 2…Nf6 and in 3786 games it has held a mythical white player rated 2410 to a 56% score. Earlier on this blog I advocated black playing the move d6 in response to the d4 + c4 moves when they are played in the Leningrad Dutch. In only 51 games white has scored 58% against players rated on average 2416) 3. g3 (SF 290112 @depth 50 plays this move, as does Houdini, but SF 14 @depth 35 will play 3 Nc3) 3…g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 ((There are 2026 games in which Black has played the game move and in those games it has scored 56%. In 181 games versus a composite player rated 2419 the move 4…d6 has held White to scoring only 53%. Just sayin’..) 5. Nf3 (Three different SF programs each play 5 Nc3) 5…d6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O c6 (SF 14.1 and 250112 each play this move, as does Komodo…) 8. d5 (The CBDB shows this move having been played more than any other move in this position. In addition, 365Chess also shows it as the most played move, but is it best? Stockfish 100221 @depth 47 will play 8 Qb3, a move having been attempted in 137 games, scoring 52% against 2444 opposition. SF 14 @depth 49 will play 8 Bg5. There are only 9 examples of the move contained in the CBDB and White has scored only 39% versus a composite player rated 2387. Then there is SF 14.1, which, given the chance, will play 8 Be3. There are only two examples in the CBDB) 8…Kh8 (This move is a Theoretical Novelty. 8 e5 has been the most often played move, by far, and it is the choice of SF 14 & Houdini) The game can be found in annotated form at various locations on the internet. I suggest the free website: (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-charlotte-chess-im-d-norm-invitational/round-4/96ZmD4uj)
Grandmaster Zapata recently won the Georgia Senior but no game scores can be found at the GCA website (http://georgiachess.org/), and that includes the “magazine”, and I use the word only because that is the name of the “Georgia Chess News,” (http://georgiachessnews.com/) which for many years has been nothing but a venue for book reviews by Davide Nastasio.
would call a “howler.” One of GM Zapata’s strengths has been his ability to play solid, consistent Chess while staying away from “howler” moves. The move was so bad I thought there had been some kind of transmission problem, as the move 25…Ne4 suggests itself as it moves the steed to the middle of the board. 25…Na4 proves the axiom, “A knight on the rim is grim.” Indeed, the knight placed on a4 sure ’nuff looked grim, and dim.
I came to Facebook rather late in life and there were reasons for so doing. One of the reasons was to learn how the life of the love of my life developed after we parted. Initially I thought the book of faces was a good thing as I was in contact with many people involved with Chess from all over the world. People post pictures and write about their life and in some cases one feels as if he knows them better than when only knowing them from the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center or email. One example of this would be Professor Mark Taylor,
the best editor of the Georgia Chess News magazine during the half century of my involvement in Georgia Chess.
Because of the book of faces I was able to communicate with Grandmaster Danny Gormally in England
about his book, one of the most honest Chess books ever written,
and GM Keith Arkell, another Brit.
We had a lengthy discussion concerning the rising price of older Chess books. I was able to see the bread Helen Milligan
has baked in New Zealand. I saw many pictures of the publisher of Elk & Ruby, Ilan Rubin, in Moscow,
the man responsible for many of the books reviewed on this blog. I could go on and on…
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the book of faces. I have recently been in touch with a gentleman I have only seen once, that at the twenty year reunion of my high school class of 1968. After mentioning Facebook Richard cut me off, saying, “I don’t do social media, especially Facebook, because it is only dividing America.” That particular conversation started the questioning of my decision to join the book of faces…
Then there were the negative posts appearing on my screen, many filled with vitriol. Some posts spewed venom like a snake. One such screed was by a fellow who was a regular at the House of Pain, Richard Staples. There were a few obviously strident right-wingers among the players at the ACC, and Richard was one of them. Fortunately, he was smart enough, unlike some others, to take care when and where he spewed his wrong-wing vitriol. Richard is a big and tall fellow and he was the only player who wore a knife, kept in a holster on his belt, while at the House of Pain. There was another fellow at the Center who carried a knife but no one knew because it was kept in an ankle holster. That person would be this writer. The House was not located in the best of areas and there were numerous vehicles broken into during the two decades the House was rockin’. Mr. Staples posted some ill chosen negative words about a certain segment of our society. I was so new to the book of faces that I did not know how to “unfriend” someone. After contacting my friend Mike Mulford he gave me the skinny on Facebook etiquette, or maybe ‘lack thereof’ would be more appropriate, infroming me he had previously “unfriended” Richard. I immediately “unfriended” the first of what would become “many” of what I thought of as “Forkbookers”.
I had met a gentleman, Davide Nastasio,
at the 2019 Castle Chess Grand Prix tournament at Emory University, the last Chess tournament in which Senior Master Brian McCarthy played, who is the editor of the online Georgia Chess Magazine, which is basically a place where books are reviewed. There was a pleasant conversation near the area where Thad Rogers was selling books. Davide was extremely knowledgeable about Chess books and the conversation is fondly recalled. After being appalled at some of what was directed at me on the book of faces, I eradicated him, too.
Then there was Rick Rothenberg, a gentleman befriended while living in Louisville, Kentucky. Rick was a few years younger than am I and a weak Chess player, but he was interesting enough that we would get together for lunch, and sometimes breakfast, in different parts of the city. He once asked me to go with him to Indiana, which was right over the Kentucky state line, and he showed me the house in which he had raised a family until being divorced. Another time I rode with Rick for a day trip to the US Open Chess tournament in Indianapolis. When I noticed his name on the book of faces I immediately clicked on the friend request and the next time I went to Facebook there were posts by Mr. Rothenberg. Unfortunately, what he had put on Facebook shocked and appalled me to such an extent I immediately unfriended him after sending a note which read, “If I had known you were splattering this kind of excrement all over Facebook I would not have become your friend.” I have, fortunately, forgotten most of what was read that day, but I do vividly recall that in response to something Rick had written about the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris,
some woman had used the pejorative, “Ho.” I had seen, and read, enough. Rick was eradicated.
I have surfed to the book of faces for the last time. Facebook is not the solution; it is the problem. Since Facebook owns YouTube I will no longer put anything having to do with the Tube of You on this blog. In my world Facebook has been eradicated. I have chosen this path because:
While living in Greenville, SC, the octogenarian, LM Klaus Pohl, said something that stuck with me. When asked what he thought of the new Chess Center in Charlotte Klaus said he did not like to play there because the young players offer too many draws. Upon further questioning Klaus said that with scholarships so important the young players were “afraid to lose,” so therefore made far too many draw offers. From the time I began playing in USCF tournaments rating has been King. This was, though, the first time I had heard anything concerning what the rating points could possibly mean toward earning a scholarship. Another player listening to the conversation said, “Everyone knows rating points are being bought and sold like it’s an open market.” My reply, “I did not know that,” elicited this response, “Ah, come on man. You worked at the Atlanta Chess Center. Surely you were aware of that kind of thing taking place.” With a blank look on my face I replied, “Not really.” I am not saying it did not happen, just that I was completely unaware of it if it did, in fact, happen while I was employed at the House of Pain.
There were rumors going around before I returned to Atlanta. I will not print rumors. I did, though, reach out to several people involved with Chess in Georgia, writing, “If you would like to comment on any of this, let me inform you that I may use anything you say, or write, UNLESS YOU WANT IT KEPT PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL!”
candidate for the position of OFFICE OF 1ST VICE PRESIDENT writes: “I am running for 1st Vice President of GCA. I previously served on the GCA Board in this position, but I resigned from the board because, in my opinion, the board had become dysfunctional. Several months ago several GCA Board members encouraged me to run for the position again. I agreed to do so only after Scott Parker also agreed to run for President of GCA. My hope is that the next board will place personal feelings and animosity aside and work for chess instead of for their own interests/pet projects or a narrow constituency.”
The fact that Colonel David Hater felt he had to resign from the GCA Board speaks loudly. The fact that David, a man I admire and respect, felt compelled to write, “…the board had become dysfunctional,” screams out in pain. Nevertheless, David did not respond to my entreaty.
One of the board members did say, in an off hand comment at the Ironman Chess Club, they were “fed up” with all the “screaming and shouting” at the meeting of the GCA board. Although no names were mentioned the fact is that it is now, and has been for some time, an open secret that Thad Rogers was not happy when Parnell Watkins used his affiliate, American Chess Promotions to rate some of the events listed below. The thing is that Thad Rogers
and Parnell Watkins
were earlier listed as running for the same office, that of 1st member at large. The only one leaving a statement at a page mentioned earlier was L. Thad Rogers, the man who became POTGCA again after the previous president, Fun E. Fong, abdicated, leaving Chess behind like it was the plague. From reports it is obvious Chess in my home state of Georgia has quickly devolved under the caretaker leadership of Thad Rogers.
The Georgia State Chess Championship begins tonight and there will be an election Sunday. Chess players, and members of the GCA, can only hope responsible leaders, such as Scott Parker
and David Hater, gain a seat on the board.
Alan Piper was known as “The Pipe” at the House of Pain. As one of Alan’s victims eased down the stairs those below watched as someone said, “It looks like he got hit by the Pipe,” while others nodded in agreement. One wag said, “Sometimes you hit the Pipe. Sometimes the Pipe hits you.” Alan once won a state championship (I want to say Missouri, but could be wrong) when younger and was a NM. Although uncertain about Alan’s age, the fact is he has been eligible for the Senior tournaments for many years and must be seventy, or older.
The following results for the past 12 months was taken from the USCF website:
10487030: ALAN G PIPER
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03
The Pipe has obviously played an inordinate amount of games with two players. The number of losses to the two much younger players is simply staggering. Usually when one is drubbed in a match there are no further matches. One of the members of the GCA board, a very nice woman, Anna Baumstark, told me it was all “public record on the USCF website.” I decided to take the time to check it out…You, too, can check it out here: http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?14114923
On September 12, 2015. Alan Piper played in the INVITATIONAL QUAD #10 (GA), directed by Grant Oen. The Sponsoring Affiliate was SOUTHEAST CHESS.
Alan would not play again until August 13, 2016 when he participated in the CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT, directed by JOSEPH COUVILLION, with CHESS BUG ATLANTA, being the affiliate. SHANMUKHA MERUGA was clear first with 3-0. KAPISH POTULA finished clear second with a 2-1 score, the loss was to Meruga. Alan Piper won a game from a class C player, and lost two other games, one with a class B player, the other to Kapish Potula.
Let us go back to the tournament prior to the Quad, August 8, 2015, the LOGANVILLE SUMMER QUAD, directed by Grant Oen, with the affilate being Southeast Chess. The Pipe won all three games; gained 29 rating points which raised his rating to 2079. He beat Shanmukha Meruga, rated 2054, in the first round, then two class A players, Vedic Panda and Davide Nastasio.
After playing in the aforementioned CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT Alan did not play again until January 22, 2018 when he played a match with Shanmukha Meruga. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and the affiliate was Gwinnett Chess. The time control was G/30;d5. Meruga won all four games, gaining fourteen points to end with a rating of 2056. The Pipe lost twenty points dropping to 2019.
After a couple of blitz quads on July 13 the next match with Meruga took place the next day, July 14. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, using the affiliate of the acting President of the GCA, L. Thad Rogers, AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS. It was a real old fashioned, “speed,” time control of five minutes only for the games. Meruga won all ten games.
Three days later another match was contested between the same two players, named, PIPER MERUGA MATCH 2. The time control was, G/25;d5. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and it was rated using the affiliate of GWINNETT CHESS. Meruga won all five games.
Two days later, July 19, 2018 there was yet another tournament contested once again by the young whippersnapper and the old leaky Pipe. Once again it was directed by J PARNELL WATKINS JR and the sponsoring affiliate was again GWINNETT CHESS, and once again Meruga won all ten games played at a “speed” TC of five minutes for the entire game.
Three days later there was the NASTASIO-PIPER MATCH, which was held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, the seventh largest city in the great state of Georgia. The chief TD was BENJAMIN P FINEGOLD,
Meruga/Finegold in front of the Atlanta Chess and Scholastic Club of Atlanta located in Roswell, Ga.
assisted by KAREN BOYD.
Karen Boyd and Ben Finegold
The time control was G/60;+10. The three game match was drawn. In addition there was another match played that day between the same two players. The TC was G/4;+2, and Piper won 8-2.
A few weeks later, 9/8/18, Piper and Meruga were back at it, contesting not one, but two, more matches. J PARNELL WATKINS JR was again the TD and AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS was the affiliate used to rate the matches. No one will be surprised to learn Meruga won the G/5 “speed” match 9-1. What is surprising is that Piper actually won a game…Three games were also contested at a TC of G/30;d10. Guess who won all three games? Yeah, Meruga.
The very next day, 9/9/2018, the two intrepid players were back at it. Once again J PARNELL WATKINS JR was the TD, but the affiliate used was now GWINNETT CHESS. The speed match, with only five minutes per game, was convincingly won by Meruga by a score of 20-0. That is ZERO, ZIP, NADA!
It will come as little surprise by now that Meruga also won the G/30;d10 match by a score of 4-0.
The very next day yet another match was contested between the same two players, again with the same TD and affiliate. The time control was G/30;d10 and Meruga won all six games.
Have you gotten a whiff of some sort of fishy smell yet?
A few days later the Pipe was back at it, but with a different opponent, Kapish Potula. The TD and affiliate was the same, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. The time control was G/25;d5. Kapish Potula won all four games and increased his rating from 2136 to 2159.
One week later, on 9/28/18 the two players with the same TD and affiliate did it again. And again Potula won all four G/25;d5 to raise his rating from 2159 to 2179.
On October 6, 2018 the Pipe had a new opponent, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI, rated 1964. A six game match at a time control of G/35;d5 was contested and…the match was drawn! J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS was at it again.
On October 13, 2018 there was another six game, G/25;d5 match with Kapish Potula, and again it was J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. Hold on to something as I inform you that Alan G Piper actually won, and drew, two of the games played, while losing the other four.
The thing is that on that very same day, October 13, 2018, the Pipe also played another match with someone else, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI. It was another G/25;d5 with all the usual suspects present, meaning Parnell and Gwinnett Chess. The match was drawn, 2-2.
Then we come to November 19, 2018, the 2018 MERUGA PIPER “dual.” It appears as though that between 2018-11-17 thru 2018-11-19 a NINETEEN GAME MATCH at a TC of G/25;d5 was contested by the usual suspects, Meruga and Piper. The aforementioned player, Meruga won all nineteen games…J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were again the usual suspects.
But wait, there’s MORE! On November 27 the same two players contested yet another G/25;d5 “dual,” which Meruga won 12-0. Again, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were the responsible parties.
On December 7, a day which will live in infamy, 2018, another G/25;d5 match took place between Alan G. Piper and Kapish Potula. It was won by Potula, 5-0. J PARNELL WATKINS JR directed and GWINNETT CHESS sent it in to be rated.
After a couple more tournaments in December and a last one on January 26, the CCSCATL WINTER BLITZ CHAMPIONS, the record shows no more games, or matches, for the Pipe.
As a result of all these games, and others, Meruga became a 2300 rated player. Kapish Potula is currently rated 2187, knocking on the National Master door.
It is 7 rounds, starting Friday and Saturday options and ended Sunday. Open large group pairing. We have at least 6 players from NC! Watch them playing live! We may have 10+ live games, most from PC Tablets. Anyone wants to join? registration still open onsite before the tournament starts.
After firing off an email to the Legendary Georgia Ironman, I checked the website of the GCA (http://www.georgiachess.org/), since the tournament is being held in Georgia, but did not find anything about a live broadcast, so I surfed on over to the other, newer, GCA website, Georgia Chess News (http://georgiachessnews.com/), and again, found absolutely nothing concerning a live broadcast. I find this strange, indeed, and am flummoxed by the lack of any mention of the Chess Stream broadcast. What is the purpose of a broadcast if no one is aware the games are being shown?
In the event any reader wishes to check out the broadcast here are the round times:
Rounds: 3 day: Friday – 7:00pm, 9:00pm. Saturday – 1:00pm, 4:30pm, 8:30pm. Sunday – 9:00am, 1:00pm. 2-day: Saturday: 8:30am, 10:30am, then merges with 3-day.
Keep in mind the the time control varies considerably:
Rounds 1-2 are G-45, rounds 3-5 are G-90, and rounds 6-7 are G-120. (http://www.georgiachess.org/event-1755372)
The website shows there are 81 advance entries, most of whom are quite young. I do see that former Ga Champion, NM Damir Studen, is in the field, as is IM Ronald Burnett, who did battle at the $,$$$,$$$ Open, leaving Lost Wages with $20,000 after losing the last hurry-up match to FM Kazim Gulamali.
Being pawed in the eye by Copper the dog left me with much time to cogitate, what with my eye being swollen shut. The day before I had read an article in the August issue of Chess Life, “Excutive Director’s Report,” which is by the new woman chosen to lead the USCF, Jean Hoffman, the first woman to hold the position (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Executive+Directors+of+the+United+States+Chess+Federation). I learned the USCF mission has become, “Empowering people through chess one move at a time.” I wondered what that meant, exactly.
According to the Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/empower), the definition of “empower” is:
1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority.
2. To equip or supply with an ability; enable: “Computers … empower students to become intellectual explorers” (Edward B. Fiske).
Jean writes, “As a result of this process, we crafted a new mission, complemented it with our first-ever vision statement and also developed long-term organizational goals that align with our status as a 501(c) charitable organization.”
The USCF mission statement sounds like one of those Orwellian “newspeak” things along the lines of the “Clear Skys Initiative,” promulgated by the Bushwhackers, which brought massive pollution raining down upon We The People by the Bushwhacker admistration. What happened to “Chess is a lifetime sport?”
The first-ever USCF “vision statement” is, “Our vision is to enrich the lives of all persons and communities through increasing the play, study, and appreciation of the game of chess.” How is it possible USCF made it through eighteen male Executive Director’s without a “vision statement?
Chess is not for all people. USCF statistics show the vast majority of children who learn chess reject it at, or before, puberty. Why is that? A generation after moving toward scholastic chess USCF is still “studying the question.” If the USCF has a clue, it has yet to be divulged to the membership.
The new female Executive Director comes from what is now referred to as “the scholastic part of chess.” With Ruth Haring the President of the USCF board the top two leadership positions are held by women. Here in the Great State of Georgia three of the five remaining board members are women, who do not play chess. Women like change. I cannot count the times I have heard someone say after a break-up between a man and a woman, “She thought she could change him.” The proliferation of women in the game of chess has changed things drastically. This is not your father’s chess, Bunky.
A good illustration would be an article published today on the Georgia Chess News website, “Women’s Open 2014 Results” By Laura Doman. (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/09/29/womens-open-2014-results/)
“Pink carnations were laid beside each board position. Beautiful flowers in vases graced the tournament directors’ informatics table. Yes, this was the site for the annual Georgia Women’s Open tournament, which hosted sixteen women and girls on Saturday, September 20 at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria Hotel.”
“Pink carnations” and “Beautiful flowers”? Laura Doman is a lovely woman, and I am sure she means well, but this is the kind of thing women have done, and are doing, that is off-putting to male chess players. What could be worse than to spend time getting psyched-up for the coming battle, getting prepared, as it were, to pull your sword, and arrive at the field of battle with “Pink carnations” and “Beautiful flowers” gracing the battlefield? This reminds me of an episode of the TV show, “Northern Exposure.” Holling Vincoeur, played by John Cullum, married a much younger woman, Shelly Marie Tambo, played by Cynthia Geary. Shelly began to “make changes.” Next thing you know Holling is forced to visit the Dr. Joel Fleischman, played by Rob Morrow. For the first time in his life Holling has become constipated. Dr. Fleischman cannot understand it and fails to find a reason, until it comes out that Holling had given Shelly permission to make changes in the bedroom. She had turned his rustic, log cabin in Alaska into a “pink” room with “flowers.” It was obviously more than Holling’s system could take, and he became all stressed out and “jammed-up.” I had the same kind of feeling after reading Laura Doman’s report.
This kind of thing proliferates. For example, see “Yamie Chess simul with Jennifer Shahade” on the Chessbase website (http://en.chessbase.com/post/yamie-chess-simul-with-jennifer-shahade). What is Yamie Chess? “Manufactured in the Michigan, USA, and designed for 5 to 12 year olds, the Yamie Chess® learning aid series focuses on nurturing children’s cognitive thinking and intellectual potential for mathematics, and is aligned to support the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Curriculum Focal Points in algebra, geometry, data analysis, measurement and number logic.” If you are still uncertain about what, exactly, Yamie Chess is, it will help you to know that “Under the pieces the cartoon characters can be seen.”
I just finished reading the new article on Chessbase,
“Explaining male predominance in chess” by Robert Howard
(http://en.chessbase.com/post/explaining-male-predominance-in-chess). Judging from the few comments posted Mr. Howard has started a firestorm. He writes, “If the male predominance in chess was due just to social factors it should have greatly lessened or disappeared by now.” He concludes with, “This conclusion is unpalatable to many but it is best to acknowledge how the world actually is.”
Ruth Haring is the President of the USCF. She sent me this email Sat, May 24, 2014:
Hi again. I do have strong opinions, but the reason I do not blog is that I am too busy to keep up.
What do you suggest ? I could write something.
I view it as a statistical problem. When we get 50% women tournament players we can expect parity. I am working to encourage more women to play so as to increase the numbers, and thereby representation at the highest levels. If you take a random 4% of a population, you might find women tournament players outperform that random group.
Robert Howard simply refutes Ruth Haring. Actually, what he does is blow her thinking out of the water!
I lived with two sisters and a mother and from that experience I learned there is a difference between the sexes. All I have written is that there is a difference between males and females. I have always thought it a wonderful thing. I cannot imagine what kind of place this would be if we were all the same.
The world of chess has changed because of the influx of girls. Because of the vast number of children there are more women involved with chess because of what is now called the “Chess Mom.” When I write something like this there are those who mistakenly think I am negative when it comes to female participation in chess, when all I am doing is pointing out a fact. Women bring something different to the table. I am not making any value judgement, just stating a fact. I have no idea whether or not it is a good, or bad, thing. I urge you to read the article on Georgia Chess News, “From the New GCA Director of Communications” by Laura Doman, the new board member (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/06/01/from-the-new-gca-director-of-communications/). This more than anything I can write illustrates what a woman brings to the chess world. Make no mistake, I mean this in a positive way. Women bring a social aspect to chess that men lack. I saw this when I played backgammon, where the percentage of women was exponentially larger than in chess. Yet the fact is that the women were not as strong as men. For example, the two strongest female players in Atlanta were Kathy and Debbie. They both won a fair number of Monday night tournaments. The matches were only seven points and the duration of the tournament was only three or four hours. But when it came to the two or three day weekend events, and longer matches, neither of them ever did well. I played in the World Amateur Backgammon Championship in Las Vegas twice, and female players never fared well. Granted, this is anecdotal evidence, but it is all I have to give.
When men are in a room with other men and a woman enters the dynamic is changed. When I first began playing chess the Atlanta chess club met at the downtown YMCA on Lucky street. One night two women entered. They were the first women I had ever seen at the club. They were treated rudely and left. I left my game and went outside to apologize even though I had not been involved. One was terribly upset, but the other smiled and thanked me. We played later, but not chess! That was the last time I saw a woman at the ACC. Years later a girl, Alison Bert, began playing chess. I gave her a few lessons, not for money, as is the case today, but because I liked her and wanted to help her. I must have done a good job because Alison beat me in a USCF rated game.
When it comes to women being involved in anything, I always think of something I read about the advantage Western civilization has over those of the Muslim faith because the latter suppress women. They do not allow women to bring anything to the table, and are therefore missing half of their being. Even if it is true that women are not, and may never be, as good at playing a game, it does not mean that what they bring to the board is not just as valuable as what a man brings. Not to mention the fact that they look so much better bringing it to the table!
The big news with chess in the Great State of Georgia (do not think for a moment this means Georgia is perfect; how can it be with a Governor named “Nathan” but called “Raw” Deal by We The People?! The few times I have thought of the man has brought memories of The ambassadors of Western Swing, Asleep at the Wheel http://asleepatthewheel.com/) ) has been the unveiling of the new website, “Georgia Chess News” (http://georgiachessnews.com/). It is to replace the “award winning” Georgia Chess magazine, formerly a print magazine, if one can call a pamphlet, as were the last few issues according to several sources who scorned the thing. I missed the issues circling the drain, fortunately. “You have not missed a thing,” I heard from some who perused them. It has just appeared and new articles have been slow in coming , as acknowledged by one of the GCA board members, Frank Johnson. Frank said he is hopeful more content will be forthcoming, and in a more timely fashion. Good luck with that! The State Championship was held three weeks ago and I was recently asked about when the wrap-up may appear, though I know not why I would be asked such a question.
There was an election during the business meeting at the recent State Championship, held in a tent type structure at a hotel. Long time board member Steve Schneider, on and off the board for decades, did not even make an appearance and was defeated by the lovely chess mom, Laura Doman. Both her son, Josh, and daughter, Rachel play tournament chess. A picture of Rachel graces the home page of the Georgia Chess Association (http://www.georgiachess.org/). Laura is the 1st Member-at-large and the third woman now on the board of the GCA, none of whom are shown rated on the USCF website. In addition, Tricia Hill is shown on the website as the Online Editor. Georgia chess has never looked so good! If you wish to condemn me for being sexist, go ahead and do so because I stand guilty as charged! For years I have written about the changes taking place in chess. Chess is not changing; it has changed. After dealing with an all male board, none of whom could have been mistaken for Robert Redford, or any other “hunk” you can name, even the most die-hard cynic would have to agree the board is looking better. For an example of what I mean, click on this link and take a look at a picture I call, “Beauties and the Beast” (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/05/01/tournament-director-td-training-sessions/). The beauties are obvious. The beast is the Vice President of the GCA, Ben Johnson, who was unopposed in the election. I hung the moniker “beast” on him when his rating reached “666.” Unfortunately, his chess strength has yet to match his rating. The first time I met the man, at a chess gathering at a Barnes & Noble in Smyrna some years back, he, not knowing me from Adam, tried to argue over what constituted stalemate. How ironic this man is now pictured in an article entitled, “Tournament Director Training Sessions.” Ben also told me that evening, “I am in chess only for the money.”
These are some of the things that have so changed chess. When I first began playing rated chess back in 1970 there were few, if any, women involved with the game. Scholastic chess has changed that fact in a dramatic way. As for the men, it would have been unheard of for any man with a triple digit rating to even consider running for an elective chess office. Back then, as now among we grizzled veterans, a triple digit player had absolutely no credibility whatsoever. The men who administered chess were wily ol’ veterans who had been involved with the game of chess most, if not all, of their lives. Now members with a lowly triple-digit rating sit on the USCF board.
Most of the people involved with chess know little, if anything, about Twentieth-century chess. It is the job of we 20th century people to remind those coming behind us of those daze. After all, we “boomers” were going to change the world, or so sang Alvin Lee and Ten Years After (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJE5tvWiIQk). Then old snuck up on us and we came to the realization that The Who had it right when they sang, “Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss,” in the song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYMD_W_r3Fg).
My first road trip was with the strong Master Branko Vujakovic, an exchange student from Yugoslavia. We traveled to some city in eastern Georgia (memory fails) directed by an old codger named Robert Brand. In the first round he paired the highest rated player, Branko, with the second highest rated; number three with number four, etc. When some of the players objected, Mr. Brand said, “This is MY TOURNAMENT and I will pair it the way I want!” That was the end of the discussion and everyone took their seat. With that kind of memory, it is difficult for me to criticize the “next generation” too harshly. Maybe things were not better “back in the day.” It is possible that, like Carly Simon sang in her song, “Anticipation,” these are the good old days (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67oN0YQVgdo&list=RD67oN0YQVgdo#t=1).
Gotta take a nap to get ready for the Thursday Night Throwdown at the North Dekalb Mall. The Legendary Georgia Ironman just came in informing me the room is cool with white paint on the walls, which bodes well for not only the TNT, but for the Atlanta Chess Championship starting tomorrow, Friday, night in the same room! Has it really been 38 years since I won the ACC? It seems like yesterday…
Here is a game played by Branko prior to coming to America. This is the last game of the four played and, granted, Karpov had won the first three. Still, how many players can say they drew with a future World Champion? Another thing to note about this game is that neither of the two countries who face off in this match now exist.
Branko Vujakovic v Anotoly Karpov
USSR v Yugoslavia Match 1968 game 4
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.0–0 Be7 7.e5 Ne4 8.Nxd4 0–0 9.Nf5 d5 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Nxe7+ Qxe7 12.Re1 Bf5 13.f3 Nc5 14.b3 Ne6 15.Ba3 c5 16.Nc3 c6 17.Qd2 Rfd8 18.Na4 Qa7 19.Qf2 c4 20.Nc5 Bxc2 21.Rac1 cxb3 22.axb3 Bg6 23.h3 Rab8 24.Rc3 1/2-1/2
I played a USCF rated game several weeks ago for the first time since the latter part of December 2012 when I played in the very first Thursday Throwdown. I played only one game, that being in the first round as a “filler.” My opponent was a young girl and although I “held the advantage” according to the Legendary Georgia Ironman, it was on the board and not on the clock. With difficulty I managed to draw. I may play again this coming Thursday night, if needed. The turnout has dwindled to the point of the possibility of this being the last Throwdown. I decided to offer my services because I well remember the painful look on the face of the players who had received a bye by being the odd man out while working at the House of Pain. The Ironman sprung for a three month membership in order for me to become the “houseman.” At my age there are worse things to be, I suppose…I opened the mail yesterday to find an envelope from the USCF in which was enclosed a nice plastic card, like a Barnes & Noble membership card, in which it is written, “W Michael Bacon is a member in good standing with the US Chess Federation.”
I made it to the “Chess Mess” for the meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, held at one of the most venerated bars in Atlanta, Manuel’s Tavern. When one of the officers of the GCA, Frank Johnson, came in he grinned, saying, “The infamous Mike Bacon!” Startled, I responded, “You could have said that to a mirror, Frank!” Good-natured laughter ensued. Then Frank said, “I meant because of the Armchair Warrior blog, which, by the way, I follow, and it is sent directly into my email inbox as soon as it is published.” I made a mental note to move Frank up in my book…Frank played in the World Amateur in Singapore recently, scoring seven points according to the FIDE website. He mentioned beating the player who finished first, the only blemish on his score. I had arrived early, hoping to be able to talk with Frank, while delivering flyers for the Ironman and his “Throwdown.” Former Georgia Senior Champ Mark Couvillion came early to set up the boards and I was able to talk with him while having my first beer in who knows when. It turned out to be a mistake as I had to leave early before playing even one game. Frank mentioned something about my not playing any chess, only writing about the game, and, although I felt bad about having to leave, the fact is I had eaten a rather large meal at one of my favorite places, “Eats.” It habitually wins an award in the category of “best cheap eats” in Atlanta. Besides, I had been on the go all day and missed my nap. At least that is my excuse, and I am sticking with it…
Earlier that day I had played a game of chess at a Barnes & Noble. I was minding my business, reading the Science section of the Tuesday NY Times and drinking my drink of choice, coffee, before breaking out the set and new copy of Chess Monthly. Before I could get the pieces set up, two young boys who had been sitting with their father, quietly reading, rushed up. “You gonna play chess?!” they asked excitedly. They looked crushed when I told them I had planned on maybe playing over a game or two from the magazine. Their father walked over smiling and we talked briefly before he took them back to the table. I learned they were home schooled and had played in the recent scholastic tournament at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta, and that they are named “Bomar.”
I could not get into the magazine, thinking about how thrilled they had been, so I walked over and told the father I would be happy to play the boys after using the mens room and purchasing a refill. “Play ME!” said the youngest. “No. PLAY ME!” yelled the eldest. I offered to let them battle it out for the right to play, but the father said they would only be there about another half hour. “Besides,” he said, they have already played today.” I asked who won and learned the game had been drawn. “Who had Black?” I asked. The older one said his brother played Black. “Then he was the winner because it is more difficult to win with or draw with the black pieces.” The younger Bomar vehemently agreed with that! Fortunately the father determined I would play the oldest because the youngest one is the most aggressive. The young boy then went into a rap about how aggressive is his chess, but piped down when his father said he meant that the young one was the most aggressive when it came to getting older players to play.
The young fellow pushed hi d-pawn forward two squares while continuing to talk about how they had studied all the openings and he was ready for anything, until I played f5, when he said, “Except the Dutch.” Nevertheless, he played a fine opening, castling on the queenside, while I castled on the opposite side. It was looking like a game in which both sides would attack on opposite sides, which he did prematurely, losing first a pawn, then allowing me to take his bishop, forking his King & Queen, bringing down the house. We discussed the game and when he mentioned something about “Attacking in the direction your pawns are pointing,” I asked who was teaching him. He responded it was his father, so I asked him, learning he is not a chess player, but had read some chess books so as to be able to teach his sons. I also learned they have a house in the Glorious Mountains of Western North Carolina and have been to the Rocky Mountain Chess Club, “held in a bookstore.” He was shocked to learn I have been to the gathering of the Dixie Chess Confederacy at the Blue Ridge Book Store on Thursday afternoons, and knew all of the players he mentioned, and one I mentioned, my friend Bruce Goodwin. It is truly a small chess world.
I have been following the Chicago Open online the past few days. In particular the games of the Frisco Kid. That would be NM Richard Francisco, a “product” of the scholastic movement in Georgia of the past decades. Richard is a personable gentlemen whom I admire greatly, and I always follow his progress in any tournament. I would like to share a couple of games he has played while carrying the colors of our Great State while in the land of the North. First I would like to mention a game annotated by the Frisco Kid on the new Georgia Chess News, an online magazine. The game is, Francisco, R – Baghwat, N USATS (Round 2), and can be found here: (http://georgiachessnews.com/category/topboard/games/).
Francisco, Richard (2263) – Kovalyov, Anton (2636)
23rd Chicago Open Wheeling, IL (1.2), 2014.05.22