The Future of Chess

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

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

RIP: Canadian Open Championship (1956-2014)

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

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

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

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

“Good evening,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.”

Grant

SOUTHEAST CHESS DECEMBER OPEN

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

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

GM Alsonso Zapata vs IM Emory Tate
SOUTHEAST CHESS DECEMBER OPEN
Rd 2

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

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

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

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

Expert Lawrence White vs IM Ronald Burnett

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

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

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

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

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

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

IM Tate vs IM Burnett
Final Round

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

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

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

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

Apology to Thad Rogers

In my post dated November 28, 2014, I mistakenly wrote that Grant Oen is the, “owner of the Atlanta Kings.” I took this from the Southeast Chess website (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html). Grant is the “Manager” of the Atlanta Kings. The impresario, L. Thad Rogers is the owner. My apologies to Thad. No slight was intended. I made a regretful mistake. Thad has tried for quite some time to bring a USCL team to Atlanta before succeeding.
For all of his foibles Thad has done much good for chess, not only in Georgia, but in the Southeast as well. In addition, I know Thad has helped many players throughout the years, and he has done it because he has a generous heart. One example will suffice to illustrate. Decades ago I was on a MARTA train heading to visit one of Thad’s tournaments when I encountered another chess player, called “Smokin’ Gun.” I nodded, Smokin’ Gun shot back a big grin and moved toward me. Upon mentioning I was headed to one of Thad’s tournaments and he asked, “You playing?”
“No, Smokin’ Gun, I said, I’m just going to visit. Why don’t you come with me?” He shook his head and said, “I can’t. I own Thad money.”
“What do you mean? Everyone has owed Thad money at one time or another. Come on by later if you can…Don’t dodge him…Tell him you haven’t forgotten about him, but circumstances are such that you can’t pay him back now, and he will be glad to see you..”
Hours later as I was about to leave, there was Smokin’ Gun, talking with Thad. On my way out the Gun grinned, saying, “It played out just like you said, man.”
Atlanta hosted the 1980 US Open because of Thad. When the Nashville Strangler hit it big at the World Open by winning the expert section, he made a point in the interview published in Chess Life to thank Thad for organizing all the tournaments in which he had played. FM Jerry Wheeler, along with LM Brian McCarthy, played so often some thought they lived in Atlanta. The same could be said for the “Little Hayseed,” Tom Waymouth, who took first in a “B” section of the World Open. Then there is Spencer Bledsoe, one of the Legendary Georgia Ironman’s students, who cut his teeth at the House of Pain before tying for first in an “A” section at the World Open. Spencer is best known for his part in the Survivor TV show. (http://survivor.wikia.com/wiki/Spencer_Bledsoe)
To top it off, FM Kazim Gulamali just played a match with IM Ron Burnett for the under 2500 money at the Millionaire Open. Ron, like the aforementioned Tennessee players, has played in as many of Thad’s tournaments as any Atlanta player. Kazim literally grew-up at the House. Together they brought $60,000 back South from Lost Wages!
Did I mentioned the time a former GCA President bankrupted the organization? Thad stepped in using his own money to keep the GCA solvent. I could go on and on, but why? Like everyone you know, or will ever know, Thad has entries on both the positive and negative side of the ledger, but he is one of the fortunate ones in which the positive outweighs the negative.
I know all of the above mentioned players, and the Legendary Ironman, will join me in saying, “Thank you, Thad, for all you have done for the Royal game.”

The Southeast Chess December Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grant Oen
Southeast Chess

Southeastern FIDE Championship on Livestream

Chacha Nugroho sends this report on the Southeastern FIDE Championship, which will be held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy (http://www.charlottechesscenter.org/). The first round is Friday, October 31, 2014; 7:30PM. The website (http://www.charlottechesscenter.org/#!southeast-fide-championship/cxan) shows 31 players on the Pre-Registered List, heading by GM Ben Finegold. IM’s Ronald Burnett and Kassa Korley have entered, along with FM’s William Fisher, the number two seed, and Peter Bereolos. Georgia players include Benjamin Moon; Reece Thompson; Grant Oen; Kapish Potula; Arthur Guo; & Carter Peatman.

Hi Michael,

Just want to give you information that Peter Giannatos will broadcast games from Southeastern FIDE Championship.

http://www.charlottechesscenter.org/#!southeast-fide-championship/cxan

And in ChessStream.com as well. He as at least 1 DGT board, but we trying to provide 3 DGT boards for 3 live games. I probably will ask Peter to have scan of scoresheets during the tournament, so crowd may help to convert to PGN as well, like in US Masters.

regards

Chacha

Joe Cocker – Watching The River Flow (LIVE in Berlin) HD

Ga Open Final Round, Board Two: Meruga vs Studen

After Reece Thompson dispatched Maxwell Feng in the last round all eyes turned to the battles taking place on the first two boards. Reece was the leader in the clubhouse with six points. On board two both Shanmukha Meruga and Damir Studen had five points. On the first board Alan Piper had five points, with IM Ron Burnett the lone player with five and a half points.

I have known Damir since he first came to the House of Pain. He had that “look.” Most chess players will know what I mean by the “look.” Call it “desire” or “will to win,” or whatever you would like to call it. Damir’s eyes burned with a fierce intensity; likewise Shanmukha Meruga. His will to win was so intense that the boy had a problem accepting defeat. It was no surprise for me to see Mr. Meruga playing on second board in the last round of the Georgia Open.

Damir had drawn with Grant Oen in round four and IM Burnett in round six.

Damir Studen (2373) vs Grant Oen (2072)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. a3 Bxd2 6. Qxd2 d6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. e4 e5 9. d5 a5 10. Rb1 a4 11. Qc2 Nbd7 12. Bd3 Nc5 13. O-O Nh5 14. Ne2 f5 15. Nd2 f4 16. f3 Rf6 17. Rf2 Rh6 18. Nf1 g5 19. h3 Ng7 20. Nc1 Bd7 21. Be2 Rg6 1/2-1/2

Damir Studen (2373) vs IM Ron Burnett (2467)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. h3 O-O 7. Be2 a6 8. c5 Nfd7 9. Na4 e5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nd4 Ned7 12. O-O b5 13. cxb6 Nxb6 14. Nc5 N6d7 15. Qc2 Nxc5 16. Qxc5 Bb7 17. Nb3 Nd7 18. Qb4 Rb8 19. Nc5 Qe7 20. Nxa6 c5 21. Qb5 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Bxb2 23. Bxb2 Rxb2 1/2-1/2

Meruga had earlier beaten lower rated opposition and drawn with class “A” player Jhonel Baniel in round three, and Expert Kevis Tsao in round five.

Kevis Tsao (2082) vs Shanmukha Meruga (1888)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be6 7. Nd4 Qd7 8. Nxe6 fxe6 9. Bd3 Nc6 10. Qh5 Qf7 11. Qxf7 Kxf7 12. Bf4 Be7 13. O-O-O Bf6 14. Rhe1 Rae8 15. Bg3 Re7 16. f4 Rhe8 17. Re2 h6 18. Rde1 e5 19. Bc4 Kg6 20. Bd3 Kf7 21. Bc4 Kg6 22. Bd3 Kf7 23. Bc4 1/2-1/2

The time control for the final two rounds was an almost classical, G/2. The difference between today and “back in the day” is that, if one is fortunate enough to make it to an endgame, one has little or no time to THINK. This is ironic in that high class games between good players are usually decided in the endgame. Because the games were almost real chess, and because my Sunday afternoon was spent riveted to the ‘puter screen, with a wooden board and pieces on which to cogitate, I have decided to share my notes and thoughts by annotating the games on the top two boards. And yes, I did utilize program assistance in order to spare you some of what GM Yasser Seirawan would no doubt call “howlers.”

Shanmukha Meruga (1888) vs Damir Studen (2373)
Final round Ga Open

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. h3 (This move was played by Jacob Murey (2485) against Heikki Westerinen (2385) at Brighton, 1983: 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. h3 Bf5 6. b4 Qb6 7. a3 e6 8. Bc4 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. d3 c6 11. Qe2 Nbd7 12. Nh4 Bg6 13. Nxg6 hxg6 14. Bd2 Bd6 15.Ne4 Nxe4 16. dxe4 Be5 17. Rad1 Rfd8 18. Be3 Qc7 19. f4 Bf6 20. Bb3 a5 21. Qg4 Bb2 22. f5 Nf6 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8 24. Qf3 gxf5 25. exf5 exf5 26. Qxf5 axb4 27. axb4 Qe5 28. Qxe5 Bxe5 29. g4 Bd4 30. Bxd4 Rxd4 31. b5 Nd5 32. Ra1 Nf4 33. Kh2 Rd2+ 34. Kg3 g5 35. Ra7 Ne2+ 36. Kf3 Nd4+ 37. Ke4 Nxb3 38. cxb3 cxb5 39. Rxb7 Rh2
40. Rxb5 f6 41. Kf5 Kg7 42. Rb7+ Kh6 43. Rf7 Rf2+ 44. Ke4 Rf4+ 45. Kd5 Kg6 46. Rc7 Rf3 47. b4 Rxh3 48. b5 Rg3 49. b6 Rxg4 50. Rc5 Rb4 51. Kc6 g4 52. b7 Rxb7 53. Kxb7 f5 54. Kc6 Kg5 55. Kd5 g3 56. Ke5 g2 57. Rc8 Kg4 58. Rg8+ Kf3 1/2-1/2. Although little played, it has scored as well as the most often played move, 5 d4, according to the CBDB, 57%.) c6 (SF & Hou play e6) 6. Bc4 (The programs prefer d4) Bf5 7. d3 (Missing the first opportunity to play Qe2! It has become popular lately to play this, d3, move in lieu of d4, but it has not scored as well as the older move.) 7…e6 8. O-O (Missing the second opportunity to play Qe2! ) 8…Nd5 (It cannot be correct to move a piece twice in the opening, thereby delaying the development of other as yet undeveloped pieces) 9. Ne2 (The simple Bd2 is best. Even taking with Bxd5 is better) Be7 10. Ng3 Bg6 11. Ne5 O-O 12. Nxg6 hxg6 13. a3 Nd7 14. Re1 Qb6 15. c3 Rad8 16. Qc2 N7f6 17. Bg5 Rfe8 18. Rad1 Qc7 19. Ba2 Rd7 20. Re2 (d4) Bd6 21. Ne4 Bf4 (Nxe4 and Be7 should be considered) 22. Nxf6+ (22. Bxf6 Nxf6 23. Nc5 Rdd8 24. d4 and White has a slight advantage) Nxf6 (22… gxf6!?) 23. Bxf4 Qxf4 24. Red2 g5 25. Bb1 (25. d4 !?) g4 26. g3 Qh6 27. h4 g5 28. hxg5 Qxg5 29. d4 Kg7 30. Kf1 (30. Qd3 !) Rh8 (30… Qd5 !) 31. Ke2 (31. Qd3!) Rh2 32. Rf1 Rd8 (32… Qd5 !) 33. Qd3 Nd5 34. Ba2 Ne7 35. Qe3 Qb5+ 36. Ke1 Qf5 37. Re2 Ng6 38. Qe4 Qg5 (38… Qh5!) 39. Qe3 (Missing his chance to get back in the game with 39 f4!) Qh5 40. Bb1 f5 (Possibly 40… Ne7 improves) 41. Kd1 (Trying to get outta Dodge. Taking the pawn with 41 Qxe6 is obviously fraught with danger. Back in the day the time control would have been reached with additional time being added, so the players would have had time to THINK. These daze the fatigued players have no time to do anything other than continue to push themselves, racking their exhausted brains for a move…any move. 41 Qd3 may be best) e5 42. Rd2 e4 43. d5 Rh1 (43… Rxd5 ! Now White has an advantage) 44. Rxh1 Qxh1+ 45. Kc2 Rxd5 46. Rxd5 cxd5 47. Qxa7 (The more circumspect 47 Qd4+ Kh6 48 Ba2 keeps the advantage) Qf3 48. Qxb7+ (48 Kb3, getting outta Dodge) Kh6 49. Qxd5 (It was imperative to play either 49 Qa7 or Qb6 to guard the pawn on f2) Qxf2+ (49…e3!) 50. Kd1 (With this move the young man let go of the rope. He should have played 50 Kb3!) e3 51. Qd3 Ne5 52. Qe2 Qxg3 53. Bxf5 Qf4 54. Be6 Kg5 55. b4 Qe4 56. Qc2 Qh1+ 57. Ke2 Qg2+ 0-1

A fine last round battle between one who has already made a name for himself and one who is coming on strong. Mr. Meruga has shown he is a force with which to be reckoned with in Georgia.

Signum- Coming On Strong

Atlanta Kings Opening Night

If you have been a regular reader of either the BaconLOG or the Armchair Warrior you know I have had no interest in the USCL. I simply do not understand the rating cap. It makes no sense to have three GM’s and an Expert play as a team. Imagine the Atlanta Braves fielding a team of eight Major League Baseball players and one amateur. Strike that! The Braves do field a team like that, and have for two years now, with Blown Job Upton playing center field every day. Use another team, any team, as an example, and you get my drift…
I looked at the ‘starting lineup’ for the new Atlanta Kings yesterday and saw four strong players rated between 2382 and 2446 for the Kings. All four players are very good players, capable of beating any titled player on any given day, which is how it should be. These are the best players our team can field tonight. I decided to watch the games because I know three of the players, and have played two of them at the House of Pain. I went to the USCL homepage (http://uschessleague.com/) and looked in vain for the games. Next I went to the USCF homepage, and again came away empty. Since this is opening night, I found this strange, so I went back to the USCL website to look again. I found nothing. Then it occurred to me to go to the homepage of the Atlanta Kings (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html). Once again I found nothing about where I could watch the games. This was terribly disconcerting. I did find this, “Updates available on our Facebook page.” I do not do the book with faces; never have and never will. Besides, who wants an update?
I did find that Grant Oen is the manager, with Leonardo Martinez the assistant manager, and Frank Johnson the TD. I was surprised to see that Thad Rogers is the “Overseeing general manager,” whatever that means. The Atlanta Braves could use one of those, I suppose. The one they have spent seventy-five million dollars to stick a black hole out in CF.
I scrolled on down to find:

Week 1: Carolina Cobras (CAR) vs Atlanta Kings​ (ATL)

Tuesday, August 26, 7:30pm – Press Release

1. IM Kassa Korley (CAR 2486) – Deepak Aaron (ATL 2446)

2. Damir Studen (ATL 2372) – IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR 2426)

3. Ilker Bozkurt (CAR 2383) – FM Kazim Gulamali (ATL 2397)

4. Richard Francisco (ATL 2382) – Kevin Mo (CAR 2334)

These teams are evenly matched! Now I was really lamenting the fact that I could not find the live games…Then I noticed the “Press Release” was underlined. Moving my cursor over it allowed me to click on, which I did, finding Frank Johnson’s blog (http://www.chess-coach.net/myblog). After reading this, “You can follow the games live on chessclub.com beginning at 7:30pm (EST) or you can visit the Emory Campus and watch the games live,” I knew the promised land had been found! So I clicked on and was extremely disappointed. The chessclub.com (http://www.chessclub.com/) is the Internet Chess Club, a pay site. Like a prescription drug company, the ICC offers to hook you with a “1-month FREE TRIAL!”
The interest I had in the USCL because my home city has a team is gone. Even though the big chess news tonight is the Kings, you will not read about it here.