They are back at it in Charlotte. The first round of four different tournaments was played last night. Before I begin let me say I have no bone to pick with the good people in Charlotte. I have written about the Charlotte Chess Center because they are located in the South, the region from which I sprang over seven decades ago. I am proud there is such a wonderful place as the CCC and the same goes for the Atlanta Chess Center, home of GM Ben Finegold, who is famous all over the world. When I began playing back in the 1970s the South was not exactly a hot bed of Chess activity. When traveling to an out of state Chess tournament I met many people who told me they had never met anyone from the South who played Chess, and some who had never met any Southerner, period. Therefore when anyone causes opprobrium down South I am not pleased. Someone who refused to give permission to use his name said, “Everyone knows Charlotte is the place to go to draw. It was that way before you began to write about it, Mike. All you did was shine a light on it.” Like it or not, that is the reputation of the Charlotte Chess Center.
Mr. Grant Oen,
who is the “Chief Arbiter and Organizer of the Chess tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club and Scholastic Academy,” and is also the “Assistant Director, Charlotte Chess Center, and a National Tournament Director, International Arbiter,” has previously written, “If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed.” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/reply-to-grant-oen/) A draw culture has been fostered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The rules do need to be changed. You may think me crazy especially since Chess is currently riding a cresting wave because of the popularity of the Queen’s Gambit movie, just a Chess enjoyed a boom after Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky to win the title of World Chess Champion. What follows a “boom”?
Back in the late seventies and early eighties the game of Backgammon “boomed” before going “bust”. I mean it busted like a poker player being dealt a 2-4-6-8-10! The Backgammon craze, or fad ended like a Chess game that ends with the word, “Checkmate!” One week Gammons was full of people every night, the next it was empty…
I beg to differ. The statement is false, and is a perfect example of the hubris shown by the Chess community. There are far more people who play, and consider the ancient game of Wei-Chi to be “the ultimate intellectual game.” I am one of them. One of the reasons what is called “Go” in the West is “the ultimate intellectual game,” is that there is a winner in 99 and 44/100, if not more, of the games played. Seriously, it is would probably be better to say 99.9%, but there was this Ivory snow commercial ‘back in the day’ that used 99.44.
To back up my point this is what World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker said about Go:
Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts — line and circle, wood and stone, black and white — combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination. Iwamoto Kaoru,
9-dan professional Go player and former Honinbo title holder.
instituted a NEW RULE in the series of Chess tournaments named after him, the Sinquefield Cup. Players are not allowed to offer a draw. Unfortunately, they can repeat the position three times and the game ends in another dreaded draw…Listen up, Rex! You have got the money and are like E.F. Hutton. When you speak people listen. How about instituting the Ko rule from Go in the next Sinquefield Cup tournaments. If a player repeats the same position for the third time YOU LOSE!!!
Now if I had a billzillion digits I would go even further and change the stalemate rule to a win for the player that forces the enemy King into a position without having a legal move at his disposal. What, you think the AW is crazy? I’ve been called worse…I would not stop there. The Royal game needs NEW LIFE! The AW would FREE THE PAWN! That’s right, folks, I would allow the pawn to RETREAT! Why not allow the pawn advance one square to the rear?!
This game was “played” in the first round of the Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 last night:
GM Kamil Dragun 2555 (POL) vs GM Cemil Can Ali Marandi 2530 (TUR)
Since moving to Atlanta after his wife began working at the CDC I have been following GM Alonso Zapata’s exploits on the Chessboard and we have been communicating via email. After his dismal, and uncharacteristic performance (Although the highest rated player, Alonso finished in a tie for 7th place after managing to draw 6 games while losing 3) at the recent Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational held July 28-Aug 1, 2021 at the Charlotte Chess Club & Scholastic Center (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/the-charlotte-chess-center-scholastic-academy-summer-2021-cccsa-gm-im-norm-invitational-extravaganza/) I sent Alonso an email which was not answered until last night. I have chosen to publish some of the email because it answers the questions posed in the above aforementioned post, and because the more information the Chess world has on what is happening with the dreaded virus the better decisions those who decide (that made me think of George Dubya Bush and the time he said:
Dear Michael Bacon.
Thanks for your email.
Before, I want to mention that I participated in looking to improve my rating. I had already experienced a similar event before, and I did very well, gaining a considerable rating.
You are right; I played very poorly, even I did not understand how with so many positions with huge advantages, even very close to winning (as in the one you mention), I could not define. Michael, I didn’t answer you because I’ve been depressed these days. In the tournament, I felt lacking in energy and concentration. My chess didn’t flow, I slept little, and it affected my self-confidence.
Once the tournament was over, I returned home; after driving for about 4.5 hours, my symptoms became more noticeable: runny nose, cough, malaise, fever, discouragement. I thought it was an unpleasant flu; I was calm because I had the two Pfizer vaccines against Covid -19.
To not extend the story, after a couple of days without improving, I took the test, and it came out positive for Covid-19. I immediately called the Tournament Organizer in Charlotte, Grant Owen, to inform him, hoping that no one else had picked it up. To my peace of mind, there was no other sick player.
Fortunately, I already feel recovered.
I want to add that competing with Coronavirus disease is a terrible nightmare!
My best wishes, Alonso Zapata
Of course I answered immediately, offering condolences and expressing sympathy, while being pleased he had recovered. Then after having watched some of the evening bluews, as I have come to think of it, I sat down to punch ‘n poke this into my daily log: News from Macon is a 4 year old boy is in hospital with Covid fighting for his life…Young woman died in a Baton Rouge hospital from Covid after delivering a 4 pound three ounce baby. She did not take the vaccine because those in charge had not yet given the OK for pregnant women to take the vaccine…Parents are marching in an attempt to get school boards to require masks be worn…This after the idiot Republican Governor of our state Brian Kemp
He stands towering over me beside my bed Losing his head Tells me I must take him seriously Droning on the usual way He’s such a clever guy And I wonder should I laugh or cry
He’s (he’s) dressed (dressed) in the striped pajamas that I bought Trousers too short Gives (gives) me (me) of his small philosophy Carries on the way he does And me I get so tired And I wonder should I laugh or cry High and mighty his banner flies A fool’s pride in his eyes Standin’ there on his toes to grow in size (All I see is) All I see is a big balloon Halfway up to the moon He’s wrapped up in the warm and safe cocoon Of an eternal lie So should I laugh or cry
Strange (strange) how (how) dangerously indifferent I have grown Cold as a stone No (no) more (more) pain where there was pain before Far away he rambles on, I feel my throat go dry And I wonder should I laugh or cry
High and mighty his banner flies A fool’s pride in his eyes Standin’ there on his toes to grow in size (All I see is) All I see is a big balloon Halfway up to the moon He’s wrapped up in a warm and safe cocoon Of an eternal lie So should I laugh or cry
The following notice is on the website of the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy:
NOTICE: Per yesterday’s CDC announcement and rise of COVID cases, this event will now require masks in the tournament hall. (https://www.charlottechesscenter.org/norm) Unfortunately it is not shown on the main page, but can be located at the GM/IM NORM INVITATIONAL- SUMMER page after clicking on “events” at the home page. Nevertheless, I applaud those enlightened people at the CCCSA for making such an OUTSTANDING MOVE, on the Chessboard of life.
The Great State of North Carolina is one of the Southern states. It, along with the Great State of Georgia, my home state, are also considered to be part of the “Southeast.” After checking the latest Covid statistics I learned that Georgia is tenth in the USA with nine deaths per day on a seven day moving average (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/). North Carolina is right below, tied with Arizona with a seven day moving average of eight deaths. When it comes to cases North Carolina is seventh, showing 1926. Georgia is tenth with 1675 cases on a seven day moving average. When it comes to total cases thus far in the pandemic, NC is eighth in the nation with 1,041,620; Georgia is eleventh with a total of 926,707 cases. Unfortunately for my state, 21,654 have died of the virus, which is eight in the nation, compared with the 13,606 humans who have died, ranking NC fourteenth in the country.
When it comes to illness and death being ranked in, or near the top ten is not good. It is a fact that Republican states lead the USA in both cases and deaths. Our country at this time needs to become more UNITED and less STATE. It is extremely difficult to go against the grain and buck the norm, especially in the South. Unfortunately, what should be a normal and natural thing that has been done at the CCCSA could be condemned by some members of the community. I commend FM Peter Giannatos,
the Executive Director and Founder, and Grant Oen,
the Assistant Director/Events Manager, of the CCCSA, and everyone at the CCCSA for taking a stand for We The People!
I do this because just a few days ago I watched a man in a hospital bed, with hoses attached to his nose and other places, who had Covid, but was still defiant, claiming he had a “right” to not take the possibly life saving vaccine if he did not want to take it, even if it killed him. He was a “good ol’ boy” from the South, and did not want anyone telling him what to do. The interviewer asked the man if he thought he had a duty to his fellow humans to take the vaccine in order to not give the virus to anyone. “Hell no!” he replied. “We’re all in this alone.”
The following day there was another gentleman on the television all hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed, and he was being interviewed. He was from Arizona, and did not have any particular reason for not taking the possibly life saving vaccine, but said, “Sure wished I had.” The interviewer asked, “Why didn’t you take it?” He said, “I dunno…didn’t have any reason for not taking it, I guess. I mean, it’s like getting the virus was like what was happening to other people, not to me.”
I know people like both of these two individuals. They are both playing Russian roulette with their lives, and the LIVES OF THOSE WITH WHOM THEY COME IN CONTACT! Both are members of the Chess community. With one old, ornery, and cantankerously recalcitrant Chess coach almost everyone with whom he comes in contact has been vaccinated, yet he refuses to take the vaccine, so its not like there is peer pressure for him to not take the shot. The other is a Grandmaster who writes a blog replete with anti-vax madness. He has obviously become a strident right (wrong) winger as he has aged. Many people fear the government. While running for the office of POTUS the former actor Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The line elicited a big laugh, and has been repeated endlessly by Republicans running for office ever since. It is, arguably, the most famous thing the man said during his entire life that was not a line from a movie.
It caused me to think, “Why would anyone in their right mind say such a thing if he wants to lead the government?” Think about it…The thought that followed was a line from a Bob Dylan song: “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.” (https://www.bobdylan.com/songs/subterranean-homesick-blues/)
If— Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run— Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! https://poets.org/poem/if
This morning there was an email from Mr. Grant Oen, Chief Arbiter and Organizer of the two Chess tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club and Scholastic Academy, where he is, “Assistant Director, Charlotte Chess Center, and a National Tournament Director, International Arbiter.” The entire email is located at the end of this post. Mr. Oen concludes with, ” Please do the right thing and remove your post and let your mailing list know.”
I will do no such thing, Mr. Oen.
After receiving the following email I surfed on over to the Chessbomb website “Almost no one still uses,” according to Mr. Oen, and copied these “games” from the GM section of the recent Charlotte CLT GM 2021 for your amusement and edification:
Mr. Oen writes, “Accusing us and the players of cheating and collusion is in extremely bad form, and we need your post be corrected or removed, and your mailing list be advised.”
I have accused no one of anything! Mr. Oen obviously did not see the “?” at the end of the title of the post.
Mr. Oen writes, “You can check the games and results of our other conditioned players from this event (GM Prohaszka, GM Ringoir, GM Paragua, IM Matros, IM Del Campo) to see if you think that we are asking our players to make quick draws. I am particularly shocked that you are jumping to these conclusions based on downloading the PGN. Moves and games are not proof of anything.”
I could not find any place in the post where I had accused anyone of asking players to make quick draws. In addition, I have jumped to no conclusions. I was not in Charlotte and have no idea what transpired over the Memorial day weekend. On the other hand, I would argue that, “Moves and games ARE PROOF OF EVERYTHING!”
As for the Tsay-Andrianov game, I stand corrected. I have been away from Chess for a year, which was spent sans computer while reading books and magazines. There have been many changes and I am attempting to get up to speed. I was unaware that, “Almost no one still uses ChessBomb.” I like ChessBomb, and do not particularly care for the format at Chess24.
Mr. Oen begins his email with, “In other tournaments around the world, it is well known that some games are played “only on paper,” meaning that the players just fill out a scoresheet from their hotel rooms and submit them to the organizer, who fills out a false PGN by the end of the tournament with 30+ move “games”.”
Show us the proof, Mr. Oen. Which one of us is, “Accusing us and the players of cheating and collusion.”
Mr. Oen writes, “People spreading lies and insinuating negative things about our tournaments with no basis is disheartening and is very negative for the future of American chess.”
Which one of us is, “spreading lies and insinuating negative things?” All I did was question “moves and games.” Mr. Oen is now on record of accusing games “In other tournaments around the world…” of being, “…played “only on paper,” meaning that the players just fill out a scoresheet from their hotel rooms and submit them to the organizer, who fills out a false PGN by the end of the tournament with 30+ move “games”.” There was absolutely NO PROOF WHATSOEVER contained in the email received this morning! SHOW US THE PROOF, Mr. Oen!
Mr. Oen writes:
“Nikolay Andrianov is a seasoned IM who has defeated Garry Kasparov, David Bronstein, Alexey Suetin, and many other top GMs throughout his career. However, as he is turning 60, he is mostly coaching, and his playing level in certainly much lower than what it was. As you know, many strong players around his age have already retired from chess for decades, but Nikolay still enjoys visiting chess clubs, new cities, and playing in strong tournaments.
If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed. Everyone shows up for the games (which are not pre-arranged (sic)), and moves are made. In our events, no one plays their games at different times, agrees to results before games, or breaks FIDE rules. Here is (Although highlighted in blue, nothing happened when I clicked on it) a very recent round robin tournament in Mexico where Nikolay made many quick draws to substantiate our claim that he enjoys traveling to tournaments, but perhaps lacks the energy to fight in every round, especially while wearing a mask.”
Please define “several” Mr. Oen. Maybe the time has come for the IM to consider playing in only Senior events? Maybe the rules need to be changed?! IM Adrianov began the tournament with a six move draw. He battled for 74 moves before losing in the second round. He obviously never recovered because he agreed to another six move draw in the third and fourth rounds before playing seven moves in the fifth round. It was back to six moves in the sixth round. Evidently still not recovered, the IM could only manage five moves in the seventh round. The aforementioned eighth round game with Vincent Tsay must have taken about all he had left. Those ninety something moves must have almost killed the poor old dude. Still, he managed to make it to the round on time for the last round, where it was back to form and another six move draw.
There is a reason IM Nikolay, or Nikolai, Adrianov was in the field. Fortunately, he survived the battles.
Maybe the problem is not with IM Adrianov but with the organizers finding a proliferation of short draws “acceptable.” Maybe it is time to consider awarding on 1/4 point for a draw. Think of it this way, if a game is won the two players combined earn one point. If a game is drawn, whether six moves or sixty, one point is awarded to both players combined. The way things are now a draw is equal to a win; the same total is awarded to each board no matter the outcome. Cut that half point in half and you may no longer see tournaments like the ones in Charlotte. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/drawing-at-the-charlotte-chess-center-scholastic-academy/) You will no longer see young players ready and willing to “split the point.” There will no longer be last round “group hugs,” and Chess will be a better game!
We have become aware of your recent blog post which insults the Charlotte Chess Center’s events and one particular player, IM Nikolay Andrianov. Furthermore, the post has been emailed to many people for whatever reason.
In other tournaments around the world, it is well known that some games are played “only on paper,” meaning that the players just fill out a scoresheet from their hotel rooms and submit them to the organizer, who fills out a false PGN by the end of the tournament with 30+ move “games”. This is one of the reasons that we provide live games and send them to every top chess site for broadcasting. We also take pictures during the events and post them to our Facebook page. In all of our norm tournaments, all games are played the right way, at the same time, and under FIDE rules.
We have never asked or pressured any player in any tournament to offer a quick draw (or lose, or anything else). Not having cash prizes in our round robin events also decreases the chances of cheating of collusion. Nikolay Andrianov is a seasoned IM who has defeated Garry Kasparov, David Bronstein, Alexey Suetin, and many other top GMs throughout his career. However, as he is turning 60, he is mostly coaching, and his playing level in certainly much lower than what it was. As you know, many strong players around his age have already retired from chess for decades, but Nikolay still enjoys visiting chess clubs, new cities, and playing in strong tournaments.
If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed. Everyone shows up for the games (which are not pre-arranged), and moves are made. In our events, no one plays their games at different times, agrees to results before games, or breaks FIDE rules. Here is a very recent round robin tournament in Mexico where Nikolay made many quick draws to substantiate our claim that he enjoys travelling to tournaments, but perhaps lacks the energy to fight in every round, especially while wearing a mask.
Accusing us and the players of cheating and collusion is in extremely bad form, and we need your post be corrected or removed, and your mailing list be advised. There are no prizes, and no norms were achieved this time in the IM section (no one was even close to the norm score of 7/9), so clearly any “collusion” clearly did not accomplish anything. Norms require a high winning percentage (6.5/9 or 7/9), so early draws do not really help players. Draw agreements are the decision of the two players in the game, and have nothing to do with the organizer or people watching on the internet.
You can check the games and results of our other conditioned players from this event (GM Prohaszka, GM Ringoir, GM Paragua, IM Matros, IM Del Campo) to see if you think that we are asking our players to make quick draws. I am particularly shocked that you are jumping to these conclusions based on downloading the PGN. Moves and games are not proof of anything.
This is obviously the real IM Andrianov. I believe that Nikolay may use the more formal spelling “Nikolai” when being official, and that may be why the USCF and FIDE spelling differs by one letter. He is not the only one with a minor difference between how people address him and how his name is written on documents after immigrating to the states.
Below, find a picture of Nikolay from round 1 of this tournament (Myers-Andrianov). It is certainly the same player as the one you posted a picture of, the Russian IM now living in Arizona, not an 1800 from Russia. I am also including another picture from a previous Charlotte Chess Center event without masks, and you can also see other pictures from our events including Nikolay from our Facebook page.
Regarding the Vincent Tsay game, the DGT broadcast occasionally catches moves that players analyze after the game is finished if the broadcast is not stopped at the right time. This is tough when the players make moves after the game before “setting the kings.”
An arbiter corrected the end of the game to move 91 after the fact and most modern sites (chess24, Follow Chess, lichess) picked up the correct end of the game – 91.Kb3 was the final move, with a draw. See the chess24 game link with the correct end of Tsay-Andrianov here. ChessBomb did not pick up the correction because that site is outdated and no longer fully functional after being purchased and rebranded to Chess.com/events. Almost no one still uses ChessBomb.
The Charlotte Chess Center has made a name of itself with 21 norm tournaments which have produced 54 norms, including 8 final (third) GM norms for American GMs Tang, Burke, Zierk, Checa, Brown, Jacobson, Niemann, and Balakrishnan. However, if you reviewed the crosstables, you will see that many more people have missed the norm in the final rounds. If we were cheating or colluding, surely the “Armchair Warrior” would not be the first one to notice.
In the past, American players had to fly to Europe to play norm round robins, but Charlotte is providing consistent opportunities, even during COVID, for players to gain experience and FIDE titles. People spreading lies and insinuating negative things about our tournaments with no basis is disheartening and is very negative for the future of American chess. Please do the right thing and remove your post and let your mailing list know.
Grant Oen Chief Arbiter and Organizer
— Grant Oen Assistant Director, Charlotte Chess Center National Tournament Director, International Arbiter
I believe I have solved the confusion about the questionable Paul/Zapata game in round 9. First a correction for GM Zapata: he identified the tournament as the 2020 NC Open when, in fact, it was the 2020 Charlotte Open. The 2020 NC Open will take place in August! Now, on to the problem of the mysterious game score which is denied by GM Zapata. When I began to review the game that ChessBomb posted for Paul/Zapata game (based on the DGT board record), it bore absolutely no resemblance to the game that GM Zapata has submitted to you. It clearly is not a matter of an error in score-keeping or a DGT board mis-recording of the moves. They are completely different games.
I went back and looked at the board next to Paul/Zapata which was Grant Xu/Christopher Yoo. Lo and behold: that game also matched move for move the game that ChessBomb used for Paul/Zapata. It appears that somehow the Xu/Yoo game got pasted on top of the Paul/Zapata game, thus erasing the true game score of Paul/Zapata and moves for the Xu/Yoo game were used as the DGT record for both matches. I am copying Peter Giannatos, Grant Oen, and Anand Dommalapati who were operating the DGT boards. They can follow your link below and see the true game score as submitted by GM Zapata. Maybe they can paste it into the results, or possibly Paul/Zapata will just have to be deleted from the DGT record. I don’t know how these things work. Note to Giannatos, Oen, Dommalapati: I found the DGT board score for Paul/Zapata on Chessstream.
“The phrase, “All politics is local” is a common phrase in U.S. politics. The former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill is most closely associated with this phrase, which encapsulates the principle that a politician’s success is directly tied to the person’s ability to understand and influence the issues of their constituents.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_politics_is_local)
The world of chess is beset with myriad problems. For example, consider something recently written by GM Kevin Spraggett on his blog, Spraggett on Chess:
RIP: Canadian Open Championship (1956-2014)
“For my readers (Canadian and international) who were wondering about the 2015 edition of Canada’s most PRESTIGIOUS tournament, I have sad news. Not only has the 2015 Canadian Open been cancelled, but it is unlikely to be resurrected in coming years. The present mind-set of the CFC executive is to concentrate on junior chess and slowly (quickly!) phase out adult chess.
The writing was on the wall for some time now, but few wanted to believe it. Despite a well documented decline in adult membership in the CFC since 2007, and calls to organize a membership drive to remedy the situation, the CFC refused to act. Adult membership levels are now 50% of normal levels. All funding of adult-programs have been eliminated.”
Grant Oen is a junior at Emory University, Grant is a 2-time GA Collegiate Chess Champion, 2-time NJ Grade Level Chess Champion, manager of the 2014 Atlanta Kings Team, and current Emory Chess Club President. He is one of the people who are the future of chess, and the future is NOW! I have come to admire and respect Grant because he is GREAT for chess in my home state.
I received an email from Mr. Oen a short time ago, and after reading it, sent an email asking for permission to post it on the blog, which was granted. Although it may be true that “all politics is local,” what happens in my home state of Georgia, just as what happens in our wonderful neighbor to the north, Canada, affects the Royal game in the WORLD. It is not just the worldwide governing body of chess, FIDE, that impacts chess, fortunately. Chess stays viable because of the efforts of those in, for example, New Zealand, even though you may not here of what is going on with chess there, unless you make an effort do so. When the chess lights go out, for whatever reason, in any town, city, state, or nation, it has a negative impact on the game of chess. I urge you to read what Grant has to say, and to forward it to anyone and everyone, and ask them to do the same. “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”
I believe there is a “butterfly effect.” I also believe that “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” What has happened to chess in my home state of Georgia is tragic. I can only hope that you who read this learn from the recent mistakes made here and do not let it happen in your part of the chess world.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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.
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
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.
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 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/)
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.”
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.
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.
Just want to give you information that Peter Giannatos will broadcast games from Southeastern FIDE Championship.
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.
Joe Cocker – Watching The River Flow (LIVE in Berlin) HD