Note on the Gettysburg Address

On this date in 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. (http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/)

My cousin Linda taught high school English. During a discussion years ago she said, “The Gettysburg Address is the greatest speech ever delivered.” I scoffed, and ridiculed the thing, which shocked her. “You have been taught to say that, Linda,” I said. “Have you ever thought about what it says.”

In his “Note on the Gettysburg Address” H.L. Mencken wrote, “The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history…the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination – that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.”

The Legendary Georgia Ironman recently mentioned some of the parents of the Indian children he teaches have asked him why Southern people still harbor ill feelings about a war fought 150 years ago. LM Brian McCarthy moved to south Georgia to teach high school and mentioned something about all the monuments in the small town, something one does not see in yankee land. Some years ago I was at the Highland coffee shop on Bardstown road in Lousiville, Kentucky. During a discussion of the War of Northern Aggression one fellow used the term “we” and it dawned on me that the “we” he meant were the perpetrators of the War Between the States. I mentioned that, being from Georgia, this was the first time I had heard “we” meaning yankees. “You lost. We won. Get over it,” he said. I said, “It is somewhat more difficult to “get over it, sir, when you lose.” He fired back with, “Tough shit!”

A few weeks ago I attended a lecture given by the eminent historian James M. McPherson pertaining to his new book, “Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief.” (http://www.booktv.org/Program/16323/After+Words+James+McPherson+quotEmbattled+Rebel+Jefferson+Davis+as+Commander+in+Chiefquot+hosted+by+James+Swanson.aspx) At the end the author, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, “Battle Cry of Freedom,” took questions from the audience. I was standing on the balcony, where I had been conversing with one of the owners of the Eagle Eye bookstore (http://www.eagleeyebooks.com/), so there was little, if any, chance Mr. McPherson could see my raised hand if I had been inclined to ask a question. When he said, “No state has ever had the right to secede,” I was unable to contain myself and blurted, “How can you say such a thing when the right of secession was taught at West Point until the War of Northern Aggression?!” In response to my question the audience roared with approval. The author answered by saying, “I am not aware of that. I have never read that. Can you tell me where you come by your information?” I responded, “It is historical fact, sir. I have read it in many books, including ‘The Real Lincoln,’ by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.” He said only, “That is a discredited book.” I was the first in line to have my book signed and said, “One can learn much by reading everything about a subject in lieu of only reading one version of events.” He looked at me quizzically before signing my book. I added, “You know, Mr. McPherson, I was raised near an Army base named after the yankee General James Birdseye McPherson.” He smiled while handing the signed book to me, but the smile left his face when I said, “Everyone hated the place because it was named after a yankee General, even relatives who worked there. He was killed at the Battle of Atlanta you know. He was the second highest ranking yankee officer killed in the War of Northern Aggression.” He frowned and I smiled when turning to leave. Many of the older men in line stopped me to shake my hand, wanting to talk, but Brian McCarthy was waiting to take me to the Fortress so I made apologies and headed toward the door.

Having been lied to about the causes of the war has not helped Southerner’s “get over it.” The yankee version of history is that they had the “moral” right because slavery, brought to America by these same yankees, was morally wrong. They are correct in this, because slavery is wrong, but it was the law. Should a war which devastated the country have been fought to end slavery, or was there much more to the war than the simplistic reason given?

“Growing up in the US, I too was “educated” (through government-purchased school-books and popular media) to revere Mr. Lincoln as a wise and marvelous president. Later, I ran across quotations of his that seemed to cast suspicion on his real views regarding the institution of slavery. I dismissed these as simply a reflection of the times. Lincoln, I reasoned, as a politician needed to keep peace with constituents in order to pursue a praiseworthy agenda. I was wrong about the agenda.”

“Reading below you will understand that the US Civil War finally resolved a century-old debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. It was resolved violently by Lincoln and accompanied by the death of more than 600,000 countrymen.”

“Slavery was ended in 1866 with the Thirteenth Amendment, but at the cost of 620,000 lives; hundreds of thousands more that were crippled for life; and the near destruction of almost half the nation’s economy. By contrast, dozens of other countries (including Argentina, Colombia, Chile, all of Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, the French and Danish colonies, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela) ended slavery peacefully during the first 60 years of the nineteenth century. Why not the U.S.?” *
* Thomas J. DiLorenzo
(http://www.bigeye.com/abraham_lincoln.htm)

In “honor” of the date I would like to present a Southern response to the address Dishonest Abe gave 150 years ago today:

Ode to the Confederate Dead
Allen Tate, 1899 – 1979

Row after row with strict impunity
The headstones yield their names to the element,
The wind whirrs without recollection;
In the riven troughs the splayed leaves
Pile up, of nature the casual sacrament
To the seasonal eternity of death;
Then driven by the fierce scrutiny
Of heaven to their election in the vast breath,
They sough the rumour of mortality.

Autumn is desolation in the plot
Of a thousand acres where these memories grow
From the inexhaustible bodies that are not
Dead, but feed the grass row after rich row.
Think of the autumns that have come and gone!–
Ambitious November with the humors of the year,
With a particular zeal for every slab,
Staining the uncomfortable angels that rot
On the slabs, a wing chipped here, an arm there:
The brute curiosity of an angel’s stare
Turns you, like them, to stone,
Transforms the heaving air
Till plunged to a heavier world below
You shift your sea-space blindly
Heaving, turning like the blind crab.

Dazed by the wind, only the wind
The leaves flying, plunge

You know who have waited by the wall
The twilight certainty of an animal,
Those midnight restitutions of the blood
You know–the immitigable pines, the smoky frieze
Of the sky, the sudden call: you know the rage,
The cold pool left by the mounting flood,
Of muted Zeno and Parmenides.
You who have waited for the angry resolution
Of those desires that should be yours tomorrow,
You know the unimportant shrift of death
And praise the vision
And praise the arrogant circumstance
Of those who fall
Rank upon rank, hurried beyond decision–
Here by the sagging gate, stopped by the wall.

Seeing, seeing only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire

Turn your eyes to the immoderate past,
Turn to the inscrutable infantry rising
Demons out of the earth they will not last.
Stonewall, Stonewall, and the sunken fields of hemp,
Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run.
Lost in that orient of the thick and fast
You will curse the setting sun.

Cursing only the leaves crying
Like an old man in a storm

You hear the shout, the crazy hemlocks point
With troubled fingers to the silence which
Smothers you, a mummy, in time.

The hound bitch
Toothless and dying, in a musty cellar
Hears the wind only.

Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea,
Seals the malignant purity of the flood,
What shall we who count our days and bow
Our heads with a commemorial woe
In the ribboned coats of grim felicity,
What shall we say of the bones, unclean,
Whose verdurous anonymity will grow?
The ragged arms, the ragged heads and eyes
Lost in these acres of the insane green?
The gray lean spiders come, they come and go;
In a tangle of willows without light
The singular screech-owl’s tight
Invisible lyric seeds the mind
With the furious murmur of their chivalry.

We shall say only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire

We shall say only the leaves whispering
In the improbable mist of nightfall
That flies on multiple wing:
Night is the beginning and the end
And in between the ends of distraction
Waits mute speculation, the patient curse
That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps
For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.

What shall we say who have knowledge
Carried to the heart? Shall we take the act
To the grave? Shall we, more hopeful, set up the grave
In the house? The ravenous grave?

Leave now
The shut gate and the decomposing wall:
The gentle serpent, green in the mulberry bush,
Riots with his tongue through the hush–
Sentinel of the grave who counts us all!
http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/ode-confederate-dead

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GCA Hegemonic Designs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ironman Gambit

The many regular readers from all over the world will know this is a continuation of my previous post. Newcomers may want to read it before reading this…
The Legendary Georgia Ironman finally made it to the board for the fourth round of the Atlanta Chess Championship. He amazed by winning the game versus the ‘Rock Star’ William Remick, who is a drummer in a heavy metal band. The amazing thing about the ‘Rock Star’ is that the arm he used was mangled in a wreck and he had to learn to use the other arm. The man with high energy has had some good results recently, but this was not one of them. Fortunately for the Ironman the game was short. Such was not the case for his last round game against one of the up and coming juniors, Shanmuka Meruga. The game lasted late into the night. By the time the Ironman returned I was two plus hours into the movie, “Django Unchained.” I ignored his knock upon my door. Sometime later he knocked again and I had to say, “I’m into something. Go away!” I could have stopped the movie, but did not because by that time there was absolutely no way I could stop watching and go back to it. As David Spinks would say, I HAD to watch it until the end, MAN! I was riveted for all three hours. It deserves all four stars. What can I say, it blew me away. I have now seen two movies staring Jamie Foxx, with “Colleratal” being the other, and both were fantastic. The latter ranks up there with Robert De Niro’s “Taxi Driver” as far as movies about cab drivers. Besides, from the way Tim looked, I figured he must have lost and it would be extremely difficult to go from what I had been watching for two plus hours to having to commiserate with Tim. Imagine my surprise to learn the man of iron had won the game, and with it $200! This after coming to play only the last day. What can I say, Tim continues to add to the Ironman legend.
I must admit, though, that the Ironman was showing some rust when I visited with him Sunday night, before he “fell-out.” He crashed out hard and looked like warmed over death Monday morning as we drove to the chess camp. Pragmatically speaking, the Ironman should have stayed home and rested Sunday, but that is no way to add to a legend.
I give the games for posterity:
[Event “2014 Atlanta Championship”]
[Date “2014.06.01”]
[Round 4]
[White “Remick, William”]
[Black “Brookshear, Tim”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “D00”]
[WhiteElo “1953”]
[BlackElo “2038”]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bf4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. dxc5 Bxc5 6.e3 a6 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. a3 O-O 9. g4 Re8 10. Ne5 d4 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Bb7 14. Qf3 e5 15. Qh3 exf4 16. Qxh7+ Kf8 17. Qh8+ Ke7 18. Qxg7 Qd6 19. Qg5+ Kf8 20. Bh7 fxe3 21. O-O-O Re5 22. Bf5 e2 23. Rde1 d3 24. cxd3 Bxf2 25. Qh5 c5 26. Rxe2 Rxe2 27. Rd1 Be3+ 28. Kb1 Qd4 0-1
[Event “2014 Atlanta Championship”]
[Date “2014.06.01”]
[Round 5]
[White “Brookshear, Tim”]
[Black “Meruga, S.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D35”]
[WhiteElo “2038”]
[BlackElo “1902”]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. e3 Bf5 9. Bd3 Ne4 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. O-O Nd7 12. Qc2 O-O 13. Nd2 Ndf6 14. Rae1 Rae8 15. f3 Nxd2 16. Qxd2 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Qb4 18. Re2 Re719. a3 Qb6 20. b4 Rfe8 21. Rfe1 a6 22. Na4 Qc7 23. Nc5 Nd7 24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. a4 g6 26. Kf2 f5 27. b5 cxb5 28. axb5 Qxb5 29. Qxb5 axb5 30. f4 g5 31. g3 gxf4 32. gxf4 Rc8 33. Rb1 Rg7 34. Rxb5 Rd7 35. Reb2 Rcc7 36. Kf3 Kg7 37. Rb6 Re7 38. Rg2+ Kh7 39. Rgg6 Rc3 40. Rxh6+ Kg7 41. Rhe6 Rxe6 42. Rxe6 b5 43. Rb6 Rb3 44. Rd6 b4 45. Rxd5 Kg6 46. h4 Rb1 47. h5+ Kf6 48. h6 b3 49. Rd6+ Kf7 50. h7 Kg7 51. Rd7+ Kh8 52. Rb7 b2 53. Kg2 Re1 54. Rxb2 Rxe3 55. Rd2 Re6 56. d5 Rd6 57. Kf3 Kxh7 58. Ke3 Kg7 59. Kd4 Kf6 60. Kc5 Ke7 61. Rh2 Rf6 62. Rh7+ Kd8 63. Kd4 Ra6 64. Ke5 Ra5 65. Ke6 Kc8 66. Rh8+ Kc7 67. d6+ 1-0
I would like to give more details about the ACC, but the tournament has yet to be rated. By way of explanation I can only tell you the tournament was a Thad Rogers production. I would have covered it, but decided against it after hearing the message left by Mr. Rogers on the Ironman’s cellphone in which he threatened to “Punch Mike in the face!” It seems Thad was none too pleased with the post I wrote about the new Atlanta Kings (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/reprise-of-the-atlanta-kings/). After giving me permission to print it he now claims that parts (Parts? What parts!) were “off the record.” Unfortunately I did not tape our conversation, but others did hear Thad give me permission to print. How was I too know under the table payments were being made in the USCL? From what Thad told me I understood it to be common knowledge the players were being paid by the poker money people. I will admit I have little knowledge of the league, and those who read this blog, and have read the BaconLOG, know why I have little interest in the USCL. There is, though, a recording of the threat made by Thad. I can only hope that in this case the threat is stronger than it’s execution!

Georgia Chess News

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

Chess Mess

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

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 Be7 10.O-O-O Nc5 11.Rhe1 h6 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Kb1 Bd7 14.f4 Qc7 15.g4 Rc8 16.h4 Bxh4 17.Rh1 Be7 18.g5 b5 19.a3 Qb7 20.Qg2 a5 21.gxh6 gxh6 22.Rxh6 Rf8 23.f5 b4 24.axb4 axb4 25.Nd5 Nxb3 26.Nxe7 Kxe7 27.Nxb3 Ke8 28.f6 Qc7 29.Rh2 Ba4 30.Qg7 Kd7 31.Rhd2 Bxb3 32.cxb3 Qc5 33.Rxd6+ Qxd6 34.Qg1 Qxd1+ 35.Qxd1+ Kc6 36.Qd4 Rfd8 37.Qc4+ Kd6 38.Qd4+ Kc6 39.Qc4+ Kd6 40.Qd4+ Kc6 ½-½

After going over at a game I go to the new Chessbase database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/), and/or (http://www.365chess.com/) to see where the players have varied from the “book.” These are the sources I used to find the additional games.

Ootes, Lars (2340)
Burg, Twan (2462)
Event: TCh-NED Meesterklasse 2011-12
Site: Netherlands NED Date: 12/17/2011
Round: 4.4 Score: ½-½
ECO: B94 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.Bg5

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qb6 8. Bb3 e6 9. Qd2 Be7 10. O-O-O Nc5 11. Rhe1 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. f4 Bd7 14. Kb1 Qc7 15. Nf3 O-O-O 16. e5 dxe5 17. Nxe5 Be8 18. Qe3 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 g5 20. g3 gxf4 21. gxf4 Rg8 22. Ne4 Be7 23. Nxc5 Qxc5 24. Rd4 Kb8 25. a3 Ka7 26. Qe4 Qa5 27. Rd1 Bf6 28. Qd4+ Ka8 29. Qd6 Bxe5 30. fxe5 Bc6 31. Qe7 Qxe5 32. Qxf7 Re8 33. Qf2 Qc7 34. Qh4 e5 35. Qxh6 e4 36. Re1 Qe5 37. Qe3 Qxh2 38. Re2 Qh1+ 39. Re1 Qf3 40. Bc4 Rd8 41. Ka2 Qf6 1/2-1/2

Richard could well have won that game, and the same could be said for the next, heart breaking, game. It is possible in chess to play well and have little, or nothing, to show for it.

Richard T Francisco 2263 vs IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy 2436
Chicago Open 2014 Rd 6 CK (B12)
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 Bxc5 6.Qg4 Kf8 7.b4 Bb6 8.Nf3 f6 9.Bb2 Nc6 10.Bd3 Bc7 11.Qf4 g5 12.Qe3 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.Bxe5 fxe5 15.Qxe5 Qf6 16.Qd6+ Ne7 17.Ra2 Kf7 18.0–0 e5 19.Qc7 e4 20.Be2 Qf4 21.Bh5+ Kf6 22.Qc3+ Qe5 23.f3 e3 24.Qxe5+ Kxe5 25.c3 Nf5 26.Re1 Ng7 27.Rxe3+ Kd6 28.Bg4 Bxg4 29.fxg4 Rhe8 30.Rae2 Rxe3 31.Rxe3 a5 32.Nd2 axb4 33.axb4 Ne6 34.Nb3 Ra3 35.Nd4 Nxd4 36.cxd4 Rxe3 0-1

Shaposhnikov,Evgeny (2543) vs Kornev, Alexei (2558)
Event: Tsiolkovsky mem op
Site: Kaluga Date: 2003 CK (B12)
Round: 6 Score: 0-1
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Bxc5 6. Qg4 Kf8 7. Bd3 f5 8. Qg3 Nc6 9. Nf3 Nge7 10. O-O h6 11. b4 Bb6 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 g5 14. Nc3 Ng6 15. Rd1 Qe7 16. Bb2 g4 17. Nb5 h5 18. Nfd4 h4 19. Qb3 g3 20. h3 gxf2+ 21. Kh1 Qg5 22. Rf1 a6 23. Rxf2 axb5 24. Bxe6 f4 25. Bxc8 Nxd4 26. Qd5 Rxc8 27. Qd6+ Qe7 28. Qxg6 Ne6 29. Rxf4+ Nxf4 30. Qf5+ Ke8 31. Qxc8+ Bd8 32. Rd1 Ne6 33. Qc2 Rg8 34. Qe2 Rg7 35. Bc1 Nc7 36. Qe4 Qe6 37. Qxb7 Qc4 38. Bh6 Rd7 39. Rc1 Qd5 40. Qb6 Qe6 41. Qe3 Nd5 42. Qd2 Ne7 43. Qg5 Nf5 44. Qh5+ Qf7 45. Qxf7+ Kxf7 46. Bf4 Rd4 47. Rf1 Ke6 48. Kh2 Bc7 49. g3 hxg3+ 50. Bxg3 Rd2+ 51. Rf2 Nxg3 0-1

CK (B12)
White player Karen Asrian ARM
Black player Sarunas Sulskis LTU
Plovdiv ch-EUR 2008 (0)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 xc5 6.g4 f8 7.f3 c6 8.d3 f6 9.b4 b6 10.b2 f5 11.g3 h6 12.bd2 d7 13.c4 e7 14.O-O e8 15.ac1 g6 16.c5 c7 17.d4 xg3 18.hxg3 g5 19.b5 f7 20.f4 h5 21.2f3 g8 22.c6 bxc6 23.bxc6 c8 24.b5 b6+ 25.d4 gxf4 26.gxf4 g4 27.xb6 axb6 28.fd4 a4 29.e2 g3 30.xh5 e3 31.fd1 h6 32.d6 axa3 33.c2 1-0

nTCEC: The Future of Chess?

The second season, stage one, of the nTCEC tournament has begun. I was amused when the Legendary Georgia Ironman told me he was following the first season of the computer tournament. The games are being displayed on the Chess Bomb website (http://chessbomb.com/), and Chessdom (http://www.chessdom.com/) has been covering the tournament with regular articles. The Bomb is one of the websites the Ironman is able to access on his gizmo. His browser will not allow some websites, but the Bomb is one of the websites that can be accessed on his gizmo. Tim said he liked the fact that there is always a game ongoing. Upon completion of one game, another immediately pops up. Dennis Monokroussos has also provided coverage on his blog, The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/). I thought of the Ironman upon reading his post of August 29, 2013, TCEC SEASON 2 UNDERWAY (http://www.thechessmind.net/blog/2013/8/29/tcec-season-2-underway.html). Dennis writes: “There’s always a live game going there, and will be for about three months’ time for anyone truly desperate for a chess fix.”
It was Tim’s time for amusement when learning I am now hooked on the nTCEC tournament. Could I possibly be a neophiliac. The first thing I do in the morning after firing-up the ‘puter is surf over to the Bomb in order to ascertain the result of the game from the previous night, and check out the current game. Because I am such a neophyte fan of the tournament between programs I was unaware the openings are chosen for the programs. This is what happened with the game of checkers when some variations had been played out to the point every one lead to a draw with best play. This happened before Chinook, and other programs sucked the life out of the game of checkers. I do not like the fact that the openings are prearranged. I do not like the fact that the programs are allowed an opening book. Back when playing against the ‘engines’ I would turn off the opening book. It seemed only fair, unless I could do the same and utilize my opening book(s). I would like to see what openings the programs would play, left to their own devices.
Firefly is the lowest rated program, by far, of the 36 participating in the tournament, with a rating of only 2208. Nebula, rated 2421, is closest to Firefly. Houdini, rated 3156, is the top-seed, with Stockfish next at 3102. Firefly won last night when Bugchess2 “bugged-out.” Buggy was not able to respond to Firefly’s 10th move, and lost. There must have been a bug in the system…
I am not only “pulling” for Firefly because it is the lowest rated ‘engine’ but because some years ago my friend NM Neal Harris, upon learning I enjoyed watching Sci-Fi shows, but had no knowledge of the TV phenomenon Firefly (I was completely away from the tube that year), loaned me a box-set of all the episodes broadcast, plus several others that had not been broadcast. As with several of my all-time favorite shows, it only lasted one season. The IMDB website shows a rating of 9.1 out of 10, which is exceptional. Shows rated far lower last for years. Firefly was obviously too good for its own good.
My other ‘favorite’ is Toga II. Anyone who has ever watched the movie Animal House will understand! “TOGA, TOGA, TOGA, TOGA II!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AohA367VVk)