The Future of Chess

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

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

RIP: Canadian Open Championship (1956-2014)

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

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

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

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

“Good evening,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.”

Grant

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Dutch Springs Leak

The Dutch dam erected earlier on Jefferson Davis Highway in DC cracked in the penultimate round of the World Open. Wins pouring through the sieve as Viktor Laznicka lost to Illia Nyzhnyk, and Isan Suarez gave way to Mark Paragua. The CCA website crashed, so I have Monroi (http://www.monroi.com/) to thank for the games. Nyzhnyk fianchettoed his Queen Bishop which was the favored method of IM Boris Kogan. He explained that the dark-squared Bishop often has difficulty finding a good square, so the early development takes care of that problem. The results shown at the Chessbase Database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/), and 365Chess (http://www.365chess.com/) look good for White in this line, proving, if proof be needed, “Hulk” Kogan knew what he was taking about when it came to chess theory.
Illia Nyzhnyk vs Viktor Laznicka
2014 World Open d 8
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.Nbd2 a5 9.a4 Na6 10.Re1 Qc7 (10…Nb4 11. h3 Ne4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 13. Nd2 d5 14. c3 Na6 15. f3 Qc7 16. Kh2 exf3 17. Nxf3 Bf5 18. Qd2 Be4 19. Rf1 Rf6 20. Ba3 Raf8 21. Qe3 h6 22. h4 R8f7 23. Rac1 Qd8 24. Bh3 Nc7 25. Nd2 Bf5 26. g4 Bd7 27. Nf3 Rf4 28. Ne5 Bxe5 29. Qxe5 Re4 30. Qg3 Rxf1 31. Rxf1 Ne8 32. Bc1 Nf6 33. Bxh6 Nxg4+ 34. Kh1 Bf5 35. Bf4 Qd7 36. Rg1 Nf6 37. e3 Rxf4 38. exf4 Bxh3 39. Qxg6+ Kf8 40. Qg7+ Ke8 41. Qh8+ Kf7 42. Rg7+ Ke6 43. Qb8 Qd6 44. Qxb7 Qd8 45. Qxc6+ Kf5 46. Qb7 Ng8 47. Rg5+ Ke4 48. Qb5 1-0, Lubomir Ftacnik (2430) – Ratmir Kholmov (2550) CSR-ch 1979) 11.c3 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.e4 Rd8 14.Qe2 fxe4 15.Ng5 Nc5 16.Qc4 Rd5 17.Ndxe4 Ncxe4 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 Be6 20.Bxd5 Bxd5 21.Qe2 Qf7 22.f4 Bxb3 23.fxe5 Re8 24.Qd3 Bd5 25.Ba3 Bxe5 26.Rab1 Bc4 27.Qe3 Re6 28.Qa7 Qe8 29.Qxa5 b5 30.Rbd1 Bd5 31.Bc5 Bd6 32.Bf2 bxa4 33.c4 1-0
Taimanov, Mark E – Malaniuk, Vladimir P ½-½
A87 Baku 1983
1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 d6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 g6 5. b3 Bg7 6. Bb2 O-O 7. O-O Ne4 8. c4 Nc6 9. Nbd2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Rad1 1/2-1/2
Mark Paragua (2506) vs Isan Suarez (2592)
2014 World Open d 8
1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 Nh6 7.Qd2 Nf7 8.Be3 c5 9.Na4 (9. O-O-O Bxd4 10. Bxd4 e5 11. Bb5+ Nc6 12. Qe2 Qd6 13. Be3 Be6 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. c4 a6 16. Rxd5 1-0, Alexandr Kharitonov (2437) – Thomas Rendle (2240), EU-ch U18, 2003) cxd4 10.Bxd4 e5 11.Bc5 Nc6 12.Nf3 Be6 13.Bb5 Nd6 14.Ng5 Bh6 15.Be3 Bg8 16.Nf7 Bxf7 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Bxh6 Nc4 19.Qb4 Rb8 20.Qc5 Qc7 21.f4 Rb5 22.Qf2 Qa5 23.Nc3 Rxb2 24.O-O Qb6 25.Na4 Qxf2 26.Rxf2 Rb4 27.Nc5 e4 28.f5 Ke7 29.c3 Rb2 30.Rxb2 Nxb2 31.Rb1 Nd3 32.Rb7 Kf6 33.Be3 Rd8 34.Bd4 Kxf5 35.Rxf7 Kg4 36.h3 1-0