Kid Chess Champions Share Their Secrets

The Atlantic Selects

Kid Chess Champions Share Their Secrets

Sep 23, 2019 | 780 videos

Video by Jenny Schweitzer Bell

The benefits of teaching chess to children are manifold. Studies suggest that the cognitive-boosting board game, which has endured around the world for more than 15 centuries, improves a child’s visual memory, attention span, spatial-reasoning ability, critical thinking, mental discipline, creativity, math skills, and logical reasoning. One study found that children who played chess scored an average of 10 percentage points higher on reading scores than their peers who didn’t play.

In the short documentary The Magic of Chess, which premieres on The Atlantic today, a cadre of pint-size chess champions reveals how the practice has enriched their lives. The director Jenny Schweitzer Bell shot the film on location at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championships, a high-stakes tournament held annually in Nashville. In attendance—and interviewed in the film—was Tani Adewumi, the 8-year-old Nigerian refugee who, while living in a homeless shelter with his family, beat elite-private-school kids in the New York Chess Championships.

https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/598621/kids-chess/?te=1&nl=morning-briefing&emc=edit_NN_p_20190927&section=whatElse?campaign_id=9&instance_id=12684&segment_id=17389&user_id=18e7af34654ede38efc99f1008b18b46&regi_id=85788087ion=whatElse

Reading the New South

The following article appeared in the venerable New York Times after the last post was composed, and posted, as if by synchronicity…

After getting to know a little about me a fellow in Louisville, Kentucky, Rick Rothenberg, from Indiana, said I reminded him of another Southerner he had known earlier. Rick said, “The man was so Southern he would not even go out of the house if the wind was blowing from the north!”

Reading the New South

A group of forward-thinking, upstart journals and websites are exploding the stereotypes so many attach to this place and its people.

By Margaret Renkl

Contributing opinion writer

Sept. 17, 2018


Some of Lyndsey Gilpin’s collection of books on the South.CreditCreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

NASHVILLE — I was a graduate student in Philadelphia when James Watt, the former Secretary of the Interior of the United States, came to campus in 1984. Mr. Watt’s brief tenure in federal office was characterized by an almost cartoonish villainy. Rolling Stone magazine called his attitude toward the environment a “rip-and-ruin view of our natural resources, land, water, parks and wilderness.” That night Watt argued for letting each state set its own air- and water-safety standards, a position that makes no sense if you’re aware that rivers and winds don’t respect state borders.

During the Q. and A., I took my turn at the microphone to make this point. “Sir,” I said, “I’m from Alabama.” Instantly that giant audience of Pennsylvanians broke into laughter. Who was this cracker daring to voice an opinion about federal environmental policy?

Well, that was 1984, you’re probably thinking. Today we don’t judge people by their accents any more than we judge them by their skin color. People know better now.

Except they don’t. The political polarization of our own day means that a region like the South, a red voting bloc in national elections, is a source of continual liberal ridicule, no matter the subject. In June I wrote about the transcendently beautiful Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the most ecologically diverse places in the country. When I posted the link on Facebook with a note about its magic, someone commented, “Except that it’s in Alabama.” As though nothing in the whole state could possibly have any value at all.

As stereotypes go, this one surely doesn’t rank among the top 10 most objectionable human prejudices, but it stings even so. Fortunately there is plenty of on-the-ground proof to counter it. Among the most important is a raft of publications, many so new they’re still on shaky financial footing, that aim to convey the genuine complexities of the modern American South. They are planted in the South and created by Southerners, people who love this place but who nevertheless see it all too truly.

Unlike lifestyle glossies like Southern Living and Garden & Gun (which is assiduously apolitical, despite what its name might suggest), these publications blast past sweet-tea-and-moonshine preconceptions to convey the nuances of a region where people are rarely as ornery and dumb as they’re held to be in the national imagination.

The oldest of them is the Oxford American, founded in Oxford, Miss., but now based in Conway, Ark., which was first launched in 1992. (A print quarterly, it has foundered a number of times over the years, ceasing publication until new funding arrived, which somehow always has.) In many ways, it set the tone for all the publications that followed, celebrating the artistic innovations of the region but refusing to gloss over its manifold shortcomings.

The latest issue includes a nonfiction report by Kelsey Norris on a Nashville oral-history project focusing on the descendants of slaves; Beth Macy’s profile of the Appalachian playwright and novelist Robert Gipe; “Bikers,” a poem by the Virginia native Kate Daniels about her brothers (“What foreign lives they lived / With their deer hunts, and their / Love of speed, and their boring jobs / In factories”) and a short story by David Wesley Williams about a hitchhiker stuck in West Memphis, Ark. The story is called “Stay Away From Places With Directions in Their Names.”

The tagline for Facing South, an online publication of the progressive Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, N.C., is “A Voice for a Changing South.” The site focuses on politics, history and human rights, with recent articles on voting rights during Reconstruction, South Carolina’s present refusal to evacuate convicts in advance of Hurricane Florence and delays in compensation for people sickened by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scalawag, another nonprofit publication out of Durham, also reports regional politics with a progressive eye, though it covers regional art and literature, too, and includes a section titled, simply, “Witness.” The magazine, which is published online and in print, fosters “critical conversations about the many Souths where we live, love and struggle” and aims to empower “activists, artists and writers to reckon with Southern realities as they are, rather than as they seem to be.” Recent stories confront toxic masculinity, explain how to fight racism through the auspices of craft beer, collect a range of Latinx poetry from around the American South, and report on Syrian cuisine in small-town Georgia.

The Southern Foodways Alliance, based in Oxford, Miss., publishes a print quarterly called Gravy. Despite its name, the journal does more than report on cuisine, continuing the work of the alliance itself by showcasing, through food, “a South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions and lovingly maintaining old ones.” The latest issue includes an article on “The Queer Pleasures of Tammy Wynette’s Cooking” by Mayukh Sen and a profile by Osayi Endolyn of Joe Stinchcomb, an African-American bartender who invented five new cocktails, to celebrate Black History Month. The drinks had names like “Blood on the Leaves” and “(I’m Not Your) Negroni,” and they definitely raised some hackles down there in Mississippi.

For anyone still hoping to define Southern literature, storySouth is an online literary journal based in Greensboro, N.C. It publishes “the best fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry that writers from the New South have to offer,” according to its website. Subjects that seem to play into regional stereotypes can be found there at times. The current issue features a poem called “Roadkill” by Megan Blankenship and one by William Woolfitt called “Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Face of Christ on Tin,” for example. But read the poems: This is not your unlamented Agrarian’s Southern literature.

Perhaps the liveliest of the whole bunch is an absolutely wonderful online publication called The Bitter Southerner, an irreverent Atlanta-based site that truly covers the cultural waterfront, celebrating the lunacy of genuine homegrown geniuses, lifting up the unsung heroes of the region, and peeking behind the veil of great cultural institutions, and all while holding power to account in a part of the world where power has too often lost its uneducated mind.

But it’s the newest of these publications that most often captures my own attention these days. Southerly began in late 2016 as a weekly newsletter of investigative journalism, plus curated links to “News Flying Under the Radar” by other journalists around the region. Until this summer, when it received a grant from Solutions Journalism Network, it was funded entirely by Patreon subscribers, who monthly contribute an average of five dollars each through an online portal. Those supporters are still crucial to its survival. Lyndsey Gilpin — the magazine’s founder, editor and publisher — is a Northwestern University-trained journalist based in her hometown, Louisville, Ky., and her weekly reports from impoverished and often oppressed corners of the South have given a microphone to people whose voices are rarely heard in conversations about climate change, environmental exploitation or economic disparity.


Lyndsey Gilpin, founder of Southerly, an online magazine, near her home in Louisville, Ky.CreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

In July, Southerly grew into a full-fledged “independent media organization” that “covers the intersection of ecology, justice and culture in the American South,” according to its new website, and already it is taking no prisoners. The site — in partnership with The Montgomery Advertiser and Scalawag — launched with a four-part series on the breakout of tropical diseases in the rural South owing to failing sewage infrastructure. On Sept. 22, Southerly will convene a public discussion in Hayneville, Ala., about poverty-related illnesses and how communities can address the governmental crisis that spawned them.

Southerly’s mission statement sets out some uncompromising goals: “This region stands to bear the brunt and lose the most from the effects of climate change. It is experiencing massive economic shifts from a changing energy industry. The South is the fastest urbanizing area of the United States, but it is also the most economically distressed. Southerners deserve a publication that covers the nuances of their environment, history and communities without being condescending or stereotypical, without parachuting in from large metropolitan areas. The rest of the world deserves to know about the creative ways communities here are adapting to these changes, and the challenges that come with that.”

You could almost call it a mission statement for celebrating — and transforming — the South itself.

IM Daniel Gurevich Second Place Tie at the St Louis Invitational

IM Daniel Gurevich “cut his eye teeth,” as we say in the South, at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, aka, the House of Pain.

I made a point to be near the first board game of the last round of the K-6 section when Daniel took clear first in the Supernationals at Opryland in Nashville back in 2009 and I was the first one to congratulate him. He was beaming and his face broke into a big smile as he took my proffered hand. His score of six and a half out of seven games raised his rating from 2075 to 2104, and it has not stopped rising. His FIDE page shows his current FIDE rating as 2471. It will continuing heading upward after his second place finish, tied with four others, in the GM section of the recently concluded St. Louis Invitational, with a undefeated score of plus two, both wins coming with the black pieces. The final crosstable shown at the website of the STLCC (https://www.uschesschamps.com/2017-saint-louis-invitational/pairings-results-gm) shows Daniel with the second highest performance rating (2563) behind only that of tournament winner IM John Burke (2606).

I would like to present all of Daniel’s games at the tournament, some of which I was fortunate enough to watch (“You GOTTA pull for somebody, man!” – David Spinks); all of which I have played over.

Two games annotated by his opponents follow below the games. The first game, which I enjoyed immensely, could be called a “real barn burner!” The ChessBomb shows a plethora of “red moves,” but then most fighting games are repleat with “off-color” moves, are they not?

IM Daniel Gurevich (2471) v IM Aman Hambleton (2484)

Rd 1

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. e3
Bf5 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 c6 11. a3 Be7 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. h4 g6 14. h5 g5 15.
Ne2 Nd7 16. Ng3 Bg7 17. Nf5 a5 18. Nd2 Re8 19. f3 c5 20. O-O Qb6 21. f4 g4 22.
dxc5 Nxc5 23. Qe2 Qxb2 24. Qxg4 Kh8 25. Rab1 Qf6 26. Rb5 Bf8 27. Rf3 Ne4 28.
Nxe4 dxe4 29. Rg3 Bxa3 30. Rb6 Re6 31. Rxb7 a4 32. Ra7 Ree8 33. Rc7 Bb2 34. Nd6
Qxd6 35. Rxf7 Rg8 36. Qf5 Bg7 37. Rg6 Qxg6 38. hxg6 a3 39. Qh5 Rge8 40. Rxg7
Kxg7 41. Qd5 Kxg6 42. Qd6+ Kf7 43. Qd7+ Kf6 44. Qd4+ Kf7 45. Qd7+ Kf6 46. Qd4+
1/2-1/2

White: IM Raven Sturt (2449)

Rd 2

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bxc4 Nc6 6. Ne2 Nb6 7. Bb3 Bf5 8.
Nbc3 e6 9. O-O Qd7 10. Be3 O-O-O 11. a3 f6 12. exf6 gxf6 13. Ng3 Bg6 14. Qf3
Be7 15. Rfd1 Na5 16. Ba2 Nac4 17. d5 e5 18. Bxb6 Nxb6 19. a4 a5 20. Bb1 Rhg8
21. Bf5 Bxf5 22. Nxf5 Rg5 23. Nxe7+ Qxe7 24. Ne4 Rg6 25. d6 cxd6 26. Qc3+ Kb8
27. Qxa5 f5 28. Ng3 d5 29. Nxf5 Qg5 30. Ng3 h5 31. Qb5 h4 32. a5 hxg3 33. hxg3
Nc8 34. Rxd5 Rxd5 35. Qxd5 Rh6 36. Re1 Rh5 37. Qe6 Qg7 38. Rc1 Qh8 39. Rxc8+
Qxc8 40. Qd6+ Ka8 41. Qd2 Qh8 42. f3 Rh1+ 43. Kf2 Qc8 44. g4 Qc5+ 45. Kg3 Qd4
46. Qg5 Ka7 47. b4 Qc3 0-1

Black: GM Julio Catalino Sadorra (2554)

Rd 3

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O c5 5. c4 Nc6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 Be7 8.
dxc5 Bxc5 9. a3 O-O 10. b4 Bb6 11. Bb2 Ne4 12. Nc3 Nxc3 13. Bxc3 Bg4 14. e3 d4
15. exd4 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Bxd4 18. Rad1 Qb6 19. Qxb7 Rad8 20. Qxb6
axb6 21. Rfe1 Bb2 22. a4 Bc3 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 24. Re4 g6 25. Bf1 Rd1 26. Kg2 Kg7
27. Rc4 Be1 28. Re4 Bc3 29. Bc4 Re1 30. Rxe1 Bxe1 31. b5 f5 32. f4 Kf6 33. Kf3
Bb4 34. h3 h5 35. g4 hxg4+ 36. hxg4 fxg4+ 37. Kxg4 Bd6 1/2-1/2

White: IM John Bartholomew (2442)

Rd 4

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. a3 a6 8. dxc5
Qxd1 9. Rxd1 Bxc5 10. b4 Be7 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Nbd2 b5 13. Be2 Bb7 14. Nb3 Rfd8
15. Nfd2 Nd7 16. Bf3 Rab8 17. Rac1 Nde5 18. Bxe5 Nxe5 19. Bxb7 Rxb7 20. Ne4
Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 Nc4 22. Nec5 Ra7 23. g3 g5 24. Rd7 Rxd7 25. Nxd7 Nxa3 26. Ndc5
Nc2 27. Nxa6 Bd6 28. Nd4 Nxd4 29. exd4 g4 30. f4 Kf8 31. Kf2 Ke7 32. Nc5 Kd8
33. Ke3 Kc7 34. Ke4 Kc6 35. Na6 f5+ 36. Kd3 Kd5 37. Nc5 h5 38. Ke3 Be7 39. Kd3
Bf6 40. Na6 Bd8 41. Ke3 Kd6 42. Nc5 Bf6 43. Na6 h4 44. Kd3 h3 45. Ke3 Kc6 46.
Nc5 Kd5 47. Kd3 Bh4 48. gxh4 0-1

Black: GM Ioan-Cristian Chirila (2557)

Rd 5

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 f6
8. Be3 e5 9. Nd2 Be6 10. Bc4 Kf7 11. Kc2 Nd7 12. Rad1 Nb6 13. Bxe6+ Kxe6 14. b3
Nc8 15. f3 Nd6 16. c4 b6 17. Nb1 Nb7 18. Nc3 c6 19. g3 Bb4 20. Kb2 Rad8 21. a3
Bc5 22. Bxc5 Nxc5 23. b4 Nd3+ 24. Kc2 Nf2 25. Rxd8 Rxd8 26. Rf1 Nh3 27. Nd1 f5
28. exf5+ gxf5 29. Ne3 f4 30. gxf4 exf4 31. Ng4 h5 32. Nf2 Ng5 33. h4 Nxf3 34.
Nh3 Nd4+ 35. Kb2 f3 36. Ng5+ Kf5 37. Nxf3 Kg4 38. Ne5+ Kg3 39. Rg1+ Kh3 40.
Rh1+ Kg3 41. Rg1+ Kh3 42. Rh1+ Kg2 43. Rd1 Ne6 44. Re1 Nf4 45. Re4 Re8 46. Rxf4
Rxe5 47. Rf7 a5 48. Rf6 axb4 49. axb4 c5 50. Rxb6 cxb4 51. Rxb4 Re4 52. Kc3
Rxh4 53. Rb2+ Kg3 54. c5 Ra4 55. Rb3 h4 56. c6 Ra8 57. Kd4+ Kg2 58. Rb2+ Kg3
59. Rb3+ Kg2 60. Rb2+ 1/2-1/2

White: IM Atulya Shetty (2403)

Rd 6

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nc3 Nb6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8.
b3 O-O 9. Bb2 Re8 10. Rc1 Bg4 11. d3 Qd7 12. Ne4 f6 13. Nc5 Bxc5 14. Rxc5 Bh3
15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. b4 a6 17. a4 Qe6 18. a5 Nd5 19. Ba3 b6 20. Rc1 Rad8 21. Qb3
Nd4 22. Nxd4 exd4 23. Bb2 bxa5 24. bxa5 Kh8 25. Bxd4 Qxe2 26. Qd1 Qe6 27. Re1
Qxe1+ 28. Qxe1 Rxe1+ 29. Rxe1 Kg8 30. Bc5 Rb8 31. Be3 Rb3 32. Rc1 Rxd3 33. Rc6
Nxe3 34. fxe3 Rd6 35. Rxc7 Rd5 36. Kg2 Rxa5 37. Ra7 h5 38. h4 Kh7 39. e4 Kg6
40. Kf3 Ra1 41. Kf2 a5 42. Kf3 a4 43. Kf2 a3 44. Kg2 a2 45. Kh2 Kh7 46. Ra8 g6
47. Ra7+ Kg8 48. Kg2 Kf8 49. Kh2 Ke8 50. Kg2 Kd8 51. Kh2 Kc8 52. Kg2 Kb8 53.
Ra3 Kb7 54. Ra4 Kb6 55. Ra8 Kb5 56. Rb8+ Kc4 57. Rc8+ Kd3 58. Rd8+ Ke3 59. Ra8
Rd1 60. Rxa2 Rd2+ 61. Rxd2 Kxd2 62. Kf2 Kd1 63. Kf1 1/2-1/2

Black: IM Steven Zierk (2493)

Rd 7

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. d4 cxd4 7. Nxd4 O-O 8.
O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qd3 Rb8 11. Bg5 Be6 12. Rac1 a6 13. b3 Re8 14. Rfd1 Qa5
15. Bd2 Qh5 16. a4 Nd7 17. Nd5 Ne5 18. Qe4 Bf5 19. Nf4 Bxe4 20. Nxh5 Bxg2 21.
Nxg7 Kxg7 22. Kxg2 Nd7 23. Be3 Rbc8 24. Rd5 Rc6 25. Rcd1 Rec8 26. f4 f5 27. Kf3
Kf7 28. a5 Nf6 29. R5d3 Ne4 30. Bb6 Nf6 31. h3 Nd7 32. Be3 Nc5 33. Bxc5 Rxc5
34. Rd5 R8c6 35. e4 Rxd5 36. Rxd5 e6 37. Rd4 Ke7 38. g4 fxe4+ 39. Kxe4 b6 40.
axb6 Rxb6 41. Rd3 Rb8 42. f5 Rf8 43. Rf3 gxf5+ 44. gxf5 Rg8 45. fxe6 Kxe6 46.
Kd4 a5 47. Re3+ Kd7 48. Kc3 Rg2 49. Rd3 Kc6 50. Rd5 Rg3+ 51. Kb2 a4 52. bxa4
Rxh3 53. a5 Re3 54. Rh5 Re5 55. Rxh7 Rxa5 56. Kc3 1/2-1/2

White: IM John M Burke (2502)

Rd 8

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e5 Ne4 5. Ne2 Qb6 6. d4 e6 7. Ng3 c5 8. Bd3
Nxg3 9. fxg3 c4 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O Nc6 12. g4 Bd7 13. c3 f6 14. exf6 gxf6 15.
g5 O-O-O 16. gxf6 Bxf6 17. Kh1 Rhg8 18. b3 cxb3 19. axb3 e5 20. dxe5 Nxe5 21.
Nxe5 Bxe5 22. Qxd5 Qg6 23. Bf3 Bc6 24. Qc4 Rdf8 25. Bxc6 Qxc6 26. Qxc6+ bxc6
27. Be3 Bxc3 28. Rxf8+ Rxf8 29. Rc1 Bb2 30. Rb1 Re8 31. Bxa7 Re2 32. g3 Kb7 33.
Bg1 Kc7 34. Rf1 Kd6 35. Rf7 h6 36. Bf2 Bc1 37. Kg2 Rb2 38. Rf3 Ke5 39. h4 Ke4
40. g4 Bf4 41. Rh3 Be5 42. g5 hxg5 43. hxg5 Kf5 44. Rd3 1/2-1/2

Black: GM Jayaram Ashwin (2474)

Rd 9

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4 5. h3 Bh5 6. c4 e6 7. d4 Be7 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Qb3 Qb6 10. Qxb6 axb6 11. Nc3 Nc6 12. Be3 Nd7 13. Nb5 O-O 14. Rfc1 Rfc8 15. a3 Na5 16. Rxc8+ Rxc8 17. Rc1 Rc6 18. Rc3 Kf8 19. g4 Bg6 20. Nd2 Bc2 21. b4 Rxc3 22. Nxc3 Nc6 23. f4 Nf6 24. Kf2 Ne8 25. Nf3 Nd6 26. Bc1 Ne4+ 27. Nxe4 dxe4 28. Ne5 Nxd4 29. Ke3 Nb3 30. Bb2 f5 31. g5 b5 32. Bc3 Bd6 33. Bf1 Bxe5 34. Bxe5 g6 35. Bb2 Ke7 36. h4 Kd6 37. Bh3 Kd5 38. Bg2 Bb1 39. Bh3 Kc4 40. Bf1 Bc2 41. Bg2 b6 42. Bf1 Bb1 43. Bg2 Ba2 44. Bf1 Kd5 45. Bg2 Kc6 46. Bh3 Kd6 47. Bg2 Kd5 48. Bh3 Bb1 49. Bg2 Kc4 50. Bf1 Ba2 51. Bg2 Bb1 52. Bf1 Bc2 53. Bg2 Bb1 ½-½

IM Daniel Gurevich vs. IM Aman Hambleton [Round 1]

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/202166652

IM Bartholomew vs. IM Daniel Gurevich [Round 2]

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.”