Mr. J. Parnell Watkins is the President of the Georgia Chess Association. He has been sidelined recently after having heart surgery to replace a valve. It was good to have this good news in the inbox today! The following exchange transpired a short time ago:
to Jr. I’d not planned on any edits! I would not change a word, sir. Now if you want something changed, please let me know…otherwise, I’m ready to fire that salvo!
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
to me No changes. I’m feeling reckless, and short on work hours.
With that in mind…
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
12:42 PM (1 hour ago)
to me I should add, heart surgery went well and other than a tendency to end sentences with “Mooo”, no ill effects. New valve working well, arteries and veins relatively healthy, and back to (limited) work today. I have about a month of GCA to catch up on, but am glad to say we are now at a state where we can host a tournament without my direct intervention. The MLK went well from planning to implementation with minimal input from me. I have the greatest respect for Scott Parker, but I am not him nor am I willing to be the critical piece that makes the entire organization function. I do not have either his or Fun Fong’s energy (each of us have different strengths and weaknesses to work with).
We desperately need a treasurer if you know anyone who has that kind of mind for details and a love of chess. It isn’t me for sure. Board positions up for election in April are: President (me), 1st VP (Thad Rogers), Treasurer (vacant), Secretary (Kendya Scott), 1st Member at Large (Kevin Schmuggerrow), 2nd Member at Large (vacant). Kendya will not run again (focusing on running tournaments) and Thad may not (he is slowing down).
Thanks to the generosity of James Altucher, most of your concerns with last year’s Senior’s Tournament have been addressed. He is hosting the event, giving us a break between rounds. Most of the other details are the same. Formats for the championship, class, and open are the same this year. Women’s tournament tournament failed to occur last year, the first choices for venue were not available and the backup site was cancelled on us. Still trying to get a college, preferably a women’s college (Agnes Scott or Spellman), to host.
With some minor exceptions, this year is planned, and we will begin looking at 2024 in April. Two biggest challenges right now are the office of treasury (paying bills, awarding winnings, accounting, etc.) and communications (websites, blogs, etc.). I need the right people to run these efforts. We need to be more timely paying out and have better accounting practices and ensure easy and clear access to any and all GCA information via social media of choice, coordinating the outlets and feeding them in a timely manner.
Well, I’m back and open for feedback again. Sorry for the long absence but my heart wouldn’t wait for a more convenient time to make its own problems known. Now with a fully functioning heart I hope to have more energy to put into the GCA.
You have heard from The Man. Any organization is only as good as those who lead the organization. The GCA needs YOU!
One of the best things about the Atlanta Chess and Game Center was the multifarious people, who came from every walk of life while having one thing in common: Chess. I thought of this while reading an article in the New York Times, How to Change Minds? A Study Makes the Case for Talking It Out. Below the title one finds the main point of the article: Researchers found that meaty conversations among several people can align beliefs and brain patterns — so long as the group is free of blowhards. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)
There were the habitués who would pontificate loudly, but usually anyone could get a chance to put in their two cents worth. There were a few blowhards and occasionally the Forhorn would blow. During the time spent working there it became obvious the blowhards were all far right of the political spectrum. One extremely strident wrong-winger lost it once, balling up his fist before slamming it into the glass counter top, shattering the glass. He was never seen again, thankfully.
From the article:
“Conversation is our greatest tool to align minds,” said Thalia Wheatley, a social neuroscientist at Dartmouth College who advises Dr. Sievers. “We don’t think in a vacuum, but with other people.” The new study “suggests that the degree of similarity in brain responses depends not only on people’s inherent predispositions, but also the common ground created by having a conversation,” Dr. Leong said.
The experiment also underscored a dynamic familiar to anyone who has been steamrollered in a work meeting: An individual’s behavior can drastically influence a group decision. Some of the volunteers tried to persuade their groupmates of a cinematic interpretation with bluster, by barking orders and talking over their peers. But others — particularly those who were central players in the students’ real-life social networks — acted as mediators, reading the room and trying to find common ground. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)
There were myriad “meaty conversations” at the House of Pain. The President of the Georgia Chess Association, Scott Parker, was also the Tournament Director at many events. Scott was called, “The Sheriff” behind his back because he did not care to be called “Sheriff,” but with his ramrod straight deportment it fit. When The Sheriff was in the House the conversations may have been “meaty” but they were “conversations,” not shouting matches. Scott was, whether he likes it or not, The Sheriff because of the respect everyone at the House had for him.
Writing these words caused me to reflect upon those days and nights at the House and how little conversation has been engaged during the pandemic. A phone call is not the same as actually watching someone engaged in conversation; nor is an email. With that in mind I have recently been reading comments left at various websites concerning the Magnus Freak Out affair. I spent time reading the comments left by Chess fans at various websites and after copying one, wondered why I did not copy an earlier comment, so I scrolled backward and did just that. What follows could be considered modern day conversation:
Chumlychess @DohnalSteven Replying to @ChampChessTour Always admired the World Champion but unless he speaks out to his proof this seems like a wussy move
B @damnthecatt emotional damage for niemann his chess career is done
kiran.sol 🔮🦉 @kiranjaimon He has an impeccable record with no controversy. If he believes something is wrong, I am inclined to agree
David Gil de Gómez @ITStudiosi Why anyone would defend Magnus here is beyond me.
Khan Explorer @khan_explore Unfortunately Magnus has too many dick riders who will keep defending him.
dd df @dddf08021173 Disqualify Magnus for this behaviour.
Steve Holloway @JSteveHolloway A good lawyer sees a defamation suit against Magnus
Indian Sports Fans @IndianSportFan King 👑 Magnus does it again. Magnus Carlsen vs. Hans Niemann game today, a recap:
Magnus Quits.. Why. Can anyone explain. Pls. #chessdrama #chess
CryptoSala🔁 @CryptoSala Magnus should not participate in events with Hans in that case. Or provide evidence for Hans cheating.
Neil Merryll 👌🥀 @Neilmerryll True its unsportsmanlike and he has no integrity
Praava 🇮🇳 @Praava97 Magnus losing all his fans really quickly. Going down the Fischer lane..
Praava 🇮🇳 @Praava97 I’m a huge fan of Magnus but this sort of behaviour is just bullish to say the least. It’s high time now that Magnus should come forward and SPEAK on the matter.
Gerry Last @PatzerGod I feel this is some kind of massive troll, or publicity stunt. Most likely wrong but this just doesn’t make any sense.
Vishesh Kabra @visheshkabra This is the new Queen’s Gambit Declined
DK @DaleKerr Magnus should have been sanctioned after the Sinquefield Cup, either he makes a full statement and provides some evidence, or he is banned from future tournaments. His actions are disrupting tournaments and every player, not just himself and Hans.
Martin Hansen @bondegnasker If he isn’t sanctioned, that raises another point about a wealthy and influential player owning his own chess server and how that affects fair play.
Kela Siame @TheRealKela You’re in fantasy world sir.
dot @dot16060982 Magnus should be banned from chess tournaments
Big Alex @Big__Alex this summed to the fact that he will not defend his title is really a shame. He should have been punished!
Mark J. Moser @mjmoser I lost all respect for Magnus. Whatever Niemann did or not. Magnus should communicate and not just fan the flames of gossip and ruin the reputation of Niemann. The loser is chess!
Hic. @TheHigherSpace Everybody turning against Magnus .. This is weird ..
Saltybird @saltcod1 Naa.. Hugely impressive move by Magnus in my opinion. Brutal forcing strategy.. no sweeping it under the carpet now and it will ALL come out.
After hearing a rumor about the demise of the new ACC it was time to check with the man known as “The Sheriff,” aka Scott Parker, President of the Georgia Chess Association. Mr. Parker does not care for the appellation but a more fitting sobriquet does not exist. It was hung on Scott by the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When queried about the name Tim said, “Scott walks around the House (of Pain) ramrod straight, like Gary Cooper in High Noon.”
Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 3:31 PM
Sad but true.The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta will be shutting it’s doors on Nov. 24. Participation has not recovered enough from the pandemic for them to make a go of it. They’re in a nice space in a nice area of town, but the $3800/month rent is killing them. They are losing too much money, and the job is taking too much of Karen’s time. She’s really unhappy about having to do this, but she feels there is no choice.
My term of office ends on Dec. 12 at the conclusion of the annual GCA Membership Meeting. After that I will be tying up some odds and ends like the financials of the State Championship tournament and trying to smooth the transition to Parnell Watkins’ Presidency, but essentially I will be done at that time. It’s time for me to move on from the GCA, and it’s time for the GCA to move on from me.
Be well, Scott
After replying the following was received:
Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 6:46 PM
The 2022 GA Senior Championship is in limbo now. That event was to have been held in January along with the GA Women’s Championship at Ben and Karen’s place, but obviously that isn’t going to happen. Where and when it will be held will be up to the next GCA Board.
I doubt that I will be playing in any more tournaments, senior or otherwise. The prospect just doesn’t interest me anymore. I’d play some casual blitz, but that’s probably the extent of it. As I said, time to move on.
Be well, Scott
A case can be made that Scott Parker was, historically speaking, the best President of the Georgia Chess Association. Then there is Chess Hall of Famer Thad Rogers, who single-handedly kept the sinking boat of the GCA afloat after Earle Morrison bankrupted the organization. For what it’s worth, Mr. Parker said he thought Ted Weiber was the best POTGCA.
I teach chess and want to champion others to grow in it, as well as personally, using my unique teaching perspective. I strongly believe in others’ inherent qualities and enormous potential to succeed both in chess and in life https://www.flickr.com/people/chesscontact/
Whoa now, Mr. Pawn? Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog?!!! This reminded me of an old TV commercial about websites in which a boy asks an adult, “How many hits do you get?”
At this point I emailed the President of the GCA, the honorable Scott Parker, inquiring about the man behind Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog, of which I had never heard. This was his reply:
I know Momir Radovic personally, and have played some chess with him. We’re about equally skilled (equally unskilled might be more exact) at chess. He’s a good guy.
Be well, Scott
The Self-deprecation was to be expected from the man known at the House of Pain as “The Sheriff.” If Scott says Momir is “a good guy” that is good enough for me. Still, that thing about having Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog makes me ready to go over the board, in lieu of into the ring, but only because of my age! On August 11, 2019, the post, Yet Another Chess Cheating Scandal, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/yet-another-chess-cheating-scandal) went viral, garnering 5773 views that day. As of today there have been 7005 views of the post. Although not having as many “hits” on the day published, the post of April 26, 2020, Confirmation Garry Kasparov Cheated Judit Polgar, ()https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/ continues to be read with hardly a day going by without a view. It will soon top the aforementioned post in total views. I am calling you out, Mr. Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog(ger). How many hits does the Pawn that Roared receive?Momir Radovic is rated 1767 by the USCF. That would be his ‘regular’ rating. I am old enough to remember when there were only two ratings, one for Over The Board and the other for Correspondence Chess. Mr. Radovic is a class ‘B’ player who has previously crossed the line into class ‘A’. Back in the day he would be considered a ‘solid’ class ‘B’ player. With so many people, like former USCF President Allen Priest, who sported a 700 rating, having a triple digit rating these daze Momir is almost world class. Please do not take me wrong, I do not mean to demean Momir because ‘back in the day’ it was thought that anyone who made it to class ‘B’ had to be taken seriously as they had stopped dropping pieces and could play a serious game of Chess. I tied for first place in the 1974 Atlanta Chess Championship with a fellow from New York and was declared Champion while a class ‘B’ player. The class ‘B’ player W. Stanley Davis, upset GM John Federowicz
in the very first round of the 1980 US Open in Atlanta, Georgia. That said, it was still something to hear Momir call out Grandmasters in his article., which begins:
“There’s a massive, uncontrolled and unhealthy proliferation of chess opening experts of all kind and provenience. From ELO 1600 all the way up to the super GM circle (where, among others, is sitting a certain famous Twitter celebrity and acclaimed Najdorf expert).
The mushrooming of experts into all sorts of domains like, “visa consultants,” “immigration experts,” or “life coaches” sees their bold advertising services, making false promises and charging exorbitant amounts. And all of that to provide just a very basic service.”
I do not know about you but I want to know the name of that “…certain famous Twitter celebrity and acclaimed Najdorf expert.”
There follows: “In chess, this corrupt practice has been established around openings. It creates a grave disservice and has direct consequences for the average player in that it is slowing down/stopping them altogether along the growth path. Amateur players have thus become prisoners of the opening theory and their own conditioning that has been put on them and used by opening “experts.”
It gets better, or worse, depending on one’s perspective. I strongly urge you to read the remarkable article because, as Momir writes at one point, it is, “Simply astonishing, isn’t it?”
It certainly is! I was so astonished I read it again! What follows is one of the reasons I reread the piece. Chess book and video publishers are not going to like what Momir had to say, and I do not blame them. In another line of work the kind of ‘hit’ Momir received would be more along the line of something out of the Godfather,
Better learn to duck and cover, Momir, my man…See what I mean:
“Chess books publishing and chess portals are following suit. They are tirelessly producing tons of copies of invaluable content on openings. On all channels, openings count for more than HALF of all chess material delivered to you. Here’s some facts and the number of books/courses/videos as of early August.”
Chessable (“No.1 site for chess improvement and science-based learning backed by the World chess champion Magnus Carlsen..”)
Openings 341 Endgames 38 Strategy 92 Tactics 227
New In Chess Openings 412 Middlegame 68 Strategy 86 Tactics 68 Improvement 84 Attack and Defense 33 Endgames 50
Everyman Chess Openings 277 Games Collections 69 Training books 135 Improvers 32 (5 on ops)
Quality Chess Openings 93 Improvement 83
Gambit Publications Openings 59 Endings 14 Puzzles and Studies 14 Training, Strategy and Improvement 37 Beginners and Intermediate 19 Tactics 19 Games Collections and General 9
He does not stop there. Momir reloads time and again. Take this for example: “The situation isn’t much better in blogging, either. The blogging space is, sadly, also overcrowded with opening enlightenments.
So it seems that, in the Brave New World of Chess, average players have basically been brainwashed
into being one-dimensional consumerists of openings with no regard or interest in seeing chess for themselves. Or in thinking for themselves.
The chess world is filled with endless (mostly opening) distractions that keep us perpetually numb to the world of ideas.”
Wait a minute…I am a blogger and focus on the opening! One of his salvos has hit home and is now the Armchair Wounded Warrior!
The Pawn that Roared ends with this mighty blast:
ART OF FLIMFLAM. CONTINUED
“An artificially created market that demands openings as a “quick and easy” fix has a devastating effect on the developing player’s road to growth, that’s for sure. The primary victim is the player’s staying-underdeveloped, never-improving thought process.
But what all of this is telling us about its creators, opening “experts” themselves?
Do they really think they are helping us with their trifle manuals? (Do you?)
Are they doing all this to show their creativity and chess understanding, or maybe for a quick and easy profit instead?
Or perhaps the opening experts simply have nothing better to offer us? They may not be capable, without their trustworthy engines, to write about any subtler chess topics at all?”
Writing about openings is comparatively easy, because you are setting out specific lines you check with an engine. Writing about middlegames and endings is hard, because you have to communicate concepts. – Cuddles T
After reading the above my first thought was, “Who the hell is Cuddles T?”
I am going to disagree with the Killer ‘B’ but not now, because it is late and I am tired. One of the reasons is I stopped punchin’ & pokin’ to watch some of the moves being played at the Charlotte Labor Day 2021 tournament and became transfixed with one game in particular and stopped writing to concentrate on the game, but more on that tomorrow in part 2 of this post. Until then, once again I urge you to take time to read one of the most remarkable Chess articles I have read in some time, and come on back tomorrow to read part two of The Pawn Who Roared.
Twelve women played Chess in the Women’s Grand Prix in Lausanne, Capital city of the Swiss Canton of Vaud in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Nana Dzagnidze, rated 2515, and Aleksandra Goryachkina, rated 2579, tied for first place, each with seven points.
The deciding face-off between Nana Dzagnidze and Aleksandra Goryachkina is about to begin | Photo: David Llada
The younger woman, Goryachkina, who recently drew Ju Wunjun in a match for the Women’s World Championship, was the only undefeated player.
The composite rating of the players participating in the tournament was 2511, barely over the minimum requirement of 2500 for entry into the Grandmaster class. The ratings ranged from a low of Marie Sebag (2443) to the high of Wenjun Ju (2583). World human Chess champion Magnus Carlsen is curently rated 2862. Magnus, the man, is clearly rated two classes above the women’s champion, Ju.
Why is all this money going to segregated tournaments consisting of only women? Women are free to play in Chess tournaments where everyone, regardless of sex, is allowed. This means the women are having their cake and eating it, too. Women want more than equality. Why is this allowed when there are male Grandmasters rated from 2443 to 2583 who have resorted to cheating in order to survive?
In my home state of Georgia the 2019 Women’s Championship was held at the Atlanta Chess Center, located in Roswell, the seventh largest city in the Great State of Georgia. There were a total of seven players. Jill Rennie, rated 1416 going into the tournament, took first place by winning all four games.
Jill upset the highest rated player, Evelyn Qaio (1756), in the third round.
Evelyn Qaio vs Jill Rennie
I have no idea how much money Jill won with her upset win even though I reached out to the President of the Georgia Chess Association, asking for particulars of the tournament:
Michael Bacon <email@example.com>
To:Scott R. Parker
Tue, Jan 14 at 4:02 PM
The article concerning the 2019 Georgia Women’s Chess Championship at the Ga Chess News website was brought to my attention by a reader of the blog. It was suggested that maybe I should have written something about the tournament. With that in mind I would like to ask a few questions.
I am under the impression it was a GCA event. Please correct me if I am wrong.
There were only seven participants in the women’s tournament. How usual, or unusual is it for the GCA to organize any tournament containing less than ten players? Prior to this event what was the last event organized by the GCA in which so few players attended? Has the GCA, to your knowledge, ever organized an event in which less than ten players participated?
How many GCA women’s championships have been held in the history of the GCA?
What were the monetary prizes? Was the money put up by the GCA? Or did the entry fees pay for the tournament? Did the GCA make money from holding the tournament? If so, how much money did the GCA take in? Did it lose money? If so, how much money did the GCA lose from holding the event?
Prior to the tournament was there any discussion concerning having the women players vie for the women’s title while playing in the Georgia Chess Championship? For example, the women could possibly have played for a trophy and/or cash in the State Championship while also being eligible for other prizes, such as a class prize. (As an aside, this could have been done with the Senior tournament, for example, which has habitually had a small turnout for many years, or decades, excepting the one held in a nice hotel by Smuggy. Yet even the low number of players in the Senior last year dwarfed the small number of players in the women’s event) Has this been discussed by the board members previously?
What is the justification for holding a completely separate tournament for only women?
Does the GCA have any plans for holding a tournament for people of color exclusively?
Has the GCA considered holding a tournament only for people with only green eyes? Would the GCA ever consider such a proposal?
How many women are members of the GCA? How many Georgia women are members of US Chess? (Correct me if it is still called the “USCF” but I am under the impression the “F” was dropped…)
To have a completely separate tournament for any group how many members would be required by the GCA? For example, if the GCA decided to hold a tournament for only people of color how many members would there have to be?
Change “people of color” above to “blind.” How many members would have to be blind?
What is the plan for the 2020 women’s championship?
Does the GCA segregate the boys from the girls in scholastic tournaments or do both sexes play in the same tournament? If the latter, why are the girls not segregated from the boys? (Point being why are the women segregated but not the girls?)
Lastly, (unless and until I come up with another question!) are you aware how other states administer their women’s championship(s) and, if so, did how other states hold their tournament(s) affect the decision to hold such a subdivided tournament?
In the latter half, journalist Linda Godfrey, an authority on anomalous animals and paranormal phenomena in Wisconsin,
discussed her new work on urban legends and ancient lore. Modern-day eyewitnesses describe creatures not known to exist in our time but which show up in ancient cultures such as in the Egyptian pantheon, where there was a dog-headed upright creature named Anubis that correlates with recent sightings of ‘Dogman.’ Godfrey has concluded that the strange sightings of anomalous creatures are not mass hallucinations– “it’s something that is happening to people in all walks of life,” she said, and “usually unexpectedly.”
Indigenous people have characterized the strange creatures as spirit beings that take physical form to procreate and demonstrate different qualities. While they can leave tracks and claw marks, Godfrey pointed out that when people have fired upon them or hit them with their vehicles, the creatures seem amazingly resilient, picking themselves up and dashing off into the woods. She delved into beings such as Slender Man, who first took off as a fictional meme on the Internet, leading to a case where two Wisconsin girls stabbed a schoolmate as a way to please Slender Man. The idea of a tall, stick figure actually dates back to the Native American lore of “Deer People,” she cited. Godfrey also talked about persistent sightings in central Wisconsin of panthers– animals that wildlife officials claim cannot be there. (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2019/07/15)
Dedicated to Georgia Chess Association President Scott Parker
I went to the official website of the Georgia Chess Association (http://www.georgiachess.org/) to read about the recently completed Georgia State Chess Championship and found this:
The 2019 State Champions have been crowned. Congratulations to all the participants and the winners! “State Champions” was in red so I clicked on and was directed to Facebook, or as I prefer to think of it, “F—book.” Why should I have to go to F—book to read what should be contained at the website of the GCA? F—book is a reprehensible organization, having helped facilitate the Russians, for a price, to subvert the last Presidential election. F—book sells the information of We The People to the highest bidder, yet people, and organizations continue to use F—book. Why? Why is the GCA using F—book? Why would anyone in his right mind use F—book? Consider this article: The Ugly Truth About How Facebook Uses Your Private Data
“We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created. We also collect information about how you use our Services, such as the types of content you view or engage with or the frequency and duration of your activities.”
1st/2nd/3rd Miles Melvin, Joseph Franklin & William Remick Jr $525 4
4th & 1st U1850 Sreekar Bommireddy & Pranit Mishra $237.50 3 1/2
2nd U1850 Zachary Stokes, Leon Cheng, Anthony Morse, Sant Muralidharan, Calavin Jackson & Parth Shinde $33.34 3
1st Tyler Luo $800 5
2nd Rajat Ravi $450 4 1/2
3rd & 4th James Senarus, Ocean Liu, & Richard Jones $191.67 4
1st U1550 Gavin Zhou $225 3
2nd U1550 Dipti Ramnath & Andrew Spencer $100 2 1/2
1st Ramchandra Nadar $700 4 1/2
2nd/3rd/4th Alan Spektor, Andrew Downes, & Ronald Sanders II $341.67 4
1st/2nd U1250 Srihan Avirneni & Arjun Garg $212.50 3
Please send your address to firstname.lastname@example.org if you did not pick up your check at the event.
Congratulations to the new, and returning, members of the GCA board. No matter what happens in the next few years this board will be much better than that of the last two terms because it is not possible to fall below the bottom of the barrel.
While living in Greenville, SC, the octogenarian, LM Klaus Pohl, said something that stuck with me. When asked what he thought of the new Chess Center in Charlotte Klaus said he did not like to play there because the young players offer too many draws. Upon further questioning Klaus said that with scholarships so important the young players were “afraid to lose,” so therefore made far too many draw offers. From the time I began playing in USCF tournaments rating has been King. This was, though, the first time I had heard anything concerning what the rating points could possibly mean toward earning a scholarship. Another player listening to the conversation said, “Everyone knows rating points are being bought and sold like it’s an open market.” My reply, “I did not know that,” elicited this response, “Ah, come on man. You worked at the Atlanta Chess Center. Surely you were aware of that kind of thing taking place.” With a blank look on my face I replied, “Not really.” I am not saying it did not happen, just that I was completely unaware of it if it did, in fact, happen while I was employed at the House of Pain.
There were rumors going around before I returned to Atlanta. I will not print rumors. I did, though, reach out to several people involved with Chess in Georgia, writing, “If you would like to comment on any of this, let me inform you that I may use anything you say, or write, UNLESS YOU WANT IT KEPT PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL!”
candidate for the position of OFFICE OF 1ST VICE PRESIDENT writes: “I am running for 1st Vice President of GCA. I previously served on the GCA Board in this position, but I resigned from the board because, in my opinion, the board had become dysfunctional. Several months ago several GCA Board members encouraged me to run for the position again. I agreed to do so only after Scott Parker also agreed to run for President of GCA. My hope is that the next board will place personal feelings and animosity aside and work for chess instead of for their own interests/pet projects or a narrow constituency.”
The fact that Colonel David Hater felt he had to resign from the GCA Board speaks loudly. The fact that David, a man I admire and respect, felt compelled to write, “…the board had become dysfunctional,” screams out in pain. Nevertheless, David did not respond to my entreaty.
One of the board members did say, in an off hand comment at the Ironman Chess Club, they were “fed up” with all the “screaming and shouting” at the meeting of the GCA board. Although no names were mentioned the fact is that it is now, and has been for some time, an open secret that Thad Rogers was not happy when Parnell Watkins used his affiliate, American Chess Promotions to rate some of the events listed below. The thing is that Thad Rogers
and Parnell Watkins
were earlier listed as running for the same office, that of 1st member at large. The only one leaving a statement at a page mentioned earlier was L. Thad Rogers, the man who became POTGCA again after the previous president, Fun E. Fong, abdicated, leaving Chess behind like it was the plague. From reports it is obvious Chess in my home state of Georgia has quickly devolved under the caretaker leadership of Thad Rogers.
The Georgia State Chess Championship begins tonight and there will be an election Sunday. Chess players, and members of the GCA, can only hope responsible leaders, such as Scott Parker
and David Hater, gain a seat on the board.
Alan Piper was known as “The Pipe” at the House of Pain. As one of Alan’s victims eased down the stairs those below watched as someone said, “It looks like he got hit by the Pipe,” while others nodded in agreement. One wag said, “Sometimes you hit the Pipe. Sometimes the Pipe hits you.” Alan once won a state championship (I want to say Missouri, but could be wrong) when younger and was a NM. Although uncertain about Alan’s age, the fact is he has been eligible for the Senior tournaments for many years and must be seventy, or older.
The following results for the past 12 months was taken from the USCF website:
10487030: ALAN G PIPER
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03
The Pipe has obviously played an inordinate amount of games with two players. The number of losses to the two much younger players is simply staggering. Usually when one is drubbed in a match there are no further matches. One of the members of the GCA board, a very nice woman, Anna Baumstark, told me it was all “public record on the USCF website.” I decided to take the time to check it out…You, too, can check it out here: http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?14114923
On September 12, 2015. Alan Piper played in the INVITATIONAL QUAD #10 (GA), directed by Grant Oen. The Sponsoring Affiliate was SOUTHEAST CHESS.
Alan would not play again until August 13, 2016 when he participated in the CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT, directed by JOSEPH COUVILLION, with CHESS BUG ATLANTA, being the affiliate. SHANMUKHA MERUGA was clear first with 3-0. KAPISH POTULA finished clear second with a 2-1 score, the loss was to Meruga. Alan Piper won a game from a class C player, and lost two other games, one with a class B player, the other to Kapish Potula.
Let us go back to the tournament prior to the Quad, August 8, 2015, the LOGANVILLE SUMMER QUAD, directed by Grant Oen, with the affilate being Southeast Chess. The Pipe won all three games; gained 29 rating points which raised his rating to 2079. He beat Shanmukha Meruga, rated 2054, in the first round, then two class A players, Vedic Panda and Davide Nastasio.
After playing in the aforementioned CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT Alan did not play again until January 22, 2018 when he played a match with Shanmukha Meruga. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and the affiliate was Gwinnett Chess. The time control was G/30;d5. Meruga won all four games, gaining fourteen points to end with a rating of 2056. The Pipe lost twenty points dropping to 2019.
After a couple of blitz quads on July 13 the next match with Meruga took place the next day, July 14. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, using the affiliate of the acting President of the GCA, L. Thad Rogers, AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS. It was a real old fashioned, “speed,” time control of five minutes only for the games. Meruga won all ten games.
Three days later another match was contested between the same two players, named, PIPER MERUGA MATCH 2. The time control was, G/25;d5. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and it was rated using the affiliate of GWINNETT CHESS. Meruga won all five games.
Two days later, July 19, 2018 there was yet another tournament contested once again by the young whippersnapper and the old leaky Pipe. Once again it was directed by J PARNELL WATKINS JR and the sponsoring affiliate was again GWINNETT CHESS, and once again Meruga won all ten games played at a “speed” TC of five minutes for the entire game.
Three days later there was the NASTASIO-PIPER MATCH, which was held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, the seventh largest city in the great state of Georgia. The chief TD was BENJAMIN P FINEGOLD,
Meruga/Finegold in front of the Atlanta Chess and Scholastic Club of Atlanta located in Roswell, Ga.
assisted by KAREN BOYD.
Karen Boyd and Ben Finegold
The time control was G/60;+10. The three game match was drawn. In addition there was another match played that day between the same two players. The TC was G/4;+2, and Piper won 8-2.
A few weeks later, 9/8/18, Piper and Meruga were back at it, contesting not one, but two, more matches. J PARNELL WATKINS JR was again the TD and AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS was the affiliate used to rate the matches. No one will be surprised to learn Meruga won the G/5 “speed” match 9-1. What is surprising is that Piper actually won a game…Three games were also contested at a TC of G/30;d10. Guess who won all three games? Yeah, Meruga.
The very next day, 9/9/2018, the two intrepid players were back at it. Once again J PARNELL WATKINS JR was the TD, but the affiliate used was now GWINNETT CHESS. The speed match, with only five minutes per game, was convincingly won by Meruga by a score of 20-0. That is ZERO, ZIP, NADA!
It will come as little surprise by now that Meruga also won the G/30;d10 match by a score of 4-0.
The very next day yet another match was contested between the same two players, again with the same TD and affiliate. The time control was G/30;d10 and Meruga won all six games.
Have you gotten a whiff of some sort of fishy smell yet?
A few days later the Pipe was back at it, but with a different opponent, Kapish Potula. The TD and affiliate was the same, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. The time control was G/25;d5. Kapish Potula won all four games and increased his rating from 2136 to 2159.
One week later, on 9/28/18 the two players with the same TD and affiliate did it again. And again Potula won all four G/25;d5 to raise his rating from 2159 to 2179.
On October 6, 2018 the Pipe had a new opponent, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI, rated 1964. A six game match at a time control of G/35;d5 was contested and…the match was drawn! J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS was at it again.
On October 13, 2018 there was another six game, G/25;d5 match with Kapish Potula, and again it was J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. Hold on to something as I inform you that Alan G Piper actually won, and drew, two of the games played, while losing the other four.
The thing is that on that very same day, October 13, 2018, the Pipe also played another match with someone else, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI. It was another G/25;d5 with all the usual suspects present, meaning Parnell and Gwinnett Chess. The match was drawn, 2-2.
Then we come to November 19, 2018, the 2018 MERUGA PIPER “dual.” It appears as though that between 2018-11-17 thru 2018-11-19 a NINETEEN GAME MATCH at a TC of G/25;d5 was contested by the usual suspects, Meruga and Piper. The aforementioned player, Meruga won all nineteen games…J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were again the usual suspects.
But wait, there’s MORE! On November 27 the same two players contested yet another G/25;d5 “dual,” which Meruga won 12-0. Again, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were the responsible parties.
On December 7, a day which will live in infamy, 2018, another G/25;d5 match took place between Alan G. Piper and Kapish Potula. It was won by Potula, 5-0. J PARNELL WATKINS JR directed and GWINNETT CHESS sent it in to be rated.
After a couple more tournaments in December and a last one on January 26, the CCSCATL WINTER BLITZ CHAMPIONS, the record shows no more games, or matches, for the Pipe.
As a result of all these games, and others, Meruga became a 2300 rated player. Kapish Potula is currently rated 2187, knocking on the National Master door.
The 2019 Mr. Phillip Taylor GA State Championship begins in a month, May 17 through May 19, 2019. Who is Mr. Phillip Taylor? Chess tournaments in Georgia have usually been named after someone who has left the board. Since I have been around about as long as anyone involved with Chess in Georgia and was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor, I reached out to former POTGCA Scott Parker with an inquiry. Mr. Parker replied,
I believe it is because of a financial commitment, but I don’t know the details. If you want to email the full board to see who might know use email@example.com. That reaches all board members. And Mr. Taylor is very much alive and kicking. That much I do know.
After forwarding the above to every board member only one reply was received, from 2nd Member-at-large Anna Baumstark, who wrote:
I wasn’t on the board for the last State Championship, but I believe that Phil donates to the GCA each year to help defray the cost of the
Basically it is a one hundred dollars to play, one hundred dollars to stay kind of tournament. There are various time controls for the different sections, but the only one that matters is the “40/90, SD/30, d10″ for the Championship section. I prefer the added time of usually 30 seconds.
The 3-day schedule has two games, the first and third, to begin at 7:30 PM. Since I will not again attempt playing Chess at night in a tournament that would mean I could take two half-point byes, which are allowed, but only in rounds 1 thru 4 (limit two) and must request before Round One, with (absolutely) no changes afterwards!
I then found the website of the hotel in which the tournament would be played, the Radisson Atlanta Northwest, located at 1775 Parkway Pl SE, Marietta. This means the playing site is not accessible via MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the absolutely best way to get around Atlanta because the train moves when traffic comes to a halt. Although there is a bus system in Cobb county, where the city of Marietta is located, word on the street is it pales in comparison to MARTA and the Gwinnett county bus system. It is well known the traffic situation in Atlanta is horrible. The northern part of Atlanta known as Buckhead has recently considered the possibility of charging people who drive into that particular part of the city in order to relieve congestion. One official said, “Ninety percent of people who work in Buckhead do not live in the city.” I lived and worked in what was known as “The Head” in the 1970’s and 80’s when it was a community and there were affordable places for employees to live. Now only the wealthy can afford to live in “The Head.” As Atlanta continues to grow more people will utilize only public transportation like many people who live in New York City and never own, or even drive, a car. This should be taken into consideration by the GCA board.
A search for comments by former quests of the Radisson Atlanta Northwest, followed. Phil G. from Knoxville, TN., posted his review on 3/30/2019, giving the Radisson only one star out of a possible five, writing, “The only reason I gave this one lace a 1 star is because I couldn’t give it NEGATIVE stars.
This is the worst hotel I have ever been to. We were in the area for a Baseball tournament and our entire team booked here. One room had bugs in the bed and throw up in the floor, literally chunks of vomit in the middle of the floor. One room had the water running in the tub and it wouldn’t turn off. We had a total of 9 rooms and of the 9, eight of them didn’t have towels when we checked in. If the other area hotels weren’t booked we would have went somewhere else. Out of the 9 rooms, 7 had to change rooms because of filth or because something didn’t work, shower, TV, door locks. When our kids went to swim in the pool, we asked the front desk for towels and the said “get them from your room”, after we just told them there were NO TOWELS IN THE ROOMS!
The hotel employees acted like none of this was important and offered NO compensation for the dirty rooms and bad service. The hotel lobby was full of leaves and the trash cans were over flowing. The hotel is next door to a really trashy nightclub, might have been a strip club by the looks of the way people were dressed going in. Sharing the same parking lot as a night club lead to coming out to your car in a parking lot covered in trash.
DONT STAY HERE, save your money. This is NOT a typical Radisson.”
A few days earlier, 3/27/2019, E T. of West Hollywood, CA, gave the hotel two stars when writing the following:
So many things went wrong with this stay and I don’t know where to even begin except to say that I never in my life stayed at a Radisson Hotel nor will I again. Oddly enough, I encountered no service issues during my stay … it was just the overall grime and yuck factor of this hotel and quite frankly it’s clientele which turned me off.
When we pulled in, there were some shady characters in the parking lot. These folks did not look like the type who would pay $120 per night for a hotel. They looked more like vagrants. However, low and behold they were staying there. Also, there is a REALLY sketchy dance club next door called Tiger Tiger. Imagine any gangstah rap video you’ve ever seen before and that is who frequent this dance club. They must offer deeply discounted rooms on an app because the hotel is filled with people staying there who are going to the club next door.
The hallways looked like a combination of a frat party/rap video. People were screaming in the hallways, walking around with red solo cups and playing loud music. The rooms have connecting doors and the walls are pretty thin, so I could hear everything in the next room like it was in my room. Loud teens and 20-something year olds everywhere. It was like staying in a college dorm room.
The hotel has seen better days … the windows to the room were crusted with white stains and you couldn’t really see out. There was a sliding balcony door which to a small balcony with no furniture which was shared with the room next door. It looked like the floor could give out at any moment.
To say the carpet was old and filthy would be an understatement. I wore shoes the whole time in the room. The overall feel of the room was a hotel from the 2003-era. Same furniture I remember, draperies, color scheme as early 2000/late 1990s hotels. The lobby seems to be where they put their money … it’s all brand new and beautiful. They have an odd little restaurant/bar which looks like it has never been cleaned and by closing time at 11 p.m. on a Friday, they were out of every beer on tap.
Next door, the club music booms until 3:30 a.m. and if your room is located on the front side of the building facing the parking lot, you’ll hear it all night long through your window. There is no escaping the sound of booming club music, so if you are a light sleeper … you will be a non-sleeper. After the music stops, you then have drunks in the parking lot making noise which comes up into the hallways and rooms.
It seemed like there were a LOT of problems with guests that were do to the overall shadiness of those who stayed there. Often we would hear people yelling at the front desk people … and twice we noticed police cars pulled up outside the hotel. This was during a 24 hour long stay.
Avoid this hotel unless you are going to get your groove on at Tiger Tiger … or really miss going to college in the 1990s in which case, staying here will be a trip down memory lane. The only reason I left 2 stars is because the front desk staff was helpful and friendly.
E “On the road again” T.
West Hollywood, CA
Parking lot from balcony minus the shady vagrants
Clubs right next door equals no sleep due to loud music
This hotel does not sound like one conducive to playing good Chess, or obtaining a good night’s sleep. After doing due diligence I have decided against playing in the event. It would seem that with the additional money donated to the tournament by Mr. Taylor a decent venue could have been found.
I do not know who is responsible for the decision to have the tournament at this particular hotel, especially considering the plethora of hotels in the greater Atlanta area, but it is obvious someone, or some group of people did not do their due diligence. I do not know why many Chess tournaments in the greater Atlanta area have been, and obviously continue to be, held in second, or even third rate, run down hotels, but I have played Chess in Atlanta since 1970 and, unfortunately, this hotel is not an exception. For example, the legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, who has been playing almost as long as this writer, likes to tell the story of the first Sweat-box Open, which was held at the Biltmore hotel in downtown Atlanta during a hot summer and there was no air conditioning. Sweat-box number two (and 2a, 2b, 2c, etc.) were held at the House of Pain, aka, The Dump, which was the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center. The Dump was known for an air conditioning system held together who knows how by Longshot Larry, defying law, rules and regulations, and the law of physics, that was down as much as it was up. When a window unit stopped putting out cold air it was usually replaced by a much smaller unit. The latest incarnation of the sweat-box Open was at the North Dekalb Mall a few summers ago when a tournament was played completely sans AC. The stench overwhelmed the senses while making eyes sting.
Having participated in Backgammon tournaments and visited both Scrabble and Bridge tournaments in the Atlanta area which were held in good conditions in nice hotels I cannot help but wonder why it is only Chess tournaments in Atlanta that have had such problems.
“Using a universally relevant metaphor, Zbigniew Brzezinski,
former National Security Adviser to US president Jimmy Carter,
wrote in The Grand Chessboard,
published in 1997 (http://www.takeoverworld.info/Grand_Chessboard.pdf): “Eurasia is the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.” China’s New Silk Road strategy certainly integrates the importance of Eurasia but it also neutralizes the US pivot to Asia by enveloping it in a move which is broader both in space and in time: an approach inspired by the intelligence of Weiqi has outwitted the calculation of a chess player.”
“The chronicle by Japanese writer Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972) of an intense intellectual duel, translated in English as The Master of Go,
contributed to the popularity of the game in the West, but Weiqi is a product of the Chinese civilization and spread over time in the educated circles of Northeast Asia. Kawabata, who viewed the Master as one of his favorite creations, knew that for China the game of “abundant spiritual powers encompassed the principles of nature and the universe of human life,” and that the Chinese had named it “the diversion of the immortals.”
Several years ago I contrasted the number of players in the US Chess Open with the number of players in the US Go Congress, posting the findings on the United States Chess Federation forum, and was excoriated for so doing, except for one person, Michael Mulford, who put the nattering nabobs of negativism to shame by congratulating me for “good work.” Basically, the numbers showed Chess losing players while Go had gained enough to have caught up with, and surpassed, Chess. It has continued to the point that if one thinks of it as a graph, with Chess in the top left hand corner; and Go in the bottom left hand corner, an “X” would appear.
I have spent some time recently cogitating about why this has come to pass. Certainly world Chess (FIDE) being administered as a criminal enterprise for at least a quarter of a century has not helped the cause of the Royal game. It has not helped that members of the USCF policy board have stated things like it being better to work within a corrupt system than to leave the corrupt system. See my post, Scott Parker Versus Allen Priest, of November 29, 2017 (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=alan+priest)
Now that the bank account of FIDE, the world governing body of Chess, has been closed I do not foresee anything but further decline for the game of Chess. IM Malcolm Pein,
Mr. Everything tin British Chess, commented for Chessdom, “The statement from the FIDE Treasurer was alarming to say the least, but not totally unexpected. As the statement said, we had been warned. All legal means should be used to remove Ilyumzhinov
Although both Weiqi (Go in America) and Chess are board games there are major differences between the two. The following encapsulates the drastic difference between the two games:
R. Saxon, Member of a GO club in Tokyo (3k). USCF B rated at chess
Updated Mar 14 2017
From my experience, GO players are far friendlier and more polite than Chess players, who are prone to both trash talk and to gloating after a win. This is especially true for club players and younger players. Chess players may engage in gamesmanship to psych out their opponent. I’ve known quite a few superb Chess players that were real nut cases. More than just a few, actually.
That has not been my experience with GO players. GO players are almost always successful and well-adjusted outside of GO. GO players are willing to say with sincerity that they enjoyed a game that they just lost. I don’t recall a Chess player ever being so gracious.
The nature of the game is a good indicator of the personality of the players that like them. Chess is an attacking game in which you try to control the center. It’s very direct and may be over quickly if a player makes a mistake. The idea of a “Checkmate” is like a home run or a touchdown. It’s a sudden and dramatic moment that appeals to a particular type of person.
Chess appeals to people who like to attack and who savor the win over the process.
GO, on the hand, is a slower game which starts at the corners and edges and only gradually moves to the center. It’s extremely complicated, but in a subtle way. GO strategy is indirect. It’s a game of influence and efficiency more than a game of capture. The best players are those that know how to sacrifice pieces for territory elsewhere or to take the initiative. Making tradeoffs are key. There’s usually no “checkmate” type moment or fast victory.
There are many Chess players involved with Go. Natasha Regan,
a Woman Chess International Master who has represented the English women’s team at both Chess and Go, says: “When I learnt Go I was fascinated. It has a similar mix of strategy and tactics that you find in Chess and, with just a few simple rules, Go uncovers a whole new world of possibilities and creativity. Chess players may also find that they can use their Chess experience to improve in Go very quickly. I highly recommend learning this ancient but ever new game!” (https://www.britgo.org/learners/chessgo.html)
Consider, for example, this by Mike Klein: “Many cultures have nationally popular strategy games, but rarely do top chess players “cross the streams” and take other games seriously. That is not the case with GMs Tiger Hillarp Persson and Alexander Morozevich,
AlphaGo has done for the game of Go in America what Bobby Fischer did for the game of Chess when he defeated the World Chess Champion, Boris Spassky, in 1972.
The number of people playing Go has increased dramatically in the past few years. After the world-wide release of a new movie about Go, The Surrounding Game,
the number of people playing Go will increase exponentially. In a very short period of time the game of Go will be unrivaled, leaving all other board games in its wake.
Sometime around 1980 a place named Gammons opened in the Peachtree Piedmont shopping center located in the section of Atlanta called Buckhead, the “high-end” district of Atlanta. In was a restaurant/bar, which contained tables with inlaid Backgammon boards.
I quit my job at a bookstore and began punching the proverbial time clock at Gammons, which closed at four am. The Backgammon craze burned brightly for a short period of time, as do most fads, such as putt-putt. Few remember the time when putt-putt was so popular it was on television, and the professional putters earned as much, if not more, that professional golfers.
Although quite popular for centuries, Chess lost its luster after the human World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, was defeated by a computer program known as Deep Blue,
a product of the IBM corporation. The defeat by AlphaGo, a computer program from Google’s Deep Mind project, of first Lee Sedol,
one of the all-time great Go players, and then Ke Jie,
currently the top human Go player in the world, has, unlike Chess, been a tremendous boon for the ancient game of Go, which is riding a crest of popularity, while interest in Chess has waned.
I have wondered about the situation in the world considering the rise of China and the decline of the USA.
Also to be considered is the stark difference between the two games. It could be that the people of the planet are moving away from the brutal, war like, mindset of a war like game such as Chess and toward a more cerebral game such as Go.
the pieces with a certain preordained constraint of movement are on the board when the game begins, the grid is empty at the opening of the Weiqi game. During a chess game, one subtracts pieces; in Weiqi, one adds stones to the surface of the board. In the Classic of Weiqi, the author remarks that “since ancient times, one has never seen two identical Weiqi games.”