Deepak Aaron Wins Georgia Chess Championship

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

“In essence, Facebook are selling your private data to the highest bidder, even if they claim otherwise.” (https://thevpn.guru/how-facebook-uses-private-data/)

There’s ‘Little’ Privacy in Facebook’s Privacy Policy

“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.”

This is a snippet from Facebook’s privacy policy. Basically, Facebook knows everything about you. (https://thevpn.guru/how-facebook-uses-private-data/)

The following was found at F—book:

Georgia Chess Association

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 State Championship.
Championship
1st Deepak Aaron $1000 4 1/2

2nd Alonso Zapata $650 3 1/2

3rd Sanjay Ghatti & Benjamin Moon $200 3
1st/2nd U2300 Yury Barnakov & Damir Studen $325 3
1st U2100 Pradhyumna Kathapalli $350 3
2nd U2100 Harry Le, Doruk Emir & Vispy Pardiwalla $100 2 1/2

Amateur
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

Reserve
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

Booster
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 treasurer@georgiachess.org if you did not pick up your check at the event.

(https://www.facebook.com/georgiachess/)

Only eighteen players competed for the title of Georgia State Chess Champion. The USCF MSA page (http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201905195972.0-10215994) shows a total of one hundred and one players participated in all sections of the tournament.

Michael Mulford sent an email containing the results of the election.

“We were visiting Becky’s son and so I popped in for a few minutes on the way to the airport (but before the vote. I saw Fun Fong was there.”

It seems a bad penny always turns up.

The GCA Bids Farewell to Dr. Fun Fong

Thought you might be interested.
President: Scott Parker – 41
William Remick – 6

1st VP: Dave Hater – 38
Thomas Harris -11

Secretary: Michael Muzquiz – 30
Mohana Venkataraja – 17

1st Member-at-Large:
Kindeya Scott 26
Thad Rogers -17
Parnell Watkins – 4

The new GCA board:

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.

Advertisements

The Dirty Laundry of Atlanta Chess

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!”

No one responded. They ain’t talking.

In an article appearing at the Georgia Chess News website, Meet the 2019 GCA Candidates (http://georgiachessnews.com/2019/04/27/meet-the-2019-candidates/), David Hater,

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
Current Published
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03

Rank USCF ID Name Games Wins Draws Losses
1 14916346 SHANMUKHA MERUGA 50 1 0 49
2 14114923 KAPISH POTULA 19 1 1 17
3 14299428 SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI 14 7 0 7
4 14577814 DAVIDE NASTASIO 3 1 1 1
5 15909472 TAIYE HILARY ESTWICK 1 1 0 0
6 16045110 TYLER JAMES BREDOW 1 1 0 0
7 16045235 CASEY WASSERMAN 1 1 0 0
8 14822494 TYLER SCHMUGGEROW 1 1 0 0
9 14684432 JOSHUA MORGAN KAROL 1 1 0 0
10 12365700 J PARNELL WATKINS JR 1 1 0 0

http://www.uschess.org/datapage/gamestats.php

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.

Pair | Player Name |Total|Round|Round|Round|Round|
Num | USCF ID / Rtg (Pre->Post) | Pts | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
———————————————————————–
1 | KAPISH POTULA |2.5 |W 2|D 3|W 4|* |
GA | 14114923 / R: 2014 ->2053 | |B |W |B | |
———————————————————————–
2 | CARTER F PEATMAN |2.0 |* |W 3|W 4|L 1|
GA | 12945576 / R: 2101 ->2108 | | |W |B |W |
———————————————————————–
3 | ALAN G PIPER |1.5 |L 2|* |W 4|D 1|
GA | 10487030 / R: 2070 ->2071 | |B | |W |B |
———————————————————————–
4 | SHANMUKHA MERUGA |0.0 |L 2|L 3|* |L 1|
GA | 14916346 / R: 2088 ->2053 | |W |B | |W |

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 Georgia State Chess Championship

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,

Michael,

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 gcaboard@georgiachess.org. That reaches all board members. And Mr. Taylor is very much alive and kicking. That much I do know.

Best Regards,

Scott

After forwarding the above to every board member only one reply was received, from 2nd Member-at-large Anna Baumstark, who wrote:

Hi,
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
tournament.

Thanks,
Anna

Having a desire to play Chess, in addition to a desire to meet Mr. Philip Taylor, sent me to the website to learn the particulars of the tournament, which can be found at: http://www.georgiachess.org/event-3086683. There is also a PDF if interested: http://www.georgiachess.org/resources/Documents/2018-2019%20Open/2019%20Georgia%20State%20%20Championship.pdf

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.”
Phil G.
Knoxville, TN

Ouch!

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

https://www.yelp.com/biz/radisson-hotel-atlanta-marietta-marietta

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.

Weiqi (Go) Versus Chess

“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.”
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-gosset/weiqi-versus-chess_b_6974686.html)

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

from office as soon as possible. Taking away his executive authority has not been good enough for the bank and FIDE will experience difficulty finding another institution to handle it’s accounts and this threatens the viability of the organisation. ((http://www.chessdom.com/trouble-for-chess-as-swiss-bank-account-closed/))

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.

GO is a game of patience and position. It appeals to very bright people who don’t expect to win quickly but who are willing to earn success one small step at a time. GO players enjoy the process as much as the win.
(https://www.quora.com/What-do-chess-players-think-of-Go-and-Go-players)

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,

who long ago claimed the top title in chess, and who both now take go somewhat seriously.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/chess-go-chess-go-morozevich-beats-tiger-in-dizzying-match-2272) Check out Tiger’s website and you will see annotated Go games along with Chess games (https://tiger.bagofcats.net/). Chess Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich

plays in Go tournaments,

and holds Go classes.

(https://chess24.com/en/read/news/morozevich-on-go-computers-and-cheating)

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.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/magazine/putting-for-the-fences.html)

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.

For example, consider these headlines:

China’s Rise, America’s Fall by Tyler Durden (https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-25/chinas-rise-americas-fall)

China’s rise didn’t have to mean America’s fall. Then came Trump. By Zachary Karabell(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/15/chinas-rise-didnt-have-to-mean-americas-fall-then-came-trump/?utm_term=.59f66290ffff)

Is China’s Rise America’s Fall? by Glenn Luk (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/01/03/is-chinas-rise-americas-fall/#41bd7a0d1e5f)

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.

“While in chess or in Chinese chess (xiangqi)


http://georgiachessnews.com/2018/01/09/why-you-need-to-learn-xiangqi-for-playing-better-chess/

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.”

“In Written in a Dream, the polymath and statesman Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072), a magister ludi, captures the depth and mystery of Weiqi: “The Weiqi game comes to an end, one is unaware that in the meantime the world has changed.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-gosset/weiqi-versus-chess_b_6974686.html

Scott Parker Versus Allen Priest

The USCF has a Forum. In theory, members are allowed to discuss anything Chess related. In practice, the censor will not allow anything deemed controversial, as I learned, much to my chagrin, on numerous occasions.

There are six different categories at which one can post. Under the All Things Chess category one finds a “thread” entitled,
Another Boycott Hits FIDE. This thread was started by ChessSpawn on Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am.

by ChessSpawn on Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am #321527
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11 … -players/#

“I hope that US Chess will publicly support Nakamura’s position. Perhaps it’s time to start working to replace FIDE?”
Brian Lafferty
“If you play the Caro-Kann when you’re young, what are you going to play when you’re older.” – Bent Larsen

ChessSpawn is Brian Lafferty. One is allowed to use a quote and the Larsen quote is the one chosen by Mr. Lafferty.

I happen to know the next post is by Thomas Magar. If one goes to the USCF forum he would not know this fact. Mr. Magar is from N. Versailles, Pa. I know this because it is stated on the side of the post. One would not know where Mr. Lafferty is located because it is not stated.

by tmagchesspgh on Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:40 am #321529

“The only way to stop this form of discrimination is if all of the top players refuse to play in this type of official mock championship event. However, since there is so much money involved, I do not expect that to happen. Money trumps principle, all pun intended. There will always be players who will cross lines for money, even if it makes them international pariahs.”

The following post is by Scott Parker, former President of the Georgia Chess Association. He is originally from Wisconsin. Scott is a former Georgia Senior Champion who is now rated class A. Although his USCF page shows he has played around 300 rated games since USCF began using a computer program to keep stats in 1991, I can attest that he has played many more unrated games in the “pits,” or skittles room, at the House of Pain. Scott is not known for playing, but directing, and he has directed an unbelievable number of tournaments, devoting countless hours to Chess. One legendary player in the Atlanta area stuck Scott with the moniker, “The Sheriff,” because of his ramrod straight walk, saying, “Scott reminds me of Gary Cooper in High Noon.” Mr. Parker has never cared for the term even though it fits. Another crusty Chess personality once said, “Scott is like E.F. Hutton…when he talks, people listen.”

Postby scottrparker on Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:38 pm #321542

“It’s been time to replace this thoroughly corrupt organization for a long time. Some half hearted efforts have been made, but none of them ever gained much traction. I’m hoping that this may be a catalyst for a real alternative to emerge, but I’m not holding my breath.”

Don’t hold back, Mr. Parker, tell us how you REALLY feel!

Several other posts follow before one arrives at a post by “Allen.” It shows that “Allen” is from Louisville, Kentucky. “Allen” weighs in on everything, and “Allen” has considerable weight with which to weigh in, having posted 6703 times since Jan. 20, 2007. “Allen” is Allen Priest, who was previously on the policy board of the USCF.

by Allen on Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:16 am #321561

“This event was not announced at the recently completed FIDE Congress, nor were there bids, nor was there any review. Just like the Iranian hosting of the women’s world championship, the event was announced late and outside the normal FIDE rules for awarding events.

Agon never paid FIDE the fee for the Rapid/Blitz world championship held in Germany. The powers that be in FIDE decided they would waive that fee and not demand it to be paid. There have been calls to void the contract with Agon – most notably from Americas President Jorge Vega. But that contract is still in effect.

However, to call for US Chess to simply withdraw from FIDE is not realistic. FIDE will have a US national federation. I believe it is far better for that to be us rather than for it to be someone who perhaps likes to curry favor with FIDE and is complicit to FIDE shenanigans. There clearly have been behind the scenes maneuvering over the years to supplant US Chess within FIDE, although those efforts do not appear to have gained much traction.”

Allen Priest
National Tournament Director
Delegate from Kentucky

Allen Priest is rated only 701. THIS IS NOT A MISPRINT! Between 2003 and 2014 Mr. Priest played a total of forty-five (45!) games. I have previously written about Mr. Priest on this blog,and/or an earlier blog, the BaconLOG. I first met him at the ill-fated 2009 Kentucky Open. The lights were not working and I was one of the few who questioned starting the first round sans lights. I found him to be dictatorial and a bully. I was very small when young, and bullied, so because of that first-hand experience, I ought to know a bully when in close proximity to one. Another player, an FM from Tennessee, who gave himself the moniker, “The Nashville Strangler,” felt much the same. One never gets a chance to make another first impression. I lived in Louisville for a few years and while there learned that Mr. Priest was brought into Chess by the man called, “Mr. Kentucky Chess,” Steve Dillard, whom I have written about on this blog. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/mr-kentucky-chess-found-beaten-and-stabbed-to-death/) Several Chess moms informed me that Allen came to Chess after being involved with the Boy Scouts and Soccer where he “Just wanted to run things.”

Scott Parker then replies:

by scottrparker on Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:11 pm #321564

“What is not realistic is believing that you can somehow reform FIDE from the inside. FIDE has been a corrupt organization as long as I can remember, and I’m well into my seventh decade. It’s governance structure is such that just getting rid of the top guy won’t change anything. Campomanes left, Ilyumzhinov took over, and what, exactly changed for the better? Ilyumzhinov will leave one day, possibly fairly soon, but don’t expect much to change with FIDE when that happens. It’s one thing to stay with FIDE for the nonce when they are the only game in town, as long as you’re also working to supplant them with a better organization. If you’re just going along with them because “somebody else would be worse”, then how do you differ from Vidkun Quisling?”

Someone else came between the two, posting this:

by bruce_leverett on Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:18 pm #321565

“Flag on the play — violation of Godwin’s law — penalty, you have to edit that message to not compare the present FIDE goings-on with World War II.”

Mr. Parker answers this:

by scottrparker on Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:21 pm #321571

“It’s not a violation of Godwin’s Law. It’s a confirmation of Godwin’s Law.

FIDE is an international criminal enterprise that has, at least so far, monopolized international chess. To help US players succeed internationally US Chess has to go along with them for the time being. I get that. But not to also work to supplant them with something better is to become complicit in their actions.”

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

scottrparker

After several more posts by various members Mr. Priest weighs in again:

by Allen on Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:18 pm #321574

“FIDE will have a US national federation. Period. That body will be the one that is charged with looking out for US players interests. I would rather than be US Chess than Susan Polgar and friends.”

Allen Priest
National Tournament Director
Delegate from Kentucky

Let me see now…Susan Polgar was a women’s World Chess Champion. Alan Priest is rated seven OH one (that’s 701). Which one do you think knows more about Chess?

There is more, much more, and I hope you, the reader, will go to the USCF webpage and read all of this important thread, but for now I will conclude with this:

by ChessSpawn on Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:08 am #321586

“Replacing FIDE is the only alternative. FIDE can not, and will not, be reformed from within.”

by Allen on Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am #321589

“Much easier to say than to do.”

And now for the pièce de résistance:

Postby sloan on Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:03 pm #321719

“What do you expect from someone who has made a career of saying, but not doing?”

Will this be an Edward R. Murrow vs Senator Joe McCarthy moment for the good of Chess? One can only hope.

If Alan Priest had been in the old Soviet Union he would have been an “apparatchik.” He clearly prefers to work with a criminal organization from the inside. Scott Parker uses the word “complicit.” Seems I heard that word bandied about often during the sordid Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, and it will no doubt be used in conjunction with the current Special Prosecutor probe of the Trumpster. As for “working within” FIDE, let me pose this question. What if we exchange “Nazi” for “FIDE?” Can anyone argue that it would have been better to “work within” the Nazi party to engender change? Or would it have been better, historically speaking, to work toward replacing this thoroughly corrupt organization, the position taken by Mr. Parker?

All comments will be published providing they break no law and are within the commonly accepted bounds of decency.

The full thread can be found here: http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=23689&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&sid=9b8b10af631f102135d7a14d93b0a84c

Programmers Attack Go With Brute Force

Last June an article by Jonathan Schaeffer, Martin Müller & Akihiro Kishimoto, AIs Have Mastered Chess. Will Go Be Next? was published. “Randomness could trump expertise in this ancient game of strategy,” followed. “Jonathan Schaeffer, a computer science professor at the University of Alberta, in Canada, had been creating game-playing artificial intelligence programs for 15 years when Martin Müller and Akihiro Kishimoto came to the university in 1999 as a professor and graduate student, respectively. Kishimoto has since left for IBM Research–Ireland, but the work goes on—and Schaeffer now finds it plausible that a computer will beat Go’s grand masters soon. “Ten years ago, I thought that wouldn’t happen in my lifetime,” he says.” (http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/artificial-intelligence/ais-have-mastered-chess-will-go-be-next)

Jonathan Schaeffer is the man behind Chinook, the computer program that solved Checkers. You can find the paper, Checkers is Solved, to learn about the proof here: (http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~chinook/)
He has also revised his book first published in 1997, One Jump Ahead: Computer Perfection at Checkers, which I read years ago. Jonathan Schaeffer is like E. F. Hutton in that when he talks about a computer game program, you listen.

For years I have followed news of computer Go programs. Before sitting down to punch & poke I searched for the latest news, coming up empty. This as good news for humans because Go is the last board game bastion holding against machine power. It is also the world’s oldest, and most complicated, board game. It “originated in ancient China more than 2,500 years ago. It was considered one of the four essential arts of a cultured Chinese scholar in antiquity. Its earliest written reference dates back to the Confucian Analects.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_%28game%29)

Schaeffer and his group have developed a Go-playing computer program, Fuego, an open-source program that was developed at the University of Alberta. From the article, “For decades, researchers have taught computers to play games in order to test their cognitive abilities against those of humans. In 1997, when an IBM computer called Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, the reigning world champion, at chess, many people assumed that computer scientists would eventually develop artificial intelligences that could triumph at any game. Go, however, with its dizzying array of possible moves, continued to stymie the best efforts of AI researchers.”

In 2009 Fuego “…defeated a world-class human Go player in a no-handicap game for the first time in history. Although that game was played on a small board, not the board used in official tournaments, Fuego’s win was seen as a major milestone.”

They write, “Remarkably, the Fuego program didn’t triumph because it had a better grasp of Go strategy. And although it considered millions of possible moves during each turn, it didn’t come close to performing an exhaustive search of all the possible game paths. Instead, Fuego was a know-nothing machine that based its decisions on random choices and statistics.”

I like the part about it being a “know-nothing machine.” I have often wondered if humans, like Jonathan Schaeffer, who are devoting their lives to the development of “thinking” machines, will be reviled by future generations of humans as is the case in the Terminator movies. It could be that in the future humans will say, “Hitler was nothing compared to the evil SCHAEFFER!” If I were supreme world controller a command would be issued ending the attempts to crack Go, leaving my subjects one beautiful game not consigned to the dustbin of history, as has been the fate of checkers. I fear it is only a matter of time before chess meets the same fate. GM Parimarjan Negi was asked in the “Just Checking” Q&A of the best chess magazine in the history of the universe, New In Chess 2014/6, “What will be the nationality of the 2050 World Champion?” He answered the question by posing one of his own, “Will we still have a world championship?” Good question. I would have to live to one hundred to see that question answered. Only former President of the GCA, and Georgia Senior Champion, Scott Parker will live that long, possibly still be pushing wood in 2050, if wood is still being pushed…

The article continues, “The recipe for building a superhuman chess program is now well established. You start by listing all possible moves, the responses to the moves, and the responses to the responses, generating a branching tree that grows as big as computational resources allow. To evaluate the game positions at the end of the branches, the program needs some chess knowledge, such as the value of each piece and the utility of its location on the board. Then you refine the algorithm, say by “pruning” away branches that obviously involve bad play on either side, so that the program can search the remaining branches more deeply. Set the program to run as fast as possible on one or more computers and voilà, you have a grand master chess player. This recipe has proven successful not only for chess but also for such games as checkers and Othello. It is one of the great success stories of AI research.”

Voilà, indeed.

“Go is another matter entirely,” they write, “The game has changed little since it was invented in China thousands of years ago, and millions around the world still enjoy playing it.”

But for how long?

“Game play sounds simple in theory: Two players take turns placing stones on the board to occupy territories and surround the opponent’s stones, earning points for their successes. Yet the scope of Go makes it extremely difficult—perhaps impossible—for a program to master the game with the traditional search-and-evaluate approach.”

This is because, “For starters, the complexity of the search algorithm depends in large part on the branching factor—the number of possible moves at every turn. For chess, that factor is roughly 40, and a typical chess game lasts for about 50 moves. In Go, the branching factor can be more than 250, and a game goes on for about 350 moves. The proliferation of options in Go quickly becomes too much for a standard search algorithm.”

Hooray! That is the good news, and there is more…”There’s also a bigger problem: While it’s fairly easy to define the value of positions in chess, it’s enormously difficult to do so on a Go board. In chess-playing programs, a relatively simple evaluation function adds up the material value of pieces (a queen, for example, has a higher value than a pawn) and computes the value of their locations on the board based on their potential to attack or be attacked. Compared with that of chess pieces, the value of individual Go stones is much lower. Therefore the evaluation of a Go position is based on all the stones’ locations, and on judgments about which of them will eventually be captured and which will stay safe during the shifting course of a long game. To make this assessment, human players rely on both a deep tactical understanding of the game and a clear-eyed appraisal of the overall board situation. Go masters consider the strength of various groups of stones and look at the potential to create, expand, or conquer territories across the board.”

This sounds good so far, but then they continue, “Rather than try to teach a Go-playing program how to perform this complex assessment, we’ve found that the best solution is to skip the evaluation process entirely.”

Oh no, Mr. Bill!

“Over the past decade, several research groups have pioneered a new search paradigm for games, and the technique actually has a chance at cracking Go. Surprisingly, it’s based on sequences of random moves. In its simplest form, this approach, called Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS), eschews all knowledge of the desirability of game positions. A program that uses MCTS need only know the rules of the game.”

I do not know about you, but I am hoping, “What happens in Monte Carlo stays in Monte Carlo.” Do you get the feeling we are about to be Three Card Monte Carloed?

“From the current configuration of stones on the board, the program simulates a random sequence of legal moves (playing moves for both opponents) until the end of the game is reached, resulting in a win or loss. It automatically does this over and over. The magic comes from the use of statistics. The evaluation of a position can be defined as the frequency with which random move sequences originating in that position lead to a win. For instance, the program might determine that when move A is played, random sequences of moves result in a win 73 percent of the time, while move B leads to a win only 54 percent of the time. It’s a shockingly simple metric.”

“Shockingly simple,” my jackass. There is much more to the article, including this, “The best policies for expanding the tree also rely on a decision-making shortcut called rapid action value estimation (RAVE). The RAVE component tells the program to collect another set of statistics during each simulation.”

As in “Raving lunatic.” The article provides a list of what current computer programs have done to games, and how they rate in “…two-player games without chance or hidden information…”

TIC-TAC-TOE (Game positions, 10 to the 4th power) = Toast

OWARE (Game positions, 10 to the 11th power) = Fried

CHECKERS (Game positions, 10 to the 20th power)= Cooked

OTHELLO (Game positions, 10 to the 28th power)= Superhuman

CHESS (Game positions, 10 to the 45th power) = Superhuman

XIANGQI (CHINESE CHESS) (Game positions, 10 to the 48th power) = Best Professional

SHOGI (JAPANESE CHESS) (Game positions, 10 to the 70th power) = Strong Professional

GO = (Game positions, 10 to the 172th power) = Strong Amateur

They end the article by writing, “But there may come a day soon when an AI will be able to conquer any game we set it to, without a bit of knowledge to its name. If that day comes, we will raise a wry cheer for the triumph of ignorance.”

I would much prefer to raise a stein and drown my sorrows to that…

Fun with Fong and Magar the Morrible

Thomas Magar, known as “tmagchesspgh” on the USCF forum, was the first to comment on the aforementioned post by Mike Murray. He begins his comment(s) with, “Somehow, I am less inclined to believe a blog which has a personal axe to grind for authoritative analysis of a topic.” Mr. Magar is a prolific poster on the USCF forum as can be seen by this being his 2802 post. This pales in comparison to Mr. Allen Priest, writing as “Allen” on the forum, who has made an astounding 4918 posts. He joins Mr Magar by writing, “Having met and interacted with the blogger at issue multiple times, a comment that the blogger might have a personal axe to grind is certainly believable.” This is known as “kill the messenger.” This is a common practice when some cannot refute the message. I will address the axe grinding momentarily, but first I must take exception to something Mr.Magar wrote, “The “Armchair Warrior” has mischaracterized some of their work.” I have done no such thing. What I have done is to simply copy what these eminently educated people have written, and I have copied it verbatim. If Mr. Magar were writing about the JFK assassination he would be known as an “apologist” for the Warren Commission. He would probably write something along the lines of, “What do you mean you do not believe in the magic bullet theory? When I took out my vintage WWII low-powered Italian made carbine, called “junk” by expert military riflemen, and shot into a watermelon from the rear, it went back, and to the left! Not only that, when I lined up two watermelons at an angle from each other, and shot from an angle high above the melons, the bullet entered the first melon, changed direction heading from down to up, zigged to the left, then zagged back to the right and entered the melon, again zigging to the left, where it exited the watermelon, after zagging, then striking Lyndon’s Boy John, who happened to be walking by just as I was demonstrating the power of a magic bullet, in the thigh.”

As far as having an axe to grind, nothing could be further from the truth. But to be as honest as possible, and in the interest of full disclosure, I would like to relate the following. The fact is that some years ago the President of the GCA insisted on holding a Senior tournament that was thought so highly of by Seniors that only EIGHT players entered. He did this against the wishes of many members of the chess community, including the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who had advocated getting a committee of Seniors, such as the esteemed Scott Parker and the highly regarded Michael Mulford, known as “Mulfish” on the USCF forum, together to discuss what kind of tournament should be held. Fun Fong, the POTGCA, nixed that idea, “nippin’ it in the bud,” as Deputy Barney Fife would say. Fun Fong is an emergency room doctor, and as such is the man in complete control. He gives the orders in the same way a General or dictator gives orders, and expects them to be obeyed. Dr. Fong was not happy to read my criticism. When I decided to write another blog, this one, I called former POTGCA Scott Parker, a member of the Emory Castle Chess Camp board, as is Dr. Fong, and asked if it would be OK for me to post some signs for my blog at the Castle tournament which concludes the camp. Scott said he saw no problem with my doing that, as long as I checked with the Chief TD, Colonel David Hater, whom I knew from the House of Pain. I did just that and David was very gracious, shaking my hand and asking how I had been, then walking me around while discussing chess and the best places for me to post my notices. He was called away and I noticed Dr. Fong heading my way so I extended my hand, which was rebuffed rather hatefully. I will admit this was rather embarrassing with all the people around to see what had transpired. I placed a few notices before Jennifer Christianson, a lovely woman familiar to me because her sons played chess at the HOP, walked up and told me Fun Fong had asked her to tell me I would have to take the notices down. After informing Jennifer that I had discussed it with Mr. Parker, and then asked Colonel Hater, she told me to forget about what Fun had said; she would tell him I had permission.

I am a Southern man. I was born and raised in the South, as they say, “by the grace of God.” In the South if a man, any man, has a woman do his bidding for him, he is considered to be not much of a man. I have not written about the incident until now, and have not gone out of my way to spread it around, but when asked, I have discussed it with a few players, who, to a man, feel exactly as I do. There is absolutely nothing Fun Fong can do to change the fact that he is, and always will be, considered “NOT MUCH OF A MAN.”

That said, I do not have a bone to pick, or an axe to grind, with Fun Fong on a personal level. As GM Hikaru Nakamura is so fond of saying, “It is what it is.” Fun Fong is what he is. I do, though, have a problem with what Fun Fong, whom I will admit I think of as “Fun E. Fong,” has done as POTGCA. Rather than instituting changes to the format so that many more Senior players would consider playing, Fun Fong held the same tournament and only thirteen players entered the next year. In order to improve a chess player must acknowledge, and correct, his mistakes. Fun Fong let the chess community know in no uncertain terms that things were going to be his way, or the highway. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This is, unfortunately, not the only example of Fun Fong making a mistake again and again. What lit Richard De Credico’s fuse is the GCA made the exact same mistake made at the previous tournament. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/the-decredico-incident/). As Mike Mulford has written, the buck has got to stop somewhere, and Fun Fong is the POTGCA, and as such, must be held accountable. I have been around chess in Georgia since 1970 and have never seen any GCA board member engender the enmity of so many.

In the most recent scholastic chess tournament the GCA, under the leadership of Fun Fong, lost a round. How is that possible you ask?

From: Georgia Chess Association
Date: Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 2:35 PM
Subject: Teams Invited to the K-8 Team State Championship

“Dear Parents, Coaches & Players,

Thank you so much for attending the 2015 State Qualifier tournament. Teams invited to the State Championship can be found on our website using this link: http://www.georgiachess.org/event-1773262. Details and registration will be up this week.

We’d like to apologize for the delay we had following round 3. Much time and energy was put into preparing for this event in hopes of running a smooth, on-time tournament. Few are more distressed than we are as volunteers for the technical issues we had with the K-3 section. (See below for details.)

One issue we are trying to address for the future is communication. Our pre-tournament communication with you allowed for a very smooth start. This year chess control was split into 4 sections staffed with more volunteers to help answer questions. It went very well. After the technical issues at round 3 began we had difficulty communicating with the parents. Without carpet in the exhibit halls (which is currently not an option due to the expense) the PA system is ineffective. We are working on finding alternate ways of communicating with you on tournament day in the future if we use this venue.

We would like to thank all the parents and coaches who volunteered for this event and who were supportive through out the day. We can not hold chess tournaments without you.

Sincerely,
GCA Scholastic Team

Details of the technical issue: Files for rounds 1 & 2 & 3 were lost on the K-3 laptop with the pairing software. All results for round 1 had to be re-entered. With so many unrated players, when we paired for round 2 to enter those results, the pairings didn’t match the actual round that was played. We had to pair those boards by hand in order to input those results. The same had to be done for round 3. Once we realized how long this would take we decided to go with a 4 round tournament for K-3 and have the other sections play ASAP. Not being able to communicate this to parents was a huge problem.”

There is no explanation for how the files were lost. I have heard they were deleted. This may, or may not, be true, but it sounds like something par for the course for the GCA gang who have trouble shooting straight. I will admit to having a difficult time fathoming how this is possible because when I hit the “delete” key, a small window always appears asking me, “Are you sure you want to do this, dude?”

Upon moving back to my home state the father of a young boy told me an incredible story of how his son had been “shafted” during a scholastic tournament that was so outlandish it was difficult to believe even though I knew this man to be a fine, honest father and strong family man. Since I was newly returned and did not know the people now in charge of chess in Georgia I told the father the BaconLOG was discontinued, and was not certain I wanted to write another blog, and certainly did not wish to write about scholastic chess. There was no one else for him to turn and I do not believe he has ever forgiven me. If I had known then what I now know, I would have started another blog right then and there and published what I had been told.

I have come to think of those in charge of chess in my home state as the Roseanne Roseannadanna’s of the chess world. “Roseanne Roseannadanna” was one of several recurring characters created by Gilda Radner, who appeared on “Weekend Update” in the early seasons of Saturday Night Live airing on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).”

“Eventually, Weekend Update co-anchor Jane Curtin would interrupt, stating, “Roseanne, you’re making me sick.” Curtin would then ask her what her comments had to do with the question. Roseannadanna’s response was, “Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something—if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseanne_Roseannadanna)

Mr. Magar writes, “I also know Bob Ferguson and have talked with him about his studies.”

I met Bob Dylan once, but was unable to talk with him about his song writing because, after being introduced as the Atlanta Chess Champion, our conversation consisted of him asking me about chess. What did Mr.Magar learn about the Ferguson study? Why did he mention this?

Mr. Magar drops another name, writing, “Ferdinand Gobet was at CMU in Pittsburgh for a time doing some research. I met and discussed some issues with him way back when.”

What “issues” were discussed and did it have anything at all to do with anything about which I wrote?

Mr. Magar writes, “The research by Gobet and Campitelli is not compelling. The examination and experimental framework they use is over a very short time frame. Other studies that are over the application of chess study over an extensive time are much more positive with regards to the effects of chess and scholastic achievement. I am well aware of potential structural flaws of some of the studies. However, the general trend is positive, not negative, toward the effects of chess study.”

What “other studies?” Please explain what you mean by your vague statement, “…the general trend is positive, not negative, toward the effects of chess study.” SHOW US THE EVIDENCE! “The research by Gobet and Campitelli is not compelling.” Maybe not to Thomas Magar, but it is to Dr. Zach Hambrick, and that is good enough for me.

Mr. Magar writes, “I could point to anecdotal evidence in my own practice in dealing with special education students in a school and what some of my students have achieved.”

So could I, and many other chess teachers and coaches, but still it would only be “anecdotal evidence.” The reason studies such as this are done is to obtain the big picture.

In Educational benefits of chess instruction: A critical review, by Fernand Gobet & Guillermo Campitelli, one finds, “…compulsory instruction is not to be recommended, as it seems to lead to motivational problems.” I could give you an anecdotal tale of a boy to whom I tried to teach chess, not because the boy was interested in the Royal game, but because his mother, who was originally from the home town of Garry Kasparov, Baku, Armenia, wanted him to learn. He was being home schooled after having had “problems” in public school. The time I spent trying to teach the boy, in the home city of Alan Priest, I might add, was like pulling eye teeth, and as far as I am concerned, proof positive that Gobet and Campitelli hit the nail on the head with this one. But, just for the sake of argument, let us suppose Magar and Priest decided to so a study and questioned four hundred ninety nine other chess teachers, and they all reported that “Compulsory instruction was to be recommended because it did not seem to lead to motivational problems.” My “anecdotal evidence would be an outlier, and worthless. Mr. Magar seems to acknowledge this when he goes on to write, “But since I am too busy working to teach chess and do not intend to publish an academic article, you can dismiss what I am about to say.”

And that is exactly what I did, Mr. Magar.

https://screen.yahoo.com/roseanne-rosannadanna-smoking-000000279.html