The Boys and Girls Are Back In St. Louis Pulling The Trigger

It is the much needed rest day at the St. Louis Chess Campus which means time for the AW to put together a post. Much time has been spent the past five days watching the excellent coverage of the three ongoing tournaments. Having three Grandmasters use the Stockfish “engine” at Lichess.com does seem somewhat superfluous. I can access the SF program at Lichess.com without watching and listening to the GMs pontificate, but then I would miss the wonderful anecdotes, stories and tales related by Yasser Seirawan,

which are worth the price of admission. Still, I cannot help but wonder why Yaz does not play in the event?

It is difficult to comment on the play of the players because of the abnormality of playing during a pandemic. Some players have scraped off some the rust by playing recently while others are covered with the crusty brown stuff. In addition, it is apparent some of the players are not ready for prime time. An example would be that of International Master Igor Khmelnitsky

https://new.uschess.org/news/when-boards-become-blades-round-4-senior-and-juniors

in the third round when facing GM Max Dlugy

Max Dlugy presented the trophy by David Hater | Photo: Vanessa Sun (https://en.chessbase.com/post/twenty-grandmasters-highlight-charity-chess-event-4)

in the seldom played D00 Queen’s pawn, Mason variation, Steinitz counter-gambit. After 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e4 dxe4 5. dxc5 the IM played what the Stockfish program at Lichess.com call a “blunder” 5…Bg4?? The move appears to be a theoretical novelty, and not a good one. After playing the move Stockfish considers white to have a won game. It was no surprise when Igor went down…

IM Carissa Yip

IM Carissa Yip in round 2 of the 2022 Junior Championship. Photo: Bryan Adams/SLCC (https://new.uschess.org/news/fight-begins-day-two-us-senior-and-junior-championships)

is playing with the boys in the US Junior in lieu of playing in the US Girls Junior and it has not turned out well for the girl, who has drawn two games while losing three, and is in last place, one half point behind Pedro Espinosa,

https://new.uschess.org/news/fight-begins-day-two-us-senior-and-junior-championships

to whom she lost yesterday. Pedro is the lowest rated competitor in the tournament, sporting a 2130 rating, almost three hundred points less than Carissa. One cannot help but wonder what she is doing playing with the back in town boys when there is a separate tournament for the girls.

The US Junior girls tournament is far weaker since at least one of the girls who took Carissa’s place in the event has shown she is not ready for prime time. The event would have been much more interesting had Carissa played with the girls. This begs the question of why there is a completely separate tournament for the girls? Chess would be much better if there were only tournaments in which everyone, if qualified, could play. Wait a minute, you say, that is the way it is currently. Chess tournaments are open to all, so why segregate female players? Segregation says women are inferior to men, which is the reason female tournaments are open only to women.

Consider the following position emanating from the third round game between Ellen Wang

and Jennifer Yu:

http://chessib.com/chess-queens-beautiful-girls-olympiad-2018-batumi.html?i=1
Position after 31 Rb2

The question is whether Jennifer Yu should play 31…Rg3? Would YOU play the move? Would I play the move? In this kind of position it is virtually impossible for a human, even a Grandmaster, to calculate all the possibilities, which is where the computer program has a distinct advantage over we humans. This is the kind of position in which humans must use intuition to discover the best move. After 31 Rb2 Jennifer had eighteen minutes remaining to reach move 40. She used about half of her remaining time to make her move. For those of you who have not seen the game it can be found here, along with the answer to the question of how much Jennifer Yu trusted her Chess intuition (https://lichess.org/broadcast/us-girls-junior-championship-2022/round-3/EnME23UK)

immortalchessforum.com

In the first round GM Joel Benjamin had the white pieces versus GM Alexander Shabalov, who had recently competed in the World Open and must have been tired and it has shown in his tepid play. Shabba is, after all, a Senior, and Seniors require more rest than juniors, or even middle-aged players. The following position was reached early in the game:

White to move

GM Shabalov’s last move was to move the Queen from d8 to d7. It would have been better for Shabba to have played 18…Nh6. Would you pull the trigger? Find the answer here: (https://lichess.org/broadcast/us-senior-championship-2022/round-1/z8SVUmvb)

https://en.chessok.net/books/572-secrets-of-chess-intuition-free-download-book.html

“The Integrity of the Game is at Stake”

The question is no longer, “Is there cheating in Chess tournaments?” After reading the comments left at the USCF website in response to the happenings in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Junior High School Nationals the question is now, “How rampant is the cheating in Junior Chess?”

There is an article on the USCF website, 1100 Players Battling in Atlanta For Junior High School Nationals, By Vanessa Sun|April 7, 2018. (https://new.uschess.org/news/1100-players-atlanta-junior-high-school-nationals/)

The comments in response to the article are frightening.

Gang | April 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm

The live broadcasts were bad. Hope next time will be better.
Reply

john doe | April 9, 2018 at 1:19 am

there needs to be a two move delay or min o 5 minutes for broadcasts. too easy for people to cheat. the way the maryland chess association does it is the best. they don’t even show the first move for white until black plays. that makes sense and is most fari (sic)
Reply

Tang | April 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

Can’t agree more. There are kids cheating in every tournaments, even in nationals. If there is no delay for broadcasts, it would hurt top seeds if some kids find it too easy to bring a phone to the restroom.
Reply

john doe | April 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

it’s not even the player having a phone. do you know how many parents/ teammates have these games in stockfish on their phone while watching. I walked around the room and i hear people talking about the best move or engine recommendation for some of the top boards. they all know the best engine move. the player doesn’t even need to punch the position into their phones. a player can overhead a conversation about their game or a well meaning parent can just say rook to e8 in passing. i mean this is pretty ridiculous. Everyone is a grandmaster due to stockfish. The temptation is just too great. Moves must be on a move and time delay. the integrity of the game is at stake.
Reply

john doe | April 9, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Basically you are having a kid take a test and every spectator knows the answer due to stockfish, and you expect everyone to abide by the honor system and not spill the beans? can you imagine if the SATs were given in this manner. Parents and friends 20 feet away with all the answers to the questions and no one policing this, can you expect no one to say anything? it’s a bit of a stretch. This can be easily fixed. delay the moves.

John Doe | April 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm

The combination of the live broadcast updating in real-time, and with players having to leave playing hall and walk through parent/spectator waiting area to use the bathroom, is what made this bad.

I also saw players already done with their games going back into playing hall – hopefully just out of innocent curiosity.

There were many upsets on the top boards in this tournament, we’d rather believe these were all clean games indicative of the deep talent pool in USA scholastic chess, versus believe the alternatives.

I like what they did at world youth – live broadcasts are delayed – and the venue set up to prevent any opportunity interaction even for things like bathroom breaks. DGT systems support delayed updates, not sure why this wasn’t done here.

john doe | April 9, 2018 at 11:52 pm

agree players should be completely segregated from people with access to engines. or just don’t broadcast the top games especially in the last few rounds. broadcast other games where the stakes are not as high.

“too easy for people to cheat.”

“There are kids cheating in every tournaments, even in nationals.”

Everyone is a grandmaster due to stockfish. The temptation is just too great. Moves must be on a move and time delay. the integrity of the game is at stake.”

I did not attend the Junior Nationals, and know nothing other than what was read at the USCF website. After reading the comments I had to question whether, if I were a parent, I would want my child to participate in such an event. The answer is a resounding, “No!”

The possibility of cheating has been with Chess for some time now. It would seem those in positions of power would have taken measures to preclude the possibility of cheating. Evidently, such is not the case. It is sad to see. Cheating is killing the game.