"I would not like to defend or justify Bobby Fischer. He is what he is. I am asking for only one thing. For mercy, charity. Put sanctions against me also. Arrest me. And put me in the same cell with Bobby Fischer. And give us a chess set. "
1) 7-way tie in US Open 2) Stephen Christopher 1908-2004 3) Robert Jordan Tuesday Night Marathon 4) Mezentsev wins Wednesday Night Blitz 5) William Martz 6) Here and There 7) Upcoming Events
Don't forget this Saturday is the fourth annual Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial at the MI starting at 10 AM. Details below under Upcoming Events.
1) 7-way tie in US Open
The 2004 US Open held August 7-15 in Ft. Lauderdale (Weston), Florida, ended in a 7-way tie for first. GMs Alexander Onischuk, Ildar Ibragimov, Alex Wojtkiewicz, Rodrigo Vasquez, IMs Andranik Matikozyan and Renier Gonzalez plus FM Marcel Martinez each won approximately $1,500 for ther 7 1/2 - 1 1/2 scores. Martinez also earned a spot n the US Championship as did IM Dmitry Schneider, FM Bruci Lopez and NM Jake Kleiman who finished on 7. WFMs Anna Levina and Olga Sagalchik took the women's qualification spots. Top scorers from the Bay Area were six-time US Champion Walter Browne and IMs John Donaldson and Walter Shipman on 6 1/2.
It's hard to follow the action in a tournament with 430 players competing in five sections that doesn't merge until the sixth round, but some performances stood out. GMs Onischuk and Ibragimov were at the top throughout the event, but leading the peleton all the way allowed the field to catch them at the end. Being top-rated in US Swiss events is a disadvantage. You consistently play stronger opposition without any compensation. The European practice of using tiebreaking points to divide prize money is an idea worth considering, especially in an event like a 9 round US Open where players on the same score can face such different opposition. One idea might be to divide half the money equally and the other half by a tiebreak percentage formula.
The attendance for the US Open was definitely helped by the fact that there are many Cuban Americans living in South Florida. Playing in the weekend schedule, I got to meet quite a few of them and it was nice to see how successful they were in Ft. Lauderdale. IM Renier Gonzalez, who made a GM norm at the Foxwoods tournament earlier this year, tied for first, as did FM Marcel Martinez. Some MI members might remember that Marcel won the US Junior Closed at the Mechanics' in 1999. Unfortunately, for reasons that were never completely clear to me, the USCF decided he was not able to participate in the US Championship. He stopped playing, got married and went into the family business. He only recently started playing again but he was most impressive in the US Open, playing on the top boards throughout the event. Another Cuban-American youngster, Bruci Lopez, also played very well and grabbed a qualification spot. This year in San Diego, Spanish will be the third native language spoken with Gonzalez, Martinez, Lopez, IM Blas Lugo and GM Julio Becerra all qualified to compete.
IM Matikoziyan of Glendale had an outstanding event drawing GM Julio Becerra, defeating GM Hikaru Nakamura and drawing GM Ildar Ibragimov in the final three rounds. Berkeley GM Walter Browne played in the Five Day Schedule, which was by far the strongest, defeated GMs Wojtkiewicz and Alexandria Kosteniuk - with 1.e4! in consecutive rounds (see below). A 100 move draw with Nakamura in round five sapped his strength and Walter lost two later games by overpressing.
The tournament was relatively strong with 12 GMs and plenty of IMs competing. It's hard to figure out exactly what attracted many top players to the event. Walter Browne and I flew back on the same fight from Miami to SFO and talked about this. We both agreed that one reason some strong players showed up in Florida was to try to qualify for the US Championship. I'm sure that GMs Browne, Fedorowicz and Sagalchik would never have considered playing if not for the fact that they needed to get a ticket to the US Championship. The prize fund at the top followed a sad practice at recent US Opens with only $11,000 of the $40,000 prize fund in place prizes. This meant that several of the players who tied for first and played the traditional schedule, probably only broke even or maybe even lost money after deducting a $1,000 hotel bill for ten days, air fare and meals. This is not exactly an endorsement for becoming a professional chess player! This years US Open only paid out 25% in place prizes, the same as the 2000 and 2001 US Opens. I'm sure the USCF was happy with the turnout but clearly this is a tournament that has seen much better days. Last years event in Los Angeles was a step up and Reno in 1999 was outstanding (26 GMs, $63,000 prize fund, almost 500 entries, $59 rooms nights) but much of the past 15 years has been a steady decline into the second rank of major American events. My suggestion for rescuing this dinosaur is to hook it up with the US Championship and run the latter as a knockout. Anyone who was in Los Angeles in 1991 will agree that that was an exciting chess festival. Spectator attendance at the Championship set records and players who got knocked out early could jump right into the US Open. I'm not sure exactly why this idea was never tried again.
You might guess that with USCF President Marinello and Executive Board Member Schultz living in Southern Florida, they would have played a major role in this years US Open, but that looks not to be the case. US Open bids are normally decided several years in advance and Marinello and Schultz were not on the Board at that time. It looks like the 105th US Open was the work of former Executive Director Frank Niro who nearly drove the Federation into bankruptcy. He made several trips to South Florida while serving as ED and It looks like he didn't do a very good job negotiating the hotel contract. Chess players paid approximately $100 a night with taxes, pretty much the same as walk up guests, with the exception that the resort fee was waived. Four star hotels within easy driving distance could be found for half the price, which is not surprising since tourists in South Florida in August are about as common as visitors to Buffalo in January. Temperatures were consistently in the 90s with humidity that caused you to feel like you were in a sauna within a few minutes. If this US Open wasn't warm enough, not to fear. Next year, it's in Phoenix where it's 102 degrees today. One consolation for architecture fans is that the 2005 event will be held at the venerable Biltmore, the only Frank Lloyd Wright design influenced hotel in the world. Charging rates around $300 a night in winter the Biltmore is offering a $99 per day to stay during the very-off-peak season. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and play in the Aspen and Ventura US Opens!
NMs Mackenzie Molnar of New Jersey and Pieta Garrett of Arizona tied for first in the Denker Tournament of Champions with 5-1 scores. Northern California Representative Benjamin Tejes was =11th in the 46-player field with 3.5, drawing Molnar in round 4. A welcome innovation was the Susan Polgar Invitational Tournament for Girls. Top-seed Roza Eynullayeva (2085) of Massachusetts won with 5. Bay Area resident Elisha Garg had an excellent result, sharing second at 4.5 while facing the top three seeds.
The USCF held its annual Delegates Meeting the last weekend of the US Open and the Bay Area was represented by newly elected Executive Board member Elizabeth Shaughnessy, NM Richard Koepcke and Mike Goodall. The news was distinctly positive compared to a year ago when the Executive Director failed to show up, then announced his resignation from afar not long after it was discovered that the Federation was near bankruptcy. Today things are much better after an eventful year. The new Executive Director, Bill Goichberg, served without pay, which saved the USCF at least $100,000 (the base pay for ED Al Lawrence in the early 1990s) and negotiated an excellent outsourcing book and equipment deal with Hanon Russell's Chess Cafe. Two of the big questions coming into the Delegates Meetings were would Goichberg continue on and would the USCF stay in their present location. The answer to the former is yes, at a token salary of $25,000. Keeping Goichberg on for another year is critical for the USCF to keep steadying the boat. The finances the past year showed a huge turnaround but some of the improvement came from one time situations (selling off assets, laying off employees) and things could slip back without prudent management.
Exactly where the USCF office will be located a year from now is not exactly clear. When things were difficult last year the USCF was forced to sell the building it owned for many years and rent it back from the buyer. This is mutually acceptable at present but the long term situation is unclear. Crossville, Tennessee, home of longtime USCF supporter Harry Sabine, offered the Federation free land and other incentives several years ago. The city and Federation seemed close to a deal but it was not closed. Crossville still seems interested as does Lindsborg, Kansas, which sent several city representatives to the US Open along with major organizer Mikhail Korenman. The deal Lindsborg is offering is said to include both land and a building, for free. Neither Crossville or Lindsborg could be considered to be a major metropolitan area but both are considerably more cosmopolitan than one might suspect. Offers from two locations in South Florida were floating around a year ago but neither seems remotely as attractive as the two deals mentioned above. The USCF office has been in the Newburgh/New Windsor area for close to 40 years after moving 60 miles up the road from New York City, but US Chess has not always been East Coast based. The USCF was founded in 1939 in Illinois and before that one of the two US Chess organizations, the Western Chess Association, was headquartered in St. Louis. The USCF staff is greatly reduced from a year ago and, with technology being what it is, could conceivably be based almost anywhere. Housing prices and employee salaries in New Windsor are effected to some extent by the proximity to New York City. Most likely nothing will change in the short term but it is good to know that the USCF has some attractive offers on the table. It would be nice to see the Fedration owning its home.
The crosstable for the US Open can be found at: http://www.uschess.org/tournaments/2004/usopen/index.php?page=results and then click Traditional and then Standings.
The following two games were a shock at the US Open. Walter was a major 1.e4 player in his youth, but it's been a very long time, at least two decades, since he's played it. Time control was Game/60.
I would have loved to have seen Wojt's reaction when Walter played 1.e4. The perennial Grand Prix Champion is a major league Najdorf man, but Walter has played it all his life.
Browne,W - Wojtkiewicz,A [B90]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.g4 Nbd7 9.Qd2 Nb6 10.0-0-0 Nfd7 11.Ndxb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 Ba6 13.Nxd6+ Bxd6 14.Qxd6 Nc4 15.Bxc4 Bxc4 16.Qd4 Rxa2 17.Kb1 Qc8 18.Qxg7 Rf8 19.Rxd7 Kxd7 20.Rd1+ Kc6 21.b3 Qa6 22.Qe5 Qa3 23.Qd4 Ra1+ 24.Qxa1 Qxa1+ 25.Kxa1 Be2 26.Rd4 e5 27.Ra4 f6 28.f4 exf4 29.Bxf4 Bxg4 30.Kb2 Re8 1-0
Browne,W - Kosteniuk,A [B66]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Be7 9.f3 Bd7 10.Be3 h5 11.h4 b5 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Bg5 Qc7 14.Kb1 Rc8 15.Bd3 Bb7 16.a3 Qb6 17.Ne2 Bc6 18.Be3 Qb7 19.Nd4 Bd7 20.Bg5 Ra8 21.f4 Qb6 22.c3 Ng8 23.f5 e5 24.Nc2 a5 25.Ne3 Bc6 26.Bc2 Nf6 27.Bxf6 gxf6 28.Nd5 Bxd5 29.Qxd5 1-0
This is where the bulletin stops. I am certain the game didn't end here. The players probably quit keeping score at this point. By the way, the bulletin produced by Phil Smith of Minnesota appeared punctually and with a large number of games. Unfortunately, many of the battles between the top players didn't make it in. I'm not sure if this was because they played their first few games at fast time controls, their score sheets were illegible or they just didn't bother to turn them in. A set of bulletins for the nine round event, with the last mailed to your home, set you back $35. I'm not sure how many were sold, but it always struck me that it would be a better deal for everybody if the organizer just tacked on $5 or $10 to the entry fee and just provided bulletins for everyone, whether paper or electronic. At present, I don't think any of the games have been released for public consumption. I entered the two above from the bulletin.
2) Stephen Christopher 1908-2004
Stephen Christopher passed away on May 30th in Washington State. Mr. Christopher was the first major book and equipment seller in the Pacific Northwest and one of the driving forces behind the 1966 US Open in Seattle. Chess has many unsung heroes and Stephen was one of them. ChessCo founder Bob Long wrote in a memorial in the July issue of Northwest Chess how he would have been forced to close his business long ago if Mr. Christopher had not stepped in to help him. IM Jeremy Silman is known today as one of the premier instructional writers in the chess world but his classic Reassess Your Chess might never have seen the light of day if Mr. Christopher hadn't help to finance its publication. Although Christopher played in one Washington State Championship, he was never much higher than a low class A player, but he really loved the game and played in hundreds of tournaments in the NW. Many players benefited from his small kindnesses whether it was giving someone a ride to the tournament, sponsoring their entry fee or giving them a book or set. He was a real gentleman and will be greatly missed.
3) Robert Jordan Tuesday Night Marathon
The Robert Jordan Tuesday Night Marathon started last night and illustrated once again why the first round of Swiss system events can be full of surprises. This time third seed NM Igor Margulis was upset by Class B player Guadalupe Sainz. Approximately 70 players have signed up so far for the eight round FIDE rated Swiss system event. It's still possible to enter the competition with a half point bye for the first round.
Are you wondering who Robert Jordan is? Anybody who has been to the Mechanics' at closing time might wonder how the pieces on the 40 chess tables and the main room are reset (This isn't Europe where the players do it when the game is finished!). The answer is, every morning, without fail, Bob Jordan comes in and sets up each table and he has been doing if for at least five years. We very much appreciate his efforts.
4) Mezentsev wins Wednesday Night Blitz
IM-elect Vladimir Mezentsev won the latest edition of the weekly Wednesday Night Blitz with a 13-0 score. NM Arthur Ibragimov was second in the 14-player round robin with 11 points followed by Ted Castro at 9.5 and Daichi Siegrist at 9. The action resumes this evening at 7 PM.
5) William Martz
The late William Martz passed away shortly after tying for first in the US Open in St. Paul. Some Newsletters ago, we included some unpublished games of his from a class he taught in Milwaukee in the 1970s. The games didn't have the location where they were played, but recently Arlen Walker was able to contact one of Martz's opponents, veteran Southern California Master Charles Van Buskirk, who kindly provided not only the venue but another game they had played.
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. f4 c5 7. Nf3 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nc6 9. Be3 Bg4 10. Nxc6 Bxe2 11. Nxd8 Bxd1 12. Rxd1 Rfxd8 13. Ke2 Nd7 14. Rd3 Nc5 15. Bxc5 dxc5 16. Rhd1 Rxd3 17. Rxd3 Bxc3 18. bxc3 Kf8 19. Rd7 b6 20. g4 f6 21. h4 h6 22. a4 Kf7 23. f5 g5 24. h5 Ke8 25. Rc7 Kf7 26. a5 bxa5 27. Rxc5 a4 28. Ra5 e6 29. c5 exf5 30. exf5 a3 31. Kd3 a2 32. Kc4 Ke7 33. Rxa2 a5 34. Kb5 Rb8+ 35. Kc6 Rc8+ 36. Kb6 Rb8+ 37. Kc7 Rb3 38. c6 Rxc3 39. Rxa5 Rc4 40. Ra7 Rxg4 41. Kb8+ Kd6 42. c7 Rc4 43. c8=Q Rxc8+ 44. Kxc8 Ke5 45. Ra5+ Kf4 46. Kd7 g4 47. Ke6 Kg5 48. Ra3 Kxh5 49. Kxf6 Kh4 50. Kg6 1-0
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. d4 e6 6. e3 Nc6 7. Bc4 cxd4 8.exd4 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Bf6 11. Ne4 h6 12. Nxf6+ Nxf6 13. Bf4 b6 14. a3 Bb7 15. Ba2 Ne7 16. Be5 Ned5 17. Qd3 Rc8 18. Rad1 Qe7 19. Bb1 Rfd8 20. h3 Ba8 21.Nh2 Qb7 22. Ng4 Qe7 23. Re3 h5 24. Nxf6+ Nxf6 25. Rg3 g6 26. Qe3 h4 27. Qg5 hxg3 28. Bxf6 Rxd4 29. Rf1 gxf2+ 30. Kh1 Qc5 31. Qh6 Bxg2+ 32. Kxg2 Qd5+ 33.Kxf2 Rd2+ 34. Ke3 Qb3+ 35. Kxd2 Qd5+ 36. Ke3 1-0
6) Here and There
IM Calvin Blocker will be attempting to set an Ohio record for the most games played in a simultaneous exhibition on August 29th at the Eton Square Mall in Cleveland.
One of the greatest players in American chess history, GM Walter Browne, is available for lessons. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IM Kong Liang Deng won the Southern California Invitational Championship held July 10-25th in Los Angeles. Deng, who lost only to second place finisher IM Jack Peters, scored 6-1. Other scores in the eight player round robin were: 2. IM Peters 5 1/2; 3. IM Taylor 4; 4. FM Van Buskirk 3 1/2; 5. FM Casella 3; 6. I. Miller 2 1/2; 7. Bruno 2; 8. West 1 1/2
NM Brandon Ashe beat NM Michael Casella in round five of the Westwood Doubletree Open last Sunday to take first with a score of 4 1/2 from 5. Ashe's only draw was to Class A player Frederick Field who many may recognize for his generous sponsorship of numerous chess events, including the 1990 World Championship in New York. Casella shared second at 4-1 with IMs Cyrus Lakdawala and Tim Taylor both of whom he had defeated earlier in the competition. 60 players played in the one day event organized by John Hillary for the Southern California Chess Association.
Gambiteer and former Bay Area Master Max Burkett is busy adding to his website. His latest project has been to collect as many Frank Marshall games as possible. Check it out at: http://people.montana.com/~mburkett/
7) Upcoming Events
Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial - August 21
Mechanics Institute Scholastic Quads 2004 Tournaments:
September 25, October 16, November 13, December 18
Rounds : 10:30am, 12:15pm, 2:00pm Late Registration: 9:30am - 10:15am Open: to the first eighty players Note: Quads based on rating. USCF Rated. Unrated players face each other. You must be a USCF member to play in the quads. Time Control: Game in 45 minutes Entry Fee: $20 / $30 day of tournament/ $15 for MI members Checks payable to Mechanics' Chess Club Prizes: Trophies for the winners of each quad
Aug. 28 & 29: Sacramento Chess Club Weekend Swiss #13 GPP: 6 N. California
Sept. 4-6 2004 CalChess Labor Day Championships GPP: 15 N. California
A Heritage Event!
National EventsSept. 3, 4, 5, 6 23rd North American FIDE Open GPP: 150 Oklahoma 8SS, G/90+30 sec, Holiday Inn (Holidome) 2515 W. 6th Ave (Hwy-51) Stillwater, OK 1-405-372-0800. HR: 60-60-60-60. EF: $50. Free to FIDE rated players. Reg: Fri 11am-12:30pm. Rds: 1-6, 11-4, 11-4, 9-2. $$G 9,900 will not be lowered. $$G$1,500, $1,300, $1,100, $900, $700, $500. 11 plaques. $$G 600 each class X-E & below. Unr $200-$100. 2 byes rds 1-6. OCF req. Free Parking. Ent: Jim Berry PO Box 351 Stillwater, OK 74076. 1-405-624-2281. email@example.com. LS, W. FIDE. Acc pairings may be used
Oct. 29-31. GPP: 80 South Dakota
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