"By some ardent enthusiasts, chess has been elevated into a science or an art. It is neither; but its principal characteristic seems to be what human nature most delights in - a fight."
1) Mechanics' Chess News 2) Ukraine and China lead Chess Olympiad 3) Reactions to the Kramnik - Leko Match 4) US Championship field set 5) ACP General Assembly Report by Jonathan Berry 6) USCF relocation revisited 7) New tournament clearinghouse for Northern California 8) Trying to locate Senior Master John Hall 9) Here and There 10) Upcoming Events
1) Mechanics' Chess News
Mongolian IM Ganbold Odondoo is the top seed in the 68-player Winter Tuesday Marathon which started last night. Other high-rated players include FM Frank Thornally and female NMs Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Egle Morkunaite. It is still not to late to enter the event with a first round bye and eight games to play. The tournament will end December 21.
Jorge Lopez won last Wednesdays blitz with David Ray second. There will be another blitz tournament this evening starting at 7pm.
Thanks to Michael Savage, Mohammed Shaikh and Anthony Corrales for moving all the chess tables from the 4th floor to the basement and back again. Yes, the Chess Room has gotten rid of its old carpet and now has a beautiful new slate green linoleum flooring which passed the sound test at last night's TNM with flying colors. Come and check out the new look.
Last Newsletter I mentioned that the MI won the team competition at the Western States Open. Among those who scored heavily for the Mechanics' was Team Naroditsky ( Daniel and Alan and Vladimir) Tom Allen points out they scored an incredible 16 out of 18 (!) in winning and tying for second in the C section and winning the D section. Good job! Other top Bay Area players included Victor Todortsev (=3rd Class A) and Rico Adkins (=1st Class B).
2) Ukraine and China lead Chess Olympiad
Ukraine, lead by first board Vassily Ivanchuk (8.5/11 - 2855 performance) and second reserve 14-year-old GM Sergey Karjakin (5.5/6 -2897 performance) continues to hold a 2.5 point lead over Russia with just three matches left. The US is playing very well with five of the six team members playing at or above their rating. They will face the always dangerous Armenians who have been bolstered by the addition of Levon Aronian who is playing board 2, behind Vladimir Akopian. The big point scorer is third board Rafael Vaganian who has 6.5 from 8 ( performance 2824).
The Chinese women are four points ahead of the field and face what will be probably their last test in the 4th seeded Georgian women's team which started poorly but has moved into second. The US women are doing very well. Second board Irina Krush, who is having a tremendous event, was the star of the match with China winning the only decisive game. The match against the underrated Hungarians (seeded 13th) will be interesting. Veteran Ildiko Madl is holding her own points but ithe team is scoring most of its victories on boards two and three.
1. Ukraine 32; 2. Russia 29.5 3. Armenia 29 4. Israel 28; 5-6. India and USA 27.5
USA - Round 1 Dominican Republic 3.5-.5, Round 2 Lithuania 2-2, Round 3 Iran 3.5-.5, Round 4 India (#5) 1.5-2.5, Round 5 Uzbekistan 1.5-2.5 Round 6 Croatia 2.5-1.5 Round 7 Singapore 3.5-.5; Round 8 Azerbaijan (#14) 2.5-1.5, Round 9 Spain A (#7) 3.5-.5; Round 10 Ukraine (#2) 2-2; Round 11 Russia (#1) 1.5-2.5
1st Board Onischuk 5.5/10 (2673 performance)
1. China 26, 2. Georgia 22, 3-4. USA and Hungary 21.5
USA Women Round 1 Venezuela 2.5-.5, Round 2 Lithuania 2.5-.5, Round 3 Slovenia 2.5-.5, Round 4 Russia (#2)1-2, Round 5 Sweden 1.5-1.5, Round 6 Georgia (#4) 2-1 Round 7 India (#6) 1.5-1.5 Round 8 Armenia (#14) 2-1, Round 9 Poland (#7) 2-1, Round 10 China (#1) 2-1 Round 11 Slovakia (#12) 2-1
1st Board Polgar 7.5/11 (2571)
Late news !!
Round 12 USA- Armenia (#4) 2-2 (Onischuk .5, Shabalov 0, Goldin .5, Kaidanov 1)
Round 12 USA women versus Hungary (#13) 2.5-.5 ! Polgar and Zatonskih won with White and Krush drew with Black.
The official olympiad site (http://www.36chessolympiad-daily.com/index.php?idioma=en) has excellent coverage. For a US perspective go to www.uschess.org where you can find Paul Truong's daily reports
3) Reactions to the Kramnik - Leko Match
I found the following observations gathered together at http://www.chessville.com/ .
David Norwood: "The fact remains that Kramnik won the first game and the last game and played like a traumatized tortoise in the middle. That middle consisted of twelve games in which Kramnik lost two, won none and drew the rest. Much of the time he was happy to agree a draw before he had left his home preparation; ie, before he even had to think about moves for himself. This match took the emerging concept of non-chess to a whole new level. Now Vlad is the Champion, retaining the title because the match was drawn, which is somehow wonderfully appropriate. What must the sponsors think? Not that chess players worry much about sponsorship -- until it all disappears. During this match, for the first time in my life, I began to feel happy that chess is not a televised sport. The Kramnik-Leko charade has done for chess what the Ice Age did for dinosaurs."
Nigel Short: "Neither of these two Titans deserved to win the World Championship, so it is most appropriate that neither of them did. We will not be fooled into believing that this was an interesting match just because the last two games were exciting. No, the overriding impression was of a turgid and dreary affair. Once upon a time they would have got away with it. When chess fans received their monthly magazine with carefully distilled highlights, the dross was discreetly hidden away. Now, in the age of live internet broadcasts, there is no ?junk game filter?. The rubbish is clearly visible."
Tim Krabbe: "When the 11th match game between Kramnik and Leko was drawn in 17 moves, and there was nothing to say about the chess, ChessBase interviewed Carsten Hensel, who is the personal manager of both players. It was a remarkable interview."
Here are some questions.
Q: Do Kramnik and Leko feel any pressure to play more fighting chess?
Lubomir Kavalek: "Both players are being accused of contaminating the picturesque place on the Lake Maggiore with too many short draws and lack of fighting spirit. We saw two highly skilled chess technicians at work. True, some of the games were not exciting, but Kramnik and Leko are not the first to make a farce out of a world championship match. In their first match in 1984-1985 in Moscow, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov managed to draw 18 games under 23 moves and nobody called it the end of modern chess."
Jack Peters: "The exciting finish only partly redeems one of the dullest matches in history. Too many games ended without a real fight. Until Kramnik went for broke in the last two games, both players seemed to wait for the opponent to take the initiative. The drawn result should not enhance either's reputation."
4) US Championship field set
John Henderson gives the field for the upcoming US Championship due to start in late November.
USCF 10/02 rating
1 Gata Kamsky 2777
5) ACP General Assembly Report by Jonathan Berry
ACP General Assembly Report by Jonathan Berry
The Association of Chess Professionals held its General Assembly on October 21st in Calvia, at the Casino where the Olympiad is being played, but not today because it is the first rest day. Unlike many organizations, the ACP conducts no important business at its annual General Assembly. No elections, no motions. At the head table were board members GMs Bartek Macieja, Almira Skripchenko, Joel Lautier, Pavel Tregubov, Alexander Baburin, and Yannick Pelletier.
The 70 participants, mostly GMs, were treated to a bilingual (English and Russian) presentation of reports. The ACP can declare "victory" now in its battle to allow participants in the Euro Championship to stay elsewhere than the hotel specified by the organizers. Typically, organizers would charge high-season maximum rates for events held in low or shoulder season, and the profits would reappear as sponsorship. In effect, the players were sponsoring their own tournament, under somebody else's name. While the ACP had success in dealing with the ECU (Euro Chess Union), the same could not be said for its advocacy of players in relation to FIDE. No substantive reply except from the FIDE Ethics Committee, which confirmed that some Euro nominations to the 2004 World Championship were improper. Just beginning is the case of Swiss GM Vadim Milov (who travels under an Israeli passport), which has been accepted at the Court of Sports Arbitration in Lausanne. He wants compensation from FIDE because they made it difficult or impossible for him to play in the 2004 World Championship.
For money, the ACP has about 5,000 Euros in the bank, out of more than 9,000 collected mostly for 2004 dues with some 2005 dues as well.
Anna Hahn and Yannick Pelletier were welcomed to the Board, with thanks to departing members Svetlana Matveeva and Viorel Bologan.
The three ACP Internet tournaments were a great success. The ACP Tour is going ahead, with 35 of 38 tournaments contacted reacting positively. There are plans for another series and for a women's grandmaster series.
ACP Prez. Joel Lautier discussed a possible Euro Super-League, a 8-team RR with 7 coming from the Euro Club Cup and 1 nominated by the sponsor. They will propose this to the ECU. Although I wonder what they need the ECU for if they have a sponsor? I guess the answer is that the ACP is trying hard to work with existing organizations, realizing that cooperation works better than discord.
More info on these issues, and the full reports, are at the ACP website: http://www.chess-players.org/eng/
The rest of the time available, about 45 minutes, was an open discussion, mostly on the question of short draws. GM Lautier put forward the initial topic, whether it should be illegal to propose or agree to a draw before move 40. Viktor Kortchnoi said that such a proposal is too severe. How about starting with a suggestion to players that they do not make quick draws. I thought: with the FIDE Rules Commission meeting in a couple of days, what an opportunity to put this into practice! Later I thought that such a proviso might already be in the Laws, but on checking them discovered that not only was there no such provision, but the rule prohibiting draws before a real contest had begun had also been removed. Maybe it's gone to the Code of Ethics, a weapon which has been used to vilify a journalist for writing controversial articles, but which has not nabbed anybody for buying or selling points. So, yes, there is an empty spot in the Laws for Mr. Kortchnoi's proposal. Vishy Anand suggested that some positions do become dead quite early and that perhaps players who agreed to a draw before move 30 or 40 should have to explain why to the audience. This raised some laughter, but GM Lautier pointed out that at a lot of tournaments, for example these Olympiads, there is no live audience. Stewart Reuben and GM Yuri Yakovich made the same point: prohibiting draws before move x will encourage pre-arranged games in x or x+1 moves; and that the best way to avoid short draws is to invite fighting players to your tournament.
GM Lautier again replied to both of these points: first, short draws do not arise from prearrangement, they happen for chessic and psychological reasons. If they were forbidden before move x, he personally would be happy, one less thing to think about. Second, not all participants are invited; they qualify or they enter. Other possibilites were mooted, such as changing the scoring system, or replaying a drawn game (with reducing time controls) until a decisive result comes out.
Short draws are an impediment to sponsorship because in, say, a Swiss, you're likely to have a game in the final round on top board ("the final game" it might be called) agreed drawn in a few moves. Sponsors obviously don't like that. Knockout was put forward as the solution, but even there we saw in the 2004 World Championship where players would agree to short draws in the regular games and then shoot it out in the rapid playoffs. Maybe it's a question of adjusting the schedule. The 1992 Fischer-Spassky match had a provision that if the game was drawn quickly, the next game would start at once.
I would add that the problem of short draws is increased when bodies choose inappropriate methods of competition. The Swiss System is good for determining a winner from a large pool of players. But to use it for determining dozens of qualifiers, such as the Euro Championship does to the World Championship, is asking for trouble. In my arbiter's report from the 1988 World Active (Rapid, Action ...) Championship in Mazatlan, I noted that the Swiss system was inappropriate. Players would achieve the level they needed to qualify for the playoffs, +3 or +4 or whatever, and then for the rest of the tournament agree to 12-move draws. And that was Rapid Chess! I suggested instead a 64-player knockout tournament, Wimbledon style, with seedings so that the #1 player would play #64 in the first round. This would be an added attraction for the organizer, because their nominee, likely to be #64, would be in the world spotlight, if only for that one match. FIDE eventually went the knockout route, but at first used random pairings, which did not work so well. It took about 15 years, but they finally came around. The Swiss style Continental Championships with multiple qualifiers from each are great if you like short draws. Like if you are a bulletin editor paid for every game entered.
6) USCF relocation revisited
The vote by the Executive Board 4-3 against waiting two weeks for the final decision on relocation is causing quite a lot of commotion. Erik Anderson of Amerca's Foundation for Chess, which saved the US Championship, was in negotiation with billionaire Alan Gerry trying to work out a favorable deal for USCF, including at least five years of free rent. Many, even those who preferred other bids over Liberty, are wondering why the haste.
Two corrections. It has been reported that Bill Goichberg, who volunteered his services for free last year, was receiving a partial salary of $25,000 this year. In fact he has not received anything to date. As the USCF is no longer in the book and equipment business its likely that a salaried Executive Director's pay would be more in the range of $80,000 than $100,000.
7) New tournament clearinghouse for Northern California
Hello tournament directors!
I would like to introduce myself as the new tournament clearinghouse person for northern California (CalChess). My primary responsibility is to maintain a calendar of local events with the purpose of minimizing scheduling conflicts. This position covers tournaments held in the following zip codes: 932xx and 936xx-961xx. For events in southern California, contact Michael Nagaran at firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE REFER TO THE CALCHESS WEBSITE FOR THE LATEST TOURNAMENT LISTINGS.
This website will list basic information for all events, including the tournament name, date(s), city (with new!! links to Yahoo maps) and contact information (email address) for the organizer or tournament director. Additional information may include links to a website, a PDF flyer and a list of advance entries. SEND EMAIL TO ME AT email@example.com WITH TOURNAMENT SUBMISSIONS and I will update the website as soon as possible, usually within a few days.
If you would like to run a tournament, FIRST VERIFY THAT THE DATES YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ARE AVAILABLE. Everyone would like to avoid having two conflicting tournaments on the same date(s) within reasonable driving distance. Thus, an event in San Jose would conflict with one in San Francisco, but another tournament in Fresno would be far enough away. However, a scholastic tournament would not conflict with a nearby regular (previously referred to as adult) event. Please note that the USCF does not give the clearinghouse person the authority to prevent an organizer from running a conflicting tournament. The sanctions at my disposal only include not promoting the conflicting event on the CalChess website (e.g. no website links).
The CalChess clearinghouse website will emphasize (using a larger font and color) tournaments that fall into any of the following three categories:
1) events sanctioned or sponsored by CalChess
I furthermore intended to restrict the privilege of posting a website link or tournament flyer to these events. CalChess would like to encourage players using its tournament website to join the state organization. However, due to the current CalChess political climate, I will delay the implementation of this new policy indefinitely and will provide additional notice before making a change.
In addition to emailing information about your upcoming events to me, I WOULD APPRECIATE RECEIVING ANY NEWS AFTER THE TOURNAMENT. If you have a website with results or crosstables, then I can post a link on the CalChess site. I also welcome a brief report (one to two paragraphs please) to post on the CalChess homepage, especially about your bigger events (both regular and scholastic). I hope to see stories from a variety of different clubs and organizations, but that variety depends on your participation!
I look forward to working with all of you, the tournament organizers and directors of northern California! Without your hard work, few people would be able to play chess over the board. As an active tournament player myself, and on behalf of other chess players young and old, I thank all of you!
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
8) Trying to locate Senior Master John Hall
Can anyone help Fred Wilson with the following request? SM John Hall was living in San Francisco around 2000-2001 but has not been seen in a couple of years.
I am still trying to locate chess author & USCF senior Master John Hall. Dover Publications, Inc. would like to discuss with him a possible reprint of one of his books but we have been unable to find a current address, phone number or email for him. If you or anyone at the Mechanic's Institute knows anything about John Hall's whereabouts-even two or three years ago-it would be of great help to us. Also, this would almost certainly benefit John Hall!
I have also sent this email to several other "West Coast" chess professionals in the hope that one of them may know how to contact John Hall, along with copying it to my contact at Dover, John Grafton, Senior Reprint Editor.
Fred Wilson, consultant on chess literature to Dover Publications, Inc.
Fred Wilson Chess Books
9) Here and There
US FIDE delegate Bill Kelleher reports that Boris Kreiman just received his GM title. Well done Boris!
Jon Haskel writes that southern Florida will be hosting an IM norm tournament shortly. Among the contestants are IMs Renier Gonzalez and Blas Lugo, FMs Fabio LaRota and Daniel Fernandez, NM Eric Moscow and up and coming junior Jeffrey Haskel.
IM Stan Kriventsov won the 2004 OCF Tulsa FIDE Open held October 23-24 with a score of 4.5 from 5. Tying for second at 4-1 in the 39-player field were NMs Ron Luther, Mikhail Langner and Moises Movsisyan. The event was organized by Jim and Frank Berry.
Ed Labate is back in the book business. Visit him at http://labatechess.com/
Cindy Tsai, who is a sophomore at Stanford, writes that the university will be sending two teams to the 2004 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships, to be held in Wichita, Kansas from December 27-30. The event is being organized by Mikhail Korenman who will hold two international events in Lindsborg immediately before it.
10) Upcoming Events
Carroll Capps Memorial - November 6-7
Mechanics Institute Scholastic Quads 2004 Tournaments:
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.
Northern California Events
Oct 18, 25, Nov 1, 8 EBCC Mini-Marathon. 4SS, 30/90, SD60. Games weekly at 7 pm Mon. East Bay Chess Club, 1940 Virginia St. Berkeley, CA 94709. EF:$10 EBCC members, $20 other. Prizes TBD. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org; 510 845-1041.
Oct. 30-31 Blacknight October Open
Nov. 26- Nov. 28 East Bay Chess Club Thanksgiving Swiss. 5SS, 40/2, SD/1. EBCC 1940 Virginia St., Berkeley CA 94709. EF: $35, $40 after 11/16. $5 EBCC discount. $$1200b/50, 2 sections. Open: 200-150-100, u2100 100, u1900 100. Reserve Section: 150-100-50, u1500 75, u1300 75. Reg: 5-5:45 Fri, with 1st rd bye, 9-9:45 Sat. Rds: Fri 6 pm, Sat 10-4:30, Sun 10-4:30. Info: eastbaychess.com; email@example.com; 510 845-1041.
A Heritage Event!
Oct. 29-31. GPP: 80 South Dakota
Mark these two events down on your calendar. The PAN AM Intercollegiate will be held in Kansas right after Christmas.Email Mikhail Korenman for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
4th Annual Lindsborg Open December 17-22
GM & IM norms are available; $4,000 guaranteed prize fund!
Rapid Knock-out Tournament Lindsborg, Kansas December 23-25, 2004 $11,500 guaranteed prize fund! 9SS;
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