"A recorded game of chess is a story in symbols, relating in cipher the struggle of two intellects; a story with a real plot, a beginning, a middle, and an end, in which the harmonies of time and place are scrupulously observed; the fickleness of fortune is illustrated; the smiles of the prosperous, the struggles of adversity, the change that comes over the two; the plans suggested by one, spoiled by the tactics of the other - the lures, the wiles, the fierce onset, the final victory. An hour's history of two minds is well told in a game of chess."
Jose R. Capablanca
1) MI Chess News 2) Matthew Ho at the World Youth Championships in Greece 3) Olympiad Controversies 4) East Bay Chess Club News 5) Here and There 6) Bay Area Chess History 7) Upcoming Events
1) MI Chess News
14-year-old Nicolas Yap regained his Master's rating with an excellent result in the 34th Annual Carroll Capps Memorial held November 6-7 at the Mechanics' Institute. The high school student from San Francisco defeated FMs Emmanuel Perez and Ron Cusi and drew with IM Ricardo DeGuzman in the last round to take first place and $400 with a score of 5.5 from 6. Tying for second at 5 in the 46-player event were Cusi and FM Bela Evans. Final standings and a list of prize winners can be found at http://www.chessclub.org/Capps04.html .
Yap,N - Vayntrub,D [B78]
NM Arthur Ibragimov took first in the Wednesday Night Blitz on November 3 with David Ray second and Yefim Bukh third.
Mechanics' Institute Chess Room 150th Year Celebration
Come celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room and Institute with a fun-filled day of activities. Highlights will include:
Children's Chess Class - 10-11am
Free simul by teenage stars Nicolas Yap and Ewelina Krubnik - 11am-1pm
Blitz Tournament - 5 double round Swiss - $10 entry fee if you bring a clock, $15 without.
Guaranteed Prizes - $100 first; $60 second, First Under 2000 $40. More per entries. 1-3pm
Live analysis of US Championship by International Master John Donaldson. Come watch the games of Bay Area stars Alex Yermolinsky and Walter Browne. 3-5pm
Mechanics' Institute - 57 Post Street, 4th Floor, (415) 421-2258, firstname.lastname@example.org, Montgomery BART
2) Matthew Ho at the World Youth Championships in Greece
Follow Matthew Ho at World Youth!
San Jose junior NM Matthew Ho was selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championship in Crete, Greece on November 4-13. Matthew is the highest rated junior in Northern California, with current ratings of 2259 USCF and 2277 FIDE. He has his work cut out for him in Greece, since he is seeded 41st out of 116 players in the B16 (boys 16-and-under) section, with two Grandmasters sitting at the top boards. Matthew joins an American delegation of 14 boys and 10 girls who play in five age categories. Southern Californians, NM Elliott Liu (B16) and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (G16) are the only other west coast participants.
Check out the following link for daily pairings, results, and standings.
Latest standings (after 7 rounds) Top US scorers are Daniel Ludwig #1 in the Under 16 with 6 , Alisa Melikhina =3rd with 5 in the Girls Under 14 and Josh Friedel is =7th with 5 in the Under 18. California scores: Matthew Ho has 4 and Elliot Liu 2.5 in the Under 16 while Tatev Abrahamiyan has 4.5 from 7 in the Girls Under 16.
3) Olympiad Controversies
The recently concluded Olympiad in Calvia, Spain, seems to have produced more than its share of controversies. By now most chessplayers in the world know of the incident involving Georgian GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili and security guards at the closing ceremony that resulted in his arrest by Spanish authorities. This was not the only one incident involving Georgians. Another concerned the last round match Georgia-Armenia GM Alex Baburin's online-daily Chess Today (wwwchesstoday.net), which just celebrated its fourth birthday, had this to say about the alleged dumped match. The Armenia-Georgia Match by GM Alex Baburin
Chess Today got a copy of the letter (see below) from the Israeli Chess Federation, concerning the last round match at the recent Olympiad between Armenia and Georgia. Georgia lost that match ½-3½, which nearly allowed Armenia to take silver medals (they got bronze on tiebreak, after Russia won 3-1 vs. China). I already commented in CT-1460 (see directly below JD) that such results were not impossible even between roughly equal teams, but this letter mentions some suspicious details, so the case is still open. Interestingly, the letter is not on the FIDE website.
CT- 1460 - As long as there are big upsets in the round, there will always be some parties not happy about it. But I recall that in Bled 2002 Armenia beat Georgia 3-1 in the last round and nobody protested. If I remember correctly, then Georgians were ahead before the match, so no foul play could be suspected. These teams are similar in strength, but a big score between them is certainly possible
Attention: Mr I. Leong, Chief Arbiter of the 36th Chess Olympiad
Following my conversation with Mr Mena - Chief Arbiter of the men section, before the beginning of the last round, I hereby apply to you with an urgent request, to check deeply the course of events in the match between Georgia and Armenia. Few hours before the match we heard numerous rumours about a possibility of an agreement in advance between the mentioned teams, including extremely strange odds on the outcome of the game in the Internet (www.betsson.com). However, we didn't believe in such a thing to happen in such an important event, despite all the rumours around. These rumours were reinforced by the fact that the team of Georgia didn't include their two first boards, which is absolutely unique in the last round. Therefore I approached Mr Mena before the beginning of the games and informed him about the facts. Mr Mena was aware of the facts but understandably didn't take any actions. The progress of the games verified our suspicions, as 3 Georgian players lost one after another in a very strange way and quite quickly, clearly not according to their usual level of play.
Though Georgian team felt down deeply, the players themselves were just smiling and even joking around.I think this situation must be investigated, as the outcome of this match had a huge impact on the final results of the Olympiad. Hence, we require to establish very urgently a special committee to check all the events regarding this match:
1. List of players
Another Chess Today regular contributor G Mikhail Golubev wrote:
The Israeli chess observer Dr Mark Livshits has published two quite remarkable articles recently. Both of them will stir up some controversy. At the Bestsportnews site, Dr. Livshits reviews the results of the Olympiad and claims that the last round match between Armenia and Georgia (Armenia won, 3½-½) was fixed. Livshits also cites the Israeli team coach IM Alexander Kaspi who said that the result was "suspicious" and that the Israeli federation has already distributed a protest letter among the participants and the FIDE officials in Calvia. In my (MG) view, similar accusations should always be supported by strong evidence. But it would be interesting to know the opinion of FIDE about all of that. FIDE, supposedly, received the official letter from the Israelis (the existence of the Israelis statement is confirmed in Ana Matnadze's open letter), and, therefore, should react in some way.The site Olimpbase.org, meanwhile, says that there is "some claim the match had not been fair". So, as I understand it, FIDE should have enough reasons now to investigate the situation.
Mark Crowther at The Week in Chess had this to say.
The Israeli Chess Federation sent a letter to FIDE officials questioning the result of the match between Georgia and Armenia. Game fixing in chess goes on (particularly in lesser events where prize money and norms are concerned), its however incredibly difficult to prove and in general ignored by FIDE. The rules in Calvia were however extremely clear "2.10 Prior agreement between players as to the result of individual games or of a match shall be penalized with the utmost severity. If any such agreement is proved to have taken place, the points apportioned by it shall be annulled and the matter shall be referred to the Appeals Committee for the fixing of the penalty." However there weren't any unusual betting patterns seen by Betsson (mentioned in the letter) on the Georgia - Armenia match and the amount of money was pretty small. Its certainly the case that in Olympiads teams as a whole have agreed 2-2 draws in the past with no censure at all (and these really do annoy me as they tend to be potentially the most exciting matches and in these days of betting surely should also be explicitly banned as I'm pretty sure the teams don't think them wrong) and there looks to be at least one case of that in the recent Olympiad.
Here are the four games from the match.
Akopian,V (2692) - Izoria,Z (2600) [E12]
Jobava,B (2614) - Aronian,L (2675) [E11]
Vaganian,R (2640) - Gagunashvili,M (2567) [D12]
Gelashvili,T (2576) - Lputian,S (2634) [D58]
The Georgian top boards were Azmaiparashvili and Kacheishvili. Both were playing more or less according to their rating though the latter's only win was in round one. It might also be expected that Azmai would sit out the final round as he is highly involved in FIDE administrative matters which tend to concentrate toward the ending of the Olympiad. Georgia, with 31 points was in no position to hope for a medal, even in the event of an extremely unlikely 4-0 victory. With 31 points going in the last round they were in a big tie for eighth, two points behind Armenia. Their only real chance for glory lay in fourth board Baadur Jobava who had the best result in the event with 8 from 9 for a performance of well over 2850! He didn't have to play. The requirement is that boards 1-4 play at least 60 percent of their matches so 9 games was enough. Had Jobava sat, the gold medal on board 4 and gold medal for best result of the event were his. He did play, gaining the Georgians their sole half point of the match. A loss would have cost Jobava both his gold medals. It would be quite understandable if the Georgian team captain decided to give him the white pieces. Since Georgia had White on 2 and 4 and Jobava was board four either they would have play the top four or drop two of the three boards above him, otherwise he would be Black. Playing the bottom four left Vaganian and Lputian, both in excellent form, against Gagunashvili and Gelashvili who were really struggling. Add to that Akopian with White on board one and the final result doesn't look so surprising. Though the two teams are not so widely apart by rating the Armenians have a tradition of playing together very well as a team. Players like Lputian also have excellent reputations as good sportsman. I wasn't there but from the outside I see nothing to suggest collusion.
One other mini-scandal was US team captain Boris Postovsky's interview with the Russian press where he accused the USCF of trying to replace sixth board Boris Gulko with up-and-comer Hikaru Nakamura. I have not seen any concrete evidence to suppoort this claim but as mentioned in previous Newsletters the selection criteria could definitely be tightened up. Objective criteria is needed that is easy to understand and check. Here is what is currently on the USCF site:
3. FIDE Olympiad and FIDE Women's Olympiad:
Average of the 1) current published USCF rating at time of invitation; 2) peak published USCF rating (going back 24 months from time of invitation); 3) current published FIDE rating at time of invitation
2. For the U.S. Championship or FIDE Olympiad, players may satisfy the activity requirement by their participation in the immediately preceding event.
FIDE events are supposed to be USCF rated but with a few exceptions (Goletiani's 1st place in the 2003 Pan American Womens Championship) they have not. Changes in the USCF rating formula have resulted in a drop in the ratings of top players, especially those who are active. Those who have played little USCF rated play have tended to move up the list through inactivity. Exactly how to reflect the difference between USCF and FIDE when doing conversions has been a bone of contention as the latter are lower. Players who like one game a day play like Boris often find it hard to find serious events in the US, but if they play exclusively in Europe they run the risk of not satisfying the activity requirement. The USCF staff wastes a lot of time doing the calculations.
My solution. Scrap the USCF ratings from the calculation. Simply take the FIDE average for 6 lists and the current FIDE rating at the time of invitation and average them. For the 2006 Olympiad in Dresden that would be the January, April, July, October 2005 and January and April 2006 FIDE rating lists averaged plus the April 2006 rating.
Some traditionalists might shudder at the idea of dropping the USCF rating from the calculation but how many significant US events are not FIDE-rated? Not many. What events would you be leaving out? Games played faster than G/60 and minor Swisses. In their place you would be giving more weight to Olympiad results, performances in World Championship cycle events, and play in strong roundrobins. Wouldn't these be precisely the sort of events that should count?
One additional advantage of going to all FIDE is that it would be make the eligibility criteria less artificial. It shouldn't be a problem for any player to be able to play 20 games between Olympiads. The idea that playing in the preceding Olympiad automatically meets the activity standard strikes me as a bad idea. It was designed over ten years ago for semipro women players with limited vacation time. It no longer applies. Speaking of the women how will the team for 2006 be chosen? Will it follow a formula or have a training squad for several years? It would be probably be a good idea to clarify matters shortly
One other issue. Should the US Champion and womens champion be automatically be seeded? This regulation went into effect when the Championships were roundrobin tournaments. Should they still apply now that they are Swisses?
4) East Bay Chess Club News
EBCC Monday Night Tournament by SM David Pruess
Salar Jahedi wrapped up the second Monday Night tournament at the East Bay Chess Club, in fine fashion. With the one player tied with him (NM Lee) forced into a sudden 0 point last round bye, he only needed a draw to claim sole first. However, lose, and he could find himself tied with as many as 4 players for first. And playing white against him would be the winner of the first Monday Night Tournament, Craig Andries. It was fitting that he would have to battle the previous winner to take his place. After defending a worse position for much of the game, the scramble to time control left Jahedi with an equal position. He was able to set up a full board blockade, and for several moves neither player was able to make any progress, but there was no indication that either had offered a draw. Just when it began to seem very likely that the game would end in a draw, Jahedi, to the surprise of the spectators on the Internet Chess Club, used the one breakthrough in the position to rekindle the game, even though it offered him somewhat worse chances. His confidence appears to have been justified as in the sudden death time crunch he was able to win clearly on the board. A brave fighting decision and a well earned first place.
The next Monday Night Tournament will begin next week (11/15). It will run four consecutive weeks. As with the last rounds of this one, the top board in each round will be broadcast on ICC, with live commentary by SM Pruess. We are also happy to announce the sponsorship of the New York Masters (www.newyorkmasters.com) for this tournament. They are offering entry to their tournament to the first place finisher as well as to any non-master to defeat a master during the tournament. If you are rated u2200, this could be your way in to a weekly tournament that features many of the US's top players like Kamsky and Nakamura.
5) Here and There
Viswanathan Anand showed why he is clearly the best rapid chess player in the world as he won the Corsica Masters in Bastia, France, held 29th October - 4th November 2004, for the fifth year in a row. After a 9 round Swiss which took place 29th-31st October with three points for a win the top 16 players played off for places in the knockout part of the event. Anand won the final after dropping just a single draw in the 8 games he played to win the event. He beat Nenad Sulava 1.5-0.5 and then Mikhail Gurevich, Etienne Bacrot and finally Sergei Rublevsky 2-0 to take the KO event.
As reported in Newsletter #216 the Russian Championship starts this Sunday. Vladimir Kramnik has withdrawn from the competition.
IM Dmitry Schneider shared first place in the 11th Bela Papp Memorial held October 16-24 in Torokbalint, Hungary. Joining him in the winner's circle in the Category 8 (2428) GM round robin were Hungarian IMs Miklos Galyas and Gabor Papp. The winning score of 6 from 9 was a point short of the GM norm. American IM William Paschall was last in the Papp with 3 points but has bounced back with an excellent start in the November First Saturday event in Budapest where he leads the Category 7 (2412) event with 3.5 from 4. Fellow American IM Rashid Ziatdinov has 1 from 4.
Russian GM Yury Shabanov successfully defended his World Senior crown taking first on tiebreak at 8.5 from 11 in the annual event held in Halle, Germany from October 24-November 5. Americans IM Tony Saidy and FM Eduard Zelkind were among those tied for 23rd at 7 points in the 205 player field.
NM Braden Bournival won 10th Annual Green Mountain Open and Vermont State Championship held November 5 - 7 in Stratton Mountain, Vermont. NM David Timberlake was the top scoring player from the Green Mountain State, earning the title of state champion. Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association organized the 37-player event.
6) Bay Area Chess History
Koltanowski,G - Steiner,H [D04]
In MI Newsletter #127 I published a list of winners of the annual People's Open in Berkeley since its inception in 1974. Information for four years was missing.
We can now add the following thanks to the USCF MSA service.
1994 Burt Izumikawa , Victor Baja and Richard Kelson 4.5/6 152 players
1996 Peoples Open Artak Akopian and Dmitry Zilberstein 5/6 226 players
Results are still needed for 1984 and 1986.
7) Upcoming Events
Pierre Saint-Amant - November 20
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
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!
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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