"If you can't find a good move don't play a bad one."
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News 2) Mike Franett 1941-2004 3) Nakamura wins US Championship 4) Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov Match 5) USCF News 6) HB Global Chess Challenge 7) Lindsborg 8) Game Over Kasparov and the Machine 9) Here and There 10) Upcoming Events
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
The Mechanics' had a busy weekend. Saturday the Institute celebrated its 150th anniversary with a day full of activities. The Chess Room started off with a tandem simul by teenagers NM Nicolas Yap and Ewelina Krubnik. Next on the schedule was a blitz tournament which was won by IM Ricardo DeGuzman and SM David Pruess with 8 from 10 followed by FM Ron Cusi and NM Yap. Ted Castro was the top under 2000 in the 16-player event which was run as a five double round Swiss. Live analysis of the last round of the US Championship rounded out the day's activities.
Sunday IM DeGuzman was again victorious the 4th annual Guthrie McClain Memorial, scoring 4.5 from 5. Yefim Bukh was second at 4 followed by Nicolas Yap, Dmitry Vayntraub, Sam Shankland, Ewelina Krubnik and Ramanathan Thirupathy at 3.5. Anthony Corrales directed the 28-player event for the Mechanics'.
IM Odondoo Ganbold is running away with the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon. His score of 6.5 from 7 puts him a full point ahead of the field. Tied for second are FM Frank Thornally, NM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Jesus Cendejas. Two rounds remain in the competition which ends on December 21.
2) Mike Franett 1941-2004
Jonathan Berry writes:
My old friend Michael Franett died peacefully, of an apparent heart attack in his sleep. He was 63.
For all but a bit of the dozen years of Inside Chess magazine, Michael was the Editor. He organized, negotiated, paginated, made comprehensible. Throughout, he adhered to two tenets: get the magazine out on time, and "avoid the horrible". For example, Issue 1 of Volume 1 had the wrong year printed on the cover, the kind of error which Michael did not allow to pass when it became his turn.
A man of great charm, when so inclined, he was known around the office as "Grizzly" or "The Grizz" (derived from the animal names which John Donaldson gave to several of the staff. Ursus horribilis, the Grizzly Bear, was the one that stuck), his alter ego as Editor. With a gruff working demeanour and a 6-foot-5 frame, he was a natural.
Despite the prickliness, he was a generous man, and he loved animals.
Schooled by the Jesuits, Michael had a variety of careers: soldier, medical orderly, taxi driver, bartender, chef ... which gave him a rich but unromanticized view of life. He was well-informed on many subjects, was a voracious reader (not just in chess), and also liked sports (particularly basketball and American football, both professional and college).
As a chessplayer, he had been Washington State Champion. His understanding of strategy let him play even with grandmasters sometimes, but on other occasions his disdain for detail could lead to debacles against lesser players. An Editor who disdained detail? His work was in broad strokes. There was a copy editor and a proofreader for that other stuff.
After Inside Chess, he did some writing at Chess Cafe and also taught chess in the schools in his native Seattle.
In the dozen years of Inside Chess, I used to pop down to Seattle three or four times a year to keep the computers in order (inter alia) and it was de rigueur to have Lunch with Michael where he would offer his unique view on what was happening. I usually stayed at Grizzly Manor, the home of Michael and his wife Janice (Mrs. Grizzly, though a more un-apt nickname could not be invented). But Michael did not bring work home; it was at lunch break that the full majesty of his thoughts came through.
John Donaldson writes:
I knew Michael for 25 years. Back in 1979 I recruited him to play for the Seattle entry in the National Telephone League, and he became a key member of the team that finished the season tied for third in the country. The first time I saw him was at the 1973 Airport Open at SeaTac. He was the reigning state champion and soon to win his third title while I had only taken up the game the previous fall, influenced like many by the Fischer-Spassky match.
Michael was an unusual chess player. Most players start playing and continue for life, many quit once and come back again, but few come and go with regularity. Michael was one such player. A native of Seattle he learned to play in his early teens. He first appears in the Washington Chess Letter (today's Northwest Chess) in 1957 so its probably safe to say he learned to play a year or two earlier. He was a frequent visitor of the Seattle Chess Club throughout the late 1950s but his defining moment came when he joined the Seattle Chess Center, not long after it opened in the summer of 1957. Michael, Jim Blair, and another up-and-coming junior, John Braley, all became regulars at the Chess Center which was run by Olaf Ulvestad. Michael and John, who was a few years younger, both made rapid progress and were rated Experts under Robert Karch's Pacific Coast Ratings (later NW ratings) before graduating from High School.
The first, of what would be many Washington State Championships for Michael, saw him finishing third in 1960 behind Jim McCormick and Viktors Pupols. The following year he was =6th as the field in the State Championship expanded to a 12 player round robin. He was again third in 1962 in what would be his last state championship for some time.
Michael's first break from the game was from roughly 1963-1969. Some of this time must have coincided with his tour of duty in the US Army where he served as a medic and was based in Germany. Back in Seattle in the late 1960s he resumed playing and won the first of three state titles in 1970 at the Seattle Chess Club, then based at the Bush Hotel in the International District. Only a win by John Braley, in 1971, kept Michael from winning four in a row at a time when 2300 Masters like Pupols, McCormick and Johnny Walker competed regularly.
He disappeared a second tine from 1973 until, as mentioned earlier, he played for the Seattle Rain in the NTL. This comeback was short-lived, he took part in the 1980 and 1981 State Championships held on Mercer Island, but shortly after went into hibernation again, not to emerge until he was rescued from his job driving a cab for Farwest Taxi. His salvation was become a staff member of Yasser Seirawan's new magazine Inside Chess at the end of 1987. Michael was listed on the first issue as a staff member, and later held the titles of production manager, associate editor, managing editor and finally plain old editor. He held this job until Inside Chess retired as a print magazine at the beginning of 2000.
It is hard to explain just how essential Michael was for Inside Chess, a magazine that for most of its existence was a 32 page, twice a month, magazine. That works out to around 750 pages a year, and not small pages! Multiply that by 12 years and you have around 9000 pages and Michael worked on everyone, doing whatever was needed. He did the page layout, entered copy and edited. Producing a few magazines for a few months can be fun, doing it for yeasr requires you be a professional. I remember once, a few years into his editorship, Michael told me he started to measure things not in terms of days and months but rather by where things stood in the production schedule. It was not for nothing that after sending an issue to the printer he would take what he called "a mental health day". This usually meant, a good meal, some drink, maybe a little pool and always good conversation.
Michael was an excellent writer and you can see examples from his column The Wanderer at the Chesscafe (http://www.chesscafe.com/fromarchive/fromarchive.htm), but what he really liked was editing. The readability of the magazine benefited immensely from the surgery he performed on articles written by chess players whose second language was English, and some for whom it was their native tongue!. Like the former Chess Life article Burt Hochberg, Michael had the ability to rewrite material in such a way that the original writer's voice was still heard and didn't sound like the Editor ad nausea. This is a very rare ability. It might seem a stretch to compare Michael with some of the great American editors of the past like Hermann Helms who produced the American Chess Bulletin from 1904 until 1963 or I.A. Horowitz and his Chess Review which started in 1933 and merged with Chess Life in 1969, but compare their records. The ACB and Chess Review had much longer runs, 60 and 37 years respectively, but for much of its life the ACB was produced every other month, perhaps no more than 200 small pages a year. Chess Review was more substantial, but still probably not more than 400 pages a year. Helms and Horowitz both had chess columns while Michael helped edit many of the ICE publications. Perhaps Helms and Horowitz rank higher, but just comparing Michael with them shows how important he was for American chess.
Michael was a true friend to those who knew him well. He will be sorely missed by many.
Michael Franett's Memorial service will be at St. Joseph's Church in Seattle on Capital Hill (Corner of 19th & Alhoa) at 11:30 AM Friday, December 10th. Following the service, everyone is invited to go Janice's home for a celebration of his life."
The following game was annotated by Michael and GM Lubomir Ftacnik for Chess Informant 52. When GM Ftacnik came to work for Inside Chess in 1991 he had serious reservations about the cultural literacy of Americans. When he left Michael had personally shown him there was a least one large exception to this rule. The two spent many a lunch hour discussing books and affairs of the day.
Franett - Gutman,R [A68]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0-0 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Re8 12.0-0 a6 13.a4 Nbd7 14.Qc2 Qc7
A novelty 14...c4 - was tried in Informant 30, game 158.
15.a5 c4 16.Be3 Nc5?!
17...dxe5!? 18.fxe5 Rxe5 19.Bf4 Nfd7 was worth considering with White somewhat better.
Here 18...dxe5 19.d6 Qc8 20.Nxc5 Nxc5 21.Qxc4 left White with a clear advantage.
Or 19...Rac8 20.e6 fxe6 21.dxe6 Nc5 22.Bd5 and White is on top.
As 20...Nf6 21.Bb6 Qc8 22.Ra4 is better for White.
21.d6! Qxd6 22.fxg6 hxg6
On 22...fxg6 23.Bxb7 Rb8 24.Rad1 Qe7 25.Bxa6 White is winning.
Or 23...Qe7 24.Bxb7 Rb8 25.Bxa6 and Black is defenseless.
24.Bd5 Nf6 25.Rxf6! Bxf6 26.Qxg6+ Bg7 27.Bh6 Qc5+ 28.Kh1 Qf8 29.Bxg7 Qxg7 30.Bxf7+ Kf8 31.Bxe8 1-0
Michael Franett - Peter Biyiasas
1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.Be3 e5 6.d5 Nce7 7.g4 f5 8.gxf5 gxf5 9.Qh5+ Kf8
9...Ng6 10.exf5 Qh4 is considered safer.
10.Bh3 Nf6 11.Qf3 f4 12.Bd2 Ng6
12...h5 13.Bxc8 Qxc8 14.0-0-0 Bh6 15.Qd3 Rg8 16.Nf3 Rg2 17.Qf1 Rg7 18.Kb1 was a little better for White in Portisch-Ree, Amsterdam 1967; 12...c6 13.Nge2 Bxh3 14.Qxh3 Qd7 15.Qxd7 Nxd7 16.Nc1 Rc8 17.Nb3 and again White has a small advantage, Portisch-Minic, Ljubljana/Portoroz 1973.
13...Qxc8 is better keeping the h3-c8 diagonal under control.
14.0-0-0 c6 15.Kb1 Kf7 16.Qh3 Re8 17.Nf3 Kg8 18.Rhg1 cxd5 19.cxd5 Rxc3
19...a6 20.Rg2 b5 21.Ng5 Nf8 22.Rdg1 Re7 is assessed as equal by Bob Zuk in the tournament booklet. I think 23.Qf5 or 23.Ne6 leaves White on top.
20.Bxc3 Nxe4 21.Be1 Nc5?
21...Qc8 was a better try. Now White finishes things off in style.
22.Ng5 Nf8 23.Qf5 Re7 24.f3 Na4 25.Bf2 Nxb2 26.Rc1!
26.Kxb2? e4+ is not what White wants.
26...Rc7 27.Rxc7 Qxc7 28.Qxf8+! 1-0
3) Nakamura wins US Championship
Dmitry Zilberstein, who has been playing at the Mechanics' since he was a kid, made an IM norm with 4 from 9, against a very strong field which included 7 GMs. His win over Alexander Ivanov, featured in the last Newsletter, took the one of the Best Game prizes. Mechanics' GM-in-Residence led the Bay Area crowd, tying for ninth with 5.5. Six-time US Champion Walter Browne played lots of fighting chess and ended up on 4.5.
Congratulations go to Hikaru Nakamura and Rusa Goletiani. Also serving special recognition are GM Alex Stripunsky and WGM Anna Zatonskih. Stripunsky, did everything but win the US Championship and continues to improve in his thirties. GM Golubev had this to say about him in Chess Today, " Alex came to the USA from Kharkov, the second largest town in Ukraine. He is one of the pupils of the famous Kharkov coach, Alexander Vaisman. The main traits of his approach to chess, perhaps, are logic and self-confidence. Stripunsky, born 18 August 1970 belongs to 'Ivanchuk's generation' of Ukrainian players." Zatonskih easily played the toughest field of any of the female participants in La Jolla and had wins over GMs Shabalov and Browne, but ran out of steam at the end, losing her last three games.
The official website, http://www.uschesschampionship.com/ has a huge amount of information on it including all of the games, two of which are annotated per round.
The following press-release comes from John Henderson, press-officer of the 2005 US chess championships:
"The final day of this year's "Super Bowl of Chess" turned out to be a nail biter. Both the overall champion and women's champion were decided in playoff games on the last day of competition. The final day of competition was a fight to the finish for the share of the $253,000 prize money and the prestigious title of best player in the U.S.
Hot-shot favourite Hikaru Nakamura, the teenage ace from White Plains, NY, beat Alexander Stripunsky for the championship title and the $25,000 prize. He is now the youngest winner of the 159-year-old title since Bobby Fischer. Although he had broken every Fischer age record in the U.S., he failed in one. Fischer won the US title at the age of 14 in 1957.
Nakamura holds the record for being the youngest American Grandmaster ever. He earned his title in February 2003 at the age of 15 years 2 months, eclipsing the record set in 1958 by Bobby Fischer, who went on to become World Champion.
On the women's side, Rusudan "Rusa" Goletiani, 24, from Hartsdale, NY, beat Tatev Abrahamyan, 16, from Glendale, CA to claim the $12,500 women's prize.
If chess is the "game of kings," these winning players are the new royalty. The newest U.S King and Queen of chess were crowned and awarded their prize money in a special ceremony. Erik Anderson, Founder of the America's Foundation for Chess, will present the championship trophies, a Swarovski Crystal Chess set, to the Overall Champion and the Women's Champion.
The Championship was visited by over 63,000 people who viewed over 2.2 millions pages over the Internet at http://www.uschesschampionship.com/ The U.S. Chess Championship was presented in San Diego for the first time by America's Foundation for Chess and NTC Foundation. The new home for the championship will be at NTC Promenade, beginning in February 2006."
Bent Larsen Fighting Chess Prize - $5000. Presented by Jim Roberts and family.
GM Alex Fishbein (full report on this prize coming soon)
Best Game Prizes: $1000 each
1) Dmitry Zilberstein for round 2 game against Ivanov.
Best Endgame: $300
Alex Fishbein for round 3 game against Lopez.
Best Swindle: $200
Alex Stripunsky for round 5 game against Shabalov.
The Sunday blitz tournament was won by Dmitry Gurevich, $1000. Onischuk and Becerra 2-3, $400 each. Kamsky and Ibragimov 4-5, $150 each.
2005 US CHESSMASTER CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP PRIZE DISTRIBUTION
6.0 points (top five places decided by tiebreak formula)
6.0 points, 6th - 8th
5.5 points, 9th - 17th
5.0 points, 18th - 31st
4.5 points, 32nd - 39th
4.0 points, 40th - 47th
3.5 points, 48th - 54th
3.0 points, 54th - 60th
2.5 points, 61st - 63rd
0.5 points, 64th
Total prize fund = $277,462
Special prizes = $8,500
4) Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov Match
One of the best sources for balanced reporting for what is going on in the chess world is GM Alex Baburin's online daily Chess Today (http://www.chesstoday.net/). If you are looking for a stocking stuffer for a holiday gift I can highly recommend a subscription.
FIDE has circulated a press-release concerning the match between FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Garry Kasparov. The match was supposed to take place in January 2005 in Dubai.FIDE gave the organisers from Dubai till 5th December to come up with the financial guarantees. Yesterday it terminated its negotiations with them. The match is now scheduled for spring of 2005. Read the full story on the Chess Base website. Strangely enough, at the time of writing the press-release was not on the FIDE website.
This is yet another public failure of FIDE. Its leadership and the lack of strategic direction have put off sponsors and I would be surprised if things will get better any time soon. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov became the President of FIDE on the back of his promise to pump money into the organisation. Most people were uncomfortable with him, but the phrase "money talks" proved true again.Kirsan did put money into FIDE, but his involvement with FIDE soon ran out of steam. His announcement that he had set aside $50 million for the World Championships for the next 10 years was certainly not true. FIDE Commerce is dead. The Prague Agreement is heading that way too. The FIDE Championship in Libya this year was controversial, to say the least. Add to that the ill-considered change of time controls and recent unpopular anti-drug testing in chess, and you will get a pretty depressing picture. Of course, kids (and there are more of them!) still learn how to play chess and people still enjoy the game, but the professional chess is in turmoil. Most likely things will get worse before they get better - with professional chess and chess as a whole suffering long-term damage...
5) USCF News
This Friday New York Supreme Court Justice Judge Lawrence Horowitz will listen to arguments from Sam Sloan that some of the members of the USCF Executive Board acted improperly in authorizing the move of the Federation's headquarters to Crossville, Tennessee. That they improperly failed to consider other offers. Previously the Judge ruled that the USCF financial assets are not to be moved to Crossville, and must remain at Key Bank in New Windsor until matters are resolved. The New York State Attorney General's office has taken an interest in the case. The Federation, acting as a nonprofit in organization in New York State, was required to consult with the A.G.'s office before selling their building. What action will result from this failure to "consult" is unclear but could range from a slap on the wrist to declaring the sale of the building to be invalid.
The USCF's original papers of incorporation were drawn up in Illinois but it has been based in New York State for more than 40 years. The question of which state has jurisdiction could become relevant if one of the Board Members decides to resign and then immediately attempts to take a paid position with the USCF. Many states have laws limiting "revolving doors" for nonprofit organizations. When I served on the USCF Policy Board from 1990-93 I vaguely remember there was a rule requiring one year had to pass from serving on the Board to taking a paid position with the USCF. I don't recall it being removed.
The move to Crossville and the events surrounding it are sure to provide plenty of fodder for next years USCF Executive Board elections. Four (possibly five) positions will be opening up on the seven member board. Interested in serving? To become eligible to run you need to collect 30 signatures of current USCF members and pay a $250 filing fee by January 10, 2005. Among those said to be running our current USCF Executive Director Bill Goichberg (who will be stepping down on December 31 after volunteering his services to the USCF free of charge for a year and a half) and US Championship Assistant TD and FIDE Zonal President Robert Tanner.
Crucial to the continuing vitality of the USCF will be if Hanon Russell's Chess Cafe decides to renew it's outsourcing agreement with the USCF. This currently brings in $350,000 a year (guaranteed) into the USCF coffers. This agreement, which is subject to review by both parties next April, might continue status quo, be the subject of renegotiation or Russell may decide not to continue it. This outsourcing deal, the generosity of the current ED to work without salary and the firing of approximately half the USCF staff are responsible for the improved balance sheet, not a change in the retention of adult members.
6) HB Global Chess Challenge
HB Global Chess Challenge For Immediate Release
HB GLOBAL CHESS CHALLENGE, WORLD'S RICHEST AND LARGEST OPEN CHESS TOURNAMENT, OFFERS ENTRY FEE INNOVATIONS BENEFITING CHESS CLUB MEMBERS AND "CHESS BUDDIES"
May 2005 Minneapolis event, with its $500,000 prize fund, will also feature a trophy for the "Best College Chess Team," with funds for scholarships and chess groups
Explaining that astute chess players can now reap some substantial savings, Grandmaster Maurice Ashley has unveiled a series of innovations that can yield savings on entry fees for the HB Global Chess Challenge, as well as a new honor for the most accomplished college teams. The May 18-22 tournament, expected to attract some 4,000 players, is sure to draw many of those competitive people who belong to chess clubs or are on school teams, said Ashley, the tourney organizer. "The HB Global Chess Challenge will give any club or team registering at least five players one free additional entry, for a total of six players," he said. "Clubs can use the free entry any way they wish, whether to reduce the cost of entry for all team members or to give a free ride to a selected individual." This savings is in addition to the "register with a friend" policy, which can produce an entry fee of $295. Each player can get $50 off the $345 entry fee when they register with a friend.
Brian Molohon, the executive director of the HB Foundation, which is sponsoring the tournament, said: "These offers, which make participation in this richest ever open tournament even more affordable, are a recognition that chess is more and more becoming a social or group activity, where people who love chess band together."
The May 2005 tourney is attracting wide interest in the chess world, said organizer Ashley. "Each day I'm hearing from another grandmaster saying they wouldn't miss this event for the world."
The new collegiate trophy also is expected to stimulate great enthusiasm and activity on campuses around the globe. "I think college players are going to welcome this opportunity to show just how good the level of play is at their school. There is no better place to display your talents and abilities than at the HB Global Chess Challenge," Ashley said.
The collegiate trophy will go to the school with four players whose total score is higher than the top four players of any other institution participating. "This could be the start of a whole new collegiate rivalry, with schools vying for the honor each year," Ashley said.
The HB Global Chess Challenge will be held at the spacious Minneapolis Convention Center and is expected to draw more competitors than ever before for any open chess tourney.
The impressive cash prizes, including the first place award of $50,000 in the Open section, are sure to draw many of the world's best players, together with a broad array of nonprofessionals. There will be 56 cash winners in the Open section, with most of the other sections giving away up to 50 cash prizes, including first place prizes of $20,000.
The HB Global Chess Challenge, which has been endorsed by the U.S. Chess Federation and the Association of Chess Professionals, is sponsored by the Minneapolis-based HB Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that promotes the cognitive and academic benefits that children and youth gain from learning and playing chess.
This biggest ever chess tourney will have multiple side events, including lectures, simultaneous exhibitions, autograph signings by leading GMs, live game analysis of the top boards, musical entertainment, silent and live auctions, drawings, and gift memberships in the U.S. Chess Federation.
Those who wish to get more information or to register are urged to go to the HB Foundation website, www.hbfoundation.org, or for info,www.generationchess.com, or to contact the Call Center at 205-941-4448 or 1-800-964-2448. For more information about the activities of the HB Foundation, call 651-209-3067.
GMs Vadim Milov, Alex Onischuk, Alex Moiseenko, Jaan Ehlvestm Kiril Georgiev, Evgeny Agrest, Kamil Miton, Nikola Mitkov, Alex Wojtkiewicz, Julio Becerra, Pavel Blehm, and Trace Nedev are among those that will be competing in the multi-event Lindsborg Chess Festival that should once again offer excellent norm opportunities. For details on these events look under upcoming events below.
8) Game Over Kasparov and the Machine
Michael Bacon passes along the following review from the Village Voice which appeared on December 3.
When Superman Met Supermachine
Rarely does a little film get to tackle big themes like communism versus the individual, corporate interests versus intellectual honesty, man versus machine. But although "Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine" stirs up these heady conflicts, this deflating documentary gives up its quest for answers too easily.
In 1997 the chess legend Garry Kasparov went several rounds against an I.B.M. computer in a much-hyped showdown, and the turning point came in the second game. Suddenly, the computer's moves and countermoves turned radical, aggressive. That strategy was too much like Mr. Kasparov's own furious style, and he conceded defeat in exasperation, not noticing that he had walked away from a chance for at least a draw.
"Game Over," a frustrating film that opens today at Cinema Village in Manhattan, recaps that event and stops similarly short when supporting its implication that the corporate sponsors were up to some funny business. As I.B.M. was losing to newcomers like Microsoft, it sought an intellectual straw man, the film asserts. If its techies could devise a machine to vanquish a category-killer like Mr. Kasparov, then the company could seem agile, innovative and worthy of investment.
"It was a great idea," Mr. Kasparov says. "I liked it and I played straight into their hands."
The company was also appealing to Mr. Kasparov's own need to rekindle his fame, which was reduced to a flicker. Ten years before, he had famously dethroned Anatoly Karpov, the Russian grandmaster and supposed darling of the Politburo. The film trails Mr. Kasparov as he revisits the Moscow and Manhattan sites of his most famous matches, and in both places he describes what he perceives as the backstage shenanigans of his opponents.
The film likens the creaky, shadowy Soviet system to what it presents as the secretive corporate culture at I.B.M., but most of its postulates are atmospheric or secondhand. In fact, as Mr. Kasparov complains in retrospect about behind-the-scenes pressures in both showdowns, his own behavior starts to seem suspect. In the Midtown skyscraper, he starts talking about secret locked chambers, building passes that suddenly don't work and a telescope seen in a window facing his hotel room.
None of these seem all that sinister, but clearly Mr. Kasparov's anxiety level was high at the time, and his every move was on 24-hour cable news. His whispering coterie of aides were in tow, including an agent who seems like an upper-crust Don King and a so-called science adviser who seems like a tech-savvy Svengali. Add to them his own mother, who was telling him at one point to "be a man" and face the cameras in defeat.
Vikram Jayanti, who directed "James Ellroy's Feast of Death," accomplishes a similar mix of archival film, fresh interviews and a tour of key places where a spooky calm has replaced the frenzy of long ago. Mr. Jayanti's cameras also gain entry to the I.B.M. low-rises in Yorktown Heights, in Westchester County, N.Y., where scientists are alternately proud of their machine's prowess and chagrined that it wound up proving a limit to mankind's capacity. The scientists insist that they just wanted to make Deep Blue a machine that could win. In a subsequent interview one of them recalls that overnight they made "a few minor adjustments to correct some specific flaws."
The Kasparov camp alleges, then as now, that there was something all too human about Deep Blue's decisions. The computer had played the first round so mechanically and then the second so shrewdly that Mr. Kasparov suspected some tinkering overnight, or worse, some grandmaster consultants telling programmers how to play. He asked for printouts, and maintains that I.B.M. promised to provide them but then did not. The machine itself is now in some confusing state of disassembly, which the film uses as a sign of corporate duplicity.
Sadly, this partisan documentary leaves viewers with half-drawn conclusions about all sides. Mr. Kasparov comes off as twitchy and diminished, although he's a competitor whose outsider status has long motivated him. The I.B.M. brainiacs appear as repressed and cypherlike as Beeker on "The Muppet Show." Inside their skulls or file cabinets or hard drives, there are answers that are either unobtainable or unpresentable because of the filmmaker's aversion to detail and complication, and the viewer never knows which is the case. Then, when one reminiscing programmer breaks into actual glee, even that seems a glum discovery for the rest of us: "We thought we had broken him," the scientist says, "We really did."
Directed by Vikram Jayanti; director of photography, Maryse Alberti; edited by David Hill; music by Rob Lane; produced by Hal Vogel; released by ThinkFilm. Running time: 84 minutes. This film is not rated.
9) Here and There
Grandmaster Pentyala Harikrishna became the second Indian after Viswanathan Anand to win the World Junior Chess Championship when he drew the final round game after a long 50-move encounter at Casino Hotel in Kochi on a historical Tuesday.
Harikrishna scored 10 points, half point more than the rest in the 71-player field. "It was my career-best result," said Harikrishna who would be gaining around 15 Elo points from this event. It was his second world title. Harikrishna had won the World U-10 championship at Menorca, Spain in 1996.
The girls title was won by top seed Ekaterina Korbut of Russia with 10.5/13. Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany who needed a win for the title was outplayed by India's Kruttika Nadig. Paehtz left the hall in tears for her second place with 9.5 points. IWM Eesha Karavade of India beat Zhang Jilin of China for her second 13-game WGM norm and bronze medal. She too scored the same 9.5 points. "We got into a drawish ending and she (Zhang) kept pushing and lost a pawn and I won," a delighted Karavade explained her game
Boys: 1 Pentyala Harikrishna (Ind, gold) 10/13, 2-3 Tigran Petrosian (Arm, silver), Zhao Jun (Chn, bronze) 9.5 each, 4 Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Pol) 9, 5-11 Evgeny Alekseev (Rus), Ferenc Berkes (Hun), Vlad-Cristian Jianu (Rom), Yuri Drozdovsky (Ukr), Deep Sengupta (Ind), Koneru Humpy (Ind), Elshan Moradibadi (Iri) 8.5 each...71 players.
Girls: 1 Ekaterina Korbut (Rus, gold) 10.5/13, 2-3 Elisabeth Paehtz (Ger, silver), Eesha Karavade (Ind, bronze) 9.5 each, 4 Kruttika Nadig (Ind) 8.5, 5-8 Anna Ushenina (Ukr), N.Vinuthna (Ind), Marlies Bensdorp (Ned), P.Sivasankari (Ind) 8 each, 9-12 Zhang Jilin (Chn), Siti Zulaikha (Mas), Tania Sachdev (Ind), I.Ramya Krishna (Ind) 7.5 each.
Strangely there were no American representatives in either event, probably a first. One might suppose that the concurrent US Championship complicated matters but surely there must have been some interested players.
IM Ben Finegold writes: You can hear an NPR interview of US Champ Nakamura at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4207346 Nice interview.
Grandmasters Jaan Ehlvest and Leonid Yudasin tied for first at 5 from 6 in the National Chess Congress held over Thanksgiving Day Weekend in Philadelphia. Sharing 3rd through 10th in the Continental Chess Association event were GM Petr Kiriakov, IM Pascal Charbonneau, GM Michael Rohde, FM Daniel Fernandez, NM Igor Schneider, FM Alex Lenderman, NM Thomas Bartell and Ryan Thurlow. For more information, including games from the event, go to http://www.nationalchesscongress.com/
Daniel and Alan Naroditsky and Hugo and Leo Kitano will be representing the Mechanics' Institute Chess this weekend in Florida at the National K-12/Collegiate Championship.
10) Upcoming Events
Jim Hurt Under 1800 - December 11-12
Mechanics Institute Scholastic Quads 2004 Tournaments:
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.
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 email@example.com
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;
Return to Index