Monday, August 21, 2006

USCL Flops a Flush

The United States Chess League appears to have achieved a major coup by securing its first financial sponsor. Today, Commissioner Shahade announced an arrangement with online poker site PokerStars major claim to fame is that 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker and 2004 Champion Greg Raymer both won their seats through satellites on the site.

Under the deal, each of the original eight USCL teams "...will receive a stipend for the season to help them pay their top players..." Apparently teams must complete a full-year in the league before becoming eligible for these payments. Therefore, neither Tennessee nor Seattle will be receiving the stipend this year. While the USCL announcement doesn't mention the value of the deal, in a comment to a previous post on BCC Weblog Shahade indicated that teams would be receiving $100 per match. For its part, PokerStars now has a banner advertisement prominently displayed near the top of the USCL homepage.

chess and poker

Obviously, PokerStars has recognized that chess players are often drawn to the game of poker. Our very own Bryan Clark could be exhibit #1 -- not to mention "Action" Dan Harrington, Howard "The Professor" Lederer, and many more. You can also check out this post on the Daily Dirt about chess players cashing at this year's Main Event. I suppose the big question for the tournament chess community is this -- after tasting the rewards of poker, do these individuals continue to play chess?
In other USCL news, the Boston Blitz have completed their 2006 roster by adding three additional names:
  • GM Eugene Perelshteyn - Perelshteyn was the Blitz's strongest performer last season and joins this year's team as a newly-minted Grandmaster.

  • FM Bill Kelleher - By contrast, Bill had the worst performance rating on the 2005 squad. One has to imagine that this was an odd aberration given his years of tournament experience.

  • NM Vadim Martirosov - New to the team this year, Vadim is a strong master and all around nice guy. His chess teaching prowess is legendary.
Former member of the Blitz, IM Josh Friedel, has joined the San Francisco Mechanics as their top-rated player. Rumor has it that Josh is trying to get them to change the name of the team to the Maniacs.

Disclaimer: BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

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