Monday, May 31, 2010

New USCF Titles

New USCF Titles

Titles for the masses! Titles are not just for masters any more. The concept of a norm has been expanded to each class.

ClassRating Title
D 12004th Category
C 14003rd Category
B 16002nd Category
A 18001st Category
Expert 2000Candidate Master
Master 2200Life Master
Sr. Master2400Life Senior Master

The idea is to award a player a norm when they achieve an "impressive" performance for someone at that level. Basically whenever someone has a good tournament (for a particular class) they get a norm toward a title in that class. After five norms at or above that class, the title is awarded.

For a tournament to qualify for a norm, it must be at least 4 rounds, must not be quick rated, and cannot be a match. So at minimum, a 5-player round robin at a 61 minute time control would qualify.

For a player to earn a norm at a qualifying event, he can't have played the same player more than once, and has to have achieved a certain score.

The score needed for a norm is calculated based on the post-tournament ratings of your opponents. To get a norm at the 1600 level, you have to score one more point than you would have, if you 1) beat everyone under 1400, 2) scored on average .75 points against opponents rated 1400-1600, 3) scored on average .375 against opponents rated 1600-1800, and 4) scored on average .125 points against opponents rated 1800-2000.

This is the win percentage for an "impressive" performance against different rated players. But you have to have exceeded this win percentage by 1 point over the course of the tournament to earn a norm. The USCF found that 10% of Class B players will receive the 2nd Category title over the course of 5 years of tournament play.

More details on the history, rules, and formula for this new title system can be found here.

These titles were applied to USCF rating history data going back to 1991. You may have already earned a title. Find out if you already have a title here!

These are all life titles, and cannot be lost. Congratulations to everyone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Never mind those pesky facebook privacy controls

Thanks to the Money Makeover column in today's Boston Sunday Globe, you can learn quite a bit about the domestic life and finances of former BCF President IM Dave Vigorito. At least we now know exactly where our entry fees are going :)

Best of luck to Heather and David on the upcoming addition to their family.

Photo: Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Is David thinking a) What should we name the baby or
b) I wonder if I can get away with 17. a3 in that position?

It's Adams time again -- Weaver Adams 2010

The Weaver Adams Qualifer is the first part of the Boylston championship cycle.

You may play if you are rated under 1800 in the June 2010 supplement and a BCF member (which you can join or renew at the start of the tournament.) Players rated between 1800 and 2200 in the July supplement may play in the Reubens Landey in July.


Monday, June 7, 14, 21, 28: Weaver Adams Qualifier U1800 BCF Championship
4SS; 40/90 G/20; Open to BCF members rated Under 1800; Entry fee: $20: Winner receives free entry into the Reubens/Landey U2200 - 1800 BCF Championship beginning on 7/11. Registration: 6:30 to 6:55; Rounds: 7:00


Weaver Warren Adams was born on April 28, 1901 in Dedham, Massachusetts. An American chess master, he participated in the U.S. Championship in 1936, 1940, 1944, 1946 and 1948. He won the Massachusetts State Championship in 1937, 1938, 1941 and 1945. In 1939, he wrote a book entitled "White to Play and Win." After publication he played in the U.S. Open at Dallas. He did not win a single game as White (3 losses and 1 draw) and won all his games (4 games) as Black! Weaver Adams won the 49th U.S. Open, held in Baltimore, in 1948. He also wrote "Simple Chess", "How to Play Chess", and "Absolute Chess." He passed away in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1963.


Frank Frazier wins the 2009 Weaver Adams with 4.0

Frank Frazier, with 4 points, won the 1st place honors in the 2009 Weaver Adams.

His name will be taped on the Weaver Adams Lager trophy, designed by Mike Griffin.

Ken Ho, Jon Lee, and John Hardin, all with 3.0, tied for 2nd, so all four move onto the Reubens Landey, which starts July 13.
The Reubens Landey is the next stage in the championship cycle, for those who are rated 1800 to 2199, the winner of which wins entry into the championship.
Congratulations to all and thanks to all 16 who competed this year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chess Incognito

Two months ago on vacation I am in Bonaire in the Caribbean waiting for my wife who is shopping in the most popular store on the island, where it appears that 80% of all the torista's decided to shop at this moment.

I'm waiting outside wearing my Whitey Bulger white Red Sox "B hat" and my Charles Draft's chess T shirt. Ever since I got crap 20 years ago from a psycho Yankee Fan while climbing up the inside of the Grand Canyon 107 degrees plus aggravation from this flaming jerk. That day I decided to always travel incognito: never wear anything to telegraph where you are from when away from home.

Somehow I forgot that on our cruise to the Caribbean when up to me comes an overheated Yankee fan, waiting for his wife, who says to me: "The Red Sox S**K and there are no good chess players from Boston!!"

I'm standing there thinking this is what I get for not going incognito. It's like carrying an idiot magnet in my pocket. I ask: "Do you know any Boston chess players?" Answer: "No there aren't any." Question: "Have you heard of Larry Christiansen?" Answer: "Who's he?" I think to myself stuff like this is so much fun.

Have you ever wished you were incognito?

Please Comment

Thank You

Mike Griffin


Monday, May 17, 2010

$10 Open Addendum

Chess: 5/15 $10 Open addendum

IM David Vigorito arrived, now a common citizen of the BCF, just wanting to play a day of chess. It was obvious that David carries no gripes that the sometimes burdensome BCF presidency carries. David thank you for your patience with us. David co won the tournament with Chris Chase.

To add to Bob Oresick's comments about the two week visit of former BCC president Brian Clark: Brian now resides in Los Vegas and is a professional poker player. Brian also edits and writes an e-magazine TwoPlusTwo working with Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie (both former BCC members). Brian brought the BCC into the computer age donating a PC to the club so pairings could be automatic in the 80’s.

Eric Goden has be in absentia for quite some time, played Saturday. It was good to see him back.

There is going to be a new Bobby Fischer movie called Pawn Sacrifice to be directed by David Fincher the cast has not been selected. It will be about the 1972 match. I discussed with Harold Dondis who could play him, as Harold was at Reykjavík in 1972 and had some minor involvement in the effort persuade Bobby not to walk away from the match after forfeiting game two. We agreed that Matt Damon would make a good young Harold Dondis. Harold's biggest chess claim to fame is that he is one of the few people to defeat Bobby Fischer, he did it in a simul in Fitchberg and was carried around the hall.

What other things of interest occurred last Saturday?

Please Comment.

Thank You Mike

Griffin 05/17/2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In-flight Entertainment

While flying back from what I believe was the 1986 U.S. Open in New Jersey, I was using a CD-case magnetic chess set to review some chess material. Harold Dondis, a man who knows how to use his time well at or away from the board, was sitting, if I recall correctly, in the row in front of mine, across the aisle. He saw the chess set and asked me if I wanted to play a game, to which I agreed. We passed the set back and forth after each move, and, according to my memory, were in a reasonably equal or unclear position when the plane began landing procedures. Harold offered a draw, which I of course accepted.

Unfortunately for me, in our subsequent rated encounters, I was unable to use the Plane Imminently Landing Defense, and I am now -3 against him. :-(

Several years later, I was again reviewing some chess material on a flight, presumably using the same chess set, and I happened to be sitting next to "Mr. X", who I was surprised to discover knew a reasonable amount about chess. I don't recall him telling me that he was ever an active tournament player, but USCF online ratings (you cannot hide on the Internet) suggest he may have once been a rated Class B player. He and I also played a game, which was also drawn via the Plane Imminently Landing Defense.

After returning home, I was chatting with my landlord, and although I don't remember how our conversation came to this, apparently my landlord knew of Mr. X. Someone my landlord knew worked at "Company Y", for which Mr. X was doing consulting. He chuckled as he related that some folks within Company Y felt they were overpaying Mr. X. Small world.

While recently flying out to the land of The Road to Chess Improvement, I was seated next to an industry insider who told me the interesting snippet that Craisins were developed out of an attempt to get more value out of the waste stream from production of cranberry juice. Our conversation was wide-ranging, and since he had some knowledge of chess and some interest in seeing what kinds of things separate stronger players from weaker players, I showed him on my PDA (an upgrade from the CD-case chess set) how to force checkmate with just a rook, which I think he appreciated.

I love that technique (found in many basic endgame books), taught to me many moons ago by D.T. (not Deep Thought), who was not a tournament player himself (5/19/10: I sit corrected, D.T. informs me he had indeed played in some tournaments in high school). Years ago in a game against N.N. (No Name, for anyone who has been wondering why I play N.N. so often), we were down to kings, plus my pawn inexorably marching to promotion. N.N. was rated highly enough and was way beyond Old Enough To Know Better*, but declined to resign, despite the fact that I had plenty of time left on my clock. I promoted to a rook so he could also appreciate that technique (though perhaps not as much as my fellow passenger).

* A series being:

Not Old Enough To Know Better
Old Enough To Know Better
Not Old Enough To Know
Old Enough To Know
Not Old Enough
Old Enough
Not Old

I also showed my fellow passenger this well-known position, where White to move wins, or Black to move draws:

The solution is well worth working out if you do not know it. Speelman's Endgame Preparation (p. 21.) covers it, as I suspect a number of other endgame books do. The key ideas came to a young Bob Seltzer's hands a bit too late many years ago, long before he made master, as I saw him lose a similar position from the winning side.

If any of my future opponents arrive at such a position over the board with me and still haven't worked out the solution, it will be my pleasure to help you learn and appreciate it. :-)

May $10 Open

33 players competed in the May $10 Open at the BCC, with a strong field in the Open section including IM Dave Vigorito, IM Marc Esserman, FM Chris Chase, NM Lawyer Times, NM Alex Cherniack, NM Avraam Pismennyy, NM Shearwood Mc Clelland, and LM Eric Godin.
Dave Vigorito
and Chris Chase shared the top spot in the Open section, while in the U1800 section, Nicholas Zhang and Jeffery Yao prevailed.
Two familiar players returned to play today. Bryan Clark, long time club member, has been living in Las Vegas for the last nine years; he is a professional poker player, vacationing in Boston.

Shearwood "Woody" Mc Clelland has been away from Boston for 11 years and has moved back to do a residency here.

It was great to see them both.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jason Rihel is the new BCF President

VP Natasha Christiansen nominated Jason Rihel as President of the BCF and got unanimous support from the board.

Although Jason is currently in Paris and the board spread in other locations the process was carried out via e-mail.

Let's please support Jason as President and wish him good luck as he directs the club.

Next BOD director’s meeting is May 26 at 7pm.

Do you have any suggestions or comments for Jason or the board?

Thank You

Mike Griffin



Mike Griffin


MFGriffin Consulting

Business and IT Solutions


Friday, May 07, 2010

Hi Boylston players.

Check out this new website,

where you can find out cool stats like all time "biggest upsets" at the Boylston or see who has gained the most points at the club, and more!

Game data starts from 2007 onwards.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Dave Vigorito Resigns as President of the BCF

Being the president of the BCF is a hassle. The job comes with a great amount of crap that you have to deal with. Whenever you have an organization with a great deal of people believing things should be run one way or another conflict always abounds.

David was a very good President for the BCF - being very intelligent, reasonable, and practical. But he has gotten tired of the stuff.

David resigned Wednesday night 4/28.

I say Thank You David for the year and a half and I hope David’s resignation does not affect the great relationship he and the club has had.

I wish David great success and happiness in the future.

What are your feelings about David as president?

Please comment.

Thank You

Mike Griffin