Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Really? Are you sure?

From the Chess.FM coverage of the USCL Championship match:

"Some of the best women players in the US are women" - John Donaldson

From the Boston Blitz bulletin board

Elizabeth Vicary has done a nice job this week getting members of the Dallas Destiny to talk unguardedly about their opponents in tonight's US Chess League Championship match.

Dallas 3rd board IM Jacek Stopa on Ilya Krasik:
I have never heard of that guy. Frankly, I don’t really care about random people expressing their ridiculous opinions. I’m ok with whatever leaves that gentleman’s mouth.
Dallas 1st board IM Draks Boskovic on Ilya Krasik:
Well, I don’t really know who this person is (Ilya Krasik).... If four players like Ilya Krasik played against Dallas, they wouldn’t score more than ½ point. hahaha.
After slights like these, we can expect to see an extra special effort from Boston's head cheerleader tonight. No doubt he's warming up the Championship pom-poms as we speak.
I'd also like to thank Elizabeth for eliciting some positive press for BCC Weblog with her question about "top five chess-related websites."

Boston Blitz 1st board GM Larry Christiansen:
TWIC, Chesslab., ICC, Chessbase and BoylstonCC I get recent games, news, and local color. Chesslab is easy to use, TWIC has great timely info, Chessbase has it all and the Boylston blog keeps me informed on local issues. ICC is simply the best site out there.
USCL Commissioner IM Greg Shahade:
Hmmm,, (at least before they did the terrible makeover),,, (probably got the url wrong, but you know what I mean)
Let's hope Greg has us bookmarked since that url isn't going to help him find his way here.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Channeling Nixon

Ever wonder what actually goes on at a USCF Executive Board Meeting?

Sam Sloan has posted several snippets of audio from their recent meeting on November 3rd in Crossville, Tennessee. Of course, everyone knows that Sam is pursuing a political (and legal) agenda against the Federation, so there is no need to accept his interpretations of the events on the tapes. However, since you can listen to the raw material, feel free to generate your own opinions. By the way, in a couple of the clips you can hear the voice of blogger Jack Lemoine.

For those who are closely following Sloan's lawsuit against Polgar/Truong et. al., you might also be interested in this additional piece of audio of USCF Board Members being served summonses in the case.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Deciding not to cheat = good sportsmanship?

Dana Mackenzie posted a lengthy piece on John Donaldson and the USCL's San Francisco Mechanics. It is quite a good read, though I was taken aback by the following paragraph:
In fact, Bhat’s loss was a triumph of good sportsmanship. As shown in my previous post, in league competition Bhat plays his moves on a regular board and with a regular clock, then enters them into the computer. (At least until the time pressure gets too intense, then he switches to all-computer mode.) Against Lugo, Bhat played 23. Bd5 and then realized it was a bad move. However, according to Donaldson, because he had already made the move on his board "he felt honor bound to make that move on the computer."
I'm not sure what to make of this. The USCL rules clearly state that entering a different move into the computer than was made on the board is illegal:
A player may also play with a physical board at their side, as some players can concentrate better on an actual chessboard as opposed to playing directly at a computer. In this case the players would first make their move on the chessboard and then input it into the computer. The player is FORCED to make whatever move they made on the chessboard on the computer as well. If a TD sees that they have done otherwise then the player will be penalized.
Were this rule not in place, players would be able to use their physical boards to analyze the position prior to selecting a move to play on the computer -- a clear violation of the principles of OTB play.

So, when Mackenzie/Donaldson say that Bhat showed "good sportsmanship," what could they possibly mean? ...that Vinay considered the option of cheating, but chose not to because "he felt honor bound?" ...that the TD wasn't looking, so Vinay realized he could get away with playing another move, but didn't do so since he realized it would be wrong? Could they possibly mean to disparage Bhat's reputation in this way?

Isn't it more likely that Vinay played the inferior move on the computer because that's what the rules required and he never considered anything other than following them? That's what I'd like to believe. I'd also like to believe that playing by the rules is an expectation of all players in the league. Therefore, I don't think we need to be handing out good sportsmanship medals and badges of honor to those who do so.

Thirsty for Chess

Chessaholic describes how our favorite game can become a pervasive influence in one's life.

Friday, November 23, 2007

USCL Finals Set

We now have answers to some of our questions about the US Chess League Championship match:

Who will the Blitz be playing? The Dallas Destiny

When will it be? Wednesday, November 28th at 8:00 pm EST

How much will Blitz management be charging for those Harvard Astrophysics Center luxury box seats? We still haven't heard, but I bet there will be tickets available "for sale" at the door.
With seven of the eight players the same as in their team's previous playoff round, it's difficult to find any intrigue in the line-up decisions. Nevertheless, those stretching for a story might note that Boston could have put GM Perelshteyn on Board 2 without changing the rest of the lineup. While this would have increased the Blitz's rating advantage, I doubt anyone seriously contemplated sitting Jorge and his 2800+ USCL performance rating.
Here are the matchups (Boston has White on Boards 2 & 4):

GM Larry Christiansen: 2663 vs. IM Drasko Boskovic: 2532
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: 2558 vs. IM Davorin Kuljasevic: 2489
NM Denys Shmelov: 2251 vs. IM Jacek Stopa: 2414
NM Chris Williams: 2175 vs. WFM Bayaraa Zorigt: 2196

Although the average ratings of the two teams are close (Boston - 2412, Dallas - 2408), the Blitz probably have an edge on the top two boards, and possibly on Board 4 as well. In addition, with a GM up top, you have to like Boston's chances if the match goes to tiebreaks.

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can't say I saw this coming

Hard to believe, but apparently the Chess Blog Carnival is now a source of controversy.

In a recent post, Chess Tyro writes that the most recent addition of the Carnival ... "left a sour taste in my mouth and make[s] me question, perhaps unfairly, whether the coordinator’s original intention was really as noble as he made it out to be..."

He lists three major complaints:
  1. " internet money-making scheme that has a big fat zero relation to chess..." was included

  2. " editorial work [was] done..."

  3. The Carnival was "...posted in a newly created discussion forum known to be owned by a currently controversial chess personality that the coordinator seems to be closely associated with..."
While Chess Tyro thinks something nefarious is going on, I'm inclined to believe that most of this can be explained by lack of effort and attention to detail on the part of this month's Carnival editor. Although, in Jack's defense, it's not as if any of us offered to take on the task.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wamala gets 20-40 years

From "Wamala sentenced for repeated sexual assaults on girl" at the Nashua Telegraph:
A former Lowell (Mass.) High School math teacher and chess coach was sentenced Monday to 20-40 years in prison for repeatedly raping a young girl....

Prosecutors had urged an even stiffer sentence of 30-60 years in prison. Assistant County Attorney Patricia LaFrance recognized Wamala won't become eligible for parole unless he admits his guilt as part of the prison's sex-offender treatment program and thus may serve the maximum term, effectively a life sentence.

"If he chooses to step up and admit what he did, he has the chance to get out of prison before he dies," she said. "It's on him . . . the ball is in his hands."The victim, now 16, said though her life has improved since his arrest, Wamala had "ruined my life in a lot of different ways."

"There's nothing he can do to erase the past six years of my life. The damage is done," she said....

Wamala spoke at length before he was sentenced. Wamala said he agrees that a person found guilty of sexual assaults should be removed from society, but he said juries sometimes make mistakes and did so in his case.

Wamala said the girl had lied many times during her life, usually to cover up when she got into trouble. He spoke at length about instances when he said she lied about hitting another child in sixth grade, using a cell phone in school and sharing test answers with friends. Repeatedly, he remarked, "everything I have said can be verified by someone other than me."

"You have fooled people," he told her. "You know how to make yourself a victim, to appear as a victim."....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ding! Dong!

Once the winds stopped swirling, all could see that Jorge's house had come crashing down upon the Canadian menace. Pascal was dead. Pascal was dead! After three years of tyranny, his reign of terror upon Blitzville had ended and Blitzkins everywhere piled into the streets and celebrated long into the night.

The game was a classic example of what Blitz fans had been seeing from Sammour-Hasbun all throughout the US Chess League regular season -- time pressure, complications, and an ability to outplay his opponent from a potentially inferior position when everything was on the line. Sixteen moves in, Jorge was already under ten minutes. Each time Pascal closed the gap by contemplating his move for an extended period, Jorge expanded his time disadvantage on the next several moves. It was as if Jorge was luring Pascal into a time scramble. "Come play my kind chess," he must have been thinking. And once both reached single digits on the clock, it was Jorge who found the necessary moves and Pascal who made the catastrophic blunder.

Others have pointed out Charbonneau's error and an improvement that he didn't find until the game was long over (check out posts by Adamson, Bournival and Hoffman). Instead, I'd like to look at something different -- the position after Pascal's 15th move.

SM Sammour-Hasbun - GM Charbonneau
After 15...f5

I don't know how many club players, like myself, would have looked past 16.Qxg7. It restores the material balance and looks potentially threatening in conjunction with a bishop check on h5. Yet, it turns out to be inferior to Jorge's move 16.c4. After 16.Qxg7 Qf6 17.Qxf6 Rxf6 18.c4 bxc3 19.bxc3 Black's superior minor pieces must confer him some advantage. Instead, Jorge realized that he had better long-term prospects on the Queenside by eschewing the g7-pawn. It is critical moments like these that highlight the chasm in understanding between the likes of Jorge and the rest of us.
Question: When is having a 2700 player on your team, not like having a 2700 player on your team?

Answer: When he doesn't take the team or the league seriously.

What other conclusion can be drawn from these remarkable comments that GM Nakamura made on the ICC after he drew his game with GM Christiansen:
"This isn't a real tournament"
"I'm not going to waste any of my d4 prep on this"
Now to be fair to Hikaru, even if he is being paid to play in the USCL (and I don't know that he is), it is a small pittance at best. As a world class player, it pales in comparison to the potential rewards of winning a critical game at a major international tournament or a big money swiss. Therefore, from a perspective of self interest, you can't really blame him for his attitude.

However, this raises serious concerns for the growth and development of the league. Surely the popularity of the USCL depends on recruiting the best players to play. Yet, how can fans and, more importantly, sponsors be expected to take the league seriously if the top players don't?
The Board 4 encounter between Williams and Zenyuk did turn out to be critical to the outcome of the match. However, it is not a game that will be enshrined in the USCL Hall of Fame. Even though I don't know a heck of a lot about the King's Indian, I immediately recognized that 7.Bd2 was, to be kind, somewhat unusual. And 14.Kf1 was, shall we say, not exactly classical. On the other hand, perhaps this was Chris' strategy all along since Iryna responded with two inferior moves in row (14...Bf5 and 15...Qd7) which left her with a lost position.

Braden Bournival rightly points out that William's technique in closing out the game was less than precise. While watching on the ICC, I don't know how many times I asked myself, "Why doesn't he just take the pawn on d6?" or ...

NM Williams - WFM Zenyuk
After 37...h6

... "what's wrong with 38.Ne6?"

Of course, Chris never put the full point at risk and did eventually close out the game and the match for Boston.
There's not much point in spending a lot of time on a game which didn't play a role in the final result, though I suppose it's worth noting that NM Shmelov suffered his first loss of season. I'm sure he'll be studying up on how not to lose better endgames prior to the Championship match.
Did I forget to mention that the Blitz defeated the New York Knights 2.5-1.5 to advance to the US Chess League finals? Ah yes, the USCL Championship match...

Who will they be playing? We're not sure yet.

When will it be? According to a note on the USCL homepage, there seems to be some uncertainty about that too.

Most importantly, how much will Blitz management be charging for those Harvard Astrophysics Center luxury box seats?

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Charbonneau goes down!

Blitz are through to the US Chess League finals ... more later.

Consistency is...

I always get nervous about group think. Nevertheless, here is a round up of the USCL prognosticators' predictions for tonight's Boston Blitz-New York Knights playoff match.

Sparkling Moves

Here is a position from Round 3 of the 2007 BCC Championship with Black to move.

NM Wang-IM Vigorito
After 25.Bb2-c3

Highlight the space between the brackets for the continuation.

[Dave finished off Frank with 25...Re3!! The game concluded 26.d3 (if 26.dxe3 then 26...Rd1 wins) Rexd3 27.Ba5 (27.Bxd3 Rxd3 and Black still can't be stopped from playing Rd1) Rd1 28.Rxd1 cxd1=Q 0-1]

By the way, the final crosstable for the Championship is now available in the news section of the BCC website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Globe coverage of the Boston Blitz

The Boston Blitz were again a topic of the Boston Globe's Chess Notes column (on Monday, November 12th). BCC Weblog received a mention as well. The article covers the regular season and was obviously submitted prior to the first round of the playoffs.
Chess Notes
By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff
Globe Correspondents

Chess has its heroes but they cannot parade through the streets of Boston to the acclaim of thousands. The Boston Blitz chess team does not claim to be a nation, like the Red Sox, but it has clinched the Eastern Division of the US Chess League. The Blitz does not have a Jonathan Papelbon to whiff ninth-inning batters and do a folk dance before a full stadium of fans. It doesn't have a Jacoby Gazellesbury to steal a base and win free Tacos for every person in the nation. However, it has its heroes who toil at the chessboard and come up with victories in live games on the Internet in front of a worldwide audience. Larry Christiansen and [Jorge] Sammour-Hasbun have nearly always held Board 1, facing the likes of Hikaru Nakamura and Alex Stripunsky, with no losses and with plus scores. Eugene Perelshteyn and Bill Kelleher have generally bulwarked second place, Denys Shmelov is Boston's third-place guy with no losses and a plus score. Fourth Board has been defended by Ilya Krasik and Chris Williams (who has a plus score).

Recall that the Boston Blitz won its Division last year but succumbed to New York in the playoffs. This year, New York has again qualified as a wild card. Jay Bonin came through with a critical win against the New Jersey Knockouts in the last round.

The schedule appears to be that the Philadelphia Inventors will play the New York Knights in Round 1. The winner will then face the Boston Blitz. In the West, the San Francisco Mechanics will play the Miami Sharks for the right to play the Dallas Destiny team. The winners of the two divisions will then face each other for the finals. [DG] in his Boylston Chess Blog has used a computer calculation to predict the winners, and he has [the] Boston Blitz on top, but like the computer printouts for global warming, we must wait and see actual results....
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Board 4 matchup between the Knight's Iryna Zenyuk and the Blitz's Chris Williams could be the critical one tomorrow night. At USCL news & gossip, Liz Vicary got the two combatants to comment about each other.

Zenyuk on Williams:
I think Chris is very dangerous opponent. Looking at his games I see great determination from his side, he is an aggressive player, calculates very well, he is not afraid to go into sharp, double-edged play where the price of tempo can cost you a point. The first game we played was very sharp, at some point I thought I lost the thread of a game, after 21.Nd6 I thought I was just worse, my attack didn’t work and my king was bad. Then, after 21…Nb6 I found nice rook maneuver, of course giving up his bishop was a mistake but we were both in time pressure, so it was hard to find the best moves. I hope for a hard fought game on Wednesday! And btw the song about Chris is great!
Williams on Zenyuk:
Well in our last game I really just messed up at the end, I didn’t play my fav move of all time quite possibly, I had my mouse about to release it instead I like just gave her a bishop and was lost the move was Qe6 sacking the queen for 2 pieces some pawns and tremendous dirty potential specially with her time situation. Iryna is a very strong player shes original, solid, and methodical, my game with her will be a hard one im sure I just hope I will be able to keep a consistent mind set throught the entire game.
Apparently, punctuation is a lost art.

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

BU Open 2007 results

The 13th annual BU Open was held on Saturday, November 10 on a lovely day in the student union of Boston University. More than eighty players competed in what all agreed was a very pleasant venue – natural light from many windows, well-spaced tables and comfortable chairs, and a Starbucks a minute away in the food court (where one could grab pizza and burgers, sushi and salads, Chinese and turkey dinners between rounds.) TD Bernardo Iglesias of the Boylston Chess Foundation (under whose affiliation the tournament was rated) did his usual professional job. Of course, the tournament was sponsored by the Boston University Chess Club (Roza Eynullayeva and Barry Lai, co-presidents, Steven Abrahams, vice-president, Melvin Zhang, treasurer, and Richard Soohoo, secretary, and Robert Oresick, advisor.

This year a new prize, the Allan Ong prize for top undergraduate student, was added to honor Allan, who was the first president of the modern BU Chess Club and started the BU Open. After 14 years of living in Toronto and Boston, Allan returned to his native Manila in the Philippines.

The Open Section was won by Harvard freshman FM Teddy Coleman with 4 of 4 points.

Steven Abrahams, a BU freshman, won the U1900 section with 4 also. Teddy and Steven both tied for the 1st annual Allan Ong prize for the top undergraduate college student.

Travis Dover, a BU alum and former BU Chess Club president, won the U1600 section, also with a perfect 4.

Stuart Finney of the Barrington School had a very upsetting tournament. Stuart (1951) defeated NM Christopher Williams (2302; BU Open Champion of 2005), drew with NM Jacob Chudnovsky (2397; BU Open Champion in 1997, playing again for the first time in 10 years after a sojourn in California), and drew with LM Eric Godin (2200).

You can view crosstables and photos of the BU Open at


Open section:

1st FM Teddy Coleman (4.0; $300)

2nd NM Christopher Williams (3.0; $40) & NM Lawyer Times (3.0; $40)

Top U2200 WIM Esther Epstein (3.0; $40) & Dr. Aung Kyaw Lwin (3.0; $40)

U1900 section:

1st Steven Abrahams (4.0; $75)

2nd Kapil Chandran (3.5; $40)

U1600 section:

1st Travis Dover (4.0; $75)

2nd Soheil Saadat (3.5; $20) & Corey Tolbert (3.5; $20)

Top U1200 Akshay Saini (3.0; $40)

Allan Ong Top Undergrad:

FM Teddy Coleman (4.0) & Steven Abrahams (4.0)

Corey Tolbert (3.5; $50)

(Corey won the prize money because Teddy and Steven qualified for more lucrative prizes.)

Top CollegeNortheastern University

Artem Sharamet, Soheil Saadat, Corey Tolbert, Eric Lawless, Kent Leung

(Only the top three scores were counted.)

Top High School Newton North High School

Jesse Nicholas, Lior Rozhansky

Top Primary School - Clark

James Lung, Christine Lung, Timothy Lung

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's the Knights!

New York made it look easy, crushing Philadelphia 3.5-0.5 in Round 1 of the US Chess League playoffs. As a result, Boston will get to face their biggest rival in a match to determine who will represent the Eastern Division in the Championship finals.

In case you missed last year's playoffs, the Knights defeated the heavily favored Blitz in the same round and dashed Boston's Championship hopes. In case you missed the last three years, New York's probable Board 2 is a Blitz killer, no matter who from Boston he faces across the board. One has to imagine that Blitz fans were looking forward to any opponent other than the Knights.
Last year, a bit of controversy was created when then Knights' Manager Jen Shahade used a post here at BCC Weblog as bulletin board material to motivate her team for the playoff match with Boston. Well, that's not going to happen again this year. Why? Because...

The New York Knights are the best team in the US Chess League! The Knights are going to obliterate Boston! Start making plans for the Championship parade now!

Let's start at the top -- GM Nakamura, for the last month, he has only been the best chess player on the planet. Then on Board 2, it's the unbeatable Charbonnator. Boston could have both their GMs consult during the game and still they wouldn't be able to find a way to defeat him. We probably won't even see Irina Krush at the boards on Wednesday; but, if we do, remember that she was the key to last year's victory.
Down below, there's IM Bonin. Jay is an absolute legend. No, I take that back. He's a legend's legend. We don't know of such things up here in New England.* Finally, there's Iryna Zenyuk -- she's on fire (stay with me folks, we're talking chess playing here).

So New York fans, bask in the glory and await the inevitable destruction of the Blitz. Stop reading now and go pack your bags for a trip to the finals.
Alright, now that they've all left, let's get serious...

Unlike last year's playoff match, there isn't a whole lot of intrigue about what lineups the teams are going to use. It's hard to imagine that Krush will put herself in and have to exclude either Nakamura or Charbonneau. And while Arnold could substitute for Bonin and Herman for Zenyuk, I just don't see it happening. Therefore, unless there are availability issues, the New York lineup will likely be:

Board 1 - GM Nakamura
Board 2 - GM Charbonneau
Board 3 - IM Bonin
Board 4 - WFM Zenyuk

For Boston, the only possible question is Board 2 -- go with the two GMs or use Sammour-Hasbun instead. I think the numbers make this an easy decision. Jorge has arguably been the best relative performer on the team all season, while Eugene has been the worst. Jorge hasn't lost a game, while Eugene hasn't won one. GM Perelshteyn has had two shots at Charbonneau over the past two years and he is 0-2. SM Sammour-Hasbun did face one GM this season (Nakamura!) and came away with half a point.

As for the other boards, I see no reasonable argument for going away from the ones that got you this far. Therefore, barring availability constraints, I expect Boston to lineup like this:

Board 1 - GM Christiansen
Board 2 - SM Sammour-Hasbun
Board 3 - NM Shmelov
Board 4 - NM Williams
Let's take a look at the individual matchups.

Board 1 - It's hard not to give an edge to Nakamura, but LarryC has been unbeatable this season against a constant stream of GM competition, including Hikaru. I think Christiansen has a reasonable chance to hold the balance with Black.

Board 2 - Pascal gets the edge against any Blitz player until one of them beats him. However, don't be completely surprised if Jorge ends up being the hero of the night for Boston.

Board 3 - Shmelov has a psychological advantage going into this game. He and Bonin have faced each other twice this season, and Denys came away with a draw and a win.

Board 4 - Zenyuk defeated Williams with White earlier in the season, but in this game she'll have Black. This time you can expect Chris to play a move like 24...Qe6!?. Call me a homer if you wish, but I consider this game to be a push. However, a draw seems the least likely result. One of the two will probably score a (potentially decisive) full point.
How do the Blitz advance to the Championship match?

In my view, this match revolves around Board 4. If Williams can score a full point, then the Blitz have several reasonably straightforward paths to 2 points even if Jorge fails to breakthrough against Charbonneau. Shmelov could defeat Bonin or he and Larry could both draw. However, if Zenyuk wins then Jorge is going to have to do something on Board 2. The most likely winning scenario for Boston in that case would be two draws up top and a win for Denys on Board 3 -- certainly a trickier proposition overall.

Of course, I suppose Iryna and Chris could have the last laugh by agreeing to a draw on move 10. Otherwise, fans should focus on Board 4 Wednesday night as it is likely to be the pivotal game of the match.

By the way, if you run into any Knights players or fans before then, don't tell them this ... I'm looking for the Blitz to advance 2-2. Shhhhh!!
*Well, actually we do -- think John Curdo, for instance. There's no need to tell the New Yorkers, though.

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

Thursday, November 08, 2007

IM Mikhail Shur simul

Center Makor Chess Club invites you to participate in a simultaneous exhibition on Sunday, November 11, 2007, at 12 noon.

Three-time champion of Azerbaijan

IM Mikhail Shur (FIDE 2423)

will play on multiple boards against anyone

Suggested donation is $5.

Please bring your own sets and clocks.

Address: Temple Bnai Moshe, 1845 Commonwealth Ave , Brighton

Please RSVP to Mr. Alexander Fridman at 617-699-4569 or via e-mail

Scenes from the Somerville episode of Red Hot Pawn

A few moments from Monday's fire incident at the club:
  • When the woman (who turned out to be Carey's fiancée, Christine) burst into the club and yelled "Fire!", several people looked up from their games and had the same reaction -- "Shhhhh!", they exclaimed.

  • My first thought was that this had something to do with the experimental theatre group that meets across the hall. You know, as a warm up exercise, they told someone to run across the hall, yell "Fire!" and see how the audience would react.

  • Whether it was bravery, curiosity, or lack of common sense, the first handful of people who left the club headed directly for the Grey2K office. After the door was opened and smoke began rushing out, they quickly hurried back down the hallway.

  • Timing is everything... It couldn't have been ten seconds between Walter's draw offer and the first shout of "Fire!" from Christine. What choice did Carey have but to accept?

  • Before getting up from the board, I stopped my clock. I was on move at the time, after all. Later, I discovered that my opponent had been even more diligent, recording the clock times on his scoresheet. He was up a pawn at the time, after all.

  • While we were waiting outside near the back of the building, a woman walking two dogs came by to see what was happening. Alex Cherniack told her about the fire and how our chess games had been interrupted in midstream. "That's all right," she said, "You're probably losing anyway." "Not yet," Alex replied. It turns out, the lady was right.
In a more serious vein, Carey sent a note of appreciation to the club (which I hope he doesn't mind my reposting here):

I want you to know how grateful I am for your support last night. Many players ran down to our office with me to try to help when the small fire occurred.

Also, several Championship and Hauptturnier players were gracious to Christine and Zoe while we were all standing outside waiting for the firemen to do their work.

We're fortunate (especially Zoe) that it wasn't more serious.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

13th annual BU Open, Sat. Nov. 10

Sat., Nov. 10, 2007

13th annual Boston University Open

(in association with the Boylston Chess Foundation)

4-SS; G/60; 3 Sections: Open; U1900; U1600

Boston University,

George Sherman Union , Backcourt

775 Commonwealth Ave. Boston 02215

E F:

$15 for BU students (BUID)

$15 if check received by Nov.7

$20 by web or by email by Nov. 7

$25 for all others at site

Cash Prizes: based on Entries. Because prize checks will be mailed by Boston University, winner must provide home address and social security number to receive a check.

Open section: 1st & 2nd / Top under 2200

U1900 section: 1st & 2nd

U1600 section: 1st & 2nd l/ Top under 1200

Allan Ong Prize for the top undergraduate college student:

Trophies for 3 player teams: Top college / Top high school / Top elementary or middle school

You must be a current member of the USCF to play in this tournament.

NC, NS, W.

Reg: 9:00 - 9:45 am

Rds: 10:00, 12:30, 2:45, 5:00



phone: 617 794 -1200

Advance Registrations.

BU Open 2007

(57 players) - 11/8/2007 6:20 PM

NameSectionRtngIDUSCF exp.Byes rds
Lieberman, SethU160014871260489511/30/2008
Dover, Travis JU160014551274937912/31/2099
Reed, Harvey GU160014101252476512/31/2008
Saadat, SoheilU1600140013288647*10/31/2005
Yedidia, AdamU16001319128719901/31/2008
Lung, Luke LU16001311130485411/31/2008
Yuksekkaya, SeyhmusU16001218136723123/31/2008
Lai, BarryU160011781291903111/30/2009
Saini, AkshayU160011081351293210/31/2010
Lung, ChristineU160010931291096211/30/2007
Groff, JaredU160010841327806511/30/2007
Di Nosse, AnthonyU16001067129228171/31/2008
Aylward, Lillian CU16009041248695712/31/2007
Njuguny, NicodemusU16008821377152110/31/2008
Young, Tristan RobU1600770131597116/30/2008
Nemirovsky, WilliamU1600703131598635/31/2009
Soohoo, RichardU16005311328866811/30/2008
Ong, Ta-ChungU1600unr1377695210/31/2008
Thapa, SonuU1600unr1380279311/30/08
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Salustro, SamuelU1600unr13802092.11/30/08
Goldowsky, HowardU190018301246057912/31/2099
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Mishkin, Paul AU190018041243205911/30/2010
Sharamet, Artem VlU190017901352823710/31/2008
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GM Christiansen visits the heartland

Natasha forwarded a few pictures from Larry's visit to The Chess Club in Kansas City.
And now, the photo you've all been waiting for...
LarryC takes on a "Porker" Platter

Larry reports that "the BBQ was delicious!"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

IM David Vigorito is the BCC Champion for 2007

The BCC champion for 2007 is IM David Vigorito. David earned 8 of 9 points and $300 and a year's free entry to BCC events.

NM Charles Riordan finished in 2nd place (6 of 9; $200) and FM Paul MacIntyre was 3rd ( 5.5 of 9; $100).

Congratulations to all the winners and all who played in this challenging tournament. David demonstrated what is meant by a professional chess player in a strong field.

The Hauptturnier has two rounds remaining. Carey has 8 and David, Eddie, and Ken have 6.5.

Just as Walter offered Carey a draw, Carey's fiance rushed in to say there was a fire in the greyhound office. Carey took the draw and ran off to investigate.

Somerville firemen and trucks arrived shortly and asked us to leave the building.

The TD couldn't find anything about fires in the rule book, and a police officer insisted we leave, so we all milled about watching the firemen, except for Greg and Libardo who finished their game in a coffehouse.

Two games were adjourned. After about a half hour, they determined that it was an electrical fire in a light fixture and cleared us to resume play.

Rather than twiddling your thumbs

Here is some Boston Blitz performance data for the 2007 US Chess League regular season that you can review while waiting around to find out who the Blitz's opponent will be in the second round of the playoffs. Players are listed by the difference between their performance rating and actual rating (descending order). Actual ratings as listed in the USCL game files were used (not USCL lineup ratings listed in the rosters).
  1. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (2576)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 4-0-1
    Average Opponent Rating: 2481
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: -95
    Performance Rating: 2801
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: 225

  2. NM Chris Williams (2241)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 5-2-0
    Average Opponent Rating: 2216
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: -25
    Performance Rating: 2387
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: 146

  3. NM Denys Shmelov (2391)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 4-0-5
    Average Opponent Rating: 2354
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: -37
    Performance Rating: 2532
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: 141

  4. GM Larry Christiansen (2669)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 2-0-6
    Average Opponent Rating: 2642
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: -28
    Performance Rating: 2742
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: 73

  5. NM Vadim Martirosov (2264)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 0-0-1
    Average Opponent Rating: 2291
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: 27
    Performance Rating: 2291
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: 27

  6. FM William Kelleher (2392)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 0-2-1
    Average Opponent Rating: 2478
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: 86
    Performance Rating: 2211
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: -181

  7. Ilya Krasik (2137)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 0-2-1
    Average Opponent Rating: 2214
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: 77
    Performance Rating: 1948
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: -189

  8. GM Eugene Perelshteyn (2615)

    Wins-Losses-Draws: 0-2-2
    Average Opponent Rating: 2520
    Avg Opp Rating - Player's Rating: -95
    Performance Rating: 2320
    Perf Rating - Player's Rating: -295

Here are a few interesting facts to ponder:
  • Sammour-Hasbun, Shmelov and Christiansen didn't lose a game all season.

  • Martirosov, Kelleher, Krasik and Perelshteyn didn't win one.

  • Only Williams had both wins and losses, yet he had no draws.

  • All eight Blitz losses came on Boards 2 and 4 (four each).
In other Blitz news:
BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Monday, November 05, 2007

At least they're having fun

At ChessUSA, Jack Lemoine reports on his participation at the recent USCF Executive Board meeting. While it sounds like everybody had a good time eating and drinking together, I didn't read much that suggested that the Board had any new ideas on how to promote chess in the United States. Instead, the creative thinking seems focused on "inside baseball" topics, like how to change the way EB members are elected.

Why am I not surprised?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blitz finish season atop the USCL QPRs

The final Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings for the 2007 regular season are out and there are a couple of surprises.

First, while 5 of the six playoff teams comprise the top 5 teams in rankings, the remaining playoff team -- Miami -- is ranked only 8th. Quite simply, the computer doesn't think much of the Sharks remarkable comeback over the past two weeks. Why? Well for one thing, Miami scored only 19 game points all season. This is less than Seattle and New Jersey and the same as Queens and Carolina, all teams that won't be playing in the post-season tournament. Next, the Sharks performance rating for the season (2364) is fourth worst in the league, ahead of only Carolina, Baltimore and Tennessee. Finally, Miami played the second weakest schedule of any team, based on opponent's cumulative record.

The other surprise is San Francisco edging Dallas for the number two spot despite coming in behind the Destiny in the Western Division standings. This is explained by several factors. First, while Dallas has one more match win, the two teams share the same number of game points. Next, the momentum indicator points towards the Mechanics who finished the season with two wins in a row. Last, while the Mechanics schedule strength was in the middle of the pack, the Destiny faced the weakest schedule of any team in the league.

It is interesting to compare the Dallas and San Francisco schedules. Excluding the two matches they played against each other, the teams shared the following opponents in common: 2 matches against Seattle, Tennessee, Carolina and Miami. Their unique matches were as follows:
It's not hard to see that the Destiny had an easier road in 2007.

If the playoffs follow the QPRs (which is very unlikely), then the East will follow form - Philadelphia will defeat New York in Round 1 and Boston will prevail in Round 2. In the West, after defeating Miami in Round 1, San Francisco will upset Dallas in Round 2. Finally, in a close match Boston will take the 2007 Championship.

Of course, no one is really interested in computer analysis, so let's have them play the matches instead.

Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings v.2
After Week 10
Format - (Match Record, Scaled Score, Last Week's Rank)
  1. Boston (7.0, .928, 2nd)

  2. San Francisco (6.0, .870, 4th)

  3. Dallas (7.0, .822, 1st)

  4. Philadelphia (6.0, .729, 3rd)

  5. New York (5.0, .622, 7th)

  6. Queens (4.5, .611, 9th)

  7. Seattle (4.5, .576, 5th)

  8. Miami (5.0, .543, 10th)

  9. New Jersey (4.5, .479, 6th)

  10. Carolina (4.5, .445, 11th)

  11. Baltimore (4.0, .413, 8th)

  12. Tennessee (2.0, .074, 12th)
BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.