Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chess Pains

Before turning in last night I watched an episode of one of my all time favorite sit-coms, FRASIER. It was 'Chess Pains' from Season 3, Episode 18. From IMDB ( "Frasier buys an elaborate antique chess set, but becomes obsessed by his inability to win against Martin."
Martin is Frasier's father. The chess set is a monstrosity. Anyone who would play on such a set should lose; both of them!
There was a line that, had I been aware of it, I would have quoted in my last post. "The King is stationary while the Queen has all the power."
After losing the first game to Martin, Frasier was sitting in the coffee shop, looking at the position on what looked like a wooden travel type board, while talking with Roz, the pretty woman with a mellifluous voice, obviously my favorite character (insert smiley face here). "Now I know how he won," blurts Frasier. "He somehow stumbled onto the Panov-Botvinnik Attack!" At least the writer used a legitimate chess term, although chess players know it as an opening, not a 'winning attack'. Hey, he could have written it as the 'Stalin-Trotsky' attack!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Equality in Chess

A woman I met mentioned a TV program she is 'hooked on' and suggested I watch a program. The one she suggested was Covert Affairs, Season 2, Episode 8: Welcome to the Occupation. I was able to watch it 'on demand' and found it to be like a comic book come to life. I mentioned this to her at our next meeting, our last, as it turns out. She did not care for what I thought about her "fave program." From IMDB ( "Eco-terrorists hold a group of oil executives hostage in Mexico City, and Ben Mercer re-emerges as part of Annie's team sent in to assess the situation."
Ben is one of the stud's on the show and he was sent along with the star, Piper Perabo and her superior at the C.I.A. to rescue another agent, a woman, who was undercover, and being held hostage. Ben and Annie (Piper) were scaling the wall, heading to the roof, when two 'bad guys', mercenaries armed with assault weapons, were 'overpowered' by the unarmed women. Excellent C.I.A. training, I presume. It strained credulity, to say the least. Hence, the comic book nature of the show.
My female friend took umbrage at my point of view. So I asked her, "If your life were on the line in real life and you had to choose either the unarmed women, or the mercenaries with assault rifles, which would you pick?" She said, "That's not fair." I retorted, "Nobody has ever said that life is fair." She evidently watches a lot of tube because she proceeded to tell me about many programs with women "kickin' men's ass." She mentioned a female character, Ziva David, a trained Mossad assasin, on the #1 rated TV show, NCIS. I don't know the name of the muscle guy on Leverage, but I recall he is called 'Hitter'. I kinda liked that. When I mentioned it was all fantasy, and only served to emasculate men, I thought she might 'kick some Bacon butt'!
This got me cogitating...
Why is it the Queen is so powerful in chess? It was not always thus. It is time to bring the Lady down a peg or more. Why should the Queen be more powerful than the King? I call for EQUALITY!
I propose the Queen be limited to only TWO moves in any direction, providing the square is unoccupied. I also propose equality for the King, who should be allowed two moves in any direction, same as the Queen. Think of it, if the King is checked by a Knight from f3 in the castled position, the King can capture the Knight if it has an open avenue to do so, unless, that is, the Knight is protected. If the Queen checks a King on e1 from, say, e3, the King can capture the Queen, unless it is protected.
This would, along with allowing pawns to 'advance to the rear' (see post, Revolutionary Proposal For Chess: Free The Pawns! Monday, July 25, 2011, alter the game drastically. It would also prevent many draws by repetition. And, more importantly, it would bring much needed equality to the game.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Queen's Gambit Job

Spent most of Sunday reading, Betrayal in Dallas: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President Kennedy by Mark North. "A man who knows that enough is enough will always have enough", wrote Lao Tzu, and I had enough reading for the day, so I turned on the boob tube and began to flip around searching for something to deaden the brain waves before hitting the rack. I found a title, 'The Queen's Gambit Job' that sounded interesting, thinking it may have something to do with chess. It did, unfortunately. The program was LEVERAGE on TNT. The Royal game was featured prominently in the episode. It was hilariously funny! I mean, LOLFOTCROTF FUNNY! (That's: Laughing Out Loud, Falling Off The Couch, Rolling On The Floor)
I have come to not expect much when I see chess depicted on the screen, whether samll or large. I recall an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent that featured Robert Carridine as a 'chess master' (Season Four, episode 11: entitled 'Gone'). It made me want to cry. It is being shown again on Oxygen, Thursday, Sept 8, at 7 & 11. I will pass. I seem to recall an episode of 'Columbo' that focused on a 'chess master'. Someone mentioned that the 'master' was a cross between Bobby Fischer and Tigran Petrosian, since he was hard of hearing. Missed that one, thankfully.
Someone came to the Atlanta Chess Center and gave free passes to a screening of the movie The Luzin Defense, starring John Turturro and Emily Watson. Naturally, Turturro was out of his mind. Why is it that most, if not all, chess masters depicted on screen are 'crazy'? It used to be that, when you mentioned to someone that you played the Royal game, they would say, "You must be smart!" Now mention chess and they move away from you...
Since it was free, a group of us went to the movie. After the movie ended, thankfully, we walked outside to be met by a group of young people, pen and pad in hand. "What did you think of the movie?" I was asked. "Ridiculous," I answered. "Would you like to elaborate on that?" the pretty young woman asked. "Don't get me started." I was trying to be nice. I will never forget the look on the face of Thad Rogers, owner of the House of Pain and Mr Southern chess for many years, as he came out, hoppin' MAD! I no longer recall exactly what he said, but I will never forget how he said it! I am sure those people regretted asking Thad his opinion. I heard one of our group say, "What a load of CRAP!" I thought he summed it up rather nicely.
A lady named Meredith Jacobs has written a review of 'The Queen's Gambit Job' episode, which you can find here:
She pretty much lays it out the way she saw it. She must know little or nothing about the world of chess. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of people know so little about chess, and think what they see on screen depicts "the way it is."
If I were to write a review of the program, I would start by excoriating the writers unmercifully. They must be reasonably intelligent people, but they do not show it with their writing. It would seem that, if someone were going to write a story about a subject, any subject, they knew little about, they would, at the very least, educate themselves first. One would think...
These chowder heads continue to put this pabulum on screen because people watch it. I admit, they suckered me into watching. But hey, I got a BaconLOG post out of it! Maybe if there were enough chess players who started a movement, saying, "We are mad as hell and we are not gonna take it anymore!" they would get the message. Then again, maybe not...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Fix Is In St Louis

Much is being written these days concerning the proliferation of draws in chess. For example, on the forum section of the USCF website there are three pages of comments regarding Greg Shahade's article, Greg on Chess: Stop the Draw. ( There are articles on every major chess website, and minor ones, too. Many different ideas are being proposed. The only one implemented thus far to have been proven to work seems to be the awarding of 3 points for a win and only one point for a draw. As I have written, I would prefer different points for each different result. For example, 1 1/2 points for a draw with White; 2 points for a draw with Black; 3 points for a win with White; and 4 points for a win with Black. This would end the last round 'group hugs' seen at so many large events. It would also reward the unfortunate player who has to play with the Black pieces three times in a five round swiss.
This past weekend at the Missouri State Championship GM Ben Finegold offered a draw to his opponent after 1 e4 c6. His opponent was his son, Spencer. Ben writes about it on his blog, in a post entitled, 'And the winner is...', at the St. Louis Chess & Scholastic Center website. (
Ben writes about the 'game', and I use the term very loosely, "I “played” Spencer in round 4, if you can call 1.e4 c6! draw agreed playing. I thought I pretty much equalized and did not see the point of playing any further." I guess this is his attempt at humor. I seriously doubt if any of the other competitors in contention found it amusing. Ben goes on to write about his last round game, "The last round was a Finegoldesque squeeze as my opponent, Mark Ferber, chose a dubious variation that I used to play." "Finegoldesque squeeze" could be interpeted another way, since Mr. Ferber had three points going into the last round, as did NM Richard Benjamin and Spencer Finegold. While the Finegold family rested after their 'draw' in round four, Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Ferber had to spend that time actually sitting at the board, playing chess. The last round advantage obviously rested with the Finegold's. Thus, the 'squeeze'.
Many years ago IM (of GM strength, something that used to be said about Ben Finegold)Boris Kogan emigrated with his family from what used to be part of the Soviet Union, the 'Evil Empire' according to President Ronald Reagan. He settled in Atlanta and was the strongest chess player in the South. His son, Mike, also played in chess tournaments and was strong enough to become a NM. They met many times in tournaments in Atlanta, and possibly in other tournaments in the South. I cannot recall one instance of Boris giving his son a draw, especially one in which only one move was played! I believe the Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, and the impresario of Southern chess, Thad Rogers, as well as many others, will attest to that fact. Playing five games over a two days, as it was back then, or even three, beginning Friday night, was tough on Boris, who was a middle-aged man upon coming to Georgia. He could have opted for a quick draw with his son, and some much needed rest, but refused to do so. Consider what happened at the Columbia Open in the Great state of South Carolina this past weekend. GM LUBOMIR FTACNIK lost in the third round Saturday night to ALEXANDER MATROS. Lubomir is 53 years of age now, no longer a spring chicken. In the last round, two much younger players, NM Chris Mabe and the aforementioned Matros agreed to a nine move draw, probably thinking the GM would win and they would tie for first. But ALEXANDER ZELNER, with 3 1/2 points going into the last round, had other ideas. He beat the GM and finished in first place, a half point ahead of 'no guts & no glory' Mabe and Matros.
Bobby Fischer railed against Soviet collusion and his allegations have been proven correct over time, as many former Soviet players have written about how the 'fix was in'. Boris had too much integrity to stoop to such a level. Yet what we have here in St. Louis is an instance of a GM doing the exact same thing Bobby Fischer used to vilipend so vehemently!
Ben Finegold even has the audacity to write at the conclusion of his blog, "An excellent tournament for Spencer, who broke 2100 for the first time." Well, yeah, it is much easier to have "an excellent tournament" when one is able to rest Sunday morning in lieu of working hard at the board! And the rating points come quickly when your GM father donates them to you without playing a game! The Finegold cartel took two of the top prizes at the tournament with their colusion. Why would any strong player want to come to St. Louis and play having to compete with this?
At the beginning of his blog post, GM Finegold writes, "I decided to play at the last possible moment, after my long travels and moving into a new apartment almost dissuaded me from going for the $500 first prize. But, as Tatev Abrahamyan has told me on several occasions, “$500!!” He ends it with, "Tatev was right… $500 feels good!" I realize there is little money in chess, and we are in a depression the establishment calls a 'recession', but is GM Finegold not the Grandmaster in residence at the St. Louis Chess & Scholastic Center? Does he receive a stipend? If so, is it not enough for him to have to resort to collusion with his son to 'earn' an extra $500?
The St. Louis Chess Club also bills itself as a 'Scholastic Center'. Rex Sinquefield, the filthy rich man who has given the money for the place is, from what I have read, justifiably proud of what is happening with regard to scholastic chess in his city. He, and his chess & scholastic center, have won many awards from chess organizations, and no doubt others of which I am not aware. St. Louis is leading the way for the rest of the US as far as chess is concerned, according to what I read online and in foreign chess magazines. Yet, what kind of example is being set in St. Louis? What if, during the fourth round at a scholastic tournament, one young player offers his best friend, rated 500 points lower, a draw after only one move? What happens when you tell the players they cannot do that because it is against the rules of chess, and they fire back with, "GM Finegold and his son do it!"
Rule 14B6 of the USCF Official Rules of Chess is: "Premature or prearranged draws. It is unethical and unsporting to agree to a draw before a serious contest has begun. The same is true of all arrangements to prearrange game results. In case of clear violations of the moral principles of the game, penalties should be imposed at the director's discretion. See also 20L, Manipulating results." It says: "Collusion to fix or throw games, whether before or during the game, in order to manipulate prize money, title norms, ratings, or for any other purpose is illegal and may result in severe sanctions, including revocation of USCF membership. Such agreemants include arrangemants to split prize money no matter what the result of the game."
The TD should have forfeited the Finegold family for their egregious breech of the rules! But, since the GM is the 'big dog', except when Hikaru is around I suppose, and paid by the man with the deep pockets, I can see that it would be rather difficult for a TD to follow the rules. Certainly the pooh-bahs at USCF should take some kind of action, if it is to only vacate the rating result of the so-called 'game' between the Finegolds. The sad fact is that if you put all of the pooh-bahs of USCF together, you will not have enough material for even half a cojones!
When I was in the seventh grade there was a fellow class member named Clifford. He was 16 and still in grammar school, so it is obvious he was not the brighest bulb on the tree. He towered over the rest of us and got his way, since we knew he could put a hurtin' on all of us combined! One day we were outside at recess playing soft-ball when Clifford decided he wanted to play. He grabbed a bat and got in the batter's box and hit the ball over the fence. The next batter stepped up, thinking Clifford would hand him the bat. Clifford let the poor boy now in no uncertain terms that he wanted to hit a few more. "But that ain't the way we play the game," protested the little fella. "It's the way I play the game, squirt." But, as Bob Dylan wrote, "You gotta serve somebody." The principal kicked Clifford out of school and we rejoiced! Is there anyone who will step up to the plate and put an end to the big dogs of chess? Are people so afraid that Rex will stop sinquefielding money into chess that they let him do what ever he pleases? None of the man's largesse has, or will come, my way, so I will speak out. Is there anybody out there in chess land with enough cojones to do the same?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Intrinsic Chess Ratings

Forbes recently had an article on chess, 'Humans Are Getting Better At Chess - Thanks to Computers' (, written by Alex Knapp. His story begins, "A recent study suggests that there are more great chess players now than there ever have been – and that players continue to improve."
Mr. Knapp throws in a thought of his own when he writes, "The authors don’t suggest a mechanism, but if I were to guess, I’d suggest that the reason for this has to do with competitive chess software and online play." Mr. Knapp thinks that if humans continue to 'interface' with programs, " may be that humans catch back up to the best AI programs." I will not live so long...
I clicked on 'recent study' and found a PDF titled, 'Intrinsic Chess Ratings', written by Kenneth W. Regan of the University of Buffalo and Guy McC. Haworth of the University of Reading, UK. This must be the former chess player, IM Ken Regan. I put him into a search engine and found he has a chess page: Gotta be the same guy.
The first sentence lays it out: "This paper develops and tests formulas for representing playing strength at chess by the quality of moves played, rather than by the results of games."
I wondered who was to be the ultimate arbiter of "the quality of move played." My question was answered by the next sentence: "Intrinsic quality is estimated via evaluations given by computer chess programs run to high depth, ideally so that their playing strength is sufficiently far ahead of the best human players as to be a 'relatively omniscient' guide.
There it is. We have reached a point in human evolution whereby 'puters have now become our 'relatively omniscient' guides. I could not help but think of the first paragraph of an editorial by Charles M. Blow, 'Obama in the Valley' dated August 19, 2011 (
"In 1970, the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori coined the phrase “uncanny valley.” In the field of robotics, and increasingly in computer animation, it refers to the theory that people feel good about robots — up to a point. When they start to look almost real, but not quite, we experience an eerie and unsettling sense of revulsion."

In the introduction the authors say, "Our work brings new evidence on controversial questions of import to the chess community, with ramifications for skill assessment in other games: 1) Has there been 'inflation'-or deflation-in chess Elo rating system over the past forty years? 2) Were the top players of earlier times as strong as the top players of today? 3) Does a faster time control markedly reduce the quality of play? 4) Can recorded games from tournaments where high results by a player are suspected as fraudulent reveal the extent to which luck or collusion played a role?
The paper, especially page seven, contains a plethora of equations. If you had showed it to me and told me they were equations for a magnetoplasmadynamic propulsion system from aliens from planet Zud, I would have said, "OK". Fortunately, they sum it up by saying, "We conclude that there is a smooth relationship between the actual players' ELO ratings and the intrinsic quality of the move choices as measured by the chess program and the agent fitting." Got that? It continues, "The results also suppost a no answer to question 2. In the 1970's there were only two players with ratings over 2700, namely Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov, and there were years as late as 1981 when no one had a rating over 2700 (see Wee00). In the past decade there have usually been thirty or more players with such ratings. Thus lack of inflation implies that those players are better than all but Fischer and Karpov were. Extrapolated backwards, this would be consistent with the findings of (DHMG07), which however (like some recent competitions to improve on the ELO system)are based only on the results of games, not on intrinsic decision-making."
Whoa! Has the level of chess play risen to the point that ALL 2700+ players of today are better than ALL players of a generation ago other than Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov? That is saying a great deal.
I recall GM Andy Soltis writing a column whereby he went back a century and compared the moves of the greats of that era with the players of today and found that the old masters made more blunders, and, frankly, I would tend to put more credence in what a HUMAN GM has to say than a COMPUTER.
I cannot help but wonder what a computer analysis of USCF ratings would conclude. Has there been inflation, or deflation? Back in the 70's the average ratting of a tournament player in the USCF was around 1500, give or take. (I believe that was where Prof Elo based his 'average') Today the average rating is around 900. I submit to you that the 'average' player of the 70's was vastly superior to the 'average' player of today. Most players knew then that, if a player made class 'B', he had stopped dropping pieces and could play a decent game of chess. In the first round of the 1980 US Open in Atlanta, a class'B' player upset GM John Fedorowicz in the first round. Consider this game played by two players in the top half of all USCF rated players at a G/30 played here in Louisville at the Monday night tournament where the score is not kept and the game is played without a clock. One of the players is my student. I will not say which to protect the guilty... 1 e4 e5 2 d4 f6? 3 d5?! I will spare you the rest...
I tied for first in the Atlanta Championship in 1974 with a score of 4-1 as a class 'B' player. It was said at the time by many that, "We have a 'B' player as champion!" At the time I was playing actively and working on my game, which needed much work, let me tell you! Although an adult, I was one of those players whose rating had not caught up with with his strength. I won the 1976 Atlanta Championship with a score of 5-0 as a low 'A' player. At that time ratings were not as up to date as they are today. One time the rating system went down for almost a year. There usd to be something called 'bonus points', then they were elimanated. I recall crossing the expert line, 2000, during a time of no bonus points, and my friend, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, took the time to figure what my rating would have been if the bonus points were still being awarded. He came to the conclusion I would have obtained a rating of over 2100. "And you did this while swimming against the tide!" he said. I mention this to give some perspective and to say that, as good as I was, I was nowhere near the level of the top players of today, such as Georgia champions NM Richard Francisco, NM Damir Studen, and FM Kazim Gulamali. At that time I was maybe 500 or 600 points higher rated than the 'average' player. A player today rated 500 or 600 points higher than the 'average' USCF player would be rated 1400 or 1500! What does that say about the current rating pool?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Columbia Open

There is a chess tournament being held this weekend in the city of Columbia, in the Great state of South Carolina. You can read all about it here:
GM Ftacnik is playing in the event as he has for several years now. Checking the crosstable I did not see the Legendary Georgia Ironman. Two years in a row Tim was paired with the GM in the very first round.
The site says: Representatives from Monroi are at the tournament and are also broadcasting some of the games live at: Monroi
Earlier today I went to and found this position: W) Kg5; Rb7, Rf6; P's a5,c4,d3,e4,f2
B) Kg3;Qg4; P's a6,c5,e5
The last move according to the yellow boxes on the diagram was White playing e2-e4. The game was between Zelner, David & White, Laurence
The game ended 1-0! That's right folks, White WON! At least according to Monroi...So I clicked on the scoresheet, which is actually the best feacture of Monroi. Not this time, unfortunately. I noticed question marks where moves should have been and clicked off. Monroi has been around for YEARS! Seems they would have corrected the problems by now. Anyone know how to get in touch with the DeBugger Busters?
The top two boards are being broadcast live. They must not read Chessbase down in South Carolina! Although one can click on 'standings', the only round posted is the first one, so I have no idea how the tournament is going. How about this for a last round game. IM Alexander Matros() vs LM Chris Mabe() 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Bf4 dxc4 4.e3 b5 5.a4 Nf6 6.Nc3 b4 7.Nb1 Ba6 8.Nf3 Nd5 9.Be2 1/2-1/2
Proving you do not have to be a Grandmaster to make a GM draw!

Feng Shui Chess

GM Nigel Davies in his online column The Chess Improver writes on the most esoteric subjects. His latest is: The Feng Shui Of Competitive Chess. (
It brought back memories of the jockeying for postion at the Atlanta Chess Center, aka, the House of Pain. In the upstairs room where the top players played the preferred position was all the way to the right with your back to the wall. One time David Vest, aka the High Plains Drifter, arrived early one Sunday morning and staked out his claim. "There's no place I'd rather be than on board one in round four with my back to the wall!" he said, grinning. It was more than a little obvious that the Drifter felt most comfortable there.
I played in a tournament upon first moving to Louisville, which I wrote about on the BaconLOG, posted Wednesday, November 11,2009. (
I never felt 'comfortable' at that event. Read the post and you will understand why. I recall asking the TD, Alan Priest, who is now on the policy board of the USCF, if I could move closer to the window, since there was very little light emanating due to a power failure. He brusquely walked over to where my opponent and I were to play and grabbed the table, and moved it toward the window. The table was now out of line with every other table and when anyone needed to walk by our table, they would have to make a special effort to avoid it. Some were unable to negotiate the gauntlet and would bump into the table. This happened all during the game. Although I wanted to bring it to the TD's attention, I decided against it and decided to 'suck it up'. It could be because, upon learning the power was partially out, I had asked the TD if and when the lights would be coming on full strength. He said he had no idea if they would come back on, so I mentioned that I may not play. "What?", he asked, "Are you some kind of complainer?" Can I be blamed for staying put?
I had a beer with Ron Gross at the US Senior in 2002. After seeing the inadequate lighting, he had decided to not participate. Much easier to do when one lives in the state. I was from 2500 miles away and decided to play, much to my regret.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Results Are In

Annual Chess Journalists of America Awards: Winners are in (
The BaconLOG did not win, I am sad to report...
The winners are: Best Chess Blog Award
Broken Pawn
By Robert Keating

Best Chess Blog Runner-up
By Anton Taylor

There is, as of this writing, one comment to the article, which I give in full: Post: #221059 by HankAnzis on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:12 pm

Broken Pawn is written by Hank Anzis
...losing my 15 minutes of fame...

Poor Hank...This is to let you know that I will spend some time reading your award winning blog, sir! So many blogs-so little time...

One of the things I like about these awards is that I am introduced to new writers and articles. The winner of CJA Best Historical Article Award
is: A Forgotten Chess Tale: Hapley's Project
By Yasser Seirawan
appeared in Northwest Chess (November 2010)

So I went to the Northwest Chess website in order to print out the winning article only to find this: November
NWC_201011_opt.pdf (All pages except Seirawan story)
Cover photo:
Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan by Jeroen van den Belt

That's right, you can print out everything BUT the award winning article by GM Seirawan! Go figure...

Congratulations to Mark Taylor, editor of the still AWARD WINNING GEORGIA CHESS MAGAZINE!
CJA Best State Magazine/Newsletter Award
Georgia Chess
edited by Mark N. Taylor

CJA Best State Magazine/Newsletter Co-Runner-up
Chess Horizons
edited by Robert D. Messenger

CJA Best State Magazine/Newsletter Co-Runner-up
Northwest Chess
edited by Ralph Dubisch

Friday, August 19, 2011

Unforgivable Insult To Bobby Fischer!

A writer named James Fallows has written a piece for the Atlantic magazine entitled, Obama as Chess Master: 'Think of Him as Bobby Fischer'
This is a blatant insult to the departed World Champion!
There is a picture of the man who wrote the article on the webpage given above with the following: "James Fallows - James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States, and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter."
Mr. Fallows obviously knows very little about chess and even less about the greatest chess player of all time, Bobby Fischer!
I hereby call on this ignoramus to retract 'Bobby Fischer' from the title and to apologize IMMEDIATELY to all chess players, not only living, but to those players who respected Bobby Fischer and have now 'left the board' as well.

Sebastien Feller's Story and More Cheating Allegations

On the same day the young French GM, Sebastien Feller, 'convicted' of cheating recently, gives an interview to WhyChess (, we learn, also from WhyChess, that there is 'Something fishy at the Botvinnik Open'. (
It seems a player rated all of 1698 has three wins, two draws, and only one loss against players rated hundreds of points higher. Could he be having the tournament of his life?
From the article: "Yes, a certain Sergey Klimentiev, rated 1698, seems to be doing rather well. Is he perhaps a youngster whose rating hasn’t caught up with his talent? No, it seems not, as he was born in 1969. The RCF website continues:

He’s already beaten a series of FIDE Master level players, crushed IM Alexsej Lanin and drawn with IM Ivan Rozum. Players and organisers claim that after an encounter Klimentiev is unable to show or recall the moves from the game he’s played. The tournament continues, and today the St. Petersburg player is up against the Ukrainian Anatoliy Polivanov.

In the comments under the news item it’s pointed out that Klimentiev doesn’t even know the names of the openings. Up to this point you might be tempted, as I am, to side with the amateur player – is it really so unusual not to be able to recall the moves of your game or the names of the openings?! Perhaps he’s just having the tournament of his life? But the opening moves of the game he played as Black against Polivanov (on stage, with spectator access restricted) do seem to suggest he might have been performing somewhat above his ability level: 1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Bg4?? 7.Nxd8 ("an alternative was 7.Qxg4")...

The fact that Klimentiev is still playing in the event is likely to lead to more debate about how we can deal with suspected cheating when the alleged culprit isn't caught red-handed."
It will never end now that the genie is out of the bottle.

Korchnoi wins Botvinnik Memorial Veterans

The veterans event held August 15-19 in Suzdal-Vladimir Oblast, Russia, with legendary players from the era of the 6th World Champion. It was a 10-player, single round robin rapid tournament with 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment on the clock.
Viktor Korchnoi won the Botvinnik Memorial Veterans rapid tournament in Suzdal-Vladimir Oblast, Russia. The 80-year-old grandmaster finished on 7/9, a full point ahead of Evgeni Vasiukov. The rest of the field included many legends: Lajos Portisch, Borislav Ivkov, Igor Zaitsev, Aleksandar Nikitin, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Oleg Chernikov, Anatoly Bykhovsky and Mark Taimanov.
This is taken from:
The excellent article on the Chess Vibes website also contains 25 games from the tournament.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Does USCF Have A Marketing Department?

While eating lunch and watching the tube I flipped over from golf to the NASCAR race, and then during a commercial to CNN and who did I see but a former chessplayer, Grandmaster Ken Rogoff. With the recent economic turmoil he is everywhere. I recently watched a documentary on the meltdown of 2008 and he was interviewed in it. I read an article in the Thursday, August 12 New York Times, 'Sometimes, Inflation Is Not Evil', by Floyd Norris (, and there was a picture of the GM. From the article: In a column in The Financial Times this week, Ken Rogoff, the Harvard economist, suggested central bankers consider “the option of trying to achieve some modest deleveraging through moderate inflation of, say, 4 to 6 percent for several years.”

Mr. Rogoff conceded that “any inflation above 2 percent may seem anathema to those who still remember the anti-inflation wars of the 1970s and 1980s.”
He's in the Financial Times, and many other publications. Like I said, he is EVERYWHERE!
The USCF marketing department is missing the marketing opportunity of a lifetime! Then I wondered, "Does the USCF even have a marketing department?" So I went to the latest issue of CHESS LIFE and looked on page 2, and could find no 'marketing' whatsoever. Seems they would have a marketing department...
Ali Velshi, the Chief Business Correspondent, was interviewing business types. Now imagine if the Grandmaster were wearing a USCF hat, and maybe a USCF patch, ala NASCAR drivers. He could wear a USCF tie for good measure. The marketing department could pay Mr. Rogoff to wear them everytime he is 'on camera'.
The interview could have gone something like this.
Ali Velshi: "Ken, what do you think of the markets now?"
Ken Rogoff: "This turmoil is CRAZY!" (Actual word used by Mr Rogoff)
Ali Velshi: "What do you think could be done?"
Ken Rogoff: "Well, Ali, they are calling it a recession, but I've always heard a recession is when your neighbor is out of work; but a depression is when you are out of work! While you and I consider what we are now in a recession, for fourty or so million Americans, it can only be described as a depression, because being out of work is depressing."
Ali Velshi: "What do you propose we do about it?"
Ken Rogoff: "Join the United States Chess Federation!"
Ali Velshi: "Ken, I see you are wearing a USCF hat, tie, lapel pin, and patch on your blazer. How do you think joining that organization can help?"
Ken Rogoff: "Ali, the people have a great deal of time on their hands now. With no job, resentment builds until they are out in the streets, joining a 'flash mob', creating havoc for the establishment. They are fomenting dissension and anarchy. The anger and agression they feel could be better channeled toward their opponent sitting across the board! Chess is a wonderful teaching tool, as shown by numerous studies. Students who study the Royal game of chess have been shown to improve in other areas as well. Parents could become involved and also learn the game, giving them a constructive way to play and learn with their children. And chess does not cost much, compared to other endeavors. After the revolution the USSR showed what chess can do for a society for little money."
Ali Velshi: "Well, um...yes...but...look what happened to the USSR."
Ken Rogoff: "Well, there is that."
Ali Velshi: "Ken, I understand you became a chess Grandmaster at a young age, then gave up the game. Why?"
Ken Rogoff: "Well, Ali, I realized there is very little money in chess and decided to go back to school and make a career for myself; some way to be able to actually feed my family. If I had stayed with chess, I would have had to wander the globe like some kind of mendicant."
Ali Velshi: "With that said, you would still advocate a youngster take up the game of chess?"
Ken Rogoff: "Certainly! After a few years involved with chess, they too would see that they are walking down a dead end street and realize how imperative it is for them to go to school and study hard in order to obtain an education and become a pillar of the establishment, like you and I, Ali."
Ali Velshi: "Sounds great, Ken! How do the people watching get in touch with the USCF?"
Ken Rogoff: "They can go to"
Ali Velshi: "What if they cannot afford a computer, Ken."
Ken Rogoff: "They can call the USCF at their 800 number."
Ali Velshi: "What if they cannot afford a phone, Ken?"
Ken Rogoff: " I thought EVERYONE had a cellphone. I happen to have a chess magazine right here with me, Ali. Let me take a moment to find the address for the USCF. Uh-oh, I have the best chess magazine in the world with me, New in Chess."
Ali Velshi: "You mean the USCF magazine is NOT the best chess magazine in the world?"
Ken Rogoff: "I'm afraid not, Ali. I don't usually carry it with me. I leave it in the 'reading room."
Ali Velshi: "The reading room?"
Ken Rogoff: "Yes, Ali. You know-the 'reading room'. It has become the kind of magazine one glances at while sitting for a short time."
Ali Velshi: "Ah, yes. The 'READING ROOM'. I get your drift, Ken. I'm sure the viewers will be able to find that information on their own with a concerted effort. Thank you very much, Grandmaster!"
Richard Quest: "Hey, I'm on this panel, too!"
Ali Velshi: "Richard, do you now, or have you ever played chess?"
Richard Quest: "Uh, well, uh no."
Ali Velshi: "Thank you for your input, Richard! After the break we will discuss just how many more people will have to lose their jobs for the establishment to acknowledge that we are, in fact, in a depression, and start calling it what everyone knows it has, in fact, become."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Return of Return To Forever!

There it was on page c7 of the Monday, August 15 New York Times: Jazz Fusion Heroes of the 1970s Resurrect Their Intricate Dynamics
Return to Forever, the jazz-fusion ensemble, featuring two of its founding members, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, played Friday night at the Beacon Theater.

I sat there looking at the quarter page picture not believing my eyes. Jean-Luc Ponty and his violin between Chic & Stanley. JEAN-LUC PONTY! Added to Lenny White, the drummer, and the rest of the group. LIFE AIN'T SO BAD!
The new guitarist is Frank Gambale, and I will admit he is new to me. The article says, "Mr. Gambale is noted in guitar circles for his technique called sweep picking — playing fast passagework while strumming across the guitar strings instead of stopping to pick one string at a time — and he had plenty of speed at his disposal. He joined in neatly on the unison lines that were landmarks in the compositions, and he often soloed with high, wailing, bluesy lines followed by shredder arpeggios down below." Yeah!
My all-time favorite disc is The Romantic Warrior. It is the kind of album that if one happened to find himself on death row and could listen to just one disc before being strapped in, it would be my choice! From "Romantic Warrior, a concept album on medieval themes, was the first Return to Forever album not to be co-billed to Corea on the original LP. Released in March 1976, it became the band's third consecutive Top 40 hit and went on to become its biggest seller, eventually earning a gold record."
It was called 'rock-fusion' back then, and took music in a different direction. While listening one is magically transported to an ethereal realm of fusion bliss...It is simply a wonderful fatasia of sound.
Those damned yankees are so lucky to have the opportunity to live in a city where great musical things happen with regularity. One of the good things about continuing one's existence is that one can be surprised, and amazed, about something like this happening. I only hope I am still around when the new disc appears!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blitz is for Punks!

GM Yasser Seirawan has written a wonderful essay on blitz chess in two parts on the new WhyChess website. Part one is titled 'Why Blitz?' Both parts can be found at:
It is very worthwhile reading. This is my favorite paragraph:
"The image that the volunteers and sponsors of our chess world try to cultivate is one of a fine orchestra in a concert hall playing soaring music which lifts the audience into glorious rapture. By comparison Blitz is a raucous free-for-all more akin to a punk-rock band in a shady tavern. The “powers that be” have therefore frowned upon Blitz. Blitz is for punks! Real chess requires thoughtful contemplation."
It is obvious Yasser believes in blitz chess. He laments the fact that there are so few blitz tournaments, and no ratings. I recall GM Walter Browne had a blitz asociation, with ratings, at one time. It could be that it will take a world class player to become the driving force behind a world wide blitz organization.
I remember a blitz tournament at the very first Land of the Sky tournament, promoted by Wilder Wadford for the past two plus decades in Asheville, North Carolina. I recall it because I remember Jeff 'Captain' Kidd coming up from Atlanta to play only in the blitz tournament. The Captain had also brought along a very lovely young lady for the weekend because the tournament was held in the Grove Park Inn, a place IM Karl Burger said was, "The most opulent place I have ever played." It was a great place to impress a pretty lady, too!
I have never been good at blitz chess and I believe it is because I came to the game as an adult. I say that after spending years working at the House of Pain, watching players of all ages play speed chess. The younger players would improve by leaps and bounds, but the older players rarely improved. They made the same mistakes over and over again. They played as if addicted. I asked a few of them why they did not spend some time trying to improve their game. "You can't improve at speed," said one. "You gotta go with what you got!" Another one said he had thought about it, but, after working all day, he preferred coming to the House to play and to hang out with his buddies, rather than going home alone. Mumtaz Yusef, the father of FM Kazim Gulamali, loved playing speed chess. He would bring his son to the House on Saturday night and order pizza, or Oriental food for the House and they would play all night. (And I must mention here the poem by Dennis Fritzinger titled, pizza and blitz, in the new edition of the Mechanic's Institute Newsletter #546- Kazim has continued to improve to the point that he beat GM Becerra in one of the faster time limit games during this year's US Open and drew with GM Hikaru Nakamura in the first real, classical game the 'speed demons' played in round seven! Kazim, who was called the 'Little Grandmaster' at the House back in those days, finished with 6 1/2 points in the US Open, to finish tied for 14th place, along with another member of the House, NM Damir Studen. Every strong player needs a foundation and I cannot help but believe they became such strong players because they had a House. Both of them 'cut their teeth' on blitz at the House of Pain!
Unless one is a Bobby Fischer, able to recall a speed game after two decades, blitz games are really 'throw-away' games. After all these years I can only recall two speed games. The first was against the Spanish Mackeral, Antonio Angel. He came into Atlanta with his 'space odyssey' rating of 2001. At that time there were only a few players rated expert and maybe one non-playing master, so a rating of 2000+ seemed strong to us. Antonio was taking on all comers at the Decatur (the city in which I was born) chess club, and beating them all. It came my turn and he played a Pirc. I mated him on g7 as I recall. The Spanish Mackeral was not happy about it, let me tell you! It subsequently caused some real bad blood between us later on...
Then there was the speed game with GM Raymond Keene at the FIDE congress in Atlanta in 1980. Raymond was nice enough to sit down and play anyone who wanted to play, and he sat there for hours drubbin' us patzers. I sat down and played 1 e4, and Raymond played d6, so I fired out 2 d4, and he brought his Knight out to f6. I played mine to c3 and he played 3...g6. We were in book. I planned on playing like Karpov, so I played 4 g3, which was met immediately with 4...Bg4! Ouch! "So that's why you must play Nge2 before playing g3", I thought. "That's the kinda thing you oughta know before sitting down versus a Grandmaster, chumpy-lumpy," I thought. After such a weak move, it did not take the GM long to polish me off...

Playing Chess Can Be Dangerous

Stabbing erupts at Chuy’s restaurant in Phoenix after game of chess
•By: Katrina Schaefer

PHOENIX - Two people were stabbed at north Phoenix restaurant late Thursday after police say a person got mad over a game of chess.
The stabbing was reported around 11 p.m. at the Chuy's restaurant near 7th Street and Greenway Parkway.
Officers at the scene said two people were playing a game, but when one person won the game the other person got mad and stabbed the winner twice.
The victim’s friend jumped in to help and was also reportedly stabbed in the upper torso.’s-restaurant-in-phoenix-after-game-of-chess

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Hot Is It?

After suffering most of the summer with above average temperatures and extremely high humidity, a front from the north has brought cooler temps and a much lower dew point, thankfully. Everywhere you go people are asking why it's so hot. I love the look on the face of those people, especially the young ones, when I tell them I heard a scientist on Coast to Coast AM after the gulf oil spill say that oil was not the only thing released, but also methane gas. "He said that the last time this much methane was released into the atmosphere, the dinosaurs went extinct!" A frightened, big-eyed, morbid look comes over them.

I learned recently the temperature is taken in the shade, which means when one is in the sun it could feel like it is 10 or 15 degrees hotter. Then there is something called the 'heat index'. That's when the weatherman says the temperature is 95 but it 'feels like' it's 105. Come on now...if it 'feels like' it's 105, then why don't they say it's 105?!

One day during the hot spell, Louisville led the nation in 'heat index' at 116. The 'heat index' was in the yelow color-coded 'opressive' range.

When I was young I liked to walk up the hill to my grandmother's house. It was a duplex and her niece and husband lived there as well. Ed would usually be on the front porch, chewin' and spittin' tobacco; maybe drinking a beer. There would be other fella's there, shootin' the bull. I think I liked it because, although still quite young, I was allowed to 'hang-out' with the menfolk. They would talk about all kinds of men type things, like their favorite NASCAR drivers.

From the time I heard his name, I liked 'Fireball' Roberts. Sounded like a good driver to me! How was I to know he would actually go up in flames, losing his life in a fireball? From Wikipedia:

On May 24, 1964, at the World 600 in Charlotte, Roberts had qualified in the eleventh position and started in the middle of the pack. On lap 7, Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson collided and spun out and Roberts crashed trying to avoid them. Roberts' Ford slammed backward into the inside retaining wall, flipped over and burst into flames. Witnesses at the track claimed they heard Roberts screaming, "Ned, help me!" from inside his burning car after the wreck. Jarrett rushed to save Roberts as his car was engulfed by the flames. Roberts suffered second- and third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body and was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition. Although it was widely believed that Roberts had an allergic reaction to flame-retardant chemicals, he was secretly an asthmatic and the chemicals made his breathing worse.[2]

Roberts was able to survive for several weeks, and it appeared he might pull through. But Roberts' health took a turn for the worse on June 30, 1964. He contracted pneumonia and sepsis and slipped into a coma by the next day. He died on July 2, 1964.

I was 13 when Fireball went to the big one in the sky, and sorta lost interest in racing thereafter...

It was hot that summer, but the young do not experience the heat the same way the old do, as I now know only too well. I recall cousin Carl asking Ed, "How hot do you think it is?" Ed spit and said, "It's hot'ern HELL!"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Daniel Cooley Uggla

Dan Uggla, second baseman of the Atlanta Braves, has now hit in 31 straight games. He has tied the 'Beeg Boy', Rico Carty, for the Atlanta Braves record. The franchise record is held by Tommy Holmes at 37.
A long hitting streak is a very difficult thing to do. Ask Pete Rose. I was watching the game when Pete was held hitless on August 1, 1978. The Braves won 16-4, with lefty Larry McWilliams getting his third win. Gene Garber came on to pick-up his 16th save by hurling the last three innings.
I had always appreciated Pete's hustle because it was the way I played the game. It sickened me to hear him after being held hitless by the Braves pitchers. He blasted them for not challenging him with any fastballs. The thing is, Garber's best pitch was a change-up, so he had actually 'challenged' Pete with his best. The simple fact is that Pete could not hit it. It was not just what Pete said, but how he said it that sticks with me after all these years. He sounded like a petulant child; a cry-baby. I lost all respect for the man that night.
Last night on BBTN the streak was discussed. I learned that 80+% of hitters who have hit in 29 games go on to hit in 30, but that only 55+% of batters who have hit in 30 go on to make it 31. "What about from 31 to 32?" asked Orel Hershiser. The announcer said something about not having the number, saving it for tomorrow (tonight's) show. "I want to know NOW!" said Orel. Although it made me laugh, I was in agreement with him.
Bobby Valentine called Rico Carty the 'Big Man'. I think he must've confused the Beeg Boy with the recently deceased Clarence 'Big Man' Clemmons. I forgive Bobby V because I like him very much. He is astute when it comes to the game of baseball.
The Beeg Boy was my friend Tim Brookshear's favorite Brave. We actually met him at a sports memorabilia show. I had purchased a table-top baseball game, Pursue The Pennant, to give to my nephew. Naturally Tim and I had to try it out. I let Tim have the 1969 Braves and I took the Mets. I'll never forget the end of the game as long as I live. It was the bottom of the ninth with the Mets (me) clinging to a one run lead. I had brought on Tug McGraw to finish off the Braves. There was a man on when Rico Carty came to the plate. "Come on Rico," said Tim, "Show why you're called the Beeg Boy!"
Tim picked up the dice and shook them in his hand like he was shooting craps. I will never forget the look on his face when the number landed in 'Home Run' territory. "Shit," I said. "I don't believe it, Bacon. Is it a home run?" It was, indeed. Tim came up offa the couch gesticulating wildly, like he was at Atlanta-Fulton County stadium. "Braves win! Braves WIN! BRAVES WIN!" he yelled. (Skip Carey had nothing on Tim in 1991) It may have been the happiest moment of his life...
It is terribly difficult for Dan Uggla to have done what he has for the simple reason that he strikes out a great deal of the time. He is striking out over 25% of his at-bats. On average a player gets to bat 4 times a game, which means that Uggla has to get a hit in one of the other 3 times at the plate. He has raised his batting average from .173 to .224 during the streak, which is phenomenal. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) stands at a +0.2, so that, because of the streak, he has become a little better than a replacement player.
I have been a fan of the game for over fifty years now and I cannot recall when a player has so completely turned it around in the middle of a season. There have been players who have come back from a bad year, but this may be unprecedented in the history of baseball. I will admit that if anyone had offered me a wager that Mr Uggla would compile a streak of this magnitude, I would've bet the farm!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


So there I was last night in bed awaiting nod heaven, but it would just not come...My mind was racing as I wondered if anyone genuinely gives a crap about what I think. It was then I thought of an old song by the group Chicago-"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" Does anyone really care?, I thought.
I contemplating discontinuing the BaconLOG when another song popped in my head-"Just Give Me Some Kind of Sign" by Brenton Woods.
Everyone has thoughts; not everyone writes them for anyone in the world to share. The conservatives in this country want to balance the budget without asking the most wealthy, the ones who have made out like bandits during the Bushwhacking years, to pay an increased tax. They would prefer to cut the amount of money going to the most needy, the ones who can least afford the reduction. The conservatives in Great Britain did just that, and look at the result. Turn on the tube and watch the BBC World News; or turn on your radio and listen to the carnage. Issac Newton is being proven correct. The battle of ideas was won, and someone has lost.
I went to my BaconLOG page and noticed a fourth comment had been left on my post of August 8, 2102 US Open Weekend. The next day, August 9, 2011 at 3:57 PM, Anonymous said...
"is there anyone who really, GENUINELY, gives a crap what Mike Bacon thinks about ANYTHING?"

In the last month, 887 people from dozens of countries have viewed the BaconLOG, yet very few take the time and go to the trouble to leave a comment, especially one asking a genuinely existential question such as this. "There it is!", I thought. "The sign for which I was looking."
Thank you, anonymous one, for taking the time to not only ask the question, but to write it down and put in cyberspace. Now I KNOW there is ONE person out there! And if you can reach one person, you can reach the world!

Real Reason Aliens Have Come To Earth

Monday, August 8, 2011

2012 US Open Weekend

A confidential source reports from the recently completed 2011 US Open that the politburo pooh-bahs of the USCF have decided, in a closed door session, after seeing the number of players who chose the faster games and shorter schedules (less than 1/3 of the players opted for the 'traditional' schedule), and the number of players who availed themselves of the last round reward of a half-point for not playing, to make major changes to next year's US Open.
The good news is that they intend on going back to a 12 round tournament. The bad news is that the format will be 6 rounds played at a time control of G/60, 3 games to be played on Friday and 3 on Saturday, then 6 games to be contested at a time limit of G/30 on Sunday.
"The thinking is this will cut down on the hotel expense considerably," said the source. He added, "They really want to 'head 'em up & move 'em out!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Last Round Half-Point Bye-Bye

This from the USCF website: With just one round to go at the 112th US Open in Orlando (July 30-August 7), three GMs share the lead with 7/8: US #1 and World Top ten player Hikaru Nakamura, current Samford Scholar Aleksandr Lenderman and Alonso Zapata. The final round begins at 3 PM EST with Lenderman facing Nakamura on board one. Zapata took a final round half point bye, so he finished with 7.5/9. (

The tied for first GM was not the only one, as clearly 10% of the field opted to NOT play in the final round!

I am hoping, no doubt along with the GM, for both players playing on first board in the last round to be disqualified. Maybe if a player actually wins what used to be a 'major' tournament by being given something for nothing, then the F.I.P.s in USCF will finally see the lunacy in allowing a half-point bye in the last round.

I am reminded of the time over a century ago now, when Joe Golf took a bye in the last round of the PGA championship. When asked why he had decided to not play and take a par score for the last round, Joe said, "My knee is acting up, which means it's gonna rain."

"But Joe, there's not a cloud in the sky and the forecast is for sunny skies all weekend," was what they said to ol' Joe, as they began to snicker. When Joe said, "My knee says it's gonna rain, and rain hard," they began to guffaw.

Ol' Joe shot a ten under 62 on the opening day to set a course record. He could only shoot par golf of 72 over the next two days, attributing it to his balky knee, which caused much laughter. Heading into the last round, Joe was tied for the lead with the two best golfers in America. There was not a cloud in the sky when Joe was asked, "Don't you wish you could go out and try to shoot a lower score?" He just smiled, saying, "I'm satisfied with what I got."

As the first golfer stepped up to the tee on the first hole, the skies grew dark. By the time the two leaders came to the first tee, it was raining hard, coming down in buckets. When they reached the turn, it was what could only be described as a monsoon! No one who teed it up that day shot par, so Ol' Joe Golf won the Championship with his 'half-point' bye. It was then the pooh-bahs of the PGA realized, in their wisdom, the folly of allowing a player to be rewarded by not playing on the final day.

Could there be a lesson here for the pooh-bahs of the USCF?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thoughts On 2011 US Senior

Checking the crosstable of the recently completed 2011 US Senior on the USCF website (,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/) one finds a total of 74 players, an increase from the usual average of around 50. For comparison purposes, there is a Senior tournament at the 98th British Championships 2011 being contested at Sheffield ENG as I write. There were a total of 44 players at the start of play. (
The total at this years US Senior sounds good, until you realize 1/3 of them were 'drop-ins'. If you go to this page, ( you will find a list of pre-entries. There are a total of 70 pre-entries. I assume 4 more must have entered late. I have no way of knowing...When the announcement for this tournament was first posted, there was no way to 'drop-in'. Later, a '3-day' schedule was added. The tournament was a 6-day event, beginning Monday, July 18, 2011, and ending Saturday, July 23. 50 players began play on Monday evening in what has now come to be known as a 'traditional' schedule. They played all 6 games at a time control of 40/2, SD/1, which is a 6 hour game. In other words, REAL CHESS!
The 3-day players 'dropped-in' Thursday, July 21, playing 3 games at a time control of G/60 before 'merging' with the 'REAL' players that evening. That many games proved to be too much for any of the parachute pants as numerous half-point byes were taken by those who had 'dropped-in'.
If one checks the crosstable on the USCF website (,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/) he will find that it was diected by the organizer, FRANCISCO L GUADALUPE (12421314). One will also learn that the tournament was: 6 Rounds, 74 Players; K Factor: F Rating Sys: R Tnmt Type: S
Time Control: 40/120, SD/60. What all those games played at G/1? In the future anyone looking at the crosstable will assume ALL games were played at the given time control! The USCF could make some provision for the historical truth, but do not, for their own reasons. Are they ashamed? Do they mislead historians intentionally? What USCF gives is only a partial truth. It is, therefore, a partial lie. A partial lie is, nevertheless, a LIE! Try, for example, telling the judge at a Grand Jury hearing that you only told a 'partial' lie. Good luck with that!
Sergey Kudrin, the only Grandmaster, won the event with 5 1/2 points. There was a three way tie for third between Tom Braunlich, Larry Englebretson, and Yefim Treger. The former played the 6-day schedule and the latter two opted to 'drop-in'. Treger played 6 games, but that was too much for Larry, who took a half-point bye after playing 3 one-hour games, and then took another one the next night! Larry only played 4 games, and only ONE was at the 'traditional' schedule! Poor Tom...Imagine playing for first place in the last round and seeing a player also playing for first place whom you had not seen all week because he played his three games before you got to the playing hall a couple of days previous and did not play in the penultimate round! "Who is this masked man?" you might ask yourself...Or maybe, "Who is this RINGER?!"
Now imagine a fellow named Joe Golf entering the PGA Senior championship, playing round one and scoring a ten under par 62. He then takes two 'half-point' byes, and is scored with a par 72 in each. He would tee it up for the start of play in the last round with a chance to take first place. "That would NEVER happen!", you say. Of course not! Then why is it allowed in chess?
The pooh-bahs at USCF will, no doubt, give some kind of award, possibly 'Organizer of the Year', to the organizer/director of the 2011 US Senior for perpetrating this travesty upon Seniors. They are so short-sighted they can only see 'numbers'. They are so dense they simply cannot understand that there are many more important things than 'numbers' when it comes to a good Senior tournament.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What Would Rex Sinquefield Think?

In a post on the new website WhyChess by willy.iclicki, titled, Was Campomanes a KGB agent? (, he writes, "Of course, there’s not enough money in chess, but then you’ll always find a couple of suckers to throw a few million dollars into chess before it disappears."
I could not help but wonder what Rex Sinquefield, the wealthy patron who put up the money to open the beautiful St. Louis Chess & Scholastic Center, and has now funded the new chess Hall of Fame across the street from the SLC&SC, which is to open next month, would think about what willy has written...