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.


Anonymous said...

Things like this diminish the stature of what is supposed to be a national tournament. GM's do not participate because the prize fund is not commensurate with the time involved. SHOW US THE MONEY!

Anonymous said...

The way I see it there are three ways of looking at Larry's tournament. First, since he played four games out of six, he played two thirds of a tournament. Second, since three of the games were of the short variety, the time spent would constitute the same as one 40/2, SD/1, game. So the time invested would be for two games, at most, meaning one third.
Last, and worst of all, he played chess only two days out of the six possible. Again, one third.
What he did was legal, unfortunately. The fault lies with the organizer and USCF for allowing this to happen.

Anonymous said...

There is a post in the forum on the USCF website by coachjay posted Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:33 pm in response to an article on the US Senior & Junior. He writes: Wow! Let's hear it for Larry Englebretson! Larry, good luck at the World Senior!
Does this mean he will represent the USofA at the World Senior after playing 3 skittles games, taking 2 half-point byes, and only playing one classical game?!