Friday, October 14, 2011

US Chess League

I have to admit I do not follow the USCL. I received the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #555 today via email. Coverage of the San Francisco USCL team showed that they had lost to the Chicago team by a score of 2 1/2 to 1 1/2. GMs squared off on the top two boards and both games were drawn. Two IMs faced each other on board three and that game was also drawn. Ratings were not given for the players on board four, so I went to the USCL website ( to find: Uyanga Byambaa (SF) vs NM Sam Schmakel (CHC) 0-1. So the Chicago player is a NM, but how strong is the SF player? I clicked on the game to learn that he Byambaa is rated 2080, and Schmakel is rated 2190. The match was decided by these two lower rated players. The ratings of the other players range from 2687 to 2415, a difference of 272 points. The difference between Angelo Young (2415) on board three and Byambaa (2080) on board four is 335 points.
This is like one of those 'which one does not belong' pictures. How can the USCL ever be taken seriously when there is such a FORCED disparity in the skill levels of the players? It would be better, and much more interesting, if teams consisted of the strongest players available and not much weaker players who are playing in order to fit some arbitrary rating cap.

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