Newsletter #392, 3/30/2008
"Chess rewards merit; it is more fair than life. National origin, age, sex, social status don't matter. Good ideas are rewarded; bad ones punished. There are no hole cards or luck; all assets are even and in plain view. Apples and oranges act in harmony; this skill is transferable to other life pursuits."
2008 Washington State Premier Section mini bio
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) US Championship Qualifier
3) US Championship
4) Bay Area News
5) Profile of a Prodigy to be made into a movie
6) US Players Abroad
7) US Senior
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club NewsVeteran Expert Victor Ossipov upset NM Andy Lee to grab the lead halfway through the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. Ossipov has 4-0 trailed by IM John Grefe, NM Sam Shankland and Experts Kenneth Hills and Romulo Fuentes at 3.5.
The 8th Annual Max Wilkerson Open, named for the longest serving (1980-1996) Chess Director in the history of the Mechanics Chess Club, was won by Romulo Fuentes who upset IM Ricardo DeGuzman en route to a 4.5-.5 score. Tied for second in the 46-player field were NMs Michael Pearson, Keith Vickers and Gregory Young, Expert Dmitry Vayntrub , Class A player Daniel Quan, and Class B player Chris Tsai who upset several higher rated players.
Mechanics member and World Under 12 Champion FM Daniel Naroditsky will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Oakland As on Wednesday, April 23 against the Minnesota Twins. The game start time is 7:05pm with the first pitch typically a few minutes prior to that.
Longtime Bay Area master Dennis Fritzinger recently had a second volume of his poetry published. Titled Earth National Park the book is available at http://www.poetryvortexpublishing.com/page0003.html.
Walter Dorne, a strong contender for the title of best traveled chess player/taxi driver on the planet and a participant in the California Closed Championship in the late 1960s, recently finished 6th with 4.5 points in a one-day, 6-round, 30 minute tournament during a Fiesta at San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.
IM Josh Friedel was awarded a wild card spot into the 2008 US Championship by organizers Frank and Jim Berry.
International Arbiter Mike Goodall, who has been directing tournaments for forty years we will be putting on an event in Santa Rosa on April 19-20. Go to upcoming events for more information.
Remember to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or information about tournament at the Mechanics'.
2) US Championship QualifierThe strongest open ever held in Oklahoma was hosted in Tulsa from March 28-30 by the Berry brothers, Jim and Frank. Over 20 GMs and IMs and 60 players rated over 2200 were among the 104-player field which saw seven players qualify for the 2008 US Championship including two Mechanics' members.
IM David Pruess has played in several US Championships but this will be a new experience for Mechanic' TNM regular 16-year old Sam Shankland of Orinda. Michael Aigner reports that "Sam The Shankinator" swindled his chess teacher IM Friedel in round 5 and then drew GM Ivanov and GM Kudrin back-to-back on the final day." It looks like he was pressing in the two games with GMs. Well done Sam!
FM Daniel Naroditsky followed up his great success the week before in Reno with a another fine result, drawing IMs Brooks and Lugo the last day. Every tournament has a player who is unlucky and in the US Ch qualifier it was GM-elect Vinay Bhat who after six rounds had 4.5 points courtesy of hard fought draws with 3 GMs and three wins. Facing GM Julio Becerra in the last round he quickly built up a very strong position on the White side of a King's Indian and increased it to a winning position but in time pressure blundered.
Top scores and scores of all Northern California players provided courtesy of Michael Aigner. Qualifiers are in a larger font while Becerra, Ivanov and Kudrin qualified by rating.
- 1st - 5th at 5.5 GM Jesse Kraai, GM Julio Becerra, GM Alex Yermolinsky, IM Dean Ippolito and GM John Fedorowicz
- 6th - 14th at 5.0 GM Alex Ivanov, GM Sergey Kudrin, FM Daniel Ludwig, GM Eugene Perelshteyn, NM Sam Shankland , IM David Pruess, IM Joe Bradford, IM Michael Brooks and FM Todd Andrews
- 4.5 IM Vinay Bhat (16th), NM Michael Aigner (26th), FM Daniel Naroditsky (27th)
- 4.0 IM Walter Shipman (36th)
- 3.5 IM Dmitry Zilberstein (51st)
- 3.0 IM Josh Friedel (61st, withdrew after six rounds)
- 2.5 Dana Mackenzie (77th), Alan Kobernat (84th)
3) US ChampionshipMany Top Players to Sit Out Championship was the title of a recent chess column by Dylan Loeb McClain in the New York Times.
Top players are passing up this year’s event, to be held in May in Tulsa, because they are unhappy about its prize fund and location.Hikaru Nakamura, Larry Christiansen and Joel Benjamin, all past champions, are not playing. Ildar Ibragimov, ranked No. 10 in the country, has declined. Gata Kamsky, the No. 1 player and a past champion, did not respond to his invitation. The prizes range from $8,000 for first place to $1,000 for the last five in the 24-player event.
Nakamura said he did not have fond memories of last year’s tournament, held in Stillwater, Okla., where he finished in a tie for 10th. The “prestige has gone down,” he said, blaming the United States Chess Federation. Christiansen said: “A lot of professional players will sit it out for 8,000 bucks. It is lot of work. The equivalent of one of these top-level games is like taking the bar exam.”
Despite the holdouts, the competition will be formidable. Alexander Shabalov, last year’s champion, will be one of 12 grandmasters in the field, as will Alexander Onischuk, the 2006 winner.
The latter observation is certainly true as excepting Hikaru and Gata ( whose preparations for his upcoming match with Topalov made it unclear whether he would play in this year's US Championship under any condition) almost every single really active top GM in the country is participating. The current field with 14 GMs and IM Finegold who has been over 2550 FIDE plus three other IMs and several strong juniors is unquestionably the strongest US Championship field since 2000 when the last twelve player round robin was held. The latter was sponsored by America's Foundation for Chess which also put on the 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 Championships but with 64 players . These events combined the US womens championship and included more lower rated many players from qualifying events.
The 2007 event, hosted by Jim and Frank Berry in Stillwater, had 36 participants with 19 GMs competing. The 2008 event promises to be brutally strong, especially at the top where the winner of the event might play a field over 2600 FIDE, which would be a first for a US Championship.
The future of the US Championship is uncertain after this year. Up to 2000 the US Chess Federation was in charge of the championship. Local organizers ran the tournaments but almost the entire cost of the events was borne by the USCF - sometimes with help from sponsors like Software Toolworks. In 2000, with the Federation in financial trouble it appeared the Championship would not be held, but Yasser Seirawan was able to interest Scott Oki and Eric Anderson into hosting the event and they formed the Seattle Chess Foundation later America's Foundation for Chess. Anderson in particular gave a great deal of his own money to keep the event running for over half a decade, likely more than any other single individual in the history of the event, but he had enough after 2006. Things looked bleak as again the USCF had no money, but then Frank Berry stepped in. He not only pledged $200,000 to host the 2007 and 2008 US Championships and US Womens Championships but also agreed to organize them with the assistance of his brother Jim and friends in the Oklahoma Chess Community . Providing both substantial funding and sweat labor is not common on the American chess scene and I can't think of any other examples except Mrs. Piatigorsky who pitched in with her crew to make thinks right for the two Piatigorsky Cups in the 1960s.
Senior Open Champion*
WCL Tnmt of Championswinner **
The field is set for the 2008 US Womens Championship which will be heldconcurrent with the Championship this May in Tulsa.
IM Irina KRUSH
IM Anna ZATONSKIH