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53 of 64 Ready for San Diego

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I updated the US Championship website this week. Five new qualifiers, plus confirmation of the new, Morelia-friendly schedule. Not really a date change, just condensing things a bit by moving the first round back a day, to March 2. Full schedule here.

The fifth qualifier is Andrei Florian, who won the online state champion of champions event. Florian, like La Rota last year, has been here for a while but hadn't changed his federation with FIDE. He hasn't played for Romania in a long time and obeyed the AF4C's stricture to file the paperwork to change it before the qualification finals. (By registered mail to the USCF, just in case.) So all is well.

There are still eleven spots to fill. Six will come from the North American Open at the end of the month. That will also decide the Grand Prix qualifier, unless there is a tie. Then there is a special scholastic spot that will be settled in a playoff. Then there are two wildcards named by the AF4C. (One is a lock, the other still under consideration...) But wait, that's only ten. There was a spot left over from the National Open since only one woman participated. This oddity wasn't covered under the rules and various methods could be used to to award this last spot, essentially making it a third wildcard. I think it should go to someone who tried to qualify and lost on tiebreaks, or maybe to the second-place Grand Prix finisher.


Go Blue!

Since the National Open spot was a female qualifier spot, shouldn't it be given to a female? Maybe the highest finishing Grand Prix woman?

It seems my theory that a normal master could get in by just playing everything under the sun wasn't exactly right. The leader of the grand prix is going to be either Bercys or Ippolito who are both quite strong and extremely solid. If Jake Kleiman can get 1.5 more than both of these guys then he fully earns it, although in that case, Ippolito or Bercys might still win the Grand Prix because in that case it is very likely that Kleiman's score would be good enough to qualify directly!

Yah, we figured that, but of course there is no guarantee that all of them will play!

Having that spot go to a woman would make strict sense, but since that spot appeared because not enough women showed up to play, I don't know. I'd rather it go to someone who clearly wanted to make it and came very close, perhaps losing the spot on tiebreaks or something. Giving it to someone who never really tried to qualify (didn't pay the fee, etc.) seems weird.

Mig, that's why I suggested the highest finishing Grand Prix woman. She must have paid the fees and all.

This, by the way, could be made a future rule. If not enough women participate, or they fail to score 50%, the spots go to those of them who finish highest overall in all tournaments where they pay the qualifier fee. This should probably encourage female participation.

So, one free day is gone... No doubt most of the players will appreciate it (especially those who are going to play 9 games in Morelia just before the US Championship). There is nothing better for quality chess than 18 games in 20 days! Oh wait, there is one extra day AFTER the US Championship. Since the participants pay for all their expences it is indeed an easy fix. No fuss, no muss. Yay!

About the wild card selections, will they be announced after Las Vegas? If so, any candidates decided upon now may qualify there and AF4C may have to think again about it.

Wild cards always come last.

who is the lock for the wildcard?

about the prize fund....is there any way to see it on the uschesschampionship website?

I continue to be very impressed with the US Champoinship website--it's certainly one of the best event sites out there.

One small request: bios. It would be great if there was a link from each of the participants on the qualifier list to his/her bio.

It can start out simple: Name, age, hometown, method of qualifying, photo, rating, result in last year's event if applicable, career highlights.

Later add stuff from the players themselves:
"How would you describe your playing style?"
"What are your goals for this year's event?"
"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
"If you weren't a chessplayer, what would you be doing?"
"How much time do you spend studying chess?"
"What would you like to tell your fans?"
"How old were you when you first learned to play? When you became a Master?"
"Favorite game of your own (with score)"
"Favorite game of all time"
"Favorite chess book"
"Favorite nonchess book"
"Favorite movie"
"Do you teach chess? If so, why? (or why not?)"
"Favorite time control"
"Favorite chess memory"
"How do you prepare for an event like the US Championship?"
"Biggest influence on your life? On your chess career?"
"Upcoming chess events for 2006?"
"What have you had to give up to succeed at chess?"


Zilberstein lost an absolute heartbreaker to Florean in the champion of champion finals. He was totally winning in the final armageddon blitz game and ahead in time but outright hung his rook. Hopefully he can snag an invite.

Yeah, it would be nice to see the prizes, but I don't know if they can decide on that before they finalize the system. Have they made a final decision about two groups, etc.?

Player bios would definitely enhance the site. I suppose most players can be asked to write those for themselves, and then Mig could just post those.

It would be interesting to know who the lock for the wild card is. I suspect it's Lenderman due to his win in the World Juniors, but I certainly don't know anything.

The article on the National Open said this spot would be taken by a (presumably female) rating seed:
"While the competition for the overall spots was as fierce as ever, sadly this wasn't the case with the two women's spots on offer. Only one player registered to have the National Open act as a qualifier. So Kelly Cottrell of Michigan goes forward to play in her first U.S. Championship. With no player taking the second spot on offer, this will now be filled by a a player from the October 2005 USCF Rating List."

I asked Carol Jarecki about this at the US Open, and she confirmed that the spot would be take by the next player on the women's rating list.

well that sounds fair. what more can be asked. the next woman on the rating list. go for it.


I want to nominate Magnus Carlsen for a wild card spot. the kid is good. he would make the entire championship fun to watch.

Goichberg says he is putting Magnus Carlsen on his sandbagging list. He thinks Magnus was playing better than his rating.

Nakamura would have his hands full with Magnus. that would be a fun match to watch. I think Magnus has been growing and maturing right before our eyes during this tournament. It is like you can see him grow and mature. I am very impressed. He will definitely get better with time.

I will really love watching the US Championship. this is going to be the best tournament yet. I know some of the participants from Boston area.

I would love to see Susan Polgar play. she is the one I would give a lock on ticket to attend. She is a chess player and woman of high class all around. she is the most wonderful person helping so much to advance chess in the usa. She deserves a big thank you from all of us.


wow susan polgar is playing or at least is on the list.

1 GM Hikaru Nakamura Defending US Champion
2 WGM Rusa Goletiani * Defending US Women's Champion
3 GM Aleks Wojkiewicz 2004 ChessCafe.com Grand Prix Winner
4 GM Alexander Ivanov Foxwoods 2005
5 GM Alexander Stripunsky Foxwoods 2005
6 GM Julio Becerra Foxwoods 2005
7 GM Yury Shulman Foxwoods 2005
8 Iryna Zenyuk * Foxwoods 2005
9 WM Esther Epstein * Foxwoods 2005
10 GM Alexander Fishbein Chicago Open 2005
11 IM Blas Lugo Chicago Open 2005
12 IM Benjamin Finegold Chicago Open 2005
13 GM Dmitry Gurevich Chicago Open 2005
14 Chouchanik Airapetian * Chicago Open 2005
15 GM Nick de Firmian National Open 2005
16 IM Renier Gonzalez National Open 2005
17 IM Stanislav Kriventsov National Open 2005
18 IM Dmitry Schneider National Open 2005
19 Kelly Cottrell * National Open 2005
20 GM Walter Browne Senior Open
21 FM Daniel Fernandez Junior Invitational Championship
22 GM John Fedorowicz World Open 2005
23 IM Josh Friedel World Open 2005
24 GM Sergey Kudrin World Open 2005
25 GM Joel Benjamin World Open 2005
26 IM Eugene Perelshteyn World Open 2005
27 WFM Laura Ross * World Open 2005
28 WCM Natasha Christiansen * World Open 2005
29 GM Larry Christiansen US Open 2005
30 IM Gregory Shahade US Open 2005
31 IM David Vigorito US Open 2005
32 GM Gregory Serper US Open 2005
33 Elizabeth Vicary * US Open 2005
34 WFM Hana Itkis * US Open 2005
35 GM Gregory Kaidanov Rating seed
36 GM Gata Kamsky Rating seed
37 GM Alexander Onischuk Rating seed
38 GM Boris Gulko Rating seed
39 GM Ildar Ibraigimov Rating seed
40 GM Alexander Shabalov Rating seed
41 GM Varuzhan Akobian Rating seed
42 GM Igor Novikov Rating seed
43 GM Susan Polgar * Women's rating seed
44 WGM Anna Zatonskih * Women's rating seed
45 IM Irina Krush * Women's rating seed
46 WGM Camilla Baginskaite * Women's rating seed
47 WFM Tatev Abrahamyan * Women's rating seed
48 FM Jennifer Shahade * Women's rating seed
49 GM Alex Yermolinsky American Open
50 GM Boris Kreiman American Open
51 GM Alexander Goldin National Congress
52 FM Emory Tate National Congress
53 IM Andrei Florean State Champion of Champions

In reply to Greg Shahade: We have actually published that the prize fund is a guaranteed $250,000 - and have done since March. Last year we also said it would be a guaranteed $250,000 and actually paid out $277,000!

The prize split, however, is a different matter and will appaear in the Players Contracts, which will be going out shortly. Once they are sent out, it will be made public on the site.

In reply to Elizabeth Vicary: The last time I looked at the AF4C payroll, Carol Jarecki wasn't on it, so therefore she doesn't speak for us. In case it has escaped everyones notice, the USCF no longer runs the US Championship - they gave up the rights to do so after failing to find a sponsor and announcing the cancelation of the championship.

We stepped in to rescue it in 2000, where we more than doubled the prize fund and raised its profile. As it stands, we are contracted to run the championship for the next 17 years. Since running the US Championship, we have given out over $1million in cash prizes and now about to give out a further $250,000!

What doesn't go noticed though is that we also provide the funding for the running costs for the US Championship, and this figure is now over $250,000!

So, in reality, we've invested $1.5million on supporting the national championships since taking over in 2000.

The situation regarding the National Open is something that there isn't any fixed rules or guidlines we could go to. We provide the structure for players to qualify for the US Championship, and if the women players don't turn out then that is their fault and not ours.

We will do what we think is best for the US Championship. This is something we have always done.

At the time when the problem came to light at the National Open, I was in Seattle and immediately phoned the organizers to find out what exactly went wrong.

In talking to Carol Jarecki, I did say there was no provision for what had happened and it is quite possible we could fill the spot from the rating list (and I delibrately left open the option of the spot going to to the overall list rather than the women's list.) - however, I did add the caveat that we will address the problem nearer the championship in consultation with the "usual suspects".

So, we'll make what we believe is the correct decision in filling the vacant spot. If people don't like it, then they can always bid to take over the running of the US Championship and make the decisions they want to.

No one is questioning your authority here. AF4C can invite whoever it wants, even Magnus Carlsen as Tommy suggested :) (I assume he was kidding about it though). It just seems fair that a female spot should be filled by a female, that's all. But it's certainly your decision to make.


It is not so simple. The US Championship is the responsibility of of the USCF, according to its by-laws. If they delegate it to AF4C it still has to be conducted under USCF rules (e.g. for eligibility). AF4C can't create its own set of rules just because they are sponsoring it.

But you fail to understand, abc, that there are no rules in place for what happened at the National Open. We'll fill the spot as we feel best for the Championship.

As for the Grand Prix, last time I checked the list there was no woman on it who had played in more than one event as a qualifier.

Nothing against the ladies, but it seems pretty clear from the bottom of last year's table and the low qualifier participation this year that special women's spots should be decreased or eliminated. With the increasing number of women capable of fighting for overall spots, they should be obsolete. The question then becomes what then to do for a women's championship (if anything) if only two or three women are playing.

Just because only 2 or 3 women participants enter, you should make the overall spots obsolete.

John Henderson,

You fail to understand that I said nothing about the National Open.

My point was that AF4C does not have unlimited or 'unquestioned' 'authority' to do things to the US Championship, as it is bound by USCF by-laws.

Inviting Magnus Carlsen would be a better illustration of exceeding authority.

Regarding State Champions finals, rook hanging move was a mouseslip. I guess it's part of the game in Internet competitions. Also the championship website has a slight mistake I won in semi-final 1.5-0.5, but without blitz tiebreaks.


You should have taken black in that final game! Sorry you didn't make it, Dmitri. No chance of playing in the last qualifier in Vegas?

I'll be playing in Vegas.

That's the spirit, Dmitry! It's always sad when a player losses in such a crucial game to a mouseslip. The online State Champion of Champions is a unique event and one that I'm always looking to improve on.

The mouseslip is regretful, but on the whole everyone who plays in this event enjoys the experience. And, of course, the logistics dictate we can only hold such an event online - so mouseslips can and invariably will happen.

With a smile on my face, I'm expecting one hell of a battle at the North American Open for the remaining US Championship spots. It's going to be Las Vegas or bust for many - not to mention a battle royale for the Grand Prix spot, which when I devised I always believed would be a hotly-contested contest.

Good luck to everyone in Las Vegas!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 8, 2005 3:12 PM.

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