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64 Chosen Ones

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Or maybe 63. The complete list of 64 players at the 2006 US Championship is ready. The final spot went to San Diego's Elliott Liu, who won the Scholastic Champion of Champions spot in an online tournament hosted by the ICC. Great luck to have a local boy make good.

Then there were the five new replacement / vacant spots. Two spots were left vacant while Polgar, Krush, and Shahade (x2) have withdrawn. Sarkar, Kleiman, West, I. Schneider, and Milman are in. (Bercys replaced Greg Shahade earlier.) Sarkar and Kleiman were the top runners-up on the Grand Prix list. Igor Schneider (not to be confused with Dmitry, who is already in) and Milman are two of the top juniors in the country. West was, in my opinion, a "do the right thing" appointment, since she was the only player to fall under the "50% score required" rule that was created after there was a vacant spot at the National Open.

The only remaining doubt is the status of Kreiman, whose spot is under review after accusations of game fixing, documented here and with considerable related recent discussion here. I believe the case has been handed to the USCF board and they will vote on it in the next few days. I assume his spot would go to the next qualifier from the American Open. BUT, since this seems to be Jesse Kraai, who later got in at the North American Open, he may become the qualifier from the American Open, replaced by the next person down at the NAO! That looks like David Pruess. But I'm not 100% sure of that; it could be Levon Altounian from the AO. Or they could keep Kreiman. Ah, suspense.


Mig and AF4C might want to figure out a consistent spelling of the name "Elliott Liu". The hyperlink on Ninja has "Elliot", the first paragraph on the AF4C site has "Elliott" and the caption to the photo has "Eliot". The final list of players has again "Elliot".

He's Elliott in the USCF rating lists.

Yah, my bad. Fixed it, thanks.

Each finalist should claim a square of the chessboard as his or her own and henceforth be referred to as such. I.e. "F5 is leading the tournament!"

I just want to say this: Go Dave "Fluffy" Vigorito! He may be a dark horse, but I hope he wins it all. :)

It's really too bad they did not offer Dmitry Zilberstein a spot. He could not have come closer -- up material and up time in the final game in the state CofC online event vs Florean. He had to overcome a lot of senior master contenders in the event -- I think playing in a qualification event and doing well in that event, in the given year in question should be a necessary criterion when looking around for fillers. Granted, the online CofC event had a mixture of G/1 and rapid games, so it is some sense not as 'serious' as an OTB event. Nevertheless, his performance was very tangible and I am wondering if the committee noticed it at all.

I remember someone asking about where they can find duplicate posters (or images) of IBM's "How Do You Make a Computer Blink?" marketing campaign before the 97 match against Kasparov. I can't seem to find that thread now, can someone help me? I also wanted to know where some of these might be available. Thanks!

About chess posters, go to the message boards and start your own thread. More people, very effective. They are, after all, ninjas.


Will they announce soon how the field is going to be divided between the two sections?

I am in the Boston area and Dave "Fluffy" Vigorito used to live out this way before moving to Las Vegas and still plays some tournaments out East.

I will be rooting for Dave to win also. I think Dave is a fine player. I remember a couple of years ago Allen Bennett played in the US Open. did not win but it was fun to watch his games.

Go Dave, the world is cheering for you. I will be watching your games.

Another point of interest that is building will be to see how Kamsky and Nakamura do in comparison to each other. I wonder who is the better chess player today and it will be fun to watch them both try to become the US Champion this year.


there are other Boston players at the US Open and I will be cheering for all of them. I think a couple of the New England GM's are at Aeroflot right now.

It is nice to see so many women in the tournament. I was getting the impression they had all pulled out. it is great to see that there will be a good run for the women's championship this year. I would have liked to see all the women remain in the US Open. but it was their decision.

I have the pairing system now, and the prize fund distribution. The final pairings will have to wait until the Kreiman decision since the sides have to be balances and he can't just be replaced directly by Preuss.

If 2nd AND 3rd Grand Prix places get replacement spots why not 4th, 5th, and 6th Grand Prix places?

My guess is that having two vacant qualification spots and two players tied right behind the Grand Prix winner made it look like a natural fit. Beyond that, AF4C probably decided to go with the strongest juniors as theme for withdrawals since going down the women's rating list got into amateur territory. (Several additional women players were first contacted and declined.) West was a combination of all three, junior, woman, and she would have qualified under the original rules.

I'm all for transparent rules all the time. They make life worth living. But in a field this large, and with so many players having qualified in so many ways, it's not bad to have some discretion to do good works. Going with the top juniors is absolutely the right direction.

Perhaps they could put it in writing that replacements could be taken from the Grand Prix or from the junior list, but again, in a field this large having some discretion in such things isn't bad. You don't want to end up with an objective, fair, and stupid rule biting you in the butt.


You say you have the pairing system. Can you tell the principle based on which the split between the groups will be made? Is it available somewhere on the web site? Or is it too complicated to explain?

I like the idea about each of the 64 being assigned a square! Only they should be assigned the squares by lots at the beginning of the tournament. Then, if a player wins a game by mating the opponent on the player's assigned square - or if, when the opponent resigns, the player can demonstrate a forced mate on his/her own square - then the player gets an additional quarter point. Purists may object, but it might help get attention from TV producers etc. How about that? :-)



Last championship all 64 players signed a square on a bunch of boards which were then sold as a fundraiser. The order was by elo, top to bottom, so I think Kamsky was a8, etc.

I don't know the exact principle, Stan. I just have the slots and will be posting the page tonight. I'm sure Robert Tanner will be happy to answer all your questions.

I suspect that there may also have been an attempt to keep some ratings balance. Using the December 2005 list, they replaced a 2500 rated woman with a 2500 rated man (Milman), and a 2300 rated woman with a 2300 rated man (I. Schneider). If you're going to replace players who had gender-restricted invitations with players who couldn't have qualified for them, then I suppose it makes some sense to stay ratings equivalent at least.

I`m not sure how I feel about there being sub-Masters in the US championship tournament. Even if they`re qualifying supposedly legitimately, that just indicates the qualification requirements should be altered drastically. An Expert shouldn`t have a snowball`s chance in hell of getting into the national championship. And it`s not about rating, it`s just... these people really mess things up. Probably free easy points to a couple of top (serious) contenders, which cheapens their result. If the eventual tournament winner gets a point off one or two Experts, that really doesn`t reflect well on the result, especially if someone who finished, say 3rd, played only IM and GM opposition.

Rating isn`t everything, but it is a measure of PERFORMANCE. And if you haven`t performed up to a certain level, I think they should make sure you don`t get to play in the chess championship of the United States of America. Having Experts, and a couple of times even under-2000s (what a joke), just cheapens the whole thing.

I am a close friend of elliott's, and his name is "Elliott Liu" just in case that hasn't been cleared up yet.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 8, 2006 1:44 PM.

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