Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Hit the Beach!

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No, not the shores of Tripoli and this isn't From Here to Eternity, but it sure has felt like it! The countdown clock on my US Championship website has finally gone grammatically incorrect with one days left. Wahoo! We'll be having regular contests, although I'm not sure of the prizes just yet. But I'm doing trivia contests if I have to give away newsletter subscriptions and old beer coasters. Here's another reason I'm happy to be headed west:

I don't know what orifice they pulled "33" out of, but it was 14F when I woke up on Monday. Brrrr. I'll take a mild rain any day. [And it didn't even rain today. Very nice.] I'll post regular items here but will also be running a new and improved Champblog on the official site. Boris Kreiman has confirmed his participation, btw.


Yeah yeah, rub it in, I don't get there until the 10th.

14 sounds warm to me. I was dont to 2 F on Sunday and 5 F on Monday. so monday was a warming spell for me. too cold for me. Now you know why I am an internet freek during the winter.

My dog has a heavy furry coat and he loves to roll in the snow. he also has a trick were he runs down hill does a flip over onto his back and slides down the hill in the snow. the hill is very short and gentle slope. he only slides a few feet but he loves it.

San Diego I wish I was there. Almost impossible to imagine being warm when I am frozen.

I was wondering Mig if you had any idea why the current format for the Championship was decided? It seems that there is enough of a complaint to be made when the champion happens to be decided in rapid games, but to force such an event seems strange. I personally have a lot of respect for Nakamura, but it seems as though this format was designed to give him the biggest chance of being the next US champion, but from what I've heard of the players I know this format seems like kind of a joke to them. Also, won't it be strange if one player finished 9-0 in one section and another finished 6.5-2.5 to win the other either clear or on tiebreaks. Now the player in the second section scores 1.5/2 in rapid games and they now play a rapid playoff?

Ugh, excuse me, I meant to say now the second player has 8 points and the first player has 9.5 points and somehow the second player is the US champion because he proved he's a better rapid player. This all seems very strange.

Nakamura doesn't even like the new format, and has made that known here, among other places. And I have no idea how this could be an advantage for him, or for anyone. As far as the individual players are concerned THE FORMAT IS EXACTLY THE SAME. Instead of a 64-player 9-round swiss it's 32 players. Big deal. It will change for two guys, the finalists.

If someone scores 9.5 out of 9 I guarantee you he will be proclaimed champion without a rapid match.

They wanted a final match, that's why this change was made. If you take the top two from the final of the old format you could end up with someone who scored your 9/9 playing someone who scored 7/9 in the same field and who almost surely played each other already. It's very unlikely there will be a significant difference in strength of performance between the two group winners. There is no single dominant player in American chess who will be getting ripped off. (I.e. this would seem sillier back in the Fischer years.) I half point difference, which is likely, is no hardly a big deal. As for TPR, that's always a crapshoot in a swiss anyway.

Yes it's a bit frivolous, but it has a purpose and it doesn't do much harm since rapid tiebreaks were already necessary and used in the past.


Maybe I'm an idiot, but nowhere on the US Championship website do I see a *start time* for the rounds. What time do the rounds start?


Maybe I'm an idiot, but nowhere on the US Championship website do I see a *start time* for the rounds. What time do the rounds start?

I'm giving up and putting the round times in GIGANTIC ROUND LETTERS. Nobody seems able to read the sentence ono the schedule page that says all rounds begin at one unless otherwise noted. But don't feel bad; you're definitely not alone.


My bad... there it is. Thanks.

I think it would be nice if the championship website had a page for each participant with a picture, biography, and maybe a notable game. It seems like something like that would be great at introducing the players to the public, especially some of the lesser known players.

This has been the plan for a year now. Of course this sort of thing is deemed non-essential and gets kicked around until, say, today. I requisitioned formatted portraits and questionnaires last June from the full-time staff. At this point I have some handwritten (!) questionnaires sitting in a green folder across from me and only my own photos from last year. I wish I had time to do everything myself, and I know other people are busy too. I hope to have some up tomorrow.

Mardi Gras in Mobile!! 70 degrees F!! What a great day!

I really dislike having rapid games determine an ultimate winner, I assume this is akin to soccer which uses "penalty" shots in tied games? There just has to be another way. I guess I'll just go with draws shouldn't count, unless someone can supply other alternatives. But having a player say in the "A" section crush everyone with 9 points, and the winner in "B" win with say 6.5, and ultimately win the Championship cause he's better at rapid than the 'A" player is absurd. I understand we are Fischerless, but if it happened this would be terrible. I dunno, have a round robin and invite less players, draws not counting.

We've been through this a few hundred times already in all the other format threads. Finding the strongest player isn't the sole objective. Sponsorship and promotion of the game in the US are also objectives. Having your never-ending (draws don't count?) round robin between the same GMs is fine for strength, or at least form (we have the rating list for strength). But it was lousy for sponsorship and promotion.

As for "better at rapid", c'mon. This will be a match between two players who finished first in a brutal 9-round swiss of classical chess. The winner will be the one who plays better that day in those games. There is hardly going to be a category difference.

Re: http://www.uschesschampionship.com/2006/news/bentlarsenprize.htm

I never met Larsen. Was he a great fighter indeed?
There are many I know, who often offer draws, but they are rejected, creating a false sense of a fighter. Probably Larsen wasn't a a draw-offerer!?

Nobody counts draw offers, because they are hidden from the public eye and computer databases, which never record draw offers (with an appropriate symbol) in games.

Senior chess is going downhill, if prizes are offered for playing the games out.

So, I recommend to the organizers, to record evey draw offer, and draw refusal, and publish it. It would make a change.

Or, every draw offer should be accompanied with an immediate 100$ deposit, as it is done, when complaining to the appeals committee!?

The ultimate solution to the draw offer has just been posted above. No need for complicated rules and regulations. No one would ever offer a draw again, would they?

Jovan (J.P.),

I recall reading somewhere recently that FIDE rules DO in fact REQUIRE that draw offers be recorded on the score sheet, just like any other move. I think that's a good idea, and it comports with my own infamous "Trojan Horse Draw Offer" article in Chess Life -- which outlined a strategy of making a draw offer as a psychological "move" whose objective is to WIN, not draw, the game.

Also, I'm going to make an exception to my usual practice of never commenting about someone else's chess strength. (I generally consider myself as not strong enough to have an informed opinion on such matters.) But, after reading your posts here and on Chess Mind, I was already wondering how you got an IM title. Now that you said you're so unfamiliar with Larsen's chess style, it makes me wonder even more.

Maybe next time you should have a form on the website that would allow the participants to submit their photos and bios automatically. Would make your job easier, I guess.

Hi Jon,

Yes, the rules require that the draw offer is recorded in the scoresheet, buy this remark (=) is never (or extremely rarely) copied into the databases, when games are transferred.

There were many tournaments where prizes were offered to the players who fought the most. There were also complaints that some long games were the result of opponents not resigning when lost, or someone playing dead draw positions for 30 moves more, making an effect of a long fight.

GM Larsen was great a tournament player, such as few will become. If I had only seen him once live, my chess would have been better and my appreciation for his games higher. The closest I got to him was reading the "Good Move Guide".

There is no data for any player, though, to refer to the number of draw offers or draw refusals, though, "only" rumors, stories and statistics based on number of moves played. When this data becomes available, we will know exactly who are the fighters in chess, until then we can really only guess.

I got my IM norms in 1991, on two tournaments in Hungary, Budapest and Nagykanizsa. I played six that year, the 1st one and the last one were successful, on another two, I missed the norms by half a point. At that time, there were almost no robin-round tournaments organized in my country. In the first one, organized by the Hungarian Chess Federation, I finished second, needing a draw in the last round. My opponent, although last, refused my draw offer before the game. The game ended in a draw. In the second one, I played the last round wuth a French player, who needed a win for an IM norm, I needed a draw. I offered a draw in a superior position, my opponent accepted and commented "Youre too strong". Then I went to celebrate. I made 7 wins and 7 draws, winning the event.

I made another GM norm in 1997 on the National cloed Championship, where I was leading the first 11 rounds but failed in the last three, finishing fifth only. My later attempts to get the second norm were not succesful.

I promote fighting chess, since I started the game, and you can find tens of posts on this topic in many chess forums.

Now you don't need to wonder any more!?

I hope I meet GM Larsen someday, as I have tens of unique photos of him, made by my late father, who was (main) arbiter on many closed super GM tournaments Larsen played in the decades of Larsen's carreer highlights.

I realize that the score to win the two sections will LIKELY be similar, but it seems strange to require that the champion be determined in rapid games. This really makes the whole even feel like even more of a crapshoot. I realize that it's kind of random anyways, but rapid games are even more random than classical time control games. If they wanted to do a playoff they should have a match at the end between the winners. Either way, I much preferred the format of last year. Now if for example the winner of the second group has a half point lead on the person in lone second in the last round he can't fight to avoid a rapid playoff with the winner of group one if he is afraid of the playoff. This also puts even more weight on tiebreaks which for swiss tournaments are pretty unreliable as they stand. Before to have a shot at the title you needed only to finish top 2 in tiebreaks. What happens if group 1 has a 4-way tie for first 6.5 and group 2 has a two-way tie with 7, those tiebreaks are going to look really foolish when the top 6.5 gets a shot at the title.

Well, read chessbase: there's another human vs computer match and Kramnik again...why doesnt someone organize Anand - Fritz?? is there a reason for this that somebody is aware of? Or even have Topalov - Fritz..

Atleast Vishy wouldnt be under time pressure... and he is unlikely to play any 1)d3 or 1)c3 stuff or head into a boring endgame .. he once played a simul against 6 machines ...and at one stage had them all thinking simultaneously so he could go have a coffee.. plus he even won that match ..losing just one game.

Mig, I have to disagree with the comment that there isn't going to be a "category" difference once they get to the rapids. While it is possible there won't be, and this would just be luck, there is every possibility that there could be a huge disparity in level of play between someone's OTB and rapid play.

Historically, the faster the time control, the more it favors youth, although there can be other factors. This is once reason you could see a kid like GM Rauf Mamedov, before he ever became even an FM, having one of the highest ICC blitz ratings at the time. It is also one of the reasons Naka is 65th in the world, but maybe the best on ICC. Being 44, I remember how much more quickly I saw things in my early 20's. Kids just see the board more quickly, which is a huge advantage that grows, the faster the control gets.

As far as rapid goes, the greatest example of someone not being as good a rapid player as an OTB player: Your good friend Garry Kasparov.

Garry is my favorite player ever, and imo, the strongest ever, so this is not an attack on someone I just don't like. Whenever I would watch him play rapids and root for him, I remember being disappointed many times. I am pretty sure the reason he limited his rapid play as time went on, was his relatively poor-for-his-expectations results.

I think that it is really stupid to have a tournament played for most of it at a standard control then reverted to a rapid control for the final. They could have still had everyone in one big pool.

After eleven days of play, the 2006 U.S. Chess Champion will have established his classical time-control dominance over the 31 players in his group. Period. Re the 32 players in the other group, however, he will have proven only that he can beat one of them in rapids play.

Kamsky could win Group B, then beat the winner of Group A (let's say Nakamura) in a rapids match.

Kamsky would thereby become the U.S. Champion without, in a classical game, defeating Nakamura...... or Onischuk, or Ben Finegold, or Joel Benjamin, and without having defeated anyone who did defeat Nakamura, Onischuk, Finegold, or Benjamin in a classical game.

Of course the 2006 U.S. Chess Champion is likely to be the best or one of the best players in the country. But strictly speaking, the format allows the theoretical possibility that any or all of the 32 players in the other group that had no classical game contact with the U.S. Champion(yes, even Kelly Cottrell) are better than the U.S. Champion.

That's show-biz.

Yes, just like every year since it's been a swiss. Congratulations.

Let's try it again.

In a one-group swiss, the winner has beaten someone who has beaten someone, etc., and thus can register an arguable claim to being the best of them all.

Over the course of this year's two-group swiss tournament, the eventual winner (say, a member of Group A) will have done nothing whatever to prove his classical time-control superiority over any of the members of Group B.

For your congratulations, my humble thanks.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 28, 2006 5:47 AM.

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