Greengard's ChessNinja.com

2006 US Ch r3-5

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Two hours into round five and all 32 games still going, that's always cool. The 30-move rule is a welcome addition just in case. Site is working fine, the ChampBlog is more popular than ever with the players and the readers. I'm making an effort to grab some of the senior and/or more reserved players who ordinarily wouldn't think of it. Most of them are quite interesting once you get them going.

Just about all the feedback we've received has been great, and I appreciate all the comments here, corrections and compliments alike. There has been some amusing feedback as well, although I did eventually give in to the people who couldn't find the live games and put text under the "watch live games!" link. The most comic touch so far was someone who complained about the use of the words "curse" and "graveyard" in the report on round one!

"I had no motivation to continue reading such an article, with such inappropriate wording (not even under quotation marks) and possible hidden messages to chess fans and professionals visiting the San Diego website."

He goes on to call these "alien expressions." Hilarious stuff. (Hint, use a dictionary or google the phrase "graveyard of champions." Wimbledon ring a bell?) Hidden messages!?!? Even better, he sent this complaint to most of the directors of the USCF, who have nothing to do with the site, as they pointed out to him. Of course he knew this, as the person who wrote this comedy is none other than Jovan Petronic, a frequent poster here. Quite a coincidence. What's up with the FIDE guys in Greece these days? Don't they have better things to do than make me feel important? Now I really believe Kok can win.

Didn't mean to waste this entire item on that silliness, will post more on the tournament tonight.


Wow wow wow, Chimi (I guess it's better than calling her "that Mongolian chick") takes down another GM! What happens if she finishes clear first overall in her group?

I hate to say it, but the Cottrell games have me held to a strange fascination. I don't know if it's the 'play all the way to mate' aspect or that of the 500 point elo gaps and thus to nothing to lose, everything to win perspective, but I like watching them. I like this aspect of a mortal walking amoung titans, an icon for all the club players who always wanted to see how they would do in such an event. I acutally think it's pretty gutsy to go in there knowing you are a huge underdog and risk being 'dunked' on constantly. I hope she scores at least a half-point somewhere. GO KELLY!

Besides Cottrell, Tate games are the others that never disappoint. I guess I'm a fan of balls-to-the-wall chess, so these two are fun to follow.

Stern wrote in regards Cottrell 1600+

"(Cottrell is)an icon for all the club players"

Please stop. Someone should teach Cottrell that its ok to resign, esp. OTB against pros. Its an insult and this player shouldnt be called "gutsy" for playing out lost positions.

Make sure you tell Chimi that her fans are going wild watching her games. It is a most interesting experience. I get the feelings that most people have never heard of her before this tournament but are just falling in love with her chess. It is great to hear she is ambitious. she is also very talented.

I wonder what is her major course of study in college. I am sure she will be a success in whatever she decides to do.

wonderful person and wonderful chess.

Dont forget to tell Chimi that tommy is her fan too. and I go wild also. if she asks you who tommy is, tell her some old fart out in Boston.

great work putting the link to replay each round's games at the top of the champblog! yay!

There is something to be said about Mongolian women and chess. I lived in Mongolia for 2 years and the place is full of ambitious, well-tempered players who are excited to play in big tournaments. I get the sense that we have lost a lot of that magic drive in the States--we get too caught up in politics and rating points. I wish that we could see her fight side by side with Batsetseg...

Petronic does appear to be an idiot, but unfortunately FIDE cannot be held responsible. He was elected to his positions by an assortment of committee members from many federations, FIDE couldn't get rid of him if they wanted to.

Hope I'm not repeating myself, looks like this didn't work first time.

Petronic does appear to be an idiot, but unfortunately you can't blame FIDE. As I understand the committee system, he was elected by his colleagues, who come from all federations and allegiances. FIDE didn't appoint him and can't get rid of him.

My guess is that I.M.I.A.W.X.Y.Z J.P. meant it as as a jest.

As if by magic they're both there. At least I don't seem to have contradicted myself.

By the way, have you noticed that Nakamura - despite the catastrophes we know about - is, in effect, TIED WITH KAMSKY? That is, Nakamura is 1.5 points out of first in his group, and Kamsky is 1.5 points out of first in HIS group.


great work Mig....thanks for keeping us entertained and informed. I almost feel like I've been there thanks to the blogging. Joel Benjamin had me in stitches...I presume he's held forth in more detail at the hotel bar. Hilarious. The tale of Ibragimov and Stripunsky hitting the famous zoo warmed my heart. I sensed the makings of a TV show pilot...who would play them?

Petronic is rather annoying. He began posting at another site I frequent and is becoming a pest hawking his website with it's lite reviews of chess products. I'm sure he takes himself seriously but I'm afraid I can't.

I think it IS gutsy that Cottrell decided to play in the US Championship. I don't agree with the "play all the way to mate" thing, though. That might, and I say -- MIGHT, be appropriate against a similarly-rated class player, but against these guys it's just plain rude.

Anyway, that's what I think. Kelly, you GO, girl! :)

Kelly plays on until mate because I told her not to resign. I was afraid she would "think" she made a mistake and resign in a position that was not losing, so she is simply doing what I asked. Direct all hate towards me if you think that is inappropriate.

All the players are friends with Kelly and me, so they do not care if she plays til mate, or if she checkmates them! Nobody really cares if/when you resign, just bloggers here. Resigning is just an option one has so the game can end earlier, but it is not required, and if you think playing til checkmate is rude, maybe you are playing the wrong game! Checkmate is the normal outcome of the game. When I do resign (and it is rare) I do so VERY VERY VERY late, when Fritz for example thinks I am 10+ down, as I never, ever want to resign a game I would lose only 99.999% of the time. Last year in King's Island, I considered resigning against GM Fishbein. I looked at the game with Fritz later, and it said I was down 3.46 or something at that point. I did not resign, and I later drew! I resigned VERY late this tournament against Friedel and Gonzalez, and they did not mind a bit.

Another note....in the game Ivanov-Wojtkiewicz from round 7 I think, Fritz 9 says "Wojo" is 6 or 7 points ahead at one point, and they drew! Also, I am pretty sure Varu Akobian is glad he did not resign against Dmirty Gurevich, as Dmitry blundered and lost a winning rook endgame. That's chess in the big city....


Mr. Finegold makes several good points.

Here's another. It wouldn't hurt those of us with abysmal endgame skills to see more games played out to mate, or near-mate.

In my round 8 game with Serper, you may notice that Gregory played on 10-15 moves at the end when he could not possibly win. He explained that his wife watches the games live from their home, and he wanted to show her that even though he had an extra pawn, there was no way to win! Of course I did not mind, but it was a funny explanation nonetheless!


In my round 8 game with Serper, you may notice that Gregory played on 10-15 moves at the end when he could not possibly win. He explained that his wife watches the games live from their home, and he wanted to show her that even though he had an extra pawn, there was no way to win! Of course I did not mind, but it was a funny explanation nonetheless!


(PS) I got an error when I tried to post this, sorry if it posts twice! :)

Handicapping the Finalists

This is written on the morning of Round 9.

Goletiani will be the women's finalist from Group A; she has 4.5 and her nearest competitors have 3.0.

In group B, Zatonskih, with 4.5, is playing Wojtkiewicz, while Tuvshintugs, with 3.5, is playing Muhammad. Zatonskih will be the women's finalist unless she loses to Wojtkiewicz AND Tuvshintugs beats Muhammad - which is not terribly unlikely! - in which case Tuvshintugs has a better tie-break.

Going to the group B overall finalist, Shulman with 6.5 is leading Kamsky and L. Christiansen by a full point and is playing Alex Fishbein who has 5.0. A win or draw clinches it for Shulman. If he loses AND Kamsky beats Shabalov or L. Christiansen beats Yermolinsky, then it depends on the tiebreaks.

As for the group A overall finalist, it depends first of all on Onischuk-Nakamura. Onischuk has 6.5, and Nakamura, Akobian, Ibragimov, and Stripunsky all have 5.5. If Onischuk does not lose to Nakamura, then he's the finalist. If he DOES, and Akobian, Ibragimov, or Stripunsky wins, then it comes down to the tiebreak.

At this point, a word about the tiebreak system. According to the website, the "Modified Median" system is being used. According to the USCF's Official Rules (Rule 34E1), in a tournament with 9 or more rounds (like this one), when comparing plus scores (as all the relevant men's scores would be), you add together the scores of all opponents after dropping the BOTTOM TWO. This is not exactly what Mig wrote here earlier. We were discussing this on the ICC last night. GM Nakamura had heard that you drop the bottom ONE, but that doesn't seem to be what the rules say, and he was going to call to find out more, though I don't know what the outcome might have been. All of my calculations below, however, assume that the rulebook is right and that we are really discarding the bottom two opponents' scores.

(Note: the numbers that appear on the official site are computed by discarding ONLY the one lowest score, and also don't include a number for the last-round opponent.)

So, while playing their own games, all of the players involved also have to root for their previous opponents to do well in round 9 so as to improve their tiebreaks. Of course some of their previous opponents are playing each other, or are the same as their rivals' previous opponents, so there are some constraints on the process.

For example, in group B, Zatonskih's opponents (counting Wojtkiewicz) have scored 35.5 through round 8, or 29 after you drop Abrahamyan and Becerra. Tuvshintugs' opponents (counting Muhammad) have scored a whopping 42.0, or 35.0 after you drop Muhammad and Becerra. IF Tuvshintugs wins and Zatonskih loses, then Zatonskih's best 7 opponents would have to outscore Tuvshintugs' best 7 opponents by 6.5 points in the last round in order to win on tiebreak. But they both played Gulko, and Gulko can't gain a point on himself, so it can't be done and Tuvshintugs would be the clear tiebreak winner (unless I have missed something - a reservation which I herewith apply to this entire post).

OK, that was the easy one. How about the group B overall final? It's very close!! By my calculation, if you count all nine opponents and discard the bottom 2, and also build in the assumption that Fishbein beats Shulman so as to trigger the tiebreak crunch, then Shulman has a modified median of 36, plus a guaranteed point from Kamsky-Shabalov, plus a guaranteed point from Kaidanov-Ivanov, plus an additional point if LarryC wins, plus whatever Novikov gets against Perelshteyn - so, somewhere between 38 and 40. Kamsky starts the round with 35.5, gets an additional point from LarryC-Yermo and another point from Novikov-Perelshteyn (hopefully from Perelshteyn), and no points from Shabalov or Shulman, and then has to hope for a win from Browne or maybe from Becerra or Tuvshintugs. LarryC starts the round with 35, gets a point from Novikov-Perleshteyn, which he prays comes from Perelshteyn so that Shulman doesn't get it, and then tries to scrape up a few more points from Kamsky vs. Shabalov (yes, he roots for Kamsky!), Wojtkiewicz vs. Zatonskih and either Gulko vs. Kreiman or Ginsburg vs. Browne. Now if Kamsky and/or LarryC ends up in a Modified Median TIE with Shulman, then it goes to Solkoff which means we add in those lowest-scoring opponents again, and it all depends on how Sarkar, Tuvshintugs, Becerra, Airapetyan, Ginsburg and Gulko do. Producing the entire matrix is left as an exercise for the reader! :-)

Now that you have fully appreciated the Group B final tiebreak possibilities, we can go back to group A, where - again, only if Nakamura beats Onischuk - there are 5 people who might end up with 6.5 points. By my count, counting up their nine opponents and discarding the lowest two scores, and giving Onischuk a point for Nakamura's 9th-round win ex hypothesi, their Modified Medians would start at: Onischuk, 34.5; Akobian, 34; Ibragimov, 33; Stripunsky, 32.5; Nakamura, 30.5. I won't attempt to untangle this any further - we will have to wait for the election returns. Except for one thing. Unless I have missed something, Nakamura is out :-( He would have to make up 4 points. He gets one point from Goletiani-De Firmian and another point from Baginskaite-Epstein if either player wins. Meanwhile Onischuk gets a point from Gurevich - D. Schneider. Nakamura makes up those three points if Gurevich beats D. Schneider, AND Friedel beats Serper, AND I. Schneider beats Gonzalez, AND Akobian loses to Ibragimov, AND Kudrin loses to D. Fernandez, AND De Firmian loses to Goletiani, AND Florian loses to Kraai. But even if all those seven games get won by the people whom Nakamura needs to win them, he ends up in a tie for Modified Median, and it goes back to Solkoff points, and Onischuk adds at least 7.5 points for Florian and Gonzales, while Nakamura adds in at most 6.5 points for Kleiman and Epstein or Baginskaite. So he's stuck. By my calculations. Which are NOT infallible, of course.


Handicapping the finalists (more)

Well, Michael Aigner is strongly of the opinion that the numbers on the website are right, and that for some reason they really ARE dropping only the lowest opponent's score. This doesn't alter things a lot. Zatonskih picks up an additional half a tiebreak point in a hypothetical tie with Tuvshintugs, but I don't think it helps her because they both played Gulko AND Becerra and so the number of points she can make up in the last round is just limited. Shulman picks up half a tiebreak point against either Kamsky or L. Christiansen and so it's harder for them to catch up than I thought even at first. Onischuk still has the edge in any tie in group A resulting from his getting beaten by Nakamura coinciding with other wins in the 5.5 group; he does a little better against Akobian now, mainly because I made a mistake in subtracting before!, so the relevant sentence now reads:

By my count, counting up their nine opponents and discarding the lowest two scores, and giving Onischuk a point for Nakamura's 9th-round win ex hypothesi, their Modified Medians would start at: Onischuk, 38.5; Ibragimov, 37; Stripunsky, 36; Akobian, 35; Nakamura, 33.5.

Nakamura is still eliminated, unfortunately.


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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 7, 2006 5:48 PM.

    Linares 2006 r10-11 was the previous entry in this blog.

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