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2006 US Championship Final

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Onischuk held on against Nakamura by a thread. Incredible play by Hikaru to get winning chances against the rock-solid Onischuk, who has been in great shape. 29...Qxf3 would have been very tough to defend against. There's a very pretty line there that is what Nakamura missed, although he was playing very quickly at that point. (You'll see it on the annotated game page by morning at the official site. No time to post it right now.) That left Onischuk in the clear with his massive 7/9. Shulman wasn't so lucky and was brought down by a nice Fishbein tactic. This left a big tie for first, but Shulman's tiebreaks won out over those of Kamsky and Christiansen, who both won nice games.

Of course now everyone is groaning about how there should be rapid playoffs instead of system tiebreaks. (Even the place prizes are decided by system tiebreaks this year, to encourage fighting to the bitter end.) I got into the various reasons yesterday, but basically almost all of the top players on the advisory panel voted for system instead of rapids long ago. Most of them remember midnight blitz sessions that turned things into a joke. Rapids are exhausting, the chess is lousy, the advantage is much to the younger players, etc. Of course it feels fairer to have everything settled on the board, but if someone plays a much tougher field but is caught in the end and loses in blitz, everyone would complain about that, too.

There simply isn't a way to make everyone happy and having unlimited classical tiebreak games just isn't feasible (or desirable). You have to know when the event ends and players don't like epic rapid/blitz games either. Remember Anna Hahn beating Krush and Shahade back in 2003 in rapid playoffs after facing a weaker field? Everyone bitched about that. If Kamsky or Christiansen came out of a rapid/blitz playoff ahead of Shulman, the anti-rapid crowd could freak out since Shulman played a tougher field.

Zatonskih will play Goletiani in the women's final. It's karma for Zatonskih, who was the top female performer at the last championship but who collapsed at the end after facing an incredible field. Her experience was mirrored by Tuvshintugs this year. She played seven GMs in a row but lost to Zatonskih (who lost to Goletiani in 2004 near the end) and then again today to lose her final four games and finish out of the picture despite beating three Grandmasters.

Now we have the other controversial implementation, the final rapid matches for the titles and the prize money. This has been discussed to death here in many items with lots of good arguments on all sides; no need to repeat them all here. I'm not a fan of mixing time controls or of the two groups format, but the reasons for trying them were sound ones and it's far from the tragedy some take it for. Regardless of who wins, Shulman and Onischuk dominated their groups and a deserving winner will emerge.


Greetings :)

Anyway, I wanted to post a few thoughts in my mind. Firstly, I would like to disagree with statement that Shulman had a stronger opposition. Just a quick comparison, I could be wrong, but if Yermolinsky had won in the last round against Larry, I would have had a better tiebreak than Yury I think. The fact is that tiebreak system is not depending on the player directly, but on how his opponents overall result, basically at the mercy or luck of others. Secondly, there was a MAJOR disrepancy with the way the current USCF pairing rules work with regards to the color. In any normal pairing system in the world, Yury would have had to switch color from white to black when playing against me, but except for this USCF color balancing rule. Basically, having a 1 point lead and having a second white in a row against a leading contender is a big advantage. I'll also like to take an opportunity and ask the USCF to eliminate this rule to bring the pairings up to standard with the FIDE and rest of the world rules. And lastly, I think it's needless to say, but when having a US Title at stake and having a multiple way tie for the qualifying spots, tiebreak qualification is not the way to go for legitimacy of the title. I understand if the tiebreak is used for less important positions, but it's more important to deserve the qualification spot, especially if our individual games between Yury, me and Larry produced all draws so far.
Now, I would like to express thanks to the organizers and to Mig for great coverage and splendid work you guys did on the tournament. It's also great that players were consulted on the rules and changes beforehand and I hope this tradition will continue :)
The format in which US championship ran this year was experimental and as such there are bound to be some imperfections. Let us hope that we'll continue working together, players and organizers to find that perfect formula :)



I'll let others argue the rule points, but I found Grandmaster Kamsky's post to be well written. It does not come across as bitter, and he goes out of his way to express thanks to the organizers and for players being consulted on rules and changes. Thanks to GM Kamsky for his professionalism and for his return to chess.

A Chess Fan

I second "A Chess Fan"'s comments re: Kamsky. Well thought out, polite, and glad he's back too. The solution to the tie problem would be to have more rounds. I like what I believe Fischer preferred, which would be to have a 20+ round tournament. Unfortunately, sponsership interest in such a long tournament isn't present now, so we'll have to put up with ties or else quicker time controls (which means less quality). Just no easy answer (known).

I would like to second GM Kamsky's first sentence of his second paragraph. Kudos to all!

'Rapids are exhausting, the chess is lousy, the advantage is much to the younger players, etc.'

Who are you to comment on the quality of the grand master games, may I ask? Are you a grandmaster? Have you played rapid games yourself? Or you just plagiarize something you overheard?

How was the media coverage? I read some online in a SanDiego paper. Hopefully there is lots of media there Sunday, lots of money on the line.

"Who are you to comment on the quality of the grand master games, may I ask?" I think that's like saying, "Who is anyone but a world famous artist to appreciate great art?" Or: "Who is anyone but a world renowned physicist to understand relativity?" Trust me when I say that this man, Mig, knows good chess when he sees it. And great players like Kasparov know that.

"Regardless of who wins, Shulman and Onischuk dominated their groups and a deserving winner will emerge."

I don't think Shulman exactly dominated his group. Shulman did not beat Gata or Larry. And I was looking at Gata's game with Shulman and it looked like Gata was dominating the opening and got some play with the black pieces out of a boring 1. d4 opening. Shulman burned a lot of time in the opening for the move Qc2 and Gata played c5 trying to go for the win. Of course I am not a good chess player so maybe c5 was forced. The point is Gata looked to always be in control in all of his games and got advantages (in my humble opinion) but they were too small to convert for a win and Gata's opponents did not try to overpress and give Gata anything to exploit, whereas with Shulman I get the feeling his opponents overpressed. Shulman's loss in the final round was a horrible one in my opinion: Shulman surely did not dominate Fishbein.

Obviously Shulman didn't score 9/9, but he was leading the entire way, which was my point. Not move to move, but he stayed at the top all the way through, which is no easy task. And even with the loss to Fishbein at the end (Gata and Christiansen were undefeated), Shulman's performance rating was higher. Of course there are myriad ways to define everything about performance and opposition. TPR wasn't used. And if Hikaru had beaten Onischuk it would be Ibragimov in the final from Group A (!), so these things are messy. That's just another reason why rapids are tempting. Adding an extra day isn't easy though, especially when only a few of the players really need to be here.

"Rapids are exhausting, the chess is lousy, the advantage is much to the younger players, etc."

Chess is exhausting. But when the going gets tough, you get tougher. This is for the US championship: you buckle down and see how bad you really want it. And guess what? If it gets to the point that, due to sheer exhaustion, it does not matter how good your chess is, but only on your will to stay alive, then the winner is whoever wanted it more (and not necessarily the best chess player because at this point it is no longer about good chess but whoever can suck it up and concentrate for all the glory), and how is this not fair?

"Of course it feels fairer to have everything settled on the board, but if someone plays a much tougher field but is caught in the end and loses in blitz, everyone would complain about that, too."

Sure. People will always complain. So do what's fairest, which by your own admission would be blitz.

Understanding relativity is not so difficult. You have the Einstein equations which come from varying the Einstein-Hilbert action. That's easy enough. But then you get stuff like the tetrad representation created by Penrose and it just looks frightening. Deriving the Kerr metric looks frightening. I don't think relativity is difficult to grasp conceptually if you have a knowledge of tensor calculus. But when you get out of all the generality and solve particular cases such as the Schwarzchild, Kerr, Tolman metrics then it is out of the league of all physicists and physicists just sit on their hands and write relativity in a new language to make it look more pretty (modern differential geometry as opposed to classical differential geometry)

Okay, figured out the FIDE TPRs. Onischuk 2750; Shulman 2688; Kamsky 2679; Ibragimov 2642; Christiansen 2676; Stripunsky 2667; Fishbein 2583; Nakamura 2531.

It's not an admission, it's an opinion. I also think blitz is silly and I'm happy to let the players decide within the parameters set by the organizers and their needs. In this case, six of the more experienced participants (all former US champions) were surveyed about various aspects of the tournament. One of these was system or rapid tiebreaks. They went for system tiebreaks. Since both are unsatisfactory in one way or another, letting a panel of players decide seems best to me. Of course they prefer whichever situation suits them best, or that benefits them most at crunch time; they are human.

No one can make a case for one method being clearly superior in general terms. The younger players prefer to play rapid and blitz; the older players usually vote for system. If you have to have the tiebreaks on the same day as a round it gets even worse. It's easy for fans to always shout "play more!" and they do. That's the sort of thing that leads to the 2am tiebreak at the Continental last year. I don't think that's fairest; I think that playing more (and more) is always going to be perceived as fairer by fans.

Colors and pairings in general are a different matter. Clearly the USCF system was visibly deficient on more than one occasion here. This was exacerbated by the small groups and colors got very messy.

Hey Gata, funny to read you here now; thanks for the good words. At least the hotel internet is working tonight... Did you come by before we got back from the venue (late as usual)? It seemed like just about everyone in the event showed up eventually. We broke it up at 1am after the second call from hotel security. Crazy chess people...


Thanks for posting the FIDE TPRs. On the final day, I had to endure many people on ICC complaining about the unfairness of Hikaru being left out due to tiebreak, even if he were to beat "Omnischuk" (with apologies to a popular ICCwebcast commentator). Granted, their TPRs would have been correspondingly higher and lower with a Nakamura win, but not by that much. If they had finished with the same amount of points, it would be unfair to say that they performed equally well. I am actually a Nakamura fan, but feel in this case, he did not "deserve" to play in the Finals.

Just my (less than?) two cents. For those who will understand: cat $flame > /dev/null ;-)

Suprefreaky, you could have written your relativity blog in korean, I would have understood it the same!!

Jeremy Good, I appreciate that Kasparov appreciates Mig. Kasparov probably doesn't appreciate too many people. Kasparov is certainly the best player of all time. His not so good friend Karpov is second best. Fisher is third, and that's a forever list that nobody can change any more.

I didn't hear Kasparov ever say rapid chess is lousy. The only chance for chess to get to TV may be rapid games, don't lousy them. 10 hour adjournment games from 20 years ago had low qualities too. Msot Internet games are rapid. Correspondence games are not perfect by a long shot. The really good quality games are short draws. Haha.
Whatever kind of chess is played between humans is the best thing that could happen to them.

May I ask any chess espert here, what is the best tie-break system in chess? It looks there are many. Did anybody find the best solution, or it's impossible to do?

I lastly appreciate that all have a fair trial in this blog.

Rapid games are lousy.

I will finally agree, only if the thinking time to make this opinion was not rapid.

As an applied mathematician I see deeper into the cause of many of the problems. A big huge major problem with the entire system that gets covered over will all kinds of other smoke screens is the huge spread in the ratings of the players.

the entire system would work much better if ALL the players were within the tightest elo rating spread. This is accomplished when the LOWEST Rated player has a rating ABOVE 2500 or more.

This tight elo rating spread will not only test the players better and more uniformly but it will make the tiebreaks work the way they are designed.

One hidden mathematical problem is that if you lose or draw early in the tournament then you will probably get lower average rated opposition which will affect your tiebreaks. The hidden agenda is not the tiebreaks themselves but the round you lose or draw.

for example Shulman lost in the last round. that had the smallest effect on the tiebreaks because of the huge spread in ratings of the players. not so much because of his mathematical calculation. but because the mathematical calculations of the other players who may have had draws earlier in the tournament.

Both Christiansen and Kamsky had no loses at all. and Shulman with a loss won on tiebreaks not because he played better but because the spread of ratings in the tournament is too big.

This tournament has lost sight of its purpose. The purpose is not to pick a winner. and not to pick a so called worthy winner. but to pick the best player as the winner. this system does not do that. plain and simple. it does not come close to having as its purpose the picking of the best player as the Champion.

if the system were designed to pick the best player as champion then we would see more repeat winners. certainly if someone is the best player then he should remain the best player over time. the picking of a different player every year only shows that the system is flawed.

I think both Nakamura and Kamsky got a bad deal not because of their chess ability but because of the very poor format of the tournament. we need a championship where ONLY the top performers play.

I ask you when has the Russian Championship had a mix of players comparable to todays US Championships. NEVEER is the obvious answer with obvious reasons.

If we want the US Championship title to have meaning and Prestige then we must have a tournament with only potential winners playing. Thus Kamsky or Nakamura could have a draw and the next round have another 2550 or 2600 player to keep his performance potential up where it deserves to be.

a champion is not a champion who beats 2200 or even 2400 players. a Champion is someone who beats 2600 players. let us get back to the job at hand. let us do what is right to pick the best Champion not just a random champion who comes out on top in a huge circus of low rated players.

I know 99% of all the fans do not understand the mathematics that are taking place because of this wide spread in ratings. but it is happening none the less and it is killing the prestige of the winner. fans are all up in arms complaining but dont exactly know what is happening. the problem is the wide spread in ratings. easy to fix. we have many players with high ratings. just get rid of all the low rated players and we will have a true champion with prestige.
this is the way the US Champion had always been chosen. a tournament of the best. not a tournament of everyone.

Okay, figured out the FIDE TPRs. Onischuk 2750; Shulman 2688; Kamsky 2679; Ibragimov 2642; Christiansen 2676; Stripunsky 2667; Fishbein 2583; Nakamura 2531.

Nakamura would have a TPR well above this if there were no players below 2500.

this shows the reason players like Susan Polgar will not play in the US Championship. too many points are lost when you play low rated players in a Swiss system. Europe does not play Swiss systems.

if you want our world class players like Kamsky and Nakamura to return to the US Championships then get rid of the low rated players.

the above TPR's also show the effect of early losses or draws over later losses or draws. the Champion should not be chosen simply because he took his loss in the last round while others took a draw in an early round.

Suppose America had 2 super players. Fischer in his prime and Kasparov in his prime. what would be the best format for choosing the champion. would it be to have 64 players and have them play class D and B and A and experts and new masters etc. of course not. that would not be a test of who is better, Fischer or Kasparov.

The way to pick the Champion would be to have them play the highest level possible of competition. and that would of course in the limit be a Match between the 2 players. 2nd best would be a tournament with a very few of the most select highest rated players. lets say Fischer, Kasparov, Kamsky and Nakamura etc. but even that looks not so good.

well take it to the limit guys. there is no way to patch up a system with low level players. like my mother said if you are going to do something then do it right. let us have a US Championship where only the very very best players come to play against each other to find out who is the best.

San Luis had 8 players for the World Championship title. we do not need 64 rag tag players for the US Championships. If we do not fix this then our best players like Susan Polgar, Kamsky and Nakamura will begin to sit out the tournament. too much to lose and so little to gain. the risk rewards are not good for the best players.

Every player knew going into the US Chess Championship the tie-break rules. So maybe next year they will try a differnet approach. And also maybe the championship will not conflict with other major events such as Fide Womens WC.

With the present state of unfairness in the format of the US Championships. here is my advice to the players.

Nakamura go quit chess. go play Poker and become rich.

Gata Kamsky go join your friend Susan Polgar and watch the US Championships from the sidelines. do not participate. You will only lose.

Susan Polgar sit down and forget playing in US Championshps. You will only get your rating decimated here for no reward.

my advice to all the class B players and above. go get into the US Championships. you can lose all your games and have a good time and get $2000 in prize money.

Hello again,

Obviously, everyone has a different opinion, and that is good, as it is through examining such differences that progress is made.

I don't know if I would refer to the participants of the US champs this year as "rag tag". There were some "lowly rated" players, but these folks did for the most part go through the normal channels to qualify. And it is certainly not the fault of the "weaker" players that the "super" players do not justify the gap in rating by shellacking them.

Without being a mathematician, I agree that there are certain weaknesses in the system of tiebreaks, especially as regards Swiss-style tournaments. That said, if Gata and Hikaru got bad tiebreaks because they played weaker players because of the rating spread, maybe they should have beaten them, and the tie break would be a moot point.

The old USSR championships had a rigorous qualification system that would tend to weed out the so-called weak players. However, they did not need to set a rating bar; Darwinian logic would sort things out.

The fact that there is a different champion every year is not a reflection of any weakness in the system, in my opinion. Rather, it can be a reflection of parity at the top. It is not realistic to expect one or two people to always be dominant for years on end. In fact, that smacks of stagnation in the improvement in the younger generation. Reluctantly, I have to drege up the situation in the NFL, the NBA and other sports.

A major factor that was not mentioned was the "interest factor". I remember when the US champs were more "elitist", and I can't say that I was terribly excited by them. Not that the quality of games were low, in fact they tended to play excellently. However, there was no chance of getting excited over a "Chimi", or watching Tate surprise a GM (oops, is that The Name That Should Not Be Mentioned ;)). Maybe there was some that year Stuart Rachels won.

Speaking of Chimi, there is still a problem when your fate in the Women's championship is affected by your play against men. This year, fortunately (?) Chimi lost to Zatonskih head-to-head, so the situation was not as egregious as last year. With the constraints of time and financing, I'm not sure what can be done though, i.e if it would be feasible to have a separate Women's championship again.

Ok, just some random thoughts before breakfast. Have a good one!

Not going to beat the dead horse here--the format is the way it is, and only this tournament's success or failure will determine if we'll see the format continue into the future.

I think the real question is this: since one of the major stated reasons for the rapid playoff was to create an event the media would be comfortable covering, will we in fact see media coverage of the finals?

well, why even bother having a championship tournament if you're only going to tailor it in a manner in which it favors the highest rated favorites?? The pairing system already favors the top players. Just save time and effort and the charade of competition and award the title to the #1 rated competitors. Seriously Tommy, the favorite doesn't always win in the world of sports..or we'd just award the world series title to the Yankees in February; Tiger Woods may be the best golfer of all time..but he's been outplayed many times FAIR AND SQUARE. How many times now has a wild card team won the superbowl?? Go check your chess history...there are a zillion examples of the favorite not winning. There's no crime here or any miscarriage of justice I can see. It insults top players in the long run if we try to streamline the championship format so they'll stand a better chance of winning.

Anybody take at the last round game between Wojo and Zatonskih ? It was 14 moves long and a draw which assured her a place in the finals. Nobody enforcing the 30 move rule ?

I had to laugh at tommy's posting - everything he said is pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain, never mind those who can "see deeper". lol.

My favourite game was kamsky-novikov. Impressive how kamsky outplayed a GM so comprehensively. That speaks of quality IMO.

I love the new system. They are the best of those who actually currently play. If you think it easy then go to Foxwood and enter the open. This also leads me to feel that much of the criticism is envy. If the elite are terrified of a swiss then maybe they are not so elite.

three move rep doesn't count in the thirty moves. They could both claim that they would have stood worse if not for the rep and so.... that is why the rule is so tricky. Wojt also violated it at HB Challenge

I agree with Kamsky's comment.

The 30 move rule is fine but a bit silly. Any decent GM can play a 30 move draw with his GM opponent as easily as a 14 move draw. Witness Vallejo-Topalov, from Linares' last round. All drawn, all theory, all the way, but if you repeat moves twice every time you have half a chance you can get a lot of moves in!

Anyone read the Nakamura piece on chessbase? What a prick! Of course, I suppose everyone is when they're 18. He'll grow up.

any summary of what Naka said? I can't face getting into salon.com myself, looks too much like National Enquirer.

Just two quick points.

1) Thanks to Gata. It means a lot when a SuperGM (that really needs to become the next official title) treats us mortal chess players like real people, when top players don't hide behind the facade of their genius and instead act like normal human beings. Your world rank may be down from ten years ago (we hope it soon goes up!), but your kind behavior has garnered you a huge new group of chess fans. We hope that positive vibe will help you in your career. And some day please do us a favor and write a book of your best games--it would be great.

2) Regarding the rapid chess finale to the US Championship: Why can't the two finalists first play a two-game match, and if the match is drawn only then play rapid chess? Two extra days in San Diego for two players? Is that a problem? That would make their tournament 11 games instead of 9. 11 games--no big deal.

Mig, can you determine who made norms and post that on the official site, or did I just miss it somewhere?


I can guess that rarely any chess player or arbiter can understand the real implications of a tiebreak system. It seems to me who loses or draws in the forst round loses another half a point!! What's this? Chess? Or anti-chess? They can only guess and use a calculator, or some experiences. Why isnt someone like the Sonas fellow, or some applied mathematician, or Johnny Nunn, hired to make the best fair tie break for each kind of todays tournaments? Like the best webmasters are hired to do the job, not some amateurs. Surely the players have no knowledge nor time for tie-break schemes (if you're offended by this remark, what to do), and the arbiters are not professionals, just occasionaly do the job. Knowing in advance what the tiebreaks are before signign the player contracts means nothing, as really no one can understand much?

and when someone does determine the completely fair tiebreak system, perhaps they can next develop a process for turning base metal into gold.

whiskey barrel

I think you miss tommy's point.

he is not trying to make it slant so the favorite wins. He is trying to make the entire system more fair. He wants to set up the Tournament so the best players duke it out among themselves. thus there is no "luck" introduced by lower players. The system then has the highest probability of the best player becoming the champion. not necessarily the favorite but the best player. that is what the Championship is suppose to be all about. Finding out who is the best player.

Why have a gaggle of low rated players who have no chance of winning in a Championship Tournament? I agree with tommy. Look at the final standings. how many below 2500 are in the top group. so what in blazes are they doing in the tournament?

How about a 3 way tournament in the WC Match between Kramnik and Topalov and lets bring in US Champion of 2006 into that playoff. Does that make sense? of course not. because the US Champion has no chance of winning the title from Kramnik and Topalov. well that is the same as what we are doing in the US Championships. The Championship should have as participants only those people who have a chance of winning.

I think the idea of a big money San Diego Invitational Tournament is a great idea. I also think the idea of a US Championship is a great idea. Let us not mix up the 2 very different tournaments.

by the way. I really appreciate all that AF4C is doing. they are wonderful. a great organization. They have done a terrific job in this tournament. NOW LET US FIX THE PROBLEMS.

We have to decide. is this going to be about finding out who is the appropriate US Champion or is this going to be about having a big party and a fun time. If we want a big party and a fun time then dont call it the US Championship. If we want to call it the US Championship then lets do that. lets find out who is the best and most deserving player AMONG THE TOP PLAYERS. Remember the stronger the players the more likely the result will be the best and most deserving player. not just a so called deserving winner.

Like tommy I want a US Champion with Prestige. Holding a title forged in the fires of the most stiff competition. The Best of the Best. with the most fair circumstances in the tournament.

More valuable than any argument about the US Championship format is the maturity and good sportsmanship displayed by Mr. Kamsky.


did Chimi make her norm. I was reading on the internet that if she had the proper opponent in the last round she would get a norm even if she lost. but that her opponent was just a few elo points low. makes no sense to me. why do a half million dollar tournament and then not make sure she gets her norm even if she loses.

unless of course we are not taking care of the women but only the men.

If Chimi does not get her norm because she got the wrong opponent in the last round. I hope there is a female riot to protest this injustice. But of course I first pray that she got her norm. she really deserves a norm.

I super support and cheer for Kamsky and Nakamura and watched all their games in all the rounds. I dont care what the results of this tournament wind up being. I am proud of these 2 guys and know they are the very best.

They did not win the Championship but it was not because they are not the best. it was because the stupid way this tournament is set up.

to those who complain that Nakamura wound up playing lower rated players. that is the problem with drawing or losing in the early rounds instead of latere rounds or the last round. the champion should not be determined by what round you get a draw or loss. when everyone has the same rating then this does not happen. the problem is not Nakamura but the system.

we should be very grateful that Nakamura and Kamsky put their rating on the line in this tournament.

winning and losing is a matter of probability and statistics. that is the basis of the elo ratings. and that has been proven to work. so dont say Nakamura lost to a lower rated player. that will happen. if Nakamura and Kamsky are smart they will not enter tournaments were lower rated players are entered. there is no other way to avoid the statistics then to avoid playing these people.

A player should be able to draw or lose in the early rounds and still win. with all the lower rated players that is hardly possible. if you lose early you are punished. it is like getting special prison punishment for an early loss and no prison punishment for a later loss. there is all kinds of special punishment for early losses in this setup. that is not fairness. it is bias and unfairness.

when these top player enter this tournament they hope they are not caught into the unfairness. but they have no way to avoid that unfairness except to hope for the best. that is Luck when they have to hope. I want the champion determined on no luck but only on skill at the board.

to those who say all the tiebreaks are unfair.

some are more unfair than others. and yes I dont like tiebreaks. I think playoffs are always better than tiebreaks. I think the Championship should be determined by playoffs not tiebreaks. a tiebreak is ok for a tournament where it does not matter but not for a Championship.

when we focus on the concept of setting up the tournament to do the best job possible of picking the best player for the Champion, all the decisions will be different.

please stop the madness. copy the russian championship format and get on with it. run an open next to it if you want. no matter who wins this year it doesn't feel like there is a us champion. no matter how many blogs i read or how many times i tried to check into the games on chessbase i just couldn't make myself interested in a system where i have no idea who is playing who each round and who is doing well.

If the tournament had been played under FIDE rules also, Yury Shulman would have had a better tiebreak. FIDE uses the Progressive score which rewards scoring highly in the initial rounds, which Yury duly did.

I like the idea of a Chess Festival alongside a prestige event.

Actually, I wonder if you could use an A, B, and C format, the same events do.

A: The Championship. Small, prestigious, awards the Overall US Champon title. Single event with a single gender-neutral qualifying standard.

B: Also by invitation, but a larger group, some wildcards, fun press stories. Winner of B gets to play in A next year. Go ahead and call it the US Champoinship B section. This is the event that the various Swisses can qualify you for.

C: Open. Play in C, watch games from A and B. If C can pay for itself, it could be a real plus in many ways.

The difference between this and something like the World Open is the prestige of the title for Group A. On the other hand, maybe the top players don't want the distractions of an Open next door. Can anybody comment on Aeroflot, Hastings, or one of the similar multi-tier events?


I think that all of you (and especially tommy) who just love to bitch and moan about the organization of this tournament, or FIDE, or whatever, should try to organize a tournament yourself. Or maybe just organize a dinner party for half a dozen people. Might give you a valuable perspective on how hard it is to actually build/create something, versus how easy it is to mouth off from the sidelines.

Per the ICC us06 account, Friedel got his GM norm, Goletani and Stein got IM norms, and Chimi got a WGM norm as I thought and posted earlier. If my calculations were right, she missed an IM norm by an average of only 1 point per player. IF all 9 opponents had totaled just 10 points higher in rating, she would have gotten the IM norm too.

Somthing tells me she will continue to progress and make IM someday anyway.

Clearly Onischuk "earned" his way into the final scoring 7/9 and claiming outright first in his section. However, the problem with this system is that 2 people in his section score 6.5/9 and three players in the other section shared equal first with that same score.

I don't think there anyone who knows much about these players, that is Ibragimov, Stripunsky, Kamsky, Christiansen and Shulman, who would deem any of them weak. That is to say, any one of them is more than qualified to hold the title of U.S. Champion. There were no decisive games amongst these six players. Therefore, can we clearly say which one is definitively the best based on their results in this event? I would think not. In fact, I think an argument could be made that Fishbein and Nakamura, who both scored 6/9 and were the only other players to score at least 6 points, also played some impressive chess.

Arguably the best player in the U.S. this year lies amongst this group of 8 players, and I would have liked to see a playoff feature these 8 players along the lines of the round robin in San Luis.

Another idea would have been to divide the players into 16 groups of 4 players. Each group would play a round robin, with the top 2 players in each group advancing. With only 3 games played, this would split the field into 2 groups of 32 players, where the top 32 players could then play a swiss amongst themselves, meanwhile the bottom 32 could play a swiss for the final 32 positions. This system would be more likely to eliminate the lower rated players early, and most likely produce more homogenous rating groups like Tommy is describing.

While I don't have a problem with the current format, some people do. So the idea of the A B C tournies are good as well. Mostly I feel there should be rewards and goals for "real players". If someone 2300+ spending $6000 year and all their time off trying to get in and they do it. My hat off to them. But a B-Tourny is good enough.

That crack about the 'San Diego Invitational' got me thinking...

Why not turn the current 9-SS into the Candidates portion of the Championship? Keep the women in--the Candidates can still serve as their Championship--and all the regular qualifiers into the 64-person field, but the defending champion and one or two rating seeds go directly to the Championship--a 8-person RR, double RR, or something like that.

It's impractical, too long,and likely too costly, but it'd be nice to have.

As for the tiebreak debates...why not settle the tiebreak order before the start of the official tournament?

Between the opening ceremonies and round 1, hold a gigantic double-round Swiss blitz tourney for the players. If a day is set aside for this, a 12-SS or 14-SS would not stress out the players unduly, especially if scheduled properly.

The winner gets the US Invitational Blitz champion title...and the tourney results will provide the tie-break order for the Championship.

I think the AF4C has already realized the problem of the 'drag' effect of players with substantially lower ratings being too much of a factor for those in contention. They have already stated they would close one loop-hole by requiring a 50% score from any woman qualifier in the future. Perhaps they will do more.

Duif has it right. Eliminate the "women's exceptions" entries outright, and the seperate women's title they play for. Or at least decouple them from the main event in whole. At the risk of sounding like Elliot Liu, there is no denying that the women's co-event-within-the-main-event did little but to upset the pursuit of the real title. Anyone can win a spot in the US Championship. It is possible that the full field of 64 may someday be all women. There is no sexism that is stopping that.

ARTIFICIALLY allowing very low rated players to play (who happen to come from these 'women exemption' spots, no denying that) is both upsetting and just weird. It is more obvious a case of reverse-sexism to allow them to play actually. If the AF4C wants to sponsor women in chess, then just hold a seperate co-event.

"As an applied mathematician I see deeper into the cause of many of the problems." - tommy

I truly have not read a more suprising post on this board than this. If it is true, I'm just floored right now. tommy, may I ask what type of work you do? I'd just like to know if you are going to argue the side of applied mathematics in this debate about fairness in the US CH. what your qualifications are. And you seemed to be a big fan of all that was going on in the U.S. Championships. Why the sudden venom now?

Also, can I ask you something else, tommy? Are you also posting as Zug Z?

I'm willing to bet heavily that Zug Z and tommy are one in the same posters. their ability. to abuse periods. and capitalization. Not to mention. Zug Z's vigorous defense. of tommy by name. out of the blue. is just too highly correlated. to be coincidence. an applied mathematician should know better.

Zatonskih and Onischuk won.

I suspect it'll be a minimum of 100 years before the US Championship ever meets everyone's desires. This year I had some quibbles with parts of the format, some minor and some major. Despite all this, it was still a good tournament with exciting games, and nice prize money for the winners, and it's a great thing that the AF4C has stepped up to bring such an exciting annual event to US Chess.

Anyway onto the tiebreaks:

I stated this on ICC and have said so many times in the past, but how can you possibly have a tiebreak system that gives absolutely no edge to someone who had 5 blacks compared to someone who has 5 whites. It doesn't have to be huge, but it has to be something! How can this possibly be less important than whether your 3rd round opponent happens to win their final round game against a 2300 player? Yes it's going to be hard to make a perfect tiebreak system, but when you completely ignore colors, it seems to me that you aren't even trying.

Didn't they use a partly color-based tiebreak system at Aeroflot? If memory serves, that was one of the reaons that Mamedyarov ended up fourth on tiebreaks. I agree that "the extra white" is certainly a factor that should be taken into account. In fact, it seems to me that its weight could be estimated quite reasonably with the aid of some statistics on relative winning percentages with white and black. Comparing the expected benefit one gets from playing slightly weaker opposition with the expected benefit of an extra white shouldn't be that difficult.

You have to be right about Zug Z and tommy. As an applied linguist, I am able to see deeper into linguistic characteristics than most people (lmao!). But, with this convicting evidence, tommy would want us to love him in response--after all, calling him deceitful only reflects on our feelings about ourselves (rofl!).

As for tiebreaks, the way I see it, the organizers have made a business decision and have concluded that the current system is the most practical. Maybe they are wrong, but they are the only ones that are not just talking about it--they are actually putting the thing together. Being backseat drivers can make for interesting conversation, but we have to be realistic about how effective such drivel can be. If some of you believe so adamantly that the system is broken, then go do something about it. The system was obviously changed to what it is now by someone who believed in the change. I'm just happy that we got to watch some great chess.

I agree with you Adrian. Some other points: I think that Elo/USCF rating should count directly towards your tiebreak as well. Everyone knows that playing a 2600 and a 2300 is usually a big difference, even if they somehow end up with the same score.

Anyway there are so many factors to take into account and I believe that as many of them should be weighted in as possible. I on't really mind if the system is really complicated, because thats what computers are for. Really the tiebreaks are there not so that people can follow them easily, but to determine a fair winner based on the opposition that they faced.

So in conclusion I believe that the following factors should all be taken into account when calculating tiebreaks, how much each of them is weighted is another question:

1. Result of opponents
2. Rating of opponents
3. # of White/Blacks

There might be more factors that I'm forgetting about, but these are some important ones. The point is that the modified median is a very incomplete tiebreak system which often turns it into a lottery. Does it really matter that Walter Browne wins his final game while Dmitry Gurevich doesn't? Does that mean one player should win the tournament over another? Again, no matter what tiebreak system is used, there will always be hints of randomness, but the current system shows a total lack of effort towards determining an absolute fair winner. The idea of "let's just ignore everything and act as though opponent's results are the only important factor", is really illogical.

There are all these tiebreak systems that work pretty poorly independantly, however if you combine them with one another, they actually should work well together. Thus you dont go from tiebreak 1, then if its tied go to tiebreak 2. You should mix all the important tiebreaks together at the start and weight them somehow.

I don't know, please tell me what you think. To me it's painfully obvious how bad the current tiebreak procedures are, and I think with the slightest bit of effort, much more comprehensive systems could be put into place.

I just read that Nakamura won the Fighting Chess Prize. That seems like nothing more than giving it to his reputation. I personally think that he is normally the most combative US player, but I think a lot of the award was also his comeback, but it seems appalling to me to give it to him considering his opposition.

With the thirty-move draw rule in place, the Larsen prize is going to become pretty subjective. I don't have an opinion about who deserved it, but I doubt Hikaru was an awful choice. At any rate, I don't think it should be all about who tortures their opponents the longest in drawn endings.

On playing in some or other tournament, Steinitz once pointed out that he had an advantage over the other players because he was the only one who did not have to play Steinitz. Incorporating opponents' ratings into the tiebreaks would go toward neutraling such advantages.

Joel Benjamin on playing on one's birthday virtually echoes Korchnoi writing in "Chess Is My Life". My own experience has been better, though; I once beat a well-known NYC senior master, depicted on screen, in fourteen moves. I then told him it was my birthday, and he said that had I told him before the game, he'd have given me a draw.

Just doesn't making sense giving the Larsen prize to Hikaru. What choice did he have, but to fight given his 0.5/3 start against weak opposition?


Since you asked, he could have done what a lot of tournament players do with such a poor start, find excuses, whine, withdraw, go home and lick their wounds. Instead, he chose to fight on and came close to winning his section and perhaps retaining his title. There aren't any other current American Grandmaster's (imo) that will take it to the limit each game.

Yeah....based on what I saw, Nakamura was a fine choice for that prize.


You must play thru Onichuk-Naka game, then it will make sense to you.


Naka's final game was the type of chess worth sponsoring...combative chess like this makes playing and watching worthwhile...

Tommy's writing has the precision, excruciating rigor, and clarity typical of mathematicians. I see no reason to doubt his words.

Tournament performance rating, adjusted for colors (add/subtract 40? points for the "extra" game with Black/White), sounds like a fair tiebreak.

Blitz as a method of tiebreaks should not be belittled too much. If Onischuk and Shulman kept on drawing their rapid games, then the championship would have to be decided by blitz would it not? So a chess player must be prepared to play blitz anyways, no matter how much they like it or not, young or old, because there are no tiebreaks in the finals. So since blitz is already a part of the US championship, then the taint is already there, and you can always say: if it is good enough to determine the US champion, then it is good enough to determine the finalists for the US champion. If Larry, Yuri, and Gata are all more or less equal at slow chess, but you had to choose one because you will not let them have a playoff for it, then you might say to yourself: "Which of these players best displays the characteristics of a US champion? They are all equally good at slow chess. But a US champion should be good at blitz chess too. So you three roll up your sleeves...time to go to work."

Blitz as a method of tiebreaks should not be belittled too much. If Onischuk and Shulman kept on drawing their rapid games, then the championship would have to be decided by blitz would it not? So a chess player must be prepared to play blitz anyways, no matter how much they like it or not, young or old, because there are no tiebreaks in the finals. So since blitz is already a part of the US championship, then the taint is already there, and you can always say: if it is good enough to determine the US champion, then it is good enough to determine the finalists for the US champion. If Larry, Yuri, and Gata are all more or less equal at slow chess, but you had to choose one because you will not let them have a playoff for it, then you might say to yourself: "Which of these players best displays the characteristics of a US champion? They are all equally good at slow chess. But a US champion should be good at blitz chess too. So you three roll up your sleeves...time to go to work."

In college football, a computer calculates your opponent's record, your opponent's opponent's record, your opponent's opponent's opponent's record, .... But the computer score only counts for 1/3 of the overall rankings. Another 1/3 is determined by media, and the last 1/3 is determined by selected professionals. The computers are unbiased. However, the computers don't understand football, just wins and losses. Humans (and maybe chess playing programs) can understand the quality of one's victories.

Was away. Who won the Russian, sorry, US, maybe best to say USCF championships? If you can pronounce their names correctly, they deserved to win! I listened to Chess FM, and was outraged to hear the amateur [but really, they gave so many free queens and pieces in the analysis] commentators pronouncing almost all russian origin competitioners names wrongly. Is this common in the US, when speaking foreign surnames, not to know the pronunciation, but invent your own?

My favorite US player (born in the US) is Joel Benjamin. Expressing my sadness over his inability to crush the weaky russians. Joel, wake up man! Get a coach to motivate you! Drink Votka! Do something before its too late! Can you hear me?


In this tournament, short of an emergency you couldn't withdraw due to the contract that they all signed. I also made that comment to a friend who was playing there, and he pointed this out. So Naka didn't have a choice.

Maybe I am wrong, but I somehow got the impression that it was "Fighting Spirit" for the whole tournament, not just for one game. No question he fought hard during his last game. Still beating up on weakies (relative to his rating) to climb back into contention isn't really "fighting". If I lost a few early games has had to beat 1900's (generally weak relative to my level) to climb back into a tournament, I know I wouldn't feel like I deserved a fighting prize... AND I can also beat up children if necessary .

I just don't think he should have been rewarded like that, basically for one hard game (his game versus deFirmian was just a typical positional crush, not particularly combative, and close to winning by move 31; and Gurevich was probably dead by move 18).

Fighting spirit in chess is when you punch someone out, after losing the game, when everyone is looking.
Or, when you refuse a draw in a losing position.
Or, when you tactically offer a draw, knowing the player will refuse and blunder on the next move.
Fighting spirit in chess is when you are a girl competing in a boys tournament.
Fighting spirit in chess is when Kasparov, Benjamin or Yudith Polgar Bent Larsen tells you 'Well Done' after the game.

The US championship has made a giant leap towards reunification in chess. The improved classic and rapid time controls are at peace now, with a slight edge towards Game Thirty and blitz.

I need to know, for my archive: how many women participants of the US championship are single (not married)? Also, how many men are single?

I'm surprised but happy to see that Alexis Bledel is the new U.S. womans chess champion :)) congratulations!


Has anyone asked Kreiman what happened against De Guzman?

Dunno if anyone else has posted this yet, but here's Naka on Salon:



KCotreau, Well, I guess that we will just have to agree to disagree. Also, I thought that perhaps there may be such a stipulation in the contract, but being familiar with his disposition, I doubt he would have withdrawn. I was making a point of what many other player's have done (myself included) under similar circumstances. One last thing, I truly believe that my dear grandmother, if she were alive today, could beat your grandmother up.

What the hell was that last stupid sentence about? I am glad you disagree, because you just showed what a true moron you are.

I would be opposed as some suggested above to making the championship closed. One of the things that makes the US championship great is that patzers like me can dream about qualifying and anyone with about a 2250 rating or so has a shot to qualify.

People like me can dream about going on runs and playing the chess of our lives to qualify for the US Championship. That is what dreams are made of don't take it away from us.

Also, if enough forsight is used, logistically I don't think that scheduling an extra day or two for playoff rounds should be too hard.

Whatever is done, don't take the democracy out of the US Chess Championship so you can just see the highest rated players go at it in a closed championship!

Wow! I guess we are all entitled to your opinion It was meant as a little levity, but I see you take yourself way too seriously. Doesn't surprise me though after your comment ..."had to beat 1900's (generally weak relative to my level)" I doubt if anyone here really gives a rodent's rump about your level, whatever it may be. And if you don't like any of this, you can blow it out your ...

If you had ended your last sentence with
"beat", which I would have taken to mean at chess, and not "beat up", maybe I could find humor there, but "beat up" is just an agressive statement. I hope you just chose your words wrong.
One thing I learned almost 30 years ago when I accidently insulted a supervisor over something very akin to IM today, except on a govenment mainframe, is that when you joke you have to make it very clear. When I want to ensure that it is taken as a joke, I always add ":)", or something like this: .


If you find 1900 players weak, what is your rating? Just seems a bit presumptuious and arrogant to call other players weak.

Also, seems like you exude a general disrespect for your opponents also.



It's great having a lot of people play chess, and yes, patzers too are entitled to dream of Cinderalla successes (which do get fulfilled once in a blue moon). I have a terrific example in mind -- NOT INVOLVING MYSELF -- which I plan to write up soon.

The pros in the US Ch. would have initially viewed even Chimi as a "patzer," based on her rating. Remember that she's 19, not 12 or 13 -- so no one going in would have had any reason to think she might be 200-300 points underrated.

But, I would agree with the earlier posters who feel that our NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP is not a proper forum to open up to patzers pursuing dreams. Isn't that what the US OPEN is for?

A national championship is supposed to be about elitism, not democracy. Would you feel better about the NCAA basketball finals if your son's community college were allowed in, perhaps by a drawing of lots, or some geographic allocation process that assigned entry spots to a few randomly drawn zip codes?

In fact there already are plenty of opportunities for woodpushers like me and you to pursue our chess dreams in serious competition.

For instance, I would be just as thrilled to have a spectacular result in just about any other big, high-profile open tournament (World Open, Foxwoods, etc.) ... For me, the only thing fundamentally different about getting an opportunity to play in the US Championship would be that my expenses would be covered (by the bottom-finisher prizes) if I ever qualified.

Yes, Jon makes a very good point. It's only been the last few years that the invitations for the US Closed were opened up. The US Open was the one that amateurs could dream of. In fact, it served as the B tier of an AB grouping, since the winner of the US Open was invited to play in the US Championship in a number of years.

It is the exclusivity of the A group that gives it its value for a dreamer. If anyone can play, it's just another event. So I don't see making the A group more exclusive takes away dreams. If anything, it increases the joy of them. Dream of winning the B event, and you could get invited to the A event. Very cool.


Jon Jacobs and Duif,

I respectfully disagree with your analysis.

Let's take golf for example. The U.S. Open is one of the most coveted events in golf, but anyone has a chance to qualify for it by winning a regional and a sectional qualifier. That is what makes the U.S. Open so great, is that any scratch player has a chance to qualify and win the championship, and at least in the golf community isn't lessened or cheapened by the fact that anyone (even me if I got around to playing more) has a chance of qualifying.

I think the same should hold true for chess. I think anyone should be able to qualify to play in the U.S. Championship, that way it is a true portrayal of the best in the country at the time.

I understand the argument Jon makes about Foxwoods and the National Open, and while these would also bring prestige to any winner, I don't think it has the same prestige for a tournament you have to qualify to enter.

And Duif, where you and I differ is that with a qualification to the US Championship not everyone can play. There are a select few who can qualify, that is what gives its value -- which I think you and I agree upon.

I think people are focusing too much on the women that qualified which for this year was an anomole. I think the men who qualified were all very strong and deserving of a chance to play for the championship -- even the ones who qualified to play. :)



You make a good point--I think events like the US Open (in both golf and chess) are essential to keeping dreams alive. And a series of regional qualifiers would be interesting.

But I used to do a little work (very, very small amount) with the PGA, and I do think that green jacket means even more to most professional golfers. And you don't get to play at Augusta by winning a regional qualifier.

And then there is the PGA Championship, which doesn't allow amateurs at all, even as wildcards.

So, yes, the US Open in golf is a great event. But it's not the PGA championship, and it's not even the most prestigious event that has some amateurs.

In a sense, golf's US Open is like the chess US Open. The Masters is a bit like Linares. And the US Championship, at least in years past, was like the PGA Championship--an elite event for elite players.

I agree absolutely that the chess community needs an event like the US Open in golf. I just don't think it has to be the US championship.


K Coutreau,
Your're arrogant and self-centered, I said exactly what I meant. It was in reponse to your earlier post where you said, and I quote, "and I can also BEAT UP ON CHILDREN if necessarry." I might add that that's with no little happy face at the end. Who's the Moron here Coutreau. In the future if I want ANY of your advice, I'll give it to you. Sorry Mig, but he had this one coming!

MEOW!! Hisssssss.....


The tournament venue was one of the best I have played in, jet noise notwithstanding. The organizing team did an oustanding job under difficult circumstances and the quality of games was quite high, despite some notable blunders. My hat is off to players and organizers alike.

People forget how degraded the US Championship tournament had become before Erik Anderson and his team became the main organizers. The tournament had been held many times in obscure budget motels, deserted industrial parks and haunted hotels (I still had a good time at most of these events too).Ha The round-robin events produced very dull chess and the KO system also had its problems. The idea of "democratizing" the tournament is a good one, in my opinion--although some revisions should be made. Creating opportnunities for players in all regions to participate makes for a more interesting tournament,and I think should be good for keeping people interested in the game. The proposal of "superqualifiers" on the internet seems like a good way to increase interest in the event and expand regional participation.

Here are some ideas to improve the event:
They should dump the uscf pairing system in favor of the European (much fairer to all players in the long run) and announce the pairings 1 hour before the round. Perhaps the tournament could be extended to 11 rounds, with the first 4 rounds held at G/60 and include 2 free days.

Anyway, lets try to build on this great event and make it better next year. Had to get all this off my chest.

Larry Christiansen

It is ironic that people like Larry Christiansen and Gata Kamsky who were actual participants in the tournament are very appreciative of the job done by AF4C whereas the lay public is the one screaming for blood.

They don't know what is good for them! The public is just helping them out. You can be pressed down and still be happy you know.

Chesstraveler, since you can't even read and spell my name, that says something. I was clearly being very sarcastic with my comment about children.

I don't ever atack anyone here who hasn't attacked me first. Sonny boy, you better hope we never meet.

The color thing really bothers me. Is there some reason to prefer an odd number of rounds (maybe it guarantees whites - blacks = +/- 1, and an even number of rounds can only guarantee +/- 2)? I would prefer an even number of rounds with all players having the same number of whites and blacks. The color mismatch also bothers me in single round robin tournaments. I much prefer an odd number of players with different rest days for each player than to see a player lose a tournament by half a point possibly/probably because he had on more black than the winner. This is all theoretical in my case, but I'd love to know what the gms, to whom this matters, think about this.

I haven't waded through all the posts, but I had to laugh at "Mr. Applied Mathematician". It is well known that in a swiss system one will play easier opposition after losing early (Google "Swiss Gambit" and I don't mean Bird's Opening). This is a function of the swiss system and is only related to the rating spread in that with smaller spread the effect is obviously smaller (it goes to zero if all players are rated the same). However, the cause is the method of pairing, NOT the rating spread. There is no "hidden agenda" and the tiebreaks do work the way they are designed to. If one lost in a later round, one probably lost to someone much better, and faced better opposition throughout; this isn't a bad way to determine the winner. Since some players will choose to enter a large swiss and lose or draw early on purpose (because it confers some advantages), I dont think this can be called unfair. I also have no problem with the "penalty" paid in the tiebreaks for the player who loses early to low rated opposition. It is incumbent on that player to demonstrate the "statistical anomoly" of the loss and to win by a clear margin.

By definition any tiebreak system, other than a playoff, results in weighting things in a somewhat arbitrary manner. Reasonable people will disagree about what gets counted.

Wait, are colors really the ULTIMATE tiebreak thing? All ye GMs out there: In a must-win game, would you prefer to have white against a fellow Grandmaster or black against a 2350? So is a player who has five blacks but faces much weaker average competition really at a disadvantage against another player who has five whites but faces the Murderer's Row of American chess?

Michael Aigner

"Tommy's writing has the precision, excruciating rigor, and clarity typical of mathematicians. I see no reason to doubt his words."

As an applied mathematician, I found his claim that the lack of repeat winners implies systematic imprecision to be, well...pretty damned imprecise. He needs to be thinking about process variance before he says things like that.


I'm sure Macuga had tongue in cheek when commenting about our favorite "applied mathematician."

Hey kCoctrue, lol! You did attack me first, you beanhead, remember??? Your amazing, the old do as I say not as I do just goes right over the top with you. As far as us meeting, I will be at the Reno Far West in a few weeks, the National Open in June and the World Open in July. Let me know if your going to be at any of these tourney's and I will be more than happy to email you my name, or you can mail me yours and I'll look you up...tough guy? Mig, I promise, this will be my last reply on your blog (ever) to this cretin.

Now, back to reality. I agree with Greg that Macuga's post is tongue-in-cheek. I like Tommy, I really believe he means well, he just has this penchant for undermining, which can affect his good intentions. If this sounds patronizing, it isn't meant to be.

In reply to fpawn:

I'm not sure what you mean by colors being the only tiebreak. What I suggest is that colors be included in the tiebreak process along the modified median and with rating level of your opponents. To have a tiebreak system that is only modified median and ignores all the other clearly relevant factors, seems ridiculous to me for such an important tournament. If you are going to make the very controversial decision to decide the US Championship by tiebreak, don't ignore things that are obviously relevant.


I'm sure Macuga had tongue in cheek when commenting about our favorite "applied mathematician.""

How embarrassing. Now I just seem like another humorless mathematician. :o)

Let's face it--tiebrakes suck, any kind, in any situation. However, i completely agree with Kamsky that it is one thing to have tie-brakes for the bottom of the standing, and another thing entirely to select a finalist based on them. In my opinion the advantages of having playoffs or even an extra day of long tie-breaking games to determine a true winner fairly and legitimately far outwighs the negatives of extra time and some pretournament uncertainty. In addition i really dont understand the rationale behind prize distribution; it seems vastly unfair to give Kamsky 10 Grand and Christiansen only 6, again based on some arbitrary tie-brakes. If the people tie the money should be split evenly, that's how it's always been.

I think the conclusion is that the sensitivity of prizee to place should be drastically lowered from the top and heightened at least somewhat at the bottom.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 12, 2006 12:09 AM.

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