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ChampBlog 2006

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So who are the Best Blogger frontrunners with three rounds to go? I haven't had time to read comments this week. (And the hotel wireless was out last night so I updated the site with dial-up. Dial-up for Zeus's sake.) I don't know if he'll blog again, but Ildar Ibragimov may need some special prize for his zoo + game commentary poetry. Incredible. It's great because he's a quiet guy I've never talked with and suddenly he pops up with this. Definitely worth at least a few Blog Beers. (I used a six-pack to lure in a few of the more reserved veteran (and contending) competitors. "One Blog, One Beer" says the sign on it in the fridge.)


Joel Benjamin's latest post has been the funniest so far....at least for me :)

Ibragimov's entry was fantastic. It's a shame some of the players are not giving more frequent entries. Benajamin's entries are good, but a bit short (I agree with Lipsome123 that his round 5 one was quite amusing). Nick De Firmian looks like he could write some interesting things, if his "I was confused between my hotel and a large naval base" entry is anything to go on. Laura Ross seems..um... enthusiastic (or high on life).

Best single entry: Ibragimov, best repeating blogger: Laura Ross, I guess.

Best photos with captions in the champBlog: Mig! (dude, quit sleeping and put up photo gallery #2).

As I stated elsewhere Benjamin and Ibragimov are thee blog potentates right now IMO. I watched as Benjamin tried to convert that extra pawn into a win; when the draw was notched up I felt sorry for him but knew we might see something over the top tommorow from him blog wise! To hell with the chess..it's the blogs that will live forever. Of course we know certain individuals have the potential to take over the contest in one post (uhh..Yermo?).

Ibragimov's entry was amazing. Can I vote twice? :)


Yes, Ibragimov's entry is philosophical. We need some poetry too in our lives. Amazing, how some one here saying Laura's blogs are good. What did you find so interesting?

"To hell with the chess...it's the blogs that will live forever."

Reminds me of a cartoon drawn by the staff librarian at a daily newspaper I worked for in the 1980s.

Published in our employee newsletter, the cartoon showed a reporter either having his palm read or reading a fortune cookie (I forget which; it was 20 years ago). The fortune said: "You will win a Pulitzer ... not for your articles, but for your messages."

(although the Internet and instant-messaging didn't exist in those days, our office did have the equivalent of an instant-messaging capability on our DOS-based PCs, and it was used constantly)

I would think that a retroactive, a least a few beers, should be given to WGM Casella.

GM Ibragimov's poem was fantastic! However, my vote goest to the Finegold family. I like the way Ben pays attention to food.. where they ate etc. besides giving insights to chess and few other things.

I vote for Alex Lenderman, he lost his game and has only 2 points, but he seems to be and blogs like he is the happiest person in the tournament. I have the feeling he is not there to gain points points points but to have fun and promote chess. Thats cool.

I find Finegold's constant pandering for the Larsen prize (either by directly begging for it [latest entry] or by the not-so-subtle "look at my 100+ move game!" subtext) and, by extention, over-competitiveness for the "Blog" prize to be a huge turn off. There is the letter of the competition, and then there is the spirit. It's too easy to play meaningless moves for a monsterous move total as it is to post for volume just to claim a 'win' by word-count. It's just too obvious.

I'd vote for Shabalov, Ross, and Goletiani for the blog prize. They provide a good mix of game insight and just the overall feeling of being in San Diego and the tournament. Ross and Goletiani shine even more compared to the "three stooges" of female blogging: West, Cottrell, Itkis. Really, ladies, you aren't as interesting as you imagine in your own minds. It's like having to listen to insecure 13-year-olds yapping in a movie theatre, oblivious to how annoying they are. I read Duif's comments and defense about females in chess, and then I run into the stooges' ditzy online rountine and it makes me wonder if Duif is fighting a lone battle.

Ibragimov's poem sort of reminds me of that Autistic kid who scored 20 points in 7 minutes during his final basketball game. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about this analogy (hint: sometimes the surprise is overblown due to the source more than the quality).

Chimi for the Larsen prize.

Who pissed into your cereal today, Stern?

This blogging award is really the best idea ever, so many of these players are trying very hard to be entertaining. Very fun to read!

Certainly, much of the humor in the Ibragimov poem derives from the fact that it was written by Ibragimov. Who expects a GM (and one of the favorites) to suddenly burst into a poem with bumpy meter and no real rhyme scheme? Sure it isn't "quality," but it has some funny juxtapositions, and coupled with the humor of the situation and Mig's caption, produces the single most entertaining entry so far.

I must say, good work on the captions, they add a lot. Whether it's saving a dubious blog entry (Hana and Kelly, Liu) or capping off a solid one (Lenderman, Benjamin, Shabalov, and many more), you're always up to the task.

Enjoyed Vigorito's musings.

Calling Ibragimov's poem awful would be an insult to awful; but give him kudos for a great effort.

I'd add Vicary to the blog award list, perhaps ahead of Goletiani. Very 'real' entries.

Whatever Itkis is smoking, she needs to share. Hallucinating seems fun.

You should extend the "one beer/one blogg" to "x number of beers for x number of bloggs", pack the fridge with several cases and see what happens.

You should change it to "x beers/x bloggs", stock the fridge with several cases and see what happens.

I liked Vicary's blog the best too. Personally I like the blosg that are not about their games, and anlaysis. Tell us about the tournament and what it is like to be there.

I'd advise anyone who gets an "Internal Server error" to wait awhile before reposting.

You should give Nakamura a beer for the great game today against de Firmian.

So a bunch more blogs have been posted since I first commented. I have to agree with the others: Elizabeth Vicary is moving to the front. Good entries after both rounds three and five.

No beer to Naka.. he is not 21 yet.

Mig send me a beer. I will report back on how good your choice of beer really is. tell us the brand on the beer and get some good stuff.

I like my beer dark and strong. good German beer is fine.

Now I agree that the best blogs do not mention the games. I also want to hear about what is happening in life.

Nakamura had a super nice win against Nick. I watched every move. got in my new fritz 9 today and let it run. it was fun. the game was very tight up to move 40. but on move 40 nick made a slight error as naka opened up the position. he played some psychology approaching move 40. once the slight error came naka opened it up wide and fast. the kid is a killer. Great game.

I am so happy with Kamsky. The type of win he had today I felt that he returned to his old form of 10 years ago. he never gave up. showed why he was so feared. with the tiny edge he pressed until he finally had the advantage and the win. great game. in my view Kamsky has returned now. I hope he stays in this playing form. I would guess he will slip in and out of this great for a few times before nailing it down permanently.

Kamsky is a great chess player and we are so lucky to have him play here in USA.

Last and most important. a case of beer to be awared to MIG for the finest Chess Internet web site of any chess tournament ever. this is first class by far. of course I want more pictures of the players but then Mig is not allowed to sleep all week.

Mig go out and buy a case of the best beer you can find and put it on your expense account. if your boss asks you about it, just tell him tommy told you to buy the beer. he will understand.

if he says he never heard of tommy. tell him I am a great beer fan from Boston and I say you deserve it.

Interesting post above. signed vjanand. could this be vishy anand. I know anand does not drink at all. topalov does not drink. these are the 2 top players in the world today.

I want to say that I strongly support that if you want to play at the highest levels beer and drinking do not mix with winning chess. so my advice to people like Nakamura and Kamsky is to forgo beer and keep the mind in fresh natural form.

I believe that staying away from caffeine might be best also. I mean no coffee at all all day long every day. no caffeine. ( just my opinion. )

I also believe that the individual must make that decision. so I will not tell Nakamura not to drink or kamsky or anyone else. but I hope they will not drink. it really does not help one to play better chess.

and to anyone and everyone who wants to have a beer with me. I say bottoms up.

I rather like the blogging. Great addition to the picture of half-dazed chess players wandering around the terminal wondering if the dinner buffet was going to include Kung Pao.

I have to wonder why the non US resident Nick DeFirmian is allowed to play in the US Closed Championship. But I do like his blog about the single malt whiskey.

Vicary gets points for good taste for her Choice of Interpol's NYC. I saw them last year in Boston and they were incredible. I also like her honest posts and who doesn't like to know the results of half length of a pool swim competitions where she claims to have pulled on her opponents foot. Everyone knows what "foot" really means.

Gregory Serper's entry saying that he was playing like crap is probably my favorite so far. He gets the bloggers prize because he's not talking aboug anniversaries or trips to Santa Monica Promenade or for the most part anything related to chess. Instead, he slipped into the guilt-ridden ex-Soviet player struggling to battle a Doestevsky-like depression. Well done!

Most of all, I'm rather enjoy watching the games live and seeing the real-time play. Difficult part is that there is no one to really rally around. After all, who hasn't been given a nasty look from Walter Browne at some time during a tournament? Who really knows why Gata Kamsky is playing chess again?

Okay, I have to choose. Yes .. I have a choice. Actually, Boris Gulko is the man/player. Yes. Good choice by me. He should be everyone's hero. Standing up for what he believed. I bet he also secretly listens to Interpol and Beth Orton and The Flaming Lips.

I do support everyone. Because chess is a great thing to do and even better to do obsessively.

A person may be legally resident in one country but maintain citizenship in another. It just depends on the rules of the countries involved. Similarly the place where you live doesn't determine your FIDE federation--that's more often by citizenship. So Anand lives in Spain, but plays for the Indian federation. Kosteniuk lives in the USA, but plays for Russia. And de Firmian lives in Denmark, but plays for the USA.

I know I'm a little late noticing this, but who the hell made up this tourney format? The entire tourney but the final is at standard time control, but the championship is determined by rapid? It isnt even that rapid is used for tie-breaks....rapid is *required* for the final match. Stupid.

Couldn't agree more Dave! In fact if they want a different time control for the final game to determine the true USA Champ, make the control LONGER, use the traditional 40 moves in 150 minutes. But to use Rapid Time Controls in the end is a let down.

The day kasparov quit :
it is "March 10" and i would never forget the day. because i remember the tearful and unforgetable moment when i heared the news next day.Actually i was crying the whole week because i just couldn't resist myself.the impression Garry created is fantastic that only he could make.though i celebrated Garry's tournment win in my company, still that day is sad for me, simply because of Garry's unexpected retirement.But i have to accept the real world and to live the memories of Garry. But Garry would give the pleasure through his books,i hope.it is pleasure to play each of his games and enjoyable.





Thanks (to Duif) for the information about the choices/rules of representing a country.

I'm very happy to see Nakamura making a strong comeback. This really shows that he has the fight of a true champion. Well done. French remains a fighting response to e4, but my guess is that DeFirmian regrets his wishy-washy decisions to attack e6/develop a kingside attack.

I'd like to thank the organizers for providing a great way to stay in touch with the tournament.

I've also noticed something about the demographics of the chess playing field. There are obviously a lot of immigrants playing in the field. This is a good thing because it raises the quality of play considerably. I wonder whether these players can really support themselves as chess players. I found the most startling question to the players was "What is your second profession?". Yikes! If this isn't indicative of the state of chess, I'm not sure what is. It must really suck to be so good at something and to have it held in so little regard (by the general populus). I've often thought that Maurice Ashley should be a role model instead of guys like Charles Barkley. But don't get me wrong, the world needs Charles Barkley(s) too.

On that note, why don't we have some other US notable players (playing)? Is Patrick Wolfe gone forever? Is Maurice Ashley not going to play in the closed championships? Is Yasser Serawain still among the best in the country? Did they simply not qualify?

Has anyone else noticed the age demographics of the participants? It's interesting that there seems to be a bimodal distribution centered around 40 and 20. What does this say about chess in the US?

Serper just keeps adding to his blogger laurels, his take on Tate is great. Bravo!

Patrick Wolfe has not played actively for several years. Yasser retired from active play in the last year or so. Maurice has been very busy with chess promotion (see interview at http://www.chessville.com/Editorials/Interviews/20Questions/Ashley.htm ) and has not really had time to concentrate on his own play for the last two years.

As for the bimodal age distribution, I think the older group represents the Fischer Boom and the second group represents the impact of the Internet on chess development.


Heavy competition going on for the "best blogger" award. Maybe some competitors' campaigning is even too brazen...But Gregory Serper's recent awesome run has placed him in front IMO.

I agree totally: Ibragimov has the top blog but for the overall best blogger you have to go with Serper. If Ibragimov comes out with something else, he should be set. Feingold's posts are too formulaic. "I played a tough game with X and then Kelly and I went with Y,Z,W,V,U to G restaurant which was great. Tommorow I play M(I am running out of letters) ...should be another Larsenesque game...hint hint... nudge" On the other hand $5000 is no joke at all. Is there a best women's blog prize? If so, Itkis and that set trip too much, so you have got to with someone in the complement. But the other ladies have been rather quiet. Vicary is interesting. Maybe Zenyuk, she seems all business which is cool.

Do we get to vote for the Larsen prize? I know I am beating a dead horse, but Finegold's campaigning reminds me of a guy the wants to go on a date with a girl, but has no idea how to get the girl to WANT to go on a date with him.

I vote for Chimi. Further I would like to elongate her nickname to the "Chess Chimichanga"! She's had a couple of tough games, but she has proven to be a fighter!!!

I got a new candidate: Elliot Liu for best unintentional comedy. Even better if his latest "apology" was intentional.

Stick to your guns, Elliot, tell it like it is. It's not sexist if it's the truth, yo. It's more sexist to hold your tongue about the truth (look at the leaderboard! Who are the easiest points?) just because you fear stating the right observation will offend some over-sensitive estrogen bag.

Stern, "over-sensitive estrogen bag" succintly voices your opinion of women. You sound pretty peeved that some women may have taken offense at his comments (while they could have been a tad more tactful, after all there are women who are playing better than him, they really were only mildly offensive to me) and in turn make a comment that is far more offensive.

Hey Mendrys:

Loosen up. Put away your Politically Correct badge. "Over-sensitive estrogen bag" was *supposed* to be over-the-top, an ironic reflection of Elliot Liu's (admittedly more innocent) posts.

No really, you don't have to take everything so seriously. Turn that frown upside-down.

It's interesting that the two players who listed in their profiles that they like writing (Vanessa West and Justin Sarkar), both have not written much in the blogs. West wrote a paragraph and Sarkar has so far written nothing at all. (Emory Tate listed that he likes writing poetry, but blogging is prose..well, mostly.)

Howard Goldowsky

Hey man Mig, you rock!! Great job with the captions on Photo Gallery #2. Enjoyed it!

Where's Tate's or Wojo's blogs. Are they too ecentric for blogging? Mig might get punched in the face or something.

I vote for Serper, with second to Florean.

Hey Mig, great job with the blogs!! My vote goes to Serper! Although the "Slasher" type movies are a bit much for me, Greg's description of FM Tate brought back a memory of "Wait Until Dark" (Audrey Hepburn and Richard Crenna) which I first viewed as a teen in the Big Apple. Being lifted outta my chair was an experience in the cinema I cannot ever forget!

Here is my vote for best blog. I really enjoyed reading this one and laughing. it was just full of fun and merriment.

Bloggers: Vanessa and Hana

Helloooooo! You guys are the best blog readers ever; you totally beat the other blog readers. Vote for this blog cause it's the best because you guys you are best. This is me Vanessa. Today I drew some dude. And I was like busted out of the opening, but then he messed up, and then yay I drew. Um. (Hana) I don't really feel like discussing my game, but my theory is that it's Tatev's fault. And Vanessa agrees. Go Blog.

Did we mention that you guys are the best blog voters ever. No but seriously you are. Yeah. So do yourselves a favor, if you know what I mean. Air hockey is great. Umm people who say playing a girl is easy are dumb and we don't like them. cough cough . We read your blog you know who you are! Yeah and vote for us cause we are pretty. Yay bye!

Mig, thank you for the terrific job you all are doing. Having a great time follwoing the 06 championships. BTW, with his Tate blog Serper gets my vote!

I like Ibragimov's poem blog best, Serper's blog with the lion story second best, and Shabalov's blog third best.

First, I would just like to thank everyone who took the time to write a blog for the US Chess Championship. It makes the championship more humanizing to me, and not just some players who I have not met and are playing. Also, I think with a chess blog it almost brings it closer to other sports where players give their opinions of the game and or accomodations like players in other sports can do with the press (ESPN).

Even Kamsky's (only blog?) I found interesting where he just casually noted that it was so close to being a draw by the fifty move rule, something that I wouldn't even have thought of on my own.

Personally, I enjoyed both Finegold's and Ginsburg's blogs. I think they post with regularlity and give me a good idea of what the tournament is like, including both their games and what they do other than the games.

Too often I find the elite in chess like an "old boy's club" that only like to fraternize with people who are as good as them. And at least from reading Finegold's blog he seems like genuine good people, someone who if I got a chance to play, I would take him out for a beer after the game just to chat about chess or something else for a bit. I wish more elite players would act with class like I have seen like almost all the players who have blogged during this tournament.

Thank you to all the bloggers from this patzer!

Mig: I find it nice when the top players become more accessible to the patzers of the world like myself. And I think you have done a great job at starting to make the best players in the US more accessible for at least this tournament and I would like to thank you for that too!

The blogs have been really wild. There's something of everything. Let me summarize.

Some bloggers are guilty of being too dry and follow a strict formula (e.g. Finegold and Ginsburg). These kinds of blogs are nice to read, but not worthy of an award. Still, Finegold certainly wins in the quantity category.

Others come across as too teenager-ish for my personal taste, which maybe isn't surprising because those bloggers (you know who you are) are, in fact, teenagers. And I'm not. Still hilarious reading, but not worthy of the top prize.

So what are we left with? Definitely there's Ibragimov, who both told us what he did on his off day and made it sound like he has a life outside of chess. Liu's "accidental" humor is just enough irony to earn credit. Shabalov wins the award for the best one-liner ("Now I'd better finish my beer and go on praying to avoid the punishing hand of Chimi tomorrow.").

My winners: 1. Ibragimov, 2. (tie) Shabalov for the short and sweet and Finegold for his extensive effort, 3. Liu.

Michael Aigner

I forgot to thank Mig in my last post. None of these blogs would be possible without the inspiration and perspiration of the great character that he has become. You did a great job! Thanks!!!

In no specific order, I think the three best bloggers have been Finegold, Vicary and Shabalov.
I appreciate the sheer effort Finegold has put into his blog. I don't understand why people have been so critical of him for trying too hard. He's a genuinely friendly guy from everything I've heard (and on the one occasion I've met him). Shabalov and Vicary both have had an excellent mix of humor and chess, without evident chemical mood enhancement. Thank you to all the players who have contributed! It really does make the tournament much more interesting and fun to follow.

I've enjoyed all the blog entries--the different qualities shown are, I think, representative of the players as people, and that's interesting in and of itself.

Ibragimov's impressed me in part because I assume English is at least his 2nd (3rd? 4th?) language. The poem/story worked, worked in a Russian way, worked in a chess way. And it was funny. :)

Sometimes people who want to be writers often have trouble doing blog entries, regardless of the subject, when they're also involved in something else (like, say, the US Chess Championship)--they care about the quality too much to just dash something off.

I thought Mark Ginsburg's line about "utter ruination" for a minor piece attack unsupported by pawns was very funny--but maybe because that's a sin I've been all too guilty of myself. :)

And I appreciate Ben Finegold's give and take with the Ninjas--his explanations that he's the one who told Kelly not to resign, etc, were thoughtfully presented and interesting even for those of us who hadn't thought much about the issue one way or the other. (I will say my own coach always told me not to resign as well--that it was important to get experience in all phases of the game.)

I also appreciate the thoughtfulness and detail of Elizabeth Vicary's blogs.

I give Vicary and Serper the two best one-liners of the blog.

Serper: "Yesterday it was pain, today it was terror. "

Vicary: "I forgot my preparation, but people told me afterwards that what I had intended to play was even worse."

Fluffy gets an Honorable Mention in the one liner category: "I really need to learn to count to three."

Anyway, kudos again to Mig for coming up with the whole blog idea last year, and continuing it this year. It's been both entertaining and educational.

At this point, as Tim Gunn would say, the quality is there in each, it is just a matter of taste.

Vicary I regrettably have to disqualify on principle. Ibragimov's poem deserves a special mention, but if he won, we would get way too much bad poetry next year from would be imitators.

So I think I would have to pick Serper first, for charm, originality, and educational value. But it is a very difficult decision.


p.s. I did, seriously, try to have tulips delivered--twice!--to Mig at the press room, but FTD insisted the location was impossible to find. So the blogmeister will have to settle for a virtual bouquet this year. :)

Vicary's last blog was overreactive to what
Florean had expressed in his. Not only that, but he was discreet enough to not drop a name...unlike her. Quite frankly, her first paragraph was a bunch of crap. "Crap" is not French, so please do not excuse it. As far as the little island of New York is concerned, welcome to the real world Elizabeth.

I think Ben Finegold writes great blogs. Anyone that evaluates restaurents +-, -+, = etc gets my vote.

fpawn summed it up very well; I'm climbing off the fence declaring no one has topped Ibragimov's offering. I've enjoyed lots of them of course. I thought Ben Finegold's updates were dandy all along..he's a classy guy and it stinks to see him nitpicked by a small minority of sourpusses. The Siberian tiger tale ranks with that of Tal's hippo though.

Now that the final (?) blogs are in, my final votes are:

1) Elizabeth Vicary - very good mix, best entries about just day to day life at San Diego. Interesting takes on her games, her social activities, women in chess, etc. Besides, she appears to be a school teacher and, though I don't normally like to factor in outside variables, I don't mind seeing this fact rewarded in this case.
It is sort of a writing competition, so it's not a bad example for her 'kids'. And unlike a certain other, she never had a "please love me" quality about her blog posts.

2) I want to vote for Elliot Liu, but only if I had some assurance that his entries were consiously crafted for their sneaky comedy, and not just stumbled upon by (mis-)fortune. If it's the later case, then I would give 2nd to Ross or Serper.

As for Finegold, he needs to re-read his own entries if he really believes his Larsen prize pandering was limited to "just mentioned it in one of my posts so people would know about it." First off, that is totally b.s. since, if his concern was to inform people of its existence, he would have taken the time to explain what the Larsen prize is all about. He didn't - he just asked for it ("Luckily, there are no friends at the chess board, as I still have my eye on the Larsen prize!"). Second, I'm sure I'm not alone is saying that his subtext of pandering was evident way before the word "Larsen" entered his blogs. His latest "oh NO, not innocent ol' ME!" entry is disingenuous. How can he say that "subtle" campaining would have no influence to those who actually vote? I'm pretty sure they read the blogs and, like all normal humans, can be unconsiously influenced. Fortunately his 'subtlety' is that of a horny autistic declaring his love for prizes.

To his credit, I do find a lot of what he has posted to be interesting. But just like I can't stand the woman who fishes for compliments, I would hate to see pandering for prizes rewarded in any form. And it's funny that the person with the most skin would have all of it be so thin.

I think we also need to vote Elliott Liu the "Be Careful What You Wish For" blog prize... See his round 9 game with Vanessa West. ;)

Stern: I think you take the blog prize a little too seriously. In my opinion it was supposed to be something fun that allows the public to get to know the players a little better.

Just take it easy and chill dude and enjoy the posts. If you don't like someone's posts that is cool -- keep it to yourself though.

Because berating Finegold over a blog contest when you aren't even involved in the contest, just makes Finegold look goood and look pathetic.

Take it easy dude, and you will enjoy things a lot more.


It's not the blog contest that matters, it's the Larsen prize that is real bucks. $5000 is a very big prize. If you have any reading comprehension, you'd see that the Larsen campaigning is what I rail against. The pandering happens to just done on the blog contest.

Sorry, but I can't stand shameless pandering. I also don't apologize for analyzing when asked for an opinion, as this topic is about who we think should win and why. Thus asked, why should I keep my opinion to myself? I'm more than willing to offer up names that is "fun that allows the public to get to know the players a little better", and I have. I'm also willing to point out shameless pandering in hopes that those voting for the Larsen is held to a higher standard.

I divide my vote between Serper and Vicary, having recused myself from Ross.

Mig-- Please consider naming the champblog prize after FM Michael Casella, who demonstrated last year that he is the consummate blogger (certainly more closely associated with great blogging than Larsen is with fighting chess).

Well, *I* vote for my own flesh and blood: Laura

The Champblog is a wonderful idea. Here we can see the light side of chess. I liked all three entries by Serper (the wife story is probably the funniest). It is a shame that always controvercial Yermo and Tate didn't blog. Oh well...

For men's blogger, I vote for Gregory Serper. His description of the Tate "horror movie" was hilarious.

For women's blogger, I vote for Iryna Zenyuk.

Serper gets my vote for overall blogger: "Horror Movie" and "Yes Honey". Still can't help but lol.

Hana and Vanessa, what can I say, I'm a red-blooded male :-P

It would be nice if someone would come up with a tournament design that would more produce a champion who undisputably played best of all competitors. For example, in some people's minds Christiansen, Ibragimov, Stripunsky, and Gata Kamsky should join Shulman and Onischuk in some kind of playoffs. For some the tiebreak system is not a good way to rank players.

Presumably the current design is supposed to strike some kind of balance between the Swiss System and the Round Robin. The Round Robin ranks players the most rigorously but does not allow a tournament with a large number of players. The current set up is ok but I think that the tiebreak systems should be replaced with some kind of playoff among all individuals who have the top score in each of the two sections.

It would be nice if you'd only posted that once, but nevertheless...

Champblog to Vicary, 2nd prize to Serper.

And just in case the voters for the Larsen Prize can indeed be influenced by suggestion, might I suggest Blas Lugo.

Thanks Mig for all that you do on this site and for the U.S. Championship site!

A panel of past US champions voted for tiebreak by system. Playing rapid tiebreaks is brutal and the chess is usually crap. It's also a scheduling problem. Having an extra day you may or may not need is one option, the other is playing the tiebreaks on the same day as the round or the championship match. Awkward at best. There's no perfect system and everyone will have preferences.

I wrote more about this yesterday here:


Thanks for Mig's remarks about the tiebreak system. Certainly there's no perfect system but it would have been awkward and certainly possible if Nakamura to have won the last game. If that had happened, then he would have have been tied for first with the top scorer, would have defeated brilliantly the player who made it to the finals, and yet not qualified for the finals. The net result would have been that the US Champion would have been a peculiar title in much of the world's eyes.

I agree that there's no such thing as a perfect system but I wouldn't be surprised if over time the format improves and there is less of an opportunity for odd results both for the men and the women. As it is Nakamura did not win brilliantly but those with top scores did play well and if there had been time for some kind of playoff among the top scorers, the champion might have been a different player.

I guess it is no problem if the goal is just for the US Championship to be an opportunity to see the best in the United States play chess. This certainly happened in this US Championship. Also if the goal was to provide entertainment of high quality certainly this happened in this US Championship. But if the goal was to determine the very best player in the United States then the result in this format is probably not as reliable as say back in 1972 when it was a round robin and the top scorers who were Sammy Reshevsky, Robert Byrne, and Lubomir Kavalek played matches among themselves to determine the true US Champion who was Robert Byrne.

Greg Serper. My vote goes to him. He consistently comes up with original and well worded stories. Nevertheless I fear the worst for him... Maybe with Mig's ChampBlog price money he could buy something from that Itkis stuff of her and smuggle it home - just to alleviate the pain a little bit at breakfast ;-)

Eugene Perelshteyn for the Larsen Prize. He played for a win in every game, and the tension in each of his games demonstrates that.

Eugene Perelshteyn for the Larsen Prize. He played for a win in every game, and the tension in each of his games demonstrates that.

One thought in defense of Elliott Liu’s “most controversial blog entry”:

Remember we mentioned on the Chimi thread that if you show 1st graders a photo of a hospital where 80% of the doctors are men and 20% of the doctors are women, they think “Not many women are doctors.” But if you show them a photo where 80% of the doctors are men, 20% of the doctors are women, and 95% of the nurses are women, they think “Women can only be nurses.” The visual weight of a subordinate group outweighs the role model benefit of the minority in the other group.

We take the teenagers, male and female, and put them in a situation where literally “Woman FM” means “a player not as good as an FM.” “Woman IM” literally means a player not as good as an IM. And “Woman GM” not only means literally “a player not as good as a GM”—it even means “a player not as good as an IM.” (WGM requires a performance rating of 2401. IM, 2451. GM, 2601.)

The average rating of the men at the event is 2555. The average rating of the women is 2165. Because we used a double standard in the invitations.

So of course when Elliott thinks “I wish I could play a weaker player so I’d have a chance to win” weaker player is his mind means the same as “woman.” We taught him that. Even though 5 of the women playing in the event are higher rated than he is.

If you let a child sit down and watch 8 hours of the Sopranos, you can’t be surprised if the next day he uses the F word in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Elliott—take a week or so and study the games of IM Nona Gaprindashvili from Lone Pine 1977. That’s a little California history that’s well worth knowing.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 8, 2006 9:36 PM.

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