Greengard's ChessNinja.com

USCh Under Construction

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Took a tour of the playing venue at NTC Promenade here in San Diego. Beautiful place and area, lush and right on the water. New York sent me off with a thick layer of frost on the ground and it didn't rain at all here, despite the nifty icon I posted yesterday insisting it would. No accountability for weathermen, that's what's wrong in the world today.

In case you thought that the October change of dates was a ruse, this photo should provide proof enough that construction was indeed the cause.

Yep, those doors haven't been attached to the playing hall yet. Actually, they were on earlier and then had to be removed for a bit. 36 hours to go or it's Elista II, Revenge of the Drafty Hall. The doors are more necessary for noise than for wind. Yes, it's a quiet and mostly empty area, but the noisy traffic is overhead, not on the street. The local airport, as any San Diegan can tell you, is close enough make you feel like you're about to be strafed by the Luftwaffe every ten minutes. Not teeth-rattling, but the doors will be welcome. Of course I'm only singling out the inevitable glitches here. And who doesn't love the smell of fresh paint?

It's a beautiful hall and stage, which has a giant screen behind it where they are planning to project the top four boards. The two groups are split to separate sides of the hall along the walls with spectators (we hope) in the middle. The tech team will be wiring things up without a break. All the boards are connected, thanks to Eric van der Schilden and the Tachyon guys, but they have a few long nights ahead. Not that I'm not still up at 05:36 writing this (Ninja server is on NY time, as is my body) before getting back to the website, which I've updated with a few tidbits. Much more going up later after the opening reception and player meeting, especially photos.


will they finish everything in time. my view looks like construction will continue after the start of the tournament. or take a pause and begin again after the tournament is complete.

I get the feeling there is a lot of interior work still to complete.

hi, I was just wondering if there is going to be a player blog like there was at the last USCh? I think that was a great idea, and was one of my favorite parts of the event.

Weathermen, truly one of the only "professions" that a person can be wrong so often and make a living doing it.

Enjoyed the WWII reference.

The ChampBlog will be back and better than ever. Automated submission by email from the players and staff, should make it faster paced with more, if shorter, entries.

There might be a few things left until after the first round, hard to say. These guys are used to doing setup in a hurry. After all, when you are renting a venue you don't want to pay for extra days for setup and breakdown time. As for the doors, I think they just removed them so they could move big tables and other equipment in easier.

"The player meeting and reception are today, March 1. The pairings for the first round will be posted tomorrow evening. The fight for the 2006 US Championship begins on Thursday, March 2 ..."

If "today" is March 1 and round 2 is on March 2 at 1pm, then I sincerely hope the first round pairings are posted before "tomorrow evening." ;-)

Have fun in warm San Diego! And welcome to the "left" coast.

Michael Aigner

Round 1 on March 2, not round 2. Typos must be a ninja thing.

That's the problem with working all night. Apart from the bleariness you start to forget what day is "today."

Will you have pics of each player posted? I always enjoy seeing the face behind the moves, especially some of the players who don't make the covers of magazines and such.

Yes, as soon as we meet them all and then figure out who is who. Just got back from the opening ceremony (burp) and player meeting. Took lots of pics, but don't always recognize everybody and quite a few didn't wear their credentials. Only people we're sure weren't their were Igor Schneider, who said he wouldn't be because he wanted to finish his school day, and Boris Kreiman.

"Only people we're sure weren't their"... to take pity on a fellow writer, I think in this context the word you want is "there".

I'm sure it'll be an interesting championship to watch :).

Those cluless chess jurnalists; They dont no nothing about proper grammer spelling and punksuation!

Seriously, now: Doesn this mean, Mig, that we're going to go another year without a full set of player bios on the Championship site? Isn't it within every player's ability to send in a digital photo and answer a short questionaire when they hand back their contracts? I mean, gee, many of the player's already have "file" photos online at the New York Master's website.

Howard Goldowsky

Poor Hikaru... my money is still on him though. A matchup between him a Kelly Cotrell would be funny.

Wow. That was some UGLY chess. (Relay errors aside.)

Wow. That was some UGLY chess.

Where is the US Championship blog? Couldn't find it immediately on site...

Us Championship probably doesn't have a Blog yet. This concept is still to new for almost everybody.

Yes, where is the US Championship blog that existed last year. One of my favorite things!

History: in some earlier US Women's Championships under this format, there were complaints that top women players could end up with the same score but against an opposition whose average strength differed by as much as a couple of hundred rating points.

Prediction: running the event in two sections will make that phenomenon more likely.

The women are already -10.

I drove to San Diego for the Saturday festivities (bf chess demo, kids simul, etc.) and got to meet some of this year’s US Championship players. Mig was toiling away in the Press Room behind a shut door, so I didn’t get to say “Hi, thanks for the Net coverage.”

They had a table where Kamsky, Nakamura and Goletiani signed autographs. I asked each if the noisy nearby airplanes bothered them during the tournament and they all immediately said “No.” I mentioned that the U.S. Championship tennis players hate it when noisy planes fly overhead breaking their concentration, but the three chess players all said that it would bother tennis players more than chess players. I asked Kamsky about his time away from chess and he said “It was great. It taught me there was life outside of chess.” As Mig mentioned, Kamsky was hobbling with some sort of foot injury which he quickly discounted when I asked him about it.

Florean was very approachable and talked about differences in the chess world between Europe and the US in terms of chess sponsorship, tournaments, etc. DeFirmian was cool as always and performed a 3 board blindfold simul. Gulko was very friendly and spent a lot of time answering my questions about chess, Kasparov, computers, tournaments…he was happy to talk about anything I asked. In speaking with Kriventsov (from New Orleans) it sounds like his position as a Professor at Tulane University is disappearing as a consequence of post-Hurricane reorganization. Lenderman was the only one who admitted to me that the airplane noise was “sometimes” a problem. Kids were asking for and receiving autographs from the 16 year old IM.

During the kids simuls, it seemed like half the time the kids didn’t even know when they had been checkmated, but it was amusing to watch. Many of the US Championshiop players participated in the kids simul. Stephen Muhammad was very friendly and he (and other players) seemed to make the simul enjoyable for the kids. I found IM Sarkar to be rather shy, but I enjoyed speaking with him. WGM Baginskaite was pleased to answer questions. She definitely said she could tune out the airplanes. When asked about which player she studied years ago, she said there were many, but then she brought up legendary A. Rubinstein and how great some his games were.

There was a "chess art" table where you could make your own wooden bishop, chess quilt art, or paper chess art board. I think it was Goletiani who made her own wooden bishop and took it around to various US Chess Championship players to autograph.

It was enjoyable meeting some of the players. Thanks to Mig for the coverage!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 1, 2006 8:36 AM.

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