Greengard's ChessNinja.com

2007 US Ch DD Reader Brilliancy Prizes

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Well, we have some preliminary selections but as of 6:30pm EST we still don't have hardly any games from round nine, which started 5.5 hours ago. [Update: Results are now all up together. Shabalov is the only winner at the top and takes clear first place in the Frank K. Berry US Championship! Becerra beat Nakamura and should qualify for the World Cup along with Shabalov, Onischuk, Kaidanov, and Shulman. New item soon.] I've been trying hard to be kind, but the live broadcast has suffered serious problems every day and usually the results and games aren't available until well after all the games are over. A quick glance through the comments here and at the chat windows at the MonRoi site confirm my experience is not unique. Their server simply didn't handle the load. I'm really only pointing it out now because it's going to delay the awarding of the first Daily Dirt Reader Brilliancy Prizes since our judges (at least the ones who aren't in Stillwater) can't see the games.

On to more positive notes, there were many great games to choose from. No final announcement yet of course, but a few of the hot contenders so far are Shabalov-Ibragimov, Akobian-Perelshteyn, and Onischuk-Shabalov. I must say, that one of the games that has come through on the official site today, Nakamura-Becerra, should also be considered!

Do you guys want a day to talk about all the games here and have some debate before sending nominations to the judges or are you happy to let them do it themselves, with the limited feedback we've had so far. It didn't seem like the idea of nominations here ever caught fire. But let me know. IM John Watson, IM John Donaldson, and GM Larry Christiansen are standing by. As Stern mentions, it's not paramount to award the prizes at the closing ceremony in Stillwater today. But it would be nice way for everyone there to find out about them and share the love. Let us know your thoughts asap, especially if you contributed to the fund.

Best new thing of the day: in the Firefox spellchecker (I just upgraded), its first suggestion for "Shabalov" is "Hullabaloo"! Awesome.


I think you have an unmatched tag that is converting the rest of the page to italics.

Man, Becerra opened a can of whoop-ass on Nakamura. Got my vote, and file that under 'viciously refuting lame openings by white'.

Let judges to decide NOW(ASAP)(to be part of closing ceremony)

IF there is a delay, I suggest the judges list their top 5 or 10 candidates, listed by round, contestants, AND specific move or move sequence that they found worthy. This makes it easy to quickly research the candidates and then give an opinion.

I think the response has been tepid because 1) there are so many games to view, it is tough for working folk to go through them all (and you should view most if not all to be fair, so people hold back) and 2) there are many average chess players who find it odd to judge the brilliance / non-brilliance of GMs without some guidance.

Even more ideal, but surely asking too much, is extended this contest a couple days and have the possible candidates give a little explanation (a paragraph or a variation they had in mind) before (or after) the vote. This would be dragging things a bit, but I can't think of a better reward for donors than just a little insight into how a brilliant idea comes to life. If this becomes a standard practice in all US championships, I can see this CN prize pool continuing, getting real value along with the good feelings. Win-win.

I can also see why it might be announced right away, since most West Coast (and around the world) fans are just getting around to seeing this entry, let alone the games.

This year we saw the fastest posting of results, standings, PGN files and brilliancy prizes for each game (at the Monroi page). I was following live games too for a few hours each day (the first 3) and did not experience problems which you are describing. Apparently, the Internet connection in Stillwater was flaky and sometimes information could not be uploaded quickly. This was not caused by the MonRoi system. The system was working well as in all tournaments. People should not attack Monroi for issues caused by the Internet providers. I do not know Mig, but the guys from MonRoi already have the Round 9 brilliancy votes in- Nakamura, Hikaru vs Becerra, Julio 0-1. They also have a statement of the champion at the home page.


Mig do not be jealous that your brilliancy prize still has not received votes. If you were able to build relationship with monroi, they could have provided you with a game / player who received the largest votes of all, and by now you would already have a winner.

[Repeated from other thread.]

Nice try, Frank. The fact is that the transmission of a couple of text files is hardly enough to eat up anyone's connection. Indeed, a cellular phone or blackberry can transmit games over the net in real-time with no help whatsoever from a third-party connection. And you want us to believe that the Stillwater connection was flaky several days in a row? Ha ha ha. What a preposterous little fellow you are, Frank. A 2400 baud modem could handle the load.

In any case, I suspect "Frank" is really someone from MonRoi -- Mig can check the IP address and compare it with email he received from their people -- trying to reverse the tide of bad publicity their own shoddy product has generated.

Congratulation to Alex Shabalov.
I think the spirit of Wojo help him to have spectacular games and strong finish !!!

What's up with all the insults? YOUR SITE WAS DOWN. IT'S NOT ATTACKING YOU TO POINT THAT OUT. You don't solve problems by sticking your head in the sand. It had nothing to do with the MonRoi system that I can even imagine. Nowhere did I say it did. Some of us have been building and managing servers, even chess servers, since long before MonRoi existed. We can tell an overloaded server when we see one. When pages don't load and games don't refresh for several hours, that's a problem.

Overall the site was nice and certainly better than nothing, but the live game experience was problematic at best. Of COURSE it's an internet provider problem. But you hired that provider, for one. Second, after it was clear on the second day that the server could not handle the load, it wasn't improved. I believe some functionality was cut to lessen the load, but it was still non-functional most of the time. (This was amply discussed in your own chat areas as people complained the moves weren't coming in. I'm happy to post some of the chat I copied if you like.) This happens ALL THE TIME. Just about every event we watch has server issues, especially the ones in Spain. I don't think Morelia ever got past the first few moves without being crushed. I have server errors here all the time, in fact. Welcome to the club.

Regarding our brilliancy prizes, we don't have voting, we have judges and cash donations. This prize was to support the players and the championship and many people donated money. It's wasn't created to compete with the $100 round prizes or anything else. Jealous?! Amazing, you even seem to take fans donating their own money to support the event as criticism! I've been at this for a long time and it would take a lot more than dysfunctional web server to make be jealous of a toy-making elf in Montreal.

By the way, since the MonRoi people seem to like to post here and since there's no webmaster link on the official site I can find, the PGN file of all the games is empty. Sorry for another "attack."


If you really are from MonRoi, you've done your company a real disservice. It would be absolutely foolish for Mig or anyone else to point out how your real-time games portion of the website wasn't working since it is TRIVIAL for everyone to see for themselves if it was true. This is a case where the jury can witness events for themselves directly, with no need for hearsay.

And the live games, particularly for this last round, did not transmit to the official site in anything CLOSE to real time. MonRoi is a TECHNOLOGY company. If you don't think this failure in your website transmissions, **whatever the cause**, does not reflect poorly upon you and your company and call into question your ability to build technology-based solutions, then it is no wonder why posters seem so hostile towards your product. Not to mention your total lack of professionalism displayed by you and Yvon.

Posters did question your products overall, and its pretty logical to do so. How are observers of this US Championships website supposed to conclude otherwise, as many glitches as there were and that your product is touted as the technology being used? And that you allowed it to go on for days and days?

It is MONROI.COM we browsed for information on this championship, no other URL, how do you NOT think it reflects badly? Where was your CTO and Chief Marketer in all this, and did they not feel embarrassed, feel pressure to make sure the technology appeared to work flawlessly and provide a solution for other real-time chess tournaments in the future?

I was the one who said chess players should not bite the hand that feeds them. I had no idea that the depths chess has fallen to in the U.S. now involves scrappy hand-outs from hostile foreign companies with extremely poor PR skills that go out of their way to alienate their core customer base. Thank god I have no financial interest tied into chess. Someone shoot the hand and the dog already, and consider it a mercy killing.

All this MonRoi bashing! Geez! I don't know who "Frank" is but I've been working with and using the MonRoi system for a year or so now and, having worked at the OCF North American Open in Stillwater in February, can easily explain what happened with the live broadcast.

Obviously the MonRoi server back in Montreal was not up to par for an event of this magnitude. MonRoi had never really tested it before with such a big event and, just as Mig has pointed out with so many big events in Europe (Corus, Linares...), it is difficult for them to even keep their servers running while so many people from around the globe are taking such an interest in the games.

The problem with the site in Stillwater is that they were using the hotel's wireless internet to upload the games to their server back in Montreal. (Why they never bothered to get a wired connection is beyond me.) The wireless internet at the hotel kept timing out and so the MonRoi system was unable to upload the moves back to Montreal, giving the effect that some games were just frozen. In fact the MonRoi system was still working, and when the internet connection was re-established, it sends all the moves it has stored up to the server, and so it looks like the moves are being made in blocks rather than realtime.

However, the system works very well with a stable internet connection and the viewer works well when the "traffic" is not so heavy. Obviously they may need to upgrade their servers if they are to host more events of this size and I sincerely hope that they use this event as a learning experience.

Chris: If those wanting to follow the games could not do so, its a bit of a stretch to say the system works...

We could perhaps say the system works, except of course for those parts which doesnt. That parts of the system functions is a meagre comfort for those who did not get what was promised.

Like I said, I've used it, followed games, not had any complaints about people not being able to view games or the games appearing slow.

You could say the same for any major tournament using the DGT system when their servers get overloaded too I guess?

Guess I'm just used to broadcasting tournaments that don't get as many viewers. I will be broadcasting live from the Chicago Open this weekend. See if you experience the same problems from that "smaller" tournament.

Like I said, I've used it, followed games, not had any complaints about people not being able to view games or the games appearing slow.

You could say the same for any major tournament using the DGT system when their servers get overloaded too I guess?

Guess I'm just used to broadcasting tournaments that don't get as many viewers. I will be broadcasting live from the Chicago Open this weekend. See if you experience the same problems from that "smaller" tournament.

FWIW - I was trying to follow Naka - Becerra live yesterday from Toronto, but it was stuck after move 19 so I missed the "spanking". Only later that night I could access final results.

And yes, the final complete PGN is empty (zero size). We wants it! ;)

As I've attempted to make clear various times, the slowdown in the live viewing had nothing to do with the MonRoi device system unless you consider their web host part of the MonRoi system. Their "megawebservers.com" machine was overloaded by the traffic generated by the Championship. You can blame it on architecture if you like, but a bigger server wouldn't have had these problems. That's always the balance. If you have a feature-rich live viewing environment with chat, etc. and constant polling for moves, it's a rough load for a server when hundreds of people, thousands at peak moments, come in at the same time. We see the same thing at just about every big event.

Even the simplest, lightest pages can be hammered by enough traffic. We've certainly seen enough DGT sites paralyzed. My only issue with MonRoi in the matter is that it was obvious by day 2 their server couldn't handle it and the problem wasn't fixed. I believe they tried by turning off a few features in their interface (there was an audio link at the start) and nobody likes to change servers during an event in progress. So live and learn, one hopes. It just got annoying to have them coming on here saying how perfect everything was, or blaming it on a problem in Stillwater, instead of a simple, "sorry, we'll do better next time." As the saying goes, it's always the cover-up that gets you into trouble!

Last week I tried to view some live games from the tournament in Liechtenstein at the MonRoi site. I don't think that many people were watching it. The games were played earlier on the day than the games of the US championships, so there cannot have been a huge workload on the server.

Still many games froze. A game that froze after 3 hours (no time trouble for either player) cannot be found anymore in the list of games stored on the server. Games from round 8 are missing completely. Blaming the local organizers, the local servers, as in the States, is easy - but that implies the software is difficult to use.

Frank, Yvon, why should I play 400$ for your "quality product"?

"Frank, Yvon, why should I play 400$ for your "quality product"?"

Ouch! More than an iPod. There'll probably be a Chinese knock-off of the product in a few years, at 10-25% of that price.

Hi Mig,

Thank you for your notes. It was great to see top players of the United Sates using MonRoi PCMs! The system was used in over 60 tournaments (some events had 100 live games), and no viewer user issues were reported in the past. At the US Championship there were technical difficulties beyond our control. The Internet connection in the tournament hall (we got wifi and unfortunately there was no high speed Internet) was going up and down intermittently at the end of some rounds. We also at first assumed that there was a server capacity issue. After speaking with on-site support and monitoring we concluded that resending games each time that the local Internet reconnects and repeating this many times in a short period of time, caused some delays in viewing & loading. We could have addressed it by some back-up Internet channels, but this would have been too costly for the organizers. Over 50,000 unique viewers were on GM Alex Shabalov’s last game. Zeljka prepared a CD with player photos and games for participants and Frank Berry was happy about it. MonRoi PR is focused on other tasks and not on chess blogs. The Frank Berry US Championship event was excellent. Sponsors, organizers, players & USCF collaborated in a professional manner, and it was a pleasure contributing to the event. Each month the number of MonRoi WDC viewers increases. When compared with May 2006, we have 10 times more unique spectators. If we continue growing at this rate, we will need to think about acquiring some hosting company with a bank of servers. It is great to see that spectators are demanding quality, as this will become standard expectation which tournaments will need to strive for. Huh – and chess is getting some real visibility. Replay games on www.monroi.com/wdc and pick up PGN files. Please rest assured that the “Elves” (as Mig calls us) at MonRoi will continue working all year round and hopefully the Grinch will develop a more positive attitude one day.

MonRoi Technical Support

No viewer issues were reported in the past?! What about Liechtenstein?

50,000 unique viewers of Shabalov's last game?? Really?? That surprises me. Leaving the rest of the issues aside, is a "unique viewer" one individual/machine/URL who may have logged in several times, or does each login count as a "unique viewer"? If you switch from Shabalov to Nakamura and back again, does that count as two "unique viewers"? Also, what proportion of the total were from the US?

I would be shocked to hear that there were actually 50,000 people who took the trouble to watch the game, and would suspect that people were being counted more than once somehow, but I don't know, maybe the audience is larger than I think it is.

Seems very unlikely there were 50,000 unique viewers of the Shabalov game. Likely counting switches to/from a game, and all the times I hit "refresh" hoping to see a more current version of the game.

MonRoi Technical Support :
"Over 50,000 unique viewers were on GM Alex Shabalov’s last game." and "MonRoi PR is focused on other tasks and not on chess blogs."

MonRoi PR should be renamed MoRon PR if a) 50,000 unique viewers were interested in Shabalov's last game (but instead got blank pages that didn't update), and b) MorRoi PR thinks this blog is the *genesis* of false complaints against them, and not just the outlet used to express dissatisfaction by the chess public because of this blog's popularity.

What big task did MonRoi PR have that was more important than making sure MonRoi technology looked good with so many unique visitors watching the U.S Chess Championships yesterday (or all event long for that matter)? Why hasn't MonRoi PR caught on that blogs, particularly one of the most popular ones in a niche market, have been accepted by *all* industries as being very influential with consumers, and to dismiss them is to live in the past (an parallel that MonRoi is fond of ["typewriters vs Word Processors"], ironically)?

As a smaller company, I'm sure MonRoi is committing the mistake of having poorly socialized techie people wear the hats of positions requiring a skilled social touch in their spare time. They've demonstrated this thrice now. Instead of investing in a bank of servers to host future events, MonRoi should invest internally and get some genuine, professional, and knowledgeable employees to handle Marketing and PR, instead of the immature hissy-fitting name-callers that have exposed their own incompetency on this very blog they dismiss at the same time they make sure to post in.

It's weird being a Mig defender after disagreeing strongly with his hotel post, but MonRoi's behavior is even more atrocious and wrong.

Does anyone else frequently have the experience of being totally divided on whether someone else's comments are completely serious or completely ironic?



Have you been able to find the little bald-headed troll doll? The prize money will surely be p*ssed away in no time. But the "Miggie" would be passed from the winner to his children (and to their children) for many generations.


The chess scene in a nutshell: the competition for the wireless pgn device market (board input vs. handheld input) is so fierce because the market is so tiny (at current price levels, anyway).

Stab your opponent in the back 3x, and you too can run for the USCF Board....

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 23, 2007 6:24 PM.

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