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2007 US Women's Ch Underway

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Heck, it might even be over by the time this post reaches the interwebs. That's how fast this event sprints by at two rounds a day. As previewed a few weeks ago (and a lively debate still continues), the Frank Berry-sponsored women's championship began yesterday in that renowned home of champions, Stillwater, Oklahoma. The tidy official site by arbiter Chris Bird is up here.

Brand new state, gonna treat you great!
Gonna give you barley, carrots and pertaters,
Pasture fer the cattle,
Spinach and termayters!

The nine-round all-play-all will be over on Friday. No one scored 2/2 on the first day and things are still up for grabs. Chouchanik Airapetian was the only player with 0/2, so we're rooting for her as an underdog and not just because she has a personality that could give you cavities. We also have some fillies in the race in that Irina Krush annotates for Black Belt, Liz Vicary occasionally demonstrates here that blog commentary can be both funny and cogent (and she wuz robbed at last year's blog awards), and defending champion Anna Zatonskih had one of our favorite wardrobe malfunctions in San Diego in 2006. And then there's Tuvshintugs, who hails from my native East Bay. The Oaktown in the house! Good luck to all!

And when we say
Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
We're only sayin'
You're doin' fine,
Oklahoma O.K.

The live games are here. Round 3 is almost completely over. Krush won for the first time, yay. But she beat Vicary, boo. Zatonskih scored her second win, yay. But it sent Airapetian to 0/3, boo. The top seeds meet today in round four with Zatonskih having white against Olympiad teammate Krush. Buy your tickets and your vowels now for the round 8 all-Mongolian matchup between Tsagaan Battsetseg and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. The top three players go to the next FIDE world championship and the winner of that has to defend her title in a match against Topalov.


Go, Chimi!

I think this is the first time in years that I've watched full games of chess being played from start to finish. I couldn't stay awake for even Topalov-Kramnik. It helps that the times are good for U.S. observers. It also helps that these games are being broadcast at the same time as the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table is being shown on pay per view via video webcast as well. It's almost like being at a Las Vegas sports book with their dozens of monitors tracking games all around the country. I may not leave my computer all day.

I also find that sub-2500 games are more interesting to observe because there is still room for "variance" in the moves and results, making for positions and games that you just don't see often enough in top flight games (Abrahamyan vs Tuvshintugs was R+N+B vs R+4 pawns at the end).

I think a noticeably higher rate of 3rd-4th best or even '?!' moves leads to a better spectator experience. If both sides are playing a lot of non-Fritz suggested moves, this makes staring at the Fritz engine numbers less of a fixation and makes watching the actual game the focus, knowing a very wide range of moves might actually occur from either side.

In top flight games, they are at a level of thinking that is sometimes hard to follow, or that is predicted by Fritz much too often, and certainly they will not fall for traps they see 5 moves before they are even attempted (often negating the attempt altogether). Here the combinations are still sophisticated, but they easier to spot yourself sometimes, and there is even a chance of falling into a bad trap (Abrahamyan lost her queen to a trap in round 1 in 19 moves!) which makes observing a trap attempt success/failure a much more interactive feeling. Does she see it? OMG, she doesn't! The potential for exhaustion by playing 2 rounds/day, while brutal for the players, adds to this kind of excitement.

This divorce from Frtiz-predictability is what makes this USWCC both watchable and potentially popular if gambling opportunities were incorporated into it. The NFL (particularly), NBA, MLB, and even NHL would not be nearly as popular as they are if there were no gambling involved. I'm usually pretty negative on mainstreaming chess as a spectator sport in the US, but if anything could boost its appeal, it would be gambling tie-ins. I realized this last night after watching 2 rounds. Two suggestions on this front:

1) Stagger the game times. Launch each game 20-30 minutes apart so there is always "action" to observe somewhere. It is a good thing if one game is just starting, another is in the middle game, another in the end game. The NFL does this to some extent, and it matters a lot watching in the sports book.

2) Copy the 'financial markets' system of gambling that WSEX pioneered. In this system, betting goes on in REAL TIME as the game is being played, and is perfect for slow-moving chess. Basically you buy shares of a player for an amount that fluctuates (in real time, and fluctuates directly by the direct demand to buy shares which will result from the position on the board) as the game goes on. Each winning share is worth $100, each losing share is $0. The price of a share is bid on an open market system. The key is that you can buy and sell at any time during the game, so if you are a good trader, you can make money even if the game ends in a draw (worth $50 a share for all shares).

So for instance Krush vs Zatonskih might start off as Krush $55/share Zat $50/share. As the game goes on, Krush has a better position in the opening and her ask price is now $60 while Zat ask price falls to $45. Suddenly Zat sacrifices a Knight for 2 pawns. How does this affect the market?

If the price of Zat shoots up to $65 and Krush falls to $40 after the sac, is shares of Krush way too undervalued and should I now hoard Krush at this $40 price? Should I sell my Zat shares that I bought at $45 for the $60 it is at now and lock in profit, or will the sac work and should I hold on to them because these shares be worth $100 at the end?

WSEX does this Real-time betting system for Football and Baseball all the time, because these games are broken up into 'plays' and thus give time for the market to fluctuate between 'moves'. Public opinion directly determines the price, and if you are better than the public in prediction, you stand to make money.

The founders of WSEX were former options traders, so you can see where it comes from, and how effective it is for gambling (which the stock market is - gambling). Chess is perfectly suited for this too. But chess usually lacks the necessary unpredictability to make this model work, and thus why 2200-2400 chess might work best. I really think this is a legitimate way to boost chess's popularity to some extent, much faster than waiting for the pipe-dream of corporate sponsorship. I wish I could patent the idea.

Now back to the WSOP poker and USWCC broadcasts...

Go EV!

How's CHESS BITCH making out?

Tsk, tsk, Mig. You of all people...
You mean "renowned" (home of champions, etc.). Strange how the noun is gaining currency as a descriptive term.

Check out the pictures at the official site - Elizabeth in a Metallica T-shirt! Now that's a "Kill 'em all" attitude!

Stern, you are brilliant! Nothing like gambling to jazz up a sport. Here in India, our national sport, cricket, as moribund and slothlike a game as ever played by bipeds since the dawn of evolution, suddenly shot up in the money stakes when gambling came in.

Agree with Stern on how interesting the games are. With the G/120 + 30 sec rules, it's fun watching the time scramble. Wasn't Melekina in her first game today like, under 3 minutes for a LONG time? Kudos to the Web Site and live games - Day AND Night. Lots of fighting chess, however, R4 Irina/Anna - what's UP with the 11 move draw. Irina used a whole 4 minutes and Anna 13 min? We're they trying to catch dinner/movie? Was the only aberration I could see in the first 20 games.

Ya all no deep down dat the women's championship is an oxymoron! Aint nobody who don know this is juss one of em affirmative action prizes. Hell, if we aint got any of em' PC prizes den da tards end women aint ever gonna win no prize! if em women so smart den day don't need no extra prize. ya all seen the Brana witch gettin all 'sterical when mig we juss write da truth about er product. Aint it true dat da monroi product sucks? Aint it true that women suck at chess an das why day need an extra prize? aint nobody gonna tell me otherwise!

The website for this tournament is fantastic. Easy to navigate, great photos, updated crosstables.

The live games are fast and presented well -- from my understanding, they are using MonRoi system to record and capture, but *not* the MonRoi server to broadcast the games.

Anyway, check it out.

The website for this tournament is fantastic. Easy to navigate, great photos, updated crosstables.

The live games are fast and presented well -- from my understanding, they are using MonRoi system to record and capture, but *not* the MonRoi server to broadcast the games.

Anyway, check it out.

I know its off thread but.... its interesting to see a public hearing by the FIDE Ethics Commission of the Topalov/Dainalov behaviour and statements. Look at part of the statement they issued: "...writing and verbalising opinions about the facts, personally and by your manager Silvio Danailov, well aware that this accusation was not supported by evidence .. in order to obtain an illegitimate advantage".

"Giving ..interviews following the World Championship in Elista, to have defamed Mr. Vladimir Kramnik" quoting parts in spanish including answers by Topalov

" ... Do you believe that Kramnik continued cheating after the scandal was unleashed?) ... yes, and the new method was better. ... (Also in the tiebreak games?) There they had a foolproof system. In the fourth game,... Kramnik made a move that would only occur to a computer ..But they did it better than the shoddy job with the cables"

Perhaps Topalov never really said this and the Spanish journalist was mistaken, misquoted or made it up?

A pair of miscreants about to get the sanction and discipline they richly deserve or an evil Russian conspiracy to destroy a decent and worthy challenger and his enthusiastic manager?

What can I say?! Battsetseg rocks! Her win in round 4 certainly made me smile.

Where are the paranoids who usually infest these threads accusing Mig of heinous deeds?

Summer holidays? You slackers!

H L M: I second that!

We wants our rants!


And our Bulgarian friends are quiet...too quiet.

Indeed, our Bulgarian friends are quiet.

I gladly remember the good old days when we had 'real' candidate/world championship matches with Spassky wearing goggles, chairs being tested for radio-activity, yogurts being eaten, para-psychologists being seated in front rows, Petrosjan noisily swaying his chair, etc... Those were the days!

Instead, what do we have now? Everybody can freely proclaim himself world champion, regardless of whether he just won or lost, qualified or not. Let's see..... hmmm... who is my world champion today...? Fischer? Topalov? Kramnik...? Oh no, I think I'll go for Karpov!

In terms of spectator appeal, it surely doesn't hurt that those sub-2500 are mostly young women. Let us not ignore the obvious.

Zatonskih lost. Mig , this deserves another thread.

Also interesting... look at the "players" page. Not a single participant was born in the US!

I'm all for the hometown girl!

Go Battsetseg!

How's EK?

EK = Enkhbat?

Woohoo! Great win by EV versus a 2361 elo (Baginskaite, 200 point difference) with the Black pieces in Round 7!

That was a sweet attack at the end too, very fun to watch. Turns out EV is a hyper-aggressive player. Who knew? This whole event has really been a slug fest, I love sub 2500 chess so far.

Go EV!

I'm not sure I understand why 27. ... Rxf6 and then Rg8 wasn't good for Liz. I don't think that Qf2 is anything to worry about, because the white King would be under heavy fire at that point. Maybe I am missing something, but the immediate Rg8 just felt wrong.



"I'm not sure I understand why 27. ... Rxf6 and then Rg8 wasn't good for Liz. I don't think that Qf2 is anything to worry about, because the white King would be under heavy fire at that point. Maybe I am missing something, but the immediate Rg8 just felt wrong."

That Melekhina--Vicary game was rife with errors. Vicary fully "earned" her loss, though. The game ended with a cute 1-mover by White, threatening the hanging Rook on h5, and a Discovered check.

The big news is that Chouchan Airapetian finally got her first half-point. Her tenacity finally paid off with a miracle draw from a dead lost position vs. Tatev Abrahamyan. Tatev really blew her best chance to get a Women's IM norm, since now she'll need to win against Krush in the final round.

I would like to know what the stats are for viewer visits, etc. at the official 2007 U.S. Women's Chess Championship site webmastered by Chris Bird. Just curious... Chris? Are you out there???

This is one exciting tournament. Go Irina!!!!

In terms of stats, here's the breakdown I have for the first 4 days:

July 16th
1138 visits, 20564 pages viewed

July 17th
1760 visits, 42973 pages viewed

July 18th
2247 visits, 68415 pages viewed

July 19th
2456 visits, 66917 pages viewed

The most popular page is the live coverage page that has been viewed 5535 times in the last 4 days.

Take from that whatever you want to! Hope people are enjoying the tournament and that the web coverage is providing enough information for people to get an idea of what is going on without being here!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 17, 2007 4:42 PM.

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