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Campfire Chess Posts

Wesley So Coming to the USCF

Some people believe that he could be a future chess World Champion and now, he just might do it carrying the banner of the United States. Grandmaster Wesley So, who is ranked 15th in the world, recently announced through Susan Polgar’s chess blog that he will be switching from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines to the United States Chess Federation. Grandmaster So had previously requested a release from the NCFP following the upcoming Olympiad in Tromso but his request was ignored, which prompted his most recent announcement. Unfortunately, FIDE rules require that he suspend his participation in top-level chess events for two years prior to switching to the USCF or else he could pay a 50k euro fee to transfer immediately.

Here is a transcript of the letter sent by Grandmaster So to the president of NCFP, Propsero Pichay, requesting immediate release from the NCFP.

Dear Cong Pichay,

I would like to share my thoughts about changing federations. I hope you have the time to read my letter. I appreciate your understanding in advance.

First of all, I would like to thank you for your past support. I am proud to be Filipino, and I will always be a Filipino at heart. I will never forget where I came from.

However, circumstances have changed. My family has permanently moved to Canada. I now live and attend school full time in the United States (at Webster University). I plan to reside permanently here. This is where I will have the opportunity to improve my chess, and make a decent living as a professional player. I want to be able to play in top level tournaments … to get to the next level.

I have filed the paperwork to switch federation to the US last year. I respectfully ask that you grant me this opportunity and consent my transfer.

If you choose not to approve my transfer request, I have no way of paying the 50,000 euros fees to the NCFP. Therefore, I will have no choice but to sit out another year to fulfill my full two year waiting period so no transfer fees are needed. This will not benefit the NCFP at all. However, it will severely slow down my progress by not being able to play in official FIDE events such as the World Cup, World Blitz and Rapid Championships, etc. I will be forced to miss the next World Championship cycle.

Because of the 2-year waiting period rule of FIDE, I am not able to compete in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Dubai next week. I will also not be able to compete in the upcoming Olympiad in Norway.

This is not an easy decision. But it is the best decision for me to have a chance to be a top 10 player in the world, and perhaps one day fight for the World Championship crown. I hope you will support my decision and allow me to make this change immediately so I can have a chance to chase my dream without losing more valuable time at this very important age.

Thank you!

Respectfully yours, Wesley So

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God and Chess

Chess is life, but life may not be a chess game. If you have ever done a Google image search for the word chess, then you might have noticed that there are many interesting digital interpretations of the game that include the armies of good and evil fighting each other on massive chessboards that span entire realms. Often, God and Satan are portrayed as Grandmasters moving souls around the universe like chessmen in their quest to win life’s grandest tournament. Unfortunately, while the image is striking and most likely provokes deep existential reflection in many players and non-players, but I believe that the interpretation of good and evil as a chess game does not go far enough to explore the complexities of the human condition.

In chess, as with many things, the player is at the mercy of the rules. Chess is a game of strategic and tactical skill that requires a person to successfully integrate elements of both techniques to solve a puzzle. As with life, chess is a puzzle to be solved through proper planning and execution from the opening, through the middle game, to the endgame. Regardless of skill level, nothing will ever allow a chess player to escape the necessity of the rules. The Bishop can only move diagonally, the pawn one space at a time, and the Rook is confined to a limited, but powerful straight path. In chess, the player makes the decisions that affect the outcome of the game, not the pieces. The configuration of chess pieces on a chessboard are abstract representations of the player’s strategic and tactical expressions. Unlike the heart and souls of humanity, chess pieces do not have feelings or care about the outcome of a game.

Humanity is endowed by its Creator with free will. It is through the execution of free will that complex decisions like those required to win a chess game can be made (or not made) without requirement to consult a higher authority. The relationship of God’s control over the universe is traditionally referred to as providence and it means that nothing happens by chance: everything has a purpose and everything is directed (in some way) by God for his greater purpose. Without writing hundreds of pages of theological text to analyze the differential in the limitations of free will and providence, it is simply vital to note that each player (person) in the universe has a conscious choice to make in life’s many battles. Is it time to take a gambit and hope that your opponent accepts? Or, is it time to look for new and inspiring moves that are outside the lines of Houdini or Fritz? This is the capability of the human soul, the human intellect, and the human spirit that is not inherent to the capabilities of the chess pieces. For the pieces on the board, they are wholly at the mercy of the person playing them, whose methodology might be flawed and disastrous.

“If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” (Job 34:14–15, ESV)

Just as the chess pieces cannot function without human players, humanity cannot function without the spirit of its Creator. Yet, the complexities of the human condition far outweigh the complexities of a chess game. While we are quick to reference common day events as blunders or gambits and think of ourselves as Kings, Queens, or more often, as Pawns, the truth of humankind is far more than moving across the board. The human story of chess involves the personal interest and empathy of the players themselves. The pieces of God’s chess board care about their plight and want to win the game! Perhaps the most remarkable part of chess is that it can tell a significantly powerful story that closely mirrors the lives and struggles that we experience. The victories and defeats played out across the black and white squares are representative of the thrills of defeat and victorious celebration in life. The power of chess is that it can be a form of worship in that it is as close as humanity can get to capturing the essence of what it means to be a human on the greatest chess board of all.

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Product Review – Chessmate Ultima Pocket Chess Set

The nature of my day job requires that my wife and I keep many of our interests and hobbies as mobile as possible. When I was regularly involved in astronomy and astronomical research, it was always easier to fire up a digital planetarium on my computer than to set up a telescope. Chess is much different in that there are a variety of ways to play and study the game. The multitude of digital platforms available these days allow students and players to carry their chess sets and portable game notation (PGN) files almost anywhere. Personally, I enjoy having access to Deep Fritz and Houdini on my laptop, but I believe that none of those engines or user interfaces can match the feel of a real board.

Every book I have ever read about Bobby Fischer makes mention of his almost mythical pocket chess set. As my interest in chess has grown over the years, I have searched wherever possible to find something comparable to his pocket set. Recently I ordered a checkbook travel chess set from the United States Chess Federation. This fantastic little set has round magnetic pieces and is made of a soft, durable material. It is perfect for on-the-go chess in a rugged setting. At $4.99, the price is unbeatable.

However, I believe that I have finally discovered the Rolls-Royce of pocket chess sets. I cannot remember the location of the article I was reading, but I recently came across a chess article that mentioned a pocket chess set called Chessmate. After a quick web search, I came across the Chessmate website and discovered the Chessmate is actually one series of products made by game designer David Weinstock. Chessmate was founded in 1996 and the Chessmate Pocket Chess Set ($39.99) is its flagship product. I did not want to spend too much money on a pocket set, but I decided that I wanted something more than the basic Chessmate set. I selected the Chessmate Ultima primarily because the product description emphasized that the pieces were already set up and ready to go.

My Chessmate Ultima arrived this morning via USPS Signature Confirmation mail, which created a small amount of difficulty given the need to be home to sign for the package. After working with my mail carrier, I was able to get my package and have been playing with the set all day. The first thing that struck me about the Ultima was its high quality construction and unique packaging. It came incredibly well packaged with several hand-written “Thank Yous” from Mr. Weinstock. The construction of the set itself is first rate. It has a beautiful, professional-grade imitation Ostrich exterior and a powerful magnetic lock that keeps it secured when not in use. According to Mr. Weinstock, imitation Ostrich and imitation leather materials work best for folding chess sets in the long term because they do not need to be broken in before lying flat.

The Chessmate logo is on a small black plate on the interior of the set and does not detract from the set’s overall look and feel. The board itself opens up completely flat the first time it is opened and stays that way. I have been using it throughout the day to Capablanca’s game from the first part of The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played and some games from New In Chess. There is almost no way to describe the incredible way that the magnetic pieces of the Chessmate Ultima move across the board. They are amazingly smooth, which makes the board perfect for moving back and forth between my Kindle Paperwhite and my Chessmate. My wife usually gives me a hard time about how many chess sets we have in the house, but even she was impressed with the quality and appearance of the Chessmate. It has not left my hands very much for most of the day and even as I write this entry, it sits open by my side.

The Chessmate Ultima retails for $59.99 at the Chessmate website and takes about a week to ship from the time it is ordered. I contacted Mr. Weinstock to ask about the shipping time and he responded personally to tell me that this is because each Chessmate is hand-made after the order is placed. Once my Chessmate order shipped, it arrived at my home in Ohio in just two days! The Chessmate Ultima Pocket Chess Set is a wonderful tool for the beginning chess enthusiast or perhaps even the most seasoned Grandmaster wanting a quick way to whip out a game board. Check out the official Chessmate website for details.

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Game Analysis – Surber vs. Boyer 2013

For four years, Lucas Boyer and I occasionally discussed our love for chess and vowed to play each other. Each time we would agree to play, some work commitment would prevent the match from taking place. When his time in Dayton came to an end, the two of us made a point to sit down at the board and play the match we had always talked about. I gave him choice of color and he selected black. The game was played in the Mental Health Clinic at Wright-Patterson Medical Center and ended in a 1-0 checkmate after 38 moves.

This is my analysis in conjunction with analysis from Deep Fritz 14.

A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event “Friendly Game”] [Site “Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio”] [Date “2013.12.13”] [Round “?”] [White “Surber, Wesley A”] [Black “Boyer, Lucas A”] [Result “1-0”] [ECO “B11”] [Annotator “Deep Fritz 14 x64 (30s)”] [PlyCount “75”] [EventDate “2013.??.??”] [EventCountry “USA”] [SourceDate “2014.05.09”] {B11: Caro-Kann: Two Knights Variation} 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 {last book move} e6 3. Bc4 (3. Nf3 d5 $14) 3… d5 {Black threatens to win material: d5xc4} 4. d3 $4 { Deep Fritz recommended 4.Bb3, but my intentions here were to challenge his queen immediately at the onset of the game. I was unsure of how strong a player he was and wanted to ensure that I went into the challenge with a fighting spirit.} (4. Bb3 a5 5. exd5 exd5 6. Qe2+ Be7 $11) 4… Qb6 {Loses material} 5. Nf3 $4 {with this move White loses his initiative} (5. Bb3 Be7 $14 ) 5… Bc5 {Black threatens to win material: Bc5xf2} 6. O-O $4 {Deep Fritz recommended 6.d4 and it was definitely a better move than castling at that moment. However, I felt that I still maintained some initiative and had to put my King to safety before he built his attacking line.} (6. d4 Bxd4 7. Nxd4 dxc4 $11) 6… Nf6 7. e5 (7. Bb3 Be7 $14) 7… Ng4 8. Na4 $4 {releasing the pressure on the opponent} (8. d4 $142 Be7 9. Bd3 $16) 8… Bxf2+ 9. Rxf2 $4 { This was one of the worst moves of the game for me. Sacrificing the Rook on f1 made things much more difficult when 9. Kh1 Qb4 would have been much stronger.} (9. Kh1 $142 Qb4 10. Bb3 $15) 9… Qxf2+ 10. Kh1 b5 11. Nc5 (11. Bxb5 {cannot undo what has already been done} cxb5 12. Nc3 b4 $19) 11… O-O 12. b4 (12. Bb3 {cannot change destiny} Qxc5 13. d4 Qe7 $19) 12… g6 13. h3 Nh6 14. Ng5 $4 {My goal with 14. Ng5 was to put pressure on the f7 and h7 squares, but I missed 14. Bxh6.} (14. Bxh6 $142 bxc4 15. Qc1 $16) 14… f6 15. exf6 $4 {solves nothing} (15. Nge4 $142 Qh4 16. Nxf6+ Rxf6 17. exf6 $17) 15… Rxf6 16. Bb2 (16. Bb3 Nf5 17. Qg1 Ng3+ 18. Kh2 Qxg1+ 19. Kxg1 $19) 16… Rf4 17. Be5 $4 {Threatening 17…Qf1+ 18. Qxf1 Rxf1+} (17. Ngxe6 $142 Bxe6 18. Nxe6 $17) 17… Nf5 18. Bxf4 (18. Bb3 Ng3+ 19. Kh2 Nf1+ 20. Kh1 Rf5 $19) 18… Qxf4 19. a4 (19. Qg4 {there is nothing else anyway} Qe3 20. Nf3 bxc4 21. Re1 $19) 19… Ng3+ 20. Kg1 Qxg5 21. Kh2 (21. axb5 {does not improve anything} Qe3+ 22. Kh2 Ne2 $19) 21… Qe5 22. axb5 (22. d4 {doesn’t change anything anymore} Nf1+ 23. Kg1 Qh2+ 24. Kxf1 bxc4 $19) 22… a5 23. bxa5 (23. d4 {is the last straw} Qf4 24. Qe1 dxc4 25. Qxg3 Qxg3+ 26. Kxg3 cxb5 27. Kf4 $19) 23… cxb5 24. Bxb5 (24. d4 {doesn’t get the cat off the tree} Nf1+ 25. Kg1 Qe3+ 26. Kxf1 bxc4 $19) 24… Qd6 25. d4 (25. Na4 {does not help much} Bd7 26. Nb6 Rxa5 (26… Bxb5 $6 {is the weaker alternative} 27. Nxa8 Nc6 28. Qe1 Ne2+ 29. g3 $19) 27. Nxd7 Rxb5 (27… Nxd7 $6 28. Rxa5 Ne4+ 29. Kg1 Qb6+ 30. d4 Qxa5 31. Bxd7 $17) 28. Nf6+ Kf8 $19) 25… Ba6 26. Rb1 (26. Nxa6 Nxa6 (26… Rxa6 $6 27. Bxa6 Nxa6 28. Kg1 $11) 27. Kg1 Nc7 $19) 26… Nf5+ 27. Kg1 Ne3 28. Qd2 Qf4 29. Nxe6 Bxb5 {This was the defining move of the game. Boyer was unable to recover from the mental distress of losing his Queen unintentionally.} 30. Nxf4 Nc4 {Attacks the isolani on a5} 31. Qb4 (31. Rxb5 $6 {is impossible} Nxd2 32. Nxd5 Nc6 $15) 31… Ba6 32. Nxd5 (32. Qe7 Nc6 33. Qe6+ Kg7 34. Qxc6 Rg8 35. Qxa6 Nb6 36. axb6 Kh6 37. b7 Rf8 38. b8=Q Rf6 39. Rb6 Rxb6 40. Qf8+ Kg5 41. Ne6+ Kh4 42. Qh6+ Kg3 43. Qg5#) 32… Nc6 33. Qc5 (33. Ne7+ $142 {might be the shorter path} Nxe7 34. Qxe7 $18) 33… N6xa5 34. Nf6+ (34. Qe7 Rf8 35. Nf6+ Rxf6 36. Rb8+ Bc8 37. Rxc8+ Rf8 38. Rxf8#) 34… Kg7 35. Rf1 (35. Qe7+ Kh6 36. Ng4+ Kh5 37. g3 Bb7 38. Qh4#) 35… Rc8 36. Qe7+ Kh6 37. Qxh7+ Kg5 38. h4# (38. Ne4#) 1-0

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NATO Championship

The last chance for American military personnel to submit nominations for the NATO Championship in September in Quebec is fast approaching! The deadline for submissions is 1-Jun-14, which is Sunday! Contact Colonel David Hater if you are interested in joining the team. The Department of Defense does not fund participation in this tournament, so participants are expected to pay their way. See below for complete details.

The following was originally posted on the United States Chess Federation’s website.

If you are interested in playing in the NATO Championship from 8-12 September in Quebec, Canada, please contact Colonel David Hater at dhater1@aol.com. Note that the Department of Defense no longer funds participation in this tournament so players should expect to pay all their own transportation and tournament expenses. Eligibility rules and details on how the team are below. Colonel Hater is also available to answer any questions.

The deadline to self-nominate for consideration for a spot on the team is June 1st, 2014. We expect the team would be announced no later then the end of June and acceptance and payment of entry fee would be due not later than July 20th, 2014.

Memorandum for: Active Duty, Reserve, and Select Retired Member of the US Armed Forces, and DoD Government Civilians Subject: The U.S. Team for the annual NATO Chess Championships (Draft #2)

  1. Purpose. To prescribe the procedures the U.S. military chess community will use to identify and select the 8-Player team that represents the U.S. Armed Forces in the annual NATO Chess Championships (NCC). The NCC usually occurs in September or October.

  2. Team Composition.

    a. Team Size. Under current NCC rules, each NATO nation’s Armed Forces team may consist of a maximum of 8 players. Additionally, each team may send up to three (3) more players who meet the criteria described in paragraph 2b.

    b. SPECIAL EXCEPTION. An exception to the rule in paragraph 2a occurs when a player has participated in at least eight (8) previous NCCs. Players meeting this criteria are eligible to participate, if allowed by the Event Organizer (e.g. the host nation). This “exception” can vary from year-to-year, as it is the Event Organizer’s prerogative based on the venue (size of the playing area) and other factors. The rules are the same for all NATO nations. Players meeting this exception do not count against the 8-player size of a nation’s contingent, nor are they required to meet the specifications of paragraph 4 (Selection of Players).

    c. Team Captain. The US contingent will select its own Team Captain by agreement among the participating players. The Team Captain may or may not be the most “senior” person in military rank, as another player may have significantly greater NCC experience. The Team Captain will identify him/herself by email to the Chair of the Military Chess Committee no later than 60 days before the next NCC.

  3. Player Eligibility. Players should be expected to be asked to provide proof of their eligibility.

    a. USCF Membership. All players must be current members of the USCF at the time they are selected for the tournament, and must maintain their membership through the date of the NCC. Players also must have a FIDE ID number, which usually is obtained from having participated previously in a FIDE-rated tournament. Players without a FIDE ID number can request a number by contacting the FIDE Associate in the USCF Office (see www.uschess.org).

    b. Employment. All players must be members of the Active Component or Reserve Component of the U.S. Armed Forces. Retirees also are eligible if their retirement date was no more than one year before the NCC. DoD Civilian employees are eligible, and retired DoD Civilians have the same retirement criteria as military players.

  4. Selection of Players. The intent of these procedures is to facilitate selecting and fielding the strongest possible U.S. Armed Forces team. The U.S. team will contain up to eight (8) players identified using the criteria below.

    a. USCF or FIDE Rating. This criteria will be used to determine up to 6 of the 8 positions on the U.S. Team. A player’s “rating” is the highest of his/her FIDE or USCF Regular Rating within the previous year that ends three months before the next NCC. For example, if the next NCC Tournament begins in September, then the “Rating Year” is from July of the previous year through June of the current year. For FIDE ratings, the rating is the rating shown on a player’s “Monthly Progress Chart” on the FIDE web site (www.fide.com). For USCF ratings, the rating is the rating published in the monthly USCF Rating Supplement (www.uschess.org/msa). Ratings after the 3-month cut-off date cannot be used to bump another player from the Player List. Blitz or Quick Ratings do not count.

    b. Team Captain / Military Chess Committee Nominations. The Team Captain and Military Chess Committee reserve the right to appoint the remaining two (2) positions on the U.S. Team. If this appointment process is not used, then the rating criteria above will apply to determine the remaining 2 players.

    c. Participation in the annual US Armed Forces Open (USAFO) Chess Tournament. The USAFO is held Columbus Day weekend each October. Participation in the USAFO demonstrates a player’s commitment to Military Chess.

    d. Service-level Chess Championships. If a military service holds its own Service-level championship tournament (e.g. the Air Force Open Chess Championships), participants are eligible for the same 50 point bonus described above. The Military Chess Committee Service-level Championships be “open” as opposed to “invitational.”

    e. BONUS POINTS for Player’s USCF or FIDE Ratings. Because the intent of the selection criteria is to “reward” players who are active in tournaments, especially military tournaments, the following “bonus points” can be added to each player’s rating. The maximum number of points any player can receive is 150. A player’s “Adjusted Rating” becomes the rating used for selection purposes. Players are responsible for identifying their eligibility for all Bonus Rating Points.

  5. How to get Selected. The Military Chess Committee does not select the players. Rather, the process is one of self-nomination among colleagues who desire to play in the next NCC.

    a. Who to contact. The best way to self-nominate is to contact the Team Captain of the previous year’s U.S. NCC team. That person probably knows who is assembling the coming year’s team. To find last year’s NCC team captain, contact the USCF Membership Services and ask for the contact information of the Chair of the Military Chess Committee. The Chair can assist a player in contacting the right person involved with building the team.

    b. Self-Nomination and Cut-off Date. Players must self-nominate and provide proof of their eligibility and rating (including Bonus Points), by the 1st of the month that is three (3) months before the next NCC. For example, if the NCC is scheduled for September, then eligible players must self-nominate by June 1st.

    c. List of Selected Players.

    [1] No later than 60 days before the NCC, the Team Captain will provide the Chair of the Military Chess Committee with his/her list of players (see example format below). The Military Chess Committee recommends the Player List contain several Alternates to cover instances where a primary Team Member decides to withdraw his/her name.

    [2] The Team Captain will sort the Player List according to FIDE/USCF Rating or Adjusted Rating sequence. Players who meet the Special Exception criteria in paragraph 2a (8-time or more participant in the NCC) will be shown at the bottom of the Player List, regardless of their rating.)

    [3] The Chair of the Military Chess Committee will arrange to have the Player List published on an appropriate page of the USCF Web Site. The list is considered final unless changed by agreement between the Team Captain and the Chair of the Military Chess Committee. The Chair is obligated to “validate” the Team Captain’s proposed change(s) and to have the published list update on the USCF web site.

  6. Costs. There is no guaranteed source of funding from the USCF or any DoD organization. Eligible players should assume they will fund their own travel and entry fees. The Entry Fee for the NCC usually includes lodging and meals.

    a. Entry Fee Deadline. The U.S. Team Captain will establish and notify players of the deadline for payment of required NCC entry fees. Normally, these fees are payable directly to the Team Captain; s/he has the responsibility to get them to the Event Organizer. Players should expect that Entry Fees are non-refundable except in the most extreme cases (e.g. military deployment, family emergency).

  7. Appeals Process. Players who wish to appeal their eligibility requirements or the names on the Players List should contact the Chair of the Military Chess Committee. Appeals received less than 45 days prior to the start of the NCC probably cannot be acted upon, especially if they impact the travel and costs of a player already on the list.

  8. Point of Contact. The point of contact for this document is the Chair of the Military Chess Committee. S/he can be reached through the USCF Office at 931-787-1234.

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2014 Gem City Open

The annual Gem City Open Chess Tournament was held this past weekend in Dayton, Ohio at the Dayton Chess Club. Family commitments kept me away from this year’s event, but the results of the tournament are now available from the USCF and it looks like it was quite an amazing tournament! Ronald Burnett is the #1 rated player in the State of Ohio and he took first place among the 32 participants in the primary open tournament. For details on the Gem City Open and other tournaments in the Dayton area, visit the DCC’s website.

Stats courtesy of the United States Chess Federation.

Section 1 – Open

Pair Num Player Name USCF Rtg (Pre->Post) Total Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
1 RONALD WAYNE BURNETT R: 2449->2448 4.0 H W 27 W 5 W 14 D 3
2 WILLIAM SEDLAR R: 2236->2239 4.0 W 12 D 15 W 10 W 7 D 5
3 JAMES A MILLS R: 2200->2217 4.0 H W 21 W 23 W 15 D 1
4 ANNORJAN NAGULESWARAN R: 2154->2150 3.5 W 17 D 7 D 16 D 8 W 14
5 NOAH KEATING-ADAMS R: 2108->2128 3.5 W 18 W 13 L 1 W 17 D 2
6 HAFEZ TARI R: 2097P22->2101 3.5 W 8 D 14 L 7 W 26 W 16
7 CONNOR KEUCHEL R: 1939 ->2001 3.5 W 28 D 4 W 6 L 2 W 15
8 STEVE E CHARLES R: 1827 ->1930 3.5 L 6 W 18 W 12 D 4 W 13
9 HANS MULTHOPP R: 2207 ->2200 3.0 D 16 W 22 L 15 W 24 D 10
10 VIKRAM SRIVASTAVA R: 1982 ->1988 3.0 D 30 W 25 L 2 W 27 D 9
11 CALEB D JAQUISH R: 1930 ->1937 3.0 D 24 L 19 W 30 H W 23
12 RICHARD MERCER R: 1911 ->1932 3.0 L 2 W 31 L 8 W 25 W 19
13 DAVID M FRIEDMAN R: 2169 ->2144 2.5 W 20 L 5 W 26 D 16 L 8
14 BLAKE K BAUMGARTNER R: 2060 ->2069 2.5 W 32 D 6 W 19 L 1 L 4
15 JOHN M MILLER R: 2063 ->2067 2.5 W 31 D 2 W 9 L 3 L 7
16 LEO J ZAMANSKY R: 1987 ->2001 2.5 D 9 W 30 D 4 D 13 L 6
17 GARY BERRY 1834 ->1855 2.5 L 4 W 28 W 20 L 5 D 21
18 VINCENT JINGWEI BAKER R: 1804 ->1820 2.5 L 5 L 8 W 31 D 20 W 27
19 THOMAS P MAGAR R: 2200 ->2200 2.0 D 21 W 11 L 14 D 23 L 12
20 ARISTO S LIU R: 1989 ->1958 2.0 L 13 W 24 L 17 D 18 D 26
21 GREGG STARK R: 1929 ->1919 2.0 D 19 L 3 L 24 W 30 D 17
22 DENNIS J GITTRICH R: 1844 ->1826 2.0 H L 9 D 25 D 28 D 24
23 PETER CARL ANDREAS R: 1800 ->1825 2.0 H W 29 L 3 D 19 L 11
24 BRENNEN KEUCHEL R: 1752 ->1777 2.0 D 11 L 20 W 21 L 9 D 22
25 ALEXANDER IAN CRETSOS R: 1764 ->1770 2.0 D 29 L 10 D 22 L 12 W 28
26 KEEVIN LEE R: 1767 ->1768 2.0 H B L 13 L 6 D 20
27 VITO CARLA R: 1701 ->1695 1.5 B L 1 D 29 L 10 L 18
28 JEFFREY BAUGHAM R: 1640 ->1625 1.5 L 7 L 17 B D 22 L 25
29 ANAGH KULKARNI R: 2016 ->1980 1.0 D 25 L 23 D 27 U U
30 JENNIFER ISHEE R: 1814 ->1786 1.0 D 10 L 16 L 11 L 21 D 31
31 MARK KELLIE R: 1780 ->1752 1.0 L 15 L 12 L 18 H D 30
32 JENNIFER ISHEE R: 1814 ->1786 0.0 L 14 U U U U

Section 2 – Premier

Pair Num Player Name USCF Rtg (Pre->Post) Total Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
1 NOLAN XUHUI SONG R: 1744 ->1803 4.5 W 23 H W 14 W 13 W 5
2 ARVIND SAI PRASAD R: 1651 ->1705 4.0 W 24 W 25 L 5 W 23 W 10
3 J W R TERRY III R: 1443 ->1640 4.0 W 34 D 29 W 9 W 4 D 6
4 ROGER E BLAINE R: 1732 ->1734 3.5 W 31 D 14 W 7 L 3 W 13
5 OM BORKAR R: 1585 ->1685 3.5 W 22 W 21 W 2 H L 1
6 LOREN RODGERS R: 1660 ->1676 3.5 D 28 W 15 W 19 H D 3
7 ASHWIN KALYANAKUMAR R: 1646 ->1663 3.5 D 9 W 26 L 4 W 28 W 18
8 JOEL DAVID DEWYER R: 1750 ->1726 3.0 L 12 L 24 W 32 W 31 W 14
9 DANIEL PAUL CUNNINGHAM R: 1680 ->1678 3.0 D 7 W 17 L 3 W 19 D 12
10 JASON YUYANG WANG R: 1688 ->1678 3.0 W 30 W 12 L 13 W 20 L 2
11 DAVID GUEHL R: 1652 ->1626 3.0 D 15 D 28 D 24 H W 23
12 DAVID B RIEF R: 1554 ->1612 3.0 W 8 L 10 W 22 D 18 D 9
13 RICHARD JAMES SCHMIDT R: 1393 ->1480 3.0 B W 18 W 10 L 1 L 4
14 DANIEL ANDREW BEGLEY R: 1614 ->1624 2.5 W 20 D 4 L 1 W 24 L 8
15 JEREMY KOEBEL R: 1562 ->1576 2.5 D 11 L 6 W 17 D 16 D 22
16 WILLIAM MICHAEL FRANKLIN R: 1565 ->1562 2.5 L 21 W 30 D 28 D 15 D 20
17 ERIC GITTRICH R: 1558 ->1562 2.5 H L 9 L 15 W 27 W 28
18 CHRISTIAN BECHTOLD R: 1533 ->1523 2.5 W 32 L 13 W 25 D 12 L 7
19 SWATHI SENTHIL R: 1469 ->1506 2.5 H W 27 L 6 L 9 W 31
20 EVAN Y HUANG R: 1500 ->1504 2.5 L 14 B W 27 L 10 D 16
21 LOU FRISCOE R: 1700 ->1700 2.0 W 16 L 5 L 23 W 25 U
22 SUJAN RACHURI R: 1697 ->1654 2.0 L 5 W 31 L 12 D 26 D 15
23 ROBERT CHALLAN R: 1598 ->1592 2.0 L 1 W 32 W 21 L 2 L 11
24 ARVIND KUMAR R: 1540 ->1544 2.0 L 2 W 8 D 11 L 14 D 26
25 RUSSELL STINSON R: 1485 ->1497 2.0 W 33 L 2 L 18 L 21 W 30
26 EVAN E SHELTON R: 1454 ->1467 2.0 D 27 L 7 H D 22 D 24
27 JAMES T LAKE R: 1655 ->1600 1.5 D 26 L 19 L 20 L 17 X
28 ISAAC DANIEL PARTEE R: 1493 ->1487 1.5 D 6 D 11 D 16 L 7 L 17
29 KEEVIN LEE R: 1768 ->1761 1.0 H D 3 U U U
30 KUNAL DATTATRAYA BORDE R: 1619 ->1536 1.0 L 10 L 16 L 31 B L 25
31 YUTONG CAO R: 1530 ->1499 1.0 L 4 L 22 W 30 L 8 L 19
32 RAYMOND DOUGLAS GIFFORD R: 1489 ->1446 0.5 L 18 L 23 L 8 H F
33 DAVID GUEHL R: 1652 ->1626 0.0 L 25 U U U U
34 CHRISTIAN BECHTOLD R: 1533 ->1523 0.0 L 3 U U U U

Section 3 – Reserve

Pair Num Player Name USCF Rtg (Pre->Post) Total Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
1 JUSTIN WU R: 1367 ->1455 4.0 W 15 D 9 W 2 D 3 W 5
2 KEVIN ZHU R: 1324 ->1426 4.0 W 18 W 5 L 1 W 8 W 3
3 ETHAN CHUNG R: 1389 ->1415 3.5 W 17 W 8 W 10 D 1 L 2
4 TYLER RUTHERFORD R: 915P22->1161 3.5 L 8 W 17 H W 12 W 9
5 ETHAN FANG R: 1398 ->1400 3.0 W 6 L 2 W 14 W 7 L 1
6 JOHN CHARLES RAGNER R: 1381 ->1372 3.0 L 5 W 14 D 9 W 11 D 10
7 STEVE A PHILLIPS R: 1294 ->1299 3.0 L 9 W 15 W 13 L 5 W 14
8 EMMA CHENG R: 1225 ->1276 3.0 W 4 L 3 W 16 L 2 W 13
9 KEN H BROWN R: 1150 ->1274 3.0 W 7 D 1 D 6 W 10 L 4
10 STELLA HUANG R: 1403 ->1372 2.5 W 13 W 16 L 3 L 9 D 6
11 LEON BAO R: 1276 ->1260 2.5 L 14 W 18 H L 6 W 15
12 DESTYNN KEUCHEL R: 1455 ->1371 2.0 L 16 L 13 W 17 L 4 W 18
13 JULIE ELIZABETH SHEIL R: 1186 ->1192 2.0 L 10 W 12 L 7 W 18 L 8
14 JORDAN ZIPFEL R: 1061 ->1076 2.0 W 11 L 6 L 5 X L 7
15 DANIEL DONG R: 1319 ->1268 1.5 L 1 L 7 H W 17 L 11
16 ANDREW GIFFORD R: 1200 ->1201 1.0 W 12 L 10 L 8 F F
17 JUSTIN HUANG R: 1245 ->1167 1.0 L 3 L 4 L 12 L 15 X
18 JASON ZIPFEL R: 1184 ->1121 1.0 L 2 L 11 B L 13 L 12

Section 4 – Cross-Pair

Pair Num Player Name USCF Rtg (Pre->Post) Total Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
1 VITO CARLA R: 1695 ->1704 1.0 W 3 U 0 U 0
2 JEFFREY BAUGHAM R: 1625 ->1628 1.0 U 0 U 0 W 4
3 RICHARD JAMES SCHMIDT R: 1480 ->1469 0.0 L 1 U 0 U 0
4 JASON ZIPFEL R: 1121 ->1117 0.0 U 0 U 0 L 2
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Bobby Fischer the Maniac?

It is a common misconception that Bobby Fischer, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest chess players of all time, was a maniac. Unfortunately, the man once known as a hero of America for ending Soviet domination of the World Chess Championship descended into hate-filled rants and reclusiveness immediately after his victory over Boris Spassky in 1972. When Bobby completed his destruction of the Soviet chess machine, he promised that his next goal was to relax and play a lot more chess. However, as most people know, he famously disappeared and was not publicly seen or heard from until roughly 1992 when he emerged to challenge Spassky to a rematch in Yugoslavia. The United States embargo against Milosevic in Yugoslavia resulted in Bobby Fischer becoming an international fugitive once he received a $5 million payoff for beating Spassky again.

Most contemporary images of Bobby Fischer involve his intense anti-semantic rants and hatred of the United States. According to his claims, he believed that the United States was a puppet nation and that it was out to destroy the world, just like the former Soviet Union. Immediately following September 11, 2001, Bobby phoned in to a radio talk show from isolation in Japan and declared his joy over the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon. These painful images of a hateful Bobby Fischer have caused many inside and outside of the chess world to label him as psychotic. Is it possible that Bobby Fischer was acting irrationally in his tirades against the Soviet Union and the United States?

Ultimately, there appears to be little evidence to support any assertions that Bobby Fischer was psychotic. There is a common misconception in contemporary society that a person could only make intense negative or hateful comments if their judgment has been compromised and that there is some underlying psychosis causing them to act irrationally. We see this a lot in the media whenever a mass killing or other unfortunate crime strikes in the United States. Often psychologists and other experts are brought in to help find an answer to the tragedy. However, in the case of Bobby Fischer, none of his statements were incredibly irrational per se. Instead, his comments belittled and marginalized a group of people (the Jews) and were wholly incompatible with such a diverse and multicultural society, but they were not irrational in the sense that Bobby Fischer could find a legitimate basis for his beliefs. If Bobby was suffering from some form of psychosis, it is quite possible that it would have manifested in his chess games. However, his chess games still provide scholars, enthusiasts, and players of all ages with a treasure trove of material to review. In fact, one of the most popular collections of chess games is called Bobby Fischer: My 60 Memorable Games.

Fischer is often compared with another reclusive chess player, Paul Morphy, who experienced a significant mental breakdown following years of intense international gameplay. While Fischer’s experiences do mirror Morphy’s in some respects, there is still much to his life that does not. Fischer continued his intense analysis of games throughout the 1980s as he traveled to various international locations and spent time with famous chess players like the Polgar sisters. If Bobby Fischer was a madman, it was chess that kept his mind together. When he set down at the board, there was a grace and beauty to the way he moved the pieces that is unparalleled even to this day. Chess was a protective element of his life that defended his identity, and calmed his soul. Unfortunately, the humanity and final memories of Bobby Fischer were banished to the frozen ground of a small Lutheran church not far from where he took down the Soviet chess machine.

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Getting things off my chess…

For the last eight years, I have been the editor of an astronomy blog at www.nightshifted.com called nightShifted Astronomy. More recently, my passions and interest have drifted from the heavens down to the sixty-four squares of the chessboard, a game commonly referred to as the Game of Kings. As of the time I am writing this post, I am an unrated member of the United States Chess Federation and the Ohio Chess Association. It is my hope that this site will serve as a conduit for other students (and perhaps masters) of the game as I begin my journey toward my initial goal of becoming a chess expert.

My education background is primarily in theology and I view the chessboard as an extension of my spiritual journey. There are many life lessons to be learned on board and it is my hope that I can successfully integrate elements of spirituality, science, art, and philosophy into my work. I hope that you will join in support of my goal as I begin the arduous task of analyzing games, reviewing tournaments, and writing about the many ways that chess influences my life on a daily basis.

God Bless, Wesley Surber

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