Tuesday, February 19, 2008

US Amateur Team East 2008 Photos

NM Chris Williams is writing a thesis comparing the effects of various chemical stimulants on chess performance.

WFM Abby Marshall beat GM Hikaru Nakamura in the bughouse tournament. I challenge her to a blogoff.

FM Andrei Zaremba: serious

FM Andrei Zaremba: silly

NM Laura Ross: tea drinker

GM Roman Dzinzdichashvili: game face

FM William Kelleher: frightened of me?

He's the little g: five-year-old Stephen Fanning, whose teammates included GM Zviad Izoria, GM Eugene Perelshteyn, and GM Roman Dzindzichashvili.
I want to mention that I think the argument for banning stacked teams like GGGg is completely ridiculous. It's basically saying organizers should ban players for being too good at chess, because their presence is unfair to patzers. I heard this argument a few times during the last round and I had to walk away because it seemed so embarrasing and pathetic. Why don't people think it's awesome that three grandmasters are willing to spend their weekend playing 1800s and experts for no prize money, just for fun?

My student, Alexis Paredes, and cool shadows.

GM Eugene Perelshteyn, NM Chris Williams, GM Zviad Izoria in a warm embrace.

Ian West and Shawn Martinez (of Kings of New York fame) playing bughouse.


Tom Panelas said...

Nice photos.

If those Bughouse dudes are ever in Chicago they should try to get together with Ilan Meerovich and Dan McNally.

Anonymous said...

My problem with the 3Gs (or "Three Tenors" as Kenilworthian blogger Michael Goeller initially tagged them) has less to do with the GMs than with their fourth board - and specifically, his rating that was used to calculate their team average.

I agree it wouldn't be right to penalize GMs (or anybody else) for being "too good"...or even for getting paid to play (which is rumored to be the case).

But, the rules do state that every team's average rating must be under 2200. To maintain the integrity of that rule, I'd suggest a slight rule change that is different from, and superior to, the other "stacked" team rules that others are advocating.

Having a team of three pros who are not only above 2200 but WAY above 2200 plays havoc with the existing "maximum team average" requirement. Specifically, it's the adorable 5-year old's rating (he was on the wall chart at 178) that enables them to do that.

More than that - did you know that the GGGg team was not only eligible to enter ...they were even eligible for a CLASS prize! They were on the wall chart at 2017 - their average team rating, including Fanning at 178. (If you had thought of that, Elizabeth, then I bet you would have been less dismissive of the critics. Now that I've made you aware of it, I'm looking forward to see how you will modify your view.)

Since there is no practical difference (in terms of over-the-board results) between 178 and 678 or 878, I suggest that in this and other team events, a minimum figure should be used for every board for the purposes of calculating each team's average rating. Perhaps apply a 1000 minimum to every member on "strong teams" (those whose first two boards average over 2400, or maybe even over 2200), and a 600 minimum to everyone else. (If they have class prizes for rating classes below 600, then obviously a lower minimum would have to be used...or perhaps no minimum at all for teams whose top two boards were below a certain number...but then you'd get three different minimums, which would eliminate the simplicity that is the other main benefit of my proposed minimum-rating rule.)

Jon Jacobs, Rook-N-Roll Forever

Greg Shahade said...

I sort of agree that instituting some kind of 1000 minimum on Board 4 for teams rated above a certain number makes sense. Using a 100 rated player on Board 4 is simply a manipulation of the oddities of the rating system.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't really care about the 3 GMs team, especially since one of them is a Boston Blitzer :). I go to USATE to see some GMs, hang out, drink beer, and play chess. This year, we had Denys Shmelov on our team which instantly gave us some street cred. We even spent a round behind the ropes, which has been personal goal since I started going.

I also met Elizabeth Vicary, another personal goal achieved! :)

Maybe next year there will be a few more 3 GM teams, and we'll get a chance to watch more great games.


Elizabeth Vicary said...

I have to object. There's an enormous difference between 178 and 678. It's a completely different class of player.

Let's keep in mind that the class prize we are talking about here is a plaque and a couple cheap clocks. Is that really more important than 18 people getting to play grandmasters and 1300 people getting to watch those games?

Polly said...

I like seeing the grandmasters playing, but I think it's unfair to the 4th board of the opponent's team. Everyone comes to play chess. Playing a 5 year old 178 is not chess. If I had been on board four and had to play someone of that level I'd be very annoyed.

I've played my share of little kids rated 500 to 900 in this tournament. It happens especially when you play on a weak team.

When you're playing 4th board on a strong team, you expect to play some tough games especially if your team is doing well and playing behind the ropes.

I played 4th board on a team with an average rating of 2150 one year. It was probably one of my hardest USATE because of the caliber of players of the opponent's teams. That was a great experience. I would have been disappointed to have a game that lasted 7 moves.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I've got an idea! Let's ban everyone under 1000 from playing chess! Or maybe 1500 would be better?!

Also people over 2500.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Also, Greg, I'm not sure you can logically advocate for a 1000 minimum on fourth board when you have instituted a 2590 maximum averaged-in rating in the USCL. Aren't you creating (at the other end of the rating scale) the very effect you are arguing should be compensated for?

HubDiggs said...
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HubDiggs said...
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Anonymous said...

To clarify/elaborate my earlier comment, my objection isn't to the GMs or even the 5-year old 178-player being allowed to play on a team. It's to what Greg Shahade eloquently termed a "manipulation of the oddities of the rating system."

Having a rating that low makes someone especially desirable as a teammate, for any team. After all, you could just as well field a 800-player on 4th board, who, on a strong team, would still be guaranteed to lose all his games. I can see why a 1400 or 1600 player (especially if significantly underrated and/or improving) should be a very desirable invite for a strong team's 4th board. But the logic of defining team-average ratings in such a way that makes a 178 player a huge, rare asset to any team (because of the extra 200-points-per-board "bonus" it gives their team average rating - why that's almost a whole rating class! - compared with a 1000-rated 4th board), simply escapes me.

Regarding the comment that it's more important to have GM players and great games than to have rules that make sense, and besides, there are no money prizes....that attitude of "chill out, this isn't a serious competition," strikes me as eerily reminiscent of the argument made by the team of 2200-rated babies (I'd use a stronger word but not on a blog frequented by women and children) that figured in a final-round rule-breaking episode I was a party to. I haven't the time or space to go into detail here, and since I don't have my own blog, I won't publish it directly. But several people already know the details...starting with the individual whose picture appears at the beginning of this or an adjacent blog item. In a nutshell, the argument they made to the TD was, "What's all this fuss about touch-move? We just came to play chess, so just leave us alone."

Finally, although I've made clear that my argument has nothing to do with people who feel slighted at having to play a 178-rated opponent, it's worth noting that I've been told (by Nick Conticello, I think - who's pretty knowledgeable about directing rules, right, Elizabeth?) that only people who can consistently make legal moves are allowed to play in rated events. According to comments on another blog from someone who claimed to have faced him, Steven Fanning was repeatedly making illegal moves. So, there could be a rules problem there, too.

Jon Jacobs, Rook-N-Roll Forever

Anonymous said...

Considering there is no money prize, I am not sure of the GMs motive for wanting to do this. Perhaps Roman feels that if he beats up on 2100s the entire tournament, he'll sell more DVDs. But oh well, it is there choice.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Liz: I know you were trying to be absurb, but actually, a minimum rating standard makes a lot of sense. Below a certain level, and we could argue where exactly that level should be, what business do you have playing in a serious tournament anyway?

I would argue that minimum standard would include keeping notation, knowing legal vs. illegal moves, being able to recognize checkmate, able to demonstarte how to mate Q+K vs K.,etc

I would not outright ban people from participating, but I would advocate a minimum rating of 1200 or whatever - similar to FIDE.

Elizabeth Vicary said...
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Elizabeth Vicary said...

There's a big difference between saying people should know how the pieces move before they start playing in tournaments and instituting a minimum rating of 1200. Why shouldn't an 800 have a rating? Does it hurt anybody? What's the point in discouraging anyone from playing chess?

Fanning said...


Greg, I bet you wouldn't mind playing texas holdem vs a 5 year old.

If someone brings a team that has JUST ONE super GM and can win on board 1, Stephen's team won't win the tournament. It makes no sense whatsoever to discourage GMs to play in events with amateurs because the winners are the amateurs who might otherwise never get the chance to play with a Grandmaster. The other side of someone on board 4 playing Stephen, is what I got when I asked Romans board 3 first round opponent if he has ever play a GM before. He said I played a master once. He was very happy to have a chance in a lifetime to play a GM.

Next the idea that you should ban little kids (under 1000) from playing in the event is ridiculous. Many of the people playing are there solely to play with their kids.

Roman for one was only at the tournament because Roman wanted to play with Stephen who he has worked with daily for 2 years. He was going to do it no matter what the team configuration or the rules about prizes. He called Steve Doyle months before to make sure it was not violating the spirit of the event. Steve explained the rules exactly and thought it was ok. Only then did Roman talk to Zviad who is from Romans hometown about also playing. As a side note Roman's team had 900 points to spare and could have easily played with stephens older brother, also a roman student, who was rated 800 and beat a 1400 in the tournament on another team.

I think the real issue comes from the statistical problem with USCF ratings points being more valuable at higher rating levels, so the probability of someone 2300 beating someone 2500 is much lower than it is for someone 1200 to beat someone 1400. That In my opinion is at the root of all feelings that some team configurations can be unfair.

Lastly "Playing a 5 year old 178 is not chess."
Is just flat wrong. Stephen can beat most casual players, and his rating reflects a very limited tournament history.

HubDiggs said...
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Greg Shahade said...

btw for what it's worth, despite my arguments, I really don't care if 3 GM's and a 100 player want to play. I don't think it's that big a deal. All you need to do to draw the match or for this team to be virtually eliminated from serious first place contention is have one players beat one GM out of 18 games. It's been done before.

Greg Shahade said...

Also I don't think the team itself did anything wrong. Also I think they could have even used someone rated much higher, like 700 or so? There are some 600s and 700s out there who are capable of beating the 1400+ players who may inhabit some other strong teams.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth - I can't agree with your original assertion that disliking the 3 GM team is "ridiculous". Most of the suggested rules/bans seem arbitrary (and if anyone really wanted to ban players rated under 1000, I think that would be a terrible rule) but then again limiting teams' overall rating to 2200 is also arbitrary. I don't think Dzindzi's team did anything unethical at all - those particular arguments are silly. But it's not out of the question if a majority of people should agree "since we're calling it 'amateur', let's arrange it so that no more than half of a team's players can be of (roughly) professional strength".

Anonymous said...

Ok, i have an issue with what happened, I was on board 4 of the team that played gggg in the last round......it was ridiculous, it ruins the spirit of the tournament when teams like that enter....and the gm's were paid to play for the team.....we all go to the USATE to play in a tournament for pride purposes....and my team was beasting...we were 5-0....and we had to play a stacked team in the last round....my game ended up being 7 moves....I MATED HIM IN 7 MOVES.....I didn't come to USATE to play games like that all the way from college in Ann Arbor (i had to miss class on Monday) and to think that my team lost to a shitty team like that who doesn't care about the pride of the tournament one bit

BMarmont said...

Rohde's comment about the GM's being paid to play brings up a good point. I don't know if GGGg were paid, but in the USATW someone paid a GM and IM to play on his team. Now if there was no anti-stacking rule, he could have paid another IM to play on his team and essentially have bought the tournament. Luckily there was such a rule and the team could only manage a draw in a couple of their rounds, preventing them from winning. Another point no one has brought up is what happens at the USAT playoffs? Can this team participate? The other regions have the 1000 rule, so it would be unfair if they could play since it is impossible to field such a team at the other regions. I'm a little biased considering my team is in the USAT playoffs, but I talked to people at the USATW who were really pissed off with this, so its not just me.

Fanning said...


Try to be a little more egocentric while you are being completely hypocritical. Amazing how you don't remember playing with your father in the USAT when you were the same age. You were so good though, that your opponents were privilaged to play you.

Its true my 5 year old played E4 E5 BC4 BC5 QH5 G6... I have seen 2100 players fall into the same trap and lose their rook. I have also seen my 5 year old execute the same trap. I guess that means you played like a 5 year old.

Anonymous said...

my question is:

if Roman has been working with the child for over two years on a daily basis as the father claims....why is he still rated 100? A refund is in order.

Anonymous said...

did you pay them to play sir? if you did....ur a cheater....and if your son has been working with roman for two years daily...how is he still that bad.....and its an embarrassment that a game on board 1 in the last round is like that....and you wasted my time in new jersey...when i had to miss school in Michigan to go.....and don't ever refer to my father in anything...no one ever paid him to play in this tournament....and i didn't play with him till I was 13....when i was a solid player...so you have nothing to say to me sir

Jeffrey De Jesus said...

To Mr. Fanning: If your kid checkmates the neighbor's dog in 3 moves then loses to somebody who knows how to play chess in a few moves who played like who? Your analogy makes no sense and it is pretty pathetic that you have no respect for other players who attend this tournament from everywhere to have fun and COMPETE. I mean the 3 GMs could've won the tournament WITHOUT a board 4 just had like a forfeit, what does your kid get out of going 0-6 in 5 minutes game after game. Maybe you wanted publicity but for what? You know maybe his rating will go up some if you make him play people near his rating.

HubDiggs said...
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Anonymous said...

mr fanning....who are you to talk to me..... jeff is right....your analogy simply doesn't make sense....because you don't know anything about the chess world and how this tournament is about pride and fun...not money...thats why you DONT see SUPER TEAMS....WHAT IS THERE TO PLAY FOR??? a god damn clock? ur a total joke

Matan said...

OK guys,

I never thought I'd reply to something like this, but this is patently absurd.


This is insanely childish. Those of you criticizing the five-year old kid, you must feel big. Of course he loses some games in eight moves, HE'S FIVE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. When I was five my big project was trying to surpass my friend in age.

Danny, if you'd like to leave Ann Arbor (and oh no, miss class!) to play chess, that's great. A friend of mine used to fly from Boston to NYC (!) after class as a college kid to play the New York Masters. But the self-important tone is fairly ridiculous. OH NO AN A PLAYER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HAD TO PLAY A LITTLE KID WHILE HE WAS MISSING SCHOOL. You get the idea.

Anyways, everybody needs to relax a little. The GGGg team acted within the rules, for no tangible financial or professional gain. This sort of hysteria should be reserved for 2700+ Grandmasters complaining about being unfairly excluded from the world championship cycle.

Take care,
Matan Prilleltensky

Anonymous said...

Interesting debate -- but I thought there simply was a rule against the difference between any two boards on a team being over 1000 points? Isn't there a rule against precisely this situation?

To wit, I don't much care either if that team played as such, and I agree that it's mad cool to see the likes of Izoria and Dzindzi and Perelshteyn playing in Jersey. But if there is a rule against their particular team arrangement, then they prolly shouldn't have been allowed as such. No?

Anonymous said...

Sorry hubdiggs. As mentioned earlier, it is called manipulating the oddities of the rating system.

And Elizabeth, there certainly is a difference in strength between a 178 and a 678. However, this difference is negligible when facing 1800+s the entire tournament.

You also say that 18 people they played on different teams) get to play GMs that normally wouldn't have. Cool! 18 people would get that same chance if they were on different teams.

And you say, "Let's keep in mind that the class prize we are talking about here is a plaque and a couple cheap clocks."

Oh right! Because everyone wants to win the USATE or the USATE class prize flor the plaque and clocks. How about the pride and other intangibles?

"Is that really more important than 18 people getting to play grandmasters and 1300 people getting to watch those games?"

Umm, I for one would much rather the plaque, cheap clock, and feeling of self accomplishment..and I doubt that I am the only one. Besides, most of the games weren't quality anyway...as these GMs were beating up regular masters the entire tournament...and Roman experts and weaker, lol

Anonymous said...

Matan, that is exactly what the GGGg team did. Winning the USATE is a pretty cool accomplishment(unless your team consists of three GMs), so cut the sarcasm. Perhaps you don't give a damn about winning such an event, but some people do.

Matan said...

Don't get me wrong; I know that winning USATE is a wonderful achievement. I've certainly never won a major tournament, so far be it from me to diminish the US Amateur Team.

My sarcasm was not directed at generic participants fighting to win the tournament, but at the righteous indignation on display from those who were beaten by a legitimate, legal team.

Although I take the opposing view, I can understand people thinking the GGGg team may have somewhat violated the spirit of the rules. One might even say that reasonable people can disagree! Now that I look over the comments, that's what people were (for the most part) doing.

But this nonsense from a select few, picking on a five year old and his father, is an embarassing reflection on college age chessplayers. My (admittedly sarcastic) post was directed at that.

Matan Prilleltensky

Anonymous said...

think outside the box people. the rating itself discourages people from playing, and is a major contributor to people dropping out over time. just ask greg. and, we all know scholastic chess is a scam anyway. it'n nota bout the cehss, but rather the cash.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Very interesting discussion. I really don't like to be the arbiter of niceness, but please let's be careful what you say about the kid, because while I doubt he reads my blog (yet), I will feel compelled to delete future posts that use him as a target or insult him for being five. I'd much prefer not to have to start censoring. Thanks.

I just feel essentially that it's antithetical to the spirit of chess to complain it is unfair that stronger players are better than you and allowed to play chess against you. In calling this argument ridiculous, I was (and am) referring to the way it sounds: "Oh don't make me compete against people who have this huge unfair advantage of being smarter and more skillful than me." Ok, the tournament has the word amateur in it's name, but what that means is clearly defined (average rating under 2200) and fundamentally it's a chess tournament.

(Personally, I hope Izoria, Perelshteyn and Dzinzdi they were paid something because they are grandmasters and consequently deserve it, but I certainly don't think it's my business to enquire or speculate.)

And complaining about an easy pairing is silly. It sounds better because you didn't just lose a game, but it's equally nonsensical. Your opponent has just as much right to exist and play in the tournament as you do.

Elizabeth Vicary said...
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Greg Shahade said...

Danny wtf are you talking about, you need to chill out? The team that they used is completely and 100% legal (as it is to pay players to play on your team, as this has been happening for years) you have no right to criticize them, you can criticize the rules if you like.

It's not their problem that they followed the rules and you had to play someone that you deemed too weak for you.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the rules in one USAT region are different from another? That isn't right.

The anti-stacked-team rule should either be in effect in all regions or in none.

The GGGg team in question was within the (local) rules and although there was the faint aroma of unpleasantness it's really necessary to address the rules divergence.

An anti-stacked-team rule would obviously eliminate the unpleasantness and the powers-that-be should agree to unify all the regions' rules.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that no one's addressed my proposal, which would primarily correct what Greg called the "oddities of the rating system" (that makes a 178 a more desirable teammate than a 678 even though their mathematically expected result on board 4 is an identical 0-6), WITHOUT BANNING EITHER GMs OR 178-RATED FIVE-YEAR OLDS?

Aside to John Fanning: The only person on this whole thread who proposed banning little kids rated under 1000 from playing was Elizabeth - and her statement was meant to be ironic.

I have a hunch that some of the debate here stems from confusion about just what it is that makes the GGGg lineup objectionable. Some people (not me) complain about too many GMs. Others (also not me) complain about having to play a kid who doesn't belong in a rated tournament. And still others complain that the GMs may have been paid by the elder Mr. Fanning (an unconfirmed rumor, at this point).

Still, none of those things is against the rules (excepting the possibility that the kid's father or coach really did violate the rules by entering him in a rated tournement if unable to consistently make legal moves - which someone who claimed to be an opponent of his asserted on another blog).

But what should grate on everyone's sensibilities - in other words, something I would think all chess players would agree IS objectionable - is that the team average rating as currently defined, makes it a virtue for the 4th board to have the lowest possible rating, without regard to playing strength.

As noted, in a competitive context (i.e., a "real" tournament, not one restricted to the scholastic beginners that put bread on Elizabeth's table), there is no practical difference between a 178, a 678 or a 878.

Yet, the 178 is far more desirable as a teammate. Not the way a 1300 would be desirable to many teams, because he might be underrated and surprise some higher opponents ... but simply because his ridiculous rating subtracts points from the team average.

That's why my recommendation of applying a minimum figure for each board when computing team averages, eliminates what may be the one feature of the present rules that we can all agree doesn't smell right. It wouldn't prevent or discourage GMs or very low-rated 5-year olds from playing, even on the same team. All it would discourage is manipulation of the oddities of the rating system.

John Fanning himself confessed in this thread that the GGGg team "had 900 points to spare." (In fact, they had a little over 700 points to spare, based on what I saw on the wall chart.) In terms of average rating, they were actually UNDERDOGS in many of their matches - and would have been against my team, had we faced them. As I pointed out earlier, their average rating shown on the wall chart was 2017. THEY WERE ELIGIBLE FOR A CLASS PRIZE (under-2100).

As with individual tournaments, the rules should be framed in a way that reward strength - including being underrated - rather than making it a rare, highly prized asset to simply have a ridiculously low rating. (Inter alia, a team that averaged in the 1500s gave my much higher rated team a tough struggle. Although we won 3.5-0.5, the outcome - including my own game against a 1564 player - was much closer than the score indicates.)

Jon Jacobs, Rook-N-Roll Forever

Anonymous said...

I do not have a problem with the 3 GMs being on one team. However, the East team should not be able to participate in the playoffs when the other 3 regions do not have the advantage of fielding such a team due to the rules. Do not kid yourself for one minute - it is a big advantage to field a team of 3 GMs, especially with Izoria on board 1. Why should they be allowed to participate in the playoffs?

A final point: There should be no attacks on a little kid. It is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

I do wonder who came up with this whole idea for the team. If it was the father's idea I do think it is a little weird. Does the Dad think the victory somehow reflects positively on himself or his child? Could the child have possibly enjoyed getting beaten over and over?

Anonymous said...

what I was trying to say all along is that this team ruins the spirit of amateur, people go to this tournament for the fun and pride of winning, the gm's don't get this idea....having one gm is fine, but when gm's are on board 3 killing experts are worse, where's the fun in that.....I do understand that they were "under the average", but these gm's don't understand the whole idea of why this tournament is so popular

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rhode,

The 2.5-1.5 score of your team's final match negates your argument.

Anonymous said...

Jon Jacobs puts it perfectly. Well said, sir.

Anonymous said...

One GM per team would still allow a bunch of people to play a GM for the first time.

I love that GMs can compete in the Amateur Team tournament, but, when the GMs are all put on one team, it is suddenly like the New England Patriots playing in the Rose Bowl. Fine, to extend the analogy imagine the Patriots put a couple of high school kickers on their team so they can qualify for the Rose Bowl's requirements. That just doesn't seem right (and exactly the kind of rule manipulation that Bill Belicheck gets hated for).

So what is wrong here are the rules of the tournament. What if we require the median and the mean to both be below 2200? Or simply add the 1000 point rule like in other regions?

3GMs should be a one off for this kind of event.

Ilya said...

Vicary: "I want to mention that I think the argument for banning stacked teams like GGGg is completely ridiculous. It's basically saying organizers should ban players for being too good at chess, because their presence is unfair to patzers. I heard this argument a few times during the last round and I had to walk away because it seemed so embarrasing and pathetic"

If this inst a pathetic ridiculous and embarrassing statement to make than I dont know what is. Shame on you!

First of all I think everyone is happy to see the GMs, and especially to play them as I had a chance to do this year. However, the story inst about GMs simply playing, it is about the creation of a team that is unbeatable which makes the whole tournament less dramatic and suspenseful for everyone involved. I personally didn't care because my team had no chance to win at all and I just played for fun. However, I heard many players including titled ones complain about this teams composition. Most people were saying "is this the Amateur Team East or Proffesional Team East :) I do not think we should ignore dismiss and in Vicary's case ridicule the opinions of those people who religiusly attend this event year after year.

Ilya said...

I should add that this may start a dangerous precedent: imagine more teams like this next year, they would certainly be a good match for one another but what about everyone else?!

Anonymous said...

Well said Ilya.

1. Allowing what happened could discourage competition.

2. When the playoffs are held, are the other regions not put at a big disadvantage because according to the rules of the South, North, and West, there is a 1000 point rule?

3. I know others have jumped on the 4th board being low rated, but this makes no sense. According to the rules, they were allowed to do what they did (though again for the playoffs, it gives the GGGg team a huge advantage.

Anonymous said...

Would it change anyone's opinion to know that each GM was payed 1000$ as well as all expenses paid, by the rich dad of the "future GM".

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Elizabeth Vicary said...

There's no need to call anyone names, guys.

Anonymous said...

"Would it change anyone's opinion to know that each GM was payed 1000$ as well as all expenses paid, by the rich dad of the 'future GM'[?]"

No. The GMs deserve the payday.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Haskel are you insane, the kid is 5!!

Anonymous said...

"However, the story inst about GMs simply playing, it is about the creation of a team that is unbeatable which makes the whole tournament less dramatic and suspenseful for everyone involved."

No one is unbeatable. As Greg Shahade has pointed out, someone takes a point off one of the upper case Gs (it happens), the match likely ends up 2-2, and they're no longer in the top group.

Anonymous said...

It's insane to wonder how a kid can take lessons for two years and not even know the rules?
Someone enlighten me, where do the words paid and amateur meet?

The censorship is unbelievable. I guess there is something wrong with straight shooting. It ain't name calling if it's true.

Anonymous said...

I want to make it clear that I will boycott the match and have encouraged other players to do the same.

There was a clear 1k point rule.

Anonymous said...

"Someone enlighten me, where do the words paid and amateur meet?"

This from someone hose trip to Orlando was paid for by The Foreclosure Doctors LLC, 305-300-2055, at least according to the report on the USCF web site.

Hello, Ra8, I'm Rh8. You're black.

Anonymous said...

"Someone enlighten me, where do the words paid and amateur meet?"

This from someone whose trip to Orlando was paid for by The Foreclosure Doctors LLC, 305-300-2055, at least according to the report on the USCF web site.

Hello, Ra8, I'm Rh8. You're black.

Anonymous said...

Well no one beat them therefore they are unbeatable, get it????
I would just like to mention that its a clear cut case of rich daddy , rich dads think they can buy everyone and everything and that they are entitled to special privileges, I think they might be right. Its not the Gms fault, they took time to come to Parsipanny and played chess, its the person whose idea it was, the daddy as well as Steve Doyle whose long term vision has obviously short-circuited.

Anonymous said...

"I want to make it clear that I will boycott the match and have encouraged other players to do the same."

Your loss. You're never going to beat a GM that way.

"There was a clear 1k point rule."

Imposed by *your* organizer.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight buddy.

I did not receive a dime and I don't see any comment that indicates the value of the sponsorship.

I will tell you that the only thing paid for was the Econo Lodge hotel room for the other 3 players. Does 39$ for a hotel room seem like being paid? ... I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

"I will tell you that the only thing paid for was the Econo Lodge hotel room for the other 3 players. Does 39$ for a hotel room seem like being paid?"

Yes it does. Admittedly not as much as the three Gs, but I'm constrained to suggest that the payments received by you and by them are in proportion to your relative strengths as a chessplayer.

Anonymous said...

Now that you have shown an inability to read and continue to remain anon. I will no longer respond to your comments.

Thanks for wasting my time. :-)

Anonymous said...

Only one of the removed comments contained an insult, the rest were just not to the liking of the blog's author, this is selective censorship at its worst. Let free speech rule, this is America and not Botswana.

Chris said...

Where does everyone get this 1000 point rule from? I've checked the TLAs for all the events on the USCF website and the North and South events do not list such a rule. The only one that does is the West, and it specifies that the 1000 points is only between boards 3 & 4. Can someone provide the necessary advanced publicity that shows this rule was in effect in the North and South events?

Anonymous said...

Liz can remove whatever comments she wants. IF you want free speech, make your own blog. It's free!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth did not play at Parsippany therefore her perspective mostly stems from sucking on GMs richards rather than common sense.

Anonymous said...

http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/kenilworthian/2008/02/usate-2008-concludes.html Another blog discussing this very matter.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Who's GM Richard?

Anonymous said...

"Who's GM Richard"???

You have made a prophet out of me!!!!

You see, weeks before the tournament, I had tried to convince my teammates to name ourselves the Dique4's.

My intent was to upend all the scholastics - make their coaches blow a gasket, while (hopefully) impressing some of the kids with the fact that (as I once saw printed on a tavern softball team's T-shirts) "You're only young once, but you can be immature your whole life long."

I even planned to extend the idea by recruiting two players for the team whose names were Richard Hertz and Michael Hunt.

My captain vetoed the idea.

Perhaps someone can explain all this to Liz. If she has trouble interpreting the names above, or the 9:23 PM comment, then either she doesn't spend much time around kids at all...or else the kids these days have matured even more than I thought. (Tricking a kid into asking, "What's a dique4?" was a frequent ploy among 13-year old boys back in the '60s; so I assumed it would still have some currency today, albeit with 10-year olds rather than 13-year olds.)

Jon Jacobs, Rook-N-Roll Forever

Anonymous said...

Wow. This blog entry seems to have generated as much comment as the New York Times' story about McCain and the lobbyist. I've never been to Parsippany but chess friends have touted it as one of the most fun, relaxed tournaments. I guess my question is whether in a tournament that has the word "Amateur" in its title, a team comprised of 3 Grandmasters and one 5-year-old violates the spirit if not the letter of the tournmanent rules. Also, what is the line between Professional and Amateur in chess? Is it the same as in golf or tennis where it is pretty easty to see who is the "pro" and who is the "am" in pro-am teams? While it is true that having GMs at a tournament is an obvious draw, isn't it more in the spirit of the Amateur East to have teams like Joel Benjamin's and Hikaru Nakamura which mixed "pros" (i.e. GMs) with "ams," either non-titled players or rising scholastic players?

Anonymous said...

It defeats the purpose of making a competitive team in this tournament without titled players when some stupid rich parent of a kid pays 3 gm's to play on his team, what does the kid get out of it?

by the way, on my team, the oldest player was 19 years old, yet we were on board 1 in the last round in this tournament

mr. fanning, take a look at that, and then you tell me,let your kid have some fun and play with who he wants, not who you want....and get him a real coach, how is he so bad if he has been working daily with roman, thats a joke

Anonymous said...

I have no beef with the 3 GMs who took home 1 grand each, they are good and they wanna get sort of reimbursed for their time. Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Lol fanning u should be embarssed ur kid who is 5 yrs old is not even 1000 yet lolololololol

every 5 yr old i know is at least 1500. i mean when i was 5 i didnt have a uscf rating but was at least 1700 strength, unfort took me a lot of years or so to actually get my rtng that high (mainly cuz i had to play so many 100 rtd 5 year olds).

but anyway yea, and u know i heard there was this 4 yr old who had lessons for like 1 year and still doesn't know the najdorf lolololol. stpid kidz. lolz.

problem with chess in this country is the decaying strength of our ultra-youth category, 4-5 age category.

n e 1 who is serosly insulting this freaking 5 yr olds chess strength is maybe the biggest gigantic idiot in entire wrld and should be struck by lightning for being so stupid.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, the question is not "Who is GM Richards" but rather what is a GM's Richard" take it like a riddle and get back to me when you solve it. Have a nice day

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Why are you all being so rude to this GM Richards whom I must admit I've never heard of.

Anonymous said...

Liz you never heard of Gm's Richard, but you must know that all male Gm's have a richard... I guess you didn't solve the riddle.

katar said...

this is the dumbest "controversy" i've ever seen. certain people (incl a few women i've dated) have an uncanny ability to manufacture drama and controversy out of thin air. get a life and move on, folks. if it bothers you, and you refuse to de-prioritize it, then petition to have the rules changed instead of just whining or venting. if you must whine/vent, do it on your own blog. just a suggestion. this whole thread should be admin-nuked IMO.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I'm sorry but this riddle is too difficult. I think I need more hints please?

Anonymous said...


If you think that Liz doesn't get it, you seriously don't get it.

Or maybe I don't get it.

What am I getting?

Anonymous said...

Dude, if she got it that post wouldn't have lived for very long and you know it. She clearly didn't get it. And now she didn't delete it cause she doesn't want everyone to think she is a moron.

Anonymous said...

Nah, I now think she was only pretending to not get it, from the beginning. Her way of politely defusing what was a hugely impolite (as well as off-base) remark, to put it mildly.

I've disagreed with Elizabeth about various things, including the topic of this thread, but the attacks on her moderation here are unfair. And, it's evident that a great many readers here and elsewhere - presumably all males - also are perfectly at ease with the GGGg team composition. So if you're contending that Liz's ah, history, has biased her opinion in favor of GMs, then what of the many posters who share her view....whose Richards do you think they're sucking?

Anonymous said...

OK, if everyone can stop frothing at the mouth for a second, I have a question. I don't follow the chess world (yet), so I don't know who the grandmasters on the GGGg team were or what their history is. But I'm getting the impression from some of the comments that they are players who regularly play for tournament purses. Doesn't that make them professional players, and wouldn't that disqualify them from playing in an amateur team tournament? How is "professional" defined in the chess world? Is it enough to play for purse money, or do you have to actually win the purse money on a regular basis to be considered a professional chess player?

If I had a horse in this race, the crucial issue to me would not be the legality of teaming three 2100+ players with a complete newbie, but rather the legality of allowing pros to compete in an amateur tournament. I'm sure the opportunity to play against grandmasters is very exciting, but to play against professional grandmasters for an amateur title -- well, it seems self-evident to me that this would violate the spirit of the tournament, if not the letter of the rules.

Please to acculturate the chess-world parvenu?

Anonymous said...

anja, there is no formal (or even widely accepted) definition of either "professional" or "amateur" within the chess world. Just as with the physical Olympics, the distinction has little meaning...especially since the income that 99% of GMs can earn, from prizes, teaching and other avenues, still falls below what is typical for educated individuals in the so-called "professions" (doctor, lawyer, college professor, and the like).

The sole reason for calling this tournament "Amateur," it seems, is that all teams were limited to an average rating of 2199 or below. The 3-GM team met that condition, and as you can see from the thread, an overwhelming majority of people (and 100% of those who actually compete in tournaments themselves) agree that GMs should be permitted to play in this event (although many don't agree that 3 GMs should be allowed together on a single 4-man team).

The above should answer your questions.

Anonymous said...

Couple of comments.

Wazzat you taking pictures of the 318 kings team? Are you their teacher? They are cool. Our 3rd board didn't know what hit him. (Push Us And We'll Topalover)

I had a creative idea regarding the GGGg issue and I was wondering where to put it. Looks like this is the place. So here goes.

We played GGGg, I enjoyed it, so did my 2nd and 3rd board, even though we all got beat. The 2nd board even played a decent interesting game. Perelshteyn is good for post-mortems, by the way, nice guy.

However, my 4th board didn't enjoy it, "it was kind of like wasting a round", he said afterwards. And it's even worse than wasting a round, it's unsporting. What kind of contest is that, 2000+ versus 178? In other one-on-one sports, like tennis, this kind of mismatch wouldn't pass the sniff test. So there is a problem, but we need to be creative to come up with a solution.

The source of the problem is the idea of taking a team's average rating. It is not always meaningful. A team with ratings of 1900-1800-1700-1300 will have about the same scores as a team with ratings of 1900-1800-1700-100, but they have way different average ratings. What we need is a team strength indicator that works better than average rating, but is equally easy to compute--no complicated statistical curves or formulas or crap.

Enter my idea, "accelerated ratings". If the difference between the 3rd board rating and the 4th board rating is more than 400, you use a higher 4th board rating, to make the difference 400, before taking the average. So for example: the team's ratings are 1900-1800-1700-100. Using the old average formula, the team's rating average is (1900+1800+1700+100)/4, which is 1375. Bogus. They will beat almost any other 1375 team. So let's use accelerated ratings. 1700 minus 100 is way more than 400, so you don't use 100, you use 1300. So the "accelerated rating" average is (1900+1800+1700+1300)/4, which is 1675. Much better!

Now what does this do for the GGGg team? Unfortunately it puts them way over 2200, so it breaks up the team. In fact there's no one they can put on 4th board and still stay together. They can all still play, but only 2 of them per team. Ouch.

So I haven't solved the problem of letting these guys stay together, but my "accelerated rating" average idea makes it fairer when a bunch of friends want to play together, even though they are a "stacked team". Comments anyone?

Ilya said...

I think the previous poster astutely
puts things in perspective because there have been a lot of silly comments coming from people who have clearly never played at this tournament. Everyone wants to see the GMs there, in fact those GMs who play get free hotel room and are treated to an ovation right before rd 1 when each of their name is announced by Steven Doyle, the long term organizer of this event. The Gms are as much a part of this event as are complete beginners, its what attracts many people to Parsipanny. Having said, the idea of 3 gms per team with a kid on board 4 who doesn't know how to play sweeping this event is not what most people had in mind. I actually didn't even this this kid, cause every time I came to check on Eugene's games, the 4th board was already empty.

Anonymous said...

Its too bad they are not allowed in the Playoffs because the other regions didnt allow a team to break the 1000 point rule. Allowing them to break this rule is tantamount to a competitive advantage, and certainly something they do not need!

Anonymous said...

My 10 year old Son played Speed Chess between rounds with board 4 on that team. He seemed very talented to me. If he can beat 10 year olds then i think idea that he isn't good enough to play is silly.

Anonymous said...

Yeah except that last post is a sheer lie, nice try.

Anonymous said...

Actually maybe not. I found this on the USCF web site from last years USAT.

1106 | STEPHEN FANNING |1.0 |L 286|L 644|L 991|L 908|L 651|W1177|
MA | 13656087 / R: 100P7 -> 150P13 | | | | | | | |

Looks like he beat someone.

Anonymous said...

All this seems a little bogus to me. I mean a team could play against another team of all 200 rated players. Then all boards would be playing a low rated player. But no one has suggested this team be banned.

I remember reading Chess Life many years ago about two stack teams playing each other and the game comming down to the 4th board where both sides were hanging pieces and the teammates were just going out of their minds. :)

Back then stack teams were not rare but they hardly ever won because of giving away a point on board 4.

With the 1000 point on the 4th board, a team could still be 2 2600s, a 2599 and a 1000. This does not really seem to have much effect other than trying to limit teams with multiple grandmasters from winning a class prize. Seems too much trouble for an event that is supposed to be fun.

Anonymous said...

OMG I remember those events as well! It was amazing to watch two little kids slugging it out with the whole tournament on the line hanging stuff, missing mates. To me if you have two eight year olds playing to determine the championship on board 4, thats the spirit of the event.
I think the primary reason three stacked teams stopped entering was because they couldn't win not because it was unfair.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I am totally against the 3 gm teams...Is it really fair that a team that messes up every1 else's tournament and wins usate doesnt even represent the east??? This is pathetic, the usate in 2008 was ruined by the 3 gm team.

Mr fanning u should be ashamed of your sons team, they take the "amatuer" of of usate and ruin any teams from winning who play them. I just wish some1 beat them and wasted all your money...this tournament just truly shows that money can buy almost anything...i hope you are happy with what u have done

Anonymous said...

Hey i just wanted to say that i was on the team that played gggg in the last rnd of the tournament and it was ridiculous.

I hate to say this but we really didnt have much of a chance against this team, our best chance was to draw them. Our score might have seemed close with 1.5-2.5, but it really was a complete smash, i got beat pretty badly, but almost drew, and goldstein got pretty much smashed...on the other hand if izoria really had wanted to play it out he could have beaten arnold...i dont even want to talk about rohde's game

anyways what i am trying to say is that usate is one of the best tournaments around today and the team of GGGg ruined it, i hope the organizers of the tournament change the rule of banning 1000 point spreads and let the rightful teams to have a legit chance of winning the tournament

Anonymous said...

By the way, is GGGg representing the east, b/c if they arent that is ridiculous and it proves that the 1000 point rule is ridiculous not to have in act...i swear if some team that has 5.5 and plays for the championship i will be so mad b/c GGGg ruined my teams chances of winning the tournament, they are totally unfair to have and i think that if we voted on people who really cared about winning the tournament the majority would want the 1000 point rule to be set

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Tom if you had 900 less points on board four and 900 more points on board one you could have beaten GGG. It looks more to me like guys who lost just being poor sports.

Anonymous said...

Here's a simple rule change.

Instead of worrying about a 178 or a 678 or whatever, simply have a competency requirement.

The bottom board of any team must score 1/2 point minimum out of 6!

If the bottom board scores 0, that team cannot win the event.

Simple and effective, eliminating the poopy diapers smell emanating from this year's East.

Anonymous said...

yes i am being a poor sport, well at least i put my teams together with friends, not with money

Anonymous said...

Tom I agree with your point that its tough to beat a team with Dzindzi on board three. He could easily be 6 0 on board one but you need to be careful when you say the team was put together with money. Its clear from the other blogs that Roman put the team together with his own students who he is very close with. I believe the little kid is his only student now, other than Perelshteyn and is like a son to him. Board 1 is from his home town in Georga. I also read that they cleared playing with Steve Doyle well in advance on both the rules, and the spirit of the event so your real beef is probably with him if any exists.

Anonymous said...

well then i apologize with the money incident, but i still disagree with the 3 gm team, sry

Anonymous said...

yeah abby knows im always on top, good girl

Anonymous said...

gggg = fagfest
the end.

Anonymous said...

i mean why can t u all chill i played na6 2ice with black and a5 the other time before i hooked na6, i mean its chess yo just chill.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure your students don't know about this blog? I'm getting a distinct seventh-grade vibe from many of these comments.

Anonymous said...

cmon i think this is asolutely ridicuLous...dAnny rhode u shudnt be complainin at all its onli chess;nex year u can jus stay in michigan insTed of wastin ur class Time...

ps.stop being a lil baby

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the GGGg team will not be able to represent the East. If thats true, why in the world does the East not have the 1000 point rule??

I dont understand how you can reconcile this!

Anonymous said...

Let’s face it—when they let Karpov in a few years ago, there went the neighborhood. And while the five-year-old on board 4 this year may not know all the rules of chess, I’ll bet he knows every word of the Pledge of Allegiance. And really, what is more important?

BMarmont said...

For all of you saying the GGGg can't represent the east where are you getting this information?

BMarmont said...

Nevermind, I just checked my email and none other than Carol Jarecki says that they can't play, so they can't play.

Anonymous said...

Our fair Blogatrix
She's tasty and concentrate
Knows double consonants
And how often you're late

Got Blogger of the Year
In your face, Globular
Blame the managers
Not the Commissar

Another endless thread
Something in the news
This controversy
Beats those lame interviews

Lose to a GGGgambit
Call it bad form
That's how GM Richards
Got his third norm

Hate crushing children
On board four
Your correctness quotient
Falls through the floor

That you shoulda won
Don't want to hear it
If not the rule
It violates the spirit

Grace in victory,
Dignity in defeat,
Stay in home next year
If you can't stand the heat

Anonymous said...

Excellent bit of verse! "That's how GM Richards / Got his third norm." Priceless!

This makes a fitting end to this thread. But I can't help adding: If it's true that GGGg is banned from the inter-region playoff, then I predict it's inevitable Doyle will adopt an anti-stacking rule for next year's USATE. (Which brings the debate to an end, anyway.)

Fanning said...

This thread is so full of lies and misinformation. GGGg was eligible to play and elected not to.

Thanks very much, Eugene.
Best wishes and congratulations to the team members.

Eugene Perelshteyn wrote:
> Carol,
> Yes, going into the event it was our understanding that we would not
> be eligible to play in the final in case we win 1st. I believe Steve
> Doyle mentioned it to Roman, and we were fine with this.
> Either way, we are not interested to play in the final as it will be
> online. Our goal was to have fun, play next to each other
> over-the-board, and enjoy the great atmosphere of the tournament.
> You can contact the 2nd place team.
> Best,
> Eugene
> --- Carol Jarecki wrote:
>> Hi Eugene,
>> There is some misunderstanding, and lots of controversy, regarding
>> your team's acceptance into the Playoff.
>> As you said, the team members understood they could not play, as
>> established in past years, because of it's rating configuration.
>> Since the restriction wasn't in writing in the East's TLA Steve Doyle
>> feels the team is allowed although others disagree, asserting the
>> rule of not more than a 1000-point difference between boards 3 and 4
>> has been in place for so long that it no longer needs annual
>> publication. This has caused such national contoversy that he has
>> gone so far as to suggest the Playoffs be cancelled this year. This
>> would be very unfortunate and most likely would not be agreed.
>> I need to know if I may contact the second-place team to partipate in
>> the Playoffs on April 12th which would satisfactorily resolve this
>> problem in the interest, intention and tradition of the US Amateur
>> Team tournaments.
>> Many thanks for a quick reply and cooperation.
>> Carol

Anonymous said...

Maybe Daddy can pay ALL the winning teams to come and play in a championship in his living room?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fanning:

I am a little confused - you say

"This thread is so full of lies and misinformation. GGGg was eligible to play and elected not to."

However, the email you quote from states that Mr. Perelshteyn knew their team would not be eligible for the top prize (see below)

Yes, going into the event it was our understanding that we would not be eligible to play in the final in case we win 1st."

I think you have missinterpreted this.

As an aside, I think it is absolutely ridiculous for all the criticism your son has taken. The posters in here who have attacked your son need to GROW UP.

I think that your team should have been allowed to play - epsecially since you must have received advanced approval from the tournament official, but they should not be allowed in the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Daddy Fanning is funny, he says this thread is full of lies and then he pastes an email excerpt which corroborates that in fact he is the lier, why would he do that??

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh...this all reminds me of the reasons why I don't take part in any of these ridiculous blogs anymore. Good job shakin' the shit up, Liz!

-Todd "The Peoples' Champ" Andrews

Anonymous said...

so they arent participating in the playoffs with the other regions...this is pathetic, wow in the world would they be eligible to play in usate then, i mean wth is going on with the organizers of the tourney if they dont even represent, they ruin the teams that are most deserving of representing and then a team that is not as qualified gets to represent the east???!!!??? why even let them play then??? This is ridiculous

Anonymous said...


Yes, there is no concept of “professional” and “amateur” in the chess world. According to the usual definition, I would say that the majority of players in the “amateur” team tournaments are not fully amateurs. They have won large amounts of money in class sections of tournament where masters are excluded by the rules. Or they make money teaching chess or in some other chess-related business. Probably lots of them are doing better from chess than Izoria, or Dzindzichashvili, who hasn’t played a rated tournament since 2005. Perelshteyn has a career outside of chess.

The reason there is no concept of “professional” and “amateur” in chess seems to be due to the fact that many weaker players seem to think that chess strength should not be important in deciding who gets to make money at chess. An unfortunate situation for chess overall, because then there is no incentive to play chess and get better; i.e. there is no “dream of the NBA” that keeps kids coming to basketball camps and makes it so popular.

Other things don’t seem to be like this, for example I wouldn’t expect to suddenly enter a tennis tournament and get more money than someone who has been practicing all his life; nor would I suddenly declare that I want to be a mathematics professor and then get indignant when people tell me that I don’t know enough about it, that I need a Ph.D. You can see by the above posts that many amateur-level players in chess don’t think that grandmasters should expect any income from their talent. They seem to think that it is actually immoral for a GM or IM to make money playing chess! But it is ok for a 1200 rated beginner to make thousands of dollars in a restricted section. If any GMs or IMs played for free in the amateur team tournaments, then good for them. It shows that they have another source of income, maybe a trust fund, or they were able to spend enough time absorbed in chess to become a strong player while still remaining employable (or develop into a good player while being employed full time). But that does not make them better people.

Anonymous said...

I eel if GGGg is not going to play then the east should lose the right to send a team to the playoffs (alternative idea see below). Yes it it true that D4 did not play GGGg but what about all the other teams that played them. GGGg being able to play changed pairings, and results of other teams and other tiebreak variables that can't or be extremely difficult to determine. Rook N Roll for example played the top rated team in round two and lost 2.5 - 1.5 and then that team lost to GGGg in a later round.The odds of getting a 1/2 or full point round if they did not play GGGg would have greatly increased. Rook N Roll lost out for the under 2100 prize by .75. Yes, I do realize that there are so many variablesJ(too many to mention) in this type of tournament that could have made the tie breaks closer or larger but, this is an example of a domino effect that was not noted.
My other idea is that if we were to send a team to represent the East is to gather the 5.5 teams and the teams that played GGGg and have them battle it out to represent the east. There is time to do this before the playoffs.

Philip J. Sorge (Rook N Roll Forever)

Posted on NJSCF site with a typo corrected on 2/22/08 only my second blog posting.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the two anonymouses who posted after John Fanning did not read his entire post:

"As you said, the team members understood they could not play, as
>> established in past years, because of it's rating configuration.
>> Since the restriction wasn't in writing in the East's TLA Steve Doyle
>> feels the team is allowed although others disagree..."

Please scroll up and read the ENTIRE post. Also, I don't think it is a good idea for random chess patzers to be, YET AGAIN, insulting a sponsor of professional players.

Anonymous said...

The 4:10 anonymous is wrong. The full correspondence between Carol Jarecki and Eugene Perelshteyn, as reprinted earlier in this thread, does in fact indicate that GGGg was prohibited from participating in the playoffs...NOT that they were eligible but voluntarily declined, as Mr. Fanning falsely claimed above.

What seems clear is this: there were no established team-composition rules either imposed by a higher authority (such as the USCF) or agreed in advance by the organizers of the different regional USAT competitions. So, Mr. Doyle imposed no restrictions (beyond the 2200 simple-average ceiling) on teams in the USATE, while at least one other regional USAT did have such a restriction.

Against that backdrop, Ms. Jarecki's statements to Mr. Perelshteyn indicate that other influential individuals - who I presume must be the organizers, members and/or sponsors(?) of one or more regional USAT tournaments - were outraged at the prospect of the other regional winners having to face the GGGg team in the online national playoff. Jarecki clearly states that Doyle believes GGGg is allowed in the playoff - BUT OTHERS (presumably those representing the other regional winners) DISAGREE. In response, Doyle raised the possibility of cancelling the playoff altogether, she said...a fact that hardly inspires much confidence in Mr. Fanning's or the 4:10 anonymous's (mis)interpretation.

So, the 4:10 anonymous is shown to have misstated the facts in his last posting. And if his complaint against "random chess patzers" is that they accurately exposed Mr. Fanning's earlier false claim that GGGg would have been permitted to play against the other regional winners had GGGg wished to...well, my recommendation to this anonymous, "random" liar is that he simply butt out. With "friends" like you, Mr. Fanning (and the three G's) certainly don't need enemies.

-Jon Jacobs

Anonymous said...

I am against the GGGg team. Unfortunately, this year was rather weak. Too bad a team of, say: 2400, 2400, 2400(roughly of course..high 2300s works too) and a 1600 on board 4 wasn't fielded. That sort of team would have a very strong chance of atleast drawing the GGGg team..

Anonymous said...

I wish Mr. Fanning would consider endowing the U.S. Championship fund with a generous donation. Last year's prize fund of $65,000 overall was a paltry joke and insult to professional chess. If he made a generous contribution, certainly everyone's sympathies would be more in his favor.

chessdiva.show said...

I wish I went to this tournament.
Anyway, congratulations to Abby!

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the teams that had to play gggg and now some other team gets to play for the east while better deserving teams like schnieder-coleman's team and arnold-rohde's team don't get to play this is just unfair

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Though the GGGg team at this year's Amateur Team East was viewed as unfair, and there is a lot of controversy regarding Mr. Fanning and his child, please keep it to a minimum. It was ultimately the GMs' decision to play (no matter how truely tempting the money was). Don't slam the poor 5-year-old...he probably didn't even know what was going on! Though teams like these create controversy, is winning the USATE really that important? What is in it for you? A chess clock or two? A plaque? Bragging rights? In the long run, it really isn't very important. To those of you who think it is, I suggest you find a new hobby.
As for the line between "Amateur" and "Professional", I suggest our friendly TDs find a solution, one that is agreed upon by all USAT organizers, so that something as conflicting as this doesn't happen again.

Anonymous said...

This blog is the most hilarious thing I've read on the interwebs in weeks.

Let's look at the facts:

- GGGg was a really strong team and it was interesting to see Izoria, Perelshteyn, and Dzindzi on a team.
- GGGg's board 4 repeatedly made illegal moves and thus should have never been allowed onto this team in the first place.
- The spirit of USATE is for fairly balanced teams to battle it out, but since Doyle OK'd the team to play they were within the rules.
- The other USAT organizers would probably not allow GGGg to enter the playoffs and thus in Hindsight it was probably a poor decision to let them enter USATE and ruin a bunch of good teams' chances to represent the East.
- Note the 2017 avg. of GGGg, this meant they faced off with a bunch of 2197-2199 teams and ruined their chances.
- USATE is not only played for clocks and plaques. It is played for Free Publicity on the cover of chess life. If you're trying to promote books, lessons, programs -- then there is no better advertising than that in USA Chess.
- GM Richards appears to be a very hard player and I would not like to face off with him.

Alec said...

This is an interesting discussion, and I'd like to state my view of this situation:

Should GGGg be eligible to play in the USATE?

There is no rule banning stacked teams from the USATE. There was a rule from 1994-1997 about banning stacked teams but was changed when Karpov wanted to form a stacked team in 1997. I got this information from uschess.org.

Personally, however, I don't think stacked teams should be allowed to play in the USATs. Since all USATs compete in the same championship, they should all have the same rules. I like the 1000 point rule between board 3 and board 4. I understand some people enjoy seeing all three GMs on stage. I guess they think it is easier to view their games if they're all "stacked" together, because there are plenty of GMs on board one on the stage. It's really hard to see Dzindzi all the way on board 3 behind the ropes anyway. If you had Perelshteyn and Dzindi on different board ones or any GM people could watch the game clearly anyway. It's not that hard to walk 5 steps to see Nakamura for example and then walk 5 steps back to Izoria.

And is it really fair for the other teams to face GGGg? I don't think so at all. First of all, the average rating of GGGg was 2017, but they won 6 -0. Of course they're stronger than 2017. Stephen Fanning brought their average down. The thing with stacked teams is that with stacked teams, there is an easy win on board four, but the other three boards are vastly outnumbered in rating. I like Bruce Leverett's idea about "accelerated ratings." He explains that if the rating difference between third and forth board is more than 400, the average will be averaged with only a 400 difference. The example he uses is a 1900-1800-1700-100 team would average 1375, but they can beat 1375 teams much more easily than other teams that are around 1375. So 1900-1800-1700-1300 (400 less) equals 1675, which is more fair. This way, Mr. Leverett explains, this would bring GGGg's average above 2200, only allowing 2 GMs on the team.

Who should go to the playoffs?

First of all, I think it is correct to rule GGGg to not be eligible for the playoffs. The playoffs include all USAT champions, but not all USATs have the same rules (stacked teams).

But who should represent the east though? Some people are saying 2nd place should go to the playoffs. The team, 1.d4 ended up with 5.5 points. Of course it's a great and well-deserved result, and I have nothing wrong against anyone on that team. However, as some people have brought up, they, unlike other teams did not face GGGg. No Longer Searching for Bobby Fischer had 5-0 going into the last round and tied in 1st place with GGGg when they had to play the stacked team. Although Board 4 was a easy win, they were vastly outnumbered on every other board. This is also a way to look at it, as I mentioned earlier; the matchup wasn't very fair. If 1.d4 played GGGg, they most likely would've lost, too, as they were balanced very similar to No Longer Searching for Bobby Fischer.

So who should go to the playoffs? I think a fair solution is to have a match between the "official" representatives 1.d4 to play a match against the 1st place before the last round when they had to play against GGGg, No Longer Searching for Bobby Fischer. The winner would advance to the playoffs, and in case of a tie in the match, there could be a "US Chess League Style" playoff, in which the board fours play a blitz match and the loser gets knocked off, so board three from the losing team would play against board four from the winning team. And with a draw, both players get knocked off. If board one versus board one and it's a draw, the players will keep playing until someone has won.

Also, stop targeting Stephen Fanning. He probably didn't even know what was going on; he's only five years old. He's not a masochist or anything because I'm sure nobody likes to be crushed over and over again, especially when you're so young and ignorant because you don't know better. And with Stephen's dad, well, I don't really want to criticize anyone, but if anything he's the one to complain to, not Stephen, nor the GMs.

Anonymous said...

lizzy, check this out! an online chess TV channel


Anonymous said...

"is winning the USATE really that important? What is in it for you? A chess clock or two? A plaque? Bragging rights? In the long run, it really isn't very important. To those of you who think it is, I suggest you find a new hobby." - karsten

Karsten, it is not your place to tell people what is and what is not important. There is a great deal more to winning such an event than the petty things you listed.

How about the feeling of self-accomplishment and the thrill of winning/competitiveness?

It is not your place to tell us to simply brush it off because there is no large prize or whatever you would deem as important.

Anonymous said...

GGGg was a legal team, even if some think it should not have been. If they won't or can't play in the playoff, then the team that finished second must be invited. Do people seriously want to argue otherwise?

Elizabeth Vicary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Vicary said...

Yeah, Karsten, I have to agree with Jerry Towns: this is chess and you are female so please stop expressing your opinion.


Anonymous said...

I thought Liz was too smart to stoop to playing the gender card when she's in a bad position. You know, like the way park hustlers sometimes play the race card - he cheats in a game or refuses to pay after losing - and when you call him on it he says, "You're just trying to take advantage of me because I'm black."

And how many readers would even know that someone posting under "Karsten" would be female, anyway? I sure didn't.

Frankly, anyone who pompously proclaims to others what they should and should not consider important, is more likely to be perceived as MALE, absent other evidence. (And isn't Kramnik's manager, who I presume is male, named "Carsten"?)

-Jon Jacobs

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I just assumed it was Karsten McVay.

Anonymous said...

1) Why has nobody pointed out how funny and comical the concept behind GGGg is? Given how much we enjoy stories of fantastic chess prodigies performing wonderful feats at an early age, this is (hilariously) taking the premise to its logical conclusion.

2) It's not even as if they're the first to do this sort of thing; see the comments above about Karpov.

3) Part of the reason it's funny is because it's so obviously a sub-optimal tactic. In 2009, all you need to do is put together a team with three GMs and an 678-rated player to take on a team with three GMs and a 178-rated player. It's quite a big assumption that both the three-GM teams will earn 2.5/3 five matches in a row; if they do that (which is far from guaranteed, as Greg said) then they deserve to win the tournament. Taking this a step further, in 2010, you'll have two teams with three GMs and one fourth board just sufficient to meet the rating cap. It's not impossible that the three GMs on either side will combine to tie the top three boards and the match will come down to the fourth board, which is exactly as it should be. (What the February 21, 2008 10:03 PM anonymous said, basically.)

4) On the other hand, having a 178-rated player on the team is disrespectful to the other teams in a way that a 678-rated player wouldn't be. Looking at it from GGGg's opponents' board 4s' perspectives, they only get to play five competitive games in the tournament rather than six, which can't be so fun. I think it would behoove the 3 Gs in GGGg to go out of their way to be particularly kind to their opponents' board 4s in exchange for the lack of a competitive game.

5) Would anyone have had any objections to GGGg having taken part hors concours? Given that they knew in advance that they wouldn't advance to the playoff if they won the event, is there any difference between what they did and taking part hors concours?

Anonymous said...

Was GGGg fair? Was it competitive and in the Spirit of the USATE?
Was it fair that we, an 1800+ team, be paired up with a 500+ team in the 3rd round? The 4th board also made multi illegal moves and the rest of the team kept giving their pieces away.
Yes , we were at fault for losing the 1st 2 rounds but in the Spirit of this tournament, it should never have happened. It would have been more Fun and Competitive for us to play another 1400+ or even a 1000+ team.
It would also have been more Fun for the 500+ team to face another team where they would equally be giving up their pieces and thus a chance to win. Maybe they wanted the 500+ team to have a better shot at the perseverance award.
So what is Fair?

Anonymous said...

the tds should really do soemthing about this mess. elizabeth, refer them to your blog for some helpful insight!

and karsten/carsten is a man's name. karsten mueller or carsten hansen (who was at the amateur team east), anyone?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Chris Dickson that the USATE would have been much more enjoyable if hors concours were served. I certainly wouldn't have objected if GGGg partook as well, as long as they didn't eat all those pigs-in-a-blanket thingies. Those are mighty tasty.

Anonymous said...

If I was this kid Fanning, I would be totally psyched to be playing on a team with 3 GM's! And while losing all my games, I'd be thinking, "yeah, you are beating be in this game, but my TEAM is going to kick your butts and win the match." So in my opinion, it was fun for the kid.

The notion that these GM's were offered money to play on the same team (true or not) is awesome! It's hard enough making a living as a professional chess player in America. So when the cash is offered, I say, "Thank you very much!"

That said, it is also my opinion, and the opinion of many, that the presence of the GGGg Team, while adding to the spectatorship of the event...also crushed the spirit of many of the competing teams who would have otherwise had a serious chance to win the tournament. Considering the event is the Amateur Team Championship, and the 1000 point difference rule between boards has been widely accepted accross the country, it seems fair to bring this rule back, and reinfuse the tournament with the excitement of the true battle for the Championship between Amateur Teams.

-Mark Kurtzman

Anonymous said...

LOL at Elizabeth playing the gender card. Nowhere was gender mentioned or even insinuated in Jerry's post.

Easy on the trigger finger.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Elizabeth Vicary said...

I just assumed it was Karsten McVay."

And you also just assumed that I knew Karsten was a female and that I was making misogynistic remarks.

Way too much assuming on your part - especially since nowhere in my post did I imply what you thought I did.

My issue lies with her pompously telling us what to consider important and whatnot.

But hey now, the only reward is a cheap clock and plaque...tangibles are the only things that matter!

Anonymous said...

Posted paritally from another blog

Sat Feb 23, 10:32:00 PM EST
Anonymous said...
Is it a rule that if the first place team bows out the second place team automatically goes? If it is then, so be it, but it is still unfair to the other teams that played GGGg. If GGGg is not going no one should represent the east this year. The winner should represent the east end of story and the east should be ashamed.

I am forming a Super GM team to play with my 9 year old daughter next year. I will need some investors. I will start with $35 or more and get enough people to put up the super GM team and it woul be awesome to watch them play.If anyone is willing to help form this super team you will be given credit for and maybe others will do the same and this tournament (what a trend this will set) will have 50 Gm's in next years tournament. This will be a boom for Gm's in this country. I think I will start a league get sponsorship and support Gm's.

Another issue is maybe the east should send teams to the other regions as the University of Dallas comes to the east.(I don't blame them for comming to where the best competition is and from their home towns)I did not check if all are from the east(others players did not have east only entries) originally but the team name and top college is represented as UDT. If we send other teams to the other regions they have a better chance of making it to the playoffs since there are way fewer teams to compete with. More things to comteplate on this issue.

Anonymous said...


Well if they weren't paid to play, maybe it was for old times sake. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the idea to have the 50 GM's in the tournament.

We should focus on that, and make another tournament for the Amateur Teams to play in!!

Anonymous said...

First of all despite taking this embarrassing position it is my sincere belief that Elizabeth doesn't really believe in it herself, she has made no attempt whatsoever to defend her original statements. Her goal was just to start a big fight on her blog and sit in the shade and observe it. Secondly, I think the 1000 pts rule will be reinstated for next years tournament therefore reinforcing the feeling that the organizers had made a lapse in judgment in giving GGGg the green light this year. Third point is that besides this 1000 point rule it would be nice to have 2 sections--I know I know not to everyone's taste...barf... but if you had two sections say under 1800 and over 1800, the whole tournament would be more exciting, not too many matches would end 4-0... This year my team had 4 matches end this way. And 6rds would provide a great platform to decide a clear winner. Steven Doyle please take notice!!

Anonymous said...

I would like to expand on Tom Ricciardi's comments.

The under 2200 rule has an effect on some teams -- not very many, but it affected mine. I wanted to invite F.C., one of my teammates in the Pittsburgh Chess League, to be on my USATE team, but I couldn't because he was too high rated. I even had to apologize and explain this to him, when he realized that I had passed him over.

So naturally I'm thinking about the under-2200 rule. It's been there from the beginning. What is it for? The only purpose is to ensure that lots of teams have a shot at the first prize.

So our third board looks at the advance entry list, and he sees GGGg. Do lots of teams have a shot at first prize? No, realistically only one team does. Chess players like to fantasize about knocking off the stacked team, but in reality, GGGg had a lock on 1st place from the start. Look at the past prizewinners -- in the past 20 years, about 10 stacked teams have entered, and all of them have won, except when there was more than one. In 1986, a stacked team won the East but didn't win the playoffs; that was the last time.

So, the purpose of the under-2200 rule was utterly defeated. That naturally had an effect on the morale of teams like mine where we had to tell friends to kiss off because they were too high rated. I do not know if Tony Ricciardi was in that situation, but I wouldn't be surprised.

If the under-2200 rule has a loophole in it big enough to drive a truck through, what then? Well, you could get rid of the under-2200 rule. That's the way the Pittsburgh Chess League is run, no strength limit rules of any kind; it is held in sections, and besides, the strong players tend to sort themselves into different teams, so they play each other, rather than roughing up the A-players. I won't claim that what works for the PCL would work for the USAT, but you have to think about those ideas.

What other ideas are there? In a previous comment on this blog, I suggested a modification to the under-2200 rule, to close up the loophole; I called it "accelerated ratings". I know better than to think that this idea is going to set the world on fire, but again, there's a real problem, not just a bunch of sore losers; I wanted to put a proposal on the table.

The third way of going is the status quo. With 35+ years of experience and attendance that is setting records, Mr. Doyle and the other organizers can be forgiven for just ignoring the problem. But it's sad. Am I a whiner? Are my teammates whiners? Is Mr. Ricciardi a whiner? Or are we just normal competitive chess players, disappointed that instead of a contest, we got a loophole?

Anonymous said...

I like the system used by the team4545 league on ICC. For whatever division you are trying to compute a team rating for, anyone rating more than 300 points below the division team maximum is rated 300 points below instead. So for our U2200 division any 1600s playing would be rated 1900 (2200-300) for team rating calculation purposes. This encourages the 1500s to play in the U1900 division instead. (Granted the USATE would need some new divisions, but that is doable.)

Ed Scimia said...

I have some minor issues with the team4545 rule (mainly that it makes it hard for low-rated but not entirely incompetent players to participate), but that said, it's pretty good for that league.

USATE, on the other hand, probably couldn't use a rule like that, given that the open, one section format is a large part of the fun for most teams (perhaps a low-rated, scholastic-only reserve section wouldn't be a horrible idea). I think for their purposes, the so-called "1000-point rule" is sufficient.

Greg Shahade said...

Bruce: stating that GGGg had a lock on 1st place from the start is simply absurd. I was approached about teams where I would play Board 2.

Perelstheyn is a strong player but the chance of me defeating him and thus effectively knocking their team out of contention is extremely real, not to mention the possibility of Izoria "gasp" losing to the GM who was slated to play Board 1 on this imaginary team.

Honestly I don't even think the team that we imagined playing with would be that large an underdog against GGGg. I think we would at least draw around 25-30% of the time at the minimum.

All this talk of how invinceable GGGg is is ludicrous. We get a bye on Board 4, they get a likely bye on Board 3. It comes down to Boards 1+2 where we are outrated by an average of about 100 points, but to act as if we can't possibly score 1/2 in this spot is just insane. Also our Board 3 would have had maybe a 5-10% chance of scoring a draw against Dzindzi as an added bonus.

I woulda looked forward to taking this team out if this team we discussed actually played.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Greg, I said, "Chessplayers like to fantasize about knocking off the stacked team", and you did, so we're both happy :-)

Anonymous said...


Sure, it isn't a "lock", but I'd bet if you did some statstical breakdown of the situation you would find something like:

GGGg = 80% chance of winning

Any other team = less than 5-10% chance of winning, tops.

Anonymous said...

I guess you're right, Greg. But in a way, you're only reinforcing the point made by those who objected to GGGg: Based on your logic, the only team that would have a ghost of a chance to hold them in a match would be ANOTHER STACKED team, like the one you described. And not just stacked, but probably consciously configured to maximally exploit the rating loophole - the ability to bring down the team average by finding someone not merely low rated, but extremely low rated, to play board 4.

That statement follows logically from your assertion that the proper place to fight GGGg is on boards 1 and 2 - not on board 3 as I had thought going in (but changed my mind after seeing who Dzindzi actually faced*).

To have a reasonable chance at splitting boards 1 and 2, you'd obviously need at least a solid GM on 1 and an above-average IM on 2. This all but rules out all "balanced" teams, such as this year's top-rated team, "McCain - No Country For Old Men" (headed by IM Lapshun, with underrated A-player Medina Parrilla on board 4). To allow for enough strength on the top boards, the 4th board on your "GGGg-killer" team probably couldn't be much over 1500. Although such a lineup wouldn't generate the objections that GGGg has, it would reflect GGGg's influence, since the lineup probably would be less than optimal in competition against balanced teams. In fact, the expected result in a matchup with a balanced team would be much like that of GGGg, but with less certainty of winning (i.e. you'd effectively give up a bye on board 4 and be favored to win the other three boards against 2100-2400 opponents - but with a smaller margin of confidence than the 3-GM team enjoyed).

* Initially I'd thought that maybe GGGg would be vulnerable on board 3, assuming Dzindzi was one of those retired, over-the-hill GMs. Before looking at the wall chart I even entertained the idea that my own performance rating might have surpassed his, since I scored 5.5 on board 2 for a team that scored 5/6. However, the wall chart disabused me of any such notion: although he was on board 3, all but one of his opponents were rated above 2100. (Whereas I faced just 2 opponents higher than 2000.)

Greg Shahade said...

There is no way in hell GGGg should have an 80% chance to win. Based on the team I just gave, I think they wouldn't beat us at least 25-35% of the time and that is just a single match.

Also I don't see how it's a fantasy. All I'd have to do is beat Perelshteyn to automatically draw the match. This isn't some impossible thing that will happen very rarely. Sure you'd expect him to be a favorite, but I should win straight up about 25% of the time at the bare minimum. And those times that I draw, the GM we have on Board 1 is more than capable of holding his own against Izoria.

Note this wouldn't have even been a stacked team. It would've been like 2100 on Board 3 and 1600 on Board 4.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, this argument is going in the wrong direction. I didn't mean to challenge your assertion that you could beat Perelshteyn 25-35% of the time straight up, although the 170+ point difference in USCF ratings looks impressive to me. This is not a discussion of Greg or Eugene. It's a discussion of sportsmanship. When my team was in the car driving to New Jersey, and Jeff announced that GGGg was playing, did our thoughts turn to Greg Shahade's chances vs. Eugene Perelshteyn? No, we were thinking about us. We had to turn down our friends in order to stay below 2200, but we had no chance to win. So we get screwed both ways. That's what it's about. Do you have a suggestion to make things a little less of a Catch-22 for us and for the 30 other teams rated 2100+? I'm listening.

Anonymous said...

I think Greg has a point, but more importantly it should be noted that GGGg never had to face a team Greg is describing and therefore was never really in danger of drawing/losing. i can imagine LarryC beating Izoria on board 1 and thus drawing the match ; I noticed both Dgindzi and Perelshteyn keeping a close eye on Larry's games.

Greg Shahade said...

Well yeah I think the 1000 point rating difference between boards 3+4 is just a good idea in general.

dvigorito said...

greg, don't you think it is unfair that GGGg had a strategy to win matches? don't you think it unfair that they fielded a team with an average rating below 2200 but came up with a way to do it that gave them good chances to score at least 2.5/4? isn't it bad sportsmanship to win because then the losers feel bad? I certainly hope that Karpov is banned from all future events because he was world champion and that is not fair!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Vigorito, I have no quarrel with what the GGGg team did. If I found a loophole like they did, I'd charge through it like they did. We played them, and as I remarked in an earlier comment in this blog, I was happy to have the opportunity to play Izoria; grandmasters don't come my way every week.

However, I play regularly in a league where there isn't an under-2200 rule. This league has more interesting competition than the USATE. You can't predict the winner at the start of the season. I play opponents ranging from 1900 to Grandmaster, while my lower boards, who are Experts, play opponents closer to their own strength. We don't have Experts playing 500-rated children. I've been playing in this league, the Pittsburgh Chess League, for more than 30 years, and I'm accustomed to the high standard of fairness and sporting competitiveness that it sets. When I see that the largest team competition in the country, the USATE, has a completely predictable winner, and has Experts playing 500-rated children, I'm disappointed. If you are not disappointed, if this is all that your experience leads you to expect, then I'm sorry for you.

Greg Shahade said...

They should just bring back the 1k point differential rule. It's totally fair and avoids this problem, while still allowing a ton of flexibility in terms of team makeup.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment that the only type of team that could beat a team like a GGGg team is a stacked team. Practically there were almost no team that had this 2nd board that was capable of defeating a GM. Of course its not impossible, but I like the chances of a stacked team significantly more than 95% of the teams competing. That much is clear.

Anonymous said...

It's been pointed out before, but Steve Doyle announced before the last round that USATE has *never* had the 1000 point differential rule.

Anyway, no comments about the stitches in Chris Williams's head?



Anonymous said...

A friend of mine told me of the discussion in this thread, and said that I would enjoy reading it.

Reserving judgment on the issues raised in this thread for a later time, I'll simply post the following excerpt, believing that it has relevance both to the issue that sparked this discussion (the GGGg team) and the course this discussion has taken:

"In recent books on logic, distinction is made between two orders of inquiry concerning anything.

First, what is the nature of it? how did it come about? what is its constitution, origin, and history?

And second, What is its importance, meaning, or significance, now that it is once here?

The answer to the one question is given in an existential judgment, or proposition.

The answer to the other is a proposition of value... Neither judgment can be deduced immediately from the other. They proceed from diverse intellectual preoccupations, and the mind combines them only making them first separately, and then adding them together."

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

Greg Shahade said...

I have the be honest I thought the previous post was spam until I read it very closely and noticed that the phrase (GGGg) was included and that there were no hyperlinks.

Anonymous said...

As Peter Winston used to say (with tongue firmly in cheek), "Too deep for me." My education must be inadequate - despite the classes I attended in William James Hall.

For what it's worth, I never heard of hors d'concourse either, or whatever it was. So I was quite pleased when someone else jumped in and spoofed that phrase.

Is it too late to sue my university for a tuition refund?

-Jon Jacobs

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that the GGGg team would generate so much outrage.

USATE has always been my favorite tournament because of the relaxed atmosphere. It's not like the World Open where you pay $350 and have to worry about whether or not your opponent is using Pocket Fritz.

I was on one of the teams that lost to GGGg, and I thought that our team had a legitimate shot to win the whole tournament due to our 2199 avg rating.
It would've been really nice to win, but I went to USATE to play against good competition and to catch up with old friends, and I did just that.

They didn't break any rules - so cut them some slack! US Chess very poorly marketed anyways, GGGg should give it some much needed publicity.

Anonymous said...

um I just wanna give a shout out to chrissybear cuz he's a straight gangsta and like vicary is awesome and all that good stuff...word up chess ppl

oh and GM teams are retarded...later.


Anonymous said...

To Mr. Shahade and Mr. Jacobs,

Let me briefly explain the relevance of the quote to the situation at hand.

"First, what is the nature of it? how did it come about? what is its constitution, origin, and history?"

Specifically, how did the GGGg team form? How did the participants agree to form the team? Were payments involved?

"And second, What is its importance, meaning, or significance, now that it is once here?"

This answers has less to do with the specifics of the team (examples 1 and 3 below), and more to do with our reactions to what they accomplished. (examples 2 through 5)


1) Is it any of our business to know if payments were involved?
2) More generally, is it ethical for money to change hands when forming members of a team for an amateur tournament?
3) Should grandmasters even be allowed in this tournament?
4) If the GGGg team had not won the USATE, would everyone be complaining about their result?
5) Should measures be taken to stop a repeat occurrence of this in future editions of the tournament?

These issues may have been discussed already, but it'll take me some time to read through 170+ comments already posted, so forgive me if I'm treading down well-worn paths.

(Apropos of nothing, we've had profanity and deleted posts in this thread, so references to hors concours and good ole Bill James kinda evens out the scale, doesn't it?)

Anonymous said...

I thought it was an Amateur tournament for a reason theres nothing amateur about 3 gms on 1 team.I could careless but dont make a tournament with the name Amateur then allow 3 pros to play on the same team. Which brings me to my next point GMs that wanna win the tournament.Team up and having one of their friends that wanna try the game as board 4 vs other gm teams which make the tournament less fun for the teams that dont have gms being the future of the "Amateurs".

Anonymous said...

Who should represent the EAST?

Playoff between d4. and any other teams that went 5-0 and only lost to GGGg

Anonymous said...

The correspondence between Jarecki and Perelshteyn, already published right here, indicates there won't be a playoff to decide who goes to the playoff. She said she and/or Doyle planned to invite d4 (in place of GGGg) to represent the East in the playoff. I'd bet money that's what she will do, and may have done so already.

And by the way, d4 wasn't the only team with 5.5 points. The team listed in third place (I think it was No Money For My Chess Honey) actually finished with 5.5 too. The wall chart mistakenly listed the third-place team's score as 5.0.

-Jon Jacobs

Anonymous said...

okay i'll bite (GM Richard might want to withdraw here...) what's with the stitches on Chris Williams' forehead??

Anonymous said...

He got outta line trying to ACT gangsta

Anonymous said...

Christopher Michael Williams was hit in the head by a direct hit from an an incoming beer bottle,(not sure of the beer brand) on Friday night 02/16/08. He fell to the floor and police as well as paramedics were called to the scene. He was taken to the nearby hospital where he got stitches. The assailants name is Rios Enrique, he inittially fled the scene but later
returned when he could not find a suitable flight out. He is a 400- pound monkey (presumably gorilla)and should have gone to jail as well as paid reparations, of which neither has happened. Thats all I know.

Anonymous said...

oh, that gives every chess teacher a warm and fuzzy feeling --oh wait! maybe that's just blood pouring down our forehead....

Anonymous said...

No Money For My Chess Honey, lost out to d4 in the 2nd tiebreak by one point.

And that makes d4 the clear choice to represent the East lol.

PS: No Money for My Chess Honey has an IM on board 1.

LOL @ J. Benjamin warning people in the NY Times.

Anonymous said...

pff typical chess nerds especially greg he thinks he could beat all GMs lol people dont careabout some uknown whatever ur title is people dont care whether u could baet someone or not they went there for fun so anyway its just funny haha but well all i can say is the TD for team east screwed up big time lol im sure its for money anywayz just bring back 1000 pt rule and this thing is over really pathetic

Anonymous said...

Why d4? They never faced the uber-team GGGg. Nor did No Money. And what about Bobby Fischer who was 5-0 going into the last round. Or any other team whose only loss was the uber-team. Nobody should represent the East if GGGg declines to play. This is too bad as the East has the biggest and best tournament. There are no playoffs for the US Amateur why do they need one for the USATE. The rules should be the same for all four Amateur Teams in the future. Then there can be a playoff....

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous post. I mean who the hell is this bitch Jarecki or whatever her name is to ask Eugene if it is o.k. with him to ask the so-called 2nd place team to participate in the playoff. What about all the teams who lost to GGGg and what about the other 5.5 point team, these tie brakes are silly to begin with but to use them in this situation without consulting anyone is just preposterous. Doyle is a genius too, he had a great vision first allowing GGGg to play and then suggesting they cancel these playoffs altogether. Good job Stevie

Big Dave said...

Just read this long thread, so I'll keep it short here.

I have played in the USATE 28 times, been on the winning team twice. (One of those times, we tied with a sponsored-and-stacked team, but beat them on tiebreaks since their board 4 went 0-6. However, they weren't nearly as stacked as GGGg.)

The 3-paid-GMs + illegal-moving child team is at odds with the spirit of the event, as I have experienced it since the 1970s - and this event is all about spirit. Fielding a team of mercenary superstars in an "amateur" competition can't be right. If it's OK by the rules, then change the rules.

Add my strong vote for the 1,000-point rule.

P.S. I have nothing against little kids playing, as my 6-year-old son did this year. Mr. Fanning making his son the sacrificial lamb on a pro team is just distasteful.

Anonymous said...

Why a class player has to be afraid to play a GM ?

Playing against strong opposition is the best way to improve and on top you can get a post mortem for free! after the game is over.

Anonymous said...

Man, I would have loved to play GGGg (or any Grandmaster for that matter, its the reason I chose to play first board every year I play). I also have no problems with what they did, any team that makes it below 2200 is a-okay in my book.

Rock on GGGg and they should've represented the East. Just because the West has a sad rule doesn't mean East, North, and South should be penalized for it.

Anonymous said...

Too end all arguements GGGg should of just got paired with da dynasty and we draw them and knock them out of tha first place prize and danny rhodes team would of won it