Tuesday, February 19, 2008

USATE 2008 Concludes

I got a nice win in Round 6 of the USATE 2008 with the Nimzovich Defense (see Briones-Goeller, USATE 2008) to help our team finish 5-1 and thus give us a good shot at taking the Best New Jersey Team title. That cheered me up a bit and changed my outlook on the tournament -- which had not been helped by a forfeit win in Round 5 followed by a very long wait for Round 6. I had been in a very gloomy mood all day until the end, but the win helped me go home happy.

I think our whole team had been feeling down following our loss to the Three-Gs, which basically meant that our chances of winning the title were completely sunk in Round 3. In fact, one of our players was so upset about it that (in my opinion) it caused the medical condition that made it impossible for him to continue. That meant that Bob Rose and I would have to play two games on the last day.

At least Bob and I actually got to meet each other after over two years of playing on the same team! "Yeah, it had been sort of like that movie Ladyhawke with you two," Stoyko joked; "you played in the morning and he played in the evening and you were doomed to never meet."

As predicted, the Three-Gs finished 6-0, taking the title with never a doubt.

According to Steve Doyle, I was mistaken regarding the 1000-point rule. The USATE has never disallowed stacked teams, even when the national event imposed an anti-stacking rule from 1994-1998. So the Grandmasters will play for the championship. I wonder how the other three teams will feel about that?

I engaged a lot of people in conversation about the Three-Gs, especially during my hours of waiting around after my forfeit win in Round 5. I encountered a surprising diversity of opinion on some matters, and was shocked that many people saw little wrong with the idea of three GMs playing on the same team. Here are some things people said:
  • Rather universally, people thought the Three-Gs made it impossible for ordinary master and expert teams to challenge for the title, but this only diminished the morale of those who held onto "the dream of glory." While some play for no other reason than that they have a chance to win a national championship, most go to "the Teams" just to have fun. And even those out to win the championship were generally philosophical about it, saying "there's always next year" or "these stacked teams come and go." Only a couple people were "outraged" by the Three-Gs.

  • Everyone I spoke to believed that the three GMs had been paid off (Three-Gs plus room and board was the standard estimate) so that the youngster could take home a share of the title. But they generally added "it's a free country" or "his Napster-rich parents are welcome to buy a title if they want to do that -- it's their money." Several thought it was nice that the GMs got a pay day.

  • When I suggested to people that this was an "amateur" event, and a paid team had no place there, I rarely found much support for my view, to be perfectly honest. One player, whose team had won before, thought that the word "amateur" should be stricken from the event's title since he thought it had really diminished his achievement in the eyes of his friends and co-workers when he had won. In fact, he said, some people had even teased him about his "amateur" status. When I mentioned this to other players, they agreed and said that it was about time that we just called it the "World Team." One even suggested that it be modeled it after the World Open, with lots of cash prizes, though he balked at raising the entry fee to pay for that. The meaning of the word "amateur" in the event's title seemed completely lost on most people I spoke to, especially anyone under 40.

  • The organizers suggested that something might be done to address the issue of stacked teams in future events. But they did not think the 1000-point rule was workable, especially since they want to encourage both GMs and juniors to play. The strongest recommendation I heard mentioned was that there should be no more than two GMs per team. One proposal I heard batted around was that individual scores could be factored more strongly into the results, so that any team that regularly lost on bottom board might suffer when compared to teams with more uniform results. I didn't much care for this proposal, since there are many occasions when players might want to take a draw once a match had pretty much been decided, and it struck me as onerous and hardly fun to always have to play for the win.
With so much complacency among chess players, I don't think there is much sense in complaining about the Three-Gs. No doubt they will go on to win the national title (who could possibly stand in their way?) and get their pictures on the cover of Chess Life.

For the rest of us, there's always next year.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you think "the rest of us" have some sort of divine right to win? The three GMs are not some other species, they are humans just like you, they just play better. Two of the three are not even really professional chessplayers.

The fact that they were paid to play is great. There are few chances for professional players in America--maybe next year there will be more competition to "hire" top players, like in the Bundesliga. Having people actually be able to make a living at chess is good for chess in general--Americans don't respect anything you can't make money at. More people will play at the amateur level if there is some reward for getting good.

By the way, there is nothing more ethical than making a living from playing chess. In most other fields, there is politics, backstabbing, brownnosing, and other animal behaviors (like manipulative behavior to move up the "pecking order"). In chess, if you play well you win--you can't raise your voice to cover up a bad move. You have total freedom--you don't have to suck up to anybody. You get where you are by what you know, not who you know (at least in the actual act of playing). How many people reading this blog got their job through some friend? In chess it is just you alone. Unfortunately some people want to bring those undesireable elements of other careers into chess as well.

Anonymous said...

A GM is a PROFESSIONAL. The tournament is not for professionals. To have a pro team win the Am. Team is stupid.

This seems like easy enough logic to me.

Anonymous said...

Well, then how is it possible that this team was permitted to play, according to existing rules? You misinterpret the nature of the "amateur team tournament." True, the GGGg team was planned specifically to win the most games according to the EXISTING RULES.

Maybe Goeller's interviewees are right...the word "amateur" should not be used to describe this event, if in fact the average rating allowed can permit three grandmasters to play. But what is the problem with this fact? Let's just change the name then, to prevent any misunderstanding.

I agree with the first comment...we need more good players setting an example in this country of how to play! Maybe then mediocre chess taught by mediocre players would no longer be the norm here. The fact these players were paid to play is merely their own business. THEY DID NOT PLAY THROWN GAMES. They didn't pay their opponents to lose. They won by playing strong games. They've studied chess in-depth for years and years. What of the logic of playing good chess is so tough for YOU to understand?

I can't help but wonder if Mr. Goeller's background in elementary education doesn't contribute to his sense of "fairness" here. This is not "All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." It's not a scholastic event. It's not about every single person winning a trophy. It's CHESS, FOR GOD'S SAKE. Chess is about winning. A winning game is a beautiful game. Anyone who aspires to be good at chess should appreciate that fact.

Chess players need not be cruel people, but a better game should be appreciated and exceptional excellence should be celebrated.

BrutalTruth said...

Anonymous, pusillanimous!

His rationales too arrogantly brushes aside Goeller's and his interviewees' arguments as if there was not a realist amongst them.

Anonymous-Pusillanimous' arguments on this issue are pure un-kosher baloney!

Those of us that are old enough to remember when the Olympics were for amateurs only, can attest that the event has, for greed, since completely lost all of the its former allure (and more important .. its meaning!).

According to Anonymous-Pusillanimous we should even change the name of the event, i.e. to change the meaning of the event ... to satisfy the greed of a few. Sure ... we'll all agree to that ... when pigs fly!

If we follow Anonymous-Pusillanimous proffered logics ... we should allow professional boxers to participate in the local Golden Glove amateur tournaments, in both the sub-novice and open categories. We should permit NBA teams to freely compete in the College's "March Madness" and "Tournament of Champions" tourneys. Heck, why not invite NBA teams to compete in the HS district and regional competitions?

By allowing stacked teams in this event, the professionals will be able to administer inglorious drubbings universally upon all their amateur opponents ... which is the primary reason for having this tournament, right?

What a bonehead I must be for having always thought that the primary purpose of this particular, this special, tourney is for chess amateurs, especially the young'ns, to HAVE FUN.

Hopefully, Denis Barry from his perch in heaven, can summon a favor from the netherworld and hurl a horrible Irish curse upon those who would change the purpose of the tournament he invented and developed for us to so enjoy.

- Jack's Brutal Truth

Michael Goeller said...

Yes, I keep thinking that Denis Barry would not be smiling down from heaven on this travesty. I knew him from Westfield years ago, and he was a great believer in all amateur institutions -- most especially chess clubs.

Michael Goeller said...

The following info was posted at the NJSCF site. Seems we missed the NJ-team prize this year also... Nice to see one of Mike W's "Chessaholics" teams won a prize.

WINNERS AT WORLD AMATEUR TEAM 2008—EVERYONE WHO PLAYED!!

SPECIFIC PRIZES

First place—GGG(g)
Second Place-- 1.d4
Third Place—No Money for my Chess Honey
Fourth Place—We Own the Knight
Fifth- No Longer Searching for Bobby Fischer

U2100—Searching For Bobby Fischer
U2000-New Britain Bad Bishops
U1900—Hopkins Chess Club
U1800—CIS Royals
U1700—We Suggest you Resign
U1600 –4NCS
U1500—CIS Falcons
U1400—Vick Endorses Horse Fighting
U1300--CIS Hedge Hogs
U1200—Chessaholics 2
U1000-CIS Eagles

Top NY-- DA Dynasty
Top PA –Push and We’ll Topalov
Top VA—Seapower 2008
Top Canada—Sinclair Laird Prometheans
Top CT New Britain Bad Bishops
Top MD- Four Playing Knights
Top Mass Cambridge Springers
Top NC The I Pawns
Top NJ Michael Khodarkovsky Tycoons
Top Delaware—Dads & Sons

Best Name—No Longer Searching for Bobby Fischer
Best Chess Costume/Gimmick Dark Horses
Individual Upsets
Round 1 Emily Pond 999 points
Round 2 Gordon Burroughs 586 Points
Round 3 Jeremy Chen 765 points
Round4 Elie Kapengut 444 points
Round 5 Tim Low 887 points
Round 6 Ben Lieber 412 points


Top College Team—University Dallas Texas
Top High School -King Krunchers
Top Middle School---IS 318 Queens
Top Elementary Dark Horses

Top Scholastic--- Michael Khodarkovsky Dragons
2nd Scholastic---Real Gentlemen Would resign

Mixed Doubles-- No Sleep Till Brooklyn
Top Senior Team—Alter Clockers
Top Company Team—Boeing
Top Family—Kapengut Family Team
Top Military—Sea Power 2008
Old Timers—Old Chestnuts
Ethel Collins Perseverence==Collins Kids Bank St B


Board 1 6-0 Scores:
Mike Zlotnikov
Hikaru Nakamura
Leonid Sokolin
Dave Gertler

Board 2
Eugene Perelshteyn
Joe Fang
Yoges Raghunathan
Matt Masino
Jason Luchan

Board 3
Roman Dzindhashvilli
Greg Fernandez
Joe Felber

Board 4
Jared Defibbaugh
Jose Esponsoa
Steve Ferrero
Mac Gomes

jimocz said...

What's so wrong about having GMs play? It is not a money tournament and if it were I would not have played in the USATE for the last 20 years. The reason I play in USATE is because it is fun. Money tournaments are not fun. The players become cutthroat and downright mean to each other. I love playing in the USATE because everybody is mostly civil, polite, and friendly. The games aren't going to put any extra bread on the table. We play to have an enjoyable game -- that's the reason to play.
If GMs want to play -- let them! It adds to the fun for me to play a GM over the board -- of course I lose but how about that for a lesson! I guess for some ultra competitive players, they think it is foul. I say so what? If the GMs want to play for a clock -- let them. I wouldn't mind removing the restriction on rating. Any team that wants to pay the entry fee and play for a clock -- let them play.

BrutalTruth said...

jimocz,

I agree with you, i.e. if the GM's play entirely within a different rating ceiling section. This way they could have a ton of fun too without the consequential affliction of lesser players being guaranteed a loss should they find themselves across the table from a GM.

Anonymous said...

If you really think those GMs played just for the chance to win a clock and to have some fun, you have got to be completely deluding yourself. Even their staunchest defenders admit that they were being paid to play -- and that they probably received a bonus to win.

Anonymous said...

The general census at USATE was negative toward the 3 GM team and my opinion is no different. Me and my teammates opposed this from the begining and lo and behold we finished in 2nd place. Putting 3 GMs on one team devalues the whole idea of USATE. Instead of a team of friends playing chess and having fun, theres one dominant team coming in and destroying everyone. The poor kid on 4th board of the GM team rated less than 200 never lasted more than 5 minutes if any of his games. I not only expect that if there is no rule put against this stacking of teams, less people will register in the future, but I also hope this is true. There needs to be some kind of clear message that this is not ok.

Michael Goeller said...

And what's the lesson for that poor kid? If your father is rich you can play like an idiot and still come out on top?

Anonymous said...

Some people have made some sports analogies with the professional/amateur thing. So let me get this straight: suppose the NBA collapsed and incredible basketball players cannot make money anymore. Whatever the reason--let's say mismanagement by the commissioner or perhaps thousands of basketball fans demanding to play on the team and be paid too. Anyway, Michael Jordan cannot pay his rent, but luckily someone offers him $1000 to play on an amateur team. So he show up at your gym to play. Apparently you shoo him away and call him "unethical," a "prostitute," and a "devil"?

Anonymous said...

I mean, you guys are incredible. You watch GMs ICC games for free, you watch their tournament games for free, you "borrow" their games and names to publicize your website or blog (such as this one!) without paying them a cent; then you expect to win gigantic amounts of money in sections from which they are excluded, make claims like "GMs and IMs don't make good chess teachers" to limit that income opportunity--and then, to top it off, you want to try to prevent them from making some money from this! All of this done to the people who devoted their lives to the game you claim to respect! If you want to claim that GMs are all professionals and should be excluded from this tournament, then treat them as such.

Michael Goeller said...

I would love to play basketball against Michael Jordan, one-on-one, even if I got my ass kicked (which I would, big time). But, to examine your analogy: if I had an amateur basketball team playing in an amateur league, where my team played Jordan's team one-on-one, with an "Amateur" title on the line, I might still enjoy playing against Michael Jordan but would feel betrayed if he had LeBron James, Charles Barkley, and Stephen Fanning on his team and he was receiving money under the table to play in that "Amateur" event. The analogy is absurd, of course, but just points up how absurd this situation is.

The insanity of your arguments simply demonstrates how untenable your position is.

For instance, as for using GM games on my site: it has been long established that tournament games, like basketball game scores, cannot be copyrighted. Whether they should be copyrighted is an interesting subject for some people, but the fact is they are not -- and so there is nothing either illegal or unethical about displaying them online -- it is standard practice, and these games are widely available in public databases. Many GMs try to avoid publishing their games when they can, though by rule they are the property of the TD and can be published at his or her discretion. I have noticed, for instance, a relative paucity of GM games from USATEs past, and you can hardly blame GMs if they don't submit their game scores in that context. But if one of the arguments put forth for having them play is the treat of their lovely games against much weaker opposition, I do not think you will be able to submit a lot of examples to illustrate the claim.

And as for my calling anyone a "devil": I merely referenced the age old saying that when you "speak of the devil" you are likely to meet him -- by way of analogy with my own situation: that by breaking the story of the Three-Gs on my blog it was only to be expected that our team would have to play them.

I hardly think the Gs are "devils" for doing what they did. I think it's not unfair to call their behavior "unethical," but it is perfectly legal and certainly understandable. Overall, you'd find me very sympathetic to GMs and very pleased to see them at the USATE. In fact, if I had even a small fortune I would gladly put forth much more money than they received at the USATE to help finance their endeavors. I might sponsor tournaments at the Marshall for them (as philanthropists did to help support Frank Marshall himself in the 1920s) or give them scholarships or hire them for lessons or sponsor them in international play or help them in any ethical way I could.

But I would not hire them to do what they did.

Anonymous said...

Ok, well i tried to respond but it wasn't published. I will try again.

First of all, I don't understand why you would love to play Michael Jordan one-on-one, but would be angry to play on a team against NBA stars. What would be the difference for you? And why would it matter if they are paid? Doesn't everyone have to earn a living? Should they play your sorry ass for free?

Second, you state that it is not illegal to use the games of GMs without payment. Right. Nor is it illegal to have three GMs on a team in the Amateur Team East. You claim that is unethical, I say that using GMs and IMs games for your personal benefit without payment is unethical. Especially when you are posting them on a blog where you then attack the same kinds of players. Law and ethics are not always married. By the way, sports broadcasts are copyrightable, of course. Haven't you heard "this game may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent..."? And yes, the owners of the copyrights do pay the players.

Third, you try to say that you are "sympathetic" to the plights of professional chess players by claiming that you would "sponsor" them if you had the money. You know, charity is one famous way of pushing people down. It is always better to be paid for doing something, rather than just given money as "charity". I think it is more honorable for these three GMs to be paid to play on the team than to just get free money. The best way you can support professional chess players is to urge the abolishment of unfair class sections in tournaments, which reward mediocrity, destroy the actual "spirit of amateurism" (think hearing aid cheating scandals) and undermine the ability of the best chess players to earn an honest living.

Anonymous said...

And please, let us determine a meaning of the words "amateur" and "professional." I always thought that "amateur" meant that one does not receive money for doing something. It has nothing to do with how well one performs. By this definition, almost nobody in the "amateur" team tournaments is a true "amateur". In this tournament, you have weak players who have won thousands of dollars in class sections, people who are paid to write about chess, and many MANY people who make money teaching chess. None of these people would qualify for the Olympics of the past, which you hold up as the pinnacle of "noble amateurism". If it was discovered that you accepted any money for your sport, you were stripped of your medal. By the way, I don't remember hearing about anybody excluded from the Olympics for being "too good."

In other sports, there is a strong differentiation between an "amateur" and a "professional." An amateur plays for fun and pays to watch, while a professional makes money. The reason for this is that the professional put a lot of effort into perfecting his art. If an amateur is good enough, he can choose to become a professionnal.

In chess, where weak players want to win thousands of dollars in sections that professionals are excluded from, this differentiation does not exist. If 1400s want to win 10,000 dollars in the world open, then they should not complain about top players occasionally ending up in an "amateur" tournament in an attempt to make a living at what they love. You are complaining about professionals intruding on amateur tournaments, what about amateurs behaving like professionals? At least the three GMs "intrusion" does not undermine the livelihood of the amateurs!

Anonymous said...

If you believe that Dzindzi, Perelshteyn, and Izoria are professionals, then you should treat them as such, along with all other GMs and IMs (or whoever you think is at a "professional" level). This means: 1) Not using their games for your benefit. It is called intellectual property. It is the reason that the three GMs were not each paid $10,000 to play in this tournament (napster...)
2) Not expecting to watch GM games for free 3) Not expecting to win large amounts of money at chess (if the people in the AMATEUR team tournament are really amateurs, why don't they behave as such?) 4) Not further undermining their livelihood by taking jobs teaching chess or commenting on it for pay.

Well, I don't see amateurs agreeing to any of these, so they should not expect anything of the so-called professionals either.

Anonymous said...

Several attempts to bring in facts.

Amateur 1. a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons. Compare professional.
2. an athlete who has never competed for payment or for a monetary prize.
3. a person inexperienced or unskilled in a particular activity: Hunting lions is not for amateurs.
4. a person who admires something; devotee; fan: an amateur of the cinema.
–adjective 5. characteristic of or engaged in by an amateur; nonprofessional: an amateur painter; amateur tennis.


At least one definition is related to skill. Also underlying the first definition is time-- a professional devotes professional amounts of time to an endeavor. That is why a professional is usually better than an amateur-- they work at chess while other people work at other things.

2. GM games are not intellectual property. Just like the box score of a basketball game is not intellectual property (the AUDIO and VIDEO broadcast of a sporting event, however, belongs to the league). However, any GM COMMENTARY on a game would be intellectual property, and it would be unethical to pass it along as your own.

3. If a lot of people (and it sounds like a lot) do not like the three GM teams, then the tournament would do well to alter the rules. Just good business.

4. Class tournaments exist in all kinds of sports-- city volleyball leagues, city baseball leagues, poker tournaments (almost completely taken over by amateurs, by the way). There is nothing wrong with a class tournament. The largest class tournaments, in fact, allow for the big prize funds for the GMs, as well.

Anonymous said...

Responding to the other Anonymous:

1) Yes, the word "amateur" can carry the connotation "unskilled", since those who do not make a living at something cannot devote as much time to it, and are therefore often worse at it. But I think it is pretty pathetic if Goeller is saying "not fair, they are too good." No, I think he is objecting to the fact that the players were paid. My point is that it is hypocritical for people to complain about professional-level players being paid to play in an amateur event, when amateur-level players are taking money from professionals. Do you want a money-free tournament, or do you want a patzer tournament?

2. I beg to differ. The box score of a basketball game does not show the action. A fan cannot get entertainment or pleasure from it, like a chess fan can from replaying a chess game. The score of a chess game shows all the action. The moves show the thoughts and ideas of the players. A box score would be more like a crosstable. Commentary has nothing to do with it--I believe if you go into a basketball game with a video recorder and try to broadcast (without any commentary) you are going to run into trouble.

continued...

Anonymous said...

...continued

3. The business factor is, as always, another issue. I can certainly understand if people worry that the three gm team will dissuade people from entering the tournament next year (I doubt it will though). Nevertheless, this is a reason to ask for a change in the rules, NOT a reason to accuse these GMs of unethical behavior. They followed the rules, and are perfectly justified in expecting money for playing chess--they have worked hard at it and deserve it. However, I believe this should instead be looked at as an opportunity to help professional chess players make a living, which is good for chess in general.

4. I have never heard of a city volleyball league excluding people for being "too good," nor offering 10,000 dollar prizes for bad volleyball players. Same with baseball. I have also never heard of a poker tournament excluding people for being "too good". Professionals can and do play--and there are no "class sections" for bad poker players. Unfortunately, chess has a rating system that measures strength, while poker does not. Tennis and golf, however, do--and yet they do not have gigantic class prizes, because they know that rewarding mediocre levels of accomplishment rather than skill is bad for the sport.

Anonymous said...

The system of gigantic class prizes (i.e. the under 1600 prize being only slightly less than the open prize) developed as a result of the greed of certain tournament organizers. Sure, if there are a lot of tournaments, and suddenly you start offering big prizes for amateurs who want to play chess anyway, they are going to come to your tournament. These actions forced other organizers to follow, even if the idea of a weak player being rewarded rather than a professional was couterintuitive and unjust.

Yet this short term gain for a few organizers and a few weak chess players causes huge destruction to chess itself. The sum of players playing in tournaments remain the same (or even go down) but the prize money, instead of going to the people who have worked the hardest, go to random people who happen to have an innacurate rating, for example. 1599--you might be rich. 1601--fat chance. Meanwhile, the biggest prize for the amateur chess player disappears--the prize of knowing that if you get better, you WILL make a living. There becomes no incentive for people to play chess for chess itself. And as a result, skilled chess players cannot make a living, and the image of chess in the general society declines, causing less people to take it up. I believe that in the long term these class prizes have actually harmed the finances of tournament organizers.

You should know that in Europe (yes, I know...) gigantic class prizes such as in the World Open are unheard of. Yet amateurs still play chess--in fact, you might have heard that chess is doing a lot better over there than here. Why do the amateurs play, if they can't hope to get lucky and win a year's salary? Because, they want to get better at chess so they can make a DESERVED living. Why do IMs and GMs get conditions? It is not because of some kind of elitism--chess organizers know that it benefits chess itself that it is a viable profession. The fact that chess can be a profession raises it above the status of, for example, Pac-Man.

Anonymous said...

i left 2 comments which were just deleted: the first said, to someone who said that gm's shouldn't be allowed to play in amateur events, something like: So, should we allow people who haven't yet received the title officially? How about strong IM's? How about prodigies? How about people with high IQ's?

The second comment quoted Elizabeth Vicary, who said: "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?"

Anonymous said...

Vicary is in la la land if she thinks they are doing it "just for fun." I do think quite a few GMs play in the event "just for fun," and that is admirable indeed. But this team was not that sort of team. The US Amateur Team is not the World Open -- it is supposed to be a place of true amateur competition. Some people understand that, and others don't. All arguments that the GMs are owed this pay day at the expense of the amateurs who competed is completely beside the point.

Anonymous said...

Again....what is "true amateur competition"....mediocrity or bad play? I see you are equating the GMs' play for relatively measly conditions with their being paid professionals, but I don't see the analogy. They don't receive salary.

I agree with whomever gave the NBA analogy. If the NBA was eliminated and the professionals were out of work, and there's someone as good as Michael Jordan who wants to play on your basketball team, you'd give him a hotel to visit your town and pay him a few dollars' spending money, right? You would love to have him on your team. Let's say your opponents were all horrible. They lost a game and they claimed you were doing something illegal. Is that true? First of all, Michael Jordan has no other source of income. Second, you're giving him a few dollars out of your own pocket for fun because you're rich, but he's not on the payroll.

Michael Goeller said...

Frankly, I'm tired of this whole discussion, which seems rather pointless (especially when the one or two writers who most want to debate do not know how to read).

I hope that some rule change is instituted for next year to prevent unfairly rigged teams like the GGGg from competing. Three GMs on a team is simply an unfair configuration at the US Amateur Teams, as is widely acknowledged by rational folks. It's not a level playing field, and there is no way you can convince me otherwise.

There was not much public objection to such teams in the past because they existed in the pre-"Web 2.0" world. But today we can have a discussion of this in a public forum and voice our objections. I hope that the organizers hear those objections and pay attention, because it is not good for the long term health of the Teams or of chess to ignore this issue and pretend, as the USCF website does, that there is no controversy about this "sensational team."

GMs in general are very good for the Teams, of course, and perhaps teams with up to two GMs could receive a free entry (if they don't already) or some other inducement to encourage their participation. Perhaps there would even be ways of incorporating money-making opportunities for GMs into the weekend, such as Friday night simuls or five-minute tournaments and Saturday morning lecture events. Things like that would be welcome opportunities for everyone involved in the tournament.

If no change is made to prohibit three-GM teams, I don't have much interest in playing. I'll visit, but there's not much reason to compete if there is not a level playing field.

Anonymous said...

Good, we're sick of your inane argument and viewpoint. Am I one of the ones who you claim cannot read, simply because I disagree with you? I wonder.

"Rigged"...is how you refer to any team designed to win?

If the tournament is called "amateur" and you are determined to allow only mediocrity to exist at this event, then lower the average combined allowed rating to Under 2100 or so. That way no one will get the wrong idea. In fact, it will probably keep out money too. But...it will be a WHOLE LOT LESS INTERESTING because the vast majority of the games will be extremely mediocre.

Oh wait...you publish your OWN games on your blog, don't you? Hee hee hee...

If you don't change the average allowed rating but forbid what you call a "stacked team," then you are just hoping for the fluke win against an occasional excellent player, without actually having to encounter that much competition overall....your ego will be stroked that way.

I'm so disgusted at your championning of mediocrity that I have no respect for this blog anymore.

Anonymous said...

I'd call the last commenter (at Thu 11:34 PM) a troll, since I'm tempted to think no one could be as clueless (indeed brainless) as to believe the things he said. But I'm compelled to the sad realization that he probably does believe the petty and childish nonsense he wrote.

I'll start by noting that a 2100 average rating ceiling wouldn't have kept GGGg out of it. They had PLENTY of points to spare - they were on the wall chart at 2017. Shows how much care this guy takes checking out his facts (i.e., none).

"If you don't change the average allowed rating but forbid what you call a "stacked team," then you are just hoping for the fluke win against an occasional excellent player, without actually having to encounter that much competition overall....your ego will be stroked that way."

Looks like the commenter confused himself....thereby ratifying Michael's earlier observation that those who bash him don't know how to read.

Obviously the commenter meant to say the opposite of how the above paragraph reads. He meant to say that if the stacked team IS ALLOWED (i.e., the status quo), "then you are just hoping for the fluke win against an occasional excellent player..."...since any team has no chance to win a match unless they can split 1.5/3 against the 3 GMs.

Finally, his implicitly labeling all non-GM games and all non-GM players as "mediocrity," together with his mean-spirited attack on Michael's blog material, typify the sort of thing I've often seen posted by non-chess-playing trolls who haunt other blogs (especially Mig Greengard's Daily Dirt) and fling such invective against all the serious chess players, pro and amateur alike, who they secretly envy.

As those of us with real chess appreciation know, Michael's instructional abilities, as revealed in his columns, match or even exceed those of the typical GM.

-Jon Jacobs, Rook-N-Roll Forever

Edmund 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, that pairing 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?