Saturday, May 31, 2008

Krush, Zatonskih and the US Womens title

I recently took the time to read Irina Krush's open letter on the USCF homepage. If you haven't read it, or followed the saga, the title of US Women's champion was decided by an armageddon game since the two players tied in the regular tournament. Armageddon is a silly handicap style blitz game that arguably has no place in determining a championship of any kind. In this type of game, the white player also gets extra time usually 7 minutes to the black players 5 minutes, and in exchange for this, a draw is a win for black.

In Irina's letter, she raises the concern that Anna was touching her pieces and starting to move before Irina finished her move, and why didn't a TD step in. I watched the youtube video multiple times, and like Irina, and anyone else that has seen it, there is no doubt that Anna was touching pieces prior to Irina hitting the clock. However, as it is announced at every scholastic event, and a rule that every player should know, if your opponent is doing something you do not like, stop the clock and make a claim to the TD. The fact that Irina did not make a claim is her own fault and by not doing so during the game, she waived the right to have a valid protest. Also, while Anna was guilty of this much more often, I saw one instance where Irina reaching for a piece prior to Anna hitting the clock actually blocked Anna's hand from getting to the clock. Basically both players had "bad blitz habits" as Irina called it.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Krush on a few occasions, and even had the privilege of going to dinner with a group of players including her at one event. She seems to be a very likeable person, and this letter smacks of sour grapes and IMO it is beneath her. She argues in one sentence that she did not know what was going on, as to why she didn't make a claim, but then argues that her poor sportsmanship of knocking the piece flying off the board at the end of the game was as the result of her opponent cheating. Well, which is it?

Many sporting events are decided by the narrowest of margins, the buzzer beater in basketball, the walkoff in baseball, the hail mary in football. The margin of victory does not diminish the achievement of the players involved. Congratulations to Irina, and also to our US Womens champion Anna Zatonskih.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Big Week for Blaze Members

All in the same week, congratulations to Yuri Shulman on winning the US Championship, Ilan Meerovich for winning the fantasy challenge for the US Championship, and Mehmed Pasalic on achieving his 3rd and final IM norm. Now we just need Jan VanDeMortel, Dmitry Gurevich, and Adam Strunk to have huge weekends at the Chicago Open to complete the week.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Lack of posts

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Last weekend, I directed (3) tournaments. After a relaxing breather this weekend (will probably do a little hiking), I go to Pittsburgh where aside from watching perhaps the two lousiest MLB teams on the planet (Pittsburgh and San Francisco) I will be walking among the 2000+ kids at the National Elementary. Hopefully I can blog from the site.

I would advise those who are going to check their room reservations, in addition to the Westin being sold out, the Doubletree which used to be just down the street from the Westin relocated and is significantly further away.

One of the more unfortunate parts of this event is that at least two teams that have won their state K-3 championships are not able to play as teams (Illinois and California). This is because their districts have divided the schools into K-2, 3-4 and 5-6, so even though the kids play together as a team in state events, Nationally they can't. To me this takes some of the luster off of this as a championship event. I realize that there are politics at stake with these decisions, but IMO what is fair to the kids should be the primary basis for the rules by the scholastic council. Hopefully we will see this changed in the near future.