Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Night Update

This past week was a lost one in the Panner household as we all succumbed to a flu bug. Now that I am back somewhat healthy, I figure it is time to comment on some of the chess things that occurred over the last week.

I realize the year is less than a month old so far, but Topalov-Kramnik at the Corus tournament had to have been the game of the year thus far.

I probably should mention something about Fischer's death, but honestly, I am so tired of seeing debates on Fischer. Like any player, yes I respect his games. I think he also did a fair share of setting the game back with his actions and it pains me to see so many apologists for him. My least favorite topic when I teach chess is when the occasional student asks about what Fischer is doing and why he doesn't play any more after I show one of his games. Now at least there is an easily understood answer suitable for telling school kids.

It is interesting that even in fall 2007 Iceland was seriously courting Karpov to come for a match against Fischer to take place. Plans actually were derailed by Fischer's illness. That would have been worth watching.

The NACA IM norm bearing round robin is now just a couple of rounds from finishing up with both Dr. Tansel Turgut and Mehmed Pasalic in contention for IM norms. The chess has been hard fought this last week though with a fair share of minor blemishes. These events are one of the few occasions our master level players get to try to achieve international titles without having to travel abroad. Invitations to this type of event is an honor, so when I see things like what happened this week transpire, it really ticks me off.

Bill Calton and Tom Bartell both withdrew from the event. Withdrawing from a RR is significantly different than from a swiss. In a RR event, if a player drops before completing half of their games, their score does not count at all, so a player could conceivably lose a NORM chance because someone drops out too early (even if you already played them). It also isn't fair to drop for the spirit of the event and is considered in very poor taste. Having organized events like this, I can tell you that it is MUCH easier to run a 200 player swiss than have to deal with a 10 player round robin. If I were Sevan, not only would I not invite either of these guys back, but would also warn the other organizers against inviting such tools to their event.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

2008 Colias Memorial

The 4th Billy Colias memorial tournament will be held August 1-3 at Joliet Junior College. This year we will be expanding it a little by adding 2 sections.

The format of the top 2 sections will remain the same. 6 player Round robin consisting of masters with a couple of strong experts perhaps sprinkled in.

Section 3 will be a juniors vs Experts/A players type section, with the winner in addition to a monetary prize will get an invitation to play in one of the 2009 Colias top sections.

Section 4 will be a section for class players. Right now I am thinking for ratings between 1400-1750 or so, but if there is great interest, I can entertain adding an additional section. There aren't many RR events for class players, where you get time to prepare for your opponents.

More details will be put together over the next few weeks. But, if you have interest in participating, please drop me a line and I will make my best effort to get you in.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2008 Illinois All Grade

It is with great pleasure I get to announce that the Illinois Chess Association has awarded the bid for the 2008 Illinois All Grade to Chess Central, the bid organized by Tim Just and myself. We will have complete information up on a website before long, but here is what I can say:

The event will take place Saturday November 15th at Oakton Community College in DesPlaines. The tournament will be capped at 600 players due to space limitations. The early EF will be $25, and there will be a bookseller. Volunteers are welcome.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Tidbits

The Chicago Blaze got very good news this week with the announcement that GM Yuri Shulman and IM Jan Van DeMortel agreed to play on our team. Now the trick becomes balancing the roster to fit our lineups under the 2400 cap. I probably won't announce any other roster appointments for a few months while watching the ratings fluctuate. It makes me kind of feel like Willy Wonka, passing out the golden tickets.

There should be announcements coming on the dates and format for the 2008 Colias forthcoming next week. As a teaser, it will be at Joliet Junior College, and there will be additional sections, including one for class players.

One of the chess highlights of this winter for me was slated to be the International chess convention this weekend in Oak Brook. Unfortunately Karpov will not be attending due to visa problems. The event still should be great as Shulman and Onischuk are two of the best communicators of the GMs that I have ever met. I do wonder though out of frustration, why, when you know you will be traveling somewhere wouldn't you apply for the visa earlier?

CPS named a new Chess coordinator, Darren Osborne. Since he appears nowhere in the USCF database, I am guessing that he is a golf person rather than being a chess person, as his position governs over both.


Friday, January 4, 2008

What about Illinois?

Last month, I had the privilige to be on staff for the National K-12 championships that took place in Houston. The coverage of this event at USChess seemed to center around which was the dominant area in scholastic chess, New York or Texas, and while I am not knocking the strength of those states, it poses the question, are we here in IL not relevant?

The K12 had a rather weak turnout in numbers for Illinois so team results were depressed. However if one were to look at the NYA just 3 weeks earlier, Illinois dominated the team standings. Now I am not saying that Illinois deserves to be known as the top dog scholastically, but we should be entered into the discussion.

I happened to look at the top 100 list for USCF ratings with ages 7 and under (I could have looked at other ages too, but just wanted to get a quick confirmation of how we stack up):

New York 17 players
California 14 players
Illinois 13 players
Texas 12 players

So what are the next steps needed to take to develop more talents onto the National stage? Is this a goal of chess coaches in the area to get players on the top 100 lists for their ages? Should it be?