Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Chess Life May, 2007 & 2007 U.S. Chess Championship
Hola darlings! I got the May, 2007 issue of Chess Life in the mail yesterday. It is a "benefit" of my membership in the United States Chess Federation (USCF). I recently rejoined the USCF after having let my membership lapse in 2003. The main reason I rejoined is to be able to vote in the upcoming USCF elections in June, 2007. I'm no expert on magazines but, frankly, the latest design of Chess Life is even more dismal than it was when I quit in 2003 - back then it still had some color pictures... If I understand correctly all the political stuff that I'm reading on various mesage boards, etc. these days, the USCF is in a bad way financially. However, a magazine that is primarily done in black, white and blue (to save costs or just bad design???) is not exactly eye-catching :) And the contents - well - that's another story although it is a bit more current now on reporting recent tournaments in which American players participated. Okay, maybe I'm being a little severe (a really little itty bitty bit) - but - did you know that the U.S. Chess Championship will take place later this month? Yes - that is news to a lot of people - still! It's not exactly prominently advertised on the USCF website. Since the initial announcement was made, in fact (sometime back in March, 2007), there has been NO update to the news about the championship. So, for instance, we have no idea if anyone has paid a "patron" fee for the privilege of being able to say "I lost all my games when I played in the 2007 U.S. Chess Championship." Further, as far as I an aware, not a single newspaper in the United States has published the news! (I sure hope I'm wrong about that.) The championship will be held in a place called Stillwater, Oklahoma. Where? That was my first reaction, too. I still haven't quite figured out where it is on the map, although I have located Oklahoma. Only joking, darlings (sort of). And - get this - it is not going to be a combined men's and women's championship like the events held the past several years when America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C) was doing such a good job managing the championships. Supposedly, sometime in July, a separate women's championship will be held, instead. As far as I'm aware, though, the women's championship is another event about which there has not been a single press release published - and the USCF website doesn't even have a PAGE on the upcoming event. I have no idea, for instance, who has been invited to participate in the Women's championship, who has accepted, what the prizes will be, where it will be, and NO DATES HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED FOR THIS EVENT. Hmmmmm, does this sound to you like this event is really going to take place??? As far as the May championship, a whopping three women qualified for the event: GM Susan Polgar (by virtue of her ELO), who has declined to play; IM Irina Krush (also by virtue of her ELO) - I have no idea if she will be playing or not because there have been no announcements about accepted invitations at the USCF website; and the 2006 Women's champion, WGM Anna Zatonskih - she gave birth to her first child on March 16th. I have no idea if she'll be playing either. By virtue of Mr. Frank Berry putting up $50,000 (euphemistically called a "bid" by the USCF), the 2007 - may as well say it - MEN'S championship is called "The 2007 Frank K. Berry U.S. Championship." Total prizes for the MEN's championship will be at least $65,000, because the USCF has pledged to kick-in $15,000. I wonder if Mr. Berry (or someone else) will be equally generous in funding prizes for the scheduled July, 2007 Women's championship? Assuming one or more "patrons" purchases a spot to play in the MEN'S championship, there may be a larger prize fund - but only after the USCF reimburses itself for the $15,000 it is contributing. Yeah, it doesn't make any sense, does it? I was so upset by all of this, through an intermediary it was arranged that - should the Women's championship take place - there will be a Janet Newton Brilliancy Prize of $250 awarded to the woman's game judged the best by her peers. I'm putting my money where my mouth (some would say my BIG mouth) is. I hope I see the Women's championship takes place!