by admin on June 21, 2008

Following up on some earlier entries …

Any Publicity is Good Publicity?

My review of J.C. Hallman’s book The Chess Artist (see “Yo, Hallman!” ) has spawned the longest comment thread ever on this blog. Today, comment number 30 rolled in over the wires, a very thoughtful appraisal of the book by Mariano Sana. Perhaps my not-exactly-glowing review will attract more people’s attention to the book than a completely favorable review would have! Consider the fact that, by comparison, my mostly glowing review of Paul Hoffman’s book, King’s Gambit, attracted all of two comments.

Of course, some of the reason for the difference has to do with the fact that the author himself posted an impassioned defense of his book here, and that’s really what got the discussion going. I think that all of the contributors have made it a good dialogue that broke all Internet records for civility. Way to go, guys!

Of course, I’m very far behind Elizabeth Vicary’s blog, which at times attracts more than 100 responses to a single entry. However, her readers do not score as high on the Civility Quotient (CQ) as my readers. So there.   😎

Now What Were We Trying to Prove, Exactly?

Speaking of which, those of you who have been following the comment thread know that a challenge was issued and accepted. J.C. Hallman offered to set up a match between me and Glenn Umstead on ICC, which I declined because I don’t play on ICC (for various reasons that I will not go into again here). However, Andy Hortillosa volunteered to play in my place, and so he and Glenn played two games on Friday night at a 15-minute time control. Glenn won both of them, which proves … which proves … well, I’ll let you know what it proves when I figure it out.

In the first game Andy blundered a pawn in the early middlegame, and it looked as if he sacrificed a second hoping for some counterplay that never materialized. Not much of a contest, really. The second game, though, featured some good, if one-sided, attacking chess. Here’s the most interesting position.

Things have not gone very well for Andy (Black) in the opening. White’s pieces all have incredible open lines, and Black isn’t even ready to castle yet. Black has just played 15. … dc. Now 16. Bxc4 is a perfectly good response. For people really looking for blood, the Tal-like 16. fe! Nxe6 17. Bxc4 looks pretty strong, hoping for O-O 18. Rxf7!, ripping Black’s position open with a rook sacrifice. But Glenn decides to make it a pawn sac with 16. Be4, followed by 16. … Nd5 17. Qf2! with extremely fatal threats on the f-file. Perhaps Andy should try to get his king to safety with 17. … Qd7 18. fe Nxe6 19. Nf5 O-O-O, but even this will cost him the exchange after 19. Nd6+. Instead he says, “Put me out of my misery,” by playing 17. … Nxc3, and Glenn finishes the game in stylish fashion with 18. fe f6 19. e7! and Andy resigns.

Although the result was pretty humbling for Andy, I like his comment: “Now I get to say that I had played the chess artist.” He also concedes J.C.’s point that Glenn is a strong chess master.

World’s Longest Tournament Finally Ends

As I mentioned in my post “Pomp and Circumstance,” the Santa Cruz Cup, which began last fall a little after the school year started, ended last Sunday on Graduation Day. I’ve told you about my result, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also tell you who won the tournament. That would be Juande Perea, who made a clean 3-0 sweep of the championship quad. Juande, by the way, has started signing his e-mails “Papi” after the birth of his first child. Apparently fatherhood agrees with him!

Here are the full final results. (The “Championship Quad” consists of the four top finishers in the round-robin part of the tournament; the “Consolation Quad” consists of the four bottom finishers in the round-robin.)

Championship Quad:

  1. Juan Diego Perea 3-0
  2. Dan Burkhard 1½-1½
  3. Ilan Benjamin 1-2
  4. Dana Mackenzie ½-2½

Consolation Quad (ties listed in order of finish in the round-robin phase):

  1. Jeff Mallett 2-1
  2. Yves Tan 2-1
  3. Ken Seehart 1-2
  4. Jim Parker 1-2

Special commendation to the players in the consolation quad for the fact that they played six games with no draws, and produced some good hard-fought games. I think that Yves’ win over Jeff was probably better than any of the games played in the championship quad.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth vicary June 22, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Hey Dana,
I agree that the key to getting more comments is to insult people more. Also, posting many photos and being female helps.
Hope these suggestions are useful!


Andres D. Hortillosa June 23, 2008 at 10:39 am

For one, it proves that Glenn is a much better player than me in Game 15. He was very fast.


Mariano Sana June 25, 2008 at 8:05 am

Andres is right. Glenn is a very fast player, particularly strong at blitz because of his tactical eye. On the ICC I played several 3 minute games with him some time ago and he won most of them. His blitz rating on ICC is 200 points or so higher than mine. Yet, my USCF regular rating is about 100 points over his.


Andres D. Hortillosa June 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm

And Mariano is also the current Louisiana champion. He will get to defend his title this Labor Day weekend.

My claim to fame is drawing our only encounter which was in 2006.

By the way, JC Hallman is sending me an autographed book.


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