Lots of Exciting New Year Plans

by admin on December 18, 2018

I’ve been pretty quiet here lately, but in 2019 that is going to change. First, starting on January 1, I’m planning to play in the Bay Area International. This super-strong tournament features lots of players whom we don’t usually see in these parts, plus a few local stars. The top five pre-registered players, with their FIDE (not USCF) ratings, are:

  • GM Le Quang Liem, Vietnam, 2714
  • GM Jeffery Xiong, USA, 2676
  • GM Lazaro Bruzon, Cuba, 2664
  • GM Parimarjan Negi, India, 2656
  • GM Samuel Sevian, USA, 2647

As of December 2, there were 83 players registered, including 25 Grandmasters and 23 International Masters. That’s right, more than half the field consists of titled players! And that’s not even counting the Women’s Grandmaster (Tatev Abrahamyan) and the two Women’s International Masters.

This tournament will be a big challenge for me because I am, as of December 2, rated #81 out of 83 players. Obviously I am not playing for the prize money, I am playing for the experience. I have two specific goals: First, to score 50 percent. Last time I played in this tournament (2014, the last time it was held) I scored 3 1/2 – 5 1/2. Second, to win a game against a grandmaster. I’ve never done this in my entire life, and I think it’s about time. And I’ve got more than two dozen GM’s to choose from!

My second interesting news is that the third PRO Chess League season will be starting soon, and I will be the official blogger for the San Francisco Mechanics! You can expect to see some posts soon introducing you to the players on this year’s team. Once the season begins, I hope that I will be able to treat you to some analysis of the games and perhaps some inside scoops about match strategy, who is playing and why. (We currently have 14 player on the roster, so every week we are likely to field a different lineup.) Our headliner will be Sam Shankland, the reigning United States champion, who in a way is coming full circle. Back in 2006, when the San Francisco Mechanics won the US Chess League championship (the precursor of the PRO Chess League), Sam was the secret weapon on board 4, the kid who could play way above his rating. Now he will be back as the first board, where he won’t be taking anybody by surprise.

Next post: More wizardry by Baadur Jobava.

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