US Open, Rd 9: The Results Show

by admin on August 9, 2010

As fans of American Idol and other reality-TV shows know, the “results show” is an interminably long episode each week where the producers take a ridiculously long time to tell you something they could have told you in 30 seconds — which of the contestants is going home that week. Similarly, I am writing tonight, almost 24 hours after the US Open ended, to tell you results that you have probably already looked up on US Chess Online.

So I have to come up with something new to tell you, some different twist on the news. Aha! Here it is! I will explain to you how I finished seventh.

“Seventh?” you ask. According to the US Chess website, the winners were:

1. Alejandro Ramirez (8-1)

2-4. Varuzhan Akobian, Alex Shabalov, Daniel Naroditsky (7½-1½)

5-22. A cast of thousands, none of them named Dana Mackenzie (7-2)

While I tip my hat to these outstanding winners, none of them came close to me  in the all-important category of Most Rating Points Lost. As a result of my epicly bad tournament, which was quite possibly the worst tournament of my life, I lost 47 rating points, from 2136 down to 2089. Here is the list of people with the greatest rating losses, which is dominated by players with provisional ratings (indicated by “P”), which are computed by a different method that allows them to change more rapidly.

1. Ani Azadkhanian (1943P5 → 1619P14; 324 rating points lost)

2. Alton Hacigumus (2004P5 → 1802P11; 202 rating points lost)

3. James Holder (1309 → 1221; 88 rating points lost)

4. Oscar Culbeaux (2328P14 → 2260; 68 rating points lost)

5. John Anderson (1889 → 1822; 67 rating points lost)

6. Raymond De Turenne (1219 → 1168; 51 rating points lost)

7. Dana Mackenzie (2136 → 2089; 47 rating points lost)

To all the six people who finished “ahead” of me, I want to say thank you for making me feel less wretched. To the 467 people who lost fewer rating points than me, or who (god forbid) actually gained rating points — no matter how bad you might feel about your result, it could have been worse!

Okay, no more wallowing in my misery. On to the next tournament!

A brief report on the other friends of mine who attended the tournament. My two companions, Cailen Melville and Thadeus Frei, both scored more points than I did, in the inverse order of their ratings. Cailen had 5 points and tied for second in the B category. Thadeus, a class A player, had 4½ points and didn’t win any money. I had 4 points and won the seventh booby prize.

Cailen’s decision to re-enter the tournament paid off handsomely, but his $300 prize just barely covered his entry fees — $190 for the original entry fee, and $100 for the re-entry. But of course the money was not such a big deal to him. He got the chance to play 12 rated games in one week, and felt that he learned a lot from them.

Dan Burkhard, our fourth Santa Cruz representative, scored 5½ points but actually lost rating points, which surprises me because I would have expected 5½ to be a good score for an expert. I think there are too many underrated juniors out there, making it hard for us older types to even keep our ratings level. Robin Cunningham withdrew after 8 rounds — I’m not sure why, because with 5½ points he was having a decent tournament (but maybe he correctly worked out that he could not win an Under 2400 prize even with a win in the last round). Pablo Pena had 6 points, which I think is a great score for an expert, but he did not collect any prize money. What a tough tournament! Jim Krooskos scored 4 points, which was about par for a player at his rating level.

The first person I saw upon arriving at the tournament on Tuesday was also the last person I saw when departing this morning: Ruth Haring, a USCF Delegate from California. She told me some interesting things about the delegates’ meeting. The most contentious issue has to do with the election for the FIDE presidency. You might not think that the USCF would have anything to do with this, because the candidates are Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Anatoly Karpov from Russia. As you may know, there has been a huge amount of controversy because presidential candidates must be nominated by their own country’s chess federation, and yet the Russian Chess Federation can’t nominate both Ilyumzhinov and Karpov. Less well known is the fact that the same issue exists for the deputy presidential race: both Ilyumzhinov and Karpov have “running mates” who are American. The USCF has endorsed Karpov’s running mate, Richard Conn Jr., and so there are issues about the legitimacy of Ilyumzhinov’s choice that will probably have to be settled in court.

The reason this issue was controversial at the Delegates Meeting is that many delegates are terrified of having the USCF dragged back into court again after the Truong/Polgar and Sloan lawsuits. Plus, anybody wanting to sue the USCF right now sees the organization as a vulnerable target. However, the good news, according to Haring, is that an attorney experienced in election law has agreed to represent the USCF on a pro bono basis (i.e., for no charge).

Personally, I think that this rule that candidates must be nominated by their home country’s federation sounds like an outdated Cold War relic, which will probably be (and ought to be) tossed out after this election, because of all the ill feelings and unseemly behavior it has provoked.

So there you have it! All the news (and politics) from the US Open that’s fit to print.

P.S. I just thought of one more thing I should say. As the winner of the U.S. Open, Alejandro Ramirez qualifies to play in the next U.S. Championship. However, he is a citizen of Costa Rica (although he is studying in America) and might not be eligible to play. In that case, the qualifier from this tournament would be one of the three people tied for second: Akobian, Shabalov, and Naroditsky. Akobian and Shabalov will almost certainly qualify in other ways. So Daniel Naroditsky may get his first chance to play in the U.S. Championship!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim Krooskos August 10, 2010 at 4:50 am

Hey Dana,

Sorry the tournament didn’t go better for you, however, it was nice meeting you nonetheless. I’m going over my games right night before work, getting them ready to send to my teacher. I’m sure he’ll find some errors I wasn’t aware of!!

Take care,

– Jim


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