USATE 08 round two: behind the ropes

The top nine boards are always on the far right side of the cavernous ballroom, roped off from the riff-raff. This year there are about a dozen teams painstakingly engineered to an average rating of 2195+ (2199 being the max), so there are some pretty heavy hitters sitting behind the ropes, and it’s been one of Simple Minds’ few ambitions to spend a round there.

Which we did in round two, squaring off against Michael Khodarkovsky’s Tycoons, a squad of yutes. (That’s youths pronounced funny.) I celebrated the occasion by getting gracefully and completely outplayed by a 2100 named Jayson Lian. Not sure of the team result yet. Disappointment aside, the grass really is greener over there – tons more elbow room and less crowding. I took the opportunity to walk up and down and stare at the GM games from time to time.

It’s difficult to provide an early-round update of the overall standings; the wall charts will be posted this morning for the first time. I can say that the aformentioned 3 GM team is a reality; we missed being paired against them by one board number. The defending champs Beavis and Buttvinik are in action again, as are their great predecessors, a slightly remodeled Charles Riordan effort. Larry Christiansen’s team is also the same as last year.

In contrast to the mercenary efforts of the 3 GM team, one of the tournament’s endless delights is seeing GMs and IMs spearheading teams made of up their own kids or students – a 2500 first board toiling on board 98, destroying his class B opponent while his 900-rated teammates struggle and lose.

Less delightful: One participant started the competition early, provoking a fight in the hotel bar on Friday night and getting a beer bottle over the head and a few stitches for his efforts. (Did I mention that some people think chess is boring?)

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3 thoughts on “USATE 08 round two: behind the ropes

  1. We ended up losing the match, though not without dramatics. Greg drew Khardovsky, which is a great result. Denys eventually beat Molner in his usual fashion, you went down (which evoked a faux dope slap from me), so it was all up to me versus a 2050ish expert… well a nice English Attack vs. a Najdorf (I was white) ended up in a study like ending where my opponent sacked an exchange for passed pawnage, then I ended up with an a and h pawn vs. bishop scenario where I was one tempo away from winning, having eschewed a draw earlier believing I was going to get one of them through. Oh well…

    Behind the Ropes was indeed a pleasure. I felt like a real chess player for a while.

    -Matt

  2. Question: this is an amateur team event, right? It seems like 2199 should be a ceiling for any participant. Why the deuce are GM’s and IM’s allowed to participate AT ALL? Besides money and attention and prestige. And any amateur would relish a chance to play a GM.

    Reading your account, I’m somewhat jealous of your being in such an event.

  3. Definitely get a team together for next year. The LEPers would fit right in.

    I enjoy rubbing elbows with GMs etc and getting the occasional +500 point pairing. But the concensus I’m hearing seems to be that when you have three professionals on your amateur team, that’s out of hand. I imagine they will reinstate an old rule that dictates a pairing gap of no more 1000 points between your third and fourth boards.

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