USAT chess day 1: Highs and lows

  • Grandmasters at USAT East this year: Fishbein, Bisguier, Kudrin, Sagalchick, Hess, Charbonneau, Yudasin and I think at least one other. Plus you can’t swing a dead cat by the tail without hitting a handful of IMs and FMs.
  • Teams rated over 2100: Thirty.
  • Number of cars in overflow parking lots, a trudge away from the Hilton: At least 50.
  • Approximate temperature in the playing hall at the start time: 58 degrees. Guess they’planned on heating it with methane.
  • Occupancy rate Friday night at the Hanover Marriott across the street, where I stay for peace and quiet: 12%.
  • Approximate time the floodwaters reached ankle-deep in the men’s room: Two hours into round 1.

Captain Matt was nice enough to revert to our old name, Simple Minds. We don’t have our eponymous board one Denys this year – the last two years we’ve been The Shmelov Fear and The Shmelov Money. Maybe this time we should have picked We Don’t Shmelov Anything.

We picked up two strays (which is also what they’re saying). Our fourth board, Kevin, is maybe 12 years old? He’s rated in the 1500s and announced upon meeting, with quiet sincerity, “I’m not very good.”  So far he’s 2-0 including a win over a 1900.

I drew Michael Thaler, a young 2300, with Black in round one. Great! I drew Jonathan Pagan, a young 1600, with White in round two. Ack! Trying to eat good food and sleep well, and maybe tomorrow I’ll play a little better.

Here endeth the accelerated pairings. Not sure which top teams might have gotten nicked on day one; will look at the wall charts tomorrow morning.

Say, chessplayers – doesn’t this sound fun? Why aren’t you here?


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