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Amateur Team Weekend Upon us! Print E-mail
February 11, 2010
On President's Day Weekend (February 12-15), teams all across the country congregate for four National Amateur Team Events, the USAT North in Milwaukee, USAT East in Parsippany, NJ, USAT South in Orlando and USAT West in Woodland Hills, CA. These events include a number of titled and famous players. The average rating of all four players just has to be under the cap of 2200 USCF. CLO will bring you news from every event, including US Chess Scoop videos from the US Amateur Team East, which will be celebrating its Ruby Anniversary (40 years, corr.) Have something to share about your participation in any of the four editions of this American chess festival? Send stories, photos and/or games to CLO editor Jennifer Shahade at [email protected]. 

The East

IM Dean Ippolito, Photo Betsy Dynako Chicago 2009
Topping the many competitive entries at the US Amateur Team East is native New Jeseryan IM Dean Ippolito's squad, which will be rated the maximum, 2199.75. "Almost by accident, my team should be the top team at the start. I had already confirmed Christopher Wu and Daniel Zhu for boards 3 and 4 but was still looking for a board two around 2400. I was talking to my good friend IM Dave Vigorito and told him it wasn't too bad he wasn't 50 points lower rated." As it turned out, Dean's statement was more than a wish as Vigorito's rating is almost 50 points lower on the rating list used for the event (December 09-2472, current 2517).  "We thought it was such good luck that he decided to make the trip from Massachusetts to play this year." Dean also pointed out that Wu (2119 to 2193) and Zhu (1698 to 1785) have both gained a substantial number of rating points since the December list, so his will definitely be a team to watch.

Dean, 31, is playing in his 25th straight Amateur Team. His first was on a Collins Kids team at seven years old. The Dean of Chess Academy is also bringing 14 teams.

GM Robert Hess will lead another strong USATE team. Boards two and three, Andrew Ryba and Zachary Weiner are seniors at reigning National High school championship team Stuyvesant while board four, Richard Rivera is a freshman at college. Hess told CLO, " It's one of those events where you play to completely have fun. It's always great to see a GM play for fun, showing true love for the game. It also will be a great tournament for me, as my last was another team tournament- the World Team Championship. This one should be easier and much more relaxing." Robert did point out that his team, rated 2170, had high expectations, and that "Realistically, I will have to win practically all my games."

GM Robert Hess at the World Team Championships, Photo Tony Rich for CCSCSL

A USATE team that would make the late Jerry Hanken smile is "Parting With the Lady." The team consists of Former USCF President WIM Beatriz Marinello of the US Chess Trust, USCF Executive Director Bill Hall, USCF Editorial Assistant and Clubs and Member Associate Alan Kantor and USCF Vice-president Ruth Haring. See Remembering YHR (Your Humble Reporter) in the February 2010 issue of Chess Life Magazine.  

Update: Another team led by a GM is Chess Mates NJ 2010. “Chess Mates NJ” a new chess business owned by Art Macaspac, is opening in Rahway, NJ in March 2010.  Leonid Yudasin will be the resident instructor. The full squad line-up:

Leonid Yudasin             2580
Art Macaspac                2120
Sam Barsky                  2100
John Sheatsley              1757
SWarren Lohr               1710

See more details on the USATE event schedule here. 


Take a look at all the teams pre-registered to play in the US Amateur Team West here. The lineups of the top two teams, Pawns on the Ground and ACA Monsters, are listed below.

See tournament details on the website and keep an eye on John Hillery's Western Chess Blog for updates. Hillery will also contribute a wrap-up blog to CLO. 

1 Pawns on the Ground (2198.5)


2 ACA Monsters (2197.3)


Check out pre-entries and look for updates from the North on the tournament site: http://iachess.org.

Organizer Alex Betaneli told CLO,
The snowstorm hit Wisconsin earlier this week, but by this weekend only the organizers from the East need to worry about the weather. True, the temperatures got to -2 last night, but this could never deter the solid folks of Midwest from playing Chess. The numbers are already higher than the total number of participants last year and the teams are quite a bit stronger!

So far, the rating favorite is the Chicago Industrial Chess League with an average ELO of 2190. Their leader is the famous theoretician NM Steve Tennant. This is the first time since 1999 that the tournament will have two teams with Grandmasters: GM Gurevich joins forces with some of his strongest students, while GM Yermolinsky is making a drive from South Dakota to team up with Wisconsinites. IM Angelo Young is not going to miss any action and has a strong-looking team of friends. Also registered are powerful teams from Iowa and Indiana and we are waiting to hear from Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri!  Enjoy the action!


Harvey Lerman, organizer of the US Amateur Team South told CLO that the top two teams to beat so far are, Piece Mongors II(2187.8) headed by Javad Maharramzade (2602) and Beasts from the Southeast (2174.0) headed by Jeffrey Haskel (2290). But don't count out the Larry Storch team (2143.5) of three old guys and a kid! Lerman said that a strong Miami team often just walks in to the event, but this year there's a rumor that they may not make it. Last year My Girl Is Pissed, from Miami won the event. The defending champions' team name refers to the fact that this year, like last, the US Amateur Team East overlaps with Valentine's Day. So a wise word to gentleman and ladies leaving your significant others at home for Amateur Team fun: Leave a box of chocolates before you go.

Check CLO for wrap-ups of all the events and if you are playing on a team, CLO wants your perspectives for possible publication on the website! Send stories, photos and/or games to CLO editor Jennifer Shahade at [email protected]. 

February - Chess Life Online 2010

Perelshteyn and Dean-Kawamura Win Marchand OpenChess Master Appeared on Oprah Kaidanov-2, Polgar-1 in Sicilian Theme Match Hilton in the Big Classroom, Part II: MexicoAdamson on IM Norm #2 at the North American Masters How to Lose a Girl in 3 Days Judit Polgar to Play Greg Kaidanov in Sicilian Theme Match Amateur Team North: Touch Move Team Tops and Trevor AnnotatesFun & Names at the US Amateur Team East Justus Prevails in Williams-Colas MatchBeasts From the Southeast Annotate! Americans Abroad Update: From Moscow to Iceland Kosteniuk Simul CountdownJustus Williams to Face Off Against Josh Colas Over a Thousand High Schoolers Team-up in Illinois Kapil Chandran Makes a Move for Haiti Team OC Wins Amateur Team West Results are in at the US Amateur Team East Beasts From the Southeast Take Amateur Team South Americans in Aeroflot : Kamsky on Plus One Akshay Malhotra Plays 150 Games for Haiti Relief Amateur Team Weekend Upon us! Chess Without Borders Hosts Haiti Fundraiser Americans in AeroflotChanging of the Guard: A Documentary on the 2009 US Championship Hilton in the Big Classroom, Part I: Nicaragua Adamson Secures 2nd IM Norm at the 24th North American Masters De Firmian Wins the Bermuda OpenA Glimpse into Nakamura's PreparationShankland Searches Gibraltar for Final Norm Bermuda Open Begins Luke Harmon-Vellotti Conducts Haitian Benefit Simul Americans in Gibraltar: Kamsky and Lenderman Lead the Way Kudrin Takes Land of the SkyThe Scoop on Chess Exam: You vs. Bobby Fischer GM Joel on the Question He Always Wanted The February Check is in the MailCollege Chess News