|Chess Party Underway in Parsippany|
|By Al Lawrence|
|February 16, 2014|
Executive Director Jean Hoffman, COO Pat Smith, and Chief Organizer E. Steven Doyle blow out the candles on USCF's 75th birthday cake
Despite a snowstorm that snarled travel from the Deep South to New England, 278 chess teams trekked to the Parsippany Hilton in New Jersey. All those squads, made up of 1,165 hopeful players, were drawn not by the promise of big cash prizes—for the World Amateur Team Chess Championship, a.k.a The U.S. Amateur Team East, offers no money prizes. The draw is the legendary combination of fun and six rounds of serious chess that “The Team” is famous for.
The four-player teams (some come with alternates as well) must average below 2200 and play in board-order. Eleven teams weighed in with an average team rating of 2190 or more. Only one team this year hit the mathematical sweet spot of 2199--“The Cambridge Springers” from Massachusetts, led by FM William Kelleher on board one. But they were nicked for a drawn match as early as round two by “Bone!” from New Jersey, showing that a 2136 average is nothing to take lightly.
After two rounds, “CKQ-1,” “Princeton A,” “What Does the GM Say?” En Passant Riot,” “On the Rohde Again,” and “Exchange Variation were among the top teams bunched at 2.0.
GMs head up nine teams. Top-ranked Alex Onischuk, a former U.S. Champion, leads “Texas Tech Chess” (2193). GMs Magesh Panchanathan, Leonid Yudasin, Alex Fishbein, Gennady Sagalchik, Michael Rohde, John Fedorowicz, Women’s champ Irina Krush, and Lawrence Kaufman also spearhead teams.
Rachel Allyn rocked the remodeled Hilton before the first round, putting on a special show to greet the players
“The Team” is always full of special events and surprises. Former World Champion Garry Kasparov is visiting. USCF’s Executive Director Jean Hoffman and Chief Operations Officer Pat Smith are here as well, helping to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Chess Federation.
Check back for a wrap-up and complete standings.