Slugfest in Seattle!
By David Pruess and Josh Friedel   
October 20, 2006
GM Victor Mikhalevski by Clint Ballard

The GM Slugfest(Oct.13-15) rocked Seattle last weekend with its revolutionary new scoring system (BAP). Designed by organizer Clint Ballard to avoid quick draws, BAP succeeded in creating a thrillingly dramatic last round. All 5 GMs in contention needed to win for a share of the glory. Victor Mikhalevski landed the final and decisive blow to walk away with $5000 in cash.

Based on result and color, here's how BAP points are tallied:

BAP Scoring System

Black wins = 3 points
White wins = 2 points
Black draws = 1 point
White draws = 0 points
Any loss = 0 points

Many are taken aback when they see that BAP gives White the same number of points for losing as for drawing. Would this result in going all out for a win in a Rook and three vs. Rook and three? Not necessarily, as drawing does prevent your opponent from earning 3 whooping points.

GM Alexander Shabalov said that the system is "fun, and good at preventing draws," but worries about the potential for cheaters to abuse it.

IM Josh Friedel said, " I felt amazing after getting three points for my first round win, but then strangely disappointed by the usually OK result of drawing against a strong GM with White, as I got no points." Josh concluded that this was " hard to accept psychologically."

Certainly, it must have been fun for Mikhalevski to earn 10 points in a 6 round tournament. His prize was 5000$ in cash, pictured below.

Victor's take for winning the Slugfest. How many Benjamins are in that pile?

Final standings:
1. GM Victor Mikhalevski- 10
2-3. GMs Gregory Serper and Lubomir Ftacnik- 9
4-7- GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Varuzhan Akobian, IM Josh Friedel and Jonathan Berry- 8
8-9- GM Julio Becerra and John Readey- 7
10- IM David Pruess- 6

For more details, all the games and a special voter's choice best game contest, go to the official GMSlugfest website. Now lets hear from bloggers David Pruess and Josh Friedel. If you want to go over their annotations in chessbase, download the [DOCUMENT:31]complete GM Slugfest pgn file[/DOCUMENT] with David and Josh's notes included.

IM David Pruess, 2006 Samford winner. Photo Clint Ballard

Blog from Seattle

  The central purpose of the GM Slugfest, and what many the spectators and players were interested in, was to see whether this BAP scoring system was good for Grandmaster-level chess. As several-time US Champion Shabalov said upon arriving "It's not about the money. I'm interested in finding out whether this scoring system makes sense."

This was not the case for me. For me both the prize and the scoring system meant nothing-- I was just interested in playing some games against good players like Shabalov, Mikhalevski, Akobian, Becerra, Ftacnik, and Serper. (I might have included Friedel in this list, but I play with him all the time, and plus our last game went e4 e5 nf3 d6 d4 bg4 de de qd8+.)

Did the BAP work out?

There are two basic criteria to determine the success of the BAP: did it determine a worthy winner and did it promote fighting chess? I would say the answer to both questions is yes. Here are the last round pairings:

1. GM Ftacnik (9) vs. GM Serper (6) (0-3)
2. GM Akobian (6) vs. GM Shabalov (8) (2-0)
3. GM Becerra (7) vs. GM Mikhalevski (7) (0-3)

All of these players, except for Akobian, had a chance to tie for first. As it happened, Shabalov and Ftacnik both lost, allowing Mikhalevski, playing Black, to leapfrog everyone with a win (three points!) over Becerra.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.0–0–0 d5 10.Kb1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 cxd5
12...Nxd5 13.Bc5 is a common variation if White plays 10.ed, but then the white king would be on c1 in this position, so this would be relatively better for White.
13.Nxd5 Be6
In the analogous position with the white king on c1, black usually sacrifices a pawn here with: 13...Nxd5 14.Qxd5 Qc7 when the capture on a8 leads to Bf5 threatening mate and the queen. However, here Becerra saw that it would not work for Black: 15.Qxa8 Bf5 16.Qd5 white calmly saves the queen, and there is no mate with the king on b1.
14.Nxf6+ Qxf6
This pawn-down position seems a bit dubious to me. But to win is no easy task. 15.Bg5 Qf5 16.g4
This move initiates a long forced sequence leading to an endgame which is difficult to assess. The morning after the game, GM Becerra had concluded that White probably cannot win the ending.
16...Qxf3 17.Bg2 Qxg4 18.Bxa8 Rxa8 19.Qd8+ Rxd8 20.Rxd8+ Bf8 21.Bh6 Qb4 22.Rxf8+ Qxf8 23.Bxf8 Kxf8
After some flashy tactics the players arrive at... a much more difficult to calculate endgame! Becerra's 24th move temporarily freezes the two black passed pawns. 24.Re1 f6 25.Re3
To be honest, I was and still am a bit skeptical of this idea. It is very time intensive to go after the a-pawn with the rook, and after capturing it, the rook will often not be in a good position to combat the black passers. In this position white has another important plan, which GM Becerra and I discussed at the airport the next day: 25.b3 White may judge that at present the Re1 is decently placed for slowing down the black pawns, and immediately aim to activate his c-pawn. Black probably has to start by defending e5 with his king and then advancing the f-pawn. So something like 25...Ke7 26.c4 Kd6 27.Kb2 f5 28.Kc3 f4 might transpire. It seems to me that White still has reasonable chances for a win here.

I believe GM Becerra overlooked this excellent move. From watching his board demeanor during this game, I think he calculated a ton of variations, some quite intricate and long. What happens in most cases is that humans, even extremely strong GM calculators, miss moves.
26.Rg3 Bc8 27.Rc3 Bd7 28.Rc7 Ke7 29.c4 f5 30.c5 Kd8 31.Ra7 f4 32.Kc1?
It is natural to keep your king on a dark square in endings where your opponent has a light-squared bishop. However here, the king needed to also have access to the d3 square to better fight the advancing black pawns. The variations are fairly intricate, but a couple will give an idea of what might occur: [32.Kc2 e4 33.Rxa6 e3 34.Rf6 g5 35.h4 h6 35...Bg4 36.hxg5 f3 37.Kd3 e2 38.Kd2 and the black pawns have been contained 36.Rxh6 Bf5+! 36...g4 37.Rf6 f3 38.Kd3 e2 39.Kd2 37.Kd1 f3 38.Rf6 Bg4 39.Ke1 gxh4 40.Rf4 f2+ 41.Rxf2 exf2+ 42.Kxf2 is a draw]

Position after e4

33.Rxa6 e3 34.Rd6

If 34.Rf6 the tempting 34...Bf5? actually leads to a K+P ending which Black loses. Very valuable to White is the choice of playing a3-a4 or a4 in one move 34...g5! 35.h4 (35.Kc2 Ke7 36.Ra6 Bf5+ 37.Kc3 f3–+ ) 35...Bg4

Analysis diagram after Bg4

See how in this position the white king can not approach the black pawns at all? that is the crux of the problem with 32.Kc1. In this position one of White's two main defenses would be to play 36.Kc2 36.hxg5 f3 now f2 followed by e2 is threatened and white must sac the rook, but will lose the resulting ending. 37.Rxf3 Bxf3–+ 35.Rxf5 gxf5
36.Kd1 f3 37.b4 Kc7 38.b5 f2 39.Ke2 f4 40.c6 Kb6 41.a4 f3+ 42.Kf1+-]
34...f3 35.Kd1
If 35.Rf6 f2 36.Kd1 Bg4+ is crushing for Black.
35...f2 36.Ke2 Ke7
threatening Bg4+ Kf1 Bh3+, which forces white to enter a lost king and pawn ending.
37.Rxd7+ Kxd7 38.h4 Kc6 39.b4 h6 40.a4 g5 41.a5 Kb5 White resigns: 0–3

The game would conclude: 42.hxg5 hxg5 43.Kf1 g4 44.Ke2 g3 45.Kf1 Kc4 46.c6 Kd3 with mate in 6.

A strong player told me he thought that Ftacnik played the best of anyone in the tournament, and in a normal event might have been content to draw in the last round and thus not lost his game to Serper. (In the BAP, both a loss and a draw would leave him at 9 points.) It's not obvious to me that he threw this game away because he desperately needed a win; without having analyzed it, it seems to me that they had an interesting game, and Serper played well.

Shabalov was the only one that had anything to gain from a last round draw. As Black, a draw would have netted him one point, which would allow a possible tie for first. A win would catapult him to 11 points, and clinch at least a tie for first. (A win with White would add 2 points to Ftacnik's 9.)

My most interesting fight was against GM Julio Becerra: ( Editor's Tip- if you want to see all the analysis while playing through the game, open up another browser to play through the game while you scroll down to read all the notes. Or download the [DOCUMENT:31]pgn file[/DOCUMENT]. CLO is developing other ways to avoid this inconvenience. JS)

This is not the most common move for me, but it was based on a psychological calculation. Becerra has researched the Open Ruy vs. e4 and the Semi Slav vs.d4 so well that I was unlikely to be able to dent them with about an hour of prep time. The prospects of taking him on in a theoretical battle thus did not totally appeal. A few times people have played 1.c4 against him so that after 1...c6 they could play 2.e4 and bring him into a Panov. I recalled Serper had blown him out with 1.c4 in a USCL game ten days before. I did not actually want to obtain a Panov against him. But I thought that if I played 1. c4 there was a good chance that he would be afraid I was trying to do to him what so many others had done, and would play some move other than 1...c6. If he called my bluff and played 1...c6 I would pray and go for some mainline Semi-Slav.
After 3 minutes thought Becerra played this move. As the subsequent play will demonstrate I am essentially clueless about most lines of the symmetrical English. However, I was still happy to see him steer away from sharp opening lines.
2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Nf3 Nh6
This move is theoretical but since I don't play the English, it came as an unpleasant surprise to me. When playing 5. Nf3, I thought 5...Nf6 6.d4 would be pleasant for White. Now I suddenly found myself unable to come up with any exciting plans for White. My next move cost me 10 minutes, but I failed to discover what White is doing. I wanted to play e3 and d4 but 6.e3 Nf5 and White can't force d4. My other idea was 6.a3 and 7.Rb1, but I figured that a5 would shut that plan down in one move. I still don't have any idea what to do against 5...Nh6.
6.d3 a6
Becerra adopts one of the ideas that I dismissed as too easy to parry. One random line I had been interested in was 6...O-O 7.h4 and 8.h5. But this idea never became an option for me in the game's course.
If I were watching this game as a spectator I would say to my friend "what the hell? this guy has no idea what he's doing!" And though wise kibitzers are not always right, in this case, they would be.
7...Rb8 8.0–0
Prevention is just not sufficiently part of my character, and so I allowed b5 though I had seen that a4 stops b5 .
8...b5 9.b3
I had some vague idea that the b5 pawn might cause him a tiny big of chagrin. If he trades bc and I retake dc, I like the White position, and if he leaves the tension he needs to keep b5 guarded. If he pushes past I hoped I could later break in the center with d4 and leave him with a weakness on b4 or c5.
9...0–0 10.Rc1 10...d6
At this point he has played a series of moves I predicted fairly rapidly, while I had used 45 minutes without coming up with any idea yet of what I wanted to do in this position.
11.Ng5 Bd7 12.Nge4?
White might have still been ok with 12.Ne1 Bd7 13.Nc3 Nf5 14. Nd5 e6 15.Nde3 doesn't do much. The move in the game finally is self-destructive enough for black to make some serious accomplishments.
Becerra has not been lulled to sleep by my moronic play so far, and is quick to notice a tactical opportunity for himself. I felt white needed to play Nd5 and played it instantly. Only after playing it did I noticed black's tactical idea.
13.Nd5 f5
ow if Ng5 e6, while Nf4 or Ne3 lose material after Qxg5. White is suddenly and instantly dead. I coughed up my dark squared bishop rather than material though it felt the same as giving up material to trade such a piece , and began to calculate like mad hoping to find a way to cling to life in the terminal position that was developing. 14.Bxh6 Bxh6 15.Nd2 e6 16.Nf4 Ne5!

Position after 15...Ne5!

A clever idea, avoiding Nxe6, but also keeping white from playing e3 to bolster the dark squares: 17.e3 g5 18.Bxf4? 18.ef Nd3 leaves the knight stranded on d3 18.Nh3 Nxd3. At this point I did not consider that I had realistic chances of defending. But I had begun to play quickly, as I finally felt I understood what was going on in the position. My next gets off the diagonal of the bishop, which makes Nf3 possible among other moves, and prepares some second rank defenses.
17.Rc2 g5
A very good idea, gaining space on the kingside, which will help black to MATE the white king.
18.Nh3 g4 19.Nf4 Bxf4 20.gxf4 Ng6
Now the structural damage to the White kingside will allow Black to crash through. 21.e3 Rf7?!
Over the next few moves white claws his way back into the game. This is an important moment, because it marks Becerra's first omission of the game. During the game it seemed "obvious" to me that after e5 Black's pawns roll towards the White king and there is nothing I can do. For example e5 22.fe de 23.f4 ef Qc7 and there is no defending f4 or the king after it goes . But if not 23.f4, Black will play 23...f4 and then f3 and the attack should be pretty straightforward.
Black has some idea of going Rg7 Nh4 and Nf3+, but White has chances by preparing Nf1 to defend h2 or block the g-file on g3, and at the same time the white rooks can use e1 and d2 to enforced a very important d4 break in the center, which might even expose black's central weaknesses.
Nh4 first seems more precise for attacking purposes
23.Nf1 Qb6?!

Position after 24.d4

23...Nh4 would be consistent with the previous two moves, and I think Black still has enough to win, just that it is far less easy than in the 21...e3 lines
I think Qb6 was partially aimed at stopping this move, but I played it after but a minute of double-checking anyway, because I knew I had to break with d4 as soon as possible. Also black has the strong idea of Bc6 here, to trade bishops, put the knight on h4 and queen on c6, after which it would be quite grisly.
24...cxd4 25.Rd2 e5!–+ still! ... and White is busted.Bd5 winning an exchange is useless as Black just wants to play Bc6 and Nh4-f3, killing. I think Julio missed e5! and calculated 25...de3, which he rejected in view of 26.Ne3, when all of White's pieces are in harmony.

Analysis position after 25...e5!

Here white has time to defend the light squares, as Bc6 can be answered with d5. black will still force it, because then white cannot open the d-file. I also had finally built up a lead on the clock
25...Bc6 26.d5 exd5 27.cxd5 Bb5
I had underestimated this move, expecting Bd7, but now realized that black would have Bd3 or Be2 or Bf1 type tactical blows in the ensuing complications, as well as the move c4 if things calmed down.
During the game it was clear to me I wanted to do this, but I could imagine hearing some comment after the game: "Of course you lose if while under attack you spend three moves winning a pawn which opens a file to your king." In this case, I think the h5 pawn is a bit of a menacing attacker itself, able to come to h4 or h3 and disrupt the white king's position, so it is quite worthwhile to eliminate it.
28...Rbf8 29.Nxh5 Rh7 30.Ng3 Qd8 31.f3!
Planned well in advance- white must create a way for his pieces to get to the kingside, even if it also opens lines for the black pieces.
A slight surprise. During the game I had thought that 31...Rg7 32.fxg4 Rxg4 was a bit better. But now I think they may be of about equal merit.
32.Bxf3 Rff7 33.Kh1 Rfg7 34.Rg1
I spent some time calculating and trying to make work: 34.Nh5 however it simply does not work, for example: 34...Nxf3 35.Qxf3 Qh4–+]

Position after 34....Bd3

Now I decided to sac an exchange for the f5 pawn. I think this is the proper decision, and yields white somewhat better prospects. 34...Kh8 was a difficult to analyze alternative as well
35.Rd2 Nxf3 36.Qxf3 Qh4 37.Rdg2 Kh8 leaves white totally tied up.
35...Nxf3 36.Qxf5 Nxg1 37.Kxg1 Rh6 38.Rg2 a5
I like this move, which makes the black pawn majority on the queenside more dangerous. This is black's main asset in this position, as his king is probably more vulnerable than the white one, and the knight, not lacking in defended squares on the kingside, is no worse than the rooks in mutual mating attacks. [I had anticipated that the following variation favored me strongly: 38...Qf6? 39.Qc8+ Kh7 40.Qxa6 Qa1+ 41.Qf1]
39.Ne4 Rxg2+ 40.Kxg2
It seemed to me that White had all the prospects here, but that there might not be enough to win. But now Julio began to play strong moves very quickly, and it was my turn to agonize over how to convert.
40...c4! 41.bxc4 a4 42.Ng5
42.c5 b3 43.axb3 a3 was another possibility, but I could not see a way for white to win there
42...Qe8 43.c5
this seems like the only real move here for white, as the queenside breakthrough is too hard to control at the same time as the kingside.
43...dxc5 44.d6 Qc6+!

Position after 44...Qc6!

44...Rxd6 45.Qh7+ Kf8 46.Qh8+ Ke7 47.Qe5+ 47.Qg7+ Kd8 48.Nf7+ Kc7 49.Nxd6+ Kxd6 was less clear to me 47...Kd7 48.Qxc5 what has White accomplished by trading off his pawns? He has made it possible to combine attacking the black king with defending against the queenside pawns by opening up the central diagonals for his queen. White should have every hope of winning in this position. 45.Kg3 Qxd6 46.Qf7+ Kh8 47.Qe8+ Kg7 48.Qxa4
I passed up the draw not because I would get 0 BAP points for it, but because I always want to win, badly.
Black still seems to have enough to draw the game, but I felt tremendous pressure to find a way to win this one.
49.e4 c4 50.e5 c3 51.h3 Qc7 52.Qc2 Qc5 53.Qd3 Qc7 54.e6 c2 55.e7 Qxe7 56.Qxc2 Qe3+ 57.Kg4 Qg1+ 58.Kf3 Qh1+ 59.Ke3??

Position after Ke3??

The kind of mistake I would like to stop making. I knew that my opponent had achieved a draw, as I cannot walk through the center via f5 or d4. But I was so unhappy with the drawn result that I decided, without calculating, to walk around over every single square with my king before "accepting" the result. Unfortunately, this creates a miracle win for black, via Q check on c3 and promotion of the c-pawn. 59...Qe1+ 60.Kf3 Qc3+ 61.Qxc3+ bxc3 62.Ke2 Rd6 0-1

I was so shocked by the sudden loss after so many hours of intense work, that I almost lost the strength to play the next round. This game had two phases; First Becerra held good attacking chances against my king, and then in the ending, when my knight and pawns were stronger than his rook. During each of these phases, I felt that it was the player with the advantage who was under pressure! Perhaps the slugfest incentives had influenced us a bit. When a win becomes thinkable, its value is much higher than in a normal situation when someone plays "with a draw in hand. " Usually that thought comforts someone, but in the slugfest, the draw is of little value to either player. And so it may become the player with the slight advantage who feels the strong pressure to make something of it. Although this was by no means the best GM Becerra or I have ever played, I think we both did a decent job of accepting the worse position when we had it, buckling down, and providing quick and accurate defensive moves, which helped put that pressure on the opponent while they held the advantage. Certainly, it was a game brimming with fight, entertaining to play and to study.

Josh Friedel on his first round

The slugfest pairing system is too complicated to describe in full here, but generally the highest rated players in a score group play the lowest. This has a lot of merit, as the Swiss system can often reward lower rated players, who as long as they "make the cut", can get a much easier time than the top dogs. Another creative way to deal with this problem without stacking the deck too much in favor of the top seeds, is to randomize pairings within a score group. One advantage of knockout style pairings is the tight matchups as early as round 1 as players ranked in the middle face off. JS

Unlike most tournaments, the slugfest had knockout-like pairings. This meant having Mikhalevski play a 1900 on board one, however on the lower boards there were some closer matchups. Being the bottom seed of the top half, I was up against IM Eric Tangborn, rated just 50 points below me. Also somewhat amusing, my friend and teammate IM David Pruess was up against GM Serper, creating a mini San Fran Seattle matchup. (San Francisco and Seattle are the two leaders of U.S. Chess League's Western Division.)

1. d4 Nf6
I saw that Tangborn used to be a mainly d4 player, but had switched up to c4 in us chess league. Therefore, it was a minor surprise that he played d4 against me.
2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4. e3
I was happy to see this move, as it leads to somewhat double-edged positions. c3 is a dryer alternative, after which I've found generating winning chances to be difficult. 4...Qb6 5. Nbd2 d5
I could have taken the pawn of course, after which white would have the
typical compensation.
6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. c4
Trying to blast the position open while he's ahead in development. This is a tad risky, however, as d4 will become weak, and my two bishops will be quite strong in an open position once I get developed.
7... cxd4 8. exd4 Nc6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 Nxd4
This might look risky, but it is actually the much safer of the two pawns to capture.
10... Qxb2 11. O-O Qb6 12. Re1+ Be6 13. Rb1 Qc7 14. Qb3
with serious pressure for the pawn.
11. O-O 11. Nxd4 Qxd4 12. Bb5+ Kd8
and after my bishops go to e6 and d6, my position will be quite solid. 11...
Be6 12. Nxd4 Qxd4
13. Nf3 Qg4

Position after Qg4

Trying to provoke weaknesses on the kingside.
14. Bb5+ Kd8 15. Be2
15. Ba4 was an interesting alternative discovered after the game, with the idea to transfer the bishop to b3 to pressure d5. However,after Rg8 16. g3 Rc8 17. Bb3 Rc5 everything seems to hold together nicely for black. 15... Bc5 keeping the White knight out of d4. 16. Rc1 Rc8 17. Ne5 This maneuver doesn't help White a whole lot, but it is hard to think of an alternative.Qd418. Nd3 Bb6 19. Qb3 Re8 I thought a long time on this move. It has several purposes. First, it threatens to play Bf5, pressuring the bishop and knight. Second, it allows my king to escape to the kingside as well as the queenside in some variations.
20. Rcd1 Qc4 21. Qa3 Qc7 22. Bf3 Qe7 23. b4
At the time, I thought this was a mistake, but there isn't really a happy alternative.
23. Nf4 Qxa3 24. bxa3 d4 25. Bxb7 Rc2 and black has a comfy edge.
23... Qd6 24. Rc1 Ke7 25. Nc5 Rc7
25... a5 was tempting, after 26. Nxe6 fxe6 27. Qd3 matters are far from clear.
26. Qd3 Bxc5 27. bxc5 Rxc5 28. Rxc5 Qxc5 29. Qxh7 Rd8

We were both in serious time trouble at this point, so these next ten moves are far from accurate. However, I decided that the best plan was to push the d-pawn as far as I could.
30. h4 d4 31. Qb1 b6 32. Rc1 Qe5 33. Qd3 Kf8
Now I want my king out of the center, so I can play Bf5.
34. h5
34. Qa3+ Kg7 35. Qxa7 Rd6 and the d-pawn will run.
34... Kg7 35. Qd2 Qg5 36. Qb2 d3
Now it is over. Once the pawn gets to d2, bad things will happen to him.
37.Rd1 d2 38. a3 Qe5 39. Qb4 Rd4 40. Qc3 Bd7 and White resigned just after making time control, as Ba4 can't be stopped.

Overall, I'd say this was my best game of the tournament, as I killed his counterplay well and showed decent technique despite time trouble however mutual . The tournament organizer was so impressed by this game, in fact, that he decided to give me three points instead of one! Around this time David won also. In fact, he beat Tangborn later in the tournament, and I beat Nat Koons, thus completing a 4-0 Seattle sweep. Hopefully we'll be able to repeat this in week nine of USCL.
On another note, this had to be one of the only tournaments where the organizer taunted players after they lost. While he seemed to be mostly equal opportunity in this regard, I did feel he picked on David and I a tad more than the others. In any case, if it happens with slightly more sensitive players, one might get the rare opportunity to witness a player-organizer firstfight in a future Slugfest event! 0-1

Final Thoughts on BAP

According to the normal 1-.5-0 scoring system, Mikhalevski would also have won this tournament, being the only one to score 4.5. In general, under BAP, the player with the highest normal score will usually also win the event. The main exception would be consider two players scoring 4.5-1.5, one of them with three draws, the other with one loss and one draw. The player with one loss and one draw would finish ahead of the other player under BAP. One could argue about whether or not that's fair-- it certainly does not bother me much.

Another principle concern people have about BAP is that white players will "go crazy" trying to win games, and thus decrease the quality of games in an irrational way. I don't think this is an important problem. There are two checks on such behavior- first that losing will give your opponent 3 points, while a draw will give them 1. In terms of your relative placing to your opponent, this will often matter. But more importantly, most of us are chessplayers after all. We live in constant fear of acknowledging someone else's mastery of us by resigning. This is strong enough motivation for most players to avoid losses when possible. What the point system should hopefully do is give white a strong incentive to not split the point, till all reasonable attempts at winning have been exhausted.

But this first high-level test of BAP is not finished yet. There still remains the most important part: can the organizers, Messieurs Ballard and Chang, produce from this event a tv segment that the American market would want to watch? Because the point of this event was not that it would be a better chess event for the players, but that it would be possible to market such an event to a mass American market. We the players have fought as we could, left our blood and sweat in Seattle. Now it remains to be seen if this can translate into exciting tv.

I would like to thank all those who helped in the organization of the event, particularly Eddie Chang, who was extremely helpful, and all my opponents for playing with me. Also, I'd like to mention my two favorite spectators: my brother Jacob who kept me fed, and my new friend David. Hourrah for the spectators! :-) And now some of the 'fighting chess,' which this event saw. I should mention that there is a sizable brilliancy prize, which is being decided by spectator voting, so the organizers would be delighted if you went to, played through some of the games from the event, and cast your votes as to which games you liked best.