Jeff Siebrandt Wins Seventh U.S. Blind Chess Championship Title
By Joan Dubois   
Official Press Release                                              Contact: Joan DuBois
June 30, 2008                                                         jdubois@uschess.org
                                                                               (931) 787-1234, ext. 123


(Crossville, TN) USCF's 2008 U.S. Blind Chess Championship was held from June 20 – 21, 2008, in Buckhannon, West Virginia, at the Hampton Inn.  Rick Varchetto ran and organized this tournament, for the fourth year.  National Tournament Director Tim Just directed this event.  Jeff Siebrandt and Alex Barrasso finished with 3.5 out of 4 points to tie for 1st place.  Due to higher tie break points, Jeff claimed the U.S. Blind Chess Champion title for the seventh time!  Alex is a past champion with 5 titles!

Jeff and Alex each received $325, for their efforts.

Jessica Lauser, Al Pietrolungo, David Rosenkoetter, and Ginny Alverson tied with 2.0 out of 4, and split the money for 3rd place, and the class B, C, D prizes equally ($112.50 each).

Jessica won the 3rd place overall trophy.

Joe Wassermann won 1st in Class E, and won $100.

Buckhannon, West Virginia is located south of the Pittsburgh airport, and is about a 2.5 hour drive away.

This was a 4 round tournament, with a G/135 time limit.  Two games were played each on Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21.

One large difference with playing in the U.S. Blind Championships, as compared to other chess tournaments, is that each player plays at a higher playing strength then what their performance rating may indicate.  Many of these competitors only play in one rated United Stated Chess Federation tournament per year.  They generally do play in e-mail and other chess competitions, throughout the year, so their playing strength is getting better, but their USCF rating has not caught up with their strength.  My estimate is that each of the people I battled plays at 200 points more than their rating.  Each game was very hard fought.

Here is the Round 2 game, between Alex Barrasso and Jeff Siebrandt.


1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd6 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nge2 a6 6. Bf4 Qd8 7. Qd2 e6


Possibly better is 7. … Bf5 8. f3 h5 9. O-O-O e6 10. a3 Bd6 11. Bg5 Qe7 12. Ng3 Bg6

8. Ng3 c5 9. Rd1


Better is 9. dxc5!? Qxd2+ 10. Bxd2 Bxc5

9... Qxd4 10. Qxd4

Better is 10. Qc1!? Qb4

10... cxd4 11. Rxd4 Nc6 12. Rd1 Bb4 13. Bd2 O-O 14. Bd3 Ne5 15. Be2 Bd7

After this move Alex mentioned that the tactics shots are about to start.

16. Nge4 Nxe4 17. Nxe4 Bxd2+ 18. Rxd2 Bc6 19. f3 Bxe4


I believed that I could use my Knight outpost, and gain an advantage, but unfortunately, this was not to be.

20. fxe4 Rfd8 21. Bd3 Rd4 22. Ke2 Rad8 23. Rhd1 Kf8 24. h3 Ke7 25. Ke3 h6 26. c3 R4d6 27. Be2 Rxd2 28. Rxd2 Rxd2 29. Kxd2 Kd6 30. Ke3 Nc6 31. b4 f5 32. exf5 exf5 33. a3


(Interesting is 33. Bf3!? Nd8 34. Kf4 Ke6 35. c4 b6 (35... g5+ 36. Ke3 Ke5))

33... g5 34. g3 Ne5 35. c4 b6 36. Kd4 Nc6+ 37. Ke3 Ne5,  Game Drawn 

At this point, both Alex and I had about 28 minutes each to play out the remainder of the game. Fritz suggests 37... a5!?, but for some reason, I did not consider that move. A possible continuation is 38. c5+ bxc5 39. bxc5+ (39. Bxa6 cxb4 40. axb4 Kd5) 39... Kxc5
40. Bxa6 Ng6 (40... Nc4+ ?? 41. Bxc4!! Kxc4 42. a4! Kb4 43. Kd4!! and White has a forced win) 41. Bd3 Ne5 42. Bxf5 Nc4+ 43. Ke4 Nxa3 44. Ke5 Nc4+ 45. Kf6 Ne3 with many area for both sides fight it out.

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The United States Chess Federation (USCF), founded in 1939, serves as the governing body for chess in the United States and is now headquartered in Crossville, Tennessee. USCF is devoted to extending the role of chess in American society. It promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, and as a means for the improvement of society. The USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization with over 80,000 members. For additional information on the USCF see: http://www.uschess.org.