Dennis Cummings wins 26th U.S. Blind Chess Championship in West Virginia
By Joan DuBois   
June 16, 2009
Official Press Release
June 16, 2009
Contact: Rick Varchetto

(Crossville, TN)
The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) held its 26th U.S. Blind
Chess Championship June 12-13, 2009 at the Baymont Inn, 1 Amerihost Dr.,
Weirton, West Virginia.

This year's U. S. Blind drew a scant six players battling it out in a four-round event. 
The pairings followed a Round Robin table to insure that Swiss pairing problems
did not occur in the last round.

Stephen De Joseph was the highest rated player going into the event; however,
he dropped out after round 2.  He felt he had an unfair advantage over the other
players as he was only barely legally blind and they were close to or actually
totally blind.  Stephen and Rick (the organizer) had an excellent discussion on
fund raising for the future.  Rick may be contacting you in the future regarding
a lottery fund raising event.

By the end of round three Dennis Cummings had such a huge advantage that
even if he lost the last round he would still be the U. S. Blind Champ.  Luckily
the Round Robin table gave him the bye that round and the rest of the field
got to battle it out for the remaining glory and prize money. 

Dennis Cummings took the first place trophy and the $400 in cash with a score
of 4-0.  The second place trophy went to Patrick Walsh while Henry Olynik took
the third place trophy and $250 each with scores of 2-2.  Henry donated $125
toward the kids that acted as seconds and donated their time.  Joe Wasserman
and Virginia Alverson tied for the U1400 and U1200 prize and each picked up
$125.  Virginia also won the Clayton Walker trophy and an extra $50 for her
upset victory over Joe Wasserman.

Cummings vs. Walsh, round 3
 1 e4    Nf6
 2 e5    Nd5
 3 Nc3   Nb6
   The safer reply to White's offbeat 3rd move is 3 ... Nxc3.
 4 Nf3   d6
 5 d4    Nc6
 6 e6!
   This is the usual method of handling Black's last move, but still, White could
   not calculate it to the end, and had to have confidence that his compensation
   for the pawn would be sufficient.
 6 ...   fxe6
   If 6 ... Bxe6? 7 d5.
 7 Ng5
   It is tempting to try to refute Black's play this way, and that's all we looked
   at in the post-mortem, but on sober reflection, I wonder if the preparatory
   7 Be3 would be better.  Black could try 7 ... e5; then after 8 d5 Nd4 9 Nxd4 exd4
   10 Bxd4 e5 11 dxe6 Bxe6 12 Qf3, I think that White still has a nagging edge.
   On the other hand 7 ... g6 would be challenged by 8 h4.
 7 ...   g6
 8 Bb5
   8 Bd3 threatens 9 Nxh7 Rxh7 10 Bxh6+ Rf7 11 Qh5.  But perhaps after 8 ... Nxd4
   9 Nxh7 Nf5 Black would escape with a whole skin.  8 Qf3 is tempting, but after
   8 ... Nxd4 9 Qf7+ Kd7 how does White follow up?
 8 ...   Bg7
 9 Qf3   Bf6
10 Bxc6+ bxc6
11 Qxc6+ Qd7
12 Qf3   Ba6
13 Be3   Rb8?
   If Black could somehow consolidate, he would be at least OK.  13 ... O-O-O
   loses to 14 Nf7, but 13 ... O-O looks OK; for example after 14 Qh3?! Bxg5
   15 Bxg5 e5! the complications look favorable for Black.  Instead Black starts
   an overoptimistic plan of counterattack.
14 h4    Nc4
15 b3    Nxe3
16 fxe3
   16 Qxe3 also looks logical.
16 ...   Bb7
17 e4    Qc6
18 O-O-O a5
   It's suicidal to let the knight in at e6, but even after 18 ... Qd7 19 d5 it's
   clear that Black will never get to consolidate.
19 Nxe6  a4
20 Nd5!  axb3
21 axb3  Kf7
   This leads to immediate loss, but Black no longer had anything constructive
   to do.
22 Nxf6  exf6
   Not 22 ... Kxe6 23 d5+.
23 Rhf1  f5
24 d5    Qb5
25 exf5  Bxd5
26 fxg6+ Kxe6
27 Qf7+  Ke5
28 Qf5 mate

This USCF National Event is open to all legally blind players (proof may be required).
All participants must also be current members of the USCF. 

Chess players who are blind frequently use Braille chess boards/pieces. The black
squares on the board are slightly raised so one can feel which square is which. In
order to make the pieces recognizable, at the top of each black piece there is
usually a small pin post. Players are allowed to have a scorekeeper, many use tape
recorders. Unlike chess between two sighted players, blind players must announce
their move which must be repeated by the opponent. Time limits are required for
all national events; players can use a chess clock made especially for the
visually-impaired or disabled player.

Thank you to Tournament Organizer Rick Varchetto at (304) 614-4034 and
Chief Tournament Director Tim Just.

USCF crosstable with new ratings.

Games from the 2009 U. S. Blind created by Brennan Price
in PGN format that can be viewed in a word processor or
with specialty chess software (you will need to unzip the file first).

Excel X-Table of the tournament (ignore any user name or password
messages when downloading)

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: