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Fantasy Chess 2009 Print E-mail
By Arun Sharma   
April 24, 2009
fantastlonger.jpgGreetings CLO readers!  The 2009 US Championship is fast approaching, and in two days, it will also be time to enter the third annual Fantasy Chess competition! After reading the rules below, login and go to this url to enter: http://uschess.org/fc_2009/ . I hope some of you have been waiting for this contest, just like we've all been anticipating the first Championship since 2006 in which Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura will both participate. As in previous years, there will be fabulous prizes for USCF Members such as a Monroi Personal Chess Manager, Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess: Kasparov vs. Karpov signed by Garry to a "A Good Guesser", Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis cuff links (class all the way!) and Premium USCF membership renewals. See full prize details below.

I’m pleased to tell you that for the first year, the contest is hosted on CLO.   A special thanks to Marty Hirsch of Chess Magnet School for making it happen on very short notice. To enter, for those of you who have already registered accounts on uschess.org no further registration is required – you will simply need to login and make your picks.  For those who are not registered, register using your USCF ID and Pin Numbers (the latter can be found on your Chess Life Magazine).  If you do not happen to have your Pin Number available, do not worry, you can still register without it – we will simply have to verify that you are a USCF member in good standing should you happen to win a prize.  

The twenty four players are divided into twelve head to head matchups. Your job will be to predict in each matchup which of the two players will finish with more points, or if they will finish with the same number of points.  In parentheses are the players' May 2009 USCF ratings and current FIDE Ratings (USCF listed first).

1. GM Gata Kamsky (2798, 2720) vs GM Hikaru Nakamura (2757, 2701)

2. GM Alex Onischuk (2736, 2684) vs GM Yury Shulman (2697, 2632)

3. GM Varuzhan Akobian (2664, 2612) vs GM Julio Becerra (2672, 2609)

4. GM Larry Christiansen (2681, 2588) vs GM Alex Shabalov (2620, 2569)

5. GM Joel Benjamin (2650, 2583) vs GM Gregory Kaidanov (2662, 2595)

6. GM Jaan Ehlvest (2649, 2606) vs GM Ildar Ibragimov (2628, 2586)

7. GM Boris Gulko (2631, 2561) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (2632, 2546)

8. GM Josh Friedel (2568, 2516) vs GM-elect Robert Hess (2545, 2485)

9. IM Irina Krush (2496, 2452) vs IM Anna Zatonskih (2503, 2461)

10. IM Ray Robson (2542, 2465) vs IM Sam Shankland (2464, 2446)

*11. IM Michael Brooks (2419, 2463) vs IM Enrico Sevillano (2549, 2520)

12. NM Tyler Hughes (2293, 2230) vs NM Charles Lawton (2350, none)

*We made an alteration in matchup eleven, Brooks vs Sevillano due to the large rating gap. To appropriately compensate for that, Brooks will be given a half point bonus to his score when comparing it to Sevillano’s.

Confidence Points

You will also have each head to head match in the order of your confidence of each pick.  For each of the twelve matchups, you will assign to that matchup a number from one to twelve.  Then, for any given matchup, if the player you predicted to score better does wind up doing so, you get points equal to the number of confidence points you assigned to that matchup while if the two players tie or the other player scores better, you get no points. Since a tie between any two players is less likely than either of the two players scoring better than the other, if you predict a tie correctly, you will get 1.5 times the number of confidence points for that matchup (while if they do not tie, you naturally get no points).  There will also be a seven point question: Who Will Win the US Championship?

You will want to give whichever pick you feel most confident in your twelve confidence points, your next best pick eleven points, and so on.  Obviously correctly predicting ties can produce big dividends if done correctly.  But is it really worth it to pick them?  Some will likely say no, that 1.5 times the number of points is not enough to balance the lesser probability of a tie occurring while others will claim that those who take the big risks (e.g. predicting your twelve point confidence matchup to be a tie to shoot for a whopping eighteen points) are the ones who are likely to emerge at the very top in the end.  Who’s correct?  Well that’s something entrants will have to decide for yourself…

As always this contest is absolutely FREE to enter, but you should definitely make sure your membership is renewed and in good standing or you won't be eligible for the following prizes*:

(a) Monroi Personal Chess Manager + Board Signed by US Championship Participants
(b) Kasparov vs. Karpov signed by Gary Kasparov to "A Good Guesser" + one year USCF membership or extension
(c) Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis cuff links + one year USCF membership or extension
(d) Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess signed by authors, Francis M.Naumann, Bradley Bailey and Jennifer Shahade + one year USCF membership or extension
(e) Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis mousepad + one year USCF membership or extension y

Since winners might have different top choices, whoever finishes in first place will get the first choice amongst these five prizes, second place will get the second choice, etc. *USCF employees can enter for bragging rights, but won't be eligible for prizes.

There will also be “Daily Prizes” of book choices, beginning after Round Three, which will be given out to whoever is leading the contest at that particular stage (using the same tiebreaks as the overall contest). Look for the full list of daily prizes next week.

Should there be a tie between two entrants in their total number of points, the following tiebreaks will be used (in order) to determine who between them finishes higher.

1. Whoever makes the most correct picks in head to head match-ups (regardless of confidence points) will finish higher. 
2. If only one of them gets the “Who will win the US Championship” question correct, the one who got it correct finishes higher.
3.  If (1) does not decide it then if only one picked the Kamsky vs Nakamura matchup correctly, that person finishes higher.
4.  Continuing as in (2), we will go through each matchup from top to bottom (as they are displayed above), and the first spot where one person is correct and the other is not, that person finishes higher.
5.  Should two players be tied everywhere still (i.e. they have the exact same matchup picks) then arrangements will be made to give them both the appropriate prize.

Now that the rules for how this will work are in your lap, you can start planning out your picks and the points you plan to assign to them right away (and of course registering on this site if you have not done so).  Be sure to do so and to keep checking back at CLO in the next few days for the link to the entry page.

Good luck to all who enter and I hope everyone enjoys both the contest and the tournament! Don't forget to register on uschess.org and make sure your membership is renewed in time to enter the contest on Monday!

April - Chess Life Online 2009

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