The Scoop on the US Blind Championships Print E-mail
August 12, 2013
William "Pete" Gibson vs. Dan Steininger

The US Blind Championship took place from August 9-11 in Pittsburgh, PA. Joan DuBois, director of affiliate relations for USCF talked to the US Chess Scoop about blind chess, and why promoting it is so important to her. 


In this year's edition, the highest-rated players were Dan Steininger, of Terre Haute, defending his title from last year, and Pete Gibson, of Houston, who had won the tournament in 1993.  When they faced each other in round three, there was no doubt that it would be for the title.  Gibson won; in the fourth round, Steininger could only achieve a draw, and so his opponent, Al Pietrolungo, tied with him for second place.
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Qe7 5 d3 d6 6 Nbd2 Nf6 7 Nf1 h6 8 Ng3 Be6 9 Bb3 O-O 10 O-O Bb6 11 Bc2 Bg4 12 h3 Be6
This retreat admits that Black's last move was a waste of time.  But retreating to e6 loses even more time.
13 d4 Bd7 14 Be3 Re8 15 a4 a6 16 d5 !??
White might consider 16 Nh4, with the idea of settling in on f5.  Black can't then win a pawn with 16 ... Nxe4 because of 17 Nh5, etc.
16 ... Bxe3? 
Black didn't like the idea of (for example) 16 ... Na7 (or Nb8 or Nd8) 17 Bxb6 axb6, with an ugly-looking queenside.  But the queenside was still serviceable, while the text move loses a piece.
17. dxc6 Bxf2+ 18 Rxf2 Bxc6 19 Nf5 Qf8 20 Qe2 g6 21 Ng3 Qg7 22 Raf1 d5 23 Nxe5 Rxe5
In the post-mortem, we looked at 23 ... Nxe4.  After 24 Nxe4 Rxe5 (or 24 ... Qe5 25 Nf6+ Qxf6 26 Qxe8+ Rxe8 27 Rxf6) 25 Rxf7 Qxf7 26 Rxf7 Kxf7 27 Qf3+ Rf5 (otherwise White's knight escapes) 28 Nd6+ cxd6 29 Bxf5 gxf5 30 Qxf5+ and White's queen is much stronger than the rook and bishop.
24 Rxf6 dxe4 25 Rxf7 Qxf7 26 Rxf7 Kxf7 27 Qc4+ Kg7 28 Bxe4 Rae8 29 Bxc6 bxc6 30 Qxa6 Re3 31 Qxc6 R8e7 32 Kh2 h5 33 Qd5 h4 34 Qd4+ Kf7 35 Qxh4 Rd3 and Black resigned.

Pietrolungo, who is the most recent president of the US Braille Chess Association, personally recruited Gibson to play, and tried to recruit other past participants.  He was not successful in getting the total number of players beyond last year's number, but he hopes to do better next year, and in general, to increase the USBCA's level of co-operation with USCF.
Organizer and fundraiser Rick Varchetto was not able to be present due to poor health.  We are grateful that Joan DuBois was able to fill in for him. 

The material in this report is provided by Bruce Leverett and Joan DuBois. Contact Joan at [email protected] for more information on blind chess and how you can get involved. This video was shot at the US Open in Madison.