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A West Orange Krush at the US Amateur Team East Print E-mail
By Al Lawrence   
February 22, 2011
Day three of the World Amateur Team Championship in Parsippany, New Jersey, focuses on the on-board fight. Gone are the elaborate costumes and other performance gear. The dozen or so teams in contention for the top prize stay deep in their chess zones, some plugged into MP3 earphones, some with thumbs over their ears, but all with a steely resolve. The hundred or so teams in the hunt for a category prize are likewise determined to show their chess true-grit. And the many players trying to secure that badge of special team-merit, the best board plaque—as well as every player who simple wants to improve his or her 2011 record—all settle in for the final tense two rounds.

Zlot.jpgIn the end, it was “West Orange Krush,” with IM Mikhail Zlotnikov (see left) on board one, securing the high honor of first place. “Board? Lonely Knight?” (led by Raven Stuart) was second, and “Virginia Assassins (led by Daniel Miller)” finished third.  

Best-board scores are one of the most respected honors at the World Amateur Team. This year four scored a super-heroic 6-0 on board one: GM Robert Hess, Steadroy Lloyd, Mackenzie Molner, and David Vigorito. A trio was perfect on board two: Derrick Higgins, GM Magesh Panchanathan, and New York Times columnist FM Dylan McClain. (Yes, he can indeed play!)

Four blanked their opponents from the board-three spot: Jeff Kelleher, Eric Most, Andrew Ng, and David Shekhtman. And one player on board four, Anatoly Levin, managed a sweep. Executive board member Ruth Haring, who came from California to serve on USCF’s team, achieved the best score as an alternate. (A complete list of all the many prize winners, supplied by the organizing team, follows at the end of this article.)

FrankMaxineBrady.jpgWe must reset the pieces to day two to make sure to mention a special opportunity enjoyed at this year’s WATC. Frank Brady visited the tournament to give a well-attended talk on Robert Fischer, revealing a number of insider secrets about Bobby from his new page-turning masterpiece-bio of the former world champion (Endgame). The book has elicited kudos from all circles and this week stands as 28th on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover nonfiction, perhaps a first for a chess book!  (Editor's Note: Also see Al's February Chess Life Magazine piece on Endgame.) Frank’s wife Maxine Brady (see photo), also a successful writer, has a new book out as well—Chess Masterpieces. Both Brady books are available from USCF Sales. 
It’s worth repeating that the nearly 1,200 players who attended this year’s World Amateur Team Championship weren’t in it for the money. There is never a cash prize fund at this event. It’s chess for honor and chess for fun. And there are plenty of both.

The honors are remarkably hard-earned, but it’s easy to have fun. Chief Organizer Steve Doyle is always two parts deft administrator, two parts impresario and one part game show host as he emcees the selection of special prizes and gives away special “door prizes.” In fact, this year he gave away $10,000 worth of prizes, donated by chess-book-publisher Russell Enterprises, the Rochester Chess Center, and Chess for Less. “Here’s a great book for the first who comes to the podium with a gold USCF membership card!” Steve booms. “Who’s wearing red sox?—here’s a great chess bag for you!” (This last challenge was won on the basis of creativity by a player wearing a Red Sox jacket. Chess players must be resourceful.)

The organizing and directing staff (see photo below) of the World Amateur Team Championship create an annual event that makes players want to come back year after year. So if you haven’t tried “The Team,” put it on your chess bucket list. Odds are, you’ll become a regular too.


US Amateur Team East Results Summary

Best Overall Teams

1: West Orange Krush
2: Board? Lonely Knight?
3: Virginia Assassins
4: You Played Me False
5: Fork Lifters

Rating Prizes:

U2100: Kings of Queens
U2000: Consuela and Her Epic Lemon
U1900: Chess Cheaters Anonymous
U1800: ICA 3
U1700: Rhymes with West Orange
U1600: M*YACO
U1500: Get Pawned
U1400: Rake Cake
U1300: Royal Spork
U1200: Golden Checkmate Dragons
U1000: Chessaholics 3

Top College Team: UNCONN Beat Us
Top HS Team: Hunter HS
Top 2 Scholastic Teams:
       1. Four Mates for Mates
       2. Team Gershov
Mixed Doubles: Looking Fly on G6
Seniors: Lady Gaga Googles Openings
Military: Maritime Strategy
Family: Kapengut Family

Special Plaque to Top College From Following States:

NY: West Point

State Prizes:

CT: New Brittain Prodigies
DE: Enhanced Pat Down
MA: Team Firejel
NC: Speaking Pieces
NJ: West Orange Krush
NY: Kings of Queens
PA: A Bird in the Hand
VA: Virginia Assassins

Plaques to Top Boards:

Board 1: Hess, Robert
Board 2: Mc Clain, Dylan
Board 3: Kelleher, Jeff
Board 4: Felber, Joseph
Alternate: Haring, Ruth

All 6-0 scores each Digital clock:

Board 1:
1. Hess, Robert L            12749774 0311  6.0
2. Lloyd, Steadroy A         12655385 0213  6.0
3. Molner, Mackenize         12662506 0111  6.0
4. Vigorito, David           12426279 0213  6.0

Board 2:

1. Higgins, Derrick          12809285 1113 PA     2048  6.0
2. Mc Clain, Dylan           12013830 9999 NY     2323  6.0
3. Panchanathan, Magesh        12900032 1210 TX     2545  6.0

Board 3:

1. Kelleher, Jeff            12567847 0412 NY     2160  6.0
2. Most, Eric M              12912687 1011 VA     2157  6.0
3. Ng, Andrew                12870005 0412 NJ     2212  6.0
4. Shekhtman, David          12998956 1111 NJ     1726  6.0

Board 4:

1. Levin, Anatoly            12602344 0411 MA     1966  6.0


1. Haring, Ruth  CA

Biggest Individual Upset:

Round 1: Jonathan  Owens 1199 - 362 = 837
Round 2: Daniel Zack 1596 - 807 = 789
Round 3: Daniel Zack 1974 - 807 = 1167
Round 4: Andre Pohorelsky 1424 - 481 = 943
Round 5: Kunal Suri 1293 - 409 = 709
Round 6: Daniel Zack  1739 - 807 = 932
Best Chess Related  Costumes or Gimmick: KHESS (BLUNDER LIKE BAMA)
Best Team Name: Chilean Defense: No Miner Pieces Trapped

For more on the US Amateur Team East, keep your eye out for US Chess Scoop videos and an upcoming piece by Al Lawrence for Chess Life Magazine.