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Day Two of the USATE: Names, Gimmicks, and Games Print E-mail
By Al Lawrence   
February 21, 2011
KISS500.jpgIt’s an annual ritual in which the applause of the players reigns supreme. The sought-after honor (not to mention the complimentary dinners for four) of “best chess related team name” and of “best chess related gimmick” are selected by measuring the response from the gathered teams.

This year nearly a dozen team names made the candidates’ list, but in the end, a chessic turn on those irrepressible South American coal miners took the prize: “Chilean Defense: No Miner Pieces Trapped,” a team led by GM Robert Hess. (My personal favorite, “Vishy Leaks” brought only a smattering of applause from the otherwise enthusiastic crowd.) The gimmick competition was elaborate and hard-fought. What used to be team tee shirts and a few funny hats has blossomed over the years into intricate costumes, makeup and performances. In the end “Khesh” was the clear crowd favorite, with their Kiss-like rock-ballad to bughouse chess. (See photo.)

A return to the chessboards saw, at the end of the day, six teams with perfect scores. (“Dean of Chess Academy,” who had been living on board one, was nicked for a draw by “You Played Me False” in round three.) “Watson Fell Off the Deep Blue,” supercharged by Marc Arnold, and “West Orange Krush,” juiced up by Mikhail Slotnikov, are the top-rated undefeated teams through round four, both with an average team rating of 2184. Also claiming perfect scores are “Board? Lonely Knights? Well JS,” led by Raven Stuart; “Virginian Assassins,” spearheaded by Daniel Miller; “Taking Our Talent to Parsippany,” led by Dmitry Schneider; and team-name-winning “Chilean Defense: No Miner Pieces Trapped,” with GM Hess on its first board. Of course, many of the the 279 teams remain in the running for category awards.

See Al's first report from Parsippany here and the preview on all four events. Be sure to see our wrap-up of the action and photos of the winners here on CLO. Also look for dispatches from the North, West and South events by Andrea Rosen, Kostya Kavutskiy and Melinda J. Matthews and keep your eye out for US Chess Scoop coverage of Parsippany next week.