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Fun & Names at the US Amateur Team East Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
February 19, 2010
271 teams and 1154 players came to the 40th Ruby Anniversary of the US Amateur Team East.
 Edging out two youthful teams on tiebreak was a team of veterans. The Cambridge Springers, won first place and will compete on March 27 in the Amateur Team Playoffs. The Springers lineup was: Bill Kelleher, Joe Fang, Len Morrissey, Anatoly Levin and Vesna Dimitrijevic."Except for Morrissey, our team has played together for ten years," Kelleher told CLO. Matching the Cambridge Springers 5.5/6 score but falling short on tiebreakers were Hunter High School  (2nd on tiebreak, Michael Thaler, Alec Getz, Aaron Landesman and Jonathan Williams) and Our Weiner is Looking For Mate (GM Robert Hess, Andrew Ryba, Zachary Weiner, Richard Rivera) Download a pdf (102 pages) with the full crosstables and board lineups at njscf.org/full-rating-wall-chart.pdf.

Check out a US Chess Scoop video recap of the event:

In the final game, the Springers played the only 5-0 team, Kenilworth A.  Springers' third board, Leonard Morrissey told CLO, "Our team played like it was any other round.  We thought we had a good chance to win the round, but with only 5.5 points, we really didn’t consider the tie-break possibilities and assumed it was probably at best a 'coin-flip' for first."

It didn't look bright when board three was a draw and board four turned into a win for the balanced Kenilworth A squad. However, Fang and Kelleher both pulled out wins, leading them to a narrow 2.5/1.5 match victory, which went down to the final hour. The star of the Cambridge Springers was Joseph Fang, who scored 5.5/6 (an earlier version of this article incorrectly had Fang's score at 6/6) , including a crucial last round clutch victory over Scott Massey.  



Morrissey scored 5/6 on board three.


Top Team Names and Best Gimmick

But the US Amateur Teams, known as one of the most fun events on the US calender, is never about just the winners. One of the fiercest competitions at the US Amateurs is the team name contest. This year, the winner, judged by applause on Sunday night, was Pawnstars Never Decline Tiger's Sac. Runners-up included:

The White House Didn't Check
Tiger's Discovered Mate
The Hort Locker
Inglorious Patzers
How to Lose a Girl in Three Days
(this team will be the subject of a future CLO article)

This year's winning gimmick was the "Village Pieces", who sang USATE to the theme of YMCA. 

The winning gimmick, Photo Polly Wright

Grandmaster Amateurs

GM-elect Aleksandr Lenderman
Participating GMs included Robert Hess, Leonid Yudasin, Sam Palatnik, Arthur Bisguier and Gennady Sagalchik. Also playing was GM-elect Aleksandr Lenderman. Lenderman explained to his many fans that he is not worried about the delay in ratification of his GM title, and expects to get it in May. Right now, Lenderman's goal is to raise his USCF rating in the hopes of qualifying for the 2010 Olympiad team.

GM Leonid Yudasin played on the "Chess Mates NJ 2010 " team in honor of a store that will open in New Jersey in March 2010. Yudasin will be the head trainer and Arthur Macaspac, who was board two on the USATE team, owns the store. Find out more about the club and its upcoming events.  

GM Hess played on a team with his high school buddies (and one college freshman) that ended up in a tie for first place.  
His toughest game was against Shinsaku Uesegi of Japan and the USA.


Y'all Going to think we Invented Chess


The Y'all Going to Think we Invented Chess team was comprised of FM Shinsaku Uesugi and Alex Barnett both of Maryland and Brooklynites Shawn Martinez, Oscar Santana and Angel Lopez.  

Barnett, wearing an "I'm Good" T-shirt, told CLO that he plays with his friends from Brooklyn every year, but that this year they wanted to form a highly competitive team, so he asked Shinsaku to join. 

Lopez, who attended IS 318, told CLO that he wanted start his chess comeback with the USATE. Although the team lost the final round to "Our Weiner is Looking for Mate", Lopez scored a perfect 6-0 on board four:


Cadet Champion Andrew Ng
Khodarkovsky Macadamia

FIDE Senior Trainer and Kasparov Chess Foundation vice president Michael Khodarkovsky always puts together a few teams for the USATE. This year, Mackenzie Molner and Cadet Champion Andrew Ng led his star squad. The Macadamias won the top team from New Jersey.
Hunter Talent
In addition to tying for first in the competition and earning top NY team honors, Hunter High School formed a second team, Hunter High Hawks, led by Alex Ostrovskiy.The team won Under 2000 and Ostrovskiy scored 5.5/6 and posted a 2600+ USCF performance, defeating FM Rubenchik and drawing GM Palatnik. Hunter 6th graders also formed a team called the Reoccurring Knightmares, which won the Top Elementary category (Last year, the same team was called the Knightmares).  The team members were Christopher Lee, Sophia Flanagan, Benjamin Katz and Robert Berk.
Finding a team at the last minute

Teams are sometimes formed months in advance for the US Amateur Teams, while others just show up to find their partners in crime. Chris Williams of MA, who was originally slated to play with a roster of talented juniors (including Denker Champion Abby Marshall) arrived to Parsippany sans teammates, but managed to form a squad by start time. In keeping with the fun-loving spirit of the Amateur Teams, in one game, Chris challenged himself to play the moves 1...c5 and 2...h5, regardless of his opponent's replies. The following position arose:


Chris argued that this is winning for White.  I think that's an overstatement, but in any case White's best moves were probably 1.e4 and 2.Be2 (or is that too greedy?). Williams, who outrated his opponent by 400 points, won the game anyway. "I'd do it again," Chris said, "if I was in the same mind state."
30 Years Running

The US Amateur Teams are marked by a long and illustrious history, which has a personal connection for your author since my father (FM Mike Shahade) was on the first winning team in 1971.

Another critical part of US Amateur Team East history is IM Jay Bonin who has played in 30 US Amateur Team events in a row! This year, Jay shared a story with about CLO his first over the board battle against Denys Shmelov, who he had already faced many times in the US Chess League.


Jay told CLO, "After Bg2 Qh5, I simply overlooked g6, but Qh7+ might have given me chances. Recapturing on g2 immediately, gives Black a good game after e5."

Upsets and Multi-tasking

There were daily upset prizes at the USATE, including a round one win by Aman Karunakaran, which featured with an 1148 point difference.



The second game is from another upset prize winner, Robert Forney. He went 6-0 playing on one team and 3-3 playing on another at the same time! Apparently this is legal. But someone would only think to try it at the USATE!

Look for the full story in the May issue of Chess Life Magazine, which will feature an article by Pete Tamburro.Also download a pdf (102 pages!) of full team line-ups and results at this link: http://www.njscf.org/full-rating-wall-chart.pdf.
The MSA is scheduled to appear this weekend. Also see blog updates at http://castlingqueenside.blogspot.com/, http://adventuresofrabin.blogspot.com/ and http://lizzyknowsall.blogspot.com/

February - Chess Life Online 2010

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