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Two In a Row for Princeton At Amateur Team East Print E-mail
By Al Lawrence   
February 19, 2014
Garry Kasparov at the USATE
For the second year in a row, “Princeton A” won the World Amateur Team Chess Championship, also known as the U.S. Amateur Team-East. This year, Princeton’s 5.5 score topped a field of 278 teams, edging out two of them on tiebreaks. Indeed, the tense, last-round match-up of the only two teams with perfect, 5-0 scores--“Princeton A” and “What Does the GM Say?” resulted in a tie.  

“On the Rohde Again,” going into the last round a half-point behind the two leaders, managed to catch the leaders with a pressure win over “Ferrero Forever,” led by Grandmaster and U.S. Women’s Champion Irina Krush, to finish in a three-way tie for first. “On the Rohde Again” finished third on tiebreaks.

The granddaddy of the U.S. Team franchise, “The Team” has a devoted following. Every year, despite the challenges of February travel, the event rivals the turnout of the biennial summer Olympiad, including its teams in both the open and women’s sections.

In board order, the members of the three top teams were:
• “Princeton A”: Michael Lee, Andrew Ng, Jason Altschuler, and Darek Johnson
• “What Does the GM Say?”: IM Akshat Chandra (N.J.), Grant Xu, Siddharth Arun, Jason Tang
• “On the Rohde Again: Jay Bonin, Joshua Rubin, George Berg, Leonard Chipkin.”

The top two teams at the USATE: What Does The GM Say vs. back to back champs Princeton

“Scrubs” and “Cornell University” took fourth and fifth places, besting a pack of 11 teams with 5-1 on tiebreaks.

Best Team and Best Gimmick

The annual list of topical team names bears witness to the previous year’s scandals, always with a chess twist. “Miley’s Sacrifice Isn’t Twerking” was an example. So was “If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep Your Plan.” Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor embroiled in an unfolding scandal surrounding the closing off of entry lanes to the George Washington Bridge, served as fodder for at least 10 team monikers. “Christie’s Decree to Garry—Take the Tappan Zee” was the most topical, suggesting that the former chess World Champion, who now calls Manhattan home and visited the event, take an alternate bridge.

But the winner of the “Best Name” competition—a Team tradition, determined by applause at Sunday’s between-rounds gathering—focused on a different scandal. “NSA Is Perpetually Checking” took top honors. “Snowden Defense, Retreat to Moscow” was another entry to highlight the year of Big Brother.

On the other hand, the annual title of “Best Gimmick” can go to a costume, a song, a poem, or any other chess-related shtick that strikes the crowd’s fancy. This year “The Chess Kings” won with an original gangster rap declaring its readiness to inflict great positional hurt on their opponents. “Kings” finished with 4.5 points. Intimidation will take you only so far at the Team.

Board prizes
Top board prizes are a well-earned honor at every team.
1. GM Alexander Fishbein
2. IM Justin Sarkar, Christopher Gu, and Arthur Ellis
3. Jason Altschuler, and Maraj Daftani
4. Alan Price, Douglas Fiske, Kevin Corrigan, and Vicki Yang
Division Prizes

The Team offers division prizes every 100 points:
U2100: “Princeton B”
U2000: “We Might Flip the Table”
U1900: “Pre-Millenials”
U1800: “Jersey Hustle Christie Strikes Back”
U1700: “Two K’s and an MC”
U1600: “Chessaholics #2
U1500: “The Affordable Caro Act”
U1400: “Gates of Pell”
U1300: 4-Rings opening #SOCHleesy
U1200: “Millburn High School Chess
U1000 “Saint Joe’s High School 2”

The Top Scholastic team was !Horsepower#!. The championship Senior team was “Four Knights in Parsippany.” The Mixed Doubles winner was “Marry Us Magnes, (We Go to Harvard).” Top Military honors went to “If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep Your Plan.”

Find complete results here at the New Jersey Chess Federation website. 

The staff is always a top team
Running the part-carnival, part-chess-championship that is the Team is a consuming job. I’m not sure that there’s another chess staff in the world that accomplishes exactly what E. Steven Doyle’s directing cadre pulls together over the three-day President’s Day weekend, year after year. It’s a demanding, sleep-depriving schedule. But Steve’s Squad ran this year’s mega-team event on time and in good humor, as they’ve done as a group for decades. Our thanks to Noreen Davisson, Mark Doyle, Bob Garrison, Walt and Judy Heerschap,  Steve Immitt,  Joe Ippolito,  Carol Jarecki, Aaron Kiedes, Justin Kohler, Lee Matola,  Jack Ray, Frank Romano and Sophia Rohde. The full-service, remodeled Parsippany Hilton was a key player as well.
Al Lawrence is director of the Texas Tech Chess Program, which you can also find on facebook. Look for two exciting USATE follow ups on CLO: A Us Chess Scoop video and annotated games from GM Onischuk (Texas Tech coach) and young star IM Akshat Chandra. Al will also be writing the USATE article for Chess Life Magazine.