• Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018 Free Day Press Report

    From samsloan@21:1/5 to All on Sat Sep 29 13:32:24 2018
    Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018 Free Day Press Report
    Today September 29, 2018 was a free day at the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.
    Back in the Good Old Days on the Free Day a giant blitz tournament was held in the playing hall. I wonder why that tradition has not been continued.
    One of my most memorable events was the blitz tournament at the 1988 World Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki Greece. I played three International Masters at that event, two games each. I remember winning one of the games from International Master Danner.
    I got an even score in the tournament, splitting the last match with fellow American Walter Dorne.
    More important to me, my daughter Shamema aged 7 played. The tournament did not have a computer. Pairings were made informally with cards. If two players had the same score they were paired together by hand. The tournament director just called out the
    names of the players and held out the pairing cards and the players came and got them.
    After one of the rounds, the director called out my daughters name as she had been paired. By daughter ran up to the platform where the director stood. Not realizing that my daughter was the player, the director held the pairing cards up over his head
    while my daughter kept jumping up again and again trying to catch her pairing card out of his hands.
    Seeing this, with permission of my opponent, I took leave of my game, ran over to the director, and explained that my daughter was the player.
    So he gave the pairing cards to my daughter and her opponent and I went back to my game.
    They gave my daughter the “youth prize” for this event, but I think that was just because she was the youngest player.
    The game Mamedyarov beating Aronian on top board of round Five had many amazing and shocking moves never seen before. Be sure to play it over.
    The Bermuda Party last night was a great success. There were at least five hundred or a thousand chess players there. It started slowly. I almost went home early. I thought I had come late. Turned out I was one of the first.
    I was concerned that Nigel Freeman of Bermuda who originated these Bermuda Parties and organizes them was sick and could not come from Bermuda. I thought without Nigel the party could not be successful.
    But then the big tour buses started bringing the players. These are the busses that take the players to their games. They started bringing bus loads of players so the Dante Party Hall started filling up.
    I am not much of a dancer and I prefer a different kind of party (if you know what I mean) so I mostly watched. I consider it a good party if everybody is dancing with somebody different from the person they came with. By that criteria, the party was a
    I would see this female chess grandmaster dancing with that male chess grandmaster from a different team and try to make a note of it, but I could not remember them all and most of the female chess players are new I cannot recognize them yet.
    The party seemed to be starting to break up at 2:00 AM but then some new players came including more girls.
    One American member of the team seemed to be a bit drunk. I was worried about the game tomorrow. I did not yet realize that there were no games tomorrow, so there was little to worry about.
    I wanted to stay at the party to the end, especially since in my experience with parties the real action starts near the end.
    But by 4:15 AM it seemed the party was going to go all night long and never going stop, so I decided to go home.
    When I left at 4:15 AM there was still a half-dozen girls dancing plus one female grandmaster and one big chess organizer (no I will not give you the names) and then when I went out there was a line of taxis waiting for us. I think there were more taxis
    waiting outside then there were party-goers left inside.
    I later realized that the place where the party had been held was in the shore of the Black Sea which I am sure is a beautiful spot if we could have seen it in the daytime.
    Although there were no chess games today, there were committee meetings. I attended the Rules Committee meeting and even spoke when an issue came up that was important to me.
    Geurt Gijssen who has been Chairman of the Rules Commission for more than twenty years, could not attend this year because of illness.
    There is an old joke that the Rules Commission has changed the move of the knight because the current knight move is too difficult for players to understand and the move should be made easier to encourage more players to play.
    What is not a joke is a proposed rule change was submitted to change the color of the pieces from black and white to blue and green. The person submitting the proposed rule change said that calling the pieces black and white had racist overtones.
    Steve Immitt, organizer and director of the World Open, which has 1200 to 1500 players usually held in Philadelphia with $250,000 in prizes, said a rule should be changed that a half-point bye should not be given for the last round of a tournament.
    This is rule 8.3(4). It had been put in by the British because they want the players to be present at the prize giving ceremony.
    However, in America there usually is no prize giving ceremony. The prizes are cash money and the directors just make out a check for the prize and the player leaves quickly as soon as he gets his prize.
    Steve Immitt tried to explain to the Rules Committee that many players have work commitments or other commitments and simply cannot be present for the last round. The rule in America is if a player wants to take a half point bye, he must declare it
    before round three and once taken it cannot be changed, so a player cannot game the system by deciding to play in the last round if it gives him a chance for a cash prize.
    A straw poll was taken and this proposed rule change by Immitt passed by 12 to 10, but then the Committee said that an even more onerous rule change had been made.
    This rule change will come up again for the General Assembly and you can expect a big floor fight then, because this is a life-or-death issue for USCF Tournament Organizers. If this change, which passed in Norway when few people could attend because of
    shortage of hotel rooms, many US tournament organizers will lose a substantial part of their income.
    While typing this, I attended a birthday party for Georgios Makropoulos quite by happenstance. The party formed right around the chair where I am sitting in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in Batumi. All kinds of chess dignatries were looking over my
    soldier while I was typing this. Georgios Makropoulos is running for FIDE President and the election will be held here in three days.
    Sam Sloan

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