Future Events

Chris Bird Awarded FIDE Arbiter Title

After waiting for what seemed like months, I have eventually been awarded the title of FIDE Arbiter.  The title was awarded at the Dresden FIDE Congress, which took place during the Olympiad in November, 2008.

This title will allow me to direct FIDE rated tournaments and allow me to award norm certificates to players meeting the performance requirements in FIDE events.  It will also allow me to train future FIDE Arbiters.

The full press release made by the United States Chess Federation can be viewed at http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8942/319/.

Stripunsky Wins Continental Open

I authored the following tournament report from the Continental Open in Sturbridge, which was published at Chess Life Online.

The 38th Continental Open run by Bill Goichberg’s Continental Chess Association (CCA) is a much travelled event although it seems to have found itself a permanent home in the quaint rural town of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, where it has been for the past 5 years.

Sturbridge is firmly on the CCA chess tournament map as it is also the permanent home of the Eastern Class Championships run by them every March. A popular summer vacation spot, it is home to the Old Sturbridge Village, a living museum that recreates life in rural New England from the early 19th century.

The Sturbridge Host Hotel is a comfortable setting, which not only has the usual hotel amenities such as a heated pool and gym but also offers a private beach on the lake front and a mini golf course on the premises. It is also very popular with groups and functions, as all the players found out on Saturday evening when they hosted a wedding, complete with extremely loud music, in a nearby function room. Thankfully the distance to the playing hall was far enough away that it didn’t interfere with the chess but ear plugs were necessary to go and check out the equipment and book store provided by Rochester Chess. It also led to various inquisitive visitors taking time out of their respective parties to come and see whether their stereotypical vision of a roomful of chessplayers was accurate.

Read the complete article at Chess Life Online…

Nominated for Best Tournament Report, CJA Awards 2008

The article I wrote on the 2007 US Women’s Championship, Krush Wins Her Second Championship, received a nomination in the category of Best Tournament Report in the 2008 Chess Journalists of America Awards.

“Putting on the Kritz” in New England

I authored the following tournament report from the 2007 New England Masters held in Peabody, MA, which was published in the November 2007 edition of Chess Life Magazine.

The main idea behind the New England Masters was to have a nine-round event in the USA in which title norms could be achieved, particularly by American participants—and giving up-and-coming players the experience of playing tough opponents in every round.

Unfortunately, there were no norms achieved, although IM Dean Ippolito’s result would have been good enough for a GM norm and FM James Critelli’s result would have been good enough for an IM norm had they been able to play just one more foreign opponent to meet the necessary requirements.

23-year-old German GM Leonid Kritz was the winner of the New England Masters, held in Peabody (near Boston) from August 13-17, 2007. Kritz went through the whole tournament undefeated on his way to finishing with 7/9, a half-point ahead of GM Alex Shabalov, U.S. Champion and Ippolito.

Read the complete article at Chess Life Magazine Online…

Krush Wins Her Second Championship

I authored the following tournament report from the 2007 US Women’s Chess Championship held in Stillwater, OK, which was published as the cover story of the October 2007 edition of Chess Life Magazine.

Standing in the playing room was a young lady with rosy, shining cheeks, a glowing smile and a joyful look on her face. It was a refreshing sight given that over the previous five days, her look had been more determined: very serious with the fate of the world seemingly resting on her shoulders. Her head was usually buried in a book when she wasn’t playing chess, staying out of the limelight and just generally minding her own business.

The jubilant lady was IM Irina Krush, winner of the Frank K. Berry 2007 U.S. Women’s Championship held in Stillwater, Oklahoma, from July 16-20, 2007. Going into the tournament as the slight favorite had caused Irina to take the tournament even more seriously than usual, preparing for the event with a determination to succeed and live up to the chess nation’s high expectations.

Irina’s performance was very businesslike. She came to the tournament with a job to do and she did it. There was nothing spectacular about her games, no brilliant sacrificial slaughters and nothing to make use of the regular “Krushing” puns that typically accompany her name in chess articles. After five grueling days over the chessboard, her second U.S. Women’s Championship title was secured thanks to an overnight change in her opening repertoire, and also thanks to a young 16-year-old playing in her first tournament! More on that later.

The championship was a 10-player round-robin event with the top-rated female players in the country invited to participate. Despite a few players declining invitations that I’m sure we would all like to see participate (Polgar, Goletiani, Shahade), when the final list was compiled we had two IMs, Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih; two WGMs, Camilla Baginskaite and Katerina Rohonyan; two WIMs, Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Tsagaan Battsetseg; and four WFMs, Tatev Abrahamyan, Chouchanik Airapetian, Elizabeth Vicary and Alisa Melekhina. The average USCF rating was 2290. Of the players, three of them had previously won the title: Anna Zatonskih in 2006, Camilla Baginskaite in 2000 and Irina Krush in 1998 when she was just 14.

Read the complete article at Chess Life Magazine Online…