Tuesday, September 06, 2005

United States Chess League

White to play and win after 19...Bxd4?

The United States Chess League could easily become one of the most valuable institutions in U.S. chess, especially thanks to their robust and interesting website which tries to position chess as a sport. And why not? Chess does appear on ESPN from time to time. The USCL's logo, which recalls that of Major League Baseball, suggests the model they have in mind for building involvement and a fan base. There are teams with logos, cool names, and regional city associations (likely to promote some partisan rooting and involvement). There are player profiles with pictures, bios, and "stats." There are weekly standings and feature stories covering the games. And most importantly there are games that you can follow live on ICC and play over later online at the USCL site. I'd say it beats watching the playoffs on Tivo.

Accompanying the bios of several players are well annotated games to play over online. As most of these games were played in non-international events, they are not likely to be familiar to most readers. Especially nice was Irena Krush's victory over J. Estrada Nieto from a 2001 tournament, from which the puzzle above is drawn. Below are some others:

Perelshteyn - Stripunsky, USCL 2005

Shahade - Ehlvest, New York Masters 2003

Yudasin - Bonin, NY Masters 2005

Donaldson - Kudrin, Sattle 2003

Ehlvest - Bhat, San Francisco 2000

Ivanov - Zilberstein, San Diego 2004

McCambridge - Hjartarson, Grindavik 1984

Hat tip to DG for mentioning this excellent website.


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