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IM Ippolito Shoots for Simul WR!

  • ChessMarkstheSpot
  • on 4/5/11, 9:55 AM.

   In chess, the history of the Simultaneous Exhibition (“Simul”) is a rich one. As with all World Records, many have sought to break the Simul record, setting a new and higher level with each attempt.

   To mention a few:

·         In 1922, the then new World Champion, Jose Raul Capablanca, played 103 people in Cleveland. It took a little over seven hours to complete the event; he lost only one game and won the other 102, for an amazing win percentage of 99.5%. This was the best result ever in Simul history for an event that took place on over 75 boards.

 

·         Over the years, Paul Morphy and Garry Kasparov have played “Grandmaster Only” Simuls.

 

·         At London’s St. James Chess Club in 1859, way before the term “Grandmaster” was used, Paul Morphy played five Masters considered to be among the Top 10 players of the day, scoring a 3-2 victory.

 

·         Kasparov’s Simul against the 1992 West German team at Baden-Baden, consisting of Vlastimil Hort, Eric Lobron, Matthias Wahls, and Gerald Hertneck, where Kasparov won two and drew two, was one of the best results of “Grandmaster Only” Simuls.

 

   The list of notable names having successfully accomplished amazing Simuls is impressive; now another name is set to be added to that list: IM Dean Ippolito.

   This challenge came into Dean’s life for good reason. Through his company, “Dean of Chess Academy,” he has done some great work with children and adults, but he wanted to bring attention to chess on a grand scale in America. In June 2010, when he began thinking of ways to do that, his thoughts turned to the Guinness World Book of Records.

   Remarkably, Dean has not lost a Simul game (an astounding 15,000+ games since 1991) and has been training for this event, both physically and mentally, since summer 2010. Along with a workout regimen he began with a personal trainer (the event could last up to 20 hours), he conducted two warm-up Simuls as the world-famous Marshall Chess Club in NYC in which he played against over 30 people with ratings over 2100, and many experts.  He drew two games and won the rest in 3 1/2 hours. Not only does Dean have 25 years of tournament experience as a player, but 15 as a coach for National Championships. Adding to that impressive resume, he is also one of 58 Americans to qualify for, and play in, the U.S. Championships.

   Now, concerning recent Simul exhibitions, there has been an interesting (and very costly to Ippolito and his Sponsors) sequence of events:

   GM Morteza Mahjoob, with the full support of the Iranian government, had destroyed a previous 360-player record by playing 500 at once in which he met the required 80% win percentage, but the qualifications of those he played were vague and thought not “to be of suitable standard.” Originally, Dean was scheduled, in November 2010, to attempt breaking that record by playing over 500 players, but four weeks prior, Israeli GM Alik Gershon beat him to it; he broke that record by playing 517 people, winning 86% of the games. The thing is—this wasn’t the real kicker! Both Iran and Israeli governments accused the other of cheating. These last two attempts, steeped in controversy and mired with accusations of cheating, resulted in Guinness officially retiring the event—all this just TWO WEEKS before Dean’s November Simul!

   The good news is that Guinness reinstated the event, setting higher standards for a “professional” World Record in which the challengers are required to have a minimum established rating of 1200 USCF or FIDE. There is also a minimum win percentage of 80 percent. So now, after all the upheaval, the first attempt following the newly-instated rules,  was going to be by Ippolito on April 9, 2011, playing 100 challengers, BUT—only a few weeks ago, the aforementioned GM Mahjoob claimed the first record by playing 135 players. This is the record Dean must now beat.

   In wanting to hear what Dean had to say about all this, I posed a few questions.

Mark :   For an event of this magnitude with over 100 opponents of different ratings, moving from board to board, throughout a very long day of virtually continuous chess, it will obviously be taxing on both mind and body. How do you prepare mentally?

Dean: For this event, I prepare mentally by visualizing the setup and participants.  I will draw from my experience as I have played 500 simultaneous exhibitions since 1991 without a single loss, including many games against masters.  Rest is extremely important and I will be spending a quiet evening at home Friday night in order to be focused on Saturday. The support of my family and friends is undoubtedly crucial also.

Mark:  Physically?

 

Dean:   Back in September I began working with a trainer.  I have been running 3 miles every other day and weight lifting.  I am breaking in new sneakers for that day too.

                                                                 

Mark:   What inspired your desire to break this record?

 

Dean:   I wanted to bring attention to chess in America.  Chess has not been in the limelight as it is in other countries and my mission is to get National attention for such a beneficial game.  In addition, I have always pushed myself to the limit.  This record is the ultimate mind and body challenge for me.

                                             

Mark:   What made you decide to attempt it, originally in November 2010?

 

Dean:   Again, I wanted to bring chess into the limelight and have people who are not familiar with the game see that there is a “uniqueness” to it that no other game possesses.

 

Mark:   Do you feel it is more challenging now that Guinness set more professional standards?

 

Dean:   Definitely.  Each game will require more concentration and there is definitely more room for error.  Some players will be rated over 2100. 

 

Mark:   Does the event have more meaning, to you personally, now that the standards have gone up?

 

Dean:   Absolutely.  I feel that the record has much more validity now that there are actual defined standards.  Before Guinness just required that players be of a "suitable standard".  Iran and Israel's records had pre-school players participating.  Not that some preschoolers are not accomplished, but a professional category is much more challenging and I think will be more respected by the chess community.

 

Mark:   Considering the rich history of chess with the recorded results of Simuls throughout the years, most notably Capablanca in 1922 where he played 103 people in Cleveland and only lost one game, you’re going to be part of that recorded history along with other great chess players. How do you feel about that?

 

Dean:   I am honored to be in such austere company.  I will do my best to live up to those that have preceded me.

 

Mark:   Do you think this event will bring more positive attention to chess with hopefully more people getting into it, and its history, due to the exposure?

 

Dean:   Yes, I do.  The press release that we created was picked up by nationally syndicated television, web and newspaper outlets.  After this is accomplished, it is my hope that people reading the daily newspaper will be intrigued and perhaps pick up a chess set.

 

   On April 9th, 2011 at St. Ann’s Elementary School in Raritan, N.J., starting at 10 AM, Ippolito plans to break Mahjoob’s record by playing over 135 challengers. Originally, a max rating of 1800 was put into place for this Simul, but that has been removed since Dean needed to open the field to recruit the additional players in time for the event. Though the World Record challenge is a major focus, it is not the only one; all the proceeds from the concession stand will benefit the Knights of Columbus (Dean is a Knight and his wife, Dawn, is a Columbiette).

   For event details and FREE sign up for prospective challengers, visit chessworldrecord.com. There will be hourly drawings held with prizes valued as high as $800! The school is also located right next to the train station, making travel arrangements convenient for those without cars or other means of transportation. It promises to be an exciting event not to be missed!

EDIT: The requirements have been updated and the minimum rating to participate has been lowered from 1200 USCF/FIDE to 1000 USCF. Please sign up if you are now about this new minimum rating.

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Comments


  • 3 years ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

      Tony - so THAT's where the flyers came from. I picked up one of them as we left. I was wondering how they got there because I didn't see them at all until we got back. Now I know. I'm glad you were able to make it and I hope everything is ok.  Cool

       -Mark

  • 3 years ago

    RookedOnChess

    lol---you're right! We were just trying to get on the road! Glad you could make it at all though :)

  • 3 years ago

    Narz

    "Tony (Narz), there's no need to apologize!"

    Well, I still felt I should have contacted you, then again I'm not sure you would have checked your chess.com account that morning.

  • 3 years ago

    RookedOnChess

    Tony (Narz), there's no need to apologize! We were just disapppointed, that's all. Of course, you showed up when we weren't there. I had a pre-arranged appointment I couldn't cancel, so we left about noon and returned about 5:30. Oh, well.

    Anyway, I hope your daughter's feeling better :)

  • 3 years ago

    Narz

    Rooked & ChessMarksTheSpot, just want to apologize for not being there.  I did show up later on but did not play in the event.  My daugther woke up in the middle of the night, a bit sick, needing attention & after we put her back to sleep her mother & I ended up talking 'till 4AM, so needless to say I wasn't quite up for a 10+ hour simul.  I called that morning to cancel.  I did show up around 3PM to check it out & give out some fliers for my friend's tournament (http://www.chess.com/event/view/2011-south-jersey-open).  Sorry guys!

  • 3 years ago

    RookedOnChess

    Well, the Simul was a great event to attend. I had a great time, and of course, so did Mark lol We'll be working on the article once we recooperate! lol

    The thing is about the Guinness Record is that the first one by the Iranian (I think that's who) has to hold---be proven legit. If for some reason it falls short, Dean WILL have a record there.

    Anyway, it was SO much fun getting to meet some fellow Chess.com members, Dean, his wife and parents, among other "important" people in the Chess world. They'll be mentioned in the article :)

    So, Mm40, did you enjoy yourself? And congrats on the draw!

    And Narz----you never showed up! :(

  • 3 years ago

    Mm40

    There were 105 boards, the lowest of which to draw was me!

  • 3 years ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

      UPDATE:  It seems, when I left at noon, Dean was still down around 28 or 29 people. I will be there again at about 5 PM or so, and maybe more people showed up and began playing by then, so as of right now, he will not have the new Guinness Simul World Record.  Cry

      -Mark

  • 3 years ago

    EternalChess

    Im just saying last year there were 2 simuls with 500+ games...

    I know they took that record away but doesnt mean Ippolito should shoot for 135 challengers.

  • 3 years ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

      I have received an update for the Simul this coming Saturday, and here are the contents of the e-mail about the changes for requirements and the prizes that will be rewarded.

    World Record Now Open to ALL Over 1000 USCF
    Please Help Us Break This Record!!!!!
    Quick Links...
      
    Greetings!

    Seems like there are daily changes to this Record attempt, doesn't it?  Well, with the pending changes to the FIDE rules, we are able to open up the attempt to ALL players rated over 1000.  If you are in this catagory, PLEASE help!!!  We are short of our goal and need your help!
    Anyone who plays will receive a chess set and commemorative board.  We also have thousands of dollars in prize giveaways and other incentives.  You need not stay for the entire event and you also do not need to be present to win the drawings.
    Please register at www.chessworldrecord.com.
      

     

    Thank you and I hope to see you on Saturday!

     


    Dawn Novi Ippolito
    Drawing & Prize List
    Open to ALL Players over 1000 who help make history!!!

     

    Do I have to say it again?  ANYONE  rated over 1000 who plays will get a chess set and commemorative board signed by Dean.  In addition, hourly drawings will include:

     

    11am: Green Heavy Duty chess bag ($25)
    12pm:Plunder chess set ($35)
    1pm:Dean of Chess Academy bag plus books ($75)
    2pm: House of Staunton Board ($115)
    3pm: Fischer chess set ($800)
    4pm: Black chess set sarcophogus ($40)
    5pm: DOCA bag + Mastering Chess Openings volumes 1-4 ($130)
    6pm: Black Heavy Duty chess bag ($25)
    7pm:Chess Set Briefcase ($250)
    8pm: Glass Chess Set ($25)
    9pm: Einstein Mind Trainer ($35)
    10pm:DOCA bag with chess knight lite, bag for pieces, waterbottle, keychain, opening cards ($50)
    11pm:Mahoghony chess set sarcophogus ($50)
    12am:Breaking Through by Susan Polgar signed! ($40)
    1am: Plunder Chess ($35)

     

    Any one who BEATS Dean will get a KING membership ($360 value) to our club and anyone who DRAWS Dean will get a PAWN membership ($120 value).

     

     

  • 3 years ago

    Narz

    Great article!  I'll be there. Smile

  • 3 years ago

    JustWait

    Fantastic reporting, Mark! A very interesting event.

    Poor Dean... Life definitely doesn't come easy for that guy-- but then again -- who does life come easy for? At least he has an unbreakably strong sportsman mentality and doesn't throw in the towel when things don't go his way. In fact, I'm sure he's even more encouraged now that his original bar has been raised much higher. Best of luck to Dean!

  • 3 years ago

    Lawdoginator

    Go Dean! 

  • 3 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    Dean's focus and sportsmanship at the board is exemplary for all his opponents.  I have no doubt that he will score excellently.  I expect many good games, and many long games too.  Many of the participants have played Dean in rated games, particularly yours truly with unfortunate results. Innocent  However, having a taste of Dean's repertoire does not make playing him much easier.  He plays especially well with the White pieces, which he will have.  I think FM Karl "Night-freeze" Tongue out Deh-melt is most likely to pose Dean problems with the Black pieces.  I hope to see many chessfriends there!!!  Be there!  Will be fun. Cool

  • 3 years ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

      Danny - when I was gathering the information for this article and reading about the rich history of Simuls and just the World Records in general, you can just feel the greatness of the past basking off of all the materials. I mean Capablanca's 1922 record is just amazing and almost impossible for anyone to beat. It would require a 100% win percentage to break it. I recognize a few names on that Registered Players list from the website and it's not going to be easy as there are some pretty strong players involved. I really hope chess history is made on Saturday. How great it would be for the chess community and its incredibly rich and deep history if he broke the record.  Cool

       -Mark

  • 3 years ago

    IM DanielRensch

    Wow! I definitely learned something about the history of this type of event, especially as it pertains to the world record. Great reporting Mark, and good luck to Dean!!!

  • 3 years ago

    kvlc

    Wouldn't it be pretty funny if he got slaughtered?

  • 3 years ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

       David - Dean and Dawn said that he has been training for this event to possibly take over 20 hours for it to finish. That's what he said in one of his emails to me. 20 hours! That's just absolutely incredible to even think about, let alone actually do. Obviously it depends on the skills of the players involved and the difficulty of all the games.  Smile

       He said that even if he doesn't get all of the people that he needs for the event, he is still going to do it because it is a fund raiser for the Knights of Columbus. So even if all the people that he needs to break the record don't sign or show up, the event will still happen, it's just that it won't be a WR attempt. Let's all hope he gets what he needs.  Cool

       -Mark

  • 3 years ago

    IM dpruess

    SerbianChessStar,

    though the minimum is 1200, plenty will be as high rated as you. And yes, if you played a thousands games one at a time with time to eat and sleep in between, i'm sure you could get an 80%+ score. But the challenge here is largely a challenge of stamina.

    as a rough guess, I think this kind of simul takes about 1 hour/ten opponents (for between 10 and 100 oppoennts), although that ratio gets worse and worse as the number of opponents grows, as the distance you have to walk is increasing significantly. as games finish, the boards are not moved closer to each other, so you still have to walk or run a long way. I wonder if Dean has an estimate of how long this will take-- I would guess about 12 hours. if you tried to play 1000 opponents in a simul, I'm pretty sure you would fall down before finishing, regardless of their skill level! personally i'd love to try a chess event of this kind that emphasizes physical stamina and determination. it would be such an exciting challenge.

  • 3 years ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

      Mat - Dean needs over an 80% winning percentage against over 135 players for him to break the newer more professional Guinness World Record. We're hoping that posting this article will make people that live close by to where the event is being held want to sign up and be a part of history.  Cool

       -Mark

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