2008 Georgia Senior

Sep 28, 2008, 11:44 PM |

Only ten players came to the House for the 2008 Georgia Senior. Another eleven came to participate in a completely separate tournament for those rated below 1800. Many reasons for the sparse turnout were propounded, chief among them the gas shortage in the Atlanta area. It did not stop Donnie Gray, from Augusta, nor LM Klaus Pohl and his travelling companion, Wayne Christensen, from the great neighboring state of South Carolina, from getting to the round on time! A potential Senior player, board member Colin Potts, stopped by the House Friday night to leave a flash disc for the now sole editor of the award winning GEORGIA CHESS magazine that has missed not one, but two, deadlines. He said he only had half a tank of petrol and would play if he could find gas. Of the other board members eligible to play, nothing was heard from “Coach” Steve Schneider. Unfortunately Michael Mulford, who intended to play, was ill. That left President Scott Parker holding the colors for the GCA board.

Two former Senior champions, David Vest (2200) and the aforementioned Scott Parker (1861), squared off in the very first round. The hard fought game ended in a draw. Donnie Gray (2128) was held to a draw by Jared Radin (1844), while Klaus (2200) beat John Smith (1914), and Wayne (2080) beat Thomas Cole (1610).  Alan Piper (2082) beat former Georgia state champion John Austin (1835).

There were no perfect scores after round two. Klaus was held to a draw by The Pipe; The High Plains Drifter took out Christensen; Donnie Gray beat Scott Parker; Smitty bested Jared; and Austin beat Cole.

Sunday morning saw The Drifter take a half point lead over the field when he hit The Pipe, hard! The Viktor Kortchnoi of Southern chess, Klaus Pohl drew with Mr Gray, with both moving to 2-1. Christensen did the same with his win over Smitty. Mr Parker moved to even with a win over Austin, as did Radin with a win over Cole.

The final round saw the man who tied for the title of state champion with two others this year on board one with a chance to hold both titles, Georgia state champion and Georgia Senior champion at the same time, an unprecendented occurrence. His opponent, Donnie Gray had Black needing a victory to have a chance at the title. In a long game that went to the limit, the man from the High Plains won to take the title of Georgia champ! He took home $200 for his efforts.

As fate would have it, the two friends who came together, Wayne and Klaus, were paired on board two. In the last game to finish, Mr Christensen beat Mr Pohl, to finish in clear second, and $140.

The President got hit with The Pipe, while Jared Radin beat John Austin, both finishing with 2 ½ and tying for third place. Because Jared is rated lower than Alan, he won more money, $120, twenty dollars more than The Pipe, as he took the under 2000  prize. Smitty beat Mr Cole to finish with an even score, whild Thomas did the “goose-egg shuffle,” which made John and I recall the time at the World Open when, after losing five games, Smitty withdrew. When I asked him why, he replied, “I figure that if I play in a weekend swiss, I only get five games.” I understood completely!

In the ancillary tournament, there was a four-way tie at 3-1 between Raymond Quillan (1729), Richard Jones (1690), Dusan Lugonja (1645), and the man he beat in the last round, Wayne Hedger (1593). Each took home $67. Richard Sooley (1308) won the class D prize with his 1 ½ points and took home a C-Note. Kelly Hollins (1188), with his “goose-egg sandwich” ( an upset win in the first round over Mr Jones, followed by two losses, and a last round win over Tim Staley (972), also won $100 with his even score. Makes one wonder why there were not simply three prizes, one for first, second, and third. Seems simple enough, does it not?

I have written previously about how the format of this tournament was altered only a month beforehand without necessity. For that I have been accused of making “harsh” criticisms of those responsible. If it can be demostrated that ONLY ONE player was adversely affected by these incomprehensible changes, then it would seem the statement has been refuted, would it not?

The Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear had planned on playing until learning the time limit had been changed from G/150 to G/120. I, too, had let it be known that I intended on playing in the event. As it turned out, my back went out on me a week ago, and, although I had recovered somewhat, the thought of sitting for hours was anathema to me. As things transpired, the thought of participating in this event also became anathema…Mr Brookshear was terribly disappointed in not playing this year, as he did last year. As he so aptly put it, “Bacon, who would’ve ever thought that if we were both still alive and had the chance, neither one of us would play in the Georgia Senior?” Who, indeed…

The round times for the first day were orginally eleven and five ( I may be mistaken, as so much of this tournament has been changed…That’s the point, is it not?), but then changed to one and six. The registration time was, therefore, nine until ten thirty. When the round time was changed the registration time was NOT CHANGED! Simply unbelievable…The TD, Rich Mielke, called to ask if we would open at ten thirty because of their mistake. He was informed that we usually open an hour and a half before the round, but would make an exception and open at eleven. Unfortunately, Peter Dessaules came by Sunday afternoon, telling us he had been at the House at ten am Sat morning with the first flyer, wondering if the venue had been changed. Who knows how many other players were put off by the Alphonse and Gaston routine…Who knows how many potential players were completely unaware of the Georgia Senior for lack of publicity? If anything, my criticism of the completely inept board of the GCA is not harsh enough! They thought so little of the Georgia Senior it was not even put in the upcoming events listings in CHESS LIFE! We still have little idea of why it was so imperative for the format to be changed without a compelling reason so close to the tournament.  As for being forthcoming, the GCA board  makes Darth Cheney seem transparent!

I asked Rich, since he was to input the games into CHESSBASE, if he would be kind enough to let me have a few for the blog. He said he would send them to me via email. After we closed Saturday night, I found an email containing a few games in my email. When I asked him about the last round games, as he would not have time to input them, he said he would send them to me later in the week. I told him they were needed for the blog NOW.  I asked if it would be possible for me to keep the games in order  to have a few of the most important last round games for the blog. He vehemently said that it would not, as he had to get the games to Mark Taylor FOR THE MAGAZINE! I told him that made no sense because the magazine has not been published since spring and is nearly HALF A YEAR LATE! I told him that the thing about writing a blog is that it is TIMELY. I also said that I would have a blog entry ready before I turned in tonight. I said that thinking of something Kelly Hollins said to me, at another tournement, about having the results with his coffee in the morning. Rich said something about his wife having to watch her favorite programs and he would get them to me by eleven pm. It is now after 2 am and I am still waiting…

I could have asked the players to take the time to transcribe their games for me, in addition to the copies they gave to the GCA, but saw no need with Rich being so nice and working with me Saturday. As to why he changed overnight, I can only speculate…

A true chess fan, Alexander Foster, came by the House Saturday and, although not eligible for the Senior, got to play a game with Tim Staley, who, because of the odd number of players, received the bye. He was there at the end, asking me if I would put the Vest-Gray game in my blog, saying, “That was a great game, with Mr Vest flashing mind-boggling middle game tactics. I’m sure I could learn from that game.” Mr Foster, I wish I had access to the game! I, too, would like to replay it. If things continue on the same pace, the game could be published sometime in the late spring, or early summer, of 2009. COULD! I only hope that, if it is, I am still living when it is published. I will, though, not hold my breath!

The fact is that the GCA is still back in the 20th century. Other states have taken to publishing their magazine on the internet, and the USCF will soon offer a membership at a reduced rate for those that will do without the “hard copy” magazine. The GCA, in their wisdom, raised the membership fee three dollars, from $12 to $15 on the first of September. Other than a magazine that is not being published, the GCA offers little bang for the increased buck! I put games on the BaconLOG just as they print them in the magazine. The information can be disseminated much faster via the internet. It would seem, therefore, that the GEORGIA CHESS magazine, to stay viable, would need to do something different from publishing games scores only. If it were me, I would follow the lead of the best chess magazine in the world, NEW in CHESS, and have the players annotate their games!

These are the ony games I have. If you would like to see more games, please let the GCA know! Email the board members:

Scott Parker


Colin Potts



Jim Mundy




Rich Mielke



Michael Mulford



Steve Schneider



Germaine Schweibinz



Mark Taylor