Thursday, November 27, 2008

***Special Announcement – A New Book***

History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records and
Important Games
Eliot Hearst and John Knott
McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers, library binding

The first comprehensive study of the phenomena of chess played
without sight of the board, captured in a new book that has been 30
years in the making. This fascinating treatise describes the
personalities and achievements of blindfold chess's greatest players,
including Philidor, Paulsen, Morphy, Blackburne, Zukertort,
Pillsbury, Reti, Alekhine, Koltanowski, Najdorf, and Fine, as well as
present-day grandmasters such as Anand and Kramnik. 444 games are
included, some never before published, peppered with diagrams and
annotations. The book provides suggestions to facilitate the
technique of playing blindfolded, as well as documentation of the
concrete benefits of learning to play without sight of the board to
improve your OTB chess. A section of the book contains a readable
summary of psychological research on general chess skill (as well as
the blindfold variant), where topics such as memory techniques,
imagery and visualization, expertise, etc., are discussed. Supposed
health hazards of blindfold play are also assessed.

Eliot Hearst is a former captain of the U.S. Olympic team, one of the
very few Life Senior Masters in Arizona, and one of the few Americans
to win a game from Bobby Fischer after he became a strong master; see
Fischer-Hearst at's excellent site:

After many years teaching and doing research at various universities
(e.g., Columbia, Berkeley, and Indiana), Eliot is now an adjunct
professor of psychology at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

You can order the book, due to be published around December 1 of this
year, by going to and clicking on either of
the two major suppliers, McFarland Publishers and Amazon Books. Or
you can phone in an order to McFarland by dialing 1-800-253-2187.

As a bonus, Eliot will sign your copy, with whatever personal note
you'd like (within reason!), sometime in January 2009 (location to be
announced), as well as at a signing session at the Tucson Open,
January 23-25.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Princeton students vs. NJ inmates

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- David Wang is a young man who's clearly going places. The Princeton University sophomore is gifted with a brilliant mind, a movie-star smile and an understated self-confidence.

Kelvin Washington is a middle-aged man who's not going anywhere for the next 44 years. He's a career criminal who has spent 29 years behind bars for a string of robberies and burglaries.

An unlikely pairing, the two men went head to head Wednesday at the New Jersey State Prison, a maximum-security lockup. Their battlefield: a chess board.

In an unusual cultural exchange program that began six years ago, Princeton students travel to the prison in Trenton, 16 miles from their Ivy League campus, to play chess with the inmates.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AZ players make 2009 All America Chess Team

USCF has announced the 2009 All America Chess Team sponsored by Trophies Plus. Included on this year's team are Arizona scholastic players David Adelberg (Age 11) and Brennen Lee (Age 10). Additionally, Arizona Scorpion and UofA student Warren Harper (Age 16) was also named to the All America Chess Team.
The All America Team was created in 1987 to honor the very best players ages 18 and under. The team, one of the highest national honors attainable by a young chess player, is selected on the basis of age, rating, and activities during that year, similar to the selection process of “all conference” sports teams. This year’s candidates were selected based on their age as of January 1, 2008 and their peak post-tournament rating from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008. Since this award is a “post-season” selection, the minimum rating limits in each age group are reviewed annually by the USCF staff and the USCF Scholastic Council.
Congratulations to all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

USCF Dues Changes

USCF Dues are changing in December and January. This issue has been discussed extensively on the USCF Issues Forum, here's a summary table showing the changes.

    Rates currently in effect            1 Year   2 Year   3 Year

Adult $41 $76 $109 (Dues Sale)
Young Adult $25 $44 $62
Youth $19 $33 $46
Scholastic $17 $30 $42
Sustaining (started prior to 2003) $95 $190 $285 $380 (4 Years)
Sustaining (started after 2002) $120 $240 $360 $480 (4 Years)
Senior $36 $65 $93
Special (Blind/prison) $12 (mail/phone only)
Family Type 1 $64
Family Type 2 $35
Life $1000 (single payment)
Trial (6 month membership) $27

Below are the new rates as passed by the Delegates. The Premium Regular Adult rates do not take effect until January 1, 2009, because the adult dues sale (ie, the $41 one-year rate) goes through the end of December, everything else takes effect on December 1, 2008.

    New Rates as approved by Delegates   1 Year   2 Year   3 Year

Regular Adult $29 $52 $74 (if paid online)
Regular Adult $36 $59 $81 (mail/phone)
Premium Adult $42 $78 $113 (if paid online)
Premium Adult $49 $85 $120 (mail/phone)

Young Adult $24 $43 $61
Premium Young Adult $32 $59 $85

Youth $20 $36 $51
Premium Youth $27 $49 $70

Scholastic $16 $28 $39
Scholastic $23 $43 $60

Sustaining (started prior to 2003) $95 $190 $285 $380 (4 Years)
Sustaining (started after 2002) $120 $240 $360 $480 (4 Years)

Senior $36 $65 $93 (if paid online)
Senior $43 $72 $100

Special (Blind/prison) $18 (mail/phone only)

Family Type 1 $70
Family Type 2 $44

Life $1500 (single payment)

The 6 month trial rate is discontinued effective December 1st, 2008.

No new sustaining memberships will be available effective December 1st, 2008, though current members who started sustaining membership plans prior to December 1st will be able to complete them at the rates shown above, ie $95 or $120 per year depending on when the sustaining membership plan started.

There are no affiliate commissions on special memberships. There are no affiliate commissions on regular adult, premium adult or senior dues if paid online, there is a $3 affiliate commission on everything else.

$7 and $12 tournament memberships are not affected by this, though of course the $5 and $10 credits towards a full-year or longer USCF membership will also be applicable towards the new membership categories.

Tucson Open and Scholastics

The Tucson Open and Scholastics is January 23-25, 2009 at the Holiday Inn on Palo Verde, just north of I-10. In addition to the $2,550 prize fund, the state championship is also on the line. The highest placing Arizona resident in the Open section will be awarded the title of 2008 Arizona State Champion by the ACFI.
SECTIONS: Open, Reserve (U1800), Booster (U1400) & Scholastics (K-8/U1000). Scholastic section is 2 separate 1-day tournaments. Open, Reserve, & Booster Schedule: (3-day) 5/SS, 40/2, SD/1; Reg: 1/23 5:30-6:30 PM; Rds: 7, 10-5, 9-4. (2-day) 5/SS, Rds 1-2 G/90; Rds. 3-5 40/2, SD/1; Reg: 1/24 8:30-9:30 AM; Rds: 10-1:30-5, 9-4. (Scholastics) 4/SS, G/40; Reg: 1/23-25 8:30-9:30 AM; Round 1 at 10am then as available.

PRIZES: (Open) $$G: $600(plaque)-400-300-200; $$b/4 X, A, B/below $150 ea. Trophy Top Jr. U20, Jr. U14, Sr. 50+, Top AZ Resident is also 2008 AZ State Champion; (Reserve) $$b/38: $250(plaque)-150(plaque); $$b/4 C, D/below $100 ea. Trophy to Top UNR, Jr. U14, Sr. 50+; (Booster) Trophy to Top 1st - 3rd Place, Top E, U1000/Unr and Jr. U11; (Scholastic each day) Trophy to 1st - 5th Place, Top U800, U600, and Unrated.

EF: GM/IM are FREE! (Open) $55; (Reserve) $45; (Booster) $25; (Scholastics) $15 for each tournament or $25 for both days. LATE FEE: Additional $10 ($5 for Scholastic) if entry received after 1/21. DISCOUNT: $10 off EF for Juniors (under age 20) and Seniors (age 50+) in Open and Reserve. ALL: 1/2 pt byes allowed for all rounds but must be requested prior to start of Round 2 (max 2). No Re-entries.

INFO: Karen Pennock, 520-975-3946, web: Ent: Make checks payable to SACA, mail to SACA, Attn: 2009 Tucson Open, PO Box 42407, Tucson, AZ 85733. NC. NS. W.
A complete flier with entry form is available on the SACA website. Look for more news about the tournament as we get closer to the event.