Saturday, November 13, 2010

IM Marc Esserman Guest Annotates Again

Greetings once again,

As we have come up empty handed yet again and stare into the off season abyss, it is high time for some careful, calm, cathartic reflection on what might have been. Without wasting any time, let us first jump to the action in the Quarterfinals, when the outcome could have been even worse!

IM Marc Esserman (2492) vs IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2425) [B12] 11/1/2010

1. e4

Normally I would opt for the quiet systems involving 1. g3, b3, or Nf3, but it's the Playoffs, and I needed to surprise my opponent with an unusually active move.

1... c6 2. d4 d5

My few games in the database featuring this rare position in my practice saw 3. Nc3 or the exchange Caro Kann, so I continued with the shock and awe strategy.

3. e5 Bf5 4. g4??

I cannot honestly explain what led me to make this lemon. In my defense, having just returned from a bullet match in New York that morning, I was impatient and hazy. Secondly, I thought it was a French Defense, and wanted to push the Bishop back inside the Pawn chain like I have been taught. But only upon making this rash, permanently weakening advance, did I see the immediate flaw.

4... Bd7??

[4... Be4!] Of course Black should play 4... Be4!! (-4.667 repeating according to Deep Rybka 4), winning the Rook, after which I am crushed, and the team's Championship hopes in peril. Yes, I can make a game of it after 5. f4!? Bh1 6. f5 with a clear advantage in space in exchange for the Rook, but Black should be able to hold objectively. Only later that night during a solitary moment with my computer did I realize that 4. Nc3!! first stops 4... Be4!!, and then I can play 5. g4!, when Black must abandon the opening.

5. c4?!

But Caissa smiled down upon the Boston Blitz, and IM Enkhbat overlooked the free Rook. Yet I continued to move in a daze, forgetting to develop and making it five for five Pawn moves in the opening.

5... e6!?

Enkhbat returns the favor, with another Pawn move! Not a bad plan per se, but it allows me to transpose into the side lines of the advanced French. Later I learned that Senior Master Yaacov Norowitz claimed that he has won many games in this position, and he prefers it to grabbing the free Rook on h1 after 4... Be4!!, but I am sure that this was a fake Yaacov Norowitz spouting these lies. The real Yaacov would have grabbed the Rook on h1, from my experiences battling him.

6. Nc3

At last, I am beginning to recover from the trauma of 4. g4?? and develop my first piece.

6... Ne7

And Enkhbat follows my lead.

7. Nf3

Enkhbat is beginning to feel somewhat cramped, and at this point may have realized that he should have grabbed the Rook on h1.

7... Ng6?!

Desiring to complete development by the logical means of Be7, however I have finally settled down and am ready for the dry maneuvering phase.

8. h4!+-

8... Be7

[8...h7-h5] preventing h5 meets a quicker end. 9. gxh5 Rxh5 10. Ng5 Rxh4 11. Rxh4 Nxh4 12. Qh5 Ng6 13. Nxf7 Kxf7 14. Bd3+- in true Catalan style.

9. h5!

[9. g5±] would allow Bb4 or Bf8 where the Knight is better located on e7.

9... Nf8??

After this extremely passive move, which startled the spectators, Black concedes defeat in the opening struggle. Enkhbat did not wish to continue with the logical Nh4, his original intention, for mysterious reasons.

[9... Nh4] and the strategical gaps in 4. g4?? have been highlighted. 10. Nxh4 (10. Rxh4!? but wait, why can't White simply sacrifice his Rook on h1! After all, he hung it on the fourth move after g4 anyway, why not donate it under much more favorable circumstances! 10... Bxh4 11. g5 h6 12. Nxh4 hxg5 13. Ng2± with a large advantage, or 13. Qd1–g4! ending all resistance after 13... gxh4 14. Qxg7 Rf8 (14... Rxh5 15. Be2 Rf5 16. Bh6+-) 15. Bg5 Qa5 (15... f6 16.exf6 Rf7 17. Qg8+ Rf8 18. f7#) 16. Qf6) 10... Bxh4]

10. g5

So I guess the Knight had to go back to f8 after all, and g5 now prevents it from hopping to h7 via Pawn to h6. But it is true, that if he had grabbed the Rook on h1, he would have been better off.

10... Na6 11. c5

After finally developing pieces on moves six and seven, I got lazy and made more Pawn moves. That's nine out of eleven pawn moves in fact. Shameful.

11... Nc7 12. Be3

Don't worry, more Pawn moves are coming soon.

12... b6 13. b4 bxc5 14. bxc5

11/14 "shots from the field", I mean Pawn moves.

14... Rb8 15. Rc1

Preventing Nb5, as 15... Nb5 16. Nxb5 cxb5 17. c6 Bc8 18. c7+- Qd7 19. cxb8=N

15... Rb2 16. Bd3 Qb8 17. Nd2

A flexible move, with ideas of Nb3 or Ke2 and Rb1 for starters, but its drawback is the weakening of the e5 pawn ...

17... f5??

The computer screams in horror! What a gross oversight which just hands away the point! Perhaps better would have been [17... Kd8!? with the idea of Ne8; 17... Qa8!? with a rerouting of the troops along thin supply lines, for example Rb8, Bc8 and Bd8; 17... Rg8!?; 17... Bc8 18. Qa4 Bd7 19. Qd1 Bc8 where White would have to decide between pressing on in hopes of an advantage or taking the draw and getting fined for a premature end to the hostilities.]

18. gxf6!

White obviously gives up his space advantage, since he gets a Rook in compensation! Ironically, White wins the h8 Rook, whereas his h1 counterpart could have been grabbed as early as move five after 4... Be4!!

18... gxf6 19. Qg4! Kf7 20. Rg1 Ne8

Black has done all he could to prevent the Rook's capture, but his position now collapses due to an obvious shot, because after all we IMs miss obvious shots on a regular basis.

21. Bxh7!

Threatening the robotic 22. Qg8 Rxg8 23. Bxg8#

21... Bd8

Black flees, but White insists on giving the Queen for the fans.

22. Bg8+

But Enkhbat resigned before allowing 22... Ke7 23. Qg7+ Nxg7 24. Rxg7+ Ke8 25. Bf7+ Ke7 26. Bg6#

Yet 23. Qg7+?? would be a lemon, as 23. exf6+ mates one move faster.

Before moving to our fateful drawn loss in the Semifinals, I would first like to analyze another related opening debacle of mine.

IM Marc Esserman (2391) vs IM Mark Ginsburg (2380) [B07] 2009

1. e4 d6!!

Two exclamations, one for creativity, the other for objectivity. IM Ginsburg realizes that his highly promoted refutation of the Smith-Morra Gambit, ( and, is flawed, and decides not to lose in twenty moves, instead playing things safely.

2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 4. f4 b5 5. e5 b4!

Forcing matters. The resulting play leads to a position where Black sacrifices a Pawn for dynamic play.

6. exf6 bxc3 7. fxg7 Bxg7

[7... cxb2 8. gxf8=R ++--]

8. bxc3÷ Nd7 9. Bd3 Qa5 10. Bd2

In exchange for his Pawn minus, Black has excellent compensation, far more than any line in the Morra Gambit, which has been refuted.

10... Nb6 11.Nf3 Be6 12. 0–0 Nc4 13. Re1 Nxd2 14. Qxd2 Rb8!?

Black seizes the open b-file, but obtains slightly less activity on this line than in our first game discussed.

15. f5!+-

With the decisive threat of Qg5

15... Bxf5 16. Qg5 Kf8 17. Bxf5 e6 18. Qf4

Hanging the Bishop but winning the Rook.

18... Ke7 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. Ng5


Next, we observe another g4 gaff, where I do not heed the lessons from the Enkhbat disaster.

IM Marc Esserman (2345) vs GM Alex Shabalov (2578) [A50] 2009

As Shabalov, a four time U.S Champion whose hyper-aggressive winning style made him one of my chess idols for years, had refuted the Morra Gambit in our previous encounter and therefore 1. e4 entirely, I had to switch to something far more tame
-- however, Ron Simpson and the Cobras later improved on this refutation, refuting the gambit even more in the 2008 Semifinals --

1. d4!

Maintaining the material equality for now.

1... Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3!?

In an attempt to avoid my opponent's deep knowledge of the super-sharp Botvinnik and Moscow systems, the quiet Meran appears.

5... Nd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4??

Without the experience of my game with Enkhbat under my belt, I understandably had no idea that this lemon pitches a piece. I simply felt the need to get my illustrious opponent immediately off the trodden path, and felt this was far and away my best chance to do so.

7... h6?!

Strangely, like Enkhbat, Shabalov does not grab the material. Winning would have been [7... Nxg4! 8. Rg1 Nh6! 9.Bd2 1–0 in Kuljasevic-Sammour-Hasbun USCL 2008 Championship, or (9. Rxg7™ Qf6 10. Rxh7 Rxh7 11. Qxh7 Nf8 0–1 in Rohonyan-Galofre USCL 2010, or Vigorito-Avalos 2009).]

8. h3

Making up for lost time.

8... b5?!

Shabalov returns the favor, unleashing a reversed Morra Gambit, with raging pressure on the c-file

9. cxb5 c5!

10. Bg2 Bb7 11. O-O

Castling into the storm...

11... Rc8 12. dxc5 Nxc5 13. Nd4

White is a Pawn up, but with his backward Queenside development and weakened Kingside, Black's compensation is painfully clear.

13... Bb8 14. Rd1 Qd6!

Another forcing, hyperactive move! At this point, after being under considerable pressure for the last eight moves with the White pieces, I began to suspect something suspicious in the air. While my eyes were fixated on my lonely King, I noticed in the corner of my eye that my opponent was clutching his inner left cochlea -- he seemed to be listening to someone, and not thinking!

15. Bd2

I cautiously proceeded.

15... O-O 16. Be1 Rfd8

Although the device was invisible to the untrained eye, I assure you, dear reader, that it was not a figment of my imagination. From here on out, I became convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, as I stared ahead at beautifully coordinated rooks, Bishops, Knights and Queen all pointed at my marooned king, that I was not only facing Shabalov, but the mermaid know as Deep Rybka 3 herself!

17. Rac1

And I wouldn't have minded had he just told me so first, because Rybka has fatal flaws, but in this sea of chaos she swims freely.

17... e5??

At the most critical of critical moments (6:46 PM EST), the sky opened from above. Hail pelted the convention center, thunder crackled, and lightning lit. All electrical transmission ceased, and my opponent uncorked the 26th best move according to Rybka. The elements had saved me, for now.

18. Nf5±

White has a large advantage, but the mermaid is a slippery fish.

18... Qe6 19. Ne2 e4 20. Ned4 Qe5 21. f4 exf3 22. Nxf3 Qe8 23. Bb4 Na6 24. Bc3

White weathers the storm, but the second wave begins afresh as the thunderstorm and hail dissipates. All of Black's remaining moves match Deep Rybka 3, except for move thirty, which is the second best move according to the oracle enchantress.

24... d4 25. N3xd4 Nb4 26. Qe2 Bxg2 27. Qxg2 Nxa2 28. Nc6!

As Nimzovitch preaches, when in doubt, humanize!

28... Nxc1 29. Rxc1 Nd5 30. Bd4!

Nimzovitch approves.

30... g6 31. Nxh6+ Kh7 32. Qf2 f6 33. g5 Be5 34. Bxe5 fxe5 35. Nf7 Nf4!

The last splash. White must keep his head above water.

36. Qh4+ Kg7 37. Nfxd8 Ne2+ 38. Kf2 Nxc1 39. Qh6+ Kg8

40. Ne7+! Qxe7 41. Qxg6+

Black played flawlessly after the 18th move, but after the thunderstorm, his position was awash. Following the game I wanted to analyze with my famous opponent to discuss the ideas of the battle, and determine if my paranoia was real, or in fact, just paranoia, but he was gone. 1–0

At last, we move to the epic encounter, the Semifinal "Death Match", "Rumble in Somerville", pick a name. I had the unpleasant task of being in a must win situation from move one, facing off against many time Boylston Club champion Chris Chase, a long time senior master and crafty veteran.

IM Marc Esserman (2492) vs FM Christopher Chase (2382) 11/10/2010

1. e4 g6

Chris is an independent thinker and doesn't care what others think about his systems. Here again he plays his Modern Defense, through thick and thin.

2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6!?

A surprise, which I surprisingly, expected. Chris normally steers the Modern towards other channels but c6 occasionally appears in his practice. Another member of the team predicted that Chase would play this exact system against a technical player such as myself, and he/she shall remain nameless, unless he/she wishes to come forward.

4. Nf3 d5 5. Bd3!?

The conventional path is 5. h3, preventing 5... Bg4 but containing other drawbacks. It was my goal to create original problems immediately.

5... Bg4 6. O-O!?

White sacrifices the pawn for cloudy compensation.

6... Nf6

The less principled move, but certainly playable, as Chase clearly proves this game. [6... Bxd4!?]

I will leave it up to the readers to determine what, if any compensation White has in this mayhem. Chris did not want to find out!

7. e5 Nd7 8. Bg5!

Preventing Black from stabilizing his position with the standard e6.

8... O-O

[8... Qb6!? 9. Na4 Qb4 10. c3 Bxf3 11. cxb4 Bxd1 12. Rxd1±]

9. h3

Only now is White ready to play h3

9... Bxf3 10. Qxf3

Chris now has difficulty completing his development and must make a concession.

10... Na6 11. Bxa6 bxa6

12. Qd3 f6 13. exf6 exf6 14. Bf4 Qb6 15. a4 f5 16. Rfd1

And I retained a slight advantage and went onto win in a losing team effort. The rest of the game is rather slow and technical, so I am not qualified to speak on these matters. 1–0

-Friday 11:30 PM, Harvard Square
"Wait, what's this? Did I get that right? You're telling me I didn't win Game of the Week for the long dry technical ground and pound endgame against Chase?"
"Yea man, just go to check it out."

Well judges, I must say I am shocked and appalled! Caissa is offended, yet again. I therefore have decided, through great pain and soul searching, to announce my unconditional retirement from the US Chess League!

Best of luck to our cross-town rivals the New England Nor’easters and my hometown Miami Sharks in the Championship. Until next year!


harvardmitschmuck said...

My complaint is that with my tactics that often dip below the 1500 protozelian awareness level and a positional understanding that only occasionally surfaces for air above 2000, I have difficulty deducing which of the comments are to be taken literally and which are dripping with the pugilistic satire and referential irony of which only a battle-scarred chess fighter is capable. Plus, I have no idea whether to use Rybka 3 or Rybka 4 on a particular position. I appreciate the didactic value of the mating diagram, but it took me two minutes to calculate mate on the board and I would like each analysis to end in one, because as we know, chess is a concrete game. (We are not arranging flowers here.) Further I think the analysis of underpromotion in several instances is inappropriate for children under 17.

Anonymous said...

My complaint about this winning game of the week is how unimportant it was to the match. By the time this game was halfway done, NE had already won 2 games, making playing the position on not even important. If he had to get a draw or win, MAYBE this game would've turned out different. I dont see why Esserman is leaving USCL next year but hey, your choice.

mlarocca said...

Once again, Marc, you have topped the blog blah. Great article. However, I want to point out to readers just how to read Marc's articles. First, there is a formula AABAC. This is invoked by throwing out all the "A" statements as direct lies, considering the "B" statements to be misleading, and taking the "C" statements with a grain of salt. For example, he states that "Normally, I would opt for a quiet system"... this is a lie, of course, which leads me to "A surprise, which suprisingly, I expected." which would put any logical thinker, or computer, into an infinite loop... definitely a B statement. And if you follow down (by repeating AABAC) to his "unconditional retirement" statement, it proves to be a C type. Meaning IM Esserman will return next year as GM Esserman thus keeping to his word. Alternately, the league judges could confess that Marc's last two games were the real GOTW's. However, I am sure Marc would not un-retire anyway. But, he would like them more. In any case, Marc, I hope my analysis is correct... we'll see.

Anonymous said...

typical maturity and class, as esserman responds to a criticism of a move (or a line rather, 4.g4 in the carokann) by posting a completely irrelevant wins against ginsburg. nice retalition. esserman has been listening to larocca too much and now quits the uscl when he doesnt win gotw.

Anonymous said...

Why should Shankland have all the attention with his public retirement anouncment, Esserman wants the limelight too

Anonymous said...

This article and comments that follow remind me of the New Yorker magazine: good reading, but all articles, stories, ads... are edited according to the same standards. They all have the same voice. Are you sure Esserman didn't write the comments also?


Anonymous said...

I hope Krasik retires too and then it will be the end of the dynasty known as the Boston Blitz.

Anonymous said...

Obviously this article was not written by Marc Esserman, but rather by another Bostonian.

MacIntyre said...

I don't see how Esserman can retire. How can he turn his back on the USCL with all the money, rating points, and good will it brings him?

Rihel said...

I'm pretty sure Marc's comments about winning Game of the Week are sarcastic-- he is laughing that this game with Chase got more votes than his impressive win last week!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Esserman, please consider this:

Now, especially for those humming "legalize it, don't criticize it" while reading this, here are the key arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana:

"Compared with cigarettes and alcohol, the health risks and societal costs associated with even chronic marijuana use are mild. Yet we don't ban those items, while we deny marijuana to seriously ill people who could get a lot of relief from it. This is misguided and cruel. "

The Argument: Ever wake up feeling really hung over from a night of smoking out? Thought not. Throw in some heavy drinking, though, and you'll awake feeling like death itself (in fact, alcohol poisoning is a real risk). No one overdoses on marijuana because it has a negligible therapeutic ratio; that is, you don't have to use much to get the desired effect. Why then is one drug available from corner stores and allowed to be promoted at bowling tournaments, whereas the other you have to get from a pimply guy with a mullet you knew vaguely in high school, who hands you something dodgy-looking in a sandwich baggie? Quit the hypocrisy and make these intoxicants equally available.

Anyone familiar with pot knows about the "munchies." So, too, do people weak from AIDS and anorexia that use marijuana to put on needed weight. Cancer patients smoke pot to dispel the nausea they get from chemotherapy, and doctors recommend it for epilepsy, arthritis, migraines and glaucoma. Synthetic forms of THC such as Marinol are ineffective substitutes because they often put patients to sleep before they start to eat, which is the whole point. And administering a proper dosage is even easier: once they've smoked enough to have an appetite, or once their pain subsides, they put down the joint. The federal government should follow the lead of voters in Arizona and California and at least allow the medical use of marijuana.

The Response: We can address the availability of cigarettes and alcohol elsewhere; but surely, adding marijuana to the list of harmful substances that are legal isn't the answer.

Synthetic alternatives are available for patients with these conditions. For patients who are wasting away, we have steroids to stimulate muscle growth; megace, too, has been shown to help patients put on weight. Marinol comes in pill form so patients needn't inhale a carcinogen to make them hungry. A study by The National Institutes of Health concluded that smoking marijuana isn't more effective than regular therapies. It is wrong for doctors to have patients figure out for themselves what the correct dosage should be, especially with a drug as impure as marijuana.

Read more: SoYouWanna know about the legalization of marijuana?

Jeff Haskel said...

What the game against Ginsburg shows is that Esserman belongs on the All-Star team.

Hikaru Nakamura said...

Oh don't worry Marc. I'm retiring from the US Chess League after all the shenanigans this year!

Anonymous said...

@Naka: what about all the money you get paid to play chess for STL?

Anonymous said...

@Naka- What do you mean by "shenanigans"? That St. Louis was not allowed to play extra matches from offsite (and they had already played more than other teams) because then, to everyone's horror, there would only be 2 GMs in their lineup? Once again, your absence of any and all thought processes that are not immediately correlated with these 64 squares amazes me. But hey, nobody is perfect.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nakamura,
While I'm sure all of your 1200 rated groupies (very few of which are female) on the ICC will be sad to hear of your retirement from the USCL, I can gaurantee you that anyone with half a brain is thrilled to see you go. That's one disease the league is now rid of, time to move on to Krasik.

Anonymous said...

At first I was going to write a very long comment praising Marc Esserman about just how amazing a chessplayer he is and how much I love watching his games, even if the judges do not enjoy them as much as I. It is very unfortunate to see him leaving. However, now I am not going to, because Marc announcing his retirement has lead to something much, much more important- America's biggest loverboy is leaving as well! Perhaps he will then leave St. Louis, which will certainly be bad news for their local bars, but it will be great news for all the children who will have to find a real role model, rather than one who openly professes that online trash talk and general cockiness is the way to be in this world. The US Chess League will be a far better place without him although I do know many people who enjoyed his playoff game with Becerra last year. Hopefully this is the first step in making him leave chess behind forever. Upon Naka's parting the USCL, I would not be surprised if in a couple years a new sitcom named "Beavis and Hikaru" emerges. I think I speak for everyone affiliated with the US Chess League when I think the eternally gracious and strong IM Marc Esserman for being the necessary catalyst to send Fido the dog back into oblivion.

Anonymous said...

SHUT UP ALL OF YOU! Hikaru Nakamura is the best player in American history, and he should be applauded as such rather than slandered. Anyone who can overcome a clear case of mental retardation and make it into the world of chess elite is clearly determined and an excellent role model, contrary to all the non-believers.

Anonymous said...

Close, but not quite. Naka is still a bit behind Fischer in terms of his chess abilities and his social skills.

Ilya said...

HAAHAHAAHHA, ok Nakamura just wants to sound cool, who cares if he leaves, all he has done is cause his teams grief. Who doesnt remmeber him losing to Beccera in 13 moves in the playoffs and then storming off, he has been babied for a long time in USCL by Greg and Arun. Anyhow, Nakamura is too good for USCL, and i dont say it jokingly--I mean it, he should concentrate on major tournaments. On the ohter hand, I have single handedly tried to keep the interest in the league, when there were few teams and few sub plots, through controversy, bloggin, by creating artificial feuds and trying to play creatively for the fans. This year , i decided the league doesnt need me as much as before due to so many new teams present and abundance of bloggers so I took it easy, anyone who misunderstand my importance in building this league is just out of his f... mind.

Anonymous said...

Nakamura maybe the best hope since American Bobby Fischer but it doesnt say as much about how good Naka is as much as how sad and ammateurish the US chess scene is, get a life all you Nakmura suck ups, he is not some role model, just some chess geek with an attitude.

Sunny Black

Name: "The phone rings" said...

Previous annotations to Esserman-Ginsburg from Mark Ginsburg's blog....
"Now black in fact has compensation. Somewhere around here Esserman’s cell phone started ringing. That’s how FM Bartell was forfeited not just once, but twice at a North American FIDE Invitational? Unfortunately for me, in this event we weren’t playing by the FIDE “cell phone forfeit rule” although it was FIDE rated. White just lost 10 minutes on his clock. That’s not enough compensation for my next move which is a game-ending blunder."

Name: "Ginsburg responds" said...

""I actually gained rating points in that (Mesa) tournament, starting out strong vs GM Izoria, but you wouldn’t know it from this debacle.
But I did have a fake comeback in the debacle that wasn’t mentioned. Strangely, Esserman’s phone rang (!) a few moves before the end of this Mesa FIDE (yay, forfeit!) International. The fake comeback was dashed, though, because the tournament, while FIDE rated, didn’t follow FIDE rules in this regard. Oh well!"

Name: "I just want my phone call. I want it. I want it. I want my phone call" said...

Anonymous said...

OF course Ginsburg should have won that game, and it would be nice- cell phone forfeit is the only way he could even dream of beating someone as strong as Esserman

Julius G said...

Here I thought Ilya Krasik was the only amusing one on the Boston Blitz, and even though he's made me cry a few times, he's still one fascinating guy. I was unaware of Marc Essermans comicality niche of sarcasm mixed with veracity.

Marc Esserman rigorously engineers dazzlingly complicated and confectionery lines and openings, rippling into the chess ocean of wisdom. He has a relentless fetishization of dominating others on the board, and leaves his opponents mouth-gagged like they were in the basement of Maynards pawnshop. Yes even the most cliché of moves become transcendent when Esserman plays them, did he just open up with E4 you'll say, bewildered and holding your chest. He elevates his chess travails into legendary myths in which he's always the hero. Marc Esserman is the next step in a seamless chess evolution that's hidden increasingly complex defenses behind an assault that hits with the in-the-red rawness of a Kasparov attack on Topalov, and yet his games are accessible by even NMs without sinking into commercialized blandness of GM pretentiosness. I'm innocent of my felony charge of cocaine distribution.

Ilya said...

Mr Ginsburg, I admit i dont know what happened in your game vs Esserman, you happens. We-chess players are often in denial and full of excuses: " i was totally winning but then just this little mistake happened, he was lucky... blah blah" im sure most of us including myself are guilty of this on more than one occasion. However, I have NEVER in my entire life heard an excuse as Profound as yours--that the only reason you lost is because your opponent's cell phone rang only ONCE but NOT twice, that was required to win by forfeit. What the f...

harvardmitschmuck said...

I must unleash my full Ivy League (and silicon league) snobbery here and state that conspiracy theories are the first refuge of the less intelligent.

I find this comment particularly disturbing: "...[the comments] all have the same voice. Are you sure Esserman didn't write the comments also?"

I feel sad for those so cynical and unaware of the intelligence to absorb, be inspired by, then vary creatively, upon a theme.

It's not like that's ever useful, in, say, chess. Oh, wait...

I can assure you that my language is entirely my own, and can say things like "whoppsy-noppsy hippsie-doodley-fang, I hope my w32 process doesn't hang, faites-moi un crepe encore avec fraises", words that could only emanate from a twisted engineer such as myself.

Julius G said...

Yo, is hippsie-doodley-fang that new Twilight energy drink I've been hearing about?

Hikaru Nakamura said...

Ordinarily, I would let things be, but there are a few points I must clarify. First of all, I was not paid to play in the US Chess League.

As for shenanigans, I do not particularly care about the rule involving playing onsite. What I do have an issue with is the lack of a uniform standard. Either you let people play ONLY onsite or offsite all the time. There can be no two ways about it. I strongly feel Greg needs to decide whether this is a professional league or simply for entertainment value.

As for personal comments, I'm not even going to bother responding to people who hide behind an anonymous post and won't reveal their names. That being said, none of these rumours are true.

rickford said...

I feel some corrections are in order, as Marc and his supporters ("fans") are being grossly misrepresented here. I have known Marc since our college days together, and would like to set the record straight.

First of all, I don't understand all the comments about sarcasm. Marc is always very forthright in his analysis, and in voicing his opinions.

As a humanist, however, I feel it's important to point out that many of the comments here concerning Mr. Ginsburg are inappropriate and just plain mean. Mr. Ginsburg, I for one admire your fighting spirit in pretending to be in the same league as Esserman. As an aspiring writer, it gives me hope that one day I might beat Seamus Heaney in a poetry competition--or lose, but only because a very important rule about digital devices emitting short bursts of low-level sound was overlooked.

Anyway, if Marc does in fact quit USCL, he will surely be missed by fans of the league. Close friends and more conscientious Esserman fans, however, will be delighted if he quits wasting his time on the exhibition circuit and gets back to the (very taxing) full-time business of chasing cars. That he wouldn't know what to do if he caught one is no reason to be lax in the pursuit.

Touching lightly on the GOTW conversation: please, let's not ruffle the feathers of such important chess figures as Greg Shahade with petty complaints any longer. Mr. Shahade is an established GM, with a gaggle of major tournament victories under his belt, and a reputation for fairness and objectivity. As he has already achieved far more in chess than Esserman probably ever will, any suggestions of jealousy or bitterness at Marc's piercingly clear and original chess ideas are patently absurd. Greg, I salute you for consistently picking the same milktoast Spy vs. Spy wood-pushing contests over Marc's savage miniatures week in and week out. It shows a level of dedication to your principles that I may never be capable of. (PS your wife is really hot and also good at chess. What do you have to be bitter about? Cheers, mate.)

Finally, regarding Hikaru Nakamura: everyone knows chess is just a pastime for him while he waits for the movie version of Dragonball Z to come out, in which he has been promised a starring role. To which I have only this to say: Hikaru, you go, girl!

Luke Rickford
Harvard '06

rickford said...

"That's not his wife; that's his sister." "omg GROSS!"

Anonymous said...

Marc has no "fans" there are no "fans" of chess players especially at his low level, you Boston Blitz players are monster tools, you can never get the job done on the board so you try spilling the anger onto the blogs and just look like idiots. You picked chess to get into, guess what you will never get close to Hikaru Nakamuras level. Do you really think over twenty people with girlfriends and jobs have time to run here and vote for Essermans game and complain about GOTW, or care that hes quitting, its like one homo dude with borderline MPD thinking he's clever, its pathetic, make all the posts you want, but its pathetic.

Anonymous said...

And if you really are an aspiring writer, put down the thesaurus and start using words you actually know. Milktoast? Come on man, it's milquetoast, I can't stop laughing at you guys. I hope Greg shelves the Boston Blitz next year, it's a useless team now anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Ya, I have to agree with previous poster that you wil never be able to match Nakamuras level... Of being a deuche bag. If you play on iCc you def know what zis "tool" is talkin aboot. Also, Hikary states zat he doesn't get paid to play USCL but at ze same time bitches about rules of it. It is well known zet he gets paid just to live in San Louis and occasionally show up to the san Louis club to pretend thet he cares about the local chess scene, playing in USCL must be part of thet obligazion so what Nakamura was saying is in fact a lie or at least not very honest at all. Klaus Britman(uscl fan from Austria)

Anonymous said...

one thing I don't get about the phone-ringing-forfeit thing: shouldn't the guy making the call get the full point?


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Nakamura can clarify what he meant when he said "Greg must deicde whther this is a proffessional league or just for entertainment value". How can a San Louis team consisting of a GGGg lineup be considered proffesional. Does Nakamura advpcate getting rid of the 2400 average rating cap and just letting cities bid for best players. I don't think this is what USCL was intended to be but again I'm interested in what nakamura thinks, how should it work ?

Republik Österreich said...

Ilya please don't associate your made up names with our Country, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone aught to take it easy on old Ginzie. Put yourself in his position: you are such a weak player that you have no hope of winning against somebody who isnt so like Esserman. So if lightning strikes and happens to give you a chance to cry to mommy for a forfeit win does anyone really expect him to not do that?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nakamura, please consider reading this, it will change your life for the better.

Cocaine Effects

Cocaine effects are extremely detrimental on the body and the consequences related to cocaine effects can eventually lead to permanent damage, addiction and death. While each person who uses this drug reacts to it differently, there are two distinct categories of cocaine effects: short-term effects and long-term effects. Even if a person has only used cocaine once, he/she can experience short-term cocaine effects. Long-term cocaine effects appear after increased periods of use and are dependent upon the duration of time and amount of cocaine that has been consumed.

Short-term cocaine effects are noticeable immediately and although they are not always damaging, in some cases they have caused serious bodily damage and death. Deaths related to cocaine effects are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures and respiratory failure. * Some of the short-term cocaine effects first time users experience includes increased energy, decreased appetite, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Short-term cocaine effects include:
Increased blood pressure
Constricted blood vessels
Dilated pupils
Mental alertness
Increased energy
Increased heart rate
Decreased appetite
Increased temperature

People who try cocaine often get hooked to the short-term cocaine effects, namely feeling as though they have increased energy. The quick high keeps users feeling energetic and able to endure longer in physical activities. New cocaine users often try cocaine to increase productivity at work and in other areas of their lives so that they can work longer and harder. While these results may seem promising in the beginning, increased tolerance and dangerous life choices often follow repeated cocaine use.

One cocaine effect, appetite suppression, is very popular for people looking to lose weight or maintain a low weight. Fashion models have been known to use cocaine in order to stay thin. Cocaine users often go days without eating and if this behavior is continued it can lead to addiction. Increased heart rate, blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature are all short-term physiological cocaine effects. When taken in large quantities, cocaine will intensify the user's high and may cause violent and erratic behavior on the part of the user.

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As the habit of using cocaine becomes increasingly important, behavior such as lying, heating, stealing, absenteeism at work and denying the use of cocaine, is an evident side effect. While these behaviors are not directly related to the use of cocaine, these cocaine effects are often present due to the lifestyle of the addict.
Other long-term cocaine effects include:
Auditory hallucinations
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* Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

dg said...

At first I wasn't going to respond at all, but some of the people who read this nonsense persuaded me that it would be appropriate to respond. Is commenting your full time job Mr. Krasik, because you seem to have really spent a lot of time on this blog. If you spent half the time on chess that you spent on commenting here, using your favorite codename's, I am sure you'd be a major league chess player by now. Nice job spinning and twisting everyone's words, and taking quotes out of context--very professional job indeed! Perhaps you are trying to run this blog like a tabloid, scandals, accusations, trash talking, dirt etc...whatever sells, or in this case attracts people here. Perhaps, you got so carried away with this drug analogy that you forgot you are writing about chess. I don't believe we have Llello in our League, do we Mr. Krasik?? I hope next week you wont have as much explaining to do. Keep up the bad and best of luck.

Evening, Commissssssoner said...

Antonio Matias said...

Crush the fools.

Anonymous said...

Boston Blitz For Life!

Anonymous said...

rumor has it that esserman will be joining the ATP tour to show off his prowess on the tennis court next year. good luck on the hard court!

Anonymous said...

Please consider this a formal statement to all players, managers, judges, and fans:

You all are f*cking retarded

Anonymous said...

"rumor has it that esserman will be joining the ATP tour to show off his prowess on the tennis court next year. good luck on the hard court!"

lol sure he can run and volley well for amateur play, but to save him some face, esserman would be utterly embarrassed against someone like Mardy Fish, get a grip on that ego, yikes.

Anonymous said...

"lol sure he can run and volley well for amateur play, but to save him some face, esserman would be utterly embarrassed against someone like Mardy Fish, get a grip on that ego, yikes."

Don't be mad after Marc beat the living shit out of you in tennis and stretched your @sshole so wide that you crap out tennis balls now.

john said...

Seems to me its pretty clear who is behind all the madness here. Esserman writes a serious and somber article about "retirement" after a heartbreaking loss, Samantha aka Shankland clearly assumes the article is mocking him, or he cant stand that fact that he isnt the only one who is retiring so he creates this trash talking mess and blames people who in some sense make easy scapegoats. Being in a dorm is convinient, you can find infinite amount of IPs as well. Brilliant Sammy.

Jim said...

"lol sure he can run and volley well for amateur play, but to save him some face, esserman would be utterly embarrassed against someone like Mardy Fish, get a grip on that ego, yikes. "

Why don't you reveal yourself from your anonymous handle and challenge Marc. I am sure you will enjoy eating 130mph serves. Also, losing to someone like Fish is really not embarrassing at all and doesn't indicate whether someone is PRO-worthy or not. You are just some skinny weak chess player who googled US tennis players and tried to sound smart. Go home kid

Nor'''''''''Easterns FoooEvvvaaaaa!!!! said...

1) "Love yourself-have a lot of self-worth
2) "Lower your calories and watch your portions"
1) "And number 1....."

"Mama wants to hear, mama wants to see."

A tribute to the most balanced team in HISTORY said...

SGM Tony gives Nor'Easters a Simul! said...

Go Sharks!

Anonymous said...

wow...ilya and his boys have hit new lows of desperation and want for attention lol

Anonymous said...

27 votes for esserman lol i want a new vote whos the biggest tool krasik or esserman

Anonymous said...

To all the idiots who think that it's funny to insult players far better than them (Nakamura, Shankland, Esserman, to name a few) who did absolutely nothing to deserve it, you are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I think Esserman sort of asked for the attention though, and his one fan who is spazzing out on the comments is just hurting his reputation more and more. I think people are just plain sick egos and constant whining. Try writing a positive post or something actually funny for once.

Anonymous said...

I agree, also playing Mardy Fish definitely indicates if you are pro-worthy, and there is no need to google him, he's in the top 25 in the world rankings, I don't think Esserman fan(s) even know what they are talking about. And that's the moral proven every single time, they insult other people and teams for things they actually do ten times worse, and brag about things they really don't know anything about, the Boston Blitz is the saddest team. You want GOTW controversy look how many Larry has collected over the years and ask yourself how bias the judges have been to you. Stop the whining.

Anonymous said...

I think someone is trying to frame other people for this, its the olderst trick in the books. Someone wants to ruin people's reputation because once u post certain comments, it is obvious who will get blamed, its a great idea.

Anonymous said...

i dont think so, my guess is krasik got in over his head and now is realizing in trying to help his fellow team members hes discrediting them and making people dislike them

Ilya said...

Krasik does not post annonymously nor does he get involved with posting sheer nonsense, this is the last thing I will say on this matter...You have to pity the annon fools, and hope one day they will recover from whatever ails them... If you are tired of watching nonsense I suggest this beautifull clip with Andrea Bocelli, beatifull song and beatiful skating and of course Bocelli himself is a legend.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious how Arun can put up with all of this- he has to moderate the comments, read through the nonsense, and all of this for a league whose president hooked up with his sister? He should quit.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Dude, why are you starting rumors about people's sisters?

Anonymous said...

what is this nonsense dashes and letters spam?

Anonymous said...

esserman and krasik please get a hobby

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

As was shown in the destruction of Rybka, the US Chess League will surely miss its best player.

Anonymous said...

So Shabalov was cheating during the game Marc and still lost??

john said...

Wow, I didn't notice the Shaba game before. I don't unferstand all the rybka3 and cheating references. Can someone please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think someone of Shabalov stature would use an inferior program Rybka3, when every dumb ass and his neighbor knows that Firebird 1.2 and IvanHoe is 55 elo pts stronger, give me a break. GO Sharks

Miami beachh rulez

Anonymous said...

These are serious allegations and I can’t imagine ANY player would EVER levy these accusations against another professional chess player unless they had clear and uncontroverted proof, oh wait a minute...

Hats off to Esserman for dragging Rybka, kicking and screaming, above water and then demolishing it. Imagine how vicious the beating would have been if Shabalov wasn’t instantly relayed moves from his headphones. Any player who plays with headphones on is a joke. We should see how they fail miserably once they are deprived of this crutch, oh what’s that … you mean the results stayed the same? Doesn’t matter I’m convinced I tell you!

harvardmitschmuck said...

The following is an analysis of the Esserman - Shabalov game with Rybka 3 assessing all positions out to fixed depth 14. I apologize for its illegibility forced by the fact that this blog prohibits monospace fonts or any other helpful formatting for data display.

The # column is the move #, the 'W Rank is how Rybka ranks White's move' (1 being best), similarly for B Rank. 'W Acc' is how many centipawns from optimal is White's move (thus the fewer, the better), and similarly for 'B Acc'.

Finally at the end are averages over all the moves. Note how Black's centipawn accuracy is tighter than White's -- 0.06 vs. 0.07, although when viewed from the average rank metric, his accuracy falls (White: 2.03; Black: 3.14 [obviously a sly Pi reference]) due to the doozy on move 17.

# W Rank B Rank W Acc B Acc
7 17 3 0.29 0.06
8 3 14 0.06 0.11
9 1 1 0 0
10 6 1 0.1 0
11 1 1 0 0
12 1 1 0 0
13 1 9 0 0.16
14 1 1 0 0
15 2 6 0.05 0.04
16 1 10 0 0.11
17 2 26 0.07 0.36
18 2 2 0.11 0.07
19 2 9 0.12 0.27
20 1 1 0 0
21 1 1 0 0
22 2 1 0.18 0
23 2 4 0.02 0.55
24 1 1 0 0
25 2 1 0.07 0
26 3 1 0.52 0
27 1 1 0 0
28 2 1 0.06 0
29 1 1 0 0
30 1 2 0 0.31
31 1 1 0 0
32 1 1 0 0
33 1 1 0 0
34 1 1 0 0
35 4 1 0.24 0
36 1 1 0.4 0
37 1 1 0 0
38 1 1 0 0
39 1 1 0 0
40 1 1 0 0
41 1 1 0 0

I hope this clarifies some of the discussion.

I cannot comment on the social phenomena surrounding this game, as I do not dabble in that sphere.

Steven Dvoiris said...

Just want to list all the results in this blog in chronological order.

Esserman-Enhibat 1-0
Esserman-Ginsburg 1-0(phone only rang once)
Esserman-Chase 1-0
Esserman vs Shabalov/Rybka3 1-0

Esserman Jesus Christ do you ever play "black" you asshole ?

Anonymous said...

What proof is there that a world class GM is using rybka-3 in his games, i found the analysis compelling but why is this coming out now and here?

Anonymous said...

LITTLE do all you pawn-lickers know_._...a secret TIME bOmb has been hidden in your pReCiOuS Oracle RRYYBBKKAA ssssset to g0 0FF! in the neeear fUtUre!..! +==+ ev3rywh3r3 s1mu1lt4n305ly!! +=+ RenderINGg ALL CHEATERS hElPlEsS b43 the MASSTERZ wh0 plAy reeeeal CHeSS!!!sSss...

YoU hAVEe be4n wa4ned! (and pw4ned)

Anonymous said...

Shabalov once accused Eserman of cheeting. Hence the referense to cheating here. It isnt real.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Shabalov accused Esserman over this specific game played in last round of Eastern Classs in Sturbridge 2009. Shabalov, wrote an open letter with his accusations to, which Jennifer Shahade flatly refused to publish. In that letter, Shabalov argued that Esserman's moves match, but as someone showed above Shabas moves match more. In any case this article makes fun of the whole cheating accusations by Shaba.

Ulrich Drenning said...

Are these cheating accusation, the norm in the US chess circuit? Just curious

mitharvardshmuck said...

Clearly it's time to start a new category for the US Chess League: Esserman Blog Comment of the Week (EBCOTW).

Suggests for awards? Judging panel?

Ynot Anatnom said...

me thinks the judging panel should be Ginsburg, Shabalov, Ehlevest,Nakamura and Krush in oder to make sure there is no bias torwards Esserman.

Seth said...

Esserman is a gentleman and a scholar. The USCL will be be worse for his absence.

Rihel said...


Two things about cheating:

1) I think accusing people of cheating in the US has become just another way to trash talk on the internet.

2) We have lots of large Class tournaments, where weaker players can win lots of money against other weak players. Thus, there has been incentive to cheat in these events to win the $10,000 prize. In fact, there were many cheating scandals where people got caught at the World Open and other large events.

Ian Poulon said...

I have played in US tournaments and I agree a GM isnt going to risk his reputation to win a few grand, but a 1500 sure, he has nothing to lose. In Europe we dont this phenomenon that a 1500 pay 300 $ to enter but can win 5000-10000. This is really moronic and sad, and of course leads to cheating or to sandbacking your ratings.

Anonymous said...

Esserman, you should come play in Europe. We don't have all this pettiness across the pond. I like your style.

Anonymous said...

"My exclams brings all the boys to the yard and they're like, its better than yours, damn right, its better than yours, I can teach you, but I have to charge!" - IM Marc Esserman

Ynot Anatnom said...

uuuuuuuu, look at them posses running amok. How can Esserman retire when all these posses are ready to die for him? Does Greg Shahade have a possy or Arun Shwarma,no I dont think so. Think of them mang, Not yet catdog, not yet...

Anonymous said...

62 (66%)??? Mang?? No need for a poll, lets declare it now, the biggest joke and tool of 2010 is....drum roll please....ILYA KRASIK. For your constant comments under ridiculous names, grandiose delusions of being funny and tough, and overall annoyance, you by far take the cake and eat it. Congratulations for being Lame of the Year.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet that the USCL organizers could make a bucketload of $$ by putting Adsense on this blog.

Anonymous said...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if you ever wondered why chess isn't a marketable sport just look at the picture of the 2010 USCL champions-NE Northeasters. Not only are they are dressed like bums and look like geeks with that cheesy thumbs up sign but the they don't even look like a cohesive team, what the fuck is wrong with Chase standing all there by himself? Next time, Greg should provide teams with shopping funds to order to avoid such embarrassment in the future. C'mon guys at least try to look presentable.

Anonymous said...

Krasik, the laughable army of one. You might win a day. Whine about draw odds, pump up voting polls, praise your team, hate on everyone in the league, try to write one hundred comments hating on the Nor'easters Championship (and future Champions) that only mysteriously appear in your blog entry, make fun of clothes, brag about your long reach in the mafia, your success and wealth, threaten everyone and then try to get others in trouble if they even disagree with you, keep annoying everyone including yourself when you are up late at night looking for a response to your last mean-spirited comments, and with all that, you lost this year, it's really that simple, you know that means? You are a loser.

Anonymous said...

How long is Bournival and his annon posses are gonna continue to spam this junk. I know you are the spam king and a rap queen but one would think after your "victory?!" you might crawl back into the hole you came from and be satisfied with your "achievement". I'm sure Krasik had nothing to do with the "pumping" of polls or the NorthEasters record, I welcome a probe into this "pumping" matter. I know that "pumping" is your specialty but please lets keep this thread pg13. Some of the comments are just getting out of hand and need plumbing.

Joe the plumber/Son of Sam