Twelve players will compete in the annual All-Army Chess Championship at Fort Myer in Arlington, VA starting tomorrow, May 11th. The top six placers will form this year’s Army Chess Team to play in the Inter-Service Chess Championship next month. This year’s batch is somewhat weaker based on ratings compared to the bygone years, but the over the board struggle will not be a cake walk as some of these higher rated players will quickly find out. Many of these players are underrated because of the obvious dearth of over the board tournament opportunities, a peculiarity familiar only to military chess players.
The tournament will miss the participation of the perennial winner, Rudy Tia (seven or eight first place finishes) and other regulars like David Hater and Michael Cerezo.
I am writing this blog entry in the Wi-Fi enabled halls of the Fort Myer Recreation Center in Arlington, VA. I arrived this morning and nostalgic feelings overcame me as the taxi navigates its way inside this historic military post. The last time I was here playing in my last championship was in 2006. I know exactly how each of these competitors feels the day before the start of the competition.
The players will be treated to a sumptuous BBQ party this evening at the traditional players’ meeting meant more as a reunion than a discussion of tournament rules. For the new players, only about half are returning players or players who have participated at least once, the camaraderie at the party belies the fierceness of battle which is set to break out the next day.
Eleven rounds will be played starting tomorrow until Friday. All the games will be broadcasted live on the Internet courtesy of MonRoi so family members and chess enthusiasts everywhere in the world will get to follow the games as they are played on the board.
I will blog about the tournament daily. I will try to annotate one or two interesting games of the day. There is talk to award a $25-coupon for the game of the round, eleven winners in total. The coupon can only be used towards the purchase of a MonRoi Personal Chess Manager.
The management of the Community Center will feed the games to a huge screen for spectators. The live broadcast of the games is a first in the history of Army Chess. Organizers are eagerly anticipating this year’s edition.
I am thankful for the beneficent support of MonRoi which allowed me to come at their expense so I could assist in the setup of the MonRoi system to facilitate Internet live broadcasting of the games.
For many, if not all of the players, it will be their first time to use a digital scorekeeping device in a tournament.
I will post the pairings for the first round as soon as they are known tonight. For those who are in the war zone, we happily welcome you the event. Live coverage is brought to you in part by www.USMilitaryChess.org in cooperation with MonRoi.
Players as listed by rating are shown below.