This year’s edition of chess rivalry between the armed services is already showing hints of historical proportions. For the first time ever in the history of military chess, a lone Air Force tigress laid waste to a field of mesmerized men by defeating the top boards of both the Army and Navy teams.
Paired against LCDR Choate (USCF 2050), Elena Dulger (USCF 1828) humbled the Navy’s top player in the first round. She then vanquished 1LT Macaspac (USCF 2086) in the second round, this year’s Army champion and top seed. After two rounds, the leaders with perfect scores are: Bucholtz (Air Force), Carrelli (Marines), Dulger (Air Force), and Baniel (Army).
A delayed broadcast of the games on MonRoi is planned starting this evening. Some site issues including the lack of Internet access at the playing venue made live coverage infeasible. However, all games from the last four rounds will be made available for replaying to fans of military chess starting tonight. The remaining rounds will be seen immediately after the games are completed.
The winner of the team competition is determined by simply adding scores of all of team members, and the team with the highest score earns the bragging rights as champion. Besides the team event, the top finisher of each team will take the first four team spots. The remaining two spots will go to the other top placers regardless of service.
In this scheme, any team can possibly (and only) take three spots in the US Armed Forces Chess Team. The upside to this arrangement is that each service will at least be represented. In addition, it also effectively removes the possibility for one service to exclusively comprise the team.
The downside is evident as it is possible for players to earn a berth on the US Armed Forces Team by simply becoming the top scorers of their respective services. These players may not necessarily be in the top ten on the wall chart. When this happens, the US Armed Forces Team essentially is not fielding its strongest team based on results.
The format of the tournament is 7-round Swiss but no player will be paired against his teammate. The six-player team will represent the US Armed Forces in this year’s edition of the NATO Chess Championship to be held in Brussels, Belgium. The dates are yet to be announced.