The US Amateur Team and our Club
Sunday, February 29, 2004
|Larry Eldridge||Maybe one of these days (I'll write a history), but it would be quite
a chore. Ross played in it all the time when he was a kid, and I can't even remember how
many times I've played in it. Indeed, when I was down there in Feb. I asked around to see
if anybody like Jack Collins or the NJ Chess Association had such records, as I wanted to
look up my own performances, but they didn't seem to exist -- or if they did, they seemed
very difficult to get at without
spending a lot of time.
And that's just one person. Other club members who have played in it to my knowledge include Epp, Michael, and Rob Huntington. That might be all. I don't know if Joel ever made that scene or not. Lou Mercuri used to play, but I assume he is no longer a club member, if he ever was. Chris Chase played many times with outstanding results on Board One, but again, he's not a member as far as I know.
FYI, it is a great tournament which almost everybody who plays in it considers the highlight of the chess year. You should really think about organizing a club team for the event. I will probably play for a Collins Kids team again next year, Huntington usually plays with the same group each year, and Epp always forms his own team along with a friend of his in
Baltimore and GM Anatoly Lein when they can get him, but there should be plenty of other possibilities, such as those who play in tournaments like the World Open, and maybe others who would find it easier to get away for a winter weekend than July 4th. Just a thought.
|Joel Johnson||The first time that I went to the U.S. Amateur Team Championship, I
was 23 years old (1979) and rated 2320. I played Board 1 on our team which consisted of
Joe Fang, Bill Kelleher, Adrian Casillas, and Jerry Donahue. The other four guys drove
down to the tournament together and stayed at the hotel. Me, being very poor at the time,
with a family to support (my daughter, Christina was only six weeks old), decided that
staying at the main hotel would be too expensive. So, I drove my family down to New Jersey
in my 68 Chevy Caprice and stayed at a cheap motel a couple of miles down the street on
Route 1. After 4 rounds, we are doing well with 3 1/2 points. Late Sunday night into
Monday morning the area gets socked with a major snow storm (roughly two feet of snow). It
hours to get out of the parking lot with my car, as the plows had pushed huge amounts of snow in my way, I had no shovel with me, and the motel parking lot was not plowed. Needless to say, I never made to my round 5 game. But, the team realizing that I probably was stuck in the snow, left me out of the round 5 match. We won the match. Then came the last round, which I was present for. A win in the match gave us second place in the event guaranteed. We were playing a home town team (from New Jersey). My game on board 1 went extremely well and I won fairly quickly. A couple more games finished and the score of the match is 1 1/2 - 1 1/2 and in the last game, Adrian Casillas is up a Rook, but in
serious time pressure. His opponent resorted to putting pieces between two squares, making it impossible for Adrian to determine which square the piece was being moved to. We attempted to locate the TD who was nowhere to be found. Eventually, Adrian lost on time. We protested the outcome of this game and the match, but our appeal was overruled. It was a long trip home, not only because of the snow, but because of the way we got robbed.
The next time that I went down, we took home third. Our team was very strong, however, there was only one team that we didn't match up very well against. Our team consisted of Bill Kelleher, me, Sandy Joshi, Rich Lappin, and Richard Esman. Richard Esman was our ringer. He was unrated, but played at 2100 strength. He ended up playing in every one of our matches on board four with Lappin and Joshi sitting out three times each. Esman scored 6-0 in his games and won a clock. Our team with Bill, me, Joshi (who was very underrated at 1950 also - he became a Senior Master), and Esman could have beaten just about
everyone. However, there was one team we couldn't beat and sure enough we got paired against them. Their team consisted of three Senior Masters (Steve Odenhal, Kenny Regan, Mark Ginsburg, and a patzer). In the match, Bill Kelleher drew on Board 1, Esman won on Board 4, and Joshi and I lost. My game with Regan was the pivotal game of the match. We finished the tournament with a 5-1 score, which tied for third. We ended up killing everyone on tiebreak because the only match that we lost was 2 1/2 - 1 1/2 and we creamed everyone else. Each one of us received a chess clock, four for the team finishing third, and Esman won the Board 4 prize.