“Academy” Graduates with a World Team Diploma

DSC_0438 (1)Monday night, after three days of play, six rounds and 3,500 games of chess, the biggest team chess tournament in the world came down to a single, nerve-racking game—on Board 2 of Table One. GM Kaufman’s “Komodo Dragons” and NM Ethan Li’s “Academy of Talented Youth 1” had won every match until taking aim at each other. Now, with the team score at 2-1 in favor of “Academy,” FM Karl Dehmelt had to win to put “Komodo” in a tie for first. He completed his assignment with relentless pressure culminating in a rook-sack that forced checkmate.

Dehmelt’s clutch victory also did a service to “ChessNYC All Stars,” with FM Justus Williams on Board 1, and “Wei Yi,” led by GM Robert Hess. The two teams, trailing by a half-point going into the finale, had won their matches and joined a group of four at 5.5. As it turned out, “Academy” took first place on tiebreaks despite Dehmelt’s effort. The final standings:

1st Place: Academy for Talented Youth 1

NM Ethan Li, Henry Qi, Warren Wang and Wesley Wang

2nd Place: Komodo Dragons

GM Larry Kaufman, FM Karl Dehmelt, NM Denis Strenzwilk, and William Michael

3rd Place: ChessNYC All Stars

FM Justus Williams, NM Isaac Barayev, Matheu Jefferson, Tyrone Davis Tii

4th Place: Wei Yi

GM Robert Hess, NM Andrew Ryba, Zachary Weiner, Marcus Sutton

“Princeton A,” led by Jason Altschuler, collected the most tie-break points of the 5-1 teams to take fifth-place.

According to tradition, the packed main hall voted with applause to award the distinction of Best Name, this year to “Hillary’s Email: No Open Files” and gave the Best Gimmick designation to “Knock Out Knights” who danced down the aisle to rap lyrics, in boxing gloves and robes, a la Floyd Mayweather, Jr.


The annual World Team, aka the U.S. Amateur Team-East always attracts a throng of devotees and a host of new competitors. The convention-like gathering is unlike any other chess event. There isn’t a dollar in cash prizes. The team’s the thing, battling for your buddies. This year, nearly 1,200 players, staffing 277 four-person teams, defied the latest New Jersey winter storm. The squads featured 13 GMs, including former champions of Canada, Israel, and the United States. But since each team is limited to a maximum USCF rating average of 2199, titles don’t guarantee success.

And upsets happen. This year NM Peter Korning of Stockholm, Sweden, who came farther than any other competitor to play Board 1 for “Attack and Depends,” made it worth the eight-hour flight by scoring a win over GM Leonid Yudasin of “Chessmate’s Dream Team!”

[Event “World Amateur Team Ch”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2016.02.15”]
[White “Yudasin, Leonid”]
[Black “Korning, Peter”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C54”]
[WhiteElo “2618”]
[BlackElo “2201”]
[Annotator “Pete Tamburro”]
[PlyCount “79”]
[EventDate “2016.??.??”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 {It’s always interesting to see which
titled players play 4.d3 or 4.d4 or, even more interesting–4.Ng5.} Bc5 5. c3
d6 6. Bb3 a6 {Your annotator had a flashback at this point–going back 43
years! L. Dubeck-P. Tamburro, South Jersey Open, 1973:1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4
Bc5 4.d3 d6 5.Nf3 a6! 6.Bg5 h6, and, although slightly different the idea was
so similar. After 47 moves of struggle, we agreed to a draw in mutual time
trouble. Time trouble seems to follow this opening as you will see.} 7. O-O O-O
8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Ba7 10. Nbd2 Be6 11. Ba4 Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 ({More circumspect was
} 12… Bd7) 13. g4 Bg6 14. Qe2 {In the aforementioned game, Dubeck went with
queenside expansion starting with b4, then a4, thus the bishop would not block
the b-pawn when retreating. Different styles…} b5 $1 15. Bb3 Nb8 {Another
playable choice was 15…Na5, giving it that slow Anderssen/Steinitz Ruy Lopez
look.} 16. a4 c6 {Thus far, this has been a well-contested game with many
possibilities left unchosen. Another White choice would be 17.d4.} 17. axb5
axb5 18. Ra2 {An idea you not infrequently see played by GMs in the Ruy Lopez.}
Nbd7 19. Rfa1 Qc7 20. Kg2 Qb7 21. d4 exd4 22. Nxd4 $1 ({Favorable to White
would be:} 22. cxd4 Rfe8 23. e5 c5) 22… Bxd4 $1 {No two-bishops worry wart
is Black! He knows he’s equalized.} 23. Rxa8 Rxa8 24. Rxa8+ Qxa8 25. cxd4 c5 $3
{Any other move would have given White a decent advantage.} (25… Qe8 26. f3
h5 27. Bg3 hxg4 28. hxg4 Qe7 29. Bd1 Nf8 30. Nb3) 26. dxc5 dxc5 27. Bc2 c4 28.
Qe3 ({One might have expected} 28. f4 {to mix things up.}) 28… Qc6 $6 ({To
be considered was} 28… Qa1 29. Qc3 Qe1 30. Bxf6 Nxf6 31. Qd4 Qc1 32. Bb1 Nh7)
29. Qd4 $6 ({Testing Black’s defensive resources would have been} 29. f4 Qc5
30. Qxc5 Nxc5 31. f5 Bh7 32. Bf2 {We get the impression that the clock has
become a third player in this game.}) 29… Ne8 30. b3 (30. Bg3) 30… cxb3 $2
(30… Nc5 31. bxc4 Ne6 32. Qe3 bxc4) 31. Bxb3 Nd6 32. f3 $1 {White has
stopped the counterattack on e4, has kept the two bishops and he’s not letting
the b-pawn go anywhere. Black’s bishop is without scope. White now has a
decided edge.} Qc5 33. Bf2 Qxd4 34. Bxd4 Kf8 35. e5 {Or Bc3 and Bb4.} Ne8 36.
f4 {The killer f4 move. It has been looming the entire game, but this moment
is particularly deadly.} Bd3 37. Kf3 b4 38. Ke3 Bb5 39. f5 Bc6 40. Ne4 {and
White, on the brink of an easy win, falls one move short and forfeits on time.
Nevertheless, Black’s play against the titled player was exemplary for most of
the game and gave his opponent apparently too much to think about! 0-1} [/pgn]

This year’s female competitors were made especially welcome with a special place to chat and relax, sponsored by the US Chess Women’s Committee and hosted by Kimberly Doo.


Top Board prizes are a special distinction at The Team. This year, FM Justus Williams of the “ChessNYC All Stars” was king of Board 1. GM Joel Benjamin, a World Team stalwart, took Board 2 honors.


Three scored a perfect 6-0 on Board 3: Daniel Gordon of “Rookie Cookies,” Jason Shi of “Hello Mate!” and James Hiltunen of “Meet Us at Brooklyn Diner.” Board 4 winners were Dan Rade of “Man in the High 0-0,” Evan Ling of “Bb8?? R2D2 Wins Easily,” Tyrone Lii of “ChessNYC All Stars,” and Sally Yu of “Princeton B.” Jason Lu of “West Orange A” was best alternate.

“Princeton B” took Best College team. “Millburn Dragons” earned Best High School. “The Sixers (Masterman)” was best Middle School, and “N(Knight)est Knights” was Elementary champ. The aptly-named “No Pawn Left Behind” won Military honors. “CKQ Lethal Weapons” won Mixed Doubles, and “Vasser Chadwick A Train,” a team name in keeping with this year’s jazz theme, won the Seniors award. Tom Bartell and Peter Minear teamed up to win the popular Sunday-night Bughouse tournament. The World Team confers a host of division and special awards, memorializing them with clock and plaques. For a complete listing, go here: www.njscf.org

GM Larry Christiansen annotated one of his own trademark attacking wins.

Pete Tamburro also annotated some fun games and finales:


This year’s edition of serious competition and frivolous chess-related fun, emceed by the entertaining showman E. Steven Doyle, in his 41st year of service to the event, came to a close as snow and sleet made the drive home yet another test. Steve’s talented crew always deserves our public thanks: Noreen Davisson, Bernadette Doyle, Bob Garrison, Dov Gorman, Joe Ippolito, Carol Jarecki, Aaron Kiedes, Jabari McGreen, Sophia Rohde, Mike Somers, and Howard Stenzel. They handle the complicated task with good humor and aplomb.

Al Lawrence is the Director of the College Chess committee and will also be writing the article for Chess Life Magazine. Rainbow Unicorns won the US Amateur Team West (Sid Banik, Albert Lu, Cameron Wheeler, Alvin Kong) while Chakis-Mate (with John P Nardandrea, Lawrence Storch, Robert Persante and Peter Dyson) won the US Amateur Team South. Look for more details on those competitions coming soon to US Chess. 


  1. For the editor: No need to publish this note. Thanks for posting my game. Because of an error on my scoresheet, you give the White player as Wathall. I believe that the correct spelling is Walthall. You may wish to fix that one word. Regards…

  2. It might seem like I put Mr. Yudasin under pressure, and made him lose on time because of that. The truth is, he made a mistake in his score sheet. I can only imagine his frustration when I pointed this out. But he graciously accepted the fact, shook my hand, and said “rules are rules”./Peter Korning

  3. Old (aka Czech) Benoni setup is seldom seen? Certainly true for GM games, and amateur games too, I suppose. Still, I think a timelier and more useful comment would be along the lines of the rare Czech Benoni may arise more often now that longtime exponent FM Asa Hoffman’s book about it recrntly hit the market.

    • Well, Jon, based on the thousands of scoresheets I collected, I didn’t find any based on Asa’s book. We are awash in Benko Gambits, King’s Indians, Gruenfelds, and Nimzo-Indians and Dutch Defenses. Maybe the last two are due to my recent book, Openings for Amateurs, where I recommend them for two different styles of player. That would have been timely, too. Also, Al’s deadline was Tuesday, and I was hurrying to get something annotated out for CLO. Thus, I spent more time on some games (like the amazing Jeremy Glassman game above) than others.

    • From Vassar-Chadwick A Train. Congratulations . We asked about that. I don’t think our team was eligible for the prize anyway.

      Ernie Johnson

  4. Today I received this e-mail from Dr. Craig Fisher.

    Dear Jim,

    We are so sorry that USATE tournament organizers announced we won the seniors prize.

    Ernie Johnson , our team Captain, sent 2 emails to Steve Doyle telling him that we did not win the prize … we weren’t even eligible for it!! We have one player under 50 this year!!!

    However we never received a plaque, and never received anything. Only saw the early announcement that we won. If we receive any prize we would be more than happy to forward to you!

    CONGRATULATIONS on your 4.5 score and your win of the senior prize!!

    Blessings on you, your team and your club,

    Craig, President, Vassar-Chadwick Chess Club

Leave a Comment

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Announcements

  • US Chess Press