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Old March 27th 04, 02:58 PM
Sam Sloan
 
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Default Problem Resolved - 2004 US Woman's Championship Scheduled

Problem Resolved - 2004 US Woman's Championship Scheduled

Beatriz Marinello has announced a 5-0 decision by the USCF Executive
Board to resolve a series of vexing problems concerning the US Woman's
Olympiad Team.

The decision is as follows:

1. Jennifer Shahade and Rusudan Goletinai will play a four game match
at the Marshall Chess Club. The winner of this match will be deemed
the fourth highest rated US player, behind Zsuzsa Polgar, Anna
Zatonskih and Irina Krush.

2. Thereafter, the 2004 US Woman's Championship will be held at St.
John's University. The top ten USCF rated women will be eligible plus
the current champion, Anna Hahn. The winner of the tournament will be
entitled to play on the US Woman's Team at the World Chess Olympiad in
Spain.

There are several reasons for this:

The US Woman's Championship was supposed to have been held in January
2004. However, the event was cancelled for financial reasons. This had
led some to conclude that Anna Hahn, who won the title of 2003 US
Woman's Champion, had the right to play on the Olympic team. However,
the "Dream Team" headed by Susan Polgar produced a contract signed by
Frank Niro in March 2003 changing the qualification rules in such a
way as to make it unlikely that Anna Hahn would make the team in view
of her low rating. Indeed, Anna Hahn has a rating so low that she was
not even really entitled to defend her US Woman's title. In addition,
Anna Hahn has only played three games which have been thus far USCF
rated within the past 12 months. Therefore, she failed to meet either
the rating requirement or the activity requirement for the US
Championship.

This agreement gives Anna Hahn the opportunity which she would
otherwise not have to defend her title. It is to be noted that only
the top ten rated players plus Anna Hahn will be eligible. If any of
those ten decline, they will not be replaced by lower rated players.
The result of this is that all players rated over 2300 will be invited
but no players rated below 2200 will be invited. Funny coincidence:
Almost the highest rated player who is not eligible to play is Beatriz
Marinello.

http://www.uschess.org/ratings/top/feb04/women.php

The maximum number of players will be eight. If seven or eight players
play, the event will be a round robin. If six or less players play,
the event will be a double round robin. It is already known that one
of the top ten will decline.

Please note that two of the top players on the Top-100 Women's list
represent other countries in the Olympiad and are not eligible for the
US Championship. They are Alexandra Kosteniuk and Martha Fierro.

The reason for the match between Jennifer Shahade and Rusudan
Goletiani is that they have been neck and neck in the ratings, with
Jennifer generally having a higher USCF rating and Rusudan having a
higher FIDE rating. However, in February, Rusudan played in the
Continental Woman's Championship for both North and South America.
Rusudan scored 7 1/2- 1 1/2 against an all-master field, won first
prize in the Continental Woman's Championship and collected a gob of
rating points, putting her far ahead of Jennifer Shahade in rating.
Since Jennifer did not know that this event was going to be rated and
since Jennifer had the best result of any women in both the 2002 US
Championship and the 2003 US Championship, it seemed fair to let
Jennifer play a match with Rusudan.

Also, the loser of the match will have a chance to make the team
because then the 2004 US Woman's Championship will be held, and the
winner will automatically be entitled to a spot on the team.

The reason for the tournament is that it was anticipated that the
winner of the 2004 US Woman's Championship would play on the Olympiad
team. That tournament was scheduled for January 2004. However, there
was no money to hold the tournament, so it was cancelled. Because of
this, several persons contended that Anna Hahn, who won the 2003
Championship in a quick chess playoff, was entitled to play. However,
this would be unfair to the other players, as this had not been
announced in advance. Also, the other players were never informed of
at least two changes which were made in the qualification rules, one
in March 2003 and another in August 2003. Now, the US Woman's
Championship has been rescheduled for June, 2004 and the winner will
play in the Olympiad.

Another factor is that January 2003 is too far in advance to hold a
qualification tournament for an Olympiad to be held in November, 2004,
especially with young rapidly improving players coming up. For
example, Tatev Abrahamyan is only 15 years old and is rated 2332.
Because of her youth, she did not get to play in the 2003 US
Championship, but now she will get a chance to play in the 2004
Championship and to qualify for the US Olympic team.

We all need to thank the numerous people who made the resolution to
this complex legal problem possible. These include Beatriz Marinello,
Don Schultz, Yasser Seirawan, on behalf of the American Foundation for
Chess, Michael Khodarkovsky, representing the Kasparov Chess
Foundation, Dr. Frank Brady, who secured the St. John's University
playing site, and Dr. John McCrary, who is contributing to the prize
fund.

Sam Sloan


Here is the announcement by Beatriz Marinello, USCF President.

Dear Fellow Board Members and Chess Friends:

There are no problems only opportunities! As a result of the e-mail
exchanges and phone calls concerning the selection process of the
Women's Olympic Team, there came many positive aspects. First and
foremost the willingness of the America's Foundation for Chess and
Erik Anderson to help us, by offering a diplomatic approach, which
will allow us to run a 2004 U.S. Women's Championship.

Secondly, the invaluable input from Yasser Seirawan in putting
together this proposal.

In addition, there were very positive and constructive conversations
between Michael Khodarkovsky, Vice President of the Kasparov Chess
Foundation (sponsor of the Women's Training Program and Olympic Team)
and the USCF.

On behalf of the US Chess Federation, I would like to express our
thanks to all of you. By working together, this proposal shows that
our organizations can make a significant contribution to the future of
chess in America.

This morning in a phone conversation between Michael Khodarkovsly and
me, we were able to refine Yasser's proposal, to the point that we can
work out a very good compromise, without losing the sponsorship of the
Kasparov Chess Foundation.

This proposal includes two stages as follows:

1) In order to resolve the rating issue of the Continental
Championship, the Kasparov Chess Foundation will host a match between
Jennifer Shahade and Rusa Goletiani. The format of the match will be
four games with FIDE's time control. If the match ends in a tie, a
second tie break, after two additional games, sudden death, players
continue to play with the same time control until one of them wins a
deciding game.

The winner of this match will be considered the fourth player by
rating according to the USCF formula to select players to the Olympiad
if the winner of the 2004 U.S. Women's Championship already qualify to
the Olympiad by rating.

We are proposing that this match will be played by the end of May at
the Marshall Chess Club.

2) A 2004 U.S. Women's Championship will be held at St. John's
University in NYC. This event will take place in June 2004.

For this event, the USCF will invite eight players from the top 10
U.S. Women's Rating List, including the U.S. Reigning Champion Anna
Hahn. Only the top 10 U.S. women's players and the reigning champion
will be eligible to play in this event. (Please note that two players
from our rating list are not US players)

The players participating in the 2004 U.S. Women's Championship must
meet the activity requirements.

In the event of having eight or seven players invited to the U.S.
Women's Championship, this event will be a round robin tournament.

In the event of having less than seven players invited to the U.S.
Women's Championship, this event will be a double round robin
tournament.

If the 2004 U.S. Championship winner has already qualified to the
Olympiad by rating, the fourth board of the 2004 Women's Olympiad Team
will be selected from the match between J Shahade and R Goletiani.

If the 2004 U.S. Championship winner did not qualify to the Olympiad
Team by rating, the U.S. Women's Champion will be seeded as one of the
players in the 2004 Women's Olympiad Team. Therefore, we will be able
to comply with the existing rule.

Beatriz Marinello
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