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Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 U.S. Chess Championship - Sunday, May 10 (Part 1)

Well, I guess some glitches were inevitable. It has been frustrating trying to follow the course of the current U.S. championship online. First there was a problem with the game transmission, and I thought perhaps the live commentary was going to be in a video format, but all I have found so far is audio commentary. Still interesting, but it's difficult to follow when the excellent commentators Jennifer Shahade and Emil Sutovsky are discussing game variations and you don't have a board to follow.

Mind you, onsite it's absolutely wonderful. The playing venue is clean, large and bright, and on the lower level of the club, spectators can sit in on live commentary, followed by the appearance of some of the players. In this makeshift studio, a large monitor is on the wall behind Jennifer and Emil, with relevant games displayed as the two discusss them.

Updates on the club website have been much slower than I would have liked, but it seems there have been a number of unforeseen technical problems. I've seen plenty of techno types around, so I don't think there's a shortage of personnel, I think it's just a matter of working out the kinks. I know there were backup plans in place for various potential problems; I'm guessing by the end of the tournament most of these glitches will be resolved. The Internet Chess Club is providing some content on their website as well, free to both members and non-members, but I've also found this to be problematic to access. It seems I have to click through several pages to finally get to their content. On the positive side, photography from Betsy Dynako has been dynamite.

I'll be interested to hear from the players toward the end of the event what their thoughts are. My prediction: "Let's come back in 2010!" The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis has put an incredible amount of work into this event, so I'm willing to be patient while these kinks are worked out. In the meantime, if you're also a bit frustrated following the games/commentary online, hop on a plane and see it all in person. You won't want to leave.

We're still waiting to see the Round 3 commentary from Jennifer and Macauley, but here's the wrap-up from Round 2:

And here's the wrap-up after Round 1:



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