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Counterplay Bruce Pandolfini,

Chess Educator of the Year I was delighted to see the article on

Bruce Pandolfini in the May 2012 issue. He is a gifted educator/communicator, as well as a talented master. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Mr. Pandolfini, I might well have given up on chess books as a form of instruction. When I finally got out of school (decades

ago) and could afford “luxury purchases” such as chess books, I was greatly disil- lusioned: The vast majority of chess books appeared to be little more then sparsely annotated, self-indulgent game compila- tions that I could only assume the master-level authors had undertaken in an undisguised effort to gain some extra coin. After several disappointing pur- chases (have to buy before you can read, back then) I realized that an author’s chess prowess was meaningless if he couldn't effectively teach/communicate. And though I admired their over-the- board prowess, the vast majority of grandmaster authors didn’t seem to be able to write their way out of a pawn-lined paper bag. Then I found one of Mr. Pandolfini’s

books! At last! Someone who not only had talent, but could organize material into logical topics and break down infor- mation into a systemic presentation! It restored my faith in chess as a science as well as an art! Chess literature has improved (somewhat) over the years, but even today, few come close to the effective- ness of Bruce Pandolfini. (In fact, just

this month I purchased a DVD from U.S. Chess by a supposedly reputable grand- master, only to be subjected to a rambling, obviously unscripted series of “lectures” that, as a professional techni- cal communicator, made me wince.) Caveat emptor, indeed. These days, I teach (entry and interme-

diate) chess on the side and the two authors I most commonly recommend are Fred Reinfeld and Bruce Pandolfini. I view him as one of the most important, yet under-recognized forces in the chess world over the past several decades—and I very much appreciated and enjoyed the article.

Douglas Holzworth Raleigh, North Carolina

For more on Pandolfini, see the facing page. ~ed.

Rating overlap The rating system overlap between quick chess and regular chess is needlessly confusing for players and organizers. A clean break needs to be made so that one is either playing a quick game or a regular game—not both. I suggest that Game/5 to Game/59 with a three-second delay be quick rated and quick rated only! Longer time controls can use the reg- ular rating system. In any case, the exact point of the break is less important than that the systems be separated and sep- arated promptly.

life member via e-mail

Ron Deike

Ratings committee chair Mark Glickman responds:

While having a completely separate

quick and regular rating system may seem “cleaner,” it is arguably more principled to keep the two systems connected. It is undeniable that players who are strong in quick chess are also generally strong in regular chess, so the formulas take advan- tage of results in events with Game/30- Game/60 time controls to learn about both ratings. If we were to move to a system with disconnected quick chess and regu- lar ratings, then we could have players whose quick and regular ratings differed by hundreds of points, and the rating sys- tem would lose credibility.

Rules book editor Tim Just provides fur-

ther perspective: The Ratings committee looks at the sta-

tistics and then recommends how to tweak the system. In this case it looks like you disagree with their recommendations. If you want to change the system you can get your, or any, USCF delegate to introduce a motion to be considered by the dele- gates at their annual convention. Your motion’s wording would disallow dual rat- ings and introduce the system you propose here. A technical motion like this would probably get passed along to the Ratings committee for an evaluation to be reported on at the next delegate’s convention. So when the motion is ready, you or your delegate might consider getting a leg up on the system by also sending it directly to the chair of the Ratings committee. That way when the delegates consider your motion the committee will already have its report in hand. While the task of making a change might

seem like a lot of work it can happen. At the 2011 delegates meeting a new tie- break system was added to the rulebook (see updates published on the USCF’s web page: New to Chess?->Official Rules- ->Rulebook Changes Since the 5th Edition). There is no reason that your idea can't follow the same path.

Send your letters to If Chess Life publishes your letter, you will be sent a copy of Test, Evaluate and Improve Your Chess (see ad to left).

6 Chess Life — July 2012

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