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Heading off to the US Championship...

Hi kids (and parents)!

 My name is Bryan Smith.  I am a chess coach with Silver Knights, and an international master.  I taught the advanced class in Bryn Mawr, and plan to teach more classes in the fall.  As you might know, I am playing in the U.S. Championship, which starts Tuesday.  I qualified for it by winning the U.S. Masters last year.  For a long time it wasn't clear whether there would be a U.S. Championship this year, when the main sponsors backed out.  But new sponsors emerged in Oklahoma, and that is where I am headed.

The U.S. Championship is a nine round tournament.  Almost everyone there is a grandmaster--I am ranked number 26 out of 36 contestants.  Also, I have had some "real world" things to work out recently, so I didn't get much chance to prepare.  But you can never go into a game with a pessimistic attitude!  If you do, then you will definitely lose. 

 How does one prepare for a chess tournament?  Well, I have a computer with a program called Chessbase, where I can organize and store millions of games that have been throughout the world, from the year 1560 to...yesterday.  So I try to patch up the gaping holes in my opening repetoire.  "What would be better here, f4 or f3. Hmmm.  What did grandmaster xxxx do here?  How did it work out?"  It is sort of like building theorums in mathematics based on earlier proofs.  Actually, I don't like this so much, and wish every game could be decided by the players' creativity and understanding, but in order to survive the opening (the beginning of the game) against a good player, you have to know something!

  I will be doing updates during the tournament.  You can also watch the games live on monroi.com. 

 Oh, and hi to all my students in the Bryn Mawr class!

-Bryan