Family, Fun, and February Freeze: Day Two of the World Amateur Team

by Robert N. Bernard

** View a collection of day 1 games here

** Read Day 1 report here

The second day of the US Amateur Team championship was a frigid affair.  With temperatures in the morning near zero degrees Fahrenheit, players traveling locally were glad to get out of the parking lot and into the warmth and good cheer of the ballroom.

Two more matches were contested on the second day, Sunday, at at the end of the day, only six teams has won all their matches and remained with a perfect score of 4 out of 4.  These teams, ChessNYC All Stars, Straight Outta Compensation, Chess Adacemy 1, Rookie Cookies, Komodo Dragons and last year’s champion Virginia Assassins will battle in Monday morning’s fifth round.

Since teams must have and average chess rating of 2200 (master level), teams always have interesting compositions.  Some people play with their entire families, some teams consist of mixed genders, some people stack with teams with very high rated grandmasters on the top boards and lower rated players on the lower boards… and some teams do all of them.  Grandmaster Alex Stripumsky and Grandmaster Joel Benjamin are members of the United States Chess League’s New Jersey Knockouts, and are on the team “Knockouts Reloaded”.  However, in order to bring their average rating below the 2200 limit, they have enlisted Stripunsky’s young daughter as their fourth board.  In the third round, the Knockouts Reloaded played the Schach and Euwe team — their fourth board was Joel Benjamin’s mother!   Thus, in this  battle, Benjamin’s mother played Stripunsky’s daughter — the younger woman prevailed.

In the half hour before the Sunday evening matches, tournament director Steve Doyle gives away many door prizes, and today was no exception.  One of his contests was to guess the most asked (and presumably annoying) questions of the tournament directors; the most frequently asked: Are the pairings up yet?

He also reads nominees for the Best Team Name with the crowd applauding for their favorite. The winning team is refunded their entry fee, and this year, the winner was Hillary’s Email: No Open Files.

Monday should be an exciting third day and look for the report tomorrow.