Attention! Important Disclaimer!

This website is not sanctioned by the Community Chess Club of Ro­chest­er or the Ro­chest­er Chess Center. Editorial content is authored exclusively by me, Randy MacKenzie.

Contributions to this website become my property. While gratefully acknowledged, they do not constitute an endorsement and no association should be inferred.

See an error? Sorry about that. We're committed to keeping this information accurate. Report the error here and we'll get it fixed ASAP.

The remarkable achievement of David Phelps

I'm Igor Nikolayev, an FM. I've played chess for many years, but am now semi-retired from competitive chess. My best games have been played in the USSR, long before the RCC even started.

Adults have limited capabilities and rarer opportunities to improve in chess. But when a 1900 Elo player suddenly plays at GM strength for an entire game, we take notice.

I've played David Phelps about a dozen games, a few recently. None are as close in quality to the prowess shown in this game. He surprised me a few times with dubious and weird-looking moves, moves which seemed to be not of human origin. Other ideas seemed pretty risky but I could not refute them, having expended most of my time.

Amazingly, though playing strongly, my opponent didn't even appear to be concentrating on the game. A classical music fan, most of the game he listened to Tchaikovsky on his iPhone. He spent time in the office, perhaps completing office tasks. Or maybe not. Such diversions are generally illegal under both FIDE Laws (11.3, 11.2) and USCF Rules (20N) and the punishment may result in the loss of the game as soon as the violation is disclosed.

As of Saturday, the 28th of March 2015 07:44:19 PM, we haven't found a single mistake in David Phelps' play. Nothing that might be exploited by the chess engines. We invite everyone with advanced chess skills or necessary computer hardware to find a flaw in Phelps' play. Any ideas are welcome.

At any rate, after the game, I started analyzing... and on August 29, 2014 I filed a complaint with USCF.

Editor's note: Igor has received USCF's continual reassurances that they're taking the case very seriously. But in the the past 6.9 months, even with more than one committee involved, they haven't produced a verdict or adjudication.

Tournament rating fees, annual affiliate and membership fees are paid regularly to USCF by affiliates. This is a principle source of USCF's income. Maybe that's why resolving an official complaint involving a major affiliate is difficult. USCF is not going to bite the hand that feeds it.

The case remains unresolved. While the Ethics Committee certainly "appreciates Igor's patience", the delay in adjudicating probably means they believe the complaint is correct. Otherwise a polite way to reject it and close the case months ago would have been found.

What other possible explanation could there be?

USCF's wonderful Judy Misner

I telephoned Judy Misner, USCF Director of Administration. USCF has tournament records listing a TD who directed two tournaments 60 miles apart on the same day. These same USCF records listed this person as Chief TD hundreds of times for events that he was nowhere near.

She told me to file an official USCF complaint. I said, "Just correct your tournament records." She declined. I said, "Look, I'm happy to give you a heads up on this problem so you can correct the computer data. But surely you're not so corrupt as to want bad records kept at USCF for all the world to see? I don't really want to file an official complaint."

She replied, "Send a letter of the details and enclose a check for $25.00. That is all." They can be excused for not wanting to follow up on what could be frivolous or mistaken allegations.

Banned from the Rochester Chess Center.

I'm happy. Conversation was cordial and non-confrontational. The reason stated for banning was that he didn't want me at RCC gathering dirt, spying. It's understandable. It upsets the pansy of fraternity when one of their own is caught.

Apparently he believes the USCF complaint was filed for personal reasons, not social ones. And that somehow he is the victim; he doesn't own his mistakes.

I already have my master's certicate. Better players than me have already left the Community Chess Club and the Rochester Chess Center. Good players are more frequently banned from chess clubs than average players.

There's not much future in chess for me. I can't see the entire board any more, despite wearing strong reading glasses. I'm 66 years old and my chess is behind me.

I never liked the Rochester Chess Chess Center or the CCCR.

Is USCF corrupt or incompetent?

Bit of both, probably.

Years ago USCF was selling books to it's members and not charging sales tax. Perfectly legal. Decided then to sell books to the general public. Again, without charging sales tax. There was just one problem. The IRS showed up at their door demanding $1,000,000 (or some such fee) in back taxes which the USCF just didn't happen to have. It was a real mess.

You already shop at the Rochester Chess Center. So don't buy anything from USCF, except memberships. Let the Rochester Chess Center supply your chess equipment.

Got any evidence?

Sure! The 19th Annual Arkport Open was played on 10/04/2014. And the same Chief TD directed theRCC Saturday Open. Sixty miles apart. Same date. Same Chief TD. Not possible.

Again on 10/05/2013. Same guy. At the 18th Annual Arkport Open and a two-section RCC event sixty miles away; the RCC Saturday Open. On the same day.

U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, Page 242, CHIEF TDS, ASSISTANT TDS, AND TOURNAMENT AIDES. 10. Chief TD. The chief TD has the ultimate authority and responsibility for the tournament. In general, the chief TD must be physically present during play and should not be a player in a tournament he or she directs.

USCF records (10/14/2014) list him as Chief TD of 2254 tournaments since 1991. He was present at no more than 5% of those events.

501(c)(7) status for clubs

If your club is organized for pleasure, recreation, and other similar nonprofitable purposes and substantially all of its activities are for these purposes, it should file Form 1024 to apply for recognition of exemption from federal income tax." -Uncle Fed.

Incorporating under IRS code 501(c)(7) as a Social & Recreation Club would allow the your club to handle monetary transactions in a bank account specifically for that purpose. (addendum). Running the finances through an officer's personal checking account is unacceptable. The IRS doesn't like organizations paying out monies to individual members ("private inurement" or "private benefit") unless that is their charter. But there is a way out. Club officers should read and understand IRS Publication #557, page 48 and file the proper forms. Failure to comply means that you don't have a club.

  1. Obtain an employee id number (ein)
  2. Create and sign an organizational document (bylaws)
  3. Seek status as an unincorporated association under IRS 503(c)(7)

The local IRS Office is located at 255 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604. Hours are Monday - Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. Telephone (585) 263-5840. They take walk-ins, but they don't give tax advice over the telephone. For IRS tax advice: Personal: 1-800-829-1040. Business: 1-800-829-4933.

If a club meets at a public library and collects no membership dues or fees, then a club constitution or bylaws is not required. But once such a group starts taking in money, things change. That group must be run openly and the members are entitled to have a say in its affairs. This includes having and adhering to a set of bylaws.

European tournament standards differ from American

In America, TD's are not held to the same annoyingly high standards as in Europe where all TD's are well-trained. You can't become a TD there by just paying fees. You study and pass multiple tests in front of a serious commission.

A chess TD in Europe is constantly vigilant and frequently intervenes, watching everything and noting violations, similar to American basketball, baseball, and football referees. But in American chess tournaments, the TD may see problems but doesn't interfere with play unless requested to by a player. Normal in USCF practice. It's practically a totally different chess culture in Europe.

Suppose a European Qualification Committee member, let's say in a Zurich chess club, noticed irregularities in a rated tournament. Players noisily eating potato chips, slurping soups over the board, almost using the board as a plate or a tray, talking during the game, not keeping score sheets, making moves with one hand and pressing the clock with the other, offering a draw more than once, etc. All of which regularly happens in RCC.

If the TD there condones that type of behavior, he would lose his TD certificate and the club would lose its license. They would be told, "You can have good time here socializing and playing chess, but forget about being affiliated with the national federation and FIDE. Just enjoy yourselves and you don't need any TDs at all."

The Rochester Chess Center must turn a profit to survive. But in a socialist country like Europe, businessmen are often well-dressed philanderers, supported by their rich contessa wives. What keeps the Rochester Chess Center afloat is snack bar sales. A genuine business, of course.

"Don't be so serious! It's only chess."

You'll hear this whenever someone discusses having elections, or adhering to USCF rules, or having club bylaws or a constitution, or open accounting books or at least a financial summary.

After the Awards Ceremony trumpeted a player's mediocre simul results, someone calculated that he won 15, drew 4 and lost 6 out of 25. So he scored 68%. He lost a third of his games. Hardly a stellar performance.

Accolades are awards or privileges granted as a special honor or as an acknowledgment of merit. But his result was statistically achieveable by any one of a dozen experts in the Greater Rochester area.

And for such a poor score, the CCCR bought a celebratory cake and issued the guy a Certificate of Excellence. Yes, today's feel good society awards mediocrity on par as excellence.

Is this the official CCCR website ?

Well, no. I'm 65.82 years old and a second-rate web developer. Too feeble to produce quality html code. In fact, under the aegis and expertise of the great Mike Lionti, the real CCCR website was honed to exacting W3C fidelity and top-notch creative standards. There's also the Rochester Chess Club Blog, which is excellent!

Most agree that his CCCR master site has a human touch that reveals a warmth, humanity and down-home, caring honesty. The sheer beauty and seamless eye-candy woven into the modern chess tapestry that becomes the perfect website is quintessentially bedazzling.

Did you know that the CCCR website contains some excellent chess poetry?

Rochester's best chess organizer

Michael Lionti is the guiding force of chess in Rochester. Thinking critically, he contributes to innovation. Communicating clearly, he solves complex problems. Working seamlessly with club members from diverse cultural backgrounds, his inclusive policies, ethical judgement and integrity endear him to all. And with a capacity for continued new learning and an indespensible familiarity with computers and technology, clearly .. one couldn't ask for a better person to run this or any chess club.

What I learned from Mike was that it is not innate abilities, IQ or affluence that accounts for success in life. Rather the keys to achievement are perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism and self-control. Mike personifies this plain grit.

Why did you start this website?

I wanted a serious website for the CCCR, publishing a membership list, bylaws, news, tournament announcements, cancelations, and members' games. The local chess community needed a more reliable, timely source of information. I sought CCCR accreditation for this site and appointment as CCCR webmaster and Director of Media. At that time the CCCR's website was not actively maintained. But Mike has made great strides in improving it and it looks good now. But there is one problem.

Running a local chess website requires the participation and cooperation of local organizers. Collecting needed data for publication proved to be initially problematic. In hindsight it's clear that establishing and maintaining website content is better left to the official powers that be.

And the concensus was that my motives were somehow malevolent and that my calls for rigorously open, honest club government were "too negative." It's true that I come from a different era, ex-military. My values center on morality, literacy and excellence. Today that passes for "negativity."

In fairness they postponed judgement, and later advised me that an official CCCR web site could not include public disclosure of complaints. Completely understandable. It upsets the pansy of fraternity when one of their own is caught. Which is regularly. What's not true is the rumor that I am airing negative aspects of the CCCR. Gentlemen don't do that to one another.

At any rate, on September 30, 2008, about 6.49 years ago, I took the plunge and registered this domain. And I was stuck with the name.

Being a webmaster without a computer is difficult. I plan to buy a nice one in late 2015, finances permitting. For now this means a slog of some ten miles, twice a week. I walk through snow and cold in winter, the rains of April, and the searing heat of summer. Arriving at the Henrietta Public Library, I use a free computer. Bus service is sporatic.

The hardest thing is supervising, training and selecting staff. Sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind. And it breaks my heart to reject players' game submissions, but I must maintain high standards.

I learned HTML in the mid-1990's after procrastinating for months. It's a mark-up language originally designed for non-technical acedemics to create web pages. I have no formal training.

While playing chess on FICS, I met JohnnyRio, who said he had worked in an illegal auto chop shop, stripping down stolen cars for parts. While serving thirty-seven months in an Oregon State Prison for Grand Theft Auto (GTA), or soon thereafter, he created a Bobby Fischer fan web site. It was a simple web page and had a little table with an "x" marked for months that he had Chess Life magazine issues. Thrilling, isn't it?

A convicted felon had a web page. I had none and had recently been cleared of all charges. Something about they never found the head. Whatever. After this lucky break, I resolved to learn HTML. Maintaining this web site has necessitated updating those rusty HTML coding skills, first to XHTML and then to HTML5. That taught me to be more thoughtful and careful in producing good code.

About Community Chess Club

The CCCR is USCF Affiliate A6000220 and meets on Wednesday evenings (except holidays) from 7:00pm to 11:00pm at the Rochester Chess Center, 221 Norris Drive, Rochester, NY 14610 (585) 442-2430 (map and calendar. A USCF-rated event is played every Wednesday at 7:30pm. The time control (TC) is game in 80 minutes. The entrance fee (EF) is $3.00 for CCCR members and $5.00 for non-members. USCF membership is required which gets you a USCF rating.

Sets and boards are provided. If time and TD permit, you can play another rated game. Always report the result to the TD or post it on the pairing sheet. Yes, even if you lost.

Rates: CCCR annual membership dues are $25.00.

Officers: Donald Stubblebine (President); Doug Spencer (Vice-president); Mike Lionti (Treasurer); Secretary (VACANT. And you know why.)

what you see is ...

There are no club bylaws or constitution, no elections. CCCR officers administrate the club adequately (without pay). Most of the members are not interested in actively participating in running the club. CCCR is more of a social club than a chess club.

I hope you will like the "chess club" ... give it a chance. If it doesn't work, you can always go to the chessclub down the street. Yes, the club has it's quirks. And if a club officer told me today was Saturday, I'd buy a calendar.

The good and kind gentleman who owns the Rochester Chess Center nobly protects the weak and innocent from the rigors and drudgery of real chess tournaments. And that means the official U.S. Chess rules requiring writing down the moves during the game may occasionally be suspended for psychologically flawed players. No chit or medical variance is required. I follow his example and endeavor to show similar compassion and consideration to others in my daily life!

So maybe the official USCF rules are not always strictly followed. I'm OK with that, and you should be, too, as an American. The human approach, looser and less mechanical, is a perfectly acceptable way of running a club. It's a chess club where people can play rated chess and men enjoy each other's company. Good luck! Support your local chess club!

Chess Center events and info

As a great American and U.S. Army veteran, 72-year-old Ron is also a former U.S. Amateur Chess Champion (1967), married with a son and a daughter. He was an avid bicycle racer and played some ice hockey at Clarkson College while earning an engineering degree. He worked at Kodak. In addition to being the "Chief TD" of RCC Saturday tournaments that he never attends, he enjoys playing in baseball leagues. His chess camp and scholastic youth programs are outstanding. The Rochester Chess Center sells discounted chess equipment and has a weekly event schedule.

Chess Center 2014 annual picnic

Mendon Ponds Park, East Lodge; Wednesday, July 9th. Directions: Go south on Clover Street, cross the NYS Thruway, enter the park (turn left) at the first entrance. The lodge is 1/2 mile on the left. Fires will be stoked up at 5:30pm, although the lodge is ours from 1:00pm on. Rain or shine, the lodge will be fine!

Rochester Chess Center provides the Chess Sets, soft drinks, and charcoal. Bring your own food to grill, plates, silverware, and sports equipment. This is a communal event, so please bring a dish to share. Last name A to M please bring a salad to pass, N to Z please bring a desert to share. Of course if you have that very special picnic goodie you always make, please bring that along instead.

Everyone is welcome, $2 per person, $5 maximum per family. Picnic is free to Chess Center members and their families.

Why no wifi at chess center?

The internet is a foul place full of child pornography and dating. Fortunately, cops can catch perverts with IP logging. Websites log the IP of visitors and cops can trace individuals identities by contacting their ISP and proceeding accordingly. For example, your IP address is "" and your ISP is "".

Yes, many restaurants have wifi for their customers. But the Chess Center takes a more proactive approach. They don't want people viewing "bad things" on the internet. So wifi is not permitted. Easier that way.

CCCR buys building in Rochester

Community Chess Club Headquarters

Community Chess Club has announced the acquisition of a building in downtown Roch­es­ter, Minnesota, an area with a more understanding tax environment. The concourse has shops, restaurants, and a health bar. One hundred and fifty individual units will house chessplayers at a room rate of $5.00 USD per day. Extended stays are OK, provided that your CCCR, RCC, and USCF memberships are current, and that your USCF rating doesn't decrease by more than fifty points in any three month period.

The present occupancy rate is 75%, and consists of businesses renting office space at premium prices, which defrays our costs. But chessplayers have exclusive use of seven floors for skittles, bughouse, serious tournament play, or just lounging around and eating pizza. No smoking, no alcohol, no drugs, no religion. Use of the sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and wifi-ready recreation area is included.

Demographic projections show that a proposed Las Vegas-style Nightly Chess League (NCL) will draw a weekly total of a thousand (1000) players, Monday through Friday. It'll be played in three sections: open, under-1800, and unrated. We believe that an upscale clientele will prefer our events to the bar and restaurant scene in recessionary times. It's the tiered-top building, just left of the large rectangular structure in the center of the photo.

Do you compete with the CCCR?

Mike and I have different styles of webmasterin'. He prefers to do everything himself. That way he knows everything will get done. As a tyro, I rely on a coterie of helpers and assistance in a wide range of areas: layout, color selection, dhtml, gamescores and analysis. But, yes, we compete. Check out this googlefight with the CCCR Official website or the one with the CCCR Blog.

Mike ain't much of a coder. Takes major exception to guys ragging on him about how CCCR should be run. But he's a good guy and we all love him because he's brought stability and structure to our chess community. Yes, errors to the main website abound. And the blog needs corrections, too. But they work.

Grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff

American chess grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff grew up a mile from the Rochester Chess Center. His comments on his chess career and chess games are available. The Boylston Chess Club Weblog has an Up Close & Personal story.

He was chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003, and is now an economist at Harvard University. His views on the current (2008) financial crisis and other financial matters are widely aired on National Public Radio and the BBC Radio World Service. His economic insights appear regularly in Newsweek, New York Times, and The Financial Times. He served as an economics adviser to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Senator John McCain.

In 2010 he co-authored This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly with Carmen M. Reinhart, reviewed by the New York Times Business and Economy section. Elsewhere he writes of the imminent Chinese Property Collapse and wonders, "Can Good Emerge From the BP Oil Spill?"

On April 27, 2010 the National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 72 new members, including Professor Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard's Department of Economics. Professor Rogoff will join the Academy's 2,097 active members as advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. Bloomberg has some accounts of Rogoff's recent activities.

Matt Parry plays chess in Vung Tau, Vietnam

[Oct. 4, 2008 Matt Parry Vietnam Tournament] Show your support for Matt's upcoming trip representing the USA at the World Junior Chess Ch. in Vung Tau, Vietnam. Three round Swiss System (2pm, 4pm, 6pm) G/60. Special Entry Fee $20.00, $10 donated to the Parry family, $10 to prizes. Your last chance to see Matt before he leaves for Vietnam for two weeks. Pizza and snacks provided, but bring a dish to share, if possible. Update: Matt won the tournament, the cash prize and got $200.00 to help defray costs of the trip. Congrats, Matt! We all hope you do well in the World Junior Chess Championship! Update 10/24/2008: At the event midpoint, Matt is doing well, winning when expected to, and losing games to much higher rated titled players, GM/IM/FM. He finished with +5 =0 -6.

Matt Parry has contributed his trip summary from the 2008 World Junior Chess Ch. in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Return to top of page