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This watchdog 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.

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The remarkable achievement of David Phelps

There is well-documented evidence that during most of the game my opponent David Phelps had his iPhone ON and wore headphones. - FIDE Laws 11.3.b. / USCF Rules 20N violated. David Phelps made three prolonged visits to the RCC office with computers (which may not be considered the playing venue). - FIDE 11.2. / USCF 20N violated. These are obvious FIDE Laws / USCF Rules violations. And after the incident, the TD Michael Lionti and RCC owner Ronald Lohrman admitted the rules violations ("electronic device was on in the playing room", "no permission requested or issued", "the rules were violated due to an oversight by the TDs", "Since now on we must insist that no one uses earphones in the playing hall.” etc. - (All relevant emails are available in full upon request).

"To date, we have failed to find a mistake in David Phelps' play that might be exploited by the chess engines. We invite everyone with advanced skills or computer hardware to try their best to prove the opposite. Any ideas are very welcome." more...

America's hardest working TD!

In promoting chess, Ron Lohrman goes the extra mile. He has been known to simultaneously direct tournaments sixty miles apart! But how can he direct two tournaments in two places at once? The answer is through hard work and steadfast dedication!

On 10/04/2014 Ron was Chief TD at the 19th Annual Arkport Open and at the RCC Saturday Open.

A similar miraclous occurence was also seen on 10/05/2013. Ron was Chief TD 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 Ron as Chief TD of 2254 tournaments since 1991. I'm not positive but I'd stake my life that he was present at no more than five percent of those events.

The explanation is in the rule itself: "In general, the chief TD must be physically present during play..." Ron's there in spirit. Under the aegis of Chief TD, his tacit approval ensures that Rochester Chess Center standards are maintained, even if by lesser TD's. So, relax.

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 65.54 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 6.22 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 2014, finances permitting. For now this means a slog of some fifteen 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 Friday, 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

The Rochester Chess Center's lumpy, backwater website has poor navigation and a soggy interface. But it's cost-effective and simpler to photocopy leaflets and pass them out directly to players right at the chess center!

We all trust and believe that the internet is a meaningless fad, one that won't last. Most people do not own computers or expensive iPhones, iPads or Androids. I have a computer, but it's busted, too slow. Junk!

A computer is just another office machine. You wouldn't arbitrarily upgrade a working fax machine or a photocopier, would you? Of course not! The old one is perfectly good. Then why would you upgrade your 2003 Windows XP system? Stick with what you know, stick with what works; -that's the best idea.

For large events such as the Marchand Open, inexpensive mailing labels of area US Chess members are placed on envelopes containing tournament particulars and sent out. Players may forget to read their email or visit a site, but you can bet your sweet bippy they'll read their U.S. Postal Service mail.

As a great American and U.S. Army veteran, 74-year-old Ron is also a former U.S. Amateur Chess Champion, 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.

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