By Grant Oen
The smashing success of the recent 2016 Phillip Taylor Georgia State Championship, which awarded an unprecedented $10,000 prize fund to a record 175+ players, proves that the Georgia chess community is still alive and kicking. The strength of the Championship section was clear: 1 GM, 2 IMs, and 4 other masters over 2300 USCF; 6 previous Georgia State Champions; and all 26 players were above 2000 USCF. Some of those in the Championship field are also Atlanta Kings, a team made up of most of Georgia’s top players who compete in online chess matches against teams from cities across the country in the US Chess League.
More information about the Atlanta Kings can be found at the new website www.ATLkings.com, including player profiles for the 2014 and 2015 Kings, their games, news, and general information. The Kings are managed by Grant Oen and Thad Rogers.
Below is the 2015 roster (player profiles can be found here):
GM Alonso Zapata
IM Daniel Gurevich
FM Kazim Gulamali
NM Deepak Aaron
NM Richard Francisco
NM Michael Corallo
IM Carlos Perdomo
NM Damir Studen
FM Xiao Cheng
NM Leo Martinez
NM Sanjay Ghatti
The 2016-17 US Chess League (USCL) season brings with it great intrigue. There are many changes which will make it easier and more fun for fans of the USCL and the Atlanta Kings to watch the games live. The following is a quick summary of the changes going into this season:
USCL matches will start in January 2017, meaning team recruitment must take place this fall. Matches will now be played on Chess.com, which offers free accounts for everyone. Previous years’ matches were played on ICC, where only paid members could follow the games live. Chess.com and the USCL will offer live online commentary on the games via Twitch.
The new average rating cap has been increased from 2400 USCF to 2500 FIDE. Players may play from anywhere, including home. Only 2 of the 4 players used for any specific match must be considered “local;” the other 2 players can compete from anywhere in the world. The new time control will be G/15 with increment, instead of G/75 inc/30. All 4 players on each team will now play against all 4 players on the other team. Thus, each match is made up of 16 rapid games.
These huge changes bring a lot of excitement to the league, as it is possible for any team to now recruit Magnus Carlsen or Garry Kasparov to play for them in addition to their local players. The league will become much stronger overall, and Chess.com’s free platform, the increased rating cap, and the G/15 time control will make it great for spectators to watch.
However, to remain competitive with teams such as the New York Knights, St. Louis Arch Bishops, and any of the powerhouse teams from Texas, the Atlanta Kings will need to recruit a handful of out-of-state GMs and IMs to play for us in addition to all of our local heroes. The Kings narrowly missed the playoff matches in our two previous US Chess League outings, with the 2015 final week loss to Walter High’s Carolina Cobras eliminating us from the post-season matches. Our goal this season is to make the playoffs and secure a top-4 standing (there will likely be 20-24 teams this year). See all Atlanta Kings games here.
To attract enough interest to build an incredible 2016-17 roster, the Atlanta Kings need your help. We’ve set up a GoFundMe page where you can donate any amount, all of which will go directly to supporting the Kings. You can find more information, including a link to donate via Paypal, here. We hope that our community will support Georgia’s only professional chess team in our efforts to win the nation’s biggest online chess league.
The Atlanta Kings management team and all of our team members thank you for your support. Please remember to tune in and watch our online matches against the best teams around the country in January. Updated news regarding the USCL and the Atlanta Kings will always be found at ATLkings.com and our Facebook page.