Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Most Overinflated "Scandal" Ever

In the past week or so, we have learned that there is no consensus among NFL quarterbacks concerning the ideal amount of air in a football. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers--arguably the best quarterback in the game today--prefers that his footballs are "overinflated," while other quarterbacks prefer that the footballs are not inflated past the NFL's prescribed air pressure range. The New England Patriots are being accused of deriving some supposedly great advantage by allegedly deliberately underinflating the footballs that their offense used during the first half of New England's 45-7 victory against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. The NFL is investigating the matter and all that can be confirmed at this point is that New England's 12 footballs were properly inflated before the game, that 11 of those footballs were deemed to be underinflated by halftime and that the footballs New England's offense used in the second half of the game were properly inflated at halftime and after the game. New England led 17-7 at halftime before blowing the game open in the second half and Tom Brady's worst pass of the game was an underthrown attempt late in the first half that was intercepted by the Colts' D'Qwell Jackson.

According to an Indianapolis writer who perhaps thinks that this is his chance at snagging a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, Jackson immediately detected that something was wrong with the football and Jackson submitted the football to Indianapolis' trainer for further investigation. The problem is that this is not true. Shockingly, a member of the mainstream media wrote something that is false (forgive the sarcasm but the mainstream media is completely out of control and if writers cannot even get their stories straight about footballs then why should we trust what they say about matters of global importance?). Jackson emphatically states that he noticed nothing wrong with the ball that he intercepted. Jackson kept that ball because he wanted a souvenir of his first postseason interception. He could not tell the difference between that football and any other football. Ironically, thanks to this media driven "scandal," Jackson does not even have possession of his souvenir, because the NFL is keeping it as some form of evidence.

It is bizarre to believe that the Patriots would tamper with footballs on game day after the footballs have been inspected and fully realizing that officials and opposing players are going to handle those footballs. Every time the Patriots see the Colts, the Patriots beat the Colts like the Colts stole something and the Patriots generally accomplish this by running the ball down the throats of the soft Colts defense. So how would underinflating the footballs even fit in with New England's game plan?

I have a theory about this. I think that the Colts knew that they were going to lose and that they sent an undercover operative to New England's sideline to tamper with the footballs. That tampering resulted in the Brady interception that helped to keep the score reasonably close at halftime and the subsequent "scandal" has diverted focus from how poorly the Colts prepared for, coached and played this game. Of course, I have no proof whatsoever to support this theory but why should that stop me from writing about it? Lack of proof does not stop anyone else from coming up with asinine theories and then lying about the facts in order to bolster those theories. I demand an NFL investigation into the Colts' tampering with New England's footballs!

I don't believe a word that I wrote in the last paragraph. The point is that it is easy to make stuff up and create a tempest in a teapot. Let's try to apply Occam's Razor here. Instead of coming up with conspiracy theories and looking for underinflated footballs under grassy knolls, wouldn't it make more sense to believe that footballs that are thrown, squeezed, spiked and otherwise handled during wet, cold weather will probably lose some inflation during the course of a game? Has anyone from the NFL tested footballs at halftime of cold weather games prior to last weekend? The only reason that this is a national story is that some doofus writer in Indianapolis has an ax to grind with New England and/or he wants his 15 minutes of fame. So why didn't the second half footballs become underinflated? Maybe the outside conditions that affect inflation changed. Maybe fewer footballs were used during the second half. Maybe the second half footballs were slightly overinflated to make sure that even if they lost air they did not become underinflated.

It is reassuring to know that the NFL and the mainstream media are right on top of this story, though. This is a lot more important than PED use, concussions, domestic violence, fatal DWIs, etc. ESPN's Mike Wilbon wants the NFL to throw the hammer down on New England Coach Bill Belichick because Wilbon considers Belichick to be a habitual rules breaker. Does Wilbon have an opinion he would care to share with the world about his fellow ESPN employee Ray Lewis, who led Baltimore to two Super Bowl wins after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in a still-unsolved double murder? If you just want to cover sports, bloviate during a half hour TV show and make up controversies, then stick to that. If you want to be some kind of commentator and social crusader, then don't pick and choose your issues--unless you think that "Spygate" and some allegedly underinflated footballs are more important than a double murder. Before someone throws out "innocent until proven guilty" concerning Lewis, keep in mind (1) Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in an unsolved double murder so he is, by his own admission, at least guilty of obstruction of justice and (2) just because Lewis has not been proven criminally guilty of double murder that does not mean that the NFL and/or ESPN must hire him or glorify him.

Media members have been on Belichick's case for more than 20 years. They hated him when he mumbled through his press conferences in Cleveland, they mocked him when he did not take the head coaching job with the Jets and they have looked for every reason to discredit/belittle his success in New England. That is the real story here. This deflated football controversy has provided a great opportunity for grandstanding media blowhards to revive the so-called "Spygate" case. If we are going to stomp over that well-trod ground yet again, let's at least stick to the facts:

1) The Patriots did not "spy" on anyone; they conducted their filming out in the open, using a team employee who was dressed in full Patriots regalia. In a May 2008 article, I explained how ludicrous it is to suggest that the Patriots conducted some kind of covert, nefarious operation:

I have not been able to find the "Spygate" videos online but SportsCenter had a great clip of someone--presumably Matt Walsh--standing under a huge stadium scoreboard in full Patriots regalia openly filming the field. The only way he could have been more visible is if he had worn a Bozo the Clown nose and started waving giant semaphore flags. There is no way that any objective person could watch that tape and conclude that the Patriots were trying to hide what they were doing. They committed a technical violation of an NFL rule and were heavily punished for that but to call them "cheaters," to imply that this was some kind of covert operation or to suggest that the Patriots' Super Bowl wins are in any way tainted is absurd--and for Specter to call for a Congressional investigation of the violation of an NFL rule is ridiculous. Should Congress investigate holding penalties and pass interference calls, too? Any analogy made between "Spygate" and the performance-enhancing drugs problem is bogus because PED usage without a prescription is illegal and represents a potential public health problem, particularly for young athletes who look up to stars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

2) Some sore losers and some New England haters are resuscitating the unproven allegation that the Patriots secretly taped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before New England's 20-17 victory over St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI; the Boston Herald irresponsibly--and without any evidence--published that unfounded rumor just two days before the Patriots lost 17-14 to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, a terrible accusation to make at any time and particularly before such a huge game. The Boston Herald subsequently published a retraction of that article, admitting that there is no factual basis for their original story and that they never should have published it.

3) Two-time Super Bowl winning coach Jimmy Johnson publicly stated that his teams and many other teams did the same kind of filming that the Patriots did.

4) The Patriots won 69.3% of their regular season games prior to "Spygate" and they have won more than 75% of their regular season games since "Spygate." The Patriots have the best regular season record in the NFL since "Spygate." "Yes," the man wearing the tinfoil hat while listening to alien communications from Area 51 says, "but New England won three Super Bowls before 'Spygate' and New England has not won a Super Bowl since 'Spygate.'" The answer to that is simple if you understand probability and sample size; the best NFL team wins the Super Bowl less than 25% of the time. That is why even when Tiger Woods was by far the best golfer in the world it was smart to bet on the field over Woods in any one particular event. The Patriots are in contention to win the Super Bowl almost every year, just like the San Antonio Spurs are in contention to win the NBA title almost every year--but even the best team cannot realistically expect to win every game or every championship.

5) If people are going to persist in declaring that New England's pre-2007 success is "tainted" by "Spygate" then let's take an unjaundiced look at some other Super Bowl champions. The New Orleans Saints figured, "If you can't beat 'em, maim 'em," and their ownership/management/coaching staff/players put out bounties on opposing players. The Saints mauled their way to the 2010 Super Bowl title before the NFL suspended GM Mickey Loomis, Coach Sean Payton and several other coaches and players after discovering the long paper trail proving the existence of the bounties. The San Francisco 49ers violated salary cap rules during the 1990s. Any time you hear the iconic "This one's for John" audio, keep in mind that John Elway failed miserably in his first three Super Bowl appearances before the Denver Broncos circumvented the salary cap in order to put enough talent around him to help him win the big game that he was never able to win while following the rules. The Broncos were twice fined nearly $1,000,000 for those salary cap violations. The 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers are considered the pioneers of NFL steroid usage, which could explain why so many players from those squads have experienced mental and/or physical problems before dying young.

If you believe that a guy sitting in the stands wearing Patriots regalia and filming signals that anyone could "intercept" by carefully watching a TV broadcast committed a sin against football remotely equivalent to the actions of the Saints, Broncos, 49ers and Steelers then there is nothing I or anyone else will be able to say to help you think more clearly.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NCCA Corrects Injustice, Restores Joe Paterno's 111 Vacated Wins

The NCAA's brass realized that they had overstepped the bounds of their authority--and committed an injustice against an honorable man--by stripping Joe Paterno of 111 wins in 2012 and on Friday they belatedly corrected their error. Paterno thus regains his deserved status as the winningest coach in major college football history with 409 wins, 32 more than the retired Bobby Bowden.

The NCAA reached a settlement agreement with Penn State just weeks before the NCAA would have faced a trial concerning the legality of the consent decree that the NCAA issued in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. That consent decree slapped Penn State with wide-ranging sanctions based on recommendations issued by the flawed and much-criticized Freeh Report.

There is no evidence proving that Paterno could have prevented Sandusky--who served under Paterno as Penn State's defensive coordinator--from engaging in his reprehensible conduct and in fact Paterno acted exactly as he was supposed to act based on the limited information that he knew. The NCAA admitted, in emails submitted to the court as evidence, that pursuing the harsh penalties that it sought to enforce against Penn State was a "bluff." Despite the NCAA's shaky case, Penn State's then-President Rodney Erickson signed the NCAA's consent decree, signifying that the university would not challenge any of the NCAA's findings or actions in the matter.

It is tempting and easy to pile criticism on Paterno and anyone else associated with Penn State's football program during the time that Sandusky preyed on young boys but guilt by association and guilt by incorrect inference are not methods that any fair-minded person should support. The ghastly nature of Sandusky's crimes does not excuse conducting a sloppy investigation afterward, culminating in a broad-brush "pox on all of their houses" set of punishments that singled out Paterno merely because Paterno is the most famous name associated with Penn State. A report drafted by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and a team of experts in law and sexual disorders concluded, "Regrettably, the Freeh report is riddled with errors and misjudgments. No objective individual would ever allow a report as fundamentally flawed, both in process and on the facts as this one, to be he defining statement on their own life, their family or any organization about which they care."

The NCAA rushed to judgment against Paterno and besmirched the reputation of a good man. Voicing support for Paterno does not in any way minimize how horrendously Sandusky acted and the reality that some officials at Penn State failed to act swiftly and properly--but there is no evidence that Paterno committed any wrongdoing. The investigators who brought Sandusky to justice disagreed with casting aspersions on Paterno: Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, explained, "We have a cooperating witness [Paterno], an individual who testified, provided truthful testimony but two others who were found by a grand jury to commit perjury whose legal expenses are being paid for university. One is on administrative leave. Very interesting development. It's certainly curious and [has] not been explained yet. Speaking as a prosecuting agency, we have a cooperating witness who has not been charged, while two individuals accused of committing crimes continue to be affiliated."

The time, money and energy spent attacking Paterno would have been better used pursuing the Penn State officials who covered up Sandusky's crimes and then hindered the progress of the Sandusky investigation.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

History of the Ohio Chess Congress

Dana Mackenzie, who was briefly a regular on the Ohio tournament scene and who earned the National Master title in the 1992 Ohio Chess Congress, notes that Ohio is one of just 13 states that does not publish a list of their official chess champions. Mackenzie's lament reinforces the notion that, in general, Ohio chess organizations do not have great respect for their tradition/history and their champions. The Dayton Chess Club repeatedly rebuffed my suggestions about including a history section on their website (or even just a bare bones listing of the winners of the Dayton Chess Club Championship, an event that dates back to 1959). In 2012, I posted a complete list of Dayton Chess Club Champions and the Chess section of this website includes several articles about Dayton Chess Club history and/or Ohio chess history, including The Dayton Chess Club Championship: Still Going Strong After Five Decades, Looking Back on Two Decades’ Worth of Games Versus Clif Rowan and Mike Anders is Gone Too Soon but His Joyful Spirit Will Never be Forgotten.

Since it is doubtful that the Ohio Chess Association (or any other Ohio chess individual or group) is interested and/or able to produce a list of Ohio's Chess Champions, I decided to gather this information from official sources and publish it for posterity.

The list format is simple: year, site, Ohio Champion, score. I do not have full information for each year but I will continue to edit this list as my research uncovers more details. Each Ohio Chess Champion is listed in bold type; usually, the Ohio Chess Champion also finished first overall in the Ohio Chess Congress' Open section but for some years I was not able to determine the Ohio Champion's final score and/or whether or not the champion was also the overall tournament winner (any non-Ohio resident who finished with an equal or better score than the state champion is listed in italic type in parentheses for the years in which such information is known):


In the November/December 1990 Ohio Chess Bulletin, David Moeser described the formative years of the Ohio Chess Championship: "Early in the 1900s, and again from the late 1920s to 1944, the Ohio Championship was decided by a match between the Northern Ohio Champion (NOC), representing Cleveland, and the Southern Ohio Champion (SOC), representing Cincinnati." The modern Ohio Chess Association was founded in 1945.

????: Bluffton--C. Herman Bahnning 11/12 According to the September 1969 Chess Life, Bahnning scored 10 wins and two draws and he was one of the U.S. Chess Federation's "early state champions." That Chess Life article does not state the year that Bahnning won the Ohio Championship. Bahnning's name does not appear on Moeser's list, which includes the years 1910-11, 1928-1938 and 1944.

1945: Milton Ellenby 6/7
1946: Columbus--John Hoy 6/7
1947: Columbus--Thomas Ellison 6/7 Lawrence Jackson also scored 6/7 but, according to some 1947 Chess Life issues found by Mike Steve, Ellison won the title on tiebreak points. The Championship section included 27 players.
1948: Columbus--Elliott Stearns
1949: Walter Mann
1950: Akron--James Schroeder 5.5/6 The Championship section included 34 players.
1951: Columbus--Harald Miller 5.5/6
1952: Columbus--Tony Archipoff 6/7
1953: Columbus--Tony Archipoff 6/7
1954: Frank Ferryman 6/7 James Harkins also scored 6/7 but, according to the January/February 1991 Ohio Chess Bulletin, Ferryman won the title because he had 32.5 Solkoff tiebreak points compared to Harkins' 30.5.
1955: Charles Heising
1956: Robert McCready 6/7
1957: Robert Steinmeyer
1958: Ross Sprague 6/7 Charles Heising also scored 6/7 but, according to the January/February 1991 Ohio Chess Bulletin, Sprague won the title because he had 33.5 Solkoff tiebreak points compared to Heising's 29.5.
1959: Richard Kause 7/7
1960: Jack Witeczek 7/7
1961: Jerold Fink/Saul Wachs/Thomas Laicik 5.5
1962: George Miller/Richard Ling 6/7
1963: Rea Hayes 6.5
1964: Richard Kause/George Kellner/Thomas Wozney/James Harkins/David Presser 5.5
1965: Richard Noel 7/7
1966: Saul Wachs 7/7
1967: Thomas Wozney 6.5
1968: Akron--James Harkins 6.5/7 The September/October 1968 Ohio Chess Bulletin noted that Harkins became just the fourth two-time Ohio Champion, joining Archipoff, Kause and Wachs.
1969: Columbus--Thomas Wozney 6/7 Wozney won by five median tiebreak points over Robert Burns and Richard Garber. A then-record 122 players participated, though the September/October 1969 Ohio Chess Bulletin noted that figures for the event's early years are incomplete. Saul Wachs won the Speed Championship, scoring 6/6 in the final section (there were three separate preliminary sections, with the section winners facing each other in a round robin final section).
1970: Joseph Shaffer
1971: Columbus--Robert Burns 6/7 Burns (rated 2211 at the time) won on tiebreaks over Thomas Wozney (2211) and Ross Sprague (2229). Burns and Wozney remained tied after the first tiebreaker but then Burns prevailed based on Sonnenborn-Berger points. Burns drew his individual encounters with both Wozney and Sprague.
1972: Thomas Wozney 4.5/6 Wozney (2243) defeated former champions Ross Sprague (2256), Richard Kause (2176) and Jerry Fink (2228) on tiebreaks. Art Keske won the Speed Championship and Calvin Blocker won the Problem Solving Contest; future International Master Blocker, then rated 1865, scored 2.5/6 in the main event.
1973: Columbus--James Harkins 5.5/6 Harkins prevailed on tiebreaks over Joseph Shaffer, Ross Sprague and Rea Hayes.
1974: Robert Burns 5/6 Burns (2204) won on tiebreaks over Jerry Fink (2188), James Voelker (2090), Thomas Wozney (2294) and Arthur Keske (2192). Calvin Blocker (2169) scored 4/6, losing to Wozney in the last round.
1975: Dayton--Ross Sprague 5.5/6 Sprague's victory marked the "...first time in many years that the title has not been decided on tie-breaks" (Quote from the cover of the September/October 1975 Ohio Chess Bulletin). The tournament's top-rated player Milan Vukcevich (2489), fresh off of a third place finish in the U.S. Championship, lost in the second round to Perry Sill (1872) but bounced back to tie for second. Vukcevich also claimed first place honors in the Ohio Speed Championship with a 7/7 score.
1976: Toledo--Ross Sprague 5.5/6 
1977:Cleveland--Danny Shapiro 5.5/6 Ross Sprague and Nachum Salman tied for second-third with 5/6. Richard Horvitz won the Ohio Speed Championship with a 6/6 score, followed by Calvin Blocker (5/6).
1978: Dayton--Robert Burns 5/6 According to the September 1978 Dayton Chess Club Review, Calvin Blocker (2325) and Richard Noel (1865) also scored 5/6 but Burns (2232) won the championship on tiebreaks. Blocker defeated Errol Liebowitz (2159) in a 106 move, 10 hour, 10 minute game in the final round. Blocker won the Ohio Speed Championship with a 7/7 score, ahead of Richard Horvitz (6/7).
1979: Columbus--Errol Liebowitz 5.5/6 "He is the first champion since 1966 to come from the southern half of the state and first non-Cleveland resident to win since 1970. Three former state champions, Bob Burns, Joe Shaffer and Ross Sprague, along with Cincinnati expert Perry Sill, tied for second with 5-1" (Quote from December 1979 Chess Life & Review).
1980:Columbus--Alan Federl
1981: Columbus--Calvin Blocker 6/6
1982: Lima--Calvin Blocker 6/6
1983: Columbus--David Glueck 5/6 (Ed Formanek 5.5, Vince McCambridge 5)
1984: Calvin Blocker 5.5/6 Charles Diebert, Jim Weitthoff, Bruce Steinfeld, Randy Andrews and Dennis Gogel tied for first in the Ohio Speed Championship (4/5).
1985: Columbus--Calvin Blocker/James Schroeder 5/6 (Anatoly Lein 5; Lein would later become an Ohio resident and win the state title in 1999).
1986: Columbus--Calvin Blocker 5/6 (Igor Ivanov 6, Michael Rohde 5, Boris Gulko 5, Vivek Rao 5)
1987: Columbus--Calvin Blocker 5/6 (Boris Gulko 5.5, David Norwood 5.5)
1988: Columbus--Calvin Blocker 5/6 (Anatoly Lein 5, Andrew Karklins 5, Mike Blankenau 5)
1989: Cleveland--Calvin Blocker 5.5/6
1990: Columbus--Steve Wygle/Nachum Salman 4.5/6
1991: Dayton--Boris Men 5/6 (Sergey Kudrin 5.5)
1992: Cleveland--Boris Men 5/6 (Gregory Kaidanov 5.5, Sergey Kudrin 5)
1993: Columbus--Boris Men 5/6 (Alex Shabalov 5.5)
1994: Columbus--Boris Men 5.5/6
1995: Columbus--Alex Yermolinsky/Dmitry Berkovich/Calvin Blocker 5/6 Ram Dake and Carl R. Boor shared first place in the third Ohio Quick (G/15) Championship, each scoring 3.5/4.
1996: Columbus--Greg Serper/Boris Men/John Stopa 5/6
1997: Columbus--Greg Serper/Calvin Blocker/Boris Men/George Umezinwa 4/5 (Ed Formanek 4)
1998: Columbus--Greg Serper 4.5/6 (Alex Goldin/Eric Torman 5)
1999: Columbus--Calvin Blocker/Anatoly Lein 5/6
2000: Columbus--Calvin Blocker 5/6 Blocker's 13th title, according to the July/August 2000 Ohio Chess Bulletin, but my research proves that this was Blocker's 12th OCC title.
2001: Columbus--Mark Geist/Russell Wilson 4.5/6 (Stanislav Kriventsov 5.5)
2002: Dayton--Anna Zatonskih/Carl B. Boor 4.5/6 (Alex Goldin 5.5, Stanislav Kriventsov 4.5, Yevgeniy Gershov 4.5, Jim Dean 4.5) Ananth Pappu won the Ohio Quick Championship (G/10, unrated) with 5/5. David Friedman and Will Surlow tied for second (4/5).
2003: Dayton--Ananth Pappu/Mike Joelson/Bob Basalla 4.5/6 (Ron Burnett 5)
2004: Cleveland--Oliver Koo/Andrew Zebrowski/Paul Nemeth/Kasun Waidyaratne 4.5/6 (Ed Formanek 4.5)
2005: Columbus--Calvin Blocker/William Wright/Allan Bennett/Ananth Pappu/Ross Sprague 4/6 (Jaan Ehlvest 5.5, Stanislav Kriventsov 4.5, Mark Heimann 4)
2006: Dayton--John Bidwell 5/6 (Mark Heimann 5)
2007: Dayton--Carl B. Boor 5/6 (Mark Heimann 5)
2008: Columbus--Calvin Blocker 5/6 (Mark Heimann 5.5)
2009: Dayton--Kris Meekins 5/6 (Matthew Marsh 5) Meekins also won the Ohio Quick Championship (G/25 w/5 sec. delay) by scoring 4/4 in a field of 14 players. Ross Sprague and David Friedman tied for second (3/4). Ananth Pappu won the Ohio Blitz Championship by scoring 10.5/12. Marsh took clear second (8.5/12).
2010: Dayton--Siddharth Ravichandran 5/6 (Alex Goldin 5.5) The father-son duo Carl R. Boor and Carl B. Boor shared the Ohio Quick (G/25) Championship title by scoring 3.5/4 each.
2011: Columbus--Carl B. Boor/Walker Griggs 5/6 (Alex Zelner 5) The official USCF crosstable incorrectly lists Boor with 4.5 but the Ohio Chess Bulletin correctly credits Boor with four wins, one draw and one bye.
2012: Cleveland--Goran Vojinovic/Walker Griggs 5/6
2013: Cleveland--Calvin Blocker/Oliver Koo/William Wright/John Lodger Hughes 4.5/6 (Bryan Smith 5)
2014: Dayton--Hans Multhopp 5/6
2015: Columbus--Goran Vojinovic 4.5/5
2016: Columbus--Mika Brattain 6/7 (Alex Shabalov 6) Yuri Barnakov won the Ohio Blitz Championship (G/5, no delay) by scoring 7/7 in a field of 20 players. Carl B. Boor finished second (6/7) and David Friedman finished third (5/7).
2017: Cleveland--David Allen/Arvind Jayaraman 4/5 (Grant Xu 4.5) No side events were held.
2018: Cincinnati--Mika Brattain 6/6 No side events were held.
2019: Cleveland--Elton Cao 5.5/6 No side events were held.
2020: ONLINE (COVID-19)--Eigen Wang/John Miller/Christian Thornton 3/5 (Alex Lenderman/Gadir Guseinov 4) No side events were held.


This history project will be an ongoing labor of love until I am able to provide complete information about every Ohio Chess Congress. I will update this list each year as new winners are crowned and I will make any other relevant additions/changes as my research uncovers more data about previous champions.

It is widely known that International Master Calvin Blocker has won the most Ohio Chess Championships, but for some time there has been uncertainty regarding how many titles he has actually captured. The July/August 2000 Ohio Chess Bulletin states that Blocker's win in that year's event was his 13th title but my research proves that the 2000 championship was Blocker's 12th title (1981-82, 1984-1989, 1995, 1997, 1999-2000). Perhaps the source of confusion for the writer of the 2000 article comes from counting Blocker as the 1978 champion or co-champion; even though Blocker shared top honors with a 5/6 score in 1978, he lost the title on tiebreaks to Robert Burns (the OCA has not followed a consistent policy regarding the use of tiebreaks to determine the state champion and in this article I have simply followed the standards that were applied at the time that each tournament was held).

Blocker added titles in 2005, 2008 and 2013 to push his total to 15. It is likely that very few players have won more state championships--in any state, not just Ohio--than Calvin Blocker. It is unfortunate that the Ohio Chess Association has not done a better job of keeping widely available, accurate records about this remarkable accomplishment--and about a great event that has been held annually without interruption since 1945.


Sources: Various Ohio Chess Bulletins, U.S. Chess Federation crosstables, Chess Life issues dating back to the late 1960s, and the Dayton Chess Club Review.

1/6/15 edit: I added some names to the list after receiving dozens of Ohio Chess Bulletins from Earle Wikle.

1/15/15 edit: Thanks to information provided by Robert Loggins and Mike Steve, I have been able to identify all of the pre-1969 Ohio Champions who did not appear on my original list.

4/15/15 edit: According to Mike Steve, Witeczek's perfect score in 1960 was reported in the local Lorain, Ohio newspaper. Steve notes that Witeczek later moved to Michigan and won the Michigan State Championship. Also, Steve found a 1981 OCC crosstable listing Blocker as the 6-0 winner, meaning that Blocker scored back to back perfect scores in 1981 and 1982. Blocker is the only player who can be confirmed with posting two perfect OCC scores.


Author's Personal Note:

I have yet to capture the OCC crown but I had two "near misses." In 2010, John Lodger Hughes and I each scored 4.5/6. We were the highest scoring established Ohio residents but Siddharth Ravichandran--a strong Indian playing in his one and only Ohio event--was somehow considered to be an Ohio resident and thus was crowned as the Ohio Champion with 5/6. (Alex Goldin, also a non-Ohio resident, captured first place overall with 5.5/6). Most organizations/clubs require their champions to be established members/residents but apparently this is not the case for the OCA, at least regarding the 2010 Ohio Chess Congress.

In 2005, out of staters Jaan Ehlvest (5/6) and Stanislav Kriventsov (4.5/6) finished 1st-2nd, while five players shared the state title with 4/6. I finished with 3.5/6, though I was not truly in contention since it took a last round win for me just to pull within a half point of the Ohio co-Champions. My strongest performance other than 2010 came in 2000, when I finished tied for 5th-9th overall with 4/6, one point behind tournament winner/Ohio Champion Calvin Blocker, who defeated me in round one.