Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ashik vs Jack Li G90 Rated Challenge Game at NorCal House of Chess

I and Jack Li played a rated G90 challenge game today at NorCal House of Chess. We played a long game and I while I was in advantage in the middle game having a night and bishop against Jack's rook, it was in the border line of draw vs my win. Eventually I won the end game as well as Jack's flag fell!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

TubeMogul Chess Club lost 3.5 - 0.5 to DropBox Chess Club

The recent TubeMogul Chess Club vs DropBox Chess Club ended up being a big margin victory for DropBox with a 3.5 - 0.5 score. The tournament was held at San Francisco Mechanics Chess Institute at December 3rd.

In the first board I drew my game while at other 3 boards we lost. Mechanics Director IM John Donaldson analyzed this game and was published in next TNM newsletter - 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

TubeMogul vs DropBox Chess Match Will Be Held at December 3rd 2015 at San Francisco Mechanics

I have been thinking of a chess match amongst software companies in Sillicon Valley for last few years now. There are many good chess players in San Francisco Bay Area who happen to be good IT professionals too and thus ending up in working on many of these big companies or small and medium startups. As a first step, I took Salesforce in Ametuer Team West Championship at February 2014. After that tournament Bay Area Chess Organizer Salman Azhar talked to me about potentially arranging a corporate only chess match. While I had Salesforce Chess Club and knew several people play regularly in Intel, MicroSoft and other companies - I was not sure how to find the particular contact who arranges those sessions in those companies.

Earlier this year, San Francisco Mechanics chess institute Director IM John Donaldson arranged an evening gathering with a dozen chess players in the club and asked us how can Mechanics Chess Club attract more IT professionals into their regular chess tournaments. We got out with some ideas from the brainstorming and within a few weeks he emailed me and another chess player from DropBox Renjish to check if we can participate in a team match between our companies. In the meantime I joined TubeMogul leaving Salesforce and started a brand new chess club there finding Richard Bruce, another regular tournament player who worked in TubeMogul. Unfortunately he left the company shortly but I have been able to build a 4 player team to participate in a match against DropBox. Renjish also confirmed that he has his team ready to have a match against TubeMogul.

So here we go now. Mechanics Chess Club will host the event at December 3rd evening at their San Francisco Premise where 2 teams will gather with 4 players each. It will be a Game in 1 (each players gets 1 hour in his/her clock) in 4 boards. The team that gets at least 2.5 points out of 4 wins.

I invite you to join us and watch it as an audience. If the games are broadcasted over internet via ICC, I will share the details as soon as I know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Another Grand Chess Experience: Millionaire Chess 2015 #MC2

This year again I went with my family to Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas to play Millionaire Chess Open 2015 tournament popularly tagged as #MC2. Due to my and Shusmita's office, we took the evening flight at 7th October to fly from San Francisco to Las Vegas and missed by a slight margin the pool party of Millionaire Chess that night. And we just came back last night 12th October while keeping our heart, eyes and ears on Millionaire Monday throughout our flight.

It was yet another grand chess vacation for us. Personally my playing strength has been going down last many months due to my focus on job change and I knew I wont play well. My son Ahyan also didn't get too much of breathing space in the Under 1600 section although he came very close to Millionaire Monday in the Under 1200 class prize by half a point. Approximately 570 players from 52 countries gathered in the large Planet Hollywood Casino at Las Vegas this year - 50 of them are Grand Masters. I still have to know if this is a record for open tournaments, but if not - its definitely at the high side.

There were several new things introduced by MC team in this year's tournament. Pool party is the first and then the next was the ETMS (electronic tournament management system) where each player were given a wrist band that would identify him/her, show their pairing and also allow reporting results in kiosks similar to airport ticketing kiosks. It was developed by Dave Kriewall and was fantastic as much as I saw. Yes, from second rounds it didn't work well for under sections and hence tournament organizers had to revert back to backup plan of pen and paper again, but its very promising. Then there was Confessional booth where players can go during a game and talk to camera that is constantly video recording. My son Ahyan went there once every round he played (7) and I myself went there 3 times. It was nice to see the commentators GM Robert Hess, IM (and WGM) Tania Sachdev and IM Laurent Trent responding to my query on Pawn Sacrifice movie in the live broadcast. Also I saw lot more large photographs this time, adding not only the world chess champions but also all women chess champions in the tournament hall. And then there was Millionaire Square Prize which eventually was not captured by anyone.

There was a paring mistake by the backoffice (computer guys picked a wrong file) in the first round pairing and lots of people got a forfiet point. But center of the discussion was the 7th round controversial draw between Nakamura and McShane.

Watching Nakamura, Caruana, Kamsky, Wesley So and all other top GMs so cloesely on how they falter at times made me feel we all are humans. Nakamura finally won the open section of the tournament with a large 100 thousand dollars check. So despite so many grandmasters playing in the tournament in the both the editions both MC1 and MC2 winners were Americans - Wesley So (born in Phillipines) and Hikaru Nakamura (born in Japan) who represent USCF (United States Chess Federation).

But the biggest thing for us was Ahyan's coach Ted Castro getting into the Millionaire Monday at Under 2200 section. He eventually became runner up and won 19 thousand dollars! Congratulations Coach Ted, we are proud of you!

I collected 23 autographs of chess celebrities, grand masters and renowned chess personalities. That itself is a nice collection for me now that I will enrich adding more to this in future. Millionaire Monday we were heavily involved following Coach Ted Castro's semi final and final games and arrangement to fly back to SFO. So we could not do much for Ahyan's birthday that day when he turned 9. But we took him to his favorite Urban Turban, our new discovery, an Indian Restaurant near Las Vegas strip where we became a frequent visitor this trip. I also took him to On Top of The World of Stratosphere. Chess journalist and my good friend Daaim Shabaz took a half an hour audio interview of me on MC2 that same day.

Many good pictures on #MC2 might be found here -

Chess journalist Daaim Shabaaz, a good friend of mine through Millionaire Chess, wrote an article with interviews of several attendees including mine in his well know blog The Chess Drum -

Ashik Uzzaman (Fremont, California) – From Bangladesh by origin and software engineer by training, Uzzaman is probably the most ardent supporters of the Millionaire Chess franchise. He has been an active supporter through his videos and through his various posts in response to MC “haters”. 
Ashik Uzzaman with son, Ahyan.
Uzzaman, whose son is also competing, mentioned some of the things he thought makes the MC idea so unique such as the “Millionaire Square” game show. He also spoke at length about sponsorship potential of MC. Uzzaman works in Silicon Valley and believes that there is great potential to marry chess with the empires of the technology catalysts. There was an agreement on the fact that a complementary team of volunteers to help take the load off of the principle founders. It is obvious that there are a lot of talented people in chess who are at the highest level of their professions. 
Lastly, there were kudos given to the “confessions booth” which he visited several times and his son Ahyan visited each round!  30:25 minutes


Here are some quotes on Millionaire Chess 2015 -

* Millionaire Chess is the gold standard for chess tournaments! - Chess Promoter, Coach, Organizer Paul Truong

* Despite the fact that simple math tells you last year's event didn't quite break even for Maurice and Amy, they have the vision that taking losses in the first couple of years will validate to players that this tournament is, in fact, worth playing. This elite event is open to everyone and it is held in the best of Vegas styles; offering the chance to win more money than you thought possible for chess. They are gambling on future editions to bring them big rewards. - GM Alejandro Ramirez in his article on MC2

* Who said there ain't pretty lady's in chess!!! -  A facebook comment on a Millionaire Chess photo post of Mehrnaz, an Iranian chess player based in NY who participated in the unrated section

* I think the traction could be much bigger than people realise. This event will make people realise that chess is more than two old guys playing in a coffee shop. - Events director of USCF  Frank Guadalupe told to The Guardian

* If we're ever going to be a televisual game we cannot have games like this...I consider it a stain on our game. - Organizer GM Maurice Ashley on Nakamura-McShane 9 moves draw controversy at 7th round

* Speaking of the commentators, I give them two thumbs up. - NM Dana Mackenzie in his chess blog

* There is also excitement because more “star power” has been added before the September 30th registration deadline. - Chess Journalist Daaim Shabaz wrote in The Chess Drum

* While my result left a lot to be desired, this in no way reflects my level of enjoyment of the tournament, and Maurice and Amy once again did an excellent job hosting a top notch event. I'm already looking forward to the 2016 edition. GM Sam Shankland in his facebook post on MC2

Yes, I think high prize money with high entry fees is the way to go, because chess in general needs more attention and recognition and higher cash prizes tend to get that.  - Under 2200 section winner of Millionaire Chess 2015 P. Prachura to Chessbase India

When I met Ashley, I was suspicious of his iconoclasm. He dislikes games that end in draws (which the majority of games between grandmasters do). He reckons the prevalence of draws killed cricket in the US, and doesn’t want chess to go the same way. He also wants games played at faster time controls than is usual – no more of the seven-hour sessions beloved of purists. Surely this is changing the essence of chess, I protested “There are different essences to chess,” he countered. - Steven Moss at The Guardian

Monday, September 28, 2015

20 Sponsored Movie Tickets for "Pawn Sacrifice"

Dear Community Members,

As a chess player I would like to encourage you to watch the movie Pawn Sacrifice which is centered around the 1972 World Chess Championship Match (the most famous and dramatic match in chess history) between American Prodigy Bobby Fischer and Russian Boris Spassky. The movie got released all across USA this week and I am sponsoring 20 free tickets for this movie to our Bay Area Bangladeshi residents. You may check one of the reviews on this movie here.

If you are interested to watch the movie together in a group show, please email to and with your name and phone number. If you want to bring your friend or another family member, please mention in the email.

The movie showtime we selected is next Saturday 3rd October evening at Century 25 Union Landing, Fremont. Total number of 20 free tickets will be given on a first come first serve basis. From the same family, maximum 2 members will be given free tickets.

Please feel free to email me or call me at 510.386.1856 if you have any question.

Ashik Uzzaman
President, BABA

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ashik vs IM Ricardo De Guzman (Drawn), Best of the West, Round 1

Just one day after defeating IM Ricardo, I got paired against him again in first round of Best of the West Championship in Santa Clara Marriott. This time I drew a completely winning position, thanks to Ricardo's good knowledge of rook ending and my lack of it. Still I have nothing to regrest drawing against an IM!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Won Another Game Against IM Ricardo De Guzman

As I and my son Ahyan regularly play Friday Night Marathon at Fremont Norcal House of Chess, I frequently face IM Ricardo De Guzman there. I invariably loose all the time except once I won. Today won a second time. If you want to check my first win against Ricardo, here it is.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ahyan Won US National Junior Chess Championship 2015 in Age 8 and Under Group Winning All 5 Games

2015 US National Junior Chess Congress was organized by Bay Area Chess during January 24th and 25th at Santa Clara Convention Center in the hearth of Sillicon Valley. The tournament had 8 different Age Level group - for Under 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20. Two groups for Age Level 6 and 8 were held in 25th January while the other 6 groups were a 2 days event.

Ahyan Zaman, Bangladeshi American living in Fremont (California) won all the 5 games and clinched the National Junior Champion title in Age group 8 and Under. He is currently studying in 3rd grade of Parkmont School and is a regular member of the chess club NorCal House of Chess.

73 players participated in the Age 8 and Under group. Ahyan from Norcal House of Chess was 6th top seed by rating in this group. His final (5th) round game was the championship decider, where he faced top seed Adrian Kondakov of Berkeley Chess School which you can replay here -

Above is the final result posted in the wall at Santa Clara Convention Center. The USCF results can be found here -

In that same age group's team championship was won by NorCal House of Chess and Ahyan was part of that team. While he has a bunch of trophies at home, this is by far the largest and is close to as tall as him. After winning the tournament, his first question was - where am I going to store this trophy?

The presentation was given by four times Women World Chess Champion GM Susan Polgar. Here is a video of the part where Ahyan received the trophy from her after announcement by Chielf Tournament Director Tom Langland.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pushing Wood - Chess Documentary by Jeffrey Plunkett on Maurice Ashley and Millionaire Chess

Film Maker Jeffrey Plunkett recently started a crowdfunding campaign in IndieGoGo named Pushing Wood -

The goal of the campaign is to raise $50,000 to fund making of a chess documentary on GM Maurice Ashley, Millionaire Chess and some insights into Professional Chess. The campaign will last until end of January and has raised more than $4,000 as of this writing. You can check out the impressive staffs, the perks and the other details in the campaign page. I read 2 good reviews on this project in the Chessbase article and NM Dana Mackenzie's blog post apart from many facebook comments. USCF recently published an interview of the film maker here -

My favorite part from the promotional video is GM Timur Gareev's quote -

The only goals that are worth accomplishing are the unreasonable ones. Millionaire Chess is an unreasonable idea... and its just happening right now... hahaha...

One thing I noticed is that the funding type for this project is Fleixble Funding which IndieGoGo describes as - This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal. So I am very hopeful that the documentary will eventually come out, no matter what. The current delivery date is December 2015. Millionaire Chess #2 will happen in October 2015 in Las Vegas, so I assume Plunkett will be able to include few things from that event too in the documentary.

We, the chess players, should support this initiative.

Footnote: This month's Chess Life Cover Article is on Millionaire Chess #1 by GM Daniel Naroditsky.