World Amateur Team & U.S. Team East 2015
Posted: 2/20/2015 | Updated: 2/21/2015
World Amateur Team & U.S. Team East 2015
Three years ago I was invited to participate in the 2012 World Amateur Team & U.S. Team East
Tournament. It was my first serious tournament after 23 years’ time out. In 1989 I was a young Russian candidate master; In 2012 I was an unrated amateur. After four World Amateur Team & U.S. Team East tournaments, I had made a big come back from unrated amateur to National Master with a 2371 rating and was made the ICA1 team captain.
Tournament atmosphere
The World Amateur Team & U.S. Team East is not just a regular tournament.  It is a must-attend social event for American chess. Here you can find people of any age, background, nationality, and education level. But most importantly – the big share of young chess players. They are everywhere – sitting, standing, lying down, running, crying, jumping. Everywhere in the Hilton Parsippany there were chess boards, ticking chess clocks, chess books, slices of pizza, and so on.  It is so familiar that I could easily imagine myself as a schoolboy in my first tournament. I feel young, full of energy and enthusiasm. 
It was my fourth team in this tournament. Maybe it was not the strongest, but it was the most balanced and with the most excellent team spirit by far. Chess is a game and everybody makes a lot of mistakes. Our team was not an exception. A very difficult win in the first match just added additional fuel for our team engine. Very tough wins in the fourth and fifth rounds against very strong opponents moved us to board #1 in the final round. The final match against co-leader – Virginia Assassins – was very impressive, dramatic and caught everybody's breath. The draw in this final round allowed us to share 1-3 places from 285 teams. It is a great and impressive achievement! 
Eugene Socolovsky (4th board, 5 of 6) – won best alternate player prize!
As a long time ICA trainer, Eugene showed the young teammates samples of very good understanding of different positions and good defense in difficult situations. He needed some warm up in the first two rounds, but after that he was perfect and made a decisive contribution in our matches with the last three strong opponents.
Dmitriy Volkov (1st board, 4.5 of 6)
I tried to play more solidly to transfer some confidence to my teammates. The first three rounds were easy for me with three quick wins, but the last three were draws against strong opponents. The culmination was the game with IM David Vigorito. I had a bad position after opening, but managed to scramble for a draw after 5 hours and 75 moves. In general, I consider my performance good because I played four games by black and gained 11 rating points.
Haik Der Manuelian (2nd board 4 of 6)
Haik has gained about 100 points since last year. His play has become more mature, especially in the mid-game. But he should work to eliminate some weak points like perfectionism and the wish to calculate everything until mate, difficulties in games with weaker opponents, and to improve his complex endgame play. He also needs to manage his time a little bit more effectively. Also, keep your nerves, Haik! I hope that he will be a very strong player in the near future.
Aaron Shlionsky (3rd board 3 of 5)
Aaron is a very strong fighter in spite of his young age. He reminds me the main opponent of my childhood – grandmaster Vadim Milov. He just needs to work on his openings a little bit to avoid grinding in a bad positions.
David Rubenfeld (Substitute, 1 of 1)
David played just one game in the first round, but this game was decisive. Just his win in a bad position allowed us to get a narrow win 2.5:1.5. Thank You, David!
And also, I can't forget our team architect and our most loyal fan – Diana Tulman. Our victory was impossible without her.
Dmitriy Volkov
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