IM Ippolito Shoots for Simul WR!
In 1922, the then new World Champion, Jose Raul Capablanca, played 103 people in Cleveland. It took a little over seven hours to complete the event; he lost only one game and won the other 102, for an amazing win percentage of 99.5%. This was the best result ever in Simul history for an event that took place on over 75 boards.
Over the years, Paul Morphy and Garry Kasparov have played “Grandmaster Only” Simuls.
At London’s St. James Chess Club in 1859, way before the term “Grandmaster” was used, Paul Morphy played five Masters considered to be among the Top 10 players of the day, scoring a 3-2 victory.
Kasparov’s Simul against the 1992 West German team at Baden-Baden, consisting of Vlastimil Hort, Eric Lobron, Matthias Wahls, and Gerald Hertneck, where Kasparov won two and drew two, was one of the best results of “Grandmaster Only” Simuls.
The list of notable names having successfully accomplished amazing Simuls is impressive; now another name is set to be added to that list: IM Dean Ippolito.
This challenge came into Dean’s life for good reason. Through his company, “Dean of Chess Academy,” he has done some great work with children and adults, but he wanted to bring attention to chess on a grand scale in America. In June 2010, when he began thinking of ways to do that, his thoughts turned to the Guinness World Book of Records.
Remarkably, Dean has not lost a Simul game (an astounding 15,000+ games since 1991) and has been training for this event, both physically and mentally, since summer 2010. Along with a workout regimen he began with a personal trainer (the event could last up to 20 hours), he conducted two warm-up Simuls as the world-famous Marshall Chess Club in NYC in which he played against over 30 people with ratings over 2100, and many experts. He drew two games and won the rest in 3 1/2 hours. Not only does Dean have 25 years of tournament experience as a player, but 15 as a coach for National Championships. Adding to that impressive resume, he is also one of 58 Americans to qualify for, and play in, the U.S. Championships.
Now, concerning recent Simul exhibitions, there has been an interesting (and very costly to Ippolito and his Sponsors) sequence of events:
GM Morteza Mahjoob, with the full support of the Iranian government, had destroyed a previous 360-player record by playing 500 at once in which he met the required 80% win percentage, but the qualifications of those he played were vague and thought not “to be of suitable standard.” Originally, Dean was scheduled, in November 2010, to attempt breaking that record by playing over 500 players, but four weeks prior, Israeli GM Alik Gershon beat him to it; he broke that record by playing 517 people, winning 86% of the games. The thing is—this wasn’t the real kicker! Both Iran and Israeli governments accused the other of cheating. These last two attempts, steeped in controversy and mired with accusations of cheating, resulted in Guinness officially retiring the event—all this just TWO WEEKS before Dean’s November Simul!
The good news is that Guinness reinstated the event, setting higher standards for a “professional” World Record in which the challengers are required to have a minimum established rating of 1200 USCF or FIDE. There is also a minimum win percentage of 80 percent. So now, after all the upheaval, the first attempt following the newly-instated rules, was going to be by Ippolito on April 9, 2011, playing 100 challengers, BUT—only a few weeks ago, the aforementioned GM Mahjoob claimed the first record by playing 135 players. This is the record Dean must now beat.
On April 9th, 2011 at St. Ann’s Elementary School in Raritan, N.J., starting at 10 AM, Ippolito plans to break Mahjoob’s record by playing over 135 challengers. Originally, a max rating of 1800 was put into place for this Simul, but that has been removed since Dean needed to open the field to recruit the additional players in time for the event. Though the World Record challenge is a major focus, it is not the only one; all the proceeds from the concession stand will benefit the Knights of Columbus (Dean is a Knight and his wife, Dawn, is a Columbiette).
"Dean has been training for this event, both physically and mentally, since summer 2010."
You have seen a lot of chess. How do you train mentally for this?