ICS Interview – RFrancisco

THE ICS INTERVIEWS SERIES – No. 005 – RFRANCISCO
Interview conducted February 2011
First published March 2019

INTERVIEWER

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed as part of the ICS Interviews series.
RFRANCISCO
No problem.
INTERVIEWER
You’re probably best known as a bughouse (and crazyhouse) player on the various _ICS sites you’ve played on, although you’re also well known as a strong OTB player, especially at the scholastic level. Do you still play chess either OTB or online anywhere?
RFRANCISCO
I still play OTB chess, but not bughouse or any variants.  I occasionally play chess on the internet, and fischer random on ICC, though I have only had about 3 paid months of account time in the last 4 or 5 years.
INTERVIEWER
How did you get introduced to playing chess online on ICSes – which server did you start out on?
RFRANCISCO
I believe that I started on ICC with the student discount rate, and later moved to FICS to play bughouse.  I’m pretty sure that I learned to play bughouse at a national chess tournament event, and won the first one that I played in.  I won all the rest too, after getting ‘good’ playing on the internet.  I didn’t have a teacher..as a matter of fact I’d like to believe that I ‘invented’ much of the modern ‘theory’ in bughouse through a revolutionary conception of the time/material/quality of position in bughouse.
INTERVIEWER
I think we can pretty much figure out why your handle was “RFrancisco”, so here’s a little twist on that standard question. Why choose your own name rather than an alias?
RFRANCISCO
I picked RFrancisco because I am not creative with internet names, and have a sense of pride in my identity.
INTERVIEWER
How old were you when you first began playing chess, bughouse, and online?
RFRANCISCO
Chess 9 or so, first tournament at age 10.  Bughouse probably at age 13 or so.  Online play around age 14.
INTERVIEWER
It’s been a decade since your absolute dismantling of Irina Krush in the fourth round of the 2001 Kansas City Supernationals. What are your memories of that event, and especially of that match itself? How much recognition did that win bring you?
RFRANCISCO
I believe the supernationals cemented my position as a rising star of scholastic chess, even though my high school career was coming to a close.  I started later than most players, and caught up in late high school.  I just remember that the game was a repeat of Stripunsky-Francisco, which was the only game that I lost in the poisoned pawn – ever.  I allowed this maneuver Be2-h5-xf7 as I had found a plan of just castling queenside, giving back a pawn, and playing.  I thought the game was pretty neat, as I played out a better technical endgame with an opposite-side queening race and concluded with some excellent moves in time pressure.  The bad part of the tournament was that I was tired and blundered in the next round.  I ended tied for 4th with 6/7 (three had 6.5) but it was overall still a great event.
INTERVIEWER
I stumbled across a YouTube video of you giving a chess interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khkI_od2k18). It’s a pretty long interview and appears to have been done for the benefit of some kids. Have you transitioned to rarely playing chess but also giving lessons and teaching?
RFRANCISCO
I don’t teach chess, as I think it would make me hate playing.  I may consider teaching when I have kids of my own or when I am old and even worse at chess than I am now.  In all honesty, I’d consider teaching a highly talented student, or if I was broke, but that’s about it.
INTERVIEWER
What interface did you use to play on FICS? I assume on ICC you used Blitzin.
RFRANCISCO
I used to use thief for everything – ICC and FICS.  Now I use the blitzin free shit, as I don’t play bughouse.
INTERVIEWER
What FICS/ICC players have you met in real life? I assume due to the large number of OTB tournaments you’ve played in, you’ve had a chance to meet a lot of players throughout the US.
RFRANCISCO
Hmm, lots.  Maybe if you gave me a list I could name them all…as it is I’d never be able to get it complete.  I don’t mind checking against a database though!
INTERVIEWER
Out of all of those players, whom were your favorite players to meet?
RFRANCISCO
Favorites to meet – you, Britt Ryerson, and Eric Wiggins, and Jason McKinney, Peter Minear were probably the ones I liked the most.
INTERVIEWER
Do you have a favorite online game? If I recall correctly, Tim Krabbe actually featured one of your games on ICC at some point, and I wrote in to let him know who you were. It’s a pretty funny story any way you cut it, and I just found the link to it – (http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/chess2/diary_9.htm) at entry No. 176. Do you remember that game?
RFRANCISCO
I’d have to say drawing Shirov was my favorite, as I think he was top 5 in the world at the time (or up there).  I do remember that game…and I don’t really see why he loved it so much.  I am sure people have hung their queens or done something stupid.  I really just forgot my queen was on a1…not the fact that I had a second queen, but in my head I had already moved it, and was pretty pissed for ‘blowing’ the game so I resigned without even considering legal moves.
INTERVIEWER
Is there a favorite opponent that you have, either online or OTB that you always enjoy playing? And on the flip side, someone that you absolutely refuse to play? For instance, I’ve heard and seen why some people abhor playing Mikhail Sher in real life with the incessant eating of pens that he does. At least one of the pens got their revenge when he bit down through the ink cartridge at the 2006 World Open and had to go to the bathroom.
RFRANCISCO
I like playing Shabalov, as he is a ‘ballsy’ player and is always out for blood.  He’s a fighter and makes chess fun.  I HATE playing the people that I travel to a tournament with.  I don’t care who I play, but I absolutely detest (and pretty much refuse these days) to play people that I travel with.
INTERVIEWER
What’s been the best part of playing chess online for you?
RFRANCISCO

I think playing chess online makes me worse, but the best part is the release of mental energy that it provides.  I use it as therapy, for those times when I am wired and need to exhaust my brain.  However, this state can be volatile, and sometimes I get pretty pissed after I lose.  Usually I don’t care, but when I’m a bit uppity to begin with, there can be variations in reactions.


Richard Francisco (RFrancisco) was one of the best known scholastic chess players in the US, becoming a National Master and reaching a 2200+ FIDE rating. He has continued to play chess over the board, such as at the 2015 USATS (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12953/810/). He was also a very strong bughouse and crazyhouse player that played quite often on FICS and ICC in the late 1990s/early 2000s, during FICS bughouse’s peak. Thanks to Richard for taking the time to be interviewed back in 2011.

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