Black Atlanta Kings Member Denied Ga Open Entry

Thinking the match between the Kings and Ospreys began at seven I was early in arriving at Emory University, where the Kings play. The first player to arrive was Expert Lawrence White, who was to play his first game as a King. Mr. White is a tall, large man with a huge smile, which was on display when he noticed me. He is an intelligent, educated, likable person whose comportment while at the House of Pain was always that of a gentleman.After purchasing a snack, which would substitute for dinner, as he had come directly from work, Lawrence walked over to say hello.
I have known Lawrence since he first appeared at the Atlanta Chess Center in 1997. He is a friendly gentleman and a talented chess player, who is obviously serious about his game. During our conversation I was taken aback when he said he was refused entry to the recent Georgia Open. “What?” I exclaimed, and asked Lawrence to elaborate. He explained, “The registration was from eight AM until eight-thirty and I arrived just before the closing time. I saw Fun Fong standing on something giving a speech, so I found his assistant and told him I would like to enter. He looked at his watch and said it was eight-thirty two. My watch showed eight-thirty.”
It took me a few moments to wrap my head around what I had just heard. Gathering myself, I asked the name of the person he had encountered. Lawrence did not know his name, but after describing the man I said, “That was not an assistant, but the Chief TD, Ben Johnson.” Rather than making waves, Lawrence decided he would not play in the event.
Realizing something like this would never have occurred when the GCA held their events at the House of Pain, I apologized. “Why are you apologizing?” he asked, “I know you would not have done it.” He was correct because just a few years ago every accommodation was made to allow a player, any player, to participate in a GCA event held at the House of Pain. What I did not tell Lawrence, who happens to be an American of African descent, was that I immediately thought of something my friend Mr. William A. Scott, an Expert player back when there were only a few players rated over 2000, publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, a well-respected Black newspaper, and a member of the first incarnation of the Atlanta Kings, told me many decades ago when he said, “Mike, the difference between us is that to Negroes, everything is considered racial, while to White people nothing is race related.” I have heard this many times during my life and have always tried to keep it in mind in my relations with my fellow humans who happen to have been born with a darker skin pigmentation, for I know that when that skin is removed there is no difference in the human body.
I have no idea what was in the mind of Ben Johnson when he denied entry to Mr. Lawrence White. As far as I know it could have been GM Michael Rohde, who has played in Atlanta previously, asking to enter the tournament and Ben, a member of what has become known as the “Know Nothing” party who has taken control of chess in Georgia, would not have known him from Adam. I have no idea how much race played in the Chief TD’s decision. What I do know is that Ben Johnson saw a rather large Black man standing there and the pairings had already been made, so he refused to go to the trouble of making new pairings, something made quick and simple with the advent of the computer pairing programs.
Appalled at the whole situation, I asked Lawrence if I could quote him on the blog and he said, “Sure.”
There were only a few higher rated adults entered and Mr. White would have added stature to the Georgia Open, something completely lost on Ben Johnson. Who is Ben Johnson? I have come to think of him as the “Weird Hockey Guy” of chess. The Legendary Georgia Ironman shuddered at the mention of this, and this is why. Tim and I were doing sports memorabilia shows in the 90’s before the collapse of the card market. During one show a goofy fellow appeared at our table, asking if we would like to purchase a large box of unopened Hockey cards. I had no interest, but the Ironman engaged the rather strange fellow in conversation. Weird Hockey Guy told Tim he had absolutely no interest in the pieces of cardboard of any type. “I am in it only for the money.” In the best capitalist tradition the Weird Hockey Guy would “buy low and sell high.” With the possibility of the MLB strike looming and the encounter with the WHG in mind, I decided to sell everything and get out of the business because it was obvious the card market bubble had burst.
When first meeting Ben Johnson he said, “I don’t know anything about real chess; I come from the scholastic side.” Not only did he try to argue with me about what constituted stalemate, but he also said, “I’m in chess only for the money.” It was obvious I had met the Weird Chess Guy.
Ben Johnson is the Vice President of the Georgia Chess Association. The Ironman mentioned recently that Ben Johnson had organized a one day camp for children in which he would collect $90 for each child from the parents of 30 children. Ben is rated 647. Please note that as Chief TD of the Ga Open Ben Johnson played a rated game during the final round, which he won. Once this game is rated Ben will reach the stratospheric heights of, for Ben, 697.
In his forward to the wonderful book, “The Stress of Chess…and its Infinite Finesse,” by GM Walter Browne, IM Danny Kopec writes, “There is simply no reasonable living to be made in chess in this country…”
“Instead we encourage mediocrity and top players are often left in the cold. By mediocrity, I mean situations like players who have barely reached expert level (or below) making a reasonable regular salary teaching in schools, while the great players, analysts and writers must struggle to make ends meet.”

Bob Dylan Only a Pawn in Their Game March on Washington 1963

Kings Lose, Francisco Wins Again

The Atlanta Kings went down to the Rio Grande Ospreys in USCL action last night. Heavily outgunned on the top two boards and having to play with only 66 minutes, versus 84 for the Pandion haliaetus, or Fish Hawks, whichever you prefer, because of a last minute lineup change that did not benefit Atlanta rating wise, the Kings almost drew the match when, down 1-2, Lawrence White, playing his first game for the Kings, managed to get a Rook, Bishop, and Knight into his opponents position with mating chances, while down three pawns! Unfortunately for the Kings the game ended in a draw by repetition.

This leaves the Kings tied for fifth in the Southern Division, but only a half game behind Baltimore and Connecticut. Wonder if one can order grits in the land of the Dreadnoughts? The regular season ends next week with the Kings facing the Sharks of Miami, while the Dreadnoughts face off against the Kingfishers. Baltimore should have spelled their name, “Kingfischers.” Although tied with Atlanta with a score of 3 1/2-5 1/2, the Cobras have been eliminated from the playoffs while the Kings are still alive. I have no idea why…

The Frisco Kid has now scored 6 1/2 out of 8 and is tied for fourth place in the USCL with 17 1/2 points. I have no idea how the USCL point system works. His PR is a Grandmasterly 2522.

Francisco, Richard (2382) – Guerrero, Alejandra WIM (2110) [C02]
USCL Week 9 Internet Chess Club, 22.10.2014

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 f6 7.0-0 fxe5 8.dxe5 Qc7 9.Re1 g6 10.Na3 a6 11.Bf4 Bg7 12.Qd2 Nge7 13.Bd3 0-0 14.Rad1 b5 15.Bb1 Rad8 16.h4 d4 17.cxd4 cxd4 18.Bg5 Bc8 19.Rc1 Bb7 20.Be4 Rc8 21.Nxd4 Qxe5 22.Nxc6 Nxc6 23.Bxc6 Qxb2 24.Qxb2 Bxb2 25.Bxb7 Rb8 26.Rc7 Bxa3 27.Rxe6 Rf7 28.Rxf7 Kxf7 29.Bd5 Kg7 30.Rxa6 Bc5 31.Rc6 1-0

Serna, Jeffrey (2074) – White, Lawrence (2179) [B90]
USCL Week 9 Internet Chess Club, 22.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.a4 b6 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.Nd2 Bb7 11.Bc4 h6 12.Bxf6 Nxf6 13.Qe2 Be7 14.0-0 0-0 15.Rfd1 Rfd8 16.Nf1 Bf8 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.Bxd5 Ra7 19.Ne3 Rc8 20.c3 Qb8 21.Nc2 Rc5 22.Nb4 Qc8 23.Bb3 a5 24.Nd3 Rcc7 25.Ne1 Qa8 26.Bd5 Qe8 27.Nc2 Rc5 28.Ne3 Qb8 29.Qd3 Qc8 30.Bb3 Nh5 31.g3 Qd8 32.Nc4 Rd7 33.Na3 Qg5 34.Qf3 Nf6 35.Nb5 Qg6 36.Re1 Nh7 37.h4 Nf6 38.Rad1 Qg4 39.Qxg4 Nxg4 40.f3 Nf6 41.Rd3 h5 42.Red1 Rc6 43.Bd5 Rc8 44.Na3 g6 45.Bc4 d5 46.Bb5 Rdd8 47.Nc2 d4 48.R3d2 Bh6 49.Rd3 Rf8 50.Na3 Rc5 51.Nc4 Rb8 52.cxd4 exd4 53.Rxd4 Rbc8 54.e5 Nh7 55.Rd8+ Nf8 56.Rxc8 Rxc8 57.f4 Ne6 58.Nxb6 Rc7 59.Nc4 Bf8 60.Nxa5 Rc2 61.Nc4 Bc5+ 62.Kh1 Nd4 63.Rd2 Rc1+ 64.Kg2 Nf5 65.Nd6 Rg1+ 66.Kh2 Nh6 67.Ne4 Ng4+ 68.Kh3 Be3 69.Re2 Rh1+ 70.Kg2 Rg1+ 71.Kh3 Rh1+ 72.Kg2 Rg1+ 73.Kf3 Rf1+ 74.Kg2 Rg1+ 1/2-1/2

Knowing When to Fold ‘Em

While watching the first board game during the last round of the Ga Open I noticed there was one other game still going and checked it out. This was the game:

Jason Robert Wright (1302) vs Rachel Doman (1139)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. c3 d6 6. cxd4 Nxd4 7. Nxd4 Qf6 8. Be3 Ne7 9. Nc3 c6 10. O-O O-O 11. Rc1 Ng6 12. Nc2 Bxe3 13. Nxe3 Ne5 14. Bb3 Rd8 15. Qd2 Be6 16. Bxe6 Qxe6 17. b3 Rd7 18. Rfd1 Rad8 19. Qc2 b5 20. Ne2 Rc7 21. Nd4 Qd7 22. Nxb5 Rdc8 23. Rxd6 Qe7 24. Nf5 Qe8 25. Nxc7 Rxc7 26. Rcd1 Rc8 27. f4 g6 28. fxe5 gxf5 29. exf5 Qxe5 30. Rd8 Rxd8 31. Rxd8 Kg7 32. Rd1 Qe3 33. Qf2 Qg5 34. Qg3 h6 35. Qxg5 hxg5 36. Rd7 Kf6 37. Rxa7 Kxf5 38. Rxf7 Kg6 39. Rc7 c5 40. a4 Kf6 41. a5 Ke6 42. Rxc5 Kd6 43. Rc1 Ke5 44. a6 Kf4 45. a7 Kf5 46. a8=Q Kg4 47. Qf3 Kh4 48. Qh3 1-0

When looking at the game the Queens had just been traded, leaving White up a Rook and a pawn. The game continued another dozen moves until it ended in checkmate. Granted, these were two lower rated players, but Rachel is a veteran at a young age, having played 174 USCF rated games since her first rated tournament since 2010.

What to make of this game?

Jhonel Baldago Baniel (1912) vs Damir Studen (2373)
Ga Open Rd 5

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. g3 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Nb6 8. Ne3 Bg6 9. Bg2 e6 10. O-O Qd7 11. Qd2 Rd8 12. Rd1 Bb4 13. a3 Ne4 14. Qe1 Nxc3 15. bxc3 Ba5 16. a4 Nd5 17. Nxd5 cxd5 18. Ba3 Rc8 19. Bb4 Bxb4 20. cxb4 O-O 21. b5 Rc4 22. e3 Rfc8 23. Rdc1 Qc7 24. Rxc4 Qxc4 25. Bf1 Qc3 26. Qxc3 Rxc3 27. Be2 Kf8 28. Kf1 Ke7 29. Ke1 Kd6 30. Bd1 f6 31. Kd2 Rd3 32. Ke2 e5 33. Bc2 Rc3 34. Bxg6 hxg6 35. Kd2 exd4 36. exd4 Rf3 37. Ke2 Rb3 38. Ra2 g5 39. h3 Rb1 40. Ra3 f5 41. f4 Rh1 42. fxg5 Rxh3 43. Kf3 Rh2 44. Kf4 g6 45. Ke3 Rh1 46. Ra2 Re1 47. Kf3 Re4 48. b6 axb6 49. Rb2 Kc7 50. Rc2 Kb8 51. Rb2 Ka7 52. Rb4 Ka6 53. Kf2 b5 54. Rxb5 Rxd4 55. Ke3 Rg4 56. Kf3 Rxg5 57. Rxd5 Rg4 58. a5 Ra4 59. Rd6 Kxa5 60. Rxg6 Rc4 61. Rg5 Rc5 62. Kf4 b5 63. Rxf5 Rxf5 64. Kxf5 b4 65. Kf6 b3 66. g4 b2 67. g5 b1=Q 68. g6 Qb6 69. Kf7 Qc7 70. Kf8 Qf4 71. Ke7 Qg5 72. Kf7 Qf5 73. Kg7 Kb6 74. Kh8 Qh5 75. Kg7 Kc7 76. Kf6 Kd7 77. Kf7 Qf5 78. Kg7 Ke7 79. Kh8 Qf8 80. Kh7 Kf6 0-1

Mr. Studen, a former Georgia state champion, needs no introduction. It is more than obvious this game should have been resigned far earlier, as a show of respect for such a strong player. Is it really possible a 1900 player did not know the game was beyond hope after, say, 63 Rxf5? I leave it to the reader to determine when these games should have been resigned.

One of the major changes to the Royal game since it has moved to ever faster time controls is that games are continued long after they should have been given up as lost. Damir Studen must have felt like Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield. Is it any wonder stronger players have given up the game? How interesting can it be for the best players to be forced to sit at the board playing out a clearly won game? It was not always this way because “back in the day” it was frowned upon for a much lower player to force his much stronger opponent to demonstrate a simple checkmate. There was a time when the time control was move forty and then additional time was added to the clock. The vast majority of games were concluded around move forty because after reaching time control a player would have time to survey the ruins of his position, and would then resign.
What is being taught to the children? Maybe consideration should be given to teaching the of showing respect for ones opponent.

Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

Mission Accomplished

One year ago the President of the Georgia Chess Association, Fun Fong, sent an email, which made the rounds, in which he wrote, “My sense is that adult chess players in our current demographic are some of the biggest cheapskates in the world! I hope to change that demographic over time. Getting any money from them, is problematic. Scholastics is better…” ( Mr. Fong never elaborated or explained the remark, leaving the Georgia chess community wondering exactly what he meant. For example, Larry Bolton, a gentle bear of a man who happens to be an American of African descent, upon learning of the statement, responded, “He means ME!” I tried to explain to Larry that the email also included this comment concerning adult players, “Getting any money from them, is problematic.” I, and others, thought Fun Fong meant he wanted to change the demographic to people with more wealth. Larry bellowed, “He wants to get rid of ME!” How could I argue with Larry? The fact is that many members of the chess community who are Americans of African descent felt exactly the same as Larry Bolton. Fun Fong’s comment spread like wildfire among the Georgia chess community, and further, going national, thanks to this blog. ( Mr. Fong’s “demographic change” comment has been received by the chess community in the same way as the infamous comment made about “The 47%” by Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney during the last election. Many members of the chess community were left shaking their heads after the emails hit the fan. Some have expressed the thought that we can only wait until the next POTGCA in hopes he, or she, the way things are going, will be better than the current President. Some have even expressed the possibility of Fun Fong leaving the post before his term ended because his daughter, like almost all girls, gave up the game two years ago. That idea ended when Ben Johnson became VP, because no one in his right mind wants to see the Beast POTGCA.

Judging by the overwhelming number of children who participated in the Georgia Open, Fun Fong, unlike Bushwhacker II, has accomplished his mission. The demographics have drastically changed. With only a few adults participating in the G.O. there is now little distinction between the many scholastic tournaments which proliferate and what used to be considered an “adult” tournament. As Hikaru Nakamura is fond of saying, “It is what it is.”

Although it was nice to see the games broadcast via the internet, I cannot understand why the fact was not publicized on either of the two GCA websites. What is the point of broadcasting the games if no one knows they are available? Most of the games shown were by lower rated players. This makes some sort of weird sense because the vast majority of players were players with lower ratings, but I, and others, would have preferred to have seen the top seven boards displayed.

The crosstable of the Ga Open provided by the USCF shows this: Chief TD BENJAMIN F JOHNSON (14368088). It also shows this in the “Extra Games” section:
2 | BENJAMIN F JOHNSON GA | 14368088 / R: 647 -> 694 |1.0 |W 6|

The Chief TD of a tournament with almost one hundred players spent the last round playing a rated chess game, which surprisingly he won, gaining 47 rating points. Only 306 more and Ben’s will no longer be beastly. Unfortunately TD’s are not rated, which is good for Ben.

This is not the first time Ben Johnson has played a rated game in the last round while Chief TD of a large tournament. In my almost 45 years of chess I simply cannot recall any other Chief TD playing a rated game during any round of such a large event. USCF needs to prevent this odious practice, for obvious reasons. The fact that the man would do such a thing, and then do it again after the negative feedback received from the first mistake, speaks for itself as to how qualified the man is to hold office.

Bush: “Mission Accomplished” — REAL Speech

Mission Accomplished

Ga Open Final Round Board One: The Pipe Cracks

When the game between Meruga and Studen finished, all eyes, or at least my two, turned to the game on top board. IM Ron Burnett, from the Great State of Tennessee, needs no introduction. He has played in, and won, so many tournaments in Georgia he should be made an honorary citizen. Of all the memories I have of Ron, several stand out. After losing the only tournament game we contested, Ron said, “I did not know you were so strong.” Hearing that assuaged my hurt pride to some extent. I happened to walk by a game in which Ron had just arrived at a position of Bishop & Knight versus King. I stood there while the International Master took about thirty seconds to consider the position before beginning to play his moves, which came with rapid fire once he began. Then there was the time at one of the US Masters in Hendersonville, North Carolina, when Ron was locked in battle with FM Miles Ardaman. Time was short and the players were playing as if it were a speed game. While they played, LM Klaus Pohl, for some unknown reason, was histrionically gesticulating while also making much noise. The two players sat transfixed, oblivious to the commotion. I asked NM Neal Harris, “Has Klaus lost his mind?” Neal said only, “Yes.” I never learned what caused the Dour Kraut to come unglued, but I did ask both players if they had been bothered by the outburst. “What outburst?” they said. The game ended in a draw.

Alan Piper needs no introduction to local readers as he has been one of the most prolific players locally for many years. Mr. Piper best typifies what used to be the motto of the USCF, “Chess is a lifetime sport,” until it became, “Chess is a children’s game.” The Pipe is a former Champion of the Great State of Missouri. I went to the website of the Missouri Chess Association ( to determine when, and how many times Alan won the Championship, but the list of Champions only goes back to 1999. It is surprising it went back to the last year of the last century. I am not surprised it goes no further because to the new people who have taken over chess the players of an earlier era are dead, even if they still play the game. Suffice it to say Alan Piper has been a factor in every chess tournament in which he has participated since he set foot in Georgia. He is a taciturn, unprepossessing gentleman who loves the Royal game. As one of the few Seniors who still play, he is one of the players the herd of children must “kill” in order to advance in the ranks. Most do not succeed. One who did is Reece Thompson, by now old enough to be considered a veteran, who bested The Pipe in round four, the only blemish in Alan’s score as he sat down to face Ron in the last round.

Ron Burnett vs Alan Piper
Last round Ga Open Top Board

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Nd5 Bc5 6.
e3 O-O 7. Ne2 d6 8. a3 a6 9. O-O Nxd5 10. cxd5 Ne7 11. d4 exd4 12. Nxd4 Nf5 13.
Nc2 Re8 14. b4 Bb6 15. Bb2 Bd7 16. e4 Nh6 17. Qd2 Bb5 (17… Ng4) 18. Qc3 (A natural choice, my choice, but Houdi shows 18 Rfc1 is better) Qg5 19. Rfe1 Ng4
20. Nd4 Qh5 21. h3 (h4!?) Ne5 22. a4 Bd7 23. g4 Qh4 24. a5 Ba7 25. f4 (This self-pins the Knight. 25 Re2!) Ng6 (25… Rac8 26. fxe5 dxe5 and “pin to win”) 26. Kh2 Bxd4
27. Qxd4 f6 28. Rf1 (28 f5 is one of the most ugly moves ever seen, severely weakening the dark squares and giving the e5 square to the Knight, but must be played because of the possibility of…) Bxg4 29. f5 (Closing the barn door after the horse has escaped) Ne5 30. Rf4 (The program thinks the White position so bad it plays 30 Qf2, allowing a trade, and then takes the Knight to boot. If that had happened we would not have what is about to follow. Sometimes a player must play a dubious move, knowing just how dubious it is!) Qh5 31. Ra3 Be2 32. Rg3 Kh8 33. Bc3
Rf8 34. Qd2 Rae8 35. Bxe5 Rxe5 36. Rf2 Bb5 37. Bf3 Qe8 38. Rfg2 Re7 39. Qd1 Qd8
40. Rg4 Be8 41. Rh4 Qd7 42. Bh5 Qa4 43. Qg4 Kg8 (43… Bxh5 44. Qxh5
h6 and if 45. Qg6 Qe8) 44. Bxe8 (Qf4!?) Qxe8 45. Rh5 Rff7 46.
Re2 (46 Rh4) Qb5 (46…Re5!) 47. Rh4 Re5 48. Qh5 (48. Rb2) Stop! Consider the position. Although Black has a “Beeg Pawn,” he is under a withering attack from his top-seeded IM opponent. How does one defend against the onslaught from the heavy artillery?

48…h6 ( 48…g5! A move I did not even consider because of my dogmatic thinking in adherence to the “rule” of “never moving a pawn in front of the King when under attack.” Sometimes the most beautiful defensive move is one not played…)
49. Rg2 Kf8 50. Rhg4 Qd7 (50… Qe8) 51. Qg6 Ke8 52. Qh7 (The program considers taking the Rook with 52 Qxf7 and going into a pawn down endgame best, but what do machines really know? The human is trying to WIN THE GAME!)
52…Ree7 (A natural defensive move, but it gives the advantage to White. Alan should have played, there it is again, 52…g5!) 53. Rxg7 Kd8 (53… Rf8 !?) 54. Rxf7 Rxf7 55. Rg8+ (55. Qh8+ and it is all over but the shouting) Ke7 56. Rg7 Qe8 57. Qxh6 (57. Rxf7+!) Qb5? (With this move the Pipe cracked. Simply 57…Kd8 is equal) 58. Rxf7+ Kxf7 59. Qg6+ Ke7 60. Qg7+ Ke8 61. Qg8+ Kd7 62. Qe6+ Kd8 63. Qxf6+ Ke8 64. Qg6+ Kd8 65. f6 Qe2+ 66. Kg3 Qf1 67. Qg8+ Kd7 68. Qe6+ Kd8 69. Qe7+ 1-0

A thrilling battle. There were many vicissitudes and missed opportunities by both players. This game is what chess is all about. It is the kind of all-out battle one would expect from a last round game, and should be the kind of game played in each and every round. Unlike the truncated early agreed draws that proliferate these daze, this game is a credit to both the victor and the vanquished. All I can say is, “Thank you, gentlemen.”

T bone Burnett – Kill Zone

Ga Open Final Round, Board Two: Meruga vs Studen

After Reece Thompson dispatched Maxwell Feng in the last round all eyes turned to the battles taking place on the first two boards. Reece was the leader in the clubhouse with six points. On board two both Shanmukha Meruga and Damir Studen had five points. On the first board Alan Piper had five points, with IM Ron Burnett the lone player with five and a half points.

I have known Damir since he first came to the House of Pain. He had that “look.” Most chess players will know what I mean by the “look.” Call it “desire” or “will to win,” or whatever you would like to call it. Damir’s eyes burned with a fierce intensity; likewise Shanmukha Meruga. His will to win was so intense that the boy had a problem accepting defeat. It was no surprise for me to see Mr. Meruga playing on second board in the last round of the Georgia Open.

Damir had drawn with Grant Oen in round four and IM Burnett in round six.

Damir Studen (2373) vs Grant Oen (2072)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. a3 Bxd2 6. Qxd2 d6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. e4 e5 9. d5 a5 10. Rb1 a4 11. Qc2 Nbd7 12. Bd3 Nc5 13. O-O Nh5 14. Ne2 f5 15. Nd2 f4 16. f3 Rf6 17. Rf2 Rh6 18. Nf1 g5 19. h3 Ng7 20. Nc1 Bd7 21. Be2 Rg6 1/2-1/2

Damir Studen (2373) vs IM Ron Burnett (2467)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. h3 O-O 7. Be2 a6 8. c5 Nfd7 9. Na4 e5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nd4 Ned7 12. O-O b5 13. cxb6 Nxb6 14. Nc5 N6d7 15. Qc2 Nxc5 16. Qxc5 Bb7 17. Nb3 Nd7 18. Qb4 Rb8 19. Nc5 Qe7 20. Nxa6 c5 21. Qb5 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Bxb2 23. Bxb2 Rxb2 1/2-1/2

Meruga had earlier beaten lower rated opposition and drawn with class “A” player Jhonel Baniel in round three, and Expert Kevis Tsao in round five.

Kevis Tsao (2082) vs Shanmukha Meruga (1888)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be6 7. Nd4 Qd7 8. Nxe6 fxe6 9. Bd3 Nc6 10. Qh5 Qf7 11. Qxf7 Kxf7 12. Bf4 Be7 13. O-O-O Bf6 14. Rhe1 Rae8 15. Bg3 Re7 16. f4 Rhe8 17. Re2 h6 18. Rde1 e5 19. Bc4 Kg6 20. Bd3 Kf7 21. Bc4 Kg6 22. Bd3 Kf7 23. Bc4 1/2-1/2

The time control for the final two rounds was an almost classical, G/2. The difference between today and “back in the day” is that, if one is fortunate enough to make it to an endgame, one has little or no time to THINK. This is ironic in that high class games between good players are usually decided in the endgame. Because the games were almost real chess, and because my Sunday afternoon was spent riveted to the ‘puter screen, with a wooden board and pieces on which to cogitate, I have decided to share my notes and thoughts by annotating the games on the top two boards. And yes, I did utilize program assistance in order to spare you some of what GM Yasser Seirawan would no doubt call “howlers.”

Shanmukha Meruga (1888) vs Damir Studen (2373)
Final round Ga Open

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. h3 (This move was played by Jacob Murey (2485) against Heikki Westerinen (2385) at Brighton, 1983: 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. h3 Bf5 6. b4 Qb6 7. a3 e6 8. Bc4 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. d3 c6 11. Qe2 Nbd7 12. Nh4 Bg6 13. Nxg6 hxg6 14. Bd2 Bd6 15.Ne4 Nxe4 16. dxe4 Be5 17. Rad1 Rfd8 18. Be3 Qc7 19. f4 Bf6 20. Bb3 a5 21. Qg4 Bb2 22. f5 Nf6 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8 24. Qf3 gxf5 25. exf5 exf5 26. Qxf5 axb4 27. axb4 Qe5 28. Qxe5 Bxe5 29. g4 Bd4 30. Bxd4 Rxd4 31. b5 Nd5 32. Ra1 Nf4 33. Kh2 Rd2+ 34. Kg3 g5 35. Ra7 Ne2+ 36. Kf3 Nd4+ 37. Ke4 Nxb3 38. cxb3 cxb5 39. Rxb7 Rh2
40. Rxb5 f6 41. Kf5 Kg7 42. Rb7+ Kh6 43. Rf7 Rf2+ 44. Ke4 Rf4+ 45. Kd5 Kg6 46. Rc7 Rf3 47. b4 Rxh3 48. b5 Rg3 49. b6 Rxg4 50. Rc5 Rb4 51. Kc6 g4 52. b7 Rxb7 53. Kxb7 f5 54. Kc6 Kg5 55. Kd5 g3 56. Ke5 g2 57. Rc8 Kg4 58. Rg8+ Kf3 1/2-1/2. Although little played, it has scored as well as the most often played move, 5 d4, according to the CBDB, 57%.) c6 (SF & Hou play e6) 6. Bc4 (The programs prefer d4) Bf5 7. d3 (Missing the first opportunity to play Qe2! It has become popular lately to play this, d3, move in lieu of d4, but it has not scored as well as the older move.) 7…e6 8. O-O (Missing the second opportunity to play Qe2! ) 8…Nd5 (It cannot be correct to move a piece twice in the opening, thereby delaying the development of other as yet undeveloped pieces) 9. Ne2 (The simple Bd2 is best. Even taking with Bxd5 is better) Be7 10. Ng3 Bg6 11. Ne5 O-O 12. Nxg6 hxg6 13. a3 Nd7 14. Re1 Qb6 15. c3 Rad8 16. Qc2 N7f6 17. Bg5 Rfe8 18. Rad1 Qc7 19. Ba2 Rd7 20. Re2 (d4) Bd6 21. Ne4 Bf4 (Nxe4 and Be7 should be considered) 22. Nxf6+ (22. Bxf6 Nxf6 23. Nc5 Rdd8 24. d4 and White has a slight advantage) Nxf6 (22… gxf6!?) 23. Bxf4 Qxf4 24. Red2 g5 25. Bb1 (25. d4 !?) g4 26. g3 Qh6 27. h4 g5 28. hxg5 Qxg5 29. d4 Kg7 30. Kf1 (30. Qd3 !) Rh8 (30… Qd5 !) 31. Ke2 (31. Qd3!) Rh2 32. Rf1 Rd8 (32… Qd5 !) 33. Qd3 Nd5 34. Ba2 Ne7 35. Qe3 Qb5+ 36. Ke1 Qf5 37. Re2 Ng6 38. Qe4 Qg5 (38… Qh5!) 39. Qe3 (Missing his chance to get back in the game with 39 f4!) Qh5 40. Bb1 f5 (Possibly 40… Ne7 improves) 41. Kd1 (Trying to get outta Dodge. Taking the pawn with 41 Qxe6 is obviously fraught with danger. Back in the day the time control would have been reached with additional time being added, so the players would have had time to THINK. These daze the fatigued players have no time to do anything other than continue to push themselves, racking their exhausted brains for a move…any move. 41 Qd3 may be best) e5 42. Rd2 e4 43. d5 Rh1 (43… Rxd5 ! Now White has an advantage) 44. Rxh1 Qxh1+ 45. Kc2 Rxd5 46. Rxd5 cxd5 47. Qxa7 (The more circumspect 47 Qd4+ Kh6 48 Ba2 keeps the advantage) Qf3 48. Qxb7+ (48 Kb3, getting outta Dodge) Kh6 49. Qxd5 (It was imperative to play either 49 Qa7 or Qb6 to guard the pawn on f2) Qxf2+ (49…e3!) 50. Kd1 (With this move the young man let go of the rope. He should have played 50 Kb3!) e3 51. Qd3 Ne5 52. Qe2 Qxg3 53. Bxf5 Qf4 54. Be6 Kg5 55. b4 Qe4 56. Qc2 Qh1+ 57. Ke2 Qg2+ 0-1

A fine last round battle between one who has already made a name for himself and one who is coming on strong. Mr. Meruga has shown he is a force with which to be reckoned with in Georgia.

Signum- Coming On Strong

“One day you give your opponent a lesson…”

“That’s what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.” -Bobby Fischer

In the fifth round of the Ga Open, played Saturday night, Reece Thompson sat down behind the Black pieces to battle grizzled veteran IM Ronald Burnett. Both were undefeated, having won the four prior contests.

IM Ronald Burnett vs Expert Reece Thompson

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d6 3. c4 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bf4 g5 7. Bd2 Bg7 8. h3 O-O 9. Qc2 a6 10. a4 Re8 11. e4 c5 12. d5 e6 13. dxe6 fxe6 14. e5 dxe5 15. Ne4 Qc7 16. Bc3 Nxe4 17. Qxe4 Nf6 18. Qg6 Qf7 19. Qxf7 Kxf7 20. Nxe5 Ke7 21. Nd3 Bd7 22. Nxc5 Bc6 23. Nd3 e5 24. Nb4 Be4 25. f3 Bf5 26. O-O-O Kf7 27. g4 Bd7 28. a5 Ba4 29. Rd6 Rad8 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Bd3 Nd7 32. Bc2 Nc5 33. Nd5 Bc6 34. b4 Ne6 35. Be4 Nf4 36. Nxf4 Bxe4 37. fxe4 exf4 38. Bxg7 Kxg7 39. Rd1 Rxd1 40. Kxd1 Kf6 41. b5 1-0

A check of shows these players having played the position most often after the move 4…c6:
As Black
Vladimir P Malaniuk 46 games
Joerg Hickl 45 games
Alonso Zapata 28 games

This caused me to reflect upon the time Craig Thompson, the father of Reese, and I were conversing at a chess tournament when GM Alsonso Zapata appeared. The conversation ended so Craig could talk with the GM about lessons for his son. The most often played fifth move is e4, the choice of both SF and the Dragon, the program known as Komodo; it has scored 57%. The second most popular move, g3, has scored 56%. 5 Bg5 has scored 54%.

6 Bh4 has been played far more often than any other move, scoring 56%. The move chosen by IM Burnett, 6 Bf4, has only scored 44%! Stockfish gives 6…b5, a TN. After 6…g5 Houdini brings the Bishop all the way back to c1, but SF plays 7 Bd2.

Roman Chytilek (2415) vs Vladimir Sargeev (2472)

CZE Ch T1 East 2005

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. d4 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6.Bd2 e5 7. Qc2 Qc7 8. e4 g6 9. h3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Bg7 11. O-O-O O-O 12. Bf4 Ne5 13. g4 a6 14. Qd2 c5 15. Nb3 g5 16. Be3 b5 17. Qxd6 Qxd6 18. Rxd6 b4 19. Nd5 Nxe4 20. Ne7+ Kh8 21. Nxc8 Raxc8 22. Rd5 f5 23. Nxc5 f4 24. Bd4 Nxc5 25. Bxc5 Rfe8 26. b3 a5 27. Bd6 Nf7 28. Kd2 Bc3+ 29. Kd3 Rc6 30. c5 Nxd6 31. Rxd6 Rxd6+ 32. cxd6 Rd8
33. h4 Rxd6+ 34. Ke4 Kg7 35. hxg5 hxg5 36. Bc4 Kg6 37. Bd5 Rd8 38. Rd1 Kf6 39. Rh1 Kg7 40. Rd1 Re8+ 41. Kf3 Rd8 42. Ke4 Kf6 43. Rh1 Re8+ 44. Kf3 Rd8 45. Ke4 Re8+ 46. Kf3 1/2-1/2 (It looks like a three-fold repition after 45 Ke4)

The last round saw Mr. Thompson giving a lesson…

Maxwell Feng (1784) vs Expert Reece Thompson

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. e5 f6 5. Nf3 fxe5 6. dxe5 Nh6 7. h3 Nf7 8. Bf4 Be7 9. Bd3 Nb4 10. a3 Nxd3 11. cxd3 O-O 12. d4 Bd7 13. Qd2 c5 14. O-O Qb6 15. Be3 Rac8 16. Kh1 cxd4 17. Bxd4 Bc5 18. Bxc5 Rxc5 19. Rac1 Nh6 20. Nd4 Rc4 21. Nf3 Be8 22. Ne2 Rxc1 23. Qxc1 Nf5 24. Qc3 Bb5 25. Qd2 h6 26. b3 Bxe2 27. Qxe2 Qxb3 28. Ra1 Rc8 29. Ne1 Rc4 30. Qd2 Qc3 31. Qe2 Qxa1 0-1

ALicia Keys ft. John Mayer ~ Lesson Learned