Hell Yeah

During sixth grade we boys discovered cursing. A sentence could not be said without using a curse word. The cursing was so bad the young, very pretty teacher kept all the males after school. She broke down and cried like a baby when asking us to stop. That left an indelible impression on most of us. I took it to heart and, after talking with Mother, decided to stop cursing, not only in school. Some years later I was working at the Boys Club on scholarship when a younger fellow, Ronnie Bond, made me so mad I cursed at him. He just stood there with an incredulous look on his face until I asked, “What’s wrong.” He replied, “Gee Mike, we have never heard you cuss.” Another boy, Doug Edwards, said, “We didn’t even know you could cuss.”

Why swearing is a sign of intelligence, helps manage pain and more

Polite society considers swearing to be a vulgar sign of low intelligence and education, for why would one rely on rude language when blessed with a rich vocabulary?

That perception, as it turns out, is full of, uh … baloney. In fact, swearing may be a sign of verbal superiority, studies have shown, and may provide other possible rewards as well.

“The advantages of swearing are many,” said Timothy Jay, professor emeritus of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, who has studied swearing for more than 40 years.

“The benefits of swearing have just emerged in the last two decades as a result of a lot of research on brain and emotion, along with much better technology to study brain anatomy.”

Cursing may be a sign of intelligence


Swearing may be a sign of honesty

Profanity improves pain tolerance


Cussing is a sign of creativity

Throwing expletives instead of punches

It’s not just people who swear. Even primates curse when given the chance.

“Chimpanzees in the wild tend to use their excrement as a social signal, one that’s designed to keep people away,” Byrne said.

Hand-raised chimps who were potty-trained learned sign language for “poo” so they could tell their handlers when they needed the toilet.

“And as soon as they learned the poo sign they began using it like we do the word sh*t,” Byrne said. “Cursing is just a way of expressing your feelings that doesn’t involve throwing actual sht. You just throw the idea of sh*t around.”

Does that mean that we should curse whenever we feel like it, regardless of our environment or the feelings of others? Of course not. But at least you can cut yourself some slack the next time you inadvertently let an f-bomb slip.

After all, you’re just being human.

Rocking-horse People Eating Marshmallow Pies

For many years my day has started with a strong cuppa Joe while surfin’ the interwovenwebofallthings. One of the websites visited each and every day has been the Astronomy Picture of the Day (https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html). While watching todaze edition a thought surfaced. “What if we hippies had had the interwovenweb ‘back in the day’?” The short film you are about to see reminded me of the LSDaze when “flower power” blossomed when we hippies ingested lysergic acid.

Simulation: A Disk Galaxy Forms
Video Credit: TNG Collaboration, MPCDF, FAS Harvard U.; Music: World’s Sunrise (YouTube: Jimena Contreras)
Explanation: How did we get here? We know that we live on a planet orbiting a star orbiting a galaxy, but how did all of this form? Since our universe moves too slowly to watch, faster-moving computer simulations are created to help find out. Specifically, this featured video from the IllustrisTNG collaboration tracks gas from the early universe (redshift 12) until today (redshift 0). As the simulation begins, ambient gas falls into and accumulates in a region of relatively high gravity. After a few billion years, a well-defined center materializes from a strange and fascinating cosmic dance. Gas blobs — some representing small satellite galaxies — continue to fall into and become absorbed by the rotating galaxy as the present epoch is reached and the video ends. For the Milky Way Galaxy, however, big mergers may not be over — recent evidence indicates that our large spiral disk Galaxy will collide and coalesce with the slightly larger Andromeda spiral disk galaxy in the next few billion years. (https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html)

Wonder if that will be known as “The Bigger Bang”?

10 Tripped-Out Songs About Hallucinogens and Psychedelics

Melissa Fossum July 5, 2016 3:41AM

Psychedelics and music go hand in hand. Between popular songs and TV shows, LSD had a huge cultural impact on the 1970s. Some people use LSD to find God, and for others, it’s responsible for creativity. Steve Jobs said, “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.” Without acid, you may not be reading this on your iPhone right now.

Here are 10 trippy songs about LSD, MDMA, and magic mushrooms.

The Beatles — “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”
Picture yourself in a boat on a river / With tangerine trees and marmalade skies / Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

John Lennon claims that the imagery in this song is about a picture Julian drew. Uh-huh, so it must be a coincidence that the title can be abbreviated as LSD. What kind of kid draws rocking-horse people eating marshmallow pies, anyway?


About a week ago I clicked onto a link found at the website of the Coast to Coast Am radio program (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/inthenews/) and noticed this: Aphantasia: why are some people unable to picture things in their mind? (https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/367073/aphantasia-why-are-some-people-unable-to-picture-things-in-their-mind)

Not everyone can picture something in their head. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Andrew Mason (https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/367073/aphantasia-why-are-some-people-unable-to-picture-things-in-their-mind)

Why, indeed, was my first thought, because I am one of those people. At the end of the article this was read: This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

I clicked onto it immediately (https://theconversation.com/were-just-starting-to-learn-more-about-aphantasia-the-inability-to-picture-things-with-the-minds-eye-202670) and read the article again… Since then I have read many articles pertaining to aphantasia, the urls of some will be found in chronological order at the end of the post.

In a recent post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2023/05/20/fm-todd-andrews-versus-grandmasters-robert-hungaski-and-david-arenas-at-the-american-continental-chess-championship-2023/) this was written: I could “see” 21 Bxe5, followed by 21…Nxe5 22 dxe5 Rxe5 23 Nf3, attacking the Rook. That is about as far my Chess vision allows. I can “see” that because it is all forced.

That was the day before discovering the article at the Unexplained Mysteries website. I wrote “see” because I cannot actually “see” anything when my eyes are closed; all I see is black.

The article at The Conversation begins: “When asked to close their eyes and imagine a sunset, most people can bring to mind an image of the sun setting on the horizon. Some people may experience more vivid details, such as vibrant colours, while others may produce a mental image that is blurry or lacks detail. But recent research has found that some people don’t experience mental imagery at all.”

“This lack of mental imagery is called aphantasia. People with aphantasia are often surprised when they learn others see mental images in their minds. Many people with aphantasia have said they assumed others were speaking metaphorically when they described seeing something in their “mind’s eye.”

Because of Chess I knew some players could see a picture of the board, or many boards, when they play blindfold Chess, or any kind of Chess without sight of the board, for that matter. Some players are able to keep a mental picture of myriad games in their mind’s eye. I thought they were freaks. Turns out I am the freak because, “It is estimated that roughly four per cent of people have aphantasia.” (https://theconversation.com/were-just-starting-to-learn-more-about-aphantasia-the-inability-to-picture-things-with-the-minds-eye-202670)

After reading the article emails were sent to some of my friends in the Chess community asking the question, “When you are playing Chess can you visualize the board and pieces when you close your eyes? Can you move a piece and see the new position?”

Some did not understand the question but after replying to their reply they found understanding. Some elaborated, which I greatly appreciated. The answer that made me smile came from one of my all-time favorite people, The Discman (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/the-discman/), who replied with one word: “Yes.” Not one person contacted said they could not visualize anything. One wanted more information, asking why I had asked “such a ridiculous question.” Although I have yet to inform anyone of why the question was asked, I did reply to the person, who, after reading, sent a very nice apology, using the word “profusely” prior to “sorry.” He was completely unaware, like most people, I suppose, that there are people who “draw a blank” when they close their eyes. “How the hell can you play Chess?” he asked. How indeed…

My roommate, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, was incredulous upon learning I could not visualize a Chess position, or a picture of my Mother. “That’s scary,” Tim said. He, too, questioned me, asking, “How do you analyze a position?” That is a difficult question to answer. Tim also asked about my being able to “see” a picture of my Mother. The only way for me to describe it is that I have a memory of her smiling, and a picture of one particular photo of her smiling, which are contained in my memory, but I cannot exactly ‘see’ the picture. It is more like something vague in a kinda, sorta nebulous way, I suppose one could say. “That’s frightening,” he said. “How is it possible you could win tournaments and become an Expert without being able to analyze in your head?” He also said, “I would not let anyone know you cannot visualize, Mike.”

I did not start playing Chess seriously until the age of twenty, and because of that fact I have always known there was a ceiling for me that would never be broken. Another friend questioned asked, “How is it possible you could have become an Expert without being able to see the board in your head?” How indeed… Now I know it was not just beginning late that held me back. After winning the Atlanta Chess Championship with a score of 5-0 in 1976 I discovered Backgammon, becoming Atlanta and Georgia Backgammon Champion. In Backgammon one need not visualize future positions because there are simply too many possibilities because the roll of the dice determines the next move. Although I still played tournament Chess occasionally, and did play two fifteen minute games with former Texas State Junior champ Steve Moffitt at Gammons, the only time any other game was seen played there, I was a shadow of the former player. After the Backgammon bubble burst and the boom ended I returned to tournament Chess, but although my rating increased, putting that much sought after crooked number (2) at the front of my rating, I was never again as strong a player as I had been before leaving Chess for Backgammon.

I decided to write this post because this is all new to me, and at my age, there is not much all that new to me now. I want to know how many other players cannot visualize. Therefore, I ask you to contact me at the email found at the AW website. I give my word that nothing written will ever be seen by anyone other than me, unless permission is given by those who contact me. In addition, I ask any and all who read this to share it with others. If the USCF forum was still operational I would ask someone to post it on the forum. If and when (or should that be when and if?) the forum is up again maybe some reader will put this up for discussion. Inquiring minds wanna know…

Here is a partial list of the articles, by date published, read in the last week:

Aphantasia: When Your Mind’s Eye Fails You
The word describes an inability to conceive imaginary or recollected scenes

Chapter 15 – Aphantasia: The science of visual imagery extremes
Volume 178, 2021

The critical role of mental imagery in human emotion: insights from fear-based imagery and aphantasia
10 March 2021

Aphantasia explained: some people can’t form mental pictures
Published: June 9, 2021 1.34pm EDT

What is the Link Between Mental Imagery and Sensory Sensitivity? Insights from Aphantasia
First published online August 31, 2021

The prevalence of aphantasia (imagery weakness) in the general population
January 2022, 103243

Memories with a blind mind: Remembering the past and imagining the future with aphantasia
October 2022

Meta-analytic evidence for a novel hierarchical model of conceptual processing
January 2023

We’re just starting to learn more about aphantasia, the inability to picture things with the mind’s eye
Published: May 16, 2023 3.32pm EDT

Aphantasia: why are some people unable to picture things in their mind?
May 20, 2023

Extreme Imagination: Inside the Mind’s Eye

Truth be told, this blog has more readers during the week than on the weekend, and even fewer readers on a holiday weekend. Therefore, this post will be up until after the holiday in order to, hopefully, reach more people.

USCF Bans GM Alejandro Ramirez For Life

This morning while drinking my first cuppa Joe I read the following at the home page of the United States Chess Federation:

US Chess Final Statement About Alejandro Ramirez Investigation
By US Chess May 24, 2023

US Chess launched an investigation in late 2022 when it received formal complaints from two
individuals alleging sexual misconduct by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


The primary focus of this
investigation was to determine when US Chess had knowledge of the various allegations and what
responsive actions US Chess took. The third party, independent investigation is complete, and,
based on the information received, the third party concluded that the US Chess response was timely and appropriate regarding the reports it received about Ramirez’s conduct. Our focus now is
implementing specific action steps to build a safe, welcoming environment for the future. The
investigation report will not be released due to the confidential nature of the witness statements.

First, as a result of the investigation, the Executive Board has voted to both ratify the
resignation of GM Ramirez and permanently ban GM Ramirez from being a US Chess member.

This writer disagrees with the decision made by the USCF because the United States of America is a forgiving country in which it is said, “If you commit the crime you’ve got to do the time.” We Americans are given second chances for a reason. Please do not get me wrong because from what I have read the actions of GM Ramirez were reprehensible. If he had treated one of my sisters in such a fashion there would have been hell to pay. Actions speak louder than words and you can read in a recent post about the time I took action when one of my sisters suitors intentionally ran her car off of the road in, Say It Ain’t So, Alejandro (https://wordpress.com/post/xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/15193).

One of the members of the Atlanta Chess community ‘back in the day’ was an ex-con, Ulysses Martin. He was a very nice guy and we played many Chess games, including one rated game in which Mr. Martin lost on time after making only 24 moves! Ulysses was a quiet gentleman who had committed a crime, murder, for which he served his time, seven years, before being paroled. As far as I know Ulysses was never again in trouble, other than the trouble he got into over the Chessboard.

‘Back in the day’ a tournament director, Ted Abbott, got up in my face, spewing spittle. I slapped him, not hard, but hard enough to get him to stop spewing. Unfortunately for Ted he responded, slapping the you know what outta me, so I decked him with a straight right fist. For that I was banned from playing in any Georgia Chess Association tournament for one year. As an aside, many years later when involved with sports memorabilia, Mr. Abbott purchased a table at an event in which I was involved. The Legendary Georgia Ironman also had a table, right next to mine, at the event. Tim excitedly returned to the table informing me that “Ted Abbott is here, Mike. He has notebook after notebook filled with autograph cards. They all look like the same person signed them.” After walking over Ted was SHOCKED to see me. After a brief discussion I said, “Ted, all these cards look like they were signed by the same person.” Ted immediately began packing his binders and left the hotel. He was never seen again.

CNN has reached out to Ramirez for comment about the accusations through his lawyer Albert S. Watkins, who replied, “I have been directed to respect the confidentiality I was advised would purportedly attach to pending investigative undertakings.”

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the accusations, quoted Watkins as saying, “At some point we are all compelled to take pause and reflect on the reality that unsubstantiated, temporally aged, and concurrent use of social media to incite a ‘Me Too’ call-to-arms runs afoul of every constitutional safeguard we have always held so dear.

“Superimposing today’s mores on erroneous recitals of acts of yesteryear is a recipe for disaster for both the accused and the accuser.”

Unless there is more, much more, to the story, that the USCF, in its wisdom, is holding back, the decision to permanently ban GM Ramirez should be reconsidered.

Boys Will Be Boys is my attempt at making sense of society’s tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault and rape and make excuses for the perpetrators. It was also my way of dealing with certain events that were occurring in my life at the time. The video itself was intended to express the burden of victim blaming and sexual assault on the victims themselves as the mundane aspects of life go on. A song is just a song but at the very least I hope it will open up difficult yet important conversations between family members, friends, government bodies, organisations and most importantly, boys and men.

Directed, Shot and Edited by George Foster

Lillie Carney
Daisy Dwyer
Alice Warren
Ashlyn Koh
and Stella Donnelly

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Studio Sessions
Happy Birthday, Bob!
May 24, 20235:00 AM ET


By Bruce Warren, Miguel Perez

Bob Dylan
William Claxton/Courtesy of the artist

Bob Dylan turns 82 today, so we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate some of the legendary songwriter’s music, as well as covers of his work over the years.

Born in 1941 in Duluth, Minn., Dylan has a discography that’s been covered by a wide range of musicians drawing from many genres: The Byrds, Nina Simone, Guns N’ Roses, Cat Power, Jerry Garcia, Eddie Vedder, and Rage Against The Machine.

Then, of course, there’s the unquestionable brilliance of Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower,” which has influenced the way Dylan himself performs the song live.

“My old songs, they’ve got something — I agree, they’ve got something,” Dylan once said in a 2016 Rolling Stone piece by novelist Jonathan Lethem. “I think my songs have been covered — maybe not as much as ‘White Christmas’ or ‘Stardust,’ but there’s a list of over 5,000 recordings. That’s a lot of people covering your songs, they must have something. If I was me, I’d cover my songs too.”

We hope you enjoy this playlist. Happy birthday, Bob. Here’s to many more.


Finding a Way to Draw at the Space Coast Open

Back in the day there was a Chess player from Alabama, Robert Pruitt, who was famous for drawing many games, many of which could have been on. When I mentioned the name to the Ironman, he said, “Oh yeah, the draw meister. He would find a way!” It was often heard, “Pruitt’s gotta won game.” The reply would be, “Don’t worry, Pruitt will find a way.” Or, “Pruitt’s busted bad.” Then would come, “Don’t worry, he will find a way.” What Robert would do was “find a way” to make a draw. Robert was a class A player who spent time in the Expert section. Word on the street was that Pruitt could have possibly become a National Master if’n he had turned some of those draws into wins. I checked out his MSA page at the USCF website and found that since 1991 Mr. Pruitt won 75 games while drawing 77 to go with his 29 losses.(https://www.uschess.org/datapage/gamestats.php?memid=10239184)

This is being mentioned because of something found at the website of recently completed 28th Space Coast Open in Florida:

Some details and rules:
Master/Expert Section Modified Sofia Rule: No draw offers permitted prior to move 30.

The love of a draw will find a way.

GM Nikola Mitkov


vs GM Jianchao Zhou
28th Space Coast Open Round 4
B23 Sicilian Defense: Closed

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Bb5 Nd4 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Bb5 1/2-1/2

GM Julio Becerra

vs GM Nikola Mitkov
28th Space Coast Open Round 5
ECO: E69 Ruy Lopez: Exchange Variation, Alapin Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4 6. h3 h5 7. c3 Qd3 8. hxg4 hxg4 9. Nxe5 Bd6 10. Nxd3 Bh2+ 11. Kh1 Bg3+ 12. Kg1 Bh2+ 13. Kh1 Bg3+ 14. Kg1 Bh2+ 1/2-1/2

365Chess contains 254 games reaching 10…Bh2+. The game below was one of them. Wonder how long they would have sat there repeating the position if not being informed of the three time repetition rule?

Andrei Macovei (2343) vs Nichita Morozov (2467)
Event: World Junior Open 2017
Site: Tarvisio ITA Date: 11/19/2017
Round: 6.28 Score: ½-½
ECO: C69 Ruy Lopez, exchange variation, Alapin gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Bg4 6.h3 h5 7.c3 Qd3 8.hxg4 hxg4 9.Nxe5 Bd6 10.Nxd3 Bh2+ 11.Kh1 Bg3+ 12.Kg1 Bh2+ 13.Kh1 Bg3+ 14.Kg1 Bh2+ 15.Kh1 Bg3+ 16.Kg1 Bh2+ 17.Kh1 Bg3+ 18.Kg1 Bh2+ 19.Kh1 Bg3+ 20.Kg1 ½-½

Round 8: IM Josiah Stearman vs GM Santiago Avila Pavas
28th Space Coast Open Round 4
ECO: B 70 Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. f3 Nc6 7. Be3 h5 8. Qd2 Nxd4 9. Bxd4 Bh6 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxd7+ Nxd7 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Qxe3 Qb6 14. Qxb6 Nxb6 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Rc8 17. O-O-O Kd7 18. Rd4 Rc5 19. Re1 Rhc8 20. Rde4 Re8 21. Rf4 Rf8 22. Rfe4 Re8 23. Rf4 1/2-1/2

There was some fighting Chess played at the Space Coast, and GM Mitkov played one of the games:

GM Nikola Mitkov vs Scott Ramer
28th Space Coast Open Round 2
ECO: C27 Vienna Game: Frankenstein-Dracula Variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nxe4 4. Qh5 Nd6 5. Qxe5+ Qe7 6. Qxe7+ Bxe7 7. Bb3 Nf5 8. Nf3 c6 9. Ne2 d5 10. c3 Nd7 11. Bc2 Nf8 12. h4 h5 13. d4 f6 14. Bd2 Kf7 15. O-O-O Nd6 16. Ng3 Bg4 17. Rde1 Nc4 18. Nf5 Bxf5 19. Bxf5 g6 20. Bd3 Nxd2 21. Nxd2 Bd6 22. c4 Nd7 23. Nb1 c5 24. Nc3 cxd4 25. Nxd5 Ne5 26. Kd2 Rac8 27. Rc1 Ng4 28. Rhf1 f5 29. Be2 Nf6 30. Bf3 Nxd5 31. Bxd5+ Kf6 32. Kd3 b6 33. a3 Rhe8 34. Rc2 Be5 35. Re1 Re7 36. Rce2 Rcc7 37. g3 a5 38. f4 Bd6 39. Re6+ Kg7 40. Kxd4 Rxe6 41. Rxe6 Bc5+ 42. Kc3 Bf2 43. b4 axb4+ 44. axb4 b5 45. c5 Bxg3 46. Rb6 Bxh4 47. Rxb5 Bg3 48. c6 Bxf4 49. Rc5 Ra7 50. Ra5 Re7 51. b5 Bc7 52. Ra6 Kf6 53. b6 Ke5 54. bxc7 Rxc7 55. Kc4 g5 56. Ra8 h4 57. Rh8 Kf4 58. Kc5 Kg3 59. Be6 g4 60. Bxf5 h3 61. Kd6 Rg7 62. c7 Rxc7 63. Kxc7 h2 64. Bxg4 Kxg4 65. Rxh2 1-0

Anatoly Lein vs Igor A Zaitsev
Event: URS-ch36
Site: Alma-Ata Date: ??/??/1968
Round: 3 Score: ½-½
ECO: C27 Vienna game
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxe7+ Bxe7 7.Bb3 Nf5 8.Nf3 c6 9.g4 Nh4 10.Nxh4 Bxh4 11.d4 d5 12.Rg1 O-O 13.Ne2 Re8 14.c3 Nd7 15.Kf1 Nf6 16.f3 h5 17.h3 b6 18.a4 Ba6 19.Bd1 Re6 20.a5 Rae8 21.Rg2 Bd3 22.axb6 axb6 23.b3 Nh7 24.gxh5 Nf6 25.Ra2 Nxh5 26.Kg1 Be1 27.f4 Bxe2 28.Rgxe2 Bxc3 29.Rxe6 Rxe6 30.Bxh5 Re1+ 31.Kg2 Rxc1 32.Ra8+ Kh7 33.Bxf7 Bxd4 34.f5 Bf6 35.Kf3 Rf1+ 36.Kg4 Rg1+ 37.Kf3 Rf1+ ½-½

FM Corey Acor vs Vincent Stone
28th Space Coast Open Round 2
ECO: C27 Sicilian Defense: Closed

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 e5 7. f4 Nge7 8. Nf3 Nd4 9. O-O Bg4 10. Qd2 O-O 11. Nh4 exf4 12. Bxf4 Be6 13. Rf2 Rc8 14. Raf1 b5 15. Bg5 b4 16. Nd1 Qd7 17. c3 Ndc6 18. c4 Ne5 19. Ne3 Ng4 20. Nxg4 Bxg4 21. h3 Be6 22. g4 Bd4 23. Bf6 Bxf6 24. Rxf6 Kg7 25. b3 Ng8 26. R6f2 Qe7 27. Qb2+ f6 28. d4 Bd7 29. Nf3 cxd4 30. Qxd4 Rc5 31. Rd1 Bc6 32. Ne1 Qe5 33. Qxe5 Rxe5 34. Nd3 Ree8 35. Nxb4 Bxe4 36. Rxd6 a5 37. Nd5 Bxd5 38. Rxd5 a4 39. b4 Re1+ 40. Bf1 a3 41. Rd7+ Kh6 42. b5 Rc8 43. Kg2 Rb1 44. Ra7 f5 45. gxf5 gxf5 46. Rxa3 Nf6 47. Ra6 Rg8+ 48. Kh2 Rg6 49. Bd3 Rbg1 50. Rxf6 1-0

Stockfish says, 12…Qd7.

The Reason People Listen to Sad Songs

“Tom Traubert’s Blues”

Tom Waits

Wasted and wounded, it ain’t what the moon did, I’ve got what I paid for now
See you tomorrow, hey Frank, can I borrow a couple of bucks from you
To go waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda,
You’ll go waltzing Mathilda with me

I’m an innocent victim of a blinded alley
And I’m tired of all these soldiers here
No one speaks English, and everything’s broken, and my Stacys are soaking wet
To go waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda,
You’ll go waltzing Mathilda with me

Now the dogs are barking and the taxi cab’s parking
A lot they can do for me
I begged you to stab me, you tore my shirt open,
And I’m down on my knees tonight
Old Bushmill’s I staggered, you’d bury the dagger
In your silhouette window light go
To go waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda,
You’ll go waltzing Mathilda with me

Now I lost my Saint Christopher now that I’ve kissed her
And the one-armed bandit knows
And the maverick Chinamen, and the cold-blooded signs,
And the girls down by the strip-tease shows, go
Waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda,
You’ll go waltzing Mathilda with me

No, I don’t want your sympathy, the fugitives say
That the streets aren’t for dreaming now
And manslaughter dragnets and the ghosts that sell memories,
They want a piece of the action anyhow
Go waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda,
You’ll go waltzing Mathilda with me

And you can ask any sailor, and the keys from the jailor,
And the old men in wheelchairs know
And Mathilda’s the defendant, she killed about a hundred,
And she follows wherever you may go
Waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda,
You’ll go waltzing Mathilda with me

And it’s a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace,
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on an
Old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers, the night watchmen flame keepers
And goodnight to Mathilda, too

GM Alexander Shabalov Shows The Way To Play Chess

Yesterday Grandmaster Alexander Shabalov,

the current US Senior Champion, took a seat on the second board to face Cuban GM Elier Miranda Mesa,


born in 1993, in the seventh round of the XVI CAMPEONATO CONTINENTAL ABSOLUTO DE AJEDREZ DE LAS AMERICAS 2023. Next to him on first board sat the winner of the 2021 US Senior, Gregory Kaidanov, who squared off against GM Yago De Moura Santiago, of Brazil, born in 1992. Unfortunately for Kaidanov, the clock struck midnight and time ran out on the Senior when he lost.

Meanwhile, Shabba played the game of the tournament, maybe the year, decade, or possibly the century! GM Shabalov showed the young’uns, and even the old’uns, and everyone in between, how Chess should be played! If everyone played Chess like Shabba there would be no need to institute rules requiring a certain number of moves be made before a draw offer is allowed.

I was fortunate to be able watch the action and was riveted to the screen for many hours, most of which, after the Kaidanov game ended, was focused on the Shabba game. When it ended I felt drained. It was almost as if I had taken part in the game. This writer was fist pumpin’ while yelling, “YES!” or, “Take that, KID!” Then there were the “Oh no, Mr. Bill,” moments.

I will only give the game score, while STRONGLY URGING you to play over the game on a real board with pieces that can be held in your hand. Please replay the game with only your thoughts the first time, just to get a ‘feel’ for the game. Then replay it again while taking notes and writing down your thoughts. Only then should you input it into your particular Chess program, or replay it at lichess.org (https://lichess.org/broadcast/american-continental-chess-championship-2023/round-7/EGYlqWMt). You can thank me later…

The move 8…f6 was not to be found at 365Chess.com, but the Chessbase Database does contain five games in which the move was played.

KUDOS TO GRANDMASTER ALEXANDER SHABALOV! Obviously I have fallen into Shabalove…

GM Alexander Shabalov vs GM Elier Miranda Mesa
American Continental Chess Championship 2023
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance Variation, Short Variation

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. a4 Nd7 8. a5 f6 9. Ne1 h5 10. f4 h4 11. Nd2 a6 12. c3 Qc7 13. b4 O-O-O 14. Nd3 Be7 15. Nb3 Rdg8 16. Nbc5 Ngf8 17. Be3 g5 18. exf6 Bxf6 19. Qd2 Nxc5 20. bxc5 Qg7 21. Rf2 gxf4 22. Nxf4 Bd8 23. c4 Bc7 24. Raf1 Be4 25. Bd3 Qh7 26. Bxe4 Qxe4 27. Nh3 dxc4 28. Ng5 Qd5 29. Nf7 Nd7 30. Nxh8 Rxh8 31. Bf4 e5 32. dxe5 Nxc5 33. e6 Nd3 34. Bxc7 Nxf2 35. Qxf2 Kxc7 36. Qf7+ Kc8 37. Rb1 c5 38. Rf1 h3 39. gxh3 Qg5+ 40. Kh1 Qd5+ 41. Kg1 Qg5+ 42. Kh1 Rg8 43. Qf3 c3 44. Qe4 c2 45. e7 Re8 46. Qxc2 Rxe7 47. Qc4 Qe5 48. Rc1 Kb8 49. h4 Qe3 50. Rf1 Re4 51. Qd5 Qd4 52. Qb3 c4 53. Qg3+ Ka7 54. h5 c3 55. h6 c2 56. h7 Rh4 57. Qg2 Rxh7 58. Qxc2 Rh5 59. Rf5 Rh7 60. Qc5+ Qxc5 61. Rxc5 b6 62. axb6+ Kxb6 63. Rc1 a5 64. Kg2 a4 65. Kg3 Kb5 66. h4 Kb4 67. Kg4 a3 68. h5 Kb3 69. Ra1 Kb2 70. Rxa3 Kxa3 71. Kg5 1/2-1/2

FM Todd Andrews Versus Grandmasters Robert Hungaski and David Arenas at the American Continental Chess Championship 2023

In the fourth round of the ongoing American Continental Chess Championship 2023 FM Todd Andrews


faced fellow American GM Robert Hungaski.

Episode 149- GM Robert Hungaski — The Perpetual Chess Podcast

After the latter made his eighth move this position was reached:

White to move

We will return to this position momentarily.

It seems like only yesterday this writer heard it said that, “The Nashville Strangler has found him one.” The Strangler was, and still is, FM Jerry Wheeler. To give you an example of what it means for a Chess coach to have “found him one,” can best be explained by the time the Legendary Georgia Ironman informed me that, “Mr. Vest has found him one.” That “one” turned out to be Georgian IM Arthur Guo. When teaching Chess grizzled ol’ veterans “know” when a child “has it,” whatever “it” is… These children are special. Although I have taught Chess to many children the special “one” “with it” was never found. Without that whatever it is, let us call it a “spark”, a young player can still become a Chess Master, or even a titled player, especially today when there are so many titled players because the title has been cheapened to the point of ridiculousness. Without that ‘spark’ it is almost impossible for a Chess player to earn the Grandmaster title, unless that player is a woman. Even then there are female Chess players who have earned a “male” Grandmaster title, which is GM. The WGM title is only for women. The WGM title is laughed and scoffed at by most in the Chess community, for obvious reasons.

Position after 9 g4

This is being written because ‘back in the day’ g4 was the kind of move for which I was known, I am sad, but honest enough to report. The AW was famously known for “lashing out” prematurely while playing wild and crazy Chess. Hey, it worked at the Stein Club…


FM Todd Andrews vs GM Robert Hungaski
American Continental Chess Championship 2023 Rd 4
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (lichess.org)
A13 English opening (365Chess)

  1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d3 Nc6 6. a3 Be7 7. Qc2 O-O 8. h3 a6 9. g4 b5 10. g5 Ne8 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Bg2 Nc7 13. h4 Bf5 14. e4 Bg4 15. Ne2 Ne6 16. Be3 Rc8 17. Rd1 d4 18. Bc1 Bxf3 19. Bxf3 Ne5 20. Bg2 c4 21. dxc4 bxc4 22. O-O d3 23. Qc3 Qc7 24. Ng3 Bc5 25. Be3 g6 26. Bh3 Nf3+ 27. Kg2 Nxh4+ 28. Kh2 Bd4 29. Bxd4 Nf3+ 30. Kg2 Nexd4 31. Rh1 Rb8 32. b4 Nb5 33. Qf6 Nh4+ 34. Kf1 Rb6 35. Qa1 c3 36. Bg4 c2 37. Rxh4 d2 38. Ne2 Rc6 0-1

1…e6 is a rather tepid response to the English. If one is going to push the e-pawn why not push it all the way to e5? 3 e3 is a rather tepid response. If one is going to push the d-pawn why not push it all the way to d4? 4 Nf3 (?! SF) is so lame it gives the advantage to black. The Stockfish program at lichess.org shows, “Inaccuracy. d4 was best.” GM Hungaski replied with 4…Nf6, to which Stockfish responded with, “Inaccuracy. d4 was best.” After Todd played 5 d3, Stockfish responded with, “Inaccuracy. d4 was best.” I cannot make this up…

In yesterday’s round six game Todd faced GM David Arenas with the white pieces. After twenty moves this position was reached:

Position after 20…e5. White to move.

After only twenty moves Todd had fallen behind on time with a little less than twenty seven minutes remaining. His opponent had more than twice as much time. Todd used almost one third of his remaining time to produce his move. This writer knows how difficult it is when returning to the board after not having played serious OTB Chess in some time. When “not in form” even the pros will take more time than when “in form.” Scraping off the rust can be difficult. ‘Back in the day’ when Todd ruled at the House of Pain his moves came quickly and easily. These daze they are more difficult and are coming more slowly. Because Todd took so much time this writer, and Chess fan, had time to cogitate at length on the above position. Everything was considered. The first thought was not wanting the pawn coming to e4. Nevertheless I checked 21 cxd5 and did not like anything about the move, so I concentrated on 21 dxe5. I could “see” 21 Bxe5, followed by 21…Nxe5 22 dxe5 Rxe5 23 Nf3, attacking the Rook. That is about as far my Chess vision allows. I can “see” that because it is all forced. Then it hit me…”What if he plays 22…d4?” I certainly did not like the looks of 23 Nf5 followed by 23…Bxg2, but what else is there to play? I stopped looking and decided the move to make had to be 21 Bxe5.

As you will see, Todd made several questionable moves but the most questionable was not moving his Knight to f5. Then GM Arenas made a very questionable move with 24…f4?! and it was back to square one, as Todd was back in the game. Unfortunately, Todd refused to accept the gift when moving the Knight to the rim, where it was dim, and then followed up with the game losing 23 Qg4?

FM Todd Andrews vs GM David Arenas
American Continental Chess Championship 2023 Round 6
A45 Queen’s pawn game

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 e6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 cxd4 5. exd4 b6 6. Nf3 Bb7 7. Nbd2 Be7 8. h3 O-O 9. Bd3 a6 10. a4 d6 11. Bh2 Nbd7 12. O-O h6 13. Re1 Qc7 14. Nc4 Rfe8 15. Ne3 Bc6 16. Nd2 Bf8 17. Qe2 Qb7 18. c4 d5 19. b3 Bb4 20. Rec1 e5 21. cxd5 Nxd5 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 23. Ne4 f5 24. Ng3 f4 25. Nh5 exd4 26. Qg4 Ne5 27. Qf5 Nxd3 28. Qxd3 Bc3 29. Bxf4 Qf7 30. g4 Bxa1 31. Rxa1 g6 32. Ng3 Qxf4 33. Qxg6+ Kh8 34. Nf5 Qg5 35. Qxb6 Re6 36. Qxd4+ Qf6 37. Qxd5 Qxa1+ 38. Kg2 Rae8 39. Nd6 Qe1 40. a5 Rf8 0-1

Lars Karlsson (2501) vs Leif Erlend Johannessen (2564)
Event: Rilton Cup 35th
Site: Stockholm Date: 12/30/2005
Round: 4 Score: ½-½
ECO: A45 Queen’s pawn game
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nd2 Bb7 5.Ngf3 Be7 6.h3 c5 7.c3 cxd4 8.exd4 O-O 9.Bd3 a6 10.a4 d6 11.Qe2 Nbd7 12.O-O Re8 13.Bh2 Nf8 14.Rfd1 Ng6 15.c4 d5 16.b3 Bb4 17.Qe3 Rc8 18.Ne5 Qe7 19.Ndf3 Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Ne4 21.Bf4 f6 22.Rac1 e5 23.Bh2 exd4 24.Nxd4 Qf7 25.Qf3 Bc5 26.Bf1 Kh8 27.Bf4 Rcd8 28.Be3 Qg6 29.Qg4 Qxg4 30.hxg4 dxc4 31.Bxc4 Bc8 32.Be2 g6 33.Bf3 Bb7 34.Nc2 Kg7 35.b4 Bxe3 36.Nxe3 Rxd1+ 37.Rxd1 Re7 38.Bxe4 Bxe4 39.Rd6 Rb7 40.a5 bxa5 41.bxa5 Ra7 42.f3 Ba8 43.Nc2 Kf7 44.Nd4 Ke7 45.Re6+ Kf7 46.Rd6 Ke7 47.Rb6 Kf7 48.Nb3 Bd5 49.Nc5 Rc7 50.Nxa6 Rc1+ 51.Kh2 Ra1 52.Rb5 Bc4 53.Rb7+ Kg8 54.Nc5 Rxa5 55.Ne4 Ra6 56.g5 fxg5 57.Nxg5 h6 58.Ne4 Bd5 59.Rb4 Bxe4 60.Rxe4 Kf7 ½-½

What has happened to the Todd with the Big Head? (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2023/04/17/big-head-todd-the-monster-in-iceland/) This is not the kind of Chess FM Todd Andrews played ‘back in the day’. It is almost as if another entity has taken over Todd’s big head, because his play recently has been unrecognizable. When discussing this with the Legendary one, Tim said, “Todd ain’t no spring chicken, Mike. He will be eligible for the Senior in less than a decade, and he’s got a house full of children… He runs the Nashville Chess Center and gives lessons all the time. How much time does he have to work on his game?”