Leningrad Dutch Daze

It all began on the early in the week when I opened an advertisement from New In Chess with notification of the publication of two books by the excellent writer GM Mihail Marin:


Then on Thursday, June 17, GM Kevin Spraggett posted Chess and the AfterLife on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess, (www.spraggettonchess.com) which includes a segment about Chess in the cemetery, in which one sees this picture:

I was reminded of a time when a lovely young woman, Cecil Jordan, drove an old, beat up, green DeSoto all the way from Sacremento, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines. The apartment we shared happened to be close to a cemetary. One evening we went for a walk and she brought along her camera…to take pictures of us in the cemetary. Can you believe some of our friends could not understand why?

Fortunately, Kevin’s article also includes the game between the late Cuban Grandmaster Roman Hernandez and a talented 17-year old Spanish expert, David Rivas Vila, which happened to be a Leningrad Dutch! I urge you to surf on over and play over the game, of course, after reading this post and playing over all of the games, all of which are open with the Leningrad Dutch!

Then in the opening round of the National Open this game was seen at the ChessBomb:

Rochelle Wu, (2144) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)


Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 01

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c6 4. Nf3 Qa5 5. Qd2 d5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxd7 Bxd7 8. e3 g6 9. Be2 Bg7 10. h4 b5 11. a3 O-O 12. b4 Qd8 13. O-O a5 14. Qc1 Be8 15. Qb2 a4 16. Rad1 Nd7 17. Na2 h6 18. Bf4 e5 19. dxe5 Qxh4 20. Qc3 Ra6 21. Nc1 Qe7 22. Nd3 g5 23. Bh2 Nb6 24. Nc5 Ra8 25. Qd4 Bg6 26. Rd2 f4 27. exf4 gxf4 28. Bxf4 Rae8 29. Bd3 Bxd3 30. cxd3 Bxe5 31. Bxe5 Qxe5 32. Qxe5 Rxe5 33. Rc1 Rfe8 34. Kf1 Rh5 35. Kg1 Rhe5 36. Kf1 Rh5 37. Kg1 Rhe5 ½-½
  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c6 (Stockfish plays 3…d5) 4. Nf3 (SF plays 4 e3) 4…Qa5 5. Qd2 (TN)

Hottes, Dieter vs Kauder, Hartmut
Event: FRG-chT fin
Site: Minden Date:1959
Round: 2.3
ECO: A80 Dutch

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 c6 4.Nf3 Qa5 5.e3 Ne4 6.Bd3 d6 7.O-O Nxc3 8.bxc3 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Bg7 11.Nd2 O-O 12.f4 gxf4 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.exf4 Nd7 15.Qe2 Nf6 16.Bh4 Nd5 17.Qd2 Bd7 18.Rae1 e6 19.Ne3 Qa5 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Rb1 Bxd4+ 22.Kh1 Bxc3 23.Qe2 Qc7 24.g4 Rae8 25.Rg1 Kh8 26.gxf5 exf5 27.Qh5 Bc6 28.h3 Qf7 29.Rg6 Bg7 30.Rxh6+ Bxh6 31.Qxh6+ Qh7 32.Bf6+ Rxf6 33.Qxf6+ Qg7 34.Qh4+ Qh7 35.Qf6+ Qg7 36.Qh4+ Qh7 37.Qxh7+ Kxh7 38.Bxf5+ Kh6 39.Kg2 Rf8 40.Bd3 Rxf4 41.Kg3 Ra4 42.Re1 Rxa2 43.Re7 Kg5 44.Re6 Ra3 45.Rxd6 a5 46.h4+ Kh5 47.Rf6 Rc3 48.Kf4 Rxd3 49.cxd3 a4 50.Rf8 Kg6 51.Ke5 Kg7 52.Ra8 Kg6 53.Kd6 Kg7 54.Kc5 Kg6 55.d4 Kh5 56.Rh8+ Kg6 57.Rf8 Kh5 58.Rh8+ Kg6 59.Kb6 a3 60.Ra8 Kh5 61.Rxa3 Kxh4 62.Rf3 Kg5 63.Kc5 Kg6 64.Kd6 Kg5 65.Rf2 Kg4 66.Ke5 Kg3 67.Rf4 Kh3 68.Kf5 Kg3 69.Kg5 Be8 70.Rf5 Bc6 71.Rf7 Kh3 72.Rf3+ Kg2 73.Kf4 Bb5 74.Ke3 Bc4 75.Rf6 b5 76.Kd2 Kg3 77.Kc3 Kg4 78.Kb4 Kg5 79.Rf2 Kg4 80.Kc5 Kg5 ½-½

Shabba, my man, four time winner of the US Championship,


brought the Leningrad back into action again a few rounds later:

FM Eric Li (2278) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 04

c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 Na6 11. Ng5 Re8 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 15. e3 Qf7 16. b3 h5 17. Bb2 h4 18. Ne2 hxg3 19. hxg3 Rd8 20. Bd4 Nce4 21. Nc3 Rf8 22. Nxe4 Nxe4 23. Qb2 Bh6 24. b4

Black to move

This position vividly illustrates something I have told students over the years, which is to count the pieces on each side of the board, or total the points of each piece, if you prefer. Looking at this position Mr. Li has a lone Bishop on the King side of the board. The remainder of his army, the Queen, both Rooks, and the other Bishop, are on the Queenside of the board. All five pieces of Shabalov’s army are on the Kingside! This means the General of the black army MUST PLAY ON THE KING SIDE OF THE BOARD! Black must attack NOW. The move that best satisfies that objective is 24…g5.

24…b6 25. Rac1 g5 26. Qc2 g4 27. Rd3 Bg5 28. c5 bxc5 29. bxc5 d5 30. Rb1 Bf6 31. Qa4 Ng5 32. Kf1 Qh7 33. Rdd1 f4 34. gxf4 Nf3 35. Bxf6 Qh2 36. f5 Qg1+ 37. Ke2 Rxe3+ 38. Kxe3 Re8+ 39. Kd3 Qxg2 40. Qxc6 Ne5+ 41. Bxe5 Qe4+ 42. Kd2 1-0

  1. c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 (SF plays 2…e5) 3. Bg2 (SF 240521 @Depth 43 plays 3 Nf3; SF 13 @Depth 30 plays 3 d4) 3…g6 (SF plays 3…e5) 4. Nf3 (SF 170621 @Depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 13 at the same depth would play 4 d4) 4…Bg7 (SF 070321 @Depth49 and Komodo @Depth 36 both play this move, but SF 070420 plays 4…d6) 5. 0-0 (Interestingly, SF 13 @Depth 35 plays this move, but SF 070321 @Depth 52 plays 5 d4; while Komodo at depth 40 plays 5 Nc3) 5…O-O 6. d4 (SF plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 (Although SF 13 @Depth 40 plays this move, SF 190521 @Depth 44 prefers 6…c6, as does Houdini) 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 (Although far and away the most often played move SF 110521 going deep @Depth 55 would play 8 Qc2; Komodo @Depth40 plays 8 Rb1) 8…e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 (The old move. Three different SF engines show 10 b3) 10…Na6 (Again, the old move. Both SF and Houdini play 10…Re8) 11. Ng5 (Three different programs conclude 11 Bf4 is the best move) 11…Re8 (SF plays 11…Nc5) 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 (TN)

I vividly recall watching a game at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center (aka House of Pain) when a young player by the name of Matthew Puckett, from the Great State of Alabama, played the Leningrad Dutch against Grandmaster Sam Palatnik. It was not often we saw a GM go down at the House of Pain, but this was one of those times. Although on duty that Sunday afternoon I continued to ask someone to watch things while I made another trip up the stairs. I was worn out that night and my knees hurt from going up and down the stairs so many times, but it was worth all the pain.

Grivas, Efstratios (2465) vs Palatnik, Semon (2510)
Event: Iraklion op
Site: Iraklion Date:1992
Round: 6
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Qd3 Na6 11.Ng5 Re8 12.Rd1 Nc5 13.Nxe6 Rxe6 14.Qc2 Nfe4 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 16.Be3 Qe7 17.Bd4 a5 18.e3 h5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rd4 Re8 21.Rad1 Qc7 22.h4 Kf7 23.Bf3 R8e7 24.Kg2 Ke8 25.a3 Nf6 26.b4 axb4 27.axb4 Ng4 28.Bxg4 fxg4 29.Qd3 c5 30.bxc5 dxc5 31.Rd5 Kf7 32.Ra1 Qc6 33.Kg1 b6 34.Rd1 Rf6 35.Qc2 Qe6 36.Qb2 Qe4 37.Rd6 Rxd6 38.Rxd6 Re6 39.Rd7+ Re7 40.Rd8 Re8 41.Rxe8 Kxe8 42.Qxb6 Qxc4 43.Qxg6+ Ke7 44.Qxh5 Qc1+ 45.Kg2 c4 46.Qc5+ Ke6 47.h5 Qc2 48.Qc8+ 1-0

The next game features Georgia resident GM Alonso Zapata. There are now two Grandmasters living in the greater Atlanta area, the other being GM Ben Finegold, who lives in Roswell with his wife, Karen:


where the new Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Atlanta (https://atlchessclub.com/) is located. I can recall a time when Atlanta area players wished and longed for just one Grandmaster for the area, one in particular, an educated fellow called “Foghorn,” who was particularly strident about the need for a Grandmaster, as if that would cure all that ailed Chess in the metropolitan area. The foghorn stopped blowing one day when a much higher rated player said, “Quit your belly aching, Foghorn. Not even the World Champion could help your game!”

Adharsh Rajagopal (2051 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 01

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 O-O 8. Bb2 Qe8 9. Nc3 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 Rd7 13. Qc2 h6 14. Nh3 Na6 15. Rad1 Rxd1 16. Rxd1 Be6 17. f3 Rd8 18. Nf2 Bf8 19. Bxf8 Qxf8 20. Nd3 Nb4 21. Nxb4 Rxd1+ 22. Qxd1 Qxb4 3. Qd2 Kf7 24. Qe3 Nd7 25. Kf2 a5 26. Nd1 Qc5 27. f4 exf4 28. gxf4 Qd6 29. Ke1 a4 30. Qd2 Qc5 31. Qe3 Qa3 32. Qc3 Qc5 33. Qe3 Qd6 34. Qd2 Qe7 35. Qc3 axb3 36. axb3 Qa3 37. Qb2 Qc5 38. e3 Qb4+ 39. Qc3 Qxc3+ 40. Nxc3 Nc5 41. e4 Nxb3 42. exf5 gxf5 43. Bf1 Ke7 44. Nd1 Kd6 45. Ne3 Kc5 46. Bh3 Nd4 47. Bf1 Kb4 48. Kf2 Kc3 49. Bh3 Kd2 50. c5 Kd3 51. Bg2 Nb3 52. Bh3 Ke4 0-1
  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 (Stockfish plays 7 Nc3) 7…O-O (SF plays 7…e5) 8. Bb2 Qe8 (SF plays 8…a5; Komodo chooses 8…Na6) 9. Nc3 (Komodo plays the game move, but SF plays the most often seen move according to the CBDB, 9 Nbd2; Houdini likes 9 Re1, a move seen in only one game) 9…e5 (SF plays this, but the Dragon prefers 9…Na6)10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 (TN)

Braum, Hermann Josef vs Weiland, Thomas
Event: Wiesbaden op 17th
Site: Wiesbaden Date: 08/27/1998
Round: 7
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.b3 Qe8 9.Bb2 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Ba3 Rf7 12.Qc2 e4 13.Ng5 Rd7 14.Rad1 h6 15.Rxd7 Nbxd7 16.Nh3 Ne5 17.f4 Neg4 18.Qd2 Qd7 19.Rd1 Qxd2 20.Rxd2 Be6 21.Be7 Kf7 22.Rd8 Rxd8 23.Bxd8 Ne3 24.Bc7 Nd7 25.Nb1 Bd4 26.Ba5 Nxc4+ 0-1

Nicholas Ladan (2095 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 03

  1. d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nh3 Bg7 5. Nf4 Nc6 6. h4 e5 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 Ne4 9. Bxe4 fxe4 10. Kf1 Ng4 11. c3 c6 12. f3 Nf6 13. Qd6 Kf7 14. Ba3 Re8 15. Kg2 b6 16. Rd1 Bb7 17. g4 Kg8 18. h5 g5 19. Nh3 Nd5 20. Kf2 Re6 21. Qg3 c5 22. Bc1 h6 23. f4 e3+ 24. Kg1 Qc7 25. Rxd5 Bxd5 26. Bxe3 Rae8 27. Bf2 Rxe2 28. Na3 Bb7 29. Nc4 Qc6 30. Kh2 d5 31. Ne3 R8xe3 0-1

d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 (SF & Komodo play 3 h4) 3…Nf6 4. Nh3 (SF plays 4 c4; Komodo prefers 4 Nd2) 4…Bg7 5. Nf4 (SF plays 5 c4) 5…Nc6 (SF plays 5…c6) 6. h4 (SF plays 6 c4) 6…e5 (SF & Komodo both choose 6…d6) 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 (TN) (If given the chance SF 12 @Depth 29 would play 8 Be3, which would be a TN. SF 11 @Depth 42 would play 8 Nd2, as would Komodo. Which gives me a chance to show a game from the Magister of the Leningrad Dutch, the man who wrote, literally and figuratively, the book on the Leningrad Dutch:


Calin Dragomirescu (2259) vs Malaniuk, Vladimir P (2532)

GM Vladimir Malaniuk

Event: Timisoara Brinzeu mem
Site: Timisoara Date: 03/22/2006
Round: 5
ECO: A81 Dutch defence

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nh3 Nc6 5.Nf4 Bg7 6.h4 e5 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Nd2 c6 9.Nf3 Nfg4 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.O-O d5 12.Be3 O-O 13.Bd4 Nc4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.b3 Ne5 16.Qd4 Qf6 17.Rad1 Kg8 18.e3 Be6 19.Nd3 Nd7 20.Qxf6 Rxf6 21.Nf4 Nb6 22.Rd4 Re8 23.Rfd1 Bf7 24.a4 a5 25.Bf1 Kf8 26.Bg2 Bg8 27.Nd3 Rf7 28.Nc5 Rc7 29.Bf1 Ke7 30.b4 Ra8 31.Rb1 Kd6 32.bxa5 Rxa5 33.Rxb6 Kxc5 34.Rb1 Be6 35.Rdb4 Bc8 36.Rf4 Re7 37.Bd3 Kd6 38.c4 dxc4 39.Rxc4 Kc7 40.Re1 Rd7 41.Bc2 c5 42.Rf4 Rd6 43.Rd1 Rxd1+ 44.Bxd1 b5 45.Bc2 b4 46.e4 Kd6 47.h5 Ke5 48.hxg6 hxg6 49.Rh4 Be6 50.exf5 gxf5 51.f4+ Kd4 52.g4 b3 53.Bb1 Rxa4 54.gxf5 Bd5 0-1

The Leningrad Dutch book by Malaniuk is currently booking for about $900 US at the Gorilla, aka, Amazon. It can be downloaded FREE here: http://bonavi.de/download/download.php?article=dutch_leningrad_pdf&encrypt=632fc81c54757a09b00ea4e11cc03b53

Cowardly Chess

I had not intended to post today because there are book reviews to write and games being played all over the world to follow, which is marvelous. Unfortunately, some of the games being contested are anything but marvelous. For example, take this just ended game:

Nils Grandelius (2670)


vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2687)


Prague International Chess Festival Masters 2021 round 05

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. a4 Bd7 10. Bc2 Re8 11. Re1 h6 12. Nbd2 Bf8 13. h3 Rb8 14. axb5 axb5 15. Nf1 b4 16. Ng3 bxc3 17. bxc3 Ra8 18. Rb1 d5 19. Bb3 dxe4 20. Nxe4 Be6 21. Be3 Nd5 22. Bd2 Nb6 23. Bc2 Nd5 24. Ba4 Bd7 25. Bb3 Nf6 26. Ng3 Bd6 27. Qc2

The game ended after: 27…Be6 28. Ba4 Bd7 29. Bb3 Be6 30. Ba4 Bd7 31. Bb3 ½-½

The pawn structure is unbalanced and White has a slight edge. You know it, I know it, the players know it, and so does the Stockfish program at ChessBomb.com. Do you think Magnus Carlsen,


famous for grinding out wins from a position such as the above, would have agreed to make a three time repetition? Me neither, which is why these two cowardly lions

are local heroes and not playing for the World Championship as is Magnus Carlsen.

What if Chess decided to adopt the Ko rule seen in the magnificent game of Go, or Wei Chi? (https://senseis.xmp.net/?Ko) Repeating a position is simply not allowed, which is one of the reasons Go is a much better game than is Chess. The idea of offering a draw is anathema when playing Go!

What if only 1/4 point was awarded to each player in the above game, and in each and every game that was drawn? How many “buddy-buddy” draws would be seen then? Just asking…

What if a Chess player only received payment for winning? Just wondering…

American Phenom Abhimanyu Mishra Searching For A Record

Abhimanyu Mishra, the 12-year-old American who already has two of the three required norms for the grandmaster title, is going for his third and final GM norm of a 2600-rated performance at First Saturday June in the Hungarian capital. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jun/04/magnus-carlsen-beats-wesley-so-third-attempt-champions-tour-amid-copycat-draws-gripes-chess

Not having seen the move 4 Qb3 actually played on the board in this opening, the Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, in over fifty years playing and following the Royal game, the young phenom searching for the points to earn a GM title at the youngest age, Abhimanyu Mishra,

American chess player Abhimanyu Mishra, 12, is the world’s youngest IM, and is one norm away from breaking a 19-year-old GM record. Austin Fuller


sent me to the databases with the move played in the third round of the Vezerkepzo GM June 2021 tournament, currently being played in Budapest, Hungary. The young preteen boy took a hit playing black in the first round. In the second round he again had the black pieces, and managed to draw. Finally sitting behind the white army in the third round, he scored his first win. His opponent in the third round, Subramaniyam Bharath, was born in 2007. Mishra was born in 2009. This writer was born some time in the last century…

Mishra, Abhimanyu (2485) – Bharath, Subramaniyam H (2437)

Vezerkepzo GM June 2021 round 03

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. Nc3 Be7 7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 b6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. O-O Re8 12. Rfd1 h6 13. Bh4 Ne4 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. a4 Ndf6 16. Ne5 c5 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. a5 cxd4 20. exd4 bxa5 21. Rc5 Rac8 22. Rdc1 Rxc5 23. Rxc5 Rd8 24. Qc4 Qf6 25. h3 a4 26. Qxa4 Qd6 27. Qa2 Bd5 28. Qxa7 f6 29. Ng6 Ra8 30. Ne7+ Kh7 31. Nf5 Qf8 32. Qd7 Rd8 33. Qc7 Bf7 34. Qb7 Rb8 35. Qxe4 Bg6 36. Rc7 Rxb2 37. Qe6 Rb1+ 38. Kh2 Qb8 39. Qe7 Qxc7+ 40. Qxc7 Bxf5 41. d5 Rb2 42. d6 Rd2 43. Qa5 Rxf2 44. Kg3 Rf1 45. Qb5 1-0

At the ChessBaseDataBase we learn that the move, 4 Qb3, ranks at #5 in popularity, behind 4 Nc3 (43872); 4 e3 (40279); 4 Qc2 (4401); and 4 cxd5 (3834). 4 Qb3 shows (2474) attempts in the database, and is followed by 4 g3 with (1309) games. Although the numbers are different at 365Chess, 4 Qb3 still ranks at #4. But here’s the deal, the move is scoring better than all other moves at both databases! The CBDB shows “60%”, which happens to be the same as a move not yet mentioned, 4 Ndb2, which has been played only 990 times according to the CBDB. 365Chess shows 4 Qb3 black winning only 16.8% of the games having been played! The budding young future GM has done his homework.

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 e6 (Stockfish plays this move but Komodo prefers 4…dxc4) 5. Bg5 (SF plays 5 g3) 5…Nbd7 6. Nc3 Be7 7. e3 O-O (Although O-O is the choice of Komodo, and the most often played move by a wide margin of 190 to 18 for 7…h6, Stockfish would play the latter) 8. Rc1 (Although SF 020197 plays the most often seen move of 8 Bd3, Stockfish 12 @Depth 38, and Komodo 13.02 @Depth 30 play 8 Be2) 8…b6 9. cxd5 (This is a TN. ( Be2 was played in the game below)

Hoelzl, Franz (2351) vs Genser, Harald (2321)
Event: AUT-chT 0607
Site: Austria Date: 11/03/2006
Round: 1
ECO: D53 Queen’s Gambit Declined, 4.Bg5 Be7, 5.e3 O-O
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Qb3 c6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.Rc1 b6 9.Be2 Bb7 10.O-O c5 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.dxc5 Nxc5 14.Qa3 Rfc8 15.Nd4 a5 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Rc2 Qf8 18.Rfc1 Bb7 19.Nb3 Na6 20.Qxf8+ Kxf8 21.Nd2 Nb4 22.Rxc8+ Rxc8 23.Rxc8+ Bxc8 24.a3 Nd5 25.e4 Nc7 26.Kf1 Ke7 27.Nc4 Na8 28.Ke1 Bb7 29.f3 f6 30.Kd2 Kd7 31.Bd3 h6 32.h4 Kc7 33.e5 fxe5 34.Nxe5 Kd6 35.Nc4+ Kc5 36.Kc3 Bd5 37.b4+ axb4+ 38.axb4+ Kc6 39.Ne5+ Kd6 40.Kd4 Nc7 41.g4 b5 42.f4 Bg2 43.Be4 Bxe4 44.Kxe4 Nd5 45.Nd3 Nc3+ 46.Kd4 Ne2+ 47.Ke3 Nc3 48.Kd4 ½-½

Teaching Chess

Imagine yourself sitting behind the white pieces as your student begins showing a recently played game for review. He calls out, “e4” and you move the pawn in front of the King two squares. He then moves the pawn in front of his King one square, known as the French defense. You then move the pawn in front of your Queen two squares to the d4 square as he nods before doing the same with his d-pawn. You wait, because there are several alternatives here, until he says, “Nd2.” This makes it the Tarrasch variation in plain English, called that because Sigbert preferred it.

In ECO language it is the C03 French, Tarrasch variation. You make the move on the board and your student moves the pawn in front of the King’s Rook, one square.

What happens next depends entirely on the student, and past experience. For example, say the person who just pushed his Rook pawn to h6 was someone you have known for decades, with the moniker Mulfish. You may ask, “What the hell kinda move is that?!”

Or maybe it’s the recalcitrant middle school kid from Garry Kasparov’s hometown who has to be home schooled after pulling the fire alarm in school, who is only sitting at the board because he is being home schooled and must be here, like it or not. You look at his glazed eyes and say, “Figures,” as he takes another breath while disinterestedly continuing to stare out the window.

But if your student is a young child, boy or girl, you must be more circumspect, and say something as sweetly as possible under the circumstances, like, “Why did you play that move?” Tears may still well up in their little eyes even though you have been as sweet as pie, and they may even begin to cry…If the student is a young boy you can channel your former football coach and shout, “Suck it up, buttercup!” But if it is a girl you know there is absolutely nothing you can say, so you remain silent while wondering how the path of life led you to where you are at this moment in time…

Now if the student happens to be an adult, say about thirty years of age, give or take, and an attorney at a prominent law firm, it would be possible to inquire as to why he made that particular move. And if he said, “To prevent his Bishop from coming to g5.” You could FLARE UP and scream, “But the Knight that just moved to d2 is blocking the Bishop from moving, you IDIOT!” But then you realize that is not possible because the reason the lawyer is sitting across from you instead of another teacher is because a former coach FLARED UP on the poor guy and asked you to give this lesson, and you could use the money, if for nothing else, some alcoholic beverage(s) after the lesson to ease the pain of teaching…Then you reflect on a former adult student who was attending college when bitten by the Chess bug, as was yours truly, who, when seeing him again a decade later and asking why he had stopped playing Chess, answered bitterly, “I lost my wife; I lost my life; all to become a class ‘B’ player!” And you wished you had not asked the question…Then you think about his wife, one of the loveliest women your eyes have ever seen, who became a stewardess…and you know this because she told you when you ran into her a few years later. In addition, after asking about your former student, she told you about the divorce, while also sweetly saying, “I’m not seeing anyone,” and you remember thinking, “THANK YOU, GOD!” even though you’re agnostic…
Then the current student adds, “World Champion Magnus Carlsen plays the move,” which immediately brings you back to reality and you say, “Well now, Bunky, at least you had a reason.”

What? You thought teaching Chess was easy?

What prompted this was a recent game from round five of the First Saturday June IM 2021, between Koppany Geher (2291) and Adam Szeberenyi (2373).

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 h6 (The CBDB shows this having been played in 495 games. 365Chess shows 353 games. The CBDB shows these moves having been played more often: 3…c5 (12883); Nf6 (11743); dxe4; (3099) Be7; (4461) Nc6; (2719) a6 (1998). 356Chess even shows 3…b6 having been played more frequently than 3…h6. There is a reason.) 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 (SF 040021 at depth 35 plays this, but SF 13 @depth 40 plays 5 Bd3) 5…Nfd7 6. c4 (SF 13 @D54 plays 6 Bd3, but SF 051020 @D56 would play 6 Be2, which has only been attempted in 3 games. SF 13 @D48 shows 6 c3, which has been played in 11 games) 6…c5 (Komodo plays this move but SF prefers 6…dxc4) 7. Bd3 (SF plays 7 cxd5) 7…dxc4 (Komodo would play 7…Nc6, a TN) 8. Nxc4 cxd4 (Although one Komodo program plays the game move, another, and Stockfish, would play 8…Nc6) 9. O-O Nc6 10. Be4 (SF & Houdini play 10 Bf4) 10…Nc5 SF & Komodo both play 10…Nb6) 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. Qxd4 Qxd4 13. Nxd4 Ba6 14. b3 Rc8 15. Rd1 Bxc4 16. bxc4 Nd7 17. Bf4 g5 18. Bg3 Bg7 19. Re1 O-O 20. h3 Rfd8 21. Nb3 Nf8 22. Rad1 Ng6 23. Rd6 Bf8 24. Rd4 Rxd4 25. Nxd4 Bg7 26. Kf1 a6 27. Re4 Ne7 28. Bh2 Rb8 29. Nb3 Rb4 30. Nc5 a5 31. a3 Rb1+ 32. Re1 Rb2 33. Re2 Rb1+ 34. Re1 Rb2 35. Re2 Rb8 36. Re3 Ng6 37. Nd7 Rb1+ 38. Ke2 Rc1 39. c5 h5 40. g4 h4 41. Kf3 Nf8 42. Nf6+ Bxf6 43. exf6 Nd7 44. Bd6 Nxf6 45. Rb3 Nd7 46. Rb7 Nxc5 47. Ra7 Rc3+ 48. Ke2 f6 49. Be7 Ne4 50. f3 Ng3+ 51. Kf2 Rc2+ 52. Kg1 Kf7 53. Bd6+ Kg6 54. Rxa5 Ne2+ 55. Kf1 Nd4 56. Rc5 Rd2 57. f4 gxf4 58. Bxf4 Rd3 59. Bc1 Nb3 0-1

Melkumyan, Hrant (2633) vs Carlsen, Magnus (2840)
Event: World Blitz 2016
Site: Doha QAT Date: 12/29/2016
Round: 6.1
ECO: C03 French, Tarrasch

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nd2 h6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.O-O cxd4 8.cxd4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Be7 10.Re1 O-O 11.Be3 Nd5 12.a3 b6 13.Rc1 Bb7 14.Bb1 Rc8 15.Qd3 f5 16.Nc3 Bf6 17.Ba2 Nce7 18.Bd2 Qd7 19.Ne5 Bxe5 20.Rxe5 Rf6 21.Rce1 Ng6 22.Nxd5 Bxd5 23.Bxd5 Nxe5 24.dxe5 Rf7 25.Bc4 Rxc4 26.Qxc4 Qxd2 27.Rf1 Re7 28.b4 Kf7 29.g3 Rd7 30.Rc1 Qb2 31.Qc6 Re7 32.Qc3 Qe2 33.Re1 Qb5 34.Rd1 Qe2 35.Re1 Qa2 36.Rd1 Qe2 37.Re1 Qh5 38.Qc6 Qg4 39.Kg2 Qd4 40.Re3 Rd7 41.h4 Ke7 42.Qf3 Rc7 43.Qh5 Qd5+ 44.Qf3 Qd4 45.Qa8 Kf7 46.Qf3 Rc2 47.Qh5+ Kf8 48.Qf3 Kg8 49.Re2 Rc3 50.Re3 Rxe3 51.Qxe3 Qxe3 52.fxe3 Kf7 53.Kf3 Kg6 54.e4 fxe4+ 55.Kxe4 Kh5 56.Kf3 b5 57.Kf4 g6 58.Kf3 g5 59.hxg5 hxg5 60.Kf2 Kg4 61.Kg2 Kf5 0-1

Adams, Michael (2734) vs Short, Nigel D (2698)
Event: 3rd London Chess Classic
Site: London ENG Date: 12/06/2011
Round: 4
ECO: C03 French, Tarrasch

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 h6 4.Bd3 c5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Ngf3 Nc6 7.O-O Nge7 8.Qe2 O-O 9.Nb3 Bb6 10.c3 dxe4 11.Qxe4 Ng6 12.Bc4 Kh8 13.Qc2 Nce5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Be2 Qh4 16.g3 Qh3 17.Be3 Bxe3 18.fxe3 Ng4 19.Bxg4 Qxg4 20.Rad1 f6 21.Nd4 e5 22.Nf5 Be6 23.e4 Rfd8 24.Ne3 Qg6 25.Kg2 b5 26.b3 a5 27.c4 bxc4 28.bxc4 Qh5 29.h4 Bd7 30.Rf2 Bc6 31.Nd5 Rab8 32.Qe2 Qg6 33.Qf3 Rd7 34.Kh2 Rdb7 35.Rdd2 a4 36.Qe3 Bd7 37.Qf3 Bg4 38.Qe3 Be6 39.Qf3 Rb1 40.Ne3 Rc1 41.Rd6 Qf7 42.Rfd2 Rbb1 43.g4 Kh7 44.h5 Rc3 45.Kg2 Rxe3 46.Qxe3 Bxg4 47.Rb6 Ra1 48.Qc3 Re1 49.Rf2 Rxe4 50.c5 Bxh5 51.Rb4 Bg6 52.Kh2 Qe6 53.Rg2 Bf5 54.Rb7 Bg4 55.Rf2 f5 56.Rb4 Rxb4 57.Qxb4 e4 58.Qd4 e3 59.Rf1 Qxa2+ 60.Kg3 Qe2 61.Qf4 Qd2 62.Qe5 e2 63.Rg1 h5 64.c6 f4+ 65.Kh4 Qd8+ 66.Qg5 Qxg5+ 67.Kxg5 f3 68.c7 f2 69.Rxg4 f1=Q 70.c8=Q Qf6+ 71.Kxh5 Qh6# 0-1

Firefighters Rescue Rocky Raccoon with Head Stuck in Sewer Cover


Raccoon with head stuck in sewer cover rescued by Harrison Twp. Fire Department

Emma Stein Detroit Free Press

June 10, 2021

Lt. Brian Lorkowski has worked at the Harrison Township Fire Department for about 20 years, but on Tuesday he faced something he has never seen before: a raccoon with its head stuck in a sewer cover.

His department got the call from animal control and drove out to the scene on Clearview Drive and South River Road.

First, they tried putting soap around the raccoon’s neck, but it failed to get itself loose.

They were going to try to use brute force and saw the cover, but it’s made of cast iron so that would have put the raccoon at risk.

“So we didn’t want to do that,” said Lorkowski. “And you know, as you cut, the cast iron was getting hot, so we decided not to go that route, for the safety of the animal.”

Finally, after doing what anyone would do when faced with a new challenge, the Harrison Township Fire Department got creative and used the resources at their disposal.

“We had the homeowner bring out cooking oil,” Lorkowski said. “And that was enough to free the animal. We had someone hold the head kind of and then someone was on the other side pulling the body. And it was able to free itself.”

The raccoon was unharmed.

Contact Emma Stein at estein@freepress.com and follow her on Twitter at @_emmastein.


A Burning Ring Of Fire

Being born and raised in the South meant attending a Southern Baptist church. Not just “Baptist”, mind you, but “Southern” Baptist. There is a difference…

From the article: “And a small stretch of coast in the US, like in New Jersey and New York, are forecast to see the ‘Red Devil Horns’ in the sky also known as the crescent Sun.

Where as the eclipsed sun is first rising it looks like two separate pieces, like some sort of red horns piercing upward. Due to its shape, the phenomenon in history was described as an evil sunrise that looked like red horns of the Devil.”

THESE incredible images appear to show giant devil horns rising over the Persian Gulf during a solar eclipse.

THE ‘RED DEVIL HORNS’ RISING INTO THE CRESCENT MOON OF ISLAM OVER PERSIAN GULF ON DECEMBER 26, 2019 (https://www.nowtheendbegins.com/persian-gulf-red-devil-horns-iran-middle-east-world-war-3/)

I heard much about the Devil during that time, especially while attending “Vacation Bible School,” where I was called “Little Devil” so often I thought it was my name. An older and larger boy clubbed me after church one Sunday so I defended myself. All my father could say was, “Not at Church…” He was also fond of saying, “The world is going to Hell in a hand basket,” an expression heard frequently in the South ‘back in the day’. My Sunday go to meeting suit was ripped to Hell. It was worth it because that bully left me, and others, alone after that fight.

We heard about being in the “end times” so frequently I did not think I would live to become an adult.

The article ends: “In the Biblical prophecies such astronomical phenomenon as a Blood Moon and eclipse of the Sun are foretold to happen in the future along with other signs as harbingers of the end-time. The Holy Bible in Acts chapter 2 says that, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come. And these current celestial phenomenon we are seeing now along with distress among the nations over conflict in Israel and Jerusalem, remind us we are in the Last Days as we are nearing the end of this age.”

For seven decades I have been nearing “The end of this age.” It is not often in my thoughts, as I attempt to live in the “now.” I mean, if you think about it, what else is there?

R.E.M. Lyrics

“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”

That’s great! It starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, an aeroplane
and Lenny Bruce is not afraid

Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs, don’t mis-serve your own needs
Speed it up a notch, speed, grunt, no strength
The ladder starts to clatter with fear of height, down height
Wire in a fire, representing seven games
In a government for hire and a combat site
Left of west and coming in a hurry
With the furies breathing down your neck

Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered crop
Look at that low plane! Fine, then
Uh oh, overflow, population, Common Food
But it’ll do. Save yourself, serve yourself
World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed
Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right, right
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light
Feeling pretty psyched

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

Six o’clock. TV hour
Don’t get caught in foreign tower
Slash and burn, return
Listen to yourself churn
Lock him in uniform and book burning, bloodletting
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate
Light a candle, light a votive
Step down, step down
Watch a heel crush, crush
Uh oh, this means no fear; cavalier
Renegade and steer clear!
A tournament, a tournament
A tournament of lies
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
And I decline

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
(It’s time I had some time alone)
I feel fine

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
(It’s time I had some time alone)

The other night I tripped a nice
Continental drift divide
Mountains sit in a line
Leonard Bernstein, Leonid Brezhnev
Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly beans, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam, but neck, right? (Right!)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
(It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
(It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
(It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
(It’s time I had some time alone)

Caruana Fires Qe2 at the Berlin Wall!

I give Fabiano Caruana


full credit for trying something considered different against the dreaded Berlin defense,


especially when the move was previously played by none other than Bobby Fischer!

In an article at Chess24, Superbet Chess Classic 5: Shakh attack!, by Colin McGourty, one finds: “The other games in Round 5 of the Superbet Chess Classic were all drawn, with Fabiano Caruana’s 8.Qe2!? against the Berlin Defence the only one that’s likely to be remembered.”

“Anish Giri


had in the previous round explained that his Chessable course on the Sicilian Dragon had come about through some desperate brainstorming over how to win on demand with the black pieces in the Candidates Tournament.”

Whoa! Let us stop right there in the middle of a well written paragraph by Mr. McGourty for some editorial comment. Anish Giri playing the Dragon?! ‘Back in the day’ it was said that books about the Dragon variation were, “written in disappearing ink” because the theory was rapidly changing. Isn’t “Giri” and “win on demand” with either color, but especially black, oxymoronic? Over at the ChessBomb this was found at the “chat” during the second round games:

bobp55: Done – 3 draws today so far. So that’s 8 for 8 in the tourney.
lentil: Amish Girl will always find the draw.
GiriWillFindTheDraw: of course he will (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-grand-chess-tour-romania/02-Giri_Anish-Radjabov_Teimour)

Like it or not Mr. Giri has the reputation of being his generations Master of the Draw. The only thing Anish can do to eradicate the reputation is win the World Championship, as did a previous Grandmaster with a reputation as a drawing master, Tigran Petrosian.


Unfortunately, putting up the Berlin wall will do nothing to eradicate his reputation and the drawmeister.

We return to the paragraph by Colin: “Perhaps some similar logic had gone into a way to surprise someone in that most solid of all variations, the Berlin Defence. Just when queens were about to leave the board for the infamous ending, Fabi veered off course with 8.Qe2!?, a move almost 30 times less popular.”

The game can be found at Chess24, and a plethora of other websites on the web, so I will present other games to complement the Chess24 article. First we will begin with a picture of Bobby Fischer playing Neikirkh, at Portorož 1958, posted by Douglas Griffin @dgriffinchess at Twitter:


Fischer, Robert James vs Neikirkh, Oleg
Event: Portoroz Interzonal
Site: Portoroz Date: ??/??/1958
Round: 1
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qe2 Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Qe3 Qxe3 12.Bxe3 Bb4 13.Ne4 Bf5 14.c3 Bxe4 15.cxb4 a5 16.bxa5 Rxa5 ½-½

Qe2 can and has been played on the fifth move:

Nepomniachtchi, Ian (2792) vs Radjabov, Teimour (2765)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup KO 2021
Site: chess24.com INT Date: 05/30/2021
Round: 3.12
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qa5 Qd8 9.Qe5+ Qe7 10.Qa5 Qd8 11.Qe5+ ½-½

Although played with much less time for the game at the Crypto (Didn’t that stuff kill Superman?) Cup, it would have fit right in at the Superbet what with the “New Rule” in place at this tournament:

To promote competitive play during all GCT events, it will not be permitted for players to offer or agree to a draw in any game of a 2021 GCT event, including playoff games. In the event of a claim for a draw under Article 9.2 of the Laws (three-fold repetition) or under Article 9.3 of the Laws (50 move rule), one of the Event Arbiters must be asked by the players to verify the claim.

As Mr. Mr. McGourty wrote earlier:

“That doesn’t stop draws by 3-fold repetition of the position, however, which is how all the games were drawn in Round 2.”

Giri is not the only Grandmaster who will find a way…

Here is another game, a real rarity, played with Oe2 on the fifth move:

Naiditsch, Arkadij (2727) vs Akopian, Vladimir (2681)
Event: World Teams 2013
Site: Antalya TUR Date: 12/02/2013
Round: 6.3
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qa5 Qd8 9.Qc3 Be6 10.Re1 Qd7 11.Ng5 O-O-O 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.d3 Be7 14.Nd2 Bf6 15.Qb3 Nf5 16.Ne4 Be7 17.Bd2 Qd5 18.Bc3 Rhe8 19.Re2 b5 20.Ng3 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Bf6 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Qc3 e5 24.a4 a6 25.axb5 axb5 26.Ra7 Kd7 27.Qa5 Rc8 28.Re4 Re7 29.Qd2 Rg8 30.c4 Qd6 31.Rh4 e4 32.cxb5 cxb5 33.Qa5 Rg5 34.dxe4 Rc5 35.Kh2 Qd3 36.Qe1 Rc2 37.Ra1 Qe2 38.Qb4 Qxf2 39.Qxb5+ c6 40.Qb7+ Ke6 41.Qc8+ Kd6 42.e5+ Kxe5 43.Rh5+ f5 44.Ra5+ Ke4 45.Rh4+ Ke3 46.Ra3+ Ke2 47.Qa6+ Ke1 48.Ra1+ Kd2 49.Qa5+ 1-0

Here is a game located at the ChessBaseDataBase, which is an even more rare event in the Berlin world, a win with black!

N. Illijan (2290) vs D. Sifrer (2240)

SLO chT 1993

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qe2 Nd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. h3 Be6 11. Rd1 Qc4 12. Rd3 Be7 13. b3 Qh4 14. Bg2 Bg5 15. Rd4 g4 16. Ba3 Rd8 17. Rxd8+ Bxd8 18. hxg4 h5 19. g5 Rg8 20. Bc1 Bxg5 21. Nd2 Bf4 22. Qf3 Bd5 23. Ne4 Bxe4 24. Qxf4 Rxg2+ 25. Kf1 Rg1+ 0-1

Now a couple of games found only after a trip in the Wayback time machine:

Mr Peabody's Wayback Machine | NastyZ28.com

Mackenzie, George Henry vs Riemann, Fritz
Event: DSB-04.Kongress
Site: Hamburg Date: ??/??/1885
Round: 4
ECO: C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.O-O Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qe2 Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.c3 Qh4 11.Be3 Be6 12.Nd2 Be7 13.f4 Bf5 14.Nf3 Qh5 15.Qf2 O-O 16.h3 Qg6 17.Kh2 h5 18.Rad1 Rfd8 19.Bd4 Rd7 20.Rde1 Rd5 21.c4 Rdd8 22.b3 b6 23.e6 fxe6 24.Ne5 Qe8 25.g4 hxg4 26.hxg4 Bxg4 27.Rh1 Bf6 28.Nxg4 Bxd4 29.Qc2 Qh5+ 30.Kg3 Qf5 31.Qe2 Rd6 32.Rh5 Qxh5 33.Nf6+ Bxf6 34.Qxh5 Rad8 35.c5 Rd2 36.Re2 R2d3+ 37.Kg2 R3d5 38.Qg4 Rxc5 39.Qxe6+ Kf8 40.Kf3 Rh5 41.Qxc6 Rh3+ 42.Kg4 Rh4+ 43.Kf5 Rh5+ 44.Kg4 Rh4+ ½-½

Mackenzie, George Henry vs Berger, Johann Nepomuk
Event: DSB-04.Kongress
Site: Hamburg Date: ??/??/1885
Round: 6 Score: ½-½
ECO: C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.O-O Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Kh1 Be7 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Rd1 Qc4 13.Qe1 Rd8 14.Be3 O-O 15.b3 Qa6 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Ne2 Bf5 18.c4 Qa3 19.Nd4 Bg6 20.f4 Bc5 21.Qf2 Bxd4 22.Bxd4 Bf5 23.h3 b6 24.Re1 Qa5 25.Rc1 Qa3 26.Be3 Qe7 27.g4 Be4+ 28.Kh2 c5 29.Re1 Bb7 30.Bc1 Rd3 31.Be3 h6 32.Qg3 Qd7 33.f5 Qc6 34.Qf2 Qf3 35.Qxf3 Bxf3 36.Bf4 Rd7 37.Kg3 Bb7 38.h4 Rd3+ 39.Be3 Kf8 40.Kf4 g6 41.e6 Ke7 42.exf7 Kxf7 43.g5 h5 44.Ke5 gxf5 45.Kxf5 Rd6 46.Kf4 Bc8 47.Rf1 Kg6 48.Kg3 Bf5 49.Bf4 Rd3+ 50.Kf2 Rd4 ½-½


“The one who wins is great!”

In a few days, I will publish a complete review of one of the most majestically beautiful Chess history books I have ever had the pleasure to read:


After having written several posts concerning the plethora of draws recently, especially short ones of less than ten moves, at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy, I wanted to include what follows in the review. To do so would have meant cutting some of the material, but each and every time I attempted to do so it just did not feel right. I therefore decided to publish pages 114 through 118, actually about four pages in total, in their entirety. I hope reading these few pages gives you an idea of how good is this book. This part is titled: A Skirmish With Flohr

In the second half of the 1930’s, the campaign against the “enemies of the people” gained momentum. On 31st March 1936, the Russian SFSR People’s Commissar of Justice Nikolai Krylenko


reported to Stalin

Joseph Stalin was a dictator who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and premier of the Soviet Union. Library of Congress/©HowStuffWorks.com

that the number of cases and convictions involving “counter-revolutionary crimes” had been steadily increasing since 1935. This was also the time of the first accusations of “sycophancy before the West” in the press. Soviet chess was also affected by the campaign.
In the February 1936 issue of Shakhmaty v SSSR, Peter Romanovsky published an article “Fighting For the Concrete Line, or the Chess Dogma”. It was a vicious attack against grandmaster Salo Flohr,


who, in Romanovsky’s words, “hoisted the banner of routine over the chess world, trying to prove the inevitability of him winning the world championship in the future.”
We should note that a change of power had taken place in the chess world by that point, which was also mentioned by Peter Arsenyevich: “Alekhine, the great advocate of development and deepening of the chess idea, loses an important contest to Max Euwe,


who has strictly dogmatized the strategic methods of his creativity.”
The Western dogmatists and conservatives were grabbing the highest places in the chess world! This was the main concern of Peter Romanovsky’s article. But not everything was so bad, the author contended. The Soviet country had the power to direct chess thought towards creativity:
“The chess community of the USSR counters Flohr’s routine with Botvinnik,


a subtle connoisseur of very diverse positions, which almost always allows him to transcend the limits of dogma when needed, while still basing his play on the said dogma, and to surprise his opponent with unexpected concrete possibilities that are often overlooked by the principal frameworks of chess creativity.” It looks like an advert for the future first Soviet world champion.
While attacking Flohr, the author sympathizes with the “renegade” Alexander Alekhine at the same time. But this “paradox” is really not surprising. During his first match against Euwe, Alekhine sent a telegram to the Soviet chess officials, which was published in Izvestia and 64: “Both as a long-time chess worker and as a person who understands the huge importance of everything that was achieved by the USSR in all areas of cultural life, I send sincere greetings to the USSR chess players in honor of the 18th anniversary of the October Revolution.” There’s a version that Alekhine was planting a seed to return to his homeland with this telegram, but the loss to Euwe disrupted those plans.
The harsh criticism of Flohr continued into 1937, spilling onto the pages of 64. Over three issues (Nos. 13, 15, and 19), Peter Arsenyevich published an article “Some Modern Creative Tendencies”, directly accusing the Western grandmaster of cowardice!
As the starting point for his criticism, Peter Romanovsky cites his game against Botvinnik from the 1935 Moscow International Tournament. Romanovsky sacrificed a pawn for the initiative in that game, but then made a mistake and had to resign:
“Grandmaster Flohr didn’t exactly mince his words about this sacrifice in one of his tournament reports.
‘I personally, he wrote concerning this game, ‘prefer to sacrifice my opponent’s pawns rather than my own.’
This small phrase, seemingly only describing a concrete chess event, actually hides a big and principle-based worldview, based on the concept of excessive caution in over-the-board chess struggle, especially against strong players.”
By sticking to this concept, Flohr acts as a mouthpiece for a lot of players.”
Then Peter Arsenyevich gives a rundown of the so-called “Flohr school and its followers”:
“1. Opening theory is thought as all-important.Playing without creating weaknesses in your own camp.

Avoiding both offering and accepting sacrifices if clear evaluation of the compensation is not possible. Ascribing especial importance to the technical side of the struggle and thus a persistent tendency for positions that are resolved in a technical way.”
After maintaining his silence for a time, Flohr finally answered Romanovsky with an article “More of Modern Creative Tendencies” ((64, No. 36):
“I am not going to counter-attack the distinguished master P. A. Romanovsky, whom I deeply respect, even though he structured his article, published by 64, on a faulty basis and outright insulted me in some places; I would just like to defend my creative views.
P. A. Romanovsky ridiculously simplifies my views of chess by alleging that the quote about preferring ‘to sacrifice my opponents’ pawns rather than my own’ is my credo…
Romanovsky’s article contains a serious accusation that is characteristic of the ideological representatives of the so-called pure combinational school. At every opportunity, they attack the masters, accusing them of ‘betraying’ the chess art…
A modern master should be a master of tactics first and foremost – he should see through his opponent’s plans, find the resulting combinations, use the slightest advantage, deeply understand the dynamics of the chess game. It’s not a purely professional technique. It’s much easier for me to calculate a forced 10-move combination than find one best move in a strategically simple position.”
Then, to reaffirm his words, Flohr shows a subtle endgame from the sixth game of his 1933 match against Mikhail Botvinnik,

Flohr, Salo vs Botvinnik, Mikhail
Event: Moscow/Leningrad m
Site: Leningrad Date:1933
Round: 6
ECO: E38 Nimzo-Indian, classical, 4…c5

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 Na6 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3 Nxc5 8.f3 d6 9.e4 e5 10.Be3 Qc7 11.Ne2 Be6 12.Qc2 O-O 13.Nc3 Rfc8 14.Be2 a6 15.Rc1 Ncd7 16.Qd2 Qb8 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.cxd5 Rxc1+ 19.Qxc1 Qd8 20.O-O Rc8 21.Qd2 Qc7 22.Rc1 Qxc1+ 23.Qxc1 Rxc1+ 24.Bxc1 Kf8 25.Kf2 Ke7 26.Be3 Kd8 27.Ke1 Kc7 28.Kd2 Nc5 29.b4 Ncd7 30.g3 Nb6 31.Kc2 Nbd7 32.a4 Nb6 33.a5 Nbd7 34.Bc1 Kd8 35.Bb2 Ne8 36.Kd2 Nc7 37.Ke3 Ke7 38.Bf1 Nb5 39.h4 Nc7 40.Bh3 Ne8 41.f4 f6 42.Bf5 g6 43.Bh3 h6 44.Bc1 Ng7 45.fxe5 dxe5 46.Kf3 h5 47.Be3 Kd6 48.Bh6 Ne8 49.g4 hxg4+ 50.Bxg4 Nc7 51.Be3 Nb5 52.Ke2 Nc7 53.Kd3 f5 54.exf5 gxf5 55.Bxf5 Nxd5 56.Bd2 N7f6 57.Kc4 Kc6 58.Bg6 b5+ 59.Kd3 Ne7 60.Be4+ Ned5 61.Bg5 Nh5 62.Bf3 Ng3 63.Bd2 Kd6 64.Bg4 Nf6 65.Bc8 Kc6 66.Be1 e4+ 67.Kd4 Ngh5 68.Bf5 Kd6 69.Bd2 1-0

with two bishops outplaying the Soviet champion’s two knights. Alexander Alekhine valued this positional masterpiece highly.

  1. “A young master frequently begins his career with fiery combinations. Then, influenced by his experience, he evolves towards the modern way of playing. This is an inevitable process. Other wise, the young ‘combination player’ won’t progress past the average level and will be pushed aside by better players.” (A)
    At the end of his article, Flohr speculated about the inevitability of chess mistakes: “The tactical player who always plays without mistakes, like a clockwork machine, has not yet been born. As soon as the players P. A. Romanovsky dreams of arrive, the art of chess will cease to exist.”
    It was naive to expect the opponents to change their points of view on chess. The grandmaster and the distinguished master held to their own opinions, criticizing each other at every opportunity.
    For instance, Salo Flohr, who moved to the USSR in 1939, played for Moscow in the traditional match against Leningrad. His opponent was Ilya Rabinovich.

Flohr wrote in an annotation to that game: “Master I. Rabinovich is a very obliging opponent.

To the joy of the distinguished master P. Romanovsky, he gives me an opportunity to finich the game in a ‘creative’ style. A combination follows – not too complicated, but the spectators liked it.”
Flohr wasn’t the only “victim of Peter Arsenyevich’s criticism. Romanovsky also targeted another potential world championship candidate – the american grandmaster Reuben Fine.

  1. He explained the American’s wins in the 1937 Leningrad and Moscow tournaments by the fact that the Soviet masters “helped him with his intentions to create familiar setups in the opening rather than trying to challenge him on unfamiliar grounds.”
    Peter Arsenyevich even coined the term “Fine-Flohr style”, heavily used in the Soviet chess press of the late 1930s.
    However, life ultimately reconciled Romanovsky and Flohr! After retiring from active competition, the opponents stopped being too categorical in questions of chess creativity. In his revised training books, published in the 1960s, Peter Arsenyevich rooted for…harmony of styles! Here’s what he wrote in the book Middlegame. Combination (Moscow 1963): “The chess circles still distinguish between positional and tactical playing styles, between positional and tactical players.
    Any of those ‘labels’ stuck on a player are insulting to the players themselves first and foremost, because they suggest that his chess skills and talents are limited and one-sided.
    You cannot execute and prepare a combination without understanding the laws of positional weakness and game planning. You also cannot execute creative plans if you haven’t mastered tactics, if you don’t have a sharp eye for combination motifs.”
    And what about his opponent? “Many years ago, when I lived in Prague, I developed a strategy,: Flohr recalled in 1957 in Shakhmaty v SSSR, No. 4. “At any tournament, I would try to defeat the weak players and draw with the stronger ones. My main motto was, Don’t lose! This brought some good results…
    Lately, I’ve been in the spectator hall a lot, listening to chess fans’ comments. Now I clearly realize that I was deservedly criticized by the spectators in my earlier days when I stopped playing on move 20.
    In 1937 and 1938, I was thinking that the chess world was applauding me: he’s so great, he rarely loses. Oh no, now I understand that I wasn’t great. The one who wins is great!
    I realized long ago that my strategy was limited, poor, defective from the creative point of view. A chess player who adopts such a style cannot be popular among chess fans, and such a player will never become a world champion.
    Now that I am close to retiring from competitive chess, I deeply regret the fact that I stopped dozens of my games prematurely for the sole purpose of avoiding losing a half-point. What do those several draws with Alekhine give me today? It would have been better to have lost a few more games to him, but, on the other hand, maybe I’d have managed to defeat him once?” (B)
    This is the key to the argument between Flohr and Romanovsky from the faraway 1930s! It was the perennial dispute between the creative and consumer approach to chess. We should remember Voltaire’s classic quote: “All genres are good except the boring kind, but boring isn’t a genre.”

(A) After reading this I stopped to reflect on the transformation of the great purveyor of ‘slash & dash’ chess, World Champion Mikhail Tal. After being forced to work with Anatoly Karpov, Tal was transformed into a much more complete player. It has been written that the latter Tal was even stronger than the young Tal.

(B) The closing lamentation of Salo Flohr brought to mind the famous words of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”

Shanglei Lu Seeks Bishop’s Opening Truth

In the recently completed Chinese Chess Championship Shanglei Lu played the Bishop’s opening four times out of the five games in which he had the white pieces. In round six, facing Yi Wei, after 1 e4 e5, Lu played 2 Nf3. I wondered why…or if there had been a history of the Bishop’s opening being played previously between the two players, but could find no earlier encounters with the opening at the page devoted to the games between the two players at 365Chess (https://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?wlname=lu&wname=&open=&blname=wei&bname=&eco=&nocolor=on&yeari=&yeare=&sply=1&ply=&res=&submit_search=1). What I found was that there have been twenty games contested between the two players since 2013, only thirteen being classical. Six games either rapid or blitz games, with no score given for the 2014 Kings Tournament Blitz. This means an astounding 35% of the games for perusal are quick games!

It brought a tear to my eye to see that at the ChessBomb, after 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 is a colorful move…”The truth, as it was known in those far off days,” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/jennifer-yu-learns-the-truth/) according to Tartakower, in the preface to a Bishop’s opening game between Bowdler and Conway, on page 244, played in London way back in 1788 in the book, 500 Master Games of Chess,


by Dr. S. Tartakower and J. Dumont. 2 Bc4 is not the brightest red move, nor is it the second brightest shade, but it appears to be what I would call the third grade shade. How bad is the move numerically speaking? After 2 Nf3 white, according to the Stockfish program at ChessBomb, enjoys an advantage of +0.73. After playing “the truth,” 2 Bc4, black enjoys a minuscule advantage of -0.15 if he plays 2…Nf6. Learning this brought a tear to my other eye.

Oh well, I still have memories of playing “the truth” with regularity at the Stein Club


Whatever happened to Atlanta’s Hippies?

Super soft t-shirt inspired by The Stein Club in Atlanta.

Opened in 1961, the Stein Club was a beloved neighborhood bar located at 929 Peachtree Street. For a time, regulars could even bring in their own steins (mugs) to store in the cooler, ready for their next visit in for a cold beer.

After 39 years of fun, the Stein Club closed its doors in June 2000. Two 21-story residential and retail towers called Metropolis now sit over top of where the Stein Club once was.

Made and printed in the USA. We’re very proud to help you share Atlanta memories.

Stein Club — Smoky, grubby and utterly without pretension, the tiny Peachtree Street bar provided a cozy refuge from trendiness and posers for nearly 40 years before the walls came down to developers in 2000.↵↵ ↵Twelfth Gate Coffee House — It represented relaxed bohemia in Midtown; Wet Willie played free on Wednesdays. (https://creativeloafing.com/content-184564-cover-story-30-years-of-the-good-the-bad-a)

located on Peachtree street near tenth, ‘back in the day’.

"The Strip," looking north on Peachtree Street from 10th Street in 1977.

This was around 1970 and the area was known as “The Strip,” which was the “counter-culture” area of the city, where we hippies hung out because of all the “counter-culture” shops, known as “head shops,” short for “pot head.” It was a very colorful area, full of beautiful hippie chicks,


and there I was, enthralled with the Royal game, inside the Stein Club, looking for an opponent.

There was a rotund gentleman, Bill Bush, who wore suspenders and had played in USCF tournaments, who would come in after work, order a pitcher of beer, and take on all comers. I was one of the “comers.” He beat me like a drum until one day I played “the truth.” Bill sat back, paused to take a large gulp of beer, and then looked me straight in the eye before saying, “There’s no disguising intentions when you play that move.” The game took a long time for a Stein Club game and as other players entered they began talking about the game. “What opening was it?” one of the later arriving players would ask. “The newcomer played 1 Pawn to king four, and Bill responded with his usual Pawn to King five. Then the new guy played 2 Bishop to Queen Bishop four.”
“The new guy played the Bishop’s opening?! Well I’ll be damned…”
The “new guy” defeated Bill Bush for the first time ever and now had a name. Bill had drained his pitcher during the game so he got up and left…We played a few more times but he never scored again.

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 (I find it interesting that Komodo at the ChessBaseDataBase prefers 4 Bb3. Stockfish plays the game move) 4…d5 5. Bb3 a5 (In the fourth round Jinshi Bai played 4…Bb4+, which is the choice of Komodo, but in the other three games played with this opening 5…a5 was played)
  2. a4 Bb4+ 7. c3 Bd6 8. exd5 cxd5 (This is the choice of SF, but 8…Nxd5 was played by Yan Liu in the second round) 9. Bg5 (This is the choice of all the engines) 9…Be6 10. Na3 Nbd7 (This move was played by Wenjun Ju in the 8th round, with the game ending in a draw, and by Di Li in the 10th round, with the game being won by Di Li. But here’s the deal…although 10 Nbd7 has been the most often played move, SF would play 10…Nc6; while Komodo would play 10…h6, which was seen in the following game:

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vsYu, Yangyi (2709)
Event: ch-CHN 2020
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 12/29/2020
Round: 10.5 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Na3 h6 11.Bh4 Nc6 12.Nb5 Bb8 13.O-O O-O 14.Re1 Ra6 15.h3 Re8 16.Rc1 Qd7 17.Bg3 Bf5 18.d4 e4 19.Bxb8 Rxb8 20.Ne5 Qe7 21.f4 Be6 22.c4 dxc4 23.Bxc4 Bxc4 24.Rxc4 Rd8 25.Qc1 Rb6 26.Nc3 Nxd4 27.Nxe4 Ne6 28.f5 Nd4 29.Qf4 Rb4 30.Rxb4 axb4 31.Ng4 ½-½

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vs Liu, Yan (2524)
Event: ch-CHN 2021
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 05/08/2021
Round: 2.1 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.O-O O-O 10.Nbd2 Bg4 11.Nc4 Qc7 12.d4 e4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.Nfe5 Bxe5 16.Nxe5 Nd7 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Qe2 f5 19.f4 Kf7 20.c4 Nb4 21.c5+ Nd5 22.Ra3 Nf6 23.Bc4 Qd7 24.Rg3 Rh8 25.Qg2 Rh7 26.gxf5 gxf5 27.Kf2 Kf8 28.Ke2 Nb4 29.Rd1 Rd8 30.Rg6 Nbd5 31.Rg1 e3 ½-½

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vs Bai, Jinshi (2618)
Event: ch-CHN 2021
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 05/09/2021
Round: 4.1 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Nbxd2 a5 8.c3 Bg4 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 a4 11.Bc2 O-O 12.O-O Nbd7 13.Rfe1 Re8 14.a3 h6 15.exd5 cxd5 16.d4 Qb6 17.Rab1 exd4 18.Rxe8+ Rxe8 19.Bxa4 Re7 20.Bxd7 Rxd7 21.cxd4 Qxd4 22.Nb3 Qb6 23.Qd3 Ne4 24.Nd4 Rc7 25.Qe3 Rc3 26.Qe1 Rd3 27.Nf5 Rd2 28.Ne7+ Kf8 29.Nxd5 Qd4 30.Ne3 Nxf2 31.Rc1 g6 32.Rc4 Qd3 33.Rc3 Qd4 ½-½

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vs Ju, Wenjun (2560)
Event: ch-CHN 2021
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 05/12/2021
Round: 8.1 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Na3 Nbd7 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.O-O O-O 13.Re1 Re8 14.Nd2 h6 15.Bh4 Nc5 16.Bc2 Bd7 17.d4 exd4 18.Rxe8+ Qxe8 19.Nxd4 Nfe4 20.Nf1 Qe5 21.f3 Nf6 22.Qd2 Ba7 23.Bf2 Ne6 24.Re1 Qc7 25.Ng3 Nxd4 26.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 27.Qxd4 Ra6 28.Bd3 Re6 29.Kf2 b6 30.b3 Qd6 31.Re3 Kf8 32.h4 Qc5 33.Ne2 Ke7 34.g4 g6 35.Qf4 Rxe3 36.Qxe3+ Qxe3+ 37.Kxe3 Kd6 ½-½

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vs Li, Di (2561)
Event: ch-CHN 2021
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 05/14/2021
Round: 10.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Na3 Nbd7 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.O-O O-O 13.Re1 Ra6 14.d4 e4 15.Nd2 h6 16.Bh4 Bf4 17.c4 g5 18.Bg3 Bxd2 19.Qxd2 dxc4 20.Bc2 Nc5 21.f3 Bf5 22.h4 e3 23.Rxe3 Bxc2 24.Qxc2 Nd5 25.Re2 Nd3 26.Qxc4 gxh4 27.Bh2 N5f4 28.Rd2 Rc6 29.Qb3 Qg5 30.Kh1 Re8 31.d5 Nc1 32.Qd1 Nfe2 33.Rd4 f5 34.f4 Ng3+ 35.Bxg3 Qxg3 36.dxc6 Re1+ 37.Qxe1 Qxe1+ 38.Kh2 Qg3+ 39.Kh1 h3 0-1

This entry in the MyAJC.com Flashback Fotos series takes a look at Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood during a generation of change and growth from 1970-1990 as seen through the lenses of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's photographers and others archived in the Georgia State University Digital Collections Department. In this September 1968 photo, a group of hippies hang out in front of a Midtown Atlanta building. Other MyAJC.com Flashback galleries: Auburn Ave. | Ponce de Leon Ave. | Cabbagetown
Atlantans Leigh Bunkins and Tom Duggins campaign for the environment in Hurt Park on April 23, 1970.

 Peace and love came to the Strip in the 1960’s. Then it vanished.

 By Rick Briant Dandes

Peace and love came to the Strip in the 1960’s. Then it vanished.

Then it was gone with the wind…