The Psychology of Chess

It is difficult for a woodpusher to write about the game of chess played by the best human players because, as Bob Dylan wrote, “The game is the same—it’s just on a different level.” (Po’ Boy by Bob Dylan- http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/po-boy)

We try our best to understand but from being around those at, or near, the top, it is apparent their understanding is on a higher level. The same can be said about any other game, or sport, I suppose, yet many, if not most, of the greatest writers in the history of baseball never played in the show, and some never played the game on any level. Former MLB player Harold Reynolds had the audacity to tell one famous writer that since he had not played baseball in the major league he could not understand the game. Harold has a right to his opinion only because he did play in the show. After hearing the callous remark I thought there might be some merit to his argument, but that the accomplished writer could have a different understanding of the game.

I can still recall a time when IM Boris Kogan, at a tournament in Florida, knew he would face Mr. Six-Time, GM Walter Browne, in the next round having the black pieces. Boris was lamenting the fact that he had no chance. This left the Legendary Georgia Ironman and I flummoxed. We were having a difficult time understanding his defeatist attitude. “You not understand,” Boris kept saying, “Cannot beat him. He too strong now.” Granted, Walter was at the top of his game, and was much younger than Boris, but still…we had a difficult time wrapping our minds around seeing Boris in that condition. Boris lost that game. The players at the top do not need numbers to know chess strength.

“From London to Elista: The Inside Story of the World Chess Championship Matches that Vladimir Kramnik Won Against Garry Kasparov, Peter Leko, and Veselin Topalov,” by Evgeny Bareev and Ilya Levitov is a magnificent book. It won the English Chess Federation 2008 Book-of-the-Year Award. The Gorilla is showing a new copy priced at $221.42; a used copy will set you back $55.00. I am holding on to mine. After reviewing the 7th match game for the World Championship between Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik there is a discussion of chess psychology which begins with my all-time favorite quote about Bobby Fischer. “When you’re playing Fischer, the question isn’t whether or not you’ll win; the question is whether or not you’ll survive.” The quote is from the man Bobby vanquished, Boris Spassky.
“SMYSLOV explained to us: ‘It was difficult for me to play Geller for a simple reason-when we sat down at the board, hatred was written on his face, he was ready to destroy his opponent. And if someone fell into that kind of condition, I couldn’t play.”

Geller had a lifetime plus score against Bobby Fischer. Reflecting on this made me wonder about how a player as strong as Hikaru Nakamura is considered Human World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s “regular customer.” Magnus has beaten Hikaru like a drum, with a lifetime score of 11 wins without a defeat in the only games that count, what is now called “classical” games. How is this possible?

“LEVITOV: But now, in my opinion, all chess players have become highly-qualified psychologists, and they don’t use only chess methods in their battles. Let’s take Kasparov. It’s said that he put pressure on his opponents psychologically-he exuded such a supply of negative energy that they felt like resigning immediately. Bareev once described to me very amusingly how in time trouble Kasparov started shaking his head and making tragic grimaces, as if to say, ‘how can this be, I’ve missed such a simple idea!’ And his opponent sits and desperately tries to work out if he’s being toyed with, and his clock is ticking…In other words, you have to solve psychological problems as well as chess problems during a game.”

Has Hikaru Nakamura lost the psychological battle? Has Magnus gotten into Hikaru’s head? What else can explain such a score?

Levitov poses a question for Bareev, “Does your opponent’s energy have a strong influence on the chess player? Why, for example, did Shirov and Anand always lose to Kasparov, why did Fischer play badly against Geller, and why can’t Polgar play against Kramnik?”

Bareev answers, “It’s genuinely unknown why it’s easier to play one opponent than another, and there are also metaphysical explanations for this-a powerful energy, and unfamiliar style and so on. More often everything simply depends on the playing strengths of blondes and brunettes and their preparedness for the specific encounter. In other words, you have to investigate every specific case separately.”
“LEVITOV: How do you control your emotions, how do you avoid showing that your opponent has surprised you horribly, for example, with his choice of opening? Does everyone have their own acting methods?”
“BAREEV: To a certain extent. People sometimes get ideas on this from the good results of new players. Later they adapt their openings and style of play and stop reacting to the unexpected. It’s better to combine your acting talents with specific skills and abilities.”

After seeing the following parody on the blog of GM Kevin Spraggett (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/), the best chess blog on the internet, I could not help but wonder how much acting went into the lessons given by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov to current Human World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. What part do histrionics play in the psychology of chess?

HMS – SjakkVM – Magnus Carlsen parodi

Hikaru No Chess

The title is a play on the hugely popular Japanese TV series, “Hikaru no Go” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0426711/).
the popularity of this program is best described by this, “World Go population probably tripled because of ‘Hikaru no Go'”, said Joey Hung, USA 8 dan Go instructor. All of Joey’s Go School ( http://www.egogames.com) Go students in Fremont, CA, USA have watched the exciting Go anime. Also, at the World Amateur Go Tournament and Beijing Mental Olympics Tournament, many European, South American and Asian players reflected that they have seen a dramatic increase in Go population due to the ‘Hikaru no GO’ anime.”

“Hikaru no Go (literally The Go of Hikaru or Hikaru’s Go) is a manga (a Japanese comic) and an anime (a Japanese cartoon) about a boy (Hikaru Shindo) who discovers the ancient game when he finds an old board in the attic and meets the spirit of a past Go master (Fujiwara-no-Sai).
The Hikaru no Go manga is published by VIZ Media ([ext] http://www.viz.com) in the United States and Canada, and the Hikaru no Go anime has been licensed by VIZ Media in the United States and Canada. The manga is serialized in the United States version of Shonen Jump ( http://www.shonenjump.com), while the entire anime is viewable at Hulu.com. In North America Hikaru no Go is also available on the ImaginAsian TV Channel” (http://senseis.xmp.net/?HikaruNoGo).

“Hikaru no Go ( lit. “Hikaru’s Go”) is a manga series, a coming of age story based on the board game Go written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata with an anime adaptation. The production of the series’ Go games was supervised by Go professional Yukari Umezawa (5-dan). The manga is largely responsible for popularizing Go among the youth of Japan since its debut, and considered by Go players everywhere to have sparked worldwide interest in Go, noticeably increasing the Go-playing population across the globe, perhaps tripling it.
Current top Japanese Go professional Iyama Yuta is considered to be part of the influx of young Go players whose generation was inspired by the series.
First released in Japan in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in 1998, Hikaru no Go achieved tremendous success, spawning a popular Go fad of almost unprecedented proportions” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikaru_no_Go).

Maybe the best way to impart just how popular is “Hikaru no Go” would be to mention that in the December, 2012, issue of the second best chess publication in the world, “Chess Monthly,” the man who recently tied with GM David Howell for first place in the British chess championships, IM Jonathan Hawkins, the author of “Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methods,” when asked the question of what is your favorite film or TV series, answered, “Hikaru no Go.” (!)

The impetus for my last post was Hikaru Nakamura. It is no secret that Hikaru has not been playing well recently. I am sure many other fans of “Naka” have “felt his pain.” After blowing a certain win against human World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the third round of the Zurich tournament, I could not help but wonder if he could ever come back from such a defeat, especially since he has never beaten Magnus in a classical game of chess. Now he has finished dead last on his home court of the St. Louis Chess Club & Scholastic Center in the latest edition of the Sinquefield Cup. If there is a next S.C. Hikaru should be left out, as was Gata Kamsky this year. It is clear there is something wrong with Hikaru. He would not be a good poker player because he is easy to read. It is obvious from his body language that he is not the same person I saw in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, at the 32nd Continental Open in 2002, when he was kicking ass and taking names. He was brimming with confidence and the world was his oyster.

After losing to Veselin Topalov, the Bulgarian, who is often referred to as a former “world champion” though I know not why, Hikaru was interviewed by GM Maurice Ashley. Maurice said, “There was a moment in the game that the computer spotted an idea and we thought you were for sure gonna play. It’s the kind of move you always play. Yasser said you would play it in a bullet game, the move Bxf2. Tell us your thoughts in this moment right now.” Hikaru responded, “Well, I mean basically I had this exact position up until move 19 up on the board, um, you know, before the game and e5 was not a computer move and I knew it had to be bad but, um, during the game I just couldn’t quite figure it out. Um, OK, obviously I looked at Bxf2 and then I rejected it, but, I mean I just simply did not see the end of the line and more or less it’s unfortunate, but even then later I was still OK and then I just completely lost the thread, so I mean, sometimes things don’t go your way.”

Maurice: “The…we hear this often from really high level players like yourself that something goes wrong in the calculation. Can you ever explain it when that happens, because it seems unnerving even to you guys.”

Hikaru: “Um…well I mean…I’m not so upset about missing this one because I mean it wasn’t clear even though it’s the most intuitive move on the board. I mean, sometimes it happens, but again what can you do, sometimes, sometimes you don’t…I mean, if you don’t calculate perfectly, I mean that’s why, that’s why computers are just much better than all of us.”

Maurice: “Well, at least it’s calculating for sure. You’re in a tough situation now.”

There is a caption underneath a picture of Nakamura on the Chessbase website in an article by Alejandro Ramirez titled “Sinquefield 08: Streak stopped, Event clinched” dated 9/5/2014, “Nakamura has had some trouble calculating this tournament, it is unclear why.”
(http://en.chessbase.com/post/sinquefield-08-streak-stopped-event-clinched)

It appears the wagons have been circled and the popular thing to say is that GM Nakamura finished last, without winning a single game, because his powers of calculation have deserted him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hikaru has been playing badly because he has lost faith in his judgement and doubt has crept in where there once was confidence. Losing will do that to a player no matter what game is being played. Simply put, Hikaru has lost confidence in his intuition. His suspect moves show this fact.

When on his way to becoming World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal played moves that defied calculation. There were no super computer programs in those days so humans could not calculate the ramifications of some of Tal’s moves. Tal could not calculate the ramifications of some of his moves, yet he played them anyway, because his intuition told him they were the right moves to play. Nakamura played like that at one time in the past. Now he seems to be trying to play like a calculating machine. He tells us this with his answer above to the question posed by GM Ashley. “I looked at Bxf2+ and then I rejected it…I just simply did not see the end of the line…”

There is a battle raging inside the head of Hikaru Nakamura. It is a battle between the emotional Captain Kirk and the logical Mr. Spock. Hikaru is an intuitive player, not a calculating machine. He is a poet of the chess board, not a philosopher. I say that with a line from Kevin L. Stoehr, professor of Humanities at Boston University, in mind. He wrote, “Philosophy typically strives for the clarity of definition and proposition. Poetry, in most cases, revels in ambiguity and mystery.” (From the essay, “You Who Philosophize Dylan: The Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry in the Songs of Bob Dylan” in the book, “Bob Dylan and Philosophy: It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Thinking).” Later on in the same essay he writes, “Like the true poet that he is, Dylan believes that when it comes to the construction of his lyrics (and certainly the creation of the music itself, we might assume), the power of immediate intuition counts far more than the categorizing and ordering power of the intellect.” Hikaru Nakamura must somehow come to terms with the fact that he is an intuitive player and know that ” the power of immediate intuition counts far more than the categorizing and ordering power of the intellect.”

In an alternate universe Nakamura, at Zurich, after disposing of the former Human World Chess Champion, Vishy Anand, in round two, then beat the new Human World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, in lieu of losing the “won game” as he did in this universe. In that universe Hikaru played 21…Bxf6+ in lieu of the insipid 21…g6, bringing the sinister Topalov to his knees, making him 0-3, and having the black pieces against the Human World Champion the next round. Hikaru would have been in clear second place, only a half point behind Fab Car. Things would have turned out differently. After the tournament in which Nakamura and Caruana tied for first place, bizillionaire Rex Sinquefield put up one million dollars for a match between Naka and Fab Car, with the winner going on to play a match with Human World Champion Magnus Carlsen, with ten million dollars going to the winner. I regret it is impossible for me to give you any more details, as I am certain you would like to know who won the matches in the other universe, but Dr. Walter Bishop’s machine providing a window into the other universe destructed when Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin invaded Ukraine, which caused the other Magnus to decline the match with the other Vishy Anand. This caused World War III in which nuclear weapons were used, which destroyed the window on the other side.

In this universe the best thing our Hikaru Nakamura could do would be to take a page out of Bobby Fischer’s book and take a year or so off from chess to, as Human World Champion Magnus Carlsen said to GM Maurice Ashley after beating Naka for the ELEVENTH time, “Figure it out.”

Hikaru No Go can be watched free at these sites:

http://www.hulu.com/hikaru-no-go

http://www.animehere.com/anime/hikaru-no-go.html

The Beatles – Across The Universe

Across The Universe Soundtrack

Flowing With Intuition

After moving to Hendersonville, NC, I found myself sitting across the chess board playing a speed game at the weekly chess club from Expert Jimmy Hardy. It was my move. I saw the opportunity to retreat my Queen, bringing it back to the center of the board where it would be surrounded by enemy pieces. Nevertheless, it looked like a strong move.
I was never much of a speed chess player and have always thought the reason was because I began playing chess as an adult. While playing speed chess I would often see what to me was a beautiful position and wish there were more time to look into the depths of the position. Sometimes I would try to remember the position so it could be looked at later. When I mentioned this to Big Al after losing yet another speed game after my flag fell, he said, “That’s crazy.” The last time we played speed chess Al won again. He got up from the board saying, “It happens every game…You have a winning position and I win on time. This is no fun.” I beat Oscar Al Hamilton in only twenty moves in what would now be called a “classical” game at a Thad Rogers event, called by the Legendary Georgia Ironman “another nameless, faceless weekend swiss.” Big Al got up after resigning saying, “Nobody beats me like that. NOBODY!” It was only years later I realized how much the loss had affected our relationship.
Another time I was facing Uylsses Martin, a man who had served seven years in the state penitentiary for murder before being paroled. I sat there contemplating whether of not to move my h-pawn and launch an attack. The logical, “Mr. Spock” side of my brain was arguing with the intuitive, “Captain Kirk” side and I went with Spock holding back the pawn move, hoping to make the pawn move next. Without even writing down my move, Uylsses immediately played a move to prevent my moving the wing pawn. I looked at him and sort of grinned. He looked back at me as if to say, “What?” I went on to win that game, but it took much longer than it would have if I had listened to Kirk. As an aside, I won another game against Uylsses, one of the nicest fellows you could ever meet, when his flag fell before he made his twenty fifth move!
I could give many more examples, but you get my drift. Because of the battle between Spock and Kirk that has raged in my brain over the course of my chess career I have been interested in reading about chess intuition. Just this week a new book, “The Enigma of Chess Intuition,” by Valeri Beim, arrived. The book, in excellent condition, cost only $7.95, plus shipping.
The Ironman has a book, “The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal,” by Karsten Muller & Raymund Stolze. Like the aforementioned book, it too is published by New in Chess. I allowed Tim to open “Enigma” and the first thing he said was, “If it’s published by New in Chess you know it has got to be good!” When young and on his way toward the battle for the World Championship with Mikhail Botvinnik, Tal was a creative genius who was an intuitive player. He played moves that defied calculation by humans of the day. Computer programs may be able to refute some of Tal’s moves now, but human players were unable to do so “back in the day.” Just how much chess programs have affected the game of chess is illustrated by this from GM Rafael Vaganian in an interview with Sergey Kim on the chess24.com website:
“Sergey Kim: Both at the board and simply in life you met all the Soviet world champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov. The world champions of the twentieth century – of your generation – and the champions of the third millennium – first and foremost, Carlsen: how do they differ?
Rafael Vaganian: It’s hard to compare, because the chess is totally different. Those champions worked in another setting, playing another kind of chess. With no computers, they worked and created on their own, and their creativity was immense. If they found something it was with their own minds, while now there are these amazing programs. Theory has “grown” to 30-35 moves, and you simply can’t compare the two types of chess. Frankly speaking, I don’t like modern chess, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. After all, a person isn’t capable of remembering so much, so they simply suffer because of it. They need to remember and learn it all, but then what of creativity? They barely play at the board, but at home, and that’s bad.
I consider those champions to have been greats, though perhaps that’s natural, since I’m a chess player of that generation – the Soviet School – and it all means a lot to me. I find modern chess alien, so it’s possible I’m not objective. Botvinnik, Karpov, Kasparov – they beat everyone for 10-12 years in a row, while for me the thirteenth champion is a separate topic. The way Kasparov and his group worked was incredible. They were a class above the rest and therefore he crushed everyone. Garry won a huge number of games in the opening. His preparation was colossal! But he found moves himself at the board rather than the computer coming up with them. Back then people still beat computers, while now even the world champion can’t beat a computer.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/rafael-vaganian-anand-won-t-lose)
After one tournament Gail told me Big Al had mentioned to her that I was “trying too hard.” I gave his words considerable thought, coming to the conclusion Al was right. When at my best I did not have to try so hard because it seemed easy and just kind of flowed. Many years later, after devoting all my time and energy to backgammon, chess was anything but easy. When playing baseball I had to give it my all since I was smaller than the other players. When a senior in high school I was awarded a small trophy that meant all the world to me because my teammates had voted it to me for being the player that best showed what our coach called the “105” spirit. We chattered “105” on the field that year, which meant giving that little extra. It was the only way I knew to play, and it carried over into my chess.
I read something earlier this year by a Go player, Michael Redmond, that seems applicable to a discussion of intuition. “The charismatic Redmond, an American, is one of very few non-Asian Go celebrities. He began playing professionally in Japan at the age of 18, and remains the only Westerner to ever reach 9-dan, the game’s highest rank.”
“The trouble is that identifying Go moves that deserve attention is often a mysterious process. “You’ll be looking at the board and just know,” Redmond told me, as we stood in front of the projector screen watching Crazy Stone take back Nomitan’s initial lead. “It’s something subconscious, that you train through years and years of playing. I’ll see a move and be sure it’s the right one, but won’t be able to tell you exactly how I know. I just see it.” (From-The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win, by Alan Levinovitz 05.12.14)
http://www.wired.com/2014/05/the-world-of-computer-go/
Substitute “chess” for “Go” above and you will understand, grasshopper. “You’ll be looking at the board and just know.” You do not have to calculate, and sometimes it will not matter because no matter how long you calculate you will never to be completely certain as there are just too many possibilities.
Intuition can be found in every endeavor. For example, in a 1997 interview with Robert Hilburn, found in the “Dylan Companion,” while referring to Neil Young in the song “Highlands” from the “Time Out of Mind” album, Bob says, “It’s anything you want it to be. I don’t give much thought to individual lines. If I thought about them in any kind of deep way, maybe I wouldn’t use them because I’d always be second-guessing myself. I learned a long time ago to trust my intuition.”
In a 1995 interview in the USA TODAY not long after his “Unplugged” performance, Dylan said, “As you get older, you get smarter and that can hinder you because you try to gain control over the creative impulse. Creativity is not like a freight train going down the tracks. It’s something that has to be caressed and treated with a great deal of respect. If your mind is intellectually in the way, it will stop you. You’ve got to program your brain not to think too much.”
The first line reminds me of Mikhail Tal. His style of play changed as he grew older. Part of it may have been a natural process, but being forced to work with Karpov also had a lasting effect on his style of play.
What it all boils down to is that one must go with the flow and play what you know, Joe. This is exactly what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a “Positive psychologist,” means when he says that flow is, “A state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.” (http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en)
Viswanathan Anand lost his “flow” but somehow managed to get back into the flow for the Candidates tournament, one of the most amazing things in the history of chess.
After losing the game to Jimmy, our friend NM Neal Harris walked over, asking the result. Jimmy said, “I won, but take a look at this position!” He immediately set up the position to which I referred at the beginning of this article. Jimmy looked at Neal with blazing eyes and said, while moving the Queen to the middle of the board, “Mike missed this crushing blow. I don’t see how I can continue after this move.” The two mountain men continued moving the pieces around while I debated telling them I had actually seen the move, but rejected it. Instead I said, “Yeah, that looks like a real strong move.”

Watching The River Flow by Bob Dylan

What’s the matter with me
I don’t have much to say
Daylight sneakin’ through the window
And I’m still in this all-night café
Walkin’ to and fro beneath the moon
Out to where the trucks are rollin’ slow
To sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow

Wish I was back in the city
Instead of this old bank of sand
With the sun beating down over the chimney tops
And the one I love so close at hand
If I had wings and I could fly
I know where I would go
But right now I’ll just sit here so contentedly
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah
Makes you stop and all wonder why
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who just couldn’t help but cry
Oh, this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing everywhere you look
Makes you wanna stop and read a book
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
That was really shook
But this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

Watch the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
But I’ll sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow
Copyright © 1971 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1999 by Big Sky Music

Bob Dylan Watching The River Flow

http://njnnetwork.com/2010/01/bob-dylan-watching-the-river-flow/

LEON RUSSELL, WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW

Chess and War

GM Lubomir Kavalek has written one of the most powerful articles ever written, “Chess in the Time of War.” The original article can be found at the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lubomir-kavalek/chess-in-the-time-of-war_b_5702082.html) It can also be found at Chessbase, (http://en.chessbase.com/post/huffington-chess-in-the-time-of-war). I urge everyone to read Grandmaster Kavalek’s article, and ask others to do the same.

Chess is not played in a vacuum; t takes place on the stage of the world. The “chess moves” of powerful world leaders affect not only players of the Royal game, but often everyone in the world, as was the case when the mentally deranged Adolf Hitler led the world into what is now known as “World War II,” when Germany invaded Poland on false pretense. George Dubya did the same when the Bushwhackers invaded Iraq ostensibly looking for “weapons of mass destruction.” Then Dubya the Dummy made fun of We The People, and played US for chumps when, “During the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner this week, Bush presented a slide show of quirky photographs from inside the White House. In one, the president is looking under furniture in the Oval Office.”

“Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere,” Bush joked. “Nope, no weapons over there … maybe under here?” (http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/26/bush.wmd.jokes/)

This has to be seen to be believed, and with modern technology, it can be seen right here. See below…

GM Kavalek writes this about Soviet GM Vladimir Simagin, “A few moments earlier, she met Vladimir Simagin pacing back and forth in the lobby of the Polish hotel in Polanica Zdroj, repeating:”Stupid people, stupid people, stupid people….” The Moscow grandmaster explained to her that Soviet tanks crossed into Czechoslovakia overnight. It was August 21, 1968. “The night would not be short,” predicted the Czech poet Karel Kryl in one of his songs.”

I remember it well because that day, August 21, 1968, was my eighteenth birthday. On that day I became eligible to be drafted, and the leaders of my country, whom I think of as Fools In Power (F.I.P.’s), were sending young men to die needlessly in the rice paddies of Viet Nam in what can only be described as internecine warfare. The “Ruskies”, as they were called, sending tanks into another country only increased the chances that I would be called upon to “gear up” to fight in yet another World War, possibly the last such war. What these F.I.P.’s decide has an effect on people individually, as can be seen by what GM Kavalek next writes about the peace loving Simagin.

“As fate would have it, I played Simagin in the penultimate round and I knew that the man across the board disagreed with the Soviet occupation. He was a chess philosopher believing that violence has no place in our lives and it is best to leave it on the chessboard. We played nervously, exchanged a lot of pieces until we were left only with my rook against his knight. We sensed that in an absurd, symbolic way the single rook was fighting against thousands of Soviet tanks. Eventually, we agreed to a draw, but the invasion broke his heart. Simagin died of a heart attack during the tournament in Kislovodsk on September 25, 1968 at the age of 49.”

Vladimir Putin is obviously a F.I.P. He recently divorced his wife and decided to encroach upon the people of another country. The man is obviously a megalomaniac who is using the Royal game to serve his nefarious purposes. As an example there is this, from the article, “FIDE today: Against dictatorship and empire,” by Peter Long (http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/fide-today-against-dictatorship-and-empire-peter-long#sthash.j7jZrQY4.dpuf).

“For months, Ilyumzhinov had shamelessly used FIDE resources to campaign and go around the world, but by the time August came around and the campaign moved to Tromso, it had become clear that the cause was all but lost as a well-funded professionally-run team had no chance in a world where Russia had thrown its considerable diplomatic muscle behind their Russian colleague and together with other incumbents were prepared to ignore all decorum and rules.
A case in point was Asia where Team Kasparov had 28 sure votes and was looking to reach 32, a huge win with 48 at stake. But with Russian intervention, Mongolia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar were lost through a combination of proxies being taken or delegates replaced!

Then the incumbent Asia President, Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al Nahyan from UAE adopted similar tactics as well as considerable largesse to ensure a united Arab vote and naturally India and the majority of that sub-continent also fell in line, again with liberal taking of proxies and change of delegates, some like Afghanistan even having its Federation administratively removed.

Closer home and very sadly and shamefully, Malaysia went back on its promise, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib sacrificed his own Deputy President and Secretary by going back on supporting him in a position on the Asia ticket and Indonesia’s vote was even stolen, its delegate showing up in vain at the ballot box.

While Africa rose as promised, only beaten 20-22 through use of proxies, it was the same continued whitewash in Latin America and the Caribbean where so many delegates are existing FIDE officials despite not living or enjoying citizenship of the countries they represent. And Europe, which traditionally threw its weight against dictatorship, showed that they were tired of always being on the losing side.”

If it is true that the pen is mightier than the sword, then GM Kavalek strikes a mighty blow with these words, “In December 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and ceased to exist. It was split into many countries, and that didn’t go over well with Vladimir Putin. As soon as he came to power, he plotted how to get back the Soviet territories. And this led to the current situation. Russia is at war again. The armor and the little green men Vladimir Putin sent to Ukraine this year to annex Crimea and to carve up the mainland were also without Russian insignias.

Russian tanks tend to invade at night as if ashamed to be seen. Their favorite time for invasions seems to be August (Czechoslovakia 1968, Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014) or during the Olympic Games (Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014) when the world is distracted. They come under the pretense of “brotherly” or “humanitarian” help. They even use chess strategies in their action: the principle of two weaknesses – creating threats in two separate places – is applied in the Ukraine as we speak.

Putin helped Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to win the FIDE presidential campaign. They announced together that the next world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand will take place in November in Sochi. Carlsen, now playing the Sinquefield Cup, has till Sunday to accept, although the conditions of the match are far from clear. FIDE already shaved one million dollars off the previous match budget.

Ilyumzhinov is staging other major events in the former Soviet territories. The Chess Olympiad in 2016 will be in Baku, Azerbaijan and in 2018 in Batumi, Georgia. Grand Prix tournaments – important qualification events for the world championship – are scheduled for Moscow, Baku and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. There is also another one in Tehran, Iran, but it is hard to imagine the American Hikaru Nakamura playing there. Or for that matter the Armenian Levon Aronjan playing in Baku. And some of the events will be played while Putin is aiming his guns at Ukraine.”

Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin was best described by NY Times op-ed columnist David Brooks in his September 1, 2014 column titled, “The Revolt of the Weak.” “What we’re seeing around the world is a revolt of the weak. There are certain weak movements and nations, beset by internal contradictions, that can’t compete if they play by the normal rules of civilization. Therefore, they are conspiring to blow up the rule book.

The first example is Russia. Putin is poor in legitimacy. He is poor in his ability to deliver goods and dignity for his people. But he is rich in brazenness. He is rich in his ability to play by the lawlessness of the jungle, so he wants the whole world to operate by jungle rules.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/opinion/david-brooks-the-revolt-of-the-weak.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0)

The world would have been a better place if Adolf Hitler had been stopped before coming to power. That is not possible with Putin because he is in power. But he still can, and should, be stopped, by any means necessary.

Bush laughs at no WMD in Iraq

THE GUESS WHO-“LAUGHING”

The Connecticut Rebels

The Atlanta Kings drew the match with their Southern division rival, the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. If you are wondering what a team from the northern most region of yankee land is doing in the Southern division, you are not alone. The closest tie to the South would be that of the Dreadnoughts first board in the match with the Kings, Michael “Bubba” Rohde, and the fact that his parents resided in Atlanta back in the 1980’s. GM Rohde would visit, and played in at least one chess tournament that I recall, while here. During this time I played backgammon with Michael.

This reminds me of the Atlanta Braves being placed in the Western division of the National League when Major League Baseball expanded from twenty to twenty four teams in 1969. Because the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Philip K. Wrigley, balked at being placed in the Western division, ostensibly because the Cub fans would have to stay up late to watch the games from the west coast. Since Chicago is in the Central time zone there is a two hour difference. To placate Wrigley and continue the rivalry between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the MLB Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, who lacked the cojones to stand up to Wrigley, allowed the Cubs and Cards to play in the eastern division while placing the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in the Western division. This made absolutely no sense because both teams, the Braves and Reds, are in the Eastern time zone, meaning a three hour time difference, one more than the two hour difference between Chicago and St. Louis and the left coast.

Baltimore is also a member of the Southern division. Although Maryland is considered a yankee state, a case can be made that Baltimore belongs in the Southern division, or at least more of a case than can be made with regard to Connecticut. At least Maryland was considered a “border” state. The greatest Southern hero of the War Between For Southern Independence, John Wilkes Booth, was born in Maryland.

“The Baltimore riot of 1861 (also called the Pratt Street Riot and the Pratt Street Massacre) was a conflict that took place on April 19, 1861, in Baltimore, Maryland between Confederate sympathizers and members of the Massachusetts militia en route to Washington for Federal service. It is regarded by historians as the first bloodshed of the American Civil War.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_riot_of_1861)

“Spring, 1861. The American Civil War erupts and Baltimore finds itself at the crossroads of the North and the South. A passageway to the North and a border state to the South, Maryland was home to both Unionists and Southern sympathizers. Maryland was a slave state at the beginning of the war; however, free African Americans made up a quarter of Baltimore’s population.” (http://baltimore.org/guides-interests/civil-war)

“On April 19, 1861, the first blood of the American Civil War is shed when a secessionist mob in Baltimore attacks Massachusetts troops bound for Washington, D.C. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.” (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-blood-in-the-civil-war)

Elvis Presley – An American Trilogy – I wish I was in Dixieland (High Quality)

Back Channel: A Review

One of the essays contained in the book, “Fools Rush Inn: More Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom,” by Bill James is titled, “Jumping the Fictional Shark.” It begins, “It is within human nature, I think, to become less interested in fiction as we age.” Bill is not a polished writer, a fact many have pointed out, as can be seen by his use of “I think” above. It is unnecessary for Bill to use “I think” because since he is writing, one assumes he thinks. Bill does this kind of thing often. Since I am writing, it is not necessary that I write, “in my opinion.” Hopefully, a reader will know it is my opinion without my having to inform him of that fact. I, and many others, read Bill for his ideas.
What he thinks about reading less fiction as we age is applicable to me, and, I assume, many other aging readers. The love of my life said to me thirty years ago, “You don’t read fiction.” Gail had a point. I read made up stories when younger and had little interest in them as an adult. I read mostly non-fiction because it was interesting. Even the fiction I read was of the historical fiction variety.

Having read extensively on the subject of the JFK assassination not only have I read about the crime itself, but I have read about the surrounding climate during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. As POTUS, JFK read a book, “The Guns of August,” by Barbara Tuchman, and was so impressed that he ordered many copies and distributed it to those in his administration. The book is about what led to what is now called the “First World War,” and it won a Pulitzer Prize. Immersing oneself in the milieu of that time naturally means reading extensively about what is now called the “Cuban Missile Crisis.” I had just turned eleven during that time and although I, like every other grammar school child in the country, was made to practice a “duck and cover” maneuver, which now seems preposterous, in which we got down on our knees underneath the desk and covered our little noggin’ with our hands. This we would do to “protect” ourselves in the event of a nuclear war. I was not into the “nightly news blues” at that age, but can still recall the gravity of the situation by how the adults reacted. My questions were invariably met with, You are too young” for the answers and to “go out and play.” I loathed being treated in this fashion. Fortunately for me, I lived near a Boys Club, and the adults there would answer the questions left unanswered by the adults in my neighborhood. JFK was reviled by most, if not all, of the adults with whom I had contact and this only worsened the longer he held office. One rarely reads of the depth of how much the POTUS was loathed and detested in the South. I have often wondered if that was the reason so many mediocre Republican’s were installed, or maybe I should say, “selected” to be POTUS. It has also made me wonder how it came about that a fellow Georgian, Jimmy Carter, ever obtained the position of POTUS.

Having read something about a new book by Stephen L. Carter, the author of “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” a novel written about in Chess Life magazine years ago, I was familiar with him, so I decided to check out the book after reading he had used chess as a backdrop. I mean, what could be better than a novel on two of my favorite subjects? When first looking over the book I read this on the back cover, thinking it about the book I was holding in my hands, “There’s a lot going on in this big, smart book…Lofty legal arguments coincide with a grittier plot…What makes this novel so vastly entertaining is the author’s sharp skewering of politicians, lawyers, and the monied social class that runs Washington.” -Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe. That sounded interesting! Unfortunately, Kate was writing about Mr. Carter’s earlier book, “The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. “ABRAHAM LINCOLN?! OH NO, MR. BILL. NOT ANOTHER BOOK ON THE DEVIL HIMSELF!” I thought.

Even though I purchased a used copy of “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” I never got around to reading it. It is rather humorous that I would look at the book and think, “All those pages,” but when looking at a book like, for example, “Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination,” by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, which is even larger and contains even more pages, I would think, “Look at all that meat!”

It being my birthday, I decided to read something different, and “Back Channel” fit the bill. Did it ever…I do not have words to tell you how much I enjoyed the book, so I will use some old cliches. I was “riveted” because it was a “page turner” that I “could not put down.” This after being put off by the use of a 19 year virgin black girl as the protagonist, which I found preposterous in the same way I found Will Smith playing the part of Jim West in the movie “The Wild Wild West.” I mean, come on, Negros were not members of the Secret Service until JFK became POTUS. I usually like my fiction to have some basis in reality. Then I thought, “OK, it is, after all, fiction, and if I had been born a Negro maybe I would write fiction using a Negro character.” Reading on, I came to understand what genius it was for this writer to have used the characters he chose.
I have always detested a reviewer who gives away too much of a book, and for that reason have preferred to read the book before the review. I have chosen only a little of the book to give you an idea of what this wonderful book contains.

“Viktor frowned. Definitely nyekulturny. Uncultured. To speak so casually about violence. Typical of the sort of man who rose to authority in a country that had never faced extermination, as the Motherland had.”

This made me think of Oliver Stone’s TV Series documentary, “The Untold History of the United States,” and how little, most of it wrong, we Americans understand of what is happening in Ukraine today. Often it is better to see things from another perspective, as in the case of a game of chess. Players must try and understand what an opponent wants, and what he is willing to do to obtain what he wants.

“In Russia, we have a proverb,” he said. “If you’re afraid of the wolves, you shouldn’t go into the woods.”

This reminded me of IM Boris Kogan, who was always sharing “Russian proverbs.”
“Few Americans probably realized the extent to which the military had become a law unto itself, in effect a separate branch of government. The Congress controlled its budget but gave the generals whatever they wanted, and the President was the commander in chief when he had time and they had the inclination. the system worked because the American military was run by men of unparalleled integrity.
Most of the time.”

You are probably asking yourself, “This is a novel, right?”

“Because your reporters are like the birds who eat carrion. They produce little of value, and feed off the remains of what others have left. They will destroy the reputation of your President for profit. the First Amendment is the tragedy of your system. In my country, we protect the reputations of our leaders, because in that way we protect the reputation and integrity of the Party, and therefore of the country and the people.”

Bill Clinton would say, “Amen, brother! Right on. Right on. Right on!”

“Bundy recognized the frustration in Bobby’s voice, and knew he had to avoid sounding too professional. The Kennedy’s were an impetuous clan, not thin-skinned, precisely, but quick to detect condescension. He addressed himself to the older brother.”

Sounds like Mr. Carter goes way back with the Kennedy clan, does it not?

“The way your mind works is fascinating,” he said, not turning. When you put the facts together that way, yes, you can reach the conclusion you suggest. But in the analysis of intelligence information, we have a word for people who make up their minds too quickly and then try to make the evidence fit. We call the amateurs.”

Here in America, we call them Bushwhackers, for that is EXACTLY the description of how we got BUSHWHACKED into going to war in Iraq
.
This is a magnificent book written by a brilliant writer. I do not read enough fiction to judge, but it is possible that Stephen Carter could be the best author, or at least one of the best authors currently writing fiction. Read this book and you can leave a comment and thank me later. Send this review to anyone you know who enjoys good fiction. Because every one has heard of the parlor game of “Six Degrees of Bacon,” based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart, I know some reader either knows Bill James, or knows someone who knows him, so at least send Bill the URL and maybe he will decide to make an exception and read a book of fiction!

Forty seconds into this video you will see these words by the Devil Abraham Lincoln:
“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”
The man made an awful lot of “friends” in the South before John Wilkes Booth made the Devil a friend.

Abraham * Martin and John *** Dion

US Masters: All Over But The Shouting

The grueling ordeal that is the US Masters came to an end last night with GM Bartlomiej Macieja alone in first place at +6 while winning $5000. GM Yaroslav Zherebukh in second place at +5 and took home $3000. Six players tied for third at +4. They each won $850. If you think this a tremendous disparity between first and third, the winner of the ongoing Sinquefield Cup will win $100,000. It pays to be at the top.
GM Alonso Zapata drew with Damir Studen in the last round with both finishing with a +1 score of 5-4. Damir took home $114.29 as second U2300 while the GM went home empty-handed.

Michael Corallo drew his last game with Vladimir Romankenko to also finish at +1 and also won $114.29. IM Carlos Perdomo also finished with a +1 score, but took home only $75 after his last round draw with Nicolas D Checa.

Sanjay Ghatti lost in the last round to Gabriel Petesch to finish at -1, with a score, but yet took home 266.67 for the 2nd U2100. As is often the case in tournament chess it often pays to be a lower rated player.

The Frisco Kid, Richard Francisco, showing great fighting spirit when those around him were doing the “buddy-buddy shake,” won his last round game against Sam Copeland to finish with an even score and took home that home as consolation.

Michael Corallo (2300) vs Vladimir Romankenko (2548)
USM Rd 9
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f3 Be7 10. h4 h6 11. Be3 b5 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Kb1 Qc7 14. Ne2 d5 15. e5 Nd7 16. f4 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Bxc5 18. Nd4 Bd7 19. g4 O-O-O 20. h5 Kb7 21. Bg2 Ka7 22. Rhe1 Qb6 23. Nb3 Be7 24. Rh1 Rc8 1/2-1/2

Richard Francisco (2382) vs Sam Copeland (2302)
USM Rd 9
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. d3 fxe4 5. dxe4 Nf6 6. Be3 Nxe4 7. O-O d6 8. Qd3 Bf5 9. Ng5 Nxg5 10. Qxf5 Be7 11. Bxg5 Bxg5 12. Qf3 h5 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxc6 Kf7 15. Nc3 Kg6 16. Rae1 Kh7 17. Nd5 Rc8 18. g3 Qe8 19. Qa6 c6 20. Nc3 Rc7 21. f4 Bd8 22. fxe5 dxe5 23. Qd3 Qg6 24. Rf5 Kh6 25. Rexe5 Bf6 26. Qe3 1-0

I was able to provide most of these games because I transcribed them myself, and enjoyed replaying them immensely. Unfortunately, the scoresheets for most of the last round games have not been provided on the website (http://www.carolinaschessinitiative.com/tournaments/US-Masters-NC-Open-2014/)
The disparity between the ratings shown is because the USCF rating is different, and usually higher, than the FIDE rating.

Shout – Otis Day & The Knights (Animal House 1978)

The Isley Brothers – Shout

What Was Kazim Thinking?

It was a brutal penultimate round for the intrepid players from Georgia. GM Zapata managed to draw his game with Levy Rozman (2287), as did IM Carlos Perdomo, who drew with Alexander Betaneli (2246). Damir Studen also drew his game with IM John Cox (2371) from the United Kingdom.

Damir Studen (2264) vs IM John Cox (2371)
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Qd4 f6 12. Rd1 g5 13. Bxe5 fxe5 14. Qe3 Be6 15. Nd2 h6 16. Nde4 Qb6 17. Qd3 O-O-O 18. Bg2 Nc5 19. Qxd8 Qxd8 20. Rxd8 Kxd8 21. Nxc5 Bxc5 22. Kd2 Bb3 23. Be4 Ke7 24. f3 Rd8 25. Bd3 a5 26. h4 Kd7 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Rh7 Kc8 29. Rg7 Bf8 30. Rh7 Bb4 31. Rg7 Bxa4 32. Rxg5 e4 33. fxe4 Bb3 34. Kc1 Rh8 35. Bc2 Rh1 36. Kd2 Bf8 37. Rxa5 Bh6 38. Kd3 Be6 39. Ra8 Kd7 40. Rh8 b5 41. b3 Kd6 42. Nd1 Rh3 43. e3 Rh2 44. Nc3 Kc5 45. e5 Bf5 46. Ne4 Kb4 47. Bd1 Rh3 48. Bf3 Be6 49. g4 Rh4 50. Nd2 c5 51. Rh7 1/2-1/2

Unfortunately Michael Corallo lost again, this time to GM Elshan Moradiabad (2598). Michael had been having such a tremendous tournament that after losing back to back games he is still tied at +1, or 4 1/2 points, with those above named players, and will battle another GM, Vladimir Romanenko (2498) in the money round.

Sanjay Ghatti lost to Andrey Gorovets (2478) but still has an even score with 4 points.

Sanjay Ghatti (2024) vs Andrey Gorovets (2478)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Nb3 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Be3 Qc7 8. Be2 Bb4 9. f3 d5 10. O-O Bxc3 11. bxc3 dxe4 12. fxe4 Nxe4 13. Qd3 f5 14. Nc5 Nf6 15. Qc4 Nd5 16. Bf4 Nxf4 17. Rxf4 Ne5 18. Qa4 Kf7 19. Ne4 Qb6 20. Qd4 Rd8 21. Ng5 Kg6 22. Qxb6 axb6 23. Nf3 Nxf3 24. Bxf3 Kf6 25. Rb4 Rd6 26. a4 Bd7 27. Bxb7 Ra7 28. Bf3 b5 29. c4 Rxa4 30. Raxa4 bxa4 31. c5 a3 32. Rb1 a2 33. Ra1 Ra6 34. Bb7 Ra7 35. c6 Ke7 36. cxd7 Rxb7 37. Rxa2 Rxd7 38. c4 Kd6 39. Ra6 Ke5 40. Rc6 g5 41. Kf2 Rd2 42. Kf3 h5 43. h3 g4 44. hxg4 hxg4 45. Kg3 f4 46. Kxg4 Rxg2 47. Kf3 Rg3 48. Kf2 Rc3 49. Ke2 Re3 50. Kf2 Kd4 51. Rc8 Rc3 52. Re8 e5 0-1

The Frisco Kid drew with Joshua Colas (2116) and is at -1, with 3 1/2 points, needing a win tonight against Sam Copeland (2153) to finish with an even score.

Kazim Gulamali lost his penultimate round game and also has 3 1/2 points.

Nicolas D Checa (2219) vs FM Kazim Gulamali (2283)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e3 a6 6. a4 c5 7. Bxc4 cxd4

The game ended here and this was displayed on the website:
“White won (rated game). Cellphone went off”

It is beyond my comprehension how such a thing could occur. Why any player would even have a cellphone after what happened to GM Nigel Short when he lost a game, even though his gizmo was turned off, because it made a sound to signal its battery was low, disrupting the tournament, and violating the FIDE rule against gizmos making sounds. No players should ever, under any circumstance, have a gizmo with them in or around the tournament hall because of the appearance of having such device gives because of the possibility of cheating by using a gizmo. All chess organizations should have banned gizmos years ago for just this reason. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not, and would never accuse Kazim of cheating. Having known him for at least a decade I would not believe it if he were ever accused of cheating because he is a gentleman. I hate to write this, but his play this tournament could be considered prima-facie evidence that he did not cheat. It is more than a little obvious that Kazim had what is now called a “Dierks” moment.

Reece Thompson lost in the penultimate round and still has 3 points, but will play the last round game trying to finish with a -1 score.

Kapil Chandran (2382) vs Reece Thompson (2087)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. e4 e5 6. Be2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 Re8 9. d5 a5 10. h3 Qc7 11. Be3 Nc5 12. Rfd1 Bd7 13. Rac1 cxd5 14. cxd5 Rec8 15. Nd2 Qb8 16. Bxc5 Rxc5 17. a4 Be8 18. Qb1 Nd7 19. Nb3 Rc8 20. Nb5 Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Bd8 22. Qc2 Bg5 23. Nc7 Bxc1 24. Nxa8 Be3 25. fxe3 Qxa8 26. Qc7 Qa7 27. Kf2 Nf6 28. Qd8 h6 29. Bb5 Kh7 30. Bxe8 Nxe4 31. Kf3 f5 32. Bd7 1-0
The schedule has been brutal as can be seen by the fact that 30% of the field will not play in the last round. The ones who do play will certainly be staggering at the finish line.

Dierks Bentley – What Was I Thinkin

And Down the Stretch They Come!

The turn has been made at the US Masters and the players have hit the long stretch and are heading for the finish line. Heading into the penultimate round NM Michael Corallo, even with his loss to GM Sergei Azarov on board two in the antepenultimate round, is leading the contingent from the Great State of Georgia. Michael lost in the first round, then scored four wins and one draw, including three wins in a row, including a victory over GM Alex Shabalov. His 4 1/2 points is a half point more than GM Alsonso Zapata, who lost to IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat in round seven. IM Carlos Perdomo has shown his class by coming back after losing his first two games to score four points in the next five rounds with three wins and two draws. Carlos drew with fellow Atlanta Kings member Sanjay Ghatti, who also has four points, last night in the seventh round. Shabba bested another Kings player last night, leaving FM Kazim Gulamali with 3 1/2. The Frisco Kid, NM Richard Francisco and the Denker representative from Georgia, Expert Reese Thompson each have scored 3 points.
As I write this the penultimate round is under way, and four of the games being shown include players from Georgia. Damir, Reese, Kazim and Sanjay are the players being shown. If you are wondering why the top Georgia players are not being shown, I wondered the same thing earlier in the tournament. Most tournaments broadcast the top boards, but they do things differently in NC. Since they did the same thing last year, this year I sent an email to the man in charge, Chacha Nugroho. He replied:
Hi Michael,
Thanks! The lower board we put camera, and I have to find good lighting tables, and those lower live boards are because under the main light of the room. I will post Neal Haris game soon.
regards
Chacha

Yasser Seirawan was taking about the first time he saw the pieces being used at the STLCC&SC when at Rex Sinquefield’s home. Yaz said they are beautiful and were made specially for Rex by Frank Camaratta, who owns the House of Staunton. I have had the pleasure of being in the home of Mr. Camaratta, which looks like a museum with all the wonderful chess sets on display. Yaz said these particular pieces are to be used with the board for broadcast and there only twenty-five such sets. One can do things like that when one has a billion dollars at one’s disposal. Our poor chess cousins in the Great State of North Carolina, my adopted “second state,” are doing the very best they can with their much more limited budget.
Now for some games from our illustrious luminaries carrying the colors:

Michael Corallo (2203) vs Eric Santarius (2329)
USM Rd 4
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 d6 7. Bxc6 bxc6 8. d4 exd4 9. Nxd4 Bd7 10. Nc3 O-O 11. h3 c5 12. Nf3 Bc6 13. Bf4 Rb8 14. e5 Nh5 15. Bh2 Rxb2 16. g4 Qa8 17. Nd2 dxe5 18. gxh5 Rd8 19. Bxe5 Bf8 20. Nce4 Rb4 21. Qg4 Bd7 22. Qg3 Bc6 23. Bxg7 Bxe4 1-0

Michael Corallo (2203) vs Michael Bodek (2400)
USM Rd 5
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 Bxd4 13. Qxd4 Qb6 14. Na4 Qa5 15. b3 Qc7 16. Bc4 Rd8 17. Rhe1 Bf5 18. Qe5 Qxe5 19. Rxe5 Bxc2 20. Rd2 Bf5 21. Bxd5 cxd5 22. Rxe7 h5 23. Kb2 Kg7 24. Nc3 Kf6 25. Re1 Be6 26. Red1 Ke5 27. Rd4 g5 28. g3 h4 29. gxh4 gxh4 30. Rxh4 Rh8 31. f4 Kf5 32. Rxh8 Rxh8 33. Nxd5 Rxh2 34. Ka3 Ke4 35. Nc7 Kxf4 36. Rd6 Bf5 37. Nb5 Ke3 38. Rf6 Bb1 39. Nc3 Bg6 40. Ra6 Kd2 41. Nd5 Be4 42. Nf6 Bb1 43. Kb2 Bg6 44. Rxa7 Kd1 45. Kc3 Bb1 46. a4 Ba2 47. Nd5 Kc1 48. Nb4 Rh3 49. Nd3 Kb1 50. Rxf7 Ka1 51. Rd7 Rh1 52. Re7 Rh8 53. Rc7 Bb1 54. Rc4 Rg8 55. Nc5 Ka2 56. Rd4 Ka3 57. b4 Rh8 58. a5 Rh3 59. Kc4 Bg6 60. a6 Bf7 61. Kb5 Be8 62. Ka5 Rh7 63. Rd3 Kb2 64. Rd6 Rh1 65. b5 Kc3 66. a7 Ra1 67. Na4 Kb3 68. Rd3 1-0

Alexander Shabalov (2500) vs Michael Corallo (2203)
USM Rd 6
1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. a3 d6 6. Rb1 Bf5 7. d3 h5 8. Nf3 b6 9. Bg5 Qd7 10. Nd5 Rc8 11. h3 e5 12. b4 Be6 13. Nd2 f6 14. Be3 Nge7 15. Qa4 Nxd5 16. cxd5 Nd4 17. Qd1 Bf7 18. Nc4 O-O 19. Bd2 Rfd8 20. e3 Nb5 21. O-O Nc7 22. e4 Nb5 23. f4 Nd4 24. Be3 Rf8 25. Rb2 f5 26. Rbf2 fxe4 27. Bxe4 b5 28. Na5 Qxh3 29. Bxd4 cxd4 30. f5 Qxg3 31. Rg2 Qe3 32. Kh1 gxf5 33. Re1 Qh6 34. Reg1 fxe4 35. Rxg7 Qxg7 36. Rxg7 Kxg7 37. Nc6 Bxd5 38. Ne7 Bb7 39. Nxc8 Rxc8 40. dxe4 Bxe4 0-1

Michael Corallo (2203) vs Sergei Azerov (2635)
USM Rd 7
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 Bxd4 13. Qxd4 Qb6 14. Na4 Qc7 15. Bc4 Rd8 16. Bb3 Bf5 17. g4 Nf4 18. Qe3 Be6 19. Bxe6 Nxe6 20. Rde1 Rab8 21. h4 Qa5 22. b3 Rd4 23. Nc3 Rbd8 24. Kb2 Rd2 25. h5 R8d3 26. Qxd3 Rxd3 27. cxd3 Nf4 28. Rxe7 Qd8 29. Re4 Nxd3 30. Kc2 Nf2 31. Rd1 Nxd1 32. Nxd1 gxh5 33. gxh5 Qf6 34. f4 Qf5 35. Kd3 Qd5 36. Rd4 Qf5 37. Re4 Qb5 38. Kc3 Qa5 39. Kc2 Qxh5 0-1

Richard Francisco (2281) vs Peter Giannatos (2140)
USM Rd 3
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. a3 Nge7 7. b4 cxd4 8. cxd4 Nf5 9. Bb2 Be7 10. Bd3 a5 11. Bxf5 exf5 12. Nc3 Be6 13. b5 a4 14. O-O O-O 15. bxc6 Qxb2 16. Nxa4 Qb5 17. cxb7 Qxb7 18. Nc5 Bxc5 19. dxc5 Rfc8 20. Qc2 Qc6 21. Rfc1 Ra4 22. Nd2 d4 23. Nf3 Rc4 24. Qd3 Rxc5 25. Rxc5 Qxc5 26. Qxd4 Qxa3 27. h4 Rc1 28. Rxc1 Qxc1 29. Kh2 h6 30. Kg3 Qc6 31. Qf4 Qc3 32. Qd2 Qc5 33. Qe3 Qxe3 34. fxe3 Kf8 35. Kf4 Ke7 36. Nd4 g6 1/2-1/2

Kazim Gulamali (2283) vs Arthur Guo (1950)
USM Rd 4
1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Qe2 Nf6 9. Rd1 e5 10. Be3 O-O 11. Rac1 Bg4 12. h3 Be6 13. Bxe6 fxe6 14. Qc4 Qd7 15. b4 Rac8 16. Qb3 a6 17. Na4 Nd4 18. Nxd4 Rxc1 19. Rxc1 exd4 20. Nb6 Qe8 21. Qxe6 Qf7 22. Qxf7 Rxf7 23. Bxd4 Nxe4 24. Nd5 Bg5 25. f4 Bh4 26. g4 h6 27. Kg2 Rd7 28. g5 hxg5 29. Kf3 Ng3 30. fxg5 Nf5 31. Bf6 Rf7 32. Kg4 g6 33. Rc8 Rf8 34. Rc7 Rf7 35. Ne7 Nxe7 36. Bxe7 Be1 37. Rc8 Kg7 38. Bf6 Rxf6 39. gxf6 Kxf6 40. a3 a5 41. b5 b6 42. Rc6 Bf2 43. Rxd6 Kg7 44. a4 Bg1 45. Re6 Kf7 46. Rc6 Kg7 47. h4 Kf7 48. Kf4 Kg7 49. Ke5 Kh6 50. Kf6 Kh5 51. Kf7 Kxh4 52. Rxg6 Bd4 53. Ke6 Kh5 54. Rg2 Kh4 55. Kd7 Kh3 56. Rg8 Kh4 57. Kc6 Kh5 58. Rb8 Kg6 59. Rxb6 1-0

Sean Vibbert (2301) vs Alonso Zapata (2481)
USM Rd 4
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. d3 d4 7. Ne4 Nxe4 8. Bxe4 Be7 9. Qf3 Nc6 10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. Qxc6 Bd7 12. Qd5 Qc8 13. f3 O-O 14. b3 Re8 15. Kf2 a5 16. Bd2 a4 17. Ne2 Bf6 18. Nf4 Re5 19. Qc4 Qb7 20. bxa4 Rxa4 21. Qb3 Qa8 22. Rae1 c4 23. Qb1 Rb5 24. Qd1 c3 25. Bc1 Rxa2 26. Rhf1 g6 27. Kg1 Rb1 28. Qe2 Ba4 29. Qe4 Bc6 30. Qe2 h5 31. Ne6 Ba4 32. Nc7 Qc6 33. Ne8 Rxc2 34. Nxf6 Qxf6 35. Qe4 Bc6 36. Bg5 Qxg5 37. Qxc6 Rxe1 38. Rxe1 Qd2 39. Qe8 Kg7 40. Qe5 Kh7 0-1

Bartlomiej Macieja (2622) vs Alonso Zapata (2481)
USM Rd 5
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. h3 g6 7. Nf3 Bf5 8. O-O Qc7 9. Na3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 a6 11. Nc2 Bg7 12. Re1 O-O 13. Ne3 h5 14. g3 b5 15. Bd2 Rfc8 16. h4 e6 17. Nf1 Qb6 18. Ng5 b4 19. Nh2 bxc3 20. bxc3 Ne7 21. Nhf3 Qb5 22. Qc2 Nh7 23. Nxh7 Kxh7 24. g4 hxg4 25. Ng5 Kg8 26. h5 Qd7 27. hxg6 Nxg6 28. Nxe6 Nh4 29. Ng5 Qf5 30. Qxf5 Nxf5 31. f3 Nxd4 32. Rac1 Nxf3 33. Nxf3 gxf3 34. Kf2 Rc6 35. Kxf3 Rac8 36. Rg1 Kf8 37. Rg5 Bxc3 38. Rxd5 Bxd2 39. Rxc6 Rxc6 40. Rxd2 Rc4 41. Re2 Ra4 42. Ke3 Ke7 43. Kd3 Kd6 44. Rf2 Ke6 45. Kc3 f5 46. Kb3 Re4 47. Rh2 f4 48. Rh6 Kf5 49. Rxa6 f3 50. Ra8 Rf4 51. Rf8 Kg4 52. Rg8 Kh3 0-1

David Hua (2304) vs Alonso Zapata (2481)
USM Rd 6
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Qc7 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Be2 Bb4 8. O-O Bxc3 9. bxc3 Nxe4 10. Bf3 Nc5 11. Nb3 d6 12. Bf4 e5 13. Nxc5 Qxc5 14. Be3 Qc7 15. Qd2 Nd7 16. Rfd1 Ke7 17. Rab1 Rb8 18. Ba7 Ra8 19. Be3 Rb8 20. Ba7 Ra8 21. Be3 1/2-1/2

Brian Tarhon (1963) vs Damir Studen (2264)
USM Rd 7
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd6 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be2 Nf6 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Bxf3 e6 9. O-O Be7 10. Ne2 O-O 11. Bf4 Qd8 12. c4 Bd6 13. Bxd6 Qxd6 14. Qb3 b6 15. Rad1 Nbd7 16. Nc3 Rac8 17. Qc2 Qc7 18. b3 Rfd8 19. Rd2 Nf8 20. Rfd1 h6 21. g3 Rd7 22. Bg2 Rcd8 23. Kh2 Ng6 24. Ne4 Nxe4 25. Qxe4 Ne7 26. Rd3 Rd6 27. h4 Qd7 28. Qe2 Nf5 29. d5 exd5 30. cxd5 c5 31. Bh3 Qe7 32. Qd2 Nd4 33. Re1 Qf6 34. Bg2 R6d7 35. Rde3 g6 36. b4 Kg7 37. bxc5 bxc5 38. Rc1 Qb6 39. Rec3 Qa5 40. Qb2 Qb4 41. Qa1 Kh7 42. Rxc5 Qd2 43. R1c4 Nf5 44. Rc2 Qb4 45. Qf6 Qd4 46. Qxd4 Nxd4 47. R2c4 Nf5 48. Rc8 Rxc8 49. Rxc8 Ne7 50. Rc5 Kg7 51. a4 Kf6 52. f4 Rd6 53. Ra5 a6 54. Bf1 Kg7 55. Bc4 Rd7 56. Kg2 Kf8 57. Kf3 Rc7 58. Bd3 Rd7 59. Bc4 Rc7 60. Ba2 Rc3 61. Ke4 Nf5 62. Rxa6 Re3 0-1

This song contains the Legendary Georgia Ironman’s all-time favorite lyric. Just thinking about it brings a smile to the Ironman’s face. I will let you figure it out…
The first two are live and I could not decide which to post, so I posted both! The third version is from the album, not disc, and it is the one to which we listened “back in the day.”

Jackson Browne 1977 The Load Out Stay

Jackson Browne – The Load Out and Stay – Live BBC 1978

Jackson Browne – The Load Out / Stay

The GM With A Million Dollar Smile

In an article in the New York Times dated August 31, 2014 at 8:05 PM, “Millionaire Chess to Hit Las Vegas, in Gambit to Raise Game’s Profile With Big Prizes,” By DYLAN LOEB McCLAIN, it is written, “…Maurice Ashley, 48, the only African-American chess grandmaster, was the driving force behind the HB Global Challenge tournament in Minneapolis in 2005.”
This is written on Grandmaster Ashley’s Wikipedia page, “Maurice Ashely (born March 6, 1966 in St. Andrew, Jamaica)…” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Ashley)
I researched Jamaica on Wikipedia and found that, “Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica)
GM Maurice Ashley is a man with class and style who has a million dollar smile, but he is not the first African-American chess Grandmaster. Why does the origin of GM Ashley matter? Does anyone know the name of the first German-American GM? Or the first Polish-American GM? Would it be politically correct to call Mr. Ashley the first Jamaican-American Grandmaster?
After watching the movie, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” not the recent tepid remake, but the powerful original made in 1951, the year following my birth, I thought this earth would be a much better place if everyone considered themselves as earthlings, rather than “Americans” or “Russians” or “Black” or “White.” This was about a quarter of a century before titular POTUS Ronald Raygun said, in a December 4, 1985 speech at Fallston High School, MD, speaking about his 5-hour private discussions with General Secretary Gorbachev the previous month in November, 1985. He relayed to the class: “How much easier his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from another species from another planet outside in the universe. We’d forget all the little local differences that we have between our countries, and would find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this Earth together.” (http://www.serpo.org/release27.php)
The long article continues, “That tournament had $500,000 in prizes — the previous record for a chess tournament — and was financed by a retired businessman named Al Blowers, who was trying to promote his own charitable chess foundation. The tournament lost a couple hundred thousand dollars and, soon after, the foundation folded.
The partners expect to lose up to five times that — $1 million — in the Las Vegas tournament.
“If we only lose $200,000,” Mr. Ashley said, “we’ll be dancing in the streets.”
The idea behind Millionaire Chess is to raise the profile of the game. “It has a 1,500-year history,” Ms. Lee said, “and it has not been recognized at the level that I believe it should be.”
Good luck with that…
Bob Marley – redemption song acustic

Bob Marley – Redemption Song (from the legend album, with lyrics)