The Shank is The CHAMPION!

Samuel L Shankland

v Awonder Liang

U.S. Championship 2018 round 11

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4 Bg4 7. Qb3 e5 8. h3 exf4 9. hxg4 Qe7+ 10. Kf1 O-O-O 11. Nd2 g6 12. Re1 Qc7 13. g5 Nh5 14. Be2 Ng7 15. Ngf3 Ne6 16. Bb5 Bg7 17. Qa4 Rd6 18. Nb3 b6 19. Nc1 Nb8 20. Nd3 Kb7 21. Nb4 Qd8 22. Ne5 Qc7 23. Qb3 Rhd8 24. Rxh7 a6 25. Bd3 Ka7 26. Qa4 a5 27. Bb5 Kb7 28. Nbd3 Rg8 29. Nf3 Rh8 30. Rxh8 Bxh8 31. a3 Nc6 32. Bxc6+ Rxc6 33. Nde5 Bxe5 34. Nxe5 Rd6 35. Qe8 Rd8 36. Qxf7 Nxg5 37. Qxc7+ Kxc7 38. Nxg6 f3 39. Nf4 Kc6 40. gxf3 Nxf3 41. Re6+ Kb5 42. Ke2 Ng1+ 43. Kd3 1-0

While watching this game I tuned it out to concentrate on the position after Awonder played 27…Kb7.

My initial thoughts concerning Sam playing 28 Nbc6, but after black plays 28…Rh8 it seemed there must be more to the position than offered by the move 28 Nbc6. I wanted to move the knight attacked by the pawn, but digging deeper I saw another line. 28 Nbc6 need not be played because of the devastating move, after 28 Nec6 axb4, of 29 Qa7+! Kc8 30 Ne7+, winning the Queen…

28 Nec6 is the most FORCING MOVE. Black MUST take the Knight. After 28…Nxc6 29 Bxc6+ Rxc6 30 Qxc6 Qxc6 31 Nxc6 Kxc6 32 Rxe6 fxe6 33 Rxg7 it’s “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

The move Sam played was good enough to win, but it is a shame Sam did not play the Knight to c6 variation in lieu of backing down at the critical moment. One can do that with a completely won game I suppose, but other completely won games in this championship were not won. Sam had worked on that c6 square and though it looked as though Awonder had it covered, he did not have it covered sufficiently. I am not criticizing the new United States Chess Champion as this is only a slight blemish on his overall splendid, and strong, play in this tournament. What seemed to concern Sam most was making the Olympiad squad. Now Sam makes the US “big three” the US “BIG FOUR!”

What makes this so amazing is that in his previous tournament, China vs The World, Sam had lost FIVE games, while winning only one, for a performance rating of only 2597. Do you think Sam had something to prove after that debacle? Prove it he did!

A gambling man could have obtained great odds wagering on Sam Shankland, who would, no doubt, be stuck with the moniker, “The Shank” with the gamblers. All, or at least most, of the “smart money” would have gone to the Big Three. Considering the fact that tournaments like this with an even number of players are unfair, because have the field must play with the black pieces an extra time, which is obviously inherently unfair. How many “smart” gamblers would wager on any of the unfortunate players at a serious disadvantage? Sam was given lemons, which he turned into lemonade. He won four games with the black pieces while drawing two, for a performance rating with black of an astounding 2927! This was higher than his PR with white of “only” 2849. His combined PR was 2892.

I intentionally eschewed watching the coverage provided by the usual suspects this year in order to “watch” the old fashioned way, using a real board with pieces while watching the games provided at TWIC, without computer aided analysis. Copious notes were taken, along with comments, which were later checked over at the ChessBomb. Until the last round…when I brought up Yaz, Maurice, and Jennifer, just in time to watch Sam give his now famous fist pump. Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

I have been involved with the Royal game since 1970 and this is the most remarkable performance I can recall. David Spinks was famous for saying, “You gotta PULL for SOMEBODY, man!” As the tournament progressed I could not help but “pull” for The Shank. Congratulations to Sam Shankland for a brilliant tournament performance, which was a thing of beauty. I recall a time when The Shank was in some kind of crisis, talking of giving up the Royal game. Fortunately for we Chess fans, Sam did not quit. I can think of no more deserving Champion than Sam Shankland. This was his tenth appearance at the US Chess Championship. Sam has paid his dues, in full. If lack of confidence has held The Shank back until now, it is no longer a factor in the equation. Samuel L. Shankland has earned his place on the podium along with all of the great former US Chess Champions of history! Long live the Champion!

The Gurgenidze Counter-Attack

Tatev Abrahamyan – Nazi Paikidze

U.S. Womens Championship 2018 round 10

B15 Caro-Kann, Gurgenidze counter-attack

1. e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 b5 (This move is so rarely played at the top level of Chess that it cannot be found at the ChessBaseDataBase. There are, though, 192 games at What does the clanking digital monster ‘think’ of this move? When black plays 3…e6 he is down about a half of a pawn. After the game move black is down a full pawn.)

4 Bd3 (4 e5 is the move which puts white up that pawn. 4 exd5 and 4 a3 leave white up about three quarters of a pawn, while the move played in the game left Abrahamyan up about a third of a pawn.)

4…b4 5. Nce2 dxe4 6. Bxe4 Nf6 7. Bf3 (The Fish concludes in three seconds that 7 Bd3 is twice as good as the game move.) 7…e6 8. Nh3 Bd6 (For 8…Be7 see Lechtynsky v Plachetka below.)

9. Nhf4 Qc7 10. Nd3 Nbd7 11. Bf4 Bxf4 12. Nexf4 Rb8 13. O-O O-O 14. a3 a5 15. axb4 axb4 16. Qd2 Qd6 17. Qe3 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. b3 Ba6 20. Ra4 Rfc8 21. Rc1 Rb6 22. Qd2 Rcb8 23. Rca1 Bxd3 24. Nxd3 h6 25. Ra7 Re8 26. h3 Reb8 27. R1a4 Nf6 28. Nc5 e5 29. dxe5 Qxe5 30. Na6 Ne4 31. Qe3 d4 32. Qe1 Re8 33. Nxb4 Rg6 34. Ra8 Rxa8 35. Rxa8+ Kh7 36. Ra6 f6 37. Nd3 Qf5

Up to this point Tatev has outplayed Nazi. It appears Abrahamyan was in time trouble around here. All she needs to do is ask, and answer, the first question any Chess player should ask after writing down the move played by an opponent, which is, “Why did my opponent make that move?” She needs go no further because the answer to the question is that the move was played to next move the Queen to f3. Knowing that, all any player has to do is prevent the Queen moving to f3 with 38 Qe2.

38. Ra5? (Bummer…From winning to losing in the time it takes to move a piece. To paraphrase former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, “Time trouble makes cowards of us all.”)

Qf3 39. Qf1 Nd2 40. Ne1?? (40 Kh1 MUST be played. Oh well, at least she made time control…) Qd1 0-1

Jiri Lechtynsky v Jan Plachetka

CSR-ch Havirov 1970

B15 Caro-Kann, Gurgenidze counter-attack

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 b5 4. Bd3 b4 5. Nce2 dxe4 6. Bxe4 Nf6 7. Bf3 e6 8. Nh3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 a5 11. a3 Bb7 12. Nef4 Nbd7 13. Ng5 Qb6 14. Qd3 Ba6 15. c4 bxc3 16. Qxc3 Rac8 17. Bd2 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qg3 Qxb2 20. Bxa5 Qxd4 21. Rad1 Qf6 22. Rxd5 e5 23. Nxh7 Kxh7 24. Nh5 Qh6 25. Rxd7 Qxh5 26. Rxe7 Rfe8 27. R7xe5 Rxe5 28. Qxe5 Qxe5 29. Rxe5 Rc2 30. h3 f6 31. Re7 Kg6 32. Bb4 Kh6 33. Ra7 Bd3 34. Bf8 Kg6 35. Rxg7+ Kf5 36. Re7 Ra2 37. g4+ Kg5 38. Kg2 Bc4 39. Rc7 Bd5+ 1-0

Drifting Away at the 2018 US Chess Championship

Alexander Onischuk

v Sam Shankland

U.S. Championship 2018 round 10

D38 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Ragozin variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. e3 Bf5 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Nbd7 11. Be2 c5 12. O-O g5 13. Bg3 Ne4 14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Rc8 16. Rc1 Qe7 17. Bd3 Rfd8 18. Qe2 Nb6 19. Bxe4 Bxe4 20. Ne5 cxd4 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. exd4 Bf5 23. Qh5 f6 24. Ng4 Bxg4 25. Qxg4 Qd7 26. Qf3 Nd5 27. Qh5 Kg7 28. f4 Qe8 29. Qf3 Qe3+ 30. Qxe3 Nxe3 31. Rf3 Nd5 32. fxg5 hxg5 33. h4 gxh4 34. Bxh4 Kf7 35. Be1 b6 36. Bd2 Rc2 37. Rd3 Ke6 38. g4 Kd6 39. Kf1 Kc6 40. Ke1 Kb5 41. g5 fxg5 42. Bxg5 Kc4 43. Rg3 Nc3 44. d5 Nxd5 45. Kd1 Rc3 46. Rg4+ Kb3 47. Rd4 Ne3+ 48. Bxe3 Rxe3 49. Kd2 Rh3 0-1

This was a well-played game except for a single move pair when both moves were “colorful” over at the ChessBomb. After 27 moves this position was reached:

Because of the pawn structure black has a minor advantage. According to Stockfish white should now play the move 28 Re1. The second choice of 28 h4 also looks reasonable. Unfortunately, Onischuk produced a RED MOVE with the awful 28 f4?

This is a losing move. All Sam needs to do is take the pawn with the knight and it’s “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” There is really nothing else to consider…Unfortunately, Shankland did consider an alternative, producing another RED MOVE, with 28…Qe8?

After seeing his move I had to go back to the board containing pieces and look at 28…Nxf4 again and again. During the tournament I have awaited going to the ChessBomb for Stockfish analysis until after the game has ended. Inquiring minds want to know, so I “just had” to learn if there was something I was missing. There was not…The Fish gives 28… Nxf4 29. Qd1 Qxd4+ 30. Qxd4 Ne2+ 31. Kf2 Nxd4, along with more moves you can find if you check out the game at Da Bomb. This is another example of Shankland “drifting away,” like Dobie Gray. Fortunately for Sam, Al’s move was so bad Sam still retained an advantage with which he ground Onischuk down.

I have absolutely no idea why we Chess fans have seen such a proliferation of back-to-back blunders recently. Any readers have any ideas?

Smokin’ Gun

Plea Deal For Woman With Gun In Body Cavity

Cops: Loaded weapon was found during strip search at Illinois jail

APRIL 27–A Missouri woman who had a loaded handgun hidden in her vagina at the time of her arrest last year today pleaded guilty to weapons possession and narcotics charges.

During an appearance in Circuit Court in McLean County, Illinois, Anika Witt,

27, copped to a pair of felony charges as part of a plea agreement that requires her to testify at trial against an acquaintance with whom she was arrested last September.

This caused me to recall an Atlanta Chess player, Curtis ‘Smokin’ Gun’ Gillespie. During a game, ultimately lost to Curtis, I missed a sharp tactic which turned the game in his favor. I noticed Curtis was extremely nervous, and agitated, before making my move ignoring his threat, but then, with a cognomen like that, you can imagine he was habitually nervous, and agitated…I surfed on over to the MSA webpage at USCF and was saddened to learn Curtis is listed as “Deceased.” May he rest in the peace he was unable to find in this realm… This song is dedicated this song to Smokin’ Gun Gillespie.

Backing Down at the US Chess Championship

Fabiano Caruana

v Hikaru Nakamura

Before the tournament began one could look forward to this game having a great deal in determining the 2018 US Chess Champion. In reality, Nakamura became an also-ran, while all Chess fans are wondering why Caruana decided to play in the Championship, especially after playing, and winning, the Grenke Chess Classic almost immediately after winning the Candidates tournament when the only thing that matters is the coming battle for the World Human Chess Championship. If Fabiano does not best Magnus Carlsen the pundits will have a field day questioning whether Caruana burned himself out playing so much Chess before the title match.

U.S. Championship 2018 round 09

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Nbd2 a6 8. Bxc6 dxc6 9. Nc4 Bd6 10. Bg5 b5 11. Ne3 Qe7 12. Nh4 Qe6 13. Nhf5 Bf8 14. f4 Nd7

15. Ng3? This is a terrible move! Caruana backs down, refraining from playing the expected 15 fxe5. In the language of the clanking digital monsters the limpid retreat by Fabi gives his opponent an advantage of about a quarter of a pawn. Taking the pawn would leave Fabi with an advantage of about half a pawn. If Caruana plays weak moves like this against the World Champion he will lose the match.

15…f6 16. f5 Qf7 17. Bh4 Bb7 18. Qe2 Rad8

19. Nh1 (This move reminded me of the same move played by Aron Nimzowitsch, first seen in the book Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal

by GM Raymond Keene,

the plagiarist. ( It is ironic that a man who resorted to stealing the work of others for his books could have produced one of the best Chess books ever written. There are better moves, all being with the king rook. Stockfish shows 19 Rfd1 best)

19…Nc5 20. Rfd1 Rd6 21. Nf2 Red8 22. Rd2 a5 23. g4 g5 24. Bg3 Ba6 25. Rad1 b4 26. c4 b3 27. a3 R6d7

28. Qe1? (Another weak, dilly-dally move from Caruana. 28 h4 is the best move, and one does not need a program to know this. Caruana’s limpid move hands the advantage to his opponent. According to digital speak, in lieu of being up by half a pawn, the move played puts Fabi DOWN by a quarter of a pawn.)

28…Nb7 29. Nh1 Nimzowitsch would be proud, but this is not one of his better choices. The Fish has 29 Kg2 or Qe2 as better. When in doubt, play Qe2!) 29…Nc5 30. Qe2 (Now this is the best move according to SF)

30…Rd4 (In this position black has a choice between four moves, 29…h6; Nb7; and a4, in addition to the move played, each keeping the game even, Steven.)

31. Be1 R8d6 (Expecting the obvious 31…Qd7, tripling on the d-file, I was shocked to see this move. The Fish proclaims Qd7 best. IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying “Chess is a simple game.” My reply was, “Maybe to you, Hulk…” It seems the modern day players intentionally eschew playing the “obviously best” moves for some reason I cannot fathom…How often does one get the opportunity to triple the heavy pieces in any game? Look at the position after moving the Queen to d7. Every piece sans the dark squared bishop is putting pressure on the backward white d-pawn. How long would you be able to withstand that kind of pressure?)

32. Nf2 Qd7 (Naka plays the move, but now SF does not consider it best. The clanking digital monster would now play the rook BACK to d8! Like Capablanca, the program has no problem admitting a move a mistake, and correcting said mistake.)

33. Kg2 Qd8 34. h3 Rd7 35. Nf1 Na4 36. Nh2 Bc5 37. Nf3 R4d6

38 Rc1 (Now SF would play, you guessed it, Nh1!) Bxf2 39. Qxf2

39…c5 (The Fish shows the path to victory with 39… Rxd3 40. Rxd3 Rxd3. Naka does not pull the trigger.)

40. Qe2 Rxd3 41. Rxd3 Rxd3 42. Bxa5 Bb7 43. Kf2 Qd7 44. Re1 Rd6

45. Rc1? (Yet another weak, vacillating move. White is lost. The move previously rejected by Fabiano, h4, is best) 45…Qc6 46. Re1 (Fabi returns the rook to its former square)

46…Rd8? (I will admit to having trouble finding a move in this position. I finally decided to move my king to g7. WRONG! I kept looking at taking the pawn on e4 with the queen, but it looks like the bishop will be lost. There is a reason Stockfish is the best Chess playing thing on the planet, and that reason is this variation: 46… Qxe4 47. Qxe4 Bxe4 48. Bxc7 Rd7 49. Rxe4 Nxb2 50. Nxe5 Rxc7 51. Nf3 Nd3+ 52. Ke2 Ne5 53. Nd2 b2 54. Nb1 Rd7 55. a4 Ra7 56. Kd2 Rxa4 57. Kc3 Rb4 58. Re2 Rxc4+ 59. Kxb2 Rb4+ 60. Kc2. Looks like a game produced by Mikhail Tal, does it not? Like me, the top players cannot calculate as well as the clanking digital monsters. It often seems that the top players no longer believe in their intuition, as did the players of the last, and previous, centuries. Because of the rise of the computer programs human players are trying to be calculating machines when what they should be doing is relying on their judgement, and intuition. I will admit going into the unknown can be a scary prospect, but the best human players have done it previously. Maybe the top players would be better off chunking the programs in the garbage and thinking for themselves…)

47. h4 (Finally, the move is played. Still, 47 Kg3 first was better…)

47…h6? (Naka has a chance to again play the winning move, but backs down, again, with this move, content to settle for a draw. SF shows, (47… Qxe4 48. Qxe4 Bxe4 49. Bxc7 Rd7 50. Rxe4 Nxb2 51. Nxe5 Nd1+ 52. Ke1 fxe5 53. Bxe5 gxh4 54. Re2 Rd3 55. Rh2 Nc3 56. Bxc3 Rxc3 57. Rb2 Kg7 58. g5 h3 59. Kd1 Rg3 60. a4 Rg1+ 61. Ke2)

48. hxg5 hxg5 49. Kg3 Rd7 50. Qh2 Rh7 51. Qd2 Rd7 52. Qh2 Rh7 53. Qd2 ½-½

Is Nakamura Over The Hill?

This was the most “colorful” game of the seventh round. “Colorful” because half of the first the first fourteen moves shown at ChessBomb were “colorful,” which is NOT a good thing, at least for the players involved playing the game. “Colorful” moves will be shown in bold.

Zviad Izoria (2599)

v Hikaru Nakamura (2787)

1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2! (Look no further to ascertain the seeds of defeat. Seriously, all programs show this as the best move in the posiion) 5…O-O 6. O-O Nc6 (Although 6…Bg4 has been the most often played move, Komodo and Stockfish play 6…c6) 7. e5

Ng4? (The Fish and the Dragon both show 7…Nh5 as the best move, with 7…Ne8 as a strong second. 7…Nd7 and 7…dxe5 are lesser moves. Nakamura’s poor move does not rate and is not even shown at the ChessBase DataBase! Only one game with 7…Nh5 is shown at Nh5 8. h3 dxe5 9. dxe5 Nd4 10. Nxd4 Qxd4 11. e6 Bxe6 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Qxe6+ Rf7 1/2-1/2, Theodor Ghitescu v Dragoljub Minic, Reggio Emilia 1968, B06 Robatsch (modern) defence. When Minic played the move favored by the clancking digital monsters I had only “played” and I use the word loosely, a few games of Chess, and it would be another couple of years before playing in my first USCF rated tournament, which, as it turned out, was not rated because the organizer absconded with the funds!)

8. h3 Nh6 (For 8…d5 see Pioch v Drozd below)

9. Nc3? (For 9 a4 see Wilger v Graelken below. The Fish shows 9 Rd1 as the best move, followed by, in order, 9 Re1; c3; and Nbd2. The move is more than a little questionable because the knight does not belong on c3).

9…Kh8? What kind of “Dilly Dally” move is this? What has happened to Naka? In this tournament he is producing all kinda dreadful moves. It is almost as if one is watching a player age before our eyes…9…Nf5 was what I was expecting, and it turns out to be the best move. Naka’s move does not even rate. SF shows that if 9…Nf5 had been played white would have a small advantage of about a quarter of a pawn. Naka’s ill chose move puts him down a pawn and a quarter.)

10. Rd1 a6 11. a3 b5 12. Bd5 Bb7

13. Bf4? (After a series of reasonable moves white shows atavism. 13 Qe4, or first 13 Bxh6 Bxh6 followed by Qe4 is much better)

13…Qc8? (13…e6 is best) 14. Be4? (14 Qe4!) 14…Rb8? (14…f6 or dxe5)

I can take it no longer…the damage has been done. Frankly, the opening of this game reminds me of some of the games played by triple-digit neophytes in grammar school I had to go over when teaching Chess. Some of those younger players could have produced better moves than the Grandmasters in this opening…

There followed:

15. Re1 dxe5 16. dxe5 Nd8 17. Rad1 Ne6 18. Bc1 Ng8 19. Bxb7 Rxb7 20. Qe4 c5 21. Nd5 c4 22. Ng5 Nxg5 23. Bxg5 Qf5 24. Nc3 Rfb8 25. Bc1 a5 26. g4 Qc8 27. Qf3 e6 28. Bf4 Ne7 29. Ne4 Rc7 30. Bg3 Qf8 31. Nf6 Rbc8 32. Rd6 g5 33. Nd7 Qe8 34. Nf6 Qf8 35.
Red1 h6 36. Nd7 Qe8 37. Nf6 Bxf6 38. exf6 Ng6 39. Qe4 c3 40. b3 a4 41. bxa4 bxa4 42. Ra6 e5 43. Qxa4 Qxa4 44. Rxa4 Rc6 45. Ra5 Re8 46. Rdd5 Rxf6 47. Rxe5 Nxe5 48. Bxe5 Rxe5 49. Rxe5 Ra6 50. Rc5 Rxa3 51. Kf1 Kg7 52. Ke2 Kf6 53. Kd3 Ra6 54. Rxc3 Ke6 55. Ke4 Ra4+ 56. Ke3 f6

57. f3? (And there goes the advantage. 57 Kd3; Ke2; Kd2; and even Rc6+ are much better options. Naka is back in the game, then he plays a Trump-like, LOSER move)

57 Ra1? (Pitiful…even I saw 57…h5…) 58. f4 gxf4+ 59. Kxf4 Ra4+ 60. Kg3 Kf7 61. Rc5 Ra3+ 62. c3 Ra1 63. Kf4 Rh1 64. Kg3 Rg1+ 65. Kf2 Rh1 66. Kg2 Rc1 67. h4 Ke6 68. h5 Kd6 69. Rf5 Ke6 70. Rf3 Ke5 71. Kf2 Rc2+ 72. Kg3 Ke6 73. Kf4 Kf7 74. Ke4 Rd2 75. c4 Ke6 76. Rc3 Rg2 77. Kf3 Rg1 78. c5 Kd7 79. c6+ Kc7 80. Kf4 Rf1+ 81. Ke4 Rf2 82. Rf3 Re2+ 83. Kf5 Re5+ 84. Kxf6 Rg5 85. Kf7 Rxg4 86. Rf6 Rg5 87. Rxh6 Rc5 88. Rh8 Rxc6 89. Kg7 Rc1 90. h6 Rg1+ 91. Kh7 Kd7 92. Rg8 Re1 1-0

There is some really bad Chess being played at the US Chess Championship this year. What do Chess fans think? Excerpts from the chat box at the Chess Bomb follow:

Sasori: can naka finally win a game?
Horse: seems he lacks the interest

jphamlore: Just win a game, Nakamura.

azertyloulou: still no win for 2787 elo nakamura. he should study real chess and quit playing bullet chess online

jphamlore: Nakamura’s problem isn’t that he plays bullet imo. It’s that he has never had a solid opening repertoire he can hang his hat on when has to draw.
jphamlore: He’s lost 3 straight times in World Cup for example as Black to the first player from the former Soviet Union who has any game.
Execute: Naka only has that 2100 guy as assistant….
jphamlore: @Execute: Yes I am totally baffled by that. It’s just ridiculous.
jphamlore: I’m not sure there is a single player over 2400 Nakamura can bounce ideas off of.
Execute: I think he earns enough to afford a better second
Execute: He wins his games largely on talent, but it won’t be enough.
sakredkow: Trust Naka.

Archimedes: naka so boring this tournament
Archimedes: not doing a damn thing
Archimedes: is naka over the hill at this point?
TurnovdeCompeval: reddish shades of grey this game
TurnovdeCompeval: sf interpretation of naka provoking for mistakes
ChessExpress1: needs more red bull
ChipPan: he’s already full of bull
ChessExpress1: true
Execute: Izoria’s time is ticking away….might blunder
Execute: We are still at move 12
attm: Izoria could win all big 3 in this tournament?
Execute: By trying not to get provoked, White may end up being worse. Psychology…
congrandolor: oh, so much red is hurting my eyes
ChipPan: Amazing. no pawns exchanged and the engine assessment is 1.5. Obviously not home preparation.
Wizboy: i think we said goodbye to prep with Ng4
attm: Naka sucks…

IronLion: naka plays like he is already in retirement

patzerforlife: Naka in decline since reaching the big three oh.

physica: he looks very angry
shtighnits: Angry about himself?
physica: and no handshake
shtighnits: Rude.
physica: naka the drama queen

koutsalogo: really? flagged in dead lost position and no handshake?!?

koutsalogo: what an ugly way to end such an embarrassing game

jdm: Replayed the video. Naka did shake hands. The shake was just blocked by the arbiter, but you

azertyloulou: nakamura IS A JOKE in this tournament as i said earlier. i was right guys
cardio: Naka shaked shoulders
Sasori: Hahahahahahahahahaha
osvaldo: At least a decisive game by Nakamura in this tournament

Zygmunt Pioch v Ryszard Drozd
POL-ch 31th 1974
B06 Robatsch (modern) defence

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. e5 Ng4 8. h3 d5 9. Bb3 Nh6 10. c3 Na5 11. Bd1 b6 12. Bf4 Kh8 13. Re1 Ng8 14. Nbd2 c5 15. Rc1 Bd7 16. Bc2 Qc8 17. g4 Nc6 18. Nf1 cxd4 19. cxd4 Qb7 20. Qd2 Na5 21. b3 Rac8 22. Ng3 Nc6 23. Bd3 a5 24. a3 Na7 25. Qe2 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 Rc8 27. Ng5 Nh6 28. Re1 Rc3 29. e6 fxe6 30. Qd2 Qc8 31. b4 a4 32. Bb1 Nb5 33. Be5 Bxe5 34. Rxe5 Kg7 35. Nxh7 Rc1+ 36. Kg2 Rxb1 37. Nh5+ Kxh7 38. Qd3 Qc1 39. Nf4 Qh1+ 40. Kg3 Rb3 0-1

Frank Wilger (2071) v Matthias Graelken (2179)
Muensterland Verbandsklasse-B 0304
Germany 03/06/2004
ECO: A40 Modern defence

1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. e5 Ng4 8. h3 Nh6 9. a4 Nf5 10. c3 d5 11. Ba2 Kh8 12. Qb5 e6 13. Bg5 f6 14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Bxf6+ Qxf6 16. Nbd2 Nd6 17. Qd3 Bd7 18. b4 Nf7 19. Rae1 Rae8 20. b5 Ne7 21. c4 g5 22. Nb3 Bc8 23. Bb1 Qg7 24. Ne5 dxc4 25. Qxc4 Nd5 26. Nc5 Nxe5 27. Rxe5 Nf4 28. Nd3 Nd5 29. Qc1 Rg8 30. g3 Ref8 31. Qd1 Qf7 32. Qg4 h5 33. Qe2 b6 34. Rc1 Rg7 35. Rc6 Bd7 36. Rc1 Bc8 37. Ba2 Rd8 38. Rc6 Kg8 39. Qd2 g4 40. h4 Qg6 41. Bxd5 Rxd5 42. Rxd5 Bb7 43. Rg5 1-0

Pusillanimous Play at the US Chess Championship

Varuzhan Akobian

v Samuel L Shankland

U.S. Championship 2018 round 06

E20 Nimzo-Indian defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 dxc4 7. Qxc4 b6 8. Nf3 Ba6 9. Qa4+ Qd7 10. Qc2 h6 11. g3 Bb7 12. Bg2 Be4 13. Qd1 Nc6 14. O-O Rd8 15. Be3 O-O 16. Rc1 Qd5 17. Qa4 Ng4 18. Rc3 Nxe3 19. fxe3

Qd6? (This is, at best, a vacillating move. What is the purpose of the move? An early mentor called a move like this a, “Dilly-Dally” move. If Shankland is to become one of the elite Chess players on the planet he needs to do some serious soul-searching in order to learn why he would make such a poor move. I would have played 19…b5, a FORCING move. Stockfish at Da Bomb rates it equal with 19…e5, which is the move usualy striven for in these types of positions)

20. Nh4 (I dunno what it is about double-blunders but it seems we Chess fans have seen a proliferation of them in recent years. Or maybe it’s the “red move” syndrome…This move is UNBELIEVABLE! Imagine GM Akobian, or me, sitting at a table in front of this position a student had prodced. He would look at the position, explain that white needs only to move the rook to complete development, and what better way to do so than make a FORCING move! Unfortunately, Var was at the board with the clock ticking…One does not need a clanking digital monster to see a move like Rfc1…But in case you do, this is the variation given by Stockfish to support playing…20. Rfc1 Ne7 21. Rxc7 a5 22. Ne5 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 f6 24. Nf3 Nd5 25. R1c6 Nxc7 26. Rxd6 Rxd6 27. e4 Rc8 28. Qb3 b5 29. Qc3 Ra6 30. e5 f5 31. Qc5 Raa8 32. Qe7 b4 33. axb4 axb4)

20…Bxg2 21. Nxg2 Ne7 22. Qxa7 Nd5 23. Rc2 Ra8 (Again he backs down from playing e5) 24. Qb7 c5 25. dxc5 bxc5

26. Qb5 (When action is required Akobian’s play becomes pusillanimous. 26 Rxf7 Rxf7 27 Qxa8+ was mandatory. Imagine GM Akobian, or me, sitting at a table in front of this position with a student…)

26…Rfb8 27. Qd3 Qe5 28. Rxc5 Qxb2 29. Rfc1 Rd8

30. Qe4? (Akobian lets go of the rope with the other hand…30. R5c2 Qb7 looks natural, does it not?)

Qxe2 31. R5c2 Qb5 32. Nf4 Nf6 33. Qb4 Qe5 34. Qc5 Qxc5 35. Rxc5 g5 36. Ne2 Rxa3 37. Rc8 Rxc8 38. Rxc8+ Kg7 39. Rc3 Ra1+ 40. Kg2 Ra2 41. Kf1 Ne4 42. Rd3 g4 43. Rd4 f5 44. Rd3 Kf6 45. Rd8 Ng5 46. Rh8 Ra1+ 47. Kg2 Nh3 48. Rb8 Re1 49. Rb2 Ke5 50. Ra2 Ke4 51. Ra4+ Kxe3 52. Ra3+ Ke4 53. Ra2 Ke5 54. Rb2 Kf6 55. Ra2 e5 56. Ra6+ Kg5 57. Ra2 Kh5 58. Rb2 f4 59. gxf4 Rxe2+ 0-1

Wesley So

v Zviad Izoria

Caruana losing to Izoria

U.S. Championship 2018 round 06

D02 Queen’s pawn game

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. c4 a6 4. Nbd2 Nf6 5. g3 c5 6. Bg2 Nc6 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd5 Qxd5 9. Nb3 d3 10. e4 Qb5 11. Nbd4 Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Qd7 13. Be3 Bc5? (13… e5 14. Nf3 Ng4 15. Bd2 Bc5 16. h3 Nxf2 17. Rxf2 O-O 18. Qe1 Bxf2+ 19. Qxf2 f6, SF)

14. Nf5? (Wesley cannot pull the trigger. When the going gets tough, So becomes pusillanimous…Mikhail Tal may have paused a few moments to stare at his opponent before playing 14 Nxe6! Stockfish gives: 14. Nxe6! Bxe3 15. Nxg7+ Kf8 16. e5 Bg5 17. exf6 Qd4 18. h4 Bxf6 19. Nh5 Bg4 20. Qd2 Bxh5 21. Qh6+ Bg7 22. Qxh5 Rd8 23. Bxb7 d2 24. Rfd1 Rd6 25. Qf3 Qxb2 26. Rab1 Qf6 27. Qg4 h5 28. Qc8+ Qd8)

14… exf5 15. Bxc5 Nxe4 16. Re1 Qd5 17. Qa4+ b5 18. Bxe4 fxe4 19. Qxe4+ Qxe4 20. Rxe4+ Be6 21. Rd4 Rd8 22. Bd6 f6 23. Rxd3 Kf7 24. Rd2 Rd7 25. Bb4 Rxd2 26. Bxd2 Rd8 27. Bc3 Bg4 28. Re1 Rd1 29. Rxd1 Bxd1 30. f4 Ke6 ½-½

Is Nakamura the New Giri?

Hikaru Nakamura

v Jeffery Xiong

U.S. Championship 2018 round 06

C25 Vienna game

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bc5 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 10. d3 h6 11. Rb1 Bb6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Be6 14. c4 e4 15. Nd2 exd3 16. c5 Ba5 17. Rxb7 Nb4 18. cxd3 Bd5 19. Rxb4 Bxg2 20. Rf4 Qc6 21. Qa4 Bxd2 22. Bxd2 Rfe8 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Qxc6 Bxc6 25. Kf1 Rb8 26. Rb4 Rxb4 27. Bxb4 Bd7 28. h4 f6 29. d4 Be6 30. a3 g5 31. Ke1 ½-½

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 (The Vienna, a discredited opening I have often played which dates to the early days of Chess. Nothing like seeing Naka play an interesting opening to whet ones appetite for the coming round! Jacques Mieses

played 2 Nc3 122 times; Wilhelm Steinitz, 64.

Jana Krivec

played it on 70 occasions around the turn of this century)

2…Nf6 (After this move Steinitz drops out, replaced by Alexander Alekhine, who sat behind the white pieces 40 times)

3. g3 (Now we see Jana Krivec leading with 35 games, followed by Rauf Mamedov (27), and Peter Rahls with 26 games)

3…d5 (Now Alexander Finkel leads having faced 3…d5 18 times. Peter Rahls is second with 15; Jana shows 14)

4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 (The standard position. Finkel and Rahls hold first and second, but our girlfriend, Heather Richards, has had this position ten times, which means more Heather games to replay!)

6…Bc5 (6…Bd6 has been the most often played move, but the Stockfish at ChessBomb and the CBDB show the game move best, but there is a caveat…the Stockfish program that shows the game move best is Stockfish 8 at a depth of 36. The CBDB shows that when Stockfish 9 goes one depth further it switches to 6…Nc6, the move Houdini prefers)

7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 (SF likes 9…Bb6) 10. d3 h6 (The Fish likes 10…Bb6) 11. Rb1 (There is total agreement that 11 Be3 is the best move)

11…Bb6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Be6 (Theoretical Novelty! The gloves are off and we are fighting in the street! See games below for 13…Bh5.
It appears someone has done his homework as all the clanking digital monsters proclaim Be6 the best move in the position)

The hoi polloi in the ‘chat’ room at ChessBomb thought little of Hikaru’s choice of opening:

patzerforlife: another Nakamura draw
congrandolor: what happens with this guy? his chess used to be thrilling
congrandolor: now almost as boring as So´s
faustus: Go Jeffery!
Wizboy: nakamura is the new giri
Jeh: Yeah, this position is totally innocuous….

14. c4 e4 15. Nd2 exd3 16. c5 Ba5 17. Rxb7 Nb4 (Stockfish at Da Bomb gives this line: 17… Nb4 18. cxd3 Nxd3 19. Ne4 Qg6 20. Qxd3 Bxe1 21. Rxc7 Rad8 22. Qe2 Bb4 23. Rxa7 Bxh3 24. Nd6 Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Bxc5 26. Bxc5 Rxd6 27. Bxd6 Qxd6 28. Qc4 Qd2 29. Rb7 Qa5 30. Rb2 Qf5)

18. cxd3

18…Bd5? (An awful, game losing type move, gifting white a large advantage. 18… Nxd3 19. Re2 looks normal)

19. Rxb4? (Nakamura returns the favor. What is causing the proliferation of back to back blunders in recent years? Stockfish gives this line: 19. Nb3 Bxb7 20. Bxb7 Nc6 21. Bxc6 Bxe1 22. Bxa8 Bxf2+ 23. Bxf2 Rxa8 24. g4 Qb2 25. Qd2 Qxd2 26. Nxd2 Rb8 27. Nb3 Rb4 28. Bg3 Ra4 29. Bxc7 Rxa2 30. d4 Ra3 31. Na5 Rxh3 32. Kf2 Rc3 33. Nc6 Rd3 34. Ne7+ Kf8 35. Bd6)

The nattering nabobs ‘chatting’ had a field day with Naka’s last move:

CheshireDad: Nb3 seems a very tough move to find otb
Wizboy: Nb3 protects the pawn, attacks 2 pieces – any 2000 player would see this
Wizboy: i mean, idea is, Nb3 attacks a B which is trapped and has nowhere to go, and after Bxb7 Bxb7 white is still attacking that B and the black R. If R runs to safety Nxa5 and white wins 2 pieces for R. Nc6 Bc6 Be1 Ba8 Bf2 Bf2
Wizboy: okay, maybe too long. 2100-2200. Still Naka should be able to see this
attm: any 2100-2200 here?
kramnikaze: Nb3 doesn’t attack 2 pieces. it defends the white bishop after: 19. Nb3 Bxb7 20. Bxb7 Rb8 21. Nxa5
congrandolor: BBBBLUNNDERR
kramnikaze: Iguess Naka isn’t 2100-2200 ….
congrandolor: hehe
congrandolor: maybe he is drunk
congrandolor: or high
kramnikaze: or both 😉
patzerforlife: In 10 years Naka will be walking the streets begging for spare change

ChessHulk: too much poker 🙂
Bonifratz: Nakamura is very underwhelming so far in this event
Wizboy: honestly that line was not so hard to see

Bxg2 20. Rf4 Qc6 21. Qa4 Bxd2 22. Bxd2 Rfe8 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Qxc6 Bxc6 25. Kf1 Rb8 26. Rb4 Rxb4 27. Bxb4 Bd7 28. h4 f6 29. d4 Be6 30. a3 g5 31. Ke1 ½-½

cycledan: white is a clear pawn up, I am sure eval doesn’t see through to end where it may be winning
gracz: Nakamura = Giri 🙂
kirxan: looks drawn to me
kirxan: and no, I don’t get the reason for not playing 19.Nb3


Vjekoslav Biliskov (2332) v Davorin Kuljasevic (2561)

19th Zadar Open A CRO 12/16/2012

C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Nc6 7. Nf3 Bc5 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 10. d3 h6 11. Rb1 Bb6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. g4 Bg6 15. Nd2 Rad8 16. Qe2 (16 Ne4 Qe7 17 c4 1/2-1/2, Gil Ravelo (2331) v A. Bezanilla (2300), Havana 1999)
Rfe8 17. Ne4 Qe7 18. a4 Rb8 19. Rb3 Bxe3 20. Qxe3 b6 21. Ng3 Qd7 22. Rbb1 Re6 23. f4 exf4 24. Qxf4 Rbe8 25. Ne4 Ne7 26. Qf2 Nd5 27. Qd2 Bxe4 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. dxe4 Nf6 30. Qxd7 Nxd7 31. a5 Ne5 32. axb6 cxb6 33. Kf2 Rc8 34. Rb3 f6 35. Bf1 Kf7 36. Ba6 Rc7 37. Ke3 Ke6 38. Ra3 g5 39. Bb5 Ng6 40. Kd4 Nf4 41. c4 Kd6 42. Rf3 Rc8 43. h4 Ke6 44. hxg5 hxg5 45. Ra3 a5 46. Ra1 Rd8+ 47. Ke3 Rh8 48. c5 bxc5 49. Rxa5 Rh3+ 50. Kd2 Ke5 51. Bd7 Kd4 52. Ra4+ c4 53. Bb5 Rh2+ 54. Kc1 Kxe4 55. Rxc4+ Kf3 56. Bd7 Ne2+ 57. Kb2 Rh7 58. Bc6+ Kg3 59. Be4 Re7 60. Bf5 Rb7+ 61. Ka3 Rb6 62. Re4 Kf3 63. Ra4 Ke3 64. Re4+ Kf3 1/2-1/2

Vjekoslav Biliskov (2353) v Nikola Nestorovic (2440)

20th Zadar Open A 2013

C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Nc6 7. Nf3 Bc5 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 10. d3 Bb6 11. Rb1 h6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. g4 Bg6 15. Nd2 Rad8 16. Nc4 e4 17. d4 Qe6 18. Qe2 f5 19. gxf5 Bxf5 20. Kh2 Ne7 21. Bd2 Nd5 22. a4 a5 23. Rb5 Qc8 24. Nxb6 Nxb6 25. Rxa5 c6 26. Re5 Nd7 27. Rxf5 Rxf5 28. Bxe4 Rf6 29. c4 Qc7+ 30. Kg2 Rdf8 31. f3 Nb6 32. Rb1 Nc8 33. Be1 Nd6 34. Bg3 Qf7 35. Bxd6 Rxd6 36. d5 Kh8 37. Qe3 Re8 38. Qd3 cxd5 39. cxd5 b6 40. Qd4 Qf4 41. Rxb6 Qg5+ 42. Kf2 Rxb6 43. Qxb6 Qd2+ 44. Kf1 Qd1+ 45. Kg2 Qd2+ 46. Kf1 Qd1+ 47. Kg2 Qd2+ 48. Kf1 Qd1+ 49. Kg2 1/2-1/2

We Don’t Need No Education

We Don’t Need No Education

By Paul Krugman

April 23, 2018

Matt Bevin, the conservative Republican governor of Kentucky, lost it a few days ago. Thousands of his state’s teachers had walked off their jobs, forcing many schools to close for a day, to protest his opposition to increased education funding. And Bevin lashed out with a bizarre accusation: “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”

He later apologized. But his hysterical outburst had deep roots: At the state and local levels, the conservative obsession with tax cuts has forced the G.O.P. into what amounts to a war on education, and in particular a war on schoolteachers. That war is the reason we’ve been seeing teacher strikes in multiple states. And people like Bevin are having a hard time coming to grips with the reality they’ve created.

Seeing From A Different Perspective

While watching the games of the USCC yesterday at TWIC sans ‘engine’ analysis the following position captured my attention enough to cause me to break out the Chess set so as to be able to see the board from the perspective of the player of the black pieces, since it is black to move:

Black to move

Looking at the board from behind the white pieces makes it more difficult for me to “see” from the black player’s perspective, which is what one must do when attempting to visualize what possible move one’s opponent may produce. While looking at the board on the ‘puter at TWIC I was having trouble determining what move to make. The rule of “improving the position of your worst placed piece” was not helping in my deliberations…

Almost immediately after setting the position on the board a move came to me…As I sat there lost in thought an idea came to me. It did so because I have played the Leningrad Dutch. “What if the pawn were on f5?” I questioned. With black to move WITH the pawn already on f5 black could play the strong Qe4! Since it would be white to move if the pawn were moved to f5 the move 21 d6 looks good for white. But what if black still played 21..Qe4? After 22 Qxe4 fxe4 what does white play? I turned the board around so as to see the position from the perspective of the white player. I wondered if white could play 23 Be3? If black took the pawn with 23…Rxd6, white could play 24 Bxc5, threatening the rook, which must move. Since the a-pawn is under attack, black could possibly play Rd7 to protect the pawn. What then?

Curiosity got the better of me and I surfed on over to the ChessBomb for analysis. Eureka! Stockfish showed I was on the right path, as it has 20…f5 the best move. Little things like this make me happy…The Fish gives this line:

(20… f5 21. d6 Qe4 22. Qxe4 fxe4 23. h4 Kf7 24. Re1 Bxc3 25. Rxe4 Rd7 26. Rxc4 Bd4 27. Kf1 Ke6 28. Ke2 Kd5 29. Rc1 c4 30. Rd1 Kc5 31. g3 Rd8 32. f3 h5 33. g4 c3)

Akobian, Varuzhan – Xiong, Jeffery

U.S. Championship 2018 round 04

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Rc1 c5 7. dxc5 Be6 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. Be2 Ne4 10. Nd4 Nxd4 11. exd4 Nxc3 12. bxc3 dxc4 13. Bf3 Bd5 14. O-O Qd7 15. Re1 b6 16. Rxe7 Qxe7 17. Bxd5 bxc5 18. Bxa8 Rxa8 19. d5 Rd8 20. Qf3 (In this position Xiong played 20…h6, and after 21 h3 Jeffery then played 21 f5. The game continued: 22. d6 Qe6 23. h4 g5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Bxg5 Rxd6 26. Qa8+ Kh7 27. Qxa7 Rd3 28. Qxc5 Rxc3 29. Rxc3 Bxc3 30. Be3 Qe4 31. a4 Be5 32. g3 Kg6 33. Qb6+ Kf7 34. Qa7+ Ke6 35. Qb6+ Kf7 36. a5 f4 37. gxf4 Bxf4 38. a6 Bxe3 39. fxe3 c3 40. Qc7+ Ke6 41. Qc8+ Ke7 42. Qxc3 Qg6+ 43. Kf2 Qxa6 44. Qe5+ Kf7 45. Kg3 Qg6+ 46. Kf3 Qc6+ 47. e4 Qf6+ 48. Qxf6+ Kxf6 ½-½