ECF Book of the Year 2018 shortlist

One of the books reviewed on this blog, Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution
by Sergei Tkachenko, Elk and Ruby Publishing House, has made it to the English Chess Federation shortlist. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/alekhines-odessa-secrets-chess-war-and-revolution-a-review/)

I have a vague memory of someone, possibly David Spinks, saying something about what counted was not how many times an actor won the award, but how many times he or she were nominated. I feel the same about books.

This brought to mind an email received concerning the book from former California Chess Champion Dennis Fritzinger:

Dennis Fritzinger
To:Michael Bacon
Feb 24 at 3:28 PM

Hi Michael,

You definitely read widely! I would never have heard of this book I’m sure but for your review. Somehow I thought my eyes were going to glaze over reading about such past happenings but they didn’t. I was swept along to the very end. The book reminded me of a certain author, Ian Fleming. It certainly gives him a run for his money!

Dennis

Book of the Year 2018 shortlist

Posted By: WebAdmin 28th August 2018

The large number of varied and interesting books this year made the selection particularly difficult, but the choice came down to books by two new chess publishers and two excellent instruction manuals (beautifully printed by Quality Chess) which the judges had great difficulty in separating, so included both!

Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution
Sergei Tkachenko, Elk and Ruby Publishing House, paperback, pp213, £19.99
The cover alone indicates this is not a conventional chess book. It vividly covers the chess community in Odessa, how it and they coped with the rapidly changing governments 1916 to1919. Alekhine was a frequent visitor to Odessa. When the Bolsheviks captured the town in 1919, they shot an estimated 1,200 “traitors”. Alekhine was arrested, imprisoned and was on the list to be executed. Why he was released remains a mystery. Amongst the narrative drama are the chess games he played in Odessa which show his outstanding chess imagination.

Carlsen vs Kajarkin World Chess Championship 2016
Lev Alburt and Jon Crumiller, Chess Information and Research Centre, paperback, pp336, £22.50
World championship matches are the summit of the chess world. Whilst there is extensive short-term media coverage during the match, there are surprisingly few books published after the event giving a considered view. This book is one, with the usual photos, atmospheric background and computer analysis all well done. What lifts the book to an exceptional level is ‘Vlad’s Viewpoint’ which occurs throughout the book. The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik is able, from his unique experience, to give a wider and deeper insight into the play and players. Essential reading for Caruana!

Small Steps to Giant Improvement

Sam Shankland, Quality Chess, hardback, pp 331, £23.99
Shankland had a setback in his chess playing activities so had some free time. He decided to study and write about pawn play which he identified as one of his weaknesses. Written in a refreshing and open style he gives pointed examples of various issues eg advanced pawns can be strong, but they can also be weak. There is much to learn in this book as Shankland himself showed: he won his next three tournaments including the USA championship and raised his grading over 2700!

Under the Surface
Jan Markos, Quality Chess, hardback, pp276, £23.99
Markos has not written a standard text book, rather an exploration of the other factors that affect chess play. A sample of the chapter headings give an impression of his unusual approach – ‘Anatoly’s billiard balls’, ‘What Rybka couldn’t tell’, ‘Understanding the Beast’ and so on. Markos writes in an original way bringing in applicable concepts from the none chess world. There are four fascinating chapters on computer chess. All in all players of every level will find something original or instructive in this book.

— Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand, Sean Marsh – 20th August 2018

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/book-of-the-year-2018-shortlist/

Stinking It Up At The Sinquefield Cup

The trio of announcers at the Sinquefield Cup were effusive during every round, especially during the final round. They did the best they could to put lipstick on a pig

but in the final analysis it was still a stinking pig. The gang mentioned the high percentage of draws and GM Yasser Seirawan said something like, “We haven’t noticed because of the quality of the draws.” Forty five games were played during the tournament with only eight of them ending decisively, which is 17.7%. There were nine rounds so the average was less than one win per round.

The announcers for MLBaseball teams are called “homers” for a reason. They are paid by the ball club so it is in their interest to put lipstick on their particular pig.

I am uncertain about who pays the announcers at the Sinquefield Cup, but it is more than a little obvious they want to continue being paid. It is in their interest to put as much lipstick on the Chess pig as possible. Because of this they lack objectivity. I am not being paid by anyone so can be objective. The tournament was B-O-R-I-N-G. To their credit, the announcing team of Yaz, Maurice, and Jen did the best they could to inject some excitement into the moribund tournament. The excitement certainly did not come from the players. The pigs were in full force and there was some reeking Chess played at what I have come to consider the Stinkfield Cup.

Hikaru Nakamura lost the last round game to World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen


Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club / Lennart Ootes

by first needlessly allowing Magnus a protected passed pawn. Later he exacerbated an already tenuous position by jettisoning a pawn for absolutely nothing, and was deservedly ground down by the ultimate grinder.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave managed to turn what should have been a win into a draw against Sergey Karjakin because he did not know how to play the endgame.

Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana played what was arguably the most boring game of the tournament in the last round and, guess what, it ended in a draw. Watching lipstick being put on a pig was better than watching the “game.” Here is what two Chess fans posted on the ChessBomb chat at the game:

Abraxas79: So will drop out of sight soon. Will be playing open tournaments with Kamsky
eddiemac: was being interviewed and said he be in a chess960 tourney in a few weeks. Should be more exciting than this dreary tourney.
(https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-sinquefield-cup/09-So_Wesley-Caruana_Fabiano)

The 71st Russian Chess Championship began less than a week ago with twelve players competing. After four rounds twenty four games have been played and seven of them have ended decisively. That is 29%. Not great, but much better than the paltry 18% of the Stinkfield Cup. At least there has been a decisive game in each of the four rounds of the Russian Championship. In the third round three games were decisive. Three of the rounds of the Stinkfield Cup finished without any decisive games.

Yaz can talk all he wants about “…the quality of the draws,” but the fact remains the games ended in yet another draw. There is not enough lipstick Yaz can smear to obviate the fact that pigs were stinking it up at the Sinquefield Cup. Chess fans want winners. Potential Chess fans do not understand the proliferation of draws; they want to see a WINNER.

The last round game causing much excitement was the game between Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk. Levon unsoundly sacrificed a rook on f7 and the game was all for Grischuk’s taking, but he had previously spent almost three quarters of an hour on one move which left him short of time. Still, I cannot imagine Bobby Fischer losing the game with the black pieces after 18 Rxf7 no matter how little time he had left. Give Bobby two or three minutes, maybe only one, and he would have won the game. Seriously, give Bobby only the thirty seconds added and he would have won that game!

“The Herceg Novi blitz event was the speed tournament of the 20th century. It had four world champions competing, and Bobby not only finished 4½ points ahead of Tal in second place, he also obliterated the Soviet contingent, 8½-1½, whitewashing Tal, Tigran Petrosian and Vasily Smyslov, six-zip; breaking even with Viktor Korchnoi; and defeating David Bronstein with a win and draw.” (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/03/16/bobbys-blitz-chess/)

This was with a time limit of only FIVE minutes for the whole game! When I hear people talking about how strong are today’s Grandmasters and how the players of the 20th century would not stand a chance against the current top players I laugh. In his prime Bobby would have OBLITERATED these posers no matter the time control. Bobby played each and every game to WIN.

Because I played the Bird opening often, but not as many as the Atlanta player who became a NM using it exclusively, Adam Cavaney, who became an attorney and moved to New Orleans before hurricane Katrina, I paid close attention to the following game.

Let us review the aforementioned game between Alexander Grischuk and Wesley So from the penultimate round:

Alexander Grischuk vs Wesley So


Photo: V. Saravanan

Sinquefield Cup 2018 round 08

1. f4 Nf6 2. Nf3 b6 3. b3 Bb7 4. e3 g6 5. Bb2 Bg7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. c4 d5 9. O-O Nc6 10. Qe2 Rc8 11. d3 d4 12. exd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 cxd4 15. Na3 Nd7 16. Nc2 Nc5 17. f5 Qd7 18. g4 b5 19. Ba3 a5 20. Bxc5 Rxc5 21. Rae1 bxc4 22. bxc4 gxf5 23. gxf5 Rxf5 24. Rxf5 Qxf5 25. Qf3 Qg5+ 26. Kh1 Kh8 27. Rg1 Qh6 28. Qd5 Qd2 29. Nxd4 Qxa2 30. Qe4 Qb2 31. Nf5 Be5 32. Rg2 Qc1+ 33. Rg1 Qb2 34. Rg2 Qc1+ 35. Rg1 Qb2 36. Rg2 1/2-1/2

An analogous position after 7…c5 was reached by a different move order in this game:

David Bronstein (2585)

v Vladimir Tukmakov (2560)

Event: URS-ch40
Site: Baku Date: 11/23/1972
Round: 6
ECO: A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, symmetrical variation

1. b3 b6 2. Bb2 Bb7 3. e3 Nf6 4. f4 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. a4 d6 10. Na3 a6 11. Qe2 Rb8 12. d3 Ba8 13. c4 e6 14. Rfd1 Qe7 15. e4 Nd7 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nc2 e5 1/2-1/2
(https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2419289&m=15)

After 13 moves this position appeared on the board:

I was certain Grischuk would play 14 Qxg2. He took with the King. In the old BC (before computer) days if one disagreed with a move a GM played we would defer to the GMs move because, well, you know, he was a Grandmaster. Still, with my limited understanding of the Royal game, my thinking was that now that the white squared bishop has left the board, what better piece to take it’s place than the Queen? Stockfish agrees.

This position was reached after 16 moves:

While Grischuk was thinking I thought he would first play 17 Ne1 followed by 18 Nf3, considerably improving the position of the woeful knight. After the game the Stockfish program at the ChessBomb made me feel like I knew something about how to play the Bird as it gives this variation as equal: 17. Ne1 e6 18. Nf3 Qd7 19. Kg1 Rfd8 20. Ba3 Qb7 21. Rae1 Bf8 22. Bb2 Bg7 23. Ba3. The clanking digital monster also shows 17 Ba3 as equal. The move Grishuk played, 17 f5, is not shown as one of the top four moves. His choice gives the advantage to black.

This position was reached after 22 moves:

SF shows 23. Qxe7 Qc6+ as best, but Grischuk played 23 gxf5. It is easy to see black has an increased advantage. After a few more moves were played we reach this position after white played 25 Qf3:

Wesley So could have simply dropped his queen back to e7 with a by now large advantage. IM Boris Kogan said, “Chess is simple. He attack, you defend. You attack, he defend. My retort was, “Maybe for you, Boris.” Wesley played 25…Qg5+, which still left him with an advantage. I was thinking, “Patzer sees a check and gives a check.”

We move along until his position was reached after 28 Qd5:

The two best moves according to SF are 28…Qf4 and/or Qb6. So played the fourth best move, 28…Qd2.

After 29…Qxa2 we come to this position:

30 Nc6 is the best move. Grischuk played the second best move, 30 Qe4.

Bobby Fischer

spoke of “critical positions.” This is one of them.

Wesley had far more time than his opponent at this point. I was therefore shocked when he took very little time to play 30…Qb2. I will admit the moved played was my first choice, but then I am not a GM. Faced with the same position Wesley So had on the board I would have probably played 30…Qb2. I followed the games at Mark Crowther’s wonderful site, The Week in Chess (http://theweekinchess.com/), because it has no engine analysis. After the game was concluded I went to the ChessBomb to see StockFish had given the move 30…Qf2 as much superior to the move played in the game. Initially flummoxed, I wondered if Wesley had taken more time, which would have meant more time for me to cogitate, would I have seen the much better 30…Qf2? Honesty compels me to think not, as 30…Qb2 attacks the knight and makes way for the passed a-pawn. What’s not to like? SF only gives 30…Qf2 followed by 31 Nc6, so I had to “dig deep” to understand the efficacy of moving the queen to f2. Fortunately for this old grasshopper there was understanding. Later I watched some of the coverage by Yaz, Maurice, and Jen. Maurice showed the engine they were using gave it as best. This begs the question, which engine were they using? I have yet to hear a name used for the “engine.” There are many “engines,” so why do they not inform we Chess fans which “engine” they utilize?

After 30…Qb2 Grischuk played 31 Nf5 (SF says Nf3 is a little better) and this position was reached:

I was thinking Wesley would play 31…Bf6, later learning SF shows it best. As a matter of fact, it is the only move to retain an advantage. Wesley So played the second choice of SF, 31…Be5, and the game sputtered to a draw, a fitting conclusion to a poorly played game by both players. So much for Yasser’s comment about “…quality of the draws.”

This is what Chess fans who chat at the ChessBomb thought about the ending of the game:

CunningPlan: I suspect draw agreed
dondiegodelavega: WTF???
BadHabitMarco: this cant have happened
rfa: yup draw
poppy_dove: BUG
dondiegodelavega: moving to twitter
CunningPlan: Maybe So missed Kxg1
jim: mdr
jim: Qxg1 wow
Frank200: hahahaha somebody was trolling
LarsBrobakken: no takebacks!
CunningPlan: So is a dirty rotten cheat
CunningPlan: Oh So. What a cop out.
rfa: 🙂
BadHabitMarco: devine intervention
Vladacval: phhhooogh
BadHabitMarco: divine
Vladacval: nice save!
jim: So touched accidentally the rook
poppy_dove: draw
dondiegodelavega: what a pussy!
CunningPlan: Grischuk deliberately dropped an eyelash on it to tempt So to brush it off
CunningPlan: Oldest trick in the book
CunningPlan: I’ve won many a game that way
BadHabitMarco: he was like “did you see that the felt was missing under my rook?”
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-sinquefield-cup/08-Grischuk_Alexander-So_Wesley

An Encounter with Senator John McCain

I never cared for Senator John McCain


(Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

because he was a Republican, and Tricky Dicky Nixxon was a Republican. John McCain was also a member of what has become known as the “Keating Five.” McCain was even called “The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five.” (https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/mccain-the-most-reprehensible-of-the-keating-five-6431838)

Yet there he was running for the office of POTUS. I thought even less of him when he chose Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate, for obvious reasons, as everyone now knows. He sunk even lower after the encounter which is detailed below.

After the election, which he lost, my thinking began to change because of comments he made about his opponent during the election. Chris Matthews,

on his MSNBC show, played a video I had not seen previously a short time before Senator McCain’s recent death. I have tried, in vain, to find the video, which could have been from the Al Smith dinner, on the internet, but this one, which I had previously seen, was located:

This, in the final analysis, is the measure of the man, a good man who made mistakes, and admitted making them. Although I did not care for his politics, in the same way I did not particularly care for the politics of my Republican Mother, with whom many political discussions were held over the course of our life. I have come to feel we, the Senator and I, could have discussed politics with both of us coming away with respect for the other, even though we disagreed on many issues. One learns, and grows, upon listening to the ideas of others, even if one does not agree with those ideas.

Senator John McCain was a war hero. Because he was the son of a prominent former Navy Admiral, John McCain, after being captured, was offered early release by the North Vietnamese. He refused. Senator John McCain was an honorable man. It has galled hearing the clearly insane man who now occupies the highest office in the land, Donald PoppinJay Trump,


(Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

make disparaging comments about Senator John McCain. PoppinJay Trump demeaned himself while attempting to demean Senator John McCain. The Trumpster did not serve his country because he had a “bone spur.” Many children of the wealthy obtained some kind of deferment for many different reasons. PoppinJay Trump is the only one I ever heard of who skated out of ‘Nam with a “bone spur.” Donald PopinJay Trump does not belong in the same room with Senator John McCain.

John McCain deserves all the accolades he will be given. The traitor Donald PopinJay Trump deserves a cell in prison.

I cannot tell you exactly when the following occurred but because it involves someone as prominent as Senator John McCain the exact date can be obtained. From has been learned from my extensive research, which includes numerous studies of my brain, I realize memory is selective. Memories can be jumbled, conflated and inflated. What is known, however, is the more emotional a memory the longer lasting it will become. I have met a president but this is the closest I have come to a Senator.

Jim Peay, the fine dispatcher at Checker Cab Company in Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid-1980’s, asked me over the radio to call him on the phone. Since I needed to come by the shop to “gas-up” with propane there was no need to make the call. CCC was always trying new things and this was the latest. When I drove for CCC during the olympics in 1996 they were using Compressed Natural Gas, usually shortened to CNG. Jim said, “Mike, Senator John McCain’s group needs to be picked-up at the Atlanta Histerical (Historical) Center (http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/) and they need five cabs, all going to the airport. Since you are probably the only cab driver who has been to the place I want you to get there early and direct the others because there are five different pick-up points. McCain will be the last to leave so you should be able to see each one gets off. Radio me when each one leaves. You got that?!”

“Yeah, Jim, I got it,” I said. The tank was filled and immediately headed to the ‘Head…

I directed the other cabs, calling Jim each time one left. “One down, four to go!” Jim said, counting down until it was, “Four down and Bacon, YOUR’RE IT!”

There were limo’s there, but it was Buckhead; limo’s were everywhere, and I thought nothing off it because not a night went by without seeing at least one limo in action. Then the Senator appeared. I dropped the cigarette and stubbed it out. The Senator came out an unexpected door just to my upper front left side. The Senator was surrounded by people. Then someone broke off from the group and walked toward me as the Senator and his entourage continued walking straight toward the limo in front of me. “The Senator has decided to take alternate transportation,” he stated.

I was stunned speechless for about a nano second before erupting, “That will be a three dollar void fee!” The poor young fellow put his hands in his pockets, bringing them out empty. He shrugged before saying, “I don’t have any money.”

“Then you better get it from one of those wealthy people with you,” I said. He turned, walking briskly toward the group. He said something to them before returning to inform me they had no cash, either. Just as he ended Senator John McCain was entering the limo. He turned to me and raised his hand, giving me the peace sign along with a smile.

Beyond livid, I gave him the finger!

I will never forget the shocked look on his face. The others began hurriedly scrambling, some getting into the limo and others heading in different directions, double time. “You better come up with some money you cheap S.O.B. or I’ll have you arrested!” I shouted, as he backed away before turning and running toward the last car, which pulled away at a high rate of speed as soon as he entered. The door was not completely closed as they made their getaway…

As they pulled away I got into the cab and made the call to the dispatcher. “Jim,” I said, “The Senator decided to take alternate transportation.”

“What?!” came the reply.

“Yeah, and I did not even get a void fee,” I said.

“Well I’ll be goddamned,” was his reply. He added, “I don’t believe this SHIT!” What he said was a violation of FCC rules and he could have been fired for saying it on air. He was not fired because how could they have terminated the man when, after hearing the story, they would have probably said the same thing.

As I headed out of the Histerical Center Jim called me saying, “Mike, the only call I’m holding is a little old lady at a grocery store in Brookhaven.”

“I’ll take it, Jim. At least I know she will be there,” was the response.

The sweet woman was not going too far, something for which she apologized. “You do not have to apologize lady, it’s part of my job. You need to get home, don’t you?” She smiled and I told her the story of my recent encounter with “fame.” When I came to the end she said, “Good for you!”

She had a trunk load and lived on the top floor of a three story apartment, so up I went, making several trips. When the last bag was put down she opened a change purse like my grandmother used and took out a quarter. “I’m so sorry I cannot give you more,” she said.

This made me think of something Johnny Jones, an old man who had driven for Buckhead Safety since it began after World War II, said when I came into the office the first week of driving, bitchin’ because someone did not give me a tip. He looked me stright in the eye and said, “I’m happy if they just give me what’s on the meter, ’cause some of ’em don’t.”

“Ma’am,” I began, “You gave me more that a United States Senator, and for that I am grateful.” She smiled sweetly as I took my leave…

The following Monday I was called into the office, which was crowded. It was a family owned company and it looked more like a family reunion than an office. I had yet to meet some of these people because they did not often come to the place. Upon entering I was told to “sit-down.” A seat directly in front of the owner who ran the company was pointed out, so I took it. The owner looked at me and said, “Is it true you gave the finger to US Senator John McCain?”

“Yes sir,” I answered. He was quiet for a moment while staring into my eyes…”Well,” he said, “Don’t every flip-off a US Senator again.”

There was a three or four second delay until the room ERUPTED IN LAUGHTER! Then, one by one, they all shook my hand, saying things like, “I’ll be damned,” and, “If that don’t beat all,” and “I just wanted to meet the man who gave the bird to Senator John McCain!”

I was no longer driving when CCC had their fiftieth anniversary party but was invited. I was the only person in attendance who was not actually working for the company or a family member of someone who was working, or owned, the company. There was a drawing with many items given away. The last was a really nice CCC jacket. The son of the owner pulled out a slip we had signed and looked me straight in the eye. Then he turned to the supervisor, my friend TDub, handing him the paper. He drew another and it was the husband of one of the long-term employees.

TDub walked over and said, “Mike…” I cut him off. “I know it was my name Rick drew, TDub.”

“How did you know?” TDub asked.

“Because he looked right at me.”

“Well I’ll be damned,” he said. “You don’t mind?”

“No, because in his place I probably would’ve done the same.” My friend smiled.

Fast forward some years to when the Olympics were held in Atlanta. CCC had purchased many brand spankin’ new Crown Vics running on CNG, one of which was for me. Because I was a “new” driver this caused extremely hard feelings among some of the current drivers because there were not enough new taxis for every driver and every driver wanted one. Some were outraged and things were said, not only to me. One driver in particular was very vocal, causing dissension in the ranks. TDub took the man aside and gave him the facts of life. Later the man approached while putting CNG into the cab, and I feared trouble. He got right up in my face and said, “You really give the bird to Senator John McCain?” he asked.

“Yes sir, I did.”

“He extended his hand while saying, “Well I’ll be damned. If that don’t beat all…I don’t know what does!” As we shook hands he said, “I hope you can forgive me for the things I said. I didn’t know…”

“I accept your apology, sir. Now let’s go put some money in our pockets!” He grinned.

Winning: It’s D Only Thang

In an earlier post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/winning/) I posited improving Chess by devaluing the draw to 1/4 point for each player. Lowering the value of a draw would obviously increase the value of a win. Winning is the point of any game, is it not?

The recently completed US Masters in Greensboro, North Carolina, using the traditional one point for a win and one half point for a draw, ended with four main score groups:

6 1/2

GM JOHN MICHAEL BURKE
GM JEFFERY XIONG
GM EVGENY POSTNY
IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV
GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL
GM SERGEY ERENBURG
GM TIMUR GAREYEV
GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN

6

GM ALONSO ZAPATA
GM SERGEI AZAROV
GM SAMUEL SEVIAN
GM NICLAS HUSCHENBETH
GM VLADIMIR BELOUS
GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN
IM MICHAEL W BROWN
GM MAGESH CHANDRAN PANCHANATHAN

5 1/2

IM JUSTIN J SARKAR
GM KAMIL DRAGUN
IM GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ
GM JULIO C SADORRA
GM CARLOS ANTONIO HEVIA ALEJANO

5

FM JUSTIN WANG
GM ALEXANDER SHABALOV
FM ANDREW ZHANG HONG
IM KEVIN WANG
IM ERIK SANTARIUS
GM JOEL BENJAMIN
FM HANS NIEMANN
IM ADVAIT PATEL
GM DMITRY GUREVICH
GM ELSHAN MORADIABADI
GM JULIO J BECERRA
FM BRANDON JACOBSON
IM FARAI MANDIZHA
IM MICHAEL LEE
GM ISAN ORTIZ SUAREZ
GM ANDREY STUKOPIN
GM MICHAEL A ROHDE
GM BRYAN G SMITH

If the tournament had ended with exactly the same individual game results the outcome would have been entirely different. Before you leave comments and/or send emails, please consider I am aware altering the distribution of points would, most probably, have ensured many of the results would have been much different because players would be FORCED to alter the way they play. There would have been more fighting Chess since a win would be worth much more than the method currently in use. How many players would opt for any bye in any round? How many would take a 1/4 point bye in the final round?

This is how the tournament would have ended using the new method of 1/4 point for a draw:

GM TIMUR GAREYEV 6 1/4

IM MICHAEL W BROWN 6

GM JOHN MICHAEL BURKE 5 3/4
GM JEFFERY XIONG
GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN

GM ALONSO ZAPATA 5 1/2
GM SERGEI AZAROV
GM MAGESH CHANDRAN PANCHANATHAN

GM EVGENY POSTNY 5 1/4
IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV
GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL
GM SERGEY ERENBURG
IM JUSTIN J SARKAR (Includes last round 1/4 bye)
GM KAMIL DRAGUN

GM SAMUEL SEVIAN 5
GM NICLAS HUSCHENBETH
FM BRANDON JACOBSON
IM FARAI MANDIZHA

IM GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ 4 3/4
GM JULIO C SADORRA
GM CARLOS ANTONIO HEVIA ALEJANO

GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN 4 1/2
GM ALEXANDER SHABALOV
FM ANDREW ZHANG HONG
IM MICHAEL LEE

IM ATULYA ARYA SHETTY 4 1/4
IM SHIYAM THAVANDIRAN

IM ERIK SANTARIUS 4
GM JOEL BENJAMIN
FM HANS NIEMANN
IM ADVAIT PATEL
GM DMITRY GUREVICH
GM ISAN ORTIZ SUAREZ
GM ANDREY STUKOPIN
GM MICHAEL A ROHDE
GM BRYAN G SMITH

You can find the final standings, along with the prize money won, at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/table.aspx#198/USMASTERS/result-round9.html)

It is more than a little obvious devaluing the draw would put a premium on WINNING! Players would no longer be willing to “settle” for a draw. Players would be forced to stop playing for a draw and stop considering splitting the point, which is the point. Who knows, maybe players would become more like Victor Korchnoi and play slightly “dubious” opening moves intentionally in hopes of creating problems for the opponent right from the beginning of the game. Maybe an opening like the King’s Gambit would make a return.

This departure from what has become ‘normal’ would infuse the staid game of Chess with new enthusiasm. Gone would be the short draws that have become all too common. “Buddy-buddy” draws and group hugs would become a thing of the past, which is where they belong.

Here are a few selected games “played” at the 2018 US Masters, which can be found at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/Games.aspx).

FM LEVY ROZMAN (2421) vs AUSTEN J GREEN (2066)

round 1

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. h4 d6 6. Nh3 Nc6 7. Qb3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Ng5 Qe7 10. Be3 Nd8 11. Na3 h6 12. Nf3 Ng4 13. Nc2 Be6 14. Qa4 Bd7 15. Qc4 Be6 16. Qa4 Bd7 17. Qc4 1/2-1/2

IM VISHNUVARDHAN ARJUN (2224) vs GM ELSHAN MORADIABADI (2540)

round 1

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Ne5 Nc6 5. d4 e6 6. Bb5 Qc7 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Qg4 g6 9. Qg3 Qa5 10. Nc3 Bxe5 11. Bxe5 f6 12. Bc7 Qb4 13. O-O-O Bd7 14. Rhe1 Kf7 15. Bd6 Qa5 16. Bc7 Qb4 17. Bd6 Qa5 18. Bc7 1/2-1/2

IM ADVAIT PATEL (2475) vs GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN (2625)

round 2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. c4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Nxc3 7. dxc3 g6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bh6 Bf8 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bh6 Bf8 12. Bg5 1/2-1/2

GM SERGEY ERENBURG (2564) vs IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV (2489)

round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Ne1 h5 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Nxd3 Nd7 10. Nd2 1/2-1/2

GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL (2559) vs IM KEVIN WANG (2414)

round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Be3 Nd7 8. Nbd2 f6 9. c4 fxe5 10. dxe5 Ndxe5 11. Nd4 Bb4 12. g4 c5 13. Qa4 Qd7 14. Qxd7 Kxd7 15. Nxf5 exf5 16. gxf5 Bxd2 17. Bxd2 Nh4 18. Bf4 Rae8 1/2-1/2

GM SERGEY ERENBURG (2564) vs GM JEFFERY XIONG (2650)

round 9

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. a4 Be6 9. Be2 h6 10. O-O Qc6 11. Ne1 Nbd7 12. Nd3 a5 13. f4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Qxe4 15. Qd2 Qh7 16. Qc3 Qe4 17. Qd2 Qh7 18. Qc3 Qe4 1/2-1/2

WE HAVE A LOSER!!!

GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN (2556) vs GM EVGENY POSTNY (2586)

round 9

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. O-O e6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Nbd2 1/2-1/2

A total of ELEVEN moves were “played” in this game by both players. Under the format used in this tournament it is a pity these “players” were unable to “call it in.” The time used to “play” this “game” could have been spent much more productively in the bar. THIS IS NOT CHESS! This so-called “game” is one of the main reasons Chess has never become popular in America. Most of the world wants a winner, not a drawer!

Cowardly Lions at the Sinquefield Cup

When live commentary of Chess games by the very best players first appeared it was enthralling and much time was spent watching, listening, and enjoying the show. It was wonderful being able to watch Chess like watching a sporting event. Just like the other sports the quality of the announcers varied greatly. It must be terribly difficult to comment on Chess for up to six hours. Excerpts from the long show should be condensed to a one hour wrap-up show. The best team I have seen is the team of GM Yasser Seirawan,

GM Maurice Ashely,


GM Maurice Ashley with GM John Fedorowicz

and LM Jennifer Shahade.

The quietly understated Yaz matches well with the exuberant Maurice and his “floating bishop.” Then there is Jen who talks of everything from “poker to dating.” I glanced at the ‘chat’ at the ChessBomb and noticed someone left the comment, “Jennifer looks stunning today.” That may sound like a politically incorrect, sexist statement these daze, but think about it for a moment…How many times have you seen a comment saying, “Yasser (or Maurice, or any man, for that matter) looks stunning today.”

This is known because after being gone all day I came home tired and unable to think clearly so decided to tune in to watch, and listen to the show. It made me think of how much better my generation would have been if we had been able to watch and listen to Chess programs like this ‘back in the day’.

During the broadcast Yasser said something to Maurice akin to, “…or are those clever GMs thinking how to make a three fold repetition?”

A caller posited the question, “Are the GM’s more risk adverse?” Jennifer said, something about there being “…no incentive to win.” I am uncertain who said something about it being, “The nature of the game more than the player’s fault.” It may have been Yaz…Later Jen added, “They still need to win. Maybe it’s the fault of Chess sometime…”

Could they have been talking about the rules of Chess? Rules can, and should be changed to end the three fold repetition.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

vs Levon Aronian

Sinquefield Cup 2018 round 04

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. O-O Qc8 12. h3 Qb7 13. Qc2 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 axb4 15. axb4 Rxa1 16. Rxa1 Ra8 17. Qb1 Rxa1 18. Qxa1 bxc5 19. bxc5 h6

The game ended in a draw by perpetual check after Mamed played 20 Qb1 Qa8 21. Qa2 Qb7 22. Qb1 Qa8 23. Qa2 Qb7 24. Qb1 1/2-1/2

The two ‘opponents’ had to work hard to ensure a draw according to the Stockfish program at ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-sinquefield-cup/04-Mamedyarov_Shakhriyar-Aronian_Levon). The move 20 Qb1 is not included on the list of top four moves in the position. 20 Qa3; Kh2; g4; and Bg3 are all better. I would have liked to hear Shak’s comments in the ridiculous and absurd “confessional booth.” I mean, can you imagine Bobby Fischer

going into any kind of booth to share his thoughts DURING A GAME!

In order to reach the draw Mamed needed help from his compliant ‘opponent’ Lev Aronian. His move, 20…Qa8 is also not one of the four best moves given by SF. 20… Qxb1+ is by far the best move, and it is the best move to reach a draw! 20…Qa6; Qa7; and Qc8 come next.

Stockfish shows the next two moves played, 21 Qa2 Qb7, as best. Then Mamed played 22 Qb1. This move, too, is not one of the four best moves given. They are, 22 Bg3; Qa1; Qa5; and Qa3.

The Chess fans at ChessBomb who ‘chat’ expressed their feeling:

patzerforlife: draw agreed
Tomski1258: too early .they have to played out a little bit longer
Harrif: I knew it was gonna be a boring draw

The question is, “What if there were no three time repetition rule?”

This game was also ‘played’ in the same round:

Alexander Grischuk

vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 h6 8. Bh4 Qb6 9. a3 Be7 10. Bf2 Qc7 11. Qf3 Nbd7 12. O-O-O b5 13. g4 Bb7 14. h4 Nc5 15. Bd3 h5 16. g5 Ng4 17. Rhg1 Qb6 18. Kb1 b4 19. axb4 Qxb4 20. Rxg4 hxg4 21. Qxg4 Rb8 22. Na2 Qa4 23. Nc3 Qb4 24. Na2 Qa4 25. Nc3 Qb4 1/2-1/2

The chatters at the Bomb were not happy with the way this game ended:

JMC93: draw ?
JMC93: what about g6 here ?
Vladacval: game over
StGeorges: DRAW ?!
StGeorges: oh come on
patzerforlife: chicken
StGeorges: MVL !
TurnovdeCompeval: should have bet on it lol
patzerforlife: i did
JMC93: sic
Elancrom: they don’t want to play. Draw with all the pieces over the board 😦

The Trump Rally

Why does the POTUS hold rallies? Trump Inc. has held rallies, which are political in nature, since becoming POTUS illegally by conspiring with the Putin and the Russians to defraud the United States of America.

The Trumpster has done so to “buck up the troops.” Support for the Insane Clown President has held steady at between 35 and 40%, which is about the same hard-core support the Nazi’s had before Hitler was thrust into power.

When Richard Nixon resigned as POTUS in 1974 his support had dropped to 25%. Think of it, one in every four voters said they still approved of the man who came to be known as “Tricky Dicky.” My aunt Margaret was one of those who still supported the Trickster. We had a discussion while drinking lemonade one hot summer afternoon after he left office. She later told her husband, Henry, a full-blooded Cherokee, “That Michael sure knows a lot about the current political situation. I will say this, he can back up his arguments with facts. I was surprised how objective he can be. I was shocked he knew so much about Nixon’s domestic agenda, for which he gives Nixon much credit.”

Hey, Nixon was not all bad for a crook. The same cannot be said about Donald PoppinJay Trump.

Why do the people who attend these “rallies” seem so angry?

This is being passed to the next generation.

There was another infamous political party known for holding rallies.

White House Braced for Trumpster Meltdown

Trump ‘calm’ for now, as White House allies brace for potential meltdown

President Donald Trump hasn’t lashed out after the convictions of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort — but sources say the West Wing remains on alert.

by Hallie Jackson, Kristen Welker, Geoff Bennett and Jonathan Allen / Aug.22.2018 / 8:04 PM ET

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-calm-now-white-house-allies-brace-potential-meltdown-n902986