BBC World Service, “Queen’s Gambit essential to online chess streamers boom”

BBC World Service ran a video segment presenting the life of chess streamers and the recent explosion of interest in chess video broadcasts. BBC correctly taps into the shifting fortunes – nowadays young WGM/WIM/FM players are the avant-garde of chess. The reason: “Queen’s Gambit” by Netflix.

Things really changed the most for me when Queen’s Gambit came out.

Qiyu Zhou aka Akanemsko

I thought that becoming a chess teacher was the way I was going to earn my living, but what I am doing now is something that… it’s just incredible. No one ever saw this coming. Thank you to the people who made Queen’s Gambit. I owe you… probably my left pinky toe.

Levy Rozman aka Gothamchess

Queen’s Gambit: Chess on the rise due to drama series

The popularity of chess is rocketing with five times the number of new online players than last year.

Lockdown and the drama Queen’s Gambit have been credited with bringing new players to the board.

18 November 2020SectionBBC NewsSubsectionEntertainment & Arts

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-54995676

Meltwater Champions Chess Tour FTX Crypto Cup With a $100k Bitcoin Bonus!

The prize fund is being boosted by $100,000 from the new Official Cryptocurrency Exchange Partner of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, FTX. The dollar value will be converted into Bitcoin at 14:00 CEST today (Monday, May 17), so that the value of the prize will fluctuate before and during the event. https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-nepo-meet-as-top-10-all-play-320-000-ftx-crypto-cup

CRYPTOCURRENCY
Bitcoin tanks 20% in 24 hours to fall below $35,000, hits lowest level since January
PUBLISHED TUE, MAY 18 202111:51 PM EDT UPDATED 17 MIN AGO

Ryan Browne @RYAN_BROWNE_ Arjun Kharpal @ARJUNKHARPAL

Bitcoin (BTC) price plunges below $35,000, hits lowest level since January (cnbc.com)

10-Year-Old Tanitoluwa Adewumi is America’s Newest Chess Master

https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2021/05/11/gettyimages-1146827676-ab35b139f40b3b06f12a2ddc503a073498cc5c5d-s1600-c85.webp
Tanitoluwa Adewumi, pictured in 2019, just became the newest national chess master in the U.S. at age 10.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a 10-year-old in New York, just became the country’s newest national chess master.

At the Fairfield County Chess Club Championship tournament in Connecticut on May 1, Adewumi won all four of his matches, bumping his chess rating up to 2223 and making him the 28th youngest person to become a chess master, according to US Chess.

“I was very happy that I won and that I got the title,” he says, “I really love that I finally got it.”

“Finally” is after about three years — the amount of time that Adewumi has been playing chess. When he started, Adewumi and his family were living in a homeless shelter in Manhattan after fleeing religious persecution by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in their home country of Nigeria.

Now, Adewumi practices chess “every day” after school for “10, 11 hours” — and still manages to get some sleep.

His hours of practice have paid off. As a chess player, he describes himself as a bit of an every man, “aggressive” or “calm” when he needs to be, and always thinking ahead.

“On a normal position, I can do up to 20 moves[in advance]”,he says. Keeping all of the pieces straight in his head might seem like a challenge but Adewumi says it’s a skill that “when you master, it just keeps coming back.”

Adewumi competes against other chess players at all levels. But his favorite match?

“I guess Hikaru Nakamura is my favorite person I’ve ever played,” he says. “He’s a grandmaster, a very strong one. He’s on the top of the rankings.”

Nakamura won that match. But Adewumi takes each loss in stride — and there’s always the possibility of a comeback.

“I say to myself that I never lose, that I only learn,” he says. “Because when you lose, you have to make a mistake to lose that game. So you learn from that mistake, and so you learn [overall]. So losing is the way of winning for yourself.”

Since the last time NPR spoke with Adewumi, his family moved out of the shelter and he’s written a book about his life called My Name Is Tani . . . and I Believe in Miracles. That book has been optioned for a Trevor Noah-produced film adaptation with a script by The Pursuit of Happyness screenwriter Steven Conrad.

But Adewumi’s journey is not over yet. He says his goal is to become the world’s youngest grandmaster. At 10 years 8 months, he has a little under two years to beat the current record holder, Sergey Karjakin, who gained his title at 12 years 7 months.

Karen Zamora and Amy Isackson produced and edited the audio story. Cyrena Touros adapted it for Web.

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/11/995936257/meet-americas-newest-chess-master-10-year-old-tanitoluwa-adewumi

So here I am in the alleyway
A wad of cash in my pants
I get paid by a ten year old
He says he looks up to me
There’s still crime in the city
But it’s good to be free.
Yeah.
https://genius.com/Neil-young-crime-in-the-city-sixty-to-zero-part-1-lyrics

Grandmaster Ivan Bukavshin by Jakov Geller: A Review

https://www.elkandruby.com/gallery_gen/06852804e5d5d0d7ef113e3bd7dbb689_932x1416.jpg

It is news when any Chess Grandmaster dies, but when the death happens to a young man with much promise the news travels faster than a bullet game. In an article at Chessbase, dated 1/13/2016, Sagar Shah wrote, “He was one of the brightest talents in the world of chess, with an impressive rating of 2658. On 12th of January 2016, at the age of just twenty years and eight months, Ivan Bukavshin died from a stroke, leaving the entire chess world in a state of shock. The 2015 Russian Cup winner is no longer with us. What a player he was, what a beautiful chess career it would have been.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/ivan-bukavshin-dies-at-the-age-of-20)

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.” ― John Greenleaf Whittier

GM Jakov Geller, has written a magnificent homage to his friend, which reminds one of the lovingly written book about Mikhail Tal by his wife, Sally Landau.

With the plethora of Chess books hitting the market like a tidal wave these days it could be easy to overlook this nugget, published by Elk & Ruby. (https://www.elkandruby.com/)

The book begins, “In late December 2015, two young men were strolling down the snowy streets of Togliatti. One could rather easily identify the travelers as two local grandmasters, Ivan Bukavshin and Jakov Geller. They were heading to one of the largest fitness centers in Russia’s Motor City. Ivan could’ve easily passed for a “Bogatyr” – a kind-hearted warrior of immense strength from Russian fairy tales to whom younger colleagues would gravitate, seeking support and justice, and in whom girls would seek love and protection. My companion had recently completed a chess marathon and returned from his latest tournament, where he’d performed brilliantly, so it wasn’t a tortuous workout in the gym that awaited us at the end of our route, but some ping pong, a nice swim, a session in the sauna, and a thirty-minute soak in hot Jacuzzi. This was far from, we recalled Khanty-Mansiysk, where Ivan had to play 34 tournament games over the span of 20 days he first won a qualifying round of the Russian Cup, then he came in second at a qualifying round for the Rapid Grand om the first time we were taking this forty-minute journey together. We’d pass the time by talking about everything imaginable.”

After a few paragraphs, “Later on, we recalled Khanty-Mansiysk, where Ivan had to play 34 tournament games over the span of 20 days (je first won a qualifying round of the Russian Cup, then he came in second at a qualifying round for the Rapid Grand Prix, and then after that, he won the Russian Cup Final, a knockout tournament that year).

“Maybe it’s time you move up to the big leagues?” I asked.
“Nah,” he answered without vacillating for a second. “It’s too early for me to start thinking about that. I’m just going to focus on playing as well as I can.”

“When the decision to pen a full-fledged book about Ivan took shape inside me I was hardly thinking about my friend’s qualities as a chess player. I could have recounted his opening novelties, presented swathes of analysis, written about his dozens of chess files that all contained some interesting idea or pretty position, or reminisced about the hundreds of hours we’d spent together at the board. Among other things, he checked the analysis provided in Kasparov’s marvelous series – a prolonged endeavor – merely to verify just how solid the ace’s recommendations were. I always took pride in my friend’s chess success in his achievements even when he’s no longer with us.”
“The thing is, completely different images surface from the depths of my subconscious when I hear the name “Ivan Bukavshin”: innumerable trains, planes, hotels, and suitcases; morning runs through the Togliatti forest, soccer video games, net busters in real life, macaroni mayhem in Cannes’ a dazzling bike ride that included traversing the Vola and his insane wailing when they were stitching him up at a small hospital in Bulgaria… We had many, many other experiences that had nothing to do with chess. Ivan was an integral part of my life; he often came to my aid when I really needed it and he knew exactly when to offer his support. He was a top-notch guy who you could alsays count on and for whom you always wanted to do something nice.”

“Many people strove to assist Ivan as he rose to the pinnacle of mastery, which by no means diminishes his accomplishments, talent, or work ethic. I’m referring mostly to the grandmaster’s friends, family, and colleagues, rather than to his actual coaches. I simply cannot mention everyone, but the close reader will be able to compile a rough list themselves by perusing the list of commentators in this book. I tried to strike a balance of sorts by including GM Bukavshin’s gems, as well as some imperfect, yet crucial games that helped to define his chess career.”

The author succeeded. I have chosen only four games for this review, when there could have been so many more. The first is given exactly as it appears in the book. The others have been truncated because of space limitations. Hopefully, everyone reading this review will purchase the book in order to read all of the excellent notes.

Bukavshin, Ivan (2365) vs Stukopin, Andrey (2380)
Event: Young Stars of the World
Site: Kirishi RUS Date: 05/10/2009
Round: 2 Score: 1-0
ECO: D24 Queen’s Gambit Accepted, 4.Nc3

Commentary by Andrey Stukopin

Physics junior and grandmaster Andrey Stukopin won first place in the U.S. Chess Masters tournament, which took place last month in Greensboro, N.C./Ana Cahuiche/The Rider
Physics junior and grandmaster Andrey Stukopin won first place in the U.S. Chess Masters tournament, which took place last month in Greensboro, N.C./Ana Cahuiche/The Rider

Before this encounter, Ivan and I had played countless practice games and we knew each other very well. I have to admit that I always struggled to get out of the opening against Ivan. At times, it ended miserably, like in this game, and Ivan would finish me off with stupendous speed, depriving me of any chance at salvaging my position.

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.Nc3!? (The Vienna Gambit is still part of my opening repertoire to this day. Ivan really surprised me when he chose this opening, since even back in 2009, I thought I knew it quite well. Later on, Bukavshin began favoring on 4.e3.) 4…e6 5.e4 Bb4 (Of course, there are other alternatives, but for some reason, I alwasy optimistically opted for the main line in the Vienna Gambit.) 6.Bg5 c5 7.e5!?

This is a very tricky move that leads to mind-boggling complications. If you don’t know the right reply, you can lose in twenty moves! Ivan was excellent at finding opening sidelines that weren’t to my liking.
7…h6?! (This is where it all started, I just made a series of natural-looking moves. 7…cxd4 is the strongest reply, and as far as I know, White has yet to demonstrate any way of achieving an edge.) 8.exf6 hxg5 9.fxg7 Rg8 10.Qc2!? Rxg7 11.0-0-0!

https://i.imgur.com/doG2EVH.png

A brutal move! White won’t let his opponent take a breather. 11…g4 (This looks rather logical, but Black is still severely lagging behind in development.) 12.dxc5! (A mundane, yet elegant in-between move. 12.Ne5?! cxd4 13.Qa3+ Nd7=/+.) 12…Qa5 13.Ne5 (Now it becomes clear that most of Black’s forces are underdeveloped, and those pieces that have pushed ahead are being attacked with tempo.) 13…Qxc5 (13…Bxc3 14.Nxc4! Qb4 {if 14…Qxc5 15.Qxc3+ 17.bxc3-utter dominatin! The knight on d6 is worth more than either of Black’s rooks.} 14.Nxc4 Qc7? (Too slow. I correctly calculated that I would be deprived of any chance at equality if I exchanged my dark-squared bishop, but that was actually the lesser of two evils. 14…Kf8 15.a3 {15.h3} 15…Bxc3 16.Qxc3+/-) 15! Qf4+ 16.Kb1 Nc6

17.g3! (Very sneaky. White continues to develop his pieces in what appears to be a completely winning position.) 17…Qb8 18.Bg2!? (It’s very hard to play against an opponent who knows where to develop every piece and when. I’d say that was one of Ivan’s most remarkable talents.) 18…Rg5 19. Ncd6+ Ke7 20.Qh7! (Immediately exploiting the vulnerable h7-square and f7-pawn. There’s no defense.) 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3682381

Ivan made it to the “Big Leagues.”

Bukavshin, Ivan (2618) vs Rapport, Richard (2709)

https://hunonchess.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Rapport-R-1.jpg
A performance pontszáma egészen elképesztő volt, 2973! Egyben ezzel sikerrel életében először a 2750 pontot is átlépte, ezzel 17. a ranglistán. Utoljára 7 éve volt magyar sakkozó 2750 fölött!


Event: Aeroflot Open A 2015
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 04/01/2015
Round: 6.3
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence

Commentary by Danill Yuffa

1.d4 (During the tournament, our whole crew genuinely wanted Ivan to qualify for Dortmund {the winner of the Aeroflot Open earned a trip to a major tournament in Dortmund – editor’ note}. Defeating Richard Rapport enabled Ivan to come as close to achieving that goal as possible.) 1…d5 2.c4 Nc6 (The Chigorin Defense is part of the Hungarian player’s opening repertoire.) 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.a3 (This makes more sense than the more popular 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.f3 since after 8…e4 9.Qb3 Qg5 Black has good piece lay.) 6…Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.c4 Qd6 9.d5 Ne7 (Rapport subsequently played 9…Nb8 against Wojtaszek, and after 10.Ne2 0-0 11.Nc3 Bf5 White could secure an advantage with 12.Be2 {12.a4 Na6 13.Ba3 Nb4 was played in the game, and Richard equalized easily} 12…Na6 13.g4, looking to meet 13…Bg6 with a crushing pawn march: 14.h4 h6 15.f3+/_.) 10.a4 c5?! (In my opinion, this is an impulsive decision. Now White has a comfortable positional advantage. I assume Black didn’t like the look of 10…0-0 11.Ba3 Qd8 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.Qc2, forcing him to part with his second bishop. That may’ve been the lesser evil, though.) 11.Bb2 0-0 12.Nf3 Ng6 13.Nd2 e4 (Ivan could’ve kept cranking up the pressure, but instead, he decided to go for some forcing complications.) 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Nxe4 Qe5 16.Nd2 Bg4 17.Be2 Bxe2 18.Kxe2 Rae8 19.Kf1 f5

https://i.imgur.com/doG2EVH.png

(The quality of play shown by both players is worthy of admiration.) 20.g3?! (This is a misfire, actually, and White’s advantage slips away. The computer says 20.Ra3…) 20…f4! 21 exf4 Nxf4 22.gxf4 Qxf4 23.f3 Re3 24.Rg1 Qxh2 25.Rg2 Qh4 25.Rb1

26…Qd4? (The decisive slip-up. 26…Rfe8!…) 27.Rxb7! Rfxf3+ 28.Qxf3+ Qa1+ 29.Rb1 Rxf3+ 30.Ke2 (The White monarch sets out on a triumphant crusade.) 30…Qc3 31.Nxf3 Qxc4+ 32.Ke3 Qxd5 33.Rb8+ Kf7 34.Ng5+ Ke7 35.Ne4 Qd4+ 36.Kf4 Ke6 37.Rg5 h6 (This quickens Black’s demise.)
38.Rg6+ Kf7 39.Rd6 Qxa4 40.Kf5 1-0
This is a brilliant game in which Ivan calculated well, defended superbly, and showed stellar technique!
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3935497

The next game features Commentary by Yuri Yakovich

Bukavshin, Ivan (2655) vs Svidler, Peter (2739)

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fchess-teacher.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F03%2F151.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
https://chess-teacher.com/peter-svidler-the-god-of-grunfeld-defense/

Event: 68th ch-RUS 2015
Site: Chita RUS Date: 08/16/2015
Round: 7.6 Score: ½-½
ECO: D98 Gruenfeld, Russian, Smyslov variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3! (White’s principled reply warrants an exclamation mark! While we were preparing for this game we decided to allow Peter Svidler to play the Grunfeld Defense, although he’s considered an indisputable authority on the opening. The highly complicated middle-game promised fascinating positions, and we just couldn’t pass that up!) 3… d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 O-O 7.e4 Bg4 (A surprise. Peter generally opted for 7…a6, and we had some minor novelties up our sleeve.) 8.Be3 Nfd7

(We had devoted some of our attention to the Smyslov Variation before the tournament. Abstract deliberation over the board, without really turning on the computer, yielded…) 9.Nd2!? (That’s what Mikhail Botvinnik played against the originator of the 8,,,Nfd7 system, Vasily Smyslov, way back in 1948 during the world championship tournament. Currently, 9.Qb3 or 9.Rd1 are much more popular.)
9…Nb6 10.Qc5!? (This was the crux of our idea. Botvinnik continued 10.Qd3, and in my opinion, Black had various ways of equalizing.) 10…c6 11.f3 Be6 12.O-O-O f5 13.e5 (When we were preparing we used this pawn structure as a benchmark. Although the computer likes Black’s position, the prospect of drumming up an attack appealed to us. As we were moving the pieces, we came to a key conclusion – if the knights disappear, White’s chances at gaining a serious advantage from significantly.) 13…N8d7?! (In light of what I wrote above, 13…a5!?, not committing the b8-knight, was worth considering. For instance, there’s 14.h4 h6 15.Kb1 a4 with complex play.) 14.Qa3 Nd5 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.h4 h6 (To Black’s dismay, c6c5 doesn’t work.) 17.Nb1?! (White is absorbed by the idea of exchanging off the remaining pair of knights. The calm 17.Kb1 promised some sort of advantage.)17…Nb6?! (Surprisingly enough, Peter doesn’t object to White’s plans, and he leads the knight towards d5. Black had 17…b5 18.Nc3 Bf7 with mutual chances.) 18.Nc3 Be6 19.Kb1 Qd7 20.Bd3 Nd5 21.Nxd5 Bxd5

(White has achieved his strategic goal. He has a steady advantage now that the knights are off the board. Shortly, he can begin attacking the king.) 22.Ka1 e6 23.Qc5?! (Why? An immediate 23.Rhf1! followed by g2-g4 promised White a strong attack.) 23…Rf7 24.Qc1 Kh7 25.Rh3? (Just horrendous! White protects the f3-pawn from a remarkably bad square and weakens the 1st rank. Ivan lost focus for an instant, thinking that Black didn’t have any active ideas. He was punished on the spot. 25.Rhf1! would’ve allowed White to contend for a clear advantage.)25…c5! Of course! Svidler launches a counterattack as soon as he’s afforded the opportunity.) 26.dxc5 (Forced. 26.Qxc5?? loses because of 26…Qa4.) 26…Qa4 27.Bb1 Bxe5?! (Not the best decision. Black’s king comes under attack once he loses the h6-pawn.) 28.Bxh6 (Now with both players on the attack, White’s chances look preferable once again.) 28…Rc8 29.Be3 Rc6 30.h5 g5 31.Rhh1?! (Ivan strives to minimize the consequences of his 25th move, so he returns the rook to the 1at rank. This isn’t the most opportune time for that, though.)
31…Bb3! 32.Bxg5 Ra6?! (Too optimistic. Black fails to account for his opponent’s brilliant reply.) 33.Rh4! (Disrupting the coordination of Black’s pieces.) 33… Qa5 34.Bd2?? (Both players were under severe time pressure, which explains why they made some imprecise moves in a highly complex position.) 34…Qd8 (With both players under time pressure, Black tightens up the position.) 35.Re1 (Once again, White avoids exchanging his rook for the bishop. As we’ve already seen, the bishops are no weaker than the rooks in this game.) 35…Rd7 36.Rb4? (White’s king is in danger once again.) 36…Bxa2 37.Bxa2 Qa5? (Black should’ve just ignored the b7-pawn!) 38.Qc4! (Now that White is able to activate his queen, both players have equal chances, once again.) 38…Rxd2 39.Rxb7+ Kh8 40.Rb5 Qa3 41.Rb8+ Kh7 42.Rb7+ Kh6 (Black shies away from perpetual check, but he has to play precisely in the arising endgame.) 43.Qf4+ Bxf4 44.bxa3 Rxa3 45.Rb2 Kxh5 (45…Rdd3 46.Rxe6+ Kxh5, keeping both pairs of rooks on the board, is more precise. Black’s active pieces compensate for the pawn.) 46.Rxd2 Bxd2 47.Rxe6 Be3 48.c6 Bd4+ 49.Kb1 Rc3 50.Bd5?! (50.Rd6! would’ve given White better winning chances…) Rc5 51.Bb3 Kg5 52.Bd1 Kf4 53.g4 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3953010

The constant struggle for the initiative and remarkable tactical and strategic ideas make this encounter, in my opinion, one of the most interesting from the 2015 Russian Championship Super Final!

Next we come to an interview…

“After the triumphant tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk came to a close, the newly-minted champion gave Dmitry Kryavin, who’s been a correspondent for the Russian Chess Federation for many years, a lengthy interview.”

D.K.: “If we digress a bit and recall the last Super final, what impression did playing at the top level have on you?”

I.B. “After Chita I realized with great pleasure that I was still a weak player and I still had things to learn. That made quite the impression on me. for instance, it’s not every day that I get to play against Peter Svidler! This give you both experience and improves your outlook on chess as a whole. Everyone, except for those who have teams of analysts, are almost equal in terms of opening preparation. Great players outmatch their opponents in every area by a little bit. When you play against them, you understand and feel it, although this feeling is difficult to put into words.”

We have, unfortunately, come to the final game in this review. Although it is a “rapid” game (which could mean almost anything these days as far as the time control goes, I believe this was a thirty minute game) and I am loathe to print anything other than what goes for “classical” Chess, I am making an exception because the “Commentary is by Alexander Morozevich.”

“Ivan Bukavshin, who tragically left this world under mysterious circumstances, was one of the most dazzling and promising players of his generation.”

https://en.chessbase.com/Portals/all/thumbs/050/50208.jpeg
Third prize winner Ivan Bukavshin on the podium with Areoflot co-champions Ian Nepomniachtchi & Daniil Dubov 4/7/2015 https://en.chessbase.com/post/aeroflot-final-nepo-victorious

Bukavshin, Ivan (2657) vs Morozevich, Alexander (2692)

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chessib.com%2Fmorozevich-round5-thessaloniki-2013.JPG&f=1&nofb=1
Alexander Morozevich. Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich.

Event: Nutcracker Rapid 2015
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 12/25/2015
Round: 5.3 Score: 1-0
ECO: E91 King’s Indian, 6.Be2

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 O-O 6.Nf3 c5 (This isn’t the most popular move, but I played it quite often in those days.) 7.O-O Re8 (My love for 6…c5 cannot be attributed to a certain fondness for Maroczy Bind-like setups-actually, I preferred to play them for White-but to a pathological attachment to Re8. Although this move may look ludicrous, it does serve a particular purpose. It isn’t just an abstract pass. The only problem is that if White replies with anything remotely decent, Black cannot hope to achieve full equality or drum up any play.) 8.Bg5 h6 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Bc1 (Placing the pawn on h6 is to Black’s detriment, actually, and White can cleverly exploit that fact.)10…Nf6 (A voluntary retreat. This wasn’t obligatory, but the other moves were no better.) 11.dxc5 (The most direct attempt at playing for an advantage.) 11…dxc5 12.Be3 Qxd1 (Black has to compromise and voluntarily exchange queens.) 13.Raxd1 Nfd7 (Other replies cause their own difficulties.) 14.Nb5 Na6 (Up until this point, we were both playing quite quickly and we were still in our home preparation.) 15.b3 (15.Rd2 was the only move I could remember.) 15…g5? (Black has gone afield. With the poorly-placed knight on a6 and the underdeveloped queenside, he cannot afford to step out of line. He should’ve continued following standard procedure with 15…Nf8 or 15…Nbd8, preparing to bring the c8-bishop into the action. Ivan’s reply was spot-on.) 16.h4 g4 17.Nh2 h5

18.Rfe1! (I didn’t see this subtle, yet crucial move. White has prepared f2-f3, and it won’t be all that easy to protect the h5-pawn. Not wishing to go down without a fight, I decided to feign activity.) 18…Bf6 19.Rd5 Ne5 20.f4 gxf3 21.Nxf3 Ng4 (What an active, intimidating knight. Well, not really…The trouble is that the rest of black’s pieces can’t support it.) 22.Bc1 e5 (Black suddenly latches onto the h5-pawn, and this stabilizes his center, at least somewhat.) 23.Nd6 Rd8 24.Nxc8 (This is a logical move, yet White loses part of his advantage. According to the computer, 24…Bg5 would’ve given him a nearly decisive edge. Making that evaluation isn’t easy, though.) 24…Raxc8 25.a3 Nc7 (Black is flying high. He has a real chance at improving his pieces significantly at the cost of the c5-pawn.) 26.Rxc5 (Even discussing not capturing on c5 is somewhat strange.) 26…Be7? (This is the wrong way of handling things! The bishop on c5 is just one check that costs two pawns. It’s hard to believe but after 26…b6 27.Rc6 Ne6 28.Rxc8 Rxc8 Black has good chances at holding the position. It’s difficult to explain, but the more you analyze, the more you come to realize that.) 27.Ra5 b6? (Continuing the faulty plan.) 28.Rxa7 Bc5+ 29.Kf1 (Black gave a check, but it’s unclear what he should do next. The move b3-b4 is on the horizon.) 29…f5? (The final brush stroke of black’s self-destructive activity. The rest of the moves wound up being half-measures, justifiably so. This one looked more like suicide, though.) 30.b4 Bf2 31.Rd1 Rxd1+ 32.Bxd1 Be3 (32…fxe4 would’ve been more tenacious, but at any rate, White wouldn’t have had to demonstrate razor-sharp precision.) 33.Bxe3 Nxe3+ 34.Ke2 f4 35.Bb3 (The rest is simple.) 35…Kf8 36.Nxe5 Ne6 37.Ng6+ Ke8 38.Re7+ Kd8 39.Rxe6 Ra8 40.Nxf4 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/eco/E91_King’s_Indian_6.Be2

Jakov Geller writes, “2016 began, and at the very beginning of January, Ivan and I set off for training camp at the Togliatti Grandmaster School, which wound up being his last session. That’s where he played his final tournament-one evening he unleashed a harsh blitz exam for the upcoming generation of chess talents. Ivan was clearly having a great time; he kept cracking jokes and enjoyed the time he spent with his girlfriend.
…. Irreparable damage was done a few days later. On the morning of January 12th, 2016 Ivan Bukavshin was found in his room exhibiting no signs of life. Several years have passed since that day, which will forever be marked in black on many chess lover’s calendars, yet, as of this book’s release date, the circumstances of that tragedy remain a mystery. The investigation continues…”

Chess On The Drudge Report

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E1XA114WEAYmHv-?format=jpg&name=240x240

12-year-old closes in on world record for youngest chess grandmaster…

The above was taken from the Drudge Report (http://www.drudgereport.com/) last night and is still up this morning. It is the first time I recall seeing anything about Chess on Drudge, and because I begin my day at http://www.el.com/, and can click onto most of the web, I began checking out the DR years ago. After clicking onto the link one is taken to The Guardian, where one finds this:

Chess: American 12-year-old closes in on world record for youngest grandmaster

Abhimanyu Mishra poised to break Sergey Karjakin’s mark of 12 years seven months despite going six months without playing in a tournament due to Covid-19

It is an excellent article which contains the following picture:

Abhimanyu Mishr
Abhimanyu Mishra, standing in front of some of the trophies he has won over the years, proudly shows the certificate proclaiming his status of International Master. Photograph: Justin Lane/US Chess

Check it out here: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/14/chess-american-12-year-old-closes-in-on-world-record-for-youngest-grandmaster

The Knives Were Out in Iceland

The 108th Chess Championship tournament of Iceland was completed recently and it was one of the most remarkable Championships of any country at any time in the history of the Royal game! As Oscar Wilde once quipped, the Icelanders are very smart people. “They discovered America and kept quiet about it!” Out of the forty-five games played only ten, TEN, were drawn! Sources say it took many days to clean all the blood from the boards…It was a tournament in which black outscored white by a margin of twenty to fifteen! Has there ever been a high level Chess tournament anywhere since the 1800’s in which there was this much bloodletting occurred? Could it possibly have anything to do with the spirit of Bobby Fischer having been buried in Iceland?

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fi2.wp.com%2Fwww.traveltorgeir.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F08%2Fwpid-wp-image-389132262jpg.jpg%3Fresize%3D499%252C375&f=1&nofb=1
raveltorgeir.com

The people of Iceland must be doing something right because there are few over the board tournaments being contested during the Covid era. Here is a picture taken from a recent excellent article at Chessbase. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/hjorvar-steinn-gretarsson-wins-icelandic-championship-2021) There are no masks in sight!

The playing hall in Kópavogur

Contrast the above with a picture from the 2021 Championship:

Icelandic Championship: Gretarsson wins his first national ...

I played over each and every game of this swash buckling tournament, elated at having the chance at seeing honest to goodness real OTB Chess! The Icelandic players proved Chess can be played to win. All it takes are players who will settle for no less than a win who are ready to take the metaphorical knife out and use it! This was not your usual “Buddy-Buddy” round robin chess tournament. The players deserve the highest praise that can, and should, be bestowed upon them. KUDOS, Icelanders!!!

I have chosen a few games with a focus on the opening. Anyone interested in further research into the middle game and endgame can go to websites such as ChessBomb. Most people have their on analysis program(s) these days, with yours truly being an exception. The use of 365Chess (https://www.365chess.com/) and the ChessBaseDataBase (https://database.chessbase.com/) figure prominently in what follows.

Hjartarson, Johann (2523)

Johann Hjartarson | 2019 Gibraltar International Chess ...
2019 Gibraltar International Chess Festival: Masters, Round 1, 22 January 2019. Photos by John Saunders

vs Gretarsson, Hjorvar Stein (2588)

gretarsson
Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson (Iceland) | Photo Hravn Jökulsson

ch-ISL 2021 · 2021 · Sicilian, closed (B23)

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 (Digging deep one finds that the Stockfish program at ChessBomb prefers 2 Nf3 after 3 seconds while going to depth 19. On the other hand, the Stockfish program, SF 13, used at the ChessBaseDataBase, going to depth 69 [no indication of how much time it took the Fish to dive to that dept] concludes the best move is the move played in the game, 2 Nc3! The exclam is because it is the move chosen by the AW many decades ago, greatly influenced by former WCC Boris Spassky, to battle the Sicilian. It brought me a memorable victory over NM Chris Chambers at a tournament in Tennessee after the “Hit Man” had recently finished with 8 1/2 out of 12 at the US Open. It also brought me a hard earned draw with a NM from Bat Cave, North Carolina, who became known as the ‘Old Swindler’) 2…a6 (Houdini plays this move, but SF prefers 2…d6; Komodo plays the most often played 2…Nc6) 3. g3 (SF plays 3 Nge2; Komodo 3 Nf3) 3…b5 (Both SF & the Dragon prefer this move) 4. Bg2 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? SF 311220 at depth 61 plays 4 Nge2; Komodo at depth 45 plays 4 d3) 4…Bb7 5. Nge2 Nf6 (All 3 aforementioned engines play 5…e6) 6. Nd5 Nxd5 7. exd5 e5 ( See below for 7…d6) 8. O-O d6 9. f4 Nd7 10. fxe5 dxe5 11. d3 g6 12. c4 h5 13. Nc3 f5 14. cxb5 axb5 15. Nxb5 Qb6 16. a4 c4+ 17. Kh1 h4 18. gxh4 Rxh4 19. Qe1 Qd8 20. d4 Rg4 21. Bf3 Ba6 22. Bxg4 Bxb5 23. Rxf5 Bg7 24. Bg5 Qa5 25. Qxa5 Rxa5 26. Rff1 Rxa4 27. Rxa4 Bxa4 28. Ra1 Nb6 29. dxe5 Bc2 30. Bf3 Na4 31. e6 1-0 (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4284583&m=15)

Hassan, Sayed Barakat (2341) vs Rasulov, Vugar (2529)
Event: Al-Ain Classic Open A 2013
Site: Al-Ain UAE Date: 12/22/2013
Round: 4.16 Score: 0-1
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.Nd5 Nxd5 7.exd5 d6 8.O-O Nd7 9.d3 g6 10.c4 Bg7 11.f4 O-O 12.Nc3 Nb6 13.a4 bxa4 14.f5 e6 15.dxe6 Bd4+ 16.Kh1 Bxg2+ 17.Kxg2 fxe6 18.fxg6 Qe7 19.Bf4 e5 20.Bh6 Rxf1 21.Qxf1 hxg6 22.Qf3 Kh7 23.Be3 Rf8 24.Qe4 Qf7 25.Qh4+ Kg8 26.Qe4 a3 27.Bxd4 exd4 28.Ne2 axb2 29.Rb1 Na4 30.Qf4 Nc3 31.Nxc3 dxc3 32.Qe3 a5 0-1 (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3879550&m=15)

Thorfinnsson, Bragi (2432)

https://www.sjakkfantomet.no/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Aspen-Lie-e1519507110220.jpg

vs Gretarsson, Helgi Ass (2437)

Helgi Áss Grétarsson, hraðskákmeistari Skákhátíðar MótX 2020

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 02

Vienna, Falkbeer variation (C26)

  1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6 5. Qd3 Bc5 6. Bf4 d6 7. O-O-O Ng4 8. Nh3 Nxf2 9. Nxf2 Bxf2 10. Qf3 Bc5 11. Qg3 O-O
  1. Nd5? (12. e5 Bf5 13. Bd3 Nd4 14. exd6 cxd6 15. Bxf5 Nxf5 16. Qd3 Nh4 17. Qd2 Ng6 18. Bxd6 Bxd6 19. Qxd6 Qxd6 20. Rxd6, ChessBomb) 12…Kh8 13. h4 Be6 14. h5 h6 15. Qc3 Bxd5 16. exd5 Ne5 17. Be2 Qe7 18. g4 f5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. Qxe5 dxe5 21. gxf5 Rxf5 22. Bd3 Rf4 23. Rde1 Re8 24. Bg6 Re7 25. Re4 Rxe4 26. Bxe4 Rf7 27. Re1 Rf2 28. Bg6 Bb4 29. c3 Bd6 30. Bd3 g5 31. hxg6 Kg7 32. a4 a5 33. b3 Rf4 34. Kd2 h5 35. Be4 h4 36. Kd3 h3 37. Rh1 Rh4 38. Rf1 Rf4 39. Rh1 Rh4 40. Rf1 Rf4 41. Rh1 ½-½
    https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4284586

Bjornsson, Sigurbjorn (2327)

Sigurbjorn Bjornsson - YouTube

vs Thorfinnsson, Bragi (2432)

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 03

C40 QP counter-gambit (elephant gambit)

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nxe5 (3 exd5 is the move) 3…Bd6 4. d4 dxe4 5. Bf4 (5 Bc4) 5…Nf6 6. Bc4 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 (TN) 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 Rb8 11. Nc3 Bf5 12. Re1 Re8 13. b3 g5 14. Bg3 Bb4 15. Qd2 e3 16. Rxe3 Ne4 17. Rxe4 Rxe4 18. d5 Qf6 0-1 (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4284590&m=15)

Mai, Alexander Oliver (2025)

Alexander Oliver Mai - Head of Data Strategy

vs Hjartarson, Johann (2523)

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 03

A41 Queen’s Pawn

  1. d4 d6 2. e4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Bc4 (Both the Fish & the Dragon prefer 4 Bd3) 4…Nf6 5. Qe2! (There is nothing else to be said about this opening. If you do not know what I mean you don’t know the AW!) 5… O-O 6. e5 dxe5 7. dxe5 Nd5 8. O-O Nb6 9. Rd1 Qe8 10. Bd3 Nc6 11. h3 Nb4 12. Be4 f5 13. exf6 exf6 14. Re1 Qf7 15. a3 Na6 16. Nc3 Nc5 17. Be3 Nxe4 18. Nxe4 Bd7 19. Nc5 Bc6 20. Rad1 Rae8 21. Nd4 Bd5 22. b3 f5 23. Qd3 f4 24. Bc1 Qf6 25. Rxe8 Rxe8 26. Nf3 Qc6 27. b4 Bc4 28. Qd2 Nd5 29. Nd4 Qf6 30. Bb2 f3 31. g3 b6 32. Ncb3 Qf7 33. Re1 Rxe1+ 34. Qxe1 Bxb3 35. cxb3 c5 36. bxc5 bxc5 0-1
    https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4284588

Thorfinnsson, Bragi (2432) vs

Stefansson, Hannes (2532)

Hannes Hlífar með 2½ vinning eftir fimm umferðir | Skak.is
Hannes Hlífar Stefánsson að tafl í Reykjavíkurskákmótinu 2017. Mynd: Ómar Óskarsson.

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 04

A40 Queen’s pawn

  1. d4 c6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 d5 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. e4 b5 6. b3 cxb3 7. axb3 e6 8. Bd3 (8 Bd2 has been the most played move, but there’s a new Fish in town) 8…Qb6 (TN) 9. O-O Na6 10. Bg5 Nb4 11. Qe2 Bb7 12. Nc3 h6 13. Be3 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 a6 15. Rfc1 Qd8 16. e5 Nd7 17. Qe4 Qe7 18. h4 Nb6 19. Qf4 Nd5 20. Nxd5 exd5 21. Bd2 Qe6 22. Qg3 Be7 23. Ne1 Qf5 24. Nd3 Bxh4 25. Qxh4 Qxd3 26. Bb4 g5 27. Qh5 Qg6 28. Qxg6 fxg6 29. Rc3 g4 30. f3 a5 31. Bd6 b4 32. Re3 Bc8 33. e6 gxf3 34. Rf1 a4 35. bxa4 b3 36. Rxb3 Bxe6 37. Rb7 Kd8 38. Rxf3 Re8 39. Rg7 Kc8 40. Rc7+ Kd8 41. Rb3 Bd7 42. a5 Re6 43. Bg3 c5 44. Rxc5 Rc6 45. Rxd5 Kc8 46. Rb2 Rc3 47. Kh2 Bc6 48. Re5 Rc4 49. d5 Bd7 50. Re7 Kd8 51. Rh7 Rxa5 52. Rb8+ Bc8 53. Rh8+ Kd7 54. Rh7+ Kd8 55. Rh8+ Kd7 56. Rb6 Rxd5 57. Rh7+ Ke8 58. Rxg6 Rh5+ 59. Kg1 Rg5 60. Rhxh6 Rxg6 61. Rxg6 Rg4 62. Rxg4 ½-½
    https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4284595&m=17

Stocek, Jiri (2557) vs Zakhartsov, Viacheslav V (2521)
Event: Pardubice Skanska op
Site: Pardubice Date: 07/30/2004
Round: 8 Score: ½-½
ECO: D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 dxc4 5.e4 b5 6.b3 cxb3 7.axb3 e6 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.O-O Be7 10.Bd2 a5 11.Re1 h6 12.Qc1 Nbd7 13.Nc3 b4 14.Ne2 c5 15.d5 exd5 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Ng3 Kf8 18.Qc4 g6 19.Rad1 Kg7 20.h4 N5b6 21.Qf4 Nd5 22.Qc4 N5b6 23.Qf4 Nd5 24.Qc4 N5b6 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2979324&m=17

Hjartarson, Johann (2523) vs

Kjartansson, Gudmundur (2503)

Internationale Deutsche Junioren-Meisterschaft 2015 ...

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 06

e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 (I was shocked, SHOCKED! to see the move I played against the Hit Man is no longer considered best. Although still the most often played move, SF 100321 going 55 fathoms into the deep sea of variations concludes 6 Nge2 is now the best move in the position. Komodo 14 at depth 44 prefers 6 Nf3) 6…Rb8 7. Qd2 (By far the most often played move, but SF 101120 diving down to depth 62 comes up with the move 7 Nge2) 7…b5 8. f4 (SF again chooses 8 Nge2) 8…b4 9. Nd1 e5 (SF likes 9…Qb6 at depth 54 but leave the machine computing and it switches to 9…a5 at depth 57) 10. Nf3 (Komodo 13.02 at depth 31 plays this move, but the Fish at depth 39 prefers 10 a3) 10…Nge7 (WARNING! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!! RED MOVE!!!

The Fish and the Dragon concur; 10…exf4 is the best move) 11. fxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Bxe5 13. O-O O-O 14. c3 (TN) 14…bxc3 15. bxc3 Bg7 16. Nf2 Qa5 17. Rac1 Nc6 18. Rc2 Ne5 19. Bf4 Re8 20. Rfc1 h5 21. h3 Ba6 22. g4 hxg4 23. hxg4 Qd8 24. Qe3 Qh4 25. Bg5 Qh8 26. Qg3 Bf6 27. Bxf6 Qxf6 28. g5 Qe7 29. d4 Nc4 30. Bf1 Rb6 31. Qf4 Kg7 32. Ng4 Rh8 33. Nf6 Qe6 34. Rh2 Rbb8 35. Rcc2 cxd4 36. cxd4 Rbd8 37. Rxh8 Rxh8 38. Rh2 Qc8 39. Ne8+ 1-0

Shvyriaev, Artem (2116) vs Andonovski, Ljubisa (2298)
Event: 32nd ECC Open 2016
Site: Novi Sad SRB Date: 11/12/2016
Round: 7.12 Score: ½-½
ECO: B26 Sicilian, closed, 6.Be3
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.Be3 Rb8 7.Qd2 b5 8.f4 b4 9.Nd1 e5 10.Nf3 Nge7 11.fxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.O-O O-O 14.Bh6 Bg7 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Ne3 Be6 17.Rf4 d5 18.exd5 Nxd5 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Bxd5 Qxd5 21.Qf2 Rbe8 22.Rf1 h5 23.Rc4 Re5 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.Qf3 Rfe8 26.Qxd5 Rxd5 27.Kg2 Kg7 28.Rf2 f5 29.d4 Re4 30.Rxc5 Rxc5 31.dxc5 Rc4 32.h4 Rxc5 33.Rd2 a5 34.Kf3 Kh6 35.Kf4 Rc4+ 36.Ke5 Re4+ 37.Kf6 Rc4 38.Ke5 Re4+ 39.Kf6 Rc4 40.Ke5 Rc8 41.Kf6 Rc6+ 42.Ke5 Rc4 43.Kf6 Rc7 44.Ke5 Kg7 45.Kf4 Rc4+ 46.Kf3 Kf7 47.b3 Rc3+ 48.Kf4 Ke6 49.Re2+ Kd6 50.Rd2+ Ke6 51.Re2+ Kd6 52.Rd2+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4021532&m=26

Mai, Alexander Oliver (08) – Thorfinnsson, Bjorn (08)

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 08

C46 Three knights, Winawer defence (Gothic defence)

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 f5 (This move is certainly medieval)

4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 (SF & Komodo play 5…Bb4) 6. Bg5 (SF & Houdini play 6 Bc4) 6…Bb4 7. Bc4 d5 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Bxd5 Nxe5 10. dxe5 Qxe5 11. O-O Bxc3 12. bxc3 c6 13. Bxe4 O-O 14. Qd3 (TN) Bf5 15. Rae1 Rad8 16. Qc4+ Qe6 17. Qxe6+ Bxe6 18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. Rxe6 Rd2 20. Re7 b5 21. Rxa7 Rxc2 22. g3 Rxc3 23. Re1 Kh6 24. Re6+ Rf6 25. Rxf6+ gxf6 26. Ra6 Kg6 27. Rb6 Kf5 28. Kg2 Rc2 29. h4 Ke6 30. g4 Kd5 31. Ra6 Re2 32. Kg3 c5 33. h5 c4 34. Ra8 Re1 35. Kg2 Re7 36. Rc8 Ra7 37. Kg3 b4 38. Rd8+ Kc5 39. Rd2 c3 40. Re2 Kd4 41. f4 Kd3 42. Re1 c2 43. g5 fxg5 44. fxg5 Rxa2 45. h6 b3 46. h7 Ra8 47. g6 b2 48. g7 c1=Q 49. Rxc1 bxc1=Q 50. h8=Q Qg1+ 51. Kf3 Qe3+ 52. Kg4 Qd4+ 53. Kf5 Rxh8 54. gxh8=Q Qxh8 0-1

Llanes Luno, Ricardo (2192) vs Ferrer Roche, Marc (2119)
Event: Aragon-chT
Site: Aragon Date: ??/??/2003
Round: 5 Score: 1-0
ECO: C46 Three knights, Winawer defence (Gothic defence)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 f5 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe5 Nf6 6.Bg5 Bb4 7.Bc4 d5 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Bxd5 Nxe5 10.dxe5 Qxe5 11.O-O Bxc3 12.bxc3 c6 13.Bxe4 O-O 14.Qd4 Qh5 15.Rfe1 Qf7 16.Bd3 Kh8 17.Qh4 Bf5 18.Re7 Qg6 19.Qg3 Qf6 20.Qe5 Qxe5 21.Rxe5 Bxd3 22.cxd3 Rad8 23.d4 Rf7 24.Rae1 Kg8 25.Re8+ Rf8 26.R8e7 Rf7 27.g3 b6 28.f4 c5 29.Rxf7 Kxf7 30.Re4 cxd4 31.Rxd4 Rc8 32.Rd7+ Kf6 33.Rxa7 Rxc3 34.Kg2 h5 35.Ra6 Kf5 36.Kh3 Rc2 37.a3 Ra2 38.Rxb6 Rxa3 39.Rb5+ Kf6 40.Rxh5 Rb3 41.Kg4 Rb2 42.h4 Rb3 43.Ra5 Kg6 44.h5+ Kh7 45.Kh4 Rf3 46.Ra7 Kh6 47.Ra6+ Kh7 48.Kg4 Rb3 49.f5 Rb4+ 50.Kg5 Rb5 51.g4 Rb4 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=25117&m=27

Leffmann, Karl vs

Winawer, Szymon

Simon Winawer - Wikipedie

Event: Leipzig
Site: Leipzig Date: 07/19/1877
Round: 7 Score: 0-1
ECO: C46 Three knights, Winawer defence (Gothic defence)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 f5 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe5 Nf6 6.Be2 Bb4 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Ne7 9.Bg5 O-O 10.O-O h6 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Nc4 d5 13.Ne3 f5 14.f4 Kh7 15.Kh1 Rg8 16.Qe1 Qd6 17.g3 Be6 18.Bh5 c5 19.Qd2 Rac8 20.Rg1 Rg7 21.Rab1 Ng8 22.Rbf1 Nf6 23.Be2 Qc7 24.c4 dxc4 25.Bxc4 Bxc4 26.Nxc4 Rd7 27.Ne3 cxd4 28.Nxf5 Qxc2 29.Qe1 e3 30.Nxe3 dxe3 31.Qxe3 Ng4 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2691400&m=12

Stefansson, Hannes (2532) – Hjartarson, Johann (2523)

Icelandic Championship 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. c3 (the only move 365Chess shows here is 5…Bxc5) 5…Nc6 (SF 11 at depth 38 plays the game move, but SF 13 at depth 33 prefers 5…Bxc5) 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. b5 Nce7 (SF & Komodo play 8…Na5) 9. Bd3 Qc7 (SF plays 9…Ng6; The CBDB contains 3 games with 9…f6 and this game) 10. O-O Bd7 (Houdini & Lc0 play 10…Ng6, for obvious reasons) 11. Re1 Nh6 12. h3 O-O 13. a4 f6 14. exf6 Rxf6 15. Bg5 Rf7 16. a5 Bc5 17. Nbd2 Raf8 18. Be3 Bxe3 19. Rxe3 Nhf5 20. Re1 Rf6 21. Ne5 Nh4 22. Qh5 Neg6 23. Nxg6 Nxg6 24. Nf3 Qc5 25. Ng5 Qxf2+ 26. Kh1 Qxg2+ 27. Kxg2 Nf4+ 28. Kg1 Nxh5 29. Nxh7 Rc8 30. Nxf6+ gxf6 31. Bf1 e5 32. Re3 Nf4 33. Rb1 Rc5 34. Kf2 Kf7 35. Rb4 b6 36. axb6 axb6 37. Ke1 e4 38. Rg3 Nh5 39. Re3 f5 40. c4 d4 41. Ra3 f4 42. Ra6 f3 43. Rxb6 e3 44. Rd6 f2+ 45. Kd1 Bxh3 46. Bxh3 Nf4 47. Bf1 Rg5 48. Rd5 d3 0-1

Coaching Kasparov, Volume 2: A Review

In 2009 I traveled to the Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee, for the SuperNationals.

I went to eat during one of the down times and found myself in a room with only one other person, Garry Kasparov. He was holding a gizmo in one hand while putting food into his mouth with his other hand. While eating I could not help but wonder what Garry was doing alone. With people like Kasparov there are usually other people around. Maybe he was enjoying having time alone. I thought about saying something to him on my way out, but what do you say to someone like Kasparov? “Hello Garry. My name is squat and I am an Expert.” That would be analogous to a city councilman from Podunk (choose a state) walking up to the POTUS and saying, “Hello Mr. President. I am Nobody from Nowhere.” I walked on by and noticed he took a quick glance at me…
I had a trunk load of books with me to sell but I realized that was not going to happen after checking out the expansive display in the book room. After mentioning this to the self-proclaimed “Nashville Strangler,” aka FM Jerry Wheeler,

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.explicit.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.5UxZ-FT-SXFSoVULkn0EUwHaHa%26pid%3DApi&f=1

he said one of the fellows working for Malcolm Pein in the book room, Chris, was a friend of his and he could get Kasparov to sign my copy of The Test of Time,

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51FWPHmrSGL._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

the book former Georgia State Chess Champion Michael Decker said was, “The Best of All Time!” That is how I came to have a signed copy of the book. As Garry was autographing his books I was standing there watching when he looked right at me and nodded, so I returned the nod. I have always thought he nodded as a way of thanking me for leaving him alone while eating.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/kasparov1.jpg?w=1150
Garry Kasparov playing against 15 young players aged 8 to 14 at a chess event in 2015. Wassilis Aswestopoulos / ullstein bild via Getty Images

Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move
Volume 2: The Assassin (1982-1990)

By Alexander Nikitin

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71tC9TvF8WL.jpg

After completion of this book my first thought was, “It will win the Book of the Year award.”

Early in the book we find Kasparov is a speed reader of sorts. “His ability to read entire pages at once, rather than just line by line as we lesser mortals are used to, enabled him to read a thick book from beginning to end in an evening.” Really? Could this possibly be hyperbole? It has been my experience with most speed readers that they sacrifice detail for speed. They do not take time to cogitate while continuing to “read.” Granted, I have never known anyone who could read “entire pages at once”; but still…

“In Belgrade in 1990, the lad from Baku achieved six wins and no losses – a great achievement in a tourney of such a high level. Only once at the very end did Garry find himself on the verge of defeat after a careless opening. Yet he managed to befuddle Timman so expertly that the latter was unable to achieve more than a draw despite being a rook ahead.” (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2298575)

“July 1982 should be considered the starting point of the work of our powerful, creative team that would work with Kasparov for nearly four years. For a month and a half, Garry and his coaches (me, Shakarov, Vladimirov and Timoschenko) worked in the mountains far from temptations and populated areas.”

“At the end of the session Garry played a training match against Vladimirov. Its unexpected result (3:3) proved to be great medicine for his big head before the upcoming interzonal tournament, whose result no expert was prepared to predict in advance.”

“Garry was seconded at the tourney by me, Shakarov and Valery Chekhov.” (No Vladimirov! AW) Botvinnik as always limited himself to general advice and long, deep telephone conversations with Garry and his mother. Garry was quite impressionable and constantly sought approval of his decisions and actions. The mentality of a man from the south means that approval had to come from a universally respected person, and Botvinnik was an ideal figure for that. Conversations with the teacher were effective psychotherapy for Garry for about five years, but the they transposed into more of a ritual.”

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.computerhistory.org%2Fchess%2Fbotvinnik-mikhail.moscow.1980.102645357.newborn.jpg%3Fw%3D600&f=1&nofb=1
International Grandmaster and World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik in Moscow (https://www.computerhistory.org/chess/stl-430b9bbdb9817/)

“It was only at the end of the Olympiad, once victory of the Soviet grandmasters had been assured, that Karpov

committed an error in suddenly refusing to play against Switzerland, as had been originally planned. In doing so he really did leave Kasparov in a tricky situation, who now had just a few hours to plan how he would take on Korchnoi with black.

Even though this was Kasparov’s eight game in a row without a break, his duel with Korchnoi

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would go down in history as one of the most exciting games ever seen at an Olympiad. When the excited winner relayed the moves to me in Moscow I was spellbound by the events that had taken place on the board, and then I spent ages with my own chess pieces trying to figure out what had happened.” (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2349559)

We learn how Kasparov came to play the Tarrasch Defense. John Hartmann, writing in the January, 2020 issue of Chess Life magazine, wrote, “I have long thought that the Tarrasch Defense is the swiss army knife of chess openings.”

“Vladimirov and I spent half a year analyzing the subtleties of the Tarrasch Defense to death.
At first, Garry was unimpressed with our initiative, but we convinced him by demonstrating refutations to the unflattering evaluations of this classical opening contained in many textbooks. Eventually, his eyes began to sparkle at the notion and he joined in with our investigations, contributing a number of interesting ideas.”

“Garry certainly didn’t expect an opening setup so criticized by theory to bring him such a large number of victories and to essentially solve the problem of the black pieces in all matches of the candidates cycle. During these two years (1983-84) Kasparov deployed the Tarrasch in twelve games in official tournaments and matches, and on no occasion did he obtain a worse of unpromising position, no matter how well prepared or strong his opponents were.”

“However, time was to confirm that Kasparov didn’t like openings “imposed” on him. The fact that the idea of deploying the Tarrasch didn’t come from him made this somewhat a “Cinderella” of an opening in his repertoire-a poor cousin deprived of trust and affection. The two defeats that Garry recorded at the start of his first match with Karpov, in games that began with the Tarrasch but which were actually lost in the middle-game while the opening wasn’t responsible, conclusively turned him away from that defense.”

When reading this I could not help but think of Bobby Fischer…

https://xpertchesslessons.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/04ed2-iu.jpg

Bobby allowing anyone to “impose” an opening on him is unfathomable! Then we read the following:

“It would be about an hour before the game was due to begin, after he had eaten lunch and was putting on his evening suit, that opening variations would incessantly spin in his head and completely unexpected ideas would occur to him, I termed this intensification of his thought process “unfortunate insight.” It was then that he would find slip-ups, most often than not imaginary, in our analytical work. This would last about half an hour and was an unpleasant trial for his coaches’ nervous systems. Without looking at a board, none of us was capable of maintaining a meaningful argument with a supergrandmaster, as the speed of the computer in his head was incomparable to our arithmometers.”

The fact is that the, “powerful, creative team that would work with Kasparov…” were slowing him down!

Later we read, “The young and hard-working Chekhov,

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who had briefly joined our team for the candidates’ cycle, would have been very useful on our-subsequent journey, and at this match we had a chance to get to know each other better. Valery found it tough to bear the nervous, negative tension that pierced relations between the coaches and a player even during a successful battle, and he desired to play a role no more.”

Seems it gets hot in the kitchen…

We learn things like, “The crafty politician Florencio Campomanes immediately grasped what this was all about. Being a longstanding friend of Karpov, the FIDE president also got involved and became a noticeable figure in our show, although he was really only a stooge.”

I have heard Campo called worse. I met him once. Campo was one of, if not the most unctuous people involved with the world of Chess.

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We learn the author was a “quiet revolutionary” when he writes, “The Karpov of those years was for me a symbol of the injustice imposed in our country by the communist regime. So my wish to help Garry overthrow the world champion was not only a desire to keep my promise of years earlier, but also a quiet protest against our society’s way of operating.”

Really? Read on to learn why…

“At the same time, the list of grandmasters and coaches involved in aiding Karpov was a veritable nightmare: grandmasters Vaganian, Geller, Zaitxev, Polugaevsky, Balashov,Tamaz Georgadze, Lerner, Mikhalchishin ( a former student of IM Boris Kogan – AW), Makarychev. The list of masters began with the highly experienced Podgaets and Kharitonov, followed by young masters serving in the so-called sporting squadron and carrying out heavy lifting such as choosing Kasparov’s games or putting together game selections in the opening repertoire that Karpov planned for the match. This monster-sized preparation was financed by the state, Moscow and army sports committees, as well as the Komsomol leadership, which provided a country house to their favorite at a resort in Latvia.”

This was obviously a match between Samson and Goliath.

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Then comes several pages concerning the ill-fated first match in which Kasparov showed he was not ready for prime time by going down 0-5. “It’s known that Karpov constantly adjusted his match strategy, and now, having been handed a huge advantage on his plate by his opponent, he decided to finish Kasparov off with a 6:0 score. All he had to do was play slightly mor actively, make his play more complex and dynamic, and he would gain a quick win, as the challenger, already crushed, would be incapable of solving even moderately complicated problems. However, you needed to know Karpov’s character – he decided not only to win 6:0, but to achieve this result solely due to Kasparov’s errors, in order to further humiliate him and make him consider himself worthless. Karpov decided to wait for Kasparov to blunder, and to wait manifestly. In this cruel game of cat and mouse, the cat would suddenly stop running after the condemned victim. This, as it turned out, was his key mistake.”

Kasparov turned into a Stonewall, just like the famous Confederate General:

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After holding firm, the young Kasparov began to win. Then we read, “Once game 47 finished Karpov suffered a nervous breakdown that prompted interference by sporting and other officials of various ranks who were somehow involved in the match. They rushed around like headless chickens, not knowing what to do. During that time Karpov had managed to take a course of recovery in the decompression chamber of the Institute of Space Medicine.”

It was not enough. Karpov returned to battle and was beaten like Mark Taimanov was beaten by Bobby Fischer.

“A decision to end the match was taken at the level of the Party Central Committee, and unchesslike maneuvers began.” (What, exactly, are “unchesslike maneuvers”? AW)

The chapter culminates with, “Now that this is all history you can burst out laughing at the micromanagement sometimes demonstrated by our government, ignoring far more important matters for the country. Maybe that is why our ranking fell so low in standard of living compared with other countries?” (Was a Chess match really so important that the “government” ignored far more important matters? AW)

Chapter 5, Ambitions and Nerves (Match 4, 1987) begins, “In the day when Botvinnik and Petrosian were champions chess remained a prestigious, “royal” game, and world champions were respected. However, they didn’t play any remarkable role in public life. When they became champions, they were mature, formed personalities, award of their weight and place in society. There were almost no chess professionals in the western world playing for a living, and only 20-30 grandmasters from the USSR and Eastern Bloc countries were financed by the state. This enabled them to remain at the top of the list of the strongest chess players in the world. It hence demonstrated the “superiority’ of the socialist way of life in those countries. However, even those grandmasters could not publicly call themselves professionals. Formally they ranked as undergraduate students, post-graduate students, military personnel or sports instructors.
Bobby Fischer’s storming of Mount Olympus in 1972 was accompanied by an unprecedented chess boom. For the first time, chess was on the radar screens of many politicians, forcing its way to the front pages of leading newspapers, and even gained the attention of businessmen. Fischer could easily have become an important public and even political figure on the back of his remarkable popularity. However, he, just like his legendary fellow-countryman Paul Morphy, suddenly walked away from chess after attaining global recognition. The mystery surrounding his peculiar reclusion managed for several years to retain the heightened public interest in this wise but, as it turned out, harsh game capable of breaking the character and even sanity of grandmasters. However, the public demanded new heroes, and they appeared very quickly.”

On page 68 the reader finds, “Before the start (of what has become known as KK4, the fourth World Championship match contested by K&K – AW), Kasparov presented his autobiographical book Child of Change, written by an English journalist. The book turned out to be a pretty poor one. Moreover, it was hardly wise to try and time its publication to coincide with the start of the match. However, the laws of commerce dictate certain decisions.”

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41mBnZtFPML._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I checked with the Gorilla (Amazon) to find a first edition booking for $1002. Gary Kasparov is listed as the author. In an excellent article written by GM Jon Speelman

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in The Guardian, the following can be found: “In his autobiography, Child of Change, written by Donald Trelford, Kasparov gives a presumably slightly apocryphal account of how he picked up chess by watching his parents trying to solve a problem.” (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/oct/08/archive-1990-garry-kasparov-is-ready-to-pounce)

“Just like before the match with Korchnoi in 1983, Garry’s bravado started to slip a few days before we began. The day of the first game he was in a very tense and defensive state of mind. His psychological disturbance became clear after the tragic second game, when he deployed the English opening for the first time. Garry went for a well-known line, hoping to try a new idea discovered in Zagulba that changed the position’s evaluation in white’s favor. Karpov intuitively sensed a trap, and, after thinking a little, pulled from the depth of his memory a counter-idea which, as later transpired, he had analyzed about twelve years earlier. The effect was breathtaking. Garry spent an incredible 83 (!) (the exclam is in the book – AW) minutes on the deciding whether to capture a dangerous pawn. He seemed to be in shock. Once the game was over, he was unable either to show us cohesive variations or to explain coherently on what he had spent so much time. It was hard for him to count on success after such a “snooze”, and he was severely punished. (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2206193)

“During a five-hour game, chess players have perfected the stereotypical alternation between heavy pressure (when thinking what move to make) and, relatively speaking, a rest mode (during the opponent’s move). A grandmaster’s body is used to this work regime, and any sharp deviations from it impinge on the quality of their work. Almost an hour and a half of intense thinking while bearing nervous tension, worries and doubt, provoked a depressive, faltering state in Garry that lasted the rest of the game and led to him forgetting to press his clock shortly before time control, when he just sat at the board in a detached pose. In accordance with the rules, nobody could tell him of his misstep. Garry only snapped out of it when the arbiter was required to come to the board and stand next to the table, ready to declare the game lost on time a couple of minutes later. The champion’s loss in this game was the logical conclusion of the factors involved. The most important of these was that his opponent noted his awful psychological state, which encouraged Karpov at the start of battle.”

“Had Karpov not created himself problems in the English Opening we would have had a tougher time, as it took ages for Garry to recover. He was constantly criticizing himself, which merely drained his strength. So we spent the whole subsequent year racking our brains to try and figure out why, despite winning game two, Karpov would never again repeat his successful idea.”

“Before us was now a new Kasparov, believing in Kabbalah numerology

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.numerologynumber.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F05%2FKabbalah-Numerology-Header.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
numerologynumber.net

and all sorts of superstitions. Prior to game 16, instead of serious preparation, he attempted to convince both himself and us just as seriously that he always plays game 16 wonderfully. (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2206207) As a result, instead of a wonderful game, he lost his way and Karpov leveled the score. Constant nervous tension led him to forget his opening analysis. He couldn’t remember the precise paths devised by his seconds, and in game 21 he even offered a draw in a position where he had a material advantage without compensation for his opponent.” (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2206212)

Then there is this:

“A person needs a goal in life, and really several, otherwise their existence on Earth transforms into nothing but a biological process.”

This caused me to recall something said by the Chess player/artist, Marcel Duchamp:

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“It evokes Duchamp’s claim that he had given up art to become a “respirator,” because, as he said, “each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere.”
(https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/nyregion/celebrating-fluxus-a-movement-that-didnt-create-by-the-rules-review.html)

Chapter 5, Ambitions and Nerves (Match 4, 1987)

“So, the fourth K vs K match had ended in a draw. It was unusually nervy and had exhausted everybody with its tension, which sometimes even arose when we least expected it. Games from this match were painful for me to recall for a long time to come, just like touching raw nerves, as there had been so many mistake in them – sometimes, quite strange ones. During this standoff (here this word is more apt than “battle” or “duel”) psychology dominated chess creativity for the first time.

By the was, this was the first time that Garry played a title match without professional psychological help. Even the faithful doctor Gasanov was left at home. The champion decided to place himself in the hands of the psychological mastery of his mother and Litvinov. (KGB-AW) Alas, events proved yet again that common sense, life experience and the greatest of intentions cannot replace professional know-how in extreme situations.

Karpov, meanwhile, had delivered us another surprise in this match. After his failure in the previous match he lost faith in Dzhuna and found support in Dadashev. Yes, he was being supported by that psychic psychologist who had aided Garry in the previous matches. Such a switch of teams by a trainer is a hard blow for a sportsman, and indeed a step that forever darkens the reputation of the defector. The transfer of a psychologist to the enemy camp is nothing short of treason. After all, for a psychologist to provide real help to a patient the latter has to open up to them fully, recounting all their weaknesses in order to help the expert identify new reserves of character and mental balance. A psychologist for a sportsman relying on them is like a priest listening to a confession. And there is no greater crime than retelling somebody’s confession or using what they said to harm them. Evidently, Dadashev considered his transfer from Kasparov to Karpov to be nothing more than replacing his patient. As Dadashev would say later, he gave Karpov three pieces of advice. Karpov followed two of them to the letter, but ignored the third and failed to win the match for that reason.”

I will conclude with this:

The 55th USSR championship was held in 1988 in Moscow. All the strongest Soviet players took part. This time, Kasparov was unable to steal a lead on his eternal shadow, and these “Chuckle Brothers”

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/aa5c8f78acc3f8a37d13911734a93ad739a7a9d1/0_239_3000_1799/master/3000.jpg?width=605&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=ba3b1866198c33bff97c2cb340907152
“Chuckle Brothers”

shared the top two spots in the table. However, the match between the two top players, which was stipulated in the tournament rules, was never held…”

You will have to read the book to learn the reason why they did not contest another match.

This concludes the review. I could continue and write just as much, or even more about the first eighty-five pages of the book. There are a total of 264 pages, six of which are pictures; and thirty comprise the appendix. The rest of the book consists of thirty-nine well annotated games. I will present the first of the thirty-nine games, including the entire preface so you will understand why I think so highly of this wonderful book:

The Yugoslav city of Bugojno hosted a grandmaster tournament that proved to be the scene of one of Kasparov’s most stunning performances. He achieved a number of combinational victories, though by that time we were all used to those. For me, a win that on the surface looked quite simple was a real phenomenon. Above all, it was a victory over himself. Up until Bugojno he had only managed a single draw versus the ex-world-champion. Two fierce attacks by Garry had crashed against the armor of fantastically skilled defense.
Several months before the Yugoslav tournament, another ex-world champion, Boris Spassky,

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my childhood friend, had flown into Moscow. The three of us spent several evenings engaged in long conversations that were most useful for Garry. In one of them, the lad complained that he found it impossible to bread the defenses of Iron Tigran. Boris, who had of course played two world title matches with Petrosian and had studied his play thoroughly, gave a quite surprising reply: “Tiger, however paradoxical it sounds, possesses fantastic tactical vision that against the background of his immensely subtle understanding of positions and supernatural sense of danger nobody notices. Try not to sacrifice anything, and in general, don’t play directly against him. He’ll always find a defense, no matter how improbably, against concrete threats. His Achilles heel is defense in a slightly worse position, especially when he has no counterplay. Even then, you have to positionally squeeze him gently, without rushing and without making any sudden movements.”
The careful reader might note that the recipe for beating the great defender contained components that were quite alien to the playing style of the young and temperamental grandmaster. I had no doubt that two or three years later Garry would learn to play in that style, too. However, when it came to chess improvement he preferred leaps to measured walking. Half a year after our conversations with Spassky the lad once again met the cunning Tiger in battle.

Well, take a look at how he digested the lessons of the former matador.

G. Kasparov – T. Petrosian

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Bugojno. International tournament. 15.05.1982
Bogo-Indian Defense [E11]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ (In the language of professionals, this check is a demonstration of a peaceful frame of mind. Petrosian clearly didn’t want to repeat their recent clash in the sharp 3…b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 system, which he only won after a massive effort.) 4.Bd2 Qe7 5.g3 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 0-0 7.Bg2 d5 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Na3 c5 (A hard-to-spot inaccuracy dictated by black’s confidence that the boredom being created on the board was not Kasparov’s cup of tea and that a peace treaty was around the corner. It was more accurate to advance this pawn after the initial 9…Rd8 10.Qc2.) 10.dxc5 Qxc5 11.Rac1 Nc6 12.Nxc4 Qe7 13.Nfe5 Nxe5 14Nxe5 (The exchange of knights actually deepens black’s difficulties in developing his queenside. It was only his absence of pawn weaknesses and the young man from Baku’s volatile chess temperament that gave Petrosian hope that the threat would pass, even if more slowly than he would have liked.) 14…Nd5 15.Rfd1 Nb6 16.Qa5! (A wonderful queen maneuver paralyzing black’s queenside. It suddenly transpires that the black knight’s transfer has been a complete waste of time, as he cannot even pressure white in the center. So instead he needs to make the last possible useful move.) 16…g6 (The previously planned 16…f6 weakens the seventh rank, and this sharply stregthens the effect of the white pieces’ invasion along the c-file – 17.Nc4 Nxc4 18.Rxc4 b6 19.Qc3 Ba6 20.Rc7 Rad8! 21.Rxe7 (21.Rxd8 Qxd8 22.Bf1 Rf7) and then 21…Rxd1+ 22.Bf1 Bxe2 23.Qc7! Rxf1+ 24.Kg2 Bd3 25.Rxg7+ Kh8 26.Rg4 with a win) 17.Rd3! (An excellent move, stamping out the attempt at a further exchange – 17…Rd8? 18.Qc5! while preparing to gain the c7 square for the white pieces.) 17…Nd5 18.e4! Nb6 (He needs to go back, as 18…Qb4? 19.Rxd5!, 18…Nb4? 19.Rc7, and 18…b6 19 Qd2 Nb4 20.Rd6! are equally unappealing. Petrosian again hopes to chase the white knight from the center.)

19.Bf1! (Just a year earlier Garry could not have come up with such a move – his level wasn’t there yet. It’s rare when a piece returning to its starting square decided the game. Now, Petrosian’s sole hope of saving the game by breaking out with 19…f6 20.Nc4 Nxc4 21.Rxc4 b6 would turn out to be suicide – 22.Qc3 Ba6 23.Rc7, and all because the crafty bishop now protects the rook, while the reply 23…Qc7 is not longer available.) 19…Re8 20.Rdd1! Rf8 21.a3! (Now even the pawn sac 21…f6 22 Nc4 Bd7 23.Nxb6 axb6 24.Qxb6 Bc6 fails to slow the chain of events, as 25.Bb5 opens all the doors to black’s house.) 21…Kg8 23.a4! (White’s last three modest pawn moves, like an ancient form of Spanish torture, have prevented black’s king from moving – 23…Kg7 24.Rc5! f6 25.Nc4 Nxc4 26…Rxc4 b6 27.Qc3. Petrosian, disappointed, attempts to exchange a rook pair. However, his king on the eight rank means that even hoping for a miracle is a wast of time.) 23…Rd8? 24.Qc5! (Now black immediately loses with 24…Qe8? 25.Ng4!, although the “better” 24…Qxc5 25.Rxd8+ Qf8 26.Rxf8+ Kxf8 leads to a position after 27.Rc7 where resistance is pointless. Therefore, black resigned.

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“I don’t recall Petrosian ever losing to anybody else in such style. After analyzing this masterpiece of positional skill, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more I could teach Garry about chess. He had demonstrated that he knew how to do absolutely anything. My function now could only be to help him prepare for competitions and give advice of an experienced master.”

If you like reading about the history of the Royal game, and about the behind the scene machinations involved in Chess at the highest level, and replaying extremely well annotated games, this book is for you! This book, too, will stand ‘the test of time’.

The book was published by Elk & Ruby. Please check out the website located here: https://www.elkandruby.com/

Remember the Homeless Chess Champion?

The Boy Is Now a Chess Master.

By Nicholas Kristof

May 8, 2021

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/05/10/opinion/sunday/10kristof-lead-inyt/merlin_152071254_9aa1e528-8d4a-4404-9318-e922394772ff-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp
Tanitoluwa Adewumi two years ago.Credit…Christopher Lee for The New York Times

Once upon a time a 7-year-old refugee living in a homeless shelter sat down at a chess board in school and learned how to play. His school then agreed to his mom’s plea to waive fees for him to join the chess club.

The boy wasn’t any good at first. His initial chess rating was 105, barely above the lowest possible rating, 100.

But the boy, Tanitoluwa Adewumi — better known as Tani — enjoyed chess as an escape from the chaos of the homeless shelter, and his skills progressed in stunning fashion. After little more than a year, at age 8, he won the New York State chess championship for his age group, beating well-coached children from rich private schools.

I wrote a couple of columns about Tani at that time, and readers responded by donating more than $250,000 to a GoFundMe campaign for Tani’s family, along with a year of free housing. It was heartwarming to see Tani running around the family’s new apartment, but I wondered: Is this kid really that good?

It turns out he is. This month, as a fifth grader, Tani cruised through an in-person tournament in Connecticut open to advanced players of all ages and won every game. He emerged with a chess rating of 2223, making him a national master.

At 10 years 7 months and 28 days, Tani became the 28th-youngest person ever to become a chess master in the United States, according to John Hartmann of U.S. Chess. Tani had one of the fastest rises, for he began playing chess only at the relatively late age of 7. And he’s aiming higher.

“I want to be the youngest grandmaster,” he told me. “I want to have it when I’m 11 or 12.” The youngest person ever to become a grandmaster, Sergey Karjakin, achieved that honor at 12 years 7 months.

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The Chess Playing Poet

Dennis Fritzinger

is the poet who plays Chess, and he plays it well enough to have won the championship of the Great State of California. Dennis lives in Berkeley, a city near and dear to the hearts of those of us who came of age in the 1960’s. It is the home of one of the great learning institutions, or was until Ronald Raygun became governor and did all he could to decimate one of the best universities in the USA. Republicans do not like independent thinking. Good thing the grand old party was not around in the time of George Washington or We The People would still be bowing to the Queen!

Dennis has written poetry for years, with many of his poems published in the Mechanics Institute Newsletter (https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/966). He has graciously sent a game he annotated and a poem to go along with it. First the poem:

Bobby Fischer

came into the tournament

hall wearing

a red suit.

My friend Sharon

said she saw

a silvery aura

around him.

He left in disgust

she said, because

of all the hubbub

he was causing.

I guess John

was more distracted

than even I was;

I won my game.

Dennis Fritzinger

The Game

1972 American Open, Los Angeles

FritzingerJohn Grefe, American Open 1972

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1 g3 g6 2 Bg2 Bg7 3 c4 e5 4 Nc3 d6 5 e3 Nc6 6 Nge2 h5 (A logical thrust) 7 h4 (The best reply) 7…Nh6 8 d4 (White must hurry to get this in or Black will play Nf5 and prevent it) 8…exd4 9 Nxd4 (White can also play exd4, but I wanted to exchange a knight) 9…Nxd4 10 exd4 Bg4 (The position is approximately equal) 11 Qd3 O-O 12 O-O Bf5 13 Qf3 c6 14 Qd1 (Now I could find no better move than this retreat) 14…Re8 (Black could play 14…Bg4 15 Qd3 Bf5 16 Qd1 and take a draw, but wants more) 15 Bg5 (What’s sauce for the goose…) 15…Qb6 16 Qd2 Ng4 17 Rad1 a5 18 b3 Nf6 19 Bf4 (Targeting the weak d-pawn) 19…Qb4 (Optimistic) 20 d5 Ng4 21 Ne2 cxd5 22 Bxd5 Qb6 23 Bxd6 Qxd6 (All goes as Black has foreseen…) 24 Bxf7+ Kxf7 25 Qxd6 Rxe2 (With three pieces for the queen, Black thought he had an advantage here) 26 Qd5+ Kf8 27 Rde1 (Not 27 Qxb7 Be4 when the Black pieces start to really coordinate) 27…Rae8 28 Rxe2 Rxe2 (In order to keep a rook on the 7th, Black decided to give up his a-pawn) 29 Qxa5 (White accepts) 29…Kg8 (Black wants to play Bd4 with unbearable pressure. Unfortunately he can’t do it yet because his king is exposed. If 29…Bd4 30 Qd8+ picks up the bishop) 30 Re1 Rxe1+ (If 30…Rxf2 31 Re8+ is nettlesome. But what the heck—surely 3 pieces are enough compensation considering White’s vulnerable f-pawn?) 31 Qxe1 Bd4 32 Qe8+ Kh7 33 Qe7+ Kh6 34 Qg5+ Kg7 35 Qe7+ Kh6 36 Kg2? (Better was Qxb7 since after 36…Nxf2 it’s harder for Black to coordinate his pieces) 36…Bxf2? (Returning the favor. Better was 36…Nxf2 and White can’t take the b-pawn due to Be4+) 37 Qxb7 (All’s well again for White) 37…Bd4 38 Qf3 (With a crude threat) 38…Be3 39 b4 (Giddy-up!) 39…Bd2 40 c5 (That check on f4 has been useful twice!) 40…Be3 41 c6 Bb6 42 Qf4+ Kg7 43 c7 (Another tiny little threat) 43…Ne3+ 44 Kh1 Bc8 (The bishops aren’t as effective at long distance) 45 Qe4 (Guarding the long diagonal and threatening Qa8 winning a piece. The c-pawn is indirectly defended due to the check on d7) 45…Nf5 46 Qc6 (Overlooking 46 Qa8! Nd6 47 Qc6 Bb7 48 Qxb7 Nxb7 49 c8(Q). Now the win becomes much harder) 46…Bf2 (Black is still breathing, but barely. Unfortunately he is powerless to stop the advance of the b-pawn) 47 b5 Ne7 48 Qe4 Nf5 49 Qe8 Bb7+ (49…Nd6 is met by 50 Qe5+ picking up the knight) 50 Kh2 Bxg3+ 51 Kh3 Nd6 52 Qd7+ (Finally winning a piece, since 52…Nf7 is met by 53 Kxg3, and after any other move first White checks (to avoid the knight fork) and then takes the bishop. 1-0

The following game proves my favorite move, Qe2, is not always a good move!

Bardjuzha, Vitaly (2148) vs Ajrapetjan, Yuriy (2384)
Event: UKR-chT
Site: Alushta Date: 04/20/2006
Round: 6 Score: 0-1
ECO: A25 English, closed system
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Qe2 Nge7 7.Rb1 a5 8.d3 O-O 9.h4 Be6 10.Nh3 h6 11.h5 d5 12.a3 g5 13.Bd2 f5 14.f4 g4 15.Nf2 exf4 16.gxf4 Bf7 17.Nb5 dxc4 18.dxc4 Nc8 19.Nxg4 fxg4 20.Qxg4 Bxc4 21.Bc3 Rf7 22.Be4 Qd7 23.Qg6 N8e7 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Bxg7+ Rxg7 26.Qxh6 Qg4 27.Qf6+ Kg8 28.Rh2 Qg1+ 29.Kd2 Rd8+ 30.Nd4 Qxh2+ 31.Kc3 Nxd4 32.h6 Ndf5 33.hxg7 Rd3+ 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3337318&m=12

The next game varies from the main game with 8…0-0

Pool, Wim vs Ikonnikov, Vyacheslav (2550)
Event: Haarlem AKN op
Site: Haarlem Date: 06/30/2000
Round: 2 Score: 0-1
ECO: A25 English, closed system
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 h5 7.h4 Nh6 8.d4 O-O 9.O-O Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.f3 Bd7 12.e4 Kh7 13.Kh2 f5 14.Bg5 Nf7 15.exf5 Nxg5 16.fxg6+ Nxg6 17.hxg5 Qxg5 18.Ne4 Qe7 19.Rh1 Bh6 20.Qd3 h4 21.g4 Kg7 22.Bh3 Nf4 23.Nxf4 Bxf4+ 24.Kg2 Be8 25.Raf1 Bg6 26.Rhg1 Bg3 27.Qe3 Rf4 28.b3 Bxe4 29.fxe4 Qf6 30.Rxf4 exf4 31.Qe2 f3+ 32.Qxf3 Qb2+ 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=616265&m=16

Dennis had a book published:

“Nuclear Family” by Dennis Fritzinger coming out soon!

By Haas School of Business
Posted on December 20, 2019

We are so excited to announce that our wonderful colleague and long-time mail room manager Dennis Fritzinger has a poetry-filled memoir coming out very soon. “Nuclear Family” is about growing up during the Cold War. Dennis tells us that we will get a poet’s-eye-view of those scary times when it seemed like a nuclear war could break out at any moment. “Since it’s a memoir, it’s circumference is my immediate family, with drop-ins by other relatives and bit players from time to time. Not to spoil the story, but the subject covers family matters even beyond the icy reach of the Cold War.

If you are interested in a copy of “Nuclear Family” please get in touch with Dennis.

Dennis Fritzinger receives the Haas Heart Award, Nov 6, 2013

Dennis Fritzinger receives the Haas Heart Award, Nov 6, 2013 on Vimeo

11.01.2006 – A ‘poet always on duty’ (berkeley.edu)

Poetry by Dennis Fritzinger (virginia.edu)

Warrior Poets Society – Warrior Poets (armedwithvisions.com)

A Place At The Campfire – Warrior Poets (armedwithvisions.com)

Dennis Fritzinger on Collected Poems of Nanao Sakaki – Warrior Poet Prose Warrior Poet Prose (armedwithvisions.com)

Poet

Sly And The Family Stone

My only weapon is my pen
And the frame of mind I’m in

I’m a songwriter
A poet
I’m a songwriter
A poet

And the things I flash on everyday
They all reflect in what I say

I’m a songwriter
I’m a poet
I’m a songwriter
Oh yeah, a poet

https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858725883/