American Abhimanyu Mishra Wins Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 Tournament To Become The Youngest Chess Grandmaster In History

IM Abhimanyu Mishra of the United States became the youngest International Master in history. Now the young boy has become the youngest International Grandmaster in history after taking first place in the Vezerkepzo GM Mix tournament in Budapest, Hungary. Abhimanyu defeated the GM Leon Luke Mendonca, rated 2549 in the penultimate round of the tournament to score his seventh point and according to the pairings for the last round at ( is not paired for the last round tomorrow, 7/1/21. Neither is Basak Souhardo, an untitled player from India rated 2382 going into the tournament, who will finish with 6 1/2 points. He can only be caught by Candidate Master Shahil Dey, rated 2434, also of India. CM Dey has 5 1/2 points and will be in charge of the white army against the player who lost to Abhimanyu Mishra today, GM Leon Luke Mendonca (2549), who has 5 points, and who is also from India.

What follows is how Mishra accomplished his mission:

In the opening round after white played his 28th move black looked to have the better position what with two bishops versus two knights and a dangerously advanced passed pawn thrust into the enemy position. Unfortunately, the FM played an extremely weak move completely giving the advantage to Mishra.

IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485) vs FM Agoston Juhasz (2362)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 01

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. Be2 b5 9. Qb3 c5 10. dxc5 Bb7 11. e5 Nfd7 12. Be3 e6 13. O-O Qc7 14. Rad1 Nxc5 15. Qa3 Ncd7 16. Qe7 Rc8 17. Ne4 Qd8 18. Qxd8+ Rxd8 19. Bg5 Rf8 20. Nd6 Bd5 21. Be7 Nc6 22. Bxf8 Nxf8 23. Ng5 Nxe5 24. f4 Nc4 25. Bxc4 bxc4 26. Ngxf7 Bxb2 27. Ne5 c3 28. Ndc4 Rb8 29. Rf2 Be4 30. Nd3 Bxd3 31. Rxd3 Rc8 32. Ne3 Rc5 33. Rc2 e5 34. Rd5 Ne6 35. Rxc5 Nxc5 36. Nd1 Nd3 37. Nxc3 exf4 38. Rd2 Bxc3 39. Rxd3 Bb4 40. Kf1 g5 41. Rd7 a5 42. Ke2 g4 43. Rd4 f3+ 44. gxf3 gxf3+ 45. Kxf3 1-0

In round two Mishra asserted his dominance before the opening was over and pounded his oppenent into submission:

GM Zlatko Ilincic (2383)

vs IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 02

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bd3 dxc4 6. Bxc4 Nbd7 7. O-O Bd6 8. a4 O-O 9. Nbd2 b6 10. Bd3 c5 11. Nc4 Be7 12. e4 Ba6 13. e5 Nd5 14. Ne3 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 Nf4 16. Qe4 Ne2+ 17. Kh1 Nxd4 18. Nxd4 cxd4 19. Qxd4 Nc5 20. Qc4 Rc8 21. Rd1 Qc7 22. f4 Rfd8 23. Rd2 Nd3 24. Qxd3 Rxd3 25. Rxd3 Rd8 26. Rxd8+ Qxd8 27. Kg1 Qd3 28. Kf2 a5 29. Kf3 Bc5 30. h4 h5 31. g3 Kh7 32. Kf2 Kg6 33. Kf3 f6 34. exf6 gxf6 35. b4 axb4 36. a5 Bd4 37. Ra4 Bxe3 0-1

The third round saw the untitled player produce a solid game and a draw was agreed.

Basak Souhardo (2382) vs IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 03

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. dxc5 Nf6 6. Ngf3 Qxc5 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. O-O Be7 9. a4 O-O 10. a5 Qc7 11. Nb3 Nc5 12. Nxc5 Bxc5 13. Bg5 Bd7 14. Qe2 Nd5 15. Ne5 Bd6 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. Be4 Qc7 18. g3 h6 19. Bd2 Rac8 20. Ra4 Nf6 21. Bc3 Nxe4 22. Rxe4 Rfd8 23. Rg4 e5 24. Rd1 f6 25. Rd5 Bf8 26. Rxd8 Rxd8 27. Qc4+ Qf7 28. Qxf7+ Kxf7 29. Rc4 Bd6 30. Kf1 Ke6 31. Ke2 h5 32. Bb4 g5 ½-½

In the fourth round Mishra played an unusual move in the D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3 variation when he played 4 Qb3. Although the ChessBaseDataBase shows 4 Nc3; e3;Qc2; and 4 cxd5 as having been played more frequently, it also shows the move scoring higher, at 60%, than any other move, and against higher rated ELO opposition of 2489. I believe something was mentioned about this move in an earlier post on this blog ( Mishra simply outplayed Candidate Master Shahil.

IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485) vs CM Dey Shahil (2434)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 04

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bf5 6. g3 e6 7. Bg2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Nbd2 Nbd7 10. Qb3 Qb6 11. Nc4 Qa6 12. Bf4 Nd5 13. Bd6 Be4 14. Bxe7 Nxe7 15. Nd6 Bd5 16. Qc2 Nc8 17. Ng5 Nf6 18. Nde4 Nxe4 19. Bxe4 Bxe4 20. Qxe4 g6 21. e3 h6 22. Nf3 Qb5 23. Ne5 Ne7 24. Qf4 Nf5 25. a4 Qa5 26. g4 g5 27. Qf3 Nh4 28. Qf6 Qd5 29. f3 Kh7 30. Nxf7 Ng6 31. e4 Qb3 32. f4 Qe3+ 33. Rf2 gxf4 34. Ra3 Qe1+ 35. Rf1 Qh4 36. Qxh4 Nxh4 37. Rxf4 Kg7 38. g5 hxg5 39. Nxg5 Rxf4 40. Nxe6+ Kf6 41. Nxf4 Kg5 42. Ne2 Re8 43. Rg3+ Kf6 44. Rg4 Nf3+ 45. Kf2 Nd2 46. e5+ Ke6 47. Ke3 Nc4+ 48. Ke4 Nd2+ 49. Kd3 Nf3 50. Rg7 c5 51. Nf4+ Kf5 52. Rf7+ Kg4 53. Nd5 1-0

In round five Mishra faced a young girl from Hungary, born in 2007. Zsoka has a “WFM” title. I have no idea what is the difference between a “WFM” and a “FM” or if there is a difference. There must be a difference or else the women would be up in arms about the “W” being attached before the “FM.” Then if there is a difference, why are the women not up in arms about being considered inferior to male players? Just asking…

Mishra was now tied for first/second with the untitled Basak Souhardo, both with 3 1/2 points.

After twenty six moves Mishra, playing black, had some advantage, because of his advanced passed pawn. Still, the position might have been defended, especially if the young girl had not failed to protect the b-pawn with her 27th move. From there the ground came up fast after letting go of the rope…

WFM Zsoka Gaal (2233)

vs IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 05

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O O-O 5. d4 d5 6. c4 c6 7. Qb3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 Bf5 9. Nc3 Nbd7 10. Bf4 Qb6 11. Qb3 Qxb3 12. axb3 Be6 13. b4 a6 14. Na4 Nd5 15. Bd2 Bg4 16. e3 e5 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Bxe5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Bc3 Bxc3 21. bxc3 Bf3 22. Nc5 Rfc8 23. Nxb7 d4 24. Nc5 dxc3 25. Nb3 Rab8 26. Nd4 Be4 27. Rfc1 Rxb4 28. Rxa6 Rb1 29. Ra1 c2 30. Ne2 Rxa1 31. Rxa1 Bf3 32. Nc1 Rd8 0-1

After the win, Mishra was now crusing, a full point ahead of the field.

This was a strange game and I do not know what to write about it other than that there were some strange moves made after both players castled. I was watching this game in “real time” and assumed there had been some malfunction after seeing white’s thirteenth move made on screen. Then I recalled something written by Grant Oen of the Charlotte Chess Club and Scholastic Center in an email response to a post (

“Regarding the Vincent Tsay game, the DGT broadcast occasionally catches moves that players analyze after the game is finished if the broadcast is not stopped at the right time. This is tough when the players make moves after the game before “setting the kings.”

ChessBomb did not pick up the correction because that site is outdated and no longer fully functional after being purchased and rebranded to Almost no one still uses ChessBomb.”

I thought maybe GM Nagy had possibly offered a draw and young Mr. Mishra had moved his king to the middle of the board, but just to be sure I went to Chess24 and, lo & behold, it, too, showed 13 Qb3 having been played. 13 Qb3 is shown in dark red at ChessBomb, meaning it is a blunder. Numerically speaking, white went from being +0.77 to – 0.59. I can understand the boy offering the draw, but why did GM Nagy accept the proffered draw? The time has come to eradicate all draw offers.

IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485) vs GM Gabor Nagy (2529)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 06

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bf4 dxc4 6. e3 Nd5 7. Bxc4 Nxf4 8. exf4 Bd6 9. Ne5 O-O 10. O-O a6 11. Qf3 Rb8 12. a4 c5 13. Qd3 ½-½

After that game Mishra must have been

After the short draw Mishra was still 1/2 point ahead of Basak Souhardo. The seventh round game was the most interesting of the event, as it was a back and forth battle until Mishra blundered with his fortieth “Big Red” move, and as these things go, he continued to light up the board while going down in flames…

IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485) vs GM Milan Pacher (2406)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bf4 dxc4 6. e3 a6 7. a4 Bd6 8. Bxd6 cxd6 9. Bxc4 O-O 10. O-O b6 11. d5 e5 12. Nd2 Ne8 13. Rc1 f5 14. f4 g5 15. g3 Ng7 16. Kh1 Kh8 17. Nf3 g4 18. Ne1 exf4 19. exf4 Bb7 20. Nc2 Rc8 21. b3 Rc5 22. Qd3 Qf6 23. Rfe1 Rfc8 24. Ne3 h5 25. Rc2 R5c7 26. Rec1 Nc5 27. Qd2 Re7 28. b4 Nce6 29. Ne2 Rce8 30. Ng2 Nc7 31. Nc3 a5 32. b5 h4 33. gxh4 Nh5 34. Rd1 g3 35. Qd4 gxh2 36. Kxh2 Rg7 37. Qxf6 Nxf6 38. Rd3 Reg8 39. Re2 Ne6 40. Rxe6 Rxg2+ 41. Kh3 Rg1 42. Re2 Nh5 43. Kh2 Nxf4 44. Rf3 R1g4 45. Rxf4 Rxf4 46. Re3 Rxc4 47. Kh3 f4 48. Rf3 Bc8+ 49. Kh2 Rg3 50. Rxf4 Rh3+ 0-1 the loss Mishra dropped to second place with 5 points, tied for second/third with GM Milan Pacher. The untitled Indian was on top with 5 1/2 points. It was crisis time in the Mishra camp. Things could have been much worse if GM Gabor Nagy had shown some cojones and fought on like a man in lieu of accepting the draw offer in round six…
  2. But it was Mishra’s good fortune to be paired with only an FIDE Master in the next round…FM Bence Leszko is from Hungary and his handle at is, “Tooweak2slow.” What else do you need to know? Actually, Bence played a fine game up until having a brain cramp in an even position on move 34. Unfortunately, the cramp turned into a seizure on the next move and it was all over even thought the spasms lasted for several more agonizing moves…

FM Bence Leszko (2311)


vs IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 08

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. h4 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 f6 8. h5 g5 9. e4 e5 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Nh2 Nc5 12. f3 Be6 13. Kc2 a5 14. Bxc5 Bxc5 15. Ng4 Ke7 16. b3 c6 17. Bc4 Bd7 18. a4 Rhc8 19. Rad1 Rc7 20. Nh6 Kf8 21. Ng4 Be7 22. Ne3 Rb8 23. Rd2 b5 24. Rhd1 Be8 25. Be6 Bxh5 26. Rd7 Rbb7 27. Rxc7 Rxc7 28. Rd7 Rxd7 29. Bxd7 Bc5 30. Ng4 bxa4 31. bxa4 Ke7 32. Bxc6 Bf7 33. Nh6 Bc4 34. Bd5 Bf1 35. g3 Bg2 36. Ng8+ Kd8 37. Nxf6 Bxf3 38. Nxh7 Be7 39. c4 Bh5 40. Kd3 Bg6 41. Bg8 Kc7 42. c5 Kc6 43. Kc4 Bxe4 44. Nxg5 Bxg5 45. Bf7 Kc7 46. Bd5 Bxd5+ 47. Kxd5 e4 48. Kxe4 Kc6 49. Kd4 Bf6+ 50. Kc4 Be5 0-1

Now the good ship Mishra had been righted, the leak plugged and the water bailed out and cast overboard. He was again tied for the lead with Basak Souhardo. Mishra was now paired with GM Leon Luke Mendonca, rated 2549 and tied for 3rd/5th, a point behind the two leaders with 5 points.

This was a hard fought, and well played game up to a point. Mishra was better until he made a weak 36th move, and again on move 38. After 47 moves white was a clear pawn up with the better position. What happened next you must see for yourself; I will make no comment. Certainly much will be written about last moves of the game by those who were on the scene.

GM Leon Luke Mendonca (2549)

vs IM Abhimanyu Mishra (2485)

Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 round 09

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Rc1 c5 7. dxc5 Be6 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. Be2 Qa5 10. Ng5 Nd8 11. Bg3 dxc4 12. Nxe6 Nxe6 13. Qa4 Qxc5 14. Bxc4 Qb6 15. Qb3 Qxb3 16. Bxb3 Nc5 17. Ke2 Nxb3 18. axb3 Rfd8 19. Rhd1 Ne8 20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rd1 Rxd1 22. Kxd1 Nf6 23. Kc2 Nd7 24. b4 f5 25. Nb5 a6 26. Nc7 Kf7 27. b5 a5 28. Nd5 Nc5 29. Bc7 a4 30. f3 Ke6 31. Nc3 Bxc3 32. Kxc3 Kd5 33. Bd8 e5 34. Be7 Nb3 35. h3 e4 36. fxe4+ fxe4 37. Kb4 Nd2 38. Bf6 h5 39. Kxa4 Kc4 40. Ka5 Nb3+ 41. Kb6 Nc5 42. Bd4 Nb3 43. Bf6 Kb4 44. Kxb7 Kxb5 45. Kc7 Kc4 46. Kd6 Kd3 47. Bg5 Nd2 48. Ke5 Nf3+ 49. gxf3 exf3 50. Bh4 g5 51. Bf2 Ke2 52. b4 Kxf2 53. b5 Kxe3 54. b6 f2 55. b7 f1=Q 0-1

DRASTIC Investigation Finds Wuhan Labs a DISASTER ZONE

Crumbling sewers, no PPE, & filthy cages – Inside ‘chaotic & crowded’ Wuhan labs which may have unleashed Covid

By Imogen Braddick

Jun 28 2021

A bombshell study in the U.S. Sun ( found grotty sewage systems were potentially contaminating canals with toxic waste from the labs, university students failed to wear lab coats or eye protection, and facilities were slammed as “chaotic and crowded”.

WITH crumbling sewers and filthy animal cages, these are the shoddy conditions of labs in Wuhan which could have unleashed Covid.

Billy Bostickson, an anonymous researcher from DRASTIC, an international team of scientists and sleuths attempting to fill in the gaps on Covid’s origins, and Yvette Ghannam, from Walden University, compiled a damning 60-page report on the labs. (

What the DRASTIC investigation found:

Labs at Wuhan University were filled with “lots of debris.”
Students did not wear lab coats or eye protection.
There were no chemical waste facilities.
The “experiment” areas were not separated from the common areas.
Inspectors described the university lab as “crowded and chaotic.”
Sewage and drainage systems were damaged and old at the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
Documents show how waste was “potentially contaminating local canals and creeks.”
The animal experimentation centre at the Wuhan Institute of Virology contains 3,268 cages of live animals, including 12 ferret cages and 12 bat cages.

Researchers have uncovered a number of unnerving biosafety hazards at the WIV, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and Wuhan University.

And they say suspicion does need to be just on WIV – but potentially all the labs in Wuhan need to come under scrutiny in the hunt for Covid’s origins.

And now a detailed examination of a host of other labs in Wuhan which carry out coronavirus research on bats has revealed a catalogue of shocking errors.

The concerning report, uncovered and quoted by the researchers, said there were no chemical waste facilities, and the “experiment” areas were not separated from the common areas, leading to potential contamination.

It left the labs in a “crowded and chaotic” state, inspectors said.

Bostickson and Ghannam confirmed the errors “support the possibility of a lab leak” of Covid, “either via an experimental animal or an infected researcher at one of the Wuhan University laboratories”.

And the authors noted another disturbing finding at the nearby Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been at the centre of the probe into the Covid origins

During their investigation into the facility, they found its sewage and drainage systems were damaged and old, “potentially contaminating local canals and creeks”.

A tender from China Testing Network in 2019 said: “Some of the equipment and facilities are old, and the instrumentation and control functions in the station have been damaged, which has greatly affected the normal operation.”

Researchers also revealed the whopping size of the animal experimentation centre at the WIV, where suspicions have grown over the origins of the pandemic.

Built in 1996, the 1,216 m2 facility contains 3,268 cages of live animals, including 12 ferret cages and 12 bat cages.

At least three laboratories were actively involved in studies of bat coronaviruses and/or bat sampling activities without the use of proper PPE in the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bostickson and Ghannam said.

“These three laboratories are thus considered potential sources for accidental leaks whether within the laboratory or during field sampling expeditions.”

What was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory has gained traction to the extent that President Joe Biden has ordered US spies to investigate.

China’s stonewalling pushed Biden to reveal latest intel probe of Covid origins
China’s stonewalling pushed Biden to reveal latest intel probe of Covid origins (

British intelligence has also reportedly assessed the lab leak theory and upgraded its likeliness from “remote” to “feasible”.

China blasts Joe Biden's call to determine origins of ...
China blasts Joe Biden’s call to determine origins of covid (

Speaking to The Sun Online, Bostickson said the study provides more circumstantial evidence of a lab leak, but “nothing concrete”.

“We need more whistleblowers, more internal documents, we need [Peter] Daszak and others to be subpoenaed and questioned,” he said.

Daszak is the head of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based non-profit organisation, which used grants from the National Institutes of Health in the US to fund controversial gain-of-function research in Wuhan.

Asked whether a lab leak could have been accidental or intentional, Bostickson said:” I don’t think [it was] deliberate but you never know.”

Gilles Demaneuf, a data analyst from DRASTIC, told The Sun Online the WIV is a “good contender” for the source of the lab leak – but it could have emerged from one of a number of labs in Wuhan.

“DRASTIC never only focused on WIV… we started by reviewing all labs involved in bat coronavirus research, including the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products next door,” he said.

The campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan

Richard H Ebright, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, also said staff working on projects around bat SARS-related coronaviruses at the WIV were poorly protected and there was a lax approach to biosecurity.

He said they used “personal protective equipment, usually just gloves; sometimes not even gloves” and safety standards “were usually just Biosafety level 2”.

Professor Ebright said “that would pose a high risk of infection of field-collection, field-survey, or laboratory staff upon contact with a virus having the transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2”.

He is one of the growing number of scientists who have said the lab leak theory needs to be fully examined, telling The Sun Online he has an open mind about whether Covid could have been transmitted to humans via animals.

He said there is “circumstantial evidence” which is “noteworthy”.

Professor Ebright said that the Wuhan Institute of Virology “has the world’s largest collection of horseshoe-bat viruses, and that possessed and worked with the world’s closest published relative of” Covid.

And he said the behaviour of the Chinese has also raised suspicion, in particular refusal to allow World Health Organisation investigators full access.

“A nation or an institution seeking to its clear name immediately would open the books, open the databases, and open the freezers,” he said.

“A nation or an institution seeking to hide culpability would not.

“The actions of China and the Wuhan Institute of Virology over the last eighteen months have matched the actions of a nation and institution seeking to hide culpability.”

America v China: RAP BATTLE
The Chinese part of the America vs China Rap Battle

Rare Bird

Although rare to see the Bird opening played these daze we were treated to two demonstrations of the Bird in action at the recently completed Las Vegas National Open in Lost Wages, Nevada. The first game was played in the first round between IM Tim Taylor, who was born in 1953

in the USA and GM Aram Hakobyan, born in 2001, from Armenia.

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 01

  1. f4 Nh6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 g6 4. Be2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 c5 7. e4 Nc6 8. c3 b5 9. Qb3 dxe4 10. dxe4 Rb8 11. Qd5 Qb6 12. Be3 Ng4 13. Bxc5 Qc7 14. g3 Nf6 15. Qd3 Ne5 16. fxe5 Qxc5+ 17. Qd4 Nxe4 18. Nbd2 Qxd4+ 19. cxd4 Nxd2 20. Nxd2 Bh6 21. Nb3 Bh3 22. Rfd1 f6 23. Rd3 Bf5 24. Rc3 fxe5 25. dxe5 Be4 26. Nc5 b4 27. Rb3 Bc6 28. Ne6 Rfc8 29. Ba6 Bb7 30. Bxb7 Rxb7 31. a3 Kf7 32. Nf4 Bxf4 33. Rf1 Rc1 34. gxf4 Rxf1+ 35. Kxf1 Ke6 36. Ke2 a5 37. Ke3 bxa3 38. Rxa3 Rxb2 39. Rxa5 Rxh2 40. Ke4 Re2+ 41. Kf3 Rb2 42. Ra8 Rb3+ 43. Ke4 Rg3 44. Ra6+ Kf7 45. f5 Rg4+ 46. Kf3 gxf5 47. Rh6 Re4 48. Rxh7+ Ke6 0-1

1. f4 Nh6 (Not to be out done by the wily grizzled ol’ veteran, the young GM answers the rare Bird opening by moving his knight to the rim where is is grim and dim. The young GM seems to be saying, “I’ll up your rare Bird with outta book and into the street, sir!” This move is so rare it is shown only having been played in 33 games at the ChessBaseDataBase) 2. Nf3 (Stockfish plays 2 e4, and so should you) 2…d5 3. e3 (The Fish plays 3 d4. GM Henrik ‘Polar Bear’ Danielsen once played 3 c3. See game below) 3…g6 (SF prefers 3…c5, which would be a Theoritical Novelty, so if you want your name in the databases and anthologies, what’cha waiting for?!) 4. Be2 Bg7 5. O-O (TN Previously played was 5 d3. See Stantic vs Petrekanovic, below)

Dragan Stantic (1934) vs Miroslav Petrekanovic (2078)
Event: Subotica-ch op
Site: Subotica Date: 03/02/2007
Round: 6 Score: 0-1
ECO: A03 Bird’s opening

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nh6 3.e3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.d3 Nf5 6.O-O O-O 7.Qe1 c6 8.Nc3 Qb6 9.Nd1 Nd6 10.Kh1 Nd7 11.Qh4 e5 12.fxe5 Nxe5 13.e4 dxe4 14.dxe4 Nxf3 15.Bxf3 Re8 16.Nf2 Qb5 17.Bf4 Nc4 18.Be2 Bxb2 19.Rab1 Qa4 20.Rxb2 Nxb2 21.Qf6 Qa5 22.Qxb2 Qc5 23.Ng4 Bxg4 24.Bxg4 Qc4 25.Kg1 Rxe4 26.Qf6 Qc5+ 27.Kh1 Qf2 28.Qa1 Qd4 29.Qxd4 Rxd4 30.Be2 Ra4 31.Bh6 Re8 32.Bd3 b5 33.Ra1 Rxa2 34.Rf1 a5 35.h4 a4 36.Rf4 a3 37.h5 Ra1+ 38.Kh2 a2 39.hxg6 hxg6 40.Bg5 Rh1+ 41.Kxh1 a1=Q+ 42.Kh2 Qe5 0-1

IM Lawrence Trent (2391) vs Yasin Chennaoui (2050)
Event: IoM Masters
Site: Douglas ENG Date: 10/23/2018
Round: 4.67 Score: ½-½
ECO: A02 Bird’s opening

1.f4 Nh6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Be2 c5 5.c4 Nc6 6.Nc3 e6 7.O-O d5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Qb3 c4 10.Qb5 Bxc3 11.bxc3 O-O 12.Ba3 Re8 13.Bc5 a6 14.Qb2 b5 15.a4 Rb8 16.Qa3 Bf5 17.axb5 axb5 18.Nd4 Nxd4 19.Bxd4 Be4 20.Qc5 Nf5 21.Be5 Qb6 22.Qxb6 Rxb6 23.Ra7 f6 24.Bc7 Rc6 25.Rfa1 d4 26.exd4 Bxg2 27.Bg4 Bd5 28.Ra8 Re6 29.Rxe8+ Rxe8 30.Rb1 Bc6 31.d5 Bxd5 32.Rxb5 Be4 33.Kf2 Re7 34.Rc5 Bd3 35.Rc6 Rd7 36.Bb6 Be4 37.Rc8+ Kf7 38.Bd4 Bd5 39.Rh8 Kg7 40.Rb8 Be6 41.Bxf5 Bxf5 42.Rb6 Rf7 43.Rd6 h6 44.h4 Rf8 45.Rc6 Bd3 46.Re6 Rf7 47.Rc6 Rf8 48.Kg3 Rf7 49.Ra6 Rf8 50.Kf3 Bf5 51.Rd6 Rf7 52.Ke2 Bd3+ 53.Kd1 Rf8 54.Rb6 Ra8 55.Ke1 Re8+ 56.Kd1 Ra8 57.Ke1 Re8+ 58.Kf2 Rf8 59.Rc6 Rf7 60.Rd6 Rf8 61.Rc6 Rf7 62.Rd6 Rf8 63.Bc5 Re8 64.Rd7+ Kg8 65.Be3 Bf5 66.Rc7 Rc8 67.Re7 Rf8 68.Rc7 Rc8 69.Ra7 Rf8 70.Bc5 Rf7 71.Ra8+ Kg7 72.Kg2 Rd7 73.Bd4 Rb7 74.Ra6 Rf7 ½-½

GM Danielsen was previously featured on this blog because he has literally written the book(s) on playing 1 f4, ( which he has named the

GM Henrik Danielsen (2504) vs GM Michael Richter (2396)
Event: BL2-Nord 0203
Site: Germany Date: 01/26/2003
Round: 5.1
ECO: A03 Bird’s opening

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nh6 3.c3 g6 4.g3 Nf5 5.d3 Nc6 6.e4 dxe4 7.dxe4 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Nd6 9.e5 Bg4 10.Be2 Nf5 11.Ng5 h5 12.Na3 f6 13.Ne6 Kf7 14.Nxc7 Rc8 15.e6+ Kg8 16.Nd5 Rd8 17.c4 Ncd4 18.Bxg4 hxg4 19.Bd2 Nxg3 20.Rg1 Ne4 21.Be3 Nxe6 22.Rxg4 Rxh2 23.Ke1 Kf7 24.Rb1 f5 25.Rg1 Bg7 26.Nb5 Bxb2 27.Nxa7 Nd4 28.Kf1 Nf3 29.Rg2 Nfd2+ 30.Bxd2 Nxd2+ 31.Rxd2 Rxd2 32.Nb5 Rh8 33.Kg1 Rdh2 34.Rf1 Rh1+ 35.Kg2 R8h2+ 36.Kg3 Rxf1 37.Kxh2 Rc1 38.Nb6 e5 39.fxe5 Bxe5+ 40.Kg2 Rc2+ 41.Kf3 g5 42.Nd7 g4+ 43.Ke3 Bh2 44.Nd4 Bg1+ 45.Kd3 Bxd4 0-1

GM Titas Stremavicius (2469/2551)

IM Titas Stremavicius

vs IM Josiah Stearman (2364/467)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 09

  1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. O-O Bg7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Qe1 d4 8. c4 O-O 9. Na3 Qc7 10. Nc2 a5 11. h3 Nh5 12. a3 f5 13. e3 e5 14. exd4 cxd4 15. fxe5 Nxe5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Bd5+ Kg7 18. Qf2 Nxg3 19. Re1 f4 20. Nxd4 Bd7 21. Bd2 Rae8 22. Nf3 Bf6 23. Rxe8 Rxe8 24. Re1 Rxe1+ 25. Nxe1 Qe5 26. Bf3 Nf5 27. Qb6 Qxb2 28. Qxb2 Bxb2 29. Bxb7 Bxa3 30. Bxa5 Bc5+ 31. Kh2 Kf6 32. Nf3 Nd6 33. Ba8 Be3 34. Bc3+ Ke7 35. Bb4 Bf5 36. d4 Kd7 37. Bd5 Nc8 38. Ne5+ Kc7 39. Ba5+ Kd6 40. Bb4+ Kc7 41. Ba5+ Kd6 42. Bc3 Nb6 43. Bf3 Na4 44. Ba1 Bd2 45. Kg2 Bc3 46. Bxc3 Nxc3 47. h4 Ne4 48. Nd3 Nd2 49. c5+ Kc7 50. Nxf4 Nb3 51. Ne2 Bd3 52. Nf4 Bf5 53. Ne2 Bd3 54. Bd5 Nxc5 55. Nf4 Be4+ 56. Kg3 Bxd5 57. Nxd5+ Kd6 58. Nf6 Ne6 ½-½
  1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 (It is interesting that although SF 13 @Depth 52 favors this, the most often played, move, SF 190321 @Depth57, and Komodo13.02 @Depth 43, both play 2 d3) 2…c5 (SF plays 2…Nf6) 3. g3 (SF plays 3 e3) 3…Nc6 (SF 12 @Depth 43 plays the game move, but Komodo 14 @Depth 43 likes 3…Nf6) 4. Bg2 g6 (SF 4…e6; Komodo 4…Nc6, the most often played move) 5. O-O Bg7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Qe1 (Stockfish 12 @Depth 58 plays 7 Nc3) 7…d4 8. c4 O-O 9. Na3 Qc7 (TN! See below for the previous move of 9…Re8)

Ikrom Ilhomzoda vs Ravshan Khamroev (2076)

Event: Asia-ch U16
Site: Tashkent Date: 07/01/2007
Round: 4
ECO: A03 Bird’s opening

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 c5 5.O-O Nc6 6.d3 Nf6 7.Qe1 d4 8.c4 O-O 9.Na3 Re8 10.h3 Rb8 11.Qf2 Bd7 12.Ne5 Qc8 13.g4 Rf8 14.Nxd7 Qxd7 15.f5 Rbe8 16.Nc2 h6 17.Bd2 e6 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Qg3 e5 20.g5 hxg5 21.Bxg5 Nh5 22.Qh4 Nd8 23.Be4 Nf4 24.Bxf4 Rxf4 25.Rxf4 exf4 26.Bd5+ Ne6 27.Rf1 Be5 28.Qg5 Qg7 29.Ne1 b6 30.Nf3 Bc7 31.Qg4 Kf8 32.Bxe6 Qf6 33.Ng5 Kg7 34.Bd5 Re3 35.Qd7+ Re7 36.Qg4 Re3 37.Bf3 Re5 38.h4 Re8 39.Be4 Bd6 40.Rf2 Rh8 41.Rg2 Rh6 42.h5 f3 43.Nxf3 Bf4 44.Bxg6 Be3+ 45.Kf1 Kf8 46.Be4 a5 47.Qg8+ Ke7 48.Rg7+ Kd6 1-0

The China Virus

I spent my morning reading a ONE MILLION word article in the New Your Times concerning the origin of the Covid pandemic, or as former POTUS Donald J. Trumpster called it, the “China” virus.

After spending over a quarter of and hour reading the massively worded Op-Ed by Zeynep Tufekci, this is what was gleaned: “With so much evidence withheld, it’s hard to say anything about Covid-19’s origins with certainty, and even a genuine investigation would face challenges. Some outbreaks have never been traced to their origin.”


While reading I recalled hearing something the comedian, Jon Stewart, said recently concerning the origin of the pandemic, so I let my fingers do some punch’ & pokin’ research, finding a film of about 8 minutes, which, if I know my readers, they will be far more likely to watch than read the lengthy article.

IM Arthur Guo Wins National Open!

Congratulations to the future Grandmaster Arthur Guo for his magnificent performance in winning the National Open out in Lost Wages, Nevada! Arthur, “You Da Man!”

In the first round of the recently completed 2021 National Open 15 year old IM Arthur Guo,

from Georgia, the state, not the country, bested the 2211 (1983 FIDE) USCF rated master Alex Wang of California. In the second round he scored his second point by beating Sridhar Seshadri, a class B player from the state of Washington, who had received a full point bye in the first round.

This brings us to the extremely well played third round game. Knowing nothing other than the title and rating of the players most would have thought the Grandmaster had been the player in charge of the white army. The Russian GM, Vladimir Belous,

Vladimir Belous (photo David Hater)

who finished with six points, winning chump change ($179), let go of the rope with his 31st move but the outcome was not in doubt as young Arthur had put the Grandmasterly squeeze on the Grandmaster.

IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs GM Vladimir Belous (2502/2614)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 03

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nxd4 7. Qxd4 d6 8. Be3 Bg7 9. f3 O-O 10. Qd2 Be6 11. Rc1 Qa5 12. Be2 Rfc8 13. b3 a6 14. Na4 Qxd2+ 15. Kxd2 Nd7 16. g4 Rcb8 17. Nc3 Kf8 18. h4 b5 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. cxd5 b4 21. Rc7 Ke8 22. f4 a5 23. Ba7 Rc8 24. Rxc8+ Rxc8 25. Bb5 Rc7 26. Be3 e6 27. Rc1 Rxc1 28. Kxc1 exd5 29. exd5 Ke7 30. Bxd7 Kxd7 31. Bb6 a4 32. bxa4 h5 33. gxh5 gxh5 34. a5 Bc3 35. a6 Kc8 36. Bf2 1-0

In a new article dated 6/22/21 at Chessbase (, André Schulz writes, “…the former FIDE Vice World Champion Vladimir Akopian, who lost here in Las Vegas in 1999 to Alexander Khalifman in the final of the FIDE Knockout World Championship…” I had forgotten about that abomination hosted by FIDE, which only resulted in even more egg on the face of the face of world Chess which is FIDE. The less said about that sordid time in the history of Chess the better.
GM Akopian

also finished with six points, with chump change also going into his pocket.

According to the Stockfish program at Arthur’s 10th move, Rc8, was not best. His opponent followed with a move regular readers know I am loathe to admit was weak, 11 Qe2?! The exclam is because, well, you know, the Queen went to e2! Nevertheless, Vlad the Vice had returned the favor, reaching this position:

After 11 Qe2

Much later a critical and instructive position was reached in the endgame:

Black to make his 53rd move

Vladimir Akopian (2638/2734) vs Arthur Guo (2359/2447)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 04

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Bc4 Be6 9. Bb3 Nbd7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qe2 Nc5 12. Bg5 Nxb3 13. axb3 O-O 14. Rfd1 Ng4 15. Bxe7 Qxe7 16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. Rxd5 Nf6 18. Rd3 Qc7 19. c4 b5 20. Nd2 Qb6 21. Qe3 Qxe3 22. Rxe3 Rc6 23. Rc3 b4 24. Re3 Nd7 25. Nf3 Nc5 26. Ne1 Rb6 27. g3 g6 28. Kf1 Kg7 29. Ke2 f5 30. exf5 gxf5 31. f4 exf4 32. gxf4 Rbb8 33. Nd3 Rfe8 34. Nxc5 dxc5 35. Rxa6 Rxe3+ 36. Kxe3 Re8+ 37. Kd3 Rd8+ 38. Kc2 Rd4 39. Rc6 Rxf4 40. Rxc5 Rf2+ 41. Kd3 Rxb2 42. Rxf5 Rxb3+ 43. Kd4 Rb2 44. h3 Rd2+ 45. Kc5 b3 46. Rf3 b2 47. Rb3 Rc2 48. Kd5 Rc3 49. Rxb2 Rxh3 50. c5 Rc3 51. c6 h5 52. Kd6 Kf6 53. Rb5 Rd3+ 54. Kc7 h4 55. Kb8 h3 56. c7 h2 57. c8=Q h1=Q 58. Rf5+ Ke7 59. Re5+ 1-0

IM Zurabi Javakhadze,

IM Zurabi Javakhadze Wins State Championship

originally from the country of Georgia, won the Texas state championship in 2017, tied for first in 2018, and again won in 2020. The IM played what appeared to be a natural move, preventing encroachment at d7, but it was not a move of which Charley Hertan would approve!

Zurabi should have played 37…Bb6, which is the most forcing move on the board. It was all down hill from there…

Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs IM Zurabi Javakhadze (2462/2555)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 05

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. Bd2 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. a3 Nb8 11. Nc3 Nbd7 12. Re1 c6 13. Ne2 Re8 14. Ng3 Bf8 15. Ba2 d5 16. d4 c5 17. dxe5 dxe4 18. Bxf7+ Kxf7 19. Ng5+ Kg8 20. exf6 Nxf6 21. Bc3 Qb6 22. Bxf6 Qxf6 23. Qg4 e3 24. Rxe3 Rxe3 25. fxe3 Re8 26. Qh5 Qg6 27. Qxg6 hxg6 28. Kf2 Be7 29. Nf3 Bf6 30. c3 Kf7 31. Rd1 Ke6 32. e4 Bd8 33. e5 Bc7 34. Ng5+ Ke7 35. N3e4 Rf8+ 36. Kg1 Rf5 37. Nxc5 Bc6 38. Nge6 Bxe5 39. Nd8 Ba8 40. Rd7+ Ke8 41. Nde6 Bc6 42. Rxg7 Bd6 43. Nxa6 Be7 44. Nd4 Rf6 45. Nc7+ Kf8 46. Nce6+ 1-0

The sixth round was a turning point for young Mr. Guo when he met “Planet Timur.” I had an encounter with the man from “off-world” some years ago and wrote a blog post, GM Timur Gareyev Lost In Space, about the encounter. (

The game was innocuous until things started to get interesting after Arthur made his questionable 16th move, Qxd3, in lieu of the more normal, and better, 16 exf6. Timur went off planet with his response; off world with his 18th move; before completely letting go of the rope and began drifting hopelessly, Lost in Space…

Timur Gareyev saltó desde los cielos con un tablero de ajedrez. Foto: Captura de Pantalla
Ajedrez al extremo: GM Timur Gareyev en los cielos (

IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs GM Timur Gareyev (2602/2692)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 06

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nbd2 Rb8 10. Nf1 b5 11. Bc2 h6 12. Ng3 Re8 13. h3 d5 14. d4 exd4 15. e5 d3 16. Qxd3 Ne4 17. Nxe4 Bf5 18. Qf1 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Rd1 Bg7 21. f3 b4 22. c4 c6 23. cxd5 cxd5 24. Bb3 Qb6+ 25. Nf2 Rbd8 26. Kh1 Bd7 27. Ng4 Bb5 28. Qg1 Qxg1+ 29. Kxg1 h5 30. Nf2 Re2 31. Bg5 Rde8 32. Bxd5 Rxb2 33. Ne4 Kf8 34. Rac1 Ba4 35. Re1 Bd4+ 36. Kh1 Bc2 37. Nf6 Rxe1+ 38. Rxe1 Kg7 39. Re7 Rb1+ 40. Kh2 Bg1+ 41. Kg3 h4+ 42. Kxh4 Bf2+ 43. g3 1-0

Arthur’s opponent in the next round was GM Hans Niemann,

who was awarded the Grandmaster title by FIDE on January 22, 2021. He turned eighteen years of age during the tournament on June 20, 2021. He also finished with a huge pack of players with six points and, you guessed it, won chump change for his effort.

There was a turning point at move 18. GM Niemann aggressively thrust his e-pawn into his opponents territory, but it was a bad move. Arthur could have gained a winning advantage by simply moving the attacked knight, but instead traded Queens, and the game was back to even. Then on move 24 after Guo had played 23…Bxf2+, Hans moved his King into the corner in lieu of taking the offending Bishop, and that was all she wrote…The chat at the ChessBomb says it all:
evantheterrible: Bxf2 is a killer
evantheterrible: Hans getting wiped off the board by a 2300
evantheterrible: with white!
evantheterrible: Does Hans have any hope here of salvaging this? Super exposed king, down a pawn
evantheterrible: The only thing he has going for him is that bishop on b2, which now has to move
evantheterrible: this is ovah
evantheterrible: this just loses a piece…
evantheterrible: beating a grandmaster in 30 moves with black
Pirrip: Arthur is having a great tournament.
Pirrip: Probably top 3 after this… ouch for Hans

GM Hans Niemann (2567/2620) vs IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 07

d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O c6 7. Nc3 Nbd7 8. Nd2 b6 9. e4 dxc4 10. Nxc4 Ba6 11. b3 b5 12. Ne3 b4 13. Ne2 e5 14. Bb2 exd4 15. Bxd4 Nc5 16. Nf5 Ne6 17. Bb2 Bc5 18. e5 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 Ng4 20. Ned4 Nxe5 21. Nxc6 Nxc6 22. Bxc6 Rac8 23. Bd5 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Rc2 25. Be5 Bc5 26. Rac1 Rxc1 27. Rxc1 Rd8 28. Bg2 f6 29. Bf4 Bd3 30. Ne3 g5 0-1

After seven rounds the young boy from my home state of Georgia was sitting atop of the leader board, one half point in front of the field. The AW was grinning until beginning to think of the High Planes Drifter, NM David Vest, who when beginning to teach Arthur told everyone the kid was “special.” The the grin turned into a smile.

GM Aram Hakobyan

is from Armenia. This was an extremely well played game excepting one major hiccup at move 18-19. One thing I have noticed from all the spectating is the proliferation of double blunders, as if each player has momentary double vision. One of the most famous examples would be the “double vision” of Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand in game six of the 2014 World Championship match:

Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand 2014: Game 6

After Arthur played 18…Rfd8 the game was Hakobyan’s to win. Instead, he returned the favor with the insipid 19 Rc2 and the game returned to the slight advantage with which the player in charfe of the white army has to begin the game. From there the better chances were with the Armenian GM, but the young boy IM battled ferociously and held firm, earning a much needed draw with the black army!

GM Aram Hakobyan (2598/2683) – Arthur Guo (2359/2447)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 08

1.c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4 dxc4 5. e4 b5 6. e5 Nd5 7. Nxb5 Nb6 8. Be2 Nc6 9. O-O Be7 10. Be3 O-O 11. Nc3 Bb7 12. Na4 Rc8 13. Rc1 Na5 14. Nc5 Bxc5 15. dxc5 Qxd1 16. Rfxd1 Na4 17. Bd2 Nc6 18. Re1 Rfd8 19. Rc2 Nxc5 20. Bxc4 Nd3 21. Bxd3 Rxd3 22. Rec1 Rcd8 23. Be1 Nd4 24. Nxd4 R3xd4 25. Rxc7 Rd1 26. Rxd1 Rxd1 27. f3 Rxe1+ 28. Kf2 Rb1 29. Rxb7 g5 30. Ke3 Re1+ 31. Kf2 Rb1 32. Kg3 a6 33. Rb6 a5 34. Rb5 a4 35. Rb4 Kg7 36. Kf2 h5 37. a3 Kg6 38. g4 h4 39. h3 Rh1 40. Kg2 Rb1 41. Kf2 Rh1 42. Rxa4 Rh2+ 43. Ke3 Rxb2 44. Rb4 Ra2 45. Rb3 Rh2 46. a4 Ra2 47. Rb4 Ra3+ 48. Ke4 Kg7 49. Rd4 Kg6 50. Rc4 Kg7 51. Rb4 Kg6 52. Rc4 Kg7 ½-½

GM Emilio Cordova Daza,

from Peru, is twenty five and he became a Grandmaster in 2008. If you read this blog you know how much I decry the “buddy-buddy” draw. There was only one comment left at the ChessBomb: mrlondon: “This game is a travesty.” Ordinarily I would agree, but consider the circumstances. IM Arthur Guo is only fifteen years old. In the Great State of Georgia one can obtain a “learner’s permit” to drive an automobile, but can only drive that vehicle if a licensed adult is in the car. He must wait until turning sixteen to apply for a driver’s license, and then must pass the test. Who knows how the decision was reached to offer his opponent a draw? For example, as a child, he would have to do as ordered by a parent. (Please hold off on the nasty emails. I am not saying that is what happened. This is being written for the sake of argument.) In addition, Arthur’s young body is on east coast time, meaning it’s got dark early while he was still blinded by the light out in the left coast desert. Young Mr. Guo had just spent four days battling adults, some of whom were grizzled veterans. At what other game can a young teen battle an adult on equal terms? Most, if not all, fifteen year old children do not have the stamina of an adult. If young IM Guo played like a Grandmaster why should he not be able to act like one? If anyone is to be criticized for the draw it would be the dazed Dasa, who is a decade older than Arthur Guo. There was an expression heard often while playing sports at a Boys Club while growing into manhood: “No guts, no glory.” Evidently the dazed Daza had seen enough of the play of the future Grandmaster over the course of the past four days and wanted no part of the boy, so he accepted the draw when it was offered. Maybe Bobby Fischer, under the same circumstances, would have seen the early offer of a draw as premature, and a sign of weakness, but GM Emilio Cordova Daza of Peru is obviously no Bobby Fischer,

World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer

as he preferred to take the money and run.

IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs GM Emilio Cordova Daza (2590/2655)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 09

e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 ½-½

Leningrad Dutch Daze

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

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

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

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

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

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

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 01

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

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

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

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

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

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

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 04

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

Black to move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 01

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

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

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

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

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 03

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

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

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

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

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

The Leningrad Dutch book by Malaniuk is currently booking for about $900 US at the Gorilla, aka, Amazon. It can be downloaded FREE here:

Cowardly Chess

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

Nils Grandelius (2670)

vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2687)

Prague International Chess Festival Masters 2021 round 05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Phenom Abhimanyu Mishra Searching For A Record
Abhimanyu Mishra, the 12-year-old American who already has two of the three required norms for the grandmaster title, is going for his third and final GM norm of a 2600-rated performance at First Saturday June in the Hungarian capital.

Not having seen the move 4 Qb3 actually played on the board in this opening, the Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, in over fifty years playing and following the Royal game, the young phenom searching for the points to earn a GM title at the youngest age, Abhimanyu Mishra,
American chess player Abhimanyu Mishra, 12, is the world’s youngest IM, and is one norm away from breaking a 19-year-old GM record. Austin Fuller

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

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

Vezerkepzo GM June 2021 round 03

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

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

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

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

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

Teaching Chess

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

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

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

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

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

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

What? You thought teaching Chess was easy?

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

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

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

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

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

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