The Earth is Flat Like a Chessboard

See you around? The controversial Flat Earth premises in Greig Street, Inverness, near the River Ness, may have drawn its shutters for the last time

By Alasdair Fraser –
Published: 28 June 2021

An Inverness, Scotland headquarters for conspiracy theorists who claim the earth is flat appears to have closed.

Flat Earth premises in Greig St, Inverness
Flat Earth premises in Greig St, Inverness

One business owner operating nearby on the street said: “At certain times in the last few years, The Flat Earth shop could be pretty busy. “It attracted a lot of curious folk, tourists, or people just bemused or laughing at the notices on the window. “But it also had its regular followers who seemed to buy into and embrace their ideas. “They were never any trouble, and always friendly enough on the rare occasion I spoke to them.” A resident living near the store, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “Up until about two weeks ago, it seemed like business as usual in the shop, but then we noticed they were shut.
“Everyone was always intrigued as to who could be paying rent for the premises, as it certainly couldn’t have been cheap. “They had couches inside, and games like CHESS, and they had a lot of gatherings. Even school kids would go in sometimes. They had a TV and kitchen as well.”
As it looked until recently, The Flat Earth premises in Greig St, Inverness

The Flat Earth shopfront on the city’s Greig Street, near the River Ness, became notorious for outlandish claims and unscientific theories after opening in February 2018. In the last fortnight, the once-busy premises’ shutters have remained down, with the literature that became a permanent fixture on its glass windows removed. The posters and leaflets called into question earth’s curvature, orbital movement and forces of gravity and claimed the US space agency NASA was a major player behind the “hoax”. The organisation also suggested aeroplane vapour trails were actually “chem-trails” sprayed on the civilian population as part of a secret government campaign. After the pandemic began, the shopfront carried the banner “humanity is not a virus” and pushed anti-vaccination messages, also claiming the virus and lockdown was fake and a means to terrorise the masses. It was not known who was funding the rental of the premises.

The Courier has so far been unable to contact Richard Birkett, one of the main organisers at the premises, to clarify whether it is to re-open or remain permanently closed. The flat earth movement, as it is known today, has origins in the 19th century, but The Flat Earth Society was set up by Samuel Shenton in 1956 in the English town of Dover and remains active today. Two millennia of scientific consensus has it that the earth is spherical.

Flat Earth Song By Elektrodinosaur

Flat Earth Song Lyrics:

Flat earth is flat flat earth aint round
Jus Look at your feet down on the ground
Flat earth is flat flat earth’s aint round
Just take a look around

round earthers yeah!!
What ‘s wrong with y’all?

You know the earth is flat
Like a brick wall

Just look out the window what are u seeing?
Flat earth my human beings

Yeah miles and miles and miles away
From here i see the coast of new jersey
And i’m sittin on malibu beach
So listen to me preach

A round ball? Shoo, throw that ball in the hoop
Take me in the air with a parachute
When i come down
I’ll tell you this
The world’s flat mothasucker

Flat earth is flat flat earth aint round
Look at your feet down on the ground
Flat earth is flat flat earth’s aint round
Just take a look around

Flat is flat and that is that
I don’t care about science
A facts a fact
try to prove what you want
But you’re a fool
Flat earthers know the rule

Gravity’s a lie
We never been to the moon
Look what happens when i drop this spoon
And behind the moon i see a
Now what’s that all about?

Now i don’t believe what i don’t see
What i can see is what i believe
I’ve never been to outer space
So let me state my case


The world spins like this record
On my turntable
And you know i’m willing and able
To let you all know
To let it all go
The earth is flat and goes to show
We know all
You know none
Let me end it now before it’s begun
We are right you are wrong
Now listen to the song

Flat earth is flat
Flat earth aint round
Just look at your feet down on the ground
Flat earth is flat flat earth aint round
Just take a look around

We all live on a really flat earth
A really flat earth a really flat earth
Repeat chorus

Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy Makes Outstanding Move!

The following notice is on the website of the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy:

NOTICE: Per yesterday’s CDC announcement and rise of COVID cases, this event will now require masks in the tournament hall. (
Unfortunately it is not shown on the main page, but can be located at the GM/IM NORM INVITATIONAL- SUMMER page after clicking on “events” at the home page. Nevertheless, I applaud those enlightened people at the CCCSA for making such an OUTSTANDING MOVE, on the Chessboard of life.

The Great State of North Carolina is one of the Southern states. It, along with the Great State of Georgia, my home state, are also considered to be part of the “Southeast.” After checking the latest Covid statistics I learned that Georgia is tenth in the USA with nine deaths per day on a seven day moving average ( North Carolina is right below, tied with Arizona with a seven day moving average of eight deaths. When it comes to cases North Carolina is seventh, showing 1926. Georgia is tenth with 1675 cases on a seven day moving average. When it comes to total cases thus far in the pandemic, NC is eighth in the nation with 1,041,620; Georgia is eleventh with a total of 926,707 cases. Unfortunately for my state, 21,654 have died of the virus, which is eight in the nation, compared with the 13,606 humans who have died, ranking NC fourteenth in the country.

When it comes to illness and death being ranked in, or near the top ten is not good. It is a fact that Republican states lead the USA in both cases and deaths. Our country at this time needs to become more UNITED and less STATE. It is extremely difficult to go against the grain and buck the norm, especially in the South. Unfortunately, what should be a normal and natural thing that has been done at the CCCSA could be condemned by some members of the community. I commend FM Peter Giannatos,
Master level chess player operates Charlotte’s first …

the Executive Director and Founder, and Grant Oen,
Charlotte Chess Center Blog: Meet CCCSA Blog Contributor …

the Assistant Director/Events Manager, of the CCCSA, and everyone at the CCCSA for taking a stand for We The People!

I do this because just a few days ago I watched a man in a hospital bed, with hoses attached to his nose and other places, who had Covid, but was still defiant, claiming he had a “right” to not take the possibly life saving vaccine if he did not want to take it, even if it killed him. He was a “good ol’ boy” from the South, and did not want anyone telling him what to do. The interviewer asked the man if he thought he had a duty to his fellow humans to take the vaccine in order to not give the virus to anyone. “Hell no!” he replied. “We’re all in this alone.”

The following day there was another gentleman on the television all hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed, and he was being interviewed. He was from Arizona, and did not have any particular reason for not taking the possibly life saving vaccine, but said, “Sure wished I had.” The interviewer asked, “Why didn’t you take it?” He said, “I dunno…didn’t have any reason for not taking it, I guess. I mean, it’s like getting the virus was like what was happening to other people, not to me.”

I know people like both of these two individuals. They are both playing Russian roulette with their lives, and the LIVES OF THOSE WITH WHOM THEY COME IN CONTACT! Both are members of the Chess community. With one old, ornery, and cantankerously recalcitrant Chess coach almost everyone with whom he comes in contact has been vaccinated, yet he refuses to take the vaccine, so its not like there is peer pressure for him to not take the shot. The other is a Grandmaster who writes a blog replete with anti-vax madness. He has obviously become a strident right (wrong) winger as he has aged. Many people fear the government. While running for the office of POTUS the former actor Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The line elicited a big laugh, and has been repeated endlessly by Republicans running for office ever since. It is, arguably, the most famous thing the man said during his entire life that was not a line from a movie.

It caused me to think, “Why would anyone in their right mind say such a thing if he wants to lead the government?” Think about it…The thought that followed was a line from a Bob Dylan song: “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.” (

Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

The World is Going to Hell in a Handbasket

My father, bless his heart, was fond of saying, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Adapting to change was difficult for him, and many others, ‘back in the day’.

This month the wild fires burning out west and in Canada caused so much smoke that almost the entire United States of America was filled with smoke.
Smoke Monster Invades USA

There was a day when the only part of the US without smoke from the burning flames was the Southeast. This included my home state of Georgia, Florida, and parts of the North and South Carolina. Several days ago things had changed and there was a report that Atlanta was under a “smoke advisory.”
Western Wildfires Smoke Creating Haze Over New England …

“Smoke” has become a regular part of weather forecasts all over the land that was made for you and me.
Smoke from the West Coast wildfires has now traveled as …

Yet members of one of the two major political parties in this country (Why only two?) continue to deny there is climate change. I would expect nothing less from the Neanderthals who also continue to deny the Trumpster lost the election. This was the Russian assessment of the Trumpster published by The Guardian a couple of weeks ago: “There is a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.” Sounds like the Republican party, does it not? It is not only climate change those in the ‘Grand OLD party’ deny. The report also contains this: “A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory.” ( No wonder little man Putin was grinning like the cat who ate the canary every time he was near the Trumpster.
The Putin Smirk,c_limit/trump%2520putin%2520mueller%2520call.jpg
Putin Shit Eatin’ Grin

The world is burning literally and figuratively.

pyrocumulus cloud
Photograph: Josh Edelson/Getty Images

Last week, the US Naval Research Laboratory held a very 2021 press conference, in which scientists reported a very 2021 outbreak of “smoke thunderclouds.” Catastrophic wildfires, exacerbated by catastrophic climate change, had produced a rash of pyrocumulonimbus plumes over the western United States and Canada, known in the scientific vernacular as pyroCb. (

I had this video where the Bruce Springsteen video now resides, but decided to put Woody, who wrote the song, down here because I wanted to include the lyrics. Many years ago during a conversation with my cousin Linda, who taught, or maybe I should say, tried to teach English to children of high school age. Because she was a decade older than was I, she knew, for obvious reasons, the songs of Woody well. Like most people cousin Linda knew only the first stanza, so she was SHOCKED when I recited the whole song, putting special emphasis on the stanza placed in bold below:

Woody Guthrie

This Land Is Your Land

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people
By the relief office I seen my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me

The Shank Guts Peter Svidler With Pritulina Variation At World Cup

American GM Sam Shankland

took out Russian GM Peter Svidler by thrusting his h-pawn two squares forward on his third move after Svid had moved his g-pawn one square in order to fianchetto his kingside bishop. It is usual to develop pieces prior to jabbing with the wing pawn, as shown by AlphaZero and well illustrated in the excellent book by GM Matthew Sadler ( and Natasha Regan:

Sometime in the 1970s the Great Dane, GM Bent Larsen

came to Atlanta to give a simultaneous exhibition. Another player and I picked him up at the airport and had dinner with the Grandmaster. Part of the conversation was about the book he intended on writing about The Power of Rook Pawns. I looked forward to it for years, but unfortunately the book was never published.

The game features two moves GM Yasser Seirawan

would call “Howlers.” It defies comprehension that a player of the caliber of Sam Shankland would play a beginner type blunder like 18 f4 when the simple 18 b3 would have given him a much better position. Peter returned the favor when playing the howler 24…Qb6. Stockfish says 24…Qb5 is even, Steven. It was to be expected that some players would be “howling” during this event as some had not played over the board Chess in a year or longer. but the Shank had recently sharpened his blade by winning the Prague International Chess Festival 2021 with a score of 5 1/2 out of 7, with a performance rating of 2900.

Sam Shankland (2709)

Sam Shankland will play MVL or Karjakin in the FIDE World Cup quarterfinals | photo: Eric Rosen, official website

vs Peter Svidler (2714)

Peter Svidler is one of the most successful World Cup players out there, but one move and he was out | photo: Anastasia Korolkova, official website

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 05-02

E60 King’s Indian defence, Pritulina variation

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. h4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 Nc6 6. Nge2 O-O 7. f3 e5 8. d5 Nd4 9. Be3 c5 10. dxc6 bxc6 11. Nxd4 exd4 12. Bxd4 Rb8 13. Qc2 c5 14. Bf2 Be6 15. O-O-O Nd7 16. Rxd6 Qa5 17. Be1 Ne5 18. f4 Nxc4 19. Bxc4 Bxc4 20. e5 Rfd8 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. h5 Bxa2 23. hxg6 hxg6 24. Ne4 Qb6 25. Bh4 Rd4 26. Nf6+ Kf8 27. Bf2 Bxf6 28. exf6 Qxf6 29. Qxc5+ Rd6 30. Qc8+ 1-0

1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. h4 (The ChessBaseDataBase contains 63 games in which this move has been played. 365Chess contains only 44 games with this move. Stockfish 13 going way down all the way to depth 62 plays 3 Nf3. GM Alexander Grischuk has recently been playing the move in blitz games. According to the databases the first time it was played was when Svetlana Pritulina. a woman candidate master, played it against Aivi Karu in 1997 in Tallinn, during the Estonian women’s championship. The game can be found below. Therefore, the opening after 3 h4 should be called the E60 King’s Indian defence, Pritulina variation . After all, how many openings are named after a woman?) 3…Bg7 4. Nc3 d6 (SF 13 @depth 56 shows 4…c5) 5. e4 Nc6 (SF 12 @depth 57 castles) 6. Nge2 (Komodo 14 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 13 @depth 42 and SF 150421 prefer 6 d5) 6…O-O (TN) (Both the Fish and the Dragon concur with Svid). In the blitz game below MVL played 6…Nh5, which brings up an interesting question. If a move is played in any type of speed game can it still be considered a Theoretical Novelty or must it be played in what is considered “Classical” Chess? Define “Classical Chess.”

Svetlana Pritulina vs Aivi Karu

Event: EST-ch (Women)
Site: Tallinn
Round: 9 Date: 1997
ECO: E60 King’s Indian defence, Pritulina variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4 h5 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 c5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.Bd2 Ne5 9.Qc2 a6 10.O-O-O Bd7 11.Re1 O-O 12.f4 Neg4 13.Nf3 b5 14.e5 b4 15.Nd1 Bf5 16.Bd3 Bxd3 17.Qxd3 Ne8 18.Nh2 Nxh2 19.Rxh2 dxe5 20.fxe5 Qc8 21.Re4 f5 22.exf6 exf6 23.d6 Qd7 24.Qd5+ Kh7 25.Bf4 Rd8 26.Re7 Qa4 27.g4 f5 28.gxh5 Qxa2 29.hxg6+ Kh8 30.Be5 Nf6 31.Rxg7 Kxg7 32.Qb7+ Kg8 33.b3 Qa1+

Alexander Grischuk (2766) vs Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2775)

Event: Grand Chess Tour Blitz Paris 2019
Site: Paris FRA Date: 07/31/2019
Round: 2.3
ECO: E60 King’s Indian defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Nc6 6.Nge2 Nh5 7.Bg5 O-O 8.Qd2 f6 9.Be3 f5 10.exf5 Bxf5 11.f3 e5 12.d5 Nd4 13.O-O-O Nxe2+ 14.Nxe2 e4 15.g4 exf3 16.gxf5 fxe2 17.Bxe2 Ng3 18.fxg6 Nxh1 19.Rxh1 Qf6 20.h5 Rae8 21.h6 Qxb2+ 22.Qxb2 Bxb2+ 23.Kd2 hxg6 24.Bg4 b6 25.Be6+ Kh7 26.a4 a5 27.Ke2 Be5 28.Rh4 Bc3 29.Rh3 Bb4 30.Bd4 Bc5 31.Bg7 Rf2+ 32.Kd3 Re7 33.Rg3 Bb4 34.Ke3 Bc5+ 35.Kd3 c6 36.Kc3 cxd5 37.cxd5 Bb4+ 38.Kc4 Bd2 39.Rh3 Rf4+ 40.Kb5 Rb4+ 41.Kc6 Bf4 42.Bg8+ Kxg8 43.h7+ Kf7 44.h8=Q Rc4+ 45.Kb5 Rc5+ 46.Ka6 Re8 47.Qh7 Ke7 48.Be5+ Kd8 49.Bxf4 1-0

Alexander Grischuk (2766) vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2765)

Event: Grand Chess Tour Blitz Paris 2019
Site: Paris FRA Date: 07/31/2019
Round: 6.5
ECO: E60 King’s Indian defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.d5 Bg7 6.e4 d6 7.Be2 e6 8.h5 gxh5 9.Nh3 Qe7 10.Nf4 Nbd7 11.Be3 O-O-O 12.f3 Rhg8 13.Qd2 Bh6 14.Bf1 h4 15.O-O-O Bxf4 16.Bxf4 Nh5 17.Rh2 Rg6 18.Be3 Rdg8 19.Kb1 Kb8 20.a3 Qf6 21.Ka2 Ng3 22.Bd3 Ne5 23.Nb5 Nxd3 24.Qxd3 Nh5 25.dxe6 Qxe6 26.Rxh4 Nf6 27.Nd4 Qe8 28.g4 Nd7 29.Rxh7 Rxg4 30.Nf5 Rg2 31.Bd4 Qe6 32.Rdh1 a5 33.R1h6 Ne5 34.Bxe5 Qxe5 35.Qd4 Qxd4 36.Nxd4 Ba6 37.Kb3 Rd2 38.Kc3 Rd1 39.Rh8 Rxh8 40.Rxh8+ Kb7 41.b3 a4 42.b4 Rc1+ 43.Kd2 Rxc4 44.Nf5 d5 45.exd5 Rf4 46.Ne3 Rxf3 47.Rd8 Rf2+ 48.Kc3 Ra2 49.Nc2 Be2 50.Rd7 Bd1 51.Nd4 Rxa3+ 52.Kb2 Rd3 53.Nb5 a3+ 54.Ka2 Bb3+ 55.Kxa3 Bc4+ 56.Ka4 Bxb5+ 57.Kxb5 Rxd5+ 0-1

One of the features I like about the ChessBomb is the chat. Some years ago I was asked, “Why do you read that crap?” The response was, “Because it can be informative, interesting, and hilarious, and it gives older folks insight into the mind of the young.”

“Oh yeah,” came the immediate response, “Those idiots who spend their time ‘chatting’ don’t have a mind.”

Reading the part about, “Chess can be cruel” caused me to consider sharing a little of the chat that went with the Shank vs Svid game:

TomCruise1a: The old fat Russian is gonna lose today
TomCruise1a: Svidler eats too much babka
BoredToDeath: Naka used to be Mr Big Mac but lost a few pounds since
dioda: the fattest is Pankratov
BoredToDeath: Nepo is the fattest though

alexmagnus: by this mentality we should lower the official age of retierement to 25
TurnovdeCompeval: Smyslov play till his deathbed
Abraxas79: Svidler had a senior moment
TurnovdeCompeval: only narcissists like Fischer and Gary retire
Abraxas79: Garry can’t play anymore. We saw that recently
TurnovdeCompeval: the ones that love chess keep playing

BoredToDeath: Svidler is a Patzer. Unbelievable how he made it this far
TurnovdeCompeval: 9 times Ru champion patzer?
TomCruise1a: That was then. Svidler is old now
TomCruise1a: He should switch to golf ⛳
BoredToDeath: Long time ago
TomCruise1a: Pro chess are for young guys.

RookSmasher: If this was online, I would have thought Svidler moussliped meaning to play 24..Qb5
Seneca: Chess can be cruel
Horse: nice game by Shank
DONfan: Shanks wins!

Gambling with Armageddon

Grandmasters Larry Christiansen and Gregory Kaidanov tied for first in the US Senior Chess Championship yesterday, each finishing with six and a half points out of the nine rounds played.
Tomorrow’s playoff will start at 2:50 PM CDT, with live coverage on

Larry was undefeated, winning four games while drawing five. Gregory won five games, drew three and lost, according to the broadcast, to long time nemesis, the Yerminator, Alex Yermolinsky.
Sharjah: Alex Yermolinsky kommentiert | ChessBase

Inquiring minds want to know so I went to learning Kaidanov actually had a one game advantage over the Yerminator, four wins to three until the 2021 US Senior. The victory at the 2021 US Senior tied their lifetime score at four wins apiece. Yermo defeated the Kentucky Lion in the 2019, and 2020 US Senior Championships, so the win in the 2021 makes it three in a row, so maybe that is to what the announcers were referring on the broadcast. Speaking of the broadcast, while watching during the tournament, with coverage of all three tournaments being played simultaneously, I never saw the number of viewers exceed 400 until the last round when it hovered in the low to mid 400s until later finally exceeding 500. One of the highlights of the broadcast were the stories told by Yasser Seirawan.

Yasser Seirawan
Yasser Seirawan Tony Barsanti/Forbes

One concerned being at a SuperNational when a huge giant of a man wearing a cowboy outfit which included a ten gallon hat, stepped up and as Yaz looked up the man said (I am paraphrasing) “We have a problem.” The man stepped aside and his young son, who was dressed in exactly the same outfit, was crying after having lost all four games. Yasser brought the boy near and said, “To get here you had to compete against one hundred other players all of whom wanted to be here in your place. That means you had to be a champion just to get here.” That mollified the boy, at least to the point he stopped crying…And I was thinking, “There’s no crying in Chess, or Baseball!”

The next story involved GM Vassily Ivanchuk

and former World Champion Garry Kasparov
A shell-shocked Kasparov walking away from the board after losing on time to MVL | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

at a tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Ivanchuck had lost to Vladimir Kramnik
Candidates 2018 Round 8: When you lose your objectivity …

and Yasser could hear them reviewing the game without a board. Garry pointed out where Chucky had gone wrong and Yasser said something about Garry having “bucked up” Ivanchuk to the point he left a with his chest puffed out and a much better demeanor.
About this time I looked over at the chat and copied this:
KK91​ Yasser stories are amazing 😻
Shadowside​ White can take a draw any time in this game.
Rob Erskine ​Jen is not forgotten.😍
MrBeaks​ Yasser should write a book about his stories

I watched the interview with Larry C. after the game with interest. It was obvious he was exhausted, which is only natural because the man is sixty five years young. When asked what he was going to do to prepare for the playoff Larry said, “I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.” I was reminded of something Bobby Fischer

once said about a good night’s sleep being better than any theory. Being about six years older than Larry I can tell you from experience that as one ages obtaining that good night’s sleep becomes more difficult. Before drifting off to the land of nod last night my mind was still thinking about the ridiculous playoff for first place the next day. Larry said he thought it would be two game 30 plus some increment before an Armageddon game, which he thought would be “six to five” before being corrected by broadcast journalist Sharon Carpenter. When informed the time control would be “5 to 4” an obviously exhausted Larry C. could only shake his head…

From Chessbase this morning I learned: “With the tie for first, Kaidanov and Christiansen will play a rapid playoff tiebreak tomorrow for the title, consisting of a two game 10+2 (delay) match, followed by an Armageddon Game in the event of another tie.” (

Has the Chess world gone mad? This is an Armageddon Abomination! (This was to be the title for this post until reading a review of a new book by Martin Sherwin with the title of the post seen above (
After nine rounds of fighting Chess over ten days why are these two Seniors being FORCED to play several SPEED games in order to call only one of them Champion? It is RIDICULOUS and ABSURD! Who foisted this ABOMINATION upon the world of Chess? Who is responsible for making these two Senior players jump through hoops like trained seals? Why has this become accepted by the Chess community? Since this SPECTACLE is taking place at the St. Louis Chess Campus (The name keeps changing) which was built by Rex Sinquefield, and since Rex is a fellow Senior, he must be ultimately responsible for the FREAK SHOW! When one has billions of inflated dollars people listen and do as suggested. I therefore call on Rex Sinquefield
Short take: Chess, politics and big money. Paging Rex …

to put an end to this madness. If two, or more, players tie for first in any Chess event they should be declared Co-Champions.

Novikov vs Shabalov: Leningrad Dutch

This game was played, or maybe “battled” would be a better word, in the same round as the previous game, which meant following two games closely while keeping an eye on the other three. When the Bishop’s opening “truth” and a main line Leningrad Dutch appeared on the board my first thought was…

which was followed by, “Oh happy day!” something for which I was known to say by certain students when they would, like a blind squirrel, find an acorn move.

Igor Novikov (2554)

GM Igor Novikov and GM Petr Velička
GM Igor Novikov and GM Petr Velička (,novinky%20-%20detail/)

vs Alexander Shabalov (2521)

U.S. Senior Championship 2021 round 07

A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation

  1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. c4 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 a5 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 Rb8 11. d5 e5 (TN) 12. dxe6 Bxe6 13. Qd2 Qe7 14. Ng5 Bc8 15. Rbd1 Rd8 16. Ba3 Nb4 17. Nh3 Be6 18. Ng5 Bd7 19. Rfe1 h6 20. Nh3 g5 21. f4 Ng4 22. e4 Qf6 23. Bb2 fxe4 24. Bxe4 d5 25. cxd5 cxd5 26. Bxd5+ Kh8 27. Na4 Qf8 28. Bxg7+ Qxg7 29. Bg2 Bf5 30. Qxd8+ Rxd8 31. Rxd8+ Kh7 32. fxg5 b5 33. g6+ Bxg6 34. Nc5 Qc3 35. Re7+ Bf7 36. Rxf7+ Kg6 37. Ne4 Qe3+ 38. Rf2 Nxf2 39. Nexf2 Nxa2 40. Rd3 Qe1+ 41. Bf1 Nc3 42. Nf4+ Kf7 43. Kg2 a4 44. bxa4 bxa4 45. Rd7+ Ke8 46. Ra7 Qe3 47. Rxa4 Nxa4 48. Bb5+ Kf8 49. Bxa4 Qd2 50. Bc6 Qb2 51. Bd5 Kg7 52. h4 Qd2 53. Kf3 Qc3+ 54. Kg4 Qc8+ 55. Be6 Qc2 56. N2d3 Kf6 57. Kh3 Qd2 58. Bd5 Qd1 59. Bg2 Qc2 60. Bf3 Qc8+ 61. Bg4 Qc6 62. Nf2 Kg7 63. Be2 Qb7 64. Kh2 Qc6 65. Ng4 Qc2 66. Kg2 Qb2 67. Ne3 Kf6 68. Kh3 Qc1 69. Bd3 Qh1+ 70. Kg4 Qd1+ 71. Nxd1 1-0 (
  1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 (According to 365Chess at this point we have the A81 Dutch defence) 5. c4 (After this move it becomes the A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation) 5…O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 (At the Chess baseDatabase one finds Komodo14 @depth 40 has a preference for this move, but Stockfish 220621 @depth 45 likes 8 Be3, a move found in only two games at the CBDB. Then there is Stockfish110521, going way down to @depth 55, playing 8 Qc2) 8…a5 (Komodo 10 likes 8…Ne4; Komodo 13 prefers 8…Na6, but Stockfish 13 going deeper than the two Dragons, would play the move chosen by Shabba Dabba Do, and so should YOU!) 9. b3 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 39 plays 9 Be3, as does Stockfish 13 @depth 55. After 9…Ng4 the Dragon would drop back with 10 Bd2; the Fish would advance into black territory with 10 Bg5, or at least that is what one sees at the CBDB. The thing is 9 Be3 has yet to be attempted in a game! There is not even one example of the move having been played in either the CBDB or 365Chess!) 9…Na6 (SF 151120 @depth 52 would play 9…Ne4. There is only one game in the CBDB with 9…Ne4:

GM A. Nguyen (2478) vs P. Nguyen (2047)

VIE-chT Pairs

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O O-O 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 Nxc3 11.Bxc3 Nd7 12.Ng5 Nf6 13.d5 Qc7 14.Rc1 h6 15.Nf3 e5 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.c5 Nd5 18.cxd6 Qxd6 19.Bxe5 Bxe5 20.Rxc6 Ne3 21.Rxd6 Nxd1 22.Nxe5 Ra6 1-0)

  1. Bb2 (SF 11 @depth 37 plays the move played in the game, but let it run longer and go deeper to depth 47 and it changes its way of ‘puting, switching to 10 d5. There are only four examples of the move at the CBDB. 10 Bb2 has been played 21 times. Komodo, not to be outdone, would play 10 Be3, a Theoretical Novelty) 10…Rb8 (The Fish & Dragon concur, 10…Qc7 is THE move. The game move is not found in the CBDB, but there are two examples found at 365Chess:

Branko Damljanovic (2471) vs Jan Lundin (2335)
Event: Third Sat 116 GM 2019
Site: Novi Sad SRB Date: 07/07/2019
Round: 3.1
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Rb8 11.d5 Bd7 12.Nd4 Qe8 13.e3 Nc5 14.Qc2 Rc8 15.Rfd1 g5 16.Nxf5 Bxf5 17.Qxf5 Nfe4 18.Bxe4 Rxf5 19.Bxf5 ½-½

Fernando De Andres Gonalons (2088) vs Edwin Bhend (2271)
Event: Basel Hilton op 8th
Site: Basel Date: 01/03/2006
Round: 3
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.g3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O O-O 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Rb8 11.e3 b5 12.Qe2 Nc7 13.Rfc1 b4 14.Na4 Ba6 15.Nd2 Qe8 16.Qf3 Bb7 17.Qd1 Nd7 18.c5 d5 19.Nf3 Ba6 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 e6 22.Qd2 Bb5 23.Nb6 Na6 24.Bd4 Rf7 25.Ra1 Bf8 26.a4 bxa3 27.Qxa5 Rfb7 28.b4 Nxb4 29.Qxb4 Rxb6 30.Qxa3 ½-½
Chess Grandmaster Alex Shabalov lies down in a vibro acoustic sound lounge in prepearation for the US Senior Championship (
Chess Grandmaster Alex Shabalov gets ready to step into a sensory deprivation tank as part of his preparation for the US Senior Championship (

US Senior: Larry C. vs The Kentucky Lion

While the majority of the attention of the Chess World has been focused on the World Cup I have been focusing my attention on the US Senior, and US Junior, championships being contested in St. Louis, which is now considered a Covid “hot spot.” St. Louis County Is Now A ‘Red Zone’ For COVID-19, According To The CDC. A third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is coming, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force warned yesterday. (

The hottest Chess spot in the USA is at the St. Louis Chess Club, where the intrepid boys, girls, and Men are battling it out over a Chess board in three separate tournaments, the US Senior; US Junior; and a completely separate “US Girls Junior Championship.”

Before the US Senior began I predicted the winner to be either Alexander Shabalov, or Larry Christiansen,

a man with whom I stayed up all night playing Backgammon, after he beat me handily at a simultaneous exhibition sponsored by Church’s Fried Chicken in the 1970s. I won the Backgammon battle. Larry kept looking at me with a look that said, “I beat this chumpy-lumpy like a drum at Chess. Why am I losing to the guy at Backgammon?” The stake was only a quarter a point, far below the stake for which I usually played, but it was Larry C., and Chess players don’t have much money, even those traveling the country giving simuls. Larry spent the night at the home of former Georgia Chess Champion Michael Decker, which is where we “rolled the bones.” Still, that twenty five cents would now be worth about two bucks, Chuck, if you get my drift…

Yesterday Larry had to face the Kentucky Lion, Gregory Kaidanov,!/quality/90/? Photo by: Claire Crouch

who had run away from the field, scoring 5 1/2 points in the first 6 rounds! He was a full point ahead of Larry C. at 4 1/2, who was a point and a half ahead of the four players with 3 points. Larry C. was in need of a victory. What do you play against an opponent who is obviously in form in that situation? You bring out “The truth as it was known in those far off days.”

Larry Christiansen (2634) Age: 65 vs Gregory Kaidanov (2626) Age: 61

U.S. Senior Championship 2021 round 07

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Ne2 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 10. fxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 a6 16. dxe5 Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 exf4 19. Bxf4 Rhf8 20. Be5 g6 21. Qg4+ Qd7 22. Qc4 Qd5 23. Qg4+ Qd7 24. Qc4 Qd5 25. Qg4+ ½-½
  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 (SF plays 3…c6) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 Nf3) 4….Bb4 5. Ne2 (SF 080221 @depth50 plays this move, but the same engine chuggin’ only one more ply would play 5 Nf3) 5…d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 (SF 13 @depth 41 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 33 would play 9…Bxc3) 10. fxe5 Nxe5 (SF takes with the knight, but Houdini would take with the pawn. There is only one game, found at 365Chess, with 10…fxe5, which can be found below) 11. Nxd5

(Komodo shows this move, but Deep Fritz would play 11 d4, which was played in:

GM Alexander Zaitsev 2473 RUS vs GM Klementy Sychev 2537 RUS

Wch Blitz 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.d4 Nc6 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.c3 Bd6 14.Nf4 Bxf4 15.Bxf4 O-O-O 16.Qf3 Qxf3 17.Rxf3 Rhe8 18.Kf2 Rd7 19.Re3 Rxe3 20.Bxe3 a5 21.a4 Re7 22.g4 Kd7 23.Rg1 Rf7 24.h4 Ne7 25.c4 Nc6 26.Bd2 Nxd4 27.Bxa5 Nc6 28.Bc3 f5 29.g5 g6 30.b4 Re7 31.Rd1+ Kc8 32.Bf6 Re8 33.b5 Ne5 34.c5 Ng4+ 35.Kf3 Ne5+ 36.Kf2 c6 37.h5 Nd7 38.Bd4 Re4 39.hxg6 hxg6 40.Kf3 Rg4 41.bxc6 bxc6 42.Bf6 Nxc5 43.Rc1 Ne6 44.Rxc6+ Kd7 45.Ra6 Nxg5+ 46.Ke2 Ne4 47.Be5 Nc5 48.Rd6+ Ke7 49.a5 Re4+ 50.Kf3 Rxe5 51.Rxg6 Ne6 52.Rg8 Rxa5 0-1) 11.Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 (SF and Houey play 13 d4) 13….Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 (SF 12 @depth 43 would play a move near and dear to my heart, 15 Qe2!) 15…a6 16. dxe5 (SF 31 @depth 31 would play 16 Qb3, but the SF program churning at ChessBomb would play the move Larry played in the game)
16…Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 (This is a TN, but not the best move. 18 Qe4 was played in the Mons vs Raggar game given below. Given the chance SF 170521 @depth 49 would play 18 Rf3)

Risto Eskola (2153) vs Antti Lehto
Event: FIN-chT 0203
Site: Finland Date: 10/20/2002
Round: 3
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 fxe5 11.Ng3 Bf7 12.Nce4 O-O 13.Qg4 Bg6 14.Be3 Qc8 15.Qxc8 Raxc8 16.a3 Be7 17.Rxf8+ Bxf8 18.Rf1 Nd4 19.Rf2 b6 20.Nc3 c6 21.Nge4 Rd8 22.Ng5 h6 23.Nge4 Be7 24.Kf1 Rd7 25.Kg1 Nf5 26.Bc1 Bh4 27.g3 Be7 28.Kg2 Nd4 29.Be3 Rd8 30.h3 Be8 31.g4 c5 32.g5 h5 33.Ng3 Bc6+ 34.Nce4 g6 35.Kf1 Kg7 36.Ke1 Rf8 37.Bxd4 exd4 38.h4 Rxf2 39.Kxf2 Kf7 40.b3 Ke6 41.a4 Ke5 42.Kf3 Bd5 43.Nf1 a6 44.Nd2 b5 45.axb5 axb5 46.Kg3 Ke6 47.Kf4 Bc6 48.Nf1 Be8 49.Nfd2 Bf7 50.Nf3 Be8 51.b4 cxb4 52.Nxd4+ Kd5 53.Nf3 ½-½

Leon Mons (2554) vs Markus Ragger (2701)
Event: TCh-AUT 2018-19
Site: Austria AUT Date: 01/18/2019
Round: 6.5
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Nf4 Qf7 13.c3 Bd6 14.d4 O-O-O 15.Qa4 a6 16.dxe5 Bc5+ 17.Kh1 fxe5 18.Qe4 Bd6 19.Rf3 exf4 20.Bxf4 Bxf4 21.Rxf4 Qd5 22.Qxd5 Rxd5 23.Raf1 Re8 24.R4f2 Kd7 25.g3 a5 26.Kg2 Re7 27.Rf7 a4 28.h4 h5 29.Rxe7+ Kxe7 30.Rf4 Rd2+ 31.Rf2 Rd1 32.Rf1 Rd5 33.Rf4 Rd2+ 34.Rf2 Rd1 35.Rf1 Rd6 36.Rf4 b5 37.Re4+ Kf6 38.Kf3 Rd3+ 39.Re3 Rd1 40.Re4 c5 41.Re2 Kf5 42.Rf2 Ke5 43.g4 Rh1 44.Kg2 Rxh4 45.Rf5+ Ke4 46.Rxc5 Rxg4+ 47.Kh3 g6 48.Rxb5 Kf3 49.Rd5 Rg3+ 50.Kh4 Rg2 51.Rd3+ Kf4 52.Rd4+ Kf5 53.Rd5+ Kf6 54.Rd6+ Ke5 55.Rb6 Kf5 56.Rb5+ Kf4 57.Rb4+ Kf3 58.Rb5 Rg4+ 59.Kh3 Rg1 60.Kh4 Rg4+ 61.Kh3 Kf2 62.Rd5 Rg3+ 63.Kh4 Rg4+ 64.Kh3 g5 65.Rf5+ Ke3 66.b4 Kd3 67.Rc5 a3 68.b5 Rg1 69.b6 g4+ 70.Kh4 Rb1 71.Rxh5 Rxb6 72.Ra5 Kxc3 73.Rxa3+ Kb4 74.Rb3+ Ka5 75.Rxb6 Kxb6 76.Kxg4 Ka5 77.Kf3 Ka4 78.Ke4 Ka3 79.Kd5 Kxa2 ½-½

San Francisco Mechanic’s Institute Tuesday Night Marathon Games and Newsletter

The venerable Chess Room at the Mechanic’s Institute (
Inside the Mechanics’ Institute’s Tuesday Night Marathon

in the beautiful city of San Francisco
Living in San Francisco, California, USA – Interview With …

is a treasure.

If you are a Chess player a trip is de rigeur, and should be on every player’s bucket list. It is steeped in history and legend. From a, History of the Chess Room one learns, “The early years of the Chess Room are not well documented but chess was played during the Gold Rush. The great Pierre Saint- Amant,

Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant « ChessManiac
Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant « ChessManiac

one of the top players in the world in the 1840s, was French Consul in San Francisco from 1851-52. It appears he left the Bay Area before the founding of the Mechanics’, so the honors for the first world class player to visit San Francisco go to Johann Zukertort

who spent nearly a month in the City in July of 1884.” (
The Best Libraries In San Francisco (

The Chess Room Newsletter appears in my inbox each week and will appear in yours too when you join the mailing list. What follows emanates from issue #977. The new director, Abel Talamantez,

had some big shoes to fill when taking over from IM John Donaldson

and, with a little help from friends, has done a magnificent job, especially considering the pandemic. There is FM Paul Whitehead’s Column,
Thursday Evening Class with FIDE Master Paul Whitehead …

and that of GM Nick de Firmian,

from which I take the liberty of publishing his insightful commentary on the recent debacle of former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov:

The Old Man and the Chessboard

In Hemingway’s famous novel about an aging fisherman, the protagonist battles for days to reel in a great marlin. Ultimately he wins the battle against the marlin, but fails when encountering too many sharks that eat the marlin tied to his boat and steal his hard-earned victory.

The Grand Croatian Chess Tour saw the return of the great Garry Kasparov to the chess board. He too ran into a bunch of sharks who stole all his points, and in eighteen rounds of blitz chess against the young top players of today Kasparov scored only two and a half points. This disappointing showing is usually done by an amateur who gets to play with the pros, and that player is often labeled the “fish” of the tournament. It was painful to see how a great champion can fall.

“The old get old and the young get stronger” sang Jim Morrison.

So perhaps we must resign ourselves to playing worse chess as we age. Here we have some good news for those who wish to defy the march of time. Second place in this same tournament went not to one of the young sharks, but to 51 year old Vishy Anand. Anand is of course a former world champion and was a rival to Kasparov in the 1990’s. It was inspiring to see him vanquishing players half his age. The rest of us may take solace that excellence at chess isn’t just about age, but about staying motivated and dedicated to the game. (

I strongly urge you to check out the MIN, as the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter has come to be called.

Some of the games from the Tuesday Night Marathon have been recently broadcast at the ChessBomb. Three games caught my attention and I put them through the opening wringer for your enjoyment and/or amusement, and hopefully, edification.

Abel Talamantez vs Albert Starr

Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02

A80 Dutch

  1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 d6 7. Be2 Be6 8. Ng5 Bd7 9. h4 h6 10. Nf3 Be8 11. Qb3 b6 12. d5 Nbd7 13. Nd4 Nc5 14. Qc2 a5 15. f3 Bf7 16. O-O-O e5 17. dxe6 Nxe6 18. g4 Nxf4 19. exf4 Qc8 20. gxf5 c5 21. fxg6 cxd4 22. gxf7+ Rxf7 23. Rxd4 Ne8 24. Re4 Nc7 25. Rg1 Kh8 26. Bd3 Ne6 27. Nb5 Qc5 28. Rge1 Nxf4 29. Re8+ Rxe8 30. Rxe8+ Rf8 31. Re1 Nxd3+ 32. Qxd3 Qf2 33. Re2 Qf1+ 34. Kc2 Be5 35. Qd2 Rf6 36. Rxe5 Qxc4+ 37. Kb1 dxe5 38. Qd8+ Kg7 39. Qe7+ Qf7 40. Qxe5 Qg6+ 41. Kc1 Qg1+ 42. Kd2 Qf2+ 43. Kd3 Qxf3+ 44. Kd2 Qf4+ 45. Qxf4 Rxf4 46. h5 Rb4 0-1 (

1.d4 f5 2. Nf3 (SF 14 @depth 50 goes with 2 c4. Just sayin’…) 2…Nf6 (This is the choice of StockFish and it should be yours. Dragon breath Komodo fires out 2…e6) 3. c4 (SF plays 3 g3) 3…g6 (SF 11 @depth 33 plays this but SF 13 @depth 40 broke my heart by showing 3…e6. Now I want to know what LCZero 0.28-dev+_69626 would play? Someone reading this please get in touch with the techeads at TCEC and send me the answer! The match for the title of best playing thing in the universe is tied with one each after six games. Like David Spinks said, “You gotta pull for somebody, MAN!” Now I am pullin’ for LCZero!) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 g3) 4…Bg7 (Two SF programs play 4…d6; SF 13 plays the game move) 5. Bf4 (The Smelly Fish prefers 5 g3) 5…O-O (SF plays 5…d6) 6. e3 d6 7. Be2 (SF & Houdini play 7 c5, yet 7 h3 has been played more often and has scored better than other moves) 7…Be6 (TN) (SF 13 @depth 43 plays 7…Nc6. SF 020521 would play 7…Ne4)

Dejan Omorjan 2230 FM SRB vs Milos Milosevic 2311 FM SRB

SRB-ch U16 2018

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bf4 Bg7 6.e3 O-O 7.Be2 Ne4 8.h4 Nxc3 9.bxc3 h6 10.Qb3 c5 11.O-O Qa5 12.Rac1 Nd7 13.Bh2 Nb6 14.Nd2 Bd7 15.Qb2 Rac8 16.Bf3 Qa6 17.a4 Nxa4 18.Qc2 b5 19.Qa2 bxc4 20.Bd5+ Kh8 21.Bxc4 Qc6 22.Bd5 Qc7 23.Bb3 Nb6 24.Ra1 a5 25.Bf7 Kh7 26.h5 g5 27.Bg6+ Kh8 28.Nf3 a4 29.Bg3 cxd4 30.cxd4 Qc2 31.Rfb1 Qxa2 32.Rxa2 Nd5 33.Rb7 Bc6 34.Ra7 Bb5 35.Ra5 Bc6 36.Rc2 Nb4 37.Rc4 Rb8 38.Ra7 Bd5 39.Rc1 Bb3 40.Rxe7 f4 41.exf4 gxf4 42.Bh4 a3 43.Ree1 Rfc8 44.Ra1 a2 45.Be7 Rb6 46.Kh2 Bd5 47.Red1 Rc4 48.Rac1 Rxc1 49.Rxc1 Rc6 50.Re1 Nc2 51.Bxc2 Rxc2 0-1

Levon Aronian (2813) vs Magnus Carlsen (2862)
Event: Sinquefield Cup 2013
Site: Saint Louis USA Date: 09/10/2013
Round: 2.1
ECO: A80 Dutch

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Bf4 d6 6.e3 Nc6 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O Ne4 9.h3 e5 10.Bh2 exd4 11.exd4 Ng5 12.Nxg5 Qxg5 13.f4 Qf6 14.d5 Nd4 15.Kh1 c5 16.Bd3 Bd7 17.Bg1 Rae8 18.Qd2 a6 19.Rad1 Rb8 20.a4 Qd8 21.Rb1 Qa5 22.Qd1 Qb4 23.Bf2 Rbe8 24.Be1 Qb3 25.Qxb3 Nxb3 26.Bc2 Na5 27.Bd3 Re3 28.Rd1 Rb8 29.Bf2 Ree8 30.Ra1 Bd4 31.Kg1 Be3 32.Bxe3 Rxe3 33.Rad1 Rbe8 34.Kf2 Nb3 35.Rfe1 Rxe1 36.Rxe1 Rxe1 37.Kxe1 Nd4 38.Kd2 Kf7 39.Be2 Kf6 40.Bd1 a5 ½-½

Leon Quin vs Amitoj Singh

Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02

C26 Vienna game

  1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nc6 5. f4 exf4 6. Bxf4 d6 7. Nf3 Bg4 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O a6 10. Nd5 b5 11. Nxf6+ Qxf6 12. Bd5 Nd4 13. Bg5 Qg6 14. Bxa8 Nxf3 15. gxf3 Bxf3 16. Bd5 a5 17. Be3 Bxd1 18. Rxd1 a4 19. Rg1 Qf6 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. Qg5 Qxg5+ 22. Rxg5 h6 23. Rg1 b4 24. Kd2 Kh7 25. Rf1 f6 26. Ke3 Rd8 27. Bc6 a3 28. bxa3 bxa3 29. Rb1 Rd6 30. Ba4 Ra6 31. Bb3 g5 32. c3 h5 33. d4 Kg7 34. e5 f5 35. Rf1 f4+ 36. Ke4 Kg6 37. d5 c4 38. Bxc4 Ra4 39. Kd4 Kf5 40. Re1 f3 41. e6 Kf6 42. e7 1-0
  2. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 (Stockfish considers 3 Nf3 best) 3…Bc5 4. d3 (There is a disagreement here as Komodo would first play 4 Nf3 and after the expected 4…d6 play 5 0-0) 4….Nc6 (Although the game move has been played more often at the ChessBaseDataBase, SF & Komodo play 4…c6) 5. f4 (This move has been played about three times more often than the second most played move, 5 Bg5, at 365Chess, but 5 Nf3 is the best move according to SF and has been played in 982 games as opposed to the 283 games using 5 f4. Surprisingly, 5 Nf3 has scored only 50%, while 5 f4 has scored 60%!) 5…exf4 (5…d6 has been far and away the most often played move here, with 252 games in the CBDB. The move played in the game has only been seen in 17 games. But the move StockFish would play, 5…0-0, has only been seen in 12 games! That’s SF 13 @depth 60 and SF 030621 @depth 50. White has scored only 42% against 5…0-0 in those 12 games. White has scored 60% against 5…d6; and 71% against the game move!) 6. Bxf4 d6 (SF would castle; Houdini plays the game move) 7. Nf3 (SF 080221 would play 7 Qd2. The CBDB has only 2 games with 7 Qd2) 7…Bg4 (SF plays 7…0-0) 8. Qd2 (SF 12 @depth 52 will play 8 Rf1, which will be a new move just as soon as YOU PLAY IT!) 8…O-O 9. O-O-O (TN)

Franke, Johannes vs Tammert, Guenther
Event: FRG-ch U20
Site: Dortmund Date:1982
Round: 8
ECO: C28 Vienna game

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Bc5 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 exf4 7.Bxf4 Bg4 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bg5 Nd4 10.Nxd4 Bxd4 11.Bb3 c6 12.h3 Be6 13.O-O-O Bxb3 14.cxb3 Qa5 15.Kb1 d5 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxd5 Qd8 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Rhf1 Qe6 20.Qg5 a5 21.Qf5 Qd6 22.a3 b5 23.d4 Rae8 24.Rfe1 g6 25.Qf3 f6 26.Qd3 Re7 27.d5 c5 28.Qxb5 Rb8 29.Qc4 Kg7 30.Rd3 Rbe8 31.Rc3 Rc8 32.Rce3 Qf4 33.Ka2 Qe5 34.Qc3 Qc7 35.e5 fxe5 36.Rxe5 Rxe5 37.Rxe5 1-0

Nicholas Weng vs Chelsea Zhou

Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02

B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. g4 b5 10. g5 b4 11. Na4 Nfd7 12. h4 Qa5 13. b3 Bb7 14. Bh3 d5 15. f4 e5 16. Nf5 Re8 17. Bg2 dxe4 18. Nxe7+ Rxe7 19. f5 Nc6 20. Bxe4 Qc7 21. Qg2 Rb8 22. O-O Nd4 23. f6 Re6 24. fxg7 Bxe4 25. Qxe4 Qxc2 26. Qxc2 Nxc2 27. Ba7 Nxa1 28. Bxb8 Nxb8 29. Rxa1 Kxg7 30. Kg2 a5 31. Re1 h6 32. Kf3 hxg5 33. hxg5 Kg6 34. Nc5 Re7 35. Kg4 Nc6 36. Rf1 Nd4 37. Rf6+ Kg7 38. Ne4 Rd7 39. Nd6 Ne6 40. Nf5+ Kg8 41. Nh6+ Kg7 42. Kf5 e4 43. Kg4 Nc5 44. Nf5+ Kg8 45. Kf4 Rd2 46. Nh6+ Kf8 47. Rxf7+ Ke8 48. Rf5 Rf2+ 49. Ke3 Rxf5 50. Nxf5 Nd3 51. Kxe4 Nc1 52. g6 Nxa2 53. Ke5 1-0
  2. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 (Komodo @depth 45 plays 6 Be3; Stockfish 10
    @depth 33 plays 6 h3. I would not make this up…) 6…e6 (SF says 6…e5 is best. Who are we to argue?) 7. Be3 Be7 (SF & Deep Fritz prefer 7…b5) 8. Qd2 (Komodo plays this move, but SF @depth 63 prefers 8 g4, a move of which there are only 21 examples in the CBDB. There are 430 games with the move played in the game) 8…O-O (Fritz, and his bro Deep Fritz like this move, but Dragon Breath would play 8…b5) 9. g4 b5 (SF & Komodo prefer the most often seen move by humans, 9…Nc6)10. g5 (SF 13 0-0-0; Houdini plays 10 a3) 10…b4 11. Na4 (TN)

Strokov, Anatoli (2244) vs Krasnov, Vladimir (2256)
Event: Russia CC-ch
Site: Russia Date: 03/22/2007
Round: 4
ECO: B80 Sicilian, Scheveningen variation

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be3 Be7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 a6 9.g4 b5 10.g5 b4 11.Nce2 Nfd7 12.O-O-O a5 13.Kb1 Ne5 14.Ng3 Ba6 15.f4 Bxf1 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Nxe6 Qxd2 18.Rxd2 fxe6 19.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 20.Nxf1 Nc6 21.Rd7 Rd8 22.Rxd8+ Bxd8 23.c3 Kf7 24.Ng3 1-0

The Doors- Five to One
Feb 27, 2010


As this post was being put together I learned the director of the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room, Abel Talamantez, has been name the organizer of the year!

MI Chess Director Named Organizer of the Year

This past year has presented a new challenge for the Mechanics’ Institute (MI) Chess Department as well as the general chess community, with over-the-board activities halted due to mandated closures. Nevertheless, despite COVID-19 restrictions for in-person contact and the shelter-in-place order, there was a bright spot: virtual chess. The MI Chess team took this challenge head-on and created online opportunities for chess instruction and competition, as well as social events.

Recently, MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez
Abel hard at work at the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room

received word that he was the 2021 recipient of the U.S. Chess Federation’s Organizer of the Year Award. Each year, this prestigious award is bestowed upon a member of the chess community who organizes and hosts events at the national and international levels, such as the 2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship (January, 2021), U.S. Amateur Team West Championship (January, 2021), U.S. Junior Chess Congress (April, 2021), and the International Club Team Matches (February, 2021. This is the second time an MI staff member has received the U.S. Chess Federation award. In 2017, Dr. Judit Sztaray, General Manager of MI’s Youth Outreach and Events won the Organizer of the Year Award.

Besides the honor and prestige of this latest award, Talamantez believes that recognition such as this helps to “bring chess out of the box” by gathering people together in a positive way and fostering a strong sense of community. With this mission-driven purpose, he spends his time teaching chess strategy while promoting other hidden benefits of the game, including critical thinking skills, learning from mistakes, sportsmanship, and the satisfaction of being part of a larger community.

Over this past year, the MI Chess Club has been busier than ever, nimbly moving to a pandemic-enforced online environment, hosting virtual games, matches, tournaments, and classes on its live chess Twitch channel. Under Talamantez’ leadership, MI has hosted matches with other historic chess clubs, including the Zurich Chess Club (1807), Hamburg Chess Club (1830), Edinburgh Chess Club (1822), and Royal Dutch Chess Club (1852). This was significant as these clubs are the four oldest continuously-operating chess clubs in the world, with the Mechanics’ Institute (1854) being fifth.

Talamantez has also organized several special events, such as the Thompson Family Foundation (sponsored by Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson’s family in March 2021) and the San Francisco Scholastic Chess Championship (sponsored by AO Dragge Foundation in March 2021). Sponsored events such as these enable more students to compete, thus making chess accessible for all and that is Talamantez’ mission – inclusiveness for all. “Organizing community and special events are what give me the most pleasure,” says Talamantez. “Outreach into the community has enormous value. Chess brings people together in a good way, and that is truly important.” (

Teaching Chess

Try to imagine being a Chess teacher and your student, Garry, is presenting his game. His mother, who is from a country that produced a World Chess Champion, is drinking coffee and looking at magazines at a nearby table. The boy is being home schooled after having behavioral problems at school, such as pulling the fire alarm one too many times while maintaining all he did was “lean on it.” The Chess lesson is part of his home school program and it is needed, not wanted. The boy has about as much interest in Chess as I did at his age in crochet, if you get my drift…

1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. h3 e6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 b6 11. Na3 a6 12. Nc2 b5

“Whoa…what kinda move is that?” Garry looks like his dog just died. “Any time your opponent has a Bishop lined up against your king side like that you’ve gotta be careful about the Bishop takes pawn, check, sacrifice, because sometimes the check leads to CHECKMATE! Maybe you should have played Ng6 to block the Bishop?!” you say. “He did not take the pawn with,” he says. “Lucky you dodged a bullet,” I reply. “Every Russian school boy would play Bishop takes pawn CHECK!” Sure enough his opponent played 13 Qe2, something I might play, you think, because of my penchant for playing Qe2. Wrong, Kemo Sabe! Even I know that every Russian taxi driver would play BxP+!!!

13…Ng6 14. Bd2 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. Ne3 Bb7 17. Ng4 Rfe8 18. Qc2 h5 19. Ne3 Rac8 20. Qe2 Qd8 21. Rac1

Black to move

In this position Garry looks at you as if knowing what would be coming next as he slides his King from g8 to f8…

White to move

You have already excoriated the boy for an earlier move which was awful, almost bringing him to tears, so you must be careful what you say. “Why did you make that move, Garry?” you ask, glancing over at the mother, Luba, who can sense trouble. “I dunno,” comes the answer. “You don’t know? Do you mean you just randomly chose that particular move?”
“Well coach,” he says, “I had to make a move and I remembered you said something about moving your King toward the center to prepare for the endgame.”
“Eureka!” you think to yourself. “The kid remembered something!” Then it’s back to reality and you say, “But we’re still in the middle-game and the endgame is a long way away, is it not?”
“Yeah coach, but I’ll be ready for it!”
This brings a grin to the face of the old coach, and, glancing over, a grin appears on Luba’s face, too. So you ask the student if any other moves were considered and are surprised when he immediately replys, “Yeah,” as he moves the Bishop from f4 to h6. “Why would you retreat the Bishop?” you ask. Garry says, “I dunno coach, it just sorta fills a gap the h-pawn left when it moved.”
“That it does,” you say while glancing at a beaming Luba and see a smiling student sitting across from you. Then you explain that maybe he should have given some consideration to breaking in the center with e5, what with the Rook lined up against the white Queen, in lieu of moving the King toward the middle of the board. “Move the pawn to e5, Garry.” He does as told and you say, “What happens now?” He takes the pawn with 22. dxe5, and I take with the Knight, 22… Nxe5, before he takes with the Knight, 23. Nxe5, and I take with the Rook, 23…Rxe5. “What do you think about the position now, Garry?” In a droll way he answers, “I have a weak d-pawn.”
The clock is ticking and there is not, thankfully, much time left in the hour, so the board is returned to the position after 21…Kf8 and the coach makes white’s next move, 22 g3, attacking the Bishop. Garry immediately retreats the Bishop to h6 and looks up with a grinning from ear to ear…

Position after 22…Bh6

And the coach thinks, “All is right with the world,” before perfunctorily going through the remainder of the game as quickly as possible so as to be able to go outside and smoke a cigarette or three after bidding them adieu…

GM Vladislav Kovalev (2637) FID vs
VLADISLAV KOVALEV: ¿Una Siciliana con 4. Dxd4? – Ajedrez …

GM Bobby Cheng (2552) AUS

Bobby Cheng
Bobby Cheng | Photo: Eric Rosen

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 03-02

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. h3 e6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 b6 11. Na3 a6 12. Nc2 b5 13. Qe2 Ng6 14. Bd2 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. Ne3 Bb7 17. Ng4 Rfe8 18. Qc2 h5 19. Ne3 Rac8 20. Qe2 Qd8 21. Rac1 Kf8 22. g3 Bh6 23. Nh4 b4 24. Qxh5 bxc3 25. Rxc3 Nxd4 26. Rxc8 Bxc8 27. Nf3 Qf6 28. Nxd4 Qxd4 29. Qe2 Bxe3 30. Qxe3 Qxe3 31. fxe3 Ke7 32. Rc1 Kd6 33. b4 e5 34. h4 Bb7 35. Kf2 Re6 36. Be2 d4 37. exd4 exd4 38. Rc5 Re3 39. Ra5 Rc3 40. Bxa6 Rc2+ 41. Ke1 Be4 42. Ra3 Rb2 43. Bc4 Rxb4 44. Ra6+ Kc5 45. Bb3 Rb7 46. Kd2 f5 47. Ra5+ Kd6 48. Ra6+ Kc5 49. Ra5+ Kd6 50. Ra6+ Kc5 ½-½
GRABE ANG LAWAK NG KAALAMAN SA OPENING || GM Carlsen (2872) – GM Kovalev(2660) ||Tata 20 #136

Hans Niemann’s World Open Trifecta

What a wonderful World Open for the new Grandmaster Hans Niemann! Over one thousand intrepid humans, not counting all those who accompanied some of them, traveled to Philadelphia at the end of June for the 49th Annual World Open; the 14th Annual Philadelphia International; and the 32nd Annual Blitz Championship.

Grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann
Hans Niemann

stole the show by tying for first place in each of the three tournaments. I have no idea if this is unprecedented and will leave it to readers to weigh in with the answer. Whether unprecedented or not it is quite an achievement.

Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-06-26 thru 2021-06-30

First-Third w/7 points/9 rounds
HANS NIEMANN 2651 ->2669
ANDREW HONG 2575 ->2595

49TH ANNUAL WORLD OPEN (202107054872)
Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-01 thru 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2669 ->2694


ANDREW HONG 2595 ->2616



Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2617 ->2616
ANDREW TANG 2639 ->2639

7/10 (8-16)

ANDREW HONG 2488 ->2480

Niemann, Hans Moke 2571 vs Zhou, Jianchao 2603

A80 Dutch

Round 9

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 (Here’s a shocker from the ChessBaseDataBase, Stockfish prefers 3 Bf4, which has only been played in 40 games in the CBDB, compared to 1536 for the move played in the game. In addition, 3 Bf4 has scored only 49% compared to the 58% shown after 3 Bg5! Go figure…)
    3…d5 4. Nf3 (Stockfish is high on the seldom played 4 e3 [287], while 4 Bxf6 [859] remains the most played move. 4 Nf3 has only been played 41 times) 4…e6 5. e3 (It is de rigueur to play this move)

5…Be7 (Far and away the most often played move [135 games], but is it the best? Stockfish prefers the seldom played [15 games] 5…Nbd7) 6. Bd3 (Komodo plays this move, which has been played in 105 games, by far more than any other move, but Stockfish 13 @Depth 32 plays 6 Ne2, which has only appeared in 6 games at the CBDB, scoring 58%. Going deeper to depth 37, SF 13 changes its [mind? opinion? thought process? algorithm? You tell me…] to 6 Be2, with 11 games in the CBDB. Unfortunately, 6 Be2 has scored only 23%) 6…O-O (This move has been played in 70 games in the CBDB, with white scoring 69%. Now I don’t know about you, but if sitting behind the black pieces I would give some serious consideration to, a) not getting to this position, or b) playing another move! Stockfish 12 played this move, but SF 13 went with 6…c5. In the 13 games contained in the CBDB white scored 73%. This caused Stockfish 14 to attempt 6…Ne4. In the 13 games at the CBDB white has scored 69%. Let us go back to the move, 5…Nbd7, preferred by both Stockfish 12 & 13. White has scored only 50%! But wait…there’s MORE! Deep Fritz, at only depth 23, would play 5…a6. “Say what”? you’re thinking…You are not the only one! Here’s the deal…The CBDB contains 34 games with 5…a6, with white scoring only 47%!!! What does Deep Fritz know and when did it know it?!) 7. O-O (SF prefers 7 Ne2) 7…h6 (SF 13 plays 7…c5; SF 14 prefers 7…Ne4) 8. Bh4 (SF & Houdini prefer 8 Bf4) 8…c5 (TN) 9. dxc5 Nc6 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. Ne2 Nxc5 12. a3 Bf6 13. Rb1 e5 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nd2 Be6 16. Nb3 b6 17. f4 Nxg3 18. hxg3 e4 19. Bb5 Ne7 20. Ned4 Bd7 21. Ba6 Rb8 22. c4 dxc4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Qe2 Qe8 25. Rfd1 Qg6 26. Kf2 Rfd8 27. b5 Qe8 28. Rd2 g6 29. Rbd1 h5 30. a4 Rbc8 31. Be6 Bxe6 32. Nxe6 Rxd2 33. Qxd2 Ng8 34. Ned4 Qf7 35. Rc1 Rc4 36. Qa2 Nh6 37. Ke2 Qd5 38. Qd2 Ng4 39. Rc2 Rxa4 40. Qc3 Kh7 41. Qc6 Qg8 42. Qb7+ Kh6 43. Rc8 Ra2+ 44. Ke1 Qg7 45. Rc7 Qh8 46. Rc8 Qg7 47. Rc7 Qh8 48. Rc8 1/2-1/2

Lai, Hing Ting (2447) vs Sandipan, Chanda (2548)
Event: Condigne Dutch Open 2018
Site: Dieren NED Date: 08/02/2018
Round: 9.11
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O h6 8.Bh4 Nbd7 9.Ne2 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Qd2 Nxg3 12.Nxg3 Bd6 13.c4 c6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Rac1 Qf6 16.Rc2 Nb8 17.Rfc1 Nc6 18.a3 Bd7 19.Ne2 g4 20.Ne1 f4 21.e4 Qg7 22.e5 Be7 23.f3 h5 24.Bb5 gxf3 25.Bxc6 f2+ 26.Kxf2 Bh4+ 27.Kg1 Bxe1 28.Rxe1 f3 29.Nf4 Bxc6 30.Rf1 Qh6 31.Rxf3 Rf5 32.Qe3 Kh7 33.Rcf2 Raf8 34.g3 h4 35.g4 Qg5 36.h3 Kh6 37.Kg2 Ba4 38.Qc1 Bb5 39.Ne2 Bxe2 40.Qxg5+ Kxg5 41.gxf5 Bxf3+ 42.Rxf3 Rxf5 43.Rxf5+ ½-½