I’m Ready to Play Today

Although I enjoy replaying games, such as those from the Tuesday Night Marathon at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-tuesday-night-marathon-september), and the current European Senior Championships (50+ and 65+)(https://live.followchess.com/#!european-senior-50-2021)(https://live.followchess.com/#!european-senior-65-2021), a recent picture has caused me to long for a chance to be at the Chess board, to gut, or be gutted, as Brian McCarthy was so fond of saying. I would even be happy with a draw…

Senior day at the Atlanta Chess Club & Scholastic Center

The bald gentleman with the goatee on the immediate right is Parnell Watkins, who is running unopposed for the office of President of the Georgia Chess Association. You can read about Mr. Watkins in a previous post: https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/the-dirty-laundry-of-atlanta-chess/

Then the weekly email from Gene Nix in Greenville, South Carolina was received which included this:

The 82nd SC Championship tournament will be in Columbia October 30-31. Details are online at US Chess and SCCA ( https://www.scchess.org/index.php/events-calendar/year.listevents/2021/09/01/- )

The following weekend will be the 13th Annual Klaus Pohl Memorial SC Senior Open here in Greenville! Details: https://www.scchess.org/index.php/events-calendar/year.listevents/2021/09/01/-

Reading the above again caused me to think about something Brian often said, “Just get me to the round on time!”

Take the Money and Run

A Danish museum lent an artist $84,000 for his work. He kept the cash and named the art ‘Take the Money and Run.’

By Jaclyn Peiser

When the staff at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in ​​northern Denmark opened boxes last week from artist Jens Haaning, they expected to see pieces featuring the half-million kroner they lent him for the works of art, the director told a Danish radio show host.

Artist Jens Haaning kept over 500,000 kroner lent to him by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark. The money was supposed to be displayed in two recreated works of art. (Google Street View)
Artist Jens Haaning kept over 500,000 kroner lent to him by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark. The money was supposed to be displayed in two recreated works of art. (Google Street View)

Instead, the museum — which had commissioned Haaning to re-create two of his older pieces that were made with cash — found two empty frames.

The new name for the artwork: “Take the Money and Run.”

Now, the museum in ​​Aalborg, Denmark, is accusing him of breaking their legal agreement and demanding the artist return the 534,000 kroner, the equivalent of over $84,000. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/a-danish-museum-lent-an-artist-2484000-for-his-work-he-kept-the-cash-and-named-the-art-e2-80-98take-the-money-and-run-e2-80-99/ar-AAOUgEQ)

I Believe R. Kelly Can Cry


R. Kelly guilty in sex trafficking trial, faces life in prison

By Noah Goldberg
New York Daily News

They believe R. Kelly can die — in prison.

A Brooklyn federal jury found the sex trafficking R&B superstar guilty on all nine counts Monday, delivering a verdict that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

The panel deliberated for just nine hours before convicting the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer of a decades-long sexual abuse operation targeting women and girls who attended his sold-out concerts, or met him in malls or even at a McDonald’s in Chicago.

Kelly did not move as the jurors read out the verdict, staring at his feet and at times closing his eyes. As the jurors exited the courtroom he stood and buttoned up his pinstripe blue suit, maintaining his composure.

“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said.

R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Antonio Perez/Getty Images)



This is a magnificent book. I recall an actor once saying that although winning an Oscar meant something in the business what mattered was who garnered the most nominations. This book will surely be on every voters short list for the best book of the year award.

The book begins: Foreword to the English Edition: Chess in the Context of Time

Sergey Voronkov edited the Russian edition of My Great Predecessors; maybe that’s what gave him the idea of creating his own huge project, Masterpieces and Dramas of the Soviet Championships. I wanted to show the historical development of modern chess through analyzing the games of world champions and those who got close the their level. He is trying to write the history of the Soviet chess school through the prism of the Soviet championships.
Over the years that have passed since his first book, David Janowski (with Dimitry Plisetsky, published in Russian in 1987), Sergey has grown into a top Russian chess historian. Small wonder” he worked with Yuri Lvovich Averbakh


for a number of years and classes him as his teacher. And then Sergey gained experience of chess analysis when working with David Bronstein on their book Secret Notes.


As in his other books, Masterpieces and Dramas of the Soviet Championships is based on documents” periodicals, tournament bulletins, games collections, eyewitness accounts… And, as a classic said, “analysis of what’s happening in the world based on documentary evidence is a thousand times more demonstrative than any dramatization of this world.”
Another attractive feature of this book is the great game selection. I know from experience how difficult and laborious this task is: to choose, out of hundreds of worthy games, the most wholesome and beautiful, the most important for each championship, and to demonstrate the development of chess as a whole. In this sense, the idea of combining “masterpieces” with “dramas” was very clever, allowing him to include a number of historically valuable games that influenced the course of tournaments in crucial ways.
Most of the games were annotated by the players themselves. On the one hand, this makes the author’s job easier, but on the other hand, it becomes more challenging ethically. There are quite a few erroneous lines and evaluations in the original annotations, which necessitates computer evaluation. But if we point out all the errors and inaccuracies, this might ruin the notes themselves, and give readers the wrong idea about the master’ playing strength and analytical skills. These days, you immediately get to see any error on the screen, but back then the analysis of a game required blood, sweat and tears… And what to do with the opening recommendations, oftentimes very obsolete? To throw them away entirely is to break the linkage of time, to dilute the development of opening thought, deprive it of its roots, and devalue the work of our predecessors. But if we don’t challenge the archaic recommendations at all, the opening part of the games will become essentially useless for modern players…
It’s hard to find the right balance between the analytical facts and historical truth. The author was helped by chess master Dmitry Plisetsky, who helped me to write My Great Predecessors. So, you can be sure that the chess part of Sergey’s book is high-quality as well.
Trying to shoulder alone such a burden as the history of the Soviet chess school is a heroic act. Sergey has already published three volumes in Russian that encompass 20 championships (1920-1953). 38 more are ahead… Will he manage to complete his project? Each championship requires meticulous work. I can only imagine how many tons of chess and literary “ore” the author had to dig through, how much information he had to interpret and structure to create a seamless picture of the first ten championships! Despite its academic adherence to documents, this book virtually resembles a novel: with a mystery plot, protagonists and supporting cast, sudden denouements and even “author’s digressions” – or, to be exact, introductions to the championships themselves, which constitute important parts of this book as well. These introductions, with wide and precise strokes, paint the portrait of the initial post-revolutionary era, heroic and horrific at the same time. I’ve always said that chess is a microcosm of society. Showing chess in the context of time is what makes this book valuable even beyond the purely analytical point of view.

Gary Kasparov
New York, July 2020

Where does a reviewer begin after the forward by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov? This was a major problem when trying to write this review. After the forward almost everything I added seemed superfluous. The author seemed to be in a quandary as well as he writes, “I hope that David Ionovich would have liked this book,” followed by, “I think the only thing Bronstein wouldn’t have approved of is computer analysis of the games.” Gone are the days when we mortals would spend time analyzing and dissecting our own games and the games of the Grandmasters. The top players were human and made mistakes. How wonderful it seemed when one found a better move, and others agreed! That does not happen today because players resort to the oracle called Stockfish, which has become the be all and possibly the end all of Chess. Something has been gained, but something greater has been lost…As the author writes in the following introduction, the book is, “…first and foremost about people.” Unfortunately, the computer Chess programs have eliminated the human element from the game.

Introduction: Through the Lava of Time

“In Russia, when you talk about history, you are always alluding to current times, while a historian is a prophet who predicts retrospectively.” – Dmitry Bykov, Boris Pasternak

It’s such a pity that David Ionovich Bronstein

David Bronstein quote: Independence of thought is a most ...

won’t see this book. His ideas demonstrated an amazing ability to grow through the lava of time. I hope that David Ionovich would have liked this book. It’s first and foremost about people, whereas the “Soviet Chess School” is a secondary topic: this wasn’t a conscious decision – it’s simply because in chess, as in life, I was always more interested in individual people that in abstract chimeras of “schools” or trends”. My articles, fully based on documentary sources, were criticized because I dared to state my won opinion, even though “a chronicler should be above the fray.” Please don’t get confused: I’m not a chronicler, my genre is closer to a documentary movie. And as Mikhail Romm, creator of Triumph Over Violence, once said, “A documentary is a peculiar form of auteur cinema.”

I think the only thing Bronstein wouldn’t have approved of is computer analysis of the games. But what else could I do: Of course, if he was still around, as in the wonderful times when working on David Versus Goliath (The Russian name of our book, Secret Notes), I wouldn’t have even thought about it. Back then, we decided to calculate all lines purely with our human brains, but.. David was the only one who could do that! The modern Goliaths of machine analysis have probably already forgotten the delights of that multiple – hour search for the truth, and just how exciting it is to slowly push around the ordinary wooden pieces on an ordinary wooden board…

So begins the introduction by Sergey Voronkov, written in Moscow in March of 2007.

Now that you have been introduced, the book consists of ten chapters, one for each of the first ten Soviet Chess Championships. This review will focus only on the first.

A Chess feast During the Plague: All-Russian Chess Olympiad: Moscow, 4th – 24th October 1920:

“Let’s light the lamps, let’s pour the drinks,
Let’s drown our sorrows in the kegs,
Let’s feast, and dance, and do all things,
To praise the kingdom of the Plague”
Alexander Pushkin, Feast During the Plague

Just like any truly great undertaking – and the Soviet Chess Championships are a phenomenon of planetary scale – this one owes its existence to a random, almost trifling coincidence. Had the Leninist revolutionary Ilyin-Shenevsky not been a passionate chess fan, who know how many years would have passed before the Bolsheviks took note of the “royal game”. Really, can you call that anything but a miracle? The Russian Civil War is still raging in the outskirts of the country, devastation and hunger are rampant, conspiracies abound, the Red Terror is in full swing – and then, suddenly, there’s an All-Russian Chess Olympiad! How could such a thing have happened in 1920?
Oh, this was such an unbelievable chain of coincidences that it might really make you believe in an old adage: any random occurrence is actually a manifestation of some unknown pattern. It all began when Alexander Fyodorovich Ilyin-Zhenevsky… well, we can let him speak for himself.

Ilyin-Zhenevsky: “In early 1920, I got a job in the head office of the Vsevobuch (Universal Military Training) and was soon promoted to commissar. I worked together with great physical education specialist to develop pre-conscription training programs for workers, and I suggested including chess training in these programs… The main value of sports, they said, was that it developed qualities that were very important for a soldier. I thought that this was true for chess as well. Chess training often develops the same qualities in people as any other sport training – bravery, resourcefulness, composure, willpower – and also, unlike sport, it develops strategic skills. My suggestion was accepted and approved by the chairman of Vsevobuch, Comrade N. I. Podvoisky. Soon after, all regional Vsevobuch heads received a decree to cultivate chess and organize chess circles…” (From the book Memoirs of a Soviet Master) There is a note here: The full bibliography is included at the end of the book.

Future World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine had this to say about how the Soviet era in Chess came about: “The Moscow chess players, moving from place to place, despite the fuel crisis and many other insurmountable obstacles, managed to survive until 1919, and the, one of the most influential members of the Soviet government appeared on the horizon. And even thought he was the brother of the even more famous Raskolnikov, the leader of the sailors, he had a different pseudonym, Ilyin-Zhenevsky (from the city of Geneva). He was a decent player and a fervent chess enthusiast, and his authority, both as Raskolnikov’s brother and his position as the Vsevobuch head commissar, was instrumental in making the Red government drastically change its attitude towards the ‘royal game’. In their eyes, chess turned from “bourgeois leisure” into a “high and useful art that develops the intellectual strength of the growing generation” (a quote from the resolution of the Moscow region Vsevobuch officials’ convention, which took place in April 1920). Because of this change of stance, Moscow chess players were suddenly treated to a real cornucopia. Above all, they were allocated excellent six-room premises in the Vsevobuch Central Military Sport Club; the Moscow Chess Club was officially turned into a “department” of that institution. Also, they received funding of 100,000 rubles (which had a purchasing power of 1 million rubles now!) to organize serious tournaments. And, finally and most importantly, they got to organize the “All-Russian Chess Olympiad”, which was held in October 1920.” (from the book Chess in the Soviet Union by A. von Alekhine, originally published in the German language in Berlin, 1921.)

Who was Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky, the man responsible for your reading this review, and hopefully, the book?

Ilyin-Zhenevsky’s authority was so great that chess players referred to him as “our president”. The Leningrad master Andrei Batuev was a schoolboy back then and first saw Alexander Fyodorovich later, but he may as well have been referring to the 26 year-old Vsevobuch commissar: “He was incredibly handsome and unique man, with blue eyes, delicate, a girl-like blush and curly auburn hair. He was shell-shocked in the war and made funny grimaces, turning his head to the side and smacking his trembling lips. Interestingly enough, Ilyin-Zhenevsky lost his memory after a contusion, and he had to relearn chess from scratch,” (Neva No. 9, 1984)


The Winners and the Prizes

Peter Romanovsky and Alexander Alekhine

From the press: “Most of the participants of the main event played after a long hiatus, and so couldn’t fully demonstrate their skills on the chess battlefield. Without a doubt, Alekhine didn’t play his best, and managed to win only with a great effort and good shard of luck. By contrast, Levenfish, who played better than everyone else, took only third place because at the very beginning of the tournament, when he hadn’t hit his stride yet, he drew and even lost some games despite having completely won positions…Romanovsky played unexpectedly well, taking second place, ahead of three maestros.” (Listok Petrogubkommuny, 8th May 1921.

The comment about Alekhine is quite remarkable! As you might see, the opinion that he “effortlessly” and “brilliantly” won first prize only took hold years later, not immediately. I initially blamed his biographers, Vasily Panov

Estrin, Y. "Vasily Panov"

and Alexander Kotov,

The art of looking for candidate moves! – Chess Pathshala

but then I found the original source – Levenfish’s words in 1925: “Alekhine won the 1920 Olympiad without any effort.” Yes, if we look into the table, such an evaluation looks pretty convincing. But an analysis of Alekhine’s games (even though only ten of them survived) shows that the victory indeed didn’t come easy to him. Years later, Zubarev wrote about that, too: “The tournament ended with Alekhine’s victory, however, this win wasn’t completely overwhelming. Alekhine played with great strain, but despite that, he still had lost positions in several games, and Blumenfeld agreed to a draw with him despite having an obvious win.” (Shakhmaty v SSSR(itl), No. 11-12, 1937.)

However, we shouldn’t take the Listok’s words at face value, either: as it soon (in No. 9) became known, there was a conflict of interest, since the magazine’s editorial board included both Levenfish and Romanovsky. In this context, the remark about “Levenfish, who played better than everyone else” look kind of improper…
I’ll finish the introduction of the winner with a quote from a humorous poem about the Olympiad, written by a Moscow chess player Boris Grigoriev, well-known in his time. The poem is certainly not a masterpiece, but Alekhine’s image is so different from the generally accepted one (“even though he doesn’t create his own plan…”) that this alone redeems all technical flaws. As the years go by, accounts about people written before they became famous geniuses and everyone started writing about them with reverence, become increasingly valuable.

Alekhine is our grandmaster.
Want to introduce him? What for?
The fame is like glue.
If it sticks to you, you can’t get it off.
He doesn’t need recommendations
From anyone,And the prize – a bundle of money –
He said himself, “I’ll take it!”
So, what’s your opinion
About his creativity?
The general consensus
Is currently this:
Even though he doesn’t create
His own plan,
And only searches for flaws,
You should beware if he finds one…
He drills into your weakness,
He hits you like a hammer!
He’ll beat your pieces into a pulp,
Nobody can survive that!
He is also able
To catch the thread of play
And then think intently
On further developments…
He’s a demon of destruction,
A very dangerous microbe
Of decay and dissolution,
And this is not slander!
His openings are shaky
(The theory is strict!),
But as soon as you make a smallest mistake,
Woe is you!

There is a footnote here: The original rhymed

Alekhine’s Hint

Alekhine, um jogador de xadrez FRIO e CALCULISTA || Alexander Alekhine x Grigory Levenfish (1912)

Let’s begin with the most dramatic game of the entire Olympiad. It was played at the very start, but its result ultimately determined the final standings and brought the master’s title to Peter Romanovsky. Still, years later, he would write, “This accidental victory did not make me happy. I realized that this tournament would be a hard test for me.”

Peter Romanovsky

Piotr Romanovsky, tan cerca de la locura, tan lejos
Piotr Romanovsky, tan cerca de la locura, tan lejos

vs Grigory Levenfish


Moscow 1920, round 1
Annotated by G. Levenfish

Black to move

33…Qxa2. 33…Qd8 34.Qa6! Qg8 35.e5 (35.Qxc6+ Kd8!) 35…Qg4+ 36.Ke4 Qg6+ 37.Kf3 Rxh2 or 37…Qxb1 won as well.
While my opponent thought over his move, I took a walk. Alekhine walked around the hall, too. He looked at my game, and then, walking beside me, said, “Aha, so you’re preparing mate on g2!”
34.e4 Romanovsky clearly saw the rook sacrifice. For instance, 34.Ra3 is met with 34…Rg3+ 35.hxge Qg2+ 36.Kg4 Rd8 37.Bg1 Rh8 38.Rxa7 Rh4# (37.f5 Rg8+ 38.Bg5 Bxg5 39.Qf3 Be3+ would only prolong the struggle). The game move prevents this combination.
Black could win in numerous ways not. The simplest one was 34…Rd8, again threatening Rg3+, or 34…Bh4, or 34…Rxh2, without any fancy stuff. But, hypnotized by Alekhine’s words, I came to the board and immediately sacrificed the rook, without even writing the move down!

Black to move

34…Rg3+?? 35.hxg3 (35.Kxg3?? Qg2#) 35…Qg2+ 36.Kg4. I didn’t expect this move at all. 36…Rd8 37.Kh7! (That’s why white played 34.e5) 37…Rh8 38.Qxh8+ Bxh8 39.Rxb7 Qe2+ 40 Kh4 Qa6 41 Rb8+ Kc7 42.Bd2. Black resigned.
I was punished for my complacency. Because of this game I finished third in the tournament, while Romanovsky took second place.

Upsetting Time at the 1980 US Chess Open in Hot Atlanta, Georgia

A confluence of events, or synchronicity has brought this post together. It began when the United States Chess Federation put older issues of Chess Life magazine online for anyone to peruse. Then there was a post I posted at Facebook, at the Chess Mess page.

Chess Mess at Manuel’s Tavern

The Chess Mess is the name of the meeting at the venerable Manuel’s Tavern (https://www.facebook.com/ManuelsTavern/) in Atlanta, Georgia,

View from the bar at Manuel’s Tavern

which happens to be the bar at which I enjoyed my first adult beverage. I have bellied-up to the bar on numerous occasions since, including the Manuel’s Tavern formerly located on Memorial Road, which was near the residence of the Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear. It was the main watering hole for the Ironman and I rarely went there without being with Tim. This Manuel’s Tavern would host a Christmas party for only the regulars, and Tim was included in the all you can eat and drink, within reason, limit. Tim had invited me and by the time I arrived there was a crowd outside the front door. There were no cell phones ‘back in the day’ so I had to fight my way to a window, where I saw Tim but I was the last thing on his mind. The crowd was badly wanted inside. As I was about to leave the door opened and it was our favorite bartender, Buddy Bob. “COME ON, MIKE!!!” he yelled. I somehow managed to battle my way through the crowd and was able to once again belly up to the bar. “What happened to your shirt, Mike?” Tim asked. “Looks like it got ripped.” Buddy Bob said, “Yeah, the crowd’s turning ugly out there. Don’t think I’m gonna open the door again.” Ah, those were the daze!

I recall walking into the Manuel’s on Highland one evening after a long absence to be greeted by Bobby, who said, “Howdy, stranger! What’ll you have?” I said, “How about a Buddy’s special?” Bobby’s eyebrows shot up before saying, “Wow, you’ve been away awhile. That’s no longer on the menu and hasn’t been for some time now.” Hearing this, Bill McCloskey walked over and smiled before shaking my hand and saying, “Anybody comes in here asking for a Buddy’s gets what he wants and it’s on me.” It was good to be home…

Bobby and McCloskey

Earlier this month I posted something unrelated to Chess at the Facebook page of the Chess Mess. Being new to the book of faces I had no idea that the nattering nabobs from Etiquette Hell (http://www.etiquettehell.com/) would excoriate me unmercifully for posting something about the pandemic on the page. One of those doing the excoriating was a female who wanted the Mess to remain purely about Chess while being unsullied by anything other than Chess, especially anything about Covid. Later Thad Rogers, bless his heart, posted something in reply about Kasparov’s former trainer dying of Covid. And Thad shocked me when he left a “like” on the now infamous “Mr. Hankey” post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/09/11/the-charlotte-chess-center-mr-hankey-award/), which proves he has a decent sense of humor.
Another who left a comment was a fellow known ‘back in the day’ as Billy Noyes, who let me know he now wants to be known as “Bill” and only “Bill.” Bill was calling for an administrator like one of the girls in grammar school calling for the teacher, saying, “Mrs. Suttles, that awful Michael Bacon just hit me with a SPITWAD!!!

I recalled “Bill” as a long-time class D player, to which he took offense, letting me know in no uncertain terms that he had been over 1500 many times, topping out at 1583. I replied, “I don’t know if that is a number of which to be proud. Back in the day it was thought that a player was not taken seriously until he became a class B player,” which is 1600. I see Bill has left a few “likes” about my posts recently, so let’s hear it for Mr. Bill Noyes! It is not my intention to disparage any player of the Royal Game no matter how low his rating. After all, I lost all six games at my very first USCF rated event, and had a triple digit rating to prove it. I was no kid, other than at heart, at the time, as I was twenty, and old enough to know better.

Then there was something posted on Facebook by Greg Maness in reply to Rocha Harris: “Is it possible That GM might loss a chess Match to Under Rated Player ?? What are? Or What is the Percentage??”

Greg Maness: “I once beat a ~2390 and HAD a ~2250 beat in the same tournament — and I was only rated ~1775 at the time .. .. so — anything is possible …..”

I decided to give my two cents worth by depositing this: “A snowballs chance in hell…”

About this time I checked the stats at the AW blog when I noticed someone had clicked onto an earlier post: Bradley Scott Cornelius R.I.P. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/bradley-scott-cornelius-r-i-p/) I could not recall the name or the post, so I clicked on over finding Michael Mulford, the Mulfish, had notified me of the death of Mr. Conelius. He wrote: I headed to the USCF website (https://new.uschess.org/home/) in an attempt to locate where, exactly, this was posted, but was unable to do so. It is possible the notification was posted, then taken down, before I searched the website. This is rather strange, considering the fact that Mr. Cornelius died in battle across the Chess board. I have, therefore, decided to publish the notice. I did not know Bradley Scott Cornelius, but he was one of us. He was a class ‘B’ player. For many years the demarcation line between being consider a quality player was crossing the 1600 barrier. It appears 1600 is still considered some kind of line to be crossed to be taken seriously as a Chess player. When a player becomes a class ‘B’ player he has stopped making piece losing and game losing moves with regularity. It does not happen often but class ‘B’ players have been known to upset GM’s. Ask GM John Fedorowicz.


1980 US Open

Hot Time In Atlanta

Not since Sherman visited Atlanta has there been so much burning – the weather, the competition, and sometimes even the hotel

By Alison Burt

A FIRE, A DOWNPOUR, AND AN extraordinary number of early upsets were not enough to throw the 1980 U.S. Open off course. A few hours after the third-ranked contender was demolished by a category II player in the first round of this annual event, the tournament hall, concessionaires’ rooms and hotel rooms of the 385 participants appeared likely to go up in smoke in what could have been the shortest U.S. Open in history.

At 2 a.m., tournament organizer and director Thad Rogers

May be an image of 1 person

smelled smoke and alerted the staff at the Dunfey’s Atlanta Hotel that their new luxury manor, which only recently reopened after being destroyed by a blaze more than a year ago, was once again on fire. Hotel employee’s were slow to believe Thad’s story until he opened an elevator door and smoke poured into the hallway. Many players refused to believe the alarm which sounded in the middle of the night, and the now frantic hotel staff began banging on doors, with news that the hotel was indeed on fire.
Although all halls filled with smoke, the flames were fortunately confined to a single evevator shaft and were brought under control by the Atlanta Fire Department. No one was injured. Meanwhile, guest had to wait outside the building for two hours – most in their night clothes. Arnold Denker with his Panama hat (to keep the sun out) and ever present cigar.
Gallows humor prevailed among the directing staff. Rogers was chastised for saving his wallet but not the wall charts; Joe Lux calculated that if one point was indeed enough to win the U.S. Open, then every player who won his first-round game would receive $72 and a handshake.
After the fire and the unprecedented July-August heat spell, most of us were hoping for rain. Our wishes were granted. Periodically during the first part of the tournament, pipes above the ballroom ceiling leaked, producing scattered showers – and one downpour – in the tournament hall. But further natural disasters were avoided, and the favored players performed pretty much as expected, with Grandmaster Florin Gheorghiu and International Master John Fedorowicz ultimately tying for first. The first half of the tournament was characterized by numerous upsets on the top boards. In fact, by the end of round 6, no player had a perfect score, and, after eight rounds, the five highest-rated entrants had given up at least a full point.
The upsets began as early as Round 1 when Stanley Davis, a local category II player, defeated Fedorowicz.


Upset prize The Firebug Confesses

By W. Stanley Davis

This is one of those encounters between drastically unequal players that characterizes the starting rounds of the swiss torture. The official tournament bulletin, invoking the quaint folkways and picturesque manners of the Old South, described the game as a “barnburner.”
Alekhine complained that chessplayers rarely speak, in their published notes, of their states of mind when making particular moves. But, in this place, I feel obligated, faute de mieux, to do exactly that. Since even Grandmasters have been known, once in a great while, to make teeny slips in annotating each other’s games, it would be presumptuous of a lower ranked player to hide behind columns of analysis. Here, instead, are my thought processes, warts and all.

Round 1
Nimzovich Attack

Davis/1621 John Fedorowicz/2479

  1. Nf3 (As this is my first tournament game since the 1973 Continental Open, and my first game ever against a player of this caliber, I feel that something solid and non-committal is in order.) 1…e6 2. e3 b6 3. b3 (Not 3. d4. Fedorowicz is the author of legendary exploits in the Queen’s Indian, and I am not anxious to find out he has in store for me. But suppose I turn his own weapon against him? Fischer used this tactic against Spassky in their sixth game at Reykjavik and brought off a winning attack. Going further back, I recall that Weaver Adams, the 1948 U.S. Open Champion who greatly favored the Vienna Game, had a terrible time defending against the Vienna as Black. At least my opponent cannot smash me up very quickly in a Nimzovich formation, so I decide to try it.) 3…Bb7 4. Bb2 c5 5. Be2 Nf6 6. d3 (Both positionally and psychologically, this sequence is more aggressive than it seems to the casual eye. On the positional side, it invites Fedorowicz to commit his QP so that the attack I plan may be precisely targeted. On the psychological side, perhaps it will lull him into thinking I am a timid and unadventurous who yearns for a draw.) 6…d5 7. Nbd2 Be7 8. Ne5 (This is getting interesting. Thanks to John’s sixth move, my Knight cannot be easily dislodged from its outpost on e5. That will give him something to think about, but there is another string to the bow.) 8…0-0 9. 0-0 Re8 10. f4

(And the hedgehog becomes a tiger! With this transposing move, my Nimzovich Attack fuses the strategic notions of the Great Blockader with Kingside attacking themes pioneered by such British stars of the last century as Staunton, Bird, Owen, Elijah Williams, and Skipworth. With so many names of power to call on, I have visions of putting up a real fight. En Passant, I wonder, carnivorously, whether John knows these old British lines of play.) 10…Bf8 11. Qe1 a5 (Fedorowicz knows he can open the Queenside by getting rid of both a-pawns. After that I will no longer have the classic means to prevent an incursion of his Queen Knight, with the intent of attacking my Queen. No matter. My Queen is destined for another part of the board, and I think he is insufficiently concerned with the position in general, as my next move shows.) 12 g4 a4 (“Ist der Laufer geschuzt?” {“Is the Bishop defended?”}) 13 Rc1 axb3 14. axb3 Ra2 15. Ba1 ( “Ja,der Laufer geschuzt” {“Yes, the Bishop is defended.”}) 15…Na6 (The old refrain. With his Queen Rook firmly planted on a2, he will use the Knight to attack the backward pawns on b3 and e3. As far as I am concerned, he can come right ahead. I shall now proceed to mount a formidable attack against his castled King.) 16. g5 Nd7 17. Bh5 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 Nb5 19. 19. Qh4 Nxc2 20. Rf3 Nxe3 21. Rxe3 Rxd2

(After these exchanges I feel I have come out quite well. He has won two pawns, which would be fatal to me in the endgame, but I hope we will not have to play that long. In return, I have three pieces and two pawns all bearing down on his King. Now to wheel up more cannon.) 22. Rh3 c5 23. Bf6! (“Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark!” If he takes my Bishop it is mate in five.) 23…Bc5+ (“We count it death to falter, not to die!”) 24. Kf1 Bf2 (“She picked up the nasty frog and she threw him against the wall as hard as she could.”) 25. Bxf7+ Kf8 26. Qxh7 (“As he fell to the ground, however, he was longer a frog but a handsome prince.”) 26…gxf6 27. Bg6, Black resigns.

I took the time to transcribe this from the PDF of the December 1980 issue of Chess Life magazine. First, a word about the author of the excellent article, which states, “Alison Burt, a student and professional classical guitarist, played in the 1979 U.S. women’s Championship.” Alison was a very intelligent and talented girl to whom I gave lessons. We were later paired in a tournament and she won. After the game ended she had a rather incredulously horrid look on her face that at the same time was sad even though she had just won the game. It was obvious she had no idea what to say, so I said, “Just goes to prove what a fine teacher I am, does it not?” Alison’s face lit up like a Christmas tree on Sunday morning, displaying a huge smile. When I returned her smile she bolted over, giving me a hug. “I was afraid you’d be mad at me, Michael.”

“I’m proud of you, my dear.” After returning home later that night I told Gail what had happened and she hugged me tightly before saying, “Sometimes you amaze me.” I replied, “Yeah, sometimes I amaze myself…”

Blue Harvest Moon

After learning there would be a Blue Moon on the night of September 20, tonight, I reached out to my friend Dennis Fritzinger, the poet who was profiled here earlier (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/05/04/the-chess-playing-poet/), asking permission to use one of his poems:

Blue Moon

was my Auny Shirley’s favorite song
i have a picture of her
at a penny arcade
with her first or second husband
it had a moon theme going.
i still remember her
singing a few bars of it,
“Blue moon…
I saw you shining alone…”
it was a very romantic song,
about love and all that stuff;
it went way over my head,
but she seemed to like it.
“Blue moon…” she’d sing,
“Blue moon…”.

from his book, Nuclear Family:

In addition I mentioned possibly putting in a plug for the book on the blog because I very much liked Nuclear Family. His response:

Dennis Fritzinger
To:Michael Bacon
Mon, Sep 6 at 8:43 PM

Hi Michael,

You have my permission to use “Blue Moon”.

Also, thank you for your wonderful story. I hoped my book would trigger memories in its readers, and I’m glad to see it has!

All the Best,


Here’s how to order “Nuclear Family” (Ordering information and cover photo below).

Send $20 to:

Dennis Fritzinger

2220 Piedmont Ave.

Haas School of Business

University of California

Berkeley, CA 94720-1900

And here is the song chosen to go with the post:

While researching the song this was discovered:

Blue Moon THE SONG

The fascinating true story you never heard


“Blue Moon,” the classic American ballad that is one of the most universally recognized songs of the 20th century, is not what you think it is.

History tells us that it was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

In reality, “Blue Moon” was composed in 1931 by a 17-year-old, the son of Polish immigrants, after an evening of moonlit skating on a pond in upstate New York. This is the previously untold true story.

NY Times Interview On Blue Moon With Liz Roman Gallese

Blue Moon. The Real Story.
By Rodgers & Hart? Not Really.

From the Memoir:

“. . .the history of ‘Blue Moon,’ for all of its known convolutedness and remarkableness, actually begins earlier. Its unknown origins are even more remarkable and convoluted, and its agency lies at that very intersection of those final Hart lyrics being either his ‘simplest or most banal.’”

“. . .the lyrics. . .weren’t written by Hart, nor the melody by Rodgers. Rather the song was composed in 1931 by a 17-year-old, the son of Polish immigrants, in Troy, on the East bank of the Hudson River in upstate New York. His name was Edward W. Roman.”

Photo of Edward W. Roman with his ice skates
Photo of Edward W. Roman with his ice skates

“I know because I am his daughter, and because I have always known this story. It was part of the family lore for all of my growing-up years, the source of whispers about ‘that “Blue Moon” thing’ among the adults. . .a matter of curiosity among the more curious of the youngsters, of which I was perhaps the most curious.”

If you click onto this link you can hear Billie Holiday sing Blue Moon (https://bluemoonsong.org/)

But wait…there’s MORE! Todaze moon is not a blue moon, but a HARVEST MOON! I kid you not…

Traditional Full Moon Names

Wolf Moon – January
Snow Moon – February
Worm Moon – March
Pink Moon – April
Flower Moon – May
Strawberry Moon – June
Buck Moon – July
Sturgeon Moon – August
Harvest Moon – September or October
Full Corn Moon (Harvest) – September
Hunter's Moon (Harvest) – October
Beaver Moon – November
Cold Moon – December 

It would appear that what we have tonight is a moon full of corn.

A Full Moon shines over a field of corn ready to be harvested. Dark blue night sky in the background.

Wait a minute! I do not see anything about a “Blue Moon” in the list? Inquiring minds wanna know, so…

Full Moons with No Name

Some years have 13 Full Moons, which makes at least one of them a Blue Moon, as it doesn’t quite fit in with the traditional Full Moon naming system. However, this is not the only definition of a Blue Moon.

About every 19 years, there is no Full Moon in February. This is one of several definitions of the term Black Moon. The other definitions refer to a New Moon which does not fit in with the equinoxes or solstices, similar to a Blue Moon. (https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/full-moon-names.html)

Time to put the wrap on another post, and who better to bring in the harvest than…

660,000 White Flags Represent the Staggering Death Toll of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the United States

660,000 white flags and climbing: This artist shows what America’s COVID-19 death toll looks like

Flags will be added during the memorial’s 17-day run as more people die

Volunteers plant white flags on the National Mall on Wednesday for the "In America: Remember" public art installation commemorating all Americans who have died from COVID-19.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Volunteers plant white flags on the National Mall on Wednesday for the “In America: Remember” public art installation commemorating all Americans who have died from COVID-19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By Chris Cioffi Posted September 16, 2021 at 1:28pm

Jeneffer Haynes is among the roughly 300 volunteers planting a crop of more than 660,000 white flags on the National Mall — it’s a physical representation of the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. 

The Battle of Antietam

It’s the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland, along the banks of Antietam Creek (1862). It was the bloodiest single day in American military history, with nearly 23,000 casualties, and it ended in a tactical draw. One regiment, the First Texas Infantry, lost 82 percent of its men.

Fighting ‘Too Fast’: The Texas Brigade paid a high price …

The 12-hour battle began at dawn in a cornfield on David Miller’s farm. It was the first Civil War battle fought in Union Territory; the second, the Battle of Gettysburg, would happen less than a year later. Confederate General Robert E. Lee had brought troops into Maryland — which was still part of the Union even though it was a slave state — to try to replenish his dwindling supplies. Encouraged by word of Stonewall Jackson’s


capture of Harpers Ferry Lee decided to make a stand in Sharpsburg rather than return to Confederate Virginia.


had brought troops into Maryland — which was still part of the Union even though it was a slave state — to try to replenish his dwindling supplies. Encouraged by word of Stonewall Jackson’s capture of Harpers Ferry Lee decided to make a stand in Sharpsburg rather than return to Confederate Virginia.

Union Major General George B. McClellan


commanded twice as many troops as Lee. Not only that, but he also had a copy of Lee’s battle plan. But McClellan fumbled these advantages, failing to fully collapse the Confederates’ flanks and advance his center — which meant that more than a quarter of McClellan’s men never entered the battle. In the afternoon Union troops advanced and a victory seemed imminent until late-arriving Confederate reinforcements held them off. By sundown both sides simply held their own ground. A veteran of the battle later recalled, “[The cornfield] was so full of bodies that a man could have walked through it without stepping on the ground.”



In the South it is known as the Battle of Sharpsburg. (http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/jackson/battle-of-sharpsburg.html)