Gabriela Antova vs Alex Leningrad Lenderman

Grandmaster Alex Lenderman

has been playing excellent Chess recently but one would not know it after watching the following game in which Lenderman snatched victory from the jaws of defeat several times against Gabriela Antova,

a FIDE Master (FM) from Bulgaria. Because of her sex she is also a “Woman International Master.” The fact that there is a separate rating list for women is an insult to Caissa.

It was a rainy day and after checking out the openings from Charlotte this writer was enthralled to see GM Lenderman play the Leningrad Dutch, which was appropriate since Alex is originally from Leningrad. The game did not begin with the usual 1 d4 f5, but transposed into a Leningrad Dutch when Lenderman decided to play 4…f5. This caused me to think…

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I first began wondering about how the game was being played when Alex moved his King into the corner on move 8. Stockfish and Komodo both show 8…Na6 as best, and moves like 8…a5, or 8…Qc7, or 8…Qe8 have been popular. Maybe it would have been an OK move if the woman had played her Queen to b3 in lieu of c2 on the previous move, but still…8…Kh8 is a weak and vacillating move. It was difficult to see the move 10…Nb4? appear on the screen. It did, though, give the woman a choice of where to place her Lady, and she chose one of the, shall we say, “least best” squares for the Queen, which might have had something to do with the thinking of the GM. I was watching a few other games, and doing other things, but kept returning for more of the Antova and Lenderman show. Keep in mind I was spectating at the website because there is no analysis. After seeing the woman not take the pawn on f4 but retreat her knight to e2 instead I was tempted to surf on over to to learn what Stockfish had to say about the position, but I eschewed temptation and stayed straight with no chaser. This lasted until seeing 19…Nh5? It was at this time the realization struck that the moves being shown on the screen did not appear to be coming from Masters, much less a Grandmaster. Then the realization struck that the game being followed could have been one of the games I played ‘back in the day’ when first learning how to play the Leningrad Dutch. It also caused me to question my concept of Chess as I expected the move 19…fxg3 to be played, just as I had expected the woman to play 19 gxf4. Nevertheless I again refrained from heading over to the Bomb. After seeing the move 20…Kxg7 onscreen I thought possibly there were transmission problems, like those affecting recently. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, because ‘back in the day’ we had to wait months to obtain the moves that now miraculously and instantly appear after being played. Then the thought occurred that Alex knew what he was doing and wanted to trade Queens and grind her down in an endgame and maybe expected her to give the check on c3 with the Queen, which is exactly what transpired. I expected Alex to block the check with 21…Qf6 and was shocked to see 21…Qe5 appear onscreen. After 22 Nd4 I expected 22…fxg3 and was flummoxed to see Alex had retreated his King by moving it back to h8. When Alex finally played 24…fxg3 it had come too late and he had a ‘lost’ position. After playing 27…Nf6 the GM was BUSTED, Buster.

White to move

And then the fun began…I will not spoil any more of it for you and let you play over the rest of the game for yourself.

Gabriela Antova (BUL) vs Aleksandr Lenderman (USA)
Charlotte Open 2021 round 04

A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

  1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 f5 5. O-O Nf6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 c6 8. Qc2 Kh8 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 Nb4 11. Qb1 Rb8 12. a3 Na6 13. d5 e5 14. dxe6 Bxe6 15. Qc2 Qe7 16. Rfe1 Nc5 17. Ng5 Bg8 18. e4 f4 19. Ne2 Nh5 20. Bxg7+ Kxg7 21. Qc3+ Qe5 22. Nd4 Kh8 23. Ngf3 Qg7 24. e5 fxg3 25. hxg3 Rbd8 26. Rad1 dxe5 27. Nxe5 Nf6 28. b4 Ncd7 29. Nef3 Ng4 30. Rd2 Nb6 31. c5 Nd5 32. Qc2 a6 33. Rde2 Rd7 34. Re4 Ndf6 35. Ne6 Bxe6 36. Rxe6 Qh6 37. Qc3 Rff7 38. Re8+ Kg7 39. Nh4 Qd2 40. Qxd2 Rxd2 41. R8e2 Rd3 42. Nf3 h6 43. Rd2 Rxa3 44. Nd4 h5 45. Ne6+ Kh6 46. f3 Ne3 47. Nd8 Rh7 48. Rd6 Nfd5 49. Bh3 Nc4 50. Rd7 Rxd7 51. Bxd7 Rxf3 52. Kg2 Rd3 0-1
  1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 f5 5. O-O Nf6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 c6 (Komodo plays this but Stockfish 011121 @depth 52 plays 7…a5. See former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov give a recent lesson below) 8. Qc2 (Stockfish 100221 @depth 33 would play 8 Qb3) 8…Kh8 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 (In this position Komodo @depth 23 would play 10…Rb8, a move not contained in the Chessbase Database. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 31 shows 10…Bd7, another move not shown at the CBDB. Stockfish 310720 @depth 33 shows 10…Qc7, yet another move not contained in the CBDB. There are three games having been played with 10…Nc7, one of which is the game below played by David Bronstein, who drew a match with Mikhail Botvinnik,contested during the first year of my life.

Anatoly Karpov (2617) vs David Paravyan (2631)
Event: Smyslov Region Group Cup
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 08/16/2021
Round: 9.5 Score: 1-0
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 a5 8.Rb1 Na6 9.b3 c6 10.Bb2 Nc7 11.Qd3 Rb8 12.Rfe1 b5 13.Nd2 d5 14.cxb5 cxb5 15.Nf3 f4 16.Rbc1 Bf5 17.Qd1 Bh6 18.gxf4 Bxf4 19.e3 Bd6 20.Ne5 Qe8 21.Ne2 b4 22.Ng3 Be6 23.Re2 Nb5 24.Rec2 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Bxc8 26.Qd3 Bb7 27.Rc2 Ba6 28.Qd1 Qa8 29.Bh3 Bc8 30.Bg2 Bb7 31.Qc1 Na3 32.Bxa3 bxa3 33.Qd2 Bb4 34.Qc1 Bd6 35.Qd2 a4 36.b4 Qa6 37.Bf1 Qb6 38.b5 Kg7 39.Rc1 Rc8 40.Rxc8 Bxc8 41.Qc2 Qb8 42.Qxa4 h5 43.Nc6 Qc7 44.Qa7 Bb7 45.Qa5 Qd7 46.Qb6 h4 47.Ne5 Bxe5 48.dxe5 Ng4 49.e6 Qc8 50.Ne2 Nf6 51.Nd4 Ba8 52.Qa7 Qf8 53.f3 g5 54.Bh3 g4 55.Bxg4 Nxg4 56.fxg4 h3 57.Qc7 Qf6 58.Qf4 Qh4 59.Nf5+ 1-0

Stefan Brzozka vs David Bronstein
Event: Asztalos mem
Site: Miskolc Date: ??/??/1963
Round: 6
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Qc2 Kh8 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Nc7 11.Rad1 Bd7 12.e3 Qe8 13.Rfe1 Rd8 14.Rd2 Nh5 15.d5 Qf7 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.Ne2 c5 18.Nf4 Nf6 19.Ng5 Qg8 20.Bc3 Rde8 21.Ba5 Ne6 22.Ngxe6 Bxe6 23.Nxe6 Qxe6 24.Qd3 Ne4 25.Qd5 Qxd5 26.Rxd5 Bc3 27.Bxc3+ Nxc3 28.Rd2 Ne4 29.Rb2 a5 30.f3 Nf6 31.Kf2 Rb8 32.Ke2 Rb6 33.Kd3 e5 34.f4 e4+ 35.Kc3 Kg7 36.Bf1 h5 37.h4 Rfb8 38.Be2 a4 39.Reb1 a3 40.Rd2 Kf7 41.Rbd1 Ke7 42.Rd5 Ne8 43.R1d2 Nc7 44.Bd1 Na6 45.Bc2 Nb4 46.Bb1 Ra6 47.Rd1 Nxd5+ 48.Rxd5 Rxb3+ 49.Kxb3 Rb6+ 50.Kc2 Rb2+ 51.Kc1 Re2 52.Rd1 Rxe3 53.Rg1 Rc3+ 54.Kd2 Rxc4 55.Bc2 d5 56.Rb1 d4 57.Bd1 Rc3 58.Rb3 e3+ 59.Ke2 Rc1 60.Rxa3 c4 61.Ra7+ Kd6 62.Ba4 Rh1 63.Rd7+ Kc5 64.Rc7+ Kb4 65.a3+ Kc3 66.Bb5 Rh2+ 67.Kf1 d3 0-1

Liubov Yakir vs Klaara Skegina
Event: URS-chT
Site: Moscow Date: ??/??/1959
Round: ?
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
1.d4 f5 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 d6 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 Kh8 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Nh5 11.Rfd1 f4 12.d5 Bf5 13.Qd2 c5 14.Nh4 Bd7 15.Ne4 Qc8 16.Bxg7+ Kxg7 17.Ng5 Nc7 18.Qd3 Qe8 19.Bf3 Nf6 20.gxf4 Bg4 21.Bxg4 Nxg4 22.e3 Nh6 23.Kh1 Nf5 24.Nxf5+ Rxf5 25.Rg1 Qf8 26.Rg3 Qf6 27.Rag1 Rf8 28.Rh3 Rh8 29.Ne4 Qb2 30.Nxd6 Rff8 31.Rxh7+ Rxh7 32.Qxg6+ Kh8 33.Nf7+ Rhxf7 34.Qh6+ 1-0

The Return of Mr. Hankey

In the recently completed Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 Chess tournament held in Charlotte, North Carolina, Grandmaster Tanguy Ringoir,
Charlotte Chess Center Blog: CCCSA Norm Invitational …

recipient of the now infamous Mr. Hankey award ( was invited to return even though he was still stinking to high heaven after his abysmal non performance in the Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 tournament. In the first round GM Ringoir had the black pieces versus GM Alex Lenderman,

a higher rated player, and one who has been playing very well recently. The game began as a E 60 King’s Indian ( but after 4…d5 became a D90 Gruenfeld, Three knights variation ( The players took no chances while playing solid moves while circling each other like beasts of prey hoping to live another day, and in a bishop of opposite color ending with an equal number of pawns, a draw was agreed on move 36. This was almost double the number of moves, on average, played per game in the aforementioned tournament.

In the second round GM Ringoir again had the black pieces and after thirty moves had what IM Boris Kogan was fond of calling, a “Beeg Pawn!” Then FM Miland Maiti

blundered horribly before doing it again…and it was on to round three.

The third round opponent was Gauri Shankar, only a FIDE Master, the kind of player a Grandmaster would usually defeat while trimming his nails, especially with having the White pieces for the first time.

GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL) vs FM Shankar Gauri (IND)

Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 03

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. Qc2 Nh5 11. Rd1 Nxg3 12. hxg3 Na6 13. b3 cxb3 14. Qxb3 Bg7 15. e5 O-O 16. Kf1 ½-½ (

Playing so many moves early in the tournament obviously had a deleterious effect upon GM Ringoir as shown by the above game, and the one below:

WIM Stavroula Tsolakidou 2379 (GRE)

vs GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL)

Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 04

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. e3 d5 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. O-O Re8 8. c3 e5 9. h3 c6 ½-½

Let’s give the so-called Grandmaster a break as he did have black, and everyone knows it has become virtually impossible to win with the black pieces, so why sit there all day beating a dead skunk? Surely after all the accumulated rest our Guy will come out of the gate Tan, rested, and ready for the next round, right?

GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL) vs FM Edward Song (USA)

Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 05

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Bf4 a5 10. Rd1 a4 11. Ne5 Nh5 12. Bc1 Nhf6 13. Bf4 Nh5 14. Bc1 Nhf6 15. Bf4 ½-½

In the course of the life of a Grandmaster it is inevitable that he will encounter a young whipper-snapper who will refuse a draw offer because he is only an International Master and the only way he can become a Grandmaster is by beating players like YOU!

IM Jason Liang (USA)

vs GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL)
Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 06

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. O-O a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Re1 O-O 9. h3 h6 10. Nbd2 Re8 11. b4 Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6 13. Rb1 d5 14. Qc2 d4 15. c4 Qe7 16. Qb3 a5 17. Ba3 Nd7 18. b5 Nb4 19. Bxb4 axb4 20. a5 Nc5 21. Qc2 Rg6 22. g3 Rf8 23. Nb3 Na4 24. Nbxd4 Bxd4 25. Nxd4 Nc5 26. Nf5 Qd7 27. Rxb4 Nxd3 28. Qd2 Rd6 29. Nxd6 Nxe1 30. Qxe1 Qxd6 31. Ra4 Qd3 32. a6 bxa6 33. bxa6 Qc2 34. Ra1 Qxc4 35. Qb1 Kh7 36. a7 Qc6 37. Qb8 Qc3 38. Ra4 1-0

What’s worse than a Chess Grandmaster who has just lost in the prior round and has the White army against his next opponent, especially when that opponent is a middle aged IM?

GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL) vs IM Alexander Kaliksteyn (USA)

Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 07

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 Nf6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Qg3 Qxg3 10. hxg3 Rb8 11. b3 Bb4 12. Bd2 d5 13. Bd3 h6 14. f3 O-O 15. O-O-O Rd8 16. Bf4 Ra8 17. Na4 Nd7 18. g4 Bb7 19. g5 hxg5 20. Bxg5 f6 21. Be3 Kf7 22. c4 e5 23. exd5 cxd5 24. cxd5 Bxd5 25. Kb2 Be7 26. Rd2 Bc6 27. Bc4+ Kg6 28. Bd5 Bxd5 29. Rxd5 f5 30. Nc3 Bf6 31. Rhd1 Nf8 32. Rxd8 Rxd8 33. Rxd8 Bxd8 34. b4 Kf6 35. a4 Ke6 36. a5 Nd7 37. b5 Nb8 38. Ba7 Bxa5 39. Bxb8 Bxc3+ 40. Kxc3 axb5 41. Ba7 Kd5 42. Be3 g6 43. g3 Ke6 44. Kb4 f4 45. gxf4 exf4 46. Bxf4 Kf5 47. Bh2 Kg5 48. Bg3 Kf5 49. Kxb5 g5 50. Kc4 g4 51. f4 Ke4 52. Bh2 1-0

At this point the atavistic tendency of Mr. Ringoir reared its ugly head and he reverted to type:

GM Cemil Can Ali Marandi (TUR)

vs GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL)
Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 08

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Be7 10. Nc3 Nh4 11. Nd4 Nf5 12. Nf3 Nh4 13. Nxh4 Bxh4 14. f4 Bf5 15. Rd1+ Ke8 16. g4 Bc8 17. Kg2 h5 18. f5 g6 19. Kf3 ½-½

GM Tanguy Ringoir (BEL) vs IM Raja Panjwani (CAN)

Holiday CCCSA GM 2021 round 09

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O ½-½

There is a reason those in charge at the Charlotte Chess Center invited the Mr. Hankey award winner to return.

Astronomers spot up to 170 giant rogue planets floating through space

Rogue planet
This artist’s impression shows an example of a rogue planet with the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex visible in the background. Rogue planets have masses comparable to those of the planets in our Solar System but do not orbit a star, instead roaming freely on their own. (Bordeaux University / ESO)

BORDEAUX, France — Nearly 200 giant planets have been spotted moving aimlessly through space, according to a remarkable discovery by astronomers. Researchers from the European Southern Observatory say these “rogue planets” float in space and don’t orbit a star — like the Earth and the rest of the planets in our solar system do.

The planets are in a star-forming region relatively close to our Sun in the southern constellations of Upper Scorpius and Ophiuchus. Although there may be billions of these rogues out there in the Milky Way, the 170 scientists found in this section of the galaxy represents the largest group of rogue planets discovered to date.

“We did not know how many to expect and are excited to have found so many,” says study first author Dr. Nuria Miret-Roig of Bordeaux University in a media release.

Rogue planets are a bit of a mystery to astronomers. For comparison, our Sun has at least eight planets orbiting it (nine if you count Pluto). From what scientists can tell, most other stars also have planets circling them as well. (

FM Richard Francisco’s Amazing Comeback

When the Chess world went scholastic Richard Francisco
Richard Francisco

was one of the first children in the Atlanta area to become a strong player. Mr. Francisco represented Atlanta, and Georgia, when playing for the Atlanta Kings.
Atlanta Kings 2016-17 | Georgia Chess News

He is a likeable gentleman about whom I have never heard a discouraging word.

Therefore it was painful to watch local favorite lose his first three games in the ongoing Charlotte Holiday IM norm tournament. In the fourth round Richard, playing black, stopped the bleeding by drawing a hard fought game with fellow FM Doug Ekhart,

rated 2206 FIDE; 2306 USCF. Tell me again why there is such a disparity between the World Chess rating and the US Chess rating?

FM Doug Eckert (USA) vs FM Richard Francisco (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 04
E71 King’s Indian, Makagonov system (5.h3)

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Be3 c5 7. d5 b5 8. cxb5 a6 9. bxa6 Qa5 10. Qd2 Nbd7 11. Nf3 Rb8 12. Rb1 Nb6 13. b3 Bxa6 14. Bxa6 Nfd7 15. Rc1 Qxa6 16. Qe2 Ra8 17. Qxa6 Rxa6 18. a4 f5 19. exf5 Rxf5 20. O-O Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Rxd5 22. Rb1 h6 23. Rfc1 Kf7 24. Bd2 Rd3 25. a5 Rxd2 26. Nxd2 Rxa5 27. b4 cxb4 28. Rxb4 Nc5 29. Rbc4 Ra2 30. R1c2 Ra1+ 31. Rc1 Ra2 32. R1c2 Ra1+ 33. Rc1 ½-½

In the fifth round Richard had the white pieces versus USCF Master Matan Prilleltensky,

rated only 2166 FIDE, thirty four points below Master level. The game was a long back and forth struggle in which both players were at times winning the game, which culminated in a draw.

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Matan Prilleltensky (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 05
A20 English opening

  1. c4 e5 2. g3 c6 3. d4 e4 4. Nc3 d5 5. Bg2 Bb4 6. Qb3 a5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. f3 Nc6 9. fxe4 Nxd4 10. Qd1 dxe4 11. Be3 Nc6 12. Qxd8+ Nxd8 13. Bxe4 Nf6 14. Bd3 O-O 15. a3 Bxc3+ 16. bxc3 Nc6 17. Nf3 Re8 18. Bc1 Bh3 19. Ng5 Bg2 20. Rg1 Ne5 21. Rxg2 Nxd3+ 22. Kd2 Nxc1 23. Rxc1 Rad8+ 24. Ke1 Nd5 25. Rf2 f6 26. Nh3 Rc8 27. Rf3 Ne3 28. Nf4 b5 29. h3 Nc4 30. Ra1 a4 31. Nd3 Rc7 32. Ra2 Rec8 33. Rf4 Ne3 34. Rb4 Nd5 35. Rd4 Nxc3 36. Rb2 f5 37. g4 fxg4 38. hxg4 Rc4 39. e3 Rxd4 40. exd4 Re8+ 41. Ne5 Rd8 42. Kd2 Ne4+ 43. Ke3 Nd6 44. Rc2 h5 45. d5 hxg4 46. Kd4 Nf5+ 47. Ke4 Nd6+ 48. Kd4 Nf5+ 49. Ke4 Nd6+ 50. Kd4 ½-½

The sixth round saw Richard paired with the only Grandmaster in the field, Jose Gonzalez Garcia,

from Spain, rated 2483 FIDE; 2583 USCF. The game was relatively even until the Grandmaster lurched in playing 24 exf5, a horribly bad move. After many vicissitudes Richard slammed the GM to the mat!

Jose Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) vs Richard Francisco (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 06
E90 King’s Indian, 5.Nf3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 Na6 7. O-O e5 8. Be3 Qe8 9. dxe5 Ng4 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bd2 Nxe5 12. h3 Kh7 13. Re1 Be6 14. Nxe5 dxe5 15. a3 Rd8 16. Qc2 f5 17. b4 Qf7 18. Na4 Nb8 19. b5 b6 20. Bb4 c5 21. bxc6 Nxc6 22. Bxf8 Nd4 23. Qb1 Rxf8 24. exf5 Bxf5 25. Bd3 Bd7 26. Nc3 Qxf2+ 27. Kh1 Bxh3 28. Bf1 Qg3 29. Ra2 Bf5 30. Ne4 Bxe4 31. Rxe4 Rf4 32. Bd3 Qh4+ 33. Kg1 Qg3 34. Kh1 Ne6 35. Rae2 Nc5 36. Rxf4 exf4 37. Bxg6+ Qxg6 38. Qxg6+ Kxg6 39. Re7 a5 40. Rc7 Na4 41. Rd7 Bb2 42. Rd3 Kf5 43. Kh2 Ke4 44. Rb3 Kd4 45. Rf3 Bc1 46. Rf2 Be3 0-1

In the following round seven game Richard had the white pieces against International Master Roberto Abel Martin Del Campo Cardenas,

Richard outplayed the IM in the opening, then gave the advantage away, before obtaining another advantage which he pressed home for another victory!

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Roberto AbelMartin Del Campo Cardenas, (MEX)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 07
B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. g4 b5 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. g5 Nd7 13. f5 Bxg5+ 14. Kb1 Ne5 15. Qh5 Qd8 16. h4 Bf6 17. fxe6 g6 18. exf7+ Kxf7 19. Qh6 Ng4 20. Qf4 Kg7 21. Nd5 Rf8 22. Qd2 h5 23. Bh3 Bd7 24. Rdg1 Re8 25. Bxg4 Bxg4 26. Nc6 Qd7 27. Nxf6 Kxf6 28. Qd4+ Kf7 29. Nb4 Qe6 30. Rf1+ Kg8 31. Nd5 Qe5 32. Nf6+ Kh8 33. Qd2 Kg7 34. Nxe8+ Rxe8 35. Rf4 Be6 36. Rg1 Rc8 37. Rg5 1-0

The eight round saw Richard sitting behind the black pieces versus Evan S Rosenberg,

a USCF Master, rated 2099 FIDE. In the first four rounds Mr. Rosenberg won two and drew and lost one each. The wheels came off in the fifth round as Rosenberg lost three games consecutively before playing a horrific blunder on move 18, after which he was beaten and battered unmercifully before throwing in the towel.

Evan S Rosenberg (USA) vs Richard Francisco (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 08
A04 Reti opening

  1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. e3 Nf6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qh4 Be6 11. Rd1 Rc8 12. Rb1 a6 13. a4 Qa5 14. Bd2 Qc7 15. b3 d5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. cxd5 Bxd5 18. b4 Bf6 19. Qh6 Qe5 20. Qh3 Be4 21. f4 Qb8 22. Rbc1 Bc2 23. Rf1 Rfd8 24. Be1 Bxa4 25. Bf2 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 Qd6 27. Qf3 Bc6 28. e4 Qxb4 29. Bc4 Bb2 30. Rc2 Bd4 31. Bf1 Bxe4 0-1

To come back to even against this competition after starting a round robin tournament with three straight goose eggs is an outstanding result. Mr. Francisco has shown that he can take the blows and and do it his way. Unlike some Chess players, like the recent challenger for the title of human World Chess Champion, who shatter completely when hit with a punch, Richard managed to keep it together, remain resilient, and come back strong.

Breaking news! The last round has begun and Richard and his opponent 2321 FIDE rated opponent Tianqi Wang

have “phoned it in” by agreeing to split the point after only 5 moves had been played. What the hell, it’s the holidaze and neither player had anything for which to play, so they did a little dance so they could get down tonight rather than taking that midnight train to Georgia, and I’m sure the wife will be happy to see Richard while the sun is still shining.

Examine All Checks!

Black to move

The above position was seen on the board of a round five game from the Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival. Sitting behind the white army is 2699 rated Grandmaster Anton Korobov,

GM Neelotpal Das had an exciting game against GM Anton Korobov (UKR) | Photo: Rupali Mullick

the four time Chess Champion of Ukraine, and top rated player in the Sunway Sitges tournament. In the colloquial language most often used at the House of Pain it would have been said that GM Korobov was “Busted!” His opponent was Grandmaster Christian Camilo Rios,

Cristhian Camilo Rios (Batumi, 2018)

rated 2460, who is from Colombia. He was born in 1993, earned the FM title in 2007; the IM title in 2013; and finally garnered the GM title in 2019. GM Rios obviously worked long and hard to become a Grandmaster. According to Chessbase ( the highest rated player GM Rios had defeated until this game was 2611 rated Erik Van den Doel. World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is rated 2856, which is 396 points higher than GM Rios. The rating categories in Chess are in 200 point intervals, which means GM Rios is almost two levels below the World Chess Champion. A player becomes a National Master when his rating hits 2200. Subtract 396 from 2200 and you obtains 1804, which is 5 points into class A. It takes 2000 to become an Expert, so GM Rios is clearly at least one level below GM Korobov. Ordinarily this would mean GM Rios would be an International Master. The FIDE rating system has become so out of whack that it is now meaningless.

One of the things for which I have become known in the world of teaching the Royal Game is “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!” Any player worth his salt is always aware of any possible checks to his King, or of any possible checks to the opponents King. In the above position the move Bf2+ would have to be considered, so I will assume GM Rios saw the move. Why he did not play the move is beyond my comprehension. From the FollowChess (, and ChessBomb ( websites lack of time was not the cause of how the game ended. Therefore the question must be asked if any “threat” was made or “inducement” offered to the much lower rated Rios to get him to end the game with a perpetual check.

Anton Korobov 2699 (UKR) vs Cristhian Camilo Rios 2460 (COL)
Sunway Sitges 2021 round 05
B33 Sicilian, Pelikan (Lasker/Sveshnikov) variation

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Nb8 9. a4 Be7 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 f5 13. a5 a6 14. Na3 f4 15. Nc4 e4 16. f3 e3 17. Bb4 Rf6 18. Qd4 Qf8 19. g3 Ne5 20. Nb6 Rb8 21. Kg2 Rh6 22. Nxc8 Qxc8 23. g4 Qxc2 24. Qd1 Qg6 25. Qd4 Qf6 26. Qe4 Rxh2+ 27. Kxh2 Qh4+ 28. Kg2 Qg3+ 29. Kh1 Bh4 30. Bd1 Qh3+ 31. Kg1 Qg3+ 32. Kh1 Qh3+ 33. Kg1 Qg3+ 34. Kh1 Qh3+ ½-½

The Bird: Guy Argo vs Nathan Fong

The following game is from the fantastic Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter #998 (, which seems to improve with each issue.

In his comments to the following game, annotated in the aforementioned #998, GM Nick de Firmian writes this after the opening move: 1.f4 “Guy always plays interesting chess and here chose the unusual Bird’s Opening.” Yes, Mr. Argo does play interesting Chess while playing, shall we say, off beat openings, some of which have been written about on this blog. The latest issue of the MIN, number 999, was published today, and another game played by Mr. Argo, a Dutch, with e6 (If he had played d6, the Leningrad, he would have been my Guy!) can be found there. Guy, a class A player, upset an expert with the Dutch. After nine moves had been played GM de Firmian writes, “We have a fighting Dutch/Queen’s Indian Defense. Lots of activity can come of this position.” (

Guy Argo 1884 (USA) vs Nathan Fong 2032 (USA)

Tuesday Night Marathon November 2021 round 06

A02 Bird’s opening

  1. f4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d3 d5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. e3 Bg4 6. Be2 Qc7 7. O-O Rd8 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Bxf3 g6 10. Qe1 d4 11. Ne4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Nb4 13. Qf2 Bg7 14. a3 Nc6 15. Bxc6+ Qxc6 16. e4 c4 17. f5 cxd3 18. fxg6 Qxg6 19. cxd3 Be5 20. Qf5 Rg8 21. g4 Qxf5 22. Rxf5 f6 23. Rh5 Rc8 24. Rxh7 Rc2 25. Rh5 Kf7 26. Rh7+ Kg6 27. Rh6+ Kg7 28. Rh5 Rgc8 29. Bh6+ Kg6 30. Rf1 Bh2+ 31. Kh1 Bg3 32. Bf4 Rh2+ 33. Kg1 Rcc2 0-1

1 f4 c5 (Stockfish 13 @depth 59 plays by far the most often played move, 1…d5. SF 14 @depth 54 prefers 1…Nf6) 2 Nf3 (SF 13 plays 2 e4) 2…Nc6 (Although the most frequently played move, SF 14 plays 2…Nf6) 3 d3 (Although 3 g3; 3 e3; and 3 b3 have been the most often played moves according to the 365Chess database, the number four move, 3 e4, has been the most often played move by the stronger players at the ChessBaseDataBase) 3…d5 (There are a couple of thousand games after 3 e4 at 365Chess, with 3…g6 having been played twice as often as 3…e6, followed closely by 3…d6. It is an entirely different story over at the CBDB, where there are only 23 games in which White played 3 d3. That oughta tell you something. 3…g6 has been played in 13 games, but Komodo would play 3…d5) 4 Nc3 (The programs frown at seeing this move because it is apparent to them 4 e4 is the move) 4…Nf6 (There are no games with shown at 365Chess, but the CBDB contains four games with 4…Nf6. Fritz and Deep Fritz play 4…Nf6, but Komodo prefers 4…d4) 5. e3 (SF 14 @depth 31 pushes the pawn all the way to e4; Komodo plays 5 g3)

White to move

WIM Silvia Ca Mazariegos (1933) GUA vs WIM Gabriela Vargas (2152) PAR
Online Olym Div2 E

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.d3 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bf5 6.g3 e6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.a3 h6 10.h3 Qc7 11.Ne2 Rfd8 12.c3 c4 13.d4 Ne4 14.Ne5 f6 15.Nxc6 Qxc6 16.g4 Bh7 17.Qe1 b5 18.h4 a5 19.Bxe4 Bxe4 20.Ng3 Bd3 21.Rf2 b4 22.a4 bxc3 23.bxc3 Rab8 24.f5 Rb3 25.Rfa2 Rdb8 26.Kh2 Bd6 27.Kh3 Bxg3 28.Qxg3 exf5 29.gxf5 Bxf5+ 30.Kh2 Be4 31.Ba3 Rb1 32.Bb4 Rb7 33.Rxb1 Bxb1 34.Rb2 Be4 35.Ba3 Rxb2+ 36.Bxb2 Qxa4 37.Qb8+ Kh7 38.Qg3 Qc2+ 39.Kh3 Bf5+ 0-1

Heiko Goetz 2190 GER vs FM Dieter Puth 2169 GER
SVR-ch MTA 37th

1.Nc3 c5 2.f4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d3 Nc6 5.e3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.e4 d4 8.Nb1 O-O 9.O-O e5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.fxe5 Nd7 12.Nd2 Nxe5 13.Nf3 Ng4 14.h3 Ne3 15.Bxe3 dxe3 16.c3 f5 17.Qb3+ Kh8 18.Qd5 Qxd5 19.exd5 Rd8 20.c4 Bxb2 21.Rab1 Bf6 22.d4 cxd4 23.Rfd1 b6 24.Nxd4 Bd7 25.Nc6 Bxc6 26.dxc6 Rxd1+ 27.Rxd1 Rd8 28.c7 Rc8 29.Rd7 Rg8 30.Bf3 Be5 31.Kf1 Bxc7 32.Rxc7 Rg7 33.Rc6 Re7 34.Ke2 Kg7 35.g3 g5 36.a4 h6 37.a5 bxa5 38.Ra6 f4 39.gxf4 gxf4 40.Rxa5 Kf6 41.Bg4 Kg6 42.h4 Rc7 43.h5+ Kg7 44.c5 Kf6 45.Bf3 Rd7 46.Ra2 Ke5 47.c6 Rf7 48.Ra5+ Kd6 49.Rd5+ Kc7 50.Re5 Kd6 51.Re8 a5 52.Rd8+ Kc7 53.Ra8 Rf5 54.Ra7+ Kb6 55.Rb7+ Ka6 56.Be4 1-0

Jens Holm Nielsen (1844) DEN vs Alexander Johansson (2049) ITA

1.Nc3 c5 2.f4 d5 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.d3 d4 6.Ne4 e5 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.fxe5 Qxe5 10.Qe2 Be6 11.exd4 Qxd4 12.Qe3 Qd7 13.Be2 Bd6 14.Bd2 O-O 15.O-O Rae8 16.Qg5 Bxa2 17.Bf3 Re5 18.Qh4 Bd5 19.Bxd5 Rxd5 20.Rxa7 c4 21.Ra2 cxd3 22.c3 Re5 23.b4 Re2 24.Qc4 Rc8 25.Qb3 Rce8 26.Rf3 Rxg2+ 27.Kxg2 Qg4+ 28.Rg3 Bxg3 29.Qd5 Bxh2+ 30.Kxh2 Re2+ 31.Kh1 Qh4+ 32.Kg1 Qf2+ 33.Kh1 Qh2#

Was Daniil Dubov a Secret Agent?

When Norway’s Magnus Carlsen

clinched victory over Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi

Nepomniachtchi: What Went Wrong?

it was revealed that Russian Grandmsaster Daniil Dubov

had once again been a key part of the World Chess Champion’s team of helpers. That saw instant criticism led by Sergey Karjakin, with Sergey Shipov adding that Dubov would “rightly” now never play for the Russian team again. (

In an interview journalist, and FM, Mike Klein asked Nepo the question:

Mike: Is he a double-agent? Is that what you’re saying?

Ian: No, I don’t know. I don’t think he’s a double-agent, obviously, but the results of his work were quite favorable for us.

Hold on there, Nepo. If the results of his work were favorable why did you lose? Surely Mother Russia must have known Dubov was working with team Magnus because…

Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin

was a citizen of Ukraine until relocating to Russia, the country with 175000 troops poised on the border of Ukraine as the world collectively holds its breath at the possible coming of World War III.

Karjakin infamously said, “Magnus “can psychologically crumble.”

What pluses and minuses do you see for both opponents?

“Magnus has more match experience, he’s a more balanced chess player, without visible flaws. He plays almost equally well positionally and tactically, in a dull endgame and in sharp attacking positions.”

“But he does have flaws. When he doesn’t like what’s happening in a tournament he can psychologically collapse, as my match against Magnus showed. He missed wins in two games, and then he started to play significantly worse. He can psychologically crumble if something isn’t going right — he loses confidence in himself and he starts to perform less well than usual.”

Nepo was asked, “Were you involved in any psychological preparation during this period?”

“I don’t really understand what psychological preparation means. If it’s needing to have the correct attitude within yourself, then I’ve been preparing since childhood.”

Do you consider the match against Carlsen the match of your life?

“I don’t know. That will depend on the result. After I play it, I’ll tell you.”

Are there nerves?

“Nerves, as a rule, are before the start. From experience I can say that you get them in the first round when you sit down at the board and don’t yet know what kind of form you’re in. In such cases you usually make 2-3 moves and then your body readjusts to its working mode. Nerves, it seems me, also go at that moment. No doubt there will also be nerves when the finish is approaching, but now, before it begins, it’s early to talk about that.”

Let us be honest, Nepo cracked. Before the match everyone knew Nepo had a fragile psyche. The World Chess Champ put it best:

“We spoke a bit during these tournaments, but didn’t have much contact for years, until 2011, when we had a training session together. He was a lowly-rated 2700 player and struggled a bit to make it to the very top. He complained that he didn’t get enough invitations to the best tournaments, and felt that the players at the very top were not better than him. I told him that his problem was that he wasn’t disciplined. He had one good tournament, followed by two bad ones. He could start an event with three wins in the first four rounds, then in his fifth game he would not win a better position, leading to a collapse. A very moody player.”

Carlsen talks about their history and why Nepomniachtchi failed to break through.

As usual, Magnus is less filtered when speaking in his native language. On Nepomniachtchi’s biggest challenge in Dubai, he says:

“In Norway Chess he seemed very strong for the first 3-4 rounds, he had a small setback, and then he collapsed. That’s not something he can allow himself in a World Championship match. I am not going to fall even if I am hit in the face once. Perhaps that will be his biggest challenge, to handle the setbacks that will come, regardless of whether it’s a good position he fails to convert, or a game that he should have held to a draw but ends up losing, or opening preparation that goes wrong — that will be a huge challenge for him.”

The World Champion, who has reigned since 2013 and been the world no. 1 consecutively since 2011, doesn’t think Nepomniachtchi would have won the Candidates if the event hadn’t been split in two.

“Because he lost the last game in the first half of the tournament. He rarely plays well after having lost. Now he managed it eventually and has started to become more pragmatic.”

Carlsen says he considers Nepomniachtchi, the world no. 5, to be “a wild card” and still thinks the no. 3 Fabiano Caruana and no. 2 Ding Liren would pose a bigger challenge for him.

“I would say they are the best. I thought beforehand that anyone else would be a good outcome for me, and I still feel that way.”

The one word to describe Magnus Carlsen would be “consistent.” The word to describe Ian Nepomniachtchi would be “erratic.”

Maybe is Nepo had devoted more time to Chess and less to other interests the match result would have been different. Maybe…

Who is Ian Nepomniachtchi, the biggest nerd to ever …
[Search domain] › who-is-ian-nepomniachtchi
Beyond his excellent skills at the chessboard, Ian Nepomniachtchi is also notable for being the biggest nerd ever to challenge for the world championship title. The Russian has played Dota 2 in a semi-professional capacity around the time of its release and was heavily involved in the original Dota scene as well.

The Chess world needs to come to terms with the fact that the way a challenger is chosen has been corrupted by the Russians. Because the nefarious Russians control world Chess they managed to have a player who was not worthy play in the Candidates tournament. The Candidates match “wild card” 22-year-old Russian Kirill Alekseenko said, “The Candidates wild card should be abolished.” (

Think about it for only a moment…If Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Alekseenko to lose do you really think there would be any other result?

The fact is the Candidates tournament should not have been started during a pandemic. Then, after it had to be stopped, it should not have been resumed a year later. There has got to be a better way of choosing a challenger. How about a match between the second and third highest rated players? What about a double round robin between the top eight players; The Elite Eight?

WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova and WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova In Wonderland

Evgeniya Doluhanova

is a chess player from Ukraine, rated 2264. Because she is female she “earned” the title of Woman Grandmaster. Anastasiya Rakhmangulova

Anastasiya Rakhmangulova (Romania, 2016)

is also a chess player from Ukraine. She holds the title of International Master even though rated only 2174. A male player with a rating between 2000 and 2199 is considered to be an “Expert” player. In round four of the 2021 Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship Final they sat down opposite each other and embarked upon a wondrous adventure…

WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova 2264 (UKR) vs WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova 2174 (UKR)
Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship Final 2021 round 04
A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, modern variation

  1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e4
Black to move

After seeing this move I began asking students what move they would make after 2…Nc6, and to a girl they all replied, “e4!”

3…Bc5 4. Qg4??

Black to move

Is that a Grandmaster move, or what?!

4…Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. d3 d5 7. Nd2 Nb4 8. Ndf3 dxe4 9. dxe4 Ng4 10. Nh3 a5 11. a3 Nc6 12. Qd2 Qe7 13. Bd3 h6 14. Qe2 Rd8 15. Bb5 Rd6 16. Bxc6 Rxc6 17. O-O b6 18. b4 Bd6 19. b5 Rc5 20. Ne1 Be6 21. a4 Rc4 22. Nd3 Rd8 23. Kh1 Nf6 24. f3 Nd7 25. Nhf2 c6 26. bxc6 Rxc6 27. Nd1 Rdc8 28. Ne3 Qg5 29. Rfd1 Nc5 30. Ne1 Na6 31. Nd5 Nc7 32. Bc1 Qh4 33. Be3 Na8 34. Bf2 Qd8 35. Rab1 Bxd5 36. Rxd5 Qe7 37. Rbd1 Bb4 38. Rd7 Qe6 39. Rd8+ Kh7 40. Rxc8 Qxc8 41. Qb5 Bxe1 42. Bxe1 Rc5 43. Qb3 f6 44. c3 Kg6 45. h3 Qc6 46. Kh2 Nc7 47. Rd8 b5 48. axb5 Rxb5 49. Qa3 Rb1 50. Bf2 Ne6 51. Rd6 Qc4 52. Qxa5 Nf4 53. Qxe5 Rh1+ 54. Kg3 Ne2+ 55. Kh4 Qc8 56. Qh5+ Kh7 57. Qf5+ Qxf5 58. exf5 Nxc3 59. Rd2 Rb1 60. g4 Rb5 61. Kg3 Rd5 62. Rc2 Nb5 63. Rc8 Nd6 64. Rc7 Nb5 65. Rb7 Nd6 66. Ra7 Nc4 67. Kf4 Ne5 68. Bh4 Rd7 69. Rxd7 Nxd7 70. Ke4 Kg8 71. Bf2 Kf7 72. Bd4 Nf8 73. Kd5 Nh7 74. f4 h5 75. gxh5 Nf8 76. Kc6 Ke8 77. Bc5 Nd7 78. Bd6 Kd8 79. h4 Kc8 80. Be7 Nb8+ 81. Kd6 1-0

1 b3 e5 (Komodo, @depth 52, and Houdini @depth 37, play the move played in the game, but Stockfish 13 @depth 68 prefers 1…d5) 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e4 (The Chessbase Database contains only 18 games in which this has been played, scoring all of 28%. 3 e3 is the most often played move by a multiple of four over 3 c4. Houdini and Fritz like 3 e3, but Stockfish 9 @depth 26 plays 3 Nf3, which has scored 54%; 3 c4 has scored 55%. 3 e3 has only scored 52%) 3…Bc5 (Although Stockfish12 @depth 44 plays the game move, SF 14 @depth 37, SF 190621 @depth 48 play 3…Nf6) 4.Qg4 (This is the kind of move that would elicit, “Now there’s a move,” at the Stein Club. One would think this move had never been seen previously, but sometimes one is wrong) 4…Nf6 is a TN. See below:

Inge Liland vs Paul Johansen
Event: Tromsoe op-C
Site: Tromsoe Date: ??/??/1996
Round: ?
ECO: C20 King’s pawn game
1.e4 e5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 Bc5 4.Qg4 Qf6 5.Qf3 Qe7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.O-O-O d6 8.h3 Be6 9.Bb5 O-O 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.g4 d5 12.exd5 cxd5 13.g5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4 Qxg5 16.Nf3 Qe7 17.Qxe5 f6 18.Qg3 Rad8 19.d4 Bd6 20.Qh4 Bf5 21.Rhe1 Qd7 22.d5 c6 23.dxc6 Qxc6 24.Nd4 Qc8 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Kb1 Rc8 27.Qe4 Qc5 28.Qd5+ Qxd5 29.Rxd5 Rcd8 30.Red1 Bc7 31.c4 Rfe8 32.Bc1 Bb6 33.f3 a5 34.R1d3 Rxd5 35.cxd5 g5 36.d6 h6 37.Ba3 Re1+ 38.Kc2 a4 39.bxa4 Ba5 40.d7 Re2+ 41.Kb3 Bd8 42.a5 Bxa5 43.d8=Q+ Bxd8 44.Rxd8+ Kg7 45.Bf8+ Kg6 46.Rd3 Rh2 47.a4 Rxh3 48.Kc4 Rh4+ 49.Rd4 f5 50.Bd6 f4 51.Bxf4 gxf4 52.a5 Rh5 53.Rd5 Rh1 54.a6 h5 55.Ra5 Rc1+ 56.Kb5 Rc8 57.a7 Ra8 58.Kb6 h4 59.Kb7 h3 60.Kxa8 h2 61.Ra1 Kg5 62.Rh1 1-0

Katalin Mravik vs Gabor Szamoskozi (2201)
Event: Budapest FS10 FM-A
Site: Budapest Date: 10/05/2002
Round: 1
ECO: A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, modern variation
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e4 Bc5 4.Qe2 (!) d6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.d3 Ng4 7.Nbd2 Bxf2+ 8.Kd1 Bb6 9.Kc1 O-O 10.Nc4 f5 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.h3 Nf6 13.exf5 Bxf5 14.Bc3 Nd5 15.Qd2 b5 16.d4 e4 17.Ne1 e3 18.Qe2 Nxc3 19.Qxe3 b4 20.Kb2 Rxa2+ 21.Rxa2 Nd1+ 0-1

The Gombac Variation

After checking the moves, 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Bd6

The Gombac Variation

at it was shocking to see the Bishop move, clogging up the works, has been played in 102 games! Granted, the 365Chess database includes myriad games played by the hoi polloi, but still, over one hundred games? The Chessbase Database contains only 2 games with the Bishop move having been played. From which game can more be learned?

GM Marko Tratar 2505 SLO

vs FM Jan Gombac 2324 SLO

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bd6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.O-O Nf6 5.Re1 O-O 6.Nc3 Re8 7.a3 1/2-1/2

Martin Giron Guevara COL vs Jhon Greg Ramirez Sanchez 1489 COL

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bd6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 O-O 5.d3 Bc5 6.Bg5 c6 7.Nxe5 d5 8.exd5 Qb6 9.O-O Qxb2 10.Qd2 Bd4 11.Rab1 Qa3 12.Rb3 Qa5 13.Nf3 Qc7 14.Nxd4 Ng4 15.g3 f6 16.d6+ Qf7 17.Bxf7+ Rxf7 18.Be3 c5 19.Ndb5 a6 20.Nc7 b5 21.Nxa8 Bb7 22.f3 1-0

Both StockFish and Komodo have determined the best move to be 3 d4. 365Chess contains 18 games in which the d-pawn was pushed forward two squares. Then Stockfish says 3…Nc6 is best. After that SF 13 @depth 57 plays 4 dxe5. SF 14 @depth 51 prefers 4 c3.

We humans are supposed to learn from our mistakes. It is difficult to teach Chess to neophytes using games of the best players because they make far fewer mistakes than lesser players. How can a young student know what constitutes a bad move when all the moves are good?

Eva Katharina Hahn (931) vs Anika Keller (1058)
Event: Wuerttemberg-ch U14 Girls
Site: Lindau Date: 04/02/2002
Round: 1
ECO: C44 Scotch opening
1.Nf3 Nc6 2.e4 e5 3.d4 Bd6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Be3 O-O 6.Nb5 a6 7.Nxd6 cxd6 8.Bd3 Qe7 9.O-O h6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nh4 Nxe4 12.Nf5 Qf6 13.Bxe4 d5 14.Qxd5 Bxf5 15.Bxf5 Qxf5 16.f4 Rad8 17.fxe5 Qxf1+ 18.Rxf1 Rxd5 19.e6 f6 20.Re1 Re5 21.Kf2 Rxe6 22.Bc5 Rfe8 23.Rxe6 Rxe6 24.Kg1 Re5 25.Ba3 Rf5 26.Kh1 Rf1# 0-1

Veronika Giricz, (1116) vs Anika Keller (1058)
Event: Wuerttemberg-ch U14 Girls
Site: Lindau Date: 04/03/2002
Round: 3
ECO: C44 Scotch opening
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 Bd6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Bg5 O-O 7.O-O h6 8.Bh4 b5 9.Bd5 Bb7 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.dxe5 Be7 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Re1 Rfe8 15.Re3 b4 16.e5 Qe6 17.Nd4 Qg6 18.Rg3 Qh7 19.Nce2 Bb7 20.Nf5 Qxf5 21.Qd2 Qxe5 22.Re1 a5 23.Rg4 Ba6 24.Qxh6 Qxb2 25.Qd2 a4 26.Rxb4 Qxa2 27.Rg4 Bxe2 28.Rxe2 Qa1+ 29.Qe1 Qxe1+ 0-1

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (2227) vs Bert G Dennison (2024)
Event: Stillwater Winter op
Site: Stillwater Date: 02/17/2007
Round: 1
ECO: B00 KP, Nimzovich defence
1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.c3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bd6 5.Bd3 O-O 6.O-O b6 7.Nbd2 Bb7 8.Nc4 exd4 9.e5 dxc3 10.exf6 cxb2 11.Bxb2 Re8 12.Qb1 gxf6 13.Bxh7+ Kg7 1-0

Chris Fincham (2060) vs Jeremy Hende (1432)
Event: Internet Section 15-B
Site: Dos Hermanas Date: 03/15/2003
Round: 1
ECO: C44 Scotch opening
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 Bd6 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bd3 O-O 6.O-O b6 7.Re1 Bb7 8.d5 Ne7 9.h3 Re8 10.Nh2 Bc5 11.Ng4 Nh5 12.b4 Bd6 13.Nh6+ gxh6 14.Qxh5 Ng6 15.Bxh6 a6 16.Nd2 Nf4 17.Qg4+ Ng6 18.Nf1 b5 19.Ng3 c6 20.Nh5 Be7 21.f4 Bh4 22.g3 Be7 23.f5 Bc5+ 24.bxc5 a5 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.Ng7 Rf8 27.Ne6 dxe6 28.Bxf8 Qxf8 29.Qxe6+ Kh8 30.Qxe5+ Kg8 31.Rf1 Re8 32.Rxf8+ Rxf8 33.dxc6 Bxc6 34.Qe6+ 1-0

The Kopec System

It has been my experience teaching Chess to children that they “make the darnest moves.”

Kids Say The Darndest Things
“Kids Say The Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter

A prime example would be when after the opening moves of 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3, the student suggests playing 2…Bd6. After moving the bishop to d6 I asked a precocious girl, with the mellifluous name Haripria, why she had made that particular move. The answer came, “Because it protects the pawn, dummy.” That remark set me aback. After gathering myself the response was, “But it also blocks the d-pawn, and clogs up the works, dummy.” She howled with laughter. As we sat there smiling I recalled the Kopec System, based on White playing an early Bd3, blocking the d-pawn.

If you are a regular reader you know what comes next, but for you newbies, inquiring minds wanna know, so I went to the ChessBaseDataBase to learn it contains 45 games in which 3 Bd3 has been played, showing it has scored an astounding 66% against a very high average opposition of 2544! This is INCREDIBLE! I went to finding it contained 97 games with a 70.1% score. My mind has been blown…

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bd3 Nc6 4 c3 Bg4 (The move of Stockfish; Komodo and Deep Fritz castle. 4…Nf6 has been played in 700 games with a winning percentage of only 49%. It is the choice of Deep Fritz 13 @depth22. 4…e5 is the choice of Houdini and there is only one game in the CBDB. Stockfish 14 @depth 29 plays 4…Bg4, of which there are two games contained within the CBDB) 5. h3 Bxf3 6. Qxf3 Nf6 (Houdini & Critter like 6…g6, but Fire prefers 6…e6. I miss Stockfish…) 7 Bc2 (There it is, the Kopec system. Unfortunately, the CBDB shows it has only scored 48% against an average rating of 2416) 7…g6 8. O-O Bg7 9 Qe2! (OK, I put the exclam there, and you regular readers and Chigorin fans understand why. This is the move chosen by SF 14 @depth 27, but I must report SF 12 going down to depth 46 likes 9 d3) 9…0-0 10 d3 (After this move 10…b5 has almost invariably been played. The CBDB shows two games in which the move was 10…Nd7; one each for 10…Qc7 and Rc8. The latter is the choice of Komodo. See game below. StockFish comes at you with a TN, 10…d5)

Khaled Mahdy (2390) vs Manfred Freitag (2285)
Event: AUT-chT 9697
Site: Austria Date: ??/??/1996
Round: 2
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Bc2 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 g6 8.d3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe2 Rc8 11.a4 a6 12.Be3 b5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Nd2 Nd7 15.Nf3 Qb6 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Bh6 e5 18.Bb3 Nb6 19.Rfd1 Ra8 20.Be3 Rfb8 21.Ng5 Nd8 22.h4 Rxa1 23.Rxa1 h6 24.Nf3 Kh7 25.Qe2 Ne6 26.g3 Qd7 27.h5 g5 28.Bxe6 fxe6 29.Nh2 Rb7 30.Qg4 Na4 31.Bc1 c4 32.Nf3 cxd3 33.b3 Nxc3 34.Bxg5 Qe8 35.Bd2 Ne2+ 36.Kg2 Bf6 37.Ra6 Rg7 38.Qh3 Qd7 39.Kf1 Qb7 40.Qxe6 Qxe4 41.Ng1 Qh1 42.Qf5+ Kh8 43.Ra8+ Qxa8 44.Qxf6 Qa1+ 45.Be1 Nd4 46.Qxd6 Qb1 47.Nf3 Nxf3 48.Qf8+ Kh7 49.Qf5+ Kg8 50.Qc8+ Kf7 51.Qf5+ Ke7 52.Qxf3 Qxb3 53.Qb7+ Kf6 54.Qf3+ Ke6 55.Qc6+ Ke7 56.Qb7+ Kf6 57.Qf3+ Ke6 58.Qc6+ Kf7 59.Qf3+ Kg8 60.Qa8+ Kh7 61.Qe4+ Kh8 62.Qxe5 Qc4 63.Kg1 b4 64.Bd2 Qg4 65.Bxh6 Kh7 66.Bf4 Rf7 67.Qe4+ Qf5 68.Qxb4 Qxh5 69.Qe4+ Qf5 70.Qh1+ Kg7 71.Qc6 Kg8 72.Qa8+ Rf8 73.Qa2+ Qf7 74.Qa5 Qg6 75.Qd5+ Rf7 76.Qa8+ Kg7 77.Be5+ Kh6 78.Qh1+ Qh5 79.Qc6+ Qg6 ½-½

Jordan vs Michel Sivan
Event: Lyon op
Site: Lyon Date: ??/??/1999
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d6 4.Bd3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Ne5 7.Bb5+ Nc6 8.O-O Qc7 9.d4 a6 10.Ba4 b5 11.Bb3 c4 12.Bc2 g6 13.a4 Rb8 14.axb5 axb5 15.e5 e6 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Nd2 Nge7 18.Ne4 Nf5 19.Nxd6+ Nxd6 20.Bf4 Qd7 21.d5 Ne7 22.dxe6 fxe6 23.Rad1 Nd5 24.Rxd5 exd5 25.Qxd5 Rb6 26.Re1+ Kd8 27.Qd4 1-0

Peter Svidler (2714) vs Alan Pichot (2630)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup Prelim
Site: INT Date: 05/24/2021
Round: 8.5
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.c3 Bg4 5.Bc2 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.d4 d5 8.exd5 Qxd5 9.Bb3 Qe4+ 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Qf5 12.Nd2 cxd4 13.Bxd4 Nc6 14.Ba4 Be7 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qb3 O-O 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.O-O-O Rab8 19.Qc4 Rb5 20.Kc2 Rfb8 21.b3 Rd5 22.Qe4 Re5 23.Qd3 g6 24.Ne4 Qf4 25.Rhe1 Rf5 26.Qd7 Bf8 27.Qxa7 Rbb5 28.Rd8 Ra5 29.Qe7 Qh6 30.a4 Rxf3 31.Red1 Rd5 32.R1xd5 cxd5 33.Nf6+ Rxf6 34.Qxf6 Qh5 35.Qe7 Qe2+ 36.Kc1 Kg7 37.Qxf8+ Kf6 38.Qc5 1-0

Danny Kopec (2405) vs Maxim Dlugy (2550)
Event: Saint John op-1
Site: Saint John Date: ??/??/1988
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bd3 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.O-O d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Bc4 Qd8 9.d3 O-O 10.Re1 b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Nbd2 Qd7 13.Rad1 Rae8 14.a4 h6 15.Bh4 Nh5 16.Qe3 e5 17.Ne4 Kh8 18.Nf6 Nxf6 19.Bxf6 Kh7 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Bb5 f6 22.a5 Qd6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Nd2 Rd8 25.h4 h5 26.Ne4 Qc7 27.Rf1 Ne7 28.g3 Nd5 29.Qe1 Qe7 30.f3 f5 31.Ng5 f4 32.Rd2 Ne3 33.Re2 Qd6 34.Rxe3 fxe3 35.Qxe3 Rf5 36.Re1 Rdf8 37.Bc4 Bd5 38.Bxd5 Qxd5 39.f4 exf4 40.gxf4 Kh8 41.Qe7 Qg8 42.Re4 R5f6 43.Qc7 Rc8 44.Qb7 Rb8 45.Qc7 Rc8 46.Qb7 ½-½