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.

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