‘Catch the virus’ Promotion at Bar Causes Workers to Quit

‘Catch the virus’ promotion at Washington bar leads workers to quit, bands to cancel

By Don Sweeney
January 30, 2022

Lynnwood WA bar promotes COVID “catch the virus” show | Tacoma News Tribune (thenewstribune.com)

Owners of a Washington bar say a “catch the virus” promotion was a bad joke after employees quit and bands canceled shows over the COVID-19 stunt. “Come see the show, maybe catch the virus, or just stay home and whine,” read a Jan. 21 Facebook post by the Vessel Taphouse. “Tickets 10 bucks or 6 with proof of omicron positive test. Have you had enough???” The pirate-themed bar in Lynnwood says the post, which has since been taken down, led four employees to quit, The Daily Herald reported. Three bands canceled shows.

“I was appalled,” Johnny Angel with Seattle-based Atrocity Girl, which had been scheduled to play a show at the bar, told KIRO.

“I was really, really disappointed that anybody could ever really make a post like that.” On its own Facebook page, Atrocity Girl reposted the Vessel Taphouse promotion, adding, “we do not condone this behavior and do not think COVID is a joke.” (https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/coronavirus/article257863643.html#storylink=cpy)

Battle of the Sexes 2022

Although a ridiculous, contrived tournament like this one is regrettable and forgettable, it does contain a nice website with many beautiful pictures, such as this:


A much better format would have been the top ranked male players versus the top ranked female players. The tournament could be a regular, yearly event. Sure, the females would be completely devastated, but Chess aficionados would be able to gauge the progress made by the women players over time as they were continually drubbed.

Nino Batsiashvili (GEO)

Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia)
Reserve Player: Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia). GM, rating 2491, aged 35. Nino had two outstanding achievements in 2015: winning a team gold medal with Georgia in the Women’s World Team Championship in China; and in December 2015 she drew with world champion Magnus Carlsen in the first round of the Qatar Masters. She qualified for the grandmaster title in 2018. She played in the four most recent Gibraltar Masters tournaments. She scored 6/10 in 2017, and again in 2018, 5½ in 2019 and again in 2020. She has a number of scalps of higher rated players, including Hou Yifan in the Isle of Man in 201https://www.gibchess.com/player-bios-20227.

vs Gillan Bwalya (ZAM)

Gillan Bwalya (Zambia)
Gillan Bwalya (Zambia). IM, rating 2410, age 33. Gillan learnt chess aged 11. He made his Olympiad debut in 2010 and scored a creditable 7/10 on board 3 for Zambia at the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad, including a win against Australia’s IM Alex Wohl. He followed this by winning the African Zonal tournament, gaining him the IM title. This qualified him for a first round pairing in the 2013 FIDE World Cup in Tromso with ex-world champion Vladimir Kramnik, which was quite an experience. Since then most of Gillan’s OTB chess has been played in the growing number of tournaments held in Africa, with steadily improving results. In May 2021 he finished 5th equal with GM Bilel Bellahcene and others in the Pan-African Championship in Lilongwe, Malawi, on 6/9 behind joint winners GMs Ahmed Adly and Bassem Amin and two other Egyptian GMs. He has not played previously in Gibraltar. https://www.gibchess.com/player-bios-2022

Gibraltar Chess Festival | Battle of the Sexes 2022 round 05
A80 Dutch

  1. d4 f5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 d6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. h3 h6 7. g4 g5 8. Bg3 Bg7 9. gxf5 exf5 10. d5 Ne7 11. Bc4 a6 12. Nd4 b5 13. Bb3 b4 14. Nce2 Bd7 15. Ne6 Bxe6 16. dxe6 O-O 17. h4 d5 18. hxg5 hxg5 19. c4 bxc3 20. Nxc3 c6 21. Qf3 Ra7 22. Be5 Qc8 23. Bd4 Rb7 24. Na4 Rb5 25. Nc5 Qe8 26. Qg3 Qg6 27. Qc7 Re8 28. f3 f4 29. Nd7 Qf5 30. O-O-O Qxe6 31. Nxf6+ Bxf6 32. Rh6 Rf8 33. Rdh1 Rxb3 34. axb3 fxe3 35. Bxf6 Rxf6 36. Rh8+ Kg7 37. R1h7+ 1-0

1.d4 f5 2. Bf4 (After having played the Dutch defense for decades I have never faced this move anywhere, at any time, in any Chess game. 365Chess.com shows over 400 games; the Chessbase database contains 287 games. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 53 considers 2 Bg5 the best move) 2…Nf6 (This, by a wide margin, has been the most often played move. The move of the Kings Knight has 271 examples in the CBDB. The second most popular move, 2…e6, shows 56 games in the CBDB. The move Stockfish considers best, 2…d6, shows only 13 games) 3. e3 (This move has been the most popular choice, with 263 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Deep Fritz. 3 Bg5 has been played in 217 games, while 3 Nf3, the choice of Rybka, has been seen in 185 games. There are 44 games in which 3 Nc3 has been attempted. There are three games with 3 h3; one with 3 c4. There are absolutely no games showing with the move Stockfish 14.1 considers best, 3 a3. Nor are there any games with 3 a3 at 365Chess.com. The AW has a feeling things will change after this salvo is fired…) 3…d6 (3…e6, the choice of Komodo and Fritz 17, has been the most often played move. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 42 plays the move played in the game) 4 Nc3 (Houdini would play 4 c3. The are two games with the move contained in the CBDB , both losses. Stockfish 13 @depth 50 would play the most often played move, 4 Nf3. SF 14.1 @depth 39 plays the second most often played move 4 Nc3) 4…e6 5. Nf3 (The CBDB contains only 2 examples of this move in action, but it is the choice of Fritz 17; SF 14, and SF 060720. 365Chess contains nary an example of 5 Nf3) 5…Nc6 (Three different Stockfish programs all play 5…Be7, and so should you. There are no examples of the move played in the game, which can mean only one thing: Theoretical Novelty! The only game found with the best move, 5…Be7, can be found below. The game can be located in the Chess Base Database))

GM Rameshbab Praggnanandhaa 2608 (IND) vs IM Stefan Pogosyan 2442 (RUS)
RUS-Gurukul U16 Online Battle
A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 d6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.h3 O-O 7.Bd3 b6 8.Bh2 Bb7 9.O-O c5 10.Nd2 Nc6 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.e4 fxe4 13.Ndxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 d5 15.Bd3 Nb4 16.a3 Nxd3 17.cxd3 Bd6 18.Qe2 Bxh2+ 19.Kxh2 Qd6+ 20.Kg1 Rf6 21.Rae1 Raf8 22.Qe5 Qb6 23.Re2 Ba6 24.Rd1 Rg6 25.Rdd2 Rf5 26.Qh2 h6 27.h4 Kh7 28.Qh3 Qd6 29.b4 Rh5 30.bxc5 Qf4 31.Qh2 Qd4 32.g3 Qxc3 33.Re1 Qxd2 0-1

The Chess Thinker

After seeing this advertisement in the venerable website of Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess (https://theweekinchess.com/),


a website visited every morning with my first cuppa Joe, I clicked onto it, learning the man behind the advert was fellow Georgian, Donny Gray.

Donny Gray https://chessexercise.com/contact.html

After contacting Donny he replied and an email exchange transpired, which is nice because emails have been few and far between since being brutally hacked. Last year the emails were fired regularly with people all over the world. Such is not the case today, and it has been rather nice having the extra time.

Donny sent the following:

I live in Douglas GA far far away from Atlanta

Been teaching full time on the ICC for years. Finished #1 out of 132 official coaches there for 2021. Having a long waiting list inspired me to create the website.

I am 66 years old and teach chess full time on the ICC as Curmudgeon. First rated tournament was back in 1973 in Little Rock Arkansas.

Chess Qualifications of Donny Gray

United States National Master title (November 1988)

Two Time Arkansas Champion (1975 & 1978)

1995 Georgia Co-Champion

Two Time U.S. Army Champion (1988 & 1989)

1988 N.A.T.O Championship (Top U.S.A. Player) Aalborg, Denmark

Title of “Master” in U. S. Correspondence Chess

Rank of “Master” in Internet Chess Club blitz

2000 South Carolina Co-Champion

Represented Georgia in the 2005 Champion of Champions

2007 Georgia Senior Champion

2009 1st Place Lee Hyder Memorial

2010 1st Place Lee Hyder Memorial

2011 1st Place SC Blitz Championship

2011 1st Place Snow Storm Open

2012 1st Place Snow Storm Open

2016 1st Place North Florida Championship

Two web sites




Charlie Brown Dead at 65

Original Charlie Brown Voice Actor, Peter Robbins, Dead at 65

Robbins, who voiced the Peanuts character during the Sixties, had long battled bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses

By John Blistein

peter robbins charlie brown voice actor dead obituary
Peter Robbins signing autographs for fans at Comic-Con 2008.
Lisa Rose/AP Photo

Peter Robbins, the first actor to voice Charlie Brown in the Peanuts cartoons and movies, died by suicide last week, Fox 5 San Diego reports. He was 65. (https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/charlie-brown-voice-actor-peter-robbins-dead-obituary-1290770/)

See: (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/10/02/happy-birthday-charley-brown/)

The End of the World

Scientists Used A Computer To Predict Exactly When Society Would Collapse

Claire Reid
Published 20:00, 25 January 2022 GMT

Back in the 1970s, scientists used computer modelling to predict when the fall of society would kick off and according to their findings, you might not want to make any long-term plans.

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at data patterns from a variety of different factors, such as population, natural resources and energy usage to find out when we’d experience full societal collapse.

The prediction made by the researchers was that this fall of society would hit near the midpoint of the 21st century – 2040, to be exact.

Battle of the Sexes Chess Tournament

Before reading further please replay this game:

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. b4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 f6 11. Bc4 e5 12. a3 a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 Bf5 16. O-O Bg6 17. a4 Bb4 18. c3 Be7 19. Be6 Nd7 20. Nb3 Ra7 21. c4 Rf8 22. a5 Bf7 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. g4 h5 25. h3 hxg4 26. hxg4 g6 27. Rf2 b6 28. Bc3 Bd8 29. Nd2 f5 30. Raf1 Bh4 31. Rh2 Bg5 32. Rh8+ Ke7 33. axb6 Bxe3+ 34. Kh1 Nxb6 35. Nxe4 Ra4 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. Re1 Nxc4 38. Nc5 Ra2 39. Rb1 Rc2 40. Ba1 Nd6 41. Rh2 Rxh2+ 42. Kxh2 f4 43. Nd3 Ke6 44. Kg2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Rg7 46. Rb8 Rg3+ 47. Ke2 Nc4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. Rh8+ Kg4 51. Rg8+ Kh3 52. Rh8+ Kg4 53. Rg8+ Kh5 54. Rh8+ Kg5 55. Rg8+ Kh5 56. Rh8+ Kg4 57. Rg8+ 1/2-1/2

I had no intention of writing anything about the GibChess Battle Of The Sexes before checking out the games this morning. After being out of the house for several hours the games were concluded upon my return. The game just presented caught my attention. Regular readers will understand why…

Jovanka Houska

IM Jovanka Houska, courtesy of John Upham Photography

is a WGM and was the subject of a previous post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/11/09/find-the-worst-move/). Jovie, as she is known, has been a prolific writer about Chess, such as opening books, and even a novel, a paperback doorstop. She can be seen broadcasting Chess games. Ms. Houska has made a nice career out of Chess, the kind of career that must make a male National Master envious, if not mad as HELL, because the fact is many, if not all, men resent the favoritism shown women involved with the Royal Game. The fact is it would be almost impossible for a male 2300 player to have the income granted Ms. Houska simply because she is a woman. Name the last 2300 rated male you saw broadcasting any kind of Chess game. They would not be taken seriously. Period. How many books do you think the 2300 male about whom I am writing would sale? “WGM” is for, “Woman Grandmaster.” It does not mean Jovanka is a Grandmaster who happens to be a woman. The word alone, “Grandmaster,” signifies a Grandmaster Chess player. A Grandmaster can be of either sex. Only a woman can be a “Woman Grandmaster.” Are you confused? That’s OK, so is the Chess world. To become a “Grandmaster” a player must meet certain requirements (excepting those that do not), one of which is a minimum rating of 2500. To give you an idea of the range of a Grandmaster, the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, is rated over 2850. A National Master of the United States must have a rating of at least 2200. A Senior Master (and that does not mean “Senior” as in older[er] player) must have a rating of at least 2400. Now that you have that straight let us move on to what it takes to become a “WGM.” It takes all of 2300 points to become a “WGM.” I kid you not. If a male reaches 2300 he is still a “NM”. In Chess circles once a player reaches 2300 he is said to be a “Solid Master.” This writer reached and went over 2000 a few times and became an “Expert.” Things were much different ‘back in the day’ because there were far fewer players and no rating inflation. For example, around the time this writer was winning the Atlanta Chess Championship, Expert players were a factor in winning many Chess tournaments, and I do not mean tournaments of the local variety. In 1974 “A master-level chess player who had been playing chess since his childhood, (Alan) Trefler

Karpov 2010 Campaign Kick-off Party

competed in the 1975 World Open Chess Championship in New York City. Still a college student at Dartmouth, he entered the tournament with a 2075 Elo rating, 125 points below the lowest master-rated player, ranking him 115th overall in the tournament. He went on to be crowned co-champion along with International Grandmaster Pal Benko, who was rated at 2504. Trefler also placed ahead of Grandmasters such as Walter Browne and Nicolas Rossolimo, as well as future Grandmaster Michael Rohde.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Trefler#Chess_career)

It is an insult to Caissa for anyone to call any player of any sex a “Grandmaster” if rated only 2300. It is an insult to ALL GRANDMASTERS and has only served to cheapen the once lustrous title. That is why Chess now has terms such as, “Super Grandmaster,” and “Mid-Level Grandmaster,” and “Weak Grandmaster.” The vast majority of women who play the Royal Game fall into the latter category. Think of it this way, ‘Back in the day’ when women wanted to join the US Military there was a problem they could not solve; pushups. Women could not do the minimum number of push-ups, so the rules were changed allowing women to do push-ups while on their knees. Male soldiers must still do regular push-ups the old fashioned way by balancing on their toes. The battle still rages: (https://nypost.com/2021/05/11/armys-first-female-infantry-officer-blasts-lower-standards/)

Before leaving the the house last move made in the Eric Rosen (2356) vs Jovanka Houska (2365) game above was 21…Rf8. My first thought, exactly, was, “What The Fork?” I do not understand this move. It did, though, remind me of a former student in Louisville, Kentucky, who was being home schooled because he had pulled the fire alarm at school. He would make a non sequitur move like this and when asked why he made the move would invariably answer, “I dunno.” Got to be where I replied, “Just needed a move, huh.” That was about the only time the kid cracked a smile. Nevertheless, if you would like to explain the move to my readers Jovanka, please, by all means, do so by leaving an explanation in the comment section. After returning I made a strong cuppa Joe while thinking about the Too Much Coffee Man, real, actual Chess Grandmaster, and former candidate for the World Championship, Kevin Spraggett (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/),


and then sat down to replay the remainder of the game. The first move that shocked me was 33 axb6, which allows 33…Bxe3+! CHECK! Maybe there is a time when allowing your opponent to take a pawn while checking your King is a good idea. Then again, maybe not…
41 Rh2 (Turn out the lights the party is definitely O’ver)
After both moves numbered 44 I knew there would be much RED when later looking at the MOVES over at the ChessBomb. Like everyone else in the Chess world not named Allen Priest the Armchair Warrior was expecting 44…f3+, because everyone knows, “Passed pawns must be pushed.” I was uncertain after she played 45…Rg7, but I’m no Grandmaster. Then comes the move that ends the game, 47…Nc4. Ask any student and they will tell you this writer as a Chess teacher has been known to vociferously yell at the top of his lungs, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” As I tell the children in a much softer voice later, “Always examine all checks because sometimes a check turns out to be CHECKMATE!” Before playing the ill-fated and lame Knight move Jovanka had to see the next move her opponent made would lead to a drawn game by perpetual check, yet played it anyway, thus acquiescing to the draw. What can be said other than this is pitiful Chess, and not because it was played by a player with “GM” attached to her name. Not winning a game that should have been won would be bad for any player of any sex and any rating, excepting, again, Allen Priest.

Rosen, Eric (USA) – Houska, Jovanka (ENG)
Gibraltar Chess Festival | Battle of the Sexes 2022 round 02
B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. b4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 f6 11. Bc4 e5 12. a3 a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 Bf5 16. O-O Bg6 17. a4 Bb4 18. c3 Be7 19. Be6 Nd7 20. Nb3 Ra7 21. c4 Rf8 22. a5 Bf7 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. g4 h5 25. h3 hxg4 26. hxg4 g6 27. Rf2 b6 28. Bc3 Bd8 29. Nd2 f5 30. Raf1 Bh4 31. Rh2 Bg5 32. Rh8+ Ke7 33. axb6 Bxe3+ 34. Kh1 Nxb6 35. Nxe4 Ra4 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. Re1 Nxc4 38. Nc5 Ra2 39. Rb1 Rc2 40. Ba1 Nd6 41. Rh2 Rxh2+ 42. Kxh2 f4 43. Nd3 Ke6 44. Kg2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Rg7 46. Rb8 Rg3+ 47. Ke2 Nc4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. Rh8+ Kg4 51. Rg8+ Kh3 52. Rh8+ Kg4 53. Rg8+ Kh5 54. Rh8+ Kg5 55. Rg8+ Kh5 56. Rh8+ Kg4 57. Rg8+ ½-½

1 e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 (This is the old move, still played by the middle-aged ‘old guard’ players who rest on their laurals without putting in the effort to keep up with current opening theory. It was the choice of Stockfish 13, but Stockfish 14.1 @depth 49, and SF 310121 @depth 60, have progressed to the better move of 6…Nd7) 7. b4 Qf5 (Another antiquated move made by the woman better known for broadcasting Chess in lieu of playing the game. Three different SF programs all play 7…Qd5, and so should YOU!) 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 (Fritz and Houdini both show 9 Be2 best, but Stockfish 14 would play a move yet to be played by a titled human being, 9 d4. The move is not shown at 365Chess.com. Keep in mind I am using the ‘Big’ database which includes games from chumpy lumpies, like you and me. Surprisingly, two games can be found at the Chessbase Database)

Tata Steel Chess Tournament Marred By Officials Lunacy

For the second year in a row the Tata Steel Chess tournament has been marred by the ineptitude of the officials. This is shocking because, “Known as the “Wimbledon of Chess”, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament is one of the most prestigious events on the international chess calendar. It attracts the best chess Grandmasters in the world, along with amateur players, live event visitors and online visitors from around the world.” (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tata+steel+&t=newext&atb=v270-1&ia=web&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fchess24.com%2Fen%2Fread%2Fnews%2Ftata-steel-7-dubov-mask-forfeit-overshadows-magnus-move&pn=1)

The morning was spent searching for answers on the internet. The result was a dearth of information concerning the latest debacle has become the Tata Steel Chess tournament. The tournament was formerly known as “Wijk aan Zee” because that is the name of the city in the Netherlands, formerly known as “Holland,” where the famous, now infamous Chess tournament has been held for decades. Tata Steel changed the name of the tournament in an attempt to gain more publicity for the company. For the second consecutive year everyone involved with the Chess tournament has brought Tata Steel more publicity than could have been imagined. Unfortunately, all of the publicity has been negative because again the tournament has been turned into a farce. This writer has completely lost interest in the tournament, and I am not alone.

Chess.com purchased the rights to broadcast the event via the internet and the website has led the way in covering the event. In an article by Peter Doggers, “Tata Steel Chess R3: Vidit Defends Brilliantly To Grab Sole Lead,” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/tata-steel-chess-2022-round-3), one learns, “While the third round saw some lovely, tactical chess and it felt like the 84th Tata Steel Chess Tournament was really taking off, behind the scenes the organizers had other worries. Even without the presence of amateurs, there’s always a risk of a Covid outbreak when holding an event in the middle of the pandemic. Like last year, players, coaches, and crew are required to wear face masks (players can take them off while at the board) and are tested regularly. So far, none of the players tested positive for the coronavirus, knock on wood.”

“However, before the start of the round, two seconds of players tested positive and went into quarantine. The organizers informed Chess.com that, according to close contact tracing, the players for whom the seconds work have been retested as a precaution and tested negative for Covid-19.”

“One of the two seconds is GM Ramesh R.B., who assists GM Praggnanandhaa R. in Wijk aan Zee. The Indian coach revealed on Twitter that he had tested positive. Luckily, from the very start, his pupil has been one of the few players who is wearing his face mask at the board all the times.”

The part about Praggnanandhaa being “lucky” to have been “…one of the few players who is wearing his face mask at the board all the times,” is bull excrement! Regular readers know that “I Took The Vaccine” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/04/28/i-took-the-vaccine/). In addition, I have also taken the third, or “booster” shot, because at my age I like to hedge my bets. That said, it is, or should be common knowledge that wearing a mask does not prevent one from obtaining Covid, but it does lessen the odds of imparting it to anyone else. If one wears the best mask, the N-95, there is still a 5% chance that person will be infected; that’s the “95” part of the name. If one compares the N-95 with the flimsy mask being worn by GM Praggnanandhaa, there is a much larger chance of obtaining, or spreading the virus because there are wide open areas around the mask making it virtually useless in combating the virus.

Peter Doggers concludes his comments with, “With the high transmissibility of the omicron variant and the Netherlands registering another record of new corona cases this Monday, it wouldn’t be unlikely that more cases will pop up in Wijk aan Zee as well. Let’s hope not, and let’s quickly move to the games.”

Covid is everywhere and the Netherlands obviously abounds with the virus.

In his next article, “Tata Steel Chess 2022 R7: Carlsen Grabs Sole Lead; Dubov Forfeits Game,” by PeterDoggers (Updated: Jan 23, 2022, 7:26 AM/Chess.com News), Mr. Doggers writes, “GM Daniil Dubov forfeited his game vs. GM Anish Giri as the Russian GM refused to play with a face mask.

Tata Steel Chess 2022 R7: Carlsen Grabs Sole Lead; Dubov Forfeits Game
Anish Giri wouldn’t see his opponent Daniil Dubov arriving at the board today. Photo: Tata Steel Chess.

The organizers had requested him to do so after someone in his inner circle had tested positive for Covid-19.” Then he adds, “Last year, the organizers managed to hold their tournament in Wijk aan Zee in the middle of the pandemic without any issues.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/tata-steel-chess-2022-round-7)

This is patently absurd. Where the hell was Peter Doggers last year during the Tata Steel tournament? How quickly they forget…

Tata Steel 2021 Drama – Alireza Firouzja vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek – R13

Hi Friends,

Extremely disrespectful and very unprofessional from the organizers to distract Alireza during the final game. They asked him to move! Alireza blundered soon after that discussion, and the game ended in a draw.

Kourosh A (https://chessmood.com/forum/main-channel/alireza-firouzja-vs-radoslaw-wojtaszek-tata-steel-chess-2021-r13)

Mr. Doggers continues in the aforementioned article: “In hindsight, one could add miraculously. This year, with the highly contagious omicron variant raging, it was sheer impossible.”

“After the two cases of corona in the morning of the third round, when two seconds (coaches) of players tested positive, there was another case on Saturday morning: someone close to Dubov. Awaiting a PCR test result for Dubov, the organizers requested the Russian GM to wear a mask during play, even though the general rule at the tournament is that face masks are obligatory everywhere except when sitting at the board. Dubov refused to do so and called it “a matter of principle.” When he hadn’t arrived at the board half an hour into the round, the game was declared a win by forfeit for Giri.”

“Unsurprisingly, the whole situation was widely discussed on social media. One question was whether it was communicated to the players beforehand that the mask would be a necessity at the board as well in case of close contact to a Covid-positive person. Another interesting point that was made was whether the organizers could have postponed the Dubov-Giri game to the next rest day.”

GM Sergey Karjakin, who had criticized Dubov recently for helping Carlsen in the world championship,

this time supported his compatriot as he tweeted after finishing his own game:

“Robert Moens (Tata Steel Communications & Public Affairs) commented to Chess.com: “This specific situation wasn’t discussed beforehand, no. However, the players’ contract does include a clause that the organizers can take the necessary measures in case unexpected situations regarding Covid arise. Because the tournament doctor deemed it unwise for Dubov to play without a face mask, we as organizers made this request to Dubov, who fully understood our decision but decided not to play the game out of principle. We did not consider postponing the game because Dubov could have played today, albeit with a face mask. It was his decision not to play.”

“The situation currently is that Dubov can continue playing the tournament without a face mask in case the results of his latest PCR and antigen tests come out negatively. If he gets tested positive, he won’t be able to play any more games and all his results will be removed from the tournament crosstable because the tournament wasn’t halfway through yet for him.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/tata-steel-chess-2022-round-7)

This is all a crock of excrement! None of the crapola emanating from the mouth of Robert Moens matters. The bottom line is “…the organizers requested the Russian GM to wear a mask during play, even though the general rule at the tournament is that face masks are obligatory everywhere except when sitting at the board.” (!!!)

The organizers and officials (in other words, the Head Honchos What Be In Charge) had absolutely no right to “ask” Dubov to wear a mask. If not asked to wear a mask Danill would have been at the board, ready to play Chess. If one player was asked to wear a mask then ALL PLAYERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASKED TO WEAR A MASK! The problem is that the best Chess players in the world cannot come together as a group, like, for example, the Major League Baseball players union, to combat the ding-bats in charge of Chess! What top level Chess needs is a Chess Spartacus.

Certainly the players know that what affects the one also affects the many. Magnus Carlsen is currently the nonpareil Chess player and should be the de facto leader of all Grandmasters. What affects his contemporaries also affects Mr. Carlsen. If Magnus Carlsen also refused to play after learning what had happened to one of his fellow Grandmasters it would have reverberated, sending shock waves throughout the Chess community. Instead, Magnus swallowed the bile and meekly and subserviently acquiesced to the ridiculous “new rule” made up as the organizers reacted to something that should have been foreseen, and for which they should have been prepared. Those in charge of the Tata Steel Chess tournament should award a full point to Grandmaster Danill Dubov, and then we may see the Chess Champion of the World react. Then again, maybe not…

Dear Mr. Fantasy Variation

Decades ago this writer was having trouble playing against the Caro-Kann defense, invariably a tough nut to crack. It was so difficult to play against I stopped playing the Najdorf and began moving the black c-pawn one square after white played 1 e4. It was such a shock to one long-time opponent that he asked if the move just made was a mistake. After the game, which was won with the Fantasy variation, he said, “I was booked up, ready for your Najdorf. Therefore I was discombobulated when the pawn stopped short.” A game featuring the Fantasy variation played against the irrepressible Jude Acers


in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, decades ago was written about in the post entitled, The Irrepressible Jude Acers(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/250/).

Deshmukh Divya (IND)


vs Valentina Gunina (RUS)

Gunina wins a second European Championship | chess24.com

FIDE Chess.com Women’s Grand Swiss 2021 round 08
B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation


  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3
What does GM Ben Finegold know?

3… dxe4 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nd7 7. Bd3 Ngf6 8. O-O Bd6 9. Bg5 h6 10. Be3 Qc7 11. h3 Bh5 12. Qb3 O-O-O 13. Nbd2 g5 14. Nc4 g4 15. Nfxe5 Nxe5 16. dxe5 Bxe5 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. Rf5 Qg3 19. Bf4 Qxd3 20. Rxf6 Qxe4 21. hxg4 Rdg8 22. Bg3 Rxg4 23. Re1 Qd5 24. Qxd5 cxd5 25. Bf4 Rhg8 26. g3 Rxf4 27. Rxf4 Rxg3+ 28. Kf2 Rd3 29. Rd4 Rf3+ 30. Kg1 Rf5 31. c4 Bf3 32. Rf1 dxc4 33. Rxc4+ Kd7 34. Kh2 Rh5+ 35. Kg3 Bd5 36. Rh4 Rg5+ 37. Kf4 Be6 38. Rd1+ Ke7 39. Rd2 Rf5+ 40. Ke4 h5 41. Rdh2 Ra5 42. Rxh5 Rxa2 43. Rd2 b6 44. Rh8 Ra4+ 45. Rd4 Ra5 46. b4 Ra3 47. Ra8 b5 48. Rb8 a6 49. Rb6 Kf6 50. Rdd6 Rh3 51. Rd4 Ra3 52. Rdd6 Ra4 53. Rxa6 Rxb4+ 54. Rd4 Rb1 55. Rb6 Kg5 56. Ke5 Re1+ 57. Re4 f6+ 58. Kd4 Rd1+ 59. Kc5 Bc4 60. Rd4 Re1 61. Rd2 Rf1 62. Rg2+ Kf5 63. Rd6 Ke5 64. Rd8 f5 65. Rf8 Ke4 66. Rg6 f4 67. Rgf6 f3 68. Re8+ Kd3 69. Ref8 Ke3 70. Re8+ Kd2 71. Ref8 Be2 72. Rxf3 Bxf3 73. Rd8+ Ke3 74. Kxb5 Rc1 75. Kb4 Bc6 76. Kb3 Ke4 77. Kb4 Bd5 78. Rh8 Kd4 79. Rh4+ Be4 80. Rh3 Rc8 81. Rh5 Rc7 82. Rg5 Rh7 83. Rb5 Bc6 84. Rb6 Bd5 85. Rb5 Rh6 86. Ka5 Bc4 87. Rb8 Kc3 88. Ra8 Rc6 89. Ka4 Rb6 90. Ka5 Rb1 91. Ra7 Rb5+ 92. Ka6 Rb2+ 93. Ka5 Rb1 94. Rc7 Rb2 95. Ra7 Kd4 96. Rd7+ Kc5 97. Rc7+ Kd5 98. Rd7+ Kc6 99. Rd8 Be6 100. Rh8 Kc5 101. Rh5+ Bd5 102. Rh4 Rb1 103. Rf4 Rh1 104. Rg4 Rh2 105. Rf4 Be6 106. Ka6 Rh7 107. Ka5 Rh2 108. Rb4 Bc4 0-1

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 dxe4 (3…Qb6, SF) 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nd7 (6…Nf6, says 3 different SF programs. There are only 3 games at the CBDB. There are 31 games with the move played in the game) 7. Bd3 (SF 12 @depth 39 plays the most often played move, 7 Bd4, with 69 games at the CBDB; SF 14 @depth 38 shows 7 Nbd2, which may someday become a TN; but SF220521 @depth 55 would play 7 Be2: See Stefansson vs Vignir, below) 7…Ngf6 8. O-O Bd6 9. Bg5 (SF 9 a4; see Popilski vs Nakamura, below) 9…h6

Vignir Vatnar Stefansson (2291) vs Jonathan Grant (2203)
Event: IoM Masters
Site: Douglas ENG Date: 10/25/2018
Round: 6.72
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nd7 7.Be2 Bd6 8.O-O Ngf6 9.Bg5 Qc7 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.Nc4 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Rad8 14.Qe1 Rfe8 15.Rd1 b5 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Qe3 Qc7 18.Rfe1 h6 19.Qd3 a6 20.Qe3 Re7 21.Re2 c5 22.Red2 exd4 23.cxd4 cxd4 24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Rxd4 Qb6 26.Qf2 Re8 27.Rd2 Qxf2+ 28.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 29.Bxe4 Rxe4 30.b3 Re6 31.Rd7 Rc6 32.Rd2 g6 33.Ke3 Kg7 34.Ke4 h5 35.g3 b4 36.Rd5 Rc2 37.Ra5 Rxh2 38.Rxa6 Rg2 39.Kf3 Rc2 40.Ra4 g5 41.Rxb4 Rxa2 42.Rb8 Kg6 43.Rb5 g4+ 44.Kf4 Rf2+ 45.Ke4 Rf3 0-1

Gil Popilski (2529) vs Hikaru Nakamura (2816)
Event: Millionaire Chess Op 2015
Site: Las Vegas USA Date: 10/09/2015
Round: 3.1
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nd7 7.Bd3 Bd6 8.O-O Ngf6 9.a4 O-O 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Nc4 Bc7 12.Qc2 exd4 13.cxd4 Bxf3 14.Rxf3 Nb6 15.e5 Nxc4 16.Qxc4 b5 17.Qc3 Bb6 18.Be3 Nd5 19.Qb3 bxa4 20.Rxa4 Rb8 21.Qc4 Qd7 22.Bf2 g6 23.Be4 f5 24.Bc2 Kg7 25.Rfa3 a5 26.Kh1 Bc7 27.Qa2 Nb4 28.Qc4 Nd5 29.Qa2 Nb4 30.Qc4 Nd5 ½-½

Nona Gaprindashvili vs Milunka Lazarevic

At the end of 2021 Chessbase published an outstanding two part article by Diana Mihajlova

Milinka Merlini, on the left while still in Yugoslavia; on the right, in Paris commenting on the 1972 Fischer – Spassky match | Photo: Heritage des Echecs Francais

concerning Milunka Lazarević and former World Woman Chess Champion Nona Gaprindašvili. The first is entitled, Milunka Lazarević, the female Tal (https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-1). The second: Milunka Lazarević: “Tal is my Zeus” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-2) This is Chess history at its best. The two-part series is so excellent it should receive some kind of award. With that in mind, the Armchair Warrior has decided to take it upon himself to declare the articles the best Chess historical articles of 2021.

Both articles begin: “Nona Gaprindashvili


wrote referring to Milunka Lazarevic:

Milunka Lazarevic

“A literary person by profession, lively and impressionable, Lazarevic is one of the brightest figures in women’s chess of the sixties”. Milunka attracted attention by her exciting, uncompromising style: sacrificing pawns and pieces and despising draws, which made her famous and endeared her to chess audiences!”

Pictured: Lazarevic, Tengiz Giorgadze and Gaprindashvili (National Parliamentary Library of Georgia) https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-1

After spending an afternoon reading the articles and replaying every game I thought nothing about the articles until reading that FIDE, in its wisdom, decided to declare 2022 “the year of the woman in chess.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-year-of-the-woman-in-chess-2022) The best writing on the subject can be found at the website of GM Kevin Spraggett in a piece titled, FIDE: Gender Equality, Equity and Breast Implants (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/thursday-coffee-16/). Kevin parses the phrases, ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ by breaking down the difference between the two words, “equality” and “equity.” Having worked for an attorney known as the “Wordsmith” this writer is well aware of what a difference there can be depending on which word is chosen.

Arkady Dvorkovich


is the President of FIDE and “He is famous for being a Politician.” (https://www.celebsages.com/arkady-dvorkovich/)

Eva Repkova

Eva Repková.

is FIDE’s Women’s Commission Chair. I have no idea of what she is famous for or even how famous is she. I do know that there is internecine warfare being waged between ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ in the world of FIDE and who wins the battle will have a HUGE impact upon the world of Chess in the future.

Nona Gaprindashvili (2326) vs Milunka Lazarevic, (2160)
Event: Cheliabinsk Seniors (Women)
Site: Cheliabinsk Date: 12/21/2005
Round: 5
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 Ne4 7.c4 e5 8.b3 d6 9.Bb2 Nd7 10.Nbd2 Nxd2 11.Qxd2 f4 12.gxf4 Rxf4 13.e3 Rf5 14.Qe2 Nf6 15.Nd2 Rh5 16.f3 Bd7 17.Rf2 Qe7 18.Nf1 Rc8 19.Re1 Rh4 20.Ng3 Nh5 21.Nf1 Bh6 22.Qd1 Qf7 23.Ree2 Rf8 24.Qe1 Qe7 25.Bc1 Bh3 26.Bxh3 Rxh3 27.Nd2 e4 28.fxe4 Bxe3 29.Rxe3 Qg5+ 30.Rg3 Rxg3+ 31.hxg3 Qxg3+ 32.Kf1 Qd3+ 33.Kg1 Qg3+ 34.Kf1 ½-½

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 (This is not the best move and you know the woman who was the woman World Chess champion from 1962-1978 knew this, so there must be a reason Nona played a second, or third rate move. One can only speculate as to the reason…The last time these two women had met for combat across the board was at the Medellin Olympic (Women) (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2433694) way back in 1974, the year I came from nowhere to win the Atlanta Chess Championship. Nona won the first two games contested but Milunka fought back, winning the next two games. After a couple of draws in 1964 they did not meet again until 1966, at which time Nona asserted herself, winning the next three games over the next eight years, and they did not meet again until this game. In limited action, forty games, the move 6 d5 has not fared well) 6…Ne4 (This move is not in the Chessbase Database, but there are two games with the move found at 365Chess. The second follows:

Ricardo Galindo (2275) vs Gustavo Albarran (2192)
Event: Metropolitano-ch
Site: Buenos Aires Date: 06/24/2000
Round: 4 Score: ½-½
ECO: A04 Reti opening
1.Nf3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.d4 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 Ne4 7.Nbd2 Nd6 8.c4 c5 9.e3 e5 10.Rb1 e4 11.Ne1 Na6 12.a3 b5 13.b3 Rb8 14.Qc2 Qb6 15.f3 exf3 16.Bxf3 Nf7 17.Nd3 d6 18.Bb2 Bxb2 19.Qxb2 Bd7 20.Bg2 Rbe8 21.e4 Ne5 22.Qc2 Qd8 23.Nxe5 Rxe5 24.cxb5 Bxb5 25.Nc4 Bxc4 26.bxc4 fxe4 27.Bxe4 Rxf1+ 28.Rxf1 Qe8 29.Bf3 Re1 30.Qf2 Rxf1+ 31.Qxf1 Qe3+ 32.Kg2 Nc7 33.Bg4 Kg7 34.Qa1+ Kh6 35.h4 Ne8 36.Qh8 Qe4+ 37.Bf3 Qe7 38.Kh3 Qf7 39.Kg2 Nf6 40.Qd8 Nd7 41.Be4 Kg7 42.a4 Nf6 43.Bf3 Qd7 44.Qb8 a5 45.Qb6 Qxa4 46.Qxd6 Qc2+ 47.Kh3 Qf5+ 48.Kg2 Qc2+ 49.Kh3 ½-½