‘Catch the virus’ promotion at Washington bar leads workers to quit, bands to cancel
By Don Sweeney January 30, 2022
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.
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)
vs Gillan Bwalya (ZAM)
Gibraltar Chess Festival | Battle of the Sexes 2022 round 05 A80 Dutch
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))
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.
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)
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.
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…
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
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 (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)
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.
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
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.
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…
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/).
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
“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!”
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.
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.
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: