GM Alonso Zapata’s Antiquated Openings

Current Atlanta resident Grandmaster Alonso Zapata

lost his first two games at the recently completed Charlotte Spring GM/IM Norm Invitational IM (B) by resting on his laurels.

GM Alonso Zapata (2341) vs FM Carlos Sandoval Mercado (2269)
Round 1 | 2023.03.16
B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nf3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 h6 10. Bf1 Be6 11. h3 Qc7 12. a4 b6 13. Nh2 Nc6 14. Nd5 Bxd5 15. exd5 Nb4 16. c4 Nd7 17. Ra3 f5 18. Bxh6 gxh6 19. Qd2 Kh7 20. Qxb4 a5 21. Qd2 Nc5 22. Qc2 e4 23. f3 Bh4 24. Re2 Rae8 25. Kh1 Qg7 26. Ree3 Kh8 27. f4 Rg8 28. g4 Bf6 29. Rg3 Bxb2 30. Ra2 Bd4 31. Qd1 Bf6 32. Rgg2 Qh7 33. Rg1 Bh4 34. Rag2 Qf7 35. Be2 e3 36. g5 Ne4 37. Qd4+ Qg7 38. Qxg7+ Rxg7 39. Nf1 hxg5 40. Kh2 Bf2 41. Rh1 g4 0-1 (–im-b/round-1/mqOni1F0)

The Stockfish program used at will play 7 Nb3, as have over ten thousand other players according to, which is ten times more than those playing the weaker 7 Nf3. The following game, in which the player of the black pieces played the inferior 7…h3, was located. Obviously GM Zapata has had much practice with the line made famous by former World Champion Anatoly Karpov. Here is yet another example of an older player continuing to “go with what’cha know, Joe” in lieu of studying the opening and incorporating changes into one’s repertoire.

Alonso Zapata (2515) vs Gilberto Milos (2605)
Event: Yopal
Site: Yopal Date: ??/??/1997
Round: 7
ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3 h6 8.O-O Be7 9.Re1 O-O 10.Bf1 Qc7 11.a4 Be6 12.a5 Rc8 13.Be3 Nbd7 14.Ra4 Nc5 15.Bxc5 Qxc5 16.Nd2 Ng4 17.Qf3 Bg5 18.Nb3 Qc6 19.h3 Nf6 20.Rd1 Re8 21.Rb4 Rad8 22.Rb6 Qc7 23.g3 h5 24.Bg2 h4 25.g4 g6 26.Nc1 Nd7 27.Rb4 Nc5 28.Nb3 Bxb3 29.cxb3 Qxa5 30.Rc4 Nxb3 31.Ra4 Qc5 32.Nd5 Nd4 33.Qd3 Rc8 34.Bf1 Qc2 35.Nb6 Rc6 36.Qxc2 Rxc2 37.Rb4 Bd2 38.Ra4 Be3 39.Kh1 Rxf2 40.Nd5 Bg5 41.b4 Rc8 0-1

FM Terry Luo (2310) – GM Alonso Zapata (2341)
Round 2 2023.03.16
A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 d6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. b3 c5 10. Bd2 a6 11. e4 b5 12. e5 Ng4 13. exd6 exd6 14. h3 Ne5 15. Ng5 bxc4 16. Ne6 Bxe6 17. dxe6 Re8 18. Nd5 Nac6 19. e7 Qb8 20. bxc4 Ra7 21. Rb1 Qc8 22. Bg5 Kh8 23. f4 Nf7 24. Nb6 Qc7 25. Qd5 Nxg5 26. Qxc6 Bd4+ 27. Kh1 Qxe7 28. fxg5 1-0–im-b/round-2/ScN8PQlO
  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 d6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 (Stockfish gives this move the dubious treatment with a ?! Books have been written, as have blog posts [], concerning the best move in the position. At one time 7…Qe8 was all the rage, with Grandmasters publishing books devoted to the move, which is now considered inferior to 7…c6. This is yet another example of an older player not doing his homework and going with a move with which he is familiar. The result speaks for itself) 8 d5 Na5 (It has been known for some time the move played in the game is inferior to the better Ne5. In numerical terms Stockfish shows that after the ill-fated 8…Na5 was played white was close to having a theoretically won game at +1.3) 9 b3 (SF now shows white having an advantage of +1.5, which is considered to be winning) 9…c5 (This move is not given a “?” or even a “?!” but it does show that white is now up by +1.8, which means a Grandmaster has played the opening so weakly he has a lost position PRIOR TO MAKING HIS TENTH MOVE!)

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