The Importance of Solitude

The importance of solitude – why time on your own can sometimes be good for you

Thuy-vy Nguyen

Assistant Professsor, Department of Psychology, Durham University

Published: April 27, 2023 11.22am EDT

Spending time alone can induce fear in a lot of people, which is understandable. At the same time, the difference between moments of solitude and loneliness is often misunderstood.

As a psychologist, I study solitude – the time we spend alone, not interacting with other people. I started this research more than ten years ago and, up to that point, findings on young people’s time alone had suggested they often experience low moods when alone.

On social media, television or in the music we listen to, we typically picture happiness as excitement, enthusiasm and energisation. From that perspective, solitude is often mistaken for loneliness.

In psychology, researchers define loneliness as a distressed feeling that we experience when we don’t have, or are unable to get, the kind of social connections or relationships we hope for. Solitude is different.

While people’s definitions of solitude might vary, what is interesting is that for many, being solitary doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no one else around. Instead, many people can, and do, find solitude in public spaces, whether this be sitting with a cup of tea in a busy cafe or reading a book in a park. And my research suggests that taking some time for yourself could have a positive impact on your daily mood.

Many of us have had days when there are troubles at work, when things don’t go as expected, or when we take on too much and feel overwhelmed. What I’ve found is that learning to take a little time for yourself, a moment of solitude, could help you deal with these feelings. (

The Tupperware Party Is Over

From the many episodes watched of the TV sitcom, All In The Family, only two can be recalled. One of them concerned a Tupperware Party hosted by Edith, Archie Bunker’s wife. I recall Archie picking up a piece of plastic Tupperware which is then placed in a different location. The obviously perturbed Tupperware sales woman immediately moves the single Tupperware object to its former position, saying, “Every little Tupper has its place!” What can I say? It cracked me up… Unfortunately, I was unable to locate the scene described, but did find a short segment of the episode, which can be found below.

Tupperware has been struggling for years. Three charts show just how bad it’s been.
By Alex Leeds Matthews, CNN
Published 10:43 AM EDT, Sun April 23, 2023

Tupperware items, including a set of storage containers at left, rest on a table during a Tupperware party in Sebastian, Florida, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Tupperware may be on the verge of collapse, but the 77-year-old business’ potential demise isn’t necessarily a harbinger of worsening economic conditions.

While sales data shows the rest of the US consumer retail sector — including some of the company’s competitors in the food storage space — seems to be recovering from the pandemic dip, Tupperware sales continue to decline.

Some business experts say that’s because Tupperware has failed to adapt to changing consumer behaviors. And now, faced with mounting debt, declining sales and plummeting stock prices, perhaps little can be done to save the company from bankruptcy.

The Spike Attack Rocks The Qe2 Chigorin World

Jordi Ayza Ballester (2096) vs Ramon Ibanez Aullana (2292)
C00 French, Chigorin variation

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g5 5. h3 Bg7 6. Bg2 h6 7. O-O Nge7 8. c3 d6 9. a4 e5 10. Kh2 f5 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. d4 cxd4 13. cxd4 e4 14. Ng1 Nxd4 15. Qd1 d5 16. Nc3 Qd7 17. f3 e3 18. Ra2 Nc2 19. f4 Nb4 20. Bxe3 d4 21. Nb5 Nxa2 22. Nxd4 Rd8 23. Nge2 Nb4 24. Qb3 Nbd5 25. Bg1 Bg6 26. fxg5 hxg5 27. Nb5 a6 28. Nbc3 Bf7 29. Ne4 Nf4 30. Nd6+ Qxd6 31. Qf3 Bd5 32. Qf2 0-1

This game was followed in ‘real time’ I stopped watching after seeing the ridiculous 12th move, d4 as it caused me to wonder how many times the player of the white pieces had previously attempted the Chigorin Variation, and/or how much time was spent studying games in which 2 Qe2 had been played. Then I wondered if the 4th move by black had messed with the mind of the general of the white army…

To begin, the Stockfish program at responds to 2 Qe2 with 3 e5. That is right, one of the top, if not the top Chess programs will move the same pawn with each of his first two moves. “But coach,” you say, “you taught us to complete development before moving a piece twice.”
“That’s right, Bobby, I did. But did I say anything about not moving a PAWN twice?” The Chess coach must have an answer for everything, even when he doesn’t…

Here’s the deal… 2 Qe2 is the move that wins the most against the French defense. I kid you not. In 3758 games 2 Qe2 has won an impressive 44.3% of the time. In over 200,000 games 2 d4 has won’only’ 38.5%! In 17,542 games 2 d3 has won 41.7%.

I was pleased to see SF will play the only third move I have ever played in the position, 3 g3. Jordi Ayza Ballester played 3 Nf3, which happens to be the most often played move, according to 3…g5, as Brian McCarthy was fond of saying, must have “Rocked his world.” I have played the Chigorin ‘attack’ against the French for over half a century, and never seen the move. 365Chess contains only 4 (FOUR!?) games in which the move has been played (

After seeing 10 Kh2?! the realization struck that Jordi Ayza Ballester had no clue what he was doing. Certainly d3 must be played in this opening. When Jordi played 12 d4?! I stopped following the game… The Stockfish program determines white has a lost position, down by -1.7, after the twelfth move, and it was all over but the shoutin’. This is one of the most pitiful performances with the white pieces you will ever see. How did the dude obtain a rating of 2092 without having a clue? Is there any validity in the rating system these daze?! Just askin’…

Johnny Wieweg (2140) vs Lars Hjelmaas (2302)
Event: Oslo International 2014
Site: Oslo NOR Date: 10/05/2014
Round: 9.16 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 g5 5.h3 Bg7 6.d3 h6 7.Bg2 Nge7 8.c3 d5 9.O-O b6 10.Na3 Ba6 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nc4 Qc7 13.Re1 Bxc4 14.dxc4 Nde7 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2 h5 17.Bf4 e5 18.Rad1 O-O 19.Bg5 f6 20.Bc1 Rad8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.f3 f5 23.Bg5 Rd7 24.Nf1 Qd8 25.fxg4 hxg4 26.Bxc6 Rd6 27.Bd5+ 1-0

6 Qe2 Versus The Najdorf Sicilian

Although I would like to write that the best was saved for the last post concerning the venerable Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defense it would be far more accurate to classify it as exactly the opposite, as it could possibly be the worst move to make against the Najdorf. In the Stockfish vs Stockfish game that follows the best Stocky can do is move the Queen to the d3 square two moves later, which at least moves the Queen out of the way for the bishop. Fishy did not play the move g3, which would be the obvious way to play, as is done in the 2 Qe2 variation against the French.

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2

e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Qd3 Be7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Nc6 11. a3 d5 12. Nxd5 Nxd5 13. exd5 Bxd5 14. Rd1 Bxb3 15. Qxb3 Nd4 16. Qd3 Qc7 17. c3 Nb3 18. Rb1 Rad8 19. Qe4 Nxc1 20. Rbxc1 g6 21. Bf3 b6 22. Qb7 Qxb7 23. Bxb7 a5 24. Kf1 Kg7 25. Ke2 f5 26. f3 Bg5 27. Rb1 h5 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Rd1 Rxd1 30. Kxd1 1/2-1/2

I had seen enough to declare the moribund game a draw. If you have been having trouble when facing the Najdorf maybe you should consider playing 6 Qe2 as a way of potentially making a draw…

PR. Watson vs Alec Aslett
Event: Combined Services-ch
Site: England Date: ??/??/2002
Round: 7 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.g3 Qc7 10.Bg2 Rc8 11.O-O-O Bc4 12.Qd2 b5 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bxb3 15.axb3 h6 16.Be3 f5 17.h4 Be7 18.Kb1 Nf6 19.Bh3 g6 20.h5 O-O 21.hxg6 Ne4 22.Qd3 Nc5 23.Bxc5 e4 24.Qd2 dxc5 25.d6 Bxd6 26.Qxd6 Qg7 27.Bxf5 c4 28.Bxc8 1-0

Winshand Cuhendi Sean (2406) vs Martin Nayhebaver (2450)
Event: Dunajska Streda GM 2017
Site: Dunajska Streda SVK Date: 06/24/2017
Round: 1.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nf5 d5 8.Bg5 d4 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Qg4 g6 12.Qg3 Nd7 13.Nxd4 Qa5+ 14.c3 Bd6 15.Nb3 Qd8 16.O-O-O Nf6 17.Qd3 Bb8 18.Qe3 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qe7 20.h4 Be6 21.Rd2 O-O 22.h5 a5 23.hxg6 fxg6 24.Qc5 Qf7 25.Qb5 b6 26.Qc6 Bc7 27.Bc4 Bxc4 28.Rd7 Qf4+ 29.Nd2 Bf7 30.Qxc7 b5 31.g3 Qg4 32.Rh4 Qe6 33.Rd5 Qf6 34.Rxe5 Rac8 35.Qe7 Qxf2 36.Rxb5 Rfd8 37.Qg5 Rxd2 38.Qxd2 Qf1+ 39.Kc2 Qxb5 40.Qh6 Qe2+ 41.Kc1 Qe1+ 42.Kc2 Qf2+ 43.Kc1 Qe1+ 44.Kc2 Qxg3 45.Qxh7+ Kf8 46.Qh8+ Ke7 47.Qxc8 Qxh4 48.Qc5+ Ke8 49.e5 Qe4+ 50.Kd2 Qd5+ 51.Qxd5 Bxd5 52.b3 Ke7 53.Ke3 g5 54.Kd4 Ke6 55.c4 Bh1 56.a3 g4 57.b4 g3 58.Ke3 Kxe5 59.b5 Kd6 0-1 contains only 48 games in which the player of the white pieces chose 6 Qe2. There is a reason.

With this post the series on the Najdorf ends. With the series of posts I attempted to give an overview of the most popular Chess opening. If you are contemplating playing the Najdorf, or want to know how to play against it, there is enough material, if you replay each and every game, to obtain an excellent overview of the venerable Najdorf. It really is

because Stockfish provides the theory and provides the practice. Good luck with that!

The following video does NOT contain anything concerning 6 Qe2, but does present 6 g3 TWICE, which makes me wonder…why…

The Najdorf: Lesser Played Sixth Move Alternatives

In this ongoing series on the venerable Najdorf variation we have come to the last four moves having been played in triple digits: 6 Qf3 (254); 6 h4 (247); 6 a3 (229); and 6 Qd3 (110). I am giving it to you straight, with no chaser, today. Or as my friend Brian McCarthy was fond of saying, “Just give me the MEAT!” (

6 Qf3

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qf3 g6 7. Bc4 Qb6 8. Nde2 Bg7 9. Bb3 Nbd7 10. Nf4 e6 11. O-O Qc6 12. a4 O-O 13. a5 b5 14. axb6 Qxb6 15. Be3 Qb8 16. Nd3 Bb7 17. Ra4 Bc6 18. Rb4 Qc7 19. Bd4 Rfc8 20. Ba4 Bxa4 21. Rxa4 Nb6 22. Ra2 Nfd7 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Qd1 Nc4 25. Ne2 a5 26. b3 Ncb6 27. Nd4 Kg8 28. Qa1 Nc5 29. Nxc5 Qxc5 30. c4 a4 31. bxa4 Qxc4 32. a5 Nd7 33. h3 Nc5 34. Rc1 Qa6 35. Rb1 Nxe4 36. Rb6 Qc4 37. Rc2 Nc3 38. Rxd6 Qd3 39. Rxc3 Rxc3 40. Nb5 Qxb5 41. Qxc3 Qxa5 42. Qxa5 Rxa5 43. h4 Ra4 44. g3 h6 45. f3 Kg7 46. Rb6 Kf6 47. Rb5 e5 48. Rb6+ Kf5 49. Rb7 f6 50. Rb6 h5 51. Rb8 Ra3 52. Kg2 Ra2+ 53. Kf1 g5 54. hxg5 Kxg5 55. Rg8+ Kh6 56. Rh8+ Kg6 57. Rg8+ Kf7 58. Rh8 Ra3 59. Kg2 Kg6 60. Rg8+ Kh7 61. Rf8 Ra2+ 62. Kh3 Kg7 63. Rb8 Kg6 64. Rb7 Rf2 65. Rb3 Kg5 66. Ra3 Rf1 67. Kg2 Rc1 68. Ra8 Rc2+ 69. Kh3 Rf2 70. Ra3 Kf5 71. Rb3 1/2-1/2

7 Bc4 is a TN

Alan Pichot (2543) vs Jorge Zamorano (2315)
Event: 91st ch-ARG 2016
Site: Villa Martelli ARG Date: 07/19/2016
Round: 2.3 Score: ½-½
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 g6 7.h3 Bg7 8.Be2 O-O 9.Be3 Bd7 10.O-O-O Nc6 11.g4 Rc8 12.g5 Nh5 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.Rxd5 Qc7 16.Rd2 Qa5 17.a3 Qe5 18.c3 Qa5 19.Rd5 Qa4 20.Bd1 Qc4 21.Kb1 b5 22.Bc2 Rc7 23.Qd1 Be5 24.Rg1 Rb8 25.Rg4 Qc6 26.f4 Bg7 27.e5 dxe5 28.fxe5 Rcc8 29.Bb3 e6 30.Rd6 Qe8 31.Bd4 a5 32.Qf3 Bf8 33.Ra6 Ra8 34.Rxa8 Rxa8 35.Rg1 Ng7 36.Bc2 b4 37.cxb4 axb4 38.a4 Nf5 39.Bb6 Rxa4 40.Bxa4 Qxa4 41.Rg4 Qb5 42.Bd8 b3 43.Bf6 h5 44.Rf4 Kh7 45.Qd1 Ne3 46.Qd2 Nd5 47.Rf3 Qa4 48.Qd3 Qa2+ 49.Kc1 Qa1+ 50.Qb1 Qa4 51.Qd3 Qa1+ 52.Qb1 Qa4 53.Qd3 Qa1+ ½-½

For three games featuring, 14 Kb1; 14 Bh3; and 14 f5, see:

6 h4

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h4 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Bg5 Be6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. g3 Be7 11. Qd2 Nd7 12. O-O-O Nf6 13. f4 Rc8 14. Bh3 O-O 15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. Rhf1 b5 17. a3 a5 18. fxe5 b4 19. Nb5 Nxe4 20. Qe3 d5 21. a4 Bc5 22. Nxc5 Qb6 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Nd4 Qxc5 25. Qe2 Rf2 26. Qb5 h6 27. g4 Qc8 28. g5 hxg5 29. hxg5 Nxg5 30. Kb1 Ne4 31. Rc1 Nd2+ 32. Ka2 Qc4+ 33. b3 Qxd4 34. Qe8+ Rf8 35. Qxe6+ Rf7 36. Qc8+ Rf8 37. Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Bogdan-Daniel Deac (2609) vs Maxim Rodshtein (2673)
Event: 20th ch-EUR Indiv 2019
Site: Skopje MKD Date: 03/22/2019
Round: 5.3 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h4 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.g3 Be7 11.Qd2 Nd7 12.O-O-O Nf6 13.f4 b5 14.Bh3 O-O 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.Qxd8 Raxd8 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.a3 Rc8 20.Kd2 a5 21.Kd3 Rd8+ 22.Ke3 a4 23.Nc1 Bc5+ 24.Ke2 Bd4 25.N1a2 Nh5 26.Rh3 Rf8 27.Nd1 Nf6 28.Nac3 Rb8 29.Kd3 Nd7 30.Ke2 Nf6 31.Kd3 Kf7 32.h5 g5 33.hxg6+ Kxg6 34.Rh1 h5 35.Rf1 Nd7 36.Ke2 Nc5 37.Rf3 Bxc3 38.Nxc3 b4 39.Nd1 Nxe4 40.Re3 Kf5 41.Rf3+ Kg4 42.Ne3+ Kg5 43.Nc4 bxa3 44.Rxa3 Rb4 45.Nxe5 Rxb2 46.Kd3 Rb4 47.Nf3+ Kf6 48.Nd4 e5 49.c3 Nc5+ 50.Kc2 Rb6 51.Ne2 Kf5 52.c4 Rb3 0-1

6 a3

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a3 e5 7. Nf3 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nd5 Bb7 10. Nxf6+ gxf6 11. Be3 Bxe4 12. Bd3 Bxd3 13. cxd3 f5 14. d4 f4 15. Bd2 Bg7 16. O-O O-O 17. dxe5 dxe5 18. Bxb4 Re8 19. Bc3 Nd7 20. Qd5 Nb6 21. Qe4 Qd5 22. Ng5 Qxe4 23. Nxe4 Rec8 24. a5 Nd5 25. g4 fxg3 26. hxg3 Nxc3 27. bxc3 Rc6 28. Rfd1 f5 29. Nd6 Rf8 30. Rab1 Rxc3 31. Rb6 e4 32. Rxa6 e3 33. fxe3 Rxe3 34. Kf2 Ra3 35. Ra7 Bh6 36. Nb5 Ra2+ 37. Kf3 f4 38. g4 Re8 39. Rd3 Re3+ 40. Rxe3 fxe3 41. Re7 Rxa5 42. Re5 Ra1 43. g5 Bg7 44. Rxe3 Kf7 45. Nc7 Kg6 46. Ne6 Bb2 47. Rb3 Kf5 48. Rxb2 Ra3+ 49. Kg2 Kxe6 1/2-1/2

Pentala Harikrishna (2763) vs Anish Giri (2790)
Event: 4th Norway Blitz 2016
Site: Stavanger NOR Date: 04/18/2016
Round: 2.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a3 e5 7.Nf3 b5 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.a4 b4 11.Nd5 Nc6 12.Bc4 O-O 13.Nxf6+ Qxf6 14.Bd5 Bb7 15.Qd2 Rab8 16.O-O h6 17.Rfd1 Rfd8 18.a5 Ne7 19.Bxb7 Rxb7 20.Qe3 Rc8 21.Rd2 Rc6 22.g3 Qe6 23.Kg2 Rbc7 24.Rad1 Kh7 25.Qb3 Qxb3 26.cxb3 Nc8 27.Rd3 Rc2 28.R1d2 R2c5 29.Rd5 Rxd5 30.Rxd5 Rc2 31.Nd2 Rxb2 32.Nc4 Rxb3 33.Nxd6 Rc3 34.Nxf7 b3 35.Rd7 b2 36.Rb7 Rc7 37.Rxb2 Rxf7 38.Rc2 Nd6 39.f3 Nb5 40.Rc6 Rf6 41.Rc5 Re6 42.Kf2 Kg6 43.Ke3 Kf6 44.f4 g5 45.f5 Rd6 46.Rc8 Nd4 47.Rf8+ Ke7 48.Rh8 Nb3 49.Rh7+ Kf8 50.Kf3 Nxa5 51.Kg4 Nc4 52.Kh5 Nd2 53.Rh8+ Kg7 54.Re8 Nxe4 55.Re7+ Kf6 0-1

6 Qd3

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qd3 e6 7. a4 e5 8. Nf5 Bxf5 9. exf5 h6 10. g4 d5 11. Bg2 d4 12. Ne4 Qc7 13. O-O Nbd7 14. c3 Nxe4 15. Qxe4 dxc3 16. bxc3 Nc5 17. Qc4 Be7 18. Bd5 O-O 19. Be3 Rac8 20. Rfd1 b6 21. Rab1 e4 22. Bxe4 Nxe4 23. Qxe4 Rfe8 24. Bxb6 Qxc3 25. Qd3 Qc4 26. Qxc4 Rxc4 27. Rd4 Rec8 28. h3 Rxd4 29. Bxd4 Rc4 30. Rb8+ Kh7 31. Bb6 Rxa4 32. Rb7 Re4 33. Kg2 f6 34. Ra7 Rb4 35. Be3 Bd6 36. Rxa6 Bf4 37. Kf3 Bxe3 38. fxe3 h5 39. Ra1 Rb5 40. Rg1 hxg4+ 41. hxg4 and I had seen enough…

Abdulla Gadimbayli (2315) vs Marc Esserman (2467)
Event: Budapest Spring Open 2017
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 03/24/2017
Round: 7.18 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qd3 e6 7.a4 Nbd7 8.Be2 Nc5 9.Qe3 g6 10.O-O Bg7 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.b4 Ncd7 13.Ba3 O-O 14.b5 Ne8 15.bxa6 bxa6 16.Rab1 Qd8 17.e5 Nxe5 18.f4 Nd7 19.Bf3 d5 20.Nc6 Qh4 21.g3 Qh6 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.Ne7+ Kh8 24.Bxd5 Nc7 25.Bxa8 Ne5 26.Nxc8 Rxc8 27.Bb2 Qxh2+ 28.Kxh2 Ng4+ 29.Kh3 Nxe3 30.Bxg7+ Kxg7 31.Bb7 Rb8 32.Re1 Nc4 33.Bc6 Rc8 34.Rb7 Na5 35.Bd7 Nxb7 36.Bxc8 Nc5 37.Re7 N5e6 38.Bxe6 Nxe6 39.a5 Kf6 40.Ra7 Nc5 41.Rc7 1-0

The Chess Boom

Yet another article has appeared at the New York Times concerning the Chess Boom:

There was a time not too long ago when people who played Chess were thought to be “smart.” Chess was a serious game held in esteem by many people all over the planet. Unfortunately, as can be seen from the above picture, Chess has become a frivolity. Case in point:

Mr. Allebest,’s C.E.O. “When I was a kid, chess was for nerds,” he said.Credit…Kim Raff for The New York Times

From the article:

“But by all accounts — from players, parents, teachers, website metrics — the game’s popularity has exploded.”

At least there is one honest and objective ‘player’ in the current ‘game’ and his name is Mike Klein.

“Mr. Klein has been traveling the country trying to convince schools to include chess in the curriculum. He argues that chess is good for the brain, but he concedes that the scientific studies he invokes, linking chess with better performance on standardized tests, “are pretty old or don’t have a good control group or are not a large enough sample size.”

Alexandra Botez,

28, another chess celebrity on Twitch and YouTube, earned a particular claim to fame: Once, while streaming a match, she blundered into losing her queen and reacted with an endearing, bemused shock that made the gaffe seem cool. To accidentally lose your queen is now known as the Botez Gambit.

What comes after a Boom?

GM Brandon Jacobson Let Go Of The Rope

In the fourth round of the II CHESSABLE SUNWAY FORMENTERA Chess tournament the American GM Brandon Jacobson

GM Brandon Jacobson assessing his next move at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski (

“lost the thread” as the saying goes when playing the Indian, GM Chithambaram Veerappan Aravindh.

In the following position Aravindh has just made the move recommended by Stockfish at, 19…Qb6. The ‘Fish also shows white with a winning advantage of +1.7.

Position after 19…Qb6

After Na3 Rab8 21. Nd3 Na4 the next position has been reached:

Position after 21…Na4

In reply GM Jacobson played the SHOCKING 22 b3, jettisoning the advantage. After 22…Ncd5 the game was even, Steven.

Position after 22…Ndc5

GM Jacobson let go of the rope completely when making one of the worst moves you will ever see any Grandmaster make, 23 bxa4? Although the game continued for a few moves, it should not have continued. Possibly Brandon was in a state of shock, like a deer caught in the headlights, and continued making moves out of inertia.

GM Brandon Jacobson vs GM GM Chithambaram Veerappan Aravindh
E90 King’s Indian, 5.Nf3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Bg4 7. Be2 Nfd7 8. Be3 e5 9. d5 a5 10. Ng5 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Na6 12. O-O-O h6 13. Nh3 Nac5 14. f3 f5 15. Nf2 f4 16. Bd2 c6 17. Be1 cxd5 18. cxd5 b5 19. Nxb5 Qb6 20. Na3 Rab8 21. Nd3 Na4 22. b3 Ndc5 23. bxa4 Rfc8 24. Kd2 Qb3 25. Rc1 Qxa3 26. Rc2 Nxd3 27. Qd1 0-1 (

The move 8…e5 appears to be a Theoretical Novelty:

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Bg4 7. Be2 Nfd7 8. Be3

Next Move # of Games Last Played Winnings percentage
White / Draw / Black Engine Eval.
8… a6 1-0, Dardha (2610) vs. Assaubayeva (2440)
8… Nb6 ½-½, Van Foreest (2678) vs. Yakubboev (2620)
8… Bxf3 ½-½, Mueller vs. Dueck (2112)
8… c5 ½-½, Stukan (2431) vs. Dimic (2337)

This could, and would, be considered an aberration under most circumstances, but since GM Jacobson ‘let go of the rope’ in his previous tournament, the 2023 Reykjavik Open, it could be an indication of something else.

Position after 37…Qf4+

In the seventh round of the 2023 Reykjavik Open game with Frenchman IM Quentin Loiseau (2449) Brandon had to move his King. Cogitate on the position and decide were you would move your King.

GM Brandon Jacobson (2543) vs IM Quentin Loiseau (2449)
Reykjavik Open 2023 (Reykjavik), 02.04.2023 Rd 7
A13 English opening
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 dxc4 4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Qxc4 Rb8 6.Nf3 b5 7.Qc2 c5 8.d3 Bb7 9.O-O Ngf6 10.a4 a6 11.Nc3 Qb6 12.axb5 axb5 13.Be3 Bd6 14.h3 O-O 15.b4 Rfc8 16.Rfc1 Qd8 17.bxc5 Bxc5 18.Bxc5 Nxc5 19.Rab1 Bxf3 20.Bxf3 b4 21.Nd1 b3 22.Qd2 Na4 23.Bc6 Nb6 24.Bb5 Qd5 25.Rxc8+ Rxc8 26.Nc3 Qh5 27.Kg2 Nbd5 28.Bc4 Nxc3 29.Qxc3 Qxe2 30.Rxb3 h5 31.Rb2 Qd1 32.Qa5 Qc1 33.Rb7 h4 34.Qa7 hxg3 35.Rxf7 gxf2 36.Rxg7+ Kh8 37.Kxf2 Qf4+ 38.Kg2 Rb8 39.Kh1 Rb1+ 0-1

Imre Hera Jr (2598) vs Davit Shengelia, (2522)
Event: TCh-HUN 2018-19
Site: Hungary HUN Date: 01/27/2019
Round: 4.2 Score: 1-0
ECO: A13 English opening
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 dxc4 4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Qxc4 Rb8 6.Nf3 b5 7.Qc2 Bb7 8.O-O Ngf6 9.Nc3 c5 10.d3 a6 11.a4 b4 12.Nb1 Bd6 13.Nbd2 O-O 14.Nc4 Bc7 15.b3 e5 16.e4 h6 17.Bb2 Qe7 18.Nh4 g6 19.Rae1 Nh5 20.Qd2 Qg5 21.Qd1 Kh7 22.Bh3 Rbd8 23.Bxd7 Rxd7 24.Nf3 Qd8 25.Nfxe5 Bxe5 26.Nxe5 Rd6 27.Qc1 Qc8 28.f3 f6 29.Ng4 g5 30.Qc2 Rdd8 31.Rc1 Rf7 32.Rfd1 f5 33.Ne5 Rc7 34.exf5 Nf6 35.d4 Rd5 36.g4 Qe8 37.Re1 Re7 38.Qf2 Qd8 39.Rxc5 Rxc5 40.dxc5 Qd5 41.c6 Bc8 42.Nd7 Rxe1+ 43.Qxe1 1-0

GM Ding Liren Caught Cheating by!

In a new article at, Ding Liren

Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi continue to serve up wild games | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE (

blows huge chance as prep leaks online ( it is written: “In some ways they’d been unlucky, since internet sleuths also uncovered the same players had first tried to play on, where the games would have been much harder to find, but had fallen foul of the anti-cheating system detecting something unusual in their play.”

What does this say about the “anti-cheating system” in use at’s anti-cheating system
Apr 10, 2012, 2:11 PM

Lately, I have some doubts about’s anti-cheating system. I will present you a case where an account closure was IMO done in haste, probably by an automatic system of (

We Can’t Know How Good’s Cheating Detection is

There is an interesting parallel to the necessary ambiguity of the details of’s anti-cheating measures to a video game called old school runescape (OSRS) and Jagex, the game developers’ anti-botting detection measures. Botting is where a player runs a code to have their character play the game automatically, which is of course against the rules. (

IM Arthur Guo At The 2023 US National High School Chess Championship

Atlantan IM Arthur Guo

finished in a tie for third place with many other players in the recent 2023 US National High School Championship, a half point behind the two leaders. I would like to inform you of the names of the winners, but after being unable to access the USCF webpage contained the information I contacted my friend, Mulfish, who reported, “The US Chess website has had service outages off and on for the last two days. Once it’s up you should be able to get to the crosstable. Once it’s working again you shouldn’t have any trouble.” Some things never change…

Arthur Guo vs Avi Harrison Kaplan

2023 US National High School Championship Rd 4
B40 Sicilian defense

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. g3 b5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. d3 d6 6. Nh3 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. g4 Nf6 9. g5 Nfd7 10. f4 Nc6 11. Ne2 Nb6 12. Ng3 d5 13. f5 exf5 14. exf5 g6 15. f6 Bd6 16. Re1+ Kd7 17. Nf4 Ne5 18. c3 Re8 19. d4 Nec4 20. b3 Na5 21. Nd3 c4 22. Ne5+ Bxe5 23. dxe5 Qc7 24. Bf4 Kd8 25. Ne4 Nc8 26. b4 Qd7 27. Nc5 Qc6 28. Nxb7+ Qxb7 29. bxa5 1-0

Stockfish still considers 2 Nf3 best. In reply to the game move, 2 Nc3, SF considers the move played in the game, 2…a6, best. The move 2…Nc6 has long been favored by we humans, with showing almost 50,000 games with the move. 2…d6 and 2…e6 are almost tied with each showing over 12,000 games. The best move, according to the ‘Fish, 2…a6, has only been seen in about 3,000 games. 3 g3 has been the far and away favored by humans in 1344 games. Then come 3 Nf3 with 485 games, followed by 3 f4 with 469 games. 3 a4 shows 417 games, while the SF best, 3 Nge2 has only been seen in 2015 games. 3…b5 has been the most often played move, and SF considers it best. Ditto for 4 Bg2, and 4…Bb7. Arthur played 5 d3, as have most other players, but SF will play 5 Nge2. Mr. Kaplan played 5…d6, but 5…e6 has been seen in ten times more games, possibly because SF considers it best. Mr. Guo played 6 Nh3, and SF considers it best, but 6 f4 has been the most often played move. SF will play 6…g6. After 7 0-0, the move 7…Nd7 has been played in 9 games; 7…Nf6 (8); 7…Nc6 (5); 7…Be7 (3); followed by the only game featuring the move SF considers best:

Alexandr Predke (2632) vs Sergey A Fedorchuk (2633)
Event: Tal Memorial Rapid 2019
Site: Riga LAT Date: 07/17/2019
Round: 10.6 Score: 0-1
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.Nh3 d6 7.O-O b4 8.Ne2 Nf6 9.f4 Nbd7 10.Nf2 h5 11.h3 Qc7 12.a3 a5 13.c3 bxc3 14.bxc3 Be7 15.a4 Rb8 16.c4 Rd8 17.Nc3 Nb8 18.Nb5 Qc8 19.Bb2 Nc6 20.e5 dxe5 21.fxe5 Nd7 22.Qe2 h4 23.g4 O-O 24.Rae1 Qb8 25.Bc3 Nd4 26.Bxd4 cxd4 27.Nxd4 Nc5 28.Nc6 Bxc6 29.Bxc6 Nxd3 30.Nxd3 Qb6+ 31.c5 Qxc6 32.Rc1 Rd4 33.Qf3 Qxf3 34.Rxf3 Rfd8 35.c6 Rc8 36.Nb2 Rd5 37.Rb3 Rc5 38.Rxc5 Bxc5+ 39.Kg2 Bd4 40.Nc4 Rxc6 41.Nxa5 Ra6 42.Rb5 Bc3 43.Nc4 Rxa4 44.Nd6 Rf4 45.g5 Kh7 46.Nc8 Kg6 47.Nb6 Kxg5 48.Nd7 Kg6 49.Nf8+ Kf5 50.Nd7 Bd4 51.Ra5 Rf2+ 52.Kh1 Rf3 53.Kg2 Rg3+ 54.Kh2 Bg1+ 55.Kh1 Be3 56.Nb8 Rxh3+ 57.Kg2 Rg3+ 58.Kh2 Bf4 59.Kh1 h3 60.Nc6 Rd3 61.Ra1 g5 0-1

Gus Huston

vs Arthur Guo
2023 US National High School Championship Rd 5
B40 Sicilian defense

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Na3 a6 7. Nc4 Nbd7 8. Be2 Qc6 9. O-O Qc7 10. a4 b6 11. Nfe5 Nxe5 12. Bf4 Nd5 13. Bxe5 Qc6 14. Bf3 f6 15. Bg3 cxd4 16. Bxd5 exd5 17. Re1+ Kd8 18. Qxd4 Bc5 19. Qd2 Ra7 20. b4 Rd7 21. Ne5 fxe5 22. bxc5 bxc5 23. Rxe5 Bb7 24. Rae1 Kc8 25. Qf4 Rd6 26. Re6 d4 27. f3 Rxe6 28. Rxe6 1-0

The third move of the game by Mr. Houston has been seen in 9504 games. 3 d4 has been played in almost 100,000 games. 3 c3 is second with 9504 games. 3 Nc3 has been played 9,259 times. It is the move favored by Stockfish. After 4… Qxd5 the move played in the game, 5 d4 has been played in 1844 games. The move favored by Stockfish, 5 Be2 has been seen in action only 43 times. 5…Nf6 followed. Stockfish would play 5…cxd4, which would be a Theoretical Novelty. After 7…Nbd7 Gus played 8 Be2. Stockfish would play 8 a4, for what should be obvious reasons. That brings us to this position:

Position after 8 Be2

I expected Arthur to play 8…b5, which is the choice of SF. The move played, 8…Qc6, was shocking. Stockfish says, “Inaccuracy. b5 was best.” Stockfish gives the move played in the game a dubious (?!) distinction. After 8 Be2 the ‘Fish shows white with an advantage of +0.3. After moving the Queen for the second time in the opening, SF shows the white advantage improving to +0.9. Granted, that is not much of an increase, but it caused me to think of something one Legendary Atlanta area Chess Coach is more than a little fond of saying when a student retreats a piece that has no business retreating: “There you go running back scared again!” Sometimes he will exchange “scared” to “crazy” depended on the student. One of the “rules” of Chess is to not move an already developed piece the second time before completing development. The computer Chess programs have shown that particular reasoning needs to be rethought, but when teaching neophytes, it is best for them to learn the rules before teaching them when to break the rules. Arthur’s game went downhill from here. Stockfish shows him with a lost game, down by -1.8, after only eleven moves. After his 12th move, Arthur was down by -2.5. It was all over but the shoutin’… This is one of the worst games Arthur has played in some time. Let us hope it is an aberration.