Decades ago a Gentleman by the name of Jim made a cassette tape for me which contained songs he thought I might like, and did it ever! I played that tape as much as if not more than any other tape I ever owned. After it broke I was in a state of shock for more than a little while…A lady friend thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill. “It was just a tape,” she said. “Woman,” I began, “you saying that tape was ‘just a tape’ is akin to my saying ‘Your daughter is just a girl'”! I will never forget the look on her face…
That tape had become a part of me. I may have had the last music box that contained a cassette player. In addition, the box had a CD player, but it is, like the tape, gone with the wind…Every song on the tape was excellent, like the following song heard for the first time:
But there was one song that completely blew me away, a song with which I was unfamiliar. It is quite a departure from the version with which I was familiar:
The song immediately went to the top of the list of all-time Bob Dylan covers, and was the main reason the tape came undone.
This is mentioned because a live version was discovered and it reminded me of the aforementioned cassette tape put together by Gentleman Jim.
But wait, there’s MORE!
That’s not all, folks! While putting this post together I found another version by another artist with whom I was unfamiliar and the video you are about to see and hear has been seen and heard by almost THREE AND A HALF MILLION VIEWERS!
Dedicated to Gentleman Jim Kraft
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Written by: Bob Dylan
When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez And it’s Eastertime too And your gravity fails And negativity don’t pull you through Don’t put on any airs When you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue They got some hungry women there And they really make a mess outta you
Now if you see Saint Annie Please tell her thanks a lot I cannot move My fingers are all in a knot I don’t have the strength To get up and take another shot And my best friend, my doctor Won’t even say what it is I’ve got
Sweet Melinda The peasants call her the goddess of gloom She speaks good English And she invites you up into her room And you’re so kind And careful not to go to her too soon And she takes your voice And leaves you howling at the moon
Up on Housing Project Hill It’s either fortune or fame You must pick up one or the other Though neither of them are to be what they claim If you’re lookin’ to get silly You better go back to from where you came Because the cops don’t need you And man they expect the same
Now all the authorities They just stand around and boast How they blackmailed the sergeant-at-arms Into leaving his post And picking up Angel who Just arrived here from the coast Who looked so fine at first But left looking just like a ghost
I started out on burgundy But soon hit the harder stuff Everybody said they’d stand behind me When the game got rough But the joke was on me There was nobody even there to call my bluff I’m going back to New York City I do believe I’ve had enough
(Now there’s a move not seen every day, or week, or month; come to think of it, every year! Makes me wonder why I didn’t think of playing it ‘back in the day’…Not to give anything away but if I make it through the pandemic there may be a new not so now secret weapon for my next Senior tournament! Maybe it should be used with discretion, though, and held back if my opponent contains a pace-maker…This move sent me to the ChessBaseDataBase (https://database.chessbase.com/) whereupon I learned the move was played by Russian GM Maksim Chigaev, rated 2958 (Look out Magnus!) vs Polish GM Gajewski Frzegorz (2691) at the 7th Titled Tuesday intern open, with the game ending in a draw. The folks at Chessbase should look into that astronomical rating, at least for a human. If a computer program cannot break 3000 it is worthless…Russian GM Alexander Morozevich (2659), no surprise, played the move against Ukraine GM Anton Korobov (2688). Moro was checkmated on move 53. The game was also played at the Titled Tuesday intern open, but the number is absent. Frzegorz played 2…Nc6; Korobov played 2…Nf6) 2…g6 (StockFish 13 @depth 49 plays this move, but SF 14 @depth 46 prefers 2…d6. Against the latter White has scored 53% over 539 games; against the move played in the game White has only scored an astoundingly low 37%! I kid you not. This is from 239 games. 2…Nc6 has been the most often played move with 962 games in the CBDB, and White has scored 52%) 3. Bb2 Nf6 4. Nc3 (To illustrate how rare is this opening, 4 Nc3 is not shown at the Big Database at 365Chess.com and that contains games played by players of all levels, from GM to patzer) 4…d6 (SF 14 plays 4…Bg7) 5. Qe2 (This is a Theoretical Novelty. Two different SF programs play 5 Bb5+, and so should you. There are times when playing Qe2 in the opening is not a good idea and this is an example)
Listen Up, 365Chess.com! (https://www.365chess.com/) This is the game in which 2 b3 versus the Sicilian Defense first appeared, hence, the “B20 Sicilian Defense: Cochrane variation.”
There will be a playoff for the title of 2021 US Chess Champion between three players, two of them world class. Fabiano Caruana
is currently ranked third in the world after losing two games, back to back, in the recently completed 2012 US Chess Championship. Wesley So
is ranked eighth in the world. Then there is Sam Sevian…There is a saying in Poker that is applicable here: “If you don’t see a sucker at the table, you’re it.” Sam was ranked 91st on the top list compiled by FIDE before the tournament, and he did gain points for his good performance. Being one of the top 100 Chess players in the world is a tremendous achievement for any player, but Caruana drew a match with the World Chess Champion in which he was not defeated in the only games that count, those played with a classical time limit. The quick play playoff to determine the “champion” is a joke and terrible insult to the players who just spent almost two weeks vying for the title because Chess is inherently unfair since there is an odd number of rounds and some players sit behind the White army in more games than other players, which gives them a HUGE advantage. Caruana and Sevian each had the White pieces in six games while Wesley So had the White pieces in only FIVE games. Therefore, Wesley So should be crowned as the 2021 US Chess Champion. Congratulations to the Champ, Wesley So!
The tournament was Sam Sevian’s for the taking. In the penultimate round he was a pawn up and could have played 27 Kc2 in lieu of repeating the position but for whatever reason Sam decided to play poltroon Chess. You can bet your sweet bippy Bobby Fischer
would have played 27 Kc2. Then in the last round this “game”, and I use the word loosely, was “played.”
If ever there were a time to play for a win it was this game because victory could possibly bring the coveted title of United States Chess Champion and probably entry into the US Chess Hall of Fame. His opponent had just lost a game the previous round and his testosterone level had to be low. Naroditsky had already lost FOUR GAMES! Do you think Bobby Fischer would have played the above game in the LAST ROUND of a US Chess Championship? In the post game interviews Naroditsky was obviously happy with the short draw, saying something about how he “…should have drawn the day before.” When it came time for Sam to explain his decision to acquiesce to the repetition he explained by saying, “Before the tournament my plan was to play solidly with Black…” Translated that says he was “…playing to draw with black and win with white.” The young man should not even be called a “Co-Champion.” No matter what happens for the remainder of his Chess career Sam Sevian will continue to wonder what might have been if only he had
The question will haunt him until he takes his last breath.
The sixth round game between Ashritha Eswaran
and Megan Lee
reached this position after the moves: 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O e5 5. d3 Ne7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 c6 8. Re1 Qd6 9. c3 f5
Eswaran played 10 d4 and Maurice obviously very much liked the move, calling it “…an outstanding move!” I was following the action at FollowChess (https://live.followchess.com/) because only the moves are displayed and I had my doubts. Still, Maurice has some kind of computer Chess program, so I thought it must be OK…Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know, so I surfed on over to ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/) where a Red move was showing…Chess24 says White goes from being “much better” to “equal.” Maybe the “engine”, as they are so fond of calling the computer program, had a glitch, or was turned off…
I took note of the following because it was so hilarious, coming as it did from a player not known for playing 1 e4 during his illustrious career: Yaz: “Nobody likes to play against the Najdorf because the variations are so lengthy…” Round 8 2:45 into the game. You know that put a smile on the face of Mr. Najdorf, French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave!
The thing is that I stopped playing the Najdorf over four decades ago after hearing a Grandmaster talk about those players “Who study the Najdorf but not Chess.” Still, I learned much about the Royal game by playing the Najdorf. One never forgets his first love…
During the final game of the event, between Bruzon Batista
and Alex Lenderman
which lasted for 127 moves, Maurice said, “If only we could be paid by the move.” Cracked me up…I will admit to have been “pulling” for Lenderman, and evidently not the only one. If only he had found 38 Qa1, challenging the Black Queen, in lieu of 38 Rc8 against Caruana in round 10…
phamlore: What could Lenderman do? He needed a win today, and he never had a position where a win for Black was that doable? ArcticStones: Lenderman has had an impressive tournament, imho. jphamlore: Lenderman tried at least. It’s just his opponent played a decent game himself. Terugloper: @Arctic –> Could be, but Imho your commentaries during this tournament are way more impressive ArcticStones: You jest. Commenters such as jphamlore know far more about chess than I do! Terugloper: Lol!!! ArcticStones: I’m serious. KJBellevue: The evaluation here is totally wrong Terugloper: Why? KJBellevue: Tablebase clearly indicates a draw Terugloper: I see Terugloper: So 74. … Kh2 was an acceptable move? KJBellevue: Yes, still drawn Terugloper: Okay Terugloper: Long Live Lenderman, folks! Terugloper: I would play 78. Kc6 to have square d6 available for possible Q-trades KJBellevue: But Black can still check on the white squares Terugloper: Yes Terugloper: Lenderman know his stuff Terugloper: *knows Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony on white squares jphamlore: Lenderman the king of instructional endgames this event. Terugloper: Yeah – Endgame King Lenderman Terugloper: But still I give all of you the following strict advice –> Don’t try this at home Terugloper: Lenderman feeling so comfortable now that he attacks on the black squares now KJBellevue: He knows this ending well jphamlore: Unfortunately, even if White touched the wrong piece, I’m not sure Lenderman has any way to win this. Terugloper: Lenderman – The living table base on two legs I_LUV_U: a table base is three or four legs Terugloper: Why not five legs? Terugloper: You met one in the subway? mrlondon: What the record for most number of checks in a game? Terugloper: Good question – I will ask Tim Krabbé Terugloper: https://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/chess/check.html Terugloper: In the 200-move game Wegner – Johnsen, Gausdal 1991 a total of 141 checks were given, of which 98 by White alone. Terugloper: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/wegner—johnsen-gausdal-1991 mrlondon: Interesting. Thanks! mrlondon: It’s not going to happen here. Terugloper: Yep Terugloper: Just 10 moves to go now for 50-rule move draw claim Terugloper: 5 moves Terugloper: Minus 2 moves KJBellevue: 🙂 Terugloper: Bellevue! My main man!!! Rhinegold: eval also indicates draw, noob, lol https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-chess-championship/11-Bruzon_Batista_Lazaro-Lenderman_Aleksandr
The coverage was excellent even though Jennifer Shahade
was missing. She does bring a terrific smile and is the perfect foil to the understated Yasser Seirawan as she has occasionally given him perfect opportunities for a SNL moment that Yaz used so effectively with the previous female to accompany him:
One of my favorite features was the “Parkside Chats” between Yaz and Maurice. Although they are all good, the one that follows is my favorite because I worked at a Chess Club:
The next one is great in a historical sense as the guys discuss what it was like ‘back in the day’ when Bobby Fischer put the Royal game on the front page of every newspaper and every broadcast of the nightly new on television. After watching these videos I realized how much laughter has been missing in the pandemic era. Sometimes one really does need to laugh to keep from crying…
I urge you to take a few more minutes to watch this video which is an interview with one of the top players of the game of Scrabble in the world, who lives near the St Louis Chess Campus. You can thank me for bringing it to your attention by leaving a comment:
It’s the birthday of singer-songwriter Chuck Berry, born Charles Edward Anderson in St. Louis, Missouri (1926). He broke into the charts in 1955 with “Maybellene”
then followed it with “Roll Over, Beethoven”
and “Johnny B. Goode.”
“The gateway to freedom … was somewhere close to New Orleans where most Africans were sorted through and sold. I had driven through New Orleans on tour and I’d been told my great-grandfather had lived way back up in the woods among the evergreens in a log cabin. I revived the era with a song about a colored boy named Johnny B. Goode. My first thought was to make his life follow as my own had come along, but I thought it would seem biased to white fans to say ‘colored boy’ and changed it to ‘country boy.’”
It was on this day in 1954 that the first transistor radio appeared on the market.
Transistors were a big breakthrough in electronics — a new way to amplify signals. They replaced vacuum tubes which were fragile, slow to warm up, and unreliable. During World War II there was a big funding push to try to update vacuum tubes since they were used in radio-controlled bombs but didn’t work very well. A team of scientists at Bell Laboratories invented the first transistor technology in 1947. But the announcement didn’t make much of an impact because transistors had limited use for everyday consumers — they were used mainly in military technology, telephone switching equipment, and hearing aids.
Several companies bought licenses from Bell, including Texas Instruments, who was determined to be the first to market with a transistor radio. Radios were mostly big, bulky devices that stayed in one place — usually in the living room — while the whole family gathered around to listen to programming. There were some portable radios made with vacuum tubes, but they were about the size of lunch boxes, they used heavy non-rechargeable batteries, they took a long time to start working while the tubes warmed up, and they were fragile. Texas Instruments was determined to create a radio that was small and portable and to get it out for the Christmas shopping season. They produced the transistors and they partnered with the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates who manufactured the actual radios. Their new radio, the Regency TR-1, turned on immediately, weighed half a pound, and could fit in your pocket. It cost $49.95 and more than 100,000 were sold.
Texas Instruments went on to pursue other projects but a Japanese company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo decided to make transistor radios their main enterprise. They were concerned that their name was too difficult for an American audience to pronounce so they decided to rebrand themselves with something simpler. They looked up the Latin word for sound, which was sonus. And they liked the term sonny boys — English slang that was used in Japan for exceptionally bright, promising boys. And so the company Sony was born. Soon transistor radios were cheap and prevalent.
With transistor radios, teenagers were able to listen to music out of their parents’ earshot. This made possible the explosion of a new genre of American music: rock and roll.
There was a print out taped to the wall just to the right of the stairs at the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center that looked like this:
Every player who walked up the stairs could see it before every Chess game played at the House of Pain. The story goes that the owner, Thad Rogers, liked it and put it there for all to see. I always considered it the most apropos thing ever seen at the House of no fun whatsoever, which was heard on more than one occasion.
After the Legendary Georgia Ironman told the IM of GM strength Boris Kogan that he intended on becoming a National Master Boris asked, “Why Tim? It requires much sacrifice.” That it does, because when your friends are out at a bar hoisting them high and spending time with the ladies you are at home studying Rook and Pawn endings. Then again there are those players who will have hoisted a few, but that was at the Stein Club while attempting to win that Rook and Pawn ending on the board in front of you in which you have an extra pawn. You do this because Chess is HARD, and It Don’t Come Easy!
Playing Chess well requires many things and one of them is a tenacious fighting spirit. To advance in Chess one MUST be able to concentrate no matter what the situation on the board. A player MUST look for ANYTHING that will help his position. Complacency (A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble) has no business being anywhere near a Chess board.
In the seventh round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship this position was reached in the game between Megan Lee and Nazi Paikidze:
There is nothing for me to describe to you here because even 700 rated USCF politico Allen Priest knows Black is busted, Buster. Then again, maybe not, but every player with a four number rating would know Black is doomed, DOOMED! Nazi has a snowball chance in Hell of salvaging a draw and winning is out of the question unless her opponent falls over dead. Some, if not most, would wonder why Nazi had not resigned. You may be wondering about the time factor. Time was not a factor. The fact is that Nazi has mating material and has a Queen and Rook on the Queen side which is where the White King is located, which totals plenty of cheapo potential, especially when all three of White’s pieces are located on the King side. Look at the position. What move would you make?
The Black King now has four legal moves. If it moves to g7 or h8 White will take the Bishop with check and that’s all she wrote. If the Black King moves to g8 the White Queen will take the pawn on g5 with check and it’s game over. That leaves h6, which is where Nazi moved the King, bringing us to this position:
I would like you to take a good look at this position and cogitate awhile before scrolling down. To insure you cannot glance down to see what follows we will pause with this musical interlude in order to block you from seeing anything that may, or may not influence your cogitating:
Black to move. Think about it awhile…What move would you make?
The situation on the Chess board has changed as much as the music videos. A situation has been reached, by force by White I must add, in which the Black King has no legal moves. If, and that is a big IF, the Black Queen and Rook left the board, the position would be one of STALEMATE. A stalemate position is reached when one King has no legal moves. Then the game is immediately declared DRAWN. This is a RIDICULOUS rule. It is also ABSURD to the point of LUNACY. There are too many draws in Chess. If a position is reached in which the only move of the King will put it in CHECK then that King should abdicate his throne. For this reason Nazi Paikidze should have played the move 56…Rxb2+ reaching this position:
Fortunately for Megan Lee her opponent played 54…Qa4+ and lost. Certainly both players should have recognized the situation on the board had changed DRASTICALLY after the 55th move by Black which had put the King in a possible stalemate situation. They both had plenty of time to cogitate. At that point in the game Megan Lee had only one thing to consider: stalemate. Nazi Paikidze only had one thing for which to hope: stalemate. Megan gave Nazi a chance but she did not take advantage of the chance given.
cycledan: Paikidze could have pulled even with Irina, half game back in 2nd. Now she will be 1.5 back if Megan can convert. Tough loss Murasakibara: is 56. Rxe5 correct? because black has a draw Murasakibara: rook sac Murasakibara: and queen check forever Murasakibara: to miss that from nazi oh no cycledan: white Q can prevent the perpetual I think Murasakibara: no because after kxR there is Qa2 and Qd2 and go back and forth check Murasakibara: until king force to capture Paintedblack: yeah it would have been a legendary swindle but missed Murasakibara: im so mad at nazi Murasakibara: xd Murasakibara: was rooting for her Murasakibara: she didnt realize her king have no move because she thought her position was doom so a chance to draw didnt come in her mind Murasakibara: that got to hurt
This week in 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne was published.
Milne was a writer for Punch and many of his first “children’s” poems and stories were printed there, not intended for children at all but for whimsical adult readers. The first Pooh story, “In Which We are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees and the Stories Begin,” was published in The London Evening News on Christmas Eve in 1925 and broadcast on the BBC the next day.
Even though Milne based the Winnie-the-Pooh stories on his son, Christopher Robin, and his son’s stuffed bear, he didn’t even read the stories aloud to Christopher Robin. Milne preferred to read his young son the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. Christopher Robin later said: “My father did not write the books for children. He didn’t write for any specific market; he knew nothing about marketing. He knew about me, he knew about himself, he knew about the Garrick Club — he was ignorant about anything else. Except, perhaps, about life.”
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh. “When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, ‘But I thought he was a boy?’ “‘So did I,’ said Christopher Robin. “‘Then you can’t call him Winnie?’ “‘I don’t.’ “‘But you said —’ “‘He’s Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don’t you know what “ther” means?’ “‘Ah, yes, now I do,’ I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.” https://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-october-14-2021/
The first time the former US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze
appeared on the Armchair Warrioradar was when she played an opening near and dear to my heart. After opening with 1 e4 at the St Louis Autumn GM 2016 her opponent, Jayram Ashwin,
answered with 1…e6, the French defense. When Nazi moved her Queen to e2, the move made famous by the father of Russian Chess, Mikhail Chigorin,
my Chess heart had been stolen. I have been a Nazi fan ever since that day. Although Nazi lost that game her opponent was India’s 39th GM. Unfortunately she has not played the opening again, but I can always hope…Nazi has faced the Leningrad Dutch as white about a half dozen times over the past decade, which makes me wonder if those games influenced her to play the Leningrad Dutch? Inquiring minds want to know so how about a Chess journalist asking Nazi the question of how she came to play the LD? I will admit it was more than her choice of openings that brought Nazi to my attention as I found her coy insouciance attractive.
David Spinks was fond of saying, “You gotta pull for somebody!” For the reasons given above there is much to admire, therefore I ‘pull’ for Nazi.
1.d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 (There is a major internecine fight with Stockfish 180521 between 3…e6 and 3…g6. The Fish is completely divided, as if it had been filleted; split 50-50. My advice is, “When in doubt, play the LENINGRAD!”) 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 (5 Nf3 has been the most often played move with 2104 games in the CBDB, and it shows a 56% success rate. 5 Nc3 has been played in 1630 games, scoring 56%. SF 14 @depth 41 shows 5 Nc3. However, SF 091021 @depth 42 plays 5 Nh3. There are only 237 examples of the move played in this game contained in the CBDB and it has only scored 50% against lower rated opposition than the two aforementioned moves. Just sayin…) 5…O-O (SF 080920 @depth 44 plays 5…c6. There are only 10 games with that move in the CBDB. The most often played move has been 5…0-0, with white scoring 54% of the time. The second most played move has been 5..d6 and it has held white to a 48% score. In the main line any time white has played d4 followed by c4 it is generally a good idea to play an early d6 if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch. With the early Nh3 the StockFish computations obviously change. I only faced Nh3 once, in a game with Joe Scott, who I believe was an expert on his way to National Master, but he could have been a NM. I recall Joe telling me he became a NM because of the book The Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations.
Joe moved the Knight to f4 and clamped down on my e6 square and played a fine game, choking the life out of me until I expired. The loss inspired me to devote much time to annotating the game back in BC time. That’s “Before Computer” time. I read anything and everything found on the move 5 Nh3 in order to be prepared the next time I faced the move. Next time never came…but you can bet your sweet bibby that if next time comes around in a Senior event I will be prepared!) 6. O-O (SF 12 @depth 40 plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 7. d5 (In an article by André Schulz at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/us-championships-2021-r5) this is found after 7 d5, “7. Nc3 is vanishing.” This is strange because two different Stockfish programs show 7. Nc3 as the best move. The CBDB contains 60 with 7. Nc3 and 62 with 7. d5. White has, though, scored 54% with the latter while 7. Nc3 has only scored 48% and this against roughly the same opposition) 7…Na6 (Although Komodo at only depth 18 plays the game move, two different SF programs at double the depth show 7…c6. There are 23 games with 7…Na6 and white has scored 50%; in the 22 games when 7…c6 has been the choice white has scored 59%, with this being against roughly the same level opposition. Given the opportunity to play either move I would play 7…c6, which is reason enough for you to play the move chosen by our girl!) 8. Nc3 Nc5 (The move played in the game has been the overwhelming choice, but SF 13 likes 8…Qe8; SF 14 prefers 8…Bd7. I would play the latter move to complete development) 9. Be3 (SF 13 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 210920 @depth 41 plays 9 Qc2, yet 9 Nf4 has been the most often played move with 43 games in the CBDB in which it has scored 63% against 2398 opposition. In 26 games the move played in the game, 9 Be3 has scored 56% against 2452 opposition in 26 games. In 27 games against opposition rated 2482 the move 9 Qc2 has scored an astounding 70%! There is a reason the move 9 Qc2 is the choice of the Fish…) 9…e5 10. dxe6 (Here’s the deal…the CBDB shows 14 games in which this move has been played and one with 10 Bxc5 having been played, yet three different Stockfish programs show 10 b4 as the best move!) 10 Nxe6 (SF 14 plays 10 Bxe6) 11. Ng5 (The aforementioned annotations at Chessbase show, “White has an edge.” There are no games found at either the CBDB or 365Chess containing the move 11 Ng5 so it appears to be a Theoretical Novelty!)
You can find the game annotated all over the internet but since I followed the the game with something akin to religious fervor and made notes along the way I would like to share them with you.
11…c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3? This has gotta be bad. I’d be feeling pretty good sitting behind the black pieces after seeing a move like that! Maybe Thalia did not want to leave the Knight undefended with the black squared firing at the Rook on a1 after Ne4 but it does not work…Big advantage for Nazi!)
13…Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8? (OMG what has my girl done? Why would she not take the pawn???) 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7? (She should play the most forcing move on the board, a5, something I watch the top players not doing as a matter of course. Makes me think of that line from the CSNY song Deja Vu…”It makes me wonder/really makes me wonder’/What’s going on…”)
Qa3 Rf8? (I dunno, Qf6 looks good about now…) 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 (I thought h6 was OK but now I’m not so sure…taking leaves me with a couple of ugly duckling pawns but bring the Knight back for defense only seems to clog up the works. Nazi has stepped into some excrement) 21…gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7? (Why not 22…Qf6?) 23. e4 (What a mess Nazi has stepped into…looks like one of my uncoordinated LD positions. I wanna play Rfe8 but that Rook oughta stay where it is…so maybe dropping the other Rook back to the back rank…or moving, let’s call it ‘repositioning’ the Queen is what the doctor ordered…or was that life support? Things aren’t looking so good for my favorite female player about now…not even a Houdini, or a Houdini program will help her now, I’m sad to write…) 23…Ng6 (Did not consider that move. Looks like Nazi gets opened up like a can of sardines after exf5…) 24. Be3 (What is this? Now I’m pushing the f-pawn while singing, “Save my life I’m going down for the last time…”) 24…Qd8?
(Oh no Mr. Bill, what the fork is this? From where did that idea come?) 25. Bh3 (Well that helps. Qc2 piling on the pressure looked real strong) 24…Rdf7 26. Qc2 (I dunno, taking with Bxf5 looks good. Nazi continues dodging bullets) 26…Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5?
(White coulda come outta all the exchanges better than she did but this has gotta be wrong as it will drive the Queen over and every Black piece will be firing at the White King! What a turnaround!!! 30…Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5? (I cannot believe this…the woman just let go of the rope!!!) 34…Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1 (Wow! That is what we call “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat…”)
I have been avidly following the games of the Tuesday Night Marathon at the venerable Mechanic’s Institute in beautiful downtown San Francisco for a long time. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/san-francisco-mechanics-institute-tuesday-night-marathon-games-and-newsletter/) Because of the time difference I review the games the next morning with my omnipresent cuppa Joe. One of the things I like is the different openings played in the tournament because they are more akin to the openings the vast majority of Chess players will face over the board. In addition, I believe younger players, or any player new to the game for that matter, will learn more from games with many mistakes than from the games of the very best players because the mistakes made by the elite players are more subtle. I play over the games and take notes to be checked later by machine analysis and human annotations by players such as US Chess Hall of Fame Grandmaster Nick de Firmian, the Grandmaster-in-Residence at the Mechanic’s Institute.
After publishing an earlier post, Tuesday Night Marathon Games, which went viral, I had intended on other posts but there was a problem with the DGT boards and I was afraid of writing about a game that would possibly be annotated by Nicki de (I first heard him called that at a tournament on the left coast. I recall seeing Nick drink a beer before facing Perry Youngworth, if I recall correctly, and it was a Nadjorf and Nick won the game. The young lady who accompanied me took one look at Nick with his light colored surfin’ hair and chisled features and said, “He’s dreamy,”
in a way that would have made most men jealous, but I am not most men. He did, though, look like the kinda of dude that one might see on the beach carrying a surf board…) later when the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter was published on the following Saturday. I would, therefore, wait until after the MIN came out before writing a post so I could use games not covered by Nick. This time was different, as I only had two games to publish, but both had been annotated by Nick. What to do…After reading the excellent and extremely interesting article by FM Paul Whitehead, Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll, I decided to send an email to the Chess Room Director, Abel Talamantez
while copying my friend, former California State Chess Champion Dennis Fritzinger, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/05/04/the-chess-playing-poet/) and Paul, as I have a plan, prompted by his article, to write a post concerning Chess fiction. Long story short, I was given permission to use anything I wanted as long as “…no one will be offended short of straight plagiarism.” : ) Therefore I want every reader to know what follows is an attempt at some kind of amalgamation. What you read in the opening will be what I usually do when checking the moves with the databases and top programs at the ChessBaseDataBase (https://database.chessbase.com/), an absolutely free resource provided by Chessbase.com. All of the comments and annotations are by GM Nick de Firmian and taken right offa the page of the MIN, as were all of the diagrams, which are in exactly the same place as found. I hope you find this interesting and a worthwhile endeavor. If you do, how about leaving a comment on the blog or firing an email blast at the good folks at the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room (https://www.milibrary.org/contact). And if you missed this earlier post, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/09/15/tuesday-night-marathon-games/) please check it out and tell everyone you know by sending out a blast by whatever modern media you use, or even send a letter. On second thought, with that fellow the Trumpster planted at the head of the United States Postal Service taking root and vowing to slow the mail even more that the current snail’s pace, maybe you better wait until the “Bandit” Nojoy DeJoy is blasted outta office and stick with email and even social media…(https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/calls-for-removal-of-bandit-usps-postmaster-general-louis-dejoy-gain-steam/ar-AANjVpN)
Guy Argo (1938) vs IM Elliott Winslow (2269) [B22] MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (5.3), 05.10.2021
B22 Sicilian, Alapin’s variation (2.c3)
e4 c5 2. c3Nf6 3. Qc2 Nc6 (SF 12 @depth49 plays 3…Nc6; SF 13 @depth49 plays 3…e5; SF 14 @depth42 prefers 3…Qc7. There are 4 games at the CBDB with 3…Nc6, one game with 3…b6, and no games with the two other moves) 4. Nf3 e5 (SF and Komodo play 4…a6, a move not shown as having been tried at the CBDB) 5. Bb5 (Houdini plays 5 Bb5. Fritz 15 plays 5 Bc4. No word from SF or Komodo) 5…Qb6 (SF 13 @depth44 plays 5…Bd6. SF 14 @depth24 plays 5…Qc7. The only move shown at the CBDB is 5…d6) From this point forward the comments are taken from the October 9, 2021 Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room Newsletter #989, (https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/989) with annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.
12…d5 [Black has a little edge due to the bishop pair. He must keep the game from getting blocked though when knights are happier. Easier may be 12…0-0-0 13.Bg5 d5 14.Ne5 d4 which favors Black.] 13. Ne5 d6 14. Re1 0-0 15. Bg5 Rfe8 Now White gets equality [15…a6 16.Nc2 (16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Nf3 f5 would be a better version of the game.) ] 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Nf3 a6 18. Nc2= Rad8?!
d4! c4?! [19…b6 20.a4 a5 21.g3 f5= keeps the queenside more fluid.] 20. Nh4 [20.Ne3 f5 21.g3 f4 22.Ng2] 20…f5 21. g3?! Gives Black a hook to play on.
[21.Ne3 f4 22.Nef5 Bc7 (22…Bf8?! 23.g3 fxg3 24.hxg3+/- according to Stockfish 14. Compare to Black’s 21st) 23.g3=] 21…Kg7? [21…f4!=/+ exchanges a weak pawn, provides scope for the light-squared bishop, loosens White’s kingside pawns. But most importantly, the knight at c2 is restricted, unless White plays gxf4 when his own pawns are a problem. 22.Ng2 Kh8! 23.gxf4 Rg8] 22. f4 Maybe not even best! But White slams the door to any activity by Black, when now only he can play on. So it has a psychological value. [22.Ne3 Kf6 23.Nhg2!?] 22…Kf6 23. Ne3 Kg8 24. Kf2 b5 25. b4? [25.a3+/= Now Black can prepare the break . ..b4, but it will always be too risky to play.] 25…a5 26. a3 Ra8 27. Nc2
27…Kg7 With opening the a-file just leading to the rooks coming off, Black has absolutely no counterplay now. White offered a draw. 1/2-1/2
Samuel Brownlow (1795) vs Ilia Gimelfarb (1752) [C44] MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (5.8), 05.10.2021
C44 King’s pawn game
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d3 Bc5 (3…Nf6 SF)4.g3 Nf6 (4 Nxe5 SF)5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Be6 7.Be3 Bxe3 8.fxe3 Qd7 9.Nbd2 h6 10.c3 0-0 11.b4 a6 12.d4 Bg4 13.a4 b5 14.Qb3 Rfe8 15.axb5 axb5 16.d5 Ne7 17.c4 This game was the slowest developing game of the round (time wise). The players get to a real battle eventually. 17…bxc4 18.Qxc4 c6 19.dxc6 Qxc6 20.Qxc6 Nxc6 21.b5 Nb4 22.Nc4 Rad8 23.Ra3 Nxe4
24.Nfxe5 dxe5 25.Bxe4 Be2 26.Rb1 material and chances are still even 26…Nd5 27.Rc1 g6 28.Kf2 Bg4 29.Bf3 Bc8 30.Bxd5 Rxd5 31.Nb6 Rdd8 32.Nxc8 Rxc8 33.Rxc8 Rxc8 We have an equal material rook ending. 34.Ke2 e4 35.Kd2 Kf8 36.Ra4 f5 37.Ra6 Kf7 White is better due to the passed pawn. Now 38. b6 would keep the edge. 38.Rc6?
The pawn ending is tricky with little time on the clock, but Black is in control as he corrals the white c-pawn. 38…Rxc6 39.bxc6 Ke6 40.Kc3 Kd6 41.Kd4 Kxc6 42.Ke5 Kc5 43.g4
43…Kc4?? [43…fxg4 44.Kxe4 Kd6 45.Kf4 h5 would be a winning position with the extra pawn. Now Black gets the wrong side of a two pawn each ending.] 44.gxf5 gxf5 45.Kxf5 Kd3 46.Kf4 Black gets in zugszwang after 46…h5 47. h4 The rest is easy 46…Kc4 47.Kxe4 Kc5 48.Kf5 Kd6 49.e4 Ke7 50.Ke5 Kf7 51.Kd6 Ke8 52.Ke6 Kf8 53.Kd7 Kf7 54.e5 1-0
The last move played was 34 Kh3-g2. White has the better position. I know this, you know this, and every Chess player who has made it to class ‘B’ knows this, and possibly every player who has made it to class ‘C’ and no longer plays the Queen’s Raid knows this fact. If you are teaching the Royal game to a neophyte it could be explained by beginning with the fact that white has more space. In addition, each and every white piece is better placed than each black counterpart. Then there is the fact that the white Queen and Rook are working together whereas the black Queen and Rook are separated while being tied down to the defense of the weak a-pawn. Even the white King is better placed than its counterpart. Even after suffering a brain cramp the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen
would win this position 99 44/100 percent of the time against the other nine elite players in the top ten. The decision to repeat the position three times, thereby forcing the game to end in a draw was one of the most pusillanimous ever made considering it came in the third round of the 2021 US Women’s Chess Championship, played Friday, October 8, 2021.
is higher rated by almost 200 points, and is one of the favorites to win the tournament. Knowing little about Megan Lee I went to the website of the US Championships to find this:
“Megan Lee is a chess Woman International Master. She completed her BFA in Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design with a minor in Art History. Most recently, she won the 2020 Washington State Championships and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. Other highlights include winning the 2013 North American Youth U18 Girls Championship and the 2009 Kasparov All-Girls Nationals Championship. Outside of chess, Megan runs two small businesses, an embroidery shop and a lifestyle brand, Snippet Studios. She also enjoys playing board games, skating, clam digging, and making things.” (https://uschesschamps.com/bio/megan-lee)
I can only speculate as to why Megan Lee let her clam get away… What I can say is that this game vividly illustrates why the three time repetition rule MUST BE ABOLISHED! It is terribly sad that any Chess player must be forced to attempt winning a game when having a huge advantage, but something, anything, must be done to at least mitigate the slow death by draw that is plaguing the Royal Game. There is no three time repetition rule in the game of Wei Chi, or Go, as it is called in the West, which is the main, or at least one of the major reasons Go is a better game than is Chess. Go is played to WIN. A draw in Go is anathema, as it should be in Chess. Any Chess player repeating the position for the third time should LOSE THE GAME! Period. What makes this even worse is that during the game Anna Sharevich
versus Irina Krush
played the previous day in the second round, after Irina lost her mind in a completely won position and blundered horribly when playing 66…Bf7, the two players battled until each had only a Rook and pawn left on the board. Then they shook hands, agreeing to a draw, but because of the rules in force during the tournament the women were forced to sit there and play many moves until finally finding a position in which a three fold repetition could be played, thus ending the game which should have ended long earlier. This is ridiculous to the point of absurdity. To be taken seriously in the world of games and ideas Chess needs to get its act together.
Well, you know, Ilan is the publisher so he oughta feel that way about a book, but this was the first time he had written that lavishly about any book, so it was only natural I took it to be hyperbole. This was received at the end of January and I did not purchase a new laptop until April. Then there was the tooth problem…Although I had no deadline, all of the earlier books reviewed for Ilan had at least been timely. I may not have dropped the ball with this review, but I must admit it was fumbled…Then there was the trouble deciding on how to write the review, which was not the case with the Romanovsky book (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/27/selected-games-of-peter-romanovsky-by-sergei-tkrachenko-a-review/), a book I obviously loved. With a little help from my friends
the review finally came together.
Nevertheless, I was disappointed with myself, feeling I had let Ilan down, as the book awards had all been handed out, or at least that is what I thought. Fortunately, I was WRONG!
From the excellent books on the shortlist, two stood out – Nigel Short’s WINNING and Voronkov’s Masterpieces and Dramas. The latter is winner of the Book of the Year 2021. However, Short’s book is so good that it merits a mention in the award.
Masterpieces and Dramas Sergey Voronkov Elk and Ruby pp 534 hardback £35.95 The full title, Soviet Championships Volume 1 (1920 – 1937), is the story of the first ten Soviet Championships. Potential readers might be discouraged by the apparently obscure subject, but they should not be! The book reads like a novel describing how the championships were organised and played in the appalling conditions of postrevolutionary Russia is an extraordinary story of keeping chess alive against very considerable odds. Voronkov states that ‘he is interested in the people’ and his approach is ‘closer to a documentary movie than a dry chronicler of events’. Thus the focus is on individual stories and twists of fate of the many characterful players such as Alekhine’s and Bogolubov’s exclusion from Russia, which vividly contrasts with Botvinnik’s early years. Many contemporary cartoons, photographs, press reports and gossip make you feel that you are there when reading the book. The chess is very good too. Gary Kasparov in his foreword praises ‘the great game selection … showing chess in the context of time’. Voronkov also has a great eye for the dramatic moments in the tournaments, positions of chess interest and historically valuable games. A most remarkable, absorbing and entertaining chess history which fully lives up to its title, Masterpieces and Dramas, on and off the board. A worthy winner of Book of the Year 2021 over strong competition. (https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-book-of-the-year-2021/)
I will admit to unfortunately having had trouble getting it together for this book. Part of the reason was a bad tooth, and the delay caused by the pandemic in having the work done, but it was more than that, and I felt like I had let Ilan down with the long delay, something that had not happened with any other book I have had the pleasure and privilege to review. What follows is an excerpt from an email just fired to Ilan Rubin, publisher at Elk and Ruby Publishing:
“I was uncertain about including all of Kasparov’s Forward because that is usually not done…but every time I wrote something I kept returning to his excellent forward and realized that no matter what I said, Garry had said it better…I wanted to have that “Standing in a Bookstore feeling as you are holding the book for the first time and the first thing you’re gonna read is the Forward”, right? A friend said, “Look Mike, the best thing about your writing is that there are NO RULES! You write what you feel.” I took it to heart because he was right, and it felt right to print all of Garry’s wonderful Forward.
I was afraid that if I only concentrated on the first chapter it would be like one of the book reviews I wrote in school when Mrs. Jackson excoriated me in front of the class, saying, “It is more than a little obvious, Mr. Bacon, that you only read the first chapter of the book!” She sent me to the principal’s office after I returned fire with the salvo, “That is NOT TRUE, you old hateful woman, because I read every word of the CLIFF NOTES!!!” Boy was she IRATE!!! There was fire emanating from her eyes as she banished me from the room…
But then I knew I was very late with the review, and I REALLY felt badly about it, but what could I do? There was no other choice but to go ahead with it looking like I only read the first chapter, which is not true, because I read every word and replayed every game and let me tell you it was a labor of LOVE! It is a tremendous book, one of the best I have have the pleasure to read, so it was worth putting IMJD’s book of Bobby
on hold ( Lasker 2
was put on hold for IMJDs book) to read M&D and the Romanovsky book.”