New Old News

I received an email from an old friend upon resurrecting the blog. He wanted to bring the recent article at concerning a topic about which I had written almost three years earlier ( I thanked him, informing that I had seen it first at GM Kevin Spraggett’s blog a few weeks earlier ( He wanted to know if I could tell him where to locate the earlier articles appearing on the AW. I could not do so offhand, but told him I would take the time to find them and with that accomplished I have decided to post them in the event anyone else would like to read them.

The article, written by David Ludden, Ph.D, appeared in the October 28 2017 of Psychology Today. He is a professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College, whom I do not know and, to my knowledge, have never met, so I have absolutely no idea why he decided to write an article about such old news. I have no idea if he plays Chess, or any other game for that matter. I am as curious as anyone else as to why the article appeared.

This is a list, which may be incomplete, of the articles pertaining to the study, or possibly studies, written years ago:

February 24, 2015
The Future of Chess is Terrifying

February 25, 2015
Will Confusion Be Our Epitaph

February 27, 2015
Does Playing Chess Make You Smarter?

February 28, 2015
Can You Handle the Truth?

March 5, 2015
Chess Offers Low-level Gains for Society


David Rupel at the 2017 World Senior

David G. Rupel, from the Great Northwest, is currently participating in the World Senior Chess Championships in Acqui Terme, Italia, according to the ChessBomb. He is one of eight intrepid Americans battling in the 65+ division. The best known American would be GM James Tarjan, who decided to make a Chess comeback after retiring from his job as a librarian.

During one US Open some decades ago one of the players in contention for the class A prize was David Rupel, so I followed his games. He played more strongly than did I and deservedly won the top prize. It was no surprise when he later earned his NM title. After the tournament I walked up to David and introduced myself while congratulating him on an outstanding tournament (he had a few upsetting upsets against higher rated opponents along the way) and winning the top prize. He was obviously taken aback before taking my outstretched hand and thanking me. No introduction was necessary because all the players in contention know with whom they are contending.

While living in Hendersonville, NC, a wonderful little city, last decade I had a chance to renew acquaintances with David when he participated in one of the US Masters held in that city due to the driving force of “Original Life Master” (I’ve no idea what that is, exactly, as I just checked Neal’s USCF page to learn the “original” has been added) and former President of the NCCA, Neal Harris, and Klaus Pohl, also an “Original” Life Master, and TD, now President of the NCCA, Kevin Hyde. Mr. Rupel broke into a wide grin upon seeing me for the first time in decades.

In the first round of the World Senior David was paired with GM Yuri Balashov, who was rated 2437, considerably higher than David’s FIDE rating of only 1985. Although he is a NM David’s current USCF rating is still a respectable 2076. It would seem to be much simpler to have only one rating system in use for the world since players travel from country to country crossing Knights and swords, would it not?

The game began normally enough with 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2. Then David played 3…Qc7!? Those who have followed the AW and those who have known me during the course of my Chess career, such as it was, know I have long had a predilection for an early move with the Queen, such as 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2!, with which I fell in love after playing over the the second game of the match between Chigorin and Tarrasch played in 1893, called by Akavall on, “My favorite match of all times. The contrast of styles is amazing.” ( It is naturally pleasing when someone agrees with one’s feelings.

Nevertheless, I dunno about playing Qc7 after playing d5. Way back in the 1970’s I opened with 1 e4 c6 2 d4 Qc7 in a fifteen minute game, advocated by GM David Bronstein, and still about as fast a time control with which I am comfortable, as it gives a player at least a little time for cogitation. My opponent, Longshot Larry, paused before moving and bluntly said, “What the HELL is THAT?!” Almost every opening move now has a name, but I have been unable to locate a name for 2…Qc7, so let us call it “The Bacon” opening. My idea was to play d6, then e5 with an Old Indian type set-up. Maybe the Lady looked safer surrounded by pawns after moving the d-pawn only one square…

GM Balashov then played 4 Bd3, to which David responded 4…g6?! At the SWIFT Rapid tournament in 1992 (Rapid was played last century?) GM Jonathan Speelman played dxe4 against GM Michael Adams and there followed: 5. Nxe4 Bf5 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. O-O e6 8. c4 Bg6 9. d5 Bxe4 10. Bxe4 Ndf6 11. Re1 Nxe4 12. Rxe4 Nf6 13. Re1 O-O-O 14. Qa4 exd5 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Qxa7 Bb4 17. Bd2 Bxd2 18. Nxd2 Rhe8 19. Ne4 Qb8 20. Qa3 Re6 21. Ng5 Rxe1+ 22. Rxe1 Qf4 23. Nf3 f6 24. Qd3 g6 25. Qe2 Qd6 26. g3 Nc7 27. Qc4 Qd3 28. Qxd3 Rxd3 29. Kg2 Kd7 30. h4 Ne6 31. Re4 b5 32. Re2 Kd6 33. Nd2 f5 34. Nf3 Rd5 35. Ng5 1/2-1/2

After 4…g6 GM Balashov played 5 Ngf3. One could not be faulted for thinking this a novel position, but such is not the case. 5. Ne2 was played in a game between Kristoff Marchon (1823) and Olivier Letreguilly (2295) at the Sainte Marie open in 2005. There followed, 5…Bg7 6. O-O Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. Ng3 Nd7 9. f4 dxe4 10. Ndxe4 c5 11. f5 cxd4 12. fxg6 hxg6 13. Bxh6 Bxh6 14. cxd4 Qb6 15. Qc2 Qxd4+ 16. Nf2 Ne5 17. Be4 Ng4 18. Kh1 Ne3 19. Qb3 Nxf1 20. Rxf1 Be6 21. Qxb7 Bc4 22. Ng4 Bg7 23. Re1 Qd2 24. Rg1 f5 25. Bxf5 Bd5 0-1

After GM Balashov played 5 Ngf3 the game continued 5…Bg7 6. O-O Bg4 7. c3 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nd7 9. h3 Bf5 10. Re1 Ngf6 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Bxf5 gxf5 13. Qc2 O-O-O 14. Qxf5 Rhg8 15. Bf4 Qb6 16. b4 Rg7 17. a4 Rdg8 18. g3 e6 19. Qd3 Qd8 20. b5 c5 21. a5 Nf8 22. Qe4 Ng6 23. Bh6 1-0

Lower rated players will often play questionable opening moves against much higher rated opponents, much to their detriment. Mr. Rupel was never in the game after 4…g6, I am sad to report.

While looking over the game I wondered if the move 5 e5 might be possible. Lo & Behold, while researching the opening I found another game at ( by Rupel played with that very move played by his opponent! Unfortunately for David the result was the same…

Roiz Baztan, David (2316) – Rupel, David G (2132)
B12 Oviedo open 2007

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Qc7 4. e5 Bf5 5. Ndf3 e6 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 Nd7 8. Ne2 Be7 9. O-O c5 10. c3 Rc8 11. Bf4 h5 12. Rfc1 c4 13. Qd2 Nh6 14. Bg5 Nf8 15. b3 Bxg5 16. Qxg5 Nf5 17. bxc4 Qxc4 18. Nf4 h4 19. Nh5 Nh7 20. Qg4 g6 21. Nf6+ Nxf6 22. exf6 Qd3 23. c4 Rxc4 24. Ne5 Qxd4 25. Qxd4 Nxd4 26. Nxc4 Ne2+ 27. Kf1 Nxc1 28. Nb2 Nxa2 29. Rxa2 a6 30. Nd3 h3 31. g4 O-O 32. Rc2 b5 33. Rc7 a5 34. Ne5 a4 35. Ra7 d4 36. Ke2 Rc8 37. Nxf7 a3 38. Ng5 b4 39. Rg7+ Kf8 40. Nxe6+ 1-0

Most often when a lower rated player goes his own way against a GM he can call it another lonely day.

NC & SC Senior Chess Championships in December!

It was surprising to learn the South Carolina Senior Senior Championship is to be held in a month, December 16-17, 2017. Even more surprising is the fact that the North Carolina Senior Senior Championship will be held in only a couple of weeks, December 1-3, 2017.

I have been in contact with Gene Nix, the organizer of the SCS, and a room has been booked, Dano! The Armchair Warrior has decided to get out of the chair with arm rests and PLAY SOME CHESS!

For info on the NCS contact Wayne Spon, 301-787-6479.

Contact the Greenville Chess Club, c/o Gene Nix, 119 Northcliff Way, Greenville, SC 29617 (; 864-905-2406, about the SCS.

A PDF with all the particulars for the NCS can be found here:

For the SCS go here:

If you would like to take a shot at the Armchair Warrior, and I mean that as a shot across the Chess board, for all you pistol packin’ pugs out there, you will have at least one chance before the end of the year, and maybe two. C’mon, hit me with your best shot!

Scrabble Player Banned For Cheating

Not having played Chess in quite a while does not mean I have not continued following the game. For example, recently I have spent much time watching the ongoing TCEC Season 10 tournament in which the best Chess “players” in the world compete. The entities battling for supremacy are computer programs. The best are at least one category, if not two, above the human so-called “World Champion.” More on this later, but if interested, the tournament games can be found here:

Although having infrequently considered firing up the blog again the last few years other things have taken priority. Although receiving much praise and compliments for the AW, one has stayed with me. The former president of the GCA and I were heading out of the mall, where some kind of youth event was being held, when the High Planes Drifter, aka LM David Vest, the only man who can claim to having both Georgia Chess Champion and Georgia Senior Chess Champion, spoke, while a rather large number of Chess enthusiasts listened, in his inimitably bombastic fashion, informing me of how much of my blog he had read, and how much he had enjoyed so doing. “It is some of the best Chess writing I have ever read,” said the Drifter. “It must have taken an awful lot of time to write all that,” he added.

Mr. Vest was correct; it did require much time. I am now much older, and hopefully, much wiser. This time around the posts will be much less frequent.

Rather than writing about Chess and Go after coming across an article of interest, I have passed it on to others, such as Chris Garlock of the American Go Association, who writes the outstanding American Go E-Journal. I have no idea to whom this should be sent, so it will serve as the first post in years on the AW blog.

A few days ago I received notification of a comment left which needed approval, so I went to the blog for the first time in who knows when, approved the comment, and noticed the stats. Quite simply, I was astounded at how many people were reading my blog each day two and a half years after the writing stopped.

At one time or another I have been cheated at every game played. Although accused of it, I have never cheated at any game. I learned a long time ago that only losers cheat.

I attended a regular Poker game many decades ago in which one of the players cheated, and we all knew he cheated, but could care less because even with his cheating he lost because he was a loser. One night a new player was brought to the game and he accused the loser of cheating. The net result was that he accuser never returned to the game, but neither did the loser.

One of world’s most prominent Scrabble players banned temporarily for cheating,” reads the headline.

“One of the world’s leading Scrabble players and former United Kingdom national champion has been banned from playing the game competitively for three years after he was accused of cheating.

It appears that during competition Allan Simmons would draw a tile and, if he didn’t like it, sneakily replace it and draw another. He denied the accusation, leveled by the Association of British Scrabble Players.”

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind

Ten Year Old Boy Commits Suicide After Chess Game

Dumont police conclude investigation of boy’s fatal jump from Grant School window


DUMONT — The fifth-grade student who jumped to his death from a second-floor window at the Grant Elementary School last month did so “headfirst, unforced, unassisted and of his own accord,” Police Chief Joseph Faulborn Jr. said Wednesday.

A police report released at the same time as the chief’s statement said the 10-year-old boy — whose name was redacted — jumped from a classroom window after getting into a dispute with a classmate over a chess game during a 30-minute morning recess period.

The lunch aide in the room at the time told police that the boy became upset after his opponent captured his king without saying “checkmate,” the report said.

“Do you want me to do something drastic?” the lunch aide reported hearing the boy say to his opponent, the report said.

After the chess game was cleaned up and the students were about to leave the room for lunch, the aide saw the boy standing by himself in the corner of the room writing a note, the report said. The aide saw the boy hand the note to his opponent and ask him not to open it until he got to the cafeteria.

The boy was crying, according to the report.

The lunch aide told investigators that she confiscated the note and put it in her pocket, and that she turned around to see the boy jump from the window.

The boy had lifted himself onto a shelving unit and crawled along the top of it to the window, which was cracked open about a foot, according to witnesses statements included in the report.

The boy went through the window headfirst and had “serious facial injuries,” the report said.

The report did not disclose the contents of the note.

“There was no criminal activity on the part of any individual that would warrant further investigation or criminal charges,” Faulborn said in his statement. “The Dumont Police Department investigation of this incident is concluded and the case closed.”

The boy’s parents declined to comment Wednesday through a relative who answered the door at their home.

According to the report, the boy was in his first year at Grant School. Classmates who offered witness statements said that he enjoyed video and computer games, specifically Minecraft, and often spoke with his friends on Skype. However, a classmate told investigators that the boy sometimes ate lunch by himself.

One classmate said that, on at least four occasions earlier this school year, the boy had alluded to jumping out the window after having become angry about something, the report said.

One such occasion, in December, also followed a chess game. The boy became angry after losing to a classmate and said, “I’m this close to jumping out the window!” while holding his thumb and index finger about an inch apart, according to a classmate quoted in the report.

The classmate said he had never told anyone about the boy’s statements because he thought the boy was “messing around,” the report said.

The report adds that earlier in the week of the incident, the boy had told the lunch aide that other children were not letting him play chess with them. The aide then demanded that the other students include the boy in their games.

Dumont school officials and the attorney representing the school board have been largely silent in the month since the incident and declined to comment on the police report Wednesday.

Superintendent Emanuele Triggiano said on the day of the incident that counselors would be made available to students, parents and staff members for as long as was necessary.

But when asked last week what policy changes, if any, the district had made or was planning to make in response to the incident, Triggiano referred inquiries to Francis Leddy III, an insurance defense attorney representing the school board.

Leddy declined to comment Wednesday on the police report or on policy changes in the district, but several Dumont High School students said this week that their school has imposed a new policy that prohibits windows from being opened more than 6 inches. Some windows have been outfitted with screws that prevent them from being opened all the way, the students said. The double-hung sash windows at the high school are similar to those at the Grant school.

State statute requires public schoolteachers to complete two hours of suicide prevention training every two years. Teaching assistants like lunch aides and sports coaches are typically included in such training courses, said Debra Keeney, President of the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists.

But even with such training, faculty and staff members cannot anticipate every troubling incident, Keeney said. “You think you plan for all the possibilities, but somehow, no matter how much you have planned for, things change,” she said.

Referring to the policy surrounding window safety in the Dumont school district, she added, “I’m sure the school looked at it, but now it will have a different perspective.”

The Uniform Construction Code, which sets the rules for construction projects in the state, does not require guards on windows at public schools, said Tammori Petty, director of communications for the Department of Community Affairs.

But parents in Dumont are still wondering if anything is going to change.

More than a half-dozen parents who were waiting outside the Grant School to pick up their children on Tuesday said they had received no communication from the district about its response to the incident.

“Nothing’s been coming home,” said one parent of a third-grader who declined to give her name. “Nothing.”

Do chess wizards have to blindly follow rules?

Stephen L. Carter is best known to the chess community as the author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and more recently, Back Channel: A novel. ( He is also a Bloomberg View columnist and a law professor at Yale.

Do chess wizards have to blindly follow rules?
Stephen L. Carter 12:11 a.m. EDT April 19, 2015

There’s a wonderful old British case involving a farmer named Lawrence Burr, who was stopped while driving a tractor along a public road. The tractor was pulling a chicken coop to town, where it was to be sold. For the purposes of the brief trip, Burr had fixed iron wheels to the underside of the coop.

The trouble was that the Road Traffic Act of 1930 required all “vehicles,” including “trailers,” to ride on pneumatic tires. A lower court held that the chicken coop was not a vehicle within the meaning of the act, but the King’s Bench, in Garner v. Burr, disagreed, holding that a trailer was “anything which will run on wheels which is being drawn by a tractor or another motor vehicle.”

The case comes to mind in the wake of last week’s contretemps over the decision of the arbiter at the U.S. chess championships to forfeit Wesley So, one of the highest-rated players in the world, during his ninth-round game against Varuzhan Akobian.

So’s offense? During the game, he scribbled little encouraging notes to himself on a sheet of paper. According to news reports, he was in the midst of a family crisis, and needed some bucking up. The trouble is that writing anything during the game, other than recording the moves on a score sheet, is forbidden by what are known, a bit pompously, as the Laws of Chess. And he had been warned before about doing so.

Across the Internet, game sites exploded. Fans leaped to the defense of the young genius, arguing that the rule itself was trivial nonsense (this descriptor was more colorfully put in some of the comment threads), or that the prohibition had never been intended to cover the sort of notes So was writing. The official, cried critics, should have let the matter go.

In a world governed by common sense and general standards, So’s defenders might have a point. The rule was adopted to rein in the habit of many players to annotate their scoresheets with reminders about variations they intended to play – a phenomenon at war with the game’s traditional understanding that players rely only on analysis and memory. Once upon a time, chess tutors taught their pupils to write down the move first, then visualize it on the board, and only then play it. This practice, too, the rules no longer permit.

So’s problem was an amalgam of several rules. Rule 12.3(1) provides: “During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard.” So had previously written notes to himself on his scoresheet, but Rule 12.4 reads: “The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offers of a draw, and matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.”

Having been warned he was violating the rule, So switched to writing his notes on a separate piece of paper. But his opponent complained, bringing into play Rule 12.6: “It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever.” In the end, Rule 12.8 was decisive: “Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalised by loss of the game.”

One can immediately see the analogy to Garner v. Burr. There the judges had to decide whether a chicken coop being towed behind a tractor was a vehicle within the meaning of the statute. Here the arbiter had to decide whether So’s self- encouraging words constituted “notes” or “advice,” or a distraction to the opponent within the meaning of the rule.

Over the years, the Laws of Chess, like the laws governing so many areas, have grown more complex. Tightly structured rules have replaced discretion. The result can be clarity, but sometimes at the cost of common sense. I’m not defending So’s decision to keep writing himself notes after being warned. My point is that it’s not obvious that we’re always better off when every rule is plainly spelled out and enforced to the letter.

Still, shed no tears for Wesley So, who recovered nicely, winning his next two games and finishing in third place. And even if the arbiter was right, So’s violation needn’t have been the end of the matter; the most tightly worded rule might leave room for discretion about the consequences of breaking it. Lord Chief Justice Goddard recognized this proposition at the end of his opinion in Garner v. Burr. The outcome of the case, he wrote, established the principle that anything traveling on wheels is a vehicle. The justices of the lower court were free to stop there without further burdening Burr: “The question of penalty, or whether they should inflict a penalty at all, is entirely for them: they have an unfettered discretion.”