One Pawn, Knight, Bishop, and Rook Save the Day

Sergei Tkachenko,

a Grandmaster of composition, is a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came in second in 2000. 2004, 2013, and 2017, has produced four books in which white ends up with just one pawn, knight, bishop, or rook in the finale manages to win or draw.

I think of these small books as “little jewels,” as in diamonds! These amazing and fantastic studies, some classics from bygone ages, others originally published in the Soviet Union, or ex-Soviet countries, and Sergei’s own compositions, are a feast for those who enjoy expanding their minds and improve their play.

I recall reading a story about former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

from Alabama, in which his father, James Rachels, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, a position in which one can now find Stuart, who followed in his father’s footsteps, said that when he came home Stuart would often greet him in the driveway while holding a Chess board with a study he had been attempting to solve. Stuart would have loved these books!

Each book contains one hundred problems. The paperback books measure four by six inches so they can be transported easily. They can also be purchased in Kindle form. Unfortunately only One Pawn and One Knight are available on Kindle now. They are free if you purchase a Kindle unlimited. How can one beat that price? In addition, the Endgame Books Available on the Forward Chess App, which can be found here:

Some examples follow:

Black to move

M.Klyatskin, 1924 (finale)

The first problem is No. 1 in the pawn book. It is one of the most well-known studies in Chess, and the solution should be known by anyone attempting to play Chess. This illustrates there are studies for everyone, from beginner to Grandmaster.

White to move and win

Authors: J. Kling and B. Horwitz, 1853

One more pawn study by the man famous for ending World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca’s

long winning streak (

White to move and draw

Author Richard Reti, 1925 (position after black’s first move)

From One Knight Saves the Day:

“Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single knight in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the knight’s resourcefulness. The first studies appeared in the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess (VII-VIII centuries). They were called mansubat (singular: mansuba), which can be translated from Arabic as “an arrangement.” Around 700 mansubat have survived, some of which involve a lone knight n the finale.”

Mansuba No. A1 from the XII century has spawned a vast number of studies:

White to move and win

Unknown author, XII century

The next is from one of the most famous Chess players in the history of the game:

White to move and win

Author Paul Keres, 1936

I had the good fortune to meet Paul Keres

A stamp released in the USSR in 1991 to mark the 75th anniversary of the birth of Paul Keres

at the Church’s Fried Chicken tournament in San Antonio, Texas in 1972. For those with a desire to learn about Paul Keres I highly recommend the magnificent six part series recently concluded @

The next volume, One Bishop Saves the Day,

contains a history of the development of the bishop. “In the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess, the bishop differed from its modern cousin. It could jump diagonally over both its own player’s and its opponent’s pieces. At the same time, this bishop was much weaker and more vulnerable: it moved diagonally only two squares at a time (no lese and no more)), which made it easy prey for more mobile pieces.” Examples are given, but you must purchase the book to see them, as I give only modern examples:

White to move and draw

Author Jan Timman, 1982 (Grandmaster Jan Timman

is the Honorary Editor of the best Chess magazine in the world, New In Chess)

White to move and draw

Author Pal Benko,

1967 (Everyone should be familiar with Pal Benko, the man who punched out by Bobby Fischer!

In One Rook Saves the Day

we find:

“In the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess, the rook was the strongest piece. The rook featured frequently in ancient mansubat (singular:mansuba) – the first chess compositions. In those days, it was called a ‘rukh’ (sometimes spelt ‘roc’ or ‘rucke’), an ancient and powerful phoenix-like firebird so big that it could even carry elephants in its claws.”

Black to move. White achieves a draw

Author Sergei Tkachenko, 2000, the GM who put these wonderful books together. (

Every day for I do not know how long I have gone to TWIC ( every morning an attempt to solve the Daily Chess Puzzle as a way of firing my brain. Since receiving these books I attempt to solve at least one study. There have been days when I hold the position in my mind and reflect on it throughout the day. For example, yesterday I kicked back in our new recliner to rest, close my eyes, and there was the morning position. One day we were busy so I had not had time to attempt to solve the position that had been indelibly etched in my memory, but when I went to bed that night, there was the position, which I was still unable to solve. The next morning, after taking a couple of jolting slugs of coffee, I opened the book currently being read, looked at the page, and “Wa La,” there was the position! Getting up immediately I walked over to the desk graciously given to me by my friend Michael (Mulfish) Mulford when he moved to Lost Wages, set up the board, and solved the study!

The books are published by Elk and Ruby (

‏I love these books I have come to think of as little nuggets of gold!


Everything Is Broken

The resignation of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. November 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

has stunned We The People of the dis United States of America. There were reports of Mr. Tillerson being “sick” before leaving Africa. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell said, on the Rachel Maddow show ( the Secretary of State was “ebullient” until receiving the tweet he had been fired. Could it be the Trump tweet sickened Rex?

Before being nominated for the job of Secretary of State Rex was not even on the radar. It appeared the choice was between Mitt “47%; 48; 49%” Romney (

and Rudy Giuliani


The choice of Tillerson flummoxed everyone, until reports surfaced of Russian President Putin informing the Trumpsters he would be displeased with Romney because he was not friendly enough for Russiaian liking. Vlad preferred someone the Russians liked, and could “work with.” That someone was Rex Tillerson, who had received the Russian Order of Friendship Prize from Putin in 2013.


Back in the day receiving such an award would be tantamount to treason. Those were the “Red Scare” days of “McCarthyism,” when Republicans said they would rather be dead than Red. The Republicans motto has now become, “Rather Red than dead.” We The People now have an administration of Russian loving traitors. The list of Republicans in bed with the Reds grows longer by the day. Carter Page, who proves every time he opens his mouth that it is possible for stupid people to earn a PhD, was the first Foreign Policy advisor the Trumpster mentioned, and Trump campaign head Paul Manafort, who has gone from one ankle bracelet to one on each leg to house arrest, head the long list. Space does not allow all the other names involved in this nefariously sordid saga…Evidently there are huge amounts of money to be earned when selling out your country. Now there is a major political party on the take, the REDplblicans.

Now our country’s relationship with Russia now looks like this:

Rex Tillerson, who eschewed hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the cyber attack of the Russians while heading the Department of State, recently grew some cojones and spoke honestly about what Putin’s minions have done, and continue to do while sticking it to We The People. “Tensions boiled over in October, when NBC claimed that Tillerson had previously referred to Trump as a “fucking moron.” (

Was Rex Tillerson canned for pointing the finger at Russia?

By Suzanne Monyak 2 days ago

“The night before Tillerson’s unceremonious ousting via Twitter, the then–secretary of state told reporters that the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy and his daughter in a British bar “clearly came from Russia.” That was not the White House’s position, exactly. “If we get the facts straight we will condemn Russia, or whoever it might be,” Donald Trump said.

Were Tillerson’s comments on the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal the last straw for Trump? A State Department spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday morning that Tillerson is “unaware of the reason” behind his firing, while Trump added that he and the former ExxonMobil executive “were not really thinking the same.”

Did Trump fire Tillerson because he was too anti-Russia?

by Aaron Blake March 13

“About 13 hours before he was fired as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson issued perhaps his toughest comments to date on Russia. He said that a nerve agent used on a former Russian spy in Britain last week “clearly came from Russia.” He also called Russia “an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.”

It was perhaps his last major act as secretary of state. But was it the reason for his dismissal — or even a last straw?

The White House is insisting the decision to fire Tillerson had been made before his comments Monday evening — that he was informed of the decision in the early-morning hours Saturday, before returning from a trip to Africa. But a statement from a top State Department spokesman Tuesday indicated Tillerson had no advance warning of his termination beyond a heads-up that Trump would tweet something. (The spokesman, Steve Goldstein, has been fired for contradicting the White House.)”

What minuscule percentage of We The People believe anything coming from the White House these daze?

Rex Tillerson Leaves With A Shattered Reputation And A Broken Department

By Jesselyn Cook 03/13/2018 01:10 pm ET

How much more can We The People take?

Everything Is Broken
Written by: Bob Dylan

Broken lines, broken strings

Broken threads, broken springs

Broken idols, broken heads

People sleeping in broken beds

Ain’t no use jiving

Ain’t no use joking

Everything is broken

Broken bottles, broken plates

Broken switches, broken gates

Broken dishes, broken parts

Streets are filled with broken hearts

Broken words never meant to be spoken

Everything is broken

Seem like every time you stop and turn around

Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws

Broken buckles, broken laws

Broken bodies, broken bones

Broken voices on broken phones

Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’

Everything is broken

Every time you leave and go off someplace

Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs

Broken treaties, broken vows

Broken pipes, broken tools

People bending broken rules

Hound dog howling, bullfrog croaking

Everything is broken

Copyright © 1989 by Special Rider Music

Paul Magriel R.I.P.

I learned of the death of Paul Magriel from the excellent blog of Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett (, in his ‘Trending Now’ section, ‘Chess in the News’. This led me to his obituary in the New York Times. These are excerpts:

Paul Magriel, Who Was Called the Best in Backgammon, Dies at 71

By Sam Roberts March 8, 2018

Paul Magriel,

a former youth chess champion who traded game boards to become known as the world’s best backgammon player, then turned to poker as his passion for gambling grew, died on Monday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 71.

After winning the New York State Junior Chess Championship at 19, Mr. Magriel (pronounced ma-GRILL) became fixated by backgammon, the 5,000-year-old dice-and-disk board game that combines luck, skill and speed.

Before the 1970s ended, Mr. Magriel had won the world backgammon championship and published what was acclaimed as the bible of backgammon. He was also writing a weekly column about the game for The New York Times.

In 1977, The Boston Globe described Mr. Magriel,

who by then had given up teaching math at a New Jersey college to play professionally, as “probably the best backgammon player in the world.”

His quirkiness and cunning gave backgammon currency.

“He was a big part of the reason for the backgammon boom that happened in the late ’70s and ’80s,” Erik Seidel, a stock trader who became a professional backgammon and poker player, said in an email.

Mr. Magriel could be philosophical on the subject of games. “Games are controlled violence,” he told Gambling Times magazine in 1978. “You can take out your frustrations and hostilities over a backgammon set, where the rules are clearly defined — in contrast to life, where the rules are not so well defined. In games, you know what’s right and wrong, legal versus illegal; whereas in life, you don’t.”

As a child, Paul was remembered as a savant who rarely answered questions and spoke only when he had something to say. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and getting a perfect score on his college boards, he earned a bachelor’s degree in math from New York University. At. N.Y.U., he was a fellow of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

He was later a National Science Foundation fellow at Princeton University, where he specialized in probability. He taught at the Newark College of Engineering (now part of the Newark Institute of Technology) from 1969 to 1973.

Mr. Magriel made his transition from chess to backgammon in Greenwich Village, at hangouts like the Olive Tree Cafe, while he was a doctoral student at Princeton and on track to become a math professor there.

“Psychologically, backgammon is very different from chess,” Mr. Magriel said. “It’s an exercise in frustration — you can make the right moves and lose, or you can make the wrong moves and win. And chess didn’t have the gambling that I like.”

For all his expertise in any game that required mental acuity, Mr. Magriel found backgammon to be “the most frustrating, the cruelest.”

“The fascinating thing about backgammon is that it represents an interesting paradox,” he told The Boston Globe in 1977, adding: “People who want a sure thing don’t make it in backgammon. There are risks, yes, but on the other hand there is an enormous amount of control needed, something most gamblers lack.”

With Ms. Roberts, he wrote the seminal “Backgammon” (1976)

and “Introduction to Backgammon: A Step-By-Step Guide” (1978). His Times column appeared from 1977 to 1980.

Wrote the Book on Backgammon

“When it came to games, Magriel loved them all. At just 19, he became the New York State Junior Chess Champion while studying at New York University, where he would graduate a year later with a BA in mathematics.

However, his real expertise was in backgammon, which is where he earned his “X-22” nickname. He was the 1978 World Backgammon Champion and co-wrote both “Backgammon,” still considered the game’s bible, and “An Introduction to Backgammon: A Step-By-Step Guide,” both published in 1976.

He was profiled in the New Yorker, which is where he explained how he came to be known as X-22.

“I used to play backgammon against myself and once I had a private tournament with 64 imaginary entrants, whom I designated X-l, X-2, and so forth, through X-64,” he said. “In the final, X-22 was pitted against X-34, and X-22 won.” (

Magriel, who wrote weekly backgammon columns for The New York Times from 1977-1980, was considered one of backgammon’s best teachers and thinkers. He is thought to have won the most major backgammon tournaments in the world.”

Remembering Paul Magriel

“He was a math wizard, who loved numbers and relished the opportunity to solve complex puzzles. At night, he played games. During the day, he was a math instructor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he worked for seven years before deciding to finally put away the chalk and take up backgammon (and later poker playing) for a living, because the money was just too good a thing to pass up and there were plenty of suckers who wanted a game.

Back then, backgammon was a high-stakes web of rich people and cultural elites who gathered nightly at posh social clubs. Paul’s immersion onto that privileged scene, first in New York City then later around the world at the most exclusive resorts, was every bit as momentous as the indelible impact on games and gambling left by Ken Uston

and Stu Ungar,

The 1980 WSOP, where Stu won his first Main Event title, was also the first time he played Texas Hold’em. The Legendary Doyle Brunson is on the left.

every bit his contemporaries.”

RIP Paul Magriel: Backgammon Legend and Poker Player Known as X-22, “Quack, Quack,” Dies at 71
March 7th, 2018 by Chad Holloway

“To poker fans, Paul Magriel was the wild player who would often say, “Quack, quack.” What most don’t know is that Magriel, who died in his sleep on Monday at age 71, was to backgammon what Doyle Brunson

is to poker.”

Although I never met Paul he had a HUGE on my life through his book. BACKGAMMON influenced me in the same way Chess Openings: Theory And Practice by I. A. Horowitz

influenced me in Chess.

About the time a new bar/restaurant named GAMMONS opened in the Peachtree-Piedmont shopping plaza in the Buckhead section of Atlanta his book was published. I spent the first week eating dinner after work and nursing a beer while watching the “action.” Those were the only alcoholic drinks ever consumed at GAMMONS. One night Steven Moffitt, a former junior Chess champion of Texas, entered. Steve was a professor of statistics and probabilities at Emory University at the time. We met in San Antonio in 1972 during the Church’s Fried Chicken Chess tournament. He greeted me warmly, asking if I would play a couple of speed Chess games. My reply was, “Only if they are fifteen minute games.” He smiled, and agreed. Steve was higher rated, but both games ended in hard fought draws. He had also come early from work and the sight of us playing Chess caused raised eyebrows as the regulars entered. Those two games were the only Chess games ever played at Gammons.

Steve mentioned a Backgammon book I needed to read. It was Paul Magriel’s book. As it turned out his advice was some of the best advice ever received in my life. I was not seen again at Gammons until the book was devoured. The first match I played at Gammons was with a regular, Rick Calhoun. I took a lead never relinquished. When time to pay Rick offered a check, which bounced. The next time I entered GAMMONS, I spotted Rick playing in a chouette, and walked straight to the table, whereupon I laid the rubber check, saying, “Make it right or step outside!” He did not have the money, but some of the other regulars produced the money, hoping to avoid any negative publicity. It was the only check I ever took from any Backgammon player.

Later Steve said they had wondered who was the fellow who came every night to watch. Knowing Steve told them I was a player. Calling Rick out said to them I was a player to be reckoned with…

During research for this post I found the following:

“I do not recommend this book to beginners. Yes, it was a masterpiece at the time it was written, and it is incredibly clear, but I rolled out the Advanced section — excluding the openings chapter — about 322 positions, and found 27 percent of them incorrect. I do not want to put wrong ideas into beginners’ heads by recommending Paul Magriel’s book when there are better books available. I recommend Backgammon Boot Camp instead because it contains some match theory and has a lot more about doubling theory. You can learn a lot if you roll out the positions and think about what Magriel got right and wrong.”

He is correct in that Paul’s book was an introduction to how Backgammon should be played. What it did was make me THINK critically about the game. QUESTION EVERYTHING! Think for yourself. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you.” (

Backgammon Boot Camp was published in 2004, decades after I stopped playing Backgammon and went back to Chess, so I have not read it. Notice it is unsigned. Here are a couple of other, signed, comments about Paul’s book, a book known as the “Bible of Backgammon”:

“The best introduction to the game. Covers basic checker play very well. If you read and thoroughly understand this book, you’ll play a decent game. Weaknesses—skimpy treatment of the doubling cube.”—Marty Storer, May 1992

“By far the most complete book on the game. A must for the serious minded backgammon enthusiast. It carefully explains the game’s basic concepts, ideas and strategic principles.”—Butch Meese, January 1984 (

Paul’s book helped me to become a decent player. Two books by Danny Kleinman, Vision Laughs at Counting: With Advice to the Dicelorn,

part one & two, helped elevate me to another, much higher, level. (

Some years later, after “retiring” from BG, I encountered a young man who had earlier asked my advice on how to become stronger at Backgammon and I mentioned the Kleinman books. “I read the books you mentioned and am now the strongest player in Atlanta,” he proudly boasted. “I do not know how to thank you,” he said. “You just did,” I replied.

There were many good Backgammon players at GAMMONS. There was a tournament every Monday night.. Tom Daniel, a Viet Nam vet, won more than his share of those tournaments. There were two women, Kathy, from Chicago, and Debbie, who excelled at the nightly tournament. The real players, the money players, played in the tournament, but could not wait to get into action where the money was…Neither Kathy, or Debbie won any of the weekend tournaments, where the matches were longer and the pressure higher. The competition was fierce, with players coming from several different states to play. Then there were the traveling Backgammon players who took their ego’s on the road. Only two players finished in top places two tournaments in a row. One was Steve Moffitt, who took top prize back to back in tournaments with names long forgotten. The other was this writer, who finished second twice in a row. Former Chess player, and budding Doctor, Frank Blaydes, whom I had known from Chess, and his friend Mark watched while writing down the moves, as I lost to a dentist in the first round. “He was lucky,” they said. “Remember what I told you guys,” I answered. “I know, I know,” said Frank, “I’d rather be lucky than good, ’cause when I’m good and lucky I can’t be beat!” Fortunately for me it was a double elimination event, and I was able to get to the final from the elimination group, a first. My opponent, the dentist, said, “I was hoping it would not be you.” Once again Frank and Mark took notation. Once again the dentist was lucky, besting me again in a long match, in which I was the heavy favorite in the side betting. I could not contain myself. “You were lucky,” said I. “You are not as good as you think,” he retorted. I challenged him to continue the match the following night, which was Monday. He entered the tournament; I did not. He lost his match and it was game on. I won all the prize money he had won from the weekend tournament, plus some…Frankly, I cleaned his clock. He was never seen again…

That’s the way it is in Backgammon. Former Georgia State Chess Champion Bob Joiner played BG at Gammons. He had the misfortune to win a weekend tournament. I say misfortune because he was not a top player. Winning the tournament made him think he was now a top player. He began to play the best, and began to lose money, then had the wherewithal to stop playing. After retiring Bob came to the Atlanta Chess Center where I was working. I asked him why he had stopped playing Backgammon. He was honest enough to say, “Because I was losing too much.” We had never played Backgammon, but I would visit him at his office when he was a well respected Public Defender where we would have lunch while playing Backgammon.

One of the weekend tournaments I won was named the Georgia Championship. Another was the Atlanta Championship, which made me the only person ever to become the Atlanta Champion in both Backgammon and Chess.

X-22 knocks out the Brat


GM Spraggett Plays The Caro-Kann

Grandmaster Kevin Sraggett

should need no introduction, but for those of you who know little, if anything about him, he is the only Canadian to have qualified for a Candidates tournament in which the challenger for the World Championship is chosen. He is the highest rated Canadian ever on FIDE Rating List at 2633 in 2007. Kevin lives in Portugal now, and played in the recent Portugal Open. Kevin was born in 1954, so he is nearing the time when he is eligible for the top, +65 section, of the World Senior tournament. If you are not a regular reader of his fantastic blog, you should check it out @

In addition: Spraggett’s Chess Wisdom @

Kerigan, Demre IM 2350 (TUR) – Spraggett, Kevin GM 2535 (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 final round 09

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 (Stockfish at ChessBomb plays this move; Fish at the CBDB prefers my move, Nc6) 6. c5 (This is the second choice of the Fish on DaBomb. Nf3 is best according to the clanking digital monsters) Be7 (Some prefer to meet the advance head on,. DaBomb gives this plausible line: (6… b6 7. b4 Be7 8. Nf3 a5 9. Na4 Nfd7 10. Bb5 O-O 11. O-O Bb7 12. a3 axb4 13. axb4 Bf6 14. Ra3 Nc6 15. cxb6 Nxb6 16. Nc5 Rxa3) 7. Nf3 O-O (SF prefers 7…b6) 8. Bf4 (Komodo’s move. The Fish wants to break new ground with 8 Rb1; or play 8 a3) b6 (Here the Dragon wants to explore the seldom played 8…Ne4) 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qc2 f5 (10…Nc6 is standard, with the game move second choice) 11. Be2 (Rb1 is the choice of the CDM’s; see Bassan v Fargere below for 11. Bxb8, or Ardelean v Svetushkin for 11 Bd3, which ends known theory) bxc5 (11…Nc6 with this incredible line given by the Fish to follow: 12. b5 Nb4 13. Qb2 bxc5 14. a3 Bf6 15. Be5 cxd4 16. Bxd4 Bxd4 17. Nxd4 e5 18. Qxb4 exd4 19. Qxd4 Be6 20. Nxe4 dxe4 21. Qxd8 Rfxd8 22. Rc1 Rac8. There now follows many moves of well played Chess…) 12. bxc5 Bf6 13. O-O Nc6 14. Rfd1 g5 15. Be3 Qe7 16. Bb5 Bd7 17. Nxe4 fxe4 18. Bxc6 Bxc6 19. Ne5 Bxe5 20. dxe5 Rf5 21. Qe2 h6 22. Rab1 Raf8 23. Rb2 Qc7 24. Bd4 Kg7 25. Rdb1 Kg6 26. Qa6 R5f7 27. Qe2 h5 28. h4 gxh4 29. Rb3 Rf4 30. Rh3 Qa5 31. Rbb3

Qa4? (This is a game ending blunder, the kind of move from which one MUST refrain in order to become a GM, like Kevin Spraggett. Hey, he’s got a great blog but is, after “only human.” 30 Rg4 retains the advantage with this to follow: (31… Rg4 32. f3 Rxf3 33. Rbxf3 exf3 34. Qxf3 Qxa2)

32. Qb2? (Kerigan blunders in reply! 32. Rbg3+ does the trick. EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!) Rg4 (My thinking was to move the King outta the danger zone with 32…Kh7 and I was pleased to see the Fish agrees! That said, there is not much difference between the moves) 33. Qd2 Qc4

(Not the best according to the CDM; once again getting outta Dodge is better) 34. Be3?

(Why? My move is 34 Rb4; SF simply plays 34 Kh2. Now Kevin again has a large advantage) Bb5? (Which he promptly gives away. 34…d4! is a FORCING MOVE!) 35. Rb1 a6 36. Rc1 Qa4 37. Kh2 Bc4 38. f3 exf3 39. gxf3 Rg3 40. Rxg3+ hxg3+ 41. Kxg3

h4+? (Take the pawn! 41… Qxa2)

42. Kxh4? (Do NOT take the pawn! Is Chess not maddening? White has an advantage after playing Kh2) Rh8+ 43. Kg3 Qxa2 44. Qxa2 Bxa2 45. Kg4 Bc4 46. Rb1 Bb5 47. Rc1 Bc6 48. Ra1 Bb5 49. Rc1 Bc4 50. Rb1 a5 51. Rb6 Re8 52. c6 Rc8 53. Bc5 a4 54. Bd6 d4 ½-½ (A hard fought, and well earned, draw)

Bassan, Remo (2260)
Fargere, Francois (2456)
Event: 5th Douglas Martinez
Site: Guarenas VEN Date: 10/28/2012
Round: 6.9 Score: ½-½
ECO: B14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik attack, 5…e6

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. c5 Be7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bf4 b6 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qc2 f5 11. Bxb8 Rxb8 12. Ne5 Bf6 13. Nc6 Qc7 14. Nxb8 Bxd4 15. Nb5 Qe5 16. O-O-O Bxf2 17. Nc6 Qf4+ 18. Kb1 bxc5 19. Ne7+ Kf7 20. g3 Qb8 21. Nxc8 Rxc8 22. Bd3 Be3 23. Rhe1 Bg5 24. Bxe4 fxe4 25. Qa4 Qe5 26. Nd4 cxd4 27. Qd7+ Kg6 28. Qxc8 d3 29. Qe8+ Kh6 30. g4 Bf6 31. Qh5+ Qxh5 32. gxh5 Bc3 33. Re3 Bxb4 34. Rdxd3 exd3 35. Rxe6+ Kxh5 36. Re5+ g5 37. Rxd5 h6 38. Rxd3 Bc5 39. Kc2 Kh4 40. h3 h5 41. Kd2 g4 42. hxg4 hxg4 43. Ke2 Bb6 44. Kf1 g3 45. Kg2 Bf2 46. Kf3 Kg5 47. Rd8 Kf5 48. Re8 Kf6 49. a4 Kf7 50. Re4 Kf6 51. a5 Kf5 52. Re8 Kf6 53. a6 Kf7 54. Rh8 Ke6 55. Rh6+ Kd5 56. Rg6 Kc4 57. Ke4 Kb5 58. Kd3 Be1 59. Ke4 1/2-1/2

Ardelean, George Catalin (2310)
Svetushkin, Dmitry (2460)
Event: Wch U18
Site: Oropesa del Mar Date: 11/06/1998
Round: 10 Score: 0-1
ECO: B14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik attack, 5…e6

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. c5 Be7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bf4 b6 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qc2 f5 11. Bd3 Nc6 12. Rb1 g5 13. Be3 a5 14. a3 axb4 15. axb4 g4 16. b5 gxf3 17. bxc6 bxc5 18. gxf3 Ng5 19. Rg1 Kh8 20. Bxg5 Bxg5 21. dxc5 Bf4 22. Nb5 Qf6 23. h3 Ra6 24. c7 Rc6 25. Kd1 Be5 26. Re1 Bd7 27. Qc1 Bxc7 28. Qe3 Ba5 29. Re2 f4 30. Qd4 Qxd4 31. Nxd4 Rxc5 32. Nxe6 Ba4+ 33. Bc2 Rxc2 34. Rxc2 Re8 35. Ra1 Rxe6 0-1

Campora, Daniel H. GM 2426 (ARG) – Spraggett, Kevin (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 06

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 (OK, I’m not a fan of this wimpy move, but please play on!) 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bb3 a5 14. a4 Nb6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rad1 Re8 17. Nh4 Be4

18. f3 (I rejected 18. Nf5 because of Bxf5 19. gxf5 and white looks opened up like a can of tuna! But the Fish has other ideas: Re4 20. Bc2 Rh4 21. b3 g5 22. Qf3 Qc7 23. Qg2 h6 24. Bd3 Re8 25. Be2 Rhe4 26. Qh2 Qe7 27. d5 Bc5. Can you believe this excrement? The clanking digital monsters can defend almost any position!)

Bg6 19. Nxg6 hxg6 20. Qf2 Qe7 21. Rd3 Nd7 22. Bf4 Nc5 23. Re3 Ne6 24. c5

(Bad move! What was wrong with dropping the bishop back to g3? Nothing! Maybe Campora did not believe Spraggett would sacrifice his Queen?!)

Nxf4 25. Rxe7 Rxe7 26. Qc2 Ne2+ 27. Kg2 Nxd4 28. Qc4 Nxb3 29. Qxb3 Bxc5 30. Qc4 b6 31. Rd1 Rae8 32. Rd2 Re1 33. h4 g5 34. h5 (Fish likes 34. hxg5 fxg5 35. Kg3) Rg1+ (According to the smelly Fish this is better: 34… f5 35. Kh3 fxg4+ 36. Kxg4 Rh1 37. Kg3 Rh4 38. Qb3 Rxh5) 35. Kh3 Rh1+ 36. Rh2 Rhe1 37. Rd2 Rh1+ 38. Rh2 Rb1 39. Re2 Rd8 40. Qc2 Rh1+ 41. Kg2 Rg1+ 42. Kh2 Ra1 43. Kg2

Bd4 (The Fish “thinks” this is the only way to retain an advantage: 43… g6 44. Rd2 Re8 45. Rd1 Rxd1 46. Qxd1 Kg7 47. hxg6 Kxg6) 44. Qxc6 Be5 45. Qxb6 Rdd1 46. Rxe5 fxe5 47. Qb8+ Kh7 48. Qxe5 Rd2+ 49. Kg3 Rg1+ 50. Kh3 Rh1+ 51. Kg3 Rg1+ 52. Kh3 ½-½

Yet another hard fought draw by two grizzled old veterans.

Sousa, Andre Ventura IM 2405 (POR) – Spraggett, Kevin (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 08

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 (Oh No, Mr. Kevin. Not another main line Bf5! If I never see another game with this opening it will be too soon!) 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O h6 7. Nbd2 Nd7 8. Nb3 Qc7 (SF plays 8…g5) 9. Bd2 a5 10. a4 g5 11. h4 g4 12. Ne1 h5 13. Nd3 Ng6 14. g3

b6 (f6!) 15. Rc1 Bg7 (f6!) 16. Nf4 Nxf4 17. Bxf4 Qb7 18. c4 dxc4 19. Rxc4 Rd8 20. Qc1 Be4 21. Bg5 Rc8 22. Rc3 Bd5

(f6!, Kevin is in trouble, but a few second, or third, rate moves by his opponent help considerably)

23. f3 gxf3 24. Bxf3 c5 25. Qf4 Bxf3 26. Rcxf3 Rf8 27. Bh6 Bxh6 28. Qxh6 Qd5 29. Qxh5 cxd4 30. Rxf7 Rxf7 31. Rxf7 Kd8 32. Qg5+ Kc7 33. Qe7 d3 34. Kf2 Rd8 35. Qd6+ Qxd6 36. exd6+ Kxd6 37. Ke3? (Now Kevin has an advantage) Rg8 38. Kf2 Ne5

(e5! Passed pawns MUST be pushed! Now the game is even, where it remains) 39. Rf4 Rc8 40. Rd4+ Ke7 41. Ke3 Rg8 42. g4 Nxg4+ 43. Kxd3 Ne5+ 44. Kc2 Rg2+ 45. Rd2 Rg4 46. Rd4 Rg3 47. Nd2 Rh3 48. Kd1 Nc6 ½-½

Kevin won three games while drawing six, including his last four games in the nine round tournament. Since he had the black pieces in five of the games he was at a disadvantage. Why do organizers continually hold tournaments with an uneven number of rounds? It is simply senseless and unfair to half of the players.

Granted, the last game presented is not a Caro-Kann, but then, Kevin had white…

Spraggett, Kevin GM 2535 (CAN) – Boricsev, Oleg IM 2328 (HUN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 07

1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Bb7 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. Qc2 Nd7 11. Bf4 Rc8 12. Rac1 c6 13. Qa4 a5 14. Rfd1 Re8 15. Bh3 Bf6 16. Re1 Ra8

White to move

17. Qc2 ( ChessBomb gives this long variation beginning with an exchange sacrifice, which reminded me of the man from the High Planes,the only player to hold the titles of Georgia State Champion and Georgia State Senior Champion, who loved the exchange sacrifice. 17. Rxc6!? Bxc6 18. Qxc6 Ra7 19. e3 Nf8 20. Rc1 Ne6 21. Be5 Qd7 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. Qxb6 a4 24. Rc2 Qb7 25. Qd6 Rd8 26. Qa3 Rb8 27. Bxe6 [Granted, this move is at the end of a loooong line, but why rectify the opponents pawn structure?] fxe6 28. Qc5) g6 18. Bg2 (18. Qa4 Ra7 19. e3 Nf8 20. Red1 Ne6 21. Be5 Be7 22. Bxe6 fxe6 23. Qc2 Rf8 24. Kg2 c5 25. h4 Rf7 26. dxc5 bxc5) Rc8 19. h4 Qe7 20. Bg5 Bxg5 21. Nxg5 c5 22. Qd2 Nf6 23. dxc5 Rxc5 24. Rxc5 bxc5 25. Qxa5 Ra8 26. Qb5 Rxa2 27. e3 Kg7 28. Nh3 Ba8 29. Qb3 Qa7 30. Nf4 Ra1 31. Rf1 Rxf1+ 32. Bxf1 d4 33. exd4 cxd4 34. Qb5

Ng4? (Not the best move in the position. Why move the unsupported knight into the enemy position allowing it to be attacked? I thought maybe h6 might be a good idea. DaBomb agrees, but also “thinks” Qe7 leaves the game level) 35. Qg5

Black to move

f5? (Granted, this supports the invading knight but at what price? If there is one thing I have noticed about these Supuer Programs, clearly two categories above we mere more mortals it is that they will retract a move, “advancing to the rear” so to speak. They constantly refrain from ill-advised trades by removing the attacked piece, something to keep in mind the next time you consider “choppin’ wood’)

White to move

36. Qd8? (EXAMINE ALL CHECKS! Kevin had the opportunity to make his opponent’s life miserable by playing 36. Nh5+ DaBomb show us just how miserable with the line: Kf7 37. Bc4+ Ke8 38. Nf6+ Nxf6 39. Qxf6 Qc5 40. Qh8+ Ke7 41. Qxh7+ Kd8 42. Qg8+ Kc7 43. Qf7+ Kd8 44. b4 Qxb4 45. Qf6+ Kc7 46. Qg7+ Kc8 47. Qxd4 Qb1+ 48. Bf1 Qe4 49. Ba6+ Kc7 50. Qxe4 Bxe4 51. Bc4 Kd8 52. Bf7 f4) d3 37. Ne6+ Kf7 38. Ng5+ Kg7 39. Ne6+ ½-½


Multi-dimensional Chess in the News

This article appeared a couple of days ago:

A Giant, Multi-Dimensional Chess Game: Publishing in the Age of Platforms

Authenticity and reader service remain paramount at the second annual PubTech Connect conference.

By Greg Dool :: March 8, 2018

This was the picture used in the article:

This article was published today, March 10, 2018:

The incredible multi-dimensional chess of Qualcomm vs. Broadcom

Competitors, national governments increasingly involved in this real-life Game of Thrones battle for supremacy

Danny Crichton@dannycrichton / 3 hours ago

This picture was used in the article:

I will admit to having read neither article. My time was spent searching for other, better, pictures that could have been used in the articles. Here are alternatives:

Which one would you choose?


The weirdness of math’s golden age

Adventures in Fine Hall

By Elyse Graham ’07

“Then, as now, the anchor of mathematics at Princeton was Fine Hall, which opened in 1931. (Forty years later, the original Fine Hall was renamed after its donor, Thomas Jones 1876, when today’s mathematics building was constructed near Princeton Stadium.) Henry Fine had been a much-beloved dean of the faculty and the University’s first dean of science; after he died, Jones, a member of the Board of Trustees, gave money for a mathematics building in his honor. The building was gorgeous: three stories high, with oak paneling, leaded-glass windows, a central courtyard, and a library. A common room, with leather chairs, tables for chess, and a blackboard tucked away nearby in case of arguments, allowed the department to follow the English practice of gathering every afternoon for tea. Every time a bean counter approached Jones with the growing bill for the building, he said, “Nothing is too good for Harry Fine.”

Mathematician John von Neumann, shown here at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1947, started teaching at Princeton in 1930. Tea was a tradition at both the University and the Institute.
Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

“To blow off steam, many students got into games, as players and creators both. Fine Hall’s common room held late-night poker games, with good cash on the line: “We used to play all night,” said Flood. “The janitor would come and sort of chew us out at 6 in the morning.” During the day, a visitor to the common room might see the nation’s mathematical brain-trust absorbed in games of Go, bridge, double solitaire, or chess, played classic or in whimsical variants. A favorite was a double-blind variant of chess called Kriegspiel. (Paul Erdős reportedly loved that game.)

A truly magnificent book:

Here is the PDF:

One student invented what he called “nonholonomic chess”; another invented a card game called Psychology, and another a card game called Goofspiel, which has since been used to teach concepts in game theory. The boast went out that Fine Hall “could produce a champion in any game that was played sitting down.”


The Trump Highway

The latest count of Senior White House Officials to leave office stands at 49. Rachel Maddow

at MSNBC continues updating the departures on a screen that continues to be enlarged. The print goes ever smaller every day so We The People can see the titles of the positions vacated. Watch this breakdown at MSNBC:

Employees Don’t Leave Organizations, They Leave Bad Bosses

“There is often confusion in differentiating between leaders and bosses. Bosses command, while leaders lead. Bosses demand, while leaders persuade. Bosses are autocratic, while leaders are democratic. Bosses avenge, while leaders forgive.”

By Professor M.S.Rao, Ph.D.

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”—Theodore Roosevelt

“There is a popular saying that employees don’t leave organizations, they leave their leaders.”

There is a reason innumerable people have left Trump world

and will, no doubt, continue to leave his orbit like rats leaving the Titanic. They have left, and will continue to leave because they know they are on a…