San Francisco Mechanic’s Institute Tuesday Night Marathon Games and Newsletter

The venerable Chess Room at the Mechanic’s Institute (
Inside the Mechanics’ Institute’s Tuesday Night Marathon

in the beautiful city of San Francisco
Living in San Francisco, California, USA – Interview With …

is a treasure.

If you are a Chess player a trip is de rigeur, and should be on every player’s bucket list. It is steeped in history and legend. From a, History of the Chess Room one learns, “The early years of the Chess Room are not well documented but chess was played during the Gold Rush. The great Pierre Saint- Amant,

Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant « ChessManiac
Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant « ChessManiac

one of the top players in the world in the 1840s, was French Consul in San Francisco from 1851-52. It appears he left the Bay Area before the founding of the Mechanics’, so the honors for the first world class player to visit San Francisco go to Johann Zukertort

who spent nearly a month in the City in July of 1884.” (
The Best Libraries In San Francisco (

The Chess Room Newsletter appears in my inbox each week and will appear in yours too when you join the mailing list. What follows emanates from issue #977. The new director, Abel Talamantez,

had some big shoes to fill when taking over from IM John Donaldson

and, with a little help from friends, has done a magnificent job, especially considering the pandemic. There is FM Paul Whitehead’s Column,
Thursday Evening Class with FIDE Master Paul Whitehead …

and that of GM Nick de Firmian,

from which I take the liberty of publishing his insightful commentary on the recent debacle of former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov:

The Old Man and the Chessboard

In Hemingway’s famous novel about an aging fisherman, the protagonist battles for days to reel in a great marlin. Ultimately he wins the battle against the marlin, but fails when encountering too many sharks that eat the marlin tied to his boat and steal his hard-earned victory.

The Grand Croatian Chess Tour saw the return of the great Garry Kasparov to the chess board. He too ran into a bunch of sharks who stole all his points, and in eighteen rounds of blitz chess against the young top players of today Kasparov scored only two and a half points. This disappointing showing is usually done by an amateur who gets to play with the pros, and that player is often labeled the “fish” of the tournament. It was painful to see how a great champion can fall.

“The old get old and the young get stronger” sang Jim Morrison.

So perhaps we must resign ourselves to playing worse chess as we age. Here we have some good news for those who wish to defy the march of time. Second place in this same tournament went not to one of the young sharks, but to 51 year old Vishy Anand. Anand is of course a former world champion and was a rival to Kasparov in the 1990’s. It was inspiring to see him vanquishing players half his age. The rest of us may take solace that excellence at chess isn’t just about age, but about staying motivated and dedicated to the game. (

I strongly urge you to check out the MIN, as the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter has come to be called.

Some of the games from the Tuesday Night Marathon have been recently broadcast at the ChessBomb. Three games caught my attention and I put them through the opening wringer for your enjoyment and/or amusement, and hopefully, edification.

Abel Talamantez vs Albert Starr

Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02

A80 Dutch

  1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 d6 7. Be2 Be6 8. Ng5 Bd7 9. h4 h6 10. Nf3 Be8 11. Qb3 b6 12. d5 Nbd7 13. Nd4 Nc5 14. Qc2 a5 15. f3 Bf7 16. O-O-O e5 17. dxe6 Nxe6 18. g4 Nxf4 19. exf4 Qc8 20. gxf5 c5 21. fxg6 cxd4 22. gxf7+ Rxf7 23. Rxd4 Ne8 24. Re4 Nc7 25. Rg1 Kh8 26. Bd3 Ne6 27. Nb5 Qc5 28. Rge1 Nxf4 29. Re8+ Rxe8 30. Rxe8+ Rf8 31. Re1 Nxd3+ 32. Qxd3 Qf2 33. Re2 Qf1+ 34. Kc2 Be5 35. Qd2 Rf6 36. Rxe5 Qxc4+ 37. Kb1 dxe5 38. Qd8+ Kg7 39. Qe7+ Qf7 40. Qxe5 Qg6+ 41. Kc1 Qg1+ 42. Kd2 Qf2+ 43. Kd3 Qxf3+ 44. Kd2 Qf4+ 45. Qxf4 Rxf4 46. h5 Rb4 0-1 (

1.d4 f5 2. Nf3 (SF 14 @depth 50 goes with 2 c4. Just sayin’…) 2…Nf6 (This is the choice of StockFish and it should be yours. Dragon breath Komodo fires out 2…e6) 3. c4 (SF plays 3 g3) 3…g6 (SF 11 @depth 33 plays this but SF 13 @depth 40 broke my heart by showing 3…e6. Now I want to know what LCZero 0.28-dev+_69626 would play? Someone reading this please get in touch with the techeads at TCEC and send me the answer! The match for the title of best playing thing in the universe is tied with one each after six games. Like David Spinks said, “You gotta pull for somebody, MAN!” Now I am pullin’ for LCZero!) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 g3) 4…Bg7 (Two SF programs play 4…d6; SF 13 plays the game move) 5. Bf4 (The Smelly Fish prefers 5 g3) 5…O-O (SF plays 5…d6) 6. e3 d6 7. Be2 (SF & Houdini play 7 c5, yet 7 h3 has been played more often and has scored better than other moves) 7…Be6 (TN) (SF 13 @depth 43 plays 7…Nc6. SF 020521 would play 7…Ne4)

Dejan Omorjan 2230 FM SRB vs Milos Milosevic 2311 FM SRB

SRB-ch U16 2018

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bf4 Bg7 6.e3 O-O 7.Be2 Ne4 8.h4 Nxc3 9.bxc3 h6 10.Qb3 c5 11.O-O Qa5 12.Rac1 Nd7 13.Bh2 Nb6 14.Nd2 Bd7 15.Qb2 Rac8 16.Bf3 Qa6 17.a4 Nxa4 18.Qc2 b5 19.Qa2 bxc4 20.Bd5+ Kh8 21.Bxc4 Qc6 22.Bd5 Qc7 23.Bb3 Nb6 24.Ra1 a5 25.Bf7 Kh7 26.h5 g5 27.Bg6+ Kh8 28.Nf3 a4 29.Bg3 cxd4 30.cxd4 Qc2 31.Rfb1 Qxa2 32.Rxa2 Nd5 33.Rb7 Bc6 34.Ra7 Bb5 35.Ra5 Bc6 36.Rc2 Nb4 37.Rc4 Rb8 38.Ra7 Bd5 39.Rc1 Bb3 40.Rxe7 f4 41.exf4 gxf4 42.Bh4 a3 43.Ree1 Rfc8 44.Ra1 a2 45.Be7 Rb6 46.Kh2 Bd5 47.Red1 Rc4 48.Rac1 Rxc1 49.Rxc1 Rc6 50.Re1 Nc2 51.Bxc2 Rxc2 0-1

Levon Aronian (2813) vs Magnus Carlsen (2862)
Event: Sinquefield Cup 2013
Site: Saint Louis USA Date: 09/10/2013
Round: 2.1
ECO: A80 Dutch

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Bf4 d6 6.e3 Nc6 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O Ne4 9.h3 e5 10.Bh2 exd4 11.exd4 Ng5 12.Nxg5 Qxg5 13.f4 Qf6 14.d5 Nd4 15.Kh1 c5 16.Bd3 Bd7 17.Bg1 Rae8 18.Qd2 a6 19.Rad1 Rb8 20.a4 Qd8 21.Rb1 Qa5 22.Qd1 Qb4 23.Bf2 Rbe8 24.Be1 Qb3 25.Qxb3 Nxb3 26.Bc2 Na5 27.Bd3 Re3 28.Rd1 Rb8 29.Bf2 Ree8 30.Ra1 Bd4 31.Kg1 Be3 32.Bxe3 Rxe3 33.Rad1 Rbe8 34.Kf2 Nb3 35.Rfe1 Rxe1 36.Rxe1 Rxe1 37.Kxe1 Nd4 38.Kd2 Kf7 39.Be2 Kf6 40.Bd1 a5 ½-½

Leon Quin vs Amitoj Singh

Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02

C26 Vienna game

  1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nc6 5. f4 exf4 6. Bxf4 d6 7. Nf3 Bg4 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O a6 10. Nd5 b5 11. Nxf6+ Qxf6 12. Bd5 Nd4 13. Bg5 Qg6 14. Bxa8 Nxf3 15. gxf3 Bxf3 16. Bd5 a5 17. Be3 Bxd1 18. Rxd1 a4 19. Rg1 Qf6 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. Qg5 Qxg5+ 22. Rxg5 h6 23. Rg1 b4 24. Kd2 Kh7 25. Rf1 f6 26. Ke3 Rd8 27. Bc6 a3 28. bxa3 bxa3 29. Rb1 Rd6 30. Ba4 Ra6 31. Bb3 g5 32. c3 h5 33. d4 Kg7 34. e5 f5 35. Rf1 f4+ 36. Ke4 Kg6 37. d5 c4 38. Bxc4 Ra4 39. Kd4 Kf5 40. Re1 f3 41. e6 Kf6 42. e7 1-0
  2. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 (Stockfish considers 3 Nf3 best) 3…Bc5 4. d3 (There is a disagreement here as Komodo would first play 4 Nf3 and after the expected 4…d6 play 5 0-0) 4….Nc6 (Although the game move has been played more often at the ChessBaseDataBase, SF & Komodo play 4…c6) 5. f4 (This move has been played about three times more often than the second most played move, 5 Bg5, at 365Chess, but 5 Nf3 is the best move according to SF and has been played in 982 games as opposed to the 283 games using 5 f4. Surprisingly, 5 Nf3 has scored only 50%, while 5 f4 has scored 60%!) 5…exf4 (5…d6 has been far and away the most often played move here, with 252 games in the CBDB. The move played in the game has only been seen in 17 games. But the move StockFish would play, 5…0-0, has only been seen in 12 games! That’s SF 13 @depth 60 and SF 030621 @depth 50. White has scored only 42% against 5…0-0 in those 12 games. White has scored 60% against 5…d6; and 71% against the game move!) 6. Bxf4 d6 (SF would castle; Houdini plays the game move) 7. Nf3 (SF 080221 would play 7 Qd2. The CBDB has only 2 games with 7 Qd2) 7…Bg4 (SF plays 7…0-0) 8. Qd2 (SF 12 @depth 52 will play 8 Rf1, which will be a new move just as soon as YOU PLAY IT!) 8…O-O 9. O-O-O (TN)

Franke, Johannes vs Tammert, Guenther
Event: FRG-ch U20
Site: Dortmund Date:1982
Round: 8
ECO: C28 Vienna game

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Bc5 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 exf4 7.Bxf4 Bg4 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bg5 Nd4 10.Nxd4 Bxd4 11.Bb3 c6 12.h3 Be6 13.O-O-O Bxb3 14.cxb3 Qa5 15.Kb1 d5 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxd5 Qd8 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Rhf1 Qe6 20.Qg5 a5 21.Qf5 Qd6 22.a3 b5 23.d4 Rae8 24.Rfe1 g6 25.Qf3 f6 26.Qd3 Re7 27.d5 c5 28.Qxb5 Rb8 29.Qc4 Kg7 30.Rd3 Rbe8 31.Rc3 Rc8 32.Rce3 Qf4 33.Ka2 Qe5 34.Qc3 Qc7 35.e5 fxe5 36.Rxe5 Rxe5 37.Rxe5 1-0

Nicholas Weng vs Chelsea Zhou

Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02

B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. g4 b5 10. g5 b4 11. Na4 Nfd7 12. h4 Qa5 13. b3 Bb7 14. Bh3 d5 15. f4 e5 16. Nf5 Re8 17. Bg2 dxe4 18. Nxe7+ Rxe7 19. f5 Nc6 20. Bxe4 Qc7 21. Qg2 Rb8 22. O-O Nd4 23. f6 Re6 24. fxg7 Bxe4 25. Qxe4 Qxc2 26. Qxc2 Nxc2 27. Ba7 Nxa1 28. Bxb8 Nxb8 29. Rxa1 Kxg7 30. Kg2 a5 31. Re1 h6 32. Kf3 hxg5 33. hxg5 Kg6 34. Nc5 Re7 35. Kg4 Nc6 36. Rf1 Nd4 37. Rf6+ Kg7 38. Ne4 Rd7 39. Nd6 Ne6 40. Nf5+ Kg8 41. Nh6+ Kg7 42. Kf5 e4 43. Kg4 Nc5 44. Nf5+ Kg8 45. Kf4 Rd2 46. Nh6+ Kf8 47. Rxf7+ Ke8 48. Rf5 Rf2+ 49. Ke3 Rxf5 50. Nxf5 Nd3 51. Kxe4 Nc1 52. g6 Nxa2 53. Ke5 1-0
  2. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 (Komodo @depth 45 plays 6 Be3; Stockfish 10
    @depth 33 plays 6 h3. I would not make this up…) 6…e6 (SF says 6…e5 is best. Who are we to argue?) 7. Be3 Be7 (SF & Deep Fritz prefer 7…b5) 8. Qd2 (Komodo plays this move, but SF @depth 63 prefers 8 g4, a move of which there are only 21 examples in the CBDB. There are 430 games with the move played in the game) 8…O-O (Fritz, and his bro Deep Fritz like this move, but Dragon Breath would play 8…b5) 9. g4 b5 (SF & Komodo prefer the most often seen move by humans, 9…Nc6)10. g5 (SF 13 0-0-0; Houdini plays 10 a3) 10…b4 11. Na4 (TN)

Strokov, Anatoli (2244) vs Krasnov, Vladimir (2256)
Event: Russia CC-ch
Site: Russia Date: 03/22/2007
Round: 4
ECO: B80 Sicilian, Scheveningen variation

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be3 Be7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 a6 9.g4 b5 10.g5 b4 11.Nce2 Nfd7 12.O-O-O a5 13.Kb1 Ne5 14.Ng3 Ba6 15.f4 Bxf1 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Nxe6 Qxd2 18.Rxd2 fxe6 19.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 20.Nxf1 Nc6 21.Rd7 Rd8 22.Rxd8+ Bxd8 23.c3 Kf7 24.Ng3 1-0

The Doors- Five to One
Feb 27, 2010


As this post was being put together I learned the director of the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room, Abel Talamantez, has been name the organizer of the year!

MI Chess Director Named Organizer of the Year

This past year has presented a new challenge for the Mechanics’ Institute (MI) Chess Department as well as the general chess community, with over-the-board activities halted due to mandated closures. Nevertheless, despite COVID-19 restrictions for in-person contact and the shelter-in-place order, there was a bright spot: virtual chess. The MI Chess team took this challenge head-on and created online opportunities for chess instruction and competition, as well as social events.

Recently, MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez
Abel hard at work at the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room

received word that he was the 2021 recipient of the U.S. Chess Federation’s Organizer of the Year Award. Each year, this prestigious award is bestowed upon a member of the chess community who organizes and hosts events at the national and international levels, such as the 2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship (January, 2021), U.S. Amateur Team West Championship (January, 2021), U.S. Junior Chess Congress (April, 2021), and the International Club Team Matches (February, 2021. This is the second time an MI staff member has received the U.S. Chess Federation award. In 2017, Dr. Judit Sztaray, General Manager of MI’s Youth Outreach and Events won the Organizer of the Year Award.

Besides the honor and prestige of this latest award, Talamantez believes that recognition such as this helps to “bring chess out of the box” by gathering people together in a positive way and fostering a strong sense of community. With this mission-driven purpose, he spends his time teaching chess strategy while promoting other hidden benefits of the game, including critical thinking skills, learning from mistakes, sportsmanship, and the satisfaction of being part of a larger community.

Over this past year, the MI Chess Club has been busier than ever, nimbly moving to a pandemic-enforced online environment, hosting virtual games, matches, tournaments, and classes on its live chess Twitch channel. Under Talamantez’ leadership, MI has hosted matches with other historic chess clubs, including the Zurich Chess Club (1807), Hamburg Chess Club (1830), Edinburgh Chess Club (1822), and Royal Dutch Chess Club (1852). This was significant as these clubs are the four oldest continuously-operating chess clubs in the world, with the Mechanics’ Institute (1854) being fifth.

Talamantez has also organized several special events, such as the Thompson Family Foundation (sponsored by Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson’s family in March 2021) and the San Francisco Scholastic Chess Championship (sponsored by AO Dragge Foundation in March 2021). Sponsored events such as these enable more students to compete, thus making chess accessible for all and that is Talamantez’ mission – inclusiveness for all. “Organizing community and special events are what give me the most pleasure,” says Talamantez. “Outreach into the community has enormous value. Chess brings people together in a good way, and that is truly important.” (

Teaching Chess

Try to imagine being a Chess teacher and your student, Garry, is presenting his game. His mother, who is from a country that produced a World Chess Champion, is drinking coffee and looking at magazines at a nearby table. The boy is being home schooled after having behavioral problems at school, such as pulling the fire alarm one too many times while maintaining all he did was “lean on it.” The Chess lesson is part of his home school program and it is needed, not wanted. The boy has about as much interest in Chess as I did at his age in crochet, if you get my drift…

1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. h3 e6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 b6 11. Na3 a6 12. Nc2 b5

“Whoa…what kinda move is that?” Garry looks like his dog just died. “Any time your opponent has a Bishop lined up against your king side like that you’ve gotta be careful about the Bishop takes pawn, check, sacrifice, because sometimes the check leads to CHECKMATE! Maybe you should have played Ng6 to block the Bishop?!” you say. “He did not take the pawn with,” he says. “Lucky you dodged a bullet,” I reply. “Every Russian school boy would play Bishop takes pawn CHECK!” Sure enough his opponent played 13 Qe2, something I might play, you think, because of my penchant for playing Qe2. Wrong, Kemo Sabe! Even I know that every Russian taxi driver would play BxP+!!!

13…Ng6 14. Bd2 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. Ne3 Bb7 17. Ng4 Rfe8 18. Qc2 h5 19. Ne3 Rac8 20. Qe2 Qd8 21. Rac1

Black to move

In this position Garry looks at you as if knowing what would be coming next as he slides his King from g8 to f8…

White to move

You have already excoriated the boy for an earlier move which was awful, almost bringing him to tears, so you must be careful what you say. “Why did you make that move, Garry?” you ask, glancing over at the mother, Luba, who can sense trouble. “I dunno,” comes the answer. “You don’t know? Do you mean you just randomly chose that particular move?”
“Well coach,” he says, “I had to make a move and I remembered you said something about moving your King toward the center to prepare for the endgame.”
“Eureka!” you think to yourself. “The kid remembered something!” Then it’s back to reality and you say, “But we’re still in the middle-game and the endgame is a long way away, is it not?”
“Yeah coach, but I’ll be ready for it!”
This brings a grin to the face of the old coach, and, glancing over, a grin appears on Luba’s face, too. So you ask the student if any other moves were considered and are surprised when he immediately replys, “Yeah,” as he moves the Bishop from f4 to h6. “Why would you retreat the Bishop?” you ask. Garry says, “I dunno coach, it just sorta fills a gap the h-pawn left when it moved.”
“That it does,” you say while glancing at a beaming Luba and see a smiling student sitting across from you. Then you explain that maybe he should have given some consideration to breaking in the center with e5, what with the Rook lined up against the white Queen, in lieu of moving the King toward the middle of the board. “Move the pawn to e5, Garry.” He does as told and you say, “What happens now?” He takes the pawn with 22. dxe5, and I take with the Knight, 22… Nxe5, before he takes with the Knight, 23. Nxe5, and I take with the Rook, 23…Rxe5. “What do you think about the position now, Garry?” In a droll way he answers, “I have a weak d-pawn.”
The clock is ticking and there is not, thankfully, much time left in the hour, so the board is returned to the position after 21…Kf8 and the coach makes white’s next move, 22 g3, attacking the Bishop. Garry immediately retreats the Bishop to h6 and looks up with a grinning from ear to ear…

Position after 22…Bh6

And the coach thinks, “All is right with the world,” before perfunctorily going through the remainder of the game as quickly as possible so as to be able to go outside and smoke a cigarette or three after bidding them adieu…

GM Vladislav Kovalev (2637) FID vs
VLADISLAV KOVALEV: ¿Una Siciliana con 4. Dxd4? – Ajedrez …

GM Bobby Cheng (2552) AUS

Bobby Cheng
Bobby Cheng | Photo: Eric Rosen

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 03-02

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. h3 e6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 b6 11. Na3 a6 12. Nc2 b5 13. Qe2 Ng6 14. Bd2 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. Ne3 Bb7 17. Ng4 Rfe8 18. Qc2 h5 19. Ne3 Rac8 20. Qe2 Qd8 21. Rac1 Kf8 22. g3 Bh6 23. Nh4 b4 24. Qxh5 bxc3 25. Rxc3 Nxd4 26. Rxc8 Bxc8 27. Nf3 Qf6 28. Nxd4 Qxd4 29. Qe2 Bxe3 30. Qxe3 Qxe3 31. fxe3 Ke7 32. Rc1 Kd6 33. b4 e5 34. h4 Bb7 35. Kf2 Re6 36. Be2 d4 37. exd4 exd4 38. Rc5 Re3 39. Ra5 Rc3 40. Bxa6 Rc2+ 41. Ke1 Be4 42. Ra3 Rb2 43. Bc4 Rxb4 44. Ra6+ Kc5 45. Bb3 Rb7 46. Kd2 f5 47. Ra5+ Kd6 48. Ra6+ Kc5 49. Ra5+ Kd6 50. Ra6+ Kc5 ½-½
GRABE ANG LAWAK NG KAALAMAN SA OPENING || GM Carlsen (2872) – GM Kovalev(2660) ||Tata 20 #136

Hans Niemann’s World Open Trifecta

What a wonderful World Open for the new Grandmaster Hans Niemann! Over one thousand intrepid humans, not counting all those who accompanied some of them, traveled to Philadelphia at the end of June for the 49th Annual World Open; the 14th Annual Philadelphia International; and the 32nd Annual Blitz Championship.

Grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann
Hans Niemann

stole the show by tying for first place in each of the three tournaments. I have no idea if this is unprecedented and will leave it to readers to weigh in with the answer. Whether unprecedented or not it is quite an achievement.

Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-06-26 thru 2021-06-30

First-Third w/7 points/9 rounds
HANS NIEMANN 2651 ->2669
ANDREW HONG 2575 ->2595

49TH ANNUAL WORLD OPEN (202107054872)
Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-01 thru 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2669 ->2694


ANDREW HONG 2595 ->2616



Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2617 ->2616
ANDREW TANG 2639 ->2639

7/10 (8-16)

ANDREW HONG 2488 ->2480

Niemann, Hans Moke 2571 vs Zhou, Jianchao 2603

A80 Dutch

Round 9

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 (Here’s a shocker from the ChessBaseDataBase, Stockfish prefers 3 Bf4, which has only been played in 40 games in the CBDB, compared to 1536 for the move played in the game. In addition, 3 Bf4 has scored only 49% compared to the 58% shown after 3 Bg5! Go figure…)
    3…d5 4. Nf3 (Stockfish is high on the seldom played 4 e3 [287], while 4 Bxf6 [859] remains the most played move. 4 Nf3 has only been played 41 times) 4…e6 5. e3 (It is de rigueur to play this move)

5…Be7 (Far and away the most often played move [135 games], but is it the best? Stockfish prefers the seldom played [15 games] 5…Nbd7) 6. Bd3 (Komodo plays this move, which has been played in 105 games, by far more than any other move, but Stockfish 13 @Depth 32 plays 6 Ne2, which has only appeared in 6 games at the CBDB, scoring 58%. Going deeper to depth 37, SF 13 changes its [mind? opinion? thought process? algorithm? You tell me…] to 6 Be2, with 11 games in the CBDB. Unfortunately, 6 Be2 has scored only 23%) 6…O-O (This move has been played in 70 games in the CBDB, with white scoring 69%. Now I don’t know about you, but if sitting behind the black pieces I would give some serious consideration to, a) not getting to this position, or b) playing another move! Stockfish 12 played this move, but SF 13 went with 6…c5. In the 13 games contained in the CBDB white scored 73%. This caused Stockfish 14 to attempt 6…Ne4. In the 13 games at the CBDB white has scored 69%. Let us go back to the move, 5…Nbd7, preferred by both Stockfish 12 & 13. White has scored only 50%! But wait…there’s MORE! Deep Fritz, at only depth 23, would play 5…a6. “Say what”? you’re thinking…You are not the only one! Here’s the deal…The CBDB contains 34 games with 5…a6, with white scoring only 47%!!! What does Deep Fritz know and when did it know it?!) 7. O-O (SF prefers 7 Ne2) 7…h6 (SF 13 plays 7…c5; SF 14 prefers 7…Ne4) 8. Bh4 (SF & Houdini prefer 8 Bf4) 8…c5 (TN) 9. dxc5 Nc6 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. Ne2 Nxc5 12. a3 Bf6 13. Rb1 e5 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nd2 Be6 16. Nb3 b6 17. f4 Nxg3 18. hxg3 e4 19. Bb5 Ne7 20. Ned4 Bd7 21. Ba6 Rb8 22. c4 dxc4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Qe2 Qe8 25. Rfd1 Qg6 26. Kf2 Rfd8 27. b5 Qe8 28. Rd2 g6 29. Rbd1 h5 30. a4 Rbc8 31. Be6 Bxe6 32. Nxe6 Rxd2 33. Qxd2 Ng8 34. Ned4 Qf7 35. Rc1 Rc4 36. Qa2 Nh6 37. Ke2 Qd5 38. Qd2 Ng4 39. Rc2 Rxa4 40. Qc3 Kh7 41. Qc6 Qg8 42. Qb7+ Kh6 43. Rc8 Ra2+ 44. Ke1 Qg7 45. Rc7 Qh8 46. Rc8 Qg7 47. Rc7 Qh8 48. Rc8 1/2-1/2

Lai, Hing Ting (2447) vs Sandipan, Chanda (2548)
Event: Condigne Dutch Open 2018
Site: Dieren NED Date: 08/02/2018
Round: 9.11
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O h6 8.Bh4 Nbd7 9.Ne2 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Qd2 Nxg3 12.Nxg3 Bd6 13.c4 c6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Rac1 Qf6 16.Rc2 Nb8 17.Rfc1 Nc6 18.a3 Bd7 19.Ne2 g4 20.Ne1 f4 21.e4 Qg7 22.e5 Be7 23.f3 h5 24.Bb5 gxf3 25.Bxc6 f2+ 26.Kxf2 Bh4+ 27.Kg1 Bxe1 28.Rxe1 f3 29.Nf4 Bxc6 30.Rf1 Qh6 31.Rxf3 Rf5 32.Qe3 Kh7 33.Rcf2 Raf8 34.g3 h4 35.g4 Qg5 36.h3 Kh6 37.Kg2 Ba4 38.Qc1 Bb5 39.Ne2 Bxe2 40.Qxg5+ Kxg5 41.gxf5 Bxf3+ 42.Rxf3 Rxf5 43.Rxf5+ ½-½

The Chess Game Of The Year: The Raven Versus Lucky Luka

To begin we must enter the time machine and go back…to the blog post of July 15, “2 Qe2, here we go!” (
It had been my intention to post this immediately after the above post, but circumstances changed…This was how the post was to begin:

Raven Sturt Leads Paracin Open

American IM Raven Sturt,h_563,q_75,strp/teen_titans_wallpaper___raven_by_wood3nh3art_d86yawc-fullview.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9NTYzIiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvZmUwZmM5NDktODhkMS00ZmJhLWE5MjktNTRlZjUxMTQ0MDg1XC9kODZ5YXdjLTQ5YjE3ODBlLTcwYzYtNDliMy1iZGY3LWFlMDE0ZDRlZDFhNS5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9OTAwIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmltYWdlLm9wZXJhdGlvbnMiXX0.B6wqvjrahkCve2pgssVxkXS0odkvup7V_xbA54_01Iw

just moments ago defeated his Grandmaster opponent Luka Budisavljevic (2509)
Lucky Luke : Shoot & Hit (2014) – Jeu vidéo – SensCritique

of Serbia to take sole possession of first place in the Paracin Open taking place in Serbia ( After returning from the grocery store and resting I became enraptured with the game; transfixed for hours while swilling coffee. This was a thrilling game with more vicissitudes than the saga of the Trumpster! At one point I was yelling out loud, “Oh NO, Mr. Bill!!!” There were other moves that brought out a, “YES!” There may even have been a, “Take that, Luka!” There were times where I was pumping my fist and then feeling deflated like a balloon…You know it was one hellofa fight when the winner comes out looking like this:
Raven Sturt

As in pugilism when two players decide to fight it out in lieu of agreeing to a pusillanimous draw there is the combatant who lost the game,

but he is no loser because the only losers are those who do not play, because, as the song by Jackson Browne says: “The only time that seems too short/Is the time that we get to play” (

I have been following Raven Sturt for the first five rounds of the Paracin Open. What can I say? Raven is carrying the colors in a foreign land, and has been playing some good Chess that has been worth watching. I got caught up in the game and had a wonderful time today, the first in a week!
I wish the game had been at The Week In Chess ( because although it appeared at and, I would prefer to watch a game without any kind of commentary or analysis. One can block the analysis at Chess24, but there is some white thing that moves around informing you of how good, or bad is the move. I cut a piece of cardboard and taped it on the computer screen to block out the needless, and useless moving thingamajig…Why is it necessary to go through those contortions?

After the Z Man’s 2 Qe2 put down the young Ravi Haria my complete attention was focused on the Raven’s game with Lucky Luka. Watching the two games was about all I did that day, and I am still here to tell you that I am a fortunate man to have been able to do so…What can I say? I got into it like watching Joe Frazier battle the G.O.A.T., Muhammad Ali.

The game transpired in at the Paracin Open in Serbia.
Great location

Paracin has excellent location in the middles of Serbia. Distance from Belgrade Airport is app. 170 km and from Nis Airport app. 80 km. We  can offer transfer to all interested participants.

I urge you to play over this game and THINK FOR YOURSELF. Break out the Chess board and move the pieces around while you take notes before going to one of the aforementioned websites and being spoon fed…You will learn more and be better for it in the long run…

These are the combatants:

I’m Luka Budisavljevic, the youngest Serbian Grandmaster ever. I fulfilled the conditions for GM Title at the age of 16. I was Serbian youth champion 6 times (U8 to U14) from 2012 to 2017 and Serbian U20 vice champion twice, at the age of 14 and 15. I represented Serbia on numerous European and World youth chess championships, as well as U16 World Youth Olympiads 2018 and 2019.

I’m IM Raven Sturt from the USA. I like chess, working out, and learning languages. Some career highlights include making International Master in 2017 and being the most recent (2019) champion of the Catalan Circuit. Currently some of my goals are to make Grand Master, learn Turkish, and, Corona-permitting, doing the 2021 Iron Man. (
Montclair Sopranos – PRO CHESS LEAGUE

IM Raven Sturt (2500) USA vs GM Luka Budisavljevic (2509) GM SRB

Paracin Open 2021 round 06

A61 Benoni, Nimzovich (knight’s tour) variation

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 10. O-O a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. Re1 Ne5 13. f4 Neg4 14. Bf3 h5 15. Nc4 Nh7 16. Bxg4 Bxg4 17. Qd3 Bd4+ 18. Be3 Qf6 19. h3 Bd7 20. Nb6 Bxe3+ 21. Qxe3 Rad8 22. Rad1 Qg7 23. Nc4 Bc8 24. Qg3 f6 25. a5 Kh8 26. Kh2 g5 27. f5 Qe7 28. Kg1 Rg8 29. Re3 h4 30. Qh2 Rg7 31. Rde1 Qc7 32. Kh1 Qe7 33. R1e2 Rgg8 34. Kg1 Rg7 35. Kf1 Rgg8 36. Ke1 Rg7 37. Kd2 Nf8 38. Kc2 Nh7 39. Re1 Qc7 40. Kc1 Qe7 41. Rh1 Qf8 42. g3 Bd7 43. gxh4 Bb5 44. Nb6 gxh4 45. Qf2 Qe7 46. Qxh4 Qe5 47. Rf3 Rdg8 48. Rd1 Rg1 49. Qf2 R1g2 50. Qe3 Qh2 51. Nba4 Rc2+ 52. Kb1 Rgg2 53. Ka1 Qe5 54. Rg1 Bxa4 55. Rxg2 Rxg2 56. Nxa4 Qe8 57. Nc3 Qd8 58. Rg3 Qxa5+ 59. Kb1 Rxg3 60. Qxg3 Qc7 61. h4 Qe7 62. Qe3 Nf8 63. Ne2 Kh7 64. Nf4 Nd7 65. Ne6 Ne5 66. Qb3 b5 67. Qa3 Qa7 68. Qa5 Nf7 69. h5 c4 70. Qe1 Ne5 71. Qg3 Qe7 72. Qa3 Qf7 73. Qxa6 Qxh5 74. Qb7+ Nf7 75. Ka2 c3 76. bxc3 Kh6 77. Qxb5 Qd1 78. Ka3 Qa1+ 79. Kb4 Qb2+ 80. Ka5 Qxc3+ 81. Ka6 Qc8+ 82. Qb7 Qe8 83. Qc6 Qe7 84. Qc3 Ng5 85. Qg3 Kh7 86. Qh4+ Kg8 87. Qf4 Kf7 88. Qh4 Kg8 89. Kb6 Qe8 90. Nxg5 Qd8+ 91. Kc6 fxg5 92. Qh5 Qc8+ 93. Kxd6 Qd8+ 94. Ke6 Qc8+ 95. Kf6 Qd8+ 96. Kg6 Qe8+ 97. Kxg5 Qe7+ 98. Kf4 Qc7+ 99. Kg4 Qc2 100. Kg5 Qc1+ 101. Kg6 Qc7 102. f6 Qd7 103. Qf5 Qf7+ 104. Kg5 Kh8 105. Qh3+ Kg8 106. Qe6 Kh8 107. Qe7 Qg6+ 108. Kxg6 1-0
  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 (There is a battle between Stockfish 13, Stockfish 14, and Stockfish 110521, as to the best third move. SF 13 @depth 64, and SF 14 @depth 55, play the game move, but SF110521 going about as deep as possible without blowing circuits, all the way to depth 73, would play 3 Nc3) 3…c5 (According to the CBDB SF 13 @depth 75 would play 3…d5, but going down one more fathom it changes its computing, switching to 3…b6. Go figure…) 4. d5 d6 (Two different Stockfish programs and Deep Fritz all play 4…b5, which oughta tell you something…) 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Nd2 (Komodo, Fritz & Deep Fritz all play 7 Bf4. No word from the Fish…) 7…Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 (SF 11 @depth 45 plays this move, but the same program going 3 ply deeper changes to 9…Ne8. Meanwhile, SF 080121 @depth 52 plays 9…Na6) 10. O-O a6 (Komodo plays the most often played move, 10…Nbd7; Two different SF programs prefer 10…Na6) 11. a4 Nbd7 (SF 310720 & Fritz 15 play this, but SF 12 would play 11…h6, a move not contained in the CBDB) 12. Re1 (SF 280421 @depth 50 shows 12 h3; SF 310720 @depth 42 plays 12 f3. There are only 15 examples of this move in the CBDB) 12…Ne5 (SF plays this; Komodo prefers 12…Rb8) 13. f4 (SF 10 @depth 37 plays 13 Nf1; SF 12 @depth 29 gives 13 h3) 13…Neg4 14. Bf3 h5 (Although recommended by Stockfish there are no games with this move having been played contained in the CBDB) 15. Nc4 Nh7 (TN)

Gheorghiu, Florin (2535) vs Liu Wenzhe (2400)
Event: Luzern ol (Men)
Site: Luzern Date:1982
Round: 5
ECO: A61 Benoni, Nimzovich (knight’s tour) variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.Nd2 Nbd7 8.e4 Bg7 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Re8 11.a4 Ne5 12.Re1 a6 13.f4 Neg4 14.Bf3 h5 15.Nc4 Nxe4 16.Rxe4 Bd4+ 17.Rxd4 cxd4 18.Ne4 Qh4 19.Ncxd6 Qxh2+ 20.Kf1 Bf5 21.Nxf5 gxf5 22.Nf2 d3 23.Qxd3 h4 24.Qxf5 Qg1+ 0-1

Dedicated to the Legendary Georgia Ironman

Masking Up At The World Cup

The Ironman called yesterday afternoon asking if I knew anything about what was happening at the World Cup in Sochi what with games ending prematurely and some not beginning, etc. After devoting much time following the Royal game the past few days (proof will be in the next two posts, unless there is more Breaking News!) I was in a daze and decided to ‘pull lite’ yesterday in an attempt at recharging and had just awakened from a nap and started my third cuppa Joe when the phone rang. Next thing I know the Ironman had sent me a link and I was taking part in a Chess lesson in which a young fellow was treated to a free hour, to go with the earlier paid hour, of Chess by two old curmudgeonly coaches. The game the student chose was between Sasa Martinovic

and World Champion Magnus Carlsen at the World Cup.
Keeping the mask on — world champion Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Anastasiia Korolkova

The above picture was found at ChessBase ( this morning and it is a sign of the times.

We have been here before and will, no doubt be here again. In my post of April 28, 2021, I Took The Vaccine ( I wrote about the world wide flu pandemic, called the Spanish Flu, even though there is much evidence it began in the USA, and how people that wore a mask would collectively take them off and later put them back on, with this continuing until the last time when the flu had run its course and the people were back to a state of being without “masking up.”

The World Cup was a mistake, just as attempting the Olympic Games will be a terrible mistake. Why would intelligent people make stupid decisions like this?

The President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich
As close as the Dvork gets to Chess

does not call the shots or make any major decision when it comes to FIDE and Chess. The small man who is the Big Dog in Russia makes all the major decisions that are to be made, and not just in Chess. Everyone below him is afraid of making a wrong decision, just as in the daze of Stalin, so they abdicate to King Putin
SmirKing Vlad

The Chess world was fortunate there were no casualties at the resumption of the Candidates tournament but that does not mean it was the correct decision to resume play. It was obviously wrong to hold the World Cup and I would give long odds on the World Cup being completed. Word on the street is that the players are SCARED to DEATH! Another way to put it is that they are FRIGHTENED OUT OF THEIR MINDS! Most probably top players will book passage home, if able, and get the hell out of Dodge ASAP!

“2 Qe2, here we go!”

Let me begin by returning to Tuesday morning, July 13, which began at o’dark thirty, specifically, 6:30 am. After a botched root canal exactly one week prior (it seems much longer) I had been down for the count. The spurts of energy had not been long lasting, which is why I’ve posted things that have required little time or thought. I was working on a book review that should have been out long ago, and other Chess related posts, but then a tooth began causing a problem. This was after taking the first of two shots of the Covid vaccine. I decided to ‘ride it out’ while hoping to be able to wait until two weeks after the second shot, as recommended, before seeing a dentist. By the time I made it to the dental office I was in pain, boss, The PAIN! Fortunately the pain was quelled with drugs. I was informed a root canal operation would be required, but because they were booked I would have to wait until September. Fortunately, or maybe not, depending, there was a cancellation and I was roto-rooted on Tuesday, the sixth of July, exactly one week from where we begin this story…

There was a powerful storm Monday night, July 12, that knocked out all contact with the world; no internet or TV, so I went to bed early. After breakfast I was giving strong consideration to crawling back into bed when the Ironman called, informing me that Zvjaginsev had played Qe2 against the French defense of Ravi Haria, in a “win or go home game.” Immediately I saw a post for that day in my head. I began watching the game, but then had to break in order to purchase some food at the local grocery store. Upon my return my attention was devoted to the C00 French, Chigorin variation, as it is known at

The chat from Da Bomb says it all…

zluria: Z man in a must win situation. He used to play all kinds of crazy stuff back in the day
zluria: 2 Qe2, here we go!
zluria: Idea: if Black continues on autopilot with 2… d5 then after exd5 Black can’t recapture with the pawn.
zluria: Ok Black is out of book.
Rhinegold: fucky lucky vadim but ok good fighting choice
Rhinegold: very drawish, 48w
zluria: Wow, good going Z-man! see you tomorrow 🙂

I love the part about the Z-man “playing crazy stuff back in the day.” The Z man is only in his mid forties. You wanna know about ‘back in the day’? I will tell you all you wanna know about ‘back in the day’… And yes, I have followed the Z Man with interest for decades because he has played “all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2608)

vs Ravi Haria (2440)

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 01-02

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. d3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. g3 Nc6 8. Bg2 (TN See Kislinsky vs Polivanov below for 8 Bh3) 8…b5 9. O-O Bb7 10. Re1 h6 11. h5 b4 12. Bf4 a5 13. c4 Nb6 14. Nbd2 Qd7 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Ne4 Nxf4 17. gxf4 Ba6 18. Rad1 Rd8 19. Nfd2 O-O 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Nb3 Qa7 22. Ng3 Nd4 23. Nxa5 Bb5 24. Nc4 Bxc4 25. dxc4 Qxa2 26. f5 Qxb2 27. Be4 Rde8 28. Kh1 Qxf2 29. Rf1 Qe3 30. Rxd4 cxd4 31. fxe6 Qg5 32. Qxg5 Bxg5 33. Rxf7 Bf4 34. Nf5 Bxe5 35. Ne7 Bd6 36. Ng6+ Kg8 37. Rd7 Bc5 38. e7 Bxe7 39. Nxe7+ Kf7 40. Ng6+ Kf6 41. Rd6+ Kg5 42. Rd5+ Kg4 43. Rxd4 Rf3 44. Kg2 Re3 45. Bc6+ Kxh5 46. Nf4+ Kg5 47. Bxe8 Rxe8 48. c5 b3 49. Rb4 Re3 50. c6 Rc3 51. c7 Kf5 52. Nd5 Rc2+ 53. Kf3 Ke5 54. Rb5 Kd4 55. Nf4 Rc3+ 56. Kg4 Ke4 57. Ne6 Rc4 58. Rc5 1-0

1.e4 e6 2. Qe2 (Two different Komodo programs show the most frequently played move, 2 d4, but Stockfish 13, going deep to depth 74, chooses the seldom played 2 Nc3, which has only scored 51% according to the CBDB. I kid you not!) 2…Be7 (This is Komodo’s choice; Stockfish plays 2…c5) 3. Nf3 (Both Komodo and Houdini play 3 d4, but Deep Fritz plays the game move) 3…d5 4. d3 (Houdini and Deep Fritz play this move, which has 209 games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Stockfish 13 @depth 31 would play 4 d4, a move attempted only once according to the CBDB) 4…Nf6 5. e5 (SF & the Dragon prefer 5 g3) 5…Nfd7 6. h4 c5

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2635) vs Sergey Volkov (2594)
Event: 16th TCh-RUS Premier
Site: Dagomys RUS Date: 04/08/2009
Round: 5 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 b5 7.g3 c5 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.O-O a5 10.a4 b4 11.c4 bxc3 12.bxc3 Nb6 13.Bf4 c4 14.d4 Bd7 15.h5 h6 16.g4 Na7 17.Qc2 Bc6 18.Bg3 Qd7 19.Kh2 Bxa4 20.Qe2 Nb5 21.Nh4 Bb3 22.f4 a4 23.f5 a3 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Ng6 Rg8 26.Nxe7 Qxe7 27.Nd2 Na4 28.Nxb3 Naxc3 29.Qc2 cxb3 30.Qxb3 a2 31.Be1 Ra3 32.Qb2 Qa7 33.Rf3 Rf8 34.Bxc3 Rxf3 35.Qxb5+ Qd7 36.Qb8+ Qd8 37.Qb5+ Qd7 38.Qb8+ Qd8 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.Bxf3 Rxc3 41.Bxd5 exd5 42.Rxa2 Rd3 43.Ra4 Ke7 44.Kg2 Kf7 45.Kf2 g5 46.Ke2 Rg3 47.Ra7+ Kg8 48.Rd7 Rxg4 49.Rxd5 Rh4 50.Rd6 Kf7 51.Rf6+ Ke7 52.Ke3 Rxh5 53.d5 g4 54.Kf4 Rh1 55.d6+ Ke8 56.Kxg4 h5+ 57.Kf5 Kd7 58.Rf7+ Kc6 59.Ke6 h4 60.Rc7+ Kb6 61.Rc8 1-0

Vadim Zvjaginsev’s Amazing Immortal Chess Game! – “The Pearl of Wijk aan Zee” – Brilliancy!

Chess Dirty Laundry Begins To Smell

The Chess world has been rocked by a breaking story in the New York Times in which the Grandmaster Sergei Karjakin, who narrowly lost a match for the World Championship with the World Champion Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen

has been shown to be both a cheater and a pusillanimous traitor to his own country when Russia illegally invaded and annexed Crimea. In addition, the questions posed by this writer in the recent post, American Abhimanyu Mishra Wins Vezerkepzo GM Mix 2021 Tournament To Become The Youngest Chess Grandmaster In History ( have been answered, and like a dead skunk it stinks to high heaven. Maybe now the rumors that have been around for many years about a certain International Master who gave up his quest to become a Grandmaster, before becoming an accomplished master of a little known form of the martial arts, after serious allegations were made about how he obtained the title by winning against a player who has subsequently changed his name. Let it all hang out.

The Dark Side of Chess: Payoffs, Points and 12-Year-Old Grandmasters

By Ivan Nechepurenko and Misha Friedman

This question is posed: When is a grandmaster’s title less than grand?

It is an open secret in chess that many players cut side deals with tournament organizers and other top competitors that help them achieve norms they might have struggled to get legitimately.

This culture touched the Momot club. Many of its members acquired their grandmaster credentials in Crimea, at tournaments in places like Sudak and Alushta that were known as “norm factories” — where, for as little as $1,000, organizers would make sure players accumulated enough points for a norm.

But there were other, more subtle, ways to succeed, too. Far from prying eyes, secret agreements and cash exchanges to arrange results were not uncommon, according to interviews with chess players and FIDE officials. In a sport so wholly obsessed with status, title and rank, even selling a game could be accomplished for the right price.

Mikhail Zaitsev, who achieved the rank of International Master and is now a chess coach, estimated that of the world’s roughly 1,900 living grandmasters, at least 10 percent have cheated one way or another to acquire the title. Shohreh Bayat, one of the leading arbiters in chess, describes such arrangements in the plainest terms. “Match fixing,” she said, “is cheating.” Some hopefuls didn’t even have to play a game of chess to get the points they needed: Some tournaments, she said, took place only on paper.

None of this is lost on the sport’s frustrated leaders.

“We have a dog called Pasquales,” said Nigel Short,
Nigel Short To Run For FIDE President –

the vice president of FIDE. “I believe it is possible that if I went to the effort, I think I could get my dog a grandmaster’s title.”

The Great Silk Road tournament, where Karjakin became the world’s youngest grandmaster in 2002, was held in the picturesque town of Sudak on the Black Sea. It was a mess, according to interviews with five people who were there.T

The winner was Vasily Malinin. How he won was another matter. Aleksandr Areshchenko, a young player at the time, said Malinin paid Areshchenko’s mother in exchange for a victory in their match. Another player, Nazar Firman, said he was also paid.

Malinin, who died in November, always denied paying for results. But in a letter published in Russian on an obscure chess website, he acknowledged playing an unusual role in the Sudak tournament.

The most notable game, he said, was one he agreed to lose.

Malinin told the story this way in his letter:

With Karjakin’s title as the world’s youngest grandmaster slipping away after his unexpected draw with Semyonova, Karjakin’s father, Aleksandr, approached several players to whom his son had lost points and offered them money to replay their games. Firman said he was among those to receive an offer of cash for an arranged draw.

Malinin, who had points to spare, agreed to replay his game with Karjakin. He said he did so for free and therefore did not consider it cheating. The two replayed a game that normally would have taken up to six hours; in the replay, Malinin said, it was played “in a blitz” — a high-speed variant of chess. Karjakin won.

Minutes later, the newly crowned grandmaster ran into the tournament’s main hall, radiant and proud as “a peacock,” according to Areshchenko, who was present.

Asked about the episode in an interview with The New York Times, Karjakin said he would ask his father about it. He later said that he is not in touch with his father and had no further information about the tournament. Phone calls and text messages sent to Karjakin’s parents were not answered.

The fruits of Karjakin’s victory, though, came quickly. The next year, he played at the tournament in Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands, a town known as the Wimbledon of chess. In Paris, he joined the prestigious NAO chess club. Only a few months earlier, Karjakin had traveled to tournaments in Europe by bus. Now, as the world’s youngest grandmaster, he was greeted by the president of Mexico.

“I was just swarmed with invitations,” Karjakin said in an interview, talking about the aftermath. “I became widely popular.”

Competing against the world’s best players, Karjakin progressed rapidly. By October 2005, when he was 15, he was already ranked among the top 50 players in the world. In 2016, at the World Chess Championship in New York, he was on the cusp of becoming world champion before losing to Norway’s Carlsen, considered the world’s best player then and now, in a tiebreaker. And for more than 18 years, Karjakin, now 31, held a title no one could match: the world’s youngest grandmaster.

The stain of what had happened in the Sudak tournament, however, has lingered. There were rumors about the event in the chess world, but no one seemed interested in pursuing them. Several participants in the tournament said that Karjakin had not achieved his grandmaster’s title by the book, but that, for them, it was just a fact of chess life.

Areshchenko, a stronger player than Karjakin at the time and his classmate in a chess club, said that his coaches had told him to play a draw with Karjakin to make sure he got the youngest-grandmaster title on time.

“He could not do it honestly,” Areshchenko said of Karjakin. “I played better than him at the time, and it was tough for me to become a grandmaster then.”

In an interview, Karjakin denied offering payoffs or making side deals. He said it was Malinin who had tried to extort money from his family for simply playing a game that they had agreed to postpone, not replay. After Karjakin’s father refused to pay, Malinin got mad and “made up all that mess,” he said.

“My father came to him and told him that he has to go and play with me,” Karjakin said of Malinin. “In any case, nobody would engage in negotiations with young children.”

Many chess players say making side deals in chess is essentially harmless. But to others, Karjakin’s career has demonstrated that is not the case.

Karjakin, however, has thrived. In 2009, President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia granted him citizenship. In 2014, Karjakin sided with Russia against his native Ukraine by openly supporting its annexation of Crimea. In Crimea, he posed in a T-shirt bearing the face of Vladimir V. Putin, of whom he was by then a prominent and vocal supporter.

On the last day of June, 18 years after he had claimed it, Karjakin surrendered the title that had launched his career.

His successor as the youngest grandmaster in history, a young boy from New Jersey named Abhimanyu Mishra, broke the record by two months, gaining the title at the age of 12 years 4 months 25 days. Mishra and his father are hoping the achievement will do for him what it did for Karjakin.
Abhimanyu Mishra, at the age of 12 years 4 months 25 days, broke the record for youngest grandmaster.Credit…International Chess Federation

Like Karjakin’s parents more than two decades ago, Mishra’s father, Hemant, had a lot at stake in seeing his son claim the title. He said he spent more than $270,000 on making his son the world’s youngest grandmaster, and he had been collecting donations online to make their chess dream come true. The small advantages that the money could buy — in scheduling, in opposition, in timing — began to add up as he closed in on his final norm.

Mishra, who described Karjakin as his idol, played in five so-called norm tournaments in Charlotte, N.C., in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 but did not achieve a single norm. With the deadline to beat Karjakin’s record bearing down, he and his father next traveled to Budapest, where Abhimanyu Mishra played eight tournaments in a row.

At these tournaments, norm-seekers paid the organizers, who in turn paid grandmasters to show up, a legal and common arrangement in professional chess. But the quality was not the same; the average rating of Mishra’s opponents in the Budapest events was nearly 50 points lower than it had been in Charlotte.

In an interview, Arkady Dvorkovich, the president of FIDE, said that there is little sportsmanship at such tournaments. That is partly because the grandmasters, often aging players long past their prime, often lack the motivation to work hard to beat their opponents. “The motivation was quite low for me,” said Vojtech Plat, one of the grandmasters who played.

At the Budapest tournaments, Mishra had the added advantage of playing against the same group of grandmasters again and again, which allowed him to learn their tactics and styles.

Gabor Nagy, a Hungarian grandmaster, played against Mishra in six of the tournaments in Budapest. (In Charlotte, no grandmaster played in more than three tournaments.) In one match, they agreed on a draw after 13 moves, and in another, after only six. To chess experts, this was an indication that the matches were not seriously contested. But in playing them, Mishra accumulated a precious half-point toward his goal in a matter of minutes.

In another tournament, Mishra played three games in a day, his father said. FIDE rules, which seek to protect players from overexertion in the grueling sport, set a limit of two games a day. By the time Mishra had usurped Karjakin’s throne, he had played 70 games of chess in only 78 days.

“It begins to smell,” Bruce Pandolfini, an accomplished American coach, said of the effort to chase the youngest grandmaster title using those methods.

Lightning Strike Kills 18 Selfie Takers

Lightning strike kills 18 selfie takers on tourist tower in Jaipur

By Hannah Sparks July 12, 2021

A lightning strike killed 18 people Sunday when a bolt blasted a watchtower where tourists were snapping storm selfies in Jaipur, India.
A lightning strike captured in Jaipur on Sunday was one of many to kill dozens of Indians this weekend as a storm system tore through the country’s northern states.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

There were a total of 27 individuals at the top of the 12th-century Amer Fort, the popular tourist attraction where the strike occurred, according to BBC News.

Some of the victims leaped to the ground as the lightning came down, and law enforcement officials have reported that most of them were young people.

Video captured by Reuters TV partner ANI showed empty shoes left by the dead.
Discarded shoes of the victims remain after the incident.

Kasparov Goes Down Like Rotgut!

Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov at 58 years of age continues to make news at the Chess board. Whether it being the first World Chess Champion to lose a match to a computer program, ( or cheating against the strongest female Chess player of all time, Judit Polgar, (

Kasparov refuses to go gently into that good night…

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

lost in without getting out of the opening playing black against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

A phone call from an excited Ironman, who happened to be between online lessons, and was watching some of the “action,” gave notice that something big was happening in the world of Chess. I care nothing for blitz Chess, or anything other than what has come to be called “classical” Chess, because playing good Chess requires thought, and if you do not have time to cogitate what is the point? Nevertheless, when a former World Chess Champ losses like a beginner it makes news all around the world. I decided to wait until after having my morning cuppa coffee before checking the usual suspects, TWIC, Chessbase, Chess24, and Chessdom. Sometimes I surf on over to and today was one of those days, which was a good thing because the first video found during a search at proclaimed erroneously that Kasparov had lost in 10 moves:

This is false. As ignominious as it sounds, Garry Kasparov actually lost after playing only 6 moves:

[Event “GCT Blitz Croatia 2021”]
[Site “Zagreb CRO”]
[Date “2021.07.10”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Mamedyarov,S”]
[Black “Kasparov,G”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2782”]
[BlackElo “2812”]
[EventDate “2021.07.05”]
[ECO “D20”]

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 e5 4. Nf3 exd4 5. Bxc4 Nf6 6. Qb3 Qe7 7. O-O 1-0

This was found at The Week In Chesswebsite:

Below you can find all the gory details, which was located at, including a very short loss by former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand

Still got it — Vishy Anand | Photo: Lennart Ootes

to a player who now resides in the Great State of Georgia, GM Alonso Zapata,
Play a Grandmaster at the Atlanta Chess Club | Georgia …

explained by the Australian GM Max Illingworth:

Illingworth Chess

Garry Kasparov was born in 1963. He was eligible to play in the World Senior Championship eight years ago. I have often wondered why a player such as Kasparov, or Anatoly Karpov, has not deigned to participate in a Senior event for the good of Chess. Maybe it is time Garry consider playing in a Senior event.

In the 1983 Candidates Finals a young Garry Kasparov faced former World Chess Champion Vassily Smyslov for the right to contest a World Championship match with the then World Champ Anatoly Karpov. The fact that Smyslov made it to the final was almost beyond belief. The Chess world was astounded that someone so old could play well enough to face the young whipper-snapper, Kasparov. Granted, Smyslov was given no chance of defeating Kasparov by the pundits, but just getting to the finals was a victory of sorts. The older I have become the more amazing it seems…