The Rest Of The Story

Kudos to Walter High for finding the answer to this conundrum!

From: Walter High

Walter High with his organiser ‘hat’ on | Photo: Davide Nastasio

To: Michael Bacon

Jan 19 at 9:14 PM

Hello Michael,

I believe I have solved the confusion about the questionable Paul/Zapata game in round 9. First a correction for GM Zapata: he identified the tournament as the 2020 NC Open when, in fact, it was the 2020 Charlotte Open. The 2020 NC Open will take place in August! Now, on to the problem of the mysterious game score which is denied by GM Zapata. When I began to review the game that ChessBomb posted for Paul/Zapata game (based on the DGT board record), it bore absolutely no resemblance to the game that GM Zapata has submitted to you. It clearly is not a matter of an error in score-keeping or a DGT board mis-recording of the moves. They are completely different games.

I went back and looked at the board next to Paul/Zapata which was Grant Xu/Christopher Yoo. Lo and behold: that game also matched move for move the game that ChessBomb used for Paul/Zapata. It appears that somehow the Xu/Yoo game got pasted on top of the Paul/Zapata game, thus erasing the true game score of Paul/Zapata and moves for the Xu/Yoo game were used as the DGT record for both matches. I am copying Peter Giannatos, Grant Oen, and Anand Dommalapati who were operating the DGT boards. They can follow your link below and see the true game score as submitted by GM Zapata. Maybe they can paste it into the results, or possibly Paul/Zapata will just have to be deleted from the DGT record. I don’t know how these things work. Note to Giannatos, Oen, Dommalapati: I found the DGT board score for Paul/Zapata on Chessstream.

Walter High

Boomer 1 Zero 0

The title of this post was considered, but rejected,  for use with the previous post. After posting I sent an email to the subject of the post, GM Alsonso Zapata. His reply shocked me:

From: Alonso Zapata
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 17 at 8:15 PM

Dear Michael Bacon.

Thanks for your kind article! Although my game against Justin Paul is wrong – at the NC Open in Charlotte-. You will find attached (in ChessBase format) the real game I played.

Warm regards,

Alonso Zapata

WHAT?! I took the game from the ChessBomb, usually a reliable source of Chess games. (

How could this happen?

Then another email was received from a regular reader, an older gentleman of distinction, in which he wrote:

“I do not understand your reference to his opponent, 16 year old Justin Paul, as Zero. I am assuming this is derogatory. Is there a reason to disparage him thusly?”

Oh Boy! It was my turn to “assume” and you know what happens when one decides to “ass-u-me.” I assumed everyone would think of Time’s person of the year, Greta Thunberg,

and her replying to an older person with, “OK, Boomer.” My reply explained this and in return came this:

“Thank you for the clarification! Although I was aware of the young lady and her cause, I did not follow any of it in detail, thus missing the reference to those born in this century as “zeros.” I find most news these days not worthy of more than fleeting attention. That is why I thought calling someone a zero was a disparaging remark as I suppose it would have been 20 years ago. I appreciate your time in helping me edge toward the 21st century!!”

We Boomers obviously need all the help we can get…

This morning I opened my email and read this one first:

From: Walter High
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 18 at 9:06 PM.


I believe I have discovered where the ChessBomb game record originated. I have just played through the game as it was recorded by the DGT board that was in use. It matches the ChessBomb record of the game. If GM Zapata has a different game score, then somehow either the DGT board recording of the moves is incorrect or his scorekeeping is incorrect.
Not sure what happens with the DGT if they make a mistake and have to take back moves or change the location of pieces during the game.


I am still attempting to ascertain exactly what happened, and why, and so are other people. If anyone reading this works with ChessBomb, or knows someone, anyone, who is affiliated with ChessBomb, please inform them of this. With the above in mind, here is the actual game played in the final round sent by GM Zapata:

Paul v Zapata

2020 NC Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 Rf6 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.cxb5 b6 25. Bc4+ Kh8 26. Bd5 Rb8 27.Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4 axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.Rc8 Nd4 40. Bd5 Rd7 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5 45. Rf8 e3+ 46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

This is how it looks in Chessbase form:

[Event “2020 NC Open”]
[Site “Charlotte”]
[Date “2020.01.05”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Paul, Justin “]
[Black “Zapata, Alonso”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B21”]
[Annotator “Zapata,Alonso”]
[PlyCount “92”]
[EventDate “2020.??.??”]
[EventCountry “USA”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.
Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 (
14… Nc5 15. Rfd1 Be5 16. b3 e6 17. Bd4 Qb6 18. Kh1 Rfd8 19. a3 Qc7 20. b4
axb4 21. axb4 Na4 22. Bxe5 dxe5 23. Qe3 Nxc3 24. Qxc3 Ra2 25. Bf1 Rxd1 26. Rxd1
b6 27. Qd3 Ba4 28. Qd8+ Qxd8 29. Rxd8+ Kg7 30. Ra8 Kf6 31. Kg1 Bb3 32. Rxa2
Bxa2 33. Kf2 Bb3 34. Ke3 Ke7 35. Kd2 Kd6 36. h4 {1/2-1/2 (36) Sumets,A (2568)
-Vorobiov,E (2547) Nova Gorica 2018}) 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 $2 $146 (16…
Re8 17. Rc2 e5 18. Rd1 Bf8 19. Nd5 Bg7 20. Bg5 f6 21. Be3 Ne6 22. Nb6 Rb8 23.
Qxd6 Qxd6 24. Rxd6 f5 25. c5 Nd4 26. Rd2 fxe4 27. fxe4 Bf8 28. Bc4+ Kh8 29.
R2xd4 Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Bxe4 31. Bg5 h5 32. Bf6+ Kh7 33. Rd7+ Kh6 34. h4 g5 35.
Bxg5+ Kg6 36. Bf7+ Kf5 37. Bxe8 Rxe8 38. Nc4 {1-0 (38) Larrea,M (2274)
-Saralegui Cassan,M (2111) Montevideo 2017}) (16… Qa5 17. Kh1 (17. b4 axb3
18. axb3 Qa3 $11) 17… Rfe8 $11) 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 (19…
e6 20. Nf4 e5 21. Nd5 (21. Nh5 f4 22. Bxc5 (22. Bf2 Bh8 23. Rbd1 Rd7 (23… Qg5
24. Ng3 Rd7 $11)) 22… dxc5 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Nxg7 Rxg7 25. Rbd1 Re8 $11) (
21. Bxc5 dxc5 22. Nd5 Qh4 $132) 21… e4 $132 22. f4 Qf8 23. Red1 $14) 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 (21. Ne7+ Rxe7 22. Qxd6 Ree8 23. Qxc5 Qxc5 24. Bxc5 e4 25. fxe4
Bxe4 26. b4 axb3 27. axb3 Bc3 28. Re3 Be5 $14) 21… Rf6 $2 (21… a3 $1 22. b3
e4 23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Qxa5 Rxa5 25. b4 Bc3 26. bxa5 exf3 27. gxf3 Bxa5 28. Rxd6
Bxe1 29. Rd8+ Kg7 30. Bxc5 Rf5 31. Bd4+ Kf7 $11) 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.
cxb5 b6 (24… Rc8) (24… Bh6 25. Bxh6 Rxh6 26. Red1 Rd8 27. Rd5 $16) 25. Bc4+
Kh8 26. Bd5 (26. Bxc5 dxc5 (26… bxc5 27. Red1 Bf8 28. Rd3 $16)) 26… Rb8 27.
Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4
axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.
Rc8 Nd4 (39… e4) 40. Bd5 Rd7 (40… e4 41. Rb8 e3 42. Rxb6+ Kg5 43. Ke1 Nc2+
44. Ke2 Nd4+ 45. Ke1 Re5 $14) 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5
45. Rf8 (45. Be2+ Kh6 46. Rb8 e3+ 47. Kf1 Kg5 48. Rg8+ Kf6 49. Rf8+ Ke5 50.
Re8+ Kd6 51. Re4 Kc5 52. Rxf4 Ra7 53. b4+ Kd5 54. Bf3+ Kc4 $19) 45… e3+ $19
46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

That is…