Last Round GM vs GM Battle at the 8th Annual Gulf Coast New Year’s Open

GM Nikola Mitkov vs GM Vladimir Georgiev
8th Annual Gulf Coast New Year’s Open Rd 5
Sicilian Defense: Kan Variation, Wing Attack

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. O-O Qb6 8. Nb3 Qc7 9. Qe1
Position after 9 Qe1

To these eyes the move 9 Qe1 looks strange, but then again these daze these eyes see all kind of moves produced by AI that may look strange, but are strong enough to bring the house down… After watching the game I used the analysis program at lichess.com while checking out the moves contained at 365Chess.com, where it was surprising to see the most often played move has been 9 Qe2! OK, I put the exclam there and regular readers know why. Frankly, the Queen looks better placed on e2 than e1 to these eyes, but I was attracted to the move 9 f3, not because it is the move I would make, but in watching, and replaying myriad games recently the move f3 has featured prominently in many different Sicilian openings. Only one game with 9 f3 was found at 365Chess and it did not turn out well, making 9 Qe2! look even better:

Martin Ludwig (1395) vs Alexander Foermes (1885)
Event: Bad Zwesten op 7th
Site: Bad Zwesten Date: ??/??/2003
Round: 3
ECO: B40 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nb3 Qc7 6.Nc3 a6 7.Bd3 b5 8.O-O Bb7 9.f3 d6 10.Bf4 Nd7 11.Qd2 Ngf6 12.Ne2 Rc8 13.a4 e5 14.Bg5 b4 15.Qxb4 d5 16.Qa5 dxe4 17.Qxc7 Rxc7 18.fxe4 Nxe4 19.Be3 Nd6 20.c3 e4 21.Bc2 Nc4 22.Bf4 Rc8 23.Ra2 Be7 24.Nd2 Nxd2 25.Bxd2 Bc5+ 26.Kh1 O-O 27.b4 Bd5 28.Rb2 Bb6 29.b5 axb5 30.axb5 Ne5 31.h3 Nc4 32.Bxe4 Bxe4 33.Ra2 Nxd2 34.Rxd2 Rfd8 35.Rfd1 Rxd2 36.Rxd2 Rd8 37.Rxd8+ Bxd8 38.Kg1 Bb6+ 39.Kf1 Bd3 40.Ke1 Bxb5 41.Kd2 Bxe2 42.Kxe2 Kf8 43.Kd3 Ke7 44.Kc4 Kd6 45.Kb5 Bf2 46.c4 f5 47.Kb4 g5 48.Kc3 Kc5 49.Kd3 h5 50.Ke2 Bd4 51.Kf3 Kxc4 52.Ke2 Be5 53.Kf3 Kd3 54.Kf2 g4 55.hxg4 hxg4 56.Kf1 Ke3 57.Kg1 Ke2 58.Kh1 Kf1 59.g3 Ke2 60.Kg2 Bxg3 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=18456&m=18

Only one game was found with 9 Qe1:

Fabrice Wantiez (2315) vs Vladimir Chuchelov (2545)
Event: BEL-chA
Site: Gent Date: 07/??/2000
Round: 3 Score: ½-½
ECO: B43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.Bd3 Bb7 7.O-O Qb6 8.Nb3 Qc7 9.Qe1 Nc6 10.Bd2 Nf6 11.a4 b4 12.Ne2 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.f4 Be7 15.f5 exf5 16.Rxf5 Ne5 17.Nf4 f6 18.Qg3 O-O-O 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Bxa6+ Kb8 21.Be3 Bd6 22.Qf2 Ng4 23.Qe2 Nxe3 24.Qxe3 Bxh2+ 25.Kh1 Be5 26.Qe2 Ka7 27.Bd3 Rhe8 28.Qf2+ Ka8 29.Nc5 Qb6 30.Be4 Bxe4 31.Nxe4 Qxf2 32.Nxf2 Rd2 33.Nd3 b3 34.Nxe5 Rxe5 35.Rxe5 fxe5 36.cxb3 Rxb2 37.Re1 Rxb3 38.Rxe5 Rg3 39.Re7 h5 40.Kh2 Rg5 41.Kh3 g6 42.Rg7 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=616725&m=18

According to SF the best move is 9 f4, and it is second on the list with 118 games showing. The most often played move has been 9 Qe2.

The GM answered with 9…d6 and I wondered why…

Afyer 9…d6

White has developed three pieces, castled, and moved his Queen in a sort of sideways development, shall we say. Black has only two pieces developed. Although it is difficult to question a Grandmaster, if the GM plays weak moves he must be questioned. ‘Back in the day’ the moves made by Grandmasters were all we had and they were considered the final word. As Bob Dylan sang, things have changed… If the game were shown by a student it would be incumbent upon any teacher to question the lack of development, would it not? The numbers, or titles, matter not if you do not develop your pieces. Later SF agreed, showing 9…Be7 best. 10 Bd2 is a really strange looking move, versus a Sicilian. SF plays 10 a4, and so should you. The Fish agrees with all the moves played until 12…Nbd7, when it would develop the knight to c6. Most Chess coaches teach their students to develop their knights to the third rank unless there is a good reason to not do so. Although it does look inviting to play the knight to d7, because it leaves the Queen and Bishop unblocked, the knight is usually better placed at c6.

After 12…Nbd7

After replaying myriad games using the Stockfish program at lichess.com if there is one thing learned from the experience it is that the SF program will attack, and as IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “He attack, you defend. You attack, he better defend!” After seeing the move move 13 Na5 I ‘just knew’ SF would have played 13 Ba5 to attack the Queen. SF rarely misses a chance to attack the opponent’s Lady… GM Mitkov then takes the Bishop on b7 which is what, given the chance, I would have played. Not StockFish! It plays 14 f4. After 14 Nxb7 Qxb7 15 f4 we reach this position:

After 15 f4

What move would you make? Although a case could be made for castling the best move is 15…e5 to counter the previous thrust by White. The GM played 15…g6, which only looks weakening to these eyes.

After 15…g6

Could it be the GM wanted to stop, or at least impede 16 f5? Frankly, it is difficult to believe any GM would play such a weakening move as 15…g6. The next move, 16 Qe2, could, and may have been played by this writer, given the chance. I liked how it seemed to ‘fit’ behind the Bishop and took control of the g4 square while possibly preparing the move g4! with an attack. The move advocated by SF is a move I have noticed the program playing regularly. It is the consummate ‘positional’ move of simply tucking your King safely away by sliding the sovereign into the corner with 16 Kh1, the kind of move I should have played more often, but was usually reluctant to ‘waste’ a move. Do not let this happen to you! King safety is PARAMOUNT! After 16…0-0 17 c4, Georgiev played 17…Rab8, and the SF program shows white up by +1.4. Since +1.5 is considered to be ‘winning’ GM Georgiev is on the precipice, with another weak move causing him to fall into the abyss. SF would play 17…Nb8 to reposition the steed after 18 b4 Nc6. Think about it, that is the knight that should have been developed to c6 when it went to d7. After the Rook moved to b8 GM Mitkov then tucked his King into the corner with 18 Kh1. SF would have played 18 b4, taking away squares from the black Queen. If he had played the b4 move how would you reply? After 18 Kh1 GM Georgiev played 18…Nh5, the move that SF would have made if 18 b4 had been played. SF played 18…Rfe8. Then comes the SF approved sequence of 19 b4 e5.

After 19…e5

After 19…e5 SF shows an advantage for White of +1.7, so in the above position White has a winning advantage. What’s that said about having a won game?! With his next move GM Mitkov jettisoned his advantage and we again have a game.

After 20…c5

It is difficult to understand Mitkov’s 20 c5, which is given a ? by SF. What makes it even more interesting is much time, about 15 minutes, was used to make the questionable move. Thematic would have been 20 fxe5. I expected black to play 20…Nxf4, which seems logical, but GM Georgiev decided to protect the a-pawn by playing 20…Ra8, which is given not one, but two question marks by SF, as Georgiev went down by +2.3, meaning the GM completely let of the rope, and it was all over but the shouting.

GM Nikola Mitkov vs GM Vladimir Georgiev
8th Annual Gulf Coast New Year’s Open Rd 5
Sicilian Defense: Kan Variation, Wing Attack

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. O-O Qb6 8. Nb3 Qc7 9. Qe1 d6 10. Bd2 Nf6 11. a4 bxa4 12. Nxa4 Nbd7 13. Na5 Be7 14. Nxb7 Qxb7 15. f4 g6 16. Qe2 O-O 17. c4 Rab8 18. Kh1 Nh5 19. b4 e5 20. c5 Ra8 21. Nc3 Nxf4 22. Bxf4 exf4 23. Nd5 Rfe8 24. Bxa6 Rxa6 25. Qxa6 Qxa6 26. Rxa6 dxc5 27. Ra7 1-0

The game was followed in real time, sans analysis. It is not often one sees two Grandmasters paired in the last round and not draw the game. Both players had previously won two, and drawn two games heading into the final round, meaning a draw would bring them little, if anything. This caused me to recall the story told by one legendary Georgia player of the time he bellied up to the bar after the last round and noticed GM X, a player from the Soviet Union, who had emigrated to the USA along with many other former Soviet players. He took a seat next to the GM and asked what had happened in his last round game, which had ended decisively in favor of GM X’s opponent. “It looked like a sure draw,” said the legendary one. After downing another shot the GM said, “Someone needed to have accident,” and grinned like the cat who had eaten the canary. Then his last round opponent, another ex-Soviet player, smiled and said, “Today he have an accident; next time it is me has accident!” Uproarious laughter ensued. Then it was, “Hey bartender… How ’bout another round!”

Cutting Edge Theory in the C00 French, Chigorin variation

‘Back in the day’ this writer tried everything against the French defense, and it was like banging your head against a brick wall. I particularly recall losing several games to NM Rex Blalock, who if I recall correctly, came from France (not really, but it sure seemed that way). Memory fails, but I probably played 2 Qe2 versus his French at least once, and it was probably a loss. Nevertheless, it was my preferred method of playing against the venerable French defense, always a tough nut to crack, and theresults were much better than with more common lines. There was some success with the line 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bd3 cxd4 6. O-O, the C02 French, advance, Nimzovich system, which was used as a surprise weapon when first beginning play. The first time the move 2 Qe2 versus the French defense appeared on the AWDAR it was found appealing. What can I say? I love the offbeat. During the Stein Club daze I went into a Qe2 versus any and everything period.

After 1 e4 e6 one finds the most often played move, 2 d4, has scored 56% in 118490 games according to the ChessBaseDataBase (https://database.chessbase.com/). The move 2 c4 has been played in only 902 games, and is the only move to outscore 2 d4, showing a 57% rate of success. In 2122 games the move of the Queen to e2 has also scored 56%. What did Chigorin know and when did he know it?

Antique Soviet Chess Book Chigorin.Vintage Russian chess books (https://crealandia.com/shop/antique-soviet-chess-book-chigorin-chess-ussr/)

An article entitled, French Defense Chigorin Attack, by misterbasic, published Jul 10, 2016 (https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-openings/french-defense-chigorin-attack) begins: “When someone plays French Defense (1.e4 e6), they always have something prepared and I know nothing about that opening, so I have started playing the Chigorin Attack, which is the move 2.Qe2.” The first comment was by the aggressivesociopath: “Your opponents are rather militant about avoiding the critical lines. If this is to be a serious discussion, then you should focus on 2..c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7.” The “aggressivesociopath” must have meant 5. Bg2, the move played by passivesociopaths.

Position after 1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7

This is a key position not only in the Chigorin French, but in any opening in which black has developed the Bishop to g7 and the King Knight to e7. In the main game being presented the player with the white pieces essayed the most often played move according to 365Chess.com, 7 d3, the preferred move of Deep Fritz 13, according to the CBDB. Yet Stockfish 10 shows a predilection for 7 c3, as does Stockfish 14+NNUE at lichess.com. From the position it is obvious the dark squared prelate on g7 is exerting HUGE pressure on the white position. The move 7 c3 blunts the projected force. In addition, the move prepares the possible move of the pawn move d2-d4. But wait, there’s more! After playing 7 c3 white can now develop the Queen Knight to a3, possibly followed by again moving that Knight to c2 in preparation for the move of the d pawn. What’s not to like?!

FM Austin Mei vs GM Joshua Sheng
Winter 1000GM Bay Area IM Norm Invitational Rd 7
French Defense: Chigorin Variation

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. h4 e5 9. Be3 d6 10. Nc3 f5 11. exf5 gxf5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Nxe7 14. Nd2 d5 15. f4 e4 16. dxe4 fxe4 17. Rad1 Qe8 18. Nb3 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Qg6 20. Qe1 Bg4 21. Rd2 Rae8 22. Nxc5 Qb6 23. Qf2 Rc8 24. Nxe4 dxe4 25. Qxb6 axb6 26. Bxe4 Rxc3 27. Kh2 Nf5 28. Rb1 Rxg3 29. Rxb6 Rh3+ 30. Kg1 Bf3 31. Bxf5 Rxf5 32. Rxh6 Rxf4 33. Rg6+ Kf7 34. Rg5 Bc6 35. Rh2 Rxh2 36. Kxh2 Rxh4+ 37. Kg3 Rc4 38. Ra5 Rxc2 39. Kf4 Ke6 40. Ke3 Rc4 41. Kd3 Ra4 42. Rxa4 Bxa4 43. Kc4 Kd6 44. Kb4 b5 45. Ka3 Kc5 46. Kb2 Kb4 47. Ka1 Kc3 48. Kb1 Bc2+ 49. Ka1 b4 50. a3 b3 0-1 (https://lichess.org/study/twjlOJV6/oI2GlI9W)

The game was downloaded and, to my surprise, there were annotations, the first time I can recall anything but the game moves being found after clicking on “import.”

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. h4 e5 9. Be3 d6 10. Nc3 f5 11. exf5 (11. Qd2) 11… gxf5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Nxe7 14. Nd2 d5 15. f4 e4 16. dxe4 fxe4 17. Rad1 Qe8 18. Nb3 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Qg6 20. Qe1 Bg4 21. Rd2 Rae8 22. Nxc5 (22. c4 Nf5) 22… Qb6 23. Qf2 Rc8 (23… Nf5 24. Rxd5 e3 25. Qe1 e2 26. Rf2 Ne3 27. Nd3 Nxc2 28. Qd2 Qb1+ 29. Kh2 Qd1 30. Rxe2) 24. Nxe4 dxe4 25. Qxb6 axb6 26. Bxe4 Rxc3 27. Kh2 Nf5 28. Rb1 (28. Re1) 28… Rxg3 29. Rxb6 Rh3+ 30. Kg1 Bf3 31. Bxf5 (31. Bxf3 Rxf3 32. Rf2 Rc3 33. Rxb7 Nxh4 34. a4 Ra3 35. c4 Rxa4 36. Rc7 Rf7 37. Rxf7 Kxf7) 31… Rxf5 32. Rxh6 Rxf4 33. Rg6+ Kf7 34. Rg5 Bc6 35. Rh2 Rxh2 36. Kxh2 Rxh4+ 37. Kg3 Rc4 38. Ra5 Rxc2 39. Kf4 Ke6 40. Ke3 Rc4 41. Kd3 Ra4 42. Rxa4 (42. Rh5 Kd6 43. Kc3 Rxa2 44. Kb3 Re2 45. Kc3 Re4 46. Rh8 Kc5 47. Rh7 b5 48. Rc7 Rf4) 42… Bxa4 43. Kc4 Kd6 44. Kb4 b5 45. Ka3 Kc5 46. Kb2 Kb4 47. Ka1 (47. Kb1 Kc3 48. Kc1 Bc2 49. a3 Ba4 50. Kb1 Bb3 51. a4 b4 52. a5 Bc2+ 53. Ka2 b3+) 47… Kc3 48. Kb1 Bc2+ 49. Ka1 b4 50. a3 b3 0-1

1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 (OK, we all know the Fish sets Stock in 2 d4, but where is the fun in that?) 2…c5 (According to the Stockfish program 14+ NNUE at depth 47 at lichess.com the move should be 2…e5, but the Stockfish 15 program at the CBDB at depth 51 plays 2…c5) 3 Nf3 (Stockfish 14+ NNUE at depth 48 plays 3 g3, with 396 games in the CBDB. With 1030 games the move played in the game has been played three times as often as 3 g3. SF 15 at depth 46 will play 3 d3, as have only 19 other players in the CBDB. Then there is Stockfish 061022 which will play 3 b3, as have 84 human players) 3…Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 (Nge7) 6. O-O Nge7 (e5) 7. d3 (c3) O-O (d6) 8. h4 (c3) e5

Fjodor Zugaj (2180) vs Pregarac, V.
Event: Portoroz op
Site: Portoroz Date: ??/??/1996
Round: ?
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.g3 Nc6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.O-O Nge7 7.d3 O-O 8.h4 h6 9.Re1 d6 10.c3 b6 11.Nbd2 Ba6 12.Nf1 Ne5 13.Rd1 Qd7 14.Ne3 Nxf3+ 15.Bxf3 Nc6 16.Bg2 b5 17.Ng4 h5 18.Nh2 Qe7 19.Bg5 Bf6 20.Be3 Rac8 21.d4 c4 22.Bf3 Kg7 23.Bd2 Qc7 24.Kg2 b4 25.Qe3 Rh8 26.Be2 d5 27.e5 Be7 28.Nf3 bxc3 29.bxc3 Rb8 30.Re1 Qa5 31.Ng5 Rb2 32.Qf3 Nd8 33.Red1 Rxa2 34.Rxa2 Qxa2 35.Nh3 Bb5 36.Bg5 Bxg5 37.Nxg5 Qc2 38.Qf6+ Kh6 39.Qxh8# 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=1371482&m=17

The three games below were all found at the CBDB, meaning your writer had to transcribe each and every one of them. Enjoy.

Haik M Martirosyan 2633 ARM vs Conrad Holt 2553 USA
Titled Tuesday intern open 22nd Feb Late

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. h4 e5 9. h5 d5 10. hxg6 hxg6 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. Nc3 Bg4 13. Nxd5 Qxd5 14. Qe3 Qd7 15. Bd2 Rac8 16. Rfe1 Rfe8 17. Qg5 e4 18. dxe4 Bxb2 19. Rab1 Bg7 20. e5 b6 21. Bf4 Qf5 22. Qh4 Bxf3 23. Bxf3 Nd4 24. Bg4 Qxc2 25. Rbd1 Rcd8 26. Bg5 Rd5 27. Bf6 Qxa2 28. Kg2 Nf5 29. Bxf5 Rxd1 30. Rxd1 Bxf6 31. exf6 Qe2 32. Qh6 1-0

SF prefers 25 Qh1!

FM Ricardo B Franca 2278 BRA vs IM Kirill Shubin 2429 RUS
Titled Tuesday intern op 25th AUG

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. h4 e5 9. h5 d6 10. hxg6 fxg6 11. Nh4 Nd4 12. Qd1 Bf6 13. c3 Ne6 14. Bh6 Rf7 15. Bh3 Bxh4 16. gxh4 Nf4 17. Bxc8 Qxc8 18. Qf3 Nh3+ 0-1

GM Evgeni Janev 2487 BUL vs FM Joao Francisco ANG
Loures YM 9th

  1. e4 e6 2. d3 c5 3. Qe2 g6 4. g3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Bg2 Nge7 7. O-O O-O 8. h4 e5 9. c3 d6 10. Nh2 f5 11. exf5 gxf5 12. f4 Kh8 13. Na3 Be6 14. Nf3 Qd7 15. fxe5 dxe5 16. Nc4 Bxc4 17. dxc4 h6 18. Nh2 Qd6 19. Be3 e4 20. Bf4 Ne5 21. Bh3 N7g6 22. Be3 Nxc4 23. Kh1 Qxg3 24. Bxc5 Qxh3 25. Bxf8 Rxf8 26. Qxc4 Be5 27. Rf2 Nxh4 28. Qf1 Qg3 29. Qg1 e3 30. Re2 Qxg1+ 31. Rxg1 Bf4 32. Rf1 Bg5 33. Ng4 Re8 34. Nf2 f4 35. Nd3 Nf5 36. Kg2 Ng3 37. Rfe1 Nxe2 38. Rxe2 Rd8 39. Ne5 Rd2 40. Kf3 Rxe2 41. Kxe2 Kg7 42. Kf3 Kf6 43. Nc4 h5 0-1
picclick.com

Heavy Chess Weather Report

Position after 16 Rhd1 with Black to move

When teaching Chess one is always on the lookout for games, especially short games, because time is limited and a Chess teacher wants to pack as much as possible into the limited time available. Each lesson needs to pack a punch, hopefully containing something the student will remember. Good luck with that! With that in mind the following short, pithy game was saved for a rainy day, and it is raining today, and will rain all day and night as we enjoy spring like temps and heavy weather around Christmas. The following game was spotted at 365Chess.com when looking at another game, so it was saved for later.

Position after 16…Kc7 with white to move.

Juraj Druska (2503) vs Ulf Von Herman (2349)
Event: Bundesliga 2021-22
Site: Berlin GER Date: 07/08/2022
Round: 12.2
ECO: B10 Caro-Kann defence
1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.d3 dxe4 4.dxe4 Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 Bg4 6.Be2 Nd7 7.Ne1 Bxe2+ 8.Kxe2 e5 9.f3 Nc5 10.Be3 Nf6 11.Nd2 Nfd7 12.Nc4 f6 13.a4 Nb6 14.Nxb6 axb6 15.Nd3 Kd7 16.Rhd1 Kc7 17.a5 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4354851

The Time Has Come For Chess

This position was reached in the game recent game between GM Matthias Bluebaum (2651)

https://www.sportschau.de/schach/dpa-matt …

and GM Hans Noke Niemann (2699)

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/06/sport/hans-niemann-cheating-allegations-us-chess-championship-spt-intl/index.html

played at the III Elllobregat Open played in Sant Boi de Llobregat, Spain, during the sixth round:

Draw?!

GM Matthias Bluebaum (2651) vs GM Hans Moke Niemann (2699)
III Elllobregat Open Chess
E10 Indian Defense: Anti-Nimzo-Indian

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 c6 9. Rd1 b6 10. Bf4 Ba6 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Ng4 14. h3 Rc8 15. Nc3 Nxf2 16. Kxf2 Bc5+ 17. Be3 Bxe3+ 18. Kxe3 b5 19. Qd2 Qb6+ 20. Qd4 Qb8 21. Qb4 Qb6+ 22. Qd4 Qb8 1/2-1/2

The game could, should, and would have continued if Blueballs Bluebaum had played the move considered best by the Stockfish program at lichess.com, 21 b3, or the move preferred by the Stockfish analysis program at lichess.com, 23 Kf2, which can be seen below. Take another look at the position. When one inputs the position into the analysis program at lichess.com the Stockfish program there considers the best move to be 21 Kf2, a move that has been attempted four times according to 365Chess.com. (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=41&n=6443377&ms=d4.Nf6.c4.e6.Nf3.d5.g3.Bb4.Bd2.Be7.Bg2.O-O.O-O.Nbd7.Qc2.c6.Rd1.b6.Bf4.Ba6.cxd5.cxd5.Ne5.Nxe5.dxe5.Ng4.h3.Rc8.Nc3.Nxf2.Kxf2.Bc5.Be3.Bxe3.Kxe3.b5.Qd2.Qb6.Qd4.Qb8&ns=7.14.11.33.21.15.350.399.524.773.741.3884.4834.13665.25112.5108.96517.101597.92280.121215.1465584.1537134.3753891.4022735.4632820.5688926.5487095.5833862.5093340.5161433.5093341.5161434.5258499.5269428.5258500.5269429.6830753.6802484.6471716.6443377)

The same moves as played in the Bluebaum vs. Niemann game had been played in an earlier game:

GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit vs GM Sergey Karjakin
Event: Tata Steel India Blitz
Site: Kolkata IND Date: 11/13/2018
Round: 4.5
ECO: D02 Queen’s pawn game
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O Nbd7 8.Qc2 c6 9.Rd1 b6 10.Bf4 Ba6 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Rc8 14.Nc3 Ng4 15.h3 Nxf2 16.Kxf2 Bc5+ 17.Be3 Bxe3+ 18.Kxe3 b5 19.Qd3 Qb6+ 20.Qd4 Qb8 21.Qb4 Qb6+ 22.Qd4 Qb8 23.Qb4 Qb6+ 24.Qd4 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4153624&m=42

I decided to input the game into the analysis program at lichess.com and this is what came out the other end:

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 c6 9. Rd1 b6 10. Bf4 Ba6 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Ng4 14. h3 Rc8 15. Nc3 Nxf2 16. Kxf2 Bc5+ 17. Be3 Bxe3+ 18. Kxe3 b5 19. Qd2 Qb6+ 20. Qd4 Qb8 21. Qb4 Qb6+ 22. Qd4 Qb8 23. Kf2 b4 24. Nxd5 exd5 25. Rac1 Rce8 26. Rc5 Rxe5 27. Bf3 Rfe8 28. Rxd5 Rxe2+ 29. Bxe2 Rxe2+ 30. Kf3 Qb7 31. Qxa7 Re8 32. Qxb7 Bxb7 33. Kf4 Bxd5 34. Rxd5 Ra8 35. Rb5 h5 36. Rxb4 Rxa2 37. Rb5 f6 38. Kf5 Kh7 39. g4 Kh6 40. Ke6 h4 41. Rh5+ Kg6 42. b4 Ra3 43. b5 Rxh3 44. Kd7 Kf7 45. b6 Rb3 46. Kc6 g5 47. b7 Ke6 48. Rh8 Rc3+ 49. Kb5 Rb3+ 50. Kc6 Rxb7 51. Kxb7 Ke5 52. Rf8 Kf4 53. Rxf6+ Kxg4 54. Kc6 h3 55. Kd5 h2 56. Rh6 Kg3 57. Ke5 Kg2 58. Ke4 h1=Q 59. Rxh1 Kxh1 60. Kf3 Kh2 61. Kg4 1/2-1/2

Games like the one “played” between Bluebaum and Niemann are the reason the Royal Game has increasingly become less interesting. Whether or not there was any conclusion prior to the game being “played” cannot be ascertained, but games like this lend credence to what Oscar Al Hamilton believed when saying, “Everything’s rigged!”

This writer has followed Chess for over half a century and has watched as Chess has become less and less interesting because of the plethora of draws. The time has come for those involved with Chess to randomly choose the opening to be played prior to the round so the players will have no time to “book up” on one particular opening.

The Colorado Counter

Over half a century playing Chess and this was the first time I can recall seeing the Colorado Counter, proving that Chess really “is a sea where a gnat may drink from and an elephant may bathe in.”

Colorado Gambit

Alois Lanc (2268) vs Paolo Tocco (2033)
30th World Senior Chess Championship 2022 (Assisi (ITA))
B00 KP, Colorado counter

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 d5 4.Bb5 Bxf5 5.d4 e6 6.O-O Bd6 7.c4 dxc4 8.Nc3 Nge7 9.Re1 O-O 10.Bxc4 Qd7 11.Qe2 Nd8 12.h3 Nec6 13.a3 Kh8 14.g4 Bg6 15.Be3 e5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Rad1 Qc6 19.Bd5 Qf6 20.Bg2 Ne6 21.Nd5 Qh4 22.Rf1 Bd6 23.f4 Rae8 24.Qd2 Nc5 25.Bf2 Qd8 26.f5 Bf7 27.Nc3 Bb3 28.f6 gxf6 29.Bd4 Bxd1 0-1

Tobias Baerwinkel vs Thomas Becker (2220)
Event: Oberliga Sued W 9697
Site: Germany Date: ??/??/1997
Round: ?
B00 KP, Colorado counter
30th World Senior Chess Championship 2022 (Assisi (ITA)), 19.11.2022

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 d5 4.Bb5 Bxf5 5.d4 e6 6.O-O Bd6 7.c4 dxc4 8.Nc3 Nge7 9.Re1 O-O 10.Bxc4 Qd7 11.Qe2 Nd8 12.h3 Nec6 13.a3 Kh8 14.g4 Bg6 15.Be3 e5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Rad1 Qc6 19.Bd5 Qf6 20.Bg2 Ne6 21.Nd5 Qh4 22.Rf1 Bd6 23.f4 Rae8 24.Qd2 Nc5 25.Bf2 Qd8 26.f5 Bf7 27.Nc3 Bb3 28.f6 gxf6 29.Bd4 Bxd1 0-1
1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 d5 4.d4 Bxf5 5.Bb5 e6 6.O-O Bd6 7.c4 dxc4 8.Re1 Nf6 9.Bxc4 Qd7 10.d5 O-O-O 11.Nc3 exd5 12.Bb5 d4 13.Ne2 d3 14.Ned4 Bxh2+ 15.Kf1 Qd5 16.Qa4 d2 17.Bxd2 Rd6 18.Nxf5 Qxf5 19.Bc3 Qc5 20.Qc4 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=1088732&m=15

From the above results one would think maybe there was something to the Colorado Gambit, but if so, why was this writer unaware of its potency? It was late at night when first reviewing the game, so I decided to input the first two moves into the analysis program at Lichess.com just for the hellofit, and sat there way past bedtime watching the game unfold. The result was a surprise, to say the least…

11/20/22

  1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 f5 3. exf5 d5 4. d4 Bxf5 5. Bb5 e6 6. O-O Bd6 7. c4 dxc4 8. Re1 Ne7 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Bxc4 Qd7 11. Qb3 Rae8 12. Bd2 Kh8 13. Ne4 h6 14. Ng3 Nd5 15. Nxf5 Rxf5 16. Qd3 Rf6 17. Re4 Ref8 18. Rae1 Bf4 19. Bc3 Bd6 20. Rh4 Nce7 21. Bb3 Rxf3 22. gxf3 Nf5 23. Rg4 Qf7 24. Bc2 Qh5 25. h4 Nf6 26. Ree4 c6 27. Bb3 Nxe4 28. Qxe4 Be7 29. Kf1 Bf6 30. Bxe6 Nxh4 31. a4 Rd8 32. a5 Qb5+ 33. Kg1 h5 34. Rg3 Re8 35. b3 Re7 36. Bd2 g6 37. Bc4 Qf5 38. Qxf5 gxf5 39. Rh3 Kg7 40. Rg3+ Kh8 41. Rh3 b5 42. Bd3 a6 43. Be3 Rd7 44. Bxf5 Nxf5 45. Rxh5+ Kg7 46. Rxf5 Rd5 47. Rf4 b4 48. Bd2 Rxa5 49. Bxb4 Rb5 50. Bf8+ Kg6 51. b4 Bg5 52. Re4 Bd2 53. Bc5 Kf6 54. Re5 Bxb4 55. Bxb4 Rxb4 56. Rc5 Rb6 57. Kf1 Ke7 58. Ke2 Kd6 59. Ra5 Rb5 60. Rxa6 Kd5 61. f4 Kxd4 62. Rxc6 Ke4 63. Rc4+ Kf5

What seems a lifetime ago a fellow high school classmate who lived up the street, Jesse Pettit, said, “The way you feel about Bob Dylan is how I feel about John Denver.” This one is dedicated to Jesse.

FM James Canty vs GM Ehsan Ghaemmaghami 2022 US Masters

FM James Canty (2158)

https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2022/05/31/jeffery-xiong-nets-another-chicago-title/

vs GM Ehsan Ghaemmaghami (2511)

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/07/04/2046699/iran-gm-ehsan-ghaemmaghami-wins-world-open


2022 US Masters
Round 1

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. g4 h6 7. h4 Nc6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Qf3 Rb8 10. b3 d5 11. exd5 exd5 12. g5 Ng4 13. Bf4 Bd6 14. O-O-O O-O 15. Qg3 Bxf4+ 16. Qxf4 Qb6 17. gxh6 Qxf2 18. h7+ Kh8 19. Qxb8 Ne3 20. Bd3 Nxd1 21. Rxd1 Qc5 22. Ne2 1-0
    https://live.followchess.com/#!us-masters-2022/19829551

In the very first round of the US Masters FM James Canty set the tone for the tournament by defeating Iranian Grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, playing out of California these daze, after the GM blundered horribly. It is not often we Chess fans see a GM go down hard, like rot-gut whiskey. After move five it was a B40 Sicilian, Anderssen variation. 5…d6 turned the opening into a B80 Sicilian, Scheveningen variation. 6. g4 made it a B81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres attack. The eighth move, 8. Nxc6, has only six examples showing at 365Chess.com. According to the Fish the best move in the position is 8. Rg1. 9 Rb8 is not the recommended move, which is 9 d5. Canty’s 10 b3 was lame. He should have asked his illustrious GM opponent a question with 10 g5!. Canty’s next move, 11. exd5, was given a ?! by the Stockfish program at Lichess.com, with good reason, as it gave an advantage to black. After 12. g5 the GM returned the favor when playing the weak 12…Ng4. Canty should have played 12 gxh6, but chose to attack the undefended Rook with 12 Bf4. The GM chose to black with 12…Bd6, but SF computes 12…Rb4 as best. The Stockfish program agrees with the next few moves, until the GM helps his opponent by taking the Bishop with 15…Bxf4+ when he should have EXAMINED ALL CHECKS and played 15…Ba3, at least according to the exponentially rated program know as Stockfish. Then we come to 16…Qb6, which is given a dubious ?! distinction, as the program would play 16…Rb7, expecting 17. gxh6. But here’s the deal…there is a line from the Bishop on c8 that stops at e6. So which move is best? After the move played in the game Canty decided to play 17. gxh6?! SF preferred 17. Rd4. By this point I had become fascinated with the game, wondering what would come next. This was the position:

Black to move after 17. gxh6

It was at this point the Grandmaster played a move that would not have been played if the GM had simply “examined all checks.” I realize there may be more currently living “Grandmasters” today than all previous GMs combined, which has REALLY cheapened the title, but still it is almost unbelievable any GM would play the move 17…Qxf2??, which is given not one, but two question marks for a reason. The “GM” hung around a few move moves, probably in a state of shock, before giving up the ghost, or maybe to make it until move twenty so it would not look as bad as it appeared. The GM finished with six points, half a point out of chump change. FM Canty only scored 3 1/2 points, but scored far more points in “entertainment value,” as far as I am concerned, because each and every one of his games during the event were thoroughly enjoyed.

Lucas Beaudry vs Mihnea Voloaca (2071)
Event: CAN-ch U18
Site: Montreal Date: ??/??/2001
Round: 1
ECO: B81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres attack
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g4 h6 7.h4 Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Qf3 Rb8 10.g5 hxg5 11.hxg5 Rxh1 12.Qxh1 Nd7 13.Bc4 Rb4 14.Bb3 Nc5 15.Be3 Qa5 16.O-O-O g6 17.Qh8 Nxb3+ 18.cxb3 Qc7 19.e5 Bd7 20.Rxd6 c5 21.Rxd7 Kxd7 22.Qxf8 Qxe5 23.Qxf7+ Kc6 24.Qxa7 Rg4 25.Qa6+ Kc7 26.Nb5+ Kd7 27.Qb7+ Kd8 28.Qb6+ Kd7 29.Qb7+ Kd8 30.Qh1 Kc8 31.Qc6+ Kd8 32.Qd6+ Qxd6 33.Nxd6 Kc7 34.Nc4 Rg1+ 35.Kc2 Ra1 36.a4 Rg1 37.Ne5 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=359273&m=19

https://www.chess.com/article/view/streamer-of-the-month-james-canty

GM Aman Hambleton vs Deepak Aaron

Last night was spent viewing the Chess games from the current US Masters tournament being contested in Charlotte, North Carolina. Earlier I had commented that it was strange to see fellow Georgian Deepak Aaron

https://www.wolfchess.org/

on board six facing Grandmaster Aman Hambleton

International master Aman Hambleton needs one more GM norm to become a grand master. In March, 2017 he vowed to stop shaving until he achieves this goal. (https://news.stlpublicradio.org/arts/2017-12-07/on-chess-the-quest-to-grandmaster-title-at-the-st-louis-invitational)

on board six because he was the only untitled player among the leaders. On had to go down to board twenty six to find the next untitled player. Deepak had the black pieces, which lowered the prospect of success. Music from The Hearts of Space (https://v4.hos.com/this-week/program) was playing as I surfed… Then the surfin’ stopped as the focus went to that game only as I sat there transfixed by the game. The commentary was left untouched as I began living vicariously while rooting for Deepak. I was so into it while making sounds like, “YES!”, or, “Oh No, Mr. Bill”… If and when Deepak would make a move of which I approved (and not all of my chosen moves would be approved) a fist would be clenched that would be pumped. Only one who has sat across from a titled player can understand how difficult it is to score even a draw against a Grandmaster, or one of GM strength. Not once did I turn on the analysis, and I have still not yet gone over the game with annotations, but hope to do so later today.

GM Ben Finegold and Deepak Aaron moving pieces: https://www.wolfchess.org/

It is my pleasure to present the moves of this extremely hard fought Chess game. If you would like to see the annotations by Stockfish please click onto this link (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-charlotte-us-masters/round-5/jOrLgMFv)

GM Aman Hambleton vs NM Deepak Aaron
2022 US Masters
Round 5
ECO E32 Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation

1.d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 c5 6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8. Bg2 Nce4 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 Qa5 11. Nd4 d5 12. cxd5 exd5 13. c4 Qc5 14. Bb2 Qxc4 15. Qxc4 dxc4 16. Rfc1 Bd7 17. Rxc4 Rac8 18. Rb4 b5 19. Bxe4 a5 20. Bxh7+ Kxh7 21. Rb3 a4 22. Rd3 b4 23. f3 Rc4 24. Bc1 Bc8 25. Bg5 Nd5 26. Bd2 Ba6 27. Be1 Rfc8 28. Kf2 R4c5 29. Rdd1 Nc3 30. Bxc3 Rxc3 31. Rab1 R8c4 32. Rd2 Rc1 33. Rxc1 Rxc1 34. Rb2 Rc4 35. Ke3 a3 36. Rc2 Kg6 37. h4 f5 38. g4 fxg4 39. fxg4 Kf6 40. Rd2 Ke5 41. Nf3+ Ke6 42. Nd4+ Kd5 43. h5 Rc3+ 44. Kf4 Kc4 45. e3 Rc1 46. Rh2 Rf1+ 47. Ke5 Kd3 48. g5 Rg1 49. Kf4 Rf1+ 50. Ke5 Rg1 51. Ne6 Bc4 52. h6 gxh6 53. gxh6 Rg8 54. h7 Rh8 55. e4 Bxa2 56. Rxa2 Rxh7 57. Nf4+ Kc4 58. Nd5 Ra7 59. Nxb4 Kxb4 60. Kd6 Kb3 61. Ra1 Kb2 62. Re1 Ra6+ 63. Kd7 Ra4 64. e5 Rd4+ 65. Kc7 Rc4+ 66. Kd7 a2 67. e6 Rd4+ 68. Ke7 a1=R 69. Rxa1 Kxa1 70. Kf7 Rf4+ 71. Kg7 Re4 72. Kf7 Rxe6 73. Kxe6 Kb2 1/2-1/2

13…Qc5 is a TN. SF prefers 13…Bd7

Bogdan Lalic (2500) vs Margareta Muresan (2215)
Event: GMA Baleares op
Site: Palma de Mallorca Date: ??/??/1989
Round: 1
ECO: E32 Nimzo-Indian, classical variation
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 O-O 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Na6 7.g3 Nxc5 8.Bg2 Nce4 9.O-O Bxc3 10.bxc3 Qa5 11.Nd4 d5 12.cxd5 exd5 13.c4 Bd7 14.cxd5 Rac8 15.Qb3 Ba4 16.Qa3 Rc3 17.Nb3 Bxb3 18.Qxa5 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2300735

Anna Ushenina (2501) vs Humpy Koneru (2607)
Event: SportAccord Blitz Women 2013
Site: Beijing CHN Date: 12/16/2013
Round: 24.6
ECO: E32 Nimzo-Indian, classical variation
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 O-O 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Na6 7.g3 Nxc5 8.Bg2 Nce4 9.O-O Bxc3 10.bxc3 Qa5 11.Nd4 d5 12.cxd5 exd5 13.c4 Bd7 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Bb2 Rac8 16.Qb3 Qxb3 17.axb3 a6 18.e3 Rc7 19.Rfc1 Rfc8 20.Rxc7 Rxc7 21.b4 Nd6 22.Nb3 Nfe4 23.Bd4 Bc6 24.f3 Nf6 25.e4 Nb5 26.Be5 Re7 27.Bb2 Rd7 28.Bf1 Kf8 29.Kf2 Ne8 30.Ke3 Re7 31.Na5 Rc7 32.Rc1 f6 33.h4 Ke7 34.f4 Ned6 35.Bd3 Bd7 36.Rxc7 Nxc7 37.e5 fxe5 38.Bxe5 Nd5+ 39.Kd2 Nxb4 40.Bxh7 b6 41.Nb3 Nc4+ 42.Kc3 Nxe5 43.Kxb4 a5+ 44.Kc3 Ng4 45.Nd4 Kd6 46.Be4 Nf6 47.Bf3 b5 48.Be2 Kc5 49.Nb3+ Kb6 50.Bd3 a4 51.Nd4 Ka5 52.Nc2 Nd5+ 53.Kd4 Nf6 54.Kc5 Be8 55.f5 Nd7+ 56.Kd6 b4 57.g4 b3 58.Nd4 b2 59.g5 a3 60.Nb3+ Kb4 61.Nd4 a2 62.f6 gxf6 63.gxf6 Nxf6 64.Ke7 a1=Q 65.Nc2+ Kc3 66.Nxa1 bxa1=Q 67.Bf5 Bc6 68.Kxf6 Kc4+ 69.Kg6 Qg1+ 70.Kf6 Qd4+ 71.Kg5 Qe5 72.Kg6 Be4 73.Bxe4 Qxe4+ 74.Kg5 Kd5 75.h5 Ke6 76.h6 Qf5+ 0-1 (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=387755)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFFX_uUtPSsc-_UD1VRsaCg?view_as=subscriber

Hans Niemann vs Awonder Liang C00 French, Chigorin Variation With 2 Qe2

Imagine the surprise, and elation, upon seeing the move 2 Qe2 played by Hans, My Man, Niemann on the board in the last round of the 2022 US Chess Championship!

GM Hans Niemann

vs GM Awonder Liang


2022 US Chess Championship
Last Round

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 e5 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 Nge7 8. Na3 O-O 9. Nc2 d5 10. d3 h6 11. a3 d4 12. c4 a5 13. Rb1 a4 14. Nd2 Be6 15. f4 Qd7 16. Ne1 Qc7 17. Ndf3 f6 18. Nh4 g5 19. Nf5 Nxf5 20. exf5 Bxf5 21. fxg5 fxg5 22. Bxg5 Bg6 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bd2 Qe7 25. Nf3 e4 26. Nh4 Bh7 27. dxe4 Qe6 28. Qh5 Qf7 29. Qd5 Ne5 30. Bf4 Nxc4 31. Qxc5 b6 32. Qb5 Ne3 33. Re1 Qb3 34. Qxb3+ axb3 35. e5 Nxg2 36. Kxg2 Rc8 37. Re2 d3 38. Rd2 Rc2 39. Nf3 Be4 40. Kf2 Bxf3 41. Kxf3 Bxe5 42. Rxd3 Bxf4 43. Kxf4 Rxb2 44. h4 Rb1 45. Kg4 b2 46. Rb3 Ra1 47. Rxb2 Rxa3 48. Rxb6 h5+ 49. Kf4 Kg7 50. Re6 Ra4+ 51. Re4 Ra5 52. Re5 Ra4+ 53. Re4 Ra5 54. Re5 Ra4+ 55. Kg5 Rg4+ 56. Kxh5 Rxg3 57. Rg5+ Rxg5+ 58. hxg5 Kh7 59. g6+ Kg7 60. Kg5 Kg8 61. Kf6 Kf8 62. Kf5 Kg7 63. Kg5 Kg8 64. Kh6 Kh8 65. g7+ Kg8 66. Kg6 1/2-1/2
    https://lichess.org/broadcast/us-chess-championship/round-13/7IYP0TdW
  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 (It is interesting learning the Stockfish 14 NNUE program used at Lichess will play 2…e5, moving the pawn again. According to the Big Database at 365Chess.com the move played in the game has been seen in 2196 games, dwarffing the 428 of second place 2…Be7. The move 2…Nc6 shows 231 games, with 2…b6 [206] and 2…e5 [205] virtually tied fourth place) 3. Nf3 (Although played most often [937] SF plays the second most often played move 3 g3 [693], which was the move invariably played played by this writer ‘back in the day’. And if you believe that, I have stock in Chess.com that I will sell you cheap!) 3…Nc6 4. g3 e5 (SF plays 4…g6, as have most humans (657) according to 365Chess.com, and so will Stockfish. Only 11 humans have played the move chosen by Awonder.) 5. Bg2 (SF says 5 d3) g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 (SF 7 Na3) Nge7 8. Na3 O-O (SF 8…d6) 9. Nc2 (SF 9 d3) d5 10. d3 h6 11. a3 (11 Nh4) d4 (Be6) 12. c4 (12 dxc4 SF) a5 13. Rb1 (Nd2) a4 14. Nd2 Be6 (14…Ra6) 15. f4 Qd7 (15…Ra6) 16. Ne1 (SF says 16 b3) Qc7 (16…Rb8) 17. Ndf3 (17 b4) f6 18. Nh4 (18 b3) g5 (18 exf4) 19. Nf5 Nxf5 20. exf5 Bxf5 21. fxg5 fxg5 22. Bxg5 Bg6 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bd2 Qe7 (24…Qb6)
Position after 24…Ne7. White to move

Nh4 Bh7 27. dxe4 (27 Bxd4) Qe6 (Qd7) 28. Qh5 Qf7 (28…d3) 29. Qd5 (29 Qxf7) Ne5 (Qxd5) 30. Bf4 (30 Nf5) Nxc4 (30…Qxd5) 31. Qxc5 b6 (31…d3) 32. Qb5 (32 Qc6) Ne3 33. Re1 Qb3 34. Qxb3+ axb3 35. e5 (35 Bf3) Nxg2 36. Kxg2 Rc8 37. Re2 (37 Kf3) d3 (37…Rc2) 38. Rd2 Rc2 (It shows an arrow from the bishop on h7 to the e4 square, which would be check, but in the annotations one finds, “Inaccuracy. Bf8 was best.”) 39. Nf3 Be4 40. Kf2 Bxf3 41. Kxf3 Bxe5 42. Rxd3 Bxf4 43. Kxf4 Rxb2 44. h4 Rb1 45. Kg4 b2 46. Rb3 Ra1 47. Rxb2 Rxa3 48. Rxb6 h5+ 49. Kf4 Kg7 50. Re6 Ra4+ 51. Re4 Ra5 52. Re5 Ra4+ 53. Re4 Ra5 54. Re5 Ra4+ 55. Kg5 Rg4+ 56. Kxh5 Rxg3 57. Rg5+ Rxg5+ 58. hxg5 Kh7 59. g6+ Kg7 60. Kg5 Kg8 61. Kf6 Kf8 62. Kf5 Kg7 63. Kg5 Kg8 64. Kh6 Kh8 65. g7+ Kg8 66. Kg6 1/2-1/2

Daniela Miteva vs Margarita Voiska (2345)
Event: BUL-chT (Women)
Site: Bankia Date: ??/??/1992
Round: ?
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 e5 5.Bg2 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.c3 Nge7 8.d3 O-O 9.Be3 b6 10.Ne1 d5 11.f4 Be6 12.Nf3 Qd7 13.fxe5 dxe4 14.dxe4 Bg4 15.Rd1 Qc8 16.Nbd2 Nxe5 17.Nc4 Qa6 18.b3 Nxc4 19.bxc4 Nc6 20.Rd5 Bxc3 21.Rc1 Bd4 22.h3 Bxf3 23.Bxf3 Qa3 24.Re1 Bxe3+ 25.Qxe3 Qxa2 26.Rh5 Qb2 27.Rd5 Nd4 28.Bg4 a5 29.Qh6 Qc3 30.Rf1 Ne6 31.Rd7 Qxg3+ 32.Kh1 Qe5 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=1901572&m=12

Curious about the move the Stockfish program at Lichess would, given the chance, play on the second move for Black I put it into the analysis program (Why do most people call it an “engine”? Why do commentators not inform we readers of the NAME of the “ENGINE” used? Just askin’…) at Lichess.com and the following were the best moves according to the PROGRAM NAMED STOCKFISH:

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 Be7 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 d5 7. e5 f6 8. Nc3 fxe5 9. dxe5 d4 10. Bf4 dxc3 11. Rd1 Bd7 12. e6 cxb2 13. exd7+ Qxd7 14. Rxd7 b1=Q+ 15. Rd1 Qf5 16. g3 Rd8 17. Bg2 Rxd1+ 18. Qxd1 Bb4+ 19. Nd2 Qe6+ 20. Be3 Qc4 21. Qe2 Qc1+ 22. Qd1 Bxd2+ 23. Bxd2 Qxd1+ 24. Kxd1 Nf6 25. Be3 Kd7 26. Ke2 Re8 27. Rb1 Kc8 28. Kf1 a6 29. Bh3+ Kb8 30. Bg2 Kc8 31. Bh3+ Kb8 32. Bg3+ 1/2-1/2

Christopher Yoo in Fantasyland

In the eighth round of the US Chess Championship young Christopher Yoo uncorked the seldom played Fantasy variation by moving his f-pawn one square on his third move. Word on the Chess street is seeing the move onscreen caused GM Ben Finegold to have a conniption fit.

Seeing the move made this Chess fan smile. Unfortunately, the offbeat openings played ‘back in the day’ do not see much action these daze, so when one is essayed it is a special treat.

[Event “U.S. Chess Championship”]
[Site “Saint Louis, United States”]
[Date “2022.10.13”]
[Round “8.2”]
[White “Yoo, Christopher”]
[Black “Xiong, Jeffery”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “2563”]
[BlackElo “2690”]
[UTCDate “2022.10.13”]

[ECO “B12”]
[Opening “Caro-Kann Defense: Maróczy Variation”]

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 Qb6 4. Nc3 dxe4 5. fxe4 e5 6. Nf3 exd4 7. Qxd4 Be6 8. Bf4 Ne7 9. Bd6 Ng6 10. Bxf8 Rxf8 11. O-O-O Qxd4 12. Nxd4 Ne5 13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. exf5 Nbd7 15. Be2 O-O-O 16. g4 Kc7 17. g5 Rh8 18. h4 h6 19. Ne4 hxg5 20. hxg5 Nb6 21. Rxh8 Rxh8 22. f6 g6 23. c4 Nbxc4 24. Bxc4 Nxc4 25. Nc5 Nd6 26. Re1 Re8 27. Rxe8 Nxe8 28. Kd2 b6 29. Nd3 Kd6 30. Ke3 Nc7 31. Ke4 Ne6 32. Ne5 Nxg5+ 33. Kf4 Ne6+ 34. Ke4 Nd8 35. Kf4 Ke6 36. Ng4 Nb7 37. Kg5 Nc5 38. Nf2 Nd7 39. Nd3 Nxf6 40. Nb4 c5 41. Nc6 a5 42. Nd8+ Ke7 43. Nc6+ Kd7 44. Ne5+ Ke6 45. Nc4 Nd7 46. a4 Kd5 47. b3 Kd4 48. Nd6 Kc3 49. Nxf7 Kxb3 50. Kf4 Kxa4 0-1
    https://lichess.org/broadcast/us-chess-championship/round-8/fm2WddB4

The best moves according to the Stockfish program at Lichess.com are given in parenthesis.

1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 (The Stockfish program has determined the insipid 3 exd5 is the best move. Where is the fun in that move?!) 3…Qb6 (3…e6) 4. Nc3 dxe4 (4…e6) 5. fxe4 (5 Bc4) 5…e5 6. Nf3 exd4 7. Qxd4 (7 Nxe4) 7…Be6 (TN SF plays 7…Nf6) 8. Bf4 (a4) 8… Ne7 (Nf6) 9. Bd6 (9 Be3) 9…Ng6 (9…Nbd7) 10. Bxf8 Rxf8 (10…Qxd4) 11. O-O-O (11 Qxg7) 11…Qxd4 12. Nxd4 Ne5 13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. exf5 Nbd7 15. Be2 O-O-O (15…a5) 16. g4 (16 b4) Kc7 17. g5 Rh8 (17…Rde8) 18. h4 (18 Ne4) 18…h6 19 Ne4 (19 gxh6) 19…hxg5 20. hxg5 Nb6 21. Rxh8 (21 Re1) 21…Rxh8 22. f6 (22 Re1) 22…g6 23. c4 (23 b4) The game is, for all intents and purposes, over.

Bartlomiej Heberla (2487) vs Mikheil Mchedlishvili (2568)
Event: EU-ch 7th
Site: Kusadasi Date: 04/13/2006
Round: 9
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 Qb6 4.Nc3 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Qe2 Qxd4 7.Be3 Qd8 8.fxe4 Bg4 9.Nf3 e6 10.O-O Nbd7 11.Qf2 Bd6 12.Rad1 Qc7 13.Rxd6 Qxd6 14.e5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.Bd4 Qc7 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Qxf6 Rf8 19.Ne4 Bf5 20.Rxf5 exf5 21.Nd6+ Kd7 22.Nxf7 Rxf7 23.Qxf7+ Kd6 24.Qf6+ Kc5 25.Bd3 Qd7 26.Qe5+ Kb6 27.b4 a5 28.Qc5+ Kc7 29.bxa5 Rd8 30.Qb6+ Kb8 31.a6 Qd4+ 32.Qxd4 Rxd4 33.axb7 h6 34.Bxf5 Kxb7 35.Bd3 Kc7 36.Kf2 Ra4 37.Kf3 Kd6 38.g4 Ke5 39.h4 Rxa2 40.g5 h5 41.Bg6 Ra3+ 42.Ke2 Rh3 43.Bxh5 Rxh4 44.Be8 c5 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3331874&m=13

Arjun Erigaisi (2660) vs Tahsin Tajwar Zia, (2235)
Event: TCh-BAN Premier 2022
Site: Dhaka BAN Date: 03/20/2022
Round: 11.2
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 Qb6 4.Nc3 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Qe2 h5 7.fxe4 e5 8.dxe5 Ng4 9.Nf3 Nd7 10.e6 fxe6 11.Bxe6 Nde5 12.Bxc8 Rxc8 13.h3 Nxf3+ 14.gxf3 Ne5 15.f4 Be7 16.Kf1 Bh4 17.Kg2 O-O 18.Rf1 c5 19.Nd5 Qg6+ 20.Kh1 Nc6 21.Rg1 Nd4 22.Rxg6 Nxe2 23.Rg2 Ng3+ 24.Rxg3 Bxg3 25.Ne7+ Kf7 26.Nxc8 Rxc8 27.Kg2 Bh4 28.Be3 b6 29.Rd1 Rd8 30.Rg1 g6 31.Kf3 Kf6 32.a4 a5 33.Ra1 Ke6 34.Ke2 Bf6 35.Rg1 Rg8 36.Kf3 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4337871&m=13

I began putting the moves into the analysis program at Lichess to only look at the opening moves. Next thing I know I was in the middle game and “just had” to know how the game would play out, so I opened Hearts of Space (https://v4.hos.com/this-week/program) and listened while watching the game as time stood still for quite a while.

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 Qb6 4. Nc3 dxe4 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. fxe4 e5 7. dxe5 Ng4 8. Qe2 Nxe5 9. Bb3 Bg4 10. Nf3 Be7 11. Be3 Qd8 12. Rd1 Qa5 13. O-O Nxf3+ 14. gxf3 Bh3 15. Rfe1 Qh5 16. Kh1 Nd7 17. Rg1 Rg8 18. Rg3 g6 19. a4 a5 20. Bf4 Nc5 21. Nd5 cxd5 22. exd5 Kf8 23. Qe3 Re8 24. Bh6+ Rg7 25. Bxg7+ Kxg7 26. d6 Bxd6 27. Qxe8 Ne4 28. Qxe4 Bxg3 29. Qe2 b6 30. Bd5 Bf5 31. Qd2 Kf8 32. Rg1 Be5 33. b3 Qh4 34. Rg2 Bd7 35. Re2 Qh3 36. Re1 Bg3 37. Rg1 Bc7 38. Qf2 Qh6 39. Rd1 Bh3 40. Qd4 Qg5 41. Rg1 Qh5 42. c4 Qe5 43. Qxe5 Bxe5 44. Re1 Bc3 45. Re2 Bb4 46. Bc6 Be6 47. h4 Kg7 48. Re3 Kf6 49. Re2 Bf5 50. Bd5 h6 51. Be4 Bc8 52. Bd5 Bf5 53. Be4 Be6 54. Kg2 g5 55. h5 Bd7 56. Bd5 Kg7 57. Re3 Bc5 58. Re1 Bb4 59. Rd1 f5 60. Be4 Be6 61. Bb7 Bc5 62. Bd5 Bd7 63. Bf7 Bc6 64. Be6 g4 65. Bd5 Be8 66. fxg4 fxg4 67. Kg3 Bxh5 68. Be4 Bf7 69. Kxg4 Kf6 70. Kf4 h5 71. Bf5 h4 72. Rh1 Bf2 73. Ke4 Kg5 74. Rh2 Be1 75. Rg2+ Bg3 76. Rd2 Be1 77. Rg2+ Bg3 78. Bh3 Bh5 79. Rd2 Bf7 80. Rd7 Bg6+ 81. Kf3 Bh5+ 82. Ke3 Be8 83. Rd5+ Kf6 84. c5 bxc5 85. Ke2 Bf7 86. Rxc5 Bxb3 87. Rxa5 Ke7 88. Ra7+ Kd6 89. a5 Bc4+ 90. Ke3 Be1 91. a6 Kc6 92. Bc8 h3 93. Rh7 Bxa6 94. Bxa6 Kb6 95. Rh6+ Kc5 96. Rh5+ Kb6 97. Be2 h2 98. Rxh2 Kc5 99. Rh5+ Kc6 100. Rh1 Bb4 101. Ke4 Kd6 102. Rc1 Ba3 103. Rc2 Bb4 104. Bb5 Ke6 105. Rc6+ Bd6 106. Rb6 Ke7 107. Kf5 Bh2 108. Re6+ Kd8 109. Rc6 Ke7 110. Rc2 Bb8 111. Rd2 Bd6 112. Rd4 Bg3 113. Rd7+ Ke8 114. Ke6 Kf8 115. Rf7+ Kg8 116. Bc4 Be1 117. Kf6 Bc3+ 118. Kg6 Bg7 119. Rf3+ Kh8 120. Rh3+ Bh6 121. Rxh6#

Three Way Tie for First Place at the Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+

https://www.britishchesschampionships.co.uk/chessable-british-chess-championships-week-one/

GM Paul Motwani (above left) shared the lead throughout the tournament and finished with shared top place with FM Chris Duncan (middle) and Phil Crocker (right), all on 5.5 points.

Heading into the last round of the Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+ five players were tied for first place with each having scored 4 1/2 points in the first six rounds. Board one featured FM Chris Duncan (2178) vs Paul Townsend (2177).

Black to move after 21 Nc3xb5

FM Chris Duncan vs M Paul Townsend
Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+
Final Round Seven
D37 Queen’s Gambit Declined, classical variation (5.Bf4)

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. O-O Qc8 12. h3 Qb7 13. Rb1 axb4 14. axb4 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 Ra3 16. Ra1 Rfa8 17. Rxa3 Rxa3 18. Qc2 b5 19. Nd2 Bd8 20. Re1 Bc7 21. Nxb5 Qxb5 22. Bxc7 Qxb4 23. Rb1 Qc3 24. Qxc3 Rxc3 25. Nb3 Ne8 26. Bg3 1-0

After noticing the Stockfish program at Lichess.com has proclaimed 1 Nf3 the best opening move I have taken notice of the percentage of games in which the knight move has been chosen recently., and was therefore not surprised by the move in this game. 16 Ra1 is a TN. Stockfish shows 16 Qc2 as best and other players have agreed as 365Chess.com shows it having been previously played in eleven games. Ju Wenjun played 16 Nd2 against former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov at the Cap d’Agde in France in 2012, but lost the game (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3833042&m=32). That is fifteen moves of theory produced by Seniors in what 365Chess.com calls the “D37 Queen’s Gambit Declined, classical variation (5.Bf4).” The rest of the game lasted less than a dozen moves…

Position after 27…Qxe8

CM Paul AG Dargan vs Philip J Crocker
Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+
Final Round Seven
B07 Pirc, Byrne variation

  1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bg5 c6 5. f4 Bg7 6. Qd2 b5 7. Bd3 O-O 8. Nf3 Bg4 9. O-O Qb6 10. Ne2 c5 11. e5 d5 12. Ng3 c4 13. Be2 Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Bxe7 exf3 16. Bxf3 Bxf3 17. Bxf8 Bxf8 18. Rxf3 Nc6 19. c3 Rd8 20. Qf2 Ne7 21. g4 f5 22. exf6 Qxf6 23. Re1 Nd5 24. f5 Bd6 25. fxg6 Qxg6 26. h3 Re8 27. Rxe8+ Qxe8 28. Qh4 Bf4 29. g5 Qe4 30. Qg4 Qe1+ 31. Rf1 Qxf1+ 0-1

The following game varied at move twenty, but Stockfish prefers 20 Qf2. Paul Dargan was doing fine after Philip Crocker played the weak 24…Bd6, and then let go of the rope with one hand when playing 25…Qg6. Mr. Dargan then had a ‘won’ game. Unfortunately his 26th move moved the game back into anyone’s game until Dargan again let go of the rope with one hand with 28 Qh4, which is given not one, but two question marks by the Stockfish program. After that move, Mr. Dargan was obviously rattled

before letting go of the rope completely by playing 29 g5…and began…

Nguyen Thi Thanh An (2249) vs Tan, Zhongyi (2475)
Event: Olympiad Women 2016
Site: Baku AZE Date: 09/04/2016
Round: 3.1
ECO: B07 Pirc, Byrne variation
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.f4 c6 6.Qd2 b5 7.Bd3 O-O 8.Nf3 Bg4 9.O-O Qb6 10.Ne2 c5 11.e5 d5 12.Ng3 c4 13.Be2 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Bxe7 exf3 16.Bxf3 Bxf3 17.Bxf8 Bxf8 18.Rxf3 Nc6 19.c3 Rd8 20.Kh1 Ne7 21.Re1 Qe6 22.Qf2 Rd7 23.Rg1 h5 24.h3 f5 25.exf6 Qxf6 26.Re1 Nf5 27.Re5 h4 28.Rxb5 Bd6 29.Qe2 Qf7 30.Qf2 Re7 31.Kg1 Ng3 32.Re5 Bxe5 33.fxe5 Nf5 34.Qd2 Kh7 35.Qg5 Rb7 36.Rf2 Qd5 37.Qg4 Rf7 38.Rf3 a5 39.Rf2 a4 40.a3 Kh6 41.Rf3 Rb7 42.Rf2 Rb6 43.Qf4+ Kh7 44.Qg4 Qd8 45.Qf4 Qd5 46.Qg4 Qb7 47.Qe2 Qc6 48.Qg4 Qd5 49.Kh2 Rb7 50.Kg1 Rf7 51.Rf3 Kg7 52.Kh2 Qb7 53.Rf2 Qe7 54.Kg1 Kh6 55.Qe2 Qe6 56.Qe4 Rd7 57.Qa8 Rf7 58.Qxa4 Ne3 59.Qa8 Rxf2 60.Kxf2 Nd1+ 61.Ke2 Nxb2 62.Qh8+ Kg5 63.Qd8+ Kh5 64.Qh8+ Kg5 65.Qd8+ Kh5 66.Qh8+ Kg5 67.Qd8+ Kh5 68.Qh8+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4008322&m=24

Board three featured the top rated player, GM Paul Motwani, who began the tournament rated two hundred points higher than his closest opponent, CM Mark Josse, rated 2220. On paper is should have been a cakewalk for Motwani, but this is Senior Chess, at it’s best, and numbers have less relation to strength in Senior Chess. A perfect example would be the player GM Motwani faced in the last round, class A player Nigel J Moyse, rated all of 1976, a number with special meaning to this writer, as that is the year I won the Atlanta Chess Championship for the second time, while scoring a perfect 5-0. Just sayin’…

Position after 8 Nxd4

GM Paul Motwani (2420) vs Nigel J Moyse (1976)
Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+
Final round seven
B09 Pirc, Austrian attack

  1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 c5 6. e5 Nfd7 7. exd6 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Qb6 9. Ndb5 Bxc3+ 10. Nxc3 O-O 11. b3 Nf6 12. Bb2 Rd8 13. Na4 Qb4+ 14. Qd2 Qxd2+ 15. Kxd2 Ne4+ 16. Ke3 Nxd6 17. Be2 Bd7 18. Nc3 Nc6 19. a3 Nf5+ 20. Kf2 Ncd4 21. Bd3 Bc6 22. Rhd1 h5 23. Ne2 Nxe2 24. Bxe2 Rac8 25. Rxd8+ Rxd8 26. Rd1 Rxd1 27. Bxd1 Kf8 28. g3 Ke8 29. h3 Nd6 30. g4 hxg4 31. hxg4 Kd7 32. Ke3 f5 33. g5 Nf7 34. c4 Kd6 35. b4 e5 36. Bb3 exf4+ 37. Kxf4 Ke6 38. Bd4 a6 39. a4 Be4 40. b5 axb5 41. axb5 Bg2 42. Bf6 Be4 43. b6 Kd7 44. c5 Nd8 45. Bxd8 Kxd8 46. Bf7 Bb1 47. Ke4 1-0

The game was even, Steven, before Nigel Moyse blundered horribly by playing 8…Qb6, when he should have simply castled. After moving the Queen the Stockfish program shows Moyse down by -4.0. Nevertheless, the game lasted forty more moves due to weak play from GM Motwani. That’s Senior Chess!

After 5 Nf3 the opening is a B09 Pirc, Austrian attack. 5…c5 turns it into a B09 Pirc, Austrian attack, dragon formation

  1. d4 d6 2. e4 (2 Nf3) 2…Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 (3…e5) 4. f4 (4 Be3) 4…Bg7 5. Nf3 c5 6. e5 (6 dxc5) 6…Nfd7 7. exd6 (7 dxc5) 7…cxd4 (7…0-0) 8. Nxd4 (8 Nb4) 8…Qb6?? (-4.0)