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).
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)
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…
CM Paul AG Dargan vs Philip J Crocker Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+ Final Round Seven B07 Pirc, Byrne variation
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…
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’…
GM Paul Motwani (2420) vs Nigel J Moyse (1976) Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+ Final round seven B09 Pirc, Austrian attack
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
Throughout his career IM Ronald Burnett, from Tennessee
has been a creative and inventive player, especially with the black pieces, preferring to go his own way much of the time. His page at 365Chess.com (https://www.365chess.com/players/Ronald_Burnett) shows Ron has defended with the B06 Robatsch (modern) defense in 37 games. Second with 23 games is the B07 Pirc defence, with 23 games. In the final round of the 2022 US Open IM Burnett had black against Daniel Lin, from California, rated only 1939 prior to the event. After managing to snatch a draw from the hands of defeat, Mr. Lin was one of only two players rated under 2000 to finish with 6 1/2 points. Lang Leo Xiong, from Virginia and rated 1978 was the only other player in the top thirty one players with a rating beginning with a “1”. Because of IM Burnett’s penchant for creating openings over the board one would assume there would not be much theory involved with most of Ron’s openings, at least with the black pieces. Because of the recent explosion of Chess games in the databases these daze one would be wrong to “ass u me” anything.
Daniel Lin vs IM Ronald W Burnett 2022 US Open last round B00 Owen defence
Your writer was fortunate enough to have faced IM Burnett one time. I say fortunate because it was always my intention to play well enough to face titled players. After losing the long, hard fought game Ron said, “I never knew you were so strong.” Ron did not have to say what he said, and it was appreciated, but still, the game was lost. It is difficult playing your friends, who become your “friendenemy” during battle. Most of the time the “enemy” part is dropped after the game, but not always. For example, defeating John “Smitty” Smith, a man with whom I had traveled and shared a room on the road, ended our friendship. After the game Smitty informed me that if he had won he had figured out he would have become a National Master, and planned on withdrawing to ensure he would earn the NM certificate from the USCF. Smitty never became a NM, and soon gave up Chess. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/12/john-smitty-smith-jr-vs-im-boris-kogan/)
NM Gabriel Eidelman vs GM Eduardas Rozentalis
2022 US Open Last Round E32 Nimzo-Indian, classical variation
It is difficult to believe there have been numerous games played with this opening concidering the fact that according to the ‘rule’ that the side down by -1.5 is considered to have a ‘lost’ game. After playing 6…d6 Stockfish considers black down by -1.7. After the Grandmaster slid his King over one square to f8 with his tenth move the program shows Rozentalis down by -2.2. As my friend IM of GM strength Boris Kogan was so fond of saying about some of my moves, “This is no way to play CHESS!” It is not often we lesser rated players see any Grandmaster busted up so badly they have a losing position before getting out of the opening. GM Rozentalis may have looked fine outwardly after losing such a game, but inwardly he looked like the man some called the “real Rocky Balboa,” Chuck Wepner, aka The Bayonne Bleeder:
For those of you wondering “Why on earth the AW would post these films with a post concerning Chess”, the answer is that I know, as do all Chess players who take the game seriously, that, metaphorically speaking, this is how we feel after losing a game…and sometimes even after WINNING!
tied for first with GM Andrew Hong and FM Sandeep Sethuraman in the Denker Tournament of HS Champions, each scoring five out of a possible six points.
This will be the first of three posts devoted to three games in which Arthur was involved. Before beginning I would like to give kudos to the folks at the “New” United States Chess Federation website. The coverage has been exceptional and the article from which the picture of young Mr. Guo was obtained is an excellent example (https://new.uschess.org/news/day-3-rancho-mirage-drama-builds-invitationals). The picture of the three winners was also taken from an article from the USCF website that appeared as I was putting this post together. With the Chess Olympiad ongoing there is currently much Chess activity the world over. In addition, the 2022 U.S. Go Congress (https://www.usgo.org/) is happening concurrently.
There is simply not enough time to follow everything even though the AW has been burning the midnight oil in a futile attempt to stay abreast of all things games, and has blurry vision to show for it. Nevertheless, here I sit, punchin’ & pokin’ while spending even more time looking at a computer screen. That is OK since I can no longer get my kicks on Route 66 they come vicariously when watching the action while keeping the brain’s neuron synapses firing. It can also be called having the time of my life. Those that cannot do, watch. Let me tell you watching is much easier!
There I was minding my own business when this position was reached in the game between IM Arthur Guo and FM Sandeep Sethuraman the third round of the Denker Tournament of High School Champions:
8 Qd3 was a shock, and it can be found in only 31 games in the Big Database at 365Chess. In reply black castled before IM Guo played a move I cannot ever recall seeing played, 9 Bd2. The question is, why would Arthur play such a tepid move?
It was the move 6…Nbd7 that attracted my attention, not 7 Qe2. When playing the Najdorf what now seems like another lifetime ago I invariably played 6…e6, which was the preferred move of Bobby Fischer, and now Stockfish, or at least the Stockfish program utilized by Lichess.com. Although 7…h6 has been the most often played move by we humans, Stockfish plays 7…b5. Again humans place this move below the move played in the game and 7…e6 and 7…Qc7. After 8 Bh4 Stockfish shows 8…Qc7 as best. Yet GM Sorokin played 8…g6, which has been the most often played move by human players. Then comes a series of moves of which Stocky approves, until after 12…b5, when the program would play 13 a3. After 14…Qb8 Stocky would play 15 Na5, but the IM chose to make a draw. This has all been seen previously:
Dmitry Kryakvin (2589) vs Aleksandr Rakhmanov (2647)
And this will no doubt be seen again, and again, and again… It will be used, especially after this post, by anyone and everyone with a desire to draw. It is the perfect game with which to make a draw because who would ever expect the venerable Najdorf variation, the favorite of World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer because it was a fighting defense that could be used to win with the Black pieces, to be used to make a “quick” draw? The game can last twenty moves, so older, weaker, Grandmasters, like Julio Becerra and Jacob Aagaard (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/07/29/gm-jacob-aagaard-blasphemes-caissia-at-the-charlotte-chess-center-gm-norm-invitational/) can make a peaceful, short draw and not have Chess writers rake them over the coals for being old and weak by playing two moves and calling it a day, err…draw.
In the excellent book, Seven Games, by Oliver Roeder,
the first chapter concerns the game, Checkers. It is written: “Competitive tournament checkers games begin with the drawing of a card from a deck. The familiar game, played in living rooms and school cafeterias, with its initial checkers starting in the traditional formation shown below, is known on the competitive circuit as go-as-you-please, or GAYP. But expert players know this version so well that any game can be effortlessly steered toward a draw. To combat this, the first three moves of a typical competitive game are determined randomly by drawing a card from a predetermined deck of opening moves. This version of checkers is known as three-move ballot or, simply, “three-move.” This variation has been played for the game’s most prestigious titles. Checkers openings come with colorful names: the White doctor, the Octopus, the Skull Cracker, the Rattlesnake, and the Rattlesnake II. There are 174 possible three-moves openings in checkers, but not all of these appear in the deck. Some would simply give too big an advantage to one side or the other, resulting in lopsided and, uninteresting play. The deck currently sanctioned by the American Checkers Federation (https://www.usacheckers.com/) contains 156 openings,each of which seasons the game with its own unique favor. Some of them remain bland, typically leading to uneventful draws. But some of them are sharp, bestowing on one side an instant advantage. In those sharp games, it is incumbent upon one player to attack, and upon the other player to fight for his life.” Top players have all this memorized, of course, along with lengthy continuations beyond the third move. Whatever checkers lacks in complexity compared to, say, chess, its top players make up for in depth (itl). Elite players can often see some twenty, thirty, or even forty moves ahead. This is what Tinsley meant when he said that playing checkers was like staring down a bottomless well.”
It has been obvious for decades that Chess has a draw problem. The problem has only gotten worse with the utilization of the computer Chess programs, and the problem will continue to grow, and fester, until it sucks the life out of the game of Chess, just as it sucked the life out of the game of Checkers. The problem is obvious. Players are awarded far too much when “earning” a half-point for drawing. I have posited changing a draw to only one quarter of a point, while some have said a third of a point should be awarded for drawing. The problem is not going away. How long will it be before Chess has to resort to using cards, or some other random generator like a computer program, to choose the openings for the players? Even then players who want to draw will be able to make a draw, unless and until what is gained by making a draw is far less than the 1/2 point the players “earn” by “playing” a game before bellying-up to the bar.
In the fourth round of the US Senior Chess Championship being held at the St. Louis Chess Campus International Master Igor Khmelnitsky,
with the white pieces, faced Grandmaster Joel Benjamin.
The game began:
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 Qa5 5.Qe2
Regular readers know of my predilection for this particular move of the Queen, but that stems from the famous Chigorin move in the French defense after 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2, and not because the move putting the Queen in front of the King should be played just because it is possible. After Joel played 4…Qa5 Igor had a small advantage which was larger than if his opponent had played the choice of Stockfish, 4…Qb6. Igor’s choice of 5 Qe2 jettisoned the advantage. Why would any titled player make such a move? The SF program at Lichess.com shows the best move is 5 Bd2. Here’s the deal, after 5…e5 6.dxe5 dxe5, white plays 7 Bd2. After the following moves, 7…Na6 8.a3 Be6 9.Nf3 O-O-O 10.Nd5 Qa4 11.Nxf6 gxf6 12.b3 this position is reached:
Yasser Seirawan, Christian Chirila, and Alejandro Ramirez, were big on the exchange sacrifice after the move 12…Rxd2, which they, and the ‘engine’ liked. The question was would Joel pull the trigger?
The plan had been to use this game in the previous post in lieu of the game with Shabalov so there would be two exchange sacrifices rather than the possible sacrifice of the knight on f7, which Joel declined. That was prior to my doing the due diligence that should have been done earlier. I did not go to 365Chess.com and check out the opening because, well, you know, who in his right mind would play such a lame move as 5 Qe2 in that position? What was found rocked the AW. Not only had the move of the Queen been previously played but it had been played against non other than GM Joel Benjamin!
Cemil Can Ali Marandi (2552) vs Joel Benjamin (2526) Event: St Louis Winter B 2018 Site: Saint Louis USA Date: 11/07/2018 Round: 3.3 ECO: A45 Queen’s pawn game 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 Qa5 5.Qe2 e5 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Bd2 Bg4 8.f3 Be6 9.g4 Nbd7 10.h4 b5 11.Nd5 b4 12.Qa6 Qxa6 13.Nc7+ Kd8 14.Nxe6+ fxe6 15.Bxa6 Nc5 16.Bc4 a5 17.a3 Rb8 18.axb4 axb4 19.Nh3 Bd6 20.Ra7 Nfd7 21.Ke2 h6 22.g5 Ke7 23.gxh6 gxh6 24.Rg1 Kf6 25.Nf2 h5 26.Bg5+ Kf7 27.Be3 Rb7 28.Raa1 Be7 29.Bg5 Nb6 30.Bd3 b3 31.Bxe7 Rxe7 32.Rg5 Kf6 33.Rag1 Rhh7 34.f4 Reg7 35.Nh3 Nxd3 36.cxd3 Rxg5 37.hxg5+ Kg6 38.fxe5 Rf7 39.Ke3 1-0 https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4152899&m=10
It was then obvious why Igor had played the move of the Queen. Joel had lost the game played years ago, so Igor, after doing his due diligence, decided to play it again while putting the question to GM Benjamin. Had Joel done his homework? One would assume GM Benjamin would have spent much time replaying and annotating the lost game because even lower rated players will scrutinize their losses, so that in the event the same position occurs on the board in a future game they will be prepared and have an answer. Obviously, this did not happen in this case, and it cost Joel dearly. This position was reached in both games after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 Qa5 5.Qe2 e5 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Bd2:
When seeing the position for the first time GM Benjamin played 7…Bg4. He played a different move against Igor:
After surfin’ on over to the analysis program at Lichess.com it was learned the best move in the position, according to the Stockfish program, is 7…Bc5, something Joel should have known. I have previously written about how the programs are revolutionizing the opening phase of the game and how older players who refuse to do their homework are being cut to pieces, metaphorically speaking, over the board (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/06/04/ben-finegold-loses-to-alexander-shabalov-before-drawing-out-the-string/). It is not my intention to judge any player too harshly because we are still in a pandemic. The play has been erratic, if not atrociously abominable, replete with what Yasser likes to call “howler” moves being made with regularity. Still, coming to the board without being prepared is unforgivable. Older players simply MUST forget most of what they have learned about the openings they play and look at them with “new eyes.” The days of getting by with what you know, Joe, are over. It is no longer possible for older players to “wing it.” Seniors can no longer say, “I’ve had this position a million times!” It no longer matters how well one thinks he knows the opening because, as Bob Dylan sang, “Things Have Changed.”
Decades ago when playing Backgammon professionally there was a story going around about the best player in the world, a fellow named “Ezra.” As the story went “Ezra” enjoyed spending time watching players new to the game. When asked why he would waste his time watching novice players yet to have found a clue the answer was he liked watched those new to the game because they had no preconceived ideas about how the game was played. For that reason I have always found watching the play of newbies interesting.
In the second round of the European Senior 65+ an unrated player, Ryszard Borowik faced class A player Roger S Scowen, rated 1864. The opening moves were 1 e4 e6 2 Nf3. Now, “Everybody knows” the best second move is 2 d4, because players are taught to “Control the center,” are they not? Playing 2 d4 has become de rigueur. Who checks to learn what the latest version of Stockfish plays on the second move? The AW, that’s who. I was shocked, SHOCKED, to see the version of Stockfish at lichess.com plays 2 Nf3.
Ryszard Borowik UNR vs Roger S Scowen 1864 European Senior 65+ (round 2) C00 French defence
So I decided to start learning an opening or two at some point, and decided the French Defense would be one I would try out.
The books all have it. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5
There’s an occaisional variation mentioned, but that’s the line the books say is the usual one.
When playing blitz on chess.com, the most common second move I see is Nf3. What’s up with that? Has some master found great success with that line, but my books are too old for it? I just bought a book on the French Defense. 269 pages of French Defense. I doubt I’ll ever slug my way through it, but I thought I would try really studying one opening in depth, and seeing where it leads. In all those 269 pages, published in 2003, they don’t even mention the possibility of Nf3, or bother telling the reader how to reply.
Click on “Females” and one discovers how the four female players have fared against their male counterparts. Segregating the “females” sets them apart, making it appear they are different and not part of the group. Is this good for the “females” or for Chess? Is it necessary to separate the women players because of their gender? Does this help or hurt their chances of being accepted as part of the group? Let me ask another question. What if there were enough players to have a similar tournament with four players with dark skin pigmentation and the word “Black” was used in lieu of “Female”? Would that be acceptable to people with darker skin pigmentation? Would that be acceptable to the people in charge of the St. Louis Chess Club? Would it be acceptable to the larger Chess community of the world? If the answer is “no” then why is it acceptable for the people at the St. Louis Chess Campus to segregate any one particular group?
After informing a National Master that I have been avidly following the two tournaments currently being held at the St. Louis Chess Campus he replied, “Why would you waste your time watching those chumpy-lumpies when you could be watching games from the Sharjah Masters? There are thirty of the best players in the world competing and they are fighting.” I said nothing while thinking about the proliferation of draws, most of them short, afflicting top level Chess these daze. Short draws have been anathema at the St. Louis Chess mecca. The options for a Chess fan these days are almost unlimited; this fan prefers watching games emanating from the Chess Capital of America no matter who is playing because short draws are not acceptable in St. Louis, or at least were not until seeing this insult to the St. Louis Chess Campus and Chess in general:
This game “wowed” the fans, or at least one of them, who left this at the “Chat” with the game:
Neverness Board 1: What a fighting game! 😀
Neverness Wow, just wow! 😀
Neither one of these “players”, and I use the word loosely, is a Grandmaster yet they felt compelled to make a “Grandmaster draw.” What are the odds either one of these losers will ever be invited to return to the St. Louis Chess Campus? Games like this appear with regularity at tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center, and in the Bay area at San Jose. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/05/19/mission-360-bay-area-making-a-mockery-of-chess-tournament/). Never thought I would be writing about a three and a have move game from St. Louis…
On to the good stuff abounding from this tournament!
After four rounds FM Jennifer Yu
was +2 after two wins and two draws. In the fifth round she had the white pieces versus fellow FM Joshua Posthuma (2404).
After the latter made a weak ninth move and followed it up with what is called a “mistake” at LiChess, she was winning. The game was a real battle and could have ended in a draw, but Ms. Yu let go of the rope with her 39th move, a passive retreat when she could have continued checking, and the lights were turned out. The game must have taken something out of her because she played weakly in the opening in the following game and was lost before move ten…but fought back to an even game later before both players blundered with their thirtieth move and it was back to even, Steven, until Ms. Yu again let go of the rope with her thirty second move and it was all over but the shouting…In the next, seventh round, she had the black pieces against one of the three co-leaders, IM Aaron Grabinsky, who had won his first four games before drawing the next two games. Not many people who gamble would have wagered on Jennifer. This writer was hoping she would not fall apart completely and do the goose-egg shuffle on her way out of St. Louis. Many players would have lost their fighting spirit and consented to “making a draw,” and who could, or would, blame her if she did exactly that? Then, on move 24 her opponent made a vacillating move in retreating his Queen and Jennifer gained an advantage. Solid move followed solid move until IM Grabinsky again retreated his Queen on his 29th move. Unfortunately, Jennifer did not make the best move in reply, but still had an advantage, albeit small. Then her opponent blundered on his 31st move and Jennifer punished him for it, winning in 35 moves. What a fighter is Jennifer Yu! I urge you to replay the game, which can be found here> (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress-im/round-7/Aq7DF3WV).
While watching the action in round six I put two games into the opening grinder and one of them was the game of the tournament. When young FM Alice Lee sat down to play IM Aaron Grabinsky in round six she had a total of 1 1/2 points, earned in the three previous rounds with draws after losing her first two games. Her opponent was leading the field with 4 1/2 points. Alice had the white pieces, but her opponent grabbed an positional advantage and began squeezing the life out of Ms. Lee, but she refused to let go of the rope, finding good move after good move for many moves. Several times IM Grabinsky achieved the maximum from his position, but refused to bring the hammer down and continued playing vacillating moves; he simply could not pull the trigger. After one hundred and eight moves (!) IM Grabinsky gave up the ghost and FM Alice Lee had scored a well earned and hard fought draw with the leader of the tournament!
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 (111865 games with this move can be found in the ChessBaseDataBase, and it is the choice of SF 15 @depth 68 and and SF 040522 @depth 74, but SF 14.1 @depth 64 preferred 3 Nc3. In 80101 games it has scored 53%. 3 Nf3 has scored 55%) 3…Bb4+ (SF 14.1 @depth 66 plays 3…d5) 4.Bd2 (This has been the most often played move with 11966 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Fritz 16-you know what that means-both SF 14.1 and 15 will play 4 Nbd2) 4…Bxd2+ (SF 15 plays 4…Be7, a move with only 165 games that have shown a score of 60%. Here’s the deal, Fritz 16 also plays the move! Deep Fritz 13 likes 4…a5, in third place with 3096 games in the CBDB. 5538 players have chosen 4…Qe7 with a score 57%; 2247 players have tried 4…c5 resulting in 53%. The move played in the game has scored 58% in 1212 games) 5.Qxd2 d6 (There are only 92 examples of this move contained in the CBDB with a resulting 62%. Fritz 16 @depth 31 will play 5…Nc6. There is only one game with the move. Komodo @depth 30 will play 5…b6. The 93 games in which this move has been played have resulted in 65% for the players of the white pieces. SF 14.1 @depth 55 castles. With 493 games it has been the most often played move, resulting in a 59% score) 6.Nc3 (With this move the CBDB shows us the progression of the computin’ of SF 14.1. At depth 38 it favors 6 e3. There is only one game with this move in the CBDB… then comes 6 g3 @depth 39. It has scored 50% in 15 games. Then @depth 47 the program moves to the move made in the game, which has resulted in a strong 63% for white) 6…Nbd7 (This move has been played in 22 games, scoring 61%. SF 190322 @depth 27 will play 6…Qe7. In 20 games it has scored 65%. Then there is SF 14.1 @depth 40 which will, given the opportunity, play 6…d5, a NEW MOVE!) 7.e4 e5 8.Be2 (There is only one game with this move in the CBDB, and it is the move of Deep Fritz 13 @depth 17 [17? The Fritz limbo; how low can you go?] which ought to give you pause…Komodo 14 @depth 31 and SF 130222 @depth 27 both 0-0-0) The CBDB contains only two games here, one with 8 d5 and the other with 8 Be2. Don’t know about you but I’m sticking with Stockfish!)
FM Gabriela Antova,
from Bulgaria, got off to a good start in the first round by defeating FM Alice Lee with black. Then she lost three in a row before drawing in the fifth round. In the sixth round she faced IM Pedro Rivera Rodriguez,
from Cuba, who, although an International Master, is rated below Master level at 2199. How is that possible? What has happened to the rating system? 2199 is below Master level, as 2000-2199 is, or was considered Expert level.
Round 6 FM Antova, Gabriela 2282 vs IM Rodriguez Rivera, Pedro 2199 A53 Old Indian defence
d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 56 will play 3 Nc3) 3…Nbd7 (Three different SF programs all going very deep will play 3…g6) 4. g3 (Two SF programs and one Komodo all play 4 Nc3) 4…e5 (Far and away the most often played move with 354 games, and advocated by Fritz 16 @depth 30, but SF 8 [8? Did SF 8 first appear last century?] @depth 27 will play the second most played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase, 4…c6, with 74 games showing. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 30 plays 3…g6, the third most popular move with only 51 moves contained in the CBDB) 5. Nc3 c6 (SF 7 @depth 29 will play this, the most often played move with 452 games in the database, but Fritz 16 @depth 35 AND Stockfish 14.1 @depth 44 both prefer 5…exd4. The CBDB contains on three games with pawn takes pawn) 6. Bg2 Be7 (With 432 games contained in the CBDB this has been the most frequently played move, and it is the choice of Houdini, but Fritz 16 @depth 28, and Stockfish 14.1 @depth 43 will play 6…e4, a move having been attempted in only 103 games) 7. O-O (The 495 games in which players have castled are more than double the 213 games in which 7 e4 has appeared. Both Houdini and Fritz castle, but SF 14.1 will play 7 Qc2, a move only seen in 51 games, although it has scored highest at an astounding 72%! Castling has scored 58% while 7 e4 has scored 63%) 7…0-0 (This move has been played in over one thousand games, 1033 to be exact, and has scored 58%, and it is the choice of Houdini, albeit at a low depth of only 24 fathoms. Yet Komodo and SF14.1 @depth 53 both will play 7…e4, a move having only been tried in 14 games) 8. Qc2 (The move of both Houdini and Fritz, but SF 14.1 will play the most often played move, 8 e4) 8…a6 (Komodo and Fritz play the most often played move, 8…Re8; SF 14.1 plays 8…Qc7) 9. Rd1 (SF 14.1 @depth 39 plays 9 h3. There is only one game containing the move found at the CBDB) 9…Qc7 10 dxe5 (This move cannot be located at either 365Chess or the CBDB, therefore FM Antova played a Theoretical Novelty)
relocated from Music City to the Phoenix city, Atlanta, Georgia. It happened that by happenstance I was at Todd’s apartment after he moved in and again later as he was getting ready to return to Nashville, Tennessee. There was an obvious disparity between how the apartment looked on those two occasions, kind of like one of those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.
Todd was young, and strong, at that time, and was the “Big Dog” at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. He was also an extremely personable and animated fellow. After being beaten by Todd one regular habitué of the House of Pain vociferously and demonstrably said to any and everyone within earshot, “That Todd has a BIG HEAD!” To which Bob Bassett replied, “Yeah, and if you ever get your rating up to 2400 you will have a big head.” Another wag added, “Fat chance.” The loser hit the door… The name stuck, although no one ever called Todd “Big Head” to his face. After yet another player had been battered and bloodied, metaphorically speaking, of course, over the Chess board by Todd, the loser would be asked about the result and the reply would invariably be, “Big Head got me.” About this time there was a popular music group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who were quite popular. Todd traveled to a music festival in another state and I considered asking if Big Head Todd and the Monsters were there, but refrained from so doing…
These days Todd is the man with the Big Head at the Nashville Chess Center:
FM Andrews drew with fellow FM James Canty in the opening round of the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center and followed that with a victory over GM Alonso Zapata, now a citizen of Georgia living in the metro Atlanta area. A couple of losses set him back before he was paired with serial drawer IM Nikolay Andrianov,
“…who became the Soviet Junior Champion in 1980. He beat GM Gary Kasparov in their junior years and maintains a plus score against the world champion. After that, he chose to focus on chess training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sports Institute, considered the top chess school globally at the time. He has since then trained students, many of them becoming masters in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Currently, he teaches chess in Arizona and online with Ashburn Chess Club.” (https://ashburnchessclub.com/nikolay-andrianov)
These are the games produced by IM Nikolay Andrianov in the first four rounds:
IM NIKOLAY ANDRIANOV (2317) vs DONALD JOHNSON (2102)
What happened in the second round? It looks as though Tianqi Wang actually considered attempting to try and play for a win, but after making a very weak move that gave the advantage to his opponent changed his mind and offered a draw, which was accepted by the player with little fight left in him. It takes two to tango, and make a draw, so all the blame cannot go to IM Andrianov. Some of the blame must be taken by the pusillanimous pussies so ready to accept a draw offer from an old and weak IM. Todd Andrews came to play Chess and forced the ineffectual IM to play to the death. Unfortunately, it was Todd who lost, but he went down fighting, like a man, and my hat is off to FM Todd Andrews. In losing Todd Andrews comes away a winner from one of the Charlotte Drawing Tournaments.
GM ALONSO ZAPATA (2367)
vs FM TODD ANDREWS (2209)
Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 0-1 ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line
e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (Stockfish 14 and 15 both play 3 Nc3, as does Komodo) 3…Nf6 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase, Komodo, Houdini, and Deep Fritz prefer 3…c5) 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 (SF 8 @depth 46 plays the move played in the game, but SF 13 @depth 44 goes with the most often played move of 5 Bd3. SF 14.1 @depth 47 will play 5 f4) 5…c5 6. Ndf3 (SF 311221 plays 6 Bd3 which has been far and away the most often played move with 8421 games in the CBDB; SF 14.1 will play 6 f4, the second most often played move (1924). The move played in the game has only been attempted in 54 games) 6…Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 (This move has been played most often with 130 games in the CBDB, but SF 14.1 and Komodo will play 7…Qa5. The reason could be that 7…cxd4 has resulted in a 66% score for players of the White pieces as opposed to only 42% in 31 games for 7…Qa5) 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 (SF 12 plays this move, but SF 070222 will take the pawn with the Queen with 9…Qxf6. Houdini will fire a TN with 9…Bb4+. 9…Nxf6 has been played in 84 games; 9…Qxf6 in only 8. White has scored 64% versus the former, but only 38% against the latter move) 10. Ne2 Qc7 (SF 130121 @depth 59 plays 10…Bd6, as do two different Fritz programs) 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 (Fritz 16 plays this move, but Deep Fritz will play will play 12 g3. SF 170821 prefers 12 h3) 12…a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 (SF 14.1 plays 14 Bh4 and so should you) 14…h6 (14…Bd7 has been played most often, and one of the “New Engines” @depth 42 likes it, but left running a little longer it changes its whatever @depth 43 to 14…Ng4, which is what Komodo will play @depth 26) 15. Bh4 Bf4 (There is only one prior game with the game move. Komodo 8 @depth 14 plays 15…Bd7, but SF 261120 will play 15…Nh5, as will Komodo 9)
(This is a game losing move. GM Niemann cogitated for all of one minute before moving the pawn. Moves this bad simply cannot be played at the very top level of Chess. If the move was prep it was very poor prep. If Hans was unfamiliar with the position he should have taken much more time deciding upon a move before ‘shooting it out there’. Maybe all the recent travel from country to country with little, if any, time to recover from the previous tournament has had an adverse effect. Only GM Niemann can explain what prompted him to make a game losing move in the opening) 13. Qb3+ Kh8 14. Nxd6 cxd6 15. Ng5 Qc7 16. Ne6 Qf7 17. Ra3?
When playing Chess one must continually ask and answer questions with the first being, “Why did my opponent make that move?” How does a teacher reply if a student were to ask, “Coach, why did he make that move?” Since you are getting paid you want the student to at least think you have a clue, but honesty compels you to answer, “I have no clue.” Who knows, maybe GM Navara had no clue… The Stockfish program used at LiChess shows 17 f3 as best. At least it is a forcing move. At best the move played in the game is an innocuous move, but still…) 17…Rfc8 18. Be3 Nd7 19. Bc4?
(Again GM Navara plays a less forcing move. 19 Ng5 attacks the Queen and should have been played) 19…Qe7 20. f3 Bh5 21. Qxb7?
(This move is given in red with this commentary, “Blunder. Bg5 was best.” This is the second time Navara refused to attack his opponents Queen. GM Navara should give some serious consideration to reading this book:
1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 (C25 Vienna game) 2…Nc6 (You will not be surprised to learn Stockfish 14.1 plays 2…Nf6. For what it’s worth, Deep Fritz 13 will play the game move… This move makes it a C25 Vienna game, Max Lange defence) 3. Bc4 Nf6 (Now it has become the C28 Vienna game) 4. d3 (According to 365Chess the opening is still the C28 Vienna game but ‘back in the day’ it was called a “Bishop’s Opening”) 4…Na5 (Stockfish 14 preferred 4…Bb4, but SF 14.1 plays the move made in the game) 5. Bb3 (For 5 Qf3 and a discussion of the position see the recent post: Esipenko vs Nakamura Bishops Opening Battle https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/03/31/esipenko-vs-nakamura-bishops-opening-battle/) 5…Be7? (I was surprised to learn this move has been attempted in 16 games, with White to score 66%. There are 126 games contained in the ChessBaseDataBase in which 5…Nxb3 was played culminating in a 50% score. There are only 47 games in which other moves have been attempted with White scoring 60+%. Arthur’s move is very passive. It is one thing to play a move taking your opponent out of book, but this move is another thing entirely) 6. f4 Nxb3 (The programs all prefer 6…d6) 7. axb3 d6 8. Nf3 (The programs all prefer 8 fxe5, yet the move made in the game is the only move shown at the CBDB!) 8…exf4 9. Bxf4 O-O 10. O-O c6 11. h3 (Although SF 14.1 will, given the chance, play this move, no human has yet to make it over the board so that makes 11 h3 a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! Or is it? A game featuring the move was located at 365Chess.com. Unfortunately the player sitting behind the Black pieces needed ten points to break the Master level of 2200…but wait! The player who actually made the TN move of 11 h3 WAS A RATED MASTER! Therefore, Arthur’s move of 11…d5 is the THEORETICAL NOVELTY!
It was a back and forth kinda game until Arthur Guo let go…of the rope, that is, when blundering horribly with his 37th move, which was so bad Arthur could have resigned on the spot after his opponent made his next move. Instead, he made his opponent “play it out,” while no doubt suffering with each and every move made…
In addition to the picture, the following was found at Chess.com:
Hi, I’m Arthur Guo. I just turned 14 and I’m an IM. I’m a three-time National Chess Champion. I won 2018 National Junior High (K-9) Championship as a 6th grader and won 2016 National Elementary (K-6) Championship as a 4th grader. I’m also a three-time International Youth/Junior Chess Tournament Gold Medalist/Co-Champion for Team USA. I was the Co-Champion for 2018 Pan American Junior U20, Champion for Pan American Youth U12 and U8. I placed 4th place (tied for 2nd) in 2018 World Cadets Chess Championship in Spain. I also love playing golf. https://www.chess.com/member/arthurguo
Arthur Guo is still a child. He is a teenager, but still too young to obtain the learner’s permit to drive a car. He has recently been playing non-stop Chess. Back in the days before Bobby Fischer
seats at the board were taken by grown men. Chess has changed so drastically that now the few men who occupy those seats are facing boys young enough to be their sons, or grandsons. After two years of the Covid pandemic things have changed and there has been an explosion of Chess activity. Things have reached a point where sixteen year old phenom Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa
went from winning the Reykjavik Open in Iceland to playing THE NEXT DAY at the La Roda International Open in Spain! Now that Chess has become one continuous tournament with no time between tournaments to rest, relax, and review the games played, a question must be asked. Is this good for the children and younger players, or will it be deleterious to their mental health?
In a little over one month young Mr. Guo has participated in three Chess tournaments: SPRING 2022 CCCSA GM/IM NORM INVITATIONAL (NC); 2022 NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP (TN); and the NEW YORK SPRING INVITATIONALS (NY) (http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlTnmtHst.php?14772092). Arthur played nine games in winning the first event; seven in winning the second event; and nine more in the last event, for a total of 25 games between March 16 until April 18. The quality of the moves made by Arthur Guo dropped dramatically in the last tournament, as should be expected. Arthur played what appeared to be “tired Chess.”
Burnout in Chess has been a problem for decades but it has now become exponentially more dangerous for the young(er) players. Organizers need to ask themselves, “What the fork are we doing?”