IM Boris Kogan Versus Expert David Spinks

IM Boris Kogan vs Expert David Spinks

Southern Congress

Atlanta, Georgia 1987

Round 1 Board 1

A50 Queen’s pawn game

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. Bf4 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4 Bg7 10. Nc3 Ne4 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. e3 a6 14. Be2 Rfe8 15. O-O Nf8 16. c4 dxc4 17. Bxc4 Be6 18. Nd2 Bd5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nb3 e5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Rxe5 23. b5 Ree8 24. bxa6 bxa6 25. Rfd1 Red8 26. Na5 Ne6 27. Rac1 Nc7 28. Nb7 Re8 29. Rd4 Re6 30. Nd6 Rb8 31. Rdd1 Kg7 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne8 34. Rb6 Nxd6 35. cxd6 Kf8 36. Rxa6 Ke8 37. g4 g5 38. Kg2 Kd7 39. h4 h6 40. Ra7+ Ke8 41. Ra8+ Kd7 42. Kg3 Rf6 (Loses a pawn. 42…Rxd6 offers stiffer resistance.) 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Rg8 Rg6 (The king+pawn ending is lost, although the R+p ending is almost as hopeless) 45. Rxg6 fxg6 46. Kf3 Kxd6 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Kd3 Ke5 49. f3 Ke6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. e4 dxe4 52. fxe4 1-0

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 (Komodo plays 4 Nc3, the most often played move according to the CBDB. Stockfish prefers 4 e3, played a little less than half as many times as 4 Nc3) 4…g6 (Although 4…d6 and 4…dxc4 have been played far more than the game move, both SF & Komodo choose the move played by Spinks) 5 Bf4 (The most often move seen in practice, but Komodo prefers 5 Nc3) 5…Bf5 (Deep Fritz @depth 28 plays this move, but SF @depth 55 plays 5…dxc4) 6 Qb3 Qb6 7 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 7 e3) 7…Qxb3 8 axb3 Nbd7 (Both SF & Komodo prefer 8…Na6) 9 b4 (Komodo & Houdini play 9 Nc3) 9…Bg7 (Komodo plays this but SF produces a TN with 9…Nh5) 10 Nc3 (Although SF 7 plays the game move SF 10 chooses 10 Nbd2. The only game found saw Lein play 10 h3 versus Smyslov:

Anatoly Lein (2510) vs Vassily Smyslov (2580)

Hastings 1981

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 g6 5.Bf4 Bf5 6.Qb3 Qb6 7.c5 Qxb3 8.axb3 Nbd7 9.b4 Bg7 10.h3 Bxb1 11.Rxb1 O-O 12.e3 a6 13.Bd3 Ne8 14.Bh2 Rc8 15.g4 Nc7 16.g5 Rfe8 17.Kd2 e5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Bxe5 20.f4 Bg7 21.h4 ½-½

After spending far too much time analyzing the game while making notes, the decision was made to surf over to 365Chess and utilize the free Stockfish engine to correct the “Beeg Mistakes” made in analysis. Frankly, after burning the midnight oil, my analysis was far better than expected, excepting for the “HH” moves, as in Horrendous Howlers, from which you will be spared.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. Bf4 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4 Bg7 10. Nc3 Ne4 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. e3 a6 14. Be2

14…Rfe8 (14…Be4) 15. O-O

15…Nf8 (15…h5) 16. c4 (16 Bh2; or 16 g4 or maybe 16 Rfc1) dxc4 17. Bxc4 Be6 18. Nd2 (18 Bd3) 18…Bd5 (18…Bxc4 19 Nxc4 Ne6) 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nb3 (20 Rfc1)

20… e5 (20…Ne6) 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Rxe5 23. b5 Ree8 24. bxa6 (24 b6 or c6) bxa6 25. Rfd1 Red8 (25…Reb8) 26. Na5 Ne6 (26 Nd4 or Ra5) 27. Rac1

27…Nc7 (27…Nc7 is not the best as simply improving the position of the King with 27…Kf8 is better)

28. Nb7 (28 c6 because passed pawns must be pushed!) 28…Re8 (28…Rdb8) 29. Rd4 Re6 (29…Re4 or Kg7) 30. Nd6 Rb8 31. Rdd1 (31 g4) Kg7 (Maybe 31…Kf8 or Rb2…) 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne8 34. Rb6 Nxd6 35. cxd6

35…Kf8 (35…Re8 36 Rxa6 Rd8) 36. Rxa6 Ke8 37. g4 g5 38. Kg2 Kd7

39. h4 (Wonder why Boris did not play 39 Ra7+?) 39…h6 (39…gxh4 is much better…) 40. Ra7+ Ke8 41. Ra8+ Kd7 42. Kg3?

(This is a, as Boris was so fond of saying about one of my moves, “Beeg Mistake.” 42 Ra7+ looks like a winner…) 42…Rf6 (This is certainly a really BEEG MISTAKE! David could have possibly drawn the game with 42…Rxd6!) 43. hxg5 (43 Ra7+ is a winner…43 h5 could be better than the move played in the game.) hxg5 44. Rg8

44…Rg6 (Surely 44…Rxd6 is better…) 45. Rxg6 fxg6 46. Kf3 Kxd6 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Kd3 Ke5 49. f3 Ke6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. e4 dxe4 52. fxe4 1-0











Possible Mission?

The moves in bold are only the red colored moves as shown over at the ChessBomb. The game contains other colorful, but not red, moves. The moves in bold are what GM Yasser Seriwan

would call “Howlers.” These two women are “grandmasters,” but I am uncertain if they are grandmasters in the sense of what the GRANDMASTER title should be, meaning GM, whether male or female. It could be that each woman is only a WGM, with ChessBomb leaving off the “W”. This is only one of myriad reasons no title should begin with a “W”! As one of the denizens of the House of Pain asked, “How come a woman can be a Woman Grandmaster, but not a Grandmaster, and why can a man not become a Male Grandmaster without becoming a GM?!” Why indeed…
GM Valentina  Gunina 2461

vs GM Dronavalli Harika 2518

Cairns Cup 2020 round 05

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 b5 8. h3 b4 9. Nd1 Bd7 10. f4 e6 11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 Nd4 13. h5 Ba4 14. Rc1 Nec6 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Bf2 Qa5 17. g4 Bb5 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 Bd8 20. b3 Rc8 21. O-O O-O 22. Bg3 Qxa2 23. f5 Be7 24. Bh3 exf5 25. exf5 Ra8 26. Nf2 Ne5 27. Ne4 Bxd3 28. Bxe5 Bxe4 29. Bxd4 Qa5 30. Qe3 d5 31. fxg6 hxg6 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0

Hugh Siddeley 1974 vs Eduardo Osinaga 1697

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. Ne2 h6 8. Nbc3 Nf6 9. Ng3 Be7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bd8 13. g4 Bh4 14. Be3 Na6 15. Rg1 f6 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. O-O-O Qa4 18. Nc3 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Qb4 20. h4 Qc5 21. Qg3 Rf7 22. Rd2 Nc7 23. g5 fxg5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Qxg5 Ne6 26. Qg6 Re8 27. Rh1 Nf4 28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qxf7 Re6 30. Qxb7 Rh6 31. Nd1 Qa5 32. a3 Qc5 33. Kb1 a5 34. Ne3 Kh7 35. Qf7 Rf6 36. Qc4 Qb6 37. Rd1 Rh6 38. Qf7 Nh5 39. Nf5 Qd8 40. Rh1 Qg5 41. Nxh6 Kxh6 42. Rxh5+ Qxh5 43. Qxh5+ Kxh5 44. b4 1-0

Valentina Gunina  vs Dronavalli Harika

Cairns Cup 2020 round 05

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 (Komodo plays 7 Nge2) 7…b5 8. h3 b4 (SF 10 plays 8…a5) 9. Nd1 Bd7 (Houdini’s move. Komodo 13.25 @depth 31 plays 9…a5. Komodo 13.02 @depth 28 likes 9…Nf6)

10. f4 (SF 9 @depth 27 shows 10 a3; Komodo @depth 31 plays 10 Ne2) 10…e6 (Other moves are possible, and better, such as 10…Nf6 and 10…Qc8, but best, according to the Fish, is 10…a5)

11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 (12 a3) 12…Nd4 13. h5 (13 Bxd4)

13…Ba4?? (RED MOVE! Although this is a ‘forcing’ move it is a terrible move. There was nothing wrong with simply castling, or even 12…Qc7)

14. Rc1?? (RED MOVE! IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “He attack, you defend. You attack, he better defend.” 14. Bxd4 Bxd4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. b3 is easy to see and is much better for white) 14…Nec6? (14… Nxf3+ 15. Bxf3 looks normal) 15. Nxd4? (15 h6) 15…cxd4 16. Bf2

16…Qa5? (“Why Mike? Why?” Boris would ask as he moved the black pawn from g6 to g5)

17. g4 Bb5 (Stockfish shows three better moves, 17…h6; gxh5; and 0-0) 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 (SF wants to play 19. a4 Qxa4 20. b3 Qa5 before playing 21. g5. Other, stronger, players, when annotating a game have been known to add “This is a computer move,” here, as if we humans are not strong enough to understand the program’s logic. I reject this. There is no such thing as a “computer move.” The better moves are there, even if some human Grandmasters cannot fathom the logic behind the better move. It is my contention that there is no such thing as a “computer move” except in the weak mind of the human who continues to write such nonsense)

19…Bd8 (19…Be7 looks natural, does it not?) 20. b3 Rc8? (The two best moves in the position are 20…Qxa2 and 20…e5) 21. O-O O-O (21…e5) 22. Bg3 Qxa2 (again 22…e5) 23. f5

23…Be7 (RED MOVE! 23…Ne5 is much better)

24. Bh3 (24 Nf2 or f6 are better) 24…exf5? (24…gxf5) 25. exf5 Ra8? (PINK MOVE!) 26. Nf2 (26 f6)

26…Ne5?? (RED MOVE!)

27. Ne4? (RED MOVE! 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. Ra1 and it’s, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”) 27…Bxd3? (PURPLE move! 27…Qa5)

28. Bxe5? (RED MOVE! 28 fxg6) 28…Bxe4 29. Bxd4 (PURPLE move! 29. Bxd6 Bxd6 30. Qxd4) 29…Qa5 (PINK move! 29…Qa6) 30. Qe3 (30. Rce1) 30…d5? (RED MOVE! 30… Rae8 31. Qxe4 Bxg5 32. Qg4 Bxc1 33. Rxc1 has got to be better) 31. fxg6 hxg6 (RED MOVE! Not that it matters…) 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 (RED MOVE! Play 33 Bc8 and put the woman outta her misery, for crying out loud…not that it matters…) 33…Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0


Hugh Siddeley 1974 vs Eduardo Osinaga 1697

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. Ne2 h6 8. Nbc3 Nf6 9. Ng3 Be7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bd8 13. g4 Bh4 14. Be3 Na6 15. Rg1 f6 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. O-O-O Qa4 18. Nc3 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Qb4 20. h4 Qc5

Now the fun begins…

21. Qg3? (Qh3) Rf7? (Nc7) 22. Rd2? (g5) Nc7? (Raf8) 23. g5 fxg5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Qxg5 Ne6? (Re8)

26. Qg6? (Qh4) Re8? (Nf4) 27. Rh1 Nf4 28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qxf7 Re6 30. Qxb7 Rh6 31. Nd1 Qa5 32. a3 Qc5? (Kh7) 33. Kb1? (b4) a5? (Qa5) 34. Ne3 Kh7? (Ne6) 35. Qf7? (Rd1) Rf6? (Qc8) 36. Qc4? (Qd7) Qb6? (Qxc4) 37. Rd1 Rh6? (Qb7) 38. Qf7 Nh5? (Qd8) 39. Nf5? (Qf5+) Qd8 40. Rh1 Qg5 41. Nxh6 Kxh6 42. Rxh5+ Qxh5 43. Qxh5+ Kxh5 44. b4 1-0

Before completing this post an email was received from my friend Michael Mulford who, frankly, is one of the best reasons to be involved with Chess. Michael has been one of the “good” guys involved with the Royal game and has now become one of the “Great” guys.


Since I saw the first game live I can’t fairly take your challenge and I’m thus not copying the others. But just for the fun of it I decided to see how long the opening in the second game stayed in book. Using’s opening library I found – the whole game! And it’s just a couple days old and apparently an on-line game. So what on earth led you to select that particular game. That might make a good followup, and I suspect you plan to answer that in your story.

Since I already knew the answer, I Fritzed the games. The accuracy percentage on the first one was something like 32% for the winner and 45% for the loser. In the second game it was 62% for the winner and 26%. That’s remarkably accurate for white in an on-line game if it was a fast time control, but perhaps not so unreasonable if it was a 3 day per move game.

Feel free to use my comments when you post the answer.


First, I was unaware even had an opening library. As regular readers know I use the ChessBaseDataBase and 365Chess. I was also unaware a game could be “Fritzed.” At one time I had an older Fritz on my laptop, but it sputtered to death and I have no “engine” at all.

What led me to the game is that I played the Closed Sicilian “back in the day” and have actually had the position from the Gunina vs Harika after seven moves on a board during a regulation USCF rated tournament several times. I invariably played 8 a3, so 8 h3 looks really weird. I do not even want to contemplate what IM Boris Kogan would have said, or how he would have looked, if I had produced played such a weak move.

As for the second game, Siddeley vs Osinaga, I was attracted to the tournament because I am currently reading a new book, which will soon be reviewed, Duchamp’s Pipe: A Chess Romance–Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski, by Celia Rabinovitch, which is difficult to put down. Unfortunately the games from the tournament could not be found at Mark Crowther’s unbelievably excellent The Week In Chess. I prefer TWIC because there is no engine analysis to cloud my judgement. I mean, what’s the point of watching a Chess game being played if one is spoon-fed? Therefore, I watched the games at the Bomb, where even if one covers the analysis one can still see the colorful moves as they are displayed onscreen. The thing I liked is that I was unfamiliar with most of the combatants and therefore had no idea what the opponents were rated. I decided to keep it that way until the tournament ended, giving me as an objective mind as possible. I made an attempt to ascertain the rating of each player during the tournament, which was made somewhat easier by the colorful moves. I suppose there were many games I could have used for contrast, but the aforementioned game just happened to be the one used. As an example, what do you think the players who produced this opening were rated?

1 e4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 5 O-O c5

The games were played during the late afternoon into the evening in Atlanta, which was real nice. Until the last round, which was today. I was shocked, SHOCKED to discover the games were concluding when I checked earlier today. A sickening feeling came over me as I railed against stupidity of the organizers who would hold a tournament with every round beginning later in the day except the final round. Chess players get into a routine and are thrown out of it by Fools In Power! I digress…After the penultimate round I decided to surf on over to and learn the ratings of the players before watching the last round.

As for the opening…Believe it or not this game was played in the sixth round by GM Gilberto Hernandez Guerrero 2557 vs GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez 2634. You can look it up…(

I give the full game because I want to show a position deriving from the endgame analysis by Stockfish:

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O c5 6. Re1 Nc6 7. c3 e6 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ng8 11. b3 h5 12. Ba3 Bxa3 13. Nxa3 Nge7 14. Qd2 Nf5 15. Rac1 Qe7 16. Nc2 O-O 17. g3 Rfc8 18. Kg2 Rc7 19. Ne3 Nxe3+ 20. Rxe3 a5 21. Rec3 Rac8 22. h4 Nb4 23. Rxc7 Rxc7 24. Rxc7 Qxc7 25. a3 Nc2 26. a4 (26. Qg5 Nxa3 27. Qxh5 Qc2 28. Qg5 Qc7 29. h5 Kh7 30. g4 Nb5 31. Qf4 Nc3 32. Ng5+ Kg8 33. Qe3 Ne4 34. Nxe4 dxe4 35. Qxe4 Qc3 36. Qe3 Qxe3 37. fxe3 b5 38. e4 a4 39. bxa4 bxa4 40. d5 a3 41. d6)

Nb4 27. Kf1 Qc2 28. Qxc2 Nxc2 ½-½






2018 US Chess Open Rumors

Although I liked the DGT board used by the USCF in the recent US Open festival of sorts, there were myriad problems. Some rounds had only three of the six boards displayed, with nary a move having been played in the others. There were times when a result was given as the moves continued. Because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the last round I will say nothing concerning the last round. I will, though, say I found it very strange USCF posted nothing on the US Open for days, and when something was published it concerned “…our new National Girls Tournament of Champions winner.” Since I am putting this together Thursday afternoon I simply cannot recall the order in which the articles that followed appeared. After surfing on over to the website I noticed the order may be different because of some new articles. What I recall is a very short report on who won the tournament, followed by yet another article on girls, then an article written by GM Michael Rhode, which I intended to read but time did not permit, and it was taken down and is not currently on the main USCF webpage. Nothing can be found as to how to find it on the website. The fact that the USCF chose to publish articles on girls Chess before publishing anything on who actually won the event speaks loudly to what has happened to the USCF now that women are in charge. If girls Chess is the future of Chess, then Chess is dead, because the vast majority of girls stop playing the game around puberty, and there has been absolutely no evidence this will change in the future.

I liked the DGT board because it has no digital clanking monster analysis displayed. I do not like the fact that one cannot download the game(s). I obtained the moves of the game below the old fashioned way, writing them on a piece of paper. I have no idea if the moves given are correct, and there is no way of knowing from the information at hand. Such is Chess with the USCF…

A new article appeared today, Thursday, on the USCF webpage this morning four days after the conclusion of the event, by Al Lawrence. It is written, “The sudden death of one of the participants required the complete evacuation of the tournament hall for a 3 ½ -hour delay of all games in the ninth and final round. Read the US Chess statement posted that night here. Everyone showed respect for this necessity, as one of our own had ended life at the board. Liang-Gareyev was on Move 15 at the time all clocks stopped.” (
One must wonder why the above could not have been published on the USCF website many days earlier. For example, I was elated upon learning the last round would begin at three pm in lieu of seven pm, which meant I could watch the whole round. Seven pm in Madison, Wisconsin is eight pm in Georgia, and I hit the rack before midnight. That afternoon I watched the opening part of the games before taking a nap, and shower, then having dinner. Upon springing Toby, the ‘puter, back to life to watch the action, the DGT board was, shall we say, a mess. I had no clue as to why, other than the problems finally overwhelmed the technology used by the USCF.

I have received emails concerning the unfortunate death at the board during the last round of the USO. My reply has been, “I am as in the dark as are you.” I am still in the dark, and flummoxed as to what occurred at the US Open. I have intentionally not written anything on this blog because I do not need to feed fuel to the rumors fire burning brightly on the internet. Maybe we will learn why the USCF stayed quiet about the situation so long; then again, maybe not…As of this writing there is still nothing written about the death during the last round…

I cannot say the following game was the best game played at the US Open, but it the best fighting game I saw on the DGT display. I ran the opening through the ChessBaseDataBase, and 365Chess. What was found follows. The only comment I will make concerning the rest of the game is that I cringed when Mr. Dean played his forty third move. It looks as though black had an advantage, albeit a small one, but nevertheless, an advantage. GMs wait for their opponent to play a weakening move such as the ill-fated weakening of his structure when playing 43…g5. That said, FM Jim Dean certainly made his GM opponent sweat bullets!

GM Jimenez Corrales 2635 vs FM Jim Dean 2249

2018 US Open rd 7

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 (SF at a depth of 49 considers this the best move while Komodo at a depth of 37 would play the the move played ten times more frequently than the game move, the usual, and standard 3…Bf5. I preferred the game move)

4 dxc5 (Komodo prefers 4 Nf3) 4…e6 (I vaguely recall an article in one of the New In Chess Yearbooks in which the author advocated playing 4…Nc6, which is the most played move. I also recall a GM writing he did not like this move because of the reply 5 Be3. The only one of the Big Three shown at the CBDB is Stockfish, and it plays the game move)

5 a3 (SF at a depth of 38 plays 5 Nf3, but changes it’s…what exactly does Stockfish change? If it were human I could write “mind,” but it’s a machine, so let us just say SF changes it changes it’s “crunching” and leave it at that for the time being because at depth 39 it would play 5 Bd3)

5…Nc6 (In another case of “let it run a little longer” SF would play 5…a6 at depth 41, but at the next level it would play the seldom played 5…Qc7. 5…Bxc5 is the most often played move with the game move a close second. Thirteen games have been played using 5…Qc7)

6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 (Houdini plays 8 Bb2) 8…Nge7 (SF’s move, but Komodo prefers 8…a5)

9 O-O (SF plays 0 Bb3) 9…Ng6 10 Re1 (SF and Komodo play 10 Bb2) 10…0-0 (SF plays 10…a5, while Houdini plays 10…f6)

11 Bb2 f6 12 exf6 gxf6 13 Bxg6 (SF would play 13 c4. The game move is not shown at the CBDB, or 365Chess, so this move is a TN and the game has been taken into the street)

Here is the full game as given:

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 dxc5 e6 5 a3 Nc6 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 Nge7 9 O-O Ng6 10 Re1 O-O 11 Bb2 f6 12 exf6 gxf6 13 Bxg6 hxg6 14 Qd3 Kg7 15 c4 dxc4 16 Qxc4 e5 17 Nc3 Nd4 18 Nxd4 Qxd4 19 Qe2 Bg4 20 Qf1 Qd2 21 Na4 Qc2 22 Nxb6 axb6 23 Bc1 Qc3 24 Be3 Rxa3 25 Rxa3 Qxa3 26 Qc4 Bf5 27 h3 Qd3 28 Qc7+ Qd7 29 Qxb6 Rc8 30 Qa5 Rc3 31 Kh2 Qc7 32 Qa4 Qd7 33 b5 Bc2 34 Qh4 Qxb5 35 Qh6+ Kf7 36 Qh7+ Ke6 37 Qg8+ Ke7 38 f4 Qb3 39 Qh7+ Qf7 40 Qh4 e4 41 Qf2 Qd5 42 Bd4 Rc4 43 Bb2 g5 44 fxg5 Qxg5 45 Qb6 Qf4+ 46 Kh1 Bd3 47 Qxb7+ Ke6 48 Ba3 Qc7 49 Qb5 Qg3 50 Qe8+ Kf5 51 Rg1 Rc2 52 Qd7+ Kg6 53 Bf8 Qc7 54 Qg4+ Kf7 55 Bh6 Qc8 56 Qg7+ Ke6 57 Ra1 Qc7 58 Qg4+ Kd5 59 Bf4 Qc3 60 Qd7+ Kc4 61 Qc6+ Kb3 1-0

Volokitin, Andrei (2674) vs Grishchenko, Sergey (2431)
Event: 15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014
Site: Yerevan ARM Date: 03/05/2014
Round: 3.49 Score: 0-1
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Bd3 Nd7 6. Nf3 Ne7 7. O-O Nc6 8. c4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Ndxe5 10. Nxe5 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nxe5 12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Nc3 Bxc5 14. Bf4 Nc6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. Bd6 a6 17. Ba4 b5 18. Nc5 Rd8 19. Bb3 Bc8 20. Bxe7 Kxe7 21. a4 Rxd1+ 22. Bxd1 Rd8 23. axb5 axb5 24. Bf3 Nd4 25. Ra7+ Kf6 26. Ra8 Nxf3+ 27. gxf3 Rd1+ 28. Kg2 Bd7 29. Rb8 Bc6 30. Rb6 Be8 31. Rb8 Ke7 32. Rb7+ Kf8 33. Rb6 Rd2 34. b3 Rd5 35. Ne4 h6 36. Rb8 f5 37. Nc3 Rd3 38. Rc8 Ke7 39. Rc5 b4 40. Na2 Rxb3 41. Rc4 Bh5 42. Rxb4 Bxf3+ 43. Kf1 Rxb4 44. Nxb4 Kf6 45. h4 f4 46. Nd3 Kf5 47. Kg1 Be4 48. Nc5 Bd5 49. Kh2 Kg4 50. Nd3 Be4 51. Nc5 Bf5 0-1

Zaleski, Lukasz (2220) vs Kaczmarek, Aleksander (2380)

Najdorf Mem Open A 2017
Warsaw POL 07/13/2017

ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Qc7 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Bxc5 8. b4 Bb6 9. Bb2 Ne7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bd3 Ng6 12. Re1 a5 13. b5 Nce7 14. a4 Bc5 15. g3 f5 16. h4 Bd7 17. Nbd2 Nh8 18. Nb3 b6 19. Nbd4 Nf7 20. Kg2 Rae8 21. Qe2 Nh6 22. Ng5 Ng6 23. f4 Nh8 24. c4 dxc4 25. Bxc4 Qc8 26. Nb3 Bb4 27. Red1 Ng4 28. Bd4 Qb7+ 29. Qf3 Qa7 30. Kg1 h6 31. Nh3 Bc8 32. Qc6 Qf7 33. Qxb6 g5 34. fxg5 f4 35. gxf4 Qh5 36. Bd3 Qxh4 37. Kg2 Re7 38. Be4 Ng6 39. Bf2 Nxf4+ 40. Nxf4 Qh2+ 41. Kf1 Qxf4 42. Rd8 Rf7 43. Ra2 Qxe4 44. Rxf8+ Rxf8 0-1

Dochev, Dimitar (2387) vsManagadze, Nikoloz (2419)
Halkida op 5th
Halkida Date: 11/20/2001

ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Qc7 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bb2 Ne7 9. Nbd2 Nbc6 10. c4 dxc4 11. Nxc4 O-O 12. Bd3 Ng6 13. O-O Qd8 14. Nxb6 Qxb6 15. Qb1 Rd8 16. h4 Nf8 17. Ng5 g6 18. Ne4 Ne7 19. Bc1 Nf5 20. Bg5 Bd7 21. Bxd8 Rxd8 22. Nf6+ Kg7 23. Bxf5 exf5 24. Rd1 Ba4 25. Rxd8 Qxd8 26. Qb2 a6 27. Qc3 h5 28. Qg3 Qd4 29. Rc1 Ne6 30. Nxh5+ Kh6 31. Rc8 1-0

Pavel Smirnov (2621) vs Alexandr Kharitonov (2503)

2007 Moscow Open

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bd3 Nge7 9. Bb2 Ng6 10. O-O Nf4 11. c4 O-O 12. Nc3 Ne7 13. Qd2 Nxd3
14. Qxd3 dxc4 15. Qxc4 Qc7 16. Qg4 Bd7 17. Ne4 Bc6 18. Rac1 Qb8 19. Rxc6 bxc6 20. Nf6+ Kh8 21. Nxh7 Nf5 22. Nf6 Nh6 23. Qh3 Bd8 24. Bc1 gxf6 25. Bxh6 Re8 26. exf6 Bxf6
27. Bg5+ 1-0

Konstantin Landa (2570) vs Sergey Kalinitschew

Bundesliga 0607 2006.10.28

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6
8. Bd3 Nge7 9. O-O Ng6 10. Bb2 O-O 11. Nbd2 f5 12. Nb3 a6 13. Re1 Qe7 14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Nh4 16. Rc1 Nxf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bd7 18. Rcd1 Rad8 19. Rd6 Bc8 20. Nc5 Bxc5 21.bxc5 Rde8 22. Bxa6 bxa6 23. Qxc6 Bb7 24. Qd7 Qxd7 25. Rxd7 Bd5 26. Rd6 Rb8 27.Bd4 Rb3 28. Rc1 Rd3 29. Bc3 Rc8 30. Be1 Rxa3 31. c6 Rb3 32. c7 Kf7 33. Rxa6 f4 34. Rd6 Kg6 35. Rd7 h6 36. f3 Rb2 37. h4 h5 38. Bc3 Rb3 39. Bd2 Kf5 40. Rxg7 Kxe5 41. Rg5+ Kd4 42. Bxf4 Kd3 43. Rxh5 Rb4 44. Bd6 Rb6 45. Bg3 Rb2 46. Rg5 1-0

Upset in Sautron

The games from the National Open were being broadcast by a website new to me, FollowChess ( Further exploration brought a page of upsets, nothing but upsets ( Everyone loves an upset, unless they are the one being upset! The first entry is:

Upset in Sautron: Flachet 2025 beat Sergeev 2417. Attack & Tactics!
October 27, 2017

The game is, according to 365Chess, a C00 French, Chigorin variation! What are the odds?! If you are a regular of this blog you KNOW I was compelled to play over the game…

Vladimir Sergeev (2417) vs Thierry Flachet (2025)

17e open international de Sautron, 2017.10.26

1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 (Stockfish at the ChessBaseDataBase gives this as best. Komodo prefers 2…c5, which is the move chosen by Siegbert Tarrasch

in the second game of the 1893 match with Mikhail Chigorin,

still the most outstanding Chess match ever contested. Seven times Chigorin played 2 Qe2 against his opponent’s French defense. If you have not played over the match I urge you do do so. It can be found at a fantastic historical website, (

Here is a game played by Chigorin and the man who lost the US Chess Championship to Frank Marshall,

Jackson Whipps Showalter,

on June 13, 1899 in London. Chigorin pulled a rabbit out of his hat when playing his third move, a move that cannot be found at the CBDB!

Mikhail Chigorin vs Jackson Whipps Showalter

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Qg4 Nf6 4. Qxg7 Rg8 5. Qh6 Nc6 6. Nf3 Rg6 7. Qe3 d5 8. e5 d4 9. Qb3 Nd7 10. Bb5 Nc5 11. Qc4 Rxg2 12. b4 Nd7 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxd4 Rb8 15. Ba3 a5 16. bxa5 Rxb1+ 17. Rxb1 Bxa3 18. Qa4 Bc5 19. Qxc6 Kf8 20. d4 Be7 21. a6 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Nb6 23. Qb7 Kg7 24. Kf1 Rg6 25. Rg1 Nd5 26. Rxg6+ hxg6 27. c4 Nf4 28. Qb8 Qd7 29. Qa8 Bf8 30. Rb8 Qe7 31. c5 Nh3 32. Qc6 1-0. Back to the game…)

3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 (Komodo’s choice of 4 d3 is far and away the most often played move, although Stockfish 9 at a depth of 32 gives 4 d4. Stochfish 9×64, at a depth of 25, shows the game move)

4…Nh6 (SF 9 and Komodo 11.2 2 64-bit at depth 27 play 4…c5, but Komodo 9.2 64-bit at depth 25 would play the game move)

5 h4? (I considered being kind and including an exclamation mark after the question mark but not because the move is dubious but because the move is so shocking. Consider for a moment you are sitting across from your student. Let us call him “Allen.” He has just begun showing his most recent rated game and you are sitting behind the black pieces. Your first instinct may be something like, “What the hell kinda move is THAT?!” You cannot say this because Allen is a “Priest.” So you stifle yourself and say, “That is a bad move.” Although a middle-aged man Allen looks like one of your young students as he hangs his head before asking, “Why is it bad?” As you sit gazing into the distance you consider his lowly 701 rating and recall some of the lame opening moves you played in the past before replying, “Because it is unnecessary.” Then you tell him about how important time is in the opening phase of the game, and of the many things one needs to accomplish in the opening, such as development, etc. You would follow by explaining why 5 g3, to develop the bishop, is the way to play this particular opening. This would also be the time you attempted to explain why h4 may be a decent move in the opening if black has weakened his pawn structure when playing g6. This would make Allen feel a little better, especially if you add, “In many openings the same moves are played, but what matters is not the move played, but the order in which they are played. There must be a reason for every move.” Since you must sit there and see the remaining moves of Allen’s game you decide to show him the opening moves of the game between Dimitri Bogdanov (2175) and Bjorn Brinck Claussen (2354) from the 21st Politiken Cup in 1999 at Copenhagen. 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 Nh6 5 g3 f5 6 d4 Nf7 7 h4. “See how the pawn stops any black piece from coming to g5?” you ask. “Now the rook pawn move has a purpose,” you say as the color begins returning to Allen’s face. This causes you to show him the rest of the game before having to get back to his game. After all, you are getting paid by the hour…

7…c5 8. dxc5 Na6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Bg2 Nxc5 11. Bd4 O-O 12. O-O Bd7 13. Re1 b5 14. Nbd2 a5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5 16. Nb3 Qb6 17. Nbd4 Nd8 18. Qd2 Nb7 19. Rad1 Nc5 20. Qf4 b4 21. Bf1 a4 22. Re3 Ne4 23. Rdd3 a3 24. bxa3 Rxa3 25. Rxa3 bxa3 26. Rb3 Qa7 27. Kg2 Rc8 28. Qe3 Qc7 29. Ba6 Rb8 30. Rxb8+ Qxb8 31. Qb3 Qa7 32. Bb5 Bc8 33. c4 Bc5 34. Qd3 g6 35. cxd5 exd5 36. Nc6 Qb6 37. Qxd5+ Kg7 38. Bc4 Qb2 39. Kh3 Qxf2 0-1)

5…c5 6 d3 Nf5 (6…Ng4 would be possible because of white playing pawn to h4) 7 c3 h6 8 h5 Nc6 9 Na3 a6 10 Nc2 b5

11 g3 (Although the move could have possibly been played earlier, now looks like the right time for 11 g4)

11…a5 (The coach would have to take time here explaining why development should be completed before launching any kind of aggressive movement, such as the last move. 11…O-O or Bb7 are good alternative moves)

12 Bg2 Rb8 13 Bf4 b4 14 c4 b3 15 ab3 Rb3 16 Bc1 Ba6 17 O-O O-O 18 Re1 dc4 19 dc4 Ncd4 20 Ncd4 Nd4 21 Nd4 cd4

22 Rd1 (22 Qg4! Kh8 23 Bd2 looks about equal) 22…Bc5 23 Be4? (23 Bxh6! gxh6 24 Qg4+ Kh8 25 Qf4 Kh7 26 Be4+ Kg7 27 Qg4+ Kh8 28 Qf4 looks like all white can hope for at this point in the game)

Take a good look at this position as black. What move would you make?

23 Rg3! (Brings the house DOWN! Examine ALL checks, something neglected by the much higher rated player)

24 Kf1 d3 (I looked at moving the rook to either b3 or h3, in addition to 24…f5, so the move in the game took me by surprise) 25. Rd3 Rd3

26 Bd3 (The human brain rejects 26 Qxd3 Qh4 27 Kg2 Qxf2+ 28 Kh3, leaving the King naked in no mans land) 26…Qh4 27. Qf3 Rd8 ( As my friend the Master of Understatement was fond of saying, 27…Bb7 looks strong, not that it matters) 28. Be4 Bc4 29. Kg2 Rd4 30. Ra5 Re4 31. Ra8 Kh7 32. Qe4 Qe4 0-1

P. Vessosi (2351) vs M. Astengo (2064)

Lodi Open 2008

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. e5 Nh6 5. d3 Nf5 6. g3 c5 7. Bg2 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. c3 h5 10. h3 g4 11. hxg4 hxg4 12. Nh2 Nh6 13. Rd1
Bd7 14. Na3 Qb6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. Nxg4 Rg6 17. Bf3 O-O-O 18. Kg2 Rdg8 19. Rac1 Kb8 20. Rh1 Qa5 21. Rh6 Rxg4 22. Bxg4 Bg5 23. Rch1 Bxh6 24. Rxh6 b5 25. Bh5 Be8 26. d4 c4 27. Qd2 b4 28. cxb4 Qxb4 29. Qc3 Qf8 30. Rf6 Rh8 31. g4 Nb4 32. Nc2 Nd3 33. Ne1 Qg7 34. Kf1 Qh7 35. Nxd3 cxd3 36. Qb4+ Ka8 37. f3 Qg7 38. Qd2 Qh7 39. Ke1 Rf8 40. b3 Bb5 41. a4 Ba6 42. b4 Bc4 43. b5 Qg7 44. Qf4 Qh7 45. Kd2 Bb3 46. Rxf7 Rxf7 47. Qxf7 Qh6+ 48. f4 Bxa4 49. g5 Qh8 50. Qe8+ 1-0

The general of the white pieces takes 46 seconds of his five minutes to play his THIRD move of the game, obviously flummoxed by the choice of move made by the general of the black pieces.

How Not To Play The Dutch

I enjoy the first round of open tournaments more than any other round as the chance for upsets abound. I managed to draw with an IM,
Andrzej Filipowicz,

from Poland, in the first round of a tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1980. He was there for the FIDE congress, and decided to play in a weekend event, where I was at the top of the bottom half of the tournament. While looking forward to being paired with much higher rated players, I will admit to having, as Bobby said, “Taken many lessons.” The thing about facing stronger players is that they are not usually going to lose a game in the opening. If you are a lower ranked player you simply must know the opening or else when playing titled players there will not be a middle-game, or endgame, as in, “He ended the game in the opening,” something heard at the House of Pain shortly after the round had started.

Irakli Beradze IM

2464 (GEO) – Ruslan Ponomariov GM 2697 (UKR)

European Individual Championship 2018 round 01

1. Nf3 d6 2. d4 g6 3. c4 f5 4. e3 (Only a few examples of this move in the databases) Bg7 5. Nc3 Nd7

(I was unable to find this move on the Chessbase Data Base, or at 365Chess, and there is a reason…The knight belongs on c6 in this position. 5… Nc6 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 Nce7 8. O-O Nf6 9. b3 O-O 10. Ba3 h6 11. Qc2 a6 12. h3 b5 13. Rfe1 Bd7. Development is complete and looks like a fight! [Analysis from the StockFish at ChessBomb.] This is a plausible line that I could have produced, but then you would want to run it by your clanking digital monster, and now you do not have to do any inputing…Maybe the 2700 GM decided to “Blaze his own path,” or “Invent the wheel.” Who knows? The fact is it is a horribly terrible move. It shows a complete lack of understanding of the opening. Not to mention it is a Theoretical Novelty.)

6. Be2 (6. e4 fxe4 7. Nxe4 Ndf6 8. Nc3 Nh6 and with his better pawn structure and better placed knights white is better)

e5 (Ngf6 should be played. It is unfathomable anyone in his right mind would play the e5 advance before playing Nf6. Moving the queen’s knight to f6 would have been better, but Ngf6 is best. Black has dug himself a hole from which he is unable to extricate himself.)

7. dxe5 (7. e4 is better. If then fxe4 8. Ng5 the misplaced knight must ‘advance to the rear’ with Nb8)

dxe5 (Unbelievable! Certainly the pawn MUST be taken with the KNIGHT!)

8. e4 Ngf6 9. exf5 gxf5 10. Nh4 f4 (Yet another weak move when the wandering knight could have been moved to c5. Go figure…)

11. Nf5 O-O 12. Nxg7 Kxg7 13. g3 Nc5 14. Qxd8 Rxd8 15. gxf4 e4 16. Be3 Nd3+ 17. Bxd3 Rxd3 18. Rg1+ Kf7 19. Rd1 a6 20. Rxd3 exd3 21. Kd2 Be6 22. b3 Rd8 23. f3 b6 24. Ne4 h6 25. f5 Bxf5 26. Nxf6 Kxf6 27. Bxh6 Re8 28. Be3 Kf7 29. h4 Rh8 30. Bg5 c6 31. Re1 Re8 32. Rxe8 Kxe8 33. Be3 b5 34. Kc3 Bg6 35. Kb4 bxc4 36. Kxc4 Kd7 37. Kc5 Kc7 38. Bf4+ Kb7 39. Bd2 Kc7 40. Ba5+ Kd7 41. Bd2 Kc7 42. f4 Bh7 43. h5 Bf5 44. h6 Bg6 45. a4 Bh7 46. Ba5+ Kd7 47. Kb6 d2 48. Bxd2 Bd3 49. f5 Bxf5 50. Kxa6 1-0

A well played game. The favorite played weakly in the opening and the underdog held on to the advantage like a pit bull!

When looking for a picture of Ponomariov

I came across this article at Chessbase:

Ponomariov: ‘Probably I became world champion too early’

After racking my aged brain I simply could not recall him becoming World Chess Champion. Could he be one of those players Garry Kasparov, a real World Champion, called a “tourist?”

Akopian and the Revenge of the Tourists

Dennis Monokroussos writes:

“During the knockout event that was the 1999 FIDE World Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, there were upsets a-plenty. Nisipeanu knocked out Ivanchuk and Shirov; Fedorov defeated Timman (after Timman had beaten a very young Aronian); Movsesian beat Leko; Georgiev beat Svidler; Adams beat Kramnik; Akopian beat Adams; Khalifman beat Kamsky, Gelfand and Polgar – and on and on it went. Around the time of the semi-finals, when only Adams, Akopian, Nisipeanu and Khalifman were left, Garry Kasparov – then still in possession of the other world championship title – infamously and dismissively dubbed most of the participants in the FIDE event “tourists”.

No mention of Ruslan…Exactly how many “tourist” World Chess Champions have there been recently? Seriously…

For the record, shows this opening named, Zukertort Opening: Pirc Invitation (A04).

The Laws of the Najdorf

My subscription to the best Chess magazine ever published in the history of the Royal Game, New In Chess, expired with the 2017/6 issue. Although I would like to renew financial conditions due to health issues, etc., are such that the decision was made for me. Living on a fixed income requires sacrifice. I had extra money after deciding to postpone dental work until spring and there were these two Chess books I’ve wanted to read for quite some time, Insanity, passion, and addiction: a year inside the chess world, by GM Danny Gormally, and Ivan’s Chess Journey: Games and Stories, by GM Ivan Sokolov. Greg Yanez of sent out an email announcing his Black Friday sale on Thursday evening and I was about to clear everything in order to listen to the weekly edition of Phenomenon Radio with Linda Moulton Howe ( so I clicked on and examined all ninety pages of Chess items for sale, while listening to the program, ordering the above mentioned books and the new issue of New In Chess magazine because not only is it the best Chess magazine in the universe, but I am 67 and tomorrow is today. Alas, the issue contains book reviews by GM Matthew Sadler of two books on my wish list, The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, by Genna Sosonko, and Guyla Breyer, by Jimmy Adams (published by New In Chess), both of which earned five, count’em, FIVE STARS! Two more books, or another subscription to the best Chess magazine in the universe? Oh well, I can take solace in that no matter how I choose to spend my money I cannot go wrong!

Before continuing, let me say that I met Greg at one of the National tournaments for children at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta, Georgia some years ago. I purchased a stack of books while enjoying talking with Greg and the fellow with him, whose name I simply cannot recall. I spent most of my time while there in the book room, and returned the next day and did the same. The next year another group, USCF sales, had the book concession. I talked with Aviv Friedman, who was there to write an article for the USCF. I mentioned we had played a tournament game but he did not recall it. When told I answered his French with 2 Qe2 his face erupted in a big grin as he interjected, “And I played 2…e5!”
“You do remember it?” I asked. “No,” he said, “I always answer 2 Qe2 with 2…e5! Who won?” I told him he had won the game and that made him smile even more. “It is the only time anyone has ever played that move,” I said, “and I played 3 f4 because I had seen it recommended somewhere.”
Upon mentioning I had just returned from the book room he said, “Oh yeah? What did you think of it?”
When I replied, “Not much,” he said, “Really? Why is that?” Saying I had only purchased one book compared with a stack from Chess4Less the previous year, provoked another, “Really?”
“Yeah,” said I, “The place was moribund compared to last year. Man, that Chess4Less room was really hopping!” I said. Aviv responded, “Really?” Then some USCF official came up to Aviv and I took my leave, heading to the food court. Aviv did not mention this exchange in the article…

I sent my order that night and had it with the US Mail Monday at noon! I worked at the Oxford Bookstore on Peachtree road in the Buckhead section of Atlanta in the late 70’s-early 80’s, and at Oxford Too, a place for used and remaindered books and things like old magazines, later in the 80’s, and once managed a Mr. K’s bookstore on Peachtree road in the same area of town, before quitting to play Backgammon full time. I sold books and equipment with Thad Rogers on the road, and also at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, aka, the House of Pain, so I know more than a little about selling Chess stuff, and I am here to tell you that one simply cannot go wrong dealing with Chess4Less!

The 2017/7 issue of NIC is a wonderful issue. I recall the Nashville Strangler’s wife telling me that when a new issue of NIC arrived she would tell her children, “We have lost daddy for a couple of days.” This issue is a prime example of why.

What I would like to share with you is the opening of the very first game in this magnificent magazine, the game between former World Chess Champion Vishy Anand and GM Anton Kovalyov from the World Cup. That is the tournament in which the latter knocked out the former, but was then “knocked out” by ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili when Zurab verbally accosted and abused the young GM from Canada, who is in college in the USA, only a few minutes before the next round was to begin. Anton left for the airport immediately. From what I read at Chessbase, the bombastic Zurab brings lotsa cash into Chess so he can abuse anyone at any time with impunity and without any kind of reprimand from FIDE. Proof that, “Money talks and bullshit walks.”

Viswanathan Anand (2794) vs Anton Kovalyov (2649)
Event: FIDE World Cup 2017
Site: Tbilisi GEO Date: 09/06/2017
Round: 2.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Adams attack

Notes by Anish Giri

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 h5 (“This move is typical in the Najdorf, when White has a pawn of f3 and the knight on b3, stopping his pretty much only plan of g2-g4, or when White’s pawn is on h3 and the knight is on e2, hindering the g4/Ne2-g3 set-up and the natural development of the f1-bishop. With the knight on be and the pawn on h3, this move is poor. It is easy for White to prepare f4 in one go (which is more often than not his main plan in this variation anyway), and the pawn on h5 is a minor weakening of Black’s kingside pawn structure.”) 9 Be2 Nbd7 (Black’s set-up looks ‘normal’, but since it is not the 6 f3 variation but the 6 h3 variation and White gets f2-f4 in one go, Black is essentially a tempo down. You may get away with a tempo down in a Giuoco Piano, but not in a sharp Sicilian.”) 10 0-0?! (Vishy plays a little timidly, but he will get another chance to punish Black for not obeying the laws of the Najdorf later on. 10 f4! at once would have been stronger. Black has to deal with the threat of f4-f5, but neither allowing or stopping it will solve his issues: 10…Qc7!? 11 0-0 Be7 12 a4 and one doesn’t need to be Efim Petrovich Geller to see that things are not going well for Black here. To begin with, he can’t castle kingside so easily, since the h5-pawn is vulnerable.) 10…Rc8 11 Qd2 (Again, too timid. 11 f4!? was still strong. Vishy was satisfied to get a good version of the Karpov Variation in the 6 Be2 Najdorf, but the nature of that line is such that, bad version or good, the position is still perfectly playable for Black. White’s plans there are slow and manoeuvring.) 11…b5? (Another ‘normal-looking’ move that is completely out of context.)

Although I would like to give the complete game, including commentary, right out of New In Chess I must stop the comments here, because there are copyright laws and the last thing I need on my limited, fixed income is a lawyer breathing down my neck! I suggest you purchase this issue as it would truly be “cheap at twice the price.” Think of it this way…back in 1968 we would skip the awful lunch at our high school and drive to Mrs. Jackson’s, where we would obtain a meal consisting of a meat, three veggies, roll, iced tea, and dessert, all for only a buck. A meal like that will set you back ten dollars these daze, so an individual copy of the greatest Chess magazine in history will cost you about the same as that meal at Mrs. Jackson’s because that ten spot in your pocket has the purchasing power of that single dollar bill “back in the day.” If you purchase a subscription, you are making out like a bandit! I mean, where else can you obtain this kind of teaching for so little money? If you play the Najdorf, or play against it, you have just increased your understanding exponentially, and the magazine gives this to you each and every issue, plus so much more!

I will, though, provide the remaining moves of the game, sans comment, which can be found all over the internet: (This comes from
9. Be2 Nbd7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qd2 b5 12. Rfd1 Nb6 13. Bxb6 Qxb6 14. a4 b4 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7 17. a5 Qb7 18. Qe3 Be7 19. Qb6 Qxb6 20. axb6 Rb8 21. Rxa6 Bd8 22. b7 Ke7 23. Nc5 dxc5 24. d6+ Kf6 25. Bf3 Kf5 26. Bd5 e4 27. Re1 Bf6 28. Bxe4+ Kg5 29. Ra5 Bxb2 30. Rxc5+ Kf6 31. Re3 g6 32. Rf3+ Ke6 33. Rd3 Rhd8 34. Ra5 f5 35. Bf3 Bc3 36. h4 Kf6 37. g3 f4 38. Be4 Bf5 39. Bxf5 gxf5 40. Rb5 Ke6 41. Kf1 Rd7 42. gxf4 Rbxb7 43. Re3+ Kf6 0-1

I went to the Chessbase Database, a fantastic FREE resource, ( and learned much: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 (Here Komodo prefers 8…Be7, expecting 9 Qf3 to which it will reply 9…0-0; Stockfish would play 8…Nc6, expecting 9 Qf3 Rc8) h5?! 9 Be2 (Stockfish plays 9 f4, while Houdini would play 9 Nd5) Nbd7 10 0-0?! (Stockfish would play an immediate 10 f4, but Komodo would play 10 0-0, as did Vishy, and after 10…Rc8 then play 11 f4)

This is the only other game (found at with the line:

Ruifeng Li (2404) vs Guillermo Vazquez (2394)

Event: Spring Break UT GM
Site: Brownsville USA Date: 03/06/2015
Round: 1.3 Score: ½-½
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Byrne (English) attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. h3 h5 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. f4 g6 11. O-O exf4 12. Bxf4 Qb6+ 13. Qd4 Be7 14. Rad1 Qxd4+ 15. Nxd4 Ne5 16. Nf3 Nfd7 17. Nd5 Rc8 18. c3 Rc5 19. Be3 Rc8 20. Ng5 Bxd5 21. Rxd5 Nc5 22. Nf3 Ned7 23. e5 dxe5 24. Nxe5 Nxe5 25. Rxe5 Rc7 26. Bc4 Rh7 27. Bg5 f5 28. Bd5 Kf8 29. Bf4 Nd3 30. Re6 Nxf4 31. Rxf4 Bc5+ 32. Kf1 Rhd7 33. c4 1/2-1/2

The Najdorf was my favorite opening with Black “back in the day.” I won the 1976 Atlanta Championship using the Najdorf in the last round, when I was 4-0 while my opponent, Earle Morrison, was a half point back. I recall someone saying, “The Najdorf is not an opening. It is a SYSTEM,” but I can no longer recall by whom it was said…

Larry (Kaufman): “We have been seeing Komodo on its own, without a book, play the Najdorf Sicilian, which of course many people would say might be the best opening in chess for both sides.” (

While researching Chess quotes about the Najdorf I found this, which is right in line with one of the books sent by Greg:

Shock and Awe 1 – Destroying the Najdorf GM Danny Gormally

GM Levon Aronian and his new bride, Arianne Caoili are pictured on the cover of NIC 2017/7 in wedding garb.

In the event you do not know what part GM Gormally plays in this story surf on over to Chessbase and read all about it:

or,; or,


Led Zeppelin – Thank You (The Wedding Song)

The Glek Variation According to TCEC

In the marathon 64 game match between the two “engines” left standing to battle it out for the TCEC championship, Komodo 1333 and Stockfish 141214, both rated over 3200, the Glek variation of the Four Knights was the opening chosen by humans for the two titans in games 37 & 38. The first game began early enough that I was able to follow it live. I opened the CBDB ( and 365Chess ( in order to check out which variation would be used. After 4 g3, 365Chess shows the database contains 99 games by GM Igor Glek, the man for whom the variation is named. Surely, I thought, the variation chosen by the TCECers would feature one of the variations promulgated by GM Glek.

The first surprise was 4…d5 since 4…Bc5 is played more often, but the former move is one of the standard moves. It would have been wonderful to see which move the “engine,” left to its own devices, would have played. 4 g3 signals the Glek variation and one would assume the humans would have forced the “engines” to begin the game by answering it with the move the “engine” playing Black considered best. We all know what happens when one makes an assumption…

The next moves through White’s 7th move are all standard, but Black’s 7…Be7 is not standard, as 7…Bc5, and 7…Bd6, have been played far more often, and with better results. GM Glek has faced 7…Bc5 seventeen times, and 7…Bd6 eleven times, while having faced 7…Be7 on only four occasions. Hummmm…

For the final “forced” move, the humans chose 8 0-0, and it has been the most played move by far, but has been outscored, by far, in limited action, by a move near and dear to my heart, Qe2! The last forced move was 8…0-0.

Stockfish 141214 (3218) vs Komodo 1333 (3210)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal 37
Four Knights: Glek, 4…d5

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. d3 Be6 11. Ba3 Re8 12. Nd2 Qd7 (12…Rb8 13. Qc1 Bg5 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Rxe5 Bh3 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. Qd1 f5 18. Rb1 Rxb1 19. Nxb1 c5 20. c4 Qc6 21. f3 Qe6 22. Kh1 Qe3 23. Nc3 Qf2 0-1, Benoit Lepelletier 2480 vs David Marciano 2470, 1997 FRA-ch) 13. Ne4 Be7 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Nd2 Qc5 16. c4 Rab8 17. Ne4 Qe7 18. a4 a5 19. c3 h6 20. Qf3 f5 21. Nd2 Rbd8 22. Qe2 Bf7 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Nb3 Rb8 25. Qd1 Rb6 26. Nxa5 Reb8 27. d4 e4 28. d5 cxd5 29. cxd5 Rd8 30. Nc4 Rxd5 31. Qe2 Rb7 32. a5 Ra7 33. Ne3 Rdxa5 34. Nxf5 Qf6 35. Rxa5 Rxa5 36. Nh4 Qxc3 37. Qxe4 Ra1 38. Rxa1 Qxa1+ 39. Kg2 Qf6 40. Qa8+ Kh7 41. Qe4+ g6 42. f4 c5 43. Nf3 Qb2+ 44. Kg1 c4 45. Qe7 Qa1+ 46. Kf2 Qa2+ 47. Ke3 Qb3+ 48. Kf2 c3 49. Ne5 Qa2+ 50. Ke3 Qd2+ 51. Ke4 Qe2+ 52. Kd4 Qf2+ 53. Kxc3 Qe3+ 54. Kc2 Qe2+ 55. Kb1 Qd1+ 56. Kb2 Qd2+ 57. Kb1 Qe1+ 58. Kc2 1/2-1/2

Komodo 1333 (3210) vs Stockfish 141214 (3218)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal 38

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. d3 Bg4 11. Rb1 Rb8 12. h3 Be6 13. c4 Re8 14. Bb2 Bf5 15. Nh2 Nd4 16. Bxd4 Qxd4 17. Ng4 Bxg4 18. Qxg4 b6 19. a4 Qc3 20. Qd1 g6 21. h4 h5 22. Bd5 Kg7 23. Re2 Qa3 24. Qe1 a5 25. Bc6 Re6 26. Rb3 Qa2 27. Bd7 Rd6 28. Bb5 Rbd8 29. c5 bxc5 30. Rb1 Rb8 31. Rb3 Rbd8 32. Qxa5 e4 33. Rxe4 Qxc2 34. Bc4 Rd4 35. Qxc7 R8d7 36. Qc6 Rxe4 37. Qxe4 Re7 38. Qf3 Bd4 39. a5 Qd2 40. a6 Bxf2+ 41. Qxf2 Re1+ 42. Kg2 Re2 43. Qxe2 Qxe2+ 44. Kg1 Qe1+ 45. Kg2 Qe2+ 46. Kh3 Qd1 47. Rb2 Qa1 48. Ra2 Qh1+ 1/2-1/2

From the comments left in the “chat” window it was obvious the fans did not care for the choice of opening because some spiced their comments with profanity. How are these eight moves chosen, and who makes the choice? If the Glek variation is chosen, why not stop the forced moves as soon as it becomes a Glek variation when White plays 4 g3? What is the point of forcing the top chess playing things in the universe to play additional moves they may, or may not, play on their on volition?

Here is a recent game played by GM Igor Glek:

Igor Glek, (2438) vs Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2700)
FIDE World Rapid 2014 06/17/2014

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. Rb1 Re8 11. h3 g6 12. Nh2 h5 13. d3 e4 14. d4 Qd5 15. Bf4 Qxa2 16. Nf1 Qd5 17. Nd2 Kg7 18. Nxe4 Bxh3 19. Bxh3 Rxe4 20. Rxe4 Qxe4 21. Bg2 Qf5 22. Rxb7 Ne7 23. Rxc7 Rd8 24. Rxa7 Nd5 25. Bd2 Rc8 26. Ra5 Ne3 27. Qa1 Nxc2 28. Rxf5 Nxa1 29. Rb5 Nc2 30. Rb3 Ra8 31. Bxa8 1-0

Here is a game that began as a Paulson Vienna before transposing, played by one of my favorite female players, Melanie Ohme (OhMy!):

Melanie Ohme (2315) vs Karina Szczepkowska Horowska (2376)
GER-POL w Match 2012 07/21/2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Be7 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. d3 Rb8 11. Nd2 Re8 12. Rb1 Bd7 13. Ne4 Be7 14. Be3 b6 15. d4 Qc8 16. Qd3 h6 17. Rbd1 exd4 18. cxd4 Nb4 19. Qd2 Bf5 20. Bf4 Qd7 21. c4 Rbd8 22. Qb2 Bg4 23. Rd2 Nc6 24. d5 Na5 25. Rc2 f5 26. Nd2 Bf6 27. Qc1 Rxe1+ 28. Qxe1 Re8 29. Qc1 c5 30. h3 Bh5 31. Nb3 Nb7 32. Be3 Nd6 33. Qd2 a5 34. Qd3 Qe7 35. Nc1 g5 36. a4 Kg7 37. Kh2 f4 38. gxf4 Bg6 39. Qd2 Bxc2 40. Qxc2 gxf4 41. Bxf4 Be5 42. Nd3 Bf6 43. Qd1 Nxc4 44. Qg4+ Kh8 45. Qg6 Ne5 46. Qxh6+ Kg8 47. d6 Qg7 48. Qxg7+ Kxg7 49. Nxe5 Rxe5 50. Bxe5 Bxe5+ 51. Kg1 Bxd6 52. Kf1 Kf6 53. Ke2 Bf4 54. Kd3 Ke5 55. Kc4 Bd2 56. Bd5 Be1 57. f3 Bh4 58. Be4 Bd8 59. Bd5 1/2-1/2

Timofey Galinsky (2424) vs Denis Shilin (2424)
UKR-ch 2000

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. Qe2 O-O 9. O-O Bf6 10. d3 Re8 11. Nd2 e4 12. d4 Bf5 13. Nc4 Qd7 14. Ne3 Bh3 15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. Nd5 Bxd4 17. Nf4 Qc8 18. cxd4 Nxd4 19. Qh5 Re5 20. Qh3 Nxc2 21. Qxc8+ Rxc8 22. Bb2 Ra5 23. Rac1 Na3 24. Rfd1 b5 25. Rxc7 Rb8 26. Rdd7 1-0

This is the oldest game found, and it makes me wonder why the variation is not called the “Nimzowitsch variation.” Could it be that there are so many other variations named after Nimzo that it would be too confusing to have another one? Or is it a variation is not named after a player who loses the initial game?

Aaron Nimzowitsch vs Ernst Gruenfeld
Karlsbad 1923

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 8.
O-O O-O 9. d3 Bg4 10. h3 Bd7 11. Rb1 Rb8 12. Re1 Re8 13. Ng5 h6 14. Nxf7 Kxf7
15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Bxh6 Qf6 17. Bg5 Qf7 18. Qh4 Ne7 19. Rxb7 Rxb7 20. Bxb7 Qxa2
21. Bxe7 Rxe7 22. Be4 Qe6 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. Qh8+ Qg8 25. Qh5 Be8 26. Qg5 Qe6 27.
Ra1 c6 28. Kg2 Qh6 29. Qg4 Qd2 30. Qh4 Qh6 31. Qg4 Rf7 32. Qe2 Bc5 33. Bf3 Bd7
34. g4 Qf4 35. Ra5 Bb6 36. Rxe5 Bc7 37. Re4 Qh2+ 38. Kf1 Qxh3+ 39. Bg2 Qh6 40.
Qe1 Bg3 41. Re2 Qh4 42. c4 Kg8 43. g5 Qxg5 44. Kg1 Bd6 45. d4 Bh3 0-1

Spassky’s variation

Svidler, Peter (2743) – Morozevich, Alexander (2724)
67th ch-RUS 2014 Kazan RUS (3), 2014.11.30
A05 Reti, King’s Indian attack, Spassky’s variation

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b5 3.d3 Bb7 4.e4 g6 5.e5 Nd5 6.Bg2 Bg7 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 e6 9.c4 bxc4 10.dxc4 Nb6 11.Qe2 Nc6 12.Nc3 Ba6 13.b3 d6 14.Bg5 Qc8 15.Bf6 Bxf6 16.exf6 Qd8 17.Ne4 Nd7 18.Nfg5 Nd4 19.Qg4 h5 20.Qd1 e5 21.Nf3 Ne6 22.h4 Rb8 23.Nfg5 Nd4 24.f4 Nxf6 25.fxe5 dxe5 26.Nc5 Qd6 27.Nxa6 Qxa6 28.Rxe5 Qd6 29.Re1 Rbd8 30.Qd3 Qb6 31.Kh1 Nf5 32.Qc3 Qf2 0-1

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b5 (According to this is “A05 Reti, King’s Indian attack, Spassky’s variation.” The CBDB ( shows Spassky’s move holding White to only 49%, much lower than the “usual suspect” moves of, in order of frequency, d5; g6; b6; & c5) 3.d3 (Not to be outdone, Svid, a man who appreciates Bob Dylan, counters with another lesser played move, which has scored an astounding 69%, albeit in a limited number of games. Houdini plays Svidler’s move, but Stockfish plays Bg2)
3…Bb7 (The usual move, but Stockfish plays either d5 or e6) 4.e4 (The engines all prefer Bg2, but it has only scored 46%, while Svid’s move has scored 67% in limited action)
4…g6 (A TN on move four and they are in the streets!)
The game ended after Svidler made what Yasser Seirawan would call a “howler.”

Huang, Qian (2464) – Mchedlishvili, Mikheil (2622)
Qatar Masters Open 2014 Doha QAT (5.34), 2014.11.30
A46 Queen’s pawn game
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.O-O c5 6.a4 b4 7.c4 bxc3 8.bxc3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Na6 (Be7 10. Nc3 Ne4 1/2-1/2; Silvino Garcia Martinez (2425) vs Evgeny Pigusov (2540), Santa Clara, 1991) 10.Nc3 Nb4 11.a5 Be7 12.Ne5 Bxg2 13.Kxg2 O-O 14.Bd2 Qc8 15.Qa4 Rb8 16.Kg1 d6 17.Nf3 Qa6 18.Rfb1 Nbd5 19.Nxd5 Nxd5 20.Kf1 h6 21.Rxb8 Rxb8 22.Rc1 Rc8 23.Rb1 Rc6 24.Rb8+ Rc8 25.Rb1 Rc6 26.Rb8+ Rc8 27.Rb1 ½-½

Reece Thompson in Fantasy Land

In the second round of the “Move First, Think Later” Georgia Open, Georgia Denker representative, Expert Reece Thompson, played this game:

Reece Thompson (2116) vs Arish Virani (1711)
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 e6 4. Nc3 Bd6 5. Be3 Ne7 6. Qd2 O-O 7. O-O-O Nd7 8. g4 b5 9. e5 Bc7 10. Bd3 a5 11. h4 Bb6 12. f4 Nb8 13. Nf3 a4 14. h5 b4 15. Ne2 b3 16. cxb3 axb3 17. a3 Ba5 18. Nc3 Qb6 19. Ng5 h6 20. Nf3 Na6 21. f5 exf5 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Qxh6 Bxc3 24. Ng5 Bxb2 25. Kb1 Rd8 26. Qh7 Kf8 27. Qxf7#

This is called the “Fantasy” or “Tartakower” variation. The Chessbase database (
shows White doing quite well with 3 f3, scoring 59%, higher than the four much more frequently played moves , Nc3; exd5; e5; & Nd2.
3…e6 is the most often played move, holding White to 56%, and is the choice of both Stockfish and Houdini.
4…Bd6 is rarely played and the average ELO of the 23 games is quite low, 1736. Houdini 3 x64 prefers 4…Qb6, which has held White to only 44%, far lower than any other move. A new one me, Deep Houdini 1.5 x64, shows 4…Nf6. The most played move is 4…Bb4.

I found this game at

Valiullina, Natalia – Kol, Aida ½-½
B12 RUS-ch U10 Girls
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 e6 4. Nc3 Bd6 5. Be3 Ne7 6. Bd3 b6 7. Nce2 Bb7 8. e5 Bc7 9. f4 Nd7 10. Nf3 Rc8 11. O-O c5 12. c3 c4 13. Bc2 Bb8 14. Qd2 a6 15. b3 cxb3 16. axb3 b5 17. Bd3 Nb6 18. Rac1 h6 19. Qa2 Qd7 20. c4 dxc4 21. bxc4 Nxc4 22. Bxc4 bxc4 23. Rxc4 Rxc4 24. Qxc4 O-O 25. Nc3 Rd8 26. Nd2 Ba7 27. Nb3 Nf5 28. Qd3 Nxe3 29. Qxe3 Bxd4 30. Nxd4 Qxd4 31. Qxd4 Rxd4 32. Rb1 Rd7 33. Na4 Rc7 34. Rb2 Kf8 35. Kf2 Ke7 36. Ke3 f6 37. Kd4 Kf7 38. Nc5 Bd5 39. g3 fxe5+ 40. fxe5 Kg6 41. Rb4 Kf5 42. h3 h5 43. Nxa6 Rc2 44. g4+ hxg4 45. hxg4+ Kg5 46. Ra4 Rg2 47. Kc5 Rxg4 48. Ra1 Kf5 49. Kd6 Bc4 50. Nc5 Rd4+ 51. Ke7 g5 52. Rg1 Rd5 53. Nxe6 Rxe5 54. Rxg5+ 1/2-1/2

Fantasy – Earth Wind And Fire (Lyrics) HQ

The Escape Artist

The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I had time last night for a brief discussion of the chess action happening this weekend. One of the topics discussed was the fact that the human World Champion played the Bishop’s Opening proper yesterday against Fabiano Caruano. As regular readers know, the BO, “The truth– as it was known in those far-off days,” according to Savielly Tartakower, has been one of my favorite openings ever since reading his quote in “500 Hundred Master games of Chess.” (see the book in GM Bryan Smith’s excellent article Magnus played the opening horribly, and lost. GM Yasser Seirawan questioned the moves of the World Human Champion, especially the move 11 Bg3. I questioned 13 h3, which allowed the Bishop to take the Knight, forcing White to capture with the f-pawn, disrupting the pawn structure in a horrible way. It is obvious things have gone terribly wrong after 14 fxg3. When Magnus played the move Qd8, after 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3, against Caruano at the Olympiad, I mentioned to Tim that players would now start playing the move, long discredited since Bobby Fischer beat Karl Robatsch in 20 moves at the Olympiad in Varna in 1962 and William Addison in 24 moves at the Interzonal at Palma de Mallorca in 1970, since Magnus had won the game. I also brought up the fact that before the HWC played the move, I had mentioned the possibility of purchasing the book, “The 3…Qd8 Scandinavian: Simple and Strong” by Daniel Lowinger and Karsten Müller, which brought ridicule from the Ironman. Last night I wondered aloud if players would now begin to play the BO because Magnus had played it. Before the Ironman could respond, I added, “Probably not since he lost.” Tim said, “The opening did not let Magnus down, Magnus let the opening down.”
One of the great things about chess is that a lesser player can question the moves of the great players. We may not often be right, but like that blind squirrel, we will occasionally find an acorn. Back in the day “BC” (before computers), we had to try and figure it out for ourselves. If a GM played a move, we accepted it as gospel. Today we turn on our “engine” and the “truth” is right in front of us. In a way this is a wonderful thing in that we now know if our move is better than the human World Champion. On the other hand, we now know that even the best human player is, well, human, and we humans make mistakes. As the Discman said, back in the day Grandmasters were “Gods.” Which makes me think of the famous speech by JFK in which he said, “…and we are all mortal.”

Schmuggy sent me an email last night after his game with Damir Studen, which I opened after noon:
Kevin Schmuggerow
Today at 1:09 AM
I had this one Michael, let it get away….
> e4 d5 ed Qd5 Nc3 Qa5 d4 c6 Bc4 Nf6 Ne2 g6 Bf4 Nd7 Qd2 Nb6 Bb3 Nbd4 Be5 Nc3 Nc3 Bg7 OOO OO h4 h5 f3 Ne8 Qg5 e6 Rhe1 Kh7 Qe7 Kg8 g4 Be5 Re5 Qc7 Qg5 Kg7 gh5 Rh8 Qg2 Rh6 Rg5 Qf4+ Kb1 Qh4 hg6 Rg6 Ne4 Rg5 Ng5 Kf6 f4 Nd6 Qf3 Qh6 Rh8 a5 a4 Ra6 Qc3 Ke7 Qc5 Bd7….Ne4 wins!! Mate in 7 (I played Rb8 and eventually got my rook trapped)

Looks strange without the numbers, does it not? Thinking the game would most likely have to be transcribed, I decided to hold off on going to the US Masters website until later. Fortunately, the whole game was provided. I broke out my trusty small wooden board and pieces and played over the game. Here are my thoughts…

Kevin Schmuggerow (1971) vs Damir Studen (2264)
USM Rd 3
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. Nge2 g6 7. Bf4 Nbd7 8. Qd2 Nb6 9. Bb3 Nbd5 10. Be5 Nxc3 11. Nxc3 Bg7 12. O-O-O O-O 13. h4 h5 14. f3 Ne8 15. Qg5 e6 16. Rhe1 Kh7 17. Qe7 Kg8 18. g4 Bxe5 19. Rxe5 Qc7 20. Qg5 Kg7 21. gxh5 Rh8 22. Qg2 Rh6 23. Rg5 Qf4 24. Kb1 Qxh4 25. hxg6 Rxg6 26. Ne4 Rxg5 27. Nxg5 Kf6 28. f4 Nd6 29. Qf3 Qh6 30. Rh1 Qg6 31. Rh8 a5 32. a4 Ra6 33. Qc3 Ke7 34. Qc5 Bd7 35. Rb8 Qf5 36. Qe5 f6 37. Qxf5 exf5 38. Nh7 Bc8 39. c4 Be6 40. d5 cxd5 41. c5 Ne4 42. Rxb7 Bd7 43. c6 Rxc6 44. Nf8 Nc5 45. Ng6 Kd6 46. Rb5 Ra6 47. Bc2 Bxb5 48. axb5 Rb6 0-1

Wow, Damir was sooooooo busted! Poor Schmuggy…This game reminds me of many I played. If only IM Charles Hertan’s award winning book, “Forcing Moves” had been published in the 1970’s… Two things kept me from becoming a stronger player, one is not winning enough “won” games. The other will be discussed in a future post.
Damir’s 14th move looks weak. After 15 Qg5, white is all over him. After the obligatory 15…e6 Schmuggy played 16 Rhe1. I have to question this move. I mean, White is attacking the Kingside and threatening to open up the castled King position, so why move the Rook? I sat looking at this position quite a while…Obviously 16 g4 must be considered, but I wonder if this is one of those positions where a world class player would simply make a move like 16 Kb1? Then the thought hit me that Schmuggy could have played maybe 16 a3, but I like Kb1 better, but what do I know? One thing I have always taught my students is to count the total number of points one has in a sector, especially when one is on the attack. As it now stands White has a Queen, Rook, and Bishop, or 17 points, on the Kingside. Black has only a Rook, Bishop, and Knight, or 11 points. If White were to play 16 Ne4 he would have an additional 3 points, for a total of 20 points, versus 11. That is a huge disparity. And since Black has been forced to weaken himself with his last move, the Knight move takes advantage of the weakened dark squares. 16 Ne4 would be my move. Black would then be in “deep do.”
Schmuggy is right, 35 Ne4 brings the house down. It wins because it is a FORCING MOVE. The knight on d6 is PINNED. Another thing all chess teachers say is, “Pin to win.”

After going over the game I first went to the Chess Base database ( and 365chess ( to check out the opening. What I found was that Damir’s 7…Nbd7 is a TN. All games show 7…Bg7. Since the Scandinavian is Damir’s main (only?) defense to 1 e4 it is difficult to believe he came up with this move over the board. I must assume it was “home cooking.” It often happens that one can be burned while cooking at home.
Next it was put it into my now antiquated Houdini. I am sure you will do the same because that is what is done these daze. Some even put it into the machine before looking at it and thinking for themselves. Where is the fun in that? I find it shameful. After analyzing the game, my Houdini said, “The player with the Black pieces was the real Houdini in this game!”
What? Your computer program does not talk to you?

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes