Last Round (In)Action at the 2022 Saint Louis Norm Congress

When GM Vladimir Belous

https://www.uschesschamps.com/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress/the-field

sat down to play in the last round he had already won the tournament as he had seven points after winning six games and drawing two. His opponent, IM David Brodsky,

https://www.uschesschamps.com/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress/the-field

was tied for third place with a 5-3 score. I have no idea if a win by IM Brodsky would have earned him a GM norm or not, but can tell you from over half a century following the Royal Game it is difficult for anyone who has nothing to play for to play for something. In all that time I have seen numerous players with nothing for which to play lose. David Brodsky is not yet a Grandmaster, and may never earn the title. He really had nothing to lose, and much to gain by defeating the winner of the tournament, even if a GM norm was not possible. Since he is young and still has much to learn, what better way to gain experience by at least attempting to win. This was the result:

Vladimir Belous 2525 vs David Brodsky 2484

  1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 1/2-1/2
    https://live.followchess.com/#!saint-louis-norm-congress-gm-2022/310589946

One cannot call it a game, but it counts just as if it were a one hundred mover. Never would have thought I would live long enough to see the Chess Mecca that is the St. Louis Chess Campus defiled as it was during this event. I will hand it to the women because they were not passing out buddy-buddy draws like the men, and I use the word “men” loosely.

I do not want to end coverage of this event with the premature ejaculation masquerading as a game above, so I will again present another game in which IM Aaron Grabinsky plays the B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation, the third time he trotted out the opening to battle the Caro-Kann (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/05/22/im-aaron-grabinsky-scores-two-at-the-2022-saint-louis-norm-congress-with-the-b10-caro-kann-defense-two-knights-attack/). Before the round began FM Posthuma, with 6 1/2 points, had a half point lead over IM Grabinsky. IM Matyas Marek was in third place with 5 1/2 points, which went to 6 1/2 points when his last round opponent, Julien Proleiko, forfeited.

IM Aaron Grabinsky 2401 vs FM Joshua Posthuma 2405

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Be6 7. c4 Nd7 8. d4 Nf6 9. Qh4 Bf5 10. Be2 e6 11. O-O Be7 12. Qf4 O-O 13. h3 a5 14. Rd1 Bc2 15. Re1 Qb6 16. Qe3 Rfd8 17. Bd3 Bxd3 18. Qxd3 a4 19. Qc2 Qa6 20. Be3 b5 21. Rac1 bxc4 22. Qxc4 Rdb8 23. Qc2 Nd5 24. a3 Rb5 25. Rcd1 Qb7 26. Bc1 Bf6 27. Ne5 Ne7 28. Re4 Nf5 29. Qxc6 Rc8 30. Qxb7 Rxb7 31. g4 Nd6 32. Re2 h6 33. Kf1 Bxe5 34. Rxe5 Nc4 35. Rc5 Rxc5 36. dxc5 Rc7 37. Rd3 Rxc5 38. Rc3 f5 39. gxf5 exf5 40. Ke2 g5 41. h4 gxh4 42. Rh3 Nxb2 43. Bxh6 Rc2+ 44. Kf1 Nc4 45. Rxh4 Kf7 46. Ke1 Nxa3 47. Rxa4 Nb5 48. Ra6 Nd4 49. Be3 Ne6 50. Kf1 f4 51. Ba7 Rc8 52. Rd6 Rd8 53. Rc6 Ra8 54. Bb6 Ra6 55. Kg2 Ng5 56. Rc7+ Kg6 57. Rb7 Ra2 58. Bd4 Kf5 59. Rb8 Rd2 60. Rb4 Ne4 61. Ba7 Ra2 62. Rb7 Ng5 63. Bb8 f3+ 64. Kg3 Ne4+ 65. Kxf3 Rxf2+ 66. Ke3 Rc2 67. Re7 Nf6 68. Kd3 1/2-1/2
    https://live.followchess.com/#!saint-louis-norm-congress-im-2022/-1059380010

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qe2 Nxe4 6.Qxe4 Be6 (The most often played move has been 6…Nd7. In 343 games it has held white to 49%. It is the choice of Fritz 16 @depth 36. Stockfish 13 @depth 60 plays 6…Qa5, which also shows 49% in 183 games. Then comes SF 14.1 which likes the second most often played move, 6…Qd5. Yet in 295 games it shows 58%! The move in the game, 6…Be6, has been attempted in 99 games, resulting in holding white to only 45%) 7.c4 (7 b3 has been most played and in 54 games has scored 47%. All three programs shown will play 7 b3. The game move has been seen in 15 games while scoring only 33%) 7…Nd7 (The 13 games in which this move has been played have held white to 27%, and it is the choice of SF 14 @depth 42. SF 100222 @depth 55 will play 7…g6. The CBDB contains only two games with the move…) 8.d4 Nf6 9.Qh4 (SF 11 @depth 45 plays 9 Qd3; SF 14 @depth 27 plays 9 Qf4; SF 050621 @depth 33 will play 9 Qe3) 9…Bf5 10.Be2 e6 11.O-O Be7 12. Qf4 (This is the choice of Stockfish 170921. For 12 Qg3 see below:

Jules Moussard (2571) vs Tigran Gharamian (2626)
Event: 3rd IF Payroll Blitz 2017
Site: Sanem LUX Date: 09/23/2017
Round: ?
ECO: B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation
1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qe2 Nxe4 6.Qxe4 Be6 7.c4 Nd7 8.d4 Nf6 9.Qh4 Bf5 10.Be2 e6 11.O-O Be7 12.Qg3 O-O 13.Rd1 Re8 14.Ne5 Nd7 15.Bh6 Bg6 16.Nxg6 hxg6 17.Be3 Nf6 18.h3 Qa5 19.Qe5 Bd8 20.a3 Bc7 21.Qxa5 Bxa5 22.b4 Bb6 23.a4 a6 24.Bf3 Red8 25.Rab1 Rac8 26.b5 axb5 27.axb5 Ba5 28.bxc6 bxc6 29.Ra1 Bb4 30.Rd3 c5 31.Rad1 cxd4 32.Rxd4 Rxd4 33.Rxd4 Bc5 34.Bb7 Bxd4 35.Bxc8 Bxe3 36.fxe3 Kf8 37.Kf2 Ke7 38.Bb7 Nd7 39.Ke2 Nc5 40.Bf3 Kd6 41.Kd2 Ke5 42.Kc3 g5 43.Bh5 g6 44.Bf3 Kd6 45.Kb4 Nd3+ 46.Kb5 Nc5 47.Be2 Ne4 48.Bf3 Nc5 49.Be2 f5 50.Bf3 Nd7 51.Kb4 Nc5 52.Kb5 Nd3 53.Be2 Nc5 54.Bf3 Nd7 55.Bc6 Ne5 56.c5+ Kc7 57.Be8 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4071249&m=16

Armed and Dangerous Females at the 2022 Saint Louis Norm Congress

When one surfs over to the website of the St. Louis Chess Club to check out the upcoming pairings this is what one finds for the IM tournament:

2022 Saint Louis Norm Congress

Pairings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Rankings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

List by federation
Females
Cross table
https://www.uschesschamps.com/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress/pairings-results-im

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:

IM Matyas Marek 2363 vs FM Joshua Posthuma 2405

Round 6

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 1/2-1/2
    https://live.followchess.com/#!saint-louis-norm-congress-im-2022/1216272321

This game “wowed” the fans, or at least one of them, who left this at the “Chat” with the game:

Chat room

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

https://new.uschess.org/news/botezlive-match-featuring-jennifer-yu-benefit-online-education

was +2 after two wins and two draws. In the fifth round she had the white pieces versus fellow FM Joshua Posthuma (2404).

https://joshchess.com/in-session

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!

Round 6
FM Lee, Alice 2334

https://www.uschesschamps.com/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress/the-field

vs IM Grabinsky, Aaron 2401

Coquille resident makes name for himself in international chess …
theworldlink.com


E11 Bogo-Indian defence
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 d6 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.e4 e5 8.Be2 O-O 9.O-O c6 10.Rfd1 Re8 11.Qc2 a5 12.Rd2 Qe7 13.Rad1 g6 14.d5 c5 15.Ne1 Nb6 16.Nb5 Rf8 17.Qd3 Ne8 18.Bf1 f5 19.f3 Bd7 20.Nc3 f4 21.Rc1 Nf6 22.Kf2 Qe8 23.Nc2 g5 24.h3 Qh5 25.Ke1 Ne8 26.Kd1 Nc7 27.Na3 Qe8 28.Kc2 Nc8 29.Kb1 Na7 30.Qe2 Kf7 31.Qf2 Ke7 32.Bd3 Qg6 33.Rh1 h5 34.Be2 Rh8 35.Rdd1 Rag8 36.Rh2 Ne8 37.Rdh1 Rh7 38.Nc2 Rgh8 39.a4 Nf6 40.Ne1 b6 41.Rg1 Rg8 42.Rgh1 Nc8 43.Nd3 Rhg7 44.g4 fxg3 45.Qxg3 h4 46.Qf2 Nh5 47.Bd1 Qf6 48.Qd2 Kd8 49.Rg1 Nf4 50.Nf2 Rf7 51.Rhh1 Nh5 52.Re1 Qg6 53.Qe3 Ne7 54.Rh2 Qf6 55.Ne2 Ng3 56.Ng1 Rgf8 57.b3 Qg7 58.Kc2 Kc7 59.Kb1 Rf4 60.Nd3 R4f6 61.Nf2 Be8 62.Ng4 Rf4 63.Nf2 Bh5 64.Nd3 R4f6 65.Nf2 Ng8 66.Ka2 R6f7 67.Kb1 Nf6 68.Kc2 Nh7 69.Kb1 Rf6 70.Kc2 R8f7 71.Ng4 Rf4 72.Kc1 Qf8 73.Qd3 Nf6 74.Nf2 Nd7 75.Ng4 Bg6 76.Nf2 Nf6 77.Kb2 Bh5 78.Kc1 Qg7 79.Qe3 Bg6 80.Bc2 Qf8 81.Kb2 Nfh5 82.Bd1 Qg7 83.Ka2 Rf8 84.Bc2 Qf6 85.Bd1 Qf7 86.Kb2 Ng7 87.Qd3 N3h5 88.Qe3 Qe7 89.Nd3 R4f7 90.Nf2 Ng3 91.Bc2 Bh5 92.Bd1 Qf6 93.Ng4 Qg6 94.Nf2 Ne8 95.Ka2 Rf4 96.Nd3 Nf6 97.Nf2 Qf7 98.Kb2 Qg7 99.Ka2 Rf7 100.Bc2 Qf8 101.Bd1 Qh6 102.Kb2 Nh7 103.Qd3 Qf8 104.Re3 Bg6 105.Re1 Nf6 106.Ka2 Bh7 107.Kb2 Nfh5 108.Qe3 1/2-1/2
(https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress-im/round-6/2cdKISbf)

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,

Jewgenij Schtembuljak und Polina Schuwalowa sind Junioren-Weltmeister …
schachbund.de

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,

https://ratings.fide.com/profile/3500292

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

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Nbd7 4.g3 e5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Qc2 a6 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nh4 g6 12.b3 Re8 13.Bb2 a5 14.Nf3 Bf8 15.Na4 Nc5 16.Nxc5 Bxc5 17.e3 Bf5 18.Qe2 a4 19.h3 axb3 20.axb3 Rxa1 21.Bxa1 Be4 22.Qb2 Bxf3 23.Bxf3 Qe7 24.Kg2 Bb4 25.h4 h5 26.Be2 Ba3 27.Qc2 Bb4 28.Qa2 Ne4 29.Qc2 Nc5 30.Rh1 Rd8 31.Rd1 Re8 32.Rh1 Rd8 33.Rd1 1/2-1/2
https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress-im/round-6/2cdKISbf

  1. 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)