The Player of Games

After vowing to leave the games played by the so-called “Super” Grandmasters alone my mind was changed after watching a game from the ongoing Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament being played at the St. Louis Chess Campus. Although it seems like yesterday when GM Caruana was equal to World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in the only games that really matter, classical games, the fact is that was a pandemic ago. Fabiano has not been the same player, while Magnus has become the G.O.A.T. You can argue for your favorite Chess player of all time but the fact is that every generation is better than its predecessor because they stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded them. In addition, Magnus has tools of which former World Champions could only dream. Because of the computer programs my understanding is much better because of the games played by the best programs, even if I cannot demonstrate it over the board because of my advanced age.

One can only speculate, but for my money if there had not been a pandemic and a Alireza Firouzja, GM Caruana would have had another chance to play for the World Championship. After the young Firouzja went full tilt and completely melted down in the most recent Candidates tournament Fabiano began flinging pawns at his opponents like they were spears. He began playing wildly aggressive Chess like that seen decades ago. Unfortunately, it has continued… Examine this position and determine what move you would make after first listing your candidate moves, then return to the blog:

White to move

The position emanates from the game between Fabiano Caruana and Lenier Dominguez in the second round of the ongoing Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament being played at the St. Louis Chess Campus.

Fabiano Caruana let a first win slip from his grasp against Leinier Dominguez | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

Caruana played 12 g4, the move I would have played at the Stein Club in the 1970s. ( Truth be told, I would probably have played that move in a USCF tournament ‘back in the day’. 12 Rhe1 was a candidate move, as was 12 Kb1. If I could speak to IM of GM strength Boris Kogan about now I would say, “It has taken a lifetime, Boris, but I have finally found understanding, or at least some understanding.” He would laugh uproariously. The Stockfish program at gives 12 a3 as best. It was not one of my choices. The diagram contains an arrow showing the pawn to be moved, and 12 a3 is given in the note up top, but down below the Stockfish program shows this: “Inaccuracy. Rhe1 was best”, and it gives a line six moves deep to prove it. What I want to know is, which is it? By the way, according to the analysis program at LiChess the best move is 12 Bb5. I cannot make this up. In the only game found at the move 12 Kb1 was played, and it was on my short list of candidate moves.

Stefan Mazur (2417) vs Juraj Druska (2501)
Event: ch-SVK 2021
Site: Podhajska SVK Date: 09/28/2021
Round: 8.5
ECO: C42 Petrov, Nimzovich attack
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 Re8 9.O-O-O Nd7 10.Bd3 Nf6 11.h3 c5 12.Kb1 Bd7 13.Rhe1 Bc6 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bf4 Bf8 16.Rxe8 Qxe8 17.Nh4 Ne4 18.Bxe4 Qxe4 19.Re1 Qh7 20.Bg3 g5 21.Nf3 Qf5 22.h4 f6 23.Nh2 Re8 24.Rxe8 Bxe8 25.Nf1 Bc6 26.Ne3 Qe6 27.c4 Kf7 28.f3 f5 29.hxg5 hxg5 30.Nd5 f4 31.Bf2 b5 32.b3 bxc4 33.bxc4 Bg7 34.Qd3 Qe5 35.Kc1 Bd7 36.Kd2 Be6 37.Nc7 Bf5 38.Qd5+ Ke7 39.Nb5 Be6 40.Qb7+ Kf6 41.Qc6 Bxc4 42.Qxd6+ Qxd6+ 43.Nxd6 Bxa2 44.Bxc5 a6 45.Kd3 Ke6 46.Ne4 Kd5 47.Be7 Bc4+ 48.Kd2 g4 49.Bg5 Bf1 50.Bxf4 Bxg2 51.c4+ Kxc4 52.Nd6+ Kb3 53.fxg4 a5 54.Nf5 Bc3+ 55.Kc1 Bb2+ 56.Kd2 Bc3+ 57.Kc1 a4 58.Bd6 Be4 59.Ne3 Bf3 60.g5 Be4 61.Nd1 Be1 62.Ne3 Bh4 63.Be7 a3 64.Nc4 a2 65.Nd2+ Ka4 66.Kb2 Bd5 67.Ne4 Be1 68.Bf6 Bxe4 69.Kxa2 ½-½

Consider this position:

Position after 26…Rf8

The position is taken from the same game, and GM Lenier Dominguez has just played his Rook to f8 attacking the white Queen. Nevertheless, it is a losing move after Caruana plays the Queen to d7. Unfortunately, Fabiano lost the thread and played 27 Qe4, which is, like the previous move made by GM Dominguez, given not one, but two question marks. It seems we Chess fans have seen an inordinate number of “double blunders” since Magnus Carlsen, in his World Championship match with Vishy Anand, blundered horribly, but was let off of the hook when Anand immediately returned the favor.

Surely Caruana must have seen Qd7, yet played the much inferior move. Why? Consider this recent quote by Fabiano Caruana: “I realised something, which is that, even though I played pretty awfully recently, I do destroy one opening, which is the Najdorf. All my wins are in this one opening.”


When a player, not just a Chess player, but any ‘player’, is “in form” good moves seem to flow, but when a player is not in form he begins to second guess himself. My father was fond of saying, “Think long, think wrong.” There is much to be said for it because the longer one thinks the less intuition is involved. The number of times I saw the right move intuitively but allowed the ‘logical’ part of my thought process to make a weaker move could not be counted without a calculator. Talking yourself out of listening to yourself is a bad place to be for any player of games.

Richard Rapport Wins With Glek Variation

The erratic Richard Rapport continued riding the roller-coaster by losing again today. Sandwiched between his half point ‘gift’ to Nepo and todaze loss to Alireza Firouzja was a nice win with the Glek variation of the C46 Four knights versus Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

Richard Rapport vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda
2022 Candidates Tournament Round 8
C46 Four knights game Glek variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. d3 a5 7. O-O h6 8. b3 O-O 9. h3 Nd4 10. Be3 c6 11. Kh2 Re8 12. a3 Nxf3+ 13. Qxf3 Bxe3 14. fxe3 b5 15. g4 Ra7 16. Qg3 h5 17. g5 h4 18. Qxh4 Nh7 19. Qg3 Nxg5 20. h4 Nh7 21. Bh3 Bxh3 22. Rg1 Ng5 23. hxg5 Bc8 24. Rg2 Rae7 25. Qf3 g6 26. Rh1 f5 27. Kg1 b4 28. exf5 gxf5 29. Ne4 1-0
  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. d3 a5 7. O-O h6 (SF 200622 @depth 42 plays this move, but SF 070622 @depth 48 castles, as does SF 14 @depth 37. The CBDB shows only one game with 7…h6, yet there are several more on which one can click, which makes no sense. Why does it show only one game when there are many?) 8. b3 (SF 070622 @depth 53 plays the game move, but SF 15 @depth 43 plays 8 Nd5, a move yet to be tried in practice)

Igor Glek (2467) vs Igor Lysyj (2596)
Event: ch-RUS Rapid 2019
Site: Sochi RUS Date: 10/16/2019
ECO: C46 Four knights game Glek variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.d3 a5 7.O-O Be6 8.Ne2 Bb6 9.d4 Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Nd2 Qc8 13.Kh2 h5 14.Nc4 h4 15.g4 Ba7 16.f4 b5 17.Ne3 Bxe3 18.Bxe3 Bxg4 19.fxe5 dxe5 20.Bg5 Bh5 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Rxf6 Ra6 23.Rxa6 Qxa6 24.Qd3 Qb6 25.Rf1 Bg6 26.Nc3 b4 27.Na4 Qd6 28.Qb5+ Kf8 29.Qxa5 Kg7 30.Qc5 f5 31.Qxd6 cxd6 32.Nb6 fxe4 33.Re1 e3 34.Nc4 Rc8 35.b3 Ra8 36.Nxd6 Rxa2 37.Nc4 Rxc2 38.d6 Nc6 39.Nxe3 Ra2 40.Kg1 e4 41.Rc1 Ne5 ½-½

Sergey Solovjov IM 2434 RUS vs Konstantin Kazakov 2154 KAZ
Peterhof open 2008
C46 Four knights game Glek variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.d3 a5 7.O-O h6 8.Be3 Bxe3 9.fxe3 Ne7 10.Nh4 c6 11.d4 O-O 12.Nf5 Nxf5 13.exf5 Qe7 14.Qd2 Rd8 15.h3 d5 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.g4 b5 18.Qd4 Re8 19.Rae1 b4 20.Na4 Ba6 21.Rf4 Nd7 22.c3 Bb5 23.Nc5 Nxc5 24.Qxc5 bxc3 25.Qxc3 Qxc3 26.bxc3 a4 27.a3 Rab8 28.Rb4 Kf8 29.Kf2 c5 30.Rbb1 Bc4 31.Red1 Bb3 32.Rd2 Re5 33.Rxd5 Ree8 34.Rxc5 Rbd8 35.Rb2 Rc8 36.Rxc8 Rxc8 37.Rd2 Rxc3 38.Be4 Ke7 39.Kf3 Bc4 40.Rc2 Rxc2 41.Bxc2 Bb3 42.Bd3 Kd6 43.Ke4 Kc5 44.f6 g5 45.Ke5 Ba2 46.Ba6 Bb3 47.e4 Ba2 48.Bb7 Bc4 49.Bc8 Ba2 50.Bd7 1-0 (ChessBaseDataBase)

FM Emil Risteski 2363 MKD vs GM Igor Lysyj 2603 RU
Titled Tuesday intern op 11th Jan 2022
C46 Four knights game Glek variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O a5 7.d3 h6 8.h3 Be6 9.Nd2 a4 10.Nc4 Nd4 11.Kh2 b5 12.Ne3 c6 13.f4 a3 14.f5 axb2 15.Bxb2 Bd7 16.a4 b4 17.Ne2 Nxe2 18.Qxe2 Bxe3 19.Qxe3 c5 20.g4 Rxa4 21.Qf3 O-O 22.h4 Nh7 23.Qg3 f6 24.Rxa4 Bxa4 25.Qf2 Qd7 26.Ra1 Ra8 27.Bf3 Bc6 28.Rxa8+ Bxa8 29.Qe1 Qa4 30.Qb1 Bc6 31.Bd1 Qa5 32.Bc1 Nf8 33.g5 hxg5 34.hxg5 c4 35.gxf6 gxf6 36.Bf3 Qc5 37.Kg2 d5 38.Bd2 dxe4 39.dxe4 c3 40.Bh6 Qc4 41.Qe1 Kf7 42.Qg3 Ke8 43.Qg7 Qf7 44.Qh8 Ke7 45.Bh5 Bxe4+ 46.Kf2 Qa2 47.Qxf8+ Kd7 48.Qe8+ Kc7 49.Qe7+ Kc8 50.Qe6+ Qxe6 51.fxe6 Kd8 52.Bf8 Bc6 53.e7+ Kc8 54.e8=Q+ Bxe8 55.Bxe8 f5 56.Ba4 e4 57.Bb3 1-0 (ChessBaseDataBase)

World Chess Championship Candidates Biorhythms

I have previously written about biorhythms on this blog in a post titled, End The World Chess Championship Match NOW! ( If you surf on over you will find this: “Below you will find the biorhythm of Nepo, who is in a triple low period approaching the bottom, where he will remain for the next week. Nepo’s biorhythms are about as bad as it gets, biorhythm wise.” If any member of the Russian ‘team’ had bothered to check Nepo’s biorhythms prior to signing the agreement to play the match they would not have allowed their man to play during such an adverse time, at least in regard to his biorhythms.

For those new to the blog, or new to biorhythms, the father of the love of my life was a Senior VP at one of the largest banks in Georgia. He gave me a book about biorhythms by Bernard Gittelson:

Kasutatud raamatud, Vanaraamat, teema: Eneseabi, psühholoogia …

He brought it to my attention because it featured the biorhythms of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky during the 1972 match for the World Chess Championship.

It was learned the Japanese take it very seriously, seriously enough to not allow pilots or bus drivers to work when having a physical critical day. After so doing the accident rate fell dramatically.

I once posted something about biorhythms on the United States Chess Federation forum for which I was excoriated unmercifully by the ignorant, nattering nabobs of negativism. One called it a “pseudo-science.” None of the nabobs knew anything about biorhythms, and were too lazy, or ignorant, to check into biorhythms, yet they were ready to condemn this writer for even bringing it to their attention.

From what has been learned over the last half century the most pronounced aspect of biorhythms is the physical aspect. Every two weeks a human body changes, going from a high to low phase, or low to high phase. Your body cleans itself and you began the new phase. From my experience changing from the high phase to the low phase is not a good day. Transitioning from a low to high phase is usually not as bad a day, but still, one can feel “out of sorts” or maybe feel “out of phase.” On the days one transitions from high to low physically it is best to stay home.

It is terribly difficult to quantify the intellectual and emotional aspects of biorhythms. It can be made more understandable if one keeps a record of how one feels each and every day and reviews it later. From a lifetime of following my biorhythms I have come to think of the emotional aspect as being different from the other two aspects because it seems better to be emotionally ‘low’ than ‘high’. Think of it as being “low key” as opposed to “high strung.” The thing about the emotional aspect is that if your long loving wife were to inform you she wants a divorce, it matters not where you are in relation to your emotional biorhythms. Whether on top of the world, or bottomed out, one would immediately have a bad day, unless, that is, you, too, were ready to end the relationship.

The biorhythms of the eight players follow. I considered writing a post prior to the start of the Candidates tournament, but changed my mind. After seeing such horrendous play during the first part of the tournament my thinking changed. The physical aspect is the blue line; red is emotional; and green designates the intellectual aspect of biorhythms. For those of you interested, and objective, enough to want to know more, please begin with the aforementioned blog post written during the ill-fated World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepo. I chose to use the date of June 26, two days from now, as the mid-point because it is the day the second half of the match begins. Rather than attempting an explanation for each of the players I have made the choice to let you review the material and come to your own conclusion(s), with one caveat. After reviewing each and every biorhythm of the players prior to the start of the tournament it was obvious Fabiano Caruana would have the best chart of the group, and therefore the best odds of winning the tournament. After comparing the charts of the players I believe even the “nattering nabobs” would be forced to agree with the statement that Caruana will again face Magnus Carlsen with the title of World Champion on the line, if, that is, Magnus decides to again defend his title.

Nepo slapp naumlega á móti Nakamura – efstur eftir 5 umferðir |
Ian Nepomniachtchi (born 14 July 1990)
Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Fabiano Luigi Caruana (born July 30, 1992)
Hikaru Nakamura, photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage
Hikaru Nakamura (born December 9, 1987)
Magnus on Richard Rapport: “His understanding of the game is just superb” | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE
Richard Rapport (born 25 March 1996)
An excellent game by Ding Liren. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Ding Liren (born 24 October 1992)
Pierwsza porażka Jana-Krzysztofa Dudy w turnieju kandydatów
Jan-Krzysztof Duda (born 26 April 1998)
A huge missed chance to score for Teimour Radjabov, photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage
Teimour Radjabov (born 12 March 1987)
Firouzja and Caruana before their game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Alireza Firouzja (born 18 June 2003)

Tata Steel Chess Tournament Marred By Officials Lunacy

For the second year in a row the Tata Steel Chess tournament has been marred by the ineptitude of the officials. This is shocking because, “Known as the “Wimbledon of Chess”, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament is one of the most prestigious events on the international chess calendar. It attracts the best chess Grandmasters in the world, along with amateur players, live event visitors and online visitors from around the world.” (

The morning was spent searching for answers on the internet. The result was a dearth of information concerning the latest debacle has become the Tata Steel Chess tournament. The tournament was formerly known as “Wijk aan Zee” because that is the name of the city in the Netherlands, formerly known as “Holland,” where the famous, now infamous Chess tournament has been held for decades. Tata Steel changed the name of the tournament in an attempt to gain more publicity for the company. For the second consecutive year everyone involved with the Chess tournament has brought Tata Steel more publicity than could have been imagined. Unfortunately, all of the publicity has been negative because again the tournament has been turned into a farce. This writer has completely lost interest in the tournament, and I am not alone. purchased the rights to broadcast the event via the internet and the website has led the way in covering the event. In an article by Peter Doggers, “Tata Steel Chess R3: Vidit Defends Brilliantly To Grab Sole Lead,” (, one learns, “While the third round saw some lovely, tactical chess and it felt like the 84th Tata Steel Chess Tournament was really taking off, behind the scenes the organizers had other worries. Even without the presence of amateurs, there’s always a risk of a Covid outbreak when holding an event in the middle of the pandemic. Like last year, players, coaches, and crew are required to wear face masks (players can take them off while at the board) and are tested regularly. So far, none of the players tested positive for the coronavirus, knock on wood.”

“However, before the start of the round, two seconds of players tested positive and went into quarantine. The organizers informed that, according to close contact tracing, the players for whom the seconds work have been retested as a precaution and tested negative for Covid-19.”

“One of the two seconds is GM Ramesh R.B., who assists GM Praggnanandhaa R. in Wijk aan Zee. The Indian coach revealed on Twitter that he had tested positive. Luckily, from the very start, his pupil has been one of the few players who is wearing his face mask at the board all the times.”

The part about Praggnanandhaa being “lucky” to have been “…one of the few players who is wearing his face mask at the board all the times,” is bull excrement! Regular readers know that “I Took The Vaccine” ( In addition, I have also taken the third, or “booster” shot, because at my age I like to hedge my bets. That said, it is, or should be common knowledge that wearing a mask does not prevent one from obtaining Covid, but it does lessen the odds of imparting it to anyone else. If one wears the best mask, the N-95, there is still a 5% chance that person will be infected; that’s the “95” part of the name. If one compares the N-95 with the flimsy mask being worn by GM Praggnanandhaa, there is a much larger chance of obtaining, or spreading the virus because there are wide open areas around the mask making it virtually useless in combating the virus.

Peter Doggers concludes his comments with, “With the high transmissibility of the omicron variant and the Netherlands registering another record of new corona cases this Monday, it wouldn’t be unlikely that more cases will pop up in Wijk aan Zee as well. Let’s hope not, and let’s quickly move to the games.”

Covid is everywhere and the Netherlands obviously abounds with the virus.

In his next article, “Tata Steel Chess 2022 R7: Carlsen Grabs Sole Lead; Dubov Forfeits Game,” by PeterDoggers (Updated: Jan 23, 2022, 7:26 AM/ News), Mr. Doggers writes, “GM Daniil Dubov forfeited his game vs. GM Anish Giri as the Russian GM refused to play with a face mask.

Tata Steel Chess 2022 R7: Carlsen Grabs Sole Lead; Dubov Forfeits Game
Anish Giri wouldn’t see his opponent Daniil Dubov arriving at the board today. Photo: Tata Steel Chess.

The organizers had requested him to do so after someone in his inner circle had tested positive for Covid-19.” Then he adds, “Last year, the organizers managed to hold their tournament in Wijk aan Zee in the middle of the pandemic without any issues.” (

This is patently absurd. Where the hell was Peter Doggers last year during the Tata Steel tournament? How quickly they forget…

Tata Steel 2021 Drama – Alireza Firouzja vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek – R13

Hi Friends,

Extremely disrespectful and very unprofessional from the organizers to distract Alireza during the final game. They asked him to move! Alireza blundered soon after that discussion, and the game ended in a draw.

Kourosh A (

Mr. Doggers continues in the aforementioned article: “In hindsight, one could add miraculously. This year, with the highly contagious omicron variant raging, it was sheer impossible.”

“After the two cases of corona in the morning of the third round, when two seconds (coaches) of players tested positive, there was another case on Saturday morning: someone close to Dubov. Awaiting a PCR test result for Dubov, the organizers requested the Russian GM to wear a mask during play, even though the general rule at the tournament is that face masks are obligatory everywhere except when sitting at the board. Dubov refused to do so and called it “a matter of principle.” When he hadn’t arrived at the board half an hour into the round, the game was declared a win by forfeit for Giri.”

“Unsurprisingly, the whole situation was widely discussed on social media. One question was whether it was communicated to the players beforehand that the mask would be a necessity at the board as well in case of close contact to a Covid-positive person. Another interesting point that was made was whether the organizers could have postponed the Dubov-Giri game to the next rest day.”

GM Sergey Karjakin, who had criticized Dubov recently for helping Carlsen in the world championship,

this time supported his compatriot as he tweeted after finishing his own game:

“Robert Moens (Tata Steel Communications & Public Affairs) commented to “This specific situation wasn’t discussed beforehand, no. However, the players’ contract does include a clause that the organizers can take the necessary measures in case unexpected situations regarding Covid arise. Because the tournament doctor deemed it unwise for Dubov to play without a face mask, we as organizers made this request to Dubov, who fully understood our decision but decided not to play the game out of principle. We did not consider postponing the game because Dubov could have played today, albeit with a face mask. It was his decision not to play.”

“The situation currently is that Dubov can continue playing the tournament without a face mask in case the results of his latest PCR and antigen tests come out negatively. If he gets tested positive, he won’t be able to play any more games and all his results will be removed from the tournament crosstable because the tournament wasn’t halfway through yet for him.” (

This is all a crock of excrement! None of the crapola emanating from the mouth of Robert Moens matters. The bottom line is “…the organizers requested the Russian GM to wear a mask during play, even though the general rule at the tournament is that face masks are obligatory everywhere except when sitting at the board.” (!!!)

The organizers and officials (in other words, the Head Honchos What Be In Charge) had absolutely no right to “ask” Dubov to wear a mask. If not asked to wear a mask Danill would have been at the board, ready to play Chess. If one player was asked to wear a mask then ALL PLAYERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASKED TO WEAR A MASK! The problem is that the best Chess players in the world cannot come together as a group, like, for example, the Major League Baseball players union, to combat the ding-bats in charge of Chess! What top level Chess needs is a Chess Spartacus.

Certainly the players know that what affects the one also affects the many. Magnus Carlsen is currently the nonpareil Chess player and should be the de facto leader of all Grandmasters. What affects his contemporaries also affects Mr. Carlsen. If Magnus Carlsen also refused to play after learning what had happened to one of his fellow Grandmasters it would have reverberated, sending shock waves throughout the Chess community. Instead, Magnus swallowed the bile and meekly and subserviently acquiesced to the ridiculous “new rule” made up as the organizers reacted to something that should have been foreseen, and for which they should have been prepared. Those in charge of the Tata Steel Chess tournament should award a full point to Grandmaster Danill Dubov, and then we may see the Chess Champion of the World react. Then again, maybe not…