relocated from Music City to the Phoenix city, Atlanta, Georgia. It happened that by happenstance I was at Todd’s apartment after he moved in and again later as he was getting ready to return to Nashville, Tennessee. There was an obvious disparity between how the apartment looked on those two occasions, kind of like one of those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.
Todd was young, and strong, at that time, and was the “Big Dog” at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. He was also an extremely personable and animated fellow. After being beaten by Todd one regular habitué of the House of Pain vociferously and demonstrably said to any and everyone within earshot, “That Todd has a BIG HEAD!” To which Bob Bassett replied, “Yeah, and if you ever get your rating up to 2400 you will have a big head.” Another wag added, “Fat chance.” The loser hit the door… The name stuck, although no one ever called Todd “Big Head” to his face. After yet another player had been battered and bloodied, metaphorically speaking, of course, over the Chess board by Todd, the loser would be asked about the result and the reply would invariably be, “Big Head got me.” About this time there was a popular music group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who were quite popular. Todd traveled to a music festival in another state and I considered asking if Big Head Todd and the Monsters were there, but refrained from so doing…
These days Todd is the man with the Big Head at the Nashville Chess Center:
FM Andrews drew with fellow FM James Canty in the opening round of the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center and followed that with a victory over GM Alonso Zapata, now a citizen of Georgia living in the metro Atlanta area. A couple of losses set him back before he was paired with serial drawer IM Nikolay Andrianov,
“…who became the Soviet Junior Champion in 1980. He beat GM Gary Kasparov in their junior years and maintains a plus score against the world champion. After that, he chose to focus on chess training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sports Institute, considered the top chess school globally at the time. He has since then trained students, many of them becoming masters in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Currently, he teaches chess in Arizona and online with Ashburn Chess Club.” (https://ashburnchessclub.com/nikolay-andrianov)
These are the games produced by IM Nikolay Andrianov in the first four rounds:
IM NIKOLAY ANDRIANOV (2317) vs DONALD JOHNSON (2102)
What happened in the second round? It looks as though Tianqi Wang actually considered attempting to try and play for a win, but after making a very weak move that gave the advantage to his opponent changed his mind and offered a draw, which was accepted by the player with little fight left in him. It takes two to tango, and make a draw, so all the blame cannot go to IM Andrianov. Some of the blame must be taken by the pusillanimous pussies so ready to accept a draw offer from an old and weak IM. Todd Andrews came to play Chess and forced the ineffectual IM to play to the death. Unfortunately, it was Todd who lost, but he went down fighting, like a man, and my hat is off to FM Todd Andrews. In losing Todd Andrews comes away a winner from one of the Charlotte Drawing Tournaments.
GM ALONSO ZAPATA (2367)
vs FM TODD ANDREWS (2209)
Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 0-1 ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line
e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (Stockfish 14 and 15 both play 3 Nc3, as does Komodo) 3…Nf6 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase, Komodo, Houdini, and Deep Fritz prefer 3…c5) 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 (SF 8 @depth 46 plays the move played in the game, but SF 13 @depth 44 goes with the most often played move of 5 Bd3. SF 14.1 @depth 47 will play 5 f4) 5…c5 6. Ndf3 (SF 311221 plays 6 Bd3 which has been far and away the most often played move with 8421 games in the CBDB; SF 14.1 will play 6 f4, the second most often played move (1924). The move played in the game has only been attempted in 54 games) 6…Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 (This move has been played most often with 130 games in the CBDB, but SF 14.1 and Komodo will play 7…Qa5. The reason could be that 7…cxd4 has resulted in a 66% score for players of the White pieces as opposed to only 42% in 31 games for 7…Qa5) 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 (SF 12 plays this move, but SF 070222 will take the pawn with the Queen with 9…Qxf6. Houdini will fire a TN with 9…Bb4+. 9…Nxf6 has been played in 84 games; 9…Qxf6 in only 8. White has scored 64% versus the former, but only 38% against the latter move) 10. Ne2 Qc7 (SF 130121 @depth 59 plays 10…Bd6, as do two different Fritz programs) 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 (Fritz 16 plays this move, but Deep Fritz will play will play 12 g3. SF 170821 prefers 12 h3) 12…a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 (SF 14.1 plays 14 Bh4 and so should you) 14…h6 (14…Bd7 has been played most often, and one of the “New Engines” @depth 42 likes it, but left running a little longer it changes its whatever @depth 43 to 14…Ng4, which is what Komodo will play @depth 26) 15. Bh4 Bf4 (There is only one prior game with the game move. Komodo 8 @depth 14 plays 15…Bd7, but SF 261120 will play 15…Nh5, as will Komodo 9)
d4 f5 2. c4 (Stockfish 250022 @depth 54 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 52 will play 2 Nf3. Then there is SF 14.1, the latest and greatest…until 14.2, or whatever name will be chosen for the next incarnation, appears, which will play 2 Bg5(!?) Could that be the reason GM Titas Stremavicius, one of todaze leading exponents of the Leningrad, err, strike that… The dude recently essayed e6 in lieu of d6… [https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/03/12/the-saint-louis-spring-classic-tournaments/] …has had to face 2 Bg5 in sixteen games in the past few years? (https://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?submit_search=1&eco=A80&bid=211209) 2…Nf6 (SF 14 shows 2…e6 at the ChessBaseDataBase. It has been the most often played move with 5037 games in the CBDB and it has scored 58% for white against a composite player rated 2409. The second most popular move has been 2…Nf6 and in 3786 games it has held a mythical white player rated 2410 to a 56% score. Earlier on this blog I advocated black playing the move d6 in response to the d4 + c4 moves when they are played in the Leningrad Dutch. In only 51 games white has scored 58% against players rated on average 2416) 3. g3 (SF 290112 @depth 50 plays this move, as does Houdini, but SF 14 @depth 35 will play 3 Nc3) 3…g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 ((There are 2026 games in which Black has played the game move and in those games it has scored 56%. In 181 games versus a composite player rated 2419 the move 4…d6 has held White to scoring only 53%. Just sayin’..) 5. Nf3 (Three different SF programs each play 5 Nc3) 5…d6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O c6 (SF 14.1 and 250112 each play this move, as does Komodo…) 8. d5 (The CBDB shows this move having been played more than any other move in this position. In addition, 365Chess also shows it as the most played move, but is it best? Stockfish 100221 @depth 47 will play 8 Qb3, a move having been attempted in 137 games, scoring 52% against 2444 opposition. SF 14 @depth 49 will play 8 Bg5. There are only 9 examples of the move contained in the CBDB and White has scored only 39% versus a composite player rated 2387. Then there is SF 14.1, which, given the chance, will play 8 Be3. There are only two examples in the CBDB) 8…Kh8 (This move is a Theoretical Novelty. 8 e5 has been the most often played move, by far, and it is the choice of SF 14 & Houdini) The game can be found in annotated form at various locations on the internet. I suggest the free website: (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-charlotte-chess-im-d-norm-invitational/round-4/96ZmD4uj)
Grandmaster Zapata recently won the Georgia Senior but no game scores can be found at the GCA website (http://georgiachess.org/), and that includes the “magazine”, and I use the word only because that is the name of the “Georgia Chess News,” (http://georgiachessnews.com/) which for many years has been nothing but a venue for book reviews by Davide Nastasio.
would call a “howler.” One of GM Zapata’s strengths has been his ability to play solid, consistent Chess while staying away from “howler” moves. The move was so bad I thought there had been some kind of transmission problem, as the move 25…Ne4 suggests itself as it moves the steed to the middle of the board. 25…Na4 proves the axiom, “A knight on the rim is grim.” Indeed, the knight placed on a4 sure ’nuff looked grim, and dim.
For some time this writer has attempted to glean information concerning the recent 2022 Georgia Senior Championship, to no avail.
Tue, Feb 22
to president, 1vp, treasurer, secretary, member1, member2
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have been unable to locate anything concerning the recent Georgia Senior on the website of the GCA. Was the tournament held? If so, will anything be posted at the GCA website? I ask because the next post in the AW will concern Senior Chess, and the recent GCA Senior will be a good tie in for the post.
All the Best in Chess!
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
Tue, Feb 22
to me, president, Ben, Katie, Keith, member1, Thad
to Jr., president, Ben, Katie, Keith, member1, Thad,
I no longer visit the Book of Faces and have not since being hacked, and will never, ever again go to Facebook for any reason whatsoever. I would, though, like to know why there is something concerning the GCA at Facebook in lieu of the WEBSITE OF THE GEORGIA CHESS ASSOCIATION?
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
Tue, Feb 22
to me Only because we are still seeking volunteers to fill all responsibilities. We have individuals who are willing to post to the GCA magazine, to twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but I do not currently have anyone other than myself who knows how to post to the GCA website. If you are willing to volunteer, I would be happy to train you.
to Jr. How the hell did you turn my attempt to learn if the Georgia Senior was held into a plaintive plea for help? I want nothing to do with the GCA, sir! You took time to post something at Facebook rather than the GCA website, did you not? There must be a reason. Is there anyone involved with the GCA who can, and will give me the information?
That is where it stands as of this writing…
Not all of the board members have been so obstinate. For example, Kevin Schmuggerow was nice enough to send the following:
Wed, Feb 16
to me Hey Mike,
Good to hear from you!
I hope you are doing well through these crazy times.
I didn’t receive your email until just now?
Not sure what’s going on with the GCA server, I know Parnell has made some changes that effected Keith Sewell’s old account as well.
Regarding the Senior Open, I agree, with you, I previously had sent an email regarding the round times being too close together (10:00 – 2:00) no time for lunch…
I wasn’t planning on playing do to another conflict.
Kevin later fired this salvo my way:
Below was the agenda for the the 1/26 meeting. The February meeting is next week.
One of the other board members also expressed displeasure at the format for the 2021 Senior, but asked for anonymity. It appears there is already much dissension on the board of the GCA.
cut through the field like a hot knife through cold butter. The Grandmaster was rated almost four hundred points higher than the second highest rated player, Expert James Altucher, from Florida. He was joined in second place by Georgians Jeffery Rymuza, Ramchandra Nadar, Christopher Ferrante, all scoring 3-1. Eighteen players competed in the Georgia Senior.
The AW was surprised, and pleased, to see the tournament was directed by Anna Christina Baumstark,
a former member of the board of the GCA, and a woman well known for her Chess teaching in and around the Atlanta area. Anna would visit, and often play, at the Ironman Chess Club in those halcyon days before the pandemic struck. She is a lovely lady who loves Soccer, and is quite opinionated, which is one of the reasons conversations with her were so lively. As it happens, I recently found a game played by Anna over at FollowChess.com.
Barr Perry vs Anna C Baumstark B01 Scandinavian (centre counter) defence US Amateur Team Championship
Since moving to Atlanta after his wife began working at the CDC I have been following GM Alonso Zapata’s exploits on the Chessboard and we have been communicating via email. After his dismal, and uncharacteristic performance (Although the highest rated player, Alonso finished in a tie for 7th place after managing to draw 6 games while losing 3) at the recent Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational held July 28-Aug 1, 2021 at the Charlotte Chess Club & Scholastic Center (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/the-charlotte-chess-center-scholastic-academy-summer-2021-cccsa-gm-im-norm-invitational-extravaganza/) I sent Alonso an email which was not answered until last night. I have chosen to publish some of the email because it answers the questions posed in the above aforementioned post, and because the more information the Chess world has on what is happening with the dreaded virus the better decisions those who decide (that made me think of George Dubya Bush and the time he said:
Dear Michael Bacon.
Thanks for your email.
Before, I want to mention that I participated in looking to improve my rating. I had already experienced a similar event before, and I did very well, gaining a considerable rating.
You are right; I played very poorly, even I did not understand how with so many positions with huge advantages, even very close to winning (as in the one you mention), I could not define. Michael, I didn’t answer you because I’ve been depressed these days. In the tournament, I felt lacking in energy and concentration. My chess didn’t flow, I slept little, and it affected my self-confidence.
Once the tournament was over, I returned home; after driving for about 4.5 hours, my symptoms became more noticeable: runny nose, cough, malaise, fever, discouragement. I thought it was an unpleasant flu; I was calm because I had the two Pfizer vaccines against Covid -19.
To not extend the story, after a couple of days without improving, I took the test, and it came out positive for Covid-19. I immediately called the Tournament Organizer in Charlotte, Grant Owen, to inform him, hoping that no one else had picked it up. To my peace of mind, there was no other sick player.
Fortunately, I already feel recovered.
I want to add that competing with Coronavirus disease is a terrible nightmare!
My best wishes, Alonso Zapata
Of course I answered immediately, offering condolences and expressing sympathy, while being pleased he had recovered. Then after having watched some of the evening bluews, as I have come to think of it, I sat down to punch ‘n poke this into my daily log: News from Macon is a 4 year old boy is in hospital with Covid fighting for his life…Young woman died in a Baton Rouge hospital from Covid after delivering a 4 pound three ounce baby. She did not take the vaccine because those in charge had not yet given the OK for pregnant women to take the vaccine…Parents are marching in an attempt to get school boards to require masks be worn…This after the idiot Republican Governor of our state Brian Kemp
He stands towering over me beside my bed Losing his head Tells me I must take him seriously Droning on the usual way He’s such a clever guy And I wonder should I laugh or cry
He’s (he’s) dressed (dressed) in the striped pajamas that I bought Trousers too short Gives (gives) me (me) of his small philosophy Carries on the way he does And me I get so tired And I wonder should I laugh or cry High and mighty his banner flies A fool’s pride in his eyes Standin’ there on his toes to grow in size (All I see is) All I see is a big balloon Halfway up to the moon He’s wrapped up in the warm and safe cocoon Of an eternal lie So should I laugh or cry
Strange (strange) how (how) dangerously indifferent I have grown Cold as a stone No (no) more (more) pain where there was pain before Far away he rambles on, I feel my throat go dry And I wonder should I laugh or cry
High and mighty his banner flies A fool’s pride in his eyes Standin’ there on his toes to grow in size (All I see is) All I see is a big balloon Halfway up to the moon He’s wrapped up in a warm and safe cocoon Of an eternal lie So should I laugh or cry
There were four separate Chess tournaments held from Jul 28-Aug 1, 2021, at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Together they were called the, Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational. There was the Grandmaster A; GM B; and the International Master A, and IM B. Each tournament consisted of ten players, some of whom paid an entry fee of $850 for a chance at obtaining a norm toward actually earning a title. I have no other details as they were not disclosed on the website.
In the top GM A tournament, IM Joshua Sheng (2453),
of the USA, scored the required 6 1/2 points by defeating, with the black pieces, FM Gauri Shankar (2369),
from India, in the last round. FM Shankar finished last managing only four draws to go with his five losses.
also of the USA, tied for first place, each with a score of 5 1/2 out of 9. From the website is does appear that FM Liang earned an IM norm with a half point to spare. In addition, NM Tianqi Wang (2336),
of the USA, appears to have qualified for an IM norm with his score of 5 out of 9.
The International Master C tournament saw NM Aydin Turgut (2275),
USA, take clear first place with a score of 7/9, which also gained him an IM norm. He did it with this heroic battle:
USA, won the IM D tournament with a score of 7/9, one half point ahead of NM Alex Kolay (2203),
USA, who missed out on earning a IM norm by 1/2 point.
When one clicks on the IM D board to be taken to the game score he is instead taken to the IM C games. I therefore had to again use the game score from the ChessBomb (What would a journalist do without the Bomb?!)
Lev Paciorkowski (2262) USA vs Ming Lu (2174)
Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 09 ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
Here is the deal…heading into the last round Lev Paciorkowski, after losing to NM Akira Nakada (2199)
in the penultimate round, could not have earned a norm with a win. After Lev played 15 Bf4 Ming Lu should have played the MOST FORCING MOVE, which was 15…Nd4. Instead, Lu played a weak, anti-positional move, 15…b4. Then Lev let go of the rope with at least one hand by playing the retrograde move16 Nb1, when moving the knight to a4 would have given him a substaintial advantage. With his last move, another lemon, Lev offered the peace pipe, which was gladly smoked by Ming Lu!
In the above game, after 1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2, I checked with the ChessBaseDataBase and was ASTOUNDED to learn Stockfish 12 @depth 52 would play 3 c3! The exclam is for my surprise, not because it is an outstanding move. Fact is, there is not one example of the move having been played in the CBDB! There are, though, four examples found at 365Chess. None of the players have a rating (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=6&n=10504&ms=e4.e6.d3.d5.c3&ns=184.108.40.206.10504). The Stockfish program 270321 shows 3 Nd2. The “new engine” does show 3 Qe2, for what it’s worth. After 3…Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 4…Be7) 5. g3 (SF 13 @depth 32 would play 5 c4, a move yet to be attempted by a human) 5…Nc6 (The most often played move but SF would play 5…Be7) 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O (By far the most often played move, and SF 260271 @depth 42 would also castle, but the same program left running until depth 49 would play 7 a4. There are only 3 examples of the move in the CBDB) 7…0-0 (SF plays 7…b5) 8. e5 (SF 13 plays this move but SF 14 prefers the seldom played 8 a4. Just sayin’…) 8…Ne8 (SF plays 8…Nd7) 9 c4 (Houdini plays the game move, but the smellyFish prefers 9 c3) 9…Nc7 10. Nc3 (Deep Fritz plays this, the most often played move, but Stockfish 11 @depth 31 plays 10 Re1; SF 13 at the same depth would play 10 b3, which is food for thought…) 10…Rb8 (SF plays this move but Komodo prefers 10…a6) 11. Rd1 (SF 12 @depth 41 plays the little played 11 Bf4) 11…b5 (Komodo plays the game move but StockFish comes up with a Theoretical Novelty with 11…b6. How about them fish?!) 12. b3 a6 13. h4 (TN)
had a poor performance in the IM D tournament. I have no idea why. I did reach out to him but have yet to receive a reply. The Grandmaster only scored 3 points in the 9 round event. He drew 6 games while losing 3. All games were against much lower rated players. GM Zapata has played solidly for many years since moving to Atlanta, Georgia, but he is no longer a spring chicken. Everyone wondered what would happen when players were once again battling over the Chessboard after a long layoff. GM Zapata lost a long game in the 3rd round (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-im-norm-d/03-Nakada_Akira-Zapata_Alonso) and followed it up with the following game which certainly helped NM Ming Lu (2174) in his attempt at gaining a norm:
Position from the Zapata v Lu game after black played 21…Ne6
What move would you make?
When attempting to teach Chess to youngsters I became known for constantly saying, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!” Sometimes it took a jackhammer, but there were times when I realized the drillin’ had worked. One of those times was when I was walking along Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the truly great thoroughfares in America, and as I neared a traffic light I heard, “Hey coach…EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” That put a huge smile on the face of the ol’ coach and made my day!
I took the time to copy some of the games from all four tournaments for your edification and/or amusement. They were copied from ChessBomb and I did not want to waste my time imputing ratings where you will find a (01). Frankly, when a player produces such excrement over the board they do not deserve to be rated as anything other than a player wearing “Maggies Drawers” I suppose.
But hey, the good thing is that you do not need a board to review most of the games that follow! I am hated by those who run the CCC&SA in the way a roach hates it when you come into a room and turn on a light. Actually, it may have been better to have used “loathed and detested” in lieu of “hated.” As far as those responsible in Charlotte are concerned, it was stated best by Grant Oen in an email to me in response to an earlier post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/04/the-serial-drawer/) when Mr. Oen wrote, “If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed.” Several? Maybe the rules need to be changed. Other tournaments have a 30 move rule in which no game can be drawn until at least 30 moves have been made. Since Charlotte has become the quick draw capital of the USA,
if not the world, maybe they should consider such a “new rule.” After all, the name of the place is the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Obviously there are those at the CCC&SA who find it acceptable to teach children to not play Chess.
Banawa, Joel (01) – Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (01)
Kasparov refuses to go gently into that good night…
lost in without getting out of the opening playing black against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
A phone call from an excited Ironman, who happened to be between online lessons, and was watching some of the “action,” gave notice that something big was happening in the world of Chess. I care nothing for blitz Chess, or anything other than what has come to be called “classical” Chess, because playing good Chess requires thought, and if you do not have time to cogitate what is the point? Nevertheless, when a former World Chess Champ losses like a beginner it makes news all around the world. I decided to wait until after having my morning cuppa coffee before checking the usual suspects, TWIC, Chessbase, Chess24, and Chessdom. Sometimes I surf on over to Chess.com and today was one of those days, which was a good thing because the first video found during a search at duckduckgo.com proclaimed erroneously that Kasparov had lost in 10 moves:
This is false. As ignominious as it sounds, Garry Kasparov actually lost after playing only 6 moves:
Below you can find all the gory details, which was located at Chess.com, including a very short loss by former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand
to a player who now resides in the Great State of Georgia, GM Alonso Zapata,
explained by the Australian GM Max Illingworth:
Garry Kasparov was born in 1963. He was eligible to play in the World Senior Championship eight years ago. I have often wondered why a player such as Kasparov, or Anatoly Karpov, has not deigned to participate in a Senior event for the good of Chess. Maybe it is time Garry consider playing in a Senior event.
In the 1983 Candidates Finals a young Garry Kasparov faced former World Chess Champion Vassily Smyslov for the right to contest a World Championship match with the then World Champ Anatoly Karpov. The fact that Smyslov made it to the final was almost beyond belief. The Chess world was astounded that someone so old could play well enough to face the young whipper-snapper, Kasparov. Granted, Smyslov was given no chance of defeating Kasparov by the pundits, but just getting to the finals was a victory of sorts. The older I have become the more amazing it seems…
I believe I have solved the confusion about the questionable Paul/Zapata game in round 9. First a correction for GM Zapata: he identified the tournament as the 2020 NC Open when, in fact, it was the 2020 Charlotte Open. The 2020 NC Open will take place in August! Now, on to the problem of the mysterious game score which is denied by GM Zapata. When I began to review the game that ChessBomb posted for Paul/Zapata game (based on the DGT board record), it bore absolutely no resemblance to the game that GM Zapata has submitted to you. It clearly is not a matter of an error in score-keeping or a DGT board mis-recording of the moves. They are completely different games.
I went back and looked at the board next to Paul/Zapata which was Grant Xu/Christopher Yoo. Lo and behold: that game also matched move for move the game that ChessBomb used for Paul/Zapata. It appears that somehow the Xu/Yoo game got pasted on top of the Paul/Zapata game, thus erasing the true game score of Paul/Zapata and moves for the Xu/Yoo game were used as the DGT record for both matches. I am copying Peter Giannatos, Grant Oen, and Anand Dommalapati who were operating the DGT boards. They can follow your link below and see the true game score as submitted by GM Zapata. Maybe they can paste it into the results, or possibly Paul/Zapata will just have to be deleted from the DGT record. I don’t know how these things work. Note to Giannatos, Oen, Dommalapati: I found the DGT board score for Paul/Zapata on Chessstream.
Then another email was received from a regular reader, an older gentleman of distinction, in which he wrote:
“I do not understand your reference to his opponent, 16 year old Justin Paul, as Zero. I am assuming this is derogatory. Is there a reason to disparage him thusly?”
Oh Boy! It was my turn to “assume” and you know what happens when one decides to “ass-u-me.” I assumed everyone would think of Time’s person of the year, Greta Thunberg,
and her replying to an older person with, “OK, Boomer.” My reply explained this and in return came this:
“Thank you for the clarification! Although I was aware of the young lady and her cause, I did not follow any of it in detail, thus missing the reference to those born in this century as “zeros.” I find most news these days not worthy of more than fleeting attention. That is why I thought calling someone a zero was a disparaging remark as I suppose it would have been 20 years ago. I appreciate your time in helping me edge toward the 21st century!!”
We Boomers obviously need all the help we can get…
This morning I opened my email and read this one first:
From: Walter High
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 18 at 9:06 PM.
I believe I have discovered where the ChessBomb game record originated. I have just played through the game as it was recorded by the DGT board that was in use. It matches the ChessBomb record of the game. If GM Zapata has a different game score, then somehow either the DGT board recording of the moves is incorrect or his scorekeeping is incorrect.
Not sure what happens with the DGT if they make a mistake and have to take back moves or change the location of pieces during the game.
I am still attempting to ascertain exactly what happened, and why, and so are other people. If anyone reading this works with ChessBomb, or knows someone, anyone, who is affiliated with ChessBomb, please inform them of this. With the above in mind, here is the actual game played in the final round sent by GM Zapata:
is a professional Chess player. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago, coming from Columbia, where he won the Colombian Chess championship eight times. He has been a GM since 1984. He was born in August 1958 and is, therefore a Senior. Alonso Zapata comes to play Chess.
He has played in all kinds of adverse conditions, including one tournament hosted by Thad Rogers
GM Zapata reminds me of IM of GM strength Boris Kogan because he, too, was a professional Chess player. The few times Boris lost in the first round of a tournament he did not withdraw but completed the event, finishing 4-1. He did this because it was his job and he always came to play Chess.
From December 27 through 29, 2019, GM Zapata played in the 49th Atlanta Open, another American Chess Promotions event. He tied for first with NM Matthew Puckett with a score of 4-1, after a second round draw with the up and coming NM Alexander Rutten and a fourth round draw with NM Sanjay Ghatti.
GM Zapata then hit the road traveling to the Charlotte Chess Center to play in the 2020 Charlotte Open, a grueling event of nine rounds played over a five day period from the first to the fifth of January. Because of his age one can question the efficacy of participating in both tournaments. Zapata played in both events because he is a professional Chess player. It is what he is and it is what he does. The GM won five games. Unfortunately, he lost four. There were no draws. He finished in the fifth score group, scoring 5-4. Zapata began with two wins before losing in the third round to the eventual winner of the tournament, IM Brandon Jacobson, young enough to be the grandchild of the GM. One of the most difficult things to do as a Chess player is to come back from a loss. Studies have proven that after the loss of a Chess game the testosterone of a male drops precipitously. This is mitigated somewhat if the next game is the next day, but if there are multiple games in the same day it is a different story. I can recall the time the Ol’ Swindler had been on a roll, winning many games in a row from the beginning of a tournament in New York, ‘back in the day’. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I encountered the Swindler sitting alone away from the tournament, and were shocked to learn he had lost the previous round and withdrawn. “What?” exclaimed the Ironman. “You still have a chance to win some big money, Neal.” That mattered not to the Swindler because he had lost and simply could not face playing another game that day, or any other, for that matter.
After another win in the next round, versus FM Rohan Talukdar, Zapata the Chess player hit the proverbial wall, losing his next three games. Most Chess players, professional or not, would have withdrawn after the third loss in a row, and no one would have blamed him for withdrawing, but Alonso Zapata is not like most Chess players. Not only did he complete the event but he finished with a flourish by winning his last two games.
My hat is off to Grandmaster Alonso Zapata, who deserves the highest praise. The GM has set a tremendous example for the younger players of Georgia to emulate. The Atlanta area players have been fortunate to have such a fine example residing here and plying his trade. The young up and coming players may not realize it now but they will be much better Chessplayers for simply having been around a man like Alonso Zapata. What a boon he has been for the local Chess community. It is wonderful to have one classy Grandmaster in the Atlanta area. Every player, no matter what age, can learn from Alonso Zapata, just as those of my generation, and younger, learned from IM Boris Kogan. The Grandmaster has shown that it is how you play that matters.
This is the last round game versus Justin Paul,
a Zero born in 2003. The Professional Chess player had to face a Smith-Morra gambit.
75. Ra8??? (The Zero cracks and tosses away the draw with this horrible blunder) 75…Kf4 76. Rf8+ Kg3 77. Re8 0-1
1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? Komodo 19 @depth 34 plays the move, but Komodo 13.02 @depth 36 prefers 4…e6. Stockfish 10 @depth 54 plays 4 d6) 5 Nf3 d6 (SF 10 plays this move but Komodo is high on e6, which happens to be the most often played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase) 6 Bc4 e6 (The most often played move and the choice of Stockfish 310519 @depth 53, but SF 10 @depth 53 and Komodo 10 @depth 34 prefer 6…a6) 7. O-O (The most often played move but the SF program running over at the ChessBomb shows a move near and dear to the AW, 7 Qe2!) 7..a6 (7…Nf6 and 7…Be7 are the top two played moves but two different SF engines prefer the third most often played move, 7…a6 8. Qe2! (SF 050519 @depth 46 plays this move but Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays 8 Bf4) 8…Be7 (The only one of the top 3 engines listed at the CBDB, Komodo 10, plays 8…b5. The SF engine at ChessBomb shows 8…Nge7 best) 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 (SF 10 plays 12 Nd5) 12…O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 (The only game with 13 Bg5 shown, Senador vs Nanjo below, shows 13…Rc8. SF 10 would play 13 Rac1)
The CCCSA Summer 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational was held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy June 6-9. There were three sections, GM; IM B; & IM C. After an overview we will focus on the IM B section for reasons which will become clear soon enough. But first I would like to mention the GM section ended in a tie between GM Karen Grigoryan, of Armenia, and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, from the USA. Grigoryan was running away with the tournament until losing to IM Kassa Korley in the penultimate round. In the last round Grigoryan lost to Ostrovskiy while still clinging to a share of the lead.
now a resident of the Great State of Georgia, ran away with the section, finishing a clear point ahead of the field with 7 1/2 points. IM Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte,
from Venezuela, was second with 6 1/2 points. They met in the seventh round:
Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte (VEN) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)
Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 07
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O (SF plays 6 b3 a move not seen since 1999, according to 365Chess. The move has appeared in only four games. There are no games at the ChessBaseDataBase with the move)
O-O 7. h3 (SF plays 7 Re1; Komodo plays 7 b3 a TN) c6 8. Re1 Ng6 (TN-SF plays 8…Na6) 9. c4 ½-½
Granted, this was the second game of the day so there must have been little thought from the GM other than to accept the gift. Zapata was born in August, 1958 and is currently sixty one years old. Aponte was born in 1996, and had the white pieces, yet did not even attempt to make a game of it against his much older rival. This reminds of the time decades ago when Ron Burnett had been paired with Sammy Reshevsky at a tournament such as the US Open, or maybe a World Open. Ron was ready for the battle, talking trash about what he was about to do to his opponent. “But Ron,” I said, “Sammy is a legend.” Ron shot back, “He ain’t nothing but an old man.” Once a player reaches a certain age he becomes the Rodney Dangerfield of Chess.
This was Aponte’s moment and what did he do? He offered a draw…Aponte has no cojones and unless he grows a pair in the near future the GM title will remain out of reach. Contrast the “game” and I use the term loosely, with Zapata’s last round game:
Tying for third place were Georgia native NM Richard Francisco,
now thirty five years of age, and his last round opponent NM Zachary Dukic,
from Canada. They both finished with 6 points; 6 1/2 were required to earn an IM norm.
In the first round Richard faced a young (birth year 1997) IM Martin Lokander, from Sweden.
NM Richard Francisco (USA) – Martin Lokander (SWE)
Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 01
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Bd7 5. Nf3 a6 (5…Nc6 SF) 6. Bd3 cxd4 (Komodo and Stockfish at the CBDB both play 6…Nc6, but the SF at ChessBomb considers 6…Qc7, a potential TN, equal to Nc6) 7. cxd4 Bb5 (SF prefers 7…Nc6)
8. O-O? (This shows a lack of understanding of the position and is the beginning of problems for Richard. Both the Fish and the Dragon would play 8 Bc2. There are many other, better, moves, such as 8 Bxb5+; 8 Nc3; and 8 Bg5, all shown at the ChessBomb) Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Nbc6 (For 10 N3c6 see Papahristoudis v Savoglou below) 11. Ne2 Rc8 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Nf4 Be7
14. g3? (This is obviously a very weak move and gives the advantage to black. There was no need to voluntarily weaken the castled position. Richard needs to read Sam Shankland’s book…Stockfish says 14 Rac1 keeps the game balanced. Unfortunately for our hero Richard, the game went downhill from here. This is my last comment on the game, which can be found here, along with input from Stockfish, albeit with little time to “cogitate.” https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-charlotte-summer-invitational-im/01-Francisco_Richard-Lokander_Martin)
It must have been devastating to lose, especially with the white pieces, in the very forst round when one needs 6 1/2 points to earn an IM norm. To make matters worse, Richard had to face the only GM in the tournament in the second round.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 (Not the best move in the position. Stockfish 10 at depth 49 would play 6 a3, a move which does not appear at the ChessBaseDataBase. SF 080219 at depth 46 plays 6 Be3, the most often played move, while SF 9 at depth 38 plays the second most often played move, 6 Be2) 6…a6 7 Nxc6 (The most often played move, but Komodo would play 7 Be2) 7…Qxc6 (Although the most often played move, SF 10 would play 7…bxc6) 8. Bd3 d6 (SF plays 8…b5, by far the most often played move) 9. a4 (SF 10 simply castles) 9…Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 (SF & Komodo prefer 11 Be3) 11…Qc7 (SF would castle) 12. Qe2 (Unfortunately, Qe2 is not always the best move. SF would play 12 a5) 12…O-O (SF 10 would play 12…b6) 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 (Komodo plays 16 Be3)
exf5 17. Bf4 SF plays 17 Ng3) Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 (SF shows 19…Nc4 best) 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 (SF prefers 22…Ne5) 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 (SF plays 24 Qg4) 24…Rfe8 (SF would play 24…Ne5)
25. Qf3 Rxd4 25 f6 SF) 26. cxd4 Qd7 (Houdini plays the “in your face” 26…Qf4) 27. h4 Nf8 (SF plays 27…Qe6) 28. d5 (28 h5 SF) f6 29. h5 Re5 (The Fish would rip off the pawn with 29…Qxa4) 30. d6 (The Dragon would play 30 b3) 30…Kh8 (Komodo would play 30…Qe6) 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 (SF considers 32 Ne3 a much better move) 32…Qxd6 33. Qxb7 (Stockfish 10 would play 33 Ne4. The Fish at DaBomb would play 33 Qxf6) Re7 34. Qa8 (Komodo prefers 34 Ne4) Rf7 (SF 10 likes this move) 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 (Both the Fish and the Dragon prefer 36 b4) 36…Qg5 (36…Qe2 Komodo) 37. Qe8 (Both the Fish and the Dragon would take the pawn with 37 Qxa6) 37…Qxh6+ (37…Qh4+) 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5
Richard bested CM Abhimanyu Mishra with the black pieces in round 3 and FM Sahil Sinha with the white pieces in the fourth round before holding the draw with the black pieces against FM Seth Homa in the following round. He drew with the white pieces with the aforementioned Aponte in the first game played Saturday, June 8 before winning with black against FM Nikhil Kumar in the second Saturday game. This put Richard in the postition of needing to win both games the following day, Sunday.
Now it was time for the final round, a game Mr. Francisco needed to win to obtain an IM norm. His opponent was a Canadian NM, born in 1997, the lowest rated player in the event, who was having a very good tournament. Like Richard the Canuck also had 5 1/2 points and needed a win to garner the coveted IM norm.
During research for this post the following comment by Mr. Dukic was found:
“Well guys I almost got the norm. I needed a 2450 performance but since I drew my last game I only managed 2437.
I had 4.5/7 going into the final day and I would need 2/2 to secure the norm, including winning a game with black against a Swedish International Master. I managed to win this, so I only needed to win with white in the last round to secure the norm. If my opponent were to win, then he would win the norm. If we drew, nobody would get it. It was truly the money game!
It came down to a king and pawn endgame (see below) where I was one tempo short of victory. It resembles the endgame in Searching for Bobby Fischer except for one key detail: black’s pawn on c6 prevents my queen from controlling his queening square 😥
For those of you who followed along, hope you enjoyed it!”
I spent much time following the games from Charlotte via the internet, when it was up. The service received from AT&T leaves much to be desired. Frankly, having AT&T is like living in a third world country, with constant outages. The internet is frequently down and when down, stays down for many hours. Nevertheless, I persevered, while either muttering expletives, or screaming things like, “That blankety blank AT&T!!!”
One of the best things about viewing the games was they were given at ChessStream (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Default.aspx) sans annotations so I could think for myself before heading over to the ChessBomb to learn what Stockfish, with little time and depth, had to say about the move and/or position.