The Rest Of The Story

Kudos to Walter High for finding the answer to this conundrum!

From: Walter High

Walter High with his organiser ‘hat’ on | Photo: Davide Nastasio

To: Michael Bacon

Jan 19 at 9:14 PM

Hello Michael,

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.

Walter High

Boomer 1 Zero 0

The title of this post was considered, but rejected,  for use with the previous post. After posting I sent an email to the subject of the post, GM Alsonso Zapata. His reply shocked me:

From: Alonso Zapata
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 17 at 8:15 PM

Dear Michael Bacon.

Thanks for your kind article! Although my game against Justin Paul is wrong – at the NC Open in Charlotte-. You will find attached (in ChessBase format) the real game I played.

Warm regards,

Alonso Zapata

WHAT?! I took the game from the ChessBomb, usually a reliable source of Chess games. (

How could this happen?

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:

Paul v Zapata

2020 NC Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 Rf6 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.cxb5 b6 25. Bc4+ Kh8 26. Bd5 Rb8 27.Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4 axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.Rc8 Nd4 40. Bd5 Rd7 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5 45. Rf8 e3+ 46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

This is how it looks in Chessbase form:

[Event “2020 NC Open”]
[Site “Charlotte”]
[Date “2020.01.05”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Paul, Justin “]
[Black “Zapata, Alonso”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B21”]
[Annotator “Zapata,Alonso”]
[PlyCount “92”]
[EventDate “2020.??.??”]
[EventCountry “USA”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.
Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 (
14… Nc5 15. Rfd1 Be5 16. b3 e6 17. Bd4 Qb6 18. Kh1 Rfd8 19. a3 Qc7 20. b4
axb4 21. axb4 Na4 22. Bxe5 dxe5 23. Qe3 Nxc3 24. Qxc3 Ra2 25. Bf1 Rxd1 26. Rxd1
b6 27. Qd3 Ba4 28. Qd8+ Qxd8 29. Rxd8+ Kg7 30. Ra8 Kf6 31. Kg1 Bb3 32. Rxa2
Bxa2 33. Kf2 Bb3 34. Ke3 Ke7 35. Kd2 Kd6 36. h4 {1/2-1/2 (36) Sumets,A (2568)
-Vorobiov,E (2547) Nova Gorica 2018}) 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 $2 $146 (16…
Re8 17. Rc2 e5 18. Rd1 Bf8 19. Nd5 Bg7 20. Bg5 f6 21. Be3 Ne6 22. Nb6 Rb8 23.
Qxd6 Qxd6 24. Rxd6 f5 25. c5 Nd4 26. Rd2 fxe4 27. fxe4 Bf8 28. Bc4+ Kh8 29.
R2xd4 Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Bxe4 31. Bg5 h5 32. Bf6+ Kh7 33. Rd7+ Kh6 34. h4 g5 35.
Bxg5+ Kg6 36. Bf7+ Kf5 37. Bxe8 Rxe8 38. Nc4 {1-0 (38) Larrea,M (2274)
-Saralegui Cassan,M (2111) Montevideo 2017}) (16… Qa5 17. Kh1 (17. b4 axb3
18. axb3 Qa3 $11) 17… Rfe8 $11) 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 (19…
e6 20. Nf4 e5 21. Nd5 (21. Nh5 f4 22. Bxc5 (22. Bf2 Bh8 23. Rbd1 Rd7 (23… Qg5
24. Ng3 Rd7 $11)) 22… dxc5 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Nxg7 Rxg7 25. Rbd1 Re8 $11) (
21. Bxc5 dxc5 22. Nd5 Qh4 $132) 21… e4 $132 22. f4 Qf8 23. Red1 $14) 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 (21. Ne7+ Rxe7 22. Qxd6 Ree8 23. Qxc5 Qxc5 24. Bxc5 e4 25. fxe4
Bxe4 26. b4 axb3 27. axb3 Bc3 28. Re3 Be5 $14) 21… Rf6 $2 (21… a3 $1 22. b3
e4 23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Qxa5 Rxa5 25. b4 Bc3 26. bxa5 exf3 27. gxf3 Bxa5 28. Rxd6
Bxe1 29. Rd8+ Kg7 30. Bxc5 Rf5 31. Bd4+ Kf7 $11) 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.
cxb5 b6 (24… Rc8) (24… Bh6 25. Bxh6 Rxh6 26. Red1 Rd8 27. Rd5 $16) 25. Bc4+
Kh8 26. Bd5 (26. Bxc5 dxc5 (26… bxc5 27. Red1 Bf8 28. Rd3 $16)) 26… Rb8 27.
Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4
axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.
Rc8 Nd4 (39… e4) 40. Bd5 Rd7 (40… e4 41. Rb8 e3 42. Rxb6+ Kg5 43. Ke1 Nc2+
44. Ke2 Nd4+ 45. Ke1 Re5 $14) 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5
45. Rf8 (45. Be2+ Kh6 46. Rb8 e3+ 47. Kf1 Kg5 48. Rg8+ Kf6 49. Rf8+ Ke5 50.
Re8+ Kd6 51. Re4 Kc5 52. Rxf4 Ra7 53. b4+ Kd5 54. Bf3+ Kc4 $19) 45… e3+ $19
46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

That is…











GM Alonso Zapata: Professional Chess Player

Grandmaster Alonso 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

of American Chess Promotions that has become known as one of the latest “Sweat Box Opens.” There was no air conditioning and the conditions were life threatening, but Zapata played, and won the tournament despite the heat and stench emanating from the profusely perspiring players. (

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.

2020 Charlotte Open

FM (2249) Justin Paul vs GM Alonso Zapata (2535)

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O a6 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 14. Rac1 Rc8

15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nb8 17. b4 Nbd7 18. Be3 Ne4 19. Nd2 Nxd2 20. Qxd2 f5 21. f4 Bf6 22. Bb3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 exf4 24. Bxf4 Be5 25. Bg5 Qb6+ 26. Kh1

h6? (26…Nf6) 27. Be3 Qd8 28. Bc2 Qh4 29. Rf1 Qg3 30. Bg1 f4 31. Rf3 Qg5 32. Qd3 Nf6 33. Bf2 Qh5 34. Qf5 Kh8 35. Be1 Qxf5 36. Bxf5 g5 37. Rb3 b5 38. Be6 Ne8 39. Bc8 Nc7 40. Bb7 Kg7 41. Bf2 Re8 42. Kg1 Kf6 43. Rb1 Re7 44. Bb6 Ne6 45. Bxa6 Bd4+ 46. Kf1 Bxb6 47. dxe6 Ra7 48. Bxb5 Rxa2 49. Be2 Rc2 50. Bf3 Kxe6 51. b5 Kd7 52. Bc6+ Kc7 53. Re1 Rf2+ 54. Kg1

54…Be3? (54…d5! )55. Kh2 Rd2 56. Bf3 Kb6 57. Re2 Rd4 58. Rb2 d5 59. h4 Rd3 60. hxg5 hxg5 61. Ra2

61…Bc5? (61…d4) 62. Ra8 Kc7 63. Rg8 Be7 64. Rg7 Kd6 65. b6 Rb3 66. Bxd5=

Kxd5 67. Rxe7 Rxb6 68. Rg7 Rh6+ 69. Kg1 Rh5 70. g4 Rh3 71. Rxg5+ Ke4 72. Ra5 Rb3 73. Kf2 Rb2+ 74. Kf1 f3

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)

Emmanuel Senador (2380) vs Ryosuke Nanjo (2165)

Kuala Lumpur op 4th 2007

ECO: B21 Sicilian, Smith-Morra gambit, 2…cxd4 3.c3

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.Rd1 Bd7 10.Bf4 e5 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 O-O 13.Bg5 Rc8 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 Be6 16.Rac1 Bg5 17.Rc3 Bh6 18.a3 b5 19.Ba2 Ne7 20.Rxc8 Bxc8 21.Nc3 Qb6 22.Qd3 Nc6 23.Nd5 Qb8 24.g4 g6 25.Nf6+ Kh8 26.g5 Bg7 27.Qxd6 Qa8 28.Bd5 Bb7 29.Nd7 Rd8 30.Bxc6 Bxc6 31.Nfxe5 Bxd7 32.Nxf7+ Kg8 33.Nxd8 Qxd8 34.Qxd7 Qxg5+ 35.Kh1 Bxb2 36.Qe8+ Kg7 37.Rd7+ Kh6 38.Qf8+ 1-0

Richard Francisco’s Quest for the Elusive IM Norm at the Summer 2019 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational

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.

In the IM C section GM Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano, from Texas, shared first place with NM Aydin Turgut of Indiana. Full standings can be found @

GM Alonso Zapata,

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:

Alex Kolay (USA)

vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Nbd7 7. Bg5 e5 8. d5 a5 9. g4 Nc5 10. Nd2 c6 11. Be2 Bd7 12. Rg1 a4 13. b4 axb3 14. axb3 Qb6 15. Rb1 Qb4 16. Qc2 Ra3 17. Kf1 Rfa8 18. Kg2 Na6 19. Qb2 Nc7 20. Be3 Nfe8 21. f3 R3a5 22. Ra1 Rxa1 23. Rxa1 Rxa1 24. Qxa1 Bf6 25. Qb2 c5 26. Na2 Qa5 27. b4 cxb4 28. Nxb4 Bd8 29. Nd3 b5 30. c5 f6 31. g5 Qa8 32. cxd6 Nxd6 33. Nc5 Be8 34. f4 Nf7 35. fxe5 fxe5 36. d6 Nxd6 37. Qxe5 Nf7 38. Qg3 Qc6 39. Ndb3 Qd6 40. Bf4 Qe7 41. h4 Ne6 42. Nxe6 Qxe6 43. Qd3 Bb6 44. Nd4 Qe7 45. Be3 b4 46. Nc2 Bc7 47. Nd4 Qe5 48. Nf3 Qe6 49. Nd2 Bd7 50. Bf2 Ne5 51. Qc2 Qh3+ 52. Kg1 Bd6 53. Qa2+ Kf8 54. Qd5 Nf7 55. Nf3 Qe6 56. Qa8+ Qe8 57. Qxe8+ Kxe8 58. Bc4 Bc6 59. Nd2 Ne5 60. Bg8 Kf8 61. Bb3 Bb5 62. Kg2 Nd3 63. Kf3 Nxf2 64. Kxf2 Bf4 65. Nf3 Bc6 66. Nd4 Bd7 67. Kf3 Bd2 68. Nc2 Bc3 69. Ke3 Bg4 70. Nd4 Be1 71. Nc6 Bxh4 72. Kf4 Be2 73. Nxb4 Be1 74. Nd5 Bd2+ 75. Ne3 Kg7 76. e5 Bd3 77. Kf3 Bc3 78. e6 Bb5 79. Nd5 Be5 80. Nb6 Bd6 81. Ke4 Be7 82. Kf4 Bd6+ 83. Ke4 Kf8 84. Nd7+ Bxd7 ½-½

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.”

g5 15. Ne2 f6 16. g4 Nh6 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. h4 Nxg4 19. hxg5 Bg7 20. Nf4 O-O 21. Nxe6 Qd6 22. Nxf8 Rxf8 23. Ne5 Ngxe5 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Qg3 Nf3+ 26. Kg2 Qxg3+ 27. fxg3 Nxd2 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Rd1 Nc4 30. Kf3 d4 31. b3 Nd6 32. Rc1 Kf7 33. Rc7+ Kg6 34. Kf4 h6 35. gxh6 Bxh6+ 36. Kf3 Kf6 37. Ke2 Be3 38. Kd3 Kf5 39. a4 Bf2 40. Rg7 a5 41. Rg8 Nf7 42. g4+ Kf6 43. Rb8 Ne5+ 44. Ke2 Bh4 45. Rxb7 d3+ 46. Kd1 Nxg4 47. Rd7 Nf2+ 48. Kd2 Bg5+ 49. Ke1 Be3 50. Rd5 Ke6 51. Rd8 Ke5 52. Rd7 Ke4 53. Rd8 Bc5 54. Re8+ Kf3 55. Rb8 Ne4 56. Kd1 Bb4 57. Rd8 Ke3 58. Re8 Kd4 59. Kc1 Nf2 0-1

Anastasios Papahristoudis (2111) vs Nikolaos Savoglou (1890)

Ambelokipi op 75th 01/17/2007

C02 French, advance variation
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Bd7 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bb5 8.O-O Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Ne7 10.Nc3 Nec6 11.a3 Nd7 12.Bf4 Be7 13.Rac1 Nb6 14.b4 O-O 15.Nd2 Qd7 16.Be3 f6 17.f4 fxe5 18.fxe5 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Rf8 20.Rxf8+ Bxf8 21.Nf3 Be7 22.h4 Nc4 23.Bc1 b5 24.Ne2 Qe8 25.Nf4 Qf7 26.g4 g6 27.Nh3 Nd8 28.Bg5 Kg7 29.Kg2 h6 30.Bxe7 Qxe7 31.Nf4 Qf7 32.Kg3 Nc6 ½-½

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.

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 02

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 a6 7. Nxc6 Qxc6 8. Bd3 d6 9. a4 Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 exf5 17. Bf4 Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 Rfe8 25. Qf3 Rxd4 26. cxd4 Qd7 27. h4 Nf8 28. d5 f6 29. h5 Re5 30. d6 Kh8 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 Qxd6 33. Qxb7 Re7 34. Qa8 Rf7 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 Qg5 37. Qe8 Qxh6+ 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5 40. b4 Qh6 41. Qe8 Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½

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

40. b4? (40 g4! SF) Qh6 41. Qe8 (41 Qd4 or Qb6) Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½
The game can be found at ChessBomb:

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.

Richard Francisco (USA) – Alex Kolay (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 08

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. a3 f6 7. Bd3 Qc7 8. O-O O-O-O 9. Re1 c4 10. Bc2 fxe5 11. dxe5 Bc5 12. Nbd2 Nge7 13. b4 cxb3 14. Nxb3 Bb6 15. a4 Na5 16. Nxa5 Bxa5 17. Ba3 Be8 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Qf3 Bg6 20. Bxg6 hxg6 21. Rab1 Bb6 22. Bd6 Nc6 23. Qg4 Rde8 24. h3 g5 25. Qxg5 Bd8 26. Qe3 Na5 27. Rb5 b6 28. Reb1 Nb7 29. Ba3 Be7 30. Bxe7 Rxe7 31. a5 Nxa5 32. Rxa5 bxa5 33. Qd3 Kc7 34. Qa6 Qc8 35. Qd6# 1-0

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.

Zachary Dukic (CAN) – Richard Francisco (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Bb3 Re8 (SF 8…d6) 9. Nxc6 (9 f3 SF) dxc6 10. Qxd8 Rxd8 11. a4 Ng4 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Re8 (13…Bxc3+ was played in Simacek v Zwardon below) 14. Ba3 Bxc3+ 15. bxc3 Rxe4+ 16. Kf1 Bf5 17. h3 Nf6 18. f3 Ree8 19. Kf2 Nd5 20. g4 Be6 21. c4 Nb6 22. Rhe1 a5 23. Bc5 Nd7 24. Be3 Kh7 25. c5 Bxb3 26. cxb3 Nf6 27. Bd2 Rxe1 28. Rxe1 Nd5 29. h4 Kg7 30. f4 f5 31. gxf5 gxf5 32. Re6 Kf7 33. Rd6 Nf6 34. Ke3 Re8+ 35. Kd3 Ne4 36. Rd4 Nxc5+ 37. Kc4 b6 38. Bxa5 Nxb3 39. Kxb3 bxa5

40. Kc4? (This move gave Richard the opportunity for which he was hoping. 40. h5 and it’s about an even game)

40…Re4? (SF at the Bomb has 40…Kg6 best and gives the following variation to prove it: (40… Kg6 41. Rd6+ Kh5 42. Rxc6 Re4+ 43. Kb5 Rxf4 44. Rf6 Rf1 45. Kxa5 f4 46. Kb5 f3 47. Kc4 Kxh4 48. Rxh6+ Kg5 49. Rh8 Ra1 50. Kb5 Rb1+ 51. Kc5 f2 52. Rf8 f1=Q 53. Rxf1 Rxf1 54. a5 Kf6 55. a6) 41. Rxe4 fxe4 42. Kd4 Kf6 43. Kxe4 h5 44. Kd4 Kf5 45. Kc5 Kg4 46. f5 Kxf5 47. Kb6 Kg4 48. Kxa5 Kxh4 49. Kb6 ½-½

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 ( 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.

Deepak Aaron Wins Georgia Chess Championship

I went to the official website of the Georgia Chess Association ( to read about the recently completed Georgia State Chess Championship and found this:

The 2019 State Champions have been crowned. Congratulations to all the participants and the winners! “State Champions” was in red so I clicked on and was directed to Facebook, or as I prefer to think of it, “F—book.” Why should I have to go to F—book to read what should be contained at the website of the GCA? F—book is a reprehensible organization, having helped facilitate the Russians, for a price, to subvert the last Presidential election. F—book sells the information of We The People to the highest bidder, yet people, and organizations continue to use F—book. Why? Why is the GCA using F—book? Why would anyone in his right mind use F—book? Consider this article:
The Ugly Truth About How Facebook Uses Your Private Data

“In essence, Facebook are selling your private data to the highest bidder, even if they claim otherwise.” (

There’s ‘Little’ Privacy in Facebook’s Privacy Policy

“We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created. We also collect information about how you use our Services, such as the types of content you view or engage with or the frequency and duration of your activities.”

This is a snippet from Facebook’s privacy policy. Basically, Facebook knows everything about you. (

The following was found at F—book:

Georgia Chess Association

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 State Championship.
1st Deepak Aaron $1000 4 1/2

2nd Alonso Zapata $650 3 1/2

3rd Sanjay Ghatti & Benjamin Moon $200 3
1st/2nd U2300 Yury Barnakov & Damir Studen $325 3
1st U2100 Pradhyumna Kathapalli $350 3
2nd U2100 Harry Le, Doruk Emir & Vispy Pardiwalla $100 2 1/2

1st/2nd/3rd Miles Melvin, Joseph Franklin & William Remick Jr $525 4
4th & 1st U1850 Sreekar Bommireddy & Pranit Mishra $237.50 3 1/2
2nd U1850 Zachary Stokes, Leon Cheng, Anthony Morse, Sant Muralidharan, Calavin Jackson & Parth Shinde $33.34 3

1st Tyler Luo $800 5
2nd Rajat Ravi $450 4 1/2
3rd & 4th James Senarus, Ocean Liu, & Richard Jones $191.67 4
1st U1550 Gavin Zhou $225 3
2nd U1550 Dipti Ramnath & Andrew Spencer $100 2 1/2

1st Ramchandra Nadar $700 4 1/2
2nd/3rd/4th Alan Spektor, Andrew Downes, & Ronald Sanders II $341.67 4
1st/2nd U1250 Srihan Avirneni & Arjun Garg $212.50 3

Please send your address to if you did not pick up your check at the event.


Only eighteen players competed for the title of Georgia State Chess Champion. The USCF MSA page ( shows a total of one hundred and one players participated in all sections of the tournament.

Michael Mulford sent an email containing the results of the election.

“We were visiting Becky’s son and so I popped in for a few minutes on the way to the airport (but before the vote. I saw Fun Fong was there.”

It seems a bad penny always turns up.

The GCA Bids Farewell to Dr. Fun Fong

Thought you might be interested.
President: Scott Parker – 41
William Remick – 6

1st VP: Dave Hater – 38
Thomas Harris -11

Secretary: Michael Muzquiz – 30
Mohana Venkataraja – 17

1st Member-at-Large:
Kindeya Scott 26
Thad Rogers -17
Parnell Watkins – 4

The new GCA board:

Congratulations to the new, and returning, members of the GCA board. No matter what happens in the next few years this board will be much better than that of the last two terms because it is not possible to fall below the bottom of the barrel.

Draw Eliminates Kings from Playoffs

The Atlanta Kings season ended last night when, needing a win, they could only manage a draw with the Sharks of Miami. The Kings were eliminated from the playoffs.

Week 10: Miami Sharks (MIA 2406) vs Atlanta Kings (ATL 2405)

​Tuesday, October 28, 7:40pm

1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA 2626) – Deepak Aaron (ATL 2446) 1/2

2. ​FM Kazim Gulamali (ATL 2397) – FM Marcel Martinez (MIA 2474) 0-1

3. Federico Gonzalez (MIA 2315) – FM Daniel Gurevich (ATL 2393) 1/2

​4. Richard Francisco ​(ATL 2382) – Oscar Maldonado (MIA 2209) ​1-0

Match Tied 2-2

Becerra,Julio (2626) – Aaron,Deepak (2446) [C78]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Na3 Bg4 12.Nxb5 0-0 13.Be3 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Bg5 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qxg5 17.Bxd5 Ne7 18.Bc4 exd4 19.Nxd4 Ng6 20.Nc6 Rbe8 21.Rfe1 Nh4 22.Qd5 Qf6 23.Kh1 g6 24.f4 Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Nf5 26.g3 Ne3 27.Qe4 Ng4 28.Kg2 Qd6 29.Ne7+ Kg7 30.Nd5 Nf6 31.Nxf6 Qxf6 32.Rd1 Rd8 33.Rxd8 Qxd8 34.Bd5 c5 35.Qe5+ Qf6 36.Kf3 Qxe5 37.fxe5 f5 38.Ke2 Bc7 39.e6 Kf6 40.Kd3 Ke7 41.Kc4 Bd6 42.Kb5 h5 43.Kc4 g5 44.Kd3 h4 45.gxh4 gxh4 46.h3 Kf6 47.Kc4 Ke7 48.Kb5 Kf6 49.Kc6 Be7 50.Bc4 Bf8 51.Kd7 Be7 52.Be2 Bf8 53.Bd3 f4 54.Be2 Be7 55.Bg4 Bf8 56.Bf3 Be7 57.Bd5 Bf8 58.Bf3 Be7 59.Bd5 1/2-1/2

Gulamali,Kazim (2397) – Martinez,Marcel (2474) [D18]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.d4 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Qb3 a5 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.Rd1 Qe7 13.f3 e5 14.e4 Bg6 15.Be3 Rfd8 16.d5 Bc5 17.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 18.Kh1 h5 19.Rd3 h4 20.Rf1 Rac8 21.Qa2 Qb4 22.b3 Nh5 23.Qf2 Nf4 24.Re3 Qc5 25.g3 Nh5 26.Kg2 Qe7 27.Kh1 Rd6 28.Ree1 hxg3 29.hxg3 Bh7 30.Rg1 Qg5 31.Rg2 Rg6 32.Reg1 Qh6 33.Rh2 Qg5 34.Rh3 Rh6 35.Kh2 Rd8 36.f4 Qe7 37.f5 Qg5 38.Kg2 Nf4+ 0-1

Gonzalez,Federico (2315) – Gurevich,Daniel (2393) [B30]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Nc3 dxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxc3 9.Nxc6 Nxd1 10.Nxd8 Kxd8 11.Kxd1 Be6 12.Bd3 Bd5 13.f3 e6 14.Bf4 Rc8 15.Ke2 Kd7 16.Rhc1 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Kxd6 18.a3 h6 19.Ke3 g5 20.Rc3 Rxc3 21.bxc3 Rc8 22.Kd2 f5 23.h4 f4 24.hxg5 hxg5 25.Rh1 g4 26.Be4 gxf3 27.gxf3 Bxe4 28.fxe4 Rg8 29.Rh6 Rg2+ 30.Kd3 Rg3+ 31.Kc4 b5+ 32.Kxb5 Re3 33.e5+ Kd5 34.Kb4 f3 35.Rf6 Ke4 36.Kc4 a6 37.Rf8 Re1 38.d5 exd5+ 39.Kc5 f2 40.e6 Kd3 41.Rxf2 Rxe6 42.Kxd5 Re8 43.Rf3+ Kc2 44.c4 Rd8+ 45.Kc5 Rc8+ 46.Kb4 Rb8+ 47.Ka5 Rc8 48.Rf4 Rc6 49.Kb4 Rb6+ 50.Kc5 Rb8 51.Kd6 Kb3 52.c5 Kxa3 53.c6 a5 54.c7 Rc8 55.Kd7 Rh8 56.c8Q Rxc8 57.Kxc8 a4 58.Kb7 Kb3 59.Kb6 a3 60.Kb5 a2 61.Rf1 Kb2 62.Kb4 a1Q 63.Rf2+ Kc1 64.Rf1+ Kb2 65.Rxa1 Kxa1 1/2-1/2

Francisco,Richard (2382) – Maldonado,Oscar (2209) [B30]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg4 6.Be3 e5 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nf6 9.Nd2 Nd7 10.Qg3 Qf6 11.0-0 Qg6 12.Qh2 Be7 13.Nc4 Qe6 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 0-0 16.a4 b5 17.Ne3 c4 18.Nf5 Bf6 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.Nd4 Qe7 21.Nf5 Qe6 22.Bg5 Bxg5 23.Qxg5 Ng6 24.h4 Qd7 25.Qg4 Qa7+ 26.d4 f6 27.Kh1 Rad8 28.h5 Kf7 29.c3 Ne7 30.Qxg7+ Ke8 31.axb5 cxb5 32.Rxa6 Qb7 33.Nd6+ Rxd6 34.Rxd6 Qxe4 35.Rd8+ Kxd8 36.Qxf8+ Kd7 37.Qxf6 Qe2 38.Qf3 Qxb2 39.Qb7+ Ke8 40.Re1 Qa3 41.Qxb5+ Kf7 42.Qxc4+ Kg7 43.Qb4 Qxb4 44.cxb4 Nd5 45.b5 Kf6 46.Re5 Nb6 47.Rc5 Ke7 48.Rc6 Nd5 49.b6 Kd7 50.b7 Kxc6 51.b8Q Nb6 52.Qe5 Nd5 53.Qe6+ Kc7 54.Qxd5 Kc8 55.Qf7 Kb8 56.Qxh7 Kc8 57.Qg7 Kb8 58.h6 Ka8 59.h7 1-0

Because of the rating cap it is difficult to take the USCL seriously. Each team must have an average rating of 2400 except when, “3. Any player rated above 2600 will count as only 2600 when determining whether a lineup has a legal average; this is done to reward teams for using the strongest players in the country on their rosters.” Or when, “4. Any player rated below 2000 will count as 2000 when determining whether a lineup has a legal average; this is done to keep lineups reasonably balanced.” (

This makes no sense whatsoever. When the Kings played the St. Louis Arch Bishops GM Wesley So, the number ten player in the world, was rated 2751, yet for USCL purposes his rating was considered to be 2600. Theoretically, a team could field three 2700 players and an 1800 on last board under USCL rules. If the 2700 rated players were actually considered to be 2700, then the last board would have to be manned by a player rated 1500. This obviously greatly favors teams fortunate enough to have players rated over 2600, lessening the chance an underdog team has of making the playoffs. Like the tax laws in this country favoring the wealthy and corporations, now considered “people” under the law ( & (, USCL rules favor the teams rich in higher rated players. Unless and until the rules are changed the USCL has little credibility.

The Kings were led this season by NM Richard Francisco, who scored an amazing 7 1/2 out of 9 games. The Frisco Kid played 3 games more than any other player, and scored an astounding 4 1/2 more points than the second highest scoring player, NM Damir Studen. He also had the highest PR. If a team MVP is chosen, Mr. Francisco is the man.

1. GM Alonso Zapata 2555 – 1.0/3 (2518 PR)

2. Deepak Aaron 2446 – 1.5/5 (2309 PR)

​3. IM Carlos Perdomo 2400 – 1.5/3​ (2524 PR)

4. FM Kazim Gulamali 2397 – 0.5/4​ (2172 PR)

​5. FM Daniel Gurevich 2393 – 1.5/3 (2412 PR)

​6. Richard Francisco 2382 – 7.5/9​ (2531 PR)​

​7. Damir Studen 2372 – 3.0/6 (2439 PR)

8. Michael Corallo 2284 – 1.0/2 (2115 PR)

9. Leonardo Martinez 2266 – 2.0/3 (2395 PR)

​10. Sanjay Ghatti 2245 – 0.0/1 (1870 PR)

11. Lawrence White 2179 – 0.5/1 (2074 PR)

Get Smart: Missed it by that much

“One day you give your opponent a lesson…”

“That’s what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.” -Bobby Fischer

In the fifth round of the Ga Open, played Saturday night, Reece Thompson sat down behind the Black pieces to battle grizzled veteran IM Ronald Burnett. Both were undefeated, having won the four prior contests.

IM Ronald Burnett vs Expert Reece Thompson

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d6 3. c4 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bf4 g5 7. Bd2 Bg7 8. h3 O-O 9. Qc2 a6 10. a4 Re8 11. e4 c5 12. d5 e6 13. dxe6 fxe6 14. e5 dxe5 15. Ne4 Qc7 16. Bc3 Nxe4 17. Qxe4 Nf6 18. Qg6 Qf7 19. Qxf7 Kxf7 20. Nxe5 Ke7 21. Nd3 Bd7 22. Nxc5 Bc6 23. Nd3 e5 24. Nb4 Be4 25. f3 Bf5 26. O-O-O Kf7 27. g4 Bd7 28. a5 Ba4 29. Rd6 Rad8 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Bd3 Nd7 32. Bc2 Nc5 33. Nd5 Bc6 34. b4 Ne6 35. Be4 Nf4 36. Nxf4 Bxe4 37. fxe4 exf4 38. Bxg7 Kxg7 39. Rd1 Rxd1 40. Kxd1 Kf6 41. b5 1-0

A check of shows these players having played the position most often after the move 4…c6:
As Black
Vladimir P Malaniuk 46 games
Joerg Hickl 45 games
Alonso Zapata 28 games

This caused me to reflect upon the time Craig Thompson, the father of Reese, and I were conversing at a chess tournament when GM Alsonso Zapata appeared. The conversation ended so Craig could talk with the GM about lessons for his son. The most often played fifth move is e4, the choice of both SF and the Dragon, the program known as Komodo; it has scored 57%. The second most popular move, g3, has scored 56%. 5 Bg5 has scored 54%.

6 Bh4 has been played far more often than any other move, scoring 56%. The move chosen by IM Burnett, 6 Bf4, has only scored 44%! Stockfish gives 6…b5, a TN. After 6…g5 Houdini brings the Bishop all the way back to c1, but SF plays 7 Bd2.

Roman Chytilek (2415) vs Vladimir Sargeev (2472)

CZE Ch T1 East 2005

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. d4 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6.Bd2 e5 7. Qc2 Qc7 8. e4 g6 9. h3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Bg7 11. O-O-O O-O 12. Bf4 Ne5 13. g4 a6 14. Qd2 c5 15. Nb3 g5 16. Be3 b5 17. Qxd6 Qxd6 18. Rxd6 b4 19. Nd5 Nxe4 20. Ne7+ Kh8 21. Nxc8 Raxc8 22. Rd5 f5 23. Nxc5 f4 24. Bd4 Nxc5 25. Bxc5 Rfe8 26. b3 a5 27. Bd6 Nf7 28. Kd2 Bc3+ 29. Kd3 Rc6 30. c5 Nxd6 31. Rxd6 Rxd6+ 32. cxd6 Rd8
33. h4 Rxd6+ 34. Ke4 Kg7 35. hxg5 hxg5 36. Bc4 Kg6 37. Bd5 Rd8 38. Rd1 Kf6 39. Rh1 Kg7 40. Rd1 Re8+ 41. Kf3 Rd8 42. Ke4 Kf6 43. Rh1 Re8+ 44. Kf3 Rd8 45. Ke4 Re8+ 46. Kf3 1/2-1/2 (It looks like a three-fold repition after 45 Ke4)

The last round saw Mr. Thompson giving a lesson…

Maxwell Feng (1784) vs Expert Reece Thompson

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. e5 f6 5. Nf3 fxe5 6. dxe5 Nh6 7. h3 Nf7 8. Bf4 Be7 9. Bd3 Nb4 10. a3 Nxd3 11. cxd3 O-O 12. d4 Bd7 13. Qd2 c5 14. O-O Qb6 15. Be3 Rac8 16. Kh1 cxd4 17. Bxd4 Bc5 18. Bxc5 Rxc5 19. Rac1 Nh6 20. Nd4 Rc4 21. Nf3 Be8 22. Ne2 Rxc1 23. Qxc1 Nf5 24. Qc3 Bb5 25. Qd2 h6 26. b3 Bxe2 27. Qxe2 Qxb3 28. Ra1 Rc8 29. Ne1 Rc4 30. Qd2 Qc3 31. Qe2 Qxa1 0-1

ALicia Keys ft. John Mayer ~ Lesson Learned

St. Louis Leaves Atlanta Singing the Blues

The St. Louis Arch Bishops defeated the Atlanta Kings by a score of 3-1 in USCL action last night. Richard Francisco scored the Kings lone point with a win over FM Doug Eckert on board three. St. Louis was led by the $100,000 chess man, GM Wesley So, playing only a couple of nights after winning the Millionaire Open, who defeated GM Alonso Zapata on first board. GM Ben Finegold, with the Black pieces, defeated FM Daniel Gurevich. NM Matthew Larson also won with the Black pieces, besting the Kings NM Leo Martinez on fourth board.
Statistics on the Southeast Chess website show the Arch Bishops with an average rating of 2469, which is 69 points over the 2400 limit. How is this possible? I cannot explain this anomaly. If anyone can explain why one side is allowed to field a team 69 points over the limit, please leave a comment, or email me at:

Week 8: St. Louis Arch Bishops (STL 2469) vs Atlanta Kings (ATL 2399)
Wednesday, October 15, 8:00pm
1. GM Wesley So (STL 2751) – GM Alonso Zapata (ATL 2555) 1-0
2. FM Daniel Gurevich (ATL 2393) – GM Ben Finegold (STL 2591) 0-1
3. FM Doug Eckert (STL 2281) – Richard Francisco (ATL 2382) 0-1
4. Leo Martinez (ATL 2266) – Matthew Larson (STL 2251) 0-1
​St. Louis Wins 3-1 (

The Frisco Kid has now scored 5 1/2 out of 7 games and has a 2532 performance rating.

Eckert,Doug (2281) – Francisco,Richard (2382) [A15]
USCL Week 8 Internet Chess Club, 15.10.2014

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qd1 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Nb3 Ne4 12.Be3 Bf6 13.Nbd4 Bg4 14.Rc1 Rc8 15.Qa4 Qd7 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Bd4 c5 18.Qxd7 Bxd7 19.Bxf6 Nxf6 20.e3 Bf5 21.Rfd1 Red8 22.Ne5 c4 23.g4 Nxg4 24.Nxg4 Bxg4 25.Rxd5 Be6 26.Rxd8+ Rxd8 27.Bf1 Rc8 28.Rc3 Kf8 29.b3 cxb3 30.Rxc8+ Bxc8 31.axb3 Ke7 32.Bd3 a5 33.Bc4 f6 34.Kf1 Kd6 35.Ke2 Kc5 36.Kd3 Kb4 37.f3 g5 38.Kd4 Bh3 39.Bg8 h5 40.Ke4 Kc3 41.Bf7 h4 42.f4 g4 43.Be6 Bg2+ 44.Kf5 g3 45.hxg3 h3 0-1
The Kings are in third place in the Southern division, with a record of 3 1/2-4 1/2, two points behind the Archies, but only one point behind the Sharks of Miami. Next week the Sharks face-off with the Dallas Destiny, while the Kings battle the Rio Grande Ospreys in the penultimate round of the regular season. The finale has the Kings facing the Sharks, a match which could determine a spot in the playoffs.

Daughter Maitland – St. Louis Blues (Boardwalk Empire)

Atlanta Kings on a Roll!

The Atlanta Kings are on a roll. After crushing the Carolina Cobras 4-0 last week, this week they beat the Philadelphia Inventors 3 1/2 – 1/2 to move into a tie with the Miami Sharks, a point behind division leading St. Louis Arch Bishops. The Kings lead the Sharks by a wide margin in game points. What makes this so amazing is that the Kings are the best players in the area, with only two players rated over 2400, Deepak Aaron, 2446, and GM Alonso Zapata, 2555, who has played only one game. The Kings have had to total and average the team only once. They do not have to try to meet an imposed rating limit because most of the team is under the limit!

The question on the USCL website last week was, “Which game should win Week 6 Game of the Week?” This is how the people voted:
Francisco vs Cunningham 1-0 (45%, 37 Votes)
Huschenbeth vs So 1/2 (20%, 17 Votes)
Orlov vs Khachiyan 1-0 (14%, 12 Votes)
Esserman vs Mandizha 0-1 (12%, 10 Votes)
Kamsky vs Ivanov 1-0 (9%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 83 (

The “experts” determined the Huschenbeth vs So GOTW. Kamsky vs Ivanov was second. Orlov vs Khachiyan won bronze, while Esserman vs Mandizha took fourth. Which leaves the Frisco Kid’s game in…

5th Place: NM Richard Francisco (ATL) vs FM Robin Cunningham (CAR) 1-0

NM Francisco smashed his way to the Black King with 18. Nxd5+! helping lead Atlanta to the first sweep of the 2014 Season

Here is the People’s Choice:

Francisco,Richard (2382) – Cunningham,Robin (2268) [B12]
USCL Week 6 Internet Chess Club, 01.10.2014

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bg5 Qb6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 e6 8.Nf3 c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.0-0 Nc6 11.Nc3 a6 12.a3 Qc7 13.Rfe1 Nge7 14.b4 Ba7 15.b5 Na5 16.bxa6 bxa6 17.Bxe7 Kxe7 18.Nxd5+ exd5 19.e6 fxe6 20.Qg6 Kf8 21.Ng5 Bxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Qa7+ 23.Kg3 Rh6 24.Nxe6+ Kg8 25.Qf5 Qd7 26.Rad1 Qd6+ 27.Nf4 Qxa3+ 28.Rd3 Qb4 29.Qxd5+ Kh7 30.Re4 Qb7 31.Qf5+ Kg8 32.Rde3 Rf8 33.Re8 Rhf6 34.Rxf8+ Rxf8 35.Qxa5 Qc8 36.Qd5+ Rf7 37.Qxh5 Qb8 38.Qe5 Qb4 39.Qe8+ Rf8 40.Qe6+ 1-0

Richard leads the Kings in total points scored, 4 1/2 out of 6 games, with a performance rating of 2500!

The Kings face off with the powerful Arch Bishops this week, a team that can, and does, “stack” their line-up. Consider this headline from the USCL website ( posted on October 6, 2014, “Brian Jerauld evaluates St. Louis’s stacked lineup strategy.” The teaser begins, “It has been a long debate for many years in the USCL whether to go with a balanced or stacked lineup when trying to be successful, and the St. Louis Arch Bishops have been one of them most extreme teams recently in going with the stacked strategy.”

Clicking on sends one to the St. Louis Chess Club & Scholastic Center for an article by Brian Jerauld with this headline, “Marler on Hot Seat as Arch Bishops Look to Stop Skid.” Discension in the ranks is just what the Atlanta Kings, the league’s most “balanced” team, want to see before facing off with the St. Louis Arch Nemesis. Consider this paragraph, “Leading the list of complaints causing unrest with the manager’s performance is a Marler-designed lineup strategy of stacking the squad’s top-two boards with two uber-elite 2700+ Grandmasters. Many argue the top-heavy strategy has been tried before, and with disastrous results — though it’s a method that Marler stubbornly defends.” (

We can only hope our “no-name” squad rises to the occasion and stays on a roll!

Blues Brothers – Rawhide

US Masters: All Over But The Shouting

The grueling ordeal that is the US Masters came to an end last night with GM Bartlomiej Macieja alone in first place at +6 while winning $5000. GM Yaroslav Zherebukh in second place at +5 and took home $3000. Six players tied for third at +4. They each won $850. If you think this a tremendous disparity between first and third, the winner of the ongoing Sinquefield Cup will win $100,000. It pays to be at the top.
GM Alonso Zapata drew with Damir Studen in the last round with both finishing with a +1 score of 5-4. Damir took home $114.29 as second U2300 while the GM went home empty-handed.

Michael Corallo drew his last game with Vladimir Romankenko to also finish at +1 and also won $114.29. IM Carlos Perdomo also finished with a +1 score, but took home only $75 after his last round draw with Nicolas D Checa.

Sanjay Ghatti lost in the last round to Gabriel Petesch to finish at -1, with a score, but yet took home 266.67 for the 2nd U2100. As is often the case in tournament chess it often pays to be a lower rated player.

The Frisco Kid, Richard Francisco, showing great fighting spirit when those around him were doing the “buddy-buddy shake,” won his last round game against Sam Copeland to finish with an even score and took home that home as consolation.

Michael Corallo (2300) vs Vladimir Romankenko (2548)
USM Rd 9
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f3 Be7 10. h4 h6 11. Be3 b5 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Kb1 Qc7 14. Ne2 d5 15. e5 Nd7 16. f4 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Bxc5 18. Nd4 Bd7 19. g4 O-O-O 20. h5 Kb7 21. Bg2 Ka7 22. Rhe1 Qb6 23. Nb3 Be7 24. Rh1 Rc8 1/2-1/2

Richard Francisco (2382) vs Sam Copeland (2302)
USM Rd 9
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. d3 fxe4 5. dxe4 Nf6 6. Be3 Nxe4 7. O-O d6 8. Qd3 Bf5 9. Ng5 Nxg5 10. Qxf5 Be7 11. Bxg5 Bxg5 12. Qf3 h5 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxc6 Kf7 15. Nc3 Kg6 16. Rae1 Kh7 17. Nd5 Rc8 18. g3 Qe8 19. Qa6 c6 20. Nc3 Rc7 21. f4 Bd8 22. fxe5 dxe5 23. Qd3 Qg6 24. Rf5 Kh6 25. Rexe5 Bf6 26. Qe3 1-0

I was able to provide most of these games because I transcribed them myself, and enjoyed replaying them immensely. Unfortunately, the scoresheets for most of the last round games have not been provided on the website (
The disparity between the ratings shown is because the USCF rating is different, and usually higher, than the FIDE rating.

Shout – Otis Day & The Knights (Animal House 1978)

The Isley Brothers – Shout