The Queens Were Dancing At The Uppsala Chess Festival

After seeing the players in the GM section of the Uppsala Chess Festival I looked forward to watching the action for several reasons. First, the Tiger was participating. That would be GM Tiger Christopher Robin Hillarp-Persson,

about whom I wrote a post, not because of Chess, but because he plays the ancient oriental game of GO ( Tiger has a website ( but has not posted since May 6, 2020.

Another reason was that GM Mihail Marin

was playing. He is a prolific author and also has a website. ( The last post was May 14, 2020 and includes this picture:

Then there is the fact that the two wily old veterans were to battle players young enough to be their children, and/or grandchildren.

After being away from the board for so long recent over the board Chess tournaments have a sort of petri dish quality. The question of what kind of effect playing no Chess, or online Chess, would have on the players and the quality of the games was in the air.

The website contains many pictures. Unfortunately the only name to be found is of the photographer. From the website: The two new Swedish champions Jung Min Seo

and junior champion Ludvig Carlsson

are two of the participants in the grandmaster tournament. The will meet strong competition, among them some other players from the Swedish junior elite, such as Milton Pantzar and Isak Storme.

Tiger Hillarp is one of the most well known Swedish grandmasters and will together with Romanian GM Mihail Marin represent the experience, and in addition to the Swedish young stars, they will face the shooting stars as Plato Galperin from Ukraine and Valery Kazakovsky from Belarus.

GM Tiger Hillarp, ​​Sweden, 51 (2542)
GM Mihail Marin, Romania, 56 (2502)
IM Valerij Kazakovskij, Belarus, 21 (2499)
IM Plato Galperin, Ukraine, 18 (2490)
IM Jung Min Seo, Sweden, 19 (2453)
GM Emil Mirzoev , Ukraine, 25 (2437)
IM Milton Pantzar, Sweden, 20 (2421)
FM Isak Storme, Sweden, 20 (2397)
FM Kaan Küçüksarı, Sweden, 18 (2365)
CM Ludvig Carlsson, Sweden, 18 (2258)

The average age of the field was avg 27.6. Without the two Seniors the average age was 21.125.

The tournament organizers provided a nice perk for the players:

Posted on 9 August, 2021
Coffee free of charge

We are happy to offer free coffee throughout the tournament. The coffee is available in the lobby, next to the secretariat.

I know my friend GM Kevin Spraggett would approve! Maybe the organizers could invite Kevin next year. They would not even have to pay him an appearance fee as the free coffee would be inducement enough for the ‘not enough coffee man’!

The tournament began with much blood being spilled on the board in every round. Four of the five games in the first round were decisive, with white scoring three wins. Black won the only two decisive games in the second round. There was blood on each and every board in round three as all five games ended decisively with white again scoring the most, four, wins. Round four was a mirror image of round two, as black again scored two wins in the only games to end in victory. White won the only decisive game in the fifth round. White won two games in the sixth round with black scoring once. The seventh round saw one win for each color, and white scored the only win in the eight round. The last round sputtered to a conclusion with each and every game ending in a draw. Maybe the players had lost so much blood earlier in the tournament they were too weak to battle…

All the games can be found at Chess24 ( Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the ChessBomb, as there were myriad problems. See for yourself: (

As it turned out this game played a significant role in the tournament:

IM Platon Galperin (2490) vs GM Mihail Marin (2502)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 03
A04 Reti v Dutch

1.Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nc6 3. e4 e5 4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 6. Be2 Be7 7. c4 d6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. O-O Qe8 11. f3 exf3 12. Bxf3 Bd7 13. Re1 Qf7 14. Qa4 c5 15. Qd1 Rae8 16. Nd5 Bd8 17. Bg5 Rxe1+ 18. Qxe1 Be6 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Nxf6+ Qxf6 21. dxc5 Bxc4 22. cxd6 cxd6 23. b3 Bf7 24. Rd1 d5 25. Qa5 d4 26. Qxa7 Rd8 27. Be4 Bh5 28. Rf1 Qg5 29. Qc7 Qe3+ 30. Kh1 Re8 31. Qc4+ Kh8 32. Qc6 Kg8 33. Qd5+ Kh8 34. Qf5 1-0

1.Nf3 f5 2. d3 (SF 060621 @depth 49 plays 2 c4; SF 12 at the same depth shows 2 g3) 2…Nc6 (SF & Komodo both go with the most often played move of 2…d6) 3. e4 (Although the most often played move, SF goes with 3 d4) 3…e5 4. d4 (The number of games in which this move has been played dwarfs, by a 10-1 margin, the second most played move, and is the choice of SF 11, but SF 12 @depth 39 would play 4 Be2, a move that has seen action in only one game in the CBDB!) 4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 (SF 180621 plays 5…Qf6, a move that has only scored 49% according to the CBDB. The game move has scored 53%. You cannot go wrong if you go with the Fish!) 6. Be2 (SF 14 @depth 39 plays 6 Bc4 and it has scored at a rate of 58%, with 6 Be2 scoring only 53%. Just sayin’…) 6…Be7 (Komodo prefers 6…Bd6. There are only two games in the CBDB with that particular move. Fritz, and Deep fritz both play the most often played move, 6…Qe7) 7. c4 (This Theoretical Novelty is a New move! See below for 7 0-0)

Vilmos Balint (2288) vs (FM) Mark Lyell (2313)
Event: FSIM September 2015
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 09/12/2015
Round: 7.4
ECO: A04 Reti v Dutch

1.Nf3 f5 2.d3 Nc6 3.e4 e5 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe5 Nf6 6.Be2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.f3 d6 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Nc3 exf3 11.Bxf3 Bd7 12.d5 c5 13.b3 Qe8 14.Qd3 Ng4 15.Bb2 Ne5 16.Qe2 Nxf3+ 17.Rxf3 Rxf3 18.Qxf3 Qg6 19.Qe4 Qg5 20.Rf1 Bf6 21.Nd1 Bxb2 22.Nxb2 Re8 23.Qf3 Qe3+ 24.Qxe3 Rxe3 25.Nd3 Bb5 26.Re1 Rxe1+ 27.Nxe1 Kf7 28.Kf2 Kf6 29.Ke3 Bd7 30.a3 a5 31.Nf3 Bf5 32.c3 Bg4 33.Kf4 Bf5 34.Ng5 Bd3 35.Ne4+ Kg6 36.Ng5 Bc2 37.b4 cxb4 38.cxb4 axb4 39.axb4 Bb3 40.Ne6 c6 41.Nc7 Ba4 42.g3 Kf7 43.dxc6 Bxc6 44.b5 Bg2 45.b6 Ke7 46.Nb5 Kd7 47.Nd4 Bd5 48.Kg5 Be4 49.h4 Bd3 50.g4 Be4 51.h5 Bd3 52.Kf4 Ba6 53.Nf5 g6 54.hxg6 hxg6 55.Nd4 Kc8 56.Kg5 Bd3 57.Kf6 Kb7 58.Ke6 Kxb6 59.Kxd6 g5 60.Ke5 Bf1 ½-½

GM Emi Mirzoev (2437) vs GM Mihail Marin (2502)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 05
B20 Sicilian, Keres variation (2.Ne2)

  1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 e5 7. Na3 Nge7 8. Nc2 d5 9. d3 O-O 10. Bg5 Be6 11. b4 cxb4 12. Nxb4 Nxb4 13. cxb4 d4 14. Qa4 a6 15. Rfc1 Qd6 16. a3 Rfc8 17. Qd1 Rxc1 18. Rxc1 Rc8 19. h4 Rxc1 20. Qxc1 f6 21. Bd2 Qc6 22. f4 Qxc1+ 23. Nxc1 Nc6 24. Kf2 Bf8 25. Bf3 Bd6 26. Bd1 Kf7 27. h5 Ke7 28. hxg6 hxg6 29. Bb3 Bxb3 30. Nxb3 Ke6 31. Kf3 Be7 32. Bc1 ½-½

1.e4 c5 2. Ne2 (SF 13 @depth 69 calculates 2 Nc3 the best move. 2 Ne2 cannot be found in the CBDB. It can be found at and the following game shows that Mirzoev deviated at move 11, thereby producing a Theoretical Novelty with 11 b4)

GM Valeriy Aveskulov (2539) vs Jeff Reeve (2205)
Event: Edmonton 2nd
Site: Edmonton Date: 08/02/2007
Round: 1
ECO: B20 Sicilian, Keres variation (2.Ne2)

1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.c3 e5 7.Na3 Nge7 8.Nc2 d5 9.d3 O-O 10.Bg5 Be6 11.Qc1 Qd7 12.b3 f6 13.Be3 d4 14.cxd4 cxd4 15.Bd2 Rfc8 16.Qb2 b5 17.b4 Rc7 18.Rfb1 Rac8 19.Ne1 Nd8 20.Nc1 Nb7 21.Nb3 Bf8 22.a3 a6 23.Rc1 Rxc1 24.Nxc1 Rc7 25.f4 Nc8 26.fxe5 fxe5 27.Nf3 Bd6 28.Ng5 Nb6 29.Nxe6 Qxe6 30.Qa2 Qxa2 31.Rxa2 Na4 32.Kf1 a5 33.Nb3 Nc3 34.Ra1 axb4 35.axb4 Bxb4 36.Bh3 Kf7 37.Ra6 Bd6 38.Ke1 Na4 39.Na5 Nac5 40.Nxb7 Nxb7 41.Bg4 b4 42.Bd1 Be7 43.Bb3+ Kg7 44.Ra7 Bc5 45.Ra8 Bf8 46.Ra7 Bc5 47.Ra8 Bf8 48.Ke2 h6 49.Bd5 Bc5 50.Rg8+ Kh7 51.Re8 Be7 52.Rb8 Nd8 53.h4 g5 54.h5 Kg7 55.Bxb4 Bxb4 56.Rxb4 Nf7 57.Kf3 Nd6 58.Rb6 Rd7 59.Rb8 Re7 60.Kg4 Ne8 61.Kf5 Nd6+ 62.Kg4 Ne8 63.Rb6 Nf6+ 64.Kf5 Nd7 65.Rg6+ Kh7 66.Bg8+ Kh8 67.Be6 Nc5 68.Rxh6+ Kg7 69.Rg6+ Kh7 70.Bg8+ Kh8 71.Bc4 1-0

The following game illustrates what is wrong with Chess these daze. Take a look at the position after Galperin made his last move. Why would his 18 year old opponent agree to a draw? The only way he is going to improve is to PLAY! He will not improve his game by meekly acquiescing to a short draw. It is games like these that show why ALL TOURNAMENTS SHOULD IMPOSE A NO AGREED DRAW RULE! Take a good look at the position when the game was truncated:

IM Platon Galperin (2490) vs CM Ludvig Carlsson (2258)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 08

A40 Modern defense; after black move 2 it becomes the: B06 Robatsch (modern) defense; then after white move five it becomes the: B08 Pirc, classical system, 5.Be2

  1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Be2 Nf6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. O-O a6 7. Re1 Nc6 8. d5 Na7 9. h3 b5 10. a3 Bb7 11. Bf1 c6 12. dxc6 Nxc6 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bf4 Nh5 15. Be3 Nf6 16. Bf4 Nh5 17. Be3 Nf6 18. Bf4 ½-½
Black to move accepts draw offer

The two old-timers showed the children how to battle to a draw:

GM Mihail Marin (2502) vs GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (2542)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 08
B20 Sicilian defence

  1. e4 c5 2. d3 g6 3. f4 Bg7 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Be2 d6 6. O-O e6 7. c3 Nge7 8. Na3 f5 9. exf5 Nxf5 10. Qe1 Qd7 11. Ng5 h6 12. Ne4 h5 13. Bf3 O-O 14. Nc2 b6 15. Ng5 d5 16. Ne3 Nce7 17. Nxf5 Nxf5 18. h3 Bf6 19. g4 hxg4 20. hxg4 Nd6 21. Qh4 Qg7 22. Qg3 Nf7 23. Nxf7 Qxf7 24. Bd2 Bb7 25. Rae1 Rae8 26. Re2 Bg7 27. Qh4 Qf6 28. Qh3 Ba6 29. Bg2 Qd8 30. f5 exf5 31. Rxe8 Rxe8 32. gxf5 Bc8 33. Qf3 Bxf5 34. Qxd5+ Qxd5 35. Bxd5+ ½-½
  1. e4 c5 2. d3 g6 (SF 13 @depth 51 plays 2…Nc6) 3. f4 (SF 14 agrees) 3…Bg7 (SF & Komodo both play the most often played move of 3…Nc6. There is a reason…) 4. Nf3 Nc6 (Although Komodo plays this, the KingFish prefers 4…Nf6. The CBDB contains only two games with the move. Go figure…) 5. Be2 (SF is high on 5 c3) 5…d6 6. O-O e6 (This is the second most often played move. SF 050621 @depth 44 plays the most often played move 6…Nf6, but SF 13 @depth 52 would play 6…b5. There are only 4 examples of that move contained in the CBDB) 7. c3 (7 Na3, by transposition, did not turn out well for
    GM Bent Larsen (2660) vs Robert James Fischer (2760)
    Event: Candidates sf1
    Site: Denver Date: 07/20/1971
    Round: 6
    ECO: A02 Bird’s opening

1.f4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.e4 Bg7 4.Be2 Nc6 5.O-O d6 6.d3 e6 7.Na3 Nge7 8.c3 O-O 9.Be3 a6 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 b5 12.Nxc6 Nxc6 13.Qd2 Qc7 14.Rad1 Rd8 15.Nc2 Rb8 16.a3 Na5 17.e5 Bf8 18.b4 Nc6 19.Nd4 dxe5 20.fxe5 Nxe5 21.Bg5 Rd5 22.Qf4 Bg7 23.h4 Rb7 24.Bf6 Bxf6 25.Qxf6 Qxc3 26.h5 gxh5 27.Kh1 Ng4 28.Bxg4 hxg4 29.Qh6 Bd7 30.Rf4 f5 31.Qf6 Bc8 32.Rff1 Rf7 33.Qh6 Bb7 34.Nxe6 Qf6 35.Qe3 Re7 36.Rde1 Rd6 37.Qg5+ Qxg5 38.Nxg5 Rxe1 39.Rxe1 Bd5 40.Re8+ Kg7 0-1)

7…Nge7 (SF plays this, by far the most played move. Komodo plays 7…Nf6. There are two examples of the move at the CBDB) 8. Na3 (SF plays 8 Be3) 8…f5 (SF 8 @depth 26 plays 8…a6, a TN. Komodo @depth 31 castles)

White to move

9. exf5 (This is a TN. SF would play 9 Be3, and if you ever reach this position, so should you!)

What would GM Ben Finegold say about the following game? I was shocked, SHOCKED! to see 5 f3 has been played in 2684 games. Those players have obviously never heard of the Ben Finegold rule, which is, “Never play f3!”

Even more shocking was the Tiger response of 5…Nc6, when every Russian school boy knows 5…e5 is the move. Go figure…The other thing to be said about this game is that both players have a position in which it can be proven that “a knight on the rim is dim,” and or grim, depending…At Chess Bomb one sees that Stockfish would play 42 Ng3 with black to follow with 42…d5, and shows white with a substantial advantage of over two points in computer calculation. With that knight leaping to f5 things are looking good for the kid. Well, you know, Ludvig is only 18, and possibly playing his idol…and it’s the last round…and he has already acquiesced to one short draw with black, so what is another one? THAT IS WHY THERE SHOULD BE A NO DRAW OFFER RULE!!! Then again, from the website it appears all the kid needed was a draw to earn an IM norm…What if the players only received pay for winning a game? Just askin’…

CM Ludvig Carlsson (2258) vs GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (2542)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. f3 Nc6 6. c4 Qb6 7. Nc2 e6 8. Nc3 Be7 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Nb5 Qb8 11. Nc3 O-O 12. Qd2 b6 13. Be2 Bb7 14. O-O Ne5 15. Rfd1 Rc8 16. b3 a6 17. Nd4 h5 18. Rac1 Re8 19. Bf1 h4 20. Qf2 h3 21. gxh3 Ned7 22. Bg2 Bf8 23. Nde2 b5 24. Ng3 bxc4 25. bxc4 Rc8 26. Bf1 Rc6 27. Nce2 Qe8 28. Nd4 Rc7 29. Nb3 Rac8 30. Na5 Ba8 31. Kh1 Nc5 32. Nb3 Nfd7 33. Be2 Na4 34. Rg1 Ne5 35. Bd4 Ng6 36. Nh5 e5 37. Be3 Qe6 38. Qg3 Rxc4 39. Bxc4 Rxc4 40. Qg4 Rxc1 41. Rxc1 Qe7 ½-½

Here we have a case of two players being from the same country with one, Galperin, needing only a draw to secure a GM norm. Thing is, his opponent is a 2437 rated GRANDMASTER! Back in the day a 2400 player was considered a SENIOR MASTER! Think about it for a moment. In the US each rating group is a 200 point group. 1200 to 1399 is class D; 1400 to 1599 is class C; 1600 to 1799 is class B; 1800 to 1999 is class A; 2000 to 2199 is Expert; 2200 to 2399 is National Master. Then it gets murky…A player must have a 2500 rating to earn his Grandmaster title, which leaves only one hundred points for International Master. In that case, what is a Senior Master? There was a time when a Chess aficionado could name all the Grandmasters in the world. I have the 2021 Chess calendar and will tell you I have never heard of half the names printed on the pages. It is long past time to raise the GM bar to 2600. Frankly, the title has been so cheapened it would be better to raise the bar to 2700 and then the IM title would mean something.

What were the odds it would come to two players from the same country facing each other in a last round game with a GM title, or norm, I was unable to find which one, on the line? As my old friend Ron Sargent, ‘Lieutenant Shoulders’ in Viet Nam, was so fond of saying, “Spozed to happen.” This is a perfect example of why the the three time repetition rule must be abolished. A player repeating the same position for the third time should automatically lose the game. The less said about this ‘game’ the better.

GM Emi Mirzoev (2437) Ukraine vs IM Platon Galperin (2490) Ukraine
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. e4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Qxd4 7. Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8. Be2 Na6 9. Bd6 Qxg2 10. Qd2 Nf6 11. Bf3 Qg6 12. O-O-O e5 13. Ne2 Be6 14. Bxe5 Qf5 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. Nd4 O-O 17. Qc3 Qh6+ 18. Kb1 Qg6+ 19. Kc1 Qh6+ 20. Kb1 Qg6+ 21. Kc1 Qh6+ ½-½
Final position

2018 Women’s World Championship Game Five

GM Kevin Spraggett had this to say concerning the lack of interest in the Women’s World Championship match recently concluded:

“Witness the Women’s World Championship being played this week. Does MSM report on it? No way!” ( See also,

The fact is that the two women who played the match for the women’s crown are at least one category lower than Hou Yifan, undoubtedly the strongest woman Chess player on the planet. I was completely unfamiliar with Zhongyi Tan. It is extremely difficult to have interest in such a meaningless so-called “title match.” Still, having been an exponent of the venerable Bishop’s opening, there was interest in the one game played using the opening.

Zhongyi Tan (CHN) 2522

vs Wenjun Ju (CHN) 2571

FIDE Women’s World Championship 2018 round 05

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 a5 6. a4 Bb4+ 7. c3 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. exd5 cxd5 10. Na3 Nbd7 11. Re1 h6 12. Nb5 Bb8 13. d4 e4 14. Nd2 Nb6 15. f3 Re8 16. Bc2 Bd7 17. Rb1 exf3 18. Nxf3 Ne4 19. Ne5 Bxe5 20. dxe5 Bxb5 21. axb5 Rxe5 22. Be3 Re6 23. Bd4 Nc4 24. Bd3 Qg5 25. b3 Ncd6 26. Rb2 Rae8 27. Rbe2 Nf5 28. Bc2 Nh4 29. Qd3 Ng6 30. Be3 Qh5 31. c4 Ne5 32. Qd4 Rg6 33. Bxe4 dxe4 34. Kf1 Nf3 35. Qd7 Nxh2+ 0-1

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 (The CBDB shows this move, “The truth as it was known in those long ago days,” scoring 56%, higher than any other second move!) Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 a5 (This move has gained in popularity because Komodo has it best. Next is 5…Bb4+. The move Houey considers best, 5…Bd6, has been the most often played move, and is the only move I encountered) 6. a4 Bb4+ (This gives the white general a pleasant choice of the game move, or 7 Bd2)

7. c3 Bd6 8. O-O (All three Stockfish programs at the CBDB show 8 exd5 best, and the SF program used by ChessBomb prefers taking the pawn. The idea is to play, after 8 exd5 cxd5, 9 Bg5, a move preferred by GM Bent Larsen in the B.O.)

8…O-O ( Both the Fish and Dragon play 8…dxe4 which has not been tested in top level play)

9. exd5 (The choice of SF & Houdini, this move is a TN) cxd5

10. Na3 (The beginning of Tan’s troubles. 10. Bg5 Be6 then 11. Na3 h6 12. Bh4 Nc6 13. Nb5 Bb8 14. Re1 b6 15. Bg3 Nd7 16. h3 Kh7 17. h4 f6, a plausible line given by SF)

Nbd7 (10… h6 to prevent Bg5. Stockfish at ChessBomb gives this line, culminating in a possible perpetual 11. Nb5 Nc6 12. Be3 Bb8 13. h3 Re8 14. Bc5 Bf5 15. Be3 Be6 16. Bc5 Bf5)

11. Re1 (11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 Bb8 13. Re1 Re8 14. Nb5 g5 15. Bg3 b6 16. Bc2 Bb7 17. Nd2 Nf8 18. h3 Ng6 would leave white with a small advantage) 11…h6 (The game is even) 12. Nb5 Bb8

13. d4? (This move hands the advantage to black. I have previously mentioned on this blog the difficulties encountered in my early days learning the game with the transition from the opening to the middle-game centered around move 13. Notice in the line given by SF below the move d4 is played a couple of moves later. I set up a board when going over the game before checking with the program analysis, spending a considerable amount of time looking at the position before 13 d4? was played. Three moves stood out; 13 Be3; 13 h3; and 13 Qe2. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will not be surprised by the latter move. Thing is, I was uncertain in what order the moves should be played. The Fish shows them in this order: 13 Be3; 13 h3; and 13 Qe2. SF shows this line after 13 Qe2 b6 14. Be3 Re8 15. h3, with the three moves all being played. The best line, according to SF, is 13. Be3 Re8 14. h3 b6 15. d4 e4 16. Nd2 Bb7 17. c4 Qe7 18. Nc3 dxc4 19. Nxc4 Nd5 20. Nxd5 Bxd5 21. Bd2)

e4 14. Nd2 Nb6

15. f3? (Yet another weak move in the opening. Look at the position…white has only a rook on the king side defending the king. Although black has only a knight more on the king side, the queen and both bishops are poised to move to the open king side in the beat of a heart. Something will have to be done about the pawn dagger on e4, but white is undeveloped, with the knight on d2 clogging up the white position. 15. Nf1 is much better)

Re8 16. Bc2 Bd7 (16… Bf5)

17. Rb1? (17. Re2) exf3? (17… Nc8 is much better) 18. Nxf3 Ne4 (18… Bg4 is possible) 19. Ne5 (Although SF shows 19. Bd3 as best, after 19…f5 black is for choice) 19…Bxe5 (19… Bxb5 first, then after 20. axb5, play Bxe5)
20. dxe5 Bxb5 21. axb5 Rxe5 22. Be3 Re6 23. Bd4 (23. Qd4) Nc4 24. Bd3 Qg5 (24… Qh4 25. Re2) 25. b3 Ncd6 26. Rb2 (Why not an attacking move like 26. Be3) Rae8 27. Rbe2 Nf5 (Look at the position. Every black piece is on the king side menacing the white king, while the white queen and both bishops are on the queenside. White will not last long…)

28. Bc2 Nh4 29. Qd3 Ng6 (29… f5!) 30. Be3 (30. Qf3 is the only chance) Qh5 31. c4? (Turn out the lights, the party’s over…31. Qd4 or 31 Bd1 should have been played) Ne5 32. Qd4 Rg6 33. Bxe4 dxe4 34. Kf1 Nf3 35. Qd7 Nxh2+ 0-1

Quite frankly, this was pitifully weak opening play by Tan. Her understanding of the venerable Bishop’s opening was sorely lacking.

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2661) vs Manuel Petrosyan (2546)

18th ch-EUR Indiv 2017
Minsk 05/31/2017
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 a5 6. a4 Bb4+ 7. c3 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 dxe4 10. dxe4 Na6 11. Bc2 Nc5 12. Na3 Qe7 13. Nc4 Bc7 14. b3 Rd8 15. Qe2 b6 16. Ba3 Ba6 17. Rad1 Nfd7 18. b4 Qe6 19. bxc5 Bxc4 20. Qe3 h6 21. Nd2 1/2-1/2

Na3 did not turn out well in the next game…

Vladimir Onischuk (2608) vs Alexander Motylev (2665)

18th ch-EUR Indiv 2017
Minsk 06/07/2017
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 a5 6. a4 Bb4+ 7. c3 Bd6 8. exd5 cxd5 9. Na3 Nc6 10. Nb5 Bb8 11. Bg5 Be6 12. O-O h6 13. Bh4 O-O 14. Re1 g5 15. Bg3 Bg4 16. Qd2 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Qd7 18. Kg2 Qf5 19. h4 Ne7 20. hxg5 hxg5 21. Rh1 Ng6 22. Rae1 Rd8 23. c4 d4 24. c5 Ra6 25. Bc4 Nd5 26. Bxd5 Rxd5 27. Rh5 Rf6 28. Qe2 Rxc5 29. Reh1 Rc8 30. Na3 Rc5 31. Nc4 Bc7 32. b3 Kg7 33. R1h3 Bd6 34. Rh2 Bc7 35. Rh1 Bd6 36. Rh7+ Kf8 37. R7h5 Kg7 38. Qd1 Bc7 39. Rh7+ Kf8 40. R7h3 Rcc6 41. Rh5 Ke7 42. Qe2 Ke6 43. Re1 Rc5 44. Qd1 Kd7 45. Re4 Ne7 46. Rg4 Rg6 47. Qe2 Nc6 48. Rh8 Qe6 49. Rh7 Kc8 50. Rh8+ Kd7 51. Rh7 Rg8 52. Nd2 Rc2 53. Rh5 Bd8 54. Qd1 Rxd2 55. Qxd2 Qg6 56. b4 Qxh5 57. b5 f5 58. bxc6+ bxc6 59. Rxd4+ exd4 60. Qb2 f4 61. Qxd4+ Kc8 0-1

A. Patel (2410) v Jennifer Yu (2279)

2017 North American Ch U20

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 a5 6. a4 Bb4+ 7. c3 Bd6 8. exd5 cxd5 9. O-O O-O 10. Bg5 Be6 11. Na3 Nbd7 12. Nb5 Bb8 13. Re1 Ra6 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 h6 16. Bh4 g5 17. Bg3 Ng4 18. c4 dxc4 19. Nxc4 f5 20. Ncd6 Qf6 21. Bxe6+ Qxe6 22. d5 Qf6 23. Nxe4 Qxb2 24. d6 Qg7 25. h3 fxe4 26. hxg4 Re8 27. Rb1 Qf7 28. Qd4 Nf6 29. Rbd1 Rd8 30. f3 exf3 31. Rf1 Ne8 32. Rxf3 Qa2 33. Ra1 Qe6 34. Re1 Qa2 35. d7 Nd6 36. Bxd6 1-0

The Passive Caro-Kann

“If you play the Caro-Kann when young, what are you going to play when old?” – Bent Larsen

Federico Perez Ponsa (2553)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (2781)

Gibraltar Masters 2018

Round 3

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Rd1
d4 9. Nb1 Ne7 10. d3 c5 11. a4 Nbc6 12. Na3 O-O 13. Qg3 a6 14. Bf4 e5 15. Bd2
Rb8 16. Rf1 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. f4 Bh6 19. Qh4 Bxf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. Rxf4 Ne5
22. Raf1 N7c6 23. Qf2 b4 24. Nb1 b3 25. c4 Nb4 26. Qg3 f6 27. Kh2 Qd6 28. Na3
Nc2 29. Nb5 Qe7 30. R4f2 Ra8 31. Rb1 Ne3 32. Na3 Rf7 33. Re1 Kh8 34. Bf1 Re8
35. Nb1 f5 36. Nd2 Qc7 37. Kg1 f4 38. Qh4 Ref8 39. Be2 Qa5 40. Qg5 Qxd2 41.
Qxe5+ Kg8 42. Rb1 Qc2 43. Rbf1 Nxf1 44. Bxf1 Qc1 45. Qxc5 f3 46. g3 Qe3 47. Qd5
h5 48. h4 Kh7 49. Qg5 Ra7 50. Qc5 Ra1 51. Qe7+ Kg8 52. Qe6+ Kg7 53. Qe7+ Rf7

Does this mean Naka has grown old, at least as a Chess player? Seeing this game caused me to reflect on a post found at GM Kevin Spraggett’s website recently, Samurai Spassky. Kevin provides Spassky’s original annotations to a Caro-Kann game played in 1959: Boris Spassky vs Aaron Reshko, St.Petersburg. Also provided is a PDF of a 1969 Soviet-Life article containing Spassky’s thoughts on the Caro-Kann, which I transcribed:

“The Caro-Kann is quite popular now, but it is usually employed by passive-minded players. The main idea of this system is that Black temporarily declines a Pawn battle in the middle and strives, instead, to quickly as possible finish deploying his forces, especial the Queen’s Bishop, before the King’s Pawn move P-K3. Only after this does he launch vigorous operations in the center. The result is that Black’s position is solid, even though passive. The weakness of this system is that it offers White too much a wide a choice of possible patterns of development, which provides not only chess, but also psychological trumps.”

Former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

now an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, said, “Play main lines.” That may be good advice for top flight players, but for the rest of us, “Where is the fun in that?” I have never, ever, not once, played Bf5. After 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 I have only played 3…c5 and Qb6. Upon returning to Chess after leaving the Royal game for the more lucrative Backgammon I played mostly obscure and little known openings, such as what was called by Kazim Gulamali,

the “Caro-Kann Krusher.” 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3!

Now there is a book on the move…

There are so many multifarious opening lines, yet top players continue to trot out the same ol’, same ol’…BORING!

Kevin plays the “passive” 5…exf6 in this game, which features double doubled pawns, and a Queen sacrifice!

Daniel H. Campora (ARG)


vs Kevin Spraggett (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 06

B15 Caro Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bb3 a5 14. a4 Nb6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rad1 Re8 17. Nh4 Be4 18. f3 Bg6 19. Nxg6 hxg6

White to move

20. Qf2 Qe7 21. Rd3 Nd7 22. Bf4 Nc5 23. Re3 Ne6 24. c5

Black to move

Nxf4 25. Rxe7 Rxe7 26. Qc2 Ne2+ 27. Kg2 Nxd4 28. Qc4 Nxb3 29. Qxb3 Bxc5 30. Qc4 b6 31. Rd1 Rae8 32. Rd2 Re1 33. h4 g5 34. h5 Rg1+ 35. Kh3 Rh1+ 36. Rh2 Rhe1 37. Rd2 Rh1+ 38. Rh2 Rb1 39. Re2 Rd8 40. Qc2 Rh1+ 41. Kg2 Rg1+ 42. Kh2 Ra1 43. Kg2 Bd4 44. Qxc6 Be5 45. Qxb6 Rdd1 46. Rxe5 fxe5 47. Qb8+ Kh7 48. Qxe5 Rd2+ 49. Kg3 Rg1+ 50. Kh3 Rh1+ 51. Kg3 Rg1+ 52. Kh3 ½-½

Rea B. Hayes vs John Harold Belson

1936 Canadian Championship


B15 Caro-Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Rad1 Qc7 12. h3 Bh5 13. Bf4 Qxf4 14. Qxe7 Nb6 15. Bb3 Rae8 16. Qa3 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qd3 f5 20. Rde1 a6 21. c3 Qg5+ 22. Kh2 f4 23. Qd2 Re6 24. Rxe6 fxe6 25. Re1 Rf6 26. Re5 Qh4 27. Qe1 Kf7 28. Qe2 g5 29. Qf1 h5 30. Qg2 Rg6 31. Re1 g4 32. fxg4 hxg4 33. Rg1 b5 34. Kh1 g3 35. Qf1 Rh6 0-1

Tribute to Rea Hayes

Rea B. Hayes

October 31, 1915 – February 15, 2001

Rea Bruce Hayes was born in Weston Ontario, Canada, on October 31, 1915. His first memory of chess was when he was taught to play at age eleven by a boy in the neighborhood. When he thought his friend was being inconsistent about the rules, Rea “read the article in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica”. From that point on he was the teacher.

Rea joined the St. Clair Chess Club in Toronto and became its champion a few years later. This club later became the Canada Dairies Chess Club.

He moved to Greeneville, South Carolina in 1953 and won his first tournament at Columbia. One trophy was for being the South Carolina Open Champion, the other one was for being the highest scoring South Carolina resident. At the time, no one expected a resident to win the state tournament outright. In 1954, Rea was again the South Carolina Open Champion, but he only received one trophy this time.

While living in South Carolina, Rea tied for third with a 5-2 score in the 1953 Southern Open in Columbia. He finished in a foursome of 5.5-1.5 scores in the 1954 Southern Open in Atlanta and had to settle for fourth on tie breaks.

From South Carolina, Rea transferred to Chattanooga, TN for a two year period. Having just moved, he entered the 1955 Southern Open in Chattanooga and won the Southern Championship with a 6-1 score.

Rea lived the next 30 years of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, he organized the Parkway Chess Club and the City League, a chess team competition. He revived the city championship which had been abandoned for years, winning both the city and club championship many times. For his efforts on behalf of the club, Rea is an honorary member.

In Ohio, the annual Ohio Championship was captured outright by Rea in 1963, winning with only one draw. Several other times, he tied for first in the event. The Region V Championship was his at least once. He was instrumental in organizing the Cincinnati Open, the second annual tournament in Ohio. He was also the president of the Ohio Chess Association. Rea was twice honored by his Cincinnati club, as Chessman of the Decade (1958-1968) and again when he left Cincinnati in 1987.

Before leaving Cincinnati, Rea retired from Union Central Life where he worked as an actuary. Rea visited New Zealand in 1980-1981. Playing chess with players in the Hastings area, one of them paid him the compliment of saying that if Rea lived there, he would be the second or third player in the country.

During 1981, he traveled to Sun City West in Arizona, to take part in the 1st US Senior Open tournament. Although ranked 7th of the eight upper section players, he won top honors. He conceded only one draw, to the player ranking below him. He also won the upset prize, a nice wristwatch, for beating the favorite, Eric Marchand.

Rea’s lasting legacy is being the first US Senior Champion. The Senior trophy now rests at the US Chess Hall of Fame in Washington DC with his name engraved first on the list of champions.

He moved to Chattanooga for the second time in 1990 and became a regular player at the tournaments in and around the state of Tennessee. In 1992, he entered the 46th Annual Tennessee Open in Oak Ridge and captured State Champion honors. He had three wins and three draws.

Since his coming to Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Chess Club, Rea fulfilled the role of Chessman of the Area. He served in almost every club capacity over the years, including president and newsletter editor. All of his contributions and accomplishment have prompted the Chattanooga Chess Club to elect him Life Member and hold an annual tournament in his honor.

Scott Parker Versus Allen Priest

The USCF has a Forum. In theory, members are allowed to discuss anything Chess related. In practice, the censor will not allow anything deemed controversial, as I learned, much to my chagrin, on numerous occasions.

There are six different categories at which one can post. Under the All Things Chess category one finds a “thread” entitled,
Another Boycott Hits FIDE. This thread was started by ChessSpawn on Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am.

by ChessSpawn on Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am #321527 … -players/#

“I hope that US Chess will publicly support Nakamura’s position. Perhaps it’s time to start working to replace FIDE?”
Brian Lafferty
“If you play the Caro-Kann when you’re young, what are you going to play when you’re older.” – Bent Larsen

ChessSpawn is Brian Lafferty. One is allowed to use a quote and the Larsen quote is the one chosen by Mr. Lafferty.

I happen to know the next post is by Thomas Magar. If one goes to the USCF forum he would not know this fact. Mr. Magar is from N. Versailles, Pa. I know this because it is stated on the side of the post. One would not know where Mr. Lafferty is located because it is not stated.

by tmagchesspgh on Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:40 am #321529

“The only way to stop this form of discrimination is if all of the top players refuse to play in this type of official mock championship event. However, since there is so much money involved, I do not expect that to happen. Money trumps principle, all pun intended. There will always be players who will cross lines for money, even if it makes them international pariahs.”

The following post is by Scott Parker, former President of the Georgia Chess Association. He is originally from Wisconsin. Scott is a former Georgia Senior Champion who is now rated class A. Although his USCF page shows he has played around 300 rated games since USCF began using a computer program to keep stats in 1991, I can attest that he has played many more unrated games in the “pits,” or skittles room, at the House of Pain. Scott is not known for playing, but directing, and he has directed an unbelievable number of tournaments, devoting countless hours to Chess. One legendary player in the Atlanta area stuck Scott with the moniker, “The Sheriff,” because of his ramrod straight walk, saying, “Scott reminds me of Gary Cooper in High Noon.” Mr. Parker has never cared for the term even though it fits. Another crusty Chess personality once said, “Scott is like E.F. Hutton…when he talks, people listen.”

Postby scottrparker on Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:38 pm #321542

“It’s been time to replace this thoroughly corrupt organization for a long time. Some half hearted efforts have been made, but none of them ever gained much traction. I’m hoping that this may be a catalyst for a real alternative to emerge, but I’m not holding my breath.”

Don’t hold back, Mr. Parker, tell us how you REALLY feel!

Several other posts follow before one arrives at a post by “Allen.” It shows that “Allen” is from Louisville, Kentucky. “Allen” weighs in on everything, and “Allen” has considerable weight with which to weigh in, having posted 6703 times since Jan. 20, 2007. “Allen” is Allen Priest, who was previously on the policy board of the USCF.

by Allen on Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:16 am #321561

“This event was not announced at the recently completed FIDE Congress, nor were there bids, nor was there any review. Just like the Iranian hosting of the women’s world championship, the event was announced late and outside the normal FIDE rules for awarding events.

Agon never paid FIDE the fee for the Rapid/Blitz world championship held in Germany. The powers that be in FIDE decided they would waive that fee and not demand it to be paid. There have been calls to void the contract with Agon – most notably from Americas President Jorge Vega. But that contract is still in effect.

However, to call for US Chess to simply withdraw from FIDE is not realistic. FIDE will have a US national federation. I believe it is far better for that to be us rather than for it to be someone who perhaps likes to curry favor with FIDE and is complicit to FIDE shenanigans. There clearly have been behind the scenes maneuvering over the years to supplant US Chess within FIDE, although those efforts do not appear to have gained much traction.”

Allen Priest
National Tournament Director
Delegate from Kentucky

Allen Priest is rated only 701. THIS IS NOT A MISPRINT! Between 2003 and 2014 Mr. Priest played a total of forty-five (45!) games. I have previously written about Mr. Priest on this blog,and/or an earlier blog, the BaconLOG. I first met him at the ill-fated 2009 Kentucky Open. The lights were not working and I was one of the few who questioned starting the first round sans lights. I found him to be dictatorial and a bully. I was very small when young, and bullied, so because of that first-hand experience, I ought to know a bully when in close proximity to one. Another player, an FM from Tennessee, who gave himself the moniker, “The Nashville Strangler,” felt much the same. One never gets a chance to make another first impression. I lived in Louisville for a few years and while there learned that Mr. Priest was brought into Chess by the man called, “Mr. Kentucky Chess,” Steve Dillard, whom I have written about on this blog. ( Several Chess moms informed me that Allen came to Chess after being involved with the Boy Scouts and Soccer where he “Just wanted to run things.”

Scott Parker then replies:

by scottrparker on Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:11 pm #321564

“What is not realistic is believing that you can somehow reform FIDE from the inside. FIDE has been a corrupt organization as long as I can remember, and I’m well into my seventh decade. It’s governance structure is such that just getting rid of the top guy won’t change anything. Campomanes left, Ilyumzhinov took over, and what, exactly changed for the better? Ilyumzhinov will leave one day, possibly fairly soon, but don’t expect much to change with FIDE when that happens. It’s one thing to stay with FIDE for the nonce when they are the only game in town, as long as you’re also working to supplant them with a better organization. If you’re just going along with them because “somebody else would be worse”, then how do you differ from Vidkun Quisling?”

Someone else came between the two, posting this:

by bruce_leverett on Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:18 pm #321565

“Flag on the play — violation of Godwin’s law — penalty, you have to edit that message to not compare the present FIDE goings-on with World War II.”

Mr. Parker answers this:

by scottrparker on Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:21 pm #321571

“It’s not a violation of Godwin’s Law. It’s a confirmation of Godwin’s Law.

FIDE is an international criminal enterprise that has, at least so far, monopolized international chess. To help US players succeed internationally US Chess has to go along with them for the time being. I get that. But not to also work to supplant them with something better is to become complicit in their actions.”

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke


After several more posts by various members Mr. Priest weighs in again:

by Allen on Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:18 pm #321574

“FIDE will have a US national federation. Period. That body will be the one that is charged with looking out for US players interests. I would rather than be US Chess than Susan Polgar and friends.”

Allen Priest
National Tournament Director
Delegate from Kentucky

Let me see now…Susan Polgar was a women’s World Chess Champion. Alan Priest is rated seven OH one (that’s 701). Which one do you think knows more about Chess?

There is more, much more, and I hope you, the reader, will go to the USCF webpage and read all of this important thread, but for now I will conclude with this:

by ChessSpawn on Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:08 am #321586

“Replacing FIDE is the only alternative. FIDE can not, and will not, be reformed from within.”

by Allen on Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am #321589

“Much easier to say than to do.”

And now for the pièce de résistance:

Postby sloan on Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:03 pm #321719

“What do you expect from someone who has made a career of saying, but not doing?”

Will this be an Edward R. Murrow vs Senator Joe McCarthy moment for the good of Chess? One can only hope.

If Alan Priest had been in the old Soviet Union he would have been an “apparatchik.” He clearly prefers to work with a criminal organization from the inside. Scott Parker uses the word “complicit.” Seems I heard that word bandied about often during the sordid Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, and it will no doubt be used in conjunction with the current Special Prosecutor probe of the Trumpster. As for “working within” FIDE, let me pose this question. What if we exchange “Nazi” for “FIDE?” Can anyone argue that it would have been better to “work within” the Nazi party to engender change? Or would it have been better, historically speaking, to work toward replacing this thoroughly corrupt organization, the position taken by Mr. Parker?

All comments will be published providing they break no law and are within the commonly accepted bounds of decency.

The full thread can be found here:

Chess and Luck

Is there luck in chess? After receiving a “gift” from former World Champion Viswanathan Anand in sixth game of the current match for the championship of the world, World Champion Magnus Carlsen admitted he was “lucky.” When playing backgammon professionally decades ago some of my vanquished opponents would say, “You were lucky.” My response was invariably the same, “I had rather be lucky than good, because when I am good and lucky, I cannot be beat!”

I found this on the “Sabermetric Research” blog by Phil Birnbaum: Monday, January 14, 2013

Chess and luck

“In previous posts, I argued about how there’s luck in golf, and how there’s luck in foul shooting in basketball. But what about games of pure mental performance, like chess? Is there luck involved in chess? Can you win a chess game because you were lucky?

Yes.” ( Read the post to understand why Phil thinks there is luck involved in chess.

Later in the post Phil writes, “On an old thread ( over at Tango’s blog, someone pointed this out: if you get two chess players of exactly equal skill, it’s 100 percent a matter of luck which one wins. That’s got to be true, right?”

In #27 James writes, “I think it comes down to what is the relative difference in skill between players and the role of skill vs luck in a game.

If a game is 100% skill (say chess) and say for the sake of argument that the two players are perfectly equally skilled then who wins a single game is purely luck. Regardless of whether they are two unskilled beginners or the two best players in the world.

How do you differentiate between that and the two of them tossing a coin.”

Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov were “the two players perfectly equally skilled.” Garry was obviously not the equal of Anatoly when they first met in the ill-fated match that went on for many months, with one short draw after another after Kasparov was down 0-5, until the slight Karpov neared collapse, when Kasparov won 3 games before FIDE President Florencio Campomanes ended the match, fearing one of the players may “drop dead at the board.” From the second match on, Kasparov was ever so slightly better than the much older Karpov. We know this because they played hundreds of games in many matches for the title. Games are played to determine who is the better player, and by what margin.

Because my friend the Discman played, and has followed, baseball, and because Sabermetrics emanates from the field of dreams, I asked him to read the post and let me know what he thought of luck in chess. This is his response:

“I have a much less esoteric and simplistic example of luck in chess. This happens frequently in over-the-board tournament games where neither player is being assisted by a computer. The frequency is directly correlated to the strength of the players, occurring less frequently the stronger the players are. At my level of play when facing competition of similar strength it occurred maybe once every 20-25 games. Here goes:

I’m sure you have heard it said that chess is 98% tactics and I generally agree with that. How many times have you gone back over your games and realized that you had made a significant oversight that your opponent could have taken advantage of, but also missed?

In many cases, seeing the correct combination to punish you was well within the skill level of your opponent, but for any number of reasons (he was having a bad day, he was distracted at that moment, his biorhythm’s were off, etc.) he just missed it.

If he had been put in that same situation next Tuesday instead of today he may very well have seen it. You were lucky that he missed it – he didn’t miss it because you were a stronger player than he was.

Sometimes the oversight is so simple a 1200 player could see it, like the time Leonard Dickerson missed a mate in 1 and got checkmated by a 1500 player. There was a simple defense to the checkmate – in fact the move Leonard made allowed the mate so it was truly a Helpmate. You could put Leonard in similar situations 10,000 times and he would make a similar mistake 1 time.

Did his opponent get lucky? Hell yes he did. You might argue that the 1500 player was better than the master at that one point in time but I don’t think so – he got extremely lucky that Leonard had a brain-fart that allowed a mate in 1.”

Luck in Chess?

‘Chess,’ said the Dutch grandmaster, Jan Hein Donner, ‘is as much a game of chance as blackjack; or tossing cards into a top hat.’ There was a pained silence, then a polite babel of disagreement: it was a game of the utmost skill; a conflict between disciplined minds in which victory would inexorably go to the more perceptive, the more analytical player; a duel of the intellect in which luck played no part. Donner shrugged, lit another cigarette and said: ‘Believe that if you like.’ Bent Larsen smiled the smile of a man who had heard his friend air such iconoclastic arguments in the past but was quite happy to contest them again, when the score of the fifth game of the World Championship match between Karpov and Korchnoi was brought in. Both men pulled out of their inside pockets the wallet sets all grandmasters seem to carry at all times and began to skim through the moves.

It happened that the teleprinter tape had been torn off after Karpov’s 54th move as Black […]. They studied the position for a few moments, mated Karpov in four moves and were surprised when another whole sheet of moves was brought from the teleprinter.

When they saw Korchnoi’s 55th move – Be4+ – Larsen’s eyebrows went up.

‘There you are,’ Donner said, quietly and without triumph as though some self-evident truth had been revealed, ‘pure luck’.

KORTSCHNOJ,V (2665) – KARPOV,AN (2725) (05) [E42]

1. c4 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Nge2 d5 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Nxc3
cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nc6 10. Be3 O-O 11. O-O b6 12. Qd3 Bb7 13.
Rad1 h6 14. f3 Ne7 15. Bf2 Nfd5 16. Ba2 Nf4 17. Qd2 Nfg6 18. Bb1 Qd7
19. h4 Rfd8 20. h5 Nf8 21. Bh4 f6 22. Ne4 Nd5 23. g4 Rac8 24. Bg3 Ba6
25. Rfe1 Rc6 26. Rc1 Ne7 27. Rxc6 Qxc6 28. Ba2 Qd7 29. Nd6 Bb7 30.
Nxb7 Qxb7 31. Qe3 Kh8 32. Rc1 Nd5 33. Qe4 Qd7 34. Bb1 Qb5 35. b4 Qd7
36. Qd3 Qe7 37. Kf2 f5 38. gxf5 exf5 39. Re1 Qf6 40. Be5 Qh4+ 41. Bg3
Qf6 42. Rh1 Nh7 43. Be5 Qg5 44. Qxf5 Qd2+ 45. Kg3 Nhf6 46. Rg1 Re8
47. Be4 Ne7 48. Qh3 Rc8 49. Kh4 Rc1 50. Qg3 Rxg1 51. Qxg1 Kg8 52. Qg3
Kf7 53. Bg6+ Ke6 54. Qh3+ Kd5
55. Be4+
[55. Bf7+ Kc6 56. Qe6+ Kb7 [56… Kb5 57. Qc4+ Ka4 58. Qa6#] 57. Qxe7+
Ka8 58. Qd8+ Kb7 59. Qc7+ Ka6 [59… Ka8 60. Qb8#] 60. Bc4+ b5 61.

55… Nxe4 56. fxe4+ Kxe4 57. Qg4+ Kd3 58. Qf3+ Qe3 59. Kg4 Qxf3+ 60.
Kxf3 g6 61. Bd6 Nf5 62. Kf4 Nh4 63. Kg4 gxh5+ 64. Kxh4 Kxd4 65. Bb8
a5 66. Bd6 Kc4 67. Kxh5 a4 68. Kxh6 Kb3 69. b5 Kc4 70. Kg5 Kxb5 71.
Kf5 Ka6 72. Ke6 Ka7 73. Kd7 Kb7 74. Be7 Ka7 75. Kc7 Ka8 76. Bd6 Ka7
77. Kc8 Ka6 78. Kb8 b5 79. Bb4 Kb6 80. Kc8 Kc6 81. Kd8 Kd5 82. Ke7
Ke5 83. Kf7 Kd5 84. Kf6 Kd4 85. Ke6 Ke4 86. Bf8 Kd4 87. Kd6 Ke4 88.
Bg7 Kf4 89. Ke6 Kf3 90. Ke5 Kg4 91. Bf6 Kh5 92. Kf5 Kh6 93. Bd4 Kh7
94. Kf6 Kh6 95. Be3+ Kh5 96. Kf5 Kh4 97. Bd2 Kg3 98. Bg5 Kf3 99. Bf4
Kg2 100. Bd6 Kf3 101. Bh2 Kg2 102. Bc7 Kf3 103. Bd6 Ke3 104. Ke5 Kf3
105. Kd5 Kg4 106. Kc5 Kf5 107. Kxb5 Ke6 108. Kc6 Kf6 109. Kd7 Kg7
110. Be7 Kg8 111. Ke6 Kg7 112. Bc5 Kg8 113. Kf6 Kh7 114. Kf7 Kh8 115.
Bd4+ Kh7 116. Bb2 Kh6 117. Kg8 Kg6 118. Bg7 Kf5 119. Kf7 Kg5 120. Bb2
Kh6 121. Bc1+ Kh7 122. Bd2 Kh8 123. Bc3+ Kh7 124. Bg7 1/2-1/2

From The Master Game, Book 2, Jeremy James and William Hartston (1981). London: BBC.

Smokey Mountain Smith-Morra

Bruce Goodwin is a Chess Cat who also happens to be the President of the Smokey Mountain Chess Club (, which meets every Thursday afternoon at a wonderful place, Blue Ridge Books ( Check out this article from a local tabloid:
The Chess Cat likes the Smith-Morra Gambit. Over time I have sent Bruce a few games, and articles, via email, such as this one:
Deming – Cornell (Indiana, 1980)
1. e4 c5 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 de4 4. Ne4 Nd7 5. Qe2 Ngf6 6. Nd6#

His response was, “Thanks, dude!” This put a smile on my face and also caused me to sit back an reflect upon good times and good people, who can be found at a good place. Keep this in mind if you ever happen to be anywhere the glorious mountains of Western North Carolina. I dedicate this post to the Chess Cat, and all the men of the Dixie Chess Confederacy who meet to play the Royal game every Thursday afternoon.

FM Kazim Gulamali also likes the Smith-Morra. The motto of St. Pauli Girl beer is, “You never forget your first girl.” The SM was Kazim’s first love, and he has never forgotten it, as can be ascertained from the fact that he still plays it, as in this game:

Gulamali, Kazim (2293) vs Kanter, Eduard (2406)
16th Dubai Open 2014 04/15/2014 Rd 9
ECO: B21 Sicilian, Smith-Morra gambit

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 d3 4. c4 Nc6 5. Bxd3 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 d6 8. h3 Nf6 9. O-O Nd7 10. Qe2 Nc5 11. Rd1 O-O 12. Bc2 Bxc3 13. bxc3 Qc7 14. Bh6 Re8 15. Nd4 a6 16. f4 e5 17. Nxc6 Qxc6 18. f5 f6 19. Rd5 Qc7 20. Rad1 Rd8 21. Qf2 Qe7 (White to move. Answer at the end of article.)

While researching the opening I discovered a game by a long-time habitue of the House of Pain, Lester Bedell. It was surprising to find his highly rated opponent is also a big fan of the Smith-Morra gambit.

Alex Lenderman (2327) vs Lester B Bedell (1903)
6th Foxwoods 2004 Rd 9

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 d3 4. c4 g6 5. Bxd3 Bg7 6. Nf3 d6 7. h3 Nc6 8. O-O Nf6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Qd2 Nde5 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 (SF & Hou prefer Qa5) 13. Be2 Be6 (Nc6-Hou) 14. Nd5 Bxd5 (Nd7-Hou) 15. cxd5 b6 16. Rac1 Nd7 17. Rc6 Nc5 18. Qc2 a5 19. b3 Qb8 20. a3 f5 21. exf5 gxf5 22. b4 axb4 23. axb4 f4 24. Bxc5 bxc5 25. bxc5 dxc5 26. Qxc5 Qb2 27. Re6 Ra1 28. Qxe7 Rxf1+ 29. Bxf1 Bf6 30. Qd6 Bd4 31. Re2 Qc1 32. Qe6+ Kh8 33. Qe4 Bc5 34. Rc2 Qa3 35. Qe5+ Kg8 36. d6 Bxd6 37. Bc4+ Rf7 38. Qe8+ Kg7 39. Qxf7+ 1-0

Lester was punished for his weakening 20th move. Wondering about Lester sent me to the USCF website where I discovered he has not played since the Atlanta Winter Congress in Feburary of 2009, and that his USCF membership expired a year later. I recall receiving a message from Lester after he won a chess tournament in his home, which I wrote about on the defunct BaconLOG (

Here is another game, a blitz match on on 2/28/2007:
Nepomniashchy (2587) vs Nakamura (2651)
1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 d3 4. c4 g6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Bg7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Bxd3 Bg4 9. Be2 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Nf6 11. Be2 Rc8 12. O-O a6 13. Rc1 O-O 14. b3 Nd7 15. Nd5 e6 16. Nf4 Qe7 17. Rc2 Rfd8 18. Rd2 Nc5 19. f3 Bh6 20. Kh1 Qf8 21. Re1 e522. Nd5 Bxe3 23. Nxe3 Ne6 24. Bf1 Ncd4 25. Nd5 f5 26. exf5 gxf5 27. f4 Qg7 28. Rd3 Kh8 29. Rg3 Qf7 30. fxe5 f4 31. Rd3 dxe5 32. Rxe5 Nc6 33. Re1 Re8 34. Rd2 Ng5 35. Rxe8+ Rxe8 36. Rf2 Ne4 37. Rf3 Ne5 38. Qd4 Ng5 39. Rxf4 Qg7 40. Nf6 Nc6 41. Nxe8 Qxd4 42. Rf8# 1-0

I also discovered a blog entry devoted to the Smith-Morra, ENYCA, the blog of the Eastern New York Chess Association. The title is, “A tale of two titles: Morra gambit and the romantic school of chess,” and it was posted on August 10, 2014, by M Walter Mockler. ( He writes, “It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”
“I have spent decades rejecting the Morra gambit on the grounds of materialism, an unnecessary squandering of material in response to the Sicilian. I purchased a book by Marc Esserman, Mayhem In The Morra, to introduce a volatile option for blitz and rapid play. What I found instead was a compelling appeal by a zealot, urging a return to the true faith, romantic chess.”
From the Introduction – The Much Maligned Morra:
After 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cd 3. c3, we reach the starting position of the much maligned Morra Gambit. I must confess that this is often the moment in my chess praxis when my heart thumps most – will my opponent accept the sacrifice in the spirit of the Romantics, or will he shun the most honorable path and meekly decline? Sometimes I wait for the critical decision for many minutes as my grandmaster foe flashes me an incredulous, bordering on insulted, loo. Other times, I receive the answer almost instantaneously. Yet every time I am greeted with 3 …dc, I could not be happier. My knight freely flows to c3, the Morra accepted appears, and we travel back in time to the 19th century.”

Is that not beautiful? Kind of makes one want to play the Smith-Morra gambit, does it not? It makes me think of Ken Smith, whom I first met at the 1972 Church’s Fried Chicken tournament in San Antonio. Wiki has this to say:
“The Smith–Morra is named after Pierre Morra (1900–1969) from France, and Ken Smith (1930–1999) of the Dallas Chess Club. Hence in Europe the name Morra Gambit is preferred; names like Tartakower Gambit and Matulovic Gambit have disappeared.
Morra published a booklet and several articles about the Smith–Morra around 1950. Smith wrote a total of nine books and forty-nine articles about the gambit. When Smith participated in an international tournament against several top grandmasters in San Antonio in 1972, he essayed the opening three times, against Donald Byrne, Larry Evans, and Henrique Mecking, but lost all three games.” (

What Wiki does not say is that in the book, “San Antonio: Church’s Fried Chicken First International Chess Tournament,” GM Bent Larsen writes in the notes to the second round game between Ken and NM Mario Campos-Lopez, after 1 e4 e6, “Stronger is P-QB4, which wins a pawn (Smith always plays the Morra Gambit, in this tournament with disastrous results.)”

Kenneth R Smith (2395) vs Donald Byrne (2470)
San Antonio 1972 Rd 4

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Nge7 (“By this piece arrangement Black demonstrates ambitious intentions. He wants not only to blunt White’s usual P-K5, …but Black also wants to contest the dark squares (his K4 and KB5).”- Ken Smith in his book “Sicilian: Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted.”) 8. Bg5 a6 9. Qe2 h6 10. Bh4 (In his book, Smith criticizes this move, giving as its refutation 10… P-KN4 11 B-KN3 B-N2 12 QR-Q1 P-K4 when “the threat of 13…B-N5 is strong.” Instead he recommends 10 B-K3 N-N3 11 QR-Q1. One can only surmise that in playing the text he had in mind an improvement on the analysis in the book, but Byrne is the first to vary.) Qa5 11. Bg3 Ng6 12. Qd2 (A scandalous waste of a tempo in a variation where White’s only real compensation is his slight initiative. 12 P-Q3 was probably best.) Nge5 13. Nxe5 dxe5 14. a3 Be7 15. b4 Qd8 16. Qa2 b5 17. Bb3 O-O 18. Qb2 Bb7 19. Ne2 Bf6 20. f3 Qc7 21. Rac1 Rfd8 22. Kh1 Rd3 23. Nd4 Qd7 24. Nxc6 Bxc6 25. Rc5 Be7 26. Rcc1 Bg5 27. Rcd1 Rd8 28. h4 (“White had almost equalized, but this move is terrible. 28 P-R3 was much better.” – Browne) Bf6 29. Bxe5 Bxe5 30. Qxe5 Qe7 31. Qb2 Qxh4+ 32. Kg1 Qg5 33. Qc2 Rd2 34. Rxd2 Rxd2 0-1

Some of the notes by IM David Levy in the tournament book.

Kenneth R Smith (2395) vs Larry Melvyn Evans (2545)
San Antonio 1972 Rd 9

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 (“The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it,” so it is writ. Black can decline with 3…P-Q6, or 3…P-Q4 or 3…N-KB3, but why?) 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 a6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Bg5 e6 9. Qe2 h6 10. Bh4 (Loses the initiative. On 10 B-K3 N-KN5! [the point] 11 B-Q2 KN-K4 Black’s position is very solid anyway.) g5 11. Bg3 Nh5 12Rfd1 Nxg3 13. hxg3 g4 14. Ne1 Ne5 15. Bb3 h5 16. Nd3 Bg7 17. Nf4 h4 18. Qd2 hxg3 19. fxg3 Qb6+ 20. Kf1 Bd7 21. Rac1 Rd8 22. Ke2 Nf3 23. Qd3 Nd4+ 24. Kd2 Nxb3+ 25. axb3 Qf2+ 26. Nce2 Bb5 27. Qe3 Qxe3+ 28. Kxe3 e5 29. Nd5 Bh6+ 30. Kf2 Bxc1 31. Rxc1 Bc6 32. Nec3 Kd7 33. Nf6+ Ke6 34. Nxg4 f5 35. exf5+ Kxf5 36. Ne3+ Ke6 37. g4 d5 38. Ne2 d4 39. Nc4 Rdg8 40. Kg3 Rg5 0-1 (Notes by GM Larry Evans)

Ken’s next opponent the youngest participant in the tournament, eight months younger than future World Champion, Anatoly Karpov. Because of the similarity in age, I got to know Henrique better than the other players. He rented a car and took me along for a “drive” around San Antonio. It was one of the most harrowing rides I have ever experienced. Mecking was missing cars on my side by an inch, smiling and laughing all the while, as I cringed and moved ever to my left, away from the door. I mentioned this to Brian McCarthy on the way back from the recent scholastic tournament here in Atlanta at the downtown Hyatt and he said it reminded him of a former NM, Michael Lucas. “Yeah,” I said, “he scared the hell out of me. One time he took off a mirror and kept on driving. ” Brian, who was driving, began to laugh uproariously, saying, “That’s how he got the name “Crazy Lucas!”

Kenneth R Smith (2395) vs Henrique Mecking (2570)
San Antonio 1972 Rd 13

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 a6 7. O-O Nf6 8. a3 (What kind of move is this? Normal is 8 B-KN5) e6 9. Qe2 h6 10. Rd1 e5 11. Nd5 Be7 12. Be3 Nxd5 13. exd5 Nb8 14. Nxe5 (Totally unsound. White should have tried doubling Rooks on the QB file.) dxe5 15. f4 exf4 16. d6 fxe3 17. Qxe3 Nc6 18. Bd5 O-O 19. Bxc6 Bg5 0-1 (Notes by IM David Levy)

Bobby Fischer vs Viktor Korchnoi
Buenos Aires 1960 Rd 14

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 a6 3. d4 cxd4 4. c3 dxc3 5. Nxc3 Nc6 6. Bc4 d6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Bg5 e6 9. Qe2 Be7 10. Rfd1 Qc7 11. Rac1 O-O 12. Bb3 h6 13. Bf4 e5 14. Be3 Qd8 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 Bd7 17. Nd2 Nb4 18. Bb3 Bg5 19. Bxg5 Qxg5 20. Nf3 Bg4 21. Rc7 Qd8 22. Rxb7 Rb8 23. Rxb8 Qxb8 24. h3 Bxf3 25. Qxf3 Nc6 26. Qd3 Nd4 27. Bc4 a5 28. b3 Qb4 29. f4 Kh7 1/2-1/2

What? You were unaware Bobby played the Smith-Morra?

Answer: 22. Qxc5! 1-0