The Player of Games

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

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

White to move

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

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

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

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

Consider this position:

Position after 26…Rf8

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

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


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

Four Way Tie at the 2022 Charlotte Classic

In the last round of the recently concluded Carolinas Classic GM Daniel Naroditsky faced IM Dean Ippolito.

Both players had won three games and drawn one for a total of 3 1/2 points. They were in a must win situation because GM Elshan Moradiabadi had won his first four games and taken a half-point bye in the last round. Say what?! The dude was given a 1/2 point bye in THE LAST ROUND! Say what?! For those of you new to the Royal game, the half-point bye began many decades ago when three games, usually with a time control of 40 moves in two hours, would be taken in the third round, which was the third game to be played on Saturday. Some players would take a half-point bye in the first round, with others taking a half-point bye in the fourth round in order to attend church. As the Legendary Ironman of Georgia Chess so eloquently put it once, “When I’m sitting at the board on Sunday morning I am in my church.” The excretory awarding of a half-point bye for not playing the last round game is abhorrent and should never, ever have been allowed. The awarding of a free half-point bye in the last round blasphemes Caissa and should be abolished. If a player cannot, or will not play in the final round for any reason he should be given the result he deserves, a ZERO! The games are played earlier in the tournament to arrive at the final round. It is, obviously, the most important round of the event. The awarding of a half-point for not playing the last round should never have been allowed, and it being allowed speaks volumes about those in charge of Chess these daze…

GM Naroditsky defeated IM Dean Ippolito easily when the latter played like a complete beginner by bringing out his Queen early in the game, then later retreated the Lady for no reason, and it was all over but the shouting after that ill-fated move.

Daniel Naroditsky vs Dean Ippolito
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 Qf6 15.Nb5 Qa6 16.d5 Bxb5 17.axb5 Qxb5 18.Rxa7 g5 19.d6 Kd7 20.Qd5 1-0

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 (Although Stockfish 14.1 plays this move, SF 15 will play the most often played move, 3 Nxe5) 3…Nxe4 4.Bd3 (The most often played move, and the choice of SF 14.1, @depth 55, but SF 150007 @depth 55 will play 4 Nxe5, expecting 4…d5 5 Bd3. Then again, at the same depth SF 150007, the James Bond of programs, also shows 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5) 4…d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 (SF 14 @depth 53 will play 7…Bd6, by far the most often played move, but SF 280322 will play 7…Be7, a move that has appeared in only 127 games while holding white to 62% versus 2462 opposition. In 817 games 7…Bd6 has held white to 57% against 2465 opposition. In 291 games against 2409 opposition the move played in the game, 7…Qh4 has allowed a theoretical opponent rated 2409 to score 70% in 291 games. This was the last round game and IM Dean Ippolito was rated 240 points below GM Naroditsky, rated 2695, so maybe the lower rated IM felt he needed to pull a rabbit out of his whatever, but how could any Chess player with any four digit rating advocate any player in his right mind play a move like 7…Qh4?

Position after Ippolito leads with his chin, err, Queen

Imagine you were giving a young student a lesson when they suggested a move like 7…Qh4? How would you respond? That is exactly my point. I knew, you knew, and GM Naroditsky knew IM Ippolito was going down after bring out the Queen that early. What? You think you are going to trick a player about to enter the elite world of 2700 rated Grandmasters by playing a second rate Chess move? Dude shoulda played a solid, “seemple” move, as IM Boris Kogan was so fond of saying, like 7…Bd6, and maybe have a shot at drawing the game. The move is so ridiculous that a Chess teacher would excoriate a student unmercifully for playing such a poor move. I lost interest in the game after seeing this move, and you have probably lost interest in this post…and I do not blame you!) 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 (The most often played move has been g5, with 151 games showing at the ChessBaseDataBase, against which white has scored 67%. In the 53 games with 9…g6 having been played white has scored 75%) 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 (The CBDB contains 23 games with 11 g3; 15 with 11 Ne2; 6 with 11 Be2; and only 2 with the move played in the game, 11 Bxe4, but it is the choice of SF 14.1. 365Chess does not contain the move considered best by Stockfish) 11…dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 (This is a TN. One game has been played with 13…h6 having been attempted. SF 14.1 will, given the chance, play a TN of its own with 13…Bc6)
I usually stop here but let us continue a few moves further on up the road…the game continued with 14.a4 before IM Ippolito played a horrible move, retreating his Queen with 14…Qf6?

Position after Ippolito retreated his Queen from h4 to f6 for no reason

The game, for all intents and purposes, was over when Ippo removed his grip from the Queen. The comment at is, “Blunder. 14…a6 was best.” The it shows 14…a6 15.Nd5. But here’s the deal…There is an arrow in the position showing the Rook moving from h8 to f8, and a line beginning with 14…Rhf8 15 g3 Qh5, etc. So which is it, Lichess, 14…a6 or 14…Rhf8? Inquiring minds want to know the TRUTH, as it was known in those long ago days… Where have I heard that before?…–championship-section/round-5/E2tBybjJ

Heinz Offenborn 2098 (GER) vs Bernd Bachmann 2030 (GER)
GER T224-C43-S email 2015
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 c6 15.Rfc1 a6 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.c6 Bxc6 18.axb5 axb5 19.g3 Qe7 20.d5 Be5 21.Bb6 Rd6 22.Rxc6+ bxc6 23.Ra8+ 1 – 0

Milan Horvat 2203 (SLO) vs Frantisek Sochor 2437 (CZE)
ICCF Slav Cup3 email 2008
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 c6 15.Rfc1 a6 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.c6 Bxc6 18.axb5 axb5 19.d5 Be5 20.g3 Qe7 21.Ra7 Bc7 22.Rxc6 bxc6 23.Qc3 Qd7 24.Bf4 Rh7 25.Rxc7+ Qxc7 26.Bxc7 Rxc7 27.dxc6 e3 28.fxe3 Ra7 29.Kg2 Kc7 30.Qf6 Rd2+ 31.Kh3 g5 32.Qxf5 Kxc6 33.b4 Rad7 34.Qc5+ Kb7 35.Qxb5+ Kc7 36.e4 R7d4 37.Qc5+ Kb7 38.b5 g4+ 39.Kh4 Rxh2+ 40.Kxg4 Rxe4+ 41.Kf3 Ree2 42.Qc6+ Kb8 43.b6 Rhf2+ 44.Kg4 Rf7 45.Qd6+ Kc8 46.Qd5 1 – 0

GM Alexander Shabalov and IM David Brodsky also finished in a tie for first place, with each winning $600. The plaque went to the dude who received a half point bye for not playing a game in the final round, GM Elshan Moradiabadi, aka, the ‘Hat Man’:

GM Elshan Moradiabadi on the Magnus Carlsen Tour Finals | US

IM Boris Kogan was The Trainer

After publishing the two posts concerning IM Stuart Rachels I wanted to notify someone next door in the Great State of Alabama so I went to the Alabama Chess Federation website ( where a picture of NM Bill Melvin,

the Secretary of the ACF, was found. Although I never knew Bill other than the time we sat across from each other over the board the decision was made to reach out with an email:

“In the event you do not remember me I was fortunate enough to defeat you at the Lincoln Memorial U Open decades ago. I can tell you now that immediately prior to the game, after learning we were paired, Tim Brookshear said, “Bacon, you’re paired with the Oleg Romanishin of Southern Chess!” You lived up to the rep when sacking a pawn in the opening. I believe the opening was 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 c6 3 dxc6, etc. In lieu of playing in my customary “fire on the board” style I played my pawns close to my chest, or maybe it would be better to have written “Vest”, while hanging onto the pawn like it was a Titanic life raft!”

Part of the reply:


I understand procrastinating over reading chess books. I have a shelf full of unread ones. It took me only a year to get around to reading Stuart’s book.

I’m more interested in your stories about Boris than about Stuart’s short career. Boris played a lot in area tournaments and was always a bit of a mystery. Most of the anecdotes I heard came from the late Brian McCarthy (I played him a couple years ago at Castle Chess shortly before his passing).

Best Regards,


My first thought was, “A year?!” From the moment the book arrived it was opened and not put down until finished. The first post of the quasi review of Stuart’s book was ready to go but Bill’s words had resonated and it became apparent a preface of sorts was needed because IM Boris Kogan

Boris Kogan

was The Trainer. On page ten of the book it is written:

“Two players were vital for my development: Kyle Therrell (then called Dana), my best friend and local rival; and my trainer from the age of 12, IM Boris Kogan. From Kyle I learned all of my openings, one pairing at a time. Here was our drill: When the pairings were posted before a round, we’d hurry over to a quiet spot. ‘What does so-and-so play?’ I’d ask. My next question was, ‘What do I do against that?’ And finally I’d ask: ‘How is that supposed to be for White//Black?’ Without Kyle, I would have been lost – especially because Boris Kogan had no interest in opening theory. From Boris, I learned the finer points of position evaluation. Kogan played like Petrosian. ‘You must play seemple (itl) chess,’ he always told me. ‘Kviet(itl) moves.’ Thanks to Boris, I eventually became a weak strong player. Without him, I would only have become a dangerous patzer.”

The last two words stopped me in my tracks, causing me to recall a time when walking to the pairing board for the about to begin round and hearing someone say, “What do you mean? The guy is rated over two hundred points below you.” Then Dana Therrell replied, “Yeah, but the guy is dangerous because one round he can beat a master and then lose to a class C player the next round.” After seeing me they both left in a hurry. It was then I learned Dana would be my opponent. The game ended in a long, hard fought draw.

Who was Boris Kogan?

“International Master Boris Kogan, who died of colon cancer on Christmas Day in 1993, is best remembered for playing in three U.S. Championships and winning the Georgia state championship seven years in a row (1980-1986). He was also the coach of Stuart Rachels, helping him advance from being a young national master to sharing the U.S. Chess Championship. What isn’t so well known is that Kogan was a very promising player (Soviet Junior Champion in 1956 and 1957), before making the transition from player to coach at a very early age.”
Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club #696
January 23, 2015

The best way to illustrate how strong a player was IM Boris Kogan is this result:

New York open New York 1984

Apr, 1984 67 (players) 2427 (avg ELO) 276 (games) 9 (rounds)

GM Dzindzichashvili, Roman 2485 7.0
GM Portisch, Lajos 2625 6.5
GM Adorjan, Andras 2570 6.5
GM Sosonko, Gennadi 2560 6.5
GM Kavalek, Lubomir 2545 6.5
Kogan, Boris 2450 6.5
GM Browne, Walter S 2585 6.0
GM Gurevich, Dmitry 2545 6.0
GM Kudrin, Sergey 2520 6.0
GM Gheorghiu, Florin 2495 6.0
GM Hjartarson, Johann 2415 6.0
GM Ljubojevic, Ljubomir 2635 5.5
GM Fedorowicz, John P 2475 5.5
GM Lein, Anatoly 2475 5.5
GM Benko, Pal C 2450 5.5
Frias Pablaza, Victor J 2425 5.5
IM Haik, Aldo 2405 5.5
GM Alburt, Lev O 2515 5.0
GM De Firmian, Nick E 2515 5.0
IM McCambridge, Vincent 2465 5.0

One of the opponents Boris faced in this tournament was Canadian Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett:

Kevin Spraggett (2540) vs Boris Kogan (2450)
Event: New York op
Site: New York Date: ??/??/1984
Round: 5
ECO: A20 English opening
1.c4 e5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 Ne7 5.e4 Nbc6 6.Nge2 d6 7.d3 O-O 8.O-O f5 9.exf5 Nxf5 10.Rb1 Nfd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.b4 a6 13.Be3 Rb8 14.a4 Be6 15.h3 h6 16.Kh2 g5 17.b5 a5 18.b6 c6 19.Ne4 Qd7 20.Bc1 Rf7 21.Ba3 Bf8 22.Qh5 Bf5 23.f4 exf4 24.gxf4 d5 25.Bxf8 Rbxf8 26.cxd5 cxd5 27.Nc3 Bxd3 28.Qxh6 Bxb1 29.Rxb1 Nf5 30.Qxg5+ Kh8 31.Nxd5 Qxa4 32.Rc1 Qd4 33.Rc7 a4 34.Qh5+ Kg8 35.Qg6+ Rg7 36.Qe6+ Kh7 37.Qe2 a3 38.Qh5+ Kg8 39.Rxg7+ Qxg7 40.Qe2 Qb2 41.Qg4+ Kh7 42.Qh5+ Nh6 43.Ne7 Rf6 44.Nd5 Rg6 0-1

Who is Kevin Spraggett?

Full name Kevin Spraggett
Country Canada
Born 10 November 1954
Montreal, Canada
Title GM

Kevin Spraggett (born 10 November 1954) is a Canadian chess grandmaster. He is the fourth Canadian to earn the grandmaster title, after Abe Yanofsky, Duncan Suttles and Peter Biyiasas. Spraggett is the only Canadian to have qualified for the Candidates’ level, having done so in 1985 and 1988. He has won a total of eight Canadian Open Chess Championships, seven Closed Canadian Chess Championships, and has represented Canada eight times in Olympiad play. Spraggett has also written for Canadian chess publications.

These days Kevin is probably better known for his excellent blog,, though it has been quite some time since Kevin has posted. GM Spraggett wrote that he, and other GMs, considered Boris a fellow Grandmaster without the title. Please note that the above game, and the one below, were played when Kevin was at the top of his game. The next year he qualified as a contender for the right to play the World Champion by qualifying for the Candidates matches.

The only Canadian ever to have qualified for a candidates tournament was Kevin Spraggett of Montreal, who played in the 1985 and 1988-89 tournaments. He made it to the quarter-finals in his second attempt.

Kevin Spraggett (2540) vs Boris M Kogan (2450)
Date: 1984
Event: World Open
Round: 1
Opening: English Opening, Anglo-Slav Variation, General (A11)
Problems: 53159

  1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. e3 Bg7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. Bd3 c5 8. cxd5 cxd4 9. e4 e6 10. dxe6 Bxe6 11. O-O Nc6 12. a3 Rc8 13. Qb1 Ng4 14. b4 Nce5 15. Bb2 Nxd3 16. Qxd3 Rc3 17. Qb1 Qb6 18. Bxc3 dxc3 19. Nb3 c2 20. Qxc2 Bxb3 21. Qxb3 Bxa1 22. h3 Nxf2 23. Rxf2 Rc8 24. Qa2 Bg7 25. Kh2 Qd6+ 26. g3 Rc3 27. e5 Qe6 28. Qd2 Bxe5 29. Re2 Rxf3 0-1

Boris died without being awarded the title of Grandmaster, which is a shame because many Grandmasters told me he was a Grandmaster, including but not limited to, Walter Browne, Larry Christiansen, and John Fedorowicz. If your peers consider you to be a Grandmaster who cares what some antiquated organization says or does?

I thought of Boris when reading an excellent article in the 2020 #1 issue of New In Chess entitled, Kamran Shirazi ‘I Never Stopped Loving This Game’: A legendary player still chasing the Grandmaster title, by Dylan Loeb McClain. In the article Shirazi said, ‘I put my whole spirit into this and not to be a grandmaster is a little bit too much.’

‘I put my whole spirit into this and not to be a grandmaster is a little bit too much.’

In order to earn the Grandmaster title a player must jump through many hoops. FIDE, the world governing body of Chess, has instituted many picayune rules and In order to earn the Grandmaster title a player must jump through many hoops.

Cruel twist of fate

Frustrated with the relatively few tournaments that offered grandmaster norms, Shirazi moved to France, in 1994. Though he was already in his 40s, he experienced a rebirth and his results in tournaments with grandmaster norms improved.

In a 1998 tournament in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a seaside town in Northern France, he gained his first norm. Four years later, in Cannes, he earned his second. And then, another four years later, in 2006, in Metz, he earned his third and final norm needed for the title. That should have been enough, but for a cruel twist of fate. During the Cannes tournament, in the penultimate round, he reached his peak rating: 2499, only a point shy of what he needed for the title. According to the rules, achieving a rating of 2500 once in a lifetime is sufficient, even if the required norms are gained later. If Shirazi had won or drawn his final game, his rating would have been over 2500. But he did not know how close he was – it was still a time before rating updates were done after each round. So, in the final round, Shirazi overpressed in a good position and lost. He ended the tournament with a rating of 2486. ‘I missed by one point’, he said, with a hint of incredulity.

I mention this because of something seen in the last round of a Chess tournament in New Orleans, the Plaza in Lake Forest tournament, if memory serves. The two top rated players were Kamran Shirazi and Boris Kogan, and it came down to a battle with only seconds on the clock. The two combatants were moving with such speed it was difficult to follow the moves. Boris had a time advantage and the players were moving at blitz speed when, all of a sudden, Shirazi STOPPED THE CLOCK! Boris took that as a resignation, but Shirazi said he stopped the clock because it was obvious they were only moving the same pieces around and the tournament director should have stepped in and declared the game a draw by repetition. Boris scoffed, but honesty compels me to agree that Shirazi had a point. The problem was that the TD was unqualified and had absolutely no clue what to do. There had been a group of at least a couple of dozen players watching who had been electrified by what they had just witnessed. Although Boris could speak English, it was somewhat mangled, and I became his spokesman. Shirazi also had his spokesman and there was a shouting match between the two of us. Keep in mind this was a time when the Iranians had defied convention and taken United States citizens working at the embassy hostage. My counterpart invited me to “step outside.” The answer was fired immediately. “Let’s go, dude. I’ve got at least a couple of dozen red-blooded Americans right here, right now, ready to step outside with a couple of IRANIANS!!!” Kamran and his buddy beat a hasty retreat to the hotel… The tournament director later paid out the prize money as if the game had been drawn, and the USCF backed him up. Boris never got over it, lamenting, “He stopped the clock…”

If one did not know how FIDE has operated over the decades it would be difficult to understand why neither player became a Grandmaster. Certainly both players were of Grandmaster caliber and both should have been awarded the title because the title has been awarded to much lesser players. Because of things like this the title has lost its luster.

IM Stuart Rachels Was The Best Alabama Saw In Chess

From prodigy to champion, Stuart Rachels was the best Alabama saw in chess

A young Stuart Rachels looks at a chess board. (Courtesy of Stuart Rachels)

by: Tanner Brooks

Posted: Sep 17, 2021 / 10:56 AM CDT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There was a time when Stuart Rachels seemed to have a bright future in chess. Rachels, a philosophy professor at the University of Alabama, was a chess prodigy who had become the youngest U.S. chess master in history by the time he was 11-years-old. By 1990, he was co-champion of the U.S. Chess Championship and had already played some of the best players in the world. That all changed in 1993, when Rachels decided to walk away from chess.

‘Kids didn’t play chess’

Rachels recalled one of his earliest chess memories in 1977, when he was 7 years old. “I remember trying to capture the queen of one of my father’s graduate students — his name was Greg — by moving a pawn backwards,” Rachels said in an email correspondence with CBS 42. “I was pretty irritated when he made me give him his queen back.” By the time he was 9, Rachels was constantly playing at the Birmingham Chess Club and rapidly improving. “I never played kids when I was a kid, I only played adults,” Rachels said. “Kids didn’t play chess.”

Stuart Rachels engaged in a match against his father, James. (Courtesy of Stuart Rachels)

Rachels’ family did everything they could to support him. His father, UAB philosophy professor James Rachels, organized chess tournaments in Birmingham and gave him the means to improve his game, including books, magazines and, later, a trainer.However, Rachels said they never put any pressure on him to play. “A good player will put pressure on himself; extra pressure will only give him stomach aches,” he said. “A kid who isn’t self-motivated doesn’t have what it takes, and parents who try to provide motivation from the outside are only being bad parents.”

In 1981, Rachels became the youngest chess master in American history, beating the record previously held by chess icon Bobby Fischer. Rachels was 11 years and 10 months when he broke Fischer’s record. He remained the youngest U.S. chess master until 1994, when it was broken by Jordy Mont-Reynaud.

Rachels credits Kyle Therrell, a player from Fairfield, and trainer Boris Kogan with his early success. “Without them, forget it, I never would have become good,” Rachels said. “It’s not something you can do on your own, with just books and magazines.”

Early on, Rachels had the opportunity to play against both former and future world chess champions. He lost twice against Garry Kasparov, often referred to as the greatest chess player in history, and he lost to Boris Spassky, Fischer’s opponent in what is considered the “Match of the Century,” the 1972 World Chess Championship. Rachels also drew against future five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand. Rachels described each experience with one word. “Kasparov: Exciting. Spassky: Terrifying. Anand: Exhilarating,” he said.

Rachels faced Spassky in the 1985 U.S. Open in Hollywood, Florida. In his book, “The Best I Saw in Chess,” Rachels recalled Spassky walking over to Kogan to ask why he was so nervous. By the time Rachels collected himself, it was too late: Spassky had out-maneuvered him. When Rachels resigned, the spectators applauded. “I joined in, remembering Spassky’s sportsmanlike applause for Fischer when Fischer took the lead against him in Iceland,” Rachels wrote in his book.

Stuart Rachels facing off against former world champion Boris Spassky at the 1985 U.S. Open in Hollywood, Florida. (Courtesy of Stuart Rachels)

Rachels went on to become U.S. co-champion in the 1989 tournament, sharing the title with grandmasters Roman Dzindzichashvili and Yasser Seirawan.

In 1993, Rachels retired from competitive chess, calling it a “whole-life decision.”

“I wasn’t good enough to compete for the world championship,” he said. “In 1993, the life of your average chess professional in the United States was pretty depressing: very little money, a lot of traveling, an all-male culture, no health insurance, no respect from the general public, etc. A lot of professional players moved to Europe, which I didn’t want to do.”

Rachels said his life didn’t change that much after he retired, gradually weaning himself from the game to focus more on his graduate studies of philosophy. “The main change was not traveling to tournaments in the summer,” he said. “Also, I could stop worrying about how to fix problems in my opening repertoire.”

In his father’s footsteps

Even before stepping away from chess, Rachels took a keen interest in philosophy, something of a family business in the Rachels’ household. His father, James, was a moral philosopher and professor at UAB. His 1971 anthology, “Moral Problems,” shifted colleges from teaching meta-ethics to teaching concrete practical issues. “When people know my father as a philosopher, I say, ‘He was an even better father,’” Rachels said.

Stuart Rachels and James Rachels at Stuart’s high school graduation in 1987. (Courtesy of Stuart Rachels)

Rachels remembers spending a good chunk of his teenage years pestering his father with philosophical questions after he would come home from work. “He was my Boris Kogan in the realm of philosophy. I knew, even back then, how lucky I was, but I know this even better now,” said Rachels.

In addition to his father, Rachels credits people like Donald Rutherford and Robert McCauley from Emory University and Derek Parfit from Oxford University as some influences.

There was one year of graduate school that Rachels was so consumed by philosophy that he let his subscription to his favorite chess magazine lapse. But that was only for a year. Rachels said that he was consumed by chess and by philosophy, but was primarily a student first and a chess player in his spare time. “Even people who have always known me are surprised when I remind them that I never took any time off from school in order to play chess,” Rachels said.

Rachels now teaches philosophy at the University of Alabama as an associate professor specializing in ethical theory.

Returning to the game

Back in June, nearly 30 years after retiring from competitive chess, Rachels took part in the 2021 Alabama Blitz Championship and the 2021 Alabama Quick Championship in Montgomery. Rachels won all of his games to sweep the Alabama Blitz Championship. With all wins and a draw, he pulled out on top in the Alabama Quick Championship as well.

Scott Varagona,

reigning Alabama State Chess Champion and editor for the Alabama Chess Antics magazine, said he always heard older players talk about Rachels with a sense of awe, but he had never had the chance to play him. With Rachels returning, Varagona was not going to miss the opportunity. “For him to resurface after all these years, and for me to finally get to face him in a serious tournament, was a big deal for me. After all, he was Alabama’s strongest player of the 20th century,” said Varagona. “Even though he hadn’t played competitive chess for over 25 years, whereas I was the reigning Alabama State Champion, he beat me very badly! I was impressed.” Varagona said he was too nervous and starstruck against Rachels to play at his best, but believes he would do better if he got another chance to play him.

Rachels said that going back to those tournaments after years away was like sticking his toes in the water. “For me, it was ‘sort of’ like playing in a real tournament. I didn’t consider it ‘fully real’ because the time control was accelerated, we weren’t keeping score, and it didn’t affect my classical rating,” he said. “But I enjoyed it, and I was relieved to discover that I can still push pawns okay.” When asked if he will pursue more competitions or potentially seek attaining the coveted Grandmaster title, Rachels said he will probably play more. “It’s a slow process,” he said. “I doubt I will play again seriously enough to pursue the GM title, but who knows.”

Stuart Rachels is a five-time Alabama State Champion, a U.S. Junior Champion, a U.S. Co-Champion and an International Master. He also teaches philosophy at the University of Alabama. (Courtesy of Stuart Rachels)

Larger than life

Rachels said that today, things are different for professional players in the United States. While he still believes it to be an odd life, players can make a living on social media platforms, like Twitch, where they can livestream games to subscribers. “The internet brings grandmasters into everyone’s living room,” Rachels said, “or, indeed, everyone’s pocket.” Over the last few years, there has been a boom in the game with more people learning chess for the first time, most notably following the popularity of the Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit.” According to The New York Times, sales of chess sets in the United States rose by around 125% since the show first premiered.

Rachels said he was thrilled to see how popular the game is continuing to be. “I wish people would power down their screens and get out and play more in-person, that would make me even happier. It’s better for the culture to be in-person,” Rachels said. “Interest in chess also surged in 1972 when Bobby Fischer became world champion. This surge feels more real to me, though, because in 1972, it was about Fischer himself, and so when Fischer quit, people lost interest in chess. Now, however, it’s about people actually playing.” Last week, Rachels was inducted into the first class of the Alabama Chess Hall of Fame.

A young Stuart Rachels (center) at a chess tournament. (Courtesy of Stuart Rachels)

Bill Melvin,

a prominent player and figure in the Alabama chess community, played Rachels a handful of times over 30 years ago. While he wasn’t able to make Rachels’ comeback tournament, Melvin was surprised that he actually participated. “Stuart’s impact on chess is simply as the greatest talent to come out of Alabama,” Melvin said. “His star was bright, but he quit chess at such an early age. He has explained his reasoning with me many times, but I still don’t understand.”

Varagona echoed Melvin, saying that Rachels proved that an Alabama player could reach the pinnacle of chess in the nation, something no Alabama player has come close to achieving since. “There have been many great Alabama chess legends — but then there is Stuart Rachels. Stuart is larger than life.”

7th Gulf Coast New Year: Expert Brejesh Chakrabarti vs GM Julio Becerra Rivero

Sometimes Chess viewing is like a box of chocolates…Such was the Gumpian thought when seeing a tournament being played in the sunny and warm climate of the Gulf Coast was being broadcast at Although what is called a “weekend swiss” it is a weekend Chess tournament sending moves all over the world thanks to modern technology. The following round two game was found while surfing and much time was spent watching the game, and the others, one of which developed from a Bishop’s opening, and if you are a regular reader you know what that means. You may, though, be surprised to learn the B.O. game may, or may not be posted, depending, because the AW decided to post a Caro-Kann, Exchange variation today.

Brejesh Chakrabarti 2039 vs Julio Becerra Rivero 2491

7th Gulf Coast New Year (round 2)
B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. Ne2 Bg4 7. Bf4 Qxf4 8. Nxf4 Bxd1 9. Kxd1 e6 10. Nd2 Bd6 11. Nh5 g6 12. Ng3 Nge7 13. Nf3 Rb8 14. a4 a6 15. Re1 Kd7 16. Ke2 h6 17. Kf1 Rhc8 18. Re2 Rc7 19. Ke1 Na5 20. Kd1 Nc8 21. Nf1 Nc4 22. Bxc4 Rxc4 23. Ne5+ Bxe5 24. Rxe5 Rc7 25. Nd2 Nd6 26. Re2 a5 27. f3 g5 28. Ke1 Rg8 29. Nb3 b6 30. Kf1 h5 31. Nc1 Nf5 32. Nd3 Kd6 33. Kg1 g4 34. f4 Ke7 35. Ra3 Rb8 36. Ra2 Kf6 37. Ra1 Nd6 38. Kh1 Ne4 39. Kg1 g3 40. h3 Kf5 41. Kf1 h4 42. Ra2 b5 43. axb5 Rxb5 44. Ra3 Rcb7 45. Ra2 Rb8 46. Ra1 Kf6 47. Ra2 Kg7 48. Ke1 Rc8 49. Kf1 Nd6 50. Ke1 Rcb8 51. Kd1 Kf6 52. Ke1 Ne4 53. Kd1 R8b7 54. Ke1 Kf5 55. Kd1 Ra7 56. Ra4 Rc7 57. Ra3 Rcb7 58. Ra2 Rb8 59. Ke1 f6 60. Kd1 a4 61. Rxa4 Nf2+ 62. Nxf2 gxf2 63. Rxf2 Rxb2 64. Ra2 Rxa2 65. Rxa2 Rb1+ 66. Kc2 Rf1 67. Kd3 Kxf4 68. Ra6 Re1 69. Ra8 Re3+ 70. Kd2 Rg3 71. Rh8 Rxg2+ 72. Kd1 Kg3 73. Re8 f5 74. Rxe6 f4 75. Ke1 f3 76. Rg6+ Kxh3 77. Rf6 Kg4 78. Rg6+ Kf4 79. Rf6+ Ke3 80. Re6+ Kd3 81. Rh6 Rh2 82. Rc6 h3 83. Rf6 Kxc3 84. Rf4 Kd3 85. Rxf3+ Kxd4 86. Kf1 Ke4 87. Ra3 d4 88. Kg1 Rg2+ 89. Kf1 d3 90. Ra8 Rb2 91. Re8+ Kf5 92. Rf8+ Ke6 93. Re8+ Kf7 94. Re3 Rb1+ 95. Kf2 h2 0-1!7th-gulf-coast-new-year-2022/1623420428
  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 (Stockfish 13 @depth 61 played 3 e5, the advance variation; SF 14 @depth 60 prefers 3 Nc3) cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 (Stockfish 11 @depth 50 played 5…Nf6, still the most often played move according to the Chessbase Database, but SF 14 @depth 51 has moved on to the solid 5…e6, of which there are only 33 games found in the CBDB. There are 2212 games with 5…Nf6. There are 1417 games containing the move played in the game, 5…Qc7, and it has held white to only a 47% winning percentage. After 5…Nf6 white has scored 51%. The solid 5…e6 has held white to scoring only 44%) 6. Ne2 (The most often played move, but is it the best? The move has scored only 47% for white. SF 14 & 14.1 both play 6 h3, with which white has scored 53% in 471 games. Deep Fritz 13 shows 6 Nf3, a move that has scored only 38% in 78 games) 6…Bg4 (For as long as I have been playing the Royal game this move was “it”, but that has changed with the advent of computer Chess playing programs. The CBDB contains 601 games with the move chosen by GM Becerra Rivero. The second most played move has been 6…e6, which has been seen in 46 games, while scoring 38%. The best move in the position according to StockFish 14 @depth 49, and Stockfish 14.1 @depth 46 is 6…e5, a move having appeared to date in only 10 games while scoring 50%) 7. Bf4? (Stockfish 180821 @depth 52 simply castles, and so should you! The move chosen by the Expert has been seen in 15 games while scoring only 43%. When facing much higher rated opposition some players look for a way, any way, of trading Queens, which is a dumb move if you cogitate awhile, because the Grandmaster will, most probably, grind you down into a fine losing powder. On the other hand there are players like this writer who preferred keeping the Queens on the board, as was the case in a victory over Senior Master Klaus Pohl. The next time we played Klaus played a variation in which the Queens left the board early and the AW was given a endgame lesson. Cheap tricks do not usually work on the Chess board, or life) 7…Qxf4 8. Nxf4 Bxd1 9. Kxd1 e6
White to move

IM of GM strength Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “Why be afraid of playing an even position?” After 10 Bb5 Stockfish 14.1 @depth 32 says the game is triple zeros, aka, “even Steven”) 10. Nd2 Bd6 11. Nh5 (SF 12 brought the knight to e2, but SF 14 placed the steed on h3) 11…g6 12. Ng3 Nge7 (For the choice of Stockfish, 12…Nf6, see Guzman vs Spata below)

Maxim Novikov (2513) vs Alexander Riazantsev (2646)
Event: 69th ch-RUS HL 2016
Site: Kolomna RUS Date: 06/23/2016
Round: 2.13
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 Bg4 7.Bf4 Qxf4 8.Nxf4 Bxd1 9.Kxd1 e6 10.Bb5 Bd6 11.Nd3 Ne7 12.Nd2 a6 13.Bxc6+ Nxc6 14.f4 f6 15.a4 b6 16.Nb3 a5 17.Nd2 h6 18.h4 h5 19.Nf3 Kf7 20.Re1 Ne7 21.Ke2 Nf5 22.Kf2 Rh6 23.g3 Rc8 24.Rg1 Be7 25.Rge1 Bd6 26.Rg1 Rc7 27.Rge1 Rh8 28.Re2 Re8 29.Ree1 Bf8 30.Nd2 Rb8 31.Ra2 Bd6 32.Nf3 Ra7 33.Rh1 Bc7 34.Re1 Raa8 35.Rg1 Rg8 36.Raa1 Rab8 37.Rge1 Nd6 38.Nd2 Rge8 39.Re2 Re7 40.Kg2 Rh8 41.Rh1 Rg8 42.Kf2 Ke8 43.Rhe1 Kf7 44.Rh1 Nf5 45.Nf3 Rh8 46.Rg1 Rh6 47.Rge1 Bb8 48.Rg1 Re8 49.Rge1 Bd6 50.Rg1 Bc7 51.Rge1 Bb8 52.Rg1 Nd6 53.Nd2 Rg6 54.Ree1 Rc8 55.Kf3 Rh6 56.Re2 Rhh8 57.Rge1 Rhe8 58.Kf2 Rc7 59.Kf3 Ra7 60.Kf2 Rb7 61.Ra1 Nf5 62.Nf3 Bd6 63.Ree1 Ra8 64.Ra2 Bc7 65.Raa1 Bd6 66.Ra2 Rc8 67.Raa1 Bf8 68.Ra2 Rbb8 69.Re2 Rc7 70.Re1 Nd6 71.Nd2 Nc4 72.Re2 Nd6 ½-½

The following game was found only at the Chessbase Database (

FM Christoph Guzman 2258 (DOM) vs FM German Spata 2257 )ARG)
Rio Grande Domingo op 20th

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 Bg4 7.Bf4 Qxf4 8.Nxf4 Bxd1 9.Kxd1 e6 10.Nd2 Bd6 11.Nh5 g6 12.Ng3 Nf6 13.f3 h5 14.Rc1 Ke7 15.Kc2 Rhc8 16.Kb1 Rab8 17.Rhe1 b5 18.Ne2 Bxh2 19.g3 h4 20.gxh4 Rh8 21.Rh1 Rxh4 22.Nf1 Rbh8 23.Bxb5 Na5 24.b3 g5 25.c4 dxc4 26.bxc4 Bc7 27.Rg1 g4 28.f4 Nh5 29.f5 exf5 30.Ne3 Rh2 31.Nc3 Ng7 32.c5 Kd8 33.d5 Bf4 34.Ncd1 R8h3 35.c6 Kc7 36.d6+ Bxd6 37.Nd5+ Kd8 38.c7+ Bxc7 39.Rxc7 Rh1 40.Rd7+ Kc8 41.Rxh1 Rxh1 42.Rc7+ Kb8 43.Ba6 Rxd1+ 44.Kc2 Nb7 45.Rxb7+ Kc8 46.Kxd1 Ne6 47.Rxf7+ Kd8 48.Rxf5 g3 49.Ne3 Nd4 50.Rd5+ 1-0

Never Give Up

There was a print out taped to the wall just to the right of the stairs at the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center that looked like this:
Never Ever Give Up! – Failure to Listen

Every player who walked up the stairs could see it before every Chess game played at the House of Pain. The story goes that the owner, Thad Rogers, liked it and put it there for all to see. I always considered it the most apropos thing ever seen at the House of no fun whatsoever, which was heard on more than one occasion.

After the Legendary Georgia Ironman told the IM of GM strength Boris Kogan that he intended on becoming a National Master Boris asked, “Why Tim? It requires much sacrifice.” That it does, because when your friends are out at a bar hoisting them high and spending time with the ladies you are at home studying Rook and Pawn endings. Then again there are those players who will have hoisted a few, but that was at the Stein Club while attempting to win that Rook and Pawn ending on the board in front of you in which you have an extra pawn. You do this because Chess is HARD, and It Don’t Come Easy!

Playing Chess well requires many things and one of them is a tenacious fighting spirit. To advance in Chess one MUST be able to concentrate no matter what the situation on the board. A player MUST look for ANYTHING that will help his position. Complacency (A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble) has no business being anywhere near a Chess board.

In the seventh round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship this position was reached in the game between Megan Lee and Nazi Paikidze:

Position after 54…Qa5

There is nothing for me to describe to you here because even 700 rated USCF politico Allen Priest knows Black is busted, Buster. Then again, maybe not, but every player with a four number rating would know Black is doomed, DOOMED! Nazi has a snowball chance in Hell of salvaging a draw and winning is out of the question unless her opponent falls over dead. Some, if not most, would wonder why Nazi had not resigned. You may be wondering about the time factor. Time was not a factor. The fact is that Nazi has mating material and has a Queen and Rook on the Queen side which is where the White King is located, which totals plenty of cheapo potential, especially when all three of White’s pieces are located on the King side. Look at the position. What move would you make?

Position after 55 Qf5+

The Black King now has four legal moves. If it moves to g7 or h8 White will take the Bishop with check and that’s all she wrote. If the Black King moves to g8 the White Queen will take the pawn on g5 with check and it’s game over. That leaves h6, which is where Nazi moved the King, bringing us to this position:

dWhite to move

I would like you to take a good look at this position and cogitate awhile before scrolling down. To insure you cannot glance down to see what follows we will pause with this musical interlude in order to block you from seeing anything that may, or may not influence your cogitating:

After 56 Rxe5

Black to move. Think about it awhile…What move would you make?

The situation on the Chess board has changed as much as the music videos. A situation has been reached, by force by White I must add, in which the Black King has no legal moves. If, and that is a big IF, the Black Queen and Rook left the board, the position would be one of STALEMATE. A stalemate position is reached when one King has no legal moves. Then the game is immediately declared DRAWN. This is a RIDICULOUS rule. It is also ABSURD to the point of LUNACY. There are too many draws in Chess. If a position is reached in which the only move of the King will put it in CHECK then that King should abdicate his throne. For this reason Nazi Paikidze should have played the move 56…Rxb2+ reaching this position:

Fortunately for Megan Lee her opponent played 54…Qa4+ and lost. Certainly both players should have recognized the situation on the board had changed DRASTICALLY after the 55th move by Black which had put the King in a possible stalemate situation. They both had plenty of time to cogitate. At that point in the game Megan Lee had only one thing to consider: stalemate. Nazi Paikidze only had one thing for which to hope: stalemate. Megan gave Nazi a chance but she did not take advantage of the chance given.

Megan Lee 2211 (USA)

The Sexiest American Female Chess Players - Chess Gossip
The Sexiest American Female Chess Players – Chess Gossip

vs Nazi Paikidze 2374 (USA)

Classify Nazi Paikidze.

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 07

B06 Robatsch (modern) defence

  1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Be3 Nd7 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 b6 7. Bc4 e6 8. Qd2 Bb7 9. Bg5 Ndf6 10. Qe2 h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 Nh5 13. O-O-O Ne7 14. Ne1 Nxg3 15. hxg3 Qd7 16. d5 exd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Bxd5 Nxd5 19. exd5+ Kf8 20. Qe4 Re8 21. Qc4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Qb3 Ra8 24. Nd3 Bf6 25. f3 Kg7 26. g4 c5 27. dxc6 Qxc6 28. c3 Qb6 29. Kc2 Rac8 30. Nb4 Be5 31. Nd5 Qa7 32. Rd2 Rb8 33. Re1 Rhc8 34. Re4 Kh7 35. Nb4 Rc5 36. Nd3 Rc4 37. Rxc4 bxc4 38. Qxc4 Bf6 39. Nb4 Qa4+ 40. Qb3 Qe8 41. Rxd6 Be5 42. Rd1 Bf4 43. Kb1 Kg8 44. Qc2 Ra8 45. Nd5 Be5 46. Qe4 Rb8 47. Rd2 Kg7 48. Re2 f6 49. Nxf6 Qd8 50. Nh5+ Kg8 51. Qg6+ Kh8 52. Qxh6+ Kg8 53. Qe6+ Kh7 54. Kc2 Qa5 55. Qf5+ Kh6 56. Rxe5 Qa4+ 57. Kc1 Qa1+ 58. Qb1 Qa6 59. Ng3 Rd8 60. Nf5+ Kh7 61. Nd6+ Kh8 62. Nf7+ Kg7 63. Nxd8 Qf1+ 64. Kc2 Qf2+ 65. Kd3 1-0

cycledan: Paikidze could have pulled even with Irina, half game back in 2nd. Now she will be 1.5 back if Megan can convert. Tough loss
Murasakibara: is 56. Rxe5 correct? because black has a draw
Murasakibara: rook sac
Murasakibara: and queen check forever
Murasakibara: to miss that from nazi oh no
cycledan: white Q can prevent the perpetual I think
Murasakibara: no because after kxR there is Qa2 and Qd2 and go back and forth check
Murasakibara: until king force to capture
Paintedblack: yeah it would have been a legendary swindle but missed
Murasakibara: im so mad at nazi
Murasakibara: xd
Murasakibara: was rooting for her
Murasakibara: she didnt realize her king have no move because she thought her position was doom so a chance to draw didnt come in her mind
Murasakibara: that got to hurt

The Charlotte Chess Center Mr. Hankey Award

After my most recent required Medicare physical I had to do the Cologuard ( thing now required for Seniors. This is the second time I have sent my excrement to HQ where some unfortunate human must screen it for whatever. The day of the procedure, which includes more than just dumping and sending, I will spare you the details, for some reason I thought of Thad Rogers, long and many time President of the Georgia Chess Association.

Thad Rogers

On his way back from a Chess tournament the owner of the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, Thad Rogers, stopped at the House of Pain before heading south to Macon. Howls of laughter emanating from downstairs piqued my curiosity and an inquiring mind wanted to know what was causing such an uproar. Once downstairs I saw Thad holding up a T-shirt. “That looks like a turd on the shirt, Thad,” I said. There were more howls of laughter especially when Thad said, “That’s not a turd, it’s Mr. Hankey!” I thought about going next door to the pizza joint to have a beer, or maybe even something stronger, but I never drink during the day, even when it’s called for, as was the case that day. It turned out Thad was a HUGE fan of the TV show South Park. Evidently he was not alone…Thad would often bring in from the road Chess books and other Chess type things to sell at the House of Pain, but that day will long be remembered as Mr. Hankey day.
Mr. Hankey

Before writing this post I could not recall the name of the turd on Thad’s T-shirt, so I went to the internet and typed in “South Park feces” and there was a turd with a Christmas type hat on top of its “head.” I had found Mr. Hankey!

South Park – Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo

I mention this because the thought occurred that an award should be given to the player(s) who “play” the shortest game at one of the norm tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. What better prize than a Mr. Hankey?!

For the most recently completed tournament I thought to award the prize to the player(s) agreeing to the shortest draw. After putting this together my mind was changed. What follows is the shortest draws from each of the four different tournaments held in conjunction at what has become known as the Charlotte Draw Center. The loser who wins the prize will become known at the end of the post.


Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Dragun, Kamil (POL)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 05

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. Be2 d6 6. Bg5 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (TUR)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 03

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qa4+ Bd7 5. Qd1 Bc8 6. Qa4+ Bd7 7. Qd1 Bc8 ½-½

Mardov, Dimitar (USA) – Dragun, Kamil (POL)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O c6 6. b3 Ne4 7. d4 d5 ½-½

Thirteen (13) was a popular number in this section when it came to agreeing to split the point. I mention this because almost half a century ago I made a study of my games, coming to the conclusion that I had made an inordinate number of questionable (OK, BAD, or HORRIBLE, moves) when producing my thirteenth move of the game. It was more than a little obvious I was having much trouble with the transition from the opening to the middle game. After deep study my game, such as it was, improved at least to the point where I won the coveted title of Atlanta Champion a couple of times.

GM Dragun, Kamil 2555 (POL) – GM Ali Marandi, Cemil Can 2530 (TUR)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 01

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bf4 Bf5 7. e3 e6 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Bd6 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. O-O O-O 12. Rfc1 Rfc8 13. h3 ½-½

Dragun, Kamil (POL) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 03

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 c6 5. O-O Nf6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. c3 Bf5 8. Re1 Nbd7 9. h3 h6 10. Nh4 Be6 11. Nhf3 Bf5 12. Nh4 Be6 13. Nhf3 ½-½

Yoo, Christopher Woojin (USA) – Beradze, Irakli (GEO)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Nxd2 9. Nxd2 Bxg2 10. Kxg2 d5 11. e3 c6 12. Rc1 Nd7 13. Qa4 ½-½

This game is included because it involves Tanguy Ringoir, a serial drawer, who averaged only twenty, that’s 20, or TWO ZERO, moves per game in the tournament. Just to think the dude came all the way from Belarus to not play Chess… The most moves in any of his games were the 37 he played in defeating Arthur Guo in the fourth round. Arthur was either, “out of form” as is said about a player who is having a bad event, or ill. We do not know because nothing is written on the blog of the CCCSA informing we fans of what is happening during the tournaments.

Bora, Safal (USA) – Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Ne5 O-O 8. Nc3 Bf5 9. Bf4 Qb6 10. O-O Qxb2 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. Bxd5 Nc6 13. Bxc6 Bxe5 14. Bxe5 bxc6 15. Re1 f6 16. Bc7 ½-½

The following game is included even though it was “played” in the last round because it was over long before it was over.

Griffith, Kyron (USA) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4 6. h3 h5 7. c3 Qd3 8. hxg4 hxg4 9. Nxe5 Bd6 10. Nxd3 Bh2+ 11. Kh1 Bg3+ 12. Kg1 Bh2+ 13. Kh1 Bf4+ 14. Kg1 Bh2+ 15. Kh1 Be5+ 16. Kg1 Bh2+ 17. Kh1 Bd6+ ½-½


Paragua, Mark (PHI) – Theodorou, Nikolas (GRE)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 09

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Nc6 ½-½

Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (IND) – Paragua, Mark (PHI)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 04

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. d4 Nc6 8. Nc3 ½-½

Roussel-Roozmon, Thomas (CAN) – Wang, Tianqi (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 05

  1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. e4 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. Bg5 O-O 10. Qd2 a5 11. O-O a4 12. Rad1 Be6 13. f3 Qb6+ 14. Be3 ½-½

OK, it’s the last round, but still, look at the position. Wouldn’t you wanna know how this one played out?

Sheng, Joshua (USA) – Roussel-Roozmon, Thomas (CAN)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 09

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. O-O g6 6. c3 Bg7 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. Re1 Bd7 9. Nf1 Qe8 10. h3 Nd4 11. Bc4 Nxf3+ 12. Qxf3 Be6 13. Bg5 Nd7 14. Ne3 h6 15. Bh4 c6 16. Qd1 ½-½

In the next game GM Paragua offered a draw even though, as IM of GM strength Boris Kogan was so fond of saying, he had “BEEG pawn.”

IM Levy Rozman 2353 (USA) vs GM Mark Paragua 2475 (PHI)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 01

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. Rc1 Be6 7. e3 dxc4 8. Ng5 Bd5 9. e4 h6 10. exd5 hxg5 11. Bxg5 Nxd5 12. Bxc4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Nc6 14. Ne2 Qd7 15. O-O Rad8 16. Qd2 Bxd4 ½-½

Although it’s over twenty moves I must add this one because Roussel-Roozmon has a better pawn structure and the two bishops versus the two knights and yet offered a draw. Why? No guts…no glory.

Roussel-Roozmon, Thomas (CAN) – Paragua, Mark (PHI)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 08

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bf5 6. g3 e6 7. Bg2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Rd1 Qd5 10. Ne5 Qxc4 11. Nxc4 Rd8 12. Nc3 Bb4 13. e4 Bg6 14. f3 b5 15. Ne5 Nfd7 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. Be3 Nb6 18. Bf1 Bxc3 19. bxc3 N8d7 20. Rab1 f5 21. Bg5 ½-½

Even with all the short draws Mark Paragua averaged 27.66 moves per game, which ought to tell you much about how little Chess was played by Tanguy Ringoir in the GM A section.


Martin Del Campo Cardenas, Roberto Abel (MEX) – Adamson, Robby (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 03

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 Bd6 6. Bd3 Nge7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 Bf5 ½-½

Canty, James (USA) – Adamson, Robby (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bf4 a6 4. e3 e6 5. g4 Bb4 6. Ne2 Nxg4 7. Rg1 g5 8. Rxg4 gxf4 9. Nxf4 Nc6 ½-½

Della Morte, Pablo (ARG) – Martin Del Campo Cardenas, Roberto Abel (MEX)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Bf5 6. Be3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Qxd4 9. Bxd4 a6 ½-½

Martin Del Campo Cardenas, Roberto Abel (MEX) – Antova, Gabriela (BUL)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 08

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. Kh1 Qc7 10. Qe1 b5 11. Bf3 Bb7 12. e5 Ne8 13. Qg3 ½-½

Canty, James (USA) – Proleiko, Julian (USA)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Be6 7. Qb3 Na5 8. Qb5+ Bd7 9. cxd5 e6 10. Qe2 Be7 11. dxe6 Bxe6 12. Qd1 O-O 13. Be2 ½-½

In the following game Canty has the advantage. Why would he possibly offer a draw?

Adu, Oladapo (NGR) – Canty, James (USA)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 08

  1. g3 c5 2. Bg2 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. O-O d6 5. e4 Nc6 6. d3 e5 7. c3 Nge7 8. a3 a5 9. a4 O-O 10. Na3 h6 11. Nb5 Be6 12. Re1 d5 13. Nd2 Qd7 14. Qe2 Rad8 15. Nf3 f5 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. Nh4 Bg4 18. f3 Bh3 19. Bd2 Rf6 20. Rf1 Rdf8 ½-½


Diulger, Alexey (MDA) – Bajarani, Ulvi (AZE)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 05

  1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 ½-½

Colas, Joshua (USA) – Matros, Alexander (KAZ)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Bf5 3. Bf4 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Bd6 ½-½

Matros, Alexander (KAZ) – Prilleltensky, Matan (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 04

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Qc2 Nf6 5. Bf4 dxc4 6. Qxc4 b5 7. Qd3 Bb7 8. Nbd2 Nbd7 9. a4 ½-½

Matros, Alexander (KAZ) – King, Alexander (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 03

  1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. d4 Nc6 7. Bb5 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. O-O Bd6 10. b3 a6 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Bb2 O-O 13. Rc1 Qe7 ½-½

Bajarani, Ulvi (AZE) – Shlyakhtenko, Robert (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 06

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 a6 6. O-O c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Rd1+ Ke7 10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. Nd3 Bd6 12. a4 b6 13. Na3 Bb7 14. Bb3 Nc5 15. Nxc5 ½-½

Amongst this nefarious group of non Chess players who will be all be execrable losers when awarded the dishonorable mention prize one player stood out among the other losers who blaspheme against Caissa. That would be Tanguy Ringoir,

Serial Drawer

a one man wrecking draw. He was bat and balls below every other player. His passport should be revoked.

What happened when Anish Giri offered a draw to Magnus Carlsen on move 4!
Nov 28, 2019
ChessBase India
761K subscribers
In round 10 of Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2019 Magnus Carlsen offered a draw to Vidit Gujrathi on move 5 and the Indian GM accepted it. In the next round itself, round 11, Anish Giri was pitted against Carlsen. Anish played 1.d4 and offered a draw after his fourth move! If Magnus can offer a draw on move 5, why can’t Anish offer it on move 4! Did Magnus accept the draw offer or not? Check out in this exciting video!
Video: ChessBase India

IM Ronald Burnett vs IM Boris Kogan

IM Ron Burnett was profiled in an earlier post, On The Road With IM Ron Burnett, which can be found @

IM Ron Burnett vs IM Boris Kogan

Fairfield Glade, Tennessee 1992

French C17

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. Nf3 c5 6. Bd2 cxd4 7. Nb5 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 O-O 9. Bd3 Nbc6 10. Nbxd4 Nxd4 11. Nxd4 Nc6 12. Nf3 f6 13. exf6 Qxf6 14. O-O-O e5 15. Bb5 Be6 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Rde1 e4 18. Nd4 Bd7 19. f3 exf3 20. Nxf3 Bf5 21. Ne5 Rae8 22. Qe3 Be4 23. Nd7 Qf2 24. Qc3 d4 25. Qc4+ Bd5 26. Qb4 Rxe1+ 27. Rxe1 Rc8 28. Qe7 Qxg2 29. Qe5 Qg4 30. Nc5 Rf8 31. Qe7 h6 32. b3 Rf2 33. Nd7 Qf5 34. Kb2 Qxc2+ 35. Ka3 Qxa2+ 36. Kb4 Qxb3+ 37. Kc5 Qa3+ 0-1

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. Nf3 (SF 050220 @depth 43 plays 5 Bd3; SF 11 @depth 34 prefers 5 a3. Komodo 9 @depth 28 likes 5 Bd2) 5…c5 6. Bd2 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 30 plays 6 a3, but SF 10 @depth 30 shows a move not shown at the CBDB, 6 Bd3. The move can be found over at 365Chess) 6…cxd4 (SF 11 plays the move) 7. Nb5 Bxd2+ 8.
Qxd2 O-O 9. Bd3 (Komodo prefers to 0-0-0) 9…Nbc6 10. Nbxd4 Nxd4 (Komodo plays this but SF opts for 10 …f6) 11. Nxd4 Nc6

12. Nf3 (SF 8 plays this but SF 10, given the chance, would play 12 Qe3, a TN) 12…f6 13. exf6 Qxf6 14.O-O-O (14 c4) 14…e5 15. Bb5 Be6 (15…Rd8 or Ne7)

16. Bxc6 (White should play 16 Rhe1 with about an even game) 16…bxc6 17. Rde1 (Why not Rhd1?) 17…e4 18. Nd4 Bd7 (18…c5 or Bf7) 19. f3 exf3 20. Nxf3 Bf5 21. Ne5 (He needs to double rooks) 21…Rae8 22. Qe3 (22 Nd3) 22…Be4 23. Nd7 Qf2 24. Qc3 d4 (He could move the rook to f7 or f5) 25. Qc4+ (Qb3+ is better) 25…Bd5 26. Qb4 (Qf1 looks interesting)

26…Rxe1+ (26…a5!?) 27. Rxe1 Rc8 (Maybe Qf4+ first?)

28. Qe7 28 (Qd2!=)  28…Qxg2 29. Qe5 Qg4 30. Nc5 Rf8

31. Qe7 (31 b3) 31…h6 (31…Qf4+)

32. b3 (32 Nd3 or Qxa7) 32…Rf2 33. Nd7 Qf5 34. Kb2 Qxc2+ 35. Ka3 Qxa2+ 36. Kb4 Qxb3+ 37. Kc5 Qa3+ 0-1

Max Schoenbauer (2000) vs Werner Rinkewitz (1885)

Regionalliga SW 9697 Bayern 1997

C17 French, Winawer, advance variation

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Bd2 cxd4 7.Nb5 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 O-O 9.Bd3 Nbc6 10.Nbxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Nc6 12.Nf3 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.c3 Ne5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5+ 16.Qe2 Qxe2+ 17.Bxe2 e5 18.Rd1 Be6 19.O-O Rad8 20.Rfe1 Kf7 21.Bf3 Kf6 22.Rd2 e4 23.Bd1 Ke5 24.Rd4 Rd6 25.f3 Bf5 26.Bb3 Rfd8 27.Kf2 Kf6 28.Red1 exf3 29.gxf3 Be6 30.c4 Bf5 31.cxd5 Re8 32.R1d2 h6 33.h4 g5 34.hxg5+ hxg5 35.Kg3 Rh8 36.Rh2 Rxh2 37.Kxh2 Ke5 38.Rb4 b6 39.Kg3 Rh6 40.Rc4 Rh7 41.Rc6 Rd7 42.Rc8 Rg7 43.Rf8 Bd7 44.Ra8 Bf5 45.Re8+ Kd6 46.Rd8+ Ke5 47.Ba4 Rh7 48.d6 Rh6 49.d7 Kd6 50.Rf8 Bxd7 51.Rd8 Rh3+ 52.Kg2 Rh7 53.Bxd7 Rxd7 54.Rg8 Ke6 55.Rxg5 Rd2+ 56.Kg3 Rxb2 57.a4 a5 58.f4 Kf6 59.Rh5 Rb4 60.Kg4 Kg7 ½-½

IM Boris Kogan Versus Expert David Spinks

IM Boris Kogan vs Expert David Spinks

Southern Congress

Atlanta, Georgia 1987

Round 1 Board 1

A50 Queen’s pawn game

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. Bf4 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4 Bg7 10. Nc3 Ne4 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. e3 a6 14. Be2 Rfe8 15. O-O Nf8 16. c4 dxc4 17. Bxc4 Be6 18. Nd2 Bd5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nb3 e5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Rxe5 23. b5 Ree8 24. bxa6 bxa6 25. Rfd1 Red8 26. Na5 Ne6 27. Rac1 Nc7 28. Nb7 Re8 29. Rd4 Re6 30. Nd6 Rb8 31. Rdd1 Kg7 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne8 34. Rb6 Nxd6 35. cxd6 Kf8 36. Rxa6 Ke8 37. g4 g5 38. Kg2 Kd7 39. h4 h6 40. Ra7+ Ke8 41. Ra8+ Kd7 42. Kg3 Rf6 (Loses a pawn. 42…Rxd6 offers stiffer resistance.) 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Rg8 Rg6 (The king+pawn ending is lost, although the R+p ending is almost as hopeless) 45. Rxg6 fxg6 46. Kf3 Kxd6 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Kd3 Ke5 49. f3 Ke6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. e4 dxe4 52. fxe4 1-0

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 (Komodo plays 4 Nc3, the most often played move according to the CBDB. Stockfish prefers 4 e3, played a little less than half as many times as 4 Nc3) 4…g6 (Although 4…d6 and 4…dxc4 have been played far more than the game move, both SF & Komodo choose the move played by Spinks) 5 Bf4 (The most often move seen in practice, but Komodo prefers 5 Nc3) 5…Bf5 (Deep Fritz @depth 28 plays this move, but SF @depth 55 plays 5…dxc4) 6 Qb3 Qb6 7 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 7 e3) 7…Qxb3 8 axb3 Nbd7 (Both SF & Komodo prefer 8…Na6) 9 b4 (Komodo & Houdini play 9 Nc3) 9…Bg7 (Komodo plays this but SF produces a TN with 9…Nh5) 10 Nc3 (Although SF 7 plays the game move SF 10 chooses 10 Nbd2. The only game found saw Lein play 10 h3 versus Smyslov:

Anatoly Lein (2510) vs Vassily Smyslov (2580)

Hastings 1981

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 g6 5.Bf4 Bf5 6.Qb3 Qb6 7.c5 Qxb3 8.axb3 Nbd7 9.b4 Bg7 10.h3 Bxb1 11.Rxb1 O-O 12.e3 a6 13.Bd3 Ne8 14.Bh2 Rc8 15.g4 Nc7 16.g5 Rfe8 17.Kd2 e5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Bxe5 20.f4 Bg7 21.h4 ½-½

After spending far too much time analyzing the game while making notes, the decision was made to surf over to 365Chess and utilize the free Stockfish engine to correct the “Beeg Mistakes” made in analysis. Frankly, after burning the midnight oil, my analysis was far better than expected, excepting for the “HH” moves, as in Horrendous Howlers, from which you will be spared.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. Bf4 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4 Bg7 10. Nc3 Ne4 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. e3 a6 14. Be2

14…Rfe8 (14…Be4) 15. O-O

15…Nf8 (15…h5) 16. c4 (16 Bh2; or 16 g4 or maybe 16 Rfc1) dxc4 17. Bxc4 Be6 18. Nd2 (18 Bd3) 18…Bd5 (18…Bxc4 19 Nxc4 Ne6) 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nb3 (20 Rfc1)

20… e5 (20…Ne6) 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Rxe5 23. b5 Ree8 24. bxa6 (24 b6 or c6) bxa6 25. Rfd1 Red8 (25…Reb8) 26. Na5 Ne6 (26 Nd4 or Ra5) 27. Rac1

27…Nc7 (27…Nc7 is not the best as simply improving the position of the King with 27…Kf8 is better)

28. Nb7 (28 c6 because passed pawns must be pushed!) 28…Re8 (28…Rdb8) 29. Rd4 Re6 (29…Re4 or Kg7) 30. Nd6 Rb8 31. Rdd1 (31 g4) Kg7 (Maybe 31…Kf8 or Rb2…) 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne8 34. Rb6 Nxd6 35. cxd6

35…Kf8 (35…Re8 36 Rxa6 Rd8) 36. Rxa6 Ke8 37. g4 g5 38. Kg2 Kd7

39. h4 (Wonder why Boris did not play 39 Ra7+?) 39…h6 (39…gxh4 is much better…) 40. Ra7+ Ke8 41. Ra8+ Kd7 42. Kg3?

(This is a, as Boris was so fond of saying about one of my moves, “Beeg Mistake.” 42 Ra7+ looks like a winner…) 42…Rf6 (This is certainly a really BEEG MISTAKE! David could have possibly drawn the game with 42…Rxd6!) 43. hxg5 (43 Ra7+ is a winner…43 h5 could be better than the move played in the game.) hxg5 44. Rg8

44…Rg6 (Surely 44…Rxd6 is better…) 45. Rxg6 fxg6 46. Kf3 Kxd6 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Kd3 Ke5 49. f3 Ke6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. e4 dxe4 52. fxe4 1-0











John “Smitty” Smith Jr. vs IM Boris Kogan

Because of the enforced time spent at home recently I have rummaged through older Chess material found collecting dust. Finding a compilation of games by IM Boris Kogan filled me with elation.

Boris Kogan with raised hand at Lone Pine (From the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter)

My collection, which was gone with the rain, thanks to crazy cousin Linda, contained games put together by Tom Fallis. Although uncertain, I do not believe this collection is the same, but I could be mistaken.

Boris was given the sobriquet, “Hulk” Kogan, after the popular wrestler called Hulk Hogan, by the Legendary Georgia Ironman. Boris was a professional and he rarely lost, but when he did lose he never withdrew. If he lost in the first round, and I can recall that occurring only one time, he finished with a score of 4-1. To our small Chess community the Hulking Boris Kogan was a mighty Oak Tree.

The writer of these words is to write a review of the new book about to be published by New In Chess magazine, still the best Chess magazine on the planet. Most probably, the book, written by former US Chess Co-Champion, Stuart Rachels,

The Best I Saw in Chess: Games, Stories and Instruction from an Alabama Prodigy Who Became U.S. Champion

and a student of Boris Kogan, should have already arrived, but the situation with the COVID-19 virus has altered things dramatically, and the mail is no longer timely. For instance, the Chess magazine from England never arrived and a replacement needed to be sent, only recently arrived thanks to Paul Harrington at Chess, and Greg Yanez of Chess4Less! The mailbox has been empty for days…The April issue of Chess has yet to arrive and it was coming around the first of the month; this is being written on  April 12.

John Smith was a class ‘A’ player on the day this game was played. After the game Smitty was no longer considered a class ‘A’ player, but a man who had taken down a mighty Hulk tree. Smitty, who almost earned the NM title, is profiled in an earlier post. (

This writer learned more about Chess from the IM of GM strength, Boris Kogan, than was learned from all the books and magazines read prior to his arrival in the Great State of Georgia. Unfortunately, implementing the knowledge gained was lost in the translation, I am sad to report…

Boris proved himself human in the game as he lost his focus, and/or concentration. Uncertain as to which round this game was played I will say the three rounds in a day, and five over the course of a weekend, was not to his liking. “Mike,” I can still hear him say, “You Americans CRAZY!” We were, no doubt, crazy for Chess!

Atlanta November Open

John Wiley Smith Jr. vs IM Boris Kogan

A28 English, four knights, Nimzovich variation

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bb4 5. d3 d6 6. g3 Bg4 7. Bg2 Qc8 8. O-O Nd4 9. Be3 Bxc3 10. bxc3 Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 O-O 12. Bg5 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nd7 14. Qg4 Nc5 15. Qxc8 Raxc8 16. Rad1 b6 17. f3 Na4 18. Rc1 Nb2 19. Rb1 Nxd3 20. Be3 Rcd8 21. Rfd1 Nc5 22. Bxc5 dxc5 23. Rd5 Rxd5 24. cxd5 f6 25. Kf2 Kf7 26. a4 Ke7 27. a5 Kd6 28. c4 Rb8 29. a6 c6 30. Ke3 b5 31. Kd2 cxd5 32. Rxb5 Rc8 33. cxd5 f5 34. Rb7 fxe4 35. fxe4 Rf8 36. Ke2 c4 37. Rxa7 c3 38. Rxg7 Rf2+ 39. Kd1 Rxh2 40. a7 Ra2 41. Rxh7 Kc5 42. g4 Ra6 43. Rc7+ Kd4 44. d6 Kd3 45. Rxc3+ Kxc3 46. d7 Rd6+ 47. Ke1 Rxd7 48. a8=Q Rd4 49. Qa5+ Kd3 50. Qd2+ Kxe4 51. Qg2+ Kf4 52. g5 Rd7 53. Qh2+ Ke4 54. g6 Ra7 55. Qg2+ Kd3 56. Qe2+ 1-0

[notes from the GCA newsletter] This must be the upset of the year: Boris Kogan, our won candidate for the U.S. Championship, loses to John Smith, a local Category I player. Although Kogan gains the upper hand and goes into a highly favorable ending, Smitty finds a tactical shot which turns things around. (Thanks to Paul and Phil Shields for help with the snalysis) – Steve Whiteman.

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bb4 5. d3 d6 6. g3 Bg4 7. Bg2 Qc8 (In order to dissuade White from h3. 7… Qd7, with the same idea, would force Black to give up a bishop fo a knight: 8 h3 Be6 9 Ng5. The text move allows Black to maintain his bishop: 8 h3 Bd7 and White has difficulty castling.)
8. O-O Nd4 9. Be3 Bxc3 (Weakening the white pawn structure. Relinquishing a bishop for a knight, especially to creat static weaknesses, is not such a sin in a position which is likely to remain closed. White;s bishop’s will require open lines to demonstrate their theoretical superiority.) 10. bxc3 Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 O-O 12. Bg5 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nd7 14. Qg4 (Trading into an ending when you are the possessor of the board’s only weak pawns is inadvisable. As previously mentioned, White’s bishop will be hemmed in by the closed nature of the position. Black’s knight, which can travel on squares of both colors, will be able to attack all of White’s weaknesses. White should strive to stay away from an ending and open up the game for his long-range bishop. Hence, 14 Qe2, with the idea of f4, should have been considered.) 14…Nc5 15. Qxc8 Raxc8 16. Rad1 (If White had seen what was coming, he might have attempted to guard his pawns with both of his rook’s: 16 Rfd1 Na4 17 Rac1 Nb2 18 Rd2. But if White moves his king rook from the king side, Black takes advantage of its absence with 16…f5. The move played was therefore best; the follow up was faulty, however.) 16…b6! (Preparing for the following maneuver by guarding the b-pawn from an attack along the file.) 17. f3? (Better was 17 Rd2 so that on 17…Na4 18 Rf2 would hold.) 17…Na4 18. Rc1 Nb2 19. Rb1 Nxd3 (Now the importance of Black’s 16th move is evident.) 20. Be3 Rcd8 21. Rfd1 Nc5 22. Bxc5 dxc5 23. Rd5 (Intending to double rooks on the file) 23…Rxd5 24. cxd5 f6 25. Kf2 Kf7 26. a4 Ke7 27. a5 Kd6 28. c4 Rb8 29. a6 c6 30. Ke3 b5 31. Kd2


(Allowing the invasion of White’s rook. The “active rook” is worth a King’s ransom in the endgame. Much better was 31…b5, when Black can combine an attack on White’s a-pawn (via Rb6). This rook activity, combined with a passed b-pawn (as well as a king-side pawn majority, should White allow it) give Black a winning game.) 32. Rxb5!

(Turning the game around.) 32… Rc8 (Not 32…Rxb5 33 cxb5 d4 34 b6! winning) 33. cxd5 f5 (Trying to get some activity for his rook. Another possibility was 33…Rc7. White does not then play 34 Rb7? Rxb7!, but first improves the position of his king with 34 Kc3 and 35 Kc4. Black’s passive rook position should bring the same result as in the game.) 34. Rb7 fxe4 35. fxe4 Rf8 36. Ke2 c4 37. Rxa7 c3 38. Rxg7 Rf2+ 39. Kd1 (39 Kxf2? c2.) 39…Rxh2 40.a7 Ra2 41. Rxh7 Kc5 42. g4 Ra6 43. Rc7+ Kd4 44. d6 Kd3 45. Rxc3+ Kxc3 46. d7 Rd6+ 47. Ke1 Rxd7 48. a8=Q Rd4 49. Qa5+ Kd3 (Hoping for 50 Qxe5? Rxe4+, drawing.) 50. Qd2+ Kxe4 51. Qg2+ Kf4 52. g5 Rd7 53. Qh2+ Ke4 54. g6 Ra7 55. Qg2+ Kd3 56. Qe2+ (As 56…Kd4 brings 57 Qf2+, spearing the rook.) 1-0

A28 English, four knights, Nimzovich variation

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 (Komodo plays the most popular move 4 g3) 4…Bb4 5. d3 d6 6. g3 (Stockfish plays 6 a3) 6…Bg4 7. Bg2 (SF plays 7 h3; Komodo prefers 7 Be2) 7…Qc8 (This move is not shown at either the CBDB or 365Chess. The CBDB shows SF 11 @depth 38 plays 7…Bc5, but going deeper to depth 48 displays 7…Nd4)