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:

https://i0.wp.com/failuretolisten.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/never-give-upeditwpattern.jpg?resize=1024%2C853&ssl=1
Never Ever Give Up! – Failure to Listen
failuretolisten.com

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.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/bf/2d/d7/bf2dd77b34fac26910c41fa3e438bba6.jpg

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
chessgossip.com

vs Nazi Paikidze 2374 (USA)

Classify Nazi Paikidze.
theapricity.com

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-womens-chess-championship/07-Lee_Megan-Paikidze_Nazi

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 (https://www.cologuard.com/) 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.

May be an image of 1 person
Thad Rogers https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=thad%20rogers

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.

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgamesided.com%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F02%2FMrHankytheChristmasPoo.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
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.

GM A

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/07-Ringoir_Tanguy-Ostrovskiy_Aleksandr

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/05-Ringoir_Tanguy-Dragun_Kamil

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/03-Ringoir_Tanguy-Ali_Marandi_Cemil_Can

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/09-Mardov_Dimitar-Dragun_Kamil

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/01-Dragun_Kamil-Ali_Marandi_Cemil_Can

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/03-Dragun_Kamil-Ostrovskiy_Aleksandr

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/09-Yoo_Christopher_Woojin-Beradze_Irakli

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/09-Bora_Safal-Ringoir_Tanguy

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/09-Griffith_Kyron-Ostrovskiy_Aleksandr

GM B

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-b/09-Paragua_Mark-Theodorou_Nikolas

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-b/04-Panchanathan_Magesh_Chandran-Paragua_Mark

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-b/05-Roussel_Roozmon_Thomas-Wang_Tianqi

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-b/09-Sheng_Joshua-Roussel_Roozmon_Thomas

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-b/01-Rozman_Levy-Paragua_Mark

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.

IM C

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-c/03-Martin_Del_Campo_Cardenas_Roberto_Abel-Adamson_Robby

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-c/09-Della_Morte_Pablo-Martin_Del_Campo_Cardenas_Roberto_Abel

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-c/08-Martin_Del_Campo_Cardenas_Roberto_Abel-Antova_Gabriela

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-c/09-Canty_James-Proleiko_Julian

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-c/08-Adu_Oladapo-Canty_James

IM D

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-d/05-Diulger_Alexey-Bajarani_Ulvi

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-d/09-Colas_Joshua-Matros_Alexander

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-d/04-Matros_Alexander-Prilleltensky_Matan

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
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-im-d/06-Bajarani_Ulvi-Shlyakhtenko_Robert

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!
10,738,517 views
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 @ https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/on-the-road-with-im-ron-burnett/

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
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=1089776&m=26

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
https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=18&n=1968792&ms=d4.Nf6.c4.c6.Nf3.d5.Qc2.g6.Bf4.Bf5.Qb3.Qb6.c5.Qxb3.axb3.Nbd7.b4&ns=7.14.11.299.896.63.857.1027.1419.20272.16783.20273.29575.32313.29576.166619.1968792

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.

https://xpertchesslessons.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/826_Lein2.jpg?w=300&h=212

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. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/paradise-by-the-chessboard-light/)

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

31…cxd5??

(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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chess and Clocks

Back in the day a very strong Chess player, Mike Lucas, moved from Alabama to Atlanta. At the USCF website Michael Lucas is shown as a National Master, 1st Category. IM of GM strength Boris Kogan said Mike was one of the most talented, creative and inventive players he had known. Unfortunately, Mike loved time pressure. “Crazy”, was the moniker bestowed on Mike because of his  time trouble addiction. He won most of the games we played, whether classical or fifteen minute. Mike deferred to me in playing fifteen minute games because his love was speed Chess, which meant five minutes on the clock without any delay or time added. There was, though, a tournament game that found Mike in severe time pressure, and me with time to spare. All I can recall now is the opening, with Mike having the white pieces, which went 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Ng3.

It was the first time in any game an opponent had not taken the knight with 5 Nxf6+. The game ended in a flurry of moves before a draw was agreed. “That was really exciting, wasn’t it,” Mike said. Heart pounding all I could muster was, “Maybe for you…” Mike grinned.

Yet another excellent article appeared at Chessbase today which brought the memory of the Lucas game to the fore.

Grandmaster tips on how to fight time-pressure by Swapnil Dhopade

2/18/2020 – When we learn the rules of chess as a youngster we are told about the chess board, the chess pieces and how each of the pieces move. Once we master these basics, we can proudly tell everyone that we have learnt the game of chess. However, when you go to a tournament, there is one more element that is added, one which plays just as important a role as the board and the pieces: the chess clock! Time is one of the most crucial factors when playing a game, and somehow this is one of the things that chess players pay the least attention to. It doesn’t come as a surprise that many strong chess players handle the clock and time in a very poor manner, losing several games due to time pressure. How do we avoid this problem? In this article GM SWAPNIL DHOPADE tries to acquaint you with the causes and solutions of this perennial problem.

A nightmare for every chess player

Have you ever lost a winning position in time-pressure? I am sure the answer is a resounding yes! Every chess player has lost winning or equal positions in their games due to time trouble.

Imagine a situation:

You have prepared for hours before the game.
The efforts are paying dividends as your opponent falls into something that you have prepped for.
You get a slightly better position and also some extra minutes on the clock.
You invest your time on every move and slowly but steadily build up a clearly better / winning position until move 25-30.
But then you have around 3 minutes left on the clock with 30 seconds increment for the entire game. You being low on time, your opponent tries to create some mess on the board and you have to find that one single move, a deceptive one that wins on the spot!
With your time ticking away, unfortunately, you do not find it and the tables are turned against you. You either lose the game or draw a winning position.
The emotions after such a game of chess are felt by most of us at some point or the other in our careers. It further turns into agitation and you may end up cursing your luck or blaming yourself. You come out and tell your friends, coaches and parents that you played a nearly flawless game but only if you had some extra time at that exact moment, you would have found the required winning move and crushed your opponent. Doh!

Does this story sound familiar to you? If this happens once in a while, maybe it’s not that big an issue but if it happens game after game then it is high time to do something about it. Unless, of course, you enjoy playing under time pressure and find reasonably good moves without too many errors even in the most complicated of the positions. If this is the case, then, congratulations! You are the next Grischuk!

https://en.chessbase.com/post/grandmaster-tips-on-how-to-fight-time-pressure-gm-swapnil-dhopade

Or Crazy Lucas…

There is more, much more, of this excellent article. I suggest you click on over and read it, now, without getting into “time trouble.”

 

GM Alonso Zapata: Professional Chess Player

Grandmaster Alonso Zapata 

is a professional Chess player. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago, coming from Columbia, where he won the Colombian Chess championship eight times. He has been a GM since 1984. He was born in August 1958 and is, therefore a Senior. Alonso Zapata comes to play Chess.

He has played in all kinds of adverse conditions, including one tournament hosted by Thad Rogers

of American Chess Promotions that has become known as one of the latest “Sweat Box Opens.” There was no air conditioning and the conditions were life threatening, but Zapata played, and won the tournament despite the heat and stench emanating from the profusely perspiring players. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/2013-hot-lanta-chess-championship/)

GM Zapata reminds me of IM of GM strength Boris Kogan because he, too, was a professional Chess player. The few times Boris lost in the first round of a tournament he did not withdraw but completed the event, finishing 4-1. He did this because it was his job and he always came to play Chess.

From December 27 through 29, 2019, GM Zapata played in the 49th Atlanta Open, another American Chess Promotions event. He tied for first with NM Matthew Puckett with a score of 4-1, after a second round draw with the up and coming NM Alexander Rutten and a fourth round draw with NM Sanjay Ghatti.

GM Zapata then hit the road traveling to the Charlotte Chess Center to play in the 2020 Charlotte Open, a grueling event of nine rounds played over a five day period from the first to the fifth of January. Because of his age one can question the efficacy of participating in both tournaments. Zapata played in both events because he is a professional Chess player. It is what he is and it is what he does. The GM won five games. Unfortunately, he lost four. There were no draws. He finished in the fifth score group, scoring 5-4. Zapata began with two wins before losing in the third round to the eventual winner of the tournament, IM Brandon Jacobson, young enough to be the grandchild of the GM. One of the most difficult things to do as a Chess player is to come back from a loss. Studies have proven that after the loss of a Chess game the testosterone of a male drops precipitously. This is mitigated somewhat if the next game is the next day, but if there are multiple games in the same day it is a different story. I can recall the time the Ol’ Swindler had been on a roll, winning many games in a row from the beginning of a tournament in New York, ‘back in the day’. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I encountered the Swindler sitting alone away from the tournament, and were shocked to learn he had lost the previous round and withdrawn. “What?” exclaimed the Ironman. “You still have a chance to win some big money, Neal.” That mattered not to the Swindler because he had lost and simply could not face playing another game that day, or any other, for that matter.

After another win in the next round, versus FM Rohan Talukdar, Zapata the Chess player hit the proverbial wall, losing his next three games. Most Chess players, professional or not, would have withdrawn after the third loss in a row, and no one would have blamed him for withdrawing, but Alonso Zapata is not like most Chess players. Not only did he complete the event but he finished with a flourish by winning his last two games.

My hat is off to Grandmaster Alonso Zapata, who deserves the highest praise. The GM has set a tremendous example for the younger players of Georgia to emulate. The Atlanta area players have been fortunate to have such a fine example residing here and plying his trade. The young up and coming players may not realize it now but they will be much better Chessplayers for simply having been around a man like Alonso Zapata. What a boon he has been for the local Chess community. It is wonderful to have one classy Grandmaster in the Atlanta area. Every player, no matter what age, can learn from Alonso Zapata, just as those of my generation, and younger, learned from IM Boris Kogan. The Grandmaster has shown that it is how you play that matters.

This is the last round game versus Justin Paul,

a Zero born in 2003. The Professional Chess player had to face a Smith-Morra gambit.

2020 Charlotte Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

75. Ra8??? (The Zero cracks and tosses away the draw with this horrible blunder) 75…Kf4 76. Rf8+ Kg3 77. Re8 0-1

1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? Komodo 19 @depth 34 plays the move, but Komodo 13.02 @depth 36 prefers 4…e6. Stockfish 10 @depth 54 plays 4 d6) 5 Nf3 d6 (SF 10 plays this move but Komodo is high on e6, which happens to be the most often played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase) 6 Bc4 e6 (The most often played move and the choice of Stockfish 310519 @depth 53, but SF 10 @depth 53 and Komodo 10 @depth 34 prefer 6…a6) 7. O-O (The most often played move but the SF program running over at the ChessBomb shows a move near and dear to the AW, 7 Qe2!) 7..a6 (7…Nf6 and 7…Be7 are the top two played moves but two different SF engines prefer the third most often played move, 7…a6 8. Qe2! (SF 050519 @depth 46 plays this move but Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays 8 Bf4) 8…Be7 (The only one of the top 3 engines listed at the CBDB, Komodo 10, plays 8…b5. The SF engine at ChessBomb shows 8…Nge7 best) 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 (SF 10 plays 12 Nd5) 12…O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 (The only game with 13 Bg5 shown, Senador vs Nanjo below, shows 13…Rc8. SF 10 would play 13 Rac1)

Emmanuel Senador (2380) vs Ryosuke Nanjo (2165)

Kuala Lumpur op 4th 2007

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

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

Yakov Vilner First Ukrainian Chess Champion and First USSR Chess Composition Champion: A Review

Having earlier reviewed Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/alekhines-odessa-secrets-chess-war-and-revolution-a-review/) I was pleased when a new book, published by Elk and Ruby (http://www.elkandruby.com/) and by the same author, Sergei Tkachenko,

appeared in the mailbox. Yakov Vilner: First Ukrainian Chess Champion and First USSR Chess Composition Champion,

is the follow up to the aforementioned book.

Tkrachenko writes in the introduction to the latter book, “I found clear evidence that the versions that Alekhine was saved by important Soviet functionaries were incorrect. Historical facts and memoirs pointed to the undoubted fact that his salvation was down to the modest Jewish lad Yakov Vilner, who at the time the grandmaster was arrested was working as a clerk in the Odessa revolutionary tribunal.

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about this figure. However, it transpired that there was little ready information about Vilner. Even his date of birth was unknown. Well, I then spent eight years researching him until the curtain of mysteriousness finally fell! I now saw a vivid and gifted personality who had the “luck” to live in such turbulent times.

Moreover, I collected so much material that on the advice of historians among my friends I decided to split it into two books, with the material on Alexander Alekhine’s three trips to Odessa compiled as a separate book (subsequently published later in 2016 in Russian and in 2018 in English, as Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution, which was short-listed for the 2018 English Chess Federation Book of the Year).

The book you are now reading was originally intended as a prelude to the book on Alekhine and is devoted to the first Ukrainian Chess Champion, first USSR Chess Composition Champion and first Odessa Master Yakov Semionovich Vilner, who in 1919 managed to save Alekhine from death and thereby cange the courst of chess history.”

Before reading the two books by Sergei Tkachenko what I knew about Ukraine could be summed up in the sentence, “Ukraine was the breadbasket of the USSR.” Because of the attempt of the Commander in Thief of the DisUnited States of America, Donald John (has any POTUS ever had a better fitting middle name?) Trumpster to gain another term as POTUS by strong arming the young President of Ukraine that country has been in the news often this year. In an attempt to learn more about Ukraine I recently watched two documentaries, Ukraine on Fire, and Revealing Ukraine. Oliver Stone

is the Executive Producer, which was all I needed to know to watch. My knowledge of Ukraine was increased exponentially by watching the films, which were viewed between reading the two aforementioned books.

From a historical perspective I enjoyed the book, yet wondered how many others would be interested in what was happening in Chess a century ago. The first book was about a former World Chess Champion with a backdrop of radical political change containing firing squads for those with a different political thought. Firing squads feature in the Vilner book but the drama is lacking. Yakov Vilner was obviously a fine Chess player, but unfortunately, his health was sometimes bad because he had asthma. Thus, his Chess results were rather erratic. The same can be said about the Chess games. For example, the second game, versus Boris Koyalovich, features 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 f6? I kid you not. This is the kind of move Chess teachers of children often encounter. The author writes, “One of the weakest ways to defend the Spanish. Koyalovich clearly chooses it to avoid the well-known variations.” I’ll say! This game was played during the Tournament of Kislovodsk in 1917.

When healthy Yakov Vilner was the best player in Odessa, and Ukraine. He was good enough to finish in a three way tie for sixth place in the eighteen player 3rd tournament Championship of the USSR in 1924 played in Moscow in August/September.

Some of the games are interesting and the annotations are excellent. For example, consider this game from the 4th USSR Championship played in Leningrad 1925:

Yakov S Vilner

vs Boris Verlinsky

URS-ch04 Leningrad 1925

E00 Queen’s pawn game

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 b6 4.e4 Bb4 5.Bd3 Bb7 6.Qc2 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 d6 8.Ne2 c5 9.O-O Nbd7 10.Ng3 Qc7 11.f4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Rc8 13.e5 Nd5 14.Qb3 Ne7 15.Ba3 d5 16.Rac1 Qd8 17.f5 O-O 18.f6 gxf6 19.exf6 Ng6 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Be7 Qe8 22.Qe3 Kh7 23.Nf5 1-0

The author writes, “A game of fireworks! Interestingly, almost all of white’s moves were consistent with Rybka’s first line. In our days that might have led to allegations of cheating!” This is a sad indictment of modern Chess. Spurious allegations by Chess.com, for example, have forced former online players to go elsewhere. An example can be found at GM Kevin’s Spraggett’s wonderful blog with the post, Blogger’s Reputation Intentionally Smeared? (https://www.spraggettonchess.com/chesscom-caught-cheating/) Reading the article caused me to do some checking around and one of the things learned was that one local youngster was given the boot from chess.com for allegedly “boosting.” The youngster was accused of creating false accounts to play in order to beat them and “boost” his rating. The youngster did no such thing, yet had no recourse other than to leave chess.com and play at one of the other, more reputable, websites. How many players have been falsely accused by chess.com ?

Another game from the same tournament attests to the strength of Vilner.

Efim Bogoljubow

vs Yakov S Vilner

URS-ch04 Leningrad 1925

D49 Queen’s Gambit Declined semi-Slav, Meran, Sozin variation

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 e6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 axb5 13.O-O Qd5 14.Qf3 Ba6 15.Bg5 Be7 16.Rfc1 O-O 17.Qh3 h6 18.Bf4 Bb7 19.Re1 Bb4 20.Re2 Rxa2 21.Rf1 Rfa8 22.f3 Bf8 23.Ng4 Nxg4 24.Qxg4 Qb3 25.Bb1 Rxb2 26.Ree1 d3 27.Rc1 Ra1 28.Bc2 Rxc1 0-1

The annotations to both games were provided by Yakov Vilner. The author writes, “Naturally, I wanted to find out more about this figure. However, it transpired that there was little ready information about Vilner. Even his date of birth was unknown. Well, I then spent eight years researching him until the curtain of mysteriousness finally fell! I now saw a vivid and gifted personality who had the “luck” to live in such turbulent times.”

Vilner was very ill for a time and the title of one chapter is, How To Combine Treatment With Playing. Then came the Odessa Championship tournament of 1927.

“At first, everything went to plan. On 12 April the 12 best players of Odessa began their battle for the city championship. After round 4 Vilner headed the field with a perfect score. But then his illness returned. The tournament committee managed to postpone several of Vilner’s games so that he could complete the tournament. His short rest brought dividends. After round 8 Yakov Semionovich was still a point ahead of Sergei Ballodit and 1.5 ahead of Dmitry Russo. Vilner then had to play each of them in the final rounds. Such intrigue would have been hard to make up! A reporter hiding behind the initials AMO shared his observations in the newspaper Odessa Izvestia. The column was entitled Before the end and stated:

“Final games. Vilner-Ballodit. Two stubborn “wolf-dogs”. They will battle to the end, to the final pawn. They both possess deep theoretical preparation and have mastered the complex meandering of combinational play. Who will come out on top? So they begin. We see agile bishops slipping out. Knights crawling over the heads of pawns. Carefully feeling out the paths, the queen emerges.
A schematic position has already appeared. Vilner “presses”. With an apparently strong front, Vilner strides towards a difficult but possible victory. Vilner analyzes dozens of variations. He thinks ahrd. But the clock isn’t sleeping. Maestro, time is running out. The maestro makes his move. Then another and another. Time is running out. He needs to catch up.
Well, his opponent is “time-rich”, and coldly calculating. time-trouble disrupts the accuracy of the plan. “Enemy” pieces ahve already broken through. One blunder and it’s death. A crush is close… The game cannot be saved. Destruction…”

This reminded me of the battles between IM Boris Kogan and LM Klaus Pohl, the German Shepard, ‘back in the day’. Boris usually took the measure of Klaus, but occasionally the Krazy Kraut would do the measuring. Ballodit played second fiddle to Vilner, but took over first position in this particular tournament.

Also found is this:

“In order to popularize chess, two rounds were played at factories in the city: at the jute factory and the leather goods factory. “Chess to the masses”, as the slogan went! But of course sharp games are the best adverts for chess.” (The USSR was as full of slogans as it was full of excrement)

Vilner finished near the bottom of the Fifth championship of the USSR in 1927, but did inflict a defeat upon future World champion Botvinnik in the tournament.

Yakov S Vilner vs Mikhail Botvinnik

URS-ch05
Moscow 1927
A45 Queen’s pawn game

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Qd3 g6 4.h3 Nc6 5.Bf4 Bf5 6.Qd2 Bg7 7.e3 O-O 8.g4 Bc8 9.Bg2 Re8 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Ne5 Be6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxe4 Bd5 15.Qd3 e5 16.dxe5 Bxe5 17.Bxd5 cxd5 18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.O-O-O c6 20.h4 Qd7 21.Qc3 Rae8 22.Rd4 Qd6 23.h5 c5 24.Rdd1 Re4 25.hxg6 Qxg6 26.Rxd5 Rxg4 27.Qxc5 Rg2 28.Rd2 Qg4 29.Rhd1 h5 30.Rd8 Rxd8 31.Rxd8+ Kh7 32.Rd4 Rg1+ 33.Kd2 Rd1+ 34.Kc3 Rxd4 35.Qxd4 Qg5 36.Qd7 h4 37.Kd2 Kg6 38.Qh3 Qd5+ 39.Ke2 Qe4 40.Kf1 Kh6 41.f3 Qxe3 42.Qxh4+ 1-0

We humans like to speculate about “what if?” As in, “What if Klaus Junge

had not died in World War Two?” (http://tartajubow.blogspot.com/2011/01/klaus-junge.html) How many players have died needlessly on a battlefield somewhere in yet another war without end? Hopefully, one day peace will break out… Reading this book brought another to light.

Alexander Moiseevich Evenson (1892-1919)

“He became recognized as a top chess player in 1913 after winning the All-Russian amateurs tournament with a score of 6.5 out of 7! He edited the chess column of the newspaper Kievan Thought (Kievskaya Mysl) (1914). Graduated from the Law Faculty of the Stl Vladimir Kiev University. Fought in WWI. Served in the cavalry and was injured. A Knight of the Order of St. George. Died in the Civil War. According to one version, he served in Kiev as an investigator of the military-revolutionary tribunal and was shot by a Denikin forces’ firing squad after the latter captured the city. Another version has that Evenson actually signed up as a volunteer for Denikin’s white army and was killed in unclear circumstances. Alekhine and Capablanca considered Evenson to be one of the most talented chess players of his time.

The 6th Championship of the USSR was held in Odessa from September, 2-20, 1929. Because of the large number of participants it came to be thought of as “Odessa roulette”. There were so many players because the Communists in charge wanted to welcome “the masses.”

“A record number of players took part – 36! Of these, 14 were masters and 22 were first category players. How were such a large number of players to be paired off? Oddly enough, the tournament had no clear regulations. It was all decided on an ad hoc basis. At the opening, the organizing committee proposed two options for holding the tournament to the players: either six groups each with six players and one game per day, or four groups each with nine players and three games every two days. The majority voted for the second option, which was later subject to harsh criticism… by the very same players. That’s democracy for you!”

The infamous communist apparatchik, Nikolai Krylenko,

who in the 1930s headed the Soviet chess and checkers associations. (https://www.chess.com/blog/Spektrowski/nikolai-krylenko-the-main-goals-of-the-chess-checkers-movement-1931) (https://spartacus-educational.com/RUSkrylenko.htm), wrote in Chess List:

“The outcome of the USSR championship has given rise to a number of critical articles in our periodical publications, most of which lack sufficient objectivity.”

Objectivity being whatever Lenin or Stalin said…

“Many secrets of the championship remained backstage. The biggest one was Izmailov’s withdrawal from the final. The master’s son recalled:

This championship could well have become Izmailov’s hour in the sun. He was only 23,
he was gaining ground and his game was blossoming, but alas, my father didn’t play in the final. Why? I attempted to establish this but failed to do so. In Chess List Duz-Khotimirsky wrote about “the need to take university exams”. Kan in 64 writes that Izmailov withdrew from the tournament at his own volition. Pravada and Izvestiia referred to illness, while Komsomolskaya Pravda cited exhaustion. Half a century later, recalling this episode, my mother told me that in the mid 1930’s she and my father held a conversation on this subject (they didn’t yet know each other in 1929), and he confirmed that he was healthy and ready to continue the battle, but he was forced to leave…

So who forced Izmailov to leave Odessa? Whom was this talented chess player impeding? Is fecit cui prodest (“it was done by the person for whom it was advantageous”). Seven years after the Odessa tournament ended, Piotr Izmailov was arrested by the NKVD and accused of “Trotskyist-Fascist activity”. He was eventually sentenced to the firing squad on 21 April 1937 and executed the next day.”

As for the protagonist, “At the end of October 1930, Vilner moved to live in Leningrad. Is it not surprising that a person suffering from serious asthma suddenly abandons the warm Odessa climate with its curative sea air in favor of the rainy climate of Northern Palmyra? I consulted with doctors specializing in heart and respiratory illnesses what such a change of environment could bring. They told me that it would mean serious stress on the body and was quite a suicidal step! So why did Vilner, despite his illness, prefer Leningrad? Had he planned this change of residence in advance?”

“At the end of the 1920s the political climate in Odessa worsened, as it did throughout the country. The ideological war against Trotsky and his supporters

(https://www.newyorker.com/sections/news/putins-russia-wrestles-with-the-meaning-of-trotsky-and-revolution)

reached an apex by the beginning of 1929. At the end of January, the former Minister for War and Naval Matters was secretly transported along with his family from exile in Almaty to Odessa. It was here that the ferry with the symbolic name Illych awaited him. On the night before 11 February the ferry set course for Constantinople accompanied by an icebreaker and government officials, and the next day Trotsky reached Turkey. With Trotsky’s expulsion, the USSR intensified its purges of his supporters and mentors. Christian Rakovsky, the protector of Alexander Alekhine and one of the leaders of Soviet power in Ukraine, was cruelly punished. He had been expelled from the party back in 1927 and then sent to internal exile in Barnaul in 1929. His party membership card was returned to him in 1935 and he was even entrusted to head the All-Union Red Cross society, but not for long. He was arrested in 1937, sentenced to 20 years in jail, and then shot at the start of the war. Vilner also suffered during the battle against Trotskyism.”

It seems Vilner chose the wrong side…

“Vilner didn’t quite live to the age of Christ – he was granted less than 32 years on this earth. Yakov Rokhlin published an obituary on the Odessite in the June edition of Chess List (1931): “Soviet chess players have endured a heavy loss. Master Yakov Semionovich Vilner died on 29 June at &pm in Leningrad after a lengthy illness…”

The book is replete with many interesting Chess games and annotations. In addition, it contains ninety five problems and studies, and if you are into that kind of thing this book is simply de rigeur.

After an email discussion with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam,

editor of New In Chess magazine, I have decided to forgo the usual star system and grade the way teachers still grade papers, even if they are written in digits now, with A+ being the top of the line and “F” as in “failure” as the bottom. This book deserves the grade “A”.

All The Wrong Moves Review: Part 3 One Night In Bangkok

The third chapter begins, “My headlong descent into an Internet chess wormhole did terrible things to my personality.”

Let me take a moment to inform you, the reader, that I once tried to play the Royal game on the internet. This was at the former Atlanta Chess & Game Center on one of the computers in the back room. It only took a few games before the realization hit me in the form of a question. “What the fork are you doing, man?” That particular form of Chess held absolutely no interest for me and, frankly, I question the sanity of anyone who would do such a thing.

Mr. Chapin continues, “This is because Internet chess is a fertile breeding ground for hatred. When you’re playing someone who isn’t visible, known to you only by their nickname – SchellingFord or ButtSex69 – your competitive instincts are unmitigated by the basic civilizing effect of the presence of a living person before you.”

This reminded me of the time Lester Bedell, after having been away from the House of Pain for about a year, walked through the door just in time to be paired for the nightly tournament. I asked Lester where he had been during the year he had missed and he replied, “I was playing on the internet.” Later, between rounds, I asked Lester why he had returned to the House. “Mike,” he began, “It’s not the same, playing on a computer. I returned because I missed playing a human being.”

Sasha continues, “But on the Internet, the patter is a little different. When somebody asks you what cup size your mother is, you say, “Fuck you.”

“How your mother do it?”

“I ignored his continuous abuse until right before the end of the game, when I offered the gracious message “You lose.”

“Come in hell for cock suck,” he responded.

Why would anyone in their right mind spend their precious time cursing someone via the internet while playing Chess? There was much trash talking in the pits, or skittles room, at the House of Pain, but without the cursing and without involving anyone’s mother, fortunately. What was heard, mostly, was what could be called “good natured trash talk,” if such a thing is possible. I never liked trash talking and never understood why anyone would do it other than to break the concentration of his opponent. I would watch players trash talking each other while those watching the game would laugh uproariously and think of something IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “This is not chess.” Writing this caused me to reflect upon something written in the previous chapter, “Badly played chess is kind of like badly played life.”

Because of constantly playing Chess on the internet, “My life was a constant alternation between triumph and ignominy, all delivered through the glow of my MacBook. The ratio of wins to losses was the determinant of my whole emotional spectrum.”

Is that not sad? Then reality struck.

“At some point I became alarmed that I wasn’t actively seeking human company. It wasn’t exactly that I was getting lonelier. It’s that I was disturbed by how little my loneliness was affecting me now that I was playing chess. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. There was an ideal personality I was supposed to be striving for: that of a witty and urbane writer-type who would fling consequential phrases from his well-compensated fingers before going our in the evening to quip his way through intimate gatherings and win over strangers with lustrous anecdotes. But none of that was happening at all. In Bangkok, a bright and gritty city, totally free to be whomever I wanted, I was becoming a chess nerd.”

Who wants to be a chess nerd, right? Actually, Chess nerds come in various shapes and sizes. To wit:

“So, I downloaded Tinder, in an attempt to prove to myself that I still possessed worldly desires. Resultantly, I met up with a cute girl named Sundae on a lantern-lit patio. She was charming and smart and full of contagious optimism, sure that both of our lives would be forever involved in a state of continuous improvement and joy.”

Oh, to be young again! Her name was Cecelia Jordan, Cecil for short. She had driven a clunker all the way from Sacremento, California, to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines. She was cute as a button with a rather deep voice like that of one of my earliest crushes, June Allyson. She initiated me into the “Mile High Club.”

I digress…

Sasha and Sundae had a wonderful one night in Bangkok. “But later that week, when she sent me a very felicitous text, I was deep in a chess game. Two days later, she texted me again, at 1 a.m. But I didn’t respond immediately because I was deep in a chess game.”

He fell into the rabbit hole…”My only contacts with non-chess reality were Elena and Sally…”

“So, it occurred to me, in Bangkok, as I started feeling like a sack of fatback left under a heat lamp, that I might be in the middle of this cycle again. Perhaps my chess infatuation was just another vanishing fancy…”

To Sasha it was obvious things had to change because, “I was becoming frightened of my increasingly hostile interior landscape, so I decided that I needed counsel. Therapy occurred to me…Instead, I decided I needed the presence of other chess players, who would steer me in the right direction. I took a shower, got on the Skytrain, and went to meet the Bangkok Chess Club.”

The club met on the upper floor of a pub on the far end of Soi Cowboy, one of Bangkok’s high-efficiency sex markets. Pink lights illuminated pink banners over bars where pink drinks were served by women wearing pink bikinis. Reality was painted one color. Up and down the neon-crated avenue, the working women preened with numbers pinned to their chests. It was a slow night, so the salesmanship was particularly energetic. One woman in a barely existing spandex onesie took my hand and asked me where I was going. When I didn’t offer a distinct answer, she took hold of my crotch. I gently removed her hand from my person, saying something like, “Excuse me, ma’am, I have to go to chess club.”

“At the chess club…Social affiliation has only one cost: the game of chess. Friendship in chess is simple. It isn’t about smartly signaling that you’ve got the right opinions about recent topics. It’s about examining small areas of the game’s infinite tapestry – finding each other in a landscape that transcends the complexities of cultural taste, as well as every geographical boundary. This common bond engenders a positive spirit. With the exception of a few petty jerks, chess players tend to be cooperative creatures.”

“That first night at chess club

brought me back from the edge of melancholy.”

“There are different kinds of players, and broadly, you can sort them by how crazy they are.”

“Strangely, I now remember those pre-tournament days fondly, and not just because of the specialty beverages of Southeast Asia. When you’re devoting your life to chess, even if the devotion is as troubled as mine was, there’s a satisfying purity to it all. You’re surrendering yourself to a search for aesthetic pleasure as well as mental fitness. Chess, to the seasoned player, is pretty like poetry is pretty – it bears the wonder of indelible combinations arising from a simple language.”

It also brought information about a chess tournament, and a chess teacher named Mike. Before the first round of the tournament Mike said, “I’ll be watching you.”

“Do you have any advice? I asked.”

“Be calm,” he said. Ignore psychology, ignore your self, ignore the face of you opponent – just play a good move.”

“I lost the game in fifteen moves, in fifteen minutes – an astonishingly brief amount of time…”

“After I slept for twelve hours, I emailed the tournament directors, announcing my resignation. I would not be attending the remaining six games. This brought me great, instant relief. Clearly, I had been right when I was a teenager – chess just wasn’t my game. A chess hobby would lead only to misery and frustration. I decided to quit, and to keep doing things I was good at.”

Checkmate! The Love Story of Mikhail Tal and Sally Landau: A Review

Checkmate! The Love Story of Mikhail Tal and Sally Landau,

is a beautiful book written about a lifelong love between two people, one of whom, Mikhail Tal,
happened to win a World Chess Championship match against the man called “the patriarch of the Soviet School of Chess,” Mikhail Botvinnik. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/botvinnik-the-patriarch)

The book, written by Sally Landau, and published by Elk and Ruby Publishing Company (http://www.elkandruby.com/), is a wonderful history of a time long gone with the wind. The author brings to life a different time and the people who lived during the Soviet Communist period. The book, like a Chess game, has only three chapters, the opening by Sally, the middle by Gera, the son of Mikhail and Sally Tal, and the end, again by Sally.

She begins the book by writing about herself. “I am an inconsistent and impulsive person, who first does and only then thinks about what I have done. I am an ordinary, vulnerable woman, in which a womanly nature lived and lives, found joy and finds joy, suffered and suffers, in the full sense of those words. The way I see it, selfishness and a desire for independence somehow manage to coexist inside me with love for the people surrounding me and a subconscious wish to be a woman protected by a man who lives for me – protected by him from all sorts of major and minor everyday troubles.”

Later she writes, “Still sharp contradictions coexisted within me: on the one hand, this immense fear of losing my personal freedom, on the other hand, this equally immense fear of solitude and a subconscious desire to have a strong man beside me with whom I wouldn’t be afraid of falling off an overturned boat in the open seas, even if I didn’t know how to swim. These contradictions played a significant role in my life with Misha…”

She writes about her impression of what it was like being a Jew in the Soviet Union. “So it wasn’t the external appearance of the Tals’ apartment that struck me that evening. Rather, it was its anti-Soviet spirit that I sensed. I immediately inhaled this pleasant middle-class air. It was apparent straight away that the people living there were not “mass-produced” but very much “hand-crafted”, and that relations between them did not fit into the usual framework of socialist society.”

“Misha was born a frail child. He had two fingers missing from his right hand. When she (Ida, Mikhail Tal’s mother) first saw her son after he was brought to her and unwrapped from his swaddling clothes she again fainted in shock at the site of his three crooked fingers. She was unable to breastfeed. Her lack of milk was perhaps due to those shocks. She was treated for a long time after that.

“When he was just six months old, Misha was struck by a nasty meningitis-like infection with a very high temperature and convulsions. The doctor said that his chances of making it were remote, but that survivors turn out to be remarkable people. Well, Misha began to read at the age of three, and by the age of five he was multiplying three-digit numbers – while adults were still struggling to solve the math with a pencil he would tell them the answer.”

“He got “infected” with chess at the age of seven and began to spend nearly all his time at the chess club, nagging adults to play him.”

Gera was a Medical Doctor and qualified to write about Tal’s well known medical problems.

“Well, the actual start of my father’s physical ailments, however banal it may sound, was the fact of his birth. Ever since then he simply collected illnesses. But the fundamental cause of course was his totally pathological, nephrotic kidney. It tortured him relentlessly. People suffering from kidney disease know that there is nothing worse in the world than pains in the kidneys. I don’t understand how such people can even exist, let alone play chess. I’m sure that it wasn’t my father who lost the return match to Botvinnik,

but his diseased kidney.”

“My father treated his life like a chess game, somewhat philosophically. There’s the opening, then the opening transposes into the middle game, and if no disaster strikes in the middle game you get into a dull, technical endgame, in which a person ultimately has no chances. As far as I know, father didn’t gain pleasure from playing endgames – he found them boring and insipid. Force him to give up smoking, brandy, partying and female admirers – basically, the source of intense experiences in the middle game of life – and he would find himself in the endgame, when he would have nothing left to do other than passively see out the rest of his life. However, that would have been a different person just resembling Tal. And what’s the difference – to die spiritually or die physically if you can no longer be Tal?”

Throughout their life, together and apart, Mikhail and Sally had other loves and lovers, yet remained friends. A love interest of his was written about but only named by the letter “L.” Research shows this was Larisa Ivanovna Kronberg,

a Soviet/Russian actress and a KGB agent. She was named Best Actress at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in A Big Family. In 1958, she was involved in the Ambassador Dejean Affair, Kronberg lured Dejean in a honey trap. She was in a long-time relationship with World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal in the 1960s, they parted in the 1970s. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larisa_Kronberg)

Sally had an affair with a man about whom she writes, “I won’t name him in the book. Why? Let’s say he was a high-up government official…I will call him “The Minister”…Let that be his name here.” Reading this caused me to reflect upon something IM Boris Kogan said decades ago about the KGB. “Mike, KGB like octopus with many tentacles that reach everywhere!” The relationship between Sally and “The Minister” was doomed to failure because a good Soviet communist did not consort with a Jew. Sally writes, ” Misha was such a unique person! I was living with Alnis; at the time he was effectively a common-law husband; and Misha understood that perfectly well. And yet, while he treated Alvis with respect, he continued to consider me his only woman and the most important woman in the world – his Saska. Alnis took quite a liking to Misha, saw what a remarkable person he was, and would say of him: “Tal isn’t a Jew. Tal is a chess genius.”


Tal playing the husband of his former wife Joe Kramarz, not only a Chess player but a HUGE fan of Mikhail Tal!

The book is replete with things like this from Yakov Damsky writing in Riga Chess, 1986. “He has a wonderful ability with language and always has a sharp wit. I remember, for example, after a lecture some tactless dude asked Tal: “Is it true you’re a morphinist?” to which Tal instantly replied: “No, I’m a chigorinets!”

“Petrosian once joked morbidly: “If I lived the way Tal does I would have died a long time ago. He’s just like Iron Felix.” (The nickname of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the KGB)

Having worked at the House of Pain I got a kick out of this: “Chess players talk to each other in the language of notation. I was always amazed at this. Although I understood nothing of it, I listened to them as though they were aliens, observing their emotions. If, for example, Tal, Stein and Gufeld got together, their conversation could flow along the following lines:

Gufeld: What would you say to knightdfourfsixbishopg2?
Stein: Bishopgsevenfgknightdefivecheck!
Tal: Yes but you’ve forgotten about if knightfsixintermezzoqueenheight!
Gufeld: Pueenheightrookgeightwithcheckandrooktakesheight and you’re left without you mummy!
Tal: But after bishopeone you’re left without your daddy!
Stein: Bishopeone doesn’t work because of the obvious knighttakesoneecfourdekinggsevenrookasevencheck!

And this wonderful chitchat would continue endlessly, with people not “in-the-know” thinking they were in a madhouse.”

During tournaments at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center it could be, at times, a “Madhouse of Pain.”

A player would walk up talking about his game in these terms while having the position clearly in his mind. I, on the other hand, had no clue, but would nod in agreement, or frown when called for, while commiserating with the player, understanding, but not understanding, if you get my drift. The worst was when two players who had just finished their game would come downstairs talking in variations, bantering back and forth, then look at me asking, “What do you think, Mr. Bacon?!” To which my usual response was, “That’s a heckofaline!” Hopefully they would smile and nod in agreement before giving way to the next player or players wishing to tell me all about their game…

“A grandmaster said to me once: “When Misha finds himself in a hopeless position, his head tells him this but he doesn’t believe that he, Tal, has no chances. He starts to seek a saving combination, convinced that such a combination exists – it’s just a matter of locating it. And as a rule he finds it. However, despite all its beauty and numerous sacrifices, the combination turns out to be flawed, and then the defeat becomes for him even more painful and humiliating than if he had been physically dragged face down in the road.”

After reading the above I reflected upon a game recently played over contain in the latest issue of Chess Life magazine. In reply to a letter to the editor GM Andy Soltis writes, “Good point, Dr. Seda-Irizzary. Tal is a splendid example because he understood the principle of “Nothing Left to Lose.” That is, when you are truly lost, you should forget about finding a “best” move that merely minimizes your lost-ness.” The game follows:

Vassily Smyslov

vs Mikhail Tal

Candidates Tournament Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade 10/03/1959 round 15

B42 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Bd3

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.O-O d5 8.Nd2 Nf6 9.Qe2 Be7 10.Re1 O-O 11.b3 a5 12.Bb2 a4 13.a3 axb3 14.cxb3 Qb6 15.exd5 cxd5 16.b4 Nd7 17.Nb3 e5 18.Bf5 e4 19.Rec1 Qd6 20.Nd4 Bf6 21.Rc6 Qe7 22.Rac1 h6 23.Rc7 Be5 24.Nc6 Qg5 25.h4 Qxh4 26.Nxe5 Nxe5 27.Rxc8 Nf3+ 28.gxf3 Qg5+ 29.Kf1 Qxf5 30.Rxf8+ Rxf8 31.fxe4 dxe4 32.Qe3 Rd8 33.Qg3 g5 34.Rc5 Rd1+ 35.Kg2 Qe6 36.b5 Kh7 37.Rc6 Qd5

38.Qe5 Rg1+ 39.Kh2 Rh1+ 40.Kg2 Rg1+ ½-½

I conclude the review with this paragraph:

“Salo Flohr,

with whom I was great friends, once showed me around the Moscow chess club, and told me, pointing at the photos of world champions on the wall: Sallynka, look at them. They are all the most normal, mad people.” Well, I’m ever thankful that I lived my life among such “normal, mad people” as Misha,

Tigran,

Bobby,

and Tolya Karpov.

(Garry Kasparov is also a genius, but not mad – that’s my opinion, anyway.)”

I enjoyed this wonderful book immensely. Anyone with a love of the history of the Royal Game will be greatly rewarded for spending their time reading a beautifully written love story surrounded by the “mad men” who play the game of Chess. Please keep in mind I have told you not all the words.
I give it all the stars in the universe!