Eradicating the Book of Faces

I came to Facebook rather late in life and there were reasons for so doing. One of the reasons was to learn how the life of the love of my life developed after we parted. Initially I thought the book of faces was a good thing as I was in contact with many people involved with Chess from all over the world. People post pictures and write about their life and in some cases one feels as if he knows them better than when only knowing them from the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center or email. One example of this would be Professor Mark Taylor,

Mark Taylor day tripping in Macon, Georgia

the best editor of the Georgia Chess News magazine during the half century of my involvement in Georgia Chess.

Because of the book of faces I was able to communicate with Grandmaster Danny Gormally in England

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.LNzOsLQO_BYgCgKWJA1WMQHaJd%26pid%3DApi&f=1
https://thinkerspublishing.com/product/the-comfort-zone-keys-to-your-chess-success/

about his book, one of the most honest Chess books ever written,

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fforwardchess.com%2Fstorage%2Fproducts%2Fcom.forwardchess.yearinsidechessworld120.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
forwardchess.com

and GM Keith Arkell, another Brit.

Arkell's Endings - GM Keith Arkell - ImmortalChessForum
mmortalchessforum.com

We had a lengthy discussion concerning the rising price of older Chess books. I was able to see the bread Helen Milligan

Surprising winner at the Sydney Open | ChessBase
en.chessbase.com

has baked in New Zealand. I saw many pictures of the publisher of Elk & Ruby, Ilan Rubin, in Moscow,

Ilan Rubin
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilan-rubin-8b394812

the man responsible for many of the books reviewed on this blog. I could go on and on…

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the book of faces. I have recently been in touch with a gentleman I have only seen once, that at the twenty year reunion of my high school class of 1968. After mentioning Facebook Richard cut me off, saying, “I don’t do social media, especially Facebook, because it is only dividing America.” That particular conversation started the questioning of my decision to join the book of faces…

Then there were the negative posts appearing on my screen, many filled with vitriol. Some posts spewed venom like a snake. One such screed was by a fellow who was a regular at the House of Pain, Richard Staples. There were a few obviously strident right-wingers among the players at the ACC, and Richard was one of them. Fortunately, he was smart enough, unlike some others, to take care when and where he spewed his wrong-wing vitriol. Richard is a big and tall fellow and he was the only player who wore a knife, kept in a holster on his belt, while at the House of Pain. There was another fellow at the Center who carried a knife but no one knew because it was kept in an ankle holster. That person would be this writer. The House was not located in the best of areas and there were numerous vehicles broken into during the two decades the House was rockin’. Mr. Staples posted some ill chosen negative words about a certain segment of our society. I was so new to the book of faces that I did not know how to “unfriend” someone. After contacting my friend Mike Mulford he gave me the skinny on Facebook etiquette, or maybe ‘lack thereof’ would be more appropriate, infroming me he had previously “unfriended” Richard. I immediately “unfriended” the first of what would become “many” of what I thought of as “Forkbookers”.

I had met a gentleman, Davide Nastasio,

Jon Speelman's Agony Column #25 | ChessBase
https://en.chessbase.com/post/jon-speelman-s-agony-column-25

at the 2019 Castle Chess Grand Prix tournament at Emory University, the last Chess tournament in which Senior Master Brian McCarthy played, who is the editor of the online Georgia Chess Magazine, which is basically a place where books are reviewed. There was a pleasant conversation near the area where Thad Rogers was selling books. Davide was extremely knowledgeable about Chess books and the conversation is fondly recalled. After being appalled at some of what was directed at me on the book of faces, I eradicated him, too.

Then there was Rick Rothenberg, a gentleman befriended while living in Louisville, Kentucky. Rick was a few years younger than am I and a weak Chess player, but he was interesting enough that we would get together for lunch, and sometimes breakfast, in different parts of the city. He once asked me to go with him to Indiana, which was right over the Kentucky state line, and he showed me the house in which he had raised a family until being divorced. Another time I rode with Rick for a day trip to the US Open Chess tournament in Indianapolis. When I noticed his name on the book of faces I immediately clicked on the friend request and the next time I went to Facebook there were posts by Mr. Rothenberg. Unfortunately, what he had put on Facebook shocked and appalled me to such an extent I immediately unfriended him after sending a note which read, “If I had known you were splattering this kind of excrement all over Facebook I would not have become your friend.” I have, fortunately, forgotten most of what was read that day, but I do vividly recall that in response to something Rick had written about the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris,

Kamala Harris: What her experience tells us about US ...
Kamala Harris: What her experience tells us about US …
bbc.com

some woman had used the pejorative, “Ho.” I had seen, and read, enough. Rick was eradicated.

I have surfed to the book of faces for the last time. Facebook is not the solution; it is the problem. Since Facebook owns YouTube I will no longer put anything having to do with the Tube of You on this blog. In my world Facebook has been eradicated. I have chosen this path because:

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FhU8oOIr8D3c%2Fmaxresdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

I’m Ready to Play Today

Although I enjoy replaying games, such as those from the Tuesday Night Marathon at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-tuesday-night-marathon-september), and the current European Senior Championships (50+ and 65+)(https://live.followchess.com/#!european-senior-50-2021)(https://live.followchess.com/#!european-senior-65-2021), a recent picture has caused me to long for a chance to be at the Chess board, to gut, or be gutted, as Brian McCarthy was so fond of saying. I would even be happy with a draw…

Senior day at the Atlanta Chess Club & Scholastic Center

The bald gentleman with the goatee on the immediate right is Parnell Watkins, who is running unopposed for the office of President of the Georgia Chess Association. You can read about Mr. Watkins in a previous post: https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/the-dirty-laundry-of-atlanta-chess/

Then the weekly email from Gene Nix in Greenville, South Carolina was received which included this:

The 82nd SC Championship tournament will be in Columbia October 30-31. Details are online at US Chess and SCCA ( https://www.scchess.org/index.php/events-calendar/year.listevents/2021/09/01/- )

The following weekend will be the 13th Annual Klaus Pohl Memorial SC Senior Open here in Greenville! Details: https://www.scchess.org/index.php/events-calendar/year.listevents/2021/09/01/-

Reading the above again caused me to think about something Brian often said, “Just get me to the round on time!”

IM Del Campo vs FM Putnam Contest Reti Variation of Caro Kann at Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational

The following game was contested in the “C” section of the Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. After losing to the only Grandmaster in the “C” section, Ulvi Bajarani, FM Putnam ripped off three straight wins, with the game below being the third, to put himself in position to become an International Master if he can rip the heads off of today.

IM Roberto Abel Martin Del Campo Cardenas (2297)

vs FM Liam Putnam (2182)

https://5570fa7c8b4f08ce69a2-3b11a0857599ec5685afe8d701a4f833.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/profiles/820_22788_liam_putnam.jpg

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

B15 Caro-Kann defence

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qd3 (Every Chess player who has studied the classics will, after seeing 5 Qd3, immediately think of the famous game between Richard Reti
https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.azquotes.com%2Fpicture-quotes%2Fquote-the-scheme-of-a-game-is-played-on-positional-lines-the-decision-of-it-as-a-rule-is-effected-richard-reti-60-22-51.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

and Dr. Saviely Tartakower,

https://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-shall-we-ever-live-to-see-the-following-wise-prohibition-the-audience-is-forbidden-to-savielly-tartakower-78-35-95.jpg

played in Vienna one hundred and eleven years ago, which concluded with: 5…e5 6.dxe5 Qa5+ 7.Bd2 Qxe5 8.O-O-O Nxe4 9.Qd8+ Kxd8 10.Bg5+ Kc7 11.Bd8# 1-0 With the way Chess is being played these days, especially at the CCC&SA, one would not be criticized for thinking that 1-0 was a misprint and should be 1/2-1/2. (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2636005&m=11)

I am reminded of something read recently in the best Chess magazine in the world today, and possibly of all time, the 2021 #1 issue of New In Chess. In answer to the question, “Who is your favorite chess player of all time?” in the ‘Just Checking’ section at the end of each issue, former US Woman Champion Jennifer Yu answered, “I never had a favorite player. I always looked at a variety of players’ games. However, I’m following a lot of live events now now plan on studying the classics, so that may change soon!”

How can any player not have a favorite Chess player? Even more astounding it the fact that Jennifer became the female Chess Champion of the USA WITHOUT STUDYING THE CLASSICS! The very thought is anathema to those of us who devoured the classics.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/6tgAAOSwHUdfSILT/s-l400.jpg

The above book looks to be in very good condition compared to other copies seen over the years. It brings to mind a comment by Senior Master Brian McCarthy

https://tchsextracurricular.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/8/3/26836529/2358421.jpg
Science Olympiad
tchsextracurricular.weebly.com

when someone ridiculed one of his books sans cover, saying it should be thrown in the trash can. “What’a you mean, man? It’s still got the MEAT!”

I am reminded of the National Master who some years ago said, “You old guys just don’t get it. Every thing has changed with the computer. There is no longer any reason to study anything that happened before the computer age.”

“Oh yeah? I said. “If that’s the case then how come you’re still only a NM?” He glared at me without saying anything as some of the other “old” guys laughed, so I asked, “How long have you been stuck as NM?” Now there was fire in his eyes to go with the glare, but still he remained silent as the other oldsters continued laughing, so I added, “Looks like you would have at least made it to Senior Master by now.” That brought the house down and was too much for him, so he turned and stalked away…The oldies but goodies were slappin’ me on the back while saying things like, “You told him!” I put an end to it by saying, “Remember, I am no match for that young fellow, and neither are you. Matter of fact, he could probably beat all of us in a simultaneous exhibition, so stop your laughing.” The grins were immediately wiped off pf their faces. The next day the young fellow walked up to me informing that what I had said after he left had gotten back to him. He stuck out his hand, which I took, as we both stood there grinning…

5…Nbd7 (SF 12 would play 5…Na6, a move waiting for a human to play a Theoretical Novelty) 6. Ng5 e6 7. N1f3 Bd6 8. Bd2 h6 9. Ne4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Nf6 11. Qh4 Qc7 12. Bd3 Bd7 13. Bg5 Be7 14. c3 O-O-O 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Qe4 c5 17. dxc5 Qxc5 18. Qc4 Qxc4 19. Bxc4 Bc6 20. Ke2 g5 21. Rhd1 g4 22. Ne1 Kc7 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 24. Rd1 Rxd1 25. Kxd1 Be5 26. g3 Kd6 27. Ke2 f5 28. Nc2 a6 29. Nd4 Bd7 30. f4 Bf6 31. Bd3 h5 32. Ke3 h4 33. Bc2 Bd8 34. b4 h3 35. c4 Ke7 36. c5 Kf6 37. Bb3 e5 38. Ne2 Bc6 39. Bc4 Bf3 40. Ng1 Be4 41. Ne2 a5 42. Nc3 exf4+ 43. Kxf4 Bc7+ 44. Ke3 Bxg3 45. Nxe4+ fxe4 46. Kxe4 Bxh2 47. Bf1 axb4 48. Kd5 Kg5 49. c6 bxc6+ 50. Kxc6 Kh4 0-1
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-im-norm-c/07-Martin_Del_Campo_Cardenas_Roberto_Abel-Putnam_Liam

Richard Czaya vs Wilfried Lange
Event: Bad Nauheim
Site: Bad Nauheim Date:1948
Round: ?
ECO: B15 Caro-Kann defence

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qd3 Qc7 6.Bd2 Bg4 7.Ne2 Bh5 8.Nxf6+ gxf6 9.f4 e6 10.Ng3 Bg6 11.f5 exf5 12.O-O-O Qd7 13.Re1+ Kd8 14.Qf3 Qd5 15.Qxd5+ cxd5 16.Bf4 Nc6 17.c3 Rc8 18.Kd2 Ne7 19.Bd3 h5 20.h4 Rc6 21.Rhf1 Rg8 22.Re2 Re6 23.c4 dxc4 24.Bxc4 Rxe2+ 25.Nxe2 Nc6 26.a3 Kd7 27.Bb5 a6 28.Bxc6+ bxc6 29.Rf3 Bd6 30.Rb3 Bxf4+ 31.Nxf4 Kc7 32.d5 cxd5 33.Nxd5+ Kd6 34.Nf4 Ra8 35.Rd3+ Kc5 36.Kc3 Re8 37.b4+ Kc6 38.Kb3 Re5 39.g3 Re1 40.Ka4 Re5 41.Rc3+ Kb7 42.Kb3 Kb6 43.a4 Kb7 44.a5 Re4 45.Ka4 Rd4 46.Rd3 Rxd3 47.Nxd3 f4 48.Nxf4 Bc2+ 49.Ka3 Bd1 50.Nd5 Kc6 51.Nc3 Bc2 52.Kb2 Bd3 53.Kc1 Kd6 54.Kd2 Bc4 55.Ke3 Kc6 56.g4 hxg4 57.h5 g3 58.Kf3 Bd3 59.Kxg3 Bh7 60.Kf4 Kb7 61.Nd5 Kc6 62.Nxf6 Bg6 63.h6 Kb5 64.Nd5 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2681846&m=11

Evgeniya Alexandrova vs Karina Geiko
Event: UKR-ch U10 Girls
Site: Nikolaev Date: 04/25/2007
Round: 9
ECO: B15 Caro-Kann defence

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qd3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 8.Nxf6+ Qxf6 9.Nf3 Nd7 10.O-O-O e5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Re1 Bf5 13.Qc3 O-O 14.Qxe5 Qxe5 15.Rxe5 Bg6 16.Re7 b5 17.Nd4 Rfc8 18.g3 b4 19.Nxc6 Rxc6 20.Bg2 Rxc2+ 21.Kd1 Rd8+ 22.Ke1 Kf8 23.Re2 Rc1# 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3507006&m=11

Abedin Idrizaj (2231) vs Blazo Kalezic (2455)
Event: 22nd European Teams
Site: Batumi GEO Date: 10/30/2019
Round: 6.20
ECO: B15 Caro-Kann defence

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qd3 Qd5 6.Nc3 Qa5 7.Bd2 Bf5 8.Qg3 Na6 (SF & Komodo agree 8…e6 is the move)
9.Bc4 e6 10.O-O-O Qd8 11.Nf3 Nb4 12.Bb3 Be7 13.a3 Na6 14.Ne5 O-O 15.Rhe1 Nc7 16.f3 Nb5 17.Nxb5 cxb5 18.Bg5 Rc8 19.Ng4 Nxg4 20.Bxe7 Qxe7 21.fxg4 Qg5+ 22.Rd2 Qxg4 23.Qxg4 Bxg4 24.d5 Rfe8 25.h3 Bf5 26.g4 Bg6 27.dxe6 Kf8 28.Rd7 a5 29.Re2 a4 30.e7+ Rxe7 31.Rexe7 axb3 32.c3 Rc4 33.Rxb7 Rf4 34.Kd2 Be4 35.Ra7 g5 36.Ke3 Bg2 37.Re5 Bxh3 38.Rf5 Rxf5 39.gxf5 Bxf5 40.Rb7 g4 41.Rxb5 Bd7 42.Rb6 Ke7 43.Rh6 Bf5 44.Kf4 Bg6 45.Kxg4 Kd6 46.Kf4 Kc5 47.Ke5 Kc4 48.Rh3 Bb1 49.a4 Bg6 50.Rh4+ Kc5 51.Rb4 Bc2 52.a5 Bd3 53.Rxb3 h5 54.Rb6 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4228374&m=11

Hou Yifan Says Women Cannot Compete With Men

After reading the previous post Brian McCarthy left a comment which concerned the article you are about to read, but it was not the original article. This morning there was an email from Dennis Fritzinger which included a link to the article. Thanks, Dennis!

‘Queen of chess’ says it’s hard to imagine women competing at same level as men

By Leon Watson
12 October 2019

The gender gap in sport may be narrowing, but in the game of chess women may never reach the levels of their male counterparts – according to the world’s best female player.
University of Oxford student Hou Yifan said the cerebral game won’t get a female world champion for decades because women “are less focused” than men, don’t train as hard and are at a physical disadvantage.

The 25-year-old, who is often referred to as the Queen of Chess’, has opened a row in the normally genial world of chess.
Her comments follow a controversial claim by English Grandmaster Nigel Short that men and women should just accept they are “hard-wired very differently”.
Short, who was widely criticised for his stance, said he “would have been ripped to shreds as a misogynist dinosaur” if he’d said the same as Hou.

Speaking to chess.com, Hou said: “Theoretically, there should be a possibility that a woman can compete for the title in the future, but practically I think that the chances of this happening in the next few decades are very small.
“I do think the average rating of female players could improve, but the gap between the top women right now and the players competing for the world title is really quite large.
“But if you look at any sport, it’s hard to imagine girls competing at the same level as men.
“I think there is a physical aspect because chess exhausts a lot of energy, especially when games last 6-7 hours, and here women could be more disadvantaged.
“But in general, I think women train less hard at chess compared to men while they’re growing up.
“In China, girls tend to think more about university, and then things like family, life balance… while boys are more focused and persistent on that one thing.
“This makes a big difference. The ones who put greater effort in achieving better results. But I also think there are external factors too.”
In chess, there is the World Championship which is open to all and is currently held by the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. Since its inception in 1886, all 16 undisputed champions have been men.
There is also a parallel Women’s World Championship and women-only tournaments designed to encourage female participation in the sport.
However, while Hou is a four-time winner of the women’s crown, in recent years she has chosen not to compete in women’s events in order to compete against higher-ranked players.
Hou, who became a Grandmaster aged 14, is the number one ranked female player but number 87 among men and women. She is one of just three women, along with Judit Polgar and Maia Chiburdanidze, to have cracked the world’s top 100.

However, there is a big gap between Hou’s rating and the top men. By comparison, Hou’s current rating is 2659, while world number one Carlson is more than 200 points higher on 2876.
The next strongest female player is another Chinese player, Wenjun Ju, way back at world number 288 with a rating of 2586.
Hou said: “Growing up, female players are told, ‘If you win the girls’ title, we’ll be really proud of you, and this is a great job!’ It’s unlikely that any of them were told, ‘No, you should be fighting for the overall title!’
“Girls are told at an early age that there’s a kind of gender distinction, and they should just try their best in the girls’ section and be happy with that. So without the motivation to chase higher goals, it’s harder for girls to improve as fast as boys as they grow up.”
Asked if she believes there are any gender differences in the way men and women play the game, Hou added: “To me, in all aspects of life, sometimes women and men tend to see the same thing from completely different perspectives, and that also comes into chess.
“To put it simplistically, I think male players tend to have a kind of overview or strategy for the whole game, rather than focusing too much attention on one part of the game. It could be interesting to explore this further. I need to do more research to answer this properly!”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/12/queen-chess-says-hard-imagine-women-competing-level-men/amp/

Paradise By The Chessboard Light

Jennifer R Yu (2341)

vs Atulya Vaidya (2118)

U.S. Junior Championship 2019 round 05

1. Nf3 f5 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. d3

(Before we go any further let us stop right here for a blast from the past. This exact position appeared on the board at a tournament in Atlanta many decades ago. My opponent was John W. Smith, or as he was called, “Smitty,” a player known for his love of the English opening. Both Stockfish and Komodo at the ChessBaseDataBase show 7 d4 as best. When I mentioned this to SM Brian McCarthy

recently he let me know in no uncertain terms, “d3 is a perfectly acceptable way of playing against the Leningrad.” Still, I recall feeling by not moving the d-pawn two squares a concession had been made. After losing, Smitty withdrew even though there were more rounds to play (uncertain how many, but I think there were at least two more games, maybe three…) and was not seen for some time. When next we did meet Smitty was not friendly…Many years passed, possibly a decade or more, until our paths crossed again. Cousin Linda and I had gotten together and stopped to eat at the Bar-B-Que Kitchen on Virginia Avenue, near the airport. As we sat down I saw Smitty at the register paying the tab. As he walked out of the door I leapt up, excused myself, and went outside to greet him. He had just gotten his wife and daughter into the car when I approached with my hand extended. Smitty had a stern look on his face as if he were deciding whether or not to take my hand. He decided to shake my hand, so I asked him why him had turned on me. “Mike,” he began, “If I had won or drawn the last game we played my rating would have gone over 2200 and I would have become a NM. Earning the certificate meant everything to me because I could show it to my children in the future. I had it all worked out, and would have withdrawn after scoring against you. It was the toughest loss I ever had, and it took it out of me. After losing that game I lost the desire to attempt climbing the hill again.” At a loss for words, I managing to get out, “It was good to see you, Smitty.” He replied, “I cannot say the same, Bacon.” He turned and got into the car without saying another word or even looking at me…As an aside, when I mentioned this to Tim Brookshear

he related Smitty had beaten him causing his rating to fall beneath 2200, and it never again crossed back into NM range. “I didn’t hold it against Smitty, Mike,” the ironman said.

7…c6 8. Rb1 a5 9. a3 Re8 10. e4 e5 11. b4 Na6 12. Qb3 h6 13. Nh4 Kh7 14. exf5 g5 15. Nf3 Bxf5 16. Ne1 Rb8 17. Ne4 axb4 18. axb4 Nc7 19. Be3 Qd7 20. Nc2 d5 21. Nxf6+ Bxf6 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Ba7 Rbc8 24. b5 Be6 25. d4 e4 26. f3 exf3 27. Rxf3 Bg7 28. Qd3+ Kh8 29. Bc5 Bg4 30. Rf2 Ne6 31. Ba3 Bh5 32. Bb2 Nf8 33. Ne3 Bg6 34. Nf5 Ne6 35. Qb3 Bxf5 36. Rxf5 Nf4 37. Rxf4 gxf4 38. gxf4 Qf5 39. Rf1 Rc4 40. Kh1 Re2 41. Bf3 Qh3 0-1

Yu versus Vaidya with analysis:

1. Nf3 f5 2. c4 g6 (Stockfish plays 2…Nf6; Komodo plays 2…d6, or c5, depending…) 3. Nc3 (SF chooses 3 g3) Nf6 4. g3 Bg7 (Komodo & Houdini prefer 4…d6) 5. Bg2 (SF & Houdini play 5 d4) 5…d6 (Komodo @Depth 25 plays this expecting 6 d4 0-0 to follow; SF @D 40 plays 5…0-0, showing 6 d4 d6, arriving at the same position) 6. O-O (All engines show 6 d4) 6…O-O (SF plays 6…e5) 7. d3 (SF plays 7 d4) 7…c6 (SF plays 7…e5) 8. Rb1 (SF would play 8 b4 which is a TN) a5 9. a3 (SF & Komodo play 9 d4) 9…Re8 (The move is a dubious TN. SF & Komodo play 9…e5) 10. e4 (10 b4 would give meaning to white’s eight move) 10…e5 11. b4 (There are many possible moves in this position with many being superior to the move in the game) 11…Na6 (11…axb4) 12. Qb3 (12 Re1; b5; h3; exf5 & Be3 are among the myriad alternatives) 12…h6 13. Nh4 Kh7 14. exf5 g5 15. Nf3 Bxf5 16. Ne1 Rb8 17. Ne4 axb4 18. axb4 Nc7 19. Be3 Qd7 20. Nc2 d5 21. Nxf6+ Bxf6 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Ba7 Rbc8 24. b5 Be6 25. d4 e4 26. f3 exf3 27. Rxf3 Bg7 28. Qd3+

(Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check…28 Ne3 retains the advantage) 28…Kh8 29. Bc5 Bg4 (29…Bg8) 30. Rf2 Ne6 31. Ba3 Bh5 32. Bb2 Nf8 (32 Rf8) 33. Ne3 (33 Rfb1) 33…Bg6 34. Nf5 Ne6

35. Qb3? (35 Rfb1 seems plausible. Until this point the game had been an interesting, hard fought battle, but here the young lady let go of the rope…) 35…Bxf5 36. Rxf5 Nf4 37. Rxf4 gxf4 38. gxf4 Qf5 39. Rf1 Rc4 40. Kh1 Re2 41. Bf3 Qh3 0-1

After writing, “Before we go any further” above I sat back and reflected as an old song containing the line had been jogged from my memory.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Meat Loaf
Featuring Ellen Foley
Produced by Todd Rundgren
Album: Bat Out of Hell

1. PARADISE
BOY: Meat Loaf
I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday
Parking by the lake and there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school, they were wishing they were me that night
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
Well c’mon! Hold on tight!

BOY and GIRL:
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light

GIRL: Ellen Foley
Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed
Ain’t no doubt about it, baby got to go and shout it
Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed

BOY:
Baby doncha hear my heart? You got it drowning out the radio
I’ve been waiting so long for you to come along and have some fun
And I gotta let you know, No you never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes, I got a big surprise, it’ll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
Well c’mon! Hold on tight!

Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
Paradise by the dashboard light
You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest
Ain’t no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely-

BOY and GIRL:
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night

[Funky Breakdown]

RADIO BROADCAST: Phil Rizzuto
OK, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here
Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth
There’s the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle
Look at him go. This boy can really fly! He’s rounding first and really
Turning it on now, he’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna try for
Second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the
Throw, and what a throw! He’s gonna slide in head first, here he
Comes, he’s out! No, wait, safe – safe at second base, this kid
Really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the
Plate, here’s the pitch-he’s going, and what a jump he’s got
He’s trying for third, here’s the throw, it’s in the dirt-safe at
Third! Holy cow, stolen base! He’s taking a pretty big lead out
There, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
Glances over, winds up, and it’s bunted, bunted down the third
Base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes, squeeze
Play, it’s gonna be close, here’s the throw, here’s the play at the plate
Holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!

II. LET ME SLEEP ON IT
GIRL:
Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning

GIRL:
I gotta know right now
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?

What’s it gonna be boy?
Come on, I can wait all night
What’s it gonna be boy? Yes or no?
What’s it gonna be boy? Yes or no?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
I gotta know right now!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?

Let me sleep on it

GIRL:
Will you love me forever?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it

GIRL:
Will you love me forever!!!!

III. PRAYING FOR THE END OF TIME
I couldn’t take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
Started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I’m praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don’t think that I can really survive
I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I’m praying for the end of time
It’s all that I can do
Praying for the end of time
So I can end my time with you!!

BOY:
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today

GIRL:
It never felt so good
It never felt so right
And we were glowing like
A metal on the edge of a knife

https://genius.com/Meat-loaf-paradise-by-the-dashboard-light-lyrics

If that was not enough for you here is a second helping of Meat Loaf Left Overs:

The Championship Chess Method

After publishing the post, Chess Grit (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/chess-grit/), I asked SM Brian McCarthy for feedback. A few days later Brian visited before returning to south Georgia where he is a High School teacher. I was shocked upon hearing, “You were too hard on Steve. I have worked for Championship Chess. There is nothing wrong with his method because he is an educator.” I was at a loss for words. It took a few seconds for me to get over the shock before responding, “Brian, I have a problem with anyone who teaches the Queen’s Raid.” Brian replied, “There is nothing wrong with teaching the Queen’s Raid; every player needs to know how to defend against it.”
“Brian, there is a world of difference between teaching a beginner how to defend against the Queen’s raid and teaching a beginner how to play it in order to win a game quickly.” After his retort I cut the conversation short because Brian has been having major health issues. Still, his reaction stung, and left an impression.

Brian’s picture can be found at the Championship Chess website:

I, too, have previously worked for Championship Chess(https://www.championshipchess.net/), because money was needed. Before heading to the first school as a member of the Championship “team” I was given a quick course in the Championship “method” of teaching Chess to children by Steve Schneider, one of the owners of CC, who indoctrinated me in the Championship Chess way, which included how to teach the Queen’s Raid, aka the Patzer, and pawn games, before being driven by the co-owner, Dennis Jones, to a school, where Dennis was to observe how I followed the CC “method.” On the way I asked Dennis if the other “coaches” followed the CC method. “Some do,” he replied, “But the stronger players do what they want. Are you a stronger player?” he asked. Dennis had given me all the information needed. While Dennis watched I gave lip service to “pawn games” and the “Queen’s raid,” but only to teach the children how to avoid the pitfall of being checkmated with the early raid of the Queen. It was the last time I used even part of the Championship Chess “method.”

Steve Schneider

was a school teacher “back in the day.” At the CC website one finds: “Coach Steve Schneider began working with children and chess when he taught his 6-year-old son to play.” https://www.championshipchess.net/about-steve-schneider/#

I previously mentioned on this blog the time the Ol’ Swindler said about me, “Ummm… You’re a nineteen hundred.” Although I crossed the expert threshold he, and others I suppose, will always think of me as a “1900.” I’m OK with that, because “back in the day” the highest rated player who actually played regularly in Atlanta was Tom Pate, rated in the upper 1900’s. I think of Steve as a “Fourteen hundred.” USCF shows a current rating of 1379. The co-owner, Dennis Jones, is listed at the USCF MSA page as a “one thousand” player, albeit in limited action as he is still a “provisionally rated” player.

At one time Championship Chess could boast of having many higher rated “coaches” but that was in the past. For various reasons, including low wages and being forced to teach the Championship Chess “method,” the higher rated teachers left CC and were replaced by teachers rated, if they were rated, even lower than the owners. The Championship Chess brain trust wanted employees who would “toe the line” and “teach the Championship Chess way.”

The Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear relates a story concerning a game Steve played with one of his “coaches,” a fellow named Lynwood, at the Ironman Chess Club.


Lynwood playing at the Ironman Chess Club recently

As the story goes Lynwood was called over by “Coach Steve” for “training.” It seems Lynwood had been “called into the principal’s office” earlier because he had not been following the CC “method.” Lynwood was assisting “Coach Tim” and the Ironman was not one to teach any way other than his way, which happens to be the way most “approved” Chess teachers go about teaching Chess, which most definitely does not include teaching children to play the “Queen’s Raid” in order to gain a quick victory. “Lynwood was great,” said the Ironman, “He would do whatever asked of him, and was great with the children because of his demeanor.” Poor Lynwood was caught between a rock and a hard place. Should he do what the General back at HQ said and stick his head up out of the foxhole to gather much needed information, or do what the Sargent in the foxhole said and keep his head down?

Lynwood vs Coach Steve

1 e4 e5 2 Qh5

(It all begins with the Queen’s Raid at Championship Chess! If there is any Chess player who should be able to defend against the Queen’s Raid that man was sitting across from Lynwood as General of the black pieces) 2…Nc6 3 Bc4 g6 4 Qf3 Nf6 5 Ne2 d6

(Stockfish plays this move but the Championship Chess “main line” in the Patzer is 5…Bg7. Therefore it would appear Coach Steve was the first to vary from the Championship Chess approved method of playing The Patzer) 6 0-0

(This move is not in the CBDB) Bg4 7 Qb3 Be2 8 Bf7+ Ke7 9 Qe6 mate

In lieu of a resignation coach Steve erupted, “NO, NO, NO Lynwood, you’re not using the patterns!” After Tim pointed out to Steve that Lynwood had not been the one to break the “pattern” coach Steve blurted, “Once he broke the pattern I stopped paying attention!”

Don’t you just hate it when that happens?!

Steve, with much help from others, has written several Chess books for beginners, most, if not all, of which are laughable. I say this because while recalling being regaled with stories of laughable previous editions before being corrected. Tim mentioned going to a school and having his young students “correct” some of the many errors in the books. The mistakes were a riot, causing much laughter by the students.

During a conversation with Steve he expressed displeasure with the way I was teaching the Royal game, which was definitely NOT using the Championship Chess method. I had been teaching how to checkmate using only a few pieces when Steve had rather my time be spent teaching pawn games. “But Steve, I began, “Bobby Fischer wrote a book for beginners which was all about how to checkmate.” (Which is what Chess was all about before it became how to draw quickly)
“What did Bobby Fischer know about teaching Chess to children?” he asked. I was incredulous, and frankly, cannot recall exactly what was said after hearing his ridiculous question. I do, though, recall posing the question, “You mean you know more about teaching Chess than the greatest Chess player of all-time?” To which Steve responded, “Yes. I know more about teaching than he did.” Granted, Steve graduated from a college where he was taught how to teach, whereas Bobby was basically self-taught, but still…
I will never forget the first time attending a scholastic tournament. The memory of where it was being held has vanished. I do recall Steve and Lew Martin escorting some of the youngest children into the playing room. Anyone who has ever attended a Chess tournament, especially if one has worked at a Chess tournament, knows the feeling when the round begins and all is quiet for at least a brief period of time. That was not the case at this tournament because about a minute later the first children began returning from the playing hall, some elated, some crying. The Queen’s Raid had done its work as some beginners had yet to be taught how to defend against the The Patzer. Parents of the winners were pleased as punch while the losing parents were mortified to see their child in tears. When the first little children began returning I asked with incredulity, “You mean the games have already finished?” A smiling and proudly pleased Lew Martin said, “That’s how it is in scholastic Chess.”
“This is not Chess,” was my response. It was more than a little obvious that teaching Chess to children to some could be distilled to, “Show me the money!”

This is part one of a two part series, which will follow with the next post.

Team Tal: A Review

Tal. Simply say “Tal” around any Chess player, or in any gathering of Chess players, and the response is magical. To those of us in the Chess community “Tal” is the definition of sui generis. “Tal played a kind of chess that nobody could understand at the time. Now that theory has taken a big step forward, and we have chess engines, we’re starting to realize that he was playing 21st-century chess.” – Grandmaster Alexei Shirov.

Valentin Kirillov,

Tal’s childhood friend, and his second from 1968 through 1976, has done the Chess world a HUGE service by lovingly writing about the Magician from Riga. Alexi Shirov writes in the introduction, “It’s a pity that my idea to ask Kirillov to write a book with his memories came a little too late-when he was already in poor health. Yet he has still created a new portrait of Tal (and his Latvian contemporaries)-a portrait as WE knew him.”

The author writes, “After we got our hands on our first records, which were extraordinarily hard to find in those days, music became a permanent fixture at the Tal residence. I distinctly remember my first exposure to rock and roll. Bill Haley’s raging Rock Around the Clock, which we played until the vinyl wore out, absolutely knocked my socks off.”

The author turned to writing about Chess.

“In those days, articles and reports on chess in the press tended to be academic and rather dry, which didn’t appeal to the millions of club players out there. I wanted to make my pieces a bit more accessible and lively, and crack a few jokes along the way-my editors were always there to keep me in check, though. If one argues that chess isn’t merely a science, but an art and a sport as well, then what’s stopping journalists from drawing upon the models, analogies, and comparisons made in literature, music, sports, and the circus? Using the knowledge and skill set I possessed, I tried to give my tales a certain flair.”

With this book the author has accomplished his mission. He succeeds by writing about the game Tal vs Bronstein

from the 1970 USSR Championship in hockey terms! Simply amazing…The more I read the more I came to admire the author. For example, here is what he writes about a man who was a colonel in the KGB, director of the Central Chess Club in Moscow, and vice president of the USSR Chess Federation.

“Viktor Baturinsky,

the big chess boss in the USSR, urged me to cut my long hippie hair-and asked Misha to make sure I did-before the awards ceremony of the USSR championship, because I was set to go on stage as the USSR champion’s coach. Naturally, I didn’t heed his advice, and the chess boss had to put my gold medal on over the disheveled locks flowing down to my shoulders.”

I am reminded of the time I lost a speed game horribly to Baturinsky at the FIDE congress in Atlanta in 1980. “You Americans cannot play Chess,” he said. I turned and walked away. “Set them up!” he shouted. I turned to look at him. He was LIVID! Granted, it was customary for the loser to replace the pieces, but the man had insulted me, and all American Chess players. I returned to the board and politely suggested he have sex with himself, at which point he lost it completely, and EXPLODED, as I turned and again walked away…

Team Tal: An Inside Story,

is replete with wonderful stories about Misha Tal, and his family, friends, and supporters; his team. Once begun, it could not put down. The book contains only two games so if you are looking for a book about the Chess played by Tal this is not it. If you want to read about the man who played that fantastical Chess, this book is for you! The book is filled with pictures of Tal and those who were involved in his life. In addition, there are many illustrations which are quite fascinating.

On his blog recently GM Kevin Spraggett

mentioned one of his favourite chess blogs, ‘Lost on Time’ (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/wednesday-coffee-20/) so I clicked on the link provided and discovered the editor, Justin Horton, had posted this concerning the Tal book:

Tal order

There was a series on the old blog, Bad Book Covers. I came across this yesterday, and had it been out back then, it would have been on it. (http://lostontime.blogspot.pt/2018/01/tal-order.html)

DO NOT JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER!

I recall Senior Master Brian McCarthy showing an old Informant that had seen so much action it no longer had a cover.
When someone questioned Brian about it he responded, “That don’t matter…It’s still got the MEAT!”

As Bob Dylan sang, “Don’t let other people get your kicks for you.” Judge the cover for yourself. I happen to like the cover and think it fits the “meat.”

The book also contains stories about fellow Latvian players such as Janis Klovans,

and Alvis Vitolins, and the man Tal dubbed, the Maestro, Alexander Koblencs. “Contemporary chess history knows numerous examples of successful creative partnerships, like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Spassky -Bondarevsky, Karpov-Furman, and Kasparov-Nikitin are perhaps the most famous ones. As for Tal and Koblencs, we have two Don Quixotes on our hands.”

“He (Tal) had his favorites, for whom he had the greatest warmth and the utmost respect. He adored Vladimir Simagin, a true knight on the chess battlefield. “That man was on a constant quest; he was the Don Quixote of chess,” Tal said.

“When he came onto the scene, classical chess, as dry as the desert, was king. Everyone was all prim and proper. It felt like the Party and the government had instructed people to play balanced, strategic chess, from the opening to the endgame. Then suddenly, a real troublemaker-but he wasn’t just a troublemaker, for he added a ton to the game!-shows up and starts muddying the waters and making waves. He was like a gushing spring!” Boris Spassky said.

High praise, indeed.

Mikhail Tal could be recalcitrant.

“The Soviet authorities would say that anybody who didn’t agree with the prevailing ideology was a “nonconformist.” It goes without saying that Tal’s playing style was nonconformist.”

Sic transit Gloria mundi!’ (thus passes the glory of the world) Misha once joked after he was removed from his position as chief editor at Shas for organizing a real blowout of an office party on International Women’s Day, flouting the government’s anti-alcohol laws yet again.”

Another time, somebody asked him, “are you a morphinist?” He answered, “you’ve got it all wrong, I’m a Chigorinist…but Morphy was great, too.”

I, too, am a Chigorinist, having fallen in awe the first time I played over his 1893 match with Sigbert Tarrash, which is my all time favorite Chess match.

“We went to the movies a few times, too. I remember the new James Bond, Goldfinger,

and an erotic movie (they were taboo in the USSR!) about a passionate love affair between a woman guard and a prisoner at a concentration camp. We showed up a tad late, and when the lights came on at the end, we discovered that nearly our whole delegation was sitting there in the half-empty theater.”

A case could be made that after Bobby Fischer

defeated World Chess Champion Boris Spassky

in 1972 the best player still playing when Bobby stopped playing was Mikhail Tal.

“Although no records in professional chess could prove it, experts, journalists, and regular fans would probably characterize Tal’s achievements from 1972 through 1974 as record-breaking. I’ll let you be the judge- Tal did not suffer a single defeat from July 1972 through April 1973; six months later, he kicked off an even more remarkable streak of 96 games without a single loss (October 1973-October 1974), winning or sharing first place at six international tournaments. He won 72 games, yet drew 110 during both streaks combined…”

Possibly the most poignant part of the book concerns what happened to Mikhail’s possessions. Much is written about attempts to have a museum dedicated to Mikhail Tal in his old apartment.

“As per the Tal family’s instructions, our cargo was handed over directly to Ratko Knezevic at the Hussar of Riga Club-which had just opened its doors on the sixth floor of the Minsk Hotel to celebrate what would have been Mikhail Tal’s 60th birthday. Botvinnik and Karpov’s stories about Misha, Smyslov’s singing (he gave me a CD with his renditions of Russian romances on it), and Ivanchuk, who won the blitz tournament, reciting his own poems into the night were the highlights of the opening ceremony for me. By the way, the blitz competition winners received bags of candy instead of prize money at the tourney! I don’t know how his memorabilia then wound up in Elista.”

What are Tal’s treasured possessions doing in Elista?

“When Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

came to Riga to discuss plans to construct a knight-shaped, high -rise hotel, he even promised to share Tal’s memorabilia, which is now stuck in Elista.”

“There will be a chess club, tournament hall, and museum in the hotel,” the FIDE president said. He painted a beautiful picture, but a few years have passed, and there aren’t any knights towering over the Daugava River.”

Kirsan, if you have not taken Tal’s possessions to Zeta Reticuli please return them to Riga and the Latvians, where they belong!!!

Chess in Schools and Communities Initiative

LM Brian McCarthy left a comment on the previous post and provided a very interesting link. Brian writes, “Susan Sallon explores the impact of chess on primary school children’s cognitive development. She debunks every last study before hers as being flawed by low numbers as you say or bad methodology or both. Her’s is hard to find fault with, unless you want every grade tested in the same fashion.”

I would urge anyone with interest in this subject to read what Susan has to say. For example, I quoted GM Yasser Seirwan in the previous post concerning the “Margulies” study. This is what Susan has to say about that particular study:

“In the South Bronx NYC, Stuart Margulies (1990 – 1992) conducted a study to look at changes in reading scores after chess instruction. Mid-elementary school children joined chess clubs at school. In the 1st year, they received instruction by chess masters. In the 2nd year, they also participated in computer-supported chess activities. Chess club membership was voluntary. Before the study began, students were assessed, using a standardised reading test. In this instance, the “control” group was the National Norm for the same grade students in the same school district. Students in the chess group made greater improvements than the national norm. However, since the chess group had higher pre-test scores than the control, Margulies aimed to address the selection bias, by comparing the chess group scores with those of a non-chess control group, consisting of children with pre-test scores comparable to the chess group. But again, the chess group showed more gains than the control group. However, Margulies himself, is quick to point out that “chess participants form a pool of intellectually gifted and talented students. Students who join this group make contact with a core of high achievers and thereby develop more academic interest, speak at higher levels of standard speech……”

Brian also provides a link to a page which contains an interesting study recently conducted in Great Britain by “the “Chess in Schools and Communities” Initiative (CSC) set up by International Chess Master, Malcolm Pein.” A link can be found in Brian’s comment, and I will provide a link to the PDF of “Susan Sallon explores the impact of chess on primary school children’s cognitive development.” (http://www.chessinschools.co.uk/download/research/Susan_Sallon_Dissertation.pdf)

This study appears to be very good news for the effect chess can have on students. It is possible that this is the best news of any study yet conducted on chess and education, at least from a chess perspective. Kudos to LM Brian McCarthy for sharing this information!

Former GCA Board member Tim Payne, who resigned from the board, along with the man I hope becomes the next President of the Georgia Chess Association, Frank Johnson, sends information about the “largest study in world about impact of chess on education is underway in Israel.” – http://www.israel21c.org/social-action-2/can-chess-make-you-smarter/

In an article, Can chess make you smarter? by Viva Sarah Press, dated January 23, 2013, we learn, “Boris Gelfand made all the right moves to become Israel’s highest-ranking chess player. Now, he’s partnering up with an Israeli university to launch the country’s first scientific research project focused on chess. The Grandmaster Chess Research Project is a one-of-a-kind initiative to develop a novel academic approach to the skills and culture of chess-playing that can, in turn, contribute to social and scientific development.”

We also learn, “Gelfand’s ranking as vice world champion is what triggered the Grandmaster Chess Research Project.” That is the first time in my four and a half decades I have heard anyone called a “vice world chess champion” although I will admit to having heard some called the “world champion of vice.”

“The program will provide an opportunity to achieve breakthrough research and social outreach in a field that has not yet been fully explored,” said University of Haifa Vice President and Dean of Research Prof. Michal Yerushalmy. The researchers will examine the impact of chess on students’ abilities in math, language acquisition, and other areas.”

“I am sure this will make our society better,” Gelfand said during a toast to launch the new research initiative. “I know leading intellectual professionals who succeeded thanks to their playing chess in school and continued playing alongside their professional development.”
(http://www.israel21c.org/social-action-2/can-chess-make-you-smarter/)

My thanks to Tim Payne for sharing the information. Many detract from, but only a few “add to” the discussion, and I appreciate those, like Brian and Tim, who have added something pertinent. The more one knows the better the chances of obtaining the truth, at least in theory.

The Horse’s Ess

The Legendary Georgia Ironman recently brought in two new volumns, #’s 109 & 110, of the New In Chess Yearbook. Earlier he had procured #111 and I thought he might cry when telling me of how it had fallen out of the bag and gotten scuffed when he attempted to bring it into the Fortress. “Now it’s only VG,” I said, harkening back to our days of selling sports cards. From the look on his face I immediately realized it was an inappropriate thing to say, so I added, “At least it still has the meat.” This is an inside joke concerning something LM Brian McCarthy said when someone made a comment about an Informant that had lost its cover because of the heavy use.

While perusing the books I mentioned one contained two Survey’s of the Leningrad Dutch, and the other had one, adding that the one in the “Jobava” (#110) was on the 4 Nh3 variation, while the two in the “Magnus” (#109) were on the 7…Qe8 line with the other being on what is now being called the “improved” Lisitsin Gambit, with 2 d3!?, according to Viktor Moskalenko in his book, The Diamond Dutch. “That ought to keep you busy,” said the Ironman.

The next day Tim asked about the Leningrad games in the NIC’s and was informed I had not gotten to the Survey section because there were three Dutch games in the Forum and one included in Kuzmin’s Corner. In addition I mentioned there were two games by Moskalenko, versus Michael Krasenkow and the lovely Tania Sachdev, with both being the “improved” Lisitsin Gambit with 2 d3. That reminded the Ironman of a game he had previously played using the Lisitsin Gambit against NM Marc Esserman in the 2007 Southern Open in Orlando. This brought forth the tale of the 2004 US Open in Weston, Florida, and the first game the Ironman had contested with Esserman. That was the US Open in which I could not play because of a bad back. As we reminisced about the event the Ironman was still upset about what occurred before the first round. He asked me to locate the hotel and I found it in the phone book, providing him with the address. He went to the spot and there was the hotel, but there was no chess tournament! He was directed to another hotel of the same chain in an outlying area many miles away. As it turned out, the hotel where the US Open was held was located in Weston, not Fort Lauderdale, as the USCF had listed. This caused the Ironman to arrive late for the round, which he managed to draw. To make matters worse, the hotel in Weston had the exact same address as the one in Fort Lauderdale! All I can remember is the heat. One day I decided to go for a walk in the afternoon and went into some place seeking AC. “You must not be from around here,” the lady said. “What makes you say that?” I asked. “Because no one who lives here goes out in the afternoon.”

Then the Ironman produced the scoresheet of the Esserman game at the Southern Open, and told me about his loss to the big man with a large head at the US Open. It seems Esserman made a move that led to mate and stood up, towering over the board, while extending his hand, an egregious breach of comportment. It was with this in mind the Legendary Georgia Ironman sat down to play NM Marc Esserman in the first round of the 2007 Southern Open…

Tim Brookshear (2001) vs Marc Esserman (2256)

1. Nf3 f5 2. b3 (After glancing at the scoresheet I said, “Hey Ironman, what’s this? You played 2 b3?!” He nabbed the scoresheet saying, “Well I thought it was a Lisitsin’s Gambit. I played e4 on the next move.” I shot back, “But you never played d3.” Tim thought for a moment before saying, “That’s right, I played d4, improving on the improvement!” What could I say other than, “Well, I dunno about that. I will have to take a look at it…”) d6 3. e4 (I was unable to find this in the Chessbase Database, or at 365chess.com, so I will call it the “Ironman Gambit.”) e5 (Esserman did not wish to allow a real gambit with 3… fxe4 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. d3!) 4. d4 (4. exf5 Bxf5 5. Nc3 Nc6 looks reasonable) fxe4 5. Ng5 (5. Nxe5!?) exd4 6.Qxd4 (6. Nxe4!?) Nf6 (6… d5!) 7. Nc3 (7. Nxe4!) d5 8. Bb2 h6 9. Nh3 Nc6? (After 9… Bxh3 I do not need a ‘puter to know the Ironman would be holding onto the rope by his fingernails) 10. Bb5 Kf7 (Once again Black should play 10…Bxh3 and White would have only a tenuous hold on his tattered position) 11. Qd2 (The Ironman decides to “advance to the rear,” but it would have been much better to have played 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Nf4, saving the Knight and the pawn structure as the Queen retreat allows 11…d4!) Ne7 (I do not know what to say…Guess my understanding of chess is not deep enough to comprehend some of the moves made by Esserman.) 12. O-O-O c6 13. Be2 Ng6 (But it is deep enough to understand Black should take the Knight) 14. Nf4 (The program known as Houdini wants to play 14 f3!? obviously “thinking” along the lines of, “If the human has not taken the Knight by now, it ain’t ever gonna take that sucker!”) Nxf4 15. Qxf4 Bd6 16. Qd2 Qc7 17. Kb1 Re8 18. Rdf1 Bf5 (According to Charley Hertan, who wandered through Atlanta with a backpack decades ago, Esserman should play the Forcing Move, 18…Bf4!) 19.h3 (19. Nd1) Rad8 (Again 19… Bf4) 20. g4 Bf4 21. Qd1 (21. Qd4!?) Bg6 22. h4 (The “engine” makes a case for 22. Na4. Who am I to argue?) d4 (22… b5 !) 23. Bc4+ Kf8 24. Ne2 Bf7 (24… Be5) 25. Bxf7 Kxf7 26. Rfg1 (I am taking the Bishop offa the board with 26. Nxf4 and I don’t care what any machine says) g5 (I wanted to play a positional move like 26…c5, but Houdini advocates 26…Rh8) 27. hxg5 hxg5 (I was thinking along the lines of taking the pawn with the Prelate, and so, it turns out, was Houey. I thought the Ironman was back in the game now, after struggling all game to get a grip. After looking at the game, I plugged it in the “engine” and it, too, thought White was slightly better. It is difficult to understand why a NM would open the Rook file like this…) 28. Rh6 (This looks like a natural move, and the kind of move I would make, but Houdini likes 28. Rf1!?) Kg7 29. Rgh1 c5 30. Qf1 (30.Nxf4!) Rh8 31. Qh3 (31.Nxf4!) Rxh6 32.Qxh6+ Kf7 33. Ng3 (33.Nxf4!) Bxg3 34. fxg3 Rg8 35. Rf1 Qe7 (35…Qe5!?) 36. Qh7+ (36.c3!?) Rg7 (36…Ke8!?) 37. Qf5 e3 38. b4 b6 39. bxc5 bxc5 (The last chance to play for an advantage is 39…e2) 40. Qd5+ Ke8 41. Qc6+ Nd7 42. Qa8+ Qd8 43. Qe4+ Qe7 44.Qa8+ Qd8 45. Qe4+ 1/2-1/2

When the game ended Tim mentioned something to Marc about it being a good game, which caused Esserman to erupt with, “You played like shit! I played like shit! It was ALL SHIT!!!”
Stunned, the Ironman said something about the previous game between them at the 2004 US Open and was shocked to hear Marc say, “We have never played before!”
This caused the Ironman to give Esserman the moniker, the “Horse’s Ess.” Any time anyone mentions Marc Esserman the Ironman says, “You mean the Horse’s Ess?”

What I did not mention to the Legendary Georgia Ironman is that the now IM Marc Esserman featured prominently in an article, Where Oddballs, Hustlers and Masters Meet, by Olimpiu G. Urcan, who “went undercover as a chess junkie in Boston’s iconic Harvard Square,” in the last issue of 2014/8 of the New In Chess magazine, the best chess magazine ever published. The article culminates with a sub-heading of “A Boisterous Enfant Terrible.” This refers to IM Esserman. It is written, “If confronted on various chess matters, he gets really loud and aggressive, disturbing the other games in progress. ‘It’s unheard of to pass by the Harvard Square and not play Billy Collins!’ he exclaimed one evening trying to arrange a blitz match for stakes between Collins and a New York acquaintance. Almost unable to stand it anymore, one of my opponents exclaimed while desperate to extricate himself from a difficult position: ‘Oh, c’mon, Marc. Can you please stop being such a bitch?’

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Apology to Thad Rogers

In my post dated November 28, 2014, I mistakenly wrote that Grant Oen is the, “owner of the Atlanta Kings.” I took this from the Southeast Chess website (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html). Grant is the “Manager” of the Atlanta Kings. The impresario, L. Thad Rogers is the owner. My apologies to Thad. No slight was intended. I made a regretful mistake. Thad has tried for quite some time to bring a USCL team to Atlanta before succeeding.
For all of his foibles Thad has done much good for chess, not only in Georgia, but in the Southeast as well. In addition, I know Thad has helped many players throughout the years, and he has done it because he has a generous heart. One example will suffice to illustrate. Decades ago I was on a MARTA train heading to visit one of Thad’s tournaments when I encountered another chess player, called “Smokin’ Gun.” I nodded, Smokin’ Gun shot back a big grin and moved toward me. Upon mentioning I was headed to one of Thad’s tournaments and he asked, “You playing?”
“No, Smokin’ Gun, I said, I’m just going to visit. Why don’t you come with me?” He shook his head and said, “I can’t. I own Thad money.”
“What do you mean? Everyone has owed Thad money at one time or another. Come on by later if you can…Don’t dodge him…Tell him you haven’t forgotten about him, but circumstances are such that you can’t pay him back now, and he will be glad to see you..”
Hours later as I was about to leave, there was Smokin’ Gun, talking with Thad. On my way out the Gun grinned, saying, “It played out just like you said, man.”
Atlanta hosted the 1980 US Open because of Thad. When the Nashville Strangler hit it big at the World Open by winning the expert section, he made a point in the interview published in Chess Life to thank Thad for organizing all the tournaments in which he had played. FM Jerry Wheeler, along with LM Brian McCarthy, played so often some thought they lived in Atlanta. The same could be said for the “Little Hayseed,” Tom Waymouth, who took first in a “B” section of the World Open. Then there is Spencer Bledsoe, one of the Legendary Georgia Ironman’s students, who cut his teeth at the House of Pain before tying for first in an “A” section at the World Open. Spencer is best known for his part in the Survivor TV show. (http://survivor.wikia.com/wiki/Spencer_Bledsoe)
To top it off, FM Kazim Gulamali just played a match with IM Ron Burnett for the under 2500 money at the Millionaire Open. Ron, like the aforementioned Tennessee players, has played in as many of Thad’s tournaments as any Atlanta player. Kazim literally grew-up at the House. Together they brought $60,000 back South from Lost Wages!
Did I mentioned the time a former GCA President bankrupted the organization? Thad stepped in using his own money to keep the GCA solvent. I could go on and on, but why? Like everyone you know, or will ever know, Thad has entries on both the positive and negative side of the ledger, but he is one of the fortunate ones in which the positive outweighs the negative.
I know all of the above mentioned players, and the Legendary Ironman, will join me in saying, “Thank you, Thad, for all you have done for the Royal game.”