Chess Non-Players Wearing Maggie’s Drawers

GM Alexander Motylev, the top seeded player, deservedly finished tied for second place in a large, eight player group hug at the recently completed Portugal Open, only one half-point behind the winner, GM Karen H. Grigoryan. After winning his first two games against much lower rated players, Mustafa Atakay, only rated 1886, representing the USA, and IM Rafael Rodriguez Lopez of Spain, rated only 2212, Motylev faced IM Ismael Alshameary Puente, rated 2385, also from Spain. Before the opening had been completed the game ended in a perpetual check after move fifteen. As it turned out Motylev could have used the extra half point. Under ordinary circumstances Motylev would have had Mustafa for lunch, even playing with the black pieces. Motylev, as the notes will show, made no attempt to win. THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH CHESS! Motylev, and all the other players wearing short drawers, have ruined the Royal game. If a guy like yours truly, who has been playing Chess for half a century now has lost interest in the game because of the proliferation of draws, Chess has a MAJOR PROBLEM! The fact is that there is no incentive for players to strive for a win, so they will continue to embarrass Caissa, and themselves, until Chess is consigned to the dust bin of history.

What if a player received on 1/4 point for a draw? How many GMs would be looking for an opportunity to finagle an early draw?

If a game is decisive the two players combined receive ONE POINT. If the game is drawn the two players receive ONE POINT. If the two drawers receive only one quarter of a point the total number of points awarded to the two drawers is ONE HALF POINT! One half point is one half of the one point awarded to the two players who played a decisive game, which is the way it should be. It is way past time to change the rule because if this is not done IMMEDIATELY, Chess will die a slow death, but it will, nevertheless, be dead’ern HELL.

Because of my interest in Go I have learned of several tournaments in which children were offered the choice of Chess or Go. I have been informed the vast majority of children who have done this much prefer Go because, unlike Chess, there is always a winner. If anyone reading this doubts what I write all you have to do is to teach both games to children and then ask them which one they prefer to play. It’s that simple. Chess people want nothing to do with the idea, but people of the Go community are up for the challenge.

IM Ismael Alshameary Puente (2385)

vs GM Alexander Motylev (2640)

Portugal Open 2020 round 03

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Qc2 h6 8. Bh4 c6 9. Rd1 a6 10. a3 b5 11. c5 Re8 12. Bg3 Nh5 13. Be5 Nhf6 14. Bg3 Nh5 15. Be5 Nhf6 ½-½

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 Nc3 Be7 (SF 10 @depth 58 plays 4…Bb4; Komodo @depth 43 prefers 4…c5) 5. Bg5 (Although the most often played move, Stockfish and Houdini show 5 Bf4) 5…O-O (In order of games played at the venerable ChessBaseDataBase 5…h6, Komodo’s move, is the leader with 6037 games, followed by the move in the game, castles, showing 5607 games. Stockfish advocates 5…Nbd7, which has been played in 1331 games) 6 e3 (This move, the choice of Komodo, has been played about nine times as often as any other move. With 6428 games played it dwarfs the second most played move, 6 Qc2, which shows only 471 games. SF 10 would play 6 Rc1, a move having been played in only 112 thus far. After this post expect that to change! Insert smiley face here…) 6…Nbd7 (The most often played move, but is it the best? SF 10 @depth 42 plays 6…h6, as does Komodo 13.1 @depth 45, but the same engine @depth 42 plays the seldom played 6…b6) 7. Qc2 (Komodo 13.01 @depth 42 plays the game move, but Komodo 13.25 @depth 46 would play the most often played move, 7 Rc1) 7…h6 8 Bh4 c6 9 Rd1 (The most often played move, but Komodo 13.2 @depth 42 plays 9 a3) 9…a6 (The programs prefer 9…b6) 10. a3 (By far the most often played move but SF 090519 @depth 29 plays 10 Bd3. Komodo 10.2 @depth 28 plays 10 Be2) 10…b5 (The machines prefer 10…b6) 11. c5 Re8 (SF & Houey play 11…Nh5)
12. Bg3 (The Fish & the Dragon both play 12 Bd3) 12…Nh5 13. Be5 Nhf6 (SF plays 13…f6) 14. Bg3 Nh5 15. Be5 Nhf6 ½-½

Mark Van der Werf (2423) vs Rick Duijker (2222)

NED-ch open 07/25/2003

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c6 3.c4 e6 4.Qc2 Nf6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 O-O 7.Nc3 Nbd7 8.Rd1 a6 9.a3 h6 10.Bh4 b5 11.c5 Re8 12.b4 e5 13.dxe5 Ng4 14.Bg3 Bf8 15.Nd4 Ngxe5 16.Be2 Qf6 17.O-O Nc4 18.Bxc4 bxc4 19.e4 Bb7 20.f4 Nxc5 21.e5 Qd8 22.bxc5 Bxc5 23.Bf2 Bxa3 24.Rb1 Qc7 25.Nce2 c5 26.Nf5 d4 27.Qxc4 Qc6 28.Rxb7 Qxb7 29.Nd6 Qd7 30.Nxe8 Qxe8 31.Qb3 Bb4 32.Nxd4 a5 33.Nf5 Qe6 34.Qf3 Ra7 35.Nd6 a4 36.Qc6 a3 37.Bxc5 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=86126&m=24

Theo D Van Scheltinga vs Johannes Van den Bosch

NED-ch10 1938

D61 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Orthodox defence, Rubinstein variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 O-O 7.Qc2 h6 8.Bh4 c6 9.Rd1 a6 10.a3 b5 11.c5 Re8 12.h3 e5 13.dxe5 Nh7 14.Bg3 Bxc5 15.Be2 Ng5 16.Nd4 Bxd4 17.exd4 f6 18.O-O fxe5 19.dxe5 Qb6 20.Kh1 Nc5 21.Bh5 Rf8 22.f4 Nge4 23.Nxe4 Nxe4 24.Bf2 Qc7 25.Bh4 Bf5 26.Qc1 g5 27.fxg5 hxg5 28.Be1 Qh7 29.Qxc6 Qxh5 30.Rxf5 Rxf5 31.Qxa8+ Kg7 32.Rxd5 Rf1+ 33.Kh2 Qf7 34.Rd7 Qxd7 35.Qxe4 Qf7 36.Bg3 Qe6 37.Qb7+ Kh6 38.Qe4 Kg7 39.Be1 Rf4 40.Qb7+ Kg6 41.Bg3 Rc4 42.Qf3 Qc6 43.Qxc6+ Rxc6 44.Be1 Rc2 45.Bc3 Kf5 46.Kg3 a5 47.Kf3 b4 48.axb4 Rxc3+ 49.bxc3 a4 50.b5 Kxe5 51.b6 Kd6 52.b7 Kc7 53.Kg4 a3 54.Kxg5 a2 55.g4 a1=Q 56.h4 Qxc3 57.Kg6 Qc6+ 58.Kg5 Qd7 59.h5 Qg7+ 60.Kf5 Qh6 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2666502&m=24

 

 

 

 

 

Coaching Kasparov: A Review

Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move
Volume 1: The Whizz-Kid (1973-1981)

by Alexander Nikitin

This is a meritorious book in all respects. When the book was finished I was already looking forward with anticipation to the second volume to follow. The Elk and Ruby publishing company has hit the ground running with one of the books reviewed on this blog, Checkmate!

by Sally Landau, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/checkmate-the-love-story-of-mikhail-tal-and-sally-landau-a-review/) having recently garnered a prestigious spot on the ECF shortlist for book of the year award.
(https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-book-of-the-year-2019-shortlist/)

The author, Alexander Nikitin,

was the coach of the young Garik Weinstein from 1973 until 1990. Simply put, the young lad had vast potential, like a diamond in the rough, but needed polishing, which was provided by his coach. The first sixty seven pages, which were read with amazement, recount what transpired in those early years. The second part of the one hundred ninety eight pages consists of annotated games played by the young Weinstein/Kasparov. The author writes about the necessity for the change of name. “His change of surname was a delicate matter. It’s usually found in women, very rarely in men, and, as a rule, only happens to men when it’s forced. Garik’s mother had to bear the main burden of stress and battle when arranging the legal formalities and, above all, when convincing all friends and relatives that this was the right decision. Klara had to endure so many unpleasant hours. So many tears were shed after conversations with relatives of her by then long departed husband. “…a year earlier, with Botvinnik’s assent, I had tenaciously started to try and convince Garry’s mother of the need to change her son’s surname from his father’s to her own-which, by the way, she had not changed upon getting married.”

In the following paragraph the author writes, “From the very beginning I had no doubt that the lad would have a fantastic chess career. I knew from my work in the Sports Committee just what inexplicable difficulties of a totally non-chess character could suddenly appear to a youth with the “wrong” surname during the development of his talent, especially at the transition to Big Chess, when somebody’s sporting career could be held back and perhaps even badly damaged, without much notice being taken at the top and without much discussion.” And, “Chess fans throughout the world quickly got used to this surname without having learnt unnecessary details. Life was to confirm the justification of my fears and the need for this difficult decision. Enough has now been written about the hidden anti-Semitism, especially in the lower corridors of the government. I am convinced that Garry Weinstein would have never got to play a world title match against Karpov in 1984 or even in 1987. He wouldn’t have been allowed. He would have been isolated in the periphery of chess. The system functioned like clockwork in those days.”

For every Weinstein/Kasparov how many other, extremely talented young boys were fodder for the “system”? Nikitin writes about one such boy, “…twelve-year-old Boris Taborov. They were both highly talented, smart and inquisitive, by my-how their lives soon panned out so differently! The phlegmatic and good-natured Boris soon became the first Soviet player to gain the master title at the age of 14. He played a couple of times in the junior championships in Europe, but failed to achieve further success and gradually faded. What happened to him? Boris was raised in a family of scientists who had little enthusiasm for their son’s chess achievements. His parents really wanted Boris to become a scientist like them and continue their work. They got quite worried at seeing that chess for their son was more than a game. Feeling no moral support from those near and dear to him, the lad was torn between two occupations at once, unable to make a definitive choice… His focus on two activities at once in fact prevented him from achieving great things in science, while he was quite unable to jump on to the steps of the prestigious carriages of the chess train as it disappeared into the distance. Caissa doesn’t favor the indecisive.”
He who hesitates is lost.

The author writes about Garik’s father, “Kim Weinstein on all evidence seems to have been a strong and unusual personality; highly valuing fairness and honesty. He managed to pass on much to his son, but alas it could have been more.”
I’m certain Judit Polgar will agree with what was written! (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/comment-page-1/)

He writes, “Yet most of all, I was struck by Garry’s eyes-smart, with a kind of unusual spark in them.”

Mikhail Botvinnik

plays a large role in the saga of Garik Weinstein/Kasparov. He would say: “A lad striving to become a true chess player needs to be able to do many things. He needs to work at chess independently, prepare for every competition, analyze the outcome of each tournament, and love analysis not only in respect of the opening. He also needs to know how to relax and regain his strength after a competition. If he isn’t successful in that, chess will not become an art form bringing joy, but instead just a trade bringing sadness. Therefore, he should not play many games and should not play often.”

“As the years progressed, the union of Teacher and Favorite Pupil transposed into a comradeship of colleagues of equal playing strength.”

“Lasker’s thought: “a person is responsible for the quality of his work but not for its results” from that year on became one of the mottos driving Garry’s work.”

The author divulges the secret concerning, “Vladimir Andreevich Makogonov,

who had been one of the strongest masters of the pre-war period and a player with a subtle positional style, who had a wonder grasp of the nuances of battle and without a doubt understood the game at a grandmaster level, showed up at the Kasparov apartment. Few people knew about Garry’s contact with Makogonov-the master didn’t want to advertise it. I don’t think even Botvinnik knew about it…The two great chess elders who coached the kid had their own eccentricities: Botvinnik was overly jealous about allowing other coaches to work with Kasparov, while Makogonov had taken offense at society.”

“A big talent acts like a mighty magnet or bright star – it draws those who have discovered its strength, blinds their judgement and takes them prisoner for years to come.”

This paragraph blew my mind:

“It wasn’t just chess books that I sent him, but everything that could satisfy his curiosity, thereby further developing his logical thinking. For example, one parcel that I sent in 1975 contained the latest issue of Chess Informant, a selection of endgame articles required in order to tackle homework that Dvoretsky had set, excellent commentary by Spassky showing how to assess positions, Bronstein’s book on Zurich, accompanied by a request to study carefully how the world’s best players handled King’s Indian positions, alongside…a Go Set, (! my exclam)


photo by Phil Straus/American Go E-Journal

in order for him to better understand how to gain space, and, for dessert, interesting articles on his tory, which the boy so loved.”

If I had known Kasparov played Go I would have challenged him to a game at the Supernationals in Nashville a decade ago when he signed my copy of

“At first I did not always manage to follow the volume of work carried out by the boy independently. He found everything interesting and wanted to learn more and as quickly as possible. However, this led to information overload, leading to interesting symptoms, which I called “know-all disease”. The boy’s agile and deep memory digested everything fed to it, but the process of comprehending what he had read lagged behind. He would mechanically memorize variations, but they were not given the time to settle in his mind in the right order, and they would get mixed into a messy and, consequently, fairly useless tangle in his brain. Petrosian called this illness the symptom of “Informant children”. The majority of young players now suffer from this ailment, especially abroad, where the computerization of chess has sharply increased the volume of information available. Klara wrote to me that in those times Garik resembled an excited madman.”

Naturally, the author writes about Bobby Fischer

with words that can only be called “glowing praise.” For example, “For both me and Garry, the American genius of those years remains the benchmark of high professionalism. His independent behavior was unusual for that time, and many of his demands were considered to be whims. Now, though, the majority of those demands are considered to be the norm.”

“After Minsk it became clear that Garry’s calculation ability had developed so much further than his positional understanding that it simply “squeezed out” the latter. When playing strong this could lead to nasty problems. His technique for converting an advantage also lagged. Here we needed to work both at chess itself and on his psychology. Unlike Karpov, he wasn’t born with a killer’s instinct, and after gaining an advantage he often reduced his concentration and his earlier playing intensity, hoping that his opponent would bring about his own defeat.”

I can, unfortunately, identify with reduced concentration after gaining an advantage.

“Karpov once described a similar situation of a battle against himself, providing the apt conclusion: “you mustn’t play for a win if in spirit you’re happy to draw.” In order to rise above yourself in such circumstances you have to love chess madly, like the legendary Fischer.”

“A battle in a chess game is frequently a battle against yourself, against your doubts and prevarications.”

“The degree of his childishness, which in my opinion has not yet completely disappeared even today…”

There is a thread running through the book concerning the lack of stamina displayed by the young boy Weinstein, which, with the current youth movement, should make everyone involved with Chess pause to ask the question, “How much Chess is too much Chess?”

The author writes things like this, “At the finish the boy was very tired and incapable of working at top gear for four hours.”

“The child’s tired brain would turn on and off at will.”

“The boy only relented at the end of the fourth hour of tense battle. He didn’t have the energy left to resolve the final, quite tricky problem in a sharp endgame, and the game was drawn.”

“It’s always disappointing to lose your way when the danger appears to have passed. However, at the age of ten it’s hard to retain concentration over four hours of tense work.”

The annotations to the games are marvelous and the commentary fascinating. Game six, of forty six, is an excellent example:

G. Weinstein – B. Kantsler

Leningrad. Spartak Junior championship. 27.07.1975

Kings’s Indian Attack. [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4. g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 g6 6.Ngf3 Bg7 7. 0-0 Nge7

Just half a year later I added this way of playing the opening for white to the list of opening systems temporarily banned from use. Garik would have to make do with 2.d4 and go for a more active setup, which was appropriate to his playing style. He was to learn with surprise that battles after 2.d4 are much richer and more interesting.

8.Re1 0-0 9.Qe2 b5 10.e5 a5 11.Nf1 Ba6 12.h4 b4 13.N1h2 h6 14.Bf4 Kh7 15.Bh3 c4 16.Kh2

This generally OK system is not of much use for young players, in that thanks to its lack of ideas it doesn’t require much time to study compared with other, richer opening systems. If you are targeting big achievements in chess then you need to strive to learn the subtleties of as many standard positions as possible, in other words, those that frequently come up. Such positions provide support in the middle of the game, and their knowledge will significantly improve your technique. The best way to build up a solid base of such positions is to study opening systems whose content is as rich and varied as possible. The opening setup deployed by Garik here was one I called a system for idlers, as white can make all the moves automatically, often while ignoring the location of his opponent’s pieces.

16…Nf5?! 17 Bxf5 gxf5

18.g4!

So, here’s the first test to see if the player can think out of the box. Set up the position after move 17 and ask your pupil the simple question: “What would you play as white?” Give the young player 20 minutes to think. Will he look at 18 g4? How quickly?

Little children introduced to chess strategy don’t like pawn advances that open up their own king’s bunker. They are afflicted by the usual, childish fear of the unknown, when it’s hard to assess the approaching danger, as they don’t have life experience or precedents. Deliberately made moves such as 18 g4 are an indicator of a child mature beyond their years. Actually, Garry already had experience – he remembered the game with Alexei (now Alex Yermolinsky)

and the jokey nickname “g4”.

After playing over the game I realized the openings played “back in the day” could very well be thought of as “Bacon’s opening system for idlers!”

In conclusion, this is a superb book. It is truly “cheap at twice the price.” This is a five star book that should make it to a shortlist for the best Chess book of the year award because it will stand the test of time.

MVL Versus Magnus Carlsen: Fooling Caissa

Two consecutive tournament wins ahead of Carlsen

by André Schulz

Four players were at the top in the Norway Chess tournament at the start of round nine: Wesley So, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura. Caruana and So met each other, while Carlsen was dealt black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Nakamura faced off against Levon Aronian, also with black. Even Viswanathan Anand, with 3½ points, had chances jump into a tie for first with a win, although the 15th World Champion was black as well, against Sergey Karjakin.

Carlsen, was in no mood to take any chances against Vachier-Lagrave. When the game was in full swing on just move 17, the players began repeating moves in a position reached several times before. It certainly played a role that the two players trained together for Carlsen’s 2016 World Championship title defence, as Magnus himself pointed out in the “confession box” (in Norwegian):

The World Champion conceded half the point. Considering his chances to reach a tiebreak as about 50/50, he was content to watch his rivals fight it out.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/norway-chess-2018-round-9

Unfortunately, I do not understand Norwegian so the accompanying video could not be understood. What I do understand is that Magnus Carlsen, rather than fight like a World Champion, decided to be content with a draw. The decision by the HWCC was an insult to Caissa, and a disgraceful act unworthy of a World Champion. What kind of example has Magnus Carlsen set for all the children playing the Royal game? The above noted article at Chessbase seems to take the position, like most of the Chess world, that what Magnus did was perfectly acceptable. Chess is dying by draw, yet one hardly ever notices a discussion concerning the proliferation of draws. THERE ARE NO DRAWS IN THE ANCIENT ORIENTAL GAME OF GO! Before you send that nasty email, I am aware of the triple Ko situation in Go, in which the game is declared drawn. It happens about as often as a leap year, and when it does occur it makes news all around the Go world. Magnus did not have to agree to a draw; he did it because he is the HWC and can do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, without being called out by anyone involved with Chess. Magnus decided to rest on his laurels. As we say in America, Magnus CHICKENED OUT! I would have more respect for the HWCC if he had fought, and lost, while trying to win, rather than meekly acquiescing to a draw.

The moves in the game have been played so many times one cannot help but wonder if the fix was in…Was it a prearranged draw? Let us examine the “game.”

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

vs World Champ Magnus Carlsen

Altibox Norway Chess 2018

Last round, with all the marbles on the line.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 (Stockfish at the CBDB shows 8 a4 as the best move)
8…O-O (Although Komodo shows this as the best move, Houdini has 8…Na5 best)

9. Nc3 (One Stockfish program has this as best, but the other prefers 9 Ba2. Komodo shows 9 Re1 as best)

Na5 (The most often move played in this position is 9…Bg4, and it is the choice of the Dragon. Houdini would play 9…Rb8)

10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Nc6

13. Bg5 (Although the Stockfish program at ChessBomb shows this best at depth 21 after 30 seconds of ‘reflection’, the Stockfish program at the ChessBaseDataBase at depth 30 gives 13 Nd5. Komodo at depth 24 would play 13 h3)

13…Ng4 (SF at the Bomb has this in second behind 13…Nd7. The Fish and the Dragon at the CBDB would play 13…Qd7)

14. Bd2 (The SF at CBDB plays this move, but Komodo would play 13 Be3, a TN. Meanwhile, the SF at ChessBomb would play 14 Bxe7)

14…Nf6

(Let us stop here too reflect a moment. If the Royal game had the Ko rule, as does Go MVL would not be allowed to play 15 Bg5 and repeat the position. MVL would be forced to play elsewhere)

15.Bg5 (SF at CBDB plays 15 Re1; SF at DaBomb would play either 15 Qb1 or Ra1)

Ng4 16. Bd2 Nf6 17. Bg5 1/2-1/2

Pathetically pitiful…

From the above it is apparent there was a plethora of choices each player could have chosen, had they been inclined to do so. They were not so inclined, for whatever reason. To their credit, fellow countrymen Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So played a full-bodied game of Chess, with neither backing down and offering a draw. THEY PLAYED TO WIN!

Magnus Carlsen embarrassed himself and his reputation with his servile acquiescence to split the point. Magnus took a page out of the old Soviet Union Chess playbook when he decided to not fight in the last round of a major tournament held in HIS OWN COUNTRY! Oh, the SHAME…

Since the candidates tournament I have vacillated between the choice of Magnus versus Fabiano to win the upcoming World Human Chess Championship. The fact is that Caruana has shown much more fighting spirit in the tournaments in which the two have battled since the candidates tournament. Fabiano Caruana has demonstrated tremendous FIGHTING ability recently. We Chess fans can only wish the WCC were longer, as in the past. Mikhail Botvinnik considered sixteen games the optimum number of games, and who would know better than the Botvinnik? If it were a sixteen game match, without any speed games in case of a tie, I would wager on Fabi. Magnus is a much superior speed Chess player, so Magnus has draw odds going into the match, which is an unfair advantage. Speed Chess is NOT Chess! It is ABSURD to settle a WCC with speed games. I have often heard that “speed kills.” Speed Chess is killing the Royal game! The title of WCC should NOT be won by playing speed Chess!

Am I Strong Enough to Question Magnus Carlsen?

It is White to move in this position:

Consider for a moment, or longer, what move you would make.

I have never liked looking at a position from a game without being able to look at the moves leading up to the position, so here they are:

1. d4 g6 2. e4 d6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 a6 5. Nf3 b5 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. e5 Bb7 8. e6 fxe6 9. Ng5 Nf8 10. O-O Qd7 11. Re1 Nf6 12. a4 b4 13. Na2 Qxa4 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nf3 Kf7 16. Bd2 b3 17. Nc3 Qd7 18. cxb3 Rb8 19. Ra3 Nd5 20. Ne4 Kg8 21. h4 Qe8 22. Bxa6 Bxa6 23. Qxa6 Bf6 24. Qc4 Nd7 25. Nc3 N7b6 26. Qe2 Qf7 27. Ne4 Rf8

Being the kind of fellow who speaks his mind, I once fired a salvo at an editor of a prominent Chess magazine which concerned publishing truncated games. To him it “saved space.” To me it was sacrilegious not only to those who had played the game but also to the Royal Game, and Caissa. “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”― James Baldwin

I have taught Chess in a Governor’s mansion and places some would call a dive, and everything in between. If a student, any student, had played this game and now produced the move Nxf6 I would cringe in abject horror. Once I managed to gather myself I would attempt to patiently explain why the exchange was a bad idea, pointing out to my student that the doubled pawns are the major weakness in the Black position; that Black will be tied down to the weak pawn on e6 for the foreseeable future and that as long as Black is tied down to the defense of the pawn(s) he will not be able to mount any kind of offense. I could then attempt to explain that someone usually gains in an exchange, and that you would like that someone to be YOU!

Perelshteyn, Eugene vs Carlsen, Magnus

2017.09.24

Chess.com Isle of Man International Masters (2.1)

1. d4 g6 2. e4 d6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 a6 5. Nf3 b5 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. e5 Bb7 8. e6 fe6 9. Ng5 Nf8 10. O-O Qd7 11. Re1 Nf6 12. a4 b4 13. Na2 Qa4 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nf3 Kf7 16. Bd2 b3 17. Nc3 Qd7 18. cb3 Rb8 19. Ra3 Nd5 20. Ne4 Kg8 21. h4 Qe8 22. Ba6 Ba6 23. Qa6 Bf6 24. Qc4 Nd7 25. Nc3 N7b6 26. Qe2 Qf7 27. Ne4 Rf8 28. Nf6 ef6 29. Qe6 Qe6 30. Re6 Kf7 31. Re1 Rb8 32. Rc1 Nc8 33. Ne1 Nce7 34. Nd3 g5 35. hg5 hg5 36. b4 Rh4 37. Bc3 Rbh8 38. g3 Rh1 39. Kg2 R8h2 40. Kf3 g4 41. Kg4 Rc1 42. Nc1 Rf2 43. Be1 f5 44. Kh3 Rb2 45. Nd3 Rc2 46. b5 Nf6 47. Rb3 Re2 48. b6 cb6 49. Rb6 Ne4 0-1

Perelsteyn is a GM; Carlsen is the World Human Chess Champion. It is easy for anyone with an “engine” to criticize a GM, or even the World Human Chess Champion these daze, but I have no “engine” at the moment (long story). I can criticize Eugene without use of any outside assistance because my understanding of some facets of Chess allow me to do so. In many, if not most, other facets I am certain Mr. Perelshteyn will be the one giving a lesson. When playing over the game I stopped after moving the Knight, heading to the ChessBomb for verification my judgement was correct. It was, as ‘DaBomb’ gives the move some color. It is not exactly a RED MOVE, but just a shade below. Check it out here: https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2017-isle-of-man-international-masters/02-Perelshteyn_Eugene-Carlsen_Magnus

There was another game in the same tournament with Magnus facing another American GM:

Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) – Xiong, Jeffery (USA)

Chess.com Isle of Man International – Masters 2017 round 03

1. Nf3 c5 2. c3 Nf6 3. d4 e6 4. Bg5 d5 5. e3 h6 6. Bh4 Nc6 7. Nbd2 a6 8. Bd3 Be7 9. O-O Nd7 10. Bxe7 Nxe7 11. Ne5 cxd4 12. exd4 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Bd7 14. Re1 Rc8 15. Nf3 b5 16. h4 a5 17. a3 Qb6 18. Qd2 b4 19. cxb4 axb4 20. a4 Ra8 21. b3 O-O 22. Rac1 Rfc8

I am watching this game thinking, “Jeffrey is holding his own against the World Human Chess Champion.” I thought Magnus had an advantage, albeit a small one. Then I noticed Magnus could play the tricky Nd4, the kind of move I would love to be able to play against a higher rated opponent. But when Magnus eschewed the tricky move for the “aggressive” 23 h5 my thoughts turned to something along the lines of, “That’s why Magnus is the World Human Chess Champion. He rejects moves that “look good,” but possibly get one into trouble in the future.” Now I began looking at 23…Rc3 for Xiong, seeing 24 Rxc3 bxc3 25 Qxc3 Rc8 and that is as far as I am able “see” because my calculating abilities leave much to be desired. Still, they are OK for teaching neophytes…I will also admit not having considered 24 Nd4 after 23…Rc3. Hey, there is much to consider in every move! After 23 h5 Jeffery moves his King, playing 23…Kf8.

“Hummm,” I’m thinking, “Magnus makes an attacking move and Jeffery responds by getting outta Dodge. Maybe he wants to play a Yasser Seirawan like King walk.” The more I consider the move, the more I do not like it, but hey, I’m not a GM. Still, it seems White’s advantage has increased after the King move… Magnus, full of aggression, now plays 24 g4!? (I am not strong enough to give the World Human Chess Champion a ?!)

Now I am thinking, “Wow. Magnus is coming right after him! But when my heart beat slows to a more normal pace I am thinking something along the lines of, “I dunno…that’s the kinda move I played far too often ‘back in the day.’ It’s the kinda move that says “All In. I’m going for broke.” I would show one of my games to IM Boris Kogan and when pushing a pawn in front of my King like this The Hulk would grimace, and say something like, “Mike. Why you play Chess?” Still, he is the World Human Chess Champion and I’m a patzer…Now Jeffery plays 24…Rc3

and I stop to reflect, objectively, about the position, and my conclusion is that there has been a real swing in fortunes the past few moves, but it looks as though Jeffery is almost even again. Now I’m thinking, “What a GAME!” Can you tell I was enjoying myself immensely?

I will give the remaining move from where we left off: 23. h5 Kf8 24. g4 Rc3 25. g5 hxg5 26. Rxc3 bxc3 27. Qxg5 Nf5 28. Bxf5 exf5 29. e6 Bxe6 30. h6 gxh6 31. Qf6 Kg8 32. Qxh6 Qb4 33. Kh1 1-0

The game can be found here: https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2017-isle-of-man-international-masters/03-Carlsen_Magnus-Xiong_Jeffery

If Magnus Carlsen has a weakness it is in the opening phase of the game. I criticized him in an earlier post on this blog because he played one of my favorite openings, the Bishop’s Opening, like a patzer (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/they-bad/).

Magnus lost to Bu Xiangzhi at the World Cup in Tbilisi earlier this year in a game that began 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4, but transposed into a Two Knight’s Defense. The game is annotated by the winner in New In Chess 2017/7. Have I mentioned New In Chess is the best Chess magazine in the solar system?

Carlsen, Magnus – Bu, Xiangzhi

FIDE World Cup 2017 round 05

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. Bb3 d6 7. c3 Be6 8. Re1 Qd7 9. Nbd2 Rab8 10. Bc2 d5 11. h3 h6 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Rxe5 Bd6 15. Re1 Bxh3 16. gxh3 Qxh3 17. Nf1 Rbe8 18. d4 f5 19. Bb3 c6 20. f4 Kh7 21. Bxd5 cxd5 22. Re3 Rxe3 23. Bxe3 g5 24. Kf2 gxf4 25. Qf3 fxe3+ 26. Nxe3 Qh2+ 27. Kf1 Rg8 28. Qxf5+ Rg6 29. Ke1 h5 30. Kd1 Kh6 31. Nc2 h4 32. Ne1 h3 33. Nf3 Qg2 34. Ne1 Qg4+ 35. Qxg4 Rxg4 36. Nf3 Rg1+ 0-1

Maybe Magnus should stick to playing his Bishop to b5?

chess.com Isle of Man Masters, Prizegiving, 1 October 2017 (Nikon)

Magnus and female companion after winning the Isle of Man International

Chess Drawers

By the time I surfed over to check on the games being played in the The 2014 Saint Louis Invitational the round had begun a few minutes earlier. This is the first game listed:
Finegold, Benjamin – Friedel, Joshua E
CCSCSL Inv GM 2014 Saint Louis USA (7.1), 2014.05.31
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.a3 O-O 6.d3 ½-½ (From http://www.theweekinchess.com/live)
This is pitiful. Why were these drawers invited? Why play chess if this is all you can give? There are plenty of games that end as a draw because these players are so strong and evenly matched without foisting a game like this, a game that did not even make it out of the opening “book,” on what few chess fans are left.
There are only two things that will stop weak-minded and weak-willed players from blaspheming Caissa. More points can be given to a player who wins or draws with the black pieces, and/or opprobrium must be heaped upon those who commit these atrocities.
An article appeared today on the Mail Online, “Being ignored is WORSE than being bullied: Ostracism is more psychologically damaging, claim experts.”
The article begins, “The famous quote claims the only thing in life worse than being talked about, is not being talked about – and a new study may have proved this to be the case.
Being ignored at work has been found to be worse for a person’s health than people who are harassed or bullied.
Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.”
‘We’ve been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable – if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’ said University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business Professor Sandra Robinson, who co-authored the study.
‘But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless, like they’re not worthy of any attention at all.’
The researchers used a series of surveys for their study.
(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2644101/Being-ignored-WORSE-bullied-Ostracism-psychologically-damaging-claim-experts.html#ixzz33LDZJmhc)
Serial drawers should be ostracized. Why should the chess community pay any attention to these chess nonplayers? Why do organizers continue to invite these nonplayers?

Here are a few “games” from the ongoing 33rd Zalakaros Open. All took place in the early rounds:

GM Berkes, Ferenc (2665) – GM Bachmann, Axel (2589)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.1), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.g3 c5 6.Bg2 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nc6 8.Nc2 Bc5 9.Be3 Qb6 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 11.Nba3 ½-½

GM Grigoriants, Sergey (2595) – IM Petenyi, Tamas (2448)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.9), 2014.05.26
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 e6 4.a3 d6 5.b4 g6 6.b5 Nb8 7.Bb2 Bg7 8.Nc3 O-O 9.e3 Nbd7 10.Be2 c5 11.a4 Qe7 12.a5 e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.O-O ½-½

GM Horvath, Jozsef (2507) – GM Papp, Gabor1 (2580)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.4), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.e3 e6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Nf3 a6 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.a3 O-O 8.b4 Ba7 9.Bb2 dxc4 10.Qxd8 Rxd8 11.Bxc4 b5 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.O-O Bb7 14.a4 bxa4 15.Rxa4 ½-½
From: (http://www.theweekinchess.com/chessnews/events/33rd-zalakaros-open-2014)