Playing moves three through five must have been tough on the Grandmaster who will soon be eligible for the World Senior…
What is it about the Charlotte Chess Center that makes it so conducive to producing short draws? Is it the mindset or the water? Why is it the people administering the CCC continued to invite all these quick draw McGraws type players to the Queen city?
For Daniel Naroditsky, a career in the royal game may not be as lucrative as one at a hedge fund, but he is exactly where he wants to be.
By Deb Amlen Published June 12, 2022
Daniel Naroditsky is a chess grandmaster, the highest title given to competitors by the International Chess Federation, and he has used that talent to parlay it into a career. In addition to working as a commentator, author and chess tutor, he will be publishing his first chess puzzle on Monday in The New York Times.
Mr. Naroditsky settles his 6-foot-2 frame into a chair at his home in Charlotte, N.C., so we can chat over Google Meet. He is sipping an iced tea and is eager to talk, especially if the conversation has anything to do with chess.
We chat for a while about mundane subjects to get to know each other, and I learn that he loves spicy food and horror movies. He is also a sports fanatic, particularly when it comes to basketball. He is devoted to the Golden State Warriors and says that he never misses a game.
The first thing you notice about Mr. Naroditsky is how amiable he is. He smiles easily and likes to explain the topics we talk about thoroughly. It is important to him that he communicates effectively, so that I can come away from our chat with everything I need.
One of his private chess students, Ryan Amburgy of Tulsa, Okla., said that this quality was what made him a good teacher. Mr. Amburgy, who is 18, has been studying with Mr. Naroditsky since 2019.
“His knowledge of chess is incredible,” Mr. Amburgy said in an email, “and he is able to explain concepts in ways that are easy to understand and put into practice. He also has an amazing sense of humor, which makes the learning process fun.”
All of the people interviewed for this article — including Mr. Naroditsky’s mother, Lena Schuman of San Mateo, Calif. — agreed on this point: He has a unique ability to break ideas down into palatable chunks for those who want to learn more but see the game as impenetrable.
It’s really not that opaque, he insisted in the interview, but there are a few personality traits that help a player polish the game.
“You need extreme patience,” he said, “because, more so than in any other game, you’re going to suck for a while.”
Persistence also helps when someone is in training. “I don’t know if this is a personality trait,” Mr. Naroditsky continued, “but if you want to get good at the game, you have to have the willingness to do the same thing over and over and over again.”
“You have to be very goal-oriented because of that,” he added. “Sometimes, all that sustains you is knowing where you want to be.”
Mr. Naroditsky said that the best players had highly analytical and logical minds. Skilled chess players can see several moves ahead, and that’s where the logic comes in.
“My opponent goes there,” he demonstrated, looking at the ceiling as if he were really calculating his next move. “That means that I have to go here because of this, this and this.”
Most important, however, is a love for chess. “Even at my level,” Mr. Naroditsky said, “I can still discover beautiful things about the game every single time I train, teach, play or am a commentator at a tournament.”
That quality comes across strongly to others. “Danya unabashedly oozes love for the game,” said Robert Hess, a fellow grandmaster and a commentator for Chess.com, using Mr. Naroditsky’s nickname. “You can’t fake that. That authenticity is a magnet for chess fans who regard Danya’s commentary as must-see TV. When a variation excites him, he enthusiastically shows the line (even if it contains a blunder) and the viewers latch on to that enthusiasm.
“He’s the perfect blend of edutainment,” Mr. Hess continued. “Danya dispenses nuggets of information that will help you improve while also entertaining the masses with his spot-on impressions of Garry Kasparov.”
Growing Up to Be a Grandmaster
Mr. Naroditsky first encountered a chess board at age 6, when his older brother, Alan, brought a variety of board games to a birthday party to help entertain the other children. Alan, who was proficient at the rules of the game but still a beginner, taught his younger brother to play and, for at least the first six months, thrashed him regularly. The future grandmaster was picking things up as he went along, but, at first, there was no great epiphany about the game and its place in his life.
“I think a lot of people want to imagine that it was love at first sight and that my brother couldn’t pull me away from the chessboard,” Mr. Naroditsky said. “It was more of a gradual process, where chess slowly entered the battery of stuff we did to pass the time. A lot of my best memories are just doing stuff with my brother.”
With the help of his father, Vladimir Naroditsky, who played a big part in teaching his sons the game, and a handful of coaches, Mr. Naroditsky’s Elo number, a method for calculating the relative skill of players, jumped approximately 500 points in less than a year. His family realized that he had a considerable talent for the game, but their son, who was 9 at the time, remained unfazed.
“As far as I was concerned, I was just playing games with my brother,” Mr. Naroditsky said, laughing.
He is being modest, his mother said in an interview. When he was 9, he was already ranked No. 1 in the United States. That year, he came in fifth in the Boys Under 10 category at the World Youth Chess tournament. By 2007, he was the world champion in the Boys Under 12 category.
But Can You Make a Living at It?
Fast-forward through thousands of games and many miles of travel to tournaments. Mr. Naroditsky, who earned his grandmaster title at 17, landed at Stanford University. By then, he was fully committed to the game.
There weren’t many opportunities to play anyone at his level in school, but chess was never far from his mind.
His parents, who had strongly supported their sons’ early interest in the game by driving them to countless tournaments and paying for coaches for their younger son, wanted him to pursue a business degree. While chess was a respectable hobby, they felt that a corporate career was far more promising.
While he was at Stanford, Mr. Naroditsky found a summer job as a teacher at the prestigious Castle Chess Camp, held at Emory University, where he met Peter Giannatos. The two were among the youngest of the camp’s instructors, and they formed a bond.
“I already knew that he was one of the most talented junior players in the United States,” Mr. Giannatos said in an interview. “I had never met him personally, but he was superfriendly and easy to get along with.”
After Mr. Naroditsky graduated from Stanford in 2019, the question of a paying job remained.
Mr. Giannatos, who is a few years older than Mr. Naroditsky, had founded the Charlotte Chess Center in North Carolina a few years earlier
Mr. Naroditsky moved from his mother’s house in the Bay Area — his father died in December 2019 — to Charlotte. Mr. Giannatos offered Mr. Naroditsky a job as resident grandmaster at the chess center, which was expanding to include clubs for all levels, school outreach and hosting of national events.
Now 26, Mr. Naroditsky is making that living his parents were concerned about. When he is not teaching at the Charlotte Chess Center, he takes on private students.The coronavirus pandemic has inspired many to take up new hobbies, and now people want to improve their skills, he said.
His largest audience, however, is online. “He’s been one of the top-rated online blitz and bullet players for several years,” Mr. Amburgy said.
Mr. Naroditsky is also a respected commentator for high-level tournaments on Chess.com, and he has a considerable social media following because of his down-to-earth nature and ability to analyze chess games and explain them to other players. His Twitch and YouTube channels — which have more than 200,000 followers each — guide viewers through notable plays.
Teaching Chess for The New York Times
Mr. Naroditsky is intent on making sure that readers of his Times column feel as if they are getting something out of it, just as he does on his social media channels.
“I feel like that’s my God-given responsibility,” he said, laughing. “I’ve resisted the pull of using clickbait and appealing video titles. However entertaining it is, I also want it to be instructive.”
The emphasis is on learning and building interest in the game.
“I also want the readers to feel like they couldn’t just go online and search for that puzzle,” he added. “I really want them to feel like this enriched their day, whether they’re beginners or advanced players.”
To emphasize the fact that he speaks to players of all levels, Mr. Naroditsky said that his favorite quote about chess was one best known as an Italian proverb but most likely traceable to a 1629 collection of writings by John Boys, who was the Dean of Canterbury in England:
“At the end of the game, both the king and the pawn go into the same box.”
Chess Replay: You Versus Frumkin
Take on Edward A. Frumkin in a recreation of a tournament game in New York, 1987.
Click on “Females” and one discovers how the four female players have fared against their male counterparts. Segregating the “females” sets them apart, making it appear they are different and not part of the group. Is this good for the “females” or for Chess? Is it necessary to separate the women players because of their gender? Does this help or hurt their chances of being accepted as part of the group? Let me ask another question. What if there were enough players to have a similar tournament with four players with dark skin pigmentation and the word “Black” was used in lieu of “Female”? Would that be acceptable to people with darker skin pigmentation? Would that be acceptable to the people in charge of the St. Louis Chess Club? Would it be acceptable to the larger Chess community of the world? If the answer is “no” then why is it acceptable for the people at the St. Louis Chess Campus to segregate any one particular group?
After informing a National Master that I have been avidly following the two tournaments currently being held at the St. Louis Chess Campus he replied, “Why would you waste your time watching those chumpy-lumpies when you could be watching games from the Sharjah Masters? There are thirty of the best players in the world competing and they are fighting.” I said nothing while thinking about the proliferation of draws, most of them short, afflicting top level Chess these daze. Short draws have been anathema at the St. Louis Chess mecca. The options for a Chess fan these days are almost unlimited; this fan prefers watching games emanating from the Chess Capital of America no matter who is playing because short draws are not acceptable in St. Louis, or at least were not until seeing this insult to the St. Louis Chess Campus and Chess in general:
This game “wowed” the fans, or at least one of them, who left this at the “Chat” with the game:
Neverness Board 1: What a fighting game! 😀
Neverness Wow, just wow! 😀
Neither one of these “players”, and I use the word loosely, is a Grandmaster yet they felt compelled to make a “Grandmaster draw.” What are the odds either one of these losers will ever be invited to return to the St. Louis Chess Campus? Games like this appear with regularity at tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center, and in the Bay area at San Jose. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/05/19/mission-360-bay-area-making-a-mockery-of-chess-tournament/). Never thought I would be writing about a three and a have move game from St. Louis…
On to the good stuff abounding from this tournament!
After four rounds FM Jennifer Yu
was +2 after two wins and two draws. In the fifth round she had the white pieces versus fellow FM Joshua Posthuma (2404).
After the latter made a weak ninth move and followed it up with what is called a “mistake” at LiChess, she was winning. The game was a real battle and could have ended in a draw, but Ms. Yu let go of the rope with her 39th move, a passive retreat when she could have continued checking, and the lights were turned out. The game must have taken something out of her because she played weakly in the opening in the following game and was lost before move ten…but fought back to an even game later before both players blundered with their thirtieth move and it was back to even, Steven, until Ms. Yu again let go of the rope with her thirty second move and it was all over but the shouting…In the next, seventh round, she had the black pieces against one of the three co-leaders, IM Aaron Grabinsky, who had won his first four games before drawing the next two games. Not many people who gamble would have wagered on Jennifer. This writer was hoping she would not fall apart completely and do the goose-egg shuffle on her way out of St. Louis. Many players would have lost their fighting spirit and consented to “making a draw,” and who could, or would, blame her if she did exactly that? Then, on move 24 her opponent made a vacillating move in retreating his Queen and Jennifer gained an advantage. Solid move followed solid move until IM Grabinsky again retreated his Queen on his 29th move. Unfortunately, Jennifer did not make the best move in reply, but still had an advantage, albeit small. Then her opponent blundered on his 31st move and Jennifer punished him for it, winning in 35 moves. What a fighter is Jennifer Yu! I urge you to replay the game, which can be found here> (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-saint-louis-norm-congress-im/round-7/Aq7DF3WV).
While watching the action in round six I put two games into the opening grinder and one of them was the game of the tournament. When young FM Alice Lee sat down to play IM Aaron Grabinsky in round six she had a total of 1 1/2 points, earned in the three previous rounds with draws after losing her first two games. Her opponent was leading the field with 4 1/2 points. Alice had the white pieces, but her opponent grabbed an positional advantage and began squeezing the life out of Ms. Lee, but she refused to let go of the rope, finding good move after good move for many moves. Several times IM Grabinsky achieved the maximum from his position, but refused to bring the hammer down and continued playing vacillating moves; he simply could not pull the trigger. After one hundred and eight moves (!) IM Grabinsky gave up the ghost and FM Alice Lee had scored a well earned and hard fought draw with the leader of the tournament!
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 (111865 games with this move can be found in the ChessBaseDataBase, and it is the choice of SF 15 @depth 68 and and SF 040522 @depth 74, but SF 14.1 @depth 64 preferred 3 Nc3. In 80101 games it has scored 53%. 3 Nf3 has scored 55%) 3…Bb4+ (SF 14.1 @depth 66 plays 3…d5) 4.Bd2 (This has been the most often played move with 11966 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Fritz 16-you know what that means-both SF 14.1 and 15 will play 4 Nbd2) 4…Bxd2+ (SF 15 plays 4…Be7, a move with only 165 games that have shown a score of 60%. Here’s the deal, Fritz 16 also plays the move! Deep Fritz 13 likes 4…a5, in third place with 3096 games in the CBDB. 5538 players have chosen 4…Qe7 with a score 57%; 2247 players have tried 4…c5 resulting in 53%. The move played in the game has scored 58% in 1212 games) 5.Qxd2 d6 (There are only 92 examples of this move contained in the CBDB with a resulting 62%. Fritz 16 @depth 31 will play 5…Nc6. There is only one game with the move. Komodo @depth 30 will play 5…b6. The 93 games in which this move has been played have resulted in 65% for the players of the white pieces. SF 14.1 @depth 55 castles. With 493 games it has been the most often played move, resulting in a 59% score) 6.Nc3 (With this move the CBDB shows us the progression of the computin’ of SF 14.1. At depth 38 it favors 6 e3. There is only one game with this move in the CBDB… then comes 6 g3 @depth 39. It has scored 50% in 15 games. Then @depth 47 the program moves to the move made in the game, which has resulted in a strong 63% for white) 6…Nbd7 (This move has been played in 22 games, scoring 61%. SF 190322 @depth 27 will play 6…Qe7. In 20 games it has scored 65%. Then there is SF 14.1 @depth 40 which will, given the opportunity, play 6…d5, a NEW MOVE!) 7.e4 e5 8.Be2 (There is only one game with this move in the CBDB, and it is the move of Deep Fritz 13 @depth 17 [17? The Fritz limbo; how low can you go?] which ought to give you pause…Komodo 14 @depth 31 and SF 130222 @depth 27 both 0-0-0) The CBDB contains only two games here, one with 8 d5 and the other with 8 Be2. Don’t know about you but I’m sticking with Stockfish!)
FM Gabriela Antova,
from Bulgaria, got off to a good start in the first round by defeating FM Alice Lee with black. Then she lost three in a row before drawing in the fifth round. In the sixth round she faced IM Pedro Rivera Rodriguez,
from Cuba, who, although an International Master, is rated below Master level at 2199. How is that possible? What has happened to the rating system? 2199 is below Master level, as 2000-2199 is, or was considered Expert level.
Round 6 FM Antova, Gabriela 2282 vs IM Rodriguez Rivera, Pedro 2199 A53 Old Indian defence
d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 56 will play 3 Nc3) 3…Nbd7 (Three different SF programs all going very deep will play 3…g6) 4. g3 (Two SF programs and one Komodo all play 4 Nc3) 4…e5 (Far and away the most often played move with 354 games, and advocated by Fritz 16 @depth 30, but SF 8 [8? Did SF 8 first appear last century?] @depth 27 will play the second most played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase, 4…c6, with 74 games showing. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 30 plays 3…g6, the third most popular move with only 51 moves contained in the CBDB) 5. Nc3 c6 (SF 7 @depth 29 will play this, the most often played move with 452 games in the database, but Fritz 16 @depth 35 AND Stockfish 14.1 @depth 44 both prefer 5…exd4. The CBDB contains on three games with pawn takes pawn) 6. Bg2 Be7 (With 432 games contained in the CBDB this has been the most frequently played move, and it is the choice of Houdini, but Fritz 16 @depth 28, and Stockfish 14.1 @depth 43 will play 6…e4, a move having been attempted in only 103 games) 7. O-O (The 495 games in which players have castled are more than double the 213 games in which 7 e4 has appeared. Both Houdini and Fritz castle, but SF 14.1 will play 7 Qc2, a move only seen in 51 games, although it has scored highest at an astounding 72%! Castling has scored 58% while 7 e4 has scored 63%) 7…0-0 (This move has been played in over one thousand games, 1033 to be exact, and has scored 58%, and it is the choice of Houdini, albeit at a low depth of only 24 fathoms. Yet Komodo and SF14.1 @depth 53 both will play 7…e4, a move having only been tried in 14 games) 8. Qc2 (The move of both Houdini and Fritz, but SF 14.1 will play the most often played move, 8 e4) 8…a6 (Komodo and Fritz play the most often played move, 8…Re8; SF 14.1 plays 8…Qc7) 9. Rd1 (SF 14.1 @depth 39 plays 9 h3. There is only one game containing the move found at the CBDB) 9…Qc7 10 dxe5 (This move cannot be located at either 365Chess or the CBDB, therefore FM Antova played a Theoretical Novelty)
I love the Bay area and have previously written about it and the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room many times on this blog. I love the South, and Charlotte is in North Carolina, a Southern state, and I would love to visit the Charlotte Chess Center someday. Nevertheless, like the story about an argument between three umpires. The first umpire says, “I calls ’em like I sees ’em.” The second one says, “I calls ’em like they was.” And the third one says, “They ain’t nothin’ till I calls ’em.”
These games were…what word should be used for the excremental games to follow? One calls them “games” for lack of a better word, for none of these so-called “games” were games in any sense of the word. To each and every player appearing on this blog post today I ask, “Why do not you play Chess?”
I do not know what to say about the first game. The first thought after replaying the moves was, “This must be some kind of joke.” Unfortunately, the game can still be found at LiChess days later… The AW has been playing Chess for over half a century and I have never, ever, seen any game like it…
Chess is a difficult game, and it has become more difficult to win as the players have become stronger. The best players of today are exponentially stronger than their predecessors, which is only natural because today’s players stand on the shoulders of those who played in the past. When one adds what the computer programs have brought to the game it is obvious the top players of today would crush the best players of yesteryear.
The following games were played in the eight round of the Superbet Romania GCT tournament today. I give only the final position of the games and the number of moves to show how hard and long these players fought trying to win:
Regular readers will know what a terrible hardship those in command of the CCC have imposed upon some of the usual suspect serial drawers who have made a home out of the place where Chess has gone to draw. How then can these “games”, and I use the word loosely, be explained? These pusillanimous punks could not get it up long enough to make FIVE MOVES!
IM ALEKSANDR OSTROVSKIY (2397) – GM JOSHUA SHENG (2487) Round 9 | 2022.05.08 | 1/2-1/2
c4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5
IM KYRON GRIFFITH (2341) – GM JACOB AAGAARD (2464) Round 7 | 2022.05.07 | 1/2-1/2
Here is a list of the serial draws agreed to by pusillanimous players who obviously do not want to play Chess. Kinda makes one wonder why they entered the tournament, does it not? The good thing about viewing these games is that one does not need a board and pieces!
IM NIKOLAY ANDRIANOV (2317) – DONALD JOHNSON (2102) Round 1 | 2022.05.04 | 1/2-1/2
Some of these players paid $850 to create these non-games! Those “…foreign federation norm hunters” caught a break in having to fork over only $600. With entry fees that high it seems the younger players would at least try to play and learn something so their time and money would not be wasted, but what do I know? The Charlotte Chess Center has dropped the “& Scholastic” part of the name which may be a good thing because would you want your child emulating these non-Chess playing non-players?
relocated from Music City to the Phoenix city, Atlanta, Georgia. It happened that by happenstance I was at Todd’s apartment after he moved in and again later as he was getting ready to return to Nashville, Tennessee. There was an obvious disparity between how the apartment looked on those two occasions, kind of like one of those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.
Todd was young, and strong, at that time, and was the “Big Dog” at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. He was also an extremely personable and animated fellow. After being beaten by Todd one regular habitué of the House of Pain vociferously and demonstrably said to any and everyone within earshot, “That Todd has a BIG HEAD!” To which Bob Bassett replied, “Yeah, and if you ever get your rating up to 2400 you will have a big head.” Another wag added, “Fat chance.” The loser hit the door… The name stuck, although no one ever called Todd “Big Head” to his face. After yet another player had been battered and bloodied, metaphorically speaking, of course, over the Chess board by Todd, the loser would be asked about the result and the reply would invariably be, “Big Head got me.” About this time there was a popular music group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who were quite popular. Todd traveled to a music festival in another state and I considered asking if Big Head Todd and the Monsters were there, but refrained from so doing…
These days Todd is the man with the Big Head at the Nashville Chess Center:
FM Andrews drew with fellow FM James Canty in the opening round of the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center and followed that with a victory over GM Alonso Zapata, now a citizen of Georgia living in the metro Atlanta area. A couple of losses set him back before he was paired with serial drawer IM Nikolay Andrianov,
“…who became the Soviet Junior Champion in 1980. He beat GM Gary Kasparov in their junior years and maintains a plus score against the world champion. After that, he chose to focus on chess training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sports Institute, considered the top chess school globally at the time. He has since then trained students, many of them becoming masters in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Currently, he teaches chess in Arizona and online with Ashburn Chess Club.” (https://ashburnchessclub.com/nikolay-andrianov)
These are the games produced by IM Nikolay Andrianov in the first four rounds:
IM NIKOLAY ANDRIANOV (2317) vs DONALD JOHNSON (2102)
What happened in the second round? It looks as though Tianqi Wang actually considered attempting to try and play for a win, but after making a very weak move that gave the advantage to his opponent changed his mind and offered a draw, which was accepted by the player with little fight left in him. It takes two to tango, and make a draw, so all the blame cannot go to IM Andrianov. Some of the blame must be taken by the pusillanimous pussies so ready to accept a draw offer from an old and weak IM. Todd Andrews came to play Chess and forced the ineffectual IM to play to the death. Unfortunately, it was Todd who lost, but he went down fighting, like a man, and my hat is off to FM Todd Andrews. In losing Todd Andrews comes away a winner from one of the Charlotte Drawing Tournaments.
GM ALONSO ZAPATA (2367)
vs FM TODD ANDREWS (2209)
Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 0-1 ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line
e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (Stockfish 14 and 15 both play 3 Nc3, as does Komodo) 3…Nf6 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase, Komodo, Houdini, and Deep Fritz prefer 3…c5) 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 (SF 8 @depth 46 plays the move played in the game, but SF 13 @depth 44 goes with the most often played move of 5 Bd3. SF 14.1 @depth 47 will play 5 f4) 5…c5 6. Ndf3 (SF 311221 plays 6 Bd3 which has been far and away the most often played move with 8421 games in the CBDB; SF 14.1 will play 6 f4, the second most often played move (1924). The move played in the game has only been attempted in 54 games) 6…Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 (This move has been played most often with 130 games in the CBDB, but SF 14.1 and Komodo will play 7…Qa5. The reason could be that 7…cxd4 has resulted in a 66% score for players of the White pieces as opposed to only 42% in 31 games for 7…Qa5) 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 (SF 12 plays this move, but SF 070222 will take the pawn with the Queen with 9…Qxf6. Houdini will fire a TN with 9…Bb4+. 9…Nxf6 has been played in 84 games; 9…Qxf6 in only 8. White has scored 64% versus the former, but only 38% against the latter move) 10. Ne2 Qc7 (SF 130121 @depth 59 plays 10…Bd6, as do two different Fritz programs) 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 (Fritz 16 plays this move, but Deep Fritz will play will play 12 g3. SF 170821 prefers 12 h3) 12…a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 (SF 14.1 plays 14 Bh4 and so should you) 14…h6 (14…Bd7 has been played most often, and one of the “New Engines” @depth 42 likes it, but left running a little longer it changes its whatever @depth 43 to 14…Ng4, which is what Komodo will play @depth 26) 15. Bh4 Bf4 (There is only one prior game with the game move. Komodo 8 @depth 14 plays 15…Bd7, but SF 261120 will play 15…Nh5, as will Komodo 9)
deserves praise for hosting a different kind of Chess tournament, the ALTO (At Least Twenty-One) tournament held recently. During the first decades of this century I was working at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, aka, the “House of Pain.” That decade saw the “youth movement” in Chess. The skittles room was eventually taken over by parents of the children playing Chess upstairs, leaving no room for skittles, or for going over a game recently played. Disgruntled older players did not care for the changes and some of them stopped coming during tournament weekends and then stopped coming altogether. The parents of the children brought their laptops and some complained about there not being enough outlets into which they could plug their laptops. During one tournament with a large number of players I had to literally step between two men who were shouting at each other over the only outlet not in use. As they yelled and screamed at each other another person plugged into the not in use outlet which almost caused a brawl! I kid you not… It was a cold and wet winter day so the outside outlets could not be used. During periods of good weather, mostly spring and autumn parents would bring lawn chairs and fight over the outside outlets.
When I began playing as a twenty year old adult things were much different. There was only one child playing regularly then, Randy Kolvick. His older brother, Bob, played tournament Chess. Randy did not act like a child, but comported himself as would an adult. The tournaments could be thought of as “sedate.” Before the House of Pain closed the description changed to “madhouse,” because most children have a high energy level and often run around like a chicken after its head has been cut off. When the weather was nice the children were able to burn off some of that excess energy by running around outside. Unfortunately, there would be screaming and yelling which could be heard in the upstairs playing rooms, which never had enough air conditioning, so the windows would often be open, and everything that happened outside could be heard inside the playing rooms. You would often hear an old(er) player say something like, “Things were better in my day,” or some such. During one such discussion at the House of Pain I interjected, “I dunno…maybe things were different, but I don’t know about better because the children have brought money into Chess that was lacking ‘back in the day’. Funny looks and silence followed…
I would, therefore, like to give plaudits to the folks at the Charlotte Chess Center for hosting a tournament for adults only, although it may have been better for the age limit to have been set at eighteen. I write this because ‘back in the day’ much was made of the fact that a young boy could be drafted and forced into going into the Army to fight and possibly die in Viet Nam, but could not legally drink an adult beverage of his choosing, since one had to be twenty-one to legally drink an alcoholic beverage. Because of the outcry the law was lowered to eighteen before being changed again. Most college students begin their first year of college at the age of eighteen. They are going to drink (think “Animal House”)
so boosting the legal age made criminals out of each and every one of them. One can vote after turning eighteen; drive at sixteen. An eighteen year old Chess player should be allowed to play in an “adult only” event.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qh4 (Chess.com has named this the: C45 Scotch, Pulling counter-attack. The Warrior has been around the Royal Game for over five decades and this is the first time learning there is a name for this move. It could not be located at “Chess Gambits Guide: Ultimate List of Gambits Every Chess Player Should Know” (https://www.chessjournal.com/chess-gambits/) 5.Nc3 (This move turns it into a “C45 Scotch, Steinitz variation”) 5…Bb4 6.Nb5 (Three different SF programs play 6 Be2, and so should you) 6…Nf6 (All 3 Stockfish programs play 6…Ba5, and so should you) 7.Bd3 (What the fork is this? This move is not in the CBDB; there is a reason. Three different programs play 7 Nxc7+ and so should you!)
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 (Stockfish 8 @depth 47 plays this move, but SF 14.1 @depth 60 prefers 2…d6) 3.g3 (SF 14 and Deep Fritz both play 3 Nf3, which has been the most often played move. SF 14.1 plays the move played in the game) 3…b5 (This is the move of Komodo 14 & SF 15. There are over one thousand examples of it contained in the bowels of the ChessBaseDataBase. Fritz 16 plays 3…d6. There are 24 games with the move that can be found in the CBDB) 4.Bg2 Bb7 (SF 13 @depth 52 and SF 14.1 @depth 42 both play the game move, but Deep Ftitz 14 @depth 29 will play a NEW MOVE, 4…e5) 5.d3 (Three different SF programs, 14.1; 15; and 151121 all play 5 Nge2. In 300 games with 5 Nge2 White has scored 53%. In the 620 games in which 5 d3 has been played it has scored only 45%) 5…e6 6.f4 (Two different SF programs, 12 & 151121 both play 6 Nf3, as does Deep Fritz 14. Makes you wonder, does it not?) 6…b4 (Three different SF programs, 13, 14.1; and 190322 all play 6…Nc6. The CBDB contains only 14 games in which 6…Nc6 has been tried. 6…Nf6, with 83 games tops the list, followed by 6…b4 with 40 games, and 6…d6 with 28) 7.Nce2 (Although this move has been most frequently played, SF 13; 14.1; and Fritz 16 all play 7 Na4, which has only scored 10% in 5 games. In 27 games 7 Nce2 has scored 39%) 7…d5 8.e5 (Although Komodo and Deep Freeze, err, excuse me, Deep Fritz both play 8 exd5, SF 14.1 plays the move played in the game) 8…Nh6 (SF 190322 and SF 14.1 both play 8…Ne7. SF 220422 plays 8…g6) 9.Nf3 Nf5 (The three programs shown, SF 13; Komodo 13; and Houdini, all play 9…Be7. See Lyell vs Yao below) 10.g4 (The CBDB shows SF 14.1; SF 13; and Houdini, each play the move made by Mr. McCartney, which turns out to be a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! I kid you not…The CBDB contains 3 games in which 10 d4 was attempted, each game a loss for White, and one game with 10 c3, which was won by White)
took first place in the just completed Spring 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational extravaganza held at the Charlotte Chess Center by winning both the penultimate, and last rounds today while scoring six points, one half point ahead of GM Kamil Dragun and IM Raja Panjwani, who was the opponent of the young IM Guo, winner of the 2021 National Open, which was his first GM norm. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/22/im-arthur-guo-wins-national-open/) Even though Arthur won the tournament he will not earn a norm because he had to garner 6 1/2 points for a norm. This makes no sense. The player wins by finishing alone in first place and he earns no norm? Go figure…that’s FIDE.
The move 21…Nxe5? was enough to lose the game but just to make sure the young boy next fired off a “Howler” when playing 22…Nf4?? A move like that when played by an older player would cause one to wonder if there had been some kind of brain infarction. Do children have brain infarction?
In the last round Arthur had the White pieces against IM Raja Panjwani, who was leading the field heading into the ultimate round.
The players traded inaccuracies around move twenty but when Raja played the weak move 31…h6? his tenuous position was teetering on the abyss. With his next move IM Panjwani let go of the rope completely…