Last night was spent viewing the Chess games from the current US Masters tournament being contested in Charlotte, North Carolina. Earlier I had commented that it was strange to see fellow Georgian Deepak Aaron
on board six facing Grandmaster Aman Hambleton
on board six because he was the only untitled player among the leaders. On had to go down to board twenty six to find the next untitled player. Deepak had the black pieces, which lowered the prospect of success. Music from The Hearts of Space (https://v4.hos.com/this-week/program) was playing as I surfed… Then the surfin’ stopped as the focus went to that game only as I sat there transfixed by the game. The commentary was left untouched as I began living vicariously while rooting for Deepak. I was so into it while making sounds like, “YES!”, or, “Oh No, Mr. Bill”… If and when Deepak would make a move of which I approved (and not all of my chosen moves would be approved) a fist would be clenched that would be pumped. Only one who has sat across from a titled player can understand how difficult it is to score even a draw against a Grandmaster, or one of GM strength. Not once did I turn on the analysis, and I have still not yet gone over the game with annotations, but hope to do so later today.
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.
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…
They are back at it in Charlotte. The first round of four different tournaments was played last night. Before I begin let me say I have no bone to pick with the good people in Charlotte. I have written about the Charlotte Chess Center because they are located in the South, the region from which I sprang over seven decades ago. I am proud there is such a wonderful place as the CCC and the same goes for the Atlanta Chess Center, home of GM Ben Finegold, who is famous all over the world. When I began playing back in the 1970s the South was not exactly a hot bed of Chess activity. When traveling to an out of state Chess tournament I met many people who told me they had never met anyone from the South who played Chess, and some who had never met any Southerner, period. Therefore when anyone causes opprobrium down South I am not pleased. Someone who refused to give permission to use his name said, “Everyone knows Charlotte is the place to go to draw. It was that way before you began to write about it, Mike. All you did was shine a light on it.” Like it or not, that is the reputation of the Charlotte Chess Center.
Mr. Grant Oen,
who is the “Chief Arbiter and Organizer of the Chess tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club and Scholastic Academy,” and is also the “Assistant Director, Charlotte Chess Center, and a National Tournament Director, International Arbiter,” has previously written, “If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed.” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/reply-to-grant-oen/) A draw culture has been fostered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The rules do need to be changed. You may think me crazy especially since Chess is currently riding a cresting wave because of the popularity of the Queen’s Gambit movie, just a Chess enjoyed a boom after Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky to win the title of World Chess Champion. What follows a “boom”?
Back in the late seventies and early eighties the game of Backgammon “boomed” before going “bust”. I mean it busted like a poker player being dealt a 2-4-6-8-10! The Backgammon craze, or fad ended like a Chess game that ends with the word, “Checkmate!” One week Gammons was full of people every night, the next it was empty…
I beg to differ. The statement is false, and is a perfect example of the hubris shown by the Chess community. There are far more people who play, and consider the ancient game of Wei-Chi to be “the ultimate intellectual game.” I am one of them. One of the reasons what is called “Go” in the West is “the ultimate intellectual game,” is that there is a winner in 99 and 44/100, if not more, of the games played. Seriously, it is would probably be better to say 99.9%, but there was this Ivory snow commercial ‘back in the day’ that used 99.44.
To back up my point this is what World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker said about Go:
Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts — line and circle, wood and stone, black and white — combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination. Iwamoto Kaoru,
9-dan professional Go player and former Honinbo title holder.
instituted a NEW RULE in the series of Chess tournaments named after him, the Sinquefield Cup. Players are not allowed to offer a draw. Unfortunately, they can repeat the position three times and the game ends in another dreaded draw…Listen up, Rex! You have got the money and are like E.F. Hutton. When you speak people listen. How about instituting the Ko rule from Go in the next Sinquefield Cup tournaments. If a player repeats the same position for the third time YOU LOSE!!!
Now if I had a billzillion digits I would go even further and change the stalemate rule to a win for the player that forces the enemy King into a position without having a legal move at his disposal. What, you think the AW is crazy? I’ve been called worse…I would not stop there. The Royal game needs NEW LIFE! The AW would FREE THE PAWN! That’s right, folks, I would allow the pawn to RETREAT! Why not allow the pawn advance one square to the rear?!
This game was “played” in the first round of the Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 last night:
GM Kamil Dragun 2555 (POL) vs GM Cemil Can Ali Marandi 2530 (TUR)
The following notice is on the website of the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy:
NOTICE: Per yesterday’s CDC announcement and rise of COVID cases, this event will now require masks in the tournament hall. (https://www.charlottechesscenter.org/norm) Unfortunately it is not shown on the main page, but can be located at the GM/IM NORM INVITATIONAL- SUMMER page after clicking on “events” at the home page. Nevertheless, I applaud those enlightened people at the CCCSA for making such an OUTSTANDING MOVE, on the Chessboard of life.
The Great State of North Carolina is one of the Southern states. It, along with the Great State of Georgia, my home state, are also considered to be part of the “Southeast.” After checking the latest Covid statistics I learned that Georgia is tenth in the USA with nine deaths per day on a seven day moving average (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/). North Carolina is right below, tied with Arizona with a seven day moving average of eight deaths. When it comes to cases North Carolina is seventh, showing 1926. Georgia is tenth with 1675 cases on a seven day moving average. When it comes to total cases thus far in the pandemic, NC is eighth in the nation with 1,041,620; Georgia is eleventh with a total of 926,707 cases. Unfortunately for my state, 21,654 have died of the virus, which is eight in the nation, compared with the 13,606 humans who have died, ranking NC fourteenth in the country.
When it comes to illness and death being ranked in, or near the top ten is not good. It is a fact that Republican states lead the USA in both cases and deaths. Our country at this time needs to become more UNITED and less STATE. It is extremely difficult to go against the grain and buck the norm, especially in the South. Unfortunately, what should be a normal and natural thing that has been done at the CCCSA could be condemned by some members of the community. I commend FM Peter Giannatos,
the Executive Director and Founder, and Grant Oen,
the Assistant Director/Events Manager, of the CCCSA, and everyone at the CCCSA for taking a stand for We The People!
I do this because just a few days ago I watched a man in a hospital bed, with hoses attached to his nose and other places, who had Covid, but was still defiant, claiming he had a “right” to not take the possibly life saving vaccine if he did not want to take it, even if it killed him. He was a “good ol’ boy” from the South, and did not want anyone telling him what to do. The interviewer asked the man if he thought he had a duty to his fellow humans to take the vaccine in order to not give the virus to anyone. “Hell no!” he replied. “We’re all in this alone.”
The following day there was another gentleman on the television all hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed, and he was being interviewed. He was from Arizona, and did not have any particular reason for not taking the possibly life saving vaccine, but said, “Sure wished I had.” The interviewer asked, “Why didn’t you take it?” He said, “I dunno…didn’t have any reason for not taking it, I guess. I mean, it’s like getting the virus was like what was happening to other people, not to me.”
I know people like both of these two individuals. They are both playing Russian roulette with their lives, and the LIVES OF THOSE WITH WHOM THEY COME IN CONTACT! Both are members of the Chess community. With one old, ornery, and cantankerously recalcitrant Chess coach almost everyone with whom he comes in contact has been vaccinated, yet he refuses to take the vaccine, so its not like there is peer pressure for him to not take the shot. The other is a Grandmaster who writes a blog replete with anti-vax madness. He has obviously become a strident right (wrong) winger as he has aged. Many people fear the government. While running for the office of POTUS the former actor Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The line elicited a big laugh, and has been repeated endlessly by Republicans running for office ever since. It is, arguably, the most famous thing the man said during his entire life that was not a line from a movie.
It caused me to think, “Why would anyone in their right mind say such a thing if he wants to lead the government?” Think about it…The thought that followed was a line from a Bob Dylan song: “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.” (https://www.bobdylan.com/songs/subterranean-homesick-blues/)
If— Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run— Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! https://poets.org/poem/if
The CCCSA Summer 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational was held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy June 6-9. There were three sections, GM; IM B; & IM C. After an overview we will focus on the IM B section for reasons which will become clear soon enough. But first I would like to mention the GM section ended in a tie between GM Karen Grigoryan, of Armenia, and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, from the USA. Grigoryan was running away with the tournament until losing to IM Kassa Korley in the penultimate round. In the last round Grigoryan lost to Ostrovskiy while still clinging to a share of the lead.
now a resident of the Great State of Georgia, ran away with the section, finishing a clear point ahead of the field with 7 1/2 points. IM Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte,
from Venezuela, was second with 6 1/2 points. They met in the seventh round:
Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte (VEN) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)
Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 07
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O (SF plays 6 b3 a move not seen since 1999, according to 365Chess. The move has appeared in only four games. There are no games at the ChessBaseDataBase with the move)
O-O 7. h3 (SF plays 7 Re1; Komodo plays 7 b3 a TN) c6 8. Re1 Ng6 (TN-SF plays 8…Na6) 9. c4 ½-½
Granted, this was the second game of the day so there must have been little thought from the GM other than to accept the gift. Zapata was born in August, 1958 and is currently sixty one years old. Aponte was born in 1996, and had the white pieces, yet did not even attempt to make a game of it against his much older rival. This reminds of the time decades ago when Ron Burnett had been paired with Sammy Reshevsky at a tournament such as the US Open, or maybe a World Open. Ron was ready for the battle, talking trash about what he was about to do to his opponent. “But Ron,” I said, “Sammy is a legend.” Ron shot back, “He ain’t nothing but an old man.” Once a player reaches a certain age he becomes the Rodney Dangerfield of Chess.
This was Aponte’s moment and what did he do? He offered a draw…Aponte has no cojones and unless he grows a pair in the near future the GM title will remain out of reach. Contrast the “game” and I use the term loosely, with Zapata’s last round game:
Tying for third place were Georgia native NM Richard Francisco,
now thirty five years of age, and his last round opponent NM Zachary Dukic,
from Canada. They both finished with 6 points; 6 1/2 were required to earn an IM norm.
In the first round Richard faced a young (birth year 1997) IM Martin Lokander, from Sweden.
NM Richard Francisco (USA) – Martin Lokander (SWE)
Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 01
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Bd7 5. Nf3 a6 (5…Nc6 SF) 6. Bd3 cxd4 (Komodo and Stockfish at the CBDB both play 6…Nc6, but the SF at ChessBomb considers 6…Qc7, a potential TN, equal to Nc6) 7. cxd4 Bb5 (SF prefers 7…Nc6)
8. O-O? (This shows a lack of understanding of the position and is the beginning of problems for Richard. Both the Fish and the Dragon would play 8 Bc2. There are many other, better, moves, such as 8 Bxb5+; 8 Nc3; and 8 Bg5, all shown at the ChessBomb) Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Nbc6 (For 10 N3c6 see Papahristoudis v Savoglou below) 11. Ne2 Rc8 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Nf4 Be7
14. g3? (This is obviously a very weak move and gives the advantage to black. There was no need to voluntarily weaken the castled position. Richard needs to read Sam Shankland’s book…Stockfish says 14 Rac1 keeps the game balanced. Unfortunately for our hero Richard, the game went downhill from here. This is my last comment on the game, which can be found here, along with input from Stockfish, albeit with little time to “cogitate.” https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-charlotte-summer-invitational-im/01-Francisco_Richard-Lokander_Martin)
It must have been devastating to lose, especially with the white pieces, in the very forst round when one needs 6 1/2 points to earn an IM norm. To make matters worse, Richard had to face the only GM in the tournament in the second round.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 (Not the best move in the position. Stockfish 10 at depth 49 would play 6 a3, a move which does not appear at the ChessBaseDataBase. SF 080219 at depth 46 plays 6 Be3, the most often played move, while SF 9 at depth 38 plays the second most often played move, 6 Be2) 6…a6 7 Nxc6 (The most often played move, but Komodo would play 7 Be2) 7…Qxc6 (Although the most often played move, SF 10 would play 7…bxc6) 8. Bd3 d6 (SF plays 8…b5, by far the most often played move) 9. a4 (SF 10 simply castles) 9…Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 (SF & Komodo prefer 11 Be3) 11…Qc7 (SF would castle) 12. Qe2 (Unfortunately, Qe2 is not always the best move. SF would play 12 a5) 12…O-O (SF 10 would play 12…b6) 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 (Komodo plays 16 Be3)
exf5 17. Bf4 SF plays 17 Ng3) Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 (SF shows 19…Nc4 best) 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 (SF prefers 22…Ne5) 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 (SF plays 24 Qg4) 24…Rfe8 (SF would play 24…Ne5)
25. Qf3 Rxd4 25 f6 SF) 26. cxd4 Qd7 (Houdini plays the “in your face” 26…Qf4) 27. h4 Nf8 (SF plays 27…Qe6) 28. d5 (28 h5 SF) f6 29. h5 Re5 (The Fish would rip off the pawn with 29…Qxa4) 30. d6 (The Dragon would play 30 b3) 30…Kh8 (Komodo would play 30…Qe6) 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 (SF considers 32 Ne3 a much better move) 32…Qxd6 33. Qxb7 (Stockfish 10 would play 33 Ne4. The Fish at DaBomb would play 33 Qxf6) Re7 34. Qa8 (Komodo prefers 34 Ne4) Rf7 (SF 10 likes this move) 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 (Both the Fish and the Dragon prefer 36 b4) 36…Qg5 (36…Qe2 Komodo) 37. Qe8 (Both the Fish and the Dragon would take the pawn with 37 Qxa6) 37…Qxh6+ (37…Qh4+) 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5
Richard bested CM Abhimanyu Mishra with the black pieces in round 3 and FM Sahil Sinha with the white pieces in the fourth round before holding the draw with the black pieces against FM Seth Homa in the following round. He drew with the white pieces with the aforementioned Aponte in the first game played Saturday, June 8 before winning with black against FM Nikhil Kumar in the second Saturday game. This put Richard in the postition of needing to win both games the following day, Sunday.
Now it was time for the final round, a game Mr. Francisco needed to win to obtain an IM norm. His opponent was a Canadian NM, born in 1997, the lowest rated player in the event, who was having a very good tournament. Like Richard the Canuck also had 5 1/2 points and needed a win to garner the coveted IM norm.
During research for this post the following comment by Mr. Dukic was found:
“Well guys I almost got the norm. I needed a 2450 performance but since I drew my last game I only managed 2437.
I had 4.5/7 going into the final day and I would need 2/2 to secure the norm, including winning a game with black against a Swedish International Master. I managed to win this, so I only needed to win with white in the last round to secure the norm. If my opponent were to win, then he would win the norm. If we drew, nobody would get it. It was truly the money game!
It came down to a king and pawn endgame (see below) where I was one tempo short of victory. It resembles the endgame in Searching for Bobby Fischer except for one key detail: black’s pawn on c6 prevents my queen from controlling his queening square 😥
For those of you who followed along, hope you enjoyed it!”
I spent much time following the games from Charlotte via the internet, when it was up. The service received from AT&T leaves much to be desired. Frankly, having AT&T is like living in a third world country, with constant outages. The internet is frequently down and when down, stays down for many hours. Nevertheless, I persevered, while either muttering expletives, or screaming things like, “That blankety blank AT&T!!!”
One of the best things about viewing the games was they were given at ChessStream (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Default.aspx) sans annotations so I could think for myself before heading over to the ChessBomb to learn what Stockfish, with little time and depth, had to say about the move and/or position.
carried the Georgia colors to Charlotte, NC, for the Spring 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational contested
March 20-24, 2019 at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. Richard played in the IM section scoring 3 1/2 points while winning two, drawing two, and losing too many.
Richard will be playing again in the Summer 2019 CCCSA IM Norm Invitational beginning June 5.
NM RICHARD FRANCISCO (2231) – FM ROBBY ADAMSON (2216)
Spring 2019 IM Norm Invitational
Round 4 | 2019.03.22
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 (Although the move played in the game has been by far the most frequently played move SF 10 at depth 52 and Houdini at depth 50 “think” the game should go 6 Nc3 Bb4 7 Bd3. With this move the game now becomes the C45 Scotch, Mieses variation) 6…Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 Nb6 (SF and Komodo show 8…Ba6 as the move) 9. Nc3 Qe6 10. Bd2 (SF plays 10 Qe4 expecting d5 11 exd6; Houdini plays 10 f4 Bc5 11 Be3) Ba6 11. b3 O-O-O 12. f4 f6 13. Qf2 (See Abdulov vs Lenic below for 13 Qe4)
7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be2 b6 (Komodo plays d6) 9. O-O (SF plays 9 Qd2 Bb7 10 f3 while Komodo plays 9 f4 Nxd4 10 Bxd4) Bb7 (SF prefers 9…Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Bb7. Only one game has been played by transposition. See Horvath vs McCambridge below) 10. f3 Qb8 (SF prefers 10…Nxd4 11 Bxd4 Bh6) 11. Qd2 Rd8 (SF plays 11…Nxd4 12 Bxd4 d6) 12. Rad1 (SF 9 plays 12 Nc2 while SF 10 and Komodo play Ndb5)
12…d6 (SF plays 12…Nxd4 13 Bxd4 d6) 13. Rfe1 (SF plays 13 Nc2 Rd7 14 f4; Komodo plays either 13 b3 Qc8 14 a3 or 13 Nbd5) 13…Rd7 (Houdini plays 13…Nxd4 14 Bxd4 Qc7) 14. Bf1 (SF plays 14 b3 e6 15 Nxc6 while Houdini plays 14 Ndb5 Nd8 15 Rc1) 14…Qf8 (SF plays the game move giving 15 g3 e6; Komodo plays 14…Ne5 15 b3 Nf8; Houdini plays 14…Nxf4 15 Bxd4 Qc8)
While tooling around the interweb looking for information on the Land of the Sky Chess tournament which began last night (the second, hurry-up part of the first round is ongoing as I punch & poke) I discovered a nice article featuring the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy.
Notice the sign proclaiming only “Chess Club.” I began playing at the Atlanta Chess Club, which was held in a YMCA on Lucky street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. It is where I won the 1976 Atlanta Chess Championship. My most vivid memory, though, is of the time there was a running gun battle right below on Lucky street, with real bullets being fired, between the cops and crooks. Most players went to the window to spectate. Fortunately, we were on the second floor so no bullets came our way. So engrossed in my fifteen minute game I stayed seated during the reality “show.” There was a Manhatten Chess Club, which is no longer in existence, and the Marshall Chess Club (http://www.marshallchessclub.org/), which is still open. The website shows an Adult Chess Class “Every Tuesday Night!” The oldest Chess club in the US is the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Club in San Francisco (http://www.chessclub.org/index.php). All ages are welcome at these venerable Chess clubs with no need for adding the word scholastic like all newer Chess clubs, such as the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center (https://saintlouischessclub.org/), have done.
The headline is:
Master level chess player operates Charlotte’s first center dedicated to the game at age 26
By Randy Wheeless – December 19, 2017
“Since middle school, chess has been an integral part of Peter Giannatos’ life. He’s participated in more than 200 tournaments, and is recognized as a master level player. In fact, he’s a top-10 player in the state.
After graduating from UNC Charlotte in 2014, Giannatos, 26, figured he would concentrate on joining the working world. He had dreams of making chess his career, but knew that could be a longshot.
A longshot he has spent the last three years making a reality. Over that time, Giannatos became the owner and operator of the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. Located on Camden Road, near the LYNX East/West stop in South End, the center has more than 150 members – making it Charlotte’s first full-time center devoted solely to chess.”
It looks real nice, unlike the Atlanta Chess Club & Game Center, which was also known as “The Dump” for good reason. As a matter of fact, the Charlotte Club looks downright OPULENT in comparison!
Although growing by leaps and bounds, Charlotte is no where near as large a city as Atlanta, especially when surrounding cities many miles away not in the city limits use Atlanta as their city in much the same way as people in the area of Atlanta known as Buckhead, where the Governor’s mansion is located, have done. The ‘Head has kept expanding because every business wants to be known as being part of Buckhead. One hundred fifty members seems a strong number of members for the relatively new Chess club.
I do not know the exact number of members the ACC&GC had at any time, but I do recall returning to work there when it had dropped to only a handful, or maybe two handfuls. It got back to me that the owner, Thad Rogers, said upon my return the number of members had grown to almost as many when the place first opened, which made me proud.
I hope to be able to visit the CCC&SA before I go to the Chess club in the sky. For all of my international readers, if you come down South I hope you include the Charlotte CC&SA in your itinerary.
The engines play 13…Be6, while humans play the move in the game. The transition from opening to middle game ending with 16…Be6 looks favorable for White. After 17 Bd3 the most often played, and best, move is 17…Rfd8, but still White has a solid plus. I am reminded of the time Bobby Fischer had gone over a game his opponent lost, who was flummoxed as to just why he had lost. Bobby said, “The whole line is bad.”
What caught my attention was the second move, Ne2. Back in the day I played the Najdorf and when I beginning winning with it, opponents began playing alternative moves, not allowing me to play the Najdorf. The same thing happened a decade later when Longshot Larry “got good” playing the Dragon. Some players thought Longshot, who hovered between class ‘A’ and Expert, played two classes higher when defending while attacking with the Dragon. Longshot was strong enough to almost win with it versus “Hulk” Kogan. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I happened to be watching the moment Boris reached for a piece but held his fingers hovering while the tension became palpable…When the Hulk retracted his hand it was like the air being let out of a balloon. The game was ultimately drawn. The Ironman adds that Longshot Larry did beat another Georgia chess legend, NM Guillermo A. Ruiz, a game that was published in the Georgia Chess magazine of the time.
Longshot Larry, a heating and air conditioning repairman, had been asked by Guillermo to come to his home and clean the system, so Longshot asked me to accompany him. Since Guillermo owned a cleaning service, considered too expensive by the owner of the Atlanta Chess Center, Thad Rogers, Longshot used Guillermo’s wet-vac. We were in the basement where a chess board was on a table, along with one book, an obviously well-used, dogged-eared copy of “The Game of Chess,” by Siegbert Tarrasch. I was positioned between Guillermo and Longshot, looking at Larry as he turned on the machine, beginning the extraction. When I asked Guillermo about his other chess books he said it was his only chess book. “You only need one book, if it is a good one.” Later Thad told me Ruiz had purchased a used copy. As we were talking black smoke began billowing from the machine. Guillermo must have seen the look on my face and turned around to see a cloud of heavy black smoke rising up the stairs. With the realization Ruiz literally jumped two feet into the air, then began screaming, but Longshot, with his head inside the closet containing the unit, could not hear. Ruiz ran over and began pounding on Larry, who then turned the machine off, but the damage had been done. The thing I recall most vividly on our way out is the light-colored drapes in the living room upstairs, which had been turned dark with soot. “How was I to know the thing did not have a bag?” Longshot asked on our way back to the House of Pain. “Ruiz is into the cleaning game, so I assumed the thing would work,” he said. I laughed when Longshot, who obviously did not get paid, said, “Man, I really needed that money.”
When faced with 2 Ne2 I played the same way as Carter, but is it best? Check out how Bobby Fischer played against 2 Ne2, and notice how he changed to 2…Nf6 after having twenty years to study the game before his return match with Boris Spassky. 2…Nf6 is the choice of both Stockfish and Houdini, but Komodo plays 2…a6.