Honor The Intent

It has been my policy to approve all comments left by readers, especially if signed by the respondent, with only a few exceptions. It bothers me not if I am criticized because one of the things that sets our country apart is freedom of the press. I have even printed comments left by people using a nom de plume. However, there is a line and I do enforce the line from time to time.

A scathing comment was left recently by someone disgruntled because of what had been written in the post, Chess Segregation. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/10/13/chess-segregation/) The writer was obviously “ticked off” by, “There are more women and girls involved with Chess than ever before and it started with the so-called “youth movement,” which began when money earmarked for Master Chess was, shall we say to be kind, diverted to children’s Chess.”

Among the many things I was called during the diatribe was “liar.”

I am sixty nine years of age and will be the first to admit my memory is not what it used to be. Still, having participated in brain and memory studies at Emory, Georgia Tech and the Veteran’s Administration (the results of which were to be used to help veterans who had served our country), I am thankful for how much better off than others even younger than am I. That said, I will admit to having an occasional “Senior moment” which is exacerbated by fatigue.

After receiving the salvo comment I racked my brain in an attempt to recall what and where I had read concerning the diversion of funds. I seemed to recall something former POTUSCF Don Schultz had written in a Chess Life magazine, thinking it was a letter to the editor, but I could be mistaken. I went to the internet in an attempt to locate anything about the matter. What you are about to read is the only thing I managed to locate. If anyone can shed any more light on the subject please leave a comment.

Honor the Intent

by Don Schultz

During the 1990s the direction of the American Chess Foundation changed from sponsoring a wide variety of chess projects to almost exclusively promoting their highly successful New York City inner city school programs. In order to emphasize this redirection, the American Chess Foundation changed their name to Chess-in-the-Schools. Although their inner school programs continue to be enormously successful, part of the funding of these programs comes from income from donations of patrons who intended other uses for their contributions.
Case in point, when former USCF President Fred Cramer died in April 1989 he bequeathed a quarter of a million dollars to the ACF. Throughout his life, Cramer was an avid advocate for better communication and improved chess journalism, particularly at the state level. In order to partially satisfy Cramer’s wishes, Fan Adams, then President of the ACF, used a portion of the income from the Cramer bequest to sponsor the Cramer Awards for Excellence in Chess Journalism. Unfortunately Chess-in-the-Schools has now cancelled their financial support of the Cramer Awards Program. They did this so they can redirect all of the income from the Cramer bequest to support their NYC inner city school programs.
The Cramer Awards for Excellence in Chess Journalism are not the only victim of the Chess-in-the-Schools new policy. An example is the income from over a million dollars of Thomas Emery donations. Emery was a close friend of many of our finest players, including Frank Marshall and Al Horowitz. He helped support master chess. He also was a member of the Marine Corps during World War I and as a result had an enduring interest in armed forces chess. He sponsored the first Armed Forces Championship in 1960, and continued to sponsor it during his lifetime. He had every expectation that income from his donations would continue to be used for master and armed forces chess promotions. But it is not. All of it is now being used for the Chess-in-the Schools New York City inner city school programs.
Chess-in-the-Schools does continue to support a few projects unrelated to their inner school programs. These include the Denker High School Invitational and the Paul Albert Awards. But the patrons for these projects are still living and members of their Board.
However invaluable the Chess-in-the-School programs are, income from bequests and contributions such as those from Cramer and Emery should be used to pay for the intended programs of the patron. If you agree with this assessment, please express your feelings to Members of the Board, Chess-in-the-Schools, 353 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, tel. 212 643-0225, fax 212 757-7704.

http://www.chessnews.org/acf.html

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Joe South

[Verse 1]
If I could be you
And you could be me
For just one hour
If we could find a way
To get inside
Each other’s mind, mmm
If you could see you
Through my eyes
Instead of your ego
I believe you’d be
Surprised to see
That you’d been blind, mmm

[Chorus]
Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

[Verse 2]
Now your whole world
You see around you
Is just a reflection
And the law of karma
Says you’re gonna reap
Just what you sow, yes you will
So unless
You’ve lived a life of total perfection
You’d better be careful of every stone
That you should throw, yeah

[Verse 3]
And yet we spend the day
Throwing stones
At one another
‘Cause I don’t think
Or wear my hair
The same way you do, mmm
Well I may be
Common people
But I’m your brother
And when you strike out
And try to hurt me
It’s a hurtin’ you, lord have mercy

[Chorus]
Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

[Verse 4]
There are people
On reservations
And out in the ghettos
And brother there
But for the grace of God
Go you and I, yeah, yeah
If I only
Had the wings
Of a little angel
Don’t you know I’d fly
To the top of the mountain
And then I’d cry

https://genius.com/Joe-south-walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes-lyrics

Advertisements

Chess Segregation

After reading Kevin Spragett’s post dated March 30, 2019, Friday Coffee
by kevinspraggettonchess · Published March 29, 2019 · Updated March 30, 2019, (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/friday-coffee-24/) which includes the question, “Is Chess Sexist?”, I sent Kevin an email:

Kevin,

You write, “We acknowledge that there is no fundamental difference when it comes to the brain of a women or that of a man.” You, sir, are WRONG! I have written much on my blog concerning the science and studies which confirm just how wrong are you as there is a “fundamental difference” between the male and female brain, which you would have known if you had read my blog.

After reading the new book, Gender and Our Brains, by Gina Rippon,

I must apologize to Kevin and admit being wrong. Although there appear to be some differences between the male brain when compared with the female brain that does not mean there is any difference between the two brains when it comes to cognitive ability. For example:

Study finds some significant differences in brains of men and women

By Michael Price Apr. 11, 2017

The largest study to look at sex differences in brain anatomy found that women tend to have thicker cortices, whereas men had higher brain volume. (https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/study-finds-some-significant-differences-brains-men-and-women)

Are Male and Female Brains Biologically Different?

The scientific debate around this question keeps raging, but one neuroscientist says we’re more alike than we think.

By Taylor Lorenz Jun 25, 2018

(https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/06/male-female-brains-biologically-different/563702/)

Ms.Rippon writes, “We have tracked the “blame the brain” campaign down the ages, and seen how diligent was the scientists’ pursuit of those brain differences that would keep women in their place. If a unit of measurement didn’t exist to characterize those inferior female brains, then one must be invented!”

She also writes, “Hence men’s more efficient callosal filtering mechanism explained their mathematical and scientific genius (with chess brilliance thrown in for good measure), their right to be captains of industry, win Nobel Prizes and so on and on. In this instance, in the “size matters” wars, with respect to the corpus callosum, small is beautiful.”

This is the only place in which one finds the word “chess” in the four hundred pages of the book.

If you believe Gina Rippon’s thesis then the question of why women are segregated in Chess must be asked. As a matter of fact the question was asked by E.E. Deedon in a letter (via email) to Chess Life magazine in the July 2019 issue. Mr. Deedon wrote:

“I just received my May 2019 edition of Chess Life, “The Women’s Issue.” What I cannot understand is the fact that men and women are still segregated after it has become quite obvious that men have no “advantage” when playing against women as they would obviously have in “physical” sports like football, basketball, and track and field. Would you be so kind to enlighten me as to why this situation still exists?”

For my international readers I must mention that when E.E. uses the word “football” he is talking about the American version, what I call “maimball”, not what is known in the rest of the world, which is called “soccer” here in the United States of America.

There follows in Chess Life:

Women’s Program Director for US Chess, WGM Jennifer Shahade

(that’s for WOMAN Grandmaster, as opposed to a real Grandmaster, whether male of female. For the international readers, Jennifer Shahade is rated 2301 US and 2322 FIDE. She has earned the title of “Original Life Master” from the United States Chess Federation. Although I am uncertain how one becomes an OLM I do know that if Jennifer were a male she would be considered just another National Master) responds:

“Women have historically been outnumbered in chess competition (She could stop there as it answers the question, but adds more, much more, as if she is a long-winded politician running for office) and most women and girls play and study in mixed competitions for the majority of the time.”

This begs the question of how she knows “most women and girls study in mixed competitions.”

Jennifer continues:

“Women’s spaces, tournaments, and camps are great ways to allow them to work on their game, make friendships, and get attention for their success and talent, which creates a positive, self-perpetuating cycle that brings more girls and women into the game.”

You are not alone in your curiosity. Your question is by far the most frequent I get when hosting, supporting, or streaming an event that includes a women’s or girl’s component. Unfortunately, when this question is asked, it is often negatively charged, and changes a positive event (women and girls enjoying and playing chess) into a forum for amateur analysis of gender, biology, and sociology. This line of questioning is so common that streamers like Alexander Botez (as featured in the first edition of my Ladies Knight podcast) create automated moderator responses for her streams – if the questioning become negative, moderators advise re-focusing on the chess.

Which brings me to an important point when we talk about women and girls in chess. As Woman’s Program Director, I focus on the positive as we grow the game: from Jennifer Yu’s stirring victory to the inspiring story of Phiona Mutesi, from Rachael Li’s standing as the top nine year old in the U.S. to the rich history of women’s chess from Menchik to Graf to Rudenko.

Thanks for you interest in US Chess Women!”

What, women cannot “work on their game, make friendships, and get attention for their success and talent” by attending a “space” -whatever that means- tournament or camp that includes males?

Who judges when a question is “negatively charged?” If anyone suggests females play in tournaments open to everyone regardless of sex does Jennifer consider that to be “negatively charged?”

I played Backgammon professionally for a time and women were welcomed in tournaments. There were no tournaments for only women.

Jennifer’s ridiculous answer to an important question can be distilled to, “Because we’re special.” Women want to eat their cake and have it too. It is as simple as that…

The fact is that men resent preferential treatment for women in Chess because females are diverting money from the small pool of Chessbucks which should go to the best player(s) regardless of sex. Period.

As I write this a Chess tournament, the FIDE chess.com Grand Swiss, is unfolding in the Isle of Man. In the second round the female player GM Antoaneta Stefanova defeated male player Gawain Jones. IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul bested GM Sergei Movsesian.

There are many female players challenging males. I do not know exactly how many, or what percentage, are female because Chess Results (http://chess-results.com/tnr478041.aspx) makes no distinction between the sexes.

There are more women and girls involved with Chess than ever before and it started with the so-called “youth movement,” which began when money earmarked for Master Chess was, shall we say to be kind, diverted to children’s Chess. With this brought an influx of “Chess moms,” a term first heard in relation to soccer, as in “Soccer mom.” It has gotten to the point that many women have been placed in positions of power in the Chess world, taking positions formerly held by men. For example, in the Spring 2018issue of the American Chess Magazine

there is an interview with the new executive director of the USCF, Carol Meyer.

Pete Tamburro posed this question to the new E.D.:

Have you learned to play chess? (Upon reading this my first thought was, “What The Fork?”) Anybody offer you lessons? Do you have a chess strategic plan?

Answer:

“I know how to move the pieces and have played with my family.” (I’m thinking, “You’re kidding me, right?”) “What I’ve learned is that playing chess for a tournament player is a very different concept from playing chess as a casual player. (How would the woman know that if she has NEVER PLAYED A TOURNAMENT GAME?) I have considered taking lessons after I settle in a bit more. I was thinking about blogging the personal experience of someone over the age of 50 learning the game.”

Good luck with that! The fact is that Chess is so difficult it is almost impossible for anyone over the age of 50 to learn how to play a decent game of Chess. I have attempted to teach Chess to men in their 30s to no avail. One gentleman was an attorney with a prominent law firm who informed me he had accomplished whatever it was he attempted until trying to play Chess.

From the earliest days of my involvement in Chess everyone involved came from some kind of Chess background. It may not have been required, but that was the way it was…I have battled over the Chess board with many USCF pooh bahs, such as Don Schultz, President of several different state organizations. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Schultz) Don was POTUSCF at one time. The fact is I cannot recall all of the many positions Don held in Chess. I do know he was once President of the Georgia Chess Association. This woman, Carol Meyer, in that position makes the USCF President, Allen Priest, rated 701 after having played 45 games in his life (10 wins; 3 draws) look like a battle scarred veteran. What can this woman possibly know about the Royal game? Is having someone who knows almost nothing about Chess good for the USCF? Having a litigious imbecile as POTUS has not exactly turned out well for the USA or the world, and it will get worse before he is impeached and forced to resign. I do not know about you but I would not want the pilot of my plane to say, “I know how to push the buttons and have flown in a simulator.”

Then there is the Publications Editor, Melinda Matthews. I searched the USCF and found her listed along with other rated players but the USCF MSA page shows she has yet to play a rated game. I kid you not. Maybe she is the reason the once venerable Chess Life magazine now includes articles such as More Chess Parenting: Nurturing the Talented Child, by Alexey Root, WIM.

Alexey is rated 2000 USCF, meaning she would be a floored National Master if male. I recently reached out to a number of Chess players, asking if they read the article. No one replied in the affirmative. One wag responded, “No one reads that shit, Bacon.” Who knows, maybe a few parents of children involved with Chess actually read the article. Maybe… Another said, “The USCF could care less about people who actually play Chess, Mike. They are attempting to reach PARENTS!”

“It’s a Total Numbers Game”

The above has become the mantra for women involved with Chess. It is also a load of crap. Statistics prove that young girls exposed to Chess stop playing the game around puberty. There is a reason. I do not profess to know the reason, but there must be a reason, because there is always a reason. Unfortunately, the same could be said for preteen boys. Something happens to children of both sexes around puberty and they leave Chess in droves. Why is that? There is a reason, and it would seem those in charge would spend as much of Rex Sinquefield’s money as they could grasp to learn why young people leave the game. Instead, large sums of money go to attracting even more young children to replace the money of those who leave the game, never to return.

Sports Illustrated Features US Chess Women: “It’s a Total Numbers Game.”
By Jennifer Shahade|December 21, 2018|Kids, News, Women

It’s a total and complete numbers game. What the women’s committee is trying to do is to grow the base- Maureen Grimaud

Comments
Edward | December 27, 2018 at 4:29 pm
No matter all the explanation in the world, having separate girls/women chess tournaments sends the message that females can not compete with males in chess.
https://www.si.com/more-sports/2018/12/17/lisa-lane-hou-yifan-womens-chess-gender-inequality-world-championships

Ladies Knight with Maureen Grimaud [PODCAST]
By Jennifer Shahade|August 21, 2019|Ladies Knight, News, Podcast, Women

The August episode of Ladies Knight features Maureen Grimaud,

chair of the US Chess Women’s committee. Maureen is a vocal proponent and supporter of bringing more women and girls into chess, from her work with the girls club’ rooms and Regional women’s events. In a Sports Illustrated article about women in chess, Maureen said, “It’s a numbers game, It’s a total and complete numbers game. What the women’s committee is trying to do is to grow the base.”

Ladies Knight with Maureen Grimaud [PODCAST]

How about Maureen’s numbers? The woman has played a total of 44 rated games since 2006. She won four of the games and drew three. She last played in a USCF rated tournament in 2012. Her rating is 440. How about Rex Sinquefield putting up money for a match between Maureen and the President of the USCF, Allen Priest? Although the Prez outweighs her by about the same number of pounds as he out rates her I would hafta say it’s a toss-up.

I do not have answers to the questions posed in this post; maybe there are no answers, or no one really wants to learn the answers while the money is still flowing into Chess. But how long will it last?

GM Igor Rausis says “Chess is a disease”

The post dated July 13, 2019, GM Igors Rausis Caught With The Toilet Seat Down, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/grandmaster-igors-rausis-caught-cheating/) went viral. The number of viewers was the most, by far, of any previous post on the AW blog. Tens of thousands of people all over the world viewed the post in numbers that dwarfed any other post. The number of viewers is given each day and there is a map of the world in which the number of viewers is color coded. The world map lit up like a Christmas tree, with viewers from almost every country on the planet. This continued for a few days until dropping back to what was previously considered “normal.” Because of the huge daily numbers for those days what was formerly considered a “normal” day is now seen as a tiny blip on the graph of viewers. From this it is more than a little obvious people interested in the Royal game are very interested in the ever increasing problem of cheating in Chess.

I had not intended on writing anything else on cheating but a recent interview with GM Igor Rausis has caused me to have second thoughts about posting anything concerning the confessed cheater. Chessbase published, Igors Rausis: How to quit chess in one move By Andris Tihomirovs, yesterday, August 23, 2019, which was read this morning. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/how-to-quit-chess-in-one-move) The article was, “Originally published in SestDiena magazine, July 26, 2019.” I clicked onto the link (https://www.diena.lv/raksts/sestdiena/tuvplana/ka-ar-ravienu-tikt-prom-no-saha.-saruna-ar-igoru-rausi-14223781) finding it in need of translation, so I headed to Google translate only to learn only the heading could be translated but one cannot cut & paste the article. This is what could be translated:

How to Get Away from Chess A conversation with Igor Rausis

A photo of a chess player in a restroom using his mobile phone during a game

broke a long-standing storm not only among fans of the sport, but also for those who have a simple black and white picture of chess. Chess grandmaster Igor Rausis, who has been trapped in a fraud, says it was his chance to get away from the chess world with a twist.

What follows is part of the translation from the aforementioned Chessbase article:

Has anyone else been accused or suspected of cheating in chess?

Lots. Unfortunately, lots. I don’t want to talk about the others. I don’t want to name any specific surnames. I don’t know why people came up with this idea of making phone apps for chess. It all started with that.

They’ve been around for a long time.

But why? What’s the point?

To play. To analyse. I play on the tram.

But they didn’t think about the consequences. Well, there are a lot of sick people in the world. Previously, this sickness didn’t exist. Gaming mania. Unfortunately, it’s a contemporary illness.

Like casino?

That’s different, because a person goes to the casino and leaves money behind. It’s like drugs.

What exactly? Chess?

Gaming. And the world supports this, because somebody’s earning money from his. (It is possible the word “his” should be “this.” It is printed exactly as found at Chessbase.)

Beyond phones, is chess a sickness?

Chess players never talk about it, because chess fans like other words — like chess is art. Maybe it partially applies to those who compile compositions [chess problems].

So is chess a disease?

In a manner of speaking. A great pyramid has been built. I can now say something controversial aimed at the functionaries.

THE THREAT IS STRONGER THAN ITS EXECUTION!

If Chess is to survive it MUST change in order to adapt to the current circumstances. Over a decade ago I wrote about the need for Chess to adapt but money was flowing into Chess thanks to billionaire bullies with more money than sense, so who wanted to be the first to rock the boat? (I use the term “billionaire bullies” because of people like the Koch bros, etc., and other extremely wealthy people who donate money to political candidates who would obviously be more comfortable in a Nazi-type party than any political party consisting of We The People) At a recent Chess tournament in Atlanta someone mentioned Daniel Lucas,

formerly editor of Georgia Chess before becoming editor of Chess Life magazine. There was laughter upon my mentioning I thought Daniel was still editor of Chess Life. “Because USCF is now awash in Sinquebucks there have been many changes at USCF, Bacon,” said someone who will remain nameless. “Now Daniel’s WIFE is the editor and he has been given a new title of, Senior Director of Strategic Communication for the United States Chess Federation.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” I asked. “I mean, wouldn’t simply Director of Communication have sufficed? Is there a “Junior Director of Strategic Communication?” After more laughter I asked, “What, exactly, is ‘Strategic Communication’ and how does it differ from just plain Communication?” After the uproarious laughter abated someone said, “They just pull those kind of names out of their ass.” This brought the house down, so to speak.

In a capitalist economy it is said, “He who has the money makes the rules.” It is no secret Rex Sinquefield wants much shorter time controls for the Royal game. It has become apparent how little it matters what he, on any other wealthy patron of Chess wants, because now, for the game of Chess to survive, it MUST limit a game to one sitting, with no player allowed to leave the room.

On the very popular, and famous, television show, House, the character of Doctor House

was famous for saying, “Everyone lies.” The way Chess is currently played I can say, “Everyone cheats,” and who will argue? It is too easy to cheat so it is happening in every section by players of all ages. Some years ago at a tournament in Atlanta a player was caught cheating and his response was, “Everyone else is doing it, so I must do it too.” At another tournament, at Emory University some years ago, everyone but the TDs was talking about a group of young boys who would simply leave the playing hall heading for the seats of the cafeteria where they would check out a cell phone in plain sight. Why go to the lavatory when one can sit in the comfort of the cafeteria?

There are signs everywhere pointing to the death of Chess. The recently concluded US Open Chess tournament managed to draw only three hundred plus players. Before a recent round of the Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament in St. Louis, Maurice Asheley talked about the myriad draws in the tournament thus far, contrasting the mostly draw “classical” Chess tourney with a recent “rapid” tournament round in which six of the ten games were decisive. Is the Royal game as it is played by the best Chess players “played out?” How many people will be interested in Chess if it must devolve to “Blunder Fest Chess” to survive?

Theory Of Shadows: A Review

It must be extremely difficult to write a historical novel because many have tried and most have failed. Many of the historical novels I have read were of the type, “What if he had lived?” Some concerned POTUS John F. Kennedy.

The last one read was years ago and it caused me to put other books of the type on the “back burner,” where they have since continued to smolder…It may have helped if the author could write, but he had as much business writing as I have running a marathon. The book was not one of those print on demand tomes which allow anyone to publish a book nowadays but a book published by an actual publishing company, which means there was an editor who must have thought the book good enough to earn money. I found the book, a hardback, only a few weeks after it had been published and it was marked down to a price low enough for me to take a chance and fork over the cash. P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” In a way the editor was right, but then, marked down enough anything will sell.

There have been notable historical novels such as Michael Shaara‘s masterpiece, The Killer Angels,
which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.

It must be terribly difficult to write a novel about people who actually lived. A novelist invents a character. To write historical fiction about an actual living, breathing human being is another thing entirely.

Having recently returned to the city of my birth meant a visit to the local library, which happened to be selected as the 2018 Georgia Public Library of the Year. After renewing my lapsed library card I went to the catalog that very evening to check on, what else, Chess books. I had been pleasantly surprised when seeing the latest issue of Chess Life magazine in the reading room of the Decatur branch of the Dekalb county library system after obtaining my new card. While surveying the Chess books a jewel was found, a book I recalled being published years ago, but not in English. It was published at the end of the last century by the author of The Luneburg Variation,

Paolo Maurensig.

It was his first novel, published at the age of fifty, and it was a good read. The book about which I will write is, Theory Of Shadows,

published in Italy in 2015. It was published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2018 after being translated by Anne Milano Appel.

From the front inside jacket: On the morning of March 24, 1946, the world chess champion, Alexander Alekhine – “sadist of the chess world,”

renowned for his eccentric behaviour as well as the ruthlessness of his playing style – was found dead in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal.”

There it is, a fictional account of how Alekhine died. The last paragraph on the jacket reads: “With the atmosphere of a thriller, the insight of a poem, and a profound knowledge of the world of chess (“the most violent of all sports,” according to the former world champion Garry Kasparov), Paolo Maurensig’s Theory of Shadows leads us through the glamorous life and sordid death of an infuriating and unapologetic genius: not only trying to work out “whodunit,” but using the story of Alexander Alekhine to tease out what Milan Kundera has called “that which the novel alone can discover.”

I loved everything about this book. The book begins with this quote : “If Alekhine had been a Jew hating Nazi scientist, inventor of weapons extermination and therefore protected by those in power, then that intellectual rabble would have held its breath. Instead, the victim had to drain the bitter cup to the last drop…Even the supreme act of his death was vulgarly besmirched. And we cowards stifled our feelings, remaining silent. Because the only virtue that fraternally unites us all, whites and black, Jews and Christians, is cowardice.” – Esteban Canal

After reading the above I had yet to begin the first chapter yet had been sent to the theory books…OK, the interweb, in order to learn who was Esteban Canal. “Esteban Canal (April 19, 1896 – February 14, 1981) was a leading Peruvian chess player who had his best tournament results in the 1920s and 1930s.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esteban_Canal)

This was also found:

Who was Esteban Canal?

Writing in a 1937 edition of Chess Review, Lajos Steiner,


Lajos Steiner (1903-1975), by Len Leslie

who knew Canal when they were living in Budapest, said that Canal never reached the heights his talent deserved. He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and received the honorary GM title in 1977.
Not much is known about his life and what little is known is wrapped in a cloud of mystery. Canal himself claimed to have been a cabin boy on a cargo ship carrying wheat from Australia, but it has proven to be impossible to verify dates. It is known that he had an extensive nautical knowledge and sailors.
In 1955 the South African player Wolfgang Heindenfed, writing in his book Chess Springbok, An Account of a South African Chess Player’s Experiences Overseas wrote of Canal, “The grand old man of Italian chess is Esteban Canal, originally of Peru, who at the age of 57 won the 1953 Venice tournament to which I had the good luck of being invited. He is one of the most interesting and amusing of all chess personalities. Formerly a roving reporter, he speaks six or seven languages and still treasures mementos of such VIPs as Kemal Pasha and Abd el Krim. He is an inexhaustible raconteur of chess stories.” (http://tartajubow.blogspot.com/2018/03/who-was-esteban-canal.html)

About a third of the way through the one hundred seventy nine page book we read: “Though it was an essential task, armchair analysis of the matches he’s played in the past often bored him. Without the presence of the human element, the pieces on the chessboard lost their vitality. It was quite a different matter to play with an opponent in front of you: to enter his mind, predict his strategies by interpreting the slightest variations of his posture, the position of his hands, the subtle though significant contractions of his lips. During the period when he worked for the Moscow police, they had taught Alekhine how to interpret small signs such as these during interrogations, to see if their subjects were lying.”

During an interview, after discussing the murder of his brother at the hands of the Soviet communists as retribution of Alekhine leaving “Mother Russia” the interviewer asks, “And you never feared that you might suffer the same fate?”

“You mean being killed?”

The journalist nodded.

He hesitated a moment, then: “Perhaps, yes, now and then, the thought’s occurred to me.”

“After all,” Ocampo said, a little heavy-handedly, “Trotsky himself, despite taking refuge in Mexice, was ultimately hit by a hired assassin.”

“I took my precautions.”

For a time Alekhine was silent. In fact, he knew very well that it was not strictly necessary for a victim to be close to his murderer, that there was no place in the world where one could be assured of finding a completely secure refuge. A well-trained hit man could strike even in broad daylight and in the midst of a crowd.”

I’m thinking, “Just ask JFK…”

Jews and Chess:

“That was the first time he’d faced a Jewish chess player – it would certainly not be the last. He would endure a stinging defeat by Rubenstein


Akiba Rubenstein

in the first masters tournament in which he competed. He was eighteen years old then, and, encountering that young man, some years older than him, who was said to have abandoned his rabbinical studies to devote himself to chess, he’s had to swallow several bitter truths. Later on, he played against Nimzowitsch,


Aaron Nimzowitsch

Lasker,


Emanuel Lasker

and Reshevsky,


Sammy Reshevsky

soon realizing that, in his rise to the world title, his competitors would all be Jews.
Their faces were still sharply etched in his memory: Rubinstein, dapper, with a drew cut and an upturned mustache and the vacant gaze of a man who has peered too closely into his own madness; Lasker, with his perpetually drowsy air and spiraling, hopelessly rebellious hair; Nimzowitsch, looking like a bank clerk who, behind his pincenez, is haughtily judging the insufficiency of other people’s funds’ Reshevsky, resembling a prematurely aged child prodigy. Often he imagined them muffled up in long black cloaks, gathered in a circle like cros around a carcass, intent on captiously interpreting chess the way they did their sacred texts.”

Near the end of this magnificent book it is written, “By then, the harbingers of what in the coming decades would be called the Cold War were already looming. And if the weapons of the two blocs were to remain unused, it was essential that there be other arenas in which they could compete and excel. Chess was therefore, as ever, a symbolic substitute for war: gaining supremacy in it was a constant reminder to the enemy that you possessed greater military expertise, a more effective strategy.”

In beating the Soviet World Chess Champion Boris Spassky in 1972 Bobby Fischer won much more than a mere Chess match.

Bobby emasculated the Soviet Communist regime. Alekhine may have taken a brick out of the wall when leaving Mother Russia, but Bobby Fischer took the wall down.

Being a novel within a novel made the book was a pleasure to read and I enjoyed it immensely. I give it the maximum five stars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but his diseased kidney.”

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vassily Smyslov

vs Mikhail Tal

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

B42 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Bd3

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

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

I conclude the review with this paragraph:

“Salo Flohr,

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

Tigran,

Bobby,

and Tolya Karpov.

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

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

Dark Side of the 2015 US Chess Championship

At the beginning of February an interesting article appeared on the USCF website, “Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I” By GM Sam Shankland, dated February 3, 2015. After perusing the article I went to the trouble of cutting and pasting it in order to save it in hopes of being able to read it later. Part II appeared February 12, 2015 and I once again copied and saved the article. Although I have had the time I have yet to go back to it, but it has been on my mind.

I brought the article to the attention of the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When I mentioned the games were not complete, but truncated, with diagrams, Tim related something he had seen decades ago at a major tournament such as the New York or World Open. The Ironman recalled being near when now FM Miles Ardaman wanted GM William Lombardy to look at a position. “Do you have the moves leading up to the position?” asked Father Lombardy. Miles said he did not, and the GM said, “In that case I have no interest in the position whatsoever,” and walked away.

I was gratified to here this because I, too, have always felt that past is prologue, and if you do not know where you have been, you do not know where you are going. It means something because there is the “chess door” principle. The higher rated players walk through the door first and a Grandmaster enters before a floored Expert. One of the wonderful things about the game of chess is that it matters not what title one has in the world outside of chess. It does not matter what elected office one holds in the chess world, or how many times one posts on any chess forum, the only thing that matters is one’s strength at playing the Royal game.

The Ironman said he could not understand why the opening moves had not been given in light of the fact that an article on the endgame in a recent Chess Life by IM Danny Kopec on the “Browne Endgame” contained the moves leading up to the position in the diagram, “Just like the endgame book Smitty had squirreled away you found at that downtown library book sale.” The Ironman was referring to, Exploring the Endgame by Peter Griffiths. He also made a comment about how the USCF does not have an interactive feature as do most, if not all, chess websites. “The USCF is so far behind the times it has 1995 type features,” he said. The Ironman is correct because it is a fact the USCF has been behind the curve when it comes to anything computer for the past quarter century, if not longer.

The Ironman also decried that such an article would be posted on the scroll at the USCF online website in lieu of in the magazine. I concur with the Ironman’s astute assessment of the situation. Chess Life proudly boasts on the cover that it is, “The World’s Most Widely Read Chess Magazine.” Would that not seem to be reason enough to have the article included in the moribund magazine? As it is, to read the article I would need to have my computer sitting next to my chessboard, which is possible with a laptop, but not for someone like Tim who has a much larger home unit. Even with a laptop it is unwieldy with a board, and I have never done so. When I have my board on the table I have a book or magazine, open.
I realize it is possible to print out the article, but I have no printer. I also realize it would be possible to obtain the missing moves by finding the games online, but why should I have to go to all the trouble, especially when there is so much chess readily available online, and all I have to do is plug in and turn on without having to jump through all those hoops?

I mention this because the US Championship is only about a week away, and there may not be any better article to read before the first round begins. “I did not know Wesley So was playing this year,” the Legendary one exclaimed the other day. “Now I am really FIRED UP!” The Ironman is not the only one…it is almost time for Yaz & Jen, not to mention Maurice & the ‘puter…I can hardly wait!

Yet there is a dark side to the tournament…This can be found on the USCF forum:

Post: #289601 by sunmaid on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:58 pm
Last year Kamsky, Akobian and Lenderman tied for first place at the US championship and it was only through a very unfair playoff system that Gata Kamsky was ultimately crowned champion. Since Kamsky and Akobian are in, I think it would have been a wise decision to give the wild card entry to Alex Lenderman. Sam Sevian is an exciting young player, but he will get his chance in many years to come to play in this tournament.
http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php&f=24&t=21044

It is a travesty that one of the players who TIED FOR FIRST PLACE last year is not included in the field this year. This brings SHAME on all involved with the tournament, and especially on the pooh-bahs of the USCF, who obviously have no shame. Only someone like Darth Cheney would be content with this sorry state of affairs…(http://www.ora.tv/offthegrid/senator-angus-king-vs-darth-cheney-0_4ub9v4vxhn35)

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I
By GM Sam Shankland
February 3, 2015
http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12944/798/

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part II
By GM Sam Shankland
February 12, 2015
http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12954/798/

GM Sam Shankland – Official Site
http://www.samshankland.com/index

“Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh Plays the Mieses Opening

Unlike most chess fans I look forward to the opening round of an Open event in lieu of the final round because the last round usually devolves into a song by Big Maybelle, better known from the 1957 rockabilly song by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Or as the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who has done a fair amount of shakin’ himself, has been heard to say, the last round usually turns into a “Big ‘ol group hug.” The first round is more interesting because of the huge rating disparity, affording the possibility of an upset. Players of my level, “weakies” according to Bobby Fischer, have a chance at glory. Lower rated players can benefit from playing over the games of other lower rated players in order to discern where they went wrong; what kind of mistakes they made. In addition, more “offbeat” openings are played in the opening round and not the “round up the usual suspect” openings. It may be true that one should play so-called “main lines,” but how interesting is it to play over a game when the same twenty moves have been trotted out yet again?

In the opening round of the recent 2015 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival Badrakh Galmandakh, representing Mongolia, rated 2240 by the FIDE, sat down behind the White pieces to battle GM Alexander Motylev, rated 2665, the 78th highest rating in the world. As he played his first move Badrakh reached for his Queen pawn, and moved it one square, to d3. This caused me to think of the famous game between World Champion Anatoly Karpov and English GM Tony Miles at the 1980 European Team championship when, in reply to Karpov’s first move of 1 e4, Tony answered with a move which shocked Karpov and stunned the chess world, 1…a6. The game ended in victory for the Englishman.

Upon reflection I also considered something contained in the regular column by GM Andy Soltis in the January issue of Chess Life magazine, “It seems to me that in non-standard positions, chess players have become significantly weaker,” GM Boris Gulko said in a recent Chesspro.com interview. “Because all their strength and energy goes into working with the computer.”

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Motylev, Alexander (2665)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 1
1.d3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.dxe4 Qxd1+ 4.Kxd1 e5 5.Be3 Nf6 6.f3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 a5 8.a4 Bc5 9.Nc4 Bxe3 10.Nxe3 Nc5 11.Nc4 Nfd7 12.Nh3 Ke7 13.c3 Nb6 14.Nxb6 cxb6 15.Bc4 Bd7 16.b3 Rac8 17.Bd5 Rc7 18.Nf2 Rhc8 19.Kc2 f5 20.c4 fxe4 21.Nxe4 Na6 22.Kb2 Nb4 23.Rad1 Bf5 24.Rhe1 Rd8 25.Ng3 Nd3+ 26.Kc3 Nxe1 27.Nxf5+ Kf6 28.Ne3 Nxg2 29.Nxg2 h5 30.Ne3 g5 31.Rg1 Rg7 32.Be4 Rdd7 33.Nd5+ Ke6 34.h3 Rd6 35.Ne3 Rd8 36.Bd5+ Kf6 37.Rg2 Rgd7 38.Be4 Rg7 39.Nd5+ Ke6 40.Nxb6 Rd1 41.Rh2 Rc1+ 42.Kb2 Re1 43.Nd5 Kf7 44.Nc3 Ke8 45.Kc2 Ra1 46.Kd2 Rf1 47.Bd5 Kd8 48.Ne4 Ke7 49.Ng3 Ra1 50.Kc3 Rg6 51.Bxb7 Re1 52.Be4 Rb6 53.Bd3 Rf6 54.Be2 Kd7 55.Nxh5 Rb6 56.Bd3 Re3 57.Rf2 Rd6 58.Rd2 Rxf3 59.Kc2 Ke7 60.Ng7 e4 61.Bxe4 Rxd2+ 62.Kxd2 Rxh3 63.Nf5+ Kf6 64.Ne3 Ke5 65.Bg2 Rh7 66.c5 Kd4 67.c6 Rc7 68.Nc4 g4 69.Na3 Kc5 70.Nb5 Rc8 71.c7 Kb6 72.Ke3 Rf8 73.Bh1 g3 74.Bg2 Rf2 75.c8=Q Re2+ 76.Kf4 Rf2+ 77.Bf3 1-0

Like I said, everyone loves an upset, except the one having been upset. Galmandakh did not stop there, but played 1 d3 again, and again. He played it in all five games in which he opened the game!

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Bartel, Mateusz (2631)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 3
1.d3 b5 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd2 Bg7 5.Bc3 Nf6 6.a4 a6 7.axb5 axb5 8.Rxa8 Bxa8 9.g3 c5 10.b4 cxb4 11.Bxb4 Nc6 12.Bc3 b4 13.Bb2 Qb6 14.Qe2 b3 15.c3 O-O 16.Bg2 d5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.O-O Qa5 19.Nfd2 Rb8 20.Nc4 Qd8 21.d4 Na7 22.Nbd2 Nb5 23.Qd3 Nbc7 24.Na5 Ne6 25.Qa6 Ndf4 26.Nc6 Bxc6 27.Qxc6 Nd3 28.Rb1 Qa5 29.Qc4 Qf5 30.f4 Nxb2 31.Rxb2 Qc2 32.Rxb3 Rd8 33.d5 Qxd2 34.dxe6 Qe3+ 35.Kh1 Rd1+ 36.Bf1 fxe6 37.Kg2 Kf7 38.Rb2 Bf6 39.Re2 Qb6 40.Qb4 Qc6+ 41.Qe4 Qd6 42.Re1 Rd2+ 43.Re2 Bxc3 44.Rxd2 Qxd2+ 45.Kh3 Qd5 46.Bd3 Bd4 47.Qxd5 exd5 48.Kg4 Kf6 49.h4 Bf2 50.Kf3 Be1 51.h5 gxh5 52.Bxh7 e5 53.fxe5+ Kxe5 54.Bg6 Ba5 55.Kg2 h4 56.gxh4 Kf4 57.Bh7 d4 58.Kh3 Kf3 59.Bg6 Ke2 60.Kg2 d3 61.Bxd3+ Kxd3 ½-½

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – IM Das, Arghyadip (2476)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 5
1.d3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.Nbd2 e6 7.e4 Nge7 8.a4 b6 9.Re1 h6 10.h4 a5 11.Nf1 Ba6 12.c3 d4 13.c4 e5 14.Bh3 O-O 15.h5 Qd6 16.N1d2 Nb4 17.Ra3 Bb7 18.Nh4 Bf6 19.Ndf3 Kh7 20.Kg2 Nbc6 21.Rh1 Ng8 22.Bg4 Kg7 23.Bd2 Nce7 24.Qc1 Bxh4 25.Nxh4 f5 26.Bf3 fxe4 27.Bxe4 Bxe4+ 28.dxe4 g5 29.Bxg5 hxg5 30.Qxg5+ Kh7 31.Ng6 Rf6 32.Qxe5 Nxg6 33.hxg6+ Kxg6 34.Qxd6 Rxd6 35.Rd3 Re8 36.Re1 Rde6 37.f3 Nf6 38.Rd2 Nxe4 39.fxe4 Rxe4 40.Rxe4 Rxe4 41.Kf3 Kf5 42.Rd3 Re1 43.g4+ Kg5 44.Rb3 Re6 45.Kg3 Rd6 46.Rf3 d3 47.Rf5+ Kg6 48.Rf1 d2 49.Rd1 Rd4 50.b3 Kg5 51.Kf2 Kxg4 52.Ke3 Kg3 53.Rg1+ Kh2 54.Rd1 Kg2 55.Ke2 Rd6 56.Ke3 Re6+ 57.Kd3 Kg3 58.Kc2 Rd6 59.Rh1 Kg2 60.Rd1 Kf3 61.Rxd2 Rxd2+ 62.Kxd2 Kf2 63.Kd3 Ke1 64.Ke4 Kd2 65.Kd5 Kc3 66.Kc6 Kxb3 67.Kxb6 Kb4 68.Kc6 Kxc4 0-1

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Tarjan, James E (2518)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 7
1.d3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.O-O e5 6.c4 Nge7 7.Nc3 d6 8.Ne1 Be6 9.Nc2 d5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Ne4 Qe7 12.Ng5 O-O 13.Nxe6 Qxe6 14.Ne3 Nde7 15.a4 Rad8 16.Nc4 Rd7 17.a5 Rc8 18.Bd2 Nd5 19.Qa4 Nd4 20.Rfe1 b5 21.axb6 axb6 22.Na3 Nc7 23.Qc4 b5 24.Qxe6 Ncxe6 25.Be3 Rb8 26.Rac1 Bf8 27.Kf1 Rd6 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.Nc2 Rd7 30.Ra1 ½-½

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – IM Docx, Stefan (2450)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 9
1.d3 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e4 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Nxe5 6.d4 Nc6 7.c3 Qh4+ 8.g3 Qxe4 9.Bd3 Qd5 10.Re1+ Nce7 11.Na3 d6 12.Be4 Qe6 13.Bxb7 Qf5+ 14.Qf3 Qxf3+ 15.Bxf3 Rb8 16.b3 Bb7 17.d5 Nf6 18.Bg5 Kd7 19.c4 Ng6 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Nb5 Ne5 22.Be4 a6 23.Nd4 Rbe8 24.Kg2 c5 25.dxc6+ Nxc6 26.Bxc6+ Bxc6+ 27.Nxc6 Kxc6 28.Rxe8 Rxe8 29.Rf1 Re6 30.Rf5 Re2+ 31.Rf2 Re6 ½-½

Badrakh Galmandakh faced three GM’s, and two IM’s, and battled them to a draw with the Mieses opening, scoring 2 1/2 out of 5 games. He was out rated by an average of 308 points and finished the tournament with a PR with White of 2548.

If you are curious, as was I, about how he played as Black, here are the games:

IM Donchenko, Alexander (2511) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 2
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.h3 Bh5 6.Qe2 d5 7.Qb5+ Nbd7 8.exd5 Bxf3 9.gxf3 exd5 10.Nxd5 Bd6 11.Qe2+ Kf8 12.Nc3 Bb4 13.Bd2 Bxc3 14.bxc3 c5 15.Bg2 Qc7 16.O-O h6 17.Rab1 g6 18.f4 Rb8 19.f5 b6 20.fxg6 fxg6 21.Qf3 g5 22.Qf5 Rg8 23.Rbe1 Re8 24.Rxe8+ Kxe8 25.Re1+ Kd8 26.Re6 Rf8 27.d5 Qb8 28.c4 Nh5 29.Qh7 Nf4 30.Qe7+ Kc8 31.Rc6+ Kb7 32.Qxd7+ Ka6 33.Rc7 1-0

IM Georgiadis, Nico (2490) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 4
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.a4 a5 8.Re1 c6 9.h3 Qc7 10.Be3 exd4 11.Nxd4 Nb6 12.Bb3 Nfd7 13.Nf5 Nc5 14.Bd4 Bxf5 15.exf5 Kh8 16.Qg4 f6 17.Be6 d5 18.b3 Bd6 19.Bxc5 Bxc5 20.Ne2 Bd6 21.Rad1 Rae8 22.Nd4 Bb4 23.Re2 Nd7 24.Bxd7 Rxe2 25.Qxe2 Qxd7 26.Ne6 Re8 27.c4 g6 28.cxd5 cxd5 29.Qd3 gxf5 30.Nf4 d4 31.Qxd4 Re1+ 32.Rxe1 Qxd4 33.Re8+ Kg7 34.Ne6+ Kf7 35.Nxd4 Kxe8 36.Nxf5 Kd7 37.Kf1 Ke6 38.Nd4+ Ke5 39.Nc2 Bc5 40.Ke2 Ke4 41.g3 Bd6 42.f3+ Kd5 43.Ne3+ Kc5 44.Nf5 Bc7 45.Kd3 Kb4 46.Kc2 Bb6 47.h4 Bc5 48.h5 Bf2 49.g4 b5 50.axb5 Kxb5 51.Nd6+ Kb4 52.Ne8 Bd4 53.Nc7 Be5 54.Ne6 Bd6 55.Nd4 Bc7 56.Ne6 Bd6 57.Nd4 Bc7 58.Ne2 Be5 59.f4 Bc7 60.Nc3 Bd8 61.Ne4 h6 62.Nf2 Kc5 63.g5 fxg5 64.fxg5 Kd5 65.g6 Bf6 66.Ng4 Bg7 67.Kd3 Bf8 68.Ke3 Ke6 69.Ke4 Bg7 70.Ne3 Bc3 71.Nf5 Bd2 72.Nd4+ Kf6 73.Kd5 Be3 74.Ne6 Bd2 75.Nd4 Bc3 76.Ne6 Bb2 77.Kd6 Ba3+ 78.Kd7 Bb2 79.Kd6 Ba3+ 80.Nc5 Bb2 81.Kd5 Kf5 82.Ne6 ½-½

Skutta, Bernd (2059) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 6
1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Re1 c6 8.a4 a5 9.b3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nb6 11.Bf1 d5 12.e5 Ne8 13.Nce2 g6 14.Nf4 Ng7 15.Bb2 f6 16.e6 Bd6 17.Qf3 Qc7 18.g3 Be5 19.Bh3 Qe7 20.Ba3 Bd6 21.Bb2 Be5 22.Re2 c5 23.c3 cxd4 24.cxd4 Bd6 25.Nxd5 Nxd5 26.Qxd5 Ra7 27.Qb5 Ne8 28.d5 Bc5 29.b4 axb4 30.Rc2 b6 31.a5 Ba6 32.Qa4 Bb7 33.Qb3 bxa5 34.Qc4 Bd6 35.Bd4 Ra8 36.Qb5 a4 37.Rc4 Ba6 38.Qxa4 Bxc4 39.Qxa8 Nc7 40.Qa4 Bxd5 0-1

IM Almagro Llamas, Pablo (2469) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 8
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.a4 a5 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 c6 9.h3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nb6 11.Ba2 Nfd7 12.Nf5 Nc5 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Bf4 Rd8 15.Qd4 Be6 16.Nd5 cxd5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Qd7 19.b3 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Ne6 21.Be3 Qc6 22.Qd2 d5 23.Qd3 Rac8 24.Rac1 d4 25.Bd2 b6 26.Qg3 Nc5 27.Re7 Ne6 28.c3 Qe4 29.Kh2 Qg6 30.Qxg6 hxg6 31.cxd4 Rxc1 32.Bxc1 Rxd4 33.Rb7 Rb4 34.Bd2 Rxb3 35.Bxa5 Ra3 ½-½

GM Bellon Lopez, Juan Manuel (2370) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 10
1.b3 b6 2.Bb2 Bb7 3.e3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O d5 8.c4 c5 9.Qe2 Nc6 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Rfd1 cxd4 12.exd4 Nb4 13.Ne5 Nxd3 14.Rxd3 Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Rh3 f6 17.Ng4 Kh8 18.f3 f5 19.Ne5 Qe8 20.Rd1 Rd8 21.fxe4 Bxe4 22.Nd3 Bg5 23.Nf2 Bb7 24.Re1 Bc8 25.Nd3 Bf6 26.Ne5 Bb7 27.Qe3 Be4 28.Qg3 Kg8 29.Kh1 Qe7 30.d5 exd5 31.Nc6 Qd7 32.Bxf6 Rxf6 33.Nxd8 f4 34.Qf2 Rg6 35.Rf3 Qxd8 36.cxd5 Qxd5 37.Qe2 Re6 38.Kg1 g5 39.Rf2 Bf5 40.Qc4 g4 41.Qc8+ Kg7 42.Qc7+ Kg6 43.Rxf4 Qb5 44.Rxg4+ Kh5 45.Rg3 Re4 46.Qxh7+ 1-0

It is an established fact that it is much more difficult to play chess having the Black pieces. Still, Badrakh finished only -1 in his five games playing defense, for a PR of 2360. To put this result in perspective, Kenny Soloman recently earned a GM title and his FIDE rating was 2399 at the time. Badrakh Galmandakh finished the tournament in the middle of the field with a score of -1 and a PR of 2428. The new GM, Kenny Soloman also played in the Gilbralter Masters, and although he finished with an even score, ahead of Badrakh by 1/2 a point, Soloman’s PR was only 2320. (http://chess-results.com/tnr158561.aspx?lan=1&art=9&fed=RSA&turdet=YES&wi=821&snr=96).

I know nothing more about Badrakh Galmandakh than what I have been able to find online. He is 25 years of age and #17 in Mongolia. My hat is off the “Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh!

Karpov, Anatoly – Miles, Anthony 0-1
B00 EU-chT 1980
1. e4 a6 2. d4 b5 3. Nf3 Bb7 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. Qe2 e6 6. a4 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Nbd2 b4 9. e5 Nd5 10. Ne4 Be7 11. O-O Nc6 12. Bd2 Qc7 13. c4 bxc3 14. Nxc3 Nxc3 15. Bxc3 Nb4 16. Bxb4 Bxb4 17. Rac1 Qb6 18. Be4 O-O 19. Ng5 h6 20. Bh7+ Kh8 21. Bb1 Be7 22. Ne4 Rac8 23. Qd3 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Qxb2 25. Re1 Qxe5 26. Qxd7 Bb4 27. Re3 Qd5 28. Qxd5 Bxd5 29. Nc3 Rc8 30. Ne2 g5 31. h4 Kg7 32. hxg5 hxg5 33. Bd3 a5 34. Rg3 Kf6 35. Rg4 Bd6 36. Kf1 Be5 37. Ke1 Rh8 38. f4 gxf4 39. Nxf4 Bc6 40. Ne2 Rh1+ 41. Kd2 Rh2 42. g3 Bf3 43. Rg8 Rg2 44. Ke1 Bxe2 45. Bxe2 Rxg3 46. Ra8 Bc7 0-1