Open Response to Vladimir Putin


I applaud your decision to end the 2020 Candidates tournament while regretting the tournament has only been postponed in lieu of terminated. As I posted in a comment at ChessBase:

The tournament should have been declared null and void. As far as what happens in the future that should be determined in the future because the sad fact of the matter is that one, or some, of the participants may not be alive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 devastation. In addition, there is the question of whether or not Chess will survive in the future. People of the future may have much more important things, such as survival, to occupy their time.

You and I are old, Vladimir. There is much more sand in the bottom of our hour glasses than the top. For those we leave behind I think of the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King,

“We shall overcome.” ( Hopefully, the people of this planet will overcome this latest challenge.

I urge you to turn your swords into plowshares (, as I urge each and every other country to do the same. Be a force for good, not evil. It is time for the leaders of the world to, as the Beatles sang, “come together” in a spirit of cooperation. Give peace a chance. Be a force for construction, not destruction. As John F. Kennedy so eloquently said:

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

John F. Kennedy


Armchair Warrior

‘We Are the World’: A Minute-by-Minute Breakdown

End The Candidates Tournament Now!

The FIDE Candidates tournament should never have been started. The tournament was begun because Russian dictator Vladimir Putin craves attention in a way only superseded by POTUS Donald John Trump.

Why is it Putin is invariably the only one smiling in pictures taken with Trump?

The Russians cheat at everything they attempt. Because of Russian interference in the previous Presidential election, Hillary Clinton

was cheated out of becoming POTUS. Everyone other than the thirty something percent of people who support the obviously deranged Trump knows this fact, including the Hitlerian thirty something percent of deranged people who support any clown foisted on them by the Republican party.

The Russians have been banned from participating in the Olympic games in the coming years for cheating. This was a terrible for the ego of Vlad the Impaler because without attention he is nothing. Other than petrol and Chess Russia has nothing. Vlad the Impaler has previously said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin would like nothing better than for a Russian to face World Human Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess Magnus Carlsen.

Two of the players, one quarter of the players, currently participating in the 2020 Candidates tournament were not eligible to participate. Kirill Alekseenko,

a Russian, and by far the lowest rated player in the tournament, was a “wild card.” This was, and is, ridiculous to the point of absurdity because the Candidates tournament is played to choose a challenger for the title of World Human Chess Champion. The tournament is far too prestigious to have some local yokel battling against the very best Chess players in the world who have devoted their lives to the game and who have earned entry to the tournament with that hard work over the course of many years.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,

from France, was chosen to replace the only sane Chess player involved with the ill-fated Candidates, Teimur Radjabov,

from Azerbaijan, who declined to travel to Russia because of the COVID-19 virus. The tournament should have been called off at that moment. If the Chess community felt strongly enough to hold the tournament, then certainly the young player Alekseenko should have been dropped, leaving six players who did qualify to play. But why would Putin agree to such an outcome when having an extra Russian player with no chance of winning the event to possibly take orders, directly from Vlad the Impaler, to intentionally lose to whomever Putin desired? As Chess player Oscar Al Hamilton was fond of saying, “Everything is rigged.” History shows us that is certainly true of Russia.

The tournament continues even with players saying things like this:

“Referring to the worldwide crisis we are going through, Caruana expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over, while Giri is putting all his hopes on the International Chess Federation:

I have faith in a private jet of FIDE, that will fly all players to their houses.

This was certainly the least exciting game of the round. Grischuk did get a little pressure with White, but Ding played it safe once he realized he could get in trouble. After the game, the players were asked about their form. The Coronavirus crisis had a strong impact on Grischuk:

My form is terrible. I don’t want to play at all with all this situation. I mean, when it was beginning I did not have a big opinion, but now for several days I have a very clear opinion: that the tournament should be stopped. I mean, the whole atmosphere is very hostile.

Ding, on the other hand, is enjoying having made an adjustment to his living conditions in Yekaterinburg:

My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.”

Anyone who “…has faith in FIDE…” is a fool. Just because Anish Giri

is one of the best human Chess players on the planet does not mean he is intelligent in other facets of life.

How can Fabiano Caruana

concentrate on playing Chess when he has “…expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over?” The United States government should send a plane IMMEDIATELY to bring Fabi home! If that is not possible how about the billionaire, who must be losing money as fast as a crazed gambler in Las Vegas, Rex Sinquefield,

sending a plane to Russia to save Caruana. Mr. Sinquefield could possibly pull some strings with other people from the super-wealthy class to make it happen. We are perilously close to a time like the Russian revolution of a century ago with Doctor Zhivago having to share his family mansion with the hoi poi.

Fabiano Caruana deserves a rematch with World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. I call upon Rex Sinquefield to organize a match between the two Co-Classical World Human Chess Champions, as Magnus Carlsen stated, played in the opulent St. Louis Chess Club,

in the future, if we make it out of these dire times, played OUTSIDE OF FIDE auspices. The match could be of sixteen games, the number, if memory serves, chosen by former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik,

who ought to know as he played more matches for the World Chess Championship than any other player, I believe. If tied at the end of regulation then two game mini-matches could be played until there is a winner. Only Mr. Sinquefield could do this because there would be no obstacle to having a match that goes into overtime if held in St. Louis.

We are in the early days of a revolution. Chess will having little meaning in the aftermath of the virus that is changing the world. No matter how this plays out things will NEVER be the same. Certainly Chess will never return to even the weakened status currently held in society. Chess, like other games and sports, will take a back seat to SURVIVAL.

Much was expected of Ding Liren before the tournament but he was forced into isolation because of the COVID-19 virus. That in itself should have been enough for at least a postponement of the 2020 Candidates tournament. Ding said, “My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.” Consider this when considering what isolation has already done to this person:

Man falls to his death from 16th floor of luxury flats during coronavirus isolation

By Andrew Gilpin

22 MAR 2020

A man has fallen to his death from the 16th floor of a luxury apartment block as people self isolate due to coronavirus.

The horror incident in the Tribeca Park apartment block in New York saw him die instantly when he hit the courtyard.

Shocked neighbours said the 64-year-old’s death has left them shaken as they are in quarantine from the deadly disease.

One woman saw what happened when we she went outside to smoke a cigarette told the New York Post: “You have to be mentally strong to take on isolation.

“The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

How can any human play Chess when “The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

Where is the outrage from the American Chess community? Surf on over to the USCF website and try finding one word from any leader of US Chess concerning the sordid situation in which We The People find ourselves. I have gone to many Chess website, such as Chessbase,, and Chess24, in a futile attempt to read the thoughts of any person in authority. The silence is deafening.

I have expected little from the current leadership of the USCF and have rarely been disappointed. That said, I now call on the Chess community to get “up in arms,” metaphorically speaking, and SPEAK OUT. Now is not the time to remain silent, people.

Like Mrs. Robinson, the world turns it’s lonely eyes to you. (



Keith Arkell vs Alexander Shabalov: Leningrad Dutch, main variation with c6

After putting the game between Keith Arkell

Keith Arkell vs Mike Healey (

and Alexander Shabalov


through the grinder for use on this blog I read yet another excellent article by Alex Yermolinsky at Chessbase, finding the game annotated by Shabby, which can be found @ Chessbase (

Keith C Arkell vs Alexander Shabalov

World Senior Team Championship 2020 round 04

A88 Leningrad Dutch main variation with c6

1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. c4 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nc3 d6 7. O-O c6 8. Re1 Na6 9. e4 Nxe4 10. Nxe4 fxe4 11. Rxe4 Bf5 12. Re1 e5 13. dxe5 dxe5 14. Qxd8 Raxd8 15. Bg5 Rde8 16. Be3 Nb4 17. Bc5 Nc2 18. Bxf8 Rxf8 19. Rad1 e4 20. Ng5 Nxe1 21. Rxe1 Bxb2 22. Bxe4 Bc3 23. Rd1 Bg4 24. f3 Bc8 25. Kg2 Bf6 26. h4 Kg7 27. Bc2 Rd8 28. Rxd8 Bxd8 29. Ne4 b5 30. cxb5 cxb5 31. Bb3 Bb6 32. g4 Bb7 33. g5 Bc6 34. Nf6 a5 35. Bd5 Bxd5 36. Nxd5 Ba7 37. Kh3 b4 38. Kg4 Bc5 39. Nf4 Kf7 40. Nd3 Bd6 41. Nb2 Ke6 42. h5 Be5 43. Nc4 a4 44. hxg6 hxg6 45. f4 Bd4 46. f5+ gxf5+ 47. Kf4 b3 48. axb3 axb3 49. g6 b2 50. Nd2 Kf6 0-1

1 Nf3 f5 (Giving the general of the white pieces the chance to play the Lisitsin gambit with 2 e4) 2 d4 Nf6 3 g3 g6 4 c4 Bg7 5 Bg2 O-O 6 Nc3 d6 7 O-O c6 (Considered the main line by the programs) 8 Re1 (SF 220220 @depth 48 plays 8 Rb1; SF 11 @depth 53 plays 8 b3. Most humans have played 8 d5) 8…Na6 9 e4 (9 b3 has been the most often played move by humans, but SF 11 @depth 33 plays 9 a3, while SF 10 @depth 30 prefers 9 Rb1) 9…fxe4 10 Nxe4 Nxe4 11 Rxe4 Bf5 12 Re1 (The most often played move but SF 170119 @depth 33 plays 12 Re2) 12…e5 (SF 260819 plays this move, but SF 10 @depth 36 plays 12…Qd7) 13 dxe5 (SF 10 @depth 29 plays 13 d5. SF 011019 @depth 29 plays 13 Bg5. The only game found with 13 Bg5:

Kimmo Katajainen  (2011) vs Tuomo Halmeenmaki
Event: FIN-chT Qualifier
Site: Finland Date: 01/21/2001
Round: 1
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.Nf3 g6 2.d4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Re1 Na6 9.e4 fxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Rxe4 Bf5 12.Re1 e5 13.Bg5 Qc7 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Nh4 Be6 16.Qe2 Qf7 17.Bf1 Nc5 18.Be3 Nd7 19.Rac1 e4 20.Bf4 Nc5 21.Bd6 Nd3 22.Bxf8 Rxf8 23.Qe3 Nxc1 24.Rxc1 Bxb2 25.Rc2 Qf6 26.Qxe4 Bd4 27.Qe2 Bc5 28.Ng2 Bf5 29.Rd2 Qe6 30.Qd1 Be4 31.Nf4 Qe5 32.Rd8 Qe7 33.Rd7 Qf6 34.Rxb7 g5 35.Qg4 Bf5 36.Qh5 gxf4 37.g4 Qg6 38.Bg2 Qxh5 39.gxh5 Rf6 40.Bd5+ cxd5 41.cxd5 0-1

The following game varies from the Arkell vs Shabby game with 16 Nd2

Alain Defize vs Rolf Lekander
WchT U26 1974

A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
1.d4 g6 2.c4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Re1 Na6 9.e4 fxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Rxe4 Bf5 12.Re1 e5 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.Qxd8 Raxd8 15.Bg5 Rde8 16.Nd2 Nb4 17.Be4 h6 18.a3 Nd3 19.Bxd3 Bxd3 20.Be3 b6 21.b3 Rf7 22.Bd4 Ref8 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 24.Rxe5 Rxf2 25.Ra2 g5 26.Re1 Kg7 27.Re7+ Kg6 28.Re6+ Kh5 29.h3 c5 30.Ne4 Rf1+ 31.Kg2 Bxe4+ ½-½

If anyone happens to have a copy of this book, even if battered and tattered and is willing to sell it cheap, I am your man! I simply cannot afford to spend fifty US dollars for a small book with limited pages, but would like to read it. I will even pay to read and return the book. Contact me @

A review of the book can be found @

After writing the above I was elated to see the book in stock at Chess & Bridge in England, priced at sixteen pounds. Unfortunately it will cost TWENTY pounds for shipping! Oh well, so many books, so little time…









Chess and Clocks

Back in the day a very strong Chess player, Mike Lucas, moved from Alabama to Atlanta. At the USCF website Michael Lucas is shown as a National Master, 1st Category. IM of GM strength Boris Kogan said Mike was one of the most talented, creative and inventive players he had known. Unfortunately, Mike loved time pressure. “Crazy”, was the moniker bestowed on Mike because of his  time trouble addiction. He won most of the games we played, whether classical or fifteen minute. Mike deferred to me in playing fifteen minute games because his love was speed Chess, which meant five minutes on the clock without any delay or time added. There was, though, a tournament game that found Mike in severe time pressure, and me with time to spare. All I can recall now is the opening, with Mike having the white pieces, which went 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Ng3.

It was the first time in any game an opponent had not taken the knight with 5 Nxf6+. The game ended in a flurry of moves before a draw was agreed. “That was really exciting, wasn’t it,” Mike said. Heart pounding all I could muster was, “Maybe for you…” Mike grinned.

Yet another excellent article appeared at Chessbase today which brought the memory of the Lucas game to the fore.

Grandmaster tips on how to fight time-pressure by Swapnil Dhopade

2/18/2020 – When we learn the rules of chess as a youngster we are told about the chess board, the chess pieces and how each of the pieces move. Once we master these basics, we can proudly tell everyone that we have learnt the game of chess. However, when you go to a tournament, there is one more element that is added, one which plays just as important a role as the board and the pieces: the chess clock! Time is one of the most crucial factors when playing a game, and somehow this is one of the things that chess players pay the least attention to. It doesn’t come as a surprise that many strong chess players handle the clock and time in a very poor manner, losing several games due to time pressure. How do we avoid this problem? In this article GM SWAPNIL DHOPADE tries to acquaint you with the causes and solutions of this perennial problem.

A nightmare for every chess player

Have you ever lost a winning position in time-pressure? I am sure the answer is a resounding yes! Every chess player has lost winning or equal positions in their games due to time trouble.

Imagine a situation:

You have prepared for hours before the game.
The efforts are paying dividends as your opponent falls into something that you have prepped for.
You get a slightly better position and also some extra minutes on the clock.
You invest your time on every move and slowly but steadily build up a clearly better / winning position until move 25-30.
But then you have around 3 minutes left on the clock with 30 seconds increment for the entire game. You being low on time, your opponent tries to create some mess on the board and you have to find that one single move, a deceptive one that wins on the spot!
With your time ticking away, unfortunately, you do not find it and the tables are turned against you. You either lose the game or draw a winning position.
The emotions after such a game of chess are felt by most of us at some point or the other in our careers. It further turns into agitation and you may end up cursing your luck or blaming yourself. You come out and tell your friends, coaches and parents that you played a nearly flawless game but only if you had some extra time at that exact moment, you would have found the required winning move and crushed your opponent. Doh!

Does this story sound familiar to you? If this happens once in a while, maybe it’s not that big an issue but if it happens game after game then it is high time to do something about it. Unless, of course, you enjoy playing under time pressure and find reasonably good moves without too many errors even in the most complicated of the positions. If this is the case, then, congratulations! You are the next Grischuk!

Or Crazy Lucas…

There is more, much more, of this excellent article. I suggest you click on over and read it, now, without getting into “time trouble.”


Vlastimil Hort Remembers Tony Miles

I have a bad back and it has flared up this week, making it difficult to sit for any period of time. This happened about the time I noticed a picture, which brought back memories at, Chessbase, in an article, Hort stories: Wrong place wrong time ( which is the second part of
Hort stories: Remembering Tony Miles, by Vlastimil Hort. (

The picture of Tony Miles lying flat while playing Ljubomir Ljubojevic, “…who played lying down, suffering from back pain, caused a stir — and not only in the chess world.”

An unusual position | Photo: Persbureau van Eindhoven

Tony won that game, and the other game versus Ljubo, which helped him to finish in a three way tie for first place at Tilburg in 1985 with Robert Huebner and Victor Korchnoi.

“This time the German grandmaster protested against GM Miles playing the tournament on a stretcher. During the tournament Anthony Miles suffered back pain; therefore he played some of his games lying down on a massage table.”

“Many participants of the tournament protested in their own unique way. When GM Dzindzichashvili played his game vs. Miles, he spent the whole game standing in front of the British grandmaster. GM Ljubojevic used a different approach. He was sitting the whole game; however, he was sitting at a totally separate table from the one where Miles played their game!”

GM Robert Huebner decided to play a prearranged draw where his moves would look ridiculous. When Miles learned about Huebner’s idea, he said, “I’ll play sensible moves, you play what you like, and I’ll offer a draw on move five.”

“And that’s how that outlandish game was born.” (

The article also contains one of the most famous Chess games of my half century of Chess, the game Tony won against the current World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov.

Hort writes: “His most famous game will probably remain the one against Karpov in 1980 in Skara, Sweden. Miles defeated the World Champion with the extravagant move 1…a6?! and proved that even the “Soviet giants” could be beaten.”

The sensational win against Karpov with 1…a6 in the 1980 European Team Championship | Photo: “It’s only me”

If you are unfamiliar with the game please do yourself a favor and click on over to Chessbase and enjoy. You can thank me later…






GM Adhiban Baskaran Forfeited For Wearing A Watch

The title of a new article at Chessbase is:

A forfeit for wearing an analogue watch?

by Shahid Ahmed


At the 40th National Team Open, a big shock in round three when GM Adhiban Baskaran

Adhiban is the first GM casualty in India of the analog watch rule | Photo: Gopakumar Sudhakaran

was forfeited on board one for possessing an analogue watch

after 16 moves against IM C R G Krishna. His team still won the match, thanks to wins on the lower boards. It’s an unusual case, though evidently all according to the tournament rules.

Please surf on over to Chessbase and read the entire story.

A recent article caught my attention causing me to reflect upon an earlier article concerning the future of the contact lens and what the future of technology holds for the antiquated Royal game.

The Display of the Future Might Be in Your Contact Lens

Mojo Vision’s prototypes can enhance your vision or show you your schedule—right from the surface of your eyes.

Courtesy of Mojo Vision

A glance to the left. A flick to the right. As my eyes flitted around the room, I moved through a virtual interface only visible to me—scrolling through a calendar, looking up commute times home, and even controlling music playback. It’s all I theoretically need to do to use Mojo Lens, a smart contact lens coming from a company called Mojo Vision.

The California-based company, which has been quiet about what it’s been working on for five years, has finally shared its plan for the world’s “first true smart contact lens.” But let’s be clear: This is not a product you’ll see on store shelves next autumn. It’s in the research and development phase—a few years away from becoming a real product.

A Future with Less Screens

Mojo Vision is all about “invisible computing.” The company, whose founders include industry veterans from the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, wants to reduce our reliance on screens. Instead of pulling out your phone to check why it buzzed in the middle of a conversation, look to the corner of your eye to activate an interface that will tell you in a split second.

“We want to create a technology that lets you be you, lets you look like you; doesn’t change your appearance; it doesn’t make you act weird walking down the street,” said Mike Wiemer, cofounder and chief technology officer at Mojo Vision. “It’s very discreet and frankly, substantially, most of the time it doesn’t show you anything.”

What will it mean for the Royal game when these contact lens become ubiquitous? As I have heard all my life, “You cannot stop progress.”

Smart contacts: The future of the wearable you won’t even see

One day, contact lenses could do much more than just correct our vision

The notion of wearing lenses over our eyes to correct our vision dates back hundreds of years, with some even crediting Leonardo da Vinci as one of the first proponents of the idea (though that remains somewhat controversial). Material science and our understanding of the human eye have come a long way since, while their purpose has remained largely the same. In the age of wearable computers, however, scientists in the laboratories of DARPA, Google, and universities around the world see contact lenses not just as tools to improve our vision, but as opportunities to augment the human experience. But how? And why?

As a soft, transparent disc of plastic and silicone that you wear on your eyeball, a contact lens may seem like a very bad place to put electronics. But if you look beneath the surface, the idea of a smart contact lens has real merit, and that begins with its potential to improve our well-being.

Google has explored the idea of a glucose-monitoring contact lens

Power of the eye

Professor Jean-Louis de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye with his battery-packing contact lens
IMT Atlantique

In France, Professor Jean-Louis de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye leads an optical research team at IMT Atlantique, a technology university in Brest Nantes and Rennes. The scientists are working on a new generation of optical devices that could perform some exciting functions. A big one is the ability to detect the precise direction of a user’s gaze, which could lead to assistive technologies for everything from driving, to surgical procedures to augmented reality systems that don’t require goggles and helmets.

“It is clear that if we have complex electronics and computing tasks to incorporate into the contact lens, it would be necessary to have a battery to make that lens autonomous, and it had never been done,” de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye tells New Atlas.

Until 2019, that is. In April, he and the team unveiled a prototype of a device that will be central to its aims, the world’s first standalone contact lens with a battery inside. As a demonstration of what it could do, the team used the onboard battery to power an LED for a few hours, but they expect things to go a whole lot further than that.

“The efficiency of the battery will depend on the thickness and the surface area,” explains de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye. “We can’t put something over the iris completely, so the battery at the moment is a kind of ring around it. But of course, in the future you’ll also want to cover the pupil part, and in that case the battery should be transparent. This will become possible through the use of graphene technology to make electronics transparent.”

A standalone contact lens with an onboard power supply could serve all kinds uses
IMT Atlantique

Coming to an eye near you?

Secretive augmented reality startup Magic Leap filed a patent for a smart contact lens in 2015. Sony, which launched its augmented reality smart glasses for developers back in 2015, filed a patent for a contact lens that records what you see in 2016.

In the same year, Samsung applied for a patent for a contact lens with a built-in camera, and then generated headlines again this August when it was granted a patent for a contact lens capable of recording video and taking photos, potentially just through blinking.

And these are just the projects we know about, working on what we consider to be possible today. Give it another decade of progress in material science and miniaturized electronics, and who knows what the humble contact lens will be capable of?

“We are just at the beginning, says de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye. “It is very difficult to answer what we will be able to do, because we are just discovering what the capabilities are. The technology is there and we can really integrate a lot of things into a contact lens, and also into a patch on the skin. In the future, the human being will really get ahead with these kinds of sensors and devices on the body.”

It is more than a little obvious that Chess, as it has been known for the last couple of centuries, must either change, or die. It is inevitable humans of the future will live in some kind of “mind-meld” with technology. The only humans still playing Chess in the future without technology will be akin to the humans seen battling robots in dystopian Sci-Fi movies.

“The technology is there and we can really integrate a lot of things into a contact lens, and also into a patch on the skin. In the future, the human being will really get ahead with these kinds of sensors and devices on the body.”

“Give it another decade of progress in material science and miniaturized electronics, and who knows what the humble contact lens will be capable of?”

What will the Chess world do? (I first typed “FIDE” but after laughing, decided to type “Chess world”)

It may be that with costly technology tournament directors and officials will be able to detect a “loaded” contact lens, but what about that “patch on the skin”? Even naked Chess would not stop a human with technology contained in a patch of skin. There is technology now that can detect technology on a person, and maybe in a person. But what if everyone has technology within? Maybe in the future society will be divided into human hybrid’s 

and those without, who we will call the “natural’s.”

Which group do you think will be playing Chess?

Now is the time for Chess people to discuss how to adjust to the future. While laughing I thought, “Who am I kidding. The dysfunctional FIDE is still trying to cope with the use of large objects used to cheat, such as a cell phone.”

Music for Cyborgs

by Medulasa





Boomer 1 Zero 0

The title of this post was considered, but rejected,  for use with the previous post. After posting I sent an email to the subject of the post, GM Alsonso Zapata. His reply shocked me:

From: Alonso Zapata
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 17 at 8:15 PM

Dear Michael Bacon.

Thanks for your kind article! Although my game against Justin Paul is wrong – at the NC Open in Charlotte-. You will find attached (in ChessBase format) the real game I played.

Warm regards,

Alonso Zapata

WHAT?! I took the game from the ChessBomb, usually a reliable source of Chess games. (

How could this happen?

Then another email was received from a regular reader, an older gentleman of distinction, in which he wrote:

“I do not understand your reference to his opponent, 16 year old Justin Paul, as Zero. I am assuming this is derogatory. Is there a reason to disparage him thusly?”

Oh Boy! It was my turn to “assume” and you know what happens when one decides to “ass-u-me.” I assumed everyone would think of Time’s person of the year, Greta Thunberg,

and her replying to an older person with, “OK, Boomer.” My reply explained this and in return came this:

“Thank you for the clarification! Although I was aware of the young lady and her cause, I did not follow any of it in detail, thus missing the reference to those born in this century as “zeros.” I find most news these days not worthy of more than fleeting attention. That is why I thought calling someone a zero was a disparaging remark as I suppose it would have been 20 years ago. I appreciate your time in helping me edge toward the 21st century!!”

We Boomers obviously need all the help we can get…

This morning I opened my email and read this one first:

From: Walter High
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 18 at 9:06 PM.


I believe I have discovered where the ChessBomb game record originated. I have just played through the game as it was recorded by the DGT board that was in use. It matches the ChessBomb record of the game. If GM Zapata has a different game score, then somehow either the DGT board recording of the moves is incorrect or his scorekeeping is incorrect.
Not sure what happens with the DGT if they make a mistake and have to take back moves or change the location of pieces during the game.


I am still attempting to ascertain exactly what happened, and why, and so are other people. If anyone reading this works with ChessBomb, or knows someone, anyone, who is affiliated with ChessBomb, please inform them of this. With the above in mind, here is the actual game played in the final round sent by GM Zapata:

Paul v Zapata

2020 NC Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 Rf6 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.cxb5 b6 25. Bc4+ Kh8 26. Bd5 Rb8 27.Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4 axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.Rc8 Nd4 40. Bd5 Rd7 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5 45. Rf8 e3+ 46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

This is how it looks in Chessbase form:

[Event “2020 NC Open”]
[Site “Charlotte”]
[Date “2020.01.05”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Paul, Justin “]
[Black “Zapata, Alonso”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B21”]
[Annotator “Zapata,Alonso”]
[PlyCount “92”]
[EventDate “2020.??.??”]
[EventCountry “USA”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.
Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 (
14… Nc5 15. Rfd1 Be5 16. b3 e6 17. Bd4 Qb6 18. Kh1 Rfd8 19. a3 Qc7 20. b4
axb4 21. axb4 Na4 22. Bxe5 dxe5 23. Qe3 Nxc3 24. Qxc3 Ra2 25. Bf1 Rxd1 26. Rxd1
b6 27. Qd3 Ba4 28. Qd8+ Qxd8 29. Rxd8+ Kg7 30. Ra8 Kf6 31. Kg1 Bb3 32. Rxa2
Bxa2 33. Kf2 Bb3 34. Ke3 Ke7 35. Kd2 Kd6 36. h4 {1/2-1/2 (36) Sumets,A (2568)
-Vorobiov,E (2547) Nova Gorica 2018}) 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 $2 $146 (16…
Re8 17. Rc2 e5 18. Rd1 Bf8 19. Nd5 Bg7 20. Bg5 f6 21. Be3 Ne6 22. Nb6 Rb8 23.
Qxd6 Qxd6 24. Rxd6 f5 25. c5 Nd4 26. Rd2 fxe4 27. fxe4 Bf8 28. Bc4+ Kh8 29.
R2xd4 Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Bxe4 31. Bg5 h5 32. Bf6+ Kh7 33. Rd7+ Kh6 34. h4 g5 35.
Bxg5+ Kg6 36. Bf7+ Kf5 37. Bxe8 Rxe8 38. Nc4 {1-0 (38) Larrea,M (2274)
-Saralegui Cassan,M (2111) Montevideo 2017}) (16… Qa5 17. Kh1 (17. b4 axb3
18. axb3 Qa3 $11) 17… Rfe8 $11) 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 (19…
e6 20. Nf4 e5 21. Nd5 (21. Nh5 f4 22. Bxc5 (22. Bf2 Bh8 23. Rbd1 Rd7 (23… Qg5
24. Ng3 Rd7 $11)) 22… dxc5 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Nxg7 Rxg7 25. Rbd1 Re8 $11) (
21. Bxc5 dxc5 22. Nd5 Qh4 $132) 21… e4 $132 22. f4 Qf8 23. Red1 $14) 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 (21. Ne7+ Rxe7 22. Qxd6 Ree8 23. Qxc5 Qxc5 24. Bxc5 e4 25. fxe4
Bxe4 26. b4 axb3 27. axb3 Bc3 28. Re3 Be5 $14) 21… Rf6 $2 (21… a3 $1 22. b3
e4 23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Qxa5 Rxa5 25. b4 Bc3 26. bxa5 exf3 27. gxf3 Bxa5 28. Rxd6
Bxe1 29. Rd8+ Kg7 30. Bxc5 Rf5 31. Bd4+ Kf7 $11) 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.
cxb5 b6 (24… Rc8) (24… Bh6 25. Bxh6 Rxh6 26. Red1 Rd8 27. Rd5 $16) 25. Bc4+
Kh8 26. Bd5 (26. Bxc5 dxc5 (26… bxc5 27. Red1 Bf8 28. Rd3 $16)) 26… Rb8 27.
Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4
axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.
Rc8 Nd4 (39… e4) 40. Bd5 Rd7 (40… e4 41. Rb8 e3 42. Rxb6+ Kg5 43. Ke1 Nc2+
44. Ke2 Nd4+ 45. Ke1 Re5 $14) 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5
45. Rf8 (45. Be2+ Kh6 46. Rb8 e3+ 47. Kf1 Kg5 48. Rg8+ Kf6 49. Rf8+ Ke5 50.
Re8+ Kd6 51. Re4 Kc5 52. Rxf4 Ra7 53. b4+ Kd5 54. Bf3+ Kc4 $19) 45… e3+ $19
46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

That is…











Who Is The Real Mozart Of Chess?

After clicking on to CNN I noticed ‘Mozart of chess’ now unbeaten for 111 games directly below ‘Jeopardy!’ crowns ‘Greatest of All Time’. I clicked onto the Mozart of chess story where this picture was found:

‘The Mozart of Chess’

Edward Winter

Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) enquires about the origins of a nickname given to Capablanca, ‘The Mozart of chess’, and wonders when it was first used. We plan to revert to that matter later on, and readers’ assistance with citations will be welcomed. Firstly, though, we would point out that the term has been applied to many masters. Some examples:

  • Paul Morphy:

‘Morphy was the Mozart of chess.’
Page 228 of the Columbia Chess Chronicle, 29 December 1888 (article by G.H.D. Gossip).

Page 305 of the August-September 1884 BCM had stated: ‘What Mozart, as to innate, natural ability, was to music, Morphy likewise was to chess.’

  • Emanuel Lasker:

‘The Mozart of chess’
Page 45 of White King and Red Queen by D. Johnson (London, 2007).

  • Mikhail Tal:

‘El Mozart del ajedrez’
Page 113 of El campeonato mundial de ajedrez by E. Gufeld and E.M. Lazarev (Barcelona, 2003).

  • Boris Spassky:

‘Spassky has been called the Mozart of chess.’
Page 65 of Bobby Fischer Goes to War by D. Edmonds and J. Eidinow (London, 2004).

  • Bobby Fischer:

‘Fourteen-year-old “Mozart of Chess”’
Page SM38 of the New York Times, 23 February 1958 (article by H.C. Schonberg – see C.N. 5491). Schonberg referred to Capablanca as ‘the Mozart of chess’ on page 181 of Grandmasters of Chess (Philadelphia and New York, 1973).

  • Anatoly Karpov:

‘He is the Mozart of the chessboard …’
Page 21 of Karpov-Korchnoi 1978 by R. Keene (London, 1978).

  • Magnus Carlsen:

‘In January 2004, I called Magnus Carlsen the Mozart of chess for the first time. It was a spontaneous, last-minute decision to meet a deadline for my column in the Washington Post. The name was picked up immediately and spread around quickly. It was used, misused, overused.’
Lubomir Kavalek, article dated 23 February 2012.


Chess during Mozart’s time: “Nannerl”


Chess Programs Need People

The title of a new article at the Chessbase website is, Komodo 13 is World Champion of computer chess by by Klaus Besenthal.

8/28/2019 – In Macau (China) the “Chess Events” of the International Computer Games Association (ICGA) came to an end last week. In fact, behind this prosaic name are world championships in three disciplines: the World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC), the World Chess Software Championship (WCSC) and the Speed ​​Championship. At the start were six teams with their programs, including Komodo 13, which won in each of the two main disciplines WCCC and WCSC.

“ICGA Chess Events 2019″ in Macau”

“Founded in 1977 by the Scottish International Master David Levy,

Erdogan Günes and ICGA-Präsident David Levy in Macau

the “International Computer Games Association” is no longer concerned only with chess, but also with, for example, Go. The computer world championship has been around since 1974; It has been held annually since 2002.
Those who have never studied the subject of computer chess will probably wonder what the difference between the World Computer Chess Championship and the World Chess Software Championship is.”

Let me stop here to mention a personal pet peeve. Thanks to an English teacher my stomach churns whenever reading a sentence ending in a preposition. Certainly the sentence should be written, “Those who have never studied the subject of computer chess will probably wonder what is the difference between the World Computer Chess Championship and the World Chess Software Championship.” Chessbase needs an editor. Now back to the usual programming…

“The video below (about one and a half minutes) shows that the championship is not (yet) quite as futuristic as you might think. The operators are flesh and blood

playing out the machine’s moves on a normal chessboard:”

“When we had also sorted things out in the players meeting and after the drawing of lots, the first pairings were announced. You could see how, after the pairings were announced, some programmers rushed to their computers like Usain Bolt and Rambo combined in a single person in order to make the final preparations for the opponents they now knew they would face. I had already done my homework at home and simply remained cool and looked on as the others created a sort of panic.

“My first opponent was no less than the several-time world champion Shredder, a warrior of old which looks as if it is getting on a bit (grey hairs). This time Stefan [Meyer-Kahlen] was in good spirits with his hybrid program and just as in previous years he had come to the tournament with high ambitions. On the other hand, I had prepared a sort of set of marching orders to use against Shredder, well before the tournament. After I had also studied during my work at home the games of my opponents from previous tournaments, I found something from previous years, namely its inclination towards the safer openings. It did not want to take any great risks and especially not at the start of each tournament. Just like a boxer who after the bell first of all starts by feeling out his opponent. Well my motto for Team Komodo is just like my opening book for the tournament: “No Risk, No Fun”.”

It would be nice if NRNF was the motto of top human Chess players, would it not? The point IS that a computer Chess program IS incapable of “preparing” for any opponent. IS any computer Chess program capable of understanding a future opponent has an “inclination towards the safer openings?” If it IS capable how will the program inform you of its own understanding?

“Hey Joe. It looks like the computer has found something important in the Najdorf.”
“What’s it found, Moe?”
“I dunno, Joe. It cannot tell me…”

GM Igor Rausis says “Chess is a disease”

The post dated July 13, 2019, GM Igors Rausis Caught With The Toilet Seat Down, ( 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. ( The article was, “Originally published in SestDiena magazine, July 26, 2019.” I clicked onto the link ( 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.


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?