The Magnus Carlsen Affair

The intention was to write a post today concerning a few of the games, and positions of the recent US Chess Championships, to follow the previous post, but a couple of emails from regular readers recently changed my mind. One reader wanted to know if I could recommend one article that would bring him up to speed with the events of the Magnus Carlsen caused affair. This caused me to smile. One article. Ha! I have read so much on the subject it has made my eyes bleed, and this guy wants one article that is a be all and end all article…

The other reader asked a question that is on every mind of everyone involved with Chess. “How will this affect the future of Chess?”

Is that a loaded question, or what? I am no soothsayer. Nevertheless, how can all the negative publicity do anything but harm the Royal Game? Then again, the recent cheating scandals in Major League Baseball by the Houston Astros, now called by many the “Cheating ‘stros,” has not ended MLB, although the people who watch the game has dwindled to alarmingly low numbers, but then, MLB has been losing interest for other reasons ever since the Ragin’ Roid’ scandal and the Bud Selig caused premature end of the 1994 season. Then there is the New England Patriots serial cheating which has not appeared to diminish the number of fans. The title of one article tells the story: A timeline of Patriots scandals: Spygate, Deflategate and other controversial incidents under Bill Belichick (https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/patriots-spygate-deflategate-bill-belichick-timeline/ovkdjh8ny5qb1fnns9grat5mk). Just type in “Patriots” and “Cheating” into any search engine and you will be inundated with a plethora of maimball cheating articles.

As luck would have it I surfed over to the excellent website of Daiim Shabazz,

ifoundthisgreatbook.com

The Chess Drum,

thechessdrum.net

recently, something I had put off because of all the reading done on the Magnus Carlsen affair in an attempt to understand why the current World Chess Champion would do the things he has done recently.

There, at The Chess Drum, I found one of the best articles read recently. I was taken aback by the depth and breadth of the article. Although much of it was known I read every word because there was so much that was new to me. If I were a member of the Chess Journalists of America I would nominate the article for an award because it is that good. It is a remarkable piece of Chess journalism. I left a comment for Daiim and only just revisited the article in preparing to write these words. The following, which had obviously just been posted, was found:

Daaim Shabazz says:
October 25, 2022 at 12:47 pm

For arbiters…

What impact would Carlsen’s signing the scoresheets have on whether he believed that Niemann had cheated during their game? Signing the scoresheet in FIDE games is an agreement that the result was fair. Refusing to sign could be considered a protest.

I once saw a cheating case (touch move violation) at an Olympiad. The accused (a GM) claimed that he had adjusted his king (despite holding it and hovering over a square). The move would’ve allowed the queening of a pawn and resulted in a big team upset. There were bystanders who saw the violation. The arbiter was not present but did not allow any witness statements. After a back-and-forth debate, he believed the GM and allowed the game to continue. The GM moved another piece. The accuser (an FM) was distraught and let his clock run out in protest and signed the sheets.

When the appeal was filed, it was determined that while it appeared the GM had violated the rules, the accuser had signed the scoresheets and had thus agreed with the result. Based on this, the committee rejected the appeal.

If Carlsen signed the scoresheets, does that mean he initially believed it was a fair result despite later accusing Hans of cheating in the game?
https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2022/10/20/the-anatomy-of-carlsen-niemann-cheating-controversy/

I urge everyone reading this to visit the website and read it for yourself. In addition, I urge anyone involved with the Chess Journalists of America to give strong consideration to giving some kind of award to the writer. To the gentleman wanting that “one article” this, sir, is that article. I am still amazed at how much time and effort was put into the article. It is more than an overview. It is more like the kind of article that answers questions you did not ask, but after reading, wondered why you had not asked those questions. It is a magnificent article at which I stand in awe. To this writer it is a masterpiece, like an artwork.

The other article The Hans Niemann case: Numbers – what they reveal and what they do not reveal by Andrea Carta appeared at Chessbase yesterday (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-hans-niemann-case-numbers-what-they-reveal-and-what-they-do-not-reveal). This is written about the author:

“Andrea Carte: Born in Italy, IT engineer, he’s written some GO software, published several papers about reconstructing GO games from videos by means of AI tecniques and has joined two scientific conferences (Liberec 2015 and Pisa 2018) during the corresponding European Go Congresses. Like Ingo Althoefer – who arranged such conferences – he’s above all a chess fan since the Spassky-Fischer match and has even attended many World Championships since then. He considers himself a good amateur, despite not even reaching the 2000 barrier (that will forever remain his forbidden dream).”

Since there are only three degrees of separation, especially among we lovers of games, I urge anyone reading this to contact the writer in order to give him a ‘heads-up’ about this post. And to Mr. Carta, I too, play Go, but not very well. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading about the great game of Go and replaying games online, and have been known to actually play a few games over the years. I sincerely hope you manage to cross the 2000 barrier because although it has been said the demarcation line for becoming a respected Chess player is 1600, which is class “B”, any player who has ever seen that crooked number after his name knows it bestows credibility lacking when a rating begins with a ‘one’.

The final two paragraphs of the stellar article follow:

“In the end we have found that “statistics at first sight”, all of them, look like strong evidence of Hans Niemann cheating, and cheating a lot. But at second sight, all the statistics show instead a picture typical of a young player rising fast, with no evidence of cheating whatsoever. Ken Regan was right.

Does this mean that Hans Niemann never cheated on the board? It’s still difficult to say. Opinions of strong players cannot be discounted, nor cannot be the ones of expert commentators like Alejandro Ramirez (his opinion can be read at https://en.chessbase.com/post/alejandro-ramirez-it-does-seem-very-likely-that-hans-cheated-over-the-board, with a link to a podcast in which the matter is fully discussed). But it’s extremely unlikely that statistics alone will ever provide evidence on the matter, and unless some clever Philo Vance will ever be able to deduce his method and trap him “on the spot”, the mystery will never be solved. Chess, already diminished because of the overwhelming engines’ dominance, is on the verge of completely losing its charisma. Hysteria is spreading fast: already people are not permitted to watch important tournaments in person, and live broadcast is quickly disappearing. Will the “old times” ever come back?”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-hans-niemann-case-numbers-what-they-reveal-and-what-they-do-not-reveal

No, the “old times” never come back. Life is change; there is no going back. One day putt-putt players were earning more money than professional golfers, the next day the television contract ended, and so did Putt-Putt. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2022/07/21/chess-is-in-a-world-of-trouble/) One day Gammons (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/paul-magriel-r-i-p/) was thriving; the next day it closed. Backgammon was, and is, still played, but the number of players dramatically dwindled and never returned. The same goes for Checkers, as can be learned when reading the superb book, Seven Games: A Human History

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-games-oliver-roeder/1139522041

by Oliver Roeder.

People still play the antiquated game, and there are still tournaments, but reading about them makes one sad. We here in America live in a boom and bust society. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but here it is obvious the ship named the Royal Game has taken a torpedo and is in damage control mode. I have no idea how much damage has been done or what kind of deleterious effect it will have upon Chess, but I do know each and every Chess player needs to grab a pail and start dipping to keep the ship of Chess afloat. Chess is akin to a rudderless ship because FIDE, the World Chess organization, has done absolutely nothing to mitigate the damage. This could be because FIDE is controlled by the Russians. The head of FIDE does not make any decision without the approval of Mad Vlad, and he has other, much more important things on his mind at the moment. The President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich,

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/europe/top-russian-official-who-spoke-out-against-war-leaves-post

known as “The Dvork”, is far too busy covering his ass while trying to stay alive to even consider doing something, anything, to mitigate the onslaught of negative publicity that has inundated the Royal Game over the last month or so. The dude has got to be cringing in fear of doing anything that might displease Mad Vlad,

or else he, like so many other nefarious Russians in Putin’s orbit, might take a header out of a window in a high rise building.

“…the mystery will never be solved.” And there’s the rub. Hans Niemann

can never, ever, prove he did not cheat, which means his reputation has been drastically damaged by the allegations made by the nattering nabobs. His reputation has been forever tarnished. With that in mind, I have something to say to young Mr. Niemann, and would appreciate it if a reader will pass this along to Hans, or someone who knows him.

“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was.” – Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind.

Magnus Carlsen is a Disgrace to His Championship

What follows is the second comment, by Brian Lafferty, made by readers in reply to the article at Chessbase, Carlsen’s public statement: “I believe that Niemann has cheated more” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/carlsen-statement-on-niemann/1#discuss)

ChessSpawnVermont
No substance whatsoever to Carlsen’s accusation. His belief is meaningless absent concrete factual proof that Niemann cheated otb in St. Louis.

NOTE to Carlsen: You do not need Niemann’s permission to set forth factual proof that Niemann cheated otb against you, if you have relevant facts as opposed to subjective feeling about Niemann’s demeanor during the otb game in St. Louis. Perhaps Niemann was just acting to psych you out. If so, it clearly worked.

All Carlsen has presented is supposition and suspicion regarding otb cheating by Niemann in St. Louis. Carsen (sic) is a disgrace to his championship.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/carlsen-statement-on-niemann#discuss

Comments on the Magnus Carlsen Affair

I often wonder how many viewers actually read the responses left by Chess fans in the comments section. I admit to having occasionally read comments, and used a few on this blog, but have not made a habit of reading the comments, but an exception was made because of the firestorm caused when the current World Chess Champion withdrew after losing to the young American Hans Moke Niemann in the ongoing 2022 Sinquefield Cup at the St. Louis Chess Campus. What follows are only a few of the myriad comments left, and still being left at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair). If you have not read the article you may want to do so before reading any further. In addition, there is a link provided in the article, the best I have ever read at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), and that is really saying something because Chessbase has featured an untold number of excellent articles over the years, to another excellent and thought provoking article, Paranoia and insanity, by GM Jacob Aagaard (https://forum.killerchesstraining.com/t/paranoia-and-insanity-by-jacob-aagaard/856/1).

The first comment, and arguably the most pertinent, is from Brian Lafferty, a well known contributor to the USCF Forum:

ChessSpawnVermont 9/8/2022 01:33
As a semi-retired US litigation attorney (NY State and Federal Bars), former Assistant District Attorney and Judge, I find it fascinating to watch Mr. Nakamura dig the defamation of character litigation hole that he now finds himself sitting in. Unless he can demonstrate with specificity how Mr. Niemann actually cheated in his otb game against Mr. Carlsen, he will likely have no viable defense should Mr. Niemann sue him for defamation of character seeking monetary damages for injury to his reputation and career. What Mr. Niemann may have done as a twelve or sixteen year old in online competition will likely not be probative at trial and may well be ruled inadmissible at trial. Likewise, suggestions that Mr. Niemann subject himself to a polygraph examination will not be probative. Polygraph examinations are not reliable and are generally not admissible as evidence at trial. (I have seen people lie and pass polygraphs. It’s a skill that is taught and can readily be learned)

Chess.com has also created needless potential liability for itself by barring Mr. Niemann from its site and competitions absent a clear finding that Mr. Niemann cheated otb against Mr. Carlsen. Note also, that at a trial, it is likely that Chess.com will be forced in discovery to reveal to Mr. Niemann’s experts any algorithm used by them forming the basis of a cheating accusation against Mr. Niemann.

I suspect that Mr. Carlsen has received the benefit of legal counsel as he has clearly refrained from making a direct charge of cheating against Mr. Niemann.

Thanks you for an excellent and comprehensive article.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair/1#discuss

Leavenfish
At this point, this is all on King Magnus. Will he offer proof…or are we witnessing the sad undoing drama worthy of a Shakespearean King?

  1. He does the one thing any professional would unlikely do: abdicates his crown.
  2. His business empire started crumbling – so much so that PMG seemed ‘forced’ to sell itself to the ‘evil empire’ that is chess.com. How much of a slap in the face must this feel?
  3. Young Princes from different parts of the world (Praggnanandhaa, Niemann…) are mortally and routinely wounding him on the battlefield he once dominated. Some treachery must be afoot!

All this in just the past few months. Have the walls of the castle… simply begun to crack?

Yannick Roy
Great article. But to those throwing stones at Carlsen, let’s remember that chess, to a certain extent, induces paranoia. It pitches a mind against another mind. Losing to a young prodigy on a meteoric and quite atypical rise has to be very hard. It is true that after looking into the game and hearing all the declarations of those involved, it is becoming more and more difficult to believe that there was cheating. Carlsen’s mistake on the board pretty much dispels the suspicions one might have had.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/buffalospringfield/forwhatitsworth.html

Mel Griffin
I agree with aleenyc2015 and Soprano.I can’t remember the last time Carlsen lost in a mature manner. If it’s not slamming down pens, or storming off from the podium when Ivanchuk was crowned Rapid Champion. Disrespectful. When Sergey Karjakin was the first to win a game in the World Championship Magnus left the press conference before Sergey even arrived.
If Carlsen wasn’t fined for that he damn well should have been.
Champs like Fischer, Kasparov and the current one have all gotten away with certain things that no other would. Pointed out by Kramnik years back( he was in fact talking exclusively about Kasparov). Talk to Judit

and Naka about Kasparov’s touch rule ignorance. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/)(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/) In an interview with Nakamura after Kasparov released the piece during a game and then picked it up again and moved it to another square. Naka shrugged his shoulders in a dismissive manner and stated something along the lines of “Its Kasparov”…whatcha gonna do attitude. The DGT board actually registered Garry’s first move.


However, he’s all in for roasting Hans with ZERO proof.
It’s obvious that Magnus quit the tournament believing Neimann cheated.
If he does not believe this, he should have made a statement to clear up this witch hunt and slander. Magnus need to step up to the plate and be a man.
However, being 31. Living with your parents and reading Donald Duck comics…I don’t expect this anytime soon. Pathetic.
So Hans blew a couple of analysis lines with the commentator. Big f#%king deal. How many times has Svidler corrected Seirawan during this tourny alone. As far as social media goes. Regardless of subject, it explodes with a plethora of experts who irresponsibly hang a young man’s future in their hands.
This is so sad for the world of chess.

fede666 9 hours ago
I find this article by far the most informative and unbiased one on this matter on all chess sites … great work

Cato the Younger Cato the Younger
Kudos to the author for a superb article.

The impressions left of the two bad actors in this saga are not particularly flattering. Magnus, no doubt acting on the advice of his attorney, heading for the tall grass following his hit-and-run non-accusation. And Hikaru, maniacally pouring gasoline on a campfire

and engaging in what seemed like Schadenfreude. Neither of them expressing the slightest regret or admission of culpability. Well, nobody’s perfect.

But to me the worst villainy emanates from Chess.com. The public expects that a mature, serious business–a behemoth in the sport–would be run with wisdom and probity. But no, instead we see their senior policymaker(s) ‘privately’ imposing dire career-limiting sanctions on a teenager who has been tried and convicted of doing what, exactly? This is an unbelievably gratuitous and unjust action that needs to be reversed immediately with a humble apology, not that this would fully compensate for the damage done. Otherwise, Chess.com’s position amounts to gross misconduct.

Cato is not the only Chess fan who feels strongly about the “villainy” of Chess.com:

Toro Sentado
@tweeterbull
·
19h
Replying to
@DanielRensch
and
@chesscom
And you just happened to do this to him the day after Magnus withdrew and you offer no explanation as to why? Incredibly tone deaf – yes. Also incredibly unprofessional. Did Magnus order this? Why is this being done in public? Awful awful awful. (https://twitter.com/danielrensch/status/1568033316347203584)

How has Mr. Rensch responed to the vast number of Chess fans criticizing him and his company?

Daniel Rensch
@DanielRensch
Replying to
@DanielRensch
and
@chesscom
My intention was to add some humor 🤷🏻‍♂️ not be vindictive. Sorry to everyone if it was tone deaf. Despite the hate and opinions all around, I legitimately want what’s best for Hans (and chess).

Hoping to hear from him…
8:27 PM · Sep 8, 2022
·Twitter for iPhone

https://www.chessdom.com/susan-polgar-about-niemann-carlsen-case-the-professional-reputation-of-many-parties-is-at-stake/

The reputation of the Royal Game is on the line and this clown wanted to “…add some humor.”

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying
But I didn’t see that the joke was on me, oh no
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beegees/istartedajoke.html

If you are a paying customer of Chess.com my question to you is, why are you paying to play online when you can play free at Lichess.com?

ACP Roundtable Discussion: The Future for Chess and FIDE

An email received from a friend, who was concerned since the AW has not posted in a few days, prompted this post. He thought maybe the Russians had decided to silence the AW. Fact is I had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital when my back again ‘went out on me’. I have had to take it easy and limit the time spent on the interwovenwebofallthings.

There was one development found while surfing worthy of comment. Daaim Shabazz,

2019 U.S. Delegates meeting, Orlando, Florida
Photo by Kevin Pryor

the founder of excellent blog, The Chess Drum,

https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/

published an informative article, Discussion: The Future for Chess and FIDE (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2022/07/22/discussion-the-future-for-chess-and-fide/). I looked for an article on all of the major Chess websites, Chessdom, Chessbase, Chess24, and Chess.com, to no avail. The following day I looked again, finding an article at Chessdom, which has recently become my number one “go to” website for Chess news, but after looking again today it was unable to be located.

As a general rule I do not spend much time reading about or listening to politicians because life is too short, especially at my age, to waste any of it listening to some blowhard say whatever it is they happen to think will obtain your vote. Daaim succinctly summarizes the ninety minute “discussion” in a couple of minutes.

Mr. Shabazz writes: “Yesterday the Association of Chess Professionals held a roundtable hosting the FIDE Presidential Candidates on the future for chess. The FIDE Presidential Election will be held on August 7, 2022, at the FIDE General Assembly in Chennai, India. The topic of the discussion was, “The Next 4 Years – The Future for Chess and FIDE.”

https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2022/07/22/discussion-the-future-for-chess-and-fide/

“Out of the four tickets, only three presidential candidates were present: Arkady Dvorkovich, Anrdii Baryshpolets, and Bachar Kouatly. The “Best Move” candidate Inal Sheripov was not present. The discussion is hosted by Maria Gevorgyan and Yuri Garrett, ACP Deputy President.”

“Following a seven-minute introduction from each person was a lively 90-minute discussion on a variety of topics including the perceived political entanglement of FIDE and Russia. The bulk of the time was spent discussing the future for chess and how it would navigate the changing landscape of for the sport. There was a lot of talk among the three candidates about widening the scope of chess to include underrepresented regions. There was also some time discussing increasing participation of girls and women.”

At the end of the discussion, each candidate was able to ask any combination of two questions of the other candidates. Predictably, there were many statements directed at Dvorkovich who stands in a situation made more tenuous by Carlsen bolting from the cycle and forfeiting his title. Baroshypolets questions were directly at Arkady as were Kouatly’s. Baryshpolets provocatively asked Dvorkovich, “Aren’t you ashamed of what you do to the chess world?” This was in reference to his Kremlin past as Deputy Prime Minister and the implications that he retains ties in Russia. Dvorkovich pushed back strongly and continued to tout the administration’s list of successes. Bachar Kouatly asked, “Will you resign if you are sanctioned? Arkady replied, “Yes.”

https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2022/07/22/discussion-the-future-for-chess-and-fide/

“Very interesting discussion!”

What does it say about the current state of Chess that a genocidal Russian is currently the head of FIDE? What happens if that very same genocidal Russian, the nefarious Dvorkovich, who takes his orders from the Madman, Vladimir Putin,

Former loyalists shun Putin’s appeal for Russia to unite behind him …
independent.co.uk

wins reelection? The fact is that all the Russians surrounding Mad Vlad take their orders from the monster, while living their lives in fear of displeasing the genocidal maniac. A vote for the Dvork is a vote for Mad Vlad. The question is, “Why is the Mad Vlad proxy being allowed to run for any FIDE office again?” What will be the future of the Royal Game and what kind of message will Chess be sending the world if the Dvork is again elected?

Did GM Richard Rapport Go Into The Tank?

‘Back in the day’ there were Candidates matches played leading up to the World Chess Championship. Young people regularly hear some old coot say, “Things were better back in the day.” I was once young, and have now grown old. The fact is that some things may have been better ‘back in the day’ and some were most definitely not “better.” As in most things in life, it depends on one’s perspective. That said, playing matches in lieu of playing a tournament to choose an adversary for the current World Champion was much better than the tournaments played today. The ongoing Candidates tournament is a prime example.

The following was taken from Chessdom: In the post-game interview with WGM Dina Belenkaya, Richard couldn’t explain what was the factor to make him refuse the draw and play on: “I don’t know. I should probably throw away my computer. Because I am pretty sure the line is 14…Bd6 instead of 14…Bh3, and then 15.Qxh7 Bh3 is a draw, so I figured I should be better here…“

“I got really upset about this that I played on, no one knows for what reason exactly. And position clearly seems dangerous. And also many other small things which were not going maybe before the game already. So clearly, it was extremely stupid for me to play on, regardless what is the evaluation of the position.” added Richard. (https://www.chessdom.com/rapport-on-the-r7-game-vs-nepo-i-should-probably-throw-away-my-computer/

What does Richard Rapport mean by, “…no one knows for what reason exactly.”? What about, “And also many other small things which were not going maybe before the game already.” The question must be asked, “Did Richard Rapport receive any inducement to lose the game intentionally, or were any threats made to him or any member of his family causing him to intentionally lose the game?

“Determining the ethics of intentionally losing a game to gain something greater in the future—known as “tanking” or “throwing the game”—seems like a no-brainer in that the practice is just wrong. Though…deciphering the logic of this conclusion actually does require the use of a brain as it’s not immediately obvious. Yet…a handful of commentators defend it, viewing it as just another example of good strategy, listing other commonly accepted strategies in defense of the practice.” (htps://law.scu.edu/sports-law/intentionally-losing-part-i-of-iii-ethical-considerations/)

Let us be honest here, the fact is that everyone involved with Chess knows the nefarious Russians will go to any lengths to recover what they consider “their” World Chess Championship title. FIDE is controlled by a Russian, Arkady Dvorkovich,

https://www.chess.com/news/view/dvorkovich-in-tight-spot-as-fide-president

who does what he is told by the Mad Vlad Putin.

https://nypost.com/2022/02/24/not-peter-the-great-hes-vlad-the-mad/

They know that if World Champion Magnus Carlsen

https://hiokori.substack.com/p/raising-your-floor-notes-from-magnus

refuses to again face Ian Nepomniachtchi the title will, once again, be held by a Russian.

Rapport-Nepomniachtchi left everyone, including Richard, puzzled | photo: Steve Bonhage, FIDE (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/madrid-candidates-7-nepo-caruana-win-again)

In the article, Cracking the Candidate Code (3) by ChessBase, it is written:

https://en.chessbase.com/post/cracking-the-candidate-code-3

“It is highly motivated and prepared players who win these events. Rapport may be motivated, but it is unlikely that he will be well-prepared. With events lined up he won’t have the time to prepare properly – he agreed to play in Norway, a tournament that finishes a mere six days before the start of the Candidates. Playing Carlsen and co. before an exhausting 14-round Candidates is not quite the best practice. Playing in Romania at the Superbet Classic wasn’t a success either, as his final score of minus two (both losses with White due to big blunders) placed him at shared-last.

Rapport’s second issue is that he is a self-confessed loner. He likes to work alone and finds it difficult to work with others. What he has achieved alone is incredible, but in order to climb the highest mountain players need teams – like it or not, the days of Fischeresque feats of ‘one against the world’ are gone and unlikely to return. Every single player who has qualified for a World Championship match has had a team that has supported him all the way. It would really be great to see Rapport find a support system to help him reach his full potential, but it seems that this won’t happen for Madrid, which is a pity, as I would have really fancied to see the best he can offer.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/cracking-the-candidate-code-3)

After reading the above would you have wagered anything that this player would win the Candidates tournament? It is more than a little obvious Richard Rapport was not ready for prime time and should not have been included in the event. For the rest of his life the question of his “going into the tank” will haunt Richard Rapport.

Slava Ukraini

Like most of you the AW spent his morning transfixed by what was being seen on the internet. The question is why has the United States Chess Federation NOT left the Russian controlled FIDE?

As things stand there are what I have come to think of as the “Big Three” Chess websites; Chessbase, Chess24, and Chess.com. Two of the three have articles concerning the naked aggression demonstrated by Russia when invading Ukraine. Chessbase, based in Germany, has published absolutely nothing on the crisis, which could quickly develop into World War III. This writer cannot help but wonder why?

Chess24.com led with an excellent article, FIDE under pressure to strip Russia of Chess Olympiad (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/fide-to-review-moscow-olympiad-as-pressure-grow-to-act-on-ukraine-invasion), in which many Grandmasters condemned the action of Vladimir Putin on behalf of the Russian people. From the article:

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/fide-to-review-moscow-olympiad-as-pressure-grow-to-act-on-ukraine-invasion

Chess.com displays the Ukraine flag in an excellent article, In Support of Ukraine:

https://www.chess.com/blog/CHESScom/in-support-of-ukraine

The lead article found at Chessbase this morning was:

Averbakh on Averbakh: How it all began (https://en.chessbase.com/)

It contains this picture of the Russian GM Yuri Averbakh:

https://en.chessbase.com/post/averbakh-on-averbakh-how-it-all-began

Today this writer visited Chessbase for the last time.

Nona Gaprindashvili vs Milunka Lazarevic

At the end of 2021 Chessbase published an outstanding two part article by Diana Mihajlova

https://en.chessbase.com/portals/all/2021/12/milunka-lazarevic/part-2/Milinka%20Merlini.jpg
Milinka Merlini, on the left while still in Yugoslavia; on the right, in Paris commenting on the 1972 Fischer – Spassky match | Photo: Heritage des Echecs Francais

concerning Milunka Lazarević and former World Woman Chess Champion Nona Gaprindašvili. The first is entitled, Milunka Lazarević, the female Tal (https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-1). The second: Milunka Lazarević: “Tal is my Zeus” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-2) This is Chess history at its best. The two-part series is so excellent it should receive some kind of award. With that in mind, the Armchair Warrior has decided to take it upon himself to declare the articles the best Chess historical articles of 2021.

Both articles begin: “Nona Gaprindashvili

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIF.26SFFVrFw8k7pVhe%252fsOFcg%26pid%3DApi&f=1
https://et.eturbonews.com/3003624/Gruusia-malet%C3%A4ht-kaebas-netflixi-kohtusse%2C-kuna-ta-nimetas-teda-venelaseks/

wrote referring to Milunka Lazarevic:

Milunka Lazarevic
https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-1

“A literary person by profession, lively and impressionable, Lazarevic is one of the brightest figures in women’s chess of the sixties”. Milunka attracted attention by her exciting, uncompromising style: sacrificing pawns and pieces and despising draws, which made her famous and endeared her to chess audiences!”

Pictured: Lazarevic, Tengiz Giorgadze and Gaprindashvili (National Parliamentary Library of Georgia) https://en.chessbase.com/post/milunka-lazarevic-female-tal-part-1

After spending an afternoon reading the articles and replaying every game I thought nothing about the articles until reading that FIDE, in its wisdom, decided to declare 2022 “the year of the woman in chess.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-year-of-the-woman-in-chess-2022) The best writing on the subject can be found at the website of GM Kevin Spraggett in a piece titled, FIDE: Gender Equality, Equity and Breast Implants (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/thursday-coffee-16/). Kevin parses the phrases, ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ by breaking down the difference between the two words, “equality” and “equity.” Having worked for an attorney known as the “Wordsmith” this writer is well aware of what a difference there can be depending on which word is chosen.

Arkady Dvorkovich

https://www.celebsages.com/wp-content/uploads/age/dvorkovich-arkady-image.jpg.webp
https://www.celebsages.com/arkady-dvorkovich/

is the President of FIDE and “He is famous for being a Politician.” (https://www.celebsages.com/arkady-dvorkovich/)

Eva Repkova

Eva Repková.
https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/talking-point/its-more-natural-for-men-to-pick-chess-111634531864348.html

is FIDE’s Women’s Commission Chair. I have no idea of what she is famous for or even how famous is she. I do know that there is internecine warfare being waged between ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ in the world of FIDE and who wins the battle will have a HUGE impact upon the world of Chess in the future.

Nona Gaprindashvili (2326) vs Milunka Lazarevic, (2160)
Event: Cheliabinsk Seniors (Women)
Site: Cheliabinsk Date: 12/21/2005
Round: 5
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 Ne4 7.c4 e5 8.b3 d6 9.Bb2 Nd7 10.Nbd2 Nxd2 11.Qxd2 f4 12.gxf4 Rxf4 13.e3 Rf5 14.Qe2 Nf6 15.Nd2 Rh5 16.f3 Bd7 17.Rf2 Qe7 18.Nf1 Rc8 19.Re1 Rh4 20.Ng3 Nh5 21.Nf1 Bh6 22.Qd1 Qf7 23.Ree2 Rf8 24.Qe1 Qe7 25.Bc1 Bh3 26.Bxh3 Rxh3 27.Nd2 e4 28.fxe4 Bxe3 29.Rxe3 Qg5+ 30.Rg3 Rxg3+ 31.hxg3 Qxg3+ 32.Kf1 Qd3+ 33.Kg1 Qg3+ 34.Kf1 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3278207

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 (This is not the best move and you know the woman who was the woman World Chess champion from 1962-1978 knew this, so there must be a reason Nona played a second, or third rate move. One can only speculate as to the reason…The last time these two women had met for combat across the board was at the Medellin Olympic (Women) (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2433694) way back in 1974, the year I came from nowhere to win the Atlanta Chess Championship. Nona won the first two games contested but Milunka fought back, winning the next two games. After a couple of draws in 1964 they did not meet again until 1966, at which time Nona asserted herself, winning the next three games over the next eight years, and they did not meet again until this game. In limited action, forty games, the move 6 d5 has not fared well) 6…Ne4 (This move is not in the Chessbase Database, but there are two games with the move found at 365Chess. The second follows:

Ricardo Galindo (2275) vs Gustavo Albarran (2192)
Event: Metropolitano-ch
Site: Buenos Aires Date: 06/24/2000
Round: 4 Score: ½-½
ECO: A04 Reti opening
1.Nf3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.d4 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 Ne4 7.Nbd2 Nd6 8.c4 c5 9.e3 e5 10.Rb1 e4 11.Ne1 Na6 12.a3 b5 13.b3 Rb8 14.Qc2 Qb6 15.f3 exf3 16.Bxf3 Nf7 17.Nd3 d6 18.Bb2 Bxb2 19.Qxb2 Bd7 20.Bg2 Rbe8 21.e4 Ne5 22.Qc2 Qd8 23.Nxe5 Rxe5 24.cxb5 Bxb5 25.Nc4 Bxc4 26.bxc4 fxe4 27.Bxe4 Rxf1+ 28.Rxf1 Qe8 29.Bf3 Re1 30.Qf2 Rxf1+ 31.Qxf1 Qe3+ 32.Kg2 Nc7 33.Bg4 Kg7 34.Qa1+ Kh6 35.h4 Ne8 36.Qh8 Qe4+ 37.Bf3 Qe7 38.Kh3 Qf7 39.Kg2 Nf6 40.Qd8 Nd7 41.Be4 Kg7 42.a4 Nf6 43.Bf3 Qd7 44.Qb8 a5 45.Qb6 Qxa4 46.Qxd6 Qc2+ 47.Kh3 Qf5+ 48.Kg2 Qc2+ 49.Kh3 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=612940&m=14

The Milner-Barry Gambit

  1. e4 (365Chess designates this the “B00 King’s pawn opening”) 1…e6 (This move signifies the opening has become the “C00 French defence) 2. d4 d5 3. e5 (After this move it becomes the “C02 French, advance variation”) 3…c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 (Now it is the “C02 French, advance, Paulsen attack”) 5…Qb6 6. Bd3 (And now we have the “C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit” [https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=12&n=712&ms=e4.e6.d4.d5.e5.c5.c3.Nc6.Nf3.Qb6.Bd3&ns=3.16.12.17.453.525.454.526.711.742.712] or do we?)
The Milner-Barry Gambit

Already an adult when playing in my first USCF rated tournament, I was a bad, but persistently tenacious, player. It was my good fortune to have had International Master Branko Vujakovic travel to Atlanta from Yugoslavia to attend college. My first out of state Chess tournament, in New Orleans, Louisiana, was with Branko. It was in that tournament I used a version of the Milner-Barry taught by Branko against an Expert only a few rating points below National Master, Glenn Ruiz in the very first round. That game featured 4 Nf3 in lieu of 4 c3 in the main line. I recall being on move when one of the local players walked by our board and stopped dead in his tracks. “Would you look at that..” my opponent lamented about his broken and battered position while shaking his head.

We also drove to the Church’s Fried Chicken Chess Tournament in San Antonio, Texas, in 1972, where I met Bobby Fischer after his recent victory over Boris Spassky to win the title of World Chess Champion.

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FUPaI5rM2COs%2Fmaxresdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPaI5rM2COs

One of the things recalled about the trip was that the night before the first round we were soundly sleeping when there was a knock on the door. After opening the door there stood two women, one of whom asked, “Would you like a date?” I modestly replied, “No ma’am, but thank you anyway.” After closing the door Branko asked, “Who was that?” After telling him what had transpired he asked, “Does that happen often?” Now here’s a guy who has been around the world and he is asking a young dude for whom a road trip to Savannah, Georgia, had been one of the highlights of his life a question like that…”How should I know?” was the answer.

Branko showed me the opening moves of what he called the “Milner-Barry Gambit,” which were, 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bd3 cxd4 6. O-O. According to 365Chess.com the fourth move makes the variation the “C02 French, advance, Nimzovich system” (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=12&n=4274&ms=e4.e6.d4.d5.e5.c5.Nf3.Nc6.Bd3.cxd4.O-O&ns=3.16.12.17.453.525.1942.2541.4273.4841.4274). We called it the “Milner-Barry Gambit.” If you go to the page at 365Chess you will find the opening having been played by World Chess Championship contender Nigel Short and fellow British countryman GM Julian Hodgson, along with GM Artur Kogan. The idea is simple enough with white sacrificing a pawn for development in order to attack on the Kingside.

In the second round of the recently completed US Women’s Chess Championship the eventual winner, Carissa Yip

Eighteen-year-old International Master Carissa Yip was crowned U.S. Women’s Champion with a...
Eighteen-year-old International Master Carissa Yip was crowned U.S. Women’s Champion with a round to spare, finishing with an incredible 8.5/11 score. The tournament was held at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Saint Louis, Mo.

faced the French defense played by former US Women’s Chess Champ Tatev Abrahamyan:

https://chessterra.com/2021/10/16/slash-and-burn-style-interview-with-wgm-tatev-abrahamyan/
  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 (StockFish 13, going way deep to depth 82 proclaims 3 Nc3 best) 3…c5 4. c3 (According the Chess24.com this is the only move with which White can show an advantage. The Stockfish program at ChessBomb.com shows the game equal. SF 030721 at the ChessBaseDataBase, @depth 57, shows White with a miniscule advantage) 4…Nc6 (SF 130721 @depth 57 plays this move but SF 13 @depth 69 would play 4…Qb6) 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3? (SF, along with everyone else, plays 6 a3, and so should you. Why would the new Women’s Champ play an inferior move? This game may have had something to do with why she played the move:

Magnus Carlsen (2863) vs Pentala Harikrishna (2732)
Event: Saint Louis Blitz 2020
Site: lichess.org INT Date: 09/19/2020
Round: 15.1
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Nbd2 Rc8 9.Nb3 dxc3 10.bxc3 Qc7 11.Re1 Nge7 12.h4 Ng6 13.Qe2 Be7 14.h5 Ngxe5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.Qxe5 Nxe5 17.Rxe5 Bf6 18.Re3 Rxc3 19.Rb1 d4 20.Rg3 O-O 21.Bb2 Rfc8 22.Bxc3 dxc3 23.Rd1 Bc6 24.Bc2 Kf8 25.Re3 b6 26.Nd4 Bd5 27.a4 g6 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Nb5 Rc4 30.Nxa7 Rb4 31.Nb5 Rb2 32.Rc1 Bg5 33.Nxc3 Bxe3 34.fxe3 Bc6 35.Be4 Bd7 36.Bd3 Bc6 37.Rc2 Rb4 38.Bb5 Bxb5 39.axb5 Rc4 40.Kf2 Ke7 41.Ke2 f5 42.Kd3 Rb4 43.Ra2 Kf6 44.Ra6 Rb2 45.Rxb6 Rxg2 46.Nd5+ Ke5 47.Nf4 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4270402)

Back to the game: 6…cxd4 7. O-O (7 cxd4 is best according the Fritz 15, 16, and 17, for what it’s worth. Unfortunately, there is no word from the best program, or any other, better, program. All we have to go on is the human mind of Magnus Carlsen and the fact that in the 38 games contained by the CBDB White has scored an astounding 66%, while the move 7 cxd4 has scored only 42% in 203 games. Back in the day the move played by a World Champ would have been enough. I miss those daze…) 7…Bd7 8. Re1 (Ms. Yip varies from the World Champ. The most popular move has been 8 cxd4, with 308 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Houdini, and the overwhelming choice of most human players even though it has only scored 43%! I kid you not…The move played in the game has only been attempted 40 times, scoring 64%. It is also the choice of SF 11 @depth 47. But SF 14 @depth 48 would play what is invariably almost no doubt the best move on the board whenever it is played, 8 Qe2!!! According to the CBDB the move 8 Qe2 has only been attempted TWICE. That will most certainly change after this post is read by Chess players all over the world looking for any kind of advantage. Pardon me, I sometimes get carried away when Qe2 is played, in case you have not noticed…Where we’re we? Oh yeah, my new hero, who has played THREE games using 8 Qe2, my Man, Adrian Flitney:

Adrian Flitney (1999) vs Daniel Baider (2032)
Event: Nelson op
Site: Nelson Date: 10/05/2007
Round: 5
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Qe2 Nge7 9.Rd1 dxc3 10.Nxc3 Ng6 11.Be3 Qd8 12.Bg5 Be7 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.g3 O-O 15.Rac1 f5 16.h4 Be8 17.Ng5 h6 18.Nxe6 Qxe6 19.Nxd5 Qxe5 20.Qd2 Kh8 21.Bc4 f4 22.Re1 Qd4 23.Qxd4 Nxd4 24.Kg2 fxg3 25.fxg3 Bc6 26.h5 Nf3 27.hxg6 Nxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Rf5 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3599055&m=18

Wait a minute…what if Adrian is a woman?

I checked, learning Mr. Flitney is an Australian male who was born in 1961 and played a total of 134 games between 1981 and 2009 (https://www.365chess.com/players/Adrian_Flitney). For some reason Adrian faced an inordinate number of French defenses and, to be kind, did not score all that well. Nevertheless, I will replay each and every game because one can usually learn more from a loss than a win.)

Again, where were we? Oh yeah, Ms. Yip has just played 8 Re1 in lieu of the 8.Nbd2 played in a blitz game. This was answered with 8…Nge7 9 h4 a6 (Although SF 13 @depth 50 would play the move played in the game, SF 14 @depth 54 goes with 9…Rc8, as in the following game:

Piroska Palotai (2055) vs Attila Barva (2335)
Event: HUN-ch univ
Site: Hungary Date: 2000
Round: ?
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Qb6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.c3 Bd7 7.O-O cxd4 8.Re1 Nge7 9.h4 Rc8 10.a3 (SF 14 gives 10 Nbd2 as best) 10…a6 11.Qe2 dxc3 12.Nxc3 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Qxd4 14.g3 Nc6 15.Bf4 Be7 16.Rad1 Qb6 17.Bb1 g6 18.Bh6 Nd4 19.Qg4 Qxb2 20.Nxd5 exd5 21.Qxd4 Qxd4 22.Rxd4 Be6 23.a4 Rc3 24.Ba2 Bc5 25.Rd2 Rxg3+ 26.Kh2 Rg4 27.Bg5 Bb4 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=526031&m=20

Alessio Valsecchi (2432) vs Luca Moroni Jr (2321)
Event: 17th Padova Open 2014
Site: Padova ITA Date: 12/17/2014
Round: 5.11
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Re1 Nge7 9.h4 Rc8 10.h5 a6 11.Bc2 h6 12.a3 dxc3 13.Nxc3 Na5 14.Ra2 Nec6 15.Be3 Qc7 16.Bf4 Qd8 17.Bb1 Nc4 18.Bd3 b5 19.Bg3 Qb6 20.Nh4 Qd4 21.Nf3 Qg4 22.Ne2 Bc5 23.Qa1 Bb6 24.b3 N4a5 25.Qd1 O-O 26.Bb1 Ne7 27.Ned4 Rc3 28.Qd2 Rfc8 29.Rb2 Qxh5 30.Rd1 Qg4 31.b4 Bxd4 32.Qxd4 Qxd4 33.Nxd4 Nc4 34.Rb3 Nxa3 35.Bd3 Rc1 36.Rf1 R8c3 37.Bf4 Rxf1+ 38.Kxf1 Rxb3 39.Nxb3 Nc6 40.Bd2 Nxe5 41.Be2 Nec4 42.Bc3 e5 43.Nc5 Bc8 44.Bd3 d4 45.Ba1 a5 46.bxa5 Nxa5 47.f4 f6 48.fxe5 fxe5 49.Kf2 N3c4 50.Be4 Kf8 51.Nd3 Bb7 52.Bf5 Nb3 53.Bd7 Nxa1 54.Bxb5 Nd6 55.Ba4 e4 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3923226&m=20)

If you are still with me we have come to the only other game found in which 9…a6 was found:

Rauf Mamedov (2654) vs Boris Markoja (2453)
Event: Online Olympiad Top DivB 2021
Site: chess.com INT Date: 09/10/2021
Round: 7.3 Score: 1-0
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Re1 Nge7 9.h4 a6 10.h5 g6 11.h6 Ng8 12.cxd4 Nxh6 13.Nc3 Nf5 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bg5 Nfxd4 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Bf6 Rg8 18.Rc1 Nc6 19.Nc5 Qb6 20.b4 Nxb4 21.Nxd7 Kxd7 22.Qa4+ Nc6 23.Rb1 Qc7 24.Rec1 Be7 25.Bxe7 Kxe7 26.Qa3+ Ke8 27.Bb5 Qe7 28.Bxc6+ bxc6 29.Qe3 Qc7 30.Rb6 Kd7 31.Qf4 Rgf8 32.Rcb1 Ra7 33.Qh6 Ke7 34.Qc1 Kd7 35.Qf4 h5 36.a4 a5 37.R1b2 Kc8 38.Qe3 c5 39.Rb8+ Qxb8 40.Qxc5+ Qc7 41.Qxf8+ Kd7 42.Qxf7+ Kd8 43.Qf8+ Kd7 44.Rb8 Qxe5 45.Qd8+ Kc6 46.Qb6+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4304033&m=19

10. h5 (SF plays 10 Nbd2) 10…h6 (SF prefers 10…g6, putting the question to White. It will be a TN if and when played by a human. 365Chess shows no games with 10…h6, but the CBDB has 4 games with the move) 11. Qe2 (The StockFish programs at Chess24 and the CBDB show 11 Nbd2 as best. The weaker SF program at the ChessBomb shows the move played in the game.) 11…f5? (StockFish shows 11…dxc3 as best. 11…f5? is a RED MOVE at ChessBomb. In computer numerical terms Black has just tossed a pawn. If you do not understand why please STOP! Go set up a real 3D set and pieces and look at the position as long as it takes for you to acquire understanding of the position, grasshopper, then return to the AW for, hopefully, more understanding) 12. exf6? (Because of being taught this particular opening a half century ago I had a modicum of understanding of the rudiments of this position. This weekend I was assisting a Chess Coach because his antiquated laptop needs to have “cool down” time. When this happens the AW takes control of the group. The Coach said nothing after 11…f5 so I stayed silent, but after he made the move 12 exf6 on the board and erupted effusively with, “I love this move! It just rips black apart! What do you think of the move, Mike?” Rock…Hard Place…I actually thought of a song, which will probably not surprise regular readers, even if it did surprise me:

For readers who do not know much about the Royal Game, in Chess there is one thing that is paramount: The Truth. For this reason I was compelled to either feign a heart attack or answer truthfully. Although only taking a few seconds to answer it seemed like HOURS had elapsed before I stated, “Pawn takes pawn en passant is an awful move, Coach.”

Silence followed before the Coach gathered himself enough to inquire, “Why would you say that, Mike?” The answer came immediately. “Because the White e-pawn is a bastion in the center of the board, Coach. When it goes Black will be left with three pawns in the center of the board that will be like Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Eugene “Mercury ” Morris, the three running backs for the only undefeated NFL team in history, rolling forward over any and every thing in their path.”

The Coach was stunned speechless. Therefore I added, “If you go back to the position after 11 Qe2 was played you will see that 11…f5 was also a bad move. Black should have played 11…dxc3.”

The Coach finally responded with, “Well Mike, we don’t have much time and I’m only trying to give the students an overview of the game and not so much detail.”

The kids are LOVING THIS!

“But now I gotta know so I’ll go over to the Bomb and check it out.”

And that is exactly what I expect you to do because inquiring minds want to know (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-womens-chess-championship/02-Yip_Carissa-Abrahamyan_Tatev).

BTW, in lieu of 12 exf6 StockFish would play 12 Na3. Just sayin’…

12…gxf6 13. cxd4 (Komodo plays 13 Nxd4 while the Fish plays 13 Qd1) 13…Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Qxd4

White to move

15. Be3 (Truth be told I did not question this move and we discussed what a natural move was this, as it attacks the Queen thereby “developing with tempo,” which is a good thing in Chess, especially if one is behind in development. As luck would have it the next night I was again called upon and was showing the game to another group when the Coach returned just in time to hear me say this was a bad move. “What?” the Coach erupted. Then he gives the students all the reasons enumerated above before saying to me, “Why would you say that, Mike?!”

“Oh no, Mister Bill,” I’m thinking. It was kinda like being called on in class when the teacher knows you’ve been sitting there zoning out while dreaming about that last bell so you could get home and to the Boys Club ASAP… Nevertheless enough gumption was mustered to say, “I spent some time reviewing the game for a possible blog post and checked with all the usual websites and was just as shocked as you to learn that although StockFish 8 played the move, SF 14 finds 15 Nc3 superior.”

Silence. Then, “Well, 15…Qe5 looks like a good move. What do you think, Mike?” I actually thought about having a power failure, but decided to inform the coach that the Fish proclaimed 15…Qh4 best. The coach moved the Queen to e5 before saying, “Well, it looks like Nc3 is out of the question because of the pawn fork, and Nd2 drops the b-pawn, but it looks like White gets counter play by moving the Rook to b1, so how about 16 Na3?” I knew one of the programs (Houdini) would have played Nd2 but kept quiet, but when the Coach asked, “What do you think, Mike?” I was again on the spot, so I said, “f4.” Yip played 16 Nd2)

15…Qe5 16. Nd2 Rg8 17. f4 Qd6 18. Qf2 Rc8 19. Rad1 (19 Nf3 SF) 19…Bc6 (The Coach liked this move, using arrows to show the Bishop and Rook firing on g2. Unfortunately he again asked me to weigh in, so I had not choice but to point out how bad was the move, a move from which Tatev never recovered. “Well, what the hell should the woman have played, Mike?!” I answered “f5.” The coach continued moving the pieces until reaching the position after 20. Bh7 Rg7, asking the students to find a good move for White. By this point the poor things were afraid to utter a sound, so the Coach showed the next move: 21. Ne4 explaining what a good move was this and explaining why, before saying, “We’re running out of time so I’m just gonna run through the rest of the moves before ending the session.”

And I am thinking “Oh Happy Day”

21…Qc7 (Qd8) 22. Bb6 (Nxf6+) dxe4 23. Bxc7 Rxh7 24. Bd6 Rg7 25. Rc1 Nf5 (f5) 26. Bxf8 Kxf8 27. Rxe4 Rd8 (Ke7) 28. Rxc6 bxc6 29. Rxe6 Ng3 (Kg8) 30. Rxf6+ Ke7 31. Qc5+ (Rg6) Kxf6 32. Qe5+ Kf7 33. Qc7+ 1-0

Robert Ris’ Fast and Furious: The Improved Milner-Barry Gambit
(https://en.chessbase.com/post/robert-ris-fast-and-furious-the-improved-milner-barry-gambit)

In Chess Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do

The headline in an article by by André Schulz at Chessbase says it all:

Kasimdzhanov after ending collaboration with Caruana: “It has a lot to do with the pandemic”

9/2/2021 – Fabiano Caruana and his second Rustam Kasimdzhanov formed a very successful team. However, their best year together (2018) ended in disappointment after many successes. The last Candidates Tournament did not go as desired either. “The pandemic year did not do our relationship any good”, says Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Now Fabiano Caruana and Rustam Kasimdzhanov are going their separate ways. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/rustam-kasimdzhanov-interview-2021-no-longer-caruana-second)

When asked, “And how are things going between you two now?” the Katzenjammer Kid

Comics Clasicos: KatzenJammer Kids #5

replied, “It’s strange. It’s like a divorce.”

Dedicated to George Ziberna and Gail Childs, may she R.I.P.

Chess Websites

A disgruntled reader took exception to the post, USCF Drops Set & Clock (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/uscf-drops-set-clock/). He defended the USCF for not having posted the last round games along with the other eight rounds. Only seven of those rounds can be found at the USCF website. There was/is an error with the fifth round and when clicks on the round this is found:

This screenshot was taken from the USCF website a moment ago (http://uschess.live/2021USO/round-5/games.pgn).

There are still no last round games posted…

The disgruntled one excoriated the AW for not finding the games at lichess (https://lichess.org/). I will admit to missing the notification in the article by Alexy Root,

https://new.uschess.org/sites/default/files/wp-thumbnails/Alexey-Root-Author-Photo-e1515093279560.png
Family Chess Challenge in Denton with WIM Dr. Alexey Root …
new.uschess.org

U.S. Open: Chess games, awards, signings, meetings, as I sort of glanced at the pictures on the way to the games, of which there were only three. Although I had previously been to the lichess website, I returned, finding the same page. From what was displayed I thought the website was only for playing online Chess. What do you think

https://lichess.org/

Yesterday while watching the coverage of the Sinquefield Cup

https://saintlouischessclub.org/sites/default/files/styles/slideshow/public/slideshow/2021%20Sinquefield%20Cup_Chess%20Club%20Homepage%20Slideshow.png?itok=BmhbwnSw
https://saintlouischessclub.org/

I noticed GM Maurice Ashley

https://i1.wp.com/tim.blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/maurice_ashley_illo-1-scaled.jpg?fit=1200%2C900&ssl=1
https://tim.blog/2020/07/28/maurice-ashley/

using a lichess board to display moves played in the ongoing games, so I returned to lichess and there was the same page as above. I did not want to waste time looking at the website because I was enjoying watching the gentlemen. Frankly, it was excellent having three Grandmasters analyze the games live without having a much lower rated woman onscreen.

There are many Chess websites and they are in competition. Like the Highlander,

https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/51755727/there-can-be-only-one.jpg

From the look of Chessdom (https://www.chessdom.com/) another one has bitten the dust.

The same screen has been up since the conclusion of the TCEC (https://tcec-chess.com/) match, won convincingly by Stockfish over LcZero. Although I visit most every Chess website the surfing begins with The Week In Chess (https://theweekinchess.com/), moving to Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), then on over to Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en), and when there is Chess action, I go to the ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/), and also use Chess24. The best place to view is TWIC because the board contains only moves, unlike ChessBomb, which color codes moves, and Chess24 which has some ridiculous white strip on the side of the board that moves up or down depending on the current move. It reminds me of a thermometer. Wonder why the two websites did not make the ancillary accoutrements optional? They broadcast most of the same events, but the Bomb has been running all games played in the World Chess Championship matches, and is now up to the 1981 Karpov vs. Korchnoi match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1981-karpov-korchnoi) I am still enjoying replaying the Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1972-spassky-fischer) Although I like the darker background found at Chess.com I agree with a gentleman with children who said, “Chess.com is geared toward children.” And why should it not be “geared toward children”? Children are the future and the battle rages for their little hearts, minds, souls, and their parents money.