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?

Can Jennifer Yu Handle Pressure?

WIM Alexy Root has written an apologia for Chessbase for the pitiful performance of Jenifer Yu at the US Junior.

Jennifer Yu’s US Junior Championship: Can research explain her result?
by Alexey Root

“The 2019 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Yu was the wildcard invite for the U.S. Junior Championship which concluded on Saturday, July 20th. She finished last in the 10-player round robin with ½ out of 9. In her post-tournament interview, Jennifer Yu mentioned, “Maybe there is a little more pressure or something.” In this article, WIM ALEXEY ROOT looks at two research-based reasons for the pressure Yu perceived and its possible effects on her result.” (

Pressure from “Chess Fans”

“In the words of one ChessBase reader, Yu is “a role model for young women with [her] current title” and her U.S. Junior Championship result “will find its way in future articles/books/essays regarding the relative strength of female vs male players and be fodder for that debate.” Even before the event, some questioned why Yu got the wildcard invite rather than higher-rated boys. One “Chess fan” wrote, “What a terrible pick for wildcard. I want to see the best junior players in the US Junior, male or female. It’s a shame the wildcard wasn’t used to reward another 2500+ Junior.”
Despite her chess qualifications, then, Yu perhaps felt pressure on her from some chess fans.”

The paragraph that caused me to write this post:

“According to “Checkmate? The role of gender stereotypes in the ultimate intellectual sport,” women perform 50% worse than expected when they know they are playing against men and are reminded of the stereotype that men are considered better and more gifted at chess. In the experiment on which the article is based, similarly-rated men and women played two-game matches online, at first without knowing the other player’s gender. In the match where gender was unknown, the women scored 1 out of 2 (the expected score). However, when the men and women were told the gender of their opponent (i.e. the men knew that they were playing women and the women knew that they were playing men), and the women were reminded of the stereotype that men are better at chess than women, the women scored ½ of 2.”

A reader make left this comment:


Inadequate sample size, pure speculation and utter nonsense. No need to make it more complex than it is in an effort to assuage the female ego. Yu finished last because she was weaker than most of the other participants and she didn’t catch a break..”

Ajeeb007 hits the nail on the head. I could not have put it better myself. Chessbase should be ashamed for printing something based upon such a limited sample size.

The best comment was posted “by UncleBent

“Jennifer Yu’s poor result is due to her playing opponents who were much stronger and more experienced vs top competition. If you look at Jennifer’s “career,” she has had little success against the few opponents she has played rated 2450 ELO or higher. Her designation as “wild-card” made her a target, but only because she was one of the lower-rated and, in a RR event, the others knew they had to get a full point from her if they were to have a good tournament result. What is true, is that most, if not all, of her “boy” opponents have spent considerably more time to playing and studying chess. Jennifer mentioned that she has not had a coach for a while, in spite of her weaknesses in opening repertoire and endgame technique. That was evident in her play. This is no longer the era of Capablanca — you can’t succeed against players who are more experienced, higher rated and who have done more preparation. Why Jennifer Yu decided not to hire a coach (with some of her US Women’s Ch prize money) is not my concern. At 17, she has so many wonderful avenues available to her, that I’m not going to criticize he for not studying chess.

Dr. Root’s article is an embarrassing, knee-jerk response. 20 years ago, Irina Krush placed 2nd in the US Junior. The number one reason for her success is that she was also the 2nd highest-rated participant. Playing against “the boys” did not seem to hurt her performance. (In fact one her Irina’s losses was to Jen Shahade.) While there may be merit to under-performance (when females play males), I just don’t think it is at the same level among higher-rated players, who have real achievements and thus more confidence.”

What Is Chess And What Does It Do?

A new story appeared today at the Chessbase website:

“Chess makes you smart”: Huge scholastic tournament in Bremen

by André Schulz

6/25/2019 – “Marco Bode is a German football legend, famous for his fair play and his loyalty to his club, Werder Bremen. Bode is also a passionate chess player who is keen to teach young kids the game and to make chess a subject in schools. Last week, Bode’s efforts led 1,000 primary school students to play a huge tournament in the center of Bremen.”

“Following the motto “Schach macht schlau” (“Chess makes you smart“) the pupils in Bremen’s primary schools now once a week learn chess in school. Teachers and education experts agree that chess is very useful for young kids. The children learn to focus, to follow their goals systematically, and they simply enjoy the playful lessons in school.”

All of the studies by professionals using rigorous methodology approved by peers have proven Chess makes a human smarter at playing Chess. Period. When anyone in the Chess community writes anything about Chess making anyone “smarter” they are being disingenuous at best. The “motto” or “slogan” used by the Chess community could have been used when there was a question concerning just how “smart” Chess made anyone, but now that the results are in and there is absolutely no proof Chess makes anyone “smarter” at anything other than Chess it should be stopped being used because for the Chess community to use “Chess makes you smart,” as a selling point has crossed the line and become a “lie.” It is time the Chess community stop lying.

To compound the problem Chessbase printed the following in the aforementioned article: “However, chess not only helps in the education of young pupils, it is also a sport.”

I kid you not…Chess is most assuredly NOT A SPORT! Chess is a GAME. Specifically, Chess is a BOARD GAME. If Chess were a sport it would not have been turned down repeatedly for inclusion into the Olympics. The only people who have ever considered Chess a “sport” are Chess players and administrators who desire Chess be included in the Olympics. The majority of people on the planet who know what Chess is will laugh at you if you try to tell them Chess is a “sport.” They will do so because they know the definition of “sport,” which is:

a. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

b. often sports(used with a sing. verb) Such activities considered as a group: Sports is a good way for children to get exercise.

It is long past time for the Chess community to stop lying about what the Royal game is and what it does. Chess has been a great GAME. How long it will continue to be considered a great game is up for debate. If the Chess community continues to promote a lie the end of the Royal game will come sooner, not later.

Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.

Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.