The “Truth” At The Ironman Chess Club

Earlier this week at the Ironman Chess Club the Legendary Ironman, NM Tim Brookshear,

who has been hosting the ICC for over nineteen years, asked me to play one of his students, Sofia, a young, intelligent (MENSA member), Class D player. All I knew about her was she liked playing gambit-type openings. Unlike some Chess organizations which tell students what openings to play, coach Tim allows his students to chose their own openings before offering input. I figured, since Sofia liked gambits, she would be an aggressive player. After playing 1 e4 Sofia replied instantly with 1…e5. If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably know what came next, which was, “The truth as it was known in those long ago days,” 2 Bc4. When the young lady played 2…c6

I was somewhat flummoxed because c6 is not usually played until after 2…Nf6 3 d3. Because of her unusual move order I had to stop and cogitate for a few moments…I decided to play 3 Nf3 to put immediate pressure on my opponent, knowing I would have played Nc3 if she had prefaced c6 with Nf6, later learning it was not the best move. Although she resigned some time later, the game was not easy because she continually set traps that had to be avoided, causing me to use time like a turkey gobbling food. For example after playing Bd6 she backed it up with Qc7, which meant that after I played Bg5 she kicked my bishop with h6, so I dropped back with Bh4, before being forced to drop back again with Bg3 to counter her queen and bishop battery. Then Sofia took my bishop, softening my kingside as I had to reply hxg3. There is another young female, Jade, I have previously played who shows promise. I sat there wondering if we will one day in the future be watching them playing in the US Women’s Championship at the St. Louis Chess Club.
What with the intermittent internet connections from the from AT&T it was only some time later I was able to get to and the ChessBaseDataBase to learn everything to be learned about the move 2…c6.

This was the first game found with my dubious 3 Nf3:

Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2425) vs Yuuki Tanaka

Asia-ch Boys

ECO: C23 Bishop’s opening, Philidor counter-attack

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 (A seldom played move according to the CBDB, which shows 39 games, but but it does show 2…c6 scoring better than any other move, albeit with a severely limited sample size. Stockfish and Houdini both play the most often played, by far, the move, 2…Nf6) 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bb3 Bd6 5.d4 Bg4 6.dxe5 Bxe5 7.exd5 Nf6 8.O-O O-O 9.dxc6 Qc7 10.cxb7 Qxb7 11.h3 Bh5 12.g4 Nxg4 13.hxg4 Bxg4 14.Bd5 Nc6 15.Bxc6 1-0

The Nepo man is the highest rated player to have played 2…c6:

Sergei Rublevsky (2688) vs Ian Nepomniachtchi (2707)

Siberian Bank Cup, Novosibirsk RUS 11/18/2012
C23 Bishop’s opening, Philidor counter-attack

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.d4 (This was SF 9s move but has been superceded by SF 10s 3. Nc3 expecting 3…Bc5 4. Qg4) d5 4.exd5 cxd5 5.Bb5+ Nc6 6.dxe5 Bc5 7.Nf3 Qb6 8.Nc3 Bxf2+ 9.Kf1 d4 10.Ne4 Qxb5+ 11.Kxf2 Qb6 12.Nd6+ Kf8 13.Rf1 Be6 14.Bf4 h6 15.Kg1 Nge7 16.Bg3 Nd5 17.Bf2 Ne3 18.Nxd4 Qxd4 19.Qxd4 Nxd4 20.Bxe3 Nxc2 21.Bc5 Nxa1 22.Nxf7+ Kg8 23.Nxh8 Kxh8 24.Rxa1 b6 25.Bb4 Rd8 26.h3 Kg8 27.a3 Rd5 28.Bc3 Kf7 29.Rf1+ Ke7 30.Bb4+ Kd7 31.Bf8 g6 32.Bxh6 Rxe5 33.Rf2 Bc4 34.Rd2+ Ke6 35.Kf2 Rd5 36.Rc2 b5 37.Bg7 a5 38.Bc3 a4 39.Kg3 Bd3 40.Rf2 Rg5+ 41.Kh4 Rh5+ 42.Kg4 Rf5 43.Rd2 Rd5 44.Kg3 Bc4 45.Rf2 Rf5 46.Rc2 Bd3 47.Rd2 Rd5 48.Kf2 Bc4 49.Bd4 Rf5+ 50.Ke3 Rf1 51.Bc3 Re1+ 52.Kf4 Re2 53.Rxe2+ Bxe2 54.g4 Kf7 55.Ke4 ½-½

Nikola Mitkov (2455) vs Walter Arencibia (2550)

ESP-chT 1997
C23 Bishop’s opening, Philidor counter-attack

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 d6 5.d4 Qa5 6.Qd3 Nf6 7.Bd2 O-O 8.a3 d5 9.Ba2 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 Qb6 11.Nxe5 Nxe4 12.O-O Na6 13.Rfe1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Be6 15.b4 Nc7 16.Bb2 a5 17.c3 axb4 18.cxb4 Nb5 19.Qe3 Rfe8 20.Bb1 f6 21.Nd3 Ned6 22.Nc5 Bf5 23.Qc1 Rxe1+ 24.Qxe1 Re8 25.Qd1 Bxb1 26.Rxb1 Nc4 27.h3 Nbxa3 28.Bxa3 Nxa3 29.Rb3 Nb5 30.Rg3 Qc7 31.Qg4 Qf7 32.Kh2 h5 33.Qf4 b6 34.Na4 Re4 35.Qb8+ Kh7 36.Nc3 Rxd4 37.Nxb5 cxb5 38.Qd6 Re4 39.Rd3 Re2 40.Qxd5 Qc7+ 41.Rg3 Re5 42.Qd3+ f5 43.Qd1 g6 44.Kg1 Qe7 45.Qd4 Re1+ 46.Kh2 h4 47.Re3 Qc7+ 48.f4 Rxe3 49.Qxe3 Qd6 50.Kh1 Qxb4 51.Qxb6 Qb1+ 52.Kh2 Qd3 53.Qf6 Qg3+ 54.Kh1 Qe1+ 55.Kh2 Qe8 56.Qxh4+ Kg8 57.Qf6 Kh7 ½-½

(SF 10 plays 3…Bc5 expecting 4. Qg4 g6 to follow. There is no game with 3…Bc5 found at the CBDB, but there is one game with 3…Bc5 found at

Sarah Hegarty vs Meri Grigorian (2036)

Ron Banwell mem 08/26/2002
C23 Bishop’s opening, Philidor counter-attack

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.Nf3 b5 5.Bb3 Qb6 6.O-O d6 7.a4 b4 8.Ne2 Nf6 9.d3 a5 10.h3 h6 11.c3 Ba6 12.Ng3 bxc3 13.bxc3 O-O 14.Rb1 Qa7 15.Qe2 d5 16.c4 Nbd7 17.Bb2 Rab8 18.Bc2 dxc4 19.dxc4 Rb4 20.Nd2 Rfb8 21.Bc3 Rxb1 22.Rxb1 Bb4 23.Qf3 Qc5 24.Qd3 Nb6 25.Bb3 Rb7 26.Bxb4 axb4 27.Nf5 Rd7 28.Qe2 Kh7 29.Nf3 g6 30.Qe3 Qxe3 31.Nxe3 Nxe4 32.Nxe5 Rd2 33.Bc2 Nxf2 34.Rxb4 Nc8 35.Kf1 Nd6 36.Nf3 Rxc2 37.Nxc2 Nd3 38.Rb6 Bxc4 39.Nd2 Bd5 40.Ne3 Ne4 41.Nxe4 Bxe4 42.a5 Nc5 43.Ng4 Kg7 44.Ne5 Kf6 45.Ng4+ Ke6 46.Nxh6 f5 47.Ke2 Kf6 48.a6 Nd3 49.Ke3 Ne5 50.Ng4+ 1-0

Truth Hits Everybody
The Police
Album: Outlandos d’Amour

[Verse 1]
Sleep lay behind me like a broken ocean
Strange waking dreams before my eyes unfold
You lay there sleeping like an open doorway
I stepped outside myself and felt so cold
Take a look at my new toy
It’ll blow your head in two, oh boy

Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone
Oh, oh, oh
Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone
Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone

[Verse 2]
I thought about it and my dream was broken
I clutch at images like dying breath
And I don’t want to make a fuss about it
The only certain thing in life is death
Take a look at my new toy
It’ll blow your head in two, oh boy

Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone
Oh, oh, oh
Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone
Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone

Where you want to be
Won’t you ever see

Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone
Oh, oh, oh
Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone
Truth hits everybody
Truth hits everyone


Richard Francisco’s Quest for the Elusive IM Norm at the Summer 2019 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational

The CCCSA Summer 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational was held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy June 6-9. There were three sections, GM; IM B; & IM C. After an overview we will focus on the IM B section for reasons which will become clear soon enough. But first I would like to mention the GM section ended in a tie between GM Karen Grigoryan, of Armenia, and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, from the USA. Grigoryan was running away with the tournament until losing to IM Kassa Korley in the penultimate round. In the last round Grigoryan lost to Ostrovskiy while still clinging to a share of the lead.

In the IM C section GM Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano, from Texas, shared first place with NM Aydin Turgut of Indiana. Full standings can be found @

GM Alonso Zapata,

now a resident of the Great State of Georgia, ran away with the section, finishing a clear point ahead of the field with 7 1/2 points. IM Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte,

from Venezuela, was second with 6 1/2 points. They met in the seventh round:

Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte (VEN) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 07

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O (SF plays 6 b3 a move not seen since 1999, according to 365Chess. The move has appeared in only four games. There are no games at the ChessBaseDataBase with the move)
O-O 7. h3 (SF plays 7 Re1; Komodo plays 7 b3 a TN) c6 8. Re1 Ng6 (TN-SF plays 8…Na6) 9. c4 ½-½

Granted, this was the second game of the day so there must have been little thought from the GM other than to accept the gift. Zapata was born in August, 1958 and is currently sixty one years old. Aponte was born in 1996, and had the white pieces, yet did not even attempt to make a game of it against his much older rival. This reminds of the time decades ago when Ron Burnett had been paired with Sammy Reshevsky at a tournament such as the US Open, or maybe a World Open. Ron was ready for the battle, talking trash about what he was about to do to his opponent. “But Ron,” I said, “Sammy is a legend.” Ron shot back, “He ain’t nothing but an old man.” Once a player reaches a certain age he becomes the Rodney Dangerfield of Chess.

This was Aponte’s moment and what did he do? He offered a draw…Aponte has no cojones and unless he grows a pair in the near future the GM title will remain out of reach. Contrast the “game” and I use the term loosely, with Zapata’s last round game:

Alex Kolay (USA)

vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Nbd7 7. Bg5 e5 8. d5 a5 9. g4 Nc5 10. Nd2 c6 11. Be2 Bd7 12. Rg1 a4 13. b4 axb3 14. axb3 Qb6 15. Rb1 Qb4 16. Qc2 Ra3 17. Kf1 Rfa8 18. Kg2 Na6 19. Qb2 Nc7 20. Be3 Nfe8 21. f3 R3a5 22. Ra1 Rxa1 23. Rxa1 Rxa1 24. Qxa1 Bf6 25. Qb2 c5 26. Na2 Qa5 27. b4 cxb4 28. Nxb4 Bd8 29. Nd3 b5 30. c5 f6 31. g5 Qa8 32. cxd6 Nxd6 33. Nc5 Be8 34. f4 Nf7 35. fxe5 fxe5 36. d6 Nxd6 37. Qxe5 Nf7 38. Qg3 Qc6 39. Ndb3 Qd6 40. Bf4 Qe7 41. h4 Ne6 42. Nxe6 Qxe6 43. Qd3 Bb6 44. Nd4 Qe7 45. Be3 b4 46. Nc2 Bc7 47. Nd4 Qe5 48. Nf3 Qe6 49. Nd2 Bd7 50. Bf2 Ne5 51. Qc2 Qh3+ 52. Kg1 Bd6 53. Qa2+ Kf8 54. Qd5 Nf7 55. Nf3 Qe6 56. Qa8+ Qe8 57. Qxe8+ Kxe8 58. Bc4 Bc6 59. Nd2 Ne5 60. Bg8 Kf8 61. Bb3 Bb5 62. Kg2 Nd3 63. Kf3 Nxf2 64. Kxf2 Bf4 65. Nf3 Bc6 66. Nd4 Bd7 67. Kf3 Bd2 68. Nc2 Bc3 69. Ke3 Bg4 70. Nd4 Be1 71. Nc6 Bxh4 72. Kf4 Be2 73. Nxb4 Be1 74. Nd5 Bd2+ 75. Ne3 Kg7 76. e5 Bd3 77. Kf3 Bc3 78. e6 Bb5 79. Nd5 Be5 80. Nb6 Bd6 81. Ke4 Be7 82. Kf4 Bd6+ 83. Ke4 Kf8 84. Nd7+ Bxd7 ½-½

Tying for third place were Georgia native NM Richard Francisco,

now thirty five years of age, and his last round opponent NM Zachary Dukic,

from Canada. They both finished with 6 points; 6 1/2 were required to earn an IM norm.

In the first round Richard faced a young (birth year 1997) IM Martin Lokander, from Sweden.

NM Richard Francisco (USA) – Martin Lokander (SWE)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 01

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Bd7 5. Nf3 a6 (5…Nc6 SF) 6. Bd3 cxd4 (Komodo and Stockfish at the CBDB both play 6…Nc6, but the SF at ChessBomb considers 6…Qc7, a potential TN, equal to Nc6) 7. cxd4 Bb5 (SF prefers 7…Nc6)

8. O-O? (This shows a lack of understanding of the position and is the beginning of problems for Richard. Both the Fish and the Dragon would play 8 Bc2. There are many other, better, moves, such as 8 Bxb5+; 8 Nc3; and 8 Bg5, all shown at the ChessBomb) Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Nbc6 (For 10 N3c6 see Papahristoudis v Savoglou below) 11. Ne2 Rc8 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Nf4 Be7

14. g3? (This is obviously a very weak move and gives the advantage to black. There was no need to voluntarily weaken the castled position. Richard needs to read Sam Shankland’s book…Stockfish says 14 Rac1 keeps the game balanced. Unfortunately for our hero Richard, the game went downhill from here. This is my last comment on the game, which can be found here, along with input from Stockfish, albeit with little time to “cogitate.”

g5 15. Ne2 f6 16. g4 Nh6 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. h4 Nxg4 19. hxg5 Bg7 20. Nf4 O-O 21. Nxe6 Qd6 22. Nxf8 Rxf8 23. Ne5 Ngxe5 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Qg3 Nf3+ 26. Kg2 Qxg3+ 27. fxg3 Nxd2 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Rd1 Nc4 30. Kf3 d4 31. b3 Nd6 32. Rc1 Kf7 33. Rc7+ Kg6 34. Kf4 h6 35. gxh6 Bxh6+ 36. Kf3 Kf6 37. Ke2 Be3 38. Kd3 Kf5 39. a4 Bf2 40. Rg7 a5 41. Rg8 Nf7 42. g4+ Kf6 43. Rb8 Ne5+ 44. Ke2 Bh4 45. Rxb7 d3+ 46. Kd1 Nxg4 47. Rd7 Nf2+ 48. Kd2 Bg5+ 49. Ke1 Be3 50. Rd5 Ke6 51. Rd8 Ke5 52. Rd7 Ke4 53. Rd8 Bc5 54. Re8+ Kf3 55. Rb8 Ne4 56. Kd1 Bb4 57. Rd8 Ke3 58. Re8 Kd4 59. Kc1 Nf2 0-1

Anastasios Papahristoudis (2111) vs Nikolaos Savoglou (1890)

Ambelokipi op 75th 01/17/2007

C02 French, advance variation
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Bd7 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bb5 8.O-O Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Ne7 10.Nc3 Nec6 11.a3 Nd7 12.Bf4 Be7 13.Rac1 Nb6 14.b4 O-O 15.Nd2 Qd7 16.Be3 f6 17.f4 fxe5 18.fxe5 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Rf8 20.Rxf8+ Bxf8 21.Nf3 Be7 22.h4 Nc4 23.Bc1 b5 24.Ne2 Qe8 25.Nf4 Qf7 26.g4 g6 27.Nh3 Nd8 28.Bg5 Kg7 29.Kg2 h6 30.Bxe7 Qxe7 31.Nf4 Qf7 32.Kg3 Nc6 ½-½

It must have been devastating to lose, especially with the white pieces, in the very forst round when one needs 6 1/2 points to earn an IM norm. To make matters worse, Richard had to face the only GM in the tournament in the second round.

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 02

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 a6 7. Nxc6 Qxc6 8. Bd3 d6 9. a4 Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 exf5 17. Bf4 Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 Rfe8 25. Qf3 Rxd4 26. cxd4 Qd7 27. h4 Nf8 28. d5 f6 29. h5 Re5 30. d6 Kh8 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 Qxd6 33. Qxb7 Re7 34. Qa8 Rf7 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 Qg5 37. Qe8 Qxh6+ 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5 40. b4 Qh6 41. Qe8 Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 (Not the best move in the position. Stockfish 10 at depth 49 would play 6 a3, a move which does not appear at the ChessBaseDataBase. SF 080219 at depth 46 plays 6 Be3, the most often played move, while SF 9 at depth 38 plays the second most often played move, 6 Be2) 6…a6 7 Nxc6 (The most often played move, but Komodo would play 7 Be2) 7…Qxc6 (Although the most often played move, SF 10 would play 7…bxc6) 8. Bd3 d6 (SF plays 8…b5, by far the most often played move) 9. a4 (SF 10 simply castles) 9…Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 (SF & Komodo prefer 11 Be3) 11…Qc7 (SF would castle) 12. Qe2 (Unfortunately, Qe2 is not always the best move. SF would play 12 a5) 12…O-O (SF 10 would play 12…b6) 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 (Komodo plays 16 Be3)

exf5 17. Bf4 SF plays 17 Ng3) Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 (SF shows 19…Nc4 best) 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 (SF prefers 22…Ne5) 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 (SF plays 24 Qg4) 24…Rfe8 (SF would play 24…Ne5)

25. Qf3 Rxd4 25 f6 SF) 26. cxd4 Qd7 (Houdini plays the “in your face” 26…Qf4) 27. h4 Nf8 (SF plays 27…Qe6) 28. d5 (28 h5 SF) f6 29. h5 Re5 (The Fish would rip off the pawn with 29…Qxa4) 30. d6 (The Dragon would play 30 b3) 30…Kh8 (Komodo would play 30…Qe6) 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 (SF considers 32 Ne3 a much better move) 32…Qxd6 33. Qxb7 (Stockfish 10 would play 33 Ne4. The Fish at DaBomb would play 33 Qxf6) Re7 34. Qa8 (Komodo prefers 34 Ne4) Rf7 (SF 10 likes this move) 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 (Both the Fish and the Dragon prefer 36 b4) 36…Qg5 (36…Qe2 Komodo) 37. Qe8 (Both the Fish and the Dragon would take the pawn with 37 Qxa6) 37…Qxh6+ (37…Qh4+) 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5

40. b4? (40 g4! SF) Qh6 41. Qe8 (41 Qd4 or Qb6) Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½
The game can be found at ChessBomb:

Richard bested CM Abhimanyu Mishra with the black pieces in round 3 and FM Sahil Sinha with the white pieces in the fourth round before holding the draw with the black pieces against FM Seth Homa in the following round. He drew with the white pieces with the aforementioned Aponte in the first game played Saturday, June 8 before winning with black against FM Nikhil Kumar in the second Saturday game. This put Richard in the postition of needing to win both games the following day, Sunday.

Richard Francisco (USA) – Alex Kolay (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 08

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. a3 f6 7. Bd3 Qc7 8. O-O O-O-O 9. Re1 c4 10. Bc2 fxe5 11. dxe5 Bc5 12. Nbd2 Nge7 13. b4 cxb3 14. Nxb3 Bb6 15. a4 Na5 16. Nxa5 Bxa5 17. Ba3 Be8 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Qf3 Bg6 20. Bxg6 hxg6 21. Rab1 Bb6 22. Bd6 Nc6 23. Qg4 Rde8 24. h3 g5 25. Qxg5 Bd8 26. Qe3 Na5 27. Rb5 b6 28. Reb1 Nb7 29. Ba3 Be7 30. Bxe7 Rxe7 31. a5 Nxa5 32. Rxa5 bxa5 33. Qd3 Kc7 34. Qa6 Qc8 35. Qd6# 1-0

Now it was time for the final round, a game Mr. Francisco needed to win to obtain an IM norm. His opponent was a Canadian NM, born in 1997, the lowest rated player in the event, who was having a very good tournament. Like Richard the Canuck also had 5 1/2 points and needed a win to garner the coveted IM norm.

Zachary Dukic (CAN) – Richard Francisco (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Bb3 Re8 (SF 8…d6) 9. Nxc6 (9 f3 SF) dxc6 10. Qxd8 Rxd8 11. a4 Ng4 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Re8 (13…Bxc3+ was played in Simacek v Zwardon below) 14. Ba3 Bxc3+ 15. bxc3 Rxe4+ 16. Kf1 Bf5 17. h3 Nf6 18. f3 Ree8 19. Kf2 Nd5 20. g4 Be6 21. c4 Nb6 22. Rhe1 a5 23. Bc5 Nd7 24. Be3 Kh7 25. c5 Bxb3 26. cxb3 Nf6 27. Bd2 Rxe1 28. Rxe1 Nd5 29. h4 Kg7 30. f4 f5 31. gxf5 gxf5 32. Re6 Kf7 33. Rd6 Nf6 34. Ke3 Re8+ 35. Kd3 Ne4 36. Rd4 Nxc5+ 37. Kc4 b6 38. Bxa5 Nxb3 39. Kxb3 bxa5

40. Kc4? (This move gave Richard the opportunity for which he was hoping. 40. h5 and it’s about an even game)

40…Re4? (SF at the Bomb has 40…Kg6 best and gives the following variation to prove it: (40… Kg6 41. Rd6+ Kh5 42. Rxc6 Re4+ 43. Kb5 Rxf4 44. Rf6 Rf1 45. Kxa5 f4 46. Kb5 f3 47. Kc4 Kxh4 48. Rxh6+ Kg5 49. Rh8 Ra1 50. Kb5 Rb1+ 51. Kc5 f2 52. Rf8 f1=Q 53. Rxf1 Rxf1 54. a5 Kf6 55. a6) 41. Rxe4 fxe4 42. Kd4 Kf6 43. Kxe4 h5 44. Kd4 Kf5 45. Kc5 Kg4 46. f5 Kxf5 47. Kb6 Kg4 48. Kxa5 Kxh4 49. Kb6 ½-½

During research for this post the following comment by Mr. Dukic was found:

“Well guys I almost got the norm. I needed a 2450 performance but since I drew my last game I only managed 2437.

I had 4.5/7 going into the final day and I would need 2/2 to secure the norm, including winning a game with black against a Swedish International Master. I managed to win this, so I only needed to win with white in the last round to secure the norm. If my opponent were to win, then he would win the norm. If we drew, nobody would get it. It was truly the money game!

It came down to a king and pawn endgame (see below) where I was one tempo short of victory. It resembles the endgame in Searching for Bobby Fischer except for one key detail: black’s pawn on c6 prevents my queen from controlling his queening square 😥

For those of you who followed along, hope you enjoyed it!”

I spent much time following the games from Charlotte via the internet, when it was up. The service received from AT&T leaves much to be desired. Frankly, having AT&T is like living in a third world country, with constant outages. The internet is frequently down and when down, stays down for many hours. Nevertheless, I persevered, while either muttering expletives, or screaming things like, “That blankety blank AT&T!!!”

One of the best things about viewing the games was they were given at ChessStream ( sans annotations so I could think for myself before heading over to the ChessBomb to learn what Stockfish, with little time and depth, had to say about the move and/or position.

Anna Muzychuk Plays Early Qe2 in the B31 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rossolimo Attack

In the post, Women’s Candidates Tournament underway, by Kevin Spraggett, published June 2, 2019, the Grandmaster writes about the second round game between Anna Muzychuk and Nana Dzagnidze. After the moves, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2 !? we read, “Not the mainline according to ‘theory’, but quite possibly the best line! The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.”

The Muzychuk sisters

previously played the Leningrad Dutch and I looked forward to any tournament in which they competed. Then they stopped playing the LD and I spent as much time with them as with yesterday’s newspaper…

Regular readers will immediately know what comes next but for those who know little of the AW I suggest simply putting “Qe2” in the question box and you will learn, grasshopper.

Inquiring minds will want to know if the Qe2 move in the game is “quite possibly the best line!”

Anna Muzychuk vs Nana Dzagnidze

Anna Muzychuk vs. Nana Dzagnidze | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

Women’s Candidate Tournament

Round 2

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2

Kevin writes, “Not the mainline according to ‘theory’, but quite possibly the best line! The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.” 6…O-O 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Rd1! According to my database, a new move. I like it.”

We begin after, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 (Stockfish prefers 3…e6) 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 (Komodo 13.01 would play 5 Bxc6) 5…Nf6 (The Fish among programs would print out 5…e5)

And here we are: 6 Qe2. Six Re1 has been played most often according to the CBDB, showing 1675 games with the move, which is the choice of the Dragon. The move preferred by the Fish, 6 d3, has only been played a couple of dozen times. Six e5 has been played a couple of dozen times more than 6 Qe2, but fourteen fewer times than 6 Re1)

6…O-O 7. d4 d5 (7…cxd4 has been played most often, and it is the choice of SF 310519 at depth 31, but go one click deeper and the Fish changes it’s mind while deciding on the game move 7…d5)

8. e5 (Almost invariably played but Stockfish would play 8 exd5) Ne4 9. Rd1! (GM Spraggett writes, “According to my database, a new move. I like it.” According the the CBDB Stockfish 310519 at depth 29 would play 9 Be3, but Stockfish 10 at depth 28 would play 9 Rd1 TN)

The rest of the game: cxd4 10. cxd4 f6 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 fxe5 13. Nxe5 Qc7 14. Nd3 Bf5 15. Bf4 Qa5 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Nb4 Rac8 18. Rac1 Be4 19. Bg5 c5 20. dxc5 Qxc5 21. Be3 d4 22. Bxd4 Bxd4 23. Qxe4 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Qe3 25. Qc2 Rc5 26. Nd3 Rg5 27. Qb3+ Kg7 28. Nxf2 Rxg2 29. Qb7 Rxh2+ 30. Kxh2 Rxf2+ 31. Qg2 h5 32. Re1 Qd2 33. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 e5 35. c4 g5 36. c5 g4 37. Rf1 Qh4+ 38. Kg1 Qg3+ 39. Kh1 Qh3+ 40. Kg1 Qe3+ 41. Kh1 Qe4+ 42. Kg1 g3 0-1

From this we can conclude Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett

is on to something when he writes, “The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.”

I do not know if the sisters Muzychuk utilize the fantastic ChessBaseDataBase ( but the CBDB provides anyone who does use it to find new, and/or different opening move choices galore, as shown regularly on this blog. The game with GM Spraggett’s annotations and comments can be found @

Qe2 Versus The Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Qe2

According to the ChessBaseDataBase sixteen moves have been played more often against the Najdorf than 6 Qe2 yet the move Qe2 on the sixth move has outscored all of the other moves. Granted the Qe2 move has only been tried 58 times but has scored at a 62% level. The next closest move would be 6 a3 at 59% in the 123 games in which it has been the move of choice. The most often played sixth move for white has been 6 Be3 and there are currently over 19,000 games in which Be3 was played while scoring 55%.

In reply to 6 Qe2 both Stockfish and Komodo show 6…e5 as best. Although both Stockfish and Komodo have 7 Nb3 as best Houdini shows 7 Nf3, a move yet to appear, as the best move in the position. The move 7 Nb3 has only been played, as yet, one time!

P.R. Watson vs Alec Aslett

Combined Services-ch
England 2002
Round: 7 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.g3 Qc7 10.Bg2 Rc8 11.O-O-O Bc4 12.Qd2 b5 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bxb3 15.axb3 h6 16.Be3 f5 17.h4 Be7 18.Kb1 Nf6 19.Bh3 g6 20.h5 O-O 21.hxg6 Ne4 22.Qd3 Nc5 23.Bxc5 e4 24.Qd2 dxc5 25.d6 Bxd6 26.Qxd6 Qg7 27.Bxf5 c4 28.Bxc8 1-0

The most often played move currently is 7 Nf5 and it has scored at a rate of 60%. Although 7…g6 has been the most often chosen move, the world computer program champion, Stockfish, prefers 7…d5.

Alfonso Romero Holmes (2501)- Pentala Harikrishna (2682)

ESP-chT Honor Gp2 2006

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nf5 g6 8. Ne3 Be6 9. g3 h5 10. Bg2 h4 11. O-O Bh6 12. Rd1 hxg3 13. hxg3 Nc6 14. Qd3 Nd4 15. Ne2 Nxe2+ 16. Qxe2 Qe7 17. b3 Bxe3 18. Qxe3 Bh3 19. Bf3 Ng4 20. Qg5 Qxg5 21. Bxg5 f6 22. Bd2 O-O-O 23. Bb4 Kc7 24. Rd3 Nh6 25. Rad1 Nf7 26. Bg2 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 f5 28. Rc3+ Kd7 29. Re3 Ke6 30. c4 Rh7 31. Rh1 Rxh1 32. Kxh1 fxe4 33. Rxe4 g5 34. Kg2 b5 35. Bd2 Kf5 36. f3 Rc8 37. g4+ Kf6 38. Kf2 Nd8 39. Bb4 Rc6 40. Ke3 Ne6 41. Kd3 Nf4+ 42. Kd2 Ke6 43. Bc3 Rc8 44. Kc2 Ng6 45. cxb5 axb5 46. Rb4 Nf4 0-1

Attila Czebe (2487) – Vladimir Vojtek (2295)

TCh-SVK Extraliga 2010-11

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nf5 d5 8. Bg5 d4 9. O-O-O Nc6 10. Qf3 Be6 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. Bxf6 Bxe4 13. Qxe4 Qxf6 14. Nxd4 Nxd4 15. Rxd4 g6 16. Bc4 Bh6+ 17. Kb1 O-O 18. Rd7 Rad8 19. Rxd8 Rxd8 20. Qxb7 Rd2 21. a4 a5 22. Re1 Rxf2 23. Qb8+ Kg7 24. Qxe5 Qxe5 25. Rxe5 Rxg2 26. Rxa5 Rxh2 27. Ra7 Rf2 28. a5 Be3 29. Re7 Bc5 30. Rc7 Rf5 31. a6 g5 32. Bd3 Re5 33. Rxc5 Rxc5 34. b4 Rc7 35. b5 g4 36. b6 g3 37. bxc7 g2 1-0

Here is a recent game played by The Gorm,

author of arguably the most honest Chess book ever written:

Daniel Gormally (2477) vs Richard Bates (2378)

Event: London CC Superblitz KO

London ENG 12/10/2017

B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qe2 Nbd7 7.g4 g6 8.Be3 Bg7 9.O-O-O O-O 10.h4 Ne5 11.f3 b5 12.h5 b4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Qa5 15.Kb1 Qxd5 16.Nf5 Qe6 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.Nxg7 Kxg7 19.Bh6+ Kg8 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 21.Rxh7 Nf7 22.Qxe6 Bxe6 23.Bd3 g5 24.Re1 Ne5 25.Be4 Rc8 26.Rf1 Bg8 27.Rh5 Rc5 1-0

Launching the h-pawn at the Leningrad Dutch

One of the best things about writing a blog is the response received from readers, most of which, fortunately, is positive. One of the emails received earlier this month, from a young man relatively new to Chess, had an influence on my deciding to continue writing the AW blog.

“I discovered your blog when looking for opening material on the Dutch opening. After reading all posts concerning the Dutch I decided to buy the book on the Leningrad Dutch

by GM Malaniuk which you have written about often. It was one of the best chess moves I have made off of the chess board. What I like about the book the most is how much of it is devoted to earlier deviations from the main lines. Most of my games venture away from the “book” moves very early in the game. Because of this I have found that to be successful in chess one must first study what is not “book” first in order to understand what is “book.” Most of my games do not reach an endgame, and if they do one side has a large advantage. Because of your blog I began playing some of the lesser played variations and found the better players were taking more time in the opening when before they would simply make their replies instantly. I have attempted to play many of the “offbeat” openings you advocate on your blog with success. For example, I have won games with the Bishop’s opening, and many of those have been won because of being able to play the Bxf7+ check. In the past year or so I have gained hundreds of rating points and now am a class D player. I attribute much of my success to your blog. It opened my mind. After looking at a game and making notes I then go to the ChessBomb and compare my notes with the variations given. Seeing the variations of how a game should have developed has helped my understanding of chess.

Before the last round of the 11th dMP Batavia GM 2019 Amsterdam (NED) IM Arthur Pijpers was tied with FM Jasel Lopez, both with 5 points. Pijpers was paired with GM Simon Williams, who had four points, and the white pieces. FM Jasel Lopez had white against Rick Lahaye, the only untitled player, who had 4 points.

The latter game began 1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6. This made me think of something you had written about always playing the move d6 when white plays both d4 and c4, so I looked it up on your blog and found you wrote, “As I recall one of the first chapters is titled, “Berzerk attacks.” This occurs when the Leningrad player allows white to fire the h4 salvo in the early opening phase of the game. Many failed experiments taught me to avoid h4 if at all possible. One of the ways to do this would be to delay playing g6 until after first playing d6, and then Nf6. White can still fire the h4 salvo, but it turns into a premature ejaculation. As a general rule I usually play d6 after the white pawns come to d4 and c4.”

Sure enough, Lopez played 4. h4 and Lahaye did not play 4…d6 but 4…Bg7. In the game mentioned above between GM Jahongir Vakhidov and GM Neil McDonald you wrote, “Vakhidov fired the h4 salvo on his fourth move, to which McDonald replied Bg7. Vak, in for a penny, in for a pound, continued pushing it in with 5 h5. Neil takes the sucker offa the board with Nxh5. When Vak fires his King pawn to e4 I am willing to wager Neil was wishing he had already played d6…At this point Stockfish, according to the CBDB would play fxe4. McDonald plays 6…e6. There follows, 7 exf5 exf5 8 Rxh5 gxh5 9 Qxh5+.”

Lopez did not play 6. e4 but a ChessBomb red move, 6. Rxh5? If Lopez had played 6. e4 he would have had a large advantage, according to ChessBomb of about a pawn and a half. Instead after taking with the rook he was down about half a pawn. That is a huge swing in the opening. What I do not understand is FM Lopez is rated 2390 and his opponent, even though untitled, is rated 2414, so they are obviously strong players. If a player is going to play an attacking line launching his h pawn, such as in this game it seems he would have at least studied the opening. If Lopez had read your post he would have known to play 6. e4! After the game moves of 6. Rxh5 gxh5 Lopez did play 7. e4 but then it was not good and he lost the game and a chance at first place. IM Arthur Pijpers was winning his game when he offered GM Williams a draw to clinch first place.

Thank you for writing such an interesting blog. I have learned about how to study and play winning chess from your blog. I hope you recover and decide to write again.”

Thank you, sir, for such positive feedback! If only all feedback were so nice…

I decided to put the opening of the game into the ChessBaseDataBase.

Jasel Lopez 2390 (ARU) – Rick Lahaye 2414 (NED)

dMP Batavia Chess Tournament 2019 round 9

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. h4 Bg7 5. h5 Nxh5 6. Rxh5 gxh5 7. e4 O-O 8. Qxh5 fxe4 9. Be3 e5 10. d5 d6 11. Nge2 Nd7 12. Ng3 Nf6 13. Qh1 c6 14. Bg5 cxd5 15. Nxd5 Be6 16. O-O-O Bxd5 17. Rxd5 Qb6 18. Bxf6 Rxf6 19. Nxe4 Rxf2 20. Nxf2 Qxf2 21. Rd2 Qe3 22. Kc2 Rf8 23. g3 e4 24. Bh3 Rf2 25. Be6+ Kh8 26. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 27. Kd1 e3 28. Qe1 Qf3+ 29. Qe2 Qe4 30. Qg4 Qd3+ 0-1

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. h4 Bg7 (Stockfish at the ChessBase Data Base show 4…d6 as the best move) 5. h5 Nxh5 6. Rxh5 (This is shown as a “red move” at the ChessBomb. Both Stockfish and Houdini at the CBDB give 6 e4 as a much superior move) gxh5 7. e4 (Now this move is not best as SF and Komodo prefer 7 Bg5, a move not shown at 365Chess. Only one game has been played with 7 Bg5:

K. Tsatsalashvili (2226) vs N. Batsiashvili (2425) Chennai Open (Women) 2013

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. h4 Bg7 5. h5 Nxh5 6.Rxh5 gxh5 7. Bg5 O-O 8. e3 c5 9. d5 d6 10. Nh3 Nd7 11. Nf4 Nf6 12. f3 a6 13.Bd3 Qe8 14. Qc2 h6 15. Bh4 e5 16. dxe6 Bxe6 17. O-O-O Bd7 18. Ncd5 Nxd5 19. Nxd5 Rf7 20. Re1 Be6 21. e4 f4 22. Qd2 Qf8 23. Nb6 Re8 24. e5 Bxe5 25. Bg6 Rf5 26. Nd5 Kg7 27. Bxe8 Qxe8 28. Ne7 Qf7 29. Nxf5+ Qxf5 30. Be7 Bd4 31. Bxd6 Be3 32. Rxe3 fxe3 33. Qxe3 Kg6 34. b3 b6 35. g3 Qf7 36. Bf8 Qxf8 37. Qxe6+ Kg7 38. Qe5+ Kg6 39. Qe6+ Kg7 40. f4 Qf6 41. Qe5 Kg6 1/2-1/2)

7…O-O 8. Qxh5 (This move, along with 8 e5 and Nh3 have been played, but Komodo and Houdini give 8 Bd3 as best)

Black, Rick Lahaye, has a huge advantage and went on the win the game which put him in a four way tie for second place, a half point behind winner IM Arthur Pijpers of the Netherlands. Tournament information can be found here:

Here are some previous posts on the Dutch:

2018 US Chess Open Rumors

Although I liked the DGT board used by the USCF in the recent US Open festival of sorts, there were myriad problems. Some rounds had only three of the six boards displayed, with nary a move having been played in the others. There were times when a result was given as the moves continued. Because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the last round I will say nothing concerning the last round. I will, though, say I found it very strange USCF posted nothing on the US Open for days, and when something was published it concerned “…our new National Girls Tournament of Champions winner.” Since I am putting this together Thursday afternoon I simply cannot recall the order in which the articles that followed appeared. After surfing on over to the website I noticed the order may be different because of some new articles. What I recall is a very short report on who won the tournament, followed by yet another article on girls, then an article written by GM Michael Rhode, which I intended to read but time did not permit, and it was taken down and is not currently on the main USCF webpage. Nothing can be found as to how to find it on the website. The fact that the USCF chose to publish articles on girls Chess before publishing anything on who actually won the event speaks loudly to what has happened to the USCF now that women are in charge. If girls Chess is the future of Chess, then Chess is dead, because the vast majority of girls stop playing the game around puberty, and there has been absolutely no evidence this will change in the future.

I liked the DGT board because it has no digital clanking monster analysis displayed. I do not like the fact that one cannot download the game(s). I obtained the moves of the game below the old fashioned way, writing them on a piece of paper. I have no idea if the moves given are correct, and there is no way of knowing from the information at hand. Such is Chess with the USCF…

A new article appeared today, Thursday, on the USCF webpage this morning four days after the conclusion of the event, by Al Lawrence. It is written, “The sudden death of one of the participants required the complete evacuation of the tournament hall for a 3 ½ -hour delay of all games in the ninth and final round. Read the US Chess statement posted that night here. Everyone showed respect for this necessity, as one of our own had ended life at the board. Liang-Gareyev was on Move 15 at the time all clocks stopped.” (
One must wonder why the above could not have been published on the USCF website many days earlier. For example, I was elated upon learning the last round would begin at three pm in lieu of seven pm, which meant I could watch the whole round. Seven pm in Madison, Wisconsin is eight pm in Georgia, and I hit the rack before midnight. That afternoon I watched the opening part of the games before taking a nap, and shower, then having dinner. Upon springing Toby, the ‘puter, back to life to watch the action, the DGT board was, shall we say, a mess. I had no clue as to why, other than the problems finally overwhelmed the technology used by the USCF.

I have received emails concerning the unfortunate death at the board during the last round of the USO. My reply has been, “I am as in the dark as are you.” I am still in the dark, and flummoxed as to what occurred at the US Open. I have intentionally not written anything on this blog because I do not need to feed fuel to the rumors fire burning brightly on the internet. Maybe we will learn why the USCF stayed quiet about the situation so long; then again, maybe not…As of this writing there is still nothing written about the death during the last round…

I cannot say the following game was the best game played at the US Open, but it the best fighting game I saw on the DGT display. I ran the opening through the ChessBaseDataBase, and 365Chess. What was found follows. The only comment I will make concerning the rest of the game is that I cringed when Mr. Dean played his forty third move. It looks as though black had an advantage, albeit a small one, but nevertheless, an advantage. GMs wait for their opponent to play a weakening move such as the ill-fated weakening of his structure when playing 43…g5. That said, FM Jim Dean certainly made his GM opponent sweat bullets!

GM Jimenez Corrales 2635 vs FM Jim Dean 2249

2018 US Open rd 7

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 (SF at a depth of 49 considers this the best move while Komodo at a depth of 37 would play the the move played ten times more frequently than the game move, the usual, and standard 3…Bf5. I preferred the game move)

4 dxc5 (Komodo prefers 4 Nf3) 4…e6 (I vaguely recall an article in one of the New In Chess Yearbooks in which the author advocated playing 4…Nc6, which is the most played move. I also recall a GM writing he did not like this move because of the reply 5 Be3. The only one of the Big Three shown at the CBDB is Stockfish, and it plays the game move)

5 a3 (SF at a depth of 38 plays 5 Nf3, but changes it’s…what exactly does Stockfish change? If it were human I could write “mind,” but it’s a machine, so let us just say SF changes it changes it’s “crunching” and leave it at that for the time being because at depth 39 it would play 5 Bd3)

5…Nc6 (In another case of “let it run a little longer” SF would play 5…a6 at depth 41, but at the next level it would play the seldom played 5…Qc7. 5…Bxc5 is the most often played move with the game move a close second. Thirteen games have been played using 5…Qc7)

6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 (Houdini plays 8 Bb2) 8…Nge7 (SF’s move, but Komodo prefers 8…a5)

9 O-O (SF plays 0 Bb3) 9…Ng6 10 Re1 (SF and Komodo play 10 Bb2) 10…0-0 (SF plays 10…a5, while Houdini plays 10…f6)

11 Bb2 f6 12 exf6 gxf6 13 Bxg6 (SF would play 13 c4. The game move is not shown at the CBDB, or 365Chess, so this move is a TN and the game has been taken into the street)

Here is the full game as given:

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 dxc5 e6 5 a3 Nc6 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 Nge7 9 O-O Ng6 10 Re1 O-O 11 Bb2 f6 12 exf6 gxf6 13 Bxg6 hxg6 14 Qd3 Kg7 15 c4 dxc4 16 Qxc4 e5 17 Nc3 Nd4 18 Nxd4 Qxd4 19 Qe2 Bg4 20 Qf1 Qd2 21 Na4 Qc2 22 Nxb6 axb6 23 Bc1 Qc3 24 Be3 Rxa3 25 Rxa3 Qxa3 26 Qc4 Bf5 27 h3 Qd3 28 Qc7+ Qd7 29 Qxb6 Rc8 30 Qa5 Rc3 31 Kh2 Qc7 32 Qa4 Qd7 33 b5 Bc2 34 Qh4 Qxb5 35 Qh6+ Kf7 36 Qh7+ Ke6 37 Qg8+ Ke7 38 f4 Qb3 39 Qh7+ Qf7 40 Qh4 e4 41 Qf2 Qd5 42 Bd4 Rc4 43 Bb2 g5 44 fxg5 Qxg5 45 Qb6 Qf4+ 46 Kh1 Bd3 47 Qxb7+ Ke6 48 Ba3 Qc7 49 Qb5 Qg3 50 Qe8+ Kf5 51 Rg1 Rc2 52 Qd7+ Kg6 53 Bf8 Qc7 54 Qg4+ Kf7 55 Bh6 Qc8 56 Qg7+ Ke6 57 Ra1 Qc7 58 Qg4+ Kd5 59 Bf4 Qc3 60 Qd7+ Kc4 61 Qc6+ Kb3 1-0

Volokitin, Andrei (2674) vs Grishchenko, Sergey (2431)
Event: 15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014
Site: Yerevan ARM Date: 03/05/2014
Round: 3.49 Score: 0-1
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Bd3 Nd7 6. Nf3 Ne7 7. O-O Nc6 8. c4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Ndxe5 10. Nxe5 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nxe5 12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Nc3 Bxc5 14. Bf4 Nc6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. Bd6 a6 17. Ba4 b5 18. Nc5 Rd8 19. Bb3 Bc8 20. Bxe7 Kxe7 21. a4 Rxd1+ 22. Bxd1 Rd8 23. axb5 axb5 24. Bf3 Nd4 25. Ra7+ Kf6 26. Ra8 Nxf3+ 27. gxf3 Rd1+ 28. Kg2 Bd7 29. Rb8 Bc6 30. Rb6 Be8 31. Rb8 Ke7 32. Rb7+ Kf8 33. Rb6 Rd2 34. b3 Rd5 35. Ne4 h6 36. Rb8 f5 37. Nc3 Rd3 38. Rc8 Ke7 39. Rc5 b4 40. Na2 Rxb3 41. Rc4 Bh5 42. Rxb4 Bxf3+ 43. Kf1 Rxb4 44. Nxb4 Kf6 45. h4 f4 46. Nd3 Kf5 47. Kg1 Be4 48. Nc5 Bd5 49. Kh2 Kg4 50. Nd3 Be4 51. Nc5 Bf5 0-1

Zaleski, Lukasz (2220) vs Kaczmarek, Aleksander (2380)

Najdorf Mem Open A 2017
Warsaw POL 07/13/2017

ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Qc7 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Bxc5 8. b4 Bb6 9. Bb2 Ne7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bd3 Ng6 12. Re1 a5 13. b5 Nce7 14. a4 Bc5 15. g3 f5 16. h4 Bd7 17. Nbd2 Nh8 18. Nb3 b6 19. Nbd4 Nf7 20. Kg2 Rae8 21. Qe2 Nh6 22. Ng5 Ng6 23. f4 Nh8 24. c4 dxc4 25. Bxc4 Qc8 26. Nb3 Bb4 27. Red1 Ng4 28. Bd4 Qb7+ 29. Qf3 Qa7 30. Kg1 h6 31. Nh3 Bc8 32. Qc6 Qf7 33. Qxb6 g5 34. fxg5 f4 35. gxf4 Qh5 36. Bd3 Qxh4 37. Kg2 Re7 38. Be4 Ng6 39. Bf2 Nxf4+ 40. Nxf4 Qh2+ 41. Kf1 Qxf4 42. Rd8 Rf7 43. Ra2 Qxe4 44. Rxf8+ Rxf8 0-1

Dochev, Dimitar (2387) vsManagadze, Nikoloz (2419)
Halkida op 5th
Halkida Date: 11/20/2001

ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Qc7 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bb2 Ne7 9. Nbd2 Nbc6 10. c4 dxc4 11. Nxc4 O-O 12. Bd3 Ng6 13. O-O Qd8 14. Nxb6 Qxb6 15. Qb1 Rd8 16. h4 Nf8 17. Ng5 g6 18. Ne4 Ne7 19. Bc1 Nf5 20. Bg5 Bd7 21. Bxd8 Rxd8 22. Nf6+ Kg7 23. Bxf5 exf5 24. Rd1 Ba4 25. Rxd8 Qxd8 26. Qb2 a6 27. Qc3 h5 28. Qg3 Qd4 29. Rc1 Ne6 30. Nxh5+ Kh6 31. Rc8 1-0

Pavel Smirnov (2621) vs Alexandr Kharitonov (2503)

2007 Moscow Open

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bd3 Nge7 9. Bb2 Ng6 10. O-O Nf4 11. c4 O-O 12. Nc3 Ne7 13. Qd2 Nxd3
14. Qxd3 dxc4 15. Qxc4 Qc7 16. Qg4 Bd7 17. Ne4 Bc6 18. Rac1 Qb8 19. Rxc6 bxc6 20. Nf6+ Kh8 21. Nxh7 Nf5 22. Nf6 Nh6 23. Qh3 Bd8 24. Bc1 gxf6 25. Bxh6 Re8 26. exf6 Bxf6
27. Bg5+ 1-0

Konstantin Landa (2570) vs Sergey Kalinitschew

Bundesliga 0607 2006.10.28

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6
8. Bd3 Nge7 9. O-O Ng6 10. Bb2 O-O 11. Nbd2 f5 12. Nb3 a6 13. Re1 Qe7 14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Nh4 16. Rc1 Nxf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bd7 18. Rcd1 Rad8 19. Rd6 Bc8 20. Nc5 Bxc5 21.bxc5 Rde8 22. Bxa6 bxa6 23. Qxc6 Bb7 24. Qd7 Qxd7 25. Rxd7 Bd5 26. Rd6 Rb8 27.Bd4 Rb3 28. Rc1 Rd3 29. Bc3 Rc8 30. Be1 Rxa3 31. c6 Rb3 32. c7 Kf7 33. Rxa6 f4 34. Rd6 Kg6 35. Rd7 h6 36. f3 Rb2 37. h4 h5 38. Bc3 Rb3 39. Bd2 Kf5 40. Rxg7 Kxe5 41. Rg5+ Kd4 42. Bxf4 Kd3 43. Rxh5 Rb4 44. Bd6 Rb6 45. Bg3 Rb2 46. Rg5 1-0

Upset in Sautron

The games from the National Open were being broadcast by a website new to me, FollowChess ( Further exploration brought a page of upsets, nothing but upsets ( Everyone loves an upset, unless they are the one being upset! The first entry is:

Upset in Sautron: Flachet 2025 beat Sergeev 2417. Attack & Tactics!
October 27, 2017

The game is, according to 365Chess, a C00 French, Chigorin variation! What are the odds?! If you are a regular of this blog you KNOW I was compelled to play over the game…

Vladimir Sergeev (2417) vs Thierry Flachet (2025)

17e open international de Sautron, 2017.10.26

1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 (Stockfish at the ChessBaseDataBase gives this as best. Komodo prefers 2…c5, which is the move chosen by Siegbert Tarrasch

in the second game of the 1893 match with Mikhail Chigorin,

still the most outstanding Chess match ever contested. Seven times Chigorin played 2 Qe2 against his opponent’s French defense. If you have not played over the match I urge you do do so. It can be found at a fantastic historical website, (

Here is a game played by Chigorin and the man who lost the US Chess Championship to Frank Marshall,

Jackson Whipps Showalter,

on June 13, 1899 in London. Chigorin pulled a rabbit out of his hat when playing his third move, a move that cannot be found at the CBDB!

Mikhail Chigorin vs Jackson Whipps Showalter

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Qg4 Nf6 4. Qxg7 Rg8 5. Qh6 Nc6 6. Nf3 Rg6 7. Qe3 d5 8. e5 d4 9. Qb3 Nd7 10. Bb5 Nc5 11. Qc4 Rxg2 12. b4 Nd7 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxd4 Rb8 15. Ba3 a5 16. bxa5 Rxb1+ 17. Rxb1 Bxa3 18. Qa4 Bc5 19. Qxc6 Kf8 20. d4 Be7 21. a6 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Nb6 23. Qb7 Kg7 24. Kf1 Rg6 25. Rg1 Nd5 26. Rxg6+ hxg6 27. c4 Nf4 28. Qb8 Qd7 29. Qa8 Bf8 30. Rb8 Qe7 31. c5 Nh3 32. Qc6 1-0. Back to the game…)

3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 (Komodo’s choice of 4 d3 is far and away the most often played move, although Stockfish 9 at a depth of 32 gives 4 d4. Stochfish 9×64, at a depth of 25, shows the game move)

4…Nh6 (SF 9 and Komodo 11.2 2 64-bit at depth 27 play 4…c5, but Komodo 9.2 64-bit at depth 25 would play the game move)

5 h4? (I considered being kind and including an exclamation mark after the question mark but not because the move is dubious but because the move is so shocking. Consider for a moment you are sitting across from your student. Let us call him “Allen.” He has just begun showing his most recent rated game and you are sitting behind the black pieces. Your first instinct may be something like, “What the hell kinda move is THAT?!” You cannot say this because Allen is a “Priest.” So you stifle yourself and say, “That is a bad move.” Although a middle-aged man Allen looks like one of your young students as he hangs his head before asking, “Why is it bad?” As you sit gazing into the distance you consider his lowly 701 rating and recall some of the lame opening moves you played in the past before replying, “Because it is unnecessary.” Then you tell him about how important time is in the opening phase of the game, and of the many things one needs to accomplish in the opening, such as development, etc. You would follow by explaining why 5 g3, to develop the bishop, is the way to play this particular opening. This would also be the time you attempted to explain why h4 may be a decent move in the opening if black has weakened his pawn structure when playing g6. This would make Allen feel a little better, especially if you add, “In many openings the same moves are played, but what matters is not the move played, but the order in which they are played. There must be a reason for every move.” Since you must sit there and see the remaining moves of Allen’s game you decide to show him the opening moves of the game between Dimitri Bogdanov (2175) and Bjorn Brinck Claussen (2354) from the 21st Politiken Cup in 1999 at Copenhagen. 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 Nh6 5 g3 f5 6 d4 Nf7 7 h4. “See how the pawn stops any black piece from coming to g5?” you ask. “Now the rook pawn move has a purpose,” you say as the color begins returning to Allen’s face. This causes you to show him the rest of the game before having to get back to his game. After all, you are getting paid by the hour…

7…c5 8. dxc5 Na6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Bg2 Nxc5 11. Bd4 O-O 12. O-O Bd7 13. Re1 b5 14. Nbd2 a5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5 16. Nb3 Qb6 17. Nbd4 Nd8 18. Qd2 Nb7 19. Rad1 Nc5 20. Qf4 b4 21. Bf1 a4 22. Re3 Ne4 23. Rdd3 a3 24. bxa3 Rxa3 25. Rxa3 bxa3 26. Rb3 Qa7 27. Kg2 Rc8 28. Qe3 Qc7 29. Ba6 Rb8 30. Rxb8+ Qxb8 31. Qb3 Qa7 32. Bb5 Bc8 33. c4 Bc5 34. Qd3 g6 35. cxd5 exd5 36. Nc6 Qb6 37. Qxd5+ Kg7 38. Bc4 Qb2 39. Kh3 Qxf2 0-1)

5…c5 6 d3 Nf5 (6…Ng4 would be possible because of white playing pawn to h4) 7 c3 h6 8 h5 Nc6 9 Na3 a6 10 Nc2 b5

11 g3 (Although the move could have possibly been played earlier, now looks like the right time for 11 g4)

11…a5 (The coach would have to take time here explaining why development should be completed before launching any kind of aggressive movement, such as the last move. 11…O-O or Bb7 are good alternative moves)

12 Bg2 Rb8 13 Bf4 b4 14 c4 b3 15 ab3 Rb3 16 Bc1 Ba6 17 O-O O-O 18 Re1 dc4 19 dc4 Ncd4 20 Ncd4 Nd4 21 Nd4 cd4

22 Rd1 (22 Qg4! Kh8 23 Bd2 looks about equal) 22…Bc5 23 Be4? (23 Bxh6! gxh6 24 Qg4+ Kh8 25 Qf4 Kh7 26 Be4+ Kg7 27 Qg4+ Kh8 28 Qf4 looks like all white can hope for at this point in the game)

Take a good look at this position as black. What move would you make?

23 Rg3! (Brings the house DOWN! Examine ALL checks, something neglected by the much higher rated player)

24 Kf1 d3 (I looked at moving the rook to either b3 or h3, in addition to 24…f5, so the move in the game took me by surprise) 25. Rd3 Rd3

26 Bd3 (The human brain rejects 26 Qxd3 Qh4 27 Kg2 Qxf2+ 28 Kh3, leaving the King naked in no mans land) 26…Qh4 27. Qf3 Rd8 ( As my friend the Master of Understatement was fond of saying, 27…Bb7 looks strong, not that it matters) 28. Be4 Bc4 29. Kg2 Rd4 30. Ra5 Re4 31. Ra8 Kh7 32. Qe4 Qe4 0-1

P. Vessosi (2351) vs M. Astengo (2064)

Lodi Open 2008

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. e5 Nh6 5. d3 Nf5 6. g3 c5 7. Bg2 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. c3 h5 10. h3 g4 11. hxg4 hxg4 12. Nh2 Nh6 13. Rd1
Bd7 14. Na3 Qb6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. Nxg4 Rg6 17. Bf3 O-O-O 18. Kg2 Rdg8 19. Rac1 Kb8 20. Rh1 Qa5 21. Rh6 Rxg4 22. Bxg4 Bg5 23. Rch1 Bxh6 24. Rxh6 b5 25. Bh5 Be8 26. d4 c4 27. Qd2 b4 28. cxb4 Qxb4 29. Qc3 Qf8 30. Rf6 Rh8 31. g4 Nb4 32. Nc2 Nd3 33. Ne1 Qg7 34. Kf1 Qh7 35. Nxd3 cxd3 36. Qb4+ Ka8 37. f3 Qg7 38. Qd2 Qh7 39. Ke1 Rf8 40. b3 Bb5 41. a4 Ba6 42. b4 Bc4 43. b5 Qg7 44. Qf4 Qh7 45. Kd2 Bb3 46. Rxf7 Rxf7 47. Qxf7 Qh6+ 48. f4 Bxa4 49. g5 Qh8 50. Qe8+ 1-0

The general of the white pieces takes 46 seconds of his five minutes to play his THIRD move of the game, obviously flummoxed by the choice of move made by the general of the black pieces.