is a chess player from Ukraine, rated 2264. Because she is female she “earned” the title of Woman Grandmaster. Anastasiya Rakhmangulova
is also a chess player from Ukraine. She holds the title of International Master even though rated only 2174. A male player with a rating between 2000 and 2199 is considered to be an “Expert” player. In round four of the 2021 Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship Final they sat down opposite each other and embarked upon a wondrous adventure…
WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova 2264 (UKR) vs WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova 2174 (UKR) Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship Final 2021 round 04 A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, modern variation
b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e4
After seeing this move I began asking students what move they would make after 2…Nc6, and to a girl they all replied, “e4!”
1 b3 e5 (Komodo, @depth 52, and Houdini @depth 37, play the move played in the game, but Stockfish 13 @depth 68 prefers 1…d5) 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e4 (The Chessbase Database contains only 18 games in which this has been played, scoring all of 28%. 3 e3 is the most often played move by a multiple of four over 3 c4. Houdini and Fritz like 3 e3, but Stockfish 9 @depth 26 plays 3 Nf3, which has scored 54%; 3 c4 has scored 55%. 3 e3 has only scored 52%) 3…Bc5 (Although Stockfish12 @depth 44 plays the game move, SF 14 @depth 37, SF 190621 @depth 48 play 3…Nf6) 4.Qg4 (This is the kind of move that would elicit, “Now there’s a move,” at the Stein Club. One would think this move had never been seen previously, but sometimes one is wrong) 4…Nf6 is a TN. See below:
IM Marek finished with five wins, three losses, and a draw, for a performance rating of 2372. His FIDE rating is 2372. His opponent, IM Harshit Raja, also finished with 5 1/2 points, for a performance rating of 2393, 101 points lower than his FIDE rating.
e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nb3 g6 (6…e6 has been the most often played move and in 147 games against an average opponent rated 2422 has scored 57%. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 69 and SF 14 @depth 50 play 6…e6, but Komodo @depth 33 plays the move played in the game) 7. Be2 (Although SF 12 @depth 33 plays this move the same program left running a little longer, to depth 42, decides upon 7 f3, the same move SF 14.1 @depth 40 plays) 7…Bg7 8. g4 (SF 200221 @depth 42 plays 8 Be3. In 34 games it has scored only 47%) In 39 games 8 g4 has scored only 45%. 8…h5 (This is the choice of Stockfish and Houdini, and this is the first time this move has been played, according to the ChessBaseDataBase, so it is a Theoretical Novelty, or is it? The following game was found at 365Chess.com)
I thought nothing of “Scott Milligan” but did wonder if the “Bellin” was GM Juan Manuel Bellin, the husband of Pia Cramling, until finding his name is spelled, “Bellon.” Clicking showed it was Jana Bellin and her opponent was none other than Helen Milligan, who currently resides in New Zealand.
d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. g3 (3 c4 was the choice in 1501 games at the ChessBaseDataBase, resulting in a 54% outcome for white. The 1239 games in which 3 g3 was played is the second most often played move, but the result has been better at 56% for white. Stockfish 14 @depth 49 and SF 220521 @depth 51 will play 3 Bf4, which has seen action in only 173 games. I kid you not…Even more astounding is that the result has been an incredible 62%!) 3…Nf6 4. Bg2 (SF and Komodo play 4 c4) 4…d5 5. O-O (SF goes with 5 c4) 5…Bd6 6. c4 c6 7. b3 (SF says Ne5) 7…Qe7 8. Ne5 (In almost one half of the games played  8 Bb2 has been the move played even though it has only scored 51%. Go figure… One Komodo program prefers 8 Nc3 [45 games; 57%], while another prefers 8 Qc2 [67 games; 57%]. Then there is Houdini…who would play 8 Ne5, as has been played in 253 games while scoring a fantastic 60% against the highest rated opposition!) 8…O-O (Komodo castles but SF prefers 8…Nbd7) 9. Bb2 (Fritz plays the game move but Komodo plays 9 Bf4) 9…Bd7 (SF 14 plays 9…b6. Deep Fritz plays 9…Nbd7) 10. Nd2 Be8 (Komodo and Deep Fritz 13 play this but SF 8 plays 10…Rd8) 11. Ndf3 (The most often played move and the choice of Komodo, but SF 14 plays 11 Nd3) 11…Bh5 (SF 12 @depth 38 plays 11…Bg6) 12. Nd3 (SF 8 plays the game move but SF 13 @depth 35 plays 12 Ne1 a NEW MOVE, and a TN if and when it is played over the board against a human opponent…) 12…Nbd7 13. Nfe5 g5 (Fritz likes 13…Bc7; SF 8 plays 13…Ba3, both of which will be a TN if and when…)
13…g5 was a surprising choice by Mr. Aaron and certainly must say something about the kind of player who would fire the g-pawn salvo at his esteemed Grandmaster opponent. A player does not make such a move in an attempt to draw. Things got interesting quickly after GM Shabba pushing his e-pawn only one square in lieu of two on move twenty. Then after 20…gxf4 Shabba should probably taken the pawn with his knight with 21 Nxf4. It was at this moment Deepak could have taken control of the game by playing 21…Nh5, but played the retrograde and limp-writsted 21…Ne8 giving the advantage to Shabba. Only a couple of moves later Shabba played a limp-wristed move himself when easing the Bishop back to f1. Deepak answered by taking the pawn on f4, which was the reddest move possible according to the Bomb; big advantage to Shabba. After the exchanges on f4 on move 24 the GM had a won game. With all the action taking place on the king side Shabba, for some reason, decided to move his Bishop to a3, tossing away his advantage. For the next several moves there was punching and counter punching with the game staying about even, Steven, until the GM played 32 h3, again a BRIGHT RED move, the kind of move GM Yasser Seriwan would call a “howler” and it was time to turn out the lights because the party was over…
The first time the former US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze
appeared on the Armchair Warrioradar was when she played an opening near and dear to my heart. After opening with 1 e4 at the St Louis Autumn GM 2016 her opponent, Jayram Ashwin,
answered with 1…e6, the French defense. When Nazi moved her Queen to e2, the move made famous by the father of Russian Chess, Mikhail Chigorin,
my Chess heart had been stolen. I have been a Nazi fan ever since that day. Although Nazi lost that game her opponent was India’s 39th GM. Unfortunately she has not played the opening again, but I can always hope…Nazi has faced the Leningrad Dutch as white about a half dozen times over the past decade, which makes me wonder if those games influenced her to play the Leningrad Dutch? Inquiring minds want to know so how about a Chess journalist asking Nazi the question of how she came to play the LD? I will admit it was more than her choice of openings that brought Nazi to my attention as I found her coy insouciance attractive.
David Spinks was fond of saying, “You gotta pull for somebody!” For the reasons given above there is much to admire, therefore I ‘pull’ for Nazi.
1.d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 (There is a major internecine fight with Stockfish 180521 between 3…e6 and 3…g6. The Fish is completely divided, as if it had been filleted; split 50-50. My advice is, “When in doubt, play the LENINGRAD!”) 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 (5 Nf3 has been the most often played move with 2104 games in the CBDB, and it shows a 56% success rate. 5 Nc3 has been played in 1630 games, scoring 56%. SF 14 @depth 41 shows 5 Nc3. However, SF 091021 @depth 42 plays 5 Nh3. There are only 237 examples of the move played in this game contained in the CBDB and it has only scored 50% against lower rated opposition than the two aforementioned moves. Just sayin…) 5…O-O (SF 080920 @depth 44 plays 5…c6. There are only 10 games with that move in the CBDB. The most often played move has been 5…0-0, with white scoring 54% of the time. The second most played move has been 5..d6 and it has held white to a 48% score. In the main line any time white has played d4 followed by c4 it is generally a good idea to play an early d6 if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch. With the early Nh3 the StockFish computations obviously change. I only faced Nh3 once, in a game with Joe Scott, who I believe was an expert on his way to National Master, but he could have been a NM. I recall Joe telling me he became a NM because of the book The Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations.
Joe moved the Knight to f4 and clamped down on my e6 square and played a fine game, choking the life out of me until I expired. The loss inspired me to devote much time to annotating the game back in BC time. That’s “Before Computer” time. I read anything and everything found on the move 5 Nh3 in order to be prepared the next time I faced the move. Next time never came…but you can bet your sweet bibby that if next time comes around in a Senior event I will be prepared!) 6. O-O (SF 12 @depth 40 plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 7. d5 (In an article by André Schulz at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/us-championships-2021-r5) this is found after 7 d5, “7. Nc3 is vanishing.” This is strange because two different Stockfish programs show 7. Nc3 as the best move. The CBDB contains 60 with 7. Nc3 and 62 with 7. d5. White has, though, scored 54% with the latter while 7. Nc3 has only scored 48% and this against roughly the same opposition) 7…Na6 (Although Komodo at only depth 18 plays the game move, two different SF programs at double the depth show 7…c6. There are 23 games with 7…Na6 and white has scored 50%; in the 22 games when 7…c6 has been the choice white has scored 59%, with this being against roughly the same level opposition. Given the opportunity to play either move I would play 7…c6, which is reason enough for you to play the move chosen by our girl!) 8. Nc3 Nc5 (The move played in the game has been the overwhelming choice, but SF 13 likes 8…Qe8; SF 14 prefers 8…Bd7. I would play the latter move to complete development) 9. Be3 (SF 13 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 210920 @depth 41 plays 9 Qc2, yet 9 Nf4 has been the most often played move with 43 games in the CBDB in which it has scored 63% against 2398 opposition. In 26 games the move played in the game, 9 Be3 has scored 56% against 2452 opposition in 26 games. In 27 games against opposition rated 2482 the move 9 Qc2 has scored an astounding 70%! There is a reason the move 9 Qc2 is the choice of the Fish…) 9…e5 10. dxe6 (Here’s the deal…the CBDB shows 14 games in which this move has been played and one with 10 Bxc5 having been played, yet three different Stockfish programs show 10 b4 as the best move!) 10 Nxe6 (SF 14 plays 10 Bxe6) 11. Ng5 (The aforementioned annotations at Chessbase show, “White has an edge.” There are no games found at either the CBDB or 365Chess containing the move 11 Ng5 so it appears to be a Theoretical Novelty!)
You can find the game annotated all over the internet but since I followed the the game with something akin to religious fervor and made notes along the way I would like to share them with you.
11…c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3? This has gotta be bad. I’d be feeling pretty good sitting behind the black pieces after seeing a move like that! Maybe Thalia did not want to leave the Knight undefended with the black squared firing at the Rook on a1 after Ne4 but it does not work…Big advantage for Nazi!)
13…Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8? (OMG what has my girl done? Why would she not take the pawn???) 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7? (She should play the most forcing move on the board, a5, something I watch the top players not doing as a matter of course. Makes me think of that line from the CSNY song Deja Vu…”It makes me wonder/really makes me wonder’/What’s going on…”)
Qa3 Rf8? (I dunno, Qf6 looks good about now…) 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 (I thought h6 was OK but now I’m not so sure…taking leaves me with a couple of ugly duckling pawns but bring the Knight back for defense only seems to clog up the works. Nazi has stepped into some excrement) 21…gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7? (Why not 22…Qf6?) 23. e4 (What a mess Nazi has stepped into…looks like one of my uncoordinated LD positions. I wanna play Rfe8 but that Rook oughta stay where it is…so maybe dropping the other Rook back to the back rank…or moving, let’s call it ‘repositioning’ the Queen is what the doctor ordered…or was that life support? Things aren’t looking so good for my favorite female player about now…not even a Houdini, or a Houdini program will help her now, I’m sad to write…) 23…Ng6 (Did not consider that move. Looks like Nazi gets opened up like a can of sardines after exf5…) 24. Be3 (What is this? Now I’m pushing the f-pawn while singing, “Save my life I’m going down for the last time…”) 24…Qd8?
(Oh no Mr. Bill, what the fork is this? From where did that idea come?) 25. Bh3 (Well that helps. Qc2 piling on the pressure looked real strong) 24…Rdf7 26. Qc2 (I dunno, taking with Bxf5 looks good. Nazi continues dodging bullets) 26…Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5?
(White coulda come outta all the exchanges better than she did but this has gotta be wrong as it will drive the Queen over and every Black piece will be firing at the White King! What a turnaround!!! 30…Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5? (I cannot believe this…the woman just let go of the rope!!!) 34…Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1 (Wow! That is what we call “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat…”)
There were four separate Chess tournaments held from Jul 28-Aug 1, 2021, at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Together they were called the, Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational. There was the Grandmaster A; GM B; and the International Master A, and IM B. Each tournament consisted of ten players, some of whom paid an entry fee of $850 for a chance at obtaining a norm toward actually earning a title. I have no other details as they were not disclosed on the website.
In the top GM A tournament, IM Joshua Sheng (2453),
of the USA, scored the required 6 1/2 points by defeating, with the black pieces, FM Gauri Shankar (2369),
from India, in the last round. FM Shankar finished last managing only four draws to go with his five losses.
also of the USA, tied for first place, each with a score of 5 1/2 out of 9. From the website is does appear that FM Liang earned an IM norm with a half point to spare. In addition, NM Tianqi Wang (2336),
of the USA, appears to have qualified for an IM norm with his score of 5 out of 9.
The International Master C tournament saw NM Aydin Turgut (2275),
USA, take clear first place with a score of 7/9, which also gained him an IM norm. He did it with this heroic battle:
USA, won the IM D tournament with a score of 7/9, one half point ahead of NM Alex Kolay (2203),
USA, who missed out on earning a IM norm by 1/2 point.
When one clicks on the IM D board to be taken to the game score he is instead taken to the IM C games. I therefore had to again use the game score from the ChessBomb (What would a journalist do without the Bomb?!)
Lev Paciorkowski (2262) USA vs Ming Lu (2174)
Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 09 ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
Here is the deal…heading into the last round Lev Paciorkowski, after losing to NM Akira Nakada (2199)
in the penultimate round, could not have earned a norm with a win. After Lev played 15 Bf4 Ming Lu should have played the MOST FORCING MOVE, which was 15…Nd4. Instead, Lu played a weak, anti-positional move, 15…b4. Then Lev let go of the rope with at least one hand by playing the retrograde move16 Nb1, when moving the knight to a4 would have given him a substaintial advantage. With his last move, another lemon, Lev offered the peace pipe, which was gladly smoked by Ming Lu!
In the above game, after 1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2, I checked with the ChessBaseDataBase and was ASTOUNDED to learn Stockfish 12 @depth 52 would play 3 c3! The exclam is for my surprise, not because it is an outstanding move. Fact is, there is not one example of the move having been played in the CBDB! There are, though, four examples found at 365Chess. None of the players have a rating (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=6&n=10504&ms=e4.e6.d3.d5.c3&ns=220.127.116.11.10504). The Stockfish program 270321 shows 3 Nd2. The “new engine” does show 3 Qe2, for what it’s worth. After 3…Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 4…Be7) 5. g3 (SF 13 @depth 32 would play 5 c4, a move yet to be attempted by a human) 5…Nc6 (The most often played move but SF would play 5…Be7) 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O (By far the most often played move, and SF 260271 @depth 42 would also castle, but the same program left running until depth 49 would play 7 a4. There are only 3 examples of the move in the CBDB) 7…0-0 (SF plays 7…b5) 8. e5 (SF 13 plays this move but SF 14 prefers the seldom played 8 a4. Just sayin’…) 8…Ne8 (SF plays 8…Nd7) 9 c4 (Houdini plays the game move, but the smellyFish prefers 9 c3) 9…Nc7 10. Nc3 (Deep Fritz plays this, the most often played move, but Stockfish 11 @depth 31 plays 10 Re1; SF 13 at the same depth would play 10 b3, which is food for thought…) 10…Rb8 (SF plays this move but Komodo prefers 10…a6) 11. Rd1 (SF 12 @depth 41 plays the little played 11 Bf4) 11…b5 (Komodo plays the game move but StockFish comes up with a Theoretical Novelty with 11…b6. How about them fish?!) 12. b3 a6 13. h4 (TN)
had a poor performance in the IM D tournament. I have no idea why. I did reach out to him but have yet to receive a reply. The Grandmaster only scored 3 points in the 9 round event. He drew 6 games while losing 3. All games were against much lower rated players. GM Zapata has played solidly for many years since moving to Atlanta, Georgia, but he is no longer a spring chicken. Everyone wondered what would happen when players were once again battling over the Chessboard after a long layoff. GM Zapata lost a long game in the 3rd round (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-im-norm-d/03-Nakada_Akira-Zapata_Alonso) and followed it up with the following game which certainly helped NM Ming Lu (2174) in his attempt at gaining a norm:
Position from the Zapata v Lu game after black played 21…Ne6
What move would you make?
When attempting to teach Chess to youngsters I became known for constantly saying, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!” Sometimes it took a jackhammer, but there were times when I realized the drillin’ had worked. One of those times was when I was walking along Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the truly great thoroughfares in America, and as I neared a traffic light I heard, “Hey coach…EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” That put a huge smile on the face of the ol’ coach and made my day!
I took the time to copy some of the games from all four tournaments for your edification and/or amusement. They were copied from ChessBomb and I did not want to waste my time imputing ratings where you will find a (01). Frankly, when a player produces such excrement over the board they do not deserve to be rated as anything other than a player wearing “Maggies Drawers” I suppose.
But hey, the good thing is that you do not need a board to review most of the games that follow! I am hated by those who run the CCC&SA in the way a roach hates it when you come into a room and turn on a light. Actually, it may have been better to have used “loathed and detested” in lieu of “hated.” As far as those responsible in Charlotte are concerned, it was stated best by Grant Oen in an email to me in response to an earlier post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/04/the-serial-drawer/) when Mr. Oen wrote, “If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed.” Several? Maybe the rules need to be changed. Other tournaments have a 30 move rule in which no game can be drawn until at least 30 moves have been made. Since Charlotte has become the quick draw capital of the USA,
if not the world, maybe they should consider such a “new rule.” After all, the name of the place is the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Obviously there are those at the CCC&SA who find it acceptable to teach children to not play Chess.
Banawa, Joel (01) – Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (01)
Let me begin by returning to Tuesday morning, July 13, which began at o’dark thirty, specifically, 6:30 am. After a botched root canal exactly one week prior (it seems much longer) I had been down for the count. The spurts of energy had not been long lasting, which is why I’ve posted things that have required little time or thought. I was working on a book review that should have been out long ago, and other Chess related posts, but then a tooth began causing a problem. This was after taking the first of two shots of the Covid vaccine. I decided to ‘ride it out’ while hoping to be able to wait until two weeks after the second shot, as recommended, before seeing a dentist. By the time I made it to the dental office I was in pain, boss, The PAIN! Fortunately the pain was quelled with drugs. I was informed a root canal operation would be required, but because they were booked I would have to wait until September. Fortunately, or maybe not, depending, there was a cancellation and I was roto-rooted on Tuesday, the sixth of July, exactly one week from where we begin this story…
There was a powerful storm Monday night, July 12, that knocked out all contact with the world; no internet or TV, so I went to bed early. After breakfast I was giving strong consideration to crawling back into bed when the Ironman called, informing me that Zvjaginsev had played Qe2 against the French defense of Ravi Haria, in a “win or go home game.” Immediately I saw a post for that day in my head. I began watching the game, but then had to break in order to purchase some food at the local grocery store. Upon my return my attention was devoted to the C00 French, Chigorin variation, as it is known at 365chess.com.
The chat from Da Bomb says it all…
zluria: Z man in a must win situation. He used to play all kinds of crazy stuff back in the day zluria: 2 Qe2, here we go! zluria: Idea: if Black continues on autopilot with 2… d5 then after exd5 Black can’t recapture with the pawn. zluria: Ok Black is out of book. Rhinegold: fucky lucky vadim but ok good fighting choice Rhinegold: very drawish, 48w zluria: Wow, good going Z-man! see you tomorrow 🙂
I love the part about the Z-man “playing crazy stuff back in the day.” The Z man is only in his mid forties. You wanna know about ‘back in the day’? I will tell you all you wanna know about ‘back in the day’… And yes, I have followed the Z Man with interest for decades because he has played “all kinds of crazy stuff.”
1.e4 e6 2. Qe2 (Two different Komodo programs show the most frequently played move, 2 d4, but Stockfish 13, going deep to depth 74, chooses the seldom played 2 Nc3, which has only scored 51% according to the CBDB. I kid you not!) 2…Be7 (This is Komodo’s choice; Stockfish plays 2…c5) 3. Nf3 (Both Komodo and Houdini play 3 d4, but Deep Fritz plays the game move) 3…d5 4. d3 (Houdini and Deep Fritz play this move, which has 209 games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Stockfish 13 @depth 31 would play 4 d4, a move attempted only once according to the CBDB) 4…Nf6 5. e5 (SF & the Dragon prefer 5 g3) 5…Nfd7 6. h4 c5
The moves in bold are only the red colored moves as shown over at the ChessBomb. The game contains other colorful, but not red, moves. The moves in bold are what GM Yasser Seriwan
would call “Howlers.” These two women are “grandmasters,” but I am uncertain if they are grandmasters in the sense of what the GRANDMASTER title should be, meaning GM, whether male or female. It could be that each woman is only a WGM, with ChessBomb leaving off the “W”. This is only one of myriad reasons no title should begin with a “W”! As one of the denizens of the House of Pain asked, “How come a woman can be a Woman Grandmaster, but not a Grandmaster, and why can a man not become a Male Grandmaster without becoming a GM?!” Why indeed…
GM Valentina Gunina 2461
13…Ba4?? (RED MOVE! Although this is a ‘forcing’ move it is a terrible move. There was nothing wrong with simply castling, or even 12…Qc7)
14. Rc1?? (RED MOVE! IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “He attack, you defend. You attack, he better defend.” 14. Bxd4 Bxd4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. b3 is easy to see and is much better for white) 14…Nec6? (14… Nxf3+ 15. Bxf3 looks normal) 15. Nxd4? (15 h6) 15…cxd4 16. Bf2
16…Qa5? (“Why Mike? Why?” Boris would ask as he moved the black pawn from g6 to g5)
17. g4 Bb5 (Stockfish shows three better moves, 17…h6; gxh5; and 0-0) 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 (SF wants to play 19. a4 Qxa4 20. b3 Qa5 before playing 21. g5. Other, stronger, players, when annotating a game have been known to add “This is a computer move,” here, as if we humans are not strong enough to understand the program’s logic. I reject this. There is no such thing as a “computer move.” The better moves are there, even if some human Grandmasters cannot fathom the logic behind the better move. It is my contention that there is no such thing as a “computer move” except in the weak mind of the human who continues to write such nonsense)
19…Bd8 (19…Be7 looks natural, does it not?) 20. b3 Rc8? (The two best moves in the position are 20…Qxa2 and 20…e5) 21. O-O O-O (21…e5) 22. Bg3 Qxa2 (again 22…e5) 23. f5
23…Be7 (RED MOVE! 23…Ne5 is much better)
24. Bh3 (24 Nf2 or f6 are better) 24…exf5? (24…gxf5) 25. exf5 Ra8? (PINK MOVE!) 26. Nf2 (26 f6)
26…Ne5?? (RED MOVE!)
27. Ne4? (RED MOVE! 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. Ra1 and it’s, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”) 27…Bxd3? (PURPLE move! 27…Qa5)
28. Bxe5? (RED MOVE! 28 fxg6) 28…Bxe4 29. Bxd4 (PURPLE move! 29. Bxd6 Bxd6 30. Qxd4) 29…Qa5(PINK move! 29…Qa6) 30. Qe3 (30. Rce1) 30…d5? (RED MOVE! 30… Rae8 31. Qxe4 Bxg5 32. Qg4 Bxc1 33. Rxc1 has got to be better) 31. fxg6 hxg6(RED MOVE! Not that it matters…) 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 (RED MOVE! Play 33 Bc8 and put the woman outta her misery, for crying out loud…not that it matters…) 33…Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0
Before completing this post an email was received from my friend Michael Mulford who, frankly, is one of the best reasons to be involved with Chess. Michael has been one of the “good” guys involved with the Royal game and has now become one of the “Great” guys.
Since I saw the first game live I can’t fairly take your challenge and I’m thus not copying the others. But just for the fun of it I decided to see how long the opening in the second game stayed in book. Using chess.com’s opening library I found – the whole game! And it’s just a couple days old and apparently an on-line game. So what on earth led you to select that particular game. That might make a good followup, and I suspect you plan to answer that in your story.
Since I already knew the answer, I Fritzed the games. The accuracy percentage on the first one was something like 32% for the winner and 45% for the loser. In the second game it was 62% for the winner and 26%. That’s remarkably accurate for white in an on-line game if it was a fast time control, but perhaps not so unreasonable if it was a 3 day per move game.
Feel free to use my comments when you post the answer.
First, I was unaware chess.com even had an opening library. As regular readers know I use the ChessBaseDataBase and 365Chess. I was also unaware a game could be “Fritzed.” At one time I had an older Fritz on my laptop, but it sputtered to death and I have no “engine” at all.
What led me to the game is that I played the Closed Sicilian “back in the day” and have actually had the position from the Gunina vs Harika after seven moves on a board during a regulation USCF rated tournament several times. I invariably played 8 a3, so 8 h3 looks really weird. I do not even want to contemplate what IM Boris Kogan would have said, or how he would have looked, if I had produced played such a weak move.
As for the second game, Siddeley vs Osinaga, I was attracted to the tournament because I am currently reading a new book, which will soon be reviewed, Duchamp’s Pipe: A Chess Romance–Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski, by Celia Rabinovitch, which is difficult to put down. Unfortunately the games from the tournament could not be found at Mark Crowther’s unbelievably excellent The Week In Chess. I prefer TWIC because there is no engine analysis to cloud my judgement. I mean, what’s the point of watching a Chess game being played if one is spoon-fed? Therefore, I watched the games at the Bomb, where even if one covers the analysis one can still see the colorful moves as they are displayed onscreen. The thing I liked is that I was unfamiliar with most of the combatants and therefore had no idea what the opponents were rated. I decided to keep it that way until the tournament ended, giving me as an objective mind as possible. I made an attempt to ascertain the rating of each player during the tournament, which was made somewhat easier by the colorful moves. I suppose there were many games I could have used for contrast, but the aforementioned game just happened to be the one used. As an example, what do you think the players who produced this opening were rated?
The games were played during the late afternoon into the evening in Atlanta, which was real nice. Until the last round, which was today. I was shocked, SHOCKED to discover the games were concluding when I checked earlier today. A sickening feeling came over me as I railed against stupidity of the organizers who would hold a tournament with every round beginning later in the day except the final round. Chess players get into a routine and are thrown out of it by Fools In Power! I digress…After the penultimate round I decided to surf on over to Chess-Results.com and learn the ratings of the players before watching the last round.
GM Alexander Motylev, the top seeded player, deservedly finished tied for second place in a large, eight player group hug at the recently completed Portugal Open, only one half-point behind the winner, GM Karen H. Grigoryan. After winning his first two games against much lower rated players, Mustafa Atakay, only rated 1886, representing the USA, and IM Rafael Rodriguez Lopez of Spain, rated only 2212, Motylev faced IM Ismael Alshameary Puente, rated 2385, also from Spain. Before the opening had been completed the game ended in a perpetual check after move fifteen. As it turned out Motylev could have used the extra half point. Under ordinary circumstances Motylev would have had Mustafa for lunch, even playing with the black pieces. Motylev, as the notes will show, made no attempt to win. THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH CHESS! Motylev, and all the other players wearing short drawers, have ruined the Royal game. If a guy like yours truly, who has been playing Chess for half a century now has lost interest in the game because of the proliferation of draws, Chess has a MAJOR PROBLEM! The fact is that there is no incentive for players to strive for a win, so they will continue to embarrass Caissa, and themselves, until Chess is consigned to the dust bin of history.
What if a player received on 1/4 point for a draw? How many GMs would be looking for an opportunity to finagle an early draw?
If a game is decisive the two players combined receive ONE POINT. If the game is drawn the two players receive ONE POINT. If the two drawers receive only one quarter of a point the total number of points awarded to the two drawers is ONE HALF POINT! One half point is one half of the one point awarded to the two players who played a decisive game, which is the way it should be. It is way past time to change the rule because if this is not done IMMEDIATELY, Chess will die a slow death, but it will, nevertheless, be dead’ern HELL.
Because of my interest in Go I have learned of several tournaments in which children were offered the choice of Chess or Go. I have been informed the vast majority of children who have done this much prefer Go because, unlike Chess, there is always a winner. If anyone reading this doubts what I write all you have to do is to teach both games to children and then ask them which one they prefer to play. It’s that simple. Chess people want nothing to do with the idea, but people of the Go community are up for the challenge.
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 Nc3 Be7 (SF 10 @depth 58 plays 4…Bb4; Komodo @depth 43 prefers 4…c5) 5. Bg5 (Although the most often played move, Stockfish and Houdini show 5 Bf4) 5…O-O (In order of games played at the venerable ChessBaseDataBase 5…h6, Komodo’s move, is the leader with 6037 games, followed by the move in the game, castles, showing 5607 games. Stockfish advocates 5…Nbd7, which has been played in 1331 games) 6 e3 (This move, the choice of Komodo, has been played about nine times as often as any other move. With 6428 games played it dwarfs the second most played move, 6 Qc2, which shows only 471 games. SF 10 would play 6 Rc1, a move having been played in only 112 thus far. After this post expect that to change! Insert smiley face here…) 6…Nbd7 (The most often played move, but is it the best? SF 10 @depth 42 plays 6…h6, as does Komodo 13.1 @depth 45, but the same engine @depth 42 plays the seldom played 6…b6) 7. Qc2 (Komodo 13.01 @depth 42 plays the game move, but Komodo 13.25 @depth 46 would play the most often played move, 7 Rc1) 7…h6 8 Bh4 c6 9 Rd1 (The most often played move, but Komodo 13.2 @depth 42 plays 9 a3) 9…a6 (The programs prefer 9…b6) 10. a3 (By far the most often played move but SF 090519 @depth 29 plays 10 Bd3. Komodo 10.2 @depth 28 plays 10 Be2) 10…b5 (The machines prefer 10…b6) 11. c5 Re8 (SF & Houey play 11…Nh5) 12. Bg3 (The Fish & the Dragon both play 12 Bd3) 12…Nh5 13. Be5 Nhf6 (SF plays 13…f6) 14. Bg3 Nh5 15. Be5 Nhf6 ½-½
is a professional Chess player. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago, coming from Columbia, where he won the Colombian Chess championship eight times. He has been a GM since 1984. He was born in August 1958 and is, therefore a Senior. Alonso Zapata comes to play Chess.
He has played in all kinds of adverse conditions, including one tournament hosted by Thad Rogers
GM Zapata reminds me of IM of GM strength Boris Kogan because he, too, was a professional Chess player. The few times Boris lost in the first round of a tournament he did not withdraw but completed the event, finishing 4-1. He did this because it was his job and he always came to play Chess.
From December 27 through 29, 2019, GM Zapata played in the 49th Atlanta Open, another American Chess Promotions event. He tied for first with NM Matthew Puckett with a score of 4-1, after a second round draw with the up and coming NM Alexander Rutten and a fourth round draw with NM Sanjay Ghatti.
GM Zapata then hit the road traveling to the Charlotte Chess Center to play in the 2020 Charlotte Open, a grueling event of nine rounds played over a five day period from the first to the fifth of January. Because of his age one can question the efficacy of participating in both tournaments. Zapata played in both events because he is a professional Chess player. It is what he is and it is what he does. The GM won five games. Unfortunately, he lost four. There were no draws. He finished in the fifth score group, scoring 5-4. Zapata began with two wins before losing in the third round to the eventual winner of the tournament, IM Brandon Jacobson, young enough to be the grandchild of the GM. One of the most difficult things to do as a Chess player is to come back from a loss. Studies have proven that after the loss of a Chess game the testosterone of a male drops precipitously. This is mitigated somewhat if the next game is the next day, but if there are multiple games in the same day it is a different story. I can recall the time the Ol’ Swindler had been on a roll, winning many games in a row from the beginning of a tournament in New York, ‘back in the day’. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I encountered the Swindler sitting alone away from the tournament, and were shocked to learn he had lost the previous round and withdrawn. “What?” exclaimed the Ironman. “You still have a chance to win some big money, Neal.” That mattered not to the Swindler because he had lost and simply could not face playing another game that day, or any other, for that matter.
After another win in the next round, versus FM Rohan Talukdar, Zapata the Chess player hit the proverbial wall, losing his next three games. Most Chess players, professional or not, would have withdrawn after the third loss in a row, and no one would have blamed him for withdrawing, but Alonso Zapata is not like most Chess players. Not only did he complete the event but he finished with a flourish by winning his last two games.
My hat is off to Grandmaster Alonso Zapata, who deserves the highest praise. The GM has set a tremendous example for the younger players of Georgia to emulate. The Atlanta area players have been fortunate to have such a fine example residing here and plying his trade. The young up and coming players may not realize it now but they will be much better Chessplayers for simply having been around a man like Alonso Zapata. What a boon he has been for the local Chess community. It is wonderful to have one classy Grandmaster in the Atlanta area. Every player, no matter what age, can learn from Alonso Zapata, just as those of my generation, and younger, learned from IM Boris Kogan. The Grandmaster has shown that it is how you play that matters.
This is the last round game versus Justin Paul,
a Zero born in 2003. The Professional Chess player had to face a Smith-Morra gambit.
75. Ra8??? (The Zero cracks and tosses away the draw with this horrible blunder) 75…Kf4 76. Rf8+ Kg3 77. Re8 0-1
1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? Komodo 19 @depth 34 plays the move, but Komodo 13.02 @depth 36 prefers 4…e6. Stockfish 10 @depth 54 plays 4 d6) 5 Nf3 d6 (SF 10 plays this move but Komodo is high on e6, which happens to be the most often played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase) 6 Bc4 e6 (The most often played move and the choice of Stockfish 310519 @depth 53, but SF 10 @depth 53 and Komodo 10 @depth 34 prefer 6…a6) 7. O-O (The most often played move but the SF program running over at the ChessBomb shows a move near and dear to the AW, 7 Qe2!) 7..a6 (7…Nf6 and 7…Be7 are the top two played moves but two different SF engines prefer the third most often played move, 7…a6 8. Qe2! (SF 050519 @depth 46 plays this move but Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays 8 Bf4) 8…Be7 (The only one of the top 3 engines listed at the CBDB, Komodo 10, plays 8…b5. The SF engine at ChessBomb shows 8…Nge7 best) 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 (SF 10 plays 12 Nd5) 12…O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 (The only game with 13 Bg5 shown, Senador vs Nanjo below, shows 13…Rc8. SF 10 would play 13 Rac1)
Kosteniuk is rated 2495; Koneru 2560. Both players are clearly at least one category below male Grandmasters, and two categories below what are now called “Super Grandmasters.” Yet because they were born female they are battling for big, in Chess terms, money. That is money that should be going to the best players regardless of sexual orientation. Because of rating we know how inferior are women at Chess when compared to men. This begs the question of why women, with only very limited exceptions, such as Hou Yifan,
are inferior to men players.
Kosteniuk (2495) vs Koneru (2560)
FIDE Women’s Grand Prix – Monaco 2019 round 06
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 Be7
(4…d5 is the best move according to both Stockfish and Komodo. The game move is second best. The Stocky shown at the ChessBomb has 4…d5 best, followed by 4…Qc7 and 4…d6) 5 Nc3
(Like Be7, 5 Nc3 is a light blue move. 5 0-0 is the best move) 5…d6 (Komodo 13.2 64-bit @depth 38 at the CBDB likes this move, but going to depth 41 changes it’s whatever and prefers 5…0-0) 6 d4?
(I will admit to being stunned upon seeing this move. It is clearly inferior and I do not need a machine to know this fact. The Stockfish program running at the Bomb shows this move forfeits whatever advantage white had with the first move of the game. Could this have really been Kosteniuk’s opening preparation or was she simply “winging it”? 6 0-0 has been the most often played move but Komodo shows the best move being 6 a4) 6…0-0?
(This is unfathomable. 6…exd4 is the only move. The move played by Humpy is not even shown at the CBDB or 365Chess. There is a reason…)
There is no longer any reason to continue this exercise in futility. It is more than a little obvious one of the reasons women are inferior to men at Chess is their extremely weak opening play. Why women are so weak playing the opening is open to conjecture, but there it is for anyone to see. This game is, unfortunately, not an anomaly.
When it comes to playing Chess it is obvious the top women players are exponentially worse than the top men players, yet women play in separate tournaments with large prize funds because…I have no idea why there are separate tournaments for female players. There should be no tournaments for women only because women should play in OPEN tournaments which are OPEN TO ALL! In that event women would have to elevate their game or battle in the lower sections for a much smaller prize fund. There is not, and has never been, enough prize money in Chess to support inferior players playing for large sums of money which should go to better, and more deserving, Chess players!