IM Arthur Guo In Three Way Tie For First At The Denker Tournament of High School Champions

Fellow Georgian IM Arthur Guo

IM Arthur Guo at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski

tied for first with GM Andrew Hong and FM Sandeep Sethuraman in the Denker Tournament of HS Champions, each scoring five out of a possible six points.

Denker Winners (L to R) IM Arthur Guo, GM Andrew Hong, FM Sandeep Sethuraman at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski

This will be the first of three posts devoted to three games in which Arthur was involved. Before beginning I would like to give kudos to the folks at the “New” United States Chess Federation website. The coverage has been exceptional and the article from which the picture of young Mr. Guo was obtained is an excellent example ( The picture of the three winners was also taken from an article from the USCF website that appeared as I was putting this post together. With the Chess Olympiad ongoing there is currently much Chess activity the world over. In addition, the 2022 U.S. Go Congress ( is happening concurrently.

There is simply not enough time to follow everything even though the AW has been burning the midnight oil in a futile attempt to stay abreast of all things games, and has blurry vision to show for it. Nevertheless, here I sit, punchin’ & pokin’ while spending even more time looking at a computer screen. That is OK since I can no longer get my kicks on Route 66 they come vicariously when watching the action while keeping the brain’s neuron synapses firing. It can also be called having the time of my life. Those that cannot do, watch. Let me tell you watching is much easier!

There I was minding my own business when this position was reached in the game between IM Arthur Guo and FM Sandeep Sethuraman the third round of the Denker Tournament of High School Champions:

Position after 9 Bd2

8 Qd3 was a shock, and it can be found in only 31 games in the Big Database at 365Chess. In reply black castled before IM Guo played a move I cannot ever recall seeing played, 9 Bd2. The question is, why would Arthur play such a tepid move?

IM Arthur Guo vs FM Sandeep Sethuraman
US Open

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Qd3 O-O 9. Bd2 Nc6 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5 Nb8 12. O-O f5 13. f4 Bf6 14. c4 e4 15. Qc2 Qb6+ 16. Kh1 a5 17. c5 Qc7 18. Bc3 a4 19. cxd6 Qxd6 20. Nd2 Nd7 21. Nc4 Qc5 22. Qd2 Bxc3 23. bxc3 b5 24. Ne3 Nb6 25. Qd4 Qxd4 26. cxd4 Bd7 27. Rfc1 Nc8 28. Rc7 Rd8 29. g4 fxg4 30. Nxg4 Nd6 31. Rg1 Bxg4 32. Bxg4 Kh8 33. Be6 g6 34. h4 Ne8 35. Rf7 Nd6 36. Re7 Nf5 37. Bxf5 gxf5 38. Rgg7 h6 39. Rh7+ Kg8 40. Reg7+ Kf8 41. Rb7 Kg8 42. Rbg7+ Kf8 43. Rc7 Kg8 44. h5 b4 45. Rhg7+ Kh8 46. Rh7+ Kg8 47. Rcg7+ Kf8 48. Rb7 Kg8 49. Rxh6 b3 50. Rg6+ Kh8 51. Rh6+ Kg8 52. Rg6+ Kh8 53. Rh6+ 1/2-1/2 (

Rout Padmini (2345) vs Anastasya Paramzina (2260)
Event: World Blitz Women 2021
Site: Warsaw POL Date: 12/30/2021
Round: 14.25
ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd3 O-O 9.Bd2 Qc7 10.O-O-O b5 11.Kb1 Nbd7 12.g4 b4 13.g5 bxc3 14.gxf6 Nxf6 15.Bxc3 Bb7 16.f3 d5 17.Na5 dxe4 18.Qc4 Qxc4 19.Bxc4 Bc8 20.fxe4 Nxe4 21.Bxe5 Be6 22.Bxe6 fxe6 23.Nc6 Bf6 24.Rhe1 Bxe5 25.Nxe5 Nf6 26.Rd6 Rfd8 27.Rxe6 Re8 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Nd3 Rxe1+ 30.Nxe1 Ng4 31.Nf3 Kf7 32.a4 Kf6 33.b4 Kf5 34.b5 axb5 35.axb5 Nf6 36.c4 Nd7 37.Kc2 Kg4 38.Nd4 Kh3 39.Ne6 g6 40.c5 Kxh2 41.c6 1-0

Terje Hagen 2382 (NOR) vs Fausto Mo Mesquita 2341 (BRA)
WS MN/072 email 2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd3 O-O 9.Bd2 Nc6 10.a3 Be6 11.Rd1 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.O-O Nxc3 14.Bxc3 Qb6 15.Qg3 Rfd8 16.Nd2 f6 17.Bd3 Qc7 18.Kh1 b5 19.f4 exf4 20.Rxf4 Bd6 21.Qe3 Bxf4 22.Qxe6+ Kf8 23.Bxh7 Ne7 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Qxf6+ Ke8 26.Re1 Qd6 27.Re6 Qxe6 28.Qxe6 Rxd2 29.g3 Bd6 30.Bd3 Rc8 31.Qe1 Rcxc2 32.Bxc2 Rxc2 33.Qd1 Rc6 34.Kg2 Kd7 35.h4 Rc4 36.Qf3 Ke6

Hikaru Nakamura (2802) vs Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2723)
Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger NOR Date: 06/24/2015
Round: 8.4
ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd3 b5 9.a4 b4 10.Nd5 Bb7 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6 12.Bd2 a5 13.c3 bxc3 14.Bxc3 O-O 15.O-O Nc6 16.Rfd1 Re8 17.Bf3 Be7 18.Qb5 Qc8 19.Bg4 Qxg4 20.Qxb7 Rec8 21.Nxa5 Nxa5 22.Qxe7 Nb3 23.f3 Qf4 24.Ra3 Nd4 25.Raa1 Ne2+ 26.Kh1 Nxc3 27.bxc3 h5 28.Qxd6 Rxc3 29.Qd5 Ra6 30.Qb5 Rac6 31.Qf1 h4 32.h3 Rc2 33.Re1 Qd2 34.Red1 Qg5 35.Re1 Qd2 36.Rad1 Qb4 37.Qd3 Kh7 38.Qd8 Rf6 39.Rc1 Qxa4 40.Rxc2 Qxc2 41.Qd1 Qf2 42.Rf1 Qg3 43.Qd7 Rg6 44.Rg1 Rf6 45.Rf1 Rg6 46.Rg1 Rf6 47.Rf1 ½-½

2 Nf3 Versus The French

Decades ago when playing Backgammon professionally there was a story going around about the best player in the world, a fellow named “Ezra.” As the story went “Ezra” enjoyed spending time watching players new to the game. When asked why he would waste his time watching novice players yet to have found a clue the answer was he liked watched those new to the game because they had no preconceived ideas about how the game was played. For that reason I have always found watching the play of newbies interesting.

In the second round of the European Senior 65+ an unrated player, Ryszard Borowik faced class A player Roger S Scowen, rated 1864. The opening moves were 1 e4 e6 2 Nf3. Now, “Everybody knows” the best second move is 2 d4, because players are taught to “Control the center,” are they not? Playing 2 d4 has become de rigueur. Who checks to learn what the latest version of Stockfish plays on the second move? The AW, that’s who. I was shocked, SHOCKED, to see the version of Stockfish at plays 2 Nf3.

Ryszard Borowik UNR vs Roger S Scowen 1864
European Senior 65+ (round 2)
C00 French defence

  1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Qe2 dxe4 4. Qxe4 Nf6 5. Qh4 Be7 6. d3 c5 7. Nc3 Nd5 8. Qg4 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Bf6 10. Bb2 e5 11. Qe4 Nc6 12. O-O-O O-O 13. h4 g6 14. h5 Bf5 15. Qe3 Bg4 16. Qxc5 Bxh5 17. Qc4 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Bg5+ 19. Kb1 Rc8 20. Qe4 f5 21. Qc4+ Kg7 22. Qb3 Na5 23. Qb5 Nc6 24. Bc1 a6 25. Qb2 Bxc1 26. Qxc1 h5 27. Be2 f4 28. Rh2 Rf5 29. Bf1 Rg5 30. Bh3 Rc7 31. Qb2 Qd5 32. Bg2 b5 33. Qb3 Ne7 34. Kb2 Qc5 35. Bh3 Nd5 36. c4 Nb6 37. cxb5 axb5 38. Kb1 b4 39. Be6 Rc6 40. Bg8 Rc7 41. Rhh1 Qxf2 42. Rhf1 Qc5 43. Rd2 Qc3 44. Bh7 Qxb3+ 45. axb3 Kxh7 46. d4 exd4 47. Rxd4 Rg2 48. Rxf4 Rcxc2 49. Rf7+ Kh6 50. Ra7 Rb2+ 51. Ka1 Rxb3 52. f4 Ra3+ 53. Rxa3 bxa3 54. f5 gxf5 55. Rxf5 h4 56. Rf6+ Rg6 57. Rf3 Kh5 58. Rxa3 Rg3 59. Ra5+ Kg4 60. Ra6 Nd5 61. Rg6+ Kf3 62. Rd6 Nf4 63. Kb2 h3 64. Rh6 Rg2+ 65. Kc3 h2 66. Kd4 Ne2+ 67. Kd3 Ng3 68. Rf6+ Kg4 69. Rh6 h1=Q 70. Rxh1 Nxh1 71. Kc3 Kf4 72. Kd4 Rg5 73. Kd3 Rd5+ 74. Kc4 Ke4 75. Kc3 Rd4 76. Kb3 Kd3 77. Kb2 Rb4+ 78. Kc1 Ng3 79. Kd1 Rb1# 0-1!european-senior-65-2022/2005571260

GM Mikhail Bryakin 2441 RUS vs IM Balazs Csonka 2496 HUN
Titled Tuesday intern op 12th Apr Early 2022

1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Qe2 dxe4 4.Qxe4 Nf6 5.Qh4 c5 6.b3 g6 7.Bb2 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 10.d3 O-O 11.Nbd2 Nd5 12.Qxd8 Rfxd8 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.g3 1/2-1/2 (From the ChessBaseDataBase)

The programs frown on 3 Qe2, preferring 3 exd5, as in the following games:

Magnus Carlsen (2857) vs Julio Catalino Sadorra (2560)
Event: 42nd Olympiad 2016
Site: Baku AZE Date: 09/08/2016
Round: 6.12
ECO: C00 French defence
1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.d4 Bd6 5.c4 Nf6 6.c5 Be7 7.Nc3 O-O 8.Be3 b6 9.b4 a5 10.a3 Ng4 11.Bf4 Re8 12.Be2 axb4 13.axb4 Rxa1 14.Qxa1 bxc5 15.bxc5 Bxc5 16.dxc5 d4 17.O-O dxc3 18.Bc4 c2 19.Qa4 Bf5 20.Nd4 Bg6 21.Nxc2 Re4 22.Bg3 Ne5 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Ne3 Rxc5 25.f4 h6 26.Qb4 Nd7 27.f5 Bh5 28.Qd2 Qg5 29.Qd4 Re5 30.Qxd7 Qxe3+ 31.Kh1 Qc5 32.Qd3 Re3 33.Qc2 Qe5 34.Qd2 Kh7 35.h3 Qe4 36.Kg1 c6 37.Rc1 Qe5 38.Bf1 Rg3 39.Qf2 Qd6 40.Rc4 f6 41.Rxc6 Qxc6 ½-½

Vassily Ivanchuk (2704) vs Ian Nepomniachtchi (2714)
Event: SportAccord Blitz 2014
Site: Beijing CHN Date: 12/13/2014
Round: 1.8
ECO: C00 French defence
1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.d4 Nc6 5.h3 Be6 6.Bd3 Qd7 7.O-O O-O-O 8.Nbd2 f6 9.Nb3 g5 10.Re1 g4 11.Nh4 Kb8 12.Qe2 Bf7 13.Bf5 Qd6 14.Bxg4 Nge7 15.c3 h5 16.Be6 Bg6 17.Nc5 b6 18.Nxg6 Nxg6 19.Qb5 Nh4 20.Kf1 Rh7 21.g3 Ng6 22.Bf5 Nce7 23.Bxg6 Nxg6 24.Re6 1-0

French 1. e4 e6 2. Nf3?

Sep 10, 2009

So I decided to start learning an opening or two at some point, and decided the French Defense would be one I would try out.

The books all have it. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5

There’s an occaisional variation mentioned, but that’s the line the books say is the usual one.

When playing blitz on, the most common second move I see is Nf3. What’s up with that? Has some master found great success with that line, but my books are too old for it? I just bought a book on the French Defense. 269 pages of French Defense. I doubt I’ll ever slug my way through it, but I thought I would try really studying one opening in depth, and seeing where it leads. In all those 269 pages, published in 2003, they don’t even mention the possibility of Nf3, or bother telling the reader how to reply.

So, am I just running into lots of players who don’t know the “right” move, or has someone advanced some theory showing why 2. Nc3 is superior to what people did for the last 100 years? And is there a better response than d5?

Richard Rapport Wins With Glek Variation

The erratic Richard Rapport continued riding the roller-coaster by losing again today. Sandwiched between his half point ‘gift’ to Nepo and todaze loss to Alireza Firouzja was a nice win with the Glek variation of the C46 Four knights versus Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

Richard Rapport vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda
2022 Candidates Tournament Round 8
C46 Four knights game Glek variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. d3 a5 7. O-O h6 8. b3 O-O 9. h3 Nd4 10. Be3 c6 11. Kh2 Re8 12. a3 Nxf3+ 13. Qxf3 Bxe3 14. fxe3 b5 15. g4 Ra7 16. Qg3 h5 17. g5 h4 18. Qxh4 Nh7 19. Qg3 Nxg5 20. h4 Nh7 21. Bh3 Bxh3 22. Rg1 Ng5 23. hxg5 Bc8 24. Rg2 Rae7 25. Qf3 g6 26. Rh1 f5 27. Kg1 b4 28. exf5 gxf5 29. Ne4 1-0
  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. d3 a5 7. O-O h6 (SF 200622 @depth 42 plays this move, but SF 070622 @depth 48 castles, as does SF 14 @depth 37. The CBDB shows only one game with 7…h6, yet there are several more on which one can click, which makes no sense. Why does it show only one game when there are many?) 8. b3 (SF 070622 @depth 53 plays the game move, but SF 15 @depth 43 plays 8 Nd5, a move yet to be tried in practice)

Igor Glek (2467) vs Igor Lysyj (2596)
Event: ch-RUS Rapid 2019
Site: Sochi RUS Date: 10/16/2019
ECO: C46 Four knights game Glek variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.d3 a5 7.O-O Be6 8.Ne2 Bb6 9.d4 Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Nd2 Qc8 13.Kh2 h5 14.Nc4 h4 15.g4 Ba7 16.f4 b5 17.Ne3 Bxe3 18.Bxe3 Bxg4 19.fxe5 dxe5 20.Bg5 Bh5 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Rxf6 Ra6 23.Rxa6 Qxa6 24.Qd3 Qb6 25.Rf1 Bg6 26.Nc3 b4 27.Na4 Qd6 28.Qb5+ Kf8 29.Qxa5 Kg7 30.Qc5 f5 31.Qxd6 cxd6 32.Nb6 fxe4 33.Re1 e3 34.Nc4 Rc8 35.b3 Ra8 36.Nxd6 Rxa2 37.Nc4 Rxc2 38.d6 Nc6 39.Nxe3 Ra2 40.Kg1 e4 41.Rc1 Ne5 ½-½

Sergey Solovjov IM 2434 RUS vs Konstantin Kazakov 2154 KAZ
Peterhof open 2008
C46 Four knights game Glek variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.d3 a5 7.O-O h6 8.Be3 Bxe3 9.fxe3 Ne7 10.Nh4 c6 11.d4 O-O 12.Nf5 Nxf5 13.exf5 Qe7 14.Qd2 Rd8 15.h3 d5 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.g4 b5 18.Qd4 Re8 19.Rae1 b4 20.Na4 Ba6 21.Rf4 Nd7 22.c3 Bb5 23.Nc5 Nxc5 24.Qxc5 bxc3 25.Qxc3 Qxc3 26.bxc3 a4 27.a3 Rab8 28.Rb4 Kf8 29.Kf2 c5 30.Rbb1 Bc4 31.Red1 Bb3 32.Rd2 Re5 33.Rxd5 Ree8 34.Rxc5 Rbd8 35.Rb2 Rc8 36.Rxc8 Rxc8 37.Rd2 Rxc3 38.Be4 Ke7 39.Kf3 Bc4 40.Rc2 Rxc2 41.Bxc2 Bb3 42.Bd3 Kd6 43.Ke4 Kc5 44.f6 g5 45.Ke5 Ba2 46.Ba6 Bb3 47.e4 Ba2 48.Bb7 Bc4 49.Bc8 Ba2 50.Bd7 1-0 (ChessBaseDataBase)

FM Emil Risteski 2363 MKD vs GM Igor Lysyj 2603 RU
Titled Tuesday intern op 11th Jan 2022
C46 Four knights game Glek variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O a5 7.d3 h6 8.h3 Be6 9.Nd2 a4 10.Nc4 Nd4 11.Kh2 b5 12.Ne3 c6 13.f4 a3 14.f5 axb2 15.Bxb2 Bd7 16.a4 b4 17.Ne2 Nxe2 18.Qxe2 Bxe3 19.Qxe3 c5 20.g4 Rxa4 21.Qf3 O-O 22.h4 Nh7 23.Qg3 f6 24.Rxa4 Bxa4 25.Qf2 Qd7 26.Ra1 Ra8 27.Bf3 Bc6 28.Rxa8+ Bxa8 29.Qe1 Qa4 30.Qb1 Bc6 31.Bd1 Qa5 32.Bc1 Nf8 33.g5 hxg5 34.hxg5 c4 35.gxf6 gxf6 36.Bf3 Qc5 37.Kg2 d5 38.Bd2 dxe4 39.dxe4 c3 40.Bh6 Qc4 41.Qe1 Kf7 42.Qg3 Ke8 43.Qg7 Qf7 44.Qh8 Ke7 45.Bh5 Bxe4+ 46.Kf2 Qa2 47.Qxf8+ Kd7 48.Qe8+ Kc7 49.Qe7+ Kc8 50.Qe6+ Qxe6 51.fxe6 Kd8 52.Bf8 Bc6 53.e7+ Kc8 54.e8=Q+ Bxe8 55.Bxe8 f5 56.Ba4 e4 57.Bb3 1-0 (ChessBaseDataBase)

Paco Versus Sam The Sham Shankland In Prague

In the fifth round of the Masters section of the Prague Chess Festival American GM Sam Shankland

sat behind the black pieces facing Spanish GM Francisco Vallejo Pons.

The previous day had been an off day in the tournament so it would be natural to expect both players were tanned, rested, and ready for battle.

Francisco Vallejo Pons 2703 1:12:56 vs Sam Shankland 2718 (USA) 1:19:06
Prague Chess Festival | Masters
Round 5
ECO: C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Bf5 10. Nh4 Bd7 11. Nf3 Bf5 12. Nh4 Bd7 13. Nf3 Bf5 1/2-1/2!prague-chess-chp-masters-2022/748137683

I have included the time given by The players were at the board maybe half an hour, if that… Wondering what may have happened if either player had a backbone, I put the opening moves into the analysis program at and this was the result:

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Bf5 10. Nh4 Bd7 11. Nf3 Rb8 12. Re1 Re8 13. Be3 exd4 14. cxd4 Qf6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rf1 b6 17. Rc1 h6 18. d5 Na5 19. Bd4 Qf5 20. c5 Bb5 21. Nh4 Qh7 22. d6 cxd6 23. cxb6 axb6 24. Rc7 Bxf1 25. Bxf1 Qe4 26. Bxg7 Kxg7 27. Qh5 Qe6 28. Nf5+ Kf8 29. Rxf7+ Qxf7 30. Qxh6+ Kg8 31. Qg5+ Kf8…

Sam Shankland is a member of the United States Olympic team. Hikaru Nakamura

is about to participate in the Candidates tournament, which is held to determine a challenger for the title of World Chess Champion, and he is NOT a part of the Olympic team. Am I missing something here? Makes on wonder, does it not?

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 (The Glek variation, named for GM Igor Glek. The programs prefer 4 d4. The programs do not approve of first moving a pawn before moving the bishop, but we humans ask, “Where’s the fun in that?”) 4…d5 (Both Stockfish 14.1 and 15 play 4…Bc5) 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 (SF 311221 @depth 56 prefers 7…Bc5; SF 14 @depth 50 will play 7…h6. The ChessBaseDataBase contains 362 games with 7…Bc5 and white has been held to scoring only 52%. In 251 games 7…Bd6 has allowed 56%. 7…h6 has yet to be played) 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Bf5 (SF 12 plays 9…Re8)1.

Rauf Mamedov (2709) vs Francisco Vallejo Pons (2707)
Event: World Blitz 2017
Site: Riyadh KSA Date: 12/30/2017
Round: 16.18 Score: 1-0
ECO: C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Bg2 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bd6 8.O-O O-O 9.Re1 Re8 10.d3 Bg4 11.h3 Bh5 12.Rb1 Rb8 13.g4 Bg6 14.Ng5 h6 15.Ne4 Qd7 16.Qf3 f5 17.gxf5 Bxf5 18.Qg3 Kh8 19.Qh4 Rf8 20.Ng3 Bh7 21.Qa4 Bc5 22.Be3 Bb6 23.Qg4 Qf7 24.Be4 Bxe3 25.fxe3 Qf2+ 26.Kh1 Bxe4+ 27.Nxe4 Qxc2 28.Rg1 Rf7 29.Rbf1 Re7 30.Qh4 Qxd3 31.Rf6 Qd5 32.Rxh6+ gxh6 33.Qxh6+ 1-0

Four Way Tie at the 2022 Charlotte Classic

In the last round of the recently concluded Carolinas Classic GM Daniel Naroditsky faced IM Dean Ippolito.

Both players had won three games and drawn one for a total of 3 1/2 points. They were in a must win situation because GM Elshan Moradiabadi had won his first four games and taken a half-point bye in the last round. Say what?! The dude was given a 1/2 point bye in THE LAST ROUND! Say what?! For those of you new to the Royal game, the half-point bye began many decades ago when three games, usually with a time control of 40 moves in two hours, would be taken in the third round, which was the third game to be played on Saturday. Some players would take a half-point bye in the first round, with others taking a half-point bye in the fourth round in order to attend church. As the Legendary Ironman of Georgia Chess so eloquently put it once, “When I’m sitting at the board on Sunday morning I am in my church.” The excretory awarding of a half-point bye for not playing the last round game is abhorrent and should never, ever have been allowed. The awarding of a free half-point bye in the last round blasphemes Caissa and should be abolished. If a player cannot, or will not play in the final round for any reason he should be given the result he deserves, a ZERO! The games are played earlier in the tournament to arrive at the final round. It is, obviously, the most important round of the event. The awarding of a half-point for not playing the last round should never have been allowed, and it being allowed speaks volumes about those in charge of Chess these daze…

GM Naroditsky defeated IM Dean Ippolito easily when the latter played like a complete beginner by bringing out his Queen early in the game, then later retreated the Lady for no reason, and it was all over but the shouting after that ill-fated move.

Daniel Naroditsky vs Dean Ippolito
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 Qf6 15.Nb5 Qa6 16.d5 Bxb5 17.axb5 Qxb5 18.Rxa7 g5 19.d6 Kd7 20.Qd5 1-0

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 (Although Stockfish 14.1 plays this move, SF 15 will play the most often played move, 3 Nxe5) 3…Nxe4 4.Bd3 (The most often played move, and the choice of SF 14.1, @depth 55, but SF 150007 @depth 55 will play 4 Nxe5, expecting 4…d5 5 Bd3. Then again, at the same depth SF 150007, the James Bond of programs, also shows 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5) 4…d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 (SF 14 @depth 53 will play 7…Bd6, by far the most often played move, but SF 280322 will play 7…Be7, a move that has appeared in only 127 games while holding white to 62% versus 2462 opposition. In 817 games 7…Bd6 has held white to 57% against 2465 opposition. In 291 games against 2409 opposition the move played in the game, 7…Qh4 has allowed a theoretical opponent rated 2409 to score 70% in 291 games. This was the last round game and IM Dean Ippolito was rated 240 points below GM Naroditsky, rated 2695, so maybe the lower rated IM felt he needed to pull a rabbit out of his whatever, but how could any Chess player with any four digit rating advocate any player in his right mind play a move like 7…Qh4?

Position after Ippolito leads with his chin, err, Queen

Imagine you were giving a young student a lesson when they suggested a move like 7…Qh4? How would you respond? That is exactly my point. I knew, you knew, and GM Naroditsky knew IM Ippolito was going down after bring out the Queen that early. What? You think you are going to trick a player about to enter the elite world of 2700 rated Grandmasters by playing a second rate Chess move? Dude shoulda played a solid, “seemple” move, as IM Boris Kogan was so fond of saying, like 7…Bd6, and maybe have a shot at drawing the game. The move is so ridiculous that a Chess teacher would excoriate a student unmercifully for playing such a poor move. I lost interest in the game after seeing this move, and you have probably lost interest in this post…and I do not blame you!) 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 (The most often played move has been g5, with 151 games showing at the ChessBaseDataBase, against which white has scored 67%. In the 53 games with 9…g6 having been played white has scored 75%) 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 (The CBDB contains 23 games with 11 g3; 15 with 11 Ne2; 6 with 11 Be2; and only 2 with the move played in the game, 11 Bxe4, but it is the choice of SF 14.1. 365Chess does not contain the move considered best by Stockfish) 11…dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 (This is a TN. One game has been played with 13…h6 having been attempted. SF 14.1 will, given the chance, play a TN of its own with 13…Bc6)
I usually stop here but let us continue a few moves further on up the road…the game continued with 14.a4 before IM Ippolito played a horrible move, retreating his Queen with 14…Qf6?

Position after Ippolito retreated his Queen from h4 to f6 for no reason

The game, for all intents and purposes, was over when Ippo removed his grip from the Queen. The comment at is, “Blunder. 14…a6 was best.” The it shows 14…a6 15.Nd5. But here’s the deal…There is an arrow in the position showing the Rook moving from h8 to f8, and a line beginning with 14…Rhf8 15 g3 Qh5, etc. So which is it, Lichess, 14…a6 or 14…Rhf8? Inquiring minds want to know the TRUTH, as it was known in those long ago days… Where have I heard that before?…–championship-section/round-5/E2tBybjJ

Heinz Offenborn 2098 (GER) vs Bernd Bachmann 2030 (GER)
GER T224-C43-S email 2015
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 c6 15.Rfc1 a6 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.c6 Bxc6 18.axb5 axb5 19.g3 Qe7 20.d5 Be5 21.Bb6 Rd6 22.Rxc6+ bxc6 23.Ra8+ 1 – 0

Milan Horvat 2203 (SLO) vs Frantisek Sochor 2437 (CZE)
ICCF Slav Cup3 email 2008
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 c6 15.Rfc1 a6 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.c6 Bxc6 18.axb5 axb5 19.d5 Be5 20.g3 Qe7 21.Ra7 Bc7 22.Rxc6 bxc6 23.Qc3 Qd7 24.Bf4 Rh7 25.Rxc7+ Qxc7 26.Bxc7 Rxc7 27.dxc6 e3 28.fxe3 Ra7 29.Kg2 Kc7 30.Qf6 Rd2+ 31.Kh3 g5 32.Qxf5 Kxc6 33.b4 Rad7 34.Qc5+ Kb7 35.Qxb5+ Kc7 36.e4 R7d4 37.Qc5+ Kb7 38.b5 g4+ 39.Kh4 Rxh2+ 40.Kxg4 Rxe4+ 41.Kf3 Ree2 42.Qc6+ Kb8 43.b6 Rhf2+ 44.Kg4 Rf7 45.Qd6+ Kc8 46.Qd5 1 – 0

GM Alexander Shabalov and IM David Brodsky also finished in a tie for first place, with each winning $600. The plaque went to the dude who received a half point bye for not playing a game in the final round, GM Elshan Moradiabadi, aka, the ‘Hat Man’:

GM Elshan Moradiabadi on the Magnus Carlsen Tour Finals | US

GM Ben Finegold Plays The Chigorin Defense

Having taken up Chess at the advanced age of twenty your writer did not have as much time to spend on the game as would a much younger person. Initially I did what many other American players did and followed Bobby Fisher, playing openings like the Najdorf and Gruenfeld, because those are the openings played by Bobby. Later I began playing openings that are now called “offbeat” openings, as regular readers know. One of those openings was the Chigorin, which I played before beginning a love affair with the Leningrad Dutch. In the first round of the ongoing Chicago Open Grandmaster Ben Finegold trotted out the Queen’s horse on the second move. Before sitting down to compose this post I went to, learning it contained 21 games in which Ben has played the Chigorin ( From the years spent researching the opening phase of the game with computer programs I have learned much of what humans thought about some openings was incorrect, if not downright wrong. The following game is a case in point.

Ethan Sheehan 2075 vs GM Benjamin Finegold 2424

31st Annual Chicago Open
D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. cxd5 Nxd4 5. e3 Nf5 6. Nf3 Bd6 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. e4 Nfe7 10. O-O Ng6 11. Qb3 b6 12. a4 a6 13. Be3 Nf6 14. h3 O-O 15. Rac1 h6 16. Rfd1 Nh5 17. Ne2 f5 18. exf5 Rxf5 19. Nd2 1/2-1/2!31st-annual-chicago-open-2022/2068768054

1.d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 (SF 15 @depth 55 plays 3 cxd5, but @depth 62 changes to 3 Nf3) 3…e5 (SF 14.1 @depth 48 will play 3…e6. SF 040522 @depth 49 plays 3…Nf6, which appears in 387 games at the ChessBaseDataBase. The CBDB contains only 75 games with 3…e6, but does contain 748 games in which the inferior 3…dxc4 has been played. The move played in the game has been seen in 92 games) 4. cxd5 Nxd4 (The CBDB contains 82 games with this move and only one with 4…exd4, the choice of Houdini at a lower level; SF 13 at a higher level, and SF 14.1 at a mid-level depth 43) 5. e3 Nf5 6. Nf3 (Until now this has been the preferred move, with 51 examples in the CBDB, but Houdini, Komodo, and Stockfish 14.1 all show 6 e4 as best in the 8 games in which it has been tried the move has scored 69% compared to the 63% scored by the move played in the game) 6…Bd6 7. Bb5+ (This move is the choice of Fritz 17, so you know it is suspect. Both Houdini and SF 14.1 play 7 e4, and so should you) 7…Bd7 (Fritz 13 SE will play 7…Kf8. I kid you not…) 8. Bxd7 (SF 14.1 and SF 221221 both play 8 e4, and so should you in the event you play badly enough to reach this position) 8…Qxd7 9. e4 Nfe7 10. O-O (The CBDB shows only 8 games having reached this position; 4 with Nf6; 3 with Ng6; and 1 with f6. Houdini, and SF 7 & 11 show 10…h6 as being the best move. The game move has been the most often played move according to the 365Chess Big Database) 10…Ng6 11. Qb3 (SF 14 will play 11 Be3. See Pohlers vs Maahs below) 11…b6 (See Farago vs Plat below)

Frank James Marshall

vs R. Guckemus
Event: Sylvan Beach
Site: Sylvan Beach Date: ??/??/1904
Round: 4
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 exd4 5.dxc6 dxc3 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.cxb7 Bxb7 8.bxc3 Bd6 9.f3 Nf6 10.e4 Re8 11.Bb5 c6 12.Bc4 Ke7 13.Rb1 Rab8 14.Be3 Bc8 15.Rxb8 Bxb8 16.Bc5+ Bd6 17.Bxa7 Be6 18.Bxe6 Kxe6 19.Nh3 h6 20.Bd4 c5 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Kd2 Ra8 23.Ra1 Bxh2 24.f4 Rg8 25.Kd3 Rxg2 26.Kc4 Rg3 27.Nf2 f5 28.a4 Rf3 29.a5 Bxf4 30.a6 Bb8 31.Nd3 Ba7 32.exf5+ Kxf5 33.Rb1 Ke4 34.Rb7 1-0

Benjamin Leussen vs Aaron Nimzowitsch

Event: Barmen-B
Site: Barmen Date: ??/??/1905
Round: ?
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 exd4 5.dxc6 dxc3 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.g3 bxc6 9.Bg2 Nd5 10.Bd2 Be7 11.Nf3 Bf6 12.Nd4 Bd7 13.e4 Nb4 14.cxb4 Bxd4 15.Rd1 Kc8 16.O-O c5 17.Bf4 Bb5 18.bxc5 Bc3 19.Bh3+ Kb7 20.Rb1 Kc6 21.Rfc1 Bd4 22.e5 1-0

Juergen Pohlers (2133) vs Erich Maahs (2200)
Event: Bad Woerishofen op 18th
Site: Bad Woerishofen Date: ??/??/2002
Round: 8
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 Nxd4 5.e3 Nf5 6.Nf3 Bd6 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.e4 Nfe7 10.O-O Ng6 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 O-O 13.Rc1 a6 14.Qd3 Nh5 15.Ne2 h6 16.g4 Nhf4 17.Nxf4 exf4 18.Bd4 Rae8 19.Rfe1 f6 20.Qb3 b6 21.Qc4 h5 22.Qc6 Qc8 23.Nh2 f3 24.Qxd6 cxd6 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Nxf3 Nf4 27.gxh5 Rc2 28.Kh2 b5 29.h6 Ne2 30.hxg7 Kxg7 31.Be3 Rxb2 32.Nh4 Rd8 33.Kg2 Rxa2 34.Kf3 Nc3 35.Nf5+ Kh7 36.Bb6 Rd7 37.Bd4 b4 38.Bxf6 Rf7 39.Bxc3 bxc3 40.Rc1 Ra3 41.Ke2 Kg6 42.Rg1+ Kf6 43.Nxd6 Rc7 44.Ne8+ Ke5 45.Nxc7 Kd4 46.d6 Ra2+ 47.Kf3 Ke5 48.d7 Rd2 49.Nd5 c2 1-0

Ivan Farago (2340) vs Vojtech Plat (2556)
Event: FSGM May 2021
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 05/08/2021
Round: 7.4
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 Nxd4 5.e3 Nf5 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Nf3 Bd6 9.e4 Nfe7 10.O-O Ng6 11.Qb3 b6 12.h3 Nf6 13.Bg5 Nh5 14.Qb5 Nhf4 15.Rfe1 h6 16.Bxf4 Nxf4 17.Kh2 a6 18.Qxd7+ Kxd7 19.Rad1 g5 20.g3 Ng6 21.Kg2 f6 22.Nh2 h5 23.Nf1 b5 24.Ne3 h4 25.Ng4 Raf8 26.Re3 Ne7 27.Rf3 b4 28.Nb1 f5 29.exf5 e4 30.Rb3 Nxf5 31.Nd2 e3 32.Nxe3 hxg3 33.Nxf5 Rxf5 34.Ne4 gxf2 35.Nxf2 a5 36.Ng4 Bc5 37.Rbd3 Re8 38.R3d2 Kd6 39.b3 Re4 40.Nh6 Rff4 41.Rc2 Bd4 42.Ng4 Bc3 43.Rd3 Bd4 44.Rc6+ Kxd5 45.Rxc7 Re2+ 46.Kg3 Ke4 0-1

Since the tournament is still ongoing Ben has not had time to produce his latest youtube apologia explaining why he could only draw versus a much lower rated player so here is a pertinent video:

Last Round (In)Action at the 2022 Saint Louis Norm Congress

When GM Vladimir Belous

sat down to play in the last round he had already won the tournament as he had seven points after winning six games and drawing two. His opponent, IM David Brodsky,

was tied for third place with a 5-3 score. I have no idea if a win by IM Brodsky would have earned him a GM norm or not, but can tell you from over half a century following the Royal Game it is difficult for anyone who has nothing to play for to play for something. In all that time I have seen numerous players with nothing for which to play lose. David Brodsky is not yet a Grandmaster, and may never earn the title. He really had nothing to lose, and much to gain by defeating the winner of the tournament, even if a GM norm was not possible. Since he is young and still has much to learn, what better way to gain experience by at least attempting to win. This was the result:

Vladimir Belous 2525 vs David Brodsky 2484

  1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 1/2-1/2!saint-louis-norm-congress-gm-2022/310589946

One cannot call it a game, but it counts just as if it were a one hundred mover. Never would have thought I would live long enough to see the Chess Mecca that is the St. Louis Chess Campus defiled as it was during this event. I will hand it to the women because they were not passing out buddy-buddy draws like the men, and I use the word “men” loosely.

I do not want to end coverage of this event with the premature ejaculation masquerading as a game above, so I will again present another game in which IM Aaron Grabinsky plays the B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation, the third time he trotted out the opening to battle the Caro-Kann ( Before the round began FM Posthuma, with 6 1/2 points, had a half point lead over IM Grabinsky. IM Matyas Marek was in third place with 5 1/2 points, which went to 6 1/2 points when his last round opponent, Julien Proleiko, forfeited.

IM Aaron Grabinsky 2401 vs FM Joshua Posthuma 2405

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Be6 7. c4 Nd7 8. d4 Nf6 9. Qh4 Bf5 10. Be2 e6 11. O-O Be7 12. Qf4 O-O 13. h3 a5 14. Rd1 Bc2 15. Re1 Qb6 16. Qe3 Rfd8 17. Bd3 Bxd3 18. Qxd3 a4 19. Qc2 Qa6 20. Be3 b5 21. Rac1 bxc4 22. Qxc4 Rdb8 23. Qc2 Nd5 24. a3 Rb5 25. Rcd1 Qb7 26. Bc1 Bf6 27. Ne5 Ne7 28. Re4 Nf5 29. Qxc6 Rc8 30. Qxb7 Rxb7 31. g4 Nd6 32. Re2 h6 33. Kf1 Bxe5 34. Rxe5 Nc4 35. Rc5 Rxc5 36. dxc5 Rc7 37. Rd3 Rxc5 38. Rc3 f5 39. gxf5 exf5 40. Ke2 g5 41. h4 gxh4 42. Rh3 Nxb2 43. Bxh6 Rc2+ 44. Kf1 Nc4 45. Rxh4 Kf7 46. Ke1 Nxa3 47. Rxa4 Nb5 48. Ra6 Nd4 49. Be3 Ne6 50. Kf1 f4 51. Ba7 Rc8 52. Rd6 Rd8 53. Rc6 Ra8 54. Bb6 Ra6 55. Kg2 Ng5 56. Rc7+ Kg6 57. Rb7 Ra2 58. Bd4 Kf5 59. Rb8 Rd2 60. Rb4 Ne4 61. Ba7 Ra2 62. Rb7 Ng5 63. Bb8 f3+ 64. Kg3 Ne4+ 65. Kxf3 Rxf2+ 66. Ke3 Rc2 67. Re7 Nf6 68. Kd3 1/2-1/2!saint-louis-norm-congress-im-2022/-1059380010

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qe2 Nxe4 6.Qxe4 Be6 (The most often played move has been 6…Nd7. In 343 games it has held white to 49%. It is the choice of Fritz 16 @depth 36. Stockfish 13 @depth 60 plays 6…Qa5, which also shows 49% in 183 games. Then comes SF 14.1 which likes the second most often played move, 6…Qd5. Yet in 295 games it shows 58%! The move in the game, 6…Be6, has been attempted in 99 games, resulting in holding white to only 45%) 7.c4 (7 b3 has been most played and in 54 games has scored 47%. All three programs shown will play 7 b3. The game move has been seen in 15 games while scoring only 33%) 7…Nd7 (The 13 games in which this move has been played have held white to 27%, and it is the choice of SF 14 @depth 42. SF 100222 @depth 55 will play 7…g6. The CBDB contains only two games with the move…) 8.d4 Nf6 9.Qh4 (SF 11 @depth 45 plays 9 Qd3; SF 14 @depth 27 plays 9 Qf4; SF 050621 @depth 33 will play 9 Qe3) 9…Bf5 10.Be2 e6 11.O-O Be7 12. Qf4 (This is the choice of Stockfish 170921. For 12 Qg3 see below:

Jules Moussard (2571) vs Tigran Gharamian (2626)
Event: 3rd IF Payroll Blitz 2017
Site: Sanem LUX Date: 09/23/2017
Round: ?
ECO: B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation
1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Qe2 Nxe4 6.Qxe4 Be6 7.c4 Nd7 8.d4 Nf6 9.Qh4 Bf5 10.Be2 e6 11.O-O Be7 12.Qg3 O-O 13.Rd1 Re8 14.Ne5 Nd7 15.Bh6 Bg6 16.Nxg6 hxg6 17.Be3 Nf6 18.h3 Qa5 19.Qe5 Bd8 20.a3 Bc7 21.Qxa5 Bxa5 22.b4 Bb6 23.a4 a6 24.Bf3 Red8 25.Rab1 Rac8 26.b5 axb5 27.axb5 Ba5 28.bxc6 bxc6 29.Ra1 Bb4 30.Rd3 c5 31.Rad1 cxd4 32.Rxd4 Rxd4 33.Rxd4 Bc5 34.Bb7 Bxd4 35.Bxc8 Bxe3 36.fxe3 Kf8 37.Kf2 Ke7 38.Bb7 Nd7 39.Ke2 Nc5 40.Bf3 Kd6 41.Kd2 Ke5 42.Kc3 g5 43.Bh5 g6 44.Bf3 Kd6 45.Kb4 Nd3+ 46.Kb5 Nc5 47.Be2 Ne4 48.Bf3 Nc5 49.Be2 f5 50.Bf3 Nd7 51.Kb4 Nc5 52.Kb5 Nd3 53.Be2 Nc5 54.Bf3 Nd7 55.Bc6 Ne5 56.c5+ Kc7 57.Be8 0-1

Dutch Defense Opening Theory SHOCKER!

[Event “Round 6: Pierre Goosen – Andrew Southey”]
[Site “”%5D
[White “Pierre Goosen”]
[Black “Andrew Southey”]
[UTCDate “2022.05.11”]
[Opening “Dutch Defense”]
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.O-O Nf6 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.c4 Na6 9.Qc2 Qe8 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Rfe1 Qf7 12.a3 Nc7 13.Nh4 e6 14.f4 g5 15.Nhf3 Qh5 16.Kf2 Ng4+ 17.Kg1 Ne3 18.Qd3 Nxg2 19.Kxg2 Ne8 20.e4 fxe4 21.Qxe4 gxf4 22.Nh4 fxg3 23.hxg3 Nf6 24.Qg6 Bd7 25.Qxh5 Nxh5 26.Ne4 c5 27.Rad1 Bc6 28.d5 Bxb2 29.dxc6 bxc6 30.Nxd6 e5 31.Ng6 Rf6 32.Nxe5 Bd4 33.Ne4 Bxe5 34.Nxf6+ Bxf6 35.Rh1 Ng7 36.Rxh6 Bd4 37.Rxc6 Nf5 38.Re1 Ne3+ 39.Kh3 Kg7 40.g4 Rf8 41.g5 Rf3+ 42.Kh2 Nf1+ 43.Kg2 Rf2+ 44.Kh3 1/2-1/2

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 (Stockfish 14 @depth 52 plays the game move, but in a real SHOCKER one sees SF 15 will play 2 e3!

Position after Stockfish 15 recommended 2 e3

The exclam is for the shock value because the ChessBaseDataBase shows 2 e3 has only been attempted in 23 games. I kid you not… White has scored 63% against 2387 opposition, which is higher than any other move, although the sample size is rather limited. If you play the Dutch defense you simply MUST be prepared for the move 2 e3 because after this is posted every player and his brother will be playing the move, sister. The move played in the game, 2 Nf3, has scored 56% versus 2406 oppo. The most often played move has been 2 g3, with 8973 games which have scored 59% against a hypothetical player rated 2436) 2…g6 (SF 14.1 plays 2…Nf6) 3.g3 (SF 14.1 plays 3…Nc3) 3…Bg7 (SF 14.1 plays 3..Nf6) 4.Bg2 d6 (SF 14 plays the game move, but SF 14.1 will play 4…Nf6) 5.O-O (The latest version of Stockfish shown at the CBDB is the now antiquated SF 11. I kid you not…@depth 43 it plays either 5 Nc3 or 5 c4. Fritz 16 @depth 29 plays 5 c4) 5…Nf6 6.b3 (SF 14.1 @depth 44 plays 6 c4; SF 220422 will, given the chance, play the move made in the game) 6…O-O (In this position castles has been played in 1206 games, yet two different Stockfish programs, 14.1 @depth 45, and 220422 @depth 35 both play 6…a5, a move having been attempted in only 4 (FOUR!) games. In those games against opponents averaging 2513 ELO points it has held White to only 38%. The CBDB shows that six different moves have been played in only 18 (EIGHTEEN!) games) 7.Bb2 c6 (There are 626 examples of this move contained in the CBDB and it shows a 62% score; the second most often played move has been 7..Qe8 with 594 examples and 57%; next comes 7…Ne4 with 329 games and 59%. SF 081121 @depth 50 plays 7…e6; SF 220422 @depth 41 will play 7…a5; with SF 14.1 @depth 56 playing 7…Ne4) 8.c4 (SF 14.1 will play the game move, a departure from SF 14 which preferred the second most often played move of 8 Nbd2. Check this out, SF 061121, given the chance, will play 8 a3, which will, maybe, someday be a TN if and when it is played by a titled player) 8…Na6 (This has been the most often played move and it was the choice of SF 10 [TEN?!] resulting in a 60% result versus 2417 opposition. SF 14.1 plays 8…a5 @depth 46 and it has held White to only 51%) 9.Qc2 (SF 14 @depth 44 will play the second most often played move [154 games] 9 Nbd2) 9…Qe8 (SF 14.1 and Komodo both play 9…Qc7) 10.Nbd2 (The CBDB shows Deep Fritz @depth 21 will play the game move, but Houdini 6.02 @depth 25 will play 10 a3. There is only one game with the move contained in the CBDB) 10…h6 11.Rfe1 (11 Rae1 has been the most often played move with 20 games in the CBDB which have scored an astounding 78% versus 2474 oppo; the second most popular move, 11 a3 has been seen in 15 games, scoring 57%, and it is the choice of Fritz 15 @depth 16, which is pretty darn shallow, is it not? SF 14 @depth 33 would play 11 Nh4, and it woulda been a TN if’n it had ever been played…SF 14.1 @depth 24 will play 11 Bc3. In the 5 games at the CBDB is has only scored 40%, albeit against 2489 oppo) 11…Qf7 (SF 8 @depth 18 and Komodo 13.2 @depth 26 both play the move played in the game, but SF 14.1 @depth 17 will play 11…g5) 12.a3 (SF 8 @depth 17 will play 12 Bc3, as will the SF program at LiChess []. SF 160215 @depth 17 will play a new move, 12 Rec1. Deep Fritz, playing the CBDB “How low can you go?” limbo, @depth 15 will play 12 Bc3. Blind squirrel? Acorn?)

Nikola Stajcic, (2302) vs Martin Riedner (2169)
Event: Vienna op 14th
Site: Vienna Date: 08/19/2003
Round: 4
ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 O-O 6.Nd2 c6 7.Ngf3 d6 8.O-O Na6 9.c4 Qe8 10.Qc2 h6 11.Rfe1 Qf7 12.a3 Bd7 13.Nh4 Nh5 14.e4 f4 15.e5 g5 16.Nhf3 Bf5 17.Qc1 g4 18.Nh4 f3 19.Bf1 dxe5 20.Nxf5 Qxf5 21.dxe5 Nc5 22.Qb1 Rad8 23.Qxf5 Rxf5 24.Bc3 Nd3 25.Bxd3 Rxd3 26.Rac1 Bxe5 27.Bxe5 Rxd2 28.Re4 Kf7 29.Bc3 Rd3 30.Rxg4 Nf6 31.Rd4 Rxd4 32.Bxd4 c5 33.Be3 h5 34.h3 Nd7 35.Rd1 Ke6 36.g4 hxg4 37.hxg4 Rf8 38.g5 b6 39.Kh2 Ne5 40.Kg3 Kf5 41.Rd5 e6 42.Rd1 Nf7 43.Kxf3 Nxg5+ 44.Ke2 Rf7 45.f3 Rh7 46.Bxg5 ½-½

Vilmos Balint (2252) vs Andres Gallego Alcaraz (2523)
Event: FSGM April 2022
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 04/02/2022
Round: 1.1
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.b3 d6 6.Bb2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.c4 Qe8 9.Qc2 Na6 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Rfe1 Qf7 12.Nh4 Nh5 13.e3 e5 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.e4 f4 16.Ndf3 Re8 17.Rad1 g5 18.Nf5 Bxf5 19.exf5 e4 20.Rxe4 Rxe4 21.Bxg7 Nxg7 22.Qxe4 Re8 23.Qd4 Nxf5 24.Qxa7 g4 25.Nh4 Nxh4 26.gxh4 f3 27.Bf1 c5 28.Qb6 Kg7 29.h5 Re7 30.Qd6 Nb4 31.Qxc5 Nc6 32.b4 Ne5 33.Re1 Qf6 34.Qd4 Qg5 35.Qc5 Qf6 36.b5 Kf7 37.Qd5+ Qe6 38.Rxe5 1-0

Nenad R Jovanovic (2318) vs Aurelian Ciobanu (2290)
Event: Bucharest-B
Site: Bucharest Date: ??/??/2000
Round: 2
ECO: A04 Reti opening
1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 f5 5.c4 Nf6 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.O-O Qe8 9.Qc2 Na6 10.a3 h6 11.Nbd2 d5 12.Ne5 g5 13.e3 Be6 14.f3 Nd7 15.f4 Nf6 16.fxg5 hxg5 17.Rxf5 Bxf5 18.Qxf5 Bh6 19.cxd5 cxd5 20.Bxd5+ Nxd5 21.Qe6+ Kg7 22.Qxd5 b6 23.Qe4 Rd8 24.Rc1 Kg8 25.Qg4 e6 26.Ne4 Rf5 27.Nc6 Rdd5 28.Nd2 Rd6 29.Ne5 Rxe5 30.Nc4 Rxe3 31.Nxd6 Qd7 32.Qh5 Kh7 33.Rf1 1-0

Raine Heuer vs Tom E Wiley (2273)
Event: Bayern-chI Bank Hofmann 6th
Site: Bad Wiessee Date: 10/26/2002
Round: 1
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 O-O 6.Bg2 d6 7.O-O Qe8 8.c4 c6 9.Qc2 Na6 10.a3 h6 11.h4 Qf7 12.e3 Be6 13.Nbd2 Rab8 14.b4 b5 15.Rac1 Rfc8 16.Qd3 Nc7 17.c5 Bd5 18.Nh2 Bxg2 19.Kxg2 d5 20.Rce1 Ne6 21.f3 Nh5 22.g4 Nhf4+ 0-1

GM Alonso Zapata vs FM Todd Andrews in French Defense Battle at the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina

Years ago FM Todd Andrews

Photo Gallery from the 2005 World Open (USA)

relocated from Music City to the Phoenix city, Atlanta, Georgia. It happened that by happenstance I was at Todd’s apartment after he moved in and again later as he was getting ready to return to Nashville, Tennessee. There was an obvious disparity between how the apartment looked on those two occasions, kind of like one of those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.

Todd was young, and strong, at that time, and was the “Big Dog” at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. He was also an extremely personable and animated fellow. After being beaten by Todd one regular habitué of the House of Pain vociferously and demonstrably said to any and everyone within earshot, “That Todd has a BIG HEAD!” To which Bob Bassett replied, “Yeah, and if you ever get your rating up to 2400 you will have a big head.” Another wag added, “Fat chance.” The loser hit the door… The name stuck, although no one ever called Todd “Big Head” to his face. After yet another player had been battered and bloodied, metaphorically speaking, of course, over the Chess board by Todd, the loser would be asked about the result and the reply would invariably be, “Big Head got me.” About this time there was a popular music group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who were quite popular. Todd traveled to a music festival in another state and I considered asking if Big Head Todd and the Monsters were there, but refrained from so doing…

These days Todd is the man with the Big Head at the Nashville Chess Center:

FM Andrews drew with fellow FM James Canty in the opening round of the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center and followed that with a victory over GM Alonso Zapata, now a citizen of Georgia living in the metro Atlanta area. A couple of losses set him back before he was paired with serial drawer IM Nikolay Andrianov,

“…who became the Soviet Junior Champion in 1980. He beat GM Gary Kasparov in their junior years and maintains a plus score against the world champion. After that, he chose to focus on chess training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sports Institute, considered the top chess school globally at the time. He has since then trained students, many of them becoming masters in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Currently, he teaches chess in Arizona and online with Ashburn Chess Club.” (

These are the games produced by IM Nikolay Andrianov in the first four rounds:


Round 1 | 2022.05.04 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. c4 c6 6. O-O d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Ne5 Ne4 9. Nc3 1/2-1/2


Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. b3 g6 4. Bb2 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Qc2 Nc6 7. a3 d6 8. Be2 e5 9. d3 a6 10. Nc3 Rb8 11. O-O b5 12. Ne4 bxc4 13. bxc4 Nxe4 14. dxe4 f5 15. Bc3 f4 16. Rab1 fxe3 17. fxe3 Bh6 18. Qd3 Be6 19. Rxb8 Qxb8 20. Nd2 1/2-1/2


Round 3 | 2022.05.05 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 1/2-1/2


Round 4 | 2022.05.06 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 d5 2. b3 Bf5 3. Bb2 e6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 h6 6. O-O Be7 7. c4 c6 1/2-1/2

What happened in the second round? It looks as though Tianqi Wang actually considered attempting to try and play for a win, but after making a very weak move that gave the advantage to his opponent changed his mind and offered a draw, which was accepted by the player with little fight left in him. It takes two to tango, and make a draw, so all the blame cannot go to IM Andrianov. Some of the blame must be taken by the pusillanimous pussies so ready to accept a draw offer from an old and weak IM. Todd Andrews came to play Chess and forced the ineffectual IM to play to the death. Unfortunately, it was Todd who lost, but he went down fighting, like a man, and my hat is off to FM Todd Andrews. In losing Todd Andrews comes away a winner from one of the Charlotte Drawing Tournaments.



Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 0-1 ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 c5 6. Ndf3 Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. Ne2 Qc7 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 h6 15. Bh4 Bf4 16. Rc2 Qf7 17. Ne2 Bb8 18. Bg3 Bd7 19. Rc3 Ne4 20. Bxe4 dxe4 21. Nd2 e5 22. dxe5 Bxe5 23. Bxe5 Nxe5 24. Nxe4 Bc6 25. Qb1 Rad8 26. N2g3 Qf4 27. f3 Qh4 28. Qc2 Kh8 29. Rc5 Nd3 30. Rh5 Qf4 31. h3 Qe3+ 32. Kh2 Bxe4 33. Nxe4 Rc8 34. Qb3 Qe2 35. Ng3 Qc2 36. Kg1 Nf4 37. Qxc2 Rxc2 38. Rf5 Rxg2+ 39. Kh1 Rxf5 40. Nxf5 Rxb2 41. Rd1 0-1
  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (Stockfish 14 and 15 both play 3 Nc3, as does Komodo) 3…Nf6 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase, Komodo, Houdini, and Deep Fritz prefer 3…c5) 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 (SF 8 @depth 46 plays the move played in the game, but SF 13 @depth 44 goes with the most often played move of 5 Bd3. SF 14.1 @depth 47 will play 5 f4) 5…c5 6. Ndf3 (SF 311221 plays 6 Bd3 which has been far and away the most often played move with 8421 games in the CBDB; SF 14.1 will play 6 f4, the second most often played move (1924). The move played in the game has only been attempted in 54 games) 6…Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 (This move has been played most often with 130 games in the CBDB, but SF 14.1 and Komodo will play 7…Qa5. The reason could be that 7…cxd4 has resulted in a 66% score for players of the White pieces as opposed to only 42% in 31 games for 7…Qa5) 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 (SF 12 plays this move, but SF 070222 will take the pawn with the Queen with 9…Qxf6. Houdini will fire a TN with 9…Bb4+. 9…Nxf6 has been played in 84 games; 9…Qxf6 in only 8. White has scored 64% versus the former, but only 38% against the latter move) 10. Ne2 Qc7 (SF 130121 @depth 59 plays 10…Bd6, as do two different Fritz programs) 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 (Fritz 16 plays this move, but Deep Fritz will play will play 12 g3. SF 170821 prefers 12 h3) 12…a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 (SF 14.1 plays 14 Bh4 and so should you) 14…h6 (14…Bd7 has been played most often, and one of the “New Engines” @depth 42 likes it, but left running a little longer it changes its whatever @depth 43 to 14…Ng4, which is what Komodo will play @depth 26) 15. Bh4 Bf4 (There is only one prior game with the game move. Komodo 8 @depth 14 plays 15…Bd7, but SF 261120 will play 15…Nh5, as will Komodo 9)

Kurt Petschar (2310) vs Peter Roth (2325)
Event: AUT-ch
Site: Wolfsberg Date: ??/??/1985
Round: 8
ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.O-O Qc7 12.Bg5 O-O 13.Nc3 a6 14.Rc1 h6 15.Bh4 Bf4 16.Bg3 Nh5 17.Rc2 g5 18.Bg6 Nxg3 19.hxg3 Bd6 20.Bh5 Qg7 21.Rd2 Bd7 22.Re1 b5 23.Rde2 b4 24.Na4 g4 25.Bxg4 Qxg4 26.Nb6 Rad8 27.Nxd7 Rxd7 28.Rxe6 Qg7 29.Qc1 Nxd4 30.Rxh6 Nxf3+ 31.gxf3 Bf4 0-1

GM Arjun Erigaisi vs GM AR Salem In Fantasy Land

GM Arjun Erigaisi (2675) (IND)

Photo: © Lennart Ootes – Tata Steel Chess Tournament2022(

vs GM AR Salem (2690) (UAE)

Photo: Krzysztof Szeląg wikimedia (

27th Sigeman & Co 2022
B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 dxe4 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nd7 7. Bd3 Ngf6 8. O-O Bd6 9. Kh1 O-O 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 b5 13. Rc1 a6 14. a4 Nh5 15. h3 Nf4 16. Bb1 Bxf3 17. Rxf3 Ng6 18. Bf2 c5 19. Nf1 c4 20. Ne3 Rad8 21. Qc2 Rfe8 22. Rf1 Ndf8 23. Nd5 Qc8 24. Be3 Nh8 25. axb5 axb5 26. b3 Bb8 27. bxc4 bxc4 28. Qf2 Qb7 29. Qh4 Nfg6 30. Qg4 Qc6 31. Nb4 Qd6 32. d5 Bc7 33. Ba2 Nf4 34. Bxc4 Nhg6 35. Nc6 Ra8 36. g3 Ra4 37. Bb3 Rxe4 38. Qf5 Rxe3 39. Rxe3 Qc5 40. Rfe1 Nxd5 41. Qd7 Re6 42. Qxd5 Qxc6 43. Qxc6 Rxc6 44. Rf1 Rf6 45. Rxf6 gxf6 46. Rd3 Nf8 47. g4 Kg7 48. Bd5 Bb6 49. c4 Ng6 50. Rb3 Bd4 51. Rb7 Nf4 52. Kh2 Kg6 53. Kg3 Ne2+ 54. Kf3 Ng1+ 55. Kg2 Ne2 56. h4 h5 57. Bxf7+ Kh6 58. Bd5 1-0–co/round-2/CesFMat9
  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 (Stockfish 14 @depth 60 plays the second most popular move according to the ChessBaseDataBase, 3 Nc3. In almost eighteen thousand games it has scored 52%. SF 15 @depth 61 will play 3 Nd2. In over ten thousand games it has scored 54%. The most often played move has been 3 e5, and it has scored the highest at 55%. The game move has only been played in about two thousand games, but has scored a 54% success rate) 3…dxe4 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nd7 7. Bd3 (SF 14 & 15 prefer 7 Be2. There is only one game previously played with the move 7 Be2 (see Stefansson v Grant below). 7 Bc4 has been seen in 72 games, scoring 56%. The move played in the game, 7 Bd3, has been attempted on 26 occasions and has scored an astounding 69%!)

Vignir Vatnar Stefansson (2291) vs Jonathan Grant (2203)
Event: IoM Masters
Site: Douglas ENG Date: 10/25/2018
Round: 6.72
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nd7 7.Be2 Bd6 8.O-O Ngf6 9.Bg5 Qc7 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.Nc4 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Rad8 14.Qe1 Rfe8 15.Rd1 b5 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Qe3 Qc7 18.Rfe1 h6 19.Qd3 a6 20.Qe3 Re7 21.Re2 c5 22.Red2 exd4 23.cxd4 cxd4 24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Rxd4 Qb6 26.Qf2 Re8 27.Rd2 Qxf2+ 28.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 29.Bxe4 Rxe4 30.b3 Re6 31.Rd7 Rc6 32.Rd2 g6 33.Ke3 Kg7 34.Ke4 h5 35.g3 b4 36.Rd5 Rc2 37.Ra5 Rxh2 38.Rxa6 Rg2 39.Kf3 Rc2 40.Ra4 g5 41.Rxb4 Rxa2 42.Rb8 Kg6 43.Rb5 g4+ 44.Kf4 Rf2+ 45.Ke4 Rf3 0-1

Shankland The Complete Caro Part 2 The Fantasy Variation