The Ugly Chess Move

The ugly move is a subject about which little is said, or written. The thing about the ugly move is that sometimes a move may look ugly but when one understands the reason(s) for the move it is suddenly transformed into a beautiful Chess move. Such is not the case with the move you are about to see, which is one of the most ugly Chess moves I have ever visualized. This move is jump out at you and slap you in the face UGLY. Seeing the move is akin to hearing someone scrape their fingernails on a blackboard, a sound I hope to never again hear.

IM Jason Liang (USA) vs GM Nikolas Theodorou (GRE)
NY Winter Invitational GM A 2022 round 03
ECO: B20 Sicilian, Keres variation

  1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. c3 Bg7 6. d4 Bg4 7. d5 Na5 8. O-O Nf6 9. h3 Bd7 10. Nd2 Rc8 11. f4 O-O 12. g4 Bb5 13. Rf2 Nd7 14. Nf3 Ba6 15. Ng3 b5 16. Qe2 Nb8
White to make one hell of an UGLY move

The Stockfish program at the ChessBomb shows 17 Qc2 as best, and it has a nice look to it, does it not? The second choice of 17 h4 is a good looking move. The third choice of 17 e5 looks like it belongs on the board, but I’m not too sure about choice number four, 17 Qe1. It may, or may not be ugly, but I would not want to bring it to the dance…Are you ready for some ugly?

Ugly position after 17 f5

Ugly is as ugly does, and boy, does that last move look UGLY. Although I understand the motivation behind the move; White has a overwhelming preponderance of material on the Kingside, leading one to think he should begin an attack, but Black has a harmonious position with no glaring weakness, so White should concentrate on completing development and improving his position before beginning an attack on the fortified King. I know this because ‘back in the day’ this writer was more than a little fond of attacking whether warranted or not. I know this is an ugly move because after playing hundreds, if not thousands of ugly moves I could be declared an honorary expert on ugly moves, I am sad, but honest enough to report.

Let us be honest, that move was even uglier than Phyllis Diller. How ugly was f5?
Butt Ugly Lady (@buttuglylady) | Twitter

Then again, if not for ugly how would we know beauty?
Kathy ireland bikini photo sports illustrated – Adult Images.

Back to the game…

  1. f5 b4 18. Qe1 bxc3 19. bxc3 Nc4 20. Bg5 Nd7 21. Bf1 Rb8 22. Bxc4 Bxc4 23. Qe3 Ne5 24. Nxe5 Bxe5 25. Bf4 Bh8 26. Rd1 Rb7 27. h4 Qa5 28. e5 Qa4 29. Rdd2 dxe5 30. Bxe5 Bxe5 31. Qxe5 Ba6 32. Rf4 Qa3 33. Rdf2 Qc1+ 34. Kg2 Rb2 35. fxg6 hxg6 36. h5 Rxf2+ 37. Rxf2 Qd1 38. h6 f6 39. Qxe7 Qxd5+ 40. Ne4 Qf7 41. Nxf6+ Kh8 42. Qe5 1-0
  1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 (Stockfish plays 2…Nf6 attacking the unprotected pawn) 3. g3 (Although this has been the most frequently played move at the big database at 365Chess, Stockfish plays 3 Nbc3, which is the most often played move at the Chessbase Database, the move having been made about twice as often as 3 Nbc3. Yet White has scored better, 63%, with 3 g3 as opposed to only 55% for 3 Nbc3) 3…Nc6 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 36 plays 3…d5) 4. Bg2 g6 (The most often played move but Stockfish 14
    @depth 35 will play 4…Nf6) 5. c3 Bg7 (Far and away the most often choice in the position, but Stockfish 13 @depth 40 plays the seldom played 5…e5) 6. d4 Bg4 (Again SF would play 6…e5) 7. d5 Na5 8. O-O (SF plays 8 Be3, which will be a TN if and when played by a human) 8…Nf6 (For 8…b5 see game below)

Viktor D Kupreichik (2472) vs Christian Scholz (2324)
Event: BL2-West 0001
Site: Germany Date: 01/28/2001
Round: 5.2
ECO: B20 Sicilian, Keres variation (2.Ne2)
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.c3 Bg7 6.d4 Bg4 7.d5 Na5 8.O-O b5 9.h3 Bd7 10.f4 Nh6 11.g4 f5 12.exf5 gxf5 13.g5 Nf7 14.Ng3 O-O 15.Qc2 Qc8 16.Re1 Re8 17.Nd2 Nh8 18.Nh5 Ng6 19.Nxg7 Kxg7 20.Nf1 Nh4 21.Bh1 e5 22.dxe6 Bc6 23.Qf2 Bxh1 24.Qxh4 Bb7 25.Ng3 Rxe6 26.Rxe6 Qxe6 27.Qh6+ Qxh6 28.Nxf5+ Kg6 29.Nxh6 Re8 30.f5+ Kh5 31.Kf2 Nc4 32.b3 Ne5 33.Kg3 Nd3 34.Ng4 Nxc1 35.Nf6+ Kxg5 36.Nxe8 Ne2+ 37.Kf2 Nxc3 38.Rg1+ Kf4 39.Nxd6 Bd5 40.f6 Nxa2 41.f7 Bxf7 42.Rg4+ Ke5 43.Nxf7+ Kd5 44.Ke3 Nc1 45.b4 cxb4 46.Rxb4 Kc5 47.Rb2 1-0

Examine All Checks!

Black to move

The above position was seen on the board of a round five game from the Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival. Sitting behind the white army is 2699 rated Grandmaster Anton Korobov,

GM Neelotpal Das had an exciting game against GM Anton Korobov (UKR) | Photo: Rupali Mullick

the four time Chess Champion of Ukraine, and top rated player in the Sunway Sitges tournament. In the colloquial language most often used at the House of Pain it would have been said that GM Korobov was “Busted!” His opponent was Grandmaster Christian Camilo Rios,

Cristhian Camilo Rios (Batumi, 2018)

rated 2460, who is from Colombia. He was born in 1993, earned the FM title in 2007; the IM title in 2013; and finally garnered the GM title in 2019. GM Rios obviously worked long and hard to become a Grandmaster. According to Chessbase ( the highest rated player GM Rios had defeated until this game was 2611 rated Erik Van den Doel. World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is rated 2856, which is 396 points higher than GM Rios. The rating categories in Chess are in 200 point intervals, which means GM Rios is almost two levels below the World Chess Champion. A player becomes a National Master when his rating hits 2200. Subtract 396 from 2200 and you obtains 1804, which is 5 points into class A. It takes 2000 to become an Expert, so GM Rios is clearly at least one level below GM Korobov. Ordinarily this would mean GM Rios would be an International Master. The FIDE rating system has become so out of whack that it is now meaningless.

One of the things for which I have become known in the world of teaching the Royal Game is “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!” Any player worth his salt is always aware of any possible checks to his King, or of any possible checks to the opponents King. In the above position the move Bf2+ would have to be considered, so I will assume GM Rios saw the move. Why he did not play the move is beyond my comprehension. From the FollowChess (, and ChessBomb ( websites lack of time was not the cause of how the game ended. Therefore the question must be asked if any “threat” was made or “inducement” offered to the much lower rated Rios to get him to end the game with a perpetual check.

Anton Korobov 2699 (UKR) vs Cristhian Camilo Rios 2460 (COL)
Sunway Sitges 2021 round 05
B33 Sicilian, Pelikan (Lasker/Sveshnikov) variation

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Nb8 9. a4 Be7 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 f5 13. a5 a6 14. Na3 f4 15. Nc4 e4 16. f3 e3 17. Bb4 Rf6 18. Qd4 Qf8 19. g3 Ne5 20. Nb6 Rb8 21. Kg2 Rh6 22. Nxc8 Qxc8 23. g4 Qxc2 24. Qd1 Qg6 25. Qd4 Qf6 26. Qe4 Rxh2+ 27. Kxh2 Qh4+ 28. Kg2 Qg3+ 29. Kh1 Bh4 30. Bd1 Qh3+ 31. Kg1 Qg3+ 32. Kh1 Qh3+ 33. Kg1 Qg3+ 34. Kh1 Qh3+ ½-½

Chess Moves

Andrei Volokitin 2652 (UKR)

vs Robert Hovhannisyan 2622 (ARM)

Robert Hovhannisyan is Armenian Rapid Chess Championship ...
Robert Hovhannisyan is Armenian Rapid Chess Championship …

FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 round 06
C50 Giuoco Piano

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 a5 7. Re1 Be6 8. Bb5 O-O 9. d4 Bb6
White to move

You can find the answer here:

Baadur Jobava 2582 (GEO)

vs Jules Moussard 2632 (FRA)

Jules Moussard

Event: FIDE Grand Swiss 2021
Site: Riga LAT Date: 11/01/2021
Round: 6.31
ECO: C21 Centre game
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 d5 5.Nxd4 Ne7 6.c3 Bc5 7.N2b3 Bb6 8.Bg5 O-O 9.exd5 Qxd5 10.Bxe7 Re8 11.Ne2

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 d5 TN (Komodo14 @depth 54 plays 4…Nc6; Stockfish 14 @depth 39 also plays 4..Nc6, but @depth 46 changes its whatever to 4…c5, which will be a Theoretical Novelty just as soon as your rating improves enough for you to be taken seriously and YOU spring the TN on some poor, unsuspecting GM as he sits there staring at the board, racking his brain, thinking, “Why me, Lord?”) 5.Nxd4 Ne7 (SF 13 plays 13…Qe7) 6.c3 (SF 8 plays the game move but SF 14 plays 6 exd5) 6…Bc5 7.N2b3 (Again Stockfish prefers to take the pawn with 7 exd5) 7…Bb6 (SF 8 plays the game move, but SF 9 plays 7…Bxd4) 8.Bg5 (SF plays 8 exd5) 8…O-O (SF plays 8…h6) 9.exd5 (SF 8 plays 9 Qe2. Why would you consider any other move?) 9…Qxd5 (Fritz plays 9…Re8) 10.Bxe7 Re8 11.Ne2

Black to move

This is one of those Highlander positions in which…

Highlander (Videogame) - There Can Be Only One - YouTube

There Can Be Only ONE! Funny Highlander Graphic - There ...

Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to find that move.

Viewing the 2021 US Chess Championships

There will be a playoff for the title of 2021 US Chess Champion between three players, two of them world class. Fabiano Caruana

is currently ranked third in the world after losing two games, back to back, in the recently completed 2012 US Chess Championship. Wesley So

is ranked eighth in the world. Then there is Sam Sevian…There is a saying in Poker that is applicable here: “If you don’t see a sucker at the table, you’re it.” Sam was ranked 91st on the top list compiled by FIDE before the tournament, and he did gain points for his good performance. Being one of the top 100 Chess players in the world is a tremendous achievement for any player, but Caruana drew a match with the World Chess Champion in which he was not defeated in the only games that count, those played with a classical time limit. The quick play playoff to determine the “champion” is a joke and terrible insult to the players who just spent almost two weeks vying for the title because Chess is inherently unfair since there is an odd number of rounds and some players sit behind the White army in more games than other players, which gives them a HUGE advantage. Caruana and Sevian each had the White pieces in six games while Wesley So had the White pieces in only FIVE games. Therefore, Wesley So should be crowned as the 2021 US Chess Champion. Congratulations to the Champ, Wesley So!

The tournament was Sam Sevian’s for the taking. In the penultimate round he was a pawn up and could have played 27 Kc2 in lieu of repeating the position but for whatever reason Sam decided to play poltroon Chess. You can bet your sweet bippy Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer Against the World - Trinity News
Bobby Fischer Against the World – Trinity News

would have played 27 Kc2. Then in the last round this “game”, and I use the word loosely, was “played.”

Daniel Naroditsky

vs Samuel Sevian

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Qb3 Na5 11. Qa4+ Nc6 12. Qb3 Na5 13. Qa4+ Nc6 1/2-1/2

It made me wanna PUKE!

If ever there were a time to play for a win it was this game because victory could possibly bring the coveted title of United States Chess Champion and probably entry into the US Chess Hall of Fame. His opponent had just lost a game the previous round and his testosterone level had to be low. Naroditsky had already lost FOUR GAMES! Do you think Bobby Fischer would have played the above game in the LAST ROUND of a US Chess Championship? In the post game interviews Naroditsky was obviously happy with the short draw, saying something about how he “…should have drawn the day before.” When it came time for Sam to explain his decision to acquiesce to the repetition he explained by saying, “Before the tournament my plan was to play solidly with Black…” Translated that says he was “…playing to draw with black and win with white.” The young man should not even be called a “Co-Champion.” No matter what happens for the remainder of his Chess career Sam Sevian will continue to wonder what might have been if only he had

The question will haunt him until he takes his last breath.

The sixth round game between Ashritha Eswaran
Ashritha Eswaran | Top Chess Players –

and Megan Lee
2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Megan Lee Interview | Round …

reached this position after the moves: 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O e5 5. d3 Ne7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 c6 8. Re1 Qd6 9. c3 f5

White to move

Eswaran played 10 d4 and Maurice obviously very much liked the move, calling it “…an outstanding move!” I was following the action at FollowChess ( because only the moves are displayed and I had my doubts. Still, Maurice has some kind of computer Chess program, so I thought it must be OK…Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know, so I surfed on over to ChessBomb ( where a Red move was showing…Chess24 says White goes from being “much better” to “equal.” Maybe the “engine”, as they are so fond of calling the computer program, had a glitch, or was turned off…

I took note of the following because it was so hilarious, coming as it did from a player not known for playing 1 e4 during his illustrious career: Yaz: “Nobody likes to play against the Najdorf because the variations are so lengthy…” Round 8 2:45 into the game. You know that put a smile on the face of Mr. Najdorf, French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave!

Shenzhen, tras 8 rondas: mandan Maxime Vachier-Lagrave y ...

The thing is that I stopped playing the Najdorf over four decades ago after hearing a Grandmaster talk about those players “Who study the Najdorf but not Chess.” Still, I learned much about the Royal game by playing the Najdorf. One never forgets his first love…

During the final game of the event, between Bruzon Batista

and Alex Lenderman

which lasted for 127 moves, Maurice said, “If only we could be paid by the move.” Cracked me up…I will admit to have been “pulling” for Lenderman, and evidently not the only one. If only he had found 38 Qa1, challenging the Black Queen, in lieu of 38 Rc8 against Caruana in round 10…

phamlore: What could Lenderman do? He needed a win today, and he never had a position where a win for Black was that doable?
ArcticStones: Lenderman has had an impressive tournament, imho.
jphamlore: Lenderman tried at least. It’s just his opponent played a decent game himself.
Terugloper: @Arctic –> Could be, but Imho your commentaries during this tournament are way more impressive
ArcticStones: You jest. Commenters such as jphamlore know far more about chess than I do!
Terugloper: Lol!!!
ArcticStones: I’m serious.
KJBellevue: The evaluation here is totally wrong
Terugloper: Why?
KJBellevue: Tablebase clearly indicates a draw
Terugloper: I see
Terugloper: So 74. … Kh2 was an acceptable move?
KJBellevue: Yes, still drawn
Terugloper: Okay
Terugloper: Long Live Lenderman, folks!
Terugloper: I would play 78. Kc6 to have square d6 available for possible Q-trades
KJBellevue: But Black can still check on the white squares
Terugloper: Yes
Terugloper: Lenderman know his stuff
Terugloper: *knows
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony on white squares
jphamlore: Lenderman the king of instructional endgames this event.
Terugloper: Yeah – Endgame King Lenderman
Terugloper: But still I give all of you the following strict advice –> Don’t try this at home
Terugloper: Lenderman feeling so comfortable now that he attacks on the black squares now
KJBellevue: He knows this ending well
jphamlore: Unfortunately, even if White touched the wrong piece, I’m not sure Lenderman has any way to win this.
Terugloper: Lenderman – The living table base on two legs
I_LUV_U: a table base is three or four legs
Terugloper: Why not five legs?
Terugloper: You met one in the subway?
mrlondon: What the record for most number of checks in a game?
Terugloper: Good question – I will ask Tim Krabbé
Terugloper: In the 200-move game Wegner – Johnsen, Gausdal 1991 a total of 141 checks were given, of which 98 by White alone.
mrlondon: Interesting. Thanks!
mrlondon: It’s not going to happen here.
Terugloper: Yep
Terugloper: Just 10 moves to go now for 50-rule move draw claim
Terugloper: 5 moves
Terugloper: Minus 2 moves
KJBellevue: 🙂
Terugloper: Bellevue! My main man!!!
Rhinegold: eval also indicates draw, noob, lol

The coverage was excellent even though Jennifer Shahade

PokerStars Ambassadors Jennifer Shahade & Keith Becker ...

was missing. She does bring a terrific smile and is the perfect foil to the understated Yasser Seirawan as she has occasionally given him perfect opportunities for a SNL moment that Yaz used so effectively with the previous female to accompany him:

One of my favorite features was the “Parkside Chats” between Yaz and Maurice. Although they are all good, the one that follows is my favorite because I worked at a Chess Club:

The next one is great in a historical sense as the guys discuss what it was like ‘back in the day’ when Bobby Fischer put the Royal game on the front page of every newspaper and every broadcast of the nightly new on television. After watching these videos I realized how much laughter has been missing in the pandemic era. Sometimes one really does need to laugh to keep from crying…

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Chess Presentation | Parkside Chat

I urge you to take a few more minutes to watch this video which is an interview with one of the top players of the game of Scrabble in the world, who lives near the St Louis Chess Campus. You can thank me for bringing it to your attention by leaving a comment:

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Chris Lipe Interview | Round 9

Pusillanimous Play at the 2021 US Women’s Chess Championship

We begin with the following position:

Draw by repetition

The last move played was 34 Kh3-g2. White has the better position. I know this, you know this, and every Chess player who has made it to class ‘B’ knows this, and possibly every player who has made it to class ‘C’ and no longer plays the Queen’s Raid knows this fact. If you are teaching the Royal game to a neophyte it could be explained by beginning with the fact that white has more space. In addition, each and every white piece is better placed than each black counterpart. Then there is the fact that the white Queen and Rook are working together whereas the black Queen and Rook are separated while being tied down to the defense of the weak a-pawn. Even the white King is better placed than its counterpart. Even after suffering a brain cramp the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen
Norway’s Magnus Carlsen Retains World Chess Title | Voice …

would win this position 99 44/100 percent of the time against the other nine elite players in the top ten. The decision to repeat the position three times, thereby forcing the game to end in a draw was one of the most pusillanimous ever made considering it came in the third round of the 2021 US Women’s Chess Championship, played Friday, October 8, 2021.

Lee, Megan (USA) – Yip, Carissa (USA)

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 03

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 Nf6 7. d4 e6 8. Qe2 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Be3 Be7 12. Ne1 f5 13. f3 Ng5 14. Nd3 O-O 15. Nd2 Nf7 16. Rfc1 b6 17. a3 a5 18. Rc3 Rfc8 19. Rac1 Nfd8 20. g4 fxg4 21. fxg4 Nf7 22. Nf3 Bd8 23. Kg2 Na7 24. h4 Rxc3 25. Rxc3 Nc6 26. Nf4 Ne7 27. Nd3 a4 28. Qc2 Qb5 29. Nf4 Qd7 30. Nd3 Rb8 31. Kh3 Qe8 32. Nf4 Qd7 33. Nd3 Ra8 34. Kg2 ½-½

The Stockfish program at ChessBomb shows white with an advantage of 1.41. This can be found at Chess24:

1.53 White is much better Stockfish 14 | Cloud | Depth: 22 |

At FollowChess we find the ratings of the players and the available time left to each player so you can see the lack of time was not a factor:

Lee, Megan 2211 00:16:55 v Yip, Carissa 00:26:07 2402

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 Nf6 7. d4 e6 8. Qe2 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Be3 Be7 12. Ne1 f5 13. f3 Ng5 14. Nd3 O-O 15. Nd2 Nf7 16. Rfc1 b6 17. a3 a5 18. Rc3 Rfc8 19. Rac1 Nfd8 20. g4 fxg4 21. fxg4 Nf7 22. Nf3 Bd8 23. Kg2 Na7 24. h4 Rxc3 25. Rxc3 Nc6 26. Nf4 Ne7 27. Nd3 a4 28. Qc2 Qb5 29. Nf4 Qd7 30. Nd3 Rb8 31. Kh3 Qe8 32. Nf4 Qd7 33. Nd3 Ra8 34. Kg2 1/2-1/2!us-championship-w-2021/999510158

Carissa Yip

is higher rated by almost 200 points, and is one of the favorites to win the tournament. Knowing little about Megan Lee I went to the website of the US Championships to find this:

“Megan Lee is a chess Woman International Master. She completed her BFA in Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design with a minor in Art History. Most recently, she won the 2020 Washington State Championships and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. Other highlights include winning the 2013 North American Youth U18 Girls Championship and the 2009 Kasparov All-Girls Nationals Championship. Outside of chess, Megan runs two small businesses, an embroidery shop and a lifestyle brand, Snippet Studios. She also enjoys playing board games, skating, clam digging, and making things.” (

I can only speculate as to why Megan Lee let her clam get away… What I can say is that this game vividly illustrates why the three time repetition rule MUST BE ABOLISHED! It is terribly sad that any Chess player must be forced to attempt winning a game when having a huge advantage, but something, anything, must be done to at least mitigate the slow death by draw that is plaguing the Royal Game. There is no three time repetition rule in the game of Wei Chi, or Go, as it is called in the West, which is the main, or at least one of the major reasons Go is a better game than is Chess. Go is played to WIN. A draw in Go is anathema, as it should be in Chess. Any Chess player repeating the position for the third time should LOSE THE GAME! Period. What makes this even worse is that during the game Anna Sharevich

versus Irina Krush

played the previous day in the second round, after Irina lost her mind in a completely won position and blundered horribly when playing 66…Bf7, the two players battled until each had only a Rook and pawn left on the board. Then they shook hands, agreeing to a draw, but because of the rules in force during the tournament the women were forced to sit there and play many moves until finally finding a position in which a three fold repetition could be played, thus ending the game which should have ended long earlier. This is ridiculous to the point of absurdity. To be taken seriously in the world of games and ideas Chess needs to get its act together.

Chess Websites

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

This screenshot was taken from the USCF website a moment ago (

There are still no last round games posted…

The disgruntled one excoriated the AW for not finding the games at lichess ( I will admit to missing the notification in the article by Alexy Root,
Family Chess Challenge in Denton with WIM Dr. Alexey Root …

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

Yesterday while watching the coverage of the Sinquefield Cup

I noticed GM Maurice Ashley

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

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

From the look of Chessdom ( another one has bitten the dust.

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

Pushing Chess To The Limit

The post today features two games from the ongoing Charlotte Chess Center GM/IM Norm invitational. The first game is between IM Alexander Matros (2371) from Kazakhstan, the top rated player in the IM tournament, and FM Doug Eckert (2165) of the USA. The 2165 rating is his FIDE rating, which is only Expert level. His USCF rating is 2258, which is above the Master line. The question is why are there two different ratings? Certainly Doug, who is eligible for the US Senior, would like to come out of this tournament with his FIDE rating over 2200. Mr. Eckert is on the board of the St. Louis Chess Club, as one learns in the following video:

2016 Sinquefield Cup: GM Maurice Ashley with FM Doug Eckert

IM Alexander Matros (2371)

vs FM Doug Eckert (2165)

Charlotte CLT IM 2021 round 02

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Qa4+ Nc6 9. e3 O-O 10. Be2 Be6 11. O-O a6 12. Rfc1 Bd6 13. Qd1 Ne7 14. Na4 Rad8 15. Nc5 Bc8 16. b4 g5 17. g3
Black to move

I chose this game because of this position. Back in the day I was very fond of pushing the pawns in front of my king in order to attack. When IM of GM strength Boris Kogan

would see this when going over one of my games he would invariably groan. “Mike,” he would begin, “why you do this?” I would reply, “Mikhail Tal does this.” Boris would immediately return fire with, “You not Tal!”

Because of this I know more than a little something about this kind of position. In an analogous position I once played my knight to g6. “Why Mike?” Boris asked, “where knight go?” He had a point. Nevertheless I answered, “Because the knight plugs a hole on g6 and supports moving the h-pawn, Boris.” At that point Boris howled with laughter (if nothing else going over my games did cause the Hulk to laugh…), before repeating, “Plug hole,” with more laughter following…After gathering himself Boris explained that the best move in this position would be to go ahead and play 17…h5. “If you are going to attack, ATTACK!” Boris then patiently explained that since white had moved the g-pawn in front of his king, the attack with the h-pawn would be appropriate. This is why when teaching the Royal game to neophytes I will remember Boris every time I say, “There is a rule about not moving the pawns in front of your king.” Back to the game…what move did Doug choose?

17…Nf5? (and it was all down hill from here…) 18. Nd2 Rfe8 19. a4 Qe7 20. Nf1 Ng7 21. b5 a5 22. Ra2 Ne6 23. Nd3 Bd7 24. Bf3 c6 25. bxc6 Bxc6 26. Nd2 Qd7 27. Bg4 Rf8 28. Bf5 Qe7 29. Nb3 Ng7 30. Bh3 Ra8 31. Qd2 Bb4 32. Nxb4 Qxb4 33. Qxb4 axb4 34. a5 Bb5 35. Bf1 Bxf1 36. Kxf1 Ne6 37. Ra4 b6 38. a6 Ra7 39. Rc6 Rb8 40. Kg2 Kf8 41. Rxb4 Rxa6 42. Nc5 1-0 (

The next game again features IM Matros, who sits behind the black army this time. His opponent is Dominique Myers,

a USCF National Master from the Great State of North Carolina, with a USCF rating of only 2182 that has fallen below the minimum number needed to become a Master, 2200. Mr. Myers FIDE rating is only 1985, so you know Dominique, the lowest rated player in the field, was hoping to at least boost his rating(s) at least somewhat. On with the game, and what a game it was! This game was a real “barn burner” as is often heard in the South. There are more twists and turns than Chubby Checker’s famous song, “The Twist.”

This game reminds me of some of the boxing matches seen, and participated in, “back in the day,” with shot followed by return shot and blow was followed by return blow, as was the case when in the final year of high school word went around that there was going to be a “fight at the football field.” Mike Chennault and Robert White put on a display, trading licks and swapping blows that would have made Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier proud!

The fight culminated with both exhausted combatants landing simultaneous right hands to the head and they both went DOWN! Then they became friends. Today a gun would’ve been pulled, with one dead and the other in prison for decades…
Which reminds me of how disappointed was the man from the High Planes, NM David Vest, a true horse lover, when I was asked at the House of Pain, “What are the six most famous words in sports?” Expecting, “And down the stretch they come,” Dave was crushed to hear me say the words famously spoken by Howard Cosell, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!” You get my drift; it was that kind of game!

NM Dominique Myers (1985) vs IM Alexander Matros (2371)

Charlotte CLT IM 2021 round 3

ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation

e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 (SF 13 @ depth 61 plays this move; SF 12 @depth 50 plays the most often played move, 5…Nf6) 6. Ne2 (SF 13 @ depth 41 plays 6.h3) 6…e6 (Two out of the three SF programs play the most often played move, 6…Bg4; the other plays the seldom played 6…e5) 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. O-O Nf6 10. Nd2 O-O (SF plays 10…e5. See Bersamina vs Antonio Jr. below) 11. Ng3 (TN) Bd7 12. f4 g6 13. Kh1 Rad8 14. Qf3 Ne8 15. Rae1 f5 16. Re3 Nf6 17. Qe2 Kh8 18. Kg1 Ne4 19. Nh1? (Nimzovich style!?) 19…Ne7? (This moved is even more red at the Bomb than his opponent’s move!) 20. Rh3 Ng8 21. Nf3 Qxf4 22. Ne5 Qg5 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. Rf4? (This move again made me think of Boris when I showed him a move like this one. “What? You think he not see cheap tactical trick?” Boris asked. Then he laughed uproariously when I answered, “He didn’t!”) 24…Kg7 25. Qe3 Nf6 26. c4 Nh5? (Another blood red move over at the Bomb, with good reason. There is not a Chess teacher who has not informed his student(s), that a “Knight on the rim is grim, or dim, or sometimes both!” The IM was cruising, but let one hand offa the rope momentarily, but still has the game in hand. Unfortunately for him, he now proceeds to loose some of his grip on the rope with that one hand until…) 27. Rxe4 Qxe3+ 28. Rexe3 Bc8 29. Rh4 f4 30. Rd3 Rf5 (The game according to the SF program at the Bomb, is even…It’s anybody’s Chess game now!) 31. Nf2 b6 32. Rhh3 Bb7 33. Rd1 Rg5 (Now white has an advantage! I was following this game in real time over at so as to watch the game without analysis and remember thinking, “Go Dominique!” David Spinks was known for saying, “you gotta pull for SOMEBODY!”) 34. Nf3 (Back to even) 34…Ra5 35. a3 Rf5 36. Ne5 Rg5 37. Nf3 Rf5 38. Nh4 Rf7 39. Rhd3 Rc7 40. b3 Rcd7 41. Ng4 g5 42. Nf3 h6? (Redder than red! This is a potentially losing move…) 43. Nge5? (The wrong Knight! Back to even…) 43…Rd6 44. b4 Nf6 45. h3 Ne4 46. a4 Ng3 47. c5 Bxf3 48. Nxf3 bxc5 49. bxc5 Ra6 50. Re1 Kf6 51. Ra1? (Advantage swings back to black…)51…h5 52. a5 Kf5 53. Ra2 Ne4 54. Ne5 Rd5? (A terrible move! Black goes from winning to losing with this move!) 55. g4+ hxg4 56. hxg4+ Kf6 57. Ra4??? (Oh no, Mr. Bill! This is what GM Yasser Seriwan would most definitely call a “howler.” Passed pawns MUST be pushed, and a Rook belongs BEHIND a passed pawn are well known endgame mantras) 57…Nxc5 58. dxc5 Rxe5 59. Rc3 Rc6 60. Rac4 Re2 61. Rd3 Ra2 62. Rd6 Rxd6 63. cxd6 Rxa5 64. Rd4 Rd5 65. Ra4 a5 66. Kf2 e5 67. Kf3 Ke6 68. Ra1 Kxd6 69. Rh1 Rd4 70. Rh6+ Kc5 71. Re6 e4+ 72. Ke2 e3 0-1 (

Paulo Bersamina (2378) vs Rogelio Antonio Jr (2474)
Event: ch-PHI 2016
Site: Manila PHI Date: 06/22/2016
Round: 4
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.O-O Nf6 10.Nd2 e5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Bb5+ Nc6 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.Ne3 Be6 15.Nd4 O-O 16.Bd3 Nxd4 17.cxd4 Qb6 18.Rb1 Rfd8 19.f3 g6 20.Bc2 Bd7 21.Bb3 Bb5 22.Re1 Bc4 23.Bxc4 dxc4 24.Nxc4 Qxd4+ 25.Qxd4 Rxd4 26.Na5 Rd5 27.Nb3 a5 28.Rbd1 a4 29.Rxd5 Nxd5 30.Nc5 a3 31.bxa3 b6 32.Re5 Nf4 33.Nd7 Rxa3 34.g3 Ne6 35.Nxb6 Rxa2 36.Rd5 h6 37.f4 h5 38.Nc4 h4 39.Rd2 ½-½

This game is included for historical purposes as it was played in the wonderful mountain city of Hendersonville, a place I once called home earlier this century. David Rupel is from the great Northwest and played “fast and loose” when moving his f-pawn early in the game, which must have flummoxed his opponent.

Alan Kobernat (2101) vs David Rupel (2138)
Event: US Masters op
Site: Hendersonville, NC
Date: 03/18/2006
Round: 6
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.O-O f5 10.Re1 Nf6 11.Nd2 O-O 12.Nf3 Ne4 13.Ng3 Bd7 14.Ne5 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Qb6 16.Re2 Nc5 17.Rc2 Be8 18.Bf1 f4 19.Ne2 Bg6 20.Rd2 Ne4 21.Rd4 f3 0-1

I hope you enjoy this game as much as did I. Surf on over to ChessBomb and click through it yourself if you want analysis. If you would prefer to view the game and cogitate for yourself, head to Chessstream ( I applaud both players, with extra emphasis going to Mr. Myers, who had his chances. I would rather PLAY, and lose, every game played in a tournament if they included chances to win than to meekly acquiesce an early draw any day. A game like this is why I play, and follow, Chess. Sure, it’s tough to lose, but there’s nothing like having your blood boiling while sitting at the board racking your brain in a vain attempt at finding the right move. So what if you’re completely drained and devoid of life after such a game. At least you FEEL SOMETHING, unlike those wussies who continue making short draw after short draw and leave devoid of any feeling whatsoever. THIS GAME IS WHAT CHESS SHOULD BE ABOUT! OK, you lost, but you have a GAME to study; you have a chance to improve; something from which to learn. What do those weak and worthless players who agree to a quick draws learn? My hat is off to Dominigue ‘My Man’ Myers! He pushed it to the limit versus the top rated player in the field.

Dedicated to Duan Watson

The Rest Of The Story

Kudos to Walter High for finding the answer to this conundrum!

From: Walter High

Walter High with his organiser ‘hat’ on | Photo: Davide Nastasio

To: Michael Bacon

Jan 19 at 9:14 PM

Hello Michael,

I believe I have solved the confusion about the questionable Paul/Zapata game in round 9. First a correction for GM Zapata: he identified the tournament as the 2020 NC Open when, in fact, it was the 2020 Charlotte Open. The 2020 NC Open will take place in August! Now, on to the problem of the mysterious game score which is denied by GM Zapata. When I began to review the game that ChessBomb posted for Paul/Zapata game (based on the DGT board record), it bore absolutely no resemblance to the game that GM Zapata has submitted to you. It clearly is not a matter of an error in score-keeping or a DGT board mis-recording of the moves. They are completely different games.

I went back and looked at the board next to Paul/Zapata which was Grant Xu/Christopher Yoo. Lo and behold: that game also matched move for move the game that ChessBomb used for Paul/Zapata. It appears that somehow the Xu/Yoo game got pasted on top of the Paul/Zapata game, thus erasing the true game score of Paul/Zapata and moves for the Xu/Yoo game were used as the DGT record for both matches. I am copying Peter Giannatos, Grant Oen, and Anand Dommalapati who were operating the DGT boards. They can follow your link below and see the true game score as submitted by GM Zapata. Maybe they can paste it into the results, or possibly Paul/Zapata will just have to be deleted from the DGT record. I don’t know how these things work. Note to Giannatos, Oen, Dommalapati: I found the DGT board score for Paul/Zapata on Chessstream.

Walter High

Boomer 1 Zero 0

The title of this post was considered, but rejected,  for use with the previous post. After posting I sent an email to the subject of the post, GM Alsonso Zapata. His reply shocked me:

From: Alonso Zapata
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 17 at 8:15 PM

Dear Michael Bacon.

Thanks for your kind article! Although my game against Justin Paul is wrong – at the NC Open in Charlotte-. You will find attached (in ChessBase format) the real game I played.

Warm regards,

Alonso Zapata

WHAT?! I took the game from the ChessBomb, usually a reliable source of Chess games. (

How could this happen?

Then another email was received from a regular reader, an older gentleman of distinction, in which he wrote:

“I do not understand your reference to his opponent, 16 year old Justin Paul, as Zero. I am assuming this is derogatory. Is there a reason to disparage him thusly?”

Oh Boy! It was my turn to “assume” and you know what happens when one decides to “ass-u-me.” I assumed everyone would think of Time’s person of the year, Greta Thunberg,

and her replying to an older person with, “OK, Boomer.” My reply explained this and in return came this:

“Thank you for the clarification! Although I was aware of the young lady and her cause, I did not follow any of it in detail, thus missing the reference to those born in this century as “zeros.” I find most news these days not worthy of more than fleeting attention. That is why I thought calling someone a zero was a disparaging remark as I suppose it would have been 20 years ago. I appreciate your time in helping me edge toward the 21st century!!”

We Boomers obviously need all the help we can get…

This morning I opened my email and read this one first:

From: Walter High
To: Michael Bacon
Jan 18 at 9:06 PM.


I believe I have discovered where the ChessBomb game record originated. I have just played through the game as it was recorded by the DGT board that was in use. It matches the ChessBomb record of the game. If GM Zapata has a different game score, then somehow either the DGT board recording of the moves is incorrect or his scorekeeping is incorrect.
Not sure what happens with the DGT if they make a mistake and have to take back moves or change the location of pieces during the game.


I am still attempting to ascertain exactly what happened, and why, and so are other people. If anyone reading this works with ChessBomb, or knows someone, anyone, who is affiliated with ChessBomb, please inform them of this. With the above in mind, here is the actual game played in the final round sent by GM Zapata:

Paul v Zapata

2020 NC Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 Rf6 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.cxb5 b6 25. Bc4+ Kh8 26. Bd5 Rb8 27.Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4 axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.Rc8 Nd4 40. Bd5 Rd7 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5 45. Rf8 e3+ 46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

This is how it looks in Chessbase form:

[Event “2020 NC Open”]
[Site “Charlotte”]
[Date “2020.01.05”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Paul, Justin “]
[Black “Zapata, Alonso”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B21”]
[Annotator “Zapata,Alonso”]
[PlyCount “92”]
[EventDate “2020.??.??”]
[EventCountry “USA”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8.
Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. Rab1 Nd7 14. Be3 a4 (
14… Nc5 15. Rfd1 Be5 16. b3 e6 17. Bd4 Qb6 18. Kh1 Rfd8 19. a3 Qc7 20. b4
axb4 21. axb4 Na4 22. Bxe5 dxe5 23. Qe3 Nxc3 24. Qxc3 Ra2 25. Bf1 Rxd1 26. Rxd1
b6 27. Qd3 Ba4 28. Qd8+ Qxd8 29. Rxd8+ Kg7 30. Ra8 Kf6 31. Kg1 Bb3 32. Rxa2
Bxa2 33. Kf2 Bb3 34. Ke3 Ke7 35. Kd2 Kd6 36. h4 {1/2-1/2 (36) Sumets,A (2568)
-Vorobiov,E (2547) Nova Gorica 2018}) 15. Rfc1 Nc5 16. Bf1 f5 $2 $146 (16…
Re8 17. Rc2 e5 18. Rd1 Bf8 19. Nd5 Bg7 20. Bg5 f6 21. Be3 Ne6 22. Nb6 Rb8 23.
Qxd6 Qxd6 24. Rxd6 f5 25. c5 Nd4 26. Rd2 fxe4 27. fxe4 Bf8 28. Bc4+ Kh8 29.
R2xd4 Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Bxe4 31. Bg5 h5 32. Bf6+ Kh7 33. Rd7+ Kh6 34. h4 g5 35.
Bxg5+ Kg6 36. Bf7+ Kf5 37. Bxe8 Rxe8 38. Nc4 {1-0 (38) Larrea,M (2274)
-Saralegui Cassan,M (2111) Montevideo 2017}) (16… Qa5 17. Kh1 (17. b4 axb3
18. axb3 Qa3 $11) 17… Rfe8 $11) 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. Re1 e5 (19…
e6 20. Nf4 e5 21. Nd5 (21. Nh5 f4 22. Bxc5 (22. Bf2 Bh8 23. Rbd1 Rd7 (23… Qg5
24. Ng3 Rd7 $11)) 22… dxc5 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Nxg7 Rxg7 25. Rbd1 Re8 $11) (
21. Bxc5 dxc5 22. Nd5 Qh4 $132) 21… e4 $132 22. f4 Qf8 23. Red1 $14) 20. Rbd1
Qa5 21. Nc3 (21. Ne7+ Rxe7 22. Qxd6 Ree8 23. Qxc5 Qxc5 24. Bxc5 e4 25. fxe4
Bxe4 26. b4 axb3 27. axb3 Bc3 28. Re3 Be5 $14) 21… Rf6 $2 (21… a3 $1 22. b3
e4 23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Qxa5 Rxa5 25. b4 Bc3 26. bxa5 exf3 27. gxf3 Bxa5 28. Rxd6
Bxe1 29. Rd8+ Kg7 30. Bxc5 Rf5 31. Bd4+ Kf7 $11) 22. Nb5 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 Bxb5 24.
cxb5 b6 (24… Rc8) (24… Bh6 25. Bxh6 Rxh6 26. Red1 Rd8 27. Rd5 $16) 25. Bc4+
Kh8 26. Bd5 (26. Bxc5 dxc5 (26… bxc5 27. Red1 Bf8 28. Rd3 $16)) 26… Rb8 27.
Rc1 Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rxh6 29. Bc6 Rd8 30. Rd5 Re6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Rc3 Kf6 33. b4
axb3 34. axb3 Re7 $11 35. f4 Ne6 36. fxe5+ dxe5 37. Rxd8 Nxd8 38. Ba8 Ne6 39.
Rc8 Nd4 (39… e4) 40. Bd5 Rd7 (40… e4 41. Rb8 e3 42. Rxb6+ Kg5 43. Ke1 Nc2+
44. Ke2 Nd4+ 45. Ke1 Re5 $14) 41. Bc4 e4 42. Kf2 f4 43. Rf8+ Kg5 44. Rg8+ Kh5
45. Rf8 (45. Be2+ Kh6 46. Rb8 e3+ 47. Kf1 Kg5 48. Rg8+ Kf6 49. Rf8+ Ke5 50.
Re8+ Kd6 51. Re4 Kc5 52. Rxf4 Ra7 53. b4+ Kd5 54. Bf3+ Kc4 $19) 45… e3+ $19
46. Kf1 Ra7 0-1

That is…











GM Alonso Zapata: Professional Chess Player

Grandmaster Alonso Zapata 

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

of American Chess Promotions that has become known as one of the latest “Sweat Box Opens.” There was no air conditioning and the conditions were life threatening, but Zapata played, and won the tournament despite the heat and stench emanating from the profusely perspiring players. (

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.

2020 Charlotte Open

FM (2249) Justin Paul vs GM Alonso Zapata (2535)

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O a6 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 14. Rac1 Rc8

15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nb8 17. b4 Nbd7 18. Be3 Ne4 19. Nd2 Nxd2 20. Qxd2 f5 21. f4 Bf6 22. Bb3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 exf4 24. Bxf4 Be5 25. Bg5 Qb6+ 26. Kh1

h6? (26…Nf6) 27. Be3 Qd8 28. Bc2 Qh4 29. Rf1 Qg3 30. Bg1 f4 31. Rf3 Qg5 32. Qd3 Nf6 33. Bf2 Qh5 34. Qf5 Kh8 35. Be1 Qxf5 36. Bxf5 g5 37. Rb3 b5 38. Be6 Ne8 39. Bc8 Nc7 40. Bb7 Kg7 41. Bf2 Re8 42. Kg1 Kf6 43. Rb1 Re7 44. Bb6 Ne6 45. Bxa6 Bd4+ 46. Kf1 Bxb6 47. dxe6 Ra7 48. Bxb5 Rxa2 49. Be2 Rc2 50. Bf3 Kxe6 51. b5 Kd7 52. Bc6+ Kc7 53. Re1 Rf2+ 54. Kg1

54…Be3? (54…d5! )55. Kh2 Rd2 56. Bf3 Kb6 57. Re2 Rd4 58. Rb2 d5 59. h4 Rd3 60. hxg5 hxg5 61. Ra2

61…Bc5? (61…d4) 62. Ra8 Kc7 63. Rg8 Be7 64. Rg7 Kd6 65. b6 Rb3 66. Bxd5=

Kxd5 67. Rxe7 Rxb6 68. Rg7 Rh6+ 69. Kg1 Rh5 70. g4 Rh3 71. Rxg5+ Ke4 72. Ra5 Rb3 73. Kf2 Rb2+ 74. Kf1 f3

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)

Emmanuel Senador (2380) vs Ryosuke Nanjo (2165)

Kuala Lumpur op 4th 2007

ECO: B21 Sicilian, Smith-Morra gambit, 2…cxd4 3.c3

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.Rd1 Bd7 10.Bf4 e5 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 O-O 13.Bg5 Rc8 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 Be6 16.Rac1 Bg5 17.Rc3 Bh6 18.a3 b5 19.Ba2 Ne7 20.Rxc8 Bxc8 21.Nc3 Qb6 22.Qd3 Nc6 23.Nd5 Qb8 24.g4 g6 25.Nf6+ Kh8 26.g5 Bg7 27.Qxd6 Qa8 28.Bd5 Bb7 29.Nd7 Rd8 30.Bxc6 Bxc6 31.Nfxe5 Bxd7 32.Nxf7+ Kg8 33.Nxd8 Qxd8 34.Qxd7 Qxg5+ 35.Kh1 Bxb2 36.Qe8+ Kg7 37.Rd7+ Kh6 38.Qf8+ 1-0