A disgruntled reader took exception to the post, USCF Drops Set & Clock (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/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:
The disgruntled one excoriated the AW for not finding the games at lichess (https://lichess.org/). I will admit to missing the notification in the article by Alexy 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,
The same screen has been up since the conclusion of the TCEC (https://tcec-chess.com/) match, won convincingly by Stockfish over LcZero. Although I visit most every Chess website the surfing begins with The Week In Chess (https://theweekinchess.com/), moving to Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), then on over to Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en), and when there is Chess action, I go to the ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/), 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. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1981-karpov-korchnoi) I am still enjoying replaying the Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1972-spassky-fischer) Although I like the darker background found at Chess.com I agree with a gentleman with children who said, “Chess.com 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.
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:
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?
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 http://chessstream.com/invitational/ 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 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-im/03-Myers_Dominique-Matros_Alexander)
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.
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 (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Games.aspx). 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.
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.
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:
is a professional Chess player. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago, coming from Columbia, where he won the Colombian Chess championship eight times. He has been a GM since 1984. He was born in August 1958 and is, therefore a Senior. Alonso Zapata comes to play Chess.
He has played in all kinds of adverse conditions, including one tournament hosted by Thad Rogers
GM Zapata reminds me of IM of GM strength Boris Kogan because he, too, was a professional Chess player. The few times Boris lost in the first round of a tournament he did not withdraw but completed the event, finishing 4-1. He did this because it was his job and he always came to play Chess.
From December 27 through 29, 2019, GM Zapata played in the 49th Atlanta Open, another American Chess Promotions event. He tied for first with NM Matthew Puckett with a score of 4-1, after a second round draw with the up and coming NM Alexander Rutten and a fourth round draw with NM Sanjay Ghatti.
GM Zapata then hit the road traveling to the Charlotte Chess Center to play in the 2020 Charlotte Open, a grueling event of nine rounds played over a five day period from the first to the fifth of January. Because of his age one can question the efficacy of participating in both tournaments. Zapata played in both events because he is a professional Chess player. It is what he is and it is what he does. The GM won five games. Unfortunately, he lost four. There were no draws. He finished in the fifth score group, scoring 5-4. Zapata began with two wins before losing in the third round to the eventual winner of the tournament, IM Brandon Jacobson, young enough to be the grandchild of the GM. One of the most difficult things to do as a Chess player is to come back from a loss. Studies have proven that after the loss of a Chess game the testosterone of a male drops precipitously. This is mitigated somewhat if the next game is the next day, but if there are multiple games in the same day it is a different story. I can recall the time the Ol’ Swindler had been on a roll, winning many games in a row from the beginning of a tournament in New York, ‘back in the day’. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I encountered the Swindler sitting alone away from the tournament, and were shocked to learn he had lost the previous round and withdrawn. “What?” exclaimed the Ironman. “You still have a chance to win some big money, Neal.” That mattered not to the Swindler because he had lost and simply could not face playing another game that day, or any other, for that matter.
After another win in the next round, versus FM Rohan Talukdar, Zapata the Chess player hit the proverbial wall, losing his next three games. Most Chess players, professional or not, would have withdrawn after the third loss in a row, and no one would have blamed him for withdrawing, but Alonso Zapata is not like most Chess players. Not only did he complete the event but he finished with a flourish by winning his last two games.
My hat is off to Grandmaster Alonso Zapata, who deserves the highest praise. The GM has set a tremendous example for the younger players of Georgia to emulate. The Atlanta area players have been fortunate to have such a fine example residing here and plying his trade. The young up and coming players may not realize it now but they will be much better Chessplayers for simply having been around a man like Alonso Zapata. What a boon he has been for the local Chess community. It is wonderful to have one classy Grandmaster in the Atlanta area. Every player, no matter what age, can learn from Alonso Zapata, just as those of my generation, and younger, learned from IM Boris Kogan. The Grandmaster has shown that it is how you play that matters.
This is the last round game versus Justin Paul,
a Zero born in 2003. The Professional Chess player had to face a Smith-Morra gambit.
75. Ra8??? (The Zero cracks and tosses away the draw with this horrible blunder) 75…Kf4 76. Rf8+ Kg3 77. Re8 0-1
1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? Komodo 19 @depth 34 plays the move, but Komodo 13.02 @depth 36 prefers 4…e6. Stockfish 10 @depth 54 plays 4 d6) 5 Nf3 d6 (SF 10 plays this move but Komodo is high on e6, which happens to be the most often played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase) 6 Bc4 e6 (The most often played move and the choice of Stockfish 310519 @depth 53, but SF 10 @depth 53 and Komodo 10 @depth 34 prefer 6…a6) 7. O-O (The most often played move but the SF program running over at the ChessBomb shows a move near and dear to the AW, 7 Qe2!) 7..a6 (7…Nf6 and 7…Be7 are the top two played moves but two different SF engines prefer the third most often played move, 7…a6 8. Qe2! (SF 050519 @depth 46 plays this move but Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays 8 Bf4) 8…Be7 (The only one of the top 3 engines listed at the CBDB, Komodo 10, plays 8…b5. The SF engine at ChessBomb shows 8…Nge7 best) 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 (SF 10 plays 12 Nd5) 12…O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 (The only game with 13 Bg5 shown, Senador vs Nanjo below, shows 13…Rc8. SF 10 would play 13 Rac1)
Take a good look at this position and enough time to chose a move before reading further…Details about the game will follow later.
How did you assess the position?
Let us look at the position from the eyes of a Chess teacher. If a student showed me this game expecting comment I would begin by saying, “This is a dream position for the General of the white pieces for many reasons. White has a preponderance of material on the king side because his two rooks are on the e-file whereas the two black rooks are on the queen side. In addition, the bishop on d3 is exerting pressure on the black king side, specifically the g6 pawn. The white queen is working in coordination with the black squared bishop, which is ready to move into enemy territory. Take the two black squared bishops off of the board and replace the white bishop with the queen on f4, for example, and you will see the entire white army is either on the king side, or exerting force toward the king side, which is where the king resides in this position. The entire white army is opposed by a lone, lonely knight of f6. Therefore the natural move for white would be Bh6.”
I chose this position because I happened to be watching the game in progress. The game was played in the third round of the recently completed Charlotte Open, which began on the first day of the new year and ended January 5, 2020. Atlanta area player FM Benjamin Moon
was in charge of the white pieces. His opponent was GM Ulvi Ilqar Oglu Bajarani,
from Azerbaijan. These are the moves that brought us to the position:
1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 c5 3 e3 Nc6 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Be2 cxd4 6 exd4 g6 7 c3 Bg7 8 O-O O-O 9 Nbd2 Bg4 10 h3 Bxf3 11 Nxf3 a6 12 Re1 e6 13 Bd3 Nd7 14 Qd2 Re8 15 Re2 b5 16 a3 Qb6 17 Rae1 a5 18 h4 Nf6 19 Nh2 b4 20 g4 Rec8 21 h5 bxc3 22 bxc3 a4. According to ChessBomb the last move was a mistake. When the white move 23 appeared on the board I thought there had been some kind of transmission problem because it was so UGLY! Ben played 23 Re3?
I could not help but wonder if Ben had developed a case of Grandmasteritis. It often happens that players, for whatever reason, do not play up to their usual level when sitting across from a titled player. After the move 23…Na5 appeared on the board I realized Ben had, in fact, blundered horribly by playing one of the most ugly moves ever played on a chess board. I have no idea what was in Ben’s mind upon playing such a weak move, but maybe he wanted to move the ugly rook on e3 to h3?! The Stockfish program at the ChessBomb gives this variation as an improvement: 23. Bh6 Qb3 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Qf4 h6 26. Bxg6 Qb8 27. Qf3 Qc7 28. Bd3 Rh8 29. Rxe6 fxe6 30. Rxe6 Qf7 31. Rxc6 Rac8 32. Ra6 Rhe8 33. Qf5 Rxc3.
(My first thought upon seeing this move was, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Former President of the Georgia Chess Association, and many other state organizations, not to mention USCF mover and shaker, Don Schultz,
Testing the New Polgar Chess Clock – Front: Anatoly Karpov and Susan Polgar – Back: Karpov Chess School President Marck Cobb, Vice-President and Secretary Irwin “Wes” Fisk, USCF Vice-President Don Schultz, U.S. Chess Trust Director Barbara DuMaro and USCF Vice-President Joel Channing
played 1 a3 against me in a tournament game, and lost. After the game Don informed he decided to play the move because, “I’ve played everything else against you, so why not?” Why not, indeed. Don and I played many 15 minute games ‘back in the day’ and, for some reason, I seemed to have Don’s number. We were both class A players who had crossed the 2000 threshold. SF 270919 @depth 50 plays 1…c5, as does Komodo 13.2 @depth 44. There are only two games with 1…f5 at the CBDB. After mentioning the first two opening moves to the Legendary Georgia Ironman he said, “I guess it stops e4.”) 2. e4 fxe4 3. d3 e3
(This move caused me to think of the poplar saying, “Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check.” The move is also a “bright Red move. The thought of something a local Chess teacher mentioned about the early Qh5+ move occurred. He said a new boy had come to one of his groups and was beating all the local players with, you guessed it, 2 Qh5. “He was one of Steve’s boys.” “Steve” being Steve Schneider, the owner of Championship Chess, whom I have written about previously. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/the-world-of-championship-chess/) Upon completion of laugh the tale continued with my asking, “I thought you taught these kids how to defend against the Queen’s Raid.” His response was, “Evidently not enough.” This time I, as we say down South, busted a gut laughing! After gathering myself I said, “It looks like with someone who not only teaches the Queen’s Raid, but owns a company that goes into schools and teaches nothing but the Queen’s Raid, everyone in the state would teach their spuds how to defend against the Queen’s Raid.” He nodded in agreement… 4 Bxe3 looks like a good enough move) 4…g6 5. Qe5? (One of the possible legal moves in this position is 5 Qe2. Just sayin’…) 5…exf2+ 6. Kxf2 Nf6 7. Nc3?
Kosteniuk is rated 2495; Koneru 2560. Both players are clearly at least one category below male Grandmasters, and two categories below what are now called “Super Grandmasters.” Yet because they were born female they are battling for big, in Chess terms, money. That is money that should be going to the best players regardless of sexual orientation. Because of rating we know how inferior are women at Chess when compared to men. This begs the question of why women, with only very limited exceptions, such as Hou Yifan,
are inferior to men players.
Kosteniuk (2495) vs Koneru (2560)
FIDE Women’s Grand Prix – Monaco 2019 round 06
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 Be7
(4…d5 is the best move according to both Stockfish and Komodo. The game move is second best. The Stocky shown at the ChessBomb has 4…d5 best, followed by 4…Qc7 and 4…d6) 5 Nc3
(Like Be7, 5 Nc3 is a light blue move. 5 0-0 is the best move) 5…d6 (Komodo 13.2 64-bit @depth 38 at the CBDB likes this move, but going to depth 41 changes it’s whatever and prefers 5…0-0) 6 d4?
(I will admit to being stunned upon seeing this move. It is clearly inferior and I do not need a machine to know this fact. The Stockfish program running at the Bomb shows this move forfeits whatever advantage white had with the first move of the game. Could this have really been Kosteniuk’s opening preparation or was she simply “winging it”? 6 0-0 has been the most often played move but Komodo shows the best move being 6 a4) 6…0-0?
(This is unfathomable. 6…exd4 is the only move. The move played by Humpy is not even shown at the CBDB or 365Chess. There is a reason…)
There is no longer any reason to continue this exercise in futility. It is more than a little obvious one of the reasons women are inferior to men at Chess is their extremely weak opening play. Why women are so weak playing the opening is open to conjecture, but there it is for anyone to see. This game is, unfortunately, not an anomaly.
When it comes to playing Chess it is obvious the top women players are exponentially worse than the top men players, yet women play in separate tournaments with large prize funds because…I have no idea why there are separate tournaments for female players. There should be no tournaments for women only because women should play in OPEN tournaments which are OPEN TO ALL! In that event women would have to elevate their game or battle in the lower sections for a much smaller prize fund. There is not, and has never been, enough prize money in Chess to support inferior players playing for large sums of money which should go to better, and more deserving, Chess players!
Taking time to check out what was happening in the world of Chess found me surfin’ to the ChessBomb, where the Salamanca Chess Festival was on top of the list. The round seven games had been completed. The last game looked interesting because Yifan Hou, with the black pieces, had defeated none other than the man who accelerated the demise of the Royal game when he falsely accused Vladimir Kramnik of cheating, Vladimir Topalov. What made it so interesting is that word on the street had it that Topalov had been cheating in consort with his manager, Silvio Danilov. Topalov once held the title of FIDE world champion, a title with huge import ‘back in the day’. These daze there seems to be a plethora of so-called, “world champions.” What with age groups, each broken down into male and female, and other forms of the formerly Royal game, it would take a calculator to count all of them.
Now any Chess player other than Allen Priest would know it is imperative in this position to keep your queen on the board. The woman played, I kid you not…
41. Qxe5?? A Bomb RED MOVE, if ever there was one…
After taking the queen with 41…fxe5 black is soooooooooooo won.
Hou played 42 Kf1 and I wondered why. Then I noticed she only had eighteen seconds time remaining while her opponent still had over five minutes on his clock. Ponomariov (Did he, too, win some kind of Chess World Championship?), with all the time in the world to win a completely won position produced the move 42…h5?? BIG RED!
And we now have a completely drawn game that any Chess player, other than Allen Priest, could hold with a nano second on the clock.
I will admit it took me some time to learn the above game was a rapid game. Still…
Chess is rapidly (couldn’t help myself) changing, and not for the better. The above game is only a taste of the excrement being provided to the Chess fans of the world. Back in the day any form of speed Chess was considered an exhibition. We marveled when Bobby Fischer decimated the competition, “In April 1970, Bobby scored 19-3 (+17 -1 =4) to win the unofficial “Speed Chess Championship of the World,” which was held in Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia.” (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/03/16/bobbys-blitz-chess/)
That was then and this is now and it is obvious speed kills. Yet, because of the Chess programs Chess has no choice other than to hold the time limit of a game to the human bladder. It is either that or having every player wear a diaper. What, you think I’m kidding? How do you think a NASCAR driver disposes of waste material during a four or five hour race? Needing petrol is not the only reason a driver looks forward to a pit stop.
Back in the day we would play around the clock on Saturday and return for another possibly ten hours, AND WE LIKED IT!
These daze it seems the Chess people in charge are moving toward rawhide Chess. As in “Head ’em up Move ’em out, Rawhide.”
As I was wondering why anyone in their right mind would watch Rawhide Chess the answer was provided today by GM Kevin Spraggett on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess:
“We have all noticed this phenomenon from Day#1 of our very first visit to the tournament hall. A densely packed crowd gathers about a board, and when you investigate you find that one of the players is about to lose.
The expectation is palpable in the spectators’ facial expressions. It does not matter if the players are masters or beginners: the coming ‘execution’ is worth the wait!
It is difficult to explain this phenomenon, I suppose it has to do with human nature. And probably also explains why more people are willing to watch a blitz game than a slow game. A blitz game allows for faster executions!” (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/todays-vintage-chess-humor-16/)
Reading this caused me to recall something former Georgia, and Georgia Senior, Chess Champion David Vest said to me around the turn of the century. “You only watch NASCAR to watch the wrecks.” The retort was, “You only watch the horses because they crash and burn on the track.” I was afraid of the Drifter sending me into the High Planes, but fortunately, he kept it together…
Computer programs have revolutionized opening theory in the game of Go with new books being published with regularity. The same is true for the Royal game but without the new books being published acknowledging how the new moves were obtained. For example:
The impact upon the Royal game has been great but what about the acknowledgement? How extensively have the computer Chess programs changed the way the game is played? Do human players find new moves these daze or do they sit back and let the programs crunch the numbers and use what is found?
1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 O-O O-O 6 b3 (SF 250919 @ depth 46 plays 6 c4, expecting 6…d6 7 Nc3, which is the Leningrad Dutch. The CBDB shows SF 10 @ depth 43 also playing 6 c4, but SF 260819 prefers the move in the game) 6…b6
(Until recently 6…d6, known as the Leningrad Dutch, was invariably played. The CBDB shows 6…d6 having been played in 1100 games. 6…b6 has only been attempted a paltry 22 times. The game move, 6…b6, is the move of Stockfish 021019 @ depth 75; SF 10 @ depth 41 plays 6…Na6 with 7 c4 Rb8 following) 7 c4 Bb7 8 Nc3 e6
(The choice of Stockfish, which is a completely different way to play. IM Boris Kogan played 6 b3 but I cannot recall him ever facing an early b6 and would like to know what the Hulk would have thought of the mirror move. For 8…Na6 see Lemos vs Alvarado Diaz below) 9 Bf4 TN (This move, the choice of Komodo, is not shown at the CBDB or 365Chess. 9 Bb2 has been the most often played move. StockFish 10 plays 9 Rb1 while SF 120919 would play 9 Bg5, neither move has yet been seen in action) 9…a5 10. Rc1 Na6 11. d5 Nc5 12. dxe6 Nxe6 13. Be5 Bh6 14. e3 Ng4 15. Nd5 Nxe5 16. Nxe5 d6 17. Nd3 Rb8 18. a3 Re8 19. b4 axb4 20. axb4 Ng5 21. b5 Bg7 22. N3b4 Ne4 23. Nc6 Bxc6 24. bxc6 Nf6 25. Nc3 Kh8 26. Ra1 Ne4 27. Nxe4 fxe4 28. Ra7 b5 29. cxb5 Rxb5 30. Qa4 Rbe5 31. Bh3 Rf8 32. Bd7 h5 33. Qa6 Rc5 34. Qb7
(As is often the case in top level Chess these daze one ‘red move’ follows another ‘red move’ over at DaBomb. Back to back, or double blunders by the best human players happens with regularity. I’ve no idea why this is happening. Maybe double vision
is the cause. Any ideas? This is the best variation according to the Fish after crunching numbers for all of fifteen seconds) 35. Qxc7 Qxc7 36. Rxc7 Bf6 37. Be6 Bd8 38. Rc8 Be7 39. Rxf8+ Bxf8 40. Bd5 Rc5 41. Bxe4 g5 42. Rd1 Be7 43. f4 Kg7 44. Bd5 gxf4 45. gxf4 Bd8 46. Kf2 Kf6 47. e4 Rc3 48. Rb1 Rc2+ 49. Ke3 Ba5 50. Rb7 Rxh2 51. Rf7+ Kg6) Rb2 36. Qe6 Qg5 37. Qxe4 d5 38. Qe6 d4 39. Rb7 dxe3 40. Rxb2 Bxb2 41. fxe3 Rxf1+ 42. Kxf1 Qf6+ 43. Qxf6+ Bxf6 44. Ke2 Kg7 45. Kf3 Be5 46. Ke4 Kf6 47. Be8 h4 48. gxh4 Bxh2 49. Kd5 Bg3 50. Ke4 ½-½
Damian Lemos (2482) vs Alejandro Alvarado Diaz (2399)