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
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 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?
Then again, if not for ugly how would we know beauty?
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)
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,
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,
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 (https://players.chessbase.com/en/player/rios_cristhian%20camilo/217838) 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 (https://live.followchess.com/), and ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-sunway-sitges/05-Korobov_Anton-Rios_Cristhian_Camilo) 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 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
This is one of those Highlander positions in which…
Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to find that move.
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
would have played 27 Kc2. Then in the last round this “game”, and I use the word loosely, was “played.”
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
and Megan Lee
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
Eswaran played 10 d4 and Maurice obviously very much liked the move, calling it “…an outstanding move!” I was following the action at FollowChess (https://live.followchess.com/) 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 (https://www.chessbomb.com/) 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!
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: https://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/chess/check.html Terugloper: In the 200-move game Wegner – Johnsen, Gausdal 1991 a total of 141 checks were given, of which 98 by White alone. Terugloper: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/wegner—johnsen-gausdal-1991 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 https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-chess-championship/11-Bruzon_Batista_Lazaro-Lenderman_Aleksandr
The coverage was excellent even though Jennifer Shahade
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…
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:
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
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.
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.” (https://uschesschamps.com/bio/megan-lee)
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.
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)