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 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-im/02-Matros_Alexander-Eckert_Doug)

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)

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 (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.

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

Richard Francisco’s Quest for the Elusive IM Norm at the Summer 2019 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational

The CCCSA Summer 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational was held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy June 6-9. There were three sections, GM; IM B; & IM C. After an overview we will focus on the IM B section for reasons which will become clear soon enough. But first I would like to mention the GM section ended in a tie between GM Karen Grigoryan, of Armenia, and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, from the USA. Grigoryan was running away with the tournament until losing to IM Kassa Korley in the penultimate round. In the last round Grigoryan lost to Ostrovskiy while still clinging to a share of the lead.

In the IM C section GM Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano, from Texas, shared first place with NM Aydin Turgut of Indiana. Full standings can be found @ http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Pairings.aspx

GM Alonso Zapata,

now a resident of the Great State of Georgia, ran away with the section, finishing a clear point ahead of the field with 7 1/2 points. IM Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte,

from Venezuela, was second with 6 1/2 points. They met in the seventh round:

Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte (VEN) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 07

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O (SF plays 6 b3 a move not seen since 1999, according to 365Chess. The move has appeared in only four games. There are no games at the ChessBaseDataBase with the move)
O-O 7. h3 (SF plays 7 Re1; Komodo plays 7 b3 a TN) c6 8. Re1 Ng6 (TN-SF plays 8…Na6) 9. c4 ½-½

Granted, this was the second game of the day so there must have been little thought from the GM other than to accept the gift. Zapata was born in August, 1958 and is currently sixty one years old. Aponte was born in 1996, and had the white pieces, yet did not even attempt to make a game of it against his much older rival. This reminds of the time decades ago when Ron Burnett had been paired with Sammy Reshevsky at a tournament such as the US Open, or maybe a World Open. Ron was ready for the battle, talking trash about what he was about to do to his opponent. “But Ron,” I said, “Sammy is a legend.” Ron shot back, “He ain’t nothing but an old man.” Once a player reaches a certain age he becomes the Rodney Dangerfield of Chess.

This was Aponte’s moment and what did he do? He offered a draw…Aponte has no cojones and unless he grows a pair in the near future the GM title will remain out of reach. Contrast the “game” and I use the term loosely, with Zapata’s last round game:

Alex Kolay (USA)

vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Nbd7 7. Bg5 e5 8. d5 a5 9. g4 Nc5 10. Nd2 c6 11. Be2 Bd7 12. Rg1 a4 13. b4 axb3 14. axb3 Qb6 15. Rb1 Qb4 16. Qc2 Ra3 17. Kf1 Rfa8 18. Kg2 Na6 19. Qb2 Nc7 20. Be3 Nfe8 21. f3 R3a5 22. Ra1 Rxa1 23. Rxa1 Rxa1 24. Qxa1 Bf6 25. Qb2 c5 26. Na2 Qa5 27. b4 cxb4 28. Nxb4 Bd8 29. Nd3 b5 30. c5 f6 31. g5 Qa8 32. cxd6 Nxd6 33. Nc5 Be8 34. f4 Nf7 35. fxe5 fxe5 36. d6 Nxd6 37. Qxe5 Nf7 38. Qg3 Qc6 39. Ndb3 Qd6 40. Bf4 Qe7 41. h4 Ne6 42. Nxe6 Qxe6 43. Qd3 Bb6 44. Nd4 Qe7 45. Be3 b4 46. Nc2 Bc7 47. Nd4 Qe5 48. Nf3 Qe6 49. Nd2 Bd7 50. Bf2 Ne5 51. Qc2 Qh3+ 52. Kg1 Bd6 53. Qa2+ Kf8 54. Qd5 Nf7 55. Nf3 Qe6 56. Qa8+ Qe8 57. Qxe8+ Kxe8 58. Bc4 Bc6 59. Nd2 Ne5 60. Bg8 Kf8 61. Bb3 Bb5 62. Kg2 Nd3 63. Kf3 Nxf2 64. Kxf2 Bf4 65. Nf3 Bc6 66. Nd4 Bd7 67. Kf3 Bd2 68. Nc2 Bc3 69. Ke3 Bg4 70. Nd4 Be1 71. Nc6 Bxh4 72. Kf4 Be2 73. Nxb4 Be1 74. Nd5 Bd2+ 75. Ne3 Kg7 76. e5 Bd3 77. Kf3 Bc3 78. e6 Bb5 79. Nd5 Be5 80. Nb6 Bd6 81. Ke4 Be7 82. Kf4 Bd6+ 83. Ke4 Kf8 84. Nd7+ Bxd7 ½-½

Tying for third place were Georgia native NM Richard Francisco,

now thirty five years of age, and his last round opponent NM Zachary Dukic,

from Canada. They both finished with 6 points; 6 1/2 were required to earn an IM norm.

In the first round Richard faced a young (birth year 1997) IM Martin Lokander, from Sweden.

NM Richard Francisco (USA) – Martin Lokander (SWE)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 01

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Bd7 5. Nf3 a6 (5…Nc6 SF) 6. Bd3 cxd4 (Komodo and Stockfish at the CBDB both play 6…Nc6, but the SF at ChessBomb considers 6…Qc7, a potential TN, equal to Nc6) 7. cxd4 Bb5 (SF prefers 7…Nc6)

8. O-O? (This shows a lack of understanding of the position and is the beginning of problems for Richard. Both the Fish and the Dragon would play 8 Bc2. There are many other, better, moves, such as 8 Bxb5+; 8 Nc3; and 8 Bg5, all shown at the ChessBomb) Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Nbc6 (For 10 N3c6 see Papahristoudis v Savoglou below) 11. Ne2 Rc8 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Nf4 Be7

14. g3? (This is obviously a very weak move and gives the advantage to black. There was no need to voluntarily weaken the castled position. Richard needs to read Sam Shankland’s book…Stockfish says 14 Rac1 keeps the game balanced. Unfortunately for our hero Richard, the game went downhill from here. This is my last comment on the game, which can be found here, along with input from Stockfish, albeit with little time to “cogitate.” https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-charlotte-summer-invitational-im/01-Francisco_Richard-Lokander_Martin)

g5 15. Ne2 f6 16. g4 Nh6 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. h4 Nxg4 19. hxg5 Bg7 20. Nf4 O-O 21. Nxe6 Qd6 22. Nxf8 Rxf8 23. Ne5 Ngxe5 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Qg3 Nf3+ 26. Kg2 Qxg3+ 27. fxg3 Nxd2 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Rd1 Nc4 30. Kf3 d4 31. b3 Nd6 32. Rc1 Kf7 33. Rc7+ Kg6 34. Kf4 h6 35. gxh6 Bxh6+ 36. Kf3 Kf6 37. Ke2 Be3 38. Kd3 Kf5 39. a4 Bf2 40. Rg7 a5 41. Rg8 Nf7 42. g4+ Kf6 43. Rb8 Ne5+ 44. Ke2 Bh4 45. Rxb7 d3+ 46. Kd1 Nxg4 47. Rd7 Nf2+ 48. Kd2 Bg5+ 49. Ke1 Be3 50. Rd5 Ke6 51. Rd8 Ke5 52. Rd7 Ke4 53. Rd8 Bc5 54. Re8+ Kf3 55. Rb8 Ne4 56. Kd1 Bb4 57. Rd8 Ke3 58. Re8 Kd4 59. Kc1 Nf2 0-1

Anastasios Papahristoudis (2111) vs Nikolaos Savoglou (1890)

Ambelokipi op 75th 01/17/2007

C02 French, advance variation
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Bd7 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bb5 8.O-O Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Ne7 10.Nc3 Nec6 11.a3 Nd7 12.Bf4 Be7 13.Rac1 Nb6 14.b4 O-O 15.Nd2 Qd7 16.Be3 f6 17.f4 fxe5 18.fxe5 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Rf8 20.Rxf8+ Bxf8 21.Nf3 Be7 22.h4 Nc4 23.Bc1 b5 24.Ne2 Qe8 25.Nf4 Qf7 26.g4 g6 27.Nh3 Nd8 28.Bg5 Kg7 29.Kg2 h6 30.Bxe7 Qxe7 31.Nf4 Qf7 32.Kg3 Nc6 ½-½

It must have been devastating to lose, especially with the white pieces, in the very forst round when one needs 6 1/2 points to earn an IM norm. To make matters worse, Richard had to face the only GM in the tournament in the second round.

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 02

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 a6 7. Nxc6 Qxc6 8. Bd3 d6 9. a4 Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 exf5 17. Bf4 Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 Rfe8 25. Qf3 Rxd4 26. cxd4 Qd7 27. h4 Nf8 28. d5 f6 29. h5 Re5 30. d6 Kh8 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 Qxd6 33. Qxb7 Re7 34. Qa8 Rf7 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 Qg5 37. Qe8 Qxh6+ 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5 40. b4 Qh6 41. Qe8 Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 (Not the best move in the position. Stockfish 10 at depth 49 would play 6 a3, a move which does not appear at the ChessBaseDataBase. SF 080219 at depth 46 plays 6 Be3, the most often played move, while SF 9 at depth 38 plays the second most often played move, 6 Be2) 6…a6 7 Nxc6 (The most often played move, but Komodo would play 7 Be2) 7…Qxc6 (Although the most often played move, SF 10 would play 7…bxc6) 8. Bd3 d6 (SF plays 8…b5, by far the most often played move) 9. a4 (SF 10 simply castles) 9…Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 (SF & Komodo prefer 11 Be3) 11…Qc7 (SF would castle) 12. Qe2 (Unfortunately, Qe2 is not always the best move. SF would play 12 a5) 12…O-O (SF 10 would play 12…b6) 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 (Komodo plays 16 Be3)

exf5 17. Bf4 SF plays 17 Ng3) Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 (SF shows 19…Nc4 best) 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 (SF prefers 22…Ne5) 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 (SF plays 24 Qg4) 24…Rfe8 (SF would play 24…Ne5)

25. Qf3 Rxd4 25 f6 SF) 26. cxd4 Qd7 (Houdini plays the “in your face” 26…Qf4) 27. h4 Nf8 (SF plays 27…Qe6) 28. d5 (28 h5 SF) f6 29. h5 Re5 (The Fish would rip off the pawn with 29…Qxa4) 30. d6 (The Dragon would play 30 b3) 30…Kh8 (Komodo would play 30…Qe6) 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 (SF considers 32 Ne3 a much better move) 32…Qxd6 33. Qxb7 (Stockfish 10 would play 33 Ne4. The Fish at DaBomb would play 33 Qxf6) Re7 34. Qa8 (Komodo prefers 34 Ne4) Rf7 (SF 10 likes this move) 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 (Both the Fish and the Dragon prefer 36 b4) 36…Qg5 (36…Qe2 Komodo) 37. Qe8 (Both the Fish and the Dragon would take the pawn with 37 Qxa6) 37…Qxh6+ (37…Qh4+) 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5

40. b4? (40 g4! SF) Qh6 41. Qe8 (41 Qd4 or Qb6) Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½
The game can be found at ChessBomb: https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-charlotte-summer-invitational-im/02-Francisco_Richard-Zapata_Alonso

Richard bested CM Abhimanyu Mishra with the black pieces in round 3 and FM Sahil Sinha with the white pieces in the fourth round before holding the draw with the black pieces against FM Seth Homa in the following round. He drew with the white pieces with the aforementioned Aponte in the first game played Saturday, June 8 before winning with black against FM Nikhil Kumar in the second Saturday game. This put Richard in the postition of needing to win both games the following day, Sunday.

Richard Francisco (USA) – Alex Kolay (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 08

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. a3 f6 7. Bd3 Qc7 8. O-O O-O-O 9. Re1 c4 10. Bc2 fxe5 11. dxe5 Bc5 12. Nbd2 Nge7 13. b4 cxb3 14. Nxb3 Bb6 15. a4 Na5 16. Nxa5 Bxa5 17. Ba3 Be8 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Qf3 Bg6 20. Bxg6 hxg6 21. Rab1 Bb6 22. Bd6 Nc6 23. Qg4 Rde8 24. h3 g5 25. Qxg5 Bd8 26. Qe3 Na5 27. Rb5 b6 28. Reb1 Nb7 29. Ba3 Be7 30. Bxe7 Rxe7 31. a5 Nxa5 32. Rxa5 bxa5 33. Qd3 Kc7 34. Qa6 Qc8 35. Qd6# 1-0

Now it was time for the final round, a game Mr. Francisco needed to win to obtain an IM norm. His opponent was a Canadian NM, born in 1997, the lowest rated player in the event, who was having a very good tournament. Like Richard the Canuck also had 5 1/2 points and needed a win to garner the coveted IM norm.

Zachary Dukic (CAN) – Richard Francisco (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Bb3 Re8 (SF 8…d6) 9. Nxc6 (9 f3 SF) dxc6 10. Qxd8 Rxd8 11. a4 Ng4 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Re8 (13…Bxc3+ was played in Simacek v Zwardon below) 14. Ba3 Bxc3+ 15. bxc3 Rxe4+ 16. Kf1 Bf5 17. h3 Nf6 18. f3 Ree8 19. Kf2 Nd5 20. g4 Be6 21. c4 Nb6 22. Rhe1 a5 23. Bc5 Nd7 24. Be3 Kh7 25. c5 Bxb3 26. cxb3 Nf6 27. Bd2 Rxe1 28. Rxe1 Nd5 29. h4 Kg7 30. f4 f5 31. gxf5 gxf5 32. Re6 Kf7 33. Rd6 Nf6 34. Ke3 Re8+ 35. Kd3 Ne4 36. Rd4 Nxc5+ 37. Kc4 b6 38. Bxa5 Nxb3 39. Kxb3 bxa5

40. Kc4? (This move gave Richard the opportunity for which he was hoping. 40. h5 and it’s about an even game)

40…Re4? (SF at the Bomb has 40…Kg6 best and gives the following variation to prove it: (40… Kg6 41. Rd6+ Kh5 42. Rxc6 Re4+ 43. Kb5 Rxf4 44. Rf6 Rf1 45. Kxa5 f4 46. Kb5 f3 47. Kc4 Kxh4 48. Rxh6+ Kg5 49. Rh8 Ra1 50. Kb5 Rb1+ 51. Kc5 f2 52. Rf8 f1=Q 53. Rxf1 Rxf1 54. a5 Kf6 55. a6) 41. Rxe4 fxe4 42. Kd4 Kf6 43. Kxe4 h5 44. Kd4 Kf5 45. Kc5 Kg4 46. f5 Kxf5 47. Kb6 Kg4 48. Kxa5 Kxh4 49. Kb6 ½-½

During research for this post the following comment by Mr. Dukic was found:

“Well guys I almost got the norm. I needed a 2450 performance but since I drew my last game I only managed 2437.

I had 4.5/7 going into the final day and I would need 2/2 to secure the norm, including winning a game with black against a Swedish International Master. I managed to win this, so I only needed to win with white in the last round to secure the norm. If my opponent were to win, then he would win the norm. If we drew, nobody would get it. It was truly the money game!

It came down to a king and pawn endgame (see below) where I was one tempo short of victory. It resembles the endgame in Searching for Bobby Fischer except for one key detail: black’s pawn on c6 prevents my queen from controlling his queening square 😥

For those of you who followed along, hope you enjoyed it!”


I spent much time following the games from Charlotte via the internet, when it was up. The service received from AT&T leaves much to be desired. Frankly, having AT&T is like living in a third world country, with constant outages. The internet is frequently down and when down, stays down for many hours. Nevertheless, I persevered, while either muttering expletives, or screaming things like, “That blankety blank AT&T!!!”

One of the best things about viewing the games was they were given at ChessStream (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Default.aspx) sans annotations so I could think for myself before heading over to the ChessBomb to learn what Stockfish, with little time and depth, had to say about the move and/or position.

2014 Georgia Open Live Games on Chess Stream

I noticed this post on the forum of the NCCA:

Chess Stream Live Games: 2014 Georgia Open this weekend

Postby Chacha » Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:59 pm
Hi all,
Part of ChessStream going outside aboard, I will be helping Fun Fong to do live games from Georgia Open this weekend:

Live games will be on ChessStream.com as always during the rounds:

It is 7 rounds, starting Friday and Saturday options and ended Sunday. Open large group pairing. We have at least 6 players from NC! Watch them playing live! We may have 10+ live games, most from PC Tablets. Anyone wants to join? registration still open onsite before the tournament starts.

After firing off an email to the Legendary Georgia Ironman, I checked the website of the GCA (http://www.georgiachess.org/), since the tournament is being held in Georgia, but did not find anything about a live broadcast, so I surfed on over to the other, newer, GCA website, Georgia Chess News (http://georgiachessnews.com/), and again, found absolutely nothing concerning a live broadcast. I find this strange, indeed, and am flummoxed by the lack of any mention of the Chess Stream broadcast. What is the purpose of a broadcast if no one is aware the games are being shown?
In the event any reader wishes to check out the broadcast here are the round times:
Rounds: 3 day: Friday – 7:00pm, 9:00pm. Saturday – 1:00pm, 4:30pm, 8:30pm. Sunday – 9:00am, 1:00pm. 2-day: Saturday: 8:30am, 10:30am, then merges with 3-day.
Keep in mind the the time control varies considerably:
Rounds 1-2 are G-45, rounds 3-5 are G-90, and rounds 6-7 are G-120. (http://www.georgiachess.org/event-1755372)
The website shows there are 81 advance entries, most of whom are quite young. I do see that former Ga Champion, NM Damir Studen, is in the field, as is IM Ronald Burnett, who did battle at the $,$$$,$$$ Open, leaving Lost Wages with $20,000 after losing the last hurry-up match to FM Kazim Gulamali.