IM Boris Kogan Versus Expert David Spinks

IM Boris Kogan vs Expert David Spinks

Southern Congress

Atlanta, Georgia 1987

Round 1 Board 1

A50 Queen’s pawn game

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. Bf4 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4 Bg7 10. Nc3 Ne4 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. e3 a6 14. Be2 Rfe8 15. O-O Nf8 16. c4 dxc4 17. Bxc4 Be6 18. Nd2 Bd5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nb3 e5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Rxe5 23. b5 Ree8 24. bxa6 bxa6 25. Rfd1 Red8 26. Na5 Ne6 27. Rac1 Nc7 28. Nb7 Re8 29. Rd4 Re6 30. Nd6 Rb8 31. Rdd1 Kg7 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne8 34. Rb6 Nxd6 35. cxd6 Kf8 36. Rxa6 Ke8 37. g4 g5 38. Kg2 Kd7 39. h4 h6 40. Ra7+ Ke8 41. Ra8+ Kd7 42. Kg3 Rf6 (Loses a pawn. 42…Rxd6 offers stiffer resistance.) 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Rg8 Rg6 (The king+pawn ending is lost, although the R+p ending is almost as hopeless) 45. Rxg6 fxg6 46. Kf3 Kxd6 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Kd3 Ke5 49. f3 Ke6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. e4 dxe4 52. fxe4 1-0

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 (Komodo plays 4 Nc3, the most often played move according to the CBDB. Stockfish prefers 4 e3, played a little less than half as many times as 4 Nc3) 4…g6 (Although 4…d6 and 4…dxc4 have been played far more than the game move, both SF & Komodo choose the move played by Spinks) 5 Bf4 (The most often move seen in practice, but Komodo prefers 5 Nc3) 5…Bf5 (Deep Fritz @depth 28 plays this move, but SF @depth 55 plays 5…dxc4) 6 Qb3 Qb6 7 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 7 e3) 7…Qxb3 8 axb3 Nbd7 (Both SF & Komodo prefer 8…Na6) 9 b4 (Komodo & Houdini play 9 Nc3) 9…Bg7 (Komodo plays this but SF produces a TN with 9…Nh5) 10 Nc3 (Although SF 7 plays the game move SF 10 chooses 10 Nbd2. The only game found saw Lein play 10 h3 versus Smyslov:

Anatoly Lein (2510) vs Vassily Smyslov (2580)

Hastings 1981

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 g6 5.Bf4 Bf5 6.Qb3 Qb6 7.c5 Qxb3 8.axb3 Nbd7 9.b4 Bg7 10.h3 Bxb1 11.Rxb1 O-O 12.e3 a6 13.Bd3 Ne8 14.Bh2 Rc8 15.g4 Nc7 16.g5 Rfe8 17.Kd2 e5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Bxe5 20.f4 Bg7 21.h4 ½-½

After spending far too much time analyzing the game while making notes, the decision was made to surf over to 365Chess and utilize the free Stockfish engine to correct the “Beeg Mistakes” made in analysis. Frankly, after burning the midnight oil, my analysis was far better than expected, excepting for the “HH” moves, as in Horrendous Howlers, from which you will be spared.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Qc2 g6 5. Bf4 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4 Bg7 10. Nc3 Ne4 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. e3 a6 14. Be2

14…Rfe8 (14…Be4) 15. O-O

15…Nf8 (15…h5) 16. c4 (16 Bh2; or 16 g4 or maybe 16 Rfc1) dxc4 17. Bxc4 Be6 18. Nd2 (18 Bd3) 18…Bd5 (18…Bxc4 19 Nxc4 Ne6) 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nb3 (20 Rfc1)

20… e5 (20…Ne6) 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Rxe5 23. b5 Ree8 24. bxa6 (24 b6 or c6) bxa6 25. Rfd1 Red8 (25…Reb8) 26. Na5 Ne6 (26 Nd4 or Ra5) 27. Rac1

27…Nc7 (27…Nc7 is not the best as simply improving the position of the King with 27…Kf8 is better)

28. Nb7 (28 c6 because passed pawns must be pushed!) 28…Re8 (28…Rdb8) 29. Rd4 Re6 (29…Re4 or Kg7) 30. Nd6 Rb8 31. Rdd1 (31 g4) Kg7 (Maybe 31…Kf8 or Rb2…) 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne8 34. Rb6 Nxd6 35. cxd6

35…Kf8 (35…Re8 36 Rxa6 Rd8) 36. Rxa6 Ke8 37. g4 g5 38. Kg2 Kd7

39. h4 (Wonder why Boris did not play 39 Ra7+?) 39…h6 (39…gxh4 is much better…) 40. Ra7+ Ke8 41. Ra8+ Kd7 42. Kg3?

(This is a, as Boris was so fond of saying about one of my moves, “Beeg Mistake.” 42 Ra7+ looks like a winner…) 42…Rf6 (This is certainly a really BEEG MISTAKE! David could have possibly drawn the game with 42…Rxd6!) 43. hxg5 (43 Ra7+ is a winner…43 h5 could be better than the move played in the game.) hxg5 44. Rg8

44…Rg6 (Surely 44…Rxd6 is better…) 45. Rxg6 fxg6 46. Kf3 Kxd6 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Kd3 Ke5 49. f3 Ke6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. e4 dxe4 52. fxe4 1-0











Leningrad Dutch Wins 2019 US Chess Championship!

When four time US Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura

absolutely, positively had to win with the black pieces in the final round of the 2019 US Championship he played the Leningrad Dutch

against Jeffrey Xiong

and won in style. Since Fabiano Caruana,

the world co-champion of classical Chess according to World Rapid Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen,

could only draw with the 2018 US Chess champion Sam Shankland

in the last round, and newcomer Lenier Dominguez Perez

managed to draw a won game versus tournament clown Timur Gareyev,

included only because he won the US Open, which is not and has not been an elite tournament for many years, Hikaru Nakamura, by winning became a five time winner of what he called, “…a super event, almost.” The inclusion of Timur the clown and Varuzhan Akobian,

a “fan favorite” at the St. Louis Chess Club we were informed by GM Maurice Ashley, made the event “almost” a super event. It is time the people in the heartland stop with the gimmicks and include only the best players on merit in the US Chess championship.

I have spent many hours this decade watching the broadcast via computer of the US Chess championships. The broadcasts have gotten better each year and now can be considered “World Class.” Grandmasters Yasser Seirawan,

Maurice Ashley,

and “Woman” Grandmaster (inferior to “Grandmaster” as she is only a Life Master according to the USCF), Jennifer Shahade

do an excellent job of covering the US Chess championships. The manager of the old Atlanta Chess Center, aka the “House of Pain,” David Spinks was fond of saying “You gotta pull for SOMEBODY, man!” He found it difficult to believe anyone could watch anything, like Baseball or Golf, and not “pull” for someone, anyone, to win. I will admit to “pulling” for Bobby Fischer

to beat Boris Spassky

in 1972 World Chess championship, which he did, but now simply enjoy watching the event unfold. Every round is a different story, a story told well by Yaz, Maurice and Jen. But when Hikaru Nakamura moved his f-pawn two squares in reply to his opponent’s move of 1 d4 I unashamedly admit I began to “pull” for Hikaru to win the game and the championship. I was riveted to the screen for many hours this afternoon as the last round unfolded.

One of the best things about traveling to San Antonio in 1972 was being able to watch some of the best Chess players in the world, such as former World Champion Tigran Petrosian

and future WC Anatoly Karpov,

make their moves. I also remember the flair with which Paul Keres

made his moves. All of the players made what can only be called “deliberate” type moves as they paused to think before moving. IM Boris Kogan gave anyone who would listen the advice to take at least a minute before making a move because your opponent’s move has changed the game.

Lenier Dominguez Perez took all of eleven seconds to make his ill-fated twenty sixth move. If he had stopped to cogitate in lieu of making a predetermined move he might be at this moment preparing to face Nakamura in a quick play playoff tomorrow. I’m glad he moved too quickly, frankly, because I loathe and detest quick playoffs to decide a champion. Classical type Chess is completely different from quick play hebe jebe Chess. Wesley So obviously lacks something I will call “fire.” He took no time, literally, to make his game losing blunder at move thirty. Maybe someone will ask them why and report it in one of the many Chess magazines published these days.

What can one say about Jennifer Yu

other than she has obviously elevated her game to a world class level. She is young and very pretty so the world is her oyster. It was a pleasure to watch her demolish the competition this year. Often when a player has the tournament won he will lost the last round. Jennifer crowned her crown by winning her last round game, which was impressive.

The quote of the tournament goes to Maurice Ashley, who said, “When you’re busted, you’re busted.”

Best interview of this years championships:

Jeffery Xiong (2663) – Hikaru Nakamura (2746)

US Chess Championship 2019 round 11

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. b3 c5 10. Bb2 a6 11. Ng5 Rb8 12. Qd3 Qe8 13. Nd1 b5 14. Qd2 Nb7 15. Ne3 Nd8 16. Nh3 Bd7 17. Rad1 b4 18. Qc2 a5 19. Nf4 a4 20. h4 Ra8 21. Qb1 Ra6 22. Bf3 Qf7 23. Neg2 Ng4 24. Bxg4 fxg4 25. e4 Bxb2 26. Qxb2 Qg7 27. Qxg7+ Kxg7 28. e5 Bf5 29. exd6 exd6 30. Rfe1 Nf7 31. Re7 Kf6 32. Rb7 axb3 33. axb3 Rfa8 34. Ne3 Ra1 35. Kf1 Ne5 36. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 37. Ke2 Nf3 38. Nxf5 Kxf5 39. Ke3 Re1+ 40. Kd3 Ne5+ 41. Kd2 Ra1 42. Ne6 h6 43. Rb6 Ra3 44. Kc2 Ra2+ 45. Kd1 Nd3 46. Rxd6 Nxf2+ 47. Ke1 Nd3+ 48. Kd1 Ke4 49. Nc7 Nf2+ 50. Ke1 Kd3 51. Rxg6 Ne4 52. Kf1 Nxg3+ 53. Kg1 Ne2+ 54. Kh1 Ke3 55. Rf6 Ra1+ 56. Kg2 Rg1+ 57. Kh2 g3+ 58. Kh3 Rh1+ 0-1

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 (Stockfish 181218 at depth 50 considers 7…c6 the best move. The game move has been my move of choice)

8. d5 Na5 (An older version of SF plays this but the newer versions prefer 8…Ne5, the only move I played because as a general rule I do not like moving my knight to the rim, where it is dim, much preferring to move it toward the middle of the board)

9. b3 c5 (9…a6, a move yet to be played, is the move preferred by Stockfish at the CBDB, while Houdini plays 9…Ne4)

10. Bb2 (SF 10 shows 10 Bd2 best followed by 10 Rb1 and Qc2) a6 11. Ng5 TN (SF has 11 Rb1 best, while Komodo shows 11 e3, a move yet to be played, but Houdini shows 11 Qd3 best and it has been the most often played move. There is a reason why the game move has not been seen in practice)

Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen (2469) vs Andres Rodriguez Vila (2536)

40th Olympiad Open 08/30/2012

1.Nf3 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c4 O-O 6.Nc3 d6 7.d4 Nc6 8.d5 Na5 9.b3 c5 10.Qc2 a6 11.Bb2 Rb8 12.Rae1 b5 13.Nd1 bxc4 14.bxc4 Bh6 15.e3 Ne4 16.Ba1 Rb4 17.Nd2 Nxd2 18.Qxd2 Rf7 19.Nb2 Bg7 20.Nd3 Nxc4 21.Qc2 Na3 22.Qc1 Ra4 23.Bxg7 Rxg7 24.Nb2 Ra5 25.e4 Nb5 26.a4 Nd4 27.e5 Bd7 28.exd6 exd6 29.Nc4 Rxa4 30.Nxd6 Qb6 31.Ne8 Rf7 32.d6 Bc6 33.Qh6 Qd8 34.Bxc6 Nxc6 35.Nc7 Re4 36.f3 Re5 37.Qd2 Rxe1 38.Rxe1 Nd4 39.Qf4 g5 40.Qe3 f4 41.Qe7 Nxf3+ 42.Kh1 Qf8 43.Qxf8+ Rxf8 44.Re7 Nd4 45.gxf4 gxf4 46.d7 Nc6 47.Re8 Nd8 48.Nxa6 c4 49.Re4 c3 ½-½

Z. Ilincic (2465) vs D. Sharma (2344)

Kecskemet Caissa GM 02

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. b3 c5 10. Bb2 a6 11. Rb1 Rb8 12. Ba1 Bd7 13. Qd3 b5 14. h3 bxc4 15. bxc4 Rb4 16. Nd2 Qc7 17. Kh2 Rfb8 18. f4 Rxb1 19. Rxb1 Rxb1 20. Qxb1 Qb7 21. Qxb7 Nxb7 22. e3 Na5 1/2-1/2

The headline, Bearded men look angrier than clean-shaven types when they are angry made me think of Hikaru Nakamura:

I could not help but wonder if the beard had anything to do with his play in this tournament?

ECF Book of the Year 2018 shortlist

One of the books reviewed on this blog, Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution
by Sergei Tkachenko, Elk and Ruby Publishing House, has made it to the English Chess Federation shortlist. (

I have a vague memory of someone, possibly David Spinks, saying something about what counted was not how many times an actor won the award, but how many times he or she were nominated. I feel the same about books.

This brought to mind an email received concerning the book from former California Chess Champion Dennis Fritzinger:

Dennis Fritzinger
To:Michael Bacon
Feb 24 at 3:28 PM

Hi Michael,

You definitely read widely! I would never have heard of this book I’m sure but for your review. Somehow I thought my eyes were going to glaze over reading about such past happenings but they didn’t. I was swept along to the very end. The book reminded me of a certain author, Ian Fleming. It certainly gives him a run for his money!


Book of the Year 2018 shortlist

Posted By: WebAdmin 28th August 2018

The large number of varied and interesting books this year made the selection particularly difficult, but the choice came down to books by two new chess publishers and two excellent instruction manuals (beautifully printed by Quality Chess) which the judges had great difficulty in separating, so included both!

Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution
Sergei Tkachenko, Elk and Ruby Publishing House, paperback, pp213, £19.99
The cover alone indicates this is not a conventional chess book. It vividly covers the chess community in Odessa, how it and they coped with the rapidly changing governments 1916 to1919. Alekhine was a frequent visitor to Odessa. When the Bolsheviks captured the town in 1919, they shot an estimated 1,200 “traitors”. Alekhine was arrested, imprisoned and was on the list to be executed. Why he was released remains a mystery. Amongst the narrative drama are the chess games he played in Odessa which show his outstanding chess imagination.

Carlsen vs Kajarkin World Chess Championship 2016
Lev Alburt and Jon Crumiller, Chess Information and Research Centre, paperback, pp336, £22.50
World championship matches are the summit of the chess world. Whilst there is extensive short-term media coverage during the match, there are surprisingly few books published after the event giving a considered view. This book is one, with the usual photos, atmospheric background and computer analysis all well done. What lifts the book to an exceptional level is ‘Vlad’s Viewpoint’ which occurs throughout the book. The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik is able, from his unique experience, to give a wider and deeper insight into the play and players. Essential reading for Caruana!

Small Steps to Giant Improvement

Sam Shankland, Quality Chess, hardback, pp 331, £23.99
Shankland had a setback in his chess playing activities so had some free time. He decided to study and write about pawn play which he identified as one of his weaknesses. Written in a refreshing and open style he gives pointed examples of various issues eg advanced pawns can be strong, but they can also be weak. There is much to learn in this book as Shankland himself showed: he won his next three tournaments including the USA championship and raised his grading over 2700!

Under the Surface
Jan Markos, Quality Chess, hardback, pp276, £23.99
Markos has not written a standard text book, rather an exploration of the other factors that affect chess play. A sample of the chapter headings give an impression of his unusual approach – ‘Anatoly’s billiard balls’, ‘What Rybka couldn’t tell’, ‘Understanding the Beast’ and so on. Markos writes in an original way bringing in applicable concepts from the none chess world. There are four fascinating chapters on computer chess. All in all players of every level will find something original or instructive in this book.

— Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand, Sean Marsh – 20th August 2018

Tim Tobiason: A Colorful Chess Character

Reading the following from Mark Weeks blog, Chess for All Ages, caused me to pause and reflect upon the man named in the post:

“By coincidence, while I was preparing the recent post, An 1886 Photoshopped Illustration, where I mentioned that ‘I’ve been downloading old copies of The Chess Journalist (TCJ)’, I noticed that the December 2006 issue of the TCJ credited the existence of the scanned CL/CRs to Tim Tobiason. He seems to have been a colorful character in several ways, but this isn’t the time or place to repeat stories that can be found elsewhere on the web. It is his misfortune that while the original magazines are protected by copyright, his scans aren’t protected by a second copyright because they don’t represent creative work.”

The first time I met Tim Tobiason was in Rolla, Missouri, at the 2002 Missouri State Chess Championship. Mr. Tobiason, who was also playing in the small event, had the most eclectic collection of things ever seen at a Chess tournament. Along with the usual Chess books and other Chess related things, he displayed books he had written, and other items looking like they would be more comfortable at a gun show. I cannot recall the titles, but they were along the same line as the infamous Anarchist Cookbook.

He talked of the right he had to publish anything, and of being hounded by the FBI because of the content, which tended toward blowing things up with explosives. Tim rather proudly stated he had been “filmed by 60 Minutes,” the CBS TV show. He also mentioned having been banned at gun shows, which is where he sold most of his self-produced books. People began moving away from the table. He also mentioned needing a place to stay, or at least a shower, as he was traveling from Chess tournament to tournament while living in his van. I mentioned, with as much deference as could be mustered, maybe he might want to reconsider the part about being followed by the FBI if he wanted a place to stay. “You gotta point,” he said.

The next encounter with Tim was at the Atlanta Chess Center. He needed to take a shower and wanted to stay inside the House of Pain that night. In addition, he needed some space in the back room to set up his equipment, which consisted of scanning equipment to be used to copy older material, which he would sell. Unbeknownst to me David Spinks had flatly turned him down. Later on I saw and greeted him. He was obviously road weary and in a disheveled state. Tim was heavyset, with a rather large, and protruding belly. Happy to see a friendly face after his encounter with Spinks, he greeted me like a long-lost friend. After informing me he knew Thad Rogers, owner of the Dump, and explaining the situation, as he had attempted with Spinks, I told him it would be OK to shower. I figured Thad would give the OK, so I did so. David was LIVID! It was one of the few times I saw Spinks “lose it.” David was adamant. He did not want Tim around, especially on a tournament weekend. I tried reasoning with him, to no avail. For the first and only time while working at the HOP I placed a call to Thad. After informing him of the situation, he said, “Toby’s there? Tell him I said hello, and yes, you were right to allow him access. Let me speak with David.” Spinks did not like being overruled, but had no choice in the matter.

Toby said he was hungry and I mentioned the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, but Toby had other ideas. He asked about an all you can eat place, telling me he only ate once a day, spending hours eating all he could, which would have to last until the next day. I understood immediately why Thad liked Toby, as he, too, could spend hours at an all you can eat buffet. Besides, Toby was a character, and Thad always had a fondness for characters, one of the great things about Thad. That particular character trait was exactly what one needed to interact with Chess players.

Upon his return we made room for Toby and his equipment in the back room while taking pains to pacify Spinks. I spent a great deal of time with Toby that evening while working the front. Toby was a nervous type, and who would not be with the FBI breathing down his neck? Most Chess players are paranoid; it seems to come with the game. Toby was not the only player claiming to be followed by authorities. IM Emory Tate was in the military for many years, playing, and winning, the Armed Forces Championship five times. We were regaled with stories of his being in Military Intelligence, and according to Emory, “They are still watching me.” Who were we to argue? After listening to Emory I will admit to being pleased someone was keeping an eye on the man. Consider this:

“A lone lion wanders afar in the wilderness, no longer part of the pride
Once gleaming, accepted, a beautiful beast, now having been cast aside
No chance for part in coordinated hunt, this one can’t run very fast
Nature holds no place, and faltering, it seems this beast just won’t last

~Emory Andrew Tate, Jr.”

Is Emory writing about himself, or the Royal game? This can be found at the excellent website of Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum. (

Thad drove up from Macon the next day and if memory serves, stayed the night. While on duty Thad could be heard laughing constantly from the back room. It was obvious he had an affinity for Toby. I cannot differentiate between all the tournaments held at the House of Pain, but because of Toby I do recall that particular weekend. Toby definitely brought something different to the staid House that weekend. In deference to Spinks I mentioned the recent rash of car break-ins experienced at the House in the crime filled area and Toby decided to sleep in his van.

I asked Thad if what Toby related was real, or a figment of his imagination. “I dunno,” he answered, “But they make for great stories!” he said with a grin. Toby kept busy, and out-of-the-way, making his discs, which he sold to Thad. One legendary Atlanta player was extremely pleased with what he purchased.

The last time I encountered Toby was in Louisville many years later. There was a children’s tournament and I arrived a little after noon. The event was over (they ‘head ’em up and move ’em out’ in Derby land) and Toby was getting ready to leave, hitting the road for who knows where.

Reading the Chess for All Ages post prompted a visit to, where I entered Toby’s name, finding this article, which is quite lengthy. If you do not have the appetite for all of it, scroll on down to the last four paragraphs, which has been made bold. This will make you want to read all of what follows, so why not just invest the time and read it all now?

Hoax! (part 2)
The second half of Jon Ronson’s investigation into people behind the post-September 11 anthrax hoaxes.

I had met Tim two years earlier at a gun show in Rochester, Minnesota. I was there with my producer, Jim, and the Ruby Ridge survivor Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were shot by FBI agents in a bungled raid in Idaho 10 years ago. Crowds flocked to get Weaver’s autograph, but Tim didn’t. He stood apart, a lone wolf among lone wolves, a pasty-looking man, wearing a lumberjack shirt and glasses. He had a deep grudge against the federal government and, it turned out, a rudimentary scientific knowledge. He told us that anthrax was the only way forward for the “movement”. In our experience, anthrax wasn’t a big militia topic of conversation. In fact, we’d never heard it mentioned, so Jim did a quick interview with him.

“I get into the more dangerous biological and chemical weapons area,” Tim said during this taped interview. “You can mail massive-scale weapons in microscopic form on a postage stamp, and that way you can re-arm the entire nation if the government ever tries to take your guns away.”
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
Read more

The people we met at the gun shows all had their own special ways of theoretically battling the government. One man had advocated the use of piano wire, another favoured firebombs. Tim’s big thing was anthrax. I’d never ratted out an interviewee to the feds before. I’d never given up a source. This would normally be a very bad thing for a journalist to do. But this was October 2001.

“Tim probably isn’t the anthrax killer,” I thought to myself. “But how often does one meet someone who is almost the anthrax killer?”

“I should call the FBI,” I said to Jim, when he telephoned in early October to remind me about our interview with Tim.

“Hang on,” he said. “I’m the one who thought of Tim. I should call the FBI.”

“I want to call the FBI,” I said.

“Well, I don’t want you bloody going to the FBI without me,” said Jim.

There was a hurt silence. “OK,” I said. “I promise to bring you with me to the FBI.”

It wasn’t easy to find the FBI in London. Directory enquiries had no record of them. “Are you sure F stands for Federal?” they asked.

I finally tracked them to the US embassy, and an agent called Michael came on the phone. When I told him what I had, he said, casually, “Yes. That would be something we’d be interested in. Could you bring it in?”

“Tomorrow?” I asked, and Michael agreed.

I realised that things were less casual when Michael telephoned me at 8.30am to ask if I was coming in today. Things aren’t casual at 8.30am. People call at 8.30am if they’ve been up worrying.

And two hours later – in Grosvenor Square, central London – Jim and I were past the security guards, past the ocean of fencing, through the x-rays, the bag search, up the elevator, through a series of reinforced steel doors – the kind of doors you find on safes – through more corridors, through the body search, and into London’s FBI headquarters. We were led into an office decorated with novelty Big Ben snowstorms and a collection of funny police helmets.

Michael was sitting at his desk. He was bookish and young. He shook hands, led us through to his boss’s office, and sat us on the sofa. He got out his notepad and said, “So how did you come to meet this Tim?”

“Well,” said Jim, “we’re journalists, and we were following Randy Weaver around the gun show circuit. Actually, Jon had hooked up with Randy Weaver a few days earlier, but I’d been researching another project, would you believe it, surveillance cameras in shopping malls!” Jim laughed nervously. Michael’s eyes began to glaze.

I think that Jim, like many people who meet law enforcement officers, was feeling the desperate urge to confess. Luckily, Jim didn’t have anything to confess to, so this compulsion was finding a different outlet – mad small talk. I glanced down at Michael’s notepad. So far, he’d written only two words: “Randy Weaver.”

“Shall we watch the tape?” said Michael.

“With a mass propagated pre-packaged bio-weapon, you could render most of the major cities uninhabitable in about a week, which would wreck the economy and pretty much put an end to the government,” said Tim on the tape.

“Tim,” replied Jim on the tape, “what you’re advocating here is the spread of really dangerous information. Why do you feel that it’s a good idea for everybody to know this terrible stuff?”

I was relieved that Jim had adopted a combative style of questioning with Tim. All too often, Jim and I ask extremists over-soft questions that might lead FBI agents erroneously to believe that we had gone native. When the tape ended, Michael thanked us very much and escorted us back to the lobby.

That night, as I lay in bed, I thought of Tim, and I wondered who he really was. A week later, the Wall Street Journal provided the answer: the FBI, it said, was looking for a home-grown anthrax terrorist, and they were making inquiries about a Nebraska man called Tim Tobiason, who was known on the gun show circuit for advocating the use of anthrax. Apparently, the FBI had been alerted to Tim by a “member of the public”. There was a photograph. This was my Tim.

It turned out that Tim Tobiason came from Silver Creek, Nebraska. He had once been a pillar of the community, the owner of an animal-feed mill with 24 employees and $3m a year cashflow, married, with two daughters, and a bit of a chemical wizard, too; he mixed up witches’ brews at night in his garage – funny-smelling stuff, said his neighbours. Then he made a new kind of phosphate-based feed additive which, he calculated, would net him millions. He set about patenting it, but the government said it would be dangerous to cattle, so they rejected it. He began bitching to his friends about a conspiracy, how the government had stolen his patent and given it to some agricultural corporation. He moved into a Dodge caravan and plotted his revenge. He wrote Scientific Principles Of Improvised Warfare: Advanced Biological Weapons Design And Manufacture. The cover promised, “If you can make Jell-O, you can wipe out cities. Enjoy!”

His marriage collapsed and he took to selling his book on the gun show circuit. In the wake of the Wall Street Journal article, TV crews stormed Silver Creek. But Tim had vanished. The FBI analysed his handwriting, and followed the instructions in his anthrax cookbook, finding them to be shoddy and incomplete. They concluded that Tim Tobiason was innocent. As a result of the publicity, Tim was banned from gun shows across the US. His Silver Creek neighbours said they didn’t expect him back, which was for the best because he was no longer welcome in town.

The last I heard of Tim Tobiason was in December last year. Dan Rather’s CBS news team secretly filmed him at a gun show in California – one of the few still letting him sell his books. In this covert recording, Tim said that if a federal agent killed him and his children, an unnamed colleague of his would exact a terrible revenge. This colleague would take “communicable weapons to every grade school within 50 miles of CIA headquarters, infect them all, they go home, infect Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad goes back to CIA, and two weeks later CIA’s gone.” Tim was one of those people who always lived in fear that the federal government would come after him, and Jim and I made his paranoid fantasy come true.

For all his blather, I think my decision to shop Tim to the FBI was an even less justifiable response to the hysteria than the actions of the four anthrax hoaxers whom I interviewed. Clay Waagner had a good excuse for going crazy that month. He had a cause. Lucy Manifold was trying to stay happy. Bryan Mangnall was a dumb jock. And Terry Olson was depressed and wanted attention. I had no good reason to do what I did. And I got thanked for it.

Crime in The City (Sixty to Zero) by Neil Young

All the champs and the heroes
They got a price to pay
They go from sixty to zero
In the split of a hair
They see the face in the window
They feel a shadow out there
They’ve got the places they can go
They’ve got the people who stare
They’ve got to walk in their shoes
They’ve got to see what they see
They’ve got the people around them
Getting too much for free
All the pimps and the dealers
All the food they can eat
All the screamers and squealers
When they walk down the street

He’s just a rich old man
He never cared for anyone
He likes to count his possessions
He’s been a miser from penny one
He never cared for his children
Never cared for his wife
Never made anyone happy
That’s the way he lived his life
And one day in the sunshine
He got a bolt from the blue
Unloaded all of his possessions
Sold his investments too
And now he lives with the homeless
Owns 900 hospital beds
He prefers to remain nameless
It’s publicity he dreads

There’s a judge in the city
He goes to work every day
Spends his life in the courthouse
Keeps his perspective that way
But I respect his decision
He’s got a lot on his mind
He’s pretty good with the gavel
A little heavy on the fines
One day there was this minstrel
Who came to court on a charge
That he blew someone’s head off
Because his amp was too large
And the song he was singin’
Was not for love but for cash
Well, the judge waived the charges
He fingered his mustache

Well, there’s a clown in a carnival
He rode a painted horse
He came from somewhere out west
He was very funny of course
But that is not what I noticed
It was the incredible force
With which he held his audience
While he rode on his horse
His jokes were not that off-color
His smile was not that sincere
His show was that not that sensational
Reasons for success were not clear
But he still made big money
One day the circus was his
Now he’s married to the acrobat
And they’re training their kids

Now the jailhouse was empty
All the criminals were gone
The gate was left wide open
And a buck and fawn
Were eating grass in the courtyard
When the warden walked in
And took a rifle from the prison guard
And said to him with a grin
To shoot those deer would be stupid, sir
We already got ’em right here
Why not just lock the gates and keep them
With intimidation and fear?
But the warden pulled the trigger
And those deer hit the ground
He said Nobody’ll know the difference
And they both looked around.

Well, the cop made the showdown
He was sure he was right
He had all of the lowdown
From the bank heist last night
His best friend was a robber
And his wife was a thief
All the children were murderers
They couldn’t get no relief
The bungalow was surrounded
When a voice loud and clear
Come out with your hands up
Or we’re gonna blow you out of here
There was a face in the window
TV cameras rolled
And they cut to the announcer
And the story was told.

Well, the artist looked at the producer
The producer sat back
He said What we have got here
Is a pretty good track
But we don’t have a vocal
And we still don’t have a song
If we could get this thing accomplished
Nothin’ else could go wrong
So he balanced the ashtray
And he picked up the phone
And said Send me a songwriter
Who’s drifted far from home
And make sure that he’s hungry
And make sure he’s alone
And send me a cheeseburger
And a new Rolling Stone

Well, the Sioux and Dakota
They lost all of their land
And now a basketball player
Is trying to lend them a hand
Maybe someday he’ll be president
He’s quite a popular man
But now the chief has reservations
And the white man has plans
There’s opposition in Congress
The bill is up against cash
There’s really no way of predicting
If it will fly or it will crash
But that’s the nature of politics
That’s the name of the game
That’s how it looks in the tepee
Big winds are blowing again

There’s still crime in the city
Said the cop on the beat
I don’t know if I can stop it
I feel like meat on the street
They paint my car like a target
I take my orders from fools
Meanwhile some kid blows my head off
Well, I play by their rules
So now I’m doing it my way
I took the law in my own hands
Here I am in the alleyway
A wad of cash in my pants
I get paid by a ten year old
He says he looks up to me
There’s still crime in the city
But it’s good to be free

Now I come from a family
That has a broken home
Sometimes I talk to my daddy
On the telephone
When he says that he loves me
I know that he does
But I wish I could see him
Wish I knew where he was
But that’s the way all my friends are
Except maybe one or two
Wish I could see him this weekend
Wish I could walk in his shoes
But now I’m doin’ my own thing
Sometimes I’m good, then I’m bad
Although my home has been broken
It’s the best home I ever had

Well, I keep getting younger
My life’s been funny that way
Before I ever learned to talk
I forgot what to say
I sassed back to my mummy
I sassed back to my teacher
I got thrown out of Sunday School
For throwin’ bibles at the preacher
Then I grew up to be a fireman
I put out every fire in town
Put out everything smoking
But when I put the hose down
The judge sent me to prison
Gave me life without parole
Wish I never put the hose down
Wish I never got old.

The Shank is The CHAMPION!

Samuel L Shankland

v Awonder Liang

U.S. Championship 2018 round 11

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4 Bg4 7. Qb3 e5 8. h3 exf4 9. hxg4 Qe7+ 10. Kf1 O-O-O 11. Nd2 g6 12. Re1 Qc7 13. g5 Nh5 14. Be2 Ng7 15. Ngf3 Ne6 16. Bb5 Bg7 17. Qa4 Rd6 18. Nb3 b6 19. Nc1 Nb8 20. Nd3 Kb7 21. Nb4 Qd8 22. Ne5 Qc7 23. Qb3 Rhd8 24. Rxh7 a6 25. Bd3 Ka7 26. Qa4 a5 27. Bb5 Kb7 28. Nbd3 Rg8 29. Nf3 Rh8 30. Rxh8 Bxh8 31. a3 Nc6 32. Bxc6+ Rxc6 33. Nde5 Bxe5 34. Nxe5 Rd6 35. Qe8 Rd8 36. Qxf7 Nxg5 37. Qxc7+ Kxc7 38. Nxg6 f3 39. Nf4 Kc6 40. gxf3 Nxf3 41. Re6+ Kb5 42. Ke2 Ng1+ 43. Kd3 1-0

While watching this game I tuned it out to concentrate on the position after Awonder played 27…Kb7.

My initial thoughts concerning Sam playing 28 Nbc6, but after black plays 28…Rh8 it seemed there must be more to the position than offered by the move 28 Nbc6. I wanted to move the knight attacked by the pawn, but digging deeper I saw another line. 28 Nbc6 need not be played because of the devastating move, after 28 Nec6 axb4, of 29 Qa7+! Kc8 30 Ne7+, winning the Queen…

28 Nec6 is the most FORCING MOVE. Black MUST take the Knight. After 28…Nxc6 29 Bxc6+ Rxc6 30 Qxc6 Qxc6 31 Nxc6 Kxc6 32 Rxe6 fxe6 33 Rxg7 it’s “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

The move Sam played was good enough to win, but it is a shame Sam did not play the Knight to c6 variation in lieu of backing down at the critical moment. One can do that with a completely won game I suppose, but other completely won games in this championship were not won. Sam had worked on that c6 square and though it looked as though Awonder had it covered, he did not have it covered sufficiently. I am not criticizing the new United States Chess Champion as this is only a slight blemish on his overall splendid, and strong, play in this tournament. What seemed to concern Sam most was making the Olympiad squad. Now Sam makes the US “big three” the US “BIG FOUR!”

What makes this so amazing is that in his previous tournament, China vs The World, Sam had lost FIVE games, while winning only one, for a performance rating of only 2597. Do you think Sam had something to prove after that debacle? Prove it he did!

A gambling man could have obtained great odds wagering on Sam Shankland, who would, no doubt, be stuck with the moniker, “The Shank” with the gamblers. All, or at least most, of the “smart money” would have gone to the Big Three. Considering the fact that tournaments like this with an even number of players are unfair, because have the field must play with the black pieces an extra time, which is obviously inherently unfair. How many “smart” gamblers would wager on any of the unfortunate players at a serious disadvantage? Sam was given lemons, which he turned into lemonade. He won four games with the black pieces while drawing two, for a performance rating with black of an astounding 2927! This was higher than his PR with white of “only” 2849. His combined PR was 2892.

I intentionally eschewed watching the coverage provided by the usual suspects this year in order to “watch” the old fashioned way, using a real board with pieces while watching the games provided at TWIC, without computer aided analysis. Copious notes were taken, along with comments, which were later checked over at the ChessBomb. Until the last round…when I brought up Yaz, Maurice, and Jennifer, just in time to watch Sam give his now famous fist pump. Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

I have been involved with the Royal game since 1970 and this is the most remarkable performance I can recall. David Spinks was famous for saying, “You gotta PULL for SOMEBODY, man!” As the tournament progressed I could not help but “pull” for The Shank. Congratulations to Sam Shankland for a brilliant tournament performance, which was a thing of beauty. I recall a time when The Shank was in some kind of crisis, talking of giving up the Royal game. Fortunately for we Chess fans, Sam did not quit. I can think of no more deserving Champion than Sam Shankland. This was his tenth appearance at the US Chess Championship. Sam has paid his dues, in full. If lack of confidence has held The Shank back until now, it is no longer a factor in the equation. Samuel L. Shankland has earned his place on the podium along with all of the great former US Chess Champions of history! Long live the Champion!

AlphaGo and the Hand of God

I watched the eagerly anticipated documentary movie AlphaGo

on Netflix ( last night. The IMDb ( gives it a rating of only 8.1. I would give it a 9.9, but then I have never jumped through the hoops required to rate a movie on the website. This reminds me of David Spinks, who lived and worked at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center,

as he did jump through the hoops and relished arguing about how to rate a movie. Upon learning I would rate it so highly David would, no doubt, exclaim, “What? Have you lost your mind? Nobody rates any movie higher than a 9.5!”

I spent an inordinate amount of time watching each and every game during March of 2016 while greatly enjoying the commentary of 9 dan Michael Redmond,

an American who is the highest ranking Western player ever, and Chris Garlock, the editor of the American Go Journal.

If I had to use only one word to describe the movie it would be “poignant.” Many people with no interest in the game of Go, or any game for that matter, would have little, if any, interest in watching a movie, especially a documentary, about a mere game, possibly considering it dry and uninteresting. They would be sorely mistaken. Games are played by human beings and we humans are emotional creatures. Only a psychopath could watch this movie without having feelings evoked. When something is gained something is also lost. The computer program known as AlphaGo gained a victory for artificial intelligence when man lost yet another battle with a machine.

Lee Sedol,

a 9-dan, the highest rank, professional Go player, who has won 18 World Titles, and is considered to be one of the all-time great Go players, lost the match to AlphaGo, 1-4, but won our hearts. Lee Sedol said, “I want my style of Go to be something different, something new, my own thing, something that no one has thought of before.” Unfortunately it was the silicon monster that showed something new, something that no one had thought of before. It is now known all the world over as “Move 37!” (

“In Game Two, the Google machine made a move that no human ever would. And it was beautiful,” writes Cade Metz in Wired.

The move reminded me of the great Go Seigen,

considered to be one of the strongest players of all time, if not the greatest, because it was played on the inside, near the middle of the board, a type of move he made famous.

Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo Move 37 reactions and analysis

In the movie one hears, “Move 37 begat move 78.” From the aforementioned Wired article: “But in Game Four, the human made a move that no machine would ever expect. And it was beautiful too. Indeed, it was just as beautiful as the move from the Google machine—no less and no more. It showed that although machines are now capable of moments of genius, humans have hardly lost the ability to generate their own transcendent moments.” (

Move 78 has become known as the Hand of God move.

Lee Sedol Hand of God Move 78 Reaction and Analysis

Lee Sedol won the fourth game, striking a glorious blow for humans. Unfortunately he lost the final game in a close, hard fought battle. It may have been the last game a human will ever win against any program as the next incarnation of AlphaGo beat the current world No. 1 ranking player Ke Jie,

3-0 in the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China, played on 23, 25, and 27 May 2017.

Before the match it was commonly accepted that it would be at least a decade before any program was able to challenge the best human players. Beating Kasparov at Chess was considered child’s play to beating a human at Go. “The Game of Go is the holy grail of artificial intelligence. Everything we’ve ever tried in AI, it just falls over when you try the game of Go.” – Dave Silver Lead Researcher for AlphaGo

While watching the movie the thought crossed my mind that what I was watching was a watershed moment in the history of mankind, analogous to Neal Armstrong’s “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

“We think of DeepMind as kind of an Apollo program effort for AI. Our mission is to fundamentally understand intelligence and recreate it artificially.” – Demis Hassabis Co-Founder & CEO, DeepMind

A comment from a member of the AlphaGo team has stuck with me: “We do not understand enough about Go to understand what AlphaGo is doing.” I cannot help but wonder if, in the future when programs are exponentially more powerful, humans will allow the programs to make decisions for them while not understanding why those decisions have been made…

This is a great movie. The Chess player IM Boris Kogan said, “The measure of a man is how he comes back after a defeat.” In the two months after Lee Sedol lost to the computer program known as AlphaGo he won every match he played against human opponents.

We have truly entered a Brave New World.

IM Daniel Gurevich Second Place Tie at the St Louis Invitational

IM Daniel Gurevich “cut his eye teeth,” as we say in the South, at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, aka, the House of Pain.

I made a point to be near the first board game of the last round of the K-6 section when Daniel took clear first in the Supernationals at Opryland in Nashville back in 2009 and I was the first one to congratulate him. He was beaming and his face broke into a big smile as he took my proffered hand. His score of six and a half out of seven games raised his rating from 2075 to 2104, and it has not stopped rising. His FIDE page shows his current FIDE rating as 2471. It will continuing heading upward after his second place finish, tied with four others, in the GM section of the recently concluded St. Louis Invitational, with a undefeated score of plus two, both wins coming with the black pieces. The final crosstable shown at the website of the STLCC ( shows Daniel with the second highest performance rating (2563) behind only that of tournament winner IM John Burke (2606).

I would like to present all of Daniel’s games at the tournament, some of which I was fortunate enough to watch (“You GOTTA pull for somebody, man!” – David Spinks); all of which I have played over.

Two games annotated by his opponents follow below the games. The first game, which I enjoyed immensely, could be called a “real barn burner!” The ChessBomb shows a plethora of “red moves,” but then most fighting games are repleat with “off-color” moves, are they not?

IM Daniel Gurevich (2471) v IM Aman Hambleton (2484)

Rd 1

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. e3
Bf5 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 c6 11. a3 Be7 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. h4 g6 14. h5 g5 15.
Ne2 Nd7 16. Ng3 Bg7 17. Nf5 a5 18. Nd2 Re8 19. f3 c5 20. O-O Qb6 21. f4 g4 22.
dxc5 Nxc5 23. Qe2 Qxb2 24. Qxg4 Kh8 25. Rab1 Qf6 26. Rb5 Bf8 27. Rf3 Ne4 28.
Nxe4 dxe4 29. Rg3 Bxa3 30. Rb6 Re6 31. Rxb7 a4 32. Ra7 Ree8 33. Rc7 Bb2 34. Nd6
Qxd6 35. Rxf7 Rg8 36. Qf5 Bg7 37. Rg6 Qxg6 38. hxg6 a3 39. Qh5 Rge8 40. Rxg7
Kxg7 41. Qd5 Kxg6 42. Qd6+ Kf7 43. Qd7+ Kf6 44. Qd4+ Kf7 45. Qd7+ Kf6 46. Qd4+

White: IM Raven Sturt (2449)

Rd 2

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bxc4 Nc6 6. Ne2 Nb6 7. Bb3 Bf5 8.
Nbc3 e6 9. O-O Qd7 10. Be3 O-O-O 11. a3 f6 12. exf6 gxf6 13. Ng3 Bg6 14. Qf3
Be7 15. Rfd1 Na5 16. Ba2 Nac4 17. d5 e5 18. Bxb6 Nxb6 19. a4 a5 20. Bb1 Rhg8
21. Bf5 Bxf5 22. Nxf5 Rg5 23. Nxe7+ Qxe7 24. Ne4 Rg6 25. d6 cxd6 26. Qc3+ Kb8
27. Qxa5 f5 28. Ng3 d5 29. Nxf5 Qg5 30. Ng3 h5 31. Qb5 h4 32. a5 hxg3 33. hxg3
Nc8 34. Rxd5 Rxd5 35. Qxd5 Rh6 36. Re1 Rh5 37. Qe6 Qg7 38. Rc1 Qh8 39. Rxc8+
Qxc8 40. Qd6+ Ka8 41. Qd2 Qh8 42. f3 Rh1+ 43. Kf2 Qc8 44. g4 Qc5+ 45. Kg3 Qd4
46. Qg5 Ka7 47. b4 Qc3 0-1

Black: GM Julio Catalino Sadorra (2554)

Rd 3

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O c5 5. c4 Nc6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 Be7 8.
dxc5 Bxc5 9. a3 O-O 10. b4 Bb6 11. Bb2 Ne4 12. Nc3 Nxc3 13. Bxc3 Bg4 14. e3 d4
15. exd4 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Bxd4 18. Rad1 Qb6 19. Qxb7 Rad8 20. Qxb6
axb6 21. Rfe1 Bb2 22. a4 Bc3 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 24. Re4 g6 25. Bf1 Rd1 26. Kg2 Kg7
27. Rc4 Be1 28. Re4 Bc3 29. Bc4 Re1 30. Rxe1 Bxe1 31. b5 f5 32. f4 Kf6 33. Kf3
Bb4 34. h3 h5 35. g4 hxg4+ 36. hxg4 fxg4+ 37. Kxg4 Bd6 1/2-1/2

White: IM John Bartholomew (2442)

Rd 4

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. a3 a6 8. dxc5
Qxd1 9. Rxd1 Bxc5 10. b4 Be7 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Nbd2 b5 13. Be2 Bb7 14. Nb3 Rfd8
15. Nfd2 Nd7 16. Bf3 Rab8 17. Rac1 Nde5 18. Bxe5 Nxe5 19. Bxb7 Rxb7 20. Ne4
Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 Nc4 22. Nec5 Ra7 23. g3 g5 24. Rd7 Rxd7 25. Nxd7 Nxa3 26. Ndc5
Nc2 27. Nxa6 Bd6 28. Nd4 Nxd4 29. exd4 g4 30. f4 Kf8 31. Kf2 Ke7 32. Nc5 Kd8
33. Ke3 Kc7 34. Ke4 Kc6 35. Na6 f5+ 36. Kd3 Kd5 37. Nc5 h5 38. Ke3 Be7 39. Kd3
Bf6 40. Na6 Bd8 41. Ke3 Kd6 42. Nc5 Bf6 43. Na6 h4 44. Kd3 h3 45. Ke3 Kc6 46.
Nc5 Kd5 47. Kd3 Bh4 48. gxh4 0-1

Black: GM Ioan-Cristian Chirila (2557)

Rd 5

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 f6
8. Be3 e5 9. Nd2 Be6 10. Bc4 Kf7 11. Kc2 Nd7 12. Rad1 Nb6 13. Bxe6+ Kxe6 14. b3
Nc8 15. f3 Nd6 16. c4 b6 17. Nb1 Nb7 18. Nc3 c6 19. g3 Bb4 20. Kb2 Rad8 21. a3
Bc5 22. Bxc5 Nxc5 23. b4 Nd3+ 24. Kc2 Nf2 25. Rxd8 Rxd8 26. Rf1 Nh3 27. Nd1 f5
28. exf5+ gxf5 29. Ne3 f4 30. gxf4 exf4 31. Ng4 h5 32. Nf2 Ng5 33. h4 Nxf3 34.
Nh3 Nd4+ 35. Kb2 f3 36. Ng5+ Kf5 37. Nxf3 Kg4 38. Ne5+ Kg3 39. Rg1+ Kh3 40.
Rh1+ Kg3 41. Rg1+ Kh3 42. Rh1+ Kg2 43. Rd1 Ne6 44. Re1 Nf4 45. Re4 Re8 46. Rxf4
Rxe5 47. Rf7 a5 48. Rf6 axb4 49. axb4 c5 50. Rxb6 cxb4 51. Rxb4 Re4 52. Kc3
Rxh4 53. Rb2+ Kg3 54. c5 Ra4 55. Rb3 h4 56. c6 Ra8 57. Kd4+ Kg2 58. Rb2+ Kg3
59. Rb3+ Kg2 60. Rb2+ 1/2-1/2

White: IM Atulya Shetty (2403)

Rd 6

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nc3 Nb6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8.
b3 O-O 9. Bb2 Re8 10. Rc1 Bg4 11. d3 Qd7 12. Ne4 f6 13. Nc5 Bxc5 14. Rxc5 Bh3
15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. b4 a6 17. a4 Qe6 18. a5 Nd5 19. Ba3 b6 20. Rc1 Rad8 21. Qb3
Nd4 22. Nxd4 exd4 23. Bb2 bxa5 24. bxa5 Kh8 25. Bxd4 Qxe2 26. Qd1 Qe6 27. Re1
Qxe1+ 28. Qxe1 Rxe1+ 29. Rxe1 Kg8 30. Bc5 Rb8 31. Be3 Rb3 32. Rc1 Rxd3 33. Rc6
Nxe3 34. fxe3 Rd6 35. Rxc7 Rd5 36. Kg2 Rxa5 37. Ra7 h5 38. h4 Kh7 39. e4 Kg6
40. Kf3 Ra1 41. Kf2 a5 42. Kf3 a4 43. Kf2 a3 44. Kg2 a2 45. Kh2 Kh7 46. Ra8 g6
47. Ra7+ Kg8 48. Kg2 Kf8 49. Kh2 Ke8 50. Kg2 Kd8 51. Kh2 Kc8 52. Kg2 Kb8 53.
Ra3 Kb7 54. Ra4 Kb6 55. Ra8 Kb5 56. Rb8+ Kc4 57. Rc8+ Kd3 58. Rd8+ Ke3 59. Ra8
Rd1 60. Rxa2 Rd2+ 61. Rxd2 Kxd2 62. Kf2 Kd1 63. Kf1 1/2-1/2

Black: IM Steven Zierk (2493)

Rd 7

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. d4 cxd4 7. Nxd4 O-O 8.
O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qd3 Rb8 11. Bg5 Be6 12. Rac1 a6 13. b3 Re8 14. Rfd1 Qa5
15. Bd2 Qh5 16. a4 Nd7 17. Nd5 Ne5 18. Qe4 Bf5 19. Nf4 Bxe4 20. Nxh5 Bxg2 21.
Nxg7 Kxg7 22. Kxg2 Nd7 23. Be3 Rbc8 24. Rd5 Rc6 25. Rcd1 Rec8 26. f4 f5 27. Kf3
Kf7 28. a5 Nf6 29. R5d3 Ne4 30. Bb6 Nf6 31. h3 Nd7 32. Be3 Nc5 33. Bxc5 Rxc5
34. Rd5 R8c6 35. e4 Rxd5 36. Rxd5 e6 37. Rd4 Ke7 38. g4 fxe4+ 39. Kxe4 b6 40.
axb6 Rxb6 41. Rd3 Rb8 42. f5 Rf8 43. Rf3 gxf5+ 44. gxf5 Rg8 45. fxe6 Kxe6 46.
Kd4 a5 47. Re3+ Kd7 48. Kc3 Rg2 49. Rd3 Kc6 50. Rd5 Rg3+ 51. Kb2 a4 52. bxa4
Rxh3 53. a5 Re3 54. Rh5 Re5 55. Rxh7 Rxa5 56. Kc3 1/2-1/2

White: IM John M Burke (2502)

Rd 8

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e5 Ne4 5. Ne2 Qb6 6. d4 e6 7. Ng3 c5 8. Bd3
Nxg3 9. fxg3 c4 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O Nc6 12. g4 Bd7 13. c3 f6 14. exf6 gxf6 15.
g5 O-O-O 16. gxf6 Bxf6 17. Kh1 Rhg8 18. b3 cxb3 19. axb3 e5 20. dxe5 Nxe5 21.
Nxe5 Bxe5 22. Qxd5 Qg6 23. Bf3 Bc6 24. Qc4 Rdf8 25. Bxc6 Qxc6 26. Qxc6+ bxc6
27. Be3 Bxc3 28. Rxf8+ Rxf8 29. Rc1 Bb2 30. Rb1 Re8 31. Bxa7 Re2 32. g3 Kb7 33.
Bg1 Kc7 34. Rf1 Kd6 35. Rf7 h6 36. Bf2 Bc1 37. Kg2 Rb2 38. Rf3 Ke5 39. h4 Ke4
40. g4 Bf4 41. Rh3 Be5 42. g5 hxg5 43. hxg5 Kf5 44. Rd3 1/2-1/2

Black: GM Jayaram Ashwin (2474)

Rd 9

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4 5. h3 Bh5 6. c4 e6 7. d4 Be7 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Qb3 Qb6 10. Qxb6 axb6 11. Nc3 Nc6 12. Be3 Nd7 13. Nb5 O-O 14. Rfc1 Rfc8 15. a3 Na5 16. Rxc8+ Rxc8 17. Rc1 Rc6 18. Rc3 Kf8 19. g4 Bg6 20. Nd2 Bc2 21. b4 Rxc3 22. Nxc3 Nc6 23. f4 Nf6 24. Kf2 Ne8 25. Nf3 Nd6 26. Bc1 Ne4+ 27. Nxe4 dxe4 28. Ne5 Nxd4 29. Ke3 Nb3 30. Bb2 f5 31. g5 b5 32. Bc3 Bd6 33. Bf1 Bxe5 34. Bxe5 g6 35. Bb2 Ke7 36. h4 Kd6 37. Bh3 Kd5 38. Bg2 Bb1 39. Bh3 Kc4 40. Bf1 Bc2 41. Bg2 b6 42. Bf1 Bb1 43. Bg2 Ba2 44. Bf1 Kd5 45. Bg2 Kc6 46. Bh3 Kd6 47. Bg2 Kd5 48. Bh3 Bb1 49. Bg2 Kc4 50. Bf1 Ba2 51. Bg2 Bb1 52. Bf1 Bc2 53. Bg2 Bb1 ½-½

IM Daniel Gurevich vs. IM Aman Hambleton [Round 1]

IM Bartholomew vs. IM Daniel Gurevich [Round 2]

The Ol’ Swindler Strikes Again!

Many years ago NM Neal Harris beat the Legendary Georgia Ironman for the second time in the exact same variation. The Ironman, who was none too pleased, said, “That Neal…he ain’t nothing but an ol’ swindler!” We have all laughed about it since then, and I have been known to address my friend Neal as “Ol’ Swindler”, which invariably brings out a smile from the Ol’ Swindler. Today the ol’ dog proved he still has some bite!
This afternoon as fire raged on every board at the Sinquefield Cup, with GM Maurice displaying histrionics that would make Tom Cruise proud, and Jen and Ben talking excitedly when given the chance, with even the usually calm and understated Yaz getting in on the act, especially when Hikaru Nakamura eschewed the opportunity to put Darth Topalov out of his misery with 21…Bxf2+, I was following the game between Neal and Kazim Gulamali at the US Masters along with the coverage from St. Louis.
Neal is a fellow Senior who happens to be against Senior tournaments. We have agreed to disagree on the matter. Knowing Kazim from the time he was a child put me in a tough position. It is one of those situations where one might hope for a great game that turns out to be a draw. Then there is David Spinks, who said, “You gotta pull for SOMEBODY!” I admit that when the Ol’ Swindler obtained an advantage my heart was with him. “Come on Neal, push that pawn to e2!” I exclaimed as he missed chance after chance to do just that. Nevertheless, Neal found a way to win. Congratulations my friend! NC obtained a modicum of revenge for the loss to the Atlanta Kings earlier this week.


US Masters rd 2 Greensboro, North Carolina

B29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Nc3 Nxc3 5. dxc3 Nc6 6. Bf4 e6 7. Qd2 h6 8. h4 Qc7 9. Rd1 b6 10. Qe3 Bb7 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. (12. Ne4 Nf5 13. Qe2 Qc6 14. Nd6+ Bxd6 15. exd6 h5 16. f3 O-O-O 17. Qd2 e5 18. Bh2 e4 19. Qf4 exf3 20. Bd3 Ne3 21. Qxe3 fxg2 22. Rg1 Rde8 23. Be5 f6 24. Kd2 Rxe5 25. Qg3 Qf3 26. Qxf3 Bxf3 27. Rde1 Rhe8 28. Rxe5 Rxe5 0-1, Ingvar Asmundsson (2338) – Jacob Murey (2496) EU-ch Seniors, 10/03/2002) Nc4 Nd5 13. Qg3 O-O-O 14. Nd6 Bxd6 15. exd6 Qc6 16. Bc1 Qa4 17. c4 Nb4 18. c3 Nc2 19. Kd2 Na1 20. a3 Nb3 21. Ke1 Nxc1 22. Rxc1 Qc6 23. f3 e5 24. Rd1 e4 25. b3 Rde8 26. f4 Rhg8 27. Rd5 Kb8 28. h5 Qc8 29. Rf5 f6 30. Rh4 Re6 31. Rg4 Qf8 32. b4 e3 33. bxc5 bxc5 34. Rd5 Bxd5 35. cxd5 Qxd6 36. c4 Re7 37. Bd3 Qc7 38. Kf1 Rge8 39. Qe1 Qb6 40. Bg6 Rf8 41. Bd3 Qb3 42. Ke2 Qxa3 43. Qb1 Qb4 44. Qxb4 cxb4 45. d6 Re6 46. c5 a5 47. Bf5 Rc8 48. Bxe6 dxe6 49. f5 exf5 50. Rc4 b3 51. Rc3 a4 52. Rc4 Kb7 53. Rxa4 Rxc5 54. d7 Kc7 55. Rb4 Kxd7 56. Rxb3 f4 57. Rb7 Ke6 58. Rxg7 Rxh5 59. Kf3 Re5 0-1

Traveling Wilburys – Congratulations

The Ironman Gambit

The many regular readers from all over the world will know this is a continuation of my previous post. Newcomers may want to read it before reading this…
The Legendary Georgia Ironman finally made it to the board for the fourth round of the Atlanta Chess Championship. He amazed by winning the game versus the ‘Rock Star’ William Remick, who is a drummer in a heavy metal band. The amazing thing about the ‘Rock Star’ is that the arm he used was mangled in a wreck and he had to learn to use the other arm. The man with high energy has had some good results recently, but this was not one of them. Fortunately for the Ironman the game was short. Such was not the case for his last round game against one of the up and coming juniors, Shanmuka Meruga. The game lasted late into the night. By the time the Ironman returned I was two plus hours into the movie, “Django Unchained.” I ignored his knock upon my door. Sometime later he knocked again and I had to say, “I’m into something. Go away!” I could have stopped the movie, but did not because by that time there was absolutely no way I could stop watching and go back to it. As David Spinks would say, I HAD to watch it until the end, MAN! I was riveted for all three hours. It deserves all four stars. What can I say, it blew me away. I have now seen two movies staring Jamie Foxx, with “Colleratal” being the other, and both were fantastic. The latter ranks up there with Robert De Niro’s “Taxi Driver” as far as movies about cab drivers. Besides, from the way Tim looked, I figured he must have lost and it would be extremely difficult to go from what I had been watching for two plus hours to having to commiserate with Tim. Imagine my surprise to learn the man of iron had won the game, and with it $200! This after coming to play only the last day. What can I say, Tim continues to add to the Ironman legend.
I must admit, though, that the Ironman was showing some rust when I visited with him Sunday night, before he “fell-out.” He crashed out hard and looked like warmed over death Monday morning as we drove to the chess camp. Pragmatically speaking, the Ironman should have stayed home and rested Sunday, but that is no way to add to a legend.
I give the games for posterity:
[Event “2014 Atlanta Championship”]
[Date “2014.06.01”]
[Round 4]
[White “Remick, William”]
[Black “Brookshear, Tim”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “D00”]
[WhiteElo “1953”]
[BlackElo “2038”]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bf4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. dxc5 Bxc5 6.e3 a6 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. a3 O-O 9. g4 Re8 10. Ne5 d4 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Bb7 14. Qf3 e5 15. Qh3 exf4 16. Qxh7+ Kf8 17. Qh8+ Ke7 18. Qxg7 Qd6 19. Qg5+ Kf8 20. Bh7 fxe3 21. O-O-O Re5 22. Bf5 e2 23. Rde1 d3 24. cxd3 Bxf2 25. Qh5 c5 26. Rxe2 Rxe2 27. Rd1 Be3+ 28. Kb1 Qd4 0-1
[Event “2014 Atlanta Championship”]
[Date “2014.06.01”]
[Round 5]
[White “Brookshear, Tim”]
[Black “Meruga, S.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D35”]
[WhiteElo “2038”]
[BlackElo “1902”]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. e3 Bf5 9. Bd3 Ne4 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. O-O Nd7 12. Qc2 O-O 13. Nd2 Ndf6 14. Rae1 Rae8 15. f3 Nxd2 16. Qxd2 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Qb4 18. Re2 Re719. a3 Qb6 20. b4 Rfe8 21. Rfe1 a6 22. Na4 Qc7 23. Nc5 Nd7 24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. a4 g6 26. Kf2 f5 27. b5 cxb5 28. axb5 Qxb5 29. Qxb5 axb5 30. f4 g5 31. g3 gxf4 32. gxf4 Rc8 33. Rb1 Rg7 34. Rxb5 Rd7 35. Reb2 Rcc7 36. Kf3 Kg7 37. Rb6 Re7 38. Rg2+ Kh7 39. Rgg6 Rc3 40. Rxh6+ Kg7 41. Rhe6 Rxe6 42. Rxe6 b5 43. Rb6 Rb3 44. Rd6 b4 45. Rxd5 Kg6 46. h4 Rb1 47. h5+ Kf6 48. h6 b3 49. Rd6+ Kf7 50. h7 Kg7 51. Rd7+ Kh8 52. Rb7 b2 53. Kg2 Re1 54. Rxb2 Rxe3 55. Rd2 Re6 56. d5 Rd6 57. Kf3 Kxh7 58. Ke3 Kg7 59. Kd4 Kf6 60. Kc5 Ke7 61. Rh2 Rf6 62. Rh7+ Kd8 63. Kd4 Ra6 64. Ke5 Ra5 65. Ke6 Kc8 66. Rh8+ Kc7 67. d6+ 1-0
I would like to give more details about the ACC, but the tournament has yet to be rated. By way of explanation I can only tell you the tournament was a Thad Rogers production. I would have covered it, but decided against it after hearing the message left by Mr. Rogers on the Ironman’s cellphone in which he threatened to “Punch Mike in the face!” It seems Thad was none too pleased with the post I wrote about the new Atlanta Kings ( After giving me permission to print it he now claims that parts (Parts? What parts!) were “off the record.” Unfortunately I did not tape our conversation, but others did hear Thad give me permission to print. How was I too know under the table payments were being made in the USCL? From what Thad told me I understood it to be common knowledge the players were being paid by the poker money people. I will admit I have little knowledge of the league, and those who read this blog, and have read the BaconLOG, know why I have little interest in the USCL. There is, though, a recording of the threat made by Thad. I can only hope that in this case the threat is stronger than it’s execution!

The Irrepressible Jude Acers

I first met Jude Acers when he came to Atlanta in the 1970’s to give a simultaneous exhibition at Lenox Square Mall. It opened in 1959 and is the oldest Mall in the South. Back then it was THE place to go, and Jude’s simul was covered by the press. This was during a time when Jude was traveling all over the country performing simultaneous exhibitions. Jude has written about those days and you can find some of the articles he wrote for the Berkeley Barb from 1972-1974 on the wonderful ChessDryad website containing California Chess History: ( One of his articles is entitled, “Atlanta at Dawn” The Road, Part 1 Berkeley Barb, Vol. 16, No. 23, Dec. 8-14, 1972. Another is, “Adventures in a Greyhound Terminal” The Road, Part XI Berkeley Barb, Aug. 2-8, 1974. I can identify with both of these articles. If Jude had not loved chess so much it is possible he could have been a great writer.
I took one of the boards that evening and admit to being one of Jude’s victims. There can be no doubt Jude helped popularize chess in those days. Jude was strong enough to draw a four game match with Mr. Six-Time, GM Walter Browne, if memory serves.
When Jude had enough of the road he settled in New Orleans, where he has been for decades. Please go to his website,, where you will find a short film that captures the quintessential Jude. I promise it will be the best nine minutes of your day. It was one of the best parts of my yesterday. It shows Jude being, well, Jude!
Watching the film brought back memories of the time years ago when I had a job driving vehicles, mostly Bell South, to nine different southeastern states. If there were two or more vehicles they would go on a hauler, but if there was only one, someone would have to drive it, and that someone would be me. Some of the drivers were retired airline personnel and they managed to get home by flying free. I, on the other hand, had to pay to ride a Greyhound bus in order to return home. One of the possible trips was to Lake Charles, Louisiana. None of the other drivers wanted that trip, for various reasons, so I drove there often. I would then make my way back to New Orleans via bus, where I would have a twelve hour layover from seven pm until the Amtrak train left the next morning at 7 am. At that time I was still young enough to handle a night on Bourbon Street. Each and every night I spent there could be a chapter in the book of the Armchair Warrior.
I looked forward to the first trip in hopes of being able to get a chance to play Jude, because I wanted revenge. Every time I left the bus terminal heading for the French Quarter I would walk to the Gazebo, where Jude would be holding court. I do not recall how many times I made the trip, but I know he was always playing someone, and often more than one game was in progress. There always seemed to be ‘victims’ lined up, awaiting their chance for a crack at Jude. I would get something to drink, sit back and listen, while watching the show, for if he is nothing else, Jude is a showman. The show was invariably enjoyable.
The last time I made the trip, as luck would have it, Jude was alone at his table, going over a chess game from some magazine. He quickly put it away when he noticed me. I paid my five bucks and Jude allowed me to move first. I opened with the move known as “best by test,” 1 e4, and it was game on! Jude answered with 1…c6, the Caro-Kann, the opening I started playing after giving up my beloved Najdorf. I played the so-called “Fantasy” variation. My memory will only allow me to tell you I recall Jude bringing his Queen to h4 early in the game, and I somehow won a pawn. We reached an endgame and the place was closing, so I did the gentlemanly thing and offered Jude a draw. “Move,” was his reply. This infuriated me! How dare he turn refuse my offer? Did he think he could outplay me from a pawn down position in an endgame? I fortified myself for the battle to come, knowing that at the conclusion there would be blood spilled over the board, hopefully his! I managed to not blow it and cruised to a victory. “You sure took a lot of time,” was his comment after shaking hands. “What did you expect after turning down my draw offer? What, did you think you could beat me from that pawn down endgame position?” I made my way to the French Quarter ready to celebrate my victory with an adult beverage, while listening to some authentic jazz. I have drawn with dozens of chess masters, but beaten only a couple of handfuls, and that includes only one player who was not technically a NM, my friend the Discman. When I defeated Chris Chambers at the Tennessee Open in 1988 he had just returned from scoring 8 ½ points in the US Open, pushing his rating over the coveted 2200 mark. Anyone who can score 8 ½ out of 12 at the US Open ought to be considered a NM in my book. I have been fortunate enough to beat many players who later became NM’s, but the win over the irrepressible Jude will always have a special place in the book of the Armchair Warrior.
One of my trips driving a Bell South vehicle took me to Asheville, NC, in time for the Land of the Sky chess tournament, considered by many to be the best chess tournament in the South for over two decades. My friend Wilder Wadford is not getting any younger, so I urge you to start making plans to attend his excellent tournament after the first of the year. My friend, The Dude, aka Tim Bond, followed me and, once the mission had been completed, gave me a ride to the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, site of the LOTS, as it is known. On the way I mentioned my win over Jude in the French Quarter. “You beat Jude?” he said. “I played him ten times, drawing the first game, but losing the other nine.” A man does not make a living for decades playing chess by losing many games.
The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I made a trip to play in the Texas State Championship decades ago and Tim wanted to stop in New Orleans for lunch. After eating we walked over, finding Jude alone. Even though he was disappointed to hear we did not have time for a game, we were able to converse with him. I am uncertain when this occurred, but it was around the time when USCF began to rate quick chess. Jude managed to bring this fact into the conversation and it became a soliloquy. Jude was under the impression quick chess was going to revolutionize chess, exuberantly saying things like, “It will put money in every master’s pocket and a chicken in every pot! The future of chess is quick chess and it will bring in thousands, MILLIONS, of new players! It is the dawning of a new age of chess!” Jude was reeling with the feeling and got carried away, I suppose. His soliloquy lasted some time. He had to catch his breath and it was then we were able to take our leave. As we walked toward the car I could not help but notice the Ironman had been unusually quiet. I looked at him, noticing a strange look upon his face. I asked if everything was OK. “No, it’s not OK, Bacon. You do not understand… that man was my childhood hero. I got into chess after playing in one of his simuls, and now I find him a raving lunatic!” Tim had not been around Jude like I had and therefore had little understanding. I thought Tim was being a little harsh and had to stifle a laugh. “Look Tim, that’s just Jude’s shtick. He’s a character, which is what makes him what he is. That’s one of the best things about chess, the different characters one meets.” We walked on quietly until the Ironman said, “I guess you’re right, Bacon.”
When Hurricane Katrina hit and the Bushwhackers did nothing but look on from the window of a plane, my thoughts, like many others, went to Jude, wondering if he had made it. Hearing the first report that Jude was alive caused great relief.
I was elated upon learning Jude was participating in the World Senior Championships in 2008. He has played in each tournament since then and he is always my “horse.” As David Spinks was fond of saying, “It is not fun unless you have someone to pull for.”
I urge you to spend less than ten minutes of your time watching the aforementioned film because Jude is definitely sui generis. Read this article to learn why Jude wears a red beret, and what is buried in GM Arthur Dake’s coffin:
To learn more about one of the true characters of chess, and a real chess hero, go to Jude’s website:
For the chance of a lifetime, please go here: