The Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational Extravaganza

There were four separate Chess tournaments held from Jul 28-Aug 1, 2021, at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Together they were called the, Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational. There was the Grandmaster A; GM B; and the International Master A, and IM B. Each tournament consisted of ten players, some of whom paid an entry fee of $850 for a chance at obtaining a norm toward actually earning a title. I have no other details as they were not disclosed on the website.

In the top GM A tournament, IM Joshua Sheng (2453),

of the USA, scored the required 6 1/2 points by defeating, with the black pieces, FM Gauri Shankar (2369),

from India, in the last round. FM Shankar finished last managing only four draws to go with his five losses.

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 e6 5. cxd5 Bxf3 6. Bxf3 cxd5 7. O-O Nf6 8. b3 Nc6 9. Bb2 Bd6 10. d3 O-O 11. Nc3 Rc8 12. Nb5 Be7 13. Nd4 Qa5 14. a3 Qb6 15. e3 Nd7 16. b4 Bf6 17. Nxc6 Rxc6 18. d4 Rfc8 19. Be2 Rc2 20. Rb1 Qd6 21. Bd3 R2c7 22. Qe2 Nb6 23. Rfc1 Nc4 24. Bxc4 Rxc4 25. Rxc4 Rxc4 26. Rd1 Qc6 27. Rd2 Bd8 28. Qd3 g6 29. Re2 Qb5 30. Qd1 a5 31. bxa5 Bxa5 32. Kg2 Kf8 33. h4 Ke8 34. h5 Rc6 35. a4 Qb4 36. hxg6 hxg6 37. Ba1 Qc4 38. Bb2 Bb4 39. f3 Bd6 40. e4 Ra6 41. exd5 Qxd5 42. Bc1 Rc6 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Qd2 Ra3 45. Qc2 Kd7 46. Kf2 Ra1 47. Kg2 Qh5 48. Bc1 Ba3 49. Re1 Qd5 50. Rd1 Ra2 0-1

In the GM B tournament GM Tanguy Ringoir,

of Belarus, IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy,

of the USA, and FM Jason Liang,

also of the USA, tied for first place, each with a score of 5 1/2 out of 9. From the website is does appear that FM Liang earned an IM norm with a half point to spare. In addition, NM Tianqi Wang (2336),

of the USA, appears to have qualified for an IM norm with his score of 5 out of 9.

The International Master C tournament saw NM Aydin Turgut (2275),

USA, take clear first place with a score of 7/9, which also gained him an IM norm. He did it with this heroic battle:

Woodward, Andy (2196) vs Turgut, Aydin (2275)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c5 ½-½

The game score was not found at the CCC&SA website, as was the above game, so I took it from the ChessBomb website.

NM Ming Lu (2174),

USA, won the IM D tournament with a score of 7/9, one half point ahead of NM Alex Kolay (2203),

USA, who missed out on earning a IM norm by 1/2 point.

When one clicks on the IM D board to be taken to the game score he is instead taken to the IM C games. I therefore had to again use the game score from the ChessBomb (What would a journalist do without the Bomb?!)

Lev Paciorkowski (2262) USA vs Ming Lu (2174)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 09
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation

  1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2 Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. e5 Ne8 9. c4 Nc7 10. Nc3 Rb8 11. Rd1 b5 12. b3 a6 13. h4 Bb7 14. h5 h6 15. Bf4 b4 16. Nb1 f5 17. Re1 ½-½

Here is the deal…heading into the last round Lev Paciorkowski, after losing to NM Akira Nakada (2199)

in the penultimate round, could not have earned a norm with a win. After Lev played 15 Bf4 Ming Lu should have played the MOST FORCING MOVE, which was 15…Nd4. Instead, Lu played a weak, anti-positional move, 15…b4. Then Lev let go of the rope with at least one hand by playing the retrograde move16 Nb1, when moving the knight to a4 would have given him a substaintial advantage. With his last move, another lemon, Lev offered the peace pipe, which was gladly smoked by Ming Lu!

In the above game, after 1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2, I checked with the ChessBaseDataBase and was ASTOUNDED to learn Stockfish 12 @depth 52 would play 3 c3! The exclam is for my surprise, not because it is an outstanding move. Fact is, there is not one example of the move having been played in the CBDB! There are, though, four examples found at 365Chess. None of the players have a rating (
The Stockfish program 270321 shows 3 Nd2. The “new engine” does show 3 Qe2, for what it’s worth. After 3…Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 4…Be7) 5. g3 (SF 13 @depth 32 would play 5 c4, a move yet to be attempted by a human) 5…Nc6 (The most often played move but SF would play 5…Be7) 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O (By far the most often played move, and SF 260271 @depth 42 would also castle, but the same program left running until depth 49 would play 7 a4. There are only 3 examples of the move in the CBDB) 7…0-0 (SF plays 7…b5) 8. e5 (SF 13 plays this move but SF 14 prefers the seldom played 8 a4. Just sayin’…) 8…Ne8 (SF plays 8…Nd7) 9 c4 (Houdini plays the game move, but the smellyFish prefers 9 c3) 9…Nc7 10. Nc3 (Deep Fritz plays this, the most often played move, but Stockfish 11 @depth 31 plays 10 Re1; SF 13 at the same depth would play 10 b3, which is food for thought…) 10…Rb8 (SF plays this move but Komodo prefers 10…a6) 11. Rd1 (SF 12 @depth 41 plays the little played 11 Bf4) 11…b5 (Komodo plays the game move but StockFish comes up with a Theoretical Novelty with 11…b6. How about them fish?!) 12. b3 a6 13. h4 (TN)

Lin Chen (2477) vs Igor Naumkin (2421)
Event: 34th Boeblinger Open 2017
Site: Boeblingen GER Date: 12/29/2017
Round: 6.4
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Be7 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Nf6 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 c5 7.O-O Nc6 8.e5 Ne8 9.c4 Nc7 10.Nc3 Rb8 11.Rd1 b5 12.b3 a6 13.d4 bxc4 14.bxc4 Bb7 15.dxc5 Bxc5 16.Bg5 Be7 17.cxd5 exd5 18.Bxe7 Nxe7 19.Ne4 Ne6 20.Nd6 Qa5 21.Rac1 Bc6 22.Nd4 Nxd4 23.Rxd4 Bd7 24.h3 Be6 25.Qd2 Qb6 26.Rd3 Ng6 27.Rb3 Qa7 28.Rxb8 Rxb8 29.Re1 Qc5 30.Kh2 Qa3 31.Re2 Nxe5 32.Nxf7 Bxf7 33.Rxe5 Rb2 34.Qf4 Qxa2 35.Rf5 d4 36.Qd6 Re2 37.Qd8+ Re8 38.Qxe8+ Bxe8 39.Bd5+ Bf7 40.Bxa2 Bxa2 41.Ra5 Bb1 42.Rxa6 Kf7 43.Kg2 Be4+ 44.f3 Bc2 45.Kf2 d3 46.Ke3 g5 47.Rd6 Ke7 48.Rh6 Kf8 49.Rh5 1-0

GM Alonso Zapata

had a poor performance in the IM D tournament. I have no idea why. I did reach out to him but have yet to receive a reply. The Grandmaster only scored 3 points in the 9 round event. He drew 6 games while losing 3. All games were against much lower rated players. GM Zapata has played solidly for many years since moving to Atlanta, Georgia, but he is no longer a spring chicken. Everyone wondered what would happen when players were once again battling over the Chessboard after a long layoff. GM Zapata lost a long game in the 3rd round ( and followed it up with the following game which certainly helped NM Ming Lu (2174) in his attempt at gaining a norm:

GM Alonso Zapata (2422) vs Ming Lu (2174)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 04

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Bd3 c5 5. dxc5 Nf6 6. Qe2 O-O 7. Ngf3 a5 8. O-O Na6 9. e5 Nd7 10. c3 Naxc5 11. Bc2 f6 12. Nb3 b6 13. Nxc5 Nxc5 14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Re1 Ba6 16. Qd1 Qd6 17. Ng5 Bxg5 18. Bxg5 e5 19. f4 Rae8 20. fxe5 Rxe5 21. Qd2 Ne6 22. Bh4 Nf4 23. Bg3 Qc5+ 24. Bf2 Nh3+ 25. gxh3 Rxf2 0-1

Kubik, Michael (2238) vs Rydl, Jiri (2257)
Event: 17th Olomouc IM 2014
Site: Olomouc CZE Date: 08/05/2014
Round: 9.2
ECO: C03 French, Tarrasch

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Bd3 c5 5.dxc5 Nf6 6.Qe2 O-O 7.Ngf3 a5 8.O-O Na6 9.e5 Nd7 10.c3 Naxc5 11.Bc2 f6 12.Nb3 b6 13.Nxc5 0-1

Position from the Zapata v Lu game after black played 21…Ne6

White to move

What move would you make?

Position after 23…Qc5+

When attempting to teach Chess to youngsters I became known for constantly saying, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!” Sometimes it took a jackhammer, but there were times when I realized the drillin’ had worked. One of those times was when I was walking along Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the truly great thoroughfares in America, and as I neared a traffic light I heard, “Hey coach…EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” That put a huge smile on the face of the ol’ coach and made my day!

Black to move and put White out of his misery, and possibly his mind…

I took the time to copy some of the games from all four tournaments for your edification and/or amusement. They were copied from ChessBomb and I did not want to waste my time imputing ratings where you will find a (01). Frankly, when a player produces such excrement over the board they do not deserve to be rated as anything other than a player wearing “Maggies Drawers” I suppose.

But hey, the good thing is that you do not need a board to review most of the games that follow! I am hated by those who run the CCC&SA in the way a roach hates it when you come into a room and turn on a light. Actually, it may have been better to have used “loathed and detested” in lieu of “hated.” As far as those responsible in Charlotte are concerned, it was stated best by Grant Oen in an email to me in response to an earlier post ( when Mr. Oen wrote, “If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed.”
Several? Maybe the rules need to be changed. Other tournaments have a 30 move rule in which no game can be drawn until at least 30 moves have been made. Since Charlotte has become the quick draw capital of the USA,

The Quick Draw Mcgraw Show El Kabong

if not the world, maybe they should consider such a “new rule.” After all, the name of the place is the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Obviously there are those at the CCC&SA who find it acceptable to teach children to not play Chess.

Banawa, Joel (01) – Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 03

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 Ne4 7. Bd2 Nxc3 8. Bxc3 d5 ½-½

Banawa, Joel (01) – Sheng, Joshua (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 05

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Nxe4 8. Bxb4 Nxb4 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Qb3+ Kf8 ½-½

Gauri, Shankar (01) – Banawa, Joel (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 07

  1. e4 e6 2. d3 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. f4 Nge7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. O-O d6 9. Be3 b6 10. d4 Ba6 ½-½

When playing over the following game ask yourself, “What would Ben Finegold say?”

Torres Rosas, Luis Carlos (01) – Cordova, Emilio (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 09

  1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. e4 Bb7 4. f3 f5 5. exf5 Nh6 6. fxe6 Nf5 7. exd7+ Nxd7 8. Ne2 Bd6 9. Nbc3 O-O 10. h4 Qe8 11. Kf2 Rd8 12. Nb5 Ne5 13. Nxd6 Rxd6 14. b3 Nxf3 15. gxf3 Bxf3 0-1

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Corrales Jimenez, Fidel (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 03

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. e4 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Korley, Kassa (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 05

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 b6 8. Bg5 Nd5 9. Bxe7 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bxe7 Qxe7 6. Nbd2 Nf6 7. g3 O-O 8. Bg2 b6 9. O-O Bb7 10. Rc1 Nbd7 11. cxd5 ½-½

Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (01) – Ringoir, Tanguy (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 08

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nbd2 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. b4 O-O ½-½

Corrales Jimenez, Fidel (01) – Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 09

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d5 10. exd6 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ Qe6 12. Qd4 Qd6 13. Qe4+ Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 15. Qe4+ ½-½

Diulger, Alexey (01) – Woodward, Andy (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 05

  1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. g3 Be7 7. Nxd5 Qxd5 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. h3 Bh5 11. Be3 Qd7 12. Qb3 Rab8 13. g4 Bg6 14. Rac1 ½-½

Turgut, Aydin (01) – Diulger, Alexey (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 06

  1. e4 d6 2. d4 c6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Qd2 b5 6. Nf3 a6 7. Bd3 Bg4 8. Ng1 e5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. h3 Be6 11. Nf3 h6 12. a4 Nd7 13. Nb1 ½-½ (FollowChess at the website has it a draw after 12…Nd7)

Bajarani, Ulvi (01) – Turgut, Aydin (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. a3 Be7 9. e4 a6 10. h3 Na5 11. Bg5 Nb3 12. Rb1 b5 13. Qc2 Bb7 14. Rbd1 h6 ½-½

Diulger, Alexey (01) – Tian, Eddy (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. cxd5 exd5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bg5 Qd6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 O-O 10. e3 b6 11. c4 Bb7 12. cxd5 Bxd5 13. Bd3 c5 14. O-O ½-½

Matta, Nicholas (01) – Woodward, Andy (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O Bd6 10. e4 dxc4 11. bxc4 e5 12. c5 Bc7 13. Na4 exd4 14. h3 Re8 15. Qc2 h6 16. Rfe1 ½-½

Jones, Craig (01) – Diulger, Alexey (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 08

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 e6 4. g3 f5 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Bxa3 10. Nxa3 Nbd7 11. e3 Ne4 12. Nb1 Ndf6 13. Nfd2 Bd7 14. f4 g5 ½-½

Jones, Craig (01) – Diulger, Alexey (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 08

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 e6 4. g3 f5 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Bxa3 10. Nxa3 Nbd7 11. e3 Ne4 12. Nb1 Ndf6 13. Nfd2 Bd7 14. f4 g5 ½-½

Arjun, Vishnuvardhan (01) – Nakada, Akira (01)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 02

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Nbd2 Be7 9. Rd1 O-O 10. e4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Qxe4 Qa5 13. Bf4 Rad8 14. a3 Qa6 15. Qc2 b5 16. d5 ½-½

Paciorkowski, Lev (01) – Kolay, Alex (01)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 03

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bf5 5. d3 e6 6. Nbd2 h6 7. Qe1 Be7 8. e4 Bh7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. b3 a5 11. a3 Na6 12. e5 Nd7 13. Bb2 Nc7 14. a4 Nc5 15. Nd4 N5a6 16. f4 Nb4 17. Rac1 Na2 18. Ra1 Nb4 19. Rac1 Na2 20. Ra1 ½-½

US Senior: Larry C. vs The Kentucky Lion

While the majority of the attention of the Chess World has been focused on the World Cup I have been focusing my attention on the US Senior, and US Junior, championships being contested in St. Louis, which is now considered a Covid “hot spot.” St. Louis County Is Now A ‘Red Zone’ For COVID-19, According To The CDC. A third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is coming, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force warned yesterday. (

The hottest Chess spot in the USA is at the St. Louis Chess Club, where the intrepid boys, girls, and Men are battling it out over a Chess board in three separate tournaments, the US Senior; US Junior; and a completely separate “US Girls Junior Championship.”

Before the US Senior began I predicted the winner to be either Alexander Shabalov, or Larry Christiansen,

a man with whom I stayed up all night playing Backgammon, after he beat me handily at a simultaneous exhibition sponsored by Church’s Fried Chicken in the 1970s. I won the Backgammon battle. Larry kept looking at me with a look that said, “I beat this chumpy-lumpy like a drum at Chess. Why am I losing to the guy at Backgammon?” The stake was only a quarter a point, far below the stake for which I usually played, but it was Larry C., and Chess players don’t have much money, even those traveling the country giving simuls. Larry spent the night at the home of former Georgia Chess Champion Michael Decker, which is where we “rolled the bones.” Still, that twenty five cents would now be worth about two bucks, Chuck, if you get my drift…

Yesterday Larry had to face the Kentucky Lion, Gregory Kaidanov,!/quality/90/? Photo by: Claire Crouch

who had run away from the field, scoring 5 1/2 points in the first 6 rounds! He was a full point ahead of Larry C. at 4 1/2, who was a point and a half ahead of the four players with 3 points. Larry C. was in need of a victory. What do you play against an opponent who is obviously in form in that situation? You bring out “The truth as it was known in those far off days.”

Larry Christiansen (2634) Age: 65 vs Gregory Kaidanov (2626) Age: 61

U.S. Senior Championship 2021 round 07

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Ne2 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 10. fxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 a6 16. dxe5 Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 exf4 19. Bxf4 Rhf8 20. Be5 g6 21. Qg4+ Qd7 22. Qc4 Qd5 23. Qg4+ Qd7 24. Qc4 Qd5 25. Qg4+ ½-½
  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 (SF plays 3…c6) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 Nf3) 4….Bb4 5. Ne2 (SF 080221 @depth50 plays this move, but the same engine chuggin’ only one more ply would play 5 Nf3) 5…d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 (SF 13 @depth 41 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 33 would play 9…Bxc3) 10. fxe5 Nxe5 (SF takes with the knight, but Houdini would take with the pawn. There is only one game, found at 365Chess, with 10…fxe5, which can be found below) 11. Nxd5

(Komodo shows this move, but Deep Fritz would play 11 d4, which was played in:

GM Alexander Zaitsev 2473 RUS vs GM Klementy Sychev 2537 RUS

Wch Blitz 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.d4 Nc6 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.c3 Bd6 14.Nf4 Bxf4 15.Bxf4 O-O-O 16.Qf3 Qxf3 17.Rxf3 Rhe8 18.Kf2 Rd7 19.Re3 Rxe3 20.Bxe3 a5 21.a4 Re7 22.g4 Kd7 23.Rg1 Rf7 24.h4 Ne7 25.c4 Nc6 26.Bd2 Nxd4 27.Bxa5 Nc6 28.Bc3 f5 29.g5 g6 30.b4 Re7 31.Rd1+ Kc8 32.Bf6 Re8 33.b5 Ne5 34.c5 Ng4+ 35.Kf3 Ne5+ 36.Kf2 c6 37.h5 Nd7 38.Bd4 Re4 39.hxg6 hxg6 40.Kf3 Rg4 41.bxc6 bxc6 42.Bf6 Nxc5 43.Rc1 Ne6 44.Rxc6+ Kd7 45.Ra6 Nxg5+ 46.Ke2 Ne4 47.Be5 Nc5 48.Rd6+ Ke7 49.a5 Re4+ 50.Kf3 Rxe5 51.Rxg6 Ne6 52.Rg8 Rxa5 0-1) 11.Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 (SF and Houey play 13 d4) 13….Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 (SF 12 @depth 43 would play a move near and dear to my heart, 15 Qe2!) 15…a6 16. dxe5 (SF 31 @depth 31 would play 16 Qb3, but the SF program churning at ChessBomb would play the move Larry played in the game)
16…Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 (This is a TN, but not the best move. 18 Qe4 was played in the Mons vs Raggar game given below. Given the chance SF 170521 @depth 49 would play 18 Rf3)

Risto Eskola (2153) vs Antti Lehto
Event: FIN-chT 0203
Site: Finland Date: 10/20/2002
Round: 3
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 fxe5 11.Ng3 Bf7 12.Nce4 O-O 13.Qg4 Bg6 14.Be3 Qc8 15.Qxc8 Raxc8 16.a3 Be7 17.Rxf8+ Bxf8 18.Rf1 Nd4 19.Rf2 b6 20.Nc3 c6 21.Nge4 Rd8 22.Ng5 h6 23.Nge4 Be7 24.Kf1 Rd7 25.Kg1 Nf5 26.Bc1 Bh4 27.g3 Be7 28.Kg2 Nd4 29.Be3 Rd8 30.h3 Be8 31.g4 c5 32.g5 h5 33.Ng3 Bc6+ 34.Nce4 g6 35.Kf1 Kg7 36.Ke1 Rf8 37.Bxd4 exd4 38.h4 Rxf2 39.Kxf2 Kf7 40.b3 Ke6 41.a4 Ke5 42.Kf3 Bd5 43.Nf1 a6 44.Nd2 b5 45.axb5 axb5 46.Kg3 Ke6 47.Kf4 Bc6 48.Nf1 Be8 49.Nfd2 Bf7 50.Nf3 Be8 51.b4 cxb4 52.Nxd4+ Kd5 53.Nf3 ½-½

Leon Mons (2554) vs Markus Ragger (2701)
Event: TCh-AUT 2018-19
Site: Austria AUT Date: 01/18/2019
Round: 6.5
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Nf4 Qf7 13.c3 Bd6 14.d4 O-O-O 15.Qa4 a6 16.dxe5 Bc5+ 17.Kh1 fxe5 18.Qe4 Bd6 19.Rf3 exf4 20.Bxf4 Bxf4 21.Rxf4 Qd5 22.Qxd5 Rxd5 23.Raf1 Re8 24.R4f2 Kd7 25.g3 a5 26.Kg2 Re7 27.Rf7 a4 28.h4 h5 29.Rxe7+ Kxe7 30.Rf4 Rd2+ 31.Rf2 Rd1 32.Rf1 Rd5 33.Rf4 Rd2+ 34.Rf2 Rd1 35.Rf1 Rd6 36.Rf4 b5 37.Re4+ Kf6 38.Kf3 Rd3+ 39.Re3 Rd1 40.Re4 c5 41.Re2 Kf5 42.Rf2 Ke5 43.g4 Rh1 44.Kg2 Rxh4 45.Rf5+ Ke4 46.Rxc5 Rxg4+ 47.Kh3 g6 48.Rxb5 Kf3 49.Rd5 Rg3+ 50.Kh4 Rg2 51.Rd3+ Kf4 52.Rd4+ Kf5 53.Rd5+ Kf6 54.Rd6+ Ke5 55.Rb6 Kf5 56.Rb5+ Kf4 57.Rb4+ Kf3 58.Rb5 Rg4+ 59.Kh3 Rg1 60.Kh4 Rg4+ 61.Kh3 Kf2 62.Rd5 Rg3+ 63.Kh4 Rg4+ 64.Kh3 g5 65.Rf5+ Ke3 66.b4 Kd3 67.Rc5 a3 68.b5 Rg1 69.b6 g4+ 70.Kh4 Rb1 71.Rxh5 Rxb6 72.Ra5 Kxc3 73.Rxa3+ Kb4 74.Rb3+ Ka5 75.Rxb6 Kxb6 76.Kxg4 Ka5 77.Kf3 Ka4 78.Ke4 Ka3 79.Kd5 Kxa2 ½-½

Hans Niemann’s World Open Trifecta

What a wonderful World Open for the new Grandmaster Hans Niemann! Over one thousand intrepid humans, not counting all those who accompanied some of them, traveled to Philadelphia at the end of June for the 49th Annual World Open; the 14th Annual Philadelphia International; and the 32nd Annual Blitz Championship.

Grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann
Hans Niemann

stole the show by tying for first place in each of the three tournaments. I have no idea if this is unprecedented and will leave it to readers to weigh in with the answer. Whether unprecedented or not it is quite an achievement.

Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-06-26 thru 2021-06-30

First-Third w/7 points/9 rounds
HANS NIEMANN 2651 ->2669
ANDREW HONG 2575 ->2595

49TH ANNUAL WORLD OPEN (202107054872)
Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-01 thru 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2669 ->2694


ANDREW HONG 2595 ->2616



Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2617 ->2616
ANDREW TANG 2639 ->2639

7/10 (8-16)

ANDREW HONG 2488 ->2480

Niemann, Hans Moke 2571 vs Zhou, Jianchao 2603

A80 Dutch

Round 9

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 (Here’s a shocker from the ChessBaseDataBase, Stockfish prefers 3 Bf4, which has only been played in 40 games in the CBDB, compared to 1536 for the move played in the game. In addition, 3 Bf4 has scored only 49% compared to the 58% shown after 3 Bg5! Go figure…)
    3…d5 4. Nf3 (Stockfish is high on the seldom played 4 e3 [287], while 4 Bxf6 [859] remains the most played move. 4 Nf3 has only been played 41 times) 4…e6 5. e3 (It is de rigueur to play this move)

5…Be7 (Far and away the most often played move [135 games], but is it the best? Stockfish prefers the seldom played [15 games] 5…Nbd7) 6. Bd3 (Komodo plays this move, which has been played in 105 games, by far more than any other move, but Stockfish 13 @Depth 32 plays 6 Ne2, which has only appeared in 6 games at the CBDB, scoring 58%. Going deeper to depth 37, SF 13 changes its [mind? opinion? thought process? algorithm? You tell me…] to 6 Be2, with 11 games in the CBDB. Unfortunately, 6 Be2 has scored only 23%) 6…O-O (This move has been played in 70 games in the CBDB, with white scoring 69%. Now I don’t know about you, but if sitting behind the black pieces I would give some serious consideration to, a) not getting to this position, or b) playing another move! Stockfish 12 played this move, but SF 13 went with 6…c5. In the 13 games contained in the CBDB white scored 73%. This caused Stockfish 14 to attempt 6…Ne4. In the 13 games at the CBDB white has scored 69%. Let us go back to the move, 5…Nbd7, preferred by both Stockfish 12 & 13. White has scored only 50%! But wait…there’s MORE! Deep Fritz, at only depth 23, would play 5…a6. “Say what”? you’re thinking…You are not the only one! Here’s the deal…The CBDB contains 34 games with 5…a6, with white scoring only 47%!!! What does Deep Fritz know and when did it know it?!) 7. O-O (SF prefers 7 Ne2) 7…h6 (SF 13 plays 7…c5; SF 14 prefers 7…Ne4) 8. Bh4 (SF & Houdini prefer 8 Bf4) 8…c5 (TN) 9. dxc5 Nc6 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. Ne2 Nxc5 12. a3 Bf6 13. Rb1 e5 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nd2 Be6 16. Nb3 b6 17. f4 Nxg3 18. hxg3 e4 19. Bb5 Ne7 20. Ned4 Bd7 21. Ba6 Rb8 22. c4 dxc4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Qe2 Qe8 25. Rfd1 Qg6 26. Kf2 Rfd8 27. b5 Qe8 28. Rd2 g6 29. Rbd1 h5 30. a4 Rbc8 31. Be6 Bxe6 32. Nxe6 Rxd2 33. Qxd2 Ng8 34. Ned4 Qf7 35. Rc1 Rc4 36. Qa2 Nh6 37. Ke2 Qd5 38. Qd2 Ng4 39. Rc2 Rxa4 40. Qc3 Kh7 41. Qc6 Qg8 42. Qb7+ Kh6 43. Rc8 Ra2+ 44. Ke1 Qg7 45. Rc7 Qh8 46. Rc8 Qg7 47. Rc7 Qh8 48. Rc8 1/2-1/2

Lai, Hing Ting (2447) vs Sandipan, Chanda (2548)
Event: Condigne Dutch Open 2018
Site: Dieren NED Date: 08/02/2018
Round: 9.11
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O h6 8.Bh4 Nbd7 9.Ne2 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Qd2 Nxg3 12.Nxg3 Bd6 13.c4 c6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Rac1 Qf6 16.Rc2 Nb8 17.Rfc1 Nc6 18.a3 Bd7 19.Ne2 g4 20.Ne1 f4 21.e4 Qg7 22.e5 Be7 23.f3 h5 24.Bb5 gxf3 25.Bxc6 f2+ 26.Kxf2 Bh4+ 27.Kg1 Bxe1 28.Rxe1 f3 29.Nf4 Bxc6 30.Rf1 Qh6 31.Rxf3 Rf5 32.Qe3 Kh7 33.Rcf2 Raf8 34.g3 h4 35.g4 Qg5 36.h3 Kh6 37.Kg2 Ba4 38.Qc1 Bb5 39.Ne2 Bxe2 40.Qxg5+ Kxg5 41.gxf5 Bxf3+ 42.Rxf3 Rxf5 43.Rxf5+ ½-½

“2 Qe2, here we go!”

Let me begin by returning to Tuesday morning, July 13, which began at o’dark thirty, specifically, 6:30 am. After a botched root canal exactly one week prior (it seems much longer) I had been down for the count. The spurts of energy had not been long lasting, which is why I’ve posted things that have required little time or thought. I was working on a book review that should have been out long ago, and other Chess related posts, but then a tooth began causing a problem. This was after taking the first of two shots of the Covid vaccine. I decided to ‘ride it out’ while hoping to be able to wait until two weeks after the second shot, as recommended, before seeing a dentist. By the time I made it to the dental office I was in pain, boss, The PAIN! Fortunately the pain was quelled with drugs. I was informed a root canal operation would be required, but because they were booked I would have to wait until September. Fortunately, or maybe not, depending, there was a cancellation and I was roto-rooted on Tuesday, the sixth of July, exactly one week from where we begin this story…

There was a powerful storm Monday night, July 12, that knocked out all contact with the world; no internet or TV, so I went to bed early. After breakfast I was giving strong consideration to crawling back into bed when the Ironman called, informing me that Zvjaginsev had played Qe2 against the French defense of Ravi Haria, in a “win or go home game.” Immediately I saw a post for that day in my head. I began watching the game, but then had to break in order to purchase some food at the local grocery store. Upon my return my attention was devoted to the C00 French, Chigorin variation, as it is known at

The chat from Da Bomb says it all…

zluria: Z man in a must win situation. He used to play all kinds of crazy stuff back in the day
zluria: 2 Qe2, here we go!
zluria: Idea: if Black continues on autopilot with 2… d5 then after exd5 Black can’t recapture with the pawn.
zluria: Ok Black is out of book.
Rhinegold: fucky lucky vadim but ok good fighting choice
Rhinegold: very drawish, 48w
zluria: Wow, good going Z-man! see you tomorrow 🙂

I love the part about the Z-man “playing crazy stuff back in the day.” The Z man is only in his mid forties. You wanna know about ‘back in the day’? I will tell you all you wanna know about ‘back in the day’… And yes, I have followed the Z Man with interest for decades because he has played “all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2608)

vs Ravi Haria (2440)

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 01-02

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. d3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. g3 Nc6 8. Bg2 (TN See Kislinsky vs Polivanov below for 8 Bh3) 8…b5 9. O-O Bb7 10. Re1 h6 11. h5 b4 12. Bf4 a5 13. c4 Nb6 14. Nbd2 Qd7 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Ne4 Nxf4 17. gxf4 Ba6 18. Rad1 Rd8 19. Nfd2 O-O 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Nb3 Qa7 22. Ng3 Nd4 23. Nxa5 Bb5 24. Nc4 Bxc4 25. dxc4 Qxa2 26. f5 Qxb2 27. Be4 Rde8 28. Kh1 Qxf2 29. Rf1 Qe3 30. Rxd4 cxd4 31. fxe6 Qg5 32. Qxg5 Bxg5 33. Rxf7 Bf4 34. Nf5 Bxe5 35. Ne7 Bd6 36. Ng6+ Kg8 37. Rd7 Bc5 38. e7 Bxe7 39. Nxe7+ Kf7 40. Ng6+ Kf6 41. Rd6+ Kg5 42. Rd5+ Kg4 43. Rxd4 Rf3 44. Kg2 Re3 45. Bc6+ Kxh5 46. Nf4+ Kg5 47. Bxe8 Rxe8 48. c5 b3 49. Rb4 Re3 50. c6 Rc3 51. c7 Kf5 52. Nd5 Rc2+ 53. Kf3 Ke5 54. Rb5 Kd4 55. Nf4 Rc3+ 56. Kg4 Ke4 57. Ne6 Rc4 58. Rc5 1-0

1.e4 e6 2. Qe2 (Two different Komodo programs show the most frequently played move, 2 d4, but Stockfish 13, going deep to depth 74, chooses the seldom played 2 Nc3, which has only scored 51% according to the CBDB. I kid you not!) 2…Be7 (This is Komodo’s choice; Stockfish plays 2…c5) 3. Nf3 (Both Komodo and Houdini play 3 d4, but Deep Fritz plays the game move) 3…d5 4. d3 (Houdini and Deep Fritz play this move, which has 209 games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Stockfish 13 @depth 31 would play 4 d4, a move attempted only once according to the CBDB) 4…Nf6 5. e5 (SF & the Dragon prefer 5 g3) 5…Nfd7 6. h4 c5

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2635) vs Sergey Volkov (2594)
Event: 16th TCh-RUS Premier
Site: Dagomys RUS Date: 04/08/2009
Round: 5 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 b5 7.g3 c5 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.O-O a5 10.a4 b4 11.c4 bxc3 12.bxc3 Nb6 13.Bf4 c4 14.d4 Bd7 15.h5 h6 16.g4 Na7 17.Qc2 Bc6 18.Bg3 Qd7 19.Kh2 Bxa4 20.Qe2 Nb5 21.Nh4 Bb3 22.f4 a4 23.f5 a3 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Ng6 Rg8 26.Nxe7 Qxe7 27.Nd2 Na4 28.Nxb3 Naxc3 29.Qc2 cxb3 30.Qxb3 a2 31.Be1 Ra3 32.Qb2 Qa7 33.Rf3 Rf8 34.Bxc3 Rxf3 35.Qxb5+ Qd7 36.Qb8+ Qd8 37.Qb5+ Qd7 38.Qb8+ Qd8 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.Bxf3 Rxc3 41.Bxd5 exd5 42.Rxa2 Rd3 43.Ra4 Ke7 44.Kg2 Kf7 45.Kf2 g5 46.Ke2 Rg3 47.Ra7+ Kg8 48.Rd7 Rxg4 49.Rxd5 Rh4 50.Rd6 Kf7 51.Rf6+ Ke7 52.Ke3 Rxh5 53.d5 g4 54.Kf4 Rh1 55.d6+ Ke8 56.Kxg4 h5+ 57.Kf5 Kd7 58.Rf7+ Kc6 59.Ke6 h4 60.Rc7+ Kb6 61.Rc8 1-0

Vadim Zvjaginsev’s Amazing Immortal Chess Game! – “The Pearl of Wijk aan Zee” – Brilliancy!