Four Way Tie at the 2022 Charlotte Classic

In the last round of the recently concluded Carolinas Classic GM Daniel Naroditsky faced IM Dean Ippolito.

Both players had won three games and drawn one for a total of 3 1/2 points. They were in a must win situation because GM Elshan Moradiabadi had won his first four games and taken a half-point bye in the last round. Say what?! The dude was given a 1/2 point bye in THE LAST ROUND! Say what?! For those of you new to the Royal game, the half-point bye began many decades ago when three games, usually with a time control of 40 moves in two hours, would be taken in the third round, which was the third game to be played on Saturday. Some players would take a half-point bye in the first round, with others taking a half-point bye in the fourth round in order to attend church. As the Legendary Ironman of Georgia Chess so eloquently put it once, “When I’m sitting at the board on Sunday morning I am in my church.” The excretory awarding of a half-point bye for not playing the last round game is abhorrent and should never, ever have been allowed. The awarding of a free half-point bye in the last round blasphemes Caissa and should be abolished. If a player cannot, or will not play in the final round for any reason he should be given the result he deserves, a ZERO! The games are played earlier in the tournament to arrive at the final round. It is, obviously, the most important round of the event. The awarding of a half-point for not playing the last round should never have been allowed, and it being allowed speaks volumes about those in charge of Chess these daze…

GM Naroditsky defeated IM Dean Ippolito easily when the latter played like a complete beginner by bringing out his Queen early in the game, then later retreated the Lady for no reason, and it was all over but the shouting after that ill-fated move.

Daniel Naroditsky vs Dean Ippolito
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 Qf6 15.Nb5 Qa6 16.d5 Bxb5 17.axb5 Qxb5 18.Rxa7 g5 19.d6 Kd7 20.Qd5 1-0

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 (Although Stockfish 14.1 plays this move, SF 15 will play the most often played move, 3 Nxe5) 3…Nxe4 4.Bd3 (The most often played move, and the choice of SF 14.1, @depth 55, but SF 150007 @depth 55 will play 4 Nxe5, expecting 4…d5 5 Bd3. Then again, at the same depth SF 150007, the James Bond of programs, also shows 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5) 4…d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 (SF 14 @depth 53 will play 7…Bd6, by far the most often played move, but SF 280322 will play 7…Be7, a move that has appeared in only 127 games while holding white to 62% versus 2462 opposition. In 817 games 7…Bd6 has held white to 57% against 2465 opposition. In 291 games against 2409 opposition the move played in the game, 7…Qh4 has allowed a theoretical opponent rated 2409 to score 70% in 291 games. This was the last round game and IM Dean Ippolito was rated 240 points below GM Naroditsky, rated 2695, so maybe the lower rated IM felt he needed to pull a rabbit out of his whatever, but how could any Chess player with any four digit rating advocate any player in his right mind play a move like 7…Qh4?

Position after Ippolito leads with his chin, err, Queen

Imagine you were giving a young student a lesson when they suggested a move like 7…Qh4? How would you respond? That is exactly my point. I knew, you knew, and GM Naroditsky knew IM Ippolito was going down after bring out the Queen that early. What? You think you are going to trick a player about to enter the elite world of 2700 rated Grandmasters by playing a second rate Chess move? Dude shoulda played a solid, “seemple” move, as IM Boris Kogan was so fond of saying, like 7…Bd6, and maybe have a shot at drawing the game. The move is so ridiculous that a Chess teacher would excoriate a student unmercifully for playing such a poor move. I lost interest in the game after seeing this move, and you have probably lost interest in this post…and I do not blame you!) 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 (The most often played move has been g5, with 151 games showing at the ChessBaseDataBase, against which white has scored 67%. In the 53 games with 9…g6 having been played white has scored 75%) 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 (The CBDB contains 23 games with 11 g3; 15 with 11 Ne2; 6 with 11 Be2; and only 2 with the move played in the game, 11 Bxe4, but it is the choice of SF 14.1. 365Chess does not contain the move considered best by Stockfish) 11…dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 (This is a TN. One game has been played with 13…h6 having been attempted. SF 14.1 will, given the chance, play a TN of its own with 13…Bc6)
I usually stop here but let us continue a few moves further on up the road…the game continued with 14.a4 before IM Ippolito played a horrible move, retreating his Queen with 14…Qf6?

Position after Ippolito retreated his Queen from h4 to f6 for no reason

The game, for all intents and purposes, was over when Ippo removed his grip from the Queen. The comment at is, “Blunder. 14…a6 was best.” The it shows 14…a6 15.Nd5. But here’s the deal…There is an arrow in the position showing the Rook moving from h8 to f8, and a line beginning with 14…Rhf8 15 g3 Qh5, etc. So which is it, Lichess, 14…a6 or 14…Rhf8? Inquiring minds want to know the TRUTH, as it was known in those long ago days… Where have I heard that before?…–championship-section/round-5/E2tBybjJ

Heinz Offenborn 2098 (GER) vs Bernd Bachmann 2030 (GER)
GER T224-C43-S email 2015
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 c6 15.Rfc1 a6 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.c6 Bxc6 18.axb5 axb5 19.g3 Qe7 20.d5 Be5 21.Bb6 Rd6 22.Rxc6+ bxc6 23.Ra8+ 1 – 0

Milan Horvat 2203 (SLO) vs Frantisek Sochor 2437 (CZE)
ICCF Slav Cup3 email 2008
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.O-O Qh4 8.c4 O-O-O 9.c5 g6 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.Bxe4 dxe4 12.Be3 f5 13.Qd2 h6 14.a4 c6 15.Rfc1 a6 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.c6 Bxc6 18.axb5 axb5 19.d5 Be5 20.g3 Qe7 21.Ra7 Bc7 22.Rxc6 bxc6 23.Qc3 Qd7 24.Bf4 Rh7 25.Rxc7+ Qxc7 26.Bxc7 Rxc7 27.dxc6 e3 28.fxe3 Ra7 29.Kg2 Kc7 30.Qf6 Rd2+ 31.Kh3 g5 32.Qxf5 Kxc6 33.b4 Rad7 34.Qc5+ Kb7 35.Qxb5+ Kc7 36.e4 R7d4 37.Qc5+ Kb7 38.b5 g4+ 39.Kh4 Rxh2+ 40.Kxg4 Rxe4+ 41.Kf3 Ree2 42.Qc6+ Kb8 43.b6 Rhf2+ 44.Kg4 Rf7 45.Qd6+ Kc8 46.Qd5 1 – 0

GM Alexander Shabalov and IM David Brodsky also finished in a tie for first place, with each winning $600. The plaque went to the dude who received a half point bye for not playing a game in the final round, GM Elshan Moradiabadi, aka, the ‘Hat Man’:

GM Elshan Moradiabadi on the Magnus Carlsen Tour Finals | US

ALTO (AT LEAST 21) Chess With Ben & Karen Finegold

GM Magesh Panchanathan and GM Elshan Moradiabadi scored 4/5 points to tie for the first place in the main championship. Moradiabadi had better tiebreaks but the two players shared the trophy and the prize.

Class A Patrick McCartney vs GM Ben Finegold
ALTO (At Least Twenty One)
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Nh6 9.Nf3 Nf5 10.g4 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Qxh4+ 12.Ng3 Nc6 13.c3 Qd8 14.Qe2 Be7 15.Bd2 Qc7 16.O-O g6 17.a3 b3 18.Rae1 h5 19.g5 O-O-O 1/2-1/2

This game was played in the first round. I was unaware of the video that follows until searching for something to go with the post. I have yet to watch it…There is a nice report which can be found at Chessdom, from which the picture was taken. (

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 (Stockfish 8 @depth 47 plays this move, but SF 14.1 @depth 60 prefers 2…d6) 3.g3 (SF 14 and Deep Fritz both play 3 Nf3, which has been the most often played move. SF 14.1 plays the move played in the game) 3…b5 (This is the move of Komodo 14 & SF 15. There are over one thousand examples of it contained in the bowels of the ChessBaseDataBase. Fritz 16 plays 3…d6. There are 24 games with the move that can be found in the CBDB) 4.Bg2 Bb7 (SF 13 @depth 52 and SF 14.1 @depth 42 both play the game move, but Deep Ftitz 14 @depth 29 will play a NEW MOVE, 4…e5) 5.d3 (Three different SF programs, 14.1; 15; and 151121 all play 5 Nge2. In 300 games with 5 Nge2 White has scored 53%. In the 620 games in which 5 d3 has been played it has scored only 45%) 5…e6 6.f4 (Two different SF programs, 12 & 151121 both play 6 Nf3, as does Deep Fritz 14. Makes you wonder, does it not?) 6…b4 (Three different SF programs, 13, 14.1; and 190322 all play 6…Nc6. The CBDB contains only 14 games in which 6…Nc6 has been tried. 6…Nf6, with 83 games tops the list, followed by 6…b4 with 40 games, and 6…d6 with 28) 7.Nce2 (Although this move has been most frequently played, SF 13; 14.1; and Fritz 16 all play 7 Na4, which has only scored 10% in 5 games. In 27 games 7 Nce2 has scored 39%) 7…d5 8.e5 (Although Komodo and Deep Freeze, err, excuse me, Deep Fritz both play 8 exd5, SF 14.1 plays the move played in the game) 8…Nh6 (SF 190322 and SF 14.1 both play 8…Ne7. SF 220422 plays 8…g6) 9.Nf3 Nf5 (The three programs shown, SF 13; Komodo 13; and Houdini, all play 9…Be7. See Lyell vs Yao below) 10.g4 (The CBDB shows SF 14.1; SF 13; and Houdini, each play the move made by Mr. McCartney, which turns out to be a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! I kid you not…The CBDB contains 3 games in which 10 d4 was attempted, each game a loss for White, and one game with 10 c3, which was won by White)

Mark Lyell (2193) vs Lan Yao (2253)
Event: BSSZ Aranytiz IM 2017
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 08/21/2017
Round: 3.3
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Nh6 9.Nf3 Be7 10.O-O Nc6 11.Kh1 Nf5 12.g4 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.Be3 Be7 15.Ng3 Qc7 16.Qe2 Na5 17.Bg1 Bh4 18.Nh5 g6 19.Nf6+ Bxf6 20.exf6 d4 21.a3 b3 22.Rae1 Kd7 23.cxb3 Nxb3 24.f5 Rhe8 25.Qc2 Bxg2+ 26.Qxg2 gxf5 27.gxf5 Qc6 28.fxe6+ Rxe6 29.Qxc6+ Kxc6 30.Rxe6+ fxe6 31.h3 Rf8 32.Kg2 Kd5 33.Kg3 e5 34.Kg4 Ke6 35.f7 Rxf7 36.Rxf7 Kxf7 37.Kf5 c4 38.dxc4 d3 39.Be3 d2 40.Bxd2 Nxd2 41.c5 e4 42.Kf4 Ke6 43.Ke3 Nc4+ 44.Kxe4 Nxb2 45.Kd4 Nd1 46.h4 Nf2 47.Ke3 Ng4+ 48.Kf4 Ne5 49.Kg5 Nf3+ 50.Kg4 Nxh4 0-1

Janina Remy (1927) vs Amy Officer(1815)
Event: EU-ch U16 Girls 17th
Site: Sibenik Date: 09/20/2007
Round: 7
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Ne7 9.Nf3 Nf5 10.g4 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Qxh4+ 12.Ng3 Nc6 13.Be3 h5 14.gxh5 Rc8 15.Qd2 Rxh5 16.O-O-O Rh8 17.Bf2 Qd8 18.Qe2 Qc7 19.Rde1 a5 20.f5 Nd4 21.Qg4 a4 22.fxe6 Nxe6 23.Nf5 Qa5 24.Nd6+ Bxd6 25.exd6 Kf8 26.Bh4 b3 27.a3 bxc2 28.Rxe6 c4 29.d7 Rxh4 30.Qxh4 fxe6 31.Rf1+ Kg8 32.dxc8=Q+ Bxc8 33.dxc4 Ba6 34.Bh3 Qb6 35.Qe7 Qe3+ 36.Kxc2 Qxh3 37.Qf7+ Kh7 38.Rf3 Qxh2+ 39.Rf2 Qh3 40.cxd5 Qd3+ 41.Kc1 Qe3+ 42.Kd1 Qb3+ 43.Kc1 Qe3+ 44.Kd1 Qb3+ ½-½

Andre Lupor (2284) vs Konstantin Kunz (2179)
Event: Bad Woerishofen op
Site: Bad Woerishofen Date: 03/24/2006
Round: 8
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 a6 4.Bg2 b5 5.d3 Bb7 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Ne7 9.Nf3 Nf5 10.g4 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Qxh4+ 12.Ng3 Nd7 13.Qe2 Be7 14.O-O h5 15.g5 Qg4 16.Bf3 Qh3 17.Bd2 h4 18.Nh5 f5 19.exf6 Nxf6 20.Nxf6+ Bxf6 21.Bg4 Bd4+ 22.Kh1 Qg3 23.Qxe6+ 1-0

The Saint Louis Spring Classic Tournaments

A remarkable thing happened in St. Louis the past couple of weeks during the playing of the 2022 Spring Classic at the St. Louis Chess Club.

There were two different Chess tournaments, the “A” and the “B”. In the top section there were twenty three (23) decisive games played out of the forty five (45) total games contested, which is over 50%. There were even more decisive games, twenty eight (28) in the “B” tournament! That means 62% of the games ended in a victory for one player! This is unheard of in todaze Chess world what with the plethora of drawn games dominating play. The “A” section saw white score twelve (12) wins, with the general of the black army winning eleven (11) games! In round three there were three (3) black wins to go with two draws. Round five (5) saw three (3) black wins with only one (1) win for the player of the white pieces. In the “second section” there were nineteen (19) victories scored by players of the white pieces, with nine (9) games won by the player in command of the black pieces. These two tournaments were truly “fighting” tournaments. This should not be Big News but is because of the unbelievably large number of drawn games in most tournaments these daze, such as tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club, where players go to draw. There is a reason for the great disparity between the two Chess havens. Simply put, if a player comes to St. Louis with a case of “shakeitus” he is not again invited. In Charlotte they “Follow the rules.” In St. Louis they make their own rules, which happen to engender fighting Chess. If a player comes to St. Louis with his hand extended, ready to accept a draw at any time, that player deservedly suffers opprobrium from the community.

The time spent watching the games from St. Louis was time well spent. What with the Russian monster killing machine laying waste to Ukraine time was needed for escapism, and nothing is a better escape outlet than the Royal Game, especially when the players come to the board with their knives unsheathed.

The first featured game involves one of my favorite players, GM Titas Stremavicius.

He must be the only Grandmaster who plays with the f-pawn, both f-pawns. Certainly Titas is the leading exponent of the Bird’s opening (1 f4), and after 1 d4 Sid Vicious, as I think of him, plays 1…f5 with regularity. Sid is an imaginative and interesting player who usually plays to win. Until this tournament Sid, given the chance, usually played the Leningrad Dutch. For some reason Titas decided to play differently in his round six game with GM Robert Hungaski.

After, 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2, Stremavicius played the move 3…e6?! in lieu of 3…d6. Why, Sid, why? Sid tripped and fell all over his blade. Sid must have “booked up” on 3…e6 in order to surprise his opponents in this tournament because he played the same move against GM Elshan Moradiabadi

in round eight. Unfortunately, the vicious one was the player surprised. Sid came out of the opening with a decent position, but in the transition to the middle game Sid Vicious first put one foot in it before putting the other foot in it before falling face first into the slime pit. Those two losses with black were sandwiched between a loss with white to GM Arman Mikaelyan,

Arman Mikaelyan (GM armeno, 23 anni)

making it three losses in a row heading into the last round. Keep this in mind as you read on…

The following game was contested in the last round. GM Christopher Repka

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Chris Repka Interview | Round 4

started the tournament with four (4) straight wins, and after a couple of draws defeated Christopher Woojin Woo

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Christopher Yoo Interview | Round 8

in round seven while General of the white army. At one point I recall Repka being two full points ahead of the player in second place. The youngest human to become a Grandmaster, Abhimanyu Mishra (,

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Abhi Mishra Interview | Round 9

won four (4) games in a row after a second round loss with black versus GM Cemil Can Ali Marandi.

Cemil Can Ali Marandi | ChessStreamers .com

After a draw in the antepenultimate round with GM Elshan Moradiabadi the two players, Mishra and Repka, were tied for first place and were to meet in the penultimate round. It was the game of the event as Mishra, in charge of the black army, handed Repka his first loss. In the last round Stremavicius, who had lost three games in a row, had white versus Repka, who now desperately needed a win…

Titas Stremavicius (2520) vs Christopher Repka (2508)
Saint Louis Spring Classic “B”
A21 English, Kramnik-Shirov counterattack

  1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. Qc2 d6 4. e3 c5 5. g3 Ne7 6. Bg2 Nbc6 7. Nge2 Bf5 8. d3 Qd7 9. h3 O-O 10. Bd2 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Be6 12. Rd1 f5 13. Bc1 Rad8 14. O-O f4 15. exf4 Bxh3 16. d4 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Qf5 18. Qxf5 Nxf5 19. g4 Nfe7 20. f5 Na5 21. Bg5 Kf7 22. Rfe1 Rfe8 23. dxe5 dxe5 24. Rxd8 Rxd8 25. Nf4 Nxc4 26. Ne6 Re8 27. Re4 b5 28. Nc7 Rb8 29. a4 Nc6 30. Nxb5 N6a5 31. Nxa7 Rb2 32. Nc6 Ra2 33. Nxa5 Nxa5 34. Bd8 Nc6 35. Bb6 Ne7 36. Bxc5 Nd5 37. Rxe5 Nxc3 38. g5 Nxa4 39. Re7+ Kf8 40. Re2+ Nxc5 41. Rxa2 h6 1-0!spring-chess-classic-b-2022/-1909464958

Stockfish 14 @depth 47 will take the Knight with 4…Bc3. The only other game with the same move order follows, which makes 5 g3 a Theoretical Novelty. There were several turning points and I suggest you surf on over to ( and reply the game. The following position captured my attention:

Position after 17 Kxg2 with Black to move

I was expecting 17…Qg4 because there is no way I would trade Queens when my opponent had an ‘open air’ King!

Klaus Bischoff (2504) vs Rene Stern (2521)
Event: Bundesliga 2016-17
Site: Berlin GER Date: 11/19/2016
Round: 3.5 Score: ½-½
ECO: A21 English, Kramnik-Shirov counterattack
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 3.Qc2 d6 4.e3 c5 5.Nge2 Nc6 6.a3 Ba5 7.d3 f5 8.Bd2 Nf6 9.g3 O-O 10.Bg2 Bd7 11.O-O Rb8 12.f4 Qe8 13.Nd5 Bxd2 14.Qxd2 Ne7 15.Nxf6+ Rxf6 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Nc3 Be6 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.cxd5 Nc8 20.Qc3 b6 21.b4 cxb4 22.Qxb4 Nd6 23.Rac1 Rd8 24.Rc6 e4 25.dxe4 Nxe4 26.Bxe4 ½-½

Abhimanyu Mishra won the “B” section of the tournament with seven (7) points, one more than Christopher Repka, who finished a point and a half ahead of a group of four with 4 1/2.

GM Abhimanyu Mishra (2505) vs GM Christopher Woojin Yoo (2514)
Saint Louis Spring Classic “A” Round 9
C03 French, Tarrasch

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. Nb1 b6 10. Be3 Bb7 11. a3 c4 12. Bc2 h5 13. Ne1 Qc7 14. f4 gxf4 15. Bxf4 O-O-O 16. Nd2 Rdf8 17. Qe2 f6 18. exf6 Bd6 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. Nef3 Rxf6 21. Ng5 Qe7 22. Ndf3 Re8 23. h4 Qd6 24. Nd2 e5 25. Bf5 Rff8 26. Bxd7+ Kxd7 27. Qxh5 Rxf1+ 28. Rxf1 exd4 29. cxd4 b5 30. Ndf3 Qe7 31. Re1 Qxe1+ 32. Nxe1 Rxe1+ 33. Kf2 Re8 34. Qf7+ Re7 35. Qxd5+ Kc8 36. Qf5+ Kc7 37. Qf4+ Kc8 38. Ne4 Nd8 39. Nd6+ Kd7 40. Nf5 Rf7 41. g4 Nc6 42. d5 Ne7 43. Qd6+ Ke8 44. Qb8+ Nc8 45. Kg3 a5 46. Nd6+ 1-0!spring-chess-classic-b-2022/-289612928
Now that’s a Chess MOVE! Position after 8…g5

9…b6 was a weak move for many reasons, foremost in that it blocked the Queen. 9…Qb6 was best. Mishra hald an advantage even after playing the weak 11 a3. At Lichess the move is given as 11 a3?!, with “Inaccuracy. Ne1 was best.” Then a few moves later Mishra played 13 Ne1? “Mistake. a4 was best.” after that move the game was even…until Yoo took the pawn with 14…gxf4. Stockfish preferred 14…g4. ( The game was lost after Yoo played 17…f6? What would Ben Finegold say?

In the top section, “A”, GM Samuel Sevian and GM Illya Nyzhnyk tied for first place with each scoring six (6) points. Unfortunately, they were forced to play some kind of quick game that is inherently unfair to decide which player “won” the tournament. It is sad, really, when one thinks about it… Show the players some RESPECT!

GM Ray Robson (2676)

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Ray Robson Interview | Round 11

vs GM Illya Nyzhnyk

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Illya Nyzhnyk Interview | Round 8

Saint Louis Spring Classic “A”
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. dxe5 Bc5 5. Bc4 Nxf2 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Qd5+ Kg6 8. Qxc5 Nxh1 9. Nc3 h6 10. Qd4 d6 11. Nd5 Nc6 12. Qe4+ Kf7 13. Be3 Re8 14. Bxh6 Rxe5 15. Nxe5+ Nxe5 16. O-O-O Nf2 17. Rf1 Qf6 18. Nxf6 Nxe4 19. Nxe4+ Kg8 20. Bf4 Ng6 21. Ng5 Bd7 22. Be3 b6 23. Bd4 Rf8 24. Rxf8+ Nxf8 25. Kd2 Ne6 26. Nxe6 Bxe6 27. a3 Kf7 28. h4 Bf5 29. c3 c5 30. Be3 Ke6 31. Bf4 Be4 32. g3 Bf3 33. Ke3 Bd1 34. Kd2 Bf3 35. Ke3 Bd1 36. Kd2 Bf3 1/2-1/2!spring-chess-classic-a-2022/861379315
Position after 9…h6 with White to move
  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. dxe5 (SF 14.1 @depth 55 and SF 250222 @depth 56 will play 4 Bd3. Houdini @depth 27 will play the move made in the game) 4…Bc5 5. Bc4 Nxf2 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Qd5+ Kg6 8. Qxc5 Nxh1 9. Nc3 h6 10. Qd4 (The game is still in “book” theory, but this is not “book.” The only move played until now has been 10 Qc4 and eleven examples can be found here, if’n you’re of a mind to delve deeply into the opening:

Jennifer Yu Losing The Won Game

Ah, the Chess players lament upon losing a won game…This writer has lost his share of so-called “won” games. Truth be told, I have lost more than my share of “won” games, because

After half a century playing Chess there is one particular tournament game that stands out in my memory. The game was with National Master Paul Linxwiler, of the Great State of Tennessee. I bungled the opening and butchered the middle game to the point it was only a matter of time before Paul landed the blow causing me to resign. Fortunately, that blow was not forthcoming. Move after move I had to sit there seeing all these winning moves that were not being made. This went on for many moves and much time. It was TORTURE! I refused to allow the thought that the man would continue to play second and/or third rate moves, but that is just what he did, until finally offering a draw. I broke my hand bringing it from underneath the table to take his proffered hand, metaphorically speaking, of course… When we went over the game I pointed out each and every better move he had not played as Paul sat there shaking his head, mortified at what he was seeing…

Jennifer Yu

had one of those “won” games in the third round of the 2021 US Masters. I was watching the action at, where you get it straight, without analysis or some thermometer type thingamajig bouncing up and down when a move is made. After seeing bad move after bad move being played I will admit to having gone to to check out the, shall we say, ‘colorful’ moves being made by Ms. Yu. It was difficult to believe what was being seen, as Jennifer continued playing weak moves, with a generous supply of what GM Yasser Seiriwan would call “Howlers,” thrown into the mix to keep one amazed. No pleasure was taken seeing her torturous moves being played as I reflected on the Linxwiler game… After playing over the game I understood why Jennifer withdrew from the tournament:

IM Josiah Stearman 2413 (USA) vs WGM Jennifer Yu 2247 (USA)
U.S. Masters 2021 round 03
D19 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch variation

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. e4 Bg4 11. e5 Nd5 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Bd3 Bh5 14. Qe3 Be7 15. a5 Nb8 16. Bd2 a6 17. h3 Nc6 18. g4 Bg6 19. Bxg6 fxg6 20. Ne1 g5 21. Nd3 Qe8 22. Rac1 Qg6 23. f3 Rac8 24. Rc3 Na7 25. f4 Rxc3 26. bxc3 gxf4 27. Qf3 Nc6 28. Ra1 Qe8 29. Qd1 g5 30. Bc1 Qg6 31. Qf3 Bd8 32. Ba3 Bxa5 33. Bxf8 Bxc3 34. Rc1 Bxd4+ 35. Kg2 Kxf8 36. h4 Be3 37. Rc3 Nd4 38. Qd1 Qe4+ 39. Kh3 Nb5 40. Rc8+ Ke7 41. hxg5 Ba7 42. g6 hxg6 43. Kh4 g5+ 1-0
  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. e4 Bg4 (Although Deep Fritz 13 likes this move, Komodo plays 10…Bg6, as have 1165 humans, compared to the 116 who preferred 10…Bg4) 11. e5? (The ChessBaseDataBase contains only 19 games in which this move has been played; it has only scored 45%. 11 Rd1 has been played 119 times, and is the choice of Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini while scoring 55% of the time, therefore the question mark) 11…Nd5 12. Nxd5 (Houdini @depth 25 plays 12 h3, as does Stockfish 14 @depth 20. SF 270919 @depth 23 plays 12 Bd2) 12…cxd5 (SF plays12…exd5) 13. Bd3 (Komodo and Fritz play the game move, but SF 11 @depth 23 plays 13 Bb5, a TN) 13…Bh5 (According to the CBDB this move has been played 445 times, which could be a mistake as 365Chess shows only 5 games. SF 13 @depth 37 and SF 221121 @depth 38 both prefer 13…f6. For those of you new to the game, the reason for the move of the f-pawn is to confront the white outpost on e5, which is in your territory and must be dealt with sooner or later, so why not now? Then again, Deep Fritz would play 13…Rc8. The vacillating move made in the game is weak. Allowing your opponent a free move when one begins the game down a move is not to be recommended) 14. Qe3 Be7 15. a5 Nb8 16. Bd2 a6 (Komodo @depth 38 plays this move but SF 240321 @depth 56 plays 16…Nc6) 17. h3 is a TN. (SF & Komodo agree 17 Ne1 is best)

Jan Smejkal (2540) vs Eduard Meduna (2485)
Event: Hradec Kralove
Site: Hradec Kralove
Date: ??/??/1981
Round: 11
ECO: D19 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch variation
1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Qe2 O-O 10.e4 Bg6 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Be7 15.Bd2 Nb8 16.a5 a6 17.Ne1 Bg6 18.f4 Nc6 19.g4 f5 20.exf6 Bxf6 21.Bc3 Qe8 22.Nf3 Bxd3 23.Qxd3 Qg6 ½-½

Elshan Moradiabadi (2485) vs Vadim Malakhatko (2556)
Event: Paris-ch
Site: Paris
Date: 07/16/2005
Round: 8
ECO: D19 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch variation
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Qe2 Bg6 10.e4 O-O 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Be7 15.Bd2 Nb8 16.a5 a6 17.Ne1 Bg6 18.f4 Nc6 19.Bxg6 hxg6 20.Nd3 ½-½

2018 North Carolina Closed Championship

Each morning one of the Chess websites I visit is Mark Crowther’s The Week In Chess ( I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see under Other events today this: North Carolina Closed Charlotte USA

Clicking on took me to:

2018 North Carolina Closed Championship
November 16, 2018 – November 18, 2018
Charlotte, North Carolina
5 Round Swiss; USCF Rated; $4,000 Guaranteed!
New Seniors Trophies Added!

I added the bold to the last part about Seniors because I am, and have been for almost two decades, a Senior. In addition, there will be a Trophy Given to Top Seniors (50+) in Each Class.

I have no idea why the folks in the Great state of North Carolina have decided to do this for Senior players. How many Seniors will be participating in the tournament? Whatever the reason it is a nice touch in recognition of Senior players and I applaud the gesture.

Information can be found here:

LIVE coverage can be found here:

The tournament begins tonight at 7:30 EST.

The 2018 North Carolina Closed Championship will take place November 16 – 18, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. The NC Closed determines the overall State Champion as well as Class Champions from class A – E. The NC Closed is restricted to participants who reside in North Carolina.

Take advantage of discount on entry for those staying at the hotel. Enjoy your stay at the lakeside Hilton Charlotte University Place. Take a walk on the lake, shop, dine and more.

The tournament is a Charlotte Chess Center and North Carolina Chess Association (NCCA) ( collaboration. NCCA membership is required. To vote in the NCCA election you must be a member in good standing.

If NCCA dues are paid with this tournament the cost will be $8 with membership good until December 31, 2019

(Adults: $8 per year; Children: FREE) Dues can also be paid at

GM Elshan Moradiabadi

GM Moradiabadi playing simul

heads the Pre Registration list.

The High Planes Drifter

An excellent article, 1st Ron Finegold Memorial, by Davide Nastasio, appeared at the Chessbase website recently (

5/7/2018 – “Open weekend tournaments in the United States are proof of chess as a very competitive high stakes sport. Local tournaments often celebrate the changing of seasons, recurring events, or, as in this case, memorialise (sic) a master player who dearly loved chess, and gifted such passion to his children. GM Elshan Moradiabadi took top honours (sic) in the inaugural Ron Finegold Memorial, held at the new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta, which was founded by his son, Ben.”

Elshan Moradiabadi wins with 4½ out of 5

“From March 31st to April 1st, 2018 At the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta was held the Ron Finegold Memorial, a tournament with 4 sections and 92 players.

Ron Finegold (born in 1937), the father of GM Ben Finegold, was a National Master who died after a long illness on July 15th, 2014. His passion for chess brought him to teach the game to his children.”

“The Open weekend tournament in the USA is proof that chess is a sport. Five rounds in two days. On Saturday one can play for nine hours straight, for a total of three games, then follow on Sunday another six hours of playing. The last three hours are quite important because the last round is what divides the winner from the losers, those who will bring home the money from those who fought for nothing. The Open section of this tournament was particularly well stocked with two GMs, plus the US Women’s Champion of 2017, and a few national masters and candidate masters.”

Reading the above made me laugh. The ‘next generation’ considers the above playing schedule “grueling.” Back in the day we played five rounds over two days at a time control of 40 moves in two hours, followed by various time limits such as twenty moves in an hour, which became twenty moves in a half hour, followed by increasingly shorter time limits for the endgame. I won the Atlanta Chess Championship in 1976 at a time control of forty moves in two and one half hours, followed by twenty moves in one hour. Granted, there was only one game played at night for five weeks, but when we sat down it was known the game could possibly last well into the wee hours. During the 1980 US Open in Atlanta my opponent, Dauntless Don Mullis, finally resigned at three thirty the next morning. The game began at seven pm. And WE LIKED IT! My heart bleeds for these namby-pamby wussies…

The address given at the website of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta is, 2500 Old Alabama Rd., Suite 11, Roswell, GA 30076. Roswell is not Atlanta. It is a city far to the north of Atlanta. In 2014 the estimated population was 94,089, making it Georgia’s seventh largest city ( Maybe it should be called the Atlanta Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Roswell?

A game Ron Finegold

lost to Bobby Fischer

at the Western Open in Bay City accompanies the article. No date is given. The other game contained in the article is by LM David Vest, aka, the High Planes Drifter, whom I have known for almost four decades. We played many speed games over the years, with Mr. Vest usually besting me. One time the Drifter informed me he intended to sacrifice the exchange in every game, which is exactly what he did, as I lost again and again… David gave me a lesson never forgotten. I used that lesson in a telephone game with the legendary one, playing an exchange sacrifice that brought the house DOWN! I proudly showed the game to Vest, who smiled with approval.

David Vest

Scott Prichard playing against Carter Peatman | Photo: Davide Nastasio (Vest is shown in the background playing Harry Le)

is the only player to hold the title of both Georgia State Chess Champion, and Georgia Senior Champion. The man from the High Planes stopped drifting and settled down at the House of Pain. Frequently heard from the younger players were things like, “Vest got me again,” and “How come I can’t beat that old man?” They knew the Chess road led through Mr. Vest, and to best Vest was a sign that, as one young player succinctly put it, “Now I’m getting somewhere!”

Mr. Vest talks with a booming voice, which was often heard, to the detriment of the other players, when he was right outside the front door, directly below the window of the main playing room, smoking his ready-rolled cigarettes. David was known for his “A.O.” theories. That’s for “Atmospheric Occupation.” As far as he was concerned, the only hope for mankind was to get off of the planet. He could not understand why everyone did not agree with him. For some reason he thought he was the first to come up with the idea of moving off planet. He told of taking his theories to the US government, and his disappointment in being rejected…Voice booming and eyes blazing, Mr. Vest would rail against our government and threaten to take his ides to the “Communist Chinese.” One time a VietNam veteran, who had listened to some of a Vest tirade, entered the HOP saying, “That man ain’t right.” He got no argument. I attempted to council Mr. Vest about toning down his traitorously inflammatory harangues, but it fell on deaf ears…Another time one of the Chess fathers, after listening to a Vest diatribe, said, “There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that man is on it.”

As can be seen in the photograph, Mr. Vest has a large scar in the shape of a horseshoe underneath his right eye, which was obtained when he moved to Louisville and began a job working with horses, which he loved. The horse obviously did reciprocate. Dave was fortunate as a kick to the head from a horse can be fatal. One legendary Atlanta player informed me the Drifter told them he had experience with horses to obtain the job. “What he did not say was the experience came from wagering at the track!” he said while laughing uproariously. “What the hell does Dave know about horses other than the betting odds?” he added.

Mr. Vest’s rating plummeted as he continued to play Chess while pus oozed from his wound. His Master rating fell below 2100 and the word at the House was he would never be the same player. Mr. Vest proved them wrong when, after recovering, his rating steadily climbed to over 2200 once again, where it stayed for some time. After losing yet again to Vest one promising junior came down the stairs saying, “That man OWNS this place!”

Before leaving Atlanta and moving to the country the aforementioned legendary player informed me Mr. Vest was to be interviewed on an Atlanta radio station, WGST. “You’re kidding, right?” I asked. “I wish I were, but I’m not,” he said. “I just hope he don’t give Chess in Atlanta a bad name.” We listened with trepidation to the interview, with the legendary one muttering things like, “Lordy,” and “I hope he don’t mention Championship Chess.” When they went to a break I glanced over at the legendary one to see what can only be described as an ashen face. “I don’t know if I can take any more of this,” he said. He, and we, did. “Oh God,” the legendary one exclaimed at one point, “Chess in Atlanta will never be the same.” Having listened to Mr. Vest at length over the years I was grinning while enjoying the show. “You’ve gotta admit, it’s entertaining,” I stated. “Maybe in some kinda way in your warped brain, Bacon,” he said. “It’s sad Dave don’t know he’s making a fool of himself,” the legendary one said as he sat there shaking his head. “How did the drifter get on the show?” I asked. “He called in regularly,” was the reply.

By now you should understand why I decided to put Dave’s game through the clanking digital monsters at the ChessBase DataBase.

David Vest 2200 vs Harry Le 1971

1 c4 (David’s love of the English rivaled has that of LA Master Jerry Hanken, of whom Vest spoke highly) Nf6 2 Nc3 e5 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 e3 Be7 5 a3 (Komodo plays 5 Qb3) O-O 6 b4 (Stockfish plays either 6 d4 or Qb3) d6 (Stockfish plays either 6…d5, or 6…e4. Houey prefers d5)

7 d4 (This move cannot be found in the databases so must me a Theoretical Novelty. Unfortunately, it is not a good one. It is the way of Chess that the best move in the position on the previous move now becomes less than desirable.) exd4 8 exd4 Bg4 9 Be2 a6 10 h3 Bh5 11 Bf4 d5 12 g4 (I am not surprised Vest played this move, but a more circumspect move such as 12 0-0 may have been better. After 12…Bxf3 13 Bxf3 dxc4 white would have the possibility of completely ruining the black pawn structure with 14 Bxc6. There is also the possibility of playing 14 d5! Granted, black does not have to play to take the pawn, as after 12 0-0 he could play 12…Re8, for example) Bg6

Look at this position from white’s perspective and imagine your student sitting across from you. What move would you suggest, and why?

13 Ne5

After seeing this move one might question a student, offering 13 0-0 as an alternative. “Look kid,” one could begin, “You have followed the rules of the Royal game by developing your four minor pieces. You need only move your king to safety before developing your major pieces.”) dxc4

14 Nxg6 (I would be strongly tempted to play 14 Nxc6 bxc6 a5 Bxc4) hxg6 15. d5 Nb8!

(Shades of the man from the High Planes! Vest was famous for playing the Brooklyn variation of the Alekhine’s defense. An example:

IM Vinay Bhat (Earned GM title in 1997)

vs David Vest

1996 American Open

Los Angeles, California

B02 Alekhine’s defence, Brooklyn defence

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ng8 3. d4 d5 4. exd6 cxd6 5. c4 e6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. Nc3 Be7 8. Be3 Nbd7 9. Nf3 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Bf4 O-O 12. Rc1 a6 13. h3 Qb8 14. Re1 Qa7 15.Qb3 Rac8 16. Na4 Rfd8 17. Bf1 h6 18. Be3 Bc6 19. Nc3 Ba8 20. Qa4 Bc6 21. Qb3 Ba8 22. Qa4 Qb7 23. b4 Nb8 24. a3 Rc7 25. Bf4 Qc8 26. Qb3 Bxf3 27. gxf3 Nc6 28.Be3 Rb7 29. f4 Rb8 30. d5 Na7 31. Na4 exd5 32. Nxb6 Qf5 33. Nxd5 Nxd5 34. cxd5 Rd7 35. Kh2 Nb5 36. Bd3 Qh5 37. Be2 Qh4 38. Qd3 Bf6 39. Rg1 Bb2 40. Rg4 Qe7 41.Rcg1 Qd8 42. Bd1 Rc7 43. Bc2 Kf8 44. Qh7 Nxa3 45. Rxg7 Bxg7 46. Rxg7 Nxc2 47.Qg8+ 1-0)

16 g5 (I would take the pawn with 16 Bxc4. The game move is more in keeping with the High Planes Drifter’s fast & loose, shoot from the hip style, but 16 Bxc4 is best) Ne8

I could not help but wonder what Mr. Vest was thinking about while looking at this position. Many years ago the Drifter said that after 1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nf8 he was “Sucking them into my vortex!” This position has Vest in the wrong plane! Now he is the one being sucking into a vortex…)

17 Qd2 (Now 17 Bxc4 is answered by 17…Bxg5) Bd6 18. Be3 Be5 (Black has driven white back and the bishop takes a dominating position. The amazing thing about the position is that black has only one piece off of the back rank but has the advantage)

19 f4 (Vest could take the pawn with 19 Bxc4, but Nd6 20 Be2 Re8 black has greatly improved his position ) Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Nd6

21 h4 (Having been outplayed Vest decides to thrust his sword, or fall on it…It was still possible to castle even though black could then play 21…b5, protecting the pawn. Still, after 23 Bf3 white would have the two bishops versus the two horses, which may have been why Vest pushed the pawn, come to think of it…You see, the Drifter LOVES the horses, so how could he possibly bet against them? I have often watched his play without Queens on the board, in which his knights shine) Re8

22 h5 Nf5 23 Bf2? (He had to try 23 Rh3 gxh5 24 Bxh5) Qxd5 24 Rh3 Qe4

25 Qb2? (Dave could have tried (25 O-O-O as 25… Qxe2 26 Re1 Qxf2 27. Rxe8+ Kh7 28. h6 Qf1+ 29. Kc2 Qg2+ 30. Kc1 Qf1+ only leads to a draw. 25…Nc6 is better, though…) gxh5 (25…Qg2! The remaining moves need no comment) 26 g6 fxg6 27 Kf1 Qxf4 28 Rf3 Qe4 29 Re1 Nc6 30 b5 Ne5 31 Rc3 Qh1+ 32 Bg1 Nd3 0-1

The High Plains Drifter was a strong Chess player; strong enough to beat many time US Women’s Champion Irina Krush

in the last round of one of the 2003 EMORY/CASTLE GRAND PRIX. The upset win translated into a first place tie with GM Julio Becerra.

The game was annotated by IM John Donaldson in the award winning Georgia Chess magazine. I will admit to being somewhat disappointed when the Drifter informed me he had “chickened out” when offering Irina a draw, which was declined.

I have met many Chess players during the course of my life. The mold was definitely broken after the Drifter came down from the High Planes. He often claimed to be “above you humans.” Fortunately, Chess kept him somewhat grounded…David Vest is definitely sui generis.

Land of the Sky XXXI

The turnout at the 2018 Land of the Sky Chess tournament in the beautiful city of Asheville, in the Great State of North Carolina,

Sunset adds a warm glow to the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina

hosted by Wilder Wadford for over a quarter of a century, was down considerably from the previous year, although it was comparable to the number of players in 2016. This century the number of players has consistently been between 160 and 260, so the official total of 173 is on the low end of the spectrum. Back in the day, meaning last century, LOTS drew as many as 300 participants. It is
difficult to get a handle on the turnout trend line because of the occasional inclement weather in the mountains (one year we were forced to stay Sunday night because the down hill driveway was covered with ice, making it impossible to traverse), but I do see that the 3-year running average shows it down considerably. For example, the three years after We The People were Bushwhacked, 2009-2011, show an average of 185; while the past three years show an average of 181. In comparison, 2012-2014 shows an average of 231. Inquires to my mountain friends, and others, as to possible reasons for the decline run the gamut. The prize fund has stayed the same for about a quarter of a century. There is no corporate sponsorship like in Europe, or even here in the states. I played in the Govornor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2002 and the community had gotten behind the tournament in a big way. Could it be that communities have turned off Chess? Another possible reason expressed is that the Land of the Sky tournament shows a large disparity between the young and the old, with not so many players between those ages. Another wrote, “Why should I spend all that money to go play chess when I can make hundreds of dollars staying at home teaching?” Although he has a point, the fact is that if everyone did the same there would be no more Chess tournaments, and, hence, no more students.
Another stated bluntly, “I think the major reason is Chess in the US is declining in general.” One player who did not attend offered this frightening reason, “Bacon, people are AFRAID OF NUCLEAR WAR, and are holding their cards close to the chest, afraid to go anywhere or spend any money.” One wrote, “You’re actually writing about the LOTS? Maybe there should have been more publicity before the tournament. You’re closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.” Lastly, “Chess is doomed!”

On to the games! The first game was played in the Under 2200 section. Gene Nix, the main man in Greenville, South Carolina, President, Greenville Chess Club, and Treasurer of the SC Chess Association, faced off with Randal Ferguson, who has fallen one point below NM. Randal has been out of action for almost a year and the rust showed. Some years ago he was a solid NM, and I say that from personal experience as I lost to him at least once and always thought of him as a strong player. The game was played Saturday morning at the “hurry up and get it over” speed.

Gene Nix (1907) vs Randal Ferguson 2199

Round one

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. g4 b5 11. a3 Bb7 12. Bg2 Rc8 13. Rd2 Nb6 14. Re1 Nc4 15. Rd3 O-O 16. Bh4 Rfd8 ( Nxe4!) 17. Bg3 e5 (The normal break would appear to be 17…d5) 18. Nf5 exf4 19. Bxf4 Ne5 20. Bxe5 dxe5 21. Nxe7 Qxe7 22. Rxd8 Rxd8 23. g5 Nd7 24. h4 Nb6 25. Rd1 Rc8 26. Bh3 Rd8 27. Qf2 Rxd1 28. Nxd1 Qd6 29. Nc3 g6 30. h5 (Maybe simply Bg2) gxh5 31. Bf5 Kg7 32. Qh2 Nc4 33. Qxh5 h6 34. Nd5 Bxd5 35. exd5 hxg5 36. Qxg5 Kf8 37. Be4 Qb6 38. Bd3 Qe3 39. Qxe3 Nxe3 40. d6 Ke8 41. a4 Kd7 42. axb5 axb5 43. Bxb5 Kxd6 44. Kd2 Nd5 45. c4 Nc7 46. Ba4 Kc5 47. Kc3 Na6 48. Bb5 Nb4 49. Bd7 f6 50. Bf5 Nc6 51. Kd3 Nd4 52. Be4 Ne6 53. Bf5 Nd4 54. Be4 Kb4 55. Bg6 Kb3 56. Bf7 Kxb2 57. c5 Kc1 58. Bd5 Kd1 59. c6 Nxc6 60. Bxc6 1/2-1/2

The next game features the Yerminator, GM Alex Yermolinsky,

known for his Yermo’s Travelogue pieces on Chessbase (, versus the Ol’ Swindler, NM Neal Harris.

I write this with a smile on my face, which is what Neal had on his face when informed that he had been given the moniker “Ol’ Swindler” by a disgruntled legendary Georgia Chess player who had lost to Neal in the same line, and in the same way, as he had previously, going down in flames quickly both times. The legendary one exclaimed, “That Neal ain’t nothing but an Ol’ Swindler!!!” Let that be a lesson to you; go over your losses so you do not lose that particular way again.

Alex Yerminator (2587) vs Ol’ Swindler (2209)

Round two

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3 8. bxc3 O-O 9. a4 (This is a Theoretical Novelity) e5 (If a student had played this game Neal would, most probably, explained that white intends on playing Ba3 next, attacking the Rook on f8, so it would be advisible to move the Rook to e8 now in order to take the sting outta the Bishop move. I am far stronger when reviewing a game than when sitting at the board with the clock ticking. Hence, Armchair Warrior! Why would Neal play e5? My guess is that, being an aggressive type Ol’ Swindler, he wanted to come at the GM!) 10. Ba3 Re8 11. Ng5 Be6 12. Nxe6 fxe6 13. O-O e4 14. f3 Nd5 15. Qd2 Nb6 16. Ba2 exf3 17. Rxf3 Ne5 18. Rh3 Nec4 19. Bxc4 Nxc4 20. Qd3 Nxa3 21. Qxh7 Kf7 22. Rf1 Ke7 23. Qxg7 Kd6 24. Qe5 Kd7 25. Rh7 Kc8 26. Rff7 Rh8 1-0

The game of the tournament occurred in the third round. Pairings are everything in a short Swiss tournament and the Yerminator drew the short straw, being given the black pieces against the much younger, and stronger, GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2613) vs Alex Yermolinsky (2587)

Round 3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4 4. Nbd2 d6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 e5 7. d5 Bxd2 8. Nxd2 Ne7 9. e4 O-O 10. O-O Ng6 11. Qc2 Ne8 12. c5 dxc5 13. Qxc5 Nd6 14. b3 b6 15. Qc2 f5 16. Bb2 f4 17. Nf3 Qe7 18. Rac1 Rf7 19. h4 Bg4 20. Ng5 f3 21. Nxf7 fxg2 22. Kxg2 Nxf7 23. Qxc7 Nxh4 24. gxh4 Qxh4 25. Qc3 Be2 26. Rfe1 Qxe4 27. f3 Qg6 28. Kf2 Bb5 29. Rg1 Qf5 30. Qe3 Rd8 31. Qe4 Qf6 32. Rc7 Ng5 33. Qg4 h6 34. Bc1 e4 35. Bxg5 hxg5 36. Qe6 Qxe6 37. dxe6 Rd2 38. Kg3 exf3 39. Kxf3 Rd3 40. Ke4 1-0

The next morning in the fourth round this gem was produced:

GM Alexander Ivanov (2568) vs GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2613)

Round four

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Nxe5 7. Rxe5 Be7 8. Bf1 O-O 1/2-1/2

With only 18 players in the open section this draw made some kind of sense to the GMs. Ivanov is a Senior while Moradiabadi is at the peak of his career. Why bother playing a real game when they can shake hands and rest before the last round? Why indeed…

Alex Yermolinsky (2587) vs GM Alexander Ivanov (2568)

Round five

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. e3 a6 4. b3 Bb7 1/2-1/2

There oughta be a rule against crap like this. Oh wait, there is! It’s just that the organizer/TD with cojones enough to forfeit those who cheat Cassia has yet to be born! Alexander Ivanov

made ONLY TWELVE FORKIN’ MOVES on Sunday to steal his prize money. Pitiful…And Donnie gray had the audacity to ask, What’s the matter with draws? at at Chessbase. HERE IS YOUR ANSWER, DONNIE!!! (

This left it up to Moradiabadi to play a real game of Chess in the last round while having the advantage of the white pieces facing a young man rated about 300 points, at least one class, maybe two, below him. Just another day at the office for the Grandmaster…

GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2613) vs Sanjay Ghatti (2341)

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Qxc4 Bd5 11. Qd3 Be4 12. Qe3 c6 13. Nc3 Bc2 14. Re1 Bg6 15. Ne5 Nd5 16. Qd2 Nd7 17. Nxg6 hxg6 18. e4 Nxc3 19. bxc3 Qa5 20. Qb2 Rab8 21. Bd2 e5 22. f4 exd4 23. cxd4 Qb6 24. Qxb6 Nxb6 25. Rec1 Bf6 26. e5 Be7 27. a5 Nc8 28. Be3 Bd8 29. d5 cxd5 30. Bxd5 Re8 31. Bxb7 Rxb7 32. Rxc8 Rc7 33. Ra8 f6 34. Rd1 1-0

This left Moradiabadi with 4 1/2 points, a full point ahead of the two older GMs.Ivanov and Yermo left the beautiful western North Carolina mountains with $350 each. Elsan nabbed $880. Sanjay Ghatti and Mark Biernacki (2187), who beat NM Peter Bereolos (2244) in the last round, tied for ‘best of the rest’with 3 points, along with Neo Zhu (2142), who forced Benjamin Yan (1986) to take the dreaded blue pill in the final round. Because of the way things are done in Chess Biernacki and Zhu each won $220, while the higher rated Sanjay Ghatti left with only $180. To make things even worse for Sanjay his performance rating was 2376, better than both Biernacki (2323) and Zhu (2117). In addition, the latter two players had white in three games, while Mr. Ghatti had the black pieces three times; white only two. Who said Chess tournaments were fair? I would attempt to explain this to my international readers, but why bother? The inequities have been there for decades, or longer, and the will to improve things in the Chess world is simply not there…

In the hard fought Asheville section, for players under 2200, David High (2055) drew with Michael Kliber (1915) in the final round to tie for first, along with Alexander Rutten (1998), who became an Expert. Each scored 4 points. All scored $373. Four players each scored 3 1/2 points in the section. Three of the four garnered $147, while one fortunate son left with $280.

Michael Kliber (1915) vs David High (2055)

Last round

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. c3 d6 6. e4 Qe8 7. Bd3 e5 8. O-O h6 9. Bh4 Nh5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ne1 Nf4 12. Nc4 Nd7 13. Ne3 Nc5 14. f3 Be6 15. Qc2 g5 16. Bf2 Qc6 17. Bc4 Bxc4 18. Nxc4 Ncd3 19. Nxd3 Qxc4 20. Nxf4 exf4 21. Rfd1 Rfd8 22. h4 Rxd1 23. Qxd1 Qb5 24. Qb3 a6 25. Rd1 Be5 26. hxg5 hxg5 27. Qxb5 axb5 28. Rd5 f6 29. Rxb5 b6 30. a3 Rd8 31. Be1 Rd1 32. Kf2 Kf7 33. Ke2 Rb1 34. Bd2 Ke6 35. Be1 1/2-1/2

Alexander Rutten (1973) vs Peter Michelman (2065)

Round 4

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nge2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. d3 d6 8. h3 Bd7 9. Be3 Ne8 10. d4 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Ne5 12. Nce2 Nc4 13. Bc1 Qb6 14. b3 Ne5 15. Be3 Qc7 16. c4 a6 17. Rc1 Qa5 18. Rc2 Nc6 19. Nxc6 Bxc6 20. Nd4 Bd7 21. Kh2 Rc8 22. f4 Nc7 23. Ne2 Ne6 24. e5 Bc6 25. exd6 exd6 26. f5 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 gxf5 28. Nf4 Nxf4 29. Bxf4 d5 (Rfd8!?) 30. Bd6 Rfd8 31. c5 Qb5 32. Rxf5 d4 33. Rcf2 Qc6 34. Kh2 b6 (? f6 !?) 35. Rxf7 bxc5 1-0

In the Buncombe section Benjamin Webb (1672) drew with Brian Lee Moore (1677) in the last round to finish clear first with 4 1/2 points. Mr. Webb won the second highest amount of money of all the winners of all the sections, taking home $560.

Benjamin Webb (1672) vs Brian Lee Moore (1677)

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. exd6 exd6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Nc3 Bg4 8. Be3 g6 9. Qe2 Qe7 10. O-O-O Bg7 11. c5 dxc5 12. dxc5 Bxc3 13. cxb6 Bg7 14. bxc7 Qxc7 15. Bb6 Qe7 16. Qxe7 Nxe7 17. Bb5 Nc6 18. Rhe1 Be6 19. Bc5 Rd8 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Nd4 Bxd4 22. Bxd4 O-O 23. Bxa7 Bxa2 24. Bc5 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Re8 26. Bd4 Bb3 27. Rd3 Re1 28. Kd2 Rd1 29. Kc3 Rxd3 30. Kxd3 Kf8 31. Bf6 Ke8 32. Ke3 Kd7 33. Kf4 Ke6 34. Bc3 h5 35. Kg5 1/2-1/2

Brian joined Vladimir Besirovic, Asha Kumar, Eli Davis Moore, Lukas Komel, and last, but not least, my friend, fellow Senior, Bruce Goodwin, the Chess Cat, the man behind the Smoky Mountain Chess Club, with 4 points, to tie for second place in the section with the most players. Mr. Kormel won $280; Mr. Eli Davis Moore and Mr. Kumar each left with $220; while Brian Lee Moore and Vladimir Besirovic were lucky to leave with $93.