The 2022 US Chess Championships

This writer was able to watch most, not all, of the coverage of the 2022 US Chess Championships. When unable to watch the live broadcast for various reasons I went back and watched what was missed earlier during the first twelve rounds. There were many “technical problems” with the last round so I turned it off and watched the games the old fashioned way by watching the moves played at Lichess.com. I did not later watch what was missed during the last round. Yasser mentioned something about the broadcast emanating from philanthropy and I realize the broadcast is not like any for profit broadcast, such as a Baseball game, or golf tournament, etc. Nevertheless, the broadcasts emanating from the St. Louis Chess Campus have been ongoing for many years, long enough for those broadcasting to have their collective act together. At the beginning of the broadcasts the commentators would focus on one game for a length of time, which was disconcerting, because there were fourteen ongoing games. I thought an overview of all the games should be given and from the emails received, so did many other viewers. One day the guys and girl focused almost exclusively on one game, which caused me to fire a salvo at the folks in St. Louis. After it happened again another salvo was fired, but no response was received from the Campus. I simply turned off the volume and watched the opening moves of all the games at Lichess.com.

I realize the commentators are not ‘professional’ media types, but they are getting paid, so maybe they could be considered “untrained” professionals. In one salvo fired at the StLCC I asked if there was a director, but have yet to receive an answer. A director could inform the commentators of where there was “action” in another game and they could switch to it immediately. I recall one instance when they were following an endgame in the open while there was a very interesting game with lieelt time remaining being contested in the women’s championship. I also recall Yasser saying something about, “We’re staying right here!” I tuned the sound off and watched the women’s game on Lichess.com.

Anastasiya Karlovich

(born 29 May 1982) is a Ukrainian chess player and journalist. She achieved the FIDE titles Woman International Master in 2000 and Woman Grandmaster in 2003. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastasiya_Karlovich) Her accent often made it hard to understand what she was saying. In addition, she had a disconcerting habit of talking over Yasser. It is impossible to understand what is being said when two people are talking, which happened all too often.

That said, I still give the StLCC a B+ for the effort. There were too many positives for a lower grade to be given. Please understand this old Warrior is still amazed at being able to watch something like this, which was unheard of ‘back in the day’. “Shelbourne Richard Lyman (October 22, 1936 – August 11, 2019) was an American chess player and teacher known for hosting a live broadcast of the 1972 World Chess Championship for the PBS television station Channel 13 in New York. This broadcast became the highest-rated public television program ever at that time, far surpassing viewership expectations.” In addition, Shelby also, “…later hosted a two-hour broadcast covering the World Chess Championship 1986. This segment was recorded at WNYE-TV in Brooklyn and aired on 120 public television stations.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_Lyman) It was during the latter time the woman with whom I lived, after watching the first broadcast, facetiously called him, “Mr. Charisma.” Chess broadcasts have come a long way, baby.

When there was a break in the action I would glance at some of the comments left by those watching. I was surprised when reading some that questioned Yasser Seirawan’s penchant for telling stories of the past. “you cannot understand where you are at unless you know where you have been,” I thought. One of the pleasures of my childhood was watching the Baseball Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. Former Major League Baseball players Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese

https://jimmiekepler.com/2016/05/16/dizzy-dean-and-pee-wee-reese-2/

would regale we neophytes with stories of bygone days, just as Yasser does during the broadcast. To this writer those stories are one of the best facets of the broadcasts. One was so good I took notes, realizing words would not come near describing how good was the tale. Imagine the elation when the segment was found! It concerns former World Chess Champ Gary Kasparov and to just read the words, or even listen to them, would not contain the visceral response shown by Yasser. All the hours spent spectating, and listening to the broadcasts were worth it just to be able to see Yasser when describing the story.

Seirawan, Yasser – Kasparov, Garry 1-0
D91 Dubai ol (Men)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bg5 Ne4 6.cxd5 Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.b4 Qd6 10.a3 O-O 11.e3 c6 12.Be2 Bf5 13.O-O Nd7 14.Na4 a5 15.Qb3 b5 16.Nc5 a4 17.Qc3 Nb6 18.Nd2 Rae8 19.Rfe1 Re7 20.Bf3 Rfe8 21.g3 Bh3 22.Bg2 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 f5 24.h4 Nc4 25.Nf3 Bf6 26.Re2 Rg7 27.Rh1 Qe7 28.Ree1 h6 29.Qd3 Rf8 30.Nd2 Qe8 31.Nxc4 dxc4 32.Qd1 Re7 33.Ref1 Qf7 34.Qf3 Qd5 35.Qxd5+ cxd5 36.Kf3 Bg7 37.Rd1 Rff7 38.Rd2 Re8 39.Rdd1 Bf8 40.Rdg1 Bg7 41.Rd1 Kf8 42.Rd2 Ke7 43.Rdd1 Kd6 44.Rh2 Kc6 45.Rhh1 Bf8 46.Rd2 Bd6 47.Rdd1 Bxc5 48.dxc5 Re4 49.Rhe1 Rd7 50.Rd4 g5 51.hxg5 hxg5 52.Red1 Rxd4 53.Rxd4 Rh7 54.Ke2 Rh3 55.g4 f4 56.exf4 Rxa3 57.fxg5 Ra2+ 58.Kf3 c3 59.Rd1 d4 60.g6 d3 61.Ke3 Rxf2 62.g7 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?wid=8111&bid=6404&wlname=Seirawan%2C+Yasser&open=&blname=Kasparov%2C+Garry&eco=&nocolor=on&yeari=&yeare=&sply=1&ply=&res=&submit_search=1#

Kasparov, Garry – Seirawan, Yasser 1-0
D21 Thessaloniki ol (Men)
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.c4 dxc4 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Qxd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Ndb5 Na6 8.e4 Nf6 9.f3 Bxb5 10.Nxb5 e5 11.Be3 Bb4+ 12.Kf2 Ke7 13.Bxc4 Rhc8 14.Rac1 Bc5 15.Rhd1 Bxe3+ 16.Kxe3 Ne8 17.Bb3 Rxc1 18.Rxc1 f6 19.a3 Nd6 20.Bd5 Nxb5 21.Bxb7 Nbc7 22.Bxa8 Nxa8 23.Rc8 Nb6 24.Rg8 Kf7 25.Rh8 Nc5 26.Rb8 Ke7 27.b4 Nc4+ 28.Ke2 Nd7 29.Rg8 g5 30.a4 a5 31.bxa5 Nxa5 32.Ra8 Nc6 33.a5 Kd6 34.g3 h5 35.h4 gxh4 36.gxh4 Nc5 37.a6 Kc7 38.a7 Nb7 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?wid=8111&bid=6404&wlname=Seirawan%2C+Yasser&open=&blname=Kasparov%2C+Garry&eco=&nocolor=on&yeari=&yeare=&sply=1&ply=&res=&submit_search=1#

The 2022 US Chess Championships were inherently unfair. The player of the white pieces has an advantage, which is more apparent in the Open than with the Women. Someone was overheard saying to a student, “Fabiano Caruana played the best Chess in the tournament.” I begged to differ, saying Ray Robson played the best Chess. He knew how much time I had spent on viewing the action, so respected my opinion, but still questioned the statement. “Fabi had the white pieces in seven games; Robson in only six,” I said.

It is long past the time those in the Chess world come to terms with the fact that the way tournaments are structured favors one half of the field. The only way to remedy the problem is to have a US Chess Championship in which each player has an equal number of games with both colors. This could be done by having an eight player field, the Elite Eight, with two games versus each of the seven opponents, making for a fourteen round tournament. The fact is there were too many players who should not have been playing in the tournament.

The games are too long. The time for the games should be shortened because there are many games which do not begin until the players have spouted out twenty moves of opening theory in only a few minutes. Give the players ninety minutes with some kind of increment and have them play two games each day. It would be like going to work an eight hour day job. After the first game there would be a two hour break and the second game could then begin.

Deciding a championship by playing speed (kills) Chess is ludicrous, especially when a so-called “champion” is determined by some abomination called, appropriately enough, “Armageddon”. One of the definitions of Armageddon is: “A decisive or catastrophic conflict.” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Armaggedon). On second thought maybe it is appropriate after the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, in an unprecedented act, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup after losing a badly played game to Hans Niemann. There is nothing worse than for a player to withdraw in a round robin tournament, unless there was some major reason for so doing, such as having a stroke, or going blind, etc. The action of sore loser Carlsen was an affront to the Royal Game, the Singuefield Cup, and to the St. Louis Chess Club. In addition, it was a slap in the face to the man responsible for the philanthropy, Rex Sinquefield. Tony Rich, Executive Director of the St. Louis Chess Campus,

said Magnus would be welcomed back to the STLCC, but he will never be welcomed by this writer. It is possible his ill-advised action will bring down the House of Chess. Magnus will not be the Chess champion of the world much longer and he should be classified as persona non grata everywhere, forced to sit home and ‘stream’ like Hikaru Nakamura

https://www.youtube.com/c/GMHikaru

and Ben Finegold.

https://www.youtube.com/c/GMBenjaminFinegold

Why Did Chessdom Pull GM Alejandro Ramirez Article?

The following article was posted at Chessdom (https://www.chessdom.com/) yesterday evening, but could not be seen this morning. Why, Chessdom, why?

GM Alejandro Ramirez: It seems very likely that Hans Niemann has cheated over-the-board

By nikita
Posted on October 8, 2022

After Hans Niemann defeated the World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup 2022, Carlsen decided to withdraw from the tournament without detailed explanations. Two weeks after, Magnus Carlsen refused to play against Niemann in the Julius Baer Generation Cup and resigned his game after two moves of play. By the end of the tournament, Magnus published the official statement on the case publicly accusing Hans Niemann of cheating. GM Alejandro Ramirez was one of the commentators of the Sinquefield Cup 2022 who interviewed players and did analysis with them after the games. During the Julius Baer Generation Cup, Ramirez joined the live studio and shared his insights on the happenings during the Sinquefield Cup. He then said that he doesn’t think Niemann cheated in Saint Louis.

After Hans Niemann defeated the World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup 2022, Carlsen decided to withdraw from the tournament without detailed explanations. Two weeks after, Magnus Carlsen refused to play against Niemann in the Julius Baer Generation Cup and resigned his game after two moves of play. By the end of the tournament, Magnus published the official statement on the case publicly accusing Hans Niemann of cheating. GM Alejandro Ramirez was one of the commentators of the Sinquefield Cup 2022 who interviewed players and did analysis with them after the games. During the Julius Baer Generation Cup, Ramirez joined the live studio and shared his insights on the happenings during the Sinquefield Cup. He then said that he doesn’t think Niemann cheated in Saint Louis.

In the newest C-squared podcast episode, Alejandro Ramirez spoke with Cristian Chirila and Fabiano Caruana about the developments on the cheating case which shook the chess world. “Now that a lot of things have happened and we are already a month after, the circumstantial evidence that has gathered against Hans, specifically on him cheated over-the-board, seems so strong that it’s very difficult for me to ignore it. For me to say ‘this guy cheated’ I myself would need to sit down and go through the data. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I have other things in my life and I don’t want to sit there and go through every one of Hans’s games. Now a lot of people have done that and a lot of people have made very compelling arguments on like why this statistically doesn’t correlate. And using my own expertise and my own experience with these things, it does seem very likely that he [Hans Niemann] has cheated over-the-board. Now, as I say that is very likely, I am not here condemning him and saying he definitely has cheated, I do not say that.“

Ramirez added that he has met a lot of grandmasters who are sure that Niemann has cheated over-the-board: “Am I sure of this [that Niemann has cheated OTB]? – No, I am definitely not sure of this. Have I met grandmasters that are sure of this? -Yes, I met grandmasters that have no doubt that Hans has cheated. Have I met grandmasters who think that Hans has not cheated over-the-board? -Less and less. And there is almost no one that I’ve talked to, that is a grandmaster level, that thinks his cheating is confined to a couple of events when he was 12 and 16.“. See the complete video below (https://www.chessdom.com/gm-alejandro-ramirez-it-seems-very-likely-that-hans-niemann-has-cheated-over-the-board/)

Magnus Carlsen Cheated Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk

The Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter appeared this morning after moving from a weekly to a monthly newsletter. Regular readers know I have been an inveterate reader for many decades. FM Paul Whitehead has published an outstanding editorial in the #1030 issue of October 8, 2022. After reading this writer had trouble with what to print and what to leave out. After deliberation the decision was made to publish the entire editorial as is, with media added by yours truly:

Hans Niemann: Chess at the Top

By FM Paul Whitehead

https://www.milibrary.org/chess/fm-paul-whitehead-chess-class

“Money Changes Everything” – The Brains

This is Tom Gray, the guy who wrote the song “Money Changes Everything”. He was in a little ol’ Atlanta band called “The Brains” from “back in the day”! On this night he was backed up by the Atlanta band “Swimming Pool Q’s”. Also in attendance was the drummer for The Brains, Charles Wolff. And as Anne Boston of the Q’s said:(paraphrased) “Tom and Charles comprise half a Brain”

By now we are all familiar with the scandal engulfing the chess world, boiled down to this:
lame-duck World Champion Magnus Carlsen loses a game in the Sinquefield Cup to 19-
year-old American up-start GM Hans Niemann. He then withdraws from the tournament,
at the same time making a vague insinuation that Niemann has cheated. A couple of weeks
later in the online Julius Baer Generation Cup, Carlsen loses yet another game to Hans,
resigning before playing his 2 nd move. Shortly afterwards he makes a statement on social
media, asserting that Hans had cheated during their encounter at the Sinqufield Cup –
and offers not a single shred of evidence.
I want to offer my own opinion, based on long experience in the chess world plus my own
interactions with Hans when he was an up-and-coming player at the Mechanics’ Institute.
It is not an easy path to the top of the chess world. It takes great fighting spirit and single-
minded determination. Magnus Carlsen, like every other World Champion before him, has
demonstrated those qualities. Other top players I have observed, like GM Walter Browne (one of Hans’ early coaches), manifest that desire to win in an almost visceral and physical
way.


I have no doubt whatsoever that the will to win (and not to lose!) can cloud a chess
players moral compass. Ashamedly, I remember engaging in fisticuffs with my own
brother over a disputed game.
With that said, I’m curious what the reader might think of the following example.
Captured on video, Carlsen attempts to take a move back against GM Alexandra
Kosteniuk in the 2009 World Blitz Championship, and then leaves the table without a
word or a handshake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeyXKTVYenA&t=161s


If this was not an attempted cheat, then I don’t know what is.
Perhaps even more damning is the following video, Carlsen’s own live-stream of the
Lichess Titled Arena in December 2021. The World Champion clearly takes the advice of
GM David Howell to trap GM Daniel Naroditsky’s queen. I understand the tournament
had a 1st place of $500. The critical moment is at the 1:44:00 mark:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRdrf1Ny3x8


I am not trying to throw just Magnus Carlsen under the bus here. Both of these videos
show very typical displays of fighting spirit. Sadly, they also display not particularly rare
examples of un-sportsmanlike behavior.
For the World Champion to accuse Niemann of what he himself is clearly guilty of is, in
my opinion, just flat out wrong. If Niemann has cheated, then so has Carlsen. And
many, many others.
Thirty years ago (and more) it was a common sight to see chess masters and
grandmasters walking the hallways together, whispering in each other’s ears. I don’t
believe the majority of players were outright cheating perse, but innocent questions or
statements such as: “What do you think of my position?” or “Maybe it’s time to go
home!” accompanied by frowns, raised eyebrows, coughing, laughing, et cetera, were
quite common. Of course, this is different information than one can get nowadays. After
all, a grandmaster is only human, and their suggestions and advice will only take you so
far.
But Stockfish is a God.
Nowadays the top players are electronically frisked, and their trips to the bathroom are
monitored – all under the smoky pall of large prize funds, large appearance fees, and
generous corporate sponsorship.
While the top players and streamers, and the private interests that sponsor them
(purporting to speak for the regular player), wring their hands worrying over the
“integrity of the game” and the “existential threat” posed by cheaters, they are living in
a chess world unimaginable only 30-40 years ago.
Back then, top players might have lived out of their cars or crashed on a friend’s couch,
all the while waiting for a few paltry bucks from their chess federation or a miserable
cash prize to pay their expenses. Chess lacked the glitz that corporate sponsorship and
lots of money can buy: the glamorous world of The Queen’s Gambit,

trash-talking streamers angling for a date with one of the Botez sisters,

or better yet: the chance to
be rich and/or the subject of world-wide attention.
Chess at the top looks, sounds, and tastes very different now than it did not so long ago.
The players are younger, have nice haircuts, and pay respect (if not outright homage) to
their master, World Champion Magnus Carlsen. It looks quite cozy from the outside: for
almost ten years now, the same 15–20 players have competed against each other over
and over again in countless tournaments, over the board and online. Rarely are
outsiders permitted into this precious circle, which helps to keep their ratings inflated
just enough to keep the invites and appearance fees coming and the sponsorships rolling
in.
But cracks are starting to appear.
Almost all of the top players lost rating points at the recent Olympiad in Chennai, where
they had to compete with lower rated players.
A younger generation is muscling in, in the shape of players like Hans Niemann, India’s
Dommaraju Gukesh, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan. The latter became the
World Rapid Champion earlier this year, defeating not only Carlsen, but Carlsen’s two
most recent World Champion challengers, Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi.
The young may also seem to lack the “proper respect,” which leads us back to what I
see as the whole crux of this sorry Carlsen/Niemann affair.
Right now, with the lack of any evidence that Niemann cheated in that over-the-board
game against Carlsen, I think the only conclusion we can reach is the one staring us all
in the face: Hans Niemann beat Magnus Carlsen fair and square at the Sinquefield Cup.
I believe Hans has gotten under Magnus’ skin big-time, and, as is well documented here
and elsewhere, Magnus hates losing. And to what extent, we are just now finding out.
With Carlsen also abdicating the World Championship, I am reminded somewhat of an
angry child that destroys his own sandcastle when told that it’s time to leave the beach.
Hans Niemann played a lot at the Mechanics’ Institute as a youngster (11-12 years old
in 2013 and 2014), and his progress was meteoric. As I outlined in our last newsletter,
his rating jumping from 1200 to 2200 in just under two years.
I myself played Hans a bunch of times, and his father recently sent me a video of Hans
and I battling it out in a blitz game at the Mechanics’ Institute. I am totally winning for
ages and ages, and his only hope is that I will lose on time. Hans hangs in there though,
crying “Flag, flag, flag!” over and over. Both of us are enjoying the contest immensely…
and I lose on time before I can mate him. His joy at winning is a sight to see.
Not everyone appreciated Han’s brash and cheeky demeanor. It was either IM John
Donaldson

https://new.uschess.org/news/cover-stories-chess-life-38-im-john-donaldson

or I who (affectionately) started calling him “Niemann the Demon,” but there
were (and are still) players at the club who, perhaps, have forgotten what it was like to
have been young once.
When I see Hans in those post-game interviews at the Sinquefield Cup, I feel I am
watching exactly the same person that I knew back then: a person with a great love for
chess, supremely confident in his abilities, and with respect for no one.
A stone-cold chess killer.
Hans acts in a rough and tumble manner that surprises us nowadays, and harkens back
to earlier times – perhaps strongly influenced by older coaches like GMs Walter Browne,


Max Dlugy,

https://showbizcorner.com/why-hans-niemanns-coach-maxim-dlugy-banned-from-chess-com-for-cheating

and IM John Grefe.

https://www.milibrary.org/games/MemGames.html

These are no-nonsense and worldly fellows, and Hans’
development was tempered in steel.
I think the time has passed, if it ever really existed, when chess could lay claim to
completely fair-play. Ruy Lopez de Segura (c.1530 – c.1580) a founding father of modern
chess and a Catholic priest, advised his students to “place the board such that the light
shines in your opponent’s eyes.”
Behind the brouhaha surrounding Carlsen and Niemann, there are other factors and
interests playing out. As we follow chess celebrities, minor and major (because that is
what they are now) we should also follow the money. Is it a coincidence that Niemann was
banned anew from chess.com whilst the Play Magnus Group was acquired by that selfsame
chess.com? I find it fascinating to see who is lining up to defend Carlsen’s accusations,
and why.
There will always be attempts to cheat at over-the-board chess – some have been caught,
others not. With the money pouring in, attempts to cheat will not stop, ever. Chess has
entered the world of all other sports and games where these problems exist, whether it’s
baseball or poker.
The online world thrived like nobody’s business during the pandemic: perhaps the real
“existential threat” to wealthy streamers and online platforms is not cheaters – it’s the
return to over-the-board play.
The chess world at the top has waited a long time for this moment – they’ve made it. They
have world-wide attention, and they are rolling in the dough. In a sense they have gotten
what they wished for, yet in another sense they are paying the price for those wishes
coming true.
But back here, for the rest of us in the clubs, in our homes and schools, I believe chess
will thrive and continue to be enjoyed for the skillful, interesting, and fascinating game
that it is – untainted by money and enjoyed for its own sake.
The same way Hans and I enjoyed playing together, not so very long ago. (https://www.milibrary.org/sites/default/files/1030.pdf)

The Player of Games

After vowing to leave the games played by the so-called “Super” Grandmasters alone my mind was changed after watching a game from the ongoing Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament being played at the St. Louis Chess Campus. Although it seems like yesterday when GM Caruana was equal to World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in the only games that really matter, classical games, the fact is that was a pandemic ago. Fabiano has not been the same player, while Magnus has become the G.O.A.T. You can argue for your favorite Chess player of all time but the fact is that every generation is better than its predecessor because they stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded them. In addition, Magnus has tools of which former World Champions could only dream. Because of the computer programs my understanding is much better because of the games played by the best programs, even if I cannot demonstrate it over the board because of my advanced age.

One can only speculate, but for my money if there had not been a pandemic and a Alireza Firouzja, GM Caruana would have had another chance to play for the World Championship. After the young Firouzja went full tilt and completely melted down in the most recent Candidates tournament Fabiano began flinging pawns at his opponents like they were spears. He began playing wildly aggressive Chess like that seen decades ago. Unfortunately, it has continued… Examine this position and determine what move you would make after first listing your candidate moves, then return to the blog:

White to move

The position emanates from the game between Fabiano Caruana and Lenier Dominguez in the second round of the ongoing Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament being played at the St. Louis Chess Campus.

Fabiano Caruana let a first win slip from his grasp against Leinier Dominguez | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sinquefield-cup-2-niemann-catches-carlsen

Caruana played 12 g4, the move I would have played at the Stein Club in the 1970s. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/06/shanglei-lu-seeks-bishops-opening-truth/) Truth be told, I would probably have played that move in a USCF tournament ‘back in the day’. 12 Rhe1 was a candidate move, as was 12 Kb1. If I could speak to IM of GM strength Boris Kogan about now I would say, “It has taken a lifetime, Boris, but I have finally found understanding, or at least some understanding.” He would laugh uproariously. The Stockfish program at LiChess.com gives 12 a3 as best. It was not one of my choices. The diagram contains an arrow showing the pawn to be moved, and 12 a3 is given in the note up top, but down below the Stockfish program shows this: “Inaccuracy. Rhe1 was best”, and it gives a line six moves deep to prove it. What I want to know is, which is it? By the way, according to the analysis program at LiChess the best move is 12 Bb5. I cannot make this up. In the only game found at 365Chess.com the move 12 Kb1 was played, and it was on my short list of candidate moves.

Stefan Mazur (2417) vs Juraj Druska (2501)
Event: ch-SVK 2021
Site: Podhajska SVK Date: 09/28/2021
Round: 8.5
ECO: C42 Petrov, Nimzovich attack
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 Re8 9.O-O-O Nd7 10.Bd3 Nf6 11.h3 c5 12.Kb1 Bd7 13.Rhe1 Bc6 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bf4 Bf8 16.Rxe8 Qxe8 17.Nh4 Ne4 18.Bxe4 Qxe4 19.Re1 Qh7 20.Bg3 g5 21.Nf3 Qf5 22.h4 f6 23.Nh2 Re8 24.Rxe8 Bxe8 25.Nf1 Bc6 26.Ne3 Qe6 27.c4 Kf7 28.f3 f5 29.hxg5 hxg5 30.Nd5 f4 31.Bf2 b5 32.b3 bxc4 33.bxc4 Bg7 34.Qd3 Qe5 35.Kc1 Bd7 36.Kd2 Be6 37.Nc7 Bf5 38.Qd5+ Ke7 39.Nb5 Be6 40.Qb7+ Kf6 41.Qc6 Bxc4 42.Qxd6+ Qxd6+ 43.Nxd6 Bxa2 44.Bxc5 a6 45.Kd3 Ke6 46.Ne4 Kd5 47.Be7 Bc4+ 48.Kd2 g4 49.Bg5 Bf1 50.Bxf4 Bxg2 51.c4+ Kxc4 52.Nd6+ Kb3 53.fxg4 a5 54.Nf5 Bc3+ 55.Kc1 Bb2+ 56.Kd2 Bc3+ 57.Kc1 a4 58.Bd6 Be4 59.Ne3 Bf3 60.g5 Be4 61.Nd1 Be1 62.Ne3 Bh4 63.Be7 a3 64.Nc4 a2 65.Nd2+ Ka4 66.Kb2 Bd5 67.Ne4 Be1 68.Bf6 Bxe4 69.Kxa2 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4308407&m=23

Consider this position:

Position after 26…Rf8

The position is taken from the same game, and GM Lenier Dominguez has just played his Rook to f8 attacking the white Queen. Nevertheless, it is a losing move after Caruana plays the Queen to d7. Unfortunately, Fabiano lost the thread and played 27 Qe4, which is, like the previous move made by GM Dominguez, given not one, but two question marks. It seems we Chess fans have seen an inordinate number of “double blunders” since Magnus Carlsen, in his World Championship match with Vishy Anand, blundered horribly, but was let off of the hook when Anand immediately returned the favor.

https://www.firstpost.com/sports/double-blunder-game-carlsen-crushes-anand-leads-one-point-1804783.html

Surely Caruana must have seen Qd7, yet played the much inferior move. Why? Consider this recent quote by Fabiano Caruana: “I realised something, which is that, even though I played pretty awfully recently, I do destroy one opening, which is the Najdorf. All my wins are in this one opening.”

(https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sinquefield-cup-4-fabi-wins-so-leads-as-life-goes-on-without-magnus)

When a player, not just a Chess player, but any ‘player’, is “in form” good moves seem to flow, but when a player is not in form he begins to second guess himself. My father was fond of saying, “Think long, think wrong.” There is much to be said for it because the longer one thinks the less intuition is involved. The number of times I saw the right move intuitively but allowed the ‘logical’ part of my thought process to make a weaker move could not be counted without a calculator. Talking yourself out of listening to yourself is a bad place to be for any player of games.

How To Draw A Chess Game

Chess is a difficult game, and it has become more difficult to win as the players have become stronger. The best players of today are exponentially stronger than their predecessors, which is only natural because today’s players stand on the shoulders of those who played in the past. When one adds what the computer programs have brought to the game it is obvious the top players of today would crush the best players of yesteryear.

The following games were played in the eight round of the Superbet Romania GCT tournament today. I give only the final position of the games and the number of moves to show how hard and long these players fought trying to win:

GM Wesley So vs GM Alireza Firouzja after White’s 38th move 1/2-1/2 (https://live.followchess.com/#!superbet-romania-gct-2022/919461025)
GM Levon Aronian vs GM Ian Nepomniachtchi after 85…Kc7 1/2-1/2 (https://live.followchess.com/#!superbet-romania-gct-2022/-702608188)
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac after 56…Kxg4 (https://live.followchess.com/#!superbet-romania-gct-2022/-715444276)
GM Fabiano Caruana vs GM Richard Rapport after 51…Kxf5 (https://live.followchess.com/#!superbet-romania-gct-2022/-39248169)

Contrast these games with the three and four move draws consummated at the most recent tournament at the Charlotte Chess Center (https://wordpress.com/post/xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/11582).

There was one decisive game played at the Superbet tournament today:

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs GM Leinier Dominguez Perez 0-1 43 moves (https://live.followchess.com/#!superbet-romania-gct-2022/-90636053)

Was Daniil Dubov a Secret Agent?

When Norway’s Magnus Carlsen

https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-2021-g11

clinched victory over Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi

Nepomniachtchi: What Went Wrong?
https://www.chess.com/article/view/nepomniachtchi-what-went-wrong

it was revealed that Russian Grandmsaster Daniil Dubov

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/dubov-hits-back-at-accusations-of-betrayal

had once again been a key part of the World Chess Champion’s team of helpers. That saw instant criticism led by Sergey Karjakin, with Sergey Shipov adding that Dubov would “rightly” now never play for the Russian team again. (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/dubov-hits-back-at-accusations-of-betrayal)

In an interview journalist, and FM, Mike Klein asked Nepo the question:

Mike: Is he a double-agent? Is that what you’re saying?

Ian: No, I don’t know. I don’t think he’s a double-agent, obviously, but the results of his work were quite favorable for us.
https://www.chess.com/news/view/ian-nepomniachtchi-on-the-world-chess-championship

Hold on there, Nepo. If the results of his work were favorable why did you lose? Surely Mother Russia must have known Dubov was working with team Magnus because…

Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sergey-karjakin-magnus-can-psychologically-crumble

was a citizen of Ukraine until relocating to Russia, the country with 175000 troops poised on the border of Ukraine as the world collectively holds its breath at the possible coming of World War III.

Karjakin infamously said, “Magnus “can psychologically crumble.”

What pluses and minuses do you see for both opponents?

“Magnus has more match experience, he’s a more balanced chess player, without visible flaws. He plays almost equally well positionally and tactically, in a dull endgame and in sharp attacking positions.”

“But he does have flaws. When he doesn’t like what’s happening in a tournament he can psychologically collapse, as my match against Magnus showed. He missed wins in two games, and then he started to play significantly worse. He can psychologically crumble if something isn’t going right — he loses confidence in himself and he starts to perform less well than usual.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sergey-karjakin-magnus-can-psychologically-crumble

Nepo was asked, “Were you involved in any psychological preparation during this period?”

“I don’t really understand what psychological preparation means. If it’s needing to have the correct attitude within yourself, then I’ve been preparing since childhood.”

Do you consider the match against Carlsen the match of your life?

“I don’t know. That will depend on the result. After I play it, I’ll tell you.”

Are there nerves?

“Nerves, as a rule, are before the start. From experience I can say that you get them in the first round when you sit down at the board and don’t yet know what kind of form you’re in. In such cases you usually make 2-3 moves and then your body readjusts to its working mode. Nerves, it seems me, also go at that moment. No doubt there will also be nerves when the finish is approaching, but now, before it begins, it’s early to talk about that.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/ian-nepomniachtchi-the-result-is-much-more-important-than-the-prize

Let us be honest, Nepo cracked. Before the match everyone knew Nepo had a fragile psyche. The World Chess Champ put it best:

“We spoke a bit during these tournaments, but didn’t have much contact for years, until 2011, when we had a training session together. He was a lowly-rated 2700 player and struggled a bit to make it to the very top. He complained that he didn’t get enough invitations to the best tournaments, and felt that the players at the very top were not better than him. I told him that his problem was that he wasn’t disciplined. He had one good tournament, followed by two bad ones. He could start an event with three wins in the first four rounds, then in his fifth game he would not win a better position, leading to a collapse. A very moody player.”

Carlsen talks about their history and why Nepomniachtchi failed to break through.

As usual, Magnus is less filtered when speaking in his native language. On Nepomniachtchi’s biggest challenge in Dubai, he says:

“In Norway Chess he seemed very strong for the first 3-4 rounds, he had a small setback, and then he collapsed. That’s not something he can allow himself in a World Championship match. I am not going to fall even if I am hit in the face once. Perhaps that will be his biggest challenge, to handle the setbacks that will come, regardless of whether it’s a good position he fails to convert, or a game that he should have held to a draw but ends up losing, or opening preparation that goes wrong — that will be a huge challenge for him.”

The World Champion, who has reigned since 2013 and been the world no. 1 consecutively since 2011, doesn’t think Nepomniachtchi would have won the Candidates if the event hadn’t been split in two.

“Because he lost the last game in the first half of the tournament. He rarely plays well after having lost. Now he managed it eventually and has started to become more pragmatic.”

Carlsen says he considers Nepomniachtchi, the world no. 5, to be “a wild card” and still thinks the no. 3 Fabiano Caruana and no. 2 Ding Liren would pose a bigger challenge for him.

“I would say they are the best. I thought beforehand that anyone else would be a good outcome for me, and I still feel that way.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-good-outcome-to-face-nepo-not-fabi-or-ding

The one word to describe Magnus Carlsen would be “consistent.” The word to describe Ian Nepomniachtchi would be “erratic.”

Maybe is Nepo had devoted more time to Chess and less to other interests the match result would have been different. Maybe…

Who is Ian Nepomniachtchi, the biggest nerd to ever …
[Search domain gamelevate.com] https://gamelevate.com › who-is-ian-nepomniachtchi
Beyond his excellent skills at the chessboard, Ian Nepomniachtchi is also notable for being the biggest nerd ever to challenge for the world championship title. The Russian has played Dota 2 in a semi-professional capacity around the time of its release and was heavily involved in the original Dota scene as well.

The Chess world needs to come to terms with the fact that the way a challenger is chosen has been corrupted by the Russians. Because the nefarious Russians control world Chess they managed to have a player who was not worthy play in the Candidates tournament. The Candidates match “wild card” 22-year-old Russian Kirill Alekseenko said, “The Candidates wild card should be abolished.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alekseenko-the-candidates-wild-card-should-be-abolished)

Think about it for only a moment…If Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Alekseenko to lose do you really think there would be any other result?

The fact is the Candidates tournament should not have been started during a pandemic. Then, after it had to be stopped, it should not have been resumed a year later. There has got to be a better way of choosing a challenger. How about a match between the second and third highest rated players? What about a double round robin between the top eight players; The Elite Eight?

Viewing the 2021 US Chess Championships

There will be a playoff for the title of 2021 US Chess Champion between three players, two of them world class. Fabiano Caruana

https://d1w7fb2mkkr3kw.cloudfront.net/assets/images/book/lrg/9781/8499/9781849947213.jpg

is currently ranked third in the world after losing two games, back to back, in the recently completed 2012 US Chess Championship. Wesley So

https://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/wesley-so-battles-3-way-playoff-for-us-chess-championship-title/

is ranked eighth in the world. Then there is Sam Sevian…There is a saying in Poker that is applicable here: “If you don’t see a sucker at the table, you’re it.” Sam was ranked 91st on the top list compiled by FIDE before the tournament, and he did gain points for his good performance. Being one of the top 100 Chess players in the world is a tremendous achievement for any player, but Caruana drew a match with the World Chess Champion in which he was not defeated in the only games that count, those played with a classical time limit. The quick play playoff to determine the “champion” is a joke and terrible insult to the players who just spent almost two weeks vying for the title because Chess is inherently unfair since there is an odd number of rounds and some players sit behind the White army in more games than other players, which gives them a HUGE advantage. Caruana and Sevian each had the White pieces in six games while Wesley So had the White pieces in only FIVE games. Therefore, Wesley So should be crowned as the 2021 US Chess Champion. Congratulations to the Champ, Wesley So!

The tournament was Sam Sevian’s for the taking. In the penultimate round he was a pawn up and could have played 27 Kc2 in lieu of repeating the position but for whatever reason Sam decided to play poltroon Chess. You can bet your sweet bippy Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer Against the World - Trinity News
Bobby Fischer Against the World – Trinity News
trinitynews.ie

would have played 27 Kc2. Then in the last round this “game”, and I use the word loosely, was “played.”

Daniel Naroditsky

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fytimg.googleusercontent.com%2Fvi%2Fyyc5W4mmbCo%2Fmqdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

vs Samuel Sevian

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Qb3 Na5 11. Qa4+ Nc6 12. Qb3 Na5 13. Qa4+ Nc6 1/2-1/2

It made me wanna PUKE!

If ever there were a time to play for a win it was this game because victory could possibly bring the coveted title of United States Chess Champion and probably entry into the US Chess Hall of Fame. His opponent had just lost a game the previous round and his testosterone level had to be low. Naroditsky had already lost FOUR GAMES! Do you think Bobby Fischer would have played the above game in the LAST ROUND of a US Chess Championship? In the post game interviews Naroditsky was obviously happy with the short draw, saying something about how he “…should have drawn the day before.” When it came time for Sam to explain his decision to acquiesce to the repetition he explained by saying, “Before the tournament my plan was to play solidly with Black…” Translated that says he was “…playing to draw with black and win with white.” The young man should not even be called a “Co-Champion.” No matter what happens for the remainder of his Chess career Sam Sevian will continue to wonder what might have been if only he had

The question will haunt him until he takes his last breath.

The sixth round game between Ashritha Eswaran

https://images.chesscomfiles.com/uploads/v1/master_player/d748ac0e-a754-11eb-ad96-f7f263be5d37.10f3821e.250x250o.143a80709f95@2x.jpeg
Ashritha Eswaran | Top Chess Players – Chess.com

and Megan Lee

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FVtLHoUrrMt0%2Fhqdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Megan Lee Interview | Round …
youtube.com

reached this position after the moves: 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O e5 5. d3 Ne7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 c6 8. Re1 Qd6 9. c3 f5

White to move

Eswaran played 10 d4 and Maurice obviously very much liked the move, calling it “…an outstanding move!” I was following the action at FollowChess (https://live.followchess.com/) because only the moves are displayed and I had my doubts. Still, Maurice has some kind of computer Chess program, so I thought it must be OK…Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know, so I surfed on over to ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/) where a Red move was showing…Chess24 says White goes from being “much better” to “equal.” Maybe the “engine”, as they are so fond of calling the computer program, had a glitch, or was turned off…

I took note of the following because it was so hilarious, coming as it did from a player not known for playing 1 e4 during his illustrious career: Yaz: “Nobody likes to play against the Najdorf because the variations are so lengthy…” Round 8 2:45 into the game. You know that put a smile on the face of Mr. Najdorf, French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave!

Shenzhen, tras 8 rondas: mandan Maxime Vachier-Lagrave y ...

The thing is that I stopped playing the Najdorf over four decades ago after hearing a Grandmaster talk about those players “Who study the Najdorf but not Chess.” Still, I learned much about the Royal game by playing the Najdorf. One never forgets his first love…

During the final game of the event, between Bruzon Batista

and Alex Lenderman

https://chessterra.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/hCN2e74HPfA-800x500.jpg
https://chessterra.com/2021/10/14/2201-u-s-chess-championships-alex-lenderman-interview-round-8/

which lasted for 127 moves, Maurice said, “If only we could be paid by the move.” Cracked me up…I will admit to have been “pulling” for Lenderman, and evidently not the only one. If only he had found 38 Qa1, challenging the Black Queen, in lieu of 38 Rc8 against Caruana in round 10…

phamlore: What could Lenderman do? He needed a win today, and he never had a position where a win for Black was that doable?
ArcticStones: Lenderman has had an impressive tournament, imho.
jphamlore: Lenderman tried at least. It’s just his opponent played a decent game himself.
Terugloper: @Arctic –> Could be, but Imho your commentaries during this tournament are way more impressive
ArcticStones: You jest. Commenters such as jphamlore know far more about chess than I do!
Terugloper: Lol!!!
ArcticStones: I’m serious.
KJBellevue: The evaluation here is totally wrong
Terugloper: Why?
KJBellevue: Tablebase clearly indicates a draw
Terugloper: I see
Terugloper: So 74. … Kh2 was an acceptable move?
KJBellevue: Yes, still drawn
Terugloper: Okay
Terugloper: Long Live Lenderman, folks!
Terugloper: I would play 78. Kc6 to have square d6 available for possible Q-trades
KJBellevue: But Black can still check on the white squares
Terugloper: Yes
Terugloper: Lenderman know his stuff
Terugloper: *knows
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony on white squares
jphamlore: Lenderman the king of instructional endgames this event.
Terugloper: Yeah – Endgame King Lenderman
Terugloper: But still I give all of you the following strict advice –> Don’t try this at home
Terugloper: Lenderman feeling so comfortable now that he attacks on the black squares now
KJBellevue: He knows this ending well
jphamlore: Unfortunately, even if White touched the wrong piece, I’m not sure Lenderman has any way to win this.
Terugloper: Lenderman – The living table base on two legs
I_LUV_U: a table base is three or four legs
Terugloper: Why not five legs?
Terugloper: You met one in the subway?
mrlondon: What the record for most number of checks in a game?
Terugloper: Good question – I will ask Tim Krabbé
Terugloper: https://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/chess/check.html
Terugloper: In the 200-move game Wegner – Johnsen, Gausdal 1991 a total of 141 checks were given, of which 98 by White alone.
Terugloper: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/wegner—johnsen-gausdal-1991
mrlondon: Interesting. Thanks!
mrlondon: It’s not going to happen here.
Terugloper: Yep
Terugloper: Just 10 moves to go now for 50-rule move draw claim
Terugloper: 5 moves
Terugloper: Minus 2 moves
KJBellevue: 🙂
Terugloper: Bellevue! My main man!!!
Rhinegold: eval also indicates draw, noob, lol
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-chess-championship/11-Bruzon_Batista_Lazaro-Lenderman_Aleksandr

The coverage was excellent even though Jennifer Shahade

PokerStars Ambassadors Jennifer Shahade & Keith Becker ...

was missing. She does bring a terrific smile and is the perfect foil to the understated Yasser Seirawan as she has occasionally given him perfect opportunities for a SNL moment that Yaz used so effectively with the previous female to accompany him:

One of my favorite features was the “Parkside Chats” between Yaz and Maurice. Although they are all good, the one that follows is my favorite because I worked at a Chess Club:

The next one is great in a historical sense as the guys discuss what it was like ‘back in the day’ when Bobby Fischer put the Royal game on the front page of every newspaper and every broadcast of the nightly new on television. After watching these videos I realized how much laughter has been missing in the pandemic era. Sometimes one really does need to laugh to keep from crying…

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Chess Presentation | Parkside Chat

I urge you to take a few more minutes to watch this video which is an interview with one of the top players of the game of Scrabble in the world, who lives near the St Louis Chess Campus. You can thank me for bringing it to your attention by leaving a comment:

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Chris Lipe Interview | Round 9

In Chess Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do

The headline in an article by by André Schulz at Chessbase says it all:

Kasimdzhanov after ending collaboration with Caruana: “It has a lot to do with the pandemic”

9/2/2021 – Fabiano Caruana and his second Rustam Kasimdzhanov formed a very successful team. However, their best year together (2018) ended in disappointment after many successes. The last Candidates Tournament did not go as desired either. “The pandemic year did not do our relationship any good”, says Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Now Fabiano Caruana and Rustam Kasimdzhanov are going their separate ways. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/rustam-kasimdzhanov-interview-2021-no-longer-caruana-second)

When asked, “And how are things going between you two now?” the Katzenjammer Kid

Comics Clasicos: KatzenJammer Kids #5

replied, “It’s strange. It’s like a divorce.”

Dedicated to George Ziberna and Gail Childs, may she R.I.P.

The Najdorf System

When first starting out on the Caissa highway this writer played the Najdorf exclusively against the move 1 e4. Like many others I played the most aggressive opening because it was played by Bobby Fischer.

https://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-but-you-see-when-i-play-a-game-of-bobby-there-is-no-style-bobby-played-perfectly-and-miguel-najdorf-87-24-27.jpg

Prior to the advent of the computer programs that are now at least two, maybe three levels above humans in playing ability, the Najdorf was analyzed to what we thought was ‘death’. It is possible that more theory has been written on the opening foisted upon the Chess world by Miquel Najdorf

https://en.chessbase.com/portals/4/files/news/2015/common/nic/najdorf.jpg

than any other opening. Nowadays players throw any and everything at the Najdorf, even some moves at which we would have scoffed ‘back in the day’. The Najdorf is not really a defense but a ‘system’. Although it was a lifetime ago it seems like only yesterday the book with the green cover, The Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defence, by Svetozar Gligoric,

https://rafaelleitao.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/883e1bd0-67ad-4f78-85d4-bb79a5c60b6f.jpeg
Grandes Enxadristas: A História de Svetozar Gligoric …
rafaelleitao.com

Yefim Geller,

Lubomir Kavalek,

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/01/20/obituaries/Kavalek-01/merlin_182621637_64889ca1-3763-4ef7-b827-8cd9af4599d9-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp

and Boris Spassky,

https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/madison.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/0e/20e12d24-a7ec-11e4-938d-33e1835238f9/54ca88655dc93.image.jpg?resize=500%2C593
cookingsblogtips.blogspot.com

was published by R.H.M.

https://cv02.twirpx.net/2561/2561165.jpg?t=20190921113626
https://www.twirpx.com/file/2561165/

That would have been in 1976, the year I won the Atlanta Chess Championship with an unbeaten 5-0 score. I devoured the book. At the time I was playing correspondence Chess and one of my opponents was a young Atlanta player who later became a National Master, Tom Friedel. After reading the book there was one line I particularly did not like. In the USCF postal tournament I was paired with Tom, and he stepped right into my wheelhouse, allowing me to play my beloved Najdorf. Unfortunately for me, Tom played the aforementioned line. There was a problem with another game in that section in that the player was using one of the new computer playing machines to produce his moves. I know this because former Georgia Chess Champion Mike Decker had the same machine and I asked him about my postal game. Sure ’nuff, the machine produced each and every one of the moves sent by my opponent, so I withdrew from the event and never played another postal game. Some time later a friend said he had been talking with Tom about our postal game and that Tom was perplexed, saying something about my being able to draw even though a pawn down. After learning why I had withdrawn Tom was no longer perplexed. Tom was a very strong player, no doubt stronger than me, and I seem to recall Tom winning the USCF postal tournament. Maybe one of you readers can recall, or do the research required to learn if my memory is correct. The fact is that after all these decades in which I have not played the Najdorf, I have played over more Najforf games than any games of any other opening. It really is true that you never forget your first love. It is also the reason I have been a BIG fan of the Frenchman known as simply “MVL.”

What makes the following game remarkable is that Fabi played the weak 15 a3 two rounds AFTER LDP played the much superior 15 Nd5 against MVL in the fourth round leading to a resounding victory for Leinier Dominguez Perez in only 33 moves! It is refreshing seeing a player with even a modicum of gray hair winning these days.

(GM) Fabiano Caruana (USA)

Carlsen-Caruana 3: Fabi squanders opening edge | chess24.com

vs (GM) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)

Côte d'Ivoire Rapid & Blitz: A three-point lead for Magnus ...

Grand Chess Tour Sinquefield Cup 2021 round 06

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Rc8 15. a3 g6 16. h4 Ng3 17. Rg1 Nxf1 18. Rgxf1 Na4 19. Nxa4 bxa4 20. h5 Qc7 21. Rh1 Rfe8 22. Qh2 Bf8 23. c4 Re7 24. Bd2 Bxc4 25. Bb4 Rd7 26. f4 Bb5 27. hxg6 fxg6 28. f5 Rg7 29. f6 Rf7 30. Qd2 Qd7 31. Qd5 Be2 32. Rc1 Rxc1+ 33. Rxc1 h5 34. Nc4 Bxc4 35. Rxc4 h4 36. Rc2 h3 37. Ka2 Kh8 38. Rd2 Rh7 39. Bxd6 Qxd6 40. Qxd6 Bxd6 41. Rxd6 Kg8 42. Rd8+ Kf7 43. Rd7+ Kg8 44. Rd8+ Kf7 45. Rd7+ Kg8 46. Rd8+ ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-grand-chess-tour-sinquefield-cup/06-Caruana_Fabiano-Vachier_Lagrave_Maxime

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 (SF 14 @depth 53 and Komodo 13.02 @depth 45 plays the game move, but SF 050821 @depth 58 would play the move GM Ben Finegold says one should never play, 6 f3!) 6…e5 (SF 13 @depth 59 would play the move played in the game, but SF 050821 @depth 51 prefers 6…Ng4. Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 shows 6…e6. The CBDB shows white scoring 54% against each move, so flip a coin…err, roll ‘dem bones…) 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays the game move, as does SF 050821 @depth 46; Komodo 14 @depth 46 would play 8 Be2, which has only scored 50% in 296 games. 8 f3 has scored 53% in 6013 games) 8….Be7 (SF 13 @depth 45 plays the game move, as does SF 050821 @depth 51; but SF 14 @depth 49 shows 8…h5, the move that has scored the best, holding white to only 47% in 1251 games. In 4002 games against 8…Be7 white has scored 54%) 9. Qd2 O-O (By far the most often played move (3272), but is it the best? but SF 14 @depth 55 plays the second most often played move of 9…Nbd7, but SF 060421 @depth 71 plays 9…h5, the move that in 521 games has scored the best for the Najdorf, holding white to even, Steven) 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Rc8 (SF 14 @depth 49 plays the game move, as does SF 050821 @depth 51, but here’s the deal…the CBDB shows the same program at the same depth also playing 14…Qc7. I don’t know about you but as for me I’m sticking with Stockfish!) 15. a3 (The most often played move in 26 games has been 15 Rg1, but it has scored an abysmal 38%. The move played in the game has scored 50% in only 7 games. The move that three different Stockfish programs rates best, 15 Nd5, has scored an outstanding 63%, albeit in only 4 games. I don’t know about you but the next time I arrive at this position that steed is leaping to d5!) 15…g6 16. h4 (SF 12 @depth 41 plays this move, but SF 050821 @depth 39 and SF 251220 @depth 67 plays 16 Rg1, which has been played in 7 games) 16…Ng3 (SF 310720 @depth 51 plays 16…Qc7)

(GM) Leinier Dominguez Perez (USA)

Ajedrecista cubano Leinier Domínguez se cuela en puesto 14 ...

vs (GM) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)

Grand Chess Tour Sinquefield Cup 2021 round 04

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Rc8 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 Qxa5 18. c4 Nf4 19. Bxf4 exf4 20. h4 Qa4 21. Bd3 bxc4 22. Qe4 g6 23. Bc2 Qd7 24. h5 Qe6 25. hxg6 hxg6 26. Qxf4 Qe5 27. Qh4 Qg7 28. Rd2 Rc5 29. f4 f6 30. Rdh2 fxg5 31. Qe1 Bf6 32. Rh6 Qb7 33. Qe6+ 1-0
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-grand-chess-tour-sinquefield-cup/04-Dominguez_Perez_Leinier-Vachier_Lagrave_Maxime

Levon Aronian (2772)

Levon Aronian switches to the USA | chess24.com

vs Magnus Carlsen (2870)

Magnus Carlsen Net Worth - Biography, Life, Career and ...


Event: Tata Steel India Rapid
Site: Kolkata IND Date: 11/22/2019
Round: 3.3
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Nbd7 9.g4 Be7 10.Qd2 O-O 11.O-O-O b5 12.g5 Nh5 13.Kb1 Nb6 14.Na5 Rc8 15.a3 g6 16.h4 Ng3 17.Rg1 Nxf1 18.Rgxf1 Na4 19.Nxa4 bxa4 20.h5 Qd7 21.Rh1 Rfe8 22.Qh2 Bf8 23.Bd2 Rc7 24.Bb4 Rb8 25.Rd3 Qb5 26.Rc3 Rbc8 27.Rxc7 Rxc7 28.Rd1 Rd7 29.Rd3 Be7 30.hxg6 fxg6 31.Qd2 Qb6 32.Qc1 Bd8 33.c4 Qf2 34.Nc6 Bxg5 35.Qxg5 Qf1+ 36.Kc2 Bxc4 37.Qe3 Bxd3+ 38.Qxd3 Qxd3+ 39.Kxd3 h5 40.Ke3 Kf7 41.Bc3 Ke6 42.Nb4 g5 43.Kf2 Rf7 44.Kg2 g4 45.fxg4 Rg7 46.Nd5 Rxg4+ 47.Kf3 Rg1 48.Kf2 Rg7 49.Kf3 h4 50.Be1 h3 51.Bg3 Rb7 52.Nb4 a5 53.Nd3 Rb3 54.Ke2 Kf6 55.Bh2 Kg5 56.Bg3 Kg4 57.Bh2 Rxd3 58.Kxd3 Kf3 59.Kd2 Kxe4 60.Ke2 d5 61.Bg3 d4 62.Bh2 Kd5 63.Kd2 e4 64.Ke2 Kc4 65.Be5 Kb3 66.Kd2 d3 67.Kd1 e3 68.Kc1 Kc4 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4230897&m=34

Caruana Fires Qe2 at the Berlin Wall!

I give Fabiano Caruana

https://www.insidethegames.biz/media/image/101955/o/Fabiano%20Caruana.jpg

full credit for trying something considered different against the dreaded Berlin defense,

https://www.elkandruby.com/gallery_gen/0620cff1024d68fc93e0d44f28f0cec1_960x1520.jpg

especially when the move was previously played by none other than Bobby Fischer!

In an article at Chess24, Superbet Chess Classic 5: Shakh attack!, by Colin McGourty, one finds: “The other games in Round 5 of the Superbet Chess Classic were all drawn, with Fabiano Caruana’s 8.Qe2!? against the Berlin Defence the only one that’s likely to be remembered.”

“Anish Giri

https://www.buddhichal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/11029509_10153614542891675_8630450749912991276_o-768x511.jpg

had in the previous round explained that his Chessable course on the Sicilian Dragon had come about through some desperate brainstorming over how to win on demand with the black pieces in the Candidates Tournament.”

Whoa! Let us stop right there in the middle of a well written paragraph by Mr. McGourty for some editorial comment. Anish Giri playing the Dragon?! ‘Back in the day’ it was said that books about the Dragon variation were, “written in disappearing ink” because the theory was rapidly changing. Isn’t “Giri” and “win on demand” with either color, but especially black, oxymoronic? Over at the ChessBomb this was found at the “chat” during the second round games:

bobp55: Done – 3 draws today so far. So that’s 8 for 8 in the tourney.
lentil: Amish Girl will always find the draw.
GiriWillFindTheDraw: of course he will (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-grand-chess-tour-romania/02-Giri_Anish-Radjabov_Teimour)

Like it or not Mr. Giri has the reputation of being his generations Master of the Draw. The only thing Anish can do to eradicate the reputation is win the World Championship, as did a previous Grandmaster with a reputation as a drawing master, Tigran Petrosian.

https://www.elkandruby.com/gallery_gen/dfae8ee5a0ff679a9f1c36815af55406_932x1412.jpg

Unfortunately, putting up the Berlin wall will do nothing to eradicate his reputation and the drawmeister.

We return to the paragraph by Colin: “Perhaps some similar logic had gone into a way to surprise someone in that most solid of all variations, the Berlin Defence. Just when queens were about to leave the board for the infamous ending, Fabi veered off course with 8.Qe2!?, a move almost 30 times less popular.”

The game can be found at Chess24, and a plethora of other websites on the web, so I will present other games to complement the Chess24 article. First we will begin with a picture of Bobby Fischer playing Neikirkh, at Portorož 1958, posted by Douglas Griffin @dgriffinchess at Twitter:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E3cJEo1WQAcgYb7?format=jpg&name=small

Fischer, Robert James vs Neikirkh, Oleg
Event: Portoroz Interzonal
Site: Portoroz Date: ??/??/1958
Round: 1
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qe2 Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Qe3 Qxe3 12.Bxe3 Bb4 13.Ne4 Bf5 14.c3 Bxe4 15.cxb4 a5 16.bxa5 Rxa5 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2541935

Qe2 can and has been played on the fifth move:

Nepomniachtchi, Ian (2792) vs Radjabov, Teimour (2765)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup KO 2021
Site: chess24.com INT Date: 05/30/2021
Round: 3.12
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qa5 Qd8 9.Qe5+ Qe7 10.Qa5 Qd8 11.Qe5+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4287585

Although played with much less time for the game at the Crypto (Didn’t that stuff kill Superman?) Cup, it would have fit right in at the Superbet what with the “New Rule” in place at this tournament:

To promote competitive play during all GCT events, it will not be permitted for players to offer or agree to a draw in any game of a 2021 GCT event, including playoff games. In the event of a claim for a draw under Article 9.2 of the Laws (three-fold repetition) or under Article 9.3 of the Laws (50 move rule), one of the Event Arbiters must be asked by the players to verify the claim.

As Mr. Mr. McGourty wrote earlier:

“That doesn’t stop draws by 3-fold repetition of the position, however, which is how all the games were drawn in Round 2.”

Giri is not the only Grandmaster who will find a way…

Here is another game, a real rarity, played with Oe2 on the fifth move:

Naiditsch, Arkadij (2727) vs Akopian, Vladimir (2681)
Event: World Teams 2013
Site: Antalya TUR Date: 12/02/2013
Round: 6.3
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qa5 Qd8 9.Qc3 Be6 10.Re1 Qd7 11.Ng5 O-O-O 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.d3 Be7 14.Nd2 Bf6 15.Qb3 Nf5 16.Ne4 Be7 17.Bd2 Qd5 18.Bc3 Rhe8 19.Re2 b5 20.Ng3 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Bf6 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Qc3 e5 24.a4 a6 25.axb5 axb5 26.Ra7 Kd7 27.Qa5 Rc8 28.Re4 Re7 29.Qd2 Rg8 30.c4 Qd6 31.Rh4 e4 32.cxb5 cxb5 33.Qa5 Rg5 34.dxe4 Rc5 35.Kh2 Qd3 36.Qe1 Rc2 37.Ra1 Qe2 38.Qb4 Qxf2 39.Qxb5+ c6 40.Qb7+ Ke6 41.Qc8+ Kd6 42.e5+ Kxe5 43.Rh5+ f5 44.Ra5+ Ke4 45.Rh4+ Ke3 46.Ra3+ Ke2 47.Qa6+ Ke1 48.Ra1+ Kd2 49.Qa5+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3875034

Here is a game located at the ChessBaseDataBase, which is an even more rare event in the Berlin world, a win with black!

N. Illijan (2290) vs D. Sifrer (2240)

SLO chT 1993

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qe2 Nd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. h3 Be6 11. Rd1 Qc4 12. Rd3 Be7 13. b3 Qh4 14. Bg2 Bg5 15. Rd4 g4 16. Ba3 Rd8 17. Rxd8+ Bxd8 18. hxg4 h5 19. g5 Rg8 20. Bc1 Bxg5 21. Nd2 Bf4 22. Qf3 Bd5 23. Ne4 Bxe4 24. Qxf4 Rxg2+ 25. Kf1 Rg1+ 0-1
    https://database2.chessbase.com/

Now a couple of games found only after a trip in the Wayback time machine:

Mr Peabody's Wayback Machine | NastyZ28.com

Mackenzie, George Henry vs Riemann, Fritz
Event: DSB-04.Kongress
Site: Hamburg Date: ??/??/1885
Round: 4
ECO: C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.O-O Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qe2 Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.c3 Qh4 11.Be3 Be6 12.Nd2 Be7 13.f4 Bf5 14.Nf3 Qh5 15.Qf2 O-O 16.h3 Qg6 17.Kh2 h5 18.Rad1 Rfd8 19.Bd4 Rd7 20.Rde1 Rd5 21.c4 Rdd8 22.b3 b6 23.e6 fxe6 24.Ne5 Qe8 25.g4 hxg4 26.hxg4 Bxg4 27.Rh1 Bf6 28.Nxg4 Bxd4 29.Qc2 Qh5+ 30.Kg3 Qf5 31.Qe2 Rd6 32.Rh5 Qxh5 33.Nf6+ Bxf6 34.Qxh5 Rad8 35.c5 Rd2 36.Re2 R2d3+ 37.Kg2 R3d5 38.Qg4 Rxc5 39.Qxe6+ Kf8 40.Kf3 Rh5 41.Qxc6 Rh3+ 42.Kg4 Rh4+ 43.Kf5 Rh5+ 44.Kg4 Rh4+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2693274

Mackenzie, George Henry vs Berger, Johann Nepomuk
Event: DSB-04.Kongress
Site: Hamburg Date: ??/??/1885
Round: 6 Score: ½-½
ECO: C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.O-O Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Kh1 Be7 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Rd1 Qc4 13.Qe1 Rd8 14.Be3 O-O 15.b3 Qa6 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Ne2 Bf5 18.c4 Qa3 19.Nd4 Bg6 20.f4 Bc5 21.Qf2 Bxd4 22.Bxd4 Bf5 23.h3 b6 24.Re1 Qa5 25.Rc1 Qa3 26.Be3 Qe7 27.g4 Be4+ 28.Kh2 c5 29.Re1 Bb7 30.Bc1 Rd3 31.Be3 h6 32.Qg3 Qd7 33.f5 Qc6 34.Qf2 Qf3 35.Qxf3 Bxf3 36.Bf4 Rd7 37.Kg3 Bb7 38.h4 Rd3+ 39.Be3 Kf8 40.Kf4 g6 41.e6 Ke7 42.exf7 Kxf7 43.g5 h5 44.Ke5 gxf5 45.Kxf5 Rd6 46.Kf4 Bc8 47.Rf1 Kg6 48.Kg3 Bf5 49.Bf4 Rd3+ 50.Kf2 Rd4 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2693289

https://worldchesshof.org/hof-inductee/george-henry-mackenzie