‘Back in the day’ there were Candidates matches played leading up to the World Chess Championship. Young people regularly hear some old coot say, “Things were better back in the day.” I was once young, and have now grown old. The fact is that some things may have been better ‘back in the day’ and some were most definitely not “better.” As in most things in life, it depends on one’s perspective. That said, playing matches in lieu of playing a tournament to choose an adversary for the current World Champion was much better than the tournaments played today. The ongoing Candidates tournament is a prime example.
The following was taken from Chessdom: In the post-game interview with WGM Dina Belenkaya, Richard couldn’t explain what was the factor to make him refuse the draw and play on: “I don’t know. I should probably throw away my computer. Because I am pretty sure the line is 14…Bd6 instead of 14…Bh3, and then 15.Qxh7 Bh3 is a draw, so I figured I should be better here…“
What does Richard Rapport mean by, “…no one knows for what reason exactly.”? What about, “And also many other small things which were not going maybe before the game already.” The question must be asked, “Did Richard Rapport receive any inducement to lose the game intentionally, or were any threats made to him or any member of his family causing him to intentionally lose the game?
“Determining the ethics of intentionally losing a game to gain something greater in the future—known as “tanking” or “throwing the game”—seems like a no-brainer in that the practice is just wrong. Though…deciphering the logic of this conclusion actually does require the use of a brain as it’s not immediately obvious. Yet…a handful of commentators defend it, viewing it as just another example of good strategy, listing other commonly accepted strategies in defense of the practice.” (htps://law.scu.edu/sports-law/intentionally-losing-part-i-of-iii-ethical-considerations/)
Let us be honest here, the fact is that everyone involved with Chess knows the nefarious Russians will go to any lengths to recover what they consider “their” World Chess Championship title. FIDE is controlled by a Russian, Arkady Dvorkovich,
who does what he is told by the Mad Vlad Putin.
They know that if World Champion Magnus Carlsen
refuses to again face Ian Nepomniachtchi the title will, once again, be held by a Russian.
In the article, Cracking the Candidate Code (3) by ChessBase, it is written:
“It is highly motivated and prepared players who win these events. Rapport may be motivated, but it is unlikely that he will be well-prepared. With events lined up he won’t have the time to prepare properly – he agreed to play in Norway, a tournament that finishes a mere six days before the start of the Candidates. Playing Carlsen and co. before an exhausting 14-round Candidates is not quite the best practice. Playing in Romania at the Superbet Classic wasn’t a success either, as his final score of minus two (both losses with White due to big blunders) placed him at shared-last.
Rapport’s second issue is that he is a self-confessed loner. He likes to work alone and finds it difficult to work with others. What he has achieved alone is incredible, but in order to climb the highest mountain players need teams – like it or not, the days of Fischeresque feats of ‘one against the world’ are gone and unlikely to return. Every single player who has qualified for a World Championship match has had a team that has supported him all the way. It would really be great to see Rapport find a support system to help him reach his full potential, but it seems that this won’t happen for Madrid, which is a pity, as I would have really fancied to see the best he can offer.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/cracking-the-candidate-code-3)
After reading the above would you have wagered anything that this player would win the Candidates tournament? It is more than a little obvious Richard Rapport was not ready for prime time and should not have been included in the event. For the rest of his life the question of his “going into the tank” will haunt Richard Rapport.
In a remarkable interview with GM Irina Krush and WGM Jennifer Shahade after the fourth round of the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament GM Hikaru Nakamura put the shells into the chamber of the shotgun and blasted away at FIDE, giving them both barrels.
Then he reloaded and did it again…and again…and again…
After publishing the two posts concerning IM Stuart Rachels I wanted to notify someone next door in the Great State of Alabama so I went to the Alabama Chess Federation website (https://alabamachess.org/) where a picture of NM Bill Melvin,
the Secretary of the ACF, was found. Although I never knew Bill other than the time we sat across from each other over the board the decision was made to reach out with an email:
“In the event you do not remember me I was fortunate enough to defeat you at the Lincoln Memorial U Open decades ago. I can tell you now that immediately prior to the game, after learning we were paired, Tim Brookshear said, “Bacon, you’re paired with the Oleg Romanishin of Southern Chess!” You lived up to the rep when sacking a pawn in the opening. I believe the opening was 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 c6 3 dxc6, etc. In lieu of playing in my customary “fire on the board” style I played my pawns close to my chest, or maybe it would be better to have written “Vest”, while hanging onto the pawn like it was a Titanic life raft!”
Part of the reply:
I understand procrastinating over reading chess books. I have a shelf full of unread ones. It took me only a year to get around to reading Stuart’s book.
I’m more interested in your stories about Boris than about Stuart’s short career. Boris played a lot in area tournaments and was always a bit of a mystery. Most of the anecdotes I heard came from the late Brian McCarthy (I played him a couple years ago at Castle Chess shortly before his passing).
My first thought was, “A year?!” From the moment the book arrived it was opened and not put down until finished. The first post of the quasi review of Stuart’s book was ready to go but Bill’s words had resonated and it became apparent a preface of sorts was needed because IM Boris Kogan
was The Trainer. On page ten of the book it is written:
“Two players were vital for my development: Kyle Therrell (then called Dana), my best friend and local rival; and my trainer from the age of 12, IM Boris Kogan. From Kyle I learned all of my openings, one pairing at a time. Here was our drill: When the pairings were posted before a round, we’d hurry over to a quiet spot. ‘What does so-and-so play?’ I’d ask. My next question was, ‘What do I do against that?’ And finally I’d ask: ‘How is that supposed to be for White//Black?’ Without Kyle, I would have been lost – especially because Boris Kogan had no interest in opening theory. From Boris, I learned the finer points of position evaluation. Kogan played like Petrosian. ‘You must play seemple (itl) chess,’ he always told me. ‘Kviet(itl) moves.’ Thanks to Boris, I eventually became a weak strong player. Without him, I would only have become a dangerous patzer.”
The last two words stopped me in my tracks, causing me to recall a time when walking to the pairing board for the about to begin round and hearing someone say, “What do you mean? The guy is rated over two hundred points below you.” Then Dana Therrell replied, “Yeah, but the guy is dangerous because one round he can beat a master and then lose to a class C player the next round.” After seeing me they both left in a hurry. It was then I learned Dana would be my opponent. The game ended in a long, hard fought draw.
Who was Boris Kogan?
“International Master Boris Kogan, who died of colon cancer on Christmas Day in 1993, is best remembered for playing in three U.S. Championships and winning the Georgia state championship seven years in a row (1980-1986). He was also the coach of Stuart Rachels, helping him advance from being a young national master to sharing the U.S. Chess Championship. What isn’t so well known is that Kogan was a very promising player (Soviet Junior Champion in 1956 and 1957), before making the transition from player to coach at a very early age.” Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club #696 January 23, 2015 https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/696
The best way to illustrate how strong a player was IM Boris Kogan is this result:
Full name Kevin Spraggett Country Canada Born 10 November 1954 Montreal, Canada Title GM
Kevin Spraggett (born 10 November 1954) is a Canadian chess grandmaster. He is the fourth Canadian to earn the grandmaster title, after Abe Yanofsky, Duncan Suttles and Peter Biyiasas. Spraggett is the only Canadian to have qualified for the Candidates’ level, having done so in 1985 and 1988. He has won a total of eight Canadian Open Chess Championships, seven Closed Canadian Chess Championships, and has represented Canada eight times in Olympiad play. Spraggett has also written for Canadian chess publications. https://gambiter.com/chess/players/Kevin_spraggett.html
These days Kevin is probably better known for his excellent blog, http://www.spraggettonchess.com/, though it has been quite some time since Kevin has posted. GM Spraggett wrote that he, and other GMs, considered Boris a fellow Grandmaster without the title. Please note that the above game, and the one below, were played when Kevin was at the top of his game. The next year he qualified as a contender for the right to play the World Champion by qualifying for the Candidates matches.
Boris died without being awarded the title of Grandmaster, which is a shame because many Grandmasters told me he was a Grandmaster, including but not limited to, Walter Browne, Larry Christiansen, and John Fedorowicz. If your peers consider you to be a Grandmaster who cares what some antiquated organization says or does?
I thought of Boris when reading an excellent article in the 2020 #1 issue of New In Chess entitled, Kamran Shirazi ‘I Never Stopped Loving This Game’: A legendary player still chasing the Grandmaster title, by Dylan Loeb McClain. In the article Shirazi said, ‘I put my whole spirit into this and not to be a grandmaster is a little bit too much.’
In order to earn the Grandmaster title a player must jump through many hoops. FIDE, the world governing body of Chess, has instituted many picayune rules and In order to earn the Grandmaster title a player must jump through many hoops.
Cruel twist of fate
Frustrated with the relatively few tournaments that offered grandmaster norms, Shirazi moved to France, in 1994. Though he was already in his 40s, he experienced a rebirth and his results in tournaments with grandmaster norms improved.
In a 1998 tournament in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a seaside town in Northern France, he gained his first norm. Four years later, in Cannes, he earned his second. And then, another four years later, in 2006, in Metz, he earned his third and final norm needed for the title. That should have been enough, but for a cruel twist of fate. During the Cannes tournament, in the penultimate round, he reached his peak rating: 2499, only a point shy of what he needed for the title. According to the rules, achieving a rating of 2500 once in a lifetime is sufficient, even if the required norms are gained later. If Shirazi had won or drawn his final game, his rating would have been over 2500. But he did not know how close he was – it was still a time before rating updates were done after each round. So, in the final round, Shirazi overpressed in a good position and lost. He ended the tournament with a rating of 2486. ‘I missed by one point’, he said, with a hint of incredulity.
I mention this because of something seen in the last round of a Chess tournament in New Orleans, the Plaza in Lake Forest tournament, if memory serves. The two top rated players were Kamran Shirazi and Boris Kogan, and it came down to a battle with only seconds on the clock. The two combatants were moving with such speed it was difficult to follow the moves. Boris had a time advantage and the players were moving at blitz speed when, all of a sudden, Shirazi STOPPED THE CLOCK! Boris took that as a resignation, but Shirazi said he stopped the clock because it was obvious they were only moving the same pieces around and the tournament director should have stepped in and declared the game a draw by repetition. Boris scoffed, but honesty compels me to agree that Shirazi had a point. The problem was that the TD was unqualified and had absolutely no clue what to do. There had been a group of at least a couple of dozen players watching who had been electrified by what they had just witnessed. Although Boris could speak English, it was somewhat mangled, and I became his spokesman. Shirazi also had his spokesman and there was a shouting match between the two of us. Keep in mind this was a time when the Iranians had defied convention and taken United States citizens working at the embassy hostage. My counterpart invited me to “step outside.” The answer was fired immediately. “Let’s go, dude. I’ve got at least a couple of dozen red-blooded Americans right here, right now, ready to step outside with a couple of IRANIANS!!!” Kamran and his buddy beat a hasty retreat to the hotel… The tournament director later paid out the prize money as if the game had been drawn, and the USCF backed him up. Boris never got over it, lamenting, “He stopped the clock…”
If one did not know how FIDE has operated over the decades it would be difficult to understand why neither player became a Grandmaster. Certainly both players were of Grandmaster caliber and both should have been awarded the title because the title has been awarded to much lesser players. Because of things like this the title has lost its luster.
Of all the living former World Champions, Vishy, as he is known in the Chess world, had the best reputation of the small, select group. That reputation has been incontrovertibly tarnished. Russia has become a pariah country. Russia has committed, and continues committing, unimaginable atrocities in Ukraine, and will continue so doing until Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is deposed. The aftereffects of the needless war will linger for decades, if not centuries, especially when the truth of what kind of monster is the Russian state is revealed. Why would Vishy Anand smear his own reputation by aligning himself with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich? What’s in it for Vishy?
“Wars are the worst things one might face in life. Any war. Anywhere. Wars do not just kill priceless lives. Wars kill hopes and aspirations, freeze or destroy relationships and connections. Including this war,” he said.
Dvorkovich added that FIDE was “making sure there are no official chess activities in Russia or Belarus, and that players are not allowed to represent Russia or Belarus in official or rated events until the war is over and Ukrainian players are back in chess.”
FIDE banned a top Russian player for six months for his vocal support of Putin and the invasion.
In an article at Chess24, Vishy Anand joins Dvorkovich’s bid for second term as FIDE president, one reads: “Indian great Vishy Anand has made a dramatic entrance into chess politics by joining Arkady Dvorkovich’s campaign to be re-elected as FIDE President, it was announced today. The five-time World Champion was pictured alongside Dvorkovich at an event in Delhi today to sign the contract for the 2022 Chess Olympiad, which will start in Chennai this July. Dvorkovich later said India’s most decorated chess player will be a “huge part of our team”. It follows FIDE’s decision to strip Russia of its flagship international team event on February 25, one day after Russia invaded Ukraine. The Olympiad was subsequently awarded to India at a meeting of the FIDE Council on March 15, following a swift bidding process. (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/vishy-anand-joins-dvorkovich-s-bid-for-second-term-as-fide-president)
No doubt former World Chess Champion Anand will “…be a “huge part of our team”. The Russians will use Vishy Anand as a “showpiece.” Vishy will become the “face” of FIDE. Everyone admires and respects Anand, so what’s not to like, especially if you are a Russian.
In an article by Peter Doggers, at Chess.com, Dvorkovich To Run For 2nd Term, Supported By Anand,
one finds: GM Viswanathan Anand is supporting FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich in his bid for a second term as FIDE President. Both were present at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday, where Dvorkovich announced that he will be running for re-election.
The decision to run for a second term is somewhat controversial in light of Dvorkovich’s recent statements on the war in Ukraine and his background as a Russian politician. Initially, the FIDE President seemed to be holding an anti-war point of view, saying to the American website Mother Jones on March 14: “Wars are the worst things one might face in life… including this war. My thoughts are with Ukrainian civilians.”
A day later, however, a different and rather nationalistic statement was published, and Dvorkovich said he was “sincerely proud of the courage of our soldiers” and that there is “no place for either Nazism or the dominance of some countries over others.” He made the latter statement as the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, a position Dvorkovich no longer holds.
The Ukrainian Chess Federation and some Ukrainian top players have called for a full ban on Russia and expressed a desire for a new FIDE leadership, but they seem to have received little support for their—however understandable—point of view.
“Yes, I am committed to run for re-election and Anand will be a huge part of our team,” said Dvorkovich today.
Anand said he would be actively supporting the FIDE President, but at the moment it’s not exactly clear how. “We have had a good discussion, but we haven’t decided yet in what role or capacity I will be involved,” said Anand.
Reading the above almost caused me to hurl…especially the part about there being “no place for either Nazism or the dominance of some countries over others.” It is more than a little obvious Dvorkovich will say and/or do anything to stay in power at FIDE. The Dork, as he is known in the world of Chess, talks out of both sides of his mouth. It is difficult for Dvorkovich to express what Anand will do because how does one say, “We want to use the good reputation of Vishy Anand because the recent damage done to the Russian reputation is irreversible.”
In another article, Statement by Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich,
which had to be translated by Google translate, one reads:
“Today, Russia continues to live under harsh but senseless sanctions. But we will rise to this challenge. We are ready to respond with technological breakthroughs and our own development. It has always been so.
While working in the government, I did everything to ensure that sanctions were not an obstacle, but an opportunity to create our own economy. And the results of this work in many sectors have made it possible to create the springboard for ensuring national security that we have today – in agriculture and construction, in energy and petrochemistry, in infrastructure development.
I cannot respect foreign companies that have left the Russian market. Some of them lost him for a very long time, perhaps forever. Our main task is to get rid of technological dependence. This can only be achieved through teamwork, in which everyone who is capable of being a leader will be involved – each in his own place.
The Russians in Chess are like termites in the woodwork of the House of Chess. They, and all of their fellow travelers, like Vishy Anand, must be eradicated from the Chess House, known as FIDE. The Russian infestation of Chess must end and it must end NOW! All Russians, and those who support them, must be cast out of the House of Chess for the good of the game. To allow the nefarious, genocidal Russians to remain involved with Chess will end the recent Chess boom and send it to where one now finds Checkers, if Chess is fortunate. It will be ironic if a former World Chess Champion began the down hill slide into oblivion for Chess. What the hell could Vishy Anand have been thinking? Maybe Vishy will attempt an explanation in the near future. Vishy, my man, if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.
took first place in the just completed Spring 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational extravaganza held at the Charlotte Chess Center by winning both the penultimate, and last rounds today while scoring six points, one half point ahead of GM Kamil Dragun and IM Raja Panjwani, who was the opponent of the young IM Guo, winner of the 2021 National Open, which was his first GM norm. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/22/im-arthur-guo-wins-national-open/) Even though Arthur won the tournament he will not earn a norm because he had to garner 6 1/2 points for a norm. This makes no sense. The player wins by finishing alone in first place and he earns no norm? Go figure…that’s FIDE.
The move 21…Nxe5? was enough to lose the game but just to make sure the young boy next fired off a “Howler” when playing 22…Nf4?? A move like that when played by an older player would cause one to wonder if there had been some kind of brain infarction. Do children have brain infarction?
In the last round Arthur had the White pieces against IM Raja Panjwani, who was leading the field heading into the ultimate round.
The players traded inaccuracies around move twenty but when Raja played the weak move 31…h6? his tenuous position was teetering on the abyss. With his next move IM Panjwani let go of the rope completely…
Like most of you the AW spent his morning transfixed by what was being seen on the internet. The question is why has the United States Chess Federation NOT left the Russian controlled FIDE?
As things stand there are what I have come to think of as the “Big Three” Chess websites; Chessbase, Chess24, and Chess.com. Two of the three have articles concerning the naked aggression demonstrated by Russia when invading Ukraine. Chessbase, based in Germany, has published absolutely nothing on the crisis, which could quickly develop into World War III. This writer cannot help but wonder why?
“A literary person by profession, lively and impressionable, Lazarevic is one of the brightest figures in women’s chess of the sixties”. Milunka attracted attention by her exciting, uncompromising style: sacrificing pawns and pieces and despising draws, which made her famous and endeared her to chess audiences!”
After spending an afternoon reading the articles and replaying every game I thought nothing about the articles until reading that FIDE, in its wisdom, decided to declare 2022 “the year of the woman in chess.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-year-of-the-woman-in-chess-2022) The best writing on the subject can be found at the website of GM Kevin Spraggett in a piece titled, FIDE: Gender Equality, Equity and Breast Implants (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/thursday-coffee-16/). Kevin parses the phrases, ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ by breaking down the difference between the two words, “equality” and “equity.” Having worked for an attorney known as the “Wordsmith” this writer is well aware of what a difference there can be depending on which word is chosen.
is FIDE’s Women’s Commission Chair. I have no idea of what she is famous for or even how famous is she. I do know that there is internecine warfare being waged between ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ in the world of FIDE and who wins the battle will have a HUGE impact upon the world of Chess in the future.
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d5 (This is not the best move and you know the woman who was the woman World Chess champion from 1962-1978 knew this, so there must be a reason Nona played a second, or third rate move. One can only speculate as to the reason…The last time these two women had met for combat across the board was at the Medellin Olympic (Women) (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2433694) way back in 1974, the year I came from nowhere to win the Atlanta Chess Championship. Nona won the first two games contested but Milunka fought back, winning the next two games. After a couple of draws in 1964 they did not meet again until 1966, at which time Nona asserted herself, winning the next three games over the next eight years, and they did not meet again until this game. In limited action, forty games, the move 6 d5 has not fared well) 6…Ne4 (This move is not in the Chessbase Database, but there are two games with the move found at 365Chess. The second follows:
The Commission for Women’s Chess is truly grateful to the FIDE President Mr Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE Council and the Management for their decision to have declared 2022 the Year of the Woman in Chess.
This is our chance to take a leap forward in our mission of forming gender equity policies, practices and programs. In recent years, we have achieved a number of long-lasting strategic goals, from encouraging women to actively participate in all aspects of chess life by offering them free educational seminars to implementing gender quotas for various official positions and assignments.
While our colleagues have worked tirelessly to provide better conditions for top female players and to greatly increase the prize funds, our commission has focused on connecting, inspiring and educating female players of all backgrounds from around the world. Last year we organised The Queens’ Festival 2021, a series of continental and global tournaments with over 460 participants from 82 countries. Many thousands more followed the side events featuring female role model guests and presenters on FIDE social media.
Creating a strong women chess community is very important for us to continue pursuing our goals and representing the interests of women in chess.
To follow in this spirit, throughout this Year of Woman in Chess, we are planning the following events and collaborations to make this an epic year for women:
To establish a yearly award for women in various categories. To increase communication with national federations on the importance of nominating an “Ambassador for Women” in their country and encouraging them to organise support programs for women and girls. To organise “Global Exchange Forums” to share ideas that will improve the environment for women in chess. To create the “Queens Pavilion” during the Chess Olympiad 2022 in Moscow. To strengthen the collaboration with other FIDE commissions to support women’s participation in all aspects of chess life, even more intensely for this special year. The “Queens Festival” was very successfully organised for the first time in 2021. The plan for 2022 is to expand it with various exciting side events and more countries participating. Inspirational female role models will be featured weekly through the different FIDE channels: social media, a relaunched newsletter, and a newly created podcast.
There are also other plans for the Year of the Woman in Chess which we will announce throughout the year on FIDE media: you can subscribe to receive the news directly in your email.
We would also like to hear and promote your initiatives and ideas. Please, email us your stories, suggestions and pictures to email@example.com, and share your initiatives online using the hashtag #womeninchess.
With your help and support, we can make this an outstanding and game-changer year!
When the Chess world went scholastic Richard Francisco
was one of the first children in the Atlanta area to become a strong player. Mr. Francisco represented Atlanta, and Georgia, when playing for the Atlanta Kings.
He is a likeable gentleman about whom I have never heard a discouraging word.
Therefore it was painful to watch local favorite lose his first three games in the ongoing Charlotte Holiday IM norm tournament. In the fourth round Richard, playing black, stopped the bleeding by drawing a hard fought game with fellow FM Doug Ekhart,
rated 2206 FIDE; 2306 USCF. Tell me again why there is such a disparity between the World Chess rating and the US Chess rating?
FM Doug Eckert (USA) vs FM Richard Francisco (USA) Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 04 E71 King’s Indian, Makagonov system (5.h3)
The eight round saw Richard sitting behind the black pieces versus Evan S Rosenberg,
a USCF Master, rated 2099 FIDE. In the first four rounds Mr. Rosenberg won two and drew and lost one each. The wheels came off in the fifth round as Rosenberg lost three games consecutively before playing a horrific blunder on move 18, after which he was beaten and battered unmercifully before throwing in the towel.
Evan S Rosenberg (USA) vs Richard Francisco (USA) Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 08 A04 Reti opening
To come back to even against this competition after starting a round robin tournament with three straight goose eggs is an outstanding result. Mr. Francisco has shown that he can take the blows and and do it his way. Unlike some Chess players, like the recent challenger for the title of human World Chess Champion, who shatter completely when hit with a punch, Richard managed to keep it together, remain resilient, and come back strong.
Breaking news! The last round has begun and Richard and his opponent 2321 FIDE rated opponent Tianqi Wang
have “phoned it in” by agreeing to split the point after only 5 moves had been played. What the hell, it’s the holidaze and neither player had anything for which to play, so they did a little dance so they could get down tonight rather than taking that midnight train to Georgia, and I’m sure the wife will be happy to see Richard while the sun is still shining.