Does Gata Kamsky Read The AW?

Imagine my surprise upon seeing the Gata Kamsky playing Qe2 versus the French defense in the eight round of the Barcelona Open. First he plays the Leningrad Dutch and then the Chigorin against the French. It is enough to make one wonder if the Gator has been reading the Armchair Warrior…

Gata Kamsky (2685)

vs Salvador G. Del Rio De Angelis (2488)

Barcelona Open 2019 round 08

1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 c5 3 Nf3 (SF plays 3 g3) 3…Nc6 4 g3 (The most often played move but Komodo would play 4 d3. What SF would play is not shown at the CBDB) 4…d6 (SF prefers 4…g6) 5 Bg2 (Although Komodo plays this SF & Houdini choose 5 c3) 5…Nf6 (The most often played move, but SF would play 5…g6; Komodo plays 5…e5) 6 O-O (The most often played move to date but SF would play 6 c3) 6…Be7 (Earlier versions of SF chose this move but SF 10 @ depth 34 plays 6…e5, expecting 7 c3 Be7) 7 c3 (The most often move chosen but SF 10 would play the little played 7 e5) 7…O-O (Although SF 9 shows this move, SF 10 would play the seldom played 7…Qb6, expecting 8 Na3 0-0) 8 Rd1 (The SF move, but Houdini would play the most often played move, 8 d4) 8…b6 (A plethora of moves have been tried in this position. SF 10 would play 8…e5; SF 090519 prefers 8…d5) 9 d4 cxd4 (Komodo plays this move but SF 010719 likes 9…d5, which is not shown at the CBDB) 10 Nxd4 (For 10 cxd4 see Kobalia vs Grachev below) 10…Nxd4 11 cxd4 a5 (For 11…Bb7 see Erdos vs Jianu below) 12. Nc3 Ba6 13. Qe1 Rc8 14. Bg5 Nd7 15. Be3 Qc7 16. a4 Rfe8 17. Rac1 Qb8 18. h3 Bf8 19. Kh2 Nf6 20. f3 Nd7 21. Qf2 Bc4 22. Bf1 Qb7 23. Bxc4 Rxc4 24. d5 Rec8 25. dxe6 fxe6 26. Rd4 Rxd4 27. Bxd4 Nc5 28. Rd1 Qc6 29. Qc2 Nd7 30. Qd3 Qc4 31. Kg2 Qb3 32. Rd2 Rc4 33. f4 Nc5 34. Bxc5 bxc5 35. Rf2 Rxa4 36. f5

Black has played well up to this point and has an extra pawn to show for his effort. What move would you play?

36…Rd4 37. Qf3 e5 38. f6 Qf7 39. Nd5

39…gxf6? (With this move black lets go of the rope…) 40. Nxf6+ Kh8 41. Qg4 Bh6 42. Qc8+ Qf8 43. Qd7 Qg7 44. Qe6 1-0

Mikhail Kobalia (2608) vs Boris Grachev (2621)

73rd Moscow Blitz

09/07/2019

B40 Sicilian defense

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.Qe2 d6 6.O-O Be7 7.c3 O-O 8.Rd1 b6 9.d4 cxd4 10.cxd4 d5 11.e5 Nd7 12.Nc3 a5 13.a4 Ba6 14.Nb5 Rc8 15.Bd2 Nb4 16.Bc3 Nb8 17.Bf1 N8c6 18.Qd2 Qd7 19.h4 Na7 20.Nxa7 Qxa7 21.Ng5 Bxf1 22.Rxf1 Qa6 23.f4 Qd3 24.Qxd3 Nxd3 25.Rfd1 Nb4 26.Nf3 h5 27.Kf2 g6 28.Ke2 Rc4 29.Nd2 Rc6 30.Nf1 Rfc8 31.Ne3 Kf8 32.Kd2 Ke8 33.Rdc1 Kd7 34.Rd1 R8c7 35.Rdc1 Kc8 36.Nc2 Kb7 37.Bxb4 axb4 38.Ne3 b3 39.Rxc6 Rxc6 40.a5 bxa5 41.Kd3 Kb6 42.Nd1 Bb4 43.Ne3 Kb5 44.Ke2 a4 45.Kd3 Ra6 46.Nd1 Ra7 47.Rc1 Be1 48.Nc3+ Bxc3 49.

Viktor Erdos (2650) vs Vlad Cristian Jianu (2550)

TCh-ROU 2013

B40 Sicilian defense

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. Qe2 d6 6. O-O Be7 7. c3 b6 8. Rd1 O-O 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. cxd4 Bb7 12. Nc3 Qc7 13. Bf4 Rad8 14. Rac1 Qb8 15. g4 Rfe8 16. g5 Nd7 17. h4 Bf8 18. Bg3 a6 19. d5 exd5 20. Nxd5 Rc8 21. Qd2 b5 22. b3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Rc8 24. Rd1 Ne5 25. Kh1 Bxd5 26. exd5 Re8 27. Re1 g6 28. Be4 Qc8 29. Kg2 h6 30. f3 hxg5 31. hxg5 Qd8 32. Bf4 Nd7 33. Bb1 Rxe1 34. Qxe1 Bg7 35. Qd2 Qe7 36. Be3 1/2-1/2

So this is how it ends
And no, it’s not fair
They say life goes on
But I’m not sure where
Move forward, forget
Just doesn’t feel right
If I’m still losing sleep
Every night

But I’ll make myself believe
That I’m not a coward
When it’s all I’ll ever be

But here I am
Burning at both ends
Playing the victim
When I know I’ll never win
I’ll never win
And I can’t get out
Of my own head
So tell me

How to make myself believe
That I’m not a coward
When it’s all I’ll ever be
Tonight I’m laying myself down
While I’m still bleeding out

This ends now

Gata Kamsky Plays Both Sides of the Leningrad Dutch

Gata Kamsky (2685)

vs Jules Moussard (2608)

Barcelona Open 2019
round 04

1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 d6 4 Nf3 g6 5 O-O Bg7 6 b3 (Although Houdini plays this move Komodo and SF play 6 c4) 6…O-O (The most often played move but would play the little played 6…a5, expecting 7 c4 a4) 7 Bb2 c6 (7…Qe8 has been played a few more times than 7…c6, but SF 250819 at depth 49 plays 7…Ne4, expecting 8 Nbd2 c6. SF 10 @ depth 48 prefers the seldom played 7…e6, expecting 8 c4 Nc6) 8 c4 (SF 9 @ depth 42 plays 8 Nbd2) 8…a5 (SF 120119 @ depth 37 plays the most often played move, 8…Na6, but SF 10 @ depth 37 would play 8…Re8, a move not shown at the ChessBaseDataBase) 9 a3 (Both SF & Komodo play 9 Nc3) 9…Ne4 (This is a TN. Komodo plays Na6, the most often played move in the position. Houdini would play the new move played in the game, 9…Ne4, expecting 10 Nbd2 d5) 10. Nbd2 Nxd2 11. Qxd2 Nd7 12. Rfd1 Nf6 13. Qc2 Ne4 14. Ne1 Qe8 15. d5 Bxb2 16. Qxb2 g5 17. Qd4 Qg6 18. Rac1 c5 19. Qe3 Rf7 20. Nd3 Bd7 21. f3 Nf6 22. f4 h6 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 b6 25. Ra1 Rxa1 26. Rxa1 Ng4 27. Qc1 Qf6 28. e3 gxf4

Reaching a critical position. What would you play as white?

29. gxf4? (According to the ChessBomb this is a dreaded BRIGHT RED MOVE. If this was your move you need to contemplate longer) Qh4 30. h3 Nf6 31. Qe1 Qh5 32. Ra8+ Kh7 33. bxc5 bxc5 34. Kh2 Rg7 35. Ra7 Bc8 36. Nc1 Ne4 37. Ne2 Qg6 38. Bf3 Qf6 39. Ra8 Bb7 40. Ra7 Bc8 41. Ra8 Bd7 42. Ra7 e6 43. dxe6 Qxe6 44. Qc1 Qf6 45. Bxe4 fxe4 46. Qf1 Qb2 47. f5 Qe5+ 48. Qf4 Qxf5 49. Qxf5+ Bxf5 50. Ra6 Be6 51. Rxd6 Bxc4 52. Ng3 Bd3 53. Rc6 Rg5 54. h4 Re5

55. h5? (ChessBomb shows this as a RED MOVE, but not as RED as the earlier RED MOVE, so we will call this one a BLOOD RED MOVE, because the Gator, as Gata is known in the Southern part of the USA, just caused a SELF INFLICTED WOUND)

c4 56. Kh3 Rg5 57. Kh4 Kg7 58. Rc7+ Kh8 59. Rc6 Kh7 60. Rc7+ Rg7? (Yet another BLEEDING MOVE. 60 Kg8 keeps the advantage. Now the game is even, according to the ChessBomb) 61. Rc6 (61 Rc5. Again black has an advantage) 61…Rf7 (61…Rg5 retains the advantage) 62. Kg4 Rf2 63. Rc7+ Kg8 64. Rc6 Kf7 65. Rxh6 c3 66. Rc6 c2 67. Rc7+ Kg8 68. h6 Rg2 69. Kf4 Rg1 70. Nh5 (Rc8+ is equal) 70…c1=Q (70…Rf1+ is strong) 71. Nf6+ Kf8 72. Nh7+ Ke8 73. Nf6+ Kd8 74. Rxc1 Rxc1 75. h7 Rh1 76. Kg5 Be2 77. Kg6 Ke7 78. Ng8+ Kf8 79. Nh6 Rg1+ 80. Kf6 Rf1+ 81. Kg6 Bh5+ 82. Kxh5 Kg7 83. h8=Q+ Kxh8 84. Kg6 Rg1+ 85. Kf5 Kg7 86. Ng4 Rg2 87. Ne5 Rg3 88. Kxe4 Rxe3+ ½-½

Adolfo Diaz Nunez (2145) vs Francisco Vallejo Pons (2415)

Mondariz op

A04 Reti opening

1.Nf3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.d4 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 d6 7.Bb2 a5 8.a3 c6 9.c4 e5 10.dxe5 Ng4 11.Qc2 Nxe5 12.Nbd2 Na6 13.Rad1 Qe7 14.Bc3 Nc7 15.Qb2 Re8 16.Rfe1 Bd7 17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.e4 f4 19.gxf4 Ne6 20.Bxe5 Nxf4 21.Nf3 Bxe5 22.Rxd7 Bxb2 23.Rxe7 Rxe7 24.a4 Rd8 25.h4 Rd3 0-1

Elina Danielian (2476) vs Viktorija Cmilyte (2524)

SportAccord Blitz Women 2012

Beijing CHN 2012

A04 Reti opening

1.Nf3 g6 2.d4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 d6 7.Bb2 c6 8.c4 a5 9.a3 Qc7 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Qc2 e5 12.c5 e4 13.cxd6 Qxd6 14.Ne5 Be6 15.Ndc4 Qc7 16.b4 axb4 17.axb4 Na6 18.Ba3 Nd5 19.Qd2 Bf8 20.Rfb1 Red8 21.b5 cxb5 22.Rxb5 Bxa3 23.Rxa3 Ne7 24.Qb2 Rab8 25.Rc3 Rxd4 26.Ne3 Qd8 27.h4 b6 28.Ra3 Nc5 29.Ra7 Qd6 30.Rxe7 Qxe5 31.Rxe6 Qg7 32.Rexb6 Rc8 33.Rb8 Rdd8 34.Qxg7+ Kxg7 35.Rxc8 Rxc8 36.Rb1 Ne6 37.Nd5 Nd4 38.e3 Ne6 39.Bf1 Rc2 40.Nf4 Nc5 41.Ra1 Nb3 42.Ra7+ Kf6 43.Ra6+ Kg7 44.Rb6 Nd2 45.Rb7+ Kf6 46.Rd7 Nf3+ 47.Kg2 Ne1+ 48.Kg1 Nf3+ 49.Kh1 Rxf2 50.Bg2 Ra2 51.Bxf3 exf3 52.Rd1 Ra3 53.Re1 Ke5 54.Kg1 Ra2 55.Rf1 Ke4 56.Re1 f2+ 57.Kf1 fxe1=Q+ 0-1

Alexander Donchenko (2631)

vs Gata Kamsky (2685)

Barcelona Open 2019 round 05

1. Nf3 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c4 Bg7 5. Nc3 d6 6. d4 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. d5 e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. b3 Na6 11. Ng5 Bc8 12. Bb2 h6 13. Nf3 Be6 14. Nd4 Bf7 15. Qc2 Nc5 (15…Nb4! A FORCING MOVE!) 16. Rad1 Qb6 17. e3 a5 18. Nde2 Rfd8 (18…a4 would seem to be the logical rejoinder) 19. Ba3 Qc7 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. Rd1 Rd6 23. h3 Qd8 24. Rxd6 Qxd6 25. Kf1 ½-½

1 Nf3 f5 2 g3 Nf6 (SF & Komodo both prefer 2…g6) 3 Bg2 g6 4 c4 Bg7 5 Nc3 (SF plays 5 d4; Komodo 5 0-0) 5…d6 (Komodo plays this move but SF would castle) 6 d4 O-O 7 O-O c6 (7…Qe8 was the move of choice by GM Vladimir Malaniuk and is analyzed extensively in his book. At one time or another I attempted the Malaniuk move, and the game move, but settled on 7…Nc6. All of the top programs show 7…c6 as best) 8 d5 (SF 10 @ depth 53 would play 8 Rb1; SF 110719 @ depth 48 prefers 8 b3) 8…e5 9 dxe6 Bxe6 10 b3 Na6 11 Ng5 Bc8 (SF 9 @ depth 28 plays 11…Qe7 expecting 12 Nxe6 Qxe6; Komodo 12 @ depth 26 would play 11…Nc5 showing 12 Bb2 Qe7 to follow) 12 Bb2 (SF says 12 Rb1) 12…h6 13 Nf3 Be6 14 Nd4 (SF 010719 @ depth considers 14 Qc2 superior. The CBDB does not show the game move, but one game with the move was found at 365Chess.com:

Armin Kranz (2145) vs Christoph Renner (2425)
Schwarzach op-A 1999

A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.b3 Na6 11.Ng5 Bc8 12.Bb2 h6 13.Nf3 Be6 14.Nd4 Bf7 15.e3 Re8 16.Qc2 d5 17.cxd5 Nb4 18.Qd2 Nbxd5 19.Nde2 Qe7 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Qd4+ Qf6 23.Rad1 Red8 24.Rd2 Nc3 25.Qxf6+ Kxf6 26.Rc2 Nxe2+ 27.Rxe2 a5 28.Rb1 Rd7 29.e4 fxe4 30.Bxe4 Re8 31.Rbe1 Rd4 32.f3 a4 33.bxa4 Rxa4 34.Rb1 Re7 35.Rbb2 Rd7 36.Kf2 Ra3 37.Rec2 Ke7 38.Re2 Kd8 39.f4 Ra5 40.g4 Re7 41.Rb4 g5 42.Rd2+ Kc7 43.a4 gxf4 44.Kf3 Be6 45.Kxf4 Rf7+ 46.Kg3 Rf1 47.Rdb2 Ra7 48.h4 Ra1 49.g5 hxg5 50.hxg5 R1xa4 51.g6 b5 52.Kf4 Rxb4 53.Rxb4 Kd6 54.Rd4+ Kc5 55.Rd8 b4 56.Ke5 Bd5 57.Kf6 b3 58.Rb8 Ra1 59.g7 Rg1 60.Bh7 Rg2 61.g8=Q Bxg8 62.Bxg8 Rxg8 63.Rxg8 Kc4 64.Ke5 b2 65.Rb8 Kc3 ½-½

Dazed and Confused at the 28th World Senior Chess Championships

The 28th World Senior Chess Championships (http://www.wscc2018.european-chessacademy.com/index.php/en/) began today in Maribor, Slovenia. The USA contingent is being led by FM Nathan Resika (2124), number 49 on the list of entrants in the 50+ tournament. Michael A. Gilbert (1921) and unrated David Jones are also playing in the section. Leonid Bondar (1931) and Mariano Acosta (1721) are playing in the 65+ section. There are no USA women participating in the two sections only for women.

In the first round GM Henrik “Polar Bear” Danielsen (2504) of Iceland

was paired with Antonio Lopez Pereyra (2066), from Spain. GM Danielsen left the Polar Bear in Iceland so his opponent moved his f-pawn on move one! The opening turned into a Leningrad Dutch.

1. g3 f5 2. d4 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. Qa4 c5 10. dxc6 bxc6 11. Rd1 Bd7 12. c5 Nb7 13. Qb3+ 1-0

Lopez Pereyra was no doubt left dazed and confused.

Todaze lesson is to DEFEND YOUR PIECES! Everyone who knows me is more than a little aware that the first thing I teach is: 1) Why did my opponent make that move? 2) What move do I want, or need, to make? 3) AM I LEAVING ANYTHING EN PRISE?

GM Karen Movsziszian (2513) of Armenia faced Andres Belmont Hernandez (2080), of Mexico, with the game transposing after the third move into a Bird!

1. g3 Nf6 2. Bg2 d5 3. f4 Nc6 (See 3…g6 below) 4. Nf3 e6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Kh1 Bb7 9. Qe2 a5 10. a4 Qb8 11. Nc3 Rd8 12. Nd1 Ra7 13. Nf2 Ba6 14. c4 dxc4 15. dxc4 Bb7 16. b3 Nb4 17. e4 Nd7 18. Bb2 Nc5 19. Nd4 Ra8 20. Rad1 Nc6 21. Qe3 Nxd4 22. Bxd4 Bc6 23. g4 Qb7 24. g5 Rd7 25. Bb2 Rad8 26. Rxd7 Rxd7 27. h4 f5 28. gxf6 Bxf6 29. Bxf6 gxf6 30. Rg1 Rg7 31. Qd4 Kf7 32. Bf3 Rxg1+ 33. Kxg1 Qc8 34. Ng4 e5 35. fxe5 Bxe4 36. Nh6+ Kg6 37. Bxe4+ Kxh6 38. Qe3+ Kh5 39. Bf3+ Kg6 40. Qf4 Qe6 41. h5+ Kg7 42. h6+ Kg6 43. exf6 Qf5 44. Qxf5+ Kxf5 45. f7 Ne6 46. Kf2 Kg6 47. Ke3 Kxh6 48. Bd5 Nf8 49. c5 bxc5 50. Kd3 Kg7 51. Kc4 Nd7 52. Kb5 h5 53. Kxa5 Nb8 54. Bf3 Kxf7 55. Bxh5+ Ke7 56. Kb5 Kd6 57. Be8 Ke7 58. Bg6 Kd6 59. Be4 Ke5 60. Bf3 Kd6 61. a5 Nd7 62. a6 Nb6 63. a7 c4 64. bxc4 c6+ 65. Kxb6 1-0

Gata Kamsky (2638) vs Samuel Sevian, (2600)
US Chess Masters 2016
Greensboro, North Carolina USA 08/27/2016

1. g3 Nf6 2. Bg2 d5 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Qe1 Nc6 8. e4 dxe4 9. dxe4 e5 10. f5 gxf5 11. Nh4 Nxe4 12. Nxf5 Bxf5 13. Rxf5 Nd6 14. Rf1 e4 15. c3 Ne5 16. Qe2 Nd3 17. Bf4 f5 18. Na3 Be5 19. Be3 Qd7 20. Rad1 Qg7 21. Nc2 Rf8 22. Nb4 f4 23. gxf4 Nxf4 24. Bxf4 Bxf4 25. Nd5 Be5 26. Qh5 Rfe8 27. Qh3 Kh8 28. Kh1 Rf8 29. Qh5 Rxf1+ 30. Rxf1 Rg8 31. Bh3 Nc4 32. Ne7 Qxe7 33. Rf7 Qxf7 34. Qxf7 Nd6 35. Qxc7 a6 36. Bf5 Rg7 37. Qd8+ Rg8 38. Qe7 Nxf5 39. Qxe5+ Ng7 40. Qxe4 Rb8 41. Qe7 h5 42. Qc7 Re8 43. Qxb7 Re2 44. Kg1 Kh7 45. c4 h4 46. c5 h3 47. c6 Rg2+ 48. Kf1 Kg6 49. c7 Nf5 50. Qb6+ 1-0

Annotations to the Senior game can be found at http://live.chessbase.com/watch/28th-WSCC-Open-50-2018.

The Wesley So Forfeit

The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center was in its infancy when I played in the St. Louis Open there in the spring of 2009. In the second round I faced a young boy, Kevin Cao, who was an expert at the start of the tourney. Playing my favorite Bishop’s opening the boy did not take advantage of the opportunities my play afforded, putting him in a difficult position. My opponent had been keeping score on a gizmo called “Monroi.” When the going got tough my opponent pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and placed his gizmo on the table, eschewing the actual chessboard in order to focus only on the chessboard on his gizmo. Since this violated the rules of chess, I lodged a protest with the TD’s. The rule is simple and clear: 11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard. (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/us-champs-r9-so-forfeited-amid-family-turmoil)

The tournament director’s did not see it that way. Since the Monroi was a USCF “approved” gizmo they had trouble ruling the only way they should under rule 11.3. They decided to “compromise” by asking my opponents father have his son not use the gizmo as a chessboard the rest of the game. I agreed to this, and so did the father, albeit reluctantly. This was done because I was playing a child. If my opponent had been an adult I would not have agreed, but insisted he be forfeited because the rule is clear. Things change dramatically when a child is involved.

After a few more moves my opponent’s position deteriorated, and he was in also in time pressure which happens with a G/2 time control. His father, seeing this while constantly hovering over the board, told his son to do go back to using his gizmo. The boy then pulled his hood over his head and placed his gizmo on the table and again eschewed the actual chessboard. I protested, the clocks were stopped and into the TD room we went. This time things became, shall we say, heated. Actually, the father went ballistic. Some time later the USCF issued a ruling castigating the father for “reprehensible behaviour.” The father took his son home and when his time ran out, I was declared the “winner.” The young boy dropped back into the “A” class because of the loss. He is now rated 2300+.

This was written about and discussed on the forum of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center, which no longer exists, and some have said it is no longer in existence was because of what was written on it, none of it positive toward me. Simply put, I was vilified. Much was written on the USCF forum at the time, where I was also excoriated unmercifully.

I closely followed the recent US Championship tournament, the one now called the “Open” tournament, as opposed to the one called the “Women’s” tournament. GM Wesley So is obviously a supremely talented chess player. I found the interviews with him intriguing, to say the least. After the interview early in the tournament,maybe the very first round, the one in which he mentions playing weakly in the middle game after not seeing his foster mother for some time, (She had been with Jeanne Sinquefield he said) I told the Legendary Georgia Ironman something was obviously “not right” about Mr. So. I could not put my finger on it, but knew something was wrong.

Much has been written about Wesley being forfeited, and I have read everything found on the interweb. I would like to share some of it with you, then share a few comments of my own.

“Akobian complained that this distracted him”!? What is the motive behind this statement? To me it looks like a “sucker punch” from Akopian to get an easy win. Chess referees should according to the rules always apply common sense. And the nature of this incident considering the actual writing of So does not by any means amount to such a serious offence that So should forfeit his game against Akopian.” – thomas.dyhr (Thomas Dyhr, Denmark)

“This decision is absolutely ridiculous I take it So has been writing on his scoresheet sometimes which would show on his copy handed in and is against Fide rules ok and Rich told him this.
He gets a blank piece of paper instead to write some thought positives and Akobian complains to Rich who forfeits So.
Akobian if he was distracted by So’s actions should have asked him to stop first.
Rich should have seen that this was not writing on a scoresheet which he warned him about and if he was not allowing So to write on blank paper as well told him to stop immediately and if So complied let the game continue.
Akobian and Rich do not come out of this with any credit and Akobian should be ashamed of himself as a man of integrity.” – Gilshie (Thomas Gilmore, United Kingdom)

“I guess they wanted to guarantee that an American wins the US Championship…” – Shtick (Nick Daniels, Canada)
(All of the about quotes from: https://chess24.com/en/read/news/us-champs-r9-so-forfeited-amid-family-turmoil)

“PS: editorial comment to myself

Many chess writers and commentators seem to have little better to do this weekend than to talk about a silly forfeit incident in the US championship, so I will throw in a few of my own observations.
The first is that even though some tournament rule might give the tournament arbiter, Tony Rich, the POWER or the AUTHORITY to forfeit Wesley So , no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did. So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.
Please understand that I am not saying that Akobian–who is a perfect gentleman– acted wrongly when he drew to the arbiter’s attention So’s actions. Nor am I saying that Tony Rich acted incorrectly when he decided to act according to the written rules. And especially I am not saying that So was right when he lashed out when interviewed afterwards…there were CLEARLY better ways to have handled the situation.
What I am trying to say is that once more the game of chess DESERVES to be belittled because of this incident. ONCE MORE, mainstream media will target and make fun of us. Chess LOST some prestige on that day. When Jon Stewart recently did a humorous skit on the USCF trying to recruit F.Caruana for the national team, many–including ChessBase–thought it was also a bit insulting to the game of chess. Perhaps it was a bit insulting, even though it might not have been intended to be insulting…
But until the day we (the chess community) STOP allowing silly and poorly written rules to hurt and denigrate the noble game of chess in the eyes of normal and intelligent onlookers (and let us not forget about potential sponsors and patrons), then we deserve to be insulted a little bit more each time…” – Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett
(https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/it-took-a-really-long-time-but/)

“Guess my point is – even if he warned So, forfeiting is a staggering over-reaction. Threaten with forfeit = fine. Actually doing it = insane” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (Also from the aforementioned chess24 article, and if you click on this, you will find more comments, including this one by IM Mark Ginsburg, “Correct. Time penalty first. This action was wildly disproportionate as GM Hammer points out. Bad call.”)

GM Emil Sutovsky, President at Association of Chess Professionals, wrote this on his Facebook page (taken from the aforementioned chess24 article) “The arbiter’s decision to forfeit Wesley So for writing down irrelevant notes on his scoresheet during the game seems weird to me. Indeed, that can be seen as a violation of rules: ” 8.1 b. The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.” And arbiter has repeatedly urged Wesley to stop it. But awarding a loss is way too harsh a punishment for such a minor sin. Yes, it can be disturbing for the opponent, and the arbiter could and should have deducted the time on Wesley’s clock for disturbing the opponent. And to keep deducting it (2 minutes each time), if needed after each move (warning Wesley, that a forfeit will come after 2nd or 3rd deduction). That was the most painless and logical decision. Unfortunately, the arbiter has preferred the most brutal solution. These things should not happen.”

It should be obvious from the above that the TD, Tony Rich, and the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center have not come out of this sordid incident in a favorable light. As GM Spraggett says, once again chess has suffered a black eye. I agree with Kevin when he writes, “…no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did.” The reputation of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center has been sullied.

The punishment should fit the crime. As GM Kevin Spraggett writes, “So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.”

Contrast this with how I was treated at the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center. My opponent violated the rule in order to gain an ADVANTAGE! GM Wesley So did no such thing. He is one of the elite chess players in the world and has no need to gain an advantage against any other player in the world.

If one closely examines the rule, “11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard,” it is clear the meaning is that a player cannot use any “NOTES, sources of information or advice,” to help, or assist him in regard to making his MOVES. A player cannot utilize a book, or gizmo containing chess information, or any “advice” from another person. There is no ambiguity here.

I was not there and do not know EXACTLY what Tony Rich said to Wesley, but from what I heard on the broadcast, and have now read, GM So was under the impression he could not write on his scoresheet, so he wrote on another piece of paper. How culpable is Tony Rich in this matter? Did he make himself COMPLETELY understood? Besides, as “Najdork” (Miguel Najdork, from Nepal) commented, “Also I would like to point out how from rule 8.1 you are allowed to write on the scoresheet any “relevant data”, and that is so vague that I guess you could write almost anything.” Who defines what is “relevant?” Your relevant may differ from what I consider “relevant.” For example, what if your opponent in a Senior event wrote on his scoresheet, “Take heart medication at 3 PM.” Who, other than GM Varuzhan Akobian, would complain? And who, other than Tony Rich would forfeit the man? I know Tony Rich. As Tony reminded me in 2009, I won our game at the Missouri State Championship in 2002 in Rollo. He was nice to me then, and has been every time I have encountered him, such as at the US Open in Indiana a few years ago. I liked Tony until he lost his mind. What could possibly have motivated the man to issue this stupid ruling, which will have lasting repercussions? If you were Wesley So would you join the American team at the Olympiad?

“In love with this rule: “12.2 The arbiter shall: b. act in the best interest of the competition.” Common sense.” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer.

The forfeit defies common sense. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rule; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.” – John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2005. (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/when-the-umpire-is-playing-for-the-other-team/262429/)
No one watches a chess tournament to see the TD. In lieu of watching Wesley So play GM Akobian, the world was instead subjected to a TD try and explain his “logic.” As many a TD has proven over the years, the less involved they are, the better the outcome.

None of this made any sense to me until reading this, “In the final reckoning Wesley So’s forfeit had no effect on the top three standings. Even a win against Akobian would only have tied So with Ray Robson on 7.5/11, and since he lost against Robson he would still have finished third. The person who has a real cause for complaint seems to be Gata Kamsky, who was edged out of 5th place – his goal in order to qualify for the World Cup later this year – by Akobian.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/nakamura-and-krush-are-2015-us-champions)

There it is, the reason for this whole debacle. It always comes down to “Who profits?”

The whole affair is disgusting, and sickening. It proves only that a TD has only one rule by witch to abide: Do What Thy Wilt! There should be some kind of punishment for a TD who oversteps his bounds. I have seen far too many tournament director’s puff out their chest while strutting around singing, “I’ve got the power,” such as Richard Crespo, the former TD spending his days in prison after abducting a woman and shooting it out with police in San Antonio, Texas a decade ago.
I am embarrassed, and ashamed, to be an American involved with chess. This putrid affair rivals anything I have written about FIDE and the nefarious Russians. United States chess has reached a new low. Tony Rich has now made everyone forget about L. Walter Stephens, the TD who awarded Sammy Reshevsky a win against Arnold Denker in the 1942 US Championship even though it was Sammy who lost on time. The game will die before the shock waves emanating from this debacle subside. The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center touts itself as the US Capital of Chess. Knowledgable players and fans know that three of the players in the Championship, Sam Shankland, Sam Sevian, and Daniel Naroditsky, cut their chess teeth in the San Francisco Bay area, home of the oldest chess club in America, the venerable Mechanic’s Insitute Chess Room. If any area should be acknowledged as the “Capital of US Chess,” it is San Francisco, in lieu of the neuveau rich, faux chess club AND scholastic center in St. Louis, which has now been tarnished. No longer can it be considered a “leading light,” or “shining example.”

I can only hope this affair does not dessiccate Wesley So’s desire. If one watches the interviews with Mr. So during the US Chess Championship he will see a dramatic change in Wesley as the tournament progressed. Hopefully, this will fire him up and prod Wesley to play the kind of chess of which he is capable culminating in a match for the World Chess Championship.

Dark Side of the 2015 US Chess Championship

At the beginning of February an interesting article appeared on the USCF website, “Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I” By GM Sam Shankland, dated February 3, 2015. After perusing the article I went to the trouble of cutting and pasting it in order to save it in hopes of being able to read it later. Part II appeared February 12, 2015 and I once again copied and saved the article. Although I have had the time I have yet to go back to it, but it has been on my mind.

I brought the article to the attention of the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When I mentioned the games were not complete, but truncated, with diagrams, Tim related something he had seen decades ago at a major tournament such as the New York or World Open. The Ironman recalled being near when now FM Miles Ardaman wanted GM William Lombardy to look at a position. “Do you have the moves leading up to the position?” asked Father Lombardy. Miles said he did not, and the GM said, “In that case I have no interest in the position whatsoever,” and walked away.

I was gratified to here this because I, too, have always felt that past is prologue, and if you do not know where you have been, you do not know where you are going. It means something because there is the “chess door” principle. The higher rated players walk through the door first and a Grandmaster enters before a floored Expert. One of the wonderful things about the game of chess is that it matters not what title one has in the world outside of chess. It does not matter what elected office one holds in the chess world, or how many times one posts on any chess forum, the only thing that matters is one’s strength at playing the Royal game.

The Ironman said he could not understand why the opening moves had not been given in light of the fact that an article on the endgame in a recent Chess Life by IM Danny Kopec on the “Browne Endgame” contained the moves leading up to the position in the diagram, “Just like the endgame book Smitty had squirreled away you found at that downtown library book sale.” The Ironman was referring to, Exploring the Endgame by Peter Griffiths. He also made a comment about how the USCF does not have an interactive feature as do most, if not all, chess websites. “The USCF is so far behind the times it has 1995 type features,” he said. The Ironman is correct because it is a fact the USCF has been behind the curve when it comes to anything computer for the past quarter century, if not longer.

The Ironman also decried that such an article would be posted on the scroll at the USCF online website in lieu of in the magazine. I concur with the Ironman’s astute assessment of the situation. Chess Life proudly boasts on the cover that it is, “The World’s Most Widely Read Chess Magazine.” Would that not seem to be reason enough to have the article included in the moribund magazine? As it is, to read the article I would need to have my computer sitting next to my chessboard, which is possible with a laptop, but not for someone like Tim who has a much larger home unit. Even with a laptop it is unwieldy with a board, and I have never done so. When I have my board on the table I have a book or magazine, open.
I realize it is possible to print out the article, but I have no printer. I also realize it would be possible to obtain the missing moves by finding the games online, but why should I have to go to all the trouble, especially when there is so much chess readily available online, and all I have to do is plug in and turn on without having to jump through all those hoops?

I mention this because the US Championship is only about a week away, and there may not be any better article to read before the first round begins. “I did not know Wesley So was playing this year,” the Legendary one exclaimed the other day. “Now I am really FIRED UP!” The Ironman is not the only one…it is almost time for Yaz & Jen, not to mention Maurice & the ‘puter…I can hardly wait!

Yet there is a dark side to the tournament…This can be found on the USCF forum:

Post: #289601 by sunmaid on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:58 pm
Last year Kamsky, Akobian and Lenderman tied for first place at the US championship and it was only through a very unfair playoff system that Gata Kamsky was ultimately crowned champion. Since Kamsky and Akobian are in, I think it would have been a wise decision to give the wild card entry to Alex Lenderman. Sam Sevian is an exciting young player, but he will get his chance in many years to come to play in this tournament.
http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php&f=24&t=21044

It is a travesty that one of the players who TIED FOR FIRST PLACE last year is not included in the field this year. This brings SHAME on all involved with the tournament, and especially on the pooh-bahs of the USCF, who obviously have no shame. Only someone like Darth Cheney would be content with this sorry state of affairs…(http://www.ora.tv/offthegrid/senator-angus-king-vs-darth-cheney-0_4ub9v4vxhn35)

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I
By GM Sam Shankland
February 3, 2015
http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12944/798/

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part II
By GM Sam Shankland
February 12, 2015
http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12954/798/

GM Sam Shankland – Official Site
http://www.samshankland.com/index

Hikaru No Chess

The title is a play on the hugely popular Japanese TV series, “Hikaru no Go” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0426711/).
the popularity of this program is best described by this, “World Go population probably tripled because of ‘Hikaru no Go'”, said Joey Hung, USA 8 dan Go instructor. All of Joey’s Go School ( http://www.egogames.com) Go students in Fremont, CA, USA have watched the exciting Go anime. Also, at the World Amateur Go Tournament and Beijing Mental Olympics Tournament, many European, South American and Asian players reflected that they have seen a dramatic increase in Go population due to the ‘Hikaru no GO’ anime.”

“Hikaru no Go (literally The Go of Hikaru or Hikaru’s Go) is a manga (a Japanese comic) and an anime (a Japanese cartoon) about a boy (Hikaru Shindo) who discovers the ancient game when he finds an old board in the attic and meets the spirit of a past Go master (Fujiwara-no-Sai).
The Hikaru no Go manga is published by VIZ Media ([ext] http://www.viz.com) in the United States and Canada, and the Hikaru no Go anime has been licensed by VIZ Media in the United States and Canada. The manga is serialized in the United States version of Shonen Jump ( http://www.shonenjump.com), while the entire anime is viewable at Hulu.com. In North America Hikaru no Go is also available on the ImaginAsian TV Channel” (http://senseis.xmp.net/?HikaruNoGo).

“Hikaru no Go ( lit. “Hikaru’s Go”) is a manga series, a coming of age story based on the board game Go written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata with an anime adaptation. The production of the series’ Go games was supervised by Go professional Yukari Umezawa (5-dan). The manga is largely responsible for popularizing Go among the youth of Japan since its debut, and considered by Go players everywhere to have sparked worldwide interest in Go, noticeably increasing the Go-playing population across the globe, perhaps tripling it.
Current top Japanese Go professional Iyama Yuta is considered to be part of the influx of young Go players whose generation was inspired by the series.
First released in Japan in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in 1998, Hikaru no Go achieved tremendous success, spawning a popular Go fad of almost unprecedented proportions” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikaru_no_Go).

Maybe the best way to impart just how popular is “Hikaru no Go” would be to mention that in the December, 2012, issue of the second best chess publication in the world, “Chess Monthly,” the man who recently tied with GM David Howell for first place in the British chess championships, IM Jonathan Hawkins, the author of “Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methods,” when asked the question of what is your favorite film or TV series, answered, “Hikaru no Go.” (!)

The impetus for my last post was Hikaru Nakamura. It is no secret that Hikaru has not been playing well recently. I am sure many other fans of “Naka” have “felt his pain.” After blowing a certain win against human World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the third round of the Zurich tournament, I could not help but wonder if he could ever come back from such a defeat, especially since he has never beaten Magnus in a classical game of chess. Now he has finished dead last on his home court of the St. Louis Chess Club & Scholastic Center in the latest edition of the Sinquefield Cup. If there is a next S.C. Hikaru should be left out, as was Gata Kamsky this year. It is clear there is something wrong with Hikaru. He would not be a good poker player because he is easy to read. It is obvious from his body language that he is not the same person I saw in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, at the 32nd Continental Open in 2002, when he was kicking ass and taking names. He was brimming with confidence and the world was his oyster.

After losing to Veselin Topalov, the Bulgarian, who is often referred to as a former “world champion” though I know not why, Hikaru was interviewed by GM Maurice Ashley. Maurice said, “There was a moment in the game that the computer spotted an idea and we thought you were for sure gonna play. It’s the kind of move you always play. Yasser said you would play it in a bullet game, the move Bxf2. Tell us your thoughts in this moment right now.” Hikaru responded, “Well, I mean basically I had this exact position up until move 19 up on the board, um, you know, before the game and e5 was not a computer move and I knew it had to be bad but, um, during the game I just couldn’t quite figure it out. Um, OK, obviously I looked at Bxf2 and then I rejected it, but, I mean I just simply did not see the end of the line and more or less it’s unfortunate, but even then later I was still OK and then I just completely lost the thread, so I mean, sometimes things don’t go your way.”

Maurice: “The…we hear this often from really high level players like yourself that something goes wrong in the calculation. Can you ever explain it when that happens, because it seems unnerving even to you guys.”

Hikaru: “Um…well I mean…I’m not so upset about missing this one because I mean it wasn’t clear even though it’s the most intuitive move on the board. I mean, sometimes it happens, but again what can you do, sometimes, sometimes you don’t…I mean, if you don’t calculate perfectly, I mean that’s why, that’s why computers are just much better than all of us.”

Maurice: “Well, at least it’s calculating for sure. You’re in a tough situation now.”

There is a caption underneath a picture of Nakamura on the Chessbase website in an article by Alejandro Ramirez titled “Sinquefield 08: Streak stopped, Event clinched” dated 9/5/2014, “Nakamura has had some trouble calculating this tournament, it is unclear why.”
(http://en.chessbase.com/post/sinquefield-08-streak-stopped-event-clinched)

It appears the wagons have been circled and the popular thing to say is that GM Nakamura finished last, without winning a single game, because his powers of calculation have deserted him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hikaru has been playing badly because he has lost faith in his judgement and doubt has crept in where there once was confidence. Losing will do that to a player no matter what game is being played. Simply put, Hikaru has lost confidence in his intuition. His suspect moves show this fact.

When on his way to becoming World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal played moves that defied calculation. There were no super computer programs in those days so humans could not calculate the ramifications of some of Tal’s moves. Tal could not calculate the ramifications of some of his moves, yet he played them anyway, because his intuition told him they were the right moves to play. Nakamura played like that at one time in the past. Now he seems to be trying to play like a calculating machine. He tells us this with his answer above to the question posed by GM Ashley. “I looked at Bxf2+ and then I rejected it…I just simply did not see the end of the line…”

There is a battle raging inside the head of Hikaru Nakamura. It is a battle between the emotional Captain Kirk and the logical Mr. Spock. Hikaru is an intuitive player, not a calculating machine. He is a poet of the chess board, not a philosopher. I say that with a line from Kevin L. Stoehr, professor of Humanities at Boston University, in mind. He wrote, “Philosophy typically strives for the clarity of definition and proposition. Poetry, in most cases, revels in ambiguity and mystery.” (From the essay, “You Who Philosophize Dylan: The Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry in the Songs of Bob Dylan” in the book, “Bob Dylan and Philosophy: It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Thinking).” Later on in the same essay he writes, “Like the true poet that he is, Dylan believes that when it comes to the construction of his lyrics (and certainly the creation of the music itself, we might assume), the power of immediate intuition counts far more than the categorizing and ordering power of the intellect.” Hikaru Nakamura must somehow come to terms with the fact that he is an intuitive player and know that ” the power of immediate intuition counts far more than the categorizing and ordering power of the intellect.”

In an alternate universe Nakamura, at Zurich, after disposing of the former Human World Chess Champion, Vishy Anand, in round two, then beat the new Human World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, in lieu of losing the “won game” as he did in this universe. In that universe Hikaru played 21…Bxf6+ in lieu of the insipid 21…g6, bringing the sinister Topalov to his knees, making him 0-3, and having the black pieces against the Human World Champion the next round. Hikaru would have been in clear second place, only a half point behind Fab Car. Things would have turned out differently. After the tournament in which Nakamura and Caruana tied for first place, bizillionaire Rex Sinquefield put up one million dollars for a match between Naka and Fab Car, with the winner going on to play a match with Human World Champion Magnus Carlsen, with ten million dollars going to the winner. I regret it is impossible for me to give you any more details, as I am certain you would like to know who won the matches in the other universe, but Dr. Walter Bishop’s machine providing a window into the other universe destructed when Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin invaded Ukraine, which caused the other Magnus to decline the match with the other Vishy Anand. This caused World War III in which nuclear weapons were used, which destroyed the window on the other side.

In this universe the best thing our Hikaru Nakamura could do would be to take a page out of Bobby Fischer’s book and take a year or so off from chess to, as Human World Champion Magnus Carlsen said to GM Maurice Ashley after beating Naka for the ELEVENTH time, “Figure it out.”

Hikaru No Go can be watched free at these sites:

http://www.hulu.com/hikaru-no-go

http://www.animehere.com/anime/hikaru-no-go.html

The Beatles – Across The Universe

Across The Universe Soundtrack

Congratulations to ALL the Winners!

I would like to extend my congratulations to the three men who tied for first in the US Chess Championship, and to the three women who tied for first in the chess championship for the weaker sex. As far as I am concerned they can all justifiably claim to be Co-Champions. The souped-up heebe-jeeb games used to “settle” the tie meant absolutely nothing. The fast games allowing no time to think were silly and shameful. There is a picture on Chessbase (http://en.chessbase.com/) of the “champions” Gata Kamsky and Irina Krush standing back to back, both with a supercilious grin on their face, looking as if they are about to break into a rendition of the song “We Are The Champions” by Queen.
“We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions…”
In one of the biggest upsets in the history of the US Chess Championships, IM Stuart Rachels, from the Great State of Alabama, tied for first in the 1989 US Championship. Check out his Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Rachels) and you will find: United States Chess Champion
1989 (with Roman Dzindzichashvili and Yasser Seirawan)
What a pity it would be if insanity prevailed back then and the players were forced to play speed chess to decide the “winner.”
I would like to congratulate the worthy 2014 US Chess Champions GM Varuzhan Akobian and GM Aleksandr Lenderman, and the US Women Champions WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and IM Anna Zatonskih. As far as I am concerned they each have the right to be called a US Champion.
Before you inundate the AW with comments I would like you to consider these quotes:
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”-Marcus Aurelius
“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”-Mahatma Gandhi
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”-Arthur Schopenhauer