Chess Grit

The website of one of the two organizations teaching the Royal game to youngsters in after school programs in Atlanta is Championship Chess, which proclaims on the website (, “Championship Chess Makes Kids Smarter.”

Chess has not and never will make anyone, child or adult, “smarter” at anything other than Chess, as the latest studies have all proven, and you can read about the latest research studies right here on this blog. A few of the many posts written on the subject can be found below:

A new Baseball book (After Gene Nix posted a link to this blog on his Greenville Chess newsletter an older gentleman informed me he had clicked onto the link and, seeing the picture of a Baseball book, exited immediately, saying, “I don’t like Baseball.” See: recently read has caused me to reflect upon why some with much talent and ability fail while others without such gifts succeed. It has also caused me to reflect about how children are taught in school, which is simply not working in public schools, and frankly, I have my doubts about places of “higher” learning. I decided to write this post while thinking about how Chess is being taught. How should Chess (or any subject for that matter) be taught? The famous Baseball maven, Branch Rickey

forbid his his managers from criticizing a player’s mistakes without telling him how to correct them. How many times have you seen a Chess “coach” criticize the mistake of a student without telling him how to correct the mistake? How many Chess coaches are capable of explaining to the student how he can correct his mistake? Weak teachers and methodology are the main reasons Championship Chess has been ridiculed unmercifully by the Chess community. How many Championship Chess type organizations are raking in the dough from the so-called “Chess boom” without actually teaching children how to play Chess?

When young I played Baseball. I was never the best athlete on any team and, although a fast runner, I was never the fastest runner on any team, nor was I the most powerful hitter on any team, but could make contact at bat and had a “good eye,” which meant I drew an inordinate number of bases on balls, which was good because I was the lead off hitter. I was above average as a fielder, but my arm was more suited to second base than shortstop even though I played the latter position most often until becoming a teenager. I even pitched and mostly pitched well even though “fastball” was a misnomer when one left my hand. Yet I had good control and was able to make the ball “move.” Young hitters who had only seen straight balls coming at them had much trouble with my “junk” pitches. Like the Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb,

of whom I have read much, I was the studious sort, always watching, and thinking, about how best to beat “those guys” on the other team. The adult coaches would ask me questions about this player of that player and I would give them what they asked for, such as, “You can lay a bunt down on Stubby (the third baseman).” Although talented, Ty Cobb was never the most talented player on the field, but he had the most “grit.” I, too, had an abundance of “grit.” After a game my Mother had attended with her cousin Carl she proudly told him someone said, “Your boy has an abundance of grit.” Cousin Carl replied, “Yeah Mud (short for ‘muddy,’ my Mother’s nickname), “Michael is full of grits!” She ran Cousin Carl out of the house…

After leaving Baseball I discovered Chess. Four years after beating my philosophy professor I tied for first in the 1974 Atlanta Chess Championship with Wayne Watson, who was from New York, which made me the Atlanta Chess Champion. “Can you believe we have a class “B” player as the Atlanta Chess champ?” was heard at the time. I will admit to not being the most talented player in the event. There was no Atlanta Chess championship tournament in 1975, but there was an event in 1976, and again I was not the highest rated, or most talented player in the field, but yet I scored 5-0 to again win the Atlanta Chess Championship.

When one becomes immersed in the culture of Chess most everything one reads is thought about through “Chess eyes.” The question, “How does that relate to Chess,” is foremost in the mind of a Chess player.

I still watch Baseball and am a big fan of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Georgia BullDawgs Baseball teams. I can still be found occasionally watching, or listening, to the Atlanta Braves even though the Major League games have become some kind of version of “Home Run Derby,” as the game drags on and on and on with endless pitching changes and long breaks to “review” the umpires call. The people in charge are to dumb to realize the quest for perfection breaks the flow of the game, which is what made Baseball great. Forget about America, someone please Make Baseball Great Again!

I continue to read about Baseball, as I have done since 1960. The most recent Baseball book read was, The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players by Ben Lindbergh & Travis Sawchik.

I had immensely enjoyed Mr. Lindbergh’s

previous book, “The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team,”

and was looking forward to reading his latest effort, which did not disappoint. In the second chapter of the book, A Natural Maniac, An Unnatural Athlete, which concerns MLB pitcher Trevor Bauer, now with the Cleveland Indians, one finds:

Angela Lee Duckworth had left a management-consulting job to teach seventh graders math in New York City schools. Se soon observed that IQ alone was not a reliable indicator of the difference between her best and worse students. She became convinced every one of her students could master the material if they worked “hard and long enough.” Her experience led her to believe that educators must better understand learning from motivational and psychological perspectives.

Duckworth then left teaching to study psychology. She examined the performance of children and adults in challenging settings, always exploring the same questions: Who is successful, and why? She tried to predict which West Point cadets would stick in the military. She forecasted which contestants would advance furthest in the National Spelling Bee. She administered a questionnaire to Chicago high-school students and analyzed the responses of the ones who graduated. One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. It wasn’t IQ. “It was grit,” she told the TED Talk audience. “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out. Not just for the week of month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality.”

To Duckworth, who had spent much of her professional career studying it, the most surprising thing about grit “is how little we know, how little science knows, about building it.” What she did know is that natural talent did not make some “gritty.” If anything, her data showed that grit was inversely tied to measures of talent. “The best idea I’ve heard about teaching grit in kids is something called growth mindset,” Duckworth said.

Growth mindset is a characteristic defined by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, whose research suggests that the way we think about our abilities is a key to shaping talent. Dweck defined a fixed mindset as one that assumes that a skill, ability, or attribute cannot be improved or changed in a significant way. Cultural critic Maria Popova writes that with a fixed mindset, “avoiding failure at all costs becomes a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled,” whereas a growth mindset regards failure not as evidence of stupidity or lack of ability but as a “heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”

From: “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverence,” TED Talk, published May 9, 2013:


Blunderful Berlin

Mark Weeks recommended on his blog, Chess For All Ages ( videos hosted by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko. I spent the off day watching the interviews before watching GM Peter Svidler

analyze the games between Aronian,

and Kramnik

from round three,

and Kramnik-Caruana,

from the following round. I have always liked Svid since reading an interview, or Q&A, in which he mentioned Bob Dylan as one of his favorite musical artists. I have previously watched some of his round of the day videos, which were excellent. They are usually filmed after a long day of analyzing Chess when he is obviously exhausted. They are, nevertheless, wonderfully elucidating, and the aforementioned videos are no exception. After the opening moves had been played today, I watched the post-game press conference with Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana

on Chess24 ( before watching Svid give his take on the game, which I enjoyed immensely.

While working at the House of Pain (aka, the Atlanta Chess and Game Center), I noticed Chess videos had become quite popular. Being a fossil from the days when players obtained information from books, I wondered why anyone would pay that kind of money for a video when one could use it to purchase a book. Videos proliferate to the point now when one can obtain them freely via the internet.

I thought about this when receiving an email from Gene Nix, a player and organizer in Greenville, SC. (

“I agree that kids are good to have around, in chess and elsewhere. A neighborhood with young children running round is more alive, and kids playing chess means tournaments will continue into the future, if more noisily. But they’re different now. I asked one of the Charlotte teenager Masters what he’d read to help him become so strong – My System, Zurich 1953, My 60 Memorable Games, opening monographs, or what? “I don’t read chess books.”

Good weekend to you,
On Friday, February 2, 2018

Ouch! That hurt. I love the feel of a good book in the morning. I begin most days with a book and cuppa coffee. A good day finds me with another cuppa afternoon joe, and a book!

I have read that beauty is in the flaws, or imperfections. This is applicable to Chess, for without imperfections some of the greatest games, most beautiful and exciting games would never have been played. Such is the case with the current Candidates tournament in Berlin. Peter Svidler can be heard saying, “…more mistakes are forthcoming.” He also says the games are, “…incredibly interesting and exciting,” because of the mistakes. Caruana has been involved in two of the games mentioned in this post, as has Levon Aronian. Fabiano was fortunate to win both games, while Levon was not so fortunate, yet he is to be applauded as much as Fabiano for playing fighting Chess, which has been infinitely more enjoyable than some of the draws made by other players. I hope a fighting player wins the event because one should not be able to draw their way to a seat across from the human World Chess Champion. “I’ve played pretty good fighting Chess,” said Caruana. Levon, probably the favorite going into the tournament, said in answer to a question, “Not my best; probably one of my worst.” For Levon it has been a

Myriad problems marred the beginning of the tournament. GM Kevin Spraggett detailed how bad were the conditions when he wrote, “The players in the tournament are really suffering. There is only one toilet for 8 players, the first day there was no running water! Now there is water, but it is soapy.” (

Levon mentioned in the interview in answering a question concerning flashes from cellphones, said it was, “Not as noisy as the first couple of days.” For such an important tournament, second only to the Worlds Championship, this is unacceptable. Levon went on to say, “When you play badly your play is affected by everything, but when you play well it’s not so…” The sound of clapping could be heard from the audience.

Let us hope the Germans somehow manage to alleviate the suffering of the poor players for the last rounds of the tournament. The best human Chess players in the world deserve better conditions than they have received.

The Clanking Digital Monster

Some time ago I received an email from an older, obviously disgruntled, Chess player who asked why I did not write about what the influx of so many children has done to tournament Chess. “They are noisy and disruptive,” he wrote, “and Chess is no longer taken seriously because of it.” He enclosed a picture, which prompted his words, adding, “How would you like to sit across the board from THIS for HOURS!”

I have given his email serious thought for quite sometime. I recalled seeing the picture somewhere, but for the life of me cannot recall where…

I thought about something one legendary Georgia Chess player said years ago. He was gearing up for some scholastic event I thought was the Georgia High School championships, knowing he was into the HS thing ‘back in the day’. “What’cha talking about Mike,” he said, “by the time they get to High School they’ve stopped playing Chess. Junior High is where it’s happening!” This caused me to reflect upon the time Neal Harris asked me to coach a group of middle school children in 2006. Neal had taught them the basics and they seemed to be quite serious. Chess was only one of the activities in which they participated, but they took Chess seriously. They did not wear funny hats, but like all children they liked to have some fun. Several days later I sent the man a nice email telling him about growing up at a Boys Club, and later earning a collage scholarship to work at that same Boys Club. I mentioned that one of the attractions of the Boys Club was that it was a place to go have some FUN, and that I never forgot that fact while working around the younger boys. I enclosed this picture, writing, “I hope I never grow too old to have a little fun.”

Jacob Crofts (left) and Lane Erickson (right) dressed in their chess best for Halloween and round two of the TNM, pose for the camera, while Frank Bannan takes a break from his blitz game to check them out. This photo was taken in the Chess Room Annex, where a giant photograph of Mikhail Tal (partly seen in the photograph) is hung. (Photo: Laura Sheppard)

I’ve yet to hear from him again…

After the previous LOTS I received an email from Gene Nix, who had read the post. It began, “Thanks for the kind comments on my contest with Randall.” It got better from there…”This was only my second LOTS, and obviously I’ve been missing out. Many children wearing animal hats (a few adults too), lucky plushy toys at the chess boards, and a festival atmosphere. As a school teacher I often scowl at kids always on their electronic distraction devices, so it’s good to see young people involved in an engrossing mental and tactile game. Of course one must accept gracefully being outplayed by said youngsters.”

“…a festival atmosphere.” I like that phrase immensely! Most people, even an old curmudgeon, will gravitate towards “a festival atmosphere.” If Wilder Wadford is fostering a “festive atmosphere at the Land of the Sky the number of players do not matter, for the Wild Man has done his job! It made me lament the fact that I could not make it again this year, and I vowed that if still alive next year I will make it to the Land of the Sky, as we say in the South, “Creek willing and the Lord don’t rise.” Who knows, maybe I will find the right hat to wear next year…and maybe you reading this will find the right hat to wear next year and we will have started a MOVEMENT! I know Wilder will read this, so I propose that next year the name be changed to the Land of the Sky Chess Festival!

I have also given much thought to “community involvement.” The “community” is not limited to the businesses in and around Asheville, though it would be nice if some younger Ashevilleians were to spend the next year talking with business types about some kind of sponsorship for the LOTS Chess Festival. “Community” also means US, as in ME and YOU. I will, therefore, put my money where my mouth is and make a pledge to the 2019 LOTS Chess Festival. I will donate a book, a brand spanking new book, to be given away by drawing before each and every round next year. All one has to do to be entered in the drawing is to be paired for the upcoming round. Withdraw and you are not entered!

Gene also wrote, “Life Master Klaus Pohl, the Old Gray Wolf, fared poorly in the top section, but took second place behind only Alexander Ivanov in Saturday morning’s blitz tourney.”

I would like to humbly suggest, Wilder, that you limit the LOTS Chess Festival to only FOUR rounds, in order to have a speed tournament Friday evening before the event so all can participate. Four rounds will make it much more difficult for top players to make a quick buddy-buddy, draw, as every half point will COUNT!

If you are reading this YOU are a member of the “community,” and maybe you have an idea you would like to share. If so, leave a comment. Maybe YOU will pledge to get just one more player to come next year. If so, you have done your part. If EVERYONE did this then Wonderful Wilder Wadford could actually RAISE the prize fund! You can start by sending an email with a link to this post to just one player you know, asking them to pass it forward.
What’cha waiting for?

Now, some CHESS! Gene was nice enough to send me a couple of games he annotated, with the help of what he calls the “clanking digital monster.” Check it out: “The clanking digital monster says I missed a win late in the endgame when we both had under a minute remaining, but the details included allowing an unthinkable, but apparently not uncomputable, pawn-romp that involved the other fellow promoting first. Unthinkable.”

The complete Nix vs Ferguson game can be found in the previous post.

We will begin with the position after 52 Be4:

Black plays 52…Ne6?

Gene then played 53 Bf5? missing the move of the “clanking digital monster” (He does not attach a name to the CDM) 53 Kc3!

There follows:


54 b4+


55 c5+


56 Kc4


57 Bd3


58 b5


59 b6


60 Be4


61 Bg2 (Gene writes: “One can always spot the computer analysis. What live human could allow this pawn-scamper with under a minute on the clocks?”)


62 Kd5


63 Kxc6


64 b7


65 Bxf1


66 b8=Q


67 Kc7


68 Kb7


69 Ka8


70 Qb7+


71 c6 +-

Hard to believe Gene missed this line…

Land of the Sky XXXI

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

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

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

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

Gene Nix (1907) vs Randal Ferguson 2199

Round one

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

The next game features the Yerminator, GM Alex Yermolinsky,

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

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

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

Round two

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

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

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

Round 3

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

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

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

Round four

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

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

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

Round five

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Kliber (1915) vs David High (2055)

Last round

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

Alexander Rutten (1973) vs Peter Michelman (2065)

Round 4

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

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

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

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

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

South Carolina Senior Chess Championship

Mr. Gene Nix is the President of the Greenville, South Carolina, Chess Club included the AW in his latest mailing even though I was unable to participate in the tournament much to my regret. I asked if it could be used by the AW and I got a kick out of his reply:

Good afternoon Michael!
Certainly! That is, I mean you may use it.

There is nothing the AW can add to Gene’s report, so, without further adieu, the complete newsletter:

Greenville Chess Club:

December 20, 2017

Happy first week of winter, Greenville chess mongers of all ages, venerable and otherwise! Did you know the SC Senior Open happened this past weekend?! Here’s what happened:

9th Annual South Carolina Senior Open, December 16-17, 2017
Nineteen venerable gentlemen from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Virginia converged on the Hampton Inn at I-385 in Greenville, SC, to resolve the matter of senior dominance at the chess board in South Carolina!
Accelerated pairings left only two perfect 2-0 scores going into the Sunday rounds, setting the pieces for a Master-level showdown in the final round between leader Life Master Peter Bereolos of Tennessee, and South Carolina legend Life Master Klaus Pohl. The Tennessee Master finally prevailed for the tournament win, while Daniel Quigley won a ratings upset over past NC Senior Champion Michael Kliber two boards down to take the SC Senior Championship trophy and title, and to share second & third places with Dr. Clark Brown of Georgia! The U1600 leaders finished with a five-way tie at 2-2, with Michael Meekins taking the SC U1600 Senior trophy, which award was established on-site and which object is on order for delivery forthwith! The contending field included also from South Carolina John Haymond (returning to competition this year after a too long break), Lee Marinelli and Dean Creech; and from North Carolina Michael Matson, Joseph Quinlan, Wayne Spon, Bruce Roth, Debs Pedigo, Mike Eberhardinger, and Harold Zeltner; and Ray Downs from Alabama; and Steven Boshears from Georgia, and from Virginia was Rob Mahan, a fellow organizer of Senior tournaments!
South Carolina Senior Champion Daniel Quigley will receive an invitation and a stipend to compete in the Tournament of Senior State Champions next July in Madison, Wisconsin, alongside the US Open, to include a half-off entry into the US Open itself afterward. The development of this new event derives from SCCA President David Grimaud’s work as the US Chess Senior Committee President!
Warmest thanks go to the staff of the Hampton Inn for their responsive service, and to Business Manager Ms. Jessica Dillard for her close management of guest room matters. Special thanks go to Mr. Grimaud and Precision Tune Auto Care for their generous sponsorship of this and other SC tournaments, and to some unnamed, anonymous, and undisclosed donors who added funds to augment the U1600 prizes, to include an Under-1600 SC trophy! Local TD Gene Nix organized and officiated.

This week, Thursday: Rated Blitz, G/3, +2, starting 7:45 PM at Barnes & Noble on Haywood Road. Double or single RR in sections as applicable and useful. Pleeeeeeeaaaaassssse: be there in time to enter so we start on time!

Children’s chess – please note the change: Alternating Wednesdays, 6-7:30 – Boardwalk!! Next meeting Wednesday, January 3, 2018!
Mr. Doug Peterson moderates chess gatherings of young players on alternating Wednesdays at various sites in the area (mostly Boardwalk game store near Haywood Mall, but occasionally Barnes & Noble on Haywood, or Pelham Rd Library). If you’re interested, please contact me and I will put you in contact! Or just show up!

We’re a much better behaved chess mob of late, for which I am personally grateful. We must please continue to:

1. Respect the other paying customers’ right to tables. We must also be paying customers – buy a coffee and/or donut, or anything.
2. Please bring sets and clocks.
3. Please supervise your children. We have been too loud in the past.
4. Store regulations do not permit outside food and drinks. Obvious exceptions would be infant food and medically prescribed items.

Your next best moves, in the local area:
Jan 13: GSSM January Open, Hartsville, SC
Jan 20: CCCSA Reverse Angle 80
Jan 26-28: Land of the Sky XXXI, Asheville, NC
Feb 3: CCCSA G/60 Action
Feb 17: CCCSA Reverse Angle 81
Mar 24: CCCSA Reverse Angle 82
Apr 7:CCCSA G/60 Action
Apr 21: CCCSA Reverse Angle 83
Disclaimer: Please verify the tournament before you travel, as schedules do change.

The Spartanburg Chess Club meets Tuesday evenings, 7-10PM, at Spartanburg Community College’s Tyger River campus. Monthly rated G/15 first Tuesdays, and other events elsewhen. Contact: Will Brown,

The Clemson Chess Club meets Tuesdays, 7-10PM, at the Calhoun Court commons basement on campus. POC: Eric Zuberi,

The Charlotte Chess Club meets every Wednesday evening at McAlister’s Deli, presided by National Master Leland Fuerstman: .

Boiling Springs CC meets Saturdays, 10AM, at the Boiling Springs library. POC: Jack Adamo,

Find us online!
Greenville Chess Club:
(Send in your memorable games for posting!)
Facebook: Greenville Chess Club – SC
SC Chess Association:
NC Chess Association:
Georgia Chess Association:

“Life like chess is about knowing to do the right move at the right time.” – Kaleb Rivera

Gene Nix
President, Greenville Chess Club
Treasurer, SC Chess Association
Life Member, USCF