2018 US Chess Open Rumors

Although I liked the DGT board used by the USCF in the recent US Open festival of sorts, there were myriad problems. Some rounds had only three of the six boards displayed, with nary a move having been played in the others. There were times when a result was given as the moves continued. Because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the last round I will say nothing concerning the last round. I will, though, say I found it very strange USCF posted nothing on the US Open for days, and when something was published it concerned “…our new National Girls Tournament of Champions winner.” Since I am putting this together Thursday afternoon I simply cannot recall the order in which the articles that followed appeared. After surfing on over to the website I noticed the order may be different because of some new articles. What I recall is a very short report on who won the tournament, followed by yet another article on girls, then an article written by GM Michael Rhode, which I intended to read but time did not permit, and it was taken down and is not currently on the main USCF webpage. Nothing can be found as to how to find it on the website. The fact that the USCF chose to publish articles on girls Chess before publishing anything on who actually won the event speaks loudly to what has happened to the USCF now that women are in charge. If girls Chess is the future of Chess, then Chess is dead, because the vast majority of girls stop playing the game around puberty, and there has been absolutely no evidence this will change in the future.

I liked the DGT board because it has no digital clanking monster analysis displayed. I do not like the fact that one cannot download the game(s). I obtained the moves of the game below the old fashioned way, writing them on a piece of paper. I have no idea if the moves given are correct, and there is no way of knowing from the information at hand. Such is Chess with the USCF…

A new article appeared today, Thursday, on the USCF webpage this morning four days after the conclusion of the event, by Al Lawrence. It is written, “The sudden death of one of the participants required the complete evacuation of the tournament hall for a 3 ½ -hour delay of all games in the ninth and final round. Read the US Chess statement posted that night here. Everyone showed respect for this necessity, as one of our own had ended life at the board. Liang-Gareyev was on Move 15 at the time all clocks stopped.” (https://new.uschess.org/news/eyes-wide-open-gareyev-wins-2018-u-s-open/)
One must wonder why the above could not have been published on the USCF website many days earlier. For example, I was elated upon learning the last round would begin at three pm in lieu of seven pm, which meant I could watch the whole round. Seven pm in Madison, Wisconsin is eight pm in Georgia, and I hit the rack before midnight. That afternoon I watched the opening part of the games before taking a nap, and shower, then having dinner. Upon springing Toby, the ‘puter, back to life to watch the action, the DGT board was, shall we say, a mess. I had no clue as to why, other than the problems finally overwhelmed the technology used by the USCF.

I have received emails concerning the unfortunate death at the board during the last round of the USO. My reply has been, “I am as in the dark as are you.” I am still in the dark, and flummoxed as to what occurred at the US Open. I have intentionally not written anything on this blog because I do not need to feed fuel to the rumors fire burning brightly on the internet. Maybe we will learn why the USCF stayed quiet about the situation so long; then again, maybe not…As of this writing there is still nothing written about the death during the last round…

I cannot say the following game was the best game played at the US Open, but it the best fighting game I saw on the DGT display. I ran the opening through the ChessBaseDataBase, and 365Chess. What was found follows. The only comment I will make concerning the rest of the game is that I cringed when Mr. Dean played his forty third move. It looks as though black had an advantage, albeit a small one, but nevertheless, an advantage. GMs wait for their opponent to play a weakening move such as the ill-fated weakening of his structure when playing 43…g5. That said, FM Jim Dean certainly made his GM opponent sweat bullets!

GM Jimenez Corrales 2635 vs FM Jim Dean 2249

2018 US Open rd 7

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 (SF at a depth of 49 considers this the best move while Komodo at a depth of 37 would play the the move played ten times more frequently than the game move, the usual, and standard 3…Bf5. I preferred the game move)

4 dxc5 (Komodo prefers 4 Nf3) 4…e6 (I vaguely recall an article in one of the New In Chess Yearbooks in which the author advocated playing 4…Nc6, which is the most played move. I also recall a GM writing he did not like this move because of the reply 5 Be3. The only one of the Big Three shown at the CBDB is Stockfish, and it plays the game move)

5 a3 (SF at a depth of 38 plays 5 Nf3, but changes it’s…what exactly does Stockfish change? If it were human I could write “mind,” but it’s a machine, so let us just say SF changes it changes it’s “crunching” and leave it at that for the time being because at depth 39 it would play 5 Bd3)

5…Nc6 (In another case of “let it run a little longer” SF would play 5…a6 at depth 41, but at the next level it would play the seldom played 5…Qc7. 5…Bxc5 is the most often played move with the game move a close second. Thirteen games have been played using 5…Qc7)

6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 (Houdini plays 8 Bb2) 8…Nge7 (SF’s move, but Komodo prefers 8…a5)

9 O-O (SF plays 0 Bb3) 9…Ng6 10 Re1 (SF and Komodo play 10 Bb2) 10…0-0 (SF plays 10…a5, while Houdini plays 10…f6)

11 Bb2 f6 12 exf6 gxf6 13 Bxg6 (SF would play 13 c4. The game move is not shown at the CBDB, or 365Chess, so this move is a TN and the game has been taken into the street)

Here is the full game as given:

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 dxc5 e6 5 a3 Nc6 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 Nge7 9 O-O Ng6 10 Re1 O-O 11 Bb2 f6 12 exf6 gxf6 13 Bxg6 hxg6 14 Qd3 Kg7 15 c4 dxc4 16 Qxc4 e5 17 Nc3 Nd4 18 Nxd4 Qxd4 19 Qe2 Bg4 20 Qf1 Qd2 21 Na4 Qc2 22 Nxb6 axb6 23 Bc1 Qc3 24 Be3 Rxa3 25 Rxa3 Qxa3 26 Qc4 Bf5 27 h3 Qd3 28 Qc7+ Qd7 29 Qxb6 Rc8 30 Qa5 Rc3 31 Kh2 Qc7 32 Qa4 Qd7 33 b5 Bc2 34 Qh4 Qxb5 35 Qh6+ Kf7 36 Qh7+ Ke6 37 Qg8+ Ke7 38 f4 Qb3 39 Qh7+ Qf7 40 Qh4 e4 41 Qf2 Qd5 42 Bd4 Rc4 43 Bb2 g5 44 fxg5 Qxg5 45 Qb6 Qf4+ 46 Kh1 Bd3 47 Qxb7+ Ke6 48 Ba3 Qc7 49 Qb5 Qg3 50 Qe8+ Kf5 51 Rg1 Rc2 52 Qd7+ Kg6 53 Bf8 Qc7 54 Qg4+ Kf7 55 Bh6 Qc8 56 Qg7+ Ke6 57 Ra1 Qc7 58 Qg4+ Kd5 59 Bf4 Qc3 60 Qd7+ Kc4 61 Qc6+ Kb3 1-0

Volokitin, Andrei (2674) vs Grishchenko, Sergey (2431)
Event: 15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014
Site: Yerevan ARM Date: 03/05/2014
Round: 3.49 Score: 0-1
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Bd3 Nd7 6. Nf3 Ne7 7. O-O Nc6 8. c4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Ndxe5 10. Nxe5 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nxe5 12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Nc3 Bxc5 14. Bf4 Nc6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. Bd6 a6 17. Ba4 b5 18. Nc5 Rd8 19. Bb3 Bc8 20. Bxe7 Kxe7 21. a4 Rxd1+ 22. Bxd1 Rd8 23. axb5 axb5 24. Bf3 Nd4 25. Ra7+ Kf6 26. Ra8 Nxf3+ 27. gxf3 Rd1+ 28. Kg2 Bd7 29. Rb8 Bc6 30. Rb6 Be8 31. Rb8 Ke7 32. Rb7+ Kf8 33. Rb6 Rd2 34. b3 Rd5 35. Ne4 h6 36. Rb8 f5 37. Nc3 Rd3 38. Rc8 Ke7 39. Rc5 b4 40. Na2 Rxb3 41. Rc4 Bh5 42. Rxb4 Bxf3+ 43. Kf1 Rxb4 44. Nxb4 Kf6 45. h4 f4 46. Nd3 Kf5 47. Kg1 Be4 48. Nc5 Bd5 49. Kh2 Kg4 50. Nd3 Be4 51. Nc5 Bf5 0-1

Zaleski, Lukasz (2220) vs Kaczmarek, Aleksander (2380)

Najdorf Mem Open A 2017
Warsaw POL 07/13/2017

ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Qc7 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Bxc5 8. b4 Bb6 9. Bb2 Ne7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bd3 Ng6 12. Re1 a5 13. b5 Nce7 14. a4 Bc5 15. g3 f5 16. h4 Bd7 17. Nbd2 Nh8 18. Nb3 b6 19. Nbd4 Nf7 20. Kg2 Rae8 21. Qe2 Nh6 22. Ng5 Ng6 23. f4 Nh8 24. c4 dxc4 25. Bxc4 Qc8 26. Nb3 Bb4 27. Red1 Ng4 28. Bd4 Qb7+ 29. Qf3 Qa7 30. Kg1 h6 31. Nh3 Bc8 32. Qc6 Qf7 33. Qxb6 g5 34. fxg5 f4 35. gxf4 Qh5 36. Bd3 Qxh4 37. Kg2 Re7 38. Be4 Ng6 39. Bf2 Nxf4+ 40. Nxf4 Qh2+ 41. Kf1 Qxf4 42. Rd8 Rf7 43. Ra2 Qxe4 44. Rxf8+ Rxf8 0-1

Dochev, Dimitar (2387) vsManagadze, Nikoloz (2419)
Halkida op 5th
Halkida Date: 11/20/2001

ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Qc7 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bb2 Ne7 9. Nbd2 Nbc6 10. c4 dxc4 11. Nxc4 O-O 12. Bd3 Ng6 13. O-O Qd8 14. Nxb6 Qxb6 15. Qb1 Rd8 16. h4 Nf8 17. Ng5 g6 18. Ne4 Ne7 19. Bc1 Nf5 20. Bg5 Bd7 21. Bxd8 Rxd8 22. Nf6+ Kg7 23. Bxf5 exf5 24. Rd1 Ba4 25. Rxd8 Qxd8 26. Qb2 a6 27. Qc3 h5 28. Qg3 Qd4 29. Rc1 Ne6 30. Nxh5+ Kh6 31. Rc8 1-0

Pavel Smirnov (2621) vs Alexandr Kharitonov (2503)

2007 Moscow Open

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bd3 Nge7 9. Bb2 Ng6 10. O-O Nf4 11. c4 O-O 12. Nc3 Ne7 13. Qd2 Nxd3
14. Qxd3 dxc4 15. Qxc4 Qc7 16. Qg4 Bd7 17. Ne4 Bc6 18. Rac1 Qb8 19. Rxc6 bxc6 20. Nf6+ Kh8 21. Nxh7 Nf5 22. Nf6 Nh6 23. Qh3 Bd8 24. Bc1 gxf6 25. Bxh6 Re8 26. exf6 Bxf6
27. Bg5+ 1-0

Konstantin Landa (2570) vs Sergey Kalinitschew

Bundesliga 0607 2006.10.28

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6
8. Bd3 Nge7 9. O-O Ng6 10. Bb2 O-O 11. Nbd2 f5 12. Nb3 a6 13. Re1 Qe7 14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Nh4 16. Rc1 Nxf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bd7 18. Rcd1 Rad8 19. Rd6 Bc8 20. Nc5 Bxc5 21.bxc5 Rde8 22. Bxa6 bxa6 23. Qxc6 Bb7 24. Qd7 Qxd7 25. Rxd7 Bd5 26. Rd6 Rb8 27.Bd4 Rb3 28. Rc1 Rd3 29. Bc3 Rc8 30. Be1 Rxa3 31. c6 Rb3 32. c7 Kf7 33. Rxa6 f4 34. Rd6 Kg6 35. Rd7 h6 36. f3 Rb2 37. h4 h5 38. Bc3 Rb3 39. Bd2 Kf5 40. Rxg7 Kxe5 41. Rg5+ Kd4 42. Bxf4 Kd3 43. Rxh5 Rb4 44. Bd6 Rb6 45. Bg3 Rb2 46. Rg5 1-0

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Winning

Draw!: The Art of the Half-Point in Chess

by Leonid Verkhovsky

The Luck of the Draw!? We have all seen games and perhaps even played them in which a difficult or lost game is salvaged by a brilliant drawing combination. In the early 1970s, Soviet International Master Leonid Verkhovsky collected some of the most fantastic draws ever played. You will be captivated by combinations and threats, as inexhaustible imagination in defense and attack counterbalance each other. The chess prowess of one player is basically in equilibrium with the mastery of his opponent. Both are playing for a win, both send their chess armies into close combat, and peace sets in on the chessboard when it practically becomes empty after a long and fierce battle. You will also delight at the spectacular “saving draws,” when, although in a difficult position, a player finds all possible (and impossible!) resources to make a draw. Example are drawn from the praxis of world champions and outstanding grandmasters, as well as from the games of lesser-known players. Of special interest is the research made by the author regarding stalemate, that special exception in the rules. The book is crowned with an interesting chapter in which the author addresses the drawn games of the world”s top players. “I am sure that all those who love and cherish our ancient game will appreciate this wonderful book. Mikhail Tal

https://www.chesscentral.com/draw-the-art-of-the-half-point-in-chess-book/

The above was found during a search for books about the draw in Chess. The book is the #804 best seller in Board Games at Amazon. There are seven reviews, with six awarding the book five stars and one giving it four stars. (https://www.amazon.com/Draw-Half-Point-Chess-Leonid-Verkhovsky/product-reviews/1936490811/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews)

You now know as much as do I…

The games presented in the previous post cause me to reflect about the bane of Chess, the draw. Players have different opinions about the draw. An example would be a legendary Georgia player who is invariably happy because he did not lose. I have always thought of a draw as one half of a loss. Having played every sport while growing at a Boys Club there was an often heard expression, “A tie is like kissing your sister.”

In Chess the winner receives one point; the loser zero. Players who draw a game receive one half point. Let us use a four player tournament as an example. Player A and player B battle on board one, while players C & D fight on board two. Player A beats player B, while the game on the second board is drawn. Board one receives a total of one point as one plus zero equals one. The second board also receives one point, as one half plus one half equals one. One point is awarded on each board. How can that be if it is true that “Everyone loves a winner?”

The answer is simple. If a draw is one half of a win, then only ONE HALF POINT should be awarded to the players on the second board. Thus, one quarter point for each player. This would increase of a win, which means one would have to think long and hard about passing out that “buddy-buddy” draw, especially in the later stages of a tournament.

What kind of practical effect would this have on Chess? An example would be a nine round tournament in which two players are tied for first having won all seven games. Player A loses in round eight while Player B draws his game. Player B then passes out a draw, but player A wins his game. Player A would have a score of 8-1, winning the tournament as player B would finish with a score of 7 1/2!

This simple rule change would create much more fighting Chess, making “group hugs” much less likely.

Back in the day there was a player who was called “The Drawing Master.” Robert Pruitt was an expert player from Alabama. We played in several tournaments, but never sat across the board from each other. I can recall one tournament in which he drew all five games. That would be a total of 1 1/4 points under the proposed rule change. Someone said he drew as many as he won, and could possibly have become a NM if he had only won a few of his many draws. As one wag put it, “You play that guy and you know you’ve got a draw in hand!”

Chess needs to put the emphasis on winning.

Draw?

There have been a plethora of Chess games currently available for viewing and I have recently spent an inordinate amount of time following the action on different websites. One of the players being followrd is British GM Daniel Gormally;

the reason being having recently finished his incredibly open and honest book, A Year Inside the Chess World: Insanity, passion and addiction.

GM Daniel W Gormally (2478) – IM Richard J D Palliser (2418)

British Chess Championship 2018 round 05

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Nd7 6. O-O Bg6 7. Nc3 Ne7 8. Rb1 Nc8 9. b4 Be7 10. h3 O-O 11. Bd3 Ncb6 12. Ne2 Bxd3 13. cxd3 a5 14. b5 c5 15. dxc5 Nxc5 16. Be3 Qd7 17. Qd2 Nca4 18. Rfc1 Ba3 19. Rc2 Rfc8 20. Rxc8+ Qxc8 21. Qd1 Qf8 22. Bd2 Nc5 23. Nf4 Ncd7 24. Bc3 Bb4 25. Bxb4 axb4 26. Qd2 Qc5 27. Ne2 Qxb5 28. Rxb4 Qa5 29. Nc1 Rc8 30. Nb3 Qa3 31. Rg4 Qe7 32. a4 Nf8 33. h4 Nbd7 34. Rb4 Rc2 35. Qxc2 Qxb4 36. a5 ½-½

Is does not take a clanking digital monster, or even a GM, to see 36… Nxe5 37. Nxe5 Qe1+ 38. Kh2 Qxe5+ wins a pawn. The ChessBomb shows IM Palliser having three minutes, twenty two seconds remaining. I do not know, but assume the time control has something added, but even without the added time, one could comfortably fire out the above moves and still have three minutes to decide what two moves to play before running out of time. Inquiring minds want to know, so I went to ChesBomb and, sure enough, the above is given as best, continuing with 39. g3 Qe1 40. Kg2 Qb4 41. Nc5 Qxa5 42. Nxb7 Qb6 43. Nc5 Qc6 44. d4 Nd7 45. Qb1 g6 46. Nxd7 Qxd7 47. Qb8+ Kg7 48. g4 Qe7 49. Qg3 f6 50. g5 Kf7.
Why was this game drawn?

Arthur Guo

is a young player from the Atlanta area of Georgia. Aurthur was highly touted by older players a few years ago and his FM title attests to his Chess strength. I seem to recall Arthur being a student of LM David Vest. In the fifth round of the recent concluded BARBER TOURNAMENT OF K-8 CHAMPIONS Arthur faced NM Andy Huang. Andy had won his first four games and was leading the tournament, while Arthur had drawn a game.

NM Andy Huang (2276) vs FM Arthur Guo (2315)

penultimate round five

2018 Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Nd7 4 O-O Ngf6 5 Re1 a6 6 Bf1 b6 7 d4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bb7 9 f3 e6 10 c4 Be7 11 Nc3 O-O 12 b3 Rc8 13 Bb2 Qc7 14 Rc1 Qb8 15 Kh1 Bd8 16 Qd2 Bc7 17 g3 Rcd8 18 Rcd1 Qa8 19 Bg2 Rfe8 20 Qf2 Ne5 21 Qf1 Qb8 22 Re2 Qa8 23 Ree1 Ned7 25 Red2 Ncd7 1/2-1/2

Draw? “What the fork is this?” I thought. They have reached an interesting middle game position. The white Queen’s position could possibly be improved, and the black Bishop on c7 looks somewhat out of place, but other than that it is a normal type position for this opening. White has more space, which can be increased with moves such as f4, h4, and g4. After all, the dark-squared Bishop has moved from the Kingside to the Queenside, meaning white has a preponderance of force on the Kingside. White can even increase territory on the Queenside with moves like a3 and b4. This would force black to “crack back” in order not to be smothered. And then we would have a GAME!
But no…
How are these young players ever to become better if they shuffle their pieces around behind the lines without taking up the challenge? How will they ever become proficient in playing the endgame if they agree to short draws? One would think that with the current human World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s grinder style of playing as long as there is play would filter down, with the young players attempting to emulate Magnus. But no!

Andy Huang won his last round game vs NM Alexander Costello, while Arthur Guo drew his final game with FM Anthony Bi He, who took clear second place. Arthur tied for third Costello and FM Vincent T. Say.

Stacey Abrams vs Brian Kemp

Brian Kemp

is currently the Republican nominee for Governor of Georgia in 2018. In the Georgia Gubernatorial Republican Primary Election, 2018, Mr. Kemp finished second, with 154,913 votes, good enough for 25.5% of the vote.

Casey Cagle,

the current Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, finished first with 236,498, which was 39.0% of the vote. Things changed in the runoff between the two candidates as Mr. Kemp received 406,638 votes, or 69.45% of the vote, while Mr. Cagle received 178,877, which was only 30.55% of the votes cast.

What happened to Casey Cagle?

Portraits of a Casey Cagle collapse

By Isaac Sabetai

As soon as he announced his run in April 2017, the lieutenant governor became the Republican front-runner. He raised in excess of $11.5 million — more than double the man who beat him in the runoff, Brian Kemp — and amassed a long list of endorsements.

None of that mattered. Cagle won just 31 percent of the vote in a two-person runoff race. That was a drop of 8 points compared with his performance in a crowded primary election.

By Election Day, Cagle trailed with 44 percent of all early voters to 56 percent for Kemp. The fallout from a secret recording where Cagle admitted to supporting “bad public policy” to undercut a rival candidate and Donald Trump’s endorsement of Kemp had wiped him out.

https://politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/portraits-casey-cagle-collapse/LX4ImTmS7cmFlB70mozZHL/

Mr. Cagle was called a “reasonable Republican,” as if such a thing exists there days. Brian Kemp ran as a “politically incorrect conservative.” That is a quote, which can be found in this advertisement:

Much of Kemp’s success has been attributed to the above, and the one below:

Obviously, many of the Georgia Republicans liked what they saw, and heard.

Brian Kemp’s opponent for Governor of Georgia in 2018 will be Stacey Abrams.

Stacey Yvonne Abrams (born December 9, 1973) is an American politician, lawyer, romance novelist, and businesswoman who served as Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stacey_Abrams

“Though Abrams is widely considered an underdog, the possibility of her victory is real.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/stacey-abrams-georgia-democrats-701308/

The future election has garnered much media coverage the world over because Ms. Abrams is “…the first black woman in American history to win a major party gubernatorial nomination.” The whole world will be closely watching this election.

Can Stacey Abrams Turn Georgia Blue?

David Byler

Georgia is changing as the graph below from the article shows:

The next graph illustrate how much the state of Georgia has changed as most of the new people move into larger metropolitan areas:

Other articles of interest:

http://time.com/5349541/stacey-abrams-georgia/

http://fortune.com/2018/04/24/stacey-abrams-debt-georgia-governor/

Stacey Abrams is in debt and much has been and will continue to be made of this fact by Republicans.

Stacey Abrams: I’m running for governor and am $200,000 in debt

Turner Cowles
Producer
Yahoo Finance July 26, 2018

Stacey Abrams is running for Governor in Georgia. She would be the first black woman to be elected governor of a state in American history if she were to win the election. But she faces some major roadblocks.

The office of governor was staunchly Democratic in Georgia until Sonny Perdue was elected in 2002. He was reelected in 2006 and was succeeded by another Republican, Gov. Nathan Deal, in 2010.

Abrams wrote an op-ed for Fortune in April, in which she argued her personal debt shouldn’t disqualify her from running for governor. She owes more than $227,000 in credit card debt, student loan debt and back taxes. She also owes $178,500 in real estate debt and $4,434 on a car loan (but since those are assets as well as debt, we haven’t included it in our breakdown of what she owes).

She isn’t alone. Millions of Americans are in debt. In fact, the total household debt in America is $13.2 trillion, according to the New York Fed, and balances are rising on most kinds of debt; credit cards were the only debt to see balances decline in the first quarter of 2018.

Higher profile politicians have struggled with debt, including former presidential hopeful Marco Rubio. When Rubio was first elected to the Florida legislature in 2000, he reported around $150,000 in student loan debt as well as $30,000 as assorted credit and retail debt, according to the New York Times.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/stacey-abrams-im-running-governor-200000-debt-191600455.html

The current Governor of Georgia is Nathan Deal,


(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

or as I prefer to think of him, Nathan “Raw” Deal; or Nathan “Asleep at the Wheel” Deal, as he continued to sleep while Georgia suffered, grinding to a complete halt during a blizzard.

Georgia gov.: “We did not make preparations early enough”

Last Updated Jan 30, 2014 3:29 PM EST

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took responsibility Thursday for the poor storm preparations that led to an epic traffic jam in Atlanta and forced drivers to abandon their cars or sleep in them overnight when a storm dumped a couple of inches of snow.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/danger-passing-but-not-over-in-atlanta-area/

“Raw” Deal was over TWO MILLION DOLLARS in debt when he became Governor of Georgia.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/georgia-gov-candidate-nathan-deal-owes-2m/

A few years things had changed dramatically:

How Nathan Deal Became A Millionaire while Governor
by Alan Wood September 26, 2014
http://gwmac.com/nathan-deal-millionaire/

Stacey Abrams owes about one tenth what “Raw” Deal owed when becoming Governor of Georgia.

After the last US Presidential election, in which the Trumpster was out voted by THREE MILLION VOTES nationally, Democratic Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who had his skull fractured while in the streets protesting “Jim Crow” laws in the South, has called Trump an “Illegitimate President.” Which begs the question, “Why did US citizens with dark pigmentation need to be out in the streets protesting for rights given to each and every citizen of the USA over one hundred after the war of Northern aggression?”).

Simply put, there are many people in Georgia (and the nation) who will NEVER vote for a person who is not white.

After the election I received an email from a former Chess player who exclaimed, “Look at the map. It’s almost all red!”

Although he had a point, I pointed out to him that most of that red area consisted of fewer people than the blue areas in and around the larger cities. This can be verified by reading this article:

Am Extremely Detailed Map of the 2016 Election

Bu Matthew Bloch; Larry Buchanan; Josh Katz; and Kevin Quealy

Once, the late Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, told someone that, “All politics is local.” https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a36522/how-all-government-is-local-and-thats-how-it-dies/

I live in a small city surrounded by much farm land and other small cities. Franklin county is composed of almost 90% white and about 10% “Black, or African American,” according the the official US Census.
https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/franklincountygeorgia/PST045217

In the last Presidential election 7054 (83%) people voted for Putin’s Puppet; 1243 (15%) voted for Hillary Clinton.

I did not vote, not that it mattered. When young I voted. The Viet Nam “police action” (It was NOT a WAR!) was happening and my life was on the line. I used to decry the fact that “old people” with one foot in the grave were voting when voting is about the future, and those folks lived in the past. Now I am that old person and I still believe the citizens with their lives before them should make the choices which will affect the rest of their lives. The last time I voted my vote was given to my Mother, who was dying of cancer. The absentee vote did not arrive in time, so I told her I would vote for the candidate for whom she would have cast her ballot, which was Republican Bob “Dour” Dole. After voting for Bob I told my Mother the vote had been cast while holding my nose. She laughed.

Life Chess Master David Vest, the only man to hold both the title of Georgia Chess Champion, and Georgia Senior Chess Champion, was fond of asking, “Are we moving forward?” Republicans are fond of calling themselves “conservative.” They do not want change, and many wish to go back to what they call the “halcyon” days. If they had the choice to make many of them would return to an earlier time when there were water fountains for “White” and “Colored” people. I am old enough to recall the separate water fountains. I hope this country chooses to move forward in the next election cycle, and the one coming in 2020.

We Americans are the world, which is why America is called the “melting-pot.” If there is any hope for the world it is only the people who embrace change that hold any hope for the country and the world. I learned a long time ago that an old, rigid tree will crack and fall in a storm, while a younger, more flexible tree will bend with the wind, and remain upright after the wind abates. I have, therefore, tried to embrace change during the course of my life, because change is the way of life. The next election, and possibly the next one, will be called the “Year of the Woman.” That is change, and I have absolutely no problem with the change. Old white men have made a complete mess of things. Maybe it is time We The People acknowledge that fact and lend our support to the women. After all, they cannot be worse than the Trumpster.

GOP Lawmaker Jason Spencer Shows His Ass

Mike Luckovich Atlanta Journal & Constitution

I was born and raised in the Great State of Georgia. I recall reading about a study some time ago in which Americans were asked how strongly they identified with their region. Unsurprisingly, Southern people identified most strongly with their region. As the saying goes, “You can take the boy out of the South, but you cannot take the South out of the boy.” We Southern folk know it goes even further than just region. During a conversation while living in the beautiful North Carolina mountain area of what is called the “WNC,” I mentioned something about “we,” as in “We are from the South.” One fellow shot a question, “Where are you from?” After answering, “The Atlanta area,” he fired back, “You ain’t one of us!” Obviously, some of the folks in the WNC region identify strongly with that area…

Georgia is a large state, geographically speaking. Most of the population is concentrated in the larger metropolitan areas. Politically speaking, the forward looking and thinking people live in the cities. The more conservative thinking people, who oppose change of any kind, live in the rural areas, which was known during the last election cycle as “Trump country.” Georgia is, therefore, a greatly diverse, and divided, state.

If you live in the US you are probably aware of the Republican State Congressman, Jason Spencer,

who greatly embarrassed our state on TV recently. If you live in other parts of the world, as do many of my readers, you may not have heard of the debacle. In case you missed it, here is Jason, the Republican, in all his glory:

Here are a few articles written after Jason made a fool of himself on national TV:

GOP Lawmaker Jason Spencer Strips Down, Screams ‘N-Word’ on Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’

The second episode of Baron Cohen’s Showtime series upped the ante with Dick Cheney and a seriously unhinged state representative from Georgia.

Matt Wilstein
07.22.18 10:31 PM ET
https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-lawmaker-jason-spencer-strips-screams-n-word-on-sacha-baron-cohens-who-is-america

Georgia lawmaker refuses to resign after using racial slur on Sacha Baron Cohen show

Jason Spencer also dropped his pants in Who Is America? series after being told it would scare off Muslim terrorists
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/23/jason-spencer-who-is-america-sacha-baron-cohen-n-word-video

Watch Sacha Baron Cohen Get Georgia State Rep to Shout Racial Slur, Drop Pants

Other Georgia lawmakers called for Spencer to resign, issue apology after Republican shouted “n-word” on ‘Who Is America?’

By Ryan Reed
https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/watch-sacha-baron-cohen-get-georgia-state-rep-to-shout-racial-slur-drop-pants-702442/

Brother Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia, September 23, 1930. Listening to this song always gives me chills.

The Najdorf in Black and White: A Review

Because of having played the Najdorf system during my formative years in the last century I was interested in learning about GM Bryan Smith’s new book on the opening (https://mongoosepress.com/the-najdorf-in-black-and-white/).

I met Bryan

at the 2009 Kentucky Open where he took first place by a half point. There were myriad problems with the tournament, directed by Alan Priest, which included no electricity for the lighting in the first couple of rounds, so it was played in semi-darkness, which seemed to not bother Mr. Priest. After developing a splitting headache, due to the poor lighting, and losing a game, I withdrew from the tournament, but returned the following day to spectate. While Bryan was waiting on the last round games to finish a conversation developed. Bryan is a quite, taciturn young man, the kind of fellow who lets his moves do his talking. I learned he was from Anchorage Alaska, and he is now the first-ever Grandmaster from Alaska. My home state of Georgia has yet to produce a home-grown GM. I recall asking Bryan why he decided to travel to Louisville in lieu of playing in one of the other, larger, tournaments in his area. He answered in a way that said he would rather be a big fish in a small pond that weekend rather than being a smaller fish in a much larger pond. “Better odds of taking home money?” I asked, and he produced a grin. We talked for some time and I transcribed what was recalled of the conversation later that day, but never used it, much to my regret. Bryan graciously answered my questions so what I recall was an enjoyable afternoon conversation with one of the nicest GM’s with whom I have conversed.

I have replayed many Nadjorf games since moving on to playing other openings, but have not devoted time studying the Nadjorf system with the intensity shown earlier when playing the system. For some time I have wanted a book to read on the system in order to compare the way the system is played now as opposed to how it was played last century, but the books are usually dense and voluminous, with a heavy emphasis on variations. Some of the books could be used as a doorstop. When my review copy, published by Mongoose Press (https://mongoosepress.com/), arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see it was only a small volume of 162 pages. The book is heavy on words, and ideas, rather than being yet another “data-dump.” Some have written books like the magnificent Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953,

by David Bronstein,

et al, cannot be published today because words, conveying ideas, are predominate. This book proves those writers wrong. Most of the variations included are short enough one does not need a board with which to visualize them. One of the players from my early days told me he liked to read a Chess book without using a board. There are enough diagrams for one to utilize this book in that way, which is exactly how I read the book. Then I read it again using a board and pieces because it is that good.

The book begins with an Introduction: The Cadillac of Openings.

“With this book, I present a collection of games played in the Najdorf Sicilian. The purpose of this book is not to be exhaustive – that would require at least ten times the content, and even then it would not encompass a fraction of the analysis and relevant games played in the Najdorf. This book also does not suggest a repertoire for either White or Black – although players can glean some ideas, since I have generally picked games played in the lines I favor. I think it is dishonest for a writer to try to portray an opening in only a positive light: ultimately, even the most objective writers of repertoire books have to massage the facts and minimize the problems of an opening – and every opening has them.

The purpose of this book, rather, is to show how to play the Najdorf, with White or Black, through archetypal games. I believe that by studying the games in this book, one can develop a solid general sense of the different types of game resulting from the Najdorf as played in the twenty-first century. It is my hope that readers will also gain some degree of enjoyment or entertainment from the games, which have been selected not only on their instructional merits, but also for their aesthetic value.”

The book will be judged by the criteria chosen by the author. The question is whether Bryan delivered on his promise. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In Baseball terms this book is like hitting a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series!

Bryan continues the introduction. “Having a lifelong opening that one knows inside and out like one’s own house is a major advantage to a chess player. It means that the player can always rely on reaching position that he understands in general terms and knows something about. Perhaps more importantly, though, it gives confidence.”

Reading the above caused me to reflect upon my early days playing the Najdorf. I have never felt as confident playing any opening as I did when playing the Najdorf system. Why did I stop playing the Najdorf system? Bryan continues the introduction, “A sufficiently rich opening will provide immunity against the winds of theory – if one variation is refuted, another can be found, so long as the opening is built on proper principles. I believe the Najdorf can be such an opening. Some may imagine that is is a theoretical labyrinth, suitable only for those with an incredible memory and a willingness to play twenty or more moves of known theory before beginning the game. It is true that there are certain lines in the Najdorf where this is the norm – for instance, the Poisoned Pawn Variation (6.Bg5 e6 7,f4 Qb6). However, the reader will see in this book that these variations can be sidestepped, and that it is indeed possible to play the Najdorf “by the light of nature,” with experience providing a guide. Most of the games I have chosen feature ways of avoiding these quagmires. Despite its sharpness, the Najdorf is an opening built on solid positional principles. It is basically a positional opening.”

When first beginning the Chess road the Dragon variation was very popular. Once a strong player advocated against purchasing a book on the Dragon because “It is written in disappearing ink.” He said that because the theory was changing so fast by the time you read the book, much of it had been refuted. The same could have been said about the Najdorf system. I also recall reading something about there being players who knew the Najdorf, but did not know Chess. I was one of those people, because like others, I knew the Najdorf, but not Chess. After leaving Chess for Backgammon, upon my return to Chess I simply did not have time to keep abreast of the constantly changing theory of the Najdorf system, so decided to learn, and play, other openings. Yet what I learned about Bobby Fischer’s favorite opening has stuck with me, while the other openings never infused me with the confidence felt when playing the Najdorf system.

After the introduction, and before the first chapter, one finds, The Development Of the Najdorf Sicilian, a seven page historical perspective of the Najdorf system. It begins, “The Najdorf can trace its origins to the nineteenth-century German master Louis Paulsen.

Paulsen was an innovator of defense. In an era when 1.e4 e5 was the dominant opening and direct attacking play was the main method of winning, Paulsen understood the concept of asymmetrical play and counterattack. His openings and positional play were often a full century ahead of their time.”

Louis Paulsen was one of the most interesting, and underappreciated, players from the early days of the nineteenth century. Paulsen’s ideas influenced the development of the Royal game greatly. I played openings such as the C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation, for example.

Bryan gives a game between Lewis Isaacs and Abraham Kupchick played at Bradley Beach in 1928, writing, “A forgotten 1928 game from a tournament in the U. S. might be the first use of the “real” Najdorf.”

Lewis Isaacs vs Abraham Kupchik

Bradley Beach 1928

ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 b5 7. Bf3 e5 8. Nb3 Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Rc1 Nb6 13. Na5 Rb8 14. Nxb7 Rxb7 15. b3 Rc7 16. Qd3 Nbd7 17. Be3 Nc5 18. Qd1 Qa8 19. Bg5 Ncd7 20. Nb1 h6 21. Bd2 Rfc8 22. Ba5 Rc6 23. g3 Nc5 24. Nc3 Bd8 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Nd5 Nxd5 27. Qxd5 Qc8 28. Red1 Ne6 29. Bg4 Rc5 30. Qd2 Rc3 31. Re1 Qc5 32. Re3 Rxe3 33. fxe3 Ng5 34. Qd3 d5 35. exd5 Rxd5 36. Qe2 Qc3 37. h4 Rd2 38. Qe1 Ne4 39. Bf5 Nf2 40. Bd3 Nxd3 41. cxd3 Qxd3 42. Rc8+ Kh7 43. Rc1 f5 44. a4 b4 45. g4 Re2 0-1

He culminates the chapter with, “Despite the opening’s great popularity and constant use at the top level for many decades, the Najdorf remains mysterious and has its unexplored areas, with the new ideas waiting to be born. Its attraction for the chess professional today is easy to understand, since it is an opening where it is possible to play for a win with Black, while it is also unquestionably sound. Although positionally and tactically very sharp, the Najdorf player still controls his own fate.”

Chapter one is titled, Va Banque: 6.Bg5. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 the author advocates Qc7. I never played any move other than 7…Be7 because, well, you know, that is the move played by Bobby Fischer. After studying the games, and positions, I came to understand why the author would advocate the move Qc7 for those taking their first Najdorf steps. The amount of material in the main line can be daunting for a neophyte. The fourth game of the chapter is one in which the author had white against Hristos Banikas at Retymnon in 2009. After the obligatory first five moves of the Najdorf Bryan played 6 Bg5, which was answered with Nbd7. “An old and new move – it was played frequently in the 1950s and again in the 2010s – and not so much in-between.” After 7 f4 we have Qc7.

The other chapters are:

2) The Classicist’s Preference: 6 Be2
3) Add Some English: 6 Be3
4) In Morphy’s Style: 6 Bc4
5) White to Play and Win: 6 h3
6) Systematic: g3
7) Healthy Aggression: 6 f4
8) Action-Reaction: 6 a4
9) Odds and Ends

To illustrate what I mean by the use of words, in lieu of variations, to explain what is happening on both sides of the board, look at the position from Game 11: Zaven Andriasian-Ian Nepomniachtchi, played at the 2010 Aeroflot Open in Moscow. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3

The reader finds, “The retreat of the knight to f3 rather than b3 changes nothing in the structure (at least not right away), but the choice of this square has a dramatic effect on the course of the game. In contrast to 7. Nb3, putting the knight on f3 leads to much quieter, more positional play, where White tries t dominate the d5 square. And why is this? Whereas 7.Nb3 allows for White to play f2-f3 with queen-side castling and a king-side pawn storm, after 7,Nf3 this is not possible. White will almost certainly castle king-side. In the meantime, b3 is left free as a retreat square for the bishop from c4. Consequently, rather than opposite-side castling and mutual attacks, you get a more positional struggle.”

Another fine example is from Game 14, Nigel Short

vs Garry Kasparov,

PCA World Championship, game 8, London 1993: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 Nbd7 8. f4 Nc5 9. e5 dxe5 10. fxe5 Nfd7 11. Bf4 b5

“In this way, Black places the bishop on its best diagonal (the long diagonal) before White can prevent it by Qd1-f3. Such a position might look good for White on the surface-the e5-pawn confers some space advantage and White has rapid development, plus the f-file is open and the white pieces are placed in threatening-looking positions. But such is the poison of the Sicilian. Black too has his advantages, and they tend to be more long-lasting. The bishop which will come to b7 will be very well placed. The advanced e5-pawn is not only a strength, but a weakness. And most importantly, Black has a well placed knight on c5 and a substantial advantage in space on the queen-side – the advance…b5-b4 is constantly looming over White, and the b3-bishop, if not activated in some dramatic fashion, could turn out to be a complete dud.”

One can turn to almost any page and find nuggets of wisdom such as the above illustrating the aims of BOTH SIDES! If one wishes to play the Najdorf system, or play against it, this is the book for you.

The author has dug deep, unearthing this game, found in the notes to Game 24, Judit Polgar

vs Dariusz Swiercz,

which I was unable to locate in any database. Bryan writes, “6…e6 is likely to be met by 7.g4, which looks like a fairly promising line for White – although 7…Nc6 is another possibility for Black to look into. Instead, the originator of 6.Qf3, American master Andrew Karklins, liked to continue with 7.b3. His record against grandmasters with this line was not very good, but he did have one major scalp:

Andrew Karklins

vs Peter Svidler,

World Open 1995

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 e6 7. b3 Qb6 8. Nde2 Qc7 9. Bb2 b5 10. a3 Bb7 11. g4 d5 12. exd5 Nxd5 13.
Bg2 Nd7 14. O-O Bd6 15. Qh3 Nxc3 16. Nxc3 Be5 17. Bxb7 Qxb7 18. Rad1 O-O 19.Qe3 Bb8 20. Ne4 Ne5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. Nc5 Qc7 23. f4 Bf6 24. Rd7 Qb6 25. Rfd1 Rfd8 26. b4 a5 27. Qf3 axb4 28. axb4 Kf8 29. Kg2 Rdc8 30. R1d6 Qb8 31. Qd3 1-0

This book achieves its aim, hitting the target with a bullseye!

The High Planes Drifter

An excellent article, 1st Ron Finegold Memorial, by Davide Nastasio, appeared at the Chessbase website recently (https://en.chessbase.com/post/1st-ron-finegold-memorial).

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

Elshan Moradiabadi wins with 4½ out of 5

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

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

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

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

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

A game Ron Finegold

lost to Bobby Fischer

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

David Vest


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Vest 2200 vs Harry Le 1971

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

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

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

13 Ne5

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

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

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

IM Vinay Bhat (Earned GM title in 1997)

vs David Vest

1996 American Open

Los Angeles, California

B02 Alekhine’s defence, Brooklyn defence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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