Pushing Chess To The Limit

The post today features two games from the ongoing Charlotte Chess Center GM/IM Norm invitational. The first game is between IM Alexander Matros (2371) from Kazakhstan, the top rated player in the IM tournament, and FM Doug Eckert (2165) of the USA. The 2165 rating is his FIDE rating, which is only Expert level. His USCF rating is 2258, which is above the Master line. The question is why are there two different ratings? Certainly Doug, who is eligible for the US Senior, would like to come out of this tournament with his FIDE rating over 2200. Mr. Eckert is on the board of the St. Louis Chess Club, as one learns in the following video:

2016 Sinquefield Cup: GM Maurice Ashley with FM Doug Eckert

IM Alexander Matros (2371)

vs FM Doug Eckert (2165)

Charlotte CLT IM 2021 round 02

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Qa4+ Nc6 9. e3 O-O 10. Be2 Be6 11. O-O a6 12. Rfc1 Bd6 13. Qd1 Ne7 14. Na4 Rad8 15. Nc5 Bc8 16. b4 g5 17. g3
Black to move

I chose this game because of this position. Back in the day I was very fond of pushing the pawns in front of my king in order to attack. When IM of GM strength Boris Kogan


would see this when going over one of my games he would invariably groan. “Mike,” he would begin, “why you do this?” I would reply, “Mikhail Tal does this.” Boris would immediately return fire with, “You not Tal!”


Because of this I know more than a little something about this kind of position. In an analogous position I once played my knight to g6. “Why Mike?” Boris asked, “where knight go?” He had a point. Nevertheless I answered, “Because the knight plugs a hole on g6 and supports moving the h-pawn, Boris.” At that point Boris howled with laughter (if nothing else going over my games did cause the Hulk to laugh…), before repeating, “Plug hole,” with more laughter following…After gathering himself Boris explained that the best move in this position would be to go ahead and play 17…h5. “If you are going to attack, ATTACK!” Boris then patiently explained that since white had moved the g-pawn in front of his king, the attack with the h-pawn would be appropriate. This is why when teaching the Royal game to neophytes I will remember Boris every time I say, “There is a rule about not moving the pawns in front of your king.” Back to the game…what move did Doug choose?

17…Nf5? (and it was all down hill from here…) 18. Nd2 Rfe8 19. a4 Qe7 20. Nf1 Ng7 21. b5 a5 22. Ra2 Ne6 23. Nd3 Bd7 24. Bf3 c6 25. bxc6 Bxc6 26. Nd2 Qd7 27. Bg4 Rf8 28. Bf5 Qe7 29. Nb3 Ng7 30. Bh3 Ra8 31. Qd2 Bb4 32. Nxb4 Qxb4 33. Qxb4 axb4 34. a5 Bb5 35. Bf1 Bxf1 36. Kxf1 Ne6 37. Ra4 b6 38. a6 Ra7 39. Rc6 Rb8 40. Kg2 Kf8 41. Rxb4 Rxa6 42. Nc5 1-0 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-im/02-Matros_Alexander-Eckert_Doug)

The next game again features IM Matros, who sits behind the black army this time. His opponent is Dominique Myers,

a USCF National Master from the Great State of North Carolina, with a USCF rating of only 2182 that has fallen below the minimum number needed to become a Master, 2200. Mr. Myers FIDE rating is only 1985, so you know Dominique, the lowest rated player in the field, was hoping to at least boost his rating(s) at least somewhat. On with the game, and what a game it was! This game was a real “barn burner” as is often heard in the South. There are more twists and turns than Chubby Checker’s famous song, “The Twist.”

This game reminds me of some of the boxing matches seen, and participated in, “back in the day,” with shot followed by return shot and blow was followed by return blow, as was the case when in the final year of high school word went around that there was going to be a “fight at the football field.” Mike Chennault and Robert White put on a display, trading licks and swapping blows that would have made Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier proud!


The fight culminated with both exhausted combatants landing simultaneous right hands to the head and they both went DOWN! Then they became friends. Today a gun would’ve been pulled, with one dead and the other in prison for decades…
Which reminds me of how disappointed was the man from the High Planes, NM David Vest, a true horse lover, when I was asked at the House of Pain, “What are the six most famous words in sports?” Expecting, “And down the stretch they come,” Dave was crushed to hear me say the words famously spoken by Howard Cosell, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!” You get my drift; it was that kind of game!

NM Dominique Myers (1985) vs IM Alexander Matros (2371)

Charlotte CLT IM 2021 round 3

ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation

e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 (SF 13 @ depth 61 plays this move; SF 12 @depth 50 plays the most often played move, 5…Nf6) 6. Ne2 (SF 13 @ depth 41 plays 6.h3) 6…e6 (Two out of the three SF programs play the most often played move, 6…Bg4; the other plays the seldom played 6…e5) 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. O-O Nf6 10. Nd2 O-O (SF plays 10…e5. See Bersamina vs Antonio Jr. below) 11. Ng3 (TN) Bd7 12. f4 g6 13. Kh1 Rad8 14. Qf3 Ne8 15. Rae1 f5 16. Re3 Nf6 17. Qe2 Kh8 18. Kg1 Ne4 19. Nh1? (Nimzovich style!?) 19…Ne7? (This moved is even more red at the Bomb than his opponent’s move!) 20. Rh3 Ng8 21. Nf3 Qxf4 22. Ne5 Qg5 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. Rf4? (This move again made me think of Boris when I showed him a move like this one. “What? You think he not see cheap tactical trick?” Boris asked. Then he laughed uproariously when I answered, “He didn’t!”) 24…Kg7 25. Qe3 Nf6 26. c4 Nh5? (Another blood red move over at the Bomb, with good reason. There is not a Chess teacher who has not informed his student(s), that a “Knight on the rim is grim, or dim, or sometimes both!” The IM was cruising, but let one hand offa the rope momentarily, but still has the game in hand. Unfortunately for him, he now proceeds to loose some of his grip on the rope with that one hand until…) 27. Rxe4 Qxe3+ 28. Rexe3 Bc8 29. Rh4 f4 30. Rd3 Rf5 (The game according to the SF program at the Bomb, is even…It’s anybody’s Chess game now!) 31. Nf2 b6 32. Rhh3 Bb7 33. Rd1 Rg5 (Now white has an advantage! I was following this game in real time over at http://chessstream.com/invitational/ so as to watch the game without analysis and remember thinking, “Go Dominique!” David Spinks was known for saying, “you gotta pull for SOMEBODY!”) 34. Nf3 (Back to even) 34…Ra5 35. a3 Rf5 36. Ne5 Rg5 37. Nf3 Rf5 38. Nh4 Rf7 39. Rhd3 Rc7 40. b3 Rcd7 41. Ng4 g5 42. Nf3 h6? (Redder than red! This is a potentially losing move…) 43. Nge5? (The wrong Knight! Back to even…) 43…Rd6 44. b4 Nf6 45. h3 Ne4 46. a4 Ng3 47. c5 Bxf3 48. Nxf3 bxc5 49. bxc5 Ra6 50. Re1 Kf6 51. Ra1? (Advantage swings back to black…)51…h5 52. a5 Kf5 53. Ra2 Ne4 54. Ne5 Rd5? (A terrible move! Black goes from winning to losing with this move!) 55. g4+ hxg4 56. hxg4+ Kf6 57. Ra4??? (Oh no, Mr. Bill! This is what GM Yasser Seriwan would most definitely call a “howler.” Passed pawns MUST be pushed, and a Rook belongs BEHIND a passed pawn are well known endgame mantras) 57…Nxc5 58. dxc5 Rxe5 59. Rc3 Rc6 60. Rac4 Re2 61. Rd3 Ra2 62. Rd6 Rxd6 63. cxd6 Rxa5 64. Rd4 Rd5 65. Ra4 a5 66. Kf2 e5 67. Kf3 Ke6 68. Ra1 Kxd6 69. Rh1 Rd4 70. Rh6+ Kc5 71. Re6 e4+ 72. Ke2 e3 0-1 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-im/03-Myers_Dominique-Matros_Alexander)

Paulo Bersamina (2378) vs Rogelio Antonio Jr (2474)
Event: ch-PHI 2016
Site: Manila PHI Date: 06/22/2016
Round: 4
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.O-O Nf6 10.Nd2 e5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Bb5+ Nc6 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.Ne3 Be6 15.Nd4 O-O 16.Bd3 Nxd4 17.cxd4 Qb6 18.Rb1 Rfd8 19.f3 g6 20.Bc2 Bd7 21.Bb3 Bb5 22.Re1 Bc4 23.Bxc4 dxc4 24.Nxc4 Qxd4+ 25.Qxd4 Rxd4 26.Na5 Rd5 27.Nb3 a5 28.Rbd1 a4 29.Rxd5 Nxd5 30.Nc5 a3 31.bxa3 b6 32.Re5 Nf4 33.Nd7 Rxa3 34.g3 Ne6 35.Nxb6 Rxa2 36.Rd5 h6 37.f4 h5 38.Nc4 h4 39.Rd2 ½-½

This game is included for historical purposes as it was played in the wonderful mountain city of Hendersonville, a place I once called home earlier this century. David Rupel is from the great Northwest and played “fast and loose” when moving his f-pawn early in the game, which must have flummoxed his opponent.

Alan Kobernat (2101) vs David Rupel (2138)
Event: US Masters op
Site: Hendersonville, NC
Date: 03/18/2006
Round: 6
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.O-O f5 10.Re1 Nf6 11.Nd2 O-O 12.Nf3 Ne4 13.Ng3 Bd7 14.Ne5 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Qb6 16.Re2 Nc5 17.Rc2 Be8 18.Bf1 f4 19.Ne2 Bg6 20.Rd2 Ne4 21.Rd4 f3 0-1

I hope you enjoy this game as much as did I. Surf on over to ChessBomb and click through it yourself if you want analysis. If you would prefer to view the game and cogitate for yourself, head to Chessstream (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Games.aspx). I applaud both players, with extra emphasis going to Mr. Myers, who had his chances. I would rather PLAY, and lose, every game played in a tournament if they included chances to win than to meekly acquiesce an early draw any day. A game like this is why I play, and follow, Chess. Sure, it’s tough to lose, but there’s nothing like having your blood boiling while sitting at the board racking your brain in a vain attempt at finding the right move. So what if you’re completely drained and devoid of life after such a game. At least you FEEL SOMETHING, unlike those wussies who continue making short draw after short draw and leave devoid of any feeling whatsoever. THIS GAME IS WHAT CHESS SHOULD BE ABOUT! OK, you lost, but you have a GAME to study; you have a chance to improve; something from which to learn. What do those weak and worthless players who agree to a quick draws learn? My hat is off to Dominigue ‘My Man’ Myers! He pushed it to the limit versus the top rated player in the field.

Dedicated to Duan Watson

How To Survive The Corona Virus

While living in Hendersonville, NC, about a decade and a half ago the landlord of the cottage on the side of a mountain I rented had a retirement party. One of his daughters brought a case of Corona. She offered me one but I declined. She asked why. “That stuff is nothing but cheap Mexican beer in a clear glass bottle they marketed by putting a lime in it and young Americans lapped it up.” Her husband offered me a Heineken and I gratefully accepted saying, “Thanks for the real beer, man!”

Post dedicated to my favorite librarian, Heather, salt of the earth.

(Photo by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


Harry Sabine R.I.P.

Former commissioner, chess champion Harry Sabine passes

“Long-time Crossville attorney and county commissioner Harry D. Sabine passed away July 31. He was 78 years old.
Sabine grew up in Cumberland County, graduating from Cumberland County High School in 1958. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and returned to Crossville to practice law in 1968.
He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a captain, including one tour of duty in Vietnam.

He and his wife, Michelle Ann, had two sons, Steve and Jay.
Sabine was a champion of chess in the schools and community. He organized the Scholastic Chess program for Cumberland County beginning in 1973. The program garnered more than 20 state championships for the schools and top honors in national tournaments for Martin Junior High Chess Club in 1982 and 1985.
In 2003, Sabine began working to bring the U.S. Chess Federation to Crossville. The organization moved its national headquarters to Cumberland County in 2006.

Sabine also served four terms on the Cumberland County Commission representing the First Civil District.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced by the family at this time.”


The last time I saw Harry was at the 2009 U.S. Open in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2009. I had travelled from Louisville with one of my older students, Rick Rothenburg, for a day trip. An old friend, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, was the first to greet me in the parking lot. We talked for awhile before I walked inside. After entering the main playing hall the first person to greet me was Ryan Velez. He was playing but stood up and walked over to shake my hand and say hello. As he did so I noticed this large, hulking man break into a huge grin as he began ambling toward me from the front of the room. I, too, was grinning as I walked toward Harry Sabine, who had his outstretched hand pointing in my direction long before close enough to actually clasp hands. This was the first time we had seen each other since my publishing a post on the old, now defunct, BaconLOG, which follows.

Monday, June 1, 2009
Tennessee Senior Open

The Tennessee Senior Open was a wonderful event! Not feeling my best, I decided to play the first round Sat morning, in lieu of Fri night, but attended the opening ceremonies at the Fair Park Senior Center that evening. The Mayor, J.H. Graham III, welcomed us with open arms. I told him the following story: I left my hotel room after changing pants, as it was warm enough for shorts. After ordering a couple of burrito’s at Taco Bell, I realized the money was still in the jeans. I felt foolish, but the employee, Nan Turner, handed me the grub, saying it would be on her! I simply could not believe it! I mean, that does not happen in a large city like Atlanta. The next day I stopped by and gave her the money, which included a decent tip, which she attempted to refuse, to no avail. This is a perfect illustration of the difference between a big city and a small town. I learned that during my stay in Hendersonville, NC. My theory is that people are much more friendly in a small town because they realize the people they encounter one day at a restaurant may be the same person they encounter at the library the next day. In a big city, one thinks they will never see that person again. It is the people who constitute a community, whether Crossville, Tn., or our small chess community. This has to be one of the major reasons Crossville was chosen to be the new USCF HQ. A better place could not have been found. The next morning, upon my arrival, the Mayor greeted me, giving me his card and asking if I would send him the tale I told him the previous night via email. Then, when it came time for the picture, the Mayor asked me to stand beside him. Several others said a few words in greeting us, too, so the first round began a little late, which is very unusual for “Head ‘em up, move ‘em out” Harry Sabine, as he’s known for getting the round started on time. There was a drawing for prizes donated by the Crossville community, and I was fortunate enough to win one. There was free coffee, drinks and snacks for all the players, which was a real nice touch. Harry was the head TD, capably assisted by Susan Houston, an employee of the USCF, and her son, Charley, who kept us updated on the US Championship. Harry is training Charley; passing the torch, so to speak. Charley is quite young, and was, therefore, reluctant to tell we Seniors to be quite, so I told him he was a TD, and to say what needed to be said, since he was ‘The Man’. I smiled when Charley told a group, including me, to “keep it down.” Susan remarked the tournament had a different feel to it than any other she has attended, with the players acting more like a family reunion, or homecoming. Susan handled the ‘puter and also served as I like to think of her, as ‘Chess Mom’. She also coordinated trips for the players to the HQ. I went by earlier in the week, seeing old friends like Chuck Lovingood and Jay Sabine (and watching games from the US Championship!), Walter Brown, Alan Kantor, etc., and meeting new friends. The Fair Park Senior Center was a fine place for the tournament. The lighting was superior, far better than the recent Georgia State Championship, for example. Lighting is especially important for Senior players. Different folks from the Senior Center welcomed us, making us feel right at home. As I sat there listening to these wonderful people, I thought this is the kind of greeting I’ve read about on the web in European countries. It made me feel proud to be a chess player as they made us feel special. There were 35 players, far exceeding the small turnouts for previous Tennessee Senior tournaments, which were only a one day event with a G/60 time control. I think part of the reason was a tribute to Harry Sabine. We still miss the Fairfield Glade after all these years! One year it snowed heavily and we were stranded Sunday night but the Glade did not charge us for the room! Players came from half a dozen different states, with one player originally from England and one from the Netherlands. NM Henry Robinson took first, 4-0. The fine Chess Café historical writer, Jerry Spinrad, was clear second with 3 ½. Seven players tied for third with a score of 3-1. I was in that group, losing only to Henry. An ornate chess set was donated by the Fair Park Senior Center and it went to the biggest upset (I asked Harry if that meant the largest rating differential, or the player who got the most upset after a loss, which brought a smile to his mug). My first round opponent, Larry Grohn, rated 880, bested my third round opponent, Wieb Van Der Meer, 1420, in the last round to take the prize. Mucho Kudos to Harry Sabine for holding this event! Although Harry and I have had our differences over the years, I prefer to think of it as a disagreement with a TD, not the man. The man is someone with whom I have shared a drink of Jack Daniels (what else would Harry drink?!), and invited into the Atlanta Chess Center on a day it was closed for Thanksgiving, make a cuppa joe, and have a conversation while showing him around the House of Pain. The best part was the look on Harry’s face when I opened the door after his knock! I knew it was Harry after glancing out the window and seeing his orange tennis shoes! I must have been the last person Harry expected to see. Knowing Harry had been a Marine I mentioned a man from the old neighborhood who had also been a Marine during World War Two, Sloppy Floyd Bailey, who had said, “Once a jarhead, always a jarhead!” Harry smiled before saying, “Sloppy Floyd knew what he was talking about.”

The worst thing I heard about Harry while in Crossville was that he is a “fine man.” And I heard it not once, but many times. “Oh, you know Harry Sabine? He’s a such a nice man.” Or, “Harry Sabine is a wonderful man.” You must come to Crossville in order to understand what having the USCF HQ means to this community. These people are PROUD, and Harry Sabine, as the Mayor said, deserves much credit. The modest Harry pointed out the work of others. I can think of no one better than Harry to coordinate a Senior tournament in all 50 states! Senior chess is bringing players back to the game, in some cases after many years out of chess. I would like to thank Harry, Susan, Charley, and everyone else for a wonderful time here in the mountains…


While putting together the post of February 14, 2018, THE SURROUNDING GAME

(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-surrounding-game/), I was thrilled to see the movie was available on YouTube. After finishing the post I had something to eat and then rested. After a cuppa joe I settled in to watch the movie…Unfortunately it was no longer available due to a copyright infringement.

It has been many years since watching any movie in a theater. Since it would have cost five dollars to watch the movie online I decided to wait until it could be watched free of charge. The movie debuted on Netflix August 30 and I watched it the next day. The focus of the movie was on the young players. This caused me to reflect upon what I consider the best post ever made on this blog, or the earlier BaconLOG, for that matter (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/these-are-my-people/). It matters not what game is being played, or even if a game is being played. It is the same feeling one has when attending a convention of model train enthusiasts, or sports memorabilia fanatics.

When the movie ended I headed to the Internet Movie Data Base (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3973724/?ref_=nv_sr_1) to find it rated 8.1. A few minutes ago I returned to find it now rated 6.8. I liked the movie but am no impartial observer as I was there during the US Go Congress when it was filmed. I was living in Hendersonville, North Carolina at the time and traveled to Black Mountain four times during that week. I did not participate in the tournament because there was a “Meal Plan,” priced at $195, required for all attendees. I kid you not…The organizers did not expect participation by a local and they would not relent.

From the movie one learns there were only two hundred players who were members of the US Go Association a couple of decades ago. The exponential increase in the number of Go players has been phenomenal, and this was before the movie!

The 2006 Go Congress did attract 334 players. It was held at the Blue Ridge Assembly (https://blueridgeassembly.org/), a magnificent venue. I was reminded of the first Land of the Sky Chess tournament held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina (https://www.biltmore.com/). The majority of my time was spent in the room where books and equipment was sold. Most of the games I played were in that room and were played with those doing the selling. I did, though, play a few games with lower ranking players who were participating in the tournament. Since I was unable to win a game maybe the organizers, without knowing, did me a favor.

I purchased many books about the game of Go, including one, Reflections on the Game of Go : The Empty Board 1994-2004,
by William S. Cobb, that is priced at $125 at Amazon. It appears the price of Go books has increased dramatically since many, if not most, books come in digit form these days.

I had a wonderful time during that week and met many people who were extremely nice to me, even if I was considered to be some kind of curiosity since I was considered a Chess and Backgammon board game player. When it came time to eat I went to a Mexican restaurant in the city of Black Mountain where someone who lives in the area, and whom, per his request, I can never mention again, (this came after my post of July 18, 2018, https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=fuck+you+mr+president) had previously taken me for lunch.

Ga Open Final Round Board One: The Pipe Cracks

When the game between Meruga and Studen finished, all eyes, or at least my two, turned to the game on top board. IM Ron Burnett, from the Great State of Tennessee, needs no introduction. He has played in, and won, so many tournaments in Georgia he should be made an honorary citizen. Of all the memories I have of Ron, several stand out. After losing the only tournament game we contested, Ron said, “I did not know you were so strong.” Hearing that assuaged my hurt pride to some extent. I happened to walk by a game in which Ron had just arrived at a position of Bishop & Knight versus King. I stood there while the International Master took about thirty seconds to consider the position before beginning to play his moves, which came with rapid fire once he began. Then there was the time at one of the US Masters in Hendersonville, North Carolina, when Ron was locked in battle with FM Miles Ardaman. Time was short and the players were playing as if it were a speed game. While they played, LM Klaus Pohl, for some unknown reason, was histrionically gesticulating while also making much noise. The two players sat transfixed, oblivious to the commotion. I asked NM Neal Harris, “Has Klaus lost his mind?” Neal said only, “Yes.” I never learned what caused the Dour Kraut to come unglued, but I did ask both players if they had been bothered by the outburst. “What outburst?” they said. The game ended in a draw.

Alan Piper needs no introduction to local readers as he has been one of the most prolific players locally for many years. Mr. Piper best typifies what used to be the motto of the USCF, “Chess is a lifetime sport,” until it became, “Chess is a children’s game.” The Pipe is a former Champion of the Great State of Missouri. I went to the website of the Missouri Chess Association (http://www.mochess.org/Champs.php) to determine when, and how many times Alan won the Championship, but the list of Champions only goes back to 1999. It is surprising it went back to the last year of the last century. I am not surprised it goes no further because to the new people who have taken over chess the players of an earlier era are dead, even if they still play the game. Suffice it to say Alan Piper has been a factor in every chess tournament in which he has participated since he set foot in Georgia. He is a taciturn, unprepossessing gentleman who loves the Royal game. As one of the few Seniors who still play, he is one of the players the herd of children must “kill” in order to advance in the ranks. Most do not succeed. One who did is Reece Thompson, by now old enough to be considered a veteran, who bested The Pipe in round four, the only blemish in Alan’s score as he sat down to face Ron in the last round.

Ron Burnett vs Alan Piper
Last round Ga Open Top Board

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Nd5 Bc5 6.
e3 O-O 7. Ne2 d6 8. a3 a6 9. O-O Nxd5 10. cxd5 Ne7 11. d4 exd4 12. Nxd4 Nf5 13.
Nc2 Re8 14. b4 Bb6 15. Bb2 Bd7 16. e4 Nh6 17. Qd2 Bb5 (17… Ng4) 18. Qc3 (A natural choice, my choice, but Houdi shows 18 Rfc1 is better) Qg5 19. Rfe1 Ng4
20. Nd4 Qh5 21. h3 (h4!?) Ne5 22. a4 Bd7 23. g4 Qh4 24. a5 Ba7 25. f4 (This self-pins the Knight. 25 Re2!) Ng6 (25… Rac8 26. fxe5 dxe5 and “pin to win”) 26. Kh2 Bxd4
27. Qxd4 f6 28. Rf1 (28 f5 is one of the most ugly moves ever seen, severely weakening the dark squares and giving the e5 square to the Knight, but must be played because of the possibility of…) Bxg4 29. f5 (Closing the barn door after the horse has escaped) Ne5 30. Rf4 (The program thinks the White position so bad it plays 30 Qf2, allowing a trade, and then takes the Knight to boot. If that had happened we would not have what is about to follow. Sometimes a player must play a dubious move, knowing just how dubious it is!) Qh5 31. Ra3 Be2 32. Rg3 Kh8 33. Bc3
Rf8 34. Qd2 Rae8 35. Bxe5 Rxe5 36. Rf2 Bb5 37. Bf3 Qe8 38. Rfg2 Re7 39. Qd1 Qd8
40. Rg4 Be8 41. Rh4 Qd7 42. Bh5 Qa4 43. Qg4 Kg8 (43… Bxh5 44. Qxh5
h6 and if 45. Qg6 Qe8) 44. Bxe8 (Qf4!?) Qxe8 45. Rh5 Rff7 46.
Re2 (46 Rh4) Qb5 (46…Re5!) 47. Rh4 Re5 48. Qh5 (48. Rb2) Stop! Consider the position. Although Black has a “Beeg Pawn,” he is under a withering attack from his top-seeded IM opponent. How does one defend against the onslaught from the heavy artillery?

48…h6 ( 48…g5! A move I did not even consider because of my dogmatic thinking in adherence to the “rule” of “never moving a pawn in front of the King when under attack.” Sometimes the most beautiful defensive move is one not played…)
49. Rg2 Kf8 50. Rhg4 Qd7 (50… Qe8) 51. Qg6 Ke8 52. Qh7 (The program considers taking the Rook with 52 Qxf7 and going into a pawn down endgame best, but what do machines really know? The human is trying to WIN THE GAME!)
52…Ree7 (A natural defensive move, but it gives the advantage to White. Alan should have played, there it is again, 52…g5!) 53. Rxg7 Kd8 (53… Rf8 !?) 54. Rxf7 Rxf7 55. Rg8+ (55. Qh8+ and it is all over but the shouting) Ke7 56. Rg7 Qe8 57. Qxh6 (57. Rxf7+!) Qb5? (With this move the Pipe cracked. Simply 57…Kd8 is equal) 58. Rxf7+ Kxf7 59. Qg6+ Ke7 60. Qg7+ Ke8 61. Qg8+ Kd7 62. Qe6+ Kd8 63. Qxf6+ Ke8 64. Qg6+ Kd8 65. f6 Qe2+ 66. Kg3 Qf1 67. Qg8+ Kd7 68. Qe6+ Kd8 69. Qe7+ 1-0

A thrilling battle. There were many vicissitudes and missed opportunities by both players. This game is what chess is all about. It is the kind of all-out battle one would expect from a last round game, and should be the kind of game played in each and every round. Unlike the truncated early agreed draws that proliferate these daze, this game is a credit to both the victor and the vanquished. All I can say is, “Thank you, gentlemen.”

T bone Burnett – Kill Zone

Flowing With Intuition

After moving to Hendersonville, NC, I found myself sitting across the chess board playing a speed game at the weekly chess club from Expert Jimmy Hardy. It was my move. I saw the opportunity to retreat my Queen, bringing it back to the center of the board where it would be surrounded by enemy pieces. Nevertheless, it looked like a strong move.
I was never much of a speed chess player and have always thought the reason was because I began playing chess as an adult. While playing speed chess I would often see what to me was a beautiful position and wish there were more time to look into the depths of the position. Sometimes I would try to remember the position so it could be looked at later. When I mentioned this to Big Al after losing yet another speed game after my flag fell, he said, “That’s crazy.” The last time we played speed chess Al won again. He got up from the board saying, “It happens every game…You have a winning position and I win on time. This is no fun.” I beat Oscar Al Hamilton in only twenty moves in what would now be called a “classical” game at a Thad Rogers event, called by the Legendary Georgia Ironman “another nameless, faceless weekend swiss.” Big Al got up after resigning saying, “Nobody beats me like that. NOBODY!” It was only years later I realized how much the loss had affected our relationship.
Another time I was facing Uylsses Martin, a man who had served seven years in the state penitentiary for murder before being paroled. I sat there contemplating whether of not to move my h-pawn and launch an attack. The logical, “Mr. Spock” side of my brain was arguing with the intuitive, “Captain Kirk” side and I went with Spock holding back the pawn move, hoping to make the pawn move next. Without even writing down my move, Uylsses immediately played a move to prevent my moving the wing pawn. I looked at him and sort of grinned. He looked back at me as if to say, “What?” I went on to win that game, but it took much longer than it would have if I had listened to Kirk. As an aside, I won another game against Uylsses, one of the nicest fellows you could ever meet, when his flag fell before he made his twenty fifth move!
I could give many more examples, but you get my drift. Because of the battle between Spock and Kirk that has raged in my brain over the course of my chess career I have been interested in reading about chess intuition. Just this week a new book, “The Enigma of Chess Intuition,” by Valeri Beim, arrived. The book, in excellent condition, cost only $7.95, plus shipping.
The Ironman has a book, “The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal,” by Karsten Muller & Raymund Stolze. Like the aforementioned book, it too is published by New in Chess. I allowed Tim to open “Enigma” and the first thing he said was, “If it’s published by New in Chess you know it has got to be good!” When young and on his way toward the battle for the World Championship with Mikhail Botvinnik, Tal was a creative genius who was an intuitive player. He played moves that defied calculation by humans of the day. Computer programs may be able to refute some of Tal’s moves now, but human players were unable to do so “back in the day.” Just how much chess programs have affected the game of chess is illustrated by this from GM Rafael Vaganian in an interview with Sergey Kim on the chess24.com website:
“Sergey Kim: Both at the board and simply in life you met all the Soviet world champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov. The world champions of the twentieth century – of your generation – and the champions of the third millennium – first and foremost, Carlsen: how do they differ?
Rafael Vaganian: It’s hard to compare, because the chess is totally different. Those champions worked in another setting, playing another kind of chess. With no computers, they worked and created on their own, and their creativity was immense. If they found something it was with their own minds, while now there are these amazing programs. Theory has “grown” to 30-35 moves, and you simply can’t compare the two types of chess. Frankly speaking, I don’t like modern chess, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. After all, a person isn’t capable of remembering so much, so they simply suffer because of it. They need to remember and learn it all, but then what of creativity? They barely play at the board, but at home, and that’s bad.
I consider those champions to have been greats, though perhaps that’s natural, since I’m a chess player of that generation – the Soviet School – and it all means a lot to me. I find modern chess alien, so it’s possible I’m not objective. Botvinnik, Karpov, Kasparov – they beat everyone for 10-12 years in a row, while for me the thirteenth champion is a separate topic. The way Kasparov and his group worked was incredible. They were a class above the rest and therefore he crushed everyone. Garry won a huge number of games in the opening. His preparation was colossal! But he found moves himself at the board rather than the computer coming up with them. Back then people still beat computers, while now even the world champion can’t beat a computer.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/rafael-vaganian-anand-won-t-lose)
After one tournament Gail told me Big Al had mentioned to her that I was “trying too hard.” I gave his words considerable thought, coming to the conclusion Al was right. When at my best I did not have to try so hard because it seemed easy and just kind of flowed. Many years later, after devoting all my time and energy to backgammon, chess was anything but easy. When playing baseball I had to give it my all since I was smaller than the other players. When a senior in high school I was awarded a small trophy that meant all the world to me because my teammates had voted it to me for being the player that best showed what our coach called the “105” spirit. We chattered “105” on the field that year, which meant giving that little extra. It was the only way I knew to play, and it carried over into my chess.
I read something earlier this year by a Go player, Michael Redmond, that seems applicable to a discussion of intuition. “The charismatic Redmond, an American, is one of very few non-Asian Go celebrities. He began playing professionally in Japan at the age of 18, and remains the only Westerner to ever reach 9-dan, the game’s highest rank.”
“The trouble is that identifying Go moves that deserve attention is often a mysterious process. “You’ll be looking at the board and just know,” Redmond told me, as we stood in front of the projector screen watching Crazy Stone take back Nomitan’s initial lead. “It’s something subconscious, that you train through years and years of playing. I’ll see a move and be sure it’s the right one, but won’t be able to tell you exactly how I know. I just see it.” (From-The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win, by Alan Levinovitz 05.12.14)
Substitute “chess” for “Go” above and you will understand, grasshopper. “You’ll be looking at the board and just know.” You do not have to calculate, and sometimes it will not matter because no matter how long you calculate you will never to be completely certain as there are just too many possibilities.
Intuition can be found in every endeavor. For example, in a 1997 interview with Robert Hilburn, found in the “Dylan Companion,” while referring to Neil Young in the song “Highlands” from the “Time Out of Mind” album, Bob says, “It’s anything you want it to be. I don’t give much thought to individual lines. If I thought about them in any kind of deep way, maybe I wouldn’t use them because I’d always be second-guessing myself. I learned a long time ago to trust my intuition.”
In a 1995 interview in the USA TODAY not long after his “Unplugged” performance, Dylan said, “As you get older, you get smarter and that can hinder you because you try to gain control over the creative impulse. Creativity is not like a freight train going down the tracks. It’s something that has to be caressed and treated with a great deal of respect. If your mind is intellectually in the way, it will stop you. You’ve got to program your brain not to think too much.”
The first line reminds me of Mikhail Tal. His style of play changed as he grew older. Part of it may have been a natural process, but being forced to work with Karpov also had a lasting effect on his style of play.
What it all boils down to is that one must go with the flow and play what you know, Joe. This is exactly what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a “Positive psychologist,” means when he says that flow is, “A state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.” (http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en)
Viswanathan Anand lost his “flow” but somehow managed to get back into the flow for the Candidates tournament, one of the most amazing things in the history of chess.
After losing the game to Jimmy, our friend NM Neal Harris walked over, asking the result. Jimmy said, “I won, but take a look at this position!” He immediately set up the position to which I referred at the beginning of this article. Jimmy looked at Neal with blazing eyes and said, while moving the Queen to the middle of the board, “Mike missed this crushing blow. I don’t see how I can continue after this move.” The two mountain men continued moving the pieces around while I debated telling them I had actually seen the move, but rejected it. Instead I said, “Yeah, that looks like a real strong move.”

Watching The River Flow by Bob Dylan

What’s the matter with me
I don’t have much to say
Daylight sneakin’ through the window
And I’m still in this all-night café
Walkin’ to and fro beneath the moon
Out to where the trucks are rollin’ slow
To sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow

Wish I was back in the city
Instead of this old bank of sand
With the sun beating down over the chimney tops
And the one I love so close at hand
If I had wings and I could fly
I know where I would go
But right now I’ll just sit here so contentedly
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah
Makes you stop and all wonder why
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who just couldn’t help but cry
Oh, this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing everywhere you look
Makes you wanna stop and read a book
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
That was really shook
But this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

Watch the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
But I’ll sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow
Copyright © 1971 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1999 by Big Sky Music

Bob Dylan Watching The River Flow



How Much For Only The Bobby Fischer?

I love the chess links provided by Chess Cafe (http://blog.chesscafe.com/?p=3139). They are like a box of chocolates. Today I clicked on to, “Start Working out Now for Annual Running of the Booklovers at Library Sale.” After clicking on I was sent to (http://westport.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/start-working-out-now-for-annual-running-of-the-booklovers-at-library-sale).
This is what I found: Two featured titles are: (Click here for more featured specials)

“Bobby Fischer v. Garry Kasparov! Even though that match never happened, we have two signed books:
Fischer: Partije…..Games….(etc.). Belgrade: Sahovski Informator (1992). A paperback in excellent condition. Signed “Bobby Fischer” on the title page. (Comes with an authentication letter from a prominent dealer that Fischer signed the book in Budapest in 1996.)
with Garry Kasparov and others. Kasparov v. Karpov. Oxford, Pergamon Chess (1991). First paperback edition in excellent condition. Signed by Garry Kasparov on the half-title.”
I clicked for more featured specials and found a picture of only the Bobby Fischer book, and this:
“Westport Library
Book Sale 2014
Featured Specials
Bobby Fischer v. Garri Kasparov!
It never occurred but we have two books signed by each one
Fischer: Partije…..Games….(etc.).
Belgrade: Sahovski
Informator (1992). A paperback in excellent condition.
Signed “Bobby Fischer” on the title page. (Comes with
an authentication letter from a prominent dealer that
Fischer signed the book in Budapest in 1996.) with
Garri Kasparov and others.
Kasparov v. Karpov.
Oxford, Pergamon Chess (1991). First paperback edition
in excellent condition. Signed on the half title.
Together, $950”
This is not a set.
I was at the big, once a year book sale in Hendersonville, N.C., held by the large Friends of the Library, when a gentleman asked a clerk if he could purchase volume three of a five volume set. The clerk took off his cap and scratched his head before saying, “Well…I dunno…I just help out once a year, so let me go tell someone you want to break a set.”
I decided to hang around to see how this played out, so I continued perusing books on the War For Southern Independence until a late middle-aged woman with her hair in a bun and glasses dangling on her bosum said to the gentleman, “Can I help you?” He told her what he wanted and she said, “You want to do WHAT?” He began again but she cut him off saying, “I heard you, sir. It is just that in all my years here I have never heard anyone express the desire to purchase only one volume and BREAK A SET.”
The poor guy was taken aback and looked flummoxed as he uttered, “Geez, you’d think I was breaking some kinda Federal law…”
Years ago the Legendary Georgia Ironman and I were working a card show when a gentleman asked me for the price of the best player card from the set. I have long since forgotten the player who was “Top Dog” in that set, but I will never forget the look on the customer’s face when I told him the price would be $100. “But the whole set only costs $50!” he exclaimed. “That’s right, sir.” He said asked, “Why?” I said, “Because if you purchase only that card I will have a broken set.”
The man was unable to wrap his mind around this logic and eventually said, “But I can buy the whole set for $50 and take the other cards and sell them to one of the other dealers, or give you twice that for the card I want. It makes no sense.”
“It makes perfect sense, sir. You will not be able to sell the remaining cards in the set to another dealer here today because they will know you broke a set.” The man looked over at the next dealer, who happened to be watching this unfold, and when he did, the dealer nodded in agreement. The customer nevertheless pulled out his wallet and as he began to pull a C-note out of it I said, “The price of the set just went up to $100.” Stunned, he managed to meekly ask, “Why is that?” My answer was immediate, “Because there has been increased interest in the set.” The man stood there still as a statue while looking down at the bill half in and half out of his wallet. He eventually looked up and said, “You mean me?” I smiled and said, “Yes SIR!”