I have been enjoying Insanity, passion, and addiction: a year inside the chess world by GM Gormally and would like to share some thoughts with you. From the book:


“I’ve done pretty well so far – I’ve yet to mention our esteemed world champion, Mr Magnus Oen Carlsen. He has such an all-pervading influence on the chess scene now, that it’s extremely difficult to get through an entire chess book without mentioning him at least once.
As much as I admire the young Norwegian, one particular habit he has seems to have been picked up by others. That is, to hover over the board when it’s your opponents turn to move. Now I know it’s not against FIDE rules to do this. At least I don’t think it is. But I do think it’s rather annoying, when you are trying to concentrate, to have your opponent standing in your immediate vision, like he’s giving a simul. I’m told that all the young Norwegian players now do this, in honour of their hero. And not just Norwegians. I let t get to me in round three in Plancoet. Early on in the game, it wasn’t really a problem. But towards the end of the game my opponent kept standing up at the board, which as my position was beginning to deteriorate, started to annoy me. I started to wave my hands in his general direction, in obvious annoyance. “What is your problem?” came the aggressive retort. After that he seemed to sit down a bit more, but perhaps it was too late as my will had been broken. The standing up pose had claimed yet another victim.”

Before writing the above GM Gormally had informed us that he had informed the TD he was withdrawing from the tournament, but then “…decided to play the round three game where I was paired with a 1940 player.” Gormally lost the game without even mentioning the 1940 players name! At the very least this is an egregious slight of his opponent. He lost because he neglected to show his lower rated opponent R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Gormally lost because he stop thinking and made several BAD MOVES. He writes, “It’s very difficult to play a chess game when you’re affected by anger. It completely breaks up your concentration.” Gormally was “…affected by anger” because he could not control his emotions. The best Chess players are the ones who can best control their emotions, and Magnus Oen Carlsen is the World Champion because he controls his emotions better than his contemporaries.

The above brought two things to mind. During a tournament I got up to stretch my legs. While wandering around looking at some of the other games I stopped at the board of one legendary Georgia player. I had only been standing at his board a few moments while surveying his irretrievably damaged position when suddenly the legendary one erupted from his chair, gesticulating wildly, while snorting and stamping like a bull before charging a red flag. I moved on as quickly as humanly possible…

It also brought to mind an incident at the 2002 US Open. I was playing an Expert, Herman Chiu, a rather small, scrawny, pipsqueak in the third round. I was “on par” after losing to a NM in the first round and winning against a ‘C’ player in the second round. I recall it being my move while having a decent position when I was kicked under the table. I looked up at my opponent, who grinned. My concentration had been broken, but I tried to put it out of my mind and refocus on the game, thinking the kick inadvertent and the grin demented, when I was again kicked. Once again Herman had a shit-eatin’ grin on his face. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that this weasel had kicked me intentionally, so I left the board to find a TD. I cannot recall the name of the gentleman with whom I discussed the situation, but he did not want to be bothered, so I went back to the board. I made a move without again being kicked, but when next on move I was once again kicked. This time I found Carol Jarecki, who came to the board with me, and stayed there until I had made my move without being kicked. She left, he moved, and when next my turn, I was again kicked! I went to Carol again and told her in no uncertain terms that if the asshole kicked me again I may lose control with one of us dead and the other in prison! Hearing this Carol returned to the table and talked with Herman. By now I was LIVID! After a couple of weak moves my position degenerated to the level of my opponents behavior and I went down in flames. At least I was not kicked again…

Word got around the tournament and several players whom I had never met came to me to commiserate, informing me that the “little creep” had previously kicked them underneath the table. I lost my cool, letting my temper flare, when what I should have done was to have walked over to his side of the board and slammed his head into the board several times, letting out my rage, before continuing the game. Just kidding, I think… I will admit that when informed Herman had died I grinned, while thinking, “I out lived the cretin.”

I followed GM Gormally’s progress in the London Classic Open. He began the tournament as the 29th ranking player and finished tied for 10th place with a score of 6 1/2 – 2 1/2. His PR of 2460 was just below his official FIDE rating of 2477.

Gormally was on the wrong side of the Najdorf in the final round but won. When the move 6 Qe2 appeared on the board

at TWIC I thought it must be a mistake. Maybe I’ve been away from Chess too long, or at least away from the Najdorf, my first real Chess love, too long, I thought. The CBDB shows 19 different moves for White against the Najdorf, but if we throw out 5 rarely played moves, there are 14 plausible moves for the wrong side to fire at a Najdorf player. Qe2 is a little below Qd3, but slightly above a3 & h4, if that tells you anything. If you’ve read the AW you know how much I like the Qe2 move…but against the Najdorf? I was frightened by the idea of sitting down at the board and having some whipper snapper fire the Qe2 salvo at my Najdorf as I sat there pondering about whether it was the latest attempt with reams of analysis I did not know, or simply an over the board inspiration conjured up by the fertile your mind sitting across from the AW…

Gormally, Daniel W (ENG) – Van Delft, Merijn (NED)

London Chess Classic Open 2017 round 09

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Bd2 Nbd7 9. O-O-O Be7 10. Rg1 b5 11. g4 Nb6 12. f4 exf4 13. g5 Nfd7 14. Bxf4 Nc4 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 O-O 17. Nd4 Nde5 18. Kb1 Re8 19. Bc1 Bf8 20. h4 g6 21. h5 Bg7 22. hxg6 hxg6 23. Rh1 Nxb2 24. Bxb2 Nc4 25. Qf3 Nxb2 26. Kxb2 Qxg5 27. Rh3 Rac8 28. c3 Rc5 29. Rg3 Qxd5 30. Qxd5 Rxd5 31. Kb3 Rc5 32. Bh3 Ree5 33. Rgd3 a5 34. a3 Bf8 35. Bd7 Kg7 36. Rf3 a4+ 37. Kc2 Kg8 38. Rdf1 Bg7 39. Rxf7 Re3 40. Rxg7+ Kxg7 41. Ne6+ Rxe6 42. Bxe6 1-0

Checking with the usual places, the CBDB and 365Chess I learned that players in the BC age played 7 Nf5 after 6…e5, but that the “engines” prefer 7 Nb3. Seems our man Gormally has been hitting the “engines.” I could fond only one other game with & Nbe:

Watson, PR. vs Aslett, Alec
Event: Combined Services-ch
Site: England Date: 2002
Round: 7
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Bg5 Nbd7 9. g3 Qc7 10. Bg2 Rc8 11. O-O-O Bc4 12. Qd2 b5 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Bxb3 15. axb3 h6 16. Be3 f5 17. h4 Be7 18. Kb1 Nf6 19. Bh3 g6 20. h5 O-O 21. hxg6 Ne4 22. Qd3 Nc5 23. Bxc5 e4 24. Qd2 dxc5 25. d6 Bxd6 26. Qxd6 Qg7 27. Bxf5 c4 28. Bxc8 1-0