GM Ben Finegold Plays The Chigorin Defense

Having taken up Chess at the advanced age of twenty your writer did not have as much time to spend on the game as would a much younger person. Initially I did what many other American players did and followed Bobby Fisher, playing openings like the Najdorf and Gruenfeld, because those are the openings played by Bobby. Later I began playing openings that are now called “offbeat” openings, as regular readers know. One of those openings was the Chigorin, which I played before beginning a love affair with the Leningrad Dutch. In the first round of the ongoing Chicago Open Grandmaster Ben Finegold trotted out the Queen’s horse on the second move. Before sitting down to compose this post I went to, learning it contained 21 games in which Ben has played the Chigorin ( From the years spent researching the opening phase of the game with computer programs I have learned much of what humans thought about some openings was incorrect, if not downright wrong. The following game is a case in point.

Ethan Sheehan 2075 vs GM Benjamin Finegold 2424

31st Annual Chicago Open
D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. cxd5 Nxd4 5. e3 Nf5 6. Nf3 Bd6 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. e4 Nfe7 10. O-O Ng6 11. Qb3 b6 12. a4 a6 13. Be3 Nf6 14. h3 O-O 15. Rac1 h6 16. Rfd1 Nh5 17. Ne2 f5 18. exf5 Rxf5 19. Nd2 1/2-1/2!31st-annual-chicago-open-2022/2068768054

1.d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 (SF 15 @depth 55 plays 3 cxd5, but @depth 62 changes to 3 Nf3) 3…e5 (SF 14.1 @depth 48 will play 3…e6. SF 040522 @depth 49 plays 3…Nf6, which appears in 387 games at the ChessBaseDataBase. The CBDB contains only 75 games with 3…e6, but does contain 748 games in which the inferior 3…dxc4 has been played. The move played in the game has been seen in 92 games) 4. cxd5 Nxd4 (The CBDB contains 82 games with this move and only one with 4…exd4, the choice of Houdini at a lower level; SF 13 at a higher level, and SF 14.1 at a mid-level depth 43) 5. e3 Nf5 6. Nf3 (Until now this has been the preferred move, with 51 examples in the CBDB, but Houdini, Komodo, and Stockfish 14.1 all show 6 e4 as best in the 8 games in which it has been tried the move has scored 69% compared to the 63% scored by the move played in the game) 6…Bd6 7. Bb5+ (This move is the choice of Fritz 17, so you know it is suspect. Both Houdini and SF 14.1 play 7 e4, and so should you) 7…Bd7 (Fritz 13 SE will play 7…Kf8. I kid you not…) 8. Bxd7 (SF 14.1 and SF 221221 both play 8 e4, and so should you in the event you play badly enough to reach this position) 8…Qxd7 9. e4 Nfe7 10. O-O (The CBDB shows only 8 games having reached this position; 4 with Nf6; 3 with Ng6; and 1 with f6. Houdini, and SF 7 & 11 show 10…h6 as being the best move. The game move has been the most often played move according to the 365Chess Big Database) 10…Ng6 11. Qb3 (SF 14 will play 11 Be3. See Pohlers vs Maahs below) 11…b6 (See Farago vs Plat below)

Frank James Marshall

vs R. Guckemus
Event: Sylvan Beach
Site: Sylvan Beach Date: ??/??/1904
Round: 4
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 exd4 5.dxc6 dxc3 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.cxb7 Bxb7 8.bxc3 Bd6 9.f3 Nf6 10.e4 Re8 11.Bb5 c6 12.Bc4 Ke7 13.Rb1 Rab8 14.Be3 Bc8 15.Rxb8 Bxb8 16.Bc5+ Bd6 17.Bxa7 Be6 18.Bxe6 Kxe6 19.Nh3 h6 20.Bd4 c5 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Kd2 Ra8 23.Ra1 Bxh2 24.f4 Rg8 25.Kd3 Rxg2 26.Kc4 Rg3 27.Nf2 f5 28.a4 Rf3 29.a5 Bxf4 30.a6 Bb8 31.Nd3 Ba7 32.exf5+ Kxf5 33.Rb1 Ke4 34.Rb7 1-0

Benjamin Leussen vs Aaron Nimzowitsch

Event: Barmen-B
Site: Barmen Date: ??/??/1905
Round: ?
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 exd4 5.dxc6 dxc3 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.g3 bxc6 9.Bg2 Nd5 10.Bd2 Be7 11.Nf3 Bf6 12.Nd4 Bd7 13.e4 Nb4 14.cxb4 Bxd4 15.Rd1 Kc8 16.O-O c5 17.Bf4 Bb5 18.bxc5 Bc3 19.Bh3+ Kb7 20.Rb1 Kc6 21.Rfc1 Bd4 22.e5 1-0

Juergen Pohlers (2133) vs Erich Maahs (2200)
Event: Bad Woerishofen op 18th
Site: Bad Woerishofen Date: ??/??/2002
Round: 8
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 Nxd4 5.e3 Nf5 6.Nf3 Bd6 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.e4 Nfe7 10.O-O Ng6 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 O-O 13.Rc1 a6 14.Qd3 Nh5 15.Ne2 h6 16.g4 Nhf4 17.Nxf4 exf4 18.Bd4 Rae8 19.Rfe1 f6 20.Qb3 b6 21.Qc4 h5 22.Qc6 Qc8 23.Nh2 f3 24.Qxd6 cxd6 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Nxf3 Nf4 27.gxh5 Rc2 28.Kh2 b5 29.h6 Ne2 30.hxg7 Kxg7 31.Be3 Rxb2 32.Nh4 Rd8 33.Kg2 Rxa2 34.Kf3 Nc3 35.Nf5+ Kh7 36.Bb6 Rd7 37.Bd4 b4 38.Bxf6 Rf7 39.Bxc3 bxc3 40.Rc1 Ra3 41.Ke2 Kg6 42.Rg1+ Kf6 43.Nxd6 Rc7 44.Ne8+ Ke5 45.Nxc7 Kd4 46.d6 Ra2+ 47.Kf3 Ke5 48.d7 Rd2 49.Nd5 c2 1-0

Ivan Farago (2340) vs Vojtech Plat (2556)
Event: FSGM May 2021
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 05/08/2021
Round: 7.4
ECO: D07 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Chigorin defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 Nxd4 5.e3 Nf5 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Nf3 Bd6 9.e4 Nfe7 10.O-O Ng6 11.Qb3 b6 12.h3 Nf6 13.Bg5 Nh5 14.Qb5 Nhf4 15.Rfe1 h6 16.Bxf4 Nxf4 17.Kh2 a6 18.Qxd7+ Kxd7 19.Rad1 g5 20.g3 Ng6 21.Kg2 f6 22.Nh2 h5 23.Nf1 b5 24.Ne3 h4 25.Ng4 Raf8 26.Re3 Ne7 27.Rf3 b4 28.Nb1 f5 29.exf5 e4 30.Rb3 Nxf5 31.Nd2 e3 32.Nxe3 hxg3 33.Nxf5 Rxf5 34.Ne4 gxf2 35.Nxf2 a5 36.Ng4 Bc5 37.Rbd3 Re8 38.R3d2 Kd6 39.b3 Re4 40.Nh6 Rff4 41.Rc2 Bd4 42.Ng4 Bc3 43.Rd3 Bd4 44.Rc6+ Kxd5 45.Rxc7 Re2+ 46.Kg3 Ke4 0-1

Since the tournament is still ongoing Ben has not had time to produce his latest youtube apologia explaining why he could only draw versus a much lower rated player so here is a pertinent video:

Armed and Dangerous Females at the 2022 Saint Louis Norm Congress

When one surfs over to the website of the St. Louis Chess Club to check out the upcoming pairings this is what one finds for the IM tournament:

2022 Saint Louis Norm Congress

Pairings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Rankings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

List by federation
Cross table

Click on “Females” and one discovers how the four female players have fared against their male counterparts. Segregating the “females” sets them apart, making it appear they are different and not part of the group. Is this good for the “females” or for Chess? Is it necessary to separate the women players because of their gender? Does this help or hurt their chances of being accepted as part of the group? Let me ask another question. What if there were enough players to have a similar tournament with four players with dark skin pigmentation and the word “Black” was used in lieu of “Female”? Would that be acceptable to people with darker skin pigmentation? Would that be acceptable to the people in charge of the St. Louis Chess Club? Would it be acceptable to the larger Chess community of the world? If the answer is “no” then why is it acceptable for the people at the St. Louis Chess Campus to segregate any one particular group?

After informing a National Master that I have been avidly following the two tournaments currently being held at the St. Louis Chess Campus he replied, “Why would you waste your time watching those chumpy-lumpies when you could be watching games from the Sharjah Masters? There are thirty of the best players in the world competing and they are fighting.” I said nothing while thinking about the proliferation of draws, most of them short, afflicting top level Chess these daze. Short draws have been anathema at the St. Louis Chess mecca. The options for a Chess fan these days are almost unlimited; this fan prefers watching games emanating from the Chess Capital of America no matter who is playing because short draws are not acceptable in St. Louis, or at least were not until seeing this insult to the St. Louis Chess Campus and Chess in general:

IM Matyas Marek 2363 vs FM Joshua Posthuma 2405

Round 6

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 1/2-1/2!saint-louis-norm-congress-im-2022/1216272321

This game “wowed” the fans, or at least one of them, who left this at the “Chat” with the game:

Chat room

Neverness Board 1: What a fighting game! 😀

Neverness Wow, just wow! 😀

Neither one of these “players”, and I use the word loosely, is a Grandmaster yet they felt compelled to make a “Grandmaster draw.” What are the odds either one of these losers will ever be invited to return to the St. Louis Chess Campus? Games like this appear with regularity at tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center, and in the Bay area at San Jose. ( Never thought I would be writing about a three and a have move game from St. Louis…

On to the good stuff abounding from this tournament!

After four rounds FM Jennifer Yu

was +2 after two wins and two draws. In the fifth round she had the white pieces versus fellow FM Joshua Posthuma (2404).

After the latter made a weak ninth move and followed it up with what is called a “mistake” at LiChess, she was winning. The game was a real battle and could have ended in a draw, but Ms. Yu let go of the rope with her 39th move, a passive retreat when she could have continued checking, and the lights were turned out. The game must have taken something out of her because she played weakly in the opening in the following game and was lost before move ten…but fought back to an even game later before both players blundered with their thirtieth move and it was back to even, Steven, until Ms. Yu again let go of the rope with her thirty second move and it was all over but the shouting…In the next, seventh round, she had the black pieces against one of the three co-leaders, IM Aaron Grabinsky, who had won his first four games before drawing the next two games. Not many people who gamble would have wagered on Jennifer. This writer was hoping she would not fall apart completely and do the goose-egg shuffle on her way out of St. Louis. Many players would have lost their fighting spirit and consented to “making a draw,” and who could, or would, blame her if she did exactly that? Then, on move 24 her opponent made a vacillating move in retreating his Queen and Jennifer gained an advantage. Solid move followed solid move until IM Grabinsky again retreated his Queen on his 29th move. Unfortunately, Jennifer did not make the best move in reply, but still had an advantage, albeit small. Then her opponent blundered on his 31st move and Jennifer punished him for it, winning in 35 moves. What a fighter is Jennifer Yu! I urge you to replay the game, which can be found here> (

While watching the action in round six I put two games into the opening grinder and one of them was the game of the tournament. When young FM Alice Lee sat down to play IM Aaron Grabinsky in round six she had a total of 1 1/2 points, earned in the three previous rounds with draws after losing her first two games. Her opponent was leading the field with 4 1/2 points. Alice had the white pieces, but her opponent grabbed an positional advantage and began squeezing the life out of Ms. Lee, but she refused to let go of the rope, finding good move after good move for many moves. Several times IM Grabinsky achieved the maximum from his position, but refused to bring the hammer down and continued playing vacillating moves; he simply could not pull the trigger. After one hundred and eight moves (!) IM Grabinsky gave up the ghost and FM Alice Lee had scored a well earned and hard fought draw with the leader of the tournament!

Round 6
FM Lee, Alice 2334

vs IM Grabinsky, Aaron 2401

Coquille resident makes name for himself in international chess …

E11 Bogo-Indian defence
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 d6 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.e4 e5 8.Be2 O-O 9.O-O c6 10.Rfd1 Re8 11.Qc2 a5 12.Rd2 Qe7 13.Rad1 g6 14.d5 c5 15.Ne1 Nb6 16.Nb5 Rf8 17.Qd3 Ne8 18.Bf1 f5 19.f3 Bd7 20.Nc3 f4 21.Rc1 Nf6 22.Kf2 Qe8 23.Nc2 g5 24.h3 Qh5 25.Ke1 Ne8 26.Kd1 Nc7 27.Na3 Qe8 28.Kc2 Nc8 29.Kb1 Na7 30.Qe2 Kf7 31.Qf2 Ke7 32.Bd3 Qg6 33.Rh1 h5 34.Be2 Rh8 35.Rdd1 Rag8 36.Rh2 Ne8 37.Rdh1 Rh7 38.Nc2 Rgh8 39.a4 Nf6 40.Ne1 b6 41.Rg1 Rg8 42.Rgh1 Nc8 43.Nd3 Rhg7 44.g4 fxg3 45.Qxg3 h4 46.Qf2 Nh5 47.Bd1 Qf6 48.Qd2 Kd8 49.Rg1 Nf4 50.Nf2 Rf7 51.Rhh1 Nh5 52.Re1 Qg6 53.Qe3 Ne7 54.Rh2 Qf6 55.Ne2 Ng3 56.Ng1 Rgf8 57.b3 Qg7 58.Kc2 Kc7 59.Kb1 Rf4 60.Nd3 R4f6 61.Nf2 Be8 62.Ng4 Rf4 63.Nf2 Bh5 64.Nd3 R4f6 65.Nf2 Ng8 66.Ka2 R6f7 67.Kb1 Nf6 68.Kc2 Nh7 69.Kb1 Rf6 70.Kc2 R8f7 71.Ng4 Rf4 72.Kc1 Qf8 73.Qd3 Nf6 74.Nf2 Nd7 75.Ng4 Bg6 76.Nf2 Nf6 77.Kb2 Bh5 78.Kc1 Qg7 79.Qe3 Bg6 80.Bc2 Qf8 81.Kb2 Nfh5 82.Bd1 Qg7 83.Ka2 Rf8 84.Bc2 Qf6 85.Bd1 Qf7 86.Kb2 Ng7 87.Qd3 N3h5 88.Qe3 Qe7 89.Nd3 R4f7 90.Nf2 Ng3 91.Bc2 Bh5 92.Bd1 Qf6 93.Ng4 Qg6 94.Nf2 Ne8 95.Ka2 Rf4 96.Nd3 Nf6 97.Nf2 Qf7 98.Kb2 Qg7 99.Ka2 Rf7 100.Bc2 Qf8 101.Bd1 Qh6 102.Kb2 Nh7 103.Qd3 Qf8 104.Re3 Bg6 105.Re1 Nf6 106.Ka2 Bh7 107.Kb2 Nfh5 108.Qe3 1/2-1/2

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 (111865 games with this move can be found in the ChessBaseDataBase, and it is the choice of SF 15 @depth 68 and and SF 040522 @depth 74, but SF 14.1 @depth 64 preferred 3 Nc3. In 80101 games it has scored 53%. 3 Nf3 has scored 55%) 3…Bb4+ (SF 14.1 @depth 66 plays 3…d5) 4.Bd2 (This has been the most often played move with 11966 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Fritz 16-you know what that means-both SF 14.1 and 15 will play 4 Nbd2) 4…Bxd2+ (SF 15 plays 4…Be7, a move with only 165 games that have shown a score of 60%. Here’s the deal, Fritz 16 also plays the move! Deep Fritz 13 likes 4…a5, in third place with 3096 games in the CBDB. 5538 players have chosen 4…Qe7 with a score 57%; 2247 players have tried 4…c5 resulting in 53%. The move played in the game has scored 58% in 1212 games) 5.Qxd2 d6 (There are only 92 examples of this move contained in the CBDB with a resulting 62%. Fritz 16 @depth 31 will play 5…Nc6. There is only one game with the move. Komodo @depth 30 will play 5…b6. The 93 games in which this move has been played have resulted in 65% for the players of the white pieces. SF 14.1 @depth 55 castles. With 493 games it has been the most often played move, resulting in a 59% score) 6.Nc3 (With this move the CBDB shows us the progression of the computin’ of SF 14.1. At depth 38 it favors 6 e3. There is only one game with this move in the CBDB… then comes 6 g3 @depth 39. It has scored 50% in 15 games. Then @depth 47 the program moves to the move made in the game, which has resulted in a strong 63% for white) 6…Nbd7 (This move has been played in 22 games, scoring 61%. SF 190322 @depth 27 will play 6…Qe7. In 20 games it has scored 65%. Then there is SF 14.1 @depth 40 which will, given the opportunity, play 6…d5, a NEW MOVE!) 7.e4 e5 8.Be2 (There is only one game with this move in the CBDB, and it is the move of Deep Fritz 13 @depth 17 [17? The Fritz limbo; how low can you go?] which ought to give you pause…Komodo 14 @depth 31 and SF 130222 @depth 27 both 0-0-0) The CBDB contains only two games here, one with 8 d5 and the other with 8 Be2. Don’t know about you but I’m sticking with Stockfish!)

FM Gabriela Antova,

Jewgenij Schtembuljak und Polina Schuwalowa sind Junioren-Weltmeister …

from Bulgaria, got off to a good start in the first round by defeating FM Alice Lee with black. Then she lost three in a row before drawing in the fifth round. In the sixth round she faced IM Pedro Rivera Rodriguez,

from Cuba, who, although an International Master, is rated below Master level at 2199. How is that possible? What has happened to the rating system? 2199 is below Master level, as 2000-2199 is, or was considered Expert level.

Round 6
FM Antova, Gabriela 2282 vs IM Rodriguez Rivera, Pedro 2199
A53 Old Indian defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Nbd7 4.g3 e5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Qc2 a6 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nh4 g6 12.b3 Re8 13.Bb2 a5 14.Nf3 Bf8 15.Na4 Nc5 16.Nxc5 Bxc5 17.e3 Bf5 18.Qe2 a4 19.h3 axb3 20.axb3 Rxa1 21.Bxa1 Be4 22.Qb2 Bxf3 23.Bxf3 Qe7 24.Kg2 Bb4 25.h4 h5 26.Be2 Ba3 27.Qc2 Bb4 28.Qa2 Ne4 29.Qc2 Nc5 30.Rh1 Rd8 31.Rd1 Re8 32.Rh1 Rd8 33.Rd1 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 56 will play 3 Nc3) 3…Nbd7 (Three different SF programs all going very deep will play 3…g6) 4. g3 (Two SF programs and one Komodo all play 4 Nc3) 4…e5 (Far and away the most often played move with 354 games, and advocated by Fritz 16 @depth 30, but SF 8 [8? Did SF 8 first appear last century?] @depth 27 will play the second most played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase, 4…c6, with 74 games showing. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 30 plays 3…g6, the third most popular move with only 51 moves contained in the CBDB) 5. Nc3 c6 (SF 7 @depth
    29 will play this, the most often played move with 452 games in the database, but Fritz 16 @depth 35 AND Stockfish 14.1 @depth 44 both prefer 5…exd4. The CBDB contains on three games with pawn takes pawn) 6. Bg2 Be7 (With 432 games contained in the CBDB this has been the most frequently played move, and it is the choice of Houdini, but Fritz 16 @depth 28, and Stockfish 14.1 @depth 43 will play 6…e4, a move having been attempted in only 103 games) 7. O-O (The 495 games in which players have castled are more than double the 213 games in which 7 e4 has appeared. Both Houdini and Fritz castle, but SF 14.1 will play 7 Qc2, a move only seen in 51 games, although it has scored highest at an astounding 72%! Castling has scored 58% while 7 e4 has scored 63%) 7…0-0 (This move has been played in over one thousand games, 1033 to be exact, and has scored 58%, and it is the choice of Houdini, albeit at a low depth of only 24 fathoms. Yet Komodo and SF14.1 @depth 53 both will play 7…e4, a move having only been tried in 14 games) 8. Qc2 (The move of both Houdini and Fritz, but SF 14.1 will play the most often played move, 8 e4) 8…a6 (Komodo and Fritz play the most often played move, 8…Re8; SF 14.1 plays 8…Qc7) 9. Rd1 (SF 14.1 @depth 39 plays 9 h3. There is only one game containing the move found at the CBDB) 9…Qc7 10 dxe5 (This move cannot be located at either 365Chess or the CBDB, therefore FM Antova played a Theoretical Novelty)

Dutch Defense Opening Theory SHOCKER!

[Event “Round 6: Pierre Goosen – Andrew Southey”]
[Site “”%5D
[White “Pierre Goosen”]
[Black “Andrew Southey”]
[UTCDate “2022.05.11”]
[Opening “Dutch Defense”]
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.O-O Nf6 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.c4 Na6 9.Qc2 Qe8 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Rfe1 Qf7 12.a3 Nc7 13.Nh4 e6 14.f4 g5 15.Nhf3 Qh5 16.Kf2 Ng4+ 17.Kg1 Ne3 18.Qd3 Nxg2 19.Kxg2 Ne8 20.e4 fxe4 21.Qxe4 gxf4 22.Nh4 fxg3 23.hxg3 Nf6 24.Qg6 Bd7 25.Qxh5 Nxh5 26.Ne4 c5 27.Rad1 Bc6 28.d5 Bxb2 29.dxc6 bxc6 30.Nxd6 e5 31.Ng6 Rf6 32.Nxe5 Bd4 33.Ne4 Bxe5 34.Nxf6+ Bxf6 35.Rh1 Ng7 36.Rxh6 Bd4 37.Rxc6 Nf5 38.Re1 Ne3+ 39.Kh3 Kg7 40.g4 Rf8 41.g5 Rf3+ 42.Kh2 Nf1+ 43.Kg2 Rf2+ 44.Kh3 1/2-1/2

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 (Stockfish 14 @depth 52 plays the game move, but in a real SHOCKER one sees SF 15 will play 2 e3!

Position after Stockfish 15 recommended 2 e3

The exclam is for the shock value because the ChessBaseDataBase shows 2 e3 has only been attempted in 23 games. I kid you not… White has scored 63% against 2387 opposition, which is higher than any other move, although the sample size is rather limited. If you play the Dutch defense you simply MUST be prepared for the move 2 e3 because after this is posted every player and his brother will be playing the move, sister. The move played in the game, 2 Nf3, has scored 56% versus 2406 oppo. The most often played move has been 2 g3, with 8973 games which have scored 59% against a hypothetical player rated 2436) 2…g6 (SF 14.1 plays 2…Nf6) 3.g3 (SF 14.1 plays 3…Nc3) 3…Bg7 (SF 14.1 plays 3..Nf6) 4.Bg2 d6 (SF 14 plays the game move, but SF 14.1 will play 4…Nf6) 5.O-O (The latest version of Stockfish shown at the CBDB is the now antiquated SF 11. I kid you not…@depth 43 it plays either 5 Nc3 or 5 c4. Fritz 16 @depth 29 plays 5 c4) 5…Nf6 6.b3 (SF 14.1 @depth 44 plays 6 c4; SF 220422 will, given the chance, play the move made in the game) 6…O-O (In this position castles has been played in 1206 games, yet two different Stockfish programs, 14.1 @depth 45, and 220422 @depth 35 both play 6…a5, a move having been attempted in only 4 (FOUR!) games. In those games against opponents averaging 2513 ELO points it has held White to only 38%. The CBDB shows that six different moves have been played in only 18 (EIGHTEEN!) games) 7.Bb2 c6 (There are 626 examples of this move contained in the CBDB and it shows a 62% score; the second most often played move has been 7..Qe8 with 594 examples and 57%; next comes 7…Ne4 with 329 games and 59%. SF 081121 @depth 50 plays 7…e6; SF 220422 @depth 41 will play 7…a5; with SF 14.1 @depth 56 playing 7…Ne4) 8.c4 (SF 14.1 will play the game move, a departure from SF 14 which preferred the second most often played move of 8 Nbd2. Check this out, SF 061121, given the chance, will play 8 a3, which will, maybe, someday be a TN if and when it is played by a titled player) 8…Na6 (This has been the most often played move and it was the choice of SF 10 [TEN?!] resulting in a 60% result versus 2417 opposition. SF 14.1 plays 8…a5 @depth 46 and it has held White to only 51%) 9.Qc2 (SF 14 @depth 44 will play the second most often played move [154 games] 9 Nbd2) 9…Qe8 (SF 14.1 and Komodo both play 9…Qc7) 10.Nbd2 (The CBDB shows Deep Fritz @depth 21 will play the game move, but Houdini 6.02 @depth 25 will play 10 a3. There is only one game with the move contained in the CBDB) 10…h6 11.Rfe1 (11 Rae1 has been the most often played move with 20 games in the CBDB which have scored an astounding 78% versus 2474 oppo; the second most popular move, 11 a3 has been seen in 15 games, scoring 57%, and it is the choice of Fritz 15 @depth 16, which is pretty darn shallow, is it not? SF 14 @depth 33 would play 11 Nh4, and it woulda been a TN if’n it had ever been played…SF 14.1 @depth 24 will play 11 Bc3. In the 5 games at the CBDB is has only scored 40%, albeit against 2489 oppo) 11…Qf7 (SF 8 @depth 18 and Komodo 13.2 @depth 26 both play the move played in the game, but SF 14.1 @depth 17 will play 11…g5) 12.a3 (SF 8 @depth 17 will play 12 Bc3, as will the SF program at LiChess []. SF 160215 @depth 17 will play a new move, 12 Rec1. Deep Fritz, playing the CBDB “How low can you go?” limbo, @depth 15 will play 12 Bc3. Blind squirrel? Acorn?)

Nikola Stajcic, (2302) vs Martin Riedner (2169)
Event: Vienna op 14th
Site: Vienna Date: 08/19/2003
Round: 4
ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 O-O 6.Nd2 c6 7.Ngf3 d6 8.O-O Na6 9.c4 Qe8 10.Qc2 h6 11.Rfe1 Qf7 12.a3 Bd7 13.Nh4 Nh5 14.e4 f4 15.e5 g5 16.Nhf3 Bf5 17.Qc1 g4 18.Nh4 f3 19.Bf1 dxe5 20.Nxf5 Qxf5 21.dxe5 Nc5 22.Qb1 Rad8 23.Qxf5 Rxf5 24.Bc3 Nd3 25.Bxd3 Rxd3 26.Rac1 Bxe5 27.Bxe5 Rxd2 28.Re4 Kf7 29.Bc3 Rd3 30.Rxg4 Nf6 31.Rd4 Rxd4 32.Bxd4 c5 33.Be3 h5 34.h3 Nd7 35.Rd1 Ke6 36.g4 hxg4 37.hxg4 Rf8 38.g5 b6 39.Kh2 Ne5 40.Kg3 Kf5 41.Rd5 e6 42.Rd1 Nf7 43.Kxf3 Nxg5+ 44.Ke2 Rf7 45.f3 Rh7 46.Bxg5 ½-½

Vilmos Balint (2252) vs Andres Gallego Alcaraz (2523)
Event: FSGM April 2022
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 04/02/2022
Round: 1.1
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.b3 d6 6.Bb2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.c4 Qe8 9.Qc2 Na6 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Rfe1 Qf7 12.Nh4 Nh5 13.e3 e5 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.e4 f4 16.Ndf3 Re8 17.Rad1 g5 18.Nf5 Bxf5 19.exf5 e4 20.Rxe4 Rxe4 21.Bxg7 Nxg7 22.Qxe4 Re8 23.Qd4 Nxf5 24.Qxa7 g4 25.Nh4 Nxh4 26.gxh4 f3 27.Bf1 c5 28.Qb6 Kg7 29.h5 Re7 30.Qd6 Nb4 31.Qxc5 Nc6 32.b4 Ne5 33.Re1 Qf6 34.Qd4 Qg5 35.Qc5 Qf6 36.b5 Kf7 37.Qd5+ Qe6 38.Rxe5 1-0

Nenad R Jovanovic (2318) vs Aurelian Ciobanu (2290)
Event: Bucharest-B
Site: Bucharest Date: ??/??/2000
Round: 2
ECO: A04 Reti opening
1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 f5 5.c4 Nf6 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.O-O Qe8 9.Qc2 Na6 10.a3 h6 11.Nbd2 d5 12.Ne5 g5 13.e3 Be6 14.f3 Nd7 15.f4 Nf6 16.fxg5 hxg5 17.Rxf5 Bxf5 18.Qxf5 Bh6 19.cxd5 cxd5 20.Bxd5+ Nxd5 21.Qe6+ Kg7 22.Qxd5 b6 23.Qe4 Rd8 24.Rc1 Kg8 25.Qg4 e6 26.Ne4 Rf5 27.Nc6 Rdd5 28.Nd2 Rd6 29.Ne5 Rxe5 30.Nc4 Rxe3 31.Nxd6 Qd7 32.Qh5 Kh7 33.Rf1 1-0

Raine Heuer vs Tom E Wiley (2273)
Event: Bayern-chI Bank Hofmann 6th
Site: Bad Wiessee Date: 10/26/2002
Round: 1
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 O-O 6.Bg2 d6 7.O-O Qe8 8.c4 c6 9.Qc2 Na6 10.a3 h6 11.h4 Qf7 12.e3 Be6 13.Nbd2 Rab8 14.b4 b5 15.Rac1 Rfc8 16.Qd3 Nc7 17.c5 Bd5 18.Nh2 Bxg2 19.Kxg2 d5 20.Rce1 Ne6 21.f3 Nh5 22.g4 Nhf4+ 0-1

GM Alonso Zapata vs FM Todd Andrews in French Defense Battle at the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina

Years ago FM Todd Andrews

Photo Gallery from the 2005 World Open (USA)

relocated from Music City to the Phoenix city, Atlanta, Georgia. It happened that by happenstance I was at Todd’s apartment after he moved in and again later as he was getting ready to return to Nashville, Tennessee. There was an obvious disparity between how the apartment looked on those two occasions, kind of like one of those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.

Todd was young, and strong, at that time, and was the “Big Dog” at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. He was also an extremely personable and animated fellow. After being beaten by Todd one regular habitué of the House of Pain vociferously and demonstrably said to any and everyone within earshot, “That Todd has a BIG HEAD!” To which Bob Bassett replied, “Yeah, and if you ever get your rating up to 2400 you will have a big head.” Another wag added, “Fat chance.” The loser hit the door… The name stuck, although no one ever called Todd “Big Head” to his face. After yet another player had been battered and bloodied, metaphorically speaking, of course, over the Chess board by Todd, the loser would be asked about the result and the reply would invariably be, “Big Head got me.” About this time there was a popular music group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who were quite popular. Todd traveled to a music festival in another state and I considered asking if Big Head Todd and the Monsters were there, but refrained from so doing…

These days Todd is the man with the Big Head at the Nashville Chess Center:

FM Andrews drew with fellow FM James Canty in the opening round of the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center and followed that with a victory over GM Alonso Zapata, now a citizen of Georgia living in the metro Atlanta area. A couple of losses set him back before he was paired with serial drawer IM Nikolay Andrianov,

“…who became the Soviet Junior Champion in 1980. He beat GM Gary Kasparov in their junior years and maintains a plus score against the world champion. After that, he chose to focus on chess training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sports Institute, considered the top chess school globally at the time. He has since then trained students, many of them becoming masters in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Currently, he teaches chess in Arizona and online with Ashburn Chess Club.” (

These are the games produced by IM Nikolay Andrianov in the first four rounds:


Round 1 | 2022.05.04 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. c4 c6 6. O-O d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Ne5 Ne4 9. Nc3 1/2-1/2


Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. b3 g6 4. Bb2 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Qc2 Nc6 7. a3 d6 8. Be2 e5 9. d3 a6 10. Nc3 Rb8 11. O-O b5 12. Ne4 bxc4 13. bxc4 Nxe4 14. dxe4 f5 15. Bc3 f4 16. Rab1 fxe3 17. fxe3 Bh6 18. Qd3 Be6 19. Rxb8 Qxb8 20. Nd2 1/2-1/2


Round 3 | 2022.05.05 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 1/2-1/2


Round 4 | 2022.05.06 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 d5 2. b3 Bf5 3. Bb2 e6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 h6 6. O-O Be7 7. c4 c6 1/2-1/2

What happened in the second round? It looks as though Tianqi Wang actually considered attempting to try and play for a win, but after making a very weak move that gave the advantage to his opponent changed his mind and offered a draw, which was accepted by the player with little fight left in him. It takes two to tango, and make a draw, so all the blame cannot go to IM Andrianov. Some of the blame must be taken by the pusillanimous pussies so ready to accept a draw offer from an old and weak IM. Todd Andrews came to play Chess and forced the ineffectual IM to play to the death. Unfortunately, it was Todd who lost, but he went down fighting, like a man, and my hat is off to FM Todd Andrews. In losing Todd Andrews comes away a winner from one of the Charlotte Drawing Tournaments.



Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 0-1 ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 c5 6. Ndf3 Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. Ne2 Qc7 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 h6 15. Bh4 Bf4 16. Rc2 Qf7 17. Ne2 Bb8 18. Bg3 Bd7 19. Rc3 Ne4 20. Bxe4 dxe4 21. Nd2 e5 22. dxe5 Bxe5 23. Bxe5 Nxe5 24. Nxe4 Bc6 25. Qb1 Rad8 26. N2g3 Qf4 27. f3 Qh4 28. Qc2 Kh8 29. Rc5 Nd3 30. Rh5 Qf4 31. h3 Qe3+ 32. Kh2 Bxe4 33. Nxe4 Rc8 34. Qb3 Qe2 35. Ng3 Qc2 36. Kg1 Nf4 37. Qxc2 Rxc2 38. Rf5 Rxg2+ 39. Kh1 Rxf5 40. Nxf5 Rxb2 41. Rd1 0-1
  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (Stockfish 14 and 15 both play 3 Nc3, as does Komodo) 3…Nf6 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase, Komodo, Houdini, and Deep Fritz prefer 3…c5) 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 (SF 8 @depth 46 plays the move played in the game, but SF 13 @depth 44 goes with the most often played move of 5 Bd3. SF 14.1 @depth 47 will play 5 f4) 5…c5 6. Ndf3 (SF 311221 plays 6 Bd3 which has been far and away the most often played move with 8421 games in the CBDB; SF 14.1 will play 6 f4, the second most often played move (1924). The move played in the game has only been attempted in 54 games) 6…Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 (This move has been played most often with 130 games in the CBDB, but SF 14.1 and Komodo will play 7…Qa5. The reason could be that 7…cxd4 has resulted in a 66% score for players of the White pieces as opposed to only 42% in 31 games for 7…Qa5) 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 (SF 12 plays this move, but SF 070222 will take the pawn with the Queen with 9…Qxf6. Houdini will fire a TN with 9…Bb4+. 9…Nxf6 has been played in 84 games; 9…Qxf6 in only 8. White has scored 64% versus the former, but only 38% against the latter move) 10. Ne2 Qc7 (SF 130121 @depth 59 plays 10…Bd6, as do two different Fritz programs) 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 (Fritz 16 plays this move, but Deep Fritz will play will play 12 g3. SF 170821 prefers 12 h3) 12…a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 (SF 14.1 plays 14 Bh4 and so should you) 14…h6 (14…Bd7 has been played most often, and one of the “New Engines” @depth 42 likes it, but left running a little longer it changes its whatever @depth 43 to 14…Ng4, which is what Komodo will play @depth 26) 15. Bh4 Bf4 (There is only one prior game with the game move. Komodo 8 @depth 14 plays 15…Bd7, but SF 261120 will play 15…Nh5, as will Komodo 9)

Kurt Petschar (2310) vs Peter Roth (2325)
Event: AUT-ch
Site: Wolfsberg Date: ??/??/1985
Round: 8
ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.O-O Qc7 12.Bg5 O-O 13.Nc3 a6 14.Rc1 h6 15.Bh4 Bf4 16.Bg3 Nh5 17.Rc2 g5 18.Bg6 Nxg3 19.hxg3 Bd6 20.Bh5 Qg7 21.Rd2 Bd7 22.Re1 b5 23.Rde2 b4 24.Na4 g4 25.Bxg4 Qxg4 26.Nb6 Rad8 27.Nxd7 Rxd7 28.Rxe6 Qg7 29.Qc1 Nxd4 30.Rxh6 Nxf3+ 31.gxf3 Bf4 0-1

ALTO (AT LEAST 21) Chess With Ben & Karen Finegold

GM Magesh Panchanathan and GM Elshan Moradiabadi scored 4/5 points to tie for the first place in the main championship. Moradiabadi had better tiebreaks but the two players shared the trophy and the prize.

Class A Patrick McCartney vs GM Ben Finegold
ALTO (At Least Twenty One)
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Nh6 9.Nf3 Nf5 10.g4 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Qxh4+ 12.Ng3 Nc6 13.c3 Qd8 14.Qe2 Be7 15.Bd2 Qc7 16.O-O g6 17.a3 b3 18.Rae1 h5 19.g5 O-O-O 1/2-1/2

This game was played in the first round. I was unaware of the video that follows until searching for something to go with the post. I have yet to watch it…There is a nice report which can be found at Chessdom, from which the picture was taken. (

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 (Stockfish 8 @depth 47 plays this move, but SF 14.1 @depth 60 prefers 2…d6) 3.g3 (SF 14 and Deep Fritz both play 3 Nf3, which has been the most often played move. SF 14.1 plays the move played in the game) 3…b5 (This is the move of Komodo 14 & SF 15. There are over one thousand examples of it contained in the bowels of the ChessBaseDataBase. Fritz 16 plays 3…d6. There are 24 games with the move that can be found in the CBDB) 4.Bg2 Bb7 (SF 13 @depth 52 and SF 14.1 @depth 42 both play the game move, but Deep Ftitz 14 @depth 29 will play a NEW MOVE, 4…e5) 5.d3 (Three different SF programs, 14.1; 15; and 151121 all play 5 Nge2. In 300 games with 5 Nge2 White has scored 53%. In the 620 games in which 5 d3 has been played it has scored only 45%) 5…e6 6.f4 (Two different SF programs, 12 & 151121 both play 6 Nf3, as does Deep Fritz 14. Makes you wonder, does it not?) 6…b4 (Three different SF programs, 13, 14.1; and 190322 all play 6…Nc6. The CBDB contains only 14 games in which 6…Nc6 has been tried. 6…Nf6, with 83 games tops the list, followed by 6…b4 with 40 games, and 6…d6 with 28) 7.Nce2 (Although this move has been most frequently played, SF 13; 14.1; and Fritz 16 all play 7 Na4, which has only scored 10% in 5 games. In 27 games 7 Nce2 has scored 39%) 7…d5 8.e5 (Although Komodo and Deep Freeze, err, excuse me, Deep Fritz both play 8 exd5, SF 14.1 plays the move played in the game) 8…Nh6 (SF 190322 and SF 14.1 both play 8…Ne7. SF 220422 plays 8…g6) 9.Nf3 Nf5 (The three programs shown, SF 13; Komodo 13; and Houdini, all play 9…Be7. See Lyell vs Yao below) 10.g4 (The CBDB shows SF 14.1; SF 13; and Houdini, each play the move made by Mr. McCartney, which turns out to be a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! I kid you not…The CBDB contains 3 games in which 10 d4 was attempted, each game a loss for White, and one game with 10 c3, which was won by White)

Mark Lyell (2193) vs Lan Yao (2253)
Event: BSSZ Aranytiz IM 2017
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 08/21/2017
Round: 3.3
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Nh6 9.Nf3 Be7 10.O-O Nc6 11.Kh1 Nf5 12.g4 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.Be3 Be7 15.Ng3 Qc7 16.Qe2 Na5 17.Bg1 Bh4 18.Nh5 g6 19.Nf6+ Bxf6 20.exf6 d4 21.a3 b3 22.Rae1 Kd7 23.cxb3 Nxb3 24.f5 Rhe8 25.Qc2 Bxg2+ 26.Qxg2 gxf5 27.gxf5 Qc6 28.fxe6+ Rxe6 29.Qxc6+ Kxc6 30.Rxe6+ fxe6 31.h3 Rf8 32.Kg2 Kd5 33.Kg3 e5 34.Kg4 Ke6 35.f7 Rxf7 36.Rxf7 Kxf7 37.Kf5 c4 38.dxc4 d3 39.Be3 d2 40.Bxd2 Nxd2 41.c5 e4 42.Kf4 Ke6 43.Ke3 Nc4+ 44.Kxe4 Nxb2 45.Kd4 Nd1 46.h4 Nf2 47.Ke3 Ng4+ 48.Kf4 Ne5 49.Kg5 Nf3+ 50.Kg4 Nxh4 0-1

Janina Remy (1927) vs Amy Officer(1815)
Event: EU-ch U16 Girls 17th
Site: Sibenik Date: 09/20/2007
Round: 7
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Ne7 9.Nf3 Nf5 10.g4 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Qxh4+ 12.Ng3 Nc6 13.Be3 h5 14.gxh5 Rc8 15.Qd2 Rxh5 16.O-O-O Rh8 17.Bf2 Qd8 18.Qe2 Qc7 19.Rde1 a5 20.f5 Nd4 21.Qg4 a4 22.fxe6 Nxe6 23.Nf5 Qa5 24.Nd6+ Bxd6 25.exd6 Kf8 26.Bh4 b3 27.a3 bxc2 28.Rxe6 c4 29.d7 Rxh4 30.Qxh4 fxe6 31.Rf1+ Kg8 32.dxc8=Q+ Bxc8 33.dxc4 Ba6 34.Bh3 Qb6 35.Qe7 Qe3+ 36.Kxc2 Qxh3 37.Qf7+ Kh7 38.Rf3 Qxh2+ 39.Rf2 Qh3 40.cxd5 Qd3+ 41.Kc1 Qe3+ 42.Kd1 Qb3+ 43.Kc1 Qe3+ 44.Kd1 Qb3+ ½-½

Andre Lupor (2284) vs Konstantin Kunz (2179)
Event: Bad Woerishofen op
Site: Bad Woerishofen Date: 03/24/2006
Round: 8
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 a6 4.Bg2 b5 5.d3 Bb7 6.f4 b4 7.Nce2 d5 8.e5 Ne7 9.Nf3 Nf5 10.g4 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Qxh4+ 12.Ng3 Nd7 13.Qe2 Be7 14.O-O h5 15.g5 Qg4 16.Bf3 Qh3 17.Bd2 h4 18.Nh5 f5 19.exf6 Nxf6 20.Nxf6+ Bxf6 21.Bg4 Bd4+ 22.Kh1 Qg3 23.Qxe6+ 1-0

Class A Tyrell Harriott Defeats Grandmaster Ben Finegold At Foxwoods

Many people have asked why I do not annotate games. The answer is usually that there are many websites where games are annotated by Chess programs that are vastly superior to Grandmasters, so how can I compete? Granted, over half a century in Chess gives me a modicum of credence, but still… I usually dig out the dirt on the opening and leave the heavy lifting to the programs, but someone special asked me to share my thoughts, and it turned out to be the impetus needed to annotate a game for the blog. In addition, this was a relatively easy game to annotate because it features some of the same kind of mistakes I have made, and it is not every day a class player defeats a GM. And no, I do not know Tyrell Harriott. The Drueke travel set was brought out and a pen and paper were used, just like in the old “BC” daze. BTW, that’s “Before Computer.” It was a labor of love, as I enjoyed the game immensely, and hope you do, too.

Tyrell Harriott (1920) vs GM Benjamin Finegold (2446)

Grandmaster Ben Finegold can’t be tricked, he tricks you …

2022 Foxwoods Open
A45 Queen’s pawn game

  1. d4 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. f4 Bg7 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bd3 d6 6. O-O c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. Bc2 Bf5 9. Nbd2 Bxc2 10. Qxc2 Rc8 11. f5 b5 12. fxg6 hxg6 13. Ne4 b4 14. Nxf6+ Bxf6 15. Qf2 bxc3 16. bxc3 Qa5 17. Bd2 Qa6 18. Kh1 Rb8 19. e4 cxd4 20. cxd4 Rb2 21. Qe3 Rxa2 22. Rae1 Qa3 23. Bc3 Rc2 24. Rc1 Rxc1 25. Rxc1 Rc8 26. Ra1 Qb3 27. Nd2 Qc2 28. Rf1 Nd8 29. Ba1 a5 30. e5 dxe5 31. dxe5 Bg7 32. Ne4 Qc4 33. Qf3 Qe6 34. Qg3 Rc4 35. Qd3 Qc8 36. Bb2 Ne6 37. h3 Qc6 38. Re1 Rc2 39. Bc3 Rxg2 40. Qf3 Ng5 41. Nf6+ Qxf6 42. Qa8+ 1-0!14th-annual-open-2022/-416885650
  1. d4 Nf6 2. e3 (The two most often played moves are 2 c4, with 351454 examples in the ChessBaseDataBase, and 2 Nf3, with 121652 games. There are only 310 examples of the move played in the game, and it has not scored well, with White scoring only 36%. This is an excellent example of a vastly superior, rating wise, getting out of the book ASAP) 2…g6 (This move has been the most often played move at the ‘Big Database’ at 365Chess, with 1461 games, twice as many as the next most often played moves of 2…e6 and 2…d5. It is a different story over at the CBDB. Titled players have preferred 2…c5 in 340 games, scoring 47%, and 2…d5, scoring 48% in 271 games. The game move is third, and in 144 games it has held White to only 31%. Komodo 12 @depth 33 will play 2…d5; Stockfish 14.110 will play 2..b6. The CBDB contains only 18 examples of 2…b6, and it has only scored 25%) 3. f4 (At depth 35 Stockfish 14 will play 3 c4. In 14 games it has only scored 14%. At depth 44 it changes to 3 Nf3. Stockfish 290721 @depth 41 also plays 3 Nf3, by far the most often played move with 755 examples in the CBDB, though it has only scored 45%. The second most popular move has bee 3 Bd3, though it has only been seen in 39 games) 3…Bg7 (This has been the most often played move at both databases, but is it the best move? Stockfish 14 @depth 32 will play 3…c5, but SF 14.1 @depth 40, and SF 130122 @depth 47 both prefer 3…d5. There are 5 examples of 3…d5 and it has scored only 10%) 4. Nf3 (Fritz 15 @depth 41 will play the most often played move, 4 Nf3, but Houdini and SF 130122 @depth 49 both play 4 c4, a move not found at the CBDB) 4…0-0 (SF 14.1 @depth 34 plays 4…c5. SF 130112 @depth 47 plays the most often played move 4…d5) 5. Bd3 (The CBDB contains 23 games in which this move has been played and it has scored only 33%. SF 130112 @depth 46 plays 5 c4. There are only 6 games with the move at the CBDB. It seemed obvious that Big Ben played his Bishop to d3 in order to support the pawn moving to e4 on the next move) 5…d6 (The CBDB shows 63 games with 5…d5 and it has scored 46%. 5…d6 has been seen in 26 games, scoring 35%. The choice of Stockfish, 5…c5, has been utilized 15 times, scoring only 27%) 6. O-O (Well, you know, Big Ben is a GM and I am not, but still, I would have moved the d pawn one square. The second most often played move, scoring 35% in 24 games. The most often played move has been 6 Be2. I kid you not…In 40 games it has scored all of 31%. Stockfish 11 and Houdini at lower depths both play 6 e4, a move not contained in the CBDB) 6…c5 7. c3 (I must stop here because the CBDB contains the computing of only two old Fritz programs and one of Houdini, all at lower depths. I can tell you that after 8 Bc2 the move 8…Bf5 is not found at 365Chess, [] or at the CBDB. In addition, I am qualified to inform you that the move played by the Grandmaster, 8 Bc2, is weak, because it violates the rule of moving the same piece twice in the opening before completing development. This is one of the rules most often broken by players new to the game. I realize Ben is a GM, and GM, as a rule, make their own rules. Yet the title of a player matters not if he plays a bad move because no matter what title precedes a players name, a bad move is still a bad move, and 8 Bc2 stinks…) 8…Bf5 (8…cxd4 looks natural) 9. Nbd2 (I would take the prelate with 9 Bxf5) 9…Bxc2 10. Qxc2 Rc8 11. f5 (This has gotta be premature, but I will give Mr. Harriott credit for coming after the GM!) 9…b5 (Well, you know, the thing is that if I were going over the game with a student I would have to ask, “What piece has yet to be developed? 9…Qb6 looks natural, does it not?”) 12. fxg6 hxg6 13. Ne4 b4 14. Nxf6+ Bxf6 15. Qf2 (15 d5 looks interesting) 15…bxc3 16. bxc3 Qa5 17. Bd2 Qa6 18. Kh1 (I would be forced to excoriate a poor student unmercifully for this “nothing” move. This is the kind of move made when one has no idea what to do. Granted, the GM has an advantage. Still, 18 Qg3 is possible, as is 18 h4, but I am uncertain about playing the latter move, which although thematic, still weakens the Kingside pawn structure, but still may be best because White has a preponderance of material on the Kingside, so should give strong consideration to playing on that side of the board. How bad is the King move? I would venture it was so weak that Black now has a won game) 18…Rb8 (The legendary man from the High Planes, the only man to have been both Georgia Chess Champion and Georgia Senior Chess Champion, David Vest, was very fond of saying, “Chess is a battle for squares.” The GM’s last move garnered many squares) 19. e4 cxd4 (I would have to give this move a question mark. 19…Rb2 is STRONG!) 20. cxd4 Rb2 21. Qe3 Rxa2 22. Rae1 (Take a look at this position:
Black to move after 22 Rae1

Although Black has won a pawn, his pieces languish on the Queenside while the White army is mustered on the Kingside, where the Black King resides. Black must be extremely careful in this position or else he will be overrun on the Kingside) 22…Qa3 (After reading the above you must certainly understand the motivation behind this move) 23. Bc3 (The IM of GM strength, Boris Kogan, about whom this writer has written so much, was fond of saying, “Chess is a simple game. You attack, he defend. He attack, you better defend!” Boris would have played 23 Rc1) 23…Rc2 24. Rc1 (WOW! Now the Bishop is REALLY pinned! It would probably have been better for White to simply drop the Bishop back to a1) 24…Rxc1 (Not my move…I would play 24…Nb4! The move played actually helps White…) 25. Rxc1 Rc8 26. Ra1 (26 Bd2 and the Knight is pinned, and if you have yet to hear, “Pin to WIN,” you will eventually hear it, if you stay with the Royal game) 26…Qb3 27. Nd2? (What happened to the preponderance of material on the Kingside? 27 Bd2 has got to be better. Black is winning here) 27…Qc2 (Here’s the deal…if Black simply brings the Queen back to b6 he will exert much pressure on the d-pawn) 28. Rf1 (f3 looks like a fine square for the Knight, does it not?) 28…Nd8 (Frankly, I was shocked by this retrograde move. How about 28…Ne5?!!) 29. Ba1 a5 30. e5? (This is not a good move. Remember what I said about a “preponderance of material” on the Kingside earlier? That should be an indication to play on the Kingside. Now would be the time to launch an attack on the Black King with 30 h5! I will be like the famous Cajun cook, Justin Wilson, who was fond of saying, “I will guaRONtee it!”)

30…dxe5 31. dxe5 Bg7 (Well, there goes White’s pawn structure. Now he has a weak, isolated pawn in the middle of the board and a lost game, positionally speaking) 32. Ne4 Qc4 33. Qf3 Qe6 (Why not 33…Nc6 to attack that aforementioned weak, isolated pawn on e5?) 34. Qg3 Rc4 35. Qd3 (Defending AND attacking. You gotta love it!) 35…Qc8 36. Bb2 Ne6 37. h3? (At the beginning of each and every game the pawns on f2 and f7 are weak because they are protected by only the King. A Chess teacher will hammer this point home as long as it takes so his student will not be mated on f7, or f2. White should play his Queen to f3 now to attack that vulnerable f7 pawn) 37…Qc6 (After this White is toast…) 38. Re1 Rc2? (This has got to be a mistake because every Russian cab driver knows that “Passed pawns must be pushed.” This move is bad because it allows White to play his next move, breaking the coordination between the Queen and Rook) 39. Bc3 (White is still lost, but not as ‘lost’ as he was earlier…) 39…Rxg2?? (I have no idea what the time was but I do have an idea about how bad was this move. GM Yasser Seriwan would call it a “howler.”

GM Yasser Seirawan howling

Playing a move like this, turning an obviously won game into a complete disaster has got to be devastating to the psyche of any Chess player. I mean, to turn a completely won game into a devastating loss by playing a move like this can potentially drive a player insane. What could GM Finegold have been thinking?) 40. Qf3 Ng5 41. Nf6+ (Is that a beautiful move, or what? How would you like to have a chance to play a move like that against a Grandmaster, even an aged, over the hill, Grandmaster?!) 41…Qxf6 42. Qa8+ 1-0

FM Doug Eckert Versus GM Alonso Zapata in Charlotte, North Carolina

Doug Eckert 2165

vs Alonso Zapata 2378

A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
2022 Charlotte Chess IM (D) Norm Invitational Round 4

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 d6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. d5 Kh8 9. Rb1 e5 10. dxe6 Bxe6 11. b3 Na6 12. Bb2 Qe7 13. Nd4 Bg8 14. e3 Nc5 15. Qc2 a5 16. Rfd1 Rac8 17. Qd2 Rfd8 18. Nde2 Ra8 19. Qc2 h6 20. Rbc1 Bh7 21. Nd4 Nfe4 22. a3 Re8 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 Nxc3 25. Bxc3 Na4 26. Nxc6 bxc6 27. Bxg7+ Qxg7 28. Bxc6 Nb2 29. Rd4 Nxc4 30. Bxe8 Nxe3 31. fxe3 Rxe8 32. Qc3 1-0!charlotte-spring-im-d-2022/141884326025
  1. d4 f5 2. c4 (Stockfish 250022 @depth 54 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 52 will play 2 Nf3. Then there is SF 14.1, the latest and greatest…until 14.2, or whatever name will be chosen for the next incarnation, appears, which will play 2 Bg5(!?) Could that be the reason GM Titas Stremavicius, one of todaze leading exponents of the Leningrad, err, strike that… The dude recently essayed e6 in lieu of d6… [] …has had to face 2 Bg5 in sixteen games in the past few years? ( 2…Nf6 (SF 14 shows 2…e6 at the ChessBaseDataBase. It has been the most often played move with 5037 games in the CBDB and it has scored 58% for white against a composite player rated 2409. The second most popular move has been 2…Nf6 and in 3786 games it has held a mythical white player rated 2410 to a 56% score. Earlier on this blog I advocated black playing the move d6 in response to the d4 + c4 moves when they are played in the Leningrad Dutch. In only 51 games white has scored 58% against players rated on average 2416) 3. g3 (SF 290112 @depth 50 plays this move, as does Houdini, but SF 14 @depth 35 will play 3 Nc3) 3…g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 ((There are 2026 games in which Black has played the game move and in those games it has scored 56%. In 181 games versus a composite player rated 2419 the move 4…d6 has held White to scoring only 53%. Just sayin’..) 5. Nf3 (Three different SF programs each play 5 Nc3) 5…d6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O c6 (SF 14.1 and 250112 each play this move, as does Komodo…) 8. d5 (The CBDB shows this move having been played more than any other move in this position. In addition, 365Chess also shows it as the most played move, but is it best? Stockfish 100221 @depth 47 will play 8 Qb3, a move having been attempted in 137 games, scoring 52% against 2444 opposition. SF 14 @depth 49 will play 8 Bg5. There are only 9 examples of the move contained in the CBDB and White has scored only 39% versus a composite player rated 2387. Then there is SF 14.1, which, given the chance, will play 8 Be3. There are only two examples in the CBDB) 8…Kh8 (This move is a Theoretical Novelty. 8 e5 has been the most often played move, by far, and it is the choice of SF 14 & Houdini)
    The game can be found in annotated form at various locations on the internet. I suggest the free website: (

Grandmaster Zapata recently won the Georgia Senior but no game scores can be found at the GCA website (, and that includes the “magazine”, and I use the word only because that is the name of the “Georgia Chess News,” ( which for many years has been nothing but a venue for book reviews by Davide Nastasio.

Alonso Zapata has thus far shown poor form in this tournament and one cannot help wonder if his recent battle with Covid has had anything to do with his poor play. ( Frankly, GM Zapata was unrecognizable in the above game. I write this because the move 25…Na4

Position after 25…Na4?

was what GM Yasser Seirawan

would call a “howler.” One of GM Zapata’s strengths has been his ability to play solid, consistent Chess while staying away from “howler” moves. The move was so bad I thought there had been some kind of transmission problem, as the move 25…Ne4 suggests itself as it moves the steed to the middle of the board. 25…Na4 proves the axiom, “A knight on the rim is grim.” Indeed, the knight placed on a4 sure ’nuff looked grim, and dim.

The Saint Louis Spring Classic Tournaments

A remarkable thing happened in St. Louis the past couple of weeks during the playing of the 2022 Spring Classic at the St. Louis Chess Club.

There were two different Chess tournaments, the “A” and the “B”. In the top section there were twenty three (23) decisive games played out of the forty five (45) total games contested, which is over 50%. There were even more decisive games, twenty eight (28) in the “B” tournament! That means 62% of the games ended in a victory for one player! This is unheard of in todaze Chess world what with the plethora of drawn games dominating play. The “A” section saw white score twelve (12) wins, with the general of the black army winning eleven (11) games! In round three there were three (3) black wins to go with two draws. Round five (5) saw three (3) black wins with only one (1) win for the player of the white pieces. In the “second section” there were nineteen (19) victories scored by players of the white pieces, with nine (9) games won by the player in command of the black pieces. These two tournaments were truly “fighting” tournaments. This should not be Big News but is because of the unbelievably large number of drawn games in most tournaments these daze, such as tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club, where players go to draw. There is a reason for the great disparity between the two Chess havens. Simply put, if a player comes to St. Louis with a case of “shakeitus” he is not again invited. In Charlotte they “Follow the rules.” In St. Louis they make their own rules, which happen to engender fighting Chess. If a player comes to St. Louis with his hand extended, ready to accept a draw at any time, that player deservedly suffers opprobrium from the community.

The time spent watching the games from St. Louis was time well spent. What with the Russian monster killing machine laying waste to Ukraine time was needed for escapism, and nothing is a better escape outlet than the Royal Game, especially when the players come to the board with their knives unsheathed.

The first featured game involves one of my favorite players, GM Titas Stremavicius.

He must be the only Grandmaster who plays with the f-pawn, both f-pawns. Certainly Titas is the leading exponent of the Bird’s opening (1 f4), and after 1 d4 Sid Vicious, as I think of him, plays 1…f5 with regularity. Sid is an imaginative and interesting player who usually plays to win. Until this tournament Sid, given the chance, usually played the Leningrad Dutch. For some reason Titas decided to play differently in his round six game with GM Robert Hungaski.

After, 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2, Stremavicius played the move 3…e6?! in lieu of 3…d6. Why, Sid, why? Sid tripped and fell all over his blade. Sid must have “booked up” on 3…e6 in order to surprise his opponents in this tournament because he played the same move against GM Elshan Moradiabadi

in round eight. Unfortunately, the vicious one was the player surprised. Sid came out of the opening with a decent position, but in the transition to the middle game Sid Vicious first put one foot in it before putting the other foot in it before falling face first into the slime pit. Those two losses with black were sandwiched between a loss with white to GM Arman Mikaelyan,

Arman Mikaelyan (GM armeno, 23 anni)

making it three losses in a row heading into the last round. Keep this in mind as you read on…

The following game was contested in the last round. GM Christopher Repka

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Chris Repka Interview | Round 4

started the tournament with four (4) straight wins, and after a couple of draws defeated Christopher Woojin Woo

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Christopher Yoo Interview | Round 8

in round seven while General of the white army. At one point I recall Repka being two full points ahead of the player in second place. The youngest human to become a Grandmaster, Abhimanyu Mishra (,

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Abhi Mishra Interview | Round 9

won four (4) games in a row after a second round loss with black versus GM Cemil Can Ali Marandi.

Cemil Can Ali Marandi | ChessStreamers .com

After a draw in the antepenultimate round with GM Elshan Moradiabadi the two players, Mishra and Repka, were tied for first place and were to meet in the penultimate round. It was the game of the event as Mishra, in charge of the black army, handed Repka his first loss. In the last round Stremavicius, who had lost three games in a row, had white versus Repka, who now desperately needed a win…

Titas Stremavicius (2520) vs Christopher Repka (2508)
Saint Louis Spring Classic “B”
A21 English, Kramnik-Shirov counterattack

  1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. Qc2 d6 4. e3 c5 5. g3 Ne7 6. Bg2 Nbc6 7. Nge2 Bf5 8. d3 Qd7 9. h3 O-O 10. Bd2 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Be6 12. Rd1 f5 13. Bc1 Rad8 14. O-O f4 15. exf4 Bxh3 16. d4 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Qf5 18. Qxf5 Nxf5 19. g4 Nfe7 20. f5 Na5 21. Bg5 Kf7 22. Rfe1 Rfe8 23. dxe5 dxe5 24. Rxd8 Rxd8 25. Nf4 Nxc4 26. Ne6 Re8 27. Re4 b5 28. Nc7 Rb8 29. a4 Nc6 30. Nxb5 N6a5 31. Nxa7 Rb2 32. Nc6 Ra2 33. Nxa5 Nxa5 34. Bd8 Nc6 35. Bb6 Ne7 36. Bxc5 Nd5 37. Rxe5 Nxc3 38. g5 Nxa4 39. Re7+ Kf8 40. Re2+ Nxc5 41. Rxa2 h6 1-0!spring-chess-classic-b-2022/-1909464958

Stockfish 14 @depth 47 will take the Knight with 4…Bc3. The only other game with the same move order follows, which makes 5 g3 a Theoretical Novelty. There were several turning points and I suggest you surf on over to ( and reply the game. The following position captured my attention:

Position after 17 Kxg2 with Black to move

I was expecting 17…Qg4 because there is no way I would trade Queens when my opponent had an ‘open air’ King!

Klaus Bischoff (2504) vs Rene Stern (2521)
Event: Bundesliga 2016-17
Site: Berlin GER Date: 11/19/2016
Round: 3.5 Score: ½-½
ECO: A21 English, Kramnik-Shirov counterattack
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 3.Qc2 d6 4.e3 c5 5.Nge2 Nc6 6.a3 Ba5 7.d3 f5 8.Bd2 Nf6 9.g3 O-O 10.Bg2 Bd7 11.O-O Rb8 12.f4 Qe8 13.Nd5 Bxd2 14.Qxd2 Ne7 15.Nxf6+ Rxf6 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Nc3 Be6 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.cxd5 Nc8 20.Qc3 b6 21.b4 cxb4 22.Qxb4 Nd6 23.Rac1 Rd8 24.Rc6 e4 25.dxe4 Nxe4 26.Bxe4 ½-½

Abhimanyu Mishra won the “B” section of the tournament with seven (7) points, one more than Christopher Repka, who finished a point and a half ahead of a group of four with 4 1/2.

GM Abhimanyu Mishra (2505) vs GM Christopher Woojin Yoo (2514)
Saint Louis Spring Classic “A” Round 9
C03 French, Tarrasch

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. Nb1 b6 10. Be3 Bb7 11. a3 c4 12. Bc2 h5 13. Ne1 Qc7 14. f4 gxf4 15. Bxf4 O-O-O 16. Nd2 Rdf8 17. Qe2 f6 18. exf6 Bd6 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. Nef3 Rxf6 21. Ng5 Qe7 22. Ndf3 Re8 23. h4 Qd6 24. Nd2 e5 25. Bf5 Rff8 26. Bxd7+ Kxd7 27. Qxh5 Rxf1+ 28. Rxf1 exd4 29. cxd4 b5 30. Ndf3 Qe7 31. Re1 Qxe1+ 32. Nxe1 Rxe1+ 33. Kf2 Re8 34. Qf7+ Re7 35. Qxd5+ Kc8 36. Qf5+ Kc7 37. Qf4+ Kc8 38. Ne4 Nd8 39. Nd6+ Kd7 40. Nf5 Rf7 41. g4 Nc6 42. d5 Ne7 43. Qd6+ Ke8 44. Qb8+ Nc8 45. Kg3 a5 46. Nd6+ 1-0!spring-chess-classic-b-2022/-289612928
Now that’s a Chess MOVE! Position after 8…g5

9…b6 was a weak move for many reasons, foremost in that it blocked the Queen. 9…Qb6 was best. Mishra hald an advantage even after playing the weak 11 a3. At Lichess the move is given as 11 a3?!, with “Inaccuracy. Ne1 was best.” Then a few moves later Mishra played 13 Ne1? “Mistake. a4 was best.” after that move the game was even…until Yoo took the pawn with 14…gxf4. Stockfish preferred 14…g4. ( The game was lost after Yoo played 17…f6? What would Ben Finegold say?

In the top section, “A”, GM Samuel Sevian and GM Illya Nyzhnyk tied for first place with each scoring six (6) points. Unfortunately, they were forced to play some kind of quick game that is inherently unfair to decide which player “won” the tournament. It is sad, really, when one thinks about it… Show the players some RESPECT!

GM Ray Robson (2676)

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Ray Robson Interview | Round 11

vs GM Illya Nyzhnyk

2022 Spring Chess Classic: Illya Nyzhnyk Interview | Round 8

Saint Louis Spring Classic “A”
C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. dxe5 Bc5 5. Bc4 Nxf2 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Qd5+ Kg6 8. Qxc5 Nxh1 9. Nc3 h6 10. Qd4 d6 11. Nd5 Nc6 12. Qe4+ Kf7 13. Be3 Re8 14. Bxh6 Rxe5 15. Nxe5+ Nxe5 16. O-O-O Nf2 17. Rf1 Qf6 18. Nxf6 Nxe4 19. Nxe4+ Kg8 20. Bf4 Ng6 21. Ng5 Bd7 22. Be3 b6 23. Bd4 Rf8 24. Rxf8+ Nxf8 25. Kd2 Ne6 26. Nxe6 Bxe6 27. a3 Kf7 28. h4 Bf5 29. c3 c5 30. Be3 Ke6 31. Bf4 Be4 32. g3 Bf3 33. Ke3 Bd1 34. Kd2 Bf3 35. Ke3 Bd1 36. Kd2 Bf3 1/2-1/2!spring-chess-classic-a-2022/861379315
Position after 9…h6 with White to move
  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. dxe5 (SF 14.1 @depth 55 and SF 250222 @depth 56 will play 4 Bd3. Houdini @depth 27 will play the move made in the game) 4…Bc5 5. Bc4 Nxf2 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Qd5+ Kg6 8. Qxc5 Nxh1 9. Nc3 h6 10. Qd4 (The game is still in “book” theory, but this is not “book.” The only move played until now has been 10 Qc4 and eleven examples can be found here, if’n you’re of a mind to delve deeply into the opening:

Battle of the Sexes 2022

Although a ridiculous, contrived tournament like this one is regrettable and forgettable, it does contain a nice website with many beautiful pictures, such as this:

A much better format would have been the top ranked male players versus the top ranked female players. The tournament could be a regular, yearly event. Sure, the females would be completely devastated, but Chess aficionados would be able to gauge the progress made by the women players over time as they were continually drubbed.

Nino Batsiashvili (GEO)

Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia)
Reserve Player: Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia). GM, rating 2491, aged 35. Nino had two outstanding achievements in 2015: winning a team gold medal with Georgia in the Women’s World Team Championship in China; and in December 2015 she drew with world champion Magnus Carlsen in the first round of the Qatar Masters. She qualified for the grandmaster title in 2018. She played in the four most recent Gibraltar Masters tournaments. She scored 6/10 in 2017, and again in 2018, 5½ in 2019 and again in 2020. She has a number of scalps of higher rated players, including Hou Yifan in the Isle of Man in 201

vs Gillan Bwalya (ZAM)

Gillan Bwalya (Zambia)
Gillan Bwalya (Zambia). IM, rating 2410, age 33. Gillan learnt chess aged 11. He made his Olympiad debut in 2010 and scored a creditable 7/10 on board 3 for Zambia at the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad, including a win against Australia’s IM Alex Wohl. He followed this by winning the African Zonal tournament, gaining him the IM title. This qualified him for a first round pairing in the 2013 FIDE World Cup in Tromso with ex-world champion Vladimir Kramnik, which was quite an experience. Since then most of Gillan’s OTB chess has been played in the growing number of tournaments held in Africa, with steadily improving results. In May 2021 he finished 5th equal with GM Bilel Bellahcene and others in the Pan-African Championship in Lilongwe, Malawi, on 6/9 behind joint winners GMs Ahmed Adly and Bassem Amin and two other Egyptian GMs. He has not played previously in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar Chess Festival | Battle of the Sexes 2022 round 05
A80 Dutch

  1. d4 f5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 d6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. h3 h6 7. g4 g5 8. Bg3 Bg7 9. gxf5 exf5 10. d5 Ne7 11. Bc4 a6 12. Nd4 b5 13. Bb3 b4 14. Nce2 Bd7 15. Ne6 Bxe6 16. dxe6 O-O 17. h4 d5 18. hxg5 hxg5 19. c4 bxc3 20. Nxc3 c6 21. Qf3 Ra7 22. Be5 Qc8 23. Bd4 Rb7 24. Na4 Rb5 25. Nc5 Qe8 26. Qg3 Qg6 27. Qc7 Re8 28. f3 f4 29. Nd7 Qf5 30. O-O-O Qxe6 31. Nxf6+ Bxf6 32. Rh6 Rf8 33. Rdh1 Rxb3 34. axb3 fxe3 35. Bxf6 Rxf6 36. Rh8+ Kg7 37. R1h7+ 1-0

1.d4 f5 2. Bf4 (After having played the Dutch defense for decades I have never faced this move anywhere, at any time, in any Chess game. shows over 400 games; the Chessbase database contains 287 games. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 53 considers 2 Bg5 the best move) 2…Nf6 (This, by a wide margin, has been the most often played move. The move of the Kings Knight has 271 examples in the CBDB. The second most popular move, 2…e6, shows 56 games in the CBDB. The move Stockfish considers best, 2…d6, shows only 13 games) 3. e3 (This move has been the most popular choice, with 263 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Deep Fritz. 3 Bg5 has been played in 217 games, while 3 Nf3, the choice of Rybka, has been seen in 185 games. There are 44 games in which 3 Nc3 has been attempted. There are three games with 3 h3; one with 3 c4. There are absolutely no games showing with the move Stockfish 14.1 considers best, 3 a3. Nor are there any games with 3 a3 at The AW has a feeling things will change after this salvo is fired…) 3…d6 (3…e6, the choice of Komodo and Fritz 17, has been the most often played move. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 42 plays the move played in the game) 4 Nc3 (Houdini would play 4 c3. The are two games with the move contained in the CBDB , both losses. Stockfish 13 @depth 50 would play the most often played move, 4 Nf3. SF 14.1 @depth 39 plays the second most often played move 4 Nc3) 4…e6 5. Nf3 (The CBDB contains only 2 examples of this move in action, but it is the choice of Fritz 17; SF 14, and SF 060720. 365Chess contains nary an example of 5 Nf3) 5…Nc6 (Three different Stockfish programs all play 5…Be7, and so should you. There are no examples of the move played in the game, which can mean only one thing: Theoretical Novelty! The only game found with the best move, 5…Be7, can be found below. The game can be located in the Chess Base Database))

GM Rameshbab Praggnanandhaa 2608 (IND) vs IM Stefan Pogosyan 2442 (RUS)
RUS-Gurukul U16 Online Battle
A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 d6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.h3 O-O 7.Bd3 b6 8.Bh2 Bb7 9.O-O c5 10.Nd2 Nc6 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.e4 fxe4 13.Ndxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 d5 15.Bd3 Nb4 16.a3 Nxd3 17.cxd3 Bd6 18.Qe2 Bxh2+ 19.Kxh2 Qd6+ 20.Kg1 Rf6 21.Rae1 Raf8 22.Qe5 Qb6 23.Re2 Ba6 24.Rd1 Rg6 25.Rdd2 Rf5 26.Qh2 h6 27.h4 Kh7 28.Qh3 Qd6 29.b4 Rh5 30.bxc5 Qf4 31.Qh2 Qd4 32.g3 Qxc3 33.Re1 Qxd2 0-1

Julio Playing Chess Down By The Gulf Coast

Pedro Hernandez Perez (2176) vs GM Julio Becerra Rivero (2491)
7th Gulf Coast New Year 2022
C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 d6 5. h3 a6 6. Nge2 Nc6 7. d3 h6 8. O-O Be6 9. Nd5 Bxd5 10. exd5 Ne7 11. d4 exd4 12. Nxd4 O-O 13. c4 Re8 14. Be3 Qd7 15. Qc2 Ng6 16. a3 a5 17. Rab1 a4 18. b4 axb3 19. Rxb3 b6 20. Ra1 Ra4 21. Nf5 Re5 22. Nd4 Re8 23. Ne6 Bxe3 24. Rxe3 Ne5 25. Nf4 Rxc4 26. Qb3 Qa4 27. Qxa4 Rxa4 28. Rc3 g5 29. Nd3 Nxd3 30. Rxd3 Rc4 31. Bf3 h5 32. a4 Rc5 33. Rda3 Ra8 34. Rd1 Kf8 35. Rd4 Re8 36. Kf1 Rc1+ 37. Rd1 Rc5 38. Rd4 Kg7 39. Be2 Re5 40. Rad3 Rexd5 41. Rxd5 Rxd5 42. Ke1 0-1!7th-gulf-coast-new-year-2022/-257325680
Black to move
  1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 (I should not have to inform you the programs all frown on the move g3 because it requires two moves to develop the Bishop in lieu of the one move it takes to place the prelate on a square like c4. When growing older I gravitated toward, shall we say, more “positional” type openings, and the Vienna was one of them. In addition, the Sicilian that had been “open” became “closed.” Here’s the deal…The move preferred by the programs, 3 Nf3 has scored 56% in the 3809 games in the Chessbase Database; in 1803 games the move 3 g3 has scored 55%) 3…Bc5 4 Bg2 d6 (Deep Fritz 13 @depth 35 plays this move, but StockFish 041221 @depth 52 and StockFish 151121 @depth 65 both castle) 5. h3 (Deep Fritz 13 @depth 31 plays the most often played move, 5 Nge2, which has scored at a high rate of 70%. Left crunching a little longer it changes its whatever to 5 Nf3 @depth 33. Stockfish 14 @depth 42 plays 5 Na4, moving the steed to the rim where it may be grim, but it also attacks the Bishop. In only ten games 5 h3 has also scored 70%) 5…a6 (Houdini @depth 25 plays the move played in the game; there are five examples contained in the CBDB. Komodo @depth 30 castles. There is only one example of 5…0-0. Stockfish 14 @depth 45 plays 5…Nc6, and so should you because it has scored 56% in the 16 games found in the CBDB) 6. Nge2 Nc6 7. d3 (Komodo prefers this move, the most often played move by far in 89 games, and it has scored 63% in battle. The next most frequently played move with 40 games showing, 7 0-0, has only scored 50%. Nevertheless, Stockfish 14 castles…) 7…h6 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 38 plays 7…Be6) 8. O-O Be6 (Deep Fritz 13 castles, but Stockfish 13 @depth 36 would spring the Theoretical Novelty 8…b5 on the Chess world. The game move has been most frequently played) 9. Nd5 (Although the most often played move, given the chance Stockfish will play 9 Kh2) 9…Bxd5 10. exd5 Ne7 (This is the only move found at the CBDB, but Houdini and two different Stockfish programs would play 10…Nd4, and so should you…) 11. d4 exd4 12. Nxd4 O-O 13. c4 Re8 (This is a TN. The only move seen in the position is 13…Qd7, which happens to be the choice of Stockfish 14 and Komodo)