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
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)

WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova and WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova In Wonderland

Evgeniya Doluhanova


is a chess player from Ukraine, rated 2264. Because she is female she “earned” the title of Woman Grandmaster. Anastasiya Rakhmangulova

Anastasiya Rakhmangulova (Romania, 2016)

is also a chess player from Ukraine. She holds the title of International Master even though rated only 2174. A male player with a rating between 2000 and 2199 is considered to be an “Expert” player. In round four of the 2021 Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship Final they sat down opposite each other and embarked upon a wondrous adventure…


WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova 2264 (UKR) vs WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova 2174 (UKR)
Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship Final 2021 round 04
A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, modern variation

  1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e4
Black to move

After seeing this move I began asking students what move they would make after 2…Nc6, and to a girl they all replied, “e4!”

3…Bc5 4. Qg4??

Black to move

Is that a Grandmaster move, or what?!

4…Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. d3 d5 7. Nd2 Nb4 8. Ndf3 dxe4 9. dxe4 Ng4 10. Nh3 a5 11. a3 Nc6 12. Qd2 Qe7 13. Bd3 h6 14. Qe2 Rd8 15. Bb5 Rd6 16. Bxc6 Rxc6 17. O-O b6 18. b4 Bd6 19. b5 Rc5 20. Ne1 Be6 21. a4 Rc4 22. Nd3 Rd8 23. Kh1 Nf6 24. f3 Nd7 25. Nhf2 c6 26. bxc6 Rxc6 27. Nd1 Rdc8 28. Ne3 Qg5 29. Rfd1 Nc5 30. Ne1 Na6 31. Nd5 Nc7 32. Bc1 Qh4 33. Be3 Na8 34. Bf2 Qd8 35. Rab1 Bxd5 36. Rxd5 Qe7 37. Rbd1 Bb4 38. Rd7 Qe6 39. Rd8+ Kh7 40. Rxc8 Qxc8 41. Qb5 Bxe1 42. Bxe1 Rc5 43. Qb3 f6 44. c3 Kg6 45. h3 Qc6 46. Kh2 Nc7 47. Rd8 b5 48. axb5 Rxb5 49. Qa3 Rb1 50. Bf2 Ne6 51. Rd6 Qc4 52. Qxa5 Nf4 53. Qxe5 Rh1+ 54. Kg3 Ne2+ 55. Kh4 Qc8 56. Qh5+ Kh7 57. Qf5+ Qxf5 58. exf5 Nxc3 59. Rd2 Rb1 60. g4 Rb5 61. Kg3 Rd5 62. Rc2 Nb5 63. Rc8 Nd6 64. Rc7 Nb5 65. Rb7 Nd6 66. Ra7 Nc4 67. Kf4 Ne5 68. Bh4 Rd7 69. Rxd7 Nxd7 70. Ke4 Kg8 71. Bf2 Kf7 72. Bd4 Nf8 73. Kd5 Nh7 74. f4 h5 75. gxh5 Nf8 76. Kc6 Ke8 77. Bc5 Nd7 78. Bd6 Kd8 79. h4 Kc8 80. Be7 Nb8+ 81. Kd6 1-0

1 b3 e5 (Komodo, @depth 52, and Houdini @depth 37, play the move played in the game, but Stockfish 13 @depth 68 prefers 1…d5) 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e4 (The Chessbase Database contains only 18 games in which this has been played, scoring all of 28%. 3 e3 is the most often played move by a multiple of four over 3 c4. Houdini and Fritz like 3 e3, but Stockfish 9 @depth 26 plays 3 Nf3, which has scored 54%; 3 c4 has scored 55%. 3 e3 has only scored 52%) 3…Bc5 (Although Stockfish12 @depth 44 plays the game move, SF 14 @depth 37, SF 190621 @depth 48 play 3…Nf6) 4.Qg4 (This is the kind of move that would elicit, “Now there’s a move,” at the Stein Club. One would think this move had never been seen previously, but sometimes one is wrong) 4…Nf6 is a TN. See below:

Inge Liland vs Paul Johansen
Event: Tromsoe op-C
Site: Tromsoe Date: ??/??/1996
Round: ?
ECO: C20 King’s pawn game
1.e4 e5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 Bc5 4.Qg4 Qf6 5.Qf3 Qe7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.O-O-O d6 8.h3 Be6 9.Bb5 O-O 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.g4 d5 12.exd5 cxd5 13.g5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4 Qxg5 16.Nf3 Qe7 17.Qxe5 f6 18.Qg3 Rad8 19.d4 Bd6 20.Qh4 Bf5 21.Rhe1 Qd7 22.d5 c6 23.dxc6 Qxc6 24.Nd4 Qc8 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Kb1 Rc8 27.Qe4 Qc5 28.Qd5+ Qxd5 29.Rxd5 Rcd8 30.Red1 Bc7 31.c4 Rfe8 32.Bc1 Bb6 33.f3 a5 34.R1d3 Rxd5 35.cxd5 g5 36.d6 h6 37.Ba3 Re1+ 38.Kc2 a4 39.bxa4 Ba5 40.d7 Re2+ 41.Kb3 Bd8 42.a5 Bxa5 43.d8=Q+ Bxd8 44.Rxd8+ Kg7 45.Bf8+ Kg6 46.Rd3 Rh2 47.a4 Rxh3 48.Kc4 Rh4+ 49.Rd4 f5 50.Bd6 f4 51.Bxf4 gxf4 52.a5 Rh5 53.Rd5 Rh1 54.a6 h5 55.Ra5 Rc1+ 56.Kb5 Rc8 57.a7 Ra8 58.Kb6 h4 59.Kb7 h3 60.Kxa8 h2 61.Ra1 Kg5 62.Rh1 1-0

Katalin Mravik vs Gabor Szamoskozi (2201)
Event: Budapest FS10 FM-A
Site: Budapest Date: 10/05/2002
Round: 1
ECO: A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, modern variation
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e4 Bc5 4.Qe2 (!) d6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.d3 Ng4 7.Nbd2 Bxf2+ 8.Kd1 Bb6 9.Kc1 O-O 10.Nc4 f5 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.h3 Nf6 13.exf5 Bxf5 14.Bc3 Nd5 15.Qd2 b5 16.d4 e4 17.Ne1 e3 18.Qe2 Nxc3 19.Qxe3 b4 20.Kb2 Rxa2+ 21.Rxa2 Nd1+ 0-1

The Gombac Variation

After checking the moves, 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Bd6

The Gombac Variation

at 365Chess.com it was shocking to see the Bishop move, clogging up the works, has been played in 102 games! Granted, the 365Chess database includes myriad games played by the hoi polloi, but still, over one hundred games? The Chessbase Database contains only 2 games with the Bishop move having been played. From which game can more be learned?

GM Marko Tratar 2505 SLO


vs FM Jan Gombac 2324 SLO

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bd6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.O-O Nf6 5.Re1 O-O 6.Nc3 Re8 7.a3 1/2-1/2

Martin Giron Guevara COL vs Jhon Greg Ramirez Sanchez 1489 COL

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bd6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 O-O 5.d3 Bc5 6.Bg5 c6 7.Nxe5 d5 8.exd5 Qb6 9.O-O Qxb2 10.Qd2 Bd4 11.Rab1 Qa3 12.Rb3 Qa5 13.Nf3 Qc7 14.Nxd4 Ng4 15.g3 f6 16.d6+ Qf7 17.Bxf7+ Rxf7 18.Be3 c5 19.Ndb5 a6 20.Nc7 b5 21.Nxa8 Bb7 22.f3 1-0

Both StockFish and Komodo have determined the best move to be 3 d4. 365Chess contains 18 games in which the d-pawn was pushed forward two squares. Then Stockfish says 3…Nc6 is best. After that SF 13 @depth 57 plays 4 dxe5. SF 14 @depth 51 prefers 4 c3.

We humans are supposed to learn from our mistakes. It is difficult to teach Chess to neophytes using games of the best players because they make far fewer mistakes than lesser players. How can a young student know what constitutes a bad move when all the moves are good?

Eva Katharina Hahn (931) vs Anika Keller (1058)
Event: Wuerttemberg-ch U14 Girls
Site: Lindau Date: 04/02/2002
Round: 1
ECO: C44 Scotch opening
1.Nf3 Nc6 2.e4 e5 3.d4 Bd6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Be3 O-O 6.Nb5 a6 7.Nxd6 cxd6 8.Bd3 Qe7 9.O-O h6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nh4 Nxe4 12.Nf5 Qf6 13.Bxe4 d5 14.Qxd5 Bxf5 15.Bxf5 Qxf5 16.f4 Rad8 17.fxe5 Qxf1+ 18.Rxf1 Rxd5 19.e6 f6 20.Re1 Re5 21.Kf2 Rxe6 22.Bc5 Rfe8 23.Rxe6 Rxe6 24.Kg1 Re5 25.Ba3 Rf5 26.Kh1 Rf1# 0-1

Veronika Giricz, (1116) vs Anika Keller (1058)
Event: Wuerttemberg-ch U14 Girls
Site: Lindau Date: 04/03/2002
Round: 3
ECO: C44 Scotch opening
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 Bd6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Bg5 O-O 7.O-O h6 8.Bh4 b5 9.Bd5 Bb7 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.dxe5 Be7 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Re1 Rfe8 15.Re3 b4 16.e5 Qe6 17.Nd4 Qg6 18.Rg3 Qh7 19.Nce2 Bb7 20.Nf5 Qxf5 21.Qd2 Qxe5 22.Re1 a5 23.Rg4 Ba6 24.Qxh6 Qxb2 25.Qd2 a4 26.Rxb4 Qxa2 27.Rg4 Bxe2 28.Rxe2 Qa1+ 29.Qe1 Qxe1+ 0-1

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (2227) vs Bert G Dennison (2024)
Event: Stillwater Winter op
Site: Stillwater Date: 02/17/2007
Round: 1
ECO: B00 KP, Nimzovich defence
1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.c3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bd6 5.Bd3 O-O 6.O-O b6 7.Nbd2 Bb7 8.Nc4 exd4 9.e5 dxc3 10.exf6 cxb2 11.Bxb2 Re8 12.Qb1 gxf6 13.Bxh7+ Kg7 1-0

Chris Fincham (2060) vs Jeremy Hende (1432)
Event: Internet Section 15-B
Site: Dos Hermanas Date: 03/15/2003
Round: 1
ECO: C44 Scotch opening
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 Bd6 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bd3 O-O 6.O-O b6 7.Re1 Bb7 8.d5 Ne7 9.h3 Re8 10.Nh2 Bc5 11.Ng4 Nh5 12.b4 Bd6 13.Nh6+ gxh6 14.Qxh5 Ng6 15.Bxh6 a6 16.Nd2 Nf4 17.Qg4+ Ng6 18.Nf1 b5 19.Ng3 c6 20.Nh5 Be7 21.f4 Bh4 22.g3 Be7 23.f5 Bc5+ 24.bxc5 a5 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.Ng7 Rf8 27.Ne6 dxe6 28.Bxf8 Qxf8 29.Qxe6+ Kh8 30.Qxe5+ Kg8 31.Rf1 Re8 32.Rxf8+ Rxf8 33.dxc6 Bxc6 34.Qe6+ 1-0

The Kopec System

It has been my experience teaching Chess to children that they “make the darnest moves.”

Kids Say The Darndest Things
“Kids Say The Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter http://dovemediaworks.net/kids-say-the-darndest-things/

A prime example would be when after the opening moves of 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3, the student suggests playing 2…Bd6. After moving the bishop to d6 I asked a precocious girl, with the mellifluous name Haripria, why she had made that particular move. The answer came, “Because it protects the pawn, dummy.” That remark set me aback. After gathering myself the response was, “But it also blocks the d-pawn, and clogs up the works, dummy.” She howled with laughter. As we sat there smiling I recalled the Kopec System, based on White playing an early Bd3, blocking the d-pawn.


If you are a regular reader you know what comes next, but for you newbies, inquiring minds wanna know, so I went to the ChessBaseDataBase to learn it contains 45 games in which 3 Bd3 has been played, showing it has scored an astounding 66% against a very high average opposition of 2544! This is INCREDIBLE! I went to 365Chess.com finding it contained 97 games with a 70.1% score. My mind has been blown…

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bd3 Nc6 4 c3 Bg4 (The move of Stockfish; Komodo and Deep Fritz castle. 4…Nf6 has been played in 700 games with a winning percentage of only 49%. It is the choice of Deep Fritz 13 @depth22. 4…e5 is the choice of Houdini and there is only one game in the CBDB. Stockfish 14 @depth 29 plays 4…Bg4, of which there are two games contained within the CBDB) 5. h3 Bxf3 6. Qxf3 Nf6 (Houdini & Critter like 6…g6, but Fire prefers 6…e6. I miss Stockfish…) 7 Bc2 (There it is, the Kopec system. Unfortunately, the CBDB shows it has only scored 48% against an average rating of 2416) 7…g6 8. O-O Bg7 9 Qe2! (OK, I put the exclam there, and you regular readers and Chigorin fans understand why. This is the move chosen by SF 14 @depth 27, but I must report SF 12 going down to depth 46 likes 9 d3) 9…0-0 10 d3 (After this move 10…b5 has almost invariably been played. The CBDB shows two games in which the move was 10…Nd7; one each for 10…Qc7 and Rc8. The latter is the choice of Komodo. See game below. StockFish comes at you with a TN, 10…d5)

Khaled Mahdy (2390) vs Manfred Freitag (2285)
Event: AUT-chT 9697
Site: Austria Date: ??/??/1996
Round: 2
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Bc2 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 g6 8.d3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe2 Rc8 11.a4 a6 12.Be3 b5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Nd2 Nd7 15.Nf3 Qb6 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Bh6 e5 18.Bb3 Nb6 19.Rfd1 Ra8 20.Be3 Rfb8 21.Ng5 Nd8 22.h4 Rxa1 23.Rxa1 h6 24.Nf3 Kh7 25.Qe2 Ne6 26.g3 Qd7 27.h5 g5 28.Bxe6 fxe6 29.Nh2 Rb7 30.Qg4 Na4 31.Bc1 c4 32.Nf3 cxd3 33.b3 Nxc3 34.Bxg5 Qe8 35.Bd2 Ne2+ 36.Kg2 Bf6 37.Ra6 Rg7 38.Qh3 Qd7 39.Kf1 Qb7 40.Qxe6 Qxe4 41.Ng1 Qh1 42.Qf5+ Kh8 43.Ra8+ Qxa8 44.Qxf6 Qa1+ 45.Be1 Nd4 46.Qxd6 Qb1 47.Nf3 Nxf3 48.Qf8+ Kh7 49.Qf5+ Kg8 50.Qc8+ Kf7 51.Qf5+ Ke7 52.Qxf3 Qxb3 53.Qb7+ Kf6 54.Qf3+ Ke6 55.Qc6+ Ke7 56.Qb7+ Kf6 57.Qf3+ Ke6 58.Qc6+ Kf7 59.Qf3+ Kg8 60.Qa8+ Kh7 61.Qe4+ Kh8 62.Qxe5 Qc4 63.Kg1 b4 64.Bd2 Qg4 65.Bxh6 Kh7 66.Bf4 Rf7 67.Qe4+ Qf5 68.Qxb4 Qxh5 69.Qe4+ Qf5 70.Qh1+ Kg7 71.Qc6 Kg8 72.Qa8+ Rf8 73.Qa2+ Qf7 74.Qa5 Qg6 75.Qd5+ Rf7 76.Qa8+ Kg7 77.Be5+ Kh6 78.Qh1+ Qh5 79.Qc6+ Qg6 ½-½

Jordan vs Michel Sivan
Event: Lyon op
Site: Lyon Date: ??/??/1999
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d6 4.Bd3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Ne5 7.Bb5+ Nc6 8.O-O Qc7 9.d4 a6 10.Ba4 b5 11.Bb3 c4 12.Bc2 g6 13.a4 Rb8 14.axb5 axb5 15.e5 e6 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Nd2 Nge7 18.Ne4 Nf5 19.Nxd6+ Nxd6 20.Bf4 Qd7 21.d5 Ne7 22.dxe6 fxe6 23.Rad1 Nd5 24.Rxd5 exd5 25.Qxd5 Rb6 26.Re1+ Kd8 27.Qd4 1-0

Peter Svidler (2714) vs Alan Pichot (2630)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup Prelim
Site: chess24.com INT Date: 05/24/2021
Round: 8.5
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.c3 Bg4 5.Bc2 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.d4 d5 8.exd5 Qxd5 9.Bb3 Qe4+ 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Qf5 12.Nd2 cxd4 13.Bxd4 Nc6 14.Ba4 Be7 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qb3 O-O 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.O-O-O Rab8 19.Qc4 Rb5 20.Kc2 Rfb8 21.b3 Rd5 22.Qe4 Re5 23.Qd3 g6 24.Ne4 Qf4 25.Rhe1 Rf5 26.Qd7 Bf8 27.Qxa7 Rbb5 28.Rd8 Ra5 29.Qe7 Qh6 30.a4 Rxf3 31.Red1 Rd5 32.R1xd5 cxd5 33.Nf6+ Rxf6 34.Qxf6 Qh5 35.Qe7 Qe2+ 36.Kc1 Kg7 37.Qxf8+ Kf6 38.Qc5 1-0

Danny Kopec (2405) vs Maxim Dlugy (2550)
Event: Saint John op-1
Site: Saint John Date: ??/??/1988
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bd3 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.O-O d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Bc4 Qd8 9.d3 O-O 10.Re1 b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Nbd2 Qd7 13.Rad1 Rae8 14.a4 h6 15.Bh4 Nh5 16.Qe3 e5 17.Ne4 Kh8 18.Nf6 Nxf6 19.Bxf6 Kh7 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Bb5 f6 22.a5 Qd6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Nd2 Rd8 25.h4 h5 26.Ne4 Qc7 27.Rf1 Ne7 28.g3 Nd5 29.Qe1 Qe7 30.f3 f5 31.Ng5 f4 32.Rd2 Ne3 33.Re2 Qd6 34.Rxe3 fxe3 35.Qxe3 Rf5 36.Re1 Rdf8 37.Bc4 Bd5 38.Bxd5 Qxd5 39.f4 exf4 40.gxf4 Kh8 41.Qe7 Qg8 42.Re4 R5f6 43.Qc7 Rc8 44.Qb7 Rb8 45.Qc7 Rc8 46.Qb7 ½-½

B90 Najdorf Sicilian 6 Nb3

IM Matyas Marek 2372 (CZE)


vs IM Harshit Raja 2494 (IND)

U.S. Masters 2021 round 06
B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nb3 g6 7. Be2 Bg7 8. g4 h5 9. g5 Nfd7 10. Be3 Nc6 11. Qd2 O-O 12. O-O-O b5 13. f4 Bb7 14. e5 Re8 15. Bf3 Rc8 16. Rhe1 Na5 17. Bxb7 Nxb7 18. Qd5 b4 19. e6 fxe6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. Nd5 Nf8 22. Qf7 Qd7 23. Nb6 Qc6 24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Re2 e6 26. Nd4 Qd5 27. f5 gxf5 28. Qxh5+ Kg8 29. Qf3 Qxa2 30. Qxb7 Rc4 31. Rd3 Qa1+ 32. Kd2 Qxb2 33. Qxa6 d5 34. Rb3 Rxc2+ 35. Ke1 Rxe2+ 36. Qxe2 Qa1+ 37. Qd1 Qa2 38. Qc2 Qa1+ 39. Rb1 Qa5 40. Qd2 Ng6 41. Qxb4 Qa2 42. Qb2 Qa6 43. Qe2 Qd6 44. Nf3 Qc7 45. Rc1 Qb8 46. h4 Qg3+ 47. Bf2 Qd6 48. Rc8+ Kh7 49. h5 Qb4+ 50. Kf1 Nf4 51. g6+ Kh6 52. Be3 Kxh5 53. Qh2+ Kg4 54. Qxf4+ Qxf4 55. Bxf4 Kxf4 56. Rg8 Bc3 57. Ke2 d4 58. Rd8 1-0

IM Marek finished with five wins, three losses, and a draw, for a performance rating of 2372. His FIDE rating is 2372. His opponent, IM Harshit Raja, also finished with 5 1/2 points, for a performance rating of 2393, 101 points lower than his FIDE rating.

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nb3 g6 (6…e6 has been the most often played move and in 147 games against an average opponent rated 2422 has scored 57%. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 69 and SF 14 @depth 50 play 6…e6, but Komodo @depth 33 plays the move played in the game) 7. Be2 (Although SF 12 @depth 33 plays this move the same program left running a little longer, to depth 42, decides upon 7 f3, the same move SF 14.1 @depth 40 plays) 7…Bg7 8. g4 (SF 200221 @depth 42 plays 8 Be3. In 34 games it has scored only 47%) In 39 games 8 g4 has scored only 45%. 8…h5 (This is the choice of Stockfish and Houdini, and this is the first time this move has been played, according to the ChessBaseDataBase, so it is a Theoretical Novelty, or is it? The following game was found at 365Chess.com)

Maxence Godard (2377) vs Nicolas Basilevitch
Event: Naujac op
Site: Naujac Date: ??/??/2001
Round: 4
ECO: B70 Sicilian, dragon variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Nb3 a6 8.g4 h5 9.gxh5 Nxh5 10.Bg5 Nc6 11.Qd2 Be6 12.O-O-O Bxb3 13.cxb3 Qa5 14.Kb1 Nf6 15.a3 Qb6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nd5 Qd4 18.Qc2 Qa7 19.Nxf6+ exf6 20.Rxd6 Ke7 21.Rd2 Rac8 22.Qd1 Rhd8 23.Bc4 Ne5 24.Bd5 Qb6 25.f4 Nc6 26.h4 Qe3 27.h5 gxh5 28.Rxh5 Qxf4 29.Rf5 Qh6 30.Rdf2 Rd6 31.Rf1 Rf8 32.Qc2 Rfd8 33.Qc5 Rd7 34.Bxc6 bxc6 35.Rxf6 1-0

Frank Sawatzki, (2393) vs Rolf Luckow (2220)
Event: 2nd Bundesliga Nord 19-20
Site: Germany GER Date: 11/23/2019
Round: 3.5
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bd3 e6 7.a4 Nc6 8.Nb3 d5 9.O-O Bb4 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Qg4 g6 13.Be4 f5 14.Bxd5 fxg4 15.Be4 Bd7 16.Be3 O-O-O 17.Rfd1 Be7 18.Nc5 e5 19.Nxd7 Rxd7 20.Rxd7 Kxd7 21.c3 Kc8 22.Rd1 Rd8 23.Rxd8+ Nxd8 24.Bd5 g5 25.Be4 h6 26.Bf5+ Kc7 27.Bxg4 a5 28.Kf1 b6 29.Ke2 Nb7 30.Bf5 Nd6 31.Bc2 Nc4 32.Bc1 Bc5 33.b3 Nd6 34.h4 gxh4 35.Bxh6 Kd7 36.Bg5 b5 37.Bxh4 Ke6 38.g4 bxa4 39.bxa4 Kd7 40.f3 1-0

Aleksander Kaczmarek (2389) vs Ignacy Leskiewicz (2146)
Event: 3rd Irena Warakomska Mem
Site: Suwalki POL Date: 08/05/2019
Round: 1.31
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nb3 g6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.g4 Nc6 9.g5 Nh5 10.Be3 a5 11.Nd5 O-O 12.c3 Bh3 13.Nd2 e6 14.Nb6 Nf4 15.Bxf4 Qxb6 16.Nc4 Qd8 17.Nxd6 Qc7 18.Qd3 e5 19.Nb5 Qc8 20.Bd2 Rd8 21.Qf3 a4 22.Be3 a3 23.bxa3 Nd4 24.cxd4 exd4 25.Rc1 Qe6 26.Nc7 Qxa2 27.Nxa8 dxe3 28.fxe3 Qxa3 29.Kf2 Bd7 30.Nb6 Bc6 31.Nd5 Qd6 32.Rcd1 1-0

During research for this post this was found:

  1. Be3 0-1, Kamsky (2725) vs. Topalov (2796)
  2. Kh1 0-1, Milligan Scott (1835) vs. Bellin (2240) (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=19&n=282498&ms=e4.c5.Nf3.e6.d4.cxd4.Nxd4.a6.Bd3.Nf6.O-O.d6.a4.Be7.Nc3.Nc6.Nb3.b6&ns=

I thought nothing of “Scott Milligan” but did wonder if the “Bellin” was GM Juan Manuel Bellin, the husband of Pia Cramling, until finding his name is spelled, “Bellon.” Clicking showed it was Jana Bellin and her opponent was none other than Helen Milligan, who currently resides in New Zealand.

Gata Kamsky (2725) vs Veselin Topalov (2796)
Event: 18th Amber Blindfold
Site: Nice FRA Date: 03/25/2009
Round: 10
ECO: B43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.O-O Be7 8.a4 Nc6 9.Nb3 b6 10.Be3 O-O 11.f3 Bb7 12.Rf2 Qc7 13.Bf1 Rac8 14.Qe1 Ne5 15.Rd2 Nfd7 16.Rad1 Rfe8 17.Kh1 Bf8 18.Qg3 Nc5 19.Nd4 Qb8 20.Rf2 Ncd7 21.Bc1 Nf6 22.Re2 Ng6 23.Ree1 Be7 24.Qf2 Bd8 25.Nde2 Bc7 26.Qg1 d5 27.exd5 Nxd5 28.Nxd5 Bxd5 29.Nc3 Bb7 30.Be3 Ne5 31.Be2 Bc6 32.Bxa6 Nxf3 33.gxf3 Bxf3+ 0-1

Helen Milligan Scott (1835)

vs Jana Bellin (2240)

WGM Dr. Jana Bellin

Event: Luzern ol (Women)
Site: Luzern Date: ??/??/1982
Round: 10
ECO: B42 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Bd3
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.O-O d6 7.a4 Be7 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.Nb3 b6 10.Kh1
(Stockfish 040621 @depth 35 plays 10 f4. Komodo 9.02 @depth 24 would play the TN 10 Qf3. Deep Rybka, in the shallow water at only depth 17, advocates 10 Be3) 10…Bb7 11.f4 O-O 12.f5 Ne5 13.Nd4 Nxd3 14.cxd3 e5 15.Nf3 d5 16.Nxe5 dxe4 17.dxe4 Qc7 18.Nf3 Nxe4 19.Be3 Rad8 20.Qc1 Nc5 21.Nd4 Bf6 22.Qd1 Qe5 23.Re1 Rxd4 24.Bxd4 Qxd4 25.Qxd4 Bxd4 26.Rad1 Bxc3 27.bxc3 Nxa4 28.c4 Bc8 29.g4 h5 30.h3 hxg4 31.hxg4 Bb7+ 32.Kh2 Rc8 33.Rd4 Nc5 34.Rd6 Bc6 35.Rb1 Nd7 36.Rbd1 f6 37.Rb1 a5 38.Kh3 Ba4 39.Rc1 Rc5 40.Kg3 Bc6 0-1

Jennifer Yu Losing The Won Game

Ah, the Chess players lament upon losing a won game…This writer has lost his share of so-called “won” games. Truth be told, I have lost more than my share of “won” games, because


After half a century playing Chess there is one particular tournament game that stands out in my memory. The game was with National Master Paul Linxwiler, of the Great State of Tennessee. I bungled the opening and butchered the middle game to the point it was only a matter of time before Paul landed the blow causing me to resign. Fortunately, that blow was not forthcoming. Move after move I had to sit there seeing all these winning moves that were not being made. This went on for many moves and much time. It was TORTURE! I refused to allow the thought that the man would continue to play second and/or third rate moves, but that is just what he did, until finally offering a draw. I broke my hand bringing it from underneath the table to take his proffered hand, metaphorically speaking, of course… When we went over the game I pointed out each and every better move he had not played as Paul sat there shaking his head, mortified at what he was seeing…

Jennifer Yu


had one of those “won” games in the third round of the 2021 US Masters. I was watching the action at FollowChess.com, where you get it straight, without analysis or some thermometer type thingamajig bouncing up and down when a move is made. After seeing bad move after bad move being played I will admit to having gone to ChessBomb.com to check out the, shall we say, ‘colorful’ moves being made by Ms. Yu. It was difficult to believe what was being seen, as Jennifer continued playing weak moves, with a generous supply of what GM Yasser Seiriwan would call “Howlers,” thrown into the mix to keep one amazed. No pleasure was taken seeing her torturous moves being played as I reflected on the Linxwiler game… After playing over the game I understood why Jennifer withdrew from the tournament:

IM Josiah Stearman 2413 (USA) vs WGM Jennifer Yu 2247 (USA)
U.S. Masters 2021 round 03
D19 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch variation

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. e4 Bg4 11. e5 Nd5 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Bd3 Bh5 14. Qe3 Be7 15. a5 Nb8 16. Bd2 a6 17. h3 Nc6 18. g4 Bg6 19. Bxg6 fxg6 20. Ne1 g5 21. Nd3 Qe8 22. Rac1 Qg6 23. f3 Rac8 24. Rc3 Na7 25. f4 Rxc3 26. bxc3 gxf4 27. Qf3 Nc6 28. Ra1 Qe8 29. Qd1 g5 30. Bc1 Qg6 31. Qf3 Bd8 32. Ba3 Bxa5 33. Bxf8 Bxc3 34. Rc1 Bxd4+ 35. Kg2 Kxf8 36. h4 Be3 37. Rc3 Nd4 38. Qd1 Qe4+ 39. Kh3 Nb5 40. Rc8+ Ke7 41. hxg5 Ba7 42. g6 hxg6 43. Kh4 g5+ 1-0
  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. e4 Bg4 (Although Deep Fritz 13 likes this move, Komodo plays 10…Bg6, as have 1165 humans, compared to the 116 who preferred 10…Bg4) 11. e5? (The ChessBaseDataBase contains only 19 games in which this move has been played; it has only scored 45%. 11 Rd1 has been played 119 times, and is the choice of Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini while scoring 55% of the time, therefore the question mark) 11…Nd5 12. Nxd5 (Houdini @depth 25 plays 12 h3, as does Stockfish 14 @depth 20. SF 270919 @depth 23 plays 12 Bd2) 12…cxd5 (SF plays12…exd5) 13. Bd3 (Komodo and Fritz play the game move, but SF 11 @depth 23 plays 13 Bb5, a TN) 13…Bh5 (According to the CBDB this move has been played 445 times, which could be a mistake as 365Chess shows only 5 games. SF 13 @depth 37 and SF 221121 @depth 38 both prefer 13…f6. For those of you new to the game, the reason for the move of the f-pawn is to confront the white outpost on e5, which is in your territory and must be dealt with sooner or later, so why not now? Then again, Deep Fritz would play 13…Rc8. The vacillating move made in the game is weak. Allowing your opponent a free move when one begins the game down a move is not to be recommended) 14. Qe3 Be7 15. a5 Nb8 16. Bd2 a6 (Komodo @depth 38 plays this move but SF 240321 @depth 56 plays 16…Nc6) 17. h3 is a TN. (SF & Komodo agree 17 Ne1 is best)

Jan Smejkal (2540) vs Eduard Meduna (2485)
Event: Hradec Kralove
Site: Hradec Kralove
Date: ??/??/1981
Round: 11
ECO: D19 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch variation
1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Qe2 O-O 10.e4 Bg6 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Be7 15.Bd2 Nb8 16.a5 a6 17.Ne1 Bg6 18.f4 Nc6 19.g4 f5 20.exf6 Bxf6 21.Bc3 Qe8 22.Nf3 Bxd3 23.Qxd3 Qg6 ½-½

Elshan Moradiabadi (2485) vs Vadim Malakhatko (2556)
Event: Paris-ch
Site: Paris
Date: 07/16/2005
Round: 8
ECO: D19 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch variation
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Qe2 Bg6 10.e4 O-O 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Be7 15.Bd2 Nb8 16.a5 a6 17.Ne1 Bg6 18.f4 Nc6 19.Bxg6 hxg6 20.Nd3 ½-½

2021 US Masters: GM Alexander Shabalov vs NM Deepak Aaron

GM Shabalov should need no introduction but if one is needed the reader can check out the introductory remarks found here (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/11/27/us-masters-first-round-nm-matthew-puckett-vs-gm-alex-shabalov/)

NM Deepak Aaron


Deepak Aaron is a solid National Master player who was once the Georgia Tech Chess Club President (http://georgiachessnews.com/a-letter-from-the-georgia-tech-chess-club-president/). Deepak is known for giving charity simultaneous exhibitions (https://www.uschess.org/index.php/April/Deepak-Aaron-Gives-Charity-Simul-at-Georgia-Tech.html).

GM Alexander Shabalov (USA) vs Deepak Aaron (USA)
U.S. Masters 2021 round 02
A80 Dutch

  1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5 5. O-O Bd6 6. c4 c6 7. b3 Qe7 8. Ne5 O-O 9. Bb2 Bd7 10. Nd2 Be8 11. Ndf3 Bh5 12. Nd3 Nbd7 13. Nfe5 g5 14. f3 Rad8 15. Qc2 Bg6 16. Rae1 Qg7 17. Qc1 f4 18. gxf4 Bxd3 19. Nxd3 Qh6 20. e3 gxf4 21. exf4 Ne8 22. Rf2 Ng7 23. Bf1 Bxf4 24. Nxf4 Rxf4 25. Ba3 Nf6 26. Rg2 Kf7 27. Qe3 Rh4 28. Qf2 Nf5 29. cxd5 Nxd5 30. Bc1 Nf4 31. Rg4 Rg8 32. h3 Rxh3 33. Bg2 Rh1+ 34. Bxh1 Nh3+ 35. Kf1 Nxf2 36. Bxh6 Nxg4 37. Bf4 Nf6 38. Be5 Nd7 39. Bg2 Nxe5 40. dxe5 Nh4 41. Bh1 Rd8 0-1
  1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. g3 (3 c4 was the choice in 1501 games at the ChessBaseDataBase, resulting in a 54% outcome for white. The 1239 games in which 3 g3 was played is the second most often played move, but the result has been better at 56% for white. Stockfish 14 @depth 49 and SF 220521 @depth 51 will play 3 Bf4, which has seen action in only 173 games. I kid you not…Even more astounding is that the result has been an incredible 62%!) 3…Nf6 4. Bg2 (SF and Komodo play 4 c4) 4…d5 5. O-O (SF goes with 5 c4) 5…Bd6 6. c4 c6 7. b3 (SF says Ne5) 7…Qe7 8. Ne5 (In almost one half of the games played [844] 8 Bb2 has been the move played even though it has only scored 51%. Go figure… One Komodo program prefers 8 Nc3 [45 games; 57%], while another prefers 8 Qc2 [67 games; 57%]. Then there is Houdini…who would play 8 Ne5, as has been played in 253 games while scoring a fantastic 60% against the highest rated opposition!) 8…O-O (Komodo castles but SF prefers 8…Nbd7) 9. Bb2 (Fritz plays the game move but Komodo plays 9 Bf4) 9…Bd7 (SF 14 plays 9…b6. Deep Fritz plays 9…Nbd7) 10. Nd2 Be8 (Komodo and Deep Fritz 13 play this but SF 8 plays 10…Rd8) 11. Ndf3 (The most often played move and the choice of Komodo, but SF 14 plays 11 Nd3) 11…Bh5 (SF 12 @depth 38 plays 11…Bg6) 12. Nd3 (SF 8 plays the game move but SF 13 @depth 35 plays 12 Ne1 a NEW MOVE, and a TN if and when it is played over the board against a human opponent…) 12…Nbd7 13. Nfe5 g5 (Fritz likes 13…Bc7; SF 8 plays 13…Ba3, both of which will be a TN if and when…)

13…g5 was a surprising choice by Mr. Aaron and certainly must say something about the kind of player who would fire the g-pawn salvo at his esteemed Grandmaster opponent. A player does not make such a move in an attempt to draw. Things got interesting quickly after GM Shabba pushing his e-pawn only one square in lieu of two on move twenty. Then after 20…gxf4 Shabba should probably taken the pawn with his knight with 21 Nxf4. It was at this moment Deepak could have taken control of the game by playing 21…Nh5, but played the retrograde and limp-writsted 21…Ne8 giving the advantage to Shabba. Only a couple of moves later Shabba played a limp-wristed move himself when easing the Bishop back to f1. Deepak answered by taking the pawn on f4, which was the reddest move possible according to the Bomb; big advantage to Shabba. After the exchanges on f4 on move 24 the GM had a won game. With all the action taking place on the king side Shabba, for some reason, decided to move his Bishop to a3, tossing away his advantage. For the next several moves there was punching and counter punching with the game staying about even, Steven, until the GM played 32 h3, again a BRIGHT RED move, the kind of move GM Yasser Seriwan would call a “howler” and it was time to turn out the lights because the party was over…

GM Lev Polugaevsky (2610) vs GM Borislav Ivkov (2485)
Event: Oviedo rapid
Site: Oviedo Date: ??/??/1991
Round: 9
ECO: A40 Queen’s pawn
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5.O-O Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 O-O 9.Nbd2 Bd7 10.Ne5 Be8 11.Ndf3 Nbd7 12.Nd3 Bh5 13.Nfe5 g5 14.f3 Rad8 15.Qd2 Qg7 16.Bc3 Bb8 17.h3 Nxe5 18.dxe5 Ne4 19.fxe4 dxe4 20.g4 Bg6 21.gxf5 Bxf5 22.Rxf5 exf5 23.e6 Qe7 24.Bb2 exd3 25.Qc3 Qc5+ 26.Kf1 dxe2+ 27.Kxe2 Be5 28.Qxe5 Qxe5+ 29.Bxe5 Rfe8 30.Bc3 Rxe6+ 31.Kf2 Rd3 32.Bb4 Kf7 33.Bf1 Rd4 34.Be2 Kg6 35.Rf1 h5 36.Bd1 Rd3 37.Bc2 Rxh3 38.Kg2 Re2+ 39.Kxh3 Rxc2 40.Rd1 f4 41.Rd2 Rxd2 42.Bxd2 Kf5 43.Bb4 Ke4 44.Be7 g4+ 45.Kg2 b6 46.a4 Kd3 47.Kf2 0-1

My Girl Nazi Paikidze Plays the Leningrad Dutch!

The first time the former US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze

Is it Okay to Root for Nazi? – Tom Liberman

appeared on the Armchair Warrioradar was when she played an opening near and dear to my heart. After opening with 1 e4 at the St Louis Autumn GM 2016 her opponent, Jayram Ashwin,


answered with 1…e6, the French defense. When Nazi moved her Queen to e2, the move made famous by the father of Russian Chess, Mikhail Chigorin,

2013 Goodwin Champions Mikhail Chigorin Chess Russia | eBay

my Chess heart had been stolen. I have been a Nazi fan ever since that day. Although Nazi lost that game her opponent was India’s 39th GM. Unfortunately she has not played the opening again, but I can always hope…Nazi has faced the Leningrad Dutch as white about a half dozen times over the past decade, which makes me wonder if those games influenced her to play the Leningrad Dutch? Inquiring minds want to know so how about a Chess journalist asking Nazi the question of how she came to play the LD? I will admit it was more than her choice of openings that brought Nazi to my attention as I found her coy insouciance attractive.


David Spinks was fond of saying, “You gotta pull for somebody!” For the reasons given above there is much to admire, therefore I ‘pull’ for Nazi.

Thalia Cervantes Landeiro (USA)


U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 05
A86 Dutch, Leningrad variation

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. d5 Na6 8. Nc3 Nc5 9. Be3 e5 10. dxe6 Nxe6 11. Ng5 c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3 Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7 19. Qa3 Rf8 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7 23. e4 Ng6 24. Be3 Qd8 25. Bh3 Rdf7 26. Qc2 Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5 Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5 Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1

1.d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 (There is a major internecine fight with Stockfish 180521 between 3…e6 and 3…g6. The Fish is completely divided, as if it had been filleted; split 50-50. My advice is, “When in doubt, play the LENINGRAD!”) 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 (5 Nf3 has been the most often played move with 2104 games in the CBDB, and it shows a 56% success rate. 5 Nc3 has been played in 1630 games, scoring 56%. SF 14 @depth 41 shows 5 Nc3. However, SF 091021 @depth 42 plays 5 Nh3. There are only 237 examples of the move played in this game contained in the CBDB and it has only scored 50% against lower rated opposition than the two aforementioned moves. Just sayin…) 5…O-O (SF 080920 @depth 44 plays 5…c6. There are only 10 games with that move in the CBDB. The most often played move has been 5…0-0, with white scoring 54% of the time. The second most played move has been 5..d6 and it has held white to a 48% score. In the main line any time white has played d4 followed by c4 it is generally a good idea to play an early d6 if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch. With the early Nh3 the StockFish computations obviously change. I only faced Nh3 once, in a game with Joe Scott, who I believe was an expert on his way to National Master, but he could have been a NM. I recall Joe telling me he became a NM because of the book The Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations.


Joe moved the Knight to f4 and clamped down on my e6 square and played a fine game, choking the life out of me until I expired. The loss inspired me to devote much time to annotating the game back in BC time. That’s “Before Computer” time. I read anything and everything found on the move 5 Nh3 in order to be prepared the next time I faced the move. Next time never came…but you can bet your sweet bibby that if next time comes around in a Senior event I will be prepared!) 6. O-O (SF 12 @depth 40 plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 7. d5 (In an article by André Schulz at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/us-championships-2021-r5) this is found after 7 d5, “7. Nc3 is vanishing.” This is strange because two different Stockfish programs show 7. Nc3 as the best move. The CBDB contains 60 with 7. Nc3 and 62 with 7. d5. White has, though, scored 54% with the latter while 7. Nc3 has only scored 48% and this against roughly the same opposition) 7…Na6 (Although Komodo at only depth 18 plays the game move, two different SF programs at double the depth show 7…c6. There are 23 games with 7…Na6 and white has scored 50%; in the 22 games when 7…c6 has been the choice white has scored 59%, with this being against roughly the same level opposition. Given the opportunity to play either move I would play 7…c6, which is reason enough for you to play the move chosen by our girl!) 8. Nc3 Nc5 (The move played in the game has been the overwhelming choice, but SF 13 likes 8…Qe8; SF 14 prefers 8…Bd7. I would play the latter move to complete development) 9. Be3 (SF 13 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 210920 @depth 41 plays 9 Qc2, yet 9 Nf4 has been the most often played move with 43 games in the CBDB in which it has scored 63% against 2398 opposition. In 26 games the move played in the game, 9 Be3 has scored 56% against 2452 opposition in 26 games. In 27 games against opposition rated 2482 the move 9 Qc2 has scored an astounding 70%! There is a reason the move 9 Qc2 is the choice of the Fish…) 9…e5 10. dxe6 (Here’s the deal…the CBDB shows 14 games in which this move has been played and one with 10 Bxc5 having been played, yet three different Stockfish programs show 10 b4 as the best move!) 10 Nxe6 (SF 14 plays 10 Bxe6) 11. Ng5 (The aforementioned annotations at Chessbase show, “White has an edge.” There are no games found at either the CBDB or 365Chess containing the move 11 Ng5 so it appears to be a Theoretical Novelty!)

Black to move

You can find the game annotated all over the internet but since I followed the the game with something akin to religious fervor and made notes along the way I would like to share them with you.

11…c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3? This has gotta be bad. I’d be feeling pretty good sitting behind the black pieces after seeing a move like that! Maybe Thalia did not want to leave the Knight undefended with the black squared firing at the Rook on a1 after Ne4 but it does not work…Big advantage for Nazi!)

13…Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8? (OMG what has my girl done? Why would she not take the pawn???) 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7? (She should play the most forcing move on the board, a5, something I watch the top players not doing as a matter of course. Makes me think of that line from the CSNY song Deja Vu…”It makes me wonder/really makes me wonder’/What’s going on…”)

  1. Qa3 Rf8? (I dunno, Qf6 looks good about now…) 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 (I thought h6 was OK but now I’m not so sure…taking leaves me with a couple of ugly duckling pawns but bring the Knight back for defense only seems to clog up the works. Nazi has stepped into some excrement) 21…gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7? (Why not 22…Qf6?) 23. e4 (What a mess Nazi has stepped into…looks like one of my uncoordinated LD positions. I wanna play Rfe8 but that Rook oughta stay where it is…so maybe dropping the other Rook back to the back rank…or moving, let’s call it ‘repositioning’ the Queen is what the doctor ordered…or was that life support? Things aren’t looking so good for my favorite female player about now…not even a Houdini, or a Houdini program will help her now, I’m sad to write…) 23…Ng6 (Did not consider that move. Looks like Nazi gets opened up like a can of sardines after exf5…) 24. Be3 (What is this? Now I’m pushing the f-pawn while singing, “Save my life I’m going down for the last time…”) 24…Qd8?
White to move

(Oh no Mr. Bill, what the fork is this? From where did that idea come?) 25. Bh3 (Well that helps. Qc2 piling on the pressure looked real strong) 24…Rdf7 26. Qc2 (I dunno, taking with Bxf5 looks good. Nazi continues dodging bullets) 26…Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5?

(White coulda come outta all the exchanges better than she did but this has gotta be wrong as it will drive the Queen over and every Black piece will be firing at the White King! What a turnaround!!! 30…Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5? (I cannot believe this…the woman just let go of the rope!!!) 34…Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1 (Wow! That is what we call “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat…”)

Yasser Seirawan (2615) vs Mikhail Gurevich (2630)
Event: Belgrade Investbank
Site: Belgrade Date: 1991

ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nh3 c6 6.Nf4 d6 7.d5 e5 8.dxe6 Qe7 9.Nd2 O-O 10.O-O Bxe6 11.Nxe6 Qxe6 12.Rb1 Nbd7 13.b4 Nb6 14.c5 Nbd5 15.Bb2 Rad8 16.Qb3 Nc7 17.cxd6 Rxd6 18.Nc4 Rd7 19.a4 Ng4 20.h3 Nf6 21.b5 Ne4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qb2+ Kh6 24.Qc1+ Kg7 25.Qb2+ Rf6 26.Rfc1 Kh6 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Bxe4 fxe4 29.Ne5 Qxh3 30.Nxd7 Rf5 31.Qd2+ Kg7 32.Qd4+ Kh6 33.Qe3+ 1-0

John P Fedorowicz (2574) vs Kamil Miton (2383)
Event: CCA ChessWise op
Site: Stratton Mountain Date: 06/13/1999
Round: 4
ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nh3 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.d5 Na6 8.Nc3 Nc5 9.Be3 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Rc1 c6 12.b3 Qe7 13.Bd4 Bf7 14.Ng5 Kh8 15.Qd2 Bg8 16.b4 Ncd7 17.b5 c5 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Qd3 Nd7 20.f4 h6 21.Nf3 ½-½

“2 Qe2, here we go!”

Let me begin by returning to Tuesday morning, July 13, which began at o’dark thirty, specifically, 6:30 am. After a botched root canal exactly one week prior (it seems much longer) I had been down for the count. The spurts of energy had not been long lasting, which is why I’ve posted things that have required little time or thought. I was working on a book review that should have been out long ago, and other Chess related posts, but then a tooth began causing a problem. This was after taking the first of two shots of the Covid vaccine. I decided to ‘ride it out’ while hoping to be able to wait until two weeks after the second shot, as recommended, before seeing a dentist. By the time I made it to the dental office I was in pain, boss, The PAIN! Fortunately the pain was quelled with drugs. I was informed a root canal operation would be required, but because they were booked I would have to wait until September. Fortunately, or maybe not, depending, there was a cancellation and I was roto-rooted on Tuesday, the sixth of July, exactly one week from where we begin this story…

There was a powerful storm Monday night, July 12, that knocked out all contact with the world; no internet or TV, so I went to bed early. After breakfast I was giving strong consideration to crawling back into bed when the Ironman called, informing me that Zvjaginsev had played Qe2 against the French defense of Ravi Haria, in a “win or go home game.” Immediately I saw a post for that day in my head. I began watching the game, but then had to break in order to purchase some food at the local grocery store. Upon my return my attention was devoted to the C00 French, Chigorin variation, as it is known at 365chess.com.

The chat from Da Bomb says it all…

zluria: Z man in a must win situation. He used to play all kinds of crazy stuff back in the day
zluria: 2 Qe2, here we go!
zluria: Idea: if Black continues on autopilot with 2… d5 then after exd5 Black can’t recapture with the pawn.
zluria: Ok Black is out of book.
Rhinegold: fucky lucky vadim but ok good fighting choice
Rhinegold: very drawish, 48w
zluria: Wow, good going Z-man! see you tomorrow 🙂

I love the part about the Z-man “playing crazy stuff back in the day.” The Z man is only in his mid forties. You wanna know about ‘back in the day’? I will tell you all you wanna know about ‘back in the day’… And yes, I have followed the Z Man with interest for decades because he has played “all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2608)


vs Ravi Haria (2440)


FIDE World Cup 2021 round 01-02

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. d3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. g3 Nc6 8. Bg2 (TN See Kislinsky vs Polivanov below for 8 Bh3) 8…b5 9. O-O Bb7 10. Re1 h6 11. h5 b4 12. Bf4 a5 13. c4 Nb6 14. Nbd2 Qd7 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Ne4 Nxf4 17. gxf4 Ba6 18. Rad1 Rd8 19. Nfd2 O-O 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Nb3 Qa7 22. Ng3 Nd4 23. Nxa5 Bb5 24. Nc4 Bxc4 25. dxc4 Qxa2 26. f5 Qxb2 27. Be4 Rde8 28. Kh1 Qxf2 29. Rf1 Qe3 30. Rxd4 cxd4 31. fxe6 Qg5 32. Qxg5 Bxg5 33. Rxf7 Bf4 34. Nf5 Bxe5 35. Ne7 Bd6 36. Ng6+ Kg8 37. Rd7 Bc5 38. e7 Bxe7 39. Nxe7+ Kf7 40. Ng6+ Kf6 41. Rd6+ Kg5 42. Rd5+ Kg4 43. Rxd4 Rf3 44. Kg2 Re3 45. Bc6+ Kxh5 46. Nf4+ Kg5 47. Bxe8 Rxe8 48. c5 b3 49. Rb4 Re3 50. c6 Rc3 51. c7 Kf5 52. Nd5 Rc2+ 53. Kf3 Ke5 54. Rb5 Kd4 55. Nf4 Rc3+ 56. Kg4 Ke4 57. Ne6 Rc4 58. Rc5 1-0

1.e4 e6 2. Qe2 (Two different Komodo programs show the most frequently played move, 2 d4, but Stockfish 13, going deep to depth 74, chooses the seldom played 2 Nc3, which has only scored 51% according to the CBDB. I kid you not!) 2…Be7 (This is Komodo’s choice; Stockfish plays 2…c5) 3. Nf3 (Both Komodo and Houdini play 3 d4, but Deep Fritz plays the game move) 3…d5 4. d3 (Houdini and Deep Fritz play this move, which has 209 games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Stockfish 13 @depth 31 would play 4 d4, a move attempted only once according to the CBDB) 4…Nf6 5. e5 (SF & the Dragon prefer 5 g3) 5…Nfd7 6. h4 c5

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2635) vs Sergey Volkov (2594)
Event: 16th TCh-RUS Premier
Site: Dagomys RUS Date: 04/08/2009
Round: 5 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 b5 7.g3 c5 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.O-O a5 10.a4 b4 11.c4 bxc3 12.bxc3 Nb6 13.Bf4 c4 14.d4 Bd7 15.h5 h6 16.g4 Na7 17.Qc2 Bc6 18.Bg3 Qd7 19.Kh2 Bxa4 20.Qe2 Nb5 21.Nh4 Bb3 22.f4 a4 23.f5 a3 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Ng6 Rg8 26.Nxe7 Qxe7 27.Nd2 Na4 28.Nxb3 Naxc3 29.Qc2 cxb3 30.Qxb3 a2 31.Be1 Ra3 32.Qb2 Qa7 33.Rf3 Rf8 34.Bxc3 Rxf3 35.Qxb5+ Qd7 36.Qb8+ Qd8 37.Qb5+ Qd7 38.Qb8+ Qd8 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.Bxf3 Rxc3 41.Bxd5 exd5 42.Rxa2 Rd3 43.Ra4 Ke7 44.Kg2 Kf7 45.Kf2 g5 46.Ke2 Rg3 47.Ra7+ Kg8 48.Rd7 Rxg4 49.Rxd5 Rh4 50.Rd6 Kf7 51.Rf6+ Ke7 52.Ke3 Rxh5 53.d5 g4 54.Kf4 Rh1 55.d6+ Ke8 56.Kxg4 h5+ 57.Kf5 Kd7 58.Rf7+ Kc6 59.Ke6 h4 60.Rc7+ Kb6 61.Rc8 1-0

Vadim Zvjaginsev’s Amazing Immortal Chess Game! – “The Pearl of Wijk aan Zee” – Brilliancy!

Chess Non-Players Wearing Maggie’s Drawers

GM Alexander Motylev, the top seeded player, deservedly finished tied for second place in a large, eight player group hug at the recently completed Portugal Open, only one half-point behind the winner, GM Karen H. Grigoryan. After winning his first two games against much lower rated players, Mustafa Atakay, only rated 1886, representing the USA, and IM Rafael Rodriguez Lopez of Spain, rated only 2212, Motylev faced IM Ismael Alshameary Puente, rated 2385, also from Spain. Before the opening had been completed the game ended in a perpetual check after move fifteen. As it turned out Motylev could have used the extra half point. Under ordinary circumstances Motylev would have had Mustafa for lunch, even playing with the black pieces. Motylev, as the notes will show, made no attempt to win. THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH CHESS! Motylev, and all the other players wearing short drawers, have ruined the Royal game. If a guy like yours truly, who has been playing Chess for half a century now has lost interest in the game because of the proliferation of draws, Chess has a MAJOR PROBLEM! The fact is that there is no incentive for players to strive for a win, so they will continue to embarrass Caissa, and themselves, until Chess is consigned to the dust bin of history.

What if a player received on 1/4 point for a draw? How many GMs would be looking for an opportunity to finagle an early draw?

If a game is decisive the two players combined receive ONE POINT. If the game is drawn the two players receive ONE POINT. If the two drawers receive only one quarter of a point the total number of points awarded to the two drawers is ONE HALF POINT! One half point is one half of the one point awarded to the two players who played a decisive game, which is the way it should be. It is way past time to change the rule because if this is not done IMMEDIATELY, Chess will die a slow death, but it will, nevertheless, be dead’ern HELL.

Because of my interest in Go I have learned of several tournaments in which children were offered the choice of Chess or Go. I have been informed the vast majority of children who have done this much prefer Go because, unlike Chess, there is always a winner. If anyone reading this doubts what I write all you have to do is to teach both games to children and then ask them which one they prefer to play. It’s that simple. Chess people want nothing to do with the idea, but people of the Go community are up for the challenge.

IM Ismael Alshameary Puente (2385)

vs GM Alexander Motylev (2640)

Portugal Open 2020 round 03

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Qc2 h6 8. Bh4 c6 9. Rd1 a6 10. a3 b5 11. c5 Re8 12. Bg3 Nh5 13. Be5 Nhf6 14. Bg3 Nh5 15. Be5 Nhf6 ½-½

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 Nc3 Be7 (SF 10 @depth 58 plays 4…Bb4; Komodo @depth 43 prefers 4…c5) 5. Bg5 (Although the most often played move, Stockfish and Houdini show 5 Bf4) 5…O-O (In order of games played at the venerable ChessBaseDataBase 5…h6, Komodo’s move, is the leader with 6037 games, followed by the move in the game, castles, showing 5607 games. Stockfish advocates 5…Nbd7, which has been played in 1331 games) 6 e3 (This move, the choice of Komodo, has been played about nine times as often as any other move. With 6428 games played it dwarfs the second most played move, 6 Qc2, which shows only 471 games. SF 10 would play 6 Rc1, a move having been played in only 112 thus far. After this post expect that to change! Insert smiley face here…) 6…Nbd7 (The most often played move, but is it the best? SF 10 @depth 42 plays 6…h6, as does Komodo 13.1 @depth 45, but the same engine @depth 42 plays the seldom played 6…b6) 7. Qc2 (Komodo 13.01 @depth 42 plays the game move, but Komodo 13.25 @depth 46 would play the most often played move, 7 Rc1) 7…h6 8 Bh4 c6 9 Rd1 (The most often played move, but Komodo 13.2 @depth 42 plays 9 a3) 9…a6 (The programs prefer 9…b6) 10. a3 (By far the most often played move but SF 090519 @depth 29 plays 10 Bd3. Komodo 10.2 @depth 28 plays 10 Be2) 10…b5 (The machines prefer 10…b6) 11. c5 Re8 (SF & Houey play 11…Nh5)
12. Bg3 (The Fish & the Dragon both play 12 Bd3) 12…Nh5 13. Be5 Nhf6 (SF plays 13…f6) 14. Bg3 Nh5 15. Be5 Nhf6 ½-½

Mark Van der Werf (2423) vs Rick Duijker (2222)

NED-ch open 07/25/2003

D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav, 3.Nf3

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c6 3.c4 e6 4.Qc2 Nf6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 O-O 7.Nc3 Nbd7 8.Rd1 a6 9.a3 h6 10.Bh4 b5 11.c5 Re8 12.b4 e5 13.dxe5 Ng4 14.Bg3 Bf8 15.Nd4 Ngxe5 16.Be2 Qf6 17.O-O Nc4 18.Bxc4 bxc4 19.e4 Bb7 20.f4 Nxc5 21.e5 Qd8 22.bxc5 Bxc5 23.Bf2 Bxa3 24.Rb1 Qc7 25.Nce2 c5 26.Nf5 d4 27.Qxc4 Qc6 28.Rxb7 Qxb7 29.Nd6 Qd7 30.Nxe8 Qxe8 31.Qb3 Bb4 32.Nxd4 a5 33.Nf5 Qe6 34.Qf3 Ra7 35.Nd6 a4 36.Qc6 a3 37.Bxc5 1-0

Theo D Van Scheltinga vs Johannes Van den Bosch

NED-ch10 1938

D61 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Orthodox defence, Rubinstein variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 O-O 7.Qc2 h6 8.Bh4 c6 9.Rd1 a6 10.a3 b5 11.c5 Re8 12.h3 e5 13.dxe5 Nh7 14.Bg3 Bxc5 15.Be2 Ng5 16.Nd4 Bxd4 17.exd4 f6 18.O-O fxe5 19.dxe5 Qb6 20.Kh1 Nc5 21.Bh5 Rf8 22.f4 Nge4 23.Nxe4 Nxe4 24.Bf2 Qc7 25.Bh4 Bf5 26.Qc1 g5 27.fxg5 hxg5 28.Be1 Qh7 29.Qxc6 Qxh5 30.Rxf5 Rxf5 31.Qxa8+ Kg7 32.Rxd5 Rf1+ 33.Kh2 Qf7 34.Rd7 Qxd7 35.Qxe4 Qf7 36.Bg3 Qe6 37.Qb7+ Kh6 38.Qe4 Kg7 39.Be1 Rf4 40.Qb7+ Kg6 41.Bg3 Rc4 42.Qf3 Qc6 43.Qxc6+ Rxc6 44.Be1 Rc2 45.Bc3 Kf5 46.Kg3 a5 47.Kf3 b4 48.axb4 Rxc3+ 49.bxc3 a4 50.b5 Kxe5 51.b6 Kd6 52.b7 Kc7 53.Kg4 a3 54.Kxg5 a2 55.g4 a1=Q 56.h4 Qxc3 57.Kg6 Qc6+ 58.Kg5 Qd7 59.h5 Qg7+ 60.Kf5 Qh6 0-1