Jeffery Xiong Teaches The Truth

GM Jeffery Xiong


Jeffery Xiong is a fighter at heart | Photo: FIDE

had his back to the wall and was in a must win situation facing GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda

in the FIDE World Cup. Fortunately, the American had the white pieces for the coming battle. In that situation, after the opening moves of 1 e4 e5, what would you play? Jeffery Xiong decided to play “The truth-as it was known in those far-off days.” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=the+truth+as+it+was+known+in+those+far+off+days)

Jeffery Xiong (2707) vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda (2730)

2019 FIDE World Cup

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 c6 4 Nf3 d5 5 Bb3 Bb4+ (SF plays 5…a5 first, with 6 a4 then Bb4+) 6 Bd2 (Komodo prefers 6 c3, but the Fish goes with the move played in the game) 6…Bxd2+ 7 Qxd2 (SF 010719 @ Depth 38 plays the game move, but SF 010119 @D 44 prefers 7 Nbxd2) 7…Qd6 (Fritz 15 @D 15 plays this move, but Komodo @D 41 castles) 8 Qg5 Nbd7 9 exd5 cxd5 10 d4 e4 (Both Stockfish and Komodo would play 10…exd4, a move that does not appear at the CBDB or 365Chess!)

11 Ne5 O-O 12 Nc3 Nb6 13 f3 Be6 14 O-O-O Rac8 15 Qd2 a6 16 Rhe1 exf3 17 gxf3 Nfd7 18 h4

18… f6? (Former US Chess champ Sam Shankland writes in his book


(https://samshankland.com/store/)

that one should be extremely careful about moving a pawn forward because it cannot retreat. Maybe Duda should have read the book?

19 Nd3 Bf7 20 Qf4 Rc6 21 Qxd6 Rxd6 22 Nc5 Rb8 23 Re7 Kf8 24 Rde1 Nxc5 25 dxc5 Rd7 26 Rxf7+ Kxf7 27 cxb6 Rbd8 28 Nxd5 Kg6 29 c4 Kh5 30 Re4 Rc8 31 Kd2 g5 32 Ke3 Rf7 33 hxg5 fxg5 34 Ba4 Kh6 35 Be8 Rf8 36 Bd7 Rb8 37 b4 Kg6 38 Nc7 Rfd8 39 Re7 Rh8 40 Be8+ Kf6 41 Nd5+ 1-0

Duda had recent experience facing “The Truth”:

Peter Svidler (2737) vs Jan Krzysztof Duda (2729)

Riga FIDE Grand Prix 2019

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.d4 e4 11.Nh4 Nb6 12.Qxg7 Qf4 13.Qxh8+ Ke7 14.Nc3 Qxh4 15.Qg7 Bg4 16.Bxd5 Nbxd5 17.Nxd5+ Nxd5 18.Qe5+ Be6 19.c4 f6 20.Qg3 Nf4 21.d5 Nd3+ 22.Kd2 Qxg3 23.hxg3 Bf5 24.f3 exf3 25.gxf3 Nxb2 26.Rae1+ Kd7 27.g4 Bg6 28.Kc3 Nd3 29.Re6 Rf8 30.g5 fxg5 31.Rxg6 hxg6 32.Rh7+ Kd6 33.Kxd3 Rxf3+ 34.Ke2 Rc3 35.Rxb7 Rxc4 36.Rxa7 Kxd5 37.Ra5+ Rc5 38.Rxc5+ Kxc5 39.Kf3 Kb4 40.Kg4 Ka3 41.Kxg5 Kxa2 42.Kxg6 ½-½

Dejan Pikula (2461) vs Ivan Leventic (2454)

E TCh-CRO Div 1a 2014

ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qh6 Rxg2 11.Nh4 Rxf2 12.Nf5 Qc5 13.Nc3 Ng4 14.Ng7+ Ke7 15.Qh4+ Ndf6 16.O-O-O Qe3+ 17.Kb1 Qh6 18.Qxh6 Nxh6 19.exd5 Bg4 20.Rde1 Rg8 21.Rxe5+ Kf8 22.dxc6 bxc6 23.h3 Bf3 24.Ne6+ fxe6 25.Rhe1 Rg7 26.Rxe6 Nhg8 27.R6e5 Re7 28.a4 Bg2 29.R1e3 Nd7 30.Rxe7 Nxe7 31.Rg3 Nf6 32.Ka2 Nf5 33.Rg5 Bxh3 34.Ne4 Nxe4 35.dxe4 Ne7 36.Rh5 Bg4 37.Rxh7 Ke8 38.Rh8+ Kd7 39.Rb8 Kc7 40.Re8 Nc8 41.Rg8 Rf4 42.e5 Re4 43.Rg7+ Kd8 44.Rg8+ Kd7 45.Ka3 Bf5 46.c3 Rxe5 47.Bc4 Nb6 48.Bb3 Kd6 49.Rd8+ Kc7 50.Rg8 Be6 51.Rg7+ Nd7 52.Bc2 Kd6 53.Bh7 Re1 54.Kb4 Ra1 55.Rg6 Nf8 56.Rh6 Ra2 57.b3 Nxh7 58.Rxh7 a5+ 59.Kxa5 Bxb3 60.Rh4 Kc5 61.Rg4 Bc4 62.Rg5+ Bd5 63.Rg4 Rg2 64.Rxg2 Bxg2 65.Ka6 Kc4 66.Kb6 c5 67.a5 Bh1 0-1

Igor Malakhov (2425) vs Alexander Beliavsky (2657)

11th EICC Men
Round 2
03/07/2010
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.Qxg7 Rg8 11.Qh6 Rxg2 12.Nc3 d4 13.Nh4 Rg4 14.Nf5 Qc6 15.Ne4 Rxe4+ 16.dxe4 Qxe4+ 17.Kd2 Qxf5 18.Rae1 Ng4 19.Qg7 Qf4+ 20.Ke2 b6 21.Bxf7+ Kd8 22.Bc4 Bb7 23.Bb5 Bf3+ 24.Kd3 Nc5+ 0-1

Nikita Vitiugov (2721) vs Alexander Zubov (2612)

17th ch-EUR Indiv 2016

05/19/2016
Round: 7.4

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.d4 e4 11.Ne5 O-O 12.Nc3 Nb6 13.f3 Be6 14.Qe3 exf3 15.gxf3 Nh5 16.Qg5 f6 17.Qxh5 fxe5 18.Qxe5 Qxe5+ 19.dxe5 Rxf3 20.O-O-O Rd8 21.Nb5 Re3 22.Rde1 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 a5 24.c3 Kf8 25.Nd6 Rb8 26.Kd2 Ke7 27.Ke3 Rf8 28.Bc2 Nc4+ 29.Nxc4 dxc4 30.Be4 Bf5 31.Bd5 Be6 32.Be4 Bf5 33.Bd5 Be6 34.Be4 ½-½

American Chess Magazine #11: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

When the first issue of the American Chess Magazine debuted I mentioned something about it being expensive, writing the price of the magazine, twenty five dollars, was as much as a book. My intention was to read, and then review, the first issue. After contacting someone at the ACM about receiving a review copy I was informed it would only be possible to receive the first copy if I anted up twenty five dollars, for which I would receive the first two issues. I turned down the “offer.”

It was only a few months ago upon returning to the Atlanta area that I got a chance to peruse past issues, which were wonderful. The new issue, issue #11, the second issue of 2019,

was the second issue after increasing from four issues to six issues per year. The new US Women’s Chess Champion, Jennifer Yu, graces the cover, surrounded by a pink background. This is my review.

I will be completely honest and say that before taking the magazine out of the plastic wrap I was hooked, and not because of the picture of a very pretty young lady on the cover, although I can see what a wonderful hook is Jennifer Yu!

It is a shame the ACM is not sold at book stores or newspaper and magazine stands because the cover would attract much interest. This on the cover is what “hooked” me:

American Civil War
A Dying Southern Diarist
Theodore P. Savas

I read the article immediately before even scanning the magazine and it brought tears to my eyes. I was born in the back seat of a ’49 Ford convertible on the way to Emory University Hospital in Decatur, Georgia, which means I was born a Southerner, as is often heard in the South, “By the grace of God.” The diarist, “Leroy Wiley Gresham, was born in 1847 to an affluent family in Macon, Georgia.” His mother’s name, Mary, was the same as my Mother’s name. The title of the article is, An Elegant Game: The American Civil War, a Dying Southern Diarist, and a Fascination with Chess. Leroy Wiley Gresham wrote his diary during the War of Northern Aggression, while he was dying. It is an elegant piece. I could end the review now and give it five stars, but there is more, much more, contained in this elegant issue!

Although I have read extensively about the War Between the States during the course of my life, it has been some time since I have read a book on the subject. This will be remedied when the book upon which the article is based, The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1864, edited by Janet Kroon, which I have ordered, arrives.

The focus of the magazine is the most recent US Chess Championships. The annotations of the final round game are by the loser, Jeffery Xiong,

Isle of Man Chess International, Round 5, 24 October 2018. Photo by John Saunders

and they are excellent! For example, look at this position:

Jeffery writes, “21. Qb1 Preventing any …a4xb3 and Ra8-a2 ideas. But 21 Rfe1, quickly preparing Nf1-d2 and e2-e4, might have been more to the point.” Some annotators provide Lubomir Ftacnik

style reams of analysis when all that is needed is something simple. At the conclusion of the game Jeffery writes, “It was as clean a win as you can get with the black pieces. The opening experiment proved to be golden as my inexperience in this type of position was revealed to its fullest extent. Nakamura

played truly inspiring chess, especially with the black pieces, and his will to win in this game made him the deserved champion. He has amply demonstrated his greatness, being one of the perennial top-10 players in the world. Any player can win games, but at top level only great players are capable of consistently winning must-win games!”

GM Jeffery Xiong has shown his class as a gentleman with what he has written about what must have been a tough game to lose.

The honesty continues when Xiong annotates his win with the black pieces against the now dethroned US Chess Champion, Sam Shankland,


https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/872

when Jeffery writes at the end of the game, “At first I was quite pleased with my play as I felt I had found some nice ideas. However after heading back to my hotel room and opening ChessBomb, I saw a sea of red moves! Nonetheless, I was now leading the tournament with 2 1/2/3, yet fully aware that the quality of my play was not entirely satisfactory.”

This is amazingly honest writing.

A few pages further into the magazine one turns the page to see a beautiful picture of the new US Women’s Champion, Jennifer Yu, sitting at a Chessboard behind the black pieces while flashing a gorgeous smile. The title above reads, Lady With A Torch, which is appropriate because Jennifer torched the field this year! One reads, “Exclusive annotations and an interview by WGM Jennifer Yu.” The following page contains the game between former many time Women’s Champion Irina Krush,

playing white, and Jennifer, which happens to be an opening I have played, the B13 Caro-Kann, which begins 1 c4 c6 2 e4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Bg5 Be6. While visiting the Nashville Chess Center (http://www.nashvillechess.org/content.aspx?page_id=0&club_id=164844) earlier this decade FM Todd Andrews,

the Music City Master, gave a lecture which happened to be this very variation. After 7 a3 Qd7 Jennifer writes, “Not 7…dxc4?, when after 8 Bxf6! exf6 9 d5 Black loses a piece.” I recall raising my hand during the early part of Todd’s lecture asking about the early move c5 for White. Todd was nice enough to illustrate what was behind the move c5 for the audience, while letting me know in a nice way it was a lecture, not a Q&A. The game continued, 8 Be2 Rd8 9 Bxf6 exf6 10 c5. Ms. Yu writes, “Although a general principle of chess is to maintain tension in the center during the opening, this is a good move that prevents any…dxc4 tricks. It locks up the center and challenges the wisdom of my piece placement, making the bishop on e6 and the rook on d8 look silly, since these pieces no longer have any prospects against c4 and d4. 10 Bf3 doesn’t work because after 10…dxc4 11 d5 Qe7! the threat to the white king, as well as the pin on the white d-pawn, provides the black knight and bishop with immunity against the fork.” The annotations are exceptional.

I could go on and on, but this is a blog post. Still, I must mention an article by GM Alex Fishbein,

Secrets Of Same-Color Bishop Endings, which is superlative! And then there is the wonderful article, Beauties of Underpromotion, by IM Boroljub Zlatanovic, which was enjoyed immensely!

Unfortunately, not everything included in the magazine is rosy. Fresh Leaves from the Bookshelf is the title of the book review column by FM Carsten Hansen.

In this issue the FM has “reviewed,” and I use the word rather loosely, ten books. As he did in the previous issue Mr. Hansen reviewed ten books for the ACM. Beginning with the previous issue the ACM went from being published quarterly to bi-monthly. It may have been possible to review ten books quarterly, but how is it possible for anyone to read ten Chess books every other month? The answer is contained in the review of Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi,

by Andy Soltis,

published by McFarland. (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/) Hansen writes, “When I first saw the description of this book, (There is no need for the comma) I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. (“Upon first seeing description I did not know how to feel about the book.” THE ACM needs a good editor.) However, having now received a copy and read a fair amount of the text…” Let us pause in the middle of the sentence to reflect. Many years ago someone mentioned something about coming to the House of Pain “soon.” This caused David Vest, the only man to have won both the Georgia Chess Championhip and Georgia Senior Championship, to pose the question, “How long, exactly, is soon?” He added, “I hate those nebulous words…” This began a discussion concerning nebulous words. A short time (Nebulous!) later Mr. Vest, heading out the door, said, “Tell Murphy I will be back in a little while.” He was half way out of the door when someone asked, “How long is ‘a little while’, Dave?” This brought the House down! What is a “fair amount” of the book? Your “fair amount” may not be the same as my “fair amount.” Can you imagine a New York Times book reviewer revealing they only read a “fair amount” of a book? I usually pay little attention to these short book reviews by writers who obviously simply scan the book reviewed. It would be better for Mr. Hansen to review only a few books he has actually read as opposed to scanning ten books before writing a review. It seems many reviewers spend more time writing the review than actually reading the book being reviewed.

Then there is the article, 50 is the new 40, by Jon Edwards, an ICCF Senior IM. Reading the article caused me to reflect upon the words written by GM Nigel Short

in New In Chess magazine 2019 #2

in his piece, Obsolescence, which concerns correspondence chess. “If ever an activity should have long ago expired and been buried with dignity, it is surely correspondence chess.” This caused Kirill Oseledets to write a letter to the editor of NIC in which he expressed his unfavorable opinion of NIC for publishing the Short column. Kirill wrote, “I was sincerely surprised and deeply disappointed to see that in New In Chess 2018/2 you published Nigel Short’s article with the provocative title ‘Obsolescence.’ Later he writes, “One thing that Nigel Short fails to recognize is that correspondence chess is first of all a research laboratory for chess.”

Mr. Edwards begins, “Chess players do not yet have access to AlphaZero and so we are left to peruse more conventional chess technologies. It is tempting to focus primarily upon new databases, new videos, and new online chess services, all of which keep me feeling young and invigorated, but the fact is that chess is experiencing another profound change that has gradually but inexorably changed chess forever.” Then the article begins and Jon writes, “Just a few years ago, patiently permitting a desktop computer to run for day or longer might net an evaluation depth of 35-40 ply, each ply representing a single half move.”

He continues, “With new hardware , it is not uncommon (Don’t ‘cha just hate it when a writer uses a double negative and the editor prints it?) today for such runs to reach a depth of 50 ply or even much higher, depending obviously upon the position, the number of viable moves for each player, and the chess engine being employed. Those depths are high enough to predict accurately the future endgames, which themselves become trivial to evaluate. These long runs in typical positions are producing a slew of draws in Correspondence chess. I present here the current crosstable of the Spanish Masters, a tournament in which I am competing. With just 8 games still unfinished, the crosstable creates quite an impression, a veritable sea of draws.”

The crosstable shows a tournament with fifteen players almost complete. There is only one decisive result, and the only ‘1’ and lonely ‘0’ stand out like Bo Derek!

Jon continues, “You might indeed conclude prematurely that correspondence chess is therefore fully dead or dying.”

Duh, ya think?!

“But that’s not the point or the end of the story. The reality is that it is becoming very hard to win, but it is still possible!”

The CC IM writes this because the only game won in the “veritable sea of draws,” was won by the author…

He continues, “Those long runs are turning up interesting finds.”

Indeed.

“I parlayed one such discovery into a win over the reigning Russian correspondence chess champion, the only win so far in this crosstable.”

The game is given, along with a game played later by former World Chess Champion Vishy Anand,

who was unable to produce the move found by a computer Chess program after a “long run.” At the Isle of Man Anand faced Artemiev

with white and these moves were played: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Be3 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6.

“Undoubtedly unaware of the game I had recently completed, Anand tried 12 Qd2.”

“I reached the diagram position through a different move order: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Be7 8 f4 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6

Edwards continues, “I reached the diagramed position in December 2017 through a different move order: : 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Be7 8 f4 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6. Sensing an opportunity for White, I ran Robert Houdart’s Houdini 6.02 Pro x64 for 35 days(!) on an Intel Xeon CPU E5-2687W @3.00 GHz with 32 GB of installed RAM. At depth 45, 12 Bd3 emerged not simply as the best move, as I had anticipated (Where is that darn comma when you need it?) but also with a completely winning advantage!”

“Edwards – Lobanov instead continued: 12 Bd3!! (Please note the ICCF Senior International Master gives not one but TWO exclamation marks for a move found by a Chess engine after doing whatever it is it does for over a MONTH of computing!!) Qb6 13 Na4 Qa5+ 14 c3

“I suspect the engines at lower depth had rejected this line owing to 14…Nxd4 15 Bxd4 b5 trapping the knight, but at higher depth, the engines easily find: 16 Bxh7+!! (Once again one exclam is not enough!!) 16…Kxh7 17 Qh5+ Kg8 18 0-0+ with a transfer of the Rf1 to h3. On 18…g6 (the toughest defense) 19 Qh4 Re8 20 Rf3 Bf8 21 Rh3 Bg7 22 f5! gxf5 23 Nb6 Nxb6 24 B5 with mate to follow. Without that line at his disposal, Lobanov chose instead to sacrifice a knight for two pawns but achieved insufficient compensation. Here’s the rest of the game.”

I will spare you the remainder of the game. Mr. Edwards adds this at the end of the game: “Not long after the game ended, I shared it with a GM friend of mine, the second for a world top-player, who ran 12 Bd3 on a very powerful mainframe overnight. He concluded that Black was already lost and he added White’s new idea into their collective repertoire. The translation: Our world’s best players fully understand the need for world class computing. He was able to do in half a day what took me more than a month! I do not know what hardware they are running but it clearly surpasses my setup. I am also proud that analysis of this game appeared in New in Chess Yearbook 129 (itl), pp33-35.
While it is clearly getting much tougher to win correspondence games and to achieve Correspondence IM and GM norms, any correspondence wins that doe occur clearly deserve considerable attention. Just ask Anand. I therefore recommend that strong players involve the Games Archive at iccf.com as a key part of their opening preparation. You will gain access to the archive after you sign up (for free).”

What, no double exclam after “free?”

Reading, “…correspondence chess is first of all a research laboratory for chess,” caused me to stop reading and start thinking about what was being read. I thought the computer championships, such as the TCEC Chess tournaments, were Chess laboratories. Jon and his ilk input a position into a computer and let it do it’s thing for a month and call it Chess. Jon, and all other correspondence players would be much better off if they would go to a club or tournament and use their brain to actually play CHESS!

Jon was right when he wrote, “…chess is experiencing another profound change that has gradually but inexorably changed chess forever.”

With that sentence Jon Edwards just KILLED CHESS!

Consider the last theoretical novelty you saw from one of the top ten players in the world. Did it spring from the fertile imagination of a human like, for instance, the Magician of Riga, Mikhail Tal?

Or did it emanate from the bowels of some hellish mainframe? If it has gotten to the point where a computer can provide a world class Chess player a move early in the game with which any world class player will win, what is the point of Chess? Has it gotten to the point where, “Those depths are high enough to predict accurately the future endgames, which themselves become trivial to evaluate?”

If Jon is correct there is no point in watching Chess because one will never know how the ‘beautiful’ move was produced. A Chess fan will never know if the “tremendous move” emanated from a human brain or from the machinations of a computer program. What we currently have is some kind of symbiotic relationship between human and machine kind of like the ‘Borg’ depicted in the television show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The first World Chess Champion to lose a match to a computer program, Garry Kasparov,

became an advocate of some kind of Chess in which both players have access to a program, which, thankfully, did not become popular. It appears what happened is the symbiotic relationship was kept behind closed doors. The computers and programs were there all the time, like some kind of Wizard of Oz.

Because they were out of sight they were also out of mind.

What is the point of the folks at the Chess Informant awarding a prize for the “best” theoretical novelty if the TN was found by a computer program? It has reached the point where a Grandmaster without access to a mainframe computer has little chance against another GM with access to a powerful computer. Who is actually winning the Chess game, the human or the program?

Chess will continue to be played just as Checkers continues to be played by a small number of people. When was the last time you were aware of the world Checkers champion?

Then there is the last page, 5×5 Q&A “Where Grandmasters Advise Young Players.”

The advice being given is by Susan Polgar. What the woman did to the USCF was UGLY!

Is Nakamura the New Giri?

Hikaru Nakamura

v Jeffery Xiong

U.S. Championship 2018 round 06

C25 Vienna game

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bc5 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 10. d3 h6 11. Rb1 Bb6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Be6 14. c4 e4 15. Nd2 exd3 16. c5 Ba5 17. Rxb7 Nb4 18. cxd3 Bd5 19. Rxb4 Bxg2 20. Rf4 Qc6 21. Qa4 Bxd2 22. Bxd2 Rfe8 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Qxc6 Bxc6 25. Kf1 Rb8 26. Rb4 Rxb4 27. Bxb4 Bd7 28. h4 f6 29. d4 Be6 30. a3 g5 31. Ke1 ½-½

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 (The Vienna, a discredited opening I have often played which dates to the early days of Chess. Nothing like seeing Naka play an interesting opening to whet ones appetite for the coming round! Jacques Mieses

played 2 Nc3 122 times; Wilhelm Steinitz, 64.

Jana Krivec

played it on 70 occasions around the turn of this century)

2…Nf6 (After this move Steinitz drops out, replaced by Alexander Alekhine, who sat behind the white pieces 40 times)

3. g3 (Now we see Jana Krivec leading with 35 games, followed by Rauf Mamedov (27), and Peter Rahls with 26 games)

3…d5 (Now Alexander Finkel leads having faced 3…d5 18 times. Peter Rahls is second with 15; Jana shows 14)

4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 (The standard position. Finkel and Rahls hold first and second, but our girlfriend, Heather Richards, has had this position ten times, which means more Heather games to replay!)

6…Bc5 (6…Bd6 has been the most often played move, but the Stockfish at ChessBomb and the CBDB show the game move best, but there is a caveat…the Stockfish program that shows the game move best is Stockfish 8 at a depth of 36. The CBDB shows that when Stockfish 9 goes one depth further it switches to 6…Nc6, the move Houdini prefers)

7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 (SF likes 9…Bb6) 10. d3 h6 (The Fish likes 10…Bb6) 11. Rb1 (There is total agreement that 11 Be3 is the best move)

11…Bb6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Be6 (Theoretical Novelty! The gloves are off and we are fighting in the street! See games below for 13…Bh5.
It appears someone has done his homework as all the clanking digital monsters proclaim Be6 the best move in the position)

The hoi polloi in the ‘chat’ room at ChessBomb thought little of Hikaru’s choice of opening:

patzerforlife: another Nakamura draw
congrandolor: what happens with this guy? his chess used to be thrilling
congrandolor: now almost as boring as So´s
faustus: Go Jeffery!
Wizboy: nakamura is the new giri
Jeh: Yeah, this position is totally innocuous….

14. c4 e4 15. Nd2 exd3 16. c5 Ba5 17. Rxb7 Nb4 (Stockfish at Da Bomb gives this line: 17… Nb4 18. cxd3 Nxd3 19. Ne4 Qg6 20. Qxd3 Bxe1 21. Rxc7 Rad8 22. Qe2 Bb4 23. Rxa7 Bxh3 24. Nd6 Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Bxc5 26. Bxc5 Rxd6 27. Bxd6 Qxd6 28. Qc4 Qd2 29. Rb7 Qa5 30. Rb2 Qf5)

18. cxd3

18…Bd5? (An awful, game losing type move, gifting white a large advantage. 18… Nxd3 19. Re2 looks normal)

19. Rxb4? (Nakamura returns the favor. What is causing the proliferation of back to back blunders in recent years? Stockfish gives this line: 19. Nb3 Bxb7 20. Bxb7 Nc6 21. Bxc6 Bxe1 22. Bxa8 Bxf2+ 23. Bxf2 Rxa8 24. g4 Qb2 25. Qd2 Qxd2 26. Nxd2 Rb8 27. Nb3 Rb4 28. Bg3 Ra4 29. Bxc7 Rxa2 30. d4 Ra3 31. Na5 Rxh3 32. Kf2 Rc3 33. Nc6 Rd3 34. Ne7+ Kf8 35. Bd6)

The nattering nabobs ‘chatting’ had a field day with Naka’s last move:

CheshireDad: Nb3 seems a very tough move to find otb
Wizboy: Nb3 protects the pawn, attacks 2 pieces – any 2000 player would see this
Wizboy: i mean, idea is, Nb3 attacks a B which is trapped and has nowhere to go, and after Bxb7 Bxb7 white is still attacking that B and the black R. If R runs to safety Nxa5 and white wins 2 pieces for R. Nc6 Bc6 Be1 Ba8 Bf2 Bf2
Wizboy: okay, maybe too long. 2100-2200. Still Naka should be able to see this
attm: any 2100-2200 here?
kramnikaze: Nb3 doesn’t attack 2 pieces. it defends the white bishop after: 19. Nb3 Bxb7 20. Bxb7 Rb8 21. Nxa5
congrandolor: BBBBLUNNDERR
kramnikaze: Iguess Naka isn’t 2100-2200 ….
congrandolor: hehe
congrandolor: maybe he is drunk
congrandolor: or high
kramnikaze: or both 😉
patzerforlife: In 10 years Naka will be walking the streets begging for spare change

ChessHulk: too much poker 🙂
Bonifratz: Nakamura is very underwhelming so far in this event
Wizboy: honestly that line was not so hard to see

Bxg2 20. Rf4 Qc6 21. Qa4 Bxd2 22. Bxd2 Rfe8 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Qxc6 Bxc6 25. Kf1 Rb8 26. Rb4 Rxb4 27. Bxb4 Bd7 28. h4 f6 29. d4 Be6 30. a3 g5 31. Ke1 ½-½

cycledan: white is a clear pawn up, I am sure eval doesn’t see through to end where it may be winning
gracz: Nakamura = Giri 🙂
kirxan: looks drawn to me
kirxan: and no, I don’t get the reason for not playing 19.Nb3

(https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-us-championship/06-Nakamura_Hikaru-Xiong_Jeffery)

Vjekoslav Biliskov (2332) v Davorin Kuljasevic (2561)

19th Zadar Open A CRO 12/16/2012

C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Nc6 7. Nf3 Bc5 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 10. d3 h6 11. Rb1 Bb6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. g4 Bg6 15. Nd2 Rad8 16. Qe2 (16 Ne4 Qe7 17 c4 1/2-1/2, Gil Ravelo (2331) v A. Bezanilla (2300), Havana 1999)
Rfe8 17. Ne4 Qe7 18. a4 Rb8 19. Rb3 Bxe3 20. Qxe3 b6 21. Ng3 Qd7 22. Rbb1 Re6 23. f4 exf4 24. Qxf4 Rbe8 25. Ne4 Ne7 26. Qf2 Nd5 27. Qd2 Bxe4 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. dxe4 Nf6 30. Qxd7 Nxd7 31. a5 Ne5 32. axb6 cxb6 33. Kf2 Rc8 34. Rb3 f6 35. Bf1 Kf7 36. Ba6 Rc7 37. Ke3 Ke6 38. Ra3 g5 39. Bb5 Ng6 40. Kd4 Nf4 41. c4 Kd6 42. Rf3 Rc8 43. h4 Ke6 44. hxg5 hxg5 45. Ra3 a5 46. Ra1 Rd8+ 47. Ke3 Rh8 48. c5 bxc5 49. Rxa5 Rh3+ 50. Kd2 Ke5 51. Bd7 Kd4 52. Ra4+ c4 53. Bb5 Rh2+ 54. Kc1 Kxe4 55. Rxc4+ Kf3 56. Bd7 Ne2+ 57. Kb2 Rh7 58. Bc6+ Kg3 59. Be4 Re7 60. Bf5 Rb7+ 61. Ka3 Rb6 62. Re4 Kf3 63. Ra4 Ke3 64. Re4+ Kf3 1/2-1/2

Vjekoslav Biliskov (2353) v Nikola Nestorovic (2440)

20th Zadar Open A 2013

C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Nc6 7. Nf3 Bc5 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Qf6 10. d3 Bb6 11. Rb1 h6 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. g4 Bg6 15. Nd2 Rad8 16. Nc4 e4 17. d4 Qe6 18. Qe2 f5 19. gxf5 Bxf5 20. Kh2 Ne7 21. Bd2 Nd5 22. a4 a5 23. Rb5 Qc8 24. Nxb6 Nxb6 25. Rxa5 c6 26. Re5 Nd7 27. Rxf5 Rxf5 28. Bxe4 Rf6 29. c4 Qc7+ 30. Kg2 Rdf8 31. f3 Nb6 32. Rb1 Nc8 33. Be1 Nd6 34. Bg3 Qf7 35. Bxd6 Rxd6 36. d5 Kh8 37. Qe3 Re8 38. Qd3 cxd5 39. cxd5 b6 40. Qd4 Qf4 41. Rxb6 Qg5+ 42. Kf2 Rxb6 43. Qxb6 Qd2+ 44. Kf1 Qd1+ 45. Kg2 Qd2+ 46. Kf1 Qd1+ 47. Kg2 Qd2+ 48. Kf1 Qd1+ 49. Kg2 1/2-1/2

Am I Strong Enough to Question Magnus Carlsen?

It is White to move in this position:

Consider for a moment, or longer, what move you would make.

I have never liked looking at a position from a game without being able to look at the moves leading up to the position, so here they are:

1. d4 g6 2. e4 d6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 a6 5. Nf3 b5 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. e5 Bb7 8. e6 fxe6 9. Ng5 Nf8 10. O-O Qd7 11. Re1 Nf6 12. a4 b4 13. Na2 Qxa4 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nf3 Kf7 16. Bd2 b3 17. Nc3 Qd7 18. cxb3 Rb8 19. Ra3 Nd5 20. Ne4 Kg8 21. h4 Qe8 22. Bxa6 Bxa6 23. Qxa6 Bf6 24. Qc4 Nd7 25. Nc3 N7b6 26. Qe2 Qf7 27. Ne4 Rf8

Being the kind of fellow who speaks his mind, I once fired a salvo at an editor of a prominent Chess magazine which concerned publishing truncated games. To him it “saved space.” To me it was sacrilegious not only to those who had played the game but also to the Royal Game, and Caissa. “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”― James Baldwin

I have taught Chess in a Governor’s mansion and places some would call a dive, and everything in between. If a student, any student, had played this game and now produced the move Nxf6 I would cringe in abject horror. Once I managed to gather myself I would attempt to patiently explain why the exchange was a bad idea, pointing out to my student that the doubled pawns are the major weakness in the Black position; that Black will be tied down to the weak pawn on e6 for the foreseeable future and that as long as Black is tied down to the defense of the pawn(s) he will not be able to mount any kind of offense. I could then attempt to explain that someone usually gains in an exchange, and that you would like that someone to be YOU!

Perelshteyn, Eugene vs Carlsen, Magnus

2017.09.24

Chess.com Isle of Man International Masters (2.1)

1. d4 g6 2. e4 d6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 a6 5. Nf3 b5 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. e5 Bb7 8. e6 fe6 9. Ng5 Nf8 10. O-O Qd7 11. Re1 Nf6 12. a4 b4 13. Na2 Qa4 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nf3 Kf7 16. Bd2 b3 17. Nc3 Qd7 18. cb3 Rb8 19. Ra3 Nd5 20. Ne4 Kg8 21. h4 Qe8 22. Ba6 Ba6 23. Qa6 Bf6 24. Qc4 Nd7 25. Nc3 N7b6 26. Qe2 Qf7 27. Ne4 Rf8 28. Nf6 ef6 29. Qe6 Qe6 30. Re6 Kf7 31. Re1 Rb8 32. Rc1 Nc8 33. Ne1 Nce7 34. Nd3 g5 35. hg5 hg5 36. b4 Rh4 37. Bc3 Rbh8 38. g3 Rh1 39. Kg2 R8h2 40. Kf3 g4 41. Kg4 Rc1 42. Nc1 Rf2 43. Be1 f5 44. Kh3 Rb2 45. Nd3 Rc2 46. b5 Nf6 47. Rb3 Re2 48. b6 cb6 49. Rb6 Ne4 0-1

Perelsteyn is a GM; Carlsen is the World Human Chess Champion. It is easy for anyone with an “engine” to criticize a GM, or even the World Human Chess Champion these daze, but I have no “engine” at the moment (long story). I can criticize Eugene without use of any outside assistance because my understanding of some facets of Chess allow me to do so. In many, if not most, other facets I am certain Mr. Perelshteyn will be the one giving a lesson. When playing over the game I stopped after moving the Knight, heading to the ChessBomb for verification my judgement was correct. It was, as ‘DaBomb’ gives the move some color. It is not exactly a RED MOVE, but just a shade below. Check it out here: https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2017-isle-of-man-international-masters/02-Perelshteyn_Eugene-Carlsen_Magnus

There was another game in the same tournament with Magnus facing another American GM:

Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) – Xiong, Jeffery (USA)

Chess.com Isle of Man International – Masters 2017 round 03

1. Nf3 c5 2. c3 Nf6 3. d4 e6 4. Bg5 d5 5. e3 h6 6. Bh4 Nc6 7. Nbd2 a6 8. Bd3 Be7 9. O-O Nd7 10. Bxe7 Nxe7 11. Ne5 cxd4 12. exd4 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Bd7 14. Re1 Rc8 15. Nf3 b5 16. h4 a5 17. a3 Qb6 18. Qd2 b4 19. cxb4 axb4 20. a4 Ra8 21. b3 O-O 22. Rac1 Rfc8

I am watching this game thinking, “Jeffrey is holding his own against the World Human Chess Champion.” I thought Magnus had an advantage, albeit a small one. Then I noticed Magnus could play the tricky Nd4, the kind of move I would love to be able to play against a higher rated opponent. But when Magnus eschewed the tricky move for the “aggressive” 23 h5 my thoughts turned to something along the lines of, “That’s why Magnus is the World Human Chess Champion. He rejects moves that “look good,” but possibly get one into trouble in the future.” Now I began looking at 23…Rc3 for Xiong, seeing 24 Rxc3 bxc3 25 Qxc3 Rc8 and that is as far as I am able “see” because my calculating abilities leave much to be desired. Still, they are OK for teaching neophytes…I will also admit not having considered 24 Nd4 after 23…Rc3. Hey, there is much to consider in every move! After 23 h5 Jeffery moves his King, playing 23…Kf8.

“Hummm,” I’m thinking, “Magnus makes an attacking move and Jeffery responds by getting outta Dodge. Maybe he wants to play a Yasser Seirawan like King walk.” The more I consider the move, the more I do not like it, but hey, I’m not a GM. Still, it seems White’s advantage has increased after the King move… Magnus, full of aggression, now plays 24 g4!? (I am not strong enough to give the World Human Chess Champion a ?!)

Now I am thinking, “Wow. Magnus is coming right after him! But when my heart beat slows to a more normal pace I am thinking something along the lines of, “I dunno…that’s the kinda move I played far too often ‘back in the day.’ It’s the kinda move that says “All In. I’m going for broke.” I would show one of my games to IM Boris Kogan and when pushing a pawn in front of my King like this The Hulk would grimace, and say something like, “Mike. Why you play Chess?” Still, he is the World Human Chess Champion and I’m a patzer…Now Jeffery plays 24…Rc3

and I stop to reflect, objectively, about the position, and my conclusion is that there has been a real swing in fortunes the past few moves, but it looks as though Jeffery is almost even again. Now I’m thinking, “What a GAME!” Can you tell I was enjoying myself immensely?

I will give the remaining move from where we left off: 23. h5 Kf8 24. g4 Rc3 25. g5 hxg5 26. Rxc3 bxc3 27. Qxg5 Nf5 28. Bxf5 exf5 29. e6 Bxe6 30. h6 gxh6 31. Qf6 Kg8 32. Qxh6 Qb4 33. Kh1 1-0

The game can be found here: https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2017-isle-of-man-international-masters/03-Carlsen_Magnus-Xiong_Jeffery

If Magnus Carlsen has a weakness it is in the opening phase of the game. I criticized him in an earlier post on this blog because he played one of my favorite openings, the Bishop’s Opening, like a patzer (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/they-bad/).

Magnus lost to Bu Xiangzhi at the World Cup in Tbilisi earlier this year in a game that began 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4, but transposed into a Two Knight’s Defense. The game is annotated by the winner in New In Chess 2017/7. Have I mentioned New In Chess is the best Chess magazine in the solar system?

Carlsen, Magnus – Bu, Xiangzhi

FIDE World Cup 2017 round 05

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. Bb3 d6 7. c3 Be6 8. Re1 Qd7 9. Nbd2 Rab8 10. Bc2 d5 11. h3 h6 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Rxe5 Bd6 15. Re1 Bxh3 16. gxh3 Qxh3 17. Nf1 Rbe8 18. d4 f5 19. Bb3 c6 20. f4 Kh7 21. Bxd5 cxd5 22. Re3 Rxe3 23. Bxe3 g5 24. Kf2 gxf4 25. Qf3 fxe3+ 26. Nxe3 Qh2+ 27. Kf1 Rg8 28. Qxf5+ Rg6 29. Ke1 h5 30. Kd1 Kh6 31. Nc2 h4 32. Ne1 h3 33. Nf3 Qg2 34. Ne1 Qg4+ 35. Qxg4 Rxg4 36. Nf3 Rg1+ 0-1

Maybe Magnus should stick to playing his Bishop to b5?

chess.com Isle of Man Masters, Prizegiving, 1 October 2017 (Nikon)

Magnus and female companion after winning the Isle of Man International