Make A Draw And Belly Up To The Bar

In the fourth round of the recently completed Hollywood Chess Norm Classic! ( the following game was played:

IM Victor Matviishen 2490

vs GM Aleksey Sorokin 2541
  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Qe2 h6 8. Bh4 g6 9. f4 e5 10. fxe5 dxe5 11. O-O-O Qc7 12. Nb3 b5 13. Rxd7 Nxd7 14. Nd5 Qb8 15. Bf6 Nxf6 16. Nxf6+ Ke7 17. Nd5+ Ke8 18. Nf6+ Ke7 19. Nd5+ Ke8 1/2-1/2!1000gm-hollywood–2022/1784075715

It was the move 6…Nbd7 that attracted my attention, not 7 Qe2. When playing the Najdorf what now seems like another lifetime ago I invariably played 6…e6, which was the preferred move of Bobby Fischer, and now Stockfish, or at least the Stockfish program utilized by Although 7…h6 has been the most often played move by we humans, Stockfish plays 7…b5. Again humans place this move below the move played in the game and 7…e6 and 7…Qc7. After 8 Bh4 Stockfish shows 8…Qc7 as best. Yet GM Sorokin played 8…g6, which has been the most often played move by human players. Then comes a series of moves of which Stocky approves, until after 12…b5, when the program would play 13 a3. After 14…Qb8 Stocky would play 15 Na5, but the IM chose to make a draw. This has all been seen previously:

Dmitry Kryakvin (2589) vs Aleksandr Rakhmanov (2647)

Event: TCh-FIN 2018-19
Site: Finland FIN Date: 04/05/2019
Round: 9.1
ECO: B94 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.Bg5
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Qe2 h6 8.Bh4 g6 9.f4 e5 10.fxe5 dxe5 11.O-O-O Qc7 12.Nb3 b5 13.Rxd7 Nxd7 14.Nd5 Qb8 15.Bf6 Nxf6 16.Nxf6+ Ke7 17.Nd5+ Ke8 18.Nf6+ Ke7 19.Nd5+ Ke8 20.Nf6+ Ke7 ½-½

Shardul Gagare (2468) vs Shalmali Gagare (2100)
Event: XXIX Elgoibar GM 2019
Site: Elgoibar ESP Date: 12/14/2019
Round: 4.4
ECO: B94 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.Bg5
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Qe2 h6 8.Bh4 g6 9.f4 e5 10.fxe5 dxe5 11.O-O-O Qc7 12.Nb3 b5 13.Rxd7 Nxd7 14.Nd5 Qb8 15.Bf6 Nxf6 16.Nxf6+ Ke7 17.Nd5+ Ke8 18.Nf6+ Kd8 19.Qd2+ Qd6 20.Qa5+ Qc7 21.Qd2+ Qd6 22.Qa5+ Qc7 23.Qd2+ Qd6 ½-½

Yi Xu (2527) vs Yi Wei (2732)
Event: ch-CHN 2021
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 05/07/2021
Round: 1.4
ECO: B94 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.Bg5
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Qe2 h6 8.Bh4 g6 9.f4 e5 10.fxe5 dxe5 11.O-O-O Qc7 12.Nb3 b5 13.Rxd7 Nxd7 14.Nd5 Qb8 15.Bf6 Nxf6 16.Nxf6+ Ke7 17.Nd5+ Ke8 18.Nf6+ Kd8 19.Qd2+ Qd6 20.Qa5+ Qc7 21.Qd2+ Qd6 22.Qa5+ Qc7 23.Qd2+ Qd6 ½-½

And this will no doubt be seen again, and again, and again… It will be used, especially after this post, by anyone and everyone with a desire to draw. It is the perfect game with which to make a draw because who would ever expect the venerable Najdorf variation, the favorite of World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer because it was a fighting defense that could be used to win with the Black pieces, to be used to make a “quick” draw? The game can last twenty moves, so older, weaker, Grandmasters, like Julio Becerra and Jacob Aagaard ( can make a peaceful, short draw and not have Chess writers rake them over the coals for being old and weak by playing two moves and calling it a day, err…draw.

In the excellent book, Seven Games, by Oliver Roeder,

the first chapter concerns the game, Checkers. It is written: “Competitive tournament checkers games begin with the drawing of a card from a deck. The familiar game, played in living rooms and school cafeterias, with its initial checkers starting in the traditional formation shown below, is known on the competitive circuit as go-as-you-please, or GAYP. But expert players know this version so well that any game can be effortlessly steered toward a draw. To combat this, the first three moves of a typical competitive game are determined randomly by drawing a card from a predetermined deck of opening moves. This version of checkers is known as three-move ballot or, simply, “three-move.” This variation has been played for the game’s most prestigious titles. Checkers openings come with colorful names: the White doctor, the Octopus, the Skull Cracker, the Rattlesnake, and the Rattlesnake II. There are 174 possible three-moves openings in checkers, but not all of these appear in the deck. Some would simply give too big an advantage to one side or the other, resulting in lopsided and, uninteresting play. The deck currently sanctioned by the American Checkers Federation ( contains 156 openings,each of which seasons the game with its own unique favor. Some of them remain bland, typically leading to uneventful draws. But some of them are sharp, bestowing on one side an instant advantage. In those sharp games, it is incumbent upon one player to attack, and upon the other player to fight for his life.” Top players have all this memorized, of course, along with lengthy continuations beyond the third move. Whatever checkers lacks in complexity compared to, say, chess, its top players make up for in depth (itl). Elite players can often see some twenty, thirty, or even forty moves ahead. This is what Tinsley meant when he said that playing checkers was like staring down a bottomless well.”

It has been obvious for decades that Chess has a draw problem. The problem has only gotten worse with the utilization of the computer Chess programs, and the problem will continue to grow, and fester, until it sucks the life out of the game of Chess, just as it sucked the life out of the game of Checkers. The problem is obvious. Players are awarded far too much when “earning” a half-point for drawing. I have posited changing a draw to only one quarter of a point, while some have said a third of a point should be awarded for drawing. The problem is not going away. How long will it be before Chess has to resort to using cards, or some other random generator like a computer program, to choose the openings for the players? Even then players who want to draw will be able to make a draw, unless and until what is gained by making a draw is far less than the 1/2 point the players “earn” by “playing” a game before bellying-up to the bar.

GM Jacob Aagaard Blasphemes Caissia at the Charlotte Chess Center GM Norm Invitational

At the website of the Charlotte Chess Center GM/IM Norm Invitational 7/24/22 – 7/28/22 one finds this:

GM Jacob Aagaard

Name: JACOB AAGAARD Current Rating: 2474 Title: GM

World’s leading chess trainers and authors, 4-time Olympiad representative, former British and Scottish national champion. 2nd CCC Norm Invitational. (

At one website this was found: In 2004, he co-founded Quality Chess publishing. As an author, he has written or co-written: A couple of dozen book titles are here, and this was written almost a decade ago. (

The tournament began with the following game:

Round 1 | 2022.07.25 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6 6. O-O Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Nbd2 Na5 9. Ne5 Nd5 10. Ndxc4 Nxc4 11. Nxc4 Nxe3 12. Nxe3 O-O 13. Qc2 Qxd4 14. Qxc7 Bf6 15. Rfd1 Qa7 16. Ng4 Bd4 17. e3 Qb6 18. Qxb6 Bxb6 19. Ne5 Bc7 20. Nd7 Rd8 21. Rac1 Ba5 22. Nc5 Rb8 23. b4 Bc7 24. Nd7 Bxd7 25. Rxc7 Bb5 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. Bxb7 Rd1+ 28. Kg2 g5 29. g4 1/2-1/2

The second round produced this game:

Round 2 | 2022.07.25 | 0-1

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be2 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. a4 Nc6 11. a5 Bxb3 12. Bb6 Bxc2 13. Qxc2 Qc8 14. Qd2 Bd8 15. Qxd6 Bxb6 16. axb6 Qd8 17. Qxd8 Raxd8 18. Bc4 Rd4 19. b3 Nxe4 20. Nxe4 Rxe4 21. Bd5 Rb4 22. Bxc6 bxc6 23. Rxa6 Rb8 24. b7 Rxb3 25. Rxc6 R3xb7 26. h4 g6 27. Rfc1 Kg7 28. Rc8 Rxc8 29. Rxc8 e4 30. g3 f5 31. Kg2 Kh6 32. Rc5 Rb2 33. Rc7 e3 34. Kf3 exf2 35. Kg2 Ra2 36. Rb7 Rc2 37. Ra7 Rb2 38. Rc7 Ra2 39. Rf7 Kh5 40. Rxh7+ Kg4 41. Rg7 f1=Q+ 42. Kxf1 Kf3 43. Ke1 Re2+ 44. Kd1 Re6 45. Kd2 Kf2 46. Kd3 Re3+ 47. Kd2 Rxg3 0-1

The third round produced this GM/IM draw:

Round 3 | 2022.07.25 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O c5 7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Nc3 Nc6 1/2-1/2

Round four was a true “Grandmaster draw”:

Round 4 | 2022.07.26 | 1/2-1/2

  1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. b3 d4 4. g3 c5 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. O-O Bd6 7. e3 Nf6 8. exd4 cxd4 9. d3 h6 1/2-1/2

Round five saw an FM out for blood, so no short draw that round:

Round 5 | 2022.07.26 |

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. a4 Rb8 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. d4 Bxd4 10. Qxd4 d6 11. axb5 axb5 12. c3 O-O 13. Bg5 c5 14. Qd1 h6 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. Bd5 Qg6 17. Qe2 Be6 18. Bxe6 Qxe6 19. f4 Nd7 20. Nd2 Rfe8 21. Ra7 f5 22. Qh5 Rf8 23. h3 Rbe8 24. Kh1 Re7 25. exf5 Rxf5 26. Qf3 Ref7 27. Qe4 Nf8 28. Rxf7 Qxf7 29. Qd3 c4 30. Qe3 Ng6 31. g3 Rd5 32. Nf3 Ne7 33. Nd4 Nf5 34. Nxf5 Qxf5 35. g4 Qf7 36. Kg2 Rd3 37. Qe4 d5 38. Qe5 d4 39. Qe4 dxc3 40. bxc3 Rxc3 41. Ra1 g6 42. Ra8+ Kh7 43. Rb8 Rd3 44. Rxb5 Rd2+ 45. Kf3 Rd3+ 46. Ke2 Rd7 47. f5 c3 48. fxg6+ Qxg6 49. Qxg6+ Kxg6 50. Rc5 Rd2+ 51. Ke1 Rd3 52. h4 1/2-1/2

Round six produced this “gem” giving new meaning to the term “Two-mover”

Round 6 | 2022.07.27 | 1/2-1/2

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 1/2-1/2

Too bad they could not phone it in…I mean, all that time walking to and from the CCC and the hotel could have been used for reading this:—leonid-verkhovsky.html

Round seven again saw a lower rated opponent out for blood, so the so-called “Grandmaster” had to fight, producing this draw:

Round 7 | 2022.07.27 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 g6 5. Qa4 Nbd7 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. O-O Bg7 8. d4 O-O 9. Nc3 Nb6 10. Qb3 Ne4 11. a4 Nxc3 12. Qxc3 Bf5 13. b3 Nc8 14. Bf4 Nd6 15. Rfc1 a5 16. e3 Qb6 17. Qb2 Rac8 18. Ne5 Bxe5 19. Bxe5 Nc4 20. Qa2 Nxe5 21. dxe5 Rc5 22. Rxc5 Qxc5 23. Qd2 Be6 24. Rd1 Rd8 25. h4 Qc7 26. Qd4 h5 27. e4 Qc2 28. exd5 Qxb3 29. Rd3 Qb1+ 30. Rd1 Qb4 31. Qxb4 1/2-1/2

Unfortunately for the so-called “Grandmaster” his next opponent had the white pieces and played like a shark smelling Grandmaster blood:

Round 8 | 2022.07.28 | 1-0

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4 5. d3 Nbd7 6. Nbd2 e5 7. e4 dxe4 8. dxe4 Be7 9. h3 Bh5 10. Qe1 O-O 11. Nh4 Re8 12. Nf5 Bf8 13. a4 a5 14. Nc4 Qc7 15. Bd2 b6 16. Kh1 Nc5 17. f3 Nfd7 18. Be3 f6 19. Qc3 Rad8 20. Rfd1 Nb8 21. Rxd8 Rxd8 22. Nxa5 bxa5 23. Bxc5 Bxc5 24. Qxc5 Rd2 25. Qc3 Qd8 26. Ne3 Bf7 27. Nc4 Re2 28. Bf1 1-0

That was brutal, was it not? Finally, we come to the last round, which produced this short draw:

Round 9 | 2022.07.28 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. cxd5 1/2-1/2

Playing moves three through five must have been tough on the Grandmaster who will soon be eligible for the World Senior…

What is it about the Charlotte Chess Center that makes it so conducive to producing short draws? Is it the mindset or the water? Why is it the people administering the CCC continued to invite all these quick draw McGraws type players to the Queen city?

Draw Eliminates Kings from Playoffs

The Atlanta Kings season ended last night when, needing a win, they could only manage a draw with the Sharks of Miami. The Kings were eliminated from the playoffs.

Week 10: Miami Sharks (MIA 2406) vs Atlanta Kings (ATL 2405)

​Tuesday, October 28, 7:40pm

1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA 2626) – Deepak Aaron (ATL 2446) 1/2

2. ​FM Kazim Gulamali (ATL 2397) – FM Marcel Martinez (MIA 2474) 0-1

3. Federico Gonzalez (MIA 2315) – FM Daniel Gurevich (ATL 2393) 1/2

​4. Richard Francisco ​(ATL 2382) – Oscar Maldonado (MIA 2209) ​1-0

Match Tied 2-2

Becerra,Julio (2626) – Aaron,Deepak (2446) [C78]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Na3 Bg4 12.Nxb5 0-0 13.Be3 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Bg5 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qxg5 17.Bxd5 Ne7 18.Bc4 exd4 19.Nxd4 Ng6 20.Nc6 Rbe8 21.Rfe1 Nh4 22.Qd5 Qf6 23.Kh1 g6 24.f4 Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Nf5 26.g3 Ne3 27.Qe4 Ng4 28.Kg2 Qd6 29.Ne7+ Kg7 30.Nd5 Nf6 31.Nxf6 Qxf6 32.Rd1 Rd8 33.Rxd8 Qxd8 34.Bd5 c5 35.Qe5+ Qf6 36.Kf3 Qxe5 37.fxe5 f5 38.Ke2 Bc7 39.e6 Kf6 40.Kd3 Ke7 41.Kc4 Bd6 42.Kb5 h5 43.Kc4 g5 44.Kd3 h4 45.gxh4 gxh4 46.h3 Kf6 47.Kc4 Ke7 48.Kb5 Kf6 49.Kc6 Be7 50.Bc4 Bf8 51.Kd7 Be7 52.Be2 Bf8 53.Bd3 f4 54.Be2 Be7 55.Bg4 Bf8 56.Bf3 Be7 57.Bd5 Bf8 58.Bf3 Be7 59.Bd5 1/2-1/2

Gulamali,Kazim (2397) – Martinez,Marcel (2474) [D18]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.d4 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Qb3 a5 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.Rd1 Qe7 13.f3 e5 14.e4 Bg6 15.Be3 Rfd8 16.d5 Bc5 17.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 18.Kh1 h5 19.Rd3 h4 20.Rf1 Rac8 21.Qa2 Qb4 22.b3 Nh5 23.Qf2 Nf4 24.Re3 Qc5 25.g3 Nh5 26.Kg2 Qe7 27.Kh1 Rd6 28.Ree1 hxg3 29.hxg3 Bh7 30.Rg1 Qg5 31.Rg2 Rg6 32.Reg1 Qh6 33.Rh2 Qg5 34.Rh3 Rh6 35.Kh2 Rd8 36.f4 Qe7 37.f5 Qg5 38.Kg2 Nf4+ 0-1

Gonzalez,Federico (2315) – Gurevich,Daniel (2393) [B30]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Nc3 dxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxc3 9.Nxc6 Nxd1 10.Nxd8 Kxd8 11.Kxd1 Be6 12.Bd3 Bd5 13.f3 e6 14.Bf4 Rc8 15.Ke2 Kd7 16.Rhc1 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Kxd6 18.a3 h6 19.Ke3 g5 20.Rc3 Rxc3 21.bxc3 Rc8 22.Kd2 f5 23.h4 f4 24.hxg5 hxg5 25.Rh1 g4 26.Be4 gxf3 27.gxf3 Bxe4 28.fxe4 Rg8 29.Rh6 Rg2+ 30.Kd3 Rg3+ 31.Kc4 b5+ 32.Kxb5 Re3 33.e5+ Kd5 34.Kb4 f3 35.Rf6 Ke4 36.Kc4 a6 37.Rf8 Re1 38.d5 exd5+ 39.Kc5 f2 40.e6 Kd3 41.Rxf2 Rxe6 42.Kxd5 Re8 43.Rf3+ Kc2 44.c4 Rd8+ 45.Kc5 Rc8+ 46.Kb4 Rb8+ 47.Ka5 Rc8 48.Rf4 Rc6 49.Kb4 Rb6+ 50.Kc5 Rb8 51.Kd6 Kb3 52.c5 Kxa3 53.c6 a5 54.c7 Rc8 55.Kd7 Rh8 56.c8Q Rxc8 57.Kxc8 a4 58.Kb7 Kb3 59.Kb6 a3 60.Kb5 a2 61.Rf1 Kb2 62.Kb4 a1Q 63.Rf2+ Kc1 64.Rf1+ Kb2 65.Rxa1 Kxa1 1/2-1/2

Francisco,Richard (2382) – Maldonado,Oscar (2209) [B30]
USCL Week 10 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg4 6.Be3 e5 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nf6 9.Nd2 Nd7 10.Qg3 Qf6 11.0-0 Qg6 12.Qh2 Be7 13.Nc4 Qe6 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 0-0 16.a4 b5 17.Ne3 c4 18.Nf5 Bf6 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.Nd4 Qe7 21.Nf5 Qe6 22.Bg5 Bxg5 23.Qxg5 Ng6 24.h4 Qd7 25.Qg4 Qa7+ 26.d4 f6 27.Kh1 Rad8 28.h5 Kf7 29.c3 Ne7 30.Qxg7+ Ke8 31.axb5 cxb5 32.Rxa6 Qb7 33.Nd6+ Rxd6 34.Rxd6 Qxe4 35.Rd8+ Kxd8 36.Qxf8+ Kd7 37.Qxf6 Qe2 38.Qf3 Qxb2 39.Qb7+ Ke8 40.Re1 Qa3 41.Qxb5+ Kf7 42.Qxc4+ Kg7 43.Qb4 Qxb4 44.cxb4 Nd5 45.b5 Kf6 46.Re5 Nb6 47.Rc5 Ke7 48.Rc6 Nd5 49.b6 Kd7 50.b7 Kxc6 51.b8Q Nb6 52.Qe5 Nd5 53.Qe6+ Kc7 54.Qxd5 Kc8 55.Qf7 Kb8 56.Qxh7 Kc8 57.Qg7 Kb8 58.h6 Ka8 59.h7 1-0

Because of the rating cap it is difficult to take the USCL seriously. Each team must have an average rating of 2400 except when, “3. Any player rated above 2600 will count as only 2600 when determining whether a lineup has a legal average; this is done to reward teams for using the strongest players in the country on their rosters.” Or when, “4. Any player rated below 2000 will count as 2000 when determining whether a lineup has a legal average; this is done to keep lineups reasonably balanced.” (

This makes no sense whatsoever. When the Kings played the St. Louis Arch Bishops GM Wesley So, the number ten player in the world, was rated 2751, yet for USCL purposes his rating was considered to be 2600. Theoretically, a team could field three 2700 players and an 1800 on last board under USCL rules. If the 2700 rated players were actually considered to be 2700, then the last board would have to be manned by a player rated 1500. This obviously greatly favors teams fortunate enough to have players rated over 2600, lessening the chance an underdog team has of making the playoffs. Like the tax laws in this country favoring the wealthy and corporations, now considered “people” under the law ( & (, USCL rules favor the teams rich in higher rated players. Unless and until the rules are changed the USCL has little credibility.

The Kings were led this season by NM Richard Francisco, who scored an amazing 7 1/2 out of 9 games. The Frisco Kid played 3 games more than any other player, and scored an astounding 4 1/2 more points than the second highest scoring player, NM Damir Studen. He also had the highest PR. If a team MVP is chosen, Mr. Francisco is the man.

1. GM Alonso Zapata 2555 – 1.0/3 (2518 PR)

2. Deepak Aaron 2446 – 1.5/5 (2309 PR)

​3. IM Carlos Perdomo 2400 – 1.5/3​ (2524 PR)

4. FM Kazim Gulamali 2397 – 0.5/4​ (2172 PR)

​5. FM Daniel Gurevich 2393 – 1.5/3 (2412 PR)

​6. Richard Francisco 2382 – 7.5/9​ (2531 PR)​

​7. Damir Studen 2372 – 3.0/6 (2439 PR)

8. Michael Corallo 2284 – 1.0/2 (2115 PR)

9. Leonardo Martinez 2266 – 2.0/3 (2395 PR)

​10. Sanjay Ghatti 2245 – 0.0/1 (1870 PR)

11. Lawrence White 2179 – 0.5/1 (2074 PR)

Get Smart: Missed it by that much