Class A Tyrell Harriott Defeats Grandmaster Ben Finegold At Foxwoods

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

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

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

2022 Foxwoods Open
A45 Queen’s pawn game

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

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

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

GM Yasser Seirawan howling

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