Viva Las Vegas!

Jennifer Shahade posted a fine article on Chess Life online (, “Kazim’s Back: Gulamali on Taking Down Vegas.” By now the Millionaire Open is yesterday’s news, and it shows because many other articles appeared almost immediately after this article, pushing it to the back of the line, which is unfortunate. It is a shame the producers did not switch coverage from the Wesley So vs Ray Robson debacle to the match between IM Burnett and FM Gulamali. It would have been amazing to watch. I am grateful, though, that USCF has given it some attention.

Being a Dutch aficionado, I want to concentrate on the two Dutch games played in the match. With his back to the wall, having lost the first game, and having to win the next game to even the match, Kazim Gulamali answered IM Ron Burnett’s 1 d4 with f5! When you absolutely, positively must win, play the Dutch! The time limit for the following game was G/25+.

Millionaire Chess, Las Vegas 2014
White: IM Burnett, Ronald
Black: FM Gulamali, Kazim

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nh3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.d5 Na6 8.Nd2 Bd7 9.Rb1 c6 10.dxc6 Bxc6 11.Nf4 Bxg2 12.Kxg2 Qd7 13.b4 Nc7 14.Qb3 e5 15.Nd3 e4 16.Nf4 g5 17.Nh3 Ne6 18.Bb2 Rae8 19.f4 g4 20.Ng1 e3 21.Qxe3 Qc6+ 22.Kf2 Nc5 23.Qa3 Nce4+ 24.Nxe4 Nxe4+ 25.Ke1 Bxb2 26.Qxb2 Qxc4 27.Rc1 Qd5 28.Rd1 Qf7 29.e3 Qh5 30.Qb3+ Rf7 31.Qb2 Rfe7 32.Rd3 Rc7 33.Qb3+ Kf8 34.Ne2 Rec8 35.Qe6 Rc2 36.Nd4 Qf7 37.Qxf7+ Kxf7 38.Nxc2 Rxc2 39.Ra3 a6 40.Ra5 Ke6 41.b5 axb5 42.Rxb5 Nc3 43.Rh1 0-1

Ron’s tenth move is a new one. The more standard Nf4 was seen in this game:

Purnama,T (2337)-Reyes Lopez,D (2072)
Castelldefels 2005

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nh3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 d6 7. d5 Na6 8. Nd2 Bd7 9. Rb1 c6 10. Nf4 Nc7 11. Nf3 Qe8 12. h4 Rb8 13. Nd4 c5 14. Nde6 Bxe6 15. dxe6 b5 16. Bd2 Ne4 17. Ba5 Na8 18. Bxe4 fxe4 19. Nd5 bxc4 20. Qc2 Nb6 21. Bxb6 axb6 22. Qxc4 Rf5 23. Qxe4 Re5 24. Qd3 g5 25. hxg5 Rxg5 26. Kg2 Qc6 27. e4 Qc8 28. f4 (Missing 28 Nxe7+) Rg6 29. f5 (29 Nxe7+ still looks strong) Rg5 30. Rf3 (Third time..) Ra8? (Maybe he was afraid White would finally see it?) 31. Nxb6 Qa6 32. Nxa8 Qxa8 1-0 (Proving there are several ways to skin a cat)

The next set was played at G/15+. Kazim won the first game so now Ron had his back to the wall in a must win situation. Once again Kazim played the Dutch, answering 1 Nf3 with f5. Not to be outdone, Ron played 2 e4!?, the Lisitsin Gambit! Back in the day there was scant information on this opening. It was big news when “Inside Chess,” the wonderful magazine produced by GM Yasser Seirawan and the gang from the Great Northwest, contained an article by, was it GM Michael Rohde, or was it GM Larry Christiansen? Memory fails…I only faced the Lisitsin Gambit a few times, the last a draw with Tim “The Dude” Bond. I had seen a way to win a piece in the middle game, but The Dude avoided the line. Some moves later the possibility appeared on the board, but I missed it! The game was drawn, and when I showed The Dude how I could have won a piece, he went into a funk, morose over the fact that he was obviously quite lost at one point. I will be the first to admit my memory is not what it used to be, but I have a vague recollection of losing to The Dude in a previous game featuring the Lisitsin Gambit…

Millionaire Chess, Las Vegas 2014
White: IM Burnett, Ronald
Black: FM Gulamali, Kazim

1.Nf3 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Ng5 Nf6 4.d3 e5 5.Nc3 e3 6.fxe3 d5 7.e4 c6 8.d4 Bd6 9.exd5 Qe7 10.Be3 cxd5 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.O-O Bxb5 13.Nxb5 e4 14.Rxf6 Qxf6 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qh3 h6 17.Nxd6+ Qxd6 18.Qc8+ Qd8 19.Qxd8+ Kxd8 20.Nf7+ Ke7 21.Nxh8 g5 22.Ng6+ Ke6 23.Ne5 Na6 24.c3 Nc7 25.Rf1 Nb5 26.Nf7 a5 27.Nxh6 a4 28.a3 Nd6 29.Bxg5 Nc4 30.Rf6+ Kd7 31.Nf5 Ra5 32.Bc1 Rb5 33.h4 Nxb2 34.Bxb2 Rxb2 35.h5 Rb1+ 36.Kh2 Rf1 37.g4 Rf4 38.h6 e3 39.h7 e2 40.h8=Q 1-0

5 Nc3 is a rather rare move, but 5…e3 is a TN. I found this old game, played before most players were born. Come to think about it, the game was played before many of the parents of today’s players were born…

Pavlovic, Dejan S (2340) vs Maksimovic, Branimir (2265)
Nis 1979
1. Nf3 f5 2. e4 fxe4 3. Ng5 Nf6 4. d3 e5 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. dxe4 h6 7. Nf3 Bc5 8. Bc4 d6 9. h3 Na5 10. Be2 Be6 11. a3 Nc6 12. Qd3 a6 13. Be3 O-O 14. g4 Bxe3 15. Qxe3 Nh7 16. O-O-O Qf6 17. Rh2 Ne7 18. Nd2 Qf4 19. Qxf4 Rxf4 20. f3 Nf8 21. Nf1 Rf7 22. Ne3 Nfg6 23. Nf5 Nf4 24. h4 Kh7 25. h5 b5 26. Rg1 Ng8 27. Nh4 Rb8 28. b4 c5 29. Bf1 Rc7 30. Ne2 Nxe2+ 31. Rxe2 cxb4 32. axb4 Ne7 33. Rd2 Rbc8 34. Rgg2 d5 35. Bd3 d4 36. g5 hxg5 37. Rxg5 Nc6 38. Kb2 Bc4 39. Ka3 a5 40. bxa5 Ra8 41. Rdg2 Rxa5+ 42. Kb2 Bxd3 43. Nf5 Raa7 44. h6 g6 45. Rxg6 Bc4 46. Rf6 Nb4 47. Rg7+ Rxg7 48. hxg7 Rxg7 49. Rh6+ Kg8 50. Nxg7 Kxg7 51. Rh2 Kf6 52. Rg2 Na2 53. Kb1 Nc3+ 54. Kc1 Ne2+ 55. Kd2 Nf4 56. Rg3 Ke6 57. Rg1 Be2 58. Rg3 Kd6 59. Kc1 Kc5 60. Kd2 b4 61. Rg5 Kd6 62. Rg3 Ke6 63. Kc1 Kf6 64. Kd2 Bc4 65. Rg1 b3 66. cxb3 Bxb3 67. Rg3 Bf7 68. Ke1 Ne6 69. Rg1 Ng5 70. Ke2 Bh5 71. Ra1 Bxf3+ 0-1

It came down to a “game” in which one player had more time with the other having draw odds in something called an “Apocalypse” game, or some such. I urge you to click on the link and go to the USCF website and read Jennifer’s article for much more detail.
I have it on good authority that as Kazim was heading to his plane, leaving “Lost Wages,” he could be heard singing this song in his best imitation Elvis Presley voice…


Apology to Thad Rogers

In my post dated November 28, 2014, I mistakenly wrote that Grant Oen is the, “owner of the Atlanta Kings.” I took this from the Southeast Chess website ( Grant is the “Manager” of the Atlanta Kings. The impresario, L. Thad Rogers is the owner. My apologies to Thad. No slight was intended. I made a regretful mistake. Thad has tried for quite some time to bring a USCL team to Atlanta before succeeding.
For all of his foibles Thad has done much good for chess, not only in Georgia, but in the Southeast as well. In addition, I know Thad has helped many players throughout the years, and he has done it because he has a generous heart. One example will suffice to illustrate. Decades ago I was on a MARTA train heading to visit one of Thad’s tournaments when I encountered another chess player, called “Smokin’ Gun.” I nodded, Smokin’ Gun shot back a big grin and moved toward me. Upon mentioning I was headed to one of Thad’s tournaments and he asked, “You playing?”
“No, Smokin’ Gun, I said, I’m just going to visit. Why don’t you come with me?” He shook his head and said, “I can’t. I own Thad money.”
“What do you mean? Everyone has owed Thad money at one time or another. Come on by later if you can…Don’t dodge him…Tell him you haven’t forgotten about him, but circumstances are such that you can’t pay him back now, and he will be glad to see you..”
Hours later as I was about to leave, there was Smokin’ Gun, talking with Thad. On my way out the Gun grinned, saying, “It played out just like you said, man.”
Atlanta hosted the 1980 US Open because of Thad. When the Nashville Strangler hit it big at the World Open by winning the expert section, he made a point in the interview published in Chess Life to thank Thad for organizing all the tournaments in which he had played. FM Jerry Wheeler, along with LM Brian McCarthy, played so often some thought they lived in Atlanta. The same could be said for the “Little Hayseed,” Tom Waymouth, who took first in a “B” section of the World Open. Then there is Spencer Bledsoe, one of the Legendary Georgia Ironman’s students, who cut his teeth at the House of Pain before tying for first in an “A” section at the World Open. Spencer is best known for his part in the Survivor TV show. (
To top it off, FM Kazim Gulamali just played a match with IM Ron Burnett for the under 2500 money at the Millionaire Open. Ron, like the aforementioned Tennessee players, has played in as many of Thad’s tournaments as any Atlanta player. Kazim literally grew-up at the House. Together they brought $60,000 back South from Lost Wages!
Did I mentioned the time a former GCA President bankrupted the organization? Thad stepped in using his own money to keep the GCA solvent. I could go on and on, but why? Like everyone you know, or will ever know, Thad has entries on both the positive and negative side of the ledger, but he is one of the fortunate ones in which the positive outweighs the negative.
I know all of the above mentioned players, and the Legendary Ironman, will join me in saying, “Thank you, Thad, for all you have done for the Royal game.”

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

2014 Georgia Open Live Games on Chess Stream

I noticed this post on the forum of the NCCA:

Chess Stream Live Games: 2014 Georgia Open this weekend

Postby Chacha » Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:59 pm
Hi all,
Part of ChessStream going outside aboard, I will be helping Fun Fong to do live games from Georgia Open this weekend:
Live games will be on as always during the rounds:
It is 7 rounds, starting Friday and Saturday options and ended Sunday. Open large group pairing. We have at least 6 players from NC! Watch them playing live! We may have 10+ live games, most from PC Tablets. Anyone wants to join? registration still open onsite before the tournament starts.

After firing off an email to the Legendary Georgia Ironman, I checked the website of the GCA (, since the tournament is being held in Georgia, but did not find anything about a live broadcast, so I surfed on over to the other, newer, GCA website, Georgia Chess News (, and again, found absolutely nothing concerning a live broadcast. I find this strange, indeed, and am flummoxed by the lack of any mention of the Chess Stream broadcast. What is the purpose of a broadcast if no one is aware the games are being shown?
In the event any reader wishes to check out the broadcast here are the round times:
Rounds: 3 day: Friday – 7:00pm, 9:00pm. Saturday – 1:00pm, 4:30pm, 8:30pm. Sunday – 9:00am, 1:00pm. 2-day: Saturday: 8:30am, 10:30am, then merges with 3-day.
Keep in mind the the time control varies considerably:
Rounds 1-2 are G-45, rounds 3-5 are G-90, and rounds 6-7 are G-120. (
The website shows there are 81 advance entries, most of whom are quite young. I do see that former Ga Champion, NM Damir Studen, is in the field, as is IM Ronald Burnett, who did battle at the $,$$$,$$$ Open, leaving Lost Wages with $20,000 after losing the last hurry-up match to FM Kazim Gulamali.

Kazim Gulamali Wins Big at Millionaire Open?

The Legendary Georgia Ironman called yesterday wanting to know the result of the match between IM Ron Burnett and FM Kazim Gulamali at the Millionaire Open. I had been unable to find the result anywhere on the internet. “This is hard to believe, Bacon. I thought surely you, of all people, would have learned something.” Upon returning later Tim told me he had heard from the mother of one of his students that Mumtaz Yusef, Kazim’s father, had been to a gathering of ping-pong players (years ago Mumtaz purchased a ping-pong table for the House of Pain), and he said Kazim won $40,000, which could only mean that Kazim bested Ronald. This is how chess news travels in the day and age of the internet, from word of mouth, or if you prefer, “word on the street.” I do not actually know Kazim won because it reaches the AW at least third hand.

From comments on the internet like the one on the USCF forum contained in the thread, “Millionaire Open – Millionaire Monday participants” (, it is obvious the chess world has been left in the dark as to the results:

by relyea on Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:45 pm #285960

“It is disappointing that I can’t figure out how to find which players went to the final fours, much less who won, on their site.”

Alex Relyea

Maybe the people who promoted the $,$$$,$$$ Open should have considered allocating money for hiring a publicist.

Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown

Millionaire Open Downer

Last night I attended what turned out to be a reading at the library by the famous historian James McPherson, who writes about the War Between The States. He is the George Henry Davis ’86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University, and received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for “Battle Cry of Freedom”, his most famous book. The author is on a book tour touting his new book, “Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief.” During a phone call with the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who decided to take a well-earned, and much needed, day off to visit his ladyfriend, the Princess, I mentioned the author read from the book only, until taking a few questions. I was in hopes the author would explain why he decided to write the book and some of the things he learned while writing.

LM Brian McCarthy, up from Butler for the night and next day, was waiting to return me to the Fortress. The first thing Brian did upon entering was plug in his ‘puter and turn on the $,$$$,$$$ Open. He let me know the next game would begin in about a half hour, then went back to the car to bring his other things. I am of the same mind as another chess blogger, Dana Mackenzie, of “Dana blogs chess,” who wrote in his post, “Millionaire Chess Preview,” of October 3, 2014, “Oh yes, I should mention the quirky format of the tournament. The first seven rounds are a normal Swiss system. But then the top four players will qualify for a two-round knockout tournament on Monday. Each round of the knockout will consist of a pair of 25-minute games; followed by a pair of 15-minute games if they are tied; followed by a pair of 5-minute games if the match is still tied; followed by a single Armageddon game.

Anyone who’s read my blog in the past knows what I think of this idea. I think it stinks. Rapid chess is only somewhat like chess, blitz chess is even less like chess, and Armageddon is a completely different game entirely. This kind of playoff is like breaking a tie for the Pulitzer Prize with a spelling bee. For that reason I don’t care who wins. I only care who finishes in the top four.” (

Because the Big Mac was here I decided to check out the coverage. I had earlier attempted to access the live coverage a couple of times, but every time there was music and a count-down clock informing me the live coverage would begin in twenty minutes. Twenty minutes later there was a count-down clock informing me the live coverage would begin in twenty minutes. I gave up. This time it was live and the game was about to begin. And what a game it wasn’t…GM Ray Robson blundered a pawn in the opening, something most every chess player has done. What made this so bad was that $50,000 was on the line. As poor Ray sat there stewing in his juices, not moving minute after long, torturous, minute, the commentators kept up their inane patter. Suddenly there was a shot of IM Ron Burnett playing FM Kazim Gulamali! I burst out of my room to tell the McAroon, who immediately found the live coverage, but there was no longer any Burnett vs Gulamali coverage. At least we knew our friend was playing on “Millionaire Monday.” I mentioned Lawrence Trent, “The New Voice of Chess”, according to his website (, said something about $40,000 on the line, with Kazim needing to win to send it to even quicker games, and “with the look on Ron’s face, it looks like that’s just what’s going to happen.” Having known both players since they were youths, and having been on the road with IM Burnett, while knowing Kazim as he cut his teeth at the House of Pain, I told Brian my heart was with Ron, but my head said Kazim. Here it is the next afternoon and I still have no clue who won…And I am not the only one, because Tim asked me what I knew, and Brian searched, even going to ICC, but still no result could be found. Evidently, we are not the only ones, because Dana has written this on his blog today, “I tried to look up the winner of the Millionaire Open in Las Vegas this morning, and it wasn’t as easy as I expected to find out who won. When I went to, usually my first source, there was nothing about the playoffs. Next I went to the tournament page itself — but that page is a navigational disaster. There was no apparent way to find out who won the tournament!

Finally I had to resort to Google, which took me to Susan Polgar’s blog, which took me to the Chess24 website, which had an excellent article on the dramatic playoffs. The bottom line is that Wesley So, the Phillippine grandmaster who was the #1 seed in the tournament, beat Ray Robson. It was a lifetime achievement for both of them. So earns $100,000, the largest payday ever for a chess player in an open tournament. Robson wins $50,000, which is unbelievable, especially when you see how he earned it.” (

We continued to watch, and listen, in hopes that after Robson’s blunder they would go back to showing Ron vs Kazim, or what looked like another game currently underway. But Noooooooooo…Minute after agonizing minute we had to suffer along with poor Ray. Needless to say, we felt his pain in the way people felt the pain of Joe Thiesman when his leg was broken on Monday Night Maimball, while O.J. Simpson added “color” to the telecast. A better example could be when the catcher, Jason Kendall, broke his ankle running to first base when his foot hit the bag awkardly, while he continued to run with his broken ankle flopping like a fish out of water. As poor Ray continued to flop they would still not move to one of the other games. Brian mentioned something about this being “real bad,” because “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” I said, “This is supposed to be the high point of the tournament but it has become a low ebb.”
“Yeah,” Brian said, “what a downer.”

Lawrence Taylor breaks Joe Theismann’s leg on MNF

What Was Kazim Thinking?

It was a brutal penultimate round for the intrepid players from Georgia. GM Zapata managed to draw his game with Levy Rozman (2287), as did IM Carlos Perdomo, who drew with Alexander Betaneli (2246). Damir Studen also drew his game with IM John Cox (2371) from the United Kingdom.

Damir Studen (2264) vs IM John Cox (2371)
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Qd4 f6 12. Rd1 g5 13. Bxe5 fxe5 14. Qe3 Be6 15. Nd2 h6 16. Nde4 Qb6 17. Qd3 O-O-O 18. Bg2 Nc5 19. Qxd8 Qxd8 20. Rxd8 Kxd8 21. Nxc5 Bxc5 22. Kd2 Bb3 23. Be4 Ke7 24. f3 Rd8 25. Bd3 a5 26. h4 Kd7 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Rh7 Kc8 29. Rg7 Bf8 30. Rh7 Bb4 31. Rg7 Bxa4 32. Rxg5 e4 33. fxe4 Bb3 34. Kc1 Rh8 35. Bc2 Rh1 36. Kd2 Bf8 37. Rxa5 Bh6 38. Kd3 Be6 39. Ra8 Kd7 40. Rh8 b5 41. b3 Kd6 42. Nd1 Rh3 43. e3 Rh2 44. Nc3 Kc5 45. e5 Bf5 46. Ne4 Kb4 47. Bd1 Rh3 48. Bf3 Be6 49. g4 Rh4 50. Nd2 c5 51. Rh7 1/2-1/2

Unfortunately Michael Corallo lost again, this time to GM Elshan Moradiabad (2598). Michael had been having such a tremendous tournament that after losing back to back games he is still tied at +1, or 4 1/2 points, with those above named players, and will battle another GM, Vladimir Romanenko (2498) in the money round.

Sanjay Ghatti lost to Andrey Gorovets (2478) but still has an even score with 4 points.

Sanjay Ghatti (2024) vs Andrey Gorovets (2478)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Nb3 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Be3 Qc7 8. Be2 Bb4 9. f3 d5 10. O-O Bxc3 11. bxc3 dxe4 12. fxe4 Nxe4 13. Qd3 f5 14. Nc5 Nf6 15. Qc4 Nd5 16. Bf4 Nxf4 17. Rxf4 Ne5 18. Qa4 Kf7 19. Ne4 Qb6 20. Qd4 Rd8 21. Ng5 Kg6 22. Qxb6 axb6 23. Nf3 Nxf3 24. Bxf3 Kf6 25. Rb4 Rd6 26. a4 Bd7 27. Bxb7 Ra7 28. Bf3 b5 29. c4 Rxa4 30. Raxa4 bxa4 31. c5 a3 32. Rb1 a2 33. Ra1 Ra6 34. Bb7 Ra7 35. c6 Ke7 36. cxd7 Rxb7 37. Rxa2 Rxd7 38. c4 Kd6 39. Ra6 Ke5 40. Rc6 g5 41. Kf2 Rd2 42. Kf3 h5 43. h3 g4 44. hxg4 hxg4 45. Kg3 f4 46. Kxg4 Rxg2 47. Kf3 Rg3 48. Kf2 Rc3 49. Ke2 Re3 50. Kf2 Kd4 51. Rc8 Rc3 52. Re8 e5 0-1

The Frisco Kid drew with Joshua Colas (2116) and is at -1, with 3 1/2 points, needing a win tonight against Sam Copeland (2153) to finish with an even score.

Kazim Gulamali lost his penultimate round game and also has 3 1/2 points.

Nicolas D Checa (2219) vs FM Kazim Gulamali (2283)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e3 a6 6. a4 c5 7. Bxc4 cxd4

The game ended here and this was displayed on the website:
“White won (rated game). Cellphone went off”

It is beyond my comprehension how such a thing could occur. Why any player would even have a cellphone after what happened to GM Nigel Short when he lost a game, even though his gizmo was turned off, because it made a sound to signal its battery was low, disrupting the tournament, and violating the FIDE rule against gizmos making sounds. No players should ever, under any circumstance, have a gizmo with them in or around the tournament hall because of the appearance of having such device gives because of the possibility of cheating by using a gizmo. All chess organizations should have banned gizmos years ago for just this reason. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not, and would never accuse Kazim of cheating. Having known him for at least a decade I would not believe it if he were ever accused of cheating because he is a gentleman. I hate to write this, but his play this tournament could be considered prima-facie evidence that he did not cheat. It is more than a little obvious that Kazim had what is now called a “Dierks” moment.

Reece Thompson lost in the penultimate round and still has 3 points, but will play the last round game trying to finish with a -1 score.

Kapil Chandran (2382) vs Reece Thompson (2087)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. e4 e5 6. Be2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 Re8 9. d5 a5 10. h3 Qc7 11. Be3 Nc5 12. Rfd1 Bd7 13. Rac1 cxd5 14. cxd5 Rec8 15. Nd2 Qb8 16. Bxc5 Rxc5 17. a4 Be8 18. Qb1 Nd7 19. Nb3 Rc8 20. Nb5 Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Bd8 22. Qc2 Bg5 23. Nc7 Bxc1 24. Nxa8 Be3 25. fxe3 Qxa8 26. Qc7 Qa7 27. Kf2 Nf6 28. Qd8 h6 29. Bb5 Kh7 30. Bxe8 Nxe4 31. Kf3 f5 32. Bd7 1-0
The schedule has been brutal as can be seen by the fact that 30% of the field will not play in the last round. The ones who do play will certainly be staggering at the finish line.

Dierks Bentley – What Was I Thinkin