The Fantasy Variation

IM Dorsa Derakhshani (2306)

vs WGM Anna Sharevich (2281)

U.S. Womens Championship 2018 round 01

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 (One of the things I like about is learning who is the leading practitioner of an opening and/or particular variation. Heather Richards has played 3 f3, the opening FM Kazim Gulamali, called the “Little Grandmaster” at the House of Pain when still a child, proclaimed the “Caro-Kann Crusher,” in twenty-two games. GM Nikola Mitkov has used the weapon eighteen times; and Artyom Timofeev is credited with playing the Crusher on sixteen occasions. The thing about playing so-called “offbeat” openings is that one can compare the play of other, stronger, players with that of your own play. Chess is a language of sorts. The moves “talk” to you if you will listen. The game you are replaying contains ideas of the players producing the moves. The beauty of Chess is “understanding” those ideas, and possibly incorporating them into your own play. With tools like the and the CBDB ( how can players not be better than their predecessors? If one wanted to learn this opening a good start would be to replay the above mentioned fifty-six games. With only that one would be well-armed for battle in a weekend tournament. Stockfish ‘thinks’ little of the Fantasy variation. If white played 3 Nd2 SF shows an advantage of +0.47. After playing 3 f3 it shows black with a small advantage of -0.2)

3…g6 (After this move Heather leads with ten, scoring seven wins; two draws; and only one loss. GM Julian Hodgson has faced 3…g6 five times, scoring three wins and two draws. Stockfish 8, at depth 49, plays 3…e6, which is a tough not to crack. Houdini 3 x 64 at depth 30 plays 3…dxe4. The CBDB shows white scoring only 52% against 3…e6, but an astounding 64% after 3…dxe4!)

4. c3

(After reading an article advocating this move it was my choice the next time facing 3…g6, something soon regretted because of the lack of development. The Fish at the CBDB has 4 Nc3, but the Fish at ChessBomb shows 4 Be3.)

Bg7 5. Bf4 (Komodo plays 5 Na3 [Najer v Rozum below] or Bg5. The Fish at ChessBomb plays 5 Na3, but I prefer it’s second choice…Qe2!)


(This move is not shown so it is an unsound Theoretical Novelty. Komodo & Stockfish play 5…Nd7. See Mitkov v Azmaiparashvili below for 5…Qb6.)

6. fxe4 e5 (6…Nf6) 7. dxe5

7…Qxd1+ (7… Nd7 is better. If 8. Qd6 Qe7 9. Qxe7+ Nxe7, for example.)

8. Kxd1

Be6 (Stockfish “thinks” black should play 8…f6, with this to follow: 9. Nf3 fxe5 10. Bxe5 Bxe5 11. Nxe5 Nd7 12. Nf3 Ngf6. Black is down a pawn, but the isolated e-pawn can be attacked. It may be the best hope for black.)

9. Nf3 Nd7 10. Nbd2 h6 (There is no reason to delay developing with 10…Ne7)
11. Nc4 (11 Bc4 is better)

11…g5 (She should take the knight with 11…Bxc4)

12. Bg3 Ne7 (SF shows 12..Kf8; Bxc4; g4; & 0-0. The move played in the game is not shown.)

13. Nd6+ (White has a ‘won’ game)

Kf8 14. Kc2 Rb8 (14…Ng6)

15. Nd4 (Why not develop with Bc4?)

Ng6 (SF prefers 15…Bxe5)

16. Be2 (The Fish prefers 16 Rd1)

Bxe5 17. Nxe6+ fxe6 18. Rhf1+ Nf4 19. Nc4 Bc7

20. e5 (And there goes the advantage…20 Rfd1 or a4 keep the advantage)

Ke7 21. Bxf4 gxf4 22. Rxf4 b5 (Why not take the pawn with 22…Nxe5?)

23. Raf1 (I’m “advancing to the rear” with 23 Nd2)

Rbf8 ((23… bxc4 looks strong)

24. Rxf8 (24 Nd2) Rxf8 25. Rxf8 Kxf8 26. Ne3 Nxe5 27. Ng4 Nxg4 28. Bxg4 Bxh2 29. Bxe6 Ke7 30. Bg4 Kd6 ½-½

Derakhshani- Sharevich

U.S. Womens Championship 2018 round 01

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Bf4 dxe4 6. fxe4 e5 7. dxe5 Qxd1+ 8. Kxd1 Be6 9. Nf3 Nd7 10. Nbd2 h6 11. Nc4 g5 12. Bg3 Ne7 13. Nd6+ Kf8 14. Kc2 Rb8 15. Nd4 Ng6 16. Be2 Bxe5 17. Nxe6+ fxe6 18. Rhf1+ Nf4 19. Nc4 Bc7 20. e5 Ke7 21. Bxf4 gxf4 22. Rxf4 b5 23. Raf1 Rbf8 24. Rxf8 Rxf8 25. Rxf8 Kxf8 26. Ne3 Nxe5 27. Ng4 Nxg4 28. Bxg4 Bxh2 29. Bxe6 Ke7 30. Bg4 Kd6 ½-½

Evgeniy Najer (2706) v Ivan Rozum (2573)

Event: TCh-TUR Super League 2017 07/30/2017

B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Na3 e5 6. dxe5 Bxe5 7. exd5 cxd5 8. Bf4 Bxf4 9. Qa4+ Nc6 10. Qxf4 Nge7 11. O-O-O Be6 12. Ne2 a6 13. Nc2 Qa5 14. a3 O-O-O 15. Ned4 Qc7 16. Qf6 Bf5 17. Nxf5 Qf4+ 18. Rd2 Qxf5 19. Qh4 Rd6 20. g3 Qxf3 21. Bh3+ Nf5 22. Rhd1 Kb8 23. Qa4 Qh5 24. Bg4 Qg5 25. h4 Qf6 26. Rf1 Qe5 27. Bxf5 gxf5 28. g4 fxg4 29. Qxg4 Rf6 30. Rxf6 Qxf6 31. Rxd5 Re8 32. Rf5 Qe6 33. Rg5 Qf6 34. Rg8 Qf1+ 35. Kd2 Qf2+ 36. Kd1 Qf1+ 37. Kd2 Qf2+ 38. Kd1 1/2-1/2

Nikola Mitkov (2495) vs Zurab Azmaiparashvili (2625)

Event: Moscow ol (Men) 1994

B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Bf4 Qb6 6. Qb3 Be6 7. Qxb6 axb6 8. Nd2 Nd7 9. Bd3 O-O-O 10. Ne2 dxe4 11. fxe4 Bg4 12. h3 Bxe2 13. Bxe2 e5 14. Bg5 Re8 15. Nc4 Kc7 16. dxe5 Bxe5 17. O-O f6 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. Bxf6 Nxf6 20. Rxf6 Rd8 21. Kf2 Rd2 22. Re6 Nd3+ 23. Ke3 Rxe2+ 24. Kxd3 Rxg2 25. Rf1 Rd8+ 26. Ke3 Rg3+ 27. Rf3 Rxf3+ 28. Kxf3 Rf8+ 29. Ke3 Kd7 30. Re5 h6 31. b4 Kd6 32. Kd4 Rc8 0-1


The Passive Caro-Kann

“If you play the Caro-Kann when young, what are you going to play when old?” – Bent Larsen

Federico Perez Ponsa (2553)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (2781)

Gibraltar Masters 2018

Round 3

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Rd1
d4 9. Nb1 Ne7 10. d3 c5 11. a4 Nbc6 12. Na3 O-O 13. Qg3 a6 14. Bf4 e5 15. Bd2
Rb8 16. Rf1 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. f4 Bh6 19. Qh4 Bxf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. Rxf4 Ne5
22. Raf1 N7c6 23. Qf2 b4 24. Nb1 b3 25. c4 Nb4 26. Qg3 f6 27. Kh2 Qd6 28. Na3
Nc2 29. Nb5 Qe7 30. R4f2 Ra8 31. Rb1 Ne3 32. Na3 Rf7 33. Re1 Kh8 34. Bf1 Re8
35. Nb1 f5 36. Nd2 Qc7 37. Kg1 f4 38. Qh4 Ref8 39. Be2 Qa5 40. Qg5 Qxd2 41.
Qxe5+ Kg8 42. Rb1 Qc2 43. Rbf1 Nxf1 44. Bxf1 Qc1 45. Qxc5 f3 46. g3 Qe3 47. Qd5
h5 48. h4 Kh7 49. Qg5 Ra7 50. Qc5 Ra1 51. Qe7+ Kg8 52. Qe6+ Kg7 53. Qe7+ Rf7

Does this mean Naka has grown old, at least as a Chess player? Seeing this game caused me to reflect on a post found at GM Kevin Spraggett’s website recently, Samurai Spassky. Kevin provides Spassky’s original annotations to a Caro-Kann game played in 1959: Boris Spassky vs Aaron Reshko, St.Petersburg. Also provided is a PDF of a 1969 Soviet-Life article containing Spassky’s thoughts on the Caro-Kann, which I transcribed:

“The Caro-Kann is quite popular now, but it is usually employed by passive-minded players. The main idea of this system is that Black temporarily declines a Pawn battle in the middle and strives, instead, to quickly as possible finish deploying his forces, especial the Queen’s Bishop, before the King’s Pawn move P-K3. Only after this does he launch vigorous operations in the center. The result is that Black’s position is solid, even though passive. The weakness of this system is that it offers White too much a wide a choice of possible patterns of development, which provides not only chess, but also psychological trumps.”

Former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

now an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, said, “Play main lines.” That may be good advice for top flight players, but for the rest of us, “Where is the fun in that?” I have never, ever, not once, played Bf5. After 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 I have only played 3…c5 and Qb6. Upon returning to Chess after leaving the Royal game for the more lucrative Backgammon I played mostly obscure and little known openings, such as what was called by Kazim Gulamali,

the “Caro-Kann Krusher.” 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3!

Now there is a book on the move…

There are so many multifarious opening lines, yet top players continue to trot out the same ol’, same ol’…BORING!

Kevin plays the “passive” 5…exf6 in this game, which features double doubled pawns, and a Queen sacrifice!

Daniel H. Campora (ARG)


vs Kevin Spraggett (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 06

B15 Caro Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bb3 a5 14. a4 Nb6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rad1 Re8 17. Nh4 Be4 18. f3 Bg6 19. Nxg6 hxg6

White to move

20. Qf2 Qe7 21. Rd3 Nd7 22. Bf4 Nc5 23. Re3 Ne6 24. c5

Black to move

Nxf4 25. Rxe7 Rxe7 26. Qc2 Ne2+ 27. Kg2 Nxd4 28. Qc4 Nxb3 29. Qxb3 Bxc5 30. Qc4 b6 31. Rd1 Rae8 32. Rd2 Re1 33. h4 g5 34. h5 Rg1+ 35. Kh3 Rh1+ 36. Rh2 Rhe1 37. Rd2 Rh1+ 38. Rh2 Rb1 39. Re2 Rd8 40. Qc2 Rh1+ 41. Kg2 Rg1+ 42. Kh2 Ra1 43. Kg2 Bd4 44. Qxc6 Be5 45. Qxb6 Rdd1 46. Rxe5 fxe5 47. Qb8+ Kh7 48. Qxe5 Rd2+ 49. Kg3 Rg1+ 50. Kh3 Rh1+ 51. Kg3 Rg1+ 52. Kh3 ½-½

Rea B. Hayes vs John Harold Belson

1936 Canadian Championship


B15 Caro-Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Rad1 Qc7 12. h3 Bh5 13. Bf4 Qxf4 14. Qxe7 Nb6 15. Bb3 Rae8 16. Qa3 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qd3 f5 20. Rde1 a6 21. c3 Qg5+ 22. Kh2 f4 23. Qd2 Re6 24. Rxe6 fxe6 25. Re1 Rf6 26. Re5 Qh4 27. Qe1 Kf7 28. Qe2 g5 29. Qf1 h5 30. Qg2 Rg6 31. Re1 g4 32. fxg4 hxg4 33. Rg1 b5 34. Kh1 g3 35. Qf1 Rh6 0-1

Tribute to Rea Hayes

Rea B. Hayes

October 31, 1915 – February 15, 2001

Rea Bruce Hayes was born in Weston Ontario, Canada, on October 31, 1915. His first memory of chess was when he was taught to play at age eleven by a boy in the neighborhood. When he thought his friend was being inconsistent about the rules, Rea “read the article in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica”. From that point on he was the teacher.

Rea joined the St. Clair Chess Club in Toronto and became its champion a few years later. This club later became the Canada Dairies Chess Club.

He moved to Greeneville, South Carolina in 1953 and won his first tournament at Columbia. One trophy was for being the South Carolina Open Champion, the other one was for being the highest scoring South Carolina resident. At the time, no one expected a resident to win the state tournament outright. In 1954, Rea was again the South Carolina Open Champion, but he only received one trophy this time.

While living in South Carolina, Rea tied for third with a 5-2 score in the 1953 Southern Open in Columbia. He finished in a foursome of 5.5-1.5 scores in the 1954 Southern Open in Atlanta and had to settle for fourth on tie breaks.

From South Carolina, Rea transferred to Chattanooga, TN for a two year period. Having just moved, he entered the 1955 Southern Open in Chattanooga and won the Southern Championship with a 6-1 score.

Rea lived the next 30 years of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, he organized the Parkway Chess Club and the City League, a chess team competition. He revived the city championship which had been abandoned for years, winning both the city and club championship many times. For his efforts on behalf of the club, Rea is an honorary member.

In Ohio, the annual Ohio Championship was captured outright by Rea in 1963, winning with only one draw. Several other times, he tied for first in the event. The Region V Championship was his at least once. He was instrumental in organizing the Cincinnati Open, the second annual tournament in Ohio. He was also the president of the Ohio Chess Association. Rea was twice honored by his Cincinnati club, as Chessman of the Decade (1958-1968) and again when he left Cincinnati in 1987.

Before leaving Cincinnati, Rea retired from Union Central Life where he worked as an actuary. Rea visited New Zealand in 1980-1981. Playing chess with players in the Hastings area, one of them paid him the compliment of saying that if Rea lived there, he would be the second or third player in the country.

During 1981, he traveled to Sun City West in Arizona, to take part in the 1st US Senior Open tournament. Although ranked 7th of the eight upper section players, he won top honors. He conceded only one draw, to the player ranking below him. He also won the upset prize, a nice wristwatch, for beating the favorite, Eric Marchand.

Rea’s lasting legacy is being the first US Senior Champion. The Senior trophy now rests at the US Chess Hall of Fame in Washington DC with his name engraved first on the list of champions.

He moved to Chattanooga for the second time in 1990 and became a regular player at the tournaments in and around the state of Tennessee. In 1992, he entered the 46th Annual Tennessee Open in Oak Ridge and captured State Champion honors. He had three wins and three draws.

Since his coming to Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Chess Club, Rea fulfilled the role of Chessman of the Area. He served in almost every club capacity over the years, including president and newsletter editor. All of his contributions and accomplishment have prompted the Chattanooga Chess Club to elect him Life Member and hold an annual tournament in his honor.

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