GM Alonso Zapata: Professional Chess Player

Grandmaster Alonso Zapata 

is a professional Chess player. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago, coming from Columbia, where he won the Colombian Chess championship eight times. He has been a GM since 1984. He was born in August 1958 and is, therefore a Senior. Alonso Zapata comes to play Chess.

He has played in all kinds of adverse conditions, including one tournament hosted by Thad Rogers

of American Chess Promotions that has become known as one of the latest “Sweat Box Opens.” There was no air conditioning and the conditions were life threatening, but Zapata played, and won the tournament despite the heat and stench emanating from the profusely perspiring players. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/2013-hot-lanta-chess-championship/)

GM Zapata reminds me of IM of GM strength Boris Kogan because he, too, was a professional Chess player. The few times Boris lost in the first round of a tournament he did not withdraw but completed the event, finishing 4-1. He did this because it was his job and he always came to play Chess.

From December 27 through 29, 2019, GM Zapata played in the 49th Atlanta Open, another American Chess Promotions event. He tied for first with NM Matthew Puckett with a score of 4-1, after a second round draw with the up and coming NM Alexander Rutten and a fourth round draw with NM Sanjay Ghatti.

GM Zapata then hit the road traveling to the Charlotte Chess Center to play in the 2020 Charlotte Open, a grueling event of nine rounds played over a five day period from the first to the fifth of January. Because of his age one can question the efficacy of participating in both tournaments. Zapata played in both events because he is a professional Chess player. It is what he is and it is what he does. The GM won five games. Unfortunately, he lost four. There were no draws. He finished in the fifth score group, scoring 5-4. Zapata began with two wins before losing in the third round to the eventual winner of the tournament, IM Brandon Jacobson, young enough to be the grandchild of the GM. One of the most difficult things to do as a Chess player is to come back from a loss. Studies have proven that after the loss of a Chess game the testosterone of a male drops precipitously. This is mitigated somewhat if the next game is the next day, but if there are multiple games in the same day it is a different story. I can recall the time the Ol’ Swindler had been on a roll, winning many games in a row from the beginning of a tournament in New York, ‘back in the day’. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I encountered the Swindler sitting alone away from the tournament, and were shocked to learn he had lost the previous round and withdrawn. “What?” exclaimed the Ironman. “You still have a chance to win some big money, Neal.” That mattered not to the Swindler because he had lost and simply could not face playing another game that day, or any other, for that matter.

After another win in the next round, versus FM Rohan Talukdar, Zapata the Chess player hit the proverbial wall, losing his next three games. Most Chess players, professional or not, would have withdrawn after the third loss in a row, and no one would have blamed him for withdrawing, but Alonso Zapata is not like most Chess players. Not only did he complete the event but he finished with a flourish by winning his last two games.

My hat is off to Grandmaster Alonso Zapata, who deserves the highest praise. The GM has set a tremendous example for the younger players of Georgia to emulate. The Atlanta area players have been fortunate to have such a fine example residing here and plying his trade. The young up and coming players may not realize it now but they will be much better Chessplayers for simply having been around a man like Alonso Zapata. What a boon he has been for the local Chess community. It is wonderful to have one classy Grandmaster in the Atlanta area. Every player, no matter what age, can learn from Alonso Zapata, just as those of my generation, and younger, learned from IM Boris Kogan. The Grandmaster has shown that it is how you play that matters.

This is the last round game versus Justin Paul,

a Zero born in 2003. The Professional Chess player had to face a Smith-Morra gambit.

2020 Charlotte Open

FM (2249) Justin Paul vs GM Alonso Zapata (2535)

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O a6 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 14. Rac1 Rc8

15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nb8 17. b4 Nbd7 18. Be3 Ne4 19. Nd2 Nxd2 20. Qxd2 f5 21. f4 Bf6 22. Bb3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 exf4 24. Bxf4 Be5 25. Bg5 Qb6+ 26. Kh1

h6? (26…Nf6) 27. Be3 Qd8 28. Bc2 Qh4 29. Rf1 Qg3 30. Bg1 f4 31. Rf3 Qg5 32. Qd3 Nf6 33. Bf2 Qh5 34. Qf5 Kh8 35. Be1 Qxf5 36. Bxf5 g5 37. Rb3 b5 38. Be6 Ne8 39. Bc8 Nc7 40. Bb7 Kg7 41. Bf2 Re8 42. Kg1 Kf6 43. Rb1 Re7 44. Bb6 Ne6 45. Bxa6 Bd4+ 46. Kf1 Bxb6 47. dxe6 Ra7 48. Bxb5 Rxa2 49. Be2 Rc2 50. Bf3 Kxe6 51. b5 Kd7 52. Bc6+ Kc7 53. Re1 Rf2+ 54. Kg1

54…Be3? (54…d5! )55. Kh2 Rd2 56. Bf3 Kb6 57. Re2 Rd4 58. Rb2 d5 59. h4 Rd3 60. hxg5 hxg5 61. Ra2

61…Bc5? (61…d4) 62. Ra8 Kc7 63. Rg8 Be7 64. Rg7 Kd6 65. b6 Rb3 66. Bxd5=

Kxd5 67. Rxe7 Rxb6 68. Rg7 Rh6+ 69. Kg1 Rh5 70. g4 Rh3 71. Rxg5+ Ke4 72. Ra5 Rb3 73. Kf2 Rb2+ 74. Kf1 f3

75. Ra8??? (The Zero cracks and tosses away the draw with this horrible blunder) 75…Kf4 76. Rf8+ Kg3 77. Re8 0-1

1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? Komodo 19 @depth 34 plays the move, but Komodo 13.02 @depth 36 prefers 4…e6. Stockfish 10 @depth 54 plays 4 d6) 5 Nf3 d6 (SF 10 plays this move but Komodo is high on e6, which happens to be the most often played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase) 6 Bc4 e6 (The most often played move and the choice of Stockfish 310519 @depth 53, but SF 10 @depth 53 and Komodo 10 @depth 34 prefer 6…a6) 7. O-O (The most often played move but the SF program running over at the ChessBomb shows a move near and dear to the AW, 7 Qe2!) 7..a6 (7…Nf6 and 7…Be7 are the top two played moves but two different SF engines prefer the third most often played move, 7…a6 8. Qe2! (SF 050519 @depth 46 plays this move but Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays 8 Bf4) 8…Be7 (The only one of the top 3 engines listed at the CBDB, Komodo 10, plays 8…b5. The SF engine at ChessBomb shows 8…Nge7 best) 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 (SF 10 plays 12 Nd5) 12…O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 (The only game with 13 Bg5 shown, Senador vs Nanjo below, shows 13…Rc8. SF 10 would play 13 Rac1)

Emmanuel Senador (2380) vs Ryosuke Nanjo (2165)

Kuala Lumpur op 4th 2007

ECO: B21 Sicilian, Smith-Morra gambit, 2…cxd4 3.c3

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.Rd1 Bd7 10.Bf4 e5 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 O-O 13.Bg5 Rc8 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 Be6 16.Rac1 Bg5 17.Rc3 Bh6 18.a3 b5 19.Ba2 Ne7 20.Rxc8 Bxc8 21.Nc3 Qb6 22.Qd3 Nc6 23.Nd5 Qb8 24.g4 g6 25.Nf6+ Kh8 26.g5 Bg7 27.Qxd6 Qa8 28.Bd5 Bb7 29.Nd7 Rd8 30.Bxc6 Bxc6 31.Nfxe5 Bxd7 32.Nxf7+ Kg8 33.Nxd8 Qxd8 34.Qxd7 Qxg5+ 35.Kh1 Bxb2 36.Qe8+ Kg7 37.Rd7+ Kh6 38.Qf8+ 1-0

Kosteniuk Versus Koneru: Learning The Bishop’s Opening Truth

In the sixth round of the Monaco Grand Prix for inferior players of the opposite sex today the prettiest female player currently playing, Alexandra Kosteniuk,

played “The Truth” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/jeffery-xiong-teaches-the-truth/

https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/jennifer-yu-learns-the-truth/

https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/07/06/the-truth-at-the-ironman-chess-club/) against Humpy Koneru.

Kosteniuk is rated 2495; Koneru 2560. Both players are clearly at least one category below male Grandmasters, and two categories below what are now called “Super Grandmasters.” Yet because they were born female they are battling for big, in Chess terms, money. That is money that should be going to the best players regardless of sexual orientation. Because of rating we know how inferior are women at Chess when compared to men. This begs the question of why women, with only very limited exceptions, such as Hou Yifan,

are inferior to men players.

Kosteniuk (2495) vs Koneru (2560)

FIDE Women’s Grand Prix – Monaco 2019 round 06

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 Be7

(4…d5 is the best move according to both Stockfish and Komodo. The game move is second best. The Stocky shown at the ChessBomb has 4…d5 best, followed by 4…Qc7 and 4…d6) 5 Nc3

(Like Be7, 5 Nc3 is a light blue move. 5 0-0 is the best move) 5…d6 (Komodo 13.2 64-bit @depth 38 at the CBDB likes this move, but going to depth 41 changes it’s whatever and prefers 5…0-0) 6 d4?

(I will admit to being stunned upon seeing this move. It is clearly inferior and I do not need a machine to know this fact. The Stockfish program running at the Bomb shows this move forfeits whatever advantage white had with the first move of the game. Could this have really been Kosteniuk’s opening preparation or was she simply “winging it”? 6 0-0 has been the most often played move but Komodo shows the best move being 6 a4) 6…0-0?

(This is unfathomable. 6…exd4 is the only move. The move played by Humpy is not even shown at the CBDB or 365Chess. There is a reason…)

There is no longer any reason to continue this exercise in futility. It is more than a little obvious one of the reasons women are inferior to men at Chess is their extremely weak opening play. Why women are so weak playing the opening is open to conjecture, but there it is for anyone to see. This game is, unfortunately, not an anomaly.

Alexandra Kosteniuk (2495) – Humpy Koneru (2560)

FIDE Women’s Grand Prix – Monaco 2019 round 06

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Nc3 d6 6. d4 O-O 7. O-O Na6 8. a4 exd4 9. Nxd4 Nb4 10. Re1 Re8 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 d5 13. exd5 Nfxd5 14. Bxe7 Rxe7 15. Rxe7 Qxe7 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. Bxd5 cxd5 18. Qe1 Qe4 19. Qd2 Bd7 20. Re1 Qg6 21. b3 Qd6 22. h3 Rc8 23. Re3 a6 24. Rd3 Qc7 25. c3 Qb6 26. Qf4 Re8 27. Re3 Rxe3 28. Qxe3 Qd6 29. Ne2 a5 30. Qd4 Qg6 31. Kh2 Qe4 32. Qd2 b5 33. axb5 Bxb5 34. Nd4 Bd7 35. Qd1 Qe5+ 36. Kg1 Qc7 37. Qf3 Qe5 38. Qd1 Qc7 39. Qd3 Qe5 40. Qd1 Qc7 ½-½

When it comes to playing Chess it is obvious the top women players are exponentially worse than the top men players, yet women play in separate tournaments with large prize funds because…I have no idea why there are separate tournaments for female players. There should be no tournaments for women only because women should play in OPEN tournaments which are OPEN TO ALL! In that event women would have to elevate their game or battle in the lower sections for a much smaller prize fund. There is not, and has never been, enough prize money in Chess to support inferior players playing for large sums of money which should go to better, and more deserving, Chess players!

Paradise By The Chessboard Light

Jennifer R Yu (2341)

vs Atulya Vaidya (2118)

U.S. Junior Championship 2019 round 05

1. Nf3 f5 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. d3

(Before we go any further let us stop right here for a blast from the past. This exact position appeared on the board at a tournament in Atlanta many decades ago. My opponent was John W. Smith, or as he was called, “Smitty,” a player known for his love of the English opening. Both Stockfish and Komodo at the ChessBaseDataBase show 7 d4 as best. When I mentioned this to SM Brian McCarthy

recently he let me know in no uncertain terms, “d3 is a perfectly acceptable way of playing against the Leningrad.” Still, I recall feeling by not moving the d-pawn two squares a concession had been made. After losing, Smitty withdrew even though there were more rounds to play (uncertain how many, but I think there were at least two more games, maybe three…) and was not seen for some time. When next we did meet Smitty was not friendly…Many years passed, possibly a decade or more, until our paths crossed again. Cousin Linda and I had gotten together and stopped to eat at the Bar-B-Que Kitchen on Virginia Avenue, near the airport. As we sat down I saw Smitty at the register paying the tab. As he walked out of the door I leapt up, excused myself, and went outside to greet him. He had just gotten his wife and daughter into the car when I approached with my hand extended. Smitty had a stern look on his face as if he were deciding whether or not to take my hand. He decided to shake my hand, so I asked him why him had turned on me. “Mike,” he began, “If I had won or drawn the last game we played my rating would have gone over 2200 and I would have become a NM. Earning the certificate meant everything to me because I could show it to my children in the future. I had it all worked out, and would have withdrawn after scoring against you. It was the toughest loss I ever had, and it took it out of me. After losing that game I lost the desire to attempt climbing the hill again.” At a loss for words, I managing to get out, “It was good to see you, Smitty.” He replied, “I cannot say the same, Bacon.” He turned and got into the car without saying another word or even looking at me…As an aside, when I mentioned this to Tim Brookshear

he related Smitty had beaten him causing his rating to fall beneath 2200, and it never again crossed back into NM range. “I didn’t hold it against Smitty, Mike,” the ironman said.

7…c6 8. Rb1 a5 9. a3 Re8 10. e4 e5 11. b4 Na6 12. Qb3 h6 13. Nh4 Kh7 14. exf5 g5 15. Nf3 Bxf5 16. Ne1 Rb8 17. Ne4 axb4 18. axb4 Nc7 19. Be3 Qd7 20. Nc2 d5 21. Nxf6+ Bxf6 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Ba7 Rbc8 24. b5 Be6 25. d4 e4 26. f3 exf3 27. Rxf3 Bg7 28. Qd3+ Kh8 29. Bc5 Bg4 30. Rf2 Ne6 31. Ba3 Bh5 32. Bb2 Nf8 33. Ne3 Bg6 34. Nf5 Ne6 35. Qb3 Bxf5 36. Rxf5 Nf4 37. Rxf4 gxf4 38. gxf4 Qf5 39. Rf1 Rc4 40. Kh1 Re2 41. Bf3 Qh3 0-1

Yu versus Vaidya with analysis:

1. Nf3 f5 2. c4 g6 (Stockfish plays 2…Nf6; Komodo plays 2…d6, or c5, depending…) 3. Nc3 (SF chooses 3 g3) Nf6 4. g3 Bg7 (Komodo & Houdini prefer 4…d6) 5. Bg2 (SF & Houdini play 5 d4) 5…d6 (Komodo @Depth 25 plays this expecting 6 d4 0-0 to follow; SF @D 40 plays 5…0-0, showing 6 d4 d6, arriving at the same position) 6. O-O (All engines show 6 d4) 6…O-O (SF plays 6…e5) 7. d3 (SF plays 7 d4) 7…c6 (SF plays 7…e5) 8. Rb1 (SF would play 8 b4 which is a TN) a5 9. a3 (SF & Komodo play 9 d4) 9…Re8 (The move is a dubious TN. SF & Komodo play 9…e5) 10. e4 (10 b4 would give meaning to white’s eight move) 10…e5 11. b4 (There are many possible moves in this position with many being superior to the move in the game) 11…Na6 (11…axb4) 12. Qb3 (12 Re1; b5; h3; exf5 & Be3 are among the myriad alternatives) 12…h6 13. Nh4 Kh7 14. exf5 g5 15. Nf3 Bxf5 16. Ne1 Rb8 17. Ne4 axb4 18. axb4 Nc7 19. Be3 Qd7 20. Nc2 d5 21. Nxf6+ Bxf6 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Ba7 Rbc8 24. b5 Be6 25. d4 e4 26. f3 exf3 27. Rxf3 Bg7 28. Qd3+

(Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check…28 Ne3 retains the advantage) 28…Kh8 29. Bc5 Bg4 (29…Bg8) 30. Rf2 Ne6 31. Ba3 Bh5 32. Bb2 Nf8 (32 Rf8) 33. Ne3 (33 Rfb1) 33…Bg6 34. Nf5 Ne6

35. Qb3? (35 Rfb1 seems plausible. Until this point the game had been an interesting, hard fought battle, but here the young lady let go of the rope…) 35…Bxf5 36. Rxf5 Nf4 37. Rxf4 gxf4 38. gxf4 Qf5 39. Rf1 Rc4 40. Kh1 Re2 41. Bf3 Qh3 0-1

After writing, “Before we go any further” above I sat back and reflected as an old song containing the line had been jogged from my memory.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Meat Loaf
Featuring Ellen Foley
Produced by Todd Rundgren
Album: Bat Out of Hell

1. PARADISE
BOY: Meat Loaf
I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday
Parking by the lake and there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school, they were wishing they were me that night
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
Well c’mon! Hold on tight!

BOY and GIRL:
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light

GIRL: Ellen Foley
Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed
Ain’t no doubt about it, baby got to go and shout it
Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed

BOY:
Baby doncha hear my heart? You got it drowning out the radio
I’ve been waiting so long for you to come along and have some fun
And I gotta let you know, No you never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes, I got a big surprise, it’ll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
Well c’mon! Hold on tight!

Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
Paradise by the dashboard light
You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest
Ain’t no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely-

BOY and GIRL:
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night

[Funky Breakdown]

RADIO BROADCAST: Phil Rizzuto
OK, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here
Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth
There’s the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle
Look at him go. This boy can really fly! He’s rounding first and really
Turning it on now, he’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna try for
Second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the
Throw, and what a throw! He’s gonna slide in head first, here he
Comes, he’s out! No, wait, safe – safe at second base, this kid
Really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the
Plate, here’s the pitch-he’s going, and what a jump he’s got
He’s trying for third, here’s the throw, it’s in the dirt-safe at
Third! Holy cow, stolen base! He’s taking a pretty big lead out
There, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
Glances over, winds up, and it’s bunted, bunted down the third
Base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes, squeeze
Play, it’s gonna be close, here’s the throw, here’s the play at the plate
Holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!

II. LET ME SLEEP ON IT
GIRL:
Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning

GIRL:
I gotta know right now
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?

What’s it gonna be boy?
Come on, I can wait all night
What’s it gonna be boy? Yes or no?
What’s it gonna be boy? Yes or no?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
I gotta know right now!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?

Let me sleep on it

GIRL:
Will you love me forever?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it

GIRL:
Will you love me forever!!!!

III. PRAYING FOR THE END OF TIME
I couldn’t take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
Started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I’m praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don’t think that I can really survive
I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I’m praying for the end of time
It’s all that I can do
Praying for the end of time
So I can end my time with you!!

BOY:
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today
It was long ago and it was far away
And It was so much better that it is today

GIRL:
It never felt so good
It never felt so right
And we were glowing like
A metal on the edge of a knife

https://genius.com/Meat-loaf-paradise-by-the-dashboard-light-lyrics

If that was not enough for you here is a second helping of Meat Loaf Left Overs:

The World Of Championship Chess

During the meeting of the Ironman Chess Club Tuesday, July 16, 2019 I was able to question the owner of Championship Chess, (https://www.championshipchess.net/) Steve Schneider,

a man I have known since the 1970’s, and for whom I once worked teaching Chess to children in an after school program. Our ‘conversation’ turned into an interview. There were others listening to our discussion. Without those witnesses I would be unable to publish this interview. It began after Steve, who is elderly, and like many older people, battling myriad health issues, including life threatening blood clots in his legs, stated, “I spend eighteen hours a day on Chess.” I did not question this because it is common knowledge Steve ‘burns the midnight oil’, sending emails into the wee hours of the night. I was holding a Championship Chess flyer for the 8th annual K-12 Summer Scorcher Chess tournament, which includes, on the back, the first twenty moves of the game between World Human Chess Co-Champion (at classical Chess) Magnus Carlsen and Sharsidden Vokhidov from the 2018 World Rapid Championship, titled “The Queen’s Raid.”

Me: “I see you are still teaching the Queen’s Raid.”

Steve: “There is nothing wrong with teaching the Queen’s Raid. It’s a good opening. Look at who plays it!”

Me: “Come on, Steve.”

Steve: “All the computers say it’s a playable opening!”

Me: “Which computers?”

Steve: “Stockfish, and all the top programs! Stockfish says white is better in the game!” (Referring to the aforementioned game printed on the back of the flyer. For years a Championship Chess flyer contained Chess puzzles chosen by NM Tim Brookshear. The Queen’s Raid game appears because Tim, for various reasons, decided to no longer produce the puzzles, allowing Steve’s atavistic tendencies to rear their ugly head. Hence the Queen’s Raid, something near and dear to the heart of the owner of Championship Chess. A case can be made that Championship Chess was predicated upon the Queen’s Raid, which has become synonymous with Championship Chess. The Queen’s Raid is the foundation of Championship Chess. Steve Schneider will invariably be known as the “Queen’s Raid guy.”)

Me: “When, exactly, is white better according to Stockfish, Steve?”

Steve: “In all the diagrams!”

Me: “Come on, Steve.”

Steve: Except where Magnus missed the best move in the last diagram.”

Me: “But the diagram is before Carlsen, as you say, ‘…missed the best move.'”

Steve: “Then he’s better there, too!”

(All I could do was shake my head as I muttered “unbelievable.” I then decided to move to a different subject. Granted, Magnus was better but only after his opponent played a theoretical novelty that was an extremely weak move, 4…Qe7. The Patzer is so bad that even with the inclusion of the weak move Qe7 the game is considered about even by “all of the programs.”)

Me: “What’s the deal with the World of Chess?” (Steve has spent much money having someone develop a program for beginners to which he sells access to unknowing parents of children who are in Championship Chess after school programs. I had previously seen a flyer for The World of Chess at the Ironman CC)

Steve: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Is it operational?”

Steve: “Yes.”

Me: “I looked for it on the internet but could not locate it.”

Steve: “Not just anyone can get to it.”

Me: “I would like to review it, Steve.”

Steve: “I DO NOT WANT IT REVIEWED!”

Me: “You don’t want it reviewed?” (Asked with incredulity)

Steve: “Why would I want others to see it?”

Me: “When a new product is developed it is usually reviewed…”

Steve: “You have to pay first.”

Me: “You must pay before even checking it out?”

Steve: “Yes.”

Me: “I understand it is similar to Mike Klein’s ChessKid, (https://www.chesskid.com/) which is free.”

Steve: “It’s NOT free. You must pay!”

Me: “I checked out ChessKid and there is much free content for anyone to see and use…”

Steve: “ChessKid really took off after he came to one of my lectures and stole my ideas.”

Me: “Who came to your lecture?”

Steve: “Mike Klein came to a lecture in Alabama. Most of what’s on ChessKid he took from me!”

Me: “But Steve, ChessKid has been around since long before you developed The World of Chess.”

Steve: “And you have to pay.”

Me: “But you can check it out before paying.”

Steve: “I’m not giving anything away. You must pay first!”

At this point Steve’s face was beet red and he was in a highly agitated state, so there were no further questions as others began to query “Coach Steve.”

This is my attempt to reproduce the Championship Chess flyer:

ECO20 The Queen’s Raid (At the 365Chess.com website you will find this-C20 KP, Patzer opening) (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=4&n=332&ms=e4.e5.Qh5&ns=3.5.332)

Carlsen, Magnus (2835)
Vokhidov, Shamsiddin (2480)
World Rapid Championship 12.2018

1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 Qe7 5.Ne2 Nf6 6.d3 Bg7 7.Nbc3

Typical opening moves where the players are even. h6 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.exd5 Na5 10.d6

Carlsen prevents Black from trading his Bishop. He sacrifices a Pawn for better development.cxd6 11.Bd5 Nc6 12.Bd2 Qf6 13.Qe4 O-O 14.O-O Ne7 15.Nc3 Qf5 16.Qb4 Nxd5

Black trades a Knight for a Bishop. 17.Nxd5 Kh7 18.Nc7 Rb8 19.Qxd6

White is better. b6 20.f3 Here Carlsen missed the best move Ne8! 0-1

I went to 365Chess and the “Big Database” contains 281 games with white winning 36.3% while losing 50.9%. The ChessBaseDataBase contains only 35 games because it is more selective, containing mostly games by titled players. It shows white scoring only 44%.

The CBDB shows what the engines ‘thought’ of the opening moves played in the Carlsen v Vokhidov game.

1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 (After this move SF 10 at D43 shows an evaluation of -0.50 for white after black plays 2…Nc6 ; Komodo 12 has it -0.20)

Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 (Although Stockfish at Depth 43 plays the game move Komodo 12 at D42 prefers 4 Qd1)

4…Qe7? (There is only one game with this move in the CBDB. Komodo has it -0.02 after 5 Ne2. There are 25 games with 4…Nf6, SF has it -0.56. Vokhidov did not know the opening, which may have contributed to the thinking of Magnus Carlsen before playing The Patzer. Magnus has never played it again. There is a reason…) 5.Ne2 Nf6 (The Fish and the Dragon both play 5…Na5) 6.d3 (SF 10 plays 6 Nbc3) 6…Bg7 (Komodo and Houdini play the game move but Stockfish plays 6…h6, which will be a Theoretical Novelty if and when a titled human player makes the move on a board) 7.Nbc3 (SF 10 shows an advantage of -0.39 after 7…Nd4) 7…h6 8.Nd5 (SF 8 h3; Houdini 8 Be3) 8…Nxd5 9.exd5 Na5 ( According to both SF and Houdini 9…Nb4 is better) 10.d6 cxd6 11.Bd5 Nc6 (SF 11…Rb8) 12.Bd2 (This is Komodo’s move; Houdini plays 12 Qe4) 12…Qf6 (SF 10 castles)

Richard Francisco’s Quest for the Elusive IM Norm at the Summer 2019 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational

The CCCSA Summer 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational was held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy June 6-9. There were three sections, GM; IM B; & IM C. After an overview we will focus on the IM B section for reasons which will become clear soon enough. But first I would like to mention the GM section ended in a tie between GM Karen Grigoryan, of Armenia, and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, from the USA. Grigoryan was running away with the tournament until losing to IM Kassa Korley in the penultimate round. In the last round Grigoryan lost to Ostrovskiy while still clinging to a share of the lead.

In the IM C section GM Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano, from Texas, shared first place with NM Aydin Turgut of Indiana. Full standings can be found @ http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Pairings.aspx

GM Alonso Zapata,

now a resident of the Great State of Georgia, ran away with the section, finishing a clear point ahead of the field with 7 1/2 points. IM Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte,

from Venezuela, was second with 6 1/2 points. They met in the seventh round:

Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte (VEN) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 07

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O (SF plays 6 b3 a move not seen since 1999, according to 365Chess. The move has appeared in only four games. There are no games at the ChessBaseDataBase with the move)
O-O 7. h3 (SF plays 7 Re1; Komodo plays 7 b3 a TN) c6 8. Re1 Ng6 (TN-SF plays 8…Na6) 9. c4 ½-½

Granted, this was the second game of the day so there must have been little thought from the GM other than to accept the gift. Zapata was born in August, 1958 and is currently sixty one years old. Aponte was born in 1996, and had the white pieces, yet did not even attempt to make a game of it against his much older rival. This reminds of the time decades ago when Ron Burnett had been paired with Sammy Reshevsky at a tournament such as the US Open, or maybe a World Open. Ron was ready for the battle, talking trash about what he was about to do to his opponent. “But Ron,” I said, “Sammy is a legend.” Ron shot back, “He ain’t nothing but an old man.” Once a player reaches a certain age he becomes the Rodney Dangerfield of Chess.

This was Aponte’s moment and what did he do? He offered a draw…Aponte has no cojones and unless he grows a pair in the near future the GM title will remain out of reach. Contrast the “game” and I use the term loosely, with Zapata’s last round game:

Alex Kolay (USA)

vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Nbd7 7. Bg5 e5 8. d5 a5 9. g4 Nc5 10. Nd2 c6 11. Be2 Bd7 12. Rg1 a4 13. b4 axb3 14. axb3 Qb6 15. Rb1 Qb4 16. Qc2 Ra3 17. Kf1 Rfa8 18. Kg2 Na6 19. Qb2 Nc7 20. Be3 Nfe8 21. f3 R3a5 22. Ra1 Rxa1 23. Rxa1 Rxa1 24. Qxa1 Bf6 25. Qb2 c5 26. Na2 Qa5 27. b4 cxb4 28. Nxb4 Bd8 29. Nd3 b5 30. c5 f6 31. g5 Qa8 32. cxd6 Nxd6 33. Nc5 Be8 34. f4 Nf7 35. fxe5 fxe5 36. d6 Nxd6 37. Qxe5 Nf7 38. Qg3 Qc6 39. Ndb3 Qd6 40. Bf4 Qe7 41. h4 Ne6 42. Nxe6 Qxe6 43. Qd3 Bb6 44. Nd4 Qe7 45. Be3 b4 46. Nc2 Bc7 47. Nd4 Qe5 48. Nf3 Qe6 49. Nd2 Bd7 50. Bf2 Ne5 51. Qc2 Qh3+ 52. Kg1 Bd6 53. Qa2+ Kf8 54. Qd5 Nf7 55. Nf3 Qe6 56. Qa8+ Qe8 57. Qxe8+ Kxe8 58. Bc4 Bc6 59. Nd2 Ne5 60. Bg8 Kf8 61. Bb3 Bb5 62. Kg2 Nd3 63. Kf3 Nxf2 64. Kxf2 Bf4 65. Nf3 Bc6 66. Nd4 Bd7 67. Kf3 Bd2 68. Nc2 Bc3 69. Ke3 Bg4 70. Nd4 Be1 71. Nc6 Bxh4 72. Kf4 Be2 73. Nxb4 Be1 74. Nd5 Bd2+ 75. Ne3 Kg7 76. e5 Bd3 77. Kf3 Bc3 78. e6 Bb5 79. Nd5 Be5 80. Nb6 Bd6 81. Ke4 Be7 82. Kf4 Bd6+ 83. Ke4 Kf8 84. Nd7+ Bxd7 ½-½

Tying for third place were Georgia native NM Richard Francisco,

now thirty five years of age, and his last round opponent NM Zachary Dukic,

from Canada. They both finished with 6 points; 6 1/2 were required to earn an IM norm.

In the first round Richard faced a young (birth year 1997) IM Martin Lokander, from Sweden.

NM Richard Francisco (USA) – Martin Lokander (SWE)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 01

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Bd7 5. Nf3 a6 (5…Nc6 SF) 6. Bd3 cxd4 (Komodo and Stockfish at the CBDB both play 6…Nc6, but the SF at ChessBomb considers 6…Qc7, a potential TN, equal to Nc6) 7. cxd4 Bb5 (SF prefers 7…Nc6)

8. O-O? (This shows a lack of understanding of the position and is the beginning of problems for Richard. Both the Fish and the Dragon would play 8 Bc2. There are many other, better, moves, such as 8 Bxb5+; 8 Nc3; and 8 Bg5, all shown at the ChessBomb) Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Nbc6 (For 10 N3c6 see Papahristoudis v Savoglou below) 11. Ne2 Rc8 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Nf4 Be7

14. g3? (This is obviously a very weak move and gives the advantage to black. There was no need to voluntarily weaken the castled position. Richard needs to read Sam Shankland’s book…Stockfish says 14 Rac1 keeps the game balanced. Unfortunately for our hero Richard, the game went downhill from here. This is my last comment on the game, which can be found here, along with input from Stockfish, albeit with little time to “cogitate.” https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-charlotte-summer-invitational-im/01-Francisco_Richard-Lokander_Martin)

g5 15. Ne2 f6 16. g4 Nh6 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. h4 Nxg4 19. hxg5 Bg7 20. Nf4 O-O 21. Nxe6 Qd6 22. Nxf8 Rxf8 23. Ne5 Ngxe5 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Qg3 Nf3+ 26. Kg2 Qxg3+ 27. fxg3 Nxd2 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Rd1 Nc4 30. Kf3 d4 31. b3 Nd6 32. Rc1 Kf7 33. Rc7+ Kg6 34. Kf4 h6 35. gxh6 Bxh6+ 36. Kf3 Kf6 37. Ke2 Be3 38. Kd3 Kf5 39. a4 Bf2 40. Rg7 a5 41. Rg8 Nf7 42. g4+ Kf6 43. Rb8 Ne5+ 44. Ke2 Bh4 45. Rxb7 d3+ 46. Kd1 Nxg4 47. Rd7 Nf2+ 48. Kd2 Bg5+ 49. Ke1 Be3 50. Rd5 Ke6 51. Rd8 Ke5 52. Rd7 Ke4 53. Rd8 Bc5 54. Re8+ Kf3 55. Rb8 Ne4 56. Kd1 Bb4 57. Rd8 Ke3 58. Re8 Kd4 59. Kc1 Nf2 0-1

Anastasios Papahristoudis (2111) vs Nikolaos Savoglou (1890)

Ambelokipi op 75th 01/17/2007

C02 French, advance variation
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Bd7 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bb5 8.O-O Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Ne7 10.Nc3 Nec6 11.a3 Nd7 12.Bf4 Be7 13.Rac1 Nb6 14.b4 O-O 15.Nd2 Qd7 16.Be3 f6 17.f4 fxe5 18.fxe5 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Rf8 20.Rxf8+ Bxf8 21.Nf3 Be7 22.h4 Nc4 23.Bc1 b5 24.Ne2 Qe8 25.Nf4 Qf7 26.g4 g6 27.Nh3 Nd8 28.Bg5 Kg7 29.Kg2 h6 30.Bxe7 Qxe7 31.Nf4 Qf7 32.Kg3 Nc6 ½-½

It must have been devastating to lose, especially with the white pieces, in the very forst round when one needs 6 1/2 points to earn an IM norm. To make matters worse, Richard had to face the only GM in the tournament in the second round.

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Alonso Zapata (COL)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 02

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 a6 7. Nxc6 Qxc6 8. Bd3 d6 9. a4 Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 exf5 17. Bf4 Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 Rfe8 25. Qf3 Rxd4 26. cxd4 Qd7 27. h4 Nf8 28. d5 f6 29. h5 Re5 30. d6 Kh8 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 Qxd6 33. Qxb7 Re7 34. Qa8 Rf7 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 Qg5 37. Qe8 Qxh6+ 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5 40. b4 Qh6 41. Qe8 Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 (Not the best move in the position. Stockfish 10 at depth 49 would play 6 a3, a move which does not appear at the ChessBaseDataBase. SF 080219 at depth 46 plays 6 Be3, the most often played move, while SF 9 at depth 38 plays the second most often played move, 6 Be2) 6…a6 7 Nxc6 (The most often played move, but Komodo would play 7 Be2) 7…Qxc6 (Although the most often played move, SF 10 would play 7…bxc6) 8. Bd3 d6 (SF plays 8…b5, by far the most often played move) 9. a4 (SF 10 simply castles) 9…Nf6 10. O-O Be7 11. Kh1 (SF & Komodo prefer 11 Be3) 11…Qc7 (SF would castle) 12. Qe2 (Unfortunately, Qe2 is not always the best move. SF would play 12 a5) 12…O-O (SF 10 would play 12…b6) 13. e5 Nd7 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f5 (Komodo plays 16 Be3)

exf5 17. Bf4 SF plays 17 Ng3) Ne5 18. Ng3 Bd6 19. Bxf5 Ng6 (SF shows 19…Nc4 best) 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Rad1 Qc7 22. c3 Bxf5 (SF prefers 22…Ne5) 23. Nxf5 Rad8 24. Rd4 (SF plays 24 Qg4) 24…Rfe8 (SF would play 24…Ne5)

25. Qf3 Rxd4 25 f6 SF) 26. cxd4 Qd7 (Houdini plays the “in your face” 26…Qf4) 27. h4 Nf8 (SF plays 27…Qe6) 28. d5 (28 h5 SF) f6 29. h5 Re5 (The Fish would rip off the pawn with 29…Qxa4) 30. d6 (The Dragon would play 30 b3) 30…Kh8 (Komodo would play 30…Qe6) 31. h6 g6 32. Ng3 (SF considers 32 Ne3 a much better move) 32…Qxd6 33. Qxb7 (Stockfish 10 would play 33 Ne4. The Fish at DaBomb would play 33 Qxf6) Re7 34. Qa8 (Komodo prefers 34 Ne4) Rf7 (SF 10 likes this move) 35. Ne4 Qe5 36. Nxf6 (Both the Fish and the Dragon prefer 36 b4) 36…Qg5 (36…Qe2 Komodo) 37. Qe8 (Both the Fish and the Dragon would take the pawn with 37 Qxa6) 37…Qxh6+ (37…Qh4+) 38. Kg1 Qg7 39. Qd8 h5

40. b4? (40 g4! SF) Qh6 41. Qe8 (41 Qd4 or Qb6) Qg7 42. Qd8 Qh6 43. Qe8 ½-½
The game can be found at ChessBomb: https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-charlotte-summer-invitational-im/02-Francisco_Richard-Zapata_Alonso

Richard bested CM Abhimanyu Mishra with the black pieces in round 3 and FM Sahil Sinha with the white pieces in the fourth round before holding the draw with the black pieces against FM Seth Homa in the following round. He drew with the white pieces with the aforementioned Aponte in the first game played Saturday, June 8 before winning with black against FM Nikhil Kumar in the second Saturday game. This put Richard in the postition of needing to win both games the following day, Sunday.

Richard Francisco (USA) – Alex Kolay (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 08

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. a3 f6 7. Bd3 Qc7 8. O-O O-O-O 9. Re1 c4 10. Bc2 fxe5 11. dxe5 Bc5 12. Nbd2 Nge7 13. b4 cxb3 14. Nxb3 Bb6 15. a4 Na5 16. Nxa5 Bxa5 17. Ba3 Be8 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Qf3 Bg6 20. Bxg6 hxg6 21. Rab1 Bb6 22. Bd6 Nc6 23. Qg4 Rde8 24. h3 g5 25. Qxg5 Bd8 26. Qe3 Na5 27. Rb5 b6 28. Reb1 Nb7 29. Ba3 Be7 30. Bxe7 Rxe7 31. a5 Nxa5 32. Rxa5 bxa5 33. Qd3 Kc7 34. Qa6 Qc8 35. Qd6# 1-0

Now it was time for the final round, a game Mr. Francisco needed to win to obtain an IM norm. His opponent was a Canadian NM, born in 1997, the lowest rated player in the event, who was having a very good tournament. Like Richard the Canuck also had 5 1/2 points and needed a win to garner the coveted IM norm.

Zachary Dukic (CAN) – Richard Francisco (USA)

Charlotte Summer Invitational IM 2019 round 09

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Bb3 Re8 (SF 8…d6) 9. Nxc6 (9 f3 SF) dxc6 10. Qxd8 Rxd8 11. a4 Ng4 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Re8 (13…Bxc3+ was played in Simacek v Zwardon below) 14. Ba3 Bxc3+ 15. bxc3 Rxe4+ 16. Kf1 Bf5 17. h3 Nf6 18. f3 Ree8 19. Kf2 Nd5 20. g4 Be6 21. c4 Nb6 22. Rhe1 a5 23. Bc5 Nd7 24. Be3 Kh7 25. c5 Bxb3 26. cxb3 Nf6 27. Bd2 Rxe1 28. Rxe1 Nd5 29. h4 Kg7 30. f4 f5 31. gxf5 gxf5 32. Re6 Kf7 33. Rd6 Nf6 34. Ke3 Re8+ 35. Kd3 Ne4 36. Rd4 Nxc5+ 37. Kc4 b6 38. Bxa5 Nxb3 39. Kxb3 bxa5

40. Kc4? (This move gave Richard the opportunity for which he was hoping. 40. h5 and it’s about an even game)

40…Re4? (SF at the Bomb has 40…Kg6 best and gives the following variation to prove it: (40… Kg6 41. Rd6+ Kh5 42. Rxc6 Re4+ 43. Kb5 Rxf4 44. Rf6 Rf1 45. Kxa5 f4 46. Kb5 f3 47. Kc4 Kxh4 48. Rxh6+ Kg5 49. Rh8 Ra1 50. Kb5 Rb1+ 51. Kc5 f2 52. Rf8 f1=Q 53. Rxf1 Rxf1 54. a5 Kf6 55. a6) 41. Rxe4 fxe4 42. Kd4 Kf6 43. Kxe4 h5 44. Kd4 Kf5 45. Kc5 Kg4 46. f5 Kxf5 47. Kb6 Kg4 48. Kxa5 Kxh4 49. Kb6 ½-½

During research for this post the following comment by Mr. Dukic was found:

“Well guys I almost got the norm. I needed a 2450 performance but since I drew my last game I only managed 2437.

I had 4.5/7 going into the final day and I would need 2/2 to secure the norm, including winning a game with black against a Swedish International Master. I managed to win this, so I only needed to win with white in the last round to secure the norm. If my opponent were to win, then he would win the norm. If we drew, nobody would get it. It was truly the money game!

It came down to a king and pawn endgame (see below) where I was one tempo short of victory. It resembles the endgame in Searching for Bobby Fischer except for one key detail: black’s pawn on c6 prevents my queen from controlling his queening square 😥

For those of you who followed along, hope you enjoyed it!”

https://www.facebook.com/groups/5844777070/

I spent much time following the games from Charlotte via the internet, when it was up. The service received from AT&T leaves much to be desired. Frankly, having AT&T is like living in a third world country, with constant outages. The internet is frequently down and when down, stays down for many hours. Nevertheless, I persevered, while either muttering expletives, or screaming things like, “That blankety blank AT&T!!!”

One of the best things about viewing the games was they were given at ChessStream (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Default.aspx) sans annotations so I could think for myself before heading over to the ChessBomb to learn what Stockfish, with little time and depth, had to say about the move and/or position.

Anna Muzychuk Plays Early Qe2 in the B31 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rossolimo Attack

In the post, Women’s Candidates Tournament underway, by Kevin Spraggett, published June 2, 2019, the Grandmaster writes about the second round game between Anna Muzychuk and Nana Dzagnidze. After the moves, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2 !? we read, “Not the mainline according to ‘theory’, but quite possibly the best line! The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.”

The Muzychuk sisters

previously played the Leningrad Dutch and I looked forward to any tournament in which they competed. Then they stopped playing the LD and I spent as much time with them as with yesterday’s newspaper…

Regular readers will immediately know what comes next but for those who know little of the AW I suggest simply putting “Qe2” in the question box and you will learn, grasshopper.

Inquiring minds will want to know if the Qe2 move in the game is “quite possibly the best line!”

Anna Muzychuk vs Nana Dzagnidze


Anna Muzychuk vs. Nana Dzagnidze | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

Women’s Candidate Tournament

Round 2

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2

Kevin writes, “Not the mainline according to ‘theory’, but quite possibly the best line! The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.” 6…O-O 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Rd1! According to my database, a new move. I like it.”

We begin after, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 (Stockfish prefers 3…e6) 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 (Komodo 13.01 would play 5 Bxc6) 5…Nf6 (The Fish among programs would print out 5…e5)

And here we are: 6 Qe2. Six Re1 has been played most often according to the CBDB, showing 1675 games with the move, which is the choice of the Dragon. The move preferred by the Fish, 6 d3, has only been played a couple of dozen times. Six e5 has been played a couple of dozen times more than 6 Qe2, but fourteen fewer times than 6 Re1)

6…O-O 7. d4 d5 (7…cxd4 has been played most often, and it is the choice of SF 310519 at depth 31, but go one click deeper and the Fish changes it’s mind while deciding on the game move 7…d5)

8. e5 (Almost invariably played but Stockfish would play 8 exd5) Ne4 9. Rd1! (GM Spraggett writes, “According to my database, a new move. I like it.” According the the CBDB Stockfish 310519 at depth 29 would play 9 Be3, but Stockfish 10 at depth 28 would play 9 Rd1 TN)

The rest of the game: cxd4 10. cxd4 f6 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 fxe5 13. Nxe5 Qc7 14. Nd3 Bf5 15. Bf4 Qa5 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Nb4 Rac8 18. Rac1 Be4 19. Bg5 c5 20. dxc5 Qxc5 21. Be3 d4 22. Bxd4 Bxd4 23. Qxe4 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Qe3 25. Qc2 Rc5 26. Nd3 Rg5 27. Qb3+ Kg7 28. Nxf2 Rxg2 29. Qb7 Rxh2+ 30. Kxh2 Rxf2+ 31. Qg2 h5 32. Re1 Qd2 33. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 e5 35. c4 g5 36. c5 g4 37. Rf1 Qh4+ 38. Kg1 Qg3+ 39. Kh1 Qh3+ 40. Kg1 Qe3+ 41. Kh1 Qe4+ 42. Kg1 g3 0-1

From this we can conclude Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett

is on to something when he writes, “The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.”

I do not know if the sisters Muzychuk utilize the fantastic ChessBaseDataBase (https://database.chessbase.com/) but the CBDB provides anyone who does use it to find new, and/or different opening move choices galore, as shown regularly on this blog. The game with GM Spraggett’s annotations and comments can be found @ http://www.spraggettonchess.com/womens-candidates-tournament-underway/

Qe2 Versus The Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Qe2

According to the ChessBaseDataBase sixteen moves have been played more often against the Najdorf than 6 Qe2 yet the move Qe2 on the sixth move has outscored all of the other moves. Granted the Qe2 move has only been tried 58 times but has scored at a 62% level. The next closest move would be 6 a3 at 59% in the 123 games in which it has been the move of choice. The most often played sixth move for white has been 6 Be3 and there are currently over 19,000 games in which Be3 was played while scoring 55%.

In reply to 6 Qe2 both Stockfish and Komodo show 6…e5 as best. Although both Stockfish and Komodo have 7 Nb3 as best Houdini shows 7 Nf3, a move yet to appear, as the best move in the position. The move 7 Nb3 has only been played, as yet, one time!

P.R. Watson vs Alec Aslett

Combined Services-ch
England 2002
Round: 7 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.g3 Qc7 10.Bg2 Rc8 11.O-O-O Bc4 12.Qd2 b5 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bxb3 15.axb3 h6 16.Be3 f5 17.h4 Be7 18.Kb1 Nf6 19.Bh3 g6 20.h5 O-O 21.hxg6 Ne4 22.Qd3 Nc5 23.Bxc5 e4 24.Qd2 dxc5 25.d6 Bxd6 26.Qxd6 Qg7 27.Bxf5 c4 28.Bxc8 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=202700&m=14

The most often played move currently is 7 Nf5 and it has scored at a rate of 60%. Although 7…g6 has been the most often chosen move, the world computer program champion, Stockfish, prefers 7…d5.

Alfonso Romero Holmes (2501)- Pentala Harikrishna (2682)

ESP-chT Honor Gp2 2006

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nf5 g6 8. Ne3 Be6 9. g3 h5 10. Bg2 h4 11. O-O Bh6 12. Rd1 hxg3 13. hxg3 Nc6 14. Qd3 Nd4 15. Ne2 Nxe2+ 16. Qxe2 Qe7 17. b3 Bxe3 18. Qxe3 Bh3 19. Bf3 Ng4 20. Qg5 Qxg5 21. Bxg5 f6 22. Bd2 O-O-O 23. Bb4 Kc7 24. Rd3 Nh6 25. Rad1 Nf7 26. Bg2 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 f5 28. Rc3+ Kd7 29. Re3 Ke6 30. c4 Rh7 31. Rh1 Rxh1 32. Kxh1 fxe4 33. Rxe4 g5 34. Kg2 b5 35. Bd2 Kf5 36. f3 Rc8 37. g4+ Kf6 38. Kf2 Nd8 39. Bb4 Rc6 40. Ke3 Ne6 41. Kd3 Nf4+ 42. Kd2 Ke6 43. Bc3 Rc8 44. Kc2 Ng6 45. cxb5 axb5 46. Rb4 Nf4 0-1

Attila Czebe (2487) – Vladimir Vojtek (2295)

TCh-SVK Extraliga 2010-11

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nf5 d5 8. Bg5 d4 9. O-O-O Nc6 10. Qf3 Be6 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. Bxf6 Bxe4 13. Qxe4 Qxf6 14. Nxd4 Nxd4 15. Rxd4 g6 16. Bc4 Bh6+ 17. Kb1 O-O 18. Rd7 Rad8 19. Rxd8 Rxd8 20. Qxb7 Rd2 21. a4 a5 22. Re1 Rxf2 23. Qb8+ Kg7 24. Qxe5 Qxe5 25. Rxe5 Rxg2 26. Rxa5 Rxh2 27. Ra7 Rf2 28. a5 Be3 29. Re7 Bc5 30. Rc7 Rf5 31. a6 g5 32. Bd3 Re5 33. Rxc5 Rxc5 34. b4 Rc7 35. b5 g4 36. b6 g3 37. bxc7 g2 1-0

Here is a recent game played by The Gorm,

author of arguably the most honest Chess book ever written:

Daniel Gormally (2477) vs Richard Bates (2378)

Event: London CC Superblitz KO

London ENG 12/10/2017

B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qe2 Nbd7 7.g4 g6 8.Be3 Bg7 9.O-O-O O-O 10.h4 Ne5 11.f3 b5 12.h5 b4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Qa5 15.Kb1 Qxd5 16.Nf5 Qe6 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.Nxg7 Kxg7 19.Bh6+ Kg8 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 21.Rxh7 Nf7 22.Qxe6 Bxe6 23.Bd3 g5 24.Re1 Ne5 25.Be4 Rc8 26.Rf1 Bg8 27.Rh5 Rc5 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4084218&m=13