The Wesley So Forfeit

The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center was in its infancy when I played in the St. Louis Open there in the spring of 2009. In the second round I faced a young boy, Kevin Cao, who was an expert at the start of the tourney. Playing my favorite Bishop’s opening the boy did not take advantage of the opportunities my play afforded, putting him in a difficult position. My opponent had been keeping score on a gizmo called “Monroi.” When the going got tough my opponent pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and placed his gizmo on the table, eschewing the actual chessboard in order to focus only on the chessboard on his gizmo. Since this violated the rules of chess, I lodged a protest with the TD’s. The rule is simple and clear: 11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard. (

The tournament director’s did not see it that way. Since the Monroi was a USCF “approved” gizmo they had trouble ruling the only way they should under rule 11.3. They decided to “compromise” by asking my opponents father have his son not use the gizmo as a chessboard the rest of the game. I agreed to this, and so did the father, albeit reluctantly. This was done because I was playing a child. If my opponent had been an adult I would not have agreed, but insisted he be forfeited because the rule is clear. Things change dramatically when a child is involved.

After a few more moves my opponent’s position deteriorated, and he was in also in time pressure which happens with a G/2 time control. His father, seeing this while constantly hovering over the board, told his son to do go back to using his gizmo. The boy then pulled his hood over his head and placed his gizmo on the table and again eschewed the actual chessboard. I protested, the clocks were stopped and into the TD room we went. This time things became, shall we say, heated. Actually, the father went ballistic. Some time later the USCF issued a ruling castigating the father for “reprehensible behaviour.” The father took his son home and when his time ran out, I was declared the “winner.” The young boy dropped back into the “A” class because of the loss. He is now rated 2300+.

This was written about and discussed on the forum of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center, which no longer exists, and some have said it is no longer in existence was because of what was written on it, none of it positive toward me. Simply put, I was vilified. Much was written on the USCF forum at the time, where I was also excoriated unmercifully.

I closely followed the recent US Championship tournament, the one now called the “Open” tournament, as opposed to the one called the “Women’s” tournament. GM Wesley So is obviously a supremely talented chess player. I found the interviews with him intriguing, to say the least. After the interview early in the tournament,maybe the very first round, the one in which he mentions playing weakly in the middle game after not seeing his foster mother for some time, (She had been with Jeanne Sinquefield he said) I told the Legendary Georgia Ironman something was obviously “not right” about Mr. So. I could not put my finger on it, but knew something was wrong.

Much has been written about Wesley being forfeited, and I have read everything found on the interweb. I would like to share some of it with you, then share a few comments of my own.

“Akobian complained that this distracted him”!? What is the motive behind this statement? To me it looks like a “sucker punch” from Akopian to get an easy win. Chess referees should according to the rules always apply common sense. And the nature of this incident considering the actual writing of So does not by any means amount to such a serious offence that So should forfeit his game against Akopian.” – thomas.dyhr (Thomas Dyhr, Denmark)

“This decision is absolutely ridiculous I take it So has been writing on his scoresheet sometimes which would show on his copy handed in and is against Fide rules ok and Rich told him this.
He gets a blank piece of paper instead to write some thought positives and Akobian complains to Rich who forfeits So.
Akobian if he was distracted by So’s actions should have asked him to stop first.
Rich should have seen that this was not writing on a scoresheet which he warned him about and if he was not allowing So to write on blank paper as well told him to stop immediately and if So complied let the game continue.
Akobian and Rich do not come out of this with any credit and Akobian should be ashamed of himself as a man of integrity.” – Gilshie (Thomas Gilmore, United Kingdom)

“I guess they wanted to guarantee that an American wins the US Championship…” – Shtick (Nick Daniels, Canada)
(All of the about quotes from:

“PS: editorial comment to myself

Many chess writers and commentators seem to have little better to do this weekend than to talk about a silly forfeit incident in the US championship, so I will throw in a few of my own observations.
The first is that even though some tournament rule might give the tournament arbiter, Tony Rich, the POWER or the AUTHORITY to forfeit Wesley So , no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did. So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.
Please understand that I am not saying that Akobian–who is a perfect gentleman– acted wrongly when he drew to the arbiter’s attention So’s actions. Nor am I saying that Tony Rich acted incorrectly when he decided to act according to the written rules. And especially I am not saying that So was right when he lashed out when interviewed afterwards…there were CLEARLY better ways to have handled the situation.
What I am trying to say is that once more the game of chess DESERVES to be belittled because of this incident. ONCE MORE, mainstream media will target and make fun of us. Chess LOST some prestige on that day. When Jon Stewart recently did a humorous skit on the USCF trying to recruit F.Caruana for the national team, many–including ChessBase–thought it was also a bit insulting to the game of chess. Perhaps it was a bit insulting, even though it might not have been intended to be insulting…
But until the day we (the chess community) STOP allowing silly and poorly written rules to hurt and denigrate the noble game of chess in the eyes of normal and intelligent onlookers (and let us not forget about potential sponsors and patrons), then we deserve to be insulted a little bit more each time…” – Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett

“Guess my point is – even if he warned So, forfeiting is a staggering over-reaction. Threaten with forfeit = fine. Actually doing it = insane” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (Also from the aforementioned chess24 article, and if you click on this, you will find more comments, including this one by IM Mark Ginsburg, “Correct. Time penalty first. This action was wildly disproportionate as GM Hammer points out. Bad call.”)

GM Emil Sutovsky, President at Association of Chess Professionals, wrote this on his Facebook page (taken from the aforementioned chess24 article) “The arbiter’s decision to forfeit Wesley So for writing down irrelevant notes on his scoresheet during the game seems weird to me. Indeed, that can be seen as a violation of rules: ” 8.1 b. The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.” And arbiter has repeatedly urged Wesley to stop it. But awarding a loss is way too harsh a punishment for such a minor sin. Yes, it can be disturbing for the opponent, and the arbiter could and should have deducted the time on Wesley’s clock for disturbing the opponent. And to keep deducting it (2 minutes each time), if needed after each move (warning Wesley, that a forfeit will come after 2nd or 3rd deduction). That was the most painless and logical decision. Unfortunately, the arbiter has preferred the most brutal solution. These things should not happen.”

It should be obvious from the above that the TD, Tony Rich, and the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center have not come out of this sordid incident in a favorable light. As GM Spraggett says, once again chess has suffered a black eye. I agree with Kevin when he writes, “…no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did.” The reputation of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center has been sullied.

The punishment should fit the crime. As GM Kevin Spraggett writes, “So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.”

Contrast this with how I was treated at the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center. My opponent violated the rule in order to gain an ADVANTAGE! GM Wesley So did no such thing. He is one of the elite chess players in the world and has no need to gain an advantage against any other player in the world.

If one closely examines the rule, “11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard,” it is clear the meaning is that a player cannot use any “NOTES, sources of information or advice,” to help, or assist him in regard to making his MOVES. A player cannot utilize a book, or gizmo containing chess information, or any “advice” from another person. There is no ambiguity here.

I was not there and do not know EXACTLY what Tony Rich said to Wesley, but from what I heard on the broadcast, and have now read, GM So was under the impression he could not write on his scoresheet, so he wrote on another piece of paper. How culpable is Tony Rich in this matter? Did he make himself COMPLETELY understood? Besides, as “Najdork” (Miguel Najdork, from Nepal) commented, “Also I would like to point out how from rule 8.1 you are allowed to write on the scoresheet any “relevant data”, and that is so vague that I guess you could write almost anything.” Who defines what is “relevant?” Your relevant may differ from what I consider “relevant.” For example, what if your opponent in a Senior event wrote on his scoresheet, “Take heart medication at 3 PM.” Who, other than GM Varuzhan Akobian, would complain? And who, other than Tony Rich would forfeit the man? I know Tony Rich. As Tony reminded me in 2009, I won our game at the Missouri State Championship in 2002 in Rollo. He was nice to me then, and has been every time I have encountered him, such as at the US Open in Indiana a few years ago. I liked Tony until he lost his mind. What could possibly have motivated the man to issue this stupid ruling, which will have lasting repercussions? If you were Wesley So would you join the American team at the Olympiad?

“In love with this rule: “12.2 The arbiter shall: b. act in the best interest of the competition.” Common sense.” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer.

The forfeit defies common sense. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rule; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.” – John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2005. (
No one watches a chess tournament to see the TD. In lieu of watching Wesley So play GM Akobian, the world was instead subjected to a TD try and explain his “logic.” As many a TD has proven over the years, the less involved they are, the better the outcome.

None of this made any sense to me until reading this, “In the final reckoning Wesley So’s forfeit had no effect on the top three standings. Even a win against Akobian would only have tied So with Ray Robson on 7.5/11, and since he lost against Robson he would still have finished third. The person who has a real cause for complaint seems to be Gata Kamsky, who was edged out of 5th place – his goal in order to qualify for the World Cup later this year – by Akobian.” (

There it is, the reason for this whole debacle. It always comes down to “Who profits?”

The whole affair is disgusting, and sickening. It proves only that a TD has only one rule by witch to abide: Do What Thy Wilt! There should be some kind of punishment for a TD who oversteps his bounds. I have seen far too many tournament director’s puff out their chest while strutting around singing, “I’ve got the power,” such as Richard Crespo, the former TD spending his days in prison after abducting a woman and shooting it out with police in San Antonio, Texas a decade ago.
I am embarrassed, and ashamed, to be an American involved with chess. This putrid affair rivals anything I have written about FIDE and the nefarious Russians. United States chess has reached a new low. Tony Rich has now made everyone forget about L. Walter Stephens, the TD who awarded Sammy Reshevsky a win against Arnold Denker in the 1942 US Championship even though it was Sammy who lost on time. The game will die before the shock waves emanating from this debacle subside. The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center touts itself as the US Capital of Chess. Knowledgable players and fans know that three of the players in the Championship, Sam Shankland, Sam Sevian, and Daniel Naroditsky, cut their chess teeth in the San Francisco Bay area, home of the oldest chess club in America, the venerable Mechanic’s Insitute Chess Room. If any area should be acknowledged as the “Capital of US Chess,” it is San Francisco, in lieu of the neuveau rich, faux chess club AND scholastic center in St. Louis, which has now been tarnished. No longer can it be considered a “leading light,” or “shining example.”

I can only hope this affair does not dessiccate Wesley So’s desire. If one watches the interviews with Mr. So during the US Chess Championship he will see a dramatic change in Wesley as the tournament progressed. Hopefully, this will fire him up and prod Wesley to play the kind of chess of which he is capable culminating in a match for the World Chess Championship.

Tony Rich is The Arbiter

Tony Rich is the Chief Arbiter of the 2015 US Championships. Wesley So was until this tournament, one of the top ten highest rated chess players in the world. Mr. Rich had previously warned Mr. So about taking notes during the game, which is a violation of the rules of FIDE, the governing body of world chess. During the game between Wesley So and Varuzhan Akobian in today’s ninth round the latter brought it to the attention of the Chief Arbiter that Mr. So was violating the rules of chess. The Chief Arbiter, Tony Rich, then forfeited Wesley So.

As I watched the live coverage today my thoughts drifted back to last decade when I, too, had to go into the back room with of the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center with the arbiter during a tournament. Fortunately I was not the one forfeited. Until today the incident in which I was involved at the relatively new St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center with a young boys father in which the latter told his son to violate a rule by continuing to look at the chessboard on his Monroi gizmo in lieu of the actual chessboard, even though the father had promised to not advise his son to do so, was the most egregious incident to ever occur at the Scholastic Center and Chess Club. The incident is still brought up and discussed. Thanks to Wesley So, it may well forgotten.

The Upsetting NM Michael Corallo

Georgian NM Michael Corallo continues to show good form and is off to an excellent start at the 2015 Philadelphia Open playing upsetting chess! He has won his first three games and is tied for first place with three other players. Michael dispatched IM Esserman’s ( Najdorf in the second round and then beat fellow Atlantan, FM Daniel Gurevich in the third round using the dreaded Berlin defense. As I write Michael has Black against IM Akshat Chandra of New Jersey in a Nimzo-Indian, Qc2 variation. The games can be found at and Monroi.

Michael Corallo 2290 vs IM Marc Esserman 2427

Rd 2

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 Be7 10.O-O-O Nc5 11.Rhe1 h6 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Kb1 O-O 14.f4 Qc7 15.g4 b5 16.g5 hxg5 17.fxg5 Be5 18.g6 fxg6 19.Qg2 Nxb3 20.axb3 Rf6 21.Nf3 Bf4 22.e5 dxe5 23.Ne4 Rf8 24.Nfg5 Qe7 25.Rg1 Rf5 26.Qg4 Kf8 27.Qh4 Bxg5 28.Rxg5 Bb7 29.Nd6 Qf6 30.Nxf5 exf5 31.Rd7 1-0

FM Daniel Gurevich 2373 vs Michael Corallo 2290

Rd 3

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 O-O 9.d4 Bf6 10.Re1 Nf5 11.c3 d5 12.Nd2 Re8 13.Rxe8 Qxe8 14.Nf3 Nh4 15.Nxh4 Bxh4 16.Bf4 c6 17.Bd3 Bf6 18.Qc2 g6 19.Qd2 Be6 20.Re1 Qd7 21.Bg5 Bg7 22.h4 Re8 23.h5 Bg4 24.Rxe8 Qxe8 25.h6 Bf8 26.f3 Bd7 27.Kf2 Qe6 28.Qf4 Bd6 29.Qh4 Bf8 30.g4 c5 31.Bd8 cxd4 32.cxd4 Bb4 33.Qg5 Qe1 34.Kg2 Bd6 35.Qf6 Qd2 36.Kg1 Bf8 37.Bf1 Bxh6 38.Bc7 Bg5 0-1

NM Sanjay Ghatti Battles French With 2 Qe2!

NM Sanjay Ghatti finished undefeated, with a score of 6-3, at the 2014 US Open, winning three games while drawing six. He tied with GM Alonso Zapata and FM Kazim Gulamali for the honor of being the top scorer from Georgia. For this fine result Sanjay lost eight rating points. More importantly he played my favorite move against the French defense, 2 Qe2! This was one of the few games I was able to follow on Monroi, which had its usual problems. For some reason I find it appropriate USCF uses Monroi in lieu of one of the obviously better methods of broadcasting chess games.
Sanjay’s opponent in this game was an Expert, Jessica Regam, who had upset GM Zapata in the second round. The ratings are taken from the CBDB and must be FIDE, because the ratings shown on the USCF website are considerably higher. The post tournament rating is 2194 for Sanjay and 2145 for Jessica.

Sanjay Ghatti (2024 )vs Jessica Regam (2031)
2014 US Open 7/26/14
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d3 g6 5. g3 Bg7 6. c3 Nge7 7. Bg2 0-0 8 0-0 d6 9 Nbd2 Qc7 10 a4 a6 11. Nc4 b6 12. Bf4 e5 13. Bd2 h6 14. b4 Bd7 15. a5 bxa5 16. bxa5 Be6 17. Nb6 Rab8 18. c4 Nb4 19. Bxb4 cxb4 20. Rfc1 Bg4 21. Qd2 Bxf3 22. Bxf3 Nc6 23. Nd5 Qa7 24. Qe3 Nd4 25. Rcb1 Qc5 26. Bd1 Rb7 27. Ra4 Nc6 28. Ra2 Rfb8 29. Nb6 Nd4 30. Ra4 Nc6 31. Bg4 Rd8 1/2-1/2

Sanjay’s tenth move appears to be a novelty. Many ninth moves have been tried and all score better than 9…Qc7. This is the oldest game I discovered with this particular variation:

Istvan Bilek (2485) Wolfgan Heidenfeld
Lugano ol (Men) 1968
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 Nge7 8. d3 O-O 9. Nbd2 Qc7 10. Rd1 b6 11. Nc4 Ba6 12. Bf4 e5 13. Bc1 Rad8 14. a4 d5 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. Nfd2 Rfe8 17. Re1 f5 18. Na3 Na5 19. Nb5 Qb8 20. Nc4 Nxc4 21. dxc4 Nf6 22. a5 Bb7 23. Bxb7 Qxb7 24. axb6 axb6 25. Bg5 Rd7 26. Bxf6 Bxf6 27. Ra7 Qxa7 28. Nxa7 Rxa7 29. Rd1 Re6 30. Rd5 e4 31. Qd1 Be7 32. Rd7 Rxd7 33. Qxd7 Kf7 34. Qd5 h5 35. Kf1 Kf6 36. Ke2 Bf8 37. Qa8 Kf7 38. h3 Be7 39. Qd5 Kf6 40. Qa8 Kf7 41. Qb7 Kf6 42. Qc7 Kf7 43. Kd2 Rd6+ 44. Kc2 Re6 45. Qf4 Kg7 46. Qc7 Kf7 47. Kd1 Rd6+ 48. Kc2 Re6 49. g4 fxg4 50. hxg4 hxg4 51. Qf4+ Kg7 52. Qxg4 Kf7 53. Qh3 Kf6 54. Kd2 Kf7 55. Kc2 Bf8 56. Kb3 Be7 57. Ka4 Bf8 58. Kb5 Be7 59. Ka6 Kf6 60. Kb7 Kf7 61. Kc7 Kf6 62. Qh6 Kf7 63. Qd2 Bf8 64. b4 Be7 65. b5 Bf8 66. Qf4+ Ke8 67. Kc8 Be7 68. Qh2 Kf7 69. Qh7+ Kf6 70. Kc7 Bf8 71. Qh8+ Kf7 72. Qh4 Be7 73. Qh6 Bf8 74. Qf4+ Ke8 75. Kc8 Ke7 76. Qh2 Bg7 77. Qh4+ Ke8 78. Qh3 Ke7 79. Kc7 Be5+ 80. Kb7 Bg7 81. Kc8 Bf8 82. Qh8 Kf7 83. Qh4 Be7 84. Qh7+ Kf8 85. Qh2 Bf6 86. Kd7 Re7+ 87. Kc6 Re6+ 88. Kd5 Re5+ 89. Kd6 Kf7 90. Qh7+ Bg7 91. Qxg7+ Kxg7 92. Kxe5 Kf7 93. Kd5 Kf6 94. Kc6 g5 95. Kxb6 g4 96. Kxc5 e3 97. fxe3 g3 98. b6 g2 99. b7 g1=Q 100. b8=Q Qxe3+ 101. Kb4 Qc1 102. Qd6+ Kg5 103. Qd5+ Kh4 104. c5 Qb2+ 105. Qb3 Qf2 106. Qc4+ Kh3 107. Kb3 Qe3 108. Qd5 Kh2 109. Kc2 Qf2+ 110. Qd2 Kh1 111. c6 Qf5+ 112. Kc1 Qe5 113. Qd1+ Kh2 114. Qf3 Qg5+ 115. Kc2 Qg6+ 116. Kb2 Qd6 117. Kb3 Qc7 118. Kc4 Kg1 119. Qd5 Kh2 120. Qd2+ Kh1 121. Qd1+ Kh2 122. Qd7 Qf4+ 123. Kb3 Qb8+ 124. Kc2 Qg8 125. Qd6+ Kh1 126. Kb2 Qg2+ 127. Kb3 Qg8+ 128. c4 Qg3+ 1/2-1/2

It was a great surprise to find during research that another World Champion, Mikhail Tal, played 2 Qe2. His opponent tried 9…Rb8.

Mikhail Tal (2635)- Heinz Liebert (2445)
C00 Lublin 1974
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. Nbd2 Rb8 10. Nb3 e5 11. Nh4 Be6 12. f4 Qd7 13. Be3 Rbe8 14. Rad1 Kh8 15. Nd2 f5 16. a3 b6 17. Ndf3 exf4 18. gxf4 d5 19. e5 d4 20. Bc1 Bb3 21. Rde1 c4 22. dxc4 dxc3 23. bxc3 Na5 24. Nd2 Bc2 25. Rf3 Rc8 26. Rh3 Rfd8 27. Bd5 Qe8 28. Qg2 Ba4 29. Ndf3 Nxc4 30. Be6 Bd7 31. Bxd7 Rxd7 32. Ng5 Rcd8 33. Qe2 Rc8 34. Kf2 Rdc7 35. Rg1 h6 36. Ne6 Rc6 37. Nd4 Rc5 38. Rhg3 Kh7 39. Nxg6 Nxg6 40. Rxg6 Qxg6 41. Rxg6 Kxg6 42. Qd3 Nd6 43. exd6 1-0

Pia Cramling faced former World Champion Vassily Smyslov twice last century in Veterans vs Women tournaments, first trying e5, then h6.
Vassily Smyslov (2540) – Pia Cramling (2510)
C00 Women-Veterans 1995
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Qe2 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 g6 6. d3 Bg7 7. O-O Nge7 8. c3 O-O 9. Nbd2 e5 10. a3 h6 11. b4 Be6 12. b5 Na5 13. Bb2 f5 14. exf5 gxf5 15. Nh4 d5 16. c4 d4 17. Rab1 Qd7 18. f4 exf4 19. Rbe1 Rf6 20. Rxf4 Re8 21. Bh3 Ref8 22. Ndf3 b6 23. Ne5 Qc7 24. Qh5 Nb7 25. Bc1 Nd6 26. Bg2 Nf7 27. Neg6 Nxg6 28. Nxg6 Re8 29. Rf2 Nd6 30. Nf4 Bf7 31. Rxe8+ Nxe8 32. Qf3 Nd6 33. Re2 Qd7 34. Qa8+ Kh7 35. Qb8 Nxc4 36. dxc4 d3 37. Rf2 Bxc4 38. Bc6 Qe7 39. Qe8 Qxe8 40. Bxe8 Rd6 41. Be3 Bc3 42. Bd2 Bd4 43. Kg2 Bxf2 44. Kxf2 1/2-1/2

Vassily Smyslov (2500)- Pia Cramling (2505)
C00 Cancan Veterans-Women 1998
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Qe2 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. Nbd2 h6 10. Rb1 Qc7 11. Rd1 b6 12. Nf1 e5 13. Ne3 Be6 14. b4 cxb4 15. cxb4 b5 16. a3 a5 17. Bd2 axb4 18. axb4 Ra2 19. Qe1 Rfa8 20. Ra1 R8a4 21. Rxa2 Rxa2 22. Ra1 Qa7 23. Rxa2 Qxa2 24. Qc1 Qb3 25. Qc2 Qa3 26. Qc3 Qa2 27. Qc1 Qb3 28. Qc2 Qa3 29. Qc3 Qa4 30. Nc2 d5 31. Nfe1 dxe4 32. dxe4 Nd4 33. Nxd4 exd4 34. Qc1 Bc4 35. Bf1 Qb3 36. Qc2 Qxc2 37. Nxc2 Nc6 38. Ne1 Bf8 39. Nd3 Bxd3 40. Bxd3 Ne5 41. Be2 d3 42. Bd1 Nc4 43. Bc3 Na3 44. Kg2 Nb1 45. Bd4 Bxb4 46. Kf3 Bd2 47. e5 Nc3 48. Bxc3 Bxc3 49. Ke4 d2 50. f4 Kf8 51. g4 Ke7 52. h4 f6 53. exf6+ Kxf6 54. g5+ hxg5 55. fxg5+ Ke6 56. h5 gxh5 57. Bxh5 Kd6 58. Kd3 b4 1/2-1/2

Other games:

Antonio Fernandes (2440) – Joaquim Durao (2225)
Lisbon BNU op 1992
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. c3 Bg7 6. d3 Nge7 7. h4 h6 8. Na3 d5 9. Bg2 b6 10. O-O Ba6 11. e5 Rc8 12. Nc2 Nf5 13. Bf4 d4 14. Rad1 O-O 15. Rfe1 Qd7 16. Qd2 Kh7 17. c4 Bb7 18. Re2 Nb8 19. Nce1 Ne7 20. Nh2 Bxg2 21. Nxg2 Qb7 22. Ne1 Nd7 23. Nef3 b5 24. b3 b4 25. Qe1 a5 26. Nd2 Qa6 27. Ne4 Nxe5 28. Bxe5 Bxe5 29. Nxc5 Rxc5 30. Rxe5 Qd6 31. Rxc5 Qxc5 32. Ng4 Qf5 33. Qe2 Nc6 34. f3 h5 35. Nf2 Ne5 36. Kg2 Rg8 37. Nh3 f6 38. Qe4 Qxe4 39. dxe4 Nc6 40. Nf4 Re8 41. Ra1 Kh6 42. a3 g5 43. hxg5+ fxg5 44. Nd3 Rb8 45. axb4 Nxb4 46. Nxb4 Rxb4 47. Rxa5 Rxb3 48. Ra6 Rc3 49. Rxe6+ Kg7 50. Re5 Kg6 51. c5 d3 52. Rd5 g4 53. fxg4 hxg4 54. Kf2 d2 55. Rxd2 Rxc5 56. Ke3 1-0

Leaving no stone unturned, I found the next two games which began with the Sicilian defense before transposing:

Anastasija Polivoda – Maritsa Tsirulnik
UKR-ch sf U14 Girls Kiev 2003
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nbd2 Nge7 7. O-O O-O 8. c3 d6 9. Qe2 Qc7 10. h4 a6 11. a4 b6 12. Nh2 Rb8 13. g4 b5 14. axb5 axb5 15. Nb1 b4 16. h5 bxc3 17. Nxc3 Nd4 18. Qd1 Nb3 19. Ra3 Nxc1 20. Qxc1 Nc6 21. h6 Bh8 22. Qd2 Bd7 23. g5 Qb6 24. Rb1 Nd4 25. Ng4 Qd8 26. Qf4 Bc6 27. e5 Bxg2 28. Kxg2 dxe5 29. Nxe5 Qd6 30. Nxg6 Qc6+ 31. Qe4 fxg6 32. Qxc6 Nxc6 33. Na4 Rf5 34. Rc1 Bd4 35. Rc2 Rxg5+ 36. Kf1 Nb4 37. Re2 Rf8 38. Nb6 Rgf5 39. Nc4 Rxf2+ 40. Rxf2 Rxf2+ 41. Ke1 Nc2+ 42. Kd1 Nxa3 0-1

Simon Hiller (1958) – Norbert Soelker (1967)
Verbandsliga Muensterland 0506
Germany 2006
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O e6 7. Nbd2 Nge7 8. c3 O-O 9. Qe2 Qc7 10. Re1 a6 11. h4 b5 12. Nf1 Bb7 13. N1h2 Rae8 14. Be3 e5 15. Qd2 Kh8 16. h5 gxh5 17. Bh6 Ng6 18. Nh4 Nxh4 19. gxh4 Rg8 20. Kh1 Re6 21. Bxg7+ Rxg7 22. Bh3 Re8 23. Rg1 Reg8 24. Qh6 Bc8 25. Rxg7 Rxg7 26. Rg1 Rxg1+ 27. Kxg1 Kg8 28. Bxc8 Qxc8 29. Qxd6 c4 30. dxc4 bxc4 31. Qh6 Qb7 32. Nf3 f5 33. Qe6+ Kg7 34. exf5 1-0

World Open: What Last Round?

I sat down to watch the last round of the World Open only to find the CCA website was still down. Upon clicking on one finds “This site is temporarily unavailable.” This is from “POWWEB,” a company who has trademarked the slogan, “The Perfect Hosting Solution.” Not this time… I surfed on over to the Monroi website to find none of the top board games displayed, and those of the lower boards had problems. I tried Chessdom and found there were still no games after round seven.
In his opening remarks to this weeks show, “AMERICAN REFLECTIONS,” on the program, “Hearts of Space: Slow Music For Fast Times,” which includes a rendition of Shenandoah, the official school song of Shenandoah University in Winchester VA., by Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel, that will make you reach for a handkerchief (, Steven Hill said, ” This week we gather for our yearly July 4th celebration of American independence. It’s a festive affair, with food, fun and fireworks. In the last few years, the celebration has often been tempered by continuing national, global and planetary challenges, and this year is no exception. Somehow, it all seems to make the day more precious — a haven from cares and reconnection with friends and family on a fine summer day. We take comfort in familiar food, games, and music.”
Since it is the 4th of July weekend, “games” to a chess player mean the World Open. The 4th was a good day, game wise. It has been a rocky downhill slide since…It is difficult being a fan of chess when there seem to be problems with broadcasting almost every tournament. The last round is the reason a fan watches the previous rounds. Here it is and I have no idea who is playing on the top boards and no way of finding out. It is pitiful, really, when you stop to think about the current state of affairs in the world of chess. It seems like chess is stuck in the 20th century while the rest of the world has “caught a wave” into the 21st.
What has happened with the World Open is akin to watching the seventh, and last, game of the baseball World Series for eight innings and having the coverage end, leaving a fan wondering…

It is Monday morning and I have just learned the outcome of the World Open from the USCF webpage. There one finds, “Look for our video coverage from the World Open later this week and find more games and information on the World Open website.” I clicked onto the World Open website and found this: “Error establishing a database connection.” For some reason it seems a fitting conclusion to the 2014 World Open.

Dutch Springs Leak

The Dutch dam erected earlier on Jefferson Davis Highway in DC cracked in the penultimate round of the World Open. Wins pouring through the sieve as Viktor Laznicka lost to Illia Nyzhnyk, and Isan Suarez gave way to Mark Paragua. The CCA website crashed, so I have Monroi ( to thank for the games. Nyzhnyk fianchettoed his Queen Bishop which was the favored method of IM Boris Kogan. He explained that the dark-squared Bishop often has difficulty finding a good square, so the early development takes care of that problem. The results shown at the Chessbase Database (, and 365Chess ( look good for White in this line, proving, if proof be needed, “Hulk” Kogan knew what he was taking about when it came to chess theory.
Illia Nyzhnyk vs Viktor Laznicka
2014 World Open d 8
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.Nbd2 a5 9.a4 Na6 10.Re1 Qc7 (10…Nb4 11. h3 Ne4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 13. Nd2 d5 14. c3 Na6 15. f3 Qc7 16. Kh2 exf3 17. Nxf3 Bf5 18. Qd2 Be4 19. Rf1 Rf6 20. Ba3 Raf8 21. Qe3 h6 22. h4 R8f7 23. Rac1 Qd8 24. Bh3 Nc7 25. Nd2 Bf5 26. g4 Bd7 27. Nf3 Rf4 28. Ne5 Bxe5 29. Qxe5 Re4 30. Qg3 Rxf1 31. Rxf1 Ne8 32. Bc1 Nf6 33. Bxh6 Nxg4+ 34. Kh1 Bf5 35. Bf4 Qd7 36. Rg1 Nf6 37. e3 Rxf4 38. exf4 Bxh3 39. Qxg6+ Kf8 40. Qg7+ Ke8 41. Qh8+ Kf7 42. Rg7+ Ke6 43. Qb8 Qd6 44. Qxb7 Qd8 45. Qxc6+ Kf5 46. Qb7 Ng8 47. Rg5+ Ke4 48. Qb5 1-0, Lubomir Ftacnik (2430) – Ratmir Kholmov (2550) CSR-ch 1979) 11.c3 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.e4 Rd8 14.Qe2 fxe4 15.Ng5 Nc5 16.Qc4 Rd5 17.Ndxe4 Ncxe4 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 Be6 20.Bxd5 Bxd5 21.Qe2 Qf7 22.f4 Bxb3 23.fxe5 Re8 24.Qd3 Bd5 25.Ba3 Bxe5 26.Rab1 Bc4 27.Qe3 Re6 28.Qa7 Qe8 29.Qxa5 b5 30.Rbd1 Bd5 31.Bc5 Bd6 32.Bf2 bxa4 33.c4 1-0
Taimanov, Mark E – Malaniuk, Vladimir P ½-½
A87 Baku 1983
1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 d6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 g6 5. b3 Bg7 6. Bb2 O-O 7. O-O Ne4 8. c4 Nc6 9. Nbd2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Rad1 1/2-1/2
Mark Paragua (2506) vs Isan Suarez (2592)
2014 World Open d 8
1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 Nh6 7.Qd2 Nf7 8.Be3 c5 9.Na4 (9. O-O-O Bxd4 10. Bxd4 e5 11. Bb5+ Nc6 12. Qe2 Qd6 13. Be3 Be6 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. c4 a6 16. Rxd5 1-0, Alexandr Kharitonov (2437) – Thomas Rendle (2240), EU-ch U18, 2003) cxd4 10.Bxd4 e5 11.Bc5 Nc6 12.Nf3 Be6 13.Bb5 Nd6 14.Ng5 Bh6 15.Be3 Bg8 16.Nf7 Bxf7 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Bxh6 Nc4 19.Qb4 Rb8 20.Qc5 Qc7 21.f4 Rb5 22.Qf2 Qa5 23.Nc3 Rxb2 24.O-O Qb6 25.Na4 Qxf2 26.Rxf2 Rb4 27.Nc5 e4 28.f5 Ke7 29.c3 Rb2 30.Rxb2 Nxb2 31.Rb1 Nd3 32.Rb7 Kf6 33.Be3 Rd8 34.Bd4 Kxf5 35.Rxf7 Kg4 36.h3 1-0

DC Invaded By Dutch!

In addition to the Leningrad Dutch Kazim Gulamali played in round four this game was also played:
Yury Shulman (2568) – Viktor Laznicka (2679)
World Open 2014, rd. 4
1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 d6 6.d4 O-O 7.Bg2 c6 8.O-O Na6 9.Nbd2 e5 10.dxe5 Nd7 11.Ba3 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.Qc2 Bxa1 14.Rxa1 Qe7 15.Rd1 Be6 16.Bb2 h6 17.Qc3 Kh7 18.b4 Rad8 19.Nf3 c5 20.a3 d5 21.cxd5 Bxd5 22.b5 Nc7 23.Qa5 Be4 24.Rc1 Ne6 25.Qxa7 Ra8 26.Qb6 Rfd8 27.Be5 Rd5 28.Bf4 g5 29.Be3 Rd6 30.Bxc5 Nxc5 31.Qxc5 Rd1+ 32.Bf1 Qxc5 33.Rxc5 Rxa3 0-1

There was a dearth of games on Monroi both during and after the fifth round games, and the CCA page only shows four games, so I have no idea how often the Dutch Defence was unsheathed, but today’s sixth round saw THREE Dutch Defense games on the top boards. The 2014 World Open has seen a virtual cornucopia of f5! With two wins and three draws thus far, I would have to say the Dutch is more than holding its own!

Timur Gareyev (2640) – Andrey Gorovets (2446)
World Open 2014, rd. 6
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 a6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.O-O Nc6 9.Ne2 Qe7 (9…Nb4 10. a3 Nxd3 11. cxd3 Bd7 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Qd2 O-O 14. Rxc5 Rxc5 15. Bd6 Rc8 16. Bxf8 Qxf8 17. Rc1 b6 18. Ne5 Rxc1+ 19. Qxc1 Qc8 20. Qxc8+ Bxc8 21. Nd4 a5 22. f4 Kf8 23. Kf2 Ke7 24. h3 Nd7 25. Ndf3 Nc5 26. Ke1 Bd7 27. Kd2 Be8 28. b4 axb4 29. axb4 Nb7 30. g4 fxg4 31. hxg4 Nd6 32. Nd4 h6 33. Ke2 Kf6 34. Ndf3 g5 35. fxg5+ hxg5 36. Kd2 Ba4 37. Ke2 Bb5 1/2-1/2, Varuzhan Akobian – Gata Kamsky, 2014 US Championship) 10.Ned4 O-O 11.c4 Bd7 12.a3 Bd6 13.Bg3 Bxg3 14.hxg3 Kh8 15.cxd5 Nxd5 16.e4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Qf6 18.Bc2 fxe4 19.Bxe4 Rad8 20.Bxd5 Bc8 21.Be4 Rxd4 22.Qc2 g6 23.Rad1 e5 24.Rfe1 Qd6 25.Rxd4 exd4 26.Bd3 Bd7 27.Qd2 Kg7 28.Qg5 Re8 1/2-1/2

Denys Shmelov (2393) – Alex Shimanov (2644)
World Open 2014, rd. 6
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nc3 d6 6.d5 c6 7.Nh3 e5 8.dxe6 Bxe6 9.Qb3 Qe7 10.Ng5 Bc8 11.O-O h6 (11…Na6 12. Rd1 Nd7 13. Qc2 O-O 14. Nf3 Ne5 15. b3 Nc5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Bh6 Re8 18. Qd2 Be6 19. Rac1 a5 20. Bg5 Qf8 21. Be3 Rad8 22. Bd4 f4 23. Qb2 Bf5 24. Qa3 Ra8 25. Bf3 h5 26. Na4 Ne6 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. Qxf8+ Nxf8 29. gxf4 exf4 30. Nc5 Rab8 31. a3 Re7 32. Rd4 g5 33. Bxh5 b6 34. Nd3 Ne6 35. Rd6 Rd8 36. Rxd8+ Nxd8 37. c5 b5 38. b4 axb4 39. Nxb4 g4 40. Rd1 Rd7 41. Rxd7 Bxd7 42. Nd3 Nb7 43. Nxf4 Nxc5 44. Ng6 Kg7 45. Ne5 Kf6 46. Nxd7+ Nxd7 47. Bxg4 Ne5 48. Bf3 Ke6 49. h4 c5 50. Kf1 Nc4 51. h5 Nxa3 52. Bd5+ Kf6 53. e4 c4 54. h6 Kg6 55. e5 c3 56. Ke2 b4 57. e6 Nb5 58. e7 Nd6 59. Bc6 Kxh6 60. e8=Q Nxe8 61. Bxe8 Kg5 62. Ba4 Kf4 63. Bc2 Ke5 64. Ke3 Kd5 65. Bb3+ Ke5 66. f4+ 1-0, Yuri Drozdovskij (2509) – Friso Nijboer (2571), Cappelle la Grande, 2006) 12.Nf3 Na6 13.Rd1 Nc5 14.Qc2 O-O 15.Rb1 a5 16.Bf4 Rd8 17.Na4 Nxa4 18.Qxa4 Be6 19.Nd4 Bf7 20.Qc2 d5 21.c5 Ne4 22.Bxe4 Qxe4 23.Qc3 g5 24.Bd6 Re8 25.Rbc1 Bg6 26.Rd2 f4 27.Rf1 Kh7 28.gxf4 gxf4 29.f3 Qe3 30.Qxe3 fxe3 31.Rdd1 a4 32.Kh1 Rg8 33.Rg1 Bf6 34.Bf4 a3 35.b3 Rae8 36.Bd6 h5 37.Bg3 Be7 38.Rc1 Bf6 39.Rcd1 Bd8 40.Be1 Bc7 41.Bg3 Ba5 42.Be1 Bc7 43.Bg3 Bd8 44.Be1 Rgf8 45.Bg3 Rf7 46.Rc1 Ba5 47.Be1 Bxe1 48.Rgxe1 Rf4 49.Red1 Bf5 50.Nxf5 Rxf5 51.Rd4 Kg6 52.Rb4 Re7 53.Ra4 Kf6 54.Rxa3 d4 55.b4 Ke5 56.Rd3 Rg7 57.Rcd1 Rf4 58.h3 Rg8 59.a3 h4 60.Kh2 Rg3 61.Re1 Rf7 62.Red1 Rfg7 63.Rxd4 Rg2 64.Kh1 Rxe2 65.Re4 Kf5 66.Rd8 Re1 67.Kh2 Re2 68.Kh1 Rg3 69.Rf8 Kg5 70.Rg8 Kf6 71.Rge8 Rxh3 72.Kg1 Rg3 73.Kh1 Rh3 74.Kg1 Re1 75.Kg2 Rhh1 76.R8e6 1/2-1/2

The following game features 11…Nbd7 in lieu of 11…h6 or Na6 as above.

Oms Pallisse, Josep (2498) – Menvielle Laccourreye, Augusto (2254)
74th ch-ESP Absoluto 2009

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. d5 c6 7. Nh3 e5 8. dxe6 Bxe6 9. Qb3 Qe7 10. Ng5 Bc8 11. O-O Nbd7 12. Rd1 h6 13. Nf3 Nc5 14. Qc2 Be6 15. b3 O-O 16. Bb2 Rad8 17. Nd4 Bf7 18. e3 Nce4 19. Rac1 Rfe8 20. Re1 d5 21. cxd5 Bxd5 22. Nxd5 cxd5 23. f3 Ng5 24. Qc5 Qxc5 25. Rxc5 Ne6 26. Nxe6 Rxe6 27. Bd4 Ne8 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Kf2 Rd7 30. Rec1 d4 31. exd4 Rxd4 32. R1c2 Red6 33. Bf1 Rd2+ 34. Ke3 Rxc2 35. Rxc2 Kf6 36. Rc8 Re6+ 37. Kd4 Nd6 38. Rc1 f4 39. g4 Nf7 40. Bc4 Rd6+ 41. Ke4 Rc6 42. Rc2 g5 43. Bd3 Re6+ 44. Kd4 Rd6+ 45. Kc3 Rc6+ 46. Kb4 Rb6+ 47. Ka5 Rd6 48. Be4 Rd7 49. Kb4 Rd4+ 50. Kc3 Rd7 51. Re2 Ne5 52. Rd2 Rxd2 53. Kxd2 Ke6 54. Kc3 b6 55. Kd4 Kd6 56. Ba8 Ke6 57. Bb7 Ng6 58. b4 Nh4 59. Be4 Ng2 60. a4 Ne3 61. Bd3 Kd6 62. Be4 a5 63. bxa5 bxa5 64. Bd3 Nd1 65. Bb5 Ne3 66. Ke4 Ke6 67. Bd3 Kd6 68. h4 gxh4 69. Kxf4 Nd5+ 70. Ke4 Nc3+ 71. Kd4 h3 72. Bf1 h2 73. Bg2 Nxa4 74. f4 Nc5 75. f5 Nd7 76. Ke3 a4 77. Kd4 Nf6 0-1

Aleksandr Lenderman (2600) – Viktor Laznicka (2679)
World Open 2014, rd. 6
1.c4 f5 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bf4 Bg7 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Qb3 c6 (Nh5 8. Ng5 Nf8 9. c5 h6 10. Qf7+ Kd7 11. cxd6 hxg5 12. dxc7 1-0, Hans Hermesmann (2300) – Bernhard Juergens (2066) Hamburg Ani Cup 2004) 8.c5 d5 9.h3 Ne4 10.Be2 e5 11.Bh2 O-O 12.Rc1 Qe7 13.Rc2 exd4 14.exd4 Ng5 15.O-O f4 16.Nxd5 Nxf3 17.Bxf3 cxd5 18.Re2 Qh4 19.Qxd5 Kh8 20.Qd6 g5 21.Re7 Nf6 22.Bxb7 Bxb7 23.Rxb7 Rad8 24.Qe7 Qh6 25.c6 Nd5 26.Qc5 Qe6 27.Qxa7 Rg8 28.Qc5 g4 29.c7 Rc8 30.hxg4 Bf8 31.Qc2 Rxg4 32.Rb8 Rg7 33.Rxc8 Qxc8 34.Qe4 Rd7 35.Qf5 Nxc7 36.Bxf4 Nd5 37.Be5 Bg7 38.Re1 Qd8 39.Re4 Ne7 40.Bxg7 Kxg7 41.Qe5 Kg8 42.Qe6 Kg7 43.Qe5 Kg8 44.Qe6 Kg7 45.Qe5 1/2-1/2

Paul Keres showed the way to play Nbd7 back before my day!

Tamm, P. – Keres, Paul
A81 EST training 1935
1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 d6 4. Bg2 Nbd7 5. Ng5 Nb6 6. O-O g6 7. Re1 Bg7 8. c3 O-O 9. e4 fxe4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4 e5 12. dxe5 Bxe5 13. Bh6 Bg7 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Qd4+ Qf6 16. Qxf6+ Kxf6 17. Nd2 c6 18. Bg2 d5 19. f4 Na4 20. c4 Be6 21. b3 Nc5 22. cxd5 Bxd5 23. Ne4+ Bxe4 24. Bxe4 Rad8 25. Rac1 Nxe4 26. Rxe4 Rd2 27. a4 Rfd8 28. Rce1 Rb2 29. Re6+ Kg7 30. Re7+ Kh6 31. R1e2 Rxe2 32. Rxe2 Rd1+ 33. Kg2 Rb1 34. Re3 Rb2+ 35. Kh3 b6 36. g4 Kg7 37. Kg3 c5 38. h3 Kf6 39. g5+ Kf7 40. Kf3 Rc2 41. Kg4 c4 42. bxc4 Rxc4 43. Ra3 Ke6 44. h4 Kd6 45. Ra1 Kc5 46. h5 gxh5+ 47. Kf5 h4 48. Rh1 Rxa4 49. Rxh4 Ra1 50. Rxh7 b5 51. g6 b4 52. g7 Rg1 53. Kf6 b3 54. Rh5+ Kc6 55. Rg5 Rxg5 56. fxg5 b2 57. g8=Q b1=Q 58. Qc8+ Kd6 59. Qe6+ Kc7 60. Qe7+ Kb6 1/2-1/2