Never Give Up

There was a print out taped to the wall just to the right of the stairs at the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center that looked like this:
Never Ever Give Up! – Failure to Listen

Every player who walked up the stairs could see it before every Chess game played at the House of Pain. The story goes that the owner, Thad Rogers, liked it and put it there for all to see. I always considered it the most apropos thing ever seen at the House of no fun whatsoever, which was heard on more than one occasion.

After the Legendary Georgia Ironman told the IM of GM strength Boris Kogan that he intended on becoming a National Master Boris asked, “Why Tim? It requires much sacrifice.” That it does, because when your friends are out at a bar hoisting them high and spending time with the ladies you are at home studying Rook and Pawn endings. Then again there are those players who will have hoisted a few, but that was at the Stein Club while attempting to win that Rook and Pawn ending on the board in front of you in which you have an extra pawn. You do this because Chess is HARD, and It Don’t Come Easy!

Playing Chess well requires many things and one of them is a tenacious fighting spirit. To advance in Chess one MUST be able to concentrate no matter what the situation on the board. A player MUST look for ANYTHING that will help his position. Complacency (A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble) has no business being anywhere near a Chess board.

In the seventh round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship this position was reached in the game between Megan Lee and Nazi Paikidze:

Position after 54…Qa5

There is nothing for me to describe to you here because even 700 rated USCF politico Allen Priest knows Black is busted, Buster. Then again, maybe not, but every player with a four number rating would know Black is doomed, DOOMED! Nazi has a snowball chance in Hell of salvaging a draw and winning is out of the question unless her opponent falls over dead. Some, if not most, would wonder why Nazi had not resigned. You may be wondering about the time factor. Time was not a factor. The fact is that Nazi has mating material and has a Queen and Rook on the Queen side which is where the White King is located, which totals plenty of cheapo potential, especially when all three of White’s pieces are located on the King side. Look at the position. What move would you make?

Position after 55 Qf5+

The Black King now has four legal moves. If it moves to g7 or h8 White will take the Bishop with check and that’s all she wrote. If the Black King moves to g8 the White Queen will take the pawn on g5 with check and it’s game over. That leaves h6, which is where Nazi moved the King, bringing us to this position:

dWhite to move

I would like you to take a good look at this position and cogitate awhile before scrolling down. To insure you cannot glance down to see what follows we will pause with this musical interlude in order to block you from seeing anything that may, or may not influence your cogitating:

After 56 Rxe5

Black to move. Think about it awhile…What move would you make?

The situation on the Chess board has changed as much as the music videos. A situation has been reached, by force by White I must add, in which the Black King has no legal moves. If, and that is a big IF, the Black Queen and Rook left the board, the position would be one of STALEMATE. A stalemate position is reached when one King has no legal moves. Then the game is immediately declared DRAWN. This is a RIDICULOUS rule. It is also ABSURD to the point of LUNACY. There are too many draws in Chess. If a position is reached in which the only move of the King will put it in CHECK then that King should abdicate his throne. For this reason Nazi Paikidze should have played the move 56…Rxb2+ reaching this position:

Fortunately for Megan Lee her opponent played 54…Qa4+ and lost. Certainly both players should have recognized the situation on the board had changed DRASTICALLY after the 55th move by Black which had put the King in a possible stalemate situation. They both had plenty of time to cogitate. At that point in the game Megan Lee had only one thing to consider: stalemate. Nazi Paikidze only had one thing for which to hope: stalemate. Megan gave Nazi a chance but she did not take advantage of the chance given.

Megan Lee 2211 (USA)

The Sexiest American Female Chess Players - Chess Gossip
The Sexiest American Female Chess Players – Chess Gossip

vs Nazi Paikidze 2374 (USA)

Classify Nazi Paikidze.

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 07

B06 Robatsch (modern) defence

  1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Be3 Nd7 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 b6 7. Bc4 e6 8. Qd2 Bb7 9. Bg5 Ndf6 10. Qe2 h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 Nh5 13. O-O-O Ne7 14. Ne1 Nxg3 15. hxg3 Qd7 16. d5 exd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Bxd5 Nxd5 19. exd5+ Kf8 20. Qe4 Re8 21. Qc4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Qb3 Ra8 24. Nd3 Bf6 25. f3 Kg7 26. g4 c5 27. dxc6 Qxc6 28. c3 Qb6 29. Kc2 Rac8 30. Nb4 Be5 31. Nd5 Qa7 32. Rd2 Rb8 33. Re1 Rhc8 34. Re4 Kh7 35. Nb4 Rc5 36. Nd3 Rc4 37. Rxc4 bxc4 38. Qxc4 Bf6 39. Nb4 Qa4+ 40. Qb3 Qe8 41. Rxd6 Be5 42. Rd1 Bf4 43. Kb1 Kg8 44. Qc2 Ra8 45. Nd5 Be5 46. Qe4 Rb8 47. Rd2 Kg7 48. Re2 f6 49. Nxf6 Qd8 50. Nh5+ Kg8 51. Qg6+ Kh8 52. Qxh6+ Kg8 53. Qe6+ Kh7 54. Kc2 Qa5 55. Qf5+ Kh6 56. Rxe5 Qa4+ 57. Kc1 Qa1+ 58. Qb1 Qa6 59. Ng3 Rd8 60. Nf5+ Kh7 61. Nd6+ Kh8 62. Nf7+ Kg7 63. Nxd8 Qf1+ 64. Kc2 Qf2+ 65. Kd3 1-0

cycledan: Paikidze could have pulled even with Irina, half game back in 2nd. Now she will be 1.5 back if Megan can convert. Tough loss
Murasakibara: is 56. Rxe5 correct? because black has a draw
Murasakibara: rook sac
Murasakibara: and queen check forever
Murasakibara: to miss that from nazi oh no
cycledan: white Q can prevent the perpetual I think
Murasakibara: no because after kxR there is Qa2 and Qd2 and go back and forth check
Murasakibara: until king force to capture
Paintedblack: yeah it would have been a legendary swindle but missed
Murasakibara: im so mad at nazi
Murasakibara: xd
Murasakibara: was rooting for her
Murasakibara: she didnt realize her king have no move because she thought her position was doom so a chance to draw didnt come in her mind
Murasakibara: that got to hurt

My Girl Nazi Paikidze Plays the Leningrad Dutch!

The first time the former US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze
Is it Okay to Root for Nazi? – Tom Liberman

appeared on the Armchair Warrioradar was when she played an opening near and dear to my heart. After opening with 1 e4 at the St Louis Autumn GM 2016 her opponent, Jayram Ashwin,

answered with 1…e6, the French defense. When Nazi moved her Queen to e2, the move made famous by the father of Russian Chess, Mikhail Chigorin,
2013 Goodwin Champions Mikhail Chigorin Chess Russia | eBay

my Chess heart had been stolen. I have been a Nazi fan ever since that day. Although Nazi lost that game her opponent was India’s 39th GM. Unfortunately she has not played the opening again, but I can always hope…Nazi has faced the Leningrad Dutch as white about a half dozen times over the past decade, which makes me wonder if those games influenced her to play the Leningrad Dutch? Inquiring minds want to know so how about a Chess journalist asking Nazi the question of how she came to play the LD? I will admit it was more than her choice of openings that brought Nazi to my attention as I found her coy insouciance attractive.

David Spinks was fond of saying, “You gotta pull for somebody!” For the reasons given above there is much to admire, therefore I ‘pull’ for Nazi.

Thalia Cervantes Landeiro (USA)

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 05
A86 Dutch, Leningrad variation

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. d5 Na6 8. Nc3 Nc5 9. Be3 e5 10. dxe6 Nxe6 11. Ng5 c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3 Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7 19. Qa3 Rf8 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7 23. e4 Ng6 24. Be3 Qd8 25. Bh3 Rdf7 26. Qc2 Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5 Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5 Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1

1.d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 (There is a major internecine fight with Stockfish 180521 between 3…e6 and 3…g6. The Fish is completely divided, as if it had been filleted; split 50-50. My advice is, “When in doubt, play the LENINGRAD!”) 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 (5 Nf3 has been the most often played move with 2104 games in the CBDB, and it shows a 56% success rate. 5 Nc3 has been played in 1630 games, scoring 56%. SF 14 @depth 41 shows 5 Nc3. However, SF 091021 @depth 42 plays 5 Nh3. There are only 237 examples of the move played in this game contained in the CBDB and it has only scored 50% against lower rated opposition than the two aforementioned moves. Just sayin…) 5…O-O (SF 080920 @depth 44 plays 5…c6. There are only 10 games with that move in the CBDB. The most often played move has been 5…0-0, with white scoring 54% of the time. The second most played move has been 5..d6 and it has held white to a 48% score. In the main line any time white has played d4 followed by c4 it is generally a good idea to play an early d6 if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch. With the early Nh3 the StockFish computations obviously change. I only faced Nh3 once, in a game with Joe Scott, who I believe was an expert on his way to National Master, but he could have been a NM. I recall Joe telling me he became a NM because of the book The Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations.

Joe moved the Knight to f4 and clamped down on my e6 square and played a fine game, choking the life out of me until I expired. The loss inspired me to devote much time to annotating the game back in BC time. That’s “Before Computer” time. I read anything and everything found on the move 5 Nh3 in order to be prepared the next time I faced the move. Next time never came…but you can bet your sweet bibby that if next time comes around in a Senior event I will be prepared!) 6. O-O (SF 12 @depth 40 plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 7. d5 (In an article by André Schulz at Chessbase ( this is found after 7 d5, “7. Nc3 is vanishing.” This is strange because two different Stockfish programs show 7. Nc3 as the best move. The CBDB contains 60 with 7. Nc3 and 62 with 7. d5. White has, though, scored 54% with the latter while 7. Nc3 has only scored 48% and this against roughly the same opposition) 7…Na6 (Although Komodo at only depth 18 plays the game move, two different SF programs at double the depth show 7…c6. There are 23 games with 7…Na6 and white has scored 50%; in the 22 games when 7…c6 has been the choice white has scored 59%, with this being against roughly the same level opposition. Given the opportunity to play either move I would play 7…c6, which is reason enough for you to play the move chosen by our girl!) 8. Nc3 Nc5 (The move played in the game has been the overwhelming choice, but SF 13 likes 8…Qe8; SF 14 prefers 8…Bd7. I would play the latter move to complete development) 9. Be3 (SF 13 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 210920 @depth 41 plays 9 Qc2, yet 9 Nf4 has been the most often played move with 43 games in the CBDB in which it has scored 63% against 2398 opposition. In 26 games the move played in the game, 9 Be3 has scored 56% against 2452 opposition in 26 games. In 27 games against opposition rated 2482 the move 9 Qc2 has scored an astounding 70%! There is a reason the move 9 Qc2 is the choice of the Fish…) 9…e5 10. dxe6 (Here’s the deal…the CBDB shows 14 games in which this move has been played and one with 10 Bxc5 having been played, yet three different Stockfish programs show 10 b4 as the best move!) 10 Nxe6 (SF 14 plays 10 Bxe6) 11. Ng5 (The aforementioned annotations at Chessbase show, “White has an edge.” There are no games found at either the CBDB or 365Chess containing the move 11 Ng5 so it appears to be a Theoretical Novelty!)

Black to move

You can find the game annotated all over the internet but since I followed the the game with something akin to religious fervor and made notes along the way I would like to share them with you.

11…c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3? This has gotta be bad. I’d be feeling pretty good sitting behind the black pieces after seeing a move like that! Maybe Thalia did not want to leave the Knight undefended with the black squared firing at the Rook on a1 after Ne4 but it does not work…Big advantage for Nazi!)

13…Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8? (OMG what has my girl done? Why would she not take the pawn???) 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7? (She should play the most forcing move on the board, a5, something I watch the top players not doing as a matter of course. Makes me think of that line from the CSNY song Deja Vu…”It makes me wonder/really makes me wonder’/What’s going on…”)

  1. Qa3 Rf8? (I dunno, Qf6 looks good about now…) 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 (I thought h6 was OK but now I’m not so sure…taking leaves me with a couple of ugly duckling pawns but bring the Knight back for defense only seems to clog up the works. Nazi has stepped into some excrement) 21…gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7? (Why not 22…Qf6?) 23. e4 (What a mess Nazi has stepped into…looks like one of my uncoordinated LD positions. I wanna play Rfe8 but that Rook oughta stay where it is…so maybe dropping the other Rook back to the back rank…or moving, let’s call it ‘repositioning’ the Queen is what the doctor ordered…or was that life support? Things aren’t looking so good for my favorite female player about now…not even a Houdini, or a Houdini program will help her now, I’m sad to write…) 23…Ng6 (Did not consider that move. Looks like Nazi gets opened up like a can of sardines after exf5…) 24. Be3 (What is this? Now I’m pushing the f-pawn while singing, “Save my life I’m going down for the last time…”) 24…Qd8?
White to move

(Oh no Mr. Bill, what the fork is this? From where did that idea come?) 25. Bh3 (Well that helps. Qc2 piling on the pressure looked real strong) 24…Rdf7 26. Qc2 (I dunno, taking with Bxf5 looks good. Nazi continues dodging bullets) 26…Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5?

(White coulda come outta all the exchanges better than she did but this has gotta be wrong as it will drive the Queen over and every Black piece will be firing at the White King! What a turnaround!!! 30…Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5? (I cannot believe this…the woman just let go of the rope!!!) 34…Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1 (Wow! That is what we call “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat…”)

Yasser Seirawan (2615) vs Mikhail Gurevich (2630)
Event: Belgrade Investbank
Site: Belgrade Date: 1991

ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nh3 c6 6.Nf4 d6 7.d5 e5 8.dxe6 Qe7 9.Nd2 O-O 10.O-O Bxe6 11.Nxe6 Qxe6 12.Rb1 Nbd7 13.b4 Nb6 14.c5 Nbd5 15.Bb2 Rad8 16.Qb3 Nc7 17.cxd6 Rxd6 18.Nc4 Rd7 19.a4 Ng4 20.h3 Nf6 21.b5 Ne4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qb2+ Kh6 24.Qc1+ Kg7 25.Qb2+ Rf6 26.Rfc1 Kh6 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Bxe4 fxe4 29.Ne5 Qxh3 30.Nxd7 Rf5 31.Qd2+ Kg7 32.Qd4+ Kh6 33.Qe3+ 1-0

John P Fedorowicz (2574) vs Kamil Miton (2383)
Event: CCA ChessWise op
Site: Stratton Mountain Date: 06/13/1999
Round: 4
ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nh3 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.d5 Na6 8.Nc3 Nc5 9.Be3 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Rc1 c6 12.b3 Qe7 13.Bd4 Bf7 14.Ng5 Kh8 15.Qd2 Bg8 16.b4 Ncd7 17.b5 c5 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Qd3 Nd7 20.f4 h6 21.Nf3 ½-½

Annie Wang/Nazi Paikidze Co-US Women Champions

Congratulations to Annie Wang

and Nazi Paikidze,

the new Co-Champions of the Women’s US Chess Championship!

Before sending emails and leaving comments, I am aware of the so-called “playoff” which was “won” by Nazi. The idea of some kind of “hurry-up and get it over” playoff in Chess is anathema to me. The two women tied for first in the only games that matter, serious games in which they spend hours playing. To my mind that is all that counts. I am aware that most people do not agree with my way of thinking. They are wrong. Back in the day playoffs consisting of serious games were held. I would prefer to see a match using the same time limit as the eleven games played during the tournament to settle the matter. Some players who are extremely strong at Chess played with longer time limits are not as proficient when forced to play “hurry-up” Chess. The challenger for the title of World Chess Champion falls into that category. Fabiano Caruana is no match for Magnus Carlsen in any kind of “hurry-up” playoff, which makes Magnus the favorite in the upcoming match. If Fabi is to win he MUST win in the much longer, much more serious, real games.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having Co-Champions, other than the driving forces prefer to have only one winner of each tournament to put on the cover of the magazine as the “face” of US Chess. Never thought I would live to see “speed” Chess settle a World Championship match…

At the beginning of his interview with Maurice Ashley, the new US Chess Champ, Sam Shankland, said about his play, “I played really well and got really lucky and that’s a tough combination to beat.” I was reminded of my days playing Backgammon. Many times after beating an opponent he would say, “You were lucky.” My response would invariably be, “I would rather be lucky than good, because when I am good and lucky, I cannot be beat!”

Yes, there IS luck in Chess. Ask Nazi…In the penultimate round she was dead lost, but due to a horrendous blunder by her opponent, Tatev Abrahamyan, she won the game. That is the kind of luck to which Sam was referring. She was also lucky in that Annie collapsed in the last round, which brings to mind one of the most, if not the most, famous collapse by a woman in the history of sport. That would be Julie Moss competing in the 1982 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.

Nazi also had to overcome the unfair extra game with the black pieces. She had the white pieces five times while Annie sat behind the white pieces six times. On the other hand, Annie’s performance rating overall was slightly higher than Nazi, 2506 to 2503. If there must be a playoff I would like to see a playoff between the two using the same time control used during the Championship.

Finally, why is there a separate US Chess Championship for women? To have such a tournament is, quite simply, segregation.

The Gurgenidze Counter-Attack

Tatev Abrahamyan – Nazi Paikidze

U.S. Womens Championship 2018 round 10

B15 Caro-Kann, Gurgenidze counter-attack

1. e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 b5 (This move is so rarely played at the top level of Chess that it cannot be found at the ChessBaseDataBase. There are, though, 192 games at What does the clanking digital monster ‘think’ of this move? When black plays 3…e6 he is down about a half of a pawn. After the game move black is down a full pawn.)

4 Bd3 (4 e5 is the move which puts white up that pawn. 4 exd5 and 4 a3 leave white up about three quarters of a pawn, while the move played in the game left Abrahamyan up about a third of a pawn.)

4…b4 5. Nce2 dxe4 6. Bxe4 Nf6 7. Bf3 (The Fish concludes in three seconds that 7 Bd3 is twice as good as the game move.) 7…e6 8. Nh3 Bd6 (For 8…Be7 see Lechtynsky v Plachetka below.)

9. Nhf4 Qc7 10. Nd3 Nbd7 11. Bf4 Bxf4 12. Nexf4 Rb8 13. O-O O-O 14. a3 a5 15. axb4 axb4 16. Qd2 Qd6 17. Qe3 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. b3 Ba6 20. Ra4 Rfc8 21. Rc1 Rb6 22. Qd2 Rcb8 23. Rca1 Bxd3 24. Nxd3 h6 25. Ra7 Re8 26. h3 Reb8 27. R1a4 Nf6 28. Nc5 e5 29. dxe5 Qxe5 30. Na6 Ne4 31. Qe3 d4 32. Qe1 Re8 33. Nxb4 Rg6 34. Ra8 Rxa8 35. Rxa8+ Kh7 36. Ra6 f6 37. Nd3 Qf5

Up to this point Tatev has outplayed Nazi. It appears Abrahamyan was in time trouble around here. All she needs to do is ask, and answer, the first question any Chess player should ask after writing down the move played by an opponent, which is, “Why did my opponent make that move?” She needs go no further because the answer to the question is that the move was played to next move the Queen to f3. Knowing that, all any player has to do is prevent the Queen moving to f3 with 38 Qe2.

38. Ra5? (Bummer…From winning to losing in the time it takes to move a piece. To paraphrase former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, “Time trouble makes cowards of us all.”)

Qf3 39. Qf1 Nd2 40. Ne1?? (40 Kh1 MUST be played. Oh well, at least she made time control…) Qd1 0-1

Jiri Lechtynsky v Jan Plachetka

CSR-ch Havirov 1970

B15 Caro-Kann, Gurgenidze counter-attack

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 b5 4. Bd3 b4 5. Nce2 dxe4 6. Bxe4 Nf6 7. Bf3 e6 8. Nh3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 a5 11. a3 Bb7 12. Nef4 Nbd7 13. Ng5 Qb6 14. Qd3 Ba6 15. c4 bxc3 16. Qxc3 Rac8 17. Bd2 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qg3 Qxb2 20. Bxa5 Qxd4 21. Rad1 Qf6 22. Rxd5 e5 23. Nxh7 Kxh7 24. Nh5 Qh6 25. Rxd7 Qxh5 26. Rxe7 Rfe8 27. R7xe5 Rxe5 28. Qxe5 Qxe5 29. Rxe5 Rc2 30. h3 f6 31. Re7 Kg6 32. Bb4 Kh6 33. Ra7 Bd3 34. Bf8 Kg6 35. Rxg7+ Kf5 36. Re7 Ra2 37. g4+ Kg5 38. Kg2 Bc4 39. Rc7 Bd5+ 1-0