Pushing Chess To The Limit

The post today features two games from the ongoing Charlotte Chess Center GM/IM Norm invitational. The first game is between IM Alexander Matros (2371) from Kazakhstan, the top rated player in the IM tournament, and FM Doug Eckert (2165) of the USA. The 2165 rating is his FIDE rating, which is only Expert level. His USCF rating is 2258, which is above the Master line. The question is why are there two different ratings? Certainly Doug, who is eligible for the US Senior, would like to come out of this tournament with his FIDE rating over 2200. Mr. Eckert is on the board of the St. Louis Chess Club, as one learns in the following video:

2016 Sinquefield Cup: GM Maurice Ashley with FM Doug Eckert

IM Alexander Matros (2371)

vs FM Doug Eckert (2165)

Charlotte CLT IM 2021 round 02

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Qa4+ Nc6 9. e3 O-O 10. Be2 Be6 11. O-O a6 12. Rfc1 Bd6 13. Qd1 Ne7 14. Na4 Rad8 15. Nc5 Bc8 16. b4 g5 17. g3
Black to move

I chose this game because of this position. Back in the day I was very fond of pushing the pawns in front of my king in order to attack. When IM of GM strength Boris Kogan


would see this when going over one of my games he would invariably groan. “Mike,” he would begin, “why you do this?” I would reply, “Mikhail Tal does this.” Boris would immediately return fire with, “You not Tal!”


Because of this I know more than a little something about this kind of position. In an analogous position I once played my knight to g6. “Why Mike?” Boris asked, “where knight go?” He had a point. Nevertheless I answered, “Because the knight plugs a hole on g6 and supports moving the h-pawn, Boris.” At that point Boris howled with laughter (if nothing else going over my games did cause the Hulk to laugh…), before repeating, “Plug hole,” with more laughter following…After gathering himself Boris explained that the best move in this position would be to go ahead and play 17…h5. “If you are going to attack, ATTACK!” Boris then patiently explained that since white had moved the g-pawn in front of his king, the attack with the h-pawn would be appropriate. This is why when teaching the Royal game to neophytes I will remember Boris every time I say, “There is a rule about not moving the pawns in front of your king.” Back to the game…what move did Doug choose?

17…Nf5? (and it was all down hill from here…) 18. Nd2 Rfe8 19. a4 Qe7 20. Nf1 Ng7 21. b5 a5 22. Ra2 Ne6 23. Nd3 Bd7 24. Bf3 c6 25. bxc6 Bxc6 26. Nd2 Qd7 27. Bg4 Rf8 28. Bf5 Qe7 29. Nb3 Ng7 30. Bh3 Ra8 31. Qd2 Bb4 32. Nxb4 Qxb4 33. Qxb4 axb4 34. a5 Bb5 35. Bf1 Bxf1 36. Kxf1 Ne6 37. Ra4 b6 38. a6 Ra7 39. Rc6 Rb8 40. Kg2 Kf8 41. Rxb4 Rxa6 42. Nc5 1-0 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-im/02-Matros_Alexander-Eckert_Doug)

The next game again features IM Matros, who sits behind the black army this time. His opponent is Dominique Myers,

a USCF National Master from the Great State of North Carolina, with a USCF rating of only 2182 that has fallen below the minimum number needed to become a Master, 2200. Mr. Myers FIDE rating is only 1985, so you know Dominique, the lowest rated player in the field, was hoping to at least boost his rating(s) at least somewhat. On with the game, and what a game it was! This game was a real “barn burner” as is often heard in the South. There are more twists and turns than Chubby Checker’s famous song, “The Twist.”

This game reminds me of some of the boxing matches seen, and participated in, “back in the day,” with shot followed by return shot and blow was followed by return blow, as was the case when in the final year of high school word went around that there was going to be a “fight at the football field.” Mike Chennault and Robert White put on a display, trading licks and swapping blows that would have made Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier proud!


The fight culminated with both exhausted combatants landing simultaneous right hands to the head and they both went DOWN! Then they became friends. Today a gun would’ve been pulled, with one dead and the other in prison for decades…
Which reminds me of how disappointed was the man from the High Planes, NM David Vest, a true horse lover, when I was asked at the House of Pain, “What are the six most famous words in sports?” Expecting, “And down the stretch they come,” Dave was crushed to hear me say the words famously spoken by Howard Cosell, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!” You get my drift; it was that kind of game!

NM Dominique Myers (1985) vs IM Alexander Matros (2371)

Charlotte CLT IM 2021 round 3

ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation

e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 (SF 13 @ depth 61 plays this move; SF 12 @depth 50 plays the most often played move, 5…Nf6) 6. Ne2 (SF 13 @ depth 41 plays 6.h3) 6…e6 (Two out of the three SF programs play the most often played move, 6…Bg4; the other plays the seldom played 6…e5) 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. O-O Nf6 10. Nd2 O-O (SF plays 10…e5. See Bersamina vs Antonio Jr. below) 11. Ng3 (TN) Bd7 12. f4 g6 13. Kh1 Rad8 14. Qf3 Ne8 15. Rae1 f5 16. Re3 Nf6 17. Qe2 Kh8 18. Kg1 Ne4 19. Nh1? (Nimzovich style!?) 19…Ne7? (This moved is even more red at the Bomb than his opponent’s move!) 20. Rh3 Ng8 21. Nf3 Qxf4 22. Ne5 Qg5 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. Rf4? (This move again made me think of Boris when I showed him a move like this one. “What? You think he not see cheap tactical trick?” Boris asked. Then he laughed uproariously when I answered, “He didn’t!”) 24…Kg7 25. Qe3 Nf6 26. c4 Nh5? (Another blood red move over at the Bomb, with good reason. There is not a Chess teacher who has not informed his student(s), that a “Knight on the rim is grim, or dim, or sometimes both!” The IM was cruising, but let one hand offa the rope momentarily, but still has the game in hand. Unfortunately for him, he now proceeds to loose some of his grip on the rope with that one hand until…) 27. Rxe4 Qxe3+ 28. Rexe3 Bc8 29. Rh4 f4 30. Rd3 Rf5 (The game according to the SF program at the Bomb, is even…It’s anybody’s Chess game now!) 31. Nf2 b6 32. Rhh3 Bb7 33. Rd1 Rg5 (Now white has an advantage! I was following this game in real time over at http://chessstream.com/invitational/ so as to watch the game without analysis and remember thinking, “Go Dominique!” David Spinks was known for saying, “you gotta pull for SOMEBODY!”) 34. Nf3 (Back to even) 34…Ra5 35. a3 Rf5 36. Ne5 Rg5 37. Nf3 Rf5 38. Nh4 Rf7 39. Rhd3 Rc7 40. b3 Rcd7 41. Ng4 g5 42. Nf3 h6? (Redder than red! This is a potentially losing move…) 43. Nge5? (The wrong Knight! Back to even…) 43…Rd6 44. b4 Nf6 45. h3 Ne4 46. a4 Ng3 47. c5 Bxf3 48. Nxf3 bxc5 49. bxc5 Ra6 50. Re1 Kf6 51. Ra1? (Advantage swings back to black…)51…h5 52. a5 Kf5 53. Ra2 Ne4 54. Ne5 Rd5? (A terrible move! Black goes from winning to losing with this move!) 55. g4+ hxg4 56. hxg4+ Kf6 57. Ra4??? (Oh no, Mr. Bill! This is what GM Yasser Seriwan would most definitely call a “howler.” Passed pawns MUST be pushed, and a Rook belongs BEHIND a passed pawn are well known endgame mantras) 57…Nxc5 58. dxc5 Rxe5 59. Rc3 Rc6 60. Rac4 Re2 61. Rd3 Ra2 62. Rd6 Rxd6 63. cxd6 Rxa5 64. Rd4 Rd5 65. Ra4 a5 66. Kf2 e5 67. Kf3 Ke6 68. Ra1 Kxd6 69. Rh1 Rd4 70. Rh6+ Kc5 71. Re6 e4+ 72. Ke2 e3 0-1 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-im/03-Myers_Dominique-Matros_Alexander)

Paulo Bersamina (2378) vs Rogelio Antonio Jr (2474)
Event: ch-PHI 2016
Site: Manila PHI Date: 06/22/2016
Round: 4
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.O-O Nf6 10.Nd2 e5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Bb5+ Nc6 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.Ne3 Be6 15.Nd4 O-O 16.Bd3 Nxd4 17.cxd4 Qb6 18.Rb1 Rfd8 19.f3 g6 20.Bc2 Bd7 21.Bb3 Bb5 22.Re1 Bc4 23.Bxc4 dxc4 24.Nxc4 Qxd4+ 25.Qxd4 Rxd4 26.Na5 Rd5 27.Nb3 a5 28.Rbd1 a4 29.Rxd5 Nxd5 30.Nc5 a3 31.bxa3 b6 32.Re5 Nf4 33.Nd7 Rxa3 34.g3 Ne6 35.Nxb6 Rxa2 36.Rd5 h6 37.f4 h5 38.Nc4 h4 39.Rd2 ½-½

This game is included for historical purposes as it was played in the wonderful mountain city of Hendersonville, a place I once called home earlier this century. David Rupel is from the great Northwest and played “fast and loose” when moving his f-pawn early in the game, which must have flummoxed his opponent.

Alan Kobernat (2101) vs David Rupel (2138)
Event: US Masters op
Site: Hendersonville, NC
Date: 03/18/2006
Round: 6
ECO: B13 Caro-Kann, exchange variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.O-O f5 10.Re1 Nf6 11.Nd2 O-O 12.Nf3 Ne4 13.Ng3 Bd7 14.Ne5 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Qb6 16.Re2 Nc5 17.Rc2 Be8 18.Bf1 f4 19.Ne2 Bg6 20.Rd2 Ne4 21.Rd4 f3 0-1

I hope you enjoy this game as much as did I. Surf on over to ChessBomb and click through it yourself if you want analysis. If you would prefer to view the game and cogitate for yourself, head to Chessstream (http://chessstream.com/Invitational/Games.aspx). I applaud both players, with extra emphasis going to Mr. Myers, who had his chances. I would rather PLAY, and lose, every game played in a tournament if they included chances to win than to meekly acquiesce an early draw any day. A game like this is why I play, and follow, Chess. Sure, it’s tough to lose, but there’s nothing like having your blood boiling while sitting at the board racking your brain in a vain attempt at finding the right move. So what if you’re completely drained and devoid of life after such a game. At least you FEEL SOMETHING, unlike those wussies who continue making short draw after short draw and leave devoid of any feeling whatsoever. THIS GAME IS WHAT CHESS SHOULD BE ABOUT! OK, you lost, but you have a GAME to study; you have a chance to improve; something from which to learn. What do those weak and worthless players who agree to a quick draws learn? My hat is off to Dominigue ‘My Man’ Myers! He pushed it to the limit versus the top rated player in the field.

Dedicated to Duan Watson

Lock Kelly Loeffler Up!

Two United States Senators, Richard Burr, from North Carolina, and Kelly Loeffler, from Georgia, both Republicans, have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. Excerpts from an article written by The Editorial Board of the New York Times follow, with a focus on Senator Loeffler. Loeffler was appointed to the seat vacated by Johnny Isakson by the Republican Governor, Brian Kemp. Kemp obtained office by thwarting eligible voters from voting, even when called on to resign his position as Georgia’s Secretary Of State. It is the Secretary of State who controls voting, proving it’s not just who votes, but who counts the vote. (https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/11/02/its-not-just-who-votes-its-who-counts-the-votes/)
In Georgia, as in much of the South, this has just been ‘business as usual’. The woman has no background in government. Her only qualification is MONEY! I cannot help but wonder what it cost the woman to become US Senator? When the COVID-19 virus runs its course this will change because the volcano is rumbling as I write.

Kelly Loeffler should have already resigned the office of US Senator. Since she has not resigned, the woman should resign IMMEDIATELY! Read on and you will understand why…


Kemp taps Kelly Loeffler, financial exec, to US Senate seat (https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/breaking-kemp-taps-kelly-loeffler-financial-exec-senate-seat/cKraGpntwpFivAz0kYPFkL/)

Did Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler Profit From the Pandemic?

At least two senators engaged in suspiciously timed stock sales. All stock trades by members of Congress should be barred.

By The Editorial Board

March 20, 2020

Crisis often brings out the best in a people. As the coronavirus spreads its devastation, countless Americans are stepping up to perform acts of heroism and compassion, both great and small, to aid their neighbors and their nation.

Then there are certain not-so-inspiring members of the United States Senate.

Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, and Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, are in the hot seat this week, facing questions about whether they misused their positions to shield their personal finances from the economic fallout of the pandemic, even as they misled the public about the severity of the crisis. According to analyses of their disclosure reports filed with the Senate, the lawmakers each unloaded major stock holdings during the same period they were receiving closed-door briefings about the looming pandemic.

These briefings were occurring when much of the public still had a poor grasp of the virus, in part because President Trump and many Republican officials were still publicly playing down the threat. Instead of raising their voices to prepare Americans for what was to come, Mr. Burr and Ms. Loeffler prioritized their stock portfolios, in a rank betrayal of the public trust — and possibly in violation of the law.

It is unclear precisely what information about the pandemic either Mr. Burr or Ms. Loeffler received in the briefings before their stock sales. But any use of nonpublic information in guiding such dealings would have been not only unethical but almost certainly illegal. Lawmakers and their aides are explicitly barred from using nonpublic information for trades by the STOCK Act of 2012 (the acronym stands for Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge). Mr. Burr of all people should know this, since he was one of only three senators to vote against the bill.

As chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Burr is privy to classified information about threats to America’s security. In February, his committee was receiving regular briefings about the coronavirus. He is also a member of the Health Committee, which, on Jan. 24, co-sponsored a private coronavirus briefing by top administration officials for all senators.

Ms. Loeffler, who also sits on the Health Committee, is in a similarly sticky situation. On the very day of the committee’s coronavirus briefing, she began her own stock sell-off, as originally reported by The Daily Beast. Over the next three weeks, she shed between $1,275,000 and $3.1 million worth of stock, much of it jointly owned with her husband, who is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Of Ms. Loeffler’s 29 transactions, 27 were sales. One of her two purchases was of a technology company that provides teleworking software. That stock has appreciated in recent weeks, as so many companies have ordered employees to work from home.

Early Friday, Ms. Loeffler issued a statement asserting that neither she nor her husband is involved in managing her portfolio.

Even as she was shedding shares, Ms. Loeffler was talking down the threat of the coronavirus. “Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on Coronavirus readiness,” she tweeted on Feb. 28, assuring the public that the president and his team “are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.”

As anxiety spread, she talked up the economy. “Concerned about the #coronavirus?” she tweeted on March 10. “Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.”

Faced with calls for his resignation from across the political spectrum, Mr. Burr on Friday issued a statement insisting that his stock sales had been based solely on public information and that he had asked the Senate Ethics Committee to “open a complete review of the matter with full transparency.”

There is pressure for Ms. Loeffler to step down as well, and the recent stock dealings of other senators are now being dissected — as well they should be.

One might have expected lawmakers to be more circumspect about even the appearance of self-dealing after what happened to the Republican Chris Collins, the former congressman from New York, who was sentenced to 26 months in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to insider trading charges. While at a White House picnic in June 2017, Mr. Collins repeatedly called to alert his son that a small pharmaceutical company in which the family was deeply invested had failed a critical drug trial. Based on the not-yet-public information, Mr. Collins’s son unloaded his holdings in the company, avoiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

“What I’ve done has marked me for life,” Mr. Collins said tearfully at his sentencing hearing in January.

Apparently, more needs to be done to protect lawmakers from themselves. Last May, two Democratic senators, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, introduced legislation requiring members to place personal investments in a blind trust, or hold off on making any trades, during their time in office. They would also be prohibited from serving on corporate boards.

There may, of course, be perfectly reasonable explanations for what, initially, appears to be illegal — and morally reprehensible — behavior. Mr. Burr and Ms. Loeffler deserve the opportunity to provide those explanations. The Senate should initiate an ethics investigation of all accusations, and, if warranted, refer relevant findings for criminal prosecution

That said, explicit criminality aside, the real scandal here is the way in which these public servants misled an already anxious and confused public. In times of crisis, the American people need leaders who will rise to the occasion, not sink to their own mercenary interests.

Jimmy Carter Calls For Georgia Secretary Of State’s Resignation In Personal Plea


Sen. Kelly Loeffler denies allegations of insider trading


Potential conflicts of interest pose test for Kelly Loeffler, new Georgia senator


Sen. Kelly Loeffler Dumped Millions in Stock After Coronavirus Briefing



Richard Francisco at the Spring 2019 IM Norm Invitational

Life Master Richard Francisco

carried the Georgia colors to Charlotte, NC, for the Spring 2019 GM/IM Norm Invitational contested
March 20-24, 2019 at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. Richard played in the IM section scoring 3 1/2 points while winning two, drawing two, and losing too many.

Richard earned his NM certificate in 2003 and LM title in 2009. (http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?12631588) He is ranked in the top three hundred active players in the USCF and is the fourth highest rated player in the Great State of Georgia. According the FIDE Mr. Francisco is number 8064 in the world among active players. (https://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=2021188)

Richard will be playing again in the Summer 2019 CCCSA IM Norm Invitational beginning June 5.


Spring 2019 IM Norm Invitational
Round 4 | 2019.03.22

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 (Although the move played in the game has been by far the most frequently played move SF 10 at depth 52 and Houdini at depth 50 “think” the game should go 6 Nc3 Bb4 7 Bd3. With this move the game now becomes the C45 Scotch, Mieses variation) 6…Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 Nb6 (SF and Komodo show 8…Ba6 as the move) 9. Nc3 Qe6 10. Bd2 (SF plays 10 Qe4 expecting d5 11 exd6; Houdini plays 10 f4 Bc5 11 Be3) Ba6 11. b3 O-O-O 12. f4 f6 13. Qf2 (See Abdulov vs Lenic below for 13 Qe4)

Bb7 14. a4 Kb8 15. a5 Nc8 16. a6 Ba8 17. c5 fxe5 18. f5 Qe7 19. Ne4 d5 20. Bg5 Qd7 21. Bxd8 Qxd8 22. Ng3 Qe7 23. b4 Qh4 24. Rb1


25. Be2 Nb5 26. O-O Be7 27. Nh5 Nc3 28. Rb2 Qxf2+ 29. Rxf2 Bg5 30. Rf1 e4 31. Nxg7 Bf6 32. Nh5 Bd4+ 33. Kh1 Nd1 34. Bxd1 Bxb2 35. f6 Rf8 36. Bg4 Bb7 37. axb7 Kxb7 38. Be2 Bc3 39. g4 Bxb4 40. Ng7 Bxc5 41. Ne6 Bd6 42. Nxf8 Bxf8 43. Rb1+ Kc8 44. g5 1-0

Orkhan Abdulov (2388) vs Luka Lenic (2641)
Event: 18th ch-EUR Indiv 2017
Site: Minsk BLR Date: 05/30/2017

ECO: C45 Scotch, Mieses variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Nb6 9.Nc3 Qe6 10.Bd2 Ba6 11.b3 O-O-O 12.f4 f6 13.Qe4 Bb7 14.O-O-O Re8 15.Re1 fxe5 16.fxe5 g6 17.a4 a5 18.Bd3 Bg7 19.Bf4 d6 20.Bg3 dxe5 21.Qe3 h5 22.Kc2 h4 23.Bf2 e4 24.Qxe4 Qf6 25.Qg4+ Kb8 26.Nd1 Qa1 27.Qxg6 Reg8 28.Bxb6 Qa2+ 29.Kc1 Bh6+ 30.Qxh6 Rxh6 31.Be3 Rxg2 0-1


Spring 2019 IM Norm Invitational
Round 5 | 2019.03.23 | 0-1

B38 Sicilian, accelerated fianchetto, Maroczy bind, 6.Be3

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 (SF 9 shows 4…Nf6 best) 5. c4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 (SF 10 plays 6…Qb6, followed by 7 Nb3 Qd8)

7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be2 b6 (Komodo plays d6) 9. O-O (SF plays 9 Qd2 Bb7 10 f3 while Komodo plays 9 f4 Nxd4 10 Bxd4) Bb7 (SF prefers 9…Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Bb7. Only one game has been played by transposition. See Horvath vs McCambridge below) 10. f3 Qb8 (SF prefers 10…Nxd4 11 Bxd4 Bh6) 11. Qd2 Rd8 (SF plays 11…Nxd4 12 Bxd4 d6) 12. Rad1 (SF 9 plays 12 Nc2 while SF 10 and Komodo play Ndb5)

12…d6 (SF plays 12…Nxd4 13 Bxd4 d6) 13. Rfe1 (SF plays 13 Nc2 Rd7 14 f4; Komodo plays either 13 b3 Qc8 14 a3 or 13 Nbd5) 13…Rd7 (Houdini plays 13…Nxd4 14 Bxd4 Qc7) 14. Bf1 (SF plays 14 b3 e6 15 Nxc6 while Houdini plays 14 Ndb5 Nd8 15 Rc1) 14…Qf8 (SF plays the game move giving 15 g3 e6; Komodo plays 14…Ne5 15 b3 Nf8; Houdini plays 14…Nxf4 15 Bxd4 Qc8)

15. b3 Rad8 16. g3 e6 17. Qf2 Ne5 18. Bh3 Re7 19. Na4 d5 20. exd5 exd5 21. c5 Ba6 22. cxb6 axb6 23. Bf1 Bxf1 24. Kxf1 b5 25. Nc3 b4 26. Na4 Rde8 27. Qd2 Rc7 28. Rc1 Rxc1 29. Rxc1 Qe7 30. Bf2 Qd7 31. Kg2 Bf8 32. Nc5 Qa7 33. Na4 Qa8 34. Rc7 Bd6 35. Rc1 h5 36. h3 Bf8 37. g4 hxg4 38. hxg4 Qb7 39. Bh4 Bg7 40. Re1 Ned7 41. Rxe8+ Nxe8 42. Nc2 Bf8 43. Be1 Ne5 44. Qe2 f6 45. Nd4 Nc7 46. f4 Nc6 47. Ne6 d4 48. Nxf8 Kxf8 49. Nc5 Qa8 50. Kg3 Qe8 51. Qd2 Qe7 52. Nd3 Nd5 53. Bf2 Nc3 54. Kh2 Qe4

55. Bh4 Kf7 56. Bf2 Qf3 57. g5 Ne4 58. Qc2 Nxf2 59. Nxf2 Qxf4+ 60. Kh3 Qf3+ 61. Kh2 Qf4+ 62. Kh3 Qf5+ 63. Qxf5 gxf5 64. gxf6 Ne5 65. Kg3 Kxf6 66. Kf4 Ke6 67. Kg5 Nf3+ 68. Kf4 Ne1 69. Nd1 Nd3+ 70. Kf3 Ke5 71. Ke2 Ke4 0-1

Tamas Horvath (2390) vs Vincent McCambridge (2350)

A04 Reti opening

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.e4 Bg7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Be3 b6 9.O-O Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Bb7 11.f3 Rc8 12.Rc1 d6 13.Re1 e6 14.Bf1 Qc7 15.Nb5 Qd8 16.Nxa7 Ra8 17.Nb5 Rxa2 18.Na3 e5 19.Bc3 Bh6 20.Rb1 Nh5 21.Qb3 Qh4 22.g3 Nxg3 23.hxg3 Qxg3+ 24.Bg2 f5 25.c5+ Rf7 26.cxd6 fxe4 27.d7 exf3 28.d8=Q+ Bf8 29.Qxf7+ Kxf7 30.Qd7+ Be7 31.Re2 fxe2 32.Qxb7 Qe3+ 33.Kh1 Qh6+ 34.Kg1 Qe3+ ½-½

Socko, M 2473 vs Lind, J 2206

Warsaw AIG Life Rapid 7th 2007

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be2 b6 9. O-O Bb7 10. f3 Qb8 11. Qd2 Rd8 12. Rad1 d6 13.Rfe1 Rd7 14. Bf1 Qf8 15. b3 Rad8 16. Nc2 e6 17. Bg5 h6 18. Bh4 g5 19. Bf2 Nh5 20. g3 Ne5 21. Bg2 Qe7 22. Ne3 Qf6 23. Qe2 Qg6 24. Nb5 Ba8 25. Nd4 Kh8 26. Rf1 Bf6 27. Kh1 Rg8 28. Bh3 Be7 29. Bg2 Nf4 30. gxf4 gxf4 31. Rg1 fxe3 32. Bxe3 Qh5 33. Rdf1 Rdd8 34. f4 Qxe2 35. Nxe2 Ng4 36. Bd2 d5 37. cxd5 Bc5 38. Bc3+ Kh7 39. Nd4 Ne3 40. Rf3 Nxg2 41. Rxg2 Rxg2 42. Kxg2 exd5 43. e5 Rc8 44. f5 b5 45. Rg3 Re8 46. Kh3 b4 47. Bb2 Rxe5 48. Ne6 d4 49. Rg7+ Kh8 50. Rxf7 Re3+ 51. Kh4 Re2 52. Nxc5 Rxh2+ 53. Kg4 Rxb2 54. Rf8+ Kg7 55. Ne6+ Kh7 56. Rxa8 Rxa2 57. Nxd4 Rg2+ 58. Kf4 Rd2 59. Rxa7+ Kg8 60. Ke5 h5 61. Ne6 h4 62. f6 Rf2 63. Nf4 Rf1 64. f7+ Kg7 65. Ne6+ Kg6 66. f8=Q 1-0

Dazed and Confused at the 28th World Senior Chess Championships

The 28th World Senior Chess Championships (http://www.wscc2018.european-chessacademy.com/index.php/en/) began today in Maribor, Slovenia. The USA contingent is being led by FM Nathan Resika (2124), number 49 on the list of entrants in the 50+ tournament. Michael A. Gilbert (1921) and unrated David Jones are also playing in the section. Leonid Bondar (1931) and Mariano Acosta (1721) are playing in the 65+ section. There are no USA women participating in the two sections only for women.

In the first round GM Henrik “Polar Bear” Danielsen (2504) of Iceland

was paired with Antonio Lopez Pereyra (2066), from Spain. GM Danielsen left the Polar Bear in Iceland so his opponent moved his f-pawn on move one! The opening turned into a Leningrad Dutch.

1. g3 f5 2. d4 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. Qa4 c5 10. dxc6 bxc6 11. Rd1 Bd7 12. c5 Nb7 13. Qb3+ 1-0

Lopez Pereyra was no doubt left dazed and confused.

Todaze lesson is to DEFEND YOUR PIECES! Everyone who knows me is more than a little aware that the first thing I teach is: 1) Why did my opponent make that move? 2) What move do I want, or need, to make? 3) AM I LEAVING ANYTHING EN PRISE?

GM Karen Movsziszian (2513) of Armenia faced Andres Belmont Hernandez (2080), of Mexico, with the game transposing after the third move into a Bird!

1. g3 Nf6 2. Bg2 d5 3. f4 Nc6 (See 3…g6 below) 4. Nf3 e6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Kh1 Bb7 9. Qe2 a5 10. a4 Qb8 11. Nc3 Rd8 12. Nd1 Ra7 13. Nf2 Ba6 14. c4 dxc4 15. dxc4 Bb7 16. b3 Nb4 17. e4 Nd7 18. Bb2 Nc5 19. Nd4 Ra8 20. Rad1 Nc6 21. Qe3 Nxd4 22. Bxd4 Bc6 23. g4 Qb7 24. g5 Rd7 25. Bb2 Rad8 26. Rxd7 Rxd7 27. h4 f5 28. gxf6 Bxf6 29. Bxf6 gxf6 30. Rg1 Rg7 31. Qd4 Kf7 32. Bf3 Rxg1+ 33. Kxg1 Qc8 34. Ng4 e5 35. fxe5 Bxe4 36. Nh6+ Kg6 37. Bxe4+ Kxh6 38. Qe3+ Kh5 39. Bf3+ Kg6 40. Qf4 Qe6 41. h5+ Kg7 42. h6+ Kg6 43. exf6 Qf5 44. Qxf5+ Kxf5 45. f7 Ne6 46. Kf2 Kg6 47. Ke3 Kxh6 48. Bd5 Nf8 49. c5 bxc5 50. Kd3 Kg7 51. Kc4 Nd7 52. Kb5 h5 53. Kxa5 Nb8 54. Bf3 Kxf7 55. Bxh5+ Ke7 56. Kb5 Kd6 57. Be8 Ke7 58. Bg6 Kd6 59. Be4 Ke5 60. Bf3 Kd6 61. a5 Nd7 62. a6 Nb6 63. a7 c4 64. bxc4 c6+ 65. Kxb6 1-0

Gata Kamsky (2638) vs Samuel Sevian, (2600)
US Chess Masters 2016
Greensboro, North Carolina USA 08/27/2016

1. g3 Nf6 2. Bg2 d5 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Qe1 Nc6 8. e4 dxe4 9. dxe4 e5 10. f5 gxf5 11. Nh4 Nxe4 12. Nxf5 Bxf5 13. Rxf5 Nd6 14. Rf1 e4 15. c3 Ne5 16. Qe2 Nd3 17. Bf4 f5 18. Na3 Be5 19. Be3 Qd7 20. Rad1 Qg7 21. Nc2 Rf8 22. Nb4 f4 23. gxf4 Nxf4 24. Bxf4 Bxf4 25. Nd5 Be5 26. Qh5 Rfe8 27. Qh3 Kh8 28. Kh1 Rf8 29. Qh5 Rxf1+ 30. Rxf1 Rg8 31. Bh3 Nc4 32. Ne7 Qxe7 33. Rf7 Qxf7 34. Qxf7 Nd6 35. Qxc7 a6 36. Bf5 Rg7 37. Qd8+ Rg8 38. Qe7 Nxf5 39. Qxe5+ Ng7 40. Qxe4 Rb8 41. Qe7 h5 42. Qc7 Re8 43. Qxb7 Re2 44. Kg1 Kh7 45. c4 h4 46. c5 h3 47. c6 Rg2+ 48. Kf1 Kg6 49. c7 Nf5 50. Qb6+ 1-0

Annotations to the Senior game can be found at http://live.chessbase.com/watch/28th-WSCC-Open-50-2018.

Reading the New South

The following article appeared in the venerable New York Times after the last post was composed, and posted, as if by synchronicity…

After getting to know a little about me a fellow in Louisville, Kentucky, Rick Rothenberg, from Indiana, said I reminded him of another Southerner he had known earlier. Rick said, “The man was so Southern he would not even go out of the house if the wind was blowing from the north!”

Reading the New South

A group of forward-thinking, upstart journals and websites are exploding the stereotypes so many attach to this place and its people.

By Margaret Renkl

Contributing opinion writer

Sept. 17, 2018

Some of Lyndsey Gilpin’s collection of books on the South.CreditCreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

NASHVILLE — I was a graduate student in Philadelphia when James Watt, the former Secretary of the Interior of the United States, came to campus in 1984. Mr. Watt’s brief tenure in federal office was characterized by an almost cartoonish villainy. Rolling Stone magazine called his attitude toward the environment a “rip-and-ruin view of our natural resources, land, water, parks and wilderness.” That night Watt argued for letting each state set its own air- and water-safety standards, a position that makes no sense if you’re aware that rivers and winds don’t respect state borders.

During the Q. and A., I took my turn at the microphone to make this point. “Sir,” I said, “I’m from Alabama.” Instantly that giant audience of Pennsylvanians broke into laughter. Who was this cracker daring to voice an opinion about federal environmental policy?

Well, that was 1984, you’re probably thinking. Today we don’t judge people by their accents any more than we judge them by their skin color. People know better now.

Except they don’t. The political polarization of our own day means that a region like the South, a red voting bloc in national elections, is a source of continual liberal ridicule, no matter the subject. In June I wrote about the transcendently beautiful Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the most ecologically diverse places in the country. When I posted the link on Facebook with a note about its magic, someone commented, “Except that it’s in Alabama.” As though nothing in the whole state could possibly have any value at all.

As stereotypes go, this one surely doesn’t rank among the top 10 most objectionable human prejudices, but it stings even so. Fortunately there is plenty of on-the-ground proof to counter it. Among the most important is a raft of publications, many so new they’re still on shaky financial footing, that aim to convey the genuine complexities of the modern American South. They are planted in the South and created by Southerners, people who love this place but who nevertheless see it all too truly.

Unlike lifestyle glossies like Southern Living and Garden & Gun (which is assiduously apolitical, despite what its name might suggest), these publications blast past sweet-tea-and-moonshine preconceptions to convey the nuances of a region where people are rarely as ornery and dumb as they’re held to be in the national imagination.

The oldest of them is the Oxford American, founded in Oxford, Miss., but now based in Conway, Ark., which was first launched in 1992. (A print quarterly, it has foundered a number of times over the years, ceasing publication until new funding arrived, which somehow always has.) In many ways, it set the tone for all the publications that followed, celebrating the artistic innovations of the region but refusing to gloss over its manifold shortcomings.

The latest issue includes a nonfiction report by Kelsey Norris on a Nashville oral-history project focusing on the descendants of slaves; Beth Macy’s profile of the Appalachian playwright and novelist Robert Gipe; “Bikers,” a poem by the Virginia native Kate Daniels about her brothers (“What foreign lives they lived / With their deer hunts, and their / Love of speed, and their boring jobs / In factories”) and a short story by David Wesley Williams about a hitchhiker stuck in West Memphis, Ark. The story is called “Stay Away From Places With Directions in Their Names.”

The tagline for Facing South, an online publication of the progressive Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, N.C., is “A Voice for a Changing South.” The site focuses on politics, history and human rights, with recent articles on voting rights during Reconstruction, South Carolina’s present refusal to evacuate convicts in advance of Hurricane Florence and delays in compensation for people sickened by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scalawag, another nonprofit publication out of Durham, also reports regional politics with a progressive eye, though it covers regional art and literature, too, and includes a section titled, simply, “Witness.” The magazine, which is published online and in print, fosters “critical conversations about the many Souths where we live, love and struggle” and aims to empower “activists, artists and writers to reckon with Southern realities as they are, rather than as they seem to be.” Recent stories confront toxic masculinity, explain how to fight racism through the auspices of craft beer, collect a range of Latinx poetry from around the American South, and report on Syrian cuisine in small-town Georgia.

The Southern Foodways Alliance, based in Oxford, Miss., publishes a print quarterly called Gravy. Despite its name, the journal does more than report on cuisine, continuing the work of the alliance itself by showcasing, through food, “a South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions and lovingly maintaining old ones.” The latest issue includes an article on “The Queer Pleasures of Tammy Wynette’s Cooking” by Mayukh Sen and a profile by Osayi Endolyn of Joe Stinchcomb, an African-American bartender who invented five new cocktails, to celebrate Black History Month. The drinks had names like “Blood on the Leaves” and “(I’m Not Your) Negroni,” and they definitely raised some hackles down there in Mississippi.

For anyone still hoping to define Southern literature, storySouth is an online literary journal based in Greensboro, N.C. It publishes “the best fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry that writers from the New South have to offer,” according to its website. Subjects that seem to play into regional stereotypes can be found there at times. The current issue features a poem called “Roadkill” by Megan Blankenship and one by William Woolfitt called “Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Face of Christ on Tin,” for example. But read the poems: This is not your unlamented Agrarian’s Southern literature.

Perhaps the liveliest of the whole bunch is an absolutely wonderful online publication called The Bitter Southerner, an irreverent Atlanta-based site that truly covers the cultural waterfront, celebrating the lunacy of genuine homegrown geniuses, lifting up the unsung heroes of the region, and peeking behind the veil of great cultural institutions, and all while holding power to account in a part of the world where power has too often lost its uneducated mind.

But it’s the newest of these publications that most often captures my own attention these days. Southerly began in late 2016 as a weekly newsletter of investigative journalism, plus curated links to “News Flying Under the Radar” by other journalists around the region. Until this summer, when it received a grant from Solutions Journalism Network, it was funded entirely by Patreon subscribers, who monthly contribute an average of five dollars each through an online portal. Those supporters are still crucial to its survival. Lyndsey Gilpin — the magazine’s founder, editor and publisher — is a Northwestern University-trained journalist based in her hometown, Louisville, Ky., and her weekly reports from impoverished and often oppressed corners of the South have given a microphone to people whose voices are rarely heard in conversations about climate change, environmental exploitation or economic disparity.

Lyndsey Gilpin, founder of Southerly, an online magazine, near her home in Louisville, Ky.CreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

In July, Southerly grew into a full-fledged “independent media organization” that “covers the intersection of ecology, justice and culture in the American South,” according to its new website, and already it is taking no prisoners. The site — in partnership with The Montgomery Advertiser and Scalawag — launched with a four-part series on the breakout of tropical diseases in the rural South owing to failing sewage infrastructure. On Sept. 22, Southerly will convene a public discussion in Hayneville, Ala., about poverty-related illnesses and how communities can address the governmental crisis that spawned them.

Southerly’s mission statement sets out some uncompromising goals: “This region stands to bear the brunt and lose the most from the effects of climate change. It is experiencing massive economic shifts from a changing energy industry. The South is the fastest urbanizing area of the United States, but it is also the most economically distressed. Southerners deserve a publication that covers the nuances of their environment, history and communities without being condescending or stereotypical, without parachuting in from large metropolitan areas. The rest of the world deserves to know about the creative ways communities here are adapting to these changes, and the challenges that come with that.”

You could almost call it a mission statement for celebrating — and transforming — the South itself.


While putting together the post of February 14, 2018, THE SURROUNDING GAME

(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-surrounding-game/), I was thrilled to see the movie was available on YouTube. After finishing the post I had something to eat and then rested. After a cuppa joe I settled in to watch the movie…Unfortunately it was no longer available due to a copyright infringement.

It has been many years since watching any movie in a theater. Since it would have cost five dollars to watch the movie online I decided to wait until it could be watched free of charge. The movie debuted on Netflix August 30 and I watched it the next day. The focus of the movie was on the young players. This caused me to reflect upon what I consider the best post ever made on this blog, or the earlier BaconLOG, for that matter (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/these-are-my-people/). It matters not what game is being played, or even if a game is being played. It is the same feeling one has when attending a convention of model train enthusiasts, or sports memorabilia fanatics.

When the movie ended I headed to the Internet Movie Data Base (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3973724/?ref_=nv_sr_1) to find it rated 8.1. A few minutes ago I returned to find it now rated 6.8. I liked the movie but am no impartial observer as I was there during the US Go Congress when it was filmed. I was living in Hendersonville, North Carolina at the time and traveled to Black Mountain four times during that week. I did not participate in the tournament because there was a “Meal Plan,” priced at $195, required for all attendees. I kid you not…The organizers did not expect participation by a local and they would not relent.

From the movie one learns there were only two hundred players who were members of the US Go Association a couple of decades ago. The exponential increase in the number of Go players has been phenomenal, and this was before the movie!

The 2006 Go Congress did attract 334 players. It was held at the Blue Ridge Assembly (https://blueridgeassembly.org/), a magnificent venue. I was reminded of the first Land of the Sky Chess tournament held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina (https://www.biltmore.com/). The majority of my time was spent in the room where books and equipment was sold. Most of the games I played were in that room and were played with those doing the selling. I did, though, play a few games with lower ranking players who were participating in the tournament. Since I was unable to win a game maybe the organizers, without knowing, did me a favor.

I purchased many books about the game of Go, including one, Reflections on the Game of Go : The Empty Board 1994-2004,
by William S. Cobb, that is priced at $125 at Amazon. It appears the price of Go books has increased dramatically since many, if not most, books come in digit form these days.

I had a wonderful time during that week and met many people who were extremely nice to me, even if I was considered to be some kind of curiosity since I was considered a Chess and Backgammon board game player. When it came time to eat I went to a Mexican restaurant in the city of Black Mountain where someone who lives in the area, and whom, per his request, I can never mention again, (this came after my post of July 18, 2018, https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=fuck+you+mr+president) had previously taken me for lunch.

Winning: It’s D Only Thang

In an earlier post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/winning/) I posited improving Chess by devaluing the draw to 1/4 point for each player. Lowering the value of a draw would obviously increase the value of a win. Winning is the point of any game, is it not?

The recently completed US Masters in Greensboro, North Carolina, using the traditional one point for a win and one half point for a draw, ended with four main score groups:

6 1/2




5 1/2




If the tournament had ended with exactly the same individual game results the outcome would have been entirely different. Before you leave comments and/or send emails, please consider I am aware altering the distribution of points would, most probably, have ensured many of the results would have been much different because players would be FORCED to alter the way they play. There would have been more fighting Chess since a win would be worth much more than the method currently in use. How many players would opt for any bye in any round? How many would take a 1/4 point bye in the final round?

This is how the tournament would have ended using the new method of 1/4 point for a draw:





IM JUSTIN J SARKAR (Includes last round 1/4 bye)






You can find the final standings, along with the prize money won, at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/table.aspx#198/USMASTERS/result-round9.html)

It is more than a little obvious devaluing the draw would put a premium on WINNING! Players would no longer be willing to “settle” for a draw. Players would be forced to stop playing for a draw and stop considering splitting the point, which is the point. Who knows, maybe players would become more like Victor Korchnoi and play slightly “dubious” opening moves intentionally in hopes of creating problems for the opponent right from the beginning of the game. Maybe an opening like the King’s Gambit would make a return.

This departure from what has become ‘normal’ would infuse the staid game of Chess with new enthusiasm. Gone would be the short draws that have become all too common. “Buddy-buddy” draws and group hugs would become a thing of the past, which is where they belong.

Here are a few selected games “played” at the 2018 US Masters, which can be found at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/Games.aspx).


round 1

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. h4 d6 6. Nh3 Nc6 7. Qb3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Ng5 Qe7 10. Be3 Nd8 11. Na3 h6 12. Nf3 Ng4 13. Nc2 Be6 14. Qa4 Bd7 15. Qc4 Be6 16. Qa4 Bd7 17. Qc4 1/2-1/2


round 1

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Ne5 Nc6 5. d4 e6 6. Bb5 Qc7 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Qg4 g6 9. Qg3 Qa5 10. Nc3 Bxe5 11. Bxe5 f6 12. Bc7 Qb4 13. O-O-O Bd7 14. Rhe1 Kf7 15. Bd6 Qa5 16. Bc7 Qb4 17. Bd6 Qa5 18. Bc7 1/2-1/2


round 2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. c4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Nxc3 7. dxc3 g6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bh6 Bf8 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bh6 Bf8 12. Bg5 1/2-1/2


round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Ne1 h5 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Nxd3 Nd7 10. Nd2 1/2-1/2


round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Be3 Nd7 8. Nbd2 f6 9. c4 fxe5 10. dxe5 Ndxe5 11. Nd4 Bb4 12. g4 c5 13. Qa4 Qd7 14. Qxd7 Kxd7 15. Nxf5 exf5 16. gxf5 Bxd2 17. Bxd2 Nh4 18. Bf4 Rae8 1/2-1/2


round 9

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. a4 Be6 9. Be2 h6 10. O-O Qc6 11. Ne1 Nbd7 12. Nd3 a5 13. f4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Qxe4 15. Qd2 Qh7 16. Qc3 Qe4 17. Qd2 Qh7 18. Qc3 Qe4 1/2-1/2



round 9

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. O-O e6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Nbd2 1/2-1/2

A total of ELEVEN moves were “played” in this game by both players. Under the format used in this tournament it is a pity these “players” were unable to “call it in.” The time used to “play” this “game” could have been spent much more productively in the bar. THIS IS NOT CHESS! This so-called “game” is one of the main reasons Chess has never become popular in America. Most of the world wants a winner, not a drawer!

GOP Lawmaker Jason Spencer Shows His Ass

Mike Luckovich Atlanta Journal & Constitution

I was born and raised in the Great State of Georgia. I recall reading about a study some time ago in which Americans were asked how strongly they identified with their region. Unsurprisingly, Southern people identified most strongly with their region. As the saying goes, “You can take the boy out of the South, but you cannot take the South out of the boy.” We Southern folk know it goes even further than just region. During a conversation while living in the beautiful North Carolina mountain area of what is called the “WNC,” I mentioned something about “we,” as in “We are from the South.” One fellow shot a question, “Where are you from?” After answering, “The Atlanta area,” he fired back, “You ain’t one of us!” Obviously, some of the folks in the WNC region identify strongly with that area…

Georgia is a large state, geographically speaking. Most of the population is concentrated in the larger metropolitan areas. Politically speaking, the forward looking and thinking people live in the cities. The more conservative thinking people, who oppose change of any kind, live in the rural areas, which was known during the last election cycle as “Trump country.” Georgia is, therefore, a greatly diverse, and divided, state.

If you live in the US you are probably aware of the Republican State Congressman, Jason Spencer,

who greatly embarrassed our state on TV recently. If you live in other parts of the world, as do many of my readers, you may not have heard of the debacle. In case you missed it, here is Jason, the Republican, in all his glory:

Here are a few articles written after Jason made a fool of himself on national TV:

GOP Lawmaker Jason Spencer Strips Down, Screams ‘N-Word’ on Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’

The second episode of Baron Cohen’s Showtime series upped the ante with Dick Cheney and a seriously unhinged state representative from Georgia.

Matt Wilstein
07.22.18 10:31 PM ET

Georgia lawmaker refuses to resign after using racial slur on Sacha Baron Cohen show

Jason Spencer also dropped his pants in Who Is America? series after being told it would scare off Muslim terrorists

Watch Sacha Baron Cohen Get Georgia State Rep to Shout Racial Slur, Drop Pants

Other Georgia lawmakers called for Spencer to resign, issue apology after Republican shouted “n-word” on ‘Who Is America?’

By Ryan Reed

Brother Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia, September 23, 1930. Listening to this song always gives me chills.


The much anticipated world wide release of THE SURROUNDING GAME is tomorrow, Febuary 15, 2018.

“The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go.”

– Edward Lasker, Chess Grandmaster

(This is from the website [https://www.surroundinggamemovie.com/] and as most Chess players know, is a mistake. Edward Lasker was awarded the title of International Master, which is below that of Grandmaster, by FIDE, the governing body of world Chess. “Chessmetrics.com estimates his peak strength as 2583, a good Grandmaster by modern standards. The site also estimates his ranking as ranging between 18th in the world and 28th in the world for the nine-year period 1917–26.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lasker] In addition, there is a dispute about the quote, with some attributing it to former World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker, a distant relative.)


The ancient game of Go is the most complex and elegant game ever discovered. Though the rules are simple enough to teach a child, the complexity that emerges has inspired millennia of study. For three thousand years, master players in East Asia have handed down the game as an art form to foster patience, creativity, and self-reflection. Today in the elite world of the pros, international tournaments offer hundred-thousand dollar prize purses, and top matches are broadcast on 24-hour “Go TV” to millions of fans in China, Korea, and Japan. But in the West, most people have never even heard of the game… until now.

THE SURROUNDING GAME follows the lives of three young Americans vying to become the first-ever Western professional players. Quirky, cerebral, and disillusioned with conventional views of success, they represent a new generation of players, on the doorstep of adulthood. As the competition intensifies and intricate patterns spill out across the board, the line between reality and imagination starts to blur. Their thoughts turn to anxieties about the future, and lead them on a journey through the game’s ancient past to ask what it means to live a meaningful life. Through an intimate portrait of these young players and interviews with the greatest Go masters of all time, the film explores the search for meaning that Go represents to its players, for whom the game is a distillation of consciousness itself.

Director’s Statement

THE SURROUNDING GAME (2017) is the first feature documentary about
the game of Go. Shot over 4 years in China, Korea, Japan, and the United States, the
film reveals the magical world of Go through the coming-of-age story of America’s
top Go prodigies.
Our protagonists Andy, Ben, and Curtis are gifted teenagers who have devoted
thousands of hours to the game. For them, Go is an escape to a world of pure logic
and mathematical beauty, a reminder of the ephemeral place human beings hold in
the universe. As they strive to become the first Western professional players, we
explore the search for meaning that Go represents to its players, for whom the game
is a distillation of conscious thought itself.

In East Asia, the game of Go is hailed as one of mankind’s great cultural
treasures. For thousands of years, masters and disciples have passed the game down
as a window to the human mind.
Now, for the first time, a group of Americans enter the ring, in search of a
prodigy who will change the game forever.

Go is the oldest board game still played in its original form.

Though its rules
are simple enough to teach a child,

the emergent complexity has inspired millennia of study.
In East Asia, Go is lauded as both art and national sport. Today, Chinese and
Korean students as young as five begin training in special Go academies; those with
promise sacrifice their high-school education, training for years to have a shot at
becoming professional players. In the elite world of the pros, international
tournaments offer hundred-thousand dollar prize purses and top matches are
broadcast on 24-hour “Go TV” to millions of fans in China, Korea, and Japan. But in
the West, most people have never even heard of the game.
Enter the American Go community: a ragtag group of gamers, Asiaphiles, and
aging hippies, captivated by the game. For decades, they have struggled to transplant
Go into American society with little success despite their burning enthusiasm. So in
early 2012 they take a gamble, striking a deal to launch the first Western professional
Go system. For the first time, America has a chance to compete on the world stage
against the Asian titans of Go… and everything rests on America’s top young Go

THE SURROUNDING GAME follows the lives of several top American
players, leading up to the competition to become the first Western professional.
Brooklyn-raised Ben Lockhart, America’s top white player, foregoes college to join
an elite Korean Go school. His close friend, Chinese-American Andy Liu, is the
strongest player in North America, despite little formal training. Introverted, quirky,
and deeply cerebral, Andy probes the limitations of his own mind in his quest to
transcend the tedium of normal society.

In the shadow of the game’s three-thousand-year legacy,

the American Go community descends into a small North Carolina town to crown the first American
pros. As they battle over the Go board, the players must confront deeper questions:
Can an intellectual art survive in the modern world? What drives their fanatical love
for Go, and why do they find greater meaning in the game than in real life?
Uncertain about their futures, they make a pilgrimage to meet the world’s greatest
living player, 99-year-old Japanese master Go Seigen.

Despite their diverging paths,
Ben and Andy face the same question: is a lifetime dedicated to Go truly worth

To escape the intensity of the American Professional Certification Tournament, Andy Liu (left) and
Evan Cho (right) play a game atop Chimney Rock in North Carolina.

Land of the Sky XXXI

The turnout at the 2018 Land of the Sky Chess tournament in the beautiful city of Asheville, in the Great State of North Carolina,

Sunset adds a warm glow to the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina

hosted by Wilder Wadford for over a quarter of a century, was down considerably from the previous year, although it was comparable to the number of players in 2016. This century the number of players has consistently been between 160 and 260, so the official total of 173 is on the low end of the spectrum. Back in the day, meaning last century, LOTS drew as many as 300 participants. It is
difficult to get a handle on the turnout trend line because of the occasional inclement weather in the mountains (one year we were forced to stay Sunday night because the down hill driveway was covered with ice, making it impossible to traverse), but I do see that the 3-year running average shows it down considerably. For example, the three years after We The People were Bushwhacked, 2009-2011, show an average of 185; while the past three years show an average of 181. In comparison, 2012-2014 shows an average of 231. Inquires to my mountain friends, and others, as to possible reasons for the decline run the gamut. The prize fund has stayed the same for about a quarter of a century. There is no corporate sponsorship like in Europe, or even here in the states. I played in the Govornor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2002 and the community had gotten behind the tournament in a big way. Could it be that communities have turned off Chess? Another possible reason expressed is that the Land of the Sky tournament shows a large disparity between the young and the old, with not so many players between those ages. Another wrote, “Why should I spend all that money to go play chess when I can make hundreds of dollars staying at home teaching?” Although he has a point, the fact is that if everyone did the same there would be no more Chess tournaments, and, hence, no more students.
Another stated bluntly, “I think the major reason is Chess in the US is declining in general.” One player who did not attend offered this frightening reason, “Bacon, people are AFRAID OF NUCLEAR WAR, and are holding their cards close to the chest, afraid to go anywhere or spend any money.” One wrote, “You’re actually writing about the LOTS? Maybe there should have been more publicity before the tournament. You’re closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.” Lastly, “Chess is doomed!”

On to the games! The first game was played in the Under 2200 section. Gene Nix, the main man in Greenville, South Carolina, President, Greenville Chess Club, and Treasurer of the SC Chess Association, faced off with Randal Ferguson, who has fallen one point below NM. Randal has been out of action for almost a year and the rust showed. Some years ago he was a solid NM, and I say that from personal experience as I lost to him at least once and always thought of him as a strong player. The game was played Saturday morning at the “hurry up and get it over” speed.

Gene Nix (1907) vs Randal Ferguson 2199

Round one

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. g4 b5 11. a3 Bb7 12. Bg2 Rc8 13. Rd2 Nb6 14. Re1 Nc4 15. Rd3 O-O 16. Bh4 Rfd8 ( Nxe4!) 17. Bg3 e5 (The normal break would appear to be 17…d5) 18. Nf5 exf4 19. Bxf4 Ne5 20. Bxe5 dxe5 21. Nxe7 Qxe7 22. Rxd8 Rxd8 23. g5 Nd7 24. h4 Nb6 25. Rd1 Rc8 26. Bh3 Rd8 27. Qf2 Rxd1 28. Nxd1 Qd6 29. Nc3 g6 30. h5 (Maybe simply Bg2) gxh5 31. Bf5 Kg7 32. Qh2 Nc4 33. Qxh5 h6 34. Nd5 Bxd5 35. exd5 hxg5 36. Qxg5 Kf8 37. Be4 Qb6 38. Bd3 Qe3 39. Qxe3 Nxe3 40. d6 Ke8 41. a4 Kd7 42. axb5 axb5 43. Bxb5 Kxd6 44. Kd2 Nd5 45. c4 Nc7 46. Ba4 Kc5 47. Kc3 Na6 48. Bb5 Nb4 49. Bd7 f6 50. Bf5 Nc6 51. Kd3 Nd4 52. Be4 Ne6 53. Bf5 Nd4 54. Be4 Kb4 55. Bg6 Kb3 56. Bf7 Kxb2 57. c5 Kc1 58. Bd5 Kd1 59. c6 Nxc6 60. Bxc6 1/2-1/2

The next game features the Yerminator, GM Alex Yermolinsky,

known for his Yermo’s Travelogue pieces on Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/yermo-s-travelogue-2nd-sevan-muradian-memorial), versus the Ol’ Swindler, NM Neal Harris.

I write this with a smile on my face, which is what Neal had on his face when informed that he had been given the moniker “Ol’ Swindler” by a disgruntled legendary Georgia Chess player who had lost to Neal in the same line, and in the same way, as he had previously, going down in flames quickly both times. The legendary one exclaimed, “That Neal ain’t nothing but an Ol’ Swindler!!!” Let that be a lesson to you; go over your losses so you do not lose that particular way again.

Alex Yerminator (2587) vs Ol’ Swindler (2209)

Round two

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3 8. bxc3 O-O 9. a4 (This is a Theoretical Novelity) e5 (If a student had played this game Neal would, most probably, explained that white intends on playing Ba3 next, attacking the Rook on f8, so it would be advisible to move the Rook to e8 now in order to take the sting outta the Bishop move. I am far stronger when reviewing a game than when sitting at the board with the clock ticking. Hence, Armchair Warrior! Why would Neal play e5? My guess is that, being an aggressive type Ol’ Swindler, he wanted to come at the GM!) 10. Ba3 Re8 11. Ng5 Be6 12. Nxe6 fxe6 13. O-O e4 14. f3 Nd5 15. Qd2 Nb6 16. Ba2 exf3 17. Rxf3 Ne5 18. Rh3 Nec4 19. Bxc4 Nxc4 20. Qd3 Nxa3 21. Qxh7 Kf7 22. Rf1 Ke7 23. Qxg7 Kd6 24. Qe5 Kd7 25. Rh7 Kc8 26. Rff7 Rh8 1-0

The game of the tournament occurred in the third round. Pairings are everything in a short Swiss tournament and the Yerminator drew the short straw, being given the black pieces against the much younger, and stronger, GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2613) vs Alex Yermolinsky (2587)

Round 3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4 4. Nbd2 d6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 e5 7. d5 Bxd2 8. Nxd2 Ne7 9. e4 O-O 10. O-O Ng6 11. Qc2 Ne8 12. c5 dxc5 13. Qxc5 Nd6 14. b3 b6 15. Qc2 f5 16. Bb2 f4 17. Nf3 Qe7 18. Rac1 Rf7 19. h4 Bg4 20. Ng5 f3 21. Nxf7 fxg2 22. Kxg2 Nxf7 23. Qxc7 Nxh4 24. gxh4 Qxh4 25. Qc3 Be2 26. Rfe1 Qxe4 27. f3 Qg6 28. Kf2 Bb5 29. Rg1 Qf5 30. Qe3 Rd8 31. Qe4 Qf6 32. Rc7 Ng5 33. Qg4 h6 34. Bc1 e4 35. Bxg5 hxg5 36. Qe6 Qxe6 37. dxe6 Rd2 38. Kg3 exf3 39. Kxf3 Rd3 40. Ke4 1-0

The next morning in the fourth round this gem was produced:

GM Alexander Ivanov (2568) vs GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2613)

Round four

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Nxe5 7. Rxe5 Be7 8. Bf1 O-O 1/2-1/2

With only 18 players in the open section this draw made some kind of sense to the GMs. Ivanov is a Senior while Moradiabadi is at the peak of his career. Why bother playing a real game when they can shake hands and rest before the last round? Why indeed…

Alex Yermolinsky (2587) vs GM Alexander Ivanov (2568)

Round five

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. e3 a6 4. b3 Bb7 1/2-1/2

There oughta be a rule against crap like this. Oh wait, there is! It’s just that the organizer/TD with cojones enough to forfeit those who cheat Cassia has yet to be born! Alexander Ivanov

made ONLY TWELVE FORKIN’ MOVES on Sunday to steal his prize money. Pitiful…And Donnie gray had the audacity to ask, What’s the matter with draws? at at Chessbase. HERE IS YOUR ANSWER, DONNIE!!! (https://en.chessbase.com/post/what-s-the-matter-with-draws)

This left it up to Moradiabadi to play a real game of Chess in the last round while having the advantage of the white pieces facing a young man rated about 300 points, at least one class, maybe two, below him. Just another day at the office for the Grandmaster…

GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2613) vs Sanjay Ghatti (2341)

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Qxc4 Bd5 11. Qd3 Be4 12. Qe3 c6 13. Nc3 Bc2 14. Re1 Bg6 15. Ne5 Nd5 16. Qd2 Nd7 17. Nxg6 hxg6 18. e4 Nxc3 19. bxc3 Qa5 20. Qb2 Rab8 21. Bd2 e5 22. f4 exd4 23. cxd4 Qb6 24. Qxb6 Nxb6 25. Rec1 Bf6 26. e5 Be7 27. a5 Nc8 28. Be3 Bd8 29. d5 cxd5 30. Bxd5 Re8 31. Bxb7 Rxb7 32. Rxc8 Rc7 33. Ra8 f6 34. Rd1 1-0

This left Moradiabadi with 4 1/2 points, a full point ahead of the two older GMs.Ivanov and Yermo left the beautiful western North Carolina mountains with $350 each. Elsan nabbed $880. Sanjay Ghatti and Mark Biernacki (2187), who beat NM Peter Bereolos (2244) in the last round, tied for ‘best of the rest’with 3 points, along with Neo Zhu (2142), who forced Benjamin Yan (1986) to take the dreaded blue pill in the final round. Because of the way things are done in Chess Biernacki and Zhu each won $220, while the higher rated Sanjay Ghatti left with only $180. To make things even worse for Sanjay his performance rating was 2376, better than both Biernacki (2323) and Zhu (2117). In addition, the latter two players had white in three games, while Mr. Ghatti had the black pieces three times; white only two. Who said Chess tournaments were fair? I would attempt to explain this to my international readers, but why bother? The inequities have been there for decades, or longer, and the will to improve things in the Chess world is simply not there…

In the hard fought Asheville section, for players under 2200, David High (2055) drew with Michael Kliber (1915) in the final round to tie for first, along with Alexander Rutten (1998), who became an Expert. Each scored 4 points. All scored $373. Four players each scored 3 1/2 points in the section. Three of the four garnered $147, while one fortunate son left with $280.

Michael Kliber (1915) vs David High (2055)

Last round

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. c3 d6 6. e4 Qe8 7. Bd3 e5 8. O-O h6 9. Bh4 Nh5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ne1 Nf4 12. Nc4 Nd7 13. Ne3 Nc5 14. f3 Be6 15. Qc2 g5 16. Bf2 Qc6 17. Bc4 Bxc4 18. Nxc4 Ncd3 19. Nxd3 Qxc4 20. Nxf4 exf4 21. Rfd1 Rfd8 22. h4 Rxd1 23. Qxd1 Qb5 24. Qb3 a6 25. Rd1 Be5 26. hxg5 hxg5 27. Qxb5 axb5 28. Rd5 f6 29. Rxb5 b6 30. a3 Rd8 31. Be1 Rd1 32. Kf2 Kf7 33. Ke2 Rb1 34. Bd2 Ke6 35. Be1 1/2-1/2

Alexander Rutten (1973) vs Peter Michelman (2065)

Round 4

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nge2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. d3 d6 8. h3 Bd7 9. Be3 Ne8 10. d4 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Ne5 12. Nce2 Nc4 13. Bc1 Qb6 14. b3 Ne5 15. Be3 Qc7 16. c4 a6 17. Rc1 Qa5 18. Rc2 Nc6 19. Nxc6 Bxc6 20. Nd4 Bd7 21. Kh2 Rc8 22. f4 Nc7 23. Ne2 Ne6 24. e5 Bc6 25. exd6 exd6 26. f5 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 gxf5 28. Nf4 Nxf4 29. Bxf4 d5 (Rfd8!?) 30. Bd6 Rfd8 31. c5 Qb5 32. Rxf5 d4 33. Rcf2 Qc6 34. Kh2 b6 (? f6 !?) 35. Rxf7 bxc5 1-0

In the Buncombe section Benjamin Webb (1672) drew with Brian Lee Moore (1677) in the last round to finish clear first with 4 1/2 points. Mr. Webb won the second highest amount of money of all the winners of all the sections, taking home $560.

Benjamin Webb (1672) vs Brian Lee Moore (1677)

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. exd6 exd6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Nc3 Bg4 8. Be3 g6 9. Qe2 Qe7 10. O-O-O Bg7 11. c5 dxc5 12. dxc5 Bxc3 13. cxb6 Bg7 14. bxc7 Qxc7 15. Bb6 Qe7 16. Qxe7 Nxe7 17. Bb5 Nc6 18. Rhe1 Be6 19. Bc5 Rd8 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Nd4 Bxd4 22. Bxd4 O-O 23. Bxa7 Bxa2 24. Bc5 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Re8 26. Bd4 Bb3 27. Rd3 Re1 28. Kd2 Rd1 29. Kc3 Rxd3 30. Kxd3 Kf8 31. Bf6 Ke8 32. Ke3 Kd7 33. Kf4 Ke6 34. Bc3 h5 35. Kg5 1/2-1/2

Brian joined Vladimir Besirovic, Asha Kumar, Eli Davis Moore, Lukas Komel, and last, but not least, my friend, fellow Senior, Bruce Goodwin, the Chess Cat, the man behind the Smoky Mountain Chess Club, with 4 points, to tie for second place in the section with the most players. Mr. Kormel won $280; Mr. Eli Davis Moore and Mr. Kumar each left with $220; while Brian Lee Moore and Vladimir Besirovic were lucky to leave with $93.