Battle of the Sexes Chess Tournament

Before reading further please replay this game:

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. b4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 f6 11. Bc4 e5 12. a3 a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 Bf5 16. O-O Bg6 17. a4 Bb4 18. c3 Be7 19. Be6 Nd7 20. Nb3 Ra7 21. c4 Rf8 22. a5 Bf7 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. g4 h5 25. h3 hxg4 26. hxg4 g6 27. Rf2 b6 28. Bc3 Bd8 29. Nd2 f5 30. Raf1 Bh4 31. Rh2 Bg5 32. Rh8+ Ke7 33. axb6 Bxe3+ 34. Kh1 Nxb6 35. Nxe4 Ra4 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. Re1 Nxc4 38. Nc5 Ra2 39. Rb1 Rc2 40. Ba1 Nd6 41. Rh2 Rxh2+ 42. Kxh2 f4 43. Nd3 Ke6 44. Kg2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Rg7 46. Rb8 Rg3+ 47. Ke2 Nc4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. Rh8+ Kg4 51. Rg8+ Kh3 52. Rh8+ Kg4 53. Rg8+ Kh5 54. Rh8+ Kg5 55. Rg8+ Kh5 56. Rh8+ Kg4 57. Rg8+ 1/2-1/2

I had no intention of writing anything about the GibChess Battle Of The Sexes before checking out the games this morning. After being out of the house for several hours the games were concluded upon my return. The game just presented caught my attention. Regular readers will understand why…

Jovanka Houska

IM Jovanka Houska, courtesy of John Upham Photography

is a WGM and was the subject of a previous post ( Jovie, as she is known, has been a prolific writer about Chess, such as opening books, and even a novel, a paperback doorstop. She can be seen broadcasting Chess games. Ms. Houska has made a nice career out of Chess, the kind of career that must make a male National Master envious, if not mad as HELL, because the fact is many, if not all, men resent the favoritism shown women involved with the Royal Game. The fact is it would be almost impossible for a male 2300 player to have the income granted Ms. Houska simply because she is a woman. Name the last 2300 rated male you saw broadcasting any kind of Chess game. They would not be taken seriously. Period. How many books do you think the 2300 male about whom I am writing would sale? “WGM” is for, “Woman Grandmaster.” It does not mean Jovanka is a Grandmaster who happens to be a woman. The word alone, “Grandmaster,” signifies a Grandmaster Chess player. A Grandmaster can be of either sex. Only a woman can be a “Woman Grandmaster.” Are you confused? That’s OK, so is the Chess world. To become a “Grandmaster” a player must meet certain requirements (excepting those that do not), one of which is a minimum rating of 2500. To give you an idea of the range of a Grandmaster, the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, is rated over 2850. A National Master of the United States must have a rating of at least 2200. A Senior Master (and that does not mean “Senior” as in older[er] player) must have a rating of at least 2400. Now that you have that straight let us move on to what it takes to become a “WGM.” It takes all of 2300 points to become a “WGM.” I kid you not. If a male reaches 2300 he is still a “NM”. In Chess circles once a player reaches 2300 he is said to be a “Solid Master.” This writer reached and went over 2000 a few times and became an “Expert.” Things were much different ‘back in the day’ because there were far fewer players and no rating inflation. For example, around the time this writer was winning the Atlanta Chess Championship, Expert players were a factor in winning many Chess tournaments, and I do not mean tournaments of the local variety. In 1974 “A master-level chess player who had been playing chess since his childhood, (Alan) Trefler

Karpov 2010 Campaign Kick-off Party

competed in the 1975 World Open Chess Championship in New York City. Still a college student at Dartmouth, he entered the tournament with a 2075 Elo rating, 125 points below the lowest master-rated player, ranking him 115th overall in the tournament. He went on to be crowned co-champion along with International Grandmaster Pal Benko, who was rated at 2504. Trefler also placed ahead of Grandmasters such as Walter Browne and Nicolas Rossolimo, as well as future Grandmaster Michael Rohde.” (

It is an insult to Caissa for anyone to call any player of any sex a “Grandmaster” if rated only 2300. It is an insult to ALL GRANDMASTERS and has only served to cheapen the once lustrous title. That is why Chess now has terms such as, “Super Grandmaster,” and “Mid-Level Grandmaster,” and “Weak Grandmaster.” The vast majority of women who play the Royal Game fall into the latter category. Think of it this way, ‘Back in the day’ when women wanted to join the US Military there was a problem they could not solve; pushups. Women could not do the minimum number of push-ups, so the rules were changed allowing women to do push-ups while on their knees. Male soldiers must still do regular push-ups the old fashioned way by balancing on their toes. The battle still rages: (

Before leaving the the house last move made in the Eric Rosen (2356) vs Jovanka Houska (2365) game above was 21…Rf8. My first thought, exactly, was, “What The Fork?” I do not understand this move. It did, though, remind me of a former student in Louisville, Kentucky, who was being home schooled because he had pulled the fire alarm at school. He would make a non sequitur move like this and when asked why he made the move would invariably answer, “I dunno.” Got to be where I replied, “Just needed a move, huh.” That was about the only time the kid cracked a smile. Nevertheless, if you would like to explain the move to my readers Jovanka, please, by all means, do so by leaving an explanation in the comment section. After returning I made a strong cuppa Joe while thinking about the Too Much Coffee Man, real, actual Chess Grandmaster, and former candidate for the World Championship, Kevin Spraggett (,

and then sat down to replay the remainder of the game. The first move that shocked me was 33 axb6, which allows 33…Bxe3+! CHECK! Maybe there is a time when allowing your opponent to take a pawn while checking your King is a good idea. Then again, maybe not…
41 Rh2 (Turn out the lights the party is definitely O’ver)
After both moves numbered 44 I knew there would be much RED when later looking at the MOVES over at the ChessBomb. Like everyone else in the Chess world not named Allen Priest the Armchair Warrior was expecting 44…f3+, because everyone knows, “Passed pawns must be pushed.” I was uncertain after she played 45…Rg7, but I’m no Grandmaster. Then comes the move that ends the game, 47…Nc4. Ask any student and they will tell you this writer as a Chess teacher has been known to vociferously yell at the top of his lungs, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” As I tell the children in a much softer voice later, “Always examine all checks because sometimes a check turns out to be CHECKMATE!” Before playing the ill-fated and lame Knight move Jovanka had to see the next move her opponent made would lead to a drawn game by perpetual check, yet played it anyway, thus acquiescing to the draw. What can be said other than this is pitiful Chess, and not because it was played by a player with “GM” attached to her name. Not winning a game that should have been won would be bad for any player of any sex and any rating, excepting, again, Allen Priest.

Rosen, Eric (USA) – Houska, Jovanka (ENG)
Gibraltar Chess Festival | Battle of the Sexes 2022 round 02
B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. b4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 f6 11. Bc4 e5 12. a3 a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 Bf5 16. O-O Bg6 17. a4 Bb4 18. c3 Be7 19. Be6 Nd7 20. Nb3 Ra7 21. c4 Rf8 22. a5 Bf7 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. g4 h5 25. h3 hxg4 26. hxg4 g6 27. Rf2 b6 28. Bc3 Bd8 29. Nd2 f5 30. Raf1 Bh4 31. Rh2 Bg5 32. Rh8+ Ke7 33. axb6 Bxe3+ 34. Kh1 Nxb6 35. Nxe4 Ra4 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. Re1 Nxc4 38. Nc5 Ra2 39. Rb1 Rc2 40. Ba1 Nd6 41. Rh2 Rxh2+ 42. Kxh2 f4 43. Nd3 Ke6 44. Kg2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Rg7 46. Rb8 Rg3+ 47. Ke2 Nc4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. Rh8+ Kg4 51. Rg8+ Kh3 52. Rh8+ Kg4 53. Rg8+ Kh5 54. Rh8+ Kg5 55. Rg8+ Kh5 56. Rh8+ Kg4 57. Rg8+ ½-½

1 e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 (This is the old move, still played by the middle-aged ‘old guard’ players who rest on their laurals without putting in the effort to keep up with current opening theory. It was the choice of Stockfish 13, but Stockfish 14.1 @depth 49, and SF 310121 @depth 60, have progressed to the better move of 6…Nd7) 7. b4 Qf5 (Another antiquated move made by the woman better known for broadcasting Chess in lieu of playing the game. Three different SF programs all play 7…Qd5, and so should YOU!) 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 (Fritz and Houdini both show 9 Be2 best, but Stockfish 14 would play a move yet to be played by a titled human being, 9 d4. The move is not shown at Keep in mind I am using the ‘Big’ database which includes games from chumpy lumpies, like you and me. Surprisingly, two games can be found at the Chessbase Database)

One Pawn, Knight, Bishop, and Rook Save the Day

Sergei Tkachenko,

a Grandmaster of composition, is a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came in second in 2000. 2004, 2013, and 2017, has produced four books in which white ends up with just one pawn, knight, bishop, or rook in the finale manages to win or draw.

I think of these small books as “little jewels,” as in diamonds! These amazing and fantastic studies, some classics from bygone ages, others originally published in the Soviet Union, or ex-Soviet countries, and Sergei’s own compositions, are a feast for those who enjoy expanding their minds and improve their play.

I recall reading a story about former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

from Alabama, in which his father, James Rachels, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, a position in which one can now find Stuart, who followed in his father’s footsteps, said that when he came home Stuart would often greet him in the driveway while holding a Chess board with a study he had been attempting to solve. Stuart would have loved these books!

Each book contains one hundred problems. The paperback books measure four by six inches so they can be transported easily. They can also be purchased in Kindle form. Unfortunately only One Pawn and One Knight are available on Kindle now. They are free if you purchase a Kindle unlimited. How can one beat that price? In addition, the Endgame Books Available on the Forward Chess App, which can be found here:

Some examples follow:

Black to move

M.Klyatskin, 1924 (finale)

The first problem is No. 1 in the pawn book. It is one of the most well-known studies in Chess, and the solution should be known by anyone attempting to play Chess. This illustrates there are studies for everyone, from beginner to Grandmaster.

White to move and win

Authors: J. Kling and B. Horwitz, 1853

One more pawn study by the man famous for ending World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca’s

long winning streak (

White to move and draw

Author Richard Reti, 1925 (position after black’s first move)

From One Knight Saves the Day:

“Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single knight in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the knight’s resourcefulness. The first studies appeared in the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess (VII-VIII centuries). They were called mansubat (singular: mansuba), which can be translated from Arabic as “an arrangement.” Around 700 mansubat have survived, some of which involve a lone knight n the finale.”

Mansuba No. A1 from the XII century has spawned a vast number of studies:

White to move and win

Unknown author, XII century

The next is from one of the most famous Chess players in the history of the game:

White to move and win

Author Paul Keres, 1936

I had the good fortune to meet Paul Keres

A stamp released in the USSR in 1991 to mark the 75th anniversary of the birth of Paul Keres

at the Church’s Fried Chicken tournament in San Antonio, Texas in 1972. For those with a desire to learn about Paul Keres I highly recommend the magnificent six part series recently concluded @

The next volume, One Bishop Saves the Day,

contains a history of the development of the bishop. “In the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess, the bishop differed from its modern cousin. It could jump diagonally over both its own player’s and its opponent’s pieces. At the same time, this bishop was much weaker and more vulnerable: it moved diagonally only two squares at a time (no lese and no more)), which made it easy prey for more mobile pieces.” Examples are given, but you must purchase the book to see them, as I give only modern examples:

White to move and draw

Author Jan Timman, 1982 (Grandmaster Jan Timman

is the Honorary Editor of the best Chess magazine in the world, New In Chess)

White to move and draw

Author Pal Benko,

1967 (Everyone should be familiar with Pal Benko, the man who punched out by Bobby Fischer!

In One Rook Saves the Day

we find:

“In the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess, the rook was the strongest piece. The rook featured frequently in ancient mansubat (singular:mansuba) – the first chess compositions. In those days, it was called a ‘rukh’ (sometimes spelt ‘roc’ or ‘rucke’), an ancient and powerful phoenix-like firebird so big that it could even carry elephants in its claws.”

Black to move. White achieves a draw

Author Sergei Tkachenko, 2000, the GM who put these wonderful books together. (

Every day for I do not know how long I have gone to TWIC ( every morning an attempt to solve the Daily Chess Puzzle as a way of firing my brain. Since receiving these books I attempt to solve at least one study. There have been days when I hold the position in my mind and reflect on it throughout the day. For example, yesterday I kicked back in our new recliner to rest, close my eyes, and there was the morning position. One day we were busy so I had not had time to attempt to solve the position that had been indelibly etched in my memory, but when I went to bed that night, there was the position, which I was still unable to solve. The next morning, after taking a couple of jolting slugs of coffee, I opened the book currently being read, looked at the page, and “Wa La,” there was the position! Getting up immediately I walked over to the desk graciously given to me by my friend Michael (Mulfish) Mulford when he moved to Lost Wages, set up the board, and solved the study!

The books are published by Elk and Ruby (

‏I love these books I have come to think of as little nuggets of gold!

What is Chess?

The Legendary Georgia Ironman once remarked, “Chess is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” With my eye swollen shut I had time to reflect upon his statement while contemplating the question, “What is chess?”

The new people who have entered the chess world because of the scholastic craze do not seem to understand this simple fact. Their ignorance is masked by new slogans and “vision statements.” A recent example can be found on the forum of the North Carolina Chess Association. It is election time in the Great State of NC and Sara Walsh has thrown her hat into the ring, running for the post of VP. Unlike my home state of Georgia, the NCCA has a forum where mud can be slung, and from reading the comments on said forum, it is being fast and furiously flung. In her post of Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:14 pm Sara wrote, “While working on a project and looking for content, I realized that there was no About Us page on the NCCA website. So my challenge to you is to come up with a portion of an About Us page. A succinct overview of what defines the NCCA and its role in NC Chess. Think about what’s on the website, what’s in the Bylaws/Charter. One might include a Mission Statement, Vision, Objectives, a short history, possibly some highlights, or anything else you think belongs on an About Us page. Any thoughts?”

There it is again, the “vision” thing. What is it with women and a “Vision statement?” Does chess need a “vision statement” to answer the question of “What is chess?” Women evidently think it does.

The USCF has put all its eggs in the one basket of scholastic chess. Chess has become a game for children. Chess has become a “learning tool.” For example, the new Executive Director of the USCF, Jean Hoffman, writes in the August 2014 issue of Chess Life that one of the USCF goals is to, “Educate children, parents, teachers and school administrators on the benefits of chess as a part of a school curriculum and as an extra-curricular activity.” Thus far this new century has been devoted to transforming the Royal game into a frilly fun game for children in hopes it will give them a warm fuzzy feeling. Chess is anything but warm and fuzzy. The children learn chess at a young age. As they start to mature they realize what chess is in actuality and stop playing. Children are much smarter than some adults give them credit for, and are astute enough to know when adults are selling them a bill of goods.

Chess is a difficult game to learn and even more difficult to play. The game of Go, or Wei Chi in other parts of the world, has only a few rules and is much simpler to learn, and it does all the things chess people have sold to educators. The number of people on the planet who have taken to the game this century, most of whom are children, has tripled, and is increasing exponentially. Chess is a game of the past, while Go is the game of the future.

Chess is a war game. War does not instill the “warm fuzzys.” The mentally deranged yankee general, William Tecumseh Sherman, is best known for uttering, “War is hell.” Chess is hell. I have heard chess called many things, including, “Mental torture.” I have seen grown men brought to their knees by a game of chess. I have seen grown men cry after losing a game of chess. GM Vassily Ivanchuk once beat his head against a wall so hard and so long after losing a chess game that it left blood on the wall and dripping from his face. Chess is a psychic knife fight. Chess is pure and simple combat, which takes place in the mind.

Over the years I have read chess called many things by the greats of the game, and other notables. Here are some examples:

Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponents mind. – Bobby Fischer

Chess is ruthless: you’ve got to be prepared to kill people. – Nigel Short

Chess is, above all, a fight. – Emanuel Lasker

By some ardent enthusiasts Chess has been elevated into a science or an art. It is neither; but its principal characteristic seems to be – what human nature mostly delights in – a fight. – Emanuel Lasker

A chess game, after all, is a fight in which all possible factors must be made use of, and in which a knowledge of the opponent’s good and bad qualities is of the greatest importance. – Emanuel Lasker

Chess is a test of wills. – Paul Keres

Chess is a contest between two men which lends itself particularly to the conflicts surrounding aggression. – Rueben Fine

Chess is a sport. A violent sport. – Marcel Duchamp

Chess is mental torture. – Garry Kasparov

In the Soviets’ view, chess was not merely an art or a science or even a sport; it was what it had been invented to simulate: war. – Pal Benko

There is no remorse like a remorse of chess. It is a curse upon man. There is no happiness in chess. – H.G. Wells

Chess has been sold to the parents of young children as something it is not, a wonderful game where everyone goes home a winner. Life is not like that, something which the children learn the hard way. As the author Gore Vidal so eloquently put it, “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” Many aspire to be the best, but there can be only one World Chess Champion.

The following is taken from an episode, “Three Coaches And A Bobby” (season 3, episode 12), of the cartoon show, “King of the Hill.”

The problem with Soccer

I dedicate this version to my friend for over four decades, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, a BIG fan of…

REO Speedwagon Only The Strong Survive

I dedicate this version to myself because it was popular at the time I lost my first love and helped me out of the funk:

Jerry Butler Only the Strong Survive

And here is a live performance many years later:

Jerry Butler – Only The Strong Survive

I dedicate this cover to my crazy cousin Linda who had three passions in life, with Elvis being one, and include it because although many have been called the “King” of popular music, there can be only one King:

Elvis Presley – Only The Strong Survive ( Alt.Take,X Rated )