Raising a Shot Glass to GM Yasser Seirawan

During todaze outstanding coverage of the broadcast of the roller coaster ride at the Sinquefield Cup

commentators Yasser Seirawan

and Peter Svidler were displaying items on sale at the ST. Louis Chess Campus Q Bout!que, one of which was this:


Although surprising, it was nice to hear Yasser say, “One Bourbon, one Scotch, and one Beer.”

Comments on the Magnus Carlsen Affair

I often wonder how many viewers actually read the responses left by Chess fans in the comments section. I admit to having occasionally read comments, and used a few on this blog, but have not made a habit of reading the comments, but an exception was made because of the firestorm caused when the current World Chess Champion withdrew after losing to the young American Hans Moke Niemann in the ongoing 2022 Sinquefield Cup at the St. Louis Chess Campus. What follows are only a few of the myriad comments left, and still being left at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair). If you have not read the article you may want to do so before reading any further. In addition, there is a link provided in the article, the best I have ever read at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), and that is really saying something because Chessbase has featured an untold number of excellent articles over the years, to another excellent and thought provoking article, Paranoia and insanity, by GM Jacob Aagaard (https://forum.killerchesstraining.com/t/paranoia-and-insanity-by-jacob-aagaard/856/1).

The first comment, and arguably the most pertinent, is from Brian Lafferty, a well known contributor to the USCF Forum:

ChessSpawnVermont 9/8/2022 01:33
As a semi-retired US litigation attorney (NY State and Federal Bars), former Assistant District Attorney and Judge, I find it fascinating to watch Mr. Nakamura dig the defamation of character litigation hole that he now finds himself sitting in. Unless he can demonstrate with specificity how Mr. Niemann actually cheated in his otb game against Mr. Carlsen, he will likely have no viable defense should Mr. Niemann sue him for defamation of character seeking monetary damages for injury to his reputation and career. What Mr. Niemann may have done as a twelve or sixteen year old in online competition will likely not be probative at trial and may well be ruled inadmissible at trial. Likewise, suggestions that Mr. Niemann subject himself to a polygraph examination will not be probative. Polygraph examinations are not reliable and are generally not admissible as evidence at trial. (I have seen people lie and pass polygraphs. It’s a skill that is taught and can readily be learned)

Chess.com has also created needless potential liability for itself by barring Mr. Niemann from its site and competitions absent a clear finding that Mr. Niemann cheated otb against Mr. Carlsen. Note also, that at a trial, it is likely that Chess.com will be forced in discovery to reveal to Mr. Niemann’s experts any algorithm used by them forming the basis of a cheating accusation against Mr. Niemann.

I suspect that Mr. Carlsen has received the benefit of legal counsel as he has clearly refrained from making a direct charge of cheating against Mr. Niemann.

Thanks you for an excellent and comprehensive article.

At this point, this is all on King Magnus. Will he offer proof…or are we witnessing the sad undoing drama worthy of a Shakespearean King?

  1. He does the one thing any professional would unlikely do: abdicates his crown.
  2. His business empire started crumbling – so much so that PMG seemed ‘forced’ to sell itself to the ‘evil empire’ that is chess.com. How much of a slap in the face must this feel?
  3. Young Princes from different parts of the world (Praggnanandhaa, Niemann…) are mortally and routinely wounding him on the battlefield he once dominated. Some treachery must be afoot!

All this in just the past few months. Have the walls of the castle… simply begun to crack?

Yannick Roy
Great article. But to those throwing stones at Carlsen, let’s remember that chess, to a certain extent, induces paranoia. It pitches a mind against another mind. Losing to a young prodigy on a meteoric and quite atypical rise has to be very hard. It is true that after looking into the game and hearing all the declarations of those involved, it is becoming more and more difficult to believe that there was cheating. Carlsen’s mistake on the board pretty much dispels the suspicions one might have had.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away

Mel Griffin
I agree with aleenyc2015 and Soprano.I can’t remember the last time Carlsen lost in a mature manner. If it’s not slamming down pens, or storming off from the podium when Ivanchuk was crowned Rapid Champion. Disrespectful. When Sergey Karjakin was the first to win a game in the World Championship Magnus left the press conference before Sergey even arrived.
If Carlsen wasn’t fined for that he damn well should have been.
Champs like Fischer, Kasparov and the current one have all gotten away with certain things that no other would. Pointed out by Kramnik years back( he was in fact talking exclusively about Kasparov). Talk to Judit

and Naka about Kasparov’s touch rule ignorance. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/)(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/) In an interview with Nakamura after Kasparov released the piece during a game and then picked it up again and moved it to another square. Naka shrugged his shoulders in a dismissive manner and stated something along the lines of “Its Kasparov”…whatcha gonna do attitude. The DGT board actually registered Garry’s first move.

However, he’s all in for roasting Hans with ZERO proof.
It’s obvious that Magnus quit the tournament believing Neimann cheated.
If he does not believe this, he should have made a statement to clear up this witch hunt and slander. Magnus need to step up to the plate and be a man.
However, being 31. Living with your parents and reading Donald Duck comics…I don’t expect this anytime soon. Pathetic.
So Hans blew a couple of analysis lines with the commentator. Big f#%king deal. How many times has Svidler corrected Seirawan during this tourny alone. As far as social media goes. Regardless of subject, it explodes with a plethora of experts who irresponsibly hang a young man’s future in their hands.
This is so sad for the world of chess.

fede666 9 hours ago
I find this article by far the most informative and unbiased one on this matter on all chess sites … great work

Cato the Younger Cato the Younger
Kudos to the author for a superb article.

The impressions left of the two bad actors in this saga are not particularly flattering. Magnus, no doubt acting on the advice of his attorney, heading for the tall grass following his hit-and-run non-accusation. And Hikaru, maniacally pouring gasoline on a campfire

and engaging in what seemed like Schadenfreude. Neither of them expressing the slightest regret or admission of culpability. Well, nobody’s perfect.

But to me the worst villainy emanates from Chess.com. The public expects that a mature, serious business–a behemoth in the sport–would be run with wisdom and probity. But no, instead we see their senior policymaker(s) ‘privately’ imposing dire career-limiting sanctions on a teenager who has been tried and convicted of doing what, exactly? This is an unbelievably gratuitous and unjust action that needs to be reversed immediately with a humble apology, not that this would fully compensate for the damage done. Otherwise, Chess.com’s position amounts to gross misconduct.

Cato is not the only Chess fan who feels strongly about the “villainy” of Chess.com:

Toro Sentado
Replying to
And you just happened to do this to him the day after Magnus withdrew and you offer no explanation as to why? Incredibly tone deaf – yes. Also incredibly unprofessional. Did Magnus order this? Why is this being done in public? Awful awful awful. (https://twitter.com/danielrensch/status/1568033316347203584)

How has Mr. Rensch responed to the vast number of Chess fans criticizing him and his company?

Daniel Rensch
Replying to
My intention was to add some humor 🤷🏻‍♂️ not be vindictive. Sorry to everyone if it was tone deaf. Despite the hate and opinions all around, I legitimately want what’s best for Hans (and chess).

Hoping to hear from him…
8:27 PM · Sep 8, 2022
·Twitter for iPhone


The reputation of the Royal Game is on the line and this clown wanted to “…add some humor.”

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying
But I didn’t see that the joke was on me, oh no

If you are a paying customer of Chess.com my question to you is, why are you paying to play online when you can play free at Lichess.com?

The Kopec System

It has been my experience teaching Chess to children that they “make the darnest moves.”

Kids Say The Darndest Things
“Kids Say The Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter http://dovemediaworks.net/kids-say-the-darndest-things/

A prime example would be when after the opening moves of 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3, the student suggests playing 2…Bd6. After moving the bishop to d6 I asked a precocious girl, with the mellifluous name Haripria, why she had made that particular move. The answer came, “Because it protects the pawn, dummy.” That remark set me aback. After gathering myself the response was, “But it also blocks the d-pawn, and clogs up the works, dummy.” She howled with laughter. As we sat there smiling I recalled the Kopec System, based on White playing an early Bd3, blocking the d-pawn.


If you are a regular reader you know what comes next, but for you newbies, inquiring minds wanna know, so I went to the ChessBaseDataBase to learn it contains 45 games in which 3 Bd3 has been played, showing it has scored an astounding 66% against a very high average opposition of 2544! This is INCREDIBLE! I went to 365Chess.com finding it contained 97 games with a 70.1% score. My mind has been blown…

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bd3 Nc6 4 c3 Bg4 (The move of Stockfish; Komodo and Deep Fritz castle. 4…Nf6 has been played in 700 games with a winning percentage of only 49%. It is the choice of Deep Fritz 13 @depth22. 4…e5 is the choice of Houdini and there is only one game in the CBDB. Stockfish 14 @depth 29 plays 4…Bg4, of which there are two games contained within the CBDB) 5. h3 Bxf3 6. Qxf3 Nf6 (Houdini & Critter like 6…g6, but Fire prefers 6…e6. I miss Stockfish…) 7 Bc2 (There it is, the Kopec system. Unfortunately, the CBDB shows it has only scored 48% against an average rating of 2416) 7…g6 8. O-O Bg7 9 Qe2! (OK, I put the exclam there, and you regular readers and Chigorin fans understand why. This is the move chosen by SF 14 @depth 27, but I must report SF 12 going down to depth 46 likes 9 d3) 9…0-0 10 d3 (After this move 10…b5 has almost invariably been played. The CBDB shows two games in which the move was 10…Nd7; one each for 10…Qc7 and Rc8. The latter is the choice of Komodo. See game below. StockFish comes at you with a TN, 10…d5)

Khaled Mahdy (2390) vs Manfred Freitag (2285)
Event: AUT-chT 9697
Site: Austria Date: ??/??/1996
Round: 2
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Bc2 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 g6 8.d3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe2 Rc8 11.a4 a6 12.Be3 b5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Nd2 Nd7 15.Nf3 Qb6 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Bh6 e5 18.Bb3 Nb6 19.Rfd1 Ra8 20.Be3 Rfb8 21.Ng5 Nd8 22.h4 Rxa1 23.Rxa1 h6 24.Nf3 Kh7 25.Qe2 Ne6 26.g3 Qd7 27.h5 g5 28.Bxe6 fxe6 29.Nh2 Rb7 30.Qg4 Na4 31.Bc1 c4 32.Nf3 cxd3 33.b3 Nxc3 34.Bxg5 Qe8 35.Bd2 Ne2+ 36.Kg2 Bf6 37.Ra6 Rg7 38.Qh3 Qd7 39.Kf1 Qb7 40.Qxe6 Qxe4 41.Ng1 Qh1 42.Qf5+ Kh8 43.Ra8+ Qxa8 44.Qxf6 Qa1+ 45.Be1 Nd4 46.Qxd6 Qb1 47.Nf3 Nxf3 48.Qf8+ Kh7 49.Qf5+ Kg8 50.Qc8+ Kf7 51.Qf5+ Ke7 52.Qxf3 Qxb3 53.Qb7+ Kf6 54.Qf3+ Ke6 55.Qc6+ Ke7 56.Qb7+ Kf6 57.Qf3+ Ke6 58.Qc6+ Kf7 59.Qf3+ Kg8 60.Qa8+ Kh7 61.Qe4+ Kh8 62.Qxe5 Qc4 63.Kg1 b4 64.Bd2 Qg4 65.Bxh6 Kh7 66.Bf4 Rf7 67.Qe4+ Qf5 68.Qxb4 Qxh5 69.Qe4+ Qf5 70.Qh1+ Kg7 71.Qc6 Kg8 72.Qa8+ Rf8 73.Qa2+ Qf7 74.Qa5 Qg6 75.Qd5+ Rf7 76.Qa8+ Kg7 77.Be5+ Kh6 78.Qh1+ Qh5 79.Qc6+ Qg6 ½-½

Jordan vs Michel Sivan
Event: Lyon op
Site: Lyon Date: ??/??/1999
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d6 4.Bd3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Ne5 7.Bb5+ Nc6 8.O-O Qc7 9.d4 a6 10.Ba4 b5 11.Bb3 c4 12.Bc2 g6 13.a4 Rb8 14.axb5 axb5 15.e5 e6 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Nd2 Nge7 18.Ne4 Nf5 19.Nxd6+ Nxd6 20.Bf4 Qd7 21.d5 Ne7 22.dxe6 fxe6 23.Rad1 Nd5 24.Rxd5 exd5 25.Qxd5 Rb6 26.Re1+ Kd8 27.Qd4 1-0

Peter Svidler (2714) vs Alan Pichot (2630)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup Prelim
Site: chess24.com INT Date: 05/24/2021
Round: 8.5
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.c3 Bg4 5.Bc2 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.d4 d5 8.exd5 Qxd5 9.Bb3 Qe4+ 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Qf5 12.Nd2 cxd4 13.Bxd4 Nc6 14.Ba4 Be7 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qb3 O-O 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.O-O-O Rab8 19.Qc4 Rb5 20.Kc2 Rfb8 21.b3 Rd5 22.Qe4 Re5 23.Qd3 g6 24.Ne4 Qf4 25.Rhe1 Rf5 26.Qd7 Bf8 27.Qxa7 Rbb5 28.Rd8 Ra5 29.Qe7 Qh6 30.a4 Rxf3 31.Red1 Rd5 32.R1xd5 cxd5 33.Nf6+ Rxf6 34.Qxf6 Qh5 35.Qe7 Qe2+ 36.Kc1 Kg7 37.Qxf8+ Kf6 38.Qc5 1-0

Danny Kopec (2405) vs Maxim Dlugy (2550)
Event: Saint John op-1
Site: Saint John Date: ??/??/1988
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bd3 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.O-O d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Bc4 Qd8 9.d3 O-O 10.Re1 b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Nbd2 Qd7 13.Rad1 Rae8 14.a4 h6 15.Bh4 Nh5 16.Qe3 e5 17.Ne4 Kh8 18.Nf6 Nxf6 19.Bxf6 Kh7 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Bb5 f6 22.a5 Qd6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Nd2 Rd8 25.h4 h5 26.Ne4 Qc7 27.Rf1 Ne7 28.g3 Nd5 29.Qe1 Qe7 30.f3 f5 31.Ng5 f4 32.Rd2 Ne3 33.Re2 Qd6 34.Rxe3 fxe3 35.Qxe3 Rf5 36.Re1 Rdf8 37.Bc4 Bd5 38.Bxd5 Qxd5 39.f4 exf4 40.gxf4 Kh8 41.Qe7 Qg8 42.Re4 R5f6 43.Qc7 Rc8 44.Qb7 Rb8 45.Qc7 Rc8 46.Qb7 ½-½

Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It?

Candidates Tournament opens as Kramnik says it should have been postponed

The 2020 Candidates Tournament was officially opened today in Yekaterinburg, though all 8 players exercised their right not to attend the ceremony to avoid any coronavirus risk. 14th World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik pulled out of commentary on chess24, telling us tonight, “I strongly believe the Candidates Tournament should have been postponed considering the nowadays disastrous humanitarian situation in the world.” The event will go on for now, however, and we have Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler joining for Round 1.

Is this the new normal? Ian Nepomniachtchi in a mask as the players inspect the venue | photo: Lennart Ootes, official website


Jeffery Xiong Teaches The Truth

GM Jeffery Xiong

Jeffery Xiong is a fighter at heart | Photo: FIDE

had his back to the wall and was in a must win situation facing GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda

in the FIDE World Cup. Fortunately, the American had the white pieces for the coming battle. In that situation, after the opening moves of 1 e4 e5, what would you play? Jeffery Xiong decided to play “The truth-as it was known in those far-off days.” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=the+truth+as+it+was+known+in+those+far+off+days)

Jeffery Xiong (2707) vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda (2730)

2019 FIDE World Cup

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 c6 4 Nf3 d5 5 Bb3 Bb4+ (SF plays 5…a5 first, with 6 a4 then Bb4+) 6 Bd2 (Komodo prefers 6 c3, but the Fish goes with the move played in the game) 6…Bxd2+ 7 Qxd2 (SF 010719 @ Depth 38 plays the game move, but SF 010119 @D 44 prefers 7 Nbxd2) 7…Qd6 (Fritz 15 @D 15 plays this move, but Komodo @D 41 castles) 8 Qg5 Nbd7 9 exd5 cxd5 10 d4 e4 (Both Stockfish and Komodo would play 10…exd4, a move that does not appear at the CBDB or 365Chess!)

11 Ne5 O-O 12 Nc3 Nb6 13 f3 Be6 14 O-O-O Rac8 15 Qd2 a6 16 Rhe1 exf3 17 gxf3 Nfd7 18 h4

18… f6? (Former US Chess champ Sam Shankland writes in his book


that one should be extremely careful about moving a pawn forward because it cannot retreat. Maybe Duda should have read the book?

19 Nd3 Bf7 20 Qf4 Rc6 21 Qxd6 Rxd6 22 Nc5 Rb8 23 Re7 Kf8 24 Rde1 Nxc5 25 dxc5 Rd7 26 Rxf7+ Kxf7 27 cxb6 Rbd8 28 Nxd5 Kg6 29 c4 Kh5 30 Re4 Rc8 31 Kd2 g5 32 Ke3 Rf7 33 hxg5 fxg5 34 Ba4 Kh6 35 Be8 Rf8 36 Bd7 Rb8 37 b4 Kg6 38 Nc7 Rfd8 39 Re7 Rh8 40 Be8+ Kf6 41 Nd5+ 1-0

Duda had recent experience facing “The Truth”:

Peter Svidler (2737) vs Jan Krzysztof Duda (2729)

Riga FIDE Grand Prix 2019

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.d4 e4 11.Nh4 Nb6 12.Qxg7 Qf4 13.Qxh8+ Ke7 14.Nc3 Qxh4 15.Qg7 Bg4 16.Bxd5 Nbxd5 17.Nxd5+ Nxd5 18.Qe5+ Be6 19.c4 f6 20.Qg3 Nf4 21.d5 Nd3+ 22.Kd2 Qxg3 23.hxg3 Bf5 24.f3 exf3 25.gxf3 Nxb2 26.Rae1+ Kd7 27.g4 Bg6 28.Kc3 Nd3 29.Re6 Rf8 30.g5 fxg5 31.Rxg6 hxg6 32.Rh7+ Kd6 33.Kxd3 Rxf3+ 34.Ke2 Rc3 35.Rxb7 Rxc4 36.Rxa7 Kxd5 37.Ra5+ Rc5 38.Rxc5+ Kxc5 39.Kf3 Kb4 40.Kg4 Ka3 41.Kxg5 Kxa2 42.Kxg6 ½-½

Dejan Pikula (2461) vs Ivan Leventic (2454)

E TCh-CRO Div 1a 2014

ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qh6 Rxg2 11.Nh4 Rxf2 12.Nf5 Qc5 13.Nc3 Ng4 14.Ng7+ Ke7 15.Qh4+ Ndf6 16.O-O-O Qe3+ 17.Kb1 Qh6 18.Qxh6 Nxh6 19.exd5 Bg4 20.Rde1 Rg8 21.Rxe5+ Kf8 22.dxc6 bxc6 23.h3 Bf3 24.Ne6+ fxe6 25.Rhe1 Rg7 26.Rxe6 Nhg8 27.R6e5 Re7 28.a4 Bg2 29.R1e3 Nd7 30.Rxe7 Nxe7 31.Rg3 Nf6 32.Ka2 Nf5 33.Rg5 Bxh3 34.Ne4 Nxe4 35.dxe4 Ne7 36.Rh5 Bg4 37.Rxh7 Ke8 38.Rh8+ Kd7 39.Rb8 Kc7 40.Re8 Nc8 41.Rg8 Rf4 42.e5 Re4 43.Rg7+ Kd8 44.Rg8+ Kd7 45.Ka3 Bf5 46.c3 Rxe5 47.Bc4 Nb6 48.Bb3 Kd6 49.Rd8+ Kc7 50.Rg8 Be6 51.Rg7+ Nd7 52.Bc2 Kd6 53.Bh7 Re1 54.Kb4 Ra1 55.Rg6 Nf8 56.Rh6 Ra2 57.b3 Nxh7 58.Rxh7 a5+ 59.Kxa5 Bxb3 60.Rh4 Kc5 61.Rg4 Bc4 62.Rg5+ Bd5 63.Rg4 Rg2 64.Rxg2 Bxg2 65.Ka6 Kc4 66.Kb6 c5 67.a5 Bh1 0-1

Igor Malakhov (2425) vs Alexander Beliavsky (2657)

11th EICC Men
Round 2
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.Qxg7 Rg8 11.Qh6 Rxg2 12.Nc3 d4 13.Nh4 Rg4 14.Nf5 Qc6 15.Ne4 Rxe4+ 16.dxe4 Qxe4+ 17.Kd2 Qxf5 18.Rae1 Ng4 19.Qg7 Qf4+ 20.Ke2 b6 21.Bxf7+ Kd8 22.Bc4 Bb7 23.Bb5 Bf3+ 24.Kd3 Nc5+ 0-1

Nikita Vitiugov (2721) vs Alexander Zubov (2612)

17th ch-EUR Indiv 2016

Round: 7.4

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defense

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.d4 e4 11.Ne5 O-O 12.Nc3 Nb6 13.f3 Be6 14.Qe3 exf3 15.gxf3 Nh5 16.Qg5 f6 17.Qxh5 fxe5 18.Qxe5 Qxe5+ 19.dxe5 Rxf3 20.O-O-O Rd8 21.Nb5 Re3 22.Rde1 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 a5 24.c3 Kf8 25.Nd6 Rb8 26.Kd2 Ke7 27.Ke3 Rf8 28.Bc2 Nc4+ 29.Nxc4 dxc4 30.Be4 Bf5 31.Bd5 Be6 32.Be4 Bf5 33.Bd5 Be6 34.Be4 ½-½

Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.

Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”


The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.

Game One World Chess Human Chess Championship Commentary

There is a massive amount of analysis on the games of the 2018 World Human Chess Championship which you will not find here. What you will find are comments about the commentary delivered by some of the announcers during the first game played yesterday.

I began watching the commentary of Peter Svidler

because Yaz, Maurice, and Jen only appeared a couple of hours into the match. The wife of GM Anish Giri, Sopiko Guramishvili,

was sitting beside Peter. GM Alexander Grischuk

was included via a box which was probably via Skype. When the show began Sopiko giggled often, which was disconcerting. When Grischuk appeared she, thankfully, sat there silently as the two GMs analysed. I have always enjoyed Svidler’s commentary. Some of the wrap up videos he has produced after commenting on games all day are truly amazing. Unfortunately for Sopiko, in a live broadcast one either adds to or detracts from the broadcast. She was included only because of political correctness as she is a woman and many people involved with Chess deem it necessary to include a woman, any woman, in a futile attempt to attract more women to the game.

After turning them off I waited until the “A” team appeared. GMs Yasser Seriwan

and Maurice Asheley

did not disappoint. Once again NM Jennifer Shahade

joined Yasser to deliver a female perspective. The men wore normal clothing while Jennifer wore something with a strategic split along the top which looked like someone had taken a knife and slashed the top part of her clothing. This allowed a small amount of her ample cleavage to be shown in an attempt, one assumes, at attracting more male viewers. Have you ever noticed a man wearing anything similar? In the year of the “Me Too” movement it may have been better for the only female on the broadcast to have worn something more business like and less revealing. Can you imagine Yasser or Maurice wearing a top with an open rip in order to reveal part of their breast area? Me neither…

This was heard on the broadcast: “Magnus said he did not have the energy now at 28 that he had when he won the WCC.”

The human body replaces each and every cell every seven years. This is the year in which Magnus will replace his cells. I wonder if that may have something to do with his comment? I have been researching Major League Baseball players and age recently and one thing learned thus far is that a players peak year, once thought to be thirty, is now thought to be twenty eight. The highest amount of time on the disabled list is between ages twenty nine and thirty. I cannot help but wonder if there is also a correlation between the brain and body as far as ageing goes…

Magnus beat the hell out of a dead horse for 115 moves yesterday in a futile attempt to squeeze blood out of a turnip. His attempt failed and it is possible the attempt may come back to haunt him as he could be the one weakened, not his younger opponent. Once again Magnus had a winning game he did not win. The same thing has occurred against Fabiano in their recent encounters, but Caruana has held firm, just as Sergei Karjakin did against Magnus in the last match for the World Human Chess Championship. Has Magnus, the ultimate grinder, lost his grinding machine driving wheel?

During the critical part of the game Garry Kasparov

appeared on the program as a “special” guest via Skype. As Kasparov droning on and on I thought about a quote about Bob Dylan found in the book, Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and off the Tracks by Victor Maymudes.

A party was being planned and someone mentioned inviting Bob Dylan. “Don’t do that,” someone said, “Bob sucks all the air out of the room.” Kasparov sucked all the life out of the broadcast so I had to mute the sound and head over to the ChessBomb until Garry finally exited the stage.

As Magnus continued squeezing the turnip the talk turned to the format of the World Human Chess Championship. There was total agreement speed Chess should not be used to decide a WHCC but the gang seemed to like the idea of what is now called “rapid” Chess being used after “classical” games to decide a WHCC. There is currently a tournament, the Tata Steel India Rapid, being touted as the, “The first super tournament on Indian soil.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-first-super-tournament-on-indian-soil-begins)

I loathe and detest any kind of tiebreak, especially for a World Champioship match. To become World Human Champion a player should beat the title holder in a classical time control. Period. If the challenger cannot beat the champ then what is the purpose of playing a match? If the challenger can only tie with the champion then the champion should remain Champion. Ask David Bronstein.

The future of Chess has arrived, I am sad to report. It was inevitable because of rampant cheating. The Royal game will live or die with rapid. I cannot wait to hear Peter Svidler attempt to explain what is going on in a half dozen rapid games being played at the same time. The calm and relaxed Yasser who usually goes with a slow flow will be forced to pick up the pace considerably in the way a Major League Baseball announcer must adjust to the frenzied pace of a National Basketball Association game. Yasser is not getting any younger and it is often difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. The highly intense Maurice, on the other hand, may be able to adapt quite well. Give Jennifer a low cut blouse and with her smile she will do quite nicely at any pace.

The Najdorf in Black and White: A Review

Because of having played the Najdorf system during my formative years in the last century I was interested in learning about GM Bryan Smith’s new book on the opening (https://mongoosepress.com/the-najdorf-in-black-and-white/).

I met Bryan

at the 2009 Kentucky Open where he took first place by a half point. There were myriad problems with the tournament, directed by Alan Priest, which included no electricity for the lighting in the first couple of rounds, so it was played in semi-darkness, which seemed to not bother Mr. Priest. After developing a splitting headache, due to the poor lighting, and losing a game, I withdrew from the tournament, but returned the following day to spectate. While Bryan was waiting on the last round games to finish a conversation developed. Bryan is a quite, taciturn young man, the kind of fellow who lets his moves do his talking. I learned he was from Anchorage Alaska, and he is now the first-ever Grandmaster from Alaska. My home state of Georgia has yet to produce a home-grown GM. I recall asking Bryan why he decided to travel to Louisville in lieu of playing in one of the other, larger, tournaments in his area. He answered in a way that said he would rather be a big fish in a small pond that weekend rather than being a smaller fish in a much larger pond. “Better odds of taking home money?” I asked, and he produced a grin. We talked for some time and I transcribed what was recalled of the conversation later that day, but never used it, much to my regret. Bryan graciously answered my questions so what I recall was an enjoyable afternoon conversation with one of the nicest GM’s with whom I have conversed.

I have replayed many Nadjorf games since moving on to playing other openings, but have not devoted time studying the Nadjorf system with the intensity shown earlier when playing the system. For some time I have wanted a book to read on the system in order to compare the way the system is played now as opposed to how it was played last century, but the books are usually dense and voluminous, with a heavy emphasis on variations. Some of the books could be used as a doorstop. When my review copy, published by Mongoose Press (https://mongoosepress.com/), arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see it was only a small volume of 162 pages. The book is heavy on words, and ideas, rather than being yet another “data-dump.” Some have written books like the magnificent Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953,

by David Bronstein,

et al, cannot be published today because words, conveying ideas, are predominate. This book proves those writers wrong. Most of the variations included are short enough one does not need a board with which to visualize them. One of the players from my early days told me he liked to read a Chess book without using a board. There are enough diagrams for one to utilize this book in that way, which is exactly how I read the book. Then I read it again using a board and pieces because it is that good.

The book begins with an Introduction: The Cadillac of Openings.

“With this book, I present a collection of games played in the Najdorf Sicilian. The purpose of this book is not to be exhaustive – that would require at least ten times the content, and even then it would not encompass a fraction of the analysis and relevant games played in the Najdorf. This book also does not suggest a repertoire for either White or Black – although players can glean some ideas, since I have generally picked games played in the lines I favor. I think it is dishonest for a writer to try to portray an opening in only a positive light: ultimately, even the most objective writers of repertoire books have to massage the facts and minimize the problems of an opening – and every opening has them.

The purpose of this book, rather, is to show how to play the Najdorf, with White or Black, through archetypal games. I believe that by studying the games in this book, one can develop a solid general sense of the different types of game resulting from the Najdorf as played in the twenty-first century. It is my hope that readers will also gain some degree of enjoyment or entertainment from the games, which have been selected not only on their instructional merits, but also for their aesthetic value.”

The book will be judged by the criteria chosen by the author. The question is whether Bryan delivered on his promise. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In Baseball terms this book is like hitting a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series!

Bryan continues the introduction. “Having a lifelong opening that one knows inside and out like one’s own house is a major advantage to a chess player. It means that the player can always rely on reaching position that he understands in general terms and knows something about. Perhaps more importantly, though, it gives confidence.”

Reading the above caused me to reflect upon my early days playing the Najdorf. I have never felt as confident playing any opening as I did when playing the Najdorf system. Why did I stop playing the Najdorf system? Bryan continues the introduction, “A sufficiently rich opening will provide immunity against the winds of theory – if one variation is refuted, another can be found, so long as the opening is built on proper principles. I believe the Najdorf can be such an opening. Some may imagine that is is a theoretical labyrinth, suitable only for those with an incredible memory and a willingness to play twenty or more moves of known theory before beginning the game. It is true that there are certain lines in the Najdorf where this is the norm – for instance, the Poisoned Pawn Variation (6.Bg5 e6 7,f4 Qb6). However, the reader will see in this book that these variations can be sidestepped, and that it is indeed possible to play the Najdorf “by the light of nature,” with experience providing a guide. Most of the games I have chosen feature ways of avoiding these quagmires. Despite its sharpness, the Najdorf is an opening built on solid positional principles. It is basically a positional opening.”

When first beginning the Chess road the Dragon variation was very popular. Once a strong player advocated against purchasing a book on the Dragon because “It is written in disappearing ink.” He said that because the theory was changing so fast by the time you read the book, much of it had been refuted. The same could have been said about the Najdorf system. I also recall reading something about there being players who knew the Najdorf, but did not know Chess. I was one of those people, because like others, I knew the Najdorf, but not Chess. After leaving Chess for Backgammon, upon my return to Chess I simply did not have time to keep abreast of the constantly changing theory of the Najdorf system, so decided to learn, and play, other openings. Yet what I learned about Bobby Fischer’s favorite opening has stuck with me, while the other openings never infused me with the confidence felt when playing the Najdorf system.

After the introduction, and before the first chapter, one finds, The Development Of the Najdorf Sicilian, a seven page historical perspective of the Najdorf system. It begins, “The Najdorf can trace its origins to the nineteenth-century German master Louis Paulsen.

Paulsen was an innovator of defense. In an era when 1.e4 e5 was the dominant opening and direct attacking play was the main method of winning, Paulsen understood the concept of asymmetrical play and counterattack. His openings and positional play were often a full century ahead of their time.”

Louis Paulsen was one of the most interesting, and underappreciated, players from the early days of the nineteenth century. Paulsen’s ideas influenced the development of the Royal game greatly. I played openings such as the C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation, for example.

Bryan gives a game between Lewis Isaacs and Abraham Kupchick played at Bradley Beach in 1928, writing, “A forgotten 1928 game from a tournament in the U. S. might be the first use of the “real” Najdorf.”

Lewis Isaacs vs Abraham Kupchik

Bradley Beach 1928

ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 b5 7. Bf3 e5 8. Nb3 Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Rc1 Nb6 13. Na5 Rb8 14. Nxb7 Rxb7 15. b3 Rc7 16. Qd3 Nbd7 17. Be3 Nc5 18. Qd1 Qa8 19. Bg5 Ncd7 20. Nb1 h6 21. Bd2 Rfc8 22. Ba5 Rc6 23. g3 Nc5 24. Nc3 Bd8 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Nd5 Nxd5 27. Qxd5 Qc8 28. Red1 Ne6 29. Bg4 Rc5 30. Qd2 Rc3 31. Re1 Qc5 32. Re3 Rxe3 33. fxe3 Ng5 34. Qd3 d5 35. exd5 Rxd5 36. Qe2 Qc3 37. h4 Rd2 38. Qe1 Ne4 39. Bf5 Nf2 40. Bd3 Nxd3 41. cxd3 Qxd3 42. Rc8+ Kh7 43. Rc1 f5 44. a4 b4 45. g4 Re2 0-1

He culminates the chapter with, “Despite the opening’s great popularity and constant use at the top level for many decades, the Najdorf remains mysterious and has its unexplored areas, with the new ideas waiting to be born. Its attraction for the chess professional today is easy to understand, since it is an opening where it is possible to play for a win with Black, while it is also unquestionably sound. Although positionally and tactically very sharp, the Najdorf player still controls his own fate.”

Chapter one is titled, Va Banque: 6.Bg5. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 the author advocates Qc7. I never played any move other than 7…Be7 because, well, you know, that is the move played by Bobby Fischer. After studying the games, and positions, I came to understand why the author would advocate the move Qc7 for those taking their first Najdorf steps. The amount of material in the main line can be daunting for a neophyte. The fourth game of the chapter is one in which the author had white against Hristos Banikas at Retymnon in 2009. After the obligatory first five moves of the Najdorf Bryan played 6 Bg5, which was answered with Nbd7. “An old and new move – it was played frequently in the 1950s and again in the 2010s – and not so much in-between.” After 7 f4 we have Qc7.

The other chapters are:

2) The Classicist’s Preference: 6 Be2
3) Add Some English: 6 Be3
4) In Morphy’s Style: 6 Bc4
5) White to Play and Win: 6 h3
6) Systematic: g3
7) Healthy Aggression: 6 f4
8) Action-Reaction: 6 a4
9) Odds and Ends

To illustrate what I mean by the use of words, in lieu of variations, to explain what is happening on both sides of the board, look at the position from Game 11: Zaven Andriasian-Ian Nepomniachtchi, played at the 2010 Aeroflot Open in Moscow. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3

The reader finds, “The retreat of the knight to f3 rather than b3 changes nothing in the structure (at least not right away), but the choice of this square has a dramatic effect on the course of the game. In contrast to 7. Nb3, putting the knight on f3 leads to much quieter, more positional play, where White tries t dominate the d5 square. And why is this? Whereas 7.Nb3 allows for White to play f2-f3 with queen-side castling and a king-side pawn storm, after 7,Nf3 this is not possible. White will almost certainly castle king-side. In the meantime, b3 is left free as a retreat square for the bishop from c4. Consequently, rather than opposite-side castling and mutual attacks, you get a more positional struggle.”

Another fine example is from Game 14, Nigel Short

vs Garry Kasparov,

PCA World Championship, game 8, London 1993: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 Nbd7 8. f4 Nc5 9. e5 dxe5 10. fxe5 Nfd7 11. Bf4 b5

“In this way, Black places the bishop on its best diagonal (the long diagonal) before White can prevent it by Qd1-f3. Such a position might look good for White on the surface-the e5-pawn confers some space advantage and White has rapid development, plus the f-file is open and the white pieces are placed in threatening-looking positions. But such is the poison of the Sicilian. Black too has his advantages, and they tend to be more long-lasting. The bishop which will come to b7 will be very well placed. The advanced e5-pawn is not only a strength, but a weakness. And most importantly, Black has a well placed knight on c5 and a substantial advantage in space on the queen-side – the advance…b5-b4 is constantly looming over White, and the b3-bishop, if not activated in some dramatic fashion, could turn out to be a complete dud.”

One can turn to almost any page and find nuggets of wisdom such as the above illustrating the aims of BOTH SIDES! If one wishes to play the Najdorf system, or play against it, this is the book for you.

The author has dug deep, unearthing this game, found in the notes to Game 24, Judit Polgar

vs Dariusz Swiercz,

which I was unable to locate in any database. Bryan writes, “6…e6 is likely to be met by 7.g4, which looks like a fairly promising line for White – although 7…Nc6 is another possibility for Black to look into. Instead, the originator of 6.Qf3, American master Andrew Karklins, liked to continue with 7.b3. His record against grandmasters with this line was not very good, but he did have one major scalp:

Andrew Karklins

vs Peter Svidler,

World Open 1995

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 e6 7. b3 Qb6 8. Nde2 Qc7 9. Bb2 b5 10. a3 Bb7 11. g4 d5 12. exd5 Nxd5 13.
Bg2 Nd7 14. O-O Bd6 15. Qh3 Nxc3 16. Nxc3 Be5 17. Bxb7 Qxb7 18. Rad1 O-O 19.Qe3 Bb8 20. Ne4 Ne5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. Nc5 Qc7 23. f4 Bf6 24. Rd7 Qb6 25. Rfd1 Rfd8 26. b4 a5 27. Qf3 axb4 28. axb4 Kf8 29. Kg2 Rdc8 30. R1d6 Qb8 31. Qd3 1-0

This book achieves its aim, hitting the target with a bullseye!

Blunderful Berlin

Mark Weeks recommended on his blog, Chess For All Ages (http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2018/03/game-and-mistake-of-day.html) videos hosted by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko. I spent the off day watching the interviews before watching GM Peter Svidler

analyze the games between Aronian,

and Kramnik

from round three,

and Kramnik-Caruana,

from the following round. I have always liked Svid since reading an interview, or Q&A, in which he mentioned Bob Dylan as one of his favorite musical artists. I have previously watched some of his round of the day videos, which were excellent. They are usually filmed after a long day of analyzing Chess when he is obviously exhausted. They are, nevertheless, wonderfully elucidating, and the aforementioned videos are no exception. After the opening moves had been played today, I watched the post-game press conference with Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana

on Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en) before watching Svid give his take on the game, which I enjoyed immensely.

While working at the House of Pain (aka, the Atlanta Chess and Game Center), I noticed Chess videos had become quite popular. Being a fossil from the days when players obtained information from books, I wondered why anyone would pay that kind of money for a video when one could use it to purchase a book. Videos proliferate to the point now when one can obtain them freely via the internet.

I thought about this when receiving an email from Gene Nix, a player and organizer in Greenville, SC. (http://www.greenvillechessclub.org/index.html)

“I agree that kids are good to have around, in chess and elsewhere. A neighborhood with young children running round is more alive, and kids playing chess means tournaments will continue into the future, if more noisily. But they’re different now. I asked one of the Charlotte teenager Masters what he’d read to help him become so strong – My System, Zurich 1953, My 60 Memorable Games, opening monographs, or what? “I don’t read chess books.”

Good weekend to you,
On Friday, February 2, 2018

Ouch! That hurt. I love the feel of a good book in the morning. I begin most days with a book and cuppa coffee. A good day finds me with another cuppa afternoon joe, and a book!

I have read that beauty is in the flaws, or imperfections. This is applicable to Chess, for without imperfections some of the greatest games, most beautiful and exciting games would never have been played. Such is the case with the current Candidates tournament in Berlin. Peter Svidler can be heard saying, “…more mistakes are forthcoming.” He also says the games are, “…incredibly interesting and exciting,” because of the mistakes. Caruana has been involved in two of the games mentioned in this post, as has Levon Aronian. Fabiano was fortunate to win both games, while Levon was not so fortunate, yet he is to be applauded as much as Fabiano for playing fighting Chess, which has been infinitely more enjoyable than some of the draws made by other players. I hope a fighting player wins the event because one should not be able to draw their way to a seat across from the human World Chess Champion. “I’ve played pretty good fighting Chess,” said Caruana. Levon, probably the favorite going into the tournament, said in answer to a question, “Not my best; probably one of my worst.” For Levon it has been a

Myriad problems marred the beginning of the tournament. GM Kevin Spraggett detailed how bad were the conditions when he wrote, “The players in the tournament are really suffering. There is only one toilet for 8 players, the first day there was no running water! Now there is water, but it is soapy.” (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/the-laughs-at-the-candidates-tournament/)

Levon mentioned in the interview in answering a question concerning flashes from cellphones, said it was, “Not as noisy as the first couple of days.” For such an important tournament, second only to the Worlds Championship, this is unacceptable. Levon went on to say, “When you play badly your play is affected by everything, but when you play well it’s not so…” The sound of clapping could be heard from the audience.

Let us hope the Germans somehow manage to alleviate the suffering of the poor players for the last rounds of the tournament. The best human Chess players in the world deserve better conditions than they have received.

The Bird Attack

After having to face the Bird opening in round four, GM Peter Svidler decided to flip Jakovenko the Bird today. One can go months, years, without seeing a Bird, then the next thing you know one feels like Tippi Hedren in one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous movies.

Svidler, Peter (2743) – Jakovenko, Dmitry (2745)
67th ch-RUS 2014 Kazan RUS (7), 2014.12.05

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 (Although this is the most often played move, I was surprised to find, according to the CBDB, Stockfish plays c4, while Komodo plays e3) Nf6 (Stockfish plays g6, which has held White to only 40%! Komodo prefers 2…Bf5, against which White has scored 58%!) 3.g3 (Depending on the version, Stockfish plays either e3 or b3) g6 (Again, depending on which version, SF plays this, or 3…c5, or Bc5)
4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O (Komodo likes d3) O-O 6.d3 (Houdini shows Nc3) c5 (SF plays b6) 7.Qe1 (All engines agree) Nc6 (While this is Komodo’schoice, Houdini plays 7…Qb6, with SF playing 7…d4) 8.h3 (All three engines play 8 e4) d4 9.Na3 (SF plays this, but Houey likes 9 e4) Nd5 10.Nc4 b6 (TN- Previously seen have been 10 b5 & Rb8. See games) 11.Bd2 Bb7 12.c3 e6 13.Rc1 Rc8 14.Qf2 Nde7 15.a4 Ba6 16.Nce5 dxc3 17.Bxc3 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Nc6 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.fxe5 Qd4 22.Qxd4 cxd4 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.b4 b5 25.Ra1 Rc7 26.a5 f6 27.exf6+ Kxf6 28.Kf2 Bc8 29.Ke1 e5 30.Kd2 Be6 31.Rc1 Rxc1 32.Kxc1 Bd7 33.h4 g5 34.Kd2 g4 35.Be4 h6 36.Bd5 Ke7 37.e4 Kf6 38.Ke2 Ke7 39.Kd2 Kf6 40.Ke2 Ke7 ½-½

Malaniuk, Vladimir P (2532) vs Simacek, Pavel (2480)
Marianske Lazne 2006

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 c5 5. O-O Nc6 6. d3 Nf6 7. Qe1 O-O 8. Kh1 Re8 9. Qf2 b6 10. Ne5 Bb7 11. Nc3 e6 12. e4 Qc7 13. Nxc6 1/2-1/2

Lund, D Brett (2255) vs Dineley, Richard (2270)
BCF-chT 9798 (4NCL) 1998

1. g3 d5 2. Bg2 Nf6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 c5 7. Qe1 Nc6 8. h3 d4 9. Na3 Nd5 10. Nc4 b5 11. Nce5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Bb7 13. c4 dxc3 14. bxc3 Qc7 15. e4 Nb6 16. Rb1 a6 17. c4 Nd7 18. Ng4 Nf6 19. Ne3 e6 20. Bb2 Bc6 21. Be5 Qe7 22. Qc3 Rac8 23. Ng4 Nh5 24. Bxg7 Nxg7 25. f5 Qd6 26. fxg6 fxg6 27. Nh6+ Kh8 28. Nf7+ Rxf7 29. Rxf7 Qd4+ 30. Qxd4 cxd4 31. e5 Bxg2 32. Kxg2 bxc4 33. dxc4 Rd8 34. g4 d3 35. Rd1 Kg8 36. Rf3 1-0

Bielawski, Przemyslaw (2215) vs Pioch, Zygmunt (2285)
MK Cafe op-A 1997

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 c5 7. Qe1 d4 8. Na3 Nc6 9. h3 Nd5 10. Nc4 Rb8 11. a4 b6 12. g4 Ncb4 13. Na3 Bd7 14. b3 Bc6 15. Ne5 Bb7 16. Qg3 Nc3 17. Rf2 Nd1 18. Rf1 Nc3 19. Rf2 Bxg2 20. Rxg2 Qc7 21. e4 dxe3 22. Bxe3 Ncd5 23. Bd2 Nc6 24. Re1 Nxe5 25. fxe5 Qd7 26. Nc4 a6 27. Ne3 Nxe3 28. Bxe3 Rbc8 29. Kh1 b5 30. axb5 axb5 31. Qf2 c4 32. bxc4 bxc4 33. d4 Qd5 34. c3 f6 35. e6 Qxe6 36. Bf4 Qd7 37. Qe3 e5 38. dxe5 fxe5 39. Bg3 Qc6 40. Kh2 Rf3 41. Qa7 e4 42. Rb1 Rf7 43. Qe3 Rd8 44. Rb6 Qd5 45. Rb4 Qd3 46. Qb6 Bxc3 47. Rxc4 Qxc4 48. Qxd8+ Kg7 49. g5 Qe6 50. Qb8 Re7 51. Rf2 h5 52. Qf8+ Kh7 53. Qh6+ Kg8 54. Rf8# 1-0