Paco Versus Sam The Sham Shankland In Prague

In the fifth round of the Masters section of the Prague Chess Festival American GM Sam Shankland

https://new.uschess.org/2022-us-olympiad-open-team

sat behind the black pieces facing Spanish GM Francisco Vallejo Pons.

https://viralcasino.blogspot.com/2018/04/spanish-chess-grandmaster-hounded-by.html

The previous day had been an off day in the tournament so it would be natural to expect both players were tanned, rested, and ready for battle.

Francisco Vallejo Pons 2703 1:12:56 vs Sam Shankland 2718 (USA) 1:19:06
Prague Chess Festival | Masters
Round 5
ECO: C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Bf5 10. Nh4 Bd7 11. Nf3 Bf5 12. Nh4 Bd7 13. Nf3 Bf5 1/2-1/2
    https://live.followchess.com/#!prague-chess-chp-masters-2022/748137683

I have included the time given by followchess.com. The players were at the board maybe half an hour, if that… Wondering what may have happened if either player had a backbone, I put the opening moves into the analysis program at Lichess.com and this was the result:

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Bf5 10. Nh4 Bd7 11. Nf3 Rb8 12. Re1 Re8 13. Be3 exd4 14. cxd4 Qf6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rf1 b6 17. Rc1 h6 18. d5 Na5 19. Bd4 Qf5 20. c5 Bb5 21. Nh4 Qh7 22. d6 cxd6 23. cxb6 axb6 24. Rc7 Bxf1 25. Bxf1 Qe4 26. Bxg7 Kxg7 27. Qh5 Qe6 28. Nf5+ Kf8 29. Rxf7+ Qxf7 30. Qxh6+ Kg8 31. Qg5+ Kf8…

Sam Shankland is a member of the United States Olympic team. Hikaru Nakamura

https://misfitsgaming.gg/hikaru-nakamura-signs-with-mgg/

is about to participate in the Candidates tournament, which is held to determine a challenger for the title of World Chess Champion, and he is NOT a part of the Olympic team. Am I missing something here? Makes on wonder, does it not?

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 (The Glek variation, named for GM Igor Glek. The programs prefer 4 d4. The programs do not approve of first moving a pawn before moving the bishop, but we humans ask, “Where’s the fun in that?”) 4…d5 (Both Stockfish 14.1 and 15 play 4…Bc5) 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 (SF 311221 @depth 56 prefers 7…Bc5; SF 14 @depth 50 will play 7…h6. The ChessBaseDataBase contains 362 games with 7…Bc5 and white has been held to scoring only 52%. In 251 games 7…Bd6 has allowed 56%. 7…h6 has yet to be played) 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Bf5 (SF 12 plays 9…Re8)1.

Rauf Mamedov (2709) vs Francisco Vallejo Pons (2707)
Event: World Blitz 2017
Site: Riyadh KSA Date: 12/30/2017
Round: 16.18 Score: 1-0
ECO: C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Bg2 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bd6 8.O-O O-O 9.Re1 Re8 10.d3 Bg4 11.h3 Bh5 12.Rb1 Rb8 13.g4 Bg6 14.Ng5 h6 15.Ne4 Qd7 16.Qf3 f5 17.gxf5 Bxf5 18.Qg3 Kh8 19.Qh4 Rf8 20.Ng3 Bh7 21.Qa4 Bc5 22.Be3 Bb6 23.Qg4 Qf7 24.Be4 Bxe3 25.fxe3 Qf2+ 26.Kh1 Bxe4+ 27.Nxe4 Qxc2 28.Rg1 Rf7 29.Rbf1 Re7 30.Qh4 Qxd3 31.Rf6 Qd5 32.Rxh6+ gxh6 33.Qxh6+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4089773

Damir Studen Earns IM Norm at US Masters

GM Rauf Mamedov sat down to play GM Bartlomiej Macieja on board one in the last round of the US Masters trailing by half a point. To win the tournament Rauf would have to win the game, which is exactly what happened. Three other players had a chance to finish with seven points. GM’s Alejandro Ramirez and Yuniesky Quesada Perez drew their game, thus finishing with 6 ½, while GM Alojzije Jankovic, with a chance to finish first, took a HALF POINT BYE in the last round, the second half point bye he had taken in the tournament. Jankovic lost to Macieja in the penultimate round.
The official website tried to broadcast three games, but usually there were only two, or one, game live, because of “tech issues.” I followed the last game, which could have been drawn with better play from the loser. One game never made it to the web. The game in which I had the most interest, the board three game between GM Georg Meier and NM Daniel Gurevich, of Atlanta, was being broadcast until it, too, had “tech issues.” After losing two of his first three games, NM Gurevich won in the fourth round, followed by a draw with IM John Cox. Daniel then ripped off three wins in a row, including GM Alex Fishbein in round seven and GM Alex Shabalov in the penultimate round. Reeling with the feeling and playing Black versus GM Meier, Gurevich played like a wild man swinging wildly by pushing his g-pawn and thereby weakening his position. It was the kind of impetuous move a chess teacher would advise a student against playing. A few moves later the game disappeared and I regretted not copying the moves that had been displayed.
The big news locally is that LM Damir Studen, who literally grew up at the House of Pain, earned an IM norm with his 5 ½ points with his last round draw with the aforementioned IM John Cox. His tournament included three wins, five draws, and only one loss, that a round five loss to LSM Denys Shmelov. He drew with GM’s Alex Fishbein and Georg Meier, and defeated GM John Federowicz. Damir and Daniel finished in the fourth score group, tying for twelfth place with many others. Years ago when both of these young men were up and comers I showed there was still life left in this old dog by defeating both of them in a nightly quick-play event at the Atlanta Chess Center. I mention this because I have read many times that one should “get them on the way up,” and have always wanted to put it into print. The game with Damir was particularly exciting because I had to play many moves with only one second left on my clock. Fortunately there was a five second delay. Both would, no doubt, eat me alive now. I congratulate both of these players for their outstanding result. Damir gained 48 rating points to move close to Senior Master level at 2384. Daniel increased his rating 51 points to move to 2344.
When the tournament first began there were updates often, and the pictures were like being onsite. I have not seen many of the players, like GM Michael Rohde, in years, so the pictures on the website were nice to see. Someone was taking a picture of the results page every “15-20 minutes.” That stopped, unfortunately. Combine that with the myriad technical problems and general lack of games, and I quickly lost interest. The internet was down most of the final day and I did not seem to mind because the results were not forthcoming, often for far too long. To a chess fan the coverage showed much promise initially, but sputtered and ground to a halt. In chess terms it would be like a player winning his first round and then losing all of his next games.
Since there have been so few games from the US Masters I would like to present a game given by Olimpiu Urcan & Other Epistolarians from, Chess: A Singapore Column of September 1, 2013. (http://sgchess.net/2013/09/01/871-a-scandinavian-crash/). This one is for you, future IM Studen!
A Scandinavian Crash
Along with his brief annotations and comments, Napoleon Recososa submits the interesting game below, played in the fourth round of the Inaugural Teck Ghee CSC Community Chess Championship (August 25, 2013):
Napoleon Recososa – Kanagenthiran Premnath [B01]
Inaugural Teck Ghee CSC Community Chess, Round 4, 25 August 2013
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bh5 8.Be3 e6 9.g4 Bg6 10.Ne5 Nbd7 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Qe2 b5 13.Bd3 Qb4?! A waste of time since White, with his next move, castles queenside anyway. Perhaps 13…Be7 was better. 14.0–0–0 a5? Premature activity. He failed to consider the king’s safety. Maybe he underestimated the lurking dangers in the center as his c6 and e6-pawns controlled the d5 square and, furthermore, White’s bishop on e3 covered the e-file. 15.g5 Nh5 [see diagram] If 15…Nd5 White planned 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.Bf4+ Qe7 (17…Be7 18.c3; 17…Kd8 18.Rhe1) 18.Qf3 and now if 18…0–0–0 then 19.Bxb5! cxb5 20.Qxd5 looks strong. 16.d5! Nf4 After 16…cxd5 17.Nxd5 Qd6 (17…exd5 allows 18.Bc5+) 18.Nb6 (18.Bxb5 was interesting too but I had doubts about 18…exd5 19.Bc5+ Qe6) 18…Nf4 19.Qf3 White’s just winning. 17.Bxf4 Qxf4+ 18.Kb1 Nc5 If 18…Ne5 then White had a pleasant choice between 19.dxe6 fxe6 20.Bxg6+ or the more crude 19.dxc6 b4 20.Nb5. 19.Bxb5 Rc8 19…cxb5 loses to 20.Qxb5+ Kd8 (20…Ke7 21.d6+ Kd8 22.Qxc5) 21.dxe6+ Kc8 (21…Kc7 is met by the simple 22.Nd5+ or 22.Rd7+) 22.Qc6+. 20.Bxc6+ Rxc6 21.dxc6 Qc7 21…Qxg5 fails because of 22.c7! 22.Qg4? Better was 22.Qb5 followed by 23.Na4. I was distracted by my opponent’s time trouble. 22…Qxc6 23.f3 Be7 24.h4 a4 25.Ne4 a3 26.Nxc5 Bxc5 27.h5 Qb5 28.b3 gxh5 29.Qe4! Call it a sense of danger or pure luck but I noticed that after 29.Rxh5 Rxh5 30.Qxh5 there is the sneaky 30…Qe2! 31.Qh8+ Bf8 32.Qh1 Qe5. 29…Ke7 29…0–0 30.Rxh5 is losing too. 30.g6 f6 30…f5 leads to a forced mate after 31.Qh4+. 31.Rhe1 Qb6 3. Qd5 and with just six seconds left, my opponent resigned in this hopeless position. 1–0