Rawhide Chess

Taking time to check out what was happening in the world of Chess found me surfin’ to the ChessBomb, where the Salamanca Chess Festival was on top of the list. The round seven games had been completed. The last game looked interesting because Yifan Hou, with the black pieces, had defeated none other than the man who accelerated the demise of the Royal game when he falsely accused Vladimir Kramnik of cheating, Vladimir Topalov. What made it so interesting is that word on the street had it that Topalov had been cheating in consort with his manager, Silvio Danilov. Topalov once held the title of FIDE world champion, a title with huge import ‘back in the day’. These daze there seems to be a plethora of so-called, “world champions.” What with age groups, each broken down into male and female, and other forms of the formerly Royal game, it would take a calculator to count all of them.

Where was I… Oh yeah…

Topalov, Veselin

– Hou, Yifan

Salamanca Chess Festival 2019 round 07

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 0-1 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-salamanca-chess-festival)

I have no idea…

This caused me to go to the beginning where I noticed, and began to replay, the game Hou vs Ponomariov. Do not ask me why…

Hou, Yifan – Ponomariov, Ruslan

Salamanca Chess Festival 2019 round 01

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Bg4 7. Nc4 Nd7 8. h3 Be6 9. Na5 Rb8 10. O-O f6 11. Qe1 O-O 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Qxe3 c5 14. a3 c6 15. b4 Qc7 16. Nd2 b6 17. Nab3 Qd6 18. bxc5 Nxc5 19. Nxc5 bxc5 20. Rfb1 Rb6 21. a4 Rfb8 22. Rxb6 axb6 23. a5 Ra8 24. Nb3 Bxb3 25. cxb3 Rxa5 26. Rxa5 bxa5 27. Qe2 Kf8 28. Qg4 Qxd3 29. Qc8+ Kf7 30. Qxc6 Qd4 31. g4 h6 32. Qc7+ Kg6 33. Qxa5 Qxe4 34. Qxc5 Qb1+ 35. Kg2 Qxb3 36. Qc6 Qd3 37. h4 e4 38. Qe6 Qf3+ 39. Kg1 Qf4 40. Kg2 Qe5

Now any Chess player other than Allen Priest would know it is imperative in this position to keep your queen on the board. The woman played, I kid you not…

41. Qxe5?? A Bomb RED MOVE, if ever there was one…

After taking the queen with 41…fxe5 black is soooooooooooo won.

Hou played 42 Kf1 and I wondered why. Then I noticed she only had eighteen seconds time remaining while her opponent still had over five minutes on his clock. Ponomariov (Did he, too, win some kind of Chess World Championship?), with all the time in the world to win a completely won position produced the move 42…h5?? BIG RED!

And we now have a completely drawn game that any Chess player, other than Allen Priest, could hold with a nano second on the clock.

43. gxh5+ Kf5 44. Ke1 Kg4 45. Ke2 Kf4 46. h6 gxh6 47. h5 e3 48. f3 e4 49. fxe4 Kxe4 50. Ke1 Kf3 51. Kf1 Kg4 52. Ke2 Kf4 53. Ke1 Kf3 54. Kf1 e2+ 55. Ke1 Ke3 ½-½
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-salamanca-chess-festival/01-Hou_Yifan-Ponomariov_Ruslan

I will admit it took me some time to learn the above game was a rapid game. Still…

Chess is rapidly (couldn’t help myself) changing, and not for the better. The above game is only a taste of the excrement being provided to the Chess fans of the world. Back in the day any form of speed Chess was considered an exhibition. We marveled when Bobby Fischer decimated the competition, “In April 1970, Bobby scored 19-3 (+17 -1 =4) to win the unofficial “Speed Chess Championship of the World,” which was held in Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia.” (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/03/16/bobbys-blitz-chess/)

That was then and this is now and it is obvious speed kills. Yet, because of the Chess programs Chess has no choice other than to hold the time limit of a game to the human bladder. It is either that or having every player wear a diaper. What, you think I’m kidding? How do you think a NASCAR driver disposes of waste material during a four or five hour race? Needing petrol is not the only reason a driver looks forward to a pit stop.

Back in the day we would play around the clock on Saturday and return for another possibly ten hours, AND WE LIKED IT!

These daze it seems the Chess people in charge are moving toward rawhide Chess. As in “Head ’em up Move ’em out, Rawhide.”

As I was wondering why anyone in their right mind would watch Rawhide Chess the answer was provided today by GM Kevin Spraggett on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess:

“We have all noticed this phenomenon from Day#1 of our very first visit to the tournament hall. A densely packed crowd gathers about a board, and when you investigate you find that one of the players is about to lose.
The expectation is palpable in the spectators’ facial expressions. It does not matter if the players are masters or beginners: the coming ‘execution’ is worth the wait!
It is difficult to explain this phenomenon, I suppose it has to do with human nature. And probably also explains why more people are willing to watch a blitz game than a slow game. A blitz game allows for faster executions!”
(http://www.spraggettonchess.com/todays-vintage-chess-humor-16/)

Reading this caused me to recall something former Georgia, and Georgia Senior, Chess Champion David Vest said to me around the turn of the century. “You only watch NASCAR to watch the wrecks.” The retort was, “You only watch the horses because they crash and burn on the track.” I was afraid of the Drifter sending me into the High Planes, but fortunately, he kept it together…

Atlanta Kings on a Roll!

The Atlanta Kings are on a roll. After crushing the Carolina Cobras 4-0 last week, this week they beat the Philadelphia Inventors 3 1/2 – 1/2 to move into a tie with the Miami Sharks, a point behind division leading St. Louis Arch Bishops. The Kings lead the Sharks by a wide margin in game points. What makes this so amazing is that the Kings are the best players in the area, with only two players rated over 2400, Deepak Aaron, 2446, and GM Alonso Zapata, 2555, who has played only one game. The Kings have had to total and average the team only once. They do not have to try to meet an imposed rating limit because most of the team is under the limit!

The question on the USCL website last week was, “Which game should win Week 6 Game of the Week?” This is how the people voted:
Francisco vs Cunningham 1-0 (45%, 37 Votes)
Huschenbeth vs So 1/2 (20%, 17 Votes)
Orlov vs Khachiyan 1-0 (14%, 12 Votes)
Esserman vs Mandizha 0-1 (12%, 10 Votes)
Kamsky vs Ivanov 1-0 (9%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 83 (http://uschessleague.com/wp/pollsarchive/)

The “experts” determined the Huschenbeth vs So GOTW. Kamsky vs Ivanov was second. Orlov vs Khachiyan won bronze, while Esserman vs Mandizha took fourth. Which leaves the Frisco Kid’s game in…

5th Place: NM Richard Francisco (ATL) vs FM Robin Cunningham (CAR) 1-0

NM Francisco smashed his way to the Black King with 18. Nxd5+! helping lead Atlanta to the first sweep of the 2014 Season
(http://uschessleague.com/wp/2014/10/03/gm-huschenbeth-bal-and-gm-so-stl-share-week-6-game-of-the-week/#more-4716)

Here is the People’s Choice:

Francisco,Richard (2382) – Cunningham,Robin (2268) [B12]
USCL Week 6 Internet Chess Club, 01.10.2014

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bg5 Qb6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 e6 8.Nf3 c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.0-0 Nc6 11.Nc3 a6 12.a3 Qc7 13.Rfe1 Nge7 14.b4 Ba7 15.b5 Na5 16.bxa6 bxa6 17.Bxe7 Kxe7 18.Nxd5+ exd5 19.e6 fxe6 20.Qg6 Kf8 21.Ng5 Bxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Qa7+ 23.Kg3 Rh6 24.Nxe6+ Kg8 25.Qf5 Qd7 26.Rad1 Qd6+ 27.Nf4 Qxa3+ 28.Rd3 Qb4 29.Qxd5+ Kh7 30.Re4 Qb7 31.Qf5+ Kg8 32.Rde3 Rf8 33.Re8 Rhf6 34.Rxf8+ Rxf8 35.Qxa5 Qc8 36.Qd5+ Rf7 37.Qxh5 Qb8 38.Qe5 Qb4 39.Qe8+ Rf8 40.Qe6+ 1-0
(http://uschessleague.com/games2014/franciscocunningham14.htm)

Richard leads the Kings in total points scored, 4 1/2 out of 6 games, with a performance rating of 2500!

The Kings face off with the powerful Arch Bishops this week, a team that can, and does, “stack” their line-up. Consider this headline from the USCL website (http://uschessleague.com/): posted on October 6, 2014, “Brian Jerauld evaluates St. Louis’s stacked lineup strategy.” The teaser begins, “It has been a long debate for many years in the USCL whether to go with a balanced or stacked lineup when trying to be successful, and the St. Louis Arch Bishops have been one of them most extreme teams recently in going with the stacked strategy.”

Clicking on sends one to the St. Louis Chess Club & Scholastic Center for an article by Brian Jerauld with this headline, “Marler on Hot Seat as Arch Bishops Look to Stop Skid.” Discension in the ranks is just what the Atlanta Kings, the league’s most “balanced” team, want to see before facing off with the St. Louis Arch Nemesis. Consider this paragraph, “Leading the list of complaints causing unrest with the manager’s performance is a Marler-designed lineup strategy of stacking the squad’s top-two boards with two uber-elite 2700+ Grandmasters. Many argue the top-heavy strategy has been tried before, and with disastrous results — though it’s a method that Marler stubbornly defends.” (http://saintlouischessclub.org/blog/uscl-week-7-marler-hot-seat-arch-bishops-look-stop-skid)

We can only hope our “no-name” squad rises to the occasion and stays on a roll!

Blues Brothers – Rawhide