There will be a playoff for the title of 2021 US Chess Champion between three players, two of them world class. Fabiano Caruana
is currently ranked third in the world after losing two games, back to back, in the recently completed 2012 US Chess Championship. Wesley So
is ranked eighth in the world. Then there is Sam Sevian…There is a saying in Poker that is applicable here: “If you don’t see a sucker at the table, you’re it.” Sam was ranked 91st on the top list compiled by FIDE before the tournament, and he did gain points for his good performance. Being one of the top 100 Chess players in the world is a tremendous achievement for any player, but Caruana drew a match with the World Chess Champion in which he was not defeated in the only games that count, those played with a classical time limit. The quick play playoff to determine the “champion” is a joke and terrible insult to the players who just spent almost two weeks vying for the title because Chess is inherently unfair since there is an odd number of rounds and some players sit behind the White army in more games than other players, which gives them a HUGE advantage. Caruana and Sevian each had the White pieces in six games while Wesley So had the White pieces in only FIVE games. Therefore, Wesley So should be crowned as the 2021 US Chess Champion. Congratulations to the Champ, Wesley So!
The tournament was Sam Sevian’s for the taking. In the penultimate round he was a pawn up and could have played 27 Kc2 in lieu of repeating the position but for whatever reason Sam decided to play poltroon Chess. You can bet your sweet bippy Bobby Fischer
would have played 27 Kc2. Then in the last round this “game”, and I use the word loosely, was “played.”
vs Samuel Sevian
- e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Qb3 Na5 11. Qa4+ Nc6 12. Qb3 Na5 13. Qa4+ Nc6 1/2-1/2
It made me wanna PUKE!
If ever there were a time to play for a win it was this game because victory could possibly bring the coveted title of United States Chess Champion and probably entry into the US Chess Hall of Fame. His opponent had just lost a game the previous round and his testosterone level had to be low. Naroditsky had already lost FOUR GAMES! Do you think Bobby Fischer would have played the above game in the LAST ROUND of a US Chess Championship? In the post game interviews Naroditsky was obviously happy with the short draw, saying something about how he “…should have drawn the day before.” When it came time for Sam to explain his decision to acquiesce to the repetition he explained by saying, “Before the tournament my plan was to play solidly with Black…” Translated that says he was “…playing to draw with black and win with white.” The young man should not even be called a “Co-Champion.” No matter what happens for the remainder of his Chess career Sam Sevian will continue to wonder what might have been if only he had
The question will haunt him until he takes his last breath.
The sixth round game between Ashritha Eswaran
and Megan Lee
reached this position after the moves: 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O e5 5. d3 Ne7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 c6 8. Re1 Qd6 9. c3 f5
Eswaran played 10 d4 and Maurice obviously very much liked the move, calling it “…an outstanding move!” I was following the action at FollowChess (https://live.followchess.com/) because only the moves are displayed and I had my doubts. Still, Maurice has some kind of computer Chess program, so I thought it must be OK…Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know, so I surfed on over to ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/) where a Red move was showing…Chess24 says White goes from being “much better” to “equal.” Maybe the “engine”, as they are so fond of calling the computer program, had a glitch, or was turned off…
I took note of the following because it was so hilarious, coming as it did from a player not known for playing 1 e4 during his illustrious career: Yaz: “Nobody likes to play against the Najdorf because the variations are so lengthy…” Round 8 2:45 into the game. You know that put a smile on the face of Mr. Najdorf, French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave!
The thing is that I stopped playing the Najdorf over four decades ago after hearing a Grandmaster talk about those players “Who study the Najdorf but not Chess.” Still, I learned much about the Royal game by playing the Najdorf. One never forgets his first love…
During the final game of the event, between Bruzon Batista
and Alex Lenderman
which lasted for 127 moves, Maurice said, “If only we could be paid by the move.” Cracked me up…I will admit to have been “pulling” for Lenderman, and evidently not the only one. If only he had found 38 Qa1, challenging the Black Queen, in lieu of 38 Rc8 against Caruana in round 10…
phamlore: What could Lenderman do? He needed a win today, and he never had a position where a win for Black was that doable?
ArcticStones: Lenderman has had an impressive tournament, imho.
jphamlore: Lenderman tried at least. It’s just his opponent played a decent game himself.
Terugloper: @Arctic –> Could be, but Imho your commentaries during this tournament are way more impressive
ArcticStones: You jest. Commenters such as jphamlore know far more about chess than I do!
ArcticStones: I’m serious.
KJBellevue: The evaluation here is totally wrong
KJBellevue: Tablebase clearly indicates a draw
Terugloper: I see
Terugloper: So 74. … Kh2 was an acceptable move?
KJBellevue: Yes, still drawn
Terugloper: Long Live Lenderman, folks!
Terugloper: I would play 78. Kc6 to have square d6 available for possible Q-trades
KJBellevue: But Black can still check on the white squares
Terugloper: Lenderman know his stuff
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony on white squares
jphamlore: Lenderman the king of instructional endgames this event.
Terugloper: Yeah – Endgame King Lenderman
Terugloper: But still I give all of you the following strict advice –> Don’t try this at home
Terugloper: Lenderman feeling so comfortable now that he attacks on the black squares now
KJBellevue: He knows this ending well
jphamlore: Unfortunately, even if White touched the wrong piece, I’m not sure Lenderman has any way to win this.
Terugloper: Lenderman – The living table base on two legs
I_LUV_U: a table base is three or four legs
Terugloper: Why not five legs?
Terugloper: You met one in the subway?
mrlondon: What the record for most number of checks in a game?
Terugloper: Good question – I will ask Tim Krabbé
Terugloper: In the 200-move game Wegner – Johnsen, Gausdal 1991 a total of 141 checks were given, of which 98 by White alone.
mrlondon: Interesting. Thanks!
mrlondon: It’s not going to happen here.
Terugloper: Just 10 moves to go now for 50-rule move draw claim
Terugloper: 5 moves
Terugloper: Minus 2 moves
Terugloper: Bellevue! My main man!!!
Rhinegold: eval also indicates draw, noob, lol
The coverage was excellent even though Jennifer Shahade
was missing. She does bring a terrific smile and is the perfect foil to the understated Yasser Seirawan as she has occasionally given him perfect opportunities for a SNL moment that Yaz used so effectively with the previous female to accompany him:
One of my favorite features was the “Parkside Chats” between Yaz and Maurice. Although they are all good, the one that follows is my favorite because I worked at a Chess Club:
The next one is great in a historical sense as the guys discuss what it was like ‘back in the day’ when Bobby Fischer put the Royal game on the front page of every newspaper and every broadcast of the nightly new on television. After watching these videos I realized how much laughter has been missing in the pandemic era. Sometimes one really does need to laugh to keep from crying…
I urge you to take a few more minutes to watch this video which is an interview with one of the top players of the game of Scrabble in the world, who lives near the St Louis Chess Campus. You can thank me for bringing it to your attention by leaving a comment: