Leningrad Dutch Daze

It all began on the early in the week when I opened an advertisement from New In Chess with notification of the publication of two books by the excellent writer GM Mihail Marin:

https://mcusercontent.com/15a7d2c76830bddc0e3a71c19/images/9d16cd14-295a-132c-7d3c-c8a8b61fc57a.png
https://www.newinchess.com/en_US/chess-openings?authors=193&cat=47&publisher=704&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=gm-repertoire-dutch

Then on Thursday, June 17, GM Kevin Spraggett posted Chess and the AfterLife on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess, (www.spraggettonchess.com) which includes a segment about Chess in the cemetery, in which one sees this picture:

I was reminded of a time when a lovely young woman, Cecil Jordan, drove an old, beat up, green DeSoto all the way from Sacremento, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines. The apartment we shared happened to be close to a cemetary. One evening we went for a walk and she brought along her camera…to take pictures of us in the cemetary. Can you believe some of our friends could not understand why?

Fortunately, Kevin’s article also includes the game between the late Cuban Grandmaster Roman Hernandez and a talented 17-year old Spanish expert, David Rivas Vila, which happened to be a Leningrad Dutch! I urge you to surf on over and play over the game, of course, after reading this post and playing over all of the games, all of which are open with the Leningrad Dutch!

Then in the opening round of the National Open this game was seen at the ChessBomb:

Rochelle Wu, (2144) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fnew.uschess.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fwp-thumbnails%2FShabalov-2019-US-Open-Hartmann.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 01

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c6 4. Nf3 Qa5 5. Qd2 d5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxd7 Bxd7 8. e3 g6 9. Be2 Bg7 10. h4 b5 11. a3 O-O 12. b4 Qd8 13. O-O a5 14. Qc1 Be8 15. Qb2 a4 16. Rad1 Nd7 17. Na2 h6 18. Bf4 e5 19. dxe5 Qxh4 20. Qc3 Ra6 21. Nc1 Qe7 22. Nd3 g5 23. Bh2 Nb6 24. Nc5 Ra8 25. Qd4 Bg6 26. Rd2 f4 27. exf4 gxf4 28. Bxf4 Rae8 29. Bd3 Bxd3 30. cxd3 Bxe5 31. Bxe5 Qxe5 32. Qxe5 Rxe5 33. Rc1 Rfe8 34. Kf1 Rh5 35. Kg1 Rhe5 36. Kf1 Rh5 37. Kg1 Rhe5 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-las-vegas-national-open/01-Wu_Rochelle-Shabalov_Alexander
  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c6 (Stockfish plays 3…d5) 4. Nf3 (SF plays 4 e3) 4…Qa5 5. Qd2 (TN)

Hottes, Dieter vs Kauder, Hartmut
Event: FRG-chT fin
Site: Minden Date:1959
Round: 2.3
ECO: A80 Dutch

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 c6 4.Nf3 Qa5 5.e3 Ne4 6.Bd3 d6 7.O-O Nxc3 8.bxc3 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Bg7 11.Nd2 O-O 12.f4 gxf4 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.exf4 Nd7 15.Qe2 Nf6 16.Bh4 Nd5 17.Qd2 Bd7 18.Rae1 e6 19.Ne3 Qa5 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Rb1 Bxd4+ 22.Kh1 Bxc3 23.Qe2 Qc7 24.g4 Rae8 25.Rg1 Kh8 26.gxf5 exf5 27.Qh5 Bc6 28.h3 Qf7 29.Rg6 Bg7 30.Rxh6+ Bxh6 31.Qxh6+ Qh7 32.Bf6+ Rxf6 33.Qxf6+ Qg7 34.Qh4+ Qh7 35.Qf6+ Qg7 36.Qh4+ Qh7 37.Qxh7+ Kxh7 38.Bxf5+ Kh6 39.Kg2 Rf8 40.Bd3 Rxf4 41.Kg3 Ra4 42.Re1 Rxa2 43.Re7 Kg5 44.Re6 Ra3 45.Rxd6 a5 46.h4+ Kh5 47.Rf6 Rc3 48.Kf4 Rxd3 49.cxd3 a4 50.Rf8 Kg6 51.Ke5 Kg7 52.Ra8 Kg6 53.Kd6 Kg7 54.Kc5 Kg6 55.d4 Kh5 56.Rh8+ Kg6 57.Rf8 Kh5 58.Rh8+ Kg6 59.Kb6 a3 60.Ra8 Kh5 61.Rxa3 Kxh4 62.Rf3 Kg5 63.Kc5 Kg6 64.Kd6 Kg5 65.Rf2 Kg4 66.Ke5 Kg3 67.Rf4 Kh3 68.Kf5 Kg3 69.Kg5 Be8 70.Rf5 Bc6 71.Rf7 Kh3 72.Rf3+ Kg2 73.Kf4 Bb5 74.Ke3 Bc4 75.Rf6 b5 76.Kd2 Kg3 77.Kc3 Kg4 78.Kb4 Kg5 79.Rf2 Kg4 80.Kc5 Kg5 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2548303&m=9

Shabba, my man, four time winner of the US Championship,

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fworldchesshof.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2FShabalov.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

brought the Leningrad back into action again a few rounds later:

FM Eric Li (2278) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 04

c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 Na6 11. Ng5 Re8 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 15. e3 Qf7 16. b3 h5 17. Bb2 h4 18. Ne2 hxg3 19. hxg3 Rd8 20. Bd4 Nce4 21. Nc3 Rf8 22. Nxe4 Nxe4 23. Qb2 Bh6 24. b4

Black to move

This position vividly illustrates something I have told students over the years, which is to count the pieces on each side of the board, or total the points of each piece, if you prefer. Looking at this position Mr. Li has a lone Bishop on the King side of the board. The remainder of his army, the Queen, both Rooks, and the other Bishop, are on the Queenside of the board. All five pieces of Shabalov’s army are on the Kingside! This means the General of the black army MUST PLAY ON THE KING SIDE OF THE BOARD! Black must attack NOW. The move that best satisfies that objective is 24…g5.

24…b6 25. Rac1 g5 26. Qc2 g4 27. Rd3 Bg5 28. c5 bxc5 29. bxc5 d5 30. Rb1 Bf6 31. Qa4 Ng5 32. Kf1 Qh7 33. Rdd1 f4 34. gxf4 Nf3 35. Bxf6 Qh2 36. f5 Qg1+ 37. Ke2 Rxe3+ 38. Kxe3 Re8+ 39. Kd3 Qxg2 40. Qxc6 Ne5+ 41. Bxe5 Qe4+ 42. Kd2 1-0
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-las-vegas-national-open/04-Eric_Li-Alexander_Shabalov

  1. c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 (SF plays 2…e5) 3. Bg2 (SF 240521 @Depth 43 plays 3 Nf3; SF 13 @Depth 30 plays 3 d4) 3…g6 (SF plays 3…e5) 4. Nf3 (SF 170621 @Depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 13 at the same depth would play 4 d4) 4…Bg7 (SF 070321 @Depth49 and Komodo @Depth 36 both play this move, but SF 070420 plays 4…d6) 5. 0-0 (Interestingly, SF 13 @Depth 35 plays this move, but SF 070321 @Depth 52 plays 5 d4; while Komodo at depth 40 plays 5 Nc3) 5…O-O 6. d4 (SF plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 (Although SF 13 @Depth 40 plays this move, SF 190521 @Depth 44 prefers 6…c6, as does Houdini) 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 (Although far and away the most often played move SF 110521 going deep @Depth 55 would play 8 Qc2; Komodo @Depth40 plays 8 Rb1) 8…e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 (The old move. Three different SF engines show 10 b3) 10…Na6 (Again, the old move. Both SF and Houdini play 10…Re8) 11. Ng5 (Three different programs conclude 11 Bf4 is the best move) 11…Re8 (SF plays 11…Nc5) 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 (TN)

I vividly recall watching a game at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center (aka House of Pain) when a young player by the name of Matthew Puckett, from the Great State of Alabama, played the Leningrad Dutch against Grandmaster Sam Palatnik. It was not often we saw a GM go down at the House of Pain, but this was one of those times. Although on duty that Sunday afternoon I continued to ask someone to watch things while I made another trip up the stairs. I was worn out that night and my knees hurt from going up and down the stairs so many times, but it was worth all the pain.

Grivas, Efstratios (2465) vs Palatnik, Semon (2510)
Event: Iraklion op
Site: Iraklion Date:1992
Round: 6
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Qd3 Na6 11.Ng5 Re8 12.Rd1 Nc5 13.Nxe6 Rxe6 14.Qc2 Nfe4 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 16.Be3 Qe7 17.Bd4 a5 18.e3 h5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rd4 Re8 21.Rad1 Qc7 22.h4 Kf7 23.Bf3 R8e7 24.Kg2 Ke8 25.a3 Nf6 26.b4 axb4 27.axb4 Ng4 28.Bxg4 fxg4 29.Qd3 c5 30.bxc5 dxc5 31.Rd5 Kf7 32.Ra1 Qc6 33.Kg1 b6 34.Rd1 Rf6 35.Qc2 Qe6 36.Qb2 Qe4 37.Rd6 Rxd6 38.Rxd6 Re6 39.Rd7+ Re7 40.Rd8 Re8 41.Rxe8 Kxe8 42.Qxb6 Qxc4 43.Qxg6+ Ke7 44.Qxh5 Qc1+ 45.Kg2 c4 46.Qc5+ Ke6 47.h5 Qc2 48.Qc8+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=1925905&m=24

The next game features Georgia resident GM Alonso Zapata. There are now two Grandmasters living in the greater Atlanta area, the other being GM Ben Finegold, who lives in Roswell with his wife, Karen:

https://atlchessclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/37220322746_23a6c974f4_k-1024x768.jpg

where the new Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Atlanta (https://atlchessclub.com/) is located. I can recall a time when Atlanta area players wished and longed for just one Grandmaster for the area, one in particular, an educated fellow called “Foghorn,” who was particularly strident about the need for a Grandmaster, as if that would cure all that ailed Chess in the metropolitan area. The foghorn stopped blowing one day when a much higher rated player said, “Quit your belly aching, Foghorn. Not even the World Champion could help your game!”

Adharsh Rajagopal (2051 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 01

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 O-O 8. Bb2 Qe8 9. Nc3 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 Rd7 13. Qc2 h6 14. Nh3 Na6 15. Rad1 Rxd1 16. Rxd1 Be6 17. f3 Rd8 18. Nf2 Bf8 19. Bxf8 Qxf8 20. Nd3 Nb4 21. Nxb4 Rxd1+ 22. Qxd1 Qxb4 3. Qd2 Kf7 24. Qe3 Nd7 25. Kf2 a5 26. Nd1 Qc5 27. f4 exf4 28. gxf4 Qd6 29. Ke1 a4 30. Qd2 Qc5 31. Qe3 Qa3 32. Qc3 Qc5 33. Qe3 Qd6 34. Qd2 Qe7 35. Qc3 axb3 36. axb3 Qa3 37. Qb2 Qc5 38. e3 Qb4+ 39. Qc3 Qxc3+ 40. Nxc3 Nc5 41. e4 Nxb3 42. exf5 gxf5 43. Bf1 Ke7 44. Nd1 Kd6 45. Ne3 Kc5 46. Bh3 Nd4 47. Bf1 Kb4 48. Kf2 Kc3 49. Bh3 Kd2 50. c5 Kd3 51. Bg2 Nb3 52. Bh3 Ke4 0-1
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-carolinas-classic/01-Rajagopal_Adharsh-Zapata_Alonso
  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 (Stockfish plays 7 Nc3) 7…O-O (SF plays 7…e5) 8. Bb2 Qe8 (SF plays 8…a5; Komodo chooses 8…Na6) 9. Nc3 (Komodo plays the game move, but SF plays the most often seen move according to the CBDB, 9 Nbd2; Houdini likes 9 Re1, a move seen in only one game) 9…e5 (SF plays this, but the Dragon prefers 9…Na6)10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 (TN)

Braum, Hermann Josef vs Weiland, Thomas
Event: Wiesbaden op 17th
Site: Wiesbaden Date: 08/27/1998
Round: 7
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.b3 Qe8 9.Bb2 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Ba3 Rf7 12.Qc2 e4 13.Ng5 Rd7 14.Rad1 h6 15.Rxd7 Nbxd7 16.Nh3 Ne5 17.f4 Neg4 18.Qd2 Qd7 19.Rd1 Qxd2 20.Rxd2 Be6 21.Be7 Kf7 22.Rd8 Rxd8 23.Bxd8 Ne3 24.Bc7 Nd7 25.Nb1 Bd4 26.Ba5 Nxc4+ 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=1039047&m=22

Nicholas Ladan (2095 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 03

  1. d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nh3 Bg7 5. Nf4 Nc6 6. h4 e5 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 Ne4 9. Bxe4 fxe4 10. Kf1 Ng4 11. c3 c6 12. f3 Nf6 13. Qd6 Kf7 14. Ba3 Re8 15. Kg2 b6 16. Rd1 Bb7 17. g4 Kg8 18. h5 g5 19. Nh3 Nd5 20. Kf2 Re6 21. Qg3 c5 22. Bc1 h6 23. f4 e3+ 24. Kg1 Qc7 25. Rxd5 Bxd5 26. Bxe3 Rae8 27. Bf2 Rxe2 28. Na3 Bb7 29. Nc4 Qc6 30. Kh2 d5 31. Ne3 R8xe3 0-1
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-carolinas-classic/03-Ladan_Nicholas-Zapata_Alonso

d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 (SF & Komodo play 3 h4) 3…Nf6 4. Nh3 (SF plays 4 c4; Komodo prefers 4 Nd2) 4…Bg7 5. Nf4 (SF plays 5 c4) 5…Nc6 (SF plays 5…c6) 6. h4 (SF plays 6 c4) 6…e5 (SF & Komodo both choose 6…d6) 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 (TN) (If given the chance SF 12 @Depth 29 would play 8 Be3, which would be a TN. SF 11 @Depth 42 would play 8 Nd2, as would Komodo. Which gives me a chance to show a game from the Magister of the Leningrad Dutch, the man who wrote, literally and figuratively, the book on the Leningrad Dutch:

https://www.chessware.de/media/image/product/3446/lg/vladimir-malaniuk-peter-marusenko-the-leningrad-dutch.jpg

Calin Dragomirescu (2259) vs Malaniuk, Vladimir P (2532)

https://de.chessbase.com/thumb/66738_l200
GM Vladimir Malaniuk


Event: Timisoara Brinzeu mem
Site: Timisoara Date: 03/22/2006
Round: 5
ECO: A81 Dutch defence

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nh3 Nc6 5.Nf4 Bg7 6.h4 e5 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Nd2 c6 9.Nf3 Nfg4 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.O-O d5 12.Be3 O-O 13.Bd4 Nc4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.b3 Ne5 16.Qd4 Qf6 17.Rad1 Kg8 18.e3 Be6 19.Nd3 Nd7 20.Qxf6 Rxf6 21.Nf4 Nb6 22.Rd4 Re8 23.Rfd1 Bf7 24.a4 a5 25.Bf1 Kf8 26.Bg2 Bg8 27.Nd3 Rf7 28.Nc5 Rc7 29.Bf1 Ke7 30.b4 Ra8 31.Rb1 Kd6 32.bxa5 Rxa5 33.Rxb6 Kxc5 34.Rb1 Be6 35.Rdb4 Bc8 36.Rf4 Re7 37.Bd3 Kd6 38.c4 dxc4 39.Rxc4 Kc7 40.Re1 Rd7 41.Bc2 c5 42.Rf4 Rd6 43.Rd1 Rxd1+ 44.Bxd1 b5 45.Bc2 b4 46.e4 Kd6 47.h5 Ke5 48.hxg6 hxg6 49.Rh4 Be6 50.exf5 gxf5 51.f4+ Kd4 52.g4 b3 53.Bb1 Rxa4 54.gxf5 Bd5 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3325910

The Leningrad Dutch book by Malaniuk is currently booking for about $900 US at the Gorilla, aka, Amazon. It can be downloaded FREE here: http://bonavi.de/download/download.php?article=dutch_leningrad_pdf&encrypt=632fc81c54757a09b00ea4e11cc03b53

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…

Sitting Kills, Moving Heals

The headline on the post dated March 6 of Spraggett on Chess is, “More bad news for chess players…”(https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/more-bad-news-for-chess-players/) Kevin references a new recently released study, Study shows each hour sitting increases heart disease risk by 14%. This is nothing new because it has been known for a long time that a sedentary lifestyle leads to bad health. Their are many in the chess community who are overweight and I include myself in that category. Like most older people I have gained a few pounds and know from personal experience how difficult it can be to shed them, even with concerted effort. Then there are those who have crossed the line into obesity, such as USCF Board member Alan Priest, who weighs in on almost every thread on the USCF forum. When I first met him at the Kentucky State Championship in 2009 he was huge. The next time I saw Alan was at the scholastic event held at the downtown Hyatt here in Atlanta last year. I could not believe a man that huge could be larger but he has now become gargantuan. My heart goes out to Alan because he obviously has a problem with food addiction. There were a few obese relatives in my family and it did not turn out well for them, with one dropping dead of a heart attack after eating a big mac, and another having to live on dialysis for years. What kind of example is Alan for the children with whom he is in contact at these scholastic tournaments? The best example he could set would be to lose weight, and to do that Mr. Priest needs to begin with an exercise called “push-backs,” as in pushing back away from the table.

Several years ago Dr. Joan Vernikos, research scientist and former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, wrote, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death — and Exercise Alone Won’t. “In Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, Vernikos uncovers the unsuspected medical connection between the health dangers of weightlessness in space and the chronic diseases caused by sedentary lifestyles here on Earth. In her research at NASA, Vernikos discovered that movement that resists the force of gravity is essential to good health. In weightlessness, astronauts, who are far fitter than the average adult, seem to rapidly age; their muscles, bones and overall health degenerate to levels usually seen in elderly people. Vernikos found that keeping subjects resting and immobile — an extreme form of the typical American lifestyle — caused the same health problems as extended weightlessness.” (http://www.joanvernikos.com/pages/sitting-kills-moving-heals.php)

Dr. Joan advocates standing for two minutes out of every twenty minutes sitting. Most chess players do this without realizing it. Because of nervous energy most players will stand when it is the opponents move. They will also head to the head much more often because of the nervous energy, and walking is a wonderful thing, even if it is only to the lavatory. Health problems arise when a human sits without moving for hours on end, such as someone who sits in front of a computer turned to the USCF forum and weighs in on every thread.

Simply standing is good for the leg muscles. While waiting for a friend whom I had driven to retrieve a prescription he surprised me by returning to the car much earlier than expected. He caught me standing on one leg, and then the other, which he found amusing. “What are you doing,” he asked with a big grin. When I answered, “What does it look like?” he laughed. I told him that standing on one leg at a time was an isometric exercise and he howled with laughter. I thought of this man, who had trouble walking from the car to the drug store and back, later when reading an article, Simple Sitting Test Predicts How Long You’ll Live: Flexibility, balance and muscle strength are key indicators of longevity By Becky Lang (http://discovermagazine.com/2013/nov/05-sit-down). Can you pass this test?

Rev It Up Reverand!

I clicked on one of the links provided by the Chess Cafe (http://blog.chesscafe.com/?p=3119), “Jackson Morrison vs Sawyer in Sicilian Najdorf” and was sent to a blog with the title, “Playing Chess Openings.” The very first thing I saw was a callipygian derriere that literally jumped out at me. My first thought was that I had mistakenly clicked on “Spraggett On Chess” by mistake (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/.) The add read, “Date Arab Women.” Hell yeah! Where’s the Viagra?
After coming to my senses I noticed, “Read 40 years of chess stories by correspondence master and BDG author. Rev. Tim Sawyer.”
Reverand Tim, my Man!
http://sawyerbdg.blogspot.com/

There are so many chess blogs, and so little time. One of my favorites is “Old In Chess: The Latest Chess News From 100 Years Ago” by Steve Wrinn (http://oldinchess.blogspot.com/). I check it out every day.

James Stripes of Spokane, Washington, writes the “Chess Skills” blog. He is a chess historian and educator. James is currently writing about the McDonnell — De La Bourdonnais 1834 match. Check it out at: http://chessskill.blogspot.com/

This caught my eye, “The Geezers versus RPI.” Being a “Geezer” made me click on to the ENYCA, the website of the Eastern New York Chess Association. If you are also a Geezer, or wish to prepare for the future, check out the May 15, 2014 post by Bill Little, which includes a couple of games played by Bobby Fischer. (http://www.enyca.org/2014/05/15/3844/).

The newest chess blog I have discovered is “Sputnick’s Chess Blog” (http://rocketcheckmate.blogspot.com/). All we know about “Sputnick” is: “I am a USCF “Class A” chess player, and this blog is dedicated to my efforts to master the royal game. I hope others find my musings of interest and welcome comments and dialogue about the content that appears here.” Good blogging, Sputnick!”

I Am a Hou YiFAN!

When I began playing chess seriously what now seems like a lifetime ago the French defense gave me trouble. The defense also gave Bobby Fischer trouble; the loss to Edmar Mednis comes to mind. I experimented with all the “tried and true” variations, but did not feel comfortable with any of them. then Branko Vujakovic, an exchange student in Atlanta from Yugoslavia, and a strong player, showed me the variation, 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Bd3!? White usually plays 5 c3, or even 4 c3. the idea is to sac a pawn for development after 5…cxd4 6 0-0. Although it has been called the Milner-Barry, it actually has no name, as far as I can ascertain. NiC has it listed under “C02,” while http://www.365chess also has it as “C02, advance, Nimzovich system.” I liked the variation because it was little known. Because of that I was able to score several knock-outs, including one over Roger Sample, may he R.I.P. The game was played in a tournament in the Great State of Tennessee. We both smoked cigarettes then and Roger suggested we play in his hotel room so we could smoke, and I wholeheartedly agreed. The TD allowed us to do so, with the proviso that, “If there any problems you are on your own as to how to settle it. I just want to know the outcome.” I sacked a Knight on f7 and attacked Roger like a wild man, winning the game. When I saw Roger decades later he said, “I still have Knightmares about your move.” I also recall being on the road with Branko somewhere, sometime, and playing the variation against an expert (with my being a class “D” player). I played like Branko had taught me, advancing my h-pawn, opening up his castled position. Someone my opponent knew was standing, looking at the position, when my opponent looked up and plaintively said, “Would you look at that. Hardly out of the opening and I’m busted…”
My chess “bible” was “Chess Openings: Theory and Practice” by I.A. Horowitz. This particular opening was listed under “UNUSUAL VARIATIONS.” I found that appealing. A variation from Alekhine-Euwe from Nottingham, 1936 is mentioned in the notes, but there was one full game:
Igor Bondarevsky v Mikhail Botvinnik
Absolute Championship Leningrad/Moscow 1941
Round: 2 Score: 0-1
ECO: C02 French, advance, Nimzovich system
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bd3 cxd4 6. O-O Bc5 7. a3 Nge7 8. Nbd2 Ng6 9. Nb3 Bb6 10. Re1 Bd7 11. g3 f6 12. Bxg6+ hxg6 13. Qd3 Kf7 14. h4 Qg8 15. Bd2 Qh7 16. Bb4 g5 17. Qxh7 Rxh7 18. exf6 gxf6 19. hxg5 e5 20. gxf6 Kxf6 21. Bd6 Re8 22. Nh4 Rg8 23. Kh2 Bf5 24. Re2 d3 25. Rd2 dxc2 26. f4 Be3 27. Bxe5+ Nxe5 28. fxe5+ Ke7 29. Rf1 c1=Q 0-1
This loss did not deter me from essaying the Nimzovich system. But my opponents began to study the opening and I needed to find another variation with which I was comfortable. “Seek and you shall find.” I sought, and found, the answer in “Theory and Practice.” You will not be surprised to learn I “discovered” the variation once again in the “UNUSUAL VARIATIONS” section. This is the only complete game with my new variation contained in T&P:
Mikhail Chigorin – Hermann Von Gottschall
Barmewi, 1905
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. f4 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Nc3 d5 6. d3 d4 7. Nd1 Nf6 8. g3 b5 9. Bg2 Ba6 10. O-O Rc8 11. b3 c4 12. Ne1 cxd3 13. cxd3 O-O 14. Bd2 Qb6 15. Nf2 Nb4 16. Qd1 Bb7 17. a3 Nc6 18. g4 a5 19. g5 Nd7 20. Ng4 b4 21. a4 Nc5 22. Rf3 f5 23. gxf6 Bxf6 24. Rh3 Bd8 25. Rc1 Rc7 26. Rh5 Nb8 27. Ne5 Nbd7 28. Nc4 Qa6 29. Rb1 Nf6 30. Rh3 Ncd7 31. Nf3 Qa7 32. Qe2 Nc5 33. Nfe5 Ncd7 34. Kh1 Nxe5 35. fxe5 Ne8 36. Rg1 Rcf7 37. Qh5 g6 38. Bf3 Rg7 39. Qg4 Bc8 40. Bh6 Qe7 41. Be2 Bc7 42. Bxg7 Qxg7 43. Qg5 Bd7 44. Rhg3 Rf7 45. h4 Kh8 46. h5 gxh5 47. Bxh5 Qxg5 48. Rxg5 Rf8 49. Bf7 1-0
I was hooked. Who was Mikhail Chigorin? I tried to discover as much as possible about the player, and it was not easy “back in the day.” It took months, YEARS, to find all I could about the man responsible for 2 Qe2. Who would play such a move? What would GM Reuben Fine, PhD, say about a player who moves the Queen to e2 leaving the King in her rear? I managed to locate the games of the famous match between Siegbert Tarrasch and Chigorin in which the move Qe2 was played eleven times by the latter, scoring six wins, two draws, with three losses. 365Chess shows an astounding FIFTY games played by Chigorin with 2 Qe2 (http://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?search=1&m=3&n=118&ms=e4.e6.Qe2&wid=158099). For this Mikhail had twenty five wins, ten draws, and fifteen losses.
After reading the above you may have an idea of how elated I was upon discovering Hou Yifan essayed Qe2 against Harika at the recently completed Lopata Women’s Grand Prix. It is rare to see a game with the early Quees move by such a strong player.
Hou Yifan – Dronavalli Harika
Lopota WGP 2014 Lopota GEO , Rd 8 2014.06.27
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d6 5.Bg2 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.c3 e5 8.a4 Nge7 9.Na3 O-O 10.Nc4 h6 11.d3 Be6 12.Bd2 Re8 13.h3 b6 14.Rfe1 Qd7 15.b4 cxb4 16.cxb4 d5 17.exd5 Bxd5 18.Nfxe5 Nxe5 19.Nxe5 Qb7 20.f4 Nf5 21.Qf2 Nd4 22.Rac1 Rad8 23.Bc3 Qa8 24.b5 Nb3 25.Rc2 Nc5 26.Bb4 Bxe5 27.Bxc5 Bxg2 28.Rxe5 Rxe5 29.fxe5 Bxh3 30.Bd6 Qd5 31.Qe3 Re8 32.Re2 Bg4 33.Qe4 Qxe4 34.Rxe4 Bf5 35.Rc4 Bxd3 36.Rc7 Ra8 37.Kf2 Bf5 38.Ke3 Be6 39.Kd4 g5 40.Rb7 h5 41.Rb8+ Rxb8 42.Bxb8 h4 43.gxh4 gxh4 44.Ke3 Bb3 45.Bxa7 Bxa4 46.Bxb6 Bxb5 47.Kf4 Bd7 48.Bd8 h3 49.Kg3 Be6 50.Bf6 Bf5 51.Bd8 Be6 52.Bf6 Bf5 53.Bd8 ½-½
8 a4 appears to be a TN. While researching the opening on http://www.365chess.com and http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/ I found two games in which GM Kevin Spraggett, the man responsible for the best chess blog, “Spraggett on Chess” (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/) had to face 2 Qe2.
Lawrence A Day v Kevin Spraggett
C00 Toronto Summer op 2000
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Qe2 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 e5 8. a3 Nge7 9. b4 O-O 10. Bb2 b6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. d3 h6 13. Nbd2 Bb7 14. Nc4 Rad8 15. b5 Nb8 16. a4 d5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Re1 Rfe8 19. Qc2 Nd7 20. Qb3 N7f6 21. Nfxe5 Nh5 22. d4 Re6 23. Nc6 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 Bxc6 25. bxc6 cxd4 26. cxd4 Qxc6 27. Ne5 Qe6 28. Rc1 Ndf4 29. Qxe6 Nxe6 30. Nc6 Rd7 31. Ne5 Rd8 32. Nc6 Rd7 33. Ne5 1/2-1/2
Igor Ivanov v Kevin Spraggett
C00 Montreal m 1981
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Qe2 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 e5 8. b4 cxb4 9. cxb4 Nxb4 10. Nc3 Ne7 11. Rb1 Nbc6 12. Ba3 O-O 13. Nb5 Bg4 14. Nxd6 b6 15. Qc4 h6 16. h3 Be6 17. Qc2 Qd7 18. Kh2 Rfb8 19. Rfe1 Nc8 20. Nb5 a6 21. Nc3 b5 22. Nd5 N8e7 23. Rec1 Rb7 24. Qc5 Rab8 25. Bb2 Kh7 26. Nxe7 Nxe7 27. Bxe5 Rc8 28. Qe3 Bxa2 29. Rxc8 Qxc8 30. Ra1 Be6 31. Bxg7 Kxg7 32. d4 Rb8 33. d5 Bd7 34. Qd4+ Kh7 35. Qf6 Qf8 36. Rxa6 Ng8 37. Qf4 b4 38. Ra7 1-0
Jaan Ehlvest – Robert Huebner
C00 Rubinstein mem 32nd 1995
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O d6 7. c3 e5 8. d3 Nge7 9. Nh4 O-O 10. f4 f5 11. Nd2 exf4 12. gxf4 Kh8 13. Ndf3 Be6 14. Ng5 1/2-1/2
Ian Nepomniachtchi (2704) v David Navarra (2722)
Event: 28th European Club Cup
Site: Eilat ISR Date: 10/12/2012
Round: 2
ECO: B40 Sicilian defence
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Qe2 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 e5 8. Na3 Nge7 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Rd1 Qb6 11. b3 Be6 12. Bb2 c4 13. Ng5 cxb3 14. Ne3 bxa2 15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Ba3 Qb3 17. Bxd6 Rfd8 18. Bxe7 Nxe7 19. Qc4 Qxc4 20. Nxc4 b5 21. Ne3 a5 22. Rxa2 b4 23. Rda1 b3 24. Rxa5 Rxa5 25. Rxa5 b2 26. Rb5 Rxd2 27. Bf1 Nc6 28. Nc4 Rc2 29. Rxb2 Rxc3 30. Bh3 Nd4 31. Rb8+ Kf7 32. Rb7+ Kf8 33. Bf1 Nf3+ 34. Kg2 Ne1+ 35. Kh3 h5 36. Rb1 Nf3 37. Kg2 Ng5 38. Rb8+ Ke7 39. Rb7+ Kf8 40. Nd6 h4 41. h3 Kg8 42. Be2 hxg3 43. h4 Bf8 44. Rb8 Nf7 45. Nxf7 Kxf7 46. fxg3 Rc2 47. Kf3 Bc5 48. Rb7+ Kf6 49. Bb5 Rf2+ 50. Kg4 Rb2 51. Bc6 Rxb7 1/2-1/2
Igor Glek (2575) v Stephen Brady (2320)
Event: EU-Cup 21st
Site: Saint Vincent Date: 09/20/2005
Round: 3 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 g6 6. c3 Bg7 7. h4 h5 8. d3 Bd7 9. Na3 Nh6 10. Nc4 Qc7 11. a4 Ng4 12. Ng5 Bh6 13. O-O Nge5 14. Ne3 f6 15. Nh3 Ne7 16. d4 Nf7 17. f4 cxd4 18. cxd4 Rc8 19. Bd2 Qb6 20. Bc3 Bg7 21. f5 gxf5 22. Nf4 Bh6 23. exf5 e5 24. Ned5 Nxd5 25. Nxd5 Qd8 26. dxe5 dxe5 27. Kh2 Bf8 28. Nf4 Be7 29. Ng6 1-0
I discovered Stoltz played Qe2 eleven times, winning four, losing five, with two draws. (http://www.365chess.com/search_result.php?submit_search=1&eco=C00&wid=154632#)
Goesta Stoltz – Mikhail Botvinnik
Staunton mem 1946
1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nge7 5. Nc3 g6 6. d3 Bg7 7. Be3 d5 8. exd5 Nd4 9. Qd2 exd5 10. Nce2 h6 11. Qc1 Bf5 12. c3 Nxe2 13. Nxe2 d4 14. Bd2 Bxd3 15. Bxb7 O-O 16. Bf3 g5 17. O-O Ng6 18. Re1 Ne5 19. Bg2 Ba6 20. Qd1 Nd3 21. Qa4 Qf6 22. f4 Rae8 23. Bc6 Nxe1 24. Bxe8 Nf3+ 25. Kf2 Nxd2 26. Bc6 Bxe2 27. Kxe2 dxc3 28. bxc3 Qxc3 29. Rd1 Rd8 30. Be4 gxf4 31. gxf4 Qh3 32. Rg1 Qh5+ 33. Ke3 Qh3+ 34. Ke2 Qxh2+ 35. Rg2 Qh5+ 36. Ke3 Qh3+ 37. Ke2 Qe6 0-1
White may not win every game, but every game will be interesting!

Take Me To Your FIDE Leader

I have following the FIDE election news on GM Kevin Spraggett’s incredibly sublime blog, “Spraggett on Chess” (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/). With a headline like this, “More bad news for Kasparov” it is obvious things are not looking good for the former World Champion of the human race. Garry will forever be known for “losing” a short match with a computer program called “Deep Blue.” If he loses the FIDE election he may well be known for eternity as a “loser.”
This is terrible news for the world of chess. FIDE has become as corrupt as, well, the US political system. It is incredibly difficult to defeat an entrenched, powerful leader of such a corrupt system because the leader can “spread the wealth” and “make promises,” most of which are never fulfilled. The name of Kasparov’s opponent is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The Royal game cannot withstand yet another term from this alien.
“On the night and early hours of February 20-21, 1954, while on a ‘vacation’ to Palm Springs, California, President Dwight Eisenhower went missing and allegedly was taken to Edwards Air force base for a secret meeting. When he showed up the next morning at a church service in Los Angeles, reporters were told that he had to have emergency dental treatment the previous evening and had visited a local dentist. The dentist later appeared at a function that evening and presented as the ‘dentist’ who had treated Eisenhower. The missing night and morning has subsequently fueled rumors that Eisenhower was using the alleged dentist visit as a cover story for an extraordinary event. The event is possibly the most significant that any American President could have conducted: an alleged ‘First Contact’ meeting with extraterrestrials at Edwards Air Force base (previously Muroc Airfield), and the beginning of a series of meetings with different extraterrestrial races that led to a ‘treaty’ that was eventually signed.” (http://exopolitics.org/Study-Paper-8.htm)
It has been alleged the ET communicated telepathically with President Eisenhower, and others. “There was telepathic communication,” says Michael Salla, 45, as he sits in his suburban Falls Church living room. “It’s as though you’re hearing a person but they’re not speaking.” (http://exopolitics.org/Wash-Post-Ike%20and%20ETs.htm)
After greeting the ET leader President Eisenhower “heard” these words. “Greetings, Earthling. I am Kirsan from Kalmykia, a planet much like yours in the Zeta Reticuli system.”
It has been written that US Secretary of State James Forrestal met with the leader of the ET group. It has also been written that Forrestal’s mind was blown when the ET communicated with him telepathically.
“SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JAMES FORRESTAL OBJECTED TO THE SECRECY.
He was a very idealistic and religious man. He believed that the public should be told. James Forrestal was also one of the first known abductees. When he began to talk to leaders of the opposition party and leaders of the Congress about the alien problem he was asked to resign by Truman. He expressed his fears to many people. Rightfully, he believed that he was being watched. This was interpreted by those who were ignorant of the facts as paranoia. Forrestal later was said to have suffered a mental breakdown. He was ordered to the mental ward of Bethesda Naval Hospital. In spite of the fact that THE ADMINISTRATION HAD NO AUTHORITY TO HAVE HIM COMMITTED, the order was carried out. In fact, it was feared that Forrestal would begin to talk again. He had to be isolated and discredited. His family and friends were denied permission to visit.
Finally, on May 21, 1949, Forrestal’s brother made a fateful decision.
HE NOTIFIED AUTHORITIES THAT HE INTENDED TO REMOVE JAMES FROM BETHESDA on May 22. Sometime in the early morning of May 22, 1949, agents of the CIA tied a sheet around James Forrestal’s neck, fastened the other end to a fixture in his room, then threw James Forrestal out the window. The sheet tore and he plummeted to his death. James Forrestal’s secret diaries were confiscated by the CIA and were kept in the White House for many years. Due to public demand the diaries were eventually rewritten and published in a sanitized version. The real diary information was later furnished by the CIA in book form to an agent who published the material as fiction. THE NAME OF THE AGENT IS WHITLEY STRIEBER and the book is ‘MAJESTIC’. James Forrestal became one of the first victims of the cover-up.” (http://www.thewatcherfiles.com/cooper/secret_government.htm)
Poor Kasparov. Facing that kind of other worldly power, how can a mere Human stand a chance?

Who Is Rex Sinquefield and Why Is He Funding Chess?

A week and a half back I noticed a link to a story about The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hiring both a public relations firm and a lobbying firm. Finding that interesting I clicked on sent me surfing on over to Politico, where I read:
CHESS CLUB HIRES TWO FORMER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has brought on some major Missouri political heft. The St. Louis-based nonprofit has retained the public relations firm of former Sen. Jim Talent, and the lobbying firm of former Missouri Rep. Earl Thomas Coleman. According to a lobbying registration filed this week, Coleman will lobby on “opportunities for client to testify before a committee of Congress and the secure sponsorships for H. Res. 169.” The resolution H. Res 169 would designate S. Louis as the “National Chess Capital.” It was introduced by William Lacy Clay Jr. and currently has 28 co-sponsors. Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced a Senate version of the resolution that has just one co-sponsor. “We’ve been working very diligently to try to showcase chess as a great educational tool,” said a spokesman for the chess club about their public affairs and advocacy efforts.
http://www.politico.com/politicoinfluence/0414/politicoinfluence13749.html
Having read much lately concerning lobbyists being hired to “grease the wheels” of Congress for the wealthy, the people my mother called the “Upper crust,” I thought this sounded like a good thing, with someone to lobby on behalf of We The People. I considered posting something about it, but never got around to it. Last night I noticed something on my favorite chess blog, Spraggett on Chess, “Interesting read about Rex Sinquefield.” (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/interesting-read-about-rex-sinquefield/) I was too tired to read the long article, but did download it, and have spent considerable time today reading many articles about the man behind the blooming of chess in St. Louis. It has been disquieting, to say the least.
It has been my experience in chess that for those who wish to “run things” in chess there has been little, if any, obstacle to their doing so. Elections are rare in chess, and I say that as someone who has played in many different state championships, and sat through many business meetings where elections have been held.
As I have grown older I have become less of a political person, to the point I could care less which bum wins. Some years ago while living in North Carolina my landlord, who was from the Great State of Virginia, mentioned that the NASCAR drive, Jeb Burton, intended on running for office in his home state of Virginia after his driving days were over. I told him all politicians were crooks and it did not matter what their party. He vehemently disagreed with me, telling me he thought Jeb was an honest man and would make a fine politician. “You mean to tell me ol’ Jeb will get down in the slime pit with the rest of ’em but come out smelling like a rose?” Everyone at the party laughed, even Will, who said, “You’ve got a point.”
About the story on Mr. Sinquefield mentioned in GM Spraggett’s post, ‘A Reporter’s Guide to Rex Sinquefield and the Show-Me Institute: What Reporters, Citizens, and Policymakers Need to Know’ (http://www.prwatch.org/files/reporters_guide_to_rex_sinquefield_0.pdf) Kevin says, “A fascinating story about a fascinating man!”
In a review, “When Moving From Rags to Riches Makes a Person Ruthless, Not Compassionate,” (http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/when-moving-from-rags-to-riches-makes-a-person-ruthless-not-compassionate/18629-when-moving-from-rags-to-riches-makes-a-person-ruthless-not-compassionate) of the 39 page PDF, Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout writes, “His is a legitimate “rags to riches” story. However, instead of using his millions to improve the lives of the poor, and working people, our protagonist is bullying his way to political power in pursuit of an agenda that benefits the privatizers and the rich and powerful. You probably never heard of him, you wouldn’t know him if you ran into him at a St. Louis Cardinal game at Busch Stadium, or rode in the same elevator to the top of the city’s Gateway Arch. If you live in Missouri – thereby directly effected by the way he wields his wealth — and if you want to understand how one very wealthy and powerful individual goes about the business of building influence throughout the state, consider the story of Rex Sinquefield.” Unfortunately, it gets worse…
“A Reporter’s Guide points out that two years ago, “Sinquefield told the Wall Street Journal that what he had spent so far is ‘merely the start of what he’ll spend to promote his two main interests: rolling back taxes” and what he describes as “rescuing education from teachers unions.’ He has also invested in groups working to thwart fair wages in Missouri, and undermine other long-standing union rights.”

“Key findings from the re- port include”:
— “Other states that have cut income taxes have offset the lost revenue by taxing capital gains or hiking property taxes but Sinquefield, whose vast wealth has come from investments and who owns two of the most ex- pensive mansions in the state, wants to instead hike the sales tax, which disproportionately affects working people.”

— “Sinquefield called neighboring Kansas’ steep tax cuts ‘unbelievably brilliant’ in 2012 and predicted that Missouri businesses would quickly flock across the border, but in the year following the cuts, Kansas’ economy has lagged behind most of the region, and has actually added fewer businesses than Missouri.”
“Sinquefield’s contributions have not always brought successful outcomes. He backed Todd Akin’s candidacy for the Senate, even after Akin said that women who are victims of what he called “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.”
Think about that while the women’s championship is taking place at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.
From the article, “Show Me the Money: Meet the Multimillionaire Squeezing Missouri’s Schools” by Brendan Fischer and Lisa Graves, The Progressive (http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/04/12459/show-me-money-meet-multimillionaire-squeezing-missouris-schools), Even more revealing is how Sinquefield behaved when Missouri was operating under laws to limit the amount of donations one person or group could give to influence elections. In order to bypass those clean election laws, he worked with his legal and political advisers to create more than 100 separate groups with similar names. Those multiple groups gave more, cumulatively, than Sinquefield would be able to give in his own name, technically complying with the law while actually circumventing it. That operation injected more than $2 million in disclosed donations flowing from Sinquefield during the 2008 election year, and it underscored his chess-like gamesmanship and his determination to do as he pleases. (Sinquefield is an avid chess player.)”
It bothers me that Mr. Sinquefield, “… has also invested in groups working to thwart fair wages in Missouri, and undermine other long-standing union rights.”
It makes me wonder why Rex Sinquefield and his wife have put so much money into chess. The purpose, as far as I have understood it is that they have wanted to do something for We The People. After reading the above, and more, much more, I am perplexed, wondering if they have an ulterior motive for their largess for the chess community. When reading the article, “Billionaires gather in Arizona to discuss giving,” (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/billionaires-gather-in-arizona-to-discuss-giving/) I could not help but wonder if the Sinquefields were there. After reading the article, and seeing a picture of Warren Buffett, I realized it was about a different kind of giving. Another article has just appeared (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/giving-pledge-meet-up_n_859495.html) concerning the “Upper crust” giving crums to We The Little People. Throughout his this is the kind of thing the crusty uppers have done to stave off revolution. Now that the Supremes have ruled corporations are people I could get in bed with the corpo’s, but that does not sound as satisfying as getting in bed with a real, living woman.
For the past few years I have looked forward to the US Chess Championships, even with some weird type formats in use. I was especially looking forward to the Championships this year because it is what is now called a “traditional” round robin format. After reading these, and other articles (do a search on any search engine -I use only http://www.startpage.com -you will find a plethora of recent articles), today, I have decided to not spend my time on the tournament. I will miss Yaz and Jen.