The Milner-Barry Gambit

  1. e4 (365Chess designates this the “B00 King’s pawn opening”) 1…e6 (This move signifies the opening has become the “C00 French defence) 2. d4 d5 3. e5 (After this move it becomes the “C02 French, advance variation”) 3…c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 (Now it is the “C02 French, advance, Paulsen attack”) 5…Qb6 6. Bd3 (And now we have the “C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit” [] or do we?)
The Milner-Barry Gambit

Already an adult when playing in my first USCF rated tournament, I was a bad, but persistently tenacious, player. It was my good fortune to have had International Master Branko Vujakovic travel to Atlanta from Yugoslavia to attend college. My first out of state Chess tournament, in New Orleans, Louisiana, was with Branko. It was in that tournament I used a version of the Milner-Barry taught by Branko against an Expert only a few rating points below National Master, Glenn Ruiz in the very first round. That game featured 4 Nf3 in lieu of 4 c3 in the main line. I recall being on move when one of the local players walked by our board and stopped dead in his tracks. “Would you look at that..” my opponent lamented about his broken and battered position while shaking his head.

We also drove to the Church’s Fried Chicken Chess Tournament in San Antonio, Texas, in 1972, where I met Bobby Fischer after his recent victory over Boris Spassky to win the title of World Chess Champion.

One of the things recalled about the trip was that the night before the first round we were soundly sleeping when there was a knock on the door. After opening the door there stood two women, one of whom asked, “Would you like a date?” I modestly replied, “No ma’am, but thank you anyway.” After closing the door Branko asked, “Who was that?” After telling him what had transpired he asked, “Does that happen often?” Now here’s a guy who has been around the world and he is asking a young dude for whom a road trip to Savannah, Georgia, had been one of the highlights of his life a question like that…”How should I know?” was the answer.

Branko showed me the opening moves of what he called the “Milner-Barry Gambit,” which were, 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bd3 cxd4 6. O-O. According to the fourth move makes the variation the “C02 French, advance, Nimzovich system” ( We called it the “Milner-Barry Gambit.” If you go to the page at 365Chess you will find the opening having been played by World Chess Championship contender Nigel Short and fellow British countryman GM Julian Hodgson, along with GM Artur Kogan. The idea is simple enough with white sacrificing a pawn for development in order to attack on the Kingside.

In the second round of the recently completed US Women’s Chess Championship the eventual winner, Carissa Yip

Eighteen-year-old International Master Carissa Yip was crowned U.S. Women’s Champion with a...
Eighteen-year-old International Master Carissa Yip was crowned U.S. Women’s Champion with a round to spare, finishing with an incredible 8.5/11 score. The tournament was held at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Saint Louis, Mo.

faced the French defense played by former US Women’s Chess Champ Tatev Abrahamyan:
  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 (StockFish 13, going way deep to depth 82 proclaims 3 Nc3 best) 3…c5 4. c3 (According the this is the only move with which White can show an advantage. The Stockfish program at shows the game equal. SF 030721 at the ChessBaseDataBase, @depth 57, shows White with a miniscule advantage) 4…Nc6 (SF 130721 @depth 57 plays this move but SF 13 @depth 69 would play 4…Qb6) 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3? (SF, along with everyone else, plays 6 a3, and so should you. Why would the new Women’s Champ play an inferior move? This game may have had something to do with why she played the move:

Magnus Carlsen (2863) vs Pentala Harikrishna (2732)
Event: Saint Louis Blitz 2020
Site: INT Date: 09/19/2020
Round: 15.1
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Nbd2 Rc8 9.Nb3 dxc3 10.bxc3 Qc7 11.Re1 Nge7 12.h4 Ng6 13.Qe2 Be7 14.h5 Ngxe5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.Qxe5 Nxe5 17.Rxe5 Bf6 18.Re3 Rxc3 19.Rb1 d4 20.Rg3 O-O 21.Bb2 Rfc8 22.Bxc3 dxc3 23.Rd1 Bc6 24.Bc2 Kf8 25.Re3 b6 26.Nd4 Bd5 27.a4 g6 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Nb5 Rc4 30.Nxa7 Rb4 31.Nb5 Rb2 32.Rc1 Bg5 33.Nxc3 Bxe3 34.fxe3 Bc6 35.Be4 Bd7 36.Bd3 Bc6 37.Rc2 Rb4 38.Bb5 Bxb5 39.axb5 Rc4 40.Kf2 Ke7 41.Ke2 f5 42.Kd3 Rb4 43.Ra2 Kf6 44.Ra6 Rb2 45.Rxb6 Rxg2 46.Nd5+ Ke5 47.Nf4 1-0

Back to the game: 6…cxd4 7. O-O (7 cxd4 is best according the Fritz 15, 16, and 17, for what it’s worth. Unfortunately, there is no word from the best program, or any other, better, program. All we have to go on is the human mind of Magnus Carlsen and the fact that in the 38 games contained by the CBDB White has scored an astounding 66%, while the move 7 cxd4 has scored only 42% in 203 games. Back in the day the move played by a World Champ would have been enough. I miss those daze…) 7…Bd7 8. Re1 (Ms. Yip varies from the World Champ. The most popular move has been 8 cxd4, with 308 games in the CBDB, and it is the choice of Houdini, and the overwhelming choice of most human players even though it has only scored 43%! I kid you not…The move played in the game has only been attempted 40 times, scoring 64%. It is also the choice of SF 11 @depth 47. But SF 14 @depth 48 would play what is invariably almost no doubt the best move on the board whenever it is played, 8 Qe2!!! According to the CBDB the move 8 Qe2 has only been attempted TWICE. That will most certainly change after this post is read by Chess players all over the world looking for any kind of advantage. Pardon me, I sometimes get carried away when Qe2 is played, in case you have not noticed…Where we’re we? Oh yeah, my new hero, who has played THREE games using 8 Qe2, my Man, Adrian Flitney:

Adrian Flitney (1999) vs Daniel Baider (2032)
Event: Nelson op
Site: Nelson Date: 10/05/2007
Round: 5
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Qe2 Nge7 9.Rd1 dxc3 10.Nxc3 Ng6 11.Be3 Qd8 12.Bg5 Be7 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.g3 O-O 15.Rac1 f5 16.h4 Be8 17.Ng5 h6 18.Nxe6 Qxe6 19.Nxd5 Qxe5 20.Qd2 Kh8 21.Bc4 f4 22.Re1 Qd4 23.Qxd4 Nxd4 24.Kg2 fxg3 25.fxg3 Bc6 26.h5 Nf3 27.hxg6 Nxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Rf5 0-1

Wait a minute…what if Adrian is a woman?

I checked, learning Mr. Flitney is an Australian male who was born in 1961 and played a total of 134 games between 1981 and 2009 ( For some reason Adrian faced an inordinate number of French defenses and, to be kind, did not score all that well. Nevertheless, I will replay each and every game because one can usually learn more from a loss than a win.)

Again, where were we? Oh yeah, Ms. Yip has just played 8 Re1 in lieu of the 8.Nbd2 played in a blitz game. This was answered with 8…Nge7 9 h4 a6 (Although SF 13 @depth 50 would play the move played in the game, SF 14 @depth 54 goes with 9…Rc8, as in the following game:

Piroska Palotai (2055) vs Attila Barva (2335)
Event: HUN-ch univ
Site: Hungary Date: 2000
Round: ?
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Qb6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.c3 Bd7 7.O-O cxd4 8.Re1 Nge7 9.h4 Rc8 10.a3 (SF 14 gives 10 Nbd2 as best) 10…a6 11.Qe2 dxc3 12.Nxc3 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Qxd4 14.g3 Nc6 15.Bf4 Be7 16.Rad1 Qb6 17.Bb1 g6 18.Bh6 Nd4 19.Qg4 Qxb2 20.Nxd5 exd5 21.Qxd4 Qxd4 22.Rxd4 Be6 23.a4 Rc3 24.Ba2 Bc5 25.Rd2 Rxg3+ 26.Kh2 Rg4 27.Bg5 Bb4 0-1

Alessio Valsecchi (2432) vs Luca Moroni Jr (2321)
Event: 17th Padova Open 2014
Site: Padova ITA Date: 12/17/2014
Round: 5.11
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Re1 Nge7 9.h4 Rc8 10.h5 a6 11.Bc2 h6 12.a3 dxc3 13.Nxc3 Na5 14.Ra2 Nec6 15.Be3 Qc7 16.Bf4 Qd8 17.Bb1 Nc4 18.Bd3 b5 19.Bg3 Qb6 20.Nh4 Qd4 21.Nf3 Qg4 22.Ne2 Bc5 23.Qa1 Bb6 24.b3 N4a5 25.Qd1 O-O 26.Bb1 Ne7 27.Ned4 Rc3 28.Qd2 Rfc8 29.Rb2 Qxh5 30.Rd1 Qg4 31.b4 Bxd4 32.Qxd4 Qxd4 33.Nxd4 Nc4 34.Rb3 Nxa3 35.Bd3 Rc1 36.Rf1 R8c3 37.Bf4 Rxf1+ 38.Kxf1 Rxb3 39.Nxb3 Nc6 40.Bd2 Nxe5 41.Be2 Nec4 42.Bc3 e5 43.Nc5 Bc8 44.Bd3 d4 45.Ba1 a5 46.bxa5 Nxa5 47.f4 f6 48.fxe5 fxe5 49.Kf2 N3c4 50.Be4 Kf8 51.Nd3 Bb7 52.Bf5 Nb3 53.Bd7 Nxa1 54.Bxb5 Nd6 55.Ba4 e4 0-1

If you are still with me we have come to the only other game found in which 9…a6 was found:

Rauf Mamedov (2654) vs Boris Markoja (2453)
Event: Online Olympiad Top DivB 2021
Site: INT Date: 09/10/2021
Round: 7.3 Score: 1-0
ECO: C02 French, advance, Milner-Barry gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.O-O Bd7 8.Re1 Nge7 9.h4 a6 10.h5 g6 11.h6 Ng8 12.cxd4 Nxh6 13.Nc3 Nf5 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bg5 Nfxd4 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Bf6 Rg8 18.Rc1 Nc6 19.Nc5 Qb6 20.b4 Nxb4 21.Nxd7 Kxd7 22.Qa4+ Nc6 23.Rb1 Qc7 24.Rec1 Be7 25.Bxe7 Kxe7 26.Qa3+ Ke8 27.Bb5 Qe7 28.Bxc6+ bxc6 29.Qe3 Qc7 30.Rb6 Kd7 31.Qf4 Rgf8 32.Rcb1 Ra7 33.Qh6 Ke7 34.Qc1 Kd7 35.Qf4 h5 36.a4 a5 37.R1b2 Kc8 38.Qe3 c5 39.Rb8+ Qxb8 40.Qxc5+ Qc7 41.Qxf8+ Kd7 42.Qxf7+ Kd8 43.Qf8+ Kd7 44.Rb8 Qxe5 45.Qd8+ Kc6 46.Qb6+ 1-0

10. h5 (SF plays 10 Nbd2) 10…h6 (SF prefers 10…g6, putting the question to White. It will be a TN if and when played by a human. 365Chess shows no games with 10…h6, but the CBDB has 4 games with the move) 11. Qe2 (The StockFish programs at Chess24 and the CBDB show 11 Nbd2 as best. The weaker SF program at the ChessBomb shows the move played in the game.) 11…f5? (StockFish shows 11…dxc3 as best. 11…f5? is a RED MOVE at ChessBomb. In computer numerical terms Black has just tossed a pawn. If you do not understand why please STOP! Go set up a real 3D set and pieces and look at the position as long as it takes for you to acquire understanding of the position, grasshopper, then return to the AW for, hopefully, more understanding) 12. exf6? (Because of being taught this particular opening a half century ago I had a modicum of understanding of the rudiments of this position. This weekend I was assisting a Chess Coach because his antiquated laptop needs to have “cool down” time. When this happens the AW takes control of the group. The Coach said nothing after 11…f5 so I stayed silent, but after he made the move 12 exf6 on the board and erupted effusively with, “I love this move! It just rips black apart! What do you think of the move, Mike?” Rock…Hard Place…I actually thought of a song, which will probably not surprise regular readers, even if it did surprise me:

For readers who do not know much about the Royal Game, in Chess there is one thing that is paramount: The Truth. For this reason I was compelled to either feign a heart attack or answer truthfully. Although only taking a few seconds to answer it seemed like HOURS had elapsed before I stated, “Pawn takes pawn en passant is an awful move, Coach.”

Silence followed before the Coach gathered himself enough to inquire, “Why would you say that, Mike?” The answer came immediately. “Because the White e-pawn is a bastion in the center of the board, Coach. When it goes Black will be left with three pawns in the center of the board that will be like Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Eugene “Mercury ” Morris, the three running backs for the only undefeated NFL team in history, rolling forward over any and every thing in their path.”

The Coach was stunned speechless. Therefore I added, “If you go back to the position after 11 Qe2 was played you will see that 11…f5 was also a bad move. Black should have played 11…dxc3.”

The Coach finally responded with, “Well Mike, we don’t have much time and I’m only trying to give the students an overview of the game and not so much detail.”

The kids are LOVING THIS!

“But now I gotta know so I’ll go over to the Bomb and check it out.”

And that is exactly what I expect you to do because inquiring minds want to know (

BTW, in lieu of 12 exf6 StockFish would play 12 Na3. Just sayin’…

12…gxf6 13. cxd4 (Komodo plays 13 Nxd4 while the Fish plays 13 Qd1) 13…Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Qxd4

White to move

15. Be3 (Truth be told I did not question this move and we discussed what a natural move was this, as it attacks the Queen thereby “developing with tempo,” which is a good thing in Chess, especially if one is behind in development. As luck would have it the next night I was again called upon and was showing the game to another group when the Coach returned just in time to hear me say this was a bad move. “What?” the Coach erupted. Then he gives the students all the reasons enumerated above before saying to me, “Why would you say that, Mike?!”

“Oh no, Mister Bill,” I’m thinking. It was kinda like being called on in class when the teacher knows you’ve been sitting there zoning out while dreaming about that last bell so you could get home and to the Boys Club ASAP… Nevertheless enough gumption was mustered to say, “I spent some time reviewing the game for a possible blog post and checked with all the usual websites and was just as shocked as you to learn that although StockFish 8 played the move, SF 14 finds 15 Nc3 superior.”

Silence. Then, “Well, 15…Qe5 looks like a good move. What do you think, Mike?” I actually thought about having a power failure, but decided to inform the coach that the Fish proclaimed 15…Qh4 best. The coach moved the Queen to e5 before saying, “Well, it looks like Nc3 is out of the question because of the pawn fork, and Nd2 drops the b-pawn, but it looks like White gets counter play by moving the Rook to b1, so how about 16 Na3?” I knew one of the programs (Houdini) would have played Nd2 but kept quiet, but when the Coach asked, “What do you think, Mike?” I was again on the spot, so I said, “f4.” Yip played 16 Nd2)

15…Qe5 16. Nd2 Rg8 17. f4 Qd6 18. Qf2 Rc8 19. Rad1 (19 Nf3 SF) 19…Bc6 (The Coach liked this move, using arrows to show the Bishop and Rook firing on g2. Unfortunately he again asked me to weigh in, so I had not choice but to point out how bad was the move, a move from which Tatev never recovered. “Well, what the hell should the woman have played, Mike?!” I answered “f5.” The coach continued moving the pieces until reaching the position after 20. Bh7 Rg7, asking the students to find a good move for White. By this point the poor things were afraid to utter a sound, so the Coach showed the next move: 21. Ne4 explaining what a good move was this and explaining why, before saying, “We’re running out of time so I’m just gonna run through the rest of the moves before ending the session.”

And I am thinking “Oh Happy Day”

21…Qc7 (Qd8) 22. Bb6 (Nxf6+) dxe4 23. Bxc7 Rxh7 24. Bd6 Rg7 25. Rc1 Nf5 (f5) 26. Bxf8 Kxf8 27. Rxe4 Rd8 (Ke7) 28. Rxc6 bxc6 29. Rxe6 Ng3 (Kg8) 30. Rxf6+ Ke7 31. Qc5+ (Rg6) Kxf6 32. Qe5+ Kf7 33. Qc7+ 1-0

Robert Ris’ Fast and Furious: The Improved Milner-Barry Gambit

Yakubboev vs Eljanov: C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

GM Nodirbek Yakubboev 2621(UZB)

vs GM Pavel Eljanov 2691(UKR)

Photo: ECC/David Llada

FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 round 05
C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. d3 d6 6. Na4

Black to move

6…Bb6 7. Ne2 Ba5+ 8. Nac3 Bg4 9. O-O Qd7 10. Bg5 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Ng8 12. f3 Bh3 13. c4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 h6 15. Be3 Nge7 16. f4 f5 17. Nc3 O-O 18. Qd2 fxe4 19. Nxe4 Nf5 20. Rae1 b6 21. Nc3 Rae8 22. Nd5 Nce7 23. fxe5 Nxd5 24. cxd5 dxe5 25. c4 c6 26. dxc6 Qxc6+ 27. Kg1 e4 28. Rf4 exd3 29. Qxd3 Nxe3 30. Rxe3 Qc5 31. Re4 Rxe4 32. Qxe4 Rc8 33. Qd5+ Qxd5 34. cxd5 Rc1+ 35. Kf2 Rd1 36. Re7 a5 37. Rd7 Rd2+ 38. Ke3 Rxa2 39. Rb7 Kf8 40. Rxb6 Rxh2 41. Ke4 ½-½

1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 Nc6 (SF castles) 5. d3 (There are 771 games in the ChessBasseDataBase in which the move 5 Nf3 has been played and it has scored 55%; There are 268 games in which 5 Nge2 has been played and it has scored 60%, and it is the choice of SF 9 @depth 43…but SF 13, going deeper to depth 53 would play 5 d3. In the 182 games played in which the modest move of the Queen’s pawn was played it has scored only 53%. Then there is Komodo 14 @depth 64 which would play 5 Na4. There are only 5 games in which the Dragon’s move has been played) 5…d6 (SF 260221 @depth 60 castles. There are 18 games in which Black has castled and White has scored 64% in those games. There are 81 games in which 5…a6 has been played, with White scoring 57%. Fritz prefers 5…d6 and in 80 games it has scored only 47% for White. SF 170921 plays 5…a5. There are 3 games in which that salvo has been fired…) 6. Na4 Bb6 (SF plays 6…Bg4, and so should you) 7. Ne2 (7 Nxb6 has been almost invariably played until now. SF & Komodo both prefer the move played in the game) 7…Ba5+ (The choice of Stockfish. The following game, found only at the ChessBaseDataBase, appears to be the game in which the move was played)

IM Milan Mrdja 2296 CRO vs FM Matej Blazeka 2329 CRO
Zagreb Damjanovic Memorial 2nd 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.d3 d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.Ne2 Ba5+ 8.c3 b5 9.b4 Bxb4 10.cxb4 bxa4 11.Qxa4 Bd7 12.b5 Ne7 13.Qc4 a6 14.bxa6 Qc8 15.d4 Nc6 16.d5 Na5 17.Qd3 Qxa6 18.Qxa6 Rxa6 19.Rb1 Ke7 20.Nc3 Raa8 21.O-O Rhb8 22.Rxb8 Rxb8 23.Re1 Nc4 24.Bf1 Nb6 25.f3 Na4 26.Re3 Nc5 27.Re2 Nd3 28.Be3 Be8 29.Rd2 Nc5 30.Rc2 Rb4 31.Kf2 c6 32.Rd2 cxd5 33.Nxd5+ Nxd5 34.Rxd5 Na4 35.Rd2 Bb5 36.Bh3 Nc3 37.Ba7 Ba4 38.Bf1 Rb7 39.Be3 Nd1+ 40.Ke2 Rb1 0-1

IM Dmitry Sumaneev 2450 RUS vs WIM Fiona Steil Antoni 2129 LUX
Titled Tuesday intern op 02nd Mar 3021

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.Nge2 d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.d3 Be6 8.O-O Qd7 9.Nxb6 axb6 10.c4 Bh3 11.Nc3 h5 12.Bg5 Nd4 13.f3 c6 14.Be3 h4 15.g4 Nxg4 16.Bxh3 Nxe3 17.Bxd7+ Kxd7 18.Qd2 Nxf1 19.Rxf1 Rh6 20.Qf2 h3 21.Kh1 Rf6 22.Qg3 Rh8 23.Qxg7 Rhh6 24.Qg4+ Ke7 25.f4 Rfg6 26.Qd1 Rg2 27.Rg1 Rhg6 28.Rxg2 Rxg2 29.fxe5 dxe5 30.a3 f5 31.exf5 Kf6 32.Ne4+ Kxf5 33.Ng3+ Kf4 34.Nf1 Nf3 35.Ng3 Rxh2# 0-1

My Girl Nazi Paikidze Plays the Leningrad Dutch!

The first time the former US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze
Is it Okay to Root for Nazi? – Tom Liberman

appeared on the Armchair Warrioradar was when she played an opening near and dear to my heart. After opening with 1 e4 at the St Louis Autumn GM 2016 her opponent, Jayram Ashwin,

answered with 1…e6, the French defense. When Nazi moved her Queen to e2, the move made famous by the father of Russian Chess, Mikhail Chigorin,
2013 Goodwin Champions Mikhail Chigorin Chess Russia | eBay

my Chess heart had been stolen. I have been a Nazi fan ever since that day. Although Nazi lost that game her opponent was India’s 39th GM. Unfortunately she has not played the opening again, but I can always hope…Nazi has faced the Leningrad Dutch as white about a half dozen times over the past decade, which makes me wonder if those games influenced her to play the Leningrad Dutch? Inquiring minds want to know so how about a Chess journalist asking Nazi the question of how she came to play the LD? I will admit it was more than her choice of openings that brought Nazi to my attention as I found her coy insouciance attractive.

David Spinks was fond of saying, “You gotta pull for somebody!” For the reasons given above there is much to admire, therefore I ‘pull’ for Nazi.

Thalia Cervantes Landeiro (USA)

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 05
A86 Dutch, Leningrad variation

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. d5 Na6 8. Nc3 Nc5 9. Be3 e5 10. dxe6 Nxe6 11. Ng5 c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3 Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7 19. Qa3 Rf8 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7 23. e4 Ng6 24. Be3 Qd8 25. Bh3 Rdf7 26. Qc2 Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5 Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5 Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1

1.d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 (There is a major internecine fight with Stockfish 180521 between 3…e6 and 3…g6. The Fish is completely divided, as if it had been filleted; split 50-50. My advice is, “When in doubt, play the LENINGRAD!”) 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nh3 (5 Nf3 has been the most often played move with 2104 games in the CBDB, and it shows a 56% success rate. 5 Nc3 has been played in 1630 games, scoring 56%. SF 14 @depth 41 shows 5 Nc3. However, SF 091021 @depth 42 plays 5 Nh3. There are only 237 examples of the move played in this game contained in the CBDB and it has only scored 50% against lower rated opposition than the two aforementioned moves. Just sayin…) 5…O-O (SF 080920 @depth 44 plays 5…c6. There are only 10 games with that move in the CBDB. The most often played move has been 5…0-0, with white scoring 54% of the time. The second most played move has been 5..d6 and it has held white to a 48% score. In the main line any time white has played d4 followed by c4 it is generally a good idea to play an early d6 if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch. With the early Nh3 the StockFish computations obviously change. I only faced Nh3 once, in a game with Joe Scott, who I believe was an expert on his way to National Master, but he could have been a NM. I recall Joe telling me he became a NM because of the book The Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations.

Joe moved the Knight to f4 and clamped down on my e6 square and played a fine game, choking the life out of me until I expired. The loss inspired me to devote much time to annotating the game back in BC time. That’s “Before Computer” time. I read anything and everything found on the move 5 Nh3 in order to be prepared the next time I faced the move. Next time never came…but you can bet your sweet bibby that if next time comes around in a Senior event I will be prepared!) 6. O-O (SF 12 @depth 40 plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 7. d5 (In an article by André Schulz at Chessbase ( this is found after 7 d5, “7. Nc3 is vanishing.” This is strange because two different Stockfish programs show 7. Nc3 as the best move. The CBDB contains 60 with 7. Nc3 and 62 with 7. d5. White has, though, scored 54% with the latter while 7. Nc3 has only scored 48% and this against roughly the same opposition) 7…Na6 (Although Komodo at only depth 18 plays the game move, two different SF programs at double the depth show 7…c6. There are 23 games with 7…Na6 and white has scored 50%; in the 22 games when 7…c6 has been the choice white has scored 59%, with this being against roughly the same level opposition. Given the opportunity to play either move I would play 7…c6, which is reason enough for you to play the move chosen by our girl!) 8. Nc3 Nc5 (The move played in the game has been the overwhelming choice, but SF 13 likes 8…Qe8; SF 14 prefers 8…Bd7. I would play the latter move to complete development) 9. Be3 (SF 13 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 210920 @depth 41 plays 9 Qc2, yet 9 Nf4 has been the most often played move with 43 games in the CBDB in which it has scored 63% against 2398 opposition. In 26 games the move played in the game, 9 Be3 has scored 56% against 2452 opposition in 26 games. In 27 games against opposition rated 2482 the move 9 Qc2 has scored an astounding 70%! There is a reason the move 9 Qc2 is the choice of the Fish…) 9…e5 10. dxe6 (Here’s the deal…the CBDB shows 14 games in which this move has been played and one with 10 Bxc5 having been played, yet three different Stockfish programs show 10 b4 as the best move!) 10 Nxe6 (SF 14 plays 10 Bxe6) 11. Ng5 (The aforementioned annotations at Chessbase show, “White has an edge.” There are no games found at either the CBDB or 365Chess containing the move 11 Ng5 so it appears to be a Theoretical Novelty!)

Black to move

You can find the game annotated all over the internet but since I followed the the game with something akin to religious fervor and made notes along the way I would like to share them with you.

11…c6 12. Nxe6 Bxe6 13. Qb3? This has gotta be bad. I’d be feeling pretty good sitting behind the black pieces after seeing a move like that! Maybe Thalia did not want to leave the Knight undefended with the black squared firing at the Rook on a1 after Ne4 but it does not work…Big advantage for Nazi!)

13…Qe7 14. Rad1 Ng4 15. Bf4 Ne5 16. Qb4 Rfd8? (OMG what has my girl done? Why would she not take the pawn???) 17. b3 g5 18. Bd2 Rd7? (She should play the most forcing move on the board, a5, something I watch the top players not doing as a matter of course. Makes me think of that line from the CSNY song Deja Vu…”It makes me wonder/really makes me wonder’/What’s going on…”)

  1. Qa3 Rf8? (I dunno, Qf6 looks good about now…) 20. Qc1 h6 21. f4 (I thought h6 was OK but now I’m not so sure…taking leaves me with a couple of ugly duckling pawns but bring the Knight back for defense only seems to clog up the works. Nazi has stepped into some excrement) 21…gxf4 22. Bxf4 Kh7? (Why not 22…Qf6?) 23. e4 (What a mess Nazi has stepped into…looks like one of my uncoordinated LD positions. I wanna play Rfe8 but that Rook oughta stay where it is…so maybe dropping the other Rook back to the back rank…or moving, let’s call it ‘repositioning’ the Queen is what the doctor ordered…or was that life support? Things aren’t looking so good for my favorite female player about now…not even a Houdini, or a Houdini program will help her now, I’m sad to write…) 23…Ng6 (Did not consider that move. Looks like Nazi gets opened up like a can of sardines after exf5…) 24. Be3 (What is this? Now I’m pushing the f-pawn while singing, “Save my life I’m going down for the last time…”) 24…Qd8?
White to move

(Oh no Mr. Bill, what the fork is this? From where did that idea come?) 25. Bh3 (Well that helps. Qc2 piling on the pressure looked real strong) 24…Rdf7 26. Qc2 (I dunno, taking with Bxf5 looks good. Nazi continues dodging bullets) 26…Qe7 27. Bf4 fxe4 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Nxe4 d5 30. Nc5?

(White coulda come outta all the exchanges better than she did but this has gotta be wrong as it will drive the Queen over and every Black piece will be firing at the White King! What a turnaround!!! 30…Qg4 31. Nd3 Bd4+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Rde1 Rfe7 34. cxd5? (I cannot believe this…the woman just let go of the rope!!!) 34…Re2 35. Rxe2 Rxe2 36. Qd1 Qh5 37. g4 Qxd5+ 0-1 (Wow! That is what we call “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat…”)

Yasser Seirawan (2615) vs Mikhail Gurevich (2630)
Event: Belgrade Investbank
Site: Belgrade Date: 1991

ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nh3 c6 6.Nf4 d6 7.d5 e5 8.dxe6 Qe7 9.Nd2 O-O 10.O-O Bxe6 11.Nxe6 Qxe6 12.Rb1 Nbd7 13.b4 Nb6 14.c5 Nbd5 15.Bb2 Rad8 16.Qb3 Nc7 17.cxd6 Rxd6 18.Nc4 Rd7 19.a4 Ng4 20.h3 Nf6 21.b5 Ne4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qb2+ Kh6 24.Qc1+ Kg7 25.Qb2+ Rf6 26.Rfc1 Kh6 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Bxe4 fxe4 29.Ne5 Qxh3 30.Nxd7 Rf5 31.Qd2+ Kg7 32.Qd4+ Kh6 33.Qe3+ 1-0

John P Fedorowicz (2574) vs Kamil Miton (2383)
Event: CCA ChessWise op
Site: Stratton Mountain Date: 06/13/1999
Round: 4
ECO: A81 Dutch defence
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nh3 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.d5 Na6 8.Nc3 Nc5 9.Be3 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Rc1 c6 12.b3 Qe7 13.Bd4 Bf7 14.Ng5 Kh8 15.Qd2 Bg8 16.b4 Ncd7 17.b5 c5 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Qd3 Nd7 20.f4 h6 21.Nf3 ½-½

Chess Websites

A disgruntled reader took exception to the post, USCF Drops Set & Clock ( He defended the USCF for not having posted the last round games along with the other eight rounds. Only seven of those rounds can be found at the USCF website. There was/is an error with the fifth round and when clicks on the round this is found:

This screenshot was taken from the USCF website a moment ago (

There are still no last round games posted…

The disgruntled one excoriated the AW for not finding the games at lichess ( I will admit to missing the notification in the article by Alexy Root,
Family Chess Challenge in Denton with WIM Dr. Alexey Root …

U.S. Open: Chess games, awards, signings, meetings, as I sort of glanced at the pictures on the way to the games, of which there were only three. Although I had previously been to the lichess website, I returned, finding the same page. From what was displayed I thought the website was only for playing online Chess. What do you think

Yesterday while watching the coverage of the Sinquefield Cup

I noticed GM Maurice Ashley

using a lichess board to display moves played in the ongoing games, so I returned to lichess and there was the same page as above. I did not want to waste time looking at the website because I was enjoying watching the gentlemen. Frankly, it was excellent having three Grandmasters analyze the games live without having a much lower rated woman onscreen.

There are many Chess websites and they are in competition. Like the Highlander,

From the look of Chessdom ( another one has bitten the dust.

The same screen has been up since the conclusion of the TCEC ( match, won convincingly by Stockfish over LcZero. Although I visit most every Chess website the surfing begins with The Week In Chess (, moving to Chessbase (, then on over to Chess24 (, and when there is Chess action, I go to the ChessBomb (, and also use Chess24. The best place to view is TWIC because the board contains only moves, unlike ChessBomb, which color codes moves, and Chess24 which has some ridiculous white strip on the side of the board that moves up or down depending on the current move. It reminds me of a thermometer. Wonder why the two websites did not make the ancillary accoutrements optional? They broadcast most of the same events, but the Bomb has been running all games played in the World Chess Championship matches, and is now up to the 1981 Karpov vs. Korchnoi match. ( I am still enjoying replaying the Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky match. ( Although I like the darker background found at I agree with a gentleman with children who said, “ is geared toward children.” And why should it not be “geared toward children”? Children are the future and the battle rages for their little hearts, minds, souls, and their parents money.

The Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational Extravaganza

There were four separate Chess tournaments held from Jul 28-Aug 1, 2021, at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Together they were called the, Summer 2021 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational. There was the Grandmaster A; GM B; and the International Master A, and IM B. Each tournament consisted of ten players, some of whom paid an entry fee of $850 for a chance at obtaining a norm toward actually earning a title. I have no other details as they were not disclosed on the website.

In the top GM A tournament, IM Joshua Sheng (2453),

of the USA, scored the required 6 1/2 points by defeating, with the black pieces, FM Gauri Shankar (2369),

from India, in the last round. FM Shankar finished last managing only four draws to go with his five losses.

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 e6 5. cxd5 Bxf3 6. Bxf3 cxd5 7. O-O Nf6 8. b3 Nc6 9. Bb2 Bd6 10. d3 O-O 11. Nc3 Rc8 12. Nb5 Be7 13. Nd4 Qa5 14. a3 Qb6 15. e3 Nd7 16. b4 Bf6 17. Nxc6 Rxc6 18. d4 Rfc8 19. Be2 Rc2 20. Rb1 Qd6 21. Bd3 R2c7 22. Qe2 Nb6 23. Rfc1 Nc4 24. Bxc4 Rxc4 25. Rxc4 Rxc4 26. Rd1 Qc6 27. Rd2 Bd8 28. Qd3 g6 29. Re2 Qb5 30. Qd1 a5 31. bxa5 Bxa5 32. Kg2 Kf8 33. h4 Ke8 34. h5 Rc6 35. a4 Qb4 36. hxg6 hxg6 37. Ba1 Qc4 38. Bb2 Bb4 39. f3 Bd6 40. e4 Ra6 41. exd5 Qxd5 42. Bc1 Rc6 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Qd2 Ra3 45. Qc2 Kd7 46. Kf2 Ra1 47. Kg2 Qh5 48. Bc1 Ba3 49. Re1 Qd5 50. Rd1 Ra2 0-1

In the GM B tournament GM Tanguy Ringoir,

of Belarus, IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy,

of the USA, and FM Jason Liang,

also of the USA, tied for first place, each with a score of 5 1/2 out of 9. From the website is does appear that FM Liang earned an IM norm with a half point to spare. In addition, NM Tianqi Wang (2336),

of the USA, appears to have qualified for an IM norm with his score of 5 out of 9.

The International Master C tournament saw NM Aydin Turgut (2275),

USA, take clear first place with a score of 7/9, which also gained him an IM norm. He did it with this heroic battle:

Woodward, Andy (2196) vs Turgut, Aydin (2275)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c5 ½-½

The game score was not found at the CCC&SA website, as was the above game, so I took it from the ChessBomb website.

NM Ming Lu (2174),

USA, won the IM D tournament with a score of 7/9, one half point ahead of NM Alex Kolay (2203),

USA, who missed out on earning a IM norm by 1/2 point.

When one clicks on the IM D board to be taken to the game score he is instead taken to the IM C games. I therefore had to again use the game score from the ChessBomb (What would a journalist do without the Bomb?!)

Lev Paciorkowski (2262) USA vs Ming Lu (2174)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 09
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation

  1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2 Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. e5 Ne8 9. c4 Nc7 10. Nc3 Rb8 11. Rd1 b5 12. b3 a6 13. h4 Bb7 14. h5 h6 15. Bf4 b4 16. Nb1 f5 17. Re1 ½-½

Here is the deal…heading into the last round Lev Paciorkowski, after losing to NM Akira Nakada (2199)

in the penultimate round, could not have earned a norm with a win. After Lev played 15 Bf4 Ming Lu should have played the MOST FORCING MOVE, which was 15…Nd4. Instead, Lu played a weak, anti-positional move, 15…b4. Then Lev let go of the rope with at least one hand by playing the retrograde move16 Nb1, when moving the knight to a4 would have given him a substaintial advantage. With his last move, another lemon, Lev offered the peace pipe, which was gladly smoked by Ming Lu!

In the above game, after 1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2, I checked with the ChessBaseDataBase and was ASTOUNDED to learn Stockfish 12 @depth 52 would play 3 c3! The exclam is for my surprise, not because it is an outstanding move. Fact is, there is not one example of the move having been played in the CBDB! There are, though, four examples found at 365Chess. None of the players have a rating (
The Stockfish program 270321 shows 3 Nd2. The “new engine” does show 3 Qe2, for what it’s worth. After 3…Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 (SF plays the most often played move, 4…Be7) 5. g3 (SF 13 @depth 32 would play 5 c4, a move yet to be attempted by a human) 5…Nc6 (The most often played move but SF would play 5…Be7) 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O (By far the most often played move, and SF 260271 @depth 42 would also castle, but the same program left running until depth 49 would play 7 a4. There are only 3 examples of the move in the CBDB) 7…0-0 (SF plays 7…b5) 8. e5 (SF 13 plays this move but SF 14 prefers the seldom played 8 a4. Just sayin’…) 8…Ne8 (SF plays 8…Nd7) 9 c4 (Houdini plays the game move, but the smellyFish prefers 9 c3) 9…Nc7 10. Nc3 (Deep Fritz plays this, the most often played move, but Stockfish 11 @depth 31 plays 10 Re1; SF 13 at the same depth would play 10 b3, which is food for thought…) 10…Rb8 (SF plays this move but Komodo prefers 10…a6) 11. Rd1 (SF 12 @depth 41 plays the little played 11 Bf4) 11…b5 (Komodo plays the game move but StockFish comes up with a Theoretical Novelty with 11…b6. How about them fish?!) 12. b3 a6 13. h4 (TN)

Lin Chen (2477) vs Igor Naumkin (2421)
Event: 34th Boeblinger Open 2017
Site: Boeblingen GER Date: 12/29/2017
Round: 6.4
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Be7 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Nf6 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 c5 7.O-O Nc6 8.e5 Ne8 9.c4 Nc7 10.Nc3 Rb8 11.Rd1 b5 12.b3 a6 13.d4 bxc4 14.bxc4 Bb7 15.dxc5 Bxc5 16.Bg5 Be7 17.cxd5 exd5 18.Bxe7 Nxe7 19.Ne4 Ne6 20.Nd6 Qa5 21.Rac1 Bc6 22.Nd4 Nxd4 23.Rxd4 Bd7 24.h3 Be6 25.Qd2 Qb6 26.Rd3 Ng6 27.Rb3 Qa7 28.Rxb8 Rxb8 29.Re1 Qc5 30.Kh2 Qa3 31.Re2 Nxe5 32.Nxf7 Bxf7 33.Rxe5 Rb2 34.Qf4 Qxa2 35.Rf5 d4 36.Qd6 Re2 37.Qd8+ Re8 38.Qxe8+ Bxe8 39.Bd5+ Bf7 40.Bxa2 Bxa2 41.Ra5 Bb1 42.Rxa6 Kf7 43.Kg2 Be4+ 44.f3 Bc2 45.Kf2 d3 46.Ke3 g5 47.Rd6 Ke7 48.Rh6 Kf8 49.Rh5 1-0

GM Alonso Zapata

had a poor performance in the IM D tournament. I have no idea why. I did reach out to him but have yet to receive a reply. The Grandmaster only scored 3 points in the 9 round event. He drew 6 games while losing 3. All games were against much lower rated players. GM Zapata has played solidly for many years since moving to Atlanta, Georgia, but he is no longer a spring chicken. Everyone wondered what would happen when players were once again battling over the Chessboard after a long layoff. GM Zapata lost a long game in the 3rd round ( and followed it up with the following game which certainly helped NM Ming Lu (2174) in his attempt at gaining a norm:

GM Alonso Zapata (2422) vs Ming Lu (2174)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 04

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Bd3 c5 5. dxc5 Nf6 6. Qe2 O-O 7. Ngf3 a5 8. O-O Na6 9. e5 Nd7 10. c3 Naxc5 11. Bc2 f6 12. Nb3 b6 13. Nxc5 Nxc5 14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Re1 Ba6 16. Qd1 Qd6 17. Ng5 Bxg5 18. Bxg5 e5 19. f4 Rae8 20. fxe5 Rxe5 21. Qd2 Ne6 22. Bh4 Nf4 23. Bg3 Qc5+ 24. Bf2 Nh3+ 25. gxh3 Rxf2 0-1

Kubik, Michael (2238) vs Rydl, Jiri (2257)
Event: 17th Olomouc IM 2014
Site: Olomouc CZE Date: 08/05/2014
Round: 9.2
ECO: C03 French, Tarrasch

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Bd3 c5 5.dxc5 Nf6 6.Qe2 O-O 7.Ngf3 a5 8.O-O Na6 9.e5 Nd7 10.c3 Naxc5 11.Bc2 f6 12.Nb3 b6 13.Nxc5 0-1

Position from the Zapata v Lu game after black played 21…Ne6

White to move

What move would you make?

Position after 23…Qc5+

When attempting to teach Chess to youngsters I became known for constantly saying, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!” Sometimes it took a jackhammer, but there were times when I realized the drillin’ had worked. One of those times was when I was walking along Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the truly great thoroughfares in America, and as I neared a traffic light I heard, “Hey coach…EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” That put a huge smile on the face of the ol’ coach and made my day!

Black to move and put White out of his misery, and possibly his mind…

I took the time to copy some of the games from all four tournaments for your edification and/or amusement. They were copied from ChessBomb and I did not want to waste my time imputing ratings where you will find a (01). Frankly, when a player produces such excrement over the board they do not deserve to be rated as anything other than a player wearing “Maggies Drawers” I suppose.

But hey, the good thing is that you do not need a board to review most of the games that follow! I am hated by those who run the CCC&SA in the way a roach hates it when you come into a room and turn on a light. Actually, it may have been better to have used “loathed and detested” in lieu of “hated.” As far as those responsible in Charlotte are concerned, it was stated best by Grant Oen in an email to me in response to an earlier post ( when Mr. Oen wrote, “If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed.”
Several? Maybe the rules need to be changed. Other tournaments have a 30 move rule in which no game can be drawn until at least 30 moves have been made. Since Charlotte has become the quick draw capital of the USA,

The Quick Draw Mcgraw Show El Kabong

if not the world, maybe they should consider such a “new rule.” After all, the name of the place is the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Obviously there are those at the CCC&SA who find it acceptable to teach children to not play Chess.

Banawa, Joel (01) – Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 03

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 Ne4 7. Bd2 Nxc3 8. Bxc3 d5 ½-½

Banawa, Joel (01) – Sheng, Joshua (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 05

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Nxe4 8. Bxb4 Nxb4 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Qb3+ Kf8 ½-½

Gauri, Shankar (01) – Banawa, Joel (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 07

  1. e4 e6 2. d3 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. f4 Nge7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. O-O d6 9. Be3 b6 10. d4 Ba6 ½-½

When playing over the following game ask yourself, “What would Ben Finegold say?”

Torres Rosas, Luis Carlos (01) – Cordova, Emilio (01)

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 09

  1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. e4 Bb7 4. f3 f5 5. exf5 Nh6 6. fxe6 Nf5 7. exd7+ Nxd7 8. Ne2 Bd6 9. Nbc3 O-O 10. h4 Qe8 11. Kf2 Rd8 12. Nb5 Ne5 13. Nxd6 Rxd6 14. b3 Nxf3 15. gxf3 Bxf3 0-1

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Corrales Jimenez, Fidel (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 03

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. e4 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Korley, Kassa (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 05

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 b6 8. Bg5 Nd5 9. Bxe7 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bxe7 Qxe7 6. Nbd2 Nf6 7. g3 O-O 8. Bg2 b6 9. O-O Bb7 10. Rc1 Nbd7 11. cxd5 ½-½

Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (01) – Ringoir, Tanguy (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 08

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nbd2 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. b4 O-O ½-½

Corrales Jimenez, Fidel (01) – Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (01)

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 09

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d5 10. exd6 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ Qe6 12. Qd4 Qd6 13. Qe4+ Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 15. Qe4+ ½-½

Diulger, Alexey (01) – Woodward, Andy (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 05

  1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. g3 Be7 7. Nxd5 Qxd5 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. h3 Bh5 11. Be3 Qd7 12. Qb3 Rab8 13. g4 Bg6 14. Rac1 ½-½

Turgut, Aydin (01) – Diulger, Alexey (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 06

  1. e4 d6 2. d4 c6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Qd2 b5 6. Nf3 a6 7. Bd3 Bg4 8. Ng1 e5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. h3 Be6 11. Nf3 h6 12. a4 Nd7 13. Nb1 ½-½ (FollowChess at the website has it a draw after 12…Nd7)

Bajarani, Ulvi (01) – Turgut, Aydin (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. a3 Be7 9. e4 a6 10. h3 Na5 11. Bg5 Nb3 12. Rb1 b5 13. Qc2 Bb7 14. Rbd1 h6 ½-½

Diulger, Alexey (01) – Tian, Eddy (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. cxd5 exd5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bg5 Qd6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 O-O 10. e3 b6 11. c4 Bb7 12. cxd5 Bxd5 13. Bd3 c5 14. O-O ½-½

Matta, Nicholas (01) – Woodward, Andy (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O Bd6 10. e4 dxc4 11. bxc4 e5 12. c5 Bc7 13. Na4 exd4 14. h3 Re8 15. Qc2 h6 16. Rfe1 ½-½

Jones, Craig (01) – Diulger, Alexey (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 08

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 e6 4. g3 f5 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Bxa3 10. Nxa3 Nbd7 11. e3 Ne4 12. Nb1 Ndf6 13. Nfd2 Bd7 14. f4 g5 ½-½

Jones, Craig (01) – Diulger, Alexey (01)

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 08

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 e6 4. g3 f5 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Bxa3 10. Nxa3 Nbd7 11. e3 Ne4 12. Nb1 Ndf6 13. Nfd2 Bd7 14. f4 g5 ½-½

Arjun, Vishnuvardhan (01) – Nakada, Akira (01)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 02

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Nbd2 Be7 9. Rd1 O-O 10. e4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Qxe4 Qa5 13. Bf4 Rad8 14. a3 Qa6 15. Qc2 b5 16. d5 ½-½

Paciorkowski, Lev (01) – Kolay, Alex (01)

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 03

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bf5 5. d3 e6 6. Nbd2 h6 7. Qe1 Be7 8. e4 Bh7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. b3 a5 11. a3 Na6 12. e5 Nd7 13. Bb2 Nc7 14. a4 Nc5 15. Nd4 N5a6 16. f4 Nb4 17. Rac1 Na2 18. Ra1 Nb4 19. Rac1 Na2 20. Ra1 ½-½

Novikov vs Shabalov: Leningrad Dutch

This game was played, or maybe “battled” would be a better word, in the same round as the previous game, which meant following two games closely while keeping an eye on the other three. When the Bishop’s opening “truth” and a main line Leningrad Dutch appeared on the board my first thought was…

which was followed by, “Oh happy day!” something for which I was known to say by certain students when they would, like a blind squirrel, find an acorn move.

Igor Novikov (2554)

GM Igor Novikov and GM Petr Velička
GM Igor Novikov and GM Petr Velička (,novinky%20-%20detail/)

vs Alexander Shabalov (2521)

U.S. Senior Championship 2021 round 07

A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation

  1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. c4 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 a5 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 Rb8 11. d5 e5 (TN) 12. dxe6 Bxe6 13. Qd2 Qe7 14. Ng5 Bc8 15. Rbd1 Rd8 16. Ba3 Nb4 17. Nh3 Be6 18. Ng5 Bd7 19. Rfe1 h6 20. Nh3 g5 21. f4 Ng4 22. e4 Qf6 23. Bb2 fxe4 24. Bxe4 d5 25. cxd5 cxd5 26. Bxd5+ Kh8 27. Na4 Qf8 28. Bxg7+ Qxg7 29. Bg2 Bf5 30. Qxd8+ Rxd8 31. Rxd8+ Kh7 32. fxg5 b5 33. g6+ Bxg6 34. Nc5 Qc3 35. Re7+ Bf7 36. Rxf7+ Kg6 37. Ne4 Qe3+ 38. Rf2 Nxf2 39. Nexf2 Nxa2 40. Rd3 Qe1+ 41. Bf1 Nc3 42. Nf4+ Kf7 43. Kg2 a4 44. bxa4 bxa4 45. Rd7+ Ke8 46. Ra7 Qe3 47. Rxa4 Nxa4 48. Bb5+ Kf8 49. Bxa4 Qd2 50. Bc6 Qb2 51. Bd5 Kg7 52. h4 Qd2 53. Kf3 Qc3+ 54. Kg4 Qc8+ 55. Be6 Qc2 56. N2d3 Kf6 57. Kh3 Qd2 58. Bd5 Qd1 59. Bg2 Qc2 60. Bf3 Qc8+ 61. Bg4 Qc6 62. Nf2 Kg7 63. Be2 Qb7 64. Kh2 Qc6 65. Ng4 Qc2 66. Kg2 Qb2 67. Ne3 Kf6 68. Kh3 Qc1 69. Bd3 Qh1+ 70. Kg4 Qd1+ 71. Nxd1 1-0 (
  1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 (According to 365Chess at this point we have the A81 Dutch defence) 5. c4 (After this move it becomes the A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation) 5…O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 (At the Chess baseDatabase one finds Komodo14 @depth 40 has a preference for this move, but Stockfish 220621 @depth 45 likes 8 Be3, a move found in only two games at the CBDB. Then there is Stockfish110521, going way down to @depth 55, playing 8 Qc2) 8…a5 (Komodo 10 likes 8…Ne4; Komodo 13 prefers 8…Na6, but Stockfish 13 going deeper than the two Dragons, would play the move chosen by Shabba Dabba Do, and so should YOU!) 9. b3 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 39 plays 9 Be3, as does Stockfish 13 @depth 55. After 9…Ng4 the Dragon would drop back with 10 Bd2; the Fish would advance into black territory with 10 Bg5, or at least that is what one sees at the CBDB. The thing is 9 Be3 has yet to be attempted in a game! There is not even one example of the move having been played in either the CBDB or 365Chess!) 9…Na6 (SF 151120 @depth 52 would play 9…Ne4. There is only one game in the CBDB with 9…Ne4:

GM A. Nguyen (2478) vs P. Nguyen (2047)

VIE-chT Pairs

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O O-O 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 Nxc3 11.Bxc3 Nd7 12.Ng5 Nf6 13.d5 Qc7 14.Rc1 h6 15.Nf3 e5 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.c5 Nd5 18.cxd6 Qxd6 19.Bxe5 Bxe5 20.Rxc6 Ne3 21.Rxd6 Nxd1 22.Nxe5 Ra6 1-0)

  1. Bb2 (SF 11 @depth 37 plays the move played in the game, but let it run longer and go deeper to depth 47 and it changes its way of ‘puting, switching to 10 d5. There are only four examples of the move at the CBDB. 10 Bb2 has been played 21 times. Komodo, not to be outdone, would play 10 Be3, a Theoretical Novelty) 10…Rb8 (The Fish & Dragon concur, 10…Qc7 is THE move. The game move is not found in the CBDB, but there are two examples found at 365Chess:

Branko Damljanovic (2471) vs Jan Lundin (2335)
Event: Third Sat 116 GM 2019
Site: Novi Sad SRB Date: 07/07/2019
Round: 3.1
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Rb8 11.d5 Bd7 12.Nd4 Qe8 13.e3 Nc5 14.Qc2 Rc8 15.Rfd1 g5 16.Nxf5 Bxf5 17.Qxf5 Nfe4 18.Bxe4 Rxf5 19.Bxf5 ½-½

Fernando De Andres Gonalons (2088) vs Edwin Bhend (2271)
Event: Basel Hilton op 8th
Site: Basel Date: 01/03/2006
Round: 3
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.g3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O O-O 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Rb8 11.e3 b5 12.Qe2 Nc7 13.Rfc1 b4 14.Na4 Ba6 15.Nd2 Qe8 16.Qf3 Bb7 17.Qd1 Nd7 18.c5 d5 19.Nf3 Ba6 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 e6 22.Qd2 Bb5 23.Nb6 Na6 24.Bd4 Rf7 25.Ra1 Bf8 26.a4 bxa3 27.Qxa5 Rfb7 28.b4 Nxb4 29.Qxb4 Rxb6 30.Qxa3 ½-½
Chess Grandmaster Alex Shabalov lies down in a vibro acoustic sound lounge in prepearation for the US Senior Championship (
Chess Grandmaster Alex Shabalov gets ready to step into a sensory deprivation tank as part of his preparation for the US Senior Championship (

US Senior: Larry C. vs The Kentucky Lion

While the majority of the attention of the Chess World has been focused on the World Cup I have been focusing my attention on the US Senior, and US Junior, championships being contested in St. Louis, which is now considered a Covid “hot spot.” St. Louis County Is Now A ‘Red Zone’ For COVID-19, According To The CDC. A third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is coming, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force warned yesterday. (

The hottest Chess spot in the USA is at the St. Louis Chess Club, where the intrepid boys, girls, and Men are battling it out over a Chess board in three separate tournaments, the US Senior; US Junior; and a completely separate “US Girls Junior Championship.”

Before the US Senior began I predicted the winner to be either Alexander Shabalov, or Larry Christiansen,

a man with whom I stayed up all night playing Backgammon, after he beat me handily at a simultaneous exhibition sponsored by Church’s Fried Chicken in the 1970s. I won the Backgammon battle. Larry kept looking at me with a look that said, “I beat this chumpy-lumpy like a drum at Chess. Why am I losing to the guy at Backgammon?” The stake was only a quarter a point, far below the stake for which I usually played, but it was Larry C., and Chess players don’t have much money, even those traveling the country giving simuls. Larry spent the night at the home of former Georgia Chess Champion Michael Decker, which is where we “rolled the bones.” Still, that twenty five cents would now be worth about two bucks, Chuck, if you get my drift…

Yesterday Larry had to face the Kentucky Lion, Gregory Kaidanov,!/quality/90/? Photo by: Claire Crouch

who had run away from the field, scoring 5 1/2 points in the first 6 rounds! He was a full point ahead of Larry C. at 4 1/2, who was a point and a half ahead of the four players with 3 points. Larry C. was in need of a victory. What do you play against an opponent who is obviously in form in that situation? You bring out “The truth as it was known in those far off days.”

Larry Christiansen (2634) Age: 65 vs Gregory Kaidanov (2626) Age: 61

U.S. Senior Championship 2021 round 07

C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Ne2 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 10. fxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 a6 16. dxe5 Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 exf4 19. Bxf4 Rhf8 20. Be5 g6 21. Qg4+ Qd7 22. Qc4 Qd5 23. Qg4+ Qd7 24. Qc4 Qd5 25. Qg4+ ½-½
  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 (SF plays 3…c6) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 Nf3) 4….Bb4 5. Ne2 (SF 080221 @depth50 plays this move, but the same engine chuggin’ only one more ply would play 5 Nf3) 5…d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 (SF 13 @depth 41 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 33 would play 9…Bxc3) 10. fxe5 Nxe5 (SF takes with the knight, but Houdini would take with the pawn. There is only one game, found at 365Chess, with 10…fxe5, which can be found below) 11. Nxd5

(Komodo shows this move, but Deep Fritz would play 11 d4, which was played in:

GM Alexander Zaitsev 2473 RUS vs GM Klementy Sychev 2537 RUS

Wch Blitz 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.d4 Nc6 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.c3 Bd6 14.Nf4 Bxf4 15.Bxf4 O-O-O 16.Qf3 Qxf3 17.Rxf3 Rhe8 18.Kf2 Rd7 19.Re3 Rxe3 20.Bxe3 a5 21.a4 Re7 22.g4 Kd7 23.Rg1 Rf7 24.h4 Ne7 25.c4 Nc6 26.Bd2 Nxd4 27.Bxa5 Nc6 28.Bc3 f5 29.g5 g6 30.b4 Re7 31.Rd1+ Kc8 32.Bf6 Re8 33.b5 Ne5 34.c5 Ng4+ 35.Kf3 Ne5+ 36.Kf2 c6 37.h5 Nd7 38.Bd4 Re4 39.hxg6 hxg6 40.Kf3 Rg4 41.bxc6 bxc6 42.Bf6 Nxc5 43.Rc1 Ne6 44.Rxc6+ Kd7 45.Ra6 Nxg5+ 46.Ke2 Ne4 47.Be5 Nc5 48.Rd6+ Ke7 49.a5 Re4+ 50.Kf3 Rxe5 51.Rxg6 Ne6 52.Rg8 Rxa5 0-1) 11.Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 (SF and Houey play 13 d4) 13….Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 (SF 12 @depth 43 would play a move near and dear to my heart, 15 Qe2!) 15…a6 16. dxe5 (SF 31 @depth 31 would play 16 Qb3, but the SF program churning at ChessBomb would play the move Larry played in the game)
16…Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 (This is a TN, but not the best move. 18 Qe4 was played in the Mons vs Raggar game given below. Given the chance SF 170521 @depth 49 would play 18 Rf3)

Risto Eskola (2153) vs Antti Lehto
Event: FIN-chT 0203
Site: Finland Date: 10/20/2002
Round: 3
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 fxe5 11.Ng3 Bf7 12.Nce4 O-O 13.Qg4 Bg6 14.Be3 Qc8 15.Qxc8 Raxc8 16.a3 Be7 17.Rxf8+ Bxf8 18.Rf1 Nd4 19.Rf2 b6 20.Nc3 c6 21.Nge4 Rd8 22.Ng5 h6 23.Nge4 Be7 24.Kf1 Rd7 25.Kg1 Nf5 26.Bc1 Bh4 27.g3 Be7 28.Kg2 Nd4 29.Be3 Rd8 30.h3 Be8 31.g4 c5 32.g5 h5 33.Ng3 Bc6+ 34.Nce4 g6 35.Kf1 Kg7 36.Ke1 Rf8 37.Bxd4 exd4 38.h4 Rxf2 39.Kxf2 Kf7 40.b3 Ke6 41.a4 Ke5 42.Kf3 Bd5 43.Nf1 a6 44.Nd2 b5 45.axb5 axb5 46.Kg3 Ke6 47.Kf4 Bc6 48.Nf1 Be8 49.Nfd2 Bf7 50.Nf3 Be8 51.b4 cxb4 52.Nxd4+ Kd5 53.Nf3 ½-½

Leon Mons (2554) vs Markus Ragger (2701)
Event: TCh-AUT 2018-19
Site: Austria AUT Date: 01/18/2019
Round: 6.5
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Nf4 Qf7 13.c3 Bd6 14.d4 O-O-O 15.Qa4 a6 16.dxe5 Bc5+ 17.Kh1 fxe5 18.Qe4 Bd6 19.Rf3 exf4 20.Bxf4 Bxf4 21.Rxf4 Qd5 22.Qxd5 Rxd5 23.Raf1 Re8 24.R4f2 Kd7 25.g3 a5 26.Kg2 Re7 27.Rf7 a4 28.h4 h5 29.Rxe7+ Kxe7 30.Rf4 Rd2+ 31.Rf2 Rd1 32.Rf1 Rd5 33.Rf4 Rd2+ 34.Rf2 Rd1 35.Rf1 Rd6 36.Rf4 b5 37.Re4+ Kf6 38.Kf3 Rd3+ 39.Re3 Rd1 40.Re4 c5 41.Re2 Kf5 42.Rf2 Ke5 43.g4 Rh1 44.Kg2 Rxh4 45.Rf5+ Ke4 46.Rxc5 Rxg4+ 47.Kh3 g6 48.Rxb5 Kf3 49.Rd5 Rg3+ 50.Kh4 Rg2 51.Rd3+ Kf4 52.Rd4+ Kf5 53.Rd5+ Kf6 54.Rd6+ Ke5 55.Rb6 Kf5 56.Rb5+ Kf4 57.Rb4+ Kf3 58.Rb5 Rg4+ 59.Kh3 Rg1 60.Kh4 Rg4+ 61.Kh3 Kf2 62.Rd5 Rg3+ 63.Kh4 Rg4+ 64.Kh3 g5 65.Rf5+ Ke3 66.b4 Kd3 67.Rc5 a3 68.b5 Rg1 69.b6 g4+ 70.Kh4 Rb1 71.Rxh5 Rxb6 72.Ra5 Kxc3 73.Rxa3+ Kb4 74.Rb3+ Ka5 75.Rxb6 Kxb6 76.Kxg4 Ka5 77.Kf3 Ka4 78.Ke4 Ka3 79.Kd5 Kxa2 ½-½

Hans Niemann’s World Open Trifecta

What a wonderful World Open for the new Grandmaster Hans Niemann! Over one thousand intrepid humans, not counting all those who accompanied some of them, traveled to Philadelphia at the end of June for the 49th Annual World Open; the 14th Annual Philadelphia International; and the 32nd Annual Blitz Championship.

Grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann
Hans Niemann

stole the show by tying for first place in each of the three tournaments. I have no idea if this is unprecedented and will leave it to readers to weigh in with the answer. Whether unprecedented or not it is quite an achievement.

Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-06-26 thru 2021-06-30

First-Third w/7 points/9 rounds
HANS NIEMANN 2651 ->2669
ANDREW HONG 2575 ->2595

49TH ANNUAL WORLD OPEN (202107054872)
Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-01 thru 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2669 ->2694


ANDREW HONG 2595 ->2616



Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103
Event Date(s) 2021-07-05


HANS NIEMANN 2617 ->2616
ANDREW TANG 2639 ->2639

7/10 (8-16)

ANDREW HONG 2488 ->2480

Niemann, Hans Moke 2571 vs Zhou, Jianchao 2603

A80 Dutch

Round 9

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 (Here’s a shocker from the ChessBaseDataBase, Stockfish prefers 3 Bf4, which has only been played in 40 games in the CBDB, compared to 1536 for the move played in the game. In addition, 3 Bf4 has scored only 49% compared to the 58% shown after 3 Bg5! Go figure…)
    3…d5 4. Nf3 (Stockfish is high on the seldom played 4 e3 [287], while 4 Bxf6 [859] remains the most played move. 4 Nf3 has only been played 41 times) 4…e6 5. e3 (It is de rigueur to play this move)

5…Be7 (Far and away the most often played move [135 games], but is it the best? Stockfish prefers the seldom played [15 games] 5…Nbd7) 6. Bd3 (Komodo plays this move, which has been played in 105 games, by far more than any other move, but Stockfish 13 @Depth 32 plays 6 Ne2, which has only appeared in 6 games at the CBDB, scoring 58%. Going deeper to depth 37, SF 13 changes its [mind? opinion? thought process? algorithm? You tell me…] to 6 Be2, with 11 games in the CBDB. Unfortunately, 6 Be2 has scored only 23%) 6…O-O (This move has been played in 70 games in the CBDB, with white scoring 69%. Now I don’t know about you, but if sitting behind the black pieces I would give some serious consideration to, a) not getting to this position, or b) playing another move! Stockfish 12 played this move, but SF 13 went with 6…c5. In the 13 games contained in the CBDB white scored 73%. This caused Stockfish 14 to attempt 6…Ne4. In the 13 games at the CBDB white has scored 69%. Let us go back to the move, 5…Nbd7, preferred by both Stockfish 12 & 13. White has scored only 50%! But wait…there’s MORE! Deep Fritz, at only depth 23, would play 5…a6. “Say what”? you’re thinking…You are not the only one! Here’s the deal…The CBDB contains 34 games with 5…a6, with white scoring only 47%!!! What does Deep Fritz know and when did it know it?!) 7. O-O (SF prefers 7 Ne2) 7…h6 (SF 13 plays 7…c5; SF 14 prefers 7…Ne4) 8. Bh4 (SF & Houdini prefer 8 Bf4) 8…c5 (TN) 9. dxc5 Nc6 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. Ne2 Nxc5 12. a3 Bf6 13. Rb1 e5 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nd2 Be6 16. Nb3 b6 17. f4 Nxg3 18. hxg3 e4 19. Bb5 Ne7 20. Ned4 Bd7 21. Ba6 Rb8 22. c4 dxc4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Qe2 Qe8 25. Rfd1 Qg6 26. Kf2 Rfd8 27. b5 Qe8 28. Rd2 g6 29. Rbd1 h5 30. a4 Rbc8 31. Be6 Bxe6 32. Nxe6 Rxd2 33. Qxd2 Ng8 34. Ned4 Qf7 35. Rc1 Rc4 36. Qa2 Nh6 37. Ke2 Qd5 38. Qd2 Ng4 39. Rc2 Rxa4 40. Qc3 Kh7 41. Qc6 Qg8 42. Qb7+ Kh6 43. Rc8 Ra2+ 44. Ke1 Qg7 45. Rc7 Qh8 46. Rc8 Qg7 47. Rc7 Qh8 48. Rc8 1/2-1/2

Lai, Hing Ting (2447) vs Sandipan, Chanda (2548)
Event: Condigne Dutch Open 2018
Site: Dieren NED Date: 08/02/2018
Round: 9.11
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O h6 8.Bh4 Nbd7 9.Ne2 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Qd2 Nxg3 12.Nxg3 Bd6 13.c4 c6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Rac1 Qf6 16.Rc2 Nb8 17.Rfc1 Nc6 18.a3 Bd7 19.Ne2 g4 20.Ne1 f4 21.e4 Qg7 22.e5 Be7 23.f3 h5 24.Bb5 gxf3 25.Bxc6 f2+ 26.Kxf2 Bh4+ 27.Kg1 Bxe1 28.Rxe1 f3 29.Nf4 Bxc6 30.Rf1 Qh6 31.Rxf3 Rf5 32.Qe3 Kh7 33.Rcf2 Raf8 34.g3 h4 35.g4 Qg5 36.h3 Kh6 37.Kg2 Ba4 38.Qc1 Bb5 39.Ne2 Bxe2 40.Qxg5+ Kxg5 41.gxf5 Bxf3+ 42.Rxf3 Rxf5 43.Rxf5+ ½-½

The Chess Game Of The Year: The Raven Versus Lucky Luka

To begin we must enter the time machine and go back…to the blog post of July 15, “2 Qe2, here we go!” (
It had been my intention to post this immediately after the above post, but circumstances changed…This was how the post was to begin:

Raven Sturt Leads Paracin Open

American IM Raven Sturt,h_563,q_75,strp/teen_titans_wallpaper___raven_by_wood3nh3art_d86yawc-fullview.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9NTYzIiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvZmUwZmM5NDktODhkMS00ZmJhLWE5MjktNTRlZjUxMTQ0MDg1XC9kODZ5YXdjLTQ5YjE3ODBlLTcwYzYtNDliMy1iZGY3LWFlMDE0ZDRlZDFhNS5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9OTAwIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmltYWdlLm9wZXJhdGlvbnMiXX0.B6wqvjrahkCve2pgssVxkXS0odkvup7V_xbA54_01Iw

just moments ago defeated his Grandmaster opponent Luka Budisavljevic (2509)
Lucky Luke : Shoot & Hit (2014) – Jeu vidéo – SensCritique

of Serbia to take sole possession of first place in the Paracin Open taking place in Serbia ( After returning from the grocery store and resting I became enraptured with the game; transfixed for hours while swilling coffee. This was a thrilling game with more vicissitudes than the saga of the Trumpster! At one point I was yelling out loud, “Oh NO, Mr. Bill!!!” There were other moves that brought out a, “YES!” There may even have been a, “Take that, Luka!” There were times where I was pumping my fist and then feeling deflated like a balloon…You know it was one hellofa fight when the winner comes out looking like this:
Raven Sturt

As in pugilism when two players decide to fight it out in lieu of agreeing to a pusillanimous draw there is the combatant who lost the game,

but he is no loser because the only losers are those who do not play, because, as the song by Jackson Browne says: “The only time that seems too short/Is the time that we get to play” (

I have been following Raven Sturt for the first five rounds of the Paracin Open. What can I say? Raven is carrying the colors in a foreign land, and has been playing some good Chess that has been worth watching. I got caught up in the game and had a wonderful time today, the first in a week!
I wish the game had been at The Week In Chess ( because although it appeared at and, I would prefer to watch a game without any kind of commentary or analysis. One can block the analysis at Chess24, but there is some white thing that moves around informing you of how good, or bad is the move. I cut a piece of cardboard and taped it on the computer screen to block out the needless, and useless moving thingamajig…Why is it necessary to go through those contortions?

After the Z Man’s 2 Qe2 put down the young Ravi Haria my complete attention was focused on the Raven’s game with Lucky Luka. Watching the two games was about all I did that day, and I am still here to tell you that I am a fortunate man to have been able to do so…What can I say? I got into it like watching Joe Frazier battle the G.O.A.T., Muhammad Ali.

The game transpired in at the Paracin Open in Serbia.
Great location

Paracin has excellent location in the middles of Serbia. Distance from Belgrade Airport is app. 170 km and from Nis Airport app. 80 km. We  can offer transfer to all interested participants.

I urge you to play over this game and THINK FOR YOURSELF. Break out the Chess board and move the pieces around while you take notes before going to one of the aforementioned websites and being spoon fed…You will learn more and be better for it in the long run…

These are the combatants:

I’m Luka Budisavljevic, the youngest Serbian Grandmaster ever. I fulfilled the conditions for GM Title at the age of 16. I was Serbian youth champion 6 times (U8 to U14) from 2012 to 2017 and Serbian U20 vice champion twice, at the age of 14 and 15. I represented Serbia on numerous European and World youth chess championships, as well as U16 World Youth Olympiads 2018 and 2019.

I’m IM Raven Sturt from the USA. I like chess, working out, and learning languages. Some career highlights include making International Master in 2017 and being the most recent (2019) champion of the Catalan Circuit. Currently some of my goals are to make Grand Master, learn Turkish, and, Corona-permitting, doing the 2021 Iron Man. (
Montclair Sopranos – PRO CHESS LEAGUE

IM Raven Sturt (2500) USA vs GM Luka Budisavljevic (2509) GM SRB

Paracin Open 2021 round 06

A61 Benoni, Nimzovich (knight’s tour) variation

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 10. O-O a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. Re1 Ne5 13. f4 Neg4 14. Bf3 h5 15. Nc4 Nh7 16. Bxg4 Bxg4 17. Qd3 Bd4+ 18. Be3 Qf6 19. h3 Bd7 20. Nb6 Bxe3+ 21. Qxe3 Rad8 22. Rad1 Qg7 23. Nc4 Bc8 24. Qg3 f6 25. a5 Kh8 26. Kh2 g5 27. f5 Qe7 28. Kg1 Rg8 29. Re3 h4 30. Qh2 Rg7 31. Rde1 Qc7 32. Kh1 Qe7 33. R1e2 Rgg8 34. Kg1 Rg7 35. Kf1 Rgg8 36. Ke1 Rg7 37. Kd2 Nf8 38. Kc2 Nh7 39. Re1 Qc7 40. Kc1 Qe7 41. Rh1 Qf8 42. g3 Bd7 43. gxh4 Bb5 44. Nb6 gxh4 45. Qf2 Qe7 46. Qxh4 Qe5 47. Rf3 Rdg8 48. Rd1 Rg1 49. Qf2 R1g2 50. Qe3 Qh2 51. Nba4 Rc2+ 52. Kb1 Rgg2 53. Ka1 Qe5 54. Rg1 Bxa4 55. Rxg2 Rxg2 56. Nxa4 Qe8 57. Nc3 Qd8 58. Rg3 Qxa5+ 59. Kb1 Rxg3 60. Qxg3 Qc7 61. h4 Qe7 62. Qe3 Nf8 63. Ne2 Kh7 64. Nf4 Nd7 65. Ne6 Ne5 66. Qb3 b5 67. Qa3 Qa7 68. Qa5 Nf7 69. h5 c4 70. Qe1 Ne5 71. Qg3 Qe7 72. Qa3 Qf7 73. Qxa6 Qxh5 74. Qb7+ Nf7 75. Ka2 c3 76. bxc3 Kh6 77. Qxb5 Qd1 78. Ka3 Qa1+ 79. Kb4 Qb2+ 80. Ka5 Qxc3+ 81. Ka6 Qc8+ 82. Qb7 Qe8 83. Qc6 Qe7 84. Qc3 Ng5 85. Qg3 Kh7 86. Qh4+ Kg8 87. Qf4 Kf7 88. Qh4 Kg8 89. Kb6 Qe8 90. Nxg5 Qd8+ 91. Kc6 fxg5 92. Qh5 Qc8+ 93. Kxd6 Qd8+ 94. Ke6 Qc8+ 95. Kf6 Qd8+ 96. Kg6 Qe8+ 97. Kxg5 Qe7+ 98. Kf4 Qc7+ 99. Kg4 Qc2 100. Kg5 Qc1+ 101. Kg6 Qc7 102. f6 Qd7 103. Qf5 Qf7+ 104. Kg5 Kh8 105. Qh3+ Kg8 106. Qe6 Kh8 107. Qe7 Qg6+ 108. Kxg6 1-0
  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 (There is a battle between Stockfish 13, Stockfish 14, and Stockfish 110521, as to the best third move. SF 13 @depth 64, and SF 14 @depth 55, play the game move, but SF110521 going about as deep as possible without blowing circuits, all the way to depth 73, would play 3 Nc3) 3…c5 (According to the CBDB SF 13 @depth 75 would play 3…d5, but going down one more fathom it changes its computing, switching to 3…b6. Go figure…) 4. d5 d6 (Two different Stockfish programs and Deep Fritz all play 4…b5, which oughta tell you something…) 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Nd2 (Komodo, Fritz & Deep Fritz all play 7 Bf4. No word from the Fish…) 7…Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 (SF 11 @depth 45 plays this move, but the same program going 3 ply deeper changes to 9…Ne8. Meanwhile, SF 080121 @depth 52 plays 9…Na6) 10. O-O a6 (Komodo plays the most often played move, 10…Nbd7; Two different SF programs prefer 10…Na6) 11. a4 Nbd7 (SF 310720 & Fritz 15 play this, but SF 12 would play 11…h6, a move not contained in the CBDB) 12. Re1 (SF 280421 @depth 50 shows 12 h3; SF 310720 @depth 42 plays 12 f3. There are only 15 examples of this move in the CBDB) 12…Ne5 (SF plays this; Komodo prefers 12…Rb8) 13. f4 (SF 10 @depth 37 plays 13 Nf1; SF 12 @depth 29 gives 13 h3) 13…Neg4 14. Bf3 h5 (Although recommended by Stockfish there are no games with this move having been played contained in the CBDB) 15. Nc4 Nh7 (TN)

Gheorghiu, Florin (2535) vs Liu Wenzhe (2400)
Event: Luzern ol (Men)
Site: Luzern Date:1982
Round: 5
ECO: A61 Benoni, Nimzovich (knight’s tour) variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.Nd2 Nbd7 8.e4 Bg7 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Re8 11.a4 Ne5 12.Re1 a6 13.f4 Neg4 14.Bf3 h5 15.Nc4 Nxe4 16.Rxe4 Bd4+ 17.Rxd4 cxd4 18.Ne4 Qh4 19.Ncxd6 Qxh2+ 20.Kf1 Bf5 21.Nxf5 gxf5 22.Nf2 d3 23.Qxd3 h4 24.Qxf5 Qg1+ 0-1

Dedicated to the Legendary Georgia Ironman

“2 Qe2, here we go!”

Let me begin by returning to Tuesday morning, July 13, which began at o’dark thirty, specifically, 6:30 am. After a botched root canal exactly one week prior (it seems much longer) I had been down for the count. The spurts of energy had not been long lasting, which is why I’ve posted things that have required little time or thought. I was working on a book review that should have been out long ago, and other Chess related posts, but then a tooth began causing a problem. This was after taking the first of two shots of the Covid vaccine. I decided to ‘ride it out’ while hoping to be able to wait until two weeks after the second shot, as recommended, before seeing a dentist. By the time I made it to the dental office I was in pain, boss, The PAIN! Fortunately the pain was quelled with drugs. I was informed a root canal operation would be required, but because they were booked I would have to wait until September. Fortunately, or maybe not, depending, there was a cancellation and I was roto-rooted on Tuesday, the sixth of July, exactly one week from where we begin this story…

There was a powerful storm Monday night, July 12, that knocked out all contact with the world; no internet or TV, so I went to bed early. After breakfast I was giving strong consideration to crawling back into bed when the Ironman called, informing me that Zvjaginsev had played Qe2 against the French defense of Ravi Haria, in a “win or go home game.” Immediately I saw a post for that day in my head. I began watching the game, but then had to break in order to purchase some food at the local grocery store. Upon my return my attention was devoted to the C00 French, Chigorin variation, as it is known at

The chat from Da Bomb says it all…

zluria: Z man in a must win situation. He used to play all kinds of crazy stuff back in the day
zluria: 2 Qe2, here we go!
zluria: Idea: if Black continues on autopilot with 2… d5 then after exd5 Black can’t recapture with the pawn.
zluria: Ok Black is out of book.
Rhinegold: fucky lucky vadim but ok good fighting choice
Rhinegold: very drawish, 48w
zluria: Wow, good going Z-man! see you tomorrow 🙂

I love the part about the Z-man “playing crazy stuff back in the day.” The Z man is only in his mid forties. You wanna know about ‘back in the day’? I will tell you all you wanna know about ‘back in the day’… And yes, I have followed the Z Man with interest for decades because he has played “all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2608)

vs Ravi Haria (2440)

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 01-02

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. d3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. g3 Nc6 8. Bg2 (TN See Kislinsky vs Polivanov below for 8 Bh3) 8…b5 9. O-O Bb7 10. Re1 h6 11. h5 b4 12. Bf4 a5 13. c4 Nb6 14. Nbd2 Qd7 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Ne4 Nxf4 17. gxf4 Ba6 18. Rad1 Rd8 19. Nfd2 O-O 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Nb3 Qa7 22. Ng3 Nd4 23. Nxa5 Bb5 24. Nc4 Bxc4 25. dxc4 Qxa2 26. f5 Qxb2 27. Be4 Rde8 28. Kh1 Qxf2 29. Rf1 Qe3 30. Rxd4 cxd4 31. fxe6 Qg5 32. Qxg5 Bxg5 33. Rxf7 Bf4 34. Nf5 Bxe5 35. Ne7 Bd6 36. Ng6+ Kg8 37. Rd7 Bc5 38. e7 Bxe7 39. Nxe7+ Kf7 40. Ng6+ Kf6 41. Rd6+ Kg5 42. Rd5+ Kg4 43. Rxd4 Rf3 44. Kg2 Re3 45. Bc6+ Kxh5 46. Nf4+ Kg5 47. Bxe8 Rxe8 48. c5 b3 49. Rb4 Re3 50. c6 Rc3 51. c7 Kf5 52. Nd5 Rc2+ 53. Kf3 Ke5 54. Rb5 Kd4 55. Nf4 Rc3+ 56. Kg4 Ke4 57. Ne6 Rc4 58. Rc5 1-0

1.e4 e6 2. Qe2 (Two different Komodo programs show the most frequently played move, 2 d4, but Stockfish 13, going deep to depth 74, chooses the seldom played 2 Nc3, which has only scored 51% according to the CBDB. I kid you not!) 2…Be7 (This is Komodo’s choice; Stockfish plays 2…c5) 3. Nf3 (Both Komodo and Houdini play 3 d4, but Deep Fritz plays the game move) 3…d5 4. d3 (Houdini and Deep Fritz play this move, which has 209 games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Stockfish 13 @depth 31 would play 4 d4, a move attempted only once according to the CBDB) 4…Nf6 5. e5 (SF & the Dragon prefer 5 g3) 5…Nfd7 6. h4 c5

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2635) vs Sergey Volkov (2594)
Event: 16th TCh-RUS Premier
Site: Dagomys RUS Date: 04/08/2009
Round: 5 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 b5 7.g3 c5 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.O-O a5 10.a4 b4 11.c4 bxc3 12.bxc3 Nb6 13.Bf4 c4 14.d4 Bd7 15.h5 h6 16.g4 Na7 17.Qc2 Bc6 18.Bg3 Qd7 19.Kh2 Bxa4 20.Qe2 Nb5 21.Nh4 Bb3 22.f4 a4 23.f5 a3 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Ng6 Rg8 26.Nxe7 Qxe7 27.Nd2 Na4 28.Nxb3 Naxc3 29.Qc2 cxb3 30.Qxb3 a2 31.Be1 Ra3 32.Qb2 Qa7 33.Rf3 Rf8 34.Bxc3 Rxf3 35.Qxb5+ Qd7 36.Qb8+ Qd8 37.Qb5+ Qd7 38.Qb8+ Qd8 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.Bxf3 Rxc3 41.Bxd5 exd5 42.Rxa2 Rd3 43.Ra4 Ke7 44.Kg2 Kf7 45.Kf2 g5 46.Ke2 Rg3 47.Ra7+ Kg8 48.Rd7 Rxg4 49.Rxd5 Rh4 50.Rd6 Kf7 51.Rf6+ Ke7 52.Ke3 Rxh5 53.d5 g4 54.Kf4 Rh1 55.d6+ Ke8 56.Kxg4 h5+ 57.Kf5 Kd7 58.Rf7+ Kc6 59.Ke6 h4 60.Rc7+ Kb6 61.Rc8 1-0

Vadim Zvjaginsev’s Amazing Immortal Chess Game! – “The Pearl of Wijk aan Zee” – Brilliancy!