Hikaru Nakamura Plays The Truth

This writer, and Chess fan, usually makes it a point to NOT follow anything Chess related containing anything Armageddon, but after learning the world new number two, Hikaru Nakamura

essayed “The truth-as it was known in those far-off days” (found on page 244 of the book, 500 Master Games of Chess, by Dr. S. Tartakower and J. du Mont),


this writer replayed the game between Naka and Aryan Tari, the lowest rated player in the event, who must feel like he has been tied to the whipping post.

Armageddon is the death of Chess. Ask yourself, “What comes after Armageddon?” If those in the Chess world really wanted to do something, anything, to improve Chess by reducing the inordinate number of draws these daze they could have first changed the rules, such as the three move repetition, which should have been outlawed long ago, and/or changing the value of a drawn game to only 1/4 point. How many “buddy-buddy” draws do you suspect would be made if each player were awarded only 1/4 point for that handshake? Just sayin’…

Not only did Nakamura play the venerable Bishop’s opening, he played what was formerly the standard, 3 d3, in lieu of the currently more popular 3 Nc3, the move favored by the programs. Naka, I luv you, Man! I followed the game until this position:

Black to move after 26 hxg4

Tari played 26…c5? This was a terrible blunder, and I knew it immediately. In a discussion with the Legendary one later in the day, I mentioned something about knowing all the Chess I’ve been watching, and writing about, on a consistent basis has increased my understanding of the game immensely. Unfortunately, at my age it is doubtful all that new knowledge can be transferred into playing stronger Chess. If you do not understand why Tari’s 26th move is so weak you need to do some serious soul searching, grasshopper.

Hikaru Nakamura (2775) vs Aryan Tari (2642)
Norway Chess 2023 Round 5
Bishop’s Opening: Vienna Hybrid, Spielmann Attack

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Bc5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bb3 d6 6. h3 O-O 7. Nf3 a5 8. O-O Nbd7 9. a3 b5 10. Ba2 a4 11. Nh4 Ba7 12. Qf3 Nc5 13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. Qxf5 Re8 15. Bd2 Ne6 16. Ne2 d5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Rae1 Qd6 19. Qg4 Rad8 20. Ng3 Nd4 21. Bg5 Rb8 22. Be3 Qg6 23. c3 Nxe3 24. fxe3 Nb3 25. Ne4 Qxg4 26. hxg4 c5 27. Bxb3 axb3 28. c4 Red8 29. Rd1 Rd7 30. Kf2 h5 31. gxh5 f5 32. Nc3 b4 33. Nb5 f4 34. axb4 Bb6 35. exf4 cxb4+ 36. Kf3 exf4 37. d4 Rbd8 38. Rd3 Rc8 39. Rc1 Rd5 40. c5 Rg5 41. Nd6 Rc6 42. cxb6 1-0

Although the Stockfish program used at lichess.org shows 3 Nc3 best, the old, tried and true, 3 d3 is still the most often played move (according to 365Chess.com 3 d3 has been played in over eight thousand games, while 3 Nc3 can be found in only fifteen hundred games), 3 d3 has also scored much better than 3 Nc3. What’s not to like?

3…Bc5 has been the third most often played move in the position, after 3…Nc6, and 3…c6, the choice of the ‘Fish. Naka’s choice of 4 Nc3 was how it was played in the past, and yes, it was my move of choice ‘back in the day’. These daze 4 Nf3 is the choice of the ‘Fish, and most human players. 4…c6 is the choice of Stockfish, but it has not been the most frequently played move in the position. In order, 4…d6 (784); 4…Nc6 (314); and 4…h6 (257), have been played more often than the move played in the game, 4…c6 (244).

Dropping the Bishop back with 5 Bb3 looked strange to these eyes. Stockfish will play 5 Nf3, which has been favored by a 4-1 margin over the next most popular move, 5 Bg5. 5 f4 and 5 Qf3 have both been played more frequently than has 5 Bb3, which has been seen in only seventeen games. Any other writer would stop right there and move along, but you are not reading any other writer. You are reading the Armchair Warrior, which means the next move on the list, a move having been played in only ten games, 5 Qe2! must be mentioned. If you do not know the reason you must go back to square one and read each and every blog post, beginning with Tuesday Night Fights (https://baconlog.blogspot.com/2008/07/tuesday-night-fights.html), the first ever blog post by the AW, and after reading each and every post, continue with the first post published at this website until achieving understanding, grasshopper.

After 5 Bb3 Tari played 5…d6. The ‘Fish would simply castle. Naka played 6 h3. Stocky would have played 6 Nf3. In reply, Tari castled. Stockfish would have played a Theoretical Novelty, 6…a5.

If you have been following this, grasshopper, you will understand why Naka played 7 Nf3. Unfortunately for you and your development, Stockfish would have played the knight to e2! I kid you not…

There now followed a series of moves in which both players played the same moves the ‘Fish would have made, until Naka varied with 9 a3. Stockfish would have gone ‘whole hog’ and moved that pawn two squares, for reasons that should be obvious. Tari answered with 9…b5, when Stockfish would have simply moved his pawn to h6. After Naka dropped his prelate back to a2 with his tenth move, Tari kept coming when playing 10…a4. Again, Stockfish would have simply played 10…h6.

My last comment on the opening comes after Naka played 11 Nh4, moving the knight to the rim, where it is dim. I would have played 11 Bg5. Stockfish would have played 11 Kh1, a move not on my radar. The reason being the ‘Fish wants to move the f-pawn, and would first move the knight to h2 in order to do so. I do not know about you, but I have played “The Truth” ever since beginning Chess in 1970 and I am still learning, or at least attempting to learn at my advanced age. What can I say? Chess is deep. Actually, Chess is so deep as to seem almost fathomless at times, which is why I keep coming back for more, no matter the pain.

From here on you are on your own. Grasshoppers, start your engines!

Yang Wen vs Sun Qinan (2243)
Event: CHN-chT
Site: Suzhou Date: 03/29/2001
Round: 4 Score: 0-1
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.h3 c6 6.Bb3 O-O 7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.Ng3 Bb6 9.a3 Nc5 10.Ba2 Be6 11.Qf3 Bxa2 12.Rxa2 Ne6 13.Nce2 d5 14.Ra1 Ba5+ 15.b4 Bb6 16.O-O a5 17.Bb2 Bc7 18.h4 axb4 19.axb4 Qe7 20.Bc3 g6 21.Bd2 h5 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.Bh6 Rfe8 24.Ne4 f5 25.Ng5 Rxa1 26.Rxa1 Nxg5 27.Bxg5 Qxb4 28.c4 Nc3 29.Ng3 e4 30.dxe4 Nxe4 31.Nxe4 Rxe4 32.Ra8+ Kf7 33.g3 Qxc4 34.Qa3 Re1+ 35.Kh2 c5 36.Rc8 Bd6 37.Qf3 Qe4 38.Qb3+ c4 39.Qxc4+ Qxc4 40.Rxc4 Re4 41.Rc8 b5 42.Rc6 Re6 43.Kg2 Bb8 44.Rc8 Rb6 45.Be3 Rb7 46.Bd4 b4 47.Rc6 Rd7 48.Bc5 b3 49.Ba3 Ba7 50.Rc4 Rb7 51.Bb2 Ke6 52.Kf3 Kd5 53.Rc8 Bc5 54.Ke2 Ra7 55.Kd3 Bxf2 56.Rd8+ Kc6 57.Kc4 Ra6 0-1

Alexander Morozevich (2750) vs Viswanathan Anand (2788)
Event: World Blitz
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 11/16/2009
Round: 7 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.h3 c6 6.Bb3 O-O 7.Qf3 b5 8.Nge2 a5 9.a3 Be6 10.g4 Bxb3 11.cxb3 Ne8 12.Ng3 Na6 13.Nf5 b4 14.Na4 bxa3 15.bxa3 Rb8 16.Rb1 Nec7 17.h4 Ne6 18.g5 Nd4 19.Qg4 Nxf5 20.exf5 Bd4 21.f6 Qc8 22.Qf3 Qe6 23.fxg7 Kxg7 24.Rg1 d5 25.Kf1 e4 26.dxe4 dxe4 27.Qg4 c5 28.Rg3 Kg8 29.Kg2 Nc7 30.Bf4 Rbc8 31.Bxc7 Rxc7 32.Nb2 Rb7 33.Nc4 a4 34.Nd2 Qxg4 35.Rxg4 e3 36.fxe3 Bxe3 37.Nc4 Rxb3 38.Rxb3 axb3 39.Rg3 Rb8 40.Rxe3 b2 ½-½

Finding a Way to Draw at the Space Coast Open

Back in the day there was a Chess player from Alabama, Robert Pruitt, who was famous for drawing many games, many of which could have been on. When I mentioned the name to the Ironman, he said, “Oh yeah, the draw meister. He would find a way!” It was often heard, “Pruitt’s gotta won game.” The reply would be, “Don’t worry, Pruitt will find a way.” Or, “Pruitt’s busted bad.” Then would come, “Don’t worry, he will find a way.” What Robert would do was “find a way” to make a draw. Robert was a class A player who spent time in the Expert section. Word on the street was that Pruitt could have possibly become a National Master if’n he had turned some of those draws into wins. I checked out his MSA page at the USCF website and found that since 1991 Mr. Pruitt won 75 games while drawing 77 to go with his 29 losses.(https://www.uschess.org/datapage/gamestats.php?memid=10239184)

This is being mentioned because of something found at the website of recently completed 28th Space Coast Open in Florida:

Some details and rules:
Master/Expert Section Modified Sofia Rule: No draw offers permitted prior to move 30.

The love of a draw will find a way.

GM Nikola Mitkov


vs GM Jianchao Zhou
28th Space Coast Open Round 4
B23 Sicilian Defense: Closed

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Bb5 Nd4 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Bb5 1/2-1/2

GM Julio Becerra

vs GM Nikola Mitkov
28th Space Coast Open Round 5
ECO: E69 Ruy Lopez: Exchange Variation, Alapin Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4 6. h3 h5 7. c3 Qd3 8. hxg4 hxg4 9. Nxe5 Bd6 10. Nxd3 Bh2+ 11. Kh1 Bg3+ 12. Kg1 Bh2+ 13. Kh1 Bg3+ 14. Kg1 Bh2+ 1/2-1/2

365Chess contains 254 games reaching 10…Bh2+. The game below was one of them. Wonder how long they would have sat there repeating the position if not being informed of the three time repetition rule?

Andrei Macovei (2343) vs Nichita Morozov (2467)
Event: World Junior Open 2017
Site: Tarvisio ITA Date: 11/19/2017
Round: 6.28 Score: ½-½
ECO: C69 Ruy Lopez, exchange variation, Alapin gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Bg4 6.h3 h5 7.c3 Qd3 8.hxg4 hxg4 9.Nxe5 Bd6 10.Nxd3 Bh2+ 11.Kh1 Bg3+ 12.Kg1 Bh2+ 13.Kh1 Bg3+ 14.Kg1 Bh2+ 15.Kh1 Bg3+ 16.Kg1 Bh2+ 17.Kh1 Bg3+ 18.Kg1 Bh2+ 19.Kh1 Bg3+ 20.Kg1 ½-½

Round 8: IM Josiah Stearman vs GM Santiago Avila Pavas
28th Space Coast Open Round 4
ECO: B 70 Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. f3 Nc6 7. Be3 h5 8. Qd2 Nxd4 9. Bxd4 Bh6 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxd7+ Nxd7 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Qxe3 Qb6 14. Qxb6 Nxb6 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Rc8 17. O-O-O Kd7 18. Rd4 Rc5 19. Re1 Rhc8 20. Rde4 Re8 21. Rf4 Rf8 22. Rfe4 Re8 23. Rf4 1/2-1/2

There was some fighting Chess played at the Space Coast, and GM Mitkov played one of the games:

GM Nikola Mitkov vs Scott Ramer
28th Space Coast Open Round 2
ECO: C27 Vienna Game: Frankenstein-Dracula Variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nxe4 4. Qh5 Nd6 5. Qxe5+ Qe7 6. Qxe7+ Bxe7 7. Bb3 Nf5 8. Nf3 c6 9. Ne2 d5 10. c3 Nd7 11. Bc2 Nf8 12. h4 h5 13. d4 f6 14. Bd2 Kf7 15. O-O-O Nd6 16. Ng3 Bg4 17. Rde1 Nc4 18. Nf5 Bxf5 19. Bxf5 g6 20. Bd3 Nxd2 21. Nxd2 Bd6 22. c4 Nd7 23. Nb1 c5 24. Nc3 cxd4 25. Nxd5 Ne5 26. Kd2 Rac8 27. Rc1 Ng4 28. Rhf1 f5 29. Be2 Nf6 30. Bf3 Nxd5 31. Bxd5+ Kf6 32. Kd3 b6 33. a3 Rhe8 34. Rc2 Be5 35. Re1 Re7 36. Rce2 Rcc7 37. g3 a5 38. f4 Bd6 39. Re6+ Kg7 40. Kxd4 Rxe6 41. Rxe6 Bc5+ 42. Kc3 Bf2 43. b4 axb4+ 44. axb4 b5 45. c5 Bxg3 46. Rb6 Bxh4 47. Rxb5 Bg3 48. c6 Bxf4 49. Rc5 Ra7 50. Ra5 Re7 51. b5 Bc7 52. Ra6 Kf6 53. b6 Ke5 54. bxc7 Rxc7 55. Kc4 g5 56. Ra8 h4 57. Rh8 Kf4 58. Kc5 Kg3 59. Be6 g4 60. Bxf5 h3 61. Kd6 Rg7 62. c7 Rxc7 63. Kxc7 h2 64. Bxg4 Kxg4 65. Rxh2 1-0

Anatoly Lein vs Igor A Zaitsev
Event: URS-ch36
Site: Alma-Ata Date: ??/??/1968
Round: 3 Score: ½-½
ECO: C27 Vienna game
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxe7+ Bxe7 7.Bb3 Nf5 8.Nf3 c6 9.g4 Nh4 10.Nxh4 Bxh4 11.d4 d5 12.Rg1 O-O 13.Ne2 Re8 14.c3 Nd7 15.Kf1 Nf6 16.f3 h5 17.h3 b6 18.a4 Ba6 19.Bd1 Re6 20.a5 Rae8 21.Rg2 Bd3 22.axb6 axb6 23.b3 Nh7 24.gxh5 Nf6 25.Ra2 Nxh5 26.Kg1 Be1 27.f4 Bxe2 28.Rgxe2 Bxc3 29.Rxe6 Rxe6 30.Bxh5 Re1+ 31.Kg2 Rxc1 32.Ra8+ Kh7 33.Bxf7 Bxd4 34.f5 Bf6 35.Kf3 Rf1+ 36.Kg4 Rg1+ 37.Kf3 Rf1+ ½-½

FM Corey Acor vs Vincent Stone
28th Space Coast Open Round 2
ECO: C27 Sicilian Defense: Closed

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 e5 7. f4 Nge7 8. Nf3 Nd4 9. O-O Bg4 10. Qd2 O-O 11. Nh4 exf4 12. Bxf4 Be6 13. Rf2 Rc8 14. Raf1 b5 15. Bg5 b4 16. Nd1 Qd7 17. c3 Ndc6 18. c4 Ne5 19. Ne3 Ng4 20. Nxg4 Bxg4 21. h3 Be6 22. g4 Bd4 23. Bf6 Bxf6 24. Rxf6 Kg7 25. b3 Ng8 26. R6f2 Qe7 27. Qb2+ f6 28. d4 Bd7 29. Nf3 cxd4 30. Qxd4 Rc5 31. Rd1 Bc6 32. Ne1 Qe5 33. Qxe5 Rxe5 34. Nd3 Ree8 35. Nxb4 Bxe4 36. Rxd6 a5 37. Nd5 Bxd5 38. Rxd5 a4 39. b4 Re1+ 40. Bf1 a3 41. Rd7+ Kh6 42. b5 Rc8 43. Kg2 Rb1 44. Ra7 f5 45. gxf5 gxf5 46. Rxa3 Nf6 47. Ra6 Rg8+ 48. Kh2 Rg6 49. Bd3 Rbg1 50. Rxf6 1-0

Stockfish says, 12…Qd7.

FM Todd Andrews Versus Grandmasters Robert Hungaski and David Arenas at the American Continental Chess Championship 2023

In the fourth round of the ongoing American Continental Chess Championship 2023 FM Todd Andrews


faced fellow American GM Robert Hungaski.

Episode 149- GM Robert Hungaski — The Perpetual Chess Podcast

After the latter made his eighth move this position was reached:

White to move

We will return to this position momentarily.

It seems like only yesterday this writer heard it said that, “The Nashville Strangler has found him one.” The Strangler was, and still is, FM Jerry Wheeler. To give you an example of what it means for a Chess coach to have “found him one,” can best be explained by the time the Legendary Georgia Ironman informed me that, “Mr. Vest has found him one.” That “one” turned out to be Georgian IM Arthur Guo. When teaching Chess grizzled ol’ veterans “know” when a child “has it,” whatever “it” is… These children are special. Although I have taught Chess to many children the special “one” “with it” was never found. Without that whatever it is, let us call it a “spark”, a young player can still become a Chess Master, or even a titled player, especially today when there are so many titled players because the title has been cheapened to the point of ridiculousness. Without that ‘spark’ it is almost impossible for a Chess player to earn the Grandmaster title, unless that player is a woman. Even then there are female Chess players who have earned a “male” Grandmaster title, which is GM. The WGM title is only for women. The WGM title is laughed and scoffed at by most in the Chess community, for obvious reasons.

Position after 9 g4

This is being written because ‘back in the day’ g4 was the kind of move for which I was known, I am sad, but honest enough to report. The AW was famously known for “lashing out” prematurely while playing wild and crazy Chess. Hey, it worked at the Stein Club…


FM Todd Andrews vs GM Robert Hungaski
American Continental Chess Championship 2023 Rd 4
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (lichess.org)
A13 English opening (365Chess)

  1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d3 Nc6 6. a3 Be7 7. Qc2 O-O 8. h3 a6 9. g4 b5 10. g5 Ne8 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Bg2 Nc7 13. h4 Bf5 14. e4 Bg4 15. Ne2 Ne6 16. Be3 Rc8 17. Rd1 d4 18. Bc1 Bxf3 19. Bxf3 Ne5 20. Bg2 c4 21. dxc4 bxc4 22. O-O d3 23. Qc3 Qc7 24. Ng3 Bc5 25. Be3 g6 26. Bh3 Nf3+ 27. Kg2 Nxh4+ 28. Kh2 Bd4 29. Bxd4 Nf3+ 30. Kg2 Nexd4 31. Rh1 Rb8 32. b4 Nb5 33. Qf6 Nh4+ 34. Kf1 Rb6 35. Qa1 c3 36. Bg4 c2 37. Rxh4 d2 38. Ne2 Rc6 0-1

1…e6 is a rather tepid response to the English. If one is going to push the e-pawn why not push it all the way to e5? 3 e3 is a rather tepid response. If one is going to push the d-pawn why not push it all the way to d4? 4 Nf3 (?! SF) is so lame it gives the advantage to black. The Stockfish program at lichess.org shows, “Inaccuracy. d4 was best.” GM Hungaski replied with 4…Nf6, to which Stockfish responded with, “Inaccuracy. d4 was best.” After Todd played 5 d3, Stockfish responded with, “Inaccuracy. d4 was best.” I cannot make this up…

In yesterday’s round six game Todd faced GM David Arenas with the white pieces. After twenty moves this position was reached:

Position after 20…e5. White to move.

After only twenty moves Todd had fallen behind on time with a little less than twenty seven minutes remaining. His opponent had more than twice as much time. Todd used almost one third of his remaining time to produce his move. This writer knows how difficult it is when returning to the board after not having played serious OTB Chess in some time. When “not in form” even the pros will take more time than when “in form.” Scraping off the rust can be difficult. ‘Back in the day’ when Todd ruled at the House of Pain his moves came quickly and easily. These daze they are more difficult and are coming more slowly. Because Todd took so much time this writer, and Chess fan, had time to cogitate at length on the above position. Everything was considered. The first thought was not wanting the pawn coming to e4. Nevertheless I checked 21 cxd5 and did not like anything about the move, so I concentrated on 21 dxe5. I could “see” 21 Bxe5, followed by 21…Nxe5 22 dxe5 Rxe5 23 Nf3, attacking the Rook. That is about as far my Chess vision allows. I can “see” that because it is all forced. Then it hit me…”What if he plays 22…d4?” I certainly did not like the looks of 23 Nf5 followed by 23…Bxg2, but what else is there to play? I stopped looking and decided the move to make had to be 21 Bxe5.

As you will see, Todd made several questionable moves but the most questionable was not moving his Knight to f5. Then GM Arenas made a very questionable move with 24…f4?! and it was back to square one, as Todd was back in the game. Unfortunately, Todd refused to accept the gift when moving the Knight to the rim, where it was dim, and then followed up with the game losing 23 Qg4?

FM Todd Andrews vs GM David Arenas
American Continental Chess Championship 2023 Round 6
A45 Queen’s pawn game

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 e6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 cxd4 5. exd4 b6 6. Nf3 Bb7 7. Nbd2 Be7 8. h3 O-O 9. Bd3 a6 10. a4 d6 11. Bh2 Nbd7 12. O-O h6 13. Re1 Qc7 14. Nc4 Rfe8 15. Ne3 Bc6 16. Nd2 Bf8 17. Qe2 Qb7 18. c4 d5 19. b3 Bb4 20. Rec1 e5 21. cxd5 Nxd5 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 23. Ne4 f5 24. Ng3 f4 25. Nh5 exd4 26. Qg4 Ne5 27. Qf5 Nxd3 28. Qxd3 Bc3 29. Bxf4 Qf7 30. g4 Bxa1 31. Rxa1 g6 32. Ng3 Qxf4 33. Qxg6+ Kh8 34. Nf5 Qg5 35. Qxb6 Re6 36. Qxd4+ Qf6 37. Qxd5 Qxa1+ 38. Kg2 Rae8 39. Nd6 Qe1 40. a5 Rf8 0-1

Lars Karlsson (2501) vs Leif Erlend Johannessen (2564)
Event: Rilton Cup 35th
Site: Stockholm Date: 12/30/2005
Round: 4 Score: ½-½
ECO: A45 Queen’s pawn game
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nd2 Bb7 5.Ngf3 Be7 6.h3 c5 7.c3 cxd4 8.exd4 O-O 9.Bd3 a6 10.a4 d6 11.Qe2 Nbd7 12.O-O Re8 13.Bh2 Nf8 14.Rfd1 Ng6 15.c4 d5 16.b3 Bb4 17.Qe3 Rc8 18.Ne5 Qe7 19.Ndf3 Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Ne4 21.Bf4 f6 22.Rac1 e5 23.Bh2 exd4 24.Nxd4 Qf7 25.Qf3 Bc5 26.Bf1 Kh8 27.Bf4 Rcd8 28.Be3 Qg6 29.Qg4 Qxg4 30.hxg4 dxc4 31.Bxc4 Bc8 32.Be2 g6 33.Bf3 Bb7 34.Nc2 Kg7 35.b4 Bxe3 36.Nxe3 Rxd1+ 37.Rxd1 Re7 38.Bxe4 Bxe4 39.Rd6 Rb7 40.a5 bxa5 41.bxa5 Ra7 42.f3 Ba8 43.Nc2 Kf7 44.Nd4 Ke7 45.Re6+ Kf7 46.Rd6 Ke7 47.Rb6 Kf7 48.Nb3 Bd5 49.Nc5 Rc7 50.Nxa6 Rc1+ 51.Kh2 Ra1 52.Rb5 Bc4 53.Rb7+ Kg8 54.Nc5 Rxa5 55.Ne4 Ra6 56.g5 fxg5 57.Nxg5 h6 58.Ne4 Bd5 59.Rb4 Bxe4 60.Rxe4 Kf7 ½-½

What has happened to the Todd with the Big Head? (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2023/04/17/big-head-todd-the-monster-in-iceland/) This is not the kind of Chess FM Todd Andrews played ‘back in the day’. It is almost as if another entity has taken over Todd’s big head, because his play recently has been unrecognizable. When discussing this with the Legendary one, Tim said, “Todd ain’t no spring chicken, Mike. He will be eligible for the Senior in less than a decade, and he’s got a house full of children… He runs the Nashville Chess Center and gives lessons all the time. How much time does he have to work on his game?”

The Kentucky Lion and Shabba Dabba Do at the American Continental Chess Championship 2023

The recent weather has seen dark and cloudy skies with periods of rain making it dark and dreary, which means perfect weather for watching Chess! Yesterday afternoon this writer/spectator sat glued to the screen watching two American Seniors, the Kentucky Lion, Gregory Kaidanov,


and Shabba Dabba Do, aka, Alexander Shabalov,

Alexander Shabalov celebrated his 50th birthday | Photo: Austin Fuller (https://en.chessbase.com/post/fall-chess-classic-saint-louis)

battle their opponents in the American Continental Chess Championship 2023. The game between Grandmasters Gregory Kaidanov and Alder Escobar Forero was the first to end. This was the final position after the players prematurely agreed to a draw:


It should be obvious white has an advantage. You know it, I know it, and Stockfish ‘knows’ it, too. It is incumbent upon the player of the white pieces to at least make an attempt to win the game, but, for whatever reason, Colombian GM Alder Escobar Forero decided to gift his opponent a Grandmaster draw. THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH CHESS! These premature draw eruptions with a board full of pieces are killing the Royal Game. If only 1/4 point were awarded to each player for making a draw do you think this game would have been agreed drawn?

GM Alder Escobar Forero (2443) vs GM Gregory Kaidanov (2559)
American Continental Chess Championship 2023
C78: Ruy Lopez: Morphy Defense, Arkhangelsk Variation

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. d3 Be7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. a3 d6 10. Ba2 Nb8 11. Re1 Nbd7 12. h3 c5 13. Nh2 Rc8 14. Nf1 b4 15. Ne2 d5 16. Neg3 dxe4 17. dxe4 c4 18. axb4 Bxb4 19. c3 Be7 20. Qe2 Qc7 21. Ne3 Nb6 1/2-1/2

Oh well, at least my attention could be turned to the Shabba game, in which The US Senior Champ played The Najdorf. Regular readers know how much I love the venerable Najdorf variation even if it was left behind long ago. You never forget your first love… I will admit to living vicariously through Shabba yesterday because, as David Spinks, or Big Bird, as he was called by some habitués of the Atlanta Chess Center, aka, the House of Pain, was fond of saying, “You gotta pull for SOMEBODY, man!” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/19/im-boris-kogan-versus-expert-david-spinks/) This spectator was living and dying in real time with Shabba. The analysis feature was not on as I sat their exercising my brain when deciding on the move I would make. Speaking of making something, my last cuppa Joe was percolated while spectating, so I was sippin’ the coffee while living vicariously.

GM Cristobal Henriquez Villagra (2616) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2480)
American Continental Chess Championship 2023
B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Adams attack

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 b5 8. g5 Nfd7 9. a3 Bb7 10. h4 Be7 11. Be3 Nb6 12. Qh5 g6 13. Qg4 N8d7 14. h5 Ne5 15. Qg3 Rg8 16. hxg6 hxg6 17. Rd1 Rc8 18. Rh7 Rxc3 19. bxc3 Qc7 20. Bf4 Bxe4 21. Nxb5 axb5 22. Bxe5 dxe5 23. Bxb5+ Kf8 24. Qh4 Qxc3+ 25. Rd2 Bxa3 26. Qxe4 Bb4 27. Qd3 Nd5 28. Qxc3 Bxc3 29. Kd1 Bxd2 30. Kxd2 Ke7 31. c4 Nf4 32. Kc3 Rd8 33. Kb4 Nd3+ 34. Ka5 Nxf2 35. Rh4 e4 36. c5 e3 37. c6 Nd3 38. Re4 Ra8+ 39. Kb6 Rb8+ 40. Ka5 Ra8+ 41. Kb6 Rb8+ 42. Ka5 1/2-1/2

There was no doubt that white came out of the opening with an advantage and was in the drivers seat after 12 Qh5.

Position after 12 Qh5

I was actually pleased to see Shabba answer with 12…g6 because that was my choice. Unfortunately, later the Stockfish program disabused me of that notion, showing 12…0-0 as best. Now that is what you call “castling into it.” This is one of the reasons I was so fond of playing The Najdorf ‘back in the day’. Every game was like being on the knife’s edge.

15…Rg8 was not on my radar. Later it was learned two games, given below, had been contested with 15…Rf8. This spectator was contemplating 15…Qc7, with a view toward castling Queenside. Stockfish simply plays 15…Rc8. “Why did I not even consider the move?” I was asking myself later… I was expecting 17 f4, for obvious reasons, but the GM decided to move his Rook to d1, which was another move not on my radar…

When GM Forero played 18 Rh7 Stockfishy says the advantage was now with Shabba. SF says, “Inaccuracy. Bc1 was best.” If that’s the case, then why is there an arrow showing the best move being Rh4?! Inquiring minds wanna know. If you know, or if you know someone, anyone, who knows, then please leave a comment because this inquiring mind wants to know… Whatever… Shabba then sacked the exchange with 18…Rxc3, and the fight was ON! Yes, SF, too, woulda sacked the Rook…

I was expecting 19…Bxe4 and was flummoxed with Shabba’s choice of 19…Qc7. According to the Fish, the game was now even, Steven. In Chess one is either learning, or dead.

Position after 19…Qc7

Once again GM Forero had a chance to move the pawn to f4, attacking the proud steed ensconced on e5, but chose to play 20 Bf4, yet another move not consider by this spectator… At this point this squirrel did actually consider the move given as best by the silicon monster, 20…Nc4, but rejected it in favor of the move made by Shabba, Bishop takes Pawn on e4.

GM Forero then sacrificed his Knight on b5 when playing 21 Nxb5, and there was then blood all over the board, and the pieces, while drippin’ over the sides of the board. This viewer was LOVIN’ Chess LIFE! This is the way Chess was meant to be PLAYED! The Fish would have simply played 21 a4…

Position after 21 Nxb5

With 33 Kb4 GM Forero let go of the rope with one hand…

When playing 35 Rh4?! the GM let go of the rope with the other hand… White was sooooooooooooo BUSTED! In addition, the General of the white army was low on time. ‘Back in the day’ one would have felt comfortable wagering his net worth on a win for the Black pieces. Unfortunately, those daze are gone…

Position after 35 Rh4

With the ill chosen RED MOVE of 36…e3?? (“Blunder. Nd3 was best.” Stockfish) Shabba jettisoned much of his advantage. Then he stepped into it with the other foot by playing 37…Nd3?! (Inaccuracy. Rc8 was best.) The game ended with a repetition. Shabba let that fish offa the hook.


GM Andras Adorjan R.I.P.

This morning I learned from Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/andras-adorjan-1950-2023) about the death of GM András Adorján (1950-2023).

Photo: Juchapress (https://en.chessbase.com/post/andras-adorjan-1950-2023)

The last part hit me hard because we shared the same birth year. Adorján was part of my generation.

Many of Adorjan’s games were studied because he played the Grunfeld defense. I played the Grunfeld because Bobby Fischer played the Grunfeld, just as I played the Najdorf Sicilian because it was what Bobby played. The reasoning must have been if it was good enough for Bobby it was good enough for me.

This game is given with the Chessbase article:

GM Andras Adorjan vs GM Robert Huebner
Event: Candidates qf2
Site: Bad Lauterberg Date: ??/??/1980
Round: 6 Score: 1-0
ECO: B16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 6.c3 Bf5 7.Ne2 Nd7 8.Ng3 Bg6 9.h4 h6 10.h5 Bh7 11.Bd3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Qc7 13.Qf3 e6 14.Bf4 Qa5 15.O-O Qd5 16.Qe2 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Qxd6 18.Rad1 O-O-O 19.c4 Kb8 20.Ne4 Qc7 21.d5 f5 22.dxe6 fxe6 23.Nd6 Nc5 24.b4 Rxd6 25.bxc5 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 Re8 27.Rd6 Qe7 28.Qe5 Kc8 29.Rd3 Qf7 30.Qd6 f4 31.Qe5 Rf8 32.Rd6 Re8 33.Rd4 Qf5 34.Qxf5 exf5 35.Rd6 f3 36.Rxh6 fxg2 37.Rg6 Kd7 38.h6 Ke7 39.Rg7+ Kf6 40.Rxb7 a5 41.h7 Kg6 42.Kxg2 1-0

I was elated to see Stockfish plays 6…Qd5 because it eventually became my choice.

365Chess.com contains 15 games with 10 h5, the most often played move, but the Stockfish program at lichess.org shows 10 a4, which will be a Theoretical Novelty when played by a human.

11 Bd3 has been the most often played move, but again, Stockfish prefers 11 a4, yet another TN waiting to be played.

14…Bd6 should have been played.

Andras Adorjan vs Istvan Polgar
HUN-ch (1972), Budapest HUN
Alekhine Defense: Modern. Larsen-Haakert Variation (B04)

  1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. d4 d6 5. c4 Nb6 6. exd6 cxd6 7. d5 Ne5 8. Nd4 Nexc4 9. a4 Ne5 10. Nc3 a5 11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. f4 Bxb5 13. fxe5 Bc4 14. e6 f6 15.b3 Ba6 16. Be3 g6 17. h4 h5 18. g4 Bh6 19. Qc2 f5 20. Bxh6 Rc8 21. Qd2 hxg4 22.Ndb5 Bxb5 23. axb5 g3 24. Bg7 Rh7 25. Bd4 Rh5 26. Qg5 Rxg5 27. hxg5 Nd7 28.Rh8+ Nf8 29. Bg7

The Spike Attack Rocks The Qe2 Chigorin World

Jordi Ayza Ballester (2096) vs Ramon Ibanez Aullana (2292)
C00 French, Chigorin variation

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g5 5. h3 Bg7 6. Bg2 h6 7. O-O Nge7 8. c3 d6 9. a4 e5 10. Kh2 f5 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. d4 cxd4 13. cxd4 e4 14. Ng1 Nxd4 15. Qd1 d5 16. Nc3 Qd7 17. f3 e3 18. Ra2 Nc2 19. f4 Nb4 20. Bxe3 d4 21. Nb5 Nxa2 22. Nxd4 Rd8 23. Nge2 Nb4 24. Qb3 Nbd5 25. Bg1 Bg6 26. fxg5 hxg5 27. Nb5 a6 28. Nbc3 Bf7 29. Ne4 Nf4 30. Nd6+ Qxd6 31. Qf3 Bd5 32. Qf2 0-1

This game was followed in ‘real time’ I stopped watching after seeing the ridiculous 12th move, d4 as it caused me to wonder how many times the player of the white pieces had previously attempted the Chigorin Variation, and/or how much time was spent studying games in which 2 Qe2 had been played. Then I wondered if the 4th move by black had messed with the mind of the general of the white army…

To begin, the Stockfish program at lichess.org responds to 2 Qe2 with 3 e5. That is right, one of the top, if not the top Chess programs will move the same pawn with each of his first two moves. “But coach,” you say, “you taught us to complete development before moving a piece twice.”
“That’s right, Bobby, I did. But did I say anything about not moving a PAWN twice?” The Chess coach must have an answer for everything, even when he doesn’t…

Here’s the deal… 2 Qe2 is the move that wins the most against the French defense. I kid you not. In 3758 games 2 Qe2 has won an impressive 44.3% of the time. In over 200,000 games 2 d4 has won’only’ 38.5%! In 17,542 games 2 d3 has won 41.7%.

I was pleased to see SF will play the only third move I have ever played in the position, 3 g3. Jordi Ayza Ballester played 3 Nf3, which happens to be the most often played move, according to 365Chess.com. 3…g5, as Brian McCarthy was fond of saying, must have “Rocked his world.” I have played the Chigorin ‘attack’ against the French for over half a century, and never seen the move. 365Chess contains only 4 (FOUR!?) games in which the move has been played (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=8&n=899&ms=e4.e6.Qe2.c5.Nf3.Nc6.g3&ns=

After seeing 10 Kh2?! the realization struck that Jordi Ayza Ballester had no clue what he was doing. Certainly d3 must be played in this opening. When Jordi played 12 d4?! I stopped following the game… The Stockfish program determines white has a lost position, down by -1.7, after the twelfth move, and it was all over but the shoutin’. This is one of the most pitiful performances with the white pieces you will ever see. How did the dude obtain a rating of 2092 without having a clue? Is there any validity in the rating system these daze?! Just askin’…

Johnny Wieweg (2140) vs Lars Hjelmaas (2302)
Event: Oslo International 2014
Site: Oslo NOR Date: 10/05/2014
Round: 9.16 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 g5 5.h3 Bg7 6.d3 h6 7.Bg2 Nge7 8.c3 d5 9.O-O b6 10.Na3 Ba6 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nc4 Qc7 13.Re1 Bxc4 14.dxc4 Nde7 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2 h5 17.Bf4 e5 18.Rad1 O-O 19.Bg5 f6 20.Bc1 Rad8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.f3 f5 23.Bg5 Rd7 24.Nf1 Qd8 25.fxg4 hxg4 26.Bxc6 Rd6 27.Bd5+ 1-0

6 Qe2 Versus The Najdorf Sicilian

Although I would like to write that the best was saved for the last post concerning the venerable Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defense it would be far more accurate to classify it as exactly the opposite, as it could possibly be the worst move to make against the Najdorf. In the Stockfish vs Stockfish game that follows the best Stocky can do is move the Queen to the d3 square two moves later, which at least moves the Queen out of the way for the bishop. Fishy did not play the move g3, which would be the obvious way to play, as is done in the 2 Qe2 variation against the French.

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2

e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Qd3 Be7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Nc6 11. a3 d5 12. Nxd5 Nxd5 13. exd5 Bxd5 14. Rd1 Bxb3 15. Qxb3 Nd4 16. Qd3 Qc7 17. c3 Nb3 18. Rb1 Rad8 19. Qe4 Nxc1 20. Rbxc1 g6 21. Bf3 b6 22. Qb7 Qxb7 23. Bxb7 a5 24. Kf1 Kg7 25. Ke2 f5 26. f3 Bg5 27. Rb1 h5 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Rd1 Rxd1 30. Kxd1 1/2-1/2

I had seen enough to declare the moribund game a draw. If you have been having trouble when facing the Najdorf maybe you should consider playing 6 Qe2 as a way of potentially making a draw…

PR. Watson vs Alec Aslett
Event: Combined Services-ch
Site: England Date: ??/??/2002
Round: 7 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.g3 Qc7 10.Bg2 Rc8 11.O-O-O Bc4 12.Qd2 b5 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bxb3 15.axb3 h6 16.Be3 f5 17.h4 Be7 18.Kb1 Nf6 19.Bh3 g6 20.h5 O-O 21.hxg6 Ne4 22.Qd3 Nc5 23.Bxc5 e4 24.Qd2 dxc5 25.d6 Bxd6 26.Qxd6 Qg7 27.Bxf5 c4 28.Bxc8 1-0

Winshand Cuhendi Sean (2406) vs Martin Nayhebaver (2450)
Event: Dunajska Streda GM 2017
Site: Dunajska Streda SVK Date: 06/24/2017
Round: 1.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nf5 d5 8.Bg5 d4 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Qg4 g6 12.Qg3 Nd7 13.Nxd4 Qa5+ 14.c3 Bd6 15.Nb3 Qd8 16.O-O-O Nf6 17.Qd3 Bb8 18.Qe3 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qe7 20.h4 Be6 21.Rd2 O-O 22.h5 a5 23.hxg6 fxg6 24.Qc5 Qf7 25.Qb5 b6 26.Qc6 Bc7 27.Bc4 Bxc4 28.Rd7 Qf4+ 29.Nd2 Bf7 30.Qxc7 b5 31.g3 Qg4 32.Rh4 Qe6 33.Rd5 Qf6 34.Rxe5 Rac8 35.Qe7 Qxf2 36.Rxb5 Rfd8 37.Qg5 Rxd2 38.Qxd2 Qf1+ 39.Kc2 Qxb5 40.Qh6 Qe2+ 41.Kc1 Qe1+ 42.Kc2 Qf2+ 43.Kc1 Qe1+ 44.Kc2 Qxg3 45.Qxh7+ Kf8 46.Qh8+ Ke7 47.Qxc8 Qxh4 48.Qc5+ Ke8 49.e5 Qe4+ 50.Kd2 Qd5+ 51.Qxd5 Bxd5 52.b3 Ke7 53.Ke3 g5 54.Kd4 Ke6 55.c4 Bh1 56.a3 g4 57.b4 g3 58.Ke3 Kxe5 59.b5 Kd6 0-1

365Chess.com contains only 48 games in which the player of the white pieces chose 6 Qe2. There is a reason.

With this post the series on the Najdorf ends. With the series of posts I attempted to give an overview of the most popular Chess opening. If you are contemplating playing the Najdorf, or want to know how to play against it, there is enough material, if you replay each and every game, to obtain an excellent overview of the venerable Najdorf. It really is

because Stockfish provides the theory and 365Chess.com provides the practice. Good luck with that!

The following video does NOT contain anything concerning 6 Qe2, but does present 6 g3 TWICE, which makes me wonder…why…

The Najdorf: Lesser Played Sixth Move Alternatives

In this ongoing series on the venerable Najdorf variation we have come to the last four moves having been played in triple digits: 6 Qf3 (254); 6 h4 (247); 6 a3 (229); and 6 Qd3 (110). I am giving it to you straight, with no chaser, today. Or as my friend Brian McCarthy was fond of saying, “Just give me the MEAT!” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/04/24/brian-mccarthy-r-i-p/)

6 Qf3

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qf3 g6 7. Bc4 Qb6 8. Nde2 Bg7 9. Bb3 Nbd7 10. Nf4 e6 11. O-O Qc6 12. a4 O-O 13. a5 b5 14. axb6 Qxb6 15. Be3 Qb8 16. Nd3 Bb7 17. Ra4 Bc6 18. Rb4 Qc7 19. Bd4 Rfc8 20. Ba4 Bxa4 21. Rxa4 Nb6 22. Ra2 Nfd7 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Qd1 Nc4 25. Ne2 a5 26. b3 Ncb6 27. Nd4 Kg8 28. Qa1 Nc5 29. Nxc5 Qxc5 30. c4 a4 31. bxa4 Qxc4 32. a5 Nd7 33. h3 Nc5 34. Rc1 Qa6 35. Rb1 Nxe4 36. Rb6 Qc4 37. Rc2 Nc3 38. Rxd6 Qd3 39. Rxc3 Rxc3 40. Nb5 Qxb5 41. Qxc3 Qxa5 42. Qxa5 Rxa5 43. h4 Ra4 44. g3 h6 45. f3 Kg7 46. Rb6 Kf6 47. Rb5 e5 48. Rb6+ Kf5 49. Rb7 f6 50. Rb6 h5 51. Rb8 Ra3 52. Kg2 Ra2+ 53. Kf1 g5 54. hxg5 Kxg5 55. Rg8+ Kh6 56. Rh8+ Kg6 57. Rg8+ Kf7 58. Rh8 Ra3 59. Kg2 Kg6 60. Rg8+ Kh7 61. Rf8 Ra2+ 62. Kh3 Kg7 63. Rb8 Kg6 64. Rb7 Rf2 65. Rb3 Kg5 66. Ra3 Rf1 67. Kg2 Rc1 68. Ra8 Rc2+ 69. Kh3 Rf2 70. Ra3 Kf5 71. Rb3 1/2-1/2

7 Bc4 is a TN

Alan Pichot (2543) vs Jorge Zamorano (2315)
Event: 91st ch-ARG 2016
Site: Villa Martelli ARG Date: 07/19/2016
Round: 2.3 Score: ½-½
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 g6 7.h3 Bg7 8.Be2 O-O 9.Be3 Bd7 10.O-O-O Nc6 11.g4 Rc8 12.g5 Nh5 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.Rxd5 Qc7 16.Rd2 Qa5 17.a3 Qe5 18.c3 Qa5 19.Rd5 Qa4 20.Bd1 Qc4 21.Kb1 b5 22.Bc2 Rc7 23.Qd1 Be5 24.Rg1 Rb8 25.Rg4 Qc6 26.f4 Bg7 27.e5 dxe5 28.fxe5 Rcc8 29.Bb3 e6 30.Rd6 Qe8 31.Bd4 a5 32.Qf3 Bf8 33.Ra6 Ra8 34.Rxa8 Rxa8 35.Rg1 Ng7 36.Bc2 b4 37.cxb4 axb4 38.a4 Nf5 39.Bb6 Rxa4 40.Bxa4 Qxa4 41.Rg4 Qb5 42.Bd8 b3 43.Bf6 h5 44.Rf4 Kh7 45.Qd1 Ne3 46.Qd2 Nd5 47.Rf3 Qa4 48.Qd3 Qa2+ 49.Kc1 Qa1+ 50.Qb1 Qa4 51.Qd3 Qa1+ 52.Qb1 Qa4 53.Qd3 Qa1+ ½-½

For three games featuring, 14 Kb1; 14 Bh3; and 14 f5, see:

6 h4

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h4 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Bg5 Be6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. g3 Be7 11. Qd2 Nd7 12. O-O-O Nf6 13. f4 Rc8 14. Bh3 O-O 15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. Rhf1 b5 17. a3 a5 18. fxe5 b4 19. Nb5 Nxe4 20. Qe3 d5 21. a4 Bc5 22. Nxc5 Qb6 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Nd4 Qxc5 25. Qe2 Rf2 26. Qb5 h6 27. g4 Qc8 28. g5 hxg5 29. hxg5 Nxg5 30. Kb1 Ne4 31. Rc1 Nd2+ 32. Ka2 Qc4+ 33. b3 Qxd4 34. Qe8+ Rf8 35. Qxe6+ Rf7 36. Qc8+ Rf8 37. Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Bogdan-Daniel Deac (2609) vs Maxim Rodshtein (2673)
Event: 20th ch-EUR Indiv 2019
Site: Skopje MKD Date: 03/22/2019
Round: 5.3 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h4 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.g3 Be7 11.Qd2 Nd7 12.O-O-O Nf6 13.f4 b5 14.Bh3 O-O 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.Qxd8 Raxd8 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.a3 Rc8 20.Kd2 a5 21.Kd3 Rd8+ 22.Ke3 a4 23.Nc1 Bc5+ 24.Ke2 Bd4 25.N1a2 Nh5 26.Rh3 Rf8 27.Nd1 Nf6 28.Nac3 Rb8 29.Kd3 Nd7 30.Ke2 Nf6 31.Kd3 Kf7 32.h5 g5 33.hxg6+ Kxg6 34.Rh1 h5 35.Rf1 Nd7 36.Ke2 Nc5 37.Rf3 Bxc3 38.Nxc3 b4 39.Nd1 Nxe4 40.Re3 Kf5 41.Rf3+ Kg4 42.Ne3+ Kg5 43.Nc4 bxa3 44.Rxa3 Rb4 45.Nxe5 Rxb2 46.Kd3 Rb4 47.Nf3+ Kf6 48.Nd4 e5 49.c3 Nc5+ 50.Kc2 Rb6 51.Ne2 Kf5 52.c4 Rb3 0-1

6 a3

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a3 e5 7. Nf3 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nd5 Bb7 10. Nxf6+ gxf6 11. Be3 Bxe4 12. Bd3 Bxd3 13. cxd3 f5 14. d4 f4 15. Bd2 Bg7 16. O-O O-O 17. dxe5 dxe5 18. Bxb4 Re8 19. Bc3 Nd7 20. Qd5 Nb6 21. Qe4 Qd5 22. Ng5 Qxe4 23. Nxe4 Rec8 24. a5 Nd5 25. g4 fxg3 26. hxg3 Nxc3 27. bxc3 Rc6 28. Rfd1 f5 29. Nd6 Rf8 30. Rab1 Rxc3 31. Rb6 e4 32. Rxa6 e3 33. fxe3 Rxe3 34. Kf2 Ra3 35. Ra7 Bh6 36. Nb5 Ra2+ 37. Kf3 f4 38. g4 Re8 39. Rd3 Re3+ 40. Rxe3 fxe3 41. Re7 Rxa5 42. Re5 Ra1 43. g5 Bg7 44. Rxe3 Kf7 45. Nc7 Kg6 46. Ne6 Bb2 47. Rb3 Kf5 48. Rxb2 Ra3+ 49. Kg2 Kxe6 1/2-1/2

Pentala Harikrishna (2763) vs Anish Giri (2790)
Event: 4th Norway Blitz 2016
Site: Stavanger NOR Date: 04/18/2016
Round: 2.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a3 e5 7.Nf3 b5 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.a4 b4 11.Nd5 Nc6 12.Bc4 O-O 13.Nxf6+ Qxf6 14.Bd5 Bb7 15.Qd2 Rab8 16.O-O h6 17.Rfd1 Rfd8 18.a5 Ne7 19.Bxb7 Rxb7 20.Qe3 Rc8 21.Rd2 Rc6 22.g3 Qe6 23.Kg2 Rbc7 24.Rad1 Kh7 25.Qb3 Qxb3 26.cxb3 Nc8 27.Rd3 Rc2 28.R1d2 R2c5 29.Rd5 Rxd5 30.Rxd5 Rc2 31.Nd2 Rxb2 32.Nc4 Rxb3 33.Nxd6 Rc3 34.Nxf7 b3 35.Rd7 b2 36.Rb7 Rc7 37.Rxb2 Rxf7 38.Rc2 Nd6 39.f3 Nb5 40.Rc6 Rf6 41.Rc5 Re6 42.Kf2 Kg6 43.Ke3 Kf6 44.f4 g5 45.f5 Rd6 46.Rc8 Nd4 47.Rf8+ Ke7 48.Rh8 Nb3 49.Rh7+ Kf8 50.Kf3 Nxa5 51.Kg4 Nc4 52.Kh5 Nd2 53.Rh8+ Kg7 54.Re8 Nxe4 55.Re7+ Kf6 0-1

6 Qd3

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qd3 e6 7. a4 e5 8. Nf5 Bxf5 9. exf5 h6 10. g4 d5 11. Bg2 d4 12. Ne4 Qc7 13. O-O Nbd7 14. c3 Nxe4 15. Qxe4 dxc3 16. bxc3 Nc5 17. Qc4 Be7 18. Bd5 O-O 19. Be3 Rac8 20. Rfd1 b6 21. Rab1 e4 22. Bxe4 Nxe4 23. Qxe4 Rfe8 24. Bxb6 Qxc3 25. Qd3 Qc4 26. Qxc4 Rxc4 27. Rd4 Rec8 28. h3 Rxd4 29. Bxd4 Rc4 30. Rb8+ Kh7 31. Bb6 Rxa4 32. Rb7 Re4 33. Kg2 f6 34. Ra7 Rb4 35. Be3 Bd6 36. Rxa6 Bf4 37. Kf3 Bxe3 38. fxe3 h5 39. Ra1 Rb5 40. Rg1 hxg4+ 41. hxg4 and I had seen enough…

Abdulla Gadimbayli (2315) vs Marc Esserman (2467)
Event: Budapest Spring Open 2017
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 03/24/2017
Round: 7.18 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qd3 e6 7.a4 Nbd7 8.Be2 Nc5 9.Qe3 g6 10.O-O Bg7 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.b4 Ncd7 13.Ba3 O-O 14.b5 Ne8 15.bxa6 bxa6 16.Rab1 Qd8 17.e5 Nxe5 18.f4 Nd7 19.Bf3 d5 20.Nc6 Qh4 21.g3 Qh6 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.Ne7+ Kh8 24.Bxd5 Nc7 25.Bxa8 Ne5 26.Nxc8 Rxc8 27.Bb2 Qxh2+ 28.Kxh2 Ng4+ 29.Kh3 Nxe3 30.Bxg7+ Kxg7 31.Bb7 Rb8 32.Re1 Nc4 33.Bc6 Rc8 34.Rb7 Na5 35.Bd7 Nxb7 36.Bxc8 Nc5 37.Re7 N5e6 38.Bxe6 Nxe6 39.a5 Kf6 40.Ra7 Nc5 41.Rc7 1-0

GM Brandon Jacobson Let Go Of The Rope

In the fourth round of the II CHESSABLE SUNWAY FORMENTERA Chess tournament the American GM Brandon Jacobson

GM Brandon Jacobson assessing his next move at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski (https://new.uschess.org/news/day-6-rancho-mirage-gangs-all-here)

“lost the thread” as the saying goes when playing the Indian, GM Chithambaram Veerappan Aravindh.


In the following position Aravindh has just made the move recommended by Stockfish at lichess.org, 19…Qb6. The ‘Fish also shows white with a winning advantage of +1.7.

Position after 19…Qb6

After Na3 Rab8 21. Nd3 Na4 the next position has been reached:

Position after 21…Na4

In reply GM Jacobson played the SHOCKING 22 b3, jettisoning the advantage. After 22…Ncd5 the game was even, Steven.

Position after 22…Ndc5

GM Jacobson let go of the rope completely when making one of the worst moves you will ever see any Grandmaster make, 23 bxa4? Although the game continued for a few moves, it should not have continued. Possibly Brandon was in a state of shock, like a deer caught in the headlights, and continued making moves out of inertia.


GM Brandon Jacobson vs GM GM Chithambaram Veerappan Aravindh
E90 King’s Indian, 5.Nf3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Bg4 7. Be2 Nfd7 8. Be3 e5 9. d5 a5 10. Ng5 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Na6 12. O-O-O h6 13. Nh3 Nac5 14. f3 f5 15. Nf2 f4 16. Bd2 c6 17. Be1 cxd5 18. cxd5 b5 19. Nxb5 Qb6 20. Na3 Rab8 21. Nd3 Na4 22. b3 Ndc5 23. bxa4 Rfc8 24. Kd2 Qb3 25. Rc1 Qxa3 26. Rc2 Nxd3 27. Qd1 0-1 (https://lichess.org/broadcast/sunway-chess-festival/round-4/XXo9O1Lq)

The move 8…e5 appears to be a Theoretical Novelty:

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Bg4 7. Be2 Nfd7 8. Be3

Next Move # of Games Last Played Winnings percentage
White / Draw / Black Engine Eval.
8… a6 1-0, Dardha (2610) vs. Assaubayeva (2440)
8… Nb6 ½-½, Van Foreest (2678) vs. Yakubboev (2620)
8… Bxf3 ½-½, Mueller vs. Dueck (2112)
8… c5 ½-½, Stukan (2431) vs. Dimic (2337)

This could, and would, be considered an aberration under most circumstances, but since GM Jacobson ‘let go of the rope’ in his previous tournament, the 2023 Reykjavik Open, it could be an indication of something else.

Position after 37…Qf4+

In the seventh round of the 2023 Reykjavik Open game with Frenchman IM Quentin Loiseau (2449) Brandon had to move his King. Cogitate on the position and decide were you would move your King.

GM Brandon Jacobson (2543) vs IM Quentin Loiseau (2449)
Reykjavik Open 2023 (Reykjavik), 02.04.2023 Rd 7
A13 English opening
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 dxc4 4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Qxc4 Rb8 6.Nf3 b5 7.Qc2 c5 8.d3 Bb7 9.O-O Ngf6 10.a4 a6 11.Nc3 Qb6 12.axb5 axb5 13.Be3 Bd6 14.h3 O-O 15.b4 Rfc8 16.Rfc1 Qd8 17.bxc5 Bxc5 18.Bxc5 Nxc5 19.Rab1 Bxf3 20.Bxf3 b4 21.Nd1 b3 22.Qd2 Na4 23.Bc6 Nb6 24.Bb5 Qd5 25.Rxc8+ Rxc8 26.Nc3 Qh5 27.Kg2 Nbd5 28.Bc4 Nxc3 29.Qxc3 Qxe2 30.Rxb3 h5 31.Rb2 Qd1 32.Qa5 Qc1 33.Rb7 h4 34.Qa7 hxg3 35.Rxf7 gxf2 36.Rxg7+ Kh8 37.Kxf2 Qf4+ 38.Kg2 Rb8 39.Kh1 Rb1+ 0-1


Imre Hera Jr (2598) vs Davit Shengelia, (2522)
Event: TCh-HUN 2018-19
Site: Hungary HUN Date: 01/27/2019
Round: 4.2 Score: 1-0
ECO: A13 English opening
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 dxc4 4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Qxc4 Rb8 6.Nf3 b5 7.Qc2 Bb7 8.O-O Ngf6 9.Nc3 c5 10.d3 a6 11.a4 b4 12.Nb1 Bd6 13.Nbd2 O-O 14.Nc4 Bc7 15.b3 e5 16.e4 h6 17.Bb2 Qe7 18.Nh4 g6 19.Rae1 Nh5 20.Qd2 Qg5 21.Qd1 Kh7 22.Bh3 Rbd8 23.Bxd7 Rxd7 24.Nf3 Qd8 25.Nfxe5 Bxe5 26.Nxe5 Rd6 27.Qc1 Qc8 28.f3 f6 29.Ng4 g5 30.Qc2 Rdd8 31.Rc1 Rf7 32.Rfd1 f5 33.Ne5 Rc7 34.exf5 Nf6 35.d4 Rd5 36.g4 Qe8 37.Re1 Re7 38.Qf2 Qd8 39.Rxc5 Rxc5 40.dxc5 Qd5 41.c6 Bc8 42.Nd7 Rxe1+ 43.Qxe1 1-0

The Freak Attack Vs The Najdorf with 6 Rg1

Continuing with the series on the Najdorf we now come to those much lesser played sixth moves. 365Chesss.com shows only 482 games having been contested with 6 Rg1, which has scored remarkably well, albeit in a very limited sample size. There is no pretense with 6 Rg1. White immediately signals his intention to ATTACK! White gives up castling on the kingside in order to thrust his g-pawn forward. It is ‘Cave man’ Chess at it’s finest.


Stockfish vs Stockfish

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Rg1 b5 7. a4 b4 8. Nd5 Nxe4 9. Bc4 e6 10. Qe2 Nc5 11. Bf4 Be7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. O-O-O e5 14. Qf3 Ra7 15. Bxe5 dxe5 16. Nc6 Nxc6 17. Bxf7+ Qxf7 18. Qxc6+ Bd7 19. Qxc5 Rb7 20. Rge1 Kd8 21. Qc6 Rc7 22. Qa8+ Rc8 23. Qb7 b3 24. c3 Rc7 25. Qb8+ Rc8 26. Qa7 Re8 27. Qb6+ Rc7 28. Qb8+ 1/2-1/2

MVL is todaze leading exponent of the Najdorf Sicilian. Since he is an inveterate 1 e4 player he must face his favorite opening, which was something I was loath to do, so I played the Closed variation of the Sicilian Defense.

Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2784)


vs Liren Ding (2791)


Event: Opera Euro Rapid Prelim
Site: chess24.com INT Date: 02/08/2021
Round: 14.2 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Rg1 b5 7.a4 b4 8.Nd5 Nxe4 9.Bc4 e6 10.Qe2 Nc5 11.c3 Be7 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.cxb4 Ncd7 14.Bd2 Ne5 15.Bb3 O-O 16.O-O-O Nbc6 17.Nc2 Rb8 18.Bc3 Ng6 19.g3 e5 20.Bd5 Qd7 21.f4 Bb7 22.Bb3 exf4 23.gxf4 Qf5 24.Qd2 1-0

Then there is Shabba, who gives Atlanta’s own Arthur Guo a lesson, albeit a long one, in how to attack the venerable Najdorf:

Alexander Shabalov (2528)


vs Arthur Guo (2286)


Event: National Open 2019
Site: Las Vegas USA Date: 06/16/2019
Round: 9 Score: 1-0
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Rg1 Qc7 7.g4 e6 8.g5 Nfd7 9.h4 b5 10.a3 Bb7 11.h5 g6 12.Be3 Nc5 13.Qg4 Nbd7 14.O-O-O O-O-O 15.Kb1 Kb8 16.h6 Nb6 17.Nb3 Be7 18.Be2 Rc8 19.Rc1 Rhd8 20.Rgd1 Ncd7 21.f4 d5 22.exd5 exd5 23.Bd4 Nc4 24.Rf1 f5 25.gxf6 Bxf6 26.f5 gxf5 27.Rxf5 Rg8 28.Qf4 Qxf4 29.Rxf4 Bg5 30.Rf7 Bxc1 31.Kxc1 Nf8 32.Nc5 Rc7 33.Rg7 Rcxg7 34.hxg7 Ng6 35.Nd7+ Ka8 36.Bg4 Nge5 37.Nxe5 Rxg7 38.Be2 Re7 39.Nd3 Ne3 40.Bc5 Re6 41.Nf4 Re5 42.Bd4 Re7 43.Bd3 Nc4 44.b3 Re1+ 45.Nd1 Ne5 46.Bxh7 Nf3 47.Bf2 Rh1 48.Bd3 Ng5 49.Ne2 Bc8 50.Ng3 Rh2 51.Be3 Nf3 52.Be2 Ne5 53.Bd4 Nc6 54.Bf2 Ne5 55.Nf1 Rh7 56.Kd2 Bg4 57.Bxg4 Nxg4 58.Bd4 Kb7 59.b4 Rh3 60.Nfe3 Nxe3 61.Nxe3 Kc6 62.Kc3 Rh1 63.Nf5 Ra1 64.Kb2 Rf1 65.Ne3 Rf4 66.c3 Kd6 67.Kb3 Rf7 68.a4 Ke6 69.axb5 axb5 70.Kc2 Rh7 71.Kd3 Rh3 72.Ba7 Kd6 73.Bb8+ Kc6 74.Kd2 Rh8 75.Bg3 Rg8 76.Nf5 Rg4 77.Nd4+ Kb6 78.Bd6 Re4 79.Bc5+ Ka6 80.Kd3 Re1 81.Nf5 Rd1+ 82.Kc2 Rh1 83.Ne7 Rh5 84.Kd3 Kb7 85.Kd4 Kc7 86.Nxd5+ Kc6 87.Ne3 Rh4+ 88.Kd3 Rf4 89.Kc2 Rh4 90.Kb3 Kb7 91.Kc2 Rh2+ 92.Kd3 Rh4 93.Bd4 Kc6 94.c4 bxc4+ 95.Kxc4 Rh5 96.Ng4 Rh1 97.Ne5+ Kd6 98.Nd3 Rh4 99.b5 Re4 100.Nc5 Rh4 101.Nb3 Rh5 102.Bc5+ Kd7 103.Kb4 Ke6 104.b6 Rh8 105.Kb5 Kd5 106.b7 Rb8 107.Na5 Ke6 108.Ba7 Rg8 109.Nc6 Kd7 110.Bb6 Rg5+ 111.Ka6 Rg8 112.Nd8 1-0