The Georgia Chess Association is in Trouble

My friend Michael Mulford is one of the good guys involved with the Royal Game of Chess. “Mulfish”, as he is known at the USCF Forum, has devoted much time to Chess over the decades, and is currently very much involved with Senior Chess. After seeing this post on the USCF Forum it seemed to differ from the first one posted:

Postby Mulfish on Sat Sep 17, 2022 8:36 am #354807 is the Minnesota Chess website. It now shows tournament details and a link to the registration page, though i still don’t see it on the US Chess website.

I would also caution anyone interested in playing in the Georgia Senior. The round schedule is absurdly tight, with only 4 hours between the morning and afternoon rounds and a time control of G90/ inc 30. The organizer has told me they have to finish and be out of the building by a specific time. The ad does say they provide “light food”. If I were playing, I think I’d bring my own to be sure that I could keep my blood sugar where it should be. I’d probably have used a slightly shorter time control like G/75 inc 30, but it’s hard to criticize them for wanting to use the same time control as the Irwin uses.
No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot – Mark Twain

Because it differed I reached out to the Mulfish asking if it were, in fact, a different post. This was the reply:

Michael Mulford

Sat, Sep 17, 9:10 PM

This is the original; I had it only because Parnell included it in his email to me. If you wish to point out I made this original post and then edited it, that’s fine, but if you do please portray it as a revision to incorporate his explanations. He didn’t ask me to do so. I think he would have made a post of his own once he figured out how to join the forums and do so.

“I also caution anyone interested in playing in the Georgia Senior. The round schedule is absurdly tight, with only 4 hours between the morning and afternoon rounds and a time control of G90/ inc 30. I don’t know what they were thinking on this one. Perhaps they lose the site at 5 or 6 pm. If you’re going to play, I’d consider asking the organizer about that. It might be possible to persuade them to build a little more time into the schedule.”

I had questioned the new President of the Georgia Chess Association about the format, which allowed not time for rest or food between rounds a year ago when the format of the Georgia Senior was advertised. For that reason I, and several other Senior players, did not participate in the 2021 Georgia Senior. In response Mr. Watkins defended the format by informing me there would be a “charcuterie” board provided for the players. The definition of a charcuterie board is: “Sausages, ham, pâtés, and other cooked or processed meat foods.” Just what a Senior needs, right? There is nothing like processed meat served on a board that has been sitting out for hours to whet your appetite. Unfortunately, it did not whet my appetite as I do not, and have not eaten pork products for decades, and try to avoid processed food as much as possible, as do most Seniors. I met the new POTGCA at the 2022 Georgia State Chess Championships and the man is HUGE. He looked like the kind of guy who should, by all means, stay away from processed food, and immediately go on a diet to lose at least fifty, if not one hundred pounds.

POTGCA Parnell Watkins in foreground on right nest to large soda cup

In an email exchange Parnell closed with this:

“A monkey in my plans is that I have been diagnosed with a heart condition, a leaky valve. I will have to have surgery this year, and it explains finally why I hit a wall in chess (tournaments and can’t seem to get past the first couple of hours of a tournament. I always contributed to my nervous disorder causing me to become exhausted. No, my heart gives out.”


Mr. Watkins became POTGCA when no one ran against him. The VP of the GCA is Thad Rogers, who has his own health problems.

Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Atlanta R.I.P.

After hearing a rumor about the demise of the new ACC it was time to check with the man known as “The Sheriff,” aka Scott Parker, President of the Georgia Chess Association. Mr. Parker does not care for the appellation but a more fitting sobriquet does not exist. It was hung on Scott by the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When queried about the name Tim said, “Scott walks around the House (of Pain) ramrod straight, like Gary Cooper in High Noon.”

High Noon (1952) Review

Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 3:31 PM

Sad but true.The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta will be shutting it’s doors on Nov. 24. Participation has not recovered enough from the pandemic for them to make a go of it. They’re in a nice space in a nice area of town, but the $3800/month rent is killing them. They are losing too much money, and the job is taking too much of Karen’s time. She’s really unhappy about having to do this, but she feels there is no choice.

My term of office ends on Dec. 12 at the conclusion of the annual GCA Membership Meeting. After that I will be tying up some odds and ends like the financials of the State Championship tournament and trying to smooth the transition to Parnell Watkins’ Presidency, but essentially I will be done at that time. It’s time for me to move on from the GCA, and it’s time for the GCA to move on from me.

Be well,

After replying the following was received:

Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 6:46 PM

The 2022 GA Senior Championship is in limbo now. That event was to have been held in January along with the GA Women’s Championship at Ben and Karen’s place, but obviously that isn’t going to happen. Where and when it will be held will be up to the next GCA Board.

I doubt that I will be playing in any more tournaments, senior or otherwise. The prospect just doesn’t interest me anymore. I’d play some casual blitz, but that’s probably the extent of it. As I said, time to move on.

Be well,

A case can be made that Scott Parker was, historically speaking, the best President of the Georgia Chess Association. Then there is Chess Hall of Famer Thad Rogers, who single-handedly kept the sinking boat of the GCA afloat after Earle Morrison bankrupted the organization. For what it’s worth, Mr. Parker said he thought Ted Weiber was the best POTGCA.
GM Ben Finegold & Karen Boyd
Merchandise – Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta

Never Give Up

There was a print out taped to the wall just to the right of the stairs at the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center that looked like this:
Never Ever Give Up! – Failure to Listen

Every player who walked up the stairs could see it before every Chess game played at the House of Pain. The story goes that the owner, Thad Rogers, liked it and put it there for all to see. I always considered it the most apropos thing ever seen at the House of no fun whatsoever, which was heard on more than one occasion.

After the Legendary Georgia Ironman told the IM of GM strength Boris Kogan that he intended on becoming a National Master Boris asked, “Why Tim? It requires much sacrifice.” That it does, because when your friends are out at a bar hoisting them high and spending time with the ladies you are at home studying Rook and Pawn endings. Then again there are those players who will have hoisted a few, but that was at the Stein Club while attempting to win that Rook and Pawn ending on the board in front of you in which you have an extra pawn. You do this because Chess is HARD, and It Don’t Come Easy!

Playing Chess well requires many things and one of them is a tenacious fighting spirit. To advance in Chess one MUST be able to concentrate no matter what the situation on the board. A player MUST look for ANYTHING that will help his position. Complacency (A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble) has no business being anywhere near a Chess board.

In the seventh round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship this position was reached in the game between Megan Lee and Nazi Paikidze:

Position after 54…Qa5

There is nothing for me to describe to you here because even 700 rated USCF politico Allen Priest knows Black is busted, Buster. Then again, maybe not, but every player with a four number rating would know Black is doomed, DOOMED! Nazi has a snowball chance in Hell of salvaging a draw and winning is out of the question unless her opponent falls over dead. Some, if not most, would wonder why Nazi had not resigned. You may be wondering about the time factor. Time was not a factor. The fact is that Nazi has mating material and has a Queen and Rook on the Queen side which is where the White King is located, which totals plenty of cheapo potential, especially when all three of White’s pieces are located on the King side. Look at the position. What move would you make?

Position after 55 Qf5+

The Black King now has four legal moves. If it moves to g7 or h8 White will take the Bishop with check and that’s all she wrote. If the Black King moves to g8 the White Queen will take the pawn on g5 with check and it’s game over. That leaves h6, which is where Nazi moved the King, bringing us to this position:

dWhite to move

I would like you to take a good look at this position and cogitate awhile before scrolling down. To insure you cannot glance down to see what follows we will pause with this musical interlude in order to block you from seeing anything that may, or may not influence your cogitating:

After 56 Rxe5

Black to move. Think about it awhile…What move would you make?

The situation on the Chess board has changed as much as the music videos. A situation has been reached, by force by White I must add, in which the Black King has no legal moves. If, and that is a big IF, the Black Queen and Rook left the board, the position would be one of STALEMATE. A stalemate position is reached when one King has no legal moves. Then the game is immediately declared DRAWN. This is a RIDICULOUS rule. It is also ABSURD to the point of LUNACY. There are too many draws in Chess. If a position is reached in which the only move of the King will put it in CHECK then that King should abdicate his throne. For this reason Nazi Paikidze should have played the move 56…Rxb2+ reaching this position:

Fortunately for Megan Lee her opponent played 54…Qa4+ and lost. Certainly both players should have recognized the situation on the board had changed DRASTICALLY after the 55th move by Black which had put the King in a possible stalemate situation. They both had plenty of time to cogitate. At that point in the game Megan Lee had only one thing to consider: stalemate. Nazi Paikidze only had one thing for which to hope: stalemate. Megan gave Nazi a chance but she did not take advantage of the chance given.

Megan Lee 2211 (USA)

The Sexiest American Female Chess Players - Chess Gossip
The Sexiest American Female Chess Players – Chess Gossip

vs Nazi Paikidze 2374 (USA)

Classify Nazi Paikidze.

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 07

B06 Robatsch (modern) defence

  1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Be3 Nd7 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 b6 7. Bc4 e6 8. Qd2 Bb7 9. Bg5 Ndf6 10. Qe2 h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 Nh5 13. O-O-O Ne7 14. Ne1 Nxg3 15. hxg3 Qd7 16. d5 exd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Bxd5 Nxd5 19. exd5+ Kf8 20. Qe4 Re8 21. Qc4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Qb3 Ra8 24. Nd3 Bf6 25. f3 Kg7 26. g4 c5 27. dxc6 Qxc6 28. c3 Qb6 29. Kc2 Rac8 30. Nb4 Be5 31. Nd5 Qa7 32. Rd2 Rb8 33. Re1 Rhc8 34. Re4 Kh7 35. Nb4 Rc5 36. Nd3 Rc4 37. Rxc4 bxc4 38. Qxc4 Bf6 39. Nb4 Qa4+ 40. Qb3 Qe8 41. Rxd6 Be5 42. Rd1 Bf4 43. Kb1 Kg8 44. Qc2 Ra8 45. Nd5 Be5 46. Qe4 Rb8 47. Rd2 Kg7 48. Re2 f6 49. Nxf6 Qd8 50. Nh5+ Kg8 51. Qg6+ Kh8 52. Qxh6+ Kg8 53. Qe6+ Kh7 54. Kc2 Qa5 55. Qf5+ Kh6 56. Rxe5 Qa4+ 57. Kc1 Qa1+ 58. Qb1 Qa6 59. Ng3 Rd8 60. Nf5+ Kh7 61. Nd6+ Kh8 62. Nf7+ Kg7 63. Nxd8 Qf1+ 64. Kc2 Qf2+ 65. Kd3 1-0

cycledan: Paikidze could have pulled even with Irina, half game back in 2nd. Now she will be 1.5 back if Megan can convert. Tough loss
Murasakibara: is 56. Rxe5 correct? because black has a draw
Murasakibara: rook sac
Murasakibara: and queen check forever
Murasakibara: to miss that from nazi oh no
cycledan: white Q can prevent the perpetual I think
Murasakibara: no because after kxR there is Qa2 and Qd2 and go back and forth check
Murasakibara: until king force to capture
Paintedblack: yeah it would have been a legendary swindle but missed
Murasakibara: im so mad at nazi
Murasakibara: xd
Murasakibara: was rooting for her
Murasakibara: she didnt realize her king have no move because she thought her position was doom so a chance to draw didnt come in her mind
Murasakibara: that got to hurt

Eradicating the Book of Faces

I came to Facebook rather late in life and there were reasons for so doing. One of the reasons was to learn how the life of the love of my life developed after we parted. Initially I thought the book of faces was a good thing as I was in contact with many people involved with Chess from all over the world. People post pictures and write about their life and in some cases one feels as if he knows them better than when only knowing them from the old Atlanta Chess and Game Center or email. One example of this would be Professor Mark Taylor,

Mark Taylor day tripping in Macon, Georgia

the best editor of the Georgia Chess News magazine during the half century of my involvement in Georgia Chess.

Because of the book of faces I was able to communicate with Grandmaster Danny Gormally in England

about his book, one of the most honest Chess books ever written,

and GM Keith Arkell, another Brit.

Arkell's Endings - GM Keith Arkell - ImmortalChessForum

We had a lengthy discussion concerning the rising price of older Chess books. I was able to see the bread Helen Milligan

Surprising winner at the Sydney Open | ChessBase

has baked in New Zealand. I saw many pictures of the publisher of Elk & Ruby, Ilan Rubin, in Moscow,

Ilan Rubin

the man responsible for many of the books reviewed on this blog. I could go on and on…

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the book of faces. I have recently been in touch with a gentleman I have only seen once, that at the twenty year reunion of my high school class of 1968. After mentioning Facebook Richard cut me off, saying, “I don’t do social media, especially Facebook, because it is only dividing America.” That particular conversation started the questioning of my decision to join the book of faces…

Then there were the negative posts appearing on my screen, many filled with vitriol. Some posts spewed venom like a snake. One such screed was by a fellow who was a regular at the House of Pain, Richard Staples. There were a few obviously strident right-wingers among the players at the ACC, and Richard was one of them. Fortunately, he was smart enough, unlike some others, to take care when and where he spewed his wrong-wing vitriol. Richard is a big and tall fellow and he was the only player who wore a knife, kept in a holster on his belt, while at the House of Pain. There was another fellow at the Center who carried a knife but no one knew because it was kept in an ankle holster. That person would be this writer. The House was not located in the best of areas and there were numerous vehicles broken into during the two decades the House was rockin’. Mr. Staples posted some ill chosen negative words about a certain segment of our society. I was so new to the book of faces that I did not know how to “unfriend” someone. After contacting my friend Mike Mulford he gave me the skinny on Facebook etiquette, or maybe ‘lack thereof’ would be more appropriate, infroming me he had previously “unfriended” Richard. I immediately “unfriended” the first of what would become “many” of what I thought of as “Forkbookers”.

I had met a gentleman, Davide Nastasio,

Jon Speelman's Agony Column #25 | ChessBase

at the 2019 Castle Chess Grand Prix tournament at Emory University, the last Chess tournament in which Senior Master Brian McCarthy played, who is the editor of the online Georgia Chess Magazine, which is basically a place where books are reviewed. There was a pleasant conversation near the area where Thad Rogers was selling books. Davide was extremely knowledgeable about Chess books and the conversation is fondly recalled. After being appalled at some of what was directed at me on the book of faces, I eradicated him, too.

Then there was Rick Rothenberg, a gentleman befriended while living in Louisville, Kentucky. Rick was a few years younger than am I and a weak Chess player, but he was interesting enough that we would get together for lunch, and sometimes breakfast, in different parts of the city. He once asked me to go with him to Indiana, which was right over the Kentucky state line, and he showed me the house in which he had raised a family until being divorced. Another time I rode with Rick for a day trip to the US Open Chess tournament in Indianapolis. When I noticed his name on the book of faces I immediately clicked on the friend request and the next time I went to Facebook there were posts by Mr. Rothenberg. Unfortunately, what he had put on Facebook shocked and appalled me to such an extent I immediately unfriended him after sending a note which read, “If I had known you were splattering this kind of excrement all over Facebook I would not have become your friend.” I have, fortunately, forgotten most of what was read that day, but I do vividly recall that in response to something Rick had written about the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris,

Kamala Harris: What her experience tells us about US ...
Kamala Harris: What her experience tells us about US …

some woman had used the pejorative, “Ho.” I had seen, and read, enough. Rick was eradicated.

I have surfed to the book of faces for the last time. Facebook is not the solution; it is the problem. Since Facebook owns YouTube I will no longer put anything having to do with the Tube of You on this blog. In my world Facebook has been eradicated. I have chosen this path because:

The Charlotte Chess Center Mr. Hankey Award

After my most recent required Medicare physical I had to do the Cologuard ( thing now required for Seniors. This is the second time I have sent my excrement to HQ where some unfortunate human must screen it for whatever. The day of the procedure, which includes more than just dumping and sending, I will spare you the details, for some reason I thought of Thad Rogers, long and many time President of the Georgia Chess Association.

Thad Rogers

On his way back from a Chess tournament the owner of the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, Thad Rogers, stopped at the House of Pain before heading south to Macon. Howls of laughter emanating from downstairs piqued my curiosity and an inquiring mind wanted to know what was causing such an uproar. Once downstairs I saw Thad holding up a T-shirt. “That looks like a turd on the shirt, Thad,” I said. There were more howls of laughter especially when Thad said, “That’s not a turd, it’s Mr. Hankey!” I thought about going next door to the pizza joint to have a beer, or maybe even something stronger, but I never drink during the day, even when it’s called for, as was the case that day. It turned out Thad was a HUGE fan of the TV show South Park. Evidently he was not alone…Thad would often bring in from the road Chess books and other Chess type things to sell at the House of Pain, but that day will long be remembered as Mr. Hankey day.
Mr. Hankey

Before writing this post I could not recall the name of the turd on Thad’s T-shirt, so I went to the internet and typed in “South Park feces” and there was a turd with a Christmas type hat on top of its “head.” I had found Mr. Hankey!

South Park – Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo

I mention this because the thought occurred that an award should be given to the player(s) who “play” the shortest game at one of the norm tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. What better prize than a Mr. Hankey?!

For the most recently completed tournament I thought to award the prize to the player(s) agreeing to the shortest draw. After putting this together my mind was changed. What follows is the shortest draws from each of the four different tournaments held in conjunction at what has become known as the Charlotte Draw Center. The loser who wins the prize will become known at the end of the post.


Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 07

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Dragun, Kamil (POL)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 05

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. Be2 d6 6. Bg5 ½-½

Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (TUR)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 03

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qa4+ Bd7 5. Qd1 Bc8 6. Qa4+ Bd7 7. Qd1 Bc8 ½-½

Mardov, Dimitar (USA) – Dragun, Kamil (POL)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O c6 6. b3 Ne4 7. d4 d5 ½-½

Thirteen (13) was a popular number in this section when it came to agreeing to split the point. I mention this because almost half a century ago I made a study of my games, coming to the conclusion that I had made an inordinate number of questionable (OK, BAD, or HORRIBLE, moves) when producing my thirteenth move of the game. It was more than a little obvious I was having much trouble with the transition from the opening to the middle game. After deep study my game, such as it was, improved at least to the point where I won the coveted title of Atlanta Champion a couple of times.

GM Dragun, Kamil 2555 (POL) – GM Ali Marandi, Cemil Can 2530 (TUR)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 01

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bf4 Bf5 7. e3 e6 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Bd6 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. O-O O-O 12. Rfc1 Rfc8 13. h3 ½-½

Dragun, Kamil (POL) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 03

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 c6 5. O-O Nf6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. c3 Bf5 8. Re1 Nbd7 9. h3 h6 10. Nh4 Be6 11. Nhf3 Bf5 12. Nh4 Be6 13. Nhf3 ½-½

Yoo, Christopher Woojin (USA) – Beradze, Irakli (GEO)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Nxd2 9. Nxd2 Bxg2 10. Kxg2 d5 11. e3 c6 12. Rc1 Nd7 13. Qa4 ½-½

This game is included because it involves Tanguy Ringoir, a serial drawer, who averaged only twenty, that’s 20, or TWO ZERO, moves per game in the tournament. Just to think the dude came all the way from Belarus to not play Chess… The most moves in any of his games were the 37 he played in defeating Arthur Guo in the fourth round. Arthur was either, “out of form” as is said about a player who is having a bad event, or ill. We do not know because nothing is written on the blog of the CCCSA informing we fans of what is happening during the tournaments.

Bora, Safal (USA) – Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Ne5 O-O 8. Nc3 Bf5 9. Bf4 Qb6 10. O-O Qxb2 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. Bxd5 Nc6 13. Bxc6 Bxe5 14. Bxe5 bxc6 15. Re1 f6 16. Bc7 ½-½

The following game is included even though it was “played” in the last round because it was over long before it was over.

Griffith, Kyron (USA) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09

  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 Bf4+ 14. Kg1 Bh2+ 15. Kh1 Be5+ 16. Kg1 Bh2+ 17. Kh1 Bd6+ ½-½


Paragua, Mark (PHI) – Theodorou, Nikolas (GRE)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 09

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Nc6 ½-½

Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (IND) – Paragua, Mark (PHI)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 04

  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. d4 Nc6 8. Nc3 ½-½

Roussel-Roozmon, Thomas (CAN) – Wang, Tianqi (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 05

  1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. e4 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. Bg5 O-O 10. Qd2 a5 11. O-O a4 12. Rad1 Be6 13. f3 Qb6+ 14. Be3 ½-½

OK, it’s the last round, but still, look at the position. Wouldn’t you wanna know how this one played out?

Sheng, Joshua (USA) – Roussel-Roozmon, Thomas (CAN)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 09

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. O-O g6 6. c3 Bg7 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. Re1 Bd7 9. Nf1 Qe8 10. h3 Nd4 11. Bc4 Nxf3+ 12. Qxf3 Be6 13. Bg5 Nd7 14. Ne3 h6 15. Bh4 c6 16. Qd1 ½-½

In the next game GM Paragua offered a draw even though, as IM of GM strength Boris Kogan was so fond of saying, he had “BEEG pawn.”

IM Levy Rozman 2353 (USA) vs GM Mark Paragua 2475 (PHI)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 01

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. Rc1 Be6 7. e3 dxc4 8. Ng5 Bd5 9. e4 h6 10. exd5 hxg5 11. Bxg5 Nxd5 12. Bxc4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Nc6 14. Ne2 Qd7 15. O-O Rad8 16. Qd2 Bxd4 ½-½

Although it’s over twenty moves I must add this one because Roussel-Roozmon has a better pawn structure and the two bishops versus the two knights and yet offered a draw. Why? No guts…no glory.

Roussel-Roozmon, Thomas (CAN) – Paragua, Mark (PHI)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 08

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bf5 6. g3 e6 7. Bg2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Rd1 Qd5 10. Ne5 Qxc4 11. Nxc4 Rd8 12. Nc3 Bb4 13. e4 Bg6 14. f3 b5 15. Ne5 Nfd7 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. Be3 Nb6 18. Bf1 Bxc3 19. bxc3 N8d7 20. Rab1 f5 21. Bg5 ½-½

Even with all the short draws Mark Paragua averaged 27.66 moves per game, which ought to tell you much about how little Chess was played by Tanguy Ringoir in the GM A section.


Martin Del Campo Cardenas, Roberto Abel (MEX) – Adamson, Robby (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 03

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 Bd6 6. Bd3 Nge7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 Bf5 ½-½

Canty, James (USA) – Adamson, Robby (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 07

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bf4 a6 4. e3 e6 5. g4 Bb4 6. Ne2 Nxg4 7. Rg1 g5 8. Rxg4 gxf4 9. Nxf4 Nc6 ½-½

Della Morte, Pablo (ARG) – Martin Del Campo Cardenas, Roberto Abel (MEX)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Bf5 6. Be3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Qxd4 9. Bxd4 a6 ½-½

Martin Del Campo Cardenas, Roberto Abel (MEX) – Antova, Gabriela (BUL)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 08

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. Kh1 Qc7 10. Qe1 b5 11. Bf3 Bb7 12. e5 Ne8 13. Qg3 ½-½

Canty, James (USA) – Proleiko, Julian (USA)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Be6 7. Qb3 Na5 8. Qb5+ Bd7 9. cxd5 e6 10. Qe2 Be7 11. dxe6 Bxe6 12. Qd1 O-O 13. Be2 ½-½

In the following game Canty has the advantage. Why would he possibly offer a draw?

Adu, Oladapo (NGR) – Canty, James (USA)

Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 08

  1. g3 c5 2. Bg2 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. O-O d6 5. e4 Nc6 6. d3 e5 7. c3 Nge7 8. a3 a5 9. a4 O-O 10. Na3 h6 11. Nb5 Be6 12. Re1 d5 13. Nd2 Qd7 14. Qe2 Rad8 15. Nf3 f5 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. Nh4 Bg4 18. f3 Bh3 19. Bd2 Rf6 20. Rf1 Rdf8 ½-½


Diulger, Alexey (MDA) – Bajarani, Ulvi (AZE)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 05

  1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 ½-½

Colas, Joshua (USA) – Matros, Alexander (KAZ)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Bf5 3. Bf4 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Bd6 ½-½

Matros, Alexander (KAZ) – Prilleltensky, Matan (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 04

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Qc2 Nf6 5. Bf4 dxc4 6. Qxc4 b5 7. Qd3 Bb7 8. Nbd2 Nbd7 9. a4 ½-½

Matros, Alexander (KAZ) – King, Alexander (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 03

  1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. d4 Nc6 7. Bb5 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. O-O Bd6 10. b3 a6 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Bb2 O-O 13. Rc1 Qe7 ½-½

Bajarani, Ulvi (AZE) – Shlyakhtenko, Robert (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 06

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 a6 6. O-O c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Rd1+ Ke7 10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. Nd3 Bd6 12. a4 b6 13. Na3 Bb7 14. Bb3 Nc5 15. Nxc5 ½-½

Amongst this nefarious group of non Chess players who will be all be execrable losers when awarded the dishonorable mention prize one player stood out among the other losers who blaspheme against Caissa. That would be Tanguy Ringoir,

Serial Drawer

a one man wrecking draw. He was bat and balls below every other player. His passport should be revoked.

What happened when Anish Giri offered a draw to Magnus Carlsen on move 4!
Nov 28, 2019
ChessBase India
761K subscribers
In round 10 of Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2019 Magnus Carlsen offered a draw to Vidit Gujrathi on move 5 and the Indian GM accepted it. In the next round itself, round 11, Anish Giri was pitted against Carlsen. Anish played 1.d4 and offered a draw after his fourth move! If Magnus can offer a draw on move 5, why can’t Anish offer it on move 4! Did Magnus accept the draw offer or not? Check out in this exciting video!
Video: ChessBase India

God Save Us All From FIDE

Last night NM Sulaiman Smith made an appearance at the Ironman Chess Club. In 1995 Sulaiman attended the Million Man March in Washington D.C. ( and former GCA President Thad Rogers began to call him “Sulamillionman,” and then laugh.

When Mr. Smith extended his hand it was greeted by my fist. Sulaiman grinned while turning his hand into a fist, and we then “bumped.” Ever since Barack Obama gave his wife, Michelle, “the fist bump heard round the world”

it was interpreted by most people as the friendly gesture it was meant to be and politicians were soon fist bumping one another on TV chat shows. Some called it the “fist bump of hope”. The more straight-laced New York Times said it was a “closed-fisted high-five”, according to Leonard Doyle writing in the Independent. Unfortunately Leonard also wrote this: “Millions of people saw Mrs Obama daintily bump fists with her husband last week just before he claimed the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination at a rally in St Paul, Minnesota. More common on the sports field, the gesture was decried as “Hizbollah hand jabbing” on the Human Events blog. On Fox News, the host asked, in all seriousness, if it was, “a terrorist fist jab?”.

I liked the bumping of fists as opposed to the antiquated custom of shaking hands, which only spreads germs, and disease. It has been my experience that every time I have greeted a person of color with the fist a smile has been received. After moving into farm country in Lavonia, Georgia, I made the mistake of offering a fist one time and it went around the mostly white community that I was “one of them.” As in, “You know, he’s from Atlanter.” (The misspelling is intentional) Lavonia is deep in the heart of Trump country. I was like a fish out of water for three years before making it back into civilization.

“The handshake has existed in some form or another for thousands of years, but its origins are somewhat murky. One popular theory is that the gesture began as a way of conveying peaceful intentions. By extending their empty right hands, strangers could show that they were not holding weapons and bore no ill will toward one another. Some even suggest that the up-and-down motion of the handshake was supposed to dislodge any knives or daggers that might be hidden up a sleeve.” (

Checking the usual Chess websites today found this article at Coronavirus: Should Players Shake Hands Before A Chess Game? by Peter Doggers. ( Peter provided a link to the “…upcoming World Senior Team Championship (March 5-15 in Prague)…” and off I went.

Once clicking on ( this was found:

FIDE Medical security protocol


I will not provide everything given as protocol because you can click onto the link and read it for yourself as it is quite lengthy. I would, though, like to share some of the unbelievably insane things, even for FIDE, written, beginning with number

3. Masks shall be made available for use by participants who have flu-like symptoms

Now I do not know about you but if I were playing in the World Senior Team Championship this would NOT make me feel better about attending the event. It gets worse, or better, depending on your perspective:

Participants who are coughing or sneezing are especially encouraged to use these masks to avoid possible spread of the covid-19 virus.

Yes sir, it certainly would give me a feeling of assurance to know my opponent sitting only a couple of feet across the board was wearing a mask as he was dying of some Wuhan pathogen developed in a not so secret laboratory in China. How about you?

It gets better, or worse, depending…

4. The events rooms shall have proper and well-functioning ventilation and air circulation with fresh air intake.

“This measure will ensure that the air in the meeting rooms is fresh and that the meeting rooms have rapidly circulating air at all times to minimize the risk of transmission of covid-19 virus.”

This did not work well for the unfortunate passengers confined to quarters breathing the “rapidly circulating air at all times” taking a “three hour tour” aboard a cruise ship.

Click on and check this one out:

Now take the “three hour tour” in a minute:

Then there is:

5. Events rooms shall not be overcrowded and there shall be sufficient physical separation between people.

This shall minimize the chances of possible transmission of covid-19 virus between meeting attendees.

Say what?

I love the “sufficient physical separation between people” part considering this headline:

Stand Back: Flu Virus Travels 6 Feet

By Rachael Rettner January 31, 2013

“If you know someone who is suffering from the flu, you might want to keep your distance. Infectious flu-containing particles exhaled by a sick person can travel at least 6 feet, according to a new study.”

FIDE has invariably been a place to go for laughs, but this is ridiculous to the point of absurdity, especially considering the very lives of Chess players are concerned, especially so when it comes to Seniors because professionals know the most susceptible among us are male Seniors. For example:

Why the Coronavirus Seems to Hit Men Harder Than Women

Women mount stronger immune responses to infection, scientists say.


Coronavirus deaths at Washington nursing home show seniors at high risk of contracting the disease

People over age 50 are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, and related complications

Published: Mar 2, 2020 3:09 p.m. ET

Coronavirus’ Top Targets: Men, Seniors, Smokers

Karen Weintraub

February 27, 2020

When it comes to the decisions made by FIDE in the Wuhan pathogen matter I am reminded of a now (in)famous scene from the movie Jaws when the possibility of closing the beach on the fourth of July is being discussed with the mayor, who must decide between people dying or losing money:

When it comes to the life of a human Chess player and money which do you think the F.I.P.s (Fools In Power) within FIDE will choose? As my father, a very religious man, was frequently fond of saying during the sixties and seventies, “God save us all.” I will add, “From FIDE.”

GM Alonso Zapata: Professional Chess Player

Grandmaster Alonso Zapata 

is a professional Chess player. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago, coming from Columbia, where he won the Colombian Chess championship eight times. He has been a GM since 1984. He was born in August 1958 and is, therefore a Senior. Alonso Zapata comes to play Chess.

He has played in all kinds of adverse conditions, including one tournament hosted by Thad Rogers

of American Chess Promotions that has become known as one of the latest “Sweat Box Opens.” There was no air conditioning and the conditions were life threatening, but Zapata played, and won the tournament despite the heat and stench emanating from the profusely perspiring players. (

GM Zapata reminds me of IM of GM strength Boris Kogan because he, too, was a professional Chess player. The few times Boris lost in the first round of a tournament he did not withdraw but completed the event, finishing 4-1. He did this because it was his job and he always came to play Chess.

From December 27 through 29, 2019, GM Zapata played in the 49th Atlanta Open, another American Chess Promotions event. He tied for first with NM Matthew Puckett with a score of 4-1, after a second round draw with the up and coming NM Alexander Rutten and a fourth round draw with NM Sanjay Ghatti.

GM Zapata then hit the road traveling to the Charlotte Chess Center to play in the 2020 Charlotte Open, a grueling event of nine rounds played over a five day period from the first to the fifth of January. Because of his age one can question the efficacy of participating in both tournaments. Zapata played in both events because he is a professional Chess player. It is what he is and it is what he does. The GM won five games. Unfortunately, he lost four. There were no draws. He finished in the fifth score group, scoring 5-4. Zapata began with two wins before losing in the third round to the eventual winner of the tournament, IM Brandon Jacobson, young enough to be the grandchild of the GM. One of the most difficult things to do as a Chess player is to come back from a loss. Studies have proven that after the loss of a Chess game the testosterone of a male drops precipitously. This is mitigated somewhat if the next game is the next day, but if there are multiple games in the same day it is a different story. I can recall the time the Ol’ Swindler had been on a roll, winning many games in a row from the beginning of a tournament in New York, ‘back in the day’. The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I encountered the Swindler sitting alone away from the tournament, and were shocked to learn he had lost the previous round and withdrawn. “What?” exclaimed the Ironman. “You still have a chance to win some big money, Neal.” That mattered not to the Swindler because he had lost and simply could not face playing another game that day, or any other, for that matter.

After another win in the next round, versus FM Rohan Talukdar, Zapata the Chess player hit the proverbial wall, losing his next three games. Most Chess players, professional or not, would have withdrawn after the third loss in a row, and no one would have blamed him for withdrawing, but Alonso Zapata is not like most Chess players. Not only did he complete the event but he finished with a flourish by winning his last two games.

My hat is off to Grandmaster Alonso Zapata, who deserves the highest praise. The GM has set a tremendous example for the younger players of Georgia to emulate. The Atlanta area players have been fortunate to have such a fine example residing here and plying his trade. The young up and coming players may not realize it now but they will be much better Chessplayers for simply having been around a man like Alonso Zapata. What a boon he has been for the local Chess community. It is wonderful to have one classy Grandmaster in the Atlanta area. Every player, no matter what age, can learn from Alonso Zapata, just as those of my generation, and younger, learned from IM Boris Kogan. The Grandmaster has shown that it is how you play that matters.

This is the last round game versus Justin Paul,

a Zero born in 2003. The Professional Chess player had to face a Smith-Morra gambit.

2020 Charlotte Open

FM (2249) Justin Paul vs GM Alonso Zapata (2535)

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O a6 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 14. Rac1 Rc8

15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nb8 17. b4 Nbd7 18. Be3 Ne4 19. Nd2 Nxd2 20. Qxd2 f5 21. f4 Bf6 22. Bb3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 exf4 24. Bxf4 Be5 25. Bg5 Qb6+ 26. Kh1

h6? (26…Nf6) 27. Be3 Qd8 28. Bc2 Qh4 29. Rf1 Qg3 30. Bg1 f4 31. Rf3 Qg5 32. Qd3 Nf6 33. Bf2 Qh5 34. Qf5 Kh8 35. Be1 Qxf5 36. Bxf5 g5 37. Rb3 b5 38. Be6 Ne8 39. Bc8 Nc7 40. Bb7 Kg7 41. Bf2 Re8 42. Kg1 Kf6 43. Rb1 Re7 44. Bb6 Ne6 45. Bxa6 Bd4+ 46. Kf1 Bxb6 47. dxe6 Ra7 48. Bxb5 Rxa2 49. Be2 Rc2 50. Bf3 Kxe6 51. b5 Kd7 52. Bc6+ Kc7 53. Re1 Rf2+ 54. Kg1

54…Be3? (54…d5! )55. Kh2 Rd2 56. Bf3 Kb6 57. Re2 Rd4 58. Rb2 d5 59. h4 Rd3 60. hxg5 hxg5 61. Ra2

61…Bc5? (61…d4) 62. Ra8 Kc7 63. Rg8 Be7 64. Rg7 Kd6 65. b6 Rb3 66. Bxd5=

Kxd5 67. Rxe7 Rxb6 68. Rg7 Rh6+ 69. Kg1 Rh5 70. g4 Rh3 71. Rxg5+ Ke4 72. Ra5 Rb3 73. Kf2 Rb2+ 74. Kf1 f3

75. Ra8??? (The Zero cracks and tosses away the draw with this horrible blunder) 75…Kf4 76. Rf8+ Kg3 77. Re8 0-1

1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 (Far and away the most often played move, but is it the best? Komodo 19 @depth 34 plays the move, but Komodo 13.02 @depth 36 prefers 4…e6. Stockfish 10 @depth 54 plays 4 d6) 5 Nf3 d6 (SF 10 plays this move but Komodo is high on e6, which happens to be the most often played move according to the ChessBaseDataBase) 6 Bc4 e6 (The most often played move and the choice of Stockfish 310519 @depth 53, but SF 10 @depth 53 and Komodo 10 @depth 34 prefer 6…a6) 7. O-O (The most often played move but the SF program running over at the ChessBomb shows a move near and dear to the AW, 7 Qe2!) 7..a6 (7…Nf6 and 7…Be7 are the top two played moves but two different SF engines prefer the third most often played move, 7…a6 8. Qe2! (SF 050519 @depth 46 plays this move but Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays 8 Bf4) 8…Be7 (The only one of the top 3 engines listed at the CBDB, Komodo 10, plays 8…b5. The SF engine at ChessBomb shows 8…Nge7 best) 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. Bf4 e5 11. Be3 Nf6 12. h3 (SF 10 plays 12 Nd5) 12…O-O 13. Bg5 Be6 (The only game with 13 Bg5 shown, Senador vs Nanjo below, shows 13…Rc8. SF 10 would play 13 Rac1)

Emmanuel Senador (2380) vs Ryosuke Nanjo (2165)

Kuala Lumpur op 4th 2007

ECO: B21 Sicilian, Smith-Morra gambit, 2…cxd4 3.c3

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.Rd1 Bd7 10.Bf4 e5 11.Be3 Nf6 12.h3 O-O 13.Bg5 Rc8 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 Be6 16.Rac1 Bg5 17.Rc3 Bh6 18.a3 b5 19.Ba2 Ne7 20.Rxc8 Bxc8 21.Nc3 Qb6 22.Qd3 Nc6 23.Nd5 Qb8 24.g4 g6 25.Nf6+ Kh8 26.g5 Bg7 27.Qxd6 Qa8 28.Bd5 Bb7 29.Nd7 Rd8 30.Bxc6 Bxc6 31.Nfxe5 Bxd7 32.Nxf7+ Kg8 33.Nxd8 Qxd8 34.Qxd7 Qxg5+ 35.Kh1 Bxb2 36.Qe8+ Kg7 37.Rd7+ Kh6 38.Qf8+ 1-0

The Moves That Matter: A Chess Grandmaster on the Game of Life: Part One

The review will begin with the bottom line. The book is a lovingly written, magnificent masterpiece. Anyone reading it will be richly rewarded in ways they may not even understand at the time of reading. This is most definitely not a book one reads and forgets. It is a book to savor.

I met Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson at the World Open in 2002 while assisting Thad Rogers in the book room after turning certain victory into defeat in the first round and after losing the next two games Thad needed help and the book room looked inviting. There was a discussion concerning his book, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins,

which had been read the previous year. Later I read Jonathan’s Chess For Zebras,

which was very entertaining, and while working at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center I advocated any and everyone purchase his excellent books. All I recall now about our conversation is that other books were discussed and when asked to name my favorite novel I answered immediately, “The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse.”

“Really?!” he said before continuing with a question, “Why?”

Why, indeed. I no longer remember how I answered, but do recall being taken aback, because most people with whom I have mentioned the novel have not even been aware of the book. I also recall Jonathan displaying actions which led me to believe he was about ready to leave, so the answer was truncated. In addition I recall Jonathan saying, after I answered his question, “Fascinating!”

GM Rowson tied for first at the 2002 World Open. Because of the pleasant memories of the chance encounter I will admit it is difficult for me to be completely objective. In addition, upon learning of the forthcoming publication of the book about to be reviewed I contacted the publishing company, informing them of the blog and the encounter with Jonathan, while informing them I would like to review the book. I had hoped to finish reading the book long before publication in order to review it ASAP, but life intervened. Another factor is that the book required much more thought than I had imagined, which is a very good thing. A quote from the book comes to mind: “You cannot think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something.” – cognitive scientist Martin Minsky. Therefore reading the book required much more time than I had imagined.

The book is full of wonderful quotes, which is a positive thing. Decades ago there was a show on public television, Thinking Allowed, hosted by Dr. Jeffery Mishlove.

Jonathan Rowson would have made an excellent guest on the program. (Just put Thinking Allowed into the search engine and found: Oh happy day!)

After briefly perusing the book one long time National Master Chess player closed it before saying, “Where’s the meat?!” This meant GAMES. After explaining there were about two dozen games contained in the notes he exclaimed, “What kind of Chess book is that?!” This caused me to consider the question too long because he began talking before I could answer. I was never able to answer his question because, to his way of thinking, a Chess book with mostly words was most definitely NOT a Chess book. This has caused me to reflect upon what, exactly, is a Chess book. For example, consider Frank Brady’s book on Bobby Fischer, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness.

Would it be considered a Chess book? Maybe what constitutes a “Chess book” is what is in the eye of the beholder…

The Moves That Matter is is a book about oh so much more than Chess. It is a book written by a man who devoted most of his early years, and maybe half of his life, to the Royal game, so therefore it does contain much Chess put into words, but, strictly speaking, it is not about Chess. It is about so much more than a mere game. The book is about life, and thinking about life. Although the reader will be entertained, it is not about entertaining per se. It is a “deep” book which will cause the reader to do some seriously deep thinking. That is to be expected since Dr. Jonathan Rowson is an applied philosopher. “The Society for Applied Philosophy was founded in 1982 with the aim of promoting philosophical work that has a direct bearing on areas of practical concern.” (

In lieu of a review I have decided to write about the the ideas and questions contained in the book. Copious notes were taken while reading; twelve pages of college ruled note paper to be precise. What I will attempt to do is share some of the thoughts and questions in the book that caused me to question and think about those thoughts and questions.

The book contains eight chapters each broken down into another eight sub-headings. The format caused me to reflect upon one of my favorite books, The Eight,

by Katherine Neville.

Katherine Neville in 1985
A photograph of the author in San Francisco’s Marin Headlands, California, 1985.

In the first chapter, Thinking and Feeling, under sub-heading #5 Asking Pertinent Questions, one finds, “There are many different ways to frame the educational value of chess, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would probably be: ‘questions’.

If I had three words it would be ‘questions about relationships’. As the writer Marinan Benjamin puts it, to ask a question is to invest in attentiveness, to declare a stake in the answer, and that is one of the many gifts of chess; you cease to be a passive recipient of information, and become an active learner – an intrinsically rewarding experience. Playing chess is about posing questions to the opponent, and answering the questions they pose you; the little questions are always nested inside bigger ones.”

We will move ahead to the last chapter, Life and Death, under sub-heading #64, Facing up to death. It is written, “The 2009 Acropolis Open in Greece was overshadowed by the death of a respected Greek player, Nikolaos Karapanos, who had a heart attack just before executing a winning move in his first-round game. His opponent, Israeli Grandmaster Dan Zoler, who happens to be a doctor, tried to revive him, but Karapanos stopped breathing before the ambulance arrived.
This story indicates just how stress-inducing chess can be, but the deeper point is that we never know when our time will come. All the major spiritual traditions speak about the importance of being ready for the unthinkable, and the importance of being ready for the unthinkable, and the importance of dying at peace, without undue regret.
It seems profane to point out that Zoler resigned the game, but he also withdrew from the event, stating that he no longer felt like playing chess in the circumstances. You can hardly blame him. Chess sometimes seems singularly charming and vitally important, but a brief reflection on our mortality has to lead to some searching questions. Is this it? Pushing these pieces around? Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”

Nikolaos Karapanos vs Dan Zoler
24th ICT Acropolis (2009), Chalkida, Greece, rd 1, Aug-10
Catalan Opening: General (E00)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 c5 5.Bxb4 cxb4 6.Bg2 O-O
7.Nf3 d6 8.O-O a5 9.a3 Na6 10.Nbd2 Qc7 11.h3 Rd8 12.e4 e5
13.Qe2 b6 14.a4 Bb7 15.b3 Re8 16.Rad1 Rad8 17.Rfe1 exd4
18.Nxd4 Nc5 19.f3 Nh5 20.Nf1 d5 21.cxd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Rxe2
23.Rxe2 g6 24.f4 Nf6 25.Nc6 Rd7 26.Ne5 Rd8 27.Nc6 Rd7 28.Ne5
Nxb3 29.Nxd7 Nxd7 30.d6 Qc5+ 31.Kh2 Kg7 32.Re7 Qc8 33.Ne3 Nf6
34.d7 Qd8 35.Ng4 Kf8 36.Ne5 Nc5 1-0

See the excellent article by Daaim Shabazz at The Chess Drum:

Playing Chess to Death

Aug 4th, 2019 by Daaim Shabazz

Playing Chess to Death

End part one

The Dirty Laundry of Atlanta Chess

While living in Greenville, SC, the octogenarian, LM Klaus Pohl, said something that stuck with me. When asked what he thought of the new Chess Center in Charlotte Klaus said he did not like to play there because the young players offer too many draws. Upon further questioning Klaus said that with scholarships so important the young players were “afraid to lose,” so therefore made far too many draw offers. From the time I began playing in USCF tournaments rating has been King. This was, though, the first time I had heard anything concerning what the rating points could possibly mean toward earning a scholarship. Another player listening to the conversation said, “Everyone knows rating points are being bought and sold like it’s an open market.” My reply, “I did not know that,” elicited this response, “Ah, come on man. You worked at the Atlanta Chess Center. Surely you were aware of that kind of thing taking place.” With a blank look on my face I replied, “Not really.” I am not saying it did not happen, just that I was completely unaware of it if it did, in fact, happen while I was employed at the House of Pain.

There were rumors going around before I returned to Atlanta. I will not print rumors. I did, though, reach out to several people involved with Chess in Georgia, writing, “If you would like to comment on any of this, let me inform you that I may use anything you say, or write, UNLESS YOU WANT IT KEPT PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL!”

No one responded. They ain’t talking.

In an article appearing at the Georgia Chess News website, Meet the 2019 GCA Candidates (, David Hater,

candidate for the position of OFFICE OF 1ST VICE PRESIDENT writes: “I am running for 1st Vice President of GCA. I previously served on the GCA Board in this position, but I resigned from the board because, in my opinion, the board had become dysfunctional. Several months ago several GCA Board members encouraged me to run for the position again. I agreed to do so only after Scott Parker also agreed to run for President of GCA. My hope is that the next board will place personal feelings and animosity aside and work for chess instead of for their own interests/pet projects or a narrow constituency.”

The fact that Colonel David Hater felt he had to resign from the GCA Board speaks loudly. The fact that David, a man I admire and respect, felt compelled to write, “…the board had become dysfunctional,” screams out in pain. Nevertheless, David did not respond to my entreaty.

One of the board members did say, in an off hand comment at the Ironman Chess Club, they were “fed up” with all the “screaming and shouting” at the meeting of the GCA board. Although no names were mentioned the fact is that it is now, and has been for some time, an open secret that Thad Rogers was not happy when Parnell Watkins used his affiliate, American Chess Promotions to rate some of the events listed below. The thing is that Thad Rogers

and Parnell Watkins

were earlier listed as running for the same office, that of 1st member at large. The only one leaving a statement at a page mentioned earlier was L. Thad Rogers, the man who became POTGCA again after the previous president, Fun E. Fong, abdicated, leaving Chess behind like it was the plague. From reports it is obvious Chess in my home state of Georgia has quickly devolved under the caretaker leadership of Thad Rogers.

The Georgia State Chess Championship begins tonight and there will be an election Sunday. Chess players, and members of the GCA, can only hope responsible leaders, such as Scott Parker

and David Hater, gain a seat on the board.

Alan Piper was known as “The Pipe” at the House of Pain. As one of Alan’s victims eased down the stairs those below watched as someone said, “It looks like he got hit by the Pipe,” while others nodded in agreement. One wag said, “Sometimes you hit the Pipe. Sometimes the Pipe hits you.” Alan once won a state championship (I want to say Missouri, but could be wrong) when younger and was a NM. Although uncertain about Alan’s age, the fact is he has been eligible for the Senior tournaments for many years and must be seventy, or older.

The following results for the past 12 months was taken from the USCF website:

10487030: ALAN G PIPER
Current Published
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03

Rank USCF ID Name Games Wins Draws Losses
1 14916346 SHANMUKHA MERUGA 50 1 0 49
2 14114923 KAPISH POTULA 19 1 1 17
3 14299428 SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI 14 7 0 7
4 14577814 DAVIDE NASTASIO 3 1 1 1
5 15909472 TAIYE HILARY ESTWICK 1 1 0 0
6 16045110 TYLER JAMES BREDOW 1 1 0 0
7 16045235 CASEY WASSERMAN 1 1 0 0
8 14822494 TYLER SCHMUGGEROW 1 1 0 0
9 14684432 JOSHUA MORGAN KAROL 1 1 0 0
10 12365700 J PARNELL WATKINS JR 1 1 0 0

The Pipe has obviously played an inordinate amount of games with two players. The number of losses to the two much younger players is simply staggering. Usually when one is drubbed in a match there are no further matches. One of the members of the GCA board, a very nice woman, Anna Baumstark, told me it was all “public record on the USCF website.” I decided to take the time to check it out…You, too, can check it out here:

On September 12, 2015. Alan Piper played in the INVITATIONAL QUAD #10 (GA), directed by Grant Oen. The Sponsoring Affiliate was SOUTHEAST CHESS.

Pair | Player Name |Total|Round|Round|Round|Round|
Num | USCF ID / Rtg (Pre->Post) | Pts | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
1 | KAPISH POTULA |2.5 |W 2|D 3|W 4|* |
GA | 14114923 / R: 2014 ->2053 | |B |W |B | |
2 | CARTER F PEATMAN |2.0 |* |W 3|W 4|L 1|
GA | 12945576 / R: 2101 ->2108 | | |W |B |W |
3 | ALAN G PIPER |1.5 |L 2|* |W 4|D 1|
GA | 10487030 / R: 2070 ->2071 | |B | |W |B |
4 | SHANMUKHA MERUGA |0.0 |L 2|L 3|* |L 1|
GA | 14916346 / R: 2088 ->2053 | |W |B | |W |

Alan would not play again until August 13, 2016 when he participated in the CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT, directed by JOSEPH COUVILLION, with CHESS BUG ATLANTA, being the affiliate. SHANMUKHA MERUGA was clear first with 3-0. KAPISH POTULA finished clear second with a 2-1 score, the loss was to Meruga. Alan Piper won a game from a class C player, and lost two other games, one with a class B player, the other to Kapish Potula.

Let us go back to the tournament prior to the Quad, August 8, 2015, the LOGANVILLE SUMMER QUAD, directed by Grant Oen, with the affilate being Southeast Chess. The Pipe won all three games; gained 29 rating points which raised his rating to 2079. He beat Shanmukha Meruga, rated 2054, in the first round, then two class A players, Vedic Panda and Davide Nastasio.

After playing in the aforementioned CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT Alan did not play again until January 22, 2018 when he played a match with Shanmukha Meruga. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and the affiliate was Gwinnett Chess. The time control was G/30;d5. Meruga won all four games, gaining fourteen points to end with a rating of 2056. The Pipe lost twenty points dropping to 2019.

After a couple of blitz quads on July 13 the next match with Meruga took place the next day, July 14. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, using the affiliate of the acting President of the GCA, L. Thad Rogers, AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS. It was a real old fashioned, “speed,” time control of five minutes only for the games. Meruga won all ten games.

Three days later another match was contested between the same two players, named, PIPER MERUGA MATCH 2. The time control was, G/25;d5. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and it was rated using the affiliate of GWINNETT CHESS. Meruga won all five games.

Two days later, July 19, 2018 there was yet another tournament contested once again by the young whippersnapper and the old leaky Pipe. Once again it was directed by J PARNELL WATKINS JR and the sponsoring affiliate was again GWINNETT CHESS, and once again Meruga won all ten games played at a “speed” TC of five minutes for the entire game.

Three days later there was the NASTASIO-PIPER MATCH, which was held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, the seventh largest city in the great state of Georgia. The chief TD was BENJAMIN P FINEGOLD,

Meruga/Finegold in front of the Atlanta Chess and Scholastic Club of Atlanta located in Roswell, Ga.

assisted by KAREN BOYD.

Karen Boyd and Ben Finegold

The time control was G/60;+10. The three game match was drawn. In addition there was another match played that day between the same two players. The TC was G/4;+2, and Piper won 8-2.

A few weeks later, 9/8/18, Piper and Meruga were back at it, contesting not one, but two, more matches. J PARNELL WATKINS JR was again the TD and AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS was the affiliate used to rate the matches. No one will be surprised to learn Meruga won the G/5 “speed” match 9-1. What is surprising is that Piper actually won a game…Three games were also contested at a TC of G/30;d10. Guess who won all three games? Yeah, Meruga.

The very next day, 9/9/2018, the two intrepid players were back at it. Once again J PARNELL WATKINS JR was the TD, but the affiliate used was now GWINNETT CHESS. The speed match, with only five minutes per game, was convincingly won by Meruga by a score of 20-0. That is ZERO, ZIP, NADA!

It will come as little surprise by now that Meruga also won the G/30;d10 match by a score of 4-0.

The very next day yet another match was contested between the same two players, again with the same TD and affiliate. The time control was G/30;d10 and Meruga won all six games.

Have you gotten a whiff of some sort of fishy smell yet?

A few days later the Pipe was back at it, but with a different opponent, Kapish Potula. The TD and affiliate was the same, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. The time control was G/25;d5. Kapish Potula won all four games and increased his rating from 2136 to 2159.

One week later, on 9/28/18 the two players with the same TD and affiliate did it again. And again Potula won all four G/25;d5 to raise his rating from 2159 to 2179.

On October 6, 2018 the Pipe had a new opponent, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI, rated 1964. A six game match at a time control of G/35;d5 was contested and…the match was drawn! J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS was at it again.

On October 13, 2018 there was another six game, G/25;d5 match with Kapish Potula, and again it was J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. Hold on to something as I inform you that Alan G Piper actually won, and drew, two of the games played, while losing the other four.

The thing is that on that very same day, October 13, 2018, the Pipe also played another match with someone else, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI. It was another G/25;d5 with all the usual suspects present, meaning Parnell and Gwinnett Chess. The match was drawn, 2-2.

Then we come to November 19, 2018, the 2018 MERUGA PIPER “dual.” It appears as though that between 2018-11-17 thru 2018-11-19 a NINETEEN GAME MATCH at a TC of G/25;d5 was contested by the usual suspects, Meruga and Piper. The aforementioned player, Meruga won all nineteen games…J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were again the usual suspects.

But wait, there’s MORE! On November 27 the same two players contested yet another G/25;d5 “dual,” which Meruga won 12-0. Again, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were the responsible parties.

On December 7, a day which will live in infamy, 2018, another G/25;d5 match took place between Alan G. Piper and Kapish Potula. It was won by Potula, 5-0. J PARNELL WATKINS JR directed and GWINNETT CHESS sent it in to be rated.

After a couple more tournaments in December and a last one on January 26, the CCSCATL WINTER BLITZ CHAMPIONS, the record shows no more games, or matches, for the Pipe.

As a result of all these games, and others, Meruga became a 2300 rated player. Kapish Potula is currently rated 2187, knocking on the National Master door.

Plagiarizing Ltisitsin’s Gambit

While researching the Lisitsin gambit for the previous article I found an interesting article which brought back memories. The article was in the Kingpin Chess Magazine, The Satirical Chess Magazine. (

I was surprised to see it is still in existence, though it appears now to be only online. Back issues can still be purchased. If only I could recall the issue shown to me by Thad Rogers many years ago. The particular issue contained a picture of a buxom lassie, nude from the waist up. Thad snickered when showing the then risque picture, informing he had to remove it from the table when shown the page containing the bountiful boobies. Today such a picture would not even rate a second glance, but things were much different ‘back in the day’ before the internet. The magazine was definitely the Kingpin of that tournament, if you get my drift. I recall a later discussion about the picture with one player, a religious type, asking, “Wonder why Thad did not show it to me?”

The article found concerning the Litsitsin gambit is dated February 25, 2010:

The Sincerest Form of Flattery?

This item deals with an accusation of plagiarism leveled against GM Raymond Keene

in the magazine Inside Chess: May 3rd, 1993, pages 24-25; June 14th 1993, page 19 and February 7th 1994, page 3. We are grateful to Inside Chess, now owned by Chess Café, for permission to reproduce this material and would refer the reader to the website where Yasser Seirawan contributes a regular Inside Chess article.

Inside Chess, May 3 1993

The Sincerest Form of Flattery?

By IM John Donaldson

Examples of plagiarism are not unknown in chess literature, but Raymond Keene has set a new standard for shamelessness in his recent work, The Complete Book of Gambits (Batsford, 1992). True, the work of completely original nature is rare in the field of opening theory. The conscientious author typically collects material from a large number of sources (in itself a time consuming but useful task) and offers some new ideas of his own. Unfortunately, Mr. Keene has done nothing less than steal another man’s work and pass it off as his own.


A glance at pages 128-132 of his recent book, The Complete Book of Gambits, and a comparison with my two-part article on Lisitsin’s Gambit, which appeared in Inside Chess, Volume 4, Issue 3, page 25-26, and Issue 4, page 26, early in 1991, reveals that not only did Mr. Keene have nothing new to say about Lisitsin’s Gambit, he could hardly be bothered to change any of the wording or analysis from the articles that appeared in Inside Chess, other than to truncate them a bit. What’s more, no mention of the original source was given in the The Complete Book of Gambits, misleading the reader as to the originality of Mr. Keene’s work.

Just how blatant was the plagiarism? Virtually every word and variation in the four-and-a-half pages devoted to Lisitsin’s Gambit in Keene’s book was stolen. Take a look at the following example: In Inside Chess, Volume 4, Issue 3, page 26 the following note is given after the sequence 1.Nf3 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Ng5 Nf6 4.d3 e5;

Accepting the gambit is foolhardy – 4…exd3 5.Bxd3 (The position is exactly the same as From’s Gambit: 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 with the exception that White’s Knight is already on g5, which spells a quick end for Black) 5…g6 (5…d5? 6.Bxh7) 6.h4 (Botvinnik gives 6.Nxh7! Rxh7 7.Bxg6+ Rf7 8.g4! [For 8.Nd2 see Supplemental Games next issue] 8…d5 9.g5 Ne4 10.Qh5 Nd6 [10…Be6 11.Bxf7+ Bxf7 12.g6] 11.Bxf7+ Nxf7 12.g6 winning) 6…d5 (6…e6 7.h5 Rg8 8.Nxh7 with a winning game Dorfman-Villareal, Mexico 1977) 7.h5 Bg4 8.f3 Bxh5 9.g4 Qd6 10.gxh5 Nxh5 11.Rxh5! Qg3+ (11…gxh5 12.f4 Qf6 13.Qxh5+ Kd7 14.Nf7 Rg8 15.Qxd5+) 12.Kf1 gxh5 13.f4 Qh4 14.Qf3 c6 15.Ne6 Kd7 16.Bf5 Bh6 17.Be3 Na6 18.Nc3 Nc7 19.Nc5+ Ke8 20.Bf2 Qf6 21.Qxh5+ Qf7 22.Bd7+ winning) – analysis by “King’s Pawn” in a 1956 issue of Chess.

Besides 4…e5 Black has two important alternatives in 4…e3 and 4…d5. For the former see issue 4. After the latter White gets the edge via 5.dxe4 h6 6.Nf3 dxe4 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Ne5 Ke8 (8…Be6 9.Nc3 Nbd7 10.Bf4 c6 11.O-O-O Ke8 12.Nxd7 Bxd7 13.Bc4 Bf5 14.h3 g5 15.Be5 Bg7 16.g4 Bg6 17.Rhe1 and White is better in Sergievsky-Chistyakov, USSR 1964) 9.Bc4 e6 10.Ng6 Rg8 11.Nxf8 Rxf8 12.Nc3 and White is better in Podzielny-Castro, Dortmund 1977.

In The Complete Book of Gambits the following note is given after 4…e5;

Accepting the gambit is foolhardy – 4…exd3 5.Bxd3 (The position is exactly the same as From’s Gambit: 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 with the exception that White’s Knight is already on g5, which spells a quick end for Black) 5…g6 (5…d5? 6.Bxh7) 6.h4 (Botvinnik gives 6.Nxh7! Rxh7 7.Bxg6+ Rf7 8.g4! d5 9.g5 Ne4 10.Qh5 Nd6 [10…Be6 11.Bxf7+ Bxf7 12.g6] 11.Bxf7+ Nxf7 12.g6 winning) 6…d5 (6…e6 7.h5 Rg8 8.Nxh7 with a winning game Dorfman-Villareal, Mexico 1977) 7.h5 Bg4 8.f3 Bxh5 9.g4 Qd6 10.gxh5 Nxh5 11.Rxh5! Qg3+ (11…gxh5 12.f4 Qf6 13.Qxh5+ Kd7 14.Nf7 Rg8 15.Qxd5+) 12.Kf1 gxh5 13.f4 Qh4 14.Qf3 c6 15.Ne6 Kd7 16.Bf5 Bh6 17.Be3 Na6 18.Nc3 Nc7 19.Nc5+ Ke8 20.Bf2 Qf6 21.Qxh5+ Qf7 22.Bd7+ ) – analysis by King’s Pawn in a 1956 issue of Chess.

Besides 4…e5 Black has two important alternatives in 4…e3 and 4…d5. The former is considered in the text game whilst after the latter White gets the edge via 4…d5 5.dxe4 h6 6.Nf3 dxe4 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Ne5 Ke8 (8…Be6 9.Nc3 Nbd7 10.Bf4 c6 11.O-O-O Ke8 12.Nxd7 Bxd7 13.Bc4 Bf5 14.h3 g5 15.Be5 Bg7 16.g4 Bg6 17.Rhe1 and White is better in Sergievyky-Chistyakov, USSR 1964) 9.Bc4 e6 10.Ng6 Rg8 11.Nxf8 Rxf8 12.Nc3 as in Podzielny-Castro, Dortmund 1977.

Fairness Called For

To be fair to Mr. Keene, he did some original work on Lisitsin’s Gambit – or perhaps he just miscopied. Consider the note after the moves 5.dxe4 Bc5 6.Bc4 Qe7 7.Bf7+. The Inside Chess article gives:

“The inaugural game in this variation, Lisitsin-Botvinnik, saw 7.Nc3 Bxf2+ 8.Kxf2 Qc5+ 9.Kg3 Qxc4 10.Rf1 O-O 11.Rxf6! gxf6 12.Qh5 Rf7 13.Nxf7 Qxf7 14.Qg4+ Kh8 15.Nd5 Na6 16.Qh4 d6 17.Bh6 Be6 18.Qxf6+ with equal chances.”

Photocopy Would Be Better

The note in The Complete Book of Gambits is exactly the same except that “with equal chances” is changed to “with equal success.” A burst of originality in Mr. Keene’s part, or just Fingerfehler? More originality is seen as “Sergievsky” at Keene’s hands. Perhaps he would do better to just photocopy other people’s work and print that.

Mr. Keene’s behavior is absolutely inexcusable.

Batsford Replies

Dear Mr. Donaldson,

Thank you for your recent letter regarding The Complete Book of Gambits. I have discussed this matter with Raymond Keene who informs me that a full credit for yourself and Inside Chess was prepared with the manuscript to go into the book. However, due to an oversight on his part this became detached and failed to appear in the book. It was not his intention to publish the piece without due acknowledgement.

Mr. Keene offers his full apologies for this unfortunate oversight, which will be put right on the second edition (or the whole piece dropped if you prefer). Furthermore, he is happy to offer you, or any nominated charity of your choice, a share of the UK royalties on the book equivalent to the share that the Lisitsin section occupies in the book. We hope that such a settlement will be amenable to you.

On another matter, Mr. Keene will be the organiser of the 1993 World Championship match between Kasparov and Short and will be happy to supply your excellent magazine with full accreditation if you contact him directly. His fax number is (fax number given).

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Kinsman

Chess Editor (Batsford)

Donaldson Replies

Dear Mr. Kinsman,

Thank you for your prompt and courteous reply.

I would prefer that my work be omitted from any second edition of The Complete Book of Gambits and I suspect that if all the other victims of Mr. Keene’s “unfortunate oversights” are accorded the same privilege, it will be a slender work indeed.

(The complete lack of any bibliography for this book is typical of Keene.)

As for your generous offer of a share of the UK royalties, I would prefer a flat payment of $50 per-page ($200) be sent to me at this address.

Finally, I am afraid Inside Chess will have to cover the Kasparov-Short match without benefit of Mr. Keene’s accreditation which, no doubt, would somehow “detach” itself and “fail to appear” due to an “unfortunate oversight.”

Yours sincerely,

John Donaldson

Associate Editor, Inside Chess

There is more, much more, that can be found by clicking the link above.

As for GM Raymond Keene, the author of Chess Notes, Edward Winter, ( basically ripped Keene a new one at his website. It is sad, really, when one contemplates GM Keene authored one of the best Chess books I have ever read, and many others have had it one their list of the best Chess books of all time.

A word about Inside Chess

magazine from Dennis Monokroussos at The Chess Mind:

A Review of Inside Chess, 1988-2000

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:58PM

For large chunks of its history, Chess Life and Review was provincial, very slow to report on international events, and aimed at a very low readership in terms of skill. There was no internet though, and it had something pretty close to a monopoly in the United States, so strong club players (and up) were stuck. We could get the Informant twice a year (pretty late), and some lucky few of us could occasionally get photocopies of tournament bulletins Walter Browne would bring from overseas.

It was this vacuum that Yasser Seirawan’s

Inside Chess filled in a wonderful way from 1988 to 2000. For most of its run, the magazine came out every two weeks, and it included tournament reports from all over the world, with a special focus on super-tournaments. Sometimes Seirawan himself was a participant in those tournaments, but whether he was or not the reports were timely, colorful, and full of games commented on by the man himself. As an elite grandmaster, he certainly knew what he was talking about, and what was even better was his commentary style.

Seirawan could sling variations with the best of them, but his commentaries were primarily verbal. They were lively, insightful, and highly opinionated. Seirawan was no respecter of persons when it came to annotating a move, and if a move offended his aesthetic sensibilities he could award it a “??”, even if it was played (and praised!) by Garry Kasparov. One may dispute Seirawan’s judgments, but because of his forthrightness the reader is engaged and will both learn and be entertained.

The magazine wasn’t just Seirawan, though it was his baby. Many other players on both sides of the Atlantic helped out over the years, most of all American (by way of Bulgaria) IM Nikolay Minev, who wrote numerous articles from opening theory to chess history to various subtle tactical themes. (Others include GMs John Nunn, Nigel Short and Walter Browne; IMs Jeremy Silman, John Donaldson and Zoran Ilic, and there were many many more.) Nor was the magazine only games and analysis: there were tournament reports (with pictures and crosstables), interviews, discussions of chess politics, news briefs (often fascinating, as we see players who are famous today making their first tiny splashes on the world scene), and ads. (You might think of it as a sort of non-glossy, biweekly version New In Chess.)

That there were advertisements shouldn’t be surprising – bills must be paid. But one might not expect them to have survived into the current product. As an American who remembers many of the tournaments, companies and products advertised from the time, they have a small nostalgic value to me, but in all honesty a format that eliminated them wouldn’t have bothered me a bit. The format, however, gives us no choice: what we have are PDFs of scanned hard copies of the magazine’s issues.

There are three disks in the set: one for 1988-1990, a second for 1991-1995, and a third for 1996-2000. Each issue has its own PDF file, and while the issues are searchable the games can’t be successfully copied-and-pasted into ChessBase. Two handy features are a pair of PDFs: one with an index for the whole series, the other concatenating all 284 issues’ tables of contents. Not ideal, perhaps, but a decent compromise to having one gigantic PDF that would take a long time to load and search.

Maybe the product could have been better, but even so I’m very glad to own a copy, and I can heartily recommend it to chess fans everywhere and of all strengths (especially but not only to those rated over 1700-1800), and to fans of chess of history.

(Ordering information here; and many samples of Inside Chess articles can be found on the Chess Cafe website – type “Inside Chess” [without the quotation marks] in the site’s search box to find lots of sample articles.)