The Daily Chess Puzzle

Most daze after waking and taking care of business, like turning on the Black and Decker Brew ‘n Go one shot coffee maker, I settle in to scan the blunews while suckin’ down the blessed brew. Then it’s on to the Chess websites, the first being the grandaddy of them all, The Week In Chess, ( which contains a new puzzle from Then what’s left of the brain begins, hopefully, cogitatin’… Some daze the answer jumps out at me and I feel like a Grandmaster; other daze the thread simply cannot be found, which makes me feel like a Grandpatzer…

The puzzle you are about to see appeared just the other day; the day after publishing the post on GM Andras Adorjan (

Adorjan vs Jan Timman (

Truth be told (and who the heck wants to tell the truth?) the brain was racked in a futile attempt at finding ‘the move’. I am man enough to admit the search had to be stopped in order to take a seat on the throne prior to rustlin’ up some grub, but the position stayed in my mind. After a short rest period spent stretched out on the bed to ease my achin’ back I could not get the position outta my mind, which was disconcerting, to say the least. Where the heck was that elusive move? Had I lost it completely? Inquiring mind wanted to know… My thoughts then drifted to other things, like why am I not working Go puzzles…

After getting outta bed and again firing up The Dude you know where the surfin’ began. Within a nanosecond the move appeared in my brain. It was sooooooooooo obvious; why had it eluded me earlier?
May you have better skill…

White to move ( Andras Adorjan – Kick Langeweg
Wijk aan Zee I (1), 1972

The only thing I do not like about is the position is described as, in this particular case, “White to win.” It would be much better if the ChessPuzzler’s would simply inform a viewer of which opponent is on move.

Position after 40 Qf4

Although the material is somewhat balanced, the fact is that Black is hanging on by a thread and simply MUST make the only move to hang on to the rope.

Andras Adorjan (2475) vs Kick Langeweg (2425)
Event: Hoogovens
Site: Wijk aan Zee Date: 01/??/1972
Round: 1 Score: 1-0
ECO: B44 Sicilian, Szen (`anti-Taimanov’) variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 Nf6 7.N1c3 a6 8.Na3 Be7 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Rb8 11.Be3 Qa5 12.Qe1 Rd8 13.Rd1 Bd7 14.f3 Be8 15.Kh1 Nd7 16.Bf4 Nc5 17.Rd2 Na4 18.Nxa4 Qxa4 19.Qg3 e5 20.Bh6 Bf8 21.Be3 b5 22.Bd1 Qa5 23.cxb5 axb5 24.Bb3 Nd4 25.Rxd4 exd4 26.Bxd4 Qd2 27.Bc3 Qh6 28.Nc2 Bd7 29.Nb4 Re8 30.Rd1 Qg6 31.Qf4 Be6 32.h3 Kh8 33.Bd5 Rec8 34.a3 Bxd5 35.Rxd5 Rc4 36.h4 Qe6 37.Rf5 Kg8 38.Nd5 Rbc8 39.Qg4 Kh8 40.Qf4 Kg8 41.Nf6+ Kh8 42.Rh5 h6 43.Qg5 1-0

Franciscus Antonius Kuijpers (2400) vs Kick Langeweg (2425)
Event: NED-ch
Site: Leeuwarden Date: ??/??/1972
Round: 3 Score: ½-½
ECO: B44 Sicilian, Szen (`anti-Taimanov’) variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 Nf6 7.N1c3 a6 8.Na3 Be7 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Rb8 11.Be3 Qa5 12.Qe1 Rd8 13.Rd1 Bd7 14.f3 Be8 15.Qg3 ½-½

Examine All Checks!

One of the things this Chess teacher has been BIG on is instructing the student to EXAMINE ALL CHECKS! There was an encounter with a student and his mother in a grocery store when I asked the student what he had been up to recently. The reply came immediately, “Examining all checks, Coach!” You know that put a smile on my face, and that of his pretty mother, too.

Black to move

Every day I surf over to The Week In Chess after ingesting enough caffeine to jump start the brain and attempt solving the Daily Chess Puzzle. Frankly, at my age nothing is going to improve my play, but putting some strain on the ol’ brain cannot hurt…much. Some days I feel like the King; other daze I feel like a lowly pawn…

Todaze puzzle emanates from a game played just a few days ago between:
GM Gupta Sankalp (2504) – GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan (2616)
Airthings Masters Play-In INT (3), 2023.02.03

Good Skill!

The Chess Thinker

After seeing this advertisement in the venerable website of Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess (,

a website visited every morning with my first cuppa Joe, I clicked onto it, learning the man behind the advert was fellow Georgian, Donny Gray.

Donny Gray

After contacting Donny he replied and an email exchange transpired, which is nice because emails have been few and far between since being brutally hacked. Last year the emails were fired regularly with people all over the world. Such is not the case today, and it has been rather nice having the extra time.

Donny sent the following:

I live in Douglas GA far far away from Atlanta

Been teaching full time on the ICC for years. Finished #1 out of 132 official coaches there for 2021. Having a long waiting list inspired me to create the website.

I am 66 years old and teach chess full time on the ICC as Curmudgeon. First rated tournament was back in 1973 in Little Rock Arkansas.

Chess Qualifications of Donny Gray

United States National Master title (November 1988)

Two Time Arkansas Champion (1975 & 1978)

1995 Georgia Co-Champion

Two Time U.S. Army Champion (1988 & 1989)

1988 N.A.T.O Championship (Top U.S.A. Player) Aalborg, Denmark

Title of “Master” in U. S. Correspondence Chess

Rank of “Master” in Internet Chess Club blitz

2000 South Carolina Co-Champion

Represented Georgia in the 2005 Champion of Champions

2007 Georgia Senior Champion

2009 1st Place Lee Hyder Memorial

2010 1st Place Lee Hyder Memorial

2011 1st Place SC Blitz Championship

2011 1st Place Snow Storm Open

2012 1st Place Snow Storm Open

2016 1st Place North Florida Championship

Two web sites


The first notification that my email had been hacked came from Ilan in Moscow. The Legendary Ironman of Georgia Chess was next. Today I read the following at the magnificent website The Week In Chess:

Mark Crowther @MarkTWIC

In the chess world anyone know how to get in touch with Michael Bacon? His email has been hacked.

Mark Crowther @MarkTWIC Replying to @MarkTWIC

Someone who knows Michael Bacon needs to get in touch – via another method other than email as the person now in control of his account tried the Amazon Gift Card scam on me. … . For a start I can’t think of anyone I’d do this for. Certainly not for $250!

Amazon gift card scams: it pays to know who your real friends are Often friendly emails request a favour – but they are only out to dupe you

Consumer championsConsumer affairs

Amazon gift card scams: it pays to know who your real friends are

Often friendly emails request a favour – but they are only out to dupe you

Scams all wrapped up as an Amazon gift card.
Scams all wrapped up as an Amazon gift card. Photograph: Kenishirotie/Alamy
Rebecca Smithers

Rebecca SmithersTue 6 Oct 2020 02.00 EDT

Sorry to bother you, hopefully you can help at the moment. I need to buy an Amazon gift card as a birthday gift for my nephew today but I can’t do this now as I’m currently away and I tried purchasing online but unfortunately no luck. Can you get it from any store around you? I’ll pay you back as soon as I am back. Your response would be greatly appreciated.

CF, by email

Nice try, CF, but we’re not falling for your attempt to defraud us. This email received by Consumer Champions is just one version of numerous scams doing the rounds involving Amazon gift cards. In one, links are shared on social media offering free Amazon vouchers or coupons. Users are invited to click on links to unlock significant discounts or receive free shopping on Amazon, before being asked for their personal or financial details.

Another is like this one – fraudsters hack into email accounts and submit apparently friendly requests for a favour. Often they claim to be a friend of a friend or even a work colleague. Sometimes they will ask you to buy a gift card online and forward it. We gather that local trading standards have been inundated with complaints from people who have been duped.

Amazon tells consumers to never answer an unsolicited email or phone offer they feel is too good to be true. And if you do fall victim, if you are an Amazon account holder contact its customer service or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

If you have received an email from me asking for anything whatsoever please disregard. ‘Tis the season for scammers…

Possible Mission?

The moves in bold are only the red colored moves as shown over at the ChessBomb. The game contains other colorful, but not red, moves. The moves in bold are what GM Yasser Seriwan

would call “Howlers.” These two women are “grandmasters,” but I am uncertain if they are grandmasters in the sense of what the GRANDMASTER title should be, meaning GM, whether male or female. It could be that each woman is only a WGM, with ChessBomb leaving off the “W”. This is only one of myriad reasons no title should begin with a “W”! As one of the denizens of the House of Pain asked, “How come a woman can be a Woman Grandmaster, but not a Grandmaster, and why can a man not become a Male Grandmaster without becoming a GM?!” Why indeed…
GM Valentina  Gunina 2461

vs GM Dronavalli Harika 2518

Cairns Cup 2020 round 05

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 b5 8. h3 b4 9. Nd1 Bd7 10. f4 e6 11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 Nd4 13. h5 Ba4 14. Rc1 Nec6 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Bf2 Qa5 17. g4 Bb5 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 Bd8 20. b3 Rc8 21. O-O O-O 22. Bg3 Qxa2 23. f5 Be7 24. Bh3 exf5 25. exf5 Ra8 26. Nf2 Ne5 27. Ne4 Bxd3 28. Bxe5 Bxe4 29. Bxd4 Qa5 30. Qe3 d5 31. fxg6 hxg6 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0

Hugh Siddeley 1974 vs Eduardo Osinaga 1697

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. Ne2 h6 8. Nbc3 Nf6 9. Ng3 Be7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bd8 13. g4 Bh4 14. Be3 Na6 15. Rg1 f6 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. O-O-O Qa4 18. Nc3 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Qb4 20. h4 Qc5 21. Qg3 Rf7 22. Rd2 Nc7 23. g5 fxg5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Qxg5 Ne6 26. Qg6 Re8 27. Rh1 Nf4 28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qxf7 Re6 30. Qxb7 Rh6 31. Nd1 Qa5 32. a3 Qc5 33. Kb1 a5 34. Ne3 Kh7 35. Qf7 Rf6 36. Qc4 Qb6 37. Rd1 Rh6 38. Qf7 Nh5 39. Nf5 Qd8 40. Rh1 Qg5 41. Nxh6 Kxh6 42. Rxh5+ Qxh5 43. Qxh5+ Kxh5 44. b4 1-0

Valentina Gunina  vs Dronavalli Harika

Cairns Cup 2020 round 05

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 (Komodo plays 7 Nge2) 7…b5 8. h3 b4 (SF 10 plays 8…a5) 9. Nd1 Bd7 (Houdini’s move. Komodo 13.25 @depth 31 plays 9…a5. Komodo 13.02 @depth 28 likes 9…Nf6)

10. f4 (SF 9 @depth 27 shows 10 a3; Komodo @depth 31 plays 10 Ne2) 10…e6 (Other moves are possible, and better, such as 10…Nf6 and 10…Qc8, but best, according to the Fish, is 10…a5)

11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 (12 a3) 12…Nd4 13. h5 (13 Bxd4)

13…Ba4?? (RED MOVE! Although this is a ‘forcing’ move it is a terrible move. There was nothing wrong with simply castling, or even 12…Qc7)

14. Rc1?? (RED MOVE! IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “He attack, you defend. You attack, he better defend.” 14. Bxd4 Bxd4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. b3 is easy to see and is much better for white) 14…Nec6? (14… Nxf3+ 15. Bxf3 looks normal) 15. Nxd4? (15 h6) 15…cxd4 16. Bf2

16…Qa5? (“Why Mike? Why?” Boris would ask as he moved the black pawn from g6 to g5)

17. g4 Bb5 (Stockfish shows three better moves, 17…h6; gxh5; and 0-0) 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 (SF wants to play 19. a4 Qxa4 20. b3 Qa5 before playing 21. g5. Other, stronger, players, when annotating a game have been known to add “This is a computer move,” here, as if we humans are not strong enough to understand the program’s logic. I reject this. There is no such thing as a “computer move.” The better moves are there, even if some human Grandmasters cannot fathom the logic behind the better move. It is my contention that there is no such thing as a “computer move” except in the weak mind of the human who continues to write such nonsense)

19…Bd8 (19…Be7 looks natural, does it not?) 20. b3 Rc8? (The two best moves in the position are 20…Qxa2 and 20…e5) 21. O-O O-O (21…e5) 22. Bg3 Qxa2 (again 22…e5) 23. f5

23…Be7 (RED MOVE! 23…Ne5 is much better)

24. Bh3 (24 Nf2 or f6 are better) 24…exf5? (24…gxf5) 25. exf5 Ra8? (PINK MOVE!) 26. Nf2 (26 f6)

26…Ne5?? (RED MOVE!)

27. Ne4? (RED MOVE! 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. Ra1 and it’s, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”) 27…Bxd3? (PURPLE move! 27…Qa5)

28. Bxe5? (RED MOVE! 28 fxg6) 28…Bxe4 29. Bxd4 (PURPLE move! 29. Bxd6 Bxd6 30. Qxd4) 29…Qa5 (PINK move! 29…Qa6) 30. Qe3 (30. Rce1) 30…d5? (RED MOVE! 30… Rae8 31. Qxe4 Bxg5 32. Qg4 Bxc1 33. Rxc1 has got to be better) 31. fxg6 hxg6 (RED MOVE! Not that it matters…) 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 (RED MOVE! Play 33 Bc8 and put the woman outta her misery, for crying out loud…not that it matters…) 33…Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0


Hugh Siddeley 1974 vs Eduardo Osinaga 1697

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. Ne2 h6 8. Nbc3 Nf6 9. Ng3 Be7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bd8 13. g4 Bh4 14. Be3 Na6 15. Rg1 f6 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. O-O-O Qa4 18. Nc3 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Qb4 20. h4 Qc5

Now the fun begins…

21. Qg3? (Qh3) Rf7? (Nc7) 22. Rd2? (g5) Nc7? (Raf8) 23. g5 fxg5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Qxg5 Ne6? (Re8)

26. Qg6? (Qh4) Re8? (Nf4) 27. Rh1 Nf4 28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qxf7 Re6 30. Qxb7 Rh6 31. Nd1 Qa5 32. a3 Qc5? (Kh7) 33. Kb1? (b4) a5? (Qa5) 34. Ne3 Kh7? (Ne6) 35. Qf7? (Rd1) Rf6? (Qc8) 36. Qc4? (Qd7) Qb6? (Qxc4) 37. Rd1 Rh6? (Qb7) 38. Qf7 Nh5? (Qd8) 39. Nf5? (Qf5+) Qd8 40. Rh1 Qg5 41. Nxh6 Kxh6 42. Rxh5+ Qxh5 43. Qxh5+ Kxh5 44. b4 1-0

Before completing this post an email was received from my friend Michael Mulford who, frankly, is one of the best reasons to be involved with Chess. Michael has been one of the “good” guys involved with the Royal game and has now become one of the “Great” guys.


Since I saw the first game live I can’t fairly take your challenge and I’m thus not copying the others. But just for the fun of it I decided to see how long the opening in the second game stayed in book. Using’s opening library I found – the whole game! And it’s just a couple days old and apparently an on-line game. So what on earth led you to select that particular game. That might make a good followup, and I suspect you plan to answer that in your story.

Since I already knew the answer, I Fritzed the games. The accuracy percentage on the first one was something like 32% for the winner and 45% for the loser. In the second game it was 62% for the winner and 26%. That’s remarkably accurate for white in an on-line game if it was a fast time control, but perhaps not so unreasonable if it was a 3 day per move game.

Feel free to use my comments when you post the answer.


First, I was unaware even had an opening library. As regular readers know I use the ChessBaseDataBase and 365Chess. I was also unaware a game could be “Fritzed.” At one time I had an older Fritz on my laptop, but it sputtered to death and I have no “engine” at all.

What led me to the game is that I played the Closed Sicilian “back in the day” and have actually had the position from the Gunina vs Harika after seven moves on a board during a regulation USCF rated tournament several times. I invariably played 8 a3, so 8 h3 looks really weird. I do not even want to contemplate what IM Boris Kogan would have said, or how he would have looked, if I had produced played such a weak move.

As for the second game, Siddeley vs Osinaga, I was attracted to the tournament because I am currently reading a new book, which will soon be reviewed, Duchamp’s Pipe: A Chess Romance–Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski, by Celia Rabinovitch, which is difficult to put down. Unfortunately the games from the tournament could not be found at Mark Crowther’s unbelievably excellent The Week In Chess. I prefer TWIC because there is no engine analysis to cloud my judgement. I mean, what’s the point of watching a Chess game being played if one is spoon-fed? Therefore, I watched the games at the Bomb, where even if one covers the analysis one can still see the colorful moves as they are displayed onscreen. The thing I liked is that I was unfamiliar with most of the combatants and therefore had no idea what the opponents were rated. I decided to keep it that way until the tournament ended, giving me as an objective mind as possible. I made an attempt to ascertain the rating of each player during the tournament, which was made somewhat easier by the colorful moves. I suppose there were many games I could have used for contrast, but the aforementioned game just happened to be the one used. As an example, what do you think the players who produced this opening were rated?

1 e4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 5 O-O c5

The games were played during the late afternoon into the evening in Atlanta, which was real nice. Until the last round, which was today. I was shocked, SHOCKED to discover the games were concluding when I checked earlier today. A sickening feeling came over me as I railed against stupidity of the organizers who would hold a tournament with every round beginning later in the day except the final round. Chess players get into a routine and are thrown out of it by Fools In Power! I digress…After the penultimate round I decided to surf on over to and learn the ratings of the players before watching the last round.

As for the opening…Believe it or not this game was played in the sixth round by GM Gilberto Hernandez Guerrero 2557 vs GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez 2634. You can look it up…(

I give the full game because I want to show a position deriving from the endgame analysis by Stockfish:

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O c5 6. Re1 Nc6 7. c3 e6 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ng8 11. b3 h5 12. Ba3 Bxa3 13. Nxa3 Nge7 14. Qd2 Nf5 15. Rac1 Qe7 16. Nc2 O-O 17. g3 Rfc8 18. Kg2 Rc7 19. Ne3 Nxe3+ 20. Rxe3 a5 21. Rec3 Rac8 22. h4 Nb4 23. Rxc7 Rxc7 24. Rxc7 Qxc7 25. a3 Nc2 26. a4 (26. Qg5 Nxa3 27. Qxh5 Qc2 28. Qg5 Qc7 29. h5 Kh7 30. g4 Nb5 31. Qf4 Nc3 32. Ng5+ Kg8 33. Qe3 Ne4 34. Nxe4 dxe4 35. Qxe4 Qc3 36. Qe3 Qxe3 37. fxe3 b5 38. e4 a4 39. bxa4 bxa4 40. d5 a3 41. d6)

Nb4 27. Kf1 Qc2 28. Qxc2 Nxc2 ½-½






Are Armageddon Chess Games Fair?


a. Bible In the book of Revelation, the place of the gathering of armies for the final battle before the end of the world.
b. The battle involving these armies.
2. A decisive or catastrophic conflict.

7th Norway Armageddon can be found at the Other events today section of the wonderful website, The Week In Chess, by Mark Crowther. ( Mark has been providing Chess information since the “First issue 17th September 1994.” Yet Mark cannot display the games from the tournament in Norway. Why is that? Why does the Chess world continue repeatedly shooting itself in the foot? The reason is m-o-n-e-y. Refusing to allow Mark to display any kind of Chess information may be good for the organizers in the short term (although FIDE has continually proven the opposite yet continues attempting to gather all the spoils it can) but it cannot be good for the long term health of the organization. I refuse to follow any tournament not allowed to be displayed at TWIC. The Norway tournament was even easier to eschew because so-called “Armageddon Chess” is ridiculous. The fact organizers thought they had to resort to such nonsense is proof positive the Royal game of Chess in a decisive or catastrophic conflict with itself. I spent some time attempting to ascertain the name of the lunatic who first had the idea of playing Armageddon Chess, to no avail. Evidently there are enough lunatics involved with Chess to have helped facilitate foisting the Armageddon abomination upon we Chess fans. The research did produce a few items of interest. Consider something posted six months ago by BackrankPawn:

Are armageddon games fair?

In the unlikely event that the world championship goes to an armageddon game, would players prefer Black with 4 minutes and draw odds or white with 5 minutes? Is it roughly fair?

Why don’t they auction time for the draw odds?

*edit* I buried the lead. I wanted to figure out how much time the draw odds are worth. We could let the players decide by auctioning seconds for black and draw odds. Whoever spends more, gets that much time taken off but gets draw odds. Then there would be no complaints about coin flips.

Then there is this from Leonard Barden on Chess:

Armageddon divides fans while Magnus Carlsen leads again in Norway

Controversial speed format designed to prevent draws sparks a chaotic scramble at Altibox event and causes online uproar

Armageddon is a chess penalty shoot-out, a controversial format intended to prevent draws and to stimulate interesting play. It can also lead to chaotic scrambles where pieces fall off the board, players bang down their moves and hammer the clocks, and fractions of a second decide the result. That is what happened in Tuesday’s Levon Aronian v Alexander Grischuk game at Altibox Norway. The loser called it “among the top three most disappointing defeats in my life”.

In an Armageddon game White has more thinking time on the clock than Black but a draw on the board scores as a Black win. Normally White has five or six minutes and Black four or five for the entire game but in the current Altibox Norway tournament it is 10 against seven.
Lewis chessmen piece bought for £5 in 1964 could sell for £1m
Read more

In response to growing complaints about too many draws the Altibox organisers made a controversial decision this year to limit classical games to four hours and to replay draws immediately as Armageddons. The scoring system is 2 points for a classical win, 1.5 for a classical draw and an Armageddon win, 0.5 for a classical draw and an Armageddon loss and 0 for a classical loss.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Produced by R.E.M. & Scott Litt

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, an aeroplane
Lenny Bruce is not afraid
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs, don’t misserve your own needs
Speed it up a notch, speed, grunt, no, strength
The ladder starts to clatter with fear of height, down, height
Wire in a fire, representing seven games
And a government for hire and a combat site
Left of west and coming in a hurry
With the Furies breathing down your neck
Team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped
Look at that low plane, fine, then
Uh oh, overflow, population, common group
But it’ll do, save yourself, serve yourself.
World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed
Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light
Feeling pretty psyched

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s the)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s the)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
And I feel fine

[Verse 2]
Six o’clock, TV hour, don’t get caught in a foreign tower
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
Lock him in uniform, book burning, blood letting
Every motive escalate, automotive incinerate
Light a candle, light a votive, step down, step down
Watch your heel crush, crush, uh-oh
This means no fear, cavalier renegade and steering clear
A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine
(I feel fine)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine
[Verse 3]
The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam but neck
Right? Right!

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine

It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it
(It’s time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine

2018 North Carolina Closed Championship

Each morning one of the Chess websites I visit is Mark Crowther’s The Week In Chess ( I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see under Other events today this: North Carolina Closed Charlotte USA

Clicking on took me to:

2018 North Carolina Closed Championship
November 16, 2018 – November 18, 2018
Charlotte, North Carolina
5 Round Swiss; USCF Rated; $4,000 Guaranteed!
New Seniors Trophies Added!

I added the bold to the last part about Seniors because I am, and have been for almost two decades, a Senior. In addition, there will be a Trophy Given to Top Seniors (50+) in Each Class.

I have no idea why the folks in the Great state of North Carolina have decided to do this for Senior players. How many Seniors will be participating in the tournament? Whatever the reason it is a nice touch in recognition of Senior players and I applaud the gesture.

Information can be found here:

LIVE coverage can be found here:

The tournament begins tonight at 7:30 EST.

The 2018 North Carolina Closed Championship will take place November 16 – 18, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. The NC Closed determines the overall State Champion as well as Class Champions from class A – E. The NC Closed is restricted to participants who reside in North Carolina.

Take advantage of discount on entry for those staying at the hotel. Enjoy your stay at the lakeside Hilton Charlotte University Place. Take a walk on the lake, shop, dine and more.

The tournament is a Charlotte Chess Center and North Carolina Chess Association (NCCA) ( collaboration. NCCA membership is required. To vote in the NCCA election you must be a member in good standing.

If NCCA dues are paid with this tournament the cost will be $8 with membership good until December 31, 2019

(Adults: $8 per year; Children: FREE) Dues can also be paid at

GM Elshan Moradiabadi

GM Moradiabadi playing simul

heads the Pre Registration list.

Stinking It Up At The Sinquefield Cup

The trio of announcers at the Sinquefield Cup were effusive during every round, especially during the final round. They did the best they could to put lipstick on a pig

but in the final analysis it was still a stinking pig. The gang mentioned the high percentage of draws and GM Yasser Seirawan said something like, “We haven’t noticed because of the quality of the draws.” Forty five games were played during the tournament with only eight of them ending decisively, which is 17.7%. There were nine rounds so the average was less than one win per round.

The announcers for MLBaseball teams are called “homers” for a reason. They are paid by the ball club so it is in their interest to put lipstick on their particular pig.

I am uncertain about who pays the announcers at the Sinquefield Cup, but it is more than a little obvious they want to continue being paid. It is in their interest to put as much lipstick on the Chess pig as possible. Because of this they lack objectivity. I am not being paid by anyone so can be objective. The tournament was B-O-R-I-N-G. To their credit, the announcing team of Yaz, Maurice, and Jen did the best they could to inject some excitement into the moribund tournament. The excitement certainly did not come from the players. The pigs were in full force and there was some reeking Chess played at what I have come to consider the Stinkfield Cup.

Hikaru Nakamura lost the last round game to World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club / Lennart Ootes

by first needlessly allowing Magnus a protected passed pawn. Later he exacerbated an already tenuous position by jettisoning a pawn for absolutely nothing, and was deservedly ground down by the ultimate grinder.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave managed to turn what should have been a win into a draw against Sergey Karjakin because he did not know how to play the endgame.

Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana played what was arguably the most boring game of the tournament in the last round and, guess what, it ended in a draw. Watching lipstick being put on a pig was better than watching the “game.” Here is what two Chess fans posted on the ChessBomb chat at the game:

Abraxas79: So will drop out of sight soon. Will be playing open tournaments with Kamsky
eddiemac: was being interviewed and said he be in a chess960 tourney in a few weeks. Should be more exciting than this dreary tourney.

The 71st Russian Chess Championship began less than a week ago with twelve players competing. After four rounds twenty four games have been played and seven of them have ended decisively. That is 29%. Not great, but much better than the paltry 18% of the Stinkfield Cup. At least there has been a decisive game in each of the four rounds of the Russian Championship. In the third round three games were decisive. Three of the rounds of the Stinkfield Cup finished without any decisive games.

Yaz can talk all he wants about “…the quality of the draws,” but the fact remains the games ended in yet another draw. There is not enough lipstick Yaz can smear to obviate the fact that pigs were stinking it up at the Sinquefield Cup. Chess fans want winners. Potential Chess fans do not understand the proliferation of draws; they want to see a WINNER.

The last round game causing much excitement was the game between Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk. Levon unsoundly sacrificed a rook on f7 and the game was all for Grischuk’s taking, but he had previously spent almost three quarters of an hour on one move which left him short of time. Still, I cannot imagine Bobby Fischer losing the game with the black pieces after 18 Rxf7 no matter how little time he had left. Give Bobby two or three minutes, maybe only one, and he would have won the game. Seriously, give Bobby only the thirty seconds added and he would have won that game!

“The Herceg Novi blitz event was the speed tournament of the 20th century. It had four world champions competing, and Bobby not only finished 4½ points ahead of Tal in second place, he also obliterated the Soviet contingent, 8½-1½, whitewashing Tal, Tigran Petrosian and Vasily Smyslov, six-zip; breaking even with Viktor Korchnoi; and defeating David Bronstein with a win and draw.” (

This was with a time limit of only FIVE minutes for the whole game! When I hear people talking about how strong are today’s Grandmasters and how the players of the 20th century would not stand a chance against the current top players I laugh. In his prime Bobby would have OBLITERATED these posers no matter the time control. Bobby played each and every game to WIN.

Because I played the Bird opening often, but not as many as the Atlanta player who became a NM using it exclusively, Adam Cavaney, who became an attorney and moved to New Orleans before hurricane Katrina, I paid close attention to the following game.

Let us review the aforementioned game between Alexander Grischuk and Wesley So from the penultimate round:

Alexander Grischuk vs Wesley So

Photo: V. Saravanan

Sinquefield Cup 2018 round 08

1. f4 Nf6 2. Nf3 b6 3. b3 Bb7 4. e3 g6 5. Bb2 Bg7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. c4 d5 9. O-O Nc6 10. Qe2 Rc8 11. d3 d4 12. exd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 cxd4 15. Na3 Nd7 16. Nc2 Nc5 17. f5 Qd7 18. g4 b5 19. Ba3 a5 20. Bxc5 Rxc5 21. Rae1 bxc4 22. bxc4 gxf5 23. gxf5 Rxf5 24. Rxf5 Qxf5 25. Qf3 Qg5+ 26. Kh1 Kh8 27. Rg1 Qh6 28. Qd5 Qd2 29. Nxd4 Qxa2 30. Qe4 Qb2 31. Nf5 Be5 32. Rg2 Qc1+ 33. Rg1 Qb2 34. Rg2 Qc1+ 35. Rg1 Qb2 36. Rg2 1/2-1/2

An analogous position after 7…c5 was reached by a different move order in this game:

David Bronstein (2585)

v Vladimir Tukmakov (2560)

Event: URS-ch40
Site: Baku Date: 11/23/1972
Round: 6
ECO: A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, symmetrical variation

1. b3 b6 2. Bb2 Bb7 3. e3 Nf6 4. f4 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. a4 d6 10. Na3 a6 11. Qe2 Rb8 12. d3 Ba8 13. c4 e6 14. Rfd1 Qe7 15. e4 Nd7 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nc2 e5 1/2-1/2

After 13 moves this position appeared on the board:

I was certain Grischuk would play 14 Qxg2. He took with the King. In the old BC (before computer) days if one disagreed with a move a GM played we would defer to the GMs move because, well, you know, he was a Grandmaster. Still, with my limited understanding of the Royal game, my thinking was that now that the white squared bishop has left the board, what better piece to take it’s place than the Queen? Stockfish agrees.

This position was reached after 16 moves:

While Grischuk was thinking I thought he would first play 17 Ne1 followed by 18 Nf3, considerably improving the position of the woeful knight. After the game the Stockfish program at the ChessBomb made me feel like I knew something about how to play the Bird as it gives this variation as equal: 17. Ne1 e6 18. Nf3 Qd7 19. Kg1 Rfd8 20. Ba3 Qb7 21. Rae1 Bf8 22. Bb2 Bg7 23. Ba3. The clanking digital monster also shows 17 Ba3 as equal. The move Grishuk played, 17 f5, is not shown as one of the top four moves. His choice gives the advantage to black.

This position was reached after 22 moves:

SF shows 23. Qxe7 Qc6+ as best, but Grischuk played 23 gxf5. It is easy to see black has an increased advantage. After a few more moves were played we reach this position after white played 25 Qf3:

Wesley So could have simply dropped his queen back to e7 with a by now large advantage. IM Boris Kogan said, “Chess is simple. He attack, you defend. You attack, he defend. My retort was, “Maybe for you, Boris.” Wesley played 25…Qg5+, which still left him with an advantage. I was thinking, “Patzer sees a check and gives a check.”

We move along until his position was reached after 28 Qd5:

The two best moves according to SF are 28…Qf4 and/or Qb6. So played the fourth best move, 28…Qd2.

After 29…Qxa2 we come to this position:

30 Nc6 is the best move. Grischuk played the second best move, 30 Qe4.

Bobby Fischer

spoke of “critical positions.” This is one of them.

Wesley had far more time than his opponent at this point. I was therefore shocked when he took very little time to play 30…Qb2. I will admit the moved played was my first choice, but then I am not a GM. Faced with the same position Wesley So had on the board I would have probably played 30…Qb2. I followed the games at Mark Crowther’s wonderful site, The Week in Chess (, because it has no engine analysis. After the game was concluded I went to the ChessBomb to see StockFish had given the move 30…Qf2 as much superior to the move played in the game. Initially flummoxed, I wondered if Wesley had taken more time, which would have meant more time for me to cogitate, would I have seen the much better 30…Qf2? Honesty compels me to think not, as 30…Qb2 attacks the knight and makes way for the passed a-pawn. What’s not to like? SF only gives 30…Qf2 followed by 31 Nc6, so I had to “dig deep” to understand the efficacy of moving the queen to f2. Fortunately for this old grasshopper there was understanding. Later I watched some of the coverage by Yaz, Maurice, and Jen. Maurice showed the engine they were using gave it as best. This begs the question, which engine were they using? I have yet to hear a name used for the “engine.” There are many “engines,” so why do they not inform we Chess fans which “engine” they utilize?

After 30…Qb2 Grischuk played 31 Nf5 (SF says Nf3 is a little better) and this position was reached:

I was thinking Wesley would play 31…Bf6, later learning SF shows it best. As a matter of fact, it is the only move to retain an advantage. Wesley So played the second choice of SF, 31…Be5, and the game sputtered to a draw, a fitting conclusion to a poorly played game by both players. So much for Yasser’s comment about “…quality of the draws.”

This is what Chess fans who chat at the ChessBomb thought about the ending of the game:

CunningPlan: I suspect draw agreed
dondiegodelavega: WTF???
BadHabitMarco: this cant have happened
rfa: yup draw
poppy_dove: BUG
dondiegodelavega: moving to twitter
CunningPlan: Maybe So missed Kxg1
jim: mdr
jim: Qxg1 wow
Frank200: hahahaha somebody was trolling
LarsBrobakken: no takebacks!
CunningPlan: So is a dirty rotten cheat
CunningPlan: Oh So. What a cop out.
rfa: 🙂
BadHabitMarco: devine intervention
Vladacval: phhhooogh
BadHabitMarco: divine
Vladacval: nice save!
jim: So touched accidentally the rook
poppy_dove: draw
dondiegodelavega: what a pussy!
CunningPlan: Grischuk deliberately dropped an eyelash on it to tempt So to brush it off
CunningPlan: Oldest trick in the book
CunningPlan: I’ve won many a game that way
BadHabitMarco: he was like “did you see that the felt was missing under my rook?”

Games Have Been Terminated!

The thing about writing a blog is that one never knows what an email will bring. After spending an inordinate amount of time in front of Toby, the ‘puter, yesterday learning how to insert diagrams, and then putting together the post in order to have something in which to insert them, I determined that today I would spend time with the Daniel Gormally book, Insanity, passion and addiction: a year inside the chess world, while playing over Chess games on an actual board with pieces one can feel, and possibly “working” on the openings intended for the Senior Championship of the Great State of South Carolina, which is only ten days away, by going to the CBDB and 365Chess. Wrong, Ke-mo sah-bee! An email from my friend Mulfish arrived at 11:42 am, upsetting the Bacon cart…

“Looking forward to the AWs take on AlphaZeros stunning win over Stockfish,” was the message. “What’s this?” I thought, wondering if Mike was referring to the TCEC Computer Chess Championship that is in the final stretch. “But Stockfish is not participating in the Super Final,” I thought. I therefore fired off an immediate response: “To what, exactly, are you referring?” His reply was, “Look in the all things Chess forum.”

Although there are not as many incoming as there were before taking a long break from blogging, I have received several emails directing my attention here and there, and they are greatly appreciated. Checking the AW stats today showed many people in countries other than the USA reading the AW. In particular I noticed that today, as every day, there is one, and only one, reader in the Maldives. Thank you, whoever you are, and feel free to send an email, as I am curious by nature.

Keep ’em coming:

This is the post found on the USCF forum that prompted Mulfish to fire a salvo at the AW:

Postby billbrock on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:16 am #321974

“AlphaZero learned to play chess by playing against itself. After just FOUR HOURS of self-learning, it was able to decisely (sic) defeat Stockfish 8.0! (EDIT: this statement is slightly misleading. See downthread.) (100 games match: +28 =72 -0)
What’s really impressive: Stockfish was calculating far more deeply than AlphaZero (at least in terms of nodes per second). AlphaZero is just “smarter.”

After reading only this I thought, “Whoa! This will change not only my day, but possibly the future course of history!” The more I read the more convinced was I of the latter.

Bill Brock provided a link to a PDF paper, Mastering Chess and Shogi by Self-Play with a General Reinforcement Learning Algorithm
( which I read immediately, blowing my mind…

Every morning I read while drinking my first cuppa coffee, and today was no exception. Toby is not fired-up until time to sit down and eat breakfast. I check my email, then the quotes of the day, followed by the poem of the day, which was The Writer’s Almanac, by Garrison Keillor, but it has been discontinued, so I’ve moved on to Poem-a-Day ( & The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day ( Next I click on the Drudge Report in order to understand what the enemy is thinking, and doing. Then it is the newspapers in digital form, the NYT, WaPo, and AJC. For you readers outside the USA, that would be the New York Times, the Washinton Post, and the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. Then I check out the word of the day (, before heading to check what was on the nightly radio programs broadcast while I am sleeping, Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis (, and the Granddaddy of them all, Coast to Coast AM ( You may think that Chess comes next, but you would be mistaken. I check out The Hardball Times at Fangraphs ( Then I check out what’s happening in the world of Go (

Then it is time for Chess! My routine is to check in at Chess24 ( first in order to learn if there is a new article I will want to return to after checking out Chessbase (, where there is usually something interesting to peruse. (Today is no exception because the lead article is, How XiangQi can improve your chess, which will be read. During the TCEC Championships it is then on to Chessdom (, where I click onto TCEC ( And then it is on to the Chess Granddaddy of them all website, TWIC, aka The Week In Chess (, which is Mark Crowther’s wonderful website which contains a Daily Chess Puzzle, which I attempt to solve, in hopes it will keep my mind sharp. Why was I writing all this?…Just kidding!

The point is that I read so long this morning (Why Bob Dylan Matters, by Richard F. Thomas; Cover Me: The stories behind the GREATEST COVER SONGS of all time, by Ray Padgett, who has a wonderful website (; and Murder on the Death Star: The assassination of Kennedy and its relevance to the Trump era, by Pelle Neroth) in order to finish the latter. The point being that by the time I got to the email by Mulfish I would ordinarily have already seen the momentous news.

DeepMind’s AlphaZero crushes chess

The excellent article by Colin McGourty begins: “20 years after DeepBlue defeated Garry Kasparov in a match, chess players have awoken to a new revolution. The AlphaZero algorithm developed by Google and DeepMind took just four hours of playing against itself to synthesise the chess knowledge of one and a half millennium and reach a level where it not only surpassed humans but crushed the reigning World Computer Champion Stockfish 28 wins to 0 in a 100-game match. All the brilliant stratagems and refinements that human programmers used to build chess engines have been outdone, and like Go players we can only marvel at a wholly new approach to the game.”

Colin ends with: “And where do traditional chess programmers go from here? Will they have to give up the refinements of human-tuned evaluation functions and all the existing techniques, or will the neural networks still require processing power and equipment not easily available? Will they be able to follow in DeepMind’s footsteps, or are there proprietary techniques involved that can’t easily be mastered?

There’s a lot to ponder, but for now the chess world has been shaken!”


If games people play are to survive they will be something like that described in the novel I consider the best I have read, Das Glasperlenspiel, or Magister Ludi, aka, The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse. (

Or maybe a book, The Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks, which is not only one of my favorite Sci-Fi books, but also one of my favorite book about games.

The stunning news also caused me to reflect on a Canadian Sci-Fi television program I watched, Continuum, in which mega-corporations dominate the world in the future as time-travelers fight one of the largest corporatocratic entities, SadTech, which sounds an awful lot like Google. (

The Brave New World is here. The Science Fiction books I read as a youngster are no longer fiction.

The Terminator has arrived.

We are all doomed. DOOMED!

R.E.M. – It’s The End Of The World

The End of the World