GM Alonso Zapata vs FM Todd Andrews in French Defense Battle at the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina

Years ago FM Todd Andrews

Photo Gallery from the 2005 World Open (USA)

relocated from Music City to the Phoenix city, Atlanta, Georgia. It happened that by happenstance I was at Todd’s apartment after he moved in and again later as he was getting ready to return to Nashville, Tennessee. There was an obvious disparity between how the apartment looked on those two occasions, kind of like one of those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.

Todd was young, and strong, at that time, and was the “Big Dog” at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. He was also an extremely personable and animated fellow. After being beaten by Todd one regular habitué of the House of Pain vociferously and demonstrably said to any and everyone within earshot, “That Todd has a BIG HEAD!” To which Bob Bassett replied, “Yeah, and if you ever get your rating up to 2400 you will have a big head.” Another wag added, “Fat chance.” The loser hit the door… The name stuck, although no one ever called Todd “Big Head” to his face. After yet another player had been battered and bloodied, metaphorically speaking, of course, over the Chess board by Todd, the loser would be asked about the result and the reply would invariably be, “Big Head got me.” About this time there was a popular music group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who were quite popular. Todd traveled to a music festival in another state and I considered asking if Big Head Todd and the Monsters were there, but refrained from so doing…

These days Todd is the man with the Big Head at the Nashville Chess Center:

FM Andrews drew with fellow FM James Canty in the opening round of the May 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational at the Charlotte Chess Center and followed that with a victory over GM Alonso Zapata, now a citizen of Georgia living in the metro Atlanta area. A couple of losses set him back before he was paired with serial drawer IM Nikolay Andrianov,

“…who became the Soviet Junior Champion in 1980. He beat GM Gary Kasparov in their junior years and maintains a plus score against the world champion. After that, he chose to focus on chess training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sports Institute, considered the top chess school globally at the time. He has since then trained students, many of them becoming masters in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Currently, he teaches chess in Arizona and online with Ashburn Chess Club.” (

These are the games produced by IM Nikolay Andrianov in the first four rounds:


Round 1 | 2022.05.04 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. c4 c6 6. O-O d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Ne5 Ne4 9. Nc3 1/2-1/2


Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. b3 g6 4. Bb2 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Qc2 Nc6 7. a3 d6 8. Be2 e5 9. d3 a6 10. Nc3 Rb8 11. O-O b5 12. Ne4 bxc4 13. bxc4 Nxe4 14. dxe4 f5 15. Bc3 f4 16. Rab1 fxe3 17. fxe3 Bh6 18. Qd3 Be6 19. Rxb8 Qxb8 20. Nd2 1/2-1/2


Round 3 | 2022.05.05 | 1/2-1/2

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 1/2-1/2


Round 4 | 2022.05.06 | 1/2-1/2

  1. Nf3 d5 2. b3 Bf5 3. Bb2 e6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 h6 6. O-O Be7 7. c4 c6 1/2-1/2

What happened in the second round? It looks as though Tianqi Wang actually considered attempting to try and play for a win, but after making a very weak move that gave the advantage to his opponent changed his mind and offered a draw, which was accepted by the player with little fight left in him. It takes two to tango, and make a draw, so all the blame cannot go to IM Andrianov. Some of the blame must be taken by the pusillanimous pussies so ready to accept a draw offer from an old and weak IM. Todd Andrews came to play Chess and forced the ineffectual IM to play to the death. Unfortunately, it was Todd who lost, but he went down fighting, like a man, and my hat is off to FM Todd Andrews. In losing Todd Andrews comes away a winner from one of the Charlotte Drawing Tournaments.



Round 2 | 2022.05.05 | 0-1 ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 c5 6. Ndf3 Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. Ne2 Qc7 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 h6 15. Bh4 Bf4 16. Rc2 Qf7 17. Ne2 Bb8 18. Bg3 Bd7 19. Rc3 Ne4 20. Bxe4 dxe4 21. Nd2 e5 22. dxe5 Bxe5 23. Bxe5 Nxe5 24. Nxe4 Bc6 25. Qb1 Rad8 26. N2g3 Qf4 27. f3 Qh4 28. Qc2 Kh8 29. Rc5 Nd3 30. Rh5 Qf4 31. h3 Qe3+ 32. Kh2 Bxe4 33. Nxe4 Rc8 34. Qb3 Qe2 35. Ng3 Qc2 36. Kg1 Nf4 37. Qxc2 Rxc2 38. Rf5 Rxg2+ 39. Kh1 Rxf5 40. Nxf5 Rxb2 41. Rd1 0-1
  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (Stockfish 14 and 15 both play 3 Nc3, as does Komodo) 3…Nf6 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase, Komodo, Houdini, and Deep Fritz prefer 3…c5) 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 (SF 8 @depth 46 plays the move played in the game, but SF 13 @depth 44 goes with the most often played move of 5 Bd3. SF 14.1 @depth 47 will play 5 f4) 5…c5 6. Ndf3 (SF 311221 plays 6 Bd3 which has been far and away the most often played move with 8421 games in the CBDB; SF 14.1 will play 6 f4, the second most often played move (1924). The move played in the game has only been attempted in 54 games) 6…Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 (This move has been played most often with 130 games in the CBDB, but SF 14.1 and Komodo will play 7…Qa5. The reason could be that 7…cxd4 has resulted in a 66% score for players of the White pieces as opposed to only 42% in 31 games for 7…Qa5) 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 (SF 12 plays this move, but SF 070222 will take the pawn with the Queen with 9…Qxf6. Houdini will fire a TN with 9…Bb4+. 9…Nxf6 has been played in 84 games; 9…Qxf6 in only 8. White has scored 64% versus the former, but only 38% against the latter move) 10. Ne2 Qc7 (SF 130121 @depth 59 plays 10…Bd6, as do two different Fritz programs) 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nc3 (Fritz 16 plays this move, but Deep Fritz will play will play 12 g3. SF 170821 prefers 12 h3) 12…a6 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rc1 (SF 14.1 plays 14 Bh4 and so should you) 14…h6 (14…Bd7 has been played most often, and one of the “New Engines” @depth 42 likes it, but left running a little longer it changes its whatever @depth 43 to 14…Ng4, which is what Komodo will play @depth 26) 15. Bh4 Bf4 (There is only one prior game with the game move. Komodo 8 @depth 14 plays 15…Bd7, but SF 261120 will play 15…Nh5, as will Komodo 9)

Kurt Petschar (2310) vs Peter Roth (2325)
Event: AUT-ch
Site: Wolfsberg Date: ??/??/1985
Round: 8
ECO: C06 French, Tarrasch, closed variation, main line
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.O-O Qc7 12.Bg5 O-O 13.Nc3 a6 14.Rc1 h6 15.Bh4 Bf4 16.Bg3 Nh5 17.Rc2 g5 18.Bg6 Nxg3 19.hxg3 Bd6 20.Bh5 Qg7 21.Rd2 Bd7 22.Re1 b5 23.Rde2 b4 24.Na4 g4 25.Bxg4 Qxg4 26.Nb6 Rad8 27.Nxd7 Rxd7 28.Rxe6 Qg7 29.Qc1 Nxd4 30.Rxh6 Nxf3+ 31.gxf3 Bf4 0-1

FM Richard Francisco’s Amazing Comeback

When the Chess world went scholastic Richard Francisco
Richard Francisco

was one of the first children in the Atlanta area to become a strong player. Mr. Francisco represented Atlanta, and Georgia, when playing for the Atlanta Kings.
Atlanta Kings 2016-17 | Georgia Chess News

He is a likeable gentleman about whom I have never heard a discouraging word.

Therefore it was painful to watch local favorite lose his first three games in the ongoing Charlotte Holiday IM norm tournament. In the fourth round Richard, playing black, stopped the bleeding by drawing a hard fought game with fellow FM Doug Ekhart,

rated 2206 FIDE; 2306 USCF. Tell me again why there is such a disparity between the World Chess rating and the US Chess rating?

FM Doug Eckert (USA) vs FM Richard Francisco (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 04
E71 King’s Indian, Makagonov system (5.h3)

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Be3 c5 7. d5 b5 8. cxb5 a6 9. bxa6 Qa5 10. Qd2 Nbd7 11. Nf3 Rb8 12. Rb1 Nb6 13. b3 Bxa6 14. Bxa6 Nfd7 15. Rc1 Qxa6 16. Qe2 Ra8 17. Qxa6 Rxa6 18. a4 f5 19. exf5 Rxf5 20. O-O Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Rxd5 22. Rb1 h6 23. Rfc1 Kf7 24. Bd2 Rd3 25. a5 Rxd2 26. Nxd2 Rxa5 27. b4 cxb4 28. Rxb4 Nc5 29. Rbc4 Ra2 30. R1c2 Ra1+ 31. Rc1 Ra2 32. R1c2 Ra1+ 33. Rc1 ½-½

In the fifth round Richard had the white pieces versus USCF Master Matan Prilleltensky,

rated only 2166 FIDE, thirty four points below Master level. The game was a long back and forth struggle in which both players were at times winning the game, which culminated in a draw.

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Matan Prilleltensky (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 05
A20 English opening

  1. c4 e5 2. g3 c6 3. d4 e4 4. Nc3 d5 5. Bg2 Bb4 6. Qb3 a5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. f3 Nc6 9. fxe4 Nxd4 10. Qd1 dxe4 11. Be3 Nc6 12. Qxd8+ Nxd8 13. Bxe4 Nf6 14. Bd3 O-O 15. a3 Bxc3+ 16. bxc3 Nc6 17. Nf3 Re8 18. Bc1 Bh3 19. Ng5 Bg2 20. Rg1 Ne5 21. Rxg2 Nxd3+ 22. Kd2 Nxc1 23. Rxc1 Rad8+ 24. Ke1 Nd5 25. Rf2 f6 26. Nh3 Rc8 27. Rf3 Ne3 28. Nf4 b5 29. h3 Nc4 30. Ra1 a4 31. Nd3 Rc7 32. Ra2 Rec8 33. Rf4 Ne3 34. Rb4 Nd5 35. Rd4 Nxc3 36. Rb2 f5 37. g4 fxg4 38. hxg4 Rc4 39. e3 Rxd4 40. exd4 Re8+ 41. Ne5 Rd8 42. Kd2 Ne4+ 43. Ke3 Nd6 44. Rc2 h5 45. d5 hxg4 46. Kd4 Nf5+ 47. Ke4 Nd6+ 48. Kd4 Nf5+ 49. Ke4 Nd6+ 50. Kd4 ½-½

The sixth round saw Richard paired with the only Grandmaster in the field, Jose Gonzalez Garcia,

from Spain, rated 2483 FIDE; 2583 USCF. The game was relatively even until the Grandmaster lurched in playing 24 exf5, a horribly bad move. After many vicissitudes Richard slammed the GM to the mat!

Jose Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) vs Richard Francisco (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 06
E90 King’s Indian, 5.Nf3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 Na6 7. O-O e5 8. Be3 Qe8 9. dxe5 Ng4 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bd2 Nxe5 12. h3 Kh7 13. Re1 Be6 14. Nxe5 dxe5 15. a3 Rd8 16. Qc2 f5 17. b4 Qf7 18. Na4 Nb8 19. b5 b6 20. Bb4 c5 21. bxc6 Nxc6 22. Bxf8 Nd4 23. Qb1 Rxf8 24. exf5 Bxf5 25. Bd3 Bd7 26. Nc3 Qxf2+ 27. Kh1 Bxh3 28. Bf1 Qg3 29. Ra2 Bf5 30. Ne4 Bxe4 31. Rxe4 Rf4 32. Bd3 Qh4+ 33. Kg1 Qg3 34. Kh1 Ne6 35. Rae2 Nc5 36. Rxf4 exf4 37. Bxg6+ Qxg6 38. Qxg6+ Kxg6 39. Re7 a5 40. Rc7 Na4 41. Rd7 Bb2 42. Rd3 Kf5 43. Kh2 Ke4 44. Rb3 Kd4 45. Rf3 Bc1 46. Rf2 Be3 0-1

In the following round seven game Richard had the white pieces against International Master Roberto Abel Martin Del Campo Cardenas,

Richard outplayed the IM in the opening, then gave the advantage away, before obtaining another advantage which he pressed home for another victory!

Richard Francisco (USA) vs Roberto AbelMartin Del Campo Cardenas, (MEX)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 07
B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. g4 b5 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. g5 Nd7 13. f5 Bxg5+ 14. Kb1 Ne5 15. Qh5 Qd8 16. h4 Bf6 17. fxe6 g6 18. exf7+ Kxf7 19. Qh6 Ng4 20. Qf4 Kg7 21. Nd5 Rf8 22. Qd2 h5 23. Bh3 Bd7 24. Rdg1 Re8 25. Bxg4 Bxg4 26. Nc6 Qd7 27. Nxf6 Kxf6 28. Qd4+ Kf7 29. Nb4 Qe6 30. Rf1+ Kg8 31. Nd5 Qe5 32. Nf6+ Kh8 33. Qd2 Kg7 34. Nxe8+ Rxe8 35. Rf4 Be6 36. Rg1 Rc8 37. Rg5 1-0

The eight round saw Richard sitting behind the black pieces versus Evan S Rosenberg,

a USCF Master, rated 2099 FIDE. In the first four rounds Mr. Rosenberg won two and drew and lost one each. The wheels came off in the fifth round as Rosenberg lost three games consecutively before playing a horrific blunder on move 18, after which he was beaten and battered unmercifully before throwing in the towel.

Evan S Rosenberg (USA) vs Richard Francisco (USA)
Holiday CCCSA IM 2021 round 08
A04 Reti opening

  1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. e3 Nf6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qh4 Be6 11. Rd1 Rc8 12. Rb1 a6 13. a4 Qa5 14. Bd2 Qc7 15. b3 d5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. cxd5 Bxd5 18. b4 Bf6 19. Qh6 Qe5 20. Qh3 Be4 21. f4 Qb8 22. Rbc1 Bc2 23. Rf1 Rfd8 24. Be1 Bxa4 25. Bf2 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 Qd6 27. Qf3 Bc6 28. e4 Qxb4 29. Bc4 Bb2 30. Rc2 Bd4 31. Bf1 Bxe4 0-1

To come back to even against this competition after starting a round robin tournament with three straight goose eggs is an outstanding result. Mr. Francisco has shown that he can take the blows and and do it his way. Unlike some Chess players, like the recent challenger for the title of human World Chess Champion, who shatter completely when hit with a punch, Richard managed to keep it together, remain resilient, and come back strong.

Breaking news! The last round has begun and Richard and his opponent 2321 FIDE rated opponent Tianqi Wang

have “phoned it in” by agreeing to split the point after only 5 moves had been played. What the hell, it’s the holidaze and neither player had anything for which to play, so they did a little dance so they could get down tonight rather than taking that midnight train to Georgia, and I’m sure the wife will be happy to see Richard while the sun is still shining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the GM B tournament GM Tanguy Ringoir,

of Belarus, IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy,

of the USA, and FM Jason Liang,

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 09

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

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

NM Ming Lu (2174),

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GM Alonso Zapata

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 04

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

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

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

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

White to move

What move would you make?

Position after 23…Qc5+

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

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

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

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

The Quick Draw Mcgraw Show El Kabong

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 03

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 05

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 07

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

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm A 2021 round 09

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 03

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 05

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 07

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 08

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

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

Charlotte GM Norm B 2021 round 09

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 05

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 06

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 07

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 08

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm C 2021 round 08

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 02

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

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

Charlotte IM Norm D 2021 round 03

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