Chess Cheating: The Eternal Battle Between Good And Evil

A subject on which I have received much response from readers is cheating in Chess, and the number of emails received has increased over the years. Cheating at Chess is a subject that is not going away any time soon. Much has been written about the subject recently, including the following, but I want to mention an email received from a Chess dad. He mentioned talking with another father of a young Chess player about the subject of cheating in Chess and the man told him he needed to read the Armchair Warrior because the AW questions everything. Maybe I should have called the blog the ChessX-Files

Or maybe Mcully and Sculder…

The gentleman did get in touch, writing that his son, who was considered a promising player, had stopped playing Chess. When asked why he no longer wanted to play the game the son said, “Half the kids CHEAT, dad!”

The stunned father was taken aback. He wrote it took a few moments to gather himself. Then he questioned the number saying, “Surely it is not as bad as that?” The son replied his friend had also decided to quit the game because of the rampant cheating.

I have not been involved in playing Chess the past few years and have been away from tournament action. All I know is what I read on the Chess websites and what is sent to me via email, such as the following:

“This also goes past the actual cheating..I have beaten several GMs..so has (Name withheld)(even in his 70s)…of course the results are consider “upsets”…however If go to the US Masters and have a similar “upset win”..I am going to be accused of cheating..the organizers are going to strip search me looking for evidence..maybe call in DHS!…and if I was to have two “upset wins”… the GMS will pass around a letter asking that I should be removed from the US Masters…I would never get my reputation back…it’s kinda like be accused of a child abuse charge.. and notice that number of Masters that do not play anymore?… Chess at least in the US is doomed…and of course these are my personal comments and should not be connected to my name..you can use my concerns but please not my name or the state that I live in…”

This was received in the spring of this year. Reading it again caused me to think of the US Open this year in which only one IM participated…(This comes from memory; I did no research so I may have it confused with another large tournament) Make of it what you will…

How prevalent has cheating in Chess become?

Canadian Arbiter Caught Cheating

by kevinspraggettonchess · Published September 22, 2018 · Updated September 28, 2018

Claude Lessard is a popular and well respected arbiter, organizer and promoter in the Quebec City area chess community. Earlier in the month the Quebec Chess Federation (FQE) took the unprecedented step to ban him for 2 years following an investigation into multiple longtime allegations of cheating using a cellphone chess app during his games.

Questions of whether this cheating was just the tip of the iceberg amongst members of the popular chess club he ran and owned remain unanswered.

Cheating is destroying the game

I don’t play so much these days, but in the relatively few international tournaments that I have played in during the past 5 years here in Europe, I have witnessed a significant number of examples of cheating. Even amongst 2700-plus players, not just the lowly amateur.

Some of these methods used are quite sophisticated, and implicate outside help. All require the tournament arbiters to close their eyes and look the otherway. As I wrote several times here on this blog, a good rule of thumb is that at any given time in any tournament as many as 20% of the participants are cheating in one way or the other. Not just with apps.

Now that it is well established that parents, spectators, arbiters and even organizers are participating in this ‘epidemic’, that rule of thumb must be updated and increased.

Organized chess can not continue this way. Perhaps it is time for FIDE to stop listening to arbiters and organizers, or to start expelling some arbiters and organizers that players have already noticed can not be trusted.

http://www.spraggettonchess.com/canadian-arbiter-caught-cheating/

“If a player is determined to cheat, it will happen”

by Davide Nastasio

10/20/2018 – In the United States, there are many weekend tournaments, thanks to the efforts of many independent tournament organizers nationwide. Some of these tournaments provide significant prize money, over USD $12,000, and the chance to play against strong master level players. Georgia-based DAVIDE NASTASIO recently spoke to one such veteran organizer, Walter High,

and sent this brief interview along with annotated games from the North Carolina Open.

Walter High: I started playing because my two sons, David and Zachary, were becoming very good players and I got tired of sitting in the hallways of hotels and schools waiting for them to finish their games. I thought: “I can play this game! How hard could it be?” I found out the answer to that very, very quickly!

DN: What about cheating? The technology has made falling into temptation definitely easier, how are the USCF and US tournament organisers dealing with such a big problem?

WH: I sincerely doubt that there was ever a time when cheating did not exist in chess. Technology has just changed the methods used to cheat and also the methods used to prevent cheating. If a player is determined to cheat, it will happen. We cannot prevent it other than by making players face off naked in isolation from other players and all spectators! Technology is also used to help prevent cheating; metal detectors and wands are used to eliminate electronic devices from entering the playing venue. There is a point at large tournaments where anti-cheating measures can only go so far without making the tournament experience disagreeable for too many players. It is a trade-off we cannot escape. This problem will be as timeless as the eternal battle between good and evil.

https://en.chessbase.com/post/north-carolina-open-2018

Isle of Man Chess International, Round 2, 21 October 2018. Photo by John Saunders

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Winning: It’s D Only Thang

In an earlier post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/winning/) I posited improving Chess by devaluing the draw to 1/4 point for each player. Lowering the value of a draw would obviously increase the value of a win. Winning is the point of any game, is it not?

The recently completed US Masters in Greensboro, North Carolina, using the traditional one point for a win and one half point for a draw, ended with four main score groups:

6 1/2

GM JOHN MICHAEL BURKE
GM JEFFERY XIONG
GM EVGENY POSTNY
IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV
GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL
GM SERGEY ERENBURG
GM TIMUR GAREYEV
GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN

6

GM ALONSO ZAPATA
GM SERGEI AZAROV
GM SAMUEL SEVIAN
GM NICLAS HUSCHENBETH
GM VLADIMIR BELOUS
GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN
IM MICHAEL W BROWN
GM MAGESH CHANDRAN PANCHANATHAN

5 1/2

IM JUSTIN J SARKAR
GM KAMIL DRAGUN
IM GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ
GM JULIO C SADORRA
GM CARLOS ANTONIO HEVIA ALEJANO

5

FM JUSTIN WANG
GM ALEXANDER SHABALOV
FM ANDREW ZHANG HONG
IM KEVIN WANG
IM ERIK SANTARIUS
GM JOEL BENJAMIN
FM HANS NIEMANN
IM ADVAIT PATEL
GM DMITRY GUREVICH
GM ELSHAN MORADIABADI
GM JULIO J BECERRA
FM BRANDON JACOBSON
IM FARAI MANDIZHA
IM MICHAEL LEE
GM ISAN ORTIZ SUAREZ
GM ANDREY STUKOPIN
GM MICHAEL A ROHDE
GM BRYAN G SMITH

If the tournament had ended with exactly the same individual game results the outcome would have been entirely different. Before you leave comments and/or send emails, please consider I am aware altering the distribution of points would, most probably, have ensured many of the results would have been much different because players would be FORCED to alter the way they play. There would have been more fighting Chess since a win would be worth much more than the method currently in use. How many players would opt for any bye in any round? How many would take a 1/4 point bye in the final round?

This is how the tournament would have ended using the new method of 1/4 point for a draw:

GM TIMUR GAREYEV 6 1/4

IM MICHAEL W BROWN 6

GM JOHN MICHAEL BURKE 5 3/4
GM JEFFERY XIONG
GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN

GM ALONSO ZAPATA 5 1/2
GM SERGEI AZAROV
GM MAGESH CHANDRAN PANCHANATHAN

GM EVGENY POSTNY 5 1/4
IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV
GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL
GM SERGEY ERENBURG
IM JUSTIN J SARKAR (Includes last round 1/4 bye)
GM KAMIL DRAGUN

GM SAMUEL SEVIAN 5
GM NICLAS HUSCHENBETH
FM BRANDON JACOBSON
IM FARAI MANDIZHA

IM GUILLERMO VAZQUEZ 4 3/4
GM JULIO C SADORRA
GM CARLOS ANTONIO HEVIA ALEJANO

GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN 4 1/2
GM ALEXANDER SHABALOV
FM ANDREW ZHANG HONG
IM MICHAEL LEE

IM ATULYA ARYA SHETTY 4 1/4
IM SHIYAM THAVANDIRAN

IM ERIK SANTARIUS 4
GM JOEL BENJAMIN
FM HANS NIEMANN
IM ADVAIT PATEL
GM DMITRY GUREVICH
GM ISAN ORTIZ SUAREZ
GM ANDREY STUKOPIN
GM MICHAEL A ROHDE
GM BRYAN G SMITH

You can find the final standings, along with the prize money won, at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/table.aspx#198/USMASTERS/result-round9.html)

It is more than a little obvious devaluing the draw would put a premium on WINNING! Players would no longer be willing to “settle” for a draw. Players would be forced to stop playing for a draw and stop considering splitting the point, which is the point. Who knows, maybe players would become more like Victor Korchnoi and play slightly “dubious” opening moves intentionally in hopes of creating problems for the opponent right from the beginning of the game. Maybe an opening like the King’s Gambit would make a return.

This departure from what has become ‘normal’ would infuse the staid game of Chess with new enthusiasm. Gone would be the short draws that have become all too common. “Buddy-buddy” draws and group hugs would become a thing of the past, which is where they belong.

Here are a few selected games “played” at the 2018 US Masters, which can be found at (http://chessstream.com/US-Masters-and-North-Carolina-Open/Games.aspx).

FM LEVY ROZMAN (2421) vs AUSTEN J GREEN (2066)

round 1

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. h4 d6 6. Nh3 Nc6 7. Qb3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Ng5 Qe7 10. Be3 Nd8 11. Na3 h6 12. Nf3 Ng4 13. Nc2 Be6 14. Qa4 Bd7 15. Qc4 Be6 16. Qa4 Bd7 17. Qc4 1/2-1/2

IM VISHNUVARDHAN ARJUN (2224) vs GM ELSHAN MORADIABADI (2540)

round 1

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Ne5 Nc6 5. d4 e6 6. Bb5 Qc7 7. Bf4 Bd6 8. Qg4 g6 9. Qg3 Qa5 10. Nc3 Bxe5 11. Bxe5 f6 12. Bc7 Qb4 13. O-O-O Bd7 14. Rhe1 Kf7 15. Bd6 Qa5 16. Bc7 Qb4 17. Bd6 Qa5 18. Bc7 1/2-1/2

IM ADVAIT PATEL (2475) vs GM ALEKSANDR LENDERMAN (2625)

round 2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. c4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Nxc3 7. dxc3 g6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bh6 Bf8 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bh6 Bf8 12. Bg5 1/2-1/2

GM SERGEY ERENBURG (2564) vs IM DJURABEK KHAMRAKULOV (2489)

round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Ne1 h5 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Nxd3 Nd7 10. Nd2 1/2-1/2

GM YURI GONZALEZ VIDAL (2559) vs IM KEVIN WANG (2414)

round 7

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O Ng6 7. Be3 Nd7 8. Nbd2 f6 9. c4 fxe5 10. dxe5 Ndxe5 11. Nd4 Bb4 12. g4 c5 13. Qa4 Qd7 14. Qxd7 Kxd7 15. Nxf5 exf5 16. gxf5 Bxd2 17. Bxd2 Nh4 18. Bf4 Rae8 1/2-1/2

GM SERGEY ERENBURG (2564) vs GM JEFFERY XIONG (2650)

round 9

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. a4 Be6 9. Be2 h6 10. O-O Qc6 11. Ne1 Nbd7 12. Nd3 a5 13. f4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Qxe4 15. Qd2 Qh7 16. Qc3 Qe4 17. Qd2 Qh7 18. Qc3 Qe4 1/2-1/2

WE HAVE A LOSER!!!

GM HOVHANNES GABUZYAN (2556) vs GM EVGENY POSTNY (2586)

round 9

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. O-O e6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Nbd2 1/2-1/2

A total of ELEVEN moves were “played” in this game by both players. Under the format used in this tournament it is a pity these “players” were unable to “call it in.” The time used to “play” this “game” could have been spent much more productively in the bar. THIS IS NOT CHESS! This so-called “game” is one of the main reasons Chess has never become popular in America. Most of the world wants a winner, not a drawer!

The Whole World Is Reading

I have not been well for the past week, but am happy to report feeling better. This is post #64, so I will celebrate it as a milestone. Why is it we human’s celebrate only round numbers such as 100, or even 150, as is the case with the current craze focusing on the 150th anniversary of the War of Northern Aggression? In November there will be much made of the fact that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. Books and movies that could have appeared last year have been held back in order to capitalize on a zero. Go figure…Since this is a blog about chess, I feel it only appropriate I celebrate the number 64.
One of the things I have noticed about the stats of my blog is that after posting, if I do not make another post soon, the number of readers will gradually head downward. This has, surprisingly, not been the case after my last post. The number of readers has actually increased since writing about the US Masters. I cannot help but wonder why. Could it be readers are hungry for more information about the tournament than has been made available? There was a tepid piece on the USCF website, in conjunction with other Labor Day tournaments. What does it say about the state of chess when USCF does not even cover one of the major tournaments of the year? There was a rather good article by Sabrina Chevannes on Chessbase (http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4011061/norm-galore-at-the-us-masters-080913.aspx), yet hardly anything on the website of the North Carolina Chess Association. Even now, weeks later, one can find little about the tournament, or the festival, as it was called, on the NCCA website. I cannot help but wonder if those responsible realize we have moved into the 21st century with the internet. If organizers do not get the word out now, the interest of the chess fan will move on to something current. By the time organizers do get the word out the chess fan thinks, “That is so yesterday.” For example, by the time something appears on US Chess Online it has already, in most cases, gone around the world and back. The internet has taken the place of the newspaper. I have often read that yesterday’s newspaper is only good for something in which to wrap fish. One cannot even do that with yesterday’s internet chess news.
I have often been surprised when checking the Armchair Warrior stats. For example, earlier this week the AW was “discovered” by Saudi Arabia. The US is usually first in number of readers and views, and by a large margin over Canada, which is to be expected, I suppose. The other day Saudi Arabia topped the list by a wide margin, for some reason. Hello, and thank you! Although I have not checked recently, some time ago the number of countries in which readers had clicked on to the AW was found to be over 60. I am not only pleased, but also surprised, and a little humbled.
I would like to thank all who have left comments, and sent emails. I have made it a practice to publish every comment posted since I began the now defunct BaconLOG (http://baconlog.blogspot.com/). I regret having to nix one Humbert Hamilton in reply to my post “The Award Winning Georgia Chess Magazine.” It is a pity because I enjoyed it immensely, but I simply cannot print some of what the man wrote, and if I cannot print all of it, I will print none of it. If you go back and read some of the comments left on the BaconLOG, you will find I allowed anyone to express their feeling toward me, no matter how harsh. I would have allowed Humbert the same courtesy if he had not made unfounded allegations concerning my private life.
I am writing this while the Sinquefield Cup is underway at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center. Today is the second big matchup between GM Hikaru Nakamura, who has the white pieces, and World Championship contender, GM Magnus Carlsen. Like many others, I had been looking forward to this game. It is unfortunate, because the whole world is watching, but the sad fact is the broadcast from St. Louis has had myriad “technical difficulties.” Yesterday was the straw that broke Bacon’s back. There had been an off day before yesterday’s disaster, and I do not only mean disaster because both American players lost. Certainly any “technical difficulties” should have been taken care of during that off day. Unfortunately, the problems grew worse and it became amateur hour at the STLCC&SC. I will not elaborate on the many crashes, but suffice it to say that when a loop of Jennifer saying, “Thank you for staying with us with all the technical difficulties,” or some such, was heard for the third, or was it fourth, time, I could take it no longer. I clicked off and tuned out the broadcast, vowing never to go back to the coverage from the STLCC&SC. It is a pity because I have really enjoyed the commentators, especially GM Yasser Seirawan, who, unlike GM Maurice Ashley, does not use a computer program. It has been a joy to listen to Yasser’s analysis of the games. From what he “sees” it is obvious why he was one of the strongest chess players on the planet at one time. His book, “Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions,” is the best chess book I have read this century. Not to mention the lovely Jennifer Shahade, the “color” commentator. I say “color” because in a baseball broadcast it used to be that one person in the booth was known as the “announcer,” while the other was the “color” man. If nothing else, Jennifer is colorful! Fortunately there are other places where the games can be found. I see Gata has again played the Dutch defense, which is near and dear to my heart. It makes me think of the comment made by Magnus Carlsen about playing the Dutch against Levon Aronian because he had found a weakness in how Levon has previously played against the Dutch. Gata must have heard the same thing. Oh how I would like to hear what is being said by the gang, but, “Fool me once…twice, three, four or more times, and a man who knows enough is enough will always have enough, and I have had enough!”

Youth Served At US Masters

Damir Studen and Daniel Gurevich, two young players from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, both scored 5.5 points out of 9 rounds at the recent US Masters in Greensboro, North Carolina. That put both of them in the fourth score group, in a tie for 12-21 out of 79 players. They were the lowest rated, by far, players in the score group. For both of these young men (Damir was born in 1989 and Daniel in 1997) this can be considered a breakout event. Damir has previously won the state championship of Georgia, while Daniel won the top section of the 2009 Super Nationals in Nashville, so both have known success. Both would agree the US Masters is on another level entirely.
Damir won 3, drew 5, and lost one. Daniel won 5, drew one, and lost 3. Damir had a performance rating of 2560, while Daniel’s PR was 2544. Damir faced four GM’s, with two wins and two draws. Daniel played five GM’s, winning two, while losing three. Damir played his usual solid, steady game and was consistent throughout the event, with draws interspersed with wins until winning back to back in rounds seven and eight. Daniel lost two of his first three, won four of the next five, with the other game being drawn. He won three in a row in rounds 6-8. Damir earned 48 rating points to move to 2384. Daniel garnered 51 rating points, with his rating increasing to 2344. The two had three common opponents. They both drew with IM John Cox of England. Damir drew with GM Alex Fishbein while Daniel won. Damir also drew with GM Georg Meier, while Daniel lost his game with Meier in the last round.
What I want to do is contrast the performance of these two young turks with that of some of the older players, the wily ol’ veterans. I have read analytical books on baseball by writers such as Bill James and his Baseball Abstracts over the last thirty plus years. The study of baseball statistics is called “sabermetrics.” One of the things I have learned is the smaller the sample size, the less trustworthy the results. With that caveat I can tell you this sample size would be considered small in any study, but it is all I have with which to work. To make it even smaller, I will throw out one of the games. I do that because organizers continue the nonsensical practice of having an odd number of rounds, which puts one half of the field at a disadvantage by having to play the Black pieces an extra time. Both Damir and Daniel each played White four times while having the Black pieces five times, which makes their individual results even more spectacular!
I wanted to know if their success can be attributed to youthful exuberance, and if so, to what extent. For this study I decided to contrast the performance rating of the first four rounds with that of the last four rounds. To do so I would have to eliminate the 5th round entirely, which would leave each player with an equal number of times playing the White and Black pieces. I also needed to use only those who played all nine games, for obvious reasons. GM Larry Kaufman had a good result considering he is older than me by a few years. It boggles my mind how he can play at such a level. But Larry did take two half-point byes, which would skew the results to a point of being meaningless.
I decided to find matching pairs, like Damir and Daniel in order to increase the sample size. The two players I found to contrast with D & D were GM Alonso Zapata, now living in Atlanta, and GM Michael Rohde, who used to visit and play when his parents lived in Atlanta. Alonso was born in 1958 and Michael 1959, making both of them eligible to play in the US Senior. Because they are several decades older I believe it makes for a fine contrast of youth versus age.
This is the PR for all nine rounds for each of them, with all numbers rounded off:
Zapata 2619
Studen 2560
Gurevich 2544
Rohde 2467
Added together and averaged we have a PR for Zapata & Rohde of 2543, and for D&D it is 2552, which is close.
Now let us look at the PR for each for only the first four rounds:
Zapata 2789
Studen 2683
Gurevich 2395
Rhode 2320
And for the last four rounds:
Gurevich 2712
Studen 2576
Rohde 2543
Zapata 2444
Combine each of the two sets and average them for the first four rounds and we get:
D & D 2539
Z & R 2555
This means they played about the same chess during the first four rounds. Now we look at the last four rounds:
D&D 2644
Z & R 2494
The two young men obviously played much stronger chess in the later stages of the long tournament.
I considered using GM John Federowicz as he was also born in 1958, like GM Zapata, but rejected him because he had taken a half point bye in the fifth round. Since he did play the first, and last, four rounds, I would like to mention his tournament. John, one of the most gracious players I have encountered through the years, won his first two games, but those were the only games he won. He drew his next two, took a half point bye, lost in round 6 to GM Meier, drew in round seven, lost again in the penultimate round, and finally drew in the last round. This adds up to an even tournament. The Fed’s PR for the tournament was 2451. For the first four rounds was 2663; for the last four, 2239. If John were combined with either Alonso or Michael it would have been an even more dramatic decline. Combined, The Fed and The Zap would have had a PR of 2726 for the first four rounds. It would have dropped precipitously to only 2342 for the last four rounds. Rohde and the Fed would be 2491 for the first four rounds, and 2391 for the last four.
I stand in awe while applauding these two young men from my home city, Damir Studen, who earned an IM norm, and Daniel Gurevich, on such an excellent tournament.

Damir Studen Earns IM Norm at US Masters

GM Rauf Mamedov sat down to play GM Bartlomiej Macieja on board one in the last round of the US Masters trailing by half a point. To win the tournament Rauf would have to win the game, which is exactly what happened. Three other players had a chance to finish with seven points. GM’s Alejandro Ramirez and Yuniesky Quesada Perez drew their game, thus finishing with 6 ½, while GM Alojzije Jankovic, with a chance to finish first, took a HALF POINT BYE in the last round, the second half point bye he had taken in the tournament. Jankovic lost to Macieja in the penultimate round.
The official website tried to broadcast three games, but usually there were only two, or one, game live, because of “tech issues.” I followed the last game, which could have been drawn with better play from the loser. One game never made it to the web. The game in which I had the most interest, the board three game between GM Georg Meier and NM Daniel Gurevich, of Atlanta, was being broadcast until it, too, had “tech issues.” After losing two of his first three games, NM Gurevich won in the fourth round, followed by a draw with IM John Cox. Daniel then ripped off three wins in a row, including GM Alex Fishbein in round seven and GM Alex Shabalov in the penultimate round. Reeling with the feeling and playing Black versus GM Meier, Gurevich played like a wild man swinging wildly by pushing his g-pawn and thereby weakening his position. It was the kind of impetuous move a chess teacher would advise a student against playing. A few moves later the game disappeared and I regretted not copying the moves that had been displayed.
The big news locally is that LM Damir Studen, who literally grew up at the House of Pain, earned an IM norm with his 5 ½ points with his last round draw with the aforementioned IM John Cox. His tournament included three wins, five draws, and only one loss, that a round five loss to LSM Denys Shmelov. He drew with GM’s Alex Fishbein and Georg Meier, and defeated GM John Federowicz. Damir and Daniel finished in the fourth score group, tying for twelfth place with many others. Years ago when both of these young men were up and comers I showed there was still life left in this old dog by defeating both of them in a nightly quick-play event at the Atlanta Chess Center. I mention this because I have read many times that one should “get them on the way up,” and have always wanted to put it into print. The game with Damir was particularly exciting because I had to play many moves with only one second left on my clock. Fortunately there was a five second delay. Both would, no doubt, eat me alive now. I congratulate both of these players for their outstanding result. Damir gained 48 rating points to move close to Senior Master level at 2384. Daniel increased his rating 51 points to move to 2344.
When the tournament first began there were updates often, and the pictures were like being onsite. I have not seen many of the players, like GM Michael Rohde, in years, so the pictures on the website were nice to see. Someone was taking a picture of the results page every “15-20 minutes.” That stopped, unfortunately. Combine that with the myriad technical problems and general lack of games, and I quickly lost interest. The internet was down most of the final day and I did not seem to mind because the results were not forthcoming, often for far too long. To a chess fan the coverage showed much promise initially, but sputtered and ground to a halt. In chess terms it would be like a player winning his first round and then losing all of his next games.
Since there have been so few games from the US Masters I would like to present a game given by Olimpiu Urcan & Other Epistolarians from, Chess: A Singapore Column of September 1, 2013. (http://sgchess.net/2013/09/01/871-a-scandinavian-crash/). This one is for you, future IM Studen!
A Scandinavian Crash
Along with his brief annotations and comments, Napoleon Recososa submits the interesting game below, played in the fourth round of the Inaugural Teck Ghee CSC Community Chess Championship (August 25, 2013):
Napoleon Recososa – Kanagenthiran Premnath [B01]
Inaugural Teck Ghee CSC Community Chess, Round 4, 25 August 2013
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bh5 8.Be3 e6 9.g4 Bg6 10.Ne5 Nbd7 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Qe2 b5 13.Bd3 Qb4?! A waste of time since White, with his next move, castles queenside anyway. Perhaps 13…Be7 was better. 14.0–0–0 a5? Premature activity. He failed to consider the king’s safety. Maybe he underestimated the lurking dangers in the center as his c6 and e6-pawns controlled the d5 square and, furthermore, White’s bishop on e3 covered the e-file. 15.g5 Nh5 [see diagram] If 15…Nd5 White planned 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.Bf4+ Qe7 (17…Be7 18.c3; 17…Kd8 18.Rhe1) 18.Qf3 and now if 18…0–0–0 then 19.Bxb5! cxb5 20.Qxd5 looks strong. 16.d5! Nf4 After 16…cxd5 17.Nxd5 Qd6 (17…exd5 allows 18.Bc5+) 18.Nb6 (18.Bxb5 was interesting too but I had doubts about 18…exd5 19.Bc5+ Qe6) 18…Nf4 19.Qf3 White’s just winning. 17.Bxf4 Qxf4+ 18.Kb1 Nc5 If 18…Ne5 then White had a pleasant choice between 19.dxe6 fxe6 20.Bxg6+ or the more crude 19.dxc6 b4 20.Nb5. 19.Bxb5 Rc8 19…cxb5 loses to 20.Qxb5+ Kd8 (20…Ke7 21.d6+ Kd8 22.Qxc5) 21.dxe6+ Kc8 (21…Kc7 is met by the simple 22.Nd5+ or 22.Rd7+) 22.Qc6+. 20.Bxc6+ Rxc6 21.dxc6 Qc7 21…Qxg5 fails because of 22.c7! 22.Qg4? Better was 22.Qb5 followed by 23.Na4. I was distracted by my opponent’s time trouble. 22…Qxc6 23.f3 Be7 24.h4 a4 25.Ne4 a3 26.Nxc5 Bxc5 27.h5 Qb5 28.b3 gxh5 29.Qe4! Call it a sense of danger or pure luck but I noticed that after 29.Rxh5 Rxh5 30.Qxh5 there is the sneaky 30…Qe2! 31.Qh8+ Bf8 32.Qh1 Qe5. 29…Ke7 29…0–0 30.Rxh5 is losing too. 30.g6 f6 30…f5 leads to a forced mate after 31.Qh4+. 31.Rhe1 Qb6 3. Qd5 and with just six seconds left, my opponent resigned in this hopeless position. 1–0

US Masters Update

GM Alonso Zapata is playing GM Alex Lenderman on board one of the fifth round of the US Masters, each with 3 ½ out of four. Raja Panjwani, playing on board two, also has 3 ½. This is his round four game:
Quesada Perez, Yuni (2636) vs Zapata, Alonso (2496)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f4 d6 8. Qf3 a6 9. O-O-O Be7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. Rhe1 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 e5 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 exd4 15. Qe4 g6 16. Qxe7 Qa5 17. Kb1 Bg4 18. Rc1 Qxd5 19. Be4 Qc5 20. h3 Be6 21. g4 Rfe8 22. Qh4 Bxa2+ 23. Kxa2 Rxe4 24. Kb1 Rxf4 25. Re7 d3 26. cxd3 Qd5 27. Re3 Ra4 28. Rc7 Qa5 29. Rc4 Ra1+ 30. Kc2 d5 31. Qg5 0-1
Tim Brookshear (2034) upset NM Michael Mestres (2229) by winning from the Black side of a Caro Kann advance variation and is tied with five others at the top of the thirty three player NC Open. The Legendary Georgia Ironman is playing on second board tonight.
The board one game in round five just ended:
Zapata, Alonso vs Lenderman, Aleksand (2527)
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nh3 Nf6 7. Bc4 e6 8. c3 Bd6 9. Nf4 Nbd7 10. Qf3 Qc7 11. Bb3 a5 12. a3 a4 13. Ba2 Nd5 14. Nxg6 hxg6 15. O-O b5 16. Re1 N7b6 17. Bg5 Bf4 18. Bxf4 Qxf4 19. Qxf4 Nxf4 20. Ne4 Ke7 21. g3 Nfd5 22. Re2 Nf6 23. Ng5 Nbd5 24. Rae1 Rac8 25. f4 Rc7 26. Bb1 Kd6 27. Nf3 Nb6 28. Ne5 Nfd5 29. Be4 Rhc8 30. Bg2 Ke7 31. h4 Kf8 32. Bf3 Nf6 33. Rh2 c5 34. dxc5 Rxc5 35. Rd1 Ke7 36. Re2 Nc4 37. Nxc4 bxc4 38. Rd4 Nd7 39. Red2 Nb6 40. Kf2 Rb5 41. Ke2 Rb8 42. Kd1 Nd5 43. Kc1 Nb6 44. Be2 Rc5 45. Bd1 Rd5 46. Bf3 Rxd4 47. Rxd4 Rc8 48. Kd2 Rc5 49. Be2 f6 50. Kc1 Rc8 ½-1/2

US Masters: Round One

The first round of the 2013 US Masters is history, and the second round is underway as I punch & poke! The upset of the round went to FM Jonathan Chiang, from Texas, who beat GM Mikheil Kekelidze, from the country of Georgia
Chiang v Kekelidze
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nd2 d5 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Re1 Bc5 10. N2b3 Qc7 11. e5 Nxe5 12. Nxc5 Neg4 13. Qf3 Qxh2+ 14. Kf1 Qc7 15. Qg3 Qxc5 16. Nf5 Nxe3+ 17. Rxe3 g6 18. Qe5 gxf5 19. Qxf6 Rg8 20. Bxf5 Qe7 21. Qd4 Bd7 22. Bxh7 Rg5 23. Bd3 Bc6 24. Rae1 O-O-O 25. Qh4 Rdg8 26. f4 Qf6 27. Rg3 Rxg3 28. Qxf6 Rxg2 29. Re2 Rg1+ 30. Kf2 d4 31. Qxd4 Rd1 32. Qe5 Bd5 33. Be4 1-0
Davis Whaley of Kentucky held GM Michael Rohde to a draw:
Whaley vs Rohde
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 c5 5. Bxb4 cxb4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. e4 d6 8. Ne2 e5 9. O-O Re8 10. Re1 a5 11. a3 Na6 12. Nd2 Bd7 13. Rc1 exd4 14. Nxd4 Nc5 15. Qc2 Qb6 16. axb4 axb4 17. b3 Ng4 18. N2f3 Ra3 19. Rb1 Rea8 20. Rb2 Ra1 21. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 22. Rb1 Qa7 23. h3 Ra2 24. Rb2 Rxb2 25. Qxb2 Nd3 26. Qb1 Ngxf2 27. Kh2 h6 28. Nf5 Qc5 29. Qa1 Bxf5 30. exf5 Qxf5 31. Qa8+ Kh7 32. Qxb7 Nc5 ½
NM Bradley Denton of Alabama held GM Georg Meier to a draw with the black pieces:
Meier vs Denton
1.Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 Nd7 4. c4 c6 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 e6 7. Qb3 Qb6 8. Qxb6 Nxb6 9. Ne5 Bh5 10. Nb5 Kd8 11. Bf3 Bg6 12. d3 a6 13. Nc3 f6 14. Nxg6 hxg6 15. e4 d4 16. Ne2 e5 17. Bd2 Na4 18. O-O-O Ne7 19. Kb1 Nc6 20. h4 Bd6 21. Bg4 Nc5 22. Nc1 Kc7 23. f4 Raf8 24. Rdf1 f5 25. Bf3 fxe4 26. Bxe4 Rf6 27. fxe5 Nxe5 28. Bg5 Rxf1 29. Rxf1 Nxe4 30. dxe4 Rf8 31. Rxf8 Bxf8 32. Bf4 Bd6 33. Kc2 Nf3 34. Ne2 Kc6 35. Kd3 Be5 36. Nc1 Bd6 37. Nb3 Bxf4 38. gxf4 Nxh4 39. Nxd4+ Kc5 40. a3 Ng2 41. Ne2 a5 42. Kc3 a4 43. Kd3 Ne1+ 44. Kd2 Ng2 45. Kc3 b5 46. Kd3 Ne1+ 47. Kd2 Ng2 48. Kc3 Ne3 49. Nc1 Nd1+ 50. Kc2 Ne3+ 51. Kd3 Nd1 52. Kc2 Ne3+ 53. Kd2 Kd4 54. e5 Nc4+ 55. Kc2 Ne3+ 56. Kd2 Nc4+ 57. Kc2 g5 58. fxg5 Nxe5 59. Ne2+ Kc4 60. Nf4 Nf3 61. g6 Ne5 62. Ne6 Nxg6 63. Nxg7 Ne7 64. Ne8 Nf5 65. Nc7 Nd4+ 66. Kb1 Kc5 ½
WFM Sabrina Chevennes, from England, held IM Vitaly Niemer to a draw:
Chevennes vs Niemer
1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 Bxf3 9. gxf3 e6 10. Qxb7 Nxd4 11. Bb5+ Nxb5 12. Qc6+ Ke7 13. Qxb5 Qd7 14. Nxd5+ Qxd5 15. Qxd5 exd5 ½
The games were copied from the excellent website of the Carolinas Chess Festival, which can be found on the website of the North Carolina Chess Association (http://www.ncchess.org/), or directly at: http://www.ncchess.org/live/
Check back here for on the spot reports and games you may not find on the website!