About a week ago I clicked onto a link found at the website of the Coast to Coast Am radio program (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/inthenews/) and noticed this: Aphantasia: why are some people unable to picture things in their mind? (https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/367073/aphantasia-why-are-some-people-unable-to-picture-things-in-their-mind)

Not everyone can picture something in their head. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Andrew Mason (https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/367073/aphantasia-why-are-some-people-unable-to-picture-things-in-their-mind)

Why, indeed, was my first thought, because I am one of those people. At the end of the article this was read: This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

I clicked onto it immediately (https://theconversation.com/were-just-starting-to-learn-more-about-aphantasia-the-inability-to-picture-things-with-the-minds-eye-202670) and read the article again… Since then I have read many articles pertaining to aphantasia, the urls of some will be found in chronological order at the end of the post.

In a recent post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2023/05/20/fm-todd-andrews-versus-grandmasters-robert-hungaski-and-david-arenas-at-the-american-continental-chess-championship-2023/) this was written: I could “see” 21 Bxe5, followed by 21…Nxe5 22 dxe5 Rxe5 23 Nf3, attacking the Rook. That is about as far my Chess vision allows. I can “see” that because it is all forced.

That was the day before discovering the article at the Unexplained Mysteries website. I wrote “see” because I cannot actually “see” anything when my eyes are closed; all I see is black.

The article at The Conversation begins: “When asked to close their eyes and imagine a sunset, most people can bring to mind an image of the sun setting on the horizon. Some people may experience more vivid details, such as vibrant colours, while others may produce a mental image that is blurry or lacks detail. But recent research has found that some people don’t experience mental imagery at all.”

“This lack of mental imagery is called aphantasia. People with aphantasia are often surprised when they learn others see mental images in their minds. Many people with aphantasia have said they assumed others were speaking metaphorically when they described seeing something in their “mind’s eye.”

Because of Chess I knew some players could see a picture of the board, or many boards, when they play blindfold Chess, or any kind of Chess without sight of the board, for that matter. Some players are able to keep a mental picture of myriad games in their mind’s eye. I thought they were freaks. Turns out I am the freak because, “It is estimated that roughly four per cent of people have aphantasia.” (https://theconversation.com/were-just-starting-to-learn-more-about-aphantasia-the-inability-to-picture-things-with-the-minds-eye-202670)

After reading the article emails were sent to some of my friends in the Chess community asking the question, “When you are playing Chess can you visualize the board and pieces when you close your eyes? Can you move a piece and see the new position?”

Some did not understand the question but after replying to their reply they found understanding. Some elaborated, which I greatly appreciated. The answer that made me smile came from one of my all-time favorite people, The Discman (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/the-discman/), who replied with one word: “Yes.” Not one person contacted said they could not visualize anything. One wanted more information, asking why I had asked “such a ridiculous question.” Although I have yet to inform anyone of why the question was asked, I did reply to the person, who, after reading, sent a very nice apology, using the word “profusely” prior to “sorry.” He was completely unaware, like most people, I suppose, that there are people who “draw a blank” when they close their eyes. “How the hell can you play Chess?” he asked. How indeed…

My roommate, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, was incredulous upon learning I could not visualize a Chess position, or a picture of my Mother. “That’s scary,” Tim said. He, too, questioned me, asking, “How do you analyze a position?” That is a difficult question to answer. Tim also asked about my being able to “see” a picture of my Mother. The only way for me to describe it is that I have a memory of her smiling, and a picture of one particular photo of her smiling, which are contained in my memory, but I cannot exactly ‘see’ the picture. It is more like something vague in a kinda, sorta nebulous way, I suppose one could say. “That’s frightening,” he said. “How is it possible you could win tournaments and become an Expert without being able to analyze in your head?” He also said, “I would not let anyone know you cannot visualize, Mike.”

I did not start playing Chess seriously until the age of twenty, and because of that fact I have always known there was a ceiling for me that would never be broken. Another friend questioned asked, “How is it possible you could have become an Expert without being able to see the board in your head?” How indeed… Now I know it was not just beginning late that held me back. After winning the Atlanta Chess Championship with a score of 5-0 in 1976 I discovered Backgammon, becoming Atlanta and Georgia Backgammon Champion. In Backgammon one need not visualize future positions because there are simply too many possibilities because the roll of the dice determines the next move. Although I still played tournament Chess occasionally, and did play two fifteen minute games with former Texas State Junior champ Steve Moffitt at Gammons, the only time any other game was seen played there, I was a shadow of the former player. After the Backgammon bubble burst and the boom ended I returned to tournament Chess, but although my rating increased, putting that much sought after crooked number (2) at the front of my rating, I was never again as strong a player as I had been before leaving Chess for Backgammon.

I decided to write this post because this is all new to me, and at my age, there is not much all that new to me now. I want to know how many other players cannot visualize. Therefore, I ask you to contact me at the email found at the AW website. I give my word that nothing written will ever be seen by anyone other than me, unless permission is given by those who contact me. In addition, I ask any and all who read this to share it with others. If the USCF forum was still operational I would ask someone to post it on the forum. If and when (or should that be when and if?) the forum is up again maybe some reader will put this up for discussion. Inquiring minds wanna know…

Here is a partial list of the articles, by date published, read in the last week:

Aphantasia: When Your Mind’s Eye Fails You
The word describes an inability to conceive imaginary or recollected scenes

Chapter 15 – Aphantasia: The science of visual imagery extremes
Volume 178, 2021

The critical role of mental imagery in human emotion: insights from fear-based imagery and aphantasia
10 March 2021

Aphantasia explained: some people can’t form mental pictures
Published: June 9, 2021 1.34pm EDT

What is the Link Between Mental Imagery and Sensory Sensitivity? Insights from Aphantasia
First published online August 31, 2021

The prevalence of aphantasia (imagery weakness) in the general population
January 2022, 103243

Memories with a blind mind: Remembering the past and imagining the future with aphantasia
October 2022

Meta-analytic evidence for a novel hierarchical model of conceptual processing
January 2023

We’re just starting to learn more about aphantasia, the inability to picture things with the mind’s eye
Published: May 16, 2023 3.32pm EDT

Aphantasia: why are some people unable to picture things in their mind?
May 20, 2023

Extreme Imagination: Inside the Mind’s Eye

Truth be told, this blog has more readers during the week than on the weekend, and even fewer readers on a holiday weekend. Therefore, this post will be up until after the holiday in order to, hopefully, reach more people.

USCF Bans GM Alejandro Ramirez For Life

This morning while drinking my first cuppa Joe I read the following at the home page of the United States Chess Federation:

US Chess Final Statement About Alejandro Ramirez Investigation
By US Chess May 24, 2023

US Chess launched an investigation in late 2022 when it received formal complaints from two
individuals alleging sexual misconduct by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


The primary focus of this
investigation was to determine when US Chess had knowledge of the various allegations and what
responsive actions US Chess took. The third party, independent investigation is complete, and,
based on the information received, the third party concluded that the US Chess response was timely and appropriate regarding the reports it received about Ramirez’s conduct. Our focus now is
implementing specific action steps to build a safe, welcoming environment for the future. The
investigation report will not be released due to the confidential nature of the witness statements.

First, as a result of the investigation, the Executive Board has voted to both ratify the
resignation of GM Ramirez and permanently ban GM Ramirez from being a US Chess member.

This writer disagrees with the decision made by the USCF because the United States of America is a forgiving country in which it is said, “If you commit the crime you’ve got to do the time.” We Americans are given second chances for a reason. Please do not get me wrong because from what I have read the actions of GM Ramirez were reprehensible. If he had treated one of my sisters in such a fashion there would have been hell to pay. Actions speak louder than words and you can read in a recent post about the time I took action when one of my sisters suitors intentionally ran her car off of the road in, Say It Ain’t So, Alejandro (https://wordpress.com/post/xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/15193).

One of the members of the Atlanta Chess community ‘back in the day’ was an ex-con, Ulysses Martin. He was a very nice guy and we played many Chess games, including one rated game in which Mr. Martin lost on time after making only 24 moves! Ulysses was a quiet gentleman who had committed a crime, murder, for which he served his time, seven years, before being paroled. As far as I know Ulysses was never again in trouble, other than the trouble he got into over the Chessboard.

‘Back in the day’ a tournament director, Ted Abbott, got up in my face, spewing spittle. I slapped him, not hard, but hard enough to get him to stop spewing. Unfortunately for Ted he responded, slapping the you know what outta me, so I decked him with a straight right fist. For that I was banned from playing in any Georgia Chess Association tournament for one year. As an aside, many years later when involved with sports memorabilia, Mr. Abbott purchased a table at an event in which I was involved. The Legendary Georgia Ironman also had a table, right next to mine, at the event. Tim excitedly returned to the table informing me that “Ted Abbott is here, Mike. He has notebook after notebook filled with autograph cards. They all look like the same person signed them.” After walking over Ted was SHOCKED to see me. After a brief discussion I said, “Ted, all these cards look like they were signed by the same person.” Ted immediately began packing his binders and left the hotel. He was never seen again.

CNN has reached out to Ramirez for comment about the accusations through his lawyer Albert S. Watkins, who replied, “I have been directed to respect the confidentiality I was advised would purportedly attach to pending investigative undertakings.”

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the accusations, quoted Watkins as saying, “At some point we are all compelled to take pause and reflect on the reality that unsubstantiated, temporally aged, and concurrent use of social media to incite a ‘Me Too’ call-to-arms runs afoul of every constitutional safeguard we have always held so dear.

“Superimposing today’s mores on erroneous recitals of acts of yesteryear is a recipe for disaster for both the accused and the accuser.”

Unless there is more, much more, to the story, that the USCF, in its wisdom, is holding back, the decision to permanently ban GM Ramirez should be reconsidered.

Boys Will Be Boys is my attempt at making sense of society’s tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault and rape and make excuses for the perpetrators. It was also my way of dealing with certain events that were occurring in my life at the time. The video itself was intended to express the burden of victim blaming and sexual assault on the victims themselves as the mundane aspects of life go on. A song is just a song but at the very least I hope it will open up difficult yet important conversations between family members, friends, government bodies, organisations and most importantly, boys and men.

Directed, Shot and Edited by George Foster

Lillie Carney
Daisy Dwyer
Alice Warren
Ashlyn Koh
and Stella Donnelly

Finding a Way to Draw at the Space Coast Open

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

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

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

The love of a draw will find a way.

GM Nikola Mitkov


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

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

GM Julio Becerra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stockfish says, 12…Qd7.

IM Andrzej Filipowicz: “Tradition is the future of chess!”

Yesterday Chessbase published, An interview with Andrzej Filipowicz,

a Polish chess polymath, by Uvencio Blanco (https://en.chessbase.com/post/andrzej-filipowicz-interview-uvencio-blanco). This is being mentioned because I faced IM Filipowicz in a USCF rated Chess tournament in 1980. The FIDE Congress was held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and there were many notable Chess players and notable personages here for that reason. Thad Rogers held a Chess tournament that weekend. In addition, there was a speed tournament organized. At that time “speed” meant five minute Chess, as in each player begins the game with only five minutes on the clock. My opponent in the first round of the knock-out tourney was the notorious Soviet Vice Chairman of the USSR Chess Federation, Victor Davydovich Baturinsky.


I have never been good at playing speed Chess. Give me just a little more time, like fifteen minutes, and the strength of my game increased exponentially, which is why I preferred the extra time. Baturinsky beat me like a drum. As if the ignominy of losing quickly was not enough, Baturinsky rubbed salt into the fresh wound by laughing prior to saying, “Americans cannot play Chess!”

“Oh yeah, fat man, have you ever heard of BOBBY FISCHER?!” I said. Baturinsky became LIVID! FIDE pooh-bahs came running, afraid of an international incident. After turning my back to Baturinsky and walking away, he began shouting something about the loser having to replace the pieces. I stopped, turned around, and said, “You replace them, fat man!” One of those who came running was IM Filipowicz.

In the aforementioned classical (which was forty moves in two hours ‘back in the day’) Chess tournament my first round opponent was IM Filipowicz, who had the white pieces. The game was a long, hard fought battle, agreed drawn on his offer many hours later. Much more time was spent analyzing the game with the gentleman.

The interview is excellent. What follows are excerpts from the interview. The first tells you much about the International Master.

Most experts consider that there are four megatrends: ICTs, biotechnology, nanotechnology and cognitive sciences. In your opinion, and being a person close to academia and technological practice, what links could we establish with some of them?

“I do not think I am an expert in the mentioned matters, so I would better not to comment it.”

Can you imagine Garry Kasparov giving that answer? The dude would pontificate at length for many hours, given the chance, because Garry considers himself an expert in EVERYTHING!

What is your opinion on the impact that Artificial Intelligence has had on chess in recent decades, and what do you see for the future?

“The development of computers has changed the chess world, but I doubt that is good for chess. The tradition of fifteen centuries is being destroyed. People are trying to find solutions using computers and Artificial Intelligence instead of developing their own minds.”

Who is the most intelligent chess character you have dealt with in your prolific life? Any particular anecdotes?

“I have met many interesting people in all these chess years, and it is very difficult to say, but I remember very well many discussions I had with Boris Spassky regarding the history of our two countries and, of course, also many chess problems.

As for the anecdotes, I really like the philosophy of the following anecdote: In a Polish city before the War, a master plays for stakes with a very weak player without the queen, but rarely wins. So seeing the tiredness of the rival, who only looks at his pieces, the master decides to keep the queen on the board. After a few moves, the opponent suddenly says, ‘Master, you didn’t remove the queen’. The master replied, ’I removed it’. ‘That’s where you got it from?’. ‘I promoted the pawn’. ‘But you have eight pawns. So please remove one!’.

Another one has to do with an arbiter’s experience. The arbiter was invited to referee a women’s tournament in the late 1940s. Around that time, they used rules from amateur chess. The level of the games was also not the highest. The arbiter suddenly saw that on one of the boards the king was under check by two knights…. As an experienced arbiter, he immediately left the room and went to the buffet. He calmly drank his coffee and returned to the hall. He saw that the mentioned game had finished and the lady attacking the opposite king with two knights had won the duel. He went to this board, explained that ‘someone’ told him that on this board Black’s king was checked by two knights. He began to ask both players why such a situation arose. The lady playing white explained: ‘Dear Mr. Arbiter, when I checked with one knight, my opponent sarcastically smiled and played the bishop, placing it quite decisively. The retort to such a dictum was to check the king with the second knight, but again there was no reaction, so I decided to capture the pawns on the queenside and … I won’.”

We are in a world where uncertainty, limits to freedom and climate change have taken over. In these conditions, what message would you give to the new generations of chess players?

“Unfortunately, I do not see the proper solution to the mentioned problems. I am convinced that chess players cannot change the basic rules and have to keep the tradition of our favorite game and play over-the-board games to see their opponents instead of the screen of the computer. Tradition is the future of chess!”

I urge you to read the entire interview. Kudos to Chessbase for publishing an exceptionally good interview with one of the real gentlemen involved with the Royal Game!

IM Arthur Guo At The 2023 US National High School Chess Championship

Atlantan IM Arthur Guo


finished in a tie for third place with many other players in the recent 2023 US National High School Championship, a half point behind the two leaders. I would like to inform you of the names of the winners, but after being unable to access the USCF webpage contained the information I contacted my friend, Mulfish, who reported, “The US Chess website has had service outages off and on for the last two days. Once it’s up you should be able to get to the crosstable. Once it’s working again you shouldn’t have any trouble.” Some things never change…

Arthur Guo vs Avi Harrison Kaplan


2023 US National High School Championship Rd 4
B40 Sicilian defense

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. g3 b5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. d3 d6 6. Nh3 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. g4 Nf6 9. g5 Nfd7 10. f4 Nc6 11. Ne2 Nb6 12. Ng3 d5 13. f5 exf5 14. exf5 g6 15. f6 Bd6 16. Re1+ Kd7 17. Nf4 Ne5 18. c3 Re8 19. d4 Nec4 20. b3 Na5 21. Nd3 c4 22. Ne5+ Bxe5 23. dxe5 Qc7 24. Bf4 Kd8 25. Ne4 Nc8 26. b4 Qd7 27. Nc5 Qc6 28. Nxb7+ Qxb7 29. bxa5 1-0

Stockfish still considers 2 Nf3 best. In reply to the game move, 2 Nc3, SF considers the move played in the game, 2…a6, best. The move 2…Nc6 has long been favored by we humans, with 365Chess.com showing almost 50,000 games with the move. 2…d6 and 2…e6 are almost tied with each showing over 12,000 games. The best move, according to the ‘Fish, 2…a6, has only been seen in about 3,000 games. 3 g3 has been the far and away favored by humans in 1344 games. Then come 3 Nf3 with 485 games, followed by 3 f4 with 469 games. 3 a4 shows 417 games, while the SF best, 3 Nge2 has only been seen in 2015 games. 3…b5 has been the most often played move, and SF considers it best. Ditto for 4 Bg2, and 4…Bb7. Arthur played 5 d3, as have most other players, but SF will play 5 Nge2. Mr. Kaplan played 5…d6, but 5…e6 has been seen in ten times more games, possibly because SF considers it best. Mr. Guo played 6 Nh3, and SF considers it best, but 6 f4 has been the most often played move. SF will play 6…g6. After 7 0-0, the move 7…Nd7 has been played in 9 games; 7…Nf6 (8); 7…Nc6 (5); 7…Be7 (3); followed by the only game featuring the move SF considers best:

Alexandr Predke (2632) vs Sergey A Fedorchuk (2633)
Event: Tal Memorial Rapid 2019
Site: Riga LAT Date: 07/17/2019
Round: 10.6 Score: 0-1
ECO: B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 e6 6.Nh3 d6 7.O-O b4 8.Ne2 Nf6 9.f4 Nbd7 10.Nf2 h5 11.h3 Qc7 12.a3 a5 13.c3 bxc3 14.bxc3 Be7 15.a4 Rb8 16.c4 Rd8 17.Nc3 Nb8 18.Nb5 Qc8 19.Bb2 Nc6 20.e5 dxe5 21.fxe5 Nd7 22.Qe2 h4 23.g4 O-O 24.Rae1 Qb8 25.Bc3 Nd4 26.Bxd4 cxd4 27.Nxd4 Nc5 28.Nc6 Bxc6 29.Bxc6 Nxd3 30.Nxd3 Qb6+ 31.c5 Qxc6 32.Rc1 Rd4 33.Qf3 Qxf3 34.Rxf3 Rfd8 35.c6 Rc8 36.Nb2 Rd5 37.Rb3 Rc5 38.Rxc5 Bxc5+ 39.Kg2 Bd4 40.Nc4 Rxc6 41.Nxa5 Ra6 42.Rb5 Bc3 43.Nc4 Rxa4 44.Nd6 Rf4 45.g5 Kh7 46.Nc8 Kg6 47.Nb6 Kxg5 48.Nd7 Kg6 49.Nf8+ Kf5 50.Nd7 Bd4 51.Ra5 Rf2+ 52.Kh1 Rf3 53.Kg2 Rg3+ 54.Kh2 Bg1+ 55.Kh1 Be3 56.Nb8 Rxh3+ 57.Kg2 Rg3+ 58.Kh2 Bf4 59.Kh1 h3 60.Nc6 Rd3 61.Ra1 g5 0-1

Gus Huston


vs Arthur Guo
2023 US National High School Championship Rd 5
B40 Sicilian defense

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Na3 a6 7. Nc4 Nbd7 8. Be2 Qc6 9. O-O Qc7 10. a4 b6 11. Nfe5 Nxe5 12. Bf4 Nd5 13. Bxe5 Qc6 14. Bf3 f6 15. Bg3 cxd4 16. Bxd5 exd5 17. Re1+ Kd8 18. Qxd4 Bc5 19. Qd2 Ra7 20. b4 Rd7 21. Ne5 fxe5 22. bxc5 bxc5 23. Rxe5 Bb7 24. Rae1 Kc8 25. Qf4 Rd6 26. Re6 d4 27. f3 Rxe6 28. Rxe6 1-0 https://lichess.org/broadcast/2023-us-national-high-school-championship/round-5/m6sp9J3n

The third move of the game by Mr. Houston has been seen in 9504 games. 3 d4 has been played in almost 100,000 games. 3 c3 is second with 9504 games. 3 Nc3 has been played 9,259 times. It is the move favored by Stockfish. After 4… Qxd5 the move played in the game, 5 d4 has been played in 1844 games. The move favored by Stockfish, 5 Be2 has been seen in action only 43 times. 5…Nf6 followed. Stockfish would play 5…cxd4, which would be a Theoretical Novelty. After 7…Nbd7 Gus played 8 Be2. Stockfish would play 8 a4, for what should be obvious reasons. That brings us to this position:

Position after 8 Be2

I expected Arthur to play 8…b5, which is the choice of SF. The move played, 8…Qc6, was shocking. Stockfish says, “Inaccuracy. b5 was best.” Stockfish gives the move played in the game a dubious (?!) distinction. After 8 Be2 the ‘Fish shows white with an advantage of +0.3. After moving the Queen for the second time in the opening, SF shows the white advantage improving to +0.9. Granted, that is not much of an increase, but it caused me to think of something one Legendary Atlanta area Chess Coach is more than a little fond of saying when a student retreats a piece that has no business retreating: “There you go running back scared again!” Sometimes he will exchange “scared” to “crazy” depended on the student. One of the “rules” of Chess is to not move an already developed piece the second time before completing development. The computer Chess programs have shown that particular reasoning needs to be rethought, but when teaching neophytes, it is best for them to learn the rules before teaching them when to break the rules. Arthur’s game went downhill from here. Stockfish shows him with a lost game, down by -1.8, after only eleven moves. After his 12th move, Arthur was down by -2.5. It was all over but the shoutin’… This is one of the worst games Arthur has played in some time. Let us hope it is an aberration.

Hijab Chess Head

Every morning I scan the news of the world, and the news from the Chess world, while drinking my first cuppa Joe. I surf the usual Chess websites every morning, making a mental note to return to some articles. This morning I read about Hijab Head at Chess.com in an article by Peter Doggers. Although I wanted to immediately surf over to The Chess Drum, knowing Daaim would have it covered, but spring has sprung and there were other, more important, things to do. The article, Kenyan Chess Player banned for impersonating woman (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2023/04/11/chess-player-expelled-for-impersonating-a-woman/), is excellent. It is superior to the Chess.com article because Daaim expounds on the situation while answering questions that need answering and offering other questions, which will be addressed momentarily.

The headline at Chess.com, “Kenyan Player Expelled After Pretending To Be A Woman To Win Lucrative Prize,” caused this writer to laugh out loud. The Chess.com article begins, “A mysterious participant in the women’s section of the Kenya Open Chess Championship in Nairobi, Kenya was exposed as a male impostor and removed from the tournament. The player, whose identity was not made public, admitted to the cheating and said it was motivated by financial problems.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/cheating-kenya-open-women-championship-impostor)

The Chess Drum answers the question:

“At the Kenya Open, something unique happened when a man was caught impersonating a woman in the women’s section. Registered as unrated Millicent Awuor, he was wearing a hijab (head & shoulder covering) typical of a Muslim woman with a niqaab (face covering). After beating a former Kenyan champion (Gloria Jumba) and Uganda’s top player (Shakira Ampaire), many initially wondered why they had never heard of her in important national events. Who was this Muslim woman? Was she a long-retired chess veteran?”

“It turns out that the player was Stanley Omondi a male university student with a 1499 FIDE rating. Other players and tournament officials started to draw suspicions when he never spoke to anyone or interacted with the other players. They also noticed some peculiar mannerisms and a strange gait for a woman.”

Stanley, my Man!

Who was this outstanding mystery player Millicent Owuor?
Photo by Chess Kenya

You can click on the link above and read the whole article, and I hope you do, because I am going to get to the pertinent questions posed by Mr. Shabazz, who writes: “It is interesting that while he was not the top woman player there was no “stereotype threat” since they thought he was a woman. Stereotype threat in chess is the idea that women may approach the game differently when facing a man. This incident brings about all types of discussions. One basic question is whether a man should be able to play in the women’s section. Right now the answer is “no” unless the man is technically a transgender woman.”

One can click onto “Stereotype threat” above in the original article to learn what is a “Stereotype threat”. After reading I could not help but wonder if a man “may approach the game differently when facing a” woman. I ask this because I am man enough to admit I lost to the only woman ever faced in a USCF rated tournament. Her name was Alison Burt, and I had given her lessons. The look on her face looked more like she had lost the game. She was shocked to the point of saying, “I’m sorry,” so I immediately said, “You played very well, Alison. I must have taught you something.” She smiled. Alison could have been an excellent Chess player. Not “woman” Chess player, but “Chess Player.” I have always wondered how things might have turned out for her if conditions for women in the Chess world had been better ‘back in the day’. (See: https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/09/22/upsetting-time-at-the-1980-us-chess-open-in-hot-atlanta-georgia/)

The “basic question” above made me wonder why there are separate Chess tournaments for men and women? Women compete equally with men at other board games, with Backgammon, Bridge and Poker being prime examples. Daaim addresses this next under the heading, Brief Discussion on Gender:

“While this case wasn’t a matter of a man genuinely claiming to be a woman, it is an issue that is being discussed in different sports. Transgender women (born male) competing with women is clearly questionable when physical strength plays a factor in competition. What about chess? Most will say that gender doesn’t matter in chess because it isn’t a physical sport. However, one can make the argument that testosterone makes men more aggressive in general, and this could also be true in how they approach chess.”

“The gender gap between men and women chess players remains constant, but girls and women have shown increased activity. Yet there is still a precipitous dropout rate of girls. Do men have an inherent advantage in games given their fighting instinct? Men play at higher levels (on average) in chess, shogi, xiangqi, go, draughts, and even bridge. Why? The “participation approach” (more men play) has been critiqued as dubious. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/why-are-men-better-chess-players-than-women) Is there any validity to the “Fighting Chess Index” seen in Dr. David Smerdon’s report?” (https://www.fide.com/docs/presentations/2022%20FIDE%20Exchange%20Forum%20-%20Smerdon.pdf)

I have not read the two above articles mentioned by Daaim, but promise you I will be on them like the plague…tomorrow, because it’s been a busy day today, tiny dancer.

I will, though, answer the above question “Why?” Maybe this was synchronicity because I have considered it since reading the article about the female golfer who stunned a reporter when she said, “It’s that time of the month.” (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/may/03/that-time-of-the-month-golfer-lydia-ko-stuns-reporter-after-talking-about-period)

Unless things have changed, the vast majority of girls stop playing Chess upon reaching puberty. There is a reason.

Daaim writes, “Most will say that gender doesn’t matter in chess because it isn’t a physical sport. However, one can make the argument that testosterone makes men more aggressive in general, and this could also be true in how they approach chess.”

Testosterone is a hormone. As a girl becomes a woman her body is flooded with hormones. From then on her body is flooded with hormones each month, which is called their “period.” It has been my experience with females, including a Mother, and two sisters, and “partners”, that they are different during their period. When asked what it was like to have a period one responded succinctly with, “Like HELL!” Another said it made her feel like she was “going every which a way.” Then there was the one who said, “Like I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.” I stopped asking…

It should be obvious to anyone after reading the above that any objective study of why women are not as strong as men when it comes to Chess must begin with the question of the Menstrual cycle. Good luck with that!

Stanley Omondi‘s ruse was uncovered… literally!

The Return of GM Jonathan Rowson

An article, Rowson Returns!, appeared at the website of the United States Chess Federation dated February 7, 2023 (https://new.uschess.org/news/rowson-returns), which was written by John Hartmann. The article includes a nice picture of the older, pensive, Rowson, obviously lost in thought.

Jonathan Rowson (courtesy Brendan O’Gorman)

Event: Mindsports Masters GM
Site: London ENG Date: 09/13/2022
ECO: E20 Nimzo-Indian defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 c5 5.d5 O-O 6.f3 d6 7.e4 exd5 8.cxd5 Nh5 9.g4 (Jahn Hartmann attaches a !?, to the move, which means “A move deserving attention.” I’ll say!

Position after 9 g4

It is difficult to believe any GM, or any titled player for that matter, would play such a weak, losing move. The Rowson page at 365Chess.com shows he only played nine games between 2014 and 2017. There is a gap from then until 2022. Any player returning after such a long layoff could be considered “out of form.” Let us think of him as “Rusty” Rowson. Still, no matter how out of form was Rusty Rowson, the fact is that no Grandmaster, whether in, or out of, form, would play such a move, violating as it does many Chess ‘rules’. If teaching the Royal Game to a student any Chess teacher would CRINGE upon seeing such a move. With that in mind, why did the Rusty one play a losing move? Your guess is as good as mine… Maybe someone will bring this post to the attention of Rusty and he will leave a comment explaining why he played a losing move so early in the game.

In his annotations to the game John Hartmann writes, “A remarkable concept. White gives up the exchange for hamstringing the black queen.” Say WHAT? After this move white is BUSTED, Buster! Mr. Hartmann needs to replace that exclamation mark with a second question mark.

9…Qh4+ (Duh) 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.hxg3 Qxh1 12.Kf2

Position after 12. Kf2

(The annotator gives the move a “!?” and writes, “A remarkable concept. White gives up the exchange for hamstringing the black queen.” Say WHAT? After this move white is BUSTED, Buster! Mr. Hartmann needs to replace that exclamation mark with a second question mark.) 9…Qh4+ (Duh) 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.hxg3 Qxh1 12.Kf2 (I had quickly gotten to this position in my mind because there is a pause for, “This position is well worth analyzing without an engine because there are options at every turn.” Say WHAT? That sentence is the definition of superfluous as it could be said about most Chess moves. Regardless, the fact is that while reading and replaying the game on the USCF website I noticed colorful variations, not in the sense of a “colorful” Chess variation, but variations in different colors. Being a straight, no chaser, kinda guy

I decided to input the moves up to this point into 365Chess and play it out on a board sans annotations. After imputing 9 g4 I saw there were two games in the database so I clicked on and… It was necessary to click onto all the moves until 12.Kf2, which was when this game, in addition to “Aronian v Efimenko,” was found, blowing what’s left of my mind… Not one, but TWO, different GMs had played a losing move on the ninth move of the game! Inquiring minds MUST KNOW, so off I went to see the Fish, Stock, that is. After thrusting the g pawn Stockfish gives -2.0. Like I said earlier, BUSTED! No doubt a doubly remarkable concept.)

Rowson, Jonathan (2561)
Willow, Jonah B (2385)
Event: Mindsports Masters GM
Site: London ENG Date: 09/13/2022
Round: 8.5 Score: ½-½
ECO: E20 Nimzo-Indian defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 c5 5.d5 O-O 6.f3 d6 7.e4 exd5 8.cxd5 Nh5 9.g4 Qh4+ 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.hxg3 Qxh1 12.Kf2 c4 13.Be3 h5 14.Bg2 Qh2 15.Nb5 Nd7 16.Ne2 hxg4 17.f4 Nc5 18.Kf1 Nd3 19.Qc2 Bc5 20.Bxc5 Nxc5 21.Nxd6 b6 22.b4 cxb3 23.axb3 Ba6 24.Rxa6 Nxa6 25.e5 Rad8 26.Nf5 Rfe8 27.d6 Qh5 28.Ned4 Nc5 29.b4 Ne6 30.Nc6 g6 31.Nfe7+ Kg7 32.Nd5 Qh2 33.Qf2 Rh8 34.b5 Rh3 35.f5 gxf5 36.Nxd8 Nxd8 37.Qxf5 Rh6 38.Nf4 Qxg3 39.Qg5+ Rg6 40.Nxg6 Qd3+ 41.Kg1 Qd4+ 42.Kh1 fxg6 43.Qf6+ Kh7 44.Qe7+ Kh6 45.Qh4+ Kg7 46.Qf6+ Kh7 47.Kh2 Qe3 48.Qe7+ Kh6 49.Qh4+ Kg7 50.Qf6+ Kh7 51.Qe7+ ½-½

Aronian, Levon (2693)
Efimenko, Zahar (2620)
Event: EU-ch 6th
Site: Warsaw Date: 06/28/2005
Round: 10 Score: 1-0
ECO: E20 Nimzo-Indian, Kmoch variation
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 c5 5.d5 O-O 6.e4 d6 7.Bd2 exd5 8.cxd5 Nh5 9.g4 Qh4+ 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.hxg3 Qxh1 12.Kf2 Nd7 13.Bg2 Qh2 14.a3 Bxc3 15.Bxc3 Qh6 16.f4 Qg6 17.Bf3 Re8 18.Kg2 f6 19.Qc2 b5 20.Nh3 Nb6 21.f5 Qf7 22.b3 Nd7 23.Nf4 Ne5 24.Rh1 h6 25.Ne6 Bxe6 26.dxe6 Qc7 27.Rd1 Nxf3 28.Kxf3 a5 29.Bd2 Ra6 30.Rh1 d5 31.exd5 Qb7 32.Qe4 Rd8 33.Re1 Qxd5 34.Qxd5 Rxd5 35.e7 Ra8 36.e8=R+ Rxe8 37.Rxe8+ Kf7 38.Re2 Rd3+ 39.Be3 Rxb3 40.Rc2 Rxa3 41.Rxc5 Rb3 42.Rc8 a4 43.Ke4 a3 44.Ra8 Rb4+ 45.Bd4 Ra4 46.Rxa4 bxa4 47.Kd3 a2 48.Kc2 Ke7 49.Bc5+ 1-0

Grandmaster Rowson is a very interesting fellow whom I had the pleasure to meet and talk at a World Open. One of the book reviews found at this blog concerns one of his books, and the multi-part review elicited this from a reader concerning the review. “This is, with a doubt, the longest, and best, book review I have ever read!” That may, or may not, be hyperbole, but I will take it because more condemnation has been received concerning what has been written on the blog than praise…Check out part one here:

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

The Georgia Chess Association is in Trouble

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

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

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

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

Michael Mulford

Sat, Sep 17, 9:10 PM

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

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

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

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

In an email exchange Parnell closed with this:

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


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

The Last Round: FM Jason Wang vs IM Arthur Guo

FM Jason Wang vs IM Arthur Guo
Denker Invitational
D38 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Ragozin variation

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. e3 O-O 7. Bd2 Re8 8. a3 Bf8 9. Rd1 Ne7 10. Qc2 b6 11. b4 Bb7 12. Bd3 Ng6 13. e4 dxc4 14. Bxc4 a5 15. Rb1 axb4 16. axb4 Ra3 17. Bd3 Rxc3 18. Bxc3 Nf4 19. Nd2 Nxg2+ 20. Kf1 Nf4 21. Bb5 c6 22. Bc4 Bc8 23. Rg1 e5 24. dxe5 Bh3+ 25. Ke1 Ng4 26. Nf3 Ng2+ 27. Ke2 Nf4+ 28. Ke1 Bg2 29. e6 fxe6 30. Ne5 Qh4 31. Nxg4 Qxg4 32. Be5 Nh3 33. f3 Qg5 34. Rxg2 Qxe5 35. Rg3 Nf4 36. Kf1 b5 37. Be2 Rc8 38. Qd2 Rc7 39. Rd1 Rf7 40. Rc1 Nh5 41. Rh3 Nf4 42. Rg3 Nh5 43. Rh3 Nf6 44. Kg1 Bxb4 45. Qc2 Bd6 46. Qxc6 b4 47. Rd1 Bc5+ 48. Kh1 Rc7 49. Qb5 Bd6 1/2-1/2 (9…Ne7 appears to be a TN)

In the last round of the recently completed Denker Invitational FM Jason Wang

USCS 43: St. Louis (June 2018)

faced IM Arthur Guo with a first place on the line. Arthur was a half point ahead of the contenders, one of whom was Jason Wang. After move forty it looked as though the game would end in a draw after the position was repeated, but Arthur eschewed the draw when playing 43…Nf6 in lieu of returning the knight to h5. FM Wang then blundered by playing 44 Kg1? This allowed Arthur to take a pawn with impunity while attacking the white Queen. I thought the game was over because the two passed pawns will devastate white in the long run. This is the position:

Position after 45 Qc2

It was more than a little obvious Arthur would play 46…Rc7 because every Chess player knows that ROOKS BELONG BEHIND PASSED PAWNS. I had a heart palpation after seeing Arthur’s next move of 45…Bd6. The Stockfish program at Lichess.com gives the move not one, but two question marks. The move is so bad it defies comprehension. What could have caused such a budding star to make such a horrible move? I decided to put the game up to after white played 46 Qc2 into the analysis program at Lichess.com and this is best play by Stockfish after 45 Qc2:

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. e3 O-O 7. Bd2 Re8 8. a3 Bf8 9. Rd1 Ne7 10. Qc2 b6 11. b4 Bb7 12. Bd3 Ng6 13. e4 dxc4 14. Bxc4 a5 15. Rb1 axb4 16. axb4 Ra3 17. Bd3 Rxc3 18. Bxc3 Nf4 19. Nd2 Nxg2+ 20. Kf1 Nf4 21. Bb5 c6 22. Bc4 Bc8 23. Rg1 e5 24. dxe5 Bh3+ 25. Ke1 Ng4 26. Nf3 Ng2+ 27. Ke2 Nf4+ 28. Ke1 Bg2 29. e6 fxe6 30. Ne5 Qh4 31. Nxg4 Qxg4 32. Be5 Nh3 33. f3 Qg5 34. Rxg2 Qxe5 35. Rg3 Nf4 36. Kf1 b5 37. Be2 Rc8 38. Qd2 Rc7 39. Rd1 Rf7 40. Rc1 Nh5 41. Rh3 Nf4 42. Rg3 Nh5 43. Rh3 Nf6 44. Kg1 Bxb4 45. Qc2 (Stockfish analysis begins here) Rc7 46. Kh1 Bd6 47. Rd1 Bf8 48. Qa2 g6 49. Bd3 Kh8 50. Bf1 Nh5 51. Qa8 Kg7 52. Qb8 Be7 53. Rh4 Bd6 54. Qd8 Be7 55. Qb8 Nf6 56. Rh3 Qf4 57. Ra1 Nd7 58. Qe8 Nf8 59. Rd1 Bf6 60. Rg3 Be5 61. Be2 b4 62. Bc4 c5 63. Rf1 Ra7 64. Rg2 Bd4 65. Rg4 Qe3 66. Rg3 Rf7 67. Qa8 Qf4 68. Qc6 Re7 69. Rg4 Qb8 70. Bb3 h5 71. Rg5 Qc7 72. Qxc7 Rxc7 73. Rg2 c4 74. Rc1 c3 75. f4 Nd7 76. Rd1 e5 77. fxe5 Bxe5 78. Rd5 Nc5 79. Bd1 Bf4 80. e5 b3 81. e6 Rb7 82. Rxc5 b2 83. Rxg6+ Kxg6 84. Bc2+ Kf6 85. Rxc3 b1=R+ 86. Bxb1 Rxb1+ 87. Kg2 Rb2+ 88. Kf3 Bd6 89. Rc4 Rxh2 90. Re4 Rh3+ 91. Kg2 Rg3+ 92. Kh1 Ke7 93. Re1 Rg5 94. Re3 Bg3 95. Re2 Be5 96. Rd2 Rg4 97. Rd1 Kxe6 98. Rf1 Bg3 99. Kg2 Bf4+ 100. Kh3 Rg3+ 101. Kh4 Kf5 102. Rd1 Rb3 103. Rf1 Ra3 and it is checkmate in 25

Winning a won game is difficult, and like Ringo sang, “It don’t come easy.” Almost every day at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center one would frequently hear, “I blew a WON GAME.” or, “If only I had won more WON GAMES I would be a Master (or Expert, or class A, etc. player).”

After reading the following at ChessLifeOnline in an excellent article by JJLang, dated August 3, 2022, understanding was found:


Following the old tiebreak adage of ‘lose last, laugh last,’ tournament leader Georgia’s IM Arthur Guo drew his final game against Ohio’s FM Jason Wang to win first place on tiebreaks. By not losing any games, Guo had stronger pairings throughout the tournament than his rivals, meaning tiebreaks would likely come out in his favor were he to draw his final game. Indeed, after failing to find anything concrete on the attacking side of a sharp Ragozin, Guo took the draw and, fortunately for him, the math played out in his favor.

Therein lies the problem. It is not as if there are not enough draws in Chess these daze. Now the pooh-bahs have made rules that only INCREASE the likelihood of a draw! Arthur needed only a DRAW to “WIN” the event. The fact is that Arthur did NOT win the tournament! He finished in a THREE WAY TIE for FIRST PLACE! The three players each scored the same number of points, five. Reading further in the aforementioned article one finds: “Northern Californian GM Andrew Hong and Arizonian FM Sandeep Sethuraman each won their final round games to finish second and third, respectively, on tiebreaks.” Simply put, that is a crock of excrement! As it stands now, tiebreaks are MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RESULT OF THE GAME! What if there had been a three-way tie for first place? That would mean at least three times as much publicity for the Royal Game because the publicity director (USCF has a publicity director, does it not? If not, why not?!) could have articles on all three of them in local newspapers and on local TV news programs in three different cities. This ain’t the Highlander, where there can be only ONE!

The same could be said for the recently completed US Senior, where there was a FIVE-WAY TIE! Unfortunately, the brain trust at the USCF decided to have a souped-up heebe-jeeb speed tournament after the conclusion of almost TWO WEEKS of playing what now passes for classical Chess. The playoff was not the next day, but only a short time after the players had spent at least five hours playing over the board. We are talking about SENIORS here, ladies and gentlemen. Why does USCF FORCE Seniors to play nerve-wracking speed games but not force the JUNIORS to do the same? As a Senior I can tell you that a speed tournament to determine the “winner” was much more difficult on the Seniors than it would have been on the Juniors. My hat is off to GM Alexander Shabalov for winning the speed tournament, but he won more than TWICE AS MUCH MONEY as the other four for winning a SPEED TOURNAMENT! ‘Back in the day’ tournaments held five minute speed tournaments as an ancillary event, not the main event. The fact that there were tiebreaks irrevocably altered the Denker event, as it does every event in which it is used. Because of the plethora of draws Chess is unlike Go or Backgammon, where there is only ONE WINNER!
Just sayin’…

IM Arthur Guo In Three Way Tie For First At The Denker Tournament of High School Champions

Fellow Georgian IM Arthur Guo

IM Arthur Guo at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski https://new.uschess.org/news/day-3-rancho-mirage-drama-builds-invitationals

tied for first with GM Andrew Hong and FM Sandeep Sethuraman in the Denker Tournament of HS Champions, each scoring five out of a possible six points.

Denker Winners (L to R) IM Arthur Guo, GM Andrew Hong, FM Sandeep Sethuraman at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski https://new.uschess.org/news/day-4-rancho-mirage-invitationals-end-6-day-begins

This will be the first of three posts devoted to three games in which Arthur was involved. Before beginning I would like to give kudos to the folks at the “New” United States Chess Federation website. The coverage has been exceptional and the article from which the picture of young Mr. Guo was obtained is an excellent example (https://new.uschess.org/news/day-3-rancho-mirage-drama-builds-invitationals). The picture of the three winners was also taken from an article from the USCF website that appeared as I was putting this post together. With the Chess Olympiad ongoing there is currently much Chess activity the world over. In addition, the 2022 U.S. Go Congress (https://www.usgo.org/) is happening concurrently.


There is simply not enough time to follow everything even though the AW has been burning the midnight oil in a futile attempt to stay abreast of all things games, and has blurry vision to show for it. Nevertheless, here I sit, punchin’ & pokin’ while spending even more time looking at a computer screen. That is OK since I can no longer get my kicks on Route 66 they come vicariously when watching the action while keeping the brain’s neuron synapses firing. It can also be called having the time of my life. Those that cannot do, watch. Let me tell you watching is much easier!

There I was minding my own business when this position was reached in the game between IM Arthur Guo and FM Sandeep Sethuraman the third round of the Denker Tournament of High School Champions:

Position after 9 Bd2

8 Qd3 was a shock, and it can be found in only 31 games in the Big Database at 365Chess. In reply black castled before IM Guo played a move I cannot ever recall seeing played, 9 Bd2. The question is, why would Arthur play such a tepid move?

IM Arthur Guo vs FM Sandeep Sethuraman
US Open

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Qd3 O-O 9. Bd2 Nc6 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5 Nb8 12. O-O f5 13. f4 Bf6 14. c4 e4 15. Qc2 Qb6+ 16. Kh1 a5 17. c5 Qc7 18. Bc3 a4 19. cxd6 Qxd6 20. Nd2 Nd7 21. Nc4 Qc5 22. Qd2 Bxc3 23. bxc3 b5 24. Ne3 Nb6 25. Qd4 Qxd4 26. cxd4 Bd7 27. Rfc1 Nc8 28. Rc7 Rd8 29. g4 fxg4 30. Nxg4 Nd6 31. Rg1 Bxg4 32. Bxg4 Kh8 33. Be6 g6 34. h4 Ne8 35. Rf7 Nd6 36. Re7 Nf5 37. Bxf5 gxf5 38. Rgg7 h6 39. Rh7+ Kg8 40. Reg7+ Kf8 41. Rb7 Kg8 42. Rbg7+ Kf8 43. Rc7 Kg8 44. h5 b4 45. Rhg7+ Kh8 46. Rh7+ Kg8 47. Rcg7+ Kf8 48. Rb7 Kg8 49. Rxh6 b3 50. Rg6+ Kh8 51. Rh6+ Kg8 52. Rg6+ Kh8 53. Rh6+ 1/2-1/2 (https://lichess.org/broadcast/us-open-championship-and-invitationals-2022/round-3/Q8c7gsFg)

Rout Padmini (2345) vs Anastasya Paramzina (2260)
Event: World Blitz Women 2021
Site: Warsaw POL Date: 12/30/2021
Round: 14.25
ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd3 O-O 9.Bd2 Qc7 10.O-O-O b5 11.Kb1 Nbd7 12.g4 b4 13.g5 bxc3 14.gxf6 Nxf6 15.Bxc3 Bb7 16.f3 d5 17.Na5 dxe4 18.Qc4 Qxc4 19.Bxc4 Bc8 20.fxe4 Nxe4 21.Bxe5 Be6 22.Bxe6 fxe6 23.Nc6 Bf6 24.Rhe1 Bxe5 25.Nxe5 Nf6 26.Rd6 Rfd8 27.Rxe6 Re8 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Nd3 Rxe1+ 30.Nxe1 Ng4 31.Nf3 Kf7 32.a4 Kf6 33.b4 Kf5 34.b5 axb5 35.axb5 Nf6 36.c4 Nd7 37.Kc2 Kg4 38.Nd4 Kh3 39.Ne6 g6 40.c5 Kxh2 41.c6 1-0

Terje Hagen 2382 (NOR) vs Fausto Mo Mesquita 2341 (BRA)
WS MN/072 email 2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd3 O-O 9.Bd2 Nc6 10.a3 Be6 11.Rd1 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.O-O Nxc3 14.Bxc3 Qb6 15.Qg3 Rfd8 16.Nd2 f6 17.Bd3 Qc7 18.Kh1 b5 19.f4 exf4 20.Rxf4 Bd6 21.Qe3 Bxf4 22.Qxe6+ Kf8 23.Bxh7 Ne7 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Qxf6+ Ke8 26.Re1 Qd6 27.Re6 Qxe6 28.Qxe6 Rxd2 29.g3 Bd6 30.Bd3 Rc8 31.Qe1 Rcxc2 32.Bxc2 Rxc2 33.Qd1 Rc6 34.Kg2 Kd7 35.h4 Rc4 36.Qf3 Ke6
From: https://database.chessbase.com/

Hikaru Nakamura (2802) vs Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2723)
Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger NOR Date: 06/24/2015
Round: 8.4
ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd3 b5 9.a4 b4 10.Nd5 Bb7 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6 12.Bd2 a5 13.c3 bxc3 14.Bxc3 O-O 15.O-O Nc6 16.Rfd1 Re8 17.Bf3 Be7 18.Qb5 Qc8 19.Bg4 Qxg4 20.Qxb7 Rec8 21.Nxa5 Nxa5 22.Qxe7 Nb3 23.f3 Qf4 24.Ra3 Nd4 25.Raa1 Ne2+ 26.Kh1 Nxc3 27.bxc3 h5 28.Qxd6 Rxc3 29.Qd5 Ra6 30.Qb5 Rac6 31.Qf1 h4 32.h3 Rc2 33.Re1 Qd2 34.Red1 Qg5 35.Re1 Qd2 36.Rad1 Qb4 37.Qd3 Kh7 38.Qd8 Rf6 39.Rc1 Qxa4 40.Rxc2 Qxc2 41.Qd1 Qf2 42.Rf1 Qg3 43.Qd7 Rg6 44.Rg1 Rf6 45.Rf1 Rg6 46.Rg1 Rf6 47.Rf1 ½-½