The Georgia Chess Association is in Trouble

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

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

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

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

Michael Mulford

Sat, Sep 17, 9:10 PM

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

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

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

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

In an email exchange Parnell closed with this:

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


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

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 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 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

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

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 ( 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 ( 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 (

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

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

The Mulfish Versus The International Master

Michael Mulford, aka “Mulfish”,

That’s Bill on the left and Mike on the right.

is one of the really “good guys” in Chess (and so too was Bill Hall, who was the Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation, and we go way back to a time when Bill was a teenager from the Great State of Tennessee. When in Crossville for a Senior tournament Bill treated me like royalty, spending an afternoon at the USCF office showing me around while introducing me to everyone I did not already know) and I am pleased to call him a friend, a word the AW does not use loosely. Mike has been involved with Chess for decades and has been involved in almost every facet of the Royal Game in who knows how many different states. It is rare for a person to be liked by everyone, but the Mulfish is one of those kind of guys that one cannot help buy like and admire. Not once have I ever heard anyone say a discouraging word about the Mulfish. Earlier Mike sent me an email which began:

Hi nocaB,

When you have nothing better to do, please peruse this amateur game and comment as you deem appropriate. I’ll give you more complete information about the game after you reply. The name and location of the tournament and the name of the opening were added by the AW after the fact, so I had no clue when or where the game was contested:


A55 Old Indian, main line

  1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. h3 Re8 9. Be3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nc5 11. Qc2 Bf8 12. Bf3 a5 13. Rfe1 Nfd7 14. Rad1 Ne5 15. Be2 Qh4 16. Nf3 Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Nd7 18. Qd2 h6 19. Be2 a4 20. Bf4 Ne5 21. Bg3 Qg5 22. Kh2 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 g5 24. f4 gxf4 25. Bxf4 Ra5 26. Red1 Be6 27. b3 axb3 28. axb3 Ra3 29. Rb1 b6 30. Rc2 Bg7 31. Na4 Nxc4 32. Bxc4 Bxc4 33. Rxc4 b5 34. Rxc6 bxa4 35. Bxd6 Rxb3 36. Rxb3 axb3 37. Rb6 Re6 38. Rb8+ Kh7 39. e5 b2 40. g3 f6 41. Rxb2 fxe5 42. Bc5 Rc6 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Re2 Kg6 45. Kg2 e4 46 Kf2 1/2-1/2

That was the extent of it…I did as requested, looking over the game on a board with wooden pieces, a Drueke travel set that caused the barrister, Warren Ott, to smile broadly while giving me the thumbs up when first setting eyes on the set. I made a cuppa Joe, broke out paper and pen, and settled in to look at the game while jotting down my thoughts, just as was done in the pre-computer days. After firing an email to the Mulfish this reply was soon received:

Gotta hop on a conference call in about 15 minutes, so quickly:

  1. This game was played Saturday at G/60.
  2. The game actually went a few moves longer, but by then I was down below five minutes (my opponent had 20).
  3. I was white vs IM Michael Brooks.
  4. I was on my own the whole game, basically. Fortunately he chose a cramped opening, so focusing on keeping him cramped seemed like a good idea.
  5. As to the limp Rc2, there is a story there. My idea was to get the rook out of the way to threaten Bc1. I started to put it on d3, realized that was not an option. Brooks chuckled “Might not want to go there” I said, yeah, I’m probably not good enough to spot an IM and exchange. Rc2 seemed the best option since c4 would also need some coverage. I think he erred with Nxc4; b5 immediately must be better.

I’ll look at your other comments later. Anyway, I thought it was a decent game for G/60, and it was my first draw with an IM. I don’t think either of us ever had much of an edge.


I am thinking, “Wow…an International Master.” Michael Brooks

has played in the United States Chess Championships!

I had no thought of it being a game in which Michael participated, thinking he would have let me know if it had been a game in which he had played. I replied asking him if he would consent to my using the game for a blog post. This was part his reply:

Wed 2/16/2022 11:36 AM
I’ve got mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, I’d say that if you think the game (and your notes) provide a vehicle for something of interest to your readers, I say go for it. On the other hand, if you are just doing it to pay homage to a friend, then I say that’s not really appropriate. You know your motivation.

The return salvo was sent immediately:


You should know me better than that, Mike. I would never publish a game just to “pay homage to a friend.”


These are the notes sent to the Mulfish:

  1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. h3 Re8 9. Be3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nc5 11. Qc2 Bf8 12. Bf3 a5 13. Rfe1 Nfd7 14. Rad1 Ne5 15. Be2 Qh4 (This is playing fast & loose! The programs probably play 15…a4, but I would probably play 15…Qc7) 16. Nf3 (16 b3) 16…Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Nd7 (I really do not care for this move. I would probably play 17…a4) 18. Qd2 h6 19. Be2 (19 Bf4 looks strong) 19…a4 (Most players not named Capablanca would not return the Knight to c4 but it may be best. Another move I like is 19…g5, playing fast and loose, but no program is gonna approve! I can hear IM Boris Kogan after seeing me play a move like 19…g5. “Why Mike? Why?” he would say while shaking his head. Hey, you asked…) 20. Bf4 (I was thinking 20 f3 or maybe f4…) 20…Ne5 (I dunno…that Knight oughta be on c5) 21. Bg3 (Here’s the deal…most people would play this move, probably including me, but upon reflection, the Bishop oughta be on h2 where it’s protected by the King after a future move of the f-pawn to f4) 21…Qg5 22. Kh2 (Although the Queen may be better placed on d4, or even c2, I would probably play 22 Bf4. Allow the Queen trade has gotta help Black, does it not?) 22…Qxd2 23. Rxd2 g5 24. f4 (I’m playing 24 Red1) 24…gxf4 25. Bxf4 Ra5 (Here’s the deal…you teach Chess and one of the most important things taught is to develope your pieces, right? With that in mind I would prefer 25…Be6, because of the rule I just made up of developing your minor pieces before your major pieces…) 26. Red1 (I want to make a move on the Queenside, such as 26 a3; or b3; or even b4. I gotta feeling one of them is correct, and cannot wait to put the game into the free analysis program at 365Chess to learn which one…) 26…Be6 27. b3 axb3 28. axb3 Ra3 29. Rb1 b6 (I do not understand this move. It appears there is only a choice between 29…Nxc4 and 29…Rea8) 30. Rc2 (Don’t know about this move either…seems rather limpid…I want to play 30 Ra2 followed by doubling, but then there are trades…so I don’t know…maybe simply 30 Nd1, but only because I’m uncertain what to play, frankly. I mean, it’s not like there’s a purpose, other than making a move, and one should have some kinda reason behind playing a move, right?) 30…Bg7 (That’s my move!) 31. Na4 (When in doubt, attack something! But maybe attacking 31 Ra2 is better…) 31…Nxc4 (31…b5 is a move deserving attention…) 32. Bxc4 Bxc4 33. Rxc4 b5 34. Rxc6 (After spending far too much time on this position I can say with some authority it would have been better to have played 34 Bxd6) 34…bxa4 35. Bxd6 (I would prefer 35 bxa4) 35…Rxb3 36. Rxb3 axb3 37. Rb6 Re6 38. Rb8+ Kh7 39. e5 b2 40. g3 f6 (The moves leading up to time control, or was there a time control, were easy to understand, but 40…f6 is a real non sequitur. Frankly, I’m flummoxed…Why not simply play 40…Bxe5?!) 41. Rxb2 fxe5 42. Bc5 Rc6 (The pawn should be moved forward to e4 because I’ve heard that passed pawns should be pushed…) 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Re2 Kg6 45. Kg2 e4 (45…h5 would probably be more precise, but it’s a draw anyway…) 46 Kf2 1/2-1/2

And now, as regular readers have come to expect, here are the notes on the opening made just today after spending far too much time with the usual suspects, the ChessBaseDataBase and

  1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 (The most often played move by about 15-1 over the move played in the game is the move 3…Ngf6. Deep Fritz likes 3…c5, a move with two games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Houdini will play 3…Ngf6, but Komodo will play 3…e5. No word from Stockfish, unfortunately…) 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 (The CBDB contains 1636 games with the move played in the game, 5…Be7, which has scored 61% against an ELO average 2378 rated player. The most often played move has been 5…c6, with 1987 games versus 2401 rated opposition. Then there is the number three most often played move of 5…g6, which has scored only 53% for white in 1384 games versus 2423 rated opposition. 5…g6 is, unsurprisingly, the move of Stockfish) 6. Be2 O-O (The move of Stockfish 14.1 @depth 47. It is curious that @depth 41 SF 14.1 will play the move 6…a6, a move having been attempted in only 3 prior games. The most popular move has been 6…c6, which has been seen in 1758 games, while scoring 61% for white) 7. O-O c6 8. h3 (This move has been tried in 176 games, scoring only 51% against a hypotheteical opponent rated 2365. The move 8 Be3 is the choice of SF 14. In 593 games @depth 51 it has scored higher than any other move, 67%. Still, Stockfish 130122 @depth 51 will play 8 Qc2. In 678 games it has scored 64% versus 2424 rated opposition) 8…Re8 (8…a6 has been attempted in 100 games, with white scoring 55%. Next is 8…Re8 with 46 games contained in the CBDB. It has scored only 45% for white versus a composite player rated 2392. In 31 games against 2374 opposition the move 8…Qc7 has held white to 56%. Stockfish 11 @depth 42 will play 8…h6. There are only 3 games in the CBDB in which 8…h6 has been played. Then there is the move 8…exd4…Fritz 17 will play the move, and so will SF 100122! Yet the move has only been attempted in five games!) 9. Be3 (This has been the most often played move, but in 30 games it has only scored 47% against a composite 2353 player. It is the choice of Fritz 13. Stockfish 130222 @depth 31 will play 9 Qc2, which has scored 53% in 15 games against a 2348 player. Then there is the choice of SF 14, 9 d5, which has only been attempted in 7 games, scoring 50% versus 2399 opposition. Whew! You got all of that? It’s your move, Bunky…) 9…exd4 (9 Qc7 has been the most often played move in 35 games. 9…a6 shows 17, but the choice of what used to be known as the “Big Three”, Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini all favoring is the seldom played 9…exd4, which also happens to be the move made by the IM) 10. Nxd4 Nc5 (There are only 4 games shown for 10…Bf8; one only for 10…a6, yet IM Brooks played the move both Deep Fritz and Houdini show at the CBDB, a move not having been played previously by a titled player, so the move played in the game, 10…Nc5 is a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! Or is it? See the two games below found at 365Chess…)

Patrick Vincent vs Eric Birmingham (2300)
Event: FRA-chT
Site: France Date: ??/??/1987
Round: 5 Score: 0-1
ECO: A55 Old Indian, main line
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Be2 c6 7.O-O O-O 8.h3 Re8 9.Be3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Bf8 11.Qc2 Nc5 12.Bf3 a5 13.Rfe1 a4 14.Rad1 Qa5 15.Bd2 Qb6 16.b4 axb3 17.axb3 Ra3 18.Bc1 Ra1 19.Qb2 Ra8 20.Be3 Qb4 21.Bf4 Ra3 22.Nb1 Ra6 23.e5 Nd3 24.Nc2 Qxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Nxb2 26.exf6 Rxe1+ 27.Nxe1 Bf5 28.Nc3 Ra1 29.Bd2 Bc2 30.Ne4 Nd3 31.Kf1 Nxe1 32.Bxe1 Bd3+ 0-1

Sevara Baymuradova vs Aigerim Rysbayeva (2170)
Event: Asia-ch U18 Girls
Site: Tashkent Date: 07/01/2007
Round: 4 Score: 0-1
ECO: A55 Old Indian, main line
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.c4 Nbd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Be7 6.Be2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.h3 Re8 9.Be3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Qc2 Bf8 12.Bf3 a5 13.Rfe1 Qc7 14.b3 Bd7 15.Rad1 Rad8 16.Bg5 Be7 17.Bf4 Bf8 18.g4 Bc8 19.Nf5 Bxf5 20.gxf5 Nfd7 21.Re3 Ne5 22.Kh2 Nxf3+ 23.Rxf3 Kh8 24.Rg3 Be7 25.Rdg1 Bf6 26.f3 Rg8 27.Ne2 Be5 28.Qd2 b6 29.Nd4 Nd3 30.Bxe5 dxe5 31.Qxd3 Rxd4 32.Qe3 f6 33.R1g2 Rdd8 34.h4 Qf7 35.f4 exf4 36.Qxf4 Rge8 37.Rg4 Qe7 38.Qg3 Rd7 39.h5 h6 40.Qe3 Qe5+ 41.Qg3 Qxg3+ 42.Kxg3 Rd3+ 43.Kf4 Re7 44.R4g3 Red7 45.Re3 R7d4 46.Rgg3 Rd2 47.a4 Kg8 48.Kf3 Kf7 49.Rg1 Rh2 50.Kg4 Rf2 51.Rgg3 c5 52.Rgf3 Rg2+ 53.Rg3 Rf2 54.Rgf3 Rfd2 55.Kg3 Rd6 56.Rf2 Rd1 57.Ree2 R6d3+ 58.Kg2 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 Najdorf System

When first starting out on the Caissa highway this writer played the Najdorf exclusively against the move 1 e4. Like many others I played the most aggressive opening because it was played by Bobby Fischer.

Prior to the advent of the computer programs that are now at least two, maybe three levels above humans in playing ability, the Najdorf was analyzed to what we thought was ‘death’. It is possible that more theory has been written on the opening foisted upon the Chess world by Miquel Najdorf

than any other opening. Nowadays players throw any and everything at the Najdorf, even some moves at which we would have scoffed ‘back in the day’. The Najdorf is not really a defense but a ‘system’. Although it was a lifetime ago it seems like only yesterday the book with the green cover, The Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defence, by Svetozar Gligoric,
Grandes Enxadristas: A História de Svetozar Gligoric …

Yefim Geller,

Lubomir Kavalek,

and Boris Spassky,

was published by R.H.M.

That would have been in 1976, the year I won the Atlanta Chess Championship with an unbeaten 5-0 score. I devoured the book. At the time I was playing correspondence Chess and one of my opponents was a young Atlanta player who later became a National Master, Tom Friedel. After reading the book there was one line I particularly did not like. In the USCF postal tournament I was paired with Tom, and he stepped right into my wheelhouse, allowing me to play my beloved Najdorf. Unfortunately for me, Tom played the aforementioned line. There was a problem with another game in that section in that the player was using one of the new computer playing machines to produce his moves. I know this because former Georgia Chess Champion Mike Decker had the same machine and I asked him about my postal game. Sure ’nuff, the machine produced each and every one of the moves sent by my opponent, so I withdrew from the event and never played another postal game. Some time later a friend said he had been talking with Tom about our postal game and that Tom was perplexed, saying something about my being able to draw even though a pawn down. After learning why I had withdrawn Tom was no longer perplexed. Tom was a very strong player, no doubt stronger than me, and I seem to recall Tom winning the USCF postal tournament. Maybe one of you readers can recall, or do the research required to learn if my memory is correct. The fact is that after all these decades in which I have not played the Najdorf, I have played over more Najforf games than any games of any other opening. It really is true that you never forget your first love. It is also the reason I have been a BIG fan of the Frenchman known as simply “MVL.”

What makes the following game remarkable is that Fabi played the weak 15 a3 two rounds AFTER LDP played the much superior 15 Nd5 against MVL in the fourth round leading to a resounding victory for Leinier Dominguez Perez in only 33 moves! It is refreshing seeing a player with even a modicum of gray hair winning these days.

(GM) Fabiano Caruana (USA)

Carlsen-Caruana 3: Fabi squanders opening edge |

vs (GM) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)

Côte d'Ivoire Rapid & Blitz: A three-point lead for Magnus ...

Grand Chess Tour Sinquefield Cup 2021 round 06

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Rc8 15. a3 g6 16. h4 Ng3 17. Rg1 Nxf1 18. Rgxf1 Na4 19. Nxa4 bxa4 20. h5 Qc7 21. Rh1 Rfe8 22. Qh2 Bf8 23. c4 Re7 24. Bd2 Bxc4 25. Bb4 Rd7 26. f4 Bb5 27. hxg6 fxg6 28. f5 Rg7 29. f6 Rf7 30. Qd2 Qd7 31. Qd5 Be2 32. Rc1 Rxc1+ 33. Rxc1 h5 34. Nc4 Bxc4 35. Rxc4 h4 36. Rc2 h3 37. Ka2 Kh8 38. Rd2 Rh7 39. Bxd6 Qxd6 40. Qxd6 Bxd6 41. Rxd6 Kg8 42. Rd8+ Kf7 43. Rd7+ Kg8 44. Rd8+ Kf7 45. Rd7+ Kg8 46. Rd8+ ½-½

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 (SF 14 @depth 53 and Komodo 13.02 @depth 45 plays the game move, but SF 050821 @depth 58 would play the move GM Ben Finegold says one should never play, 6 f3!) 6…e5 (SF 13 @depth 59 would play the move played in the game, but SF 050821 @depth 51 prefers 6…Ng4. Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 shows 6…e6. The CBDB shows white scoring 54% against each move, so flip a coin…err, roll ‘dem bones…) 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 44 plays the game move, as does SF 050821 @depth 46; Komodo 14 @depth 46 would play 8 Be2, which has only scored 50% in 296 games. 8 f3 has scored 53% in 6013 games) 8….Be7 (SF 13 @depth 45 plays the game move, as does SF 050821 @depth 51; but SF 14 @depth 49 shows 8…h5, the move that has scored the best, holding white to only 47% in 1251 games. In 4002 games against 8…Be7 white has scored 54%) 9. Qd2 O-O (By far the most often played move (3272), but is it the best? but SF 14 @depth 55 plays the second most often played move of 9…Nbd7, but SF 060421 @depth 71 plays 9…h5, the move that in 521 games has scored the best for the Najdorf, holding white to even, Steven) 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Rc8 (SF 14 @depth 49 plays the game move, as does SF 050821 @depth 51, but here’s the deal…the CBDB shows the same program at the same depth also playing 14…Qc7. I don’t know about you but as for me I’m sticking with Stockfish!) 15. a3 (The most often played move in 26 games has been 15 Rg1, but it has scored an abysmal 38%. The move played in the game has scored 50% in only 7 games. The move that three different Stockfish programs rates best, 15 Nd5, has scored an outstanding 63%, albeit in only 4 games. I don’t know about you but the next time I arrive at this position that steed is leaping to d5!) 15…g6 16. h4 (SF 12 @depth 41 plays this move, but SF 050821 @depth 39 and SF 251220 @depth 67 plays 16 Rg1, which has been played in 7 games) 16…Ng3 (SF 310720 @depth 51 plays 16…Qc7)

(GM) Leinier Dominguez Perez (USA)

Ajedrecista cubano Leinier Domínguez se cuela en puesto 14 ...

vs (GM) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)

Grand Chess Tour Sinquefield Cup 2021 round 04

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Rc8 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 Qxa5 18. c4 Nf4 19. Bxf4 exf4 20. h4 Qa4 21. Bd3 bxc4 22. Qe4 g6 23. Bc2 Qd7 24. h5 Qe6 25. hxg6 hxg6 26. Qxf4 Qe5 27. Qh4 Qg7 28. Rd2 Rc5 29. f4 f6 30. Rdh2 fxg5 31. Qe1 Bf6 32. Rh6 Qb7 33. Qe6+ 1-0

Levon Aronian (2772)

Levon Aronian switches to the USA |

vs Magnus Carlsen (2870)

Magnus Carlsen Net Worth - Biography, Life, Career and ...

Event: Tata Steel India Rapid
Site: Kolkata IND Date: 11/22/2019
Round: 3.3
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Nbd7 9.g4 Be7 10.Qd2 O-O 11.O-O-O b5 12.g5 Nh5 13.Kb1 Nb6 14.Na5 Rc8 15.a3 g6 16.h4 Ng3 17.Rg1 Nxf1 18.Rgxf1 Na4 19.Nxa4 bxa4 20.h5 Qd7 21.Rh1 Rfe8 22.Qh2 Bf8 23.Bd2 Rc7 24.Bb4 Rb8 25.Rd3 Qb5 26.Rc3 Rbc8 27.Rxc7 Rxc7 28.Rd1 Rd7 29.Rd3 Be7 30.hxg6 fxg6 31.Qd2 Qb6 32.Qc1 Bd8 33.c4 Qf2 34.Nc6 Bxg5 35.Qxg5 Qf1+ 36.Kc2 Bxc4 37.Qe3 Bxd3+ 38.Qxd3 Qxd3+ 39.Kxd3 h5 40.Ke3 Kf7 41.Bc3 Ke6 42.Nb4 g5 43.Kf2 Rf7 44.Kg2 g4 45.fxg4 Rg7 46.Nd5 Rxg4+ 47.Kf3 Rg1 48.Kf2 Rg7 49.Kf3 h4 50.Be1 h3 51.Bg3 Rb7 52.Nb4 a5 53.Nd3 Rb3 54.Ke2 Kf6 55.Bh2 Kg5 56.Bg3 Kg4 57.Bh2 Rxd3 58.Kxd3 Kf3 59.Kd2 Kxe4 60.Ke2 d5 61.Bg3 d4 62.Bh2 Kd5 63.Kd2 e4 64.Ke2 Kc4 65.Be5 Kb3 66.Kd2 d3 67.Kd1 e3 68.Kc1 Kc4 0-1

USCF Drops Set & Clock

This is not a post I wanted to write, but it needs to be written. I followed the action at the 2021 US Open last week and immensely enjoyed the time spent watching. There were several interesting articles posted at the USCF website by J.J. Lang ( during the event. I found an interesting game from round seven which became a post ( In addition I managed to utilize two games from the last round which became the two previous posts. To do so I had to transfer all of the moves from the online DGT board to the analysis board at 365Chess ( It would have made my task easier if the USCF had broadcast the games at ChessBomb (, or Chess24 ( The Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy broadcast all their tournaments at Chess24, and also at the ChessBomb, as does the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco for their Tuesday Night Marathon ( Yet the National Chess Organization, the United States Chess Federation broadcast the games on DGT in lieu of the much more popular previously named venues. Go figure…This matters because there is an immediacy today that was lacking ‘back in the day’. For example, back in that day and age one waited until the next issue of Chess Life appeared to see the games. During the Karpov vs Kasparov clashes, while driving a taxi for Buckhead Safety Cab overnight, I would nab the early edition of the New York Times newspaper, knowing which hotel was the first stop, to see the moves from the World Championship match. There is no waiting today, as one can watch the games in real time. Therefore, it is really true that by tomorrow everything is “yesterday’s news.”

While watching the last round of the US Open online I had a brainstorm, or fart, depending on how one looks at it, I suppose. Thing is, I have recently been helping a father of two children who were captivated by The Queen’s Gambit to learn the ropes, so to speak. One day he asked about the names of the openings and I was attempting to explain how an opening could start with one name but change to another by transposition. With that in mind I decided to go to 365Chess and copy the new names of the opening with the twelve games given on the DGT boards. My intention was to wait until they were posted at the USCF website and download them, saving me all the time necessary to transcribe all twelve games. As stated, I did record the two aforementioned games, which can be found in the two previous posts. Unfortunately, the games were not forthcoming. They did not appear Monday, the day after the event and neither did the final article at the USCF website. Ditto for Tuesday, the tenth of August. Finally, Wednesday morning, there was an article concerning the 2021 US Open, but it was not at the USCF website, but at Chessbase! The title read, U.S. Open: Chess games, awards, signings, meetings, by Alexy Root. ( Hooray! I thought, but was soon disabused of that euphoric feeling when reading the article and finding only three, THREE!, games out of the many thousands of Chess games played during the US Open! Frankly, the article, although well written and somewhat interesting, was far below the usual Chessbase standard of excellence. The article contains what the title proclaims, which is much fluff; the kind of thing one expects from Chess Life magazine, or an USCF online article. I refuse to bore you with the details. After a quick check at the USCF website I see an article by J.J. Lang has finally been posted. ( It is dated August 11, but I did not see it on the website yesterday, but I did turn in about eleven, leaving an hour for it to be posted…Seriously, I cannot recall the time the last time I looked for the article, so maybe it was posted earlier, but I would not wager on that being the case. I did not check this morning as was done each previous day because, frankly, I had given up all hope of ever seeing a final article on the 2021 US Open…

Every day I went to the USCF webpage looking for the last round, the ninth round, games to be posted. I just looked at four pm, August 12, 2021 and the last round games have still NOT BEEN POSTED! Check for yourself here ( It is sad…pitiful, really…In addition, the fifth round games cannot be downloaded, and have never been able to be downloaded…I asked someone to check and he, too, was unable to download the fifth round games.

So here’s the deal…What I am about to give you is my working notes, excepting the two aforementioned games already posted, to what would, and could have been a post about the top twelve games of the 2021 US Open. There were some interesting games and theoretical novelties in the opening, but you would not have known that if up to the USCF. That has got to say something about the organization, and I use the word loosely. Someone dropped the King, or Queen, or Rook, or even the Bishop and Knight, along with the pawns, and even the CLOCK, on this one.

Before reading the following please keep this in mind:

Board one: C01 French, exchange variation

Board two: B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

Board three: After move 2: A48 King’s Indian, East Indian defence
After White move 3: E60 King’s Indian, 3.Nf3
After Black move 4: D90 Gruenfeld, Three knights variation
After White move 5: D91 Gruenfeld, 5.Bg5

Board four: After Black first move: B06 Robatsch (modern) defence. Timur came up with TN of 4…Nf6!

Board five: After Black 3…Nf6: C11 French defence
After White 4 e5: C11 French, Steinitz variation
After White 7 Be3: C11 French, Steinitz, Boleslavsky variation

Board six: After first move: C20 King’s pawn game
After White second move: C40 King’s knight opening
After Black second move: C44 King’s pawn game
After White third move: C60 Ruy Lopez (Spanish opening)
After White fourth move: C70 Ruy Lopez
After Black fourth move: C77 Ruy Lopez, Morphy defence
After White fifth move: C78 Ruy Lopez, 5.O-O
After Black fifth move: C78 Ruy Lopez, Moeller defence

Board seven: After first White move: A10 English opening
After first Black move: A20 English opening

Schmakel played 8…h5 (TN)

Nakamura, Hikaru (2746)
Caruana, Fabiano (2832)
Event: 10th London Classic 2018
Site: London ENG Date: 12/13/2018
Round: 1.3 Score: ½-½
ECO: A20 English opening
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.Nf3 e4 5.Nd4 Qb6 6.Nc2 d5 7.O-O dxc4 8.Nc3 Na6 9.d3 exd3 10.exd3 Be7 11.Re1 Be6 12.dxc4 O-O 13.Be3 Qa5 14.Bd2 Qb6 15.Na4 Qd8 16.b3 Re8 17.Bc3 Nc5 18.Bxf6 Qxd1 19.Raxd1 gxf6 20.Nc3 f5 21.Ne2 Bf6 22.Ned4 Rad8 23.Bh3 f4 24.Nxe6 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Nxe6 26.Bxe6 Rxe6 27.Kf1 b5 28.cxb5 cxb5 29.gxf4 Re4 30.f5 Kg7 31.Rd5 a6 32.Rd6 Rh4 33.Ne3 a5 34.Ra6 a4 35.bxa4 bxa4 36.Kg2 Rd4 37.Kf3 h5 38.Ra5 Rh4 39.Kg2 Rf4 40.Kg3 Rb4 41.Nd5 Bh4+ 42.Kg2 Rd4 43.f6+ Kg6 44.Kf3 Bg5 45.h3 h4 46.Rb5 Bxf6 47.Ke3 Rd1 48.Nf4+ Kg7 49.Ra5 Rh1 50.Kf3 Rh2 51.Nh5+ Kg6 52.Nf4+ Kg7 53.Rxa4 Be5 54.Kg4 Rxf2 55.Nd3 Rg2+ 56.Kf5 Bg3 57.Nf4 Rf2 58.Kg4 Bxf4 59.Rxf4 Rxa2 60.Kxh4 Ra6 61.Rg4+ Kh7 62.Rf4 Kg7 63.Rg4+ Kh7 64.Rf4 ½-½

Board eight: After White first move: A04 Reti opening
Aftere White second move: A07 Reti, King’s Indian attack (Barcza system)

7 Bb2 is a TN by FM Dov Gorman

Ladva, Ottomar (2513)
Sorensen, Hampus (2364)
Event: European Rapid 2019
Site: Tallinn EST Date: 12/05/2019
Round: 2.29 Score: 1-0
ECO: A07 Reti, King’s Indian attack (Barcza system)
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nd7 3.d4 Nb6 4.Bg2 Bf5 5.O-O e6 6.b3 c6 7.Nbd2 h6 8.Bb2 Nf6 9.a4 Bb4 10.c3 Be7 11.Ne5 Nbd7 12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.a5 O-O 14.b4 Qc7 15.Qb3 Rfc8 16.Rfe1 Bh7 17.e3 Bd3 18.c4 dxc4 19.Nxc4 Bxc4 20.Qxc4 Nd5 21.Ba3 b6 22.e4 Nf6 23.Rec1 Qd8 24.Bb2 Rab8 25.axb6 Qxb6 26.d5 exd5 27.exd5 Nxd5 28.Bxd5 cxd5 29.Qxc8+ Rxc8 30.Rxc8+ Kh7 31.Rd1 Bxb4 32.Bd4 Qe6 33.Rcc1 a5 34.Rb1 h5 35.h4 Qe4 36.Ra1 Qc2 37.Be3 Qf5 38.Bb6 Bc3 39.Rac1 Qe5 40.Rd3 d4 41.Rcd1 g6 42.Bxd4 Bxd4 43.Rxd4 Kg7 44.Ra4 f5 45.Rd7+ Kh6 46.Ra7 Qe1+ 47.Kg2 Qc3 48.Ra6 Qc2 49.R6xa5 Qc6+ 50.Kh2 Qb6 51.Ra2 f4 52.Ra6 fxg3+ 53.fxg3 Qe3 54.Ra7 Qd4 55.Rf7 Qd5 56.Raa7 Qd2+ 57.Kh3 1-0

Board nine: After Black first move: B20 Sicilian defence
After White second move: B27 Sicilian defence
After Black second move: B30 Sicilian defence
After White third move: B30 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rossolimo attack (without …d6)
After black third move: B31 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rossolimo attack (with …g6, without …d6)

Ennsberger, Ulrich (2368)
Breder, Dennis (2438)
Event: TCh-AUT 2012-13
Site: Hohenems AUT Date: 11/04/2012
Round: 3.5 Score: 0-1
ECO: B31 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rossolimo attack (with …g6, without …d6)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O Bg7 6.d3 e5 7.a3 a5 8.a4 Ne7 9.Nbd2 d6 10.Nc4 f5 11.Bg5 f4 12.h3 Be6 13.Ra3 h6 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Re1 g5 16.Nh2 h5 17.f3 Kf7 18.Rb3 Ra7 19.Qe2 Bf6 20.c3 Qc7 21.Ra3 Rb7 22.Ra2 Kg7 23.Raa1 Re8 24.Rad1 Rbb8 25.Rd2 Re7 26.Qd1 Kh8 27.Rf1 Rg7 28.Qe1 Rbg8 29.g4 Rh7 30.Rg2 Rb8 31.Rff2 Kg7 32.Qd1 Kg6 33.Qc2 hxg4 34.hxg4 Rbh8 35.Qb3 d5 36.Nd2 c4 37.Qc2 cxd3 38.Qxd3 Kg7 39.Qa6 Bc8 40.Qd3 Qb6 41.Ndf1 Ba6 42.Qc2 Be7 43.exd5 cxd5 44.Qf5 Qf6 45.Qd7 Qd6 46.Qf5 Rf8 47.Qb1 Qg6 48.Qd1 Bd3 49.Rd2 e4 50.Rxd3 exd3 51.Rd2 Rfh8 52.Rxd3 Qb6+ 53.Kg2 Qh6 54.Rxd5 Qxh2+ 0-1

Board ten: After Black second move: B30 Sicilian defence

Board eleven: After first White move: A40 Queen’s pawn
After first Black move: D00 Queen’s pawn game
After second White move: D06 Queen’s Gambit
After second Black move: D10 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav defence
After third White move: D10 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav defence, exchange variation

Board twelve: After third White move: C03 French, Tarrasch
After third black move: C05 French, Tarrasch, closed variation
After sixth black move: C05 French, Tarrasch, Botvinnik variation

10 a4 by IM Alexander Katz appears to be new move.

End The Candidates Tournament Now!

The FIDE Candidates tournament should never have been started. The tournament was begun because Russian dictator Vladimir Putin craves attention in a way only superseded by POTUS Donald John Trump.

Why is it Putin is invariably the only one smiling in pictures taken with Trump?

The Russians cheat at everything they attempt. Because of Russian interference in the previous Presidential election, Hillary Clinton

was cheated out of becoming POTUS. Everyone other than the thirty something percent of people who support the obviously deranged Trump knows this fact, including the Hitlerian thirty something percent of deranged people who support any clown foisted on them by the Republican party.

The Russians have been banned from participating in the Olympic games in the coming years for cheating. This was a terrible for the ego of Vlad the Impaler because without attention he is nothing. Other than petrol and Chess Russia has nothing. Vlad the Impaler has previously said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin would like nothing better than for a Russian to face World Human Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess Magnus Carlsen.

Two of the players, one quarter of the players, currently participating in the 2020 Candidates tournament were not eligible to participate. Kirill Alekseenko,

a Russian, and by far the lowest rated player in the tournament, was a “wild card.” This was, and is, ridiculous to the point of absurdity because the Candidates tournament is played to choose a challenger for the title of World Human Chess Champion. The tournament is far too prestigious to have some local yokel battling against the very best Chess players in the world who have devoted their lives to the game and who have earned entry to the tournament with that hard work over the course of many years.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,

from France, was chosen to replace the only sane Chess player involved with the ill-fated Candidates, Teimur Radjabov,

from Azerbaijan, who declined to travel to Russia because of the COVID-19 virus. The tournament should have been called off at that moment. If the Chess community felt strongly enough to hold the tournament, then certainly the young player Alekseenko should have been dropped, leaving six players who did qualify to play. But why would Putin agree to such an outcome when having an extra Russian player with no chance of winning the event to possibly take orders, directly from Vlad the Impaler, to intentionally lose to whomever Putin desired? As Chess player Oscar Al Hamilton was fond of saying, “Everything is rigged.” History shows us that is certainly true of Russia.

The tournament continues even with players saying things like this:

“Referring to the worldwide crisis we are going through, Caruana expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over, while Giri is putting all his hopes on the International Chess Federation:

I have faith in a private jet of FIDE, that will fly all players to their houses.

This was certainly the least exciting game of the round. Grischuk did get a little pressure with White, but Ding played it safe once he realized he could get in trouble. After the game, the players were asked about their form. The Coronavirus crisis had a strong impact on Grischuk:

My form is terrible. I don’t want to play at all with all this situation. I mean, when it was beginning I did not have a big opinion, but now for several days I have a very clear opinion: that the tournament should be stopped. I mean, the whole atmosphere is very hostile.

Ding, on the other hand, is enjoying having made an adjustment to his living conditions in Yekaterinburg:

My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.”

Anyone who “…has faith in FIDE…” is a fool. Just because Anish Giri

is one of the best human Chess players on the planet does not mean he is intelligent in other facets of life.

How can Fabiano Caruana

concentrate on playing Chess when he has “…expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over?” The United States government should send a plane IMMEDIATELY to bring Fabi home! If that is not possible how about the billionaire, who must be losing money as fast as a crazed gambler in Las Vegas, Rex Sinquefield,

sending a plane to Russia to save Caruana. Mr. Sinquefield could possibly pull some strings with other people from the super-wealthy class to make it happen. We are perilously close to a time like the Russian revolution of a century ago with Doctor Zhivago having to share his family mansion with the hoi poi.

Fabiano Caruana deserves a rematch with World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. I call upon Rex Sinquefield to organize a match between the two Co-Classical World Human Chess Champions, as Magnus Carlsen stated, played in the opulent St. Louis Chess Club,

in the future, if we make it out of these dire times, played OUTSIDE OF FIDE auspices. The match could be of sixteen games, the number, if memory serves, chosen by former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik,

who ought to know as he played more matches for the World Chess Championship than any other player, I believe. If tied at the end of regulation then two game mini-matches could be played until there is a winner. Only Mr. Sinquefield could do this because there would be no obstacle to having a match that goes into overtime if held in St. Louis.

We are in the early days of a revolution. Chess will having little meaning in the aftermath of the virus that is changing the world. No matter how this plays out things will NEVER be the same. Certainly Chess will never return to even the weakened status currently held in society. Chess, like other games and sports, will take a back seat to SURVIVAL.

Much was expected of Ding Liren before the tournament but he was forced into isolation because of the COVID-19 virus. That in itself should have been enough for at least a postponement of the 2020 Candidates tournament. Ding said, “My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.” Consider this when considering what isolation has already done to this person:

Man falls to his death from 16th floor of luxury flats during coronavirus isolation

By Andrew Gilpin

22 MAR 2020

A man has fallen to his death from the 16th floor of a luxury apartment block as people self isolate due to coronavirus.

The horror incident in the Tribeca Park apartment block in New York saw him die instantly when he hit the courtyard.

Shocked neighbours said the 64-year-old’s death has left them shaken as they are in quarantine from the deadly disease.

One woman saw what happened when we she went outside to smoke a cigarette told the New York Post: “You have to be mentally strong to take on isolation.

“The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

How can any human play Chess when “The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

Where is the outrage from the American Chess community? Surf on over to the USCF website and try finding one word from any leader of US Chess concerning the sordid situation in which We The People find ourselves. I have gone to many Chess website, such as Chessbase,, and Chess24, in a futile attempt to read the thoughts of any person in authority. The silence is deafening.

I have expected little from the current leadership of the USCF and have rarely been disappointed. That said, I now call on the Chess community to get “up in arms,” metaphorically speaking, and SPEAK OUT. Now is not the time to remain silent, people.

Like Mrs. Robinson, the world turns it’s lonely eyes to you. (



With A Little Feedback From My Friends

Upon opening my email this morning I noticed a comment had been left regarding an earlier post, Chess Segregation, published October 13, 2019. ( After reading the comment by David Quinn I approved what he had to say, then continued surfing…but I continued thinking about David’s comment. I had forgotten exactly when the aforementioned post was published so I went back and found it, learning it had been published some months ago. I then decided to publish his entire comment on the blog:

David Quinn says:
January 14, 2020 at 2:08 am

I tried to tell USCF that a male member (no pun intended) is just as worthy as a female member, and we should be trying to recruit chessplayers without regard for the gender stuff. That view was ignored of course. And FIDE is even worse than USCF in its pretense that restricted women’s chess is as good as just plain chess.

I remember chatting with the late John Peters, several time US champion who never quite got the GM title. I guess the title was harder to get then. We were playing in a “futurity” event at Lina Grumette’s house, where I was invited as an up and comer who had recently made expert, and the US women’s champion Diane Savereide who was a low master was also playing, as was John. I had just beaten her by exploiting what I had noticed, that her play has no patience. So I got a small durable positional edge and just sat and basically let her self-destruct. John knew her well because he was the guy the USCF paid to coach her. (I never got a chess coach, let alone one provided by USCF!). I was chatting with John out on the front lawn. I think he had just beaten me, although I had an advantage into the early middle game before learning why he was a strong IM and I wasn’t. I asked him if Diane, the perennial US women’s champion, was really talented, because it didn’t seem like it to me. He said no. This confirmed my suspicions about chess politics, and how even a US champion had to bow to it to earn a living, and so I just decided to make master and quit, which I did a year or two later. Fortunately I had a real source of income.

It must, however, be noted that women’s chess can attract larger crowds to watch their 24 and 2500 players, than men’s chess does for its 27 and 2800 players. Personally I like chess, and I like women, but I don’t really care if they coincide in the same person.

The day the Chess Segregation was published I received a succinct email from GM Kevin Spraggett:

From: Kevin Spraggett
To: Michael Bacon

Oct 13, 2019 at 7:06 PM

Great article, Michael! Deeply researched. I will study it more carefully.

No doubt you will be criticized for telling some unpleasant truths and asking some uncomfortable questions.

Have a good evening!

Grandmaster Spraggett’s wonderful blog, one of the best, if not the best, Chess blogs being published, can be found here:






GM Igor Rausis says “Chess is a disease”

The post dated July 13, 2019, GM Igors Rausis Caught With The Toilet Seat Down, ( went viral. The number of viewers was the most, by far, of any previous post on the AW blog. Tens of thousands of people all over the world viewed the post in numbers that dwarfed any other post. The number of viewers is given each day and there is a map of the world in which the number of viewers is color coded. The world map lit up like a Christmas tree, with viewers from almost every country on the planet. This continued for a few days until dropping back to what was previously considered “normal.” Because of the huge daily numbers for those days what was formerly considered a “normal” day is now seen as a tiny blip on the graph of viewers. From this it is more than a little obvious people interested in the Royal game are very interested in the ever increasing problem of cheating in Chess.

I had not intended on writing anything else on cheating but a recent interview with GM Igor Rausis has caused me to have second thoughts about posting anything concerning the confessed cheater. Chessbase published, Igors Rausis: How to quit chess in one move By Andris Tihomirovs, yesterday, August 23, 2019, which was read this morning. ( The article was, “Originally published in SestDiena magazine, July 26, 2019.” I clicked onto the link ( finding it in need of translation, so I headed to Google translate only to learn only the heading could be translated but one cannot cut & paste the article. This is what could be translated:

How to Get Away from Chess A conversation with Igor Rausis

A photo of a chess player in a restroom using his mobile phone during a game

broke a long-standing storm not only among fans of the sport, but also for those who have a simple black and white picture of chess. Chess grandmaster Igor Rausis, who has been trapped in a fraud, says it was his chance to get away from the chess world with a twist.

What follows is part of the translation from the aforementioned Chessbase article:

Has anyone else been accused or suspected of cheating in chess?

Lots. Unfortunately, lots. I don’t want to talk about the others. I don’t want to name any specific surnames. I don’t know why people came up with this idea of making phone apps for chess. It all started with that.

They’ve been around for a long time.

But why? What’s the point?

To play. To analyse. I play on the tram.

But they didn’t think about the consequences. Well, there are a lot of sick people in the world. Previously, this sickness didn’t exist. Gaming mania. Unfortunately, it’s a contemporary illness.

Like casino?

That’s different, because a person goes to the casino and leaves money behind. It’s like drugs.

What exactly? Chess?

Gaming. And the world supports this, because somebody’s earning money from his. (It is possible the word “his” should be “this.” It is printed exactly as found at Chessbase.)

Beyond phones, is chess a sickness?

Chess players never talk about it, because chess fans like other words — like chess is art. Maybe it partially applies to those who compile compositions [chess problems].

So is chess a disease?

In a manner of speaking. A great pyramid has been built. I can now say something controversial aimed at the functionaries.


If Chess is to survive it MUST change in order to adapt to the current circumstances. Over a decade ago I wrote about the need for Chess to adapt but money was flowing into Chess thanks to billionaire bullies with more money than sense, so who wanted to be the first to rock the boat? (I use the term “billionaire bullies” because of people like the Koch bros, etc., and other extremely wealthy people who donate money to political candidates who would obviously be more comfortable in a Nazi-type party than any political party consisting of We The People) At a recent Chess tournament in Atlanta someone mentioned Daniel Lucas,

formerly editor of Georgia Chess before becoming editor of Chess Life magazine. There was laughter upon my mentioning I thought Daniel was still editor of Chess Life. “Because USCF is now awash in Sinquebucks there have been many changes at USCF, Bacon,” said someone who will remain nameless. “Now Daniel’s WIFE is the editor and he has been given a new title of, Senior Director of Strategic Communication for the United States Chess Federation.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” I asked. “I mean, wouldn’t simply Director of Communication have sufficed? Is there a “Junior Director of Strategic Communication?” After more laughter I asked, “What, exactly, is ‘Strategic Communication’ and how does it differ from just plain Communication?” After the uproarious laughter abated someone said, “They just pull those kind of names out of their ass.” This brought the house down, so to speak.

In a capitalist economy it is said, “He who has the money makes the rules.” It is no secret Rex Sinquefield wants much shorter time controls for the Royal game. It has become apparent how little it matters what he, on any other wealthy patron of Chess wants, because now, for the game of Chess to survive, it MUST limit a game to one sitting, with no player allowed to leave the room.

On the very popular, and famous, television show, House, the character of Doctor House

was famous for saying, “Everyone lies.” The way Chess is currently played I can say, “Everyone cheats,” and who will argue? It is too easy to cheat so it is happening in every section by players of all ages. Some years ago at a tournament in Atlanta a player was caught cheating and his response was, “Everyone else is doing it, so I must do it too.” At another tournament, at Emory University some years ago, everyone but the TDs was talking about a group of young boys who would simply leave the playing hall heading for the seats of the cafeteria where they would check out a cell phone in plain sight. Why go to the lavatory when one can sit in the comfort of the cafeteria?

There are signs everywhere pointing to the death of Chess. The recently concluded US Open Chess tournament managed to draw only three hundred plus players. Before a recent round of the Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament in St. Louis, Maurice Asheley talked about the myriad draws in the tournament thus far, contrasting the mostly draw “classical” Chess tourney with a recent “rapid” tournament round in which six of the ten games were decisive. Is the Royal game as it is played by the best Chess players “played out?” How many people will be interested in Chess if it must devolve to “Blunder Fest Chess” to survive?