Posts Tagged ‘USCL’

The Fabulous 10s: Amanov vs Amanov Tangle in the USCL

October 3, 2011

Modern Benoni Debate

In the US Chess League, two Amanovs recently played one another.   They have the same last name, but are not related.  Mesgen playing white  is from Turkmenistan and Zhanibek playing black  is from Kazakhstan.

From the Chicago Blaze team’s blog, this entry by the winner, Chicago’s GM Mesgen Amanov.  He defeated IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA).  My comments in purple.

See this Stuff on an iPhone or iPad

My expanded comments are part of an iPhone/iPad app called “Chess U”.  It’s available from iTunes. 

Chess U is a free publishing platform and the Amanov battle is part of the “USCL 2011 – Volume 1″ course.  This app also contains courses by guest authors such as Levon Altounian and Marcel Martinez.

M. Amanov (CHC) – Z. Amanov (LA)  USCL 2011   notes by M Amanov

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. g3  I like Bishop fianchetto against Benoni

On the other hand the g2-g3 move is not one most aggressive lines; white has also e4, Bd3, Nf3, h3 (central strategy) which theory likes although GM Gashimov has upheld the black side a few times.

g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O

Here we reached a tabiya of Benoni with a bishop fianchetto. Black has 3 options here:


[9… Nbd7 ;9… Re8 ]

It’s funny that Mesgen does not mention the weak 9… Na6? played by no less than ex-World Champ GM Mikhail Tal vs GM Korchnoi.  Korchnoi was rightfully critical of the move in his Best Games with White Volume.  Korchnoi rolled over Tal in a rather one-sided rout, but 9… Na6 still deserves a place in the list as the fourth move.

10. a4 Nbd7

[10… Re8 ]

11. Nd2 This position remind me a pleasant moment in my life when GM N. De Firmian played: Rb8?

Re8 [11… Rb8? 12. Nc4 Nb6?? Simply enough mistake, my opponent forgot to play Re8, let’s see what could happen if you do forget. 13. Nxd6! After this move game is over, due 13…Qxd6 14. Bf4 and the absence of Re8 doesn’t give black chance to block diagonal. But this is another story.  Ouch ]

12. h3 Rb8 13. Nc4 Ne5 This is what is considered the main line. Another option is Nb6 which leads to an absolutely different position where both sides playing on the queen side, black is preparing b5 and white is preventing it, if white knows what they are going they ended up in a better position. I recommend the “The Grandmaster Repertoire 1. d4 Volume 2” book by GM Boris Avrukh to see other variations.

14. Na3

This opening is a classic battle of chess ideas.  White moves his knight far aside in order to drive black’s knight back and then reoccupy the center with his knight.  The only question becomes, can black do anything with this gain of time before white realizes his plan and achieves total strategic domination?

14… Nh5 15. e4 f5   This variation leads to a temporary piece sacrifice.

The move f7-f5 is not necessary as black has non-sacrificial alternatives but a good choice at the USCL time control.

16. exf5 Bxf5 17. g4 Bxg4 18. hxg4 Qh4 19. gxh5 Now black sacrificed already 2 pieces, but soon white will be the one who will sacrifice something and black will remain balanced material


Sharp stuff

20. h6! This move is known and without it white would be simply lost

This is an interesting moment.  White is up two minor pieces and has the option here of 20. Bg5!? Qxg5 21. Ne4 Qh4 with further complications. I am not sure if white is lost here.  However, 20. h6!? may be the best move, but don’t rule out 20. Bg5 just yet until we check it further.  I’ll leave this placeholder to remind us to check 20. Bg5 more.  

20… Bh8 21. Ne4   We have followed a main line of the Benoni and only here in afore-mentioned book Avrukh volume 2, author recommends Nc4 with a little trap 21…Nxc4? 22.Qd3! White’s Queen transfers to h3 and kills Black’s attack. I could do that but was pretty sure my opponent would play the same move and position simply transposes to the main line.

Ng4 22. Qxg4 There is no other way of stopping checkmate; white has to give up the Queen.

Qxg4 23. Nc4 This moment is the first point when my opponent decided to take a serious thought, but I was sure he knows the position. The only question I had was “Did he analyze this position very deep over the board with a book say another 10-15 moves or he just looked at another 3-4 moves and checked with computer” As I knew computer gives advantage to black by -0.54 Houdini. Silicon brain does not understand this position. It is well known that engines are bad with a material imbalance like here with the Queen for 3 minor pieces.

There’s another factor here:  in the fast USCL time control, an active queen can wreak havoc in conjunction with other active pieces, even when faced by an army of three minor pieces.  This position may well be practically easier for black, keeping in mind the improvement on the next move.  The conclusion may be that this opening is a good choice by black in the USCL!

Key moment

23…b5   (?) It’s funny that Mesgen passed by this move without comment, but it’s a terrible move for black.   And as we see from Mesgen’s prior note, this was the first moment that Zhanibek had paused to think! This was one of the key moments.

23…b6! is much stronger to deny the a-file to white’s queen rook!  Take a look, black has excellent play!  White’s king is still not entirely comfortable. I will return to this in more depth soon.

24. axb5 axb5 25. Ncxd6 So far, I had played quick. I had analyzed this position maybe 6 monthes ago or more and did not exactly remember what would I do next

It’s funny that Mesgen had analyzed this position because it involves a black blunder, 23… b5?   Although it “seems normal” for black to expand with the typical b5 move, in this situation it’s weak because it gives white queen rook key perspectives to attack the black king.  Take that chance away, and black’s chances are significantly improved.

25…Be5 I kinda remembered what I shoud do here because I remembered that my King goes for a little walk to g3 in the main line and the only way to do so is to play f4.

26. f4 Bd4+ 27. Kh2 Rb6  This move was payed in a correspondence game.

28. Ra7 And here I am on my own. It took me 10 min to find this move, it turned out to be the best move! c4 29. Rc7N This move is novelty, but I woudn’t say a brilliant one. On the human level it’s a probably the best one, because if I play like in the correspondence game

when players can

check their analysis on the computer I should calculate next: [29. Bh3 Qe2+ 30. Rf2 Qh5 (30… Bxf2 31. Be6+ Kh8 32. Nf7+ Kg8 33. Nf6# ) 31. Rd2 Be3 32. Rg7+ Kh8 33. Nf7+ Rxf7 34. Rxf7 Kg8 35. Re7! only move, which impossible to find without computer on the deep depth. (35. Rg7+ Kf8 36. Rxh7 Bxf4+ 37. Kg2 Bxd2 38. Rh8+ Ke7 39. Bxd2 Qe2+ 40. Kg1 Qxe4 41. Bb4+ Rd6 42. Rh7+ Kf6 43. Bxd6 Qd4+ 44. Kh2 Qf2+ Leads to a preputual check! ) 35… Bxf4+ 36. Kg2 Kf8 37. Ra7 Bxd2 38. Bxd2 Qe2+ 39. Kg1 Qd1+ 40. Bf1 Qg4+ 41. Bg2 Qd1+ 42. Kh2 Qh5+ 43. Kg3+- Maybe next I’ll play it )) ]

29… Rd8? I felt this is a mistake, but for a long time, I could not find a refutation. I spent about 15 minutes before I found the best move! [29… Qh5+ 30. Bh3 (30. Kg3 g5 31. fxg5 Rxd6 32. Nxd6 Be5+ 33. Bf4 Qxg5+ ) 30… Rxd6 31. Nxd6 Be5 32. Rd7 g5 33. Nf7 g4 34. Nxe5 Qxh3+ 35. Kg1 with a prepetual Qg3+ ]

Black also has the immediate 29… Rxd6!? with interesting play.  Many tactical motifs involving g5 break and Be5 trick.   Black appears to be equal in both situations either checking with queen right away or taking on d6 first.

30. Bh3! Qh5 [30… Qh4 31. Nc8 Ra6 32. Ng5 Bf6 33. Ne7+ Bxe7 34. Rxe7 Qxh6 35. Rfe1 Qh4 36. Re8+ Rxe8 37. Rxe8+ Kg7 38. Be3 Rf6 39. Re7+ Kf8 40. Rxh7 Qe1 41. Bc5+ Kg8 42. Be6+ Rxe6 43. dxe6 c3 44. Rb7 Qh4+ 45. Nh3 c2 46. Rb8+ Kh7 47. Bd4 g5 48. Rh8+ Kg6 49. Rxh4 c1=Q 50. Rg4 Qd2+ 51. Nf2 Qxd4 52. f5+ Of Course I saw it ;30… Qe2+ 31. Rf2!! ]

31. Be3!! Very strong move! After this black is losing.

This was a nice shot and probably what Zhanibek missed.  Otherwise he would have thought again and found one of the drawing moves on move 29.

Qe2+ What else to do? Bxe3? Nf6+

32. Rf2 Qxe3 33. Be6+ Kh8 34. Nf7+ Kg8 35. Nfd6+ Pretending that I’am a professoinal. Before go any further I’am gaining some time.

Kh8 36. Nf7+ Kg8 I guess my opponent’s heart was squezed here with a hope of me playing Nd6+ with a 3 fold repetition.

37. Nxd8+ Kf8 38. Rf7+ Ke8 39. d6! If I wouldn’t see this move while playing Be3 or if I would not have this move position is equal according to a computer Qxf2+ probably desperation, but there is nothing left, as you can see in the following line: [39… Qxe4 40. d7+ Kxd8 41. Rf8+ Kc7 42. d8=Q+ Kb7 43. Qa8+ Kc7 44. Qc8+ Kd6 45. Rd8+ Ke7 46. Qd7+ Kf6 47. Rf8# ]

40. Nxf2 Rxd6 41. Ne4 Now it looks like I’m a simply piece up, but it is not true,

I’m threatening checkmate which is almost impossible to stop. Rxd8 42. Rb7 Bxb2 43. Bf7+ Here I premoved Ng5 with unstoppable checkmate,

but my opponent resigned. 1-0


This is a very interesting opening variation.  The way Mesgen played, with 20. h6!?, is not at all convincing, and after my improvement 23… b6! for black (instead of b5)I believe black has great play.  Check it out for yourselves!  Come back to this spot soon, I will provide additional lines.

The Fabulous 00s: Death of the Main-Line Ulvestad

December 31, 2009

Ulvestad – What is This?!

Some analysis of recent Friedel games caused me to double-check analysis of what looks to me to be a highly dubious opening: the Ulvestad!

In particular, Michael Goeller’s notes to MacKinnon – Friedel Edmonton 2009.

Here is what I consider the bust of the “Main Line” Ulvestad.  Goeller pointed me to some analysis from a book by “Pinski” but I think white can overcome it, as follows:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 3…Bc5 according to Karpov. There is something to be said for posting the bishop on the c5-f2 diagonal!

4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5 Putting a dangling pawn out on b5 is cute, 1800’s Romanticism and all that, but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

6. Bf1 Nd4 The cold-shower computer hates, and I think quite rightly, the move 6…h6?! as in Zierk-Friedel, Las Vegas 2009, but we’ll consider that bust separately. There now follows a series of moves that results in black’s king going to d8.  Technicians are laughing.

7. c3 Nxd5 8. cxd4 Qxg5 9. Bxb5+ Kd8

K on d8, what the heck is this??

I am not a big “two knights guy” but the king on d8 makes for a very unhealthy impression.  If white can castle (and he can), then it should be lights out.  If I was guaranteed before the game black would wheel out this [insert perjorative], I would become a huge fan of 3. Bc4 – but there is the answer 3…Bc5!

10. Qf3 Bb7 11. O-O Rb8

The best try but black is hanging together by the proverbial thread. In a fast time limit USCL game, black (who didn’t have doughnuts, coffee, and/or both) played the immediately losing 11… e4? and white was most happy to reply 12. Qh3! winning.  That nasty reply threatens mate on d7. 12…Bc8  (this forced undevelopment is taking the already ridiculous Ulvestad to new lows) 13. d3! Qf6 (13… Nf4 14. Bxf4 Qxf4 15. Qe3 wins) 14. Qh5 Qxd4 15. dxe4 and white won quickly, Charbonneau – Schneider, USCL 2009.  To illustrate what a complete short-circuit 11…e4? was, the simple 12. Qxe4 also wins (and is the materialistic computer’s preferred choice) as black has no follow-up.

12. dxe5! Friedel escaped this crummy situation and even won after 12. d3? Qg6! in the MacKinnon game referenced at the start of this article. As Goeller points out, 12. d3? is “a known error since at least Leonhardt – Englund, Stockholm 1908.”

12…Ne3 The plausible 12…Nb4 13. d4! wins for white. The nasty point is 13…Qxc1 14. Qxf7! blammo.

13. Qh3! Threatening mate on d7 and forcing black’s reply. Already I think white is completely winning.  Take that, Ulvestad fans.

White wins. Oh, the Soviet boredom.

The matter is now up to plain old Soviet-style technique.  And it’s not difficult.  Black is now in the iron grip of a Smyslov or a Botvinnik or a Petrosian.

13…Qxg2+ 14. Qxg2 Nxg2

An elementary blunder is 14..Bxg2? 15. fxe3 and wins since B/b5 guards f1.

15. d4 Nh4 Alternatives are no better.  For example, 15… Be7 16. Be2 Nh4 17. Rd1 Nf3+ 18. Bxf3 Bxf3 19. Rd3 Be4 20. Rg3 and white should gather the point.

Note: I draw readers’ attention to a comment I just received:

“A possible improvement for Black could be 15…f6 as played in Chemeris(2265)-Petkov(2484) in 2008, where Black obtained some nice play after 16.Nc3, Nh4: 17.Be2, Nf3+; 18.Bxf3, Bxf3: 19.Re1, Rb4: 20. Re3, Bb7: 21. Ne2, fxe5: 22.dxe5, Bc5 with clear compensation.”

However,  15…f6 16. Be2! followed by f2-f4 wins easily for white.  Once f3 is under control, black’s compensation disappears and it’s smooth sailing for white.

16. Bg5+ Be7 17. Bxh4 Bxh4 18. Nc3 Bf3 19. Rab1! Goeller told me that Pinski gives 19. b3 here, following up for black with a similar …Rg6+ sac idea.  In any event, it looks like this position is a simple win for white – the Rg6+ idea does not work. Here is why:

19…Rb6 20. Bd3 Rg6+(?) Not good at all, but what else? – I consider this move only to bust Pinski; other moves that don’t lose material are stronger but white is left with a big plus and should convert.

21. Bxg6 hxg6 22. Rfe1! A simple defense, preparing Ne4.  I think black is totally lost.

White wins

22…Bg5 22… Rh5 23. Ne4! just wins.  23… Rf5 24. Ng3 Rf4 25. Re3 and wins.

23. Rbd1!! The star defensive concept which any technician would find immediately.  The timely return of some material is always the receipe to break a premature “attack”.  Worse still for black, the Pinski  …Rg6 “adventure” just resulted in mass simplification making white’s ending task easier.

23…Bf4 Depressing for black is 23… Bxd1 24. Rxd1 Bf4 25. Ne2! and wins.

24. Rd3!  Bxh2+ 25. Kf1 Bb7 26. Ne2 and wins!  Note how Nc3-e2 is so strong defensively in these lines.

Conclusion: the main line Ulvestad is hopelessly unsound.

Readers, any improvements?   I think we should go back to Karpov’s 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5! 🙂


GM Yozhik – IM Aries2   Ruy Lopez Cozio Madness

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. Nc3 Ng6 5. h4 Nf4 6. d4 exd4 7. Nd5 Ne6


8. Ng5 h6 9. Qh5 Wow! This surprising move actually forces a draw in a bizarre way.

9…g6 10. Qf3 hxg5 11. Nf6+ Ke7 12. Nd5+ Ke8 13. Nf6+ Ke7 14. Nd5+ Ke8 15. Nf6+ Ke7 {Game drawn by repetition} 1/2-1/2

After the game I was in for another shocker: white told me he planned to continue with b2-b3!

Absolutely classic! When have you seen Ng8-e7-g6-f4-e6 before in the opening? 

An Indecent Proposal from China

I think the term “supper league” was the first signal all was not well in this email I received recently.

The CHONGQING LIFAN FOOTBALL CLUB intends to invite experienced coaches/players/expatriate capable of rendering expertise services the chinese national team and there clubs in the chinese supper league divison.their enthusiasm fed by huge media coverage.

To coach and provide leadership instruction to the chinese national team.
*Development of team strategies; analyze performance of football team and adjust strategies as needed.
*Coordinate team travel arrangements.
*Scouting and recruiting more players into the national team.
*Coordinate coaches clinic; supervise dress code for staff and team members.

Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree in relevant field,
SALARY: US$29,000.00, Monthly, can be transferred to any Bank or Country of your choice and all transfers must be made in conformity with the existing tax situation in China.
CONTRACT DURATION: 48 months (Liable for upward review depending on your commitment and expertise)
The Management hereby inform that you are to INCUR all expenses associated with the processing of your relevant papers for commencement of work.
The chinese football association will disburse Six (6) months Upfront salaries and relocation expenses on confirmation of your required documentation (including immigration papers) from the relevant authorities here in China

We hereby inform that if this Offer is acceptable to you, you are requested to send us an acceptance letter with your passport photograph via email, and your C.V/RESUME to enable us proceed with relevant processing.
We await your response in this regard.
Mr Cho Ti

Captain Christopher Pike before he was Pike


And in News from Denmark

Le roi est mort. Vive le roi.

The Fabulous 00s: Where is the Caro Complaint Department?

November 17, 2009

Kompliant Karo in New In Chess

In the 2009#7 issue of New in Chess, Nigel Short presents a Caro-Kann sideline that I tried as well in USCL action.

Caro-Kann Foxy Two Knights Foxy Deviation Line with 6. Be2!?

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3

Fischer used to play this just to get away from the tedious main lines.  Can the bishop pair count?  He certainly did not do well versus the likes of Keres (three times) in his early career (such as twice at the mammoth all play all four-times Bled Candidates ’59) when he coupled this idea with g2-g3, fianchettoing.  It was just too easy for black to play.

Fischer-Keres 0-1 Bled ’59 Part One

Fischer-Keres 0-1 Bled ’59 Part Two

Finally Fischer draws, Fischer-Keres 1/2, Bled ’61

5…Nf6 6. Be2!?

No fianchetto!  An interesting try.

Give up the center? Why?

The essence of this particular Caro deviation. White hopes for a miscue and in fact gets it right away!

6…dxe4 (?) 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 8. Qxe4.

In one game,   Short-Gagunashvili (2564) Calcutta Open 2009, there followed 8….e6 9. O-O Nbd7 and now Short found the “move of Frolov” (from 1990): 10. b4! with a significant edge.  In Merida 2001, Short had played 10. d4? versus Vishy Anand and got nothing, but Short and Rybka are both correctly enthused by 10. b4! – a nice move.

In the main game annotated in his article, Erwin L’Ami at the London Staunton Memorial 2009 played 8…Qd5 9. Qg4 Nd7 10. O-O Nf6 11. Qa4 Qe4 12. Qxe4 Nxe4 13. Re1 and black had not equalized.

So far so good, right?  However there is a problem.  Black’s 5h and 6th move combination is rather obviously not very good.  The essence is that there is no reason to rush to give up the center; doing so makes the two bishops count more (especially in the “Frolov Improvement Line” mentioned above).

I run into an Improvement

Try instead the move order from MG (ARZ) – L. Kaufman (BAL), USCL 2009,

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6! 6.Be2 Nf6!

Ye Olde Bricke Walle

This move sequence for black on moves 5 and 6  is so obvious in hindsight.

Where does it come from?  The games Fischer was tortured (see above links) vs Keres! Simply maintain the center with a rock solid game. White has nothing that I can see! So do I complain to Short, Short’s opponents for gilding this apparently attractive path, the NIC Editor for running the article without the improvement, or Larry Kaufman for being too prepared?  Or am I missing some hidden improvement?  To my mind, Kaufman’s moves look logical and what are my bishops doing?  Larry assists with Rybka programming and development, maybe this improvement is just “oude kuch” (stale cake, as they say in NIC Dutch language) to him and I stepped in some NIC doo doo.


See the USCL website for the rest of my crazy game. I tried an early pawn advance which didn’t work at all. The only thing I’ll say about that one is that black missed a nice knockout with 19…Nc5! with the very nasty idea of Nc5-b3, winning.

Spot the Problem

From the USCL website, a preview of tomorrow’s playoff match:

New Jersey Knockouts (9.0 – 2.0) vs New York Knights (6.0 – 5.0)
New Jersey receives Draw Odds

All Time Series Record:  (New Jersey leads 3 – 2)

Starts at 7:00 PM ET       Time Control – Game in 90 with 30 second increment    

New Jersey Knockouts New York Knights
GM Joel Benjamin: 2641 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili: 2666
IM Dean Ippolito: 2535 GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2560
SM Mackenzie Molner: 2446 NM Matt Herman: 2275
Sean Finn: 2114 NM Yaacov Norowitz: 2354
Avg Rating: 2434 Avg Rating: 2464
New Jersey Total ——- ——- New York Total

Astute readers will notice the problem: “NJ Receives Draw Odds.” Far too great an odds in a 4-person match (this is obvious, right?). Recently I canvassed readers for alternate solutions – how to give a slight edge to the team with the higher seed. The collective braintrust is still working. See the comments section of my prior post.

And in Marketing News of the Weird

My blog received a “comment”:

“[random site]  is currently in the progress of choosing chess blogs/clubs to receive recognition from [random site] as Top Resources. This award is not meant to be anything other than a recognition that your blog/Clubs gives information about tactics that directly or in directly raise Chess awareness. Simply place the award banner code on your site and your resource will be listed as a Top CHESS Resources on [random site] once you place it. [random site] is a Private Global Chess Server which offer FREE Chess Games and Guidelines for learning chess and whose goal is to promote Chess (which game has lost his fan base) through the spread of information globally. Thank you for your dedication to your Club/blogs. Please reply me back with the subject line as your URL to avoid spam and to make sure that you only get the award banner.”

I have a better idea.  Random Site must recognize my blog as the primary chess knowledge source in the known universe and place that accolade in an obnoxious scrolling LED style banner on their home page.  Then I will make a link to my new friends and my deserved accolade.  But the real take away lesson – when you have a bad position, just think to yourself “which game has lost his fan base ” and tell yourself it’s not yours.

Mystery Photo



Test Your Eastern Bloc Humor

Rate this on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “huh?” and 10 being “Mirthful indeed!”

What do you call one Russian? –A drunk.
What do you call two Russians? –A fight.
What do you call three Russians? — A Party cell

What do you call one Jew? –A financial center.
What do you call two Jews? –The World Chess Championship.
What do you call three Jews? –Native Russian Folk Instrument Ensemble.

What do you call one Ukrainian? –A partisan.
What do you call two Ukrainians? –A partisan cell.
What do you call three Ukrainians? –A partisan cell with a traitor in
their midst.


The Fabulous 00s: The end of the 2009 USCL Season for the Arizona Scorpions

November 13, 2009

Scorpions Squished

San Francisco defeated the Scorpions comprehensively last Wednesday 3.5 – 0.5.

Some observations about the 2009 USCL season:

A) The Scorpions are a much improved squad with the addition of GM Alejandro Ramirez. In addition, we had more communication pre-match although sometimes players would switch away from openings they had discussed with other team members at the last minute, with highly variable results.

B) We still suffer from logistical problems since our Tucson site and our Mesa (greater Phoenix) site are quite far apart.  This leads to roster problems, scheduling problems, etc.   Even so, the Abstrax site in Mesa is phenomenal.   The Tucson site is much improved too since we added a separate commentary room to herd the noisy onlookers.  Although there still is texting and giggling sometimes in the playing room.  Levon could not hear Wolff’s draw offer, although his sound was on, due to that sort of “ambient noise” !

C) I hated being an Alternate and sitting by passively watching the playoff.  Both Aldama and I had played two games, but he somehow was not an alternate although the playoff was in Tucson and he could not travel.  Ugh!!!  So there I am in the commentary room and it was Veterans Day and we had only 1 or 2 spectators.  All I could do was read HA81 (a better name is PA for Passive Aggressive) trashing Krasik on various blog sites  and vice versa (Karmic that their teams lost as well as our battlin’ Scorps – but I do feel sorry for LarryC, he played really creatively vs. Kach).

D) One of our highest scoring members, David Adleberg, was away at the World Youth and missed the playoff!  Unlucky!

E) Many of our players suffered from playoff nerves, understandably so, and it showed in shaky playoff openings.

F) Switching away from nerves into the simply bizarre, although Naroditsky’s bizarre ….Ng4?!?! foray in the Poisoned Pawn opening actually “worked” in some sense, I am at a loss of words to describe it!

The game (Adamson-Naroditsky Board 3) went:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6!?

8. Nb3 Qe3+ 9. Qe2 Ng4 ?!?! (or alternatively !?!? it’s truly shocking – an OTB inspiration?  It’s illogical in its face, but has value in the USCL time control!)


Wow! So much for "don't move same piece twice"!

Now Robby found 10. Nd1!. The game went on 10…Qxe2 11. Bxe2 Nf6 and here probably best for white is 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. Ne3! +=. That horse always is thinking about hopping to c4. The computer reveals 13…Nc6 14. Kf2! to meet 14…b5 with 15. a4! +=.   The position is difficult for play, for example 14. O-O-O?! would take away this resource for white and forfeit much, if not all, of his edge.

Further note 11/16/09: based on feedback from IM John Donaldson, 12. Bxf6 gxf 13. Ne3 Nd7 idea b6, Bb7 might be all right for black.  John and I both studied Bg5 Najdorfs in the early to mid 70s. At least I was able to surprise Jakovenko recently in an ICC blitz game in a different Bg5 Najdorf.  John says the most “name” player to previously try 9…Ng4 was Litinskaya (2375), former Women’s Candidate.

Another way to play for white is 12. Nf2!? and castles short, keeping the bishop pair.  As always, white wants to avoid castling long in order to always meet b7-b5 with a2-a4. After 12. Nf2 white has a small edge.

In the game white elected to keep the bishop pair and appeared to be a bit better as well, but black developed surprising counter-chances later.

G) I have some funny pre-match video of the team yipping and yapping which I will post within 2 days.  (along with team amanuensis Ben Marmont and the ever-stylish Amanda Mateer).

H) Our squad, along with Amanda and Ben, did make it for one last Applebees at 11:30 pm. They closed at midnight. The waitress addressed Amanda by saying “Whaddya want, Lady?”  to great merriment.  I called Ben a “Frosty Haired Choad” stunning the waitress because I had just rented “I Love You, Man”.   Danny Rensch queried the waitress “ISN’T IT TRUE EVERYTHING IN APPLEBEES IS MICROWAVED I KNOW IT IS MY COUSIN WORKED THERE AND IT IS”?    The waitress was assured she was getting a big tip.

Rules Reform Needed in USCL Playoffs

I think teams getting draw odds in the USCL playoffs are too great an odds.  So do others, judging from blog posts I’ve seen around the league.  I understand the desire to give higher seeds an edge, but this edge is too high.  It’s an easy rule to reform and still bestow the desired small edge to the higher seed.

Here are some proposals.

A) A single Armageddon game between Board 1 (or Board 2 at the higher seed’s choosing) with the proviso the opponents must be within 150 points of one another.  It will last only 12 minutes maximum and add thrills, and yes, more chess to the playoff!  An Armageddon game, let me remind the readers is:   Black gives white  7 min. to 5 min. time odds in a blitz game, but white gives black draw odds.  A very tense situation.

The higher seed can choose colors in the game – I put in that rating differential proviso to avoid the absurd scenario of the higher seed fielding a 2900 vs a 2400 or some such.

B) Some other proposal (I’ll leave it open to readers’ imagination).

USCL Finals Coverage – Ben ‘n Me

This just in – ICC Chess.FM will cover the USCL finals.  GM Ben Finegold and I  will do the honors.  So visit or logon to ICC in December (but not too late, figure out when the finals actually are :)) and watch the final matchup!

Dan Scoones Enlightens the Canadians

Re: Best Chess Blog/Site

I would add the blogs conducted by Michael Goeller and Mark Ginsburg: interesting, and there are substantial archives.

For Happy News Click Me

Hot Danish chess chick Carina Jorgensen.

The Fabulous 00s: Scorpions Continue Winning Ways

October 29, 2009

Week 9 USCL Action: Arizona 3 Seattle 1

Going into the match, I was not hopeful at all about our chances.   HA81 said we would lose by the distance between two raindrops.  We were not sure what a “raindrop” is, but weather-wise we had woes: Tucson had encountered a cold snap and temperatures had dropped from the 80s to the 60s.  Our team was besides itself looking in closets for emergency general-use hoodies.  And, one of our team assistants came into the room having previously suffered from a combination of Swine Flu, Mono, and Regular Flu.  It was a potent and potentially lethal combination of virii.  Did you enjoy that plural of the word ‘virus’?  I know I did.  Virii!  In college, I took Virology (a Graduate-level course) from Dr. Jane Flint at Princeton.  I was a junior and full of hubris.  Having failed the first midterm with a 47 out of 200, (I was told this was more like a “K” or an “L” than an “F”),  I learned fortuitously I still had a day left to “Drop Class” option.  And Drop Class I did.  I’m going to have to blame the Student Union here.  They served beer to anyone (NJ was an “18” drinking age state at that time). But I remember that word, virii!  In summary, if elected, I pledge to bring back “18” drinking age states!

Here is a photo of our fourth board, Amanda Mateer, going over some opening possibilities with our first board, Alejandro Ramirez at the playing site (Agricultural Resource Economics Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ).  You know what they say about prep, the substantial majority of the time is spent on stuff that did not occur.


Prep Time

Soon it was time to start and the games got into full swing.  I went to our commentary room down the hall and monitored the progress from there.

The first board, Nakamura-Ramirez, turned into a very interesting strategical affair in an Alekhine’s.

Board 1. GM Nakamura – GM Ramirez  Alekhine’s Defense

1.e4 Insta-moved (after Naka was 20 minutes late to the board)

1…Nf6 Insta-moved.

2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 4. Nf3 is a whole different story.

3…Nb6 5.exd6! 5. f4 had its heyday in the 1970s and never came back. Ljubo defended some wild games on the black side.

5…exd6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.Ne2 0-0 8.0-0 Nc6 9.Nbc3 Re8 10.Be3 Nb4 11.b3 Nxd3 12.Qxd3 Bf6 13.Rad1


Tough Road Ahead

A nice setup for white. Although black nominally has won the bishop pair, he must still work hard to equalize from this start position.


Interesting.  Yermo was kibitzing and liked 13…Bg4 but it appears 14. Rde1! with the idea of Ne2-f4, defusing black’s plan of Bg4-h5-g6, leaves white with a plus.

14.a4 A good idea for white here would be 14. Ng3! controlling f5 and preventing black’s equalizing plan.

14…d5 15.c5 Bf5 16.Qd2 Nc8 17.Bh6 Ne7 18.h3 Be6 19.g4 Bh8 This bishop has to get out of the way to prepare …f7-f5 later, which will be a necessary space-gaining defensive mechanism.

20.Qf4 Nc6 21.Qg3 Qd7 22.Bf4 Rac8 23.Rd2 a6 24.Rb1 b6 25.b4 bxc5 26.bxc5 Na5

Typical of the Alekhine’s, the horse finds a nice spot on c4.  Black is fine.

27.Kh2 f5 28.g5 Bf7(?!)

28…Nc4!? 29. Rdd1 c6 is a very solid way to play.

29.Rdd1 Qc6

The queen looks a little strange here.

30.Ng1! Nc4 31.Nf3 Bg7 32.Re1 Suddenly black has problems!  White can choose when to occupy e5 especially with a bishop.  If black is not careful, the wrong pieces will come off the board and white will have a crushing grip on the dark squares.


Problems Surface!

32…Re4!? A radical Petrosian-style attempt to upset things, and it surprisingly works!  It’s often the case that “disorienting” moves work well.  However, in this particular position, white could have found his way clear to a plus.

33.Nxe4 dxe4 34.Ne5 Bxe5


Key Moment

35.Bxe5? After 35. dxe5 white is better.  For example,  35…Qxc5 36. Rec1! (an important move) 36… Qe7 37. Qb3! Nxe5 38. Qb7!.   Also, enjoy the geometric 36…Rd8 37. Qe3!! – imagine that occurring in a USCL game, the spectators would go nuts! This sort of tactical play is normally Nakamura’s forte.  He may have overlooked black’s response in the game.


A nice fully equalizing shot! Most ICC kibitzers were simply calling for black’s demise here, focusing on the ratings of the players, not the board.  I reminded them to look at the board and general confusion started to take over.  Then the kibitzers switched to the “black is mated on the dark squares” theory but that just isn’t happening here.

36.Qc3 Nf3+ 37.Kg3 Nxe1 38.Qxe1 Qxa4 39.Qc3 39. Rb7 is equal.  The text actually gives black something to work with.

39…Bd5 40.c6 Qxc6 41.Qxc6 Bxc6 42.Rc1 Bd5 43.Ra1


Quiz Time

43…Bc4 44.Rc1 Bd5 45.Ra1    1/2-1/2

A draw was a good result for us, but actually now, in the calm of the next day, the position is good for black.  As a test for yourself, can you identify a 43rd move for black that keeps very good winning chances?   Nobody noticed it while the game was in progress; it’s a hard quiz.

Stay tuned: I will post the other games in this spot.

Board 2.  Altounian-Mihaliuk

Good prep by Levon.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qh4 Nxc3 7.dxc3 Nc6 8.Bf4 f6 9.Bh6 This two-step with the bishop is all Greek to me, but apparently it was Levon’s comfort zone as he was playing rapidly.

9…e5 10.Bxf8 Kxf8 11.Qh6+ Kf7 12.e4 Be6 13.Bb5 g5?

Black should play 13…Qe7.

14.h4 g4 15.Nh2 Qe8 16.Be2 To show how positions can be approached differently, I would play here castles short, and (with perhaps Qe3 thrown in), then play f2-f4 with numerous very nasty threats to pry open black’s king like a sardine can.  Levon plays a completely different plan.

16…Qg8 17.0-0-0 Qg6 18.Nxg4 Qxh6+ 19.Nxh6+ Kg6 20.Ng4 And so white is just a pawn up with a big time edge.  Levon converts easily.

20…Rad8 21.b3 a5 22.Ne3 Ne7 23.g3 a4 24.Kb2 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Ra8 26.Bc4 Bxc4 27.Nxc4 b5 28.Ne3 axb3 29.axb3 Re8 30.Rd7 c6 31.g4 h5 32.f3 Black resigns 1-0

Board 3   Milat – Adamson Benko Gambit

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.g3 d6 8.Bg2 Bg7 9.Nf3 Nbd7 10.Rb1 Nb6 11.b3 Bc8 12.Nh4 h6 13.Qc2 Qd7 14.Bb2 g5 I guess this is all topical theory, but black’s position is very precarious.

15.Nf3 Bb7 16.Rd1 0-0 17.0-0 Ra7 18.e4 Rc8 19.Rfe1 Ng4 20.h4 Ne5 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.Qe2 g4 It looks like black has to do this, but it’s very sharp and black had little time left.

24.Qe3 Kh7 25.f4 gxf3 26.Qxf3 Rg8 27.Qh5+ Kg7 28.Bh3 Qe8 But now white spends most of his time and accepts a draw offer!   Kg7 to f8 is not THAT scary.

Given the match situation, white must play on.  Boo. Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

Board 4.  Mateer-Sinanan  Nimzo-Indian

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.e4 d5 6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Nge2 Nc6 I don’t know theory, but black does not seem to be doing well here.  In addition, he was spending a lot of time.

10.0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 cxd4 12.Ba3 Interesting.  I expected 12. cxd Nb4 13. Qb1 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 with a definite plus.

12…Re8 13.cxd4 Qa5 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Bd6 Bg4 16.Ng3 Qd5 17.h3 Nxd4 18.Qb2 Bf3! A clever way to confuse.

19.gxf3 Nxf3+ 20.Kg2? It worked!  20. Kh1! is correct. Then black can play 20…Qe6 to set up the game drawing mechanism.

20…Nh4+? 20…e3! 21. fxe3 Nxe5+ and the bishop on d6 falls.

21.Kh1 Qe6 22.Kh2 Nf3+ 23.Kg2 White offered a draw and indeed this is just a draw.  Black should take it because first of all he’s a piece down; secondly every half point matters in USCL play and his game move was patently hopeless.  The real problem in this match was Milat not fighting on in the board 3 struggle enjoying a substantial time advantage and a plus pawn.

23…Ng5 24.Rh1 Qg6 25.Qe2 f5 26.Qh5 f4 27.Qxg6 hxg6 28.Nf1? Note here 28. h4! just ends the game in white’s favor.

28…Nf3 29.h4 Rac8 30.Rb1 b6 31.e6! Rxe6 32.Bxf4 Once again white is just winning.

32…Rc2 33.a3 Ra2 34.Rb3 Rc6 35.Ng3 Nd4 36.Rb4 Ne6 37.Be3 Rxa3 38.Nxe4 Rc2 39.Kf3 Rd3 40.Ra1 Rd7 41.Rba4 Rcc7 42.Ng5 Nd8 43.Bf4 Rb7 44.Re1 Re7 45.Rae4 Nc6 46.Bd6! A nice way to finish up.

46…Nd4+ 47.Kg2 Black resigns 1-0

When all was said and done, we had won the match 3-1!  Quite an upset!  And nobody was happier than Amanda Mateer, who found a nice Bd6! move to finish her game!  To his credit, her opponent NM Sinanan refused a draw in a drawn position (forced repetition) to battle on for his team a piece down. Some would just call it foolhardy, but it did give Amanda the much-coveted t-shirt.

Here’s a photo of the happy team.


The Happy Squad

From left to right:  Levon Altounian, Robby Adamson, Amanda Mateer, and Alejandro Ramirez.

We attracted quite a few fans in the commentary room.  There was even a dork wearing a strange T-Shirt (much inferior to the one Amanada Mateer won from Endgame Clothing!).


Dorky Spectator

Yale Wing Chun Kung-Fu at a Scorpions-Seattle match?!

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 4 OOTW

September 24, 2009

USCL Week 4 Opening of the Week

Molner (NJ) – Herman (NY) Sicilian Najdorf  Bg5 AND Bc4 Combo Platter

It’s always funny when an ersatz pioneer “wings it” in a sharp opening, essentially making things up to confuse.    It didn’t work out in Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs Ludwig (DAL) in a prior week, but this time around white has better luck.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nbd7 8.Bc4 A strange two bishop combo platter to see if white can confuse.  It is a good try  in this crazy USCL time limit!

Lunch Combo Platter

Lunch Combo Platter


Not the cleanest solution but perfectly OK. First of all, 8…b5? 9. Bxe6 is bad.  How do we know?  Because Polugaevsky himself lost to Tseitlin once in 1971 starting from here; the sacrifice is strong.  8…b5? is too much provocation.  Black’s game move is fine.  However, in Najdorfs, do as Gelfand does! 8….Qb6! and after 9. Bb3 Be7 white has zero, as has been proven in a bunch of games.  After 10. f5, lurching forward, both 10…Nc5  (Ljubojevic-Gheorghiu, Palma 1972) and 10…e5 are fine for black.  Going back, after 8…Qb6! 9. Bxf6 Nxf6 10. Bb3 black is fine, Beliavsky-Gelfand Linares 1994.  He played 10…e5 eventually drawing but had 10..Be7 (more normal) as well.  Finally, 8…Qb6! 9. Qd2? Qxb2 10. Rb1 Qxa3 is just a really bad Poisoned Pawn line for white.  It wasn’t poisoned. 🙂

9.e5 h6 10.Bh4 g5? This is the culprit.  Too much junior energy.  The simple 10…dxe5! 11. dxe5 g5 leaves white with zero after 12. Bf2 Nfe4 or 12. exf6 gxh4 13. O-O h3!.

11.fxg5 Nfe4? A sharp position cannot stand two blunders in a row.  The positional problem is 11…dxe5 12. Nf3! with a significant white edge.  BUT black had to play this as his move just goes down the drain.

12.Qh5 And white is winning.   But one more cool moment coming up.

12…hxg5 13.Qxh8 gxh4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.exd6? Here the shot 15. Bxe6!! demolishes black in short order and may have won Molner GOTW.

15…Nxd6? 15…Qxd6 and white is only somewhat better, nothing decisive.

16.Be2 Qg5 17.Nf3 Qa5+ 18.c3 Bd7 19.Qxh4 Nf5 20.Qg5 Qb6 21.Ne5 Qxb2 22.0-0 Qxe2 23.Rae1 Qb5 24.Qf6 Bc5+ 25.Kh1 Nd6 26.Qh8+ Ke7 27.Qf6+ Ke8 28.Qh8+ Ke7 29.Qxa8 Be8 30.Qb8 Qa5 31.Rd1 Ba3 32.Rxd6 Bxd6 33.Qxd6+ Black resigns 1-0

In Other Matters: A Nonsensical Sveshnikov Makes an Appearance

Arizona lost narrowly AGAIN 1.5  – 2.5, this time versus the Baltimore Kingfishers.  The match was very tightly contested.

I was very surprised to read a passage on the Baltimore blog, “Now, as the match began, the players clearly made adjustments for the shorter (60/30) time control as they moved quickly through their openings, especially FM Shinsaku Uesugi, who had specifically prepared much of the Sveshnikov line he played on Board 4. He appeared quite calm and strolled about observing the other three games until about 24. Nb6. He had the worse position until NM Leo Martinez played 37. h4? instead of h3!”

This might make sense if we didn’t have access to the game score.  But what actually happened is that Uesugi played a  completely losing move on move 16.  Jansa showed us why in 1996 (see postscript).

In the opening, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.c3 Bg7 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Nc2 0-0 14.Nce3 Be6 15.Bd3 f5 16.0-0 f4?? Oh, dear. 16…e4 is the main line for a good reason.

Prep Suicide Bluff

Prep Suicide Bluff

White found the right response with  17.Qh5! and yes, he is now officially winning.

17…Rf7 (forced) 18.Bxh7+ (sadly, 18. Qxh7+ and Bg6 next is also completely winning with similar lines) 18…Kf8 19.Bf5 and yes, White played fine and this is winning (although 19. Bg6 ALSO winning is more to my taste than the game 19. Bf5, as it allows less – I refer you to the Postscript for a completely crushing Jansa victory that should have wound up in the textbooks?   Everything was fine until the possible 3-fold repetition came up on moves 22 and 23.  It’s hard in a team event to know what to do – white is lower rated going in, and a draw in the abstract seems really good and IS good, for our team.  But white’s position is so good!  Our fourth board spaced out at this juncture for many minutes, not really looking at the board, just well…spacing out. Robby, our third board, and I noticed this and we each started praying independently he would repeat. The tough thing was none of boards 1, 2, or 3 were clear at all at this specific juncture. -it was still the early going  In the USCL time limit nothing is “winning” unless a player is likely to have a firm handle on all the tactics (see Benjamin-Kacheishvili, NJ vs NY Week 4, for an example of time pressure ruining a well played effort by white). But our 4th board in the end did not repeat, and it was pretty much a given considering his mental state he wouldn’t sense all the tactics and tricks coming up.  He wasn’t focused at all on his board. That’s exactly what happened; he missed a pretty simple tactic a few moves later and lost (by this time having very little time, since he spent a lot of time during the big space-out).    So in a twisted sense the Uesugi high-level bluff (‘prepping’ a losing move?!?) paid off big-time for Baltimore since it put our fourth board into deep orbit when the possible repetition came up.

Postscript: The Jansa Solution

The solution to the “Uesugi Problem” aka “Uesugi Bluff” was shown to us in 1996 by veteran GM Vlastimil Jansa.  In this game, Jansa shows fantastic tactical foresight.  Here is what happened in Jansa-Salai Hungarian League 1996.  I would assume this is in Sveshnikov handbooks, but readers…?

18. Bxh7+ Kf8 19. Bg6! Raa7 (nothing better) 20. Bf5!! A fantastic switch.  Why lure the rook to a7 you ask?  You’ll see!  20…Rxf5 21. Nxf5 Bxd5 22. Rfd1! Bf7 23. Qh7 Bg8 24. Qg6 and white win in short order as black collapses (that was the game continuation).  But if black follows the “Uesugi keep the white knights dangling plan” and plays 18. Bxh7+ Kf8 19. Bg6! Raa7 20. Bf5!! Qe8, then white shows the brilliance of his 19th move.  He plays 21. Bxe6 Qxe6 22. Qg4 and look!  Black can’t follow Martinez-Uesugi with 22…Qh6 due to 23. Qc8+ and mate!  Wow!  If 22…Qe8, for example, 23. Nc2 and white is winning.  What a nuance! So white just has a pawn up and all the light squares in an ending.

In case you are wondering, for completeness we have to look at one other defense, one that Salai avoided for good reason in the 1996  Jansa game.  18. Bxh7+ Kf8 19. Bg6 fxe3 20. fxe3 Raa7 loses to the nice domination  21. Bxf7 Rxf7 22. Rxf7+ Bxf7 23. Rf1 Qd7 24. Qg6 Nd8 25. b4 Ne6 26. Qg4 Qe8 (26…Ke8 27. Qxg7!! wins)  27. h4 and black is in total zugzwang

By the way for amusement here are the 16…f4?? USCL player’s ICC finger notes.  Joel Benjamin opined that he simply got confused because …f4 is perfectly playable in the Bd3-c2 retreat line (but not in the Martinez move order).

Uesugi-BAL has not played any rated games yet.

1: If you play 1.e4, I will play c5
2: If you play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3, I will play Nc6
3: If you play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4, I will play cxd4
4: If you play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4, I will play Nf6
5: If you play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3, I will play e5
6: If you play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5, I will
play d6
7: I do not lie, be prepared

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 3 OOTW

September 18, 2009

2009 USCL Opening of the Week – Round 3

IM Jonathan Schroer – GM Joel Benjamin King’s Indian Defense

Two stalwart denizens of the 1980’s Manhattan Chess Club (located at the world-famous Carnegie Hall) go at it in 2009-style online combat.

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  g6  3.Nf3  Bg7  4.g3  0-0  5.Bg2  d6  6.0-0  c6  7.Nc3  Bf5!?

Not Incredibly Strong but Not Stupid

Not Incredibly Strong but Not Stupid

There’s something positionally appealing about setting up a d6,c6 pawn chain, getting this bishop out, and preparing a later d5.  In a related setup, black can try Nc6 (instead of c6) and then B to g4.  Then his idea is hit in the center with e7-e5 after the N on f3 is diverted or traded.

For example, Ron Henley – MG Lone Pine 1980 went

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. c4 Nc6 7. Nc3 Bg4!? Unusual but interesting.  I can recommend this for further research to KID explorers out there.

8. Ne1 Qc8 9. b3 e5 10. d5 Ne7?

Here I go wrong and go ‘passive’.  The bubbly 10… Nd4! is correct with level chances. For example, 11. f3 Bh3 12. e3 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Nf5 14. Nc2 c5! and black is fine.

11. f3 Bh3 12. e4 Bxg2 13. Kxg2. White has a definite pull now and I was lucky to draw.

Let’s return to the diagram position.  What should white do?  This is the key theoretical moment.

8.b3?! White is giving too much respect to black’s offbeat idea.  Our first guess based on prior evidence is that 8. Ne1! is correct. It accomplishes several aims.  Mostly, it aims to establish a white square pawn chain and induce black to trade B/f5 for B/g2. Secondly, it prevents Nf6-e4 which is strong in the game!

Let’s look at 8. Ne1! more closely.  We only give it an exclam here due to its success statistically in ChessBase prior games. As we shall see, this may be misguided.

After the possible followup 8…Qc8!? 9. e4 Bh3 10. f3 Bxg2 11. Kxg2 we reach another critical moment.  In practice, white has been scoring very highly here with his space advantage.  However, a single database game stands out for an interesting black response:

11. … c5! An amazing two-step with the black c-pawn.  It makes sense!  Rather than wait passively for a white build-up, black takes action to clarify the structure.  On the other hand, WEAK is 11…e5? 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Be3! with a pleasant exchange-KID style safe edge for white, who has gotten rid of his problem child light squared bishop!  (Don’t remind Bruci Lopez about Exchange KIDs after he lost to Jesse Kraai in Weak 3 action, apparently an Altounian “special” delayed exchange variation because white cannot lose.  And who, after all, wouldn’t mind a KID where white cannot lose!).

Let’s see this ingenious 11…c5!.


Position after 11…c5!

12. dxc5 Qxc5 and black is OK; or

12. d5 Nbd7 (in Amann-Martinovic, Austria 1998, the weaker 12…Na6 was played but black still drew) 13. Nc2 a6 and black has an acceptable Benoni with level chances.  12…Nh5 is also playable.

Well, let’s see, we might have to re-think and go back.  Maybe 8. Ne1 is not so fearsome!  What else?  8. Nh4 has been tried by such luminaries as Karpov and Portisch but that’s not dangerous; the WN is offside there.  8. Qb3!? is another try which has some logic, after all black’s Bf5 unguarded b7.  After 8. Qb3!? Qb6 9. Re1!? (Wojo used to try this)

A Wojo Special

A Wojo Special

White emerges with a small edge after the optically scary 9…Qxb3(?!) 10. axb3 Bc2 11. b4 Na6 12. b5 Nb4 13. e4!.  Wojo was a big openings expert so it makes sense to focus further research on his idea.  Even so, black doesn’t have to take, and can play e.g. 9…Na6.  His position looks fine.

Conclusion:  there’s no clear path for a white advantage in this KID sideline!

Returning to the game, recall that Schroer has reacted cautiously and rather passively with 8. b3.  This permits…

8… Ne4! Black is completely OK already; an opening success. In subsequent play Schroer vacillated between “solid” and “aggressive” with predictable results.

9.Bb2  Nxc3  10.Bxc3  Be4  11.Qd2  e6  12.Qe3  d5  13.Bh3  Bxf3  14.Qxf3  f5  15.Qd3  Nd7  16.f3  a5  17.Kh1  Qg5  18.Bg2  Qh5  19.Qe3  Rfe8  20.Qd3  Nf6  21.e4  dxe4  22.fxe4  Rad8  23.Rad1  c5  24.Bf3  fxe4  25.Bxe4  Ng4  26.Qe2  Rf8  27.Bf3  Rxf3  28.Rxf3  Nxh2  29.Kg2?

This has nothing to do with the opening, but the inhuman machine finds a way for white to get a half point here. 29. Qxe6+! Kh8 30. Rf7!! Qxd1+ 31. Kxh2 cxd4 (31…Qc2+ 33. Kh3 Qxc3 34. Rxg7! and draws) 32. Bxa5 Qh5+ 33. Kg1 Qxa5 34. Qe7 Rg8 35. Rxg7! with a draw!  What a line!

29…Qxf3+  30.Qxf3  Nxf3  31.Kxf3  b6  32.Ke4  cxd4  33.Rd3  e5  34.c5  bxc5  35.Bxa5  Ra8  36.Bb6  Rxa2  37.Bxc5  Re2+  38.Kf3  Re1  39.Kf2  Rc1  40.b4  e4  41.Ra3  e3+  42.Ke2  Rc2+  43.Ke1  Be5  44.Ra8+  Kf7  45.Rf8+  Ke6  46.Re8+  Kd5  White resigns 0-1

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 10 — I cause the Scorpions to Miss

November 1, 2008

Narrow Miss for the Scorpions

Arizona defeated Seattle 2.5 – 1.5 in Week 10 but if we had scored 3-1 we would have made the playoffs on tiebreak, edging out both Seattle and Chicago, because Chicago (despite IM Pasalic defeating IM Bartholomew) lost to Dallas 1.5 – 2.5.

The Arizona match started well with IM Altounian holding += (and eventually drawing) vs GM Serper, and NM Harper winning a nice attacking game a while later on board 4 vs NM Lee.  That left Robby Adamson on board 3 playing WGM K. Rohonyan and me on board 2 as black against FM Slava Mikhailuk.

S. Mikhailuk (SEA) – M. Ginsburg (ARZ)  Catalan Accepted

1.c4  e6  2.Nf3  d5  3.d4  Nf6  4.g3  dxc4  5.Qa4+  Nbd7  6.Bg2  a6  7.Qxc4  b5  8.Qc2  Bb7  9.Bg5  c5 I had prepared something different but in the game white avoids the most critical paths.
10.0-0  Rc8  11.Qd2?! Trying to draw? 11…h6  12.Bxf6  Nxf6 Black has no problems and, as happened in the game, can put his dark-squared bishop to very good use.

13.dxc5  Bxc5  14.Qxd8+  Kxd8  15.Nbd2 15. Ne5? Bxg2 16. Nxf7+ Ke7 17. Nxh8 Be4! and white loses.

15…Ke7  16.Rac1  Bd5?! After a long think, a rather irrelevant move.  The simple and natural 16…Rhd8! 17. Nb3 Bb6 18. Ne5 Ne4! leaves black with a significant advantage.  For example, 19. Nd3 a5! with pressure.  I missed 18…Ne4! totally.   In addition, 16…Rhd8! might cause a miniature:  the plausible 17. Rfd1?? Ng4 18. e3 Nxe3! and wins immediately.

17.Ne5  Bd4!? 17…Bb4 18. Nb3 Bd6 is equal but I was anxious to “keep winning chances alive” – too bad the match situation eventually did not require that!

18.Nd3  a5

The computer spots 18…Bxa2!? 19. Nb4 Bxb2 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Nxa2 a5! with interesting complications.

19.Bxd5  Nxd5  20.Nb3  Bb6  21.Ne5  a4  22.Nd2  a3! 22…Nb4 23. a3 Nc2 is also about equal, but with black more active.  The text frees up c3 as a post for black’s knight.

23.bxa3  Nc3  24.Kg2  Rhd8  25.Nb3  Nxe2?! Too hasty.  Correct, and a move I had seen but inexplicably did not select, was the “ejecting” f7-f6 and black has an edge.

26.Rc6?! Better is 26. Nc6+ Kf6 27. Nxd8 Nxc1 28. Rxc1 Rxd8 29. Rc6 Rb8 30. Nc1 Ke7 31. Nd3 with only a very small black edge.

26…Bc7  27.Nf3  Bd6  28.Rb6  Nc3  29.Nfd4  Kf6  30.Nxb5  Nxb5  31.Rxb5  Bxa3  32.Ra5  Ra8!  33.Rxa8  Rxa8 The smoke has cleared somewhat and black has a solid edge.  He has a better minor piece and pressure against the weak pawn.  This is actually a textbook example of the bishop’s superiority over the knight in an open board.


Position after 34. Rd1.  Black to play and torture white for a long, long time.

34…Bb4?? Totally wrong.  34…e5!  keeps the a-pawn locked up, prevents Rd4, and black continues  to improve his game with kingside pawn advances.   He can press for a long time for the full point.  At this point I had a psychological problem – I had glanced at Robby’s game and Rohonyan had a strong knight on d4 but some weak pawns.  It looked unclear to me.  Since we were about to go up 1.5 – 0.5 (Harper was winning) I wasn’t sure if I needed to win or draw.  This uncertainty persisted, because as I got low on time I didn’t recheck (a blunder) Robby’ game – he shortly won a pawn and was on his way to winning, but I never knew that.  If I knew he was winning, I would have saved a lot of energy and time just drawing and not pressing crazily for a win.

35.Rd4! Now white’s a2-pawn escapes its tomb and gets to a4 and it’s equal.

35…Bc3  36.Rc4  Be5  37.a4  g5  38.Kf3  Ke7  39.Ke4  Bd6  40.Nd4  f5+  41.Kd3  g4  42.Kc2  h5  43.Kb3  f4 43…Rb8+ 44. Nb5 Rb6! 45. Rc8 Kd7 46. Rh8 Bc5! is equal and easy to play.  In addition, 43…Kd7 (doing nothing) for example 44. Nb5 e5! preventing Rd4.

44.Nb5  fxg3 44…f3 is not bad either.  For example, 45. Rc6 Be5 46. Kb4 Rd8! 47. Rc2 Rd1 48. a5 Ra1! is dead equal.

45.hxg3  Rf8  46.Rc2  h4?! Too frisky.  46…Rb8! just waiting is correct.


Position after 47. Nxd6:  Problem-like continuation possible


The aesthetic 47…hxg3!! is a great move in sudden death.  On the very plausible 48. Ne4 black has the problem-like 48… g2! 49. Rc1 g3!! and only white can worry now.  In time-trouble white would probably choose the safe 48. fxg3 Kxd6 49. a5 and then 49…Rb8+! sidelines the white king — 50. Ka4 e5 51. a6 e4 and black will make a draw.

48.gxh4  Rf3+  49.Kb4  Rh3  50.Kb5  Rxh4  51.a5  Rh1  52.Rc4  Rf1  53.a6  Rxf2  54.a7  Rf8  55.Rxg4  Kd5  56.Rg7  e5  57.Rd7+  Ke4  58.Kb6 Even after black’s inaccurate play (considering the dream risk-free edge after the 33rd move), this position is still fairly easily drawn.

58…Ra8?? Why this passive move?  If 58..Kf3? white has the elementray tactic 59. Rf7+!, but with a little more time I spot the simple 58…Ke3! to assist the e-pawn and draw.  58…Ke3! 59. Rb7 threatens Rb8, but then 59…Ra8 60. Rb8 Rxa7 61. Kxa7 e4 and it’s a simple draw.   The text makes black’s drawing path narrower.  I had very little time left and was tortured by thoughts of “not winning” (not realizing Robby was winning) and didn’t know I only had to draw!  Bad team play.

59.Kb7  Rxa7+  60.Kxa7  Kf3  61.Rf7+  Ke3  62.Kb6

Position after 62. Kb6

The entire playoff comes down to this diagram.  Only one way to qualify…

62…Kd4?? At this late stage, it was still drawn.  The blunder in the game is the final straw.  A student of endings knows, without needing time to think, 62…e4! 63. Kc5 Kd3 64. Rd7+ Kc3 65. Re7 (65. Ra7 comes down to the same thing) 65…Kd3 66. Ra7 e3 67. Ra3+ Kd2 68. Kd4 e2 69. Ra2+ Kd1 70. Kd3 hoping for 70…d1=Q?? 71. Ra1 mate.  But black underpromotes, 70…d1=N+! and after 71. Kc3 Nf3! black draws and we make the playoffs.    Of course it would be tragicomic here if black had set ‘always queen’ on in Blitzin and that caused 70…d1=Q.    Very disappointing.

63.Kb5  e4  64.Kb4  Kd3  65.Rd7+  Kc2  66.Re7  Kd3  67.Kb3  e3  68.Rd7+  Ke2  69.Kc2  Black resigns 1-0

Robby won a few minutes later against WGM Rohonyan to give the Scorpions a 2.5 – 1.5 match victory  😦

An agonizing playoff miss by the narrowest of margins.

Unrelated:  Remind me why the ban on assault weapons was lifted?

The availability of weapons that spray out lots of bullets really fast is not exactly the best thing for society.  Let’s see two recently examples (every day there are more).  Conversely but not surprisingly, it’s hard to find a story where “Joe Six Pack” owning an AK-47 or an Uzi is a “good thing” for society.  In any case, thanks, NRA for this Halloween merriment!

SUMTER, South Carolina (AP) 11/01/08 — An ex-convict who said he thought he was being robbed gunned down a 12-year-old trick-or-treater, spraying nearly 30 rounds with an assault rifle from inside his home after hearing a knock on the door, police said Saturday.

And thanks NRA for good-timey machine-gun shoot-offs!

Westfield, MA 10/26/08

An event at a Westfield gun club turned tragic today when an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head and later died at a Springfield hospital, Westfield Police said.

The child’s death — caused by a fully automatic Uzi machine gun — appears to have been an accident; but it remains under investigation, police said.

The Westfield Police Department released a statement about what they described as a self-inflicted, accidental shooting, which occurred at 2 p.m. at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club on Furrowtown Road.

In a telephone interview tonight, Westfield Police Officer Carl Girard confirmed the boy died of his injuries — a wound to the right side of the head — at Baystate Medical Center. Police did not release the child’s name, nor did they say where he lived. The Springfield Republican reported that the child was not from Westfield.

“Witnesses state that he was shooting the weapon down range when the force of the weapon made it travel up and back toward his head, where he suffered the injury,” the police statement read.

The boy’s father was at the event and accompanied him to the hospital, police said.

The sportsman’s club was hosting its annual “Great New England Pumpkin Shoot” during the weekend, police said. Officials from the club could not be reached.

The event was organized by C.O.P. Firearms & Training, an Amherst company which, according to its website, organizes machine gun shoots throughout New England. Officials from that group also could not be reached.  (if they started to talk about the fundamental right to own assault weapons, that might generate further bad press).

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Round 5 Carolina vs Arizona

September 26, 2008

Round 5:  Neither Team Deserves Kudos

Arizona and Carolina had a hard-fought but horribly blunderful 2-2 draw in Round 5.

On board 4, we were somewhat lucky as Warren Harper scored a win over Craig Jones in a game with numerous errors.  Warren made the proverbial next-to-last mistake.  On board 3, Robby Adamson’s opponent Simpson played a higly dubious opening but Robby tanked and could only get an equal rook ending – and drew.  Our top two boards were a major disappointment.  On board 1, IM Altounian was crushing over IM Milman.  We were hampered here as his computer kept disconnecting to the apparently finicky U of Arizona network.  He missed a mate in two and numerous other wins, to land in a B + 3 pawns vs lone Rook that was drawn, since the B was virtually a tall pawn. And I totally botched my game in mutual time pressure after playing a nice middle-game.

FM Zaikov (CAR) – IM Ginsburg (ARZ)  Round 5 USCL  Bogo-Indian

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 4…Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 Qe7 is quite possible; as is 4…Qe7.  I once shocked Seirawan, World Open 1984, with 4…c5 but many games have been played with that in the meantime.

5.Nc3 d6 6.Qc2 Nbd7 7.a3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 At this point, Zaikov’s relayer typed bc3 and the computer, of course, played b2xc3.  The move was “taken back” on ICC and I was given 5 more minutes. USCL rules state this is what happens when there is a typing typo.  I wish he had been given 5 less minutes!

8…Qe7 9.g3 e5 10.Bg2 0-0 11.0-0 Re8 12.e4 b6!? 13.Rae1?! Aggressive but it looks strange.  In the game, since e5 strongpoint is held, the rook winds up doing nothing here.  I would prefer putting it on d1 or c1.

13…h6 Basically a waiting move to tempt white into his next.

14.Nh4 Ba6! If 15. b3 a4!

15.Nf5  Qf8 16.f4 White might as well try this.  He has used most of his time already.  But I have a surprise!

Position after 16. f4.  No need for panic.

16…Bxc4 17.fxe5 dxe5 18.dxe5 Rxe5! A N/f6 move would be bad for black.  The text is virtually forced and also good for me.

19.Bxe5 Nxe5 20.Nxh6+ Kh7 21.Rf5 Qc5+ 22.Kh1 Kxh6 Black has great compensation although white gains the exchange with his next move.

23.b3 Rd8 24.bxc4 Qd4 25.Qc1+ Kh7 26.Ref1 Nfg4 27.Qg5 Rd6 Black has the solid 27…f6 here and I have tremendous chances, especially since white is lower on time.  The text is fine but white counter-sacrifices to reach a draw.

28.h3 Rh6 29.Rxf7! Nxf7 30.Rxf7 Ne3 31.e5! Forcing a draw by interrupting the black queen defense of g7.

Position after 31. e5.

31…Qd1+??? At this point we both had less than a minute (but we get 30 second increment). I thought white had blundered and was looking forward to 32. Kh2 Ng4+ winning the queen and the game.  I didn’t get below 20 seconds here which is a mistake; I should have double-checked this.

Absolutely forced and drawing was the simple 31…Rg6.  If 32. Qh5+ Rh6 33. Qg5 Rg6 repeats.  If 32. Qf4 I can check on the back rank with my queen then take the bishop on g2.  His K will be too open and it’s an immediate draw. If he gets too frisky by running his king up when I check with the queen, I can even win.  I suspect he would have taken the immediate repetition.

32.Bf1! Oh. He had that?   Chess psychologists say the most commonly overlooked moves are the backwards diagonal ones.  G7 and E3 hang and I am lost.   IM Altounian missed the mate in two at some point after this horrendous blunder, so you get a sense for how aggravating this match was.

32…Rg6 33.Qxe3 Black resigns 1-0

Really an irritating collapse and unnecessary defeat.  Consider that it’s hard to construct any position where white has three pawns and a bishop versus a lone rook with no strange starting king placement and white cannot win (which is what happened in Altounian-Milman, as white ‘created a chess puzzle’ to reach a drawn game) and you will sense how incredibly annoying and aggravating (did I mention that? 😛 ) this match was.

An in an Unrelated Matter:  A Strategic Moniker Change for Humpy

Chessbase ran a story about the Humpy Koneru  (or is it Koneru Humpy?) exit from the World Championship cycle.    I think she would do better if she adopted a stage name suggested by an ICC wag:  Swindella McQueen. Many years ago Charlie Hertan adopted the name Mister Donkey in USCF play and such change of monikers makes sense:  as Charlie explained, if he lost, his ego did not suffer.  Only Mr. Donkey had to suffer.  The Chessbase article suggested Humpy had to get mentally tougher.  Well, under my dramatic moniker change, only Swindella has to get tougher.  Humpy can stay the same.    The reason I am suggesting this name change is the same reason the talent agent had way back when he told Penis Van Lesbian to change his name to Dick Van Dyke – the original name just won’t draw the big audience for the singing and dancing.  Just like ‘Humpy’ won’t pack the house in a chess event.

And When The Trend Catches Hold

If the Humpy strategem works out, we might see some other moniker changes.  Here is a set of representative items.

Old:  Elizabeth Vicary  New:   Micah Twinkleton Perth

Old:  Irina Krush  New:   Larabeth “Sandwoman” Gudmundsson

Old:  Anna Zatonskih  New:    Gerta “The Ligatrix” Raus

Old:  Chuchanik Airapetian  New:    Mokra “The Countess” Volovich

Old:  Rusudan Goletiani  New:    Nellie “Say What?” Fourflusher

The Fabulous 00s: 2008 USCL Season Starts

August 26, 2008

USCL Madness

Whoah.  The Arizona Scorpions battled the Chicago Blaze on August 25, 2008 at Levon Altounian’s house in a thriller that was sure to please the Commish, IM Greg Shahade..

Photos of the Arizona players are here.

Not a match for the faint of heart.  First let’s see some pre-match predictions.

First, from BionicLime.   The Lime guessed 3-1 Arizona.  No word yet on IndestructibleKiwi’s or MetallicMango’s thoughts.

“Saturday, August 23, 2008

USCL Season: Week 1 Monday Predictions

The United States Chess League season starts next week, and I have been asked to participate in this year’s prediction contest! I am very excited and honored to be part of it.

For most of the games and matches, I will be drawing heavily from my unofficial USCL ratings list, which I am planning to maintain throughout the year.

However, since the Monday match is between the two expansion teams, nobody on those teams has a USCL rating.

So, I suppose, I could predict a 2-2 tie, but I think I’ll do something a little more intelligently.

Both boards 1 and 3 of Arizona have white, and outrate (USCF ratings) their opponents by about 80 points or so. Therefore I expect at least 1.5 out of those boards.

On board 2, IM Mehmed Pasalic (Chicago) is white against IM Mark Ginsburg (Arizona). Although Ginsburg is a little higher rated, Pasalic plays a lot in the North America Chess Association’s FIDE norm tournaments, so he’s probably in a good form.  This is funny, because in Pasalic’s final norm tournament a few months ago, he and I drew at yes, you guessed it, a North America Chess Assoc. Sevan Muradian FIDE event in Chicago.  In that game too, I was black in a Sicilian.  Pasalic won that event and Tate and I trailed a half-point behind.  (A Taimonov there, here I try a Kan).

On board 4, Warren Harper outrates his opponent by over 150 points, and although he has black, he’s got a better shot to pull it out.

Thus, my prediction is Arizona over Chicago 3-1.

At the USCL mothership site, Arun “Please don’t squeeze the …” Sharma actually got it right with the statistically “safer” prediction of 2.5 – 1.5 Arizona.  But as we will see, the final result was very much up in the air.

Monday Night Prediction — Week 1

The inaugural match of the USCL season is always by nature one of the most interesting, treating us to a display by players generally unknown to us (at least in the league aspect). This match is a strangely unbalanced one rating-wise, with most past expansion teams looking to get a good jump off the starting blocks to help ease any initial butterflies and signify that they are for real. Nevertheless, this match is what it is. While one team has a distinct rating advantage, there are nevertheless two things which I really feel to be true:(1) Never take anything for granted in the USCL(2) A player’s OTB strength can definitely vary quite a bit (either higher or lower) in comparison to their internet strength.Of course, taking these considerations together might suggest that guessing match results in general is a fair crap shoot, and in a league as balanced as this, it probably is! But me and the other predictors (Bioniclime and OrangeKing) don’t get paid to not try. However, given as I said these players are completely unfamiliar in the league, I’ll simply go with the purely mathematical approach for guessing the board results for this match.
Board 1: Slight Edge AZ
Board 2: Even

Board 3: Edge AZ
Board 4: Slight Edge AZ

So I suppose it won’t be hard to guess who I’ll be picking to win from that. But given the variance I think is involved with expansion teams in general, you simply can never know how people will react in their first ever match, I’ll go with the variance happy approach of the smallest victory margin and pick Arizona 2.5 – 1.5.

all adamson-a

Observing 3 [(Adamson-ARZ) vs. (Burgess-CHC)]: (Sele) Lipsome123 Sea-Hawk Micawbr aToutLeMonde deppis MorphyMadness ChessFM KingDestroyer Big-King Fluxcapacitor THUNDAR Lalu IrishGambit kklinheib Rosewood therealwizard Urk mastershake Flying-Tiger Morr louis darrellmac bioniclime USCL DukeBishop Paul kjkormick nemasters LikeClockwork ScottM Ktsofjd MrBob tenor jechess Andrews-TEN NashvilleChess MAGICKOFCHESS Rensch-ARZ XR Shankland-SF jsemmens molokai GrandmasterFinn island sengir Iridium24 pjj Old-Guard bhima pcornelius MASTERCHEF androp StarJock jkjell85 imgm easycure adamredsox vkpanch elizabeth littlestz MrHat frank001 carbide BadBeats giggy EyeAm icecream-smilez putt4dough ShadyMoves Nimzo40 MysteryMan tessie Phlox PlymArg supernova pawnforce93 junkmaster SamsBlockade

79 people

all altounian

Observing 1 [(Altounian-ARZ) vs. (vandeMortel-CHC)]: Bumbly samod1 BertrandRussell (Sele) Lipsome123 Thor5581 Silluger Sea-Hawk Micawbr aToutLeMonde badmove deppis CapitalG bughouseprod MorphyMadness ChessFM KingDestroyer Big-King Fluxcapacitor DWANG THUNDAR Lalu IrishGambit GunSlinger kklinheib Rosewood therealwizard Urk mastershake Flying-Tiger dantas Morr apollo53 louis Zornorph darrellmac bioniclime USCL DukeBishop kjkormick nemasters ArthurianLegend LikeClockwork ScottM DanFerrer Ktsofjd MrBob chigato tenor jechess Andrews-TEN NashvilleChess MAGICKOFCHESS Rensch-ARZ XR Shankland-SF RoJac88 jsemmens Memphischess molokai GrandmasterFinn island sengir Iridium24 LouCKE smarks lepomis hpjj Old-Guard bhima pcornelius impregmate MASTERCHEF androp StarJockell85 imgm Smearinov easycure adamredsox vkpanch elizabeth phoenix10q72 littlestz MrHat frank001 carbide wisebard777 BadBeats giggy EyeAm WillThrash chess1 icecream-smilez putt4dough Gandalf ShadyMoves Nimzo40 alec-805 MysteryMan tessie PorkChopsTamer Phlox PlymArg The-Freak TSMag pawnforce93 Darnoc Player1521 SamsBlockade bamileke79

111 people

all ginsburg

Observing 2 [(Pasalic-CHC) vs. (Ginsburg-ARZ)]: (Sele) Lipsome123 Silluger Sea-Hawk Micawbr aToutLeMonde deppis CapitalG MorphyMadness ChessFM KingDestroyer Big-King Fluxcapacitor THUNDAR Lalu IrishGambit GunSlinger kklinheib Rosewood therealwizard Urk mastershake Flying-Tiger Morr louis darrellmac bioniclime Rebellious USCL DukeBishop kjkormick nemasters LikeClockwork ScottM DanFerrer Ktsofjd MrBob tenor jechess Andrews-TEN NashvilleChess MAGICKOFCHESS Rensch-ARZ XR Shankland-SF jsemms GrandmasterFinn island sengir Iridium24 LouCKE smarks hpjj Old-Guard bhima pcornelius impregmate MASTERCHEF DrinkBeer androp StarJock jkjell85 imgm easycure adamredsox vkpanch elizabeth littlestz MrHat frank001 carbide BadBeats giggy EyeAm icecream-smilez putt4dough ShadyMoves Nimzo40 MysteryMan tessie Phlox PlymArg GeertM pawnforce93 SamsBlockade

85 people

all harper

Observing 4 [(Meerovich-CHC) vs. (Harper-ARZ)]: (Sele) Lipsome123 Sea-Hawk  Micawbr aToutLeMonde deppis MorphyMadness ChessFM KingDestroyer Big-King Fluxcapacitor THUNDAR Lalu IrishGambit kklinheib Rosewood therealwizard Urk mastershake Flying-Tiger Morr louis darrellmac bioniclime USCL DukeBishop kjkormick nemasters LikeClockwork chessdude64 ScottM Ktsofjd MrBob tenor jechess Andrews-TEN NashvilleChess MAGICKOFCHESS Rensch-ARZ XR Shankland-SF jsemmens GrandmasterFinn island sengir Iridium24 LouCKE koolhand bitachi hpjj Old-Guard bhima pcornelius MASTERCHEF DrinkBeer androp StarJock jkjell85 imgm Sandeen easycure adamredsox vkpanch elizabeth littlestz MrHat frank001 carbide BadBeats giggy EyeAm icecream-smilez putt4dough Gupta ShadyMoves Nimzo40 guest1382 MysteryMan ScotchMAN tessie Phlox PlymArg supernova TSMag pawnforce93 junkmaster SamsBlockade

87 people

A lot of spectators!

Let’s pick up the action in IM Pasalic – IM Ginsburg and try to match up the move to kibitzer comments.

1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Qb6 6.Nb3 Qc7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Qe2 d6 9.f4 Nbd7 10.c4 b6 11.Nc3 Bb7 12.Bd2 Be7 13.Rae1 Rd8!?

An interesting defense. I saw it once in a Dzindzi game. Black exploits the temporary logjam on the d-file to stop e4-e5 for the time being.

14.Kh1 g6?

Correct is the natural 14…O-O! 15. Bb1 g6 16. Nd4 Rfe8 17. Nf3 Nh5! with equal chances.

15.Nd4! Logical.  15. f5! Ne5 16. fxe6 fxe6 17. Nd4 Qd7 18. Bc2 O-O 19. Na4 is also a white edge.


A smart Rybka computer program showed me this defensive motif once.  But I have the exact position wrong.  In this position, I must play 15…O-O 16. f5 Nc5 and try to hold on.


White had the exceedingly dangerous thematic blow to exploit black’s uncastled king: 16. Nd5! exd5 17. exd5 O-O 18. Nc6! Bxc6 19. b4! Qd4 20. dxc6 d5 and black maybe, might, be able to hold.


Continuing with my altogether faulty plan.

Position after 16..Qh5.  Queen on a limb (crazy) variation.

Black’s play is quite illogical and as the computer shows, the thematic shot 17. Nd5! is terrible for me.  If I play 17…exd5 18. exd5 O-O 19. Qxe7, d6 hangs and I am lost.

17.Bc2 I get a reprieve. 0-0 18.b4 e5

I would estimate this as being roughly balanced.

19.a3 exf4 20.Bxf4 Rfe8 21.Qd3 Ne5

I don’t adore this move as it gives white a simple plan of action.

22.Bxe5 dxe5 23.Nd5 Nxd5 24.cxd5 Bf8

Position after 24…Bf8.  Time for a Reshevsky-like draw offer.

After the initial vicissitudes, here I offered a draw from what I thought was a solid enough position to see what he would do.  Levon looked += on board 1 and Warren on board 4 had already lost for us, but Robby on board 3 had already won with an amazing 38 seconds left on his clock thus refuting Korchnoi’s dictum “in time pressure, there are no heroes.”   Of course, Pasalic has no reason to accept and plays on.

— Game 2: Pasalic-CHC vs Ginsburg-ARZ —

WhiteKnightAR whispers: lol

Ginsburg-ARZ offers a draw to Pasalic-CHC in game 2.

bioniclime whispers: hmm… draw offer?

Lalu(DM) whispers: he must feel they have the beter chances on board 1

Lalu(DM) whispers: so draw here would then be a good thing

bioniclime whispers: Sure, but then Arizona can’t win 3-1 like I predicted…

Lalu(DM) whispers: once they were upset on board 4

Lalu(DM) whispers: i probably would have given up hope on that anyway :0

Lalu(DM) whispers: but he didn’t take it, so u’re off the hook for now!

WhiteKnightAR whispers: you predicted AZ, bioniclime?

Lalu(DM) whispers: everyone did

bioniclime whispers: I just remember in a New Jersey match last year — I think it was Hess-Zlotnikov — Hess offered draws and Zlotnikov never noticed…

Lalu(DM) whispers: yes i recall that

USCL(IM) whispers: yea that happens a lot because people turn off their sound

WhiteKnightAR whispers: but chicago has the better logo!

Lalu(DM) whispers: or they have a relayer

USCL(IM) whispers: good for the fans, who wants to see draws anyway 🙂

WhiteKnightAR whispers: very true; just say “no’ to draws 😉

GunSlinger kibitzes: i believe the offer wascorrect, and declining was likely also correct

carbide kibitzes: does uscl have a 30 move draw rule?

Lalu(DM) whispers: no there is no rule

USCL(IM) whispers: whats a 30 move draw rule?

carbide whispers: i dont know

Lalu(DM) whispers: uscl has much more creative ways to stop draws

Lalu(DM) whispers: just ask him

carbide whispers: lol

USCL(IM) whispers: draws are good for the uscl, otherwise too many 2-2 tied matches 🙂

carbide kibitzes: its 1-1

carbide kibitzes: with last 2 games unclearish?

GunSlinger kibitzes: oh

ShaqCosteau kibitzes: what happened in other games

carbide kibitzes: adamson was playing flash and uscl at same time i heard

checkm8 whispers: how did adamson do

carbide kibitzes: rf2 and ref1 and lock n load?

carbide kibitzes: adamson won after an attack for the ages

bioniclime whispers: Adamson solved a relatively simple “Mate in 3” puzzle.

carbide kibitzes: lol

Rosewood whispers: what happened in the Adamson game

StarJock whispers: But what counts, is he solved it!

bioniclime whispers: Adamson solved a relatively simple “Mate in 3” puzzle.

carbide kibitzes: bc8?

bioniclime whispers: that his opponent unfortunately set up rather nicely for him.

carbide kibitzes: but then bg4

Rosewood kibitzes: darn wnated to see the end the games just disappered

25.Ba4! b5 26.Bd1 Qh6 27.h3 Bd6 Weirdly, the computer likes the rook lift Rd8-d6-f6 here.  That’s not so easy for a human to play.


Most annoying.

Position after 28. Nh2.

carbide kibitzes: ng4 looks like some pain

Lalu(DM) whispers: bc8 forced right

Lalu(DM) whispers: can’t have ng4-f6

carbide whispers: dunno

carbide whispers: bc8 bg4

carbide kibitzes: then bb7

sangen whispers: f5?!

Lalu(DM) whispers: yeah maybe

Lalu(DM) whispers: qg7 ng4 be7 is possible

Lalu(DM) whispers: then u have h5

carbide whispers: this feels bad for black

carbide whispers: but who knows

carbide whispers: rf2 and ref1

GunSlinger kibitzes: sac rook on f7

carbide kibitzes: in time pressure we tend to open stuff we shouldnt..that for black here might not work

Rosewood whispers: quick Bc8 before white plays Ng4

WhiteKnightAR whispers: lol Gun

carbide kibitzes: B going to b3 wriong side?

carbide kibitzes: bd1 bg4

GunSlinger kibitzes: B on B3 is freezing d6

28 … Qg7 Yes, I am feeling uncomfortable.

darrellmac whispers: finchetto queen Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm:::::)

carbide kibitzes: qb6?

GunSlinger kibitzes: both sides are as uncoordinated as a Jerry Lewis movie

darrellmac whispers: hahahahahahahahahaha

carbide kibitzes: rc7 maybe

StarJock whispers: Who’s Jerry Lewis 🙂

GunSlinger kibitzes: Rc5 is interesting

Danya(FM) whispers: Rc7

Danya(FM) whispers: +-   Danya sees blood.

GunSlinger kibitzes: yes better

carbide whispers: rc7 bc7 d6 kg7

Danya(FM) whispers: more lik winning oh and Rc6 also wins

Danya(FM) whispers: Qc7 then carbidce

carbide whispers: is that all good?

carbide kibitzes: ok

29.Bb3 Bc8 30.Rc1 Bd7

30…f5 is playable but I was worried about the squares it would leave behind in a vacuum.

31.Qe3 h5 32.Nf3 f6 I need to get the queen to e7 post-haste.

33.Qb6 Qe7 34.Ne1 Rb8

Again, 34…f5 was quite playable but not fitting into the “solid” persona I had selected for myself in this difficult time control.

35.Qe3 Kg7 36.Nd3

White is shwoing off good maneuvering skillz. I am starting to get bad feelings.  I never wanted to play …f5 fearing I would get too loose.

Danya(FM) whispers: oh ne3-nc5

carbide kibitzes: nd3 nc5

carbide kibitzes: N on c5 looks brutal too

Danya(FM) whispers: a5

sangen whispers: f5

carbide whispers: white plays with great patience

Danya(FM) whispers: f5 ef

sangen whispers: gf

carbide kibitzes: can black play f5?

Danya(FM) whispers: Nc5 after gf

Danya(FM) whispers: black collapses

carbide kibitzes: f5 and ef g5 then?

carbide kibitzes: just nc5?

sangen whispers: black can’t just sit around  I can!

carbide kibitzes: white has reorganized nicely  Yes, he has.

Danya(FM) whispers: Nxd7 Rxf6 !?!>

Danya(FM) whispers: and Qh6

Danya(FM) whispers: oh rc1


The computer likes 36…a5 straightaway for me.

37.Nc5 a5 My b5 pawn is now weak.  But what to do?

38.Qf3 axb4 39.axb4 Ra8

Position after 39…Ra8.  It’s all down to this board.  (Arizona leading 2-1).

carbide kibitzes: f5 now?

carbide kibitzes: apparently not

Valeriya kibitzes: Qc5 then claim mouslip

carbide kibitzes: whites better but how to increase pressure?

Lalu(DM) whispers: no mouseslips pls

USCL(IM) whispers: ok looks liek arizona will take a 2-1 lead and it all comes down to this

USCL(IM) whispers: with pasalic needing the win

Lalu(DM) whispers: don’t need any of those this season

Valeriya kibitzes: u gotta try something

Lalu(DM) whispers: ok official AZ up 2 – 1

Lalu(DM) whispers: pasalic must win

ShadyMoves whispers: do the players know the situation with the match score? Are they informed?

BadBeats whispers: yes

Lalu(DM) whispers: yes

Lalu(DM) whispers: everyone plays at same site

Lalu(DM) whispers: they know exactly

40.Rc3 Rf8 41.Rfc1 Ra7 42.Bc2 Rfa8 43.Bb1 Rf8 44.Bd3 Rfa8 45.Qf1 White has patiently arranged the win of a pawn.  But the battle continues!


Of course, black could have simply defended the pawn with 45…Rb8 here!  I had a bit of a hallucination and thought the pawn was a goner so I went for activity.

46.Rxa3 Rxa3 47.Bxb5 Bc8

Position after 47…Bc8.

In chess there is the weird property that sometimes the win of a pawn doesn’t hurt the defending side as they retain chances.  This is one of those cases.  Black can play on and fight with the bishop pair, looking for pesky counterplay.

48.Be2 Qa7 49.Bf3 Qb6 50.Qc4

At this point, I knew 50…Bxh3 might be “on” but it was a scary thing to do in mutual time trouble.  If I did it, the dispassionate Computer Engine would either show me later that it is fine or I lose. 🙂

Position after 50. Qc4.  Can I do …Bxh3?

USCL(IM) whispers: hey btw whats going on in this chess game?

RLH2(IM) whispers: its getting tight

RLH2(IM) whispers: time trouble

RLH2(IM) whispers: bh3

vcs whispers: Bxh3

RLH2(IM) whispers: blundered it

RLH2(IM) whispers: i was waiting for it

vcs whispers: i guess he gets Ne6 tho

carbide kibitzes: ruhroh

Smearinov kibitzes: well a knight move to threaten rc6 looked kewl

carbide kibitzes: bh3

USCL(IM) whispers: is bh3 so good?

Smearinov kibitzes: lol

GunSlinger kibitzes: white queen heads for e8

Lalu(DM) whispers: bh3 gh3 rf3 ne6 and qc8

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: all the genius league predicters made Ginsburg out to be a punk in their analysis    I was very interested to see those geniuses, but I could not find their writings!  The only ones I saw gave me as about equal chances.  Curiously, I had just battled Pasalic recently (also on the black side of a Sicilian, NA FIDE Chicago 2008) – the result?  An accurate draw.

USCL(IM) whispers: we can do some ne6 then

StarJock whispers: On TV on “In Plain Sight”, the witnesses move to New Mexico.

PushingPawns whispers: Bh3 Bh5

carbide kibitzes: true dat

adamredsox whispers: Ne6?

Lalu(DM) whispers: made him out to be a punk?

adamredsox whispers: more lik eKg2

RLH2(IM) whispers: bh3 is forced

Lalu(DM) whispers: how did I do taht

Lalu(DM) whispers: i don’t think i even mentioned him

USCL(IM) whispers: bh3 gh3 rf3 ne6 seems v dangouers whats black do’

vcs whispers: i agree USCL.

RLH2(IM) whispers: kh7

RLH2(IM) whispers: after ne6

USCL(IM) whispers: ok qc8

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: it seemed that everyone favored Chicago on board two

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: Ginsburg, at one point or another in his life, could have played for all teams! …he lives everywhere

Lalu(DM) whispers: i didn’t lol

Smearinov kibitzes: lol

Smearinov kibitzes: lol finegold

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: well, what do you know?

carbide kibitzes: ginsburg gonna have to dig deep ( sports cliches are really stupid no?)

RLH2(IM) whispers: rxh3+

Smearinov kibitzes: he lived in maryland didnt he

bioniclime whispers: I didn’t — I thought it was a toss up

RLH2(IM) whispers: in that line

mthal513 whispers: wow

RLH2(IM) whispers: kg2 rh2+

RLH2(IM) whispers: and qf2 sealed a draw    Good line!!!

Smearinov kibitzes: ginsburg goes where the ladies are  (exclam strategy)

RLH2(IM) whispers: if you followed

USCL(IM) whispers: yea maybe

Lalu(DM) whispers: then ginsburg will be playing in TN soon

Lalu(DM) whispers: following ehlvest obv

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: he lives in MD, Chicago, Boston, AZ, NY, and everywhere in between

Darnoc kibitzes: white can play kg2 before ne6

vcs whispers: na4?

MJP whispers: 2-1 for AZ right?

Smearinov kibitzes: aries2 we’ll never here him shut up if he wins but if he loses he might not log on this week   (I might venture the occasional logon to talk to my lady friends)

ExMachina whispers: why not … Bx h3?

carbide kibitzes: uscl tbhis game could go on for hours…maybe at move 100 u could subtract time for each move made

RLH2(IM) whispers: ra1+ followed by f5 ideas/!

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: Tennessee – Tennessee there aint no place I’d rather be

therealwizard whispers: what a dumb idea carbide

carbide kibitzes: lol

USCL(IM) whispers: nb3 threat sort of?

carbide kibitzes: of course it is

USCL(IM) whispers: im dumb nevermind

carbide kibitzes: f5?

USCL(IM) whispers: im liek 1200 when analyzing these games

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: for more of carbide’s dumb moves, tune in 8 PM eastern on Wednesday

Lalu(DM) whispers: don’t be so generous to yourself uscl

RLH2(IM) whispers: rxb3.

DrinkBeer whispers: for people who know ginsburg personally is he sort of…off a little…maybe? i mean not in a bad way but not the kind of guy who has a PHD  (I was actually feeling spot on as I munched down a couple of red seedless Altounian grapes.)

carbide kibitzes: crap i cant see anything

Lalu(DM) whispers: u know u’re lower

Smearinov kibitzes: no ur 1450 uscl

Smearinov kibitzes: 🙂

champ whispers: blunder?

dannyhodo whispers: this looks drawish

FlirtyMegan1991 whispers: drawn

TheChessKid whispers: b4 hangs

TheChessKid whispers: oh c8

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: this game reminds me of Blake-Young except the tennis is exciting  (isn’t there beach volleyball on *some* cable channel somewhere?)

USCL(IM) whispers: qc8

carbide kibitzes: rb3?

TheChessKid whispers: then Qh8 maybe

bioniclime whispers: Rxb3

USCL(IM) whispers: tennis much more boring than chess, just hitting ball back and forth over and over!

Sea-Hawk(IM) kibitzes: yeah blake isn’t playing too well

RLH2(IM) whispers: rxb3 nb3 qb4 qc8 qb3 qh8+ kg5 h4+.. and white wins

therealwizard whispers: this game reminds me of time trouble


Oh no!  I *did* have 50…Bxh3!! 51. gxh3 Rxf3 52. Ne6+ Kf7! (The move I missed) 53. Qc8 Rxh3+ 54. Kg2 Rh2+!! 55. Kxh2 Qf2+ with a perpetual, the nice variation pointed out in kibs by RLH2!!


51. Na4 is crushing.  After 51…Rxa4 52. Qxc8 white is winning in the long run, e.g 52….Qb8 53. Qxb8 Bxb8 54. Rc6 Rxb4 Rxf6.

Ra1+ 52.Kh2 Rb1 53.Rb3

Position after 53. Rb3.  I miss a great zwischenzug.

RLH2(IM) whispers: oh ba6 here   Great shot!

53…Rxb3? 54.Nxb3 I never even considered 53…Ba6! with total equality; what a nice move.

PushingPawns whispers: Missed Ba6 instead of Rb3

carbide kibitzes: pawns dropping like snowflakes

ShadyMoves whispers: great chess and tennis tonight

whis he missed ba6

Adamson-ARZ(FM) whispers: he missed ba6

(whispered to 149 observers)

RLH2(IM) whispers: ba6 now

ShadyMoves whispers: go Donald Young!

RLH2(IM) whispers: …

USCL(IM) whispers: yea looked kind of shaky for white for a bit…

whis before

Adamson-ARZ(FM) whispers: before

(whispered to 149 observers)

RLH2(IM) whispers: ba6 now robby

carbide kibitzes: ba6 qc6?

whis better before

Adamson-ARZ(FM) whispers: better before

(whispered to 148 observers)

USCL(IM) whispers: maybe just ba6 now hard for white to lose

USCL(IM) whispers: black to lose


therealwizard whispers: Qc1+

dpruess(IM) kibitzes: qc1 and nc5?

Shankland-SF whispers: qc1 and nc5

mthal513 whispers: Qc1 if nothing else

Smearinov kibitzes: wow

FlirtyMegan1991 whispers: ugh

Smearinov kibitzes: white busted

RLH2(IM) whispers: whoa i missed qc1

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: challenges in tennis are great, we need challenges in chess

FlirtyMegan1991 whispers: these so called masters are blunbdering    We’re allowed to ‘blunbder’ with crazed paparazzi, screaming babies, and Amanda Mateer hovering around.

FlirtyMegan1991 whispers: all games

Smearinov kibitzes: lol qc1 i did too

carbide kibitzes: and nc5 again

KingDestroyer kibitzes: lol flirty masters never bludner

carbide kibitzes: and ne6 coming

therealwizard whispers: it is time trouble and late at night so layoff

55.Qc1+ Check!   White has time for Nc5 next!  Back to the drawing board.  Get it? Heh heh.

Smearinov kibitzes: b4 still falls no?

carbide kibitzes: wheeeeeeeee

RLH2(IM) whispers: g5?

TheChessKid whispers: Nc5 I guess

carbide kibitzes: oh yeah..g5 is good

vcs whispers: nc5

g5 56.Nc5 Bc8 57.Qc4

Once again, 57. Na4! is best. After 57…Qb8 58. Qc6 black will not survive.

mthal513 whispers: what happened to guessthemovve?

Smearinov kibitzes: or nc5 qb4 ne6 i guess

RLH2(IM) whispers: bc8.

vcs whispers: qa3?

carbide kibitzes: its a 2 minute blitz game..its just who blunders least

therealwizard whispers: Na4

carbide kibitzes: qc4?

RLH2(IM) whispers: na4 qc4 g4?!

USCL(IM) whispers: we need guessthemove obv

USCL(IM) whispers: woohoo

mthal513 whispers: yay!

Smearinov kibitzes: what happens if g4

carbide kibitzes: g4


A useful space gaining move opening lines to white’s king! At this point, I felt I was pretty much out of the woods.  But it’s not true  – white is still much better.

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 57…g4: carbide USCL sangen (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

RLH2(IM) whispers: g4 with potential on h4-e1 diag?

carbide kibitzes: and we get some three mile island chess

Tiger17 whispers: tell geussthemove 0-0-0 🙂

Smearinov kibitzes: i guess we’ll find out

mthal513 whispers: why g4?

RLH2(IM) whispers: whoa

Smearinov kibitzes: lol

RLH2(IM) whispers: gxh3

mthal513 whispers: qc1 ideas again

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: tell guessthemove Blake

RLH2(IM) whispers: qa7 as well

vcs whispers: f5 coming?

Smearinov kibitzes: f5?

Smearinov kibitzes: open diagonal?

RLH2(IM) whispers: f5 looks bad

Darnoc kibitzes: f5 fails

carbide kibitzes: f5 doesnt pass the sniff test

USCL(IM) whispers: will be hard for black to lose this

MJP kibitzes: isn’t this position just terrible for black?

USCL(IM) whispers: really?

Smearinov kibitzes: lol sniff test

carbide whispers: wow bold claim from uscl

USCL(IM) whispers: ok maybe not so hard

PushingPawns whispers: In blitz the only terrible position is a lost position.

KingDestroyer kibitzes: hard for white to lose this?

MJP whispers: I know nothing but I was thinking black is screwed

carbide whispers: now if he does that quote will be publsihed widely

USCL(IM) whispers: but few moves ago was very ok for black

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: can’t real chess players kib, and not USCL?

USCL(IM) whispers: still seems like it should be fine

PushingPawns whispers: Plenty of schwindle opportunities here.

USCL(IM) whispers: i have special account they can see my kibs

Smearinov kibitzes: is this the guy who plays at UTD?

USCL(IM) whispers: so i have to whisper always

MJP kibitzes: no these are both older guys

Smearinov kibitzes: oh ok

Smearinov kibitzes: well old guys play college chess

Smearinov kibitzes: just ask umbc

Smearinov kibitzes: lol

carbide kibitzes: this is just hard position

MJP kibitzes: haha yeah but not these old guys

carbide kibitzes: good for us bad for them

therealwizard whispers: pasalic is not old

Smearinov kibitzes: oh ok 🙂

WhiteKnightAR whispers: lol

58.Be2 Qa7 59.hxg4 Black is starting to see the happy contours of draw harbor.

59. Qc1+ Kg6 60. hxg4 hxg4 61. Bd3 keeps a white plus.

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 59.hxg4: therealwizard (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

USCL(IM) whispers: i feel like 30 second increment is most nervewracking thing, perpetual time scramble that never ends

mthal513 kibitzes: and then qc1 and kg3?

carbide kibitzes: kg3?

KingDestroyer kibitzes: I agree

hxg4 60.Qc1+

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 60.Qc1+: Darnoc (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

USCL(IM) whispers: and you are also even expected to make good moves

Andrews-TEN(FM) kibitzes: RZA would be 4 hours late to each match

chicagosevan whispers: Marc Arnold needs 2/4 for his IM norm

carbide kibitzes: we will see many more..stay tuned

chicagosevan whispers: no he drew

chicagosevan whispers: with Angelo

Smearinov kibitzes: lol andrews

mthal513 kibitzes: he just needs all draws now?

chicagosevan whispers: yes

RLH2(IM) whispers: almost a sure-fire norm

chicagosevan whispers: he has 2 more IM’s, 1 FM, and the lowest seeded player left

MJP kibitzes: god ginsburg’s position so depressing   I thought I stood OK here.

GunSlinger kibitzes: Kg1!

carbide kibitzes: tick tock

Kg7 61.Qe3 Qf7 I spotted the nasty blitz Ne6+ trick.


GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 62.Kg1: Darnoc (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

chicagosevan whispers: he’s get it

MJP kibitzes: can keep struggling forever

carbide kibitzes: wow

chicagosevan whispers: and it will be his 3rd IM norm

Adrenaline whispers: who has the best team in USCL ?

chicagosevan whispers: all three done at my tournaments

carbide kibitzes: white plays like altounian   He didn’t blunder yet as in Lev’s game. 🙂

mthal513 kibitzes: queens

mthal513 kibitzes: no doubt

RLH2(IM) whispers: yeah he took his norms at your series

Lalu(DM) whispers: that’s why we play the league adrenaline

MJP kibitzes: LOL

Smearinov whispers: not even gonna try to analyze this

Lalu(DM) whispers: to figure that out

ROCKET34 whispers: az scorpians

carbide kibitzes: very partient and solid


Smearinov kibitzes: qh5 threatening what?  Just hanging out.  Maybe white will fall for b5 Qh4 g3 Bxc5.  Stranger things have happened.

champ whispers: b5?

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: I am moving the team after this season…who wants to buy a franchise?

carbide kibitzes: qh3

carbide kibitzes: move of the century

Lalu(DM) whispers: depends where u move

Tiger17 whispers: how much todd?

WhiteKnightAR whispers: how much? lol

therealwizard whispers: he’s moving to east st.louis

mthal513 kibitzes: just b5 here?

chicagosevan whispers: i’ll buy it todd – hamburger happy meal and i’d like some change

RLH2(IM) whispers: b5?! qh4

Lalu(DM) whispers: st. louis has a darn nice club to play in at least

MJP whispers: what the?

Lalu(DM) whispers: too bad i doubt they have the player base

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: I wouldnt trade you the team for that entire chess center you guys play in, Sevan

Position after 62…Qh5.  White decides to take action.


No doubt exhausted by the lengthy struggle, white blunders back the pawn and the game becomes level.  Worse, white cannot make any threats going forward and the game and match swiftly conclude.  After 63. g3 white can continue to press.

Smearinov whispers: bx forced?

carbide kibitzes: so whats going on here?

StarJock whispers: Moving Team includes those hot Tenn. women?

Lalu(DM) whispers: yeah

chicagosevan whispers: we’re at the Holiday Inn Northshore Hotel

Lalu(DM) whispers: but if u take the women

Lalu(DM) whispers: u have to take ehlvest then too

Lalu(DM) whispers: since that’s why he’s tehre

Bxe6 64.dxe6

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 63…Bxe6: TheChessKid therealwizard Smearinov (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

RLH2(IM) whispers: bxe6 de qh4..

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 64.dxe6: therealwizard (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: not at the Touch move Center huh

Smearinov whispers: chicagosevan any hot chicks in the crowd?

Britt kibitzes: is this love or hate you chess center guys

WhiteKnightAR whispers: you’ll lose Ehlvest

champ whispers: Bxb4   The champ is onto something.

PushingPawns whispers: pawn is a pawn

carbide kibitzes: i feel some perp in the future qh4 qe1

Smearinov whispers: 🙂 lol

ExMachina whispers: Qh3

blitzmaniac whispers: sevan doesnt swing that way

blitzmaniac whispers: 😀

champ whispers: why not Bxb4?

PushingPawns whispers: Looks like white lost the thread somewhere.

champ whispers: ooooooooo Qa7

Smearinov whispers: qa7 + then qb8+

64…Bxb4! Gaining c5 for the bishop in some positions.  It’s now totally drawn. Some kibitzers posited it might be a blunder but it is a safe capture.

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 64…Bxb4: therealwizard champ TheChessKid KNVB (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Smearinov whispers: bf8 e7

carbide kibitzes: qa7 kh6

Smearinov whispers: wtf

carbide kibitzes: here we go

therealwizard whispers: and draw

mastershake whispers: king can move up too lol

65.Qa7+ The check is not scary but some spectators were still caught up in the fervor.

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 65.Qa7+: carbide therealwizard KNVB (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Smearinov whispers: qa7 kg6 qf7

GunSlinger kibitzes: Qa7 wins   If my king had to go back, yes.

Smearinov whispers: k6

Smearinov kibitzes: h6

MJP whispers: Bxb4 looks like it was a blunder from ginsburg   Ye of Little Faith.

carbide kibitzes: qa7 and e7 in some lines  Fortunately Ms. Queen covers e8, so no.

RLH2(IM) whispers: ===========

Adrenaline whispers: super draw

Kh6 66.Qe3+

Nothing else to do.  But some spectators were flummoxed.

carbide kibitzes: wtf?..qg5?

PushingPawns whispers: Bb4 is fine

therealwizard whispers: draw time

USCL(IM) whispers: weird

mthal513 kibitzes: black shouldn’t repeat

MJP whispers: qe3+ looks terrible to me

White could even lose if he “did nothing” in time trouble.  Black’s queen and bishop can coordinate to make inroads.

For example, 66. g3 Qh3! 67. Qf2 Kg7 68. Bf1 Qh8 69. Qa7+ Kg6 70. Qf7+ Kg5 71. e7 Bc5+ 72. Kg2 Qh3 mate!


GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 66…Qg5: TheChessKid (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

GunSlinger kibitzes: just gaining seconds

champ whispers: draw

USCL(IM) whispers: what was he doing taht for?

Smearinov kibitzes: now has to

Lalu(DM) whispers: huh

67.Qxg5+ Kxg5

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 67…Kxg5: KNVB TheChessKid (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Smearinov kibitzes: opp color bishops

Lalu(DM) whispers: now it’s just dead

MJP kibitzes: ok dead draw

therealwizard whispers: lol draw

mthal513 kibitzes: strange decision

carbide kibitzes: what in the world is he thinking??

Smearinov kibitzes: g3

MJP kibitzes: white blew it with qe3+   No, he had no threats and couldn’t even make any.

carbide kibitzes: lol


GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 68.g3: Smearinov TheChessKid (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Lalu(DM) whispers: f5

therealwizard whispers: white blew it with Ne6  Sort of, but it was a tough slog in the mire of zeitnot.

carbide kibitzes: lol

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 68.g3: Smearinov TheChessKid (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Lalu(DM) whispers: f5

therealwizard whispers: white blew it with Ne6

champ whispers: f5

carbide kibitzes: lalu predicted 2.5 for az

Rensch-ARZ whispers: Way to Go Mark!!! Go Scorpions!!!

carbide kibitzes: perfecto

Andrews-TEN(FM) kibitzes: goodnight

USCL(IM) whispers: f5 seems simple enough

Smearinov kibitzes: f5 is draw

therealwizard whispers: 63 …. Ne6??

Andrews-TEN(FM) whispers: see you Wednesday

carbide kibitzes: oh so now danny chimes in


GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 68…f5: Lalu TheChessKid champ USCL Smearinov (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

MJP kibitzes: where do the scorpions play? Phoenix or Tucson?

Lalu(DM) whispers: both

USCL(IM) whispers: whoa if u just kibitz the move it counts for guessthemove, thats awesome

champ whispers: exf5

Lalu(DM) whispers: they have site at both moves

Lalu(DM) whispers: at both locations that is


GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 69.exf5: KNVB TheChessKid champ therealwizard (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Smearinov kibitzes: yea greg lol

USCL(IM) whispers: they play in phoenix+tuscon…they alternate

champ whispers: Kxf5

USCL(IM) whispers: from week to week

Rensch-ARZ whispers: don’t worry carbide… I listened to every word you said…

Kxf5 70.Kf2

GuessTheMove(C DM) whispers: Correctly predicting 69…Kxf5: TheChessKid therealwizard champ (Tell GuessTheMove your guess)

Adrenaline whispers: 0-1

MJP kibitzes: ok presumably this is tucson

ROCKET34 whispers: the Scorpions will not be denied!

MJP kibitzes: since these are all tucson players

carbide kibitzes: why are they still playing?

Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

USCL(IM) whispers: yes its tuscon

mastershake whispers: how can you play qe3 and trade queens haha

therealwizard whispers: draw

therealwizard whispers: it was drawnalready by then

Smearinov kibitzes: its aries2 that’s why  Hmmm.

therealwizard whispers: Ne6 is the mistake

Smearinov kibitzes: 🙂

USCL(IM) whispers: never give up

mastershake whispers: still enough on the board to push

MJP kibitzes: here comes a humorous update on, I predict

Safe prediction.

Rensch-ARZ whispers: no draw is GREG’s league… 🙂

bioniclime whispers: In this league, you play until its officially dead

carbide whispers: snore

{Game 2 (Pasalic-CHC vs. Ginsburg-ARZ) Game drawn by mutual agreement} 1/2-1/2

Lalu(DM) whispers: he’s only a figurehead remember

Finegold(IM) kibitzes: boo! fix!

Smearinov kibitzes: its all about who offers

Smearinov kibitzes: lol

Postscript:  Victory Party Insanity

The crew headed over to Applebee’s on Grant and Swan.  Levon had a Pina Colada.  Leo Martinez was a rum and coke man.  Warren, being a freshman, had a water.  The agua helped him drown out his internal demons and re-center his chi.

Dark and Fuzzy is how we like it.  This is Robby Adamson, happy winner, with squad fotog and part-time relayer Amanda Mateer.   Also perhaps somewhat visible are Benjamin Marmont (l.) and Warren Harper (below).

And Elsewhere in the League

An excellent journalistic moment as Ilya Krasik alludes to some dark fisticuffs that might have been: “Besides welcoming David Vigorito, I was quite surprised to see another fellow with him, FM Braden Bournival. Last year it was simply unthinkable that he would come to watch our games unless he planned to leave on a stretcher but of course one cannot keep old grudges forever and sometimes circumstances force you to become more amenable as well.” Those nutty Beantowners! Boston una Sumus!

And on the mothership site, the headline was “Blood was Flying in Week 1.”

I’ve heard of the Fur Flying and Blood Being Spilled, but Blood Flying is a new and intriguing mixed metaphor from the non-liberal-arts boys at the mothership.

Week 1 Action

In the Week 1 games themselves, there were some weird moments.  Shabalov chose the worst opening possible (psychologically speaking) against Sammour-Hasbun who likes to doggedly defend with extra material and calculate.  That’s what Shabalov’s gambit made him do. The NY Knights should have a pre-match prep session to discuss these delicate matters.  I would recommend on move 6 the tricky 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qb3 and g3 next – a no lose, maybe win scenario great for match play.  Sammour-Hasbun’s style in such situations is computer-y (surprisingly similar to Nakamura’s).  So if you force him into computer-y calculations, he will succeed.  Of course, this led to speculation he was using a computer – but it’s just the Intel inside!   Note paradoxically how Shabalov’s ill-chosen gambit (forcing Sammour-Hasbun into a comfort zone) acted as an unseen force, sucking white’s creative juices dry (he was reduced to craven pawn grabs here and there while Sammour remained at all times the better centralized).

In another weird moment, in the tight SF-Dallas match, one player (Igor Schneider) made a “virtual forfeit” – played as if he never showed up (i.e. a thousand points below his playing strength) and SF took it with a “plus one” 2.5 – 1.5.  These things happen.  In the Boston-NY match Boston moved up to “plus 2” when Krasik’s opponent similarly was conspicuously absent.    Nerves?