Chess Room Newsletter #943 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #943

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #943


November 14, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

 Mechanics' Institute November Tuesday Night Marathon Report

The November edition of the Tuesday Night Marathon Online kicked off with rounds 1&2 on Tuesday with close to 50 players. This is a great turnout considering that of this writing we have more than 30 players registered for the new Thursday Night Marathon beginning this week. The competition in the top section will be fierce, as GM Gadir Guseinov and GM James Tarjan are entered, as well as Mechanics' powerhouse players IM Elliott Winslow and FM Kyron Griffith. 

The first rounds saw some entertaining action, with FM Kyron Griffith having to pull off two escapes that would have made David Blaine proud. GM Jim Tarjan used a nice tactical shot in his first game, then used GM technique in his second. Also with two wins were GM Guseinov, IM Winslow, NM Mike Walder, NM Arun Dixit, and Ethan Guo.

In the u/1800 section, Phillip Gerstoft, Bryan Hood, Pranav Pradeep, and Sebby Suarez remain perfect with 2/2. 

It was an entertaining start for the new TNM this month as we were joined on the broadcast by WIM Dr. Alexey Root. The exciting games and great commentary by Alexey and FM Paul Whitehead enhanced a terrific evening for chess. Special kudos as always to tournament director Judit Sztaray, who paired the games manually on 

Here are some games from the evenings action, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith)(2220) - Jonah Busch (Kondsaga)(2070) [C06]
MI November TNM (1), 10.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 The Tarrasch Variation is positionally safer than the strange positions that arise from the Winawer Variation (3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5). It leads to more normal positions which are more straightforward to play. 3...Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Qxf6 The less common recapture on f6. The black queen is developed but also somewhat exposed. 10.Nf3 h6 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Be3 0-0 13.Qd2 e5 14.dxe5 Ndxe5 Black has gotten his pawn break with freedom of action for his pieces yet has the isolated d-pawn. 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 [15...Qxe5 16.Ng3 d4 17.Bxh6! is very good for White.] 16.Bc5 [White should consider 16.Rad1 as 16...Bxb2?! 17.Nf4 is great compensation for the pawn] 16...Rd8 17.Rab1 b6 18.Be3 d4 19.Bf4 Bf5


One must consider the opening a success for Black. All of the pieces are out and the isolated d-pawn looks like a strong passed pawn. 20.Bxe5 Nxe5 21.Bxf5 Qxf5 22.Ng3 Qg6 23.Rfe1 Rac8 Natural development, but [23...Rd5! followed by Rad8 would force White to deal with the powerful passed pawn. Black would have the edge and an easy game to play.] 24.Rbd1?! Letting the black rook invade with tempo [24.Re4! Nc4 25.Qd3 is about equal] 24...Nc4?! [24...Rc2 25.Qb4 Qf7 26.f3 Nc4 would be a strong initiative for Black] 25.Qf4 Nxb2 26.Rxd4 Rxd4 27.Qxd4 Nd3 28.Rd1 Nc5 everything is back to equal with no weakenesses for either side 29.h4 Qe6 30.a3 Re8 31.h5 Re7 32.Qf4 Rd7 33.Rxd7 Qxd7 34.Kh2 Qf7 35.Nf5? Kyron just gives a pawn away. 35...Qxh5+ 36.Nh4 Qf7 [36...g5 37.Qb8+ Kf7 38.Qxa7+] 37.Qg4 Kh7 38.f4 Ne6 39.f5 Ng5 40.Ng6 Objectively Jonah should be winning the position with the extra pawn. Kyron is being tricky with the knight on g6, creating mating possibilites. 40...b5?! [40...Qc7+! 41.Kh1 (41.g3 Qc2+) 41...Qc1+ 42.Kh2 Qxa3 is two pawns ahead] 41.Qf4 a5?! [41...a6] 42.Qe5! b4 43.axb4 axb4 44.Qc5! b3 45.Qc8


45...Qxf5?? panic. Black could defend the mate with [45...Qg8 when White needs to make a draw by repeating with 46.Nf8+ Kh8 47.Ng6+] 46.Qxf5 b2 47.Ne7+ Kh8 48.Qf8+ Kh7 49.Qg8# KyronGriffith won by checkmate. 1-0

(2) Chelsie Zhou (mwncklmann)(1886) - GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes)(2407) [A53]
MI November TNM (1), 10.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.c4 e5 2.g3 d6 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 An unusual and straightforward development against the English. Tarjan makes his opponent figure out the best strategy against this unpretentious set-up. 5.e3 [5.d4! Hits quickly at the center to give White more freedom of action.] 5...0-0 6.Nge2 c6 7.d4 Re8 8.0-0 Bf8 9.b3 Choosing a middle game battle. The ending after [9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Qxd8 Rxd8 would be very comfortable for Black.] 9...e4! 10.d5 c5 11.Bb2 Bf5 12.Qd2?! This starts to turn the advantage over to Black. White needs to address the control that Black is getting over the kingside light squares. [12.h3 was called for] 12...Nbd7 13.Nf4 Ne5 14.Qc2 Qd7


It looks like the e-pawn is hanging, but do you think the great Tarjan has just made a mistake? 15.Nxe4? Chelsea grabs the pawn, but this loses. He was already under pressure with the black pieces looking to infiltrate on the kingside. 15...Nxe4 16.Bxe4


16...Nf3+! Cute. The white bishop on e4 is pinned and Black wins a piece. The game is over. 17.Kh1 Bxe4 18.Qd1 g6 19.Qc1 Bh6 20.Qc3 Re5 No checkmate on the long diagonal. Black will play ...Bxf4 then ...Qh3 with mate to follow, so Chelsea resigned. 0-1

(3) GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes)(2408) - Felix German (FelixGerman)(1721) [B01]
MI November TNM (2), 10.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 [3.Nc3 and 4.d4 is still the most popular way to play, keeping open options for the king knight and avoiding early pins with ...Bg4.] While the text does the same for the other knight, where c2-c4 or c2-c3 is still possible right away. 3...Nf6 Even this knight has another option. [3...Bg4 4.Be2 Nc6 5.d4 (And pawns! Perhaps 5.0-0 0-0-0 6.h3 so as not to place a target on d4 too soon.) 5...0-0-0 certainly pressures the d-pawn. 6.Be3 (6.c4 is somewhat more common (and quite critical!),; while 6.c3 has to reckon with 6...e5!?) 6...Nh6!? when ... Nf5 has its value.] 4.Be2 Tarjan is playing the waiting game full-out. [4.d4 and; 4.Nc3 would be committing one or another.] 4...Bg4 This and the other bishop development are the lion's share of games here, but quite a few other things have been tried; after all, Black has been given free rein. 5.h3 Bh5 [5...Bxf3 6.Bxf3 Qe5+!? leads to a typical Center Counter game, maybe minus the queens. Black plays ...c6 and ...e6 and develops smoothly, hardly missing his light-square bishop.] 6.Nc3 Qd6 As usual, the queen has a selection of good retreats (but please not f5, and definitely not c6!). 7.d4 e6 8.0-0 [8.g4! Bg6 9.h4! Nxg4 10.h5 Bf5 11.Nh4 Nf6 12.Nxf5 exf5 Here White's play seems worth more than the pawn.] 8...Be7 9.Bg5N [9.Be3 is pretty much all that has been played here (somehow the game is already in rareified territory).] 9...Nc6 10.Nb5 Qd8


[10...Qd7!] White: 20:59, Black: 11.Ne5?! [11.c4!? a6 12.d5!? Bxf3 13.Bxf3 exd5 14.cxd5 Ne5 15.Nc3 0-0! isn't much for White.; 11.Bxf6!? Bxf6 12.d5! exd5 13.Qxd5!] 11...Bxe2 12.Qxe2 0-0 Played after quite a long think. [12...Nxd4?? 13.Nxd4 Qxd4 14.Qb5+ is disastrous.; But 12...a6! favorably forces the issue: 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Nc3 Qxd4 15.Rfd1 White has compensation for the pawn but no advantage.] 13.Rad1 Nxe5?! [13...Nd5!? 14.Bd2! Nxe5 15.dxe5 a6 16.Nc3 Nxc3 17.Bxc3 isn't much going for White; Black sidesteps, trades a rook, sidesteps the other way, trades another rook, nothing.] 14.dxe5! White: 12:41 Black: 10:28 14...Nd5 15.Bc1! Now the problems with the knight on the d-file plus less space and still kingside attack issues, should cost Black, eventually, the game. 15...a6!?


16.c4?! [16.Nd4 is a straightforward advantage, with a slight curveball after 16...c5 17.Nf5!] 16...axb5 17.cxd5 exd5 18.Qxb5 c5 19.Qxb7 d4! 20.Qb3?! [20.a3 Rb8 21.Qf3 Qd7= will take a lot of untangling.] 20...Qc7 [20...Qd7!?] 21.Rfe1 Kh8?! This gives White time to organize a break on b4 or e6. But note that Black has been taking a lot of time on every move, even the more-or-less forced ones; it's now: White: 4:43 Black: 2:37 [21...Qc6 again aiming at a4, continues to make White's progress difficult. 22.Qc4 (22.Qc2 Qg6!) 22...Qe6! when White pretty much has to trade: 23.Qxe6 fxe6 24.a3 Kf7! Again, White's extra pawn won't buy anything.] 22.Qc4 The threat of Rxd4 has Black giving up a bit more ground. 22...Rad8?


[22...Qa7 or other queen moves] 23.b4!? [23.b3! could well be better. White is able to arrange a4 without trouble on b3, and e5-e6 is still available. The computers make this a win.] 23...f6? Doing White's work for him. [23...Qb6 24.bxc5 (24.b5 Qe6!) 24...Qxc5 25.Qd3 Qd5 still requires White to make something happen.] 24.e6! [Stockfish makes 24.exf6! even better. But the psychological pressure of that passed pawn (and keeping Black without play) is never a bad idea. (And White is still comfortably within the winning range.)] White: 3:21 Black: 24...Rfe8 25.a4 [25.b5!] 25...Qc6 26.b5 Qd5 27.Qxd5 Rxd5 Black does get ...c4 in now, but when you add in the pawn on e6 and the tricks with Black getting mated on the bank rank, it's pretty bad. 28.Bf4?! [28.b6! does work: 28...c4 29.Bb2 (29.Bd2) ] 28...Bd6? [28...c4; or better yet 28...g5 29.Bd2 c4 puts up some fight, although White should prevail.] 29.Bxd6 Rxd6 30.Rc1 Rd5 31.b6 d3 momentarily scary! But Tarjan has seen futther. 32.Red1 White: 0:45 Black: 0:43 32...Rxe6 33.b7 Re8 [33...Rb6 34.Rb1] 34.Rb1?! [34.a5! (still eyeing Pc5) is the sudden death kick.] 34...Rb8 35.a5 Rd6


This has gotten critical! White: 0:31 Black: 0:18.5 36.a6?? [36.Kf1! c4 37.Rdc1 d2 38.Rxc4!! d1Q+ 39.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 40.Ke2 Rdd8 41.a6 Kg8 42.Rc7] 36...Rxa6= 37.Rxd3


37...Ra7?? [37...h5! 38.Rd5 (38.Rd7 Rc6 39.Kf1 c4 is just fast enough to hold) 38...Rc6 39.Rxh5+ Kg8 and White would get R+3 v R+2, a theoretical draw but in practice...] 38.Rd7 h6 39.Rc7 c4 40.Rc8+ Tirantes won by resignation 1-0

(4) Nicholas Weng (ninjaforce)(1934) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith)(2224) [B15]
MI November TNM (2), 10.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3!? The Fanstasy Variation of the Caro-Kann. This is unusual as White has many other reasonable developing moves. Still, it guards the center and takes the game to unsual territory where the opponent probably doesn't remember the book lines. 3...g6 [Black has some other decent alternatives - 3...e6; 3...dxe4; 3...Qb6!?] 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Be3 Qb6!? 6.Qd2!? [6.a3!? Qxb2?? 7.Na4 would win the queen] 6...Qxb2 7.Rb1 Qa3 8.exd5 Nf6 9.Bc4 So pawns are back to even and the postion is messy. 9...0-0 10.Nge2 b5 11.Bb3 b4?! Kyron is wanting to win a pawn, but this gives away squares and keeps the black queen on a poor square. 12.Na4 Nxd5 13.Bh6 Ba6 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.h4 It makes sense to go for the attack with Black undevoloped and the queen offside. 15...Nd7 16.h5 N7f6?! [16...Bxe2 17.Kxe2 e6 18.hxg6 hxg6 19.Qh6+ Kf6 looks risky but is a better defense] 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.Qh6+ [18.Nc5!] 18...Kh8 19.Ng3 Bc4?


20.Nc5 [20.Ne4! Bxb3 21.axb3 Qa2 22.Rc1 Qa3 23.Nxf6 Nxf6 24.Ke2 would be a winning position as Black will lose his queen to Ral (24...Qa2 25. Qd2).] 20...Bxb3 21.axb3 Qa2?! 22.Kd2! Rg8 23.Ne6 White is back to a winning postion. 23...Nh5 24.Nxh5 [24.Ne4! is even better, but White is still winning] 24...gxh5 25.g4! Nf6 26.Qe3 Qa5 27.g5 Qf5 [27...Ne8 28.Rxh5 Ng7 29.Rxh7+! Kxh7 30.Rh1+ Kg6 31.Rh6+ Kf7 32.Nxg7 is a winning attack] 28.Rbg1 [28.gxf6 Rg2+ 29.Ke1 is a little messy though should still win] 28...Nd5 29.Qe4 Qxe4 30.fxe4 Nc3 31.Ke3 Rg6 32.Nf4


Well played by Nicholas. Black is on the verge of collapse and Kyron decides to try something tricky. 32...e5!? 33.dxe5 Re8 34.Rxh5 Kg8 35.Nxg6 hxg6 36.Rh6 Kg7 37.Rg4 Rxe5 38.Rh2 a5 39.Kd4 Re8 40.Rf2 c5+ 41.Kc4 Nxe4 42.Rff4 Nc3 43.Kxc5! Rc8+ 44.Kb6 Nd5+ 45.Kb7 Rc7+ 46.Kb8 Rxc2 47.Rd4 Still we have a completely winning ending for White. The g5 pawn keeps the black king in a mating net against the two white rooks 47...Rc5 48.Rge4 Rb5+ 49.Kc8 Kf7 50.Re5?? [50.Kd8 Rb8+ 51.Kd7 would just be winning for White. Nicholas makes a blunder in extreme time trouble.] 50...Ne7+ KyronGriffith won on time. In fact Black now has a winning rook ending after 51. Rxe7+ Kxe7 as the g-pawn falls. Quite a comeback from Kyron, but certainly a tradgedy for Nicholas Weng. We expect good things from him to come! 0-1

(5) Cailen Melville (Mangonel)(1711) - GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov)(2615) [E83]
MI November TNM (1), 10.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 A fairly popular way to avoid the standard Gruenfeld lines, although it commits White to a Saemisch structure against the King's Indian. 3...Bg7 [Plenty of players still go for the Gruenfeld idea, but after 3...d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Black has to retreat the knight: 5...Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 Still this has been wildly popular at the highest levels, including with Carlsen involved.] 4.e4 d6 [4...0-0 5.Nc3 Nc6!?] 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Nge2 [6.Be3 Nc6 (6...a6 7.Qd2 Nc6 0-1 (32) Muir,A (2285)-Ivanov,I (2500) Swansea 1987) 7.Nge2 0-1 (41) Valbuena Mota,A (2072)-Roa Alonso,S (2383) Galapagar 2005] 6...a6 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2


The main line of the Saemisch Panno, but now Black does something different. 8...Bd7!? First seen at a high level almost 60 years a couple times by Taimanov against Polugaevsky and Petrosian. But he (Taimanov) had already played 8...Rb8, and later played that again as well. Everything was an experiment back then! [8...Na5!? was played in a game by Igor Ivanov, then was hardly seen for 18 years -- and then became quite popular. It's certainly worth a look! 9.Nc1 (9.Nf4!? b5 10.h4!? Nd7 11.h5 e5 12.Nfd5 exd4 13.Bxd4 Ne5 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.cxb5 axb5 16.Rd1 Nac6 17.Be3 b4 18.Nb5 Rxa2 19.Bh6 Bxh6 20.Qxh6 Rf7 21.Qc1 Be6 22.f4 Bxd5 23.exd5 Qe7 24.Be2 1-0 (48) Shankland,S (2671)-Patel,A (2410) Greensboro 2017) 9...e5 10.d5 c5 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.b4 Nb7 13.Nb3?! (13.Be2 and just get castled) 13...a5 14.a3 Be6 15.Rd1 axb4 16.axb4 Nd7! 0-1 (32) Muir,A (2285) -Ivanov,I (2500) Swansea 1987; 8...Rb8 is the main line, which has been deeply investigated. The latest big thing is 9.Rc1!? , a positional approach, intending a) Past fads include 9.Nc1; b) 9.Rd1; c) 9.h4!? h5 10.Nc1 (10.0-0-0; 10.Rc1!?) 10...e5 11.d5 Nd4 12.Nb3 (12.N1e2!?) 12...Nxb3 13.axb3 is similar to the game, but the difference shows itself in Black's main move 13...c5; 9...Bd7 (9...b5? 10.cxb5 axb5 11.Nxb5) 10.Nd1 b5 Black players have fished around: (10...Re8; 10...e6) 11.c5 Obviously this is highly sophisticated maneuvering, but Black still isn't sure how to handle it.] 9.h4 White fires the first shot to soften up Black's king position. [The even more blunt 9.g4 has a minus score.; 9.Nc1 was the standard plan for a while; 9...Nh5!? (and 9...e5 was the straightforward response at first; 10.d5! left Black unhappy going either forward or back.(10.Nb3) ) 10.Nb3?! Again this. (10.N1e2!?; 10.d5!?) 10...e5 (10...a5 11.d5 Ne5 12.Be2 f5 13.exf5 gxf5 14.f4 Ng4 15.Bxg4 fxg4 16.0-0 g3 17.h3 c5 0-1 (37) Vovk,Y (2611)-Smirin,I (2658) Kishinev 2016) 11.d5 Ne7 12.0-0-0 f5 13.Kb1 b6 was a protracted draw by Guseinov a few years ago: 14.a3 Kh8 15.Bd3 Ng8 16.Nc1 Rf7 17.exf5 gxf5 18.N1e2 Nhf6 19.g3 Qf8 1/2-1/2 (62) Karthikeyan,P (2497)-Guseinov,G (2645) Porticcio 2017] 9...h5 [9...b5 10.h5 bxc4 (10...e5 led to a friendly repetition: 11.Nd5 bxc4 12.Nxf6+ Bxf6 13.d5 c3 14.Nxc3 Nd4 15.0-0-0 Qe7 16.Kb1 Rfb8 17.Ne2 Nb5 18.Nc3 Nd4 19.Ne2 Nb5 20.Nc3 1/2-1/2 (20) Levitt, J (2455)-Lawton,G (2365) Southampton 1986) 11.hxg6 fxg6 12.Nf4 e6 13.Bxc4 d5 was a quick and early win by a very famou player: 0-1 (23) Andersson, B-Botvinnik,M Stockholm 1962] 10.Nc1


[10.Rc1 was played against Bay Area youthful star Christopher Yoo, who got into trouble and lost: 10...Rb8 11.Nd1 b5 12.c5 The modern plan although usually without h4/ h5. 12...Re8 13.Nf2 e6 14.Bg5 e5 15.d5 Nd4 16.Nxd4 exd4 17.c6 Bc8 18.Be2 Re5 19.Nd3 Re7 20.Nf2 White offers a repetition here also, but Yoo avoids. 20...Qe8 21.Kf1 Re5 22.Nd3 Re7 23.Re1 Kh7 24.g3 Qh8 25.Kg2 Re8 26.Nf2 Kg8 27.Bd3 Nh7 28.Bf4 b4 29.a3 bxa3 30.bxa3 1-0 (45) Kelires,A (2508)-Yoo,C (2414) Heraklion 2019] 10...e5! The standard opening combination 11.d5 Nd4 12.Nb3 Nxb3 [Another common sequence was the only other game here: 12...c5 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.Nxd4 exd4 15.Bxd4 Re8 Sometimes this blows up in White's center, but more usually Black can't quite get enough for the pawn. Here the higher rating prevailed: 16.Be2 Rb8 17.Rd1 Be6 18.0-0 c5 19.Be3 Nd7 20.f4?! Qxh4 0-1 (41) Valbuena Mota,A (2072)-Roa Alonso,S (2383) Galapagar 2005] 13.axb3 Nh7N keeping an eye on g5 and, frankly out of the way. 14.b4 f5 15.c5 Both sides expand on the side where they have prospects. 15...Kh8 A sort of "wait and see" strategy -- but Guseinov is already envisaging the game's ultimate path. 16.Bd3 Qe7+/=


Black stands ready to go right or left depending on where White's king ends up. 17.cxd6? Opening the c-file, but for whom? The possibility of c5-c6 was worth keeping as an option. [17.Ra5!?] 17...cxd6= It is hard to find a specific progress for White on the queenside. Stockfish pretty clearly doesn't know what to do for White (moving to and fro), and makes it the usual "0.00." 18.Na4?!


The initiative on the queenside slips away -- while Black still has his kingside chances. [18.Ra3] 18...Bxa4! 19.Rxa4 Rac8?! [19...Nf6!=/+ 20.Bg5 (20.0-0 fxe4 21.fxe4 Qd7 22.b5 Ng4) 20...Qd7 picks up time on the rook 21.Bxf6!? Rxf6 (21...Qxa4?? 22.Qh6+) 22.Ra3 Kh7 and Black's bishop is superior.] 20.b5 [20.Ra3 -c3] 20...axb5 21.Bxb5 [21.Rb4!? Ra8 22.Ke2!?] 21...Qf7?! [21...fxe4 22.fxe4 Nf6 provokes White to trade on f6, when again the dark squared bishop finally emerges.] 22.0-0 [22.Bd3+/=] 22...f4!? 23.Bf2 Bf6 Black methodically prepares the opening of the g-file. 24.Rc1 Rxc1+?! [24...g5!? 25.Rac4 Rxc4 26.Rxc4 gxh4] 25.Qxc1 g5 26.Rc4 gxh4 27.Rc7 White is getting something going. 27...Qg6


White: 11:17 Black: 26:22 (Guseinov is hardly taking any time for the whole game!) 28.Bd7?! Very sensible looking! But Black can stymie White. [28.Kh2!? Rg8 and now Stockfish likes 29.Qh1!!] 28...Rg8 29.Qf1 [29.Bh3? Ng5-+] 29...Qg7!


The critical moment! 30.Bb6?? [30.Rxb7 h3 31.Ra7 appears to hold tight for White. 31...hxg2 (31...Qxg2+ 32.Qxg2 Rxg2+ 33.Kf1 Rh2 34.Kg1 Rg2+=) 32.Qe2 Ng5 looks scarey for White, but in fact there is no substantive threat: 33.Bf5 Qh6 34.b4 h4 35.Kxg2! Nxe4+ 36.Kh2 Ng3 37.Qd3] 30...Bd8!-+ Total collapse. 31.Rxb7 Bxb6+ 32.Kh1 h3! 33.g4 fxg3 (with over 25 minutes still on the clock!) 0-1

(6) Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1801) - Kevin Fong (chessappeals) (1422) [E92]
Live Chess, 10.11.2020
[de Firmian, Nick]

Before going into the annotations, Kristian Clemens sent us an email with the following comment regarding his game:

I spent three minutes on my 19th move, 19. c5, because I realized it would involve sacrificing a pawn, and as some old master once said, it can be harder to sacrifice a pawn than a queen. While I was trying to gather the courage to make the move, I remembered reading a great article on by Greg Serper in which Serper remembered analyzing a game with his mentor Mikhail Botvinnik ( The game featured was Kramnik-Kasparov, Linares 1994, and it made an impression on me, partially because it came from the opening I played yesterday against Kevin Fong, which I've played successfully for five years.

My favorite part of Kramnik's game was when he sacrificed a pawn with 30. Nc4! and 31. b5!, setting up a perfect light-square blockade. (I can't seem to paste a diagram, but here's the game: Botvinnik liked the idea a lot, comparing it to Capablanca's games, and I remembered the theme in my game, when I unapologetically copied it with 19. c5 and 23. Nc4. I felt a lot more brave knowing that one of my favorite players had played the same idea against the World Champion 26 years ago. While the computer didn't think much of my position (+0.04), I felt much more optimistic once I did it. It wasn't an original idea or a perfect game, and I crashed back to earth in Round 2, but I enjoyed being able to feel like a World Champion for five minutes during the TNM. The moral of the rambling story is- study the games of your heroes, and you might get to play like them... for one or two moves at least!


1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 The Petrosian System against the KIng's Indian. The late world champion would simply take the advantage in space with the advanced d-pawn. 7...a5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 Na6 10.0-0 Qe8 11.Nd2 Nh7 12.a3 h5 13.f3 f5


14.Rb1 [14.b4 right away could be good as Black cannot capture twice on b4 with the rook on a8 unprotected.] 14...f4 [14...Bh6 is a worthy alternative as Black seeks to get the bishop outside with pawn chain with ...Be3+] 15.b4 axb4 16.axb4 g5 17.Bf2 Nf6 18.h3?! [18.c5! g4 19.cxd6 cxd6 20.Nc4 quickly starts the play on the queenside. White would have a clear edge.] 18...b6 [18...g4 right away starts the kingside action 19.hxg4 hxg4 20.fxg4 Qg6 is at least equal for Black.] 19.c5 Kristian breaks through at the cost of a pawn. It is a worthy sacrifice and takes Black's focus off of the kingside. The psychological impact is also important as chessappeals begins to think too defensively. [Interesting is 19.Ra1 as 19...Bd7?! 20.c5! Nxb4 21.Rxa8 Qxa8 22.c6 Bc8 23.Qb3 will win a piece] 19...bxc5 20.bxc5 Nxc5 21.Bxc5 dxc5 22.Nb5 Qe7 23.Nc4 Ba6?! now the battle is only on the queenside where White has the edge. Black could keep equality by continuing with the plan - [23...g4! 24.d6 cxd6] 24.d6! cxd6 25.Nbxd6 The extra black c-pawn is not important for now. What is important is that White has a strong queenside initiative and Black has been held up on the kingside. It is much easier to play the white position as he has the tactical possibilities. 25...Rfd8


26.Nf5! Qe6 [26...Rxd1 27.Nxe7+ Kf7 28.Rfxd1 Kxe7] 27.Qc2 A marvelous positon for White. The knight on f5 is very powerful and the light squares in the black camp are weak. 27...Rab8 28.Rfd1 Qc8?? a blunder under pressure [28...Rxd1+ 29.Rxd1 Bf8 30.Ra1 leaves Black suffering but keeps everything together for now] 29.Ne7+ kclemens won by resignation 1-0

Current standings are below:

SwissSys Standings. November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online: 1800+

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2685 gguseinov W23 W8         2.0
2 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2499 KyronGriffith W13 W9         2.0
3 GM James Edwa Tarjan 10991820 2469 tirantes W14 W10         2.0
4 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W20 W11         2.0
5 NM Arun Dixit 14607904 2199 Limelight2727 W16 W12         2.0
6 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W18 W17         2.0
7 Ethan Guo 16761994 1664 LightningDragon8 B--- W22         2.0
8 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W24 L1         1.0
9 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1983 ninjaforce W25 L2         1.0
10 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W26 L3         1.0
11 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1943 ashikuzzaman W21 L4         1.0
12 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways W19 L5         1.0
13 Jonah Busch 12469525 1940 kondsaga L2 W25         1.0
14 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1908 mwncklmann L3 W24         1.0
15 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- H---         1.0
16 Nicholas Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L5 W26         1.0
17 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W22 L6         1.0
18 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 L6 W23         1.0
19 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1711 ahyanzaman L12 B---         1.0
20 Javier Silva III 16089208 1895 J3Chess24 L4 D21         0.5
21 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 L11 D20         0.5
22 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat L17 L7         0.0
23 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L1 L18         0.0
24 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals L8 L14         0.0
25 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan L9 L13         0.0
26 Roger V Shi 16191192 1753 1-h4-1-0 L10 L16         0.0

SwissSys Standings. November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online: u1800

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Philip Gerstoft 12913356 1724 pgstar3 W19 W9         2.0
2 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf W11 W10     H--- H--- 2.0
3 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1409 pranavpradeep2006 W14 W15         2.0
4 Sebby Suarez 16875347 811 Sebbymeister W8 W7         2.0
5 Marina Xiao 16380642 1545 programmingmax W12 D6         1.5
6 Ethan Sun 16964125 1180 sfdeals W21 D5         1.5
7 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1519 rimus11 W13 L4         1.0
8 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 1365 MrL0cust L4 W16         1.0
9 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass W18 L1         1.0
10 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1347 chesspoki W20 L2         1.0
11 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L2 W17         1.0
12 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 1057 andrewaballantyne L5 W21         1.0
13 Jeff North 17179258 1043 JeffNorthSF L7 W20         1.0
14 Bruce Hedman 17344551 870 Bruce_Hedman L3 W19         1.0
15 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 B--- L3         1.0
16 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike D17 L8         0.5
17 Adithya Chitta 16695036 930 adichi D16 L11         0.5
18 Samuel Brown 16380615 662 comfyqueso L9 H---   H---   H--- 0.5
19 Kevin Sun 16898540 1161 kevin_mx_sun L1 L14         0.0
20 Justin Brunet 30055583 unr. night_breeze L10 L13         0.0
21 Nate Andaya 30054738 unr. nathaniei L6 L12         0.0

SwissSys Standings. November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online: Extra Games

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 W2           1.0
2 Judit Sztaray 14708926 827 JuditSztaray L1           0.0

Mechanics' Institute Thursday Night Marathon Report

The Mechanics' Institute has started a brand new chapter in it's history with the establishment of the Thursday Night Marathon Online (ThNM). This event differs from the Tuesday Night Marathon in that it has a longer time control (G/60+5) and is one game per week. Games are manually paired on and are USCF rated. 

The idea behind this event is that long-term, it will continue to be an online Mechanics' marathon after live play returns, and the Tuesday Night Marathon will resume live at Mechanics'. The Thursday marathon will be an online option for players that will continue on. 

We based the prize pool for the event on 20 players, considering it was a brand new event. A whopping 36 players have registered so far, here are the current standings after round 1.

SwissSys Standings. Thursday Night Marathon Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W23         1.0
2 Allan G Savage 10014999 2200 duchamp64 W24         1.0
3 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear W25         1.0
4 Pranav Sairam 15424820 2084 chesspilot01 W26         1.0
5 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W27         1.0
6 Ako Heidari 15206848 1980 oka_ako W28         1.0
7 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W29 H---       1.0
8 Stewart Katz 12458563 1835 knvsback W30         1.0
9 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W31         1.0
10 Alexander Huberts 16419664 1794 cccalboy W34         1.0
11 Roger V Shi 16191192 1753 1-h4-1-0 W32         1.0
12 Timothy Horng 13282721 1730 aYzz W33         1.0
13 Jeff C Andersen 11296106 1643 zenwabi W36         1.0
14 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf X---         1.0
15 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 Kaline340Green W35         1.0
16 Robert H Frank 10498325 1200 cyber-droid X22         1.0
17 Danny Du Uy Cao 16939797 863 caodanny X---         1.0
18 Richard W Koepcke 10493269 2200 rkoepcke H---         0.5
19 Marc H Willis 12601676 1583 LittlePinkCorvette H---         0.5
20 Rahim Dharssi 12693378 595 rahimftd H--- H---       0.5
21 Willia Fitzgerald 17048414 537 OlympusMons00 H---         0.5
22 Mohammad Amir Ali 30029248 1565 Deshbondhu F16         0.0
23 Marina Xiao 16380642 1545 programmingmax L1         0.0
24 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L2         0.0
25 Rama Krish Chitta 17350313 1475 draidus L3         0.0
26 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1434 jacobchess857 L4         0.0
27 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1428 noydan100 L5         0.0
28 Andrew Nicho Paul 14232850 1385 chessplayer3740 L6         0.0
29 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L7         0.0
30 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1347 chesspoki L8         0.0
31 Paul Krezanoski 16897133 1238 pjkrizzle L9         0.0
32 Ethan Sun 16964125 1180 sfdeals L11         0.0
33 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L12         0.0
34 Bruce Hedman 17344551 870 Bruce_Hedman L10         0.0
35 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 L15         0.0
36 B J Day 12586048 unr. mrbillstunes1 L13         0.0 Club's League Week 1 Report

The club's league got off to a great start for Mechanics' as we defeated Rio Grande Valley Rising Stars 1.5-.5 to take the full point. We won the rapid portion of the match 19-5 in which each player played two games against the same opponent with a time control of G/15+2, and drew the blitz portion 11-11, games with a G/3+2 time control. We would have won both matches, put the author of this report (Abel) missed a mate in 2 and proceeded to lose the final game of the round. Thankfully my teammates picked me up to get the tie, and therefore, the full point for the match. 

We had a strong turnout of player for Mechanics', as GM Jim Tarjan, IM Elliott Winslow, FM Kyron Griffith, NM Mike Sailor, and NM Mike Walder led the charge. 

We next face Chess Kids Nation, a strong team out of Florida this Saturday starting at 9:30am. For more information including the links for the match, please follow this link:

Results from last week can be found here:

In the Streamer Battle League week 4, we faced off against ChessDojo. The match ended in a draw 1.5-1.5, as we forfeited the lower section (u/1400) because of no players, won the middle section (1400-1799) by a score of 4-2, and then drew the top section (1800+) 4-4, led by FM Kyron Griffith's 2 wins and a final game win by NM Mike Sailor that sealed the tie. Great job Mechanics'!
Match results are here: 
This week we will get a full point BYE and resume the following week. 


Support the Mechanics' Institute and

Save Big in the Process!

Join the Mechanics' Institute, and realize savings on our events and classes while supporting our mission to provide a center for cultural and intellectual advanncement

We are doing a membership drive through the end of the year for new members and to encourage current members to renew. 

$120/year for a regular membership
$65/year for a student membership
You will save big if you are a regular participant in our tournaments and/or classes!
Here are some of our registration costs and savings
you can achieve with membership:
Tuesday Night Marathon: $30 member, $50 non-member registration fee
Weekend USCF rated events: $20 member, $40 non-member registration fee
Basically, your membership pays for itself if you attend just six tournaments, classes, or other chess events per year!
Plus you get everything that a Mechanics' Institute membership offers.
Benefits of Mechanics' Institute Membership
  • Discount on most chess events or classes.
  • Full use of the Library and its services, including online databases, ebooks, and more!
  • Free or reduced admission to cultural events, programs, classes, and book groups.
  • Access to the Chess Room and its tournaments and classes.
  • WiFi access throughout the Library, Chess Room, and 4th floor meeting room.
  • Membership access at other membership libraries.
Join Mechanics' at:
Please forward this information to others who might be interested in joining.
Please enter chess in the referred by column and check off chess as a general interest.
Any questions? Please contact us at [email protected].

Take on the Mechanics' Chess Staff Live on Twitch!

The chess room staff at the Mechanics' Institute are taking on all comers now weekly, as each of us will live stream an arena tournament where we will commentate our own games! You might be playing 3-time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian, or perhaps our commentator and instructor extraorinaire FM Paul Whitehead. Try to take down Organizer sensation Dr. Judit Sztaray or Chess Director Abel Talamantez. We will all be live on Twitch playing, reviewing about our games, and talking about anything that comes up in the chat. Come hang out with us at the Mechanics' online club, perhaps we may even give out an occasional free prize!

Arenas are an hour long, and the chess staff will be paired against the first available player to play at the conclusion of their games. All other players will be paired with the next available opponent. This will continue for the whole hour. While there is no guarantee you will be paired against a chess staff member, you will have a very good chance at it, depending on the number of players playing. All games will be streamed live on our Twitch channel:

Check out the times here:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 11/17:

GM Nick de Firmian Arena: Thursdays 5:00pm-6:00pm, 11/19:

See you in the arena!

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

Monday's 4:00-5:30PM - Mechanics' Chess Cafe

Casual meeting to talk about chess, life and everything. Join 3-time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead as they give a lecture and class in a fun casual atmosphere where you can discuss games, learn strategy, discuss chess current events and interact in a fun casual atmosphere. Enter our Monday chess café for the pure love of the game. Class suitable for ALL level of players and FREE for MI members.

FREE for Mechanics' members. $5 for non-members.

More information:


Monday's 6:30-8:00PM - The Art of Attack in Chess by FM Paul Whitehead

Course Dates: 11/16 through 12/21 (6 classes)

Learn to attack the king in this six-week class using Vladimir Vukovic's book, The Art of Attack in Chess (1963 revised 1993 by GM John Nunn), as our text.
We will take lessons from chapters such as "The classic bishop sacrifice", "The attack against the uncastled king", "Focal-points" and "The attack on the king as an integral part of the game".
Vukovic also talks about mating patterns, defense, and much more.
Join us in an investigation into one of the greatest chess books ever written, a classic enjoyed by chess players around the world.

Registration Fee: $20/class for Mechanics' member, $25/class for non-member

Wednesday's 5:00-6:30PM - Free Adult Beginner Class for Mechanics' Members

Ongoing starting from November 18

Are you an adult who wants to put learning chess on top of your New Year's resolution! Get a head start with us at the Mechanics' Institute! This virtual class is open to any MI member who has no knowledge of the game or who knows the very basics and wants to improve. Taught by MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez along with Judit Sztaray and other MI staff, we will patiently walk through all the basics at a pace suitable for our class. Our goal is to teach piece movement basics, checkmate patterns, importance of development, and general strategy. We will also show students how to play online so they may practice. The goal of the class is to open a new world of fun and joy through the magic and beauty of chess, from one of the oldest and proudest chess clubs in the world. 

Registration: Free for MI members. Members will have to register online to secure their spot and to receive an email confirming the Zoom link.

More information:


Wednesday 6:30-8PM - Online class with FM Paul Whitehead

More information:

Register at:

Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, November 14: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Sunday, November 15: starts at 2:00PM - join from 1:45PM

8SS G/5+2:

Monday, November 16: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, November 17: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, November 18: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, November 19: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, November 20: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4:00PM

4SS G/10+5:

If you have any problems connecting with us on, please send us an email and we'll send you step-by-step instructions with pictures.   

US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Every Week!

Next one: November 15, @2PM on

US Chess online rated - affecting online rating only (not over-the-board)
Every player must be a US Chess member.
Trophies or Medals for Top Finishers - Curbside pickup is available per arrangement.
Convenient, safe platform & tight fair play screening.

Mechanics' Enrichment Chess Classes

Select from the following four levels that are offered:


NEW Class: Get Those Chess Boards Out!  -- Tuesdays 4-5PM
As parents, many of us now see kids staring at a screen for hours during the school day. We understand having another online class may not be so exciting. What if we are able to offer a class for beginners where they can feel and interact with the pieces to capture an important part of the early learning experience? That's why we are introducing a new class for our young, beginner players!
Let's get those chess boards out and use it during the class!
Coach Colin will interact with the players via zoom, but they will talk, use the chess board, set it up and set up different positions, and learn and play on a physical board. No shared screen during the class! It's all interactive, using physical chess pieces! Click HERE for more information.

Starting at Chess -- Mondays 3-4PM

This class is for new players that need to develop basic skills that will lead to improvement, such as learning notation, elementary checkmates, piece values, piece development, importance of the center of the board, and the most important part of chess learning, the value of learning from mistakes and losses and how to improve from it. This class will build the foundations from which all learning will develop and teach them learning skills that can be applied in many other areas of a child’s learning and development. Class is suitable for new players, non rated players, and players with a ChessKid rating under 800. Click Here to Register and for information

Developing Players -- Tuesdays 3-4PM or Thursdays 4-5PM
This class is for students looking to go beyond the basics and learn the building blocks of advanced chess learning. We will cover tactics, mating patterns, opening principles, middle game attack planning and endgame techniques. This class is suitable for kids with a ChessKid rating 800-1300 or who have had tournament experience. Click Here to Register and for Information.

Mastering Your Chess -- Thursdays 5-6PM
This class is for advanced scholastic players with tournament experience and understand tactics and mates who want to go beyond what can be calculated and think more abstractly about the game. We will go over middle and endgame theory, have students create their own tactics and learn positional play by going over historical games from the great players in history. Ideal for players with a ChessKid rating above 1300 or USCF rating over 800. Click Here to Register and for Information.

Note: Minimum five students to start the class, maximum 10 student in each class. Information with link to join the class will be sent via email after your registration:
​Classes are online: student must have laptop, with mic and webcam, and good internet connection in order to participate in classes!

Refund policy: Full refund minus a $5 administration fee if cancelled more than 24 hours before the start of class. No refunds within 24 hours of the start of class.

If you have any questions, or need a sample of a class, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Events Schedule

The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club will continue to hold regular online events in various forms. Here is the upcoming schedule for players:

11/17 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 6SS G/35+2
Start at 6:30PM
11/19 Thursday Night Marathon
Format: 5SS G/60+5
Start at 6:30PM
Past Club Tournament results are here:
Before playing in our online tournaments, be sure to do the following:
1. Sign up and log in to
2. Sign up to be a member of Mechanics' Institute Chess Club at You need to become a member before you can play.
3. Please fill out the Google Form, so we know who you are, and can inform you about changes, and ad hoc events:

Any questions? [email protected]

FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

Chessmonster666: back in the house.

You can call me the sacrificial lamb; you can call me the house pro - you can even call me to dinner -  I am chessmonster666 and I take on ALL comers: large and small.  I can be found playing online one half-hour before the start of the Tuesday Night Marathon, from 5pm to 6pm.

We live-stream this spectacle on our twitch channel: and the games are played on

It’s called the Paul Whitehead Arena, and even if I’m not sure of all the rules (how does one accept a draw?) I know this: I’m out for blood and I take no prisoners.

The time control is a fast 3 minutes a side with a 2 second increment, and MI Chess Room Director Abel Talamantez is on Zoom with me, distracting me, talking about this and that: I do believe he’s actually rooting for the MI club players (who make up the majority of my opponents). 

Can you believe it?

I know those folks; they are my people too.  But I have a job to do, and my job is to show them who’s boss: I’m putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  After all, week after week, I’m commenting on their games, criticizing their moves – all from the safety of the “broadcast booth”.

I can tell, even over the Net, that they want revenge!

We’ve had a bunch of these Arenas now, I usually get in 8 to 10 games or so, and I have a pretty good percentage.  I find these games sort of fall into the “Master vs Amateur” category: I’m less prone to blunders, take advantage of errors with more consistency, play various positions with greater familiarity.

Below are a sampling, with very light notes.  I’m fond of making up little stories about chess games, retelling in a few words what transpired over the board, and that I’ve done as well.

So, if you leave your house one day to take a stroll in the dark, dark forest, watch out: Chessmonster666 may be lurking under a bridge, behind a tree, or in a cave: ready to spring out and getcha!

(1) MikeSailer (2116) - chessmonster666 (2248) [A48]
Live Chess, 20.10.2020

Storyline: The Black king survives in the center, the Black Queen sneaks in for a checkmate. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 d6 4.e3 [If I was white I would prefer 4.h3 here, providing an easy retreat for the bishop on f4.] 4...Nh5 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 g5 7.Nfd2 Nf6 8.Bg3 Bg7 9.h3 e6 10.Bd3 b6 11.c4 Bb7 12.Nf3 Ne4 13.Bh2 Nd7 14.Nbd2 f5 15.Qc2 Ndf6

Black has a nice, active position.16.a4 a5 17.c5 bxc5 18.Bb5+ Ke7 19.0-0 g4 20.hxg4 Nxg4 21.Bf4 Nxd2 22.Nxd2 cxd4 23.exd4 Bxd4 24.Rae1 Kf6!?
This is a bit too much. [24...Ne5 was better.] 25.Qc4 [Interesting was 25.Rxe6+ Kxe6 26.Qc4+ followed by 27.Qxd4.] 25...Be5 26.Bxe5+ dxe5 27.f3? [27.Nb3] 27...Qxd2 28.fxg4 Qxg2#

(2) chessmonster666 (2256) - django_49 (1562) [B00]
Live Chess, 20.10.2020

Storyline: Black gives away a few pawns, and gets chased all over the board by White's energetic play. 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nd2 c5 4.d5 d6 5.a4 e5 6.a5 b5?

7.Bxb5+ Nd7 8.Ne2 a6 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.Nc4 Rb8 11.f4 Nf6 12.Nc3 Be7? Inexplicably hanging another pawn. 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.Nxe5 Qc8 15.Nc4 0-0 16.0-0 Ba8 17.Nb6 Qb7 18.Bf4 Rbe8 19.Qd3 Bd8 20.Nxa8 Qxa8 21.h3
A useful move, sometimes. 21...Nd7 22.Qg3 Nf6 23.Bh6 Nh5 24.Qg4 Re5 25.Rf5 Rxf5 26.exf5 g6 27.Bxf8 Kxf8 28.fxg6 hxg6 29.Rf1 Qb7 30.Qxg6 Ng7 31.Qh7 Ne8 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Qe5+ Kd7 34.Rxf7+

(3) axel340 (1815) - chessmonster666 (2255) [A04]
Live Chess, 20.10.2020

Storyline: White bails out with a Queen trade and a lost pawn, but the Black Knights corral the White King. 1.Nf3 d6 2.g3 e5 3.d3 f5 4.e4 Nf6 5.exf5 Bxf5 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c3 Qd7 9.d4 e4 10.Nfd2 d5

Black looks good here. 11.b4 Bh3 12.a4 h5 13.f3 h4 14.Bxh3 Qxh3 15.g4 exf3 16.Qxf3 Qxg4+ 17.Qxg4 Nxg4 18.a5 Kd7 19.b5 Nd8
Now I think white should bring his pieces into the center. Instead, he bunches them up on the queenside... 20.Ba3 Bf6 21.Nb3 b6 22.Bb4 Ne6 23.N1d2 Ne3 24.Rf3 Nc2 25.Ra4? Rh6 26.axb6 cxb6 27.Na1 Going through major contortions to avoid losing another pawn... 27...Rg6+ 28.Kh1 Ng5 29.Rf2 Ne3 30.Nf3 Ne4 31.Re2 Nd1! A sneaky attack! 32.Ne5+ Bxe5 33.dxe5 Ndf2+ 34.Rxf2 Nxf2#

(4) youngmorphy84 (1498) - chessmonster666 (2294) [B22]
Live Chess, 27.10.2020

Storyline: The loss of 3 pawns proves to be too much, and White's Queenside action meets Black's Kingside response. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 Bd6 6.Bb5+ Nc6 7.0-0 Nge7 8.Re1 0-0 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bh4 c4 11.Ba4 Nf5 12.Bg3 Nxg3 13.hxg3 Bg4 14.Nbd2 Qd7 15.Qc2 Bf5 16.Qd1 Rfe8 17.Re3?

[A blunder. 17.Nf1 intending 18.Ne3, when black is marginally beter.] 17...Rxe3 18.fxe3 Bxg3 19.Bc2 Re8 20.Ba4 a6 21.b4 Bc7 22.b5 axb5 23.Bxb5 Rxe3 24.a4 Rxc3 25.a5 Qe8 26.Qa4 Bd7 27.a6 bxa6 28.Qxa6 g5!
Deciding on an active course. 29.Qb7 [29.Re1 can be met by 29...Re3] 29...Qe3+ 30.Kh1 Qf4 31.Ra8+ Kg7 32.Bxc6 Rc1+ 33.Nf1 Rxf1+ 34.Ng1 Qh2#


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Blitz and Bullet

The big story in the chess world these days is of course the “Queen’s Gambit” series, which has given chess more mainstream attention than it’s had in years.

Its fictional lead character strikes an appeal with the general public which likes to believe that one can simply have a great natural talent that conquers years of hard work from the world’s best players. Oh well, it’s fun to think that (in my personal experience all the best players were hard workers at chess and dedicated for many years).

Back in the world of reality we have the world’s top chess players in a battle of speed, where 5 min games are the slow games, 3 min is average and 1 min (bullet chess) is the fast games. This 16 player knockout tournament has most of the best players in the world, including Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, Firouzja, Nepomniachtchi, Aronian and Fabiano Caruana.  The first round is soon to finish with the favorites advancing, but we will have chess entertainment from this tournament for a while.

(1) Maghsoodloo,Parham - Carlsen,Magnus [C67]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8

This is the famous Berlin Defense endgame, which Kramnik used to draw against Kasparov every time with Black in their World Championship match. Magnus plays it but figures it's an endgame and thus he will win in the end. In truth the play is very complicated and will offer winning chances to both sides. 9.h3 h6 10.Nc3 Bd7 11.Ne2 c5 12.Rd1 Kc8 13.Nf4 Bc6 14.Nd5 b6 15.c4 Kb7 16.Bf4 Rd8 17.Rd2?! Looks logical to double rooks on the d-line, yet Magnus takes the opportunity to drive the white bishop out of play for a while. 17...g5! 18.Bh2 Ng7 19.Rad1 Ne6 20.g4 Bg7 21.Bg3 Rd7 22.h4 Rhd8 23.b3 b5 Play is complicated with tactical possibilities. Black stands better as the light-squared bishop is a potent force. 24.Kf1 a5 25.Ke2 a4 26.Ke3 axb3 27.axb3 Ra8 28.hxg5 Ra3! 29.Rd3 hxg5 30.Nd2 bxc4 [30...Nd4 is probably even better, but remember this is a blitz game. What is so impressive is that Magnus is playing at grandmaster level for a normal tournament game.] 31.Nxc4 Ra8 32.Nf6 Rd4! pawns are still even and White is holding on, but he is experiancing the Magnus squeeze. 33.f3 Ra2 34.R1d2 Ra1 35.Rxd4? Feeling the pressure, White "does" something as he has to make a move. Now though the black pawns get straightened out and the black bishops come to life. 35...cxd4+ 36.Kf2
36...Bf8! with the dark-squared bishop joining the attack there is no good defense for White. 37.Nb2 Bb4 38.Rc2 Ra2 a nasty pin 39.Re2 Ra3 winning a pawn. Now Black has an easily winning game. 40.Nc4 Rxb3 41.Ne4 Bd5 42.Rc2 d3 43.Rc1 Bxe4 44.fxe4 d2 45.Rd1 Rd3 46.Kg2 Nc5 47.Bf2 Nxe4 48.Be3 Kc6 49.Kf3 Kd5 50.Nb2 Rb3 Maghsoodloo resigns. A very impressive performance by the champion, playing blitz chess at high tournament level. *

(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Maghsoodloo,Parham [A00]

I can't resist showing this game, which is one of the bullet games (1 min each). Chess wise it's not so interesting, but it shows you what even the top players will do in bullet chess. The most important thing there is not to blunder, and if you can get your opponent to stop and think - well that's the end because they just run out of time. So I hope readers enjoy the highly unusual moves by the champion and his opponent. 1.c3 c6 2.f3 This is supposed to be the worst move on the board, but Magnus is just trying to have fun and be provacative. 2...f6 Why not? The World Champion did this, Parham thinks he can too. 3.Kf2 Kf7 4.Ke3 Ke6

5.Kf2 Kd6 6.Ke3 Kc7 7.Kd3 Ok, it's silly. Still Magnus is fully intent on winning the game. 7...Qe8 8.Kc2 d6 9.Qe1 e6 10.Kd1 Ne7 11.Na3 Nd7 12.Nc2 Nb6 13.d3 Bd7 14.Bd2 Nbc8 15.Kc1 c5 16.Kb1 Nc6 17.e4 Now the players start to play seriously and develop their pieces and move pawns to control the center. At least they spent little time on the clock to get to this odd position. 17...Kb8 18.Ne2 Nb6 19.d4 a6 20.Ne3 Ka7 21.a4 Na5 22.b4 Nb3
23.a5 Na4 24.Ra3 Nxd2+ 25.Qxd2 cxb4 26.cxb4 Rc8 27.d5! even in bullet chess Magnus has his postional sense. This takes space, locks in Black's dark-squared bishop and thus keeps the h8 rook from coming to play for a while. 27...exd5?! 28.Nxd5 f5 29.Qd4+?! [29.Nec3!] 29...Kb8 30.Nec3 fxe4 31.Nxe4 Bc6?! [31...Qe5! challenges the powerful white queen] 32.Bc4 Qg6 33.g3 h5 34.h4 Qf5 35.Rd1 Rh6 36.Bb3?!
36...Nc5? moving the attacked knight. Black had to enter the tactical line [36...Qxf3! 37.Rd3 Qh1+ 38.Rd1 Qf3 which is about even. Easy to say with 15 seconds on your clock.] 37.bxc5 dxc5 38.Qe3 c4 39.Bxc4 Bxa3 40.Qxa3 Two pieces for the rook and active play is very nice for White. 40...Rd8 41.Qd3 Re6 42.Kb2 Re5 43.Nec3! Qf8 44.f4 Ree8 45.Qd4 Qd6 46.Bb3 Qg6 47.Qb6 Qxg3

48.Nb4! Qg2+ 49.Ka3 Rxd1 50.Nxa6+ Ka8 51.Nc7+ Kb8 52.Bxd1? [52.Nxd1 is just over] 52...Re1? [52...Qd2! might get an undeserved draw (if there is such a thing as undeserved in chess)] 53.a6 Ouch. Maghsoodloo lost here as the pawn queens with check in two moves. So Magnus won the match 24-5 and advanced to the round of 8. *

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