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Friday, June 24, 2022

Fluorescent Lights, Walter Browne and Bobby Fischer

     Fluorescent lights are highly versatile and the type of lighting that you most likely to see in offices, schools and commercial buildings because it's known for its energy efficiency compared to other types of lighting. 
     There are several different types of fluorescent lighting, but what are known as linear fluorescent tubes, the kind that are commonly used in overhead fixtures, are probably most familiar to us. 
     Fluorescent lighting is the result of a chemical reaction inside of a glass tube. Fluorescent lights have a ballast. Its main purpose is to take the alternating current and turn it into a steady and direct stream of electricity. This stabilizes and maintains the chemical reaction that is occurring inside the bulb. 
     From the ballast electricity flows to the electrodes inside the glass tube, which is kept under low pressure. Inside of the tube are inert gasses and mercury which are excited by the electrical current. The mercury vaporizes and the gasses begin reacting with each other to produce an invisible UV light that we actually cannot see with our naked eye. 
     The tube is coated with phosphor powder coating that glows when it is excited by the invisible UV light producing a visible white light. Environmentalists emphasize that because of the mercury it is important to recycle fluorescent bulbs after they’ve burned out. 
     If you look at a large room that's lit mostly by fluorescent lights there's a good chance that you'll see all kinds of different colors coming from them. That's because of something called color shifting. 
     The longer the bulbs burn the more likely it is that the chemical properties change and cause an imbalanced reaction. As a result the lights are less white and not as bright. In order for the fluorescents to reach their full brightness it may take anywhere between 10-30 seconds for warm up. 
     Fluorescent lighting has been around over 100 years, but it doesn't work well everywhere and relying on solely on fluorescent lighting can produce negative ergonomic and health effects
     Aside from the EPA and environmental concerns about broken fluorescent bulbs and their disposal, frequent switching on and off results in early failure.
     Light that comes from them is omni-directional...it scatters light in every direction which is grossly inefficient because only about 60-70 percent of the light given off is being used and the rest is wasted. 
     Prior to 1978 magnetic ballasts were required to operate fluorescent lights and they could produce a humming or buzzing noise. The problem was eliminated with the introduction of high-frequency, electronic ballasts. 
     Ultraviolet light can also affect artwork like watercolors and textiles. Artwork must be protected by the use of additional glass or transparent acrylic sheets placed between the source of light and the painting. 
     More importantly, in a 1993 study researchers found that ultraviolet light exposure from sitting under fluorescent lights for eight hours is equivalent to one minute of sun exposure. 
     Health problems relating to light sensitivity may become aggravated in sensitive individuals. Researchers have suggested that the UV radiation emitted by this type of lighting had led to an increase in eye diseases, most notably cataracts. 
     Other medical professionals have theorized that retinal damage, myopia or astigmatism can also be attributed side effects of fluorescent light. And it's not easy on the eyes! If you have bloodshot or dry eyes it could be because fluorescent tubes n an office space can cause people to subconsciously squint due to the harsh light. The best designs in those spaces soften the light that reaches the ground. 
     players notorious for demanding the light in the tournament room meet their personal specifications were Walter Browne and Bobby Fischer. Browne even went so far as to withdraw from the 1978 U.S. Championship in a dispute over the lighting.
     The 1978 championship would have been Browne's biggest test in the U.S. Championship because virtually all the top players were participating and there was some doubt that he'd be able to win it. 
     The tournament was held on the Southern California campus of the Worldwide Church of God where Bobby Fischer was holed up and several of the players were granted brief audiences with him. 
     At the initial meeting of players Browne made what was by then his familiar complaint about the lighting, claiming it was inadequate and that it could seriously undermine his chances. Most of the players either humored him or ignored him.
     The tournament director was Isaac Kashdan who had run ins with Browne in the past and when Browne bellyached about the lighting Kashdan arranged to have the college's lighting technician meet with Browne to work things out to Browne's satisfaction. 
     A few hours before Round 1, Browne chanced to run into Kashdan and told him the lighting was good enough, but with the proviso that he be allowed to sit at a particular table for the entire event. The players' seating assignments was rotated, but Kashdan agreed. 
     Shortly after that and before the first round started Kashdan was inspecting the tournament room and noticed one of the tables out of line so moved it back. When Browne entered the playing area late and noticed "his" table had been moved from under the spot he thought offered ideal lighting conditions he approached Kashdan who was unaware that it had been Browne himself who had moved the table out of line. 
     After a brief conversation with Kashdan, a belligerent Browne, who accused Kashdan of hating him, stormed out which resulted in him being forfeited against Larry Christiansen. 
Isaac Kashdan
     Later, Kashdan called a meeting of the appeals committee (William Lombardy, Kenneth Rogoff and Andrew Soltis) and Browne presented his case, saying that he would walk out right then if forfeit stood. If the forfeit was erased, he agreed to play Christiansen on whatever day Christiansen and the appeals committee decided. The committee, not wanting to put Christiansen on the spot, upheld the forfeit. Lombardy then tried to convince Browne to continue in the tournament, but it was a waste of time. Browne left. 
     Isaac Kashdan was, unfortunately, involved in another dispute over lighting. This time with Bobby Fischer during the 1971 Candidates Semifinal match played in Denver, Colorado. 
     In a Sports Illustrated article that never got published Kashdan explained how the lights were a problem based on Fischer's demands. It seems Fischer had made a special study of the subject and his specifications called for twenty fluorescent fixtures, each with four daylight tubes, to be twenty feet above the playing surface. 
     The committee in charge of such things made sure his specifications were met, but when Fischer arrived he complained that the lights were...too bright! The electricians explained that fluorescent lights are brighter than rated when newly installed and so Fischer asked for changes which ended up having to be made on a daily basis! Add four blue lights, lower the fixtures three feet, try yellow lights, try soft white lights, etc. Somehow, in spite of Fischer's demands, the match reached a conclusion with Fischer winning 6-0.
     The World Chess Hall of Fame has a fascinating page on Fischer and you can listen to interviews in which Browne, Helgi Olafsson, Viktors Pupols, Larry Remlinger, Aben Ruby, Dr. Anthony Saidy, Yasser Seirawan, James T. Sherwin and Walter Shipman reminisce about Fischer. VISIT SITE

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Marshall vs. Manhattan 1941

 
     When the Marshal and Manhattan chess clubs met on Saturday, May 3rd, 1941, to determine the championship of the Metropolitan League of New York City, the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was filled with news of the war in Europe, but there was no hint of what was to come on Sunday, December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. 
     At the time, the U.S. Navy was patrolling at least 2,000 miles off the coast and within 1,500 miles of western British ports for the purpose of spotting Axis surface ships, submarines and aircraft. The Navy's orders was to report their location and maintain contact until British forces arrived. The Navy was under strict order not to fire unless it was necessary in order to avoid getting sunk. 
     In other news, back on February 2, 1941, 24-year-old Patsy Lasasso and his partner, Michael Gurlo robbed Louis Ozinsky, a laundry collector; they got 7 cents. They told Ozinsky that they thought he had a lot more money on him. He replied, "Not today. I make my next collection on March 8th. See you then; same time and place." 
     The brainless bandits kept the appointment and detectives concealed nearby as the result of Ozinsky's report of the first hold-up arrested them. It turned out that after the Ozinsky incident the two thieves had also robbed Frank Purpura, a barber, on February 8th. For his crimes, on May 3rd, 1941, Lasasso was sentenced to 15-30 years in Sing-Sing prison; his partner was still awaiting sentencing. 
     Buried on the back page of the Eagle was a story about how the previous year four Brooklyn police detectives were returning by train from Auburn prison with a prisoner who they wanted to question concerning the shooting of two police officers. 
     When the train pulled into Yonkers, the prisoner tried to escape and according to the article, the prisoner "was pumped full of .38 calibre bullets, one of which would be enough to rip a horse." The prisoner later died in the hospital and the four detectives were commended in a Brooklyn Police Department bulletin for foiling the escape. 
     About that Met league championship...it was determined in 1941, as usual, by the match in the final round between the Manhattan CC and the Marshall CC. Playing 18 boards, the Marshall team emerged victorious with a final score of 9.5-8.5. Having drawn one of their earlier matches (with North Jersey), the Marshall team had to beat the Manhattan team to win back the title. A drawn match would give the championship to the Manhattan team which was undefeated. 
     The upset of the match was Albert Pinkus' victory over Reuben Fine in what was the first game Fine had lost for a long time and after he had just scored an impressive win in the Marshall club championship. 

     At the conclusion of four hours of play the Marshall team was one point ahead but the games at boards 2, 6 and 11 were unfinished. 
     Frank Marshall at board 2, fought a grueling battle with Arnold Denker and emerged with a Rook and Bishop against Denker's Rook, Bishop and Pawn. Although Denker was a Pawn up the game was a sure draw. 
     On board 6, Herbert Seidman had blundered away a whole piece early in his game against State Champion Robert Willman, but fought back and reached a Rook and Pawn ending only a Pawn down. The two didn't adjourn and played on until Seidman finally succeeded in establishing a drawn position. 
     The remaining unfinished game between Irving Heitner and Geoffrey Mott-Smith was a different story. After he sacrificed the exchange, Mott-Smith failed to find the winning continuation and by adjournment even his drawing chances were in jeopardy and Heitner had excellent winning chances. That meant the result of the match depended upon this game. For Marshall to win the match and the championship Mott-Smith needed to salvage a draw. 
     The game was resumed eight days later and on May 11th after 40 more moves Mott-Smith managed to salvage the draw the game and so win the match for Marshall. 
     Here is Albert Pinkus' win by very precise play over Reuben Fine. As sometimes happened to Fine in domestic tournaments, he made a gross blunder in an even position. Over confidence maybe? 

A game that I liked (Komodo 14)

[Event "Metropolitan League Match, New York"] [Site "New York Marshall CC-Manhattan"] [Date "1941.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Reuben Fine (Marshall)"] [Black "Albert Pinkus (Manhattan)"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E02"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "1941.??.??"] {Open Catalan} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 {The Catalan is a combination of the Queen's Gambit and Reti. White's play will be on the Q-side. Black has two main approaches: the Open Catalan where he plays ...dxc4 and either try to hold on to the pawn with ...b5 or give it back to gain time to free his game. In the Closed Catalan, black does not capture on c4 which can lead to a somewhat cramped position, but one that is quite solid.} 4. Bg2 dxc4 {Pinkus was an attacker so he goes for the Open Catalan.} 5. Qa4+ {Black does very slightly better against this than he does against 5.Nf3} Bd7 {[%mdl 32]} 6. Qxc4 Bc6 7. Nf3 Bd5 8. Qd3 Nc6 (8... c5 9. Nc3 Bc6 10. O-O cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bxg2 12. Kxg2 Nbd7 13. Rd1 Be7 14. e4 O-O {equals. Nogueiras,J (2560)-Korchnoi,V (2655) Clermont Ferrand 1989}) 9. O-O (9. Nc3 Nb4 10. Qd1 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Qxd4 12. Qxd4 Nc2+ 13. Kf1 Nxd4 14. Bxb7 {equals. Petrovs,V-Mikenas,V Rosario 1939 1-0 (59)}) 9... Be4 10. Qd1 (10. Qb3 {keeps more tension in the position.} Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nxd4 12. Qxb7 Nxf3+ 13. exf3 Qd5 14. Qxc7 Qxf3 15. Be3 {White is slightly better.}) 10... Be7 11. Nc3 Bd5 12. Nxd5 exd5 13. Ne5 O-O 14. Bf4 Bd6 15. Rc1 Ne7 16. Bg5 Ne4 17. Bf4 c6 18. f3 Nf6 19. e4 $14 Ne8 20. Rf2 f5 {Risky! } (20... dxe4 21. fxe4 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Ng6 {is completely equal.}) 21. Nd3 Bxf4 22. Nxf4 Nc7 23. Qb3 g5 24. Nd3 Rb8 25. Rd1 Kh8 26. exf5 Nxf5 27. Ne5 Qd6 { [%cal Of5d4]} 28. Qc3 $1 Rbe8 29. f4 gxf4 $1 30. Rxf4 {Black must now prevent Rdf1.} Ne6 {But this is not the best way to o it.} (30... Nb5 31. Qe1 Kg8 32. Rg4+ Ng7 33. Qd2 Nxd4 {Black is better.}) 31. Rf2 Kg8 {Guarding the R so that now ...Nexd4 would win.} (31... Nexd4 32. Rxd4 Qxe5 33. Rdf4 Qxc3 34. bxc3 Re1+ 35. Bf1 {wins the N on f5}) 32. Bh3 (32. Ng4 {was more accurate.} Kh8 33. Rdf1 Nfxd4 34. Nh6 Rxf2 35. Rxf2 {with equal chances.}) 32... Nexd4 {This position is equal, but black would have a slight advantage after taking with the other N because it would have avoided the annoying pin on the N on f5. Fine's next move is a miscalculation that costs him the game. That said, the best move is hard to find.} (32... Nfxd4 33. Rxf8+ Nxf8 34. Rxd4 Qxe5 {and black is better.} ) 33. Rxd4 {[%mdl 8192] A losing blunder in a position that offered equal chances.} (33. Bxf5 {favors black after} Nxf5 34. Re1 Qf6 {Oddly, there is no way for white to take advantage of the pinned N.} 35. Rf4 (35. g4 Qg7 36. h3 Nd6) 35... h5) (33. Nd7 {This surprising move keeps things equal.} Ne2+ 34. Rxe2 Rxe2 35. Nxf8 Qh6 (35... Qxf8 36. Rf1 {wins the N.}) 36. Qd3 Qe3+ 37. Qxe3 Nxe3 38. Bf1 Rxb2 39. Re1 Nc2 40. Re8 Kf7 41. Rb8 {The complications are enormous. In Shootouts five games were drawn.}) 33... Nxd4 {The correct reply. Black now has a won game.} (33... Qxe5 {This move only results in equality.} 34. Bxf5 Rxf5 {And not} 35. Rg4+ Rg5 36. Re2 Qxc3 37. Rxg5+ Kf7 38. Rf5+ Kg7 39. Rxe8 Qc1+ 40. Rf1 Qc5+ {In this position the chances are even.}) (33... Rxe5 {is just plain bad.} 34. Rdf4 Qe6 35. Qf3 Re1+ 36. Kg2 Qe3 37. Qg4+ Kh8 38. Rxf5) 34. Rxf8+ Kxf8 35. Nd7+ {Now it's too late for this to do any good, but there was nothing better.} (35. Qxd4 Qxe5 36. Qxa7 Qxb2 {Black is winning.} ) 35... Qxd7 {[%mdl 512]} 36. Bxd7 Ne2+ {[%mdl 32]} 37. Kf1 Nxc3 38. Bxe8 Nxa2 {[%mdl 4096] The ending is won for black, but the K+P ending after 39...Kxe8 would have been even easier.} 39. Bd7 Nb4 {The ending still requires some finesse on the part of Pinkus.} 40. Ke2 Ke7 41. Bf5 h6 42. g4 Kf6 43. h4 c5 44. Kf3 d4 {[%mdl 32]} 45. Be4 (45. Ke4 {and here, too, white is hopelessly lost.} d3 46. Ke3 c4 47. Be4 b5 48. Kd2 Ke5 49. Bh1 Kf4 50. g5 hxg5 51. h5 Kf5 52. Be4+ Kf6 53. h6 g4 54. h7 Kg7 55. Ke1 a5) 45... c4 46. Bxb7 c3 47. bxc3 dxc3 48. Ke3 a5 {[%mdl 32]} 49. Be4 Ke5 50. g5 h5 51. Bg6 a4 {White resigned.} ( 51... a4 52. Bxh5 Nd5+ 53. Kf2 c2 54. g6 Kf6 55. Bf3 c1=Q) 0-1

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Make 'em sweat. Play Basman's Defense

 
     English IM Michael Basman (March 16, 1946) is a prolific writer who has made a lot of contributions to the field of openings. 
     What I like about Basman is that he is particularly known for playing bizarre openings in his own games. Stuff like the St. George Defense (1.e4 a6), the Grob (1.g4), the Creepy Crawly (a3, h3 followed by a quick c4) and the Basman Defense, aka the Borg Defense (1...g5). 
     Besides the Grob which I have played for years, I also like the Basman Defense and play both of them a lot on Chess Hotel. Of course, they both severely weaken the K-side, but the Basman more so because black is already a tempo behind. 
     According to Modern Chess Openings black is only somewhat worse, but that doesn't seem right! One source I looked at asserted that the data gives white a very high chance of winning (almost 59 percent), while black only has a 41 percent chance of winning. That doesn't seem right either because the drawing percentage is zero! 
     Whatever the percentages are I'm convinced that against average players Basman's Defense is not all that bad because they often seem to get totally bewildered when they face it. All in all, it's not a bad defense to keep in your back pocket. 
     The following wacky game is a good example of the kind of fun you can expect when you meet 1.e4 with 1...g5. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "Chess Hotel"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Guest"] [Black "Tartajubow"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B00"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] {Basman's Defense} 1. e4 g5 {[%mdl 32]} 2. Nf3 {I have met this unusual move a number of times. Stockfish thinks it's OK, but I am always happy to see it.} ( 2. d3 h6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 c5 6. Nge2 Nf6 7. O-O Nc6 {and a draw was agreed. Zelcic,R (2540) -Palac,M (2545) Pula 1998}) (2. Bc4 e6 3. d4 a6 4. a4 Bg7 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Be3 h6 7. Nge2 d6 8. Ng3 Nf6 9. Qd2 e5 10. d5 Ne7 {and a draw was agreed. Finocchiaro, G (2064)-Faraoni,E (2085) Savigliano 2009}) (2. d4 {This is the usual move and I think it's probably the best.} Bg7 (2... h6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 d6 5. Qd2 Nc6 6. O-O-O a6 {favors white. Collins,S (2387) -Williams,S (2427) West Bromwich 2004}) 3. Bxg5 c5 4. Be3 Qb6 5. Nf3 {Better is 5.Nc3} Qxb2 6. Nbd2 cxd4 7. Nc4 {Now, of course, black should play 7...Qc4+ when white would be only slightly better. In the game I chose the crazy Q-sacrifice 7...dxe3 and after many mistakes by both side I eventually won.}) 2... g4 (2... h6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bg7 5. Ne5 d5 6. Bxd5 Nxd5 7. Nc3 {Very, very poor play by white! At least he realized he was quite lost here and resigned! Reed,A-Beilby,K Brisbane 2006}) (2... Bg7 3. d4 {Yes, taking the P was better.} d6 4. Be2 a6 5. O-O Nd7 6. Be3 c5 7. c3 b5 8. dxc5 dxc5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Rd1 Qc7 11. a4 c4 {White is better. Madsen,S-Andersen,D (1997) Esbjerg 2007 }) 3. Ng1 {Technically there's nothing wrong with this, but retrograde development can't be good! The best try is 3.Ne5} (3. Ne5 h5 {Also acceptable is 3...Nf6} 4. d4 d6 5. Nc4 Bg7 {White is slightly better.}) 3... d5 4. e5 { Better was 4,exd5} d4 {I'm proud of this which is also Stockfish's preferred move. Both Ps put a kink in white's efforts to develop his pieces.} 5. Be2 (5. h3 {This is actually his best try, but after} Nc6 6. hxg4 Nxe5 {black is doing quite well.}) 5... h5 {Hoping to eventually bust open the K-side and tear his King limb from limb.} (5... Qd5 {looked inviting, but fortunately, thanks to white's next move, it's even more effective on move 6.} 6. Bxg4 Bxg4 7. Qxg4 { The g-Pawn is defended, so...} Qxe5+ {the position is equal.}) 6. f4 {His best bet was still 6.,h3} Qd5 {The threat to his g-Pawn is a nasty one.} 7. Bf1 { As with his 3rd move retrograde development can't be good so 7.Kf1 is certainly better although white's position is pretty ugly after either move.} d3 {Question mark! This move is over-finessing. Developing with 7...Nc6 or 7... Bc5 were better options.} 8. cxd3 {This is just plain bad because his B is locked in. Best is 8.Nc3 and if I retreat the Q white plays 9.Bxd3 and at least the B is freed and he can develop the N. If I play 8...dxc2 after 9.Qxc2 and the Q has to retreat. White can then play 10.d4. In either case his position would be slightly better.} Bf5 9. Nc3 Qd7 {[%mdl 1024] Black has compensation for the loss of time. White's P on d3 hinders his development.} 10. Ne4 {With his position already cramped the sin of moving a piece a second time in the opening is exacerbated.} (10. d4 Nc6 11. Bb5 {Black is a P down, but has compensation in his active position.}) 10... Nc6 {Hoping to play the juicy ...Nb4 which white prevents.} 11. a3 O-O-O 12. Ne2 h4 {This is in line with the plan of busting open the K-side and tearing his King limb from limb mentioned on move 5, but it was not the strongest move according to the engine. } (12... Qxd3 {This attacks the N on e4 and there is really no good way to defend it.} 13. N2c3 Qd4 14. Qe2 (14. Bb5 Bxe4 15. Nxe4 Qxe4+ 16. Qe2 Qxe2+ 17. Kxe2 {black has won a piece.}) 14... Qb6 {Stockfish assigns black about a 1.5 P advantage here, but in reality it's probably about half that and there is no clear way for black to continue. Therefore, practically speaking, I still like 12...h4}) 13. b4 Qxd3 14. N2c3 (14. Nc5 {was just a smidgen better.} Qc4 15. Bb2 e6 16. Qb3 Qxb3 17. Nxb3 {White is getting untangled and the danger of an attack on his K has disappeared.}) 14... Bxe4 {Of course retreating the Q to d4 keeps the pressure on, but this crazy Queen sacrifice looked like too much fun to pass up.} 15. Bxd3 {It was surprising to discover in the postmortem that white's advantage is only about one Pawn according to Stockfish. Komodo 14 on the other hand puts white's advantage at two Pawns. That, too, was surprising because Komodo's evaluation is usually about half ogf Stockfish's.} Bxd3 {[%mdl 32]} 16. Ne2 {This is a mistake because now the evaluation by Stockfish drops to 0.00.} (16. Qxg4+ e6 17. Qf3 Bf5 18. Ne4 Nd4 {White has picked up a P and black has no real threats.}) 16... e6 17. O-O Nh6 18. Rf2 { Better was 18.Bb2} Nf5 19. Qb3 {[%mdl 8192] This loses the game because it leaves the N undefended. Black is now able to generate a very strong attack while white has two pieces (the B and R) that are nothing but bystanders.} (19. Bb2 g3 {This is what I would have played, but Stockfish likes 19...Be7 which leads to nothing definite.} 20. hxg3 hxg3 21. Rf3 Bxe2 22. Qxe2 Rh4 23. Qe4 Be7 24. Rd3 Rdh8 25. Kf1 {Black has no effective way of continuing the attack and white is just slightly better.}) 19... g3 20. Rf3 Bxe2 {Materially black has two Ns and a B for the Q, more than enough compensation, but more importantly, white's R, B and Q sontribute nothing to the defense.} 21. Re3 Ncd4 {Adding the other N to the fray.} 22. Qc3 Nxe3 23. Qxe3 {I now have a R, B and N vs. the Q...an even better material advantage than before.} gxh2+ 24. Kxh2 h3 25. gxh3 Bg4 {Black can win in a number of ways.} (25... Rg8 {is also good.} 26. Bb2 Nf3+ 27. Kh1 Rxd2 28. Bc3 {According to the engine best is 28.Qxd2, but only because it avoids an immediate mate.} Rc2 29. Rc1 Rxc1+ 30. Qxc1 Bc4 { and I'm informed that black has a mate in 11.}) 26. Bb2 Nf5 27. Qc3 (27. Qf2 { eventually loses the Q.} Rxh3+ 28. Kg2 Nh4+ 29. Kg1 Be7 30. Bd4 Rg8 31. Kf1 Bf5 32. Ke2 Bd3+ 33. Kd1 Rh1+) 27... Rxh3+ 28. Qxh3 Bxh3 29. Kxh3 {The complications are over and black, a piece up, can win as he chooses.} Rd3+ 30. Kg4 {Black mates in 5, but retreating to g2 loses the B.} Rg3+ {Obvious. The problem is I only had about 90 seconds left on the clock. The time limit was 8 minutes plus 2 seconds.} 31. Kh5 Rh3+ {This gained two seconds! Black still has a mate in 5, but the B has to join the battle to pull it off.} (31... Be7 32. Rg1 Rxg1 33. d3 Rg6 34. a4 Ng7#) 32. Kg4 Rg3+ 33. Kh5 {Here I had to use some of my remaining time to figure out that I needed the B in the action, but I still didn't see a mate and my opponent, who had about 2.5 minutes, was moving instantly. I began wondering if I was going to lose on time!} Be7 { It's mate in 3, but I still didn't see it.} 34. Rc1 Rg6 {I had about 10 seconds left.} (34... Ng7+ {was my intended move, but I realized he slips out of the mating net after} 35. Kh6 {and with only seconds left there was no way I could move fast enough to avoid running out of time in a completely won position.}) 35. d4 (35. Rxc7+ {delays mate one move.} Kxc7 {mate next move.}) 35... Ng7# {Just for fun I ran a Chessbase Centipawn analysis on this game and the scores were: White Centipawn loss = 72 (Average), Black Centipawn loss = 25 (Expert/Master). Pretty meaningless for one game, but interesting nonetheless.} 0-1

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Flurry of Tactics by Reshevsky

 
     The 1942 U.S. Championship was the most controversial ever. In January the USCF had canceled the tournament because the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, and the government had issued a call for an all-out struggle in the war. In an attempt to comply, the USCF stated that because our way of life was in great peril, it was not a propitious time for holding the championship. 
     Al Horowitz dissented in his magazine, Chess Review pointing out that Washington had encouraged the continuation of professional sports and that other nations at war, such as Great Britain, had continued holding tournaments. The USCF relented and the top players agreed (surprise!) to forego appearance fees and guarantees of prize money agreeing to play for modest prizes. 
     The lineup wasn't a very strong one with only seven real contenders: Reshevsky, Kashdan, Denker, Steiner, Pinkus, Horowitz and Seidman. The winner should have been Isaac Kashdan. 
     The tournament was a race between him and Reshevsky, but Kashdan got cheated out of the title. 
      In the 6th round tournament director, the infamous L. Walter Stephens, incorrectly forfeited Denker after Reshevsky supposedly exceeded the time limit...or did he? 
     Both players were in time trouble and it has often been reported that Reshevsky's flag fell when Denker made the drawing move and punched the clock. According to the report on the incident in Chess Review they "were using a battered old clock with no flag indicators." 
     Stephens, standing behind the clock, picked it up and turned it around so that the clocks were facing opposite sides and then, declaring that Denker had exceeded the time limit, ruled him to have forfeited. 
     When his mistake was pointed out, Stephens refused to change his decision. The spectators demonstrated their disapproval of Stephens' ruling with boos and jeers and Denker filed a protest because Reshevsky was not keeping score. It was all to no avail because his protest was disallowed! 
     Isaac Kashdan reported on the incident in Chess Review stating that Reshevsky defeated Denker in a drawn position when Denker overstepped the time limit and Stephans' ruling "(caused) a commotion and near riot." Kashdan wrote, "The spectators and officials all (got) a look at the clock which (was) carried about and handled by all and sundry. There (was) a wide divergence of opinion, but the referee (had) ruled and (was) later upheld by the tournament committee." 
     From beginning to end the tournament was a neck and neck race between Reshevsky and Kashdan. After nine rounds they were tied at 8.5 points apiece! Reshevsky had drawn with Matthew Green in the third round and Kashdan had drawn with Jacob Levin in the fourth. Their scores put them ahead of their closest competitors by two points. 
     The remaining rounds were a battle between the two. In the tenth round Reshevsky took the lead when Kashdan overlooked what was called a brilliant Queen sacrifice by Herman Steiner and lost. But, then in the next round Reshevsky could only draw against the last place finisher, Herman Halhbohm, a minor master from Chicago. 
     After finishing his last round game Kashdan had a 12.5-2.5 score. Reshevsky, at 12-3, adjourned his game against Horowitz who had outplayed him and was two Pawns up. But, thanks to opposite colored Bishops and a better placed King, Reshevsky had drawing chances. 
     Upon resumption Horowitz' 58th move allowed Reshevsky to draw and so tie with Kashdan. In the 14-game playoff Reshevsky took the lead after the fifth game and won the match +6 -2 =3. 
     The U.S. Women's Championship was held concurrently and, unlike the men's event, it was no contest. May Karff scored 8-0 and outdistanced the second placed finishers, Adele Belcher and Nancy Roos by two points. 
     I was going take a look at that Kashdan-Steiner game because the "brilliant Queen sacrifice" description caught my eye, but after looking at the game it turned out the Steiner only offered his Q in a won position and Kashdan didn't take it. In fact, Kashdan was forced to surrender his Q two moves later. 
     Probably the most brilliant game of the tournament was Reshevsky's win by a flurry of tactics over Herbert Seidman. Let's take look at it. 
     Reshevsky's style was often criticized because it was said he was lucky and that his play was boring. But, as they, good players are always lucky. 
     As for the boring part, back in 1940 in Meet the Master, Dr. Max Euwe wrote that Reshevsky liked boring positions and then went on to explain that many situations which other masters would abandon as won or drawn were analyzed more correctly by Reshevsky who often discovered numerous hidden possibilities.
     Reshevsky's rival, Dr. Reuben Fine, preferred to say that Reshevsky was "the tactician par excellence." Fine explained, "Regardless of the nature of the position, he is rarely prepared to accept any conventional judgment and he will exhaust all his resources before he admits that he is wrong." 
     Looked at from that viewpoint, Reshevsky's win in the following game was quite typical of his style. Herbert Seidman (1920-1995) was a Senior Master from New York City known for his swashbuckling style. He played several U.S. Championships and took the scalps of many notable players, including Benko, Bisguier, Donald Byrne, Denker, Lombardy, Mednis and Reshevsky. In the U.S. Open in 1974 he defeated the formidable Dutch GM Jan Timman on the black side of a Scandinavian Defense. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "US Championship, NewYork"] [Site "New York, NY USA"] [Date "1942.04.10"] [Round "1"] [White "Herbert Seidman"] [Black "Samuel Reshevsky"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C86"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "1942.??.??"] {Ruy Lopez: Worrall Attack} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Qe2 {In this, the Worrall Attack, white substitutes 6.Qe2 for 6.Re1. The idea is to use the Q to support the e-Pawn and play Rd1 to support the advance of the d-Pawn, although there is not always time for this.} b5 {[%cal Bb7b5, Bb5b4][%mdl 32]} 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 Bg4 {[%mdl 32]} 9. c3 O-O 10. h3 {An important move...it forces black to make up his mind whether the B will go to the K-side or return to the Q-side or if he should exchange it.} (10. Rd1 { and Fine recommended} Rb8 11. d4 exd4 12. cxd4 d5 13. e5 Ne4 {which was not played until 40 years later in Anand,V (2690)-Kamsky,G (2655) Moscow 1992 which continued} 14. axb5 axb5 15. h3 Bh5 16. Be3 Qd7 17. Rc1 Rb6 18. Nc3 { with equal chances.}) 10... Bh5 {At the time the book move was 10...Bd7, but Reshevsky was never too concerned with such matters and he instinctively plays the move that is considered best today. Incidentally, it Stockfish's recommended move.} 11. Rd1 (11. d3 Na5 12. Bc2 Nd7 13. b4 Nb7 14. g4 Bg6 15. d4 {with equality. Varavin,V (2510)-Yemelin, V (2520) Elista 1994}) 11... b4 { The tactician, Reshevsky takes the opportunity to create complications.} (11... d5 {is also acceptable.} 12. d3 (12. exd5 {is a mistake.} Na5 13. Bc2 {and now black wins with} e4 14. Bxe4 Nxe4 15. Qxe4 Nb3 16. Ra2 Bg6) 12... d4 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. g4 Bg6 16. Bd5 {White is better. Shkuran,D (2383)-Podolsky,A (2127) Zhovkva UKR 2010}) 12. d4 {Strictly speaking not bad, but more exact was 12.a5 fixing the black a-Pawn and depriving the N of the important square a5.} bxc3 {This might look bad, but Reshevsky has seen that the position is deceptive and he's hoping Seidman will go astray...which he does!} 13. g4 { This is not really bad, but it is, like his previous move, not good either. Evidently Seidman was under the impression that he will either win a piece or secure an overwhelming position. The chances would have been equal after the better 13.bxc3} Qb8 {Technically 13...Rb8 was better, but his sets a subtle trap.} (13... Bg6 {This may have been what Seidman was expecting. After} 14. dxe5 {Things get complicated now and OTB things get dicey for both sides!} Nxe4 15. Nxc3 Nxc3 16. bxc3 Qe8 17. Bd5 Na5 18. Nd4 dxe5 19. Bxa8 exd4 20. Bd5 d3 21. Rxd3 Bxd3 22. Qxd3 {and white, having the initiative, is slightly better.}) 14. Bd5 {Into which Seidman falls. To paraphrase Fine, Seidman and his good position are parted.} (14. Bc4 {is the most accurate.} cxb2 15. Bxb2 Nxg4 16. hxg4 Bxg4 {This position with its unbalanced material is unclear.}) 14... Nxd5 15. exd5 Bg6 {In the complications Seidman seems to have underestimated this elementary move.} (15... cxb2 {allows white a slight advantage after} 16. Bxb2 e4 17. Nh2 Bg6 18. dxc6) 16. bxc3 Na5 {Threatening to win a piece with 17...Nb3 } 17. Nbd2 exd4 (17... e4 {was even stronger.} 18. Nxe4 Qb7 19. Re1 Qxd5 20. Ned2 Rfe8 {Black is better.}) 18. Qxe7 {White finds himself in a very difficult situation after this.} (18. Nxd4 Re8 19. Qf3 Bg5 20. Nf5 {and black is only slightly better.}) 18... Re8 {[%mdl 2048] Black is in control.} 19. Qg5 dxc3 20. Nh4 {With this move Seidman embarks upon a desperate adventure.} (20. Nf1 {is hardly an improvement though.} f6 21. Qf4 Re4 22. Qg3 c2 23. Re1 Rxe1 24. Nxe1 Qb1 25. Nxc2 Qxc2 {Black is winning.}) (20. Nd4 {this is relatively best.} h6 21. Qf4 cxd2 22. Bxd2 Re4 23. Qf3 Rxd4 24. Bxa5 Rc4 {followed by ... Bc2 and black's advantage is minimal.}) 20... f6 {Wisely avoiding capturing on d2.} (20... cxd2 21. Bxd2 Nb3 22. Nxg6 fxg6 (22... hxg6 23. Rab1 {and white is very close to equalizing thanks to the annoying pin on the N.}) 23. Rab1 Nxd2 24. Qxd2 (24. Rxb8 Nf3+ 25. Kg2 Nxg5 26. Rxe8+ Rxe8 {and white has lost a piece.}) 24... Qd8 {and black has only a minimal advantage. The heavy pieces afford white plenty of counterplay.}) 21. Qf4 Bc2 {this is even better than 21. ..cxd2} 22. Nf5 (22. Rf1 {is not much better.} cxd2 23. Qxd2) 22... Bxd1 23. Ne4 Rxe4 {Nice!} (23... Bc2 {allows white to complicate things with} 24. Nh6+ gxh6 25. Nxf6+ Kh8 (25... Kg7 26. Qxh6+ Kf7 27. Bg5 {and the position is equal. }) 26. Nxe8 Qxe8 27. Qf6+ Kg8 28. Qxc3 {Black has a decisive advantage.}) 24. Qxe4 {It should be pointed out that Seidman, while not on Reshevsky's level, was also a very good tactician and with this move he threatens to win with Qe6+.} Qe8 (24... Nb3 {A pass to demonstrate white's threat.} 25. Qe6+ Kh8 26. Bh6 Qf8 27. Bxg7+ Qxg7 28. Nxg7 Kxg7 29. Rxd1 {and white wins.}) 25. Qb4 Nb3 { ...Qe1+ is the strong threat.} 26. Rb1 Nxc1 {This is probably worthy of a question mark as it lets slip a large portion of black's advantage. The play of both sides now gets a little inexact and it's quite possible that time pressure was a factor for both players.} (26... Qe1+ {is crushing as after} 27. Kg2 Bc2 {white is out of reasonable moves.} 28. Rxb3 Be4+ 29. f3 Qe2+ 30. Kg1 Qd1+ 31. Kh2 Qxf3 {There is no good answer to the threat of mate on g2}) 27. Rxc1 c2 {Stronger that 27...Bxa4} (27... Bxa4 28. Qxc3 Bd7 29. Qxc7 Bxf5 30. gxf5 Qh5 31. Qb7 {with drawing chances.}) 28. Qb7 (28. Qc3 {makes black's job tougher.} Rc8 29. Nd4 Qe5 30. Qe3 {Black is better, but white is still alive.}) 28... Qd8 (28... g6 {would have wrapped up the game fairly quickly.} 29. Nd4 Qe1+ 30. Kg2 Rf8 31. Ne6 Bf3+ 32. Kg3 Qxc1) 29. Qb3 Rb8 (29... h5 {results in a winning R+P ending and was more precise.} 30. Nd4 Rb8 31. Qd3 hxg4 32. Nxc2 Bxc2 33. Qxc2 gxh3 34. Qxc7 Qxc7 35. Rxc7 Rb4 {and wins}) 30. Qa2 {[%mdl 8192] Missing his last chance.} (30. Qd3 Rb4 31. Nd4 f5 32. Nxc2 Bxc2 33. Qxc2 fxg4 34. h4 Qxh4 35. Qxc7 Rf4 36. Qc8+ Rf8 37. Qe6+ Kh8 38. Qf5 Qd8 39. Qxg4 { with drawing chances.}) 30... h5 31. Nd4 hxg4 32. hxg4 Qe8 33. Nxc2 Qe2 34. g5 fxg5 (34... Qg4+ {forces mate.} 35. Kf1 Be2+ 36. Ke1 Bc4 37. Qxc4 Qxc4 38. gxf6 Re8+ 39. Ne3 Qxc1+ 40. Ke2 Qb2+ 41. Ke1 Qxf6 42. Ke2 a5 43. Kd3 Qxf2 44. Nd1 Qe2+ 45. Kc3 Qxd1 46. Kb2 Rb8+ 47. Kc3 Rb3+ 48. Kc4 Qd3#) 35. Qa3 Bxc2 36. Qc3 Be4 37. Qxc7 Qg4+ {Facing mate in 2, Seidman resigned.} 0-1

Monday, June 20, 2022

New York Met League Match 1954

     At the end of New York City Metropolitan League, two undefeated teams, the Marshall Chess Club Seniors and the Manhattan Chess Club, met at the Manhattan club in the seventh and last round on Saturday, May 22, 1954.
     The weather was partly cloudy with a high of 65 and a low of 45. The front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle had a story that was a prelude of what was to come. 
     Halfway around the world in what was then known as Indo-China, it was reported that Communist troops overwhelmed the French fortress at An Xa in the Red River delta and then struck northward toward Hanoi 40 miles away. 
     The outpost in Quang Nam Province fell after three weeks of bloody fighting when 800 Communist Vietminh regulars overcame the exhausted company of Vietnamese by sheer weight of numbers. 
     Just 11 years later, on October 3, 1965, 30 men from Company M, 3d Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment were walking across a rice paddy in eastern Quang Nam Province when rifle fire and mortar explosions erupted from three sides. The ambush was nearly perfect. About 200 Viet Cong had surrounded the Marines. Caught in the open with no cover they were pinned down. The firefight that resulted lasted for almost eight hours and 13 Marines were killed in one of the costliest days since the United States had entered the war. 
     When relief reached the patrol the firing suddenly ceased and the Viet Cong slipped away into the gathering night. The Marines rescued what was left of the patrol and retrieved the dead and wounded. The firefight had nearly annihilated the patrol and all of them had been wounded and nearly half were dead. 
     The dead were: 26-year-old 1st Lieutenant Adam E. Simpson, Jr., Staff Sergeant Roscoe Ammerman (age 37), Private First Class Robert W. Allen who was 2 days shy of his 18th birthday. Sergeant Nelton R. Bryant (age 26), Corporal Eugene L. Ellwood (age 19), Private First Class Louie G. Fritts (age 19), Private First Class Michael R. Fulk (age 18), Sergeant Paul Hamilton, Jr. (age 27), Corporal Larry D. Harvey (age 21), Private First Class Leon P. Lampley (age 20). Oddly, Lampley was from the same hometown (Hamilton, Ohio) as Corporal Ellwood. Private First Class Bernard J. Masny (age 19), Sergeant Reginald Nicolas (age 29) and Private First Class James Edward Thomas (age 19). Semper Fi, Marines!
     Back to the chess match. By mutual agreement, there were 12 players to a side for this match. The names for the first six for each side were shuffled and drawn to determine who played whom. By a happy coincidence, US Champion Larry Evans and former Champion Arnold Denker met. The lower six were similarly drawn. 
     At adjournment, Manhattan led by 4.5-3.5. In the play-offs, however, the match turned out one-sided and Manhattan won 8-4. 
     In the following game Simonson put up a fierce struggle, but he was unfortunate as the dubious opening variation he chose saddled him with a weaknesses which plagued him throughout all the phases of the game.

A game that I liked (Komodo 14)

[Event "Met League Match, New York"] [Site "?"] [Date "1954.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Arthur Bisguier, Manhattan CC"] [Black "Albert C. Simonson, Marshall CC"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A00"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "1954.??.??"] {Sicilian: Richter-Rauzer} 1. d4 c5 2. e4 cxd4 3. Nf3 Nc6 {Here 3..e5 transposes into Smith-Morra (or, as it was known at the time of the game, the Morra Gambit). Such positions were not to Simonson's taste because he was a coffeehouse player who preferred the initiative at all be costs.} 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 {The Richter–Rauzer Attack threatening to double black's Ps after Bxf6 and forestalling the Dragon by rendering 6...g6 unplayable. After 6. ..e6 Rauzer introduced the modern plan of Qd2 and 0-0-0 in the 1930s. White's pressure on the d6-pawn often compels black to respond to Bxf6 with ...gxf6, rather than recapturing with a piece (e.g. the queen on d8) that also has to defend the d-pawn. This weakens black's K-side P-structure, but in return black gains the two Bs and a central Pawn majority.} Qa5 {Starting out as a QP opening it has now transposed and no doubt because of his unfamiliarity with the latest lines Simonson feared walking into a prepared variation and so chose the inferior text move deliberately. Usual and better is 6...e6} 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. Bb5 Bd7 9. Qh5 {With this unusual move Bisguier makes an attempt to exercise pressure on black's K-side, particularly the f-Pawn.} (9. Nb3 { first is usual.} Qc7 10. Nd5 Qd8 11. Qh5 a6 12. Be2 {Lotero,F (2162)-Panesso Rivera,H (2368) Medellin 2014}) 9... a6 10. Nb3 Qd8 11. Be2 e6 (11... Rc8 12. O-O-O Bg7 13. Kb1 f5 14. exf5 Bxc3 15. bxc3 {Black is slightly better. Blomqvist,E (2454)-Bryntze,S (2155) Stockholm 2012}) (11... Rg8 12. O-O Ne5 13. f4 Bg4 14. Bxg4 Qb6+ 15. Kh1 Nxg4 {favors white. Perez Candelario,M (2496) -Korneev,O (2657) Elgoibar 2006}) 12. O-O Qb6 13. Rad1 Be7 14. Kh1 O-O-O 15. a4 (15. Qxf7 h5 {Bisguier avoided this because his Q is in danger. The text is the consistent continuation and the reason why he castled. on the K-side.} 16. Nd4 Rhf8 (16... Nxd4 17. Qxe7 Nxe2 18. Nxe2 Qxb2 19. Nf4 Rhe8 20. Qxd6 { is good for white.}) 17. Qg7 Rg8 18. Qh7 Rh8 19. Qg7 Rhg8 {with a draw.}) 15... Be8 16. a5 Qc7 17. f4 Kb8 18. Rd2 {Also good was 18.Bf3} f5 19. exf5 d5 { An excellent reply.} (19... Nxa5 {is strongly met by} 20. f6 Nxb3 21. fxe7 Nxd2 22. exd8=Q+ Qxd8 23. Rd1 f5 24. Qh6 Ne4 25. Nxe4 fxe4 26. Qxe6 {and white is better.}) 20. Qh6 d4 {Slightly better would have been 20...Bd7} 21. Nxd4 (21. Qg7 {was a better try because after} Rf8 22. Ne4 exf5 23. Nf6 Bd7 24. Nd5 Qd6 25. Nxd4 Qxd5 26. Nxc6+ Qxc6 27. Qe5+ {with the initiative.}) 21... Nxd4 22. Rxd4 Bc6 {Oddly, Bisguier misjudged this move thinking it was inferior to 22... Rxd4 which is not the case.} (22... Rxd4 23. Qg7 {Bisguier claimed that white would now emerge with both material and positional superiority, but that is not the case.} Rxf4 24. Qxh8 Rxf1+ 25. Bxf1 {White is only a P up and the chances are equal. In Shootouts white scored +1 -0 =4.}) 23. Rxd8+ Qxd8 24. Rd1 (24. Qh5 {was slightly better.} Rf8 25. Bf3 Bxf3 26. Qxf3 Qxa5 27. fxe6 fxe6 { White is better.}) 24... Qg8 25. Qh3 exf5 (25... Qc8 {was only a slight improvement over the text.} 26. fxe6 fxe6 27. Bf3 Bb4 28. Bxc6 Qxc6) 26. Bf3 Qc8 27. Bxc6 bxc6 {White has clearly established an advantage, but the game is far from over.} 28. Qe3 Qc7 29. Na4 {[%mdl 32] The N will be repositioned to c4 } Rd8 (29... Qxa5 {loses after} 30. Qxe7 Qxa4 31. Qe5+) 30. Rxd8+ Qxd8 31. Qb6+ {This simplification wins, but the ending is not devoid of problems.} Qxb6 32. Nxb6 {[%mdl 4096]} Kc7 33. g3 Bf6 34. Nc4 c5 35. Kg2 Kc6 36. Kf3 Kb5 37. b3 Kb4 (37... Bd4 {was called for. White then dare not play 38.Ne3} 38. Ke2 (38. Ne3 Bxe3 39. Kxe3 Kxa5 40. c3 Kb5 {and it's black who is winning. For example...} 41. h3 a5 42. Kd3 h5 43. Kd2 c4 44. Kc2 cxb3+ 45. Kxb3 Kc5 46. h4 a4+ 47. Kxa4 Kc4 {with a won K+P ending.}) 38... Kb4) 38. Ne3 {Threatening Nd5+} Bd4 (38... Bd8 39. Nd5+ Ka3 40. Ke2 Bxa5 41. Ne3 Kb4 42. Kd3 h5 43. Nxf5 {white wins the ending.}) (38... Kxa5 39. Ke2 Kb5 40. Nxf5 Kb4 41. Ne3 Bd4 42. Nd5+ Ka3 43. Kd3 Kb2 44. g4 a5 45. g5 Bh8 46. Ne3 Kc1 47. h4 Bg7 48. Nc4 {etc.}) 39. Nxf5 { White is clearly winning. Bisguier commented that the last few moves were the only easy part of this difficult struggle. Black never completely recovered from the effects of his unfortunate opening play.} Kc3 40. Nxd4 Kxd4 41. Ke2 Kc3 42. Kd1 h5 43. f5 f6 44. h3 Kd4 45. Ke2 Ke4 46. c3 {Simonson resigned. In the auto-annotation Stockfish 15 evaluated Bisguier's play as "very precise."} 1-0

Saturday, June 18, 2022

1946 Australia-France Radio Match

Charles Watson
     With the boom in post-WWII chess activity the radio match played on June 15 and 16, 1942 between Australia and France went largely unnoticed. The match consisted of a team of five players from Sydney against five from Paris and five players from Melbourne against five from Marseilles. In Paris Eugene Znosko-Borosky served as arbitrator. 
     Today's game features one of Australia's top players, Charles G. M. Watson (October 22, 1879 - March 5, 1961, 81 years old). He was born in Buninyong which is not far from Melbourne in SE Australia. 
 
     Watson was Australian Champion in 1922 and 1930-31. His 1922 win ended the run of William S. Viner who had been champion since 1906. The Championship didn't return to Melbourne until 1931, when Watson again won. 
     His only international event seems to have been London 1922 (won by Capablanca ahead of Alekhine) where he tied places 14-15 out of 16. He scored a wins over Morrison (Canada), Davide (Italy), Marotti (Italy), Atkins (England) and, most significantly, Richard Reti (Hungary). Chessmetrics assigns him a high rating of 2456 on the June, 1926 list placing him at number 53 in the world. 
     He started playing chess at the age of 10 with his father and later joined the Melbourne Chess Club, winning the club championships in 1898, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1914, 1921, 1931 and 1936. 
     A tactician who eschewed strategy, Watson was known for his uncanny ability to win lost games. Watson also had a very brief football (i.e. soccer) career; he played 11 games for the Melbourne Demons in the inaugural season of the Victorian Football League Australian Football competition in 1897. Later in life became a big fan of bridge. He passed away in Melbourne in 1961. 
     His opponent in the following game was Barbato Rometti (June 23, 1896 - August 22, 1975) who was born in Italy, but became a naturalized French citizen on September 1, 1929. 
     At the beginning of his career, he played in Nice 1930, in the B tournament. In 1937, also in Nice, he finished 2nd behind Alekhine behind in a quadrangular tournament. 
     Rometti played in many French Championship. His best showing were in 1932 (shared 2nd), 1935 (shared 2nd) and 1945 (3rd). His last appearance was in 1965 where he finished 24th He played for France in 3rd unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936 and in 8th Chess Olympiad at Buenos Aires and for Monaco at Tel Aviv 1964. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "Australia vs France Radio Match"] [Site "?"] [Date "1946.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Charles Watson"] [Black "Barbato Rometti"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "1946.??.??"] {English Opening} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. e3 d5 4. b3 Nbd7 5. Bb2 Be7 6. Be2 { White has also played 6.Nc3, 6.d4 and 6.Qc2 here.} c6 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 Ne4 9. d3 Nd6 10. Nbd2 f6 {Black evidently intended to followup with ...e4, but Watson's next move puts the quietus on that idea. Better was 10...b6} 11. Nd4 { Rather awkward, but now 11...e5 is met by the for 12.Ne6} (11. d4 {was a better way if preventing the advance of the e-Pawn.} e5 {His best move was probably 11...f5} 12. dxe5 fxe5 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Be6) 11... Ne5 12. c5 {After this black's pieces are all gummed up, but the closed nature of the position makes it difficult to assign white more than a slight advantage.} Ne8 13. f4 Nf7 14. N4f3 {He still wants to prevent ...e5} Qc7 15. d4 {Still hindering ...e5} f5 16. b4 b6 17. Nb3 Nf6 18. Bd3 Bd7 (18... g5 { aiming for counterplay was the correct strategy} 19. Ne5 gxf4 20. exf4 Ne4 { and the chances are even.}) 19. Qe2 b5 20. Bc3 Ne4 21. Be1 Kh8 22. Ne5 Nxe5 23. dxe5 g5 24. Rc1 Qd8 25. Nd4 Qe8 26. Rf3 (26. Bxe4 {was better. Then after} dxe4 27. Nb3 Qg6 28. Rd1 Be8 29. Rd6 {white has a promising position.} Bxd6 { This is wrong. Better would be 29...Rg8} 30. cxd6 Rg8 31. fxg5 Qxg5 32. Nc5 { with excellent compensation for the exchange.}) 26... Qh5 27. Rc2 (27. fxg5 { can get tricky.} Bxg5 28. Bxe4 fxe4 29. Rxf8+ Rxf8 30. Qxh5 Bxe3+ 31. Bf2 Rxf2 32. Kh1 Bxc1 {Black only has a R and B for his Q, but the position is not at all clear. In Shootouts white scored +3 -0 =2, but the games were quite long, a couple well over 100 moves.}) 27... Rg8 28. Rf1 Qf7 29. Qd1 gxf4 30. exf4 { [%mdl 32]} Bd8 {This passive move makes little sense. Better was 34...Rg6} ( 30... Rg6 31. Kh1 Rag8 32. Bxe4 fxe4 33. Bc3 {but even here white has the better game and scored 5-0 in Shootouts.}) 31. Bxe4 fxe4 32. Bc3 h6 33. f5 Qh7 {It's amazing that black's position has collapsed so quickly, but a somewhat better defense was offered by 36...Qe8} (33... Qe8 34. f6 Qf7 35. Rf4 Rg6 36. Rh4 Kh7 37. Ne2 {Heading for f4. Black's position is badly compromised.}) 34. fxe6 Be8 35. Nf5 {[%cal Oe6e7] Threatening to win with 36.e7} Be7 36. Nd6 Qg6 { This meets with a great refutation but there was nothing better.} 37. Rf6 { [%mdl 512] Of course the R can't be safely taken.} Qg5 (37... Bxf6 38. exf6 Kh7 39. f7 Bxf7 40. exf7 Rg7 41. Bxg7 Qxg7 42. Rf2 Rf8 43. Qd2 d4 44. Rf1 {White is clearly winning.}) 38. Nf7+ Bxf7 39. exf7 ({Less strong is} 39. Rxf7 Rg6 { and white's progress is almost at a standstill.}) 39... Rg6 {Black resigned without waiting for white to reply.} (39... Rg6 40. Rxg6 Qxg6 41. e6+ Kh7 42. Rf2 Rf8 43. Qd4 {Analysis shows that while there is no forced win for white and black can put up some semblance of resistance, in the end he will gradually be outplayed.}) 1-0

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Other Christmas Tournament

     Everybody knows about the annual Hastings Christmas tournament. The first one took place in 1920-21 and was a four player double round-robin of British Champions, won by Frederick Yates ahead of R.H.V. Scott, Henry Atkins and Richard Griffith. It grew in importance and the winner's list became a Who's Who of chess champions. 
     There was another international Christmas tournament in Lucerne, Switzerland, but it only lasted from 1947-48 to 1953-54 and the most prominent winner was former World Champion Max Euwe in 1950-51 who tied with Herman Pilnik of Argentina. 
     Just three weeks before, in the 1950 Amsterdam tournament, Euwe and Pilnik met in round 7; Pilnik won and they ended up sharing sixth place. There were 18 players and Najdorf finished ahead of Reshevsky. 

     At Lucerne they met in the last round, played 25 moves and called it a draw. In the following game, in a good position, the Swiss Master Martin Christoffel strives for more than he should have and his plans were frustrated by two counters by Pilnik...one on the Q-side, the other on the K-side. Black was then left with the better ending and managed to win against demoralized resistance. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "Lucerne"] [Site "?"] [Date "1950.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Dr. Martin Christoffel"] [Black "Herman Pilnik"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B91"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "1950.??.??"] {Sicilian Najdorf} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 { This is known as either the Fianchetto Variation or the Zagreb Variation. Despite its quiet appearance black has to play accurately. Spanish GM Javier Moreno Carnero explains, "...in general, theoreticians have not investigated this line deeply enough, probably because they consider it a minor line, and as result underestimate its real value. Many Najdorf specialists have experienced some problems due to this, mainly because they did not really know the dangers hidden in this scheme. This variation is not only strategically complex, but also a bit of transpositional chaos because many lines can be reached through different move orders."} Bg4 {Very seldom played. Black almost always replies with 6...e5} 7. f3 Bd7 8. Bg2 {White continues in a slow, but solid, way. More aggressive is 8. g4, the loss of time being insignificant because clack has also lost time with his B. The initiative is what is important here.} (8. g4 h6 9. Be3 e6 10. Qd2 (10. h4 {This is also good.} Be7 11. Qd2 Nc6 12. O-O-O b5 13. Qg2 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 b4 15. Ne2 {with a sharp position. Popovic,P (2550)-Ljubojevic,L (2635) Belgrade 1989}) 10... Nc6 11. O-O-O Ne5 12. h4 Qc7 13. Rg1 b5 14. Qf2 Rc8 15. g5 {White has a strong attack. Stefansson,H (2585)-Miton,K (2600) Reykjavik 2011}) 8... Nc6 9. Be3 (9. Nb3 g6 10. Be3 Bg7 11. a4 Ne5 12. Nd2 Rc8 13. a5 Nc4 14. Nxc4 Rxc4 15. Bb6 Qc8 16. O-O {Black is slightly better. Hernandez,A (2285) -Gormally,D (2484) Cardiff 2015}) 9... Rc8 10. O-O (10. Nde2 Ne5 11. b3 g6 12. O-O Bg7 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 { is equal. Stoyanov,I (1978)-Fedoseev,V (2321) Herceg Novi 2008}) 10... Nxd4 11. Bxd4 e5 12. Be3 Be7 13. Rf2 O-O 14. Rd2 b5 15. a3 Be6 16. Qe2 Rc6 {By transposition the position has reached one very similar to the Boleslavsky Variation. where the entire game centers around one single strategic goal: the control of d5. It's complicated...opposite flank attacks often happen as do breaks in the center and tactics can erupt. So far white has played well and holds a a slight advantage. He ought to now continue with 17.Nd5.} 17. h3 { Christoffel wants to continue with 18.f4 so first guards first against 18... Ng4, but he is aiming for more than the position justifies and black now obtains strong counterplay.} (17. Nd5 Bxd5 {This deprives black of his better B, but it's the best way for black to get counterplay.} (17... Nxd5 {of course loses a piece.} 18. exd5 Rc4 19. dxe6) 18. exd5 Rc4 {with equal chances.}) (17. Nd5 h5 (17... Qd7 18. Nb4) 18. a4 Rc4 19. Nxe7+ Qxe7 20. axb5 axb5 21. Ra6 { Although black is on the defensive with careful play he should have adequate resources.}) (17. f4 {at once is met by} Rxc3 18. bxc3 Qa5 19. f5 Bc4 {and black has fully equalized.}) 17... Qc8 {Sacrificing the exchange with 17... Rxc3 was good here, too.} 18. Kh2 Rxc3 {For the exchange, black seizes the initiative, gets one P and sooner or later he may pick up a second one. Even so, at this point the position is equal.} 19. bxc3 Qxc3 {White has two reasonable, but passive, moves: 20.Rdd1 and 20.Qe1} 20. Rad1 {White still dreams of getting an attack going with the advance of the f-Pawn and so willingly gives up another P...a questionable decision.} Qxa3 21. f4 {This move does not help white's position, but practically speaking, no other move is better.} (21. Qe1 Qc3 22. Rd3 Qc6 {and black remains with the slightly better position.}) (21. Bg5 Qc5 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 (22... gxf6 {is also playable.} 23. f4 a5 {Black is slightly better.}) 23. Rxd6 Ra8 24. f4 {Finally, but blck is better.}) 21... Bg4 {A little tactical trick that works...white plays into an unfavorable endgame.} (21... h5 {keeps the initiative and was a better move as after} 22. Qd3 Qa5 23. Qe2 Qc3 24. Qd3 Rc8 {White has no attacking prospects and all he can do is shift pieces while black further builds up his position. Still, white's game can hardly be considered lost.}) 22. hxg4 Qxe3 23. g5 Qxe2 24. Rxe2 Nd7 25. fxe5 {It's hard to explain this move which completely spoils his P-formation and gives black's pieces good squares.} (25. Red2 {keeps the chances equal. For example...} Ra8 26. Ra1 Nc5 27. Rd5 a5 28. Bf1 b4 29. Bc4 {is doubtful black can make any real progress.}) 25... Nxe5 26. Ra1 Ra8 (26... Bxg5 27. Rxa6 Rd8 28. Rb6 {and white has equalized.}) 27. c3 g6 28. Rea2 Rc8 29. Rxa6 Rxc3 {Black's passed P gives him all the winning chances. Perhaps white can manage to save the game, but the pressure is on him to keep finding the best defense.} 30. Rb1 Bxg5 {Now is the right time to play this. It's instructive to watch how Pilnik is able to conjure up an attack against Christoffel's King.} 31. Rxb5 {Capturing the right P because the b-Pawn is more dangerous than the d-Pawn.} h5 {White is is grave danger from the threta of ...Ng4+} 32. Kh1 (32. Rxd6 Ng4+ 33. Kg1 Rc1+ 34. Bf1 Be3+ 35. Kg2 Rc2+ 36. Be2 Rxe2+ 37. Kf1 Rf2+ 38. Ke1 Rf3 {with a won ending/}) 32... Be7 33. Rb7 Bf6 34. Rxd6 Ng4 (34... Rc1+ {would have been a knockout punch.} 35. Kh2 Ng4+ 36. Kh3 Rc3 37. Rdb6 Be5 38. Rb3 Nf2+ 39. Kh2 Bxg3+ 40. Kg1 Rc1+ 41. Bf1 Nxe4) 35. Bh3 Nf2+ 36. Kh2 Nxe4 37. Ra6 {[%mdl 8192] The final mistake after which white is clearly lost.} (37. Rd5 {keeps him in the game.} Re3 38. Rdd7 { Counterattack! Now there is nothing black can do because of the Rs on the 7th rank.} Re2+ 39. Kg1 Nxg3 40. Rb8+ Kg7 41. Rbb7 {and if} Kh6 42. Rd3 h4 43. Rxf7 {and five Shootouts were all drawn.}) 37... h4 {An interesting situation has arisen and it demonstrates why old pre-engine analysis is so often untrustworthy. In many cases annotations were based on the result and they were also quite superficial. Hans Kmoch gave this move a ! and called it the finishing touch. In fact, it's question mark worthy because it should have allowed white to equalize. Of course, Kmoch didn't have Stockfish.} (37... Be5 {is winning.} 38. Re7 Ng5 39. Kh1 (39. Rxe5 Nf3+) 39... Bxg3) 38. Ra8+ { [%mdl 8192] White misses a chance to equalize. The next few moves are poorly played by both players and it may very likely have been due to time pressure.} (38. Rb4 Re3 39. Rxe4 {By returning the exchange white eliminates all danger to his K.} hxg3+ 40. Kg2 Rxe4 41. Rxf6 Re3 {and white can draw.}) 38... Kg7 39. Rc8 hxg3+ {Better was 39...Rxg3 and ...Ng5} 40. Kg2 Ra3 {After this we are back to equality!} (40... Rd3 41. Rc2 {Or else black has a winning check on d2. } (41. Rcc7 Rd2+ 42. Kf1 Rf2+ 43. Kg1 Bd4 {wins}) 41... Nd6 42. Rd7 Kh6 43. Rc5 Rd2+ 44. Kxg3 Ne4+ 45. Kf3 Rxd7 46. Kxe4 {Black scored five wins in Shootouts.} ) 41. Rcc7 {[%mdl 8192] Logical, doubling Rs on the 7th, but it turns out to be the final mistake that loses the game.} (41. Be6 {This powerful move makes a draw a likely outcome.} Nd6 42. Rcc7 {Now is the time for this.} Nxb7 43. Rxf7+ Kh6 44. Rxb7 {draws}) 41... Ra2+ {Black is now back on track and wraps it up.} 42. Kf3 Ng5+ 43. Kg4 Ra4+ 44. Kxg3 Be5+ 45. Kg2 Bxc7 46. Rxc7 Ra2+ { White resigned} 0-1

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Harkness Rating System, Yankton Int'l, First Move Advantage and William Streeter

     The first modern rating system was used by the Correspondence Chess League of America in 1939, but it wasn't until 1950 that the USCF adopted the Harkness system which was expounded by then tournament organizer Kenneth Harkness. The USCF switched to the Elo rating system in 1960, which was adopted by FIDE in 1970. For a detailed explanation of the Harkness system see Mark Weeks' article The Harkness System Explained HERE.  
     When the system was introduced the USCF took care to emphasize that the system is independent of any international designation of titles. The USCF also warned that some players may have been over-rated or under-rated and it was possible that a number of players were deprived of full recognition merely because the data was not available. 
     On that first list was an inactive Master named William F. Streeter (January 24, 1902 - June 16, 1973, 71 years old.). He was never married and died at St. Vincent Charity Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. 
     Streeter was a railway post office clerk. He served as Secretary (1927-1929) and President (1929-1930) of the Cleveland Chess and Checker Club and he was President of the Cleveland Chess League in 1930.
     Streeter was the Ohio Champion (Northern section) in 1931. According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article on October 11, 1931, it was at the suggestion of Cincinnati players that the state championship had been divided into two sections. After Streeter's victory he stated that he was ready to meet the winner of the southern section that was held in Cincinnati, but no reply was ever received. The article added that, "in the meantime William F. Streeter is a fitting state champion.” 
     In 1946, Streeter, at the request of President Elbert Wagner, Jr., and Secretary Paul G. Giers of the United States Chess Association, completed the task of answering the controversial question as to whether or not it was an advantage to have the white pieces. His findings were published in the May 1946 issue of Chess Review under the title Is The First Move An Advantage? Does it actually pay off in terms of successful results? He also examined the length of tournament games to see if they were getting longer, shorter, or remaining about the same. 
     To complete the task he utilized 45 tournament books, covering the period 1851-1932 and embodying 5598 games. His conclusions: 
 
Overall white won 38 percent, black 31 percent, 31 percent were drawn. The percentages by yearly span were:
 
1851-1878, white: 46, black: 40, draws:14 
1881-1914, white: 37, black: 31, draws: 32 
1919-1932, white: 27, black: 26, draws: 37 
 
     His conclusion was that it was becoming increasingly difficult to win with black, but somewhat easier to draw. 
     In 1946, the new South Dakota Chess Association issued the first of its monthly bulletin. Among the Association's planned activities was a State Correspondence Championship tournament to begin on December 1st; it was open to members of the Association who were residents of the state. 
     The Association started off with a burst of activity with events from September 15th to September 22nd at the Hotel Charles Gurney in Yankton. I posted on the event HERE
     The Major Open tournament ended in a 3-way tie between L. Gladstone (Boulder City, Colorado), William Streeter (Cleveland, Ohio) and Jack Spence (Omaha, Nebraska). 
     In the following game Streeter defeats Alfred C. Ludwig (1912-1953, 40 years old), the Nebraska Champion in 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950. Ludwig also won the 1945 CCLA Grand National tournament and with it the title of US Correspondence Champion. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "Yankton (South Dakota) Major Open"] [Site "Yankton, SD USA"] [Date "1946.09.??"] [Round "?"] [White "William F. Streeter"] [Black "Alfred C. Ludwig"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B18"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "1946.09.??"] [Source "Tournament book "] {Caro-Kann} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. Bd3 (7. h4 {is an interesting alternative.} h6 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 {White can choose between 11.Bf4 and 11.Bd2 followed by Q-side castling.}) 7... Qc7 8. O-O e6 9. Re1 Ngf6 10. c4 {[%cal Od4d5]} Bb4 (10... Be7 11. b3 O-O 12. Bxg6 hxg6 13. Qc2 Rfe8 14. Bb2 Rad8 {equals. Godena,M (2558)-Sanikidze,T (2426) Dresden 2007}) (10... O-O-O 11. a3 c5 12. Bxg6 hxg6 13. b4 cxd4 14. c5 Nb8 15. Bg5 Rd5 {White is better. Getz,N (2219)-Khenkin,I (2634) Tromsoe 2009}) 11. Re2 {[%cal Od4d5]} O-O (11... Bxd3 12. Qxd3 O-O 13. c5 Ba5 14. Ne5 Qc8 15. Bg5 Bc7 16. Nxd7 Nxd7 {White is better, but black managed to obtain a draw in Tylor,T-Flohr,S Hastings 1932}) (11... O-O-O {This too risky. In Habib,C-Vives, G (2047) Villa Ballester 2004 white had the advantage after} 12. a3 Bd6 13. b4 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 h5 15. Bg5 Bf4 16. Bxf4 Qxf4) 12. c5 Ba5 13. a3 Qd8 (13... Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Qd8 15. Qb3 Qc8 16. Ne4 Nxe4 17. Rxe4 Bd8 18. Qd3 b6 {with equal chances.Asztalos,L-Flohr,S Bled 1931}) 14. Bxg6 hxg6 15. Qb3 Rb8 16. Bg5 Qc8 17. Ne4 {Strongly threatening Nd6.} Bc7 18. Nc3 Re8 19. Ne5 Nxe5 20. dxe5 Nd7 { [%csl Bc5,Be5]} 21. Rae1 {Inviting black to win a P.} Nxe5 (21... Nxc5 { leads to an unclear position after...} 22. Qc4 Nd7 23. Qh4 Bxe5 24. Rxe5 Nxe5 25. Rxe5 Qd7 26. Re1 f6 27. Ne4 Qe7 28. Bd2 {White is better according to Stockfish. In Shootouts white scored +3 -0 =2. However, this is the type of position where the stronger player is likely to win regardless of which side they are playing.}) 22. Ne4 Nd7 23. Qh3 b6 24. Rd2 {Not at all bad, but it might have been better to play 24.Nd6. What's cute about this move is that it sets a nasty little trap.} (24. Nd6 Bxd6 25. cxd6 {and the d-Pawn will prove to be a bone in black's throat.}) 24... f6 (24... Nxc5 {is a self mate.} 25. Nf6+ {[%mdl 512]} gxf6 26. Bxf6 Bxh2+ 27. Qxh2 Kf8 28. Qh8#) 25. Red1 Nf8 { [%mdl 8192] This move, like 25...Nxc5, turns out very badly.} (25... Nxc5 { is still very bad.} 26. Nxf6+ gxf6 27. Bxf6 Kf7 28. Bd4 Rh8 29. Qf3+ Kg8 30. Qf6 Bxh2+ 31. Kf1 Qa6+ 32. Rd3 Rh7 33. Qxg6+ Kf8 34. Bxc5+ bxc5 35. Qxh7 { White is winning.}) (25... Re7 {keeps the chances equal after 26.Be3} 26. Nxf6+ {Unlike before, this now loses.} gxf6 {The f-Pawn is defended so white has no followup.}) 26. Nxf6+ {[%mdl 512] ...and wins.} gxf6 27. Bxf6 Nh7 28. Qh6 Bxh2+ {So that the R on b8 can guard the second rank. It's also a tricky move.} 29. Kh1 {[%csl Gf6][%cal Rh6g7]} (29. Kxh2 {This allows black to spit the hook and get away.} Qc7+ 30. Kg1 Nxf6 {and white is forced to take a perpetual check.} 31. Rd7 (31. Qxg6+ Qg7 {is winning for black.}) 31... Nxd7 32. Qxg6+ Kf8 33. Qh6+ {etc.}) 29... Rb7 30. Qxg6+ Kf8 31. Rd8 {Black could safely resign here.} Rxd8 32. Rxd8+ Qxd8 33. Bxd8 Bb8 34. Qxe6 bxc5 35. Qc8 Rxb2 36. Bf6+ {Kudos to both players for a very well played game! In the Fritz auto-annotation using Stockfish 15, the Weighted Error Values were: White=0.17 (very precise) and Black=0.22 (precise).} 1-0

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Monkeying With ShashChess

     About four years ago I did a post where I looked at, among other things, the SashChess engine, but wasn't too impressed by it. However, a few days ago while looking at the CCRL 40/15 complete rating list SashChess was prominent. 
     On the complete list the top rated engine is Stockfish 15 at 3541. ShashChess 21.1 (a derivative of Stockfish) is rated at 3535 and against Stockfish it has scored +1 -1 =30. The engine seemed to be worth a closer look.
     ShashChess tries to implement the theory of Alexander Shashin as he explains in his book, published in 2013, Best Play: A New Method for Discovering the Strongest Move. I have not read the book, but supposedly he breaks down the position into some kind of mathematical formula that evaluates material, mobility, safety and space. This should lead to finding the proper plan. 
     The concept of space, time and force is not new. Znosoko-Borovsky's 1955 book, The Middle Game in Chess, focused on those elements as did Larry Evans' hack job, New Ideas In Chess, also published in the 1950s. 
     Then there was Horowitz' Point Count Chess in which he listed positional factors that were worth points and anti-positional factors that were negative points. After all the adding and subtracting was done you knew who was better, but not how to utilize your advantage. The whole idea seems similar to counting cards in Blackjack...something that's probably beyond the capability of most of us. 
     The thing is, one can have an advantage in all three elements (space, time and force) and still have an inferior, or even losing, game due to some tactical anomaly. Purdy pointed that out in his writings a long time go. 
     There is a good discussion on the pros and cons of Shashin's method on the book's review on Amazon which you can read HERE. I will leave it to the reader to form an opinion on the practicality of this concept. 
     One reviewer of ShashChess stated that it draws with Stockfish in head to head engine matches, but significantly outperforms Stockfish in puzzle solving and mate-finding. Further, the reviewer stated that Shashchess' developers (ICCF IM Andrea Manzo is the owner and main developer) created it for correspondence chess and he attested that "it is an interesting and powerful analysis tool." 
     The home page for ShashChess gives some helpful information when analyzing with an engine. First, use all the cores. Unless you have a dedicated computer that's not realistic because if you're like me, while the engine is analyzing you'll want to be doing other things on the laptop. I usually use two of the four cores. 
     Regarding MultiPV, i.e. the number of alternate lines of analysis to display, you should specify only one to get the best line. Specifying more lines slows down the search. 
     I thought about trying ShashChess out in correspondence play on Lechenicher SchachServer where engine use is allowed, but decided against it. Why? As I posted back in 2015, on my laptop engines don't come up with the same moves as the same engines do on dedicated computers. That means I have about as good a chance competing at the highest levels on places like ICCF and Lechenicher SchachServer as I do playing over the board against Carlsen and others of that ilk. 
     Unlike in the pre-engine days when we used post cards and the only "help" was Modern Chess Openings, unless you just want to dabble in correspondence chess or don't care about results (highly unlikely) or ratings (also highly unlikely), then correspondence chess is not for you. That's why I suggested the creation of new correspondence chess classes: Beginning Dabbler, Intermediate Dabbler and Serious Dabbler. 
     Way above us Dabblers are the titled correspondence players...those guys with a couple of thousand dollars to spend on hardware/software and a LOT of patience. 
     The SashChess Homepage alo describes an interesting engine option called GoldDigger. I am not sure about other programs, but with Fritz you can turn this option on as follows: 
 
1) Select Load Engine 
2) Highlight the SashChess engine 
3) Click on Advanced 
4) Click on Engine Parameters 
5) Select GoldDigger 
 

     If GoldDigger is activated, the engine favors depth over the pruning of various selectivity techniques. In this way, it can uncover normally hidden possibilities. In this mode, it solves many more hard positions, although it loses slightly in absolute game strength. 
     You will also notice the names of Tal, Capablanca and Petrosian. Depending on the engine's evaluation it has algorithims based on the style of play of those greats as well as "mixed" ones. 
     The engine plays differently based on the evaluation of the position it is analyzing. That is, it classifies the position with "personalities." Petrosian for negative scores (defensive positions), Capablanca for balanced scores, and Tal for positive scores (attacking positions). Apparently by checking one of the boxes the engine will play with that players style only. 
     All in all, SashChess sounds like an interesting engine to monkey around with. Download HERE