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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Miserable Game, Vile Play

     Nelson, New Zealand, a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay which is located on the northern tip of the southern island, sounds like a nice place.
     Established in 1841, it's the oldest city in the South Island and the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand. Nelson has one of the sunniest climates of all major New Zealand cities, earning the nickname Sunny Nelson. During the summer months the temperature averages in the mid-70s and in the winter the average lows are in the mid-30s. 
     The New Zealand championship was played in Nelson in 1913. That was a bad year in the United States...the 16th Amendment authorized an income tax that was to take effect the following year. 
     Originally there were only seven tax brackets and the majority of Americans fell into the lowest one which stood at a mere one percent. That lowest bracket included those who made, in today’s dollars, up to $459,000 a year. 
     Of course, it didn't take long for things to change. In order to support the war effort in WWI, the lowest bracket’s tax rate was increased to six percent and the overall number of tax brackets increased. In 1844 income tax rates peaked at 94 percent on taxable income over $200,000 ($2.5 million in today's dollars).
     Tax cuts were made after the war, but the top rates began to increase during the Great Depression and WWII. This time after the war income taxes remained high because politicians feared that reductions would cause the federal government to lose the money needed to support all its new programs. See chart
     The institution of income tax wasn't the only bad news in 1913...life expectancy for males was only 50.3 years for men and 55.0 years for women! It was also the year cancer sticks Camel Cigarettes went on sale for the first time.
     On the plus side, America had a transcontinental highway in 1913. It was the Lincoln Highway, that ran from Times Square to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. The clothing zipper was invented, but, oddly, it didn't popular until the 1930s. And, 1913 saw the invention of the best toy I ever owned as a child. Alfred C. Gilbert began selling Erector Sets
     In the chess world, on February 5, 1913, Capablanca won the 2nd American National Tournament, ahead of Frank Marshall. But, in March, Marshall won a tournament in Havana ahead of Capablanca and Janowski. Capablanca had the mayor of Havana clear the tournament room because he didn't want anyone to see him resign. 
     In August, Capablanca was back in New York and won the Rice Chess Club Summer Tournament with a perfect 13-0 score. Also in August, Lasker agreed to play Rubinstein for a world championship match to be held in 1914, but it never happened because World War I started. 
     The 1914 Championship of New Zealand was won by previous champion J.C. Grierson of Auckland. According to the tournament book, the overall quality of play wasn't very high and in spite of his success, Grierson's play was disappointing and luck favored him considerably. 

     In Grierson's games Cole "indulged in useless sacrifices", Kelling threw away the game wasting time with his Knights, Barnes was sick and played a feeble game, Dodds blundered a piece on move 15 and Gyles made an "infantile blunder" that allowed mate on the move. 
     For the second year in a row the 24-year-old A.W. Gyles tied for first. He was criticized for being to devoted to opening theory and accepting unproven analysis published by "amateurs." It was suggested that he needed to pay more attention to the works of masters. Edwin Hicks, another promising young player, had good natural ability, but his play was often eccentric and rash. 
     R.J. Barnes was a five-time champion and was making his 25th appearance in the championship! During the tournament he was suffering from neuralgia, pain caused by damaged or irritated nerves. Besides pain, numbness, tingling, or other unpleasant sensations along the path of the nerve may sometimes occur. 
     E.H. Severne demonstrated a more aggressive attitude in this event. Previously he was known for his peaceful inclinations. Fedor Kelling was a dangerous opponent for the unwary, but on this occasion his play was "lamentably and unaccountably feeble," 
     W.E. Mason, four-time champion, was badly out of form. G.F. Dodds was a local dentist and was busy with his practice during the tournament which undoubtedly affected his play. Gordon C. Cole's weak point was his openings; he always played the Zukertort and was overly defensive in his games. 
     C.R. Sainsbury was out of practice. H.L. James was recovering from a medical problem which accounted for his poor showing. It was the opinion of some that T.E. Maunsell was simply not strong enough to compete in this tournament and a couple of his games were "were skittles of the schoolroom." 
     The tournament book was edited and the games annotated by H.L. James and his evaluations were biting. He described his own game against James as being a "miserable apology for a game, vilely played by black." That's harsh, but was it true?
A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "New Zealand Championship, Nelson"] [Site "?"] [Date "1913.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "W.E. Mason"] [Black "H.L. James"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E14"] [Annotator "Various engines"] [PlyCount "59"] {Queen's Indian Defense} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c5 {I am not sure what to call this opening, but the classification assigned to it by Fritz is Q-Indian, Classical Variation.} 4. e3 e6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. b3 b6 9. Bb2 Bb7 10. Rc1 Rc8 11. Na4 {A new move. The books offer 11.dxc5, 11.Qe2 and 11. cxd5} cxd4 12. exd4 dxc4 13. bxc4 {With hanging Ps white aims to attack in the center and on the K-side. Black will try to force a P advance and then blockade them and/or force an isolated P.} Nb4 {James was critical of this because it forces the B to a better square, or so he claimed. Actually, it's the engine's preferred move.} 14. Bb1 Qd7 {Blind blundering according to the tournament book. It's hardly a blunder even though it loses time after white's next move. In reality black's position is quite solid and there is no way for white to immediately capitalize in the loss of time.} 15. Ne5 Qe8 {This looks awkward and so 15...Qd8 seems better, but the position is still equal. White's N is accomplishing nothing on a4 nor is black's on b4 so they both retreat.} 16. Nc3 Nc6 17. Re1 {After this black gets slightly the better of it.} (17. Qd3 {was better because then if} g6 (17... Nxe5 18. dxe5 {white is threatening mate on h7 so black must lose a piece (and the game).}) 18. Qe3 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Bc5 20. Qh3 Nh5 21. Ne4 (21. g4 Nf4 {wins}) 21... Bxe4 22. Bxe4 {with fully equal chances.}) 17... Nxe5 {Another blunder says the tournament book. Unfortunately James has completely misjudged the position! According to Komodo 14, it's the correct move and black is better by almost a Paw,.} 18. dxe5 Qc6 { A crude mate threat, but more than that, black has the makings of a strong K-side attack.} 19. Ne4 Nd7 {With this tame retreat his advantage slips away and now it's white who is better.} (19... Nxe4 {keeps the upper hand.} 20. Bxe4 Qc7 21. Bxb7 Qxb7 {White has no K-side attack, his B is bad and the c-Pawn is weak all of which combine to give him the better game.}) 20. Qg4 {[%mdl 2048] White is on the roll.} Rfd8 {Passive, but there is really nothing that will improve his position. All he can do now is sit tight and react to white's threats.} (20... g6 {renders Nf6 ineffective, but white has...} 21. Nd6 Nc5 ( 21... Bxd6 22. exd6 Qxd6 23. Rcd1 Qc6 (23... Qb4 24. Qd4 e5 25. Qxd7 {wins}) 24. Be4 Qc7 25. Bxb7 Qxb7 26. Qd4 {wins}) 22. Nxc8 Rxc8 {and white is better.}) 21. Nf6+ Bxf6 22. exf6 {The tournament book says (correctly) that black might as well have resigned here.} g6 (22... Qxg2+ 23. Qxg2 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Nxf6 { and black is a piece down.}) 23. Be4 Qc7 24. Bxb7 Qxb7 25. Qg5 Kh8 {To allow .. .Rg8 guarding against mate on g6} 26. Rxe6 {[%mdl 512] A snazzy finish.} Rg8 ( 26... fxe6 27. f7+ e5 28. Bxe5+ Nxe5 29. Qxe5#) 27. Re7 {[%mdl 32]} Rc5 28. Qh6 {White mates in 7 moves at most.} Qc8 29. Rxf7 Nf8 30. Rxh7+ {[%mdl 512] Black resigned. White's play was very precise for the most part, but black's play could scarcely be described as vile.} (30. Rxh7+ Nxh7 31. f7+ Re5 32. Bxe5+ Rg7 33. Qxg7#) 1-0

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Have You Ever Seen A Game Like This?!

     The year 1958 was filled with action. In July President Eisenhower ordered the Marines into Lebanon at the request of that country's president because he feared he would be overthrown. The crisis was resolved without bloodshed and the US military withdrew on October 25, 1958. 
     Probably the most shocking news story of the year was when singer Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year-old 2nd cousin, Myra Gale Brown. They were divorced in December of 1970 and she quickly remarried, but that marriage also ended in divorce. She was married a third time in 1984 and started selling real estate in Georgia. 
     Walt Disney created an uproar in the 1958 movie White Wilderness. The movie's producers purchased scores of lemmings for a scene in which the creatures were pushed and thrown off a cliff while shooting footage that presented it as a natural occurrence. Do Lemmings Really Commit Mass Suicide? See the Britannica article HERE
     Actress Lana Turner’s 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl, saw her mother being beaten by her boyfriend Johnny Stompanato and killed him with a butcher knife. Read more HERE
     In 1958 radio disc jockey Alan Freed, the man who coined the term Rock and Roll, started being questioned about his being paid to promote specific songs on his popular radio and live shows. Ultimately, Freed was arrested in 1960 for accepting $30,000 in bribes; that's about $300,000 today. In 1962 he was given a small fine and a suspended prison sentence, but his career had been ruined and he died a penniless alcoholic in 1965. 
The top song was At The Hop by Danny and The Juniors:


     Now, on to chess. I posted on the Haifa-Tel Aviv, 1958 international tournament a few months back and gave Reshevsky's game against Israeli Master Ari Rosenberg, but here is another Reshevsky game from the same event. 
     This time his victim was Dutch Master Carel van den Berg. IM Carel Benjamin van den Berg (12 February 1924 – 29 June 1971) spent his childhood in Leiden and after WWII obtained a philosophy degree from the University of Groningen. He won Dutch Correspondence Championship in 1943 and won the DaniĆ«l Noteboom memorial tournaments four times: in 1948, 1953, 1954 and 1959. 
     He was also a chess theorist and edited Losbladige Schaakberichten and collaborated with Max Euwe on a couple of books. Reshevsky told of the time he was discussing an opening variation with Euwe who suggested that they consult van den Berg. Euwe told Reshevsky that van den Berg remembered hundreds of games by heart, including the tournaments they were played in. 
     When Reshevsky and van den Berg met in round 12, in order for Reshevky to keep pace with Laszlo Szabo he needed to win. The opening was one of the latest variations of the K-Indian and Reshevsky managed to get a passed Pawn, but it turned out to be a disadvantage and he had to use all of his resources to defend it. 
     The middlegame was played well by van den Berg and Reshevsky stated that he was starting to get worried when on his 27th move he suddenly saw a combination which looked extremely promising. It involved sacrificing his Q for a R and B plus hr gained positional superiority. Because van den Berg was in time trouble Reshevsky went for it and his opponent's resistance quickly collapsed. 
     This game turned out to be very complicated and I found myself running numerous Shootouts to double check the engine's evaluation. For the record, in unclear positions, in the Shootout mode the engine plays against itself until a result is reached.
A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "Haifa/Tel Aviv"] [Site "Haifa/Tel Aviv"] [Date "1958.11.15"] [Round "12"] [White "Samuel Reshevsky"] [Black "Carel van den Berg"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E63"] [Annotator "Stockfush 15"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "1958.??.??"] {King's Indian: Fianchetto: Panno Variation} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. d4 Nc6 {Popular today, at the time this move was one of the newest setups in the K-Indian. The purpose is to prepare ...a6 and ...b5 by exerting pressure against white's c-Pawn.} 7. Nc3 a6 8. h3 {At the time 8. Bf4 (rarely seen today) and 8.b3 (never seen today) were considered good alternatives. Nowadays the text and 8.d5 (which actually gives the best results) are the most popular by far.} Rb8 9. Be3 {While not bad, this looks awkward as he eventually has to move the B again to advance the e-Pawn.} (9. e4 {is the main line and after} b5 10. e5 {play gets interesting.}) 9... b5 10. cxb5 axb5 11. Nd2 Bd7 12. Rc1 {Here Reshevsky was considering 12.Nb3 in order to take the square a5 away from black's N, but rightly decided against it.} ( 12. Nb3 b4 13. Nd5 {much better than Reshevsky's suggested 13.Nb1} Nxd5 14. Bxd5 e5 {with good play.}) 12... Na5 {Also quite good was 12...b4} 13. b4 Nc4 14. Nxc4 bxc4 {This is the position Reshevsky had been aiming for: he has a passed P and has given black doubled Ps. But, as Reshevsky pointed out, these theoretical advantages remain theoretical only because of the following considerations: 1) His passed P cannot be easily advanced and 2) Black's doubled Ps are not a disadvantage in this particular instance because one of them is a passed P far in the enemy's territory.} 15. a3 {Several more modern games have seen white play 15.b5 or 15.Rb1, but there is nothing at all wrong with Reshevsky's move.} c6 {Obviously, intending to support his P on c4 with .. .d5} 16. Qd2 d5 17. Bg5 {With the logical intention of preparing e4.} Re8 { Black also intends to advance his e-Pawn.} (17... Qc8 {This odd looking move was suggest by SashChess. The idea is to gain time attacking the h-Pawn then transfer the Q to the a-file where it puts pressure on white's a-Pawn.} 18. Kh2 Qa6 19. e4 {with equal chances.}) 18. Rfe1 {He could have played 16.e4 immediately.} Ra8 {Pressuring the a-Pawn and at the same time getting out of the pin on his R after ...e5. The immediate ...e5 does not work.} (18... e5 19. dxe5 Rxe5 20. Bf4) 19. a4 Qb6 (19... e5 {is interesting, but not quite satisfactory as after} 20. dxe5 Rxe5 21. Be3 {white is slightly better. An interesting continuation is} Rh5 22. g4 Nxg4 23. hxg4 Bxg4 24. Bf4 Qf6 25. e4 d4 26. e5 dxc3 27. exf6 cxd2 28. Bxd2 Bxf6 29. Rxc4 {White is somewhat better.} ) 20. b5 {Slightly better was 20.Rb1 followed by b4-b5. As a result of the text white is left with a weak a-Pawn.} e6 {Due to some mistakes in his analysis (he was annotating without an engine!) Reshevsky thought 20...cxb5 was bad, but it it's not. Both it and the move played are satisfactory.} (20... cxb5 21. Bxf6 Bxf6 22. Nxd5 Qa5 23. Nxf6+ exf6 24. Qxa5 Rxa5 25. axb5 Bxb5 { with equal chances. In Shootouts all five games were drawn.}) 21. bxc6 (21. e4 {Now was a good time to play this.} cxb5 22. axb5 Nxe4 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. Rb1 Qxd4 25. Qxd4 Bxd4 26. Nxe4 Kg7 27. b6 Bc6 {in this position also five Shootout games were drawn.}) 21... Bxc6 {This is superior than taking with the Q because now the advance of white's e-Pawn is prevented.} (21... Qxc6 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. e4) 22. Rb1 (22. e4 dxe4 23. Bf1 (23. Bxf6 Bxf6 24. Bxe4 Red8 { favors black.}) 23... Red8 24. Bxc4 Rxd4 {Black is slightly better.}) 22... Qa5 23. Rec1 Nd7 {This takes the pressure off the square e4.. A good move was 23... Qa7 attacking the d-Pawn.} 24. Bf4 (24. e4 {was more appropriate.} Nb6 25. Nxd5 Qxd2 (25... exd5 26. Qxa5 Rxa5 27. Rxb6 Bxa4 {is good for white.}) 26. Bxd2 Nxd5 27. exd5 exd5 28. Rb6 Bxa4 29. Bxd5 Rad8 30. Bxc4 Bxd4 {with a likely draw.}) 24... Bf8 {As Reshevsky pointed out, his passed P is not an asset because it is weak and feebly protected. He also observed that if black can get control of the b-file white would be in real trouble. Also, black's pieces are well positioned.} 25. Qb2 {Intending to play B-Q2.} (25. e4 {is still the best move. One plausible sequence is} Ba3 26. Rc2 Bb4 27. Qc1 Bxc3 28. Rxc3 Qxa4 { Black is a P ahead, but his bad B and white's control of the b-file are sufficient compensation. This was confirmed by another Shootout which resulted in five draws.}) 25... Ra7 (25... Bxa4 {leads to complications that seem to favor white.} 26. Ra1 Qb6 27. Qxb6 Nxb6 28. Bc7 Bb3 29. Bxb6 Rxa1 30. Rxa1 Bb4 31. Rc1 Ba3 32. Rb1 Bb4 33. Nd1 Bd2 {and white is better, but by enough to win? Probably not. In five Shootouts white scored one win and one game went over 150 moves. Practically speaking the game is likely a draw/}) 26. Bd2 Rb7 { For nitpickers Reshevsky said 26...Qa6 was correct while Stockfish prefers 26.. .Rb8, but there's only a fraction of a Ps difference in the evaluations.} 27. Qxb7 {This is why Reshevsky believed black should have played 26...Qa6. There is, as he pointed out, very little doubt that van der Berg did not see this sacrifice. Ordinarily, of course, a R and B are not sufficient material for a Q, but in this particular case there are the additional, important considerations. i.e. white's passed P and gaining control of the seventh rank. Technically all things taken into consideration, the position is dead equal, but practically, as we shall see, black's cramped position is difficult to defend.} Bxb7 28. Rxb7 Qd8 (28... Nb6 {is refuted by} 29. Ne4 Qa6 30. Nf6+ Kh8 31. Rxf7 {threatening mate with Rxh7, so...} Re7 32. Rxf8+ Kg7 33. Bh6+ Kxh6 34. Rg8 {with a decisive advantage.}) 29. Rcb1 {[%mdl 1024]} Bg7 {Black's pieces are almost completely out of play, but instead of the text which has the logic of attacking the e-Pawn, 29...Kg7 was actually his best move. At f8 the B keeps on eye on the squares on the a3-f8 diagonal and d6 in particular.} (29... Kg7 30. Nb5 Re7 31. a5 Nb8 {and it will be very difficult for white to make any progress.}) 30. Nb5 {Black's next move is the decisive mistake... possibly a "harmless" move made in time pressure?!} Kh8 {[%mdl 8192]} (30... Nb6 {loses} 31. a5 Nc8 32. a6 h6 33. Ra1 Nd6 34. Ba5 Qa8 35. Nc7) (30... Qe7 31. Bb4 Qd8 32. e4 h5 33. e5 Qc8 34. Rc7 Qa6 35. Rxd7 Qxa4 {With the elimination of the a-Pawn a lot of white's advantage has gone also, but he still has a lot of piece activity and can therefore force black to play carefully.}) (30... Qe7 31. a5 {The advance of this P is a road to extreme complications that are best avoided.} Rb8 32. Nc7 Rxb7 33. Rxb7 Bxd4 34. a6 Qa3 35. Bh6 c3 {with equal chances.} 36. Nb5 Qxa6 37. Rxd7 Bf6 38. Nd6 c2 39. Kh2 Qb6 40. Rxf7 Qxd6 41. Rxf6 g5 42. Bxd5 c1=Q 43. Bxe6+ Kh8 44. Rf8+ Qxf8 45. Bxf8 {An amazing position. In Shootouts going well over 100 moves Black scored 3 wins and 2 draws.}) 31. a5 {[%mdl 32] White's passed P Is now something to be really concerned about.} Nb8 32. Nc7 {Slightly less precise would have been 32.Rxf7} Rf8 33. e3 {Protecting the d-Pawn. White need not be in any hurry because black can't really do anything.} Nc6 34. a6 Nxd4 {Obviously a desperate attempt to get some counterplay, but if black just does nothing, he is going to be strangled slowly but surely.} 35. exd4 Bxd4 36. a7 Qf6 37. Rb8 Qxf2+ 38. Kh2 Bxa7 39. Rxf8+ Kg7 40. Nxe6+ Kf6 41. Rf1 {This is the move that white had in mind when he made his 37th move. Black reigned.} 1-0

Friday, July 1, 2022

Reshevsky Crushes Bisguier

     Writing about the Budapest GM Robert Byrne said, “There are openings that the great players have looked down their noses at…a typical one is the Budapest. Kasparov thought so little of this opening that in his Batsford Chess Openings it appeared under the rubric of Miscellaneous Openings. But I recommend that every young player should give it a try in the course of his development. If you come up with a clear refutation…I’ll be willing to vote you a medal.” 
     The Budapest might be worth a try, but you certainly do not want to play the Fajarowicz Variation as Bisguier did in the following game. Reshevsky refuted it on move 4 (!) when he played a simple move nobody had previously thought about playing. 
     If you are interested in giving the Budapest a try, check out Yasser Seirawan's entertaining video HERE

     The game was played in the first Rosenwald tournament. Julius Rosenwald was a wealthy chess enthusiast who donated money to support American chess. He sponsored the U.S. Championships in the 1950s and was a co-founder of the American Chess Foundation. 
     The first of a series of invitational tournaments sponsored Rosenwald was held in 1954. The goal was to provide young US masters strong competition at home with the long-term aim of improving US performance in international events. 
     In the first Rosenwald in 1954/55 Reuben Fine was invited, but he was out of chess and declined. Robert Byrne was also invited but decided because of his graduate studies. James Sherwin took Byrne's place. 
     The players met each other twice. The first half was held at the Manhattan Chess Club, Hans Kmoch directing. The second half was held at the Marshall Chess Club and was directed by Al Horowitz. 

     Reshevsky jumped out to a comfortable lead in the first half by scoring 4.5-0.5. The featured game given below was significant because it was Reshevsky’s first loss to an American player since 1951. Despite this loss Reshevsky held the lead and won the event easily. Bisguier finished third on the strength of an impressive 4.5 – 0.5 in the second half. 



A game that I liked (Komodo 14)

[Event "1st Rosenwald, New York"] [Site "?"] [Date "1954.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Samuel Reshevsky"] [Black "Arthur Bisguier"] [Result "*"] [ECO "A51"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "1954.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 {At the time this was a favorite of Bisguier's and he had a lot of success with it against lesser competition, but Reshevsky was not one to play it against.} 3. dxe5 Ne4 {The Fajarowicz Variation is a dubious continuation. Best is 3...Ng4, but the best black can hope for is to regain the P.} 4. a3 {White can play other moves here, but there is little incentive to do so because the text, played naturally by Reshevsky, is by far the best. At the time the book line was 4.Qc2 which leads to lines that are not really clear. The text move allows white to avoid the annoying ...Bb4+ and prepares Qc2 to undermine black's N.} Nc6 (4... d6 {is worth considering, but after} 5. Qc2 Nc5 (5... Bf5 6. Nc3 Nxc3 7. Qxf5 Na4 {White stands much better.}) 6. exd6 Bxd6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Nf3 Qf6 9. e4 Bg4 10. Nd5 {White is better as black has no real compensation for his P minus.}) 5. Nf3 d6 (5... Bc5 {is met by} 6. e3 Ng5 (6... O-O 7. Qd5 {is winning.}) 7. b4 Nxf3+ 8. gxf3 Be7 9. Bb2 {with an excellent position.}) 6. Qc2 {This is the refutation of black's setup.} (6. exd6 Bxd6 7. Qc2 Bf5 {and black can claim some compensation for the P.}) 6... Bf5 {This looks better than it is. White still has a huge advantage.} (6... Nc5 7. b4 Nd7 8. exd6 Bxd6 9. c5 {is pretty ugly for black!}) (6... d5 {as suggested by Larry Evans is no better.} 7. e3 Bf5 8. Nc3 g6 9. cxd5 Nxc3 10. Qxc3 Qxd5 11. Bc4 Qd7 12. e6 {wins}) 7. Nc3 Nxf2 {Pure desperation, but it's neither better nor worse than alternatives.} 8. Qxf5 Nxh1 9. e6 fxe6 10. Qxe6+ Qe7 11. Qd5 h6 12. g3 g5 13. Bg2 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Bg7 15. Bh3 Ne5 16. Bd2 g4 17. Bxg4 h5 18. Bf5 c6 19. Qe4 Kd8 20. Ng5 Bf6 21. Ne6+ Kc8 22. O-O-O Kb8 23. Bf4 b6 24. Kb1 {Bisguier, who was unrecognizable in this game, resigned. He made up for it in defeating Reshevsky in their second game in this tournament. It was Reshevsky's only loss and his first loss to an American master since 1951!} *

Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Confession About Capablanca's Games

     In my chess library I have four Capablanca books: Chess Fundamentals and My Chess Career by Capablanca, Capablanca's Hundred Bet Games by Harry Golombek and Capablanca, A Compendium of Games, Notes, Articles, Correspondence, 1lustrations and Other Rare Archival Materials on the Cuban Chess Genius Jose Raul Capablanca, 1888-1942 by Edward Winter. 
     Here's my confession...I have never read them. The reason is that Capa's games never appealed to me; I don't know why. However, of late I have been peeking at the books and today's game feature an in instructive game from the 1916 Rice Gambit tournament that was held in New York City in 1916.
     His opponent was David Janowsky, the guy who is probably best remembered as a punching bag for the greats of his day. That's not fair though because Chessmetrics assigns him a high rating of 2776 in July 1904. On the site's May through September list he was ranked number 1 in the world ahead of such players as Maroczy, Tarrasch, Lasker and Pillsbury. 
     The problem was Janowsky played very quickly and was a gambler both on and off the board. He was a sharp tactician who was devastating with the Bishop pair. 
     Capablanca, himself, said, "...when in form [he] is one of the most feared opponents who can exist". Capablanca noted that Janowsky's greatest weakness was in the endgame, and which Janowsky reportedly claimed to detest. Frank Marshall wrote that Janowsky "could follow the wrong path with greater determination than any man I ever met!" 
     Reuben Fine called him a player of considerable talent, but a "master of the alibi" when it came to his defeats. Fine also noted that Janowsky was sometimes unpopular with his colleagues because of his habit of stubbornly playing on in lost positions. 
     In 1915, Isaac Rice started planning the Rice Jubilee Tournament to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his discovery of the Rice Gambit, but he died on November 2, 1915. 
     Rice planned to invite primarily American masters and leading European players who might be able to compete despite the war. No reply was received from Alekhine and Marshall refused to compete after a dispute over his fee, but Janowsky was able to make it from France. The event consisted of a round robin with the players with the four highest scores playing a final with the preliminary scores carrying over. 


I understand that Capa himself annotated this game in My Chess Career, but I do not have access to his notes. However, Alex Yermolinsky commented on the opening in The Road to Chess Improvement and stated that the game made an impression on him in regards to the Queens opposing each other on b3 and b6.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Chess on IECG

Simon Webb
     The International Email Chess Group was an electronically based organization whose aim was to organize, develop and promote the study and practice of international e-mail or server correspondence chess all over the world. 
     It started in 1995 and ceased operations on December 31, 2010 because e-email play had quickly declined in popularity making it impossible to form tournaments in a reasonable time. 
     There were also other problems with e-mail like viruses and spam filters that made playing by e-mail difficult. It was for that reason that IECG stopped its operations and transferred its activities to Lechenicher SchachServer Server which is run by Dr. Ortwin Paetzold, one of the IECG founders. 
     The last IECG World Champion was IECG Senior Master Sergei Bubir from Ukraine. IECG's first World Champion in 1996 was Simon Webb (June 10, 1949 – March 14, 2005), a British IM and Correspondence GM. He was once ranked seventh in the world in correspondence chess 
     On March 14, 2005, the mild mannered Webb, who was living in Sweden, was stabbed to death in his kitchen. Police said that the attack was carried out by his 25-year-old mentally disturbed son, Dennis. 
     According to teammate Per Soederberg they were playing together in the finals of the Swedish Chess League in Malmo and after the game Webb said goodbye and took a train to Stockholm. Soederberg guessed that Webb must have arrived home at about 1am. And, at about that time he apparently had an argument with his son. 
     Dennis had served four years in prison for drug related offenses and his friends said that, unlike his father's placid demeanor, he had an explosive temperament. Police said that Dennis first shoved his father then grabbed a kitchen knife which he dug into Webb’s stomach. 
     Webb's wife, Anna, heard her husband screaming and came out into the hall to see him lying in a pool of blood having been stabbed repeatedly.   Immediately after the stabbing Dennis grabbed the car keys and stormed out of the house and Mrs. Webb called the police and tried to stop the bleeding. 
     Dennis drove at high speed through the suburb of Kallhaell, a 30-minute drive from the center of Stockholm. According to police Inspector Hans Strindlund's statement Dennis crashed the car at about 80 miles per hour into a bus stop and as a result of the crash he suffered a broken nose. 
     Between 2004 and 2009 I played 41 e-mail games on IECG, scoring +5 -7 =29. There were no rules against the use of engines and the top engines were (I think) Fritz, Junior and Rybka. My first tournament in 2004 was entered at my Correspondence Chess League of America rating which was 2000-something. I was unaware that there wasn't any rules against engine use in IECG tournaments and so my 6th place (out of 7) finish with a +0 -4 =2 score wasn't bad because my draws were with one of the aforementioned engines. 
     Looking over the games today reveals that none of them rates a second look. Consequently, let's take a look at one of Simon Webb's games. 

A game that I liked (Komodo 14)

[Event "IECG World Championship"] [Site "IECG"] [Date "1997.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Webb, Simon"] [Black "Pecha, Martin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2682"] [BlackElo "2327"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "1997.05.??"] [EventType "tourn (corr)"] {Gruenfeld Exchange Variation} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 {This the main line against the Gruenfeld; white sets up an imposing P-center.} Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 {Black will attack the center while white will use it to launch an attack against the King.} 8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 {Black has, in addition to his next move which is by far the most popular, both 9...Nc6 which has not yielded good results and 9...b6 which, while giving better results than developing the N is not so good as the excahnge on d4.} cxd4 10. cxd4 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qxa2 {Keep an eye on black's a- and b-Pawns backed up by the R and supported by the N...they look very dangerous.} 12. O-O {An interesting position. Black is two Ps up, but white has scored very well from this position.} Bg4 (12... Nd7 {This move increases black's winning chances and so is probably his best choice.} 13. Re1 Nb6 14. Ra1 Qb2 15. h3 f5 16. Rb1 Qa2 17. Qc1 {The position is equal and in Anand,V (2769)-Leko,P (2725) Linares 2000 the game was eventually drawn.}) 13. Bg5 {At the cost of a tempo white induces black to weaken his K-side.} h6 {Other moves are worse.} 14. Be3 b6 15. Qd3 { [%mdl 1024]} Rc8 16. h3 Bd7 17. Nd2 Qc2 18. Qa3 {White need to keep the Qs on is he is to have any hope of mustering up an attack.} (18. Qxc2 Rxc2 19. d5 Bd4 20. Bxh6 a5 {is to black's advantage.}) 18... Bxd4 19. Bxh6 {Threatening Rfc1 winning the Q} Qc5 20. Qg3 {[%mdl 2048] Black is now under some pressure on the K-side.} Be5 21. Qh4 Bf6 22. Qg3 Be5 23. Qh4 Bf6 24. Qg3 {Now 24...Be5 is a three fold repetition. White was willing to allow it because if he had tried to avoid it black would have gained the advantage. As it turns out, black should ahve taken the draw!} (24. Qf4 Qe5 25. Qxe5 Bxe5 {and black is better... white's K-side attacking chances have disappeared.}) 24... Qc3 {While this position is judged to be very slightly better for white, black clearly wants to play for the win. Note that after this move black's R and N never get into the game.} (24... Nc6 {was a must if black wants to keep his chances alive. After} 25. Nf3 Nd4 26. Nxd4 Bxd4 {The position offers equal chances.}) 25. Nf3 {Black must now prevent Rfc1.} Qc2 {An inaccuracy that gives white a winning edge.} (25... Nc6 {Getting his N into play is vital.} 26. Be3 Ne5 27. Ng5 b5 { With equal chances; 5 Shootouts were all drawn.}) 26. e5 Qxe2 {This loses quickly.} (26... Bg7 {was his best try although after} 27. Bxg7 Kxg7 28. Rfe1 Nc6 29. Ba6 Rd8 30. e6 fxe6 31. Bb7 Rab8 32. Bxc6 Bxc6 33. Qe5+ Kg8 34. Qxe6+ Kh8 35. Rbc1 {wins easily.}) 27. exf6 exf6 28. Rbd1 Qb5 29. Rd6 Qh5 30. Be3 Be6 31. Nd4 {Prevents Nc6. Black is essentially playing a R and N down.} Re8 32. Nxe6 fxe6 33. Ra1 {Prevents ...Na6} Qf5 34. Ra4 {[%mdl 32]} g5 35. Bxg5 { [%mdl 512] The crusher.} Qg6 36. Rg4 f5 37. Rh4 Qg7 38. Rh6 Rf8 39. Rdxe6 { Black resigned. The two passed Ps on the Q-side aided by the R and N that looked so promising early on never even came close to getting into the game.} 1-0

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Rubezov's Fatal King Walk

     Lou P. Andvere describes himself as a reasonably strong correspondence player (about 2300+ ICCF) who has written several chess engines. As he explained, these days in correspondence chess a good correspondence player using an engine is always stronger than a lone engine, especially in situations with a material imbalance that are difficult to evaluate. He added, "Correspondence players are a bit like race car drivers. They can’t outrun the car, but that’s not the point - the point is how well do you steer it." 
     Be that as it may, correspondence chess was a lot more fun before engines and it produced games like the following one. 

     Nothing is known of the Soviet correspondence player Anatoly Rubezov except that between 1960 and 1963 he he played, and lost, a game in the 1960 USSR Correspondence Championship to Georgy Borisenko (May 25, 1922 - December 3, 2012) that can be found in several books of chess brilliancies. 
     Borisenko was a Soviet correspondence GM and theoretician who trained, among others, Nona Gaprindashvili, his wife Valentina Borisenko, Viktor Korchnoi, Mark Taimanov and Timur Gareyev. He became a Russian Master of Sport in 1950 and a Russian Correspondence GM in 1966. He won the USSR Correspondence Championship twice, in 1957 and 1962, and came in second in 1965. 
     In the following game Borisenko displays fantastic ingenuity as he forces Rubezov's King on a long walk to its doom. The white King started on e1 and from there went on a journey to g1-f2-e1-d2-c3-c4-d5-d6-e5-e6-f5-e4 and ended up on d5 at which point Rubezov resigned. 
     In the game, at move 13, Borisenko made the sacrifice of the exchange that's often seen in the Sicilian (...Rxf3) and a few moves later makes what looks like a mistake, but was actually a carefully laid plan: a whole Rook down he chases white's King all over the board until there was nothing for Rubezov to do but send off a postcard with the dreaded words, "I resign" or some such. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "USSR Correspondence Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "1960.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Anatoly Rubezov"] [Black "Georgy Borisenko"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B89"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "1960.??.??"] {Sicilian: Sozin Attack} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bc4 {This aggressive move, the Sozin Attack, sets up tactical possibilities against f7. Afte black plays ...e6 then white can generate threats against the P on e6 and gain good prospects for a K-side attack with f4-f5.} e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Bb3 (9. Qe2 {is an alternative.} a6 10. Rad1 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 b5 12. Bb3 Bb7 13. a3 Qb8 14. f3 Bc6 15. Qf2 a5 16. Rfe1 b4 17. axb4 axb4 18. Nd5 { Draw agreed. Gomez Garrido,C (2504)-Vera Gonzalez-Quevedo,R (2446) Panama City PAN 2013}) 9... Na5 {At the time this move was considered somewhat suspect because it neglects the center. It was believed that either 9...a6 or 9...Bd7 were better. Stockfish actually prefers the text.} 10. f4 b6 {In annotating this game Graham Burgess was critical of this move, but did not offer an alternative. Sockfish considers the position equal.} (10... e5 {is an equally good alternative.} 11. fxe5 Ng4 12. Qe2 dxe5 13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. Rxf5 Nxe3 15. Qxe3 Qd4 16. Qxd4 exd4 17. Nd5 {White's pieces are better placed, but there does not seem to be any way for him to make substantial headway. Five Shootout games were drawn. Generally black avoided the exchange ...Nxb3 and played an ending with Bs of opposite color and double Rs.}) (10... Nxb3 {Burgess said black should avoid this, but that does not appear to be the case. After} 11. axb3 e5 {Superior to Burgess' 11...b6} 12. Nde2 a5 {the position is equal.}) 11. g4 (11. e5 {is the main alternative.} Ne8 12. Qh5 {and black has two main choices.} Nxb3 {This is probably the safest.} (12... Bb7 {This results in some complicated tactics.} 13. Nxe6 fxe6 14. Bxe6+ Kh8 15. Bf7 Qc8 16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. Bxd5 {with equal chances.}) 13. Nc6 Qc7 14. Nxe7+ Qxe7 15. axb3 Bb7 16. Nb5 a6 17. Nd4 b5 {equals.}) 11... Bb7 12. Qf3 Rc8 13. g5 Rxc3 {This sacrifice of the exchange is quite common in the Dragon Variation, but, as here, it is often seen in other variations as well. The point is that it weakens white's e-Pawn.} (13... Nd7 {is barely playable; it's rather passive and things get tactical.} 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15. Bxe6+ Kh8 16. Qh5 {with the initiative.} d5 17. Rf3 g6 18. Qh6 Bc5 19. Bxc5 Rxc5 20. Rh3 Qe7 21. exd5 Rxf4 22. Qxg6 Qg7 23. Qxg7+ Kxg7 24. Bxd7 Bxd5 {White is better.}) (13... Ne8 {is also too passive and here, too, black ends up on the defensive.} 14. Qh3 Nxb3 15. axb3 a6 16. Rf3 b5 17. Qh5 Rxc3 18. Rh3 {Black has only one good move here.} Bxe4 19. bxc3 Bg6 20. Qf3 Nc7 {Black has beaten back the attack on his K, but white has slightly better chances.}) 14. gxf6 {Excellent! Black has only one reply that does not lose.} ( 14. bxc3 {is a mistake.} Nxe4 15. Qg4 Qc8 16. Rf3 Nxb3 17. axb3 f5 { Padevsky-Botvinnik, Moscow 1956. Black soon won.}) 14... Rxe3 {This is it.} ( 14... Rc7 15. fxe7 Rxe7 16. f5 {Crushing.} Nxb3 (16... e5 17. f6 Rc7 18. Qg4 g6 19. Nf5 Re8 20. Qh4 h5 21. Ne7+ Rexe7 22. fxe7 Qxe7 23. Bxf7+ Kg7 24. Bg5 Qd7 25. Bd8 {and wins}) 17. axb3 exf5 18. Bg5 f6 19. Nxf5 Re5 (19... fxg5 20. Nxe7+ Qxe7 21. Qxf8+ Qxf8 22. Rxf8+ Kxf8 23. Rxa7 Bxe4 24. c4 {with a won ending.}) 20. Rxa7 Qb8 (20... Bxe4 21. Rxg7+ {[%emt 0:00:04] mates in}) 21. Rxb7 Qxb7 22. Bf4 Re6 23. Qg4 Qd7 24. Rd1 g6 25. Bg3 {white will ultimately win this position: 5-0 in Shootouts.}) 15. Qxe3 (15. fxe7 {is a mistake as after} Rxf3 16. exd8=Q Rxf1+ 17. Rxf1 Rxd8 {Black is a good Pawn up.}) 15... Bxf6 16. Rad1 {Also good was 16...c3} Nxb3 (16... Qe7 {This cautious move was played in Jankovec,I (2320)-Smejkal,J (2515) Trinec 1972} 17. c3 g6 18. Nf3 Bg7 19. Qd3 Bh6 20. Ne1 Qe8 21. Nc2 Qc6 {with equal chances.}) 17. axb3 a6 {This allows white some tactical ideas, but Borisenko is relying on the open lines he gets as compensation.} (17... g6 {is slightly more accurate, but the results is no more than a draw.} 18. e5 dxe5 19. Nxe6 Qc8 20. Nxf8 Qxc2 21. Qh3 Bh4 22. Rd3 Qc5+ 23. Qe3 Qc2 {repeating moves,}) 18. e5 dxe5 {Now this is not good as white seizes the initiative. The best defense was 18...Bh4 when white is only slightly better+} 19. Nxe6 Qc8 20. Nxf8 Qc6 21. Kf2 {[%mdl 8192] Here white goes astray. He keeps the advantage after 21.Rd2} (21. Qh3 {is a colossal blunder!} Bh4 (21... Kxf8 22. Rd3 {equals}) 22. Rf3 Qxf3 23. Qxf3 Bxf3 24. Rd3 Bg4 25. Nxh7 exf4 {and black has what should be a winning advantage.}) (21. Rd2 Bh4 {Threatens mate.} (21... Qh1+ 22. Kf2 Bh4+ 23. Ke2 {and the K slips away.}) 22. Rf3 {Forced} Qxf3 23. Qxf3 Bxf3 24. Nd7 exf4 25. Nxb6 {and white is better. }) 21... Qg2+ (21... Bh4+ {is ineffective beause after} 22. Ke2 Qg2+ 23. Kd3 e4+ 24. Kc3 Bf6+ 25. Kb4 Be7+ (25... Qxc2 26. Qxb6) 26. Kc3 {The K has escaped and black has to take the draw.}) (21... Qxc2+ {is also ineffective.} 22. Rd2 Qf5 23. Kg1 exf4 24. Rxf4 Qg5+ 25. Kf1 Kxf8 26. Rdf2 {and black's position is difficult.}) 22. Ke1 Bh4+ 23. Rf2 {This threatens to win with 24.Ne6} Bf3 { Meeting the threat and leaving black with a clearly winning position.} 24. Rd8 {From here on black is forced to find th very best moves in a remarkable King hunt.} (24. Ne6 {is refuted by} Qh1+ 25. Kd2 Qxd1+ 26. Kc3 fxe6) 24... Qg1+ 25. Kd2 Qd1+ $1 (25... e4 {would lose the game after} 26. Re8 Qd1+ 27. Kc3 Bf6+ 28. Kc4 b5+ 29. Kb4 Qd6+ 30. Qc5 Qxc5+ 31. Kxc5 Be7+ 32. Rxe7 Kxf8 33. Ra7 { winning easily.}) 26. Kc3 Qxd8 27. Rxf3 {[%mdl 32]} e4 28. Rh3 Bf6+ 29. Kc4 Qc7+ {Both 29...Kxf8 and 29...Qxf8 would lose almose all of black's advantage.} 30. Kd5 Qb7+ {Again, the most precise.} (30... Kxf8 31. Kxe4 Qxc2+ 32. Kf3 { with equal chances.}) 31. Kd6 Kxf8 32. Rxh7 {[%mdl 4096]} Be7+ 33. Ke5 { [%cal Rh7h8]} f6+ 34. Ke6 Qc6+ 35. Kf5 Qc8+ 36. Kxe4 Qxc2+ 37. Kd5 {The end of the line for white's K! White played quite well, but his play was no match for Borisenko's precision.} Qxh7 {White resigned.} 0-1

Monday, June 27, 2022

A Sidney Bernstein Brilliancy

Senior Master Sidney Bernstein
     In 1959 gas was 25 cents a gallon, a postage stamp cost 4 cents and you could buy T-Bone steaks for $1.09 a pound. Membership in the USCF was $5.00 a year and Chess Life was published twice a month on newsprint paper,. 
     If you wanted to play, let's say, in the New Jersey Amateur (rated under 2200) that was held in April at the Midway Diner in Hammonton, New Jersey, the entry fee was $5,00. Accommodations were available at the Lake Front Motel (today it's the Red Carpet Inn) for $3.00 a night, $2.00 for double occupancy. The prizes..."many trophies." 
Midway Diner

     Most chess books were under $5.00 and Chess Review was selling folding cloth boards for $1.75 to $4.00. An imported German chess clock could be had for $22.00 (plus $2.20 Federal excise tax) and a wooden set with a 3-1/2 inch King cost $35.00; a wood storage box was included. 
     On October 31, 1959, Mikhail Tal won the Candidates Tournament at Bled, Yugoslavia. More importantly, 1959 was the year I started playing postal chess in Class C (Average) with Chess Review. 
     The year 1959 began with 15-year-old Bobby Fischer winning the U.S. Championship with an undefeated +6 -0 =5 and pocketing a $1,000, a little over ten times that amount in today's dollars. 
     Not surprisingly, Fischer was complaining to the tournament organizers before the tournament even started. He said there were "irregularities in procedures" that could unfairly deprive him of the title. His complaint was that the choosing lots to determine who played whom and when was done in private without the players being present. He said the practice was just unfair and threatened to forfeit his games if the pairings were not redrawn in public. 
a querulous Bobby Fischer

  The tournament officials were adamant. One of the directors was Hans Kmoch, who had double-forfeited Eliot Hearst and Edmar Mednis in the 1956 Rosenwald tournament because neither of them had kept an accurate scoresheet. 
     It was agreed that Fischer's protest had some merit, but the officials were not going to redo the pairings because they had already been published and doing so would only serve to antagonize the other participants.
     They also wisely prepared to deal with Fischer's threat by placing a 22-year-old pre-med student named Anthony Saidy on standby. In the end, Fischer played. 
     According to Edmar Mednis the level of play in the championship, when compared to previous championships, was quite high...as evidenced by the fact that Samuel Reshevsky could only manage third place. 
     Sidney Bernstein agreed, adding that the emphasis was positional play, but that also contributed to a "certain lack of color and excitement." He added that the level of play was higher and that with the rising of the level of play the number of blunders was reduced.    
     Arnold Denker considered the level of play "fairly high,'" but he thought it was a shame that the playing conditions were becoming worse. James Sherwin agreed, calling the playing conditions and prizes "quite unfortunate." 
     In the following game Sidney Bernstein did his part to deal with the lack of color and excitement. He opened with the Orangutan and the play was rather boring until Seidman counterattacked and things got real tactical and Bernstein finished off his opponent with a surprising Queen sacrifice. A game that I liked (Komodo 14)
[Event "1959-60 US Champ, New York"] [Site "New York, NY USA"] [Date "1959.12.29"] [Round "?"] [White "Sidney Bernstein"] [Black "Herbert Seidman"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A00"] [Annotator "Stockfish 15"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "1959.12.18"] {Orangutan} 1. b4 {Bernstein played 1.b4 four times in this event, scoring 2. 5-1.5. He claimed that this win over Seidman was worth more than one point! A00:} Nf6 2. Bb2 e6 3. b5 a6 4. a4 axb5 5. axb5 Rxa1 6. Bxa1 d5 (6... c5 7. e3 (7. bxc6 bxc6 8. e3 d5 9. Nf3 Nbd7 10. Be2 Bd6 11. c4 O-O 12. O-O Ba6 13. cxd5 {Draw agreed. Waht could be more boring than that?! Lorenc,T (2102)-Skliba,M (2233) Vsetin CZE 2015}) 7... d5 8. Nf3 Nbd7 9. c4 b6 10. Be2 Bb7 11. O-O { with equality. Tkachiev,V (2575)-Karpov,A (2765) Alma Ata KAZ 1995}) 7. Nf3 Be7 $146 (7... Nbd7 8. e3 Bd6 9. c4 c6 10. bxc6 bxc6 {The draw outcome was hardly surprising in Haralambof,V-Haygarth,M Tel Aviv 1964}) 8. e3 {The position is equal.} Nbd7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Ne8 11. c4 Bf6 12. Nc3 {[%mdl 32]} dxc4 13. Bxc4 Nd6 14. Be2 b6 15. Na2 Bb7 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. Nb4 Ne5 18. Nd4 Qg5 19. g3 Qh6 20. Qc2 Qh3 21. Nbc6 {A good square for the N which is going to play a surprising part in the game in the future. So far the game has not been particularly exciting, but that is about to change.} Kh8 {Getting his K out of reach of the N on c6, but 21...Ra8 was better.} 22. Ra1 (22. f3 {to keep the N off g4 was more accurate.} Nxc6 23. Nxc6 (23. bxc6 Bc8 24. f4 {leaves black badly tied up.} Re8 25. Qa4 f6 {Black wants to play ...e5} 26. Qa7 e5 27. fxe5 fxe5 28. Qxc7 exd4 29. Qxd6 {Threatening mate with Rf8+} Qe6 30. Qxe6 Bxe6 31. exd4 {White wins.}) 23... Qf5 {is equal.}) 22... Ng4 {Counterattack.} 23. Nf3 { A reasonable possibility was 23.Bxg4 eliminating the N.} Qh5 {After this white gets a significant advantage because the Q will be exposed to attack by the B.} (23... e5 {Threatening to drive off the N keeps the chances even and results in an entertaining display of tactical fireworks.} 24. d3 Nxb5 25. d4 e4 26. Bf1 Qh5 27. Nh4 g5 28. h3 Nxe3 29. fxe3 gxh4 30. g4 Qg5 31. Bxb5 Qxb5 32. Ne5 f6 33. Qxc7 fxe5 34. Qe7 Qe8 35. Qxb7 exd4 36. Ra7 Qg6 37. Ra8 Rxa8 38. Qxa8+ Kg7 39. Qb7+ Qf7 40. Qxe4 dxe3 41. Qxe3 Qf6 {with a likely draw.}) 24. Ra4 { This R along with the N on c6 have a bright future.} (24. Nh4 {was a good alternative.} g5 25. Ra4 gxh4 26. Rxg4) 24... Nxh2 {[%mdl 8192] This dangerous looking move loses thanks to a fine tactical display by Bernstein.} (24... Qh3 25. Qd1 Re8 26. Ra7 f6 27. d4 e5 {and white can claim no more than a minimal advantage.}) 25. Nfe5 {The game is over after this amazing move.} (25. Nxh2 { No doubt this is what Seidman was expecting.} Qxe2 26. Nd4 Qe1+ 27. Nf1 e5 28. Nc6 Qe2 29. Nxe5 Qxb5 {with what is likely a winning endgame advantage.}) 25... Qxe2 {The reply to this move must have been shocking.} (25... Qg5 26. Kxh2 { White is a piece up.}) 26. Qxh7+ {[%mdl 512] An abrupt end...it's mate in three.} (26. Kxh2 {loses to} Qxf2+ 27. Kh3 Nf5 28. Rg4 f6 29. Nd7 Rf7) (26. Qxh7+ Kxh7 27. Rh4+ Qh5 28. Rxh5+ Kg8 29. Ne7#) 1-0

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