GMs Xiong and Li Win “Support our Heroes” Fundraiser

On Friday May 1st, Chess In Action, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, hosted a charity blitz fundraiser tournament called “Support Our Heroes” on The objective of the event was to rally support for the thousands of doctors, nurses, emergency responders, aides, transport specialists, and other first responders who risk their lives every day fighting COVID-19.

Before the onset of the pandemic, Chess In Action had focused on offering accessible chess support and training for children in the Greater Houston area.

Given the urgency of the crisis, brothers and co-founders Jason Wang and IM Justin Wang sought to encourage the chess community to provide an impactful response by supporting our health care workers.

Consistent with this purpose, Chess In Action carefully selected two organizations that benefit from this event — NYC Mayor’s Emergency Fund “Food For Heroes” program that delivers hot meals to medical workers, and the Sino Professional Association that delivers PPEs to hospitals nationwide.

The event was enthusiastically supported by the chess community. Altogether, 76 players participated in the Open section, which was topped by GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Ruifeng Li at 8/9 (Xiong won on tiebreaker). FM Josiah Stearman finished close behind with 7/9. In addition, 38 players participated in the U1500 section.

Here is one fun game from the event I played against IM Annie Wang.

Live commentary for the Open section featured US Women’s Champion WGM Jennifer Yu and IM Andrew Hong. For the U1500 section, live commentary was provided by CM Michael Zheng, NM Arthur Xu, and Donald Johnson. You can replay the stream at and respectively.

The event raised over $2500, contributed by 83 donors from 22 different states. A warm thank you to all our participants and donors! This would not have been possible without the support of our chess community.


  1. I know almost nothing about the opening, but found that it had certain interesting moments and transpositions. It began as a Reti and became an English. Firstly, 5.b3 is very playable yet only the 4th most common move with less than 8 hundred recorded games according to Chess Base. Funnily enough, on 6.Bb2 the game transposes from ECO code A07 to A06. 6…b6 is playable whereas 6…c5 is most common (first played in Konstantinopolsky-Rauzer, Kiev 1931). On 6…b6, 7.e3 is actually quite rare. Almost universal is the immediate 7.c4 heading into an English (I guess c4 is indispensable to white’s setup, whereas committing with the center pawns can wait a bit longer).

    The position after 8.Qe2 c5 is virtually unknown, yet 9.c4 transposes directly to ECO code A14. The black decision of when/where to develop the knight is hardly trivial but indeed, 9…Nc6 is the top choice, when suddenly the number of games in Chess Base rises to like 11 hundred. Then on your mentioned 10.Rd1 black also has the move 10…Rc8 as played in Korchnoi-Spassky, Kiev candidates 1968. Or, 10…Qc7 (a key game being Vaganian-Karpov, 1971, which white won). Whereas of course taking on c4 followed by 11…Qc7 is also fine (a key classic being Tal-Petrosian, Riga 1975, shortly drawn by agreement).

    9…Nbd7 was first played in the classic Smyslov-Gipslis, Moscow 1967 (in which, white played 10.Rd1). On 10.Nc3 the main move is 10…Rc8, as first played in Polugaevsky-Bronstein, Tallinn 1965 (another important classic). On 10.Nc3 Qc7, 11.Rac1 is indeed most usual. An unusual move 11.Nh4 was tried in Kobalia-Shomoev, RUS 2014 followed by the 28 hundreds battle Caruana-Anand, Shamkir 2015 (both drawn).

    The game position after 13.Rfd1 Qb8 was reached 34 times in Chess Base, including twice as white by Ulf Andersson in the early 1970s and once by Awonder Liang in 2017. Your “necessary move” 14.Nb1 is an interesting novelty. It’s amazing, how out of 34 games including a bunch of strong ones, it’s a novelty.

    Agreed, regarding the later bishop moves along with your 25.Ng3 followed by 26.Nh5 being incorrect. Yes, it appears black more or less took over, after like move thirty. On the very last move, a bit “more accurate” was queen takes knight on f3 with check followed by 59…c1=Q mate. Or perhaps even better, followed by promoting to a bishop, so as to have two bishops of the same color and slightly prolong the game 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your thorough analysis! I think it is very useful to me and all the readers.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thorough analysis! I think it is very useful to me and all the readers.

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