Check Is In The Mail: August 2022


This is Larry’s last The Check is in the Mail. He has ably carried the good work of former editor Alex Dunne forward. As Larry writes “ a point where there are a lot of things I want to do with my life (including getting better at this crazy game we share!) and I'm not maximizing my time to do those things if I'm ‘doing other stuff,’ albeit stuff I also like.”

We wish Larry all the best as he moves onward.

If there is someone interested in compiling, editing, and preparing The Check is in the Mail, send us an email - Please include a short narrative of your qualifications.


After reporting on the 2015 Golden Knights Championship won by Gary Adams in our June issue, I recently received a few games from that tourney from Mr. Adams and Mr. Abe Wilson, another former GK champion. So, this month I thought I’d center the article on some interesting games from that event, along with some notes from the champion.

From Gary’s notes: “My first game is from the preliminaries. It is between (John) Menke and myself. I dreaded drawing this guy in the first round. I had seen articles of him clobbering Michael Buss in Chess Life. I mentioned to one of the guys in the section that it was like putting a large muskie into a small pond. It just eats everything in the pond! He had lost only one game in 2003. This is another of his masterpieces only this time it is me on the receiving end. (Editor’s note: From the April 2019 The Check is in the Mail - Correspondence chess lost one of its great ones in March of this year with the death of John Menke of Mt. Vernon, Illinois. John had an amazing record, losing only a single game in 167 US Chess contests. He was the 2004 and 2005 CCLA Champion, the 2003 Golden Knights Champion, first in the 2004 Electronic Knights, third in 2005, and second in 2006. In the Absolute Championships he finished first in 2011 and 2012 and tied for second in 2013. Along the way in 2010 he picked up his ICCM title.)

I was very lucky to end up with 4 points in the preliminary. However, I still got placed in the semifinals, most likely to fill out a section. I made up for my weak showing in the prelims with winning all 6 games in the semifinals. (In) the finals section I got 4 wins and 2 draws, enough to win the tournament.”

[pgn][Event "2015 Golden Knights Section (15N10)"] [White "Menke, John (2490)"] [Black "Adams, Gary (2409)"] [Result "1-0"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 {Here I am only looking for a draw as Menke has not lost a game in many years, mostly wins with some draws.} 3. d4 d6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 c6 8. a4 a5 9. h3 h6 10. Be3 Re8 11. Qe2 exd4!? {Maybe not the best} 12. Bxd4 Bf8 13. Bb3 Nb8 {White is making good solid moves. With this move Black is trying to get the knight to a better square.} 14. Rad1 Be6 15. Nd2 Bxb3 16. Nxb3 Na6 17. f3 {White's position has no holes. It is very solid.} Nb4 18. Qf2 Nd7 19. Be3 Qe7 20. Re2 Ne5 21. f4 $1 {Gaining a tempo with this pawn move} Nc4 {An interesting artistic sight of all 4 knights together.} 22. Bc1 {All of White's pawns are protected.} Qc7 23. Nd4 Nb6 {Anticipating the pawn push} 24. f5 {Gaining more space.} Be7 25. Nf3 Nd7 26. Bf4 Kh7 {All it takes is one mistake in a correspondence game and it is lights out} 27. g4 {The pawn hoards are coming} Ne5 28. Kh1 Kg8 29. g5 $3 {I could see no way out of this mess. I resigned.} 1-0[/pgn]


Even a Golden Knights champion can get run over in the right (or wrong) circumstances. Regarding game 2 Adams writes: “The second game from this section is from the finals with (David) Porter. It was a very even game until a blunder at the end. It shows that in correspondence chess all that is required to lose is one weak move.”

[pgn][Event "2015 Golden Knights Final (15Nf02)"] [White "Porter, David (2241)"][Black "Adams, Gary (2409)"][Result "0-1"]1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. Qb3 b5 9. Be2 c5 10. dxc5 Bb7 11. e5 Nfd7 12. Be3 e6 13. a4 Qa5 14. O-O b4 15. Na2 Nc6 16. Rfd1 Ndxe5 17. Nxe5 Bxe5 18. Bf3 Rab8 19. Rd7 Ba8 20. Rad1 Bf6 21. Bf4 Qxc5 22. Bd6 {What a good place for the white bishop. It is forking all three of Black's major pieces} Qg5 23. Bxb8 Rxb8 24. Be4 Qh4 25. Re1 Ne5 26. g3 Qg4 27. Qd1 h5 28. Qxg4 hxg4 29. Rc7 {The intention of this move is to somehow go after the b-pawn. Analysis shows that the pawn is a bridge too far and can come under attack.} Nf3+ 30. Bxf3 Bxf3 31. Rec1 Kg7 32. Rc8 Rb7 33. b3 Bd4 {It seems as though this bishop is the monster of the board. It looks at 11 squares.} 34. R8c7 Rb6 35. R7c4 Bb2 36. a5 Rb5 37. Rc5 Rb7 38. Rb1 Ba3 39. Re1 Kf6 40. Kf1 Ke7 41. Nc1 Rd7 42. Ne2 Rd3 43. Rc7+ Kf6 44. Nc1 {This move may lose the game for White. Sometimes all it takes in a correspondence game is one bad move.} Rc3 {White resigns.} 0-1[/pgn]


Although game 3 was not played by the champion, the game had a big impact on the final standings as Mr. Millett finished third (and fourth!) by a small margin. Mr. Wilson holding Millett to a draw, along with other results, were key to Adams edging him out for the championship.

[pgn][Event "2015 Golden Knights Final (15Nf02)"] [White "Wilson, Abe (2169)"] [Black "Millett, John (2381)"] [Result "1/2-1/2"]1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 c5 7.c4 Nbc6 8.dxc5 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Ng6 10.Be3 Be7 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Be2 Qb8 13.Nd2 Rd8 14.f4 Nd4 15.Nce4 Bxe4 16.Nxe4 Nf3+ 17.Bxf3 Rxd1 18.Raxd1 Nh4 19.Rd7 Nxf3+ 20.Rxf3 Qe8 21.Rxb7 Qc6 22.Rb4 f6 23.exf6 gxf6 24.f5 Rd8 25.fxe6 Qxe6 26.Nc3 Kf7 27.Re4 Qc6 28.Rc4 Bd6 29.Bd4 Be7 30.Bf2 Rd2 31.b3 Rc2 32.Be3 Ke6 33.Rf2 Rxf2 34.Kxf2 a6 35.Ne4 Bd8 36.Bf4 f5 37.Nd2 Be7 38.Ke1 Kf6 39.Be3 Bd8 40.Kf2 Bc7 41.Nf3 Ke7 42.g3 Kd8 43.Rb4 Kc8 44.Ra4 a5 {Draw accepted.}1/2-1/2[/pgn]


For the finale, I’ll dispense with my comments and leave the notes to Mr. Adams: “The last game is what I call the $400 game. This was probably the last game in the finals to get completed in the tournament. Wilson and I were pushing up against the time deadline for tournament closeout even with a COVID time extension. I was very surprised to get the last card in the mail indicating resignation.”

[pgn][Event "2015 Golden Knights Final (15Nf02)"][White "Adams, Gary (2409)"][Black "Wilson, Abe (2169)"][Result "1-0"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Be2 Qc7 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Qxe4 e5 14. Qd3 exd4 15. Qxd4 Be7 16. Qf4 Qxf4 17. exf4 Bf6 18. Nd4 Bb7 19. Be3 Nb6 20. Rac1 Nd5 21. Bf3 Rac8 22. Rd2 Rfd8 23. Bg4 Rc7 24. Nb3 Bc8 25. h3 Nxe3 26. Rxd8+ Bxd8 27. fxe3 f5 28. Bf3 g5 29. Nc5 Bf6 30. Rc2 Be7 31. g3 h6 32. b4 Kf7 33. Kf2 Kg7 34. a3 Bf6 35. Ke2 Kf7 36. Kd3 Kg6 37. a4 Bd8 38. a5 Be7 39. e4 gxf4 40. gxf4 fxe4+ 41. Bxe4+ Kf7 42. Ke3 Bf6 43. Nd3 Ke7 44. f5 Bg5+ 45. Kf3 Bf6 46. Rg2 Bg5 47. h4 Bxh4 48. Rg7+ Kd8 49. Rg6 Ke7 50. Ne5 Bd7 51. Rxh6 Bf6 52. Rh7+ Kd8 53. Kf4 Be8 54. Rh6 Ke7 55. Rh3 Bg7 56. Ng4 Bb2 57. f6+ {This should play out to a draw If he captures the pawn.} Bxf6 58. Rh7+ Bf7 59. Nxf6 Kxf6 60. Rh6+ {Black resigns. Amazingly Black can still draw from this position. 60...Ke7 61.Rxc6 Rxc6 62.Bxc6 Kd6 63.Bb7 Be8 64.Bxa6 Bc6 65.Ke3 Kd5. And the white king cannot penetrate the black position. This win put me in clear first place of this tournament for a $484 prize.}1-0[/pgn]


In Passing:

A few more members of our correspondence chess family have passed.

US Chess was recently informed that Jeffrey Dahl of Saint Cloud, Minnesota passed away on October 13, 2016. He carried a correspondence rating of 2084.

John Phythyon Sr. of Kennebunk, Maine passed away on February 11, 2022. Mr. Phythyon was no longer an active player but carried a 2054 rating.

David Moody (CC rating of 1458) of Dearborn, Michigan passed away on June 24, 2022. David was a member of the Michigan Chess Hall of Fame and the longtime editor of the Michigan Chess Association’s magazine in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

2019 Electronic Knights Finals

The 2019 Electronic Knights tournament has concluded. The winner is Michael Buss of Indianapolis, Indiana. This is Buss’ first Electronic Knights championship. Seventy-eight players entered competition which consisted of 11 preliminary sections, followed by three semi-final sections, and one finals section.

Place Player Weighted Score Prize
1 Michael Buss 35.60 $400
2 Timothy Harris 32.40 $250
3 John Walton 31.80 $150
4 Tim Corkum 26.05 $50
5 Johnny Owens 25.50 $50
6 John Richardson 23.35 $50
7 Gerald Weimer 22.80 $50
8 Johnny Owens 16.00 $50
9 Michael Buss 15.40 $50
10 Vernon Young 13.70 $50

News From the Front Office

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John W. Collins
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Victor Palciauskas
21VP05, Jeffrey Reger, 6-0