Check Is In The Mail: May 2022


I hope this month’s edition finds everyone enjoying the beginning of spring.

Normally, the games I include here don’t reach a long endgame. This Benko Gambit from Golden Knights Semifinal 18Ns02 is an exception. James noted in his email when submitting that he’d only seen this rook, knight, and h-pawn versus rook endgame once before in his (long) career. So I thought I’d include it for the instructional value. Enjoy!

[pgn] [Event "2018 Golden Knights Semifinal (18Ns02)"] [White "Ellis, James R. (2363)"] [Black "Weiner, Bruce (1916)"] [Result "1-0"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bxa6 7. e4 Bxf1 8. Kxf1 d6 9. Nf3 Bg7 10. g3 O-O 11. Kg2 Na6 12. Qe2 Qa5 13. Bg5 Nc7 14. Rhd1 h6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. e5 Bg7 17. Rd2 f5 18. Nh4 Kh7 19. f4 Qa6 20. Re1 dxe5 21. fxe5 Rfd8 22. Nf3 Qxe2+ 23. Rexe2 Ra6 24. h3 Na8 25. b3 Nb6 26. d6 exd6 27. Nb5 Nc8 28. exd6 Nxd6 29. Re7 Rb6 30. Nc7 Rf8 31. Ne6 Rf7 32. Rxf7 Nxf7 33. Nxc5 Nd6 34. Nd4 Ne4 35. Nxe4 fxe4 36. Ne2 h5 37. Rc2 Bh6 38. Rc4 e3 39. Kf3 Rf6+ 40. Ke4 Rf1 41. a4 Ra1 42. Rc5 Re1 43. Rc2 Ra1 44. Rc1 Ra3 45. Rb1 Ra2 46. Kf3 Kg7 47. g4 Kh7 48. gxh5 gxh5 49. Rc1 Ra3 50. Nd4 Ra2 51. Rc7+ Kg6 52. Rc6+ Kh7 53. Nc2 Bg5 54. Rc5 Kg6 55. a5 Be7 56. Rc6+ Kf7 57. a6 Rb2 58. a7 Ra2 59. Rc7 e2 60. Kxe2 Kf6 61. Kd3 Bd6 62. Rc6 Ke7 63. Nd4 Kd7 64. Kc4 Ra1 65. b4 Bxb4 66. Kxb4 Rxa7 67. Rh6 Ra1 68. Rxh5 Ke7 69. Rh6 Kf7 70. h4 Rf1 71. h5 Rg1 72. Ne6 Rh1 73. Ng5+ Kg7 74. Rg6+ Kh8 75. h6 Rf1 76. Re6 Rf8 77. Re7 1-0[/pgn]

In this skirmish, Black sacs a knight early in a speculative attack on White’s king. However, Black is not developed enough to quickly use White’s shattered kingside. So White counters by forcibly evicting Black from the center. White’s pieces swirl around Black’s king, sweeping him toward the center of the board for a mate-in-one.

[pgn][Event "2022 Electronic Knights Preliminary (22EN03)"] [Event "2022 Victor Palciauskas Tournament (22VP01)"] [White "Escobar, Diego (UNR)"] [Black "Morrison, Bill (1098)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.e4 c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Be2 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.d3 Nf6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bd2 Be6 10.h3 h5 11.Nd5 Nd4 12.hxg4 hxg4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4+ 14.Ne3 Bd7 15.Bxg4 e6 16.c3 f5 17.cxd4 e5 18.fxe5 fxg4 19.Nc4 Qh4 20.Nxd6+ Kd8 21.Ba5+ Ke7 22.Rf7+ Ke6 23.Qb3+ 1-0[/pgn]

In Passing

I’ve recently been notified of the passing of several members of our correspondence chess family.

Mr. Lewis Hucks of Tacoma, Washington passed away on March 1, 2020. He carried a CC rating of 1833.

Mr. Charles Greger of Mayer, Arizona passed away on March 6, 2022. He had a CC rating of 2105.

Dr. Rose Marie Stutts of Tuscaloosa, Alabama passed away on February 8, 2022. She carried a CC rating of 1406. Of note, Dr. Stutts was awarded the Hometown Hero by WVUA23, a local TV station, for her work as the director of the Freedom Chess Academy. Dr. Stutts started the charity in 2010 whose purpose was to teach chess to elementary and middle school youth at local schools and YMCA’s. In 2010 she collaborated with the University of Alabama to provide a class to students at the university focusing on learning to teach kids the positive role chess can play in their lives. Ultimately Dr. Stutts aimed to have chess added to the West Alabama public school curriculum.


This sly, strategic game spoke to me as an example of the accumulation and conversion of small advantages. A small slip by White at 11.Re1 allows Black to win a tempo by near-forcing White’s rook back to f1. In doing so, Black cemented his knight onto e4. He quickly parlayed that into a passed c-pawn in a rook and knight endgame. Take a look at the instructive way Patrick continuously repositions the knight with threats, to keep it in position to support the pawn’s advance and never give Black a chance to mount a defense. No fireworks, but clarity and force.

[pgn][Event "2022 Electronic Knights Section (22EN04)"] [White "Alford, Joseph (1827)"] [Black "Walsh, Patrick (1775)"] [Result "0-1"] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Bd3 c5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Nf3 O-O 8.O-O h6 9.h3 Nc6 10.a3 a6 11.Re1 Qc7 12.Ne2 Ne4 13.Rf1 Re8 14.b4 Bb6 15.Bb2 Bf5 16.Ned4 Bg6 17.Nxc6 bxc6 18.Bd4 c5 19.bxc5 Bxc5 20.c3 Bxd4 21.cxd4 Nc3 22.Qd2 Bxd3 23.Qxd3 Qc4 24.Qxc4 dxc4 25.Rfe1 Rxe1 26.Rxe1 Rc8 27.Kf1 Nb5 28.a4 Nc3 29.Ra1 a5 30.Ne5 Nd5 31.g3 c3 32.Ke2 Nb4 33.Rc1 h5 34.Ke3 f6 35.Nd7 Re8+ 36.Kf3 c2 37.Nc5 g5 38.g4 h4 39.Ra1 Nc6 40.Nb3 Rb8 0-1[/pgn]

Closing out the month, the following game does feature some fireworks! As my comments would not do this game justice, I’ll let Mr. Kuspa’s notes speak for themselves.

[pgn] [Event "2020 Golden Knights Semifinal (20Ns01)"] [White "Kuspa, Joe (2001)"] [Black "Woollen, Allen (2018)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 {I prefer and enjoy the 6.Bg5 variation of the Sicilian Najdorf. It always lead to sharp play.} e6 7.f4 Qb6 {The Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf, a favorite of Bobby Fischer’s.} 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Ne4 h6 13.Bh4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0–0 20.Bd6 Rd8 21.g4 {The beginning of a Kingside onslaught.} Nc6 22.g5 hxg5 23.Rg1 f6 24.h4 {a) 24. ...Nde5: a1) 25.hxg5 Nc4 26.Nxf6+ Kf7 27.g6+ Kxf6 28.Qf4+ Qf5 29.Qh4+ Qg5 30.Qxg5# a2) 25.hxg5 f5 26.Nf6+ gxf6 - White to mate a3) 25.hxg5 f5 26.Nf6+ Kf7 27.g6+ Nxg6 28.Qg5 Nce5 29.Bh5 b) 24. ...Nc5 Bxc5 - White is clearly better c) 24. ...Nce5 25.hxg5 Nc4 26.Qh3 Nxd2 27.Qxe6+ - White to mate d) 24....g6 25.hxg5 f5 26.Nf6+ Nxf6 27.gxf6 Rxd6 28.Rxg6+ Kf7 29.Bh5 - White is better e) 24....g4 25.Bxg4 f5 26.Qg5 fxe4 27.Bxe6+ - White to mate f) 24. ...Nf8: f1) 25.hxg5 f5 26.g6? fxe4 27.Qf4 Nxg6 28.Rxg6 e3 29.Qxe3 Rxd6 - Black is clearly winning f2) 25.hxg5 f5 26.Nf6+ Kf7 27.g6+ Nxg6 28.Qg5 Nce5 (or Nce7) 29.Bh5 – White is better. I rejected 24.Nxg5 because: a) 24. ...Nde5 25.Ne4 - Black is slightly better b) 24. ...Nde5 25.Ne4 f5? 26.Qg5 - White is clearly better, i.e., Black would have to make an inferior move with 25. ...f5 c) 24…Nc5 25.Qxc5 Qxc5 26.Bxc5 fxg5 27.Rxg5 - Black is slightly better.} Qb6? 25.Nxf6+! {a) 25. ...gxf6 26.Rxg5+ fxg5 27.Qxg5+ Kf7 28.Bh5# b) 25. ...gxf6 26.Rxg5+ fxg5 27.Qxg5+ Kh8 28.Qh6+ Kg8 29.Qxe6+ Kh8 30.Qh6+ Kg8 31.Bc4# c) 25. ...gxf6 26.Rxg5+ fxg5 27.Qxg5+ Kh7 27.Rh5+ Kg6 28.Qh6+ Kf7 29.Qh7+ Ke8 30.Qh8+ Kf7 31.Rh7+ Kg6 32.Bd3+ f5 33.Qg7# d) 25. ...gxf6 26.Rxg5+ Kf7 27.Bh5# e) 25. ...Kf7 26.Bh5+ g6 27.Bxg6+ - White to mate f) 25. ...Kh8 26.Qxg5 with 27.Qxg7# g) 25. ...Nxf6?? 26.Qxb6} gxf6 26.Rxg5+ {I provided an IF MOVE: 26. ...fxg5 27.Qxg5+ but Black resigned without accepting.} 1-0[/pgn]

Next month, more games!



Recent Event Winners

John W. Collins Class Tournaments
19C15, Brian Flowers, 4-2.5
20C01, Andrew Boho, 6-0

Walter Muir E-Quad
21W41, Mack Pokorny and Kenny Drombosky, 4.5-1.5
22W02, Brandon Vila, 6-0
22W03, Patrick Gordon-Davis, 6-0

Victor Palciauskas
21VP14, Rick Johnson, 5-1.5
21VP16 Yashaswini Ayithi, 4.5-1.5