Check Is In The Mail: November 2021

Greetings!

First things first. We received a suggestion about the two-player matches that entrants can play in. One player suggested we eliminate the 6-game matches and replace those with 4-game matches – the thought being that it might boost participation if we do so. What are your thoughts? If you’re in favor of, or opposed to, such a change please make your voice heard in the Comments section at the end of this month’s article. Thank you!

Next, the results are in for the 2016 Electronic Knights Championship. Congratulations to Tim Corkum who won the event, scoring 37.25 points!

Prizes were based on 200 entries but only 98 were received (14 preliminary sections). As this event was listed in Chess Life, US Chess paid 50% of the advertised prizes as follows:

  • 1st - Tim Corkum (2382), $400.00
  • 2nd - Chris Lewis (2348), $250.00
  • 3rd - John Millett (2376), $150.00
  • 4th - Wilbur Tseng (2418), $50.00
  • 5th - Ferdinand Burmeister (2327), $50.00
  • 6th - Stuart Wittenstein (2044), $50.00
  • 7th - Tim Corkum (2382), $50.00
  • 8th - Andrew Bussom (2203), $50.00
  • 9th - Raymond Mayers (2088), $50.00

And now, on to the games!

In the following game from Walter Muir Quad 21W29 Theodore Vialet triumphs over David Ni from the Black side of a Sicilian Defense. What gets what appears to be a standard setup against Black’s defensive position. However, when White opens the center Black is ready, using the ensuing trades to gain the initiative. In the course of White retreating (maybe unnecessarily?) Black gains the “high ground” and quickly converts with a lethal Nf2+ intending Nd3 to win White’s queen.

[pgn][Event "2021 Walter Muir E-Quad (21W29)"] [White "Ni, David (2100)"] [Black "Vialet, Theodore (1927)"] [Result "0-1"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 Nf6 8.O-O Be7 9.f4 d6 10.Qe1 O-O 11.Qg3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.a3 Bb7 14.Kh1 Bc6 15.Rae1 Rad8 16.e5 dxe5 17.Bxe5 Qd7 18.Rd1 Qc8 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.Rd1 Rxd1+ 21.Bxd1 Qd7 22.Qe1 a5 23.Nb1 Ne4 24.Bf3 Bc5 25.Bc3 Nf2+ 0-1 [/pgn]
In Game 2, Luis Nunez bests David Will in Walter Muir Section 21W33. After the players castle on opposite sides, Luis invades with his queen and both knights to root out the opposing king and deliver an outstanding mate.
[pgn][Event "2021 Walter Muir E-Quad (21W33)"] [White "Nunez, Luis (1547)"] [Black "Will, David (1550)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 Bf5 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 c6 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.O-O h6 9.Bf4 Nh5 10.h3 Nxf4 11.exf4 Qc7 12.Qd2 O-O-O 13.b3 g5 14.a3 gxf4 15.cxd5 Nb8 16.Rfc1 exd5 17.Nb5 Qd7 18.Ne5 Qe6 19.Nxa7+ Kc7 20.Qa5+ Kd6 21.Qb6 Rdg8 22.Nb5# 1-0 [/pgn]
Game 3 comes to us from the pen of Egbert Schroeer, who thought so highly of his opponent Hugh Whelan’s play that he submitted this loss for publication. Check out White’s 63rd move... dastardly.
[pgn][[Event "2021 Electronic Knights (21EN15)"] [White "Whelan, Hugh (2004)"] [Black "Schroeer, Egbert (1933)"] [Result "1-0"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. d3 Bc5 8. Nc3 O-O 9. a4 Na5 10. axb5 axb5 11. Nxe5 Nxb3 12. Rxa8 Bxa8 13. cxb3 b4 14. Na4 Be7 15. Nf3 d6 16. Nd4 g6 17. Nc2 c5 18. f3 Re8 19. d4 Nd7 20. Be3 Bc6 21. Bf2 Qa5 22. Qd2 Bb5 23. Re1 Ra8 24. Ra1 Bc6 25. h4 Bf8 26. g3 Qb5 27. Kg2 Qb7 28. Ne3 f5 29. d5 Bxa4 30. bxa4 fxe4 31. fxe4 Bg7 32. Qe2 Qa6 33. Qxa6 Rxa6 34. Ra2 Ne5 35. a5 h5 36. b3 Nd3 37. Ra4 Bd4 38. Kf3 Nc1 39. Nc4 Nxb3 40. Bxd4 Nxd4+ 41. Kf4 Kf7 42. Ra2 b3 43. Ra1 Nc2 44. Rb1 Nd4 45. Rf1 Kf6 46. g4 Ke7 47. gxh5 Ra8 48. Kg5 gxh5 49. Kxh5 Rh8+ 50. Kg5 Rg8+ 51. Kh6 Rg4 52. h5 Rxe4 53. a6 Nb5 54. Na5 c4 55. Kg5 b2 56. h6 Re5+ 57. Kg6 Re2 58. Nxc4 Rg2+ 59. Kh7 Rc2 60. Re1+ Kf6 61. Rf1+ Kg5 62. Rg1+ Kf6 63. Nxb2 Rxb2 64. Rg6+ Kf7 65. Rg7+ Kf6 66. Kg8 Re2 67. Rf7+ Kg6 68. h7 Re8+ 1-0 [/pgn]
Here is a fine game from Brent Walker who emerged victorious in Walter Muir Quad 20W36. Ria Dawar counters White’s 1.e4 with a Sicilian that Walker turns into a Maroczy Bind then slowly builds up a kingside attack. 20. Ne4 appears to force Black to exchange his b7 bishop. Black builds a fortress to try to lock the center, but White breaks it in a way to generate a passed e-pawn…and emerged a pawn to the good. At that point, White switches gears to transition from the kingside attack to dominating the center and consolidating into a won endgame. However, in the course of the takeover by White, he pushes Black into an error on the 32nd move – winning a piece and bringing the game to an early end.
[pgn][Event "2021 Walter Muir E-Quad (21W36)"] [White "Walker, Brent (1814)"] [Black "Dawar, Ria (1680)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Qc7 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Qe2 d6 8.c4 Be7 9.b3 0-0 10.Bb2 Nbd7 11.Nc3 b6 12.f4 Bb7 13.Kh1 Rfe8 14.Rae1 Rad8 15.Bb1 Bf8 16.Nf3 g6 17.Qf2 Bg7 18.Qh4 Nf8 19.e5 Nh5 20.Ne4 Bxe4 21.Rxe4 d5 22.Rd4 f5 23.Rfd1 Rd7 24.cxd5 Rxd5 25.Rxd5 exd5 26.Nd4 Ne6 27.Nxe6 Rxe6 28.Rxd5 Bf8 29.Qf2 Ng7 30.Qd2 Rc6 31.Rd7 Qb8 32.Qd5+ Re6 33.Rxg7+ Kxg7 34.Qxe6 Qc7 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.e6 Bg7 37.Qxg7 Qxg7 38.Bxg7 Kxg7 39.Bd3 Kf6 40.Bc4 1-0 [/pgn]
Our last game this month comes from Robert Irons who submitted this fully-annotated game that he won against John Badger in Walter Muir Quad 21W22. I won’t provide any commentary here but instead let Robert’s fine analysis speak for itself.
[pgn][Event "2021 Walter Muir E-Quad (21W22)"] [White "Badger, John (1817)"] [Black "Irons, Robert (2039)"] [Result "0-1"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. Bf4 c5 {The London System is a viable opening – ask Magnus Carlsen – but it puts no pressure on the position or the opponent, which allows Black to play independently. It does offer White a playable middlegame in the lines that I have seen. I chose a solid approach promoted by John Cox in Dealing with d4 Deviations that, with best play, leads to a good middlegame for both players.} 4. e3 Be7 {This move involves a subtle threat; if Black plays 5… Nh5 White cannot now respond with 6. Bg5, and thus Black wins the two bishops. For this reason most White players choose to maintain the Bf4 with 5. h3.} 5. c3 Nh5 6. Bg3 Nxg3 7. hxg3 d5 {White is solid in the center and has a half-open h-file to work with. Black has a presence in the center and pressure on White’s center as well as the two bishops; the position is roughly equal.} 8. Bd3 Nd7 {Stadtmueller – Muehlen, Berlin 2011 continued 8… g6 9. Nbd2 c4 10. Bc2 Nc6 11. e4 b5 12. a3 a5 13. Qe2, which worked out better for White. However, Muehlen failed to castle until the kingside was no longer safe. I intended to castle kingside because I was convinced my opponent intended to castle queenside, which would make for opposing attacks. I liked Muehlen’s idea of … g6 to prevent Qh5, but first I wanted to test my opponent’s mettle; would he take the pawn? If not, how would he decline?} 9. Nbd2 {If instead 9. Rxh7 Rxh7 10. Bxh7 g6 when the Bh7 is trapped and threatened with capture next move, thus offering only two pawns for White’s bishop. In the meantime, Black also can attack on the queenside with Qb6, as well as castle queenside if necessary. I prefer Black’s chances.} 9… g6 10. Qe2 O-O 11. O-O-O c4 {The same approach as Muehlen, but my king is protected, so the e4 push is not so scary.} 12. Bb1?! {Better is 12. Bc2, whereupon I intended 12… b5 13. e4 Bf6 followed by Bg7 and eventually Nf8 to defend the king, followed by an attack on the queenside with b7-b5-b4.} 12… b5 13. Ne5?! {This merely permits Black to gain another tempo in his assault on the White king. He would be better off doubling rooks on the h-file: 13. Rh3 b4 14. cxb4 Qb6 15. Rdh1, although 15. … Nf6 holds for the moment, while Black also threatens Ba6 and c4-c3.} 13…Nxe5 14. dxe5 b4 15. Nf3?! {Battening down the hatches may seem like a good idea, but this is a race to attack each other’s kings, and simply defending in this position will not be enough.} 15…bxc3 16. bxc3 Qa5 17. Kd2 Rb8 {All of the sudden Black has threats against both the king and the queen while White’s attack has stalled.} 18. Nd4 Rb2+ 19. Bc2 {Black has broken through to the 2nd rank and can open a new line of attack with 19… f6, but there is more to be had. If the c3-pawn did not exist in this position White would be in check and would be forced to move back to c1. At that point White’s king would be at the mercy of Black’s queen and rook, with the other rook not far behind. The ability to coordinate the heavy pieces in that way is worth the price of a bishop.} 19…Bb4! 20. Ke1 {If instead 20. cxb4 Qxb4+ 21. Kc1 Rxa2 and White is lost due to the threat 22… Ra1+ 23. Bb1 Rxb1+ 24. Kc2 Qb2#.} 20…Bxc3+ 21. Kf1 Qxa2 {The Bc2 is pinned while the Bc3 attacks one of its defenders, leaving the bishop in peril. But beyond the further accumulation of material, there is still the possibility of continuing the attack against White’s king.} 22. Rc1 Bd7 23. Qg4 Rfb8! {There is nothing wrong with 23… Bxd4 winning a piece; I wanted to attack.} 24. Qh4 h5 25. g4 Bxd4 {Now capturing the knight is part of a lateral attack against the king as much as a threat to win even more material. Despite his attack against h5, White is doomed.} 26. gxh5 Rxc2 27. Re1 {Or 27. Rxc2 Rb1+ 28. Ke2 Qxc2+ 29. Kf3 Rxh1 30. Qxh1 Qe4+ when White gets to choose between 31. Kg3 Bxe5+ and 31. Ke2 c3 and 32… Bb5+, both of which end in checkmate.} 27…Qa5! {Threatening 28… Qxe1+ 29. Kxe1 Rb1# and preparing the 28th move.} 28. f4 {No better is 28. Rd1 Rd2 when 29. Qg4 Ba4! wins, or 29. Re1 Ra2! threatening 30… Qxe1+ and 31… Rb1#.} 28…Qd2 {Threatening 29… Qxg2#.} 29. Qg3 Bxe3 0-1 {Black’s threat of 30… Qd3+ 31. Re2 Qxe2# can only be prevented by giving up more material.} [/pgn]
Last but certainly not least, our interim CCD Chris Bird noted that he’s added webpages for the 2021 Golden Knights and 2021 Electronic Knights standings, which will be updated hopefully on a weekly basis. The pages are as follows:

2021 Golden Knights - https://new.uschess.org/correspondence-chess/n2021

2021 Electronic Knights - https://new.uschess.org/correspondence-chess/en2021

Next month, more games. Get set - it’s our miniature marathon!!

See you then!

Larry


Notes from the Office

New Rules! New Correspondence Chess rules came into effect starting October 1. Check out this article for more details.

Recent Event Winners

20W35, Nathan Gan, 4.5-1.5
21W07, Sophie Velea, 6-0
21W10, Dan Grabski, 6-0
21W21, Errol Acosta and Lelan Conti, 4-2
21W22, Johnny Owens, 5.5-0.5
21W29, James Clawson and Hugh Whelan, 4.5-1.5
21W33, Robert Heisler, 6-0

21VP10, Shiven Jha, 5-1
21VP11, Juandris Asin Velazquez, 6-0
21VP15, Raymond Grinsteinner, 6-0

Comments

In reference to the elimination of six-game matches, I think it's a bit harsh to phase them out entirely immediately, instead, I believe that it makes much more sense to introduce four-game matches in addition to the two and six-game matches.

Thanks Mack - great point. Ultimately though I think they’ll still limit it to just two options. There’s a smaller pool of players (at present) that play in the matches, so sometimes it’s hard to make timely pairings already. Splitting the pool into another subset might make it even more difficult.

Larry,

Any chance of creating an opening index of the games that you have posted to this correspondence site?

Joe

Joe - good question, which probably requires a two part answer. One - I’d need to see if US Chess will let me post something like that too the website. Two - maybe the bigger question is whether or not I’d have time to do something like that around work, the holidays, and my struggles to win at least a few of my own CC games. I’ll give it some serious thought.

I personally think that a 4 game match would spark some interest. I know that for me, even though I do not play a lot of opponents, I would probably like to play a match of 2 or 4 games, rather than 2 or 6. That is my opinion.

-scott blackburn

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