Check Is In The Mail: October 2022


We welcome Robert Irons as our new editor! Robert writes:

"I am 63 years old and I live in Heyworth, Illinois (south of Chicago, near Bloomington-Normal) with my wife Ruth Ann. I have two children, both adults, one married and the other a graduate student. I am an associate professor of finance and chair of the Finance department at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. In addition to over 20 academic papers, I have published two books, one a finance textbook, and the other a political textbook. I learned chess at age 10, played in about a dozen tournaments back in the 1980s, and have been playing correspondence chess regularly since the 1990s."

From the Illinois Wesleyan University website:

Irons, who holds a doctorate from the Illinois Institute of Technology, has more than two decades of experience teaching undergraduate and MBA students and is published in numerous academic journals, including the Journal of Investing and the Journal of Portfolio Management.

Prior to teaching full time, Irons worked as a financial analyst for such firms as AT&T and United Airlines.

Long Live the King!

Greetings chess friends! Thank you for inviting me into your homes to study a little chess. I look forward to sharing among the best and most instructive correspondence chess games produced during the months ahead.

To honor the crowning of King Charles, this month’s selected games show the results of playing fast and loose with the king. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it usually leads to exciting chess!

"The essential disadvantage of the isolated pawn ... lies not in the pawn itself, but in the square in front of the pawn."
Richard Reti

In Olivo-Perkins, Oswaldo Olivo shows us how an isolated d-pawn can be used to pry open the center in front of an uncastled king. (He also provides another convincing reason not to allow the Rossolimo Variation in my games!) 

[pgn][Event "2022 Victor Palciauskas ICCF Tournament (22VP07)"] [White "Olivo, Oswaldo (1985)"] [Black "Perkins, Kele (2285)"] [Result "1-0"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. O-O Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. c3 a6 7. Bf1 Bg4 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. Nc3 $5 {Olivo is willing to take on the isolated d-pawn rather than advancing the e-pawn to grab space. The two bishops justify his choice.} Nxe4 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Rxe4 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Qd5 {Chopping wood is the classical way to treat the isolani, but here it is not enough. Black needs to castle, but the opportunity never comes.} 14. Bf4 e6 15. Rc1 Rd8 16. Bc7 {According to my database, this is the first new move (Stancl-Ederer, LSS Email 2016 saw 16.Bc4, which ended in a draw), and this is where the trajectory of the game changes.} Rd7 $2 {This reasonable-looking move is the culprit. Stockfish suggests the following line:} (16... f5 17. Re3 (17. Bxd8 $2 fxe4 18. Qc3 Qxd8 $19) 17... Qxf3 18. gxf3 Rxd4 $14) 17. Bc4 Qg5 $2 (17... Nxd4 18. Qe3 Qc5 {holds on a bit longer.}) 18. Bf4 {White will now be able to open the center and get at Black's uncastled king.} Qf5 19. d5 Nd8 20. Rce1 (20. g4 $1 Qg6 21. dxe6 {looks even better.}) 20... Be7 21. dxe6 Nxe6 22. Rxe6 $1 fxe6 23. Bxe6 Qb5 $6 24. Bxd7+ Qxd7 25. Bg5 {The sting at the end of the tail -- after trading all of those pieces White still has a strong attack.} 1-0[/pgn]

"The King is a fighting piece. Use it!"
Wilhelm Steinitz

In Weiner-Walsh, after taking up space on both wings and in the center, Gerald Weiner chooses to walk his king over to the kingside one square at a time, even after Walsh moves to open the h-file. Then after rolling in the cannons, he steps aside until the smoke clears. The king is once again heading into the action when Black admits defeat.

[pgn][Event "2022 Electronic Knights (22EN08)"][White "Weiner, Gerald H. (2233)"] [Black "Walsh, Patrick (1900)"][Result "1-0"]1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. a3 Nh6 7. b4 cxd4 8. cxd4 Nf5 9. Bb2 Bd7 10. g4 Nfe7 11. Nc3 Qd8 12. Bd3 Ng6 13. g5 $5 (13. h4 {looks good.}) 13... Nf4 14. Bf1 Nh5 $6 (14... Ne7) 15. Bc1 g6 16. Bd2 Ng7 17. Bd3 Nf5 18. Ne2 Qb6 $6 (18... h6) 19. Kf1 $1 {The king will be safe on g2.} h6 20. h4 hxg5 21. Bxg5 Be7 22. Kg2 Bxg5 23. hxg5 O-O-O 24. Bxf5 gxf5 25. Qc2 Kb8 26. Qc5 Qxc5 27. dxc5 Rdg8 28. Nf4 Ne7 29. Rag1 Kc7 30. Kf1 $1 {Stepping aside to make room for the big guns!} b6 31. Rh6 bxc5 32. bxc5 Rb8 33. Rgh1 Rb1+ 34. Kg2 Rxh1 35. Kxh1 Rf8 36. Rh4 Kc6 37. Nd3 Ng6 38. Nd4+ Kc7 39. Rh7 Rh8 $6 {While Black's game has been difficult for a while, this seals the deal.} 40. Rxh8 Nxh8 41. Nf4 Ng6 42. Nxg6 fxg6 43. Kg2 Ba4 44. Kf3 {Once more into the breach!} Bd7 45. Ke3 a6 46. c6 1-0[/pgn]

"Castle because you will or because you must; but not because you can."
Harry Nelson Pillsbury

In Walsh-Lazarus, both sides are up for a fight from the start. While David Lazarus castles on move five, Patrick Walsh postpones castling until move 18! Both sides fight for their fair share of the center, and when the battle breaks, the players end up with mobile opposing majorities. After one more quick skirmish, the players called it a draw.

[pgn][Event "2022 Electronic Knights (22EN09)"] [White "Walsh, Patrick (1900)"][Black "Lazarus, David (2109)"][Result "1/2-1/2"] 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. Be2 Nc6 5. d4 (5. O-O {It's now or never! White chooses central activity over safety, and Black proves to be up to the challenge.}) 5... O-O-O {Black's setup is efficient and effective!} 6. Be3 e5 7. c4 Qa5+ 8. Bd2 Bb4 9. d5 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Nd4 11. a3 Bxd2+ 12. Nxd2 Qb6 13. b4 f5 14. Nb3 Nxb3 15. Qxb3 Kb8 16. Bh5 Qh6 17. Be2 Nf6 18. O-O {Finally! Now the play becomes structural, focused on the local pawn majorities. Neither side has an advantage, and the players soon agree to a peace.} Rhe8 19. a4 e4 20. a5 e3 21. f4 Ng4 22. Bxg4 fxg4 23. Rae1 Qf6 24. Re2 h5 25. Qd3 Qd6 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

"We learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources."
Benjamin Franklin

Kele Perkins uses an opening reminiscent of Steinitz’ variation in the King’s Gambit (1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nc3 Qh4+ 4. Ke2) against David Jacobsen, and rather than play solidly, Jacobsen seems to want to refute Perkins’ opening ploy. Instead, Perkins comes out of the opening with an advantage. Black makes one more attempt to mix it up, but his efforts backfire. The final assault leaves Black down material and without counterplay.

[pgn][Event "2022 Walter Muir E-Quad (22W14)"] [White "Perkins, Kele (1538)"] [Black "Jacobson, David (1362)"][Result "1-0"]1. f3 $5 e5 2. Kf2 $6 {I have received two games by Kele Perkins using this opening sequence, and I tip my hat to Kele for standing his ground. It's difficult to see this as anything less than a taunt. Until I see a better name for it, I will refer to this variation as the Nonny Nonny Boo Boo Attack. We will revisit it later in the miniatures column.} Bc5+ 3. e3 Qf6 $6 {A previous game (yes, someone played this before - Mogirzan-Khamdamova, INT 2022) continued 3... d5, which is more to the point.} 4. Nc3 Ne7 $6 {The threatened knight fork must be dealt with. Even 4... Qd8 will work.} 5. Ne4 Qb6 6. Nxc5 Qxc5 7. d4 exd4 8. exd4 Qd6 (8... Qb6 {is worth considering}) 9. Be3 O-O 10. Bc4 Re8 11. Ne2 Nf5 12. Bf4 Qb4 13. Bb3 d6 14. c3 Qb6 15. Re1 c5 $2 {That such a natural counterattack should turn out badly is an indication that Black's game is difficult.} 16. dxc5 $6 (16. Ng3 $1 {challenges Black's most effective pieces.}) 16... Qxc5+ 17. Nd4 Rd8 $6 (17... Rxe1 18. Qxe1 Bd7 {White is only slightly better here, whereas in the game continuation he is in trouble.}) 18. g4 Nxd4 19. Qxd4 Na6 20. Be3 (20. Re7 $1) 20... Bd7 21. Bxf7+ $1 (21. Qf4 $1 {is also good. It's all downhill from here.}) 21... Kh8 22. Rad1 Qxd4 23. Rxd4 Rf8 24. Bb3 Rf6 25. Bg5 Rg6 26. Bf4 Rf8 27. Bxd6 Re8 28. Rxe8+ Bxe8 29. Ba3 h6 30. Rd8 1-0[/pgn]

I look forward to seeing your games and sharing my analysis with you. Feel free to call me on any mistakes you may catch or differing opinions you may have – you can reach me at Stay safe, and good chess!

Robert Irons

2020 Electronic Knights Championship Final

The final section began play September 5, 2022. One hundred and twelve entered the tournament in 16 preliminary sections. Competition continued in five semi-final sections from which emerged the final seven competitors.

Name Preliminary Semi-final Rating
Michael D. Buss (IN) 20EN01 20ENs01 2431
Johnny Owens (KY) 20EN01 20ENs01 2271
Robert Cousins (NH) 20EN11 20ENs02 2264
Gerald Weiner (CT) 20EN13 20ENs05 2229
Brian Wiggin (AL) 20EN12 20ENs03 2087
John Chirillo (IL) 20EN16 20ENs05 2042
Stuart Collins (LA) 20EN07 20ENs04 1800

Recent Event Winners

Walter Muir E-Quad
22W01, Steven Johnson, 4-2

Trophy Quads
20T07, Scott Rubin, 4-2
20T07, Allen Woollen, 4-2