Check is in the Mail: Once More Unto the Breach!

With a nod to the Bard, we will once again look at games that involve attacks against the king. In response to last month’s column, I was sent our first game, with notes, by the winner. Patrick Walsh, also known as Konchog, describes himself as, “a deaf-blind chess player whose first tournament was the 1972 Texas Open – the tournament where Ken Smith introduced the Smith-Morra Gambit, and the tournament that also produced one of the finest endgames ever played, a masterpiece by Botvinnik against Reshevsky. I also just happened to have celebrated the 25th anniversary of my ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk.”* I have crossed swords with Konchog, and his chess is not peaceful or serene.



* Editor's note: While a large International tournament did take place in Texas (San Antonio) in 1972, neither Botvinnik nor Reshevsky competed there, and there is no record of any other meeting between the two during that year. There is anecdotal evidence that Botvinnik retired in 1970 (my database has no competitive games after 1970). Ken Smith was there, and he did play his gambit there, but that apparently was the International debut of the gambit, as Ken had essayed it in local tournament many times prior.

In our second game, Richard Ralls goes after Benjamin Hoback’s Stonewall formation right from the start. Once the center is settled, he switches his attention to the kingside. Black lets up his guard for just one move, and White blows the kingside wide open. It only takes six more moves for Black to resign.



If you read my column with any regularity, you know that I am not a fan of “system” openings – shortcuts to theory – and so I revel when I see one taken down. Yes, I am that petty. Our third game, Rowe – Baerg, sees the London System suffer defeat after White overplays his hand. After a somewhat unsteady opening, Chandra Baerg shows patience and decent technique, missing only one small tactic, and forcing checkmate in the ending.



In our fourth game, Scott Beaver plays to occupy the center while Zachary Bazan attacks from the flank, but otherwise limits his control to pieces. Black falls for what appears to be a small material gain, but White quickly rebounds with a kingside assault. Black commits an error under fire, and the end comes mercifully quick.



In our fifth and final game for this month, Benjamin Hoback shows solid technique in starting the middlegame with a queenside pawn majority yet finishing off his opponent with a kingside attack. Impressive play!



My next column on the elements of chess analysis will not be ready for another month or two, as I am currently completing a book that will be published in late 2023 or early 2024, which I will discuss in a later column. The next element to be discussed will be “time,” or a lead in development. If anyone has a relatively recent game that shows the impact of a lead in development, please send it to me, with or without notes, at Click here to show email address.

Good skill in your games!


News From the Front Office

2016 Golden Knights Final Standings

The 2016 Golden Knights tournament has concluded. Congratulations to our winner Rick Johnson of Fremont, California. This is Johnson’s first Golden Knights championship. 119 players entered the competition which consisted of 17 preliminary sections, followed by six semifinal sections, culminating in two final sections.



Overall Weighted Score



Rick Johnson




Ferdinand Burmeister




Gary Adams




Ferdinand Burmeister




Michael Buss




James Ellis




Abe Wilson




Bradley Rogers




Paul Ott




Michael O’Keefe





2022 46th Annual Absolute Championship

The tournament concluded on July 8, 2023, having started March 1, 2022. As previously reported, Tim Corkum of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and John Walton of Pullman, Washington scored 7½/12. They split the point in their game, and each boasted three wins and zero losses. Corkum wins his first Absolute Championship on tie-breaks

The completed cross table can be found here.Cross Table (


“In Passing”

Former CC players Richard E. Patchett of Duarte, California, Roy Greenburg of Fort Lee, New Jersey, Ivan Kaplan of Sinai, New York, and Ed P. Hernandez of Placentia, California have recently passed away.


Postage Rate Increase

On July 9, 2023, USPS increased the first-class postage rate to $.66 for letters and $.51 for postcards.


Recent Event Winners

Walter Muir E-Quad

22W24, Kevin Buswell & Josh Pruett 4½–1½

23W02, Robert Angres 4 ½–1½  


Victor Palciauskas

23VP01, Donald Tirrell 5–1

23VP04, Fernando Puerto Mendoza 5½–½

23VP05, Timothy Oltman & Patrick Walsh 5½–½


John W. Collins Memorial

21C10, Louis Biasotti 6–0