Check Is In The Mail: September 2021


I hope everyone is having a great summer – as great as you can anyway amid these trying times. Here’s hoping each of you and yours are doing well.

In addition to the outstanding games I’ve also added in some quotes I found, or in some cases re-found, earlier this month. I hope you enjoy them.

Before we get on to the fun stuff, I have some sad news to report. Mr. Ed Addis, long-time postal player and chess coach, passed away on August 20th, 2021. I’ll write more about him next month after I have a chance to do a little research on his long and storied correspondence career. If anyone has a game of his they’d like to contribute, please email me or Chris Bird. Rest in peace, my friend.

Of chess, it has been said that life is not long enough for it, but that is the fault of life, not chess.
- William Napier (also attributed to Irving Chernev)

Off we go!

In our first game Mike Mahony scores a partial upset by holding the 2100-rated David Ni to a draw from the Black side of a Four Knights Defense in the 2021 Electronic Knights preliminaries. Black plays a nice strategic game to hold the balance. In fact, after move 32 it looks like Black has the edge and it is White who sets up enough barriers and counterplay to make it hard for Black to break through.

[pgn][Event "2021 Electronic Knights Section (21EN11)"] [White "David Ni (2100)"] [Black "Mike Mahony (1670"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Ba4 c6 6. d3 Bc5 7. Nxe5 d5 8. exd5 O-O 9. O-O Nxd5 10. Ne4 Bb6 11. c3 Ne6 12. d4 Bc7 13. Bc2 f6 14. Nf3 Ndf4 15. Bb3 Kh8 16. Bxf4 Nxf4 17. Nfd2 b6 18. Qf3 Bb7 19. Ng3 Rb8 20. Qg4 c5 21. Nh5 Nxh5 22. Qxh5 cxd4 23. cxd4 Qxd4 24. Nf3 Qf4 25. Bc2 h6 26. Qh4 Bxf3 27. Qxf4 Bxf4 28. gxf3 Be5 29. Rab1 Rfd8 30. Bg6 Rd2 31. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 32. Rxd1 Bxb2 33. Rd7 a5 34. a4 Kg8 35. h4 h5 36. f4 f5 37. Bxh5 Bf6 38. Bf7+ Kh8 39. h5 Kh7 40. Bg6+ Kh6 41. Rc7 Rf8 42. Rb7 Bd4 43. Kg2 Bc5 44. Kf3 Bd4 45. Kg3 Bc5 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

That’s what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.
- GM Bobby Fischer

For our second game I’ve included this effort from the 2020 US Chess Absolute Championship. This victory by CCM Mark Stephenson over SIM Kristo Miettinen put Stephenson in the lead at +2 with his schedule completed and, at the time I received this game, only two games in the section still in progress. Here, Stephenson is prevailing in a bishop and knight (plus passed pawns) vs. two rooks endgame when Miettinen slips up to drop a rook.

[pgn][Event "2020 US Chess Absolute Championship"] [White "Stephenson, Mark (2322)"] [Black "Miettinen, Kristo S. (2421)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.O-O-O O-O 9.h4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Bd7 11.Kb1 a6 12.f3 Bc6 13.Qd2 Rc8 14.Bd3 b5 15.Ne2 Nd7 16.Nd4 Ne5 17.g4 Bb7 18.Qh2 h6 19.Be2 Re8 20.Bxe7 Qxe7 21.Rhe1 Ng6 22.h5 Nf8 23.Bd3 e5 24.Nf5 Qc7 25.c3 Ne6 26.Bc2 Rcd8 27.Bb3 Ng5 28.Rd3 Rd7 29.Red1 Red8 30.Qh1 a5 31.Bd5 Ba6 32.Rc1 Kh7 33.Qf1 a4 34.a3 Qb6 35.Qd1 b4 36.axb4 Bxd3+ 37.Qxd3 Ne6 38.Ka2 Nf4 39.Qd2 Rb8 40.Ne3 Rc8 41.Ka3 Ne6 42.Rd1 Kh8 43.g5 Nxg5 44.Nf5 Kh7 45.Qe1 Qc7 46.Qg3 Rb8 47.Ne3 Rf8 48.Qg4 Rdd8 49.f4 exf4 50.Qxf4 Rfe8 51.Nf5 Re5 52.Qg3 Ne6 53.Rg1 Ng5 54.Qd3 Qa7 55.Rg4 Qd7 56.Rg3 Rde8 57.c4 Qc7 58.Qd2 Rg8 59.Rg2 Rf8 60.Rg1 Rb8 61.Rg4 Kh8 62.Rxg5 hxg5 63.Qxg5 f6 64.Qg3 Qa7 65.Nxd6 Rxh5 66.b5 Qc5+ 67.Kxa4 Kh7 68.Nf5 Qa7+ 69.Kb4 Rd8 70.Qe3 Qd7 71.Qc5 g6 72.Qe7+ Qxe7+ 73.Nxe7 Re8 74.Nc6 Rh2 75.b3 g5 76.Nd4 Kg6 77.c5 g4 78.b6 Re2 79.Nxe2 1-0 [/pgn]

Excellence at chess is the mark of a scheming mind.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In our third game, Christopher Ward scores a big win as Black in 21EN09. In fact, his victory in this Grunfeld Defense secures the then-1601 rated Ward entry into the 2021 Electronic Knights semifinals. In the game, Chris swipes a pawn in the transfer from the opening to the middlegame and then deftly sidesteps complications, grinding the position own to a winning endgame.

[pgn][Event "2021 Electronic Knights (21EN09)"] [White "Houck, Austin (1649)"] [Black "Ward, Christopher (1601)"] [Result "0-1"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 O-O 8.Be2 c5 9.O-O Nc6 10.Rb1 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Bxd4 13.Bg5 b6 14.Qa4 Qd6 15.Rbd1 e5 16.Be3 Bd7 17.Qb3 Be6 18.Qa4 Rfd8 19.Rd2 Qd7 20.Bb5 Qe7 21.Bxd4 Rxd4 22.Rxd4 exd4 23.Qxd4 Bxa2 24.Qa4 Be6 25.Qa6 Rc8 26.Qa4 a5 27.Rd1 Qg5 28.Be2 Rc1 29.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 30.Bf1 Qc3 0-1 [/pgn]

The boy (then a 12 year old Anatoly Karpov) doesn’t have a clue about Chess, and there’s no future at all for him in this profession.
- GM Mikhail Botvinnik

In our fourth game, this one from the 2018 Golden Knights Semifinals, Adams steers Biasotti toward falling behind in development. Then Gary proceeds to turn the screws showing, in his words, “that not castling can be a lethal decision.”

[pgn][Event "2018 Golden Knights Semifinal (18Ns04)"] [White "Biasotti, Louis (1865)"] [Black "Adams, Gary (2396)"] [Result "0-1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 4. f3 Qa5+ 5. c3 Nf6 6. d5 Qb6 7. Bc1 e6 8. e4 d6 9. c4 g6 10. Ne2 Bg7 11. Nec3 O-O 12. Be2 Ne8 13. g4! f5! 14. g5?! fxe4 15. fxe4 Qd8 16. h4 Nc7 17. Be3 exd5 18. cxd5 b5 19. Nd2 b4 20. Na4 Qe8 21. Qb3 Bd7 22. Nxc5 dxc5 23. Bxc5 Rf7 24. Bxb4? Nba6 25. Bc4? Ba4 26. Qa3 Nxb4 27. Qxb4 Rb8 28. Qa5 Qe5 29. Ke2 Rxb2 0-1 [/pgn]
And now for some “bonus games”:

Here Matthew Nohr wins from the white side of a Caro-Kan to start +3=2=0 so far in his first US Chess correspondence tournament, 2021 Electronic Knights section 21EN11. Matt introduces a couple nice tactics at moves 20 and 24 to gain a clear advantage, and then a winning one.

[pgn][Event "2021 Electronic Knights (21EN11)"] [White "Nohr, Matthew"] [Black "Hoffman, Joe (1615)"] [Result "1-0"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. d4 dxe4 7. Qxe4 Nf6 8. Qh4 Nbd7 9. Bd3 g6 10. O-O Bg7 11. a4 O-O 12. Bg5 Qb6 13. a5 Qc7 14. Bf4 Qc8 15. Bg5 Nd5 16. Nxd5 cxd5 17. Rac1 f5 18. c4 dxc4 19. Bxc4 Nf6 20. d5 Nxd5 21. Bxd5 Qd7 22. Bc4 h5 23. Rfd1 Qe8 24. Be7 Bxb2 25. Bxe6+ Kg7 26. Bxf8+ Qxf8 27. Rc7+ 1-0 [/pgn]

My opponents make good moves too. Sometimes I don’t take these things into consideration.
- GM Bobby Fischer

In this final game, Darren Erickson finds a mini-combination disguised as a retreat to turn the tables in a tight game, and bring home the W after Black overlooks 28. Qe7+.

[pgn][Event "2021 Electronic Knights (21EN05)"] [White "Erickson, Darren (1485)"] [Black "Thompson, Rob (1185)"] [Result "1-0"] 1. c4 b6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Bc5 7. e3 O-O 8. d4 exd4 9. exd4 Bb4 10. Qd3 d6 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. a3 Bxc3 14. Qxc3 Rfe8 15. Rfe1 Re7 16. Rxe7 Nxe7 17. Rc1 c6 18. Nd2 d5 19. c5 Nf5 20. Nf3 Rd8 21. b4 b5 22. Re1 Kf8 23. Qc2 Nxd4 24. Nxd4 Qxd4 25. Qh7 g6 26. Qxh6+ Qg7 27. Qe3 d4 28. Qe7+ 1-0 [/pgn]
And now for some “bonus games”:

In closing, I leave you with this:

We don’t really know how the game was invented, though there are suspicions. As soon as we discover the culprits, we’ll let you know.
- NM Bruce Pandolfini

Next month – more games!

See you then,


Notes from the Office

New Rules! That's right, new US Chess Correspondence Chess Rules will be coming into effect from October 1, 2021. Stay tuned for when they are published along with a brief explanation of the major changes to look out for.

Recent Event Winners

20W07, Joseph Hawkins and Timothy Julkowski, 4-2
20W29, Charles Jacobs, 6-0
20W30, Edward Murphy, 6-0
20W36, Brent Walker, 4-2
21W12, Michael McCaffery, 6-0
21W13, Kele Perkins, 6-0
21W25, Robert Harris, 6-0
21W27, Benjamin Baller, 5.5-0.5

21VP01, Joydeep Hatttacharyya, 6-0
21VP09, Christian Almazan, 6-0