The June Check Is in the Mail

Kristo Miettinen – 2015 Absolute Victor
Kristo Miettinen has won the 2015 Absolute Tournament with an undefeated 7 ½-2 ½ score, a half point ahead of his nearest rival, Gary Walters.  Kristo has won a number of prestigious events before – a 15-man ICCF tournament,  the 1994 Hawver Cup, the World Correspondence Chess Championship (a three-way tie for first).  He was awarded the International Correspondence Chess Master  title in 2004 and gained Senior Master status in 2009.  He won the 11th North American Invitational.  He also finished tied for third in the 2007 Absolute Championship and clear third in the 2014 Absolute.
GAME OF THE MONTH
 John Keats was not writing about chess when he penned “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” but had he only seen this game...
[pgn][Event "15A01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2015.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Horwitz, Daniel"]
[Black "Miettinen, Kristo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C77"]
[WhiteElo "2302"]
[BlackElo "2353"]
[PlyCount "114"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {The Berlin Defense has been Black's most
recent successful attempt to nullify the Ruy Lopez aka "The Spanish Torture".}
4. d3 {This is the line now favored by the GM's. Kamsky-Gevorgyan, Moscow 2017
equalized quickly after 4.00 Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+
Kxd8 9. Rd1+ Ke8 10. h3 Ne7! 11. c4 Be6 12. b3 Rd8 13. Rxd8+ Kxd8 14. Nc3 Ng6}
d6 {Black chooses the solid line. More popular is 4...Bc5 as in
Robson-Nakamura, St. Louis 2017:4...Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Be6 7.00 Nd6
which was equal.} 5. c3 {This and 5.00 are about interchangeable for White.} g6
{Black delines to play it safe with 5...Bd7 or 5...Be7, which is statistically
a wise choice as 5...g6 scores better for Black than either of the "safe"
moves.} 6. O-O Bg7 7. Nbd2 {And this, too, is a interchangeable move with an
immediate 7. Re1.} O-O 8. Re1 a6 {Caruana-Kramnik, Paris 2016, continued (via
transposition) 8...Bd7 9. Ba4 Nh5 9. Nf1 Kh8 11. h3 f5 with an edge to White.}
9. Ba4 {After this the game begins to slip inexorably toward Black's favor.
White might try 9. Bxc6 to play to exploit the doubled c-Pawns.} Re8 10. Nf1 b5
{Black begins to take over now. Recent games have Black ahead +5 -2 =1.} 11.
Bc2 Bb7 12. Ng3 {Playing for queenside action with 12. a4 failed in
Oberholzer-Short, South African Open 2015 after 12...Nb8 13. Ne3 Nbd7 14. h3
d5 though chances are about even here,} Nb8 {This repositioning was tried in
Vujosevic-Bragojevic, Montenegro 2015 which continued 13, d4 Nbd7 14. dxe5
dxe5 15. Bd3 Qe7 14. Nd2 draw in 31 moves.} 13. Be3 Nbd7 14. h3 c5 15. Qd2 d5 {
Black has equalized and with ...d4 looming, White must do something to keep
the balance.} 16. Bh6 Qe7 17. Rad1 {Black's Queen is a bit uncomfortable on
the e-file with White's Rook standing on e1 so Kristo finds a quick out for it.
} Bxh6 18. Qxh6 Qf8 19. Qc1 {White avoids the exchange, but there is no
concrete reason to do so. On c1 the White Queen is the equal of the Black
Queen on f8.} Rad8 20. h4 {It is apparently to harsh to attach a ?! to this
move. Apparently White feels committed to undertake positive action here, but
in so doing he very slightly weakens his kingside. Doing nothing by 20. Qe3
-c1- e3 seems more appropiate.} Ng4 21. h5 {White continues with his Kingsisde
action, but some surprises are yet to come.} dxe4 22. Nxe4 {White's position
further deteriorates after 22. dxe4 Qe7 23. hxg6 hxg6 24. Rd2 c4 25 Red1 Nc5
26. b4 Ne6.} f5 {Diagram # And it is Black who has the attack on the kingside
based on his (now) Pawn majority there and better Bishop.} 23. Neg5 Qf6 {White
rejects 24. Bb3+ c4! 25. dxc4 Nc5 26. hxg6 h6 but faces the same problems
after 24. hxg6.} 24. hxg6 h6 $1 25. Bb3+ Kg7 26. Nf7 f4 27. Qc2 {After the
greedy 27. Nxd8 comes 27...Bxf3! 28. gxf3 Qh4! 29. Qc2 Rxd8 30. Kf1 Ndf6 31.
a3 Nh2+ 32. Ke2 Qh3 33. Kc1 Nxe1 34. Rxe1 Rxd3 when the White King is safe but
Black is much better.} Bxf3 28. gxf3 Qh4 29. Nxd8 Rxd8 30. Be6 Qh2+ 31. Kf1
Ne3+ $1 32. Ke2 {White's problems continue after 32. Rxe3 fxe3 33. Re1 Nf6 34.
Rxe3 Nh5 35. Re4 Ng3+} Nxc2 33. Rh1 {White returns the surprise -- the Black
Queenis trapped and so is the Black Knight.} Ne3 $1 34. Rxh2 Nxd1 35. Kxd1 c4
$1 {Perfect! Black pinpoints the weakest square in White's armor and
establishes a winning endgame.} 36. Bf5 Nc5 37. Ke2 cxd3+ 38. Kd2 Na4 $1 39. b3
Nxc3 $1 {Both Black Knights have been heroes in ths game.} 40. Kxc3 d2 41. Bc2
d1=Q 42. Bxd1 Rxd1 43. Rh5 Rf1 44. Rh2 {Defense is hopeless in this endgame.
White should at least try for activity with 44. Rxe5.} Ra1 45. Kb2 Re1 46. Kc3
Kxg6 47. Rg2+ Kf6 48. Rh2 Re2 49. a4 {Equally hopeless is 49. Rxh6+ Kg5 50.
Rh2 Rxa2 51. Kb4 Kf5 52. Kc5 Rc2+ 53. Kd6 Rd2+ 54. Kc5 Rd3} h5 50. axb5 axb5
51. Kb4 Ke6 $1 52. Kxb5 Kd5 53. Rg2 {After 53. b4 Rb2 54. Ka5 h4! Black wins.}
Rd2 54. Ka5 Rd3 55. b4 Rxf3 56. Rh2 h4 57. Rxh4 Rxf2 {A magnificent game
worthy of being in anthologies.} 0-1[/pgn]
A magnificent game worthy of being in anthologies.
2015 Absolute Championship
Miettinen ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 7.5
Walters ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 7
Ingersol ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 6.5
Magat ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1E ½ 1 6
Horwitz 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5.5
Jacobs 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 5
Procopi ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 5
Sogin 0 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5
Tracz ½ 0 ½ 0E 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4
Vaghan 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 3.5
Wilson 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0.5
"Correspondence ought to make one’s play more accurate and far-seeing  and is also suitable for people living in villages or in poor health or who find the strain and excitement too much for the overstrung nerves and who are thus put to considerable disadvantage with hardier opponents." -James Pierce
Second place in the 2015 Absolute went to Gary Walters with an undefeated record of +4 =6  -0.  Here is Gary’s favorite game from the event.
[pgn][Event "15A01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2015.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sogin, David"]
[Black "Walters, Gary"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D85"]
[WhiteElo "2371"]
[BlackElo "2381"]
[PlyCount "110"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Be3
c5 8. Rc1 O-O 9. Nf3 Qa5 10. Qd2 Rd8 11. d5 e6 12. Bg5 f6 13. Be3 Nc6 14. Bc4
Qa4 15. Qd3 Na5 16. Bb5 Qxa2 17. O-O c4 18. Qd1 Qb3 19. Rb1 Qxd1 20. Rfxd1 exd5
21. Ra1 b6 22. exd5 Bd7 23. Ba6 f5 24. Ra3 Bc8 25. Bb5 Be6 26. d6 Bf8 27. Bf4
a6 28. Ng5 Bd7 29. Bxd7 Rxd7 30. Ne6 Bxd6 31. Rxd6 Rxd6 32. Bxd6 Re8 33. Bc7
Rxe6 34. g3 Kf7 35. Bxb6 Nb7 36. Be3 a5 37. Ra4 Rc6 38. Kf1 Ke6 39. Ke2 Kd5 40.
Ra2 Ra6 41. Rd2+ Ke6 42. Kd1 Nd6 43. Kc2 a4 44. Re2 a3 45. Bd4+ Kd7 46. Re1 Nb5
47. Bc5 Re6 48. Be3 Re8 49. Rg1 Kc6 50. Rb1 Ra8 51. Bc1 Ra7 52. h3 Rb7 53. Ra1
Re7 54. Rb1 Re2+ 55. Bd2 Rxf2 0-1[/pgn]
MAY RESULTS

 Walter Muir

     Joseph Hawkins     16W29     5-1

      Nicole Niemi     16W20    5 ½-½

      Joseph Korman     17W03    5-1

    Swift Quad

         Rick Johnson     16SQ07     5 ½-½

       Trophy Quad 

      Charlie Leach      14Q08    5-1

      Sara Henrickson     15Q10    5-1

LADIES’ WORLD CHAMPION
Irina Vladimirovna Perevertkina
Black’s King flees like a beast in the night, but it is not into complete safety.
[pgn][Event "LWC10/final"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2014.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Perevertkina, Irina Vladimirovna"]
[Black "Halliwell, Toni"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2480"]
[BlackElo "2316"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8.
Qd2 O-O 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. O-O-O Qa5 11. a3 a6 12. Bxc5 Qxc5 13. Bd3 Re8 14. Ne2
b5 15. Ned4 Nxd4 16. Nxd4 Rb8 17. c3 Qb6 18. b4 Qc7 19. Bc2 Nb6 20. Qd3 Kf8 21.
Qh3 a5 22. Rd3 axb4 23. cxb4 h6 24. g4 Ke7 25. g5 hxg5 26. Qg3 Kd7 27. Qxg5 Ba6
28. Qxg7 Kc8 29. h4 Kb7 30. Rg1 Rh8 31. Qf6 Rbg8 32. Rgg3 Ka7 33. f5 exf5 34.
Nxf5 Rf8 35. Nd6 Qc6 36. h5 Kb8 37. Rc3 Nc4 38. h6 d4 39. Be4 Qb6 40. Rc2 1-0[/pgn]
Black steals one Pawn and pays, and pays, and pays.
[pgn][Event "17EN03"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Irons, Robert"]
[Black "Walker, Brent"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "1922"]
[BlackElo "1837"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. d4 dxc4 5. Bg2 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. dxc5 Qxd1
8. Rxd1 Bxc5 9. Nbd2 c3 10. bxc3 O-O 11. Nb3 Be7 12. Nfd4 Rd8 13. Bg5 Ne5 14.
Bxf6 gxf6 15. Na5 Bd7 16. Nxb7 Rdc8 17. f4 Ng6 18. Nf5 Bc6 19. Nxe7+ Nxe7 20.
Nd6 Rc7 21. Rd3 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 Rb8 23. Kf3 Rb2 24. Ne8 Rc8 25. Nxf6+ Kg7 26. Ne4
Rc2 27. Rd7 Nd5 28. Rxa7 Kg6 29. g4 f5 30. gxf5+ Kxf5 31. Nd6+ 1-0[/pgn]
GAMES FROM THE 2015 ABSOLUTE
The champion struts his stuff.
[pgn][Event "15A01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2015.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Miettinen, Kristo"]
[Black "Sogin, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B92"]
[WhiteElo "2423"]
[BlackElo "2371"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bc1 Nf6
8. Be2 e5 9. Nb3 Be7 10. O-O O-O 11. Be3 Be6 12. Qd3 Nc6 13. a3 Na5 14. Nd5
Nxd5 15. exd5 Bd7 16. Nxa5 Qxa5 17. a4 f5 18. Qb3 Qc7 19. Bb6 Qc8 20. c4 e4 21.
f3 exf3 22. Bxf3 a5 23. c5 dxc5 24. d6+ c4 25. Bd5+ Kh8 26. Qf3 Bxd6 27. Bxb7
Qb8 28. Kh1 Be8 29. Bxa8 Qxb6 30. Qd5 Bg6 31. Rac1 Qb8 32. Bc6 Bf4 33. Rcd1
Bxh2 34. Qxa5 Bd6 35. Rd4 f4 36. Rfd1 Bd3 37. Bf3 h6 38. Qb5 Qxb5 39. axb5 Bc5
40. Rd5 Be3 41. b3 Rg8 42. bxc4 Bxc4 43. Re5 g5 44. Bc6 g4 45. Rd7 Rg5 46. Re8+
Rg8 47. Rxg8+ Kxg8 48. Rb7 Be2 49. b6 f3 50. Bd5+ Kf8 51. gxf3 gxf3 52. Rf7+
Ke8 53. b7 Ba7 54. Kh2 Bb8+ 55. Kh3 h5 56. Kh4 Ba7 57. Kg5 Kd8 58. Bxf3 1-0[/pgn]
A first class fight featuring attack and defense on both sides.
[pgn][Event "15A01 "]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2015.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ingersol, Harry"]
[Black "Sogin, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D70"]
[WhiteElo "2398"]
[BlackElo "2371"]
[PlyCount "141"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{Jun} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O
8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O Qd6 10. Kb1 Rd8 11. Nb5 Qd7 12. d5 a6 13. Nc3 Ne5 14. Bd4
c5 15. Bxc5 Nec4 16. Qc1 Qc7 17. Bd4 Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Qc5 19. Nge2 Bd7 20. h4 e5
21. Rd1 Rdc8 22. Ka1 f6 23. g4 Na4 24. Nxa4 Bxa4 25. Rd3 Qf2 26. Rc3 Nd6 27. g5
Bd7 28. gxf6 Rxc3 29. Nxc3 Qxf3 30. f7+ Nxf7 31. Be2 Qf6 32. h5 g5 33. Rf1 Qd6
34. a3 Rc8 35. Qe3 Qc5 36. Qg3 Qd6 37. Ka2 Rf8 38. Nd1 Qe7 39. Nf2 Nd6 40. h6
Rf4 41. Rc1 Kf8 42. Bd1 Bc8 43. Nd3 Rxe4 44. Qf2+ Bf5 {Diagram #} 45. Rc8+ Kf7
46. Bh5+ Kf6 47. Rg8 Rh4 48. Rg7 Rxh5 49. Rxe7 Kxe7 50. Qc5 Rxh6 51. Qc7+ Kf8
52. Qd8+ Ne8 53. Qxg5 Rf6 54. Nxe5 Ke7 55. Nc4 h6 56. Qe3+ Kd8 57. Kb3 Bc8 58.
Kb4 Bd7 59. Qe5 b5 60. Na5 Kc8 61. Nc6 Rxc6 62. dxc6 Bxc6 63. Qe6+ Bd7 64.
Qxa6+ Kd8 65. Qxh6 Ke7 66. Kc5 Kf7 67. Kd5 Nf6+ 68. Kd6 Bf5 69. Qf4 Kg6 70. a4
bxa4 71. Qxa4 1-0[/pgn]
When White captures a poisoned d-Pawn, the rest is technique.
[pgn][Event "15A01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2015.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wilson, Abe L"]
[Black "Magat, Gordon"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "2080"]
[BlackElo "2220"]
[PlyCount "118"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6
8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 O-O 12. Nc2 Bg5 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4
a5 15. Bc4 Rb8 16. b3 Kh8 17. O-O f5 18. exf5 Bxf5 19. Nce3 Bg6 20. Be2 Bf7 21.
Nc4 e4 22. Kh1 Bg8 23. b4 axb4 24. cxb4 Ne7 25. Nce3 Nxd5 26. Nxd5 Qe8 27. b5
Rc8 28. Ne3 d5 {Diagram #} 29. Nxd5 Rc1 30. Qd4 Rxf1+ 31. Bxf1 Qd8 32. Nc3 Qxd4
33. Rxd4 Bf6 34. Rxe4 Bxc3 35. Kg1 Ba5 36. h4 Bb6 37. Re2 Rc8 38. g3 Rc1 39.
Re8 g6 40. Kg2 Kg7 41. Bd3 Bf7 42. Re7 Kf8 43. Re5 Rd1 44. Be4 Re1 45. f3 Re2+
46. Kf1 Rb2 47. Bd3 Rf2+ 48. Ke1 Rxf3 49. Kd2 Rxg3 50. Re4 Rh3 51. Bc4 Bxc4 52.
Rxc4 Rb3 53. Rf4+ Kg7 54. Rc4 Rxb5 55. Ke2 Bd8 56. Rd4 Bf6 57. Rf4 Rh5 58. Re4
Re5 59. Rxe5 Bxe5 0-1[/pgn]
The most intriguing aspect of this game is how Black’s seeming disregard of Pawns nets him a wining Pawn plus endgame.
[pgn][Event "15A01 "]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2015.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Tracz, James"]
[Black "Horwitz, Daniel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E36"]
[WhiteElo "2377"]
[BlackElo "2297"]
[PlyCount "116"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2005.04.21"]{JUN} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 d5 7. Bg5 c5
8. dxc5 d4 9. Qc2 e5 10. e3 h6 11. Bh4 Qe7 12. Be2 Re8 13. Rd1 a5 14. exd4 exd4
15. Rxd4 Nc6 16. Rd1 a4 17. Kf1 Ra5 18. f3 Rxc5 19. Bf2 Ra5 20. g4 Be6 21. h4
Ne5 22. Qc3 Qc7 23. g5 Nh5 24. c5 hxg5 25. hxg5 Nf4 26. Rd6 Neg6 27. Bd3 Nxd3
28. Qxd3 Ra6 29. Rxa6 bxa6 30. Ne2 Bc8 31. Qc2 Qd8 32. Qxa4 a5 {Diagram #} 33.
Nf4 Ba6+ 34. Kg1 Qxg5+ 35. Ng2 Re2 36. Qb3 Qd2 37. Qb8+ Nf8 38. Qg3 Qxb2 39.
Rh4 Ne6 40. Ne1 f6 41. Qh3 Bb5 42. c6 Kf7 43. c7 Nxc7 44. Qc8 Qc1 45. Re4 Rxe4
46. fxe4 a4 47. Qb7 Qc6 48. Qa7 Kg8 49. Qc5 Qxc5 50. Bxc5 Bc6 51. e5 Ne6 52.
Be3 f5 53. Nc2 f4 54. Nd4 Nxd4 55. Bxd4 g5 56. e6 Kh7 57. Kh2 Bf3 58. Kh3 Kg6
0-1[/pgn]

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