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Alex Dunne
October 1999. Additional Alex Dunne columns are available in the Correspondence Chess Forum.

Spencer Kell, International Correspondence Chess Master, has had a long journey to his title. Spencer began chess in elementary school and played in Hollywood High School, but it was not until after he left the army and went back to college that he began to study the game. He started CCLA play around 1972 and recently began play at the international level. He then earned his ICCM title in the Afrotain Cup.

Married, with no children left at home (but two grandchildren, Rebecca and Katherine, that he visits often), Spencer has worked the last 18 years for the IRS.

Spencer's advice to other postal players? Don't underestimate the opponent or the position. Every move can be laced with a drop of poison, and just before you drop that postal card in the mail, review it for possible clerical errors.


Spencer sends in this Bird's Ruy Lopez where a new line is tried. Black is not up to the fight and at the critical moment errs. White's attack then crashes through.

RUY LOPEZ [C61] W: Spencer Kell (2377) B: Tom Taylor (1845) 1994 Golden Knights

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nxd4 exd4 5. 0-0 c6 6. Ba4 Nf6 7. d3 d5 8. Bg5 dxe4 9. dxe4 Be7 10. Nd2

ECO leaves off here with the suggestion by Keres that this position favors White slightly. It is a little-explored line.

10. ... 0-0 11. Bb3 Qa5

Worth a try is 11. ... Be6.

12. f4 Bg4

Although this looks like it gains a tempo, it is the germ of all Black's future problems. The bishop becomes more of a target on g4 (especially after White's 14. f5!). Black can try 12. ... Re8 or 12. ... Qd8.

13. Qe1 Rae8 14. f5!?

Now the only thing wrong with Black's game is that he does not understand how good it is. Discouraged by the threatened loss of the g4-bishop, he fails to hunker down.

14. ... Bb4

There is no escape by 14. ... Bd6 15. h3 Bh5 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. g4 Qe5 18. Nf3, winning for White.

15. a3 Bxd2 16. Bxd2 Qb6?

Black has to fight for the e2-square; 16. ... Qb5 17. a4! Qa6 18. e5 d3 keeps Black's game alive, though White is better.

17. e5 Nd5 18. Qh4 Be2 19. f6!

Material is no longer a consideration. All of Black's pieces have deserted their king except for the faithful rooks.

19. ... Bxf1 20. Qg5, Black resigns.

Ray Alexis shared an interesting collection of final words in Chess 'n' Stuff, 1984. These were some of the resignations of his opponents. I selected two, but I would like to hear from my readers. Did you have any memorable resignations? If so, share them by sending them to Alex Dunne, Chess Life, 3054 NYS Route 9W, New Windsor, NY 12553 or e-mail to [email protected]

Here are two from Ray's collection: "Sorry for the delay. I've decided to resign as I am getting too busy to concentrate on postal chess and besides I would lose the game anyway," and "Resign. kind of think I blew it on my scoresheet, or never played Q-N2. I think my 4-year-old played N2 to R2 for ya."

The news about Canada's correspondence club legalizing computer use generated some thoughtful replies. Boiled down considerably, here are the plusses and minuses:

[email protected] writes, "Computers are here to stay and it's hard to keep them out of correspondence chess. There will always be those who use them to gain an unfair advantage. But to legalize seems to defeat the purpose. Isn't it like the U.S. government throwing up its arms in defeat and legalizing drugs because there's just no way they'll ever be able to eradicate them?"

Art Holmer (Lewiston, NY) writes that "We are almost there anyway. Informants and ECO are now electronic ... ChessBase has ... integrated Fritz and the ChessBase database system." Art's conclusion: "I am somewhat anti-computer and don't have a machine at home, but I am forced to concede on this issue! My short answer is 'Make them legal.'"

Gary Kubach demonstrates just how awkward a knight on a1 can be. That is the theme of this game from the opening to Move 34.

PETROFF'S DEFENSE [C43] W: Gary Kubach (2515) B: Talis Viksna (2398) XIII Olympiad 1999

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nxe5 Bd6 6. 0-0 0-0 7. c4 Bxe5 8. dxe5 Nc6 9. cxd5 Qxd5 10. Qc2 Nb4 11. Bxe4 Nxc2 12. Bxd5 Bf5 13. g4 Bxg4 14. Be4 Nxa1 15. Bf4 f5 16. Bd5+ Kh8 17. Rc1 c6 18. Bg2 Rfd8 19. Nd2 Rxd2 20. Bxd2 Rd8 21. Bc3 Rd1+ 22. Rxd1 Bxd1 23. Bf1 Kg8 24. Bc4+ Kf8 25. b4 Nc2 26. Bb3 g5 27. h4 gxh4 28. Bd2 b6 29. Bg5 h3 30. Kh2 Ke8 31. e6 a6 32. f3 h6 33. Bxh6 Bxf3 34. Bxc2 Ke7 35. Bxf5 Kf6 36. Bxh3 Bd5 37. Be3 c5 38. e7 Kxe7 39. bxc5 bxc5 40. Bxc5+ Kd8 41. Bb6+ Ke7 42. a3 Kd6 43. Bf1 Kc6 44. Ba5 Kb7 45. Kg3, Black resigns.

Ron Lifson, who knows better, tries to steal a pawn as Black in the opening. The result is that the White pieces swarm about the Black king like a school of piranha.

W: John Mousessian (2355)
B: Ron Lifson (2467)
Absolute U.S. Championship, 1997

1. e4 c5 2. c3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nf3 e6 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bc4 Nb6 8. Bb3 Nc6 9. 0-0 dxe5 10. dxe5 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nd7 12. Nc3 a6 13. Bf4 h6 14. Ne4 g5 15. Bg3 g4 16. Nd4 Ncxe5 17. Rac1 Bg7 18. Nd6+ Ke7 19. Rc7 Rd8 20. N6f5+ exf5 21. Nxf5+ Kf6 22. Nxg7 Rf8 23. Nh5+ Kg5 24. Nf4 h5 25. h4+ gxh3 e.p. 26. Rd6 hxg2 27. Nh3+ Kg4 28. Rc4+ Nxc4 29. Bd1+, Black resigns.

Les Roselle, former editor and NOST master, died May 30, 1999. Les guided NOST through many years. Here is an example of his fighting spirit, defending well and ambushing an overconfident White.

W: Joe McCarty
B: Les Roselle
NOST 1975

1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. 0-0 0-0 7. d3 d6 8. h3 Qc7 9. Be3 Bd7 10. a3 a5 11. Rb1 Na7 12. b4 axb4 13. axb4 b6 14. Qd2 e5 15. Bh6 Rab8 16. b5 Ne8 17. Nd5 Qd8 18. e4 Nc8 19. g4 f6 20. Nh4 g5 21. Bxg7 Nxg7 22. Nf5 Nxf5 23. exf5 Ne7 24. Nc3 Bc8 25. h4 h6 26. Kh2 Kg7 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Kg3 Bb7 29. Bxb7 Rxb7 30. Ne4 Rd7 31. Nxg5 Nxf5+ 32. gxf5 fxg5 33. Kg4 Rdf7 34. Rh1 Rxf5 35. Rh5 Rf4+ 36. Kg3 Qf6 37. Rb2 Qf5 38. Qe2 Rf3+ 39. Kh2 Qg4, White resigns.


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