International Correspondence Chess Master John Mousessian, currently serving in Afghanistan, has traveled the world before, both by e-mail and postcard, and in person. John joined his first chess club in Teheran, Iran, at age 9. When he migrated to the U.S. in 1979 at age 15, he began his first postal game to stay in touch with an old friend who had migrated to London. In 1980 John entered USCF's Golden Knights and won his section.

Another family move and college years interrupted his postal play, but in the late 80s, John was back playing postal chess again. He finished fourth in the 12th U.S. Championship, represented the U.S. on Board 1 in the match against England, and earned his ICCM title in the Arne Henriksen Memorial event. John is married, with two young daughters. I wish him a safe return from his tour of duty.

GAME OF THE MONTH

The following game is a tight affair, with White having the slightest edge. Then follows a positional queen sacrifice. The eventual capture of a Black soldier at the edge of the world effectively ends the struggle. Check Sampieri's title!

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4 Bg4 7. Qb3 Qc8 8. Nd2 e6 9. Ngf3 Be7 10. 0-0 0-0 11. Qc2

All had been seen before in Esplana-Villanueva (Lima, 1999), where Black answered with 11. ... h6 12. h3 Bf5. Sampieri avoids the extra weakening move.

11. ... Bf5 12. Bxf5 exf5 13. Qb3 Qd7 14. Ne5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Ne4 16. Nf3

While Black's damaged pawn structure implies a defensive stance, his active knight and better bishop offer sufficient counterplay. Chances are equal.

16. ... Nc5?!

Black voluntarily removes his active knight from the center and places it where it will soon be exchanged.

17. Qc2 Rfe8 18. Rfd1 b5 19. Be3 g6 20. Bxc5!

Ridding himself of his bad bishop for an aggressive knight, White gains a slight advantage.

20. ... Bxc5 21. Rd3 Rad8 22. Rad1 a5 23. Qd2 Qa7 24. Qh6 Bf8

Black loses ground after 24. ... Bxf2+ 25. Kf1 f6 26. exf6 Rd7 27. Ng5 Be3 28. Re1! when White is winning.

25. Qf4 Bc5 26. Qh4 Be7 27. Qg3 Qd7 28. a3 f6 29. h4!?

Mousessian has prepared an interesting queen sacrifice with this line. White also has good play after 29. Re1.

29. ... fxe5 30. Qxe5!?

There is no arguing with success, but 30. Nxe5 keeps a small edge.

30. ... Qc6 31. Rxd5 Bf6 32. Rxd8 Bxe5 33. Nxe5 Qe6 34. R8d5

White has rook, knight, and pawn for his queen, targets on the queenside, and space on the kingside, but a win in a dozen moves seems highly improbable.

34. ... Qf6 35. Nf3 Qc6 36. h5 Qc4 37. h6!

This is a vital nail in White's campaign against the Black king.

37. ... a4 38. Rd8 Kf8 39. R8d7 Re7 40. R7d4 Qe2 41. R1d2 Qe6 42. Ng5 Qe1+ 43. Kh2 Rb7 44. g3!

White solidifies his position rather than rush to capture the h-pawn immediately. John's position is strong enough to play 44. Rd8+ Ke7 45. Nxh7 immediately. Black gets a little counterplay, though, with 45. ... Qe5+ 46. g3 f4!. Now Black is without any recourse.

44. ... Qf1 45. Rd8+ Ke7 46. Nxh7, Black resigns.

Germany has won the final of the 12th Olympiad with a score of 47-22 with one game to go. There is a fierce battle for second and third remaining with Lithuania and Latvia contending with Czech Republic, Sweden, and Brazil.

In late February 2002 ICCF/US secretary Max Zavanelli is scheduled to travel to Cuba to open ICCF e-mail to the 10,000 players of the Cuban Federation. Max becomes the first U.S. chess official to visit Cuba in 40 years. A 15-player IM event will mark Cuba's introduction to ICCF e-mail chess.

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 e5 3. Nf3 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qf6 5. Nb5 Bc5 6. Qe2 Bb6 7. N1c3 Nge7 8. Be3 Ba5 9. 0-0-0 a6 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5 axb5 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bd4 Qe6 14. Qxe6+ fxe6 15. Bxg7 Rg8 16. Bh6 Bb6 17. Bd3 Rxa2 18. Kb1 Ra4 19. Bxh7 Rxg2 20. h4 Bxf2 21. h5 Rag4 22. Rdf1 Ke7 23. Bg6 b4 24. Bg7 Ba6 25. Rxf2 Rxf2 26. h6 b3 27. cxb3 Rxg6 28. h7 Bd3+, White resigns.

Who says postal players don't have a sense of humor? The Black player becomes completely White on Move 22.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Nf3 Qa5 8. Bd2 c4 9. Ng5 h6 10. Nh3 Ng6 11. Be2 Nc6 12. 0-0 Bd7 13. Qe1 Nge7 14. Nf4 g6 15. f3 0-0-0 16. Qc1 Rh7 17. Rb1 a6 18. Be1 b5 19. Ra1 Qa4 20. Nh3 Rg8 21. f4 Nf5 22. Nf2 h5 23. Nh3 Rf8 24. Ng5 Rg7 25. Ra2 Kc7 26. h3 Rc8 27. g4 hxg4 28. hxg4 Nfe7 29. Qd2 Rb8 30. Bd1 a5 31. Qh2 b4 32. Bd2 Rb6 33. Ra1 bxa3 34. Bc1 a2 35. Bf3 Rg8 36. Qh7 Rb1 37. Bb2 Rxb2 38. Qxf7 Qxc2, White resigns.

Jim Jirousek answers the question: How can a Class B player get a game published? The answer is simple: Just play like a master!

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ngf3 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 9. cxd4 Be7 10. Bd3 b6 11. 0-0 f5 12. exf6 e.p. Nxf6 13. Nf3 Ne4 14. Bb5+ Kf8 15. Ne5 g6 16. Bc6 Rb8 17. f5 exf5 18. Bh6+ Kg8 19. Qb3 Be6 20. Nd7 Nf6 21. Rae1 Kf7 22. Rxe6 Kxe6 23. Re1+ Kf7 24. Bxd5+, Black resigns.