Paul Thompson, an 82-year old retired attorney who has represented some of America's largest labor unions, has become one of America's newest International Correspondence Chess Masters. Paul, who has played 37 years with CCLA, ICCF and USCF, has turned down his invitation to play in the third round of the World Championship finals. That's our loss, because Paul's domestic record has shown his play improving with age. From equal third in the first CCLA Championship (1985), Paul finished just out of first in the fourth (1988) and 10th (1994) CCLA Championship, and the 11th (1995) Championship, finally winning the 1996 championship. Paul finished second in the very strong Eighth North American Invitational Correspondence Championship (behind Jon Edwards) and has twice qualified for the finals of the U.S. Championship.

Paul's opponent (aka Der Geezer Gambiteer) pulls no punches in the opening, throwing everything at him. Thompson gives a demonstration of the manly art of self-defense. When the counterattack comes, it is a TKO.

W: Paul Thompson (2421)
B: Gary Good (2367)
13th USCCC

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Bf4 Bb4+ 5. Nd2 d6!?

This is a favorite attacking line of Good's. As he puts it, "Who can stay in the saddle?" Pragmatically, however, this choice is doubtful. White has a big plus in most databases against this line.

6. exd6 Qf6 7. e3 g5

The endgame after 7. ... Nxf2 8. Kxf2 g5 9. Ne4 Qxb2+ 10. Be2 gxf4 11. exf4 cxd6 12. Rb1 Qa3 13. Qd4 Bc5 14. Nxc5 Qxc5 15. Qxc5 dxc5 16. Bf3 Nc6 17. Bxc6+ bxc6 18. Nf3 favors White.

8. Bg3 h5 9. dxc7 Nc6 10. h4 Qxb2 11. Nf3 gxh4 12. Rxh4 Bf5 13. Rc1

This is the position Good aimed for, one that resembles chaos, but Thompson first finds safety for his king and then turns his attention to the Black king.

13. ... Ba3 14. Nb3 Qxa2 15. Ra1 Bb4+ 16. Nbd2 Qb2 17. c5

White forces open the diagonal for his f1-bishop. Also playable is 17. Qc1 Qg7 18. Ke2 Bc3 when White could develop his rooks in a unique way with 19. Ra4 with a small edge.

17. ... Bc3 18. Rc1 Nb4?!

Good notes that this is an error - he was planning a sac at Move 22.

19. Bb5+ Kf8 20. e4 Bxe4 21. Kf1 Nd5 22. Kg1 Bxf3

Here Good had originally planned 22. ... Nde3 23. fxe3 Nxe3, but now he saw that 24. Bd6+ Kg8 25. Qe1 Bxf3 26. Rxc3! Qxc3 27. Nxf3 Qxe1+ 28. Nxe1 wins for White.

23. Nxf3 Bf6 24. Rb1 Qa2 25. Rxg4!

In the post mortem Thompson identified this as the winning move.

25. ... hxg4 26. Ne5 Rh5

There is no saving line by 26. ... Bxe5 27. Bxe5 g3 28. Bd6+ Kg7 29. Qg4+ Kf6 30. Rf1!.

27. Bc4 Nc3

After this it is just mopping up, but the alternative 27. ... Qxb1 28. Qxb1 Bxe5 29. Bxe5 Rxe5 30. Bxd5 Rxd5 31. Qxb7 is fatal.

28. Qd6+ Kg7

A more fitting conclusion is 28. ... Be7 29. Nd7+ Ke8 30. Nf6+ Bxf6 31. Re1+! Ne2+ 32. Bxe2, with overwhelming threats.

29. Bxa2 Rh8 30. f3 Ne2+ 31. Kf2 Nxg3 32. Qd7 Bxe5 33. Qxf7+ Kh6 34. Qe6+, Black resigns.

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The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation of the Vienna has been known to scare up hair-raising complications. In this game between two of the world's best, the traditional piece values are discarded. The nightmare ends with Black's king marching resolutely toward a3 to bring mate to his opposite number.

W: Ove Ekebjaerg (2575)
B: Gert Timmerman (2630)
Netherlands 25th Jubilee 1993

1. Nc3 Nf6 2. e4 e5 3. Bc4 Nxe4 4. Qh5 Nd6 5. Bb3 Nc6 6. Nb5 g6 7. Qf3 f5 8. Qd5 Qe7 9. Nxc7+ Kd8 10. Nxa8 b6 11. d3 Bb7 12. h4 f4 13. Qf3 Nd4 14. Qg4 Bg7 15. Bd2 Bxa8 16. 0-0-0 Bf6 17. Bb4 a5 18. Bxd6 Qxd6 19. Nh3 Qc6 20. Ng5 a4 21. Bc4 b5 22. Nf7+ Kc7 23. Nxh8 Bxh8 24. h5 g5 25. c3 bxc4 26. cxd4 cxd3+ 27. Kb1 Qc2+ 28. Ka1 a3 29. Rb1 Be4 30. Qd1 exd4 31. Qf1 d6 32. f3 Bf5 33. Qc1 d2 34. Qxc2+ Bxc2 35. Rhd1 d3 36. Rxd2 Kb6, White resigns.

Robin Smith shows his championship form in this smart game from the U.S. Championship. At the end, an Exchange up, White's king has nowhere to hide.

W: Joe Bacon (2345)
B: Robin Smith (2589)
13th USCCC

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Na3 Qd8 7. Nc2 Nc6 8. Bf4 Qb6 9. Ne5 cxd4 10. Nc4 Qd8 11. cxd4 Nd5 12. Bd2 Be7 13. Bd3 Ndb4 14. Bxb4 Nxb4 15. Nxb4 Bxb4+ 16. Ke2 0-0 17. Rc1 Qd5 18. Qa4 Be7 19. Nb6 axb6 20. Qxa8 Bd7 21. Qa7 Bb5 22. Bxb5 Qxb5+ 23. Ke3 e5, White resigns.

Black never solves the problem that starts on Move 8, a pin on the e-file neatly exploited by White.

W: Charles Hiber (2042)
B: Scott Goodman (1900)
1997 Golden Knights

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. 0-0 Bc5 6. e5 d5 7. exd6 e.p. cxd6 8. Re1+ Ne7 9. Nxd4 Qb6 10. Qe2 d5 11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. Bxd7+ Nxd7 13. Nf5 Qf6 14. Nxe7 Bxe7 15. Nc3 Nb6 16. Be3 0-0 17. Bxb6 Bb4 18. Bc7 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Qxc3 20. Bd6 Rfd8 21. Rad1 Qc6 22. Be5 Re8 23. Qg4 f6 24. Bd4 Qxc2 25. Re3 Kf7 26. h4 Rxe3 27. Bxe3 Qc7 28. Qh5+, Black resigns.