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The August Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
August 5, 2010


Second and Third Finishers in 2003 GK
Laurence Bonsack - Second Place

Laurence Bonsack of North Highlands, CA is a 58-year-old retired chemical engineer.  Laurence plays CC because  he finds it a great way to experiment with different openings and an excellent way to  develop analytical abilities.


Laurence out analyzes  Jiri Kovats when White's board-wide activities can't find a coordinating point.


1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nc3
Violating a basic rule of double d-Pawn games -- the c-Pawn should not be blocked by the Knight.  The present position is rare in CC play, but Black scores well.
5...Bg4 6.Be2 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Ne5 Bxe2 9.Qxe2 cxd4 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.exd4 Qb6 12.Rad1
Perhaps Kovats is playing to improve on 12. Qd3 as in Rakic-Abramovic, Kladovo 1991, as after 12...00 13. a3 a5 14. b3 Nd7 the position was even.  But this is a real Pawn sacrifice and Bonsack correctly evaluates that he can take the offered Pawn.
12...Qxb2! 13.Rd3 Qb6
White was threatening 14. Rb1 Qa3 15. Nxd5! but now White will have to prove he has enough for the Pawn.
14.Rb1 Qa6 15.Be5 0-0 16.Rg3 Qxe2 17.Nxe2 Rfe8 18.Rb7 Kf8 19.Rh3 h6 20.Nf4 Ne4! 21.Rhb3 c5 22.Rf3 Kg8 23.Ne2 f6 24.Bc7 cxd4 25.Nxd4 Nc5 26.Rb2 Rec8 27.Ba5
White's forces are simply too disorganized to offer any real resistance.
27...Kf7 28.Bb4 Rab8 29.a3 a5 30.Bc3 Rxb2 31.Bxb2 Rb8 32.Bc1 Rb1 33.Ne2 d4 34.Kf1 d3! 35.cxd3 Nb3 36.d4 Nxc1 37.Nc3 Ra1 0-1

Thomas Connelly
Thomas Connelly - Third place

Thomas Connelly placed third in the 2003 Golden Knights.  Thomas is a retired attorney living in Newport News, VA.  He mentions that he and his wife are proud servants to four demanding cats.


When White essays an unusual treatment of the Sicilian, Black takes advantage of an exposed kingside.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6 4.0-0 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.Bb5
So far this has been Cotton-Allen, IECC 1999 when White could have won a piece after 7. d3 Ne5? 8. Nxe5 ! Bxd1 9. Bb5+ 
7...Nd7 8.g4 Bg6 9.d4 a6 10.Be2 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Nc5 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.f4 Qb6!?
This is more bravery than bluff -- after 14. f5! Nb3+ 15. Kg2 Nxa1 16. fxg6 hxg6 17. b3 e6 18. Bb2 Nxc2 19. Qxc2 Black has two Pawns for the piece and White's King is a bit shaky.   Still, this was White's best bet.
14.Kh2 f6 15.Bf3 Nd7 16.a4 e5 17.g5
 White fights to open lines -- but it is his King at the end of those open lines.  Better was 17. f5 to keep the kingside closed.
17...Be7 18.a5 Qb7 19.f5 Bf7 20.gxf6 Nxf6 21.Rg1 g6 22.Bg5 Qc7 23.Bxf6
After this, Black takes over.  Worth taking a look was 23. Qe1.
23...Bxf6 24.fxg6 hxg6  
Two Bishops, open h-file, better center, unstable White King -- Black finishes up quickly.
25.Na4 Rd8 26.Nb6 Bg7 27.Kg2 Bh6 28.Qd3 Bf4 29.Rh1 Qe7 30.Bg4 Qg5 31.Qxa6 Be6 32.Qe2 Rh4 33.Kf2 Bxg4 34.hxg4 Ke7 35.Rxh4 Qxh4+ 0-1

ERRATA: Last month I mistakenly listed John Menke's (considerable) achievements as including first or second places in the 1997-2001 Golden Knights.  These wins were recorded by John Burton.  John Menke scored in the 2003 Golden Knights and the 2004 and 2005 Electronic Knights. 


LEARN CHESS BY MAIL !  Lessons given by mail, telephone, ICC - many different ways.  I specialize in players rated 800-2100 who would like to improve their game.  Contact me for information.  Alex Dunne, 324 West Lockhart St., Sayre, PA 18840 or [email protected]


Swift Quad
Harold Brown       09SQ13    6-0

John Collins
Thomas Lynd       09C04      5-1
Jim Humphrey     09C04      5-1
Stephen Fairbairn 07C57      5 ½-½
Kenneth Douglas  09C27      6-0
Brian Lafferty      07C56      6-0
Thomas Chromczak  09C39 6-0
James Ward          08C01     4 ½-1 ½
Bradley Boyd      08C33      3 ½-2 ½
Gene Brown        08C33      3 ½-2 ½
Tim McGill          08C13      5-1

Trophy Quad
Lee Keebler          08Q14    3 ½-2 ½
Wilfred Ching      08Q14    3 ½-2 ½
Jill Jaris                09Q03    5 ½- ½
Daniel Walker-Elias 09Q12  6-0
LeRoy Sims         09Q09      4-2
Alphonse Zenoh  09Q09      4-2
Ramon Abreu     09Q09      4-2

Walter Muir
Thomas Manney   10W11    5-1
John Thomson       09W30   5 ½-½
Inoel Cardenas       10W13   4 ½-1 ½
Wilbur Tseng           09W21    5-1
S Roychoudhury    09W08  5 ½- ½
David Wright         10W21   4 ½-1 ½

Palciauskas Tournament
Eugene Bedard     09P01     6-0

Using Twitter to play correspondence chess has become common.  Here is the first game I have seen on Twitter .


But more than just a medium for playing chess, twitter is conducting an interactive program called Chess Tweets.  Chess Tweets is an experiment to create an automated and objective combination of mind and machine. The idea is to play a CC game with participants of any strength sending in moves. Anyone may participate and Tweet gives a weighted value to each participant's suggested move (more than just ELO rating).  Computer usage is discouraged.  Interested twits (is that the right word?) can contact [email protected]  

Although the response was small, it was quite clear what postal players prefer if the post office decides to no longer deliver on Saturdays.  By a clear majority the preference is that the reflection time should not be counted when the post office is closed, and that meant Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.   This will probably become the rule when the post office cuts back, but is not yet official. 

The winner of the contest for the best Russian CC game played between 2006-2009 was announced at http://chesspro.ru where the following game and others may be found.  The game notes say that this game improved on Kasimdzhanov-Ivanchuk, Turin 2006. (19. hxg4)  The end position features a winning attack by White.



Due to the generosity of one of our correspondents who prefers to remain anonymous, two beauty prizes have been established to be awarded to the best Master game and the best non-Master game appearing in "The Check Is in the Mail".  These awards will be announced yearly, probably in January.  So, if you have a game you would like to see properly recognized, send it in to me for possible publication and possible winning of the $100 prize offered in each category.  I will be the sole judge of the entries.   For now, I am calling the prize the USA Beauty Prize.  Perhaps you can suggest a better name?

The US Post Office has applied for a rate increase effective January 2, 2011, if approved.  The cost of a first class letter would be 46 cents (up two cents) and a US post card stamp would also increase by two cents to 30 cents. The postal increases reflect a steady drop in US mail volume since 2007.  If you disapprove of the postal increase, quick, send an email to the Postmaster General  -- oh, wait.  That may be the root cause of the post office projected 7 billion dollar loss for 2011.

Quote:  My advice, which has always worked for me is: never get involved in unfriendly or even rude arguments with your opponents!  If any discussion is getting unpleasant, then cut back the discussion, or drop it completely.  Usually it does not even get that far, as one can tell early on which way the wind is blowing.  == Kon Grivainis

Ken Koepplin shows off some powerful attacking Pawns.


CC Fact: The North American Correspondence Chess League tournament of 1934 offered unusual prizes to its finishing participants -- a prize of an individual chess piece from the men used at the Pasadena tournament of 1932 -- the pieces used by Alekhine, Reshevsky, Fine, Kashdan, and Reinfeld et  al. 

Two Bishops dominate two Knights in this example from an Express tournament.           


Steve Fairbairn writes of this game, "...it's not very spectacular, an endgame grind, but it was an example of a perhaps unsung facet of how  correspondence chess can benefit those of us who play over the board as well, developing endgame skills.  I've had a couple of cases where endings I've had in CC have come up in over the board games, and I'm so much better equipped to deal with them".


When White mistakenly goes hunting two Pawns on the queenside, he didn't foresee losing two pieces chasing them.


Brian Wood's final words to his opponent: "Well done, sir!" are a fitting caption to this match game.

KING'S INDIAN ATTACK (A08) White: Tom Morrell (1700)

Check out an archive of Alex Dunne's postal chess columns here and also read his article from the July 2010 Chess Life Magazine on the 2008 USCF Absolute Championship.

August - Chess Life Online 2010

RAW World Chess Challenge: Magnus Takes on the World US Senior Wraps: Ivanov Wins, Kaufman Advances to World SeniorBarnett Joins GMs Paragua & Shabalov at the Top of the Atlantic OpenUS Chess League Opens with FireworksAlexander Ivanov Wins 2010 US Senior Ivanov and Kudrin Lead US SeniorFour Lead US Senior OpenDean Sweeps the Dean of Chess Academy FIDE Invitational US Senior Open Kicks Off Americans Abroad: Nakamura Nets Amber Spot US Senior Open Begins MondayUS Olympiad Teams Finalized A Grandmaster Vacation: GM Pascal on SturbridgePerfection in Montreal GM Rogers on NH Chess: Nakamura on a Roll Grand Prix Rule Changes Include 1st Prize Minimum 2010 US Chess League Preview Americans Abroad: From Greece to Canada Schein - Friedman Scholastic Project The Kids are Alright in AmsterdamAmericans in Europe, ContinuedNakamura Saves Draw vs. Van Wely and Scores vs. NielsenNakamura Starts NH Masters with a WinUpdate on Americans in Europe From Trophies to Money: A Chess Mom on the Southern Open USCF Recognizes Leaders at Awards Luncheon Nakamura to Play for World Against Carlsen in G-Star Raw ChallengeGM Ramirez Coasts to Victory at the US Open US Champion Kamsky Wins Mainz Rapids! Ramirez Sole Leader as US Open Nears FinaleTommy He Golden in Brazil Ramirez & Shabalov Lead in IrvinePan-Am Nears Conclusion GM Kaufman on Fischer Random & The Irvine Grind Ramirez Perfect as Merge Approaches Campaign for FIDE President Heats up Middle EastRamirez Still Perfect at the US Open as Six-Day Heats UpToby Boas, GMs Becerra & Paragua Share First at the Southern OpenFavorites Prevail in Denker & TOC; Six-Day US Open Schedule BeginsThe August Check is in the Mail Arnold and Melekhina Off to the World Juniors Learning From Your Losses Leaders Emerge in Irvine