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The August Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
August 9, 2011
Kovats250.jpgJiri Kovats Colorado Titlist

Jiri (George) Kovats has won the 2011 Colorado State Championship with an unblemished 6-0 score.  Rated number #1 in the field, he proved ratings do matter.

Jiri is 66 years old, born in Prague, Czechoslovakia from the same home town as GM Lubomir Kavalek.  He left Czechoslovakia three days after the Warsaw Pact troops invaded in 1968. Jiri and his wife then immigrated to the United Sates in 1970.

He began to play correspondence chess in 1989.  Why ?  Jiri explains, "...for the same reason I learned Esperanto.  It is virtually unknown to the general public and is deemed to be a mysterious activity for the uninitiated folk."

Jiri's other interests include art and magic.  Yes, he used to be a magician


Some magicians make a lady disappear.  Magician Kovats stops one and makes his own appear.


1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 h6
The opening debate is whether 3...h6 weakens Black game because of the g6 square or strengthens his chances because of the possible ...g5 advance.
4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 e6 6.Bd3
GM Stephen Ham explained in Ham-Wallinger, ICCF 2004, that 6. Be2 is designed to exploit g6 by Bh5+ but that 6. Bd3 should also lead to a White advantage.
6...Bd6 7.Nge2
From here, the Knight foresees Ne2-f4-g6
7...0-0 8.Nb5
A critical moment in the opening battle.  Two other games from this position took different tacks -- 8. 00 a6 9. Rc1 Nc6 10. a3 e5 was about even in Zhukova-Przedmojski, MK Cafe Cup 1998 and 8. 00 Nc6 9. Bxd6 cxd5 10. Nf4 Ne7 also about even in Delikanakis-Vragoteris, Corfu 1991.
Black could have played 8...Nc6 here.
9.Nxf4 a6 10.Nc3 Ne4
Black has a whole army on the queenside that needs liberation.
11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.Be2 Nc6 13.c4
The Black weakness is on the kingside -- better may be 13. 00 and f3 to follow.
13...Qf6 14.0-0!?
White offers an interesting temporary Pawn sacrifice.  The play now becomes sharper.
14...Nxd4!? 15.Bg4 Nf5 16.cxd5 e5 17.Ne6 Bxe6 18.dxe6 Qxe6 19.Qc2 c6 20.Qxe4
The result of the Pawn sacrifice -- White has regained the soldier and Black has weaknesses on e5 and g6.  As the Bishop is better than the Knight here, White has a distinct edge.
20...Rad8 21.Rac1
More logical seems 21. Rad1.
21...g6 22.Rfd1 h5 23.Bh3 Qxa2?
Black, too, works as a magician: he makes the a2 Pawn disappear, but, unfortunately, he also makes his game disappear.  Safer was 23...Rd5 when Black is still in the fight.
24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Bxf5 gxf5 26.Qxf5 Qxb2
Black is a Pawn ahead with threats of mate but the exposed condition of his King is fatal.
27.Qg5+ Kf7 28.Qxh5+ Kf6 29.Qh6+ Kf7 30.Qh7+ Kf6 31.Rb1 Qd2
After 31...Rd7 32. Qh4+ and a Queen check will now guard d1 so that Rxb2 is possible.
32.Qh6+ Ke7
There is no rescue with 32...Kf5 33. f3!
33.Rxb7+ Rd7 34.Qh4+ Ke6 35.Qc4+ Kd6 36.Rxd7+ Kxd7 37.Qf7+ Kd6 38.h4
The final race to the edge of the board begins.
38...a5 39.h5 a4 40.h6 a3 41.h7 Kc5
It is not a fair race -- 41...a2 42. Qf6+ Kd5 43. Qd8+ Ke6 44. Qxd1 a1(Q)+ 45. Kh2 Qa8 46. f4! is a winner.
42.h8Q a2 43.Qxe5+ 1-0

2011 Colorado State Championship



Walter Muir
John Davis     11W11  5-1
Eliza Eggert   11W11  5-1
David Stone   11W08  5-1
Donald Wade 11W08 5-1
Tadas Vizbaras 10W34 6-0
Robert McCorkle 11W05  6-0

Trophy Quad
Lester Ferrell       09Q20  5-1
LaVerne Gildner 09Q20  5-1

Swift Quad
Joshua Jex        10SQ11  5 ½-½

John Collins
Jack Shaw        10C09  5 ½-½
Peter Dollard   09C17  5-1
Frank Spooner 09C17  5-1


The longest correspondence game?  Roger Gilbert Australian Fighting Forces Championship was halted by the censor in 1942.  Restarted in 1963 on Move 18 and 19 -- draw on 32 against Bernie Johnson.

Does anyone have a copy of this game ?

Please send it to me if you do.


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]

Chess booklet for sale 2004 Golden Knights Championship  --  booklet of the 57th USCF CC Championship -- $10.00 postage  paid.  35 pages, 90+ games


I am thinking about compiling a tournament book for the 2002 Golden Knights.  If you played in this tournament, please send me your games for such a book ! 

Quote:  If OTB chess is the mile run, then CC is the marathon.


Quote: "I will yet become correspondence world champion" -- Max Euwe at 80, a few months before his death.

Max Euwe was World OTB champion from 1935 to 1937.  He was also an active CC player in his later years.  The following game was from his last tournament, the Netherlands Championship which he had entered as a warm-up to the World Championship.  He finished 10-4 (some games were adjudicated after his death) finishing behind future world champion Joop van Oosterom and Gert Timmerman.


1.d4 f5 2.Qd3

Apparently first played by Hans Kmoch in Kmoch-Alekhine, Semmering 1926.
2. ... d5 3.Bf4
Modern players seem to prefer 3. g4!? Here, but Euwe presumably had studied the Kmoch-Alekhine game in preparation for his World Championship match with Alekhine and had found an improvement.
3. ...e6 4.Qg3!
Displacing the Black Knight (Kmoch had played 4. Nf3).
4...Na6 5.e3 c6 6.Nc3 b6 7.Be5 Qd7 8.0-0-0 Bb7 9.f3 0-0-0 10.e4 Ne7 11.Nh3 Ng6 12.exf5 exf5 13.f4 Nc7 14.Bd3 Nxe5 15.fxe5 Ne6 ?
White has only a small advantage after 15...g6
16.Bxf5 g6 17.Bg4 Bh6+ 18.Kb1 Rde8 19.Qh4 Qg7 20.Rhf1 Kb8 21.Rf6 Nd8 22.Ng5 Rhf8 23.Rdf1 Bxg5 24.Qxg5 h6 25.Qf4 g5 

White is also winning after 26. Qg3.
26. ...gxf4 27.Rxe8 Qxg4 28.Rxd8+ Kc7 29.Rf8 Qxg2 30.Rf7+ 1-0

Donald Wade shows strong form in this win from his first CC tournament.


The struggle for the center starts on one wing, flips to the other and ends with a mass centralization of forces on both sides.


Those who like "positional chess" will be impressed by the coolness of Goebel's strategy.


While Black misses 18...Nxe5 to hold on, White misses nothing.


Bussom introduces a new twist to an old gambit


White's attack is consistent, persistent, and non-resistant.


Here's a contest for you.  Get an index card.  Cover up White's moves in the following game.  You are playing a strong Expert.  See if you can predict White's next move.  Have fun !


For more by Alex Dunne see an index of Check is in the Mail columns.


August - Chess Life Online 2011

Tension Builds at the World Cup Kamsky Advances in World Cup TiebreakGreg Shahade on a Manhattan Comeback Most and Lapshun Top Atlantic Open Shankland, Onishuck & Ivanov Advance at the World Cup; Others Head to Tiebreak Shankland Shocks Leko as US Squad Scores 3.5-1.5 Updates on Hurricane Related Event Cancellations US Chess League Teams Gear Up for New Season US Squad Heads to Russia for World Cup US Chess School Comes to Charlotte Michael Adams Wins Metropolitan International Steininger Earns US Blind Title; Torres Wins Tournament Romanenko & Shabalov Top Manhattan; Two Norms Notched Parker Zhao Shocks a GM at the Manhattan Open Adams Leads Metropolitan International [VIDEO]US Blind Championships in Progress Annual Chess Journalists of America Awards: Winners are in 1st Metropolitan International Begins [VIDEO] Manhattan Open Begins with Upsets Metropolitan International Kicks Off with Adams Simul Greg on Chess: Stop the DrawMetropolitan International Features 11 GMs Robson Close But No Medal in India Boy Scouts of America to Unveil Chess Merit Badge in September A New Lens on Computer Chess Karpov Joins Kings vs. Queens FieldGMs Tiviakov & Shankland to play in Northern California InternationalThree-Way Tie for First in Cleveland OpenJoel Brings Home the Benjamins at Northeast Open The August Check is in the Mail Lenderman on Top in Orlando World Youth Selection Criteria RevisedNakamura, Lenderman & Zapata Pull Ahead at US Open The Fairy Godmother’s GambitEight Players Tied After Big Merge in Orlando A Parent’s Perspective: Initiation Into the Denker Senatorial Nod for National Chess DayNakamura Jumps into US Open in Orlando New Champs Crowned in Orlando: Vilenchuk, Brown & Williams, Gologorsky World Champ Anand Opens World Junior in India Denker, Barber & US Junior Girls Approach Finale Nakamura Ends Dortmund on an UpswingTournament of Champions Reach Halfway Mark