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The December Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
December 11, 2012

Gerard Soricelli and Paul Ott divided honors in winning the 2010 John Collins 10C12, showing why Experts are sometimes as good as Masters.


I want to thank Paul Ott for sending in this game.  It is not a perfect game.  It is a game that illustrates the struggle in chess, the battle between two individuals intent on winning. This time the victory goes to Black.


1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.d3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nge2 Rb8
This is the line that has damaged the Closed Sicilian so much.  Black's expansion on the queenside ...b5 ...b4 will strengthen his grip on the dark squares in the center while weakening White's control of the white squares.
White's already somewhat passive development is not helped by this.  As White is not going to castle long, he should just castle short.
7...Nf6 8.Be3 e6 9.f4 Qe7
Black is concerned about White playing 10. e5 dxe5 11 fxe5 Nxe5 12.Bxc5 when castling and a7 are concerns. Black should just castle -- 9...00 10. e5?! Nd5 11. Nxd5 exd6 12. Bxd5 dxe5 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14, Bxc5 Qd5 and wins.
10.Qd2 e5
This advance changes White's passive setup into a more active one.  d5 looks better after 11. 00 exf4 12. Nxf4.
11.0-0 0-0 12.Rf2
White is preparing for an attack that could be initiated now -- 12. f5 b5 13. Bg5! Qc7 14. Nd5 Nxd5 15. exd5 Nd4 16. f6 Bh8 17. g4 b4 18. Ng3 and White has better chances on the kingside than Black has on the queenside.
12...exf4 13.Bxf4 Ne8 14.Raf1
White declines the present on d5 -- 14. Nd5 Qd8 15. Raf1 Nc7 16. Bg5 Qd7 17. Nf6+ Bxf6 18. Bxf6 with an advantage.
14...Nc7 15.g4
This should be the beginning of the decline of White's game.  15. g4 strikes at the air.  But it stirs up Black's fighting spirit and the game soon becomes complicated with White once again having chances.
15...Ne5 16.Ng3 Bd7 17.Bh6 Bxh6
Black declines the opportunity for a cute draw with 17...Qh4 18. Bg5 Qxg3 19. Bf4 Qh4 20. Bg5
18.Qxh6 Bxg4!?
Very ambitious, but it is met with an ambitious reply.
19.Nf5! gxf5 20.exf5 f6 21.Rf4 Bxh3 22.Qxh3 Kh8 23.Bd5
This Bishop, which has been bad for so long, has now become champion of the h1-a8 diagonal, and as such shouldn't be exchanged off for the sleeping Knight on c7.  Much better was 23.Nd5 Qg7 24. Nxc7 Qxc7 25. Bd5
23...Nxd5 24.Nxd5 Qd7 25.Rh4 Rf7 26.Kf2 Rg8 27.Ke1
This is the right idea -- the White King can run to safety on the queenside, but the right idea not followed up can be ruinous.
27...Rg5 28.Rff4?
In this equal but unbalanced position, White makes two fatal errors and the game ends abruptly.  White should continue his King's escape with 28. Kd1. 
28...Qc6 29.c4 ?
Better was 28. Qh1 but such a move in the heat of an attack is hard to make.  Now Black's pieces harass the King.
29...Qa4   0-1
The final notes are not played, but the ending could be 30. Nxf6 Rg1+ 31. Kf2 Rgg7 32. Ng4 Qxa2 33. Nxe5 Qxb2+ 34. Kf3 dxe5 35. f6 Rg6 when White is lost.

Scoring 6-0, Peter Swan of Colorado Springs dominated the 2011 Trophy Quad showing once again why Masters are better than Experts.


18th Olympiad Final Round US Team

The US Olympic Team for the 18th Finals has been announced.  Captain Franklin Campbell will unleash four GM's and two SIM's.  Board One: GM  Steve Ham, Board Two: GM Jason Bokar, Board Three: GM Dan Fleetwood, Board Four: GM Edward Duliba; Board 5 SIM Keith Holzmueller and Board six: SIM Michael Proof.


US 20th  Olympiad Preliminary Team

Board 1: GM Jon Ostriker, Board 2: IM Carl Siefring, Board 3: SIM Ken Reinhart, Board 4 SIM Dan Perry, Board 5: SIM Tom Biedermann, Board 6: Tony Kain.  Team Captain Corky Schakel.

The US has qualified for every Olympic Final since Olympiad 13.


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


is now available at McFarland Publishers for $45.00


John Collins
Thomas Buchanan    11C14    6-0
David Stockman       11C10    6-0
Robert Eisthen          10C37    5 ½- ½
Michael Butler          10C23   4½-1½
Richard Wienckowski 11C09 5 ½- ½
 Carl Gooding               11C06   5-1
 Robert Both               11C06   5-1

Walter Muir
Matthew Lasley    12W08   6-0

Victor Palciauskas
Eugene Bedard     11P04    6-0

Swift Quad
David Pollock    11SQ14  4-2
Dennis Martin    11SQ14  4-2
Keith Storey       11SQ14  4-2

Robert Cousins shows some of the strength that earned him first place in 12SQ03.


With two games remaining, Richard Wienckowski has clinched first place in 11C09 with a 5 ½- ½ score.



The use of chess engines in USCF correspondence play has not been much of an issue.  The large majority of USCF CC players say clearly and loudly, No! No way ! but there is one group that is not so adamant: The Absolute Championship.  I entered the 2011 Championship.  I had the rating (used to have anyway) I had the position (one more player was needed) I had the ambition (I thought I would do OK, maybe a plus score) and I had the curiosity (Could I tell who was using a computer?)

First let me state I was properly crushed and finished with one of the worst Absolute scores ever, ½-11 ½.  I make this clear because players so crushed frequently blame computers rather than their lack of skill.  And while this may be the case, I think not here.  I believe computer usage will eventually be the norm at the top level while the majority of the players will do without computers and play for the love of the game.

At the end of my participation I asked the players - How many of your opponents do you think were using computers?  I got replies from everyone, though six players did not give me a number but rather said something to the effect that they were not qualified to judge or could not tell.  I did not remind them that they are among the most qualified CC players to make that judgment.  Those that did give a number said that between three and twelve players were using computers. In their opinion at least seven of the thirteen were using.

The numbers are too convincing (to me). The future too clear.  Beginning with 2013 Absolute, Computer usage for the Absolute tournament will be legalized, but only in the Absolute.

Bids for the 2013 Absolute Championship are now open.  If your CC rating is 2200+ send in your name for consideration.  You may use your computer if you choose. 

Quote: "The USA remains virtually alone as the only major international federation to forbid engine use in domestic tournaments." -- Glen Shields CCLA's server TD 


White's Knight sacrifice at the end destroys Black's defensive chances.


Black overlooks the possibility of 21. Nf5 ! but then it wouldn't be a miniature.



It's an old trick but still worth knowing


There are winning CC moves so loud you can hear the piece crash down on the board half a continent away, and there are winning moves so quiet (like Move 19) you can hear your opponent scream.


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White follows the mantra - Develop all your pieces !


Want a little fun in your chess life ?  Try the Tubingen Gambit !  In a database of over 5 million games White scored +15 -9 =5 with the Tubingen Gambit.


Seldom has a chessboard been so crowded.


There are no shades of gray in this game, just a thin line between brutality and beauty.



Black demonstrates the dangers of starting a battle with the King in the center.


Sometimes castle long is castle wrong.



See a pdf index of Alex Dunne's columns.