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The February Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
February 17, 2013
FabioFino.jpgAfter three years of play and with only one game remaining, the 25th World Championship Final has a winner and New World Champion, GM Fabio Finocchiaro from Italy!

Fabio Finocchiaro is 73 years old and lives in a village on the island of Sicily.  Fabio alone among the seventeen contestants used postcards to transmit his moves while everyone else used email.  Nevertheless he finished all his games on time. There is still one game remaining, but it does not affect first place.  Finocchiaro's games from the 25th World Championship have not yet been released so here is a win from the 15th World Championship Final against the US's Robert Reynolds.


1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Nf3 g6
 In this way Fabio sidesteps the passive ...e6 in favor of a more flexible piece arrangement.
5.e3 Bg7 6.Be2
This small step of the Bishop instead of the usual 6. Bd3 was a Reynolds specialty, he having played it many times in top competition.
 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.h3 Re8
With the goal of ...e5 so White is forced to backtrack with 9. Bf4 or start center action with 9. Ne5. 
After 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. f4 Qb6 12. Qc1 f6, Black stands better.
9...b6 10.Ne5 Nxe5
Finocchiaro accepts the challenge.  In previous games (Reynolds-Osterman, Algeria Jubilee 1993 for one instance) Reynolds had faced only 10...Bb7
 11.Bxe5 Bh6
At first sight an odd move, but Back wants to play ...Nd7 and ...e5 without exchanging Bishops.
12.Bf3 Nd7 13.Bf4!?
And White crosses Black's plan as now 13...Bg7 is met by 14. e4! when White has the initiative in the center.  Black has to settle for a slight structural weakness in White's position.
13...Bxf4 14.exf4 Ba6 15.Re1 e6 16.Ne2 Rc8 17.c3 Qf6
After 17...Bxe2 the middlegame is even.
18.Qd2 c5 19.g4
White's justification for this move is that Black is gaining the initiative on the queenside, but it might have been better to just sit and wait.
19...Rc7 20.Ng3?!
And now White abandons the queenside.  Better was 20. Rad1 to meet ...cxd4 with Nxd4 and dynamic equality.
20...cxd4 21.cxd4 Rec8 22.f5
Of course White can now not challenge the c-file as the f or d-Pawn will fall and so must continue his kingside operations.
22...Rc2 23.Qf4 Nf8 24.g5 Qd8 25.f6 h6!
 Fabio demonstrates world championship defensive qualities -- Black defends against White playing h4, h6; h5! breaking open the Black kingside and Qh4-h6 and Qg7 mate. 
26.h4 Rxb2 27.Rac1 Rbc2 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Re5 Nd7 30.h5!?
" It may be desperation, but it's all I've got," may be the attitude, and what White was thinking, but otherwise it's resignation.
 30...hxg5 31.Rxg5 Qxf6 32.Qe3
The endgame is easy after 32. Qxf6 Nxf6 33. hxg6 fxg634. Rxg6+ Kf7 and a2 falls.
32...Rc3 33.Rxg6+ Qxg6 34.Qxc3 Qd3 35.Qc7 Qxf3 36.Qxd7 Bc4 37.a4
Similar to the game is 37. Qxa7 Qd1+ 38. Kg2 Qxd4
37...Qf6 38.Qxa7 Qxd4 39.Qe7 Qf4 40.Qd8+ Kg7 41.h6+ Kh7
The last trap -- 41...Kxh6? 42. Qh8+ Kg6 43. Qg8+ Kf6 44. Qd8+  is a draw.
42.Qxb6 d4 1-0 
White concedes.  After 43. Qc5 the game might have continued 43...Bd5! 44. Qf8 Qc1+ 45. Nf1 Qg5+ 46. Ng3 f5! 47. Qf7+ Kxh6 48. Qf8+ Qg7 with a Black win.


1.  The food is better.
2.  Time pressure is measured in days, not minutes.
3.  Take a break to watch "The Daily Show"
4.  MCO !
5.  The trip home is already over.
6. A nap in the middle of the game is not always a bad idea.
7.  Always your choice of chess sets
8.  Analysis is deeper when you can physically move the pieces.
9.  "J'adoube" is unnecessary.
10.  Penmanship counts !

Swift Quad 
      Stephen Mattox    12SQ13  5 ½-½
      Eric King              12SQ09  5 ½-½
      Scott Kolb            12SQ15   6-0

John Collins
      Jill Jaris         11C04    4 ½-1 ½
      Leon Teague  11C07      5-1

Walter Muir
     Robert Steiner  12W29  5 ½-½


Ernie Blair is interested in possibly buying (at a reasonable price) your  collection of old chess cards.  Ernie would like to preserve these artifacts of an earlier day.  Contact Ernie at [email protected]


Two prizes of $100 are given to the winners, Master and non-Master, of the best game published in "The Check" in 2012. Winners should contact Joan DuBois.  

In the Master category - Dan Woodard for his game against David Porter from October's "The Check".



In the non-Master division, the winner is Edward Addis from March 2012.



Lutes.jpgW. John Lutes was born January 2, 1938, died January 3, 2013.   John, Master level OTB, was an adherent to the Weaver Adams school of US chess - attack, attack, always attack ! and was the author of nine opening chess books that encouraged that attitude. In 1964 John drew a simultaneous game against Bobby Fischer. John worked as a neurological respiratory therapist in Peoria, Illinois.  He abandoned OTB play in 1979 due to his strenuous job requirements.  His final illness caused him to twice withdraw from postal play, but always the optimist that a good attacker must be, John kept coming back.


The hero of this piece is White's h-Pawn that dies just before reaching the promised land.


The 2013 Absolute Tournament Begins

The 2013 Absolute Tournament is one of the strongest ever.  It is a Category 5 event, with an average rating of 2362  Here are the participants in rating order.  John Menke (2486) Ted Brandhorst (2440) Harry Ingersol (2400) Wilbur Tseng (2390) Daniel Woodard (2367) Keith Rodriguez (2365) David Sogin (2354) Abe Wilson (2330) John Ballow (2324) Dana Daves (2319) Anthony Kain (2311) Danny Horwitz (2309) Kristo Miettinen (2307)

 The 2013 event will be the only USCF event where computer engine use is allowed. A prize fund for the event has been established thanks to the generosity of  David Sogin, James Sawaski, Joan DuBois, John Menke, USCF, Keith Rodriguez, Robert Rizzo, and Corky Schakel.

Quote: Probably it is correct to say that a true understanding of chess is the main thing in correspondence play, whereas a quick and sure "sight of the board" is the main thing over the board. -- Cecil Purdy

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 and Amazon for $45.00 and also Kindle at $16.49

NEW!  2006 Electronic Knights Championship ebook.  190 games some annotated, all the crosstables, bios of the top three, list of all the finalists, ChessBase format, .pgn notation  and Microsoft .pdf format.   $4.00 postage paid for the disk, $2.00 sent to you via email.

A tale wherein a mobile, dancing Queen defeats three clumsy pieces.


All the action occurs on the queenside in this final game of the now defunct Express Tournaments.


Lasker defined chess as a fight.  Here is proof!


White's pieces find all the right squares in this game.


 Schultheis tries to fit some new wine in an old bottle, but, alas!  It is still not fit to drink.


See a pdf index of Alex Dunne's columns.