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The March Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
March 3, 2013
Menke.jpgJohn Menke has scored the chess grand slam with his win in the 2011 Absolute, first place in the 2003 Golden Knights, first place in the 2004 Electronic Knights, and now an undefeated Absolute victory.  John's winning percentage boosts him to second place in overall Absolute percentage, second only to the great James O'Brien


It is not often you see a player as strong as Sanford Greene go down in 21 moves, but with Menke playing White, it all seems inevitable.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.0-0-0 0-0 9.f4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 h6
So far, so normal.    Most usual now is 11. Bh4 Qa5 12. Bc4 e5 13. fxe5 dxe5 14. Qd3 Bg4 15. Rdf1 Rac8 as in Plomp-Vosahlik, European Correspondence Team Championship VII Final, 2008
And now the challenge: To take or not to take ?
Black can decline the offer with 11...Qa5 12. Kb1 Rd8 as in Turicnik-Walsh, Corres. 2003, with a roughly even game.  But Greene is not one to back away from a challenge.
12.hxg5 Ng4
Statistically Black is in good shape here.  In correspondence games from this position Black is holding his own with +5 =2 -5.
But Menke finds a nearly unbeaten path.  The usual idea here is to play Be2 and Bxg4 and Qg1-Qh2 in some order, but that gives Black time to consolidate by attacking White's center.  Menke sees another plan.
This is the standard defense against a wing attack a la Nimzovich -- counterattack in the center, but it would appear better survival chances are offered by 13...Qb6 14. Rh4 Ne3 15. Na4 Nxf1 16. Rxf1 Qa6 17. R1h1 f5 18. exf5 Rxf5 when 19. Qd1 offers White strong chances with at least perpetual check.
The parent game was an obscure one: Bobras-Bernard, Ustron 2004, which continued 13...f6 14. Qe2 fxg5 15. Qxg4 Rxf4 16. Qh5 Rh4 17. Rxh4 gxh4 18. e5 Bg5+ 19. Kb1 Bh6 20. Bd3 Bd7 21. Qg6 dxe5 22. Rf1 1-0
14.g3 Be6
Black has an enormous defensive problem to solve here, the open h-file biting into his King's defensive chances.  Possibly best is to fight for the file with 14...g6 15. Bh3 Kg7 16. Qe2 f5 but the airy Black kingside should give White at least even chances after 17. Bxg4 fxg4 18. Nd5. Instead Greene tries to combat Menke's wing action with center play that doesn't quite materialize due to the weakness of d5.
15.Bh3 exf4 16.gxf4 g6
How soon White's choice of 13. Qd2 brought about a winning position.  There are no good choices for Black here.
17.Rdg1 Qc8 18.Bxg4 Bxg4 19.Nd5 Re8 20.f5 Bxf5 21.Nf6+! 1-0 
White plays for mate -- 21...Bxf6 22. gxf6 Bxe4 is met by 23. Rh8+ Kxh8 24. Qh6+ Kg8 25. Qg7 mate and 21...Kg7 22. Rh7+ Kf8 23. Qd4 is also convincing.

Saturday Mail Delivery

An email from Richard Aiken asks: This news about no Saturday delivery is a problem for us postal players. My problem is not that it slows down the game (if I was in a hurry, I wouldn't be playing postal chess), but that cogitation time is affected. I am commonly on the edge of my time control, and if I have to get a card postmarked to avoid going over the time limit, and it is Friday night, I am in trouble. Do you think there will be an adjustment made for this in the rules?

On August 5, 2013, the US Postal Service will halt Saturday deliveries of mail dependent on congressional approval. Should Saturday deliveries be halted, the change in forfeit rules will be simple: If the final day of the time limit occurs on a Saturday, a grace period will extend until and including Monday. In other words the lack of Saturday mail delivery will not cause a forfeit to occur on that weekend.


George Eichhorn wins Iowa State with a perfect 5-0.  George, born December 1, 1954, is an Iowa State OTB champion (1984 and 1985) served in the Iowa legislature between 2000-2007.  George thinking that CC play lets you focus on the analysis/thinking process as well as researching opening theory, entered an Electronic Knights tourney.  Unfortunately he played the games as if they were speed games and his rating suffered accordingly. He is now working on his thought process and learning some new openings.  And now he has a new Iowa State title to his credit. 


                  George Eichhorn  

Quote: The Fischer boom affected correspondence chess, too.  The 1972 Golden Knights was the largest ever with 770 sections containing 5,390 players. The eventual winner of a playoff over Robert Jacobs and Kiven Plesset was R. Cayford.  - beating two future Absolute winners!

Ellis225.jpgJames Ellis  11C15

James Ellis is 52, and has played CC since 1985.  He works as an accountant and webmaster for North Georgia RESA.  James notes his biggest chess influences are Nimzovich and Korchnoi.  Here he plays the Rook ending like Rubinstein.



Jaun le Roux, born 8/23/60, of Puyallup, Washington,  came from the bottom of the ratings to the top of the tournament to win Walter Muir 12W17.

White's d-Pawn advances slowly but inexorably until it reaches the seventh rank, completely tying up the Black forces.


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.


            John Collins
                James Ellis            11C15   4½ -1½
                Raymond Stefens  12C05  4 ½-1½
                Richard Chapman 11C02   5-1
                Thomas Buchanan 12C03  6-0

            Swift Quad
                 David Kolb  12SQ11   5 ½-½

 The ride may be bumpy but the fun is still there !




White's plan of h5 and Nd5-f4-g6 followed by Rf5 and Rf8 is convincing,

And now in the attacking style of the 1851 Absolute, this slasher.  White's development just overwhelms sleeping pieces.


A few judicious exchanges on Move 18 produce a big lead in development for White who steers his pieces on to win.


Black creates two passed Pawns on the queenside and that is enough to bring White's King to its knees.


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