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The April Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
April 1, 2013
Above is a picture of a blindfold postal player about to record his move on a post card as dozens of postal employees watch ready to deliver the move in the Saturday mail.

Leading blindfold postal expert
A leading expert of blindfold postal play recommends this variation of the game to chess players who habitually have blind spots in their game.  He asks: "Why suffer the embarrassment of occasional chess blindness when you can be blind on every move of every game?"

Our expert was doing well in his blindfold postal match until Move 13 when he accidentally moved a Knight on Board 2 to Board 3 creating a unique double smothered mate against himself.

IM Wesley Green
Wesley Green of Green Valley, Arizona is our newest International Correspondence Chess Master.  Wesley was born December 17, 1942, and specializes in ICCF play.  Wesley finalized his IM title in the 90 Year Anniversary Canadian Tournament.


Wesley Green may be newly accredited as an International Correspondence Chess Master, but in this game he illustrates a maturity of research, judgment, and tactics that might indicate an SIM title may not be too far off in the future.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Nbd7 9.g4
Other lines don't fare as well.  9. g4 has the approval of Kasparov, Anand, Ponomariov, Adams, etc., though the recent trend of CC games is back to 9. Qd2.
More recent play has been favoring active play with 9...b5 or 9...Nb6. 18th and 21st World Champion Joop van Oosterom plays 9...Nb6 with both White and Black.
10.Qd2 Be7 11.0-0-0 b5
Black's reasoning is that it makes no sense to castle into White's kingside attack and so he strives for action on the queenside. 
12. Kb1 has its adherents as after ...b4 the c3 Knight is headed toward d5, not b1.
12...Nb6 13.Qf2
Black does very well (-0 =5 -2) after 13. Kb1 b4
13...Nfd7 14.Kb1 Nc4
This is the latest wrinkle, superseding 14...Qc7 or 14...Rc8.
White's problem child in this opening is the white-squared Bishop.  15. Bxc4 has been vying with 15. Bc1 as the preferred move here.
15...Qb6 16.Qe1 Rc8
This would seem to be the first critical point of the opening.  The center is in balance, both sides have wing attacks.  The real question seems to be how long Black can play without his King Rook.
17.Nd5 Qc6
Romm-Panyushkin, Russia cc 2012 continued 17...Bxd5 18. exd5 a5 19. Bxc4 bxc4 20. Nxa5 with a plus to White.
18.Bxc4 Qxc4
Pereira-Pinho, Portugal cc 2011 saw 18....bxc4 19. Na5 Qb5 20. Nxe7 Kxe7 21. Bd2 Rc5 22.Bb4 Rb8 23. a3 with a slight pull for White.
White's only lazy piece begins to stir. That it won't move again for fifteen moves is remarkable.
The d5 Knight is just too powerful paralyzing both Black's Knight and castling.  The exchange also has complex positional change.  Now the kingside becomes fair game for Black while c6 attracts White.
20.exd5 h5!? 21.Na5 Qc7 22.Bg5!?
A critical decision -- After 22. g5 White keeps his kingside space but closes attacking lines.  Black may be able at a future date to pry the kingside open with ...f6 or the center with ...f5 while White's queenside action based on c6 seems very limited.
22...hxg4 23.Bxe7 Kxe7 24.fxg4 Nf6
Black plans to locate the Knight on the f4 square, but his King remains a target for White.
25.g5 Nh5 26.Nc6+ Kf8 27.Qb4 Nf4 28.a4
White can't be too frisky here.  After 28. Nxe5? Black equalizes with 28...Rxh4!   Now after 28. a4! White threatens 29. Nxe5 as he need not fear 29...Rxh4? 30. Rxh4 Qxc2+ 31. Ka2 Qxd1 32. Rh8+
28...Kg8 29.axb5 axb5 30.Qxb5 g6 31.Rf1
White is just a healthy Pawn ahead with small counterplay available to Black.  The h8 Rook still has found no activity.
31...Rh7 32.Rxf4!
And now Black's only active piece is eliminated.
32...exf4 33.Qb4 Ra8 34.b3
White could take on f4 immediately, but the f-Pawn will not escape for long.
34...f3 35.Rf2 Qd7 36.Rxf3 Rg7
Black's plan is to free his Rook by ...Kh7 ...Rg8 and ....Re8
37.Kb2 Kh7 38.Rf6 Qh3
Black hopes for a swindle based on Qh1 and Qa1 mate. 
39.Qe4 Qg3 40.Rf1 Qh3 41.Qf3
White can't hurry -- 41. Rh1? Re8! frees Black's game.
41...Qxf3 42.Rxf3 Kg8 43.Rf6 Rh7 44.Rxd6 Rxh4
The Black Rook is finally out, but the three passed queenside Pawns are just too much.
45.Rd7 Rf4 46.d6 f6 47.gxf6 Rxf6 48.b4 g5 49.b5 g4 50.b6 Ra6
Now the finish is easy.
51.Ne7+ Kf8 52.b7 Rb6+ 53.Kc3 Rxb7 54.Rxb7 Rxd6 55.Nf5 Rc6+ 56.Kd3 Rf6 57.Ke4 Rc6 58.Ne3 g3 59.Kf3 Rc3 60.Rb3 Rc8 61.Kxg3 1-0


Walter Muir
            Michael Serovey   11W42     5-1
            Vytautas Vitkausjas  13W02  6-0
            Oswaldo Olivo       12W34   5 ½-½
            Thomas Segreto     12W25    5-1
John Collins
            Michael Serovey    12C01    5 ½-½
            Thomas Breuers     12C08    4-2
            Corey Karstetter     12C08    4-2
            Frank Spooner         10C29  5 ½-½
            Daniel Schoolcraft  11C13  5-1
            Harry DeWitt           12C07  6-0
            Allen Woollen      11P05    5 ½-½
Trophy Quad
            John Terrall         12Q02    4-2
            Ray Grinsteinner 11Q08  6-0  
Swift Quad
            Scott Kolb       13SQ02   6-0


Scoring 5 ½-½ Jim, Humphrey of Hagerstown, Maryland won the all- Expert John Collins 10C25.


Notes by Jim Humphrey
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1
Topalov-Carlsen, Bilbao 2008
According to ChessBase database, White wins 70% of the time, and it's Black's most common move out of over 1000 games.
13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4 Re8 15.h4 h5 16.g5 Nh7 17.Nde2 Qa5 18.Bd4 b5
The move 18...b5 looks like a novelty.  We've been following the game Mamedov (2463)-Soozankar (2278) 2005
19.Qd3 Rec8 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Rc1 b4 22.Nd5
22. Nd5 is a no brainer!  However my opponent overlooks 23. Nxe7 when he plays 22...Bb5
22...Bb5 23.Nxe7 Rd8
23...Rd8 takes some of the pressure off my King, but 24. b3 does a lot more.
24.b3 Rc5 25.Qd4+ f6 26.Rhg1
Houdini says 26. Nf4 is the best move on Move 26.  But both Pawns guarding Black's King looks weak.  If after 26. Rhg1, Black takes the Knight on e2 (And he does.)  I have a stronger attack.
26...Bxe2 27.gxf6+ Kf7 28.Rxg6 Nf8 29.Rg7+ Ke8
30. Nf5 would have been a great deal better.
30.e5? Ne6 31.Rg8+
Again 31. Rg8+? wasn't anywhere as good as 31. f7+
31...Kf7 32.Qe4 Rxg8 33.Qh7+ Rg7 34.fxg7 Nxg7 35.Rg1 Ke6 36.Rxg7 dxe5 37.Rg6+ Kd7 38.Nc6+ 1-0
QuoteIf it is necessary to sacrifice material to achieve your goal, please do it.  Caissa won't excuse if you miss such occasions because of laziness or unconfidence!  -- Sanakoev

Juraj Beres won Swift Quad 12SQ12 with a 5 ½-½ win over three fellow Experts.

 It's a long trip but eventually the a-Pawn must queen.
John Ballow sends in this annotated win from the Pan-Am tournament where he earned his IM title.


Notes by IM John Ballow

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Bc4 e6 8.N1e2 Nf6 9.Nf4 Bh7
At this point Patrick starts to challenge theory and push the envelope.  Although they aren't losing moves, they allow me to equalize with a comfortable game.
10.0-0 Bd6 11.Qf3 0-0 12.Bd3 Nbd7 13.Re1 Rc8 14.c3 Re8 15.Bxh7+ Nxh7 16.Ne4 Bf8
This Bishop is nicely placed.
17.Qg3 e5 18.Nd3 f5 19.Nd2 e4 20.Nf4 Bd6 21.Nc4 Bb8 22.Qg6 Qf6 23.a4?!
This is what I consider to be the losing move because I now gain two tempi by exchanging Queens.  It's amazing how a dubious move or loss of tempo can lose a game.  This game is so unforgiving.
23...Qxg6 24.Nxg6 Kf7 25.Nf4 g5 26.Nh3 Kg6 27.g3 Ndf8 28.Be3 Rcd8 29.a5 a6 30.Kf1 Ne6 31.Ne5+ Bxe5 32.dxe5 Nhf8 33.Ra4 c5 34.Ng1 gxh4 35.Ne2 hxg3 36.fxg3 h5 37.Ra3 h4 38.Rb3 hxg3 39.Rb6 Kh5 40.Nxg3+ Kg4 41.Kf2 Nf4 42.Rh1 Nd3+ 43.Ke2 Ne6
Getting ready for the final blow, an exchange sac.
44.Nh5 f4 45.Nf6+ Kf5 46.Nxe8 Rxe8 47.Bd2 Ng5 48.Rd6 f3+ 49.Kf1 Rxe5 50.Rd8 c4 51.Rf8+ Kg6 52.Bxg5 Rxg5 53.Rg8+ Kf5 0-1

  Robert Kelo of Ashtabula, Ohio, was born December 11,1958 and died on February 4, 2013.  Robert enjoyed playing in the Golden Knights and had worked his way up to an Expert's rating. This early game of his shows the forming Expert.


Ray Grinsteinner had lost twice against the Latvian Gambit by passive play.  This time he opted for activity!

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The House of Representatives has passed a bill requiring Saturday mail deliveries so for now you can expect that weekend postcard to arrive on time.  Nevertheless, debate on the issue continues.

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August - Chess Life Online 2014

Back to School with Jeevan KaramsettyCaruana Off to a Crushing Start in Sinquefield Cup US Masters Returns to GreensboroBack to School with Becca Lampman Strongest Chess Tournament Ever Begins in Saint LouisCaptain Melik & Coach Yury Reflect on Tromso Brownsville Recognized as Chess City of the Year [FULL AWARDS LIST] Rogers Previews World's Strongest Tournament: Sinquefield Cup Tang & Kats Pick Up Big Norms in Canada The August Check is in the Mail President's Report From Tromso Ricardo DeGuzman Tops The Field In The ValleyBookstore Bids Open for National Scholastics Azarov Wins in Washington, Sevian Nabs Final Norm Hoffman & Rohde on Impressions from the Olympiad The Captain’s Report: Donaldson on the Last Round in Tromso Brown & Guadalupe Report from FIDE Congress US Teams Win Vs. Argentina & Vietnam US Splits Both Matches Sevian Leads Washington International USCF President Ruth Haring Reports in Orlando The US Splits Match vs. Hungary Captain's Report: Donaldson on the Olympiad Last Day Discount for Millionaire Chess FIDE Congress Underway in Tromso US Wins Big vs. Uzbekistan Rest and Run: Team USA Victorious in Round 62014 Sinquefield Cup Strongest Chess Tournament in HistoryTeam USA in Norway: Shankland Stays PerfectLevon Aronian Headlines Metropolitan Chess Camp US Teams Rebound in Round Four The US Falters in Round Three GM Conrad Holt Wins US Open Title The US Team in Norway: Big Battles Set for Round 3 Four Pull Ahead in Orlando Chess Life Bonus: Melekhina Annotates Krush Draw Ten Tied After Big US Open Merge