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The September Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
September 19, 2013
Wolff.jpgWolff Morrow is a graphic artist and computer technician.  He is also the newly titled International Correspondence Chess Master.   As a graphic artist Wolff has designed roughly 100 chess book covers for Gambit Publications.  A few of them can be seen on his website www.firebrandx.com.

Wolff first took an interest in chess when he was 23 years old in 1997.  Prior to that he was an avid video game player, having won a couple tournaments and set a few world records.  He eventually began playing in OTB chess tournaments in his thirties, but found the costs, time, and travel difficult to juggle.  When he finally beat his first Master in a tournament game at the ripe old age of 35, he decided he had done as much as he could in OTB chess.

In 2007 he happened upon a "rest of the world" match versus Gert Jan Timmerman.  After the game was over, the correspondence bug hit him.  He was thrilled with the concept of playing moves from home, being able to seek the "truth" in the best possible chess that could be played.  In 2008 he joined ICCF.  He felt he was just as capable a CC player as the top in the country.  All he needed was a chance to prove it.


Aside from his win against Siefring, this game would become the most critically important of the event for him.  With Rizzo being his last remaining game after going +5, he was pretty happy with his performance thus far.  However, he began to get more and more nervous as he saw Siefring make an amazing series of wins to pull within even of his score.  There was simply no choice but to keep fighting to the bitter end in this game !


Notes by Wolff Morrow

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3

The English Attack is by far the most popular variation in the Sicilian Najdorf.  That being said, I recently had a game where I was very unhappy after Black played 6...Ng4 and easily navigated to a drawn endgame after I tried 7. Bg5.  My conclusion now is that 6. f3 is the more accurate way to reach the English Attack if White wants to force it.
Statistically more risky than 6...e5 on ICCF
7.f3 b5 8.a3!
Just like learning the hard way about 6. Be3 Ng4, I had played 8. Qd2 in a prior game where my opponent instantly took my winning chances away from me after 8...b4!  I then spent several days looking at all the games played after 9. Na4 Nbd7 and came to the conclusion that White has absolutely nothing potent in this line.  I tried my best, but to no avail: 10. Bc4 Ne5 11. Bb3 Rb8 12. 00 Bd7 13. Rfd1 Be7 14. a3 a5 15. axb4 axb4 16. Ne2 00 17. Nf4 Bb5 18. Nd3 Nxd3 19. cxd3 d5 20. Qf2 Ra8 21. Nb6 1/2-1/2 Morrow-Zemlyanov, ICCF WS/MN/083.  Since then, I vowed NEVER to fall for that cheapo again.  This is why 8. a3 deserves an exclamation point.
8...Bb7 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.g4 Nb6 11.Nb3!?
 My research in the game archives revealed Nb3 was gaining fantastic results.  I decided to test Robert with it instead of playing the more predictable 11. 000.
A dubious, if not bad move that computers seem to initially think is a good try.  It's a "horizon" effect where the long-term positional prospects White gets are not understood, and so the computer evaluates the open lane down the b-file as being adequate compensation for the weakened Pawn structure and never being able to play a break in the center.
12.Bxc4 bxc4 13.Nd4 Be7 14.g5 Nd7 15.0-0-0 Rb8 16.h4 Ba8 17.h5

I'm thematically rolling Pawns up the kingside, meanwhile Black is building up piece-play on my queenside.  Already this means I've got better endgame prospects if Black's attack ends up ineffectual.
17...Nc5 18.Nde2 0-0 19.h6 g6 20.Kb1

With the Pawn storm on the kingside locked down, I needed to hightail my King to a1 and safely away from Back's attacks down the b-file.
20...e5 21.Ka1 Qc7 22.Rb1 Rfc8 23.Rhd1 Qd7

It's hard to find anything useful for Black in this position, and this all goes back to the dubious and committal 11...Nc4.  I've got his only means of attack stifled and his Pawn structure is a mess.  He's playing with a short chip stack at this point.
The point being if 24...exf4, then a series of discovered attacks gains White a material winning advantage after 25. Bxc5 Bxg5 26. Bxd6 Rb7 27. Qh2 Bf6 28. Bb4 Qe8 29. Qxf4.
Black accepts the temporary Pawn sacrifice, but I'll regain the Pawn and break through the center in the process.
25.Nfd5 Bd8 26.f4 Bxd5 27.Qxd5 Qe7 28.f5 Ba5 29.Qxd6 Qxd6 30.Rxd6 Bxc3 31.Bxc5 Bd2!

Well played on Rizzo's part.  I was hoping for 31...Rxc5? when White will reach a much more favorable endgame after 32. bxc3 Rcc8 33. f6, which I had worked out several pages of branch analysis in order to secure a winning advantage.  As it is, I was near devastated that I had somehow let a strong advantage slip into an easily drawn endgame. Rizzo also sensed this and made a draw offer.  Had this been one of the earlier games to finish, I'd have accepted the offer without a second thought.  However, since this was my last game and my last hope to secure first place, I respectfully declined the draw offer and chose to play on.  This by itself ended up being a championship decision !
32.Ba7 Rb7 33.Rxd2 c3 34.bxc3 Rxa7 35.Rb6 Rac7 36.Rbd6 Re8 37.Kb2 gxf5 38.exf5 e4 39.Re2 Kf8 40.Rxa6 e3 41.Rb6 Rc4 42.Rb3 Re5 43.f6 Re8 44.Rb4 Rc6 45.Rf4 Rb8+ 46.Ka2 Rxc3 47.a4 Rb6
The game-losing mistake!  Also not working is 47...Rc6? when 48. Rxe3 Rxc2 49.  Ka3 Rcb2 50. Rff3 secures a winning endgame.  47...Re8 on the other had, I felt was the best move as then ...Rc6 can be played while the e8 Rook holds the e-Pawn.  For example: 47...Re8 48. a5 Rc6 49. Rf5 Rb8 50. Re5 Rxf6 51. R2xe3 Rxh6 and I honestly can't see White being able to win this with all four Rooks still on the board. 
48.a5 Re6 49.Rf5 Ke8 50.Rd5 Rc4

Going for the simplified endgame, but this also loses.  It was at this point that I knew for 100% I had the game won.
51.Kb3 Rce4 52.Rd3 Rxf6 53.Rexe3 Rxe3 54.Rxe3+ Kd7 55.Kc4 1-0

Now all tries lose for Black: 55...Kc8 56. Kb5 winning; 55...Kc7 56. Re7+ winning; 55...Kc6 56. Rb3 Rf4+ 57. Kd3 Kc5 58. Ke3 Rf6 59. Rb6 Rf1 60. Kee4 winning. Or 55...Rc6+ 56. Kb5 Rxc2 57. Rf3 Rb2+ 58. Ka4 Ra2+ 59. Kb4 Ke6 60. Ra3 Rb2+ 61. Kc3 Rb8 62. a6 Kf5 63. a7 Ra8 64. Kd4 Kg5 65. Ke5 Kg6 66. Ra6+ Kg5 67. Kd5 Kh4 68. Ra4+ Kg3 69. Kc6 f5 70. Kb7 Re8 71. a8(Q) Rxa8 72. Rxa8 and Mate in 16.55...Rxh6 56. Kb5 Rh1 57. a6 Kc7 58. Re7+ Kb8 59. Rb7+ Kc8 60. c4 Rb1+ 61. Kc6 Ra1 62. Rc7+ Kb8 63. c5 Rxa6+ 64. Kd7 RA4 65. Rc8+ Ka7 66. c6 Rd4+ 67. Kc7 f65 68. Rd8 Rg4 69. Kd6 Rd4+ 70. Ke7 Rc4 71. Kd7 Kb6 72. Rb8+ Kc5 73. c7 Kd5 74. Rb5+ Ke4 75. Rb4 Rxb4 76. c8(Q) and mate in 35.


Also earning an IM title is Weiland Belka of Cottbus, Germany.  Belka, who plays for ICCF/US,  engineers a winning Pawn breakthrough on the kingside.




                Eric Nager     12P02   5 ½-½

Walter Muir
                William Vega  13W18  4 ½-1 ½
                Michael Giordano 13W17  6-0
                Fletcher Penney   13W08  5 ½-½

Trophy Quad
                Bill Oder              12Q08     6-0
                Larry Rush       11Q03  4-2
                Kathy Richards 11Q04 3 ½-2 ½
                Robert Jones     11Q04 3 ½-2 ½

John Collins
                Thomas Buchanan  12C12  6-0
                Mark Unico                 11C28  4 ½-1 ½
                Timothy Sheehan    11C28 4 ½-1 ½
                Scott Sensiba          12C14  6-0
                Michael Butler        11C17  5-1

Swift Quad
                 Brian Brzezinski   13SQ06  4-2

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. Hard copy $10 postage included.

Quote:  Years later I woke up dreaming that I was defending my title but not having enough time for the analysis and therefore making mistakes. - Hans Berliner, 5th World CC Champion



Entries will be accepted until  1 November 2013.  The start date is 31 November 2013.

Close date for the Prelims is 31 May 2015. Semifinals will start 30 September 2015, Finals 30 September 2017

Players may enter by Direct Entry at http://www.iccf-webchess.com/, or contact Corky Schakel at [email protected]

No more ICCF Ratings for Walter Muir events

Recently started Walter Muir Quads are listed as ICCF rated, but to be ICCF rated the games must be played under ICCF rules which allow use of computers.  After the subject came up at ICCF Congress, this needs to be made clear to those entering.

What are a few Pawns among friends?  Black tosses one Pawn and catches a few more.



For a first time win by correspondence chess, White has fun !



Some games are fun.  Some games are serious. -- This one is dead serious and fun, too !


White's exchange sacrifice on move 17 opens up the kingfield for two romping Knights.


After a heart-breaking Queen loss on move 19, Hullsiek must have felt the fates against him as each flicker of hope to break even from Move 27-39 is extinguished by White.


Another illustration of the adage of how much trouble a strong player can wade in even in the opening


Check the correspondence chess area of our website to find details on ICCF titles recently awarded, including Dr. Carl L. Siefring, who earned the ICCF SIM title. Also see an index of Alex Dunne's columns here.