The February Check is in the Mail
By Alex Dunne   
February 16, 2015
Viacheslav Ragozin, the second world correspondence chess champion was born October 8, 1908.  He became a Grandmaster in 1950 and an international arbiter in 1951.  When the Soviet Union became a newly admitted member of ICCF, they passed over their postal champion Atyashev to send Ragozin to the World Championship Finals.   Ragozin's score of +9 =4 -1 was enough to win the title by half a point. Ragozin died 6 March, 1962.


Much has been written and praised about attacking chess  -- the striking beauty and sacrificial genius behind a successful mating attack.  Ragozin shows there are two sides of that coin in this game of striking beauty and sacrificial genius in the defense of his King.


1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 c5  7.Nc3 Nc6 8.d5 Na5
The Panno Variation of the King's Indian Defense was all the rage in the Fifties and has remained a popular variation.
This was a line favored by Euwe in the Fifties but later largely supplanted by 9. Nd2 when it was discovered the Queen was much better placed on c2.  Contemporary play might continue 9. Nd2 a6 10. Qc2 Rb8 11. b3 b5 as in Wang Hao-Mamedyarov, Sportsacord 2011.
This is fundamental to the Panno Variation -- Black must use the Knight on a5 or forever have it remain offsides.  Black plans queenside expansion by ...Rb8 ...a6 and ..b5.
Two World Championships later, Bergraser would vary with 10. Nd2 Bd7 11. a4 Ng4 12.  e4 Qb6 with a Black edge in Bergraser-Nyman, 4th World Championship Finals, 1962
10...Rb8 11.e5!?
White must strike where he has the advantage, and that is in the center. 
White gains the advantage after 11...dxe5 12. Nxe5 Nxd5 13. Nxf7 Rxf7 14. Bf4!
12.e6 fxe6 13.Ng5 exd5
Black could secure an edge by 13...Ne5 14 Qe2 exd5 15. Bxd5+ Kh8 16. Bf4 Bf5! 17. Bxe5 Bxe5 18. Nf7+ Rxf7 19. Bxf7 e6 20. Kg2 Qf6 21. gr4 Qxf7 22. gxf5 Qxf5
14.cxd5 b5 15.h3 Nf6 16.Ne2
White does better to secure e6 right away with 16. Qe2 to be followed by Ne6.
16...Bf5 17.Qd1 Ne8 18.g4 Bd7 19.Nf4 Nc7 20.Qc2 Qe8
Black must be careful -- White threatens 21. Nxg6 hxg6 22. Qxg6 Rf6 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. Re1 Be8 25. Be4 with attacking chances.
21.Be4 Rf6 22.Re1 Nc4 23.a4 Ne5

The Panno Knight has returned to a dominant spot in the center of the board.
24.axb5 Nxb5
Black activates his other Knight now, avoiding 24...axb6 25. Ra7 and looking toward d4
25.Nfe6 Bxe6 26.Nxe6 Nd4 27.Nxd4 cxd4 28.f4 Nd7 29.Rxa6
White has restored material balance and the position is roughly even.  Black's King is the safer of the two but, for now, the Black forces are not in  an attacking mood.
29...Nc5 30.Rc6 Qf7?!
Black avoids the lifeless position after 30...Nxe4 31. Rxe4 to fasten on the weaknesses around the White King.  Now 31. g5? is met by 31...Rxf4!.  The text is an invitation to a Queen sacrifice , but it should have been better to take the draw.
31.b4! Rxb4 32.Rc8+ Bf8 33.g5 Rxf4 34.Bxf4 d3!

Necessary, as 34...Qxf4 35. Rf1 Qxg5+ 36. Kh1 Nd7 37, Qc7 is winning for White.
35.Qg2 Qxf4 36.Rf1 Rxe4! 37.Kh1
White plays for the win -- 37. Rxf4 Rxf4 38. Qd2 Rf5 39. h4 Rxd5 40. Qa2 e6 41, Qf2 Nd7 42, Qf2 Nc5 frustrates that.
37...Qf5 38.Rxf5 gxf5 39.Qf2 f4 40.Qd2?

It was necessary for White to start thinking about defense and bringing his Rook back for defense with 40. Rb8 and Rb1. 
40...Re3 41.Qf2 Nd7

Black could repeat with 41...Re4 but he senses more -- 42. Qxf4 d2 is painful.
White is stuck in attack mode, but his pieces do not cooperate.  Now he falls prey  to Black's more cohesive forces.
42...Re2 43.Qf1 Ne5 44.Qxf4 Nf7  0-1

White resigned here.  Ragozin gave the following conclusion: 45. Rxf8+ Kxf8 46. Qf1 Kg8 47. h4 Ne5 48. h5 Re4 49. Qf2 d2! 50. Qxd2 Rh4+ 51. Kg2 Rh2+ 52. Kxh2 Nf3+.  Black wins also after 45. g6 hxg6 46. Qg3 Nxd8 47. Qxg6+ Bg7 48. Qxd3 Re5

This game from forty years ago deserves to be better known.  It is Laird's Immortal Grunfeld Defense.



Gene Bate

Gene Bate of Kansas City, MO has died. Gene was born February 26, 1954, and was a Life Member of the USCF.


James Tracz has sent in another of his games, excellently analyzed for your reading pleasure.


Notes by James Tracz
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Bg5
This has been a popular variation for Black recently, but I think White has a good Queen's Gambit type position with the two Bishops.
This is Black's most aggressive move, attempting to open the position to exploit the lead in development.
If 6. cxd5 then ...cxd4 7. Qxd4 Nc6 gains an important tempo for Black.
8...d4 9.Qc2
A critical point.  White has a completely different method of play on the kingside with 9.  Qg3.
9...e5 10.e3
White has to react quickly with an immediate attack on the Black center.
10...h6 11.Bh4 Qe7
The move 11...Re8 occurred in the high level game Malakhov-Karjakin, Moscow 2010.  Play continued with 12. 000 Nc6 13. Nf3 b6 where Black gives up a Pawn for an attack against the White King.
This was a novelty of GM Nepomniachtchi.  Play continued with 12. 000 Nc6 (Maybe best for Black is 12...dxe3 where after 13. fxe3 Qxc5 14. Bxf6 Qxe3+ 15. Kb1 gxf6 16. Bd3 Nc6 17. Nf3 Rd8 18. Rhe1 Qc5 19. h3 GM Mikhalchishin does not think White has enough compensation for the Pawn.) 13. Ne2 (GM Mikhalchishin gives 13, Nf3 as better.) 13...dxe3 14. Rd6 Be6 15. fxe3 Rfd8 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17, Nc3 Qg5 was Zhu Chen- Kosintseva, Hangzhou 2011 where GM Krasenkow gave the position as unclear.
This is a new move.  Two other moves have been played.  12...Re8 13. Rd1 (But not 13. Nf3? which was the idea behind Black's last move because after ...d3 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Qxd3 e4 White does not have enough compensation for the piece. ) 13...a5 14. Nf3 Nc6 (But now 14...d3 is not as good as before because after 15. Rxd3 e4 16. Rd6 exf3 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. gxf3 White has excellent compensation for the piece.) 15. 00 d3 16. Rxd3 e4 17. Rd6 exf3 18. Bxf6 fxe2 19. Bxe7 exf1(Q)+| 20. Kxf1 Rxe7 was Nepomniachtchi-Karjakin, Moscow 2011.  White has a material advantage but the game was drawn.12...Nbd7 13. b4 a5 14. Rb1 azxxb4 15. axb4 Rd8 was Lupulescu-Svane, Bundesliga 2012

In his notes to the Nepomnischtchi-Karjakin game, GM Krasenkow gives 13. Nf3 g5 14. Bg3 Rd8 as unclear.

Better was 13. e4 where GM Krasenkow gives the variation 14. exd4 Nxd4 15. Qc3 Qe5 16. Rc1 Rd8 as unclear.
14.b5 Nb8 15.exd4 exd4 16.Nf3 Rd8 17.0-0

White has a winning advantage with the big lead in development.
17...Bg4 18.Rfe1 Qxc5 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Rad1 Rd6 21.Qe4
White has numerous threats with his active pieces.
21...Bc8 22.Bd3 f5 23.Qe7 Qb6 24.Qe8+
White wins a piece so Black resigns. 1-0

January Results

John Collins
Thomas Buchanan   14C07   6-0
Leonard Luoma       12C18   6-0

John Morrow              13C19  6-0

Swift Quad
Kendrick Aung      14SQ04  5 ½- ½
David Stone           14SQ09  6-0

Trophy Quad
Jill Jaris  13Q01     5-1
Jill Jaris  13Q02     4-2
Paul Ciarrocchi  13Q02   4-2

Walter Muir
David Wright         14W35   5-1
Thomas Hooper 14W35   5-1
Dwayne Hoffman  14W40  6-0

Accurate record keeping is certainly crucial to being a successful correspondence chess player.
-- Steve Lopez

The Bishops have their conclave in five of the last six moves in  this Samisch Variation.


When Black fails to solve the problem of the pin on his f6 Knight, the end is a foregone conclusion.


White shows some impressive attacking prowess.


White gives a lesson in judicious simplification.