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Jim Gallagher (passed May 10,2004)

Jim Gallagher: an appreciation - by Selby Anderson

A top chess master in South Texas, and a chess teacher of national caliber who started the first chess school in the U.S., has left us. James Joseph Gallagher died May 10 of an apparent heart attack in his San Antonio apartment. He was 46.

His impact on the lives of hundreds of children was aptly summed up by his father in the Express-News: “Few chess masters became so involved in the lives of their students; he was a champion of and for the children.”

Highlights of his tournament career include tying for first in the Southwest Open (1990), sharing in the Texas state championship title (1989), and winning the San Antonio city championship four times (1987, 1991, 1992, 1993), in each case with clear first.

He was an avid team player, and six times he shared in the Texas team championship title. He took pleasure in creating colorful names for his teams, such as “Fleet Wood Sac,” “Texas Pawn Chain Massacre,” and in the wake of the 2000 election, “Dimpled Chads.”

A memorial gathering was held May 18 at Lions Field, drawing 87 people – friends, former chess students and their parents, Jim’s father, and his sisters Cathie and Renee. Many shared their stories at the podium that afternoon.

Sid Pickard, a chess book publisher in Dallas, e-mailed this remembrance:

I first met Jim Gallagher in 1981, at the Memphis Chess Club. Friendly and outgoing, Jim soon became a regular fixture at my apartment, where we passed countless hours in combat at chess. Often the rising sun would find us still testing whatever variation captured our attention at the moment. All told, I suppose we played over a thousand blitz games together. The point is that I was able to closely observe Jim under many conditions, and to note those sterling qualities he possessed in abundance. As a chess player Jim had all the traits we might expect of a master – discipline, mental toughness, patience, optimism, endurance, intellectual honesty, and a host of others. In fact, Jim became a chess master long before his rating proved the case.

After he reached his initial goal of 2200, about 18 months before I did, Jim liked to tease me that I had “pounded” him to the master title . . . while he had merely pounded me! Kidding aside, it was during those months that I saw another fine aspect of Jim's personality. Every day would bring some word of encouragement, or positive advice, or helpful comment; he cheered me on, and, when I finally reached 2200 myself, nobody was happier for me than Jim Gallagher. He had a truly generous spirit.

Jim attended my wedding in 1985, and my wife and I honeymooned in Las Vegas – with Jim at the National Open! After the tournament Jim gave us a casino chip of large denomination as a wedding present, and the three of us had some serious fun for a couple of days. We left Jim, who was riding a lucky streak at the poker tables, and went on to San Francisco before returning home to Memphis. About a month later my new wife and I could no longer resist the lure of bright lights, so we returned to Las Vegas for a long weekend. And there we found Jim Gallagher, still playing poker, and enjoying the life of a professional gambler with casino “comps” and free drinks. By now he prided himself on being able to spot easy marks among the “tourists.” A few days later my wife and I went home to Memphis, and about six weeks later Jim arrived back in town. He said that the gambler’s life was okay for a while, but it was time to get back to work. Later I discovered that some “tourist” had absorbed Jim’s bankroll at the poker table, and that a stop at the Western Union office was needed for his return air fare.

There are many great Jim Gallagher stories, more than time allows to tell them. Someone has only to mention “Butt outsky, Budinsky!” to make me laugh. Or his incredulous “Oh, really?” when one luckless opponent resigned much, much too late. And I remember watching Jim at a tournament game, suffering in a terrible position. When his opponent left the room, Jim took the opportunity to throw his head back and sing a full-volume chorus of the Beatles’ “I’m a Loser” in the tournament hall.

Sorry Jim, you were wrong. You were never anything remotely like a loser. What you were was an outstanding friend, and I will miss you. I will miss Jim Gallagher very much.

Jim’s ashes were flown to Ohio to be with his mother’s.

I think Jim identified with the hulking barbarian warrior on his trademark Molly Hatchet shirt that he liked to wear to chess tournaments for good luck. (“Hell yeah!” it read.) Jim loved combat on the board, on the football field, and in lively debate about anything you could name.

Before Jim was a chess master he occasionally hustled pool. Yet he was honorable: When he came to San Antonio in 1987 he got hustled out of $300 by a future chess student who bet he could win using a broomstick. It took years, but Jim finally paid off the debt.

His greatest payment to those who knew him was how he shared his love of chess with the world. He became a fulltime chess teacher soon after coming to San Antonio. He continued what Pandolfini and Weeramantry had begun in New York, setting a high standard of excellence in hs teaching.

He was eloquent, passionate, and spontaneous. He was a marvellous jokesmith and storyteller. A natural showman, he even brought chess to local TV programming. With help from a chess student who worked at Paragon cable, Jim produced a series of shows called Chess Moves, with a polish rarely seen in public access. People tuned in to watch, and they came to his chess school.

San Antonio businessman Vernon Friesenhahn helped Jim get set up in 1991 with a storefont in the heart of the old silk-stocking neighborhood of Alamo Heights. Inside, oversize posters of chess greats looked down from the walls. GM Yasser Seirawan was invited to the grand opening, and he put on a chess show for all of San Antonio to see, with news cameras rolling. The school was off to a flying start . . . like one of the pre-Wright brothers planes, at it turned out.

After three years of operating at a loss, Jim lost his patronage and moved shop uptown to a series of locations with lower rent. The last one was ideally situated, near the Medical Center and Loop 410. But the San Antonio Chess Studio was an economic no-starter, and he fell back on teaching after-school and summer programs geared to elementary and middle school students.

Gallagher could teach at the college level, if there was a course offering in chess. He had a fast, agile yet profound mind. In college he had majored in philosophy, and he could discuss relativity or basketball with equal aplomb.

He had the personal touch, getting to know each student by name and chess style. It seemed that he had something unique to say for each child when he passed out prizes, down to the last place Honorable Mention.

When Jim stated an opinion, he left no doubt about where he stood. He possessed great personal charm, but had little use for diplomacy, or indeed anything that smacked of insincerity or hypocrisy.

His quarrels were many and famous. Jim lived up to his Irish inheritance, not only in his charm and eloquence but in his temper. He did not suffer fools gladly; and woe to anyone he believed was cheating. Although he could at times be blinded by the blaze of his zeal, his sincerity and fundamental honesty shone through. He always tried to fight the good fight.

Here are some of his best.

“Just Like the Old Masters”

That is how Gallagher titled this game when it appeared in Texas Knights almost 15 years ago. In an old-fashioned king hunt reminiscent of Morphy vs. Amateur, Gallagher sacrifices first a bishop, then a rook to draw his quarry out into the open.

Notes by NM Jim Gallagher

French Rubinstein C10
Jim Gallagher 2215
Bob Epstein 2230
Texas Class Chp. 1988

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nc6!? 5.Nf3 b6 Already we’ve reached uncharted territory. MCO and BCO scarcely mention Black’s idea, while NIC and ECO give only 4... Be7 6.c3 Nf6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qc2 h6 9.Bd2 b6 10.0-0-0 Bb7 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6 12.Rhe1 ± with a kingside attack., and 4...b6 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Bb5+ c6 7.Bd3 Nf6 8.Nxf6+ gxf6 9.Bf4 ± (Keres). Analysis, but no game references. In the current position I analyzed 6.Bb5 Bb7 7.Ne5 Qd5 8.Qf3 0-0-0, unclear. 6.Bd3 Bb7 7.c3 Be7 7...Nf6?! 8.Nxf6+ gxf6 ±; 8... Qxf6?? 9.Bg5 +-. 8.0-0 Nf6 9.Qe2 Ne4 10.Be4 10.Qxe4!? 10...0-0 11.Bf4 The plan of Qe2 and 0-0-0 is no less convincing than Keres’ Qc2 and 0-0-0 because it discourages Black’s queenside castling and still keeps central and kingside possibilities alive. The position is now ±. 11...Na5?! Black’s position is difficult because White threatens Rad1 and Ne5, but decentralizing is rarely the answer. 12.Rfe1! Truly devious and possibly the best move of the game. White controls all four central squares because of the masked attack on the Be7. 12...Bd6?! Was this move enticement or oversight? What we have here is the classic “French sac” position with a twist! 13.Bxh7+! Kxh7 13...Kh8 14.Bxd6 and White is simply a pawn up. 14.Ng5+ Kg6 14...Kg8 15.Qg5 Re8 16.Qxf7+ and mate in four is old hat. 15.Qd3+ 15.Qg4? fails flat to 15...f5! But now 15...f5 fails beautifully to 16.Rxe6+ Rf6 17.g4!! Be4 (17... Bxf4 18. Qf5+ Kh6 19.Nf7#) 18. Rxe4 Bxf4 (18...fxe4 19.Qxe4+ Kh6 20.Qh7#) 19.Rxf4 Kg5 20. Rxf5+ Kg6! 21.Rxf6+ Kxf6 22. Qf5+ Ke7 23.Re1+ Kd6 24.Qe6#! Finally, for those who must know, 15...Kh5 loses to 16.Qh7+ Kg4 17.f3+ Bxf3 (17...Kxf4 18. Nh3#) 18.gxf3+ Kxf4 19.Nh3+ Kxf3 20.Qe4#. These lines are cute but not very original. Still, the clock continues to tick . . . 15...Kf6! 16.Nh7+ Ke7 17.Bg5+! 17.Bxd6+? Qxd6 18.Nxf8 Rxf8 =+. 17...f6 18.Qg6 Rf7? Black misses his opportunity to return the material and make a game of it. 18...fxg5?? is impossible due to 19.Qxe6 mate, but 18...Bxh2+! 19.Kxh2 (19.Kh1 Qd5 20.Qxg7+ Kd6) 19...Qd6+ 20.Kg1 Rf7 is a complex position with many possibilities. White’s best appears to be 21.Re5! Nc6 22.Rae1 Nd8 and now White should shun the extravagant 23.Rf5?! and quietly improve his position, e.g. 23.Bh4 Bd5 24.b3 b5 25.R5e3, preparing a break at c4 that should prove decisive. 19.Rxe6+! Kxe6 20.Re1+ Kd7 20...Kd5 21.Qe4+ Kc4 22.d5+ Kb5 23.Qd3+ transposes into the game. If 20...Be5 then 21.Rxe5+ Kd6 22.Qxf7 (22.Bf4!?) Qd7 23. Qxd7+ Kxd7 24. Nxf6+! +/-. 21.Qf5+! Kc6 22.d5+ Kb5 23. Qd3+ Nc4 24.a4+ Ka5 25.Qc4 1-0 25...Ba6 26.b4+ Bxb4 27.Qxb4 mate.

Modern Benoni A79
Igor Shtern 2418
Jim Gallagher 2199
Dallas New Year 1988/89

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.e4 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.Nd2 Re8 10.0-0 Na6 11.f3 Nc7 12.a4 b6 13.Nc4 Ba6 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bd2 Bxc4 16.Bxc4 a6 17.Rb1 Nd7 18.b4 18...Qf6 19.Be1 Qd4+ 20.Qxd4 Bxd4+ 21.Kh1 b5 22.axb5 Bxc3 23.Bxc3 axb5 24.Bb3 c4 25.Bc2 Ra2 26.Rf2 Ne5 27.Kg1 g5 28.Bd4 f6 29.h3 Rea8 30.Rc1 R8a3 31.f4 Nd3 32.Bxd3 Rxf2 33.Kxf2 Rxd3 34.Bxf6 gxf4 35.Rc3 Rd2+ 36.Kf3 Kf7 37.Bd8 Na6 38.Ba5 Rd3+! 39. Rxd3 cxd3 40.Bb6 (40.Kf2 Kf6) Nxb4 41.Ba5 Nc2 42. Kxf4 b4 43. Kf3 Kf6 44.g4 Ke5 45.h4 Nd4+ 46.Ke3 d2 47.Kxd2 Nb3+ 48.Kd3 Nxa5 49.g5 hxg5 50.hxg5 Nb7 51. Kc4 Nc5 52.g6 Nxe4 53.g7 Nf6 54. Kxb4 Kxd5 55.Kc3 Ke4 56.Kc4 d5+ 57.Kc5 d4
0-1

English Opening A26
Jim Gallagher 2246
Miles Ardaman 2470
Texas State Chp. 1998 (6)

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Ne7 6.e4 0-0 7.Nge2 Nbc6 8.0-0 Rb8 9.Bg5 h6 10.Be3 Nd4 11.Qd2 Kh7 12.f4 f5 13.Rf2 a6 14.Raf1 c5 15.fxe5 dxe5 16. Nd5 b5 17.b3 Nxd5 18.cxd5 Qd6 19.Kh1 Bd7 20.b4!? Rbc8! 20...cxb4?! 21.Nxd4 . . . (a) 21... f4!? 22.gxf4!! exd4 23.e5 de3 24. Qxe3 with the idea of d4, d6, d5, e6!; (b) 21...exd4 22.Bf4 Be5 23. Bxh6 with a strong kingside attack. 21.bxc5 Qxc5 22.Qb2 Qc2 23. Nxd4 23.Bxd4?! exd4 24.Qa3 Qc5! 25. Qxa6?? Ra8 26.Qb7 Ra7 -+. 23...Qxb2 24.Rxb2 exd4 25.Bd2 fxe4 26.Rxf8?! Diverting the KB from the long diagonal does not stop it from making mischief. Gallagher offered 26. dxe4 as an improvement. One possibility: 26.dxe4 Rxf1+! 27.Bxf1 d3 28.Rb3 Rc2 29.Rxd3 Rxa2 30.Bc3 a5 31.Bxg7 Kxg7 32.e5 b4 33.e6 Bb5 34.d6! Bxd3! 35.Bxd3 Kf6 36.e7 Ra1+ 37.Kg2 Re1 38.Bxg6 a4 39. e8(Q) Re8 40.Be8 a3 41.d7 Ke7 42.Bf7 Kxd7 43.Kf3 +-. 26...Bxf8 27.dxe4 Ba3 Ardaman’s pieces began to circle like vultures. Most observers assumed White would get pushed off the board; but mutual time pressure was also becoming a factor. 28.Rb3 Bc1 29.Bb4 Be3 30.Ba3 a5 31.e5 b4 32.Bb2 Bf5 33.e6 g5 34.h3 h5 35.e7 Kg6 36.d6 Kf7 37.Bd5+ Ke8 38.Bxd4 Rc1+ 39.Kg2 Bxd4 40. Rf3 Rc2+? On the last move of time control, Ardaman misses a win with 40...Bxh3+! (a) 41.Kh2 Rc2+! 42. Kh3 g4+ 43.Kh4 gxf3 44.Bxf3 Bf6+ 45.Kxh5 Bxe7 -+; (b) 41.Kxh3 g4+ (b1) 42.Kh4 gxf3 43.Bxf3 Bf6+ 44. Kxh5 Bxe7 45.dxe7 Kxe7 -+; (b2) 42.Kg2 gxf3+! 43.Bxf3 (43.Kxf3 Be5 -+) 43...Kd7 44.Bxh5 Re1 -+. 41.Kf1 Bxh3+ 42.Ke1 Bc3+ 43. Kd1 Rd2+ 44.Kc1 Rxd5 Black has to bite the bullet and allow queening. But White’s labors are just beginning! With no mating net in sight, he must incubate his d-pawn and hatch another queen. 45.Rf8+ Kd7 46.Rd8+ Kc6 47. e8(Q)+ Kc5 48.d7 Bd2+ 49.Kb2 Bc3+ 50.Kb3 Kd4 51.Qe2 a4+ 52. Kxa4 Bg4 53.Qf2+ Kd3 54.Qf1+ Kc2 55.Qf7 Rd2 56.Kb5 Kc1 57. Kc6 h4 58.gxh4 gxh4 59.Qf4 Be6 60.Qxh4 Kb2 61.a4! b3 61...bxa3 allows 62.Rb8 with check, and the d-pawn promotes. 62.Qe4 Bh3 63.Qe3 Bg2+ 64.Kc5 Rc2 65.Kb6 Bd2 66.Qd4+ Bc3 67. Qd3 Rd2 68.Qxd2+ Bxd2 69.Rf8! Also good is 69.Rg8 Be3+ 70. Ka6! (70.Kc7? Bf4+ 71.Kc8 Bh3! =) 70...Bf1+ 71.Kb7 +-. 69...Bg5 More testing is 69...Be3+ 70.Ka5 (70.Kc7 Ka2 71.d8(Q) b2 _!) 70... Bd2+ 71.Kb5 Ka2 72.d8(Q) b2 73. Qxd2 +-. 70.Rf2+ Ka3 71.Rg2 b2 72.Rxb2
1-0

Sid Pickard writes: “The following game is an interesting fight, complete with sudden strokes and oversights. What makes the game memorable for me, however, is the extended “debate” Jim and I carried on for 2-3 days afterwards. Before the advent of Fritz, we simply tested moves: Gallagher would suggest a try, and I would offer a counter. These notes were found among my papers recently.

French Defense C16
Jim Gallagher 2250
Sid Pickard 2197
Memphis Invit. 1985

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Qd7 5.a3 Bf8 6.h4 h5 7.Be2 g6 8.g4 hxg4 9.Bxg4 c5 10.dxc5 Nc6 11. Nf3 Bxc5 12.Bg5 Qc7 13.Qe2 Nd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.Nb5 Qxe5 16. Nxd4 Qxd4 16...Qxg5 17.hxg5 Rxh1+ 18. Kd2 Rxa1 19.Qb5+ Kf8 20.Bd1 _ c3, Nc2, Qb3-a2. 17.Rd1 Qxb2 18.Rxd5 Ne7 19.Rd1 Bd7 20.0-0 20.Rh3!? _ 20...Bc6? 21.Bxe6. 20...Bb5 21.Qf3 21.Qe3 Bxf1 22.Bxe6 0-0 23. Bxe7 Bb5; 21.Qd2 Qxa3 22.Qd4 Rh7 23.c4 (23.Ra1 Nc6) 23...Bc6 (a) 24.Rd3 Qa5 25.Ra1 (25.Qd6 Qxg5) (25.Qf6 Ng8) 25...Qxg5; (b) 24.Qf6 Qc5 25.Rfe1 Rd8 26. Rxd8+ Kxd8 27.Bxe6 fxe6 28.Qf8+ (28.Rxe6 Kd7) (28.Qxg6 Qf5) 28... Kc7; (c) 24.Ra1 Qb3 25.Rfb1 Qc2 26. f3 Rd8 27.Qf6 Rd7 28.Rc1 Qb3 29. Rcb1 (29.Rxa7? Qb6+) 20...Qxc4. 21...Bxf1 22.Bf6 Be2 23.Qf4 Rxh4 24.Bxh4 Bxd1 25.Qd6 Nd5 25...f6!?; 25...Nc6. 26.Bxe6 fxe6 27.Qxe6+ Kf8 28. Qxd5 Bxc2 29.Bg5 Qb1+ 30.Kg2 Qd1? 30...Qg7 31.Qd2 Kg8 32.Qxc2 Qf7 =+. 31.Bh6+ Ke8 32.Qe6+ Kd8 33. Bg5+ Kc7 34.Bf4+ Kd8 35.Bg5+ Kc7 36.Bf4+ Draw

Jim’s sister Renee faces major surgery without the benefit of medical insurance. The family requests that any contributions on behalf of Jim be made to “Renee’s Surgery Fund” payble at any branch of Bank of America, account # 004799474493; or send a check to 5910 Deer Horn Dr. San Antonio, TX 78238.

Soon after moving to San Antonio in 1987, he became a full-time chess teacher. He taught after-school chess classes at various private schools over the years.

In the spring of 1991 two of his students, a brother and sister, became state scholastic champions in their divisions. That May, with financial backing from their father, Gallagher opened the first chess school in the nation, the San Antonio Chess School. He brought in three-time U.S. Champion Yasser Seirawan for the grand opening and a return visit in 1992, as well as the legendary Russian grandmaster David Bronstein. To help promote the school, Gallagher produced a series of public access television shows named “Chess Moves.”

He struggled to turn a profit at the Alamo Heights location, but after three years he was unable to keep the support of his principal patron. Undaunted, Gallagher moved the operation north with the new name of San Antonio Chess Studio. He changed location twice more before throwing in the towel in the fall of 2000. He continued teaching a full schedule of after-school programs and chess camps.

Highlights of his tournament career include tying for first in the Southwest Open (1990), sharing the Texas state championship title (1989), and winning the San Antonio city championship four times (1987, 1991, 1992, 1993), in each case with clear first.

He was an avid team player, and six times he shared in the Texas team championship title. He took pleasure in creating colorful names for his teams, such as “Fleet Wood Sac,” “Texas Pawn Chain Massacre,” and in the wake of the contested 2000 election, “Dimpled Chads.”

His greatest rewards came from seeing his students’ progress, and he coached many city and regional scholastic chess champions. Five of his students brought back state titles.

Jim Gallagher was one of the best teachers I have ever known. He had a way with a story or a joke, and was one of those people who can honorably improve on reality in the telling of events. He kept track of his students’ names and individual chess styles, and had something supportive and unique to say for every student in his class (or so it seemed) when he passed out a trophy or a ribbon, even for last place.

When Jim stated an opinion, he left no doubt about where he stood. He possessed great personal charm, but had little use for diplomacy, or indeed anything that smacked of insincerity or hypocrisy. He liked to play the part of the skeptic regarding anything beyond the mainstream of science, and he enjoyed a lively debate. Mostly he debated on the chess board, a realm where (in the words of one world champion) “lies and hypocrisy do not survive long.”
- Selby Anderson (editor of Texas Knights and former Texas Chess Association president)

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days; Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays, And one by one back in the Closet lays. - The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Notes by NM Jim Gallagher

English A37
Joe Bradford 2517
Jim Gallagher 2230
Tx. Chp. 1992 (2)

1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.c4 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nc3 e5 6.0-0 Nge7 7.Ne1 Joe queried this move in our protracted post-mortem, but I believe his next move is the first culprit. [7.d3 and 7.a3 are the most common continuations – Ed.] 7...d6 8.Nc2?! (8.d3) 8...Be6!? 8...0-0 9.a3 (9.Rb1 Bf5 10.d3 Qd7 11.Re1 Bh3 12.Bh1 f5 13.Ne3 f4 14. Ned5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5+ Kh8 =+ Sliwa-Botvinnik, Tel Aviv [ol] 1964) Be6 10.Ne3 a6 11.b4 cxb4 12.axb4 b5 13.cxb5 axb5 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 15. Nxb5 Qb8 16.Qa4 d5 17.Nc2 Qb7 18.Nba3 Rb8 19.b5 Na7 20.d4 Nxb5 = Ftacnik-van der Sterren, Amsterdam II 1977. However, 8...h5! as suggested by Bradford is at least =+, since 9.h4?! allows 9...g5! (a move 8.d3! would have prevented) and if 10.hxg5? h4 with a violent attack. Joe planned 9. d3 allowing Black 9...h4 “for free.” Although ...h5, ...h4 and ...0-0-0 was my plan, I prepared it too much – missing the fact that 9.d3 and 10. Nd5 would require me to invest material in this plan. 9.d3 Qd7 10.Nd5 0-0 10...Bh3 11.Nc7! (11.Bxh3!? Qxh3 12.Nc7+ Kd7 13.Nxa8 h5 14. e3 e4 15.dxe4 Ne5 16.f4 Ng4 17.Qe2 h4 18.Qg2 Qxg2+ 19.Kxg2 h3+ is only dangerous for Black) 11...Qc7 12.Bh3 ±. 11.b4!? White jettisons a pawn for the bishop pair and long-range prospects for queenside play. This is the best opportunity I’ve had in six tries against him! [11.Rb1 is a plausibile alternative.] 11...Bxd5 12.cxd5 Nxb4 13.Nxb4 cxb4 14.Rb1 a5 15.Qb3 Rfc8! The first true exclam of the game. [15...Rfb8 preventsa 16.a3 but lacks a followup plan.] Now if Black is allowed to post a piece on c3 the game will quickly become 0-1. 16.Bb2 Qb5 17.Ba1 Qc5 18.a3 bxa3 19.Qxb7 Ra7 20.Qb6 a2 21. Rb5 Qb6 21...Qc7 is the other possibility. 22.Rb6 e4!! The point of Black’s previous play. Joe actually chuckled at the time I played the move, as if to say, “I should've expected no less from you, Gallagher!” I believe that Black is now winning – but just barely. 23.dxe4 Bxa1 24.Rxa1 Rc2 25.Bf1! a4 26.e3 26.Rxd6? Rb7 27.Rd8+ Kg7 28. d6 Nc6 29.Rc8 Rb1 30.d7 Rxa1 31.Rxc6 (31.d8(Q) Nxd8 32.Rxc2 Rxf1+) 31... Rd2 -+. 26...Nc8?? Why, oh why must I blunder so? Of course 26...a3 was the original intention, but the bishop's new-found activity combined with approaching time pressure to create this lemon. After 26...a3: (a) 27.g4 was ChessMachine’s recommendation, but I think that 27...Kg7 gives Black an overwhelming game, for instance: 28.Rb3 (28. Rxd6? Rb7-+) 28...Rb2 29.Rc3 h6 30.Bc4? Rc7 -+. {Better is 30.Kg2, White can only shuffle and wait for ...g5 and ...Ng6-e5.]; (b) 27.Rb3 Rb2 28.Rc3 Kg7 29.g4 transposes to variation (a). (c) 27.Kg2 Kg7 28.Rb3! is similar to (a). Not 28.Bd3? Rb2!! 29. Rxd6 Rc7 30.Ra6 Rc3 -+. 27.Rb4 Ne7 28.Bc4 ± Rc7 I spent eight of my remaining twelve minutes on this move, which is my only chance. 29.Ba2 a3 30.Rxa4 R7c3 31.e5! Nf5!? 31...dxe5 32.d6 Nc6 33.Bd5 Rd2 34.e4 Rcc2 35.Rf1 a2 36.Ra8+ Kg7 37.d7 leaves Black wanting. 32.e6? 32.e4! Rf3 33.Rf1 Ne3 34.fxe3 Rxf1+ 35.Kxf1 Rxa2 36.exd6 +- 32...Rb2! 33.g4 (a) 33.e4 Ne3 34.fxe3 Rcc2 35.e7 Rg2+ 36.Kf1 Rxh2 37.e8(Q)+ Kg7 =; (b) 33.Rf4 Rcc2 34.Bc4 a2 _. 33...Nh4 34.Ra8+ 34.Rf4? Rxa2 35.Re1 fxe6 36. dxe6 Rc8 -+. 34...Kg7 35.e7 Rxa2 36.Rf1?! 36.Re1! Nf3+ 37.Kg2 Ne1+ 38. Kg3 Rxe3+ 39.fxe3 g5 40.e8(Q) Rg2+ 41.Kh3 h5 42.Qh8+ Kg6 43. Rg8 mate. 36...Nf3+ 37.Kg2 37.Kh1 Rxe3! 37...Rxe3! = 38.e8(Q) 38.Rxa3 Raxa3 -/+. 38...Nh4+ 39.Kg1 Re8 40.Re8 Rd2 Time control – finally! Now White’s edge is minimal; just another four hours of suffering and I should get a half point! 41.Ra8 a2 42.Ra1 Rxd5 43.R8xa2 Rd3 44.Ra3 Rd2 45.h3 g5 46.Kf1 Ng6 47.Ke1 Rd5 48.Rd1 Re5+ 49. Kf1 Bradford gave 49.Re3 Nf4 50. Kf1 Rd5! =. 49...d5 50.Kg2 Nf4 51.Kg3 Kg6 52.Re3 f6 53.Ra1 h5 54.Ra6 54.gxh5+ Nxh5+ 55.Kg4 f5+ 56. Kf3 Rxe3+ 57.fxe3 f4 58.Ra5 (58. exf4 Nxf4 59.Kg4 Ne6 =) 58...fxe3 59.Rxd5 Nf4 60.Re5 e2 61.h4 Kf6 62.Re4 Kf5 63.hxg5 Ng6 =. 54...h4+ 55.Kf3 I succeed in building an impenetrable fortress only to find there’s more to Bradford than was dreamt of in my philosophy. 55...Kf7 56.Rb3 Re6 56...Nh3? 57.Rbb6+-. 57.Rb7 Re7 57...Kg6? 58.Raa7 +-. 57...58.Rb4 Re6 58...Rc7 59.Ke3 Rc3+ (59...Re7+! =) 60.Kd4 Rd3+ 61.Kc5 Nxh3 62. Rb7+ Kg6 63.Raa7 f5 64.Rg7+ Kh6 65.Rh7+ Kg6 66.Rag7+ Kf6 67. Rf7+ Ke6 68.Rxf5 +-. 59.Ra7+ Re7 60.Rxe7+ Kxe7 61. Rxf4 gxf4 62.Kxf4 Kd6 62...Ke6 63.f3 Kd6 64.Kf5 Kc5 65.f4 d4 66.Ke4 Kc4 transposes. 63.Ke3 Kc5 64.Kd3 d4 65.f3 Kd5 66.f4 Kc5 67.Ke4 Kc4 68.g5 fxg5 69.fxg5 d3 70.g6 d2 71.g7 d1(Q) 72.g8(Q)+