Contents 6.1.2022:
Introduction: From The Skittles Room
Feature: King's Kibitzes
WGM Jennifer Shahade Book Signing
Member Profile
Dubov's Explosive Italian, by NM Han Schut
Positional Chess Class by NM Tag Taghian
Chess Toons
En Passant
Problem of the Week

Editor's Note

From The Skittles Room

Welcome back dear readers to this edition of the Marshall Chess Club's bi-weekly newsletter The Spectator. The month of May wrapped up with our new monthly pizza social and casual chess event last night. In honor of the Russian chess legend, GM Yuri Averbakh who passed away at 100 years old, the club organized a themed blitz tournament where the starting position was the King's Indian Defence: Averbakh variation (E73): 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5. The event was very well attended!

Keep an eye on our calendar for the next casual chess and pizza social night in June! 

The Monthly Under 2400 was well attended with 66 chess players! WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki won clear first with 4.5/5 and the first place prize of $488! There was a 4-way tie for second with FM Marcus Ming Miyasaka, WIM Ellen Luojia Wang and Adi Murgescu winning $135.67 each, and Jenny Zhu winning the $244 class prize. 

Three players in the the G-50 Open & U1600 on May 29 had their ratings improve by more than 100 points. Mila Antonios' rating rose 152 points to 1214, an all time high. Arya Borumand and Rassul Khalizov each rose more than 130 points in the same event, both also all-time highs in their rartings. Congratulations on your rating gains! This is very exciting for us to see. For some kids, we see ratings suddenly move up when they start to play at the Marshall and play against higher rated adults. It's not always about winning events; sometimes you can get a big boost in your rating even if you don't win enough points for a prize. A higher rating is a better prize for some.

Others have also gained a bunch of points recently. As usual, you can see them all here.

The Rated Beginner Open continues to be a consistently popular event, with 40 chess players registered for the May 22nd tournament. There was a 4-way tie for first place with Maximilian Almers, Sascha Mayers, Valery Zajkov, and Raf Goldman finishing with a perfect 3/3 score and taking home $63 each.  

Juan Sena's Action tournament on May 19th attracted 25 chess players with FM Marcus Ming Miyasaka garnering the clear first spot with a perfect 4/4 finish and a $138 first place prize, while Oliver Chernin, Bryan Weisz, Roman Malyshev, and Kyle Mathew Anderson tied with 3.5/4 points and got $34.50 each. 

Another flagship event worth highlighting was the Monthly Marshall Masters tournament, which took place on May 17th. Grandmaster Mark Paragua took home the $80 first place prize with a perfect 4/4 score. 

To see these and all other results, click here. 

Looking ahead, on June 14th, WGM Jennifer Shahade will have a lecture and a book signing at the club. This event is for members only, but non-members who are women and girls are welcome! Women and girls should email with "Jennifer Shahade event" in the subject line to register. All participants will have to upload an image of their vaccination card to our website before attending. 

As a gentle reminder to our members, if you would like to request a bye or withdraw from a tournament, please be sure to email Other  email addresses such as are not checked regularly. 

Finally, we would like to highlight a new book that has been released by New In Chess, From Ukraine With Love For Chess. 

The Ukrainian chess community is helping Ukraine in the war against Russia. The chess genius Vasyl Ivanchuk is giving online simuls to raise funds. European champion and Olympic gold medal winner Natalia Zhukova is working as a politician in Odessa. And FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov coordinated this wonderful collection of chess games from Ukrainian players, published by New In Chess. All games were nominated and annotated by the players themselves. The proceeds of this book will support Ukrainian charities.

The book also covers the three legendary Olympic victories by Ukraine, in 2004 and 2010 for the men’s team and 2006 for the women’s team. Oleg Romanishin remembers his training match against Mikhail Tal. And Jan Timman has a look at his favorite Ukrainian study composers.

With contributions by Vasyl Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Anton Korobov, Vladimir Tukmakov, Pavel Eljanov, Andrei Volokitin, and many, many others. We hope that you will consider supporting the cause by purchasing a copy of this incredible book. 

— Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator

King's Kibitzes: Furniture Removers  


In a letter to Edward Winter’s Chess Notes, English organizer and arbiter Stewart Reuben recalled hearing a midcentury London kibitzer refer to players who were eager to trade off all of each other’s pieces as “furniture removers”. This phrase came to mind a couple weeks ago when one of my online blitz games reached a pawn ending after only 18 moves:

Alex King (2677) - “Betweenlines” (2496), 16 May 2022

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6 dxc6 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Bg5 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 h6 10.Bxf6+ gxf6 11.Bc4 Ke7 12.Ke2 Be6 13.Bb3 Rad8 14.Rad1 Rxd1 15.Rxd1 Rd8 16.Rxd8 Kxd8 17.Kf3 Ke7 18.Bxe6 fxe6


White is winning, as I soon demonstrated:

19.Kg4 Kf7 20.Kh5 Kg7 21.f4 b5 22.c4! b4 23.c5 a5 24.g4 1-0.

This is the fastest I have ever reached a pawn ending in a game, besting my previous record of move 25 in a tournament game last year:

Alex King (2276) - Alex Kolay (2239)
Labor Day Norm Invitational, Charlotte NC, 4 Sep 2021

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.b3 c5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Bxd7+ Nxd7 9.O-O cxd4 10.Nxd4 Be7 11.Bb2 Bf6 12.Nc3 Nxc3 13.Bxc3 O-O 14.Rc1 Nb6 15.Bb4 Be7 16.Ba5 Qd5 17.Bxb6 axb6 18.a4 Rac8 19.Rxc8 Rxc8 20.Nb5 Qxd1 21.Rxd1 Kf8 22.Kf1 Ke8 23.Nd6+ Bxd6 24.Rxd6 Rc6 25.Rxc6 bxc6 


The ending is drawn, but we exchanged decisive blunders:

26.Ke2 Kd7 27.Kd3 b5? (27…c5 holds.) 28.Kc3 Kc7 29.Kb4 Kb6 30.axb5? (Missing the tricky 30.a5+! Ka6 31.e4!? e5 32.g3!! +-) 30…cxb5 ½-½

I wondered if there were notable examples of strong players “removing furniture” efficiently. The earliest example in Mega Database of a pawn ending reached in under 20 moves was the following game from 1891:

Abel Blackmar - Emil Kemeny
Staats-Zeitung Cup, Skaneateles NY, 27 Jul 1891

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxd5 4.Nxd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.d3 Nc6 7.c3 Bg4 8.Be2 O-O-O 9.Be3 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Qxd3 11.Qxd3 Rxd3 12.Ke2 Rd8 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Rhd1 Bd6 15.Kd3 Bc5+ 16.Kc4 Bxe3 17.fxe3 Rxd1 18.Rxd1 Rd8 19.Rxd8+ Kxd8



Black is up a pawn and won without issue: 

20.b4 f5 21.h4 Kd7 22.a4 h6 23.h5 Kd6 24.b5 cxb5+ 25.Kxb5 Kd5 26.Ka6 f4 27.e4+ Kxe4 28.Kxa7 Kd3 29.Kb7 e4 30.a5 e3 31.a6 e2 32.a7 e1=Q 33.a8=Q Qe4+ 0-1

Furniture removal requires significant cooperation between the players, and often this is in the context of a quick draw:


Yakov Estrin - Andras Adorjan
Rubinstein Memorial (15), Polanica Zdroj POL, 2 Sep 1971


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Nxd4 exd4 6.e5 dxc3 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.dxc3 Qe5+ 9.Qe2 Qxe2+ 10.Bxe2 d5 11.Bf4 

(Another miniature in this variation went 11.O-O Bf5 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.cxd3 Kd7 14.Bf4 Bd6 15.Bxd6 Kxd6 16.Rfe1 Rae8 17.Kf1 Kd7 18.Rxe8 Rxe8 19.Re1 Re6 20.Rxe6 Kxe6 ½-½ (20) G. Timoscenko (2510) - E. Sveshnikov (2535), Frunze (2) 1981 - see first diagram below.)

11... c6 12.O-O Bf5 13.Bd3 Bxd3 14.cxd3 Kd7 15.Rfe1 Bd6 16.Bxd6 Kxd6 17.Re3 Rhe8 18.Rae1 Kd7 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Rxe8 Kxe8 ½-½ - see second diagram below.


Two pawn endings in 20 moves each!

The earliest game to reach a pawn ending in 17 moves was the following:

Octavian Tufar (1982) - Irina Greabca (2086)
Victoriei Cup, Kishinev MLD, 7 May 2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O f6 6.d4 Bg4 7.dxe5 Qxd1 8.Rxd1 fxe5 9.Rd3 Bxf3 10.Rxf3 Nf6 11.Nc3 Bb4 12.Bg5 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Rf8 14.Bxf6 Rxf6 15.Rxf6 gxf6 16.Rd1 Rd8 17.Rxd8+ Kxd8 


A remarkably similar ending to my online blitz game above, but here White failed to restrain Black’s queenside pawns, and even lost after many mutual mistakes:

18.Kf1 c5 19.Ke2? (19.c4! +-) 19…Kd7? (19…c4! =) 20.Kd3 b5 21.g3? (Again 21.c4! +-) c4+! 22.Ke3 a5 23.f4 c5 24.fxe5? (24.f5 =) 24…fxe5? (24…Ke6! -+) 25.a3 b4 26.cxb4 cxb4 27.axb4 axb4 28.Kd2 Kd6 29.g4? (29.h3 =) 29…Kc5? (29…h5! 30.g5 h4! -+) 30.Ke3? (The final mistake; 30.c3! =) 30…b3 31.cxb3 cxb3 32.Kd3 Kb4 33.h4 Ka3 0-1

Expanding our scope of investigation from pawn endings to any type of ending - by Mark Dvoretsky’s definition "the stage of a chess game when at least one side has no more than one piece (in addition to the king)" - the previous game reached an ending after only 15 moves. The earliest game in Mega Database to reach any ending in fewer moves than that was a recent high-level online blitz game which reached a rook ending in 14.5 moves:


Egor Bogdanov (2425) - Raunak Sadhwani (2545) Titled Tuesday, 7 Apr 2020

1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 d4 4.exf6 dxc3 5.fxg7 cxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 7.Bxd2 Bxg7 8.O-O-O Nc6 9.Nf3 Bg4 10.Bb5 O-O-O 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Bc3 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Rxd1+ 14.Rxd1 Bxf3 15.gxf3


Black is much better, but failed to convert: 

15…Rg8 16.Kd2 Rg2 17.Ke2 Rxh2 18.Rg1 Kd7 19.Rg8 Rh5 20.a4 f6 21.Kd3 Ra5 22.Rh8 h5 23.Ke3 Ke6 24.f4 Kd6 25.Rd8+ Ke6 26.Rh8 Kd7 27.Rh7 Kd6 28.Rh8 Rxa4 29.Rxh5 Ra1 30.Kd4 a5 31.Rh8 Kd7 32.Ra8 a4 33.c4 a3 34.Kc5 a2 35.c3 Rc1 36.Rxa2 Rxc3 37.Rd2+ Kc8 38.Re2 Kd7 39.Rd2+ Ke6 40.Re2+ Kd7 41.Rd2+ ½-½ 

The speed record for reaching an ending is 13 moves, in a recent game from the Iranian Under-8 Championship:


Amirhossein Ranjbaran - Amirali Arshadi
Iranian U08 Championship, 16 Jan 2021

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bb5 Bxc3 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.dxc3 Qxd1+ 7.Kxd1 Bg4 8.Be3 O-O-O+ 9.Ke2 Bxf3+ 10.Kxf3 Nf6 11.Rad1 Rxd1 12.Rxd1 Rd8 13.Rxd8+ Kxd8



The players soon simplified further into a pawn ending, and after several reversals of fortune White eventually won:

14.Bg5 Ke7 15.h4 h6 16.Bxf6+ Kxf6 17.g4 g5 18.h5 b5 19.Ke3 Ke6 20.Kd3 Kd6 21.c4 Kc5 22.cxb5 cxb5 23.Ke3 a5 24.Kd3 b4 25.f3 a4 26.c3 bxc3 27.Kxc3 Kb5 28.b3 axb3 29.axb3 c5 30.Kd3 Kb4 31.Kc2 c4 32.bxc4 Kxc4 33.Kd2 Kd4 34.Ke2 f6 35.Kd2 Kc4 36.Ke3 Kc5 37.Kd3 Kd6 38.Kc4 Kc6 39.Kb4 Kd6 40.Kb5 Ke6 41.Kc6 Ke7 42.Kc7 Ke6 43.Kd8 Kd6 44.Ke8 Kc5 45.Ke7 Kd4 46.Kxf6 Ke3 47.Kxe5 Kxf3 48.Kf5 Ke3 49.e5 Kd4 50.e6 Kd5 51.Kf6 Kd6 52.Kf7 Ke5 53.e7 Kf4 54.e8=Q Kxg4 55.Qe4+ Kxh5 56.Qg6+ Kh4 57.Qxh6+ Kg4 58.Kg6 Kf3 59.Qh3+ Kf4 60.Qf5+ Kg3 61.Kxg5 Kh2 62.Qg4 Kh1 63.Kf4 Kh2 64.Kf3 Kh1 65.Qg2# 1-0

The ultimate expression of furniture removal is to trade off all the pieces, even the pawns. This took me and FM Leif Pressman 50 moves to achieve in a game played almost a decade ago at the Marshall:


Alex King (2156) - Leif Pressman (2367)
New Year's Eve Insanity, 31 Dec 2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 Nge7 6.b4 Ng6 7.Bb2 a5 8.b5 Ncxe5 9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.e3 Be6 11.Bxd4 Nxc4 12.Qc2 Nd6 13.Bd3 Qg5 14.f4 Qh4+ 15.g3 Qh3 16.Bf1 Qf5 17.Bd3 Qd5 18.O-O Nxb5 19.Bxb5+ Qxb5 20.Qxc7 Rc8 21.Qb6 Qxb6 22.Bxb6 Bc5 23.Bxc5 Rxc5 24.Nd2 Rc2 25.Rf2 b5 26.Rb1 Bd7 27.Nb3 Rxf2 28.Kxf2 Ke7 29.Nxa5 Ra8 30.Nb3 Rxa3 31.Nd4 Ra2+ 32.Kf3 h5 33.Nxb5 Bc6+ 34.e4 f5 35.Nc3 Ra3 36.Rc1 Bxe4+ 37.Ke3 Ke6 38.Kd4 Ra8 39.Nxe4 Ra4+ 40.Rc4 Rxc4+ 41.Kxc4 fxe4 42.Kd4 Kf5 43.Ke3 Kg4 44.Kxe4 Kh3 45.f5 Kxh2 46.Kf4 Kh3 47.Kg5 Kxg3 48.Kxh5 Kf4 49.Kg6 Ke5 50.Kxg7 Kxf5 ½-½



The fastest that any game (at least any legitimate game - see below) in Mega Database reached bare kings was 35 moves:

Rafael Guerrero Alvarez - Arturo Marin Corresa
La Salle Open, Zaragoza ESP, 1990

1.d4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.Nc3 a6 4.a4 dxc4 5.e3 Nf6 6.Bxc4 c5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.d5 exd5 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Qxd5 Qxd5 11.Bxd5 Bd7 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Ke2 Bxf3+ 14.Kxf3 Rd8 15.Ke2 Be7 16.Rd1 O-O 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 18.Bd2 Bg5 19.Rd1 g6 20.e4 Rxd2+ 21.Rxd2 Bxd2 22.Kxd2 Kg7 23.f4 f5 24.exf5 gxf5 25.Kc3 Kf6 26.h3 b5 27.axb5 axb5 28.g4 fxg4 29.hxg4 Kg6 30.b4 cxb4+ 31.Kxb4 h5 32.gxh5+ Kxh5 33.Kxb5 Kg4 34.Kc4 Kf5 35.Kd5 Kxf4



Improbably, the further moves 36.Kd4 Kg3 were played before the players finally agreed to a draw.

I call this a legitimate game to contrast it with the following, likely the most efficient furniture removal the world will ever see:

Tal Haimovich (2436) - Dov Zifroni (2523)
Steinhart Memorial (2), Herzliya ISR, 8 Dec 2006

1.c4 d5 2.cxd5 Qxd5 3.Qc2 Qxg2 4.Qxc7 Qxg1 5.Qxb7 Qxh2 6.Qxb8 Qe5 7.Qxc8+ Rxc8 8.Rxh7 Qxb2 9.Rxh8 Qxa2 10.Rxg8 Qxd2+ 11.Kxd2 Rxc1 12.Rxg7 Rxb1 13.Rxf7 Rxf1 14.Rxf8+ Kxf8 15.Rxa7 Rxf2 16.Rxe7 Rxe2+ 17.Kxe2 Kxe7 ½-½


This “game” is in fact the solution to a puzzle composed in 1895 by our friend from my last column, inveterate trickster Sam Loyd. This move sequence is not unique - there are other ways to reach the diagram position in 17 moves. By the conventions of chess problemry, these “dual” solutions constitute an aesthetic flaw, and in 2012 the computer chess expert Francois Labelle found a bare-king position with a completely unique move sequence leading to it:

Francois Labelle, 2012
Proof game in 19.5



If and when you despair of discovering the solution yourself, you can find it on Labelle's website - just leave yourself a few hours to marvel at all the wonders to be found there.

Until next month…


— FM -elect Alexander King, Spectator Columnist and Marshall Kibitzer Emeritus   


Member Profile: Thomas Lay

When did you start playing chess and how did you learn?

My dad taught me when I was six or seven, and I got better with the help of a handful of books we had.  There was no chess in schools in those days, at least in Austin, and no internet chess, but we had an active local club, and I'd go there once or twice a week.  At one point, Anatoly Karpov found himself in Austin (some sort of Lion's Club exchange, of all things) and gave a simul, and since there were scarcely a dozen scholastic players in the whole city, I got to play him.  (About the game itself, the less said the better.)

By high school, other interests overtook me, and I went a good twenty years giving chess scarcely a thought.  Then, in 2018, a news article caught my eye, about how an American was off to an early lead in the Candidates Tournament, and I somehow found myself following it.  My day job is as a book editor, and around the same time, I was working with an anthropologist named Bob Desjarlais.  Bob's book for me was on photography, but I noticed that his prior book had been an ethnography of the chess world, based partly on fieldwork at the Marshall.  So I read the book (Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard—still one of my favorite accounts of the game) and all of a sudden remembered everything that had so fascinated me two decades prior.  It weirded me out by how much came back to me. My calculation skills (never great to begin with) had deteriorated, but I somehow still had a decent intuition for where pieces and pawns belonged in a given position.


(Tom and Cora examining possibilities in Tal–Smyslov, 1959)

How long have you been a member of the club?

I think I joined only a few months before the pandemic, though I'd been playing tournaments at the Marshall for a couple of years prior.  With kids, I can only manage one night a week.  Since my job as an editor means working with words, and since raising a 5- and 6-year-old means more words still, I think of it as the four hours I set aside for something beyond the scope of language.  It's uncanny how social the ritual remains, despite the silence.  You sit down with someone you scarcely talk to, but within fifteen moves or so, the two of you are sharing a position never before seen in the history of the world by anyone but the two of you.  And even though this person is your opponent, and it's a zero-sum game, the task before you requires that you be their intimate collaborator, insofar as you have to make sure you can see the position in all the ways they can.

What's your favorite opening trap?

I used to have a real soft spot for the Gothenburg Variation of the Najdorf -- which among other things, originates in one of the rollickingest tales in the history of chess, complete with Cold War rivalries, a high-stakes tournament setting with a trio of copycat games, and a spectacular sacrificial refutation (13. Bb5!!) found over the board by Geller (and copied moments later by Spassky and Keres) that brings together spellbinding tactical and positional insights.  The trick is that, if you really know what you're doing as Black, White has nothing better than a draw.  And when White can't believe that could be true, they'll sometimes try for more and find themselves busted.  Unfortunately, there are a couple of less spectacular lines that lead me to mostly avoid it these days, but who knows?

Any great game you've played at the Marshall you'd like to share?

Maybe not great, but I couldn't complain about this recent one.
Lay, Thomas 1689 vs Nizhegorodtsev, Sergey 1911
Marshall Wednesdays
(Play through the game
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O O-O 5. d4 d6 6. c4 c5 7. d5 b5 The Benko isn't my usual repertoire, but I'd played it as a kid and still kind of remembered the ideas, so, on a whim, I trotted it out.  It helps that White's having committed to a fianchetto means I avoid the line that gives Black the worst problems.  In that one, bishops get exchanged on c1, whereas here, my light-squared bishop is active on a6, and White's is buried behind the blocked d5-pawn. 

8. cxb5 a6 9. Nc3 Nbd7 10. bxa6 Bxa6 11. Re1 Nb6 12. e4 Nc4 The right idea, though perhaps a move premature. This allows White to go Bf1, admitting that the g2 bishop isn't doing much and is best used in liquidating my knight.  If I'd started with 12 ... Nfd7, on the other hand, I'd have had another knight ready to back it up from b6.

13. Qc2 Nd7 All my pieces are now either well placed or a move a way from being well paced. Somehow this even includes two good bishops in a closed position. Seems well worth the pawn. 

14. b3? A mistake, but White's in good company. Several strong players have overlooked
Black's reply, including Robert Hess, in a blitz game against Jeffrey Xiong.

14... Qa5 Black wins material in all lines. 

15. e5 My opponent invested a good half hour here and indeed came up with what looks like the most resilient try. (15. bxc4 Qxc3 and Black wins the exchange, as in the main line, but here Queens need to come off because any attempt to avoid a queen exchange loses more material still) (15. Bd2? Nxd2 16. Qxd2 Bxc3).

15... Ndxe5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Rxe5 Nxe5 18. Bh6 The dark squares were making me nervous, but somehow I retain enough initiative to keep them from ever being a problem. 

18... Rfb8 19. Re1 Ra7 Because e7 needs defending 20. Bd2 Bd3

For some reason, I'm blind to the utility of pushing c5-c4 here and next move. A habit, I think, from old Benko games where White's b-pawn falls off, and Black holds the passed c-pawn as an ace in the hole until there's no stopping it. Trading it off wasn't even on my radar, but with my more active pieces and queenside space, it would have been a good decision. 

21. Qd1 Bf5 22. Na4 Qa6 23. f4 Bg4 24. Qb1 Qd3 25. Qxd3 Nxd3 26. Re3 Nb4 27. h3 Bf5 28. g4 Bb1 29. Nc3 Bxa2 30. Nxa2 Nxa2 31. Bf1 Nb4 32. Bxb4 Rxb4 33. Bc4 A stubborn defense, and worth a try.  My rooks have a rather circuitous journey in order to become useful, but there's not much White can do in the mean while.

33... Kf8 34. Kf2 Ra2+ 35. Kf3 Rb2 36. g5 Rb8 37. Kg4 Ra8 38. Re1 Raa2 39. Re3 Rg2+ 40. Kf3 Raf2+ 41. Ke4 f5+ 42. gxf6 exf6 43. Re1 Rg3 44. Re3 f5+ 45. Kd3 Rff3 46. Rxf3 Rxf3+ 47. Ke2 Rxf4 48. Ke3 Rh4 49. Bf1 Ke7 50. Kf3 Kf6 51. Kg3 Rd4 52. Bc4 Ke5 53. Kf3 Rxd5 54. Bxd5 Kxd5 55. Kf4 h6 56. Ke3 Ke5 57. h4 d5 58. Kd3 f4 59. Ke2 Ke4 60. Kf2 d4 61. Ke2 d3+ 62. Kd2 f3 63. Kc3 f2 64. Kc4 f1=Q 65. Kxc5 d2 66. b4 d1=Q 67. b5 Qxb5+ Lazy, but it was 11pm. 

68. Kxb5 Qc2 69. h5 gxh5 0-1

What about yourself would you like other members to know, that we may not know! Any surprising facts?

I own a chess set that once belonged to one of the great players of the nineteenth century.  At least, that's the family legend, and I'm sticking to it.  My uncle is a musician, and he studied with the violinist Rudolf Kolisch, who had been a close associate of Arnold Schoenberg.  My uncle used to play chess with him, and Kolisch gave him a set he had purportedly been given by his uncle, Ignatz Kolisch, who won the 1867 Paris tournament ahead of Winawer and Steinitz and narrowly lost a match to Anderssen.  (Please don't point out to me that the birth/death years don't line up.  I don't want to hear it.)  The pieces aren't in good condition -- in particular, one knight had been gnawed on by Rudolf's dog (named Pierot, after one of the masterpieces of musical modernism that Rudolf had helped premiere).  But they're stylish in their way, and it's an interesting oddity to own.

My daughter is now becoming every bit the devotee I once was, only better, so maybe this set will one day find a succession that isn't avuncular.

— Thomas Lay, Marshall Chess Club Member

Dubov's Explosive Italian 

Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sergey Karjakin were sharing the lead with 7 out of 10 before the last round of the 2020 Russian Championship. Nepo made a quick draw against Maxim Chigaev, and all eyes were now on the game between Daniil Dubov and Sergey Karjakin. Would Dubov be able to create any chances against Karjakin, the "Minister of Defence?"

Dubov played a masterpiece that many will remember for the spectacular queen sacrifice on move 19. Karjakin had just played 18... Be6 and now Dubov played the "move of the year."

19. Qxg6!! Dubov sacrifices his queen for two minor pieces, a passed pawn and a menacing attack on Black's king. Karjakin resigned on move 38, which handed Nepomniachtchi the 2020 Russian Championship title.

Few people will remember the novel opening that Dubov used to create these chances. It was the first time that this opening was used at the highest level and another example of the creative and inspiring play of Dubov.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.b4!?

Dubov suggested to his coach Sasha Riazantsev that this would be an amusing line for a blitz game. His coach took it to the next level and provided some deep analysis that made it suitable for over-the-board play at the highest level. Dubov's assessment of the variation is:
'All in all, the line looks decent for White; I don't see a way for Black to get an advantage, which is quite something for such a sharp position.'

Last year I created a Chessable mini-course for this variation. My courses are designed with the club player in mind: the variations have been chosen and prioritized based on the Lichess Rapid and Classical database. The course contains an introduction,  15 variations, 16 puzzles and 6 model games. Easy to learn, exciting to play and only $8. For this mini-course, I used the article Dubov's Challenge by IM Yuriy Krykun in New In Chess Yearbook 138 (2021) and the analysis by Daniil Dubov of his game against Sergey Karjakin for New In Chess Magazine 2021 #1.

So far, more than 500 people have bought the course. The course has been well received and is rated 4.8 out of 5. The artwork is not mine; tastes differ!

My first OTB game with Dubov's Explosive Italian
Thursday, May 25, I returned to over the board chess after a COVID hiatus of more than two years. In the second round of Juan Sena's action, my beloved Dubov's Italian appeared on the board. My 9-year-old opponent improved over Karjakin's play with 12… g5. Black was much better after I played 14. Qh5 instead of 14. Nf3. Under time pressure, Black got too greedy and after 16.c2 I was able to win the game with a nice combination.
Schut, Han (2188) - Borumand, Arya (1283)
Marshall Action 05/26/2022
(Play through the games here.)
Comments by Daniil Dubov for New In Chess Magazine.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.b4 Bb6 7.e5 Ne4 Most common is: 7...d5 8.exf6 dxc4 9.Qe2+ Be6 10.b5. 

8.Bd5 Nxc3 9.Nxc3 dxc3 10.Bg5 Ne7 11.0–0 h6! If 11...0–0?! 12.Bb3 h6 13.Qd3! ! and now: and now: 13...hxg5? is impossible because after: 14.Nxg5 Ng6 15.Qxg6 Black gets mated.

12.Bh4 Dubov on Karjakin's 12... 0–0: A very logical move and hard to criticize, but...

12...g5 was probably better, even though it still looks like a strange mess after. 12...0–0 13.Re1 Qe8 14.Bb3 a5 15.Bf6 a4 16.Bc4 Ng6 17.Qd3 d5 18.exd6 Be6 19.Qxg6 fxg6 20.Rxe6 Qf7 21.Bxc3 Kh8 22.Re4 Qf5 23.Re7 Rg8 24.Bxg8 Rxg8 25.dxc7 Qc2 26.Be5 Bxf2+ 27.Kh1 Bb6 28.h3 Kh7 29.Re1 a3 30.Kh2 g5 31.Nd4 Qc4 32.Nf5 Qxb4 33.Rc1 Kg6 34.Rxg7+ Kxf5 35.Rxg8 Bxc7 36.Bxc7 Qb2 37.Rc5+ Ke4 38.Rd8 1–0 (38) Dubov,D (2702)-Karjakin,S (2752) Moscow 2020.

13.Nxg5! Nxd5!? Also decent. 13...hxg5 14.Bxg5 d6 15.Qf3 Be6 16.Bxb7 d5 17.Bc6+ Nxc6 18.Bxd8 Kxd8 19.Qxc3 "and White doesn't seem to be worse." I'll show one of the lines I like, just to make you understand the amount of work Sasha had done: see below the variation with 14. Nf3. 

14.Qh5? I forgot the correct continuation 14.Nf3, having never faced this line before. 14.Nf3 Ne7 15.Bf6 Rg8 16.Re1 a5 17.Qc2 axb4 18.Qh7 b3 19.Rad1! Bxf2+! 20.Kf1! Bxe1 21.e6 Rf8 22.Ne5 dxe6 23.Rxd8+ Kxd8 24.Nxf7+ Ke8! 25.Nd6+ Kd7 26.Qxe7+ Kc6 27.Qxf8 b2 28.Ne4 b1Q 29.Qc5+ Kd7 30.Qe7+ "with a perpetual." Dubov.

14...Qe7 15.Ne4 Qxb4? My young opponent, who was already low on time, got too greedy. After 15...Qe6 Black is better.

16.Rae1 c2 This allows for a nice finish.

17.Nd6+ cxd6 18.exd6+ Kf8 19.Re8+ Kxe8 20.Qe5+ 1–0
Han Schut writes for New In Chess about National Champions, celebrating diversity in chess. He has authored six Chessable courses, is a certified Chess Steps Trainer and coaches chess students online. You can follow him on Twitter @hanschutchess
—Han Schut , Marshall Chess Club Member 


Chess Toons


En Passant
Chess News En Passant:

– Andrew Soltis Turns 75! The American Grandmaster and renowned writer gave an extensive interview in which he talks about his chess and his writing career, chess in New York, the Marshall Chess Club, playing blitz against Bobby Fischer and about Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov won the 5th Sharjah Masters in the UAE. After nine rounds Abdusattorov and Saleh Salem shared first place with 7.0/9, but thanks to tiebreaks Abdusattorov won the tournament. 

– The 10th Norway Chess tournament takes place in Stavanger May 31st to June 10th 2022. The field is: Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyravov, Anish Giri, Teymur Rajabov, Viswanathan Anand, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Veselin Topalov, Wang Hao and Aryan Tari (in to replace Richard Rapport who since qualified for the Candidates and is now prioritizing that.

Problem of the Week

S. Loyd, 1868

White to play and draw.

Ever the jokester, Loyd here pokes fun at the fact that a bishop is normally overwhelmed by a chain of pawns.  Here, we have the Revenge of the Bishop, as our pointy friend controls no fewer than the maximum of 8 pawns.

Solution to Alexander George, 2007: Black has made an even number of moves.  So if it is White's move, White must have as well.  White's knights and the a1 rook together have made an odd number of moves.  Hence, White could only have made an even number of moves if his king has moved (to free the queen to make an odd number of moves) or if the h1 rook has moved (to make an odd number of moves).  Either way, castling is illegal.  (And if it's not White's move, then obviously White can't legally castle either.)

Alexander George, Marshall Chess Club Member

Editor's Note

As always, if you have any feedback, comments, or would like to submit an article please contact me directly at 

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

—Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator
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