Contents 6.29.2022:
Introduction: From The Skittles Room
Feature: King's Kibitzes
MCC Board Election Results
A Killer Move
Best Recent Game Contest
 MCC Ukrainian Fundraiser
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 June is wrapping up with more tournament winners to report than we can fit into this bulletin. Of note is Robert Perez who won the Marshall Masters with 3.5/4 and earned the clear first $150 prize, while GM Michael Rohde, FM Joshua Colas and FM Akira Nakada split the remaining prize with $50 each after scoring 3/4. CM Rushaan Mahajan also took home $60 in that event, winning the Under 2300 prize with a plus score of 2.5/4. The FIDE Monday event concluded this last week with FM Justin Chen winning clear first and $264 with 5/6 points, while Richard Herbst finished in clear second winning $176 with 4.5/6. David Mbonu won 3rd place with 4/6, taking home $88 for his efforts and also contributes one of his annotated games from that event to this issue of The Spectator. The Monday Under 1800 event also came to a conclusion with Youn Sun Rojas winning clear first with 5.5/6 and taking home the $125 first place price, while Alexander Wang and Dr. Archil Megrelishvili both scored 3.5/6 and took home $62.50 each.


(Photo Courtesy of Katelyn Mooney, Victory Journal)

The Rated Beginner Open on June 19th had 24 players, and had only one perfect score. Dylan Yu finished with 3/3 and took home the $126 prize while there was a 3 way tie with 2.5/3: Eric Liu, Germaine Corprew and Angelo Gigante took home $21 each. Juan Sena's Action on June 16th attracted 25 players and featured a 4-way tie for 2nd with FM Justin Chen, Jessica Hyatt, David Bernat and NM Bryan Weisz each finishing with 3/4 points and taking home $34.50 each, but FM Maximilian Lu won that event with a perfect 4/4 score and earned the clear first prize of $138.
Richard Herbst won the Thursday Open event with an impressive 5/6 - though it bears being said that he did not give up a single draw or loss but rather had a zero point bye in the last round and took home the clear first prize of $130. Payam Parhami and Alan Frank McMichael both finished with 4/6, and took home $71.50 each while Edward A Frumkin, Danny Inzinga and George P Berg scored 3.5/6 which was good enough for $13 each.

To see these and all other recent results, click here. 

In terms of recent ratings gains, several Marshall Chess Club members have seen their ratings surge at the end of the month. Maximilian Almers gained an incredible 177 rating points in the G/50 Open on June 26th, while Max Zong gained 78 points and Umar Mansurov gained 83 points in that same event. Zachary Gryder gained an amazing 148 rating points in the Rated Beginner Open held on June 19th, while Mr. Sascha Mayers gained a remarkable 148 rating points in the U2000 Morning Action tournament. Anya Jain saw a 144 point rating jump after playing in the G/50 Under 1500 on June 18th, while Mr. John Connor Millar gained 116 points and Cory John Dowd gained 82 rating points in that same event.  

Many others have also experienced huge ratings gains recently. To check out the full list, click here.

On the horizon, there are a number of events that we are happy to offer our members.
Starting on July 2nd, Chess Instructor Tamar Chanadiri will teach a chess class geared for scholastic players who have recently started playing in tournaments with a rating of roughly 400 - 1200, from 9:00am-11:00am.

On July 4th, we will be having a six round, G/25;d5 Independence Day Action tournament which should conclude in time for you to still see the fireworks. 

On July 16th, we will once again be having a tournament to raise funds to support Ukraine. Our MCC Ukrainian Fundraiser tournament will have two sections: an open section as well as an under 1800 section and we look forward to once again seeing our community come together to show support for Ukraine in the best way that we know how: playing chess.

On July 19th, FM Asa Hoffmann will be interviewed by Marshall Chess Club Board Member and former club champion (1973, 1975) IM Sal Matera about Asa's new memoir, The Last Gamesman, which he co-authored with his wife Virginia Hoffmann. The event will be live broadcast on zoom although for those who attend in person there will be a book signing following the talk with copies of the book available for purchase. 

We would also like to continue to facilitate casual play between members. In order to do this, we would like to gather information on how much interest there is, what times and days work best for the most members.  In order to help us gather more information, please take a moment to fill out
this survey. 

Finally, July 26th we will have another pizza social with casual chess. The last one was very well attended and we look forward to this event growing into a tradition with continued participation and support from our members. There is no entry fee, no official pairings, just casual chess and good conversation over pizza.

— Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator

King's Kibitzes: The Platonic King Hunt, Part 1 


Every world-weary club player has looked on pityingly as a novice attempts to force checkmate with king and bishop against king, or the equally impossible king and knight against king. Worse still is when the novice actually does have sufficient mating material, such as king and queen against king, but fails to checkmate due to moving only the queen over and over again, without ever coordinating it with the king.


I call this type of fruitless chase a “platonic king hunt”, since it cannot lead to mate. But recently my mind has been expanded regarding what is and isn’t sufficient material to mate. In this and next month’s column, I will explore the platonic king hunt and show how, like many ostensibly platonic arrangements, it can contain more mating potential than you might suspect.

For several months I have been studying Kasparyan’s Domination anthology with my friend (and Spectator co-contributor) NM Anthony Levin. Earlier this month we came upon the following pair of studies by the great Alexey Troitzky:


The main line of the first study is as follows:

1.Kd8 Bf7 2.Kxe7 Bxh5 3.Nf4 g6 4.Ne2+! Kc4 5.Ng3!

Black’s bishop and g4-pawn are trapped, and his g6-pawn cannot move since then his bishop would be hanging. Still: how can White make further progress? The answer is to trap Black's king using only White's king and bishop!

5...Kd5 6.Kd7 Ke5 7.Be3 Kd5 8.Kc7 Ke6 9.Kc6 Ke5 10.Kc5 Ke6 11.Bd4 Kd7 12.Kd5 Ke7 13.Be5 Kd7 14.Bd6 Ke8 15.Ke6 Kd8 16.Be5 Kc8 17.Kd6 Kb7 18.Bd4 Ka6 19.Kc6 Ka5 20.Bc3+ Ka4 21.Kc5 Kb3 22.Kd4 Kc2 23.Kc4 Kd1 24.Kb3 Kc1 25.Ba5 Kd1 26.Bb4 Kc1 27.Kc3!


Black’s king is becoming more and more restricted, and a deadly zugzwang looms on the horizon.

27…Kb1 (27…Kd1 28.Kb2! +- Is already zugzwang.) 28.Ba3 Ka2 29.Bb2 Kb1 30.Kb3!

Triumph of the platonic king hunt! Black is now forced to play 30…g5 31.Nxh5 +- after which White simply checkmates with bishop and knight.

The second Troitzky study is similar: 

1.Bc8+ Kf4 2.Nf1 Bg1

Again Black’s bishop is immobilized, and now White begins the same slow, gradual process of corralling Black's king using only White's king and bishop:

3.Kg7 Kxe5 4.Kxf7 Kd6 5.Be6 Kc7 6.Ke7 Kc6 7.Bg8 Kc7 8.Bd5 Kc8 9.Be6+ Kc7 10.Bd7 Kb6 11.Kd6 Kb7 12.Bf5 Kb6 13.Be4 Kb5 14.Bd5 Kb6 15.Bc6 Ka5 16.Kc5 Ka6 17.Bd5 Ka7 18 Kc6 Ka6 19.Bc4+ Ka5 20.Bb5 Kb4 21.Kb6 Ka3 22.Kc5 Kb3 23.Bd7 Kc3 24.Bc6 Kb3 25.Bb5 Kc3 26.Bc4 Kb2 27.Kb4 Kc2 28.Ba6 Kb2 29.Bb5 Kc2 30.Bc4 Kb2 31.Bb3 Ka1 32.Kc3 Kb1 33.Bc4 Kc1

34.Bd3 Kd1 35.Kb2! Ke1 36.Kc2! Bh2 37.Nxh2 f1=Q 38.Nxf1 followed again by mating with bishop and knight.

Troitzky knew the platonic king hunt well from his research into theTroitzky linein the endgame of two knights vs pawn. There, the winning method involves chasing the king using king and knight instead of king and bishop. But it was a different composer, the Latvian Carl Behting, who united these two methods in the following astonishing study, in which bishop and knight take turns switching roles back and forth with each other: 

Carl Behting

Rigasche Rundschau, 1905

1.Kf6 Kc2 2.Ke7 Kd3 3.Ke6 Kc3 4.Kd7 Kb4 5.Kc6 Ka5 6.Bc4 Kb4 7.Be2 Ka5 8.Bb5 Kb4 9.Kb6 Kc3 10.Kc5 Kb3 11.Bc6 Kc3 12.Bd5 Kd3 13.Bf3 Kc3 14.Be2 Kb3 15.Bb5 Kc3 16.Bc4 Kb2 17.Kb4 Kc2 18.Bb5 Kb2 19.Ba4 Ka2 20.Bd1 Kb2 21.Bb3 Ka1 22.Kc3 Kb1 23.Bd5 Ka1 24.Bc4 Kb1

25.Nd2+! Kc1 26.Bf1! Kd1 27.Nf3 Kc1 28.Nd4 Kb1 29.Nb5 Ka1 30.Na3 Ka2 31.Nc4 Kb1 32.Kd2 Ka1 33.Kc1 Ka2 34.Kc2 Ka1 35.Kb3 Kb1 36.Nb2 Kc1 37.Kc3 Kb1 38.Nd3 Ka1 39.Kb4 Ka2 40.Ka4 Ka1 41.Ka3 Kb1 42.Kb3 Ka1 43.Nc1 Kb1 44.Na2 Ka1 45.Ka3 Kb1

46.Bd3+! Ka1 47.Nc1! f1=Q 48.Nb3#

Next month we will look at other types of the platonic king hunt. If you’d like to get a head start, you can work on this homework exercise:

White to force Black into checkmate - without moving White’s king.


Until next month…


— FM Alex King, Spectator Columnist and Platonic Idealist  



Marshall Chess Club Board Election Results

The 2022 Marshall Chess Club election for the board of governors took place last night, Tuesday June 28th. On behalf of the membership of the Marshall Chess Club, the editorial staff of The Spectator would like to extend our congratulations to Rochelle Ballantyne (21% of the vote with 62 votes), Evan Rosenberg (17% of the vote with 50 votes) and David Smith (13% of the vote with 40 votes) on their election to the board of governors. We would also like to congratulate Jeffrey Tannenbaum (20% of the vote with 58 votes) and Sal Matera (19% of the vote with 57 votes)  on their reelection to the board. We would like to thank Keith Espinosa (10% of the vote with 30 votes) for his years of service to the board and dedication to the game of chess.

 The continued efforts of the reelected board members together with the newly elected governors will ensure that our club continues to grow and provide excellent experiences for our membership. 

At the conclusion of the meeting before the election results were announced, several board members expressed their heartfelt thanks to the leadership of Noah Chasin. Noah guided the club as President through one of the most difficult times in our history and succeeded in not only keeping the club together during the pandemic with a quick pivot to online tournaments and classes for members but who was also crucial in the cautious transition to full reopening and the roaring success that the club now enjoys. Several members of the board also expressed their thanks to Sandra Oliver for her many years of dedicated service as a member of the board. While she chose not to run for reelection, she will continue her efforts to help with the Marshall Foundation.

Finally, The Spectator would also like to thank the members who took the time to cast their ballot and participate in the governance of our historic club. Thank you.
— Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator

A Killer Move

About a month ago at the Tuesday night pizza social in May, I had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with Ed Frumkin. I had not really spoken to Ed since the club reopened after the pandemic, and so we had some catching up to do. After exchanging a few pleasantries and anecdotes, he set up the below position and told me it was from one of his recent games. He let me know that he was playing with the White pieces and had just captured a pawn by playing Rxb6. As it turns out, this was a costly blunder. Can you spot why? 

Ed Frumkin vs Jose De Villa
Marshall FIDE Monday


Black to move and win with what Ed called a "killer move." For the answer, please scroll to the bottom of the newsletter and read the editor's note. 

— Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator

Best Recent Game Contest

The Spectator is thrilled to continue a contest for our current members. If you have played a recent game at the Marshall Chess Club that you think may be appealing to a wider audience, please submit it with your annotations to Each issue we will select the most interesting game based both on the quality of play and annotations and publish it here for our readership to enjoy.

In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, the editorial staff at The Spectator went out of our way to find a game featuring some fireworks and we hope that this issue's selection will impress you as much as it did us. Congratulations to David Mbonu for submitting the best annotated, recently played game and winning a free tournament entry.

Want to submit your games? Simply email an annotated game that you played recently at the Marshall to us at and you will automatically be entered into the contest. 

We look forward to reading your submissions and sharing your recent brilliancies with our readership. 

NM Pedro Espinosa 2224 vs NM David Mbonu 2184
Marshall FIDE Open
(Play through the game

This was the last round of the tournament and the winner would likely be top 3 so I needed to create winning chances.

1. d4 c5 2. d5 d6 3. e4 Nf6 4. Nc3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O Na6 8. Nd2 Nc7 9. a4 Bd7 10. Re1

During the game to me the move felt too slow. I feel I was able to build an initiative from this position with my following plan. 

10... a6 11. a5 Nb5

The knight creates quite an impression on this square to the point where white must fall back.  

12. Ncb1 If 12. Nxb5 axb5 then Black is much better here with the weak a-pawn and extra space on the queenside.

12... e6 Played with next to zero thought. This position is screaming to be opened. 

13. Nc4?  I believe his idea was if Nxe4 Nb6, hitting the rook and threatening Bxb5 winning a piece...but I quickly saw black has the stunning Nxf2!! And whites dark squares collapse!  

13... Nxe4 14. Bf3 (14. Nb6 Nxf2 15. Kxf2 Qh4+ 16. Kf1 (16. g3 Qxh2+ 17. Kf1 (17. Kf3 Nd4+ 18. Ke3 Qxg3+ 19. Kd2 (19. Bf3 exd5) 19... Bh6#) 17... Bd4)  (16. Kg1 Bd4+ 17. Kh1 Be5 18. h3 Qg3) 16... Bd4 )

14... Nxf2  This was objectively a mistake, and during the game I knew this wasn't my strongest reply but I couldn't help myself. I hadn't realized the full danger of what I was getting myself into however.  

15. Kxf2  I was originally calculating Qe2 instead, trying to trap the knight but evaluated I had a strong position after exd5. For instance if 15. Qe2 then exd5 is the only move to keep the advantage for Black.

15... Qh4+ 16. g3 Qxc4 17. c3  And all of a sudden I realized my queen was in trouble. Ra4 is only stopped due to Nxc3 and b3, Re4, and Nd2 are all ideas I have to be careful of.  

17... exd5 18. Re7!!  

Excellent move! This creates the threat of Be2! while simultaneously threatening my Bishop. If my Bishop leaves Ra4 also becomes a move as well and now Black's position is incredibly difficult to figure out. The engine gives Nxc3 and Nd4 but with so many threats it's very hard to parse.  

18... d4!? I ended up deciding to sacrifice my Bishop, with the idea of taking over the e-file. I'm up 2 pawns and White is behind in development. I figured I had a chance, however, upon playing this move I realized White didn't have to take! White could play for example Nd2 looking for Be4 but idea crept into my mind.  (18... Be6 19. Ra4)  (18... Bc6 19. Be2)

19. b3?! This move felt wrong. Here I was 99% sure I could just play Nxc3, and regardless of what was happening I felt significantly more comfortable than in the line where I was down a piece. But I had spied an even more dynamic idea, a shocking idea that is actually the best move and the only move that gives Black an advantage. (19. Rxd7 Qe6 (19... Rae8))

19... Qe6!!  If I could give this a third exclamation mark, I would. A lightning bolt of a move! This move simultaneously removes White's two most active pieces! Nxc3 is completely fine and playable for Black but this is courageous try is best! 

20. Rxe6 fxe6 I have a rook and 3 pawns for the queen. But if we look at White's army currently each piece is dormant. This is a wild imbalance and after this move me and my opponent were about to head into a Tal like forest.  

21. c4! d3!?  I felt this was the human move. Grabbing some material and freeing my Bishop.   

22. cxb5 Bxa1 23. Qxd3  

At this point the engine reads 0.0 and its 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, and 2 pawns versus a Queen, 2 Bishops, and a Knight...what in the world is going on? Who knows?!  

23... Be5?!  This was one of my longest thinks of the game. I was afraid of my pawns becoming destabilized and somehow felt my bishop being on d4 wouldn't be as stable (incorrect thinking). The engine shows that White's in the driver's seat now but the game remains very unclear.  (23... Bd4+)

24. bxa6 Rxa6 25. Bh6  The engine likes this move but I really didn't, I felt this move helped my pieces get protected.  

25... Rf7 26. Kg2 Rxa5 27. Bxb7??  I was visibly surprised to see this move. The Engine actually loved White's position but after this move the Black army springs into an incendiary display of attack. As surprising as it may be, White is now lost and I didn't take my foot off the gas.  

27... Bb5 28. Qd2 Bf1+!

The point! The white king is pulled into what will become a net.

29. Kg1 Ra1 30. Qd1  (30. Be4 d5 (30... Bd4+ 31. Be3 (31. Kh1 Rf2 32. Qg5))

30... Bd4+ 31. Kh1 d5  I always love to play moves like this while attacking, physically shutting out key defenders so I don't have to calculate their moves any more.  

32. h4 Rf2! 

It's crazy to think that a mere 5 moves ago the position was balanced. Now every single black piece is attacking and the extra central pawns have proven their worth.  

33. Qe1 Bg2+ 34. Kh2 Be4+ 35. Kh3  and here 35...Rxb1 wins, but I saw some Qa5 tries and wanted to make sure I won giving zero chances to come back.  So I played...

35... Bf5+ 36. g4 Rxb1 37. Qxf2 Bxf2 38. gxf5 gxf5 39. Bc8 Kf7  

With this victory I placed third in the tournament! I was very happy with this exciting game that featured twists and turns, ups and downs and of course crazy imbalances! 

—NM David Mbonu, Marshall Chess Club Member


Chess Toons


En Passant
Chess News En Passant:

–  GM Ian Nepomniachtchi survived the important clash with GM Fabiano Caruana in round nine of the 2022 Candidates Tournament on Monday. The Russian grandmaster held the draw from a difficult position based on deep preparation from Caruana, who is still a point behind with five rounds to go.

– Several celebrities were immortalized in a handsome 60-foot-tall “We are Brownsville” mural. Grandmaster Maurice Ashley was one of the esteemed honorees that also included championship boxer Mike Tyson, actress Bern Nadette Stanis (Thelma of “Good Times”) and legendary football player Otis Wilson (Chicago Bears). 

– In the small Armenian town of Jermuk, a round-robin tournament with a strong field of ten young participants is currently taking place. Among them are Hans Moke Niemann, Nihal Sarin and Alexander Donchenko.

Problem of the Week

Pal Benko, 1996


White to move and mate in 2.

Solution to George 1984: 1.Qa8, threat Qh1#. If Bd7/2.Qh8#.

Alexander George, Marshall Chess Club Member

Editor's Note

Curious about the "killer move?" It's far from obvious, but Black has the incredible 1...Qe3+!! If White captures with 2.Qxe3 then 2...Ra1+ leads to mate, and of course any other move loses the queen followed by mate soon thereafter.

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
The Marshall Chess Club
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