Contents 2.9.2022:
Correspondence Chess Olympiad
 The Last Yearbook
Chess Toons
Best Recent Game Contest

En Passant
Problem of the Week

Editor's Note

Correspondence Chess Olympiad


As the Winter Olympics swing into high gear, it seems appropriate to note that two chess events are also part of the Olympic movement.  The next over-the-board Olympiad is set to take place this summer in Moscow.  Meanwhile, the slowest sport in the entire Olympic movement, the 21st Correspondence Chess Olympiad is just ending. Here is the crosstable, which contains three surprises.


First, with eight games remaining, the US team is in first place.  And we have a decent chance to stay there!  The members of the team: Stephen Ham (Board 1), Dan Fleetwood (Board 2), Tim Murray (Board 3), Jon Ostriker (Board 4), Jason Bokar (Board 5, and Jon Edwards, yes, that’s me (Board 6).
The second surprise, on close inspection, is just how incredibly close this competition is.  The event featured just 21 wins out of 468 games (8 are still on-going). Two of the six sections ended with no wins. That speaks to the impact of technology on the game. It really is getting hard to win at correspondence chess. Perhaps that’s not really much of a surprise.
The third take away is likely to provide a decent surprise. Russia is bringing up the rear.  The reason?  We are all conditioned to believe that economic sanctions have no effect, but they really do.  In this case, the Russians do not have easy access to access to high-performance computing, a requirement for success in modern correspondence chess. It’s not just being able to find the equipment, but often rather how to acquire it from foreign sources?

The USA’s last posted result is an extraordinary game, one well worth your time. 

Bokar,Jason (2526) - Castro, Francisco Manuel Fer (2382) [D11]
CCO21/F ICCF, 2020
(Play through the game here.)

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 Bf5 5.c4 e6 6.Nc3 h6 7.Qb3 Qb6 8.c5 Qxb3 9.axb3 Be7 10.h3 Na6 11.g4 Bh7 12.Bf4 Nd7 13.Ra4 f6 14.b4 Bc2


Computers seem unhappy with the following exchange sacrifice, but Jason Bokar demonstrates that human intuition can outthink the machine.  There’s still hope for us mortals.

15.Rxa6!! bxa6 16.Kd2 Bb3 17.Ra1 Bc4 18.b3 Bb5 19.Nxb5 axb5 20.Ra6 Rc8 21.e3 Kf7 22.Bf1 g5 23.Bh2 h5 24.Bd3 hxg4 25.hxg4 Rhd8 26.Kc3 Nf8 27.e4 Rd7 28.Ne1 Rb7 29.Kd2 Ng6 30.exd5 exd5 31.Bf5 Rcc7 32.Ng2 Bf8 33.Bd6 Ne7 34.Bxc7 Rxc7 35.Ne3 Bg7 36.Ra1 Rb7 37.Rh1 Bf8 38.Nf1 Nxf5 39.gxf5 Re7 40.Ng3 Bg7 41.Kd3 Bf8 42.Ra1 Bh6 43.Ra6 Rc7 44.f3 Ke7 45.Ke3 Kf7 46.Kf2 Ke7 47.Nf1 Bf8 48.Nh2 Kf7 49.Ng4 Be7 50.f4 gxf4 51.Kf3 Bf8 52.Kxf4 Bg7 53.Kg3 Bh8 54.Kh4 Kg8 55.Kh5 Kh7 56.Ra1 Re7 57.Nh2 Re3 58.Rxa7+ Bg7 59.Kh4 Re4+ 60.Ng4 Rxd4 61.Rc7 Rf4 62.Rxc6 Rxf5 63.Kg3 d4 64.Kg2 d3 65.Rd6 Rg5 66.Kf3 f5 67.Nf6+ Bxf6 68.Rxf6 Kg7 69.Rd6 Rg4 70.c6 Rg1 71.Kf4 Rc1 72.Kxf5 d2 73.Rxd2 Rxc6 1–0

As for me, all of my Olympiad games ended in draws, but I remain haunted by one position:


Edwards, Jon (2530) - Mertens, Marc (2449) [B84]
CCO21/F ICCF, 2020
(Play through the game here.)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.exd5 Qc7 12.c4 b6 13.Bd3 g6 14.0–0 Bg7 15.a4 a5 16.Rae1 0–0 17.Nc1 Rae8 18.b3 e4 19.Bc2 exf3 20.gxf3 Re7 21.Bf2 Rxe1 22.Rxe1 Re8 23.Ne2 Qd8 24.Nd4 Rxe1+ 25.Qxe1 Nh7 26.f4 Qf6 27.Be3 Nc5 28.Qg3 Bh6 29.Kg2 Kf8 30.h3 Ke8 31.Nc6 Kf8 32.Qf2 Kg8 33.Kg3 Qc3

Here I played 34. Qd2, hoping for 34…Qb2 35.Bd4 Nxb3 36.Bxb2 Nxd2 37.c5!
Five years of play, a decent chance at gold, and my main memory is of the one that got away.  The computer favors Qd2, but 34.Nd4 provides far better winning chances.
Unfortunately, Black has a line that holds:

34…Qa1 35.Bd4 Qh1 36.Qe3 Nf8 37.Ne7+ Kh7 38.Nc8 Bg7 39.Bxg7 Kxg7 40.Nxd6 Nfd7 
41.Be4 h4+ 42.Kxh4 Qh2 43.Bf3 Nf6 44.Bg4 Nfe4 45.Nxe4 Nxe4 46.d6 Nxd6 47.f5 Ne4 
48.Qd4+ f6 49.fxg6 Qf4 50.Qd7+ Kxg6 51.Qe8+ Kg7 52.Qe7+ Kg6 ½-½

Jon Edwards, Correspondence Chess Champion


The Last Yearbook 

Like many chess players, I was saddened to learn that the New in Chess Yearbook will be discontinued after its final issue, number 142. To capture this moment and reflect on what the Yearbook has meant to players in our club and community, I reached out to a few people for their thoughts, comments, and memories of one of the best publications on chess openings to have graced our mail boxes and bookshelves. 

Remmelt Otten, Publishing Director of New in Chess:
Yes, sadly, we will stop publishing the Yearbook. Studying chess openings has moved to online platforms more suitable for following the developments of Opening Theory. There is still an enormously loyal group of fans subscribing to the Yearbook, but it proves difficult to expand the readership. The concept of 25 Opening Surveys probably doesn't work as well with new readers as it did ten or twenty years Ago. Subscribers will be offered a refund or a conversion to the magazine subscription at a favorable rate plus some bonus ebooks.

It was great fun to create the yearbook, for more than 38 years, 142 Yearbooks, and 35.000 pages of Opening Theory. It helped a lot of people win games, most notably Caruana in the 2018 US Championship when he was browsing a hardcopy in bed one evening and the next day surprised his opponent with a Winawer sideline, resulting in a quick win. 


Jeffrey Tannenbaum, Marshall Chess Club Board Member: The yearbooks have been wonderful for years.  I’ve bought them all (except No. 142, which I intend to get).  I would like to see figures that show – or don’t – a drop in demand justifying the end of the series.  The publisher evidently thinks it has better things to do with its resources. But I am an old-fashioned reader of hard-copy books.  Online offerings are of far less interest to me.


NM Anthony Levin: As someone who started studying chess in the post-2010 era, when strong chess engines were readily available, it's literally something I've never used, read, looked at, or thought about... but that's probably going to be reflective of at least the Alireza generation and the future. I don't mean to say it doesn't have value, but it seems to be less and less relevant to younger people.

Jon Edwards: I will miss the NiC Yearbook, which I always read cover to cover.  Happy to report that they included two of my games, notably my win in the Spanish Masters against the Russian cr champion Lobanov (NIC YB 129, p.33). So I got that part of my personal bucket list checked off before they stopped publication.

NM Fred Wilson:  ​​New in Chess is the best chess magazine in the world. New in Chess has just been consistently the best, the best writers, the best analysts - everything. Maybe the 2nd best would be Chess the one from England edited by Malcom Pein. Chess Life is great but it's full of a lot of stuff that is more “feel good” than real chess.

One place where Chess Life has improved a lot though is they got John Watson to do the book reviews. This makes the book reviews in Chess Life as good as Sadler's articles in New in Chess.

It's possible that the buyout led to the decision to discontinue the Yearbook. If some bean counter is looking at the business and sees the Yearbook as this big expensive product that doesn’t produce much profit… it went up to 142 volumes and has a very loyal following to the people who love it but that doesn't mean anything to the money guy. What about the writers? What about the analysts who worked on it? What about the community of loyal subscribers? If you're making money, what should your first obligation be? To the society you live in, or the shareholders? 

I suggested that they maybe only do it twice a year. Unfortunately, the Yearbook seems to be gone. Remmelt complained to me that most people get their opening stuff online or in data-basess now, which leads me to wonder how much longer Chess Informant will survive.

NM Alex Fikiet: Dang, Chess Informant still exists? I thought that died. I mean I love the Yearbook -- me and my dad faithfully collected every issue. It's all up in a bookcase at my parents' house. There were always some good nuggets of theory or interesting lines, and I prefer there being text explanations. I also thought the community around it was interesting. The letters section always had some intense analysis and arguments on obscure lines like the Traxler, Budapest Farajowicz, stuff like that. But I do recognize in the digital age it has lost some of its use.


Ed Frumkin, Marshall Chess Club Board Member: Ironically, I’m donating my Informants 1-74 and NIC Yearbooks 1-54 (plus the KeyBook) to the Marshall), possibly today.  I rarely used them, but they looked impressive on my shelves.  I don’t know that we really needed another opening classification system.

 I did get one game into NIC 49 (1998), page 185 (RE 9.2) with notes by Miles, a last round (12th) game from the 1994 US Open in Chicago.  That fortnight in the Windy City was most notable for me in that I attended ball games at both Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field on back to back afternoons during the first week and then the players struck the second week, leaving us with no World Series that season.  I also have a published loss to Jon Jacobs in Chess Informant 102, I believe, in which I was credited with a TN.  I simply forgot the book variation and came up with something equally playable.  It might have made the second edition of “Pirc Alert”.  I still occasionally send Pirc scores to Alburt, including that Kozower game from November 1st with the out of nowhere Queen sacrifice.

The Yearbooks were very well organized, but I rarely prepared for anyone in particular, though I attempt to do so now.  The FIDE pairing system makes that largely a waste of time.  By the time I get that opponent and color break again, I’ll have forgotten whatever I had in mind.

—Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator

Best Recent Game Contest!

The Marshall Spectator is thrilled to announce a new contest for our current members to participate in. 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.

Gonçalves, Juan  1524 vs. Meshram, Nirvedh Harshad  1382
Marshall Wednesday Under 1600 
(Play through the game here.)

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3

Excited to finally play Smith-Morra in a tournament game. 

4... e6 The standard move, preventing tactics on f7 and Bb4 coming.

5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 Nf6 Debating the usual set up of Qe2 O-O and Rd1 or playing e5! One main variation to calculate. The other two end up with attacks on c7/f7

7. e5

Sac another pawn, sure why not? I stopped calculating after Qxd8+ Kxd8 because I see clear attacking chances along d-file and c-file.

7... Ng4  (7... d5 8. exf6 dxc4 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Ne5 Ke8 11. Nb5 Na6)  (7... dxe5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nxe5 Ke8 10. Nb5 Na6)

8. h3?! (8. Bf4 Nxe5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qxd8+ Kxd8 11. Bxe5 a6 12. Rd1+ Ke8)

8... Nxe5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qxd8+?! (10. Qg4 Nc6)

10... Kxd8 11. O-O a6?! Stopping use of b5 inhibits both Knight and Bishop. Nirvedh said he always plays a6 in the Sicilian but we are so outside of Sicilian main lines that here I think its a weak move- he's committed to playing defense the rest of the game. The move a6 usually comes earlier.

12. Be3 How to stop this king from reaching safety on f8?

12... Bd6?? (12... Bd7 13. f4) 13. Rfd1 Ke7 Here I missed that in the end Bc5 wins the exchange (Ne4 Rc8 takes takes Bc5). Other moves are Rc1 Bb3. But Ne4 feels the most natural. 

14. Ne4 Bc7 (14... Rd8 15. Nxd6 Rxd6 16. Bc5) 15. Bc5+ Ke8 16. Nd6+?! I felt very hesitant about trading while attacking. It's just one of those principles I strongly adhere to. However, this is a forcing move and in the end I can stack rooks.

16... Bxd6 17. Rxd6 Nd7?! I spent sometime calculating Bxe6. (17... Nc6)

18. Rad1 (18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Rxe6+ Kf7 (19... Kd8 20. Be7+ Kc7 21. Rc1+ Kb8 22. Bd6+ Ka7) 20. Re7+ Kg6)

18... Kd8?! He played this so fast. I wasn't entirely sure how to respond to b5.
Thinking of Bb6 but it isn't very clear if it works his king isn't making it to f8 anytime soon. (18... b5 19. Be2 Nxc5 20. Rd8+ Ke7 21. Rxh8 Bb7 22. Rxh7 Kf6 23. Rc1 Ne4 24. Bf3 Bd5 25. Rh4)

19. Bb4 a5?! 20. Ba3 Kc7 21. Bb5? (21. R6d3 b6 22. Bd6+ Kc6 23. Rf3 f6 24. Rg3 g6 25. Be7 Nc5 26. Bxf6 Rf8 27. Bxe5 Ba6)

21...Rd8?? Blunder. Nf6 was best. I want to play a check on d6 but also wanna try and win the d7 Knight! He brings in another defensive resource but the attack is too much. (21... Nf6 22. Rc1+ Kb8 23. Rdd1 Ka7 24. Bd6 Nd5 25. Bxe5 f6 26. Rxd5 exd5 27. Bd4+ b6 28. Rc7+)

22. Rc1+ Kb8  23. Rcd1 Kc7 24. Rc1+ Kb8 25. Rd3! Here I could say I'm winning but I'm struggling to find a clear plan of attack that leads to a concrete win.

25...b6 The move b6 felt like he was giving up and I now clearly saw how to infiltrate on c7.

26. Bd6+ Ka7 27. Rc7+ Bb7 28. Bxd7 Ka6 29. b4 b5 30. Bc5 Bd5 31. a4?! bxa4?? 32. b5#

Congratulations to Juan Gonçalves for submitting the best annotated, recently played game and winning a free tournament entry!

Want to submit your games? Simply email a recent annotated game that you played 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! 

Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator 
Chess Toons


En Passant

Chess News En Passant:

 GM Yuri Averbakh, the oldest living grandmaster in the world, turns 100 this week. After recovering from Covid last summer, he seems to be back in shape again and says he still analyzes endgames to keep his mind sharp.

– Magnus Carlsen won Tata Steel  and Karjakin, Van Foreest and Praggnanandhaa all won their games on the final day. 

– The Marshall Chess Club was saddened to learn of the death of Arthur Feuerstein at the age of 86. Among many other accomplishments, he was winner of the first U.S. Armed Forces Chess Championship. We recommend reading
 Tenacious: The chess life of Arthur Feuerstein is a story of promise, tragedy, and rejuvenation. by Al Lawrence, Chess Life Jan. 2012. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to the Feuerstein family. 

– The final round of the Battle of the Sexes match-tournament, held at Gibraltar, saw the men’s team win by 6½-3½ to finish overall winners by 53-47.

– Joseph Anthony Ippolito, a former US Chess Executive Board member and once president of the New Jersey State Chess Federation (NJSCF), has died on January 18, 2022 at the age of 78. He was the father of IM Dean Ippolito and made many important contributions to organizations and events in his lifetime. We extend our sincere condolences to the Ippolito family. 


Problem of the Week

F.W. Lord, 1876

In this confusing array of pieces it is White to move and find the only move that leads to checkmate in two no matter how Black replies. Happy solving!  
 [The solution to last issue's problem, J Møller 1920, This is a beautiful example of a problem from the Logical School of composition. Here's the idea: White has a plan to mate Black (called a "main plan"). However, Black has a defense against this plan. White must therefore come up with a prior plan (known as a "foreplan") that will spoil Black's defense. So here, White's plan is to play 1.Qb1 and mate on b8. However, Black can spoil this with 1...Bg3. So what's White's foreplan? The Spectator omitted the stipulation "Mate in 3." 

The solution is 1.Qg7 (threatening Qxd7 followed by mate).  Black can defend against this threat with 1...Be7.  But then White switches back to the main plan with 2.Qb2, now threatening 3.Qb8 mate.  Black can no longer play Bg3, but has the analogous response 2...Bd6.  But now this move interferes with the pawn on d7 and so allows 3.Qg2 mate.  The beauty of the ideas as well as of the movements of the Queen is exceptional.]

Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator

Editor's Note

Spot a typo in the spectator? 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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