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Click here for 9. dxe5.
Click here for 11... dxe5.

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Click here for 14... Ke8.
Click here for 15... Kd7.

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Click here for 17... Bd6.
Click here for 19... Qf6.

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Game against 11 year old USCF 1783 from San Diego

It is a simplistic game and the kid blundered at the end.  I just thought it interesting that this kid is rated 1783 USCF.  He wants to play me a G/60 sometime, so I might do that.  

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2021.01.08"]
[Round "-"]
[White "john2001plus"]
[Black "Lukachess236"]
[Result "1-0"]
[CurrentPosition "r2qk2r/pp2bppp/3Q1n2/8/1n6/2N2N2/PP3PPP/R1B1R1K1 w kq -"]
[Timezone "UTC"]
[ECO "B27"]
[ECOUrl "https://www.chess.com/openings/Sicilian-Defense-2.Nf3"]
[UTCDate "2021.01.08"]
[UTCTime "02:01:57"]
[WhiteElo "1998"]
[BlackElo "1821"]
[TimeControl "600"]
[Termination "john2001plus won by resignation"]
[StartTime "02:01:57"]
[EndDate "2021.01.08"]
[EndTime "02:08:02"]
[Link "https://www.chess.com/live/game/6173533919"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 Nf6 7. Nc3 Qa5 8.
d5 Nb4 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Nxd7 11. O-O Nf6 12. d6 exd6 13. Re1+ Be7 14. Qxd6
Qd8 1-0

The chess.com analysis feature didn't like some of my moves, but I won anyway.



Queen’s Gambit Netflix TV Series

The chess games played in the series to the extent that they can be followed have been analyzed on YouTube. Most of them are based on real games played by Grandmasters. I recognized the final position from a famous Paul Morphy game from around 1859. One difference is that Paul Morphy played the brilliant game while blindfolded.

At one point in the show someone presents Beth Harmon with a 3 move chess problem. This problem appeared online somewhere. This particular problem should have been at least somewhat difficult, but I just happened to pick up on the answer within a few seconds.

Composed chess problems have a rule where the first move can't be a capture or a check. This sometimes means that the losing side is placed in zugzwang, which means that it is unfavorable for him to have to make a move. These problems are much more subtle than positions from real games.

Because these problems are often very difficult, I have a technique where I imagine a couple of moves for the losing side and then given those moves I look for a way to win. If I can't solve it then I know that the solution involves preventing those moves from happening.

I have some thoughts on what the possible symbolism of the ending of the show might mean. I would like to discuss it with somebody who has seen it.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Queen's Gambit

Hollywood tends to make fictional movies about people who are so talented that they quickly rise to the top of some competitive sport without really having to earn it. In reality, a game like chess is immensely difficult to master, and the top-level players spend decades of full-time effort to get to that level. You almost have to be a little bit crazy to be a top tier chess player.

So I resisted at first watching Queen's Gambit, but as a drama about chess, it is good. There is also a major theme about substance abuse. These together make a pretty good story.

Obviously, there is also a theme of female empowerment. This is interesting because during the 1950s and 1960s in which this story takes place, there weren't that many women chess players and none at the higher levels. Things have improved quite a bit since then, first with the Polgar sisters becoming top tier players, and more recently with Chinese star Hou Yifan. Yet, chess is still a game dominated by men, maybe because women find it less interesting. Men more than women prefer competitive sports, especially one as egotistical as chess.

Best wishes,

John Coffey



My Only Game vs. Magnus Carlsen - YouTube

I think that this is a very interesting game worth studying.


The ending is a draw as stated, but I think that if the pawns are on f4 and f5 instead of g4 and g5, then it is a win for White.  (After putting the pawn on a7 and the rook on a8 then the Black King can't go to f7 because Rh8! wins for White, because after Rxa7 White has Rh7+.)  So White eventually wins the f5 pawn with his King, and then White marches the f pawn up to f6 throwing the Black King off his g7 and h7 defensive squares.  I just confirmed this with endgame tablebases.

What I have a hard time wrapping my head around, is why doesn't this same strategy work with a G pawn?  The answer is that Black can set his king on g7 and give checks with the rook. With an F pawn then the Black King either ends up on f7 which loses to Rh8, or it ends up h7 allowing White to play f7 threatening to queen.

However, I am just assuming that the Black King just goes between g7 and h7.  There are other possibilities, but these are winning for White as well.  https://syzygy-tables.info/?fen=8/6k1/R7/P4p2/5P2/r7/6K1/8_w_-_-_0_1


Dinesh D'Souza: Netflix’s New Feminist Series “The Queen’s Gambit” Needs a Heavy Dose of Reality


I find the name Dinesh D'Souza on the U.S. Chess Federation website.  I don't know if this is the same person because it could be a common Indian name, and a great many people from India play chess.   The membership of the person on the USCF website expired in 2005 and he lived in California where Dinesh D'Souza also lived at the time so it could be the same person.


In response to the video I wrote the following comment:  

"Speaking as someone who is barely ranked at the Expert level, I think that men and women have different inclinations toward competitive sports, where chess is a somewhat ego-driven sport. Women by their nature prefer activities that are more cooperative. Studies have shown that women are less inclined to engage in analytical thinking even though they are equally capable of it.

I haven't watched the show yet, but my concern is that Hollywood movies are full of heroes who rise to the top with little or no effort.  This is not reality, and chess is an incredibly difficult game to master."


Mate in 3 chess problem from the Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit".

I have not yet watched the Netflix series, "The Queen's Gambit", but in episode 6 this composed chess problem was presented to the character Beth Harmon to solve. White to play and mate in 3 moves. I saw it on a youtube video. Almost every chess game in that show has been analyzed extensively on youtube.

Composed mate in 3 problems can be quite difficult to solve, but I've solved this one faster than any composed mate in 3 that I have solved before. Like 20 seconds. The Black pieces have few moves available making the puzzle easier. I asked myself, what would happen if the Black King ran away to h6 or f8, or what if the Black King just ended up on its original square?

Some really difficult composed chess problems have taken me 30 to 60 minutes to solve. I have a knack for Mate in 2 problems, but Mate in 3's can be exponentially more complicated.



KQvKR Philidor Posiiton

This is the Philidor Position in the Queen versus Rook ending, not to be confused with the Rook and Pawn ending by the same name.


It is possible to play the ending out on this website, which tells you the best moves on the righthand side.

This ending is normally thought to be quite difficult, but this is one of the critical positions and it is fairly easy if you know what to do.  (The other critical position is called the 3rd rank defense, and it is harder.)  

White easily wins is with a triangulation after 1. Qe5+ Ka7 2. Qa1+ Kb8 3. Qa5 arriving at the starting position with it being Black to move instead of White to move.  Now Black is forced to move his rook away from the king.  Then White can check the king until he is able to fork the rook.


"WOW! He is FIGHTING So Well!" | Magnus Carlsen vs Narayanan | Banter Series

For those interested in these things, Mangus Carlsen explains his thinking.  As I entered the game into the computer, the analysis indicated that Magnus had the advantage but threw it away, and then his opponent gave it back to him.


[Event "Banter Chess Series"]
[Site "?"] [Date "2020.10.28"] [Round "1"] [White "Carlsen, Mangus"] [Black "Narayana, S.L.."] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2618"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventType "schev (blitz)"] [TimeControl "180"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qa4+ Nc6 8. e3 O-O 9. Rc1 Rd8 10. a3 Bf8 11. Be2 a6 12. O-O Rb8 13. Rfd1 dxc4 14. Qxc4 Bd7 15. Ne4 Qf5 16. Nc5 Be8 17. Bd3 Qd5 18. Qc2 Bxc5 19. Be4 Qd6 20. Qxc5 Rbc8 21. h4 f5 22. Bb1 Bh5 23. Ba2 Bxf3 24. gxf3 Kh8 25. Qxd6 Rxd6 26. Rc5 g6 27. Rdc1 Kg7 28. Bb3 Kf6 29. Ba4 Rb8 30. b4 g5 31. hxg5+ hxg5 32. Bxc6 bxc6 33. Rxc6 a5 34. bxa5 Ra8 35. Rxc7 Rxa5 36. Rh7 Kg6 37. Rcc7 Rxa3 38. Rcg7+ Kf6 39. Rg8 f4 40. e4 Rxd4 41. Kg2 Rdd3 42. Rh6+ Kf7 43. Rxg5 Rxf3 44. 
Rgg6 Rfd3 45. Rf6+ Kg7 46. Rhg6+ Kh7 47. Rxe6 Rd4 48. Rgf6 Kg7 49. Rxf4 1-0