My previous email might be wrong.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Bill 

The comments say, "Today is Dia de los Santos inocentes in Spain. The Spanish equivalent of April fools day. Whole thing is satire."

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at 03:39:28 PM EST

Apparently, Magnus Carlsen is taking a year-long break from playing in Over The Board tournaments.

He mentions hating having to travel so much.





Apparently, Magnus Carlsen is taking a year-long break from playing in Over The Board tournaments.

He mentions hating having to travel so much.


My Goal: Reaching a 1000 Rating! #chess #shorts


I shouldn't talk since I am an Expert, but this is the kind of combo that takes me a couple of seconds to see.

I believe that it is fairly easy to get to 1300. A person just needs to be able to see most 2-move combos. There might be a few unusual 2-move combos that a 1300 would not see, but being able to see most 2-move combos would make a person 1200 to 1300. I think that being able to see most 3 move combos would make a person 1400 to 1500.

A couple of weeks ago I was proud of myself for seeing a six-move combo in a speed game, but I made the same mistake that many players make where I didn't calculate the next move. After winning my opponent's rook I realized that he could trap my queen. My lower-rated opponent didn't see it, but he could have been winning.


Stockfish 15.1 - Stockfish

The Stockfish chess engine has switched to a new evaluation method similar to what Alpha Zero or Lela Chess uses.  It is no longer about material but winning chances, which is dependent upon an AI that can train itself.  This method allowed the program Alpha Go to beat the best Go players, which was previously thought to be impossible.

"New evaluation

This release also introduces a new convention for the evaluation that is reported by search. An evaluation of +1 is now no longer tied to the value of one pawn, but to the likelihood of winning the game. With a +1 evaluation, Stockfish has now a 50% chance of winning the game against an equally strong opponent. This convention scales down evaluations a bit compared to Stockfish 15 and allows for consistent evaluations in the future."



INSANE FINAL MATCH: Magnus vs. Hikaru!

Chess player

Dale is a Utah chess player I haven't seen in 10 to 12 years who out of the blue sends me a text saying he wants to play me again and claims (presumably jokingly) that he used to crush me on the chess board.


Introduction to the Catalan

Presented for your consideration.  

The Catalan is a popular opening at the Grandmaster level.  Magnus Carlsen scores very well with it.  The problem for amateurs is that it involves a great deal of theory.  The following playlist has 12 videos that go into the Catalan in great detail.  This is at least at the Master level, but if a person wants to become a chess master, like me, this might be worth studying.

I have already expended a great deal of effort trying to learn the opening from these videos.  My plan is to learn everything, but this might take months to fully accomplish.  I also think that it will take a great deal of practice, preferably at the club level, to understand the ideas behind this opening.



Bughouse chess - Wikipedia

It seems to me that the rules can vary from place to place.  For example, it was common to now allow a dropped piece to deliver checkmate.

"Pieces in reserve may be dropped on any vacant square, including squares where the piece delivers check or checkmate; however, pawns may not be dropped on the first or last rank. (A variant does not allow dropped pieces to deliver check.) Dropped pawns may promote, but all promoted pawns convert back to pawns when captured. In play over the board, a promoted pawn can be put on its side to indicate promotion.[5] A pawn placed on the second rank may move two squares on its first move. A rook placed on the rook's typical starting square (a1, h1, a8, h8) may take part in castling. Each player must keep the reserve or stock pieces on the table in front of the board, always visible to all players of the game."

I don't like Bughouse much, but it can be a fun diversion...


Bughouse chess is controversial among chess teachers. While some instructors find beneficial learning outcomes for bughouse, most do not consider it to have a positive effect, especially for novice chess players.[54] According to Susan Polgar, "If your children want to play bughouse for fun, it is OK. But just remember that it is not chess and it has no positive value for chess. In fact, I absolutely recommend no bughouse during a tournament."[55] Arguments supporting a negative view of bughouse include that it distorts typical chess pattern recognition[56] and that it too heavily emphasizes tactical play at the expense of positional strategy.[57] For example, in bughouse, one can just drop a pawn to compensate for a weakness created by moving one, unlike normal chess. It also lacks endgame play due to pieces being recycled, thereby reducing the need for precise moves. In addition, the lack of control over teammates' boards introduces randomness that is not encountered in normal chess. Further, many claim that since there is no set order of moves between the two boards, normal calculation ability is diminished. It also shares criticisms with speed chess in general, potentially encouraging a habit of moving too fast or playing unsoundly with the expectation that one's opponent will be moving quickly.[36]



"A Viewer Sent Me An Insane Puzzle!"

I was able to solve this chess puzzle without too much difficulty.


First I looked at having the King run, and there are no safe squares where he can shield from rook checks.  Then I explored the idea of giving up some or all of the pawns.  I realized that giving up some pawns allows the King to hide temporarily, zig-zagging around the pawns, but this doesn't solve the problem.  So I got thinking that the rook on H3 must be in the puzzle for some reason, and if we can liberate it then it could be the mating piece on a3.


Can You Solve This Crazy Puzzle?

John Coffey
0 seconds ago
I thought the first mate-in-25 moves problem would be too deep for Stockfish 15 to find, but it finds it immediately.  I am somewhat familiar with chess-playing algorithms, and I assumed that the search tree would grow exponentially toward infinity, but it helps that all the wrong choices get White mated quickly.


Chess Puzzle

I really like this chess problem.  I was stumped, but it is simple enough that I should have been able to figure it out.



Loss to Novag Super Constellation level 1

Back in 1984, the Novag Super Constellation chess-playing computer was one of my favorite possessions.  I doubt that many of these machines would still be working because the model is almost 40 years old and old capacitors tend to go bad given enough use.   

In 1984 the USCF gave the Novag Super Constellation a rating of 2018 which has been somewhat controversial.   Most online sites today claim that its actual strength is in the 1700s, which I don't believe.  I remember it being much better than me and I was rated in the 1700s at the time.

There was a golden age of chess-playing computers that went from about 1982 to 1995 before most people owned a PC and the only way to play chess against a computer was to buy one of these devices.  Once people bought computers, the market for chess-playing computers almost completely disappeared, although recently there has been a bit of a resurgence of chess-playing computers.  Also, playing chess on mobile devices has become very popular.

Since I am curious about everything, I have wondered for years how I would fair against the Novag Super Constellation today because I am now rated much higher.  I even considered trying to buy an old chess-playing computer on eBay, although not necessarily this model because there are much better ones that came out later.

Recently I found a way to play the Novag Super Constellation using emulation on my computer.  Although I did beat level 1 once, I have lost a few games too.  I'm not quite comfortable playing the simulated chess machine because graphically it is not as nice as playing a modern chess program, plus you have to move the computer pieces as if you were playing the real chess computer which is slightly distracting.

The computer proves that it does not miss tactics on level 1 where it averages 5 seconds per move, which is speed chess.  I think that it would crush most Class A players at speed chess.  This is impressive for an 8-bit 6502 processor running at just 4 MHZ.  It shows that you don't need much computing power to see 3 moves ahead, which is maybe enough to outplay or equal average tournament players even at tournament time controls.

I have set up positions to test the device, and I found that its playing strength only improves marginally as you give it more time.  The Novag Super Constellation seems to be optimized for 5 seconds per move and it plays pretty strong at that level.  One reason is that it has a very good opening book allowing it to reach strong positions out of the opening.

In this game, Stockfish analysis agrees with my opening moves up to move 12.  By move 20 it thinks that I am positionally crushing it, but it is not clear to me at all why it thinks that I am 4 pawns ahead.  I need to do more analysis.  On move 21, I blundered, unfortunately.  If I can avoid making these kinds of obvious tactical mistakes then I likely would beat the machine on level 1.  Once I fell behind, the computer showed no mercy and proceeded to crush me.

[Event "CB-Emu"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2022.10.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Novag Super-Constellation Lv1"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E18"]
[WhiteElo "2016"]
[BlackElo "2018"]
[Annotator "Stockfish 14.1"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2022.10.16"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8.
Nc3 d5 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bf4 c5 11. Rc1 Nc6 12. dxc5 {
Stockfish agrees with all my opening moves.} Bxc5 13. Bg5 ({Better is}
13. a3 {and White has a winning advantage.}) 13... d4 14. Ne4 Qe7 15.
Nxf6+ ({Better is} 15. Nh4) 15... gxf6 16. Bh6 ({Better is} 16. Bh4)
16... Rfe8 17. Re1 ({Stockfish 14.1:} 17. Nh4 {Now not} Qxe2 18. b4
Nxb4 (18... Bxb4 19. Bxc6) 19. Bxb7) ({Not} 17. b4 Nxb4) 17... Rac8 ({
Black can do much better with} 17... Rad8) 18. a3 Qd7 19. b4 Bf8 20. Qd2
Ne5 21. Nxd4?? {Here I blunder away a winning game.  The antique
chess computer has no problem seeing shallow tactics even on level 1.  To my
defense, I'm not quite comfortable visually playing on the simulated chess
computer.} ({Stockfish 14.1:} 21. Nxe5 Rxe5 22. Bf4 {And White is winning.})
21... Bxh6 22. Qxh6 Bxg2 23. Red1? ({Stockfish likes} 23. Qxf6 Qxd4 (
23... Bb7 {loses to} 24. Nf5) 24. Kxg2) 23... Ng4 24. Qf4 Rxc1 25. Rxc1 Re4 {
The computer proves how tactically strong it is.  I am sure it would beat most
A players at speed chess.} 26. Qb8+ Kg7 27. Rc8 Nh6 {
Shutting down any hope for White.} 28. e3? ({White can do better with}
28. Rd8 Qh3 29. Qc8 Qxc8 30. Rxc8) 28... Qh3? {
Stockfish thinks this is a blunder and prefers Bh3, but it hardly matters.}
29. Qb7? {A blunder.} ({Stockfish prefers} 29. Nf5+ Qxf5 30. Kxg2) 29... Rxd4
30. Qxg2 Rd1+ 31. Qf1 Rxf1# 0-1


Don't mess with my DUCK

Duck Chess is an exciting and absorbing new chess variant invented in early 2016 by Dr Tim Paulden, the president of Exeter Chess Club (Devon, England).

The basic principle of the game is very simple: in addition to the usual pieces, the two players have joint control of a small rubber duck which acts as a "blocker" (i.e. nothing can move onto or through it), and which must be moved to a new square after every turn. The goal is to successfully capture the opponent's king.



Pinkamena (1535) vs V. Khoroshun (1703). Chess Fight Night.

I always love it when little kids can play chess well. At first, I thought that she played the opening a little inaccurately, but when she won the knight on e4 I was thinking, "Holy Crap!".  Her opponent paused because he realized that he was getting his butt kicked by a little girl, and then she proceeded to play very well afterward. Good for her!


Ilya Smirin: Chess commentator sacked for sexist comments during match - BBC News

All chess players - men and women - can become grandmasters, which is the highest title a chess player can attain, if they have a rating of 2,500 and above.* The very top female chess players have this title.

The woman grandmaster title is only for women and requires a lower rating of 2,300.

The commentators were discussing whether Zhu Jiner could become grandmaster, when Mr Smirin said: "She's a woman grandmaster or what?... Why she wants to be like men grandmaster in this case?"

Mr Smirin went on to appear to admit that he had privately said "chess is maybe not for women".

Fellow commentator Fiona Steil-Antoni said to him: "You're saying, you know, 'chess is maybe not for women'," and Mr Smirin replied: "I didn't say it openly... in private, private conversation."

And he also seemed to admit saying another female player - Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkin - had been "playing like a man".

"That's true," said Mr Smirin, when questioned about his apparent comments. "She played in Russia super final. Small minus she made, but it was very strong tournament. She also had like 2,600 plus rating."

Challenging him again, Ms Steil-Antoni asked: "What does that have to do with playing like a man, only men can play well?"

"No, no," Mr Smirin responded. "But she's playing in style, positional style... But OK, I'm always curious, why can women play among men but men cannot play with women in women tournaments? Interesting question."

* Reaching a rating of 2500 is not the only requirement for becoming a Grandmaster.

Chess is dominated by men, maybe because it is a highly competitive (and egotistical) game.  Men tend to prefer competition whereas women tend to prefer cooperation.


The most incriminating evidence against Hans Niemann

I understood what she was saying, but her French accent made it difficult.  Closed captioning is helpful, but it is done by a computer and often yields incorrect words in the speech recognition.

The bottom line is that not even the top players, playing at their best, perform at the same level as the top chess computer engines.   An average Grandmasters would match computers roughly 50% of the time, which is how Hans Nieman plays most of the time.  However, he has several games that are 100%, which is unheard of, and a few others that were in the 90s.

I was on Hans Nieman's side, viewing him as an up-and-coming 19-year-old.  He is either occasionally playing like a genius or is occasionally cheating.  It would make sense that he would not cheat all the time because that would be too obvious.  

I hope that this is not true.  

It is possible to play a perfect game if your opponent plays a bad game because it makes the choices more obvious.  Against really terrible opponents I played perfect games according to the computer, but I didn't have to think very hard.

Yesterday, I studied one of Han's better games because it is very instructive.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCJ0uIAlreA)  The youtube chess personality stated that he didn't think that Hans was cheating, because the moves were the kind that a good player could find.  This may be true, but if a player has too many aberrant results then it looks suspicious.

In this long video, Hikaru Nakamura gave his opinion on the first video, comparing the results to his own games:

This is a shorter video doing an analysis that is worth watching:

Classic difficult chess problem. White to play and win


MAGNUS CARLSEN: "I Believe Hans Niemann CHEATED"

Good video.  

I don't believe that Hans cheated.  There is very little evidence for it.  Hans is a rising star and had the best game of his career and Magnus didn't.  If I can lose to players rated 200 (or in my case 500) points below me then so can Magnus.  

Shit happens.  Twenty years ago I got a draw against Grandmaster Igor Ivanov.  About the same time, I watched a B player friend of mine beat Grandmaster Susan Polgar in a speed tournament.

P.S.  The Babe Ruth story is misunderstood. He was pointing to people he knew in the stands, but the myth remains.

The story about Hans claiming ahead of time that he was going to win a tournament is interesting. Over 20 years ago I was running a Utah championship tournament when a teenager told me that he was going to beat everybody to prove that he was the best player. I thought that this was a very cocky statement to make, but to my surprise, this is exactly what he did.


My Chess Tactics


The one-move chess problems on my website were constructed deliberately to be the "vocabulary" of chess tactics.  I have long felt that learning chess is a bit like learning a new language.  In these problems, you can find every motif like pins, forks, skewers, removing the defender, and mates.

I attribute the 1, 2, and 3 move problems by themselves to raising my rating from 1800 to 1900.   Since I played a great deal of speed chess, my goal was to be able to see the tactical motifs as quickly as possible.  Because I did these problems repeatedly, I got some criticism from one of my friends who said that I wasn't doing tactical problems, but I was memorizing them.  This was partly true.  My counter was that I could not memorize all the problems, but I could memorize the tactical themes.  When I do the problem now, the tactical themes become quickly apparent.  Likewise, I see tactics quickly in speed chess games.

A bit of history...

When I moved to Utah in 1993, I was around a 2000-rated player.  

However, at that time the ratings seemed to work differently in Utah.  Salt Lake City and the Wasatch mountain range are hundreds of miles from the nearest major metropolitan areas.  It felt like the pool of rated chess players was isolated from other players by distance.  When I started playing in tournaments in Utah, I saw my rating decline to 1800.  Also, those players who would go to out-of-state tournaments, such as in Vegas, reported doing very well against similarly rated players from California.

I think that whatever difference there may have been balanced out some over time.  There was nationwide rating inflation that happened in the 80s which my rating benefited from.  This was due to the USCF tinkering with the rating system in the 80s and then reversing course in the 90s causing a noticeable rating deflation.

I constructed my online tactical problems around 1995 to 1998.  

I don't remember exactly when I started studying the following materials:

Sharpen Your Tactics
Chess Pocket Training Book:  300 most important positions
Practical Chess Exercises
The 1000 problems on the Shredder iPhone app.

I spent 10 minutes every night for a year without fail studying the Chess Pocket Training Book, and then afterward had one of my greatest chess tournament results ever.  This was 20 years ago.

So I attribute these materials to raising my rating from 1900 to 2000.  Once again, I did a great deal of repetition.  The goal has always been to make hard things intuitive.  For me, this feels like learning a language.

Did Hans Niemann Cheat: The Evidence! with IM Ken Regan

INSANE Chess Cheating Scandal Update


5 hours ago (edited)
At this point I'm going for the "should you believe your spouse if they're convicted of murder" ethical dilemma and choosing to believe Hans is innocent. Just because if he really did cheat, then he's getting what he deserves, but if he didn't then this is absolutely horrible for him. I'd rather give a guilty man clemency then an innocent man a death sentence.

John Coffey
0 seconds ago
I think that it is a really big stretch to say that Hans was cheating. It is too hard to pull off and not get caught. 

If I can lose to players rated 200 points below me then why can't Magnus? What is the point of playing if you are not allowed to win?  

Computer analysis shows that Magnus did not play a perfect game. Neither did Hans Neimann. As long as there are mistakes on the board then in theory either side can win.


Hans Niemann

I feel that this latest controversy over Grandmaster Hans Niemann beating Magnus Carlsen is overblown. Niemann is a 19 year old rising star, and if I can lose to people rated 200 points below me then so can Magnus.

Yet Magnus insinuated that he was cheated, and then Hikaru Nakamura came out and said it out loud, and then suddenly the whole Internet jumped on this bandwagon. Then chess.com suspended Niemann's account even though this is not an online tournament.

I think that it would be very hard to cheat in a live tournament and not get caught. They also have safeguards to prevent this.

What is the point of playing if you are not allowed to win?

I believe Niemann when he says that he has done nothing but study chess 12 hours a day for the last two years.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


The 4 WORST Chess Openings

Presented for your consideration.  Many of his opening recommendations match what I play.


I have been playing, advocating, and teaching 1. Nf3 for a long time.  It is atrocious how many times people play 1... Nc6, which might be okay if they know the Chigorin Defense, but they never do, which often gives White a winning position right out of the opening.  i.e. 1. Nf3 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. c4 dxc4 4. d5 Nb4?? 6. Qa4+.  The move 1. Nf3 gives White the option of playing Queen Pawn or English, and after 1... c5 either 2. c4, 2. d4 or my preference of 2. e4 d6 3. c3.


Chess tactics problems on my chess lesson website

A word of caution about the tactics problems on my website: I'm looking for cheaper or free web hosting. I may have to cut back drastically on the number of web pages on my chess lesson site.

I thought that I could replace the tactics web pages with a free tactics app, but that is going to take a long time to develop.

Therefore, my tactics web pages may become temporarily unavailable starting around September or October. I have many other tactics problems on blogs that don't cost me anything, so I may just link to those instead.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Very wild game

[Event "Columbus Chess Club"]
[Site "Lewellyn"]
[Date "Jul 21, 2022"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Steve Salo"]
[Black "John Coffey"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 4. Qd3 d5 5. dxc5 e6 6. b4 a5 7. c3 axb4 8. cxb4
b6 9. Bxb8 Ba6 10. b5 Bxc5 11. Bg3 Qf6 12. bxa6 Bxf2+ 13. Kd1 Bxg3 14. Qb5+ Kf8
15. hxg3 Qxf1+ 16. Kc2 Rc8+ 17. Kb2 Qc1+ 18. Kb3 Nc5+ 19. Kb4 Qb2#


Fwd: 'BREAKING: Carlsen Not To Defend World Title'

Just like people scrambled and bent over backward to get Bobby Fischer to play the world championship in 1972, we could see the same thing here.  More money for the winner might do it.

In 1972 I didn't even know how to play chess, but everybody was talking about the World Chess Championship.  However, people didn't know how crazy Bobby Fischer was.

Although Carlsen could be sincere in his desire to not defend his world championship title, it could also be a negotiation tactic.  I find myself not caring.  A Nepo vs. Ding Liren match would be fun to watch because it will not be a foregone conclusion.  If Carlsen loses the title then he may want it back later, which will make the next world championship match much more interesting.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


chess.com puzzle rating

It took me at least 90 minutes to only get a small increase in rating.  At this difficulty, I am spending up to several minutes on some puzzles.  

It is always frustrating when you think that you have found the answer, and then you find out that you are wrong,   According to chess.com, my success rate is 59%.


Chess.com Puzzles

A friend pointed out that people don't know that it takes 10,000 hours to become a chess master.  This is according to the rule that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything.  I suspect that for some people that it would take more than 10,000 hours and for other people less.  The younger people start, the easier it is to improve.  By my age, most people have given up trying to get better at chess, at least by any significant amount.  However, it is not in my nature to give up.  I still would like to be a chess master.

I feel that there is some benefit to the chess.com puzzles.  It is said that to improve that you need to get out of your comfort zone, and these problems definitely take me out of my comfort zone.  I am at least as likely to fail to find the solutions as I am to succeed, even after some serious calculation on my part.  Unlike the simple chess puzzles on my website, which are designed to build pattern recognition, the vast majority of these problems require at least a minute of calculation, if not more.  The longest I took on a single one was about seven minutes and I got it wrong.

These puzzles might be good training for tournament chess.  After I did a large number of them, I felt that my deep calculation skill had improved a little.  This is different from speed chess or simple problems where people usually go with their first impression.  My first impression frequently fails because most of these puzzles are way trickier than they first appear.

Four weeks ago today I was bragging that I got my chess.com puzzle rating up to 3003.  It was a significant milestone. These ratings don't match standard USCF ratings, because it is possible to get up to a rating of 65,540 which appears to be the maximum, and a handful of people have actually obtained this rating.  After reaching 3003, I tried to go higher and got to 3021, but then I went all the way down to 2878.  Today I spent three hours doing the puzzles, and after much difficulty, I got up to 3001. 

I'm quitting for now while I am ahead.  I keep a link to every problem that I have done, and the site allows you to go back and review them.  I have a total of 975 puzzles saved, of which 875 I have not yet reviewed.  My plan is to review all of them multiple times, and that will take many months.  Then I will see if I can raise my rating higher.

Always my goal is to take difficult tasks and make them easy or easier with practice.



Levy: "I Am Retiring From Chess"


John Coffey:  I play chess to have fun. I used to love tournaments, but at age 62, tournaments feel like too much work for no real benefit.


The Best Chess Players Over Time (Estimated By Accuracy)

The standings at the end seem relevant.  I had assumed that Bobby Fischer would be 2nd, but the video ranks him as fifth.  Fischer was significantly better than all his contemporaries.



How Judit Polgar Crushed Magnus Carlsen In 3 Minutes!

Advice on Tactics

I gave this advice to a couple of people in my chess club:

'Meaning no offense, but I noticed a few missed tactics in your game.

It isn't just a matter of tactical skill. No one at our level has the skill to see all tactics. What I have noticed is that Class A players usually have a "spidy sense" to know which positions could possibly have a tactic. They may not see the tactic right away, but they know that there could be a tactic in the position, so they analyze deeper. Usually this means that something is out of balance, like a exposed king, or a loose piece, or the position just doesn't feel right. This is when you know to give it a second look.

Developing this "spidy sense" can help you bring up your rapid game, possibly by a lot. '

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Puzzle Leaderboard - Chess Rankings - Chess.com


I'm #8540 on the chess.com puzzle ratings.  I was expecting that the top ratings would not go too high, but I was wrong.   The top three ratings are all 65540, which for the reasons I give below, I suspect is the highest possible rating.

I find this 65540 number suspicious because the top three ratings are this number.  The maximum value that can be stored by a 16-bit number is 65536.   If you want to save storage space, why use a 32-bit or a 64-bit number to store ratings when a 16-bit number would do?  The 65540 number almost fits.  You can make it fit by making the lowest possible rating the number 5.  Why would you set a lower limit on the rating?  To not accidentally run into a divide by zero problem, which can crash computer code, or other mathematical oddities from having a low or negative number in your equation.

Chess Puzzle Rating

I reached a milestone on chess.com by reaching a 3000 rating for solving chess puzzles. The site's puzzle rating has little to do with real chess ratings because the puzzle ratings are comparatively inflated. I have seen average club players reach puzzle ratings of 2000 or 2100.

Nevertheless, reaching 3000 took a great deal of effort.

The site presents chess problems that have difficulty proportional to your current puzzle rating. I have reached a point where I am almost as likely to fail as I am to succeed. I find that I am not analyzing as well as I should so I am trying to make myself focus deeper. The casual puzzle solver will look for what the "trick" is in the position and make a move without thinking about it too hard. However, I can no longer just make cursory judgments.

A chess master in Salt Lake City that I know has been in the 3070 to 3100 range. I would like to catch up with him.

Best wishes,

John Coffey



Stockfish 15 vs. Stockfish 14.1

Overnight I did an engine versus engine match of 100 speed-chess (4+2) games.

There were 94 draws.

Stockfish 14.1 won 1.

Stockfish 15 won 5 with a score of 52%.  Its performance rating was 16 points better than Stockfish 14.1.  This website is claiming a 36 point improvement:  https://stockfishchess.org/blog/2022/stockfish-15/

Either way, the improvement is not very significant.

My computer seemed to hang while doing deep analysis with Stockfish 15.  I'm going to try again.  For the moment I am still using Stockfish 14.1.




I had not seen this puzzle before. I like it. It is obviously a chess spin on Wordle, which I also like.

The goal is to guess the sequence of opening movies.


The puzzle gives you the option to guess 3 or 5 moves.  In today's puzzle, I got the 3 move sequence on the second try.  It is an opening sequence that I like to play.


Magnus Carlsen BLUFFS with Raising $100,000 When He Has 0% CHANCE to Win

Not really interested in poker, but it is interesting to see Magnus Carlsen play it and bluff.  I didn't understand why he had a zero chance of winning?  Was it because his opponent had five of a kind?


It would drive me crazy not knowing what my opponent has.  I would have to play the odds, but if I always did that then I would be predictable.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Greenwood Chess Club: White to play


I had the hardest time with this one. For those who understand king and pawn endgames, it seems counterintuitive, I think because normally the king is supposed to be in front of the pawn that he is trying to queen. Maybe it is just me.


Re: Sergey Karjakin BANNED From Chess...

I support free speech.  I don't have to agree with Karjakin and he doesn't have to agree with me, because it has nothing to do with his ability to play chess.

On Wed, Mar 23, 2022 at 10:13 PM Albert wrote:
I know banning Karjakin from playing in FIDE events is currently for 6 months. I don't like that he will be unable to play in the candidates tournament. Organizations who set up international events should not be involved with politics. After all, isn't this the 21st century?

On Wed, Mar 23, 2022 at 9:00 PM John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com> wrote:
The first couple of games are really interesting.


Sergey Karjakin BANNED From Chess...

The first couple of games are really interesting.



Lost chess endgame.

This is an interesting endgame that I should have lost.  My 31... Ra6 is a serious miscalculation.  I soon started to think that I was going to lose.

White can win with 34. h4 or 34. Ke1 or Ke2, but he pushes the wrong pawn making it equal.  My 36... Kc6?? is also a blunder because it takes my king out of the range of his kingside pawns.  His 39. g4 loses for a surprising reason reminiscent of the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer."  What surprises me is that he has to abandon his pawn to draw, i.e. 39. Kb2 Kxc4 40. g4 draws.

I'm aware that I could have played the opening a little better.

[Event "Casual G/10"]
[Site "Columbus Chess Club"]
[Date "2022.03.10"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Bill Starr"]
[Black "John Coffey"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B22"]
[PlyCount "94"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. d4 dxe4 5. Ne5 Nxe5 6. dxe5 Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 Bg4+
8. Be2 Bxe2+ 9. Kxe2 O-O-O 10. Be3 e6 11. Nd2 f5 12. exf6 Nxf6 13. Bg5 Be7 14.
Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nxe4 Rhg8 16. g3 f5 17. Nd2 e5 18. c4 e4 19. f3 Bf6 20. Rab1
exf3+ 21. Nxf3 Rge8+ 22. Kf2 Bd4+ 23. Nxd4 Rxd4 24. Rhe1 Rd2+ 25. Kg1 Rxe1+ 26.
Rxe1 Rxb2 27. Re5 Rxa2 28. Rxc5+ Kd7 29. Rxf5 h6 30. Rf7+ Kc8 31. Rf6 Ra6 32.
Rxa6 bxa6 33. Kf1 Kd7 34. h4 a5 35. Ke1 h5 36. Kd1 Kc6 37. Kc2 Kc5 38. Kc3 a4
39. g4 hxg4 40. h5 g3 41. h6 g2 42. h7 g1=Q 43. h8=Q Qa1+ 44. Kc2 Qxh8 45. Kb1
Qc3 46. Ka2 a3 47. Kb1 Qb2# 0-1


Chess game

[Event "Casual G/10"]
[Site "Columbus Chess Club"]
[Date "Mar 10, 2022"]
[Round "2"]
[White "John Coffey"]
[Black "John Tasca"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 cxd4 6. Qxd4?! exd5 7. Bg5 Be6 8.
e4 Nc6 9. Bb5 Be7 10. e5 Nd7 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. O-O O-O 14. Rfe1
Rfc8 15. b4 a6 16. Rac1 Rc7 17. Na4 Rb8 18. Nc5 Nxc5 19. Rxc5 Qd7 20. Rec1 Bg4
21. Nd2 Kf8 22. Nb3 Qe8 23. Na5 Bd7 24. Qc3 Rbc8 25. a4 h6 26. b5 axb5 27. axb5
1-0 eventually


Chess Puzzle (instructive)


This chess problem is relatively easy, but fun.    Imagine getting this position in a real game.  Black to play.

To see the problem you probably would have to sign up for the free version of chess.com membership if you don't have a membership on the site, so here is a diagram...



White to play

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John Coffey vs NN (1978) (chess game)

Funny thing about this game.  I played it against a higher-rated player in a tournament in Bloomington around 1978.  (This person is still around, and he has gone out of his way to be rude to me, both then and now.)

The game is very simple.  My opponent made the mistake of letting me push the D pawn.   He resigned after 8 moves.

I was so pleased with myself that I sent the game to the state chess magazine which published it.  It was seen by some chess author who put it in a book of short chess games.  I don't remember the title of the book.  Over a dozen years ago I found the game in the database of games for one of the older versions of Fritz chess.   It is not in Fritz 10.

Quite by accident, I discovered that the game is on chessgames.com.  However, I had written them a couple of years ago to ask if they would accept games to publish, and they informed me that they only publish games played by chess masters.



World Championship REMATCH!

"Magnus has a chance against engines" - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov | Tata Steel Chess 2022

3 hours ago
did he actually say his favorite game was the one he lost? that's just a ton of class.

Daily Dose of Chess Clips
3 hours ago

Berk Y
2 hours ago
Shakh is the most down-to-earth 2700 player you can see I'd say. He enjoys the challenge, playing online Blitz against Hikaru, classical against Magnus. Such a great guy.

2 hours ago
You learn more in defeat than in victory, as in that case, you can review what you did wrong and work on it. That said, yeah it's still very classy from Shakh to say that. :)


French McCutcheon



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Black to move Checkmate problem

From a game of mine around five years ago. This is not difficult. I had a little problem seeing the continuation to mate, but now I can't imagine why I found this difficult at all. It appears to me that there are at least a couple of ways to do it. Even if I didn't see the moves to the end, I still would have made the same moves at the beginning. Any decent chess player would.



Magnus Carlsen, world chess champion, plays online speed chess under pseudonyms and livestreams his matches.

In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper in October, Carlsen admits he quit drinking for his health. "I wouldn't say I was an alcoholic exactly," he said, "but I found out this year, if I'm going to travel and play a lot […] I need to prioritize differently."

It is not clear that Magnus has quit drinking.  Recent videos show him playing online and apparently drunk.