The 64 - Playoffs?? - September 12th, 2021 Sunday Recap

The 64 - Playoffs?? - September 12th, 2021 Sunday Recap


Ed Catmull, one of the original founders of the animation studio Pixar (along with Steve Jobs and that other recognizable Hawaiian shirt wearing creep) dubbed a term in his book Creativity Inc. called "radical candor". Although I'm pretty sure Jim Mora, long time NFL coach, never read that red bound printed publication (although it is more a managerial hand-guide that applies to anyone who who is looking to lead in their current field of occupation, rather than a history of how Pixar came to be [although it is that too]) he was never afraid to voice his displeasure by criticizing his team's poor performance. 

In his most infamous post game press conference, Coach Mora posed the question "Playoffs???". In a game where his Indianapolis Colts turned the ball over 5 times, I can guarantee that what was said in the locker room just before that interview was much more candid and critical.

Radical candor.

How could a beat reporter even entertain the idea of that team making the playoffs after such a poor showing? He was right. After starting 2-0, the Colts only went on to win two more games after that week 11 loss, finishing with a 6-10 record. The playoffs?? were far from an actual realization for his ball club and Jim Mora Sr. never went on to win a single playoff game in his entire 15 year career as a head coach.

Although it wasn't that drastic, I suppose you could still say the US Chess Club couldn't do "Diddly Poo" as well (actual quote from an actual NFL coach, leader of men). In an attempt to practice radical candor, let's admit that US Chess has simply just not been good enough.

The Americans were bounced from the first round/quarter final of the LCPAL Bullet Season 4 Open Tournament. It was a rematch against Puerto Rico, who the US played in the last round of the regular season. A key match it was, with both teams jockeying for a better playoff seed and that outcome in hindsight seems even more monumental. The Commonwealth beat their older brother then, and they defeated the US once more this past Sunday with a final tally of 52.5 to 35.5. All in all, they were the better team on Sunday and certainly are the better club in regards to 2/1 Bullet. They will have their hands full on Sunday against Mexico in the final four fixture but the US Chess Club wishes them the best of luck. 

Being that it's the last week in 2/1 play, I wanted to highlight a game that emphasizes all things Bullet. So look no further than @ldon22 and the game with the White pieces against @luisanselmorivera in what Yasser Seirawan would refer to as a straight up "Donnybrook". The engine took more turns than Lewis Hamilton at Monaco, so let's take a look and see what happened.

It's LCPAL Bullet, coming live to your living room!

I still haven't figured out how to annotate the games myself, so allow me to do what I do best and paint a picture with my words. Our first major blunder happened on 21...Rg5 but Idon failed to see the follow up with e6, with a discovered attack on the Black queen. It's a move Stockfish will continue to recommend. Another blunder came shortly after that with 23.Rd7 but the engine turned even after White neglected to trade the rooks, instead capturing with 24.bxc5, the first missed win of the game. But after Black doesn't trade the rooks and b takes c, the third blunder shoots the engine back up to +7 for White before Idon hangs mate in 1 with f4! Naturally responding to the bishop being attacked, Luis just drops it back to e7 and the game goes on. So 5 moves in a row saw two blunders and three missed wins!

It should be noted that at that point, and for the rest of the game, each player was playing with less than 20 seconds on the clock. 

Bullet Baby!!!

Idon takes the biggest sigh of relief and correctly drops the queen back protecting g2 against mate. After all that, we're back to equality...

That is until 29.Rd1. Natural threatening move, asking the queen a question, who didn't answer by taking on h3, making use of the still pinned pawn on g2 from that previously formed battery with the bishop. Some moves later, both the rooks and queens come off the board. Leaving both contestants with 4 pawns and the bishop pair.

What happens when both players have the bishop pair you ask? It's the same answer you get when philosophers and scientists query about an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.

I'll let you ponder on that for a moment...

Now under ten seconds each, Luis certainly had his chance but for some reason neglected to take that hanging pawn on g2...again...and then again...and again. It's a shame for him that that square seemed to be his blind spot for the night because on several occasions it could have easily won him the game, first with mate in 1 and later with what could have been a won endgame with each player essentially playing on increment. 

But after another blunder went unanswered with 45.Be1, the Puerto Rican dodged the trade of dark-squared bishops, creating a passed a-pawn. The passed pawn is like a criminal, you must keep them under lock and key, except if you are the one with the passed pawn, then passed pawns must be pushed.

After that, and once the bishops came off the board, Idon22 could have watched his two babies, Harry and Garry, the H- and G-pawns hold hands down the board and promote to queens. The White monarch was looking for a new wife and he found one indeed. After promotion, the next move came with mate, the final blunder was solved in what was a 69 move Bullet classic. For the first time yet, I'll be awarding BOTH players with a "Chess Duel" badge for this absolute slobber-knocker. 

But just because the Bullet season is over (which I'm sure some of you are relieved to hear) doesn't mean there isn't still plenty of chess left on the docket. There's Live Chess World League, round 3 in Rapid & Blitz against the glorious nation of Kazakhstan on Sunday the 19th (I'll save all my Borat references for next week's blog), as well as an under 1600 match the same day, an ample opportunity for lower rated players to play in a competitive live match. 

I hope to see more of you on Sunday. I mean, what else are you going to do? Watch football? Instead, why don't you play a real sport... like chess!

But until then, do your puzzles, take your lessons and study your openings.  

And if you too are interested in participating in US Chess Live Matches, here's a link to the US Chess Club main page -

- where you can find all the information on how to link up as well as all upcoming events. The club and matches are FREE to join and open to ANYONE who wishes to participate. You do not need a USCF rating! Just join the club and registration for Match Play opens one hour before the scheduled time, just like all other tournaments in the Live Chess tab. It's as simple as that!