Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Texas Open Results

The Texas Open Results are here.

Tied with 4 points for 1st & 2nd Place plus 1st & 2nd U2200: Michael Feinstein, John Patty, Mitch Vergara, John Hendrick, ($225 each)
Tied with 3 points for 1st & 2nd Place U2000: J.P. Hyltin, Steven Young, Andres Hortillosa, William Ong, ($60 each)

Tied for 1st & 2nd Place (5 points): Eric Jerdon, Victor A. Flores, ($180 each)
1st Place U1600 (3.5 points): David Christiansen, ($160)
Tied for 2nd Place U1600 (3 points): Frank Roberts, Brian Carr, Dan Liu, G-Su Paek, Walter Peterson, Juan Lopez, 3.0 ($11.67 each)
Tied for 1st & 2nd Place U1400 (3 points): Michael LaBelle, Drew Sowersby, ($90 each)
Tied for Unrated prize (2.5 points): Juan Brandi, Daniel Franci, ($50 each)
Tip from Steven Young.
Ronnie Rubit is an exceptional chess player:
He became the first in his family to graduate from college, taught school for two years, perfected his chess game enough to win the Texas amateur championship and has enrolled in history courses needed for his master's degree.

The same enthusiasm with which Rubit attacked sports -- he lettered in three in high school -- he applied to mastering chess after returning to earn a degree at Lamar University in 1979.

"I just loved to beat someone into submission," he said.

In 1998, with 200 players competing, he won the Texas amateur championship. He has been runner-up on three other occasions.

But there is more to his story:
Today, at age 44, Rubit is a paraplegic, with no movement in his lower extremities and only limited operation of his arms while his fingers are limp and useless. Yet he did not let his disability, while challenging, stop him from trying to accomplish something with his life.

For Rubit, the simplest tasks require ingenuity -- like the way he manipulates his lip to press the keys on his cordless telephone. When he plays in chess tournaments across the state, he uses a 20-inch wooden stick he designed with a horseshoe at the end to lift each piece. He grips the stick, as he does a pencil, with a metal prosthetic that is strapped to his arm.

There is a lot more to this story at the Houston Chronicle. Thanks to Steven Young for this tip.

Friday, December 26, 2003


The Wonder of it All

Bill Wall may be looking to expand his writings on Unorthodox Openings.

A Christmas present for you. Another Wilson Wonder.

Bill Wall (ajeeb) - Jimmy Marduk, Internet Gaming Zone, December 25, 2003

1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 Nc6 5.Ng3 Qd7 6.Ncxe4 Bxe4 7.Nxe4 Nb4
8.Bb2 f5 9.Ng3 c5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 e6 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qe2 Bg7 14.Bxg7 Qxg7
15.Qxe6+ Nge7 16.O-O Nd4 17.Qd6 b6 18.Rfe1 Rd8 19.Qc7 Rd7 20.Qb8+ Kf7
21.Bc4+ Nd5 22.Bxd5+ Rxd5 23.Qb7+ and Black resigns 1-0

Bill Wall
(emphasis added).

If you are attracted to off-beat openings, take a look at Mr. Walls Unorthodox Openings.

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Thursday, December 25, 2003


What's in a Name?

John Nunn says:
It is quite a good idea to give your favorite opening a ridiculous name, because if someone does lose to it then they have to admit not only that they lost, but that they did so to the "Monkey's Bum", "Toilet Variation", "Barry Attack" or whatever, thereby compounding their misery and making them even more apprehensive about the next game.
The Moron Defense seems to meet that criteria well, but I am now thinking that the so-called Wilson Gambit might be better called Wilson's Folly or the Idiot's Gambit. Any suggestions?

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Wednesday, December 24, 2003


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Christopher Willard

'Twas the night before Christmas, my friends had all gone
Not a chess piece was stirring, I stifled a yawn.
I looked at the pieces, I tried and I planned
The problem still stumped me, no end was at hand.

... the rest is at Chessbase.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


Bill Wall's First Wilson Gambit

I see that this blog can be a bad influence:

Here is my first Wilson Gambit

Bill Wall (2214) - Guest4933 (Unrated), Internet Gaming Zone (, Dec 22, 2003

1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 e5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Ncxe4 Bxe4 7.Nxe4 Nc6 8.Bb2 Qh4 9.Bd3 f5? 10.Ng3 g6 11.Bb5 f4 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Bxe5 fxg3 14.fxg3 Qe4+ 15.Qe2 Qxe2+ 16.Kxe2 and Black resigns 1-0


Of course, Mr. Wall's approach with Nge2 looks sounder than my own. I've added this game to the Wilson Gambit link in the sidebar with some light Fritzy Analysis and a few lines examined deeply (but narrowly).

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Saturday, December 20, 2003


Degrees of Separation - Beating a World Champ

None of my games appear in Chessbase Mega Database 2003. But, there are games of people that I have played, including some that I have played and beaten. So, along the lines of an Erdos number or the Kevin Bacon Degrees of Separation game, I was wondering if I could document a chain of winning chess games, based on games in Mega 2003, leading to beating some famous chess player. Except, of course, for the first game as none of my games are in Chessbase.

Well, in 1975 in Milan, Walter Browne beat (ex) World Champ Mikhail Tal. Walter Browne was beaten in 1996 in the Dallas Pinfork Open by Michael Calogridis. Excellent! Calogridis used to live in Houston and we played quite a few times. Unfortunately, he always beat me (but I got a great position against his French once using a line from Keres -- but I managed to lose that game...but I digress). But, in 1996 Calogridis lost a game to Robert Chalker in the Texas Open in Austin. All of those games mentioned above are in Mega 2003.

I have played Mr. Chalker many times, and, although Chalker has a positive score against me, I have beaten Mr. Chalker several times in rated tournament games. So, Wilson beat Chalker who beat Calogridis who beat Browne who beat Tal. So my "Tal number" is 4. Yeah, I know its silly. But it is fun.

UPDATE: Is Walter Browne the Kevin Bacon of Chess? Via Browne's wins over Tal, Smyslov (Hastings 1972), Reshevsky (Skopje 1970) and Miles (Las Palmas 1977) I can construct this list of my "degrees of separation" from beating the following World Champions: Capablanca (5; Reshevsky, Margate 1935), Alekhine (5; Reshevsky, Nottingham 1936), Euwe (5; Reshevsky, AVRO 1938), Botvinnik (5; Reshevsky; World Championship 1948), Smyslov (4), Tal (4), Petrosian (5; Smyslov, Moscow 1949), Spassky (5; Smyslov, Alekhine Memorial 1959), Fischer (5; Smyslov, Candidates Tournament 1959), Karpov (5; Smyslov, Leningrad 1971), Kasparov (5; Smyslov, Team GM / Young Pioneers 1975), Kramnik (5; Miles, Moscow 1989), and Anand (5; Miles, Rome 1990). I guess it is a small (chess) world.

Chess Moron and Lewis McClary

Why couldn't Lewis McClary come up with a better name than the Moron Defense? If you go to google and enter "Chess Moron" my chess blog is near the top of the list. But somehow I think it would be better if he had named it the "Brilliant Defense", "Grandmaster Defense", "Handsome Defense" or even "Nice Personality Defense" so that my web page, and hence myself, would be associated with these positive adjectives.

Oh well, at least it is in the list. That's good, right? :-)

On a related note, I see (also via google) an electronic book from Lewis McClary.
Lewis McClary has been teaching chess for many years, and he has a knack for guiding students rapidly and painlessly to winning chess.
If this is the same Lewis McClary that taught me the Moron Defense (and who else could it be?), I'd have to agree with this statement. The name of his book is Play Chess - Have Fun! Notice that he did not call it Play Chess Like a Moron! More information is available from ChessCentral and Chessbase USA.

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The Attack of the Morons

We have previously looked at the Moron Defense including both the Accepted and the Declined. What's good for black is even better for white, with an extra tempo, right? Maybe so. We call this Moron Defense in reverse the Moron Attack. The Moron Attack is characterized by an early exchange of pawns opening the d-file, a queen trade with white retaking on d1. It also frequently features white playing c3 and f3, with his king going to c2. Thus, the Moron attack mirrors the Moron Defense Accepted.

The early queen trade in the Moron makes it difficult for a Grandmaster to use the Moron Attack to play for a win against another GM. In the opening, black is often happy to equalize but white often strives for more so the Moron Attack is not a frequent visitor at high level chess. Nevertheless, we have examples of the Moron Attack in the hands of Reti, Hort, Speelman and others.

At the club level just getting to a playable middle game with typical positions that one understands is probably more important than which side has a slight advantage, and the Moron Attack can be a useful weapon for this purpose.

The Full Moron
In the Moron proper, white has a pawn at c4. In the corresponding positions from the Moron Attack, black would have a pawn at c5. In some of these Moron Attack examples black does not play a pawn to c5.

Does this difference matter? Yes, it can. In the words of Lewis McClary (from whom we learned the Moron) "Things that are different are not the same." The difference is that black can defend the d5 square with c7-c6 and also has the option of putting a piece on c5. In the games that start as a Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5) we do get the proper or Full Moron setup.

In any case, these games are good to study as typical positions and to see how to conduct the middle game from these tableaus whether you play the Moron Defense, the Moron Attack or both.

Center Counter Surprise Weapon Revisited
The Moron Attack can come about from a variety of openings. In fact, we give six sample games with six different ECO opening codes. We even have one example from a Center Counter (aka Scandanavian) -- possibly a better surprise weapon against the Center Counter than the Wilson Gambit!

Here are the games.

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Sunday, December 14, 2003


More Morons

Via email from Bill Wall, noted chess player and author (see his chess page, chess bio and chess links), we have some more examples of the Moron Accepted, from his games.

Bill is white in these and wins all three. But do not despair! He has not refuted the Moron. In two of the three games black tries to do without playing ...f6 and ...c6, and while that is possible to do and live, it can be very tricky. Actually black plays the opening fine in one of these two (CastleFool does well in the opening phase; XPoet not so well). In the third game black (Miller) gets a fine position out of the opening, but gets outplayed by Mr. Wall. Here are More Morons, with some light analysis by Fritz added.

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Saturday, December 13, 2003


The Moron Defense Declined

In a recent post I discussed the Moron Defense Accepted. Today we introduce the Moron Defense Declined with a few illustrative games. The Moron begins 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5. White can vary sooner with, for example, 2. e4 making this a Pirc opening. Transpositions to King's Indian Defense and related are possible making this an ideal weapon if the Pirc/Modern and KID are already part of your arsenal. Those possibilities are not considered here.

The Accepted continues with 3. exd5. But white has third move alternatives other than dxe5, and we call those the Moron Defense Declined. The sample games consider the most popular of those: 3. Nf3, 3. d5 and 3. Nc3.

Here are the games for the Moron Defense Declined. Enjoy.

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Texas Open Dec 27-28

From the USCF Texas tournament listings:
Dec. 27-28 Texas Open GPP: 6 Texas

5SS, Rd. 1 G/90, Rds. 2-5 30/90, SD/60. San Antonio Airport Hilton, 611 NW Loop 410 (at San Pedro), San Antonio, TX. HR: $79 sgl/dbl., 877-377-7227 or 210-340-6060, reserve by 12/2, mention chess. EF: $40 by Dec. 26, $50 site; juniors U19 $20 adv/$25 site. Jr. entry counts 1/2 toward based-on. TCA membership req ($10 adult, $7.50 student, $1 jr. tmt. memb. avail.) $$(2,000 b/75), two sections. Open: $400-200, U2200 $200-100, U2000 $160-80. Reserve (open to U1800): $240-120, U1600 $150-70, U1400 $120-60, Unr. $100. Unrateds limited to top 2 prizes in Open or Unr. prize in Reserve. Reg: 8:15-9:15 a.m., Rds: 9:30-1-6, 10-3. One 1/2 pt. bye avail., request before Rd. 1. Ent: SACC, POB 501, Helotes, TX 78023. Info:, 210-695-2324 or 210-695-6149.

Friday, December 12, 2003


The Moron Defense Accepted

I added some games with analysis by Fritz to illustrate the Moron Defense Accepted. I learned the Moron Defense from Lewis McClary. Lewis played it frequently as black, but claimed you would have to be a moron to do so, it was so obviously bad!

The Moron Defense begins 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5 and now the most common continuation at the club level is what I call the "Moron Defense Accepted" or just the "Moron Accepted" for short. It goes 3. dxe5 dxe5 4. Qxd8+ Kxd8. From the beginning, black loses the right to castle. White has the obvious shot of Nf3 attacking the pawn on e5 with the Ng5 followup (threatening Nxf7+ picking up an exchange or rook). Further, the black king is on the open d-file inviting white to castle long with check gaining more tempi. Obviously, black is an idiot, like Lewis said, right?

Before you jump to that conclusion, though, consider the sample games we have included for the Moron Accepted and who is playing the black side in these games - Tal, Miles, Seirawan, and others. You know that they're not morons. So what's the deal?

Of course, its not bad, and it is in fact a very sound defense. I think Lewis liked the name and the overconfidence it led to in unsuspecting opponents. In the Moron Accepted, black typically plays f6 to guard the e-pawn and keep the white knight off of g5. Black also usually plays c6 to keep the other white knight out of d5 and b5 and to create a little cubby hole for his king on c7. The one open file often leads to the exchange of a pair or both pairs of rooks. The resulting "simple" positions have a lot of bite though. It is an excellent weapon especially if the King's Indian Defense and Pirc are in your reportoire (which it can transpose into if white varies before 3. dxe5 or with 2. e4). Take a look at the Moron Accepted, and enjoy the games!

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Thursday, December 11, 2003


International Chess Meetup Day

The International Chess Meetup Day is the 3rd Monday at 8pm of every month. That's Monday December 15th this month. This meshes nicely with the Sugar Land meetings which are on Mondays. The "official" Meetup site for this month in Houston is West Gray Cafe, 425 W. Gray, Houston, TX. For more information click the Chess Meetup Icon on the sidebar.

I noticed at least two people on the Chess Meetup site looking for a place to play chess in the Sugar Land area -- hopefully they will see my posts there or this web site and find out about the Monday meetings in Sugar Land. Maybe next month that would be a good location for the Chess Meetup? Of course, Houston is a big area geographically, and there is plenty of room and a need for more than one chess location. I see the Chess Meetup web site as a good way to introduce folks to the chess activities already going on in Houston. And, if you are aware of more, please let us know.

From Laura at

This is Laura from Meetup. I recently received your request for a link from us and I wanted to tell you it's now live. You can see your link here:

Also, we have just added some new features on our links page that we thought you might be interested in: This access to Meetup info is also free to use and benefits users by drawing attention to the fact that other chess players around the world are participating in group gatherings based on this common interest.

Generally Meetups are better when more people go. You can help spread the word here:

Thanks for linking to us and I hope you enjoy your Meetup!


Wednesday, December 10, 2003


Sugar Land Chess; Wilson Gambit Busted?

From Mark Dejmek via email:
I will try to send an article or annotated game for your newsletter one of
these days. It's just good to see someone doing something to promote
Houston chess.

One thing I will send in to your website is just an ad for my little club in
Sugar Land. (Monday nights 7-10 pm, 3232 Austin Parkway). Mostly casual
blitz and king-of-the-hill, but I was thinking I might have a blitz
tournament there one of these weeks, just to give people who haven't been
there an excuse to check it out.

Regarding your gambit against the Center-Counter, I'm not so sure. You're
right that it is basically an Englund reversed, and that is the good news as
well as the bad. It seems to me that Black may be able to steer the game
into waters where the extra move with b2-b3 is more harmful than helpful,
because it takes away a flight square from the queen. For example, 1.e4 d5
2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Qe2 Bf5 5.Qb5+ Bd7 6.Qxb7 Nc6 looks just awful for
White; in fact, he'll have to be very careful over the next few moves just
to save the game. Bucker is always interesting, but he does recommend some
weird stuff.

Is this line playable? What do you think? Click comments under this post (I'm experimenting with this free commenting system, but it seems to work), or send me email.

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Sunday, December 07, 2003


Secret Weapon vs. Center Counter

Do you hate playing against the Center Counter (1.e4 d5) ? If you're like me you do. From the first move, black steers the game into less charted territory that he knows better.

Looking for a reliable surprise weapon to take black out of his book? I have been playing a new (as far as I know I "invented" this idea; but nothing is new) move against the Center Counter with fairly good results (especially at blitz) for a number of years now. I call it the Wilson Gambit.

I picked up a book in Germany in the 1980's on the Englund Gambit (1. d4 e5) by Stefan Bucker and I've played it as black with good results in the past; including my first USCF correspondence game (a quick win over a 1900+ player) and a win over a local master in a 30 minute game.

The Wilson Gambit is basically an Englund Gambit in reverse. It starts 1. e4 d5 (Already an Englund Gambit in Reverse with white a tempo up! An amazing discovery!!) 2. b3 (waiting...and allowing for the gambit continuation); and often continues 2. ... dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Qe2 Bf5 5. Qb5+ at which point things can get "interesting."

It may not be reliable, but it usually is a surprise. You can play over some games here. I am NoTB on FICS. Most of these are Game in 3 minutes and awful chess but the games do illustrate some of the ideas of this opening; especially shock.

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Saturday, December 06, 2003


Help Wanted

Anyone interested in contributing to this blog? Games, analysis, commentary, events, schedules, activities. Anything chess-related in the Houston area is fair game. Just leave a comment (click the comment link below each post) or send me an email, the address is in the sidebar on the left.

Chess Meetup

I've added the Chess Meetup graphic/link at the left. Has anyone attended a Houston Chess Meetup?


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