Winning Chess Moves: Borisenko-Belova vs Nakhimovskaya, 1968

During her illustrious career, WGM Valentina M Borisenko-Belova (1/28/1920-3/6/1993) won the Women’s Soviet Championship five times (a record she shares with Nona Gaprindashvili.) Zara Nakhimovskaya was a formidable chess player who won the Latvian Chess Championship for Women four times. In our feature position, Valentina M Borisenko-Belova is playing with the white pieces against Zara Nakhimovskaya during the 6th Soviet Team Cup. By the 37th move, Valentina has her pieces ideally placed for an assault on black’s king. What follows is a beautiful mating combination worthy of admiration.

White to move and mate in 4 (Borisenko-Belova vs Nakhimovskaya, 6th Soviet Team Cup, Riga, 1968).

August Camp Points & Prizes

Hello Chess Players!

First place shirt + private lesson with Coach Torres + entry to pyramid 

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Fourth & Fifth place button

6-10 sticker

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Winning Chess Moves: Mamedyarov vs Artemiev, 9/29/2021

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov demonstrates a useful tactical motif in his round 5 victory over GM Vladislav Artemiev at the Meltwater Tour Final 2021. Can you spot white’s winning move?

What is white’s best move? (Mamedyarov – Artemiev, Meltwater Tour Final 2021, R5)

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 60

I enjoy mating puzzles where the target king is surrounded by open squares. In these puzzles, the appearance of freedom for the target king is only an illusion because, in reality, the open squares surrounding it are not free from the influences of distant pieces.

In tonight’s puzzle, the black king appears to have several escape routes. However, when you visualize all of the squares white’s pieces control, you might be able to spot a mate in 2 solution.

White to move and mate in 2 (By Andruszkiewicz, S., from Express Wieczorny, January 1958).

Honesty is the Best Policy in Chess 

The chess community has a very low tolerance for dishonesty. If someone is found to be cheating, their reputation can be permanently damaged, or simply banned from playing competitive chess. But honesty in chess is a much broader topic than FairPlay and recently, some big names have entered the chess community without understanding the prerequisite integrity needed to participate in our time honored game. 

Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit may have garnered critical acclaim, received a plethora of award show accolades and helped to spur a new “chess boom” but the lasting legacy of The Queen’s Gambit in the chess community may forever be tarnished. Nona Gaprindashvili is a Soviet and Georgian chess player, and the first woman to be awarded the FIDE title of Grandmaster. She is suing Netflix after the streaming juggernaut brushed off her complaints about The Queen’s Gambit dishonest characterization of her accomplishments in chess. By putting the false and unnecessary line, “There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men” writers in the show attempted to prop up a fictional Beth Harmon’s accomplishments by subtracting from Nona’s real achievements. Not only did Nona play chess with men, she matched wits with some of the best male chess players of the era in prestigious tournaments such as Hastings 1964. The blame for this mischaracterization must fall on Netflix as they changed the line Walter Tevis penned in the The Queen’s Gambit which in the original book format reads, “There was Nona Gaprindashvili, not up to the level of this tournament, but a player who had met all these Russian Grandmasters many times before.” One would hope that a big corporation like Netflix could correct the issue leaving the legacy of The Queen’s Gambit untarnished. Don’t hold your breath however, because a Netflix responded to Nona Gaprindashvili’s lawsuit through a statement which reads,

“Netflix has only the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case.”

When it comes to FairPlay in chess, nobody is above the law. In 2021, Viswanathan Anand  played celebrities in an online chess simul to raise money for Indian Covid relief. Billionaire Nikhil Kamath played unbelievably accurate chess and most chess enthusiasts believed he was cheating. The ire of the chess community grew louder after Kamath defeated Anand.  India’s chess federation called out Nikhil Kamath’s behavior as being “really bad” and went on to state that the billionaire “violated the spirit of the game.” Kamath responded to the pr fiasco by stating, “In hindsight, it was quite silly as I didn’t realize all the confusion that can get caused due to this. Apologies.” Anand may be one of the greatest gentlemen of our game, but his millions of fans will  never accept such a disingenuous apology.

So, if billionaires and one of the largest entertainment companies in the world get called onto the carpet for impropriety in chess, what does that mean for everyone else. Simply put, those entering the chess scene need to be especially careful as very few other activities are held in such high esteem as chess. Being dishonest simply a losing strategy in chess. In fact, I would go as far as stating that in chess, your long term success will be dependent on your honesty as much as your talent.

Winning Chess Moves: Nakamura vs Shankland, 9/9/2021

The Champions Showdown 9LX is a rapid Fischer Random/Chess960 chess tournament that is currently taking place in Saint Louis, USA. Today’s winning chess move comes from the round 2 game between Grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Sam Shankland. White (Nakamura) has just recaptured with Rxe5. What is black’s (Sam Shankland’s) winning move?

What is black’s winning move?

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 42

This evening’s position is from a training game I played with a student earlier today. My young opponent just blocked my rook’s check with Bd3 so as to avoid losing his queen on d1. Does this work?

What is black’s best move?

Sign up for a private chess lesson with Chris Torres and maybe a position from your game will be featured in a future post!

#Chess Position Worth Sharing 137

In round 4 of the 2003 Corus Chess Tournament, Michal Vladimirovich Krasenkow fought admirably for 79 moves before allowing Vladimir Kramnik to end the game with a cute one-two combination. Can you spot Kramnik’s mating maneuver?

White to move and mate in 2 (Kramnik vs. Krasenkow, 2003 Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Ned.).

#Chess Position Worth Sharing 136

Great chess players have a way of making it look easy. However, making it look easy requires a lot of work. For instance, just to get to the feature position in today’s puzzle, Boris Spassky had to spend hours grinding out a winning position. (Not to mention the years of hard work to become an elite Grandmaster in the first place!) So why today’s position isn’t overly difficult, the process of its creation was.

White to move and mate in 2 (Spassky vs. Kakageldyev, 13th Soviet Team Championship, Riga 1975).

Facilitative Ball Sharing in Chess

Basketball fans throw around terms like “ball hogs” and “facilitators”. A poor point guard, for example, will “hog the ball” attempting to be the star to the detriment of the team. A good point guard is a facilitator for the entire team setting the plays and passing the ball to a teammate with the best opportunity to score. After the game, a ball hog might attribute a loss to a couple of bad calls in a cruel game. A facilitator, on the other hand, makes no excuses for losses other than failing to execute. Sometimes the league MVP award doesn’t go to the guard with the most assists but teams don’t win championships without a good facilitator.

Over the years, I have played all of the positions in the chess community from player, to tournament director, to coach, to organizer and to Chess Dad. The majority of my fans remember me as the hotshot coach whose students win all the championships. Honestly, though, my favorite moments of my chess career are quietly providing assistance and then watching the people I helped achieve great things.

In the past, I was very much in a competitive mindset running a chess nonprofit in a dog-eat-dog environment. The most enjoyable times of my weekly routine were always just teaching chess but surviving in the fierce nonprofit sector consumed the majority of my focus. Suddenly, in 2020, I became very ill which forced me to step back from my daily grind and gain greater perspective on what really matters in life. For me that was just being a facilitator.

After shuttering my nonprofit, I spent the better part of this last year passing my knowledge to future stars while quietly working to facilitate opportunities and chance meetings that will have long lasting impacts on scholastic chess in the United States. I may not be in the public eye as often, but I am much happier quietly facilitating others in the chess community behind the scenes.

Some say games like basketball or chess, and even the entire world can be cruel. The “ball hog” chess personalities who blame their failures on a cruel world will likely never learn why they continually fail to execute. Chess like basketball can be harsh, so it is important to be honest with yourself as to how your mistakes factored into a bad result. When outcomes become too harsh, try switching gears to facilitate others. Simply put, assisting others has the direct benefit of making your reality kinder.

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 59

Considering that the black king is utterly alone in a forest of white pieces, this mate in two puzzle is rather tricky. Can you find the only two move checkmating line for white?

White to move and mate in 2 (composed by Nils Adrian Bakke, 2006).

Winning Chess Moves: Mieses vs Von Bardeleben, 1905

Curt Carl Alfred von Bardeleben

Curt von Bardeleben was a most interesting chess personality and managed to lose in some of the most beautiful ways possible. Of course, many students of chess are quite familiar with the triumph Wilhelm Steinitz played over Curt Carl Alfred von Bardeleben at Hastings in 1895, but also of note is Jacques Mieses exciting victory over von Bardeleben in 1905. Our tactical study today was plucked from Mieses’ brilliance.

White to move and force a mating combination (Jacques Mieses vs Curt von Bardeleben, Barmen 1905.)

A California Chess Tradition Returns: The People’s Tournament

Chess players in California are flocking to Santa Clara, California to play in the upcoming People’s Tournament, Young People’s Championship and People’s Blitz. The People’s Tournament is a prestigious annual chess tournament with a storied history. This year’s event continues an important 45 year California chess tradition. Don’t miss out on your chance to compete in this important event and be sure to watch this blog for updates and reports on the People’s Tournament.

45th People’s Tournament

A National Heritage Event!


Sun, September 5, 9am – 10pm


Hyatt Regency Great America, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA (map)

Note: New Location 

Register at https://bayareachess.com/my/ppl

Info at https://bayareachess.com/ppl

Rounds: 7

Time Control: G/90 +30 (90 mins/game +30 secs/move for both players)

Young People’s Championship


Sat, September 4, 9:00am – 4:20pm


Hyatt Regency Great America, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA (map)

Register at https://bayareachess.com/my/ppl

Info at https://bayareachess.com/ppl

Rounds: 5

Time Control: G/30 d5 (30 mins/game & a delay of 5 secs/move for both players)

People’s Blitz


Mon, September 6, 7pm – 9pm


Hyatt Regency Great America, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA (map)

Note: New Location

Register at https://bayareachess.com/my/ppl

Info at https://bayareachess.com/ppl

Rounds: 10

Time Control: G/5 d1 (5 mins/game & a delay of 1 secs/move for both players)

Please send any questions about these tournaments to: events@bayareachess.com

Available Now: Private Lessons with Chess Coach Chris Torres

Dramatic checkmating combinations and vast tactical complications, a thick forest of opening trees and the esoteric plans of the ancient masters – the chessboard is a place of stunning creativity and eternal curiosity. Through it we can escape into a world of untamed gambits, beautiful sacrifices and fascinating storylines. Sign up for a customized one hour lesson and I will be your personal guide in the magical realm of chess.

Book your private online chess lesson with Chris Torres today: https://www.wyzant.com/match/tutor/87501681/contact?onlineOnly=false

Don’t have time for a private chess lessons? Submit your games to Chris Torres for personalized analysis here:


Chess Chat: Q&A With Michael Buss, America’s Preeminent Correspondence Chess Master

Michael Buss is currently the number one ranked correspondence chess player in the United States and further separates himself from the pack by having won the prestigious Golden Knights championship on multiple occasions. Some of his success in correspondence chess can be attributed to his “press on” attitude which he developed in his distinguished career in the United States Navy.

For his 20 years of service as a Surface Warfare Officer  professor of Naval Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Mike was was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, the Saint Barbara Field Artillery Association Medal. In 1993, he transitioned to the Naval Reserve Force where he served an additional eleven years.

In 1995 Mike also began a 24 – year career at The American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana serving as an Assistant Director and Deputy Director of Youth Programs. From 2010 until his retirement at the end of 2017, Mike managed the American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation programs and American Legion Baseball. Throughout his 24 years he also managed the Legion’s flag education programs, where he was recognized as the Legion’s “flag guru” answering numerous questions on how to properly display and honor the United States flag. Besides his numerous correspondence chess games, he keeps busy in retirement by volunteering for his church and working part-time as a patient transportation driver for a major cataract surgery center in Indianapolis.

Finally, Mike is a family man having been married to his wife Marie for 41 years and they are the proud parents of four children, grandparents to sixteen grandchildren and even great grandparents to seven great grandchildren.

40th Wedding Anniversary

How old were you when you first learned how to play chess? Who taught you?

I was 10. A friend (my same age) and his older brother taught me to play. They lived next door to my grandmother. My goal was to beat them and another friend who lived down the street from my grandmother!


Which branch of the military did you join and what prompted you to sign up? 

I served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. I was able to attend Iowa State University on a 4-year full ride Navy ROTC scholarship. This was how a poor Iowa farm boy was able to go to school.


Could you please tell us a little about your military career?

I was an officer in the U.S. Navy for 23 years, having served at sea on five different ships mainly in engineering jobs. I was also assigned to the Navy ROTC unit at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1983-86 where I taught the engineering and weapons systems courses. I am a BIG Nebraska football fan!

I also served two and one-half years as a fire support officer for a U.S. Marine Corps Brigade in Kaneohe, Hawaii and an additional two and one-half years on staff at the Marine Corps Fleet Marine Force Atlantic Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. I elected to transition from active duty in 1993 and kept a reserve commission for eight years. I ended my service as a Lieutenant Commander.

Boys Nation director Mike Buss in the studio on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

Were you able to still enjoy chess while serving in the military? If so, who did you play against? Beyond casual games, were there organized competitions available to service members at the time?

I would play the occasional game, that was about it. I really was not aware of any service-related tournaments at the time.

I was able to continue my correspondence games while on active duty.


When did you start playing correspondence chess? 

While on temporary duty at the Naval Station, Subic Bay, Philippines during the summer of 1984, I came across Walter Tevis’ novel The Queen’s Gambit. My interest in chess was reinvigorated! But it would have to be correspondence chess to accommodate my time what with the demands of the Navy and a young family. So, I “re-joined” US Chess, entering some postal chess “Class” and “Prize” tournaments. My game was steadily improving.  I boldly ventured further, entering a Golden Knights section in the late 1980’s and the Electronic Knights in 2006.


How has correspondence chess benefited you personally?

Correspondence chess has allowed me to meet many wonderful, interesting people! As a practicing Roman Catholic, I have had the wonderful opportunity to play Father Joe Farrell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania twice. We would exchange a thought or two about our Catholic faith with our moves. This allowed for me to further grow in my faith.

From time to time, I would also play an opponent from Iowa or Nebraska. I was able to keep tabs on Nebraska football and whatever else might be happening back “home.”


How do you feel correspondence chess could benefit current members of our armed forces?

I think if we can expand correspondence chess tournament opportunities for our members of the armed forces, especially with electronic communications, it is a win-win for all.


What does it mean to you, as a veteran, to represent the United States in international correspondence chess events?

I always send a biographical sketch with my first move which includes my Navy experience. I am proud to have served my country and proud to let others know that!

Wife and I

What roles at the American Legion have you held or are currently holding?

I retired from The American Legion National Headquarters here in Indianapolis, Indiana. on December 1, 2017, where I worked for 24 years. During my entire time with the Legion, I had the wonderful opportunity to manage the various youth programs offered by the National Organization.

In 1995, I started as the Assistant Director where I was responsible for our United State Constitution speech contest, our involvement with the Boys Scouts of America, and an air rifle marksmanship program. In 2010 I was promoted to deputy director, where I was responsible for our Boys State and Boys Nation program and American Legion Baseball.

Phil 1

Throughout my entire time at National Headquarters, I also oversaw our flag education and etiquette program. The American Legion is considered one of the preeminent sources on how to fly the United States flag. We answered thousands of questions!

I would encourage your readers to check out the Legion website www.legion.org!

I continue my membership with Merle Hay Post 386 back “home” in Glidden, Iowa. I also go back “home” each summer to serve on the staff of Iowa American Legion Boys State.


What inspired you to dive into this aspect of the veterans community?

I attended Hawkeye Boys State in 1973. It made me aware of the NROTC scholarship program, thus opening a big door for me.

I was also able to umpire American Legion baseball from time to time during my military and civilian time.

This is my opportunity to give back to a great organization which does SO MUCH for our veterans and the youth of this great country!


What is one of the most interesting things you have learned while working on behalf of the American Legion?

There are so many great things about the American Legion, it is hard to come up with a specific example!


What advice can you offer to other veterans thinking of picking up the game of chess?

Go for it!


Through your leadership in the Correspondence Chess Working Group, you have helped to establish the changes necessary for correspondence chess to, once again, thrive in the United States. Could you please take a moment to highlight the changes that have been instituted during your tenure and the lasting affects you feel it will have on correspondence chess in the U.S.A.?

The proposal allowing certified Tournament Directors, and utilization of the current US Chess affiliate system to allow affiliates to conduct US Chess rated CC tournaments. Although this concept is still in the “pilot mode” I am very optimistic that this will be fully implemented thus expanding the realm of correspondence chess tournaments beyond US Chess headquarters.

A thorough updating of the rules, which will be published in the very near future.

Revised US Chess correspondence chess events.



What is the proudest accomplishment in your impressive correspondence chess career?

When I broke the 2000 correspondence chess rating plateau.


Could you please leave us with a favorite piece of chess wisdom to conclude this interview?

To quote from the chess blog website Tartajubow on Chess: “To win a won game is most important (whether it is OTB or correspondence chess)! Devote more time to your won positions than your lost ones. A mistake in a lost position counts for very little, but you lose a full point if you blunder in a won position and losing half the point is easier still.” Ain’t that the truth!

Want to try correspondence chess? Click below to join the Daily Chess Musings Rated Correspondence Pyramid.



Greetings Chess Players. My name is Chris Torres and this is my daily chess musing for Sunday, August 22, 2021.

The chess world is mourning the loss of Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov who passed away on August 18th at the age of 71. Chess players have probably heard his name in relation to the popular Sveshnikov Variation of the Sicilian Defense, a one popular line championed by Emanuel Lasker that had fallen out of favor until Evgeny Sveshnikov revitalized it in the 1970’s. However, Sveshnikov’s influence as a theoretician extended into several other important openings such as the Alapin Sicilian and the French Advance. Beyond openings, Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov will be forever remembered as a member of Russia’s gold medal winning Olympiad Teams, a very influential chess coach during the late Soviet hegemony of top level chess, a dangerous opponent who scored victories over scores of top grandmasters and becoming the World Senior Chess Champion in 2017. 

Here is a puzzle worthy conclusion from Sveshnikov vs Ivanov, 1976 that I presented to a class just three months ago. Enjoy…

Summer Games Winners!

Greetings Chess Players. My name is Chris Torres and this is my daily chess musing for Saturday, August 21, 2021.

The Daily Chess Musings Summer Games took place on chess.com from August 2 – 6. Over the five days, scores of chess players who are members of the Daily Chess Musings chess club competed in various online chess events. To certify FairPlay, I played through (much to my enjoyment) all of the chess games from this exciting event. Congratulations to all who competed in the DCM Summer Games, and especially to all those who medaled.  If you placed in the top three, I will be contacting you via email or messaging on chess.com to arrange prize distribution.

Emotional Weakness in Chess

As compared to emotionless computers, human chess is inconsistent. Computers may lose at chess but they don’t have “bad days” where their performance is inexplicably poor. Emotional thinking, therefore, appears to present a weakness for decision making in humans.

Chess Scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Obviously, we are biological creatures and emotions have by and large served the human race well which is why there are over seven billion of us alive right now on earth. However, the biological advantages of emotions on a macro level seem to be disadvantageous to decision making on a micro level. Thus it is vitally important for humans to recognize that emotions, both good and bad, distort our perception of reality.

In chess, to avoid making mistakes caused by this distorted view of reality, we must first be cognizant of our emotions. As emotional creatures, we must strive not to react to a chess position based on feelings but rather respond to the task at hand with a logical approach. If our current line of thinking creates an emotional response, then we must reevaluate our conclusions. Finally, chess players, as much as possible, need to refrain from making major decisions when emotions are running high as this is when mistakes are most likely.

Of course, it is really easy to speak of making emotionless decisions in chess but to play emotionless chess is far more difficult. Personally, I have managed to play correspondence chess consistently at a relatively high level by never deciding a move based on feelings. I also am applying this strategy to tense situations off of the chessboard and trust me it has helped me deal with life’s up and downs. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight but I have discovered that practicing calm decision making in chess directly benefits my everyday life and now I try and share this finding with my students.