At our Charlotte Chess Center tournaments, we encourage members to submit games for inclusion in these posts! This can be done using the QR codes found at the desks or bulletin boards at both CCC locations, as well as the online submission form linked below.
Today, I'd like to highlight some of the games that were submitted throughout January by our members. All submitted games are eligible to be featured in this blog and I've added some light annotations to the ones posted here. I thank everyone who took the time to send in a game.
Michael Smith's Amazing Performance
At our Rated Scholastic event on the 27th, Michael Smith scored 3.5/4 and tied for first place. A couple days later, he submitted his games for inclusion in the blog! I wanted to highlight two of them.
In round one, Michael played against CCC Advanced Class student Ishan Ghosh. Early in the game, he used a knight fork to win a minor piece and never looked back:
In the last round, Michael made a draw against Carter Hahn. The most notable thing about this game is the tactic on move eight (Bxf7+!) which would have won material for white. Instead, both sides played solidly and the game petered out to a draw:
For his 3.5/4 performance, Michael gained over 150 points of USCF rating!
Patrick McCartney's 1. b4 Adventures
Patrick McCartney is one of the Charlotte Chess Center's most active players (and also a contributor to the blog! See his article on K+P endgames here). Patrick has sent in a good number of his games for inclusion in these reports, and some have already been featured.
One distinguishing feature of Patrick's games is the first move 1. b4 as white. In various publications, it has been called the Polish Opening, the Sokolsky Opening, or even the Orangutan. According to legend, between rounds of the 1924 New York tournament, Savielly Tartakower claimed an orangutan at the zoo communicated to him that he should play 1. b4 in his next game (a draw against Geza Maroczy). The tale of Tartakower and "Susan the orangutan" turns a hundred years old next month.
I'm not sure which of those names Patrick prefers for his opening, but I'd like to show two games he sent in, both of which started with 1. b4. This creative move gives white a perfectly playable position and can also take an otherwise well-prepared player with the black pieces into uncharted territory.
The following game comes from the first round of the Charlotte Open:
McCartney also played 1. b4 as white in the most recent Reverse Angle tournament, in which he tied for first place. You can read more about that tournament here. The following is his round one game in that event against Arya Sharma:
A big thanks to Patrick for his submissions this month, and I encourage all readers to check out his bi-weekly column in our blog.
Two London Games from Nichol Garrison
Nichol Garrison submitted two of her games with the London System, which she's recently begun playing in rated tournaments. This month marks the one-year anniversary of Nichol's chess story, as she played her first tournament in February of last year. She's made a lot of progress in that time and recently had a great performance at Wednesday Action Quads (recap here).
The first game, from January 17, features the use of an open f-file to create counterplay after losing a piece in the opening. Ramkumar Nottath, her opponent, played the opening very well and had a tremendous position until his final move.
The second game she sent in comes from that aforementioned WAQ, facing Ryan Brock in the latter's third rated game. Ryan emerged with an initial (provisional) rating of 616, not bad for his first-ever tournament!
I think Nichol's dedication to chess after having gotten into the game as an adult is admirable and I look forward to posting more of her games in the future.
The Schipper Swindle
I'd like to finish with possibly the most spectacular Charlotte Chess Center game of the month, which was played in the January 23 round of Tuesday Night Action. Down a rook for no apparent compensation, CCC photographer and coach Daniel Schipper snatched a shocking victory from the jaws of defeat.
Most of the annotations in this game are from Daniel Schipper himself, but I added a couple which are marked with "DN."
I'd like to thank all the players who submitted games for these reports so far in 2024, and I plan to make a similar post next month summarizing the best games of February.
Thank you all for reading!
For upcoming tournaments, bookmark our Events Schedule. The CCC hosts nearly 8 events a week at our facilities in North and South Charlotte, along with with bi-monthly major events such as the upcoming 2024 Charlotte Open.
Not a member of the CCC? Join over 800 members today!
NM Dennis Norman
Chess Coach - Club Journalist
Charlotte Chess Center