IM Joaquim Durao R.I.P.


25-October 1930–21 May 2015

It is  with profound sadness that I report of IM Joaquim Durao‘s passing yesterday in Lisbon at the age of 84. I am still a bit shaken with this news, especially as I was not aware of any serious health problems. My most sincere condolences to his wife Rosa, and all of his children and grandchildren.


(photo by Kevin Spraggett; clik on to enlarge)

I last saw Joaquim in December at the traditional semi-active tournament at the Mata de Benfica in Lisboa, where he and one of his seven grandchildren (Jose Ricardo–on the far right) were regular participants.  In the photo above we can see Joaquim flanked by his wife, Rosa, and two of his children, Miguel and Jose.


Friday chess, potpourri and other nonsense!

Lewis Carroll-700x541







When the going gets tough…the tough get going! Canadian grandmaster Eric Hansen seems to be on a roll, having won his last two games!  Yesterday he beat American star Alex Lenderman. Congrats!


Today Eric will play Jorge Cori, and even a draw should mean that Eric is better than 75% guaranteed to qualify for one of the 4-spots to the World Knock out championship.  Here is Eric’s list of opponents so far…



The going has been a bit slower for the other Canadian grandmaster.  Anton Kovalyov has 6 points from 8, a half point less than Eric, but still has excellent practical chances to win one of the 4 qualification spots. Yesterday Anton defeated the tough GM Andre Rodriquez .

anton pairings

Anton, even though he is on a chess-scholarship at the University of Texas, has lacked top-notch competition during the past year and his slower than anticipated start in this tournament must be a direct consequence.  It is curious to this writer, but I suppose that the standard of American university chess is not everything that Suzie Polgar would like us to believe.


Meanwhile, back at the ZOO


DID YOU KNOW that at NEITHER the (CFC) Canadian Chess Federation’s official website nor the CFC’s forum is there A SINGLE WORD on how its representatives are doing in Montevideo? Believe it or not!!


For a Canadian, if it does not involve beer, hockey or tit-fucking, then it just has to get to the back of the line!


No one should be surprised to learn that the USCF official website has daily updates on how its players are doing…which proves that money has very little to do with the HUGE differences in chess in between the US and Canada. 



Wednesday Coffee, potpourri and nonsense!

Wednesday Coffee


If coffee were bad for you, then the medical community would have already found out why. After all, how many thousands of years has the human race been drinking coffee? But I suppose because coffee is a growing global multi-billion dollar business–and like any business there is a natural momentum to keep growing profits–the EMPHASIS of virtually every study taking place today is to show WHY coffee is GOOD for you…we then should not be too surprised that many of these same studies are infact funded by leading coffee interests.

HOWEVER, for most coffee drinkers today,  these vested interests needn’t bother to go to the extreme of wasting their money: We (I) LOVE coffee unconditionally…







photo courtesy of link

This is a true story!  I won’t risk being wrong by saying it is a first, but I am certain that the object of 34 year old Robert Lind’s affection will NEVER forget it!  Last August the Ramsey County, Minnesota man was arrested after he was caught masturbating in a female co-worker’s coffee cup. 


Apparently it was not an isolated incident, and had been going on for quite a while. Court records show that Lind argued that he had only done it twice before, but the woman apparently had an ongoing issue with the taste of her coffee and started to notice a ‘large amount of clear liquid on top of her desk’ – which is really disgusting. Eventually Lind was caught…with his pants down, of course…masturbating into her cup at work!



Lind was charged with both fifth degree criminal sexual misconduct and attempted fifth degree criminal sexual misconduct but Judge Diamon dismissed the charges as not being proven(!) Not quite the ending that everyone expected, but the judge ruled it so!  Judge Diamond’s dismissal argument can be found HERE.  An excerpt:


This doesn’t mean that Robert Lind is out of the woods, however, and lesser charges might still be filed against him.  What lesser charges?  I don’t know, but ruining a perfectly good cup of coffee might be one of them!


I am not really criticizing Robert Lind’s actions, and I can certainly understand the urge to jizz-up your boss’ morning coffee, BUT the next time Robert wants to make a move on the girl he has a crush on, he should probably first ask the girl if he can masturbate in her cup of coffee! (Who knows, maybe she will find that kinky!) BUT the best thing–certainly the most diplomatic– is to  buy her flowers or chocalates or something…




Meanwhile, back in Montevideo…



Is that Eric drinking coffee?  Perhaps…

In any case, both Canadian representatives (gms Eric Hansen and Anton Kovalyov) are well positioned going into the second half of the Continental championship, with undefeated 4.5 points from 6 games.  (The tournament is an 11-round open). If either scores 4 points from the remaining 5 games then they can be assured of one of the 4 qualifying spots for the upcoming Knock-out championship later this year. Scoring 3.5 out of the next 5 might also be good enough, but will likely require a tie-break session.  In any case,  GOOD LUCK, gentlemen!





Eric has been quite hard on himself the past couple of rounds, giving draws when he felt he could have done better. You can follow Eric on his TWITTER.



Below is Eric’s blog-video episode a couple of days ago…certainly not professionally produced, definitely  ‘reality-show’ inspired, but VERY nicely done and gives you the impression that are there in Montevideo playing in a qualifying tournament.  Good for those youngsters out there, to give them an idea of how difficult it is to create opportunities in the chess world, regardless of how talented and hard-working you are.

Wednesday’s winning 5-sec tactics


“Do not fear the unknown, dare to be adventurous in life.”

― Lailah Gifty Akita,


gm  Shabalov,A


wcm  Garcia La Rosa, L  (2017)

X American Continental   Montevideo  2015.5.15  Position before Black’s 12th move.  An English opening has lead to a sharp fight where the experienced grandmaster has just played a pawn sacrifice on f4.  But what does he have for it?  If 12…Qh4 13.f5! Bf6 14.f4! and White is ok .




gm  Szabo,Laszlo


im  Becker, Albert

Tatatovaros (Hungary)  1935. Position before Black’s 19th move. A super-sharp opening arising from the Slav Defence where a small imprecision on White’s part has given the Hungarian future-grandmaster the opportunity to demonstrate his tactical acumen. The Black Knight is being attacked, and should it retreat then 20.e4 will only help White push Black back.




gm  Hort,V


gm  Szabo, L

Sarajevo 1972  Position after 24 moves.  In this tournament the Hungarian super-star was in excellent form and won convincingly ahead of such formidable opposition as Petrosian and Keres.  In the position above Black is a pawn up but finds his King somewhat ignored by his own forces…something Szabo is quick to take advantage of.



Laszlo Szabo was born in Budapest on March 19, 1917. At the age of eighteen, he won the Hungarian Championship for the first of eight times. Before World War II, he worked in the foreign exchange department of a Budapest bank. During World War II, he was in a Hungarian Forced Labor unit where he was captured by the Russian army. He was a prisoner of war until after the end of World War II. Following the Second World War, he began to compete in major international events. In total, he represented Hungary at 11 Olympiads, playing first board on five occasions and delivering many medal-winning performances. In 1937, he took the team silver and individual silver medals, in 1952 an individual bronze, in 1956 a team bronze and in 1966, team bronze and individual silver. He was awarded the GM title in 1950 and took part in three of the Candidates’ tournaments during the 1950’s, finishing joint third in 1956. He continued to play in tournaments and promote chess in his country until his death in 1998–on August 8, 1998. (From

His family donated Szabó’s entire chess library and his papers to the Cleveland Public Library John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection. The John G. White Collection of Chess and Checkers is the largest chess library in the world (32,568 volumes of books and serials, including 6,359 volumes of bound periodicals.)


X American Continental   Montevideo  2015.5.15  Garcia La Rosa, Lorena Estefan–Shabalov, Alexander:  12…Bxh3!! A surprisingly strong move. 13.fxe5 (If 13.Bxh3 Qh4! 14.Bg2 exf4 15.f3 fxe3 16.Qxe3 Be5!) 13…Nxe5 14.f3 Qd7 15.b3 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Nxf3!! 17.Rxf3 Rxf3 18.Kxf3 Qh3+ 19.Kf2 Rf8+ 20.Kg1 Rf3 21.Bf2 Be5 0-1  A model attacking game!

Tatatovaros (Hungary)  1935  Becker Albert (AUT)–Szabo Laszlo (HUN): 19…Qh4!!  20.fxe4  (There are only bad options: 20.Bb2 Rd2! Or  20.Qe2 Rd1+! with a quick mate ) 20…Bxe4 21.Qe2 Qg3! 22.Bd2 Qh2+ 23.Kf1 Bg3! 0-1 mate is inevitable

Sarajevo 1972 Szabo L–Hort V: 25.Bxg6! Rf8 (25…hxg6 26.Qe6+ Kh7 27.Rxf6 Rf8 28.Qe7+  or if 25…Kh8  simply 26.Bf5 must win ) 26.Qg3 Kh8 27.Bxh7!! Qb2 ( 27…Kxh7 28.Rf4 ) 28.Bf5 Qd4+ 29.Kh1 Rg8 30.Qf3 Rce8 31.Qh5+ Kg7 32.Qh7+ 1-0


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