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Game Breakdown & Member Games

CCC is pleased to introduce our Game Breakdown and Member Game Page.   Here you can find FM Lars' Monthly Game "Breakdown" that we posted each month from mid 2022 to March of 2024.  

After the success of the March 7th Live "Breakdown" at the Club, we are excited to announce that going forward, the Game Breakdown's  will ALL be done Live at the Club on a bi-monthly basis by Coach Lars!  

We will continue to post Member games on this page as they are submitted so please feel free to email us any of your own games (include notes if you'd like) and they will be featured here!

January/February Game Breakdown!

We are combining January and February Game Breakdown because Coach Lars has provided us with not one,  but THREE(!) member games in this installment of the Game Breakdown.  Enjoy!

January/February 2024 Game Breakdown 


Happy New Year everyone and welcome to another year filled with exciting chess. 

A thank you for the old year is in order, especially to all those of you who participated in our wide range of activities. I hope for your continuous support in 2024. 

A very special thanks is due to our founder and always energetic Chairman and organizer Axel Van Der Velden, without his relentless work for CCC we would not be where we are.  In fact, we likely wouldn’t be here at all. 

I want to underscore the fact that our chess club doesn’t even charge a membership fee, which means that whenever we as a club have expenses, Axel pays out of his pocket.  

Elsewhere on this website you will find a donate button and I hope those of you who are able,  will join me in giving a little contribution to our ongoing activities in support of our club. Thank you!! 


This installment of the Breakdown will be about the Club Championship and the Reserve Championship Finals. 

4 Players qualified for each. 

Reserve Group: Adam, Ken, Dominik & Sal.  

Championship Group : Axel, Elias, Ivan & Lars. 

In the Reserve group, Adam won with a perfect score, Sal came in second and Dominik took third place. Congratulations to Adam who showed great fighting spirit in difficult positions against both Sal and Ken but managed to turn both games into wins!  The games were very hard fought and everybody put their best effort into it. Well done!


In the Championship,  we unfortunately ended up with effectively only having a 3-man group since Ivan didn’t make it to a single game.


I am very impressed that Elias qualified for this group.  He has improved a lot in his brief time at the club. However, Axel and I eventually managed to win our games against him and therefore ended up playing the decisive game for the Championship in the final round. 

For some reason, Axel has a tendency to blunder a lot against me in our games, and this game was no exception as he gave up a pawn in a totally equal position.   I could thank him for his generosity as I could now win without showing any true skill.


So, I retained the Championship Title, Axel came in Second and Elias was Third. 

Let’s take a look at the most interesting game, and if you recognize a position from it , it is no mystery, as I shared a particular position in our Facebook group 😊 



White: Axel 

Black: Elias 

CCC Championship Section 

Time Control:  45 minutes each player. 


1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nxd4 exd4 5. O-O c6 6. Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 Bc5?? 

Axel showed me this position before the game and stated that he was hoping for this blunder.  -- I guess he was enjoying himself here   ;)  


  8. Bxf7+! Kxf7 9. Qh5+ g6 10. Qxc5 Qf6 11. d3! h6 12.f4?! 




 Diagram #1 







Even though it is a natural move, preparing to win the pawn on d4, 12.Be3!! would have been more clear cut. 

Developing the pieces and winning a pawn in the same move. If black takes the Bishop on e3, white simply take back with the f pawn and black will lose his queen due to the pin. 


 12…Ne7 13.Nd2 d6 14. Qa3 a5 15.e5 Qe6 16.Qxd6?! 


 Although this wins the pawn immediately, I believe adding pressure with 16.Ne4 would have posed black with even more serious problems. However, considering the game's development so far, I recon Axel didn't want to risk his Queen getting into trouble and winning pawn number 2 seemed like a likeable choice. (this was precisely my reasoning during the game.  I felt White’s position after 16.Qxd6 was completely dominating and risk free but agree that Lars' suggestion would have been even better!.  –Axel)  


16…Qxd6 17.exd6 Nf5 18.Ne4 ?? 




Diagram #2 







18.Nf3 would have been the right place for the Knight as it eyes the squares d4 and e5/g6 thereby offering more active choices. The exchange of the Knights on d6 is solely to black’s advantage making the position more defendable because of the opposite colored Bishops! (I spent a bit of time debating between 18.Nf3 and 18.Ne4.  I chose poorly..-Axel)


 18…Rd8 19.g4? 


The wrong plan, and now the position is roughly equal even though white is still a pawn up. 


19…Nxd6 20.Nxd6+ Rxd6 21.h3 Be6?!  

Immediately attacking the weak pawn and King with h5 was more appealing to me. 


 22. Kg2?!  

I would have preferred 22.f5, exploiting Be6 and activating the black bishop on c1. Note that (22. f5 gxf5 23. Bxh6 Rh8 24. Bf4 Rd5 25. Kh2 and black can’t take on g4 because of Be5+) 

22…Rh8 23.Bd2 b4 24.a3 c5 25.axb4 axb4 26.Ra7+ Rd7 27.Rfa1 Kf6 28.Rxd7 Bxd7 29.Ra6+ Kf7 30.Ra7 Ke7 31.c3?  

White simplifies the defense with this move, it would probably have been better to try and activate the king and play 31.b3 to make the black pawns an easier target for whites Bishop than white pawns are to black Bishop. (My opponent was in serious time pressure at this point, having less than 2-minutes remaining for the rest of the game.  I still had comfortably over 10 minutes remaining on my clock.  –Axel)  

  31…dxc3 32.bxc3 h5?

32…Rb8! and the game would be equal.

33. cxb4, hxg4 34. hxg4, Rb8 35.f5?  




Diagram #3 








35.bxc5! Rb2 36. c6! Rxd2+ 37. Kf3 Rxd3+ 38. Ke4 Rd6 39.Rxd7+ Rxd7 40.cxd7, Kxd7 41. Ke5 Ke7 42.g5 and white wins because he has the opposition and can force Blacks King away from g6. (I saw this line also during the game and spent several of my last remaining minutes calculating it, but could not quite convince myself that Black could not hold the position.  In the end, I made my move -choice because Black had less than 1-minute left on his clock and I felt confident that I could “shuffle-around” long enough to Win on time. –Axel) 


 35…gxf5 36.gxf5 cxb4 37.Bg5+ Ke8 38.f6 Bc6+ 39.Kf2 b3??  (played with monly seconds remaining on his clock --Axel)

39.-, Rb7! And the position is a dead draw!  

40. f7+! 

And mate is imminent 1-0 


This game was interesting, especially from a psychological point of view because sometimes when we land a punch in the opening, we tend to relax and just wait for the opponent to give up! It is very difficult to have to win the same game twice but kudos to Axel for doing exactly that! And applause to Elias for hanging in there and defending well throughout. I am curious to see how far he will go in the near future! 


White : Axel 

Black : Lars 

CCC Championship Section 

Time Control:  45 minutes each player. 


1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. Bb5+  

 I knew Axel plays this variation as well as that it is impossible to get an advantage or complication without giving the Pawn on d5, 

But,  when I decided to go into the variation , I said to myself:  You should never be unhappy with an easy equalized position as Black!

 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Nxd5 Qxd5 7. Qf3 Qc6? 

 Not the best move, which is probably e6, but I once won a game against Axel with the text move and opted to check if he remembered how to play on. ........He did 😉  


8. d4! e6 9. Bf4  Bd6 10.Bxd6 cxd6 11.Qxc6+ Nxc6 12.Ne2 e5 13.c3 exd4 14.Nxd4 Nxd4 15.cxd4 Rc8 16.Kd2 Kd7 17.Rhe1 Rc4 18. Kd3 Rhc8 19.Re2 Rc1  











20. Re1??   After his blunder, white loses a pawn without compensation. The best move would have been to exchange rooks on c1, and then play Ke4. It is hard to see how any party can advance!  (I have no explanation for this move, other than, as Lars mentioned earlier, I have a curse when playing against him in that, I am sure to Blunder at least a Pawn in every Rated game we play.. LOL --Axel)

20...R1c2! 21. Re2 Rxe2 22.Kxe2 Rc2+ 23.Ke3 Rxb2 24.a4 a5 25.d5 Rb4 26.h3 Kc7 27.Rc1+ Kd7 28.Ra1 h5 29.f4 Ke7 30.Rc1 Kd7 31.Ra1 h4 32.Kf3 f5 33.g4 Rb3+ 34.Kf2 Rb4 35.Ke3 g6 36.gxf5 gxf5 37.Ra3 Re4+ 38.Kf3 Rd4 39.Rb3 Kc7 40.Rc3+ Kb8 41. Re3 Rxd5 42. Re8+ Kc7 43. Rh8 Rd3+ 44. Kg2 Rg3+ 45. Kh2 Ra3 46. Rxh4, Rxa4 47. Rh7+, Kc6 48. Kg3, Ra1 49. Rf7, a4 50. Rxf5, b5 51. h4, a3 52. Rf8, a2 53. Kg2, Re1      0-1  




White : Ken 

Black : Adam  

CCC Reserve Section 

Time Control:  45 minutes each player. 


1. d3 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nbd2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 Re8 8. h3 Nbd7 9.e4 e5 10. Nf1 dxe4 11. dxe4 Qb6 12. b3 Nh5 13. Bb2 











13...Nxg3??14. Nxg3 Nf8 15.c4 Rd8 16. Qe2 Qc7 17. Rad1 Be6 18. Ng5 Re8 19. Nxe6 Nxe6 20.Rd2 Nf4 21. Qf3 Bh6  



Diagram #6 






22. Bh1?? Nxh3+ 23. Kg2 Bxd2 24. Rd1 Nf4+ and black won easily.


Up until the first blunder, both players played really nice.  It just proves the old saying that the one who makes the second to last mistake is likely to win 😊 


Coach Lars 


December Game Breakdown

Game Breakdown December 2023

On October 19th International Master Vince McCambridge took on 18 opponents simultaneously finishing with the impressive undefeated score of 16.5 – 1.5. Vince gave up only 3 Draws, two of them by adjudication as the Library was beginning to close.

Vince is the strongest Chess player in the whole of Coachella Valley as far as I know, and we are always delighted when he honors us with his presence. Thank you Vince!!

A lot of the local players really enjoyed this opportunity to play against a real master (I, Axel, must interject here that FM Meyer is very much a real Master also!), but even so, they weren’t just there to watch - they wanted to put up a fight, and so they did!

In the first game I am going to show you, one of our local heroes, Justin, played extremely well. He actually even had a slight advantage when he offered a draw. Well done Justin!

Simul Coachella Chess Club

White: IM Vince McCambridge

Black: Justin

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b6 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O c5 5. c4 After this move, it is safe to conclude we are dealing with the English Opening. 5…g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. h3 O-O 8. d3 d6 9. e4 e6 10. Re1 Qd7

Diagram # 1

Since I am not totally sure where I want to place the Queen, with black I would probably have moved 10…Nc6 instead, but the text move is quite okay

11. d4 11. e5 which does look aggressive is best answered with 11… Ne8 12. Bf4, Nc6 and e5 actually creates more weaknesses in White's position than real attacking chances!

11…cxd4 12.Nxd4 Nc6 13. Be3 Rac8 14. b3 Rfd8 15. Qd2 Nxd4?!   15…d5 right away was probably a little better!

16. Bxd4 d5?!

Diagram # 2

17. e5? Better was 17. exd5! exd5 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. Rad1 d4 20. Bxb7 Qxb7 21. Nd5 and white is a little better!

17…Ne4! This move puts pressure on the d file and white has no better than exchanging the knights. Here Justin offered a draw which was accepted by Vince.


Once again I am impressed by the quality, well done Justin! The game could have continued with 18. Nxe4, dxe4 19. Bxe4, Bxe4 20. Rxe4, f5 21. exf6, Bxf6 22. Rd1, e5 23. Bxe5, Qxd2 24. Rxd2, Rxd2 25. Bxf6 and black is slightly better, for example: 25…Rxa2 26. Re7 Rc6 27. Bg5 h5.

Playing against many opponents at the same time is always challenging, and since Vince faced 18 opponents it is time consuming too. So, when the Library was getting ready to close not all games had finished. As a very nice gesture Vince offered a draw in his yet unfinished games against Mark K. and Ken, so everybody could call it a day and the Library could shut down.

Kudos to Mark and Ken for hanging in there and not make things easy for the Master.

Let’s take a look at Ken’s game



White: IM Vince McCambridge

Black: Ken

1.d4 d6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e4 c6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Be2 Bg4 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Be3 Qc7 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Bxf3

# Diagram 3

Up until this point it has all been pretty much standard moves, and white is perhaps a little bit better. However, here Ken Chooses to castle Queenside which is a mistake. After a castle to the Kingside it would still have been roughly equal.

10…O-O-O ? The problem is that it is possible for white to storm the castle and his Bishops are pointing in the right direction!

11.Rc1 Kb8 12. b4 e6 13. Qe2 e5? If you want to play e5, then please do it in one move!

14. d5 a6 ?! I guess the best chance would have been c5, but Black is facing an uphill battle! 15. Rfd1?! And here I would have preferred to exchange on c6 before playing the Rook to the d-file.

15…c5 16. Rb1 Ka8 17. Rd2 b6 18. Rdb2 Rb8 19. Qc2 Rb7 20. Qa4 Ra7 21. bxc5 dxc5 22. Qc6+ !

A strong move that highlights that black has very limited space!

# Diagram 4

22…Rb7 23. Na4 Rb8 24. Qxc7? Not the right way even though it wins a pawn

# Diagram 5

24. Bxc5! Nxc5 25. Nxc5 Qxc6 26. dxc6 and the battle would effectively be over!

24…Rxc7 25. Nxb6+ Nxb6 26. Rxb6 Rxb6 27. Rxb6 Ka7 28. Rb3 And here the game was adjudicated a draw.

# Diagram 6

White is of course a lot better, but Black can use the square d6 for his Knight, which blocks the pawn and can support activity on the King side. And it was a very strong defensive game of Ken, who in the end got his reward, well done!


November Game Breakdown

The final spots for the Club Championship and Reserve Championship were recently decided in the Blitz G/5 Qualifier with Sal Flores securing the final spot in the Reserve Group and myself the last spot in the
Premier Group!

In the Third Qualifier Event, the G/20, Ivan secured his spot in the Premier with an almost perfect score
only giving a draw to Dominik, while Adam Page secured his participation in the Reserve Group of the
Congratulations to both!!

This Game Breakdown will feature Ivan’s win in the penultimate round against Elliot.


G20 Qualifier for Coachella Chess Clubs Club Championship

White: Ivan
Black: Elliot

I am not really sure what to call this opening but some kind of a hybrid between the Larsen opening
(1.b3) and the Bird (1.f4)
1.e3 e6 2.b3 Be7 3. Bb2 Bf6 4. Nc3 d5 5. Qe2 Ne7 6. O-O-O Nbc6 7. f4 (a tad unusual opening from both
players, but knowing them both, it is no surprise :-)
7…O-O 8. g4 Nb4?

Diagram # 1

This, however, is a bad move. The Knight does nothing but waste precious time!
9. Kb1 Bxc3 10. dxc3 Nxa2?! True to his style, but it just doesn't make sense to sacrifice a piece without having the troops to follow it up or at least create some lasting weaknesses to exploit!

Diagram # 2

11. Kxa2 a5 12. Kb1? Not necessary and therefore a waste of time. (12. Nf3 a4 13. b4 and white is
simply a piece up!)

12… b6 13. Qg2 Bd7 14. h4 Bc6 15. Nf3 b5 16. h5 b4 17.cxb4 a4 18. bxa4?

Diagram # 3

(18. h6! g6 19. b5 Bd7 20. Bf6 and Black has a great challenge to find any counterplay!)
18…Bxa4 19. g5? This is a good idea but white should simply prepare and get his pieces developed with
19. Bd3 f6 20. g5 f5 21. Qd2 and white’s pressure on the diagonal a1/h8 will allow him to finish the game
- For example: 21…Qd6 22. Qc3 Rf7 23. g6 hxg6 24. h6 and the attack is unstoppable)

19…Nc6 20. g6 h6 21.gxf7+ Rxf7 22. Rg1 d4?! A mistake in an already lost position but it is hard to
argue what else to do!
23. Qg6? (23. Bc4! And black has no future –for example: 23…Qd6 24. Nxd4 Rd8 25. Bxe6 and
everything falls to pieces)
23…Nxb4 24. Rxd4, Bxc2+ 25.Kc1??

Diagram# 4

(25. Qxc2 Nxc2 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. Kxc2 is an easy win)
25…Qe7?? Black returns the blunder immediately! (25…Bxg6 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. hxg6 Rfd7 28. Bc4 Nd5
and White still has a won position but a much harder way to win it!)

26. Qxh6 Qc5 27. Bc4 Earlier I scolded white for not developing the white Bishop because it is so
important to get your pieces out. Here, I will point out when he did at last develop it, he could have won
faster with (27. Rxg7+! Rxg728. Rd8+ Rxd8 29. Qxg7# --a lot quicker way to the finish line :-)

27…Nd3+ 28. Kxc2 (28. Rxd3 Qxc4 29. Bxg7 Bxd3+ 30. Bc3+ Bg6 31. Qh8# was again quicker)

28… Nxb2 29.Qxe6 Nxc4 30. Qxc4 Ra2+ 31. Kd3 Ra3+ 32. Ke2 Qe7 33. Ne5 Rxe3+ 34. Kxe3 Kh7 35.Qxf7
…Qa3+ 36. Nd3 and Black Resigned 1-0

A convincing win, where white never was in trouble.


October Game Breakdown


Game Breakdown October 5, 2023.       Happy Halloween!


What a festive September we have had at the Coachella Chess Club! One tournament after another has been conducted with lots of competitive players offering themselves up for battle. The C.C.C. as of now, has conducted @ 40 USCF rated tournaments and a few Simultaneous Exhibitions since we first saw light of day! – very impressive!

The reason for this September being so special is because we’re conducting Qualifiers for the Club Championship Finals and for the Club Championship Reserve Finals.

The first event in this series of qualifiers was a four round Swiss G45.

If it was because he wanted to be able to conduct the rest of the Qualifiers without any stress or maybe to celebrate all of the rated events we have had (It is first and foremost due to Axel’s achievements that we as a club are where we are today!) I do not know, but Axel swept the field and with 4 consecutive wins secured his participation in the Club Championship finals Premier Group.


Overall, Axel played convincingly and was never in trouble in any of his games, so a big congrats to him on a well-deserved tournament win!

I have chosen to show his game from round 3 with the Black pieces against Steven. I don’t really know if it should be called an offbeat variation of Alekhine's Defense or the Scandinavian Defense but enjoy anyway!

White: Steven

Black: Axel

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e5 Ne4?! An unusual move, which gives White several.

different possibilities besides exchanging Knights he can retreat his Knight to

e2, trying to explore the Black Knights limited retreats. if c5, then d3 and the

Knight has nothing better than sacrifice itself on f2. However, it is perfectly playable, and I reckon Axel wanted to get Steven out in the deep waters right from the start!

 4. Nxe4 dxe4 5. d3?

d4 would be  a more natural choice developing and getting space in the center at the same time.

 Diagram # 1




 5…Nc6 6. Qe2?! Blocking the bishop on f1 seems unnecessary and only complicates Black’s development.


 6…Qd5?!  6…e4xd3 was better as it would have either Forced White to invest a pawn or accept the not admirable coordination of his pieces.

7. Bf4?!  7. dxe4, Qxe5 8. Nf3 Qd6 9. Bd2 would have been my preferred way to continue with equal chances.

7…Nd4 8. Qd2 exd3 9.cxd3 Bf5 10. Rc1 c6 11. Nf3!? White is under a lot of pressure and has trouble finding a natural way to finish his development. This way loses a pawn but frees up the cramped position. So, I believe it’s a good practical chance!

11…Nxf3+ 12. gxf3, Qxf3 13. Rg1 Black is clearly better, but he needs to finish his development and then start putting pressure on the d-file.

13…O-O-O?! Axel decides to develop turbostyle and puts pressure on the d-file.

  Diagram #2





The thing I don't like about it is that the king is moving right in front of the rook and the White Bishop will quickly add pressure on c6. I would have preferred 13…e6, and there’s less dangers to face on the thin road to victory 😉

14. Rg3 Qh1

If, 14…Qd5 15. Bg2, Qxa2 16. e6 is a difficult position to play even though White is several pawns down, for example 16…Qxe6+ 17. Re3 Qb3 18. Qa5 and Black must walk a thin line.

 Diagram # 3




15. h3?? after this move, which does nothing, Black gets his house in order with a dominating position.  15. e6! was the last chance to keep White alive, with the threat of Qa5, threatening both mate on c7 and the pawn on a7.  15... Qd5 16. Bg2 Qxe6+ 17. Re3 Qxa2 18. Qc3 Rd5 19. Bxd5 Qxd5 20.Re5 Qd7 21. Qa5 b6 22. Qa6+ Kd8 23. Rxf5 Qxf5 24. Qxa7 Qa5+ 25. Qxa5 bxa5 26.Rxc6 =

 15…h5 16. Rc5? This only helps black but White was already lost!

16…e6 17. Ke2, Bxc5 And Black won quickly 0-1

The qualification for the Reserve Group of the Championship went to Elias, however after getting used to winning, he continued to do so and then swept the G10 Qualifier in a nerve-wracking final game against Ken. This means that right now, Axel and Elias have Qualified for the Championship finale, while Ken and Dominik have secured their spot in the Reserve Championship Finale.

Congrats to all the Qualifiers so far!


September Game Breakdown


In the first round of the Coachella Valley Summer Swiss (currently taking place), Steven should have faced Ken.   However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Ken was unable to make it for the Opening Round and Steven received a tournament point on forfeit.  Remember, we have 4 consecutive Thursdays for the Tournament.  A ½ point BYE can be requested for any round with at least one-week advance notice.

Steven is a student of mine, so I am following his developments closely, and therefore I have chosen to Breakdown a weekly game between he and Ken played on 

I think the game is of high quality, and I was very impressed. Here is the game so you can judge for yourself.


Daily Game (one week per move)

White: Steven

Black: Ken


1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 a6 (Ken opts for the Modern Defense. With

Nf6 instead of a6 it would have been a Pirc Defense.) 5. Bc4 b5 6. Bd5 c6 7. Bb3 Nd7?! {The move in itself seems natural enough, but the danger lies within blocking the Bishops control of e6 and restraining the King's escape routes.}


Diagram # 1


8.Ng5! (8. Bxf7+ Kxf7 9. Ng5+ Ke8 10. Ne6 Qb6 11. Nxg7+ Kf7) even though it looks intriguing it is not good enough since the Knight can't get out. It will have to sacrifice itself on h5.  And even though it’s dangerous, I don’t see anything clear. However, it shows that Black has to walk a thin line.}) 8…Nh6?!  (8…e6 9. Bxe6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Qa5 (10…Qe7! 11. Nc7+ Kf7 12. Nxa8 Bb7 13. Nc7 Nb6 would be roughly equal.) 11. Nxg7+ Kf7 12. Nh5)

 9. Bxf7+!! Nxf7 10. Ne6! Qa5 11. Nxg7+ Kf8 12. Ne6+ Kg8 13. O-O Nf6 14. Nf4  b4 15. Nce2 Nxe4

 Diagram # 2

Black’s pieces are a little scattered around the board and I think white has a small but clear advantage.

16. h3 Kg7 17. a3! (White is activating his Rook on a1 and at the same time exposing the Queens position on a5.) 17... d5? (This is a wrong plan weakening the black squares in the center, much better was 17…e5 with some counter play) (17…e5 18. Nd3 b3 19. cxb3 Bf5) 18. Bd2! (Because Black weakened his black squares this is a simple yet very strong move exploiting the Quens position on a5!)

18…Nxd2 19. Qxd2 Rb8 20. Nd3 Qc7 21. Nxb4? (21.axb4 keeping full control over the black squares in the center and activating the Rook appealed more to me. However, this mistake opens the door to a nice finish ;-))

21…e5? (Better was 21…a5, followed by Bf5 with activation of the black pieces} 22. dxe5 Nxe5 23. Nd4 a5

24. Na6!! 1-0

What a nice finishing, overwhelming the Bishop on c8, which was looking out for both a6 and e6!


 Diagram # 3


An interesting position in the first round of our tournament occurred in the game Kameron-Sal

The position underscores the importance of always trying to go one step deeper, when you calculate.

I encourage you to check it out and send the club an email with your idea/guess to White’s next move. Please provide a little context why you prefer this/that move and the plan behind it!

Coachella Valley Summer Swiss 2023

White: Kameron

Black: Sal

Opening: Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. O-O Nf6 5. Re1 Be7 6. h3 Bd7 7. c3 a6 8. Ba4 b5

9. Bc2 O-O 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. Nf1 Qc8 13. Ng3 h6 14. b3 a5 15. Bb2 Rb8

16. Qd2 Qd8 17. Rad1 Qe7 18. Nf5 Bxf5 19. exf5 Qd8 20. dxe5 dxe5  


 Diagram  # 4


Up until this point, both have played a very strong game without any real errors, but in only 5 moves the winner will be determined!

Coach Lars Meyer


August Game Breakdown

Game Breakdown for August.

 Oldies but Goodies!


It’s summer and we are all enduring the heat, I guess that’s probably one of the reasons I didn’t get any member submitted games for this Months Colum. However as we all remember we have our G45 tournament starting August 24th If you haven’t enrolled yet now is the time to do it, deadline is quickly approaching! So going forward I expect sufficient material for the next couple of months.

Since I want to keep your brain stimulated and well exercised, I have chosen to show a short instructional game of my own from some time back in the nineteenths.

It was a closed Invitational IM tournament. I think my opponent was a Russian IM but am not totally sure, anyway he was at that time known for playing highly original chess, so I didn’t have to worry about having a dull game 😉


FM Lars A Meyer – IM Vladimir Poley


The Game of Pins 😊

1. d4 b5 {The Polish Opening, I actually like this Opening as it can lead to highly dynamic positions. In this particular game, however, we transpose into a Bogo-Indian like mindset.  2. e3 Bb7 3. Nf3 b4 4. c4 e6 5. a3 a5 6. axb4 axb4 7. Rxa8 Bxa8 8. Bd3 Nf6 9. O-O c5 10. Nbd2 Be7 11. e4 cxd4 






Against many opponents this move would have surprised me, and I do believe d6 would have been the most logical response. However, there is nothing wrong with the text move and I wasn’t that surprised because of my opponents reputation. Under any circumstances I regard the position as fairly equal!

12. e5 {This move is clearly a grab for the initiative} (12. Nxd4 Nc6 13. Nxc6 dxc6 {And the game

is equal and not that exiting ;-)) 12...Nh5 13. Nb3 f6?? 






Diagram #2

This move however is a stretch because of the Knight on h5, and I immediately put pressure on} 14. Nh4!

{Simple and obvious} 14...g6 15. Nxg6 hxg6 16. Bxg6+ Kf8 17. Bxh5 fxe5??







Diagram #3

My opponent misses here bigtime. (17...Qc7 18. Re1 f5 and even though White is

somewhat better, nothing is clear and Black has attacking chances. 18. f4! {When

you see the plan to open the f-file everything just seems simple ;-) 18...e4 19. f5 Bf6 (19...e5 20. f6 Bxf6 21. Bg5) 20. fxe6 dxe6 21. Bg5 Nd7 22. Qxd4







Diagram #4


I remember enjoying this position with pins here, there and everywhere! 22...Kg7 23. Rxf6 Nxf6 24. Qa7+ Qd7 25. Bxf6+ 1-0


July Game Breakdown

Game Breakdown July 2023. 

As you probably all have noticed, we are getting more and more players at our Thursday Club meetings. A gathering of 20+ chess players is now normal on a regular Thursday. Thank you to each and every one of you. When you show up week after week, you are contributing to and strengthening our club in our local community. 

On May 14th we held our second simultaneous exhibition which provided another fun filled day, and at the same time gathered a little cash for the club! So, thank you so much for participating and supporting the Club (and thank YOU, Lars, for generously donating your time to benefit the Club! -Axel) 

In this month’s game Breakdown, I have chosen to show a game played between Kameron and myself. I have the white pieces. 

Kameron is one of our younger talented players. He is working on his chess, and it shows 😊 


White "Lars" 

Black "Kameron" 

King’s Indian Opening. 

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 {This is one of the 

most played linen in the classical King's indian Defense}


Diagram # 1  

7. dxe5 {This is the exchange variation; it is rarely played because the consensus 

is that it does not provide white with any advantage. I have however played it 

many years because many players seem to underestimate the possibilities. The 

most played move for white is. 7.0-0 or 7.d5}


7... dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bg5 Re8 10. O-O-O c6 11. Nxe5 {This is the main idea of the variation.}



Diagram # 2 

 11... Nxe4?! 

{This is playable, however it provides White with a little pressure 

in the center.} (11... Rxe5 12. Rd8+ Re8 13. Bxf6 Rxd8 14. Bxd8 Bxc3 15. bxc3 

Na6 {Is slightly better for white}) (11... Na6 12. f4 h6 13. Bh4 g5! 14. Bg3 Nc5 

{And black has absolutely no problems})


12. Nxe4 Bxe5 13. Rhe1! {The Rook belongs 

in the open file and is protecting the Bishop on e2}

13... Bf5! {This precise response develops the Bishop and puts pressure on the Knight. 13… Bxb2+ 

would be a huge mistake because after 14.Kxb2, Rxe4. 15. Rd8+ White wins the 



14. Nd6 Bxd6! {Only move, everything else leads to a winning advantage 

for white!}

15. Rxd6 Nd7?! 16. Kd2?! 



Diagram # 3 

{The most played move for black was 15...Na6 and there Kd2 was the right move but after the text move Be3 would have been better. However, when you are playing in a simul against many players at the same time, it is normal to do the moves you are used to ;-)}  16. Be3 Nb6 17. Red1 {And white has a clear advantage controlling the one open file(d-file) and blocking the other (e-file)})

16... Nb6 17. b3 Re6! {Black is forcing a trade and hereby reduces the white pressure}

18. Rxe6 Bxe6 19. Bf6 {Not really presenting black for problems and helps him regroup his Knight.}

19... Nd7 20. Bc3 Rd8 21. Rd1 {This is not the way to play for an advantage. White must try and limit the Black Knights mobility and work for his Bishop pairs future.} 

Diagram # 4 

 (21. f3 {would have provided white with control over e4, and made room for a safe place 

to the King on f2}) 

 21... Nc5+ 22. Ke3 Re8! {It was possible to trade the Rooks on d1, but this is much stronger since the white King is exposed in the center.} 23. Kf4?!  

 Diagram # 5 

(23.Bf3 Bf5+ 24. Kf4 Ne6+ 25. Kg3 Ng5 {And the position is roughly equal})

23... h5? {As my opponent pointed out after the game, he should have played 23...g5+ white 

can't take the pawn because of the fork on e4 and is forced to retreat the king to f3.} 

23... g5+ 24. Kf3 h5 25. h3 Bf5 {And I like black's position better!})

24. Bd4 g5+?? {One move to late, and that makes all the difference, White now has a 

winning advantage.}

25. Kxg5 f6+ 26. Kf4 b6? {Black’s only chance was Bf7 protecting the pawn on h5. and relying on the opposite bishops to get drawing chances.} 27. Bxh5 Rf8 28. Bxc5 bxc5 29. Rd6 Bf7 30. Bxf7+ Rxf7 31. Rxc6 {And 

white won.} 1-0 


Well played by young Kameron, and if he had not moved g5 one move too late, he was on the course for a draw! 


Game Breakdown for June!

     In this edition, I will focus on the G20 Quads that took place in our Chess Home of La Quinta Library on May 11th.
There were 8 players in two groups. Monte and James won their respective groups each with a perfect 3/3 score. A big congratulations to you both, well done!!

    I have chosen two games, one from each of the winners with special emphasis on the game from group 1 between Monte and Elliott which was a rollercoaster of endless happenings. Elliott really wanted me to do this game, so this ones for you Elliott, Cheers!

White : Monte
Black : Elliott
Bird opening/irregular

1.f4 e6 2.Nf3 Nh6 3.e3 b6 4.d4 Bb7 5.Bd3

So far so good, but I don’t believe I have ever seen this position before after move 5. I think the position is just about equal even though unusual, but that’s going to change!
I always tells my students to not waste time by moving the same piece twice in the opening unless it’s called for. Ng4 was timewasting and is threatening nothing! On the other hand it is not compromising the black position and if kicked with h3, it can find itself a more central position at f6.
6.O-O h5?! 
Elliott likes to attack, but not my first choice 
7. e4 h4?! 8.h3 Qf6?

Diagram # 2

Many strong players have often stated that a bad plan is better than no plan. I have no doubt that Elliott wanted to attack and had a plan for mating Monte’s King. However the attack is misplaced and after black’s latest move white has a winning position. 
9.hxg4 Qh6? 10.f5! Qh7 11.Ng5! Qg8

Diagram # 3








After only 11 moves it’s obvious that something went complete wrong for black. Besides having a material advantage white’s position is overwhelming with total control. To avoid any accidents I would have started to look for simplification with fxe6, opening the f-file for the rook and making it harder for black to create even the slightest attack!
This allows black to close of the f-file and even though white of course still have a winning advantage it is complicating things which was unnecessary! 
12…f6! 13.Nh3 e5 14.dxe5?
I would have preferred to push d5 because black’s hope mainly is connected to the white squared bishop and the diagonal h1/a8.
14…Nc6 15.exf6 gxf6 16.b3?

Diagram # 4

I really didn’t understand the reasoning behind this move. The g4 pawn is under attack and if black just gets it, his attacking chances are greatly improving even though white still has a winning advantage. Besides I think in terms of development it does nothing but weakens the a1-h8 diagonal. I think it would have been logical to push g5 and besides not giving up the pawn on g4, white still have control over the g4 square!
16…Ne5 17.Qf4? 

This is wrong and makes things increasingly difficult for white.
17…Bc5+ 18. Kh1 Bd4 19. c3 Nxd3 20. Qd2 Qxg4 21. cxd4 Bxe4 22.Nc3 Qxh3+ 23. Kg1 Qxg2+ 24. Qxg2 Bxg2 25. Kxg2 and black still has a fighting chance! Or 18. Be3 Bd6 19. Be2 Nf7 20. Qf3 Ne5 21. Qf4, Nf7
17…O-O-O 18.Bb2 Nxg4 19.Bc4?

 Diagram # 5









Incredible but true, black is back in business and even has the better chances and easier play. 19…Bc5+ 20. Kh1, d5 21. Bxd5, Rexd5 22.cxd5, Ne3! And white is toast because of the pressure on g2 and the exposed King!
Black misses the chance! 
White continues to crumble his own position. 
And Black refuses to exploit it. Here Bc5+ with Be3 next and picking up the free Knight on d2 would have been my preferred option.
21.exd5 Bd6 22.Qf3
I would have preferred the shocking Qg5 to hit the brakes on blacks attack!
22…Nh2 23.Qc3??

 Diagram # 6. 

The reversal is now complete and Black can just take the Rook on f1, and then follow up with Be5 and a winning position! 
23…Be5? 24.Qd3? 
White should have played Qxe5! Followed by Kxh2, and a dynamic more or less equal position would have arised, however I think white would have the easier play! 
23…Nxf1 25.Bxe5 Ng3?? 
After the very natural Nxd2, black would get the piece back and be close to winning now however White is close to have a winning position once again!
26.Bxg3 and hide behind the g pawn would have been the way to go! 
26…b5! Would really have put white in a difficult spot, when d5 goes the black bishop on b7 is a monster!
27.Bh2 Rhg8?
Still b5 worked.
28.Qe2 c6?? 
Black squanders the last chance for b5! And now white could have easily won with the logical d6, threatening the Rook on g8 and buying valuable time for the defense!
29. Nf3 Ng3 30. Bxg3 Qxg3

 Diagram # 7 

Well now things have settled down the easy dxc6 followed by taking the Rook on g8 and black is doomed. However in this crazy and highly entertaining game the contestants simply refuse simple solutions 😉
31. Rf1??
And black is better.
Had black just taken on d5 with the pawn first white would be in trouble.
32.dxc6 would have been an easy win
32…Qg3 33. Qe6+ Kb8 34. Qxf6 h3 
The position is roughly equal but white has to trade the Quens on e5. 
35.Qc3?? Now black has a totally won position after h2+.

Unfortunately for him Elliott continued to notate until he was down to 30 seconds so here his time ran out 1-0. Remember whenever you are below 5 minutes you are not required to notate anymore!
I found this game to probably be the craziest most chaotic game I have ever analyzed, but the entertainment value was unmatched!  A round of applause and a big thank you to the gladiators, you gave us a great show!!








The second game I am going to show you is from group B between Ruben and James.
Even though these guys are pretty new to the game, they already have developed a decent understanding and was able to give us an interesting game without big mistakes, when disregarding white last move!


White : Ruben
Black : James

Caro-Kann Defense
1.e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Nd7? 
We saw the same mistake in the last game breakdown between Kameron and Steven. So guys be cautious that you don’t leave pieces undefended!
4. d4? dxe4 5. Nxe4 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Bc4 e6 8.O-O Bd6 9. c3 O-O 10. b4?!

Diagram # 8

Up to now, except for the undefended pawn in the opening both players have played very well. And I would have preferred white to finalize his development with 10.Bg5 pinning the Knight on f6. But under both circumstances the position is very levelled!
10…Ne4 11. Bb2, b5 12. Bd3, Nf6 13. c4?!  

Diagram # 9 

This is certainly upping the ante. I would have preferred a safe approach with Qc2, with the plan of Ne5 and putting pressure on the weak link c6.
13…bxc4 14. Bxc4 Bb7!?
Black should have taken on b4 since 14…Bxb4 15. Qa4, a5 16.Qxc6, Bd7 17.Qb7 doesn’t look to comfortably for white.
15.Qd3 Bb8 16. b5 cxb5 17. Bxb5 Bxf3! 18. Qxf3 Qd6?

Diagram # 10

This is a mistake after g3, white has a little advantage because he threats both the Rook on a8, and Ba3 which will win him an exchange. However 18...Bxh2+ 19.Kxh2 Qb8 followed by Qxb5 would have secured black the advantage!
19.Qxa8??? Qxh2 Checkmate 0-1

Even though it was an abrupt and sudden end because white overlooked the mating threat, I was overall very impressed with these 2 youngsters! I am excited to follow their future development! Well done both of you!!
Coach Lars

Monte V. Elliott.jpg
Monte 2.png

May 2023 Game Breakdown!

In this edition we will take a look at some of the games from Group B in the April’s USCF rated Game in 20 Quads.

White: Kameron

Black : Steven


1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3, the Caro-Cann defense. It’s regarded to be one of black’s most solid answers to 1.e4.




Diagram # 1

This is a mistake since it leaves the d5 pawn up for grabs, white can simply play 4.cxd5, cxd5 5.Nxd5, and if black checks with his Queen on a5 and threatens the Knight, White simply retracts the Knight to c3 again and he is up a pawn.


4. Be2? Ngf6 5. e5 Ne4 6. Nxe4 dxe4 7. c3 Nb6 8. Qc2

Bf5 9. a4 g6?!


Diagram # 2

We have a very dynamic position, in which white has the better pawn structure but black will find it easier to develop his pieces naturally. I evaluate this position as balanced with equal chances.


10. g4 Be6 11. Qxe4??

This is however a big blunder, the pawn on e4 is not up for grabs


11...Bd5! 12. Qe3 Bxh1

This is a won position for black.  He is a Rook up, and white has to dedicate a lot of time to trap the Bishop on h1.


13. f4 Nd5 14. Qd3


Diagram # 3

Black has control over the board and is up a Rook, he just need to finalize his development and all is fine. After 14-,e6 which open up for the Bishop and the Queen, the Queen eyes a check on h4. It is clear that black is winning. However, Black played:   14...Nxf4??


After this blunder white has a fighting chance again although black is still better, it is getting complicated.


15. Bxf4 Qd7 16. O-O-O  O-O-O  17. Nh3 e6??


Diagram # 4

Another blunder leaving the Bishop on h1 up for grabs. Black should have played 17...Be6 and brought it back to safety! Now white has a winning position


18. Rxh1 Be7 19. Bg5 Rhe8 20. Rf1 h6 21. Bxh6 Rh8 22. g5 a6 23. Rxf7 b5 24. Qxg6 Rhg8 25. Rg7 Rxg7 26. Qxg7 Qe8 27. Nf4 Qg8 28. Qxg8 Rxg8 29. Nxe6 Kb7 30. Nc5+ Kc7 31. Nxa6+ and white won.


This game really was a tough fight but in the end it was the one who made the last blunder that lost!

Another interesting game was contested between James and Kameron. Unfortunately, you will only get the first part of the game since there were errors in the notation. It is not uncommon to make errors notating, but the more you practice the better you get at it. So, I salute you all and encourage you to notate whenever the time control permits it!

White: James

Black: Kameron

1.e4 c5 2. Bc4 d6 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d3


Diagram # 1

The Sicilian opening in a closed variation, had James played 5.d4 instead, it would just have been a Sicilian.

5...h6 6. O-O Be7 7. Bb5+(?)

It doesn’t seem natural to move the same piece twice in the opening and furthermore it actually helps black develop his pieces.


7...Bd7 8. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 9. Bf4 a6 10. e5 dxe5 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Bxe5 Qb6 13. Bxf6?


Diagram # 2

Even though the position is equal I prefer the white pieces after 13.Ne4 or even 13,Qf3.

With the text move black now has to make a choice to either take back with his bishop putting pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal, or to capture with the pawn and try to create attacking chances with the open g-file.

 13...Bxf6 14. Qc1 O-O 15. h3 Bxc3(?) 16. bxc3


Diagram # 3

The position is balanced.  White has the open b-file and a bit more active position, but the price is a worse pawn structure. Unfortunately, this basically balanced game continued with unreadable notation so my review of it has to end here. In the end, Kameron managed to squeeze out a win and with it won group B.


April Game Breakdown
FM Lars (Coach) Meyer

April Game Breakdown.

     This month we will focus again on the Slav Defense with 4…Bf5.  I want to thank my student, Terry Gilton, for allowing me to bring this, in many aspects, highly instructive game to you all!

     Before we start with the actual game, I would like to draw your attention to a new item on our website. If you go to the CCC Store, you will find a Donate button has been added.


     Axel is doing such an impressive job promoting our club and doing all he can to make it as easy as possible for all of us chess players -and I think I speak for all of us when I express gratitude for all of his commitment and hard work. 
     However, besides all of his work, he also sponsors all expenses up to now including paying the fees for getting our tournaments rated, putting down additional prize money, and all the different expenses relating to operating and promoting our club and so on and so forth.

     I have gently pressured him to add the Donate button, so those of us who are in position to do so, have the opportunity of helping support the club financially.

     In the hope that you will seriously consider making a contribution, I hereby commit to one full hour of one-on-one instruction with one person who will be randomly drawn from among those individuals who choose to make a donation before April 30th!

Remember there is no minimum or maximum and any and all donations are highly appreciated!


Kind Regards,


And now to the game Breakdown 😊

White: Jeff Roland
Black: Terry Gilton

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 Bf5

 {If you scroll back to a previous game breakdown, Meyer-van der Velden, you will also see this Variation. The Idea, of course, is that Black wants his white squared bishop out in an active role instead of being passive and defensive. The move is, in general, rarely played because it weakens Black's white squares on the Queenside of the board.}
5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Qb3 b6? 










{This is actually a losing move. When Black wants to play 4…Bf5, there are not many alternatives to playing 6…Qb6 here, and although the isolated b -pawn looks awful, it is not easily attacked and Black gets a half open a-file for his rook.}
7. Bg5
(7. e4  dxe4 8. Ne5 e6 9. Bb5+ Nbd7 10. g4 Bg6 11. Bg5 Be7 12.
Bxf6 gxf6 would have been a more accurate way to exploit Black's b6) 
7... e6?
{This naturally looking move gives White the possibility to play e4 and enter the previous variation and it cuts off the defending powers of the white squared bishop. There were however no good moves to be found. And from a psychological perspective it would be hard for anyone to play the relatively best move Nb-d7 and just say goodbye to the center pawn on d5.}
8. g3?









{And the opportunity is wasted. In chess, time is always of essence, and you can’t afford to waste it. After this solid looking move, White squanders his chance for a kill on the white squares on the Queenside and the position I consider to be equal.} 
8... Be7 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. O-O h6 11. Bf4 a6 12. Rac1 O-O 13. h3 b5!










{In itself, maybe not a move that deserves an exclamation mark, but the plan that eyes the c4 square as a future outpost and brings the earlier recognized weak white squares on the Queenside back to power and glory....I saw no other way ;-)}
14. Ne5 Nxe5 15.Bxe5 Qb6 
{Black was getting the initiative and after 15…Rc8, I would have preferred the Black pieces.  Now white gets a hold on ‘c5’ and the position is again equal. But it is easier to play the white pieces.} 
16. Na4!
{A simple and good move.  By winning a tempo on the Queen, Black secures the control of c5. We
all want to play those flashy moves that baffle the audience and leaves us with a sense of genius. However, Chess is a difficult game and, in my experience, what often wins you the game is simplicity!} 
16... Qd8 17. Bc7?! 










{This is an inaccuracy allowing Black to simplify with 17...bxa4} 
17... Qe8
(17... bxa4 18. Bxd8 axb3 19. Bxe7 bxa2 20. Bxf8 Kxf8 21. e4 Nxe4 22. Ra1 Nd2 23. Rfd1 Nb3 24. Rxa2
Bc2 25. Re1 Nxd4 26. Rea1 Rb8)

18. Nb6 Ra7 19. Be5 Nd7 20. Nc8?!

 White had the pressure and could have kept it with 20. Rc8 Bd8 21. Nxd7 Qxd7 22. Rfc1)
20... Nxe5! 
{The precise continuation} 
21. dxe5!
(An adventure to take the Rook on a7 would present black with the easiest position to play even though an exchange sacrifice on c4 at the right moment would ensure equal play.  21. Nxa7 Nc4 22. e4 Bxe4 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. Rxc4 bxc4 25. Qxc4 Qa8 26. Nc6 Bg5 27. h4 Rc8)

21... Ra8 22. Nxe7+ Qxe7 23. Rc3 Rfc8 24. Rfc1 Rc4 25. Rxc4 dxc4 26. Qf3 Rd8 27.









{White already had some difficulties but this makes it worse, weakening the
already weak Queenside. Black could have increased the pressure and won a
crucial tempo with Qa3!}
27... cxb3 28. Qxb3 Qa7 29. Qc3 Rd4?
{Even though it's tempting to have the Rook dominating the center it gives white the chance to get
an attack.} 
30. Qc8+! Kh7 31. Kh2??
(31. e3 Rd7 32. g4 Bg6 And white is better due to the pressure) 
31... Rd7??










{This is unfortunate since 31... Rd2!! Is a
winning continuation leaving white with the choice of a mating attack or a lost
32. Qc5 Qxc5 33. Rxc5 Rxa2) 32. Qc5?? 
{Sometimes in a game we play a lot of good moves and then suddenly we lose our perspective, White had the possibility of continuing his pressure instead he chooses a difficult endgame. To both players excuse, I guess time trouble now is an issue!} 
32... Qxc5 33. Rxc5 Rd2 34. Rc7 And here Terry lost on time in a won position.*

D 1 Terry.png
D 2 Terry.png
D 3 Terry.png
D 4 Terry.png
D 5 Terry.png
D6 Terry.png

March Game Breakdown

Welcome to my March Game Breakdown, since no tournament games were provided to me, I have chosen to show one of the games from the simul that I didn’t mention in the analyzing session afterwards.

For this section to work the best, I urge you to send in your tournament games.  Remember, this is your chance for a Master to review your games!
You can email your games to

Todays game is Gor Chailyan against me in the simul.
I chose this game because it has a lot of the characteristics of how the exchange variation against the French can be a solid weapon, especially against a stronger opponent.
Furthermore, the tactics that could have taken place are very classical and can serve as good inspiration for what to look out for in your own games!

Gor vs. Lars - Simultaneous Exhibition 02/23/2023

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O h6 7. h3 Nbc6 8. Re1
O-O 9. Nc3 a6 10. Ne2 Bf5 11. Bxf5 Nxf5 12. Qd3

 It's always difficult to win against the solid exchange variation in the French Defense, but this move is clearly giving black the Initiative. A more logical plan would be to play 12. Nf4, to put
pressure on blacks d5 pawn and hold the d3 square available to a future Knight.

12... Qf6 13. c3 Rfe8 14. Bf4??


Diagram #1











This is simply a blunder and allows a little combination. 14.Rxe2 is winning material because it leaves the Bishop on f4 unprotected. In this exchange variation, these types of blunders are common
and the take on e7, e2 you should always be on the lookout for. 


14... Nfxd4 ?!
In itself absolutely an ok move, but I feel a bit embarrassed I didn't play
14...Rxe2 Even though it's a simul I should have recognized the pattern.


 15.Nfxd4 Nxd4

15... Bxf4 16. Nxc6 bxc6 17. Nxf4 Rxe1+ 18. Rxe1 Qxf4 19. b4 Qd6 20.a3 a5.  I saw the Variation we played out and think Black is better.


 21. bxa5 Qxa3 22. a6


Diagram # 2





Gor's dream here was of course Qxa6, Re8+ and white is winning.

22... g6 Even though it's a simul, I luckily didn't fall into the Trap 


 23. g3 Qxa6 24. Re8+ Kh7 25. Qe3 Rxe8 26. Qxe8 Qa1+ 27. Kg2 Qxc3 28. Qxf7+ Qg7 29. Qe6
   This move isn't causing white the biggest problems.  In hindsight, 29...d4 was a better plan in the hope of a more active black Queen.

 30. Qxc6 d4 31. Qd5 Qf6 32. Qd7+ Qg7 33. Qd5 c5 34. Qxc5 Qb7+ 35. Kf1 Qd7 36. Ke2   1/2 - 1/2  (Draw Agreed).


Additional Games from the Lars Meyer Simul on 02/23/2023:

Axel vs Lars

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. Bb5+ c6 7. Ba4 Qa5+
8. c3 Bd6 9. Ne2 b5 10. Bb3 Bb7 11. Nf4 c5 12. Qh5 Ke7 13. dxc5 Be5 14. Nd3 Qc7  
15. Nxe5 Qxe5+ 16. Qxe5 fxe5 17. f3 e4 18. Kf2 Rg8 19. Re1 Nd7 20. Be3 Rac8 21. Bc2 Nxc5 22. Bxc5+ Rxc5 23. Bxe4 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Rh5 25. h3 Rd8 26. Ke3 Rhd5 27. Re1 Rd2 28. Re2 Rd1 29. Rd4 R8xd4 30. cxd4
Kd6 31. Rd2 Ra1 32. a3 Kd5 33. Kf4 f6 34. g4 h6 35. h4 Rh1 36. h5 Rc1 37. Ke3 Drawn by agreement

Lars vs Monte Halprin

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 e6 3. Bg2 Bd6 4. O-O f5 5. c4 c6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 Nf6 8. Nc3
O-O 9. Ne5 Nbd7 10. f4 Bc7 11. b3 Nxe5 12. fxe5 Ne4 13. Nxe4 fxe4 14. Ba3 Rf5 15. Bh3 Rxf1+ 16. Qxf1 Bxh3 17. Qxh3 Qc8 18. Qh5 Qe6 19. Rf1 Re8 20. e3 Bd8 21. Kg2 h6 22. h4 Kh7 23. Qf7 Qg6 24. h5 Qxf7 25.
Rxf7 Bg5 26. Kf2 Re6 27. Rxb7 a5 28. Bf8 Bf6 29. Ke2 Kg8 30. exf6 Kxf8 31. fxg7+ Kg8 32. Ra7 Rf6 33. Rxa5 Kxg7 34. Ra7+ Kf8 35. Rc7 Ke8 36. a4 Kd8 37. Ra7 Kc8 38. Ra6 Rf3 39. Rxc6+ Kb7 40. Rg6 Kc7 41. b4 Rf8 42. Rxh6 and White went on to win. 1-0

James vs Lars

1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. d4 Bd6 5. Nc3 c6 6. Bd3 Ne7 7. O-O h6 8. Re1
O-O 9. Be3 Bf5 10. Bxf5 Nxf5 11. Qd2 Nd7 12. Bf4 Qf6 13. Bxd6 Nxd6 14. Ne5 Rad8
15. Nxd7 Rxd7 16. Re2 Nc4 17. Qd3 Nxb2 18. Qd2 Nc4 19. Qd3 Re7 20. Rae1 Rfe8
21. Nd1 Rxe2 22. Rxe2 Rxe2 23. Qxe2 Qxd4 24. Ne3 Nxe3 25. fxe3 Qa1+ 26. Kf2
Qxa2 27. e4 Kf8 28. exd5 Qxd5 29. Qf3 Qxf3+ 30. Kxf3 Ke7 and Black went on to
win  0-1

Ernesto Abadilla vs Lars

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Be2 Nc6 8.
O-O Bd7 9. h3 Rc8 10. Qd2 a6 11. a4 Ne5 12. f4 Nc4 13. Bxc4 Rxc4 14. b3 Rc8 15.
Rf2 Qa5 16. Nde2 Nxe4 17. Qd3 Nxc3 18. Bd4 Nxe2+ 19. Rxe2 Bxd4+ 20. Qxd4 Qc5
21. Qxc5 Rxc5 22. Rd1 Be6 23. c4 a5 24. Kf2 Kd7 25. Rb2 Rhc8 26. g4 h5 27. Kg3
hxg4 28. hxg4 Rh8 29. Rbd2 b6 30. Re1 Kc7 31. Rf1 Kd8 32. Kf3 Rh3+ 33. Kg2 Rxb3
34. f5 and Black went to win 0-1

D1 Gor.png
D2 Gor.png

Coach Lars’
February game Breakdown.

***Please note that Diagrams appear sometimes "skewed" on the mobile version.  Best viewed on Desktop/Laptop computer**** 
In January, we finally got our 2022 Club Championship decided.
Two of the last games had a great impact on the final standings.
Before I present you with the games, I would like to thank you all for participating and making this a very special tournament. I hope the 2023 Club Championship will be just as exciting and hopefully with even more of our new members trying out competitive tournament chess!
Did you know that because of Covid there was no 2021 Club Champion? So, Axel,  who won 2020 has been sitting on the throne for a 2 full years. Well, the King is dead – long live the King! 😉
The biggest surprise in the tournament was Dondi Raval, and had he won his game against Gor, he would have had a chance for a split tournament victory.

Dondi - Gor

1.e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. e5 d5 5. Qxd4?! This move is not giving black any problems, but the whole variation is considered a bit dubious
5...dxc4 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8 7. exf6 gxf6 8. Nc3 Bf5 9. Be3 Bxc2 10. Rc1 Bd3 11. Nge2 Nd7 12. O-O Rg8 13. Rfd1 Bd6 14. Nf4
Diagram #1  

Black is better.   He has an extra pawn, and the white king is actually more vulnerable than its counterpart despite the black king being in the center and having lost the ability to castle.
Now black could have continued with the logical 14...Ne5 protecting on d3 and adding pressure against the white king because Nf3 is now relevant in certain variations. Note that a white try to blow blacks position apart with b3 strands on Ba3! The only thing that black really has to watch out for is the King and the officers on the d file. However, the nice position Gor had evaporated
completely after his next move!
14...c6?? After this move black simply loses a piece and white has a clearly won position.
15. Nxd3! cxd3 16. Rxd3 Ke7 17. Rcd1 Bxh2+ 18. Kxh2 Ne5 19. Bc5+ Ke6 20. Re3 Kf5 21. f3 h5 22. Ne4 b6 23. Nd6+ Kg6 24. Bd4 Nd7 25. Bc3 Nf8 26. Ne4 f5 27. Rd6+ Ne6 28. Nf2 c5 29. Nh3 Kh7 30. Re5 Rad8 31. Rxd8 Rxd8 32. Rxf5 Nd4 33. Rxf7+ Kg6 34. Rxa7 Re8 35. Bxd4 cxd4 36. Rd7 Re1 37. Rxd4 Kf5 38. Rd5+ Kg6 39. Nf4+ Kf6

Diagram #2


It’s clear for everyone to see that the game is over.  The simplest is of course to take the h5 pawn with the Knight -with check and then just return to f4 after black moves his king, but everything wins!
40. Rd6+ Kg5 41. Kh3 Ra1 42. a3 h4
Diagram #3 

43. Rxb6???? From a totally won game to a totally lost game in under a second. Until this moment nobody understood why Gor kept playing --but now we do!
The old, World-Class Grandmaster put it like this. “No one has ever won a game by resigning” – GM Saviely Tartakower

After this game, it was only Axel, Gor and me that could win the tournament.  By beating me, Axel could ensure a three-way tie for first place.
And what a game it was!

Lars – Axel

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. Qb3 Qb6 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Nxd5 Qxb3 8. Nc7+ Kd8 9. axb3 Kxc7 10. Bf4+ Kc8 11. Ne5 f6 12. Nc4

Diagram #4 

All this has been played a thousand times before.
The position is close to equal but because of the pawn structure, it is a difficult position to play with both white and black. However, Axel with his next move, made me drop my jaw!!
12...e5!? TN (Theoretical novelty) 
As I was facing this move with literally no time consumption on Axel’s part, I got a little nervous. 12...Nd7 has been the normal move for decades so there was no doubt he had prepared for this variation. 
My first thought was to continue the actual line we ended up playing but with 17. Kc3 instead of my move 17. Ke1.  However, I was certain that was the natural move and something that Axel had prepared for so I decided just to survive and hopefully not lose my balance – a draw would secure me the title!
13. dxe5 Bb4+ 14. Bd2 Bxd2+ 15. Kxd2 Kc7 16. exf6 Rd8+ 17. Ke1?
No matter how many nerves I had facing his preparation, 17. Kc3 is better.  Now, white has a very difficult position to play even though the position is close to equal.
17...gxf6 18. f3 b5 19. e4?
Diagram # 5 

White’s plan with f3 and e4 is actually wrong no matter how natural it seemed for me during the game.  The problem is mainly the control over the d-file which ensures black a little but firm advantage.

19...Be6 20. Na5 Kb6 
Black plays scaringly precise and had he offered a draw here,  I would probably have taken it. However, by winning this game Black could ensure a three-way playoff for the title.
21. Be2 c5 22. f4?
Diagram # 6  

After this move, black is close to having a winning advantage.   Had he continued with 22...Na6 and secured the active lookout on the d-file with the prospect of putting more pressure on my ill coordinated officers, I would have had to fight an uphill battle for my life!  Until this point, I believe that Axel has more or less outplayed me which may not be surprising for Axel, but it certainly is for me!!
22...Nd7? Unfortunately, Chess is cruel.  Just one “not optimal” move and white is in the fight again!
23. Bf3 Rac8 24. Ke2 c4?
And with this move, the roles have been completely reverted. White is now close to winning!
25. b4 c3?

Diagram # 7 

Now white is winning.  25...Nb8 would have kept him in a fighting distance.
26. bxc3 Rxc3 27. Rhd1 Re8 28. Rac1 Rc7 29. Rd6+  and Axel resigned faced with mate next move!
A really interesting game, and once again I am impressed by his creativity. After our game,  I tried to examine 12...e5 but I couldn’t find any games with it at all which kind of puzzled me.
So, I reached out to an old friend and former teammate of mine, GM Peter Heine Nielsen, in himself a very well-known, strong Danish Grand Master but maybe better known as World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s trainer!  His short verdict was that he preferred the more natural looking 12...Nd7 but he believed 12...e5 was perfectly playable and the position close to equal!
 (I {Axel} will be keeping an eye on Magnus' games to see if he uses my Novelty! :)  )

Nothing more to say than well done Axel --keep up the good work!


2022 CCC Championship Update by Coach Lars:

The 2022 Coachella Chess Club Championship 

Happy New Year and the best wishes to you all for 2023. 

2022 has been a good year for Coachella Chess Club and we are very happy to welcome 2023 with a continuous rise in chess activities in our Club. A special thanks to Axel, if not for him and his love and service for Coachella Chess Club we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Thank you, Axel!!

But 2022 still has a bit of unfinished business, our Club Championship for 2022!
7 players chose to participate in the 2022 Championship event, and I want to thank everyone for their contribution to make this tournament interesting and special.
Even though the players span in range from Master to unrated, there have been many interesting games, and many blunders and oversights - but hopefully first and foremost – a lot of fun!

In the following, I will show a few highlights from games played so far.

Gor – Axel 

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd6 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. O-O e6 8. Re1

Nbd7 9. Qd3 Bxf3 10. gxf3 O-O-O 11. Bg5 Qc7 12. Qe3 h6 13. Bf4 Bd6 14. Be5 Bxe5

15. dxe5 Nd5 16. Bxd5 exd5 17. f4 Nb6 18. a4 Qd7 19. a5 d4 20. Qf3 dxc3 21. axb6

axb6 22. bxc3 Kc7 23. Red1 Qf5 24. Rd3 g5 25. Rad1 gxf4 26. Rxd8 Rxd8 27. Rxd8

Kxd8 28. Qd3+? White already had a very difficult position but now it’s easy for black to win

Diagram #1



Axel played a pretty nice game and was never in trouble and now only needs to execute his winning position. But Chess is a cruel game and the one who make the second last mistakes often wins. 28...Qd7?? (The simple capture 29...Qxd3. 30. cxd3 Ke7 is an easy win as the Black King marches to the center and ends the battle because of e5/d4) 29. Kg2 Ke7 30. Qxd7+ Kxd7 31. Kf3 Ke6 32. Kxf4 f5 33. exf6

Kxf6 34. h4 h5 35. f3 b5 36. Ke4 c5 37. f4 b6 38. f5 c4 39. Kf4 1-0

A very bitter defeat for Axel but kudos to Gor for his fighting spirit -- when he got the chance, he took it!

Later at the same club meeting Gor played against me, and he had not forgotten his playbook 😉



Gor – Lars


1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e5 d4 4. exf6 dxc3 5. bxc3 gxf6 6. Bc4 Nc6 7. d4 Bf5 8.

Qf3 Qd7 9. Bb5 a6 10. Ba4 b5 11. Bb3 Rd8 12. Ba3 a5 13. Qh5 e6 14. Bxf8 Rxf8 15.

a3 Rg8 16. Ne2 a4 17. Ba2 Rg5 18. Qh4 Ke7 19. O-O-O Qd6 20. Kb2

Diagram # 2





Even though the position is complicated Black has a winning advantage, however, as in the previous game never underestimate Gor, as he often finds the resources! 20...Na5? Much better was (20... Rb8! 21. d5, b4 22. dxc6, bxc3+ 23. Kh1, Qxa3 24. Rb1 Rxc2 and black is just winning!) 21. d5! e5

22. f4! Rxg2 23. fxe5! Qxe5

Diagram #3

The tables are turned and white now has a winning position even though it is still complicated


24. Nd4 Rg4 25. Qf2? (25.Qh5 would have exposed the undefendable Black position and the best option for black would be to take the knight on d4 with his Rook, but it is dead lost!)

 25...Rf4 26. Nxf5+ Rxf5 27. Qc5+ Qd6

28. Qxb5 Qb6 29. c4 Rb8 30. Qxb6 Rxb6+ 31. Kc3 Kd6 32. Rhf1 Rxf1 33. Rxf1 Kc5

34. Rf4 Nb7 35. Rh4 Nd6 36. Rxh7 Ne4+ 37. Kd3 Ng5 38.Rh5 Rb2 39. d6

Kxd6? (39...Kc6 and winning the Bishop was much better ) 40. c5+ Ke7 41. Bc4 Rb1 42. h4 Nf3 43. Bd5 Ne5+




Diagram #4



This is the position after a rollercoaster of a game and is slightly advantageous for Black, but now Gor forgets my last move is with check and touched his Rook, then it is all over

44. Rxe5+ fxe5 45. Bc6 Ra1

46. Bxa4 Rxa3+ 47. Bb3 f5 48. Kc4 f4 49. Kd3 Kf6 50. Ke4 Ra1 51. h5 Rh1 and 0-1


Dondi has been a very positive experience, and was close to holding both me and Axel to a draw.

Axel – Dondi


1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Bc4 b5 5. Bd3 g6 6. Qe2 Bg7 7. h3 O-O 8. e5 dxe5

9. dxe5 Nd5 10. Nxd5 Qxd5 11. f4 Bb7 12. Be4 Qd7 13. Be3 Rd8 14. Rd1 Qxd1+ 15.

Qxd1 Rxd1+ 16. Kxd1 Na6 17. c3 b4 18. Nf3 bxc3 19. bxc3 Nc7 20. c4








20...Rb8?!  (Had Dondi played 20...f5 here, the game would have been close to equal)

  21. Kc2 Ne6 22. Rb1 Nd8 23. Bxa7 Ra8 24. Bb6 Ba6?



Diagram #6

Here Dondi had a last chance of fighting for a draw with 24...Ne6! ( During the game, I (Axel) felt White should still be close to winning after 25.Kb3 with the intent of marching my passed a-pawn up the board, but it certainly would have been a better try than 24...Ba6)

 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. c5 Bb5 27. Rb4 e6 28.

a4 Bf1 29. Nd4 Bf8 30. Nxc6 Ra8 31. Ne7+ 1-0

And against me, he held me to a drawish position until the very end!


Dondi - Lars

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. a3 a5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bd3 Bd7 8. Bc2 Nh6

9. O-O Be7 10. Re1 Rc8 11. h3 Nf5 12. Bxf5 exf5 13. Qd3 a4 14. Nbd2 O-O 15. Rb1

Na5 16. dxc5 Bxc5 17. Nd4 Bxd4 18. cxd4 Nc4 19. Nxc4 Rxc4 20. Be3 Rfc8 21. Rec1

Qe6 22. Rxc4 dxc4 23. Qc3 b5 24. Rd1 Qd5 25. f3 Rc6 26. Rd2 Rg6 27. Rf2 h6 28.

Kh2 Rc6 29. f4 Rg6 30. Rf3 Bc6 31. Qd2 Rxg2+ 32. Qxg2 Qxf3 33. Qxf3 Bxf3 34. Kg3

Bc6 35. h4 Kf8 36. Bd2 Ke7 37. Kf2 f6 38. Ke3 Kf7 39. Bc3 Bd5 40. Bd2 Kg6 41.

Kf2 Be4 42. Kg3 Kf7 43. Bc3 Ke6

Diagram # 7



Dondi has played the game so far very convincingly and kept me at bay the whole time. Had he continued with 44.d5+ Bxd5 45.exf6, gxf6 the game would have been totally equal.

44. Kf2 Bb7 45. Ke3 g5 46. exf6 gxh4 47. Be1?  ( 47.Kf2, and d5 would still have kept him in fighting range for a draw.)

47...h3 48. Bg3 Kxf6 49. Be1 h2 0-1

Eliott is a very unorthodox player. I have tried to educate him a bit and was pleased to see that he didn’t react to Mark’s h3 with a sacrifice on f2! When out of his dubious openings he is a dangerous opponent for most!


Mark - Eliott

1. c4 e6 2. e4 d6 3. Nf3 Be7 4. Nc3 c6 5. b4 Nf6 6. e5 Ng4 7. Ne4 dxe5 8. c5 O-O

9. h3 Nh6 10. Bb2 f6 11. Bc4 b5 12. Bb3 Qd3 13. Qc2 Qxc2 14. Bxc2 Na6 15. a3 Nc7

16. O-O-O a5 17. Bb3 axb4 18. axb4 Nd5 19. Ng3 Nxb4 20. Bc3 Nd3+ 21. Kb1 Nxf2 and white lost on time in a already lost position.

Mark is a bit challenged by the format of Game in 30, since he likes a little more time to consider his decisions on the board.


But he managed to give Axel a good scare!

Mark - Axel

1. c4 d5 2. c5 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bxc5 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8.

e3 O-O 9. Bd3 Re8 10. O-O Bd6 11. Qa4 Bxh2+? 12. Kxh2 Ng4+ 13. Kg1 Qh4 14. Qf4!

Diagram # 8








White has defended accurately against the excessively aggressive 12...Bxh2, but he still has to be cautious. However right now he has a winning advantage!

14...Re6! 15. Bf5?? Rf6?? The way to exploit Bf5 was Rh6 and black is winning on the spot! Chess can be cruel in the rapidness of changed scenarios! 16. Qxg4 Qxg4 17. Bxg4 Bxg4 18. f3 Bh5 19. g4 Bg6 20. Na4 Bd3 21. Rf2 h6 22. Nc5 Bh7 23. Nd7 Re6 24. b4 a5 25. Rb1?? Bxb1 0-1


The difficulty in managing the quicker time format Game 30 can also be said about Sal even though to a lesser extent. Sal held the balance against Axel for a long time and against Dondi he slowly turned a dubious position into a winning advantage but alas, just to lose on time. Let’s take a quick look at his game against Axel.

Axel – Sal


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d4 exd4 6. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 Bc5

8. Be3 Bb6 9. f3 Nf6 10. Nc3 O-O 11. Kf2 Be6 12. Nxe6 fxe6 13. Bxb6 cxb6 14.

Rad1 Rad8 15. Rxd8 Rxd8 16. Rd1 Rxd1 17. Nxd1 e5 18. Ne3

Diagram # 9






White has a slight edge but no more after 18...b5 to prevent the white Knight from entering via c4, Black would certainly have excellent drawing chances. (Black had consumed a lot of time in the opening and was already in a bit of time pressure  -Axel)

 18...g6? 19. Nc4 b5? 20. Nxe5 And now just 2 moves later black is lost. It would have been much better to give up the pawn on b7, when black would still have had a slim fighting chance., But with an extra center pawn (and connected!)  it is all over!

20...Kf8 21. Ke3 Ke7 22. Kf4 Ke6 23. Nd3 Nd7 24. Kg5 Kf7 25. Kh6 Kg8 26. e5 a5 27. g4

b6 28. f4 Nf8 29. f5 gxf5 30. gxf5 Kf7 31. Nf2 c5 32. Ne4 b4 33. Ng5+ 1-0

The current standings before the last remaining games are:

1. Lars 5/5

2-3.  Axel and Gor 4/5

4. Dondi 1/3

5. Eliott 1/4

6-7.  Mark and Sal 0/4

lars dondi.png
Keller game.png

2022 Club Champion:  FM Lars Meyer

2022 Club Champion.jpg

November Game Breakdown

This month, Lars' Breaksdown a very interesting, if somewhat dubious game I (Axel) played in the main section of the US Open this past August.  If you'd like to see one of YOUR games featured in the monthly Breakdown, please email them to

Axel van der Velden vs. Tanish Shankarappa

Rancho Mirage: US Open 2022: 2022.08.05

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qc7 Perfectly playable move even though I always tell my students to develop the pieces before bringing the Queen out!

5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 Axel goes for the very aggressive line. 6.Be3 is probably the most common continuation.


6... a6 7. Bg2 Bb4 This is a very natural move, black pins the knight and dreams of ruining white's pawn structure. However as everything else it comes with a prize. Black's dark squares in the center has nothing but empty holes. After white;s next moves it is clear that black by putting the Bishop on b4 can't avoid that the Agenda is set!

8. Nxc6 dxc6 9. Qd4 Bxc3+ 10. Qxc3 e5 11. g5 Be6 12. Be3?!


Diagram #1


This is a perfectly natural move, however after putting pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal I think black would face more pressure on his position with 12.f4! f6. 13. f5 Bf7 and then followed by 14. Be3. The problem after the text move is that Black more easily gets a target on f4 securing a certain grade of counterplay. That aside white still have the better outlook. Considering the advanced g pawn black don't really have an alternative to castle Queenside. And considering the superiority white holds on the black squares Black can face longtime pressure. Another thing to consider is where to bring the King to safety? If you want to caste Queenside you would want to put the bishop on d2. A lot of different strategic options to consider after only 11 moves, and they all have a long-term impact on the game's outlook No wonder we all struggle with developing our game ;-)


12... O-O-O 13. a4 Ne7 14. a5 Rd7 15. Bb6 Qd6 White now has the option to either move the Black Queen from the D- file with Bc5, or play Bf3 to prepare to take control of the d-file by supporting a white Rook on d1.

16. O-O? This is however a mistake. White now throws his advantage away and the chances are even.


16... h6?


Diagram #2


And Black returns the favor. This natural move has the big disadvantage that it weakens the a1-h8 diagonal. So Black if he takes back with either pawn or Rook when white takes on h6 will face f4 immediately. And the Bishop on e6 only make f4 so much more powerful!


17. Rad1? ∓ This is a grave mistake, even though black still has to watch out for his king, this gives black a liberation activity and white's King is also exposed. (I "Axel", saw some tempting sacrifices on a6 and c6 leading to Mate.  Unfortunately, I realized they didn't work only after my opponent played his 19th move...)


Much better was:  17. gxh6 gxh6 17... Rxh6 18. f4 Bg4 19. Qg3 Rg6 20. Qh4 +-  and even 18. f4 Rg8 19. f5 +- 


17... Qxd1! Only move


18. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 19. Bf1 Ng6 20. f4?! Objectively Qf3 is probably the best defense, however Axel still plays for a win, and he doesn't mind crossing the river to get the water ;-) He would of course have liked to play Kg2 and Bxa6 with threats all over, however after Nf4+ white can resign so he is being creative!


20... exf4  (if 20... Nxf4 21. Qxe5 +- and White is winning)


21. Kf2?? After this move white is simply lost.


Better would have been 21. h4 hxg5 22. h5 Rxh5 23. Qf3 Rxf1+ 24. Qxf1 ⩲ Because white will still have an attack on the black King with Qd1/Qd3 and the threat to go to d6.


21... hxg5 22. h3 Rd7? Black gives up on his attack and go on defense mode which gives White several chances. 22... f6 23. Bxa6 Ne5! And Black is quickly winning with attack on the White King


23. b4? It is a very difficult position but both Bxa6 and Qxg7 would have presented bigger challenges for Black. 23. Bxa6 bxa6 24. Qxc6+ Kb8 25. Bc5 =  and 23. Qxg7 Kb8 24. Be2 Bxh3 25. Bh5 ⩱.  White has counterplay do to the exposed Black King and his active Bishops


23... Kb8 24. Bd4 In this position Axel offered a draw (!!), which was accepted. Black was clearly better in the final position but it's still very complicated! And It could have ended with all results.


October Game Breakdown by FM Lars Meyer

Hi there and welcome to October’s Game Breakdown.

The following game was played at the US Open G15 Championship between FM Austin Mei 2269 and one of the strongest local players Axel van der Velden 1891.

This game is with a rather quick time control, which of course increases the risk of blunders and oversights, however it’s a very instructive game with a lot of thrilling action so I hope you will enjoy it!

Axel is the founder of the Coachella Chess Club and probably one of the most well-known faces in our Chess Community.

2022 US Open Game 15 Championship

Round 2

White: FM Austin Mei 2269

Black:   Axel van der Velden 1891


1.e4, d5. 2.exd5, Qxd5. 3.Nc3, Qd6. The Scandinavian Defense!


This particular variation with Qd6 got popular around 2 decades ago, and is now considered a totally acceptable response on level with Qa5, or Qd8.


4.d4, c6.

There are a lot of different possibilities here most commonly is probably Nf6. But this is one of Axel’s preferred variations and he knows it pretty well -which especially in G15 can be a huge factor and at the same time soothing for the nerves 😉

5.Nf3, Bg4. 6.Bc4, Nf6. 7.h3,- This is a very sharp variation and I guess Austin knows it pretty well, I have myself avoided this variation because everything can end in the blink of an eye!

7.-, Bxf3. 8.Qxf3, Qxd4. 9.Bb3, e6. 10.Be3, Qd8. 11.Rd1, Nbd7.


Diagram #1




A very interesting position, black is up a pawn and has no obvious weaknesses. White is a bit ahead in development and possess the Bishops, which is very valuable if he can open up the position. Personally I prefer the Black pieces here, but especially in Quick Chess initiative and attack should not be undervalued!

12.g4, Be7?! Even though the black position is solid I prefer pushing the Bishop all the way to b4, pinning the white Knight, that would also strengthen the control over the d5 square.

13.g5, Nd5. 14.Nxd5, exd5(?)

I would have preferred to recapture with the c-pawn to keep the white bishop from attacking the King.

15.c4!, dcx4. 16.Bxc4, 0-0??






Diagram # 2

This is a huge blunder after Qf5 white wins the Knight on d7 since it can move without exposing the Queen from the Rook on d1. Instead black should have played 16.-, Qa5+ 17. Bd2, Qe5+ 18.Kf1, and now castling to either side is totally ok for black. The point in Black’s defense is that when the Queen is threatened is moves to threaten the white Bishop on c4, and since we can take it with check everything works out!

17.Kf1??, Ne5?

Sometimes the errors like to stick together, here Qe8 would have been very much equal. White has sufficient compensation for his missing pawn through his active pieces.

18.Bxf7! Now white is clearly better and Black must fight to keep the balance.

18.-, Kh8.

The best defense, but since it was quick chess, it was on the table to sack the Queen for activity with 18.-, Rxf7.19. Rxd8+, Rxd8 20.Qe4, Nd3 and even though white is clearly better he has to watch out for all sorts of tricks!

19. Rxd8 (?)

In itself the move is natural. Taking away the Queens when you have a clear advantage. However, I do believe Qh5 was stronger.

19.-, Nxf3. 20. Rxa8, Rxa8. 21. h4,



Diagram # 3

Evaluating this position is relatively easy, most would probably agree without hesitation that white is better. He has activity, the pair of Bishops and an easier path to activate his King. But is the position won? I don’t think so! The black Knight is very strong covering a lot of squares in the center and to exchange it with a Bishop would result in different colored Bishops which endgames are notorious hard to win.

However, we can also picture a white plan involving h5 and g6 and the black King would be completely inactive. 21.-, Rd8. 22. Kg2, Nd4. 23.h5, Nf5 is the best way to keep the black position together. If black continues with 23.-, c5 24. Rd1, b6 25.g6, Nc2. 26. RxR, BxR. 27. Bd2, Bf6. 28.b3 and it will be hard for black to defend the position in the long term, since white can activate his King.

21.-, Ne5(!) 22. Bh5, Rd8. 23.Be2, a6?!

Black has the choice between a6 and b6. The choice between a stand on the black or the white squares, considering black doesn’t have a white squared Bishop b6 seems a little more natural to me. And in addition, with a pawn on b6 a Knight on d3 would threaten to take on b2.

24.Kg2, b5. 25. B3, Nd3?

This move unfortunately gives white the possibility to exchange on d3 and win the c6 pawn and achieve a winning position after Rc1.

26. Rd1?, Nb4! 27. Rc1, Nxa2. 28. Rxc6, Nb4 29.Re6, Bf8. 30. Kf3, Kf8 (!)

Finally the Black King is eyeing a future, and even though white still is better it’s not a won position.

31. Ke4, Rd6. 32. Rxd6, Bxd6 33. F4, Kf7. 34.f5, Bg3.

Black could also have tried 34.-, Nc6. 35. Kd5, Ne7+. 36. Kxd6, Nxf5+ followed by capture on e3, that would lead to a level position. Of course, white could respond on the check on e7 by going back to e4 and draw by repetition. ( A draw can be requested if you have the same position 3 times with the same person to move)

35. Bd2, Bd6. 36.h5, Nc6(!)

Applause for evaluating the following sequence which is quite an accomplishment!

37. Kd5, Bb4. 38. Bxb4, Nxb4+ 39. Kc5, Nc2. 40.Bd3, Ne3. 41. Be4, Nd1(?)

 I believe 41.-, h6 would have presented more problems for white!

42. Kb6, Nc3! 43.Bf3?



 Diagram # 4

43.Bc2 would have given white the better chances. 43.-, h6. 44.g6+, Kf6. And we see that black can’t just walk over and take the h5 pawn since white then can push f6 and g6 is covered by the Bishop!

43.-, Nb1??

Oh no! After having defended the worse position thoroughly and with impressive creativity for many moves, Axel throws away any hope left with this move. 43.-, h6 would forcefully have secured the draw because the Bishop have the wrong color to help promote the h-pawn. The game could have ended 43.-h6. 44.gxh6, gxh6. 45.Kxa6, Kf6. 46.Ka5, Kxf5.47 Kb4, Nb1 and white can’t prevent the sacrifice of the Knight on the b-pawn after with the position is a dead draw!

44.Kxa6, b4. 45.Kb5, Nd2. 46. Bd5+ and black resigned.   1-0

There were a few bad errors in the game but that aside it was pretty high quality, and after defending a difficult position for so long against a very strong player, Axel absolutely deserved a draw. However, as we have all too well experienced, in Chess the winner is the one that makes the second to last mistake!

Thanks to Axel for sharing and remember in general we learn more from our losses than our wins.

If you want to have your game reviewed, please send it to Remember it is all about evolving our game!


September Game Breakdown by FM Lars Meyer.

Welcome to September and my monthly Game Breakdown.


Since this is the first member game, I want to lay down some basics about how I work.

First, this is my personal review of a game, I don’t use computer engines or the likes.

I will focus on the overall understanding aspect of the game; I won’t be giving lectures in Opening Theory or the likes.

I will try to pinpoint crucial decisions at various crossroads in the game.


The Game I will show you this month is from the US Open that took place last month in Rancho Mirage. The game is played between John Fernandez 2129 and club member Sal Flores 1451.

It’s very rare to see tournament games with so big a rating difference, but that is one of the charms of playing an open!

As the higher rated player, you are obliged to win or you will lose a lot of rating points, but the thing is, there are a lot of players out there who play a decent game of chess, but due to not playing many rated events their rating is lagging big time.

I know Sal, and he is a very solid player.  Simply put, he is underrated! But on to the game.


US Open 2022, Rancho Mirage, California

White: John Fernandez, 2129

Black: Sal Flores,1451

1. e4, e5 2. Nf3, Nc6 3. Bb5, a6 4. Ba4, Nf6 5. O-O, d6.  This move makes it clear that Black chose the Closed Variation of the Ruy Lopez.  Black had different options e.g. he can take on e4 with his Knight and that would have led to the open variation of the Ruy Lopez, he could have continued with 5.-, b5 which would have led to the more classical ways of the opening. 6. Re1, Bg4  This variation leads to sharp play.

Personally, I am reluctant about this move since white hasn’t committed in the center with d4, but it is a perfectly acceptable move and played by even strong Grandmasters. 7. c3, Be7 8. d3,

O-O 9. Nbd2, Re8 10. h3, Bh5 11. Nf1, d5. This move sets the board on fire! Diagram #1


White now have a lot of different possibilities like exd5 followed by Bxc6 and g4 and take on e5.

12. Bxc6, This move no doubt was done with the intension of simplifying matters and give black some weak queenside pawns including the double pawn, but I think White overlooked blacks' strong response to his next move. Instead, white should have continued with exd5 in his next move 12-, bxc6 13. g4?, dxe4! If Black had moved his bishop he would have ended up with a very bad position    14. gxh5, exf3  15. Qxf3, Qd6 16. Ng3, Rad8


Now we have a more or less equal position, Black has some structural weakness, but they are fully compensated by his activity and control of the Center.  Diagram #2




















17. Bh6??

 However, this changes things fundamentally. 17.-, Bg5 would have kept the balance and even chances now black is much better. Of Couse Black can’t take on h6 because of Nf5 threatening both the Queen and a mate on g7. But Black simply keeps his cool Moving his Queen out of reach of Nf5, and looks for an exchange of queens not to get in trouble on the Kingside! 17.-,Qxd3 18. Re3, Qd5 19. Bg5?  Although it’s natural to get the bishop out of harm’s way this doesn’t help white much. Personally, I would probably have opted for 19. Nf5 which creates a lot of possibilities to get a draw by repetition e.g. 19.Nf5, QxQ. 20.RxQf3, Nxh5 21.Bxg7, Nxg7 and white has perpetual check with his night on h6 and f7.


19.-,Qxf3? A perfectly understandable move, let’s get the Queens off and let me see if I can win the endgame! However, 19.-, e4! Leaves white with no alternative to Qf5, not to lose the Bishop on G5 so we get the Queens away after Nxh5! and take another pawn with a winning position! 20. Rxf3, e4?


Often when we play chess the good moves and the bad moves seems to come in rows, after this last move white have a lot better chances of defending his position and keep the balance. 20.-, Nd5 would have been the way to proceed.

21. Re3, Nd5 22. Bxe7, Rxe7 23. Rxe4, Rxe4 24. Nxe4, Nf4 25. h6?,


After 25.Nc5, the position would probably resolve into more clarity and a draw would probably emerge e.g. 25.-, Nxh3+ 26. Kg2, Nf4+ 27.Kf3, Ne6 28.Nxa6, c5 29.b4, Rd3+ 30.Ke4, Rxc3 31.Nxc5 And equal. But here also comes a psychological aspect alive. White is much higher rated, and he simply cannot fathom that he isn’t winning. So even though he might still be able to keep a draw he is not interested. He only has an eye for winning so he is pushing and pushing and eventually…


 25.-,Nxh3+, 26. Kg2, Nf4+27. Kf3, Ng6 28. hxg7?,  White is pushing but this move waste time better was the plan with Nc5 again.

28.-,Rd3+!  This is a very strong move forces the King away from the center since Ke2 would meet the hammer Nf4! Black is very close to have a winning position again


29. Kg4 Kxg7 30. Rh1 Rd5 31. Ng3 Rd2 32. f4 Rxb2  33. Nh5+ Kg8?  

On his way to victory Black gives white one final change to fight for a draw with 34.Rd1!, but maybe White mistakenly thought Black was ready for a repetition

34. Nf6+, Kg7 35. Nh5+, Kf8 36. f5, Ne5+ 37. Kf4, Nd3+ 38. Kg5, Rg2+

39. Kf6, Nc5 40. Rd1, Ne4+ 41. Ke5, Nxc3 42. Rd7, Re2+ 43. Kf4, Nd5+ 44. Kf3, Rxa2

45. f6, Ke8 46. Re7+, Nxe7 47. Ng7+, Kf8  and White resigned 0-1


All in all, a very impressive game and performance by Sal!

Also in these computer days, when everyone has a GM in their pocket it’s nice to get a reminder that we are humans, and we make mistakes and seldom can we play a game without errors. But the complexity and the endless possibilities is part of Caixa’s enchantment.


If you have a game you would like to see commented on, send it via email to Axel at  If you could put a few comments of your own on it, I would be delighted!


FM Lars Meyer

This is a paragraph where y

FM Lars A. Meyer (2268) - GM Mikhail M. Ivanov (2459)
Borup Open 2009

Don’t give up your black squared Bishop when you play the Benoni!

Opening: Benoni Defense.

1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. ♘c3 d6 5. ♘f3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6  These moves all lead to the Modern Benoni, which is a very aggressive and tactical opening choice with black. Often when you play against stronger players it’s a tactic to complicate and sharpen your play! 7. ♘d2 This move is pretty rare, but since I am not an expert in the opening a friend game me this interesting line to look at….Well I did and have played it ever since 😊 Always nice to have an idea of what your doing. -♗g7 8. ♘c4 O-O 9. ♗f4 ♘e8 Black here had other possibilities, the pawn sacrifice after9,-b6.10.Bxd6, Re8.11.Bg3, Ne4 leads to very sharp variations where the black Bishop on g7 is a powerhouse!

10. ♕d2 to prevent accidents with g5! ♘d7?! Another pawnoffer No doubt Black is playing for a winn. 11. ♘xd6 ♘xd6 12. ♗xd6 ♖e8 13. e3 (!) the only move for white to keep his edge after I took a longer time to think things through. 13-.a6 After my opponent had blitzed the moves up to here, he now used about 20 minutes before he played 13,-a6 and he accompanied his move with a draw offer. Now Chess is a very psychological game, and I of course considered accepting his drawoffer. But since he had blitzed his moves until I played 13.e3 and he was a Grandmaster with 200 ELO more than I, and certainly wanted the full point proven by his opening choice, so I guess he didn’t feel too comfortable with the situation. Well, since I could smell blood and I at least for my history book could take comfort in refusing a draw in a equal position against a Grandmaster I decided to play on!

14. ♗e2 b5 15. O-O ♗b7 16. ♖fd1 ♖c8 17. ♗g3 h5 18. h3 ♘b6 19. ♕c2 ♕d7 Both players have now finalized their development and white has manged to secure a little advantage due to keeping both the pawn and the balance 😉

 20. ♗f3 ♘c4? This move is the first step in a wrong plan, but note that pushing the white Knight with b4 does not help black since white can centralize his Knight to e4 looking at the square d6 which is very hard for black to deal with. 21. ♖ac1 ♘xb2? Black executes his wrong plan and is now loosing! 22. ♕xb2 b4 23. ♕b3 ♗xc3 24. ♖xc3!! Now take a look at the black squares. You do not wanna play the Modern Benoni or the The King’s Indian without your black squared Bishop! The rest of the game is just execution of a won position!24.-bxc3 25. ♕xc3 c4 26. e4 ♗a8 27. ♗f4 ♔h7 28. ♗d2 ♕d6 29. ♕e3 ♖e5 30. ♕h6+ ♔g8 31. ♗c3 ♖ce8 32. ♗xh5 ♕e7 33. f4 ♕h4 34. ♗xe5 ♖xe5 35. fxe5 and black resigned.

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