Category Archives: Mike Serovey

This Piano is No Joke!

Many amateur chess players (especially Americans) mispronounce the names of chess openings and foreign chess players. “Giuoco” is pronounced like joke-o. Giuoco Piano means go easy game. This opening and its variants are also called “The Italian Game”.

My opponent blundered while transitioning from the opening to the middle game. I can’t say that any one move was responsible for his loss.


Mike Serovey

Return of the Dead Eyes

Fans of this blog may have noticed that I have not posted a new article in a year. Around 20 July 2016 I had a brain stroke, A blood clot hit the right side of my brain and that did quite a bit of damage. A year later I still can barely see or feel a keyboard! That has made writing articles very difficult! Luckily, I found a doctor that will perform the cataract surgery that I have needed for the past year. I will still need glasses for reading and I will still have a huge blind spot on my left side.

I was in Penrose hospital for 3 days before I was transferred to the VA hospital that is in Denver, Colorado.

While I was in these hospitals I could not log into the ICCF server to take a time out or play a move. That, in turn, caused me to lose several cc games on time forfeit. My ICCF rating took a big hit!

Luckily, I was able to enter new events and I have had some decent results in them.

The game below is one of my recent draws with an expert on ICCF.

After my eye surgeries are completed and I can finally see again, I will write regular articles again. I will “see” you all then!

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty Four

NOT the Latvian Gambit

My opponent in this ICCF correspondence chess game lives in Latvia. This was pretty much a standard Sicilian Defense with no gambits involved.

During the course of this correspondence chess game, I offered a draw twice. White took 15 days to decline the first draw offer and 21 days to accept the second draw offer. He was looking for a win that he was hoping that I missed. He failed to find one. I believe that there was no win for him to find in this correspondence chess game.

I drew my previous game with Guntis, but that game is not yet published anywhere. This draw put me into a tie for first place in this section and I now have second place on tie breakers. I expect to win my remaining games In this section, but that still does not guarantee that I will finish in first place.

Mike Serovey

How NOT to Play Against Stronger Opponents

This win against a much lower-rated opponent put me into temporary first place in this section. However, games that finished after this one did dropped me back into a tie for fourth place.

Going through the crosstable for this section I played over my opponents games that he has finished. So far, he has one forfeit win and about five losses. He will most likely finish in the second to last position. In every game that I looked at, he played the same Carro-Kahn like set up as both White and Black. I sent a message to him telling him that passive play against strong opponents will get him clobbered every time!

On move number 7 White played a novelty that may not have been that good. Move number 12 was also weak because is was played to support move number 14, which was an outright blunder. After Black’s 14th move, White was dead lost. White resigned when Black had checkmate in 5 moves.

I now have enough content in the membership area of my chess site to start taking a few new members to help me beta test this site. I gave Tai one free membership to this site and he has yet to do anything with it. I will take up to a total of 10 free members to beta test this membership area. After that, I will be charging for access to this site. If the beta testers do not give me any useful feedback, then I will cancel their memberships and they will have to pay to rejoin this site! If you are interested in joining then contact me.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty Three

I Had Some Klewe How to Draw This Correspondence Chess Game!

My opponent in the correspondence chess game is an ICCF master who lives in Germany.

White has a tendency to play unorthodox openings. In this correspondence chess game, White chose Benko’s Opening and I responded with the Modern Defense. We then transposed into the Kings Indian Defense, Panno Variation. Although I ended up playing some lines that I had never seen before, thanks to my databases of games, I was able to play a solid variation.

As Black, I ended up with a slight positional advantage and I kept that slight positional advantage after some middle game exchanges that traded down into an endgame. Part of that advantage included tandem (They are also called Horwitz Bishops after Bernhard Horwitz and mistakenly called Harrwitz Bishops after Daniel Harrwitz.) bishops that were aimed at the White Queenside. I still had those tandem bishops on move number 40 when White offered a draw, but there were no targets left on the Queenside for those bishops to attack. Because I was unable to find a way to capitalize on the very slight positional advantage, I accepted the draw offer.

This draw puts me into a temporary tie for third place in this section and fourth on tie breaks.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty Two

My opponent in this very short correspondence chess game is an ICCF master from Sweden. When White offered a draw on move number 11, I was surprised and then checked my database of games that had that position in them. I found that White won one game and the other three ended in draws. So, I accepted the draw.

This correspondence chess game started off as the Ruy Lopez and transposed into the Four Knights. I was trying to get the Berlin Defense because it is solid and drawish. This Four Knights gave me the draw that I wanted, only sooner than I expected it!

I had third place in this section before this draw and I remained in third place after accepting the draw. My annotations show the games in my database without any real comments.

Mike Serovey

I Had a Five-Way…

tie for first place in this section

My opponent is lower rated than I am and he is from Turkey. He had White and he was playing for a win in positions that were rather even. I offered a draw after making my 37th move. He declined my offer and then offered a draw of his own 27 moves later.

While analyzing the endgame I discovered that one line of play would often transpose into another one. While trying to win the endgame, my opponent went into and out of nearly evey line of play that I analyzed! When he finally realized that there was no win for him, then he agreed to a draw! Although I do admire persistance, I found his annoying!

I castled on the Kingside and White castled on the Queenside. Some chess coaches have commented that when players castle on opposite wings, then it is a race to see who can checkmate the opposing King first. I have found that I stand a better chance of winning that race if I also take care to protect my own King first!

All of the pawns stayed on the chess board until I played my 27th move. I call that a closed position and chess engines are weak in closed positions. I used my chess engines mainly to blunder check my analysis and to explore various ideas. White was basically following my analysis that was posted in the engine room on playchess.com and then looking to see if he could find a win that I missed.

When White offered me a chance to open up the b file I took it because that gave me an open file to use to attack the White King. White never left that file unprotected long enough for any of my remaining pieces to penetrate his pawn structure using that file. So, nothing came of that file being open.

Both sides took turns attacking and defending various pieces, pawns and squares. In the end, nothing came from all of that attacking, defending and counter attacking. This was a hard-fought draw!

This draw put the both of us into a five-way tie for first place in this section. All five of us drew the other four players in the tie and we beat the same patzer who now is in last place. There is no way to break that kind of tie.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty One

This is my third a final loss to Corey Acor that will be published here. However, in chronological order, this is my first loss to Corey. I had won the previous round against Benson Walent and then lost this one to Corey Acor. Unless I move back to Florida, Corey moves to Colorado or Corey plays correspondence chess, I will not play Corey again.

I tried the Sniper move order in this OTB chess game and then I went for the Botvinnik System against a closed Sicilian. I made several errors in this chess game and resigned when I realized that I had dropped my Queen. From my move number 12 on, I was struggling and I was dead lost when I dropped my Queen. However, the loss of my Queen convinced me that it was time for me to quit that game.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty

My opponent in this OTB Rapid Chess game became a USCF Life Master. I do not recall if he was yet a LM at the time that this chess game was played. This is one of three losses that I have to Corey Acor and my only loss to him with the black pieces.

My opening play with the Black side of the Closed Sicilian Defense may not have been that accurate, but I lost because I failed to realize that my King was in check and thus I tried to make an illegal move with my Rook on my move number 19. The only legal move with that Rook would lose the exchange so I resigned.

The rules do not require my opponent to tell me when my King is in check, but I usually will tell my opponents as a courtesy. Corey did not tell me that my King was in check until after I tried to make an illegal Rook move! Still, I consider Corey Acor to be a gentleman as well as a strong chess player.

I had lost to a master in Round 1 who was visiting from England. I won rounds 2 and 3 and then lost to this master in the final round. That gave me an even score against a fairly strong field for me.

Unfortunately, playing like a patzer every time that I faced Corey Acor made me look like a patzer to him! If Corey had not watched some of my chess games with other strong players he could have concluded that I barely know how to move the pieces! Sometimes, I rise to the level of my competition. At other times, I freak out and play like a beginner! With Corey Acor, the freak out factor kicked in.

Mike Serovey