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Member since Feb-25-09 · Last seen Feb-26-19
Phil Van Dusen, USCF member for a long time, current OTB rating 2040. I started playing rated tournaments after entering high school, breaking even in my first, then gradually improving results until I made a 2nd place finish at the Washington-Baltimore HS championship of 1972.

Over the next three years, I lived in England, playing regularly at the Scarborough Chess Club and in inter-scholastic events as my school's first board. One memorable success in this period was getting a win against Bent Larsen (1 of only 4 achieved) when the Great Dane conducted a 74-board simultaneous exhibition in Teesside, England. A less enjoyable, but similarly memorable encounter was getting crushed in the first round of a tournament by top-10 GM-to-be Jonathan Speelman.

After returning to the states, I continued playing rated chess tournaments, but started shifting my focus to weekend table tennis competitions, seeking physical exercise as an offset to a mostly sedentary IT job. It's interesting that USA Table Tennis uses the Elo rating system, borrowed from chess. During this period, when I was generally curtailing active tournament chess play, I got one of my best results. A lucky last-round draw against GM Niaz Murshed allowed me to finish in a tie for 2nd at the 1990 Maryland Open, but the more accomplished and deserving Allan Savage (NM) won the Maryland State title on tiebreaks, even after losing a heartbreaker to GM Max Dlugy in the last round.

In 2007, I started to run some small days camps that combined chess and table tennis. The camp was designed primarily for kids, but some adults participated and enjoyed it. This was the derivation of the handle CHESSTTCAMPS, which I'm keeping even though I'm unlikely to try running one again.

In 2015-2017, I started part-time chess teaching with Silver Knights Enrichment and also Curie Learning Center. SKE focusses on elementary schools in Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. I found it a very satisfying experience and met some great teachers.

In 2017, I moved to Vermont. Here, I look forward to playing and teaching more chess, but also making time for other hobbies (especially various puzzle-solving, cross-country skiing, birdwatching, hiking, and gardening). Full Member

   CHESSTTCAMPS has kibitzed 2032 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Sep-10-18 R Safar vs I Agrest, 2008 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: Spoiler Alert: It's not a queen sac Monday from the diagrammed position. In all seriousness though, if you are relatively new to the game and are just starting to solve mate-in-two problems, these provide the pattern-recognition building blocks that lead to bigger and better ...
   Aug-27-18 T Oyunbaatar vs I Chahrani, 2008 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, with both sides pursuing aggressive attacks. However, black has left the king much more exposed. White can exploit this with 23.Rxg5+ (breaking the pin by the bishop, with tempo) winning big material: A.23... Qxg5 24.Qxe6+ K moves 25.Nxg5 winning a queen. ...
   Aug-24-18 Nakamura vs E Iturrizaga, 2017
CHESSTTCAMPS: In my preamble, I missed that 28.Qxe5? Qc8(??) is met by 29.Nd6 and that 28... Qd8 is the one feasible path to salvage a draw. Congrats to those who found this without engines.
   Aug-19-18 P Delekta vs Geller, 1992
CHESSTTCAMPS: I forgot that I posted a solution to this one in June.
   Aug-17-18 Gleizerov vs Krasenkow, 2016 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: White has an extra pawn, but the advanced black pawns exert a crushing vice on the white castled position. It's easy to find the winning idea, so long as black is alert to tactical tricks: 34... Qa3! 35.Re8+! (ba b2#) Kf7! (35... Rxe8?? 36.Qf5+ (36.Rxb8 Qxa2#) Kxe8 ...
   Aug-16-18 S Platzack vs J van Baarle, 1967 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: White has three pawns for a piece and threatens 25.Qh7# in addition to a pretty x-ray checkmate-in-2 starting with Qh8+. However, both points are moot, because black is on the move and has a prettier x-ray checkmate beginning 24... Qxb2+. Originally a Monday puzzle I would ...
   Aug-14-18 Topalov vs W So, 2016 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: The 21.Ra4 defense (which leads to more complex play) did not occur to me.
   Aug-12-18 Y Chan vs E Galvez Dastin, 2008 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: White is down by N+P for a bishop, but the white major pieces are coordinated against the black king, while the black rook is effectively out-of-play. A simple demolition of the king's pawn protection is in order - 24.Bxc6! leaves no viable defense: A. 24... bc 25.Rxc6+ Kd8 ...
   Aug-11-18 Topalov vs T Paehtz Sr, 2017
CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, but white's bishops and queen are more active than their black counterparts. White's strong queen position suggests a breakthrough sac at d5 to penetrate with the rook. 15.Bxd5+! cxd5 (Kh8 16.Bxc6 wins two pawns with a much stronger position) 16.Rc7 gets back ...
   Aug-10-18 J Salomon vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2017 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has B+P for a knight. White's discovered check threat of 30.Nxe6+ is not compelling, but against nervous opposition might draw losing blunders 29... Kh8??? or 29... Kf8???. In fact, white has overloaded his rook, which can be exploited with 29...f5! 30.Rh4 Bxg5 31.Rxh5 ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.


Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-17-10  David2009: Phil, many thanks for your post David2009 chessforum 7 October concerning Topalov vs Leko, 2006. Move 56 was POTD on 30 September. I have posted a win against Crafty found with silicon help, and you may be interested how I found it.

<Ludens> is the pen-name of an administrator on the Free Chess Internet Server Ludens has written an endgame bot which plays all three, four, five and six-man tablebase endings. Endgamebot always takes Black. The command is 'tell endgamebot play FENSTRING' where FENSTRING is a FEN string with White to play.

Having got to a position which I thought I should be able to win, (see my post Topalov vs Leko, 2006) I set it up colours-reversed:

click for larger view

Topalov vs Leko 2006 with 57 Rxf6, 62...? colours reversed (so that I was defending) and played it out against Endgamebot using Crafty's moves colours-reversed for my moves, so discovering the winning plan.

Very best wishes - I am impressed with how much activity you manage to fit in to your days.

Oct-23-10  David2009: Phil thanks for your October 21 post to my forum (David2009 chessforum) <CHESSTTCAMPS: [snip] Unfortunately, I haven't been able to reconstruct your line of play, because Crafty EGT changed up on me...> I think that Crafty EGT may be getting stronger! It found a win 16 moves deep in a puzzle. For more details see my post this evening to David2009 chessforum.

Crafty End Game Trainer used to defend KNN vs KP very badly but that too has changed for the better. However it still makes glaring mistakes: basically it wants to stick close to its Pawn and has no awareness of danger beyond its event horizon. Thus it still does not use the 5-man Nalimov data base. Perhaps this is as well, because it is satisfying to win.

You may enjoy winning these two endings:

click for larger view

NN vs Ph5 - Crafty EGT is getting stronger White to play and win (with Black to play White wins very easily). This is a "book win" for White, starting Nf3!. Crafty heads for the h1 corner then has the good sense not to get trapped there and is finally mated in the h8 corner. Link:+Crafty+EGT+is+getting+stronger">

The next example shows Crafty EGT at its worst. This is the end position of Jaenisch vs Shumov, 1854, the very first recorded example of NN vs P in a serious game (although apparently Stamma had composed problems illustrating some of the elementary mates, including the mate of KN vs KP)

click for larger view

The players quite rightly shook hands on a draw in this position. To draw, all Black need do is retreat his K towards the h8 corner. Link:

Defending, Crafty EGT drifts to the a file and loses as in the first position. Enjoy swindling the win! About 15 moves from mate Crafty wakes up and starts to play well - but by then it is too late.

Oct-30-10  Patriot: Thanks to you I will likely play more winning positions against computers. It's good for practicing winning technique.

By the way, I don't remember your profile saying you had achieved a rating of 2100. Is that something you added recently? Judging from your posts, I figured you were AT LEAST 1900 or 2000. Hopefully I can reach that rating someday. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <<That's what I'm trying to explain to my club colleagues. They want me to play the region team championship but I'll have to decline once again.>

Too bad, but its nice to be wanted.>

However, I managed to play three rounds (comments by Fritz 12 in square brackets):

SMR - agb2002, round 3
C89: Closed Ruy Lopez: Marshall Attack

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d4 Bd6 13. Re1 Qh4 14. g3 Qh3 15. Bxd5 cxd5 16. Qd3 Bg4 17. Be3 Rae8 18. Nd2 f5 19. f4

[Last book move]

19... Re6 20. Qf1 Qh5

[White king safety improved]

21. Qg2

At this point, my opponent offered draw and I would have accepted it immediately if I were not playing in a team tournament because I was suffering one of my typical saturday hangovers due to excess of concentration and lack of sleep along the week (I know I should go to workaholics anonymous but I'm sure they would kick me out as a completely lost case). Instead, I played the dubious

21... Re4?

[21... Rfe8!? is the best option Black has 22. Qxd5 Qf7 ]

22. Nxe4

And I accepted the offer here. My opponent only had 19 minutes left and was very nervous but I remembered the disaster in my last tournament game and didn't want to repeat the experience.


I felt much better two weekends later:

DGM - agb2002, round 5
C89: Closed Ruy Lopez: Marshall Attack

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. Bxd5 cxd5 13. d4 Bd6 14. Re1 Qh4 15. g3 Qh3 16. Qf3

[Last book move. White threatens to win material: Qf3xd5]

16... Bg4

[Black threatens to win material: Bg4xf3]

17. Qg2

[17. Qxd5!? Rad8 18. Qb7 ]

17... Qh5 18.Be3?

[18. Bf4 would keep White in the game Bh3 19. g4 ]

18... Bf3 19. Qf1 f5 20. h3??

[Shortens the misery for White better was 20. Nd2 f4 21. Nxf3 fxe3 22. Rxe3 Rxf3 23. Qe2 ]

20... f4 21. g4

[21. Bxf4 desperation Bxf4 22. gxf4 Rxf4 23. Nd2 Rg4+ 24. Kh2 Rg2+ 25. Qxg2 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 Qg5+ 27. Kf1 Qxd2 28. Re2 ]

21... Qh4 22. Bc1 Bxg4!

[Here's the full point]

23. f3

[23. hxg4 f3 Combination]

23... Qg3+

[23... Qg3+ 24. Qg2 Qxe1+ 25. Kh2 Rae8 26. Nd2 Re2 27. Qxe2 Qxe2+ 28. Kh1 Bxh3 29. Ne4 Qg2#]


Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: agb2002 - JMDL, round 6
B13: Caro-Kann: Exchange Variation and Panov-Botvinnik Attack

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. c3 Bg4 6. Qb3 Qd7 7. Bf4 Nc6 8. Nd2 e6 9. Ngf3

[Last book move]

9... a6

[Secures b5 9... Bd6 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. Qxb7 ]

10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Ng8 12. O-O

[12. f3 Bh5 13. O-O-O Ne7 ]

12... Bc5

[Black is behind in development.]

13. Qc2

[13. h3 Bh5 ]

13... Ne7 = 14. Nb3

[White threatens to win material: Nb3xc5. 14. Bxh7? doesn't work g6 ]

14... Ba7 15. Nd4

[A sound move]

15... Rc8 16. Qd2 O-O 17. Be3

This move tries to take some advantage of the defenseless black bishops. The blow of the game, according to my opponent.

17... Nc6 18. Nxc6 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Rxc6 20. Qg5 Bf5 21. Bxf5 exf5 22. Qd2 Rc4 23. Rad1 Rd8 24. b3 Re4

[Black threatens to win material: Re4xe5]

25. Rfe1 Qe7 26. Rxe4 fxe4 27. Qd4 f6

[27... g6!? is worth consideration]

28. exf6 Qxf6 29. c4 Kf7 30. cxd5 Qxd4 31. Rxd4 Kf6 32. Rxe4 Rxd5

My opponent offered draw here. I declined the offer and this surely provoked a negative effect in his play because he unexpectedly blundered a pawn and, few moves later, the king.

33. g3 Rd2 34. a4 Rb2?

[34... b5 ]

35. Rb4 b5 36. axb5 axb5 37. Rxb5 g6

[37... Rb1+ 38. Kg2 ]

38. Rb8

[38. Rb6+ might be the shorter path Kf5 ]

38... Kg5

[38... g5 39. Kg2 ]

39. Kg2

[39. h4+ makes it even easier for White Kf5 ]

39... h5

[39... Kf6 doesn't improve anything 40. Rb6+ Kg7 41. Rb7+ Kg8 42. h4 ]

40. h4+ Kf5 41. b4 Kg4

[41... Rb3 a last effort to resist the inevitable]

42. Rb5

[42. Rb5 Rxf2+ 43. Kxf2 Kh3 44. Rg5 Kh2 45. b5 Kh3 46. b6 Kh2 47. b7 Kh3 48. b8=Q Kh2 49. Qb7 Kh3 50. Qg2#]


I finally missed four rounds but I thought that I would miss the whole tournament :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <CHESSTTCAMPS: Thanks for sharing the three games in my forum.>

Thanks to you for your interest.

<Your Marshall is scoring well (one of the reasons I switched to the Keres Exchange Variation in my tournament practice).>

I never tried 5.Nc3, only 5.0-0.

<But I particularly liked your Caro-Kann game, a nice positional effort. >

Thank you!

<The 5.c3 line was my favorite line for White against the Caro-Kann, but I think you played this variation better than I did.>

Can't believe it. This is my only game with 5.c3.

<Congratulations on your results!>

Thanks a lot, Phil.

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: The answer to the problem diagrammed near the end of the forum for I Rogers vs G Milos, 1992 is 31.Rxb6! axb6 32.Rc3 (the queen has no good square) Qb7 33.Rc7 Rc8 (Qb8 34.Qa6+) 34.Rxb7 Kxb7 35.Nf6 (forcing black to surrender the Bh7 in order to free the Rh8), with an easy win for white by advancing the Q-side pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Hi, Phil.

I have a pressing deadline in 2 weeks, so my comment today on the POTD might have been too terse to be understood. To clarify, the difference between a mate-in-9 and a mate-in-5 does not mean much to me ;>)

Simply, it was quite nice to see you back again. Your posts are always worth reading.

Keep well.

All the best,

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < I thought you were probably ribbing me about being excessively self-critical. >

Subtlety was never my strong suit :)

It's good to know you are well.

May-04-11  xqdashi: Hi Phil,

I noticed you live in MD. I am the
captain of a chess team in the DC Chess league and was wondering if you might want to join our team.


Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: <xqdashi>


Glad to meet you. I have some interest in returning to active play, but my time is somewhat limited right now with other commitments. How often are you playing? I played the league some 25 years ago and I've forgotten how often we played, but I remember going down to Northern VA a couple times.


Jun-01-11  xqdashi: Hi, Sorry for taking a while to get back to you..Just now saw your response.

We play approximately one match per month. Yes, many of the matches are played in N. VA (Arlington Chess Club). Some matches are played in downtown DC, and very occasionally matches are played in Bethesda (at NIH).

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: <xqdashi> Thanks for the response. I forgot to mention that I'm generally tied up on Friday evenings because I run a table tennis league at the Eldersburg table tennis club. If you want to bring me in on a match, feel free to email me at PHILVANDUS@AOL.COM .
Jun-12-11  David2009: Hello Phil, nice to see you back in problem-solving mode - and thanks for your comment on today's Insane puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Very thorough analysis on Sunday's POTD. Very good indeed!
Sep-08-11  David2009: Hello Phil, I'm replying to your post (5 September) in David2009 chessforum. The win from your diagram

click for larger view

can start 1.Nc5+ Ka5 2.Nb3+ Ka4 3.Nd4 Ka5 4.Nc2 Ka6 (best: if Ka4 5.Nb4 mates in the lower corner) 5.Nb4+ and we reach a mirror-image of a position analysed by <Resignation Trap> in his splendid Game Collection: Two Knights versus Pawn. If the King advances, Nc2-b4 traps and mates it in the a1 corner. If it retreats, the mate takes slightly longer and White needs to lose a tempo. Here's a Crafty link:

The ending can continue 5...Ka7 6.Kc7 Ka8 7.Na6 Ka7 8.Nc5 Ka8 9.Kb6 Kb8 and we reach

click for larger view

Now 10.Nb7! seals Black's fate after 10...Kc8 (best) 11.Kc6 Kb8 12.Nd6 Ka7 (best) 13.Kb5 Kb8 14.Kb6 Ka8 15.Kc7 Ka7 and White has lost the all-important tempo that has teed Black up to receive a fatal check. The execution is 16.Nb4! a2 17.Nb5 CHECK Ka8 18.Nd5 a1=Q 19.Nb6#.

If you need clues on similar endings have a look at my analysis (my post David2009 chessforum), or simply look the solution up on (the Nalimov tablebase provided by Lokasoft). This is a useful resource to know about: it gives the complete solution to all three, four and five man endings.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Hi, Phil.

Thanks for pointing out the list of mates in Wikipedia. It never occurred to me to list them in Wikipedia, but I should have. The article misses a few mates, but it does make my collection nearly redundant (except possibly the connection to the games).

It's good to hear from you, and I trust all is well.

All the best,

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <CHESSTTCAMPS: ...

Threat recognition is perhaps the most difficult skill to master, especially for those of us who focus on offense. >

That's why I routinelly include imminent threats in the preliminaries to my solution. It's a simple method to create a habit I can use in real games.

By the way, the machines we sent to Ohio last year have shown such performance that a large company specializing in industrial plants became interested in producing them for the American market. So, it is very likely that I'll become a temporary neighbor of Wisconsin early next year to train their engineers on the calculation (sizing/rating) of these machines.

Dec-17-11  Patriot: Good morning <CHESSTTCAMPS>! Congrats on finding another solution to yesterday's puzzle! 48.b5 also wins. After I walked away from the puzzle, I tried to "blind solve it" and considered 48.b5 axb5 49.a6 bxa6 50.Rxa6 and thought it was a very interesting continuation. I dismissed it however, for the wrong reason. I thought black could just play 48...Bxb5 but I guess without looking at the board I didn't see 49.Kxg6.

Good job!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <CHESSTTCAMPS: <That's why I routinelly include imminent threats in the preliminaries to my solution. It's a simple method to create a habit I can use in real games.>

Sorry for the late response - I hadn't been monitoring my forum lately.>

Neither I. It seems we have better things to do.

<I had noticed this feature of your posts and have recently made a point of adding this good habit to my write-ups when it is particularly relevant to my thought process.>

I also tried to guess the opening from which the position came, to accumulate some knowledge about what tactics one can expect from what openings but I forgot that habit.

<<By the way, the machines we sent to Ohio last year have shown such performance that a large company specializing in industrial plants became interested in producing them for the American market. So, it is very likely that I'll become a temporary neighbor of Wisconsin early next year to train their engineers on the calculation (sizing/rating) of these machines.>

Congratulations on your success in this endeavor and I hope you enjoy your stay in Wisconsin. I was just writing a Christmas letter to an old professional client who now works in neighboring Minnesota. If you are up there in the winter, I hope the weather is kind to you.>

Thank you!

<Speaking of fine Spanish products, I must tell you that the Clementines we've been receiving from Spain this autumn are perhaps the best citrus fruit I've ever tasted.>

If you want to impress your friends you should consider three Spanish products:

1. Iberic ham. There's nothing like this. Unfortunately it's a bit expensive.

2. Good wine from Bullas or Jumilla (villages in my region, Murcia). The dry weather tends to produce pretty solid wines with higher etanol contents. Comparing one of these wines with any other is like comparing a beefsteak with a vichyssoise. Nothing to do.

3. A table football with two-leg players, the Spanish version. It is terribly addictive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <<If you want to impress your friends you should consider three Spanish products:...>

All of these suggestions sound wonderful, but I'm keeping to a fairly tight budget right now. Boxes of about 20 clementines sometimes sell for as low as $3.99 at Giant food stores, a terrific bargain. Later in the season, when the quality is not so good, the price sometimes rises to $10 or more - go figure.>

Yes, we experience similar price increases here.

In general terms, the best quality fruit we produce is reserved for exportation with all the warranties of the European Union. Moroccan fruit does not have such warranties, for instance, the use of questionable pesticides, so you should make sure that you won't get Moroccan fruit labeled as a Spanish product.

Similarly, avoid some Italian "products", for example, extra virgin olive oil because it is actually Spanish oil: we sell it to Italy and they relabel it, making it much more expensive. You surely prefer to pay the quality but not a fashionable brand.

<I hope that you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas.>

Thank you, I wish you the same for you and your family and a good New Year.

Jan-16-12  David2009: And Happy New Year to you too! You are back to top form with your recent posts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Just noticed you recovered your forum!

Welcome back!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Still working actively in applied mathematics, I presume?>

Yep. There is a curious phenomenom in the way the careers of many engineers (and other pros) evolve: they seem to abandon progressively a number of technical aspects of their work in favor of treating customers more closely. Some kind of shift from technical to commercial operations.

Therefore, someone has to deal with the dirty jobs: dealing with and programming the mathematical models controlling the physical processes, analyzing experimental data, digesting relevant technical papers and theses to stay competitive, etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: This sounds familiar. When I was doing consulting, one definitely had to be a jack of all trades.
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