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Member since Nov-24-03 · Last seen Apr-29-16
<<< Who am I ? >>>

I am a graduate student. My current areas are combinatorics and knot theory, particularly finite-type invariants. I'm also a part-time algorithmist, working on image processing, computer vision and data mining.

<<< Anything else besides? >>>

I enjoy hiking and reading. In addition, I'm good at wasting some of the precious time we've been allotted at this valley of tears playing computer games :)

Obviously, I like cats.

I like my humor intelligent, quirky and language-related. For instance, I admire Fry and Laurie and recommend them heartily.

I'm an avid follower of,, and a few others.

A fancy, nay, an obsession of mine is writing parody songs. One of those, the most chess-related one, can be found further below.

<<< Are you any good ? >>>

My strength varies in the 2050-2100 area. My highest chess achievement is a photo with Vishy Anand (both words are now marked as spelling errors, but then, so is "") back in the 90s when I was a little kid.

<<< Who am I as a chess-player? >>>

In the last few years, my style was heavily biased towards the positional, technical side. I play against pawn-weaknesses, I like rook-endgames and bishop pairs. I try to keep my pawns on the right color, just like they used to do, damn it!

Of late, however, I'm working on becoming more universal and on risk-taking. I have weaknesses in sharp, irrational positions, and would like to employ more varied tools to apply pressure. In particular, I have much to learn about positional sacrifices.

For the rest - read the next section and my page!

<<< Why should you read this page? >>>

Oh no you shouldn't! Really, don't. Go away! You too! AAA they're all around me! ... gulp... yeah, aaaanyway.

Many of the kibitzes focus on a few openings I enjoy analyzing, for now mainly the Larsen variation in the Philidor defense.

I also post analyzed games I deem worthy enough.

<<< Why do I frequent >>>

There are three main reasons:

The people - <Annie K.>, to name the worst of them :)

The Guess-The-Move feature is, in my eyes, the best
way to improve beyond 1800 I've met online.

Finally, I follow (and sometimes participate in) the challenge. The team, armed with incredible calculating power as well as the ideas of a dozen strong analysts, might well be the strongest chess entity ever.

<<< The promised song >>>

"Black queen" - Pawn must go on

Empty squares - what we are playing for?
Abandoned chairs - I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what piece I知 looking for?

Another bishop - another mindless sac
Behind the pawn-line, in the wild attack
Hold the f-line!
Does anybody want to queen it anymore?

The pawn must go on!
The pawn must go on!
Inside my king is hiding
The tactics may be blinding
But my knight still stays on..

Whatever happens, I値l leave it all to chance
Another Spanish, another failed advance
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are drawing for?
I guess I知 learning
I must be calmer now
I値l soon be playing French and Dragon now
On the board the pawn is crying
But inside the db I知 dying for h3..

The pawn must go on!
The pawn must go on!
Inside my king is hiding
The tactics may be blinding
But my knight still stays on..

My board is painted like the wings of dragonflies
Losing games of yesterday, will draw but never die!
I can play, my friends!

The pawn must go on!
The pawn must go on!
I値l face it with a pin
I知 never giving in
On with the pawn!

I値l play the mill,
I値l overkill!
I have to find the will to carry on!
On with the,
On with the pawn

The pawn must go on

>> Click here to see catfriend's game collections. Full Member

   Catfriend has kibitzed 3701 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Apr-21-16 Carlsen vs N Grandelius, 2016 (replies)
Catfriend: Curiously enough, Carlsen doesn't do too well against much lower-rated opponents. A surprise won't be that surprising :)
   Mar-28-16 Karjakin vs Caruana, 2016 (replies)
Catfriend: There are some rumors about 24. Nc1? being played. That would be quite strange - 24..Bxc1 25. Rxc1 a4 or 25. Kxc1 Bc6 favor Black.
   Mar-22-16 Catfriend chessforum (replies)
Catfriend: Won Israeli Student Team Championship with my team!
   Feb-29-16 M Feygin vs P Carbonnel, 2014
Catfriend: 15..exf6 is imprecise. 15..Bxf6 leads to a sharp attack, but Black can defend. See Judit Polgar vs G Jones, 2013 .
   Jan-22-16 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack (C86)
Catfriend: 6. Qe2 returns as the Opening of the Day. Time for a new line. <1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Qe2> <6..b5 7. Bb3> Now 7..d6 8. c3 Bg4 9. Rd1 leads to the main closed lines. <7..0-0> A more ambitious approach. 8. c3 d5! is a ...
   Jan-17-16 Team White vs Team Black, 2015 (replies)
Catfriend: team white 36. c5, no draw. Easy for me to say, as lately I wasn't a great contributor, but seems there's some chess left to play here.
   Jan-14-16 T Koop vs N Goodhue, 2016
Catfriend: <keypusher> to that one might add (what I missed for a moment) that 10..c5 11. dxc6 e.p. exposes f7.
   Jan-05-16 Annie K. chessforum (replies)
Catfriend: <VBD> This depends on the growing-up of the pets. Some researchers have found that over-pampered pets don't solve puzzles as well as their brethren in the wilderness. In extreme cases (particularly if home-raised from birth without a mother) even motor skills were ...
   Jan-05-16 Magnus Carlsen (replies)
Catfriend: <Lambda> I'm not at all sure Kramnik peaked in 2000 and not in 2009. Now we just need to define "peaked" :)
   Jan-02-16 John Kennedy (replies)
Catfriend: <Dom> Oh boy, he must be really upset by now.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: The following will combine an analysis of a typical Philidor idea with entertaining and continue the "line not taken" series.

A 5/0 unrated against a 2270 opponent on

1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 e5 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. h3 O-O 8. Qd2 d5 9. e5 Nfd7 10. e6 Ne5 11. exf7+ Rxf7 12. Nb3 c6 13. O-O-O a5 14. a4 b5 15. axb5 a4 16. Nc5 a3 17. bxa3 Rxa3 18. Nb1 Ra2 19. Nc3 Ra3 20. Nb3 Qf8 21. bxc6 Rxb3 22. cxb3 Nbxc6 23. Nxd5 Qa3+ 24. Qb2 Nd3+ 0-1

1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 e5 <Getting the Philidor by transposition.> 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. h3?! <A deviation. Standard here is f3 with same idea, but strengthening the center at the same time and saving tempi for a future pawn-storm. Unfortunately, I didn't consider the differences enough.> O-O 8. Qd2 d5?! <With a pawn on f3, that would be the move. 7. h3 allowed an ad hoc opportunity I didn't investigate: 8..Re8 with significant pressure. One of the best for White is 9. f3 which gives us common lines with White playing the suboptimal h3. > 9. e5 Nfd7 <Safer is 9..Ne4 10. Nxe4 dxe4 with equality.> 10. e6?! <10. f4? c5 is great, of course, and is one of the main ideas in such positions, but 10. Bg5 Qe8 11. 0-0-0 c6 12. f4 poses problems.> Ne5 11. exf7+ Rxf7?! <Safer is 11..Nxf7> 12. Nb3 c6 13. O-O-O a5 <Begins a sharp attack, trying to ourtace the opponent.>14. a4 <Too passive, and allows further aggression. Counter-play with 14. f4 is better.> b5 15. axb5 a4 16. Nc5 a3 17. bxa3 Rxa3 18. Nb1 Ra2 <Black has quite a few threats by now. Bf5 will target c2, Nc4! looms large.> 19. Nc3? <Allows a powerful tactical solution.> Ra3? <Misses it! I was ahead on time, and wasn't against what seemed a move repetition, to gain a few seconds. However, this allows White to improve his defence. Winning was 19..Nf3!! Now losing material with 20. Nxa2 Nxd2 is the lesser evil. 20. gxf3 Qa5!; 20.Qd3 Ra1+ 21. Kb2 Bxc3+ 22. Qxc3 Rxd1; 20. Qe2 Qa5 all win.> 20. Nb3 Qf8 <Setting up a trap.> 21. bxc6 Rxb3!? 22. cxb3 Nbxc6 23. Nxd5?? <Allows a winning check. 23. f4 would continue the sharp struggle and is hard to evaluate. An interesting line is 23. f4 Qb4!? 24. fxe5 Bxe5 25. Re1 Bxc3 26. Qxd5 Kg7! and Black seems to be winning.> Qa3+ 24. Qb2 Nd3+ 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: And to compensate for all those unseemly tactics - a solid, technical effort against a 2250 opponent, rated this time!

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.10.01"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. f3 O-O 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. O-O Re8 10. Bf2 Nd7 11. Qd2 a6 12. f4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Qf6 14. Rad1 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 16. Qxd4 Bxd4+ 17. Rxd4 Be6 18. f5 Bxb3 19. cxb3 Re5 20. b4 Rae8 21. a4 Kg7 22. a5 Nd7 23. Nd5 c6 24. f6+ Kf8 25. Nc3 R8e6 26. Rfd1 Nxf6 27. Rxd6 Nxe4 28. Rxe6 Rxe6 29. Rd8+ Ke7 30. Rb8 Nd6 31. Na4 Re4 32. Nc5 Rxb4 33. Nxa6 Rxb2 34. Nc5 Rb5 35. a6 bxa6 36. Nxa6 Rxb8 37. Nxb8 c5 38. Kf2 Ke6 39. Ke3 Kd5 40. Nd7 h5 41. h4 c4 42. Nf6+ Kc5 43. g3 Nf5+ 44. Kf4 c3 45. Ne4+ Kd4 46. Nxc3 Kxc3 47. g4 hxg4 48. Kxg4 Kd4 49. Kg5 Nxh4 50. Kxh4 Ke4 51. Kg4 f5+ 0-1

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Bc4 <One of those troubling lines mentioned above.> Nf6 7. f3 O-O <In this particular move order, Black has the opportunity to push 7..d5. 7..Nbd7 and the text are absolutely fine too.> 8. Nc3 Nc6 <Provocative. I usually opt for the slightly neater 8..Nbd7. The game move tempts White to take on c6. The pawn structure after 9. Nxc6 bxc6, however, isn't weak at all. 10. 0-0 Nd7 11. Qd2 Nb6, then Qf6 and Be6, and it's not at all clear who's better.> 9. O-O Re8 <I suppose 9..Ne5 is objectively better.> 10. Bf2 Nd7 <Here as well, 10..Ne5 is great. In practice, though, and certainly in blitz, it's harder to play well.> 11. Qd2 a6 <Consistent with defensive approach. Black repeatedly refuses to let White gain tempi attacking Ne5. 11..Nb6 was an alternative.> 12. f4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Qf6?! <Probably the worst move I made in an otherwise rather clean game. 14. Nf3 with potential pressure gives White some advantage.> 14. Rad1? <Allows Black to simplify into a comfortable endgame.> Nxd4(!) 15. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 16. Qxd4 Bxd4+ 17. Rxd4 Be6 18. f5?! <Now, Black plays for the win.> Bxb3 19. cxb3 Re5! 20. b4 Rae8 21. a4 Kg7! 22. a5 Nd7 23. Nd5 c6?! <Avoids favorable complications after 23..Rxe4 24. Rxe4 Rxe4 25. Nxc7 Rxb4 26. Ne8+ and Nxd6. Black should emerge ahead, but it's very hard to estimate precisely. Now, however, the retreat 24. Nc3 would equalize.> 24. f6+? Kf8! <Initiating a series of strong moves leading to a won endgame.> 25. Nc3 R8e6 26. Rfd1 Nxf6 27. Rxd6 Nxe4 28. Rxe6 Rxe6 29. Rd8+ Ke7! 30. Rb8 Nd6! 31. Na4 Re4 32. Nc5 Rxb4 33. Nxa6 Rxb2?! <An imprecision. The simple 33..Rb5 34. Nc7 Rxa5 would be crushing. Now, White could unleash a trap easing his life a bit.> 34. Nc5 Rb5 35. a6? <Missing 35. Nxb7! and Black can't take - 35..Rxb7?? 36. Rxb7 Nxb7 37. a6! 1-0 Of course, 35..Ne4 and Nc5 is still better for Black, but the result is far less obvious this way. Now it's a matter of technique.> bxa6 36. Nxa6 Rxb8 37. Nxb8 c5 38. Kf2 Ke6 39. Ke3 Kd5 40. Nd7 h5 41. h4 c4 42. Nf6+ Kc5 43. g3 Nf5+ 44. Kf4 c3 45. Ne4+ Kd4 46. Nxc3 Kxc3 47. g4 hxg4 48. Kxg4 Kd4 <even faster is the immediate 48..Nxh4, but we were both short on time, and I decided to tease my opponent into wasting a few seconds considering 49. h5> 49. Kg5 Nxh4 50. Kxh4 Ke4 51. Kg4 f5+ 0-1

I note with pleasure that after 4..g6, only three moves (13..Qf6, 23..c6, 33..Rxb2) weren't among the best alternatives, and that ~40 were the strongest possible or equal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Interesting games and analysis <Catfriend>. I will certainly add them to my Philidor/ ...d6 dossier. Thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: A victory against a CM is always nice. It was not a perfect game (3/0 after all...), but some of the harder decisions I made were surprisingly correct. Also be sure to notice the comments to move 33.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. h3 Nc6 6. c3 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bf4 Bf5 10. Re1 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 e6 12. Nbd2 Rc8 13. Ne5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nd7 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. Qe3 Qc5 17. Qd2 Nb6 18. Bh6 Qe7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qf4 Rc4 21. Nd4 Rfc8 22. Re3 Nd7 23. Rae1 a6 24. h4 b5 25. h5 b4 26. hxg6 hxg6 27. Rh3 Rh8 28. Rxh8 Kxh8 29. Qh6+ Kg8 30. Re3 Qf8 31. Qg5 bxc3 32. bxc3 Nc5 33. Rh3 Nb7 34. Nxe6 fxe6 35. Qxg6+ Qg7 36. Qe8+ Qf8 37. Rg3+ 1-0

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 <Fischer's idea. White intends to take hold of e5, while preventing Bc8 from getting to a good square.> Nf6 5. h3 Nc6 6. c3 g6! <One of the two best replies. The other is 6..e5 7. dxe5 Nxe5. After 8. Nf3 Nxd3+ 9. Qxd3 White must play with decision against the isolated d5, as the endgame might see the bishop pair triumphing.> 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bf4 Bf5!? <Designed to counter White's intentions about this bishop. If White takes, he's objectively better but it's very hard to prove in practice.> 10. Re1 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 e6 12. Nbd2 Rc8 13. Ne5?! <A dubious move "by inertia". This idea is central in the exchange variation. However, after the bishop exchange, it lacks the usual punch. Better was 13. Qb5. > Nxe5 14. dxe5 <Aggressive. 14. Bxe5 admits White didn't get much out of the opening. Probably true, but lacks spirit!> Nd7 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. Qe3 Qc5 17. Qd2 Nb6 18. Bh6 Qe7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qf4 Rc4 21. Nd4! <A most advance, but this knight will serve faithfully till the end. It also frees the 3d line for Rook maneuvres a la Karpov.> Rfc8 22. Re3 Nd7 23. Rae1 a6 24. h4! <Introduces new threats. Black has a well-defined strategy on the Q-side, and must be troubled before he completes it.> b5?! <A bit too slow. If that was the intention, 24..b5 should be played directly. At this point, h5 is an issue and should be prevented via 24..h5 despite creating other weaknesses,> 25. h5 b4?! <Now caution is in order: 25..Nf8. > 26. hxg6 hxg6 27. Rh3! <Gains clear advantage.> Rh8 28. Rxh8 Kxh8 29. Qh6+? <The one bad move by White. This gives Black an opportunity to escape. 29. Re3 would be a much preferable move order.> Kg8 30. Re3 Qf8 31. Qg5 bxc3 32. bxc3 Nc5?? <A losing mistake. 32..Qg7 would be a more tenacious defence.> 33. Rh3 Nb7?! <Fails to find a possible complication. Black had 33..Rxc3!? 34. Rxc3 Ne4. Now the natural 35. Qe3 Nxc3 36. Qxc3 is winning, of course, but technique is still required. Best for White is 35. Nxe6! Qe8! 36. Nc7! Where can the Queen go? 36..Qd7 37. e6! Qd6 38. exf7 Kxf7 39. Rf3+ 1-0; 36..Qc8 37. Nxd5; 36..Qb8 37. Nxa6 (still attacking the poor Dame!) Qf8 38. Qc1 reaching a most pleasant edition of the previous endgame. Black might as well just play 36..Qf8 and reach it with a6 alive.)> 34. Nxe6! <The natural, "orderly" finale for the game, exploiting the previous motives: control in the center an excellent knight on d4, a strong rook, passive Black pieces, the g6 pawn weakened by h4-h5-hxg6.> fxe6 <Now the game is over, but there was no defence.> 35. Qxg6+ Qg7 36. Qe8+ Qf8 37. Rg3+ 1-0

As usual, the best lines are in the commented shadows.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: long as the '1-0' part is on the pgn/scoresheet... ;)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: <Annie K.: long as the '1-0' part is on the pgn/scoresheet... ;) > Sure, I always try to stick to this, whether playing well or not, tired or fresh, playing White or Black...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Oh, I never doubted that. I have faith in you! =)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: A counter-Maroczy Philidor against a 2000+ opponent featuring a typical strategy - as well as a typical oversight :)

1. d4 d6 2. e4 e5 3. Nf3 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. c4 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. f3 Nc6 9. Qd2 Re8 10. O-O-O a5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. c5 d5 13. Bg5 Qe7 14. exd5 cxd5 15. Nxd5 Qxc5+ 16. Qc2 Qxc2+ 17. Kxc2 Bf5+ 18. Kc1 Nxd5 19. Rxd5 Rab8 20. Rb5 Re1+ 21. Kd2 Rxb5 22. Kxe1 Rxb2 0-1

1. d4 d6 2. e4 e5 3. Nf3 <Getting into Philidor. 3. dxe5 dxe5 4. Qxd8+ Kxd8 is a whole new story.> exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. c4 <Aiming for Maroczy-like structure, preventing d5. White hopes to increase the pressure in the center, combining space advantage (d5, f4-f5 pushes etc.) with standard Bh6-h4-h5 plans.> Nf6 7. Nc3?! O-O?! <The great weakness of automatic replies is that they miss ad-hoc opportunities. 7..Ng4 and Black's already better. > 8. f3 Nc6 <8..a6 and 8..Qe7 are also good alternatives. Nc6 is very thematic in these position. Black doesn't fear the weakened pawn-structure - he welcomes it! the c6 pawn prevents Nd5 and allows future d5 breakthroughs. In addition, the b file and the pressure on d4 will be handy. > 9. Qd2 Re8 10. O-O-O a5 <Here and a move before Nxd4 and Be6 is a viable option, but I feel it limits Black's resources.> 11. Nxc6? bxc6 <Black will now play for the win.> 12. c5 d5 <Note that in case of exchanges on d5, Be3 is left hanging - a frequent consequence of f3-Be3.> 13. Bg5?! <A natural move, given the previous comment, but it allows a powerful reply.> Qe7! 14. exd5 cxd5? <Black's turn to err. The intention was to fortify d5 with c6, consolidate, and only then move to attack. 14..Qxc5 with Rb8, a4, Bf5 and so on would be crushing.> 15. Nxd5 Qxc5+ 16. Qc2?? <The final big mistake. After 16. Qc3 Black's advantage would be dubious at best.> Qxc2+ 17. Kxc2 Bf5+! <Achieving harmony between the pieces. White is also being tempted into 18. Bd3? Nxd5 19. Bxf5 Nb4+> 18. Kc1 Nxd5 19. Rxd5 Rab8?! <19..Re1+ 20. Kd2 Rb1 would be even more decisive.> 20. Rb5?! <b3 would be better.> Re1+ 21. Kd2 Rxb5 22. Kxe1 Rxb2 0-1 <The resignation isn't premature: Black is up a rook, de facto, and will soon gobble up an additional pawn or two.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: <Catfriend> Happy New year! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Hi, Catfriend. Annie told me you were interesting. She was right, of course.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Oh, come on, don't stop.

Then again, if we're spilling dirty secrets, she told me, and I quote, you have "an incredible mind and erudition".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: I did? :)

Oh, greetings from Berlin - just landed here...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Have fun in the land of transport arriving on time and US presidents making amusing linguistic mistakes!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Thanks - having fun as instructed...! =)

And I actually mentioned the referred-to linguistic mistake to my group, because one can't resist these temptations to show off, can one? ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: My goodness, no! Not when one has so much to show off...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Thanks, Santa! Going on a New Year chess binge now!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Catfriend> Merry Christmas and Happy 2015!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Thank you for the kind wishes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Welcome back to forumland, great new avatar! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Excellent avatar.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: I'm grrrrateful :)

A little blitz game to welcome myself back:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qd2 Qc7 10.f4 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.Bf3 Nc6 13.Rae1 e5 14.Nf5 Rac8 15.Kh1 Rfd8 16.g4 Na5 17.g5 Nc4 18.gxf6 Nxd2 19.Nxe7+ Kf8 20.Bxd2 Rb8 21.fxe5 dxe5 22.Ncd5 Bxd5 23.exd5 Qxc2 24.Bb4 a5 25.Bxa5 gxf6 26.Nc6 Rdc8 27.Bb4+ Ke8 28.Nxe5 fxe5 29.Rxe5+ Kd7 30.Bg4+ Kc7 31.Rxf7+ Kd8 32.Ba5+ Rc7 33.Rf8# 1-0

Mostly, it's even sound!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: ...and a Happy New Year!

Blitz iz gud. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Hey, Happy Birthday! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Won Israeli Student Team Championship with my team!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Way to go! Upload some games? :)
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