Blitz With Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson and I have different jobs. Every two weeks, I write an article in which I decide how many question marks to put next to my mistakes. Ben, on the other hand, interviews interesting personalities of the chess world in his Perpetual Chess Podcast. That may help to explain why, in the Chess^Summit World Cup Sweepstakes, Ben got 9 points, and yours truly got a score of big fat zero. Really, I did.

Ben started the Perpetual Chess Podcast in December 2016, and it is getting more and more popular. I was interviewed in Episode 21. Ok, perhaps not all people he interviews are that interesting J. Since then, Ben has gone on to interview big chess personalities, such as Rex Sinquefield, Hikaru Nakamura, Judit Polgar, etc.

Now for my amazing World Cup predictions:

Winner: Carlsen

Runner-up: Nakamura

Best American: Nakamura

Best Russian: Grischuk

Best Chinese: Wei Yi

Most Draws: Nakamura

Most Wins: Carlsen

Top <2700 player: Rodshtein

Does Carlsen make top 4?: Yes

We won’t even start discussing where they went wrong… Ben, on the other hand, correctly predicted that Aronian would win!

I played my part in the sweepstakes by offering one of the prizes: a 30-minute blitz match, and Ben was the prize winner! What a wonderful coincidence. Ben’s rating is in the 2100’s, though he doesn’t play much these days. From his podcasts, however, Ben knows all the secrets of the top players…

I ended up winning 3-1, though it was eventful…

Game 1 was a quick win after Ben blundered a piece early on. Ok, I’ll take that!

In game 2, my position was looking good, but my clock wasn’t. I ended up flagging in a queen up position. Ben obviously forgot to read my article about when to resign. More about my revenge later…

Summary of game 3: 1.e4 a6!! 0-1… yes, I really did play 1.e4 a6 but no, the game wasn’t so smooth… I finally got the better of Ben. In the final position, where I was a queen up, Ben flagged, and not the other way around.

I got my revenge for the flagging incident in the final game, game 4. Ben hung a pawn on move 4. Good start! However, I managed to ruin my good position, and by move 40 I was busted in both departments: position and clock. Then a miracle happened. Out of the blue, I trapped Ben in a mating net! He couldn’t get out, and I managed not to flag this time around.

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