Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jon Burgess 1977-2012

I was shocked to hear about the death of chess master Jon Burgess.

I had the opportunity to meet him at several chess tournaments and he was always happy to answer questions or talk about chess.  On several occasions he took the time to go over my games.

When my blog was active a few years ago he would leave comments regularly. He would always sign his name and would get upset when others didn't!

Some links.

Memorial service information

His Blog

His USCF record

His FIDE page

Comments left by Jon on my blog:


I read your blog about some of your t...Ivan,

I read your blog about some of your tournaments. I know it is hard when you lose your first round and then have to play again in round 2. If you cant forget about losing in round 1 then yes you will lose in round 2.

In england I used to be about 1800-1900 for many years but with a little hard work and dedication I got up to where I am now just over 2200.

2000 is a tough goal to set why dont you try to get to 1900 first then work towards 2000 ?

Jon Burgess


I noticed your games from your last few events if your wanting to gain rating points and improve then you can't lose to people some 200,300 plus points below you. If I was 1800 and I lost to anyone under 1700 then I would think well I dont think Im as good as being 1800. Now sure I lose sometimes to 1900 players and when I do it hurts but I go away look at my games work out whats wrong and fix it.

I wonder what would your rating me if you didnt have your floor ?

I know my floor is 2100 so Im about 140 points above my floor right now.

You have to work hard in every game you play for every move of the game and dont get lazy.

I will be at the Iowa open next month see you there !

Jon Burgess

You should never just go to a tournament and play openings you have never played before or never prepared for you should stick to the same openings thats how you improve.

Jon Burgess

I agree with all of the comments here. I myself played once in September at the Iowa Open where Ivan was playing too in same section as me. In Ivan's second round game he was black and when his opponent played e4 after dxc4 Ivan should have immediately played e5. This I suspect is a lack of understanding of the opening. I watch Ivans games cause I want him to improve and do better.

Jon burgess (National Master)

I agree don't worry about your rating right now. I admire vince for going to a tourney and risking his rating just cause u get to your target rating say 2000 is no good if you then stop playing for fear of losing your rating points !

Jon Burgess


It is clear to me that you have been playing too much chess and if anyone is coaching you then they aren't doing such a hot job since your rating went up and then crashed a lot back to 1800.

Jon Burgess

well Ivan

I can tell you havent had a coach for a while since your rating has been dropping a lot.

What are your plans for improving now and where are you planning on playing and how many tournaments are you planning on playing this year ?

Jon Burgess


As per usual you are planning in playing in too many tournaments in one month. your playing 2 long grueling weekend tournaments the green bay open and the other one. Thats too much chess plus your playing a game every week.

You don't have to play a rated game every week to improve in fact it hurts your chess more than improves it.

you need a coach or need to decide by yourself to not play so much chess.

Jon Burgess


What did you learn how to play bad chess ?

What a terrible result for you !

Good job your floored at 1800 or you would go down to 1600

Your chess is in serious need of study and help

Jon Burgess

how can losing to a 1200 be aceptable to you ivan ?. Your chess is in serious need of help.

Jon Burgess

Ivan do you realise you played like 18 serious rated games in october 2007 along with some quick chess as well. It is no wonder your ches sis not improving when you are playing sooo much. Why not play one serious event a month and focus on that tournament. Playing so much and making many of the same mistakes doesnt help you any. Im not by any means a wonderful player however I am able to limit myself to not so many tournaments in a month and benefit from those tournaments I do play in. I am playing at the IL class thats my one tournament for december and then will be on to finiding something to play in in January.

Jon Burgess

Ivan move 13 you started with a faulty plan of Ng5 then over the next seven or so moves that knight had gone Ng5,Nf3,Ng5,Ne4,Nc3 ! what a waste of time gives black time to develop his pieces.

Your lacking a plan totally. I doubt you gained much experience from this tournament since you beat players rated lower than you and then took a bye when you would have played a good player maybe in round 3.

Jon Burgess

My comments on your training game Ivan you must improve these things if you are to become an expert

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 Na6 7.0-0 e5 8.Be3 (Bad Move encourages Ng4 should play h3) [ 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qc2; 8.Re1] 8...Ng4 9.Bg5 (why not play Bc1 now then h3 and Be3) Qe8 10.h3 [ 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Qd2 ( 11.Nd4 Bd7 12.Qd2 f6 13.Be3 Qf7) ] 10...h6 11.Bc1 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nf6 13.f3 [ 13.Re1 Nxe4 14.Bd3; 13.Qc2] 13...Nh5 14.Be3 Ng3 (Now you have big holes on black squares was a bad idea to play f3 after having played h3) 15.Re1 Nxe2+ 16.Rxe2 (bad move) [ 16.Ndxe2] 16...Nc5 17.Qd2 Kh7 18.Nd5 Qd8 19.b4 (bad move leave the Knight on C5) [ 19.Nb5 c6] 19...Ne6 20.Rc1 [ 20.Rf1] 20...c6 21.Nc3 Qh4 22.Bf2 [ 22.f4 Bxd4 23.Bxd4 Nxd4 24.Qxd4 Qxf4 25.Rf1 Qe5] 22...Bxd4 23.Bxd4 (This plan is faulty you played Bf2 to attack the Black Queen and now you move it again to take the Bishop on D4 loss of tempo) Nf4 24.Ree1 (This explains why RxE2 earlier was no good) [ 24.Rf2 Bxh3 25.Be3 g5 26.gxh3 Nxh3+ 27.Kg2 Nxf2 28.Bxf2] 24...Qg3 [ 24...Bxh3-+ 25.gxh3 Qg3+ 26.Kf1 Qxf3+ 27.Kg1 Qg3+ 28.Kh1 Qxh3+ 29.Kg1 Nd3] 25.Kh1 [ 25.Be3 Nxh3+ 26.Kh1 Ng5 27.f4 Ne6 28.Ne2] 25...Bxh3 26.gxh3 Qxf3+ 27.Kg1 Qg3+ 28.Kh1 Qxh3+ 29.Kg1 Qg3+ 30.Kh1 f5 [ 30...Nd3 31.Rcd1 Nxe1 32.Rxe1 f5 33.Rg1] 31.Rg1 [ 31.Re3 Qh4+ 32.Qh2 Qxh2+ 33.Kxh2 Ne6] 31...Qh3+ 32.Qh2 Qf3+ 33.Rg2 Nxg2 34.Qxg2 Qxg2+ 35.Kxg2 f4 36.Kf3 g5 37.Rg1 Kg6 38.e5 dxe5 39.Bxe5 Rae8 40.Bd4 0-1

Overall good game by Black bad game by White. White moved some pieces many times as well as having no concrete plan. White also created lots of holes for the enemy to put pieces on and also put his pieces on the wrong squares like RxE2. However White lost tempo in many moves of the game.

Jon Burgess


Leave Ivan alone he doesnt need your adivce. Who are you anyway Bruz tell everyone your real name instead of hiding.

Jon Burgess


Ok first of all you should never ever go to a tournament saying I will score 4 out of 5 or any score thats just a down right bad idea. I dont go to a tournament expecting to win it I go expecting and hoping to play good chess whatever score I may achieve.

In the first game you did have a good endgame. Yes you should have taken the pawn. Ignore peoples ratings they mean nothing a 1400 can be 2000 and a 2000 can play like a 1400 on any given day treat each opponent as strong and you will focus better on the games.

It is sad to hear you say you should have stayed home. Chess is not always about winning we all lose sometimes it just depends on how we deal with those losses and make them go away which means you become a stronger or weaker player.

I truly dont believe your going to reach your goal until you forget about saying you will score so many points in a tournament, until you forget about peoples ratings and trat everyone as a strong player and start to learn from your losses instead of just getting down right depressed about them.

Thats my two cents worth.

Jon Burgess (National Master)

To Alex, Jon et al.:

As Ivan's blog is open...To Alex, Jon et al.:

As Ivan's blog is open for everybody, I just want to provide Ivan my personal advise on how to achieve his goal to reach USCF rating 2000.
Ivan of course can make use of it or reject it just as he likes.
If he doesn't want advise and says so, o.k. I will stop doing that.

But I think Ivan can speak by himself. He doesn't need others (Alex, Jon Burgess...) doing it for him IMO. This is Ivan's blog and I give my advise to him and not to Alex, Jon, etc...

I personally find it very arrogant of these "others" to dare to speak and reject advise in Ivans name, and I start wondering if these "others" themselves really provide honest and selfless advise or if they may have hidden agendas?!

I have no personal knowledge of Mr.Betaneli or Mr.Burgess, but I remember reading Mr.Betaneli offering "lessons" to Ivan. I hope Mr.Betaneli doesn't charge Ivan for that, otherwise it would be very unethically for him to write on this blog in the way he does and reject advise in Alex name.

As I do have no business with you guys (Alex, Jon,...) just stop responding to me, because I am not talking to you at all.

Sorry for Ivan to clarify that on his blog.


It would be nice if you would identify...Bruz

It would be nice if you would identify yourself. What is your real name ?. Are you a strong player at all ?

Myself and Alex Betaneli are National Master standard players and we have both been playing chess for a long time. We have both seen Ivan play and both know Ivan as well outside of this blog.

It is really irritating when people wont say who they are and just blog comments for the sake of it.

At least identify yourself Bruz.

Jon Burgess


I noticed your latest comment about Alex coaching Ivan to get him to 2000 rating. First of all Ivan has some issues to work out. First he has to stop saying he will score whatever score when he walks into a tournament you dont say I will score 4 points out of 5 when you start a tournament you say I will do my best whatever score I end up with. Secondly Ivan needs to treat everyone as a strong player whatever there rating be it 1400 or 2000.

Thirdly Alex Betaneli is already a superb chess coach and he doesnt need in my opinion to be teaching anyone to get publicity for himself. He is already the best player in Wisconsin and is well respected and liked.

Now we know who I am and Alex is Bruz we would like to know your real name and if your a strong player.

Alex is a 2300 player and Im a 2200 player.

Jon Burgess


Your playing again already !!! Why ?

Dont play so much my friend that way you will improve.

Overplaying is one of the ways to not do so well

Jon Burgess

This is sadly the effect of playing a lot. I play one event a month if that and make sure the events are a few weeks apart. Your playing this tournament then the next one the fide event chris b is doing. Thats very soon that event ivan and if you keep playing events close together you are sure to continue the yoyo effect of playing well in one event and badly in a few.

I know I have said this before ivan and I know you dont believe me but your results are proving me true

Jon Burgess

ok well Pete and Alex

I will openly state the things I can see that arent quite right with this event.

1) Like Alex said week before big scholastic event cant be avoided since there is so much scholastic chess.

2) This is an open swiss which means some players may play few or no fide players depending on how many fide players show up that is why most events where people are trying to get seriously fide rated are round robin events. Most fide big tournaments are swiss events and you do take your chances to see if you will play enough fide players however in england we had small fide events with some fide people and some non fide people which was much better.

3) A lack of pre registration. Nobody knows how many fide players will show up say 10 fide players show up and 70 non fide players play how many of those non fide players will play fide rated people ?

I do wish the event well I just feel there are things that could have already been improved

Jon Burgess

congrats to everyone who played and congrats to Chris for putting on a great event.

Thanks to Ivan for all the tournament updates.

Hopefully someone got a fide rating from this event.

Nice to see the event rated so quickly

Jon Burgess

I agree everyone makes mistakes however you make more mistakes when you play so much chess.

Slow down Ivan dont play so much chess then you will reach 2000.

Jon Burgess


These are bad events to play in. You can lose a lot of points with people rated right around you especially with someone lower than you.

Jon Burgess

The chess statisticians say exactly the o...John,
The chess statisticians say exactly the opposite. If you want to gain points, play against people around your rating ! You are giving wrong advice.Anonymous2008-04-03T20:49:04.288-05:00To the person who spelt my name wrong in the last ...To the person who spelt my name wrong in the last post who are you ? dont hide behind anonymous are you a strong chess player ?

Jon Burgess

If you want to improve dont play 1. B4 !

Jon Burgess

Another excellent event by the southwest chess club. This is one of my favourite events and I love playing in it

Thanks guys for an excellent event

Jon Burgess

Ivan Im just looking at your game now some comments for you

7. dxe5 this seems a bad move because this just releases the tension in the center straight away.

16. Nh4 Im not sure where this knight is going to it first went to D2 then to F3 and now it is sitting on the edge of the board where it is dim.

23. C4 this is a really bad move since it gives black control of the B4 and D4 squares as in allows him to plop a night there at some point.

27. F4 while this is not a bad move it isnt the best move after the line you mention Nf4 Bd7 then White should play Nd5 you have to put pieces on your strong squares.

28. Ba5 this Im sure was an oversight you thought that you could play BxC7 after bxc4 which of course isnt possible.

38. Kd1 the biggest mistake in the game.

What to learn from this. This about all your moves at every stage of the game. Play with a plan in mind of how you are going to win not just lets get to an endgame.

Practice your endgame technique it seems poor

Jon Burgess


You lost the last game because you respected your opponent too much. U said he won his earlier games easily who cares about that none of those games affected your game with him. you lost round 7 game as soon as you saw you were playing him. You beat yourself.

Jon Burgess

Im looking forward to this event very much it is my fave one day event in the calendar.

I believe whatever rating your at you should play which includes playing against people below you same strength as you and anyone above you.

I am a master and I play against anyone from below me to above me and yes I lose a lot but so what I love to play

Jon Burgess


  1. ivan i remember you taking criticism from jon many moons ago and that made your blog very entertaining because you handled him with great aplomb which kept me coming back here to see your progress. .i was the one who sent you the note yesterday about the sad news take care mike penway

  2. This is very sad. Jon also visited my blog and had many opinions about most everything related to chess. Thank you for posting the information, Ivan.

  3. He didn't pull any punches, did he? :) I can see him giving St. Peter a hard time about his chess.

  4. I met Jon at an event in Chicago. He was fresh over from England. I only remember positive things about him. Sad to hear of his passing and still wondering what happened.

  5. I heard depression leading to suicide

    Very sad

    It's even sadder to think that a small gesture like a pat on the back may have prevented this tragedy.................................

  6. still entertaining ivan! especially if you went to jon's (god bless his soul) blog (on the link you provided) where he says his 'goal' in the amateur team north competition this past february was to score 5 out of 5 (he scored 4.5) . . not exactly practicing what he was preaching now was he. .lol

  7. I had the pleasure of interacting with Jon on two occasions at tournaments in Milwaukee. The most recent was in April. We had a nice chat about a game I was playing through from a book and we talked a bit about his young son, among other things. Jon was a wonderful young man -- so pleasant and unassuming. I am so sad about his passing and I will miss him.

  8. I was Jons first coach in England at Trafford Junior Knights Chess Club. Devastated to hear of his death.