Cheaology – The Chessboard Formula

Theme: Chess Players, Know Your Battlefield!

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What is Cheaology? – The New Chessboard Formula
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About the Creator & Author

About the Author & Creator

As a troubled teen in the mid-70s, finding his cue through chess was the best way to keep calmed, calculated and focused. Soon after their marriage (Chea and Chess), the teen’s perspective upon life was no longer the same – the little survival skirmishes and tactics, here and there, to fulfill momentary trivial goals slowly became less important as self-realization, self-esteem and higher futuristic goals began to kick in, filling in the void. Many may have been puzzled by the teen’s slight withdrawal from the checker during that time when chess, the game changer, captivated him.

It all begun to take shape onboard an Elder Dempster Shipping Company vessel, far into the Atlantic Ocean where their marriage took place. “Chess”, he recounted, “was captivating and I yarned something to occupy the void in me, some solace, if you will, and this was it”. This felt different from the usual checker games that everyone else was at ease with”. Soon thereafter, the real John Christian Chea Davies, ll, was born, an avid chess player, indeed an African prodigy in the making.

Later when John left the seafaring job to pursue education in Liberia, in mid 70s, he realized there were not many African chess players. However, he connected with friends at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, who frequently hooked him up with tourists and foreign businessmen who played the game and there was no doubt his performance was impressive, admired and applauded.

But it wasn’t until the late 70s that the two countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone noticed a prodigy. By this time, he was undoubtedly the brand for the game. He became the household name as far as chess was concern. This time, local players, the tourist community and foreign players from embassies will book him for a game of two or even for whole weekend pastime. One of the foreign chess players who became very fond of John was an American named Alexander Baisden from Sun City, Arizona, USA. Mr. Baisden was president of International Trust Company, a bank located on Broad Street, in Monrovia. He allowed John to spend weekends at the bank’s resident in Sinkor where some of the bank executives lived, and many other expatriates assembled on weekends to play chess. Soon the bank through the Ministry of Youth and Sports became sole sponsor of the first Liberian National Open Chess Championship, which took place at the City Hall in Monrovia in 1981. The first championship that John predictably won.

In 1980, John was voted president of the Monrovia Chess Club (MCC), the biggest chess club in Liberia at the time. He used this platform to inspire chess playing, popularized and promoted the game in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. In 1984, during the Amilcar Cabral West African Nations Cup (Zone 2 soccer tournament) hosted in Sierra Leone, John left his base in Liberia to put up a hundred-dollar prize money in an open challenge for anyone in Sierra Leone who would beat him in a game of three. Chess players sprung from many quarters in the region to fight for the stake. The matches took place at Bishop House at Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown where the challenger played at least 3 opponents a day. Two months when by with no one winning the prize money until the governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Sarjah Wright, took up the challenge and beat John 2-1. Impressed by John’s performance, Governor Wright, who was then a 13 years United States Chess Federation member, put up the same prize against John and loss. Because of the extensive media coverage, Bishop House was a scene of the highest gathering of chess players during their second-round match, which John won 2-0. These events, perhaps catalyzed chess activities in Sierra Leone.

In April 1990, John was rated ‘Master’ after he won the first Open Quarterly Chess Championship sponsored by MCCin Monrovia. This same year, he was one of four distinguished Africans, including His Excellency, Ibrahim Babangida, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to be honored for chess promotion on the continent of Africa.

If there is any such thing as chess scholar, it is safe to say that John is one of remarkable erudition, fascinated with the history, geography of the noble game and of its pieces.

In his early days in the United States, John served as administrator of the Big Chair Chess Club in Washington DC in 2001 after the club chairman, Eugene Brown (Author of “Life of a King” captured in a major motion picture based on his life, played by Academy Award Winner, Cuba Gooding Jr.), reviewed his (John’s) impeccable but impressive chess credentials, especially watching him whipped all the strongest players at the club including the formidable chairman himself. Under the club auspices, John along with Eugene Brown were featured live on DCTV network at the nation’s capital, to discuss the benefit of chess playing to school aged children.

That same year, John defeated the computer, Chess Master 10th Edition, in championship mode in a rated game in Silver Spring, Maryland. He soon became member of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) in 2002 and later Tournament Director in 2008, the year he organized and founded his own club, Our Family Chess, INC., which also now affiliates with the USCF.

John holds a master’s degree from Colorado Technical University and currently work as chief executive officer for Global Alliance Solutions (, a firm he founded that provides individual and corporate tax services, etc. in the United States. The autobiography of the man is carried in a 584 pages volume entitled ‘Dysfunctional One’ (, published by Page Publishing INC. in New York in 2015. The Red City Book Award Review rated this volume ‘four stars’ and recommended its use in American college classrooms in the vein of African Studies. *

My knowledge of this fine chess player, a man that I have come to know for 35 years, would not be completed if I do not comment about his great sense for sacrificial play – the gambits. When playing white, his favorite opening is the Danish Gambit, known as the Nordisches Gambit or Nordic Gambit in German, or the Noors Gambiet (Norwegian Gambit) in Dutch. I watched him play this gambit many times and never once seen him lost. One moment that stands out was one of the games in defense of his title in 1988, against a formidable German opponent, Wilhelm, whom many predicted stood a chance of clinching over the title from the defending champion.

Wilhelm accepted the gambit and chess players watching that match were stunned, because no opponent had been able to defend John’s attacking machine in this opening after black accepted the gambit. The German had studied John pass games prior to the match, so many believed he found lines of defenses to match whatever variations or line of attack the champion had in his arsenal. But chess positions are rather near infinite or infinite, at least, so it is believed. For instant, 400 different positions are possible after the first move apiece; 72,084 different positions are possible after the second move apiece; 9 million different positions are possible after the 3rd move apiece; a little over 288 billion different positions are possible after 4 moves a piece and so on.* In fact, studies have shown that the number of possible chess positions outnumbered, by comparison, the number of atoms in the universe.

So, eyebrows were lifted to see how the German would defend the ‘Danish Gambit Accepted’ against one of the most creative attacking machines in Liberian chess history. The Liberian chess population was divided. Some people wanted to see the title change hands, but not to a foreigner while others did not care if the German won the title. Liberia was not on the global chess map neither recognized by FIDE (World Chess Federation), so the only official chess stature rested on her National Open Chess Championships. If a foreigner took the title, it may project diminishing perceptions of some sorts concerning the level or strength of Liberian chess. But when John defeated the German and retained the championship for the eighth consecutive season, many looked back at all the other foreigners he had defeated to retain the title: Americans, Europeans etc and indeed many upheld the assertion that Liberian chess was after all progressing towards world class level.

The German would not outlive 19 moves with the Danish Gambit Accepted against John. Below is the record of that game and a diagram showing the checkmate position

GM John Chea Davies, ll Our Family Chess, INC.

Danish Gambit Accepted

John vs Wilhelm

(White)     (Black)

1.     e4                   e5

2.     d4                  exd4

3.     c3                   dxc3

4.     Bc4                cxb2

5.     Bxb2              Qe7

6.     Nc3                Nf6

7.     Nge2              Nxe4

8.     Nxe4              Qxe4

9.     Qb3                Qg6

10.   O – O             c6

11.   Rfe1               Be7

12.   Nf4                 Qf5

13.   Bxg7              Rg8

14.   Bxf7+            Kd8

15.   Ne6+              dxe6

16.   Rad1+            Nd7

17.   Bxg8              Ke8

18.   Bxe6              Qg5

19.   Bxd7+            Bxd7

20.   Qg8#

John is endowed with problem solving skills. He carries a meticulous eye for dissecting root causes to problems and he is crafty in finding and implementing resolutions. Whether in chess or in real life situations, he is well known for his acute problem-solving ability especially in conflict and risk management. For those who might think that my impression of the man is a little overboard, just read his memoir, ‘Dysfunctional One’ and you will be convinced. That is why it is no surprise to me that he found this little gap that needs to be bridged in chess notation systems and therefore created the Cheaology formula to synergize the algebraic notations, which is a marvelous feat to say the lease.

For the benefit of advancing how recorded chess moves are mentally visualized in all chess activities, and in the spirit of the theme ‘Chess Players, Know Your Battlefield!’, I would like to welcome the Cheaology formula, which I find very interesting, useful and helpful in many ways. I trust that the synergy it provides to algebraic notations will enrich how chess notations are conceptualized, appreciable to all chess players.

Winston Thomas Vice President Chess Federation of Sierra Leone Member, World Chess Federation (FIDE)