Bulgarian Team Competition

Bulgarian Team Championships for men and women (first and second divisions) took place in Sunny Beach from 8-14 June. This was the strongest team competition that I have ever seen in our country. Except Veselin Topalov and Ivan Cheparinov all the best Bulgarian players took part in the event. Some of our players represent other countries- Vladimir Georgiev plays for Macedonia, Evgeny Ermenkov for Palestina, and Silvia Collas represents France but all of them were here, taking part in the event. Except for these “foreigners” some teams were strengthened by real ones from Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Germany and Ukraine- the family Vlad Nevednichy and Gabriela Olarashu from Romania represented CSKA, M. Manolache played for Vidin, Dejan Antic (Serbia) fought well for Shumen, Sebbie Bogner-for Lukoil. After some years of experiments with the playing system in which various preliminary groups, open Swiss championships and even knock-outs were tried it looks like that we found the best formula for a small country like Bulgaria. It is a round-robin tournament with the best 8 teams, where the last two withdraw from the Master group to second division. Men teams are represented by six players plus two reserves, while in the ladies part three women are supported by one substitute. This tournament had a status of qualification for the World Club Cup that will take place in Plovdiv the next year, and it is not wonder that the men field brought together 20 GMs and 16 IMs (6 WGMs and 8 WIMs respectively for the women championship). The average elo of the rating favourite Lokomotiv- Sofia was 2512. We played according to the Dresden rules, when all the players had to be on the boards at the start of the round. Also the Sofia rules were applied and draws could have been offered only after thirtieth move (except an arbiter’s permission) and the captain’s arrangements were forbidden. Match points were counted.
In the men part practically three teams competed for the medals- “Lokomotiv”- Sofia (K. Georgiev, N. Ninov, A. Stefanova, P. Genov, P. Velikov , Kr. Georgiev, substitutes B. Andonov and J. Ivanov), “Lukoil-Neftohimik”- Burgas (V. Iotov, Vl. Georgiev, D. Bojkov, S. Bogner, V. Lilov, M. Vasilev, A. Angelov, Zh. Zhekov) and “CSKA”- Sofia (V. Spasov, A. Kolev, V. Nevednichy, I. Enchev, E. Ermenkov, G. Filev, I. Tsvetkov, A. Jovchev). All these teams were composed mainly by GMs, and they were the rating favourites. “Lokomotiv” Sofia managed to win both the crucial matches with optimal score 3.5-2.5 and became champions, while “Lukoil” won the direct match against “CSKA” to grab silver. The underdogs “Pleven 21” and “Shumen 2005” had to leave the Master group. Board winners-:
І board -V. Iotov (Lukoil) and A. Delchev (Vidin) 4.5/ 7 ІІ board -N. Ninov (Lokomotiv- Sofia) 4/6 ІІІ board-M. Mrdja (“Lokomotiv”- Plovdiv) 4.5/7 ІV board -I. Enchev (CSKA) 5.5/7 V board -S. Kozhuharov (“Lokomotiv 2000” Plovdiv) 5/7VІ board- Kr. Georgiev (“Lokomotiv”-Sofia) 5/ 7
As usual tenser was the fight in the ladies’ group. Except for the winners “Lokomotiv Sofia” (L. Genova, E. Djingarova, E. Collas, St. Bednikova) who practically secured the win within a spare round, only the final round determined the silver and bronze medalists, and those who had to leave the group. The young and perspective team of “Lokomotiv 2000- Plovdiv” (I. Videnova, A. Nikolova, D. Sirkova, M. Yaneva) won their last match with a perfect score 3-0 to grab the silver, and in the big tie for the third place succeeded “Lokomotiv” –Plovdiv (M. Voiska, S. Maksimovic, P. Chilingirova, T. Baninska). From the final twist suffered the team of “G. Daskalov”- Varna who withdrew together with “Rokada”- Plovdiv. Board winners:
І board- D. Artyonova (Spartak-Pleven) 5/7,
ІІ board- E. Djingarova (“Lokomotiv”- Sofia) 5 /7,
ІІІ board- Silvia Collas (“Lokomotiv”- Sofia) 5.5/6. Thus the team of “Lokomotiv” Sofia doubled his title after a six years period.
The president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation D-r Stefan Sergiev was covering the championship daily for the official site of the BCF.
The resort Sunny Beach is a remarkable mixture of styles. For the past ten years it grew enormously, and many new luxury hotels were built. The variety of styles is seen everywhere- from typical folklore motives, to oriental, eastern (Russian orientated), European (English and Irish pubs) - all of these can be seen in the resort. Live music can be heard everywhere. There is a vast variety from bars and restaurants, and exclusive number of touristic attractions (mini-golf, water-skiing, cruises, extreme jumping, carting, parachute jumping- anything you may think of you may find here. It might look a bit overcrowded, but young people adore it.
The traditional Sunny Beach tournament Memorial Georgiev-Kesarovski (part of the Balkan Gran-Prix) will take place in September 7-13 at the same hotel “Continental”. Be free to join it.


The Sweet Fruit of Success

Pavlidis,Antonios (2307) - Sanduleac,Vasile (2438) [B15]
Thessaloniki op Thessaloniki (5), 30.04.2009
Every trainer is proud when he sees the results of his work in the hands of his students. The trainer's job is an ungrateful one- when your student loses, it is almost never his fault, when he wins- it is because he is ingenious. I would like now to show you a game of my best student in Kavala, Greece. His name is Antonis Pavlidis, he is fifteen, and the last month he made his second IM norm. Actually, it could have been a GM one, his performance was very close to the Grandmaster level (2591), but I am pretty sure that this goal will soon be achieved. Pavlidis is a self-confident young man, with great tactical abilities, and taste for the attack. He also works hard on his own, which a needed fundament is his progress. For the last six months Antonis improved his rating with 100 points, and keeps on growing. 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Be3 Qb6 6.Qd2

Antonis is not interested in these pawns. He likes the initiative, and to attack, so sacrificing a "b" pawn does not bother him at all. 6...Qxb2 7.Rb1 Qa3 8.Bd3 Qa5 9.Nge2 Qd8N This novelty probably was a product of an over-the-board thinking. Sanduleac already had negative experience in the line: [9...dxe4 10.fxe4 Nf6 11.0–0 0–0 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Bh6‚ Qd8 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Rf4 e6 17.Rbf1 Nd7 18.Rf6! Nxf6 19.exf6+ Kh8 20.Qh6 Rg8 21.Rf4 Qf8 22.Qg5 e5 23.Rh4 e4 24.Bxe4 Be6 25.Nf4 Re8 26.Bd3 b5 27.g4 Bf5 28.Nh3 Bxd3 29.Rxh7+ 1–0 Ivanov,A (2462)-Sanduleac,V (2478)/Bucharest 2007/CBM 117 ext; 9...e6 was recently tried by a Top GM, but without much success- 10.h4 h5 11.0–0 Nd7 12.Bg5 a6 13.Nxd5± 1–0 Mamedyarov,S (2731)-Svidler,P (2727)/Almaty 2008/EXT 2009 (32)] 10.0–0

All white pieces are developed for a miserable price. 10...Nd7 11.Ng3!? [11.exd5 cxd5 12.Nxd5 Ngf6 13.Nxf6+ Nxf6 14.a4± was a good alternative, in which White would exert pressure in equal material terms.] 11...Nb6 12.a4 Nf6 Probably better is first to exchange in the center- [12...dxe4 13.fxe4 Nf6 although Black opens files against his king, he can at least secure some squares for the knights.] 13.e5 Ng8 14.a5 Now it is getting too frightening. 14...Nd7 [14...Nc4 15.Bxc4 dxc4 16.Nce4±] 15.f4 e6

16.f5! Of course! Antonis feels the initiative too well to be afraid to sacrifice material. I am pretty sure that he did not think twice before going for the kill. 16...exf5 17.Bxf5 Ne7 Black cannot take the piece- [17...gxf5 18.Nxf5 Bf8 19.Bg5 f6 20.Rbe1! fxg5 21.Nd6+ Bxd6 22.exd6++-] 18.Bxd7+ Bxd7 More stubborn would have been: [18...Qxd7 19.Bh6 0–0 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Qg5 Kh8 22.e6 Qe8‚ Indeed, White has a strong attack, but at least Black can count on his extra material in case that he somehow repels it.] 19.Rxb7 Bc8 20.Rb3 0–0 21.Bg5 Be6 22.Rb7 Re8 23.Na4 Bc8

White is completely winning. With energetical and elegant play Pavlidis wraps up the game home. 24.a6! Bxb7 25.axb7 Rb8 26.Nc5 Qc7 [26...Rf8 27.Rb1] 27.Qf4 Rf8 28.Qh4 Rbe8

29.b8Q! Qxb8 30.Bxe7 Qb4 31.Bxf8 Bxe5 32.Nd7 Qxd4+ 33.Qxd4 Bxd4+ 34.Kh1 Re3 35.Bh6 Rc3 36.Ne2 This is how the young Greek outplayed an experienced GM. Two more GMs (Vl. Georgiev and Kr. Georgiev) failed his victims at the same tournament. 1–0


Afek's Best (4)

Yochanan Afek
3rd HM IRT, 1981

Saving this ending looks at first sight (and even at a second one) like an impossible mission. 1.g7+ Kh7 2.g6+ Kh6

All white pawns are under control. What else can he hope for? 3.a8Q! Rxa8 4.Kf7 Ra7+

5.Kg8!! Rxg7+ [Or 5...Kxg6 6.Kh8] 6.Kh8! The miracle did happen! With a whole move at hand black is helpless against the upcoming stalemate 6...Ra7 7.g7! Rxg7

Stalemate! 1/2


Second Survey CBM

My second Chess Base Magazine Survey features the 6.h3 line in KID, more specifically, the typical endgame that arises after 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8. You can see it in the coming CBM 130, here is a sample of it:
Arnaudov,P (2195) - Urukalovic,R (2273) [E90]
Zadar CRO, 15th Open Zadar CRO (7), 18.12.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.Nf3 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5

9...Na6 10.Nd5 Rd6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Rc1 Bd8 13.c5 Re6 14.a3 c6 This move is logical. However, after: 15.Bxa6 it is better for Black to capture the knight, rather than the bishop, as this game shows clearly the dangers that Black might experience: 15...bxa6 [better is 15...cxd5 16.Bd3 Re7 17.0–0 Bd7=] 16.Ne3 a5 17.0–0 Rb8 18.Rfd1 Bc7 19.Nd5!

Typical idea. White sacrifices the knight in order to get two connected passed pawns. These pawns will go forward with tempoes, and inevitably win back he material with interest. 19...Bd8 It was not easy for Black to accept the sacrifice, since he has to be very careful not to lose immediately- [19...cxd5 20.exd5 e4 only move (20...Re8 21.d6 Bd8 22.c6±) 21.Ne1 (21.dxe6 exf3 22.e7 Be6 23.c6 Re8 24.Rd7 Bb6 25.Re1 fxg2 26.Kxg2 Kg7

27.Rxe6 fxe6 28.c7 Kf7 29.Kf3 h6 30.h4 Bxc7 31.Rxc7 Rxe7 32.Rc5 Rb7 33.Rxa5 Rb3+ 34.Kg2 Rxb2 35.Rxa7+ Kf6=) 21...Re8 22.d6 Bd8 23.c6 Rxb2 24.d7 Quite dangerous is also: (24.c7 Bd7 25.c8Q Bxc8 26.Rxc8 Rb7 27.Nc2 (27.d7 Rf8 28.Nc2 might be even better.) 27...Rd7 28.Ne3 with compensation- f5 29.Rd5 Kf7 30.Nc4 and White is on top.) 24...Bxd7 25.cxd7 Rf8ч] 20.Nf4 Re8 21.Nxe5 Bc7?! After this Black will be outplayed. The only chance was: [21...Bg5 for example- 22.Nxc6 Rxb2 23.Nd5 Rxe4! the key defensive move. (23...Bxc1 24.Nf6+ Kf8 25.Nxe8 Bg5 (25...Kxe8 26.Rd8#) 26.Nd6±) 24.Rb1 Rxb1 25.Rxb1 Be6 26.Nce7+ Kg7 27.c6 Rc4 28.Rb5 Bxd5 29.Nxd5 Rxc6 30.Rxa5=] 22.Nxc6І Bxf4 23.Nxb8 Bxb8 24.b4 Ba6 [24...a6] 25.c6 Bc7 26.Rd7 Rc8 27.Rd5 Rb8 28.Rd7 [28.b5 Rxb5 29.Rd7 Bf4! complicates the matters.] 28...Rc8 29.Rd5 Rb8 30.g3! Kf8 31.b5! Bc8 [31...Rxb5 32.Rd7 Bb6 33.c7±] 32.Rd7±

32...Bb6 More stubborn would have been: [32...Bxd7 33.cxd7 Bd8 34.Rc8 Rxb5 35.Rxd8+ Ke7 36.Ra8 Kxd7 37.Rxa7+ Ke6 with practical chances in the rook endgame.] 33.c7+- Ra8 34.Rd8+ Ke7 35.Rh8 h5 36.Rc6 Bd4 37.Rg8 Bb6 38.a4 Bd4 39.Kg2 Bb2 40.f4 Ba1 41.Kf3 Bb2 42.g4 hxg4+ 43.hxg4 Ba3 44.e5 Bb2 45.Ke4 Ba3 46.f5 gxf5+ 47.gxf5 Bb4 48.f6+ Kd7