Alex Baburin Annotates Endgames from the Bulgarian Finals

The interest towards the Bulgarian Finals around the world grew after the famous GM Alexander Baburin annotated the most interesting of them in his “Endgame Kaleidoscope” section in the online paper Chess Today. Alex now lives in Ireland, and was the first one to start an online chess paper. I received his special permission to use a couple of his analyses here. Chess Today is highly useful for all chess players (from amateurs to professionals) and I strongly recommend it to all of you. More about the paper here: http://www.chesstoday.net/

Radulski,Julian (2511) - Petkov,Vladimir (2434) [C66]
72nd Men Championship Plovdiv, Bulgaria (7.5), 19.03.2008
[Alex Baburin (http://www.chesstoday.net/)]

White's active pieces should compensate for a one-pawn deficit. 59.Ke6 [One way to proceed was to play 59.Be5! Bxe5 (59...Rf2+? 60.Ke6 Re2 61.Rxb5) 60.Kxe5 b4

61.Rb8! b3 62.Ke4 Rb1 63.Kf3 g5 (or 63...b2 64.Kg2 g5 65.hxg6+ Kxg6=) 64.hxg6+ (White can also draw after 64.Ke4 b2 65.Kd3 Rg1 66.Rb7+ Kg8 67.Rxb2 Rxg4 68.Rb6) 64...Kxg6 65.Rb6+ Kf7 66.Kg2] 59...Bc3 60.Kf5 b4 61.Ke4 b3 62.Kd3 Bf6

63.Kc4? [63.Be7 Bxe7 (63...Be5 64.Ke4 Bc3 65.Kd3) 64.Rxe7 Rg2 65.Re4 b2 66.Rb4 Rxg4 67.Rxb2 Rg5 68.Rh2 Kg8 69.Ke4 Kf7 70.Rh1 and I don't see how Black can win.] 63...Rc2+ 64.Kd3 Rc3+ 65.Ke4 Rc4+ 66.Kf5 b2 67.Ba3 Rc2 68.Ke4 Kg8 69.Kf5 Kh7 70.Ke4 Rd2 71.Kf5 Rd1 72.Bxb2 Rb1 73.Bxf6 Rxb7 74.Be5

Black has made a lot of progress, but he still can't win! White's plan is simple: to target the g7-pawn with his bishop. Sooner or later Black will have to play ...g6 - and any reduction in pawn material helps the defender. 74...Rf7+ 75.Ke4 Rf1 76.Bf4 Kg8 77.Be5 Kf7 78.Bd4 Rb1 79.Kf5 Rb4 80.Bc3 Rb5+ 81.Be5 Ra5 82.Kf4 g6 83.hxg6+ Kxg6

According on 6-piece tablebase (one place to find it is http://www.shredderchess.com/online-chess/online-databases/endgame-database.html) this position is a draw, though some caution is required. White should try to get his bishop to f4 or e3, from where it will target the h6-pawn. 84.Bc7! [There were only two other moves keeping the balance 84.Bd4! ; and 84.Bd6! ] 84...Rd5 85.Kg3?? This is where White made the main mistake! He had to get his bishop either to f4 or e3. That could be done with [85.Kf3; 85.Ke4; 85.Ke3; or 85.Bb6 ] 85...Rd3+! 86.Kf4 Rd4+! 87.Kf3 Kg5 Now White loses the pawn. 88.Bb6 Rf4+ 89.Kg3 Rxg4+ 90.Kh3

Black's win isn't trivial here - he must not advance his pawn too eagerly. Putting the pawn to h4 too soon could be a huge mistake, as the black king may need that square. 90...Rb4 91.Be3+ Kh5 92.Kg3 Rb3 93.Kf2 Ra3 94.Bf4 Kg6 95.Kg2 Ra6 96.Kg3 Kf5 97.Bc1 Rg6+ 98.Kh3 Rg1 99.Be3 Re1 100.Bf2 Rb1 101.Kg3 Rb3+

102.Kh4?! From a practical point of view it would be better to keep the king in the corner, forcing Black to show some technique. We already analysed such positions in Chess Today. [102.Kg2 Kg4 103.Bc5 Rb2+ 104.Kh1 Kh3 (104...h5 105.Bd6 h4?? 106.Bc7 Kh3 107.Kg1!=) 105.Kg1 Rg2+ 106.Kh1 h5 107.Bb6 h4 108.Bc7 Rc2 109.Bf4 Rc4 110.Be3 Kg3 111.Ba7 Rc1+ 112.Bg1 Kg4 113.Kg2 h3+ 114.Kh1 Rd1 115.Kh2 Rd2+ 116.Kh1 Kg3 117.Bb6 h2 118.Bc7+ Kh3–+] 102...Kf4 103.Be1 Rd3 104.Ba5 Rd1 105.Bc7+ Kf3 106.Kh5 Rh1+ 107.Kg6 Kg4 0–1

Iotov,Valentin (2485) - Nikolov,Momchil (2500) [E15]
72nd Men Championship Plovdiv, Bulgaria (10.6), 21.03.2008
[Alex Baburin (http://www.chesstoday.net/)]

53.f6! It makes sense to undouble pawns while you can. Remember, reducing pawn material always helps the defender! [White could also play 53.Rb7 Ke8 54.Kf3! Kd8 55.Ke3 Kc8 56.Rb4 Rc2 57.f3 Black Black would maintain better chances, for example: 57...Kc7 58.Kd3 Rh2 59.Kc3 Kd6 60.Rb5 h5 61.Kd3 Kc6! 62.Rb8 Kd5 63.Rb5+ Kd6! 64.Kc3 Rf2 65.f4 Ke7] 53...gxf6 54.Rxf6+ [54.Kg3 Ke7 55.f3 Kd7 56.Kf4 Kc7 57.Rb3 Kc6–+] 54...Ke7 55.Rb6 Kd7

56.Kg3?? White's f-pawn will not have a chance. [He had to play 56.Kf3! Kc7 57.Rb4 Kc6 58.Ke3 Rc2 59.Kd3 Rxf2 60.Kc3 Kd5 61.Rxb2] 56...Kc7 57.Rb4 Kc6 58.f4 Kc5 59.Rb8 Kc4 60.Rc8+ Kd3 61.Rb8 Kc2 62.Rc8+ Kd1 63.Rb8 Kc1 64.Kg4 b1Q 65.Rxb1+ Kxb1 66.f5 Rd6 67.Kf4 Rd4+ 0–1


Interview with the ECU President Boris Kutin

Mr. Kutin, were there any discussions about Plovdiv’s candidature to host the ІХ EICC for men and women?
No, there were no discussions at all. Plovdiv’s candidature was unanimously voted. I would like to underline that Plovdiv is an original record-holder. Two European Team Championships were organized here, and now the individual championships are coming as well. No other city in Europe can praise with that. Moreover-here were organized and took place many tournaments on high level.
You were here in 2003 as well. What are your impressions about that Championship?
I know Plovdiv very well. I was here at the Championship from 1983. My impressions are excellent. You have very good fundaments for conducting chess (and not only chess) events of highest rank. I cannot add anything. For us, as ECU, and for you, as organizers, the most important thing is the opinion of the players. And their attitude is quite positive.
What are your impressions about what you have seen now, during your last visit?
I think that the preparation of the championships is going fine. It is wonderful that every player would receive the tournament bulletin on his email address, that there will be a life-transmission of the top 36 men and 12 women boards. The venues are very good. For the prestige of Plovdiv, and Novotel hotel speaks the fact that 450 players from 40 countries already announced their participation.
What are your expectations about the coming Individual Championships that will start within a month?
Most probably we will not be able to break the record from Dresden 2007 in number of participants, but we can break the record of participating nations. We already took a decision to send an additional invitation to those countries that did not declare yet their participation. We shall do that, and I hope that we will beat the record.
What do you think about the system of the qualification, the quotas given to them, the way that the players qualify for the World Championships? In the last few years these criteria differed. Probably your last decision caused so many hectic debates.
The system is clear- Swiss tournament, eleven rounds, one free day, and finally tie-breaks for determining the winner. The main problem is not the number of the qualifiers, but the fact that until two years ago FIDE was taking part in formation of the price fund of the EICC every second year. Thus the Championships in even and odd years were incomparable. In the years when World Championships and later World Cups were conducted our championships were much stronger, with good price funds, and naturally the quotas were higher. This was very good, but unfortunately does not exist anymore. After FIDE stopped their financial support we had a tough time to think seriously. Why should one of the Championships be different than the other then? There were no reasons. That is why we decided that quotas for the championships are equal. This meant that their price funds should be approximately equal as well. By doing this our Championships have now absolutely equal rights. Some people did not want to understand that, I mean the reasons for the decision to equal the quotas, and unnecessary discussion started. I think that they are wrong, and this is not in favor of chess.
What do you think about the new system in determining the World Champion?
Personally I think that this system is too complicated. It is not popular. In the system we counted on the Grand-Prix tournaments. The expectations were that the best players will take part in the Grand-Prix series. But now, when the first tournament in Baku is coming we see that they are not playing, and FIDE had to face major difficulties in determining the participants. Why are not the best players there when all considered the idea very interesting?
At the President’s FIDE Board in Istanbul, which finished a couple of days ago a decision in organizing a Master-Tournament, was taken. This should be tournament where all the top-rated players can play. The idea is that the winner of the tournament plays a match against the World Cup’s winner. Grand-Prix tournaments are too expensive, unpopular, and the system in determine the world champion’s opponent-too clumsy. They tried to resemble it to the Candidate tournaments in the past.
It is well known that Veselin Topalov was the first World Champion who did not receive the right for a return-match. Much later a decision was taken that he starts into the next world cycle for a World Championship from the semi-finals. It was decided that he will play a match against the winner of the World Cup (Gata Kamsky) and that this match will be played in Bulgaria. Our Federation responded positively, and as far as I know started concrete actions in providing the required price-fund and in undertaking all the expenses in its organization. But in the meanwhile FIDE changed their decision.
Well, the things are not exactly this way. It was never on the agenda that Topalov will have the right of a return-match. The main mistake was made in San Luis (Argentina), when FIDE decided to democratize the fight for the world title by providing all 2700+ rated players the right to challenge the world champion if, they can assure the required price fund of 2 000 000 dollars, but admitted to assure to the champion the possibility (in case of a loss of the title) the right to play in the next cycle for a world championship. When this decision was approved it was still unclear who will be the future champion. This was a huge mistake, and it appeared later that is very difficult to be correct. Still, I think that comparatively good solution was found. Topalov received the chance to participate in the new cycle and will play against the World Cup’s winner Gata Kamsky in September or October. My personal opinion is that the match should be in Bulgaria. FIDE tried to find another country to organize the event and raised the requirements about the price fund, but I am not optimistic that candidates will be found. Kamsky should sign the match contract within a few days. If he does not, he will be replaced by Alexei Shirov. Everything will be clear until 11 April.
Thank you, Mr. Kutin.
Interview by GM Venzislav Inkiov

Test Yorself 6

Who wants the lady?1.Qd3+ [1.Qe5? Bg2+–+] 1...g3! [1...Qg3 leads to perpetual- 2.Ng5+ Kh4 3.Qh7+ Kxg5 4.Qf5+ Kxf5=] 2.Qf5+ Qg4 3.Ng5+ Kh4 4.Nf3+ [4.Qh7+? Qh5 5.Nf3+ Kg4+–+] Now Milady will sacrifice herself in the name of her King!4...Qxf3+! 5.Qxf3 But why was that all?

Bg2+!! 6.Kg1!! And the King will Sacrifice Milady as well! [6.Qxg2? e1Q+ 7.Qg1 Qe4+ 8.Qg2 Qd3 9.Qg1 Qf3+ 10.Qg2 Kg4 11.Kg1 Qd1+ 12.Qf1 Qxf1+ 13.Kxf1 Kf3–+; 6.Kxg2? e1N+–+] 6...Bxf3 Ѕtalemate! Pogosiants


Vasil Spasov Claims Sixth National Title

Men section saw three people competing for the gold. GM Vasil Spasov and IMs Krasimir Rusev and Milen Vasilev started very well and were leading the tournament constantly. Spasov did not play for a long time, but came well prepared, and managed to win some games due to a superb home preparation. Well prepared was Krasimir Rusev as well. He developed his opening repertoire, and now uses the French Defense. Milen Vasilev scored 7 points in the first nine games and concluded his GM title. He had to receive the title one year earlier, but some bureaucratic problems did not give him this chance. After his flashy start he lost in the next round to Rusev, and had chances only for second place. He was very lucky in the final round, managing to turn the tables against the youngest participant Valeri Lilov. This gave him the silver, since Rusev tried too hard to overcome against Radulski, had excellent winning chances; but later on burned all the bridges and failed even to draw, and was left third. A win in this game will give him the title due to his better tie-break. At the same time the experienced Spasov won his final game, and won the tournament solely. This is his sixth national title! Good words can be said about GM Vladimir Petkov’s desire to win all the games-usually he was the last player to finish his games, and the performance of the youngest player-Valeri Lilov, who recovered from his poor start, and showed excellent tactical skills.

Nikolov,Momchil (2500) - Spasov,Vasil (2579) [E81]
72nd Men Championship Plovdiv BUL (5.5), 17.03.2008
[Dejan Bojkov]
Probably the most interesting game in the tournament was played in round 5. As a devoted KID player I could not stand including it into the report. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Bg5 a6 7.Qd2 Nbd7 8.Nh3 c5 9.d5 b5 Benko ideas are quite effective against White's set-up, since he loses too much time for the moves f2-f3, and the maneouver Nh3-f2(d1). 10.Nf2 Qa5 11.cxb5 Nb6

12.Nfd1 Nikolov is no stranger to the arising position. Our game from the final in Svilengrad continued: [12.Be2 axb5 13.Nxb5 Bd7 14.Nc3 Rfb8 15.Nfd1 (15.0–0 probably is better- 15...Ne8 16.Rfb1 Na4 17.Nfd1

17...Rxb2!? 18.Rxb2 Nxc3 19.Nxc3 (19.Bc4 Na4 20.Qxa5 Rxa5 21.Rbb1) 19...Bd4+ 20.Kf1 Bxc3 equalized in the game Benitah,Y (2413)-Bojkov,D (2482)/Vandouver 2006 (29)) 15...e6 16.dxe6 Bxe6
And took the pawn here as well! 17.Qxd6 Na4 Black had a tremendous initiative after: 18.0–0 Nxb2 19.Rc1 Rd8 20.Qf4 Nh5 21.Qh4 Rdb8 22.Qe1 Nxd1 23.Bxd1 Rb2 24.Be3 Bd4 25.Rf2 Rxf2 26.Kxf2 Nf4 27.Qf1 Bxc3?“ but here I failed to conclude the game in stile with: (27...Qd8!–+

28.g3 Bxe3+ 29.Kxe3 Qd4+ 30.Kxf4 g5+ 31.Kxg5 Qe5+ 32.Kh4 Qf6+ 33.Kh5 Qg6+ 34.Kh4 Qh6#) 28.Bxf4 Bd2 29.Bxd2 Qxd2+ 30.Be2 Rxa2? One more mistake, after which I had to struggle for the draw. (30...Qd4+ 31.Kg3 Rxa2–+) 31.Qd1 1/2–1/2 Nikolov,M (2446)-Bojkov,D (2475)/ Svilengrad BUL 2006/The Week in Chess 591 (104)] 12...axb5 13.Nxb5 Bd7 14.Nbc3 e6 15.dxe6 Bxe6
16.Qxd6N A greedy novelty. Safer is: [16.Be2 though Black experienced no problems here as well. 16...d5 17.exd5 Nfxd5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.0–0 Rfb8 20.Bc4 Bd4+ 21.Kh1 Qxd2 22.Bxd2 Bxb2 23.Nxb2 Rxb2 24.Bh6 Ne3 25.Bxe3 1/2–1/2 Socko,B (2435)-Spisak,C (2320)/Krynica 1997/CBM 061 ext] 16...Na4 17.Qd2 For some time computer advocates: [17.Bd2 Rfd8 18.Nb5 Rxd6 19.Bxa5 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rxa5 21.Rd8+ Bf8 but Black is obviously better here.] 17...Rfd8 18.Qc2 c4 Black is two pawns down, but is much better developed. All his pieces are involved in the pressure he puts on White's position. No wonder that he soon starts a very dangerous attack. 19.Bd2
19...Rxd2!! [19...Nc5 with initiative was the positional approach, but the combination that Spasov chooses gives him dangerous attack, and excellent practical chances.] 20.Qxd2 Rd8 21.Qc2 Nxb2! 22.Qxb2 Nxe4! The point. Black opens the diagonal for the "Monster". Gufeld would be delighted to see that. 23.fxe4 Obviously weaker is: [23.Rc1 Rxd1+ 24.Kxd1 Nxc3+ 25.Rxc3 Bxc3 26.Qc1 Qe5–+] 23...Rxd1+ 24.Kxd1 Bxc3 25.Qb8+ only move [25.Qc1

loses on the spot after: 25...Bg4+ 26.Kc2 (26.Be2 Qa4+ 27.Qc2 Bxe2+) 26...Be5 27.Bxc4 Qc3+ 28.Kb1 Qxa1+ 29.Kc2 Qc3+ 30.Kb1 Qb4+ 31.Bb3 Qxe4+ 32.Qc2 Qd4 and Bf5 is inevitable.] 25...Kg7 26.Rc1
[26.Bxc4 is a move by Fritz, and he finds a draw here: 26...Bxc4 27.Rc1 Bd3 28.Rxc3 Qxc3 29.Qb3 Qa1+ 30.Kd2 Qxh1 31.Qc3+=] 26...Bg4+ 27.Kc2! After: [27.Be2 Qa4+ 28.Rc2 Bxe2+ 29.Kc1 Qa3+ 30.Kb1 Bd3 White is pinned all over the board. Bishops are obvously better (this position reminds me of one of Gligorich's wins), but White can still fight here: 31.Rd1

31...Bxe4!? there is no sense to relief White's deffense with: (31...Bd4 32.Rxd3 cxd3 (32...Qxd3 although White is struggling here as well.) 33.Rc8 is double-edged.) 32.Rd8 h5 33.Rh8 Qa4 34.Qf8+ Kf6 35.Qd6+ Kf5 36.Qc5+ Be5 37.Qf2+ Ke6 and I doubt that human can stand the pressure here.] 27...Be5
28.Qxe5+! Again only move. Momchil Nikolov is famous for his stubborness in defense. 28...Qxe5 29.Bxc4 Qxe4+ 30.Kb3 Qb7+ 31.Kc3 Qxg2 Black won back a queen for his sacrificed rooks, and a pawn, but defensive resources of White are not yet over. 32.a4 Bf3 Probbaly better is: [32...Qc6 33.Kb4 Qd6+ 34.Kb3 Qb6+ Black stops White's counterplay and then advances the pawns on the King's flank. 35.Ka3 g5] 33.Rhf1 f5 The same plan, but with an inactive queen lets White slip. 34.Rc2 Qh3 35.Kb4 Be4

36.Ra2 [36.Rd2 activating the rook would be more appropriate.] 36...Qh4 37.a5 White advances the pawn, but gives yet one more chanse for his rival. Better was: [37.Rd1] 37...Bd5 38.Rc1 Qe7+ 39.Kb5
[39.Ka4 Qc5 40.Bxd5 Qxc1 41.Kb5 Qf1+ 42.Bc4 Qb1+ 43.Kc5 Qg1+ 44.Kb5 f4 45.a6 Qa7 should be winning for Black, although with difficulties.] 39...Qe5 Missing the last chanse to play for a win. After: [39...Qd6 …40.a6? White has to go for the line above- (40.Ka4 Qc5 41.Bxd5 Qxc1 and so on.; 40.Rcc2 Bc6+ 41.Kb6 Ba4+–+) 40...Bc6+ 41.Kb6 Bd7+ 42.Kb7 Qc6+ 43.Kb8 Qb6+ 44.Ka8 Bc6#] 40.Kb4 Qd6+ 41.Kb3 f4 42.Rcc2 Qb8+ 43.Kc3 Qe5+ 44.Kb3 Qe3+ 45.Kb4 Qe7+ 46.Kb3 Qb7+ 47.Kc3 Qc6 48.Kb4 Qd6+ 49.Kb3

Draw agreed! Wonderful game!

Eli Raeva-First Time Bulgarian Champion!

Female tournament was dominated by the young players. Elitza Raeva and Iva Videnova were joint leaders until round eight. Then Elitsa took half a point lead. Their game from the penultimate round had to be decisive (see the game after the text).
Elitsa wins the championship for the first time. Last year she participated at the ETCC in Crete and made a very good result, achieved an IM norm. If you remember from my last-year’s report for the Bulgarian Finals in Pernik she also shared the first place, but was the unlucky fourth. In this championship she decided the things within a spare round. Nevertheless she fought in the last game won, and finished with style. Iva Videnova achieved and IM norm as well and won a bronze medal. Together with Adriana Nikolova (fourth place, IM norm, and with chances for medals if she had won the last round) these three girls are Bulgaria’s best hopes for the moment. The latter two are students in National Sports Academy (profile chess) and all they are devoted to the play in this period of their life. At the same time a new generation is coming in the faces of Mariya Vladimirova and Sandra Trifonova-novice players at the finals, who did well. Experienced player Mariya Velcheva took the silver with successful final efforts.

Videnova,Iva (2188) - Raeva,Elitsa (2258) [C91]
57th Women Championship Plovdiv BUL (10.2), 23.03.2008

The decisive game of the tournament was played in the penultimative round. Iva Videnova and Elitsa Raeva were leading the field a whole point in front of the others. Neverthless Elitsa managed to go half a point in front of her rival, so Iva needed only a win. For some moment everything looked glorious for her. She won a pawn, and started gradually to convert it. But Elitsa showed the best fo her stubborness: 29.Nxc6 Qxc6 30.Ba2 Qc7 31.c4

More accurate is first to activate the rook: [31.Rd1 Qb7 and now the bishop: 32.c4 bxc4 33.Qxc4+- in the meanwhile black queen is chased away from its active position, as well as white's rook levaes the vulnerable e1 square.] 31...Ndf4! Best chance. 32.Bxf4 Critical moment for the whole tournament. One more innacuracy, and white loses her advantage. Better was the computer suggestion: [32.cxb5 Bc5 33.Bxe6

33...Nd3 this looks extremely risky, especially in the time-trouble, but does not work either: (33...Nxe6 34.Ne4; 33...Nxh3+ 34.Bxh3 Qxg3 35.Qxc5) 34.Bxf7+! Qxf7 35.Qg5 counterattacking the rook wins a decisive tempo 35...Qxf2+ (35...Rd7 36.Rf1 Bxf2+ 37.Kh2 …Bxg3+? 38.Qxg3 Qxf1 39.Qb8++-) 36.Kh2 Qd4 37.Rd1+-] 32...Nxf4 33.cxb5 Bc5 Now Black had achieved much! 34.Re3 There was a perpetual after: [34.Qc4

34...Nxh3+ 35.Kf1 Nxf2 36.b6 Qxb6 37.Re8+ Rxe8 38.Qxf7+ Kh8 39.Qxe8+ Kg7 40.Qf7+ Kh6 41.Qf4+=] 34...Qa7 35.Ne4 Probably Iva had to change the course of the game by the sharp sacrifice: [35.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 36.Qc4+ Nd5 37.Rf3+ Kg7 38.Ne4 Be7 39.Nc3 White has three pawns for the piece, and now she posses the initiative.] 35...Bxe3 36.Qxe3 Qxe3 37.fxe3 Nd3 38.b4 Ne5 [38...axb3 39.Bxb3 Kg7 40.a4 f5 with counterplay] 39.Nf6+?!

White goes astray and loses the game a few moves. Better was: [39.Bd5! With the idea Ne4-c3, and e3-e4 building a strong cental construction, which together with her passed pawns on the queens flank guarentees white from lost.] 39...Kg7 40.Nd5 f5 41.Nc3 Rd3 42.Nd5? The ugly looking: [42.Nb1 was the only move, but Black is already obvously better here.] 42...Rd2 [42...Rxa3 43.b6 Rxa2 44.b7 Nd7 is simplier.] 43.b6 Rxa2 44.b7 Nd7 45.b5 Rxa3 0–1
More pictures supplied by Iva you can find here:


Women Final

Ladies are more competitive as usual. So far there are no short draws at all. After six rounds Elitsa Raeva and Iva Videnova share the lead. You can follow two of their most important wins against dangerous and experienced opponents:Raeva,Elitsa (2258) - Velcheva,Maria (2266) [D17]
57th Women Championship 6 Plovdiv BUL (6.2), 19.03.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5 9.f3 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.e4 Bg6 12.d5 e5 13.dxe6 fxe6 14.Bc4 Qf6 15.0–0 Bb4 16.Kh1 Rd8 17.Qe2 0–0 18.Be3 Kh8 19.Rad1 e5 20.Na2 Be7 21.Nc1 Nc5 22.Qc2 b6 23.h3 Bf7

24.Bxf7! Qxf7 25.Bxc5 Bxc5 26.Nd3 Bd4 27.Qxc6 Qh5 28.Qb5 Rd6 29.b4 Rg6? Blunder in lost position. 30.Nf4 Qg5 31.Nxg6+ Qxg6 32.bxa5 bxa5 33.Qxa5 Qg3 34.Qb4 Rd8 35.f4 h6 36.Rf3 Qg6 37.fxe5 Qxe4 38.Rfd3 1–0

Videnova,Iva (2188) - Voiska,Margarita (2333) [C41]
57th Women Championship 4 Plovdiv BUL (4.5), 18.03.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Be7 4.0–0 Nf6 5.Nc3 0–0 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Re8 8.f4 Bf8 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.Ng5 Re7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Re1 h6

13.Nxf7!? Rxf7 14.e5 dxe5 [14...d5 was the only move, and after:15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qxd5 Be8 17.Be3 Qxd5 18.Bxd5 Be7 the position is unclear] 15.fxe5 Nh7 16.e6 Re7 17.exd7+ Kh8 18.Be6 g5 19.Nd5 Rg7 20.Bd2 Bc5+ 21.Kh1 Bd4 22.Qh5 Nf8 23.Bf5 Rxd7 24.Qxh6+ Rh7 25.Bxh7 Nxh7 26.Qe6 Bxb2 27.Rab1 Bg7 28.Rxb7 Nd4 29.Qf7 Qd6 30.Rxc7 Rg8 31.Ne7 1–0

Men Final- Middlegame

After 8 rounds three lead the field. Krasimir Rusev could not convert his advantage in round seven against Mladenov, but performed a stormy attck in the eight:
Milchev,Nikolay (2373) - Rusev,Krasimir (2521)

14...Nxh2! 15.Bf4 Neg4 16.axb5 Nxf1 17.Rxf1 g5 18.bxa6 gxf4 19.Qa4+ Bd7 20.Qxf4 e5 21.Qf3 h3 22.Bh1 h2+ 23.Kg2 Nf6 0–1
Vasil Spasov had to struggle in his game against youngster Valeri Lilov being an exchange down, but was successful at the end, as well as in the next round:
Spasov,Vasil (2579) - Arnaudov,G Petar (2345)

In this position, already on move 20 Black is totally hopeless and resigned. 1–0
Vladimir Petkov won two games, and now is only a point behind the leaders.
Radulski,Julian (2511) - Petkov,Vladimir (2434)

Black realized his matherial advantage on move 107. 0–1
Valentin Iotov was happy to perform a standart tactical stroke:
Iotov,Valentin (2485) - Kozhuharov,Spas (2456)

17.d5!± exd5 18.Nxd5 Rc8 19.Rc4 Re8 20.Qc2 g6 21.b5 Ne5 22.Rxc8 Nxf3+ 23.gxf3 Bxc8 24.Nc7 Bd7 25.Nxe8 Qxe8 26.a4 Bh3 27.Qe4 Qc8 28.Qc6 Qe6 29.Qxe6 Bxe6 30.Be4 Bb3 31.Rd7 Bxa4 32.Bd5 Bxb5 33.Rxf7 Bb2 34.Rf4+ 1–0
Today are the games from rond nine. One of the leaders Milen Vasilev is fighting for his final GM norm, and win today will assure it.

Interview with Lilja Gretarsdottir ICF President

Hello Lilja, can you tell us something more about you, how did it all started in chess?
My grandmother taught me how to play chess when I was 5 years old. I come from a whole family of chess-playing. All my brothers play chess and my younger brother is a grandmaster - he even won the World Championship for 20 years and younger when he was just 17 (Lilja's brother is Helgi Ass Gretarsson). Unfortunately, he quit playing professional chess, he works as a lawyer, but given that I was brought up in an environment where everyone played chess it is a very natural thing for me to cherish it. I cherish it personally more than competitively, in fact, and I enjoy the beauty in chess when others play well. Somehow for me it is also a personal connection to my grandmother, whom I adored. She was a person of an incredible independence and free spirit, both on the chessboard and in life. She always played the King’s Gambit and always went for the win no matter what. I loved her dearly and she gave me chess. I never had a trainer or anything like that, but I had my grandmother as an inspiration. (In spite of this fact Lilja has been eleven-time Icelandic women champion! D.B.)
And some time later you became president of the ICF…
I became the president of the Icelandic Chess Federation four years ago. I had before then been vice president, and before then I had been working quite hard on the women’s issue without being affiliated directly with the ICF, it was just on my own. I started a girls/women’s section at the School of Chess along with GM Helgi Olafsson, and really wanted more to see other girls play better chess than me, try to inspire them to become much better than we had, and ensure that they were encouraged and not ridiculed or side-stepped somehow. One has to choose I think in the end, either you try to help build up the chess world, or you actually play. I chose the former, and partly it was because of a feeling of resentment in what I sensed to be a male-chauvinistic and male-dominating world in chess which had a tendency to belittle women in one way or the other - sometimes by often very clever means that was hard to fight. My grandmother would have none of that, and neither would I! But again, it is a long way to go, as always, and it always takes a whole group of good people to change things, men and women, not just one individual. We are lucky to have a good group of people here in Iceland who wants to further the cause of chess.
You told me about your dream to have a woman team in the Olympiad.
I lived abroad for almost ten years and I was not sure that I would actually return to Iceland, but it was always my dream that we would send a women’s team to the Olympiad. As soon as I finished gymnasium in Iceland I went to America and studied at Harvard where I did my BA degree in history and political science. After that I went to live in Berlin and for the next years I lived and worked in various places in Europe. I did my Masters-degree in political philosophy at Cambridge University in England and I never really thought that I would again live in Iceland; I was set on staying in London as I really liked it there. However, I came home to Reykjavik in order to raise funds for the Icelandic national women’s team and help to ensure that there would be no doubt about sending a women’s team this time. Iceland had then not sent a women’s team to the Olympiad for 16 years and in my view sending a team was one of the necessary ways for girls to become more interested in playing the game. I mean, how can a people who claim to be a chess-loving-nation completely neglect the issue of women’s chess? Of course, everyone now pretends to have been interested in the issue, but this is far from the truth - the women who had gone in the old days were often ridiculed and there was a total lack of understanding. But finally a team was sent again, because we fought for it and had good people at the forefront who were positive, and while there is still an enormous work to do in this field Iceland now has more promising girls playing chess than it ever did before. We have a long way to go and we are still very much behind, but progress is being made. In my view the whole chess world, men and women alike, should see it as one of the essential steps towards progress and advancement for the game of chess to have more women involved, both playing and working towards a better social world of chess. In the long run it benefits all, also the men (and even the chauvinists!); there is no doubt about that in my mind.

As you already know from 20.04 till 3 May EICC will take place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Shall we see representatives from Iceland?
Yes, you will certainly see representatives from Iceland. The tradition on our part has usually been to send just one player in our name, and then if others get to go they have to at least partly be on their own. This time however we are going to send our two strongest active GMs, Hannes Hlifar Stefansson and Hedinn Steingrimsson. Let us just say that we are sending them not only because we strongly believe in them, but also because we know how nicely they will be treated in Bulgaria...
How will you choose your participants?
They were chosen because they are our strongest active GMs today, and both take their chess very seriously.
Will they have concrete tasks for ranking?
To do as well as they possibly can will be their task! There is not much more we can ask, and anyway, it is always up to the individual player to set him an inner goal. True ambition and sincere goal-orientation is always in the end up to the individual and his own responsibility. Your teams took part in ETCC 2003 that took place in Plovdiv. What are your memories about your stay in Bulgaria?Unfortunately, I was not personally in Plovdiv in 2003. However, I played in Youth World Championships in Varna many years ago - much too many years ago than I care to remember, to be frank. But I can tell you honestly that I found Bulgaria to be a wonderful place and I would love to visit again. Invite me!

You are always invited! It is widely known in chess society that your country and federation helped to the legendary champion Bobby Fisher in a very difficult moment of his life. Can you tell us something more about it?
Yes, it is true, the Icelandic Chess Federation responded immediately to Bobby Fischer’s arrest. I was president of the federation and the then vice president and me we walked immediately up to the US Embassy with a harsh letter of protest to Mr. Bush and demanded Bobby’s release. American acquaintances responded very angrily, and said that Fischer deserved this treatment. We strongly disagreed and you probably all know the rest, it has been much written about already. The RJF-committee was later established and a lot of good and ardent people took part in helping to free him. The Foreign Minister at the time, David Oddsson, made a lot of bureaucrats extremely nervous, but he stuck with it and demanded Bobby’s release, and then in the end the Icelandic Parliament almost unanimously voted for his Icelandic citizenship. I can only say that I am proud that my little country had the guts to stand up against Bobby’s arrest when no one else dared to act, and give Bobby Fischer a hand when he most needed it.
Did Fisher take part in your chess life during the years that he spent in Iceland? Did your chess federation keep contact with him?
No, Fischer did not take any part in public chess life. I personally never expected him to and I never asked him to, the only thing that I wanted for him was to be a free man to be able to do whatever he wanted. We all know that Bobby had publically turned away from classical chess and in my mind it was never an issue that he should play for Iceland or something like this, not in a million years. He should simply be a free man, getting to live his life in peace and quiet like he wanted to for so many years - but not in prison.
In the Medias various information concerning his death appeared. One of the information stated that there were very few people on his funeral. Is it true?Y
es, there were very few people at his funeral, and very appropriately so. Fischer was a very private person, as everyone knows, and he deserved a very private funeral. It would have been completely against his spirit to have media or a large crowd at the time of his death. I am glad that he got to be buried in peace and quiet.

Chess is very popular in Iceland. Why? When it all did started?
The reasons for the popularity of chess in Iceland are of course many and varied. But I would first point out the terrific career of Iceland’s first GM, Fridrik Olafsson. Fridrik was playing top-world-chess in his day, and this was at a time when Iceland had very recently become an independent state, and had broken away from the rule of Denmark. This was then a time when a feeling of wanting to be self-assured and independent was building up, and with his international victories Fridrik was one of the proud symbols of how Icelanders could do well on their own in the world. Literally everyone knew whether Fridrik lost or won when he was playing tournaments, and in some places they even stopped the movies to shout out how his game had gone that night! Then, of course, comes the Match of 1972, the Match of the Century. I probably do not need to spell out what a tremendous effect this had on people here; it was truly a spectacular event for so many different reasons. It is among other things because of the Match that people here wanted to protect Fischer and take various risks in order to save him from prison. People remembered both Fischer and Spassky from 1972, and they found it so utterly wrong in the guts that he should be put away in prison - for playing chess.
Do you advertise it on television, radio?
Yes, we do all we can in order to get chess discussed on both radio and TV. We have very tough competition of course, from all kinds of other sports and the arts and other things so it is very hard. But we also work very hard at it and try to be imaginative, to create things that both include great and exciting chess but also something that catches people’s attention and interest along with it. So probably compared to many other countries we have a pretty good score on this record, although we would certainly like it to be much better.
How do you help to your best players?
Well, the state gives a monthly salary to people who hold a GM-title. True, it is not a very high salary, and you have obligations to teach chess, but at the same time I believe it is a system that exists nowhere else in the world, and it is meant to help along those who want to devote themselves to the game. In my opinion however we could do much better in creating a culture of disciplined and methodical training, and in getting international trainers to come to Iceland and teach. We are trying to do more of this now, but we still need to improve a lot in this field. Getting really good at chess in Iceland is very much up to the individual and self-learning, and we need more of a trainer-culture. But this is hopefully all to come in the future!
Do you have chess at schools?
Not all schools, no, and not even close to all and in no school is it obligatory. But it is alive and kicking in quite a few schools that are doing a wonderful job. This is in my opinion the key to a living chess culture - getting chess into the schools, every school. We are making progress, and on Fischer’s Birthday, 9 March, the City of Reykjavik announced in cooperation with the Chess Federation that it was planning to have all school in Reykjavik become "schools with chess" in the next couple years. Way to go!
About your biggest chess event-Reykjavik open-can you tell us something more about the organization, budget (here is the place to mention your sponsors), etc.
Well, you have been here Dejan, you tell about the organization! It has been truly a crazy workload for us at the federation, but we have truly done our best to make it nice and memorable. There are always things to do better, but we try very hard - and after all we are a federation of volunteers, so all of us are giving our time, energy and effort, in the hope of doing something nice for chess. What has been happening here is not just the Reykjavik Open, but also a Celebratory Program on Bobby Fischer’s Birthday, 9 March, then a tournament between some of his contemporaries, with Spassky as referee and Lombardy as commentator, and we finish the Chess Festival off with a 128-people Blitz Tournament. We believe in chess, and want the chess world and chess events to be done with care and love, so we try hard. We also have terrific sponsors. Our main sponsors are Glitnir Bank and the City of Reykjavik. Without them none of this would be possible.
Do you intend to organize more big events in your chess country?
Yes, of course! But then you must promise to write about them!!!
Thank you, Lilja. I promise!


Test Yorself 5

Pawn Power

1.g6 a2 2.g7 Kf7 3.Kh6 a1Q 4.Be6+ Kf6 Black is playing for mate... [4...Ke7 5.g8Q Qh1+ 6.Kg7 Qg2+ 7.Kh8+-] 5.e5+! but receives one. 5...Qxe5 6.g8N# Pogosiants


Bulgarian Men Final

Bulgarian Men Final is in process in Plovdiv. Last year's runner up had a hard time in round four:

Tsvetkov,Ilia (2352) - Nikolov,Momchil (2500)

We were taught once that two pawns on the sixth rank are equal to a rook. In this case it is even worse for the heavy piece:
49.Rxb2! Rxb2 50.d7 Rd2 51.c6 Kf7 52.c7 Rxd7 53.c8Q Re7 54.Kf2 Re6 55.g4 Rf6+ 56.Kg3 Kg6 57.Qg8 Rb6 58.h4 Rf6 59.h5+ Kh6 60.Qh8+ 1–0

Krasimir Rusev is leading the field with 4/5 games. He developed his opening repertoire, and now uses the French Defense as well with good results. His points could be even more, hence the lapsus in this game:
Rusev,Krasimir (2521) - Tsvetkov,Ilia (2352)

White is a whole rook up, and is obviously winning. But most probably in time trouble he loses the path:
56.e4 Kd4 57.exd5 Bxd5 58.Rg3 Re5+ 59.Kf4 Re2 60.Bf5 Bc6 61.a5 Rf2+ 62.Kg5 Kc5 63.Rb6 Ra2 64.Rb1 Rxa5 65.Kf4 Ra2 66.Be4 Bxe4 67.Kxe4 Re2+ 68.Kf4 Re7 69.Kf5 b5 70.Kf6 Rb7 71.Rd1 Kb4 72.Rb1+ Kc5 73.Rg5+ Kd4 74.Rd1+ Kc3 75.Rg3+ Kc2 76.Rh1 c3 77.Rh2+ Kb3 78.Ke5 b4 79.Kd5 Rc7 80.Rh4 Rc8 81.Rf4 Rc7 82.Rh3 Rc8 83.Rg4 Rc7 84.Rf3 Rc8 85.Rh4 Rc7 86.Re4 Rc8 87.Rh3 Rc7 88.Rg4 Rc8 89.Re3 Rc7 90.Rf3 Rc8 91.Rh3 Rc7 92.Rhh4 c2 93.Rxb4+ Kc3 94.Kd6 Rc8 95.Kd7 Rc5 96.Kd6 Rc8 97.Kd7 Rc5 98.Kd6 Rc8 99.Kd5 Draw.

Milen Vasilev is sharing second place with 3.5 and has good chances for his final GM norm.
Petkov,Vladimir (2434) - Vasilev,Milen (2470)

This is an original fortress:
64...Ke6 65.Ke3 Kd5 66.Kd3 Ke5 67.Ke3 Kd5 68.Be7 Kc4 69.Kf4 Kd4 70.Bf8 Kd5 71.Bc5 Ke6 72.Bf2 Kd5 73.Bg1 Ke6 74.Bb6 Kd5 75.Be3 Ke6 76.Kf3 Ke5 77.Bf4+ Kd5 78.Be3 Ke5 79.Bc5 Kd5 80.Ke3 Ke5 81.Bd4+ Kd5 82.Kd3 Kd6 83.Bf2 Kd5 84.Bg1 Ke5 85.Ke3 Kd5 Draw.

Another player with 3.5/5 is Vasil Spasov.
Spasov,Vasil (2579) - Iotov,Valentin (2495)

He was lucky to win a miniature in round two when black simply forgot his knight:
17...Qf8??Gross blunder, after [17...Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Re5 the game is about equal] 18.Qe6+ 1–0
Round six is today.
In the women's final Elitsa Raeva is leading with 2.5/3.