Kosovo League

This was my second participation at the Kosovo Super League that took place between 6-11 May. It is very modern nowadays to speak about the world financial crisis. Due to this, or another reason (more local players), the Kosovo federation decided to reduce the numbers of the foreigners to one. Six out of the eight participating teams used an outside reinforcement, and logically, the other two went down from the League at the end. The foreign GMs that participated included also Vladimir Georgiev, Trajko Nedev (both FYROM), Jozsef Pinter (Hungary), Petar Genov (Bulgaria), and IM Ilir Seitaj (ALB). Glasshouse bar near Victoria hotel hosted the event.
The time limit was classical- two hours for fourty moves and additional one hour till the end of the game. Team points were counted again as the last year. In case that two teams were equal on that criterion the total number of board points was taken into an account and finally the tiebreak system was three blitz matches-when the winner is the team that scores two wins. The first two teams qualify for the European Club Club. This is a very important tournament for the local players-a chance to meet the greatest players of our time, and to practice their game.
The favourites were the teams of Istogu (the reigning chamion), Llamkosi (who finished second the last year), as well as Prishtina (with very strong local players), and my team RWE Power- Kosovo. The tournament battle was rich of full-blooded games, and twists, suspense till the very end of each game. In many cases the evaluation of the positions was rapidly changing, and we could never consider the job done till the score sheets are not signed. From the eight starting teams one withdrew after the first two rounds due to financial reasons.
My team started very well, and after three wins and a draw was leading the table. Especially well in these rounds played our captain Armend Budima (who by the way was a candidate for a president of the Kosovo federation and lost within a tiny margin), the UK situated Astrid Zymberi, and the father of five children Gani Hamiti. The general manager of RWE and our sponsor John Jowett was a regular visitor of our matches. However, an unfortunate loss against the Theranda team (not a bad team actually, but till that moment they had only losses in all their matches) in the fifth round postponed the titled destiny for the final round. In it we met the Prishtina team that had only one loss so far (from the first round). A win with more than 4.5 would give us the title, a draw would be fine for the team of Llamkos, and a win for Prishtina will secure them the overall win. It was all fine for them however, and they started fiercely with 3-0. Soon after they scored half more point, and despite our two final efforts won the match with 3.5-2.5 and claimed the title. Congratulations!
Some of the problems in Kosovo remain. The country is still not officially recognized, and the tournaments are not counted for rating. Thus Kosovo players cannot represent their country in international tournaments.
There is only one arbiter that can judge the tournaments-the second man in the federation- Burhan Musini. He now tries to organize a seminar for arbiters, and to give part of his duties to other people. “I cannot play myself in any event, since I have to be the arbiter there”, complains Burhan.
He also hopes that they can soon organize the first international tournament in Kosovo.
In general, many of the things changed for good. The chessmen became better, the audience started to respect the players’ efforts more. However, due to the lack of tournament practice and low knowledge of the chess rules some funny situations kept on appearing:
In one of the games between the local players one of them lost on time on move 39. However, he did not want to resign for a while. He claimed that at some moment before he forgot to press the button of his clock, and wanted his time back…
In another local game the second player also seemingly could not perform the needed moves, but then the clock added him additional hour. His opponent expected that the clock should show only zeroes, and did not know what to do. He kept on playing and the game ended a draw. He claimed zeitnot after the game was finished, and the score sheets signed.
GM Petar Genov had a main role in the last case. His opponent from the final round took his queen, wondered for a while where to put it, and after sawing that all the three available squares are bad just put it back. Then he started to touch the other pieces-the pawns, king, etc. without using the word “jadoube”, and finally made a move with his king. Genov claimed that he has to move the queen, to which the opponent innocently answered that he is not sure which piece he has touched first. “I might have touched the queen, but my mind did not register that…” Since the game did not matter anymore (the match was already decided) the players from Genov’s team were persuading him to continue, while the players from his opponent’s team were persuading their player to resign. “I do not know how is it, you are the Grandmaster, you tell me which move to play”, continued the opponent. “I cannot tell you your move, but according to the rules, you must move the queen”. Finally the local player resigned the game.

Official site with selected games- www.shahu-ks.com

Final Ranking Cross table

1. PRISHTINA- 10 (21.5)
2. LLAMKOSI- 9 (22)
4. MINATORI- 6 (16.5)
5. THERANDA- 5 (16.5)
6. ISTOGU- 4 (16.5)
7. TREPÇA -1 (11.5)


The mystery rook move

"To require from the pieces only direct attacking actions-this is the thinking of the average player. The more flexible understanding of the game would also require profilaxical influence from the pieces." This is how the great thinker of chess Aaron Nimzovitsch explains the ideas behind the mystery rook moves. And here is a demonstarion:
Von Gottschall,Hermann - Nimzowitsch,Aaron
Hannover Hannover (2), 1926

28...Rh8! Black wants to improve his king-Kf7-g6-f5. However, if he tries this idea immediately, White has the g4 resource, for instance: [28...Kg6 29.g4 hxg4 30.hxg4 Rh8 31.Kg3= Thus, the mystery rook move. Profilaxis!] 29.Rd1?! For Von Gottschall black's move remained mystery. Otherwise, he could have ruined his opponent's plans if he had thought also profilactically. The move: [29.Rd6 (Dvoretsky) hitting the pawn on d6 would prevent Black's activisation.] 29...Kg6 30.Rd4 Kf5 31.Bd2

31...Rf8! Yet another mystery rook move. The reason for it is seen in the line- [31...e5 32.fxe5 fxe5 33.g4+ hxg4 34.hxg4+ Ke6 35.Rd6+=] 32.Be1?! White had to find instead the mystery king move- [32.Kg1!? taking away the king from the discovered attack, for example- 32...e5 33.fxe5 fxe5 34.g4+ hxg4 35.hxg4+= (Dvoretsky)] 32...e5 [32...g5 is more subtle.] 33.fxe5 fxe5 34.Rh4? g5 35.Rb4 [35.Rxh5 Kg6+ is one possible result of he mystery.] 35...Ke6+ 36.Ke2 e4 37.Bf2 Rf3 38.Rb6
Nimtzovitsch succeeded in his plans. Now the subtle maneuver- 38...Ke5! 39.Rb4 Kd5 created a zugzwang position, and later he won convincingly. 40.h4 gxh4 41.gxh4 Rh3 42.Rd4+ Ke5 43.Rd8 Bd5 44.Re8+ Be6 45.Rd8 46.Rf8+ Bf5 47.Rf7 Rh2 48.Re7 Bg4+ 49.Ke1 50.Rf7 Kg2 51.Kd2 52.Ke3 Bf3 54.Bd6 Rb3+ 55.Kd4 Kf2 56.Rg7 e3 57.Bg3+ Kf1 58.Rf7 e2 59.Re7 Bc6 'This game, which I count amongst the best I have played, is also significant for its treatment of the isolani as an endgame weakness. 0–1

This strong method is nowadays not a secret for any young player. Especially, if his name is Carlsen:
Carlsen,M (2714) - Adams,Mi (2729)
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (4.1), 03.12.2007

33.Rb1!! "This was my plan. Due to the weakness of the b6 pawn, White wins the needed time for regrouping."-Carlsen. 33...Kf8?! [better was- 33...Bg6 34.Rd1 Bc2 35.Rxd5 Rxd5 36.Ne3 Bb3 37.Nxd5 Bxd5 the position is unpleasant, but Black play on, states the young GM.] 34.Be1! Ke7 35.Kg1! The king moves away from the center, but this is temporarily. He frees at the moment the f2 square for the bishop, and White's position becomes obviously better after that. 35...Nb8 36.Bf2 Nd7 37.Re1+ Kf8 38.Rd1 Ke7 39.Re1+ Kf8 40.Nd6±

We see the results of Carlsen's deep strategy. He kept both his bishops on the board, and now exchanges the black one, thus achieving comfortable edge. Adams could not resist the growing pressure. 40...Ne5 [40...Bg8 41.Bb5] 41.Nxf7 Kxf7 42.Rd1 Ke7 43.f4 Ng4 44.Re1+ Kf8 45.Bd4 Rd6 46.h3 Nh6 47.Rd1 Nf5 48.Bf2 Ke7 49.g4 Nh6 [49...Nfe3 50.Re1 Re6 51.f5 Re5 52.Bg3 Re4 53.Bg2 nets a piece for White.] 50.f5 Nf7 51.Bg2 Nf4 52.Rxd6 Nxd6 53.Bxb6 Nc4 54.Bc5+ Kd7 55.Bf1 [55.b3 wins faster. Anyway, Carlsen was in full control till the very end-] 55...Nxb2 56.Bb5+ Kd8 57.Bb6+ Ke7 58.Kh2 Nd5 59.Bxa5 Kd6 60.Bd2 Kc5 61.Kg3 Nc7 62.Be3+ Kb4 63.Bd2+ Kc5 64.Bc1 Nc4 65.Bxc4 Kxc4 66.Bd2 Na6 67.a5 Kb5 68.Kf3 Nc5 69.Bc3 h6 70.Ke3 Kc4 71.Bd4 Na6 72.Ke4 Nb4 73.h4 Kb5 74.Bc3 Na6 75.Kd5 Nc5 76.Bd4 Nd3 77.Ke6 1–0

However, even experienced players may pass through the idea, like in the game:
Najer,Evgeniy (2608) - Landa,Konstantin (2614)
EU-Cup 19th Rethymnon (3), 30.09.2003

24...Rd5 Landa could have used the mystery rook move instead- [24...Rb8і (Hellsten) aiming Rb8-b5-a5, with better prospects. In the game he allowed the freeing a2-a3, which relieved White's game.] 25.a3 bxa3 26.bxa3 Rb5 27.Rb3 Ke6 28.Ke2 Rxb3 1/2


The Gods must be Crazy

The fifth Jubilee tournament M-Tel Masters takes place in Sofia. It is from the ultra-prestigious 21 Category. Two rounds are already played, and the audience could witness (live from the glass cage in front of the National Theater!) full-blooded battle, excellent chess, and high quality...blunders.
Have a look at these two:
Wang Yue (2738) - Dominguez Perez,L (2717)
5th MTel Masters Sofia BUL (1), 13.05.2009

64.b5?? Insted White was easily winning after- [64.Kd3! e1Q 65.Rxe1 Kxe1 66.Ke3! Kf1 67.Kf4

and even the Reti idea to win a tempo and catch the pawn does not work- 67...Kf2 68.Kxg4 Ke3 69.b5] 64...e1Q 65.Rxe1 and draw was agreed since both players promote-[65.Rxe1 Kxe1 66.b6 g3 67.b7 g2 68.b8Q g1Q] Ѕ–Ѕ

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2746) - Wang Yue (2738)
5th MTel Masters Sofia BUL (2), 14.05.2009

Ivanchuck’s will to win is remarkable, but here it backfires:

44.Bxg5?? White could make a draw, instead, for example- [44.Bxe6 Kxe6 45.Bxg5 hxg4 46.Kxg4 d5= and the opposite-coloured bishops secure Black the half point] 44...Bxd5 45.f4+ [45.cxd5 Nxg5 46.f4+ Ke4 transposes to the game] 45...Ke4 46.cxd5 Nxg5 47.fxg5

47...h4+!! Otherwise it is White who wins. 48.Kxh4 Kf3 The king is trapped. Soon the useful moves will be over, and White will have to give away a pawn. 49.b4 b5 50.a5 Kg2 51.h3 Kh2

[51...Kh2 52.c3 Kg2 53.c4 bxc4 54.b5 c3 55.bxa6 c2 56.a7 c1Q 57.a8Q Qe1#] 0–1