The Advantages of the Isolated Pawn

Bojkov,D - Adamson,R [B10]
Los Angelis Los Angeles, 21.01.2011
I did not do well at L.A. as a whole, but the following game was my best achievement. Most of the beautiful lines though remained behind the curtains: 1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bb5 e6 8.0–0 Be7 9.d4 0–0 10.Re1 Bd7 11.Bd3 Nf6 12.a3 Rc8 13.Bg5

13...Qa5?! Robby told me after the game that he had prepared this line at home, and that everyone plays here 14.Bc2. However, as I did not know that I found another move, that actually prevents his idea: 14.Ne5! And Black went into the thinking tank. 14...Qd8?! The point is that if Black continues with his normal development, he might be crushed due to the weakness of the f7 square: [14...Rfd8? 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Bxh7+! Kf8 The only move, that was concerning me for a while. Much weaker is: (16...Kxh7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Qxf7+ Kh7 19.Re3 when Black is getting mated.) 17.Qh5! Only when I saw this follow up I chose 14.Ne5! White's attack is unstoppable, for example: 17...g6 18.Bxg6 fxg6 Or: (18...Bxe5 19.dxe5 fxg6 20.Qh8+ Ke7 21.Qg7+ Ke8 22.Qxg6+ Kf8 23.Qf6+ Ke8 24.Re4 followed by Re4-h4-h8 and mate.) 19.Qh6+ Bg7 20.Qf4+ Ke7 21.Qf7+ Kd6 22.Nc4+ and White wins.; After the game Robby suggested the defense: 14...Be8 I thought that this is also very bad for him, but I now believe that this might have been Black's best chance. Here are some possibilities: 15.Re3 h6 a) 15...g6 16.Bh6 will win at least an exchange for White.; b) 15...Nxe5 This was Robby's idea, as after: 16.dxe5 Nd5 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.Ne4± The sacrifice on h7 does not work:(18.Bxh7+ Kxh7 19.Rh3+ Kg8 20.Qh5 f5) ; 16.Bxh6! This one of the lines that was keeping me calculating. Black is mated after: 16...gxh6 17.Rg3+ Kh8 18.Qd2 Ng8

19.Rxg8+ Kxg8 20.Qxh6 f5 21.Qxe6+ Bf7 22.Qxf5 Kg7 23.Qh7+ Kf6 24.Qh6+ Bg6 25.Qxg6#] 15.Qf3! Preventing the move 15...g7-g6, and transfering the queen on a vintage point. The rook lift does not bring anything substancial after: [15.Re3 g6] 15...Nxe5 Black sacrifices material to loose the grip. There is no time to grab the central pawn, as the opening of this highway is deadly for Black: [15...Nxd4 16.Qh3 h6 17.Bxh6! gxh6 18.Qxh6 Nf5 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.Qg5+ Kh8

21.Nxd7 (The simplest) 21...Qxd7 22.Rad1 Qc7 23.Rd3 with mate to follow.] 16.dxe5 Nd5 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 After: [17...Nxe7 White has a pleasant choice which pawn to take: 18.Rad1 (18.Qxb7 Bc6 19.Qa6) 18...Qc7 19.Bxh7+ Kxh7 20.Qd3+] 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Qxd5 Bc6 20.Qb3 Rfd8 Black is a pawn down without any compensation, and the active try in the game only speeds up the end. 21.Bf5!

Threatening both the rook and the e5-e6 advance. 21...Qg5 22.Qh3 Bxg2 23.Qxh7+ My initial idea was to win the exchange with: [23.Qg4 However, the move in the game gains more material.] 23...Kf8 24.h4 Qf4 25.Bxc8! The straightforward attack wins as well:[25.e6! fxe6 26.Bxe6 Rc6 27.Qg8+ Ke7 28.Qxg7+ Kd6 29.Rad1+; However, the gain of the bishop spoils the victory, as Robby pointed out: 25.Kxg2? Rd2 26.Rf1

26...Rcc2!! 27.Bxc2 Qg4+ 28.Kh2 Qf4+=; 25.Bxc8 Rd2 26.Qf5] 1–0


LA Invitational Tournament

From 19-23 January Los Angelis hosted a GM norm tournament dedicated to the memory of one of the cities best chess promoters-Jimmy Quon.
Jimmy Quon was a beloved chess player from the Southern California Community who taught at La Jolla Country Day School for 14 years. At one time he was teaching 15% of the student body. In the end, he had coached over 1000 players.
This was the first GM norm event in Southern California since six years. The dream of our T. D. (tournament director) Michael Belcher was always to host an event like that. Since the times of the Spassky-Fischer match, Michael always admired to one of the people on the stage. But that person was neither Boris, nor Bobby. That person was the arbiter! And when he reached the mature age of twelve, he started to organize tournaments. Michael is originally an Indian from the Navaho tribe and experienced problems as the people did not know how to play chess. Therefore, he taught them, and then organized them tournaments. In L.A. he found support by both Jimmy Quon, and the current organizer of the event- Ankit Gupta. Ankit is a national master, who does his best to promote our sport in the enourmous city. Still, despite its seventeen million populations, L.A. is meager in chess events. These two men efforts though gave already two norm events to South California- an IM and GM norm invitationals, when the plan is that those events become regular. Metrochess L.A. is also organizing a strong open in August and have already participants’ confirmation by GMs like Adams and van Wely.
All the games were played in the California Market Center, which is the L.A. downtown. It is a fashion district, and many reviews took place while we played our games. The tournament itself appeared to be a triumph for the Philipini GM Marc Paragua, who started with remarkable 6/6. he took clear first, two points ahead of his closest pursuer GM Melik Khachiyan, former trainer of Levon Aronian. Third is Mackenzie Molner. None achieved the desired norm.

Unfortunately, this wonderful event was affected by a racist scandal, caused by a third party. In his regular information email Ankit Gupta recommended among others the events of a local club LACC (Los Angelis Chess Club) whose founder and director Mick Bighamian has an Iranian origin. Confused by the many emails in the list, the Israeli GM and student at Texas Tech University Anatoly Bykhovsky wrote an email to LACC, instead of Metropolitan Chess Club asking for conditions for the summer open. Despite the fact that LACC has nothing to do with this tournament, the Israeli received the following reply from Bighamian’s email: “We don’t allow players from terrorist countries in our tournaments! Good Chess! ”
Bykhovsky rushed in to complain to Susan Polgar, and the whole case soon reached Israel, where the President of the Chess Federation wrote an official letter of protest to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
In the meanwhile Bighamian’s explanations to what have happened vary to either a computer virus or the public usage of the club computer.
This is a very sad case in our sport, which should be used to unite the people, rather than segregate them. In an official letter of the participants we stand behind the organizer Gupta, and condemned any racist’s attitude. Ankit on his turn hurried up to invite Anatoly Bykhovsky for the summer tournament. I hope that he will understand, and accept the invitation.


The Typical American Open

Concord open took place 14-17 (for most of the players 15-17) January in the small town located near the Pittsburgh Bay Point Area, in California. It was part of the American tour, and had various sections for each rating.
The word that can specify an open here is flexibility. Chess is a business as any other. Therefore, the organizers try to attract as many people as possible, providing them various options. They can either choose the four days scheme, when they play all the seven games in the normal time modus (2 hours per 40 moves, and additional hour till the end of the game), or play the three-days schedule. This means that they will play three days, and in the first day the first two games are in a semi-rapid time limit (75 minutes per game). After that the two tournament schedules are gathered together. Most of the players choose the three days-schedule, as they have one day less to pay a hotel, or they simply have work to do in that day.
Another peculiarity is the re-entry option. If a player plays in a lower rated section, and let’s say loses his first game, he can quit this tournament and re-enter the next day into the open section with the three-day schedule, thus starting a new tournament. However, in that case he will have to pay yet another entry fee.
There is no special treatment to any players. Each of them has to carry his own chess set and clock for his white games. Someone had told me that it is not a rare picture to see the likes of Kamsky and Nakamura with a chess set under their arm at the tournament hall. Grandmasters’ only privilege is that do not pay entry fee at the start of the event. But in case that they take prices- those entries are deducted from their price.
One more interesting thing was the five-second delay modus. This means that your clock starts to count the seconds only after five seconds have passed by (and not adding five seconds on the clock as I thought). Still, as some players come with mechanical clocks they cannot use that system. But none cares. It was a bit unexpected for me that despite all this freedom, and lack of control the tournament went smoothly, and none ever complained of anything.
The byes are allowed, and you can take as many as you want once that you have announced them before the third round. You can take one whole bye-bye to the tournament as long as you pay your fee. You can also leave it whenever you want in case that you do not like your tournament situation. When I asked the tournament director Bill Goichberg if he can place the pairings on the internet the night before the rounds he replied: “I do them in the morning, as many people leave the night before, and there is no sense to repair them.”
Headphones are also allowed during games, and most of the people use them for better concentration. Some listen to the music. The look of an opponent with headphones on performing strong moves was bit too scary for me though.
“Why do you guys take so many byes?” I asked Daniel, a new acquaintance who I meet at the station while we wait for the free bus shuttle for the hotel (which was never coming). “You see man, I work as a DJ in San Francisco, and there was none to replace me for my show, so I took a bye for my third game. I worked till 3 a.m., and here I am (it was 10 a.m.) for the fourth one.” But then you must be tired-why do not you take another bye in the morning?” “Ah, no, I want to play some good games and if I have the chance to make to the money that will be good.” Daniel is 42, rated around 1300 and started playing chess three years ago, but he really enjoys it. “You know man, this is something that you can always keep learning, and satisfy you.”
I started the event horribly scoring 2/3 in my first game, which objectively could have been much less for the level of the play that I was showing. But then things went better and with two final black wins I managed to tie for the first with Daniel John Bryant, each of us scoring 5.5/7. There was an additional tie-break criteria (which I never understood what exactly it was, neither it was written anywhere), and Daniel got some extra bucks for edging me in that.


King Loek Rulez

Berkeley international took place at the beginning of January (2-8) at the Berkeley Chess School, up the hill of the town. It was a 10-round open, with a tough scheme that featured three doubled rounds at the beginning. We played the FIDE time limit, with the only difference that the phone ring would not necessarily mean a defeat by forfeit.
Berkeley is a small town near San Francisco, famous for its University of California. One of the organizers of the event, Arun Sharma is a professor teacher in Mathematics in this prestigious University. He is rated around 2300 and recently did very well at the North American Open in Las Vegas where he won a special price for rating category. “This was probably my best tournament so far”, said he with satisfaction. The other organizer is David Pruess, an IM and great promoter of chess in USA. He also organized the previous three editions of the tournament in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
I can say that the event was very well organized. The halls were spacious, and easily accessible, there were free beverages and snacks for the players during their games.
The field was rather strong, and the surprises started immediately from round one. The rating favourite Loek van Wely had to leave his top board after drewing a game against Keaton Kiewra, who is rated 2337. I was always wondering why people call the Dutch GM- King Loek. Here I understood it, after watching his consecutive string of five-in-a-row recovery, which included wins against strong GMs Magesh Panchanathan, Josh Friedel and Robert Hess. He then made three more draws, and won the decisive last round game to claim a clear first in style. His opponent from the first round also did quite well, secured an IM norm with a round to go, and created a marvelous game against the compatriot Hess to score his first GM norm. The tournament itself was quite rich of norm achievements. Sam Shankland scored his final GM norm to gain the title at the age of 19, Denys Shmelov who is not even an IM made his first GM norm. In addition, Daniel Naroditsky became an IM at the age of 14, and Conrad Holt and Roman Yankovsky scored their second norms, while Tatev Abrahamyan made it to the WGM norm. in a thrilling game Sergey Erenburg managed to outwit Timur Gareev and take clear second, while Magesh Panchanathan edged out Josh Friedel to win the third price. I was in a Christmas mood and presented as many points as possible. What made me an impression was the fact that there was no closing ceremony. The price winners calmly took their checks and left, there were neither bombastic speeches nor long applauses.

Not many people attended the tournament, and I was once shocked by a question from a visitor who asked me if it is allowed to get inside and have a look at the games.
There were more chess-related activities throughout the event- simultaneous exhibitions with the youngest national master Kayden Troff and GM Timur Gareev, free chess lecture by IM Daniel Rensch, blitz tournament which was won by Robert Hess.
The American tournaments are much more different than those in Europe. The bye point system is still not very clear to me. How many half-point byes can one possibly take? And when should he/she announce them? Some of the players took four byes. Some none. It is a completely free world.
And it is not only like that on the chess field. The next day while walking around in San Francisco we see people on underwear coming out of the BART (something in between a train and metro) station. It appeared that there was a “No pants day” in San Francisco, and those willing to do it can walk this way. It is 10 degrees centigrade, but noone cares. It’s America!
We had a wonderful time visiting the Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Garden, the China town, the Mechanics Chess Club and walking around in San Francisco.


Groningen's Best Effort

The following game was played in round seven of the tournament:
Bojkov,Dejan - Bok,Benjamin [C45]
Schaakfestival 2010 Open A Groningen (7), 28.12.2010
[Dejan Bojkov]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 Played for the first time in my life. But there is always a first time. 3...exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Nd2 d6 8.Nb3 Bb6 9.a4 a5 10.Bd2 Qxf3 11.gxf3 Ne7 12.Rg1 Ng6 Another possible plan is: [12...0–0 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.fxe3 as Anand-Aronian, Bilbao 2008 is more usual, but as a whole this line is still in developing progress.] 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.fxe3

14...Bd7 The beginning of a wrong idea. The bishop is vulnerable on d7. The simple: [14...Ne5 is more to the point, for example: 15.Be2 g6 16.f4 Nd7 17.Bf3 c5 18.e5 Ra7 19.exd6 cxd6 20.Nd2 with a slight pool for White occured in Radjabov,T (2744)-Aronian,L (2737)/Bilbao 2008/CBM 126 (34)] 15.f4 0–0 16.0–0–0 c5 17.Nxc5 Bc6 The point behind Black's play. However, it seems that he underestimated the follow up: 18.Na6 Ra7 Both: [18...Rfc8 19.Bh3; 18...Bxe4 19.Rd4 cannot be recommended.] 19.e5 Bad is: [19.Rd4 Rfa8 20.Rg5 Rxa6 21.Bxa6 Rxa6і; But serious attention deserved: 19.Rg5!? Rfa8 20.Rxa5 Bb7 21.Nxc7 Rxa5 22.Nxa8 Rxa8 23.b3 Bxe4 24.Rxd6 and as the pawns become more valuable in the endgame, White has the better chances.] 19...dxe5 20.f5 Nh4 21.f6 g6 [21...Ng6 22.fxg7 Kxg7 23.Nc5±] 22.Nc5 Nf5

So far the game for more or less forced. Black needs to make one more move-Nf5-d6 to put his pieces together, after which he will be out of danger. Therefore: 23.Bb5! Much better than: [23.e4 Nd6 24.Bg2 Raa8 and Black is only marginally worse.] Temporarily sacrificing the pawn I manage to get the maximum of my pieces, while keeping the rook on a7 in a "box". 23...Bxb5 24.axb5 Nxe3 25.Rd7 With the threat b5-b6. 25...Nc4 26.b3 [26.Re7 a4] 26...Nb6 27.Re7 a4 White's idea is supported tactically: [27...Nd5 28.Nd7! Nxe7 (28...Rfa8 29.Rxe5±) 29.fxe7 Rfa8 30.Nf6+ Kg7 31.e8Q Rxe8 32.Nxe8+ Kf8 33.Nf6+-] 28.bxa4 Nxa4 29.Nd7 ! I was also considering the position after: [29.Nxa4 Rxa4 30.Rg5 Rf4 31.Rxc7 Rxf6 32.Rxe5 with an advantage for White but then realized that the move in the text is even stronger.] 29...Rfa8 [29...Rd8 30.Nxe5 Nc3 31.Nc6+-] 30.Rg5 Not the most accurate. Better is: [30.Nxe5 Nb6 31.Rg4 Ra1+ 32.Kd2 Rd8+ 33.Ke2 when White keeps all his active pieces on the board. ] 30...Nb6 I spent most of my time calcuating the line: [30...Nc3 31.Rgxe5 h5

32.Rxf7! Kxf7 33.Re7+ Kg8 34.f7+ (34.Rg7+? Kh8 35.Ne5 Ra1+ 36.Kb2 Nd1+ 37.Kb3 R1a3+ 38.Kb4 R8a4+ 39.Kc5 Rc3+ 40.Kd5 Ne3+ 41.Ke6 Re4 42.Kf7 Rxe5 43.Rg8+ Kh7 44.Rg7+ Kh6 45.Rxg6+=) 34...Kh8 35.Re8++-] 31.Nxb6 [31.Nxe5 Ra1+ 32.Kd2 Rd8+ 33.Ke2 Ra2 34.Rxc7 Nd5 35.Rd7 Rxc2+ 36.Ke1 Rc1+ 37.Kd2 Rcc8 is not something that you would like to enter in the coming time-trouble.] 31...cxb6 Black can also keep the second rook, but his situation is no better: [31...Ra1+ 32.Kd2 cxb6 33.Rgxe5 Rd8+ 34.Kc3 Raa8 35.Rc7±] 32.Rxa7 Rxa7 33.Rxe5

The arising endgame is technically won for White. He has more active pieces, and will soon organize a strong distant passed pawn. 33...Ra8 [33...Kf8 34.Rd5 Ke8 35.Rd6 Rb7 36.Kb2 g5 37.c4 g4 38.Kc3 h5 39.Rd5 (39.Kb4 Rb8 (39...h4 40.Rd4) 40.Rd5 (40.c5 bxc5+ 41.Kxc5 Rc8+ 42.Kd5 Rc2 43.b6 Rd2+ 44.Kc6 Rc2+ 45.Kb7 h4 46.Rc6 Rd2 47.Kc7 Rd7+ 48.Kb8 Rd2 49.Rc4 Kd7 50.Rxg4 Rxh2 51.Rd4+ Ke6 52.b7 Rb2 (52...h3) 53.Rxh4 Kxf6 54.Rh5 Ke6 55.Ra5 f5 56.Ka8 f4 57.b8Q Rxb8+ 58.Kxb8+-) ) 39...Ra7 40.Rxh5+-] 34.c4 Kf8 [34...Rc8 35.Kd2 Kf8 36.Kc3+-] 35.Kc2 Rd8 36.Kc3?! [36.c5! bxc5 37.Kc3 is more precise.] 36...Rd6 37.c5 bxc5 In time trouble Bok did not find the best defense: [37...Rxf6! 38.Kc4 Rf4+ 39.Kd5 f6 40.Re2 Rf5+ 41.Kc6 Rxc5+ 42.Kxb6 Rc3 43.Ka6 Ra3+ 44.Kb7± compared to the game, Black will have several extra tempi.] 38.Kc4 Rxf6 39.Kxc5 Rf2 40.b6 Rb2 [40...Rxh2 41.b7 Rb2 42.Kc6 Rxb7 43.Kxb7+-] 41.Kc6 f6 42.Rb5 Rc2+ 43.Kd7

Now there is not even a reason to win the rook immediately, as Black will not have any counterplay. 43...Rd2+ 44.Ke6 Rd8 45.b7 Rb8 46.Kxf6 Ke8 47.Ke6 h6 [47...Kf8 48.Kd6 Kf7 49.Kc7 Re8 50.b8Q Rxb8 51.Kxb8 Kf6 52.Kc7 g5 53.Kd6+-] 48.h4 Kf8 49.Kf6 g5 50.Rc5 I believe this was my best game in Groningen. 1–0


2010 Gold Coast International Chess Festival (26-30 December 2010)

The organizer of this Australia tournament was very kind to write a report on it:
My name is Amir Karibasic and I am the main Organizer of the 2010 Gold Coast Chess Festival for the 4th time .

The fact is that our club, Kings of chess club, see www.kingsofchess.biz, organized these tournament successfully every year using different months, but this Year we decided to alter the dates (just to test) from after the Christmas break, 26 – 30 December. Not many chess organizers believed that this would work and chess players over looked this date very sceptically, especially when the Australian Open starts every Year on the 2nd of January. We thought that that was good because the 2 tournaments could be linked together and International visitors could have 2 weeks of fun.
Back to 2009: Australia is far away from the chess world unlike Europe which chess central. You cannot see many “Super” Grandmasters visiting this continent. As a club chess player I was always fascinated about the combinations in chess, therefore I studied Mikhail Tal and Alexei Shirov games and bought all of Shirov’ s books and DVDs published by Chessbase.
Then I started wondering-“What would it be like to have Alexei Shirov visit the Gold Coast?”. (For those people who don’t know where the Gold Coast is- it is located 80km from Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, and 900km from Sydney and 2000km from Melbourne)

As we announced it to the 2007 to club members, everyone laughed at our idea. Then it all started in 2008 when Super Grandmaster Alexei Shirov accepted to be the judge for the Brilliancy prize and in 2009 surprised us once again with his decision to visit Australia and Gold Coast, whilst performing a Simul which increases the popularity of chess in Australia. OK, obviously that is already a too long story but I have only one thing to add. I had spent 5 days with Alexei showing him around Gold Coast. To me it felt like I was accompanying a school mate, could I find a better word, possibly, but that is how our friendship and trust became strengthened. The best moment of this event I remember, was when Alexei Shirov walked into the venue, The Australian public was stunned, for 5 seconds everything went quiet and then after came a big applause, as they realised it was true. That was the best moment in my chess career as the organizer.

Let’s continue with 2010 and again there were sceptics about our idea to make a FIDE tournament, from 26-30 December, just after the Christmas. In my life I was always an optimist and always believed that I can do something if I want to. It looks arrogant, but I found that is a like a medicine for good health and a long life. Supported only by several players, I felt all my work in the last 3 Years was collapsing and my reputation was fading. But thanks to my personality and my brain which switched on the trigger for survival- commanding me, saying ‘Let’s do it. Open a campaign, and search for public support’. The “blitz-krieg” advertising began and the chess public answered positively. The Sponsorship and entries started to flow including No.1 Australian player Grandmaster Zhao Zong Yuan (2586), \No. 3 Australian player IM George Xie (2478), IM James Morris 2260, Moulthun Ly 2298, FM Junta Ikeda 2264 etc.

2010 Gold Coast Chess Festival became an event created by the Australian chess public.

The highlight of the event was that we used 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, for the first time in Australia. This scoring system made FM Junta Ikeda a new Champion who in the last round jumped 3 points up and won the tournament, for more see www.goldcoastchessfestival.com or check our video release at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaAa-hpQ8ME

Here is the for me the best game between: GM Zhao Zong Yuan (2586) vs IM George Xie (2478):

Zhao,Zong-Yuan (2586) - Xie,George (2478) [C11]
Gold Coast Chess Festival 2010 (9), 30.12.2010
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qd2 b5 9.a3 Bb7 10.Bd3 g5!? 11.fxg5 cxd4 12.Nxd4 Ncxe5!? [12...Ndxe5 this is the move I knew of 13.0–0 Bg7 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 15.Bc5 is a line if I am not mistaken] 13.0–0 Bg7 14.Nce2 this seemed like the most logical plan, bringing the knight to h5 14...0–0 15.Ng3 Ng4! this move I hadn't expected although looking back it seems to be the best move [15...Qc7 16.Nh5 Ng4 17.Rf4 Nxe3 18.Qxe3 Qe5 (18...e5 19.Nf6+) 19.Qh3! (19.Qg3+-) ] 16.Rf4 I didn't quite realise that with this move the next set of moves is semi forced [16.c3 During the game I really only thought about going for a direct attack but this sensible move certainly has merits] 16...Nde5! After this I went into the thinking tank, the more I thought the more I realised that white now has to sacrifice something [16...Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Qxg5 (17...e5 18.Rh4 exd4 (18...e4 19.Ngf5 exd3 20.Ne7+ Kh8 21.Rxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qh3+ is a nice line which I did see :)) 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 I saw up to here and I thought it should be winning, now with an engine it's also quite straight forward 20.Qf4 Ne5 21.Nh5 f6 22.Bf5 fxg5 23.Nf6++-) 18.Nxe6 I was this much but now Fritz 5 points out 18...Qe7 but the rest is quite easy here 19.Nf5 Qxe6 20.Qg3 Qe5 21.Nxg7±] 17.Raf1!? I saw the upcoming idea and despite the fact it all worked out I still have doubts now even after the game. On the other hand everything else looked depressing so this decision is forced too... 17...Nxe3 Black has many options now...most of them winning some material [17...Qxg5 18.Rxg4 (18.Nxe6? Qh4–+) 18...Qxg4 19.Rf4 Qg5 20.Nxe6+- took a while for me to see but finally it clicked; 17...Nxd3 this one also gave me huge headaches 18.Rxg4! a) 18.cxd3 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 e5 20.Rf6 exd4 21.Qxd4 Bxf6 22.Rxf6 Qe7–+; b) 18.Qxd3 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 (19.Rh4 h6!–+) 19...e5 20.Rf6 exd4 21.Qxd4 Bxf6 22.Rxf6 Qe7 23.h3 Rae8–+ this whole variation could have also happened in the game but if white is forced into it then he is justlost; 18...Nxb2 this move fell outside of my vision but fortunately white seems fine here (18...Ne5 19.Rh4 is what I was planning) 19.Nh5‚] 18.Qxe3 Nxd3

19.Rf6 Nc5? I feel this is too passive although of course a deep computer analysis is needed [19...Bxf6! 20.gxf6 Kh8 21.cxd3 Rc8! and I am not that confident about white's chances (21...Rg8 22.Nf3 (22.Qe5 Qb6 (22...Rg6) 23.Kh1 Rac8 24.Nf3 d4) 22...Rc8 (22...d4 23.Ne5!) 23.Ne5 Rc7 24.d4©) 22.Nh5 Rg8 23.Ng7 Qf8 here I think black is better although white may hold; 19...Nxb2 20.Nh5 Nc4 21.Qh3 Qb6 22.c3 Bh8 23.Kh1 (23.Rh6 Bxd4+ 24.cxd4 Qxd4+ 25.Kh1) ; 19...e5 I didn't think this was good in the game but there is this Nc1 idea which might make it okay 20.Nh5 exd4 21.Qxd4 (21.Qxd3 Qe7) 21...Nc1!? Fritz 5 idea 22.Rxc1 Bh8 23.Rcf1 Qe7] 20.Nh5 Bh8 21.Rh6 Now I didn't really see a defence 21...Ne4 22.Nf6+ Bxf6 23.gxf6 Qd6 [23...Kh8 24.Rxh7+ Kxh7 25.Qh3+ Kg6 26.Qg4+ Ng5 27.h4+-; 23...Qb6 24.Rf4 Rfc8 25.Rxe4 dxe4 26.Qg5+ Kf8 27.Qg7+ Ke8 28.Qg8+ Kd7 29.Qxf7+ Kd6 30.Qxe6+ Kc7 31.Rxh7++-] 24.Rh5 A nice way to sort of rescue a really up and down tournament 1–0
Other events like the Blitz tournament and something new and special like a Simul on the 64 boards at Broadbeach Mall. The Winner of the Blitz tournament was Mr Moulthun Ly (2298), one of the sharpest players in Australia.
The Simul on 64 boards had been held with the idea that 8 Masters played on 8 boards against the Australian public. The Simul performers where: GM Zhao Zong Yuan (No1 Australian Player), IM James Morris(Highest titled Junior in Australia), Moulthun Ly(one of the fastest Blitz Chess players in Australia), WFM Emma Guo (Highest rated Female Junior), Daniel Lapitan (the boy who drew with Alexei Shirov in 2009 Simul), Leteisha Simmonds (Queesland Junior Champion), Abbie Kanagarajah (rising star in women chess) and Melanie Karibasic (best women in Kings of chess Club).

No1 Australian Player GM Zhao Zong Yuan (2586) – Simul
2010 Gold Coast Chess Festival: All in all it became a success and attracted Australian television and local news papers.
See you again from 26-30 December on the Gold Coast , No 1 Tourist destination in Australia.
All International players are welcome.


Success in Groningen

Pictures by Bart Beijer and Dejan Bojkov
I have always enjoyed playing in Netherlands, and this was my fifth visit in Groninen. The city is one of the most beautiful in the country, with the famous Martini tower, Grote Markt place, the many picturesque channels with the ships and boats on them. This is an exceptional place where the environments is taken care of, and even in the cold winter that we had to face most of the people prefer to use their bikes rather than cars. It is also a place where fifty thousand students come each year to study in the second oldest University in Netherlands. One of his graduates is Jan Werle, whose game opened the festival, but Groningen is also proud to have Sipke Ernst, Sergey Tiviakov (you saw his pictures already, did not you), and Ivan Sokolov as citizens.
This year the event was organized again by Jan Colly, but there was a huge group of chess enthusiasts who help with everything they possibly do.
What is it that makes this chess festival so famous, and well known? I believe that the answer in that question is the number of young players, who regularly take part in the event. Therefore, the report starts with the norms claimed in the event.
Three players achieved IM norms. One of them is the youngest chess author ever Daniel Naroditsky from USA. The Indian player Shiven Khosla is less known, however I understood that he is a very talented and ambitious player, who is coached by the Ukrainian GM Goloschapov. His third and final norm would not become true, if the arbiters in Groningen did not show their creativity and bald interpretation of the chess rules. In the penultimate round the Indian was paired against Oleg Romanishin. However, at the end of tournament many participants got sick and could not complete the event. One of them was the legendary Ukrainian. Shiven was supposed to lose his norm without a fight if the arbiters were blindly following “the book”. Instead they paired him at the very last moment with the resting player Peter Ypma (rated 2080) who did not mind playing a game. An easy win for Shiven? No, the game was a fightful draw, but both the players got satisfaction out of the battle, and the Indian had the chance he needed to succeed in the final round. A remarkably wise decision! The third player to achieve a norm is from Armenia. Vahe Baghdasaryan started furiously with wins against Mark Bluvshtein and IM David Lobzhanidze and a draw as Black against the top seeded Vladimir Baklan. Only shortly before our game I understood that the 17-old-man has already 2 GM norms, despite his rating of only 2311. An original player, and obviously a good advertisement of the Armenian school of chess talents.
Three players achieved GM norms, and all of them tied for the first players. The Dutch Daan Brandenburg is a very solid player, and his third norm is obviously coming in the near future. Only good words can be said about Robin van Kampen, and extremely sharp and talented juniour who I believe will soon represent Netherlands on highest chess forums. However, the breaking news from the tournament came from Ukraine, when Illya Nyzhnyk became the youngest GM in the world (at the moment) after scoring his last norm within a spare round at the age of 14. Let me just add that Illya scored his second norm, with an overall title claim a year ago in Groningen again! There were also many local young players, who were prepared by both IM Erik Hoeksema and WGM Jozefina Paulet.
The B tournament saw the “local” Croatian Bruno Jelic repeating his usual exercise from 2008 by scoring 7/7 and securing the overall victory with two spare rounds. His overall result was 8.5/9; one wonders how his manages to keep his rating low with such play. C group was won by Fred Steggink-7.5/9.
In Groningen there is also a four-group compact tournament, for those who cannot free themselves before Christmas, or simply prefer to stay at home with their families for the holidays. It is a five-round event that starts on 26 December. The strongest A group of this competition was won by FM Floris van Assendelft, who also won the blitz tournament and IM Vishal Sareen, who is the trainer of the Indian flock in Groningen.
When talking about Groningen, we cannot pass through the famous Café Atlantis. Lambertus van den Marel, the humble owner of the Café, composer and organizer was again preparing various side events in his place. One of them was a night of study miniatures by IM Yochanan Afek, on which presented the GMs Nijboer and Ernst. In his usual entertaining style the Israeli master explained the ideas behind the studies, and how those are born. The picture that I chose for the report though shows another delightful moment in the Café- wine degustation with GM Ivan Sokolov. I would like to use the occasion to thank Bert for his Atlantis tournament this summer due to which received my invitation for Groningen Chess Festival.
As for me, I believe that I played well, and could have won even more points prior to the positions that I had throughout the tournament. I was winning against Nyzhnyk on at least a couple of occasions, had stable advantage against Brandenburg, and could not convert an extra piece against Rotstein, as he found an amazing fortress.
Happy and Successful New Year to all!