Appeal for Help

Dear Chessfriends,

After my first post a couple of days ago for chess.com many things were said (I hope that some were done, too). One of the readers pointed out correctly, that something should be changed in the post, and he was completely right.

In order to avoid any suspicious for fraud (no matter how ugly this sounds) I will suggest that those of you willing to help Elitza's father can take part in one of my simuls which will take place this Sunday 20.00 and 22.00 o'clock Bulgarian time (which is 18.00 and 20.00 o'clock London time respectively) on the server. There are twenty five spots in each of them, and the place costs 20 $. The money goes directly to the www.chess.com account , and www.chess.com takes the reponsibility to send the funds where they belong- for Mr Raev's treatment. By helping you will aslo get something in return, a game with a GM in a simul. The time control for each simul is 60 minutes (per side) for the whole game. I am pretty sure that you will not be bored.

You can apply for the product here.

David Pruess has added the products in my trainer's profile, with an inscription about them- just have a look at the last two of them, and choose one if you want to contribute. David and Danny Rensch are actively helping me with the fund-raising, with positive ideas, and human support, which can hardly be found anywhere else. Thank you, guys!

In order to reply to one of the readers question concerning the illness- it is lung cancer with metastases and the whole course of the treatment is at the price of 30 000 euro (not only the operation which should deal with the metastases, which I wrote- appologies for the mistake).

The person who needs treatment is the father of one of our best female players-Elitza Raeva- Rumen Raev. He used to be a member of the Bulgarian Chess Federation executive board, and Elitza is Bulgarian women's champion 2008, and co-champion from this year.
Rumen Raev is an assistant professor at the University of Ruse by occupation.

This is all that I can think of at the moment.

I hope to see many of you on Sunday, and thank you all in advance!


Metalac Successful in Serbia

First League of central Serbia took place right before the European Club Cup (17-25 September) in Kraljevo- one of the nice towns in the country. Twelve teams competed for the right to promote in Premier League, or to stay in the Central one. The time control is FIDE, and in there is a tolerance of fifteen minutes at the start of the game.
This was by far the strongest and challenging of the championship that I have played so far. At least four from the teams had real chances for the first place, and their direct encounters were bound to define the winner. The first match between the rating favourites Jasenica (my team) and Jelica PEP was played in round five. This was probably one of the unluckiest events I have ever taken part in. Not only I lost my winning game on board one, but my teammate Nebojsa Ristic could not convert an extra pawn, and at the end, the experienced GM Dusan (Dule) Raikovic failed to see a forced draw in one move and the match was tight. We then lost to the local team and elo favourite Sloga Kraljevo with a minimal margin, and our contest for the first place was over.
As usual, the system in Serbia is a match-point one, with three points for the overall match winner, and only a point for each team in case of equality. While previous years saw many undecided matches practically before the start of the round, this year’s cruel contest was forcing the top teams to get the maximum in each round. Moreover, the rumours spelled that the second spot in our division might satisfy this year too for promotion, as one of the Premier’s teams might not be able to keep its place in the league officially.

While Jelica were heading the table, everything seemed like it should be perfect for them. Their leader, the Polish GM Alexander Mista was making miracles on board one, and in the first eight rounds he did not lose even a half point- 8/8! The team’s young players were doing well, but there was the major match in the penultimate round against Kraljevo, which they need to survive. However, just a round before that their perfect machine cracked, as Mista lost on board one, and the team drew only against Sabacki. The tension then proved a bit too much for the young team, and they lost against Kraljevo 4-2. The locals were playing under tremendous pressure, and in each round a huge mass of chess fans was surrounding their table. In our match I was literally unable to record the moves in some moments, as the fans were so close to the table…Still Kraljevo made a great result, drawing only one match, and losing to…
The fourth team in the contest, which I did not mention yet, and which was the most successful one. For many years the even team of Metalac was always in the contest for the medals, and was usually taking either bronze or silver. They have changed the composition of the team almost every year, but keeping their good players. Their team constitutes by strong IMs mainly, and the highest rated were sent to the back boards. This year they made it to the most valuable base metal thanks to these changes. The top board IM Slobo Vratonic held it to the fifty percent, while the rest of the boards collected a total of +21 score. The top scorer was Metalac’s ex-top board IM Dragan Kojovic, who started with five draws, but won the remaining six games, but I should also mention the results of FM Vladan Rabrenovic on board three (7/10), IM Igor Solomunovic on board two (7.5/11- one draw only!), and naturally, Metalac’s most famous player IM Radovan Govedarica who scored 7/10.
Thus Metalac qualified for the Premium League, while Kraljevo who shared the first place, but had worse tie-break will have to wait and see if the rumours are correct.
I am sending you pictures from “Pasuliada”- the bean feast in Kraljevo, which showed us various ways how to cook, and eat beans, as well as a chance to degustate the local’s famous Rakia.


Brilliancy Price

The following game won one of the daily brilliancy prices contest, and was chosen as best in the tournament. Indeed, there was a lot of fight, many strategical nuances, and a sweet finish as a dessert.

Amanov,Zhanibek (2382) - Bojkov,Dejan (2544) [E61]
1st Metropolitan International Los Angeles (7), 20.08.2011
[Dejan Bojkov]
1.c4 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nc3 0–0 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 e5 7.0–0 Nbd7 8.d4 Re8 9.b3 h5 10.h3 e4 I play this position as White, and even though a tempo down, the ideas are very familiar to me. 11.Qc2 Qe7

12.g4!?N This move appears to be a novelty in the the featured position. However, with reversed colours the idea is not new. White wants to get rid of the strong pawn on e4, but the problem is that he had already castled. [12.Nf4 c6 13.b4 Nf8 14.c5 d5 15.b5 1/2 (15) Wahls,M (2580)-Joachim,S (2443)/Germany 2001/ EXT 2003] 12...hxg4 13.hxg4 Nxg4 14.Qxe4 Qh4!? [14...Nde5!? is another idea as: 15.dxe5? is bad after: (15.Rd1 is playable though.) 15...Qh4 16.Qf4 Bxe5–+] 15.Qf4 he only move. [Do not listen to your silicon advisers, who claim that there is a forced draw- accepting the sacrifice is bad for White: 15.Qxe8+ Bf8! 16.Rd1 Qxf2+ 17.Kh1 Ndf6 18.Qd8 (18.Qb5 Bh6–+) 18...Bf5! (18...b5 might win as well) 19.Qxa8 Ne4 20.Nxe4 Bxe4 21.Nf4 Qg3 22.Kg1

22...g5 and White is helpless.] 15...Nf8 [At first I considered: 15...Ndf6 16.Qg3 Qh8!? 17.Rd1 but then realized that: 17...Nh5 is simply met by: 18.Qf3] 16.Qg3 Qd8 [From objective point of view correct is: 16...Qxg3 17.Nxg3 f5 with approximate equality. However, I wanted to keep the queens on the board, and to try to win.] 17.Bf3! This is correct, White drives back my pieces from the active positions and gives additional air to his king. 17...Nf6 18.Kg2 N6h7 19.Rh1 [The generally advisable expansion in the center is premature: 19.e4?! Ne6 20.Rd1 c5!] 19...Ng5 20.Bg4 c6 [Going for the bishop seemed risky to me: 20...f5 21.Bf3 Nxf3 (21...c6 22.Ba3 with an edge) 22.Qxf3 as the g6 pawn is vulnerable, and once that the b1–g8 diagonal is opened my king will be in constant danger.] 21.Bd2

Simple but dangerous. Zhanibek intends to bring his heavy pieces along the h and maybe g files and try to mate. [Computer claims slight edge for White after: 21.Bxc8!? Rxc8 22.Ba3 d5 23.cxd5 cxd5 24.Qd6 Ne4 25.Qxd8 Rexd8 26.Nxe4 dxe4 27.Rac1 but I do not really believe it. Something similar will happen in the game, but White first wants to try an attack.] 21...d5! Flank attack is best met by a central counter-strike, and here is a good case for this. 22.cxd5 [Or: 22.Rh2 f5 23.Bf3 dxc4 24.bxc4 Be6 25.c5 Nxf3 26.Qxf3 Qc7 and Black is ready to further ruin White's center after b7–b6.] 22...cxd5 Now the c file is open and I can deflect the opponent's pieces. 23.Bxc8 [Better than: 23.Rh4 Ne4 24.Nxe4 Rxe4!] 23...Rxc8 24.Rh4 Ne4 25.Nxe4 Rxe4 26.Rxe4 dxe4 27.Nc3 White managed to move the black pawn on e4, where it is a target. Now f7–f5 is needed for the defense, but this weakens the g6 pawn. In short, the position is ballanced, but we both need to be careful. [White is not ready yet to compete for the open file: 27.Rc1 Rxc1 28.Nxc1 Qc8] 27...f5 28.Rh1 [28.Rc1!?=] 28...a6 29.Be1!?

Setting a trap. 29...Kf7 Best, as if: [29...b5 30.Ne2 Rc2 31.Nf4 Kf7 32.Bb4! is strong and suddenly Black is in trouble.] 30.Na4 [30.f3!?] 30...Ne6 31.d5? Zhanibek decided to go "all in" in the time trouble. However now the knight on a4 is left without sufficient support and the intended counterplay is refuted convincingly. [31.Nc3 is best although Black is already better after 31... Ng5] 31...Nf8 32.Bb4 b5 33.Bxf8 [33.Nc5 Qxd5 34.Nxa6 Ne6 leaves the knight struggling at the edge of the board.] 33...Bxf8 34.Rh7+ Bg7 35.Qe5 Qg5+ 36.Kh2

36...Qh5+! He obviously saw this but calculated only the capture of the white rook after: 37.Kg2 [37.Rxh5 Bxe5+] 37...Qf3+ [After: 37...Qxh7? 38.Qe6+ Kf8 39.Qxc8+ Kf7 40.Qe6+ Kf8 41.Nc5 it is White who wins.; Wheras after the move in the game we have the opposite result. 37...Qf3+ 38.Kh2 Qxf2+ 39.Kh3 Qf1+ 40.Kh4 Qh1+ 41.Kg3 Qf3+ 42.Kh2 Rc2+] 0–1


The L.A International

One of my first tournaments on American soil was the Jimmy Quon Memorial in Los Angeles. It was back then in January when Ankit Gupta invited me for the first Metropolitan International in August. Ankit is a decent chess player, a national master who sometimes takes part in his own events. Invitations for tournaments with conditions are very rare in USA and a friend of mine advised me to always accept such offers. Moreover, Ankit had great plans, and I already knew that he keeps his promises. Back in January it was already known that the top-seeded will be Michael Adams and Loek van Wely.

The Metropolitan Inernational (17-21 August) was predecessed by a chess camp. The organizer Ankit Gupta seized the opportunity to use both Michael Adams and Loek van Wely as lecturers in a five-day-event, which was attended by 34 children, some of the most talanted in the area. On the first day of the tournament when seeing Adams I asked him how did the camp go. „Oh, it was tough, really tough, I feel so exhausted now.“ Indeed, the intensitivity of the learning process was great, and the young chessplayers had approximately eight hours tutoring each day. Some of them felt already quite comfortable with their knowledge and did not pay much respect to their famous teachers. One of the days saw two young gentlemen analizing their game without paying attention to Adams‘ tries to suggest a move. „This is correct, that is the theory“, was their reply, and they proceeded the analyse without bothering to have a look at Grandmaster‘s suggestions...Still, The English GM was luckier than his Netherland‘s collegue-who was demanded by one of his students to show his GM certificate...

1st Metropolitan International Tournament - Day 1 from Ice Hat Creative on Vimeo.

After such a good school it is no wonder that Adams appeared fully armed, and quite eager at the start of the event. The speed with which he passed the first six round was also too fast for the others- 5.5/6 (draw against Van Wely only). His closest pursuer was the Uzbec GM Gareev, who had a strong tournament by defeating in the process both Akobian and Van Wely (the latter, in a minuature). After drawing each other in round seven, a very curious situation arose in the next round, when Adams had already played with all his five nearest rivals. I had the luck to repeat Black and face the Super GM. Such opportunities in life are very rare, and I am really grateful whenever I can face an opposition of that calibre. Moreover, the outcome was not as bad as expected :)
Going into the last round Adams kept a half-point lead. After a couple of hours of play the games of his pursuers on boards two and three ended peacefully, and now he only needed a draw (with the black pieces) to secure the first price, and the beautiful Svarowsky trophee. On the other hand his rival, IM Hungasky desperately needed a win to fulfil a GM norm. The Englishman proved better and won with a neat rook sacrifice to finish the event a full point ahead of the field 7.5/9.
Second place was shared between six players- GMs L. van Wely, M.Amanov, R.Ruck, T.Gareev, D.Bojkov and the young and perspective American IM Conrad Holt. The latter was very close to a GM norm, but failed short of avarage rating. Thus, the only player a norm was Michael Lee from Washington- he made an IM norm after scoring 5.5/9, and by keeping his concentration throughout the whole event thanks to his headphones.
It was a tough, but sweet week for Adams, and it will get even worse as the World Cup starts in some days. It was not supposed to happen like that, but as FIDE changed the dates of the Cup once that the Super-GM already agreed to play in L.A. he had no choice. A curious fact is that Adams will play in round one against M. Paragua, a player who was also in the list of the Metropolitan International, but who decided to rest before the more important event.

1st Metropolitan International - Recap from Ice Hat Creative on Vimeo.

The change of dates affected one of Gupta‘s ideas. Throughout the event there was a special contest for best game of the day. Draws did not count in the contest as the daily prices were various apple products (iPads, Shuffles, and Nano's). Those prices had to be judjed by two famous young GMs- Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana, but they also had to withdraw at the very last moment for the sake of the World Cup. IM David Pruess did the judjement instead together with the tournament organizer.
Despite the difficulties, the tournament was billed the strongest in Los Angeles since 1988 (as one of the participants IM Jack Peters stated) and successfully crowned Gupta‘s attempts to revive the chess life in the megapolis. For his intense work he received the price- Organizer of the Year by USCF.
The tournament was professionally covered by Christine Hartman and Christian Glawe of IceHat Creative (videos) and Betsy Dynako (photographer). You can enjoy her great pictures: