At the European Capital of Culture (2)

In the second part of this article we continue the presentation of the new champions:
Without a clear rating favorite of the group (about whom you will read below), the girls under 14 championship was won by M. Mahalakshmi from India. She showed some very solid chess and shared the first place with N. Khomeriki from Georgia. The tiebreaks were favourable for Mahalakshmi though.
The Boys championship of the same age saw another American triumph. Chess.com's Kayden Troff recovered from his third round loss and with a breathtaking finish (3/3) snatched the gold in the last minute. His final game against the runner-up Ch. Aravindh was the most important one as the Indian player was a whole point ahead of the field and needed a draw to take gold. Alas, he could not stand the pressure in this game.
It is worth mentioning that both of the American gold medalists (Troff and Sevian) are part of Kasparov’s program for talented kids in USA. It must be most delightful to receive your medal by the former world champion who was also supporting you beforehand!
The under 16 group was Russian territory.
The ladies event was conquered by Anna Styazhkina who did not lose a single game and ended up with 9 points. The same number was achieved by another Russian player - Polina Rodionova.
Urii Eliseev took the gold in the open section. He was the rating favourite and allowed no surprises on the road for first place, edging out the competition by a half point.
The more mature age groups had fewer surprises. One could easily guess that the top seeds would dominate the event. The main reason for that is that they make less mistakes and their play is more stable.
The sensation of the girls’ eldest group became the triumph of Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia. She holds a respectable rating of 2378 and in the starting list was seeded second. So, where is the surprise then?
The thing is that Aleksandra was born on 1998 and still owns the right to play in the under 14 section. Instead, she decided to test her strength against the oldest girls and won the event more than convincingly, a clear point ahead of the pursuers. Thus, she added the World cup to her victories after also winning the European Girls U18 Championship.
In this tournament Lisa Schut of Netherlands almost lost her silver medal on the final day of the event when her taxi did not show up on time. Luckily, she made it just a few minutes before her allowed thirty minutes of tardiness were over.
This is a good moment to praise the organizers for their decision not to apply FIDE's Zero Tolerance rule (where players are forfeited even if they are just seconds late to the round). There were too many participants and many of them lived far away from the venue. It would be indeed unfair for these players to lose games just because of bad coincidences.
Last but not least, we have the under 18 boys ‘section. Poland had a real superstar in GM Dariusz Swiercz. The only surprise that he allowed was in round one when he drew. He then caught up to the leading group and managed to edge out the closest player, H. Gabuzian of Armenia, by a half point.
The most successful countries of the event were Russia and India. USA took third place.
It is obvious though that the chess map is widening and players from other countries have their chances for top prizes too. Especially in the younger age groups where the raw talent is most valuable.
The next WYCC will take place in Dubai, UAE. It promises superb conditions. The organizers have already launched their website and promise free accommodations to all the players and trainers at the event!
You can find nice pictures of the closing ceremony at the official site and here are selected fragments from the champions'games:
Chekmareva,Liya - Mahalakshmi,M
Maribor World U/14 Girls (5), 12.11.2012

25...Rxh3! 26.gxh3 [26.Qxb7 Qh2+ 27.Kf2 Rxc3–+; 26.Rxb7 Qh2+ 27.Kf2 Rg3 28.Rg1 Rxf3+ 29.Kxf3 Rf8+ 30.Ke2 Qxg1–+]

26...Qg3+ 27.Kh1 Qxh3+ 28.Kg1 Qg3+ 29.Kh1 Bxf3+ 30.Rxf3 Qxf3+ 31.Kg1 Qe3+ 32.Kf1 Rf8+ 33.Kg2 Qf2+


Goryachkina,Aleksandra - Baraeva,Irina (2173)
Maribor World U/18 Girls (3), 10.11.2012
How can White convert her indisputable advantage? Which maneuver does she need to perform?

40.Kd3! d4 41.Kxd4 Bd5 42.Ke5! Ra8 43.Kf6! Kh8 44.Rg6 Kh7 45.Rg7+ Kh8 46.Bg6


Styazhkina,Anna (2113) - Xiao,Yiyi (2136)
Maribor World U/16 Girls (10.1), 17.11.2012

Styazhkina starts a complex combination which leads to a favourable endgame:

24.Rxd5! Rxd5 [24...exd5 25.Nxc5]

25.Nf6+ gxf6 [25...Qxf6 26.Bxd5 exd5 27.Qe8+ Kh7 28.Qxc8+–]

26.Bxd5 Qd6! 27.Rd1! exd5 [27...Qxh2+ 28.Kf1 exd5 29.Qe8+ Kg7 30.Qxc8+–]

28.Qe8+ Qf8 29.Qxf8+ Kxf8 30.Rxd5±

White wins a second pawn and the rook and the pawns are better than the bishops in this particular situation.

30...Ke7 [30...Bb6 31.Rd6 Ba5 32.Rc6! Be6 33.Rxc5±]

31.Rxc5 Kd6 32.Rh5 h3 33.g3 Bg4 34.Rh4 Bd7 35.f3 Bb6+ 36.Kf1 Bf5 37.a3 Ke5 38.Ke2 Bg1 39.b4 Be6 40.c4 Bd4 41.Re4+



Some days ago while checking the exercises for my students I stumbled upon one that I saw in a practical game. The player with the White pieces, Julien Saada was my teammate of that time in my French team and the game that he played was decisive for the outcome of the match. If he had a chance to make a draw we would have won the match and qualify for Top 16 (the highest division of that time). Unfortunately, in the time trouble he could not find the correct solution.
Will you?
Saada,J - Alanic,J
National 1 Lilles, 07.05.2005

1.Nxg4! Rxg4 2.Bf3 Rag6

3.Rxg4! Rxg4 4.Kf6 h3 5.Kf5 h2 6.Bxg4+ Kh4 7.Bf3=

The general rule in endgames like that is to try and get rid of the opponent's pawns. They are the potential queens, thus the light pieces are not that valuable any more with less number of pawns on the board.
Fortresses like a light piece versus a rook (no pawns left!) should be searched for.
If Julien had remembered that the draw would be achievable.


At the European Capital of the Culture (1)

Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia was the proud owner of this name at the year 2012. Many interesting activities took, and still take place in this beautiful town where the Drava river flows, and which is famous for its ski resorts. But the pearl in the crown of events without any doubt (at least for us) was the WYCC which was held at the middle of November.
A huge crowd of players (I am not sure about the exact number, but around 2000) plus an approximately the same number of entourage (parents, coaches, arbiters, etc.) flooded the quiet streets of Maribor and gave the start of many interesting battles.
The friendly Slovenians did their best to please the participants and succeeded in most of the things. Wonderful hotels, nature, air, badges for the players with which they could travel in the public transportation for free, warm attitude and understanding from the hosts-these were the main advantages of the event. The participants had also the chance to visit some more of the interesting cities in Europe like the Slovenian capital-Ljubljana, the famous chess town-Bled where the Olympiad from 2002 took place as well as the capital of Austria- Vienna.
Add to this all the presence of the almighty Garry Kasparov at the closing ceremony and you will know why this event was special.
When you gather together so many children and make them compete each other there are always many interesting stories to happen. One of my students who played under the group under eight had one of those. She played 1.e4 on the first move to see 1…Nc6 in reply. But just went the move was made her opponent started crying and explained that she meant to move first 1…c5 and only after that 2…Nc6. She even called the arbiter, explained the situation and demanded to take back the move in order to play properly what she meant to. When she did not receive the desired understanding the game continued 2.d4 Nc6-b8 and Black offered a draw. She did it twice more until my student who was at that time two pawns up blundered in piece at one. The draw offers then stopped…
It will probably take a month to tell all the interesting things that happened in Maribor, to describe all the emotions. But it is time now to have a look at the champions, those who will surely remember this championship all their lives.
Girls under eight section was won by Motahare Asadi from Iran with impressive 10.5/11. This girl is very tough; you will hardly find many mistakes in her games despite her age.
The rating favorite in the boys ‘section Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan scored 10/11 for a clear first. Sharp tactician, he played with noteworthy self-confidence and this gave him a chance to stay cool in the decisive games.
The gold at the 10 years and younger ladies went in India. N. Priyanka somewhat surprised the opposition as at her starting number was only thirty-three. But she became a champion with a spare round!
Boys under ten section saw the most merciless participant! Vietnamese Nguyen Anh Khoi did not allow even a draw to his opponents and scored eleven wins! Comment is not required here…
Most challenging were the groups under twelve. The young ladies got a princess from India again. Her name is R. Vaishali, she managed to edge out the competition by a half point after a tough and long battle in the final round.
Even more competitive was the boys ‘section. This group had one of the largest number of participants (192) and the tie for the first place of four players shows one small part of the suspense. While the kids were playing blitz in the foyer long after the end of the last game one could see parents playing for the tiebreaks to be the right ones.
Prayers were heard in USA and Samuel Sevian took home the most precious medal.
I suggest now that you try your tactics with the young world champs:

1) Asadi,Motahare - Ismayil,Malak
Maribor World U/8 Girls (10.1), 17.11.2012

28.f5! Ne7 [28...exf5 29.Rxe8; 28...gxf5 29.Nxf5 Ra7 30.Nh6+ Bxh6 31.gxh6 followed by Re2–g2 when mate is coming soon.; 28...Bd7 29.f6 Bh8 30.Rh2 and next Bd3xg6 is coming- 30...Ra7 31.Bxg6!+–]

29.f6+– [White won a piece and the game later.]


2) Nguyen,Anh Khoi (1923) - Ram,Aravind L N (1983)
Maribor World U/10 Open (10.1), 17.11.2012

23.Nf5+! Qxf5 [After: 23...gxf5 24.Rxd5 Rc6 25.Qd2 Rxc1+ 26.Qxc1 White is better due to the damaged pawn structure of the opponent.]

24.Rxd5 Rc6 [Otherwise White wins the pawn after- 24...f6 25.Qd4]

25.Rc5 Rxc5 26.Qxc5 [White wins a pawn:]

26...Nc6 [26...Ra8 27.Qd4]

27.Qc4 Re8 28.b5 Nb8 29.Qd4+ Kg8 30.Rc5+– [and White won later.]


3) Batjargal,Irmuuntulga - Abdusattorov,Nodirbek (1949)
Maribor World U/8 Open (10.1), 17.11.2012

24...Bxa2+! 25.Kxa2 b1Q+! 26.Rxb1 Qa4+ 27.Kb2 Rxc2#


4) Sevian,Samuel (2347) - Xiong,Jeffrey (2252)
Maribor World U/12 Open (7.1), 14.11.2012

16.Nf5! exf5 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.Rxe8+– Bg6 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.Qxd6+ [and White won later.]


5) Vaishali,R (1970) - Abdumalik,Zhansaya (2173)
Maribor World U/12 Girls (8.1), 15.11.2012
[Dejan Bojkov]

31.Rxf6! Rxf6 32.Bxe5 Raf8 33.Rd8 Kg8 34.Bxf6



Facing the KID (2)

This is the second encounter of GM Andrey Sumets against the KID in which he chose a rare line to fight the defense.

Sumets,A (2618) - Naroditsky,D (2486)
Montreal 2012 (9)
[Sumets A]

[That game was played in the last round of Montreal open. After 8 rounds I had 5,5 points.L. Bruzon and W. So had 6,5 points and there were several players who had 5 points. So I understood well that if I had made draw I would have had an excelent chance at least to share 3–rd place. I didn't want to play strictly for draw but I wanted to play solid.]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.0–0 d6 6.Nc3 [Last round was played in the morning so I hadn't have much time to prepare well against my opponent. I saw my young opponent usualy plays Kings Indian Defense so I assumed that he should be a tactical player and it might be difficult for him to play such type of positions. So I was a little surprised when I was informed he wrote a book "Mastering Positional Chess".]

[6.a4!? It looks unusual so might be interesting]


[6...d5 I consider this move as the strongest one. I played this position several times and I can't say that I've got an opening advantage. 7.Re1 Bf5 I consider this move more logical than 7...c6 because white have to play Nh4 to push e4 then knight should go back. However, according to chessbase and my own experience black seems to be OK after 7..c6 as well. (7...c6 8.e4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Rxe4 Bf5 11.Re1 Nd7 12.Bg5 perhaps not the best move (12.c3!? Nb6? (12...Re8 13.Bf4) 13.Qb3 Qd7 14.Ne5 Qc8 15.a4± Romanishin O - Stefansson H 1992 1–0 (42)) 12...Re8 13.c3 Qb6 14.Qb3 Be6?! Perhaps Bartosz wanted to play for winning but his decision was at least dubious. After 14...e5 it's hard to imagine white's or black's victory (14...e5! 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Bxe5=) 15.Qa3 Qd8?! (15...Bf6 16.Bf4 and White was slightly better (16.Rxe6!? fxe6 17.Bh3 Nf8 18.Bf4 is also interesting with ample compensation.) ) 16.b3? (16.Rxe6! fxe6 17.Qb3 Nf8 18.Qxb7 Rb8 19.Qxa7 Rxb2 20.Nd2 (20.a4 Qb8 21.Qxb8 Rexb8 22.Bf1©) 20...Qa8 21.Qxa8 Rxa8 22.a4) 16...a5 17.c4 a4 18.Qb4 c5 19.Qxb7 cxd4 20.Rad1 Rb8 21.Qa7 Ra8 1/2 Sumets A - Socko 2004 0.00/0) 8.Nh4 Be6 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Bxe4 c6 (11...Bd5!? 12.Bxd5 Qxd5 13.Rxe7 Bxd4 14.Be3 Nc6 15.Rxc7 Rad8 16.Nf3 Qa5 17.Rxc6 Bxe3 18.Rd6 Bb6) 12.c3 Nd7 13.Bg5 Nf6 14.Bg2 Bd5 15.Nf3 Re8 16.Qc2 Qb6 17.Re2 c5 (17...h6! 18.Be3 Rad8) 18.Rd1 cxd4?! 19.Rxd4 Rad8 20.c4 Bc6 21.Rxd8 Qxd8 22.b4 b6?! (22...Qc7) 23.b5 Bb7 24.Ne5± Sumets A - Fernandez Siles, L 2011, 1–0 (34)]

7.e4 [7.a4!? a5 8.e4 (8.b3!?) ]

7...e5 [7...c5 A rare move. White could play an expedient line of Dragon variation of Sicilian defense or try to give the game an unusual direction 8.e5 Ne8 9.exd6 Nxd6 10.Re1 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Re8 12.Ndb5 Ne5 13.h3 Nxb5 14.Nxb5 Bd7= Landa K - Varavin V 1996 1–0 (55)]

8.h3 Re8 9.Re1 c6 10.a4 a5 [10...Qc7 11.Be3 b6 12.Nh2!? (12.Qd2 Bb7 13.Rad1 Rad8 14.Bh6 a6) 12...Bb7 13.f4 a6 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.f5 b5 16.g4 Rad8 17.Qc1 Nb6 18.b3 b4 19.Ne2 c5 20.Ng3 Rd4 21.a5 Nc8 22.Bxd4 exd4 23.e5 Nd5 24.f6 Bf8 25.Bxd5 Bxd5 26.Qf4 Na7 Landa K - Sokolov A 1991 1/2 the game is a good reason for Sofia's rule supporters to talk about the necessity of this rule. It's hard hard to believe that the continuation of the game would have been dull for chess fans]

11.Be3 exd4 12.Bxd4 Rb8!?

During the game I considered this move as the dubious one. Somebody told me that my opponent will take a GM norm if he beats me. So I guessed that Daniel wants to complicate position in the risky way. However when I checked the game with chessbase I found 2 games of B. Gelfand.]

[12...Qc7 13.Nh2!?; 12...Nf8]

13.Qd2N [As I said before the draw was an acceptable result for me but I found it too cynical to repeat position by this way.]

[13.Ba7 Ra8 14.Bd4 Rb8 15.Ba7 1/2 Malaniuk V - Gelfand 1997 0.00/0; 13.Re2 Qc7 14.Qe1 Ne5 15.Nd2 b5 16.axb5 cxb5 17.f4 Nc6 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Nd5 Qa7+ 20.Kh2 Bg7= black is O K Lobron E - Gelfand B 1993 1/2 (30). You can see this game commented in the inf 58; 13.e5 dxe5 14.Nxe5]

13...b5?! [if somebody played 13...Ne5!? I would think that he is a very interesting positional player who appreciates so much black squared bishop but... a computer recommends it! It seems that black has a good contreplay everywhere. For exemple 14.Bxe5 dxe5 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.Nxe5 Be6! (16...Nd7 17.Nc4 Ne5 18.Nxa5 Rd2 (18...Ra8 19.Nb3 Nc4 20.Bf1 Nxb2 21.e5±) ) 17.Rad1 Rxd1 18.Nxd1 (18.Rxd1? Nxe4! 19.Nxe4 Bxe5) 18...Nd7 19.Nxd7 Bxd7 20.f4 Bd4+ 21.Kh1 Be6 with compensation; 13...Qc7 14.Rad1 Ne5 15.Qe3 b6 (15...Nc4 16.Qg5 h6 17.Qc1) 16.Nd2 Rd8 (16...c5? 17.Bxe5 dxe5 (17...Rxe5 18.Nc4 Re6 19.Nb5) 18.Nb5 Qe7 19.Nc4) 17.b3]

14.axb5 cxb5 15.Nd5

During the game I was happy with my position]

[15.Bxf6 I can't recommend it 15...Nxf6 16.e5 dxe5 17.Qxd8 Rxd8 18.Nxe5 b4 19.Nd1 Re8 20.Rxa5 Nd7 where Black has good compensation.]

15...a4! [15...Nxe4? 16.Rxe4! (16.Qxa5!?) 16...Rxe4 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Nd4 Rxd4 (18...Re5 19.Nc6 Qg5 20.Qd4 Rb7 white has many ways to win. I would prefer 21.Nxa5 Rb8 22.Nc6 Rb7 23.h4 Qf5 24.f4; 18...Re8?? 19.Nc6; 18...Re5 19.Nc6 Qe8 20.Nxb8 Nxb8 21.f4 Re2 22.Qc3+ Kh6 23.g4+–) 19.Qxd4+ Nf6 20.Nxf6 Qxf6 21.Qa7 Qxb2 22.Re1 Qc3 23.Re8+–; 15...b4 16.Nxf6+ Bxf6 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.e5 dxe5 19.Qxd8 Rxd8 20.Nxe5±; 15...Bb7 16.Qxa5 Qxa5 17.Rxa5 Nxd5 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.exd5 Rxe1+ (19...Bxd5 20.Rxe8 Rxe8 21.Rxb5±) 20.Nxe1±]

16.Qb4 [16.Rad1 Bb7! (16...Nxe4 17.Rxe4! (17.Qf4 f5) 17...Rxe4 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Nd4 Rxd4 (19...Re5 20.Nc6 Qf8 21.Nxb8 Nxb8 22.f4 Re6 23.Nc7 Re7 24.Nxb5+–) 20.Qxd4+ f6 (20...Nf6 21.Nxf6 Qxf6 22.Qa7+–; 20...Kh6 21.Qf4+ Kg7 22.Qxd6+–) 21.Nf4 Qb6 22.Qb4!±) 17.Nxf6+ Nxf6 18.e5 Bxf3! 19.Bxf3 dxe5 20.Bxe5 Qxd2 21.Rxd2 Nd7 22.Rxd7 Rxe5=]

16...Bb7 17.Nxf6+ [17.Nc3!? maybe it is stronger than 17.Nf6. I didn't see this retreat because several moves ago I was so happy with my knight on d5. 17...Nc5!?

a) 17...Bf8?! 18.Qxb5 Bxe4 19.Qxa4;

b) 17...Ba8 18.Nxb5 Nc5 19.e5 Bxf3 20.Bxf3 Nfd7 21.Bg2 Nxe5 22.Red1!

(22.Rad1? Qd7 23.c4 Ncd3+–) 22...Qd7 23.c4 Ned3 (23...Nxc4 24.Qxc4 Rxb5 (24...Qxb5 25.Qxb5 Rxb5 26.Bc6) 25.Bf1 Bxd4 (25...Rbb8?? 26.Bxc5) 26.Qxb5±) 24.Qc3 Bxd4 25.Nxd4 Nxb2 (25...Ne5 26.f4 Ned3 27.Rxd3 Nxd3 28.Qxd3 Rxb2 29.Qa3 Reb8 (29...Rd2? 30.Qc3+–) 30.Qxa4 Qxa4 31.Rxa4 Rd2 32.Nb5 Re8 33.Bf1 Re3 34.Ra3±) 26.Rd2 a3 27.Bc6 Qxh3 28.Bxe8 Rxe8 29.Re2; 18.Nh2

a) 18.e5?! Nfd7! 19.exd6 Na6 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 21.Qa5 (21.Qxb5?! Bxf3 22.Qxa4 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 Rb4 24.Qxa6 Bxd4 25.Qa8 Rb8 with large advantage for Black.) 21...Bxf3 22.Bxg7 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 Kxg7 24.Qxa6 Rb6 25.Qa5 b4 26.Nxa4 Qe4+ 27.Kg1 Rxd6‚;

b) 18.Ng5?! h6 19.e5 Nfd7 20.e6 fxe6 21.Bxb7 Rxb7 22.Nge4 Bf8; 18...Re6 19.Rad1 Qc8 20.Nf1 Ba8 21.f3 Bf8 22.Qa5]

17...Bxf6 18.Qxb5 Rxe4?? [a huge blunder]

[18...Bxd4! 19.Nxd4 Nc5 20.Qc4 Rc8 21.Rad1 Qf6 22.Qb4 Bxe4 with complicate position where white's chances seems to be a little better.; 18...Bxe4?! 19.Qxa4 d5 20.Bxf6 Nxf6 21.b4; 18...Nc5 19.Bxc5 (19.Qc4 Bxd4 20.Nxd4 the transposition to 18...Bd4 (20.Qxd4 Rxe4=) ) 19...dxc5 20.Qxa4 Bxb2 21.Rab1І I don't believe that black's enough compensation for a pawn]


19...Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Bxf3 21.Bxb8 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Bxb2 23.Qxb2 Nxb8 24.Qb5 Nd7 25.Qxa4 h5 26.Qd4 Nc5 27.Rd1 Qe7 28.c3 Qb7+ 29.Qd5 Qb2 30.c4 Qe2 31.Rd2 Qe1 32.Ra2 Ne6 33.h4 g5 34.hxg5 h4 35.Qf5




The following interview was given in July this year for the chess.com site. The author is the free lance journalist Per Morten.

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite movie?

It’s hard to mention only one. I love the movies of Pedro Almodovar and Guy Ritchie.

What kind of food and drink do you prefer?

Any food as long it is combined well with the drinks. I love to experiment and try new things, especially if there is a native who can advise me about what to choose.

What is your favorite book?

"One hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez

What music are you currently grooving to?

Rock, hard rock, but I can enjoy almost anything. The music I love are classical rock bands like Rainbow and Marillion (my favourite) but also Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Beatles, Pink Floyd, ACDC, whatever you can think of from the golden age of rock.

Tell me a chess secret?

I would keep it if I knew it.

What is your best chess memory?

Winning the individual Bulgarian title in 2009.

Which do you think is worse, failing or never trying?

Definitely the latter. I guess that the main reason for that is that you keep on coming back thinking over and over what would have happened if you don´t try, while if you fail, you have the consolation that you have at least tried.

What chess player have you ever wanted to be and why?

I always wanted to be Tal for his sparkling combinational genius, Petrosian for his untouchable style and Larsen for his immense creativity and self-confidence. Lasker ranks as well, for his fighting spirit and wisdom.

What do you do to get better at chess?

I work a lot or at least I used to when I had fewer students. There is no big secret; it is the usual stuff - analyses, solving chess combinations and studies, reading magazines, books, following the flow of the information on the internet.

How old were you when you began to play chess?

Six- six and a half years old. My father taught me and then brought me to the chess club when I was seven. My brother also played and we had these long family tournaments almost every night; the loser had to gather the chess pieces.

Do you have a family?

I have a wife, a son and am waiting for another one.

Is the Internet a big part of your life?

Of course. This interview is conducted on the internet…It is an amazing thing, to connect the people all over the world that easily.

What was your childhood like?

Happy, with a lot of play. We did not have computers and were enjoying the simple things in life - playing all sorts of children's games. I remember that it was a big thing when we bought a T.V. set…

What is chess to you – a game of combat or of art?

Why do we need to separate the two?

How much time do you devote to chess?

This is my profession so I try to devote as much time as I can. The more, the better. True, most of it is no longer dedicated to my development as a better player.

What is your inner being?

A thinker and sometimes a believer.

Who is your inspiration?

Bob Marley, Johnnie Walker? Those who keep on walking and never give up inspire me. The inventors are also inspiring.

What is your greatest fear?

That I might not find the sense.

Do you prefer blitz, otb tournaments or correspondence style chess?

Otb. I enjoy the tournament atmosphere, hanging around with people, analyzing, socializing.

Who is your most difficult opponent?


Describe a perfect day.

The one where you have a choice what to do and the one in which the people that you love are around you. The day in which you can share your happiness with them. Any day can be perfect.

What is the best game you ever played?

One of my good games was chosen best game at the Metropolitan International in L.A. 2011. However, I cannot choose the best one for myself.

Is there any chess book that has had a deep and lasting influence on you?

"Zurich International Tournament, 1953" by David Bronstein. Also the selected games of almost all the world champions and their contenders.

If you could choose to live one day of any time in the history of mankind, which time would that be and why?

Today is a good day!

Do you have any favorite hobbies?

I love reading books and watching movies. It brings me a lot of pleasure to go out in nature, too. For example Mountain hiking.

What is your most treasured possession?

Last year my laptop was stolen. I thought for a while that this was a big loss until I realized that the things that I grieve for are the chess files that I have lost. Objects cannot be treasured possessions for me.

Are you a superstitious person?

In some comical way, yes. I used to have lucky pens. They were supposed to be used when I play, but what I would usually do is change pens until I find “the lucky one” and hide it in the wardrobe.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in chess?

To be organized, systematic and adaptive, and to trust myself.

What does your future hold as a chess player?

Right now I am not sure. I thought that I can combine coaching and chess journalism with playing. However, it gets harder and harder.

How would you describe yourself to an alien from another planet?

Show him my best game?

Do you have any thoughts on how chess.com can get even better?

We can make it a better place if we follow Pooh’s wisdom: “If you do not have anything good to say, better say nothing.” The content of the site is great, it's a rich source of information. It is only up to us to become better and behave politely with others.


The Color of the Olympiad

The offer to train the Papua New Guinea (PNG) team came as a surprise some months ago. This would be a completely new experience for me and I naturally did not want to miss the Olympiad. I have send my email to the members of the team and told them to write me whenever they have questions concerning their preparation. They did not, and I understood they would not once that I saw them in Istanbul.
All my teammates were colourful characters. A successful businessman, famous journalist, former teacher and member of the secretary of the commission for developing countries were united in the chess squad. They were also very experienced players with number of Olympiads but very busy with their own business.
“Our goal is to play some good games, and if you can help Craig win his first game that would be an enourmous achievement”, told me Shaun Press, our reserve player at the start of the event. Craig Skehan was playing his sixth Olympiad and the statistics showed that he holds the record for the most number of games without a win in the Olympiad. This is a record that stretches back to 1986 and extends over 6 Olympiads. In that time he played 59 games (defaults not counting) for a record of 10 draws and 49 losses. He also started poorly here, as well as the whole team.

“Do not worry, we usually start winning our matches at around eight-ninth round…”fellows tried to cheer me up. Still, the first win came in round four against the team of Burundi. A sad fact is that the African country had only two players as the remaining part of the team had problems with the viza. Some other countries have suffered similar problems. For instance the Bermuda’s second and third boards were stuck at the airport for more than a day and even missed the first round. The chaos of the opening round combined with (supposedly) language barrier caused a default of the Sierra Leone’s team at the start of the Olympiad. They just could not make it through the entry doors in time and lost due the “Zero Tolerance Rule”. This team was also having a shortage of a player till the end of the tournament.
Other teams tend to appear a bit late for the event. The Angola team is a bright example. People do not know what the reason is for that and they speculate between financial reasons (save of costs) of pure practicism- the Angolans avoided two strong teams in the first two rounds and started immediately with two wins in round three and four. The latter is a tricky tactic as the developing teams have special categories and also compete for special prices. Whatever the reason is though, FIDE should take this into consideration as in no other sport a team has the right to compete once that the tournament is in progress.
My teammate Rupert Jones told me a lot of the developing countries in chess. He used to live, work and compete for Botswana. Together with South Africa this country remains one of the best progressing countries in the continent. A good sign for their progress is that their national teams are now trained by two GMs- I. Glek and T. Abergel respectively.
It appears that more than the halves of the FIDE member countries are still developing. The things that FIDE do in this area are correct. They provided the countries free training during the Olympiad and will pay for the airfares for the next two. More than a million American dollars are offered by the hosts from Norway and Azerbaijan and this money is well spent for support of the countries in need.
Additional things that will help are training seminars for chess instructors, arbiters and organizers in each country which will provide an effective process of overall chess improvement. The sooner these countries become independent of FIDE, the better.
We also won in round five and good a good deal of optimism. Later on I discovered that the night blitz games are helping the team not only from social but from practical view too. Towards the end of the tournament the top board Stuart Fancy felt more confident and produced a streak of winning games. And when a leader is playing well the team is always good, too! We scored eight valuable points, which was a big success. And, in the last round the miracle had happened- Craig won his first game! His sixtieth Olympiad game was the lucky one, the one in which his distant passed pawns managed to stretch the opponent’s bishop and award him with the cherished win!

“The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” Pierre de Coubertin
For some of the player in Istanbul this was right. But still, you need to see the desire and the flame in the eyes of those players heading for the games!


Facing the KID

The summer was very hectic and I did not have time to upload my blog, for which I apologize to my dear readers.
Today I would like to present you a game of a good friend of mine, the strong Ukrainian GM Andrey Sumets. This is what he wrote me:
I'd like to comment my 2 games that were played in the last rounds. In both games my opponents tried to play the King's Indian defense and in both cases I played the side lines.

Sumets,A (2618) - Stella,A (2442) [E91]
11th Bergamo Open Elite Bergamo ITA (6.3), 15.07.2012
[Sumets A]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 Na6 7.0–0 e5 8.d5

I believe that this move isn't the strongest one. According to Chessbase, my opponent hadn't played Kings Indian before so I supposed that he might be bad prepared to such kind moves.]

8...Nc5 9.Bg5 [Another side move, perhaps the strongest one in this position is 9.Qc2 a5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Be3 b6 12.Nd2 Bg4 13.Rae1!?

a) 13.h3?! another dubious move 13...Bd7 14.b3 Nh7 15.a3 f5 16.exf5 gxf5 17.f4 exf4 18.Bxf4 Qh4 19.Rae1 Ng5 with strong attack;

b) 13.f3?! Bd7 14.b3 Nh5 15.Rfe1?! Smirin i (15.Rfc1 f5 16.a3 Bf6! 17.Bxh6 Bg5; 15.a3 Nf4) 15...Bf6! diagram 16.Bxh6 (16.g3 Bg5 17.Bf2 Ng7 (17...f5 18.exf5 gxf5 19.f4 Nxf4 20.gxf4 Bxf4 21.Kh1 the compensation for the knight is not enough) 18.Rad1 f5 19.a3 f4 20.Kg2 h5 21.Rh1 Qc8 22.b4 axb4 23.axb4 Bh3+ 24.Kg1 Nd7 black has nothing to worry about Korobov A - Miroshnichenko E 2008) 16...Bg5 17.Bxg5 (17.Bxf8? Be3+ 18.Kh1 Ng3+!! 19.hxg3 Qxf8 20.Nf1 Qh6+ 21.Nh2 Kg7–+ black threats 22...Q:h2 23 K.h2 Rh8 or just simple 22..Rh8. White can't escape.) 17...Qxg5 with good compensation for Black 18.Bf1 (18.Nf1 f5 19.exf5 gxf5 20.a3 a4 21.b4 Nb3µ Smirin, Naumkin I - Smirin I 1995) 18...f5 19.a3 Rf7 20.Rab1 Nf4 21.b4 Ncd3–+ Wukits R - Timoscenko G 2003; 13...Bxe2 14.Rxe2 Ng4 15.Bxc5 bxc5 16.g3 h5 17.Qd3 Qd7 18.f3 Nh6 19.f4 Zilberman J - Kokarev D 2008]

9...h6! [Unfortunately for me, Andrea played quickly and probably he knew this position well. Let's see briefly another opportunities.]

[9...a5?! 10.Nd2 Qe8 11.b3 Nfd7 (11...Kh8!? 12.a3 Ng8 13.b4 Na6 14.c5 dxc5 15.b5 Nb8 16.b6 h6 17.Be3 cxb6 18.Nc4 Qd8 19.Rb1 Nd7 20.d6) 12.a3 f6 (12...f5?! 13.exf5 gxf5? (13...Rxf5 14.Be3) 14.Bh5) 13.Be3 f5 14.f3 f4 15.Bf2 g5 16.b4 axb4 (16...Na6!? 17.c5 dxc5 18.b5 Nab8 19.d6) 17.axb4 Rxa1 18.Qxa1 Na6 19.Qa3± Mohr G - Shengelia D 2010; 9...Qe8 10.Nd2 a5 the transposition to 9....a5]

10.Bxf6 Bxf6 [Perhaps another capture isn't bad but I would recommend this move]

[10...Qxf6 11.b4 Nd7 12.Nd2 (12.Ne1!?) ]

11.b4 Nd7 12.Ne1 Bg5

A strong and logical move. Frankly speaking I wasn't happy with my position. Perhaps]

[12...a5 13.a3 Bg5 even stronger. Let's see what happened in the old game Portisch - Jansa 14.Nd3 f5 15.c5?! Sergey Dolmatov condemns this move in his commentary but who likes to play the position he offered with white?! (15.Bf3 Nf6 16.Qc2 Bd7і S. Dolmatov) 15...Nf6 16.Bf3 axb4 17.Nxb4 (17.axb4 Rxa1 18.Qxa1 Bd2 with the idea 19.exf5? Bxc3 20.Qxc3 e4–+) 17...dxc5 18.Nd3 Nd7 White has nothing for the pawn]

13.Nd3 Qe7 [I don't like this move. Perhaps black should play directly f5]

[13...f5! 14.Bf3 (14.exf5 gxf5 15.f4 Bf6) 14...Nf6 15.Qc2 Bd7 with the same ideas as in the game Portisch - Jansa]

14.Qc2 f5 15.f4 exf4 16.exf5 Qe3+ 17.Kh1 Ne5 18.Nxe5 dxe5

19.fxg6? [A bad mistake caused by the miscalculation]

[19.Bd3! Bxf5 20.Bxf5 gxf5 (20...Rxf5 21.d6! cxd6 (21...Qb6 22.c5 Qc6 23.Rad1©; 21...c6 22.Ne4 f3 23.Rae1 Qa3 24.Rb1 Qe3 25.gxf3 Rxf3 26.Nxg5 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qxg5 28.Rg1 Qh5 29.Rxg6+ Kf7 30.Rg2±) 22.Nd5 Qa3 (22...Qd4?? 23.Rad1+–) 23.Rf3 Qa6 24.Nc7 Qc6 25.Nxa8 e4 26.Ra3 f3 27.gxf3 exf3 28.b5 Qc5 29.Rb3 Qe5 30.Rg1! (30.Rf1? Qe2 31.Qxe2 fxe2 32.Rg1 Rf1 33.Rb1 Rxb1 34.Rxb1 Bh4) 30...f2 31.Rf1+–) 21.c5 e4 22.Nb5 Rac8 23.Rae1 Qd3 24.Qxd3 exd3 25.d6 with slight advantage for White.]

19...Bf5 20.Qb3 e4 [I was going to play 21 Re1 and missed 21...Bh4]

21.Bh5 [21.d6 this opportunity is interesting but perhaps it is not sufficient for the equality 21...Bf6 22.Nd5 Qxe2 23.Rae1 Qh5!? (23...Qd3 24.Rxf4 Qxb3 25.axb3 Bg5 26.Ne7+ Kg7 27.Nxf5+ Kxg6 28.Nh4+ Kh5 29.Rxf8 Rxf8 30.g3=) 24.c5 Kg7 25.Nxf4 (25.Nxc7 Bh4! 26.Qd5 (26.Nxa8 Bg3 27.h3 f3 28.Qb2+ Kxg6 29.Kg1 Bxh3 30.gxh3 f2+–+) 26...Bg3 27.Ne6+ (27.h3 f3+–) 27...Kf6 28.h3 Qh4 29.Nxf8 Rxf8 30.Qxb7 Kxg6 31.Re2 f3 32.gxf3 Rf7 33.Qa8 Kh7–+) 25...Qg5 26.dxc7 Rac8 27.Rxe4 Rxc7 with advantage for Black.]

21...Bf6 22.Rac1

22...f3 [22...Be5!? an unpleasant way for white 23.Ne2 Qxb3 24.axb3 Bd7 25.Rce1 a5і]

23.gxf3 Qg5 24.Bg4 [black had to alt beetween 2 opportunities and he didn't make the best choice.]

24...Bxg4? [24...exf3! It would be very difficult to find the right way 25.Bxf3 Rae8 26.d6! Re3 27.g7! Seems to be the strongest move. All lines are too complicate for human being. (27.Bd5+?! Kg7 28.dxc7 Bxc3 29.Qc2!! diagram (29.Rxc3 Be4+ 30.Bxe4 Rxf1#) 29...Rd3! the only way to get an advantage (29...Bxc2 After queen's capture the position seems to be drawish 30.Rxf8 Re8 (30...Bf5 31.Rf1 (31.Rg1 Kxf8 32.Rxg5 hxg5) 31...Re1 32.Rg8+ Kf6 33.Rxe1 Bxe1 34.Rf8+ Kg7 (34...Ke7 35.g7 Qxg7 (35...Bxb4 36.g8Q Qc1+ 37.Qg1 Qxg1+ 38.Kxg1 Kxf8 39.Bxb7=) 36.Rxf5 Kd7 37.Rf7+=) 35.Rg8+ Kf6 36.Rf8+ Kg7 37.Rg8+=) 31.Rf7+ Kxg6 32.Rg1 Rc8 33.Rxg5+ hxg5 34.Be6 Rh8 35.Rf2 Be4+ 36.Kg1 Bxb4=) 30.Qg2 (30.Qe2 Rd2 31.Rxf5 the only move (31.Qe1 Be4+ 32.Bxe4 Rxf1+ 33.Qxf1 Rxh2+ 34.Kxh2 Be5+ 35.Kh1 Qh4+ 36.Kg2 Qg3+ 37.Kh1 Qh2#) 31...Rxe2 32.Rxg5 hxg5 33.Bf3 (33.Bxb7 Rff2!–+) 33...Rd2! 34.Rxc3 g4 35.c8Q Rxc8 36.Bxg4 Re8 37.Rc1 Rxa2µ) 30...Qe3 31.c8Q Rxc8 (31...Bxc8?? 32.Rf7+ Rxf7 33.gxf7+ Qg5 34.Rg1!+–) 32.Rxc3 Rxc3 33.Rxf5 Rc1+ 34.Rf1 Qc3 35.Qe2 Rxf1+ 36.Qxf1 Rc7µ) 27...Bxg7! (27...Rfe8? 28.Bd5+ Kxg7 29.Rg1 Bg4 30.d7 Rd8 31.Rxg4 Qxg4 32.Rg1 Qxg1+ 33.Kxg1 Rxc3 34.Qd1+–; 27...Kxg7 28.Rg1 Rxf3 29.Rxg5+ hxg5 30.Qd1 Rxc3 31.Rxc3 Bxc3 32.dxc7 Be5 33.Qd8 Bf4 34.Kg2 Be4+ 35.Kh3 Bf5+ 36.Kg2 Be4+=) 28.Bd5+ Kh7 29.dxc7 Be5 30.Qb2 (30.Rxf5 Qxf5 31.Qc2 Qxc2 32.Rxc2 Bxc7 33.Kg2µ) 30...Qh5 31.Qg2 Bxc3 32.Rxc3 Rxc3 33.c8Q Rxc8 34.Be4 Rf8 35.Bxf5+ Rxf5 36.Qxb7+ Kg6 (36...Kg8 37.Qc8+) 37.Qc6+ Kg5 38.Rxf5+ Kxf5 39.Qd5+ Kg6 40.Qg8+ Kf5 41.Qd5+ Kg6=]

25.fxg4 [25.Nxe4 Qf4! or Qe5! with the same consequences (25...Qxg6?! 26.Rg1 (26.Nxf6+?! Rxf6 27.fxg4 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Qd4+ 29.Kg2 Qd2+ 30.Kh1 (30.Kg3?? Re8–+) 30...Raf8 31.Qb1 Rf2 32.Qg6+ Kh8 33.Rxf2 Rxf2 34.Qe8+ Kh7 35.Qe7+ Kg6 36.Qe4+ Kg7 37.Qe5+ Kg8 38.Ra1 Qd3 39.Qe6+ Kg7 40.Qe7+ Kg8=) 26...h5 27.Qd3 Rae8 28.Nxf6+ Rxf6 29.Qxg6+ Rxg6 30.fxg4) 26.Nxf6+ Rxf6 27.fxg4 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Qd4+ 29.Kg2 Raf8 30.Rxf6 Qd2+ 31.Kh3 Rxf6 32.Rc2 Qd1 33.Rc3 Qf1+ 34.Kh4 Qe1+ 35.Kh3 Qf1+=]

25...Qxg4 26.Qc2 [Perhaps White could try 26.c5!? Be5 27.d6+ Kh8! when I saw this position I decided that black is OK due to threat Rf3. Computer generally confirms my evaluation but shows some interesting options (27...Kg7?? 28.Rf7+ Kxg6 29.Rcf1+–) 28.Nb5 (28.Rf7?! Qxg6) 28...Qh5 29.g7+! Kxg7 30.Qc2 cxd6 31.Nxd6 Kh8 32.Nxe4 Rxf1+ 33.Rxf1 Rg8 I think black has enough compensation for the pawn]

26...Rae8 27.Qg2 Qxg2+ 28.Kxg2 Bxc3?! [the bishop is stronger that the knight. my opponent had time trouble so he decided to secure himself. He feared that the knight might get on e6. Anyway now black got into troubles.]

[28...e3! 29.Ne2 Kg7=]

29.Rxc3 Rxf1 30.Kxf1 Kg7 31.Rg3 e3 32.Rg4 h5 33.Rd4 e2+ 34.Ke1 Kxg6 35.c5 Kf5 36.Rd2 Rd8 37.h4 Rd7 [37...b6! it looks like that black would save the game if he alted this way 38.Kxe2 (38.d6 cxd6 39.c6 b5 40.Rd5+ Ke4 41.Rxb5 Rc8 42.Rxh5 Rxc6 43.Ra5 Rc2 44.h5 d5 45.h6 d4 46.h7 d3 47.Re5+ Kf3 48.Rf5+ Ke3 49.Re5+ Kf3=) 38...bxc5 39.bxc5 Ke5 40.d6 cxd6 41.Ke3 a5 42.a4 Rd7! 43.cxd6 Rxd6 44.Rxd6 Kxd6 45.Kd4 (45.Kf4 Ke6 46.Kg5 Ke5 47.Kxh5 Kf5 48.Kh6 Kf6 49.h5 Kf7 50.Kg5 Kg7=) 45...Ke6 46.Kc5 Kd7 47.Kb6 Kd6 48.Kxa5 Kc5 49.Ka6 Kc6 50.a5 Kc7 51.Kb5 Kb7=]

38.Kxe2 Ke5

39.d6! [39.Ke3 a5! (39...Rxd5?? 40.Rxd5+ Kxd5 41.Kf4 Kc4 42.Kg5 Kxb4 43.Kxh5 Kxc5 44.Kg6+–) 40.d6 (40.b5 Rxd5 41.Rxd5+ Kxd5 42.Kf4 Kxc5 43.Kg5 Kxb5 44.Kxh5 c5 45.Kg4 c4 46.Kf3 Kb4 47.Ke3 Ka3 48.Kd4 b5 49.Kc3 Kxa2 50.h5 b4+ 51.Kxc4 b3 52.h6 b2 53.h7 b1Q 54.h8Q white has to fight for draw) 40...axb4 41.Rd4 cxd6 42.cxd6 Rxd6 43.Rxd6 Kxd6 44.Kf4 Ke6 45.Kg5 Kf7=]

39...cxd6 40.Ke3 Ke6?? [This move can be explained only by time problem]

[40...d5 41.Rg2 Re7 42.Kd3 white has an excellent chance to win this endgame. For exemple 42...Rh7 (42...Rf7 43.Re2+ Kf6 44.Rf2+ Ke6 45.Rxf7 Kxf7 46.Kd4 Ke6 47.b5+–) 43.Rg5+ Ke6 44.Kd4 Kd7 45.Kxd5+–; 40...Rg7 41.cxd6 Rd7 42.Rd1+–]

41.Rxd6+ Rxd6 42.cxd6 Kxd6 43.Kf4 Ke6 44.Kg5 b5 45.Kxh5 Kf5 46.Kh6 Kf6 47.h5


An incredibly tense and rich battle! The next game will follow soon.


Rusty in Montreal

The tournament in Montreal came after a long period without any chess practice for me. I was busy with the lessons and did not have any time for self-improvement. Unfortunately this became apparent in Canada. The first two games that I played were just horrible, I did not even know what to do with my pieces.
Then some wins came and at the seventh round I moved to board two for an encounter against one of the favourites, Wesley So:

So,Wesley (2653) - Bojkov,Dejan (2556) [D25]
Ch. ouvert du Quebec invitation Montreal, CAN (7), 26.07.2012

1.d4 d5 [A small surprise. I did not play like that for years.]

2.c4 dxc4 [However this is the real one. Before that i opted mainly for the Chebanenko Slav.]

3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Be6

This is a rare line in which White needs to play energetically to claim the advantage.]

5.Be2 [I suspect that White can play for something only if he develops the knight on c3 and tries to use his central pawns as fast as possible.]

5...c5 6.0–0 Nc6 7.dxc5 Qxd1?! [Inaccuracy.]

[A neat solution of all the Black problems is: 7...Qa5=]

8.Rxd1 Ne4 9.Nc3 [Wesley could have started play in the center with: 9.Nd4!? to which I was choosing between: 9...Bd5 or: (9...Bd7 10.Bxc4 Nxc5=) 10.f3 Nxc5 11.e4 Nxd4 12.Rxd4 Bc6=]

9...Nxc5 [The most natural move. I considered the position equal, but the Philippini GM starts to create problems.]

[9...Nxc3?! opens the b file in White's favour- 10.bxc3 Rd8 11.Rb1 Rxd1+ 12.Bxd1 Bc8 13.Be2 Na5 14.Ne5±]

10.Ng5 g6 [After some thought I decided to simplify the position and agree to double pawns. So was surprised of that decision and offered instead:]

[10...Bf5!? in the post mortem. Indeed, this looks like a good alternative- 11.Bxc4 e6=; On the other hand, the other retreat is not as good- 10...Bd7 11.Bxc4 Ne5 (11...e6 12.b3 is slightly better for White) 12.Be2 with slight advantage; Note that the pawn cannot be defended- 10...Ne5?! 11.Nb5 Rc8 12.Nxa7±; 10...Na5?! 11.Nb5]


[Black's problems are solved easier in case of: 11.Nxe6 Nxe6 12.Bxc4 Bg7 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.Bd2 0–0–0= and the exchanges along the d file should secure the draw.]

11...Bg7 [Or: 11...Bd7 12.Bxc4 Ne5 13.Be2 with some advantage for White]

12.Be3 Nd3 [Black sticks to his plan to simplify the position. Accepting the sacrificed pawn is too dangerous-]

[12...Bxc3 13.bxc3 Na4 14.Nxe6 fxe6 15.Bxc4 Nxc3 16.Rdc1 (16.Re1!?) 16...Nxe4 17.Bxe6± the extra pawn is not a consolation once that you have a glimpse of the white bishops...]

13.Nxe6 fxe6 14.Bxd3 cxd3 15.Rxd3 Rd8 [Again simplifications. In case of:]

[15...Ne5 16.Rdd1 Nc4 17.Bd4 e5 18.Be3 Nxe3 19.fxe3 the white knight dominates the bishop. I thought that keeping the adversary pieces is a better idea.]

16.Rxd8+ Kxd8 17.Rc1 Bxc3!? 18.Rxc3 e5

Now Black's set up is obvious- the king goes to e6, h7–h5, and eventually a rook swap along the d file with fortress. However, White has two obvious plusses-the better minor piece and the slightly better pawn structure. So keeps on posing problems.]

19.Ra3! [He tries to force a weakening of the queen's flank.]

19...Kc7! 20.Kf1 [The pawn is poisonous:]

[20.Bxa7? b6 21.Ra6 Rd8 22.Kf1 Rd6–+ and the bishop is trapped after Kc7–b7.]

20...Rd8 21.Ke2 Nd4+?! [In the coming time-trouble I decided to clarify the situation. From practical point of view though this is a concession. The position still remains close to ballanced, but new problems arise and the play becomes much more concrete.]

[21...b6 22.Rc3 Rd6 with the idea Kc7–d7–e6 was the other way to defend.]

22.Bxd4 Rxd4 23.Rxa7 Rxe4+ 24.Kd2 Rd4+ 25.Ke3 Rd1

26.Ra4! [The rook is transfered to a more active position.]

26...b5 [So considered this move to be a mistake after the game. But as we shall see the defensive resources of the Black position were still sufficient.]

[26...Re1+ 27.Kf3 Rb1 28.Rc4+ Kd6 29.Rb4 (29.Rc2) 29...Kc6 and Black still needs to prove the draw; 26...Rb1 27.Rc4+ (27.Rb4) 27...Kd6 28.Rc2 and White can keep on playing]

27.Ra7+ Kd6 28.Rb7 Re1+! [The rook needs to be maximally active in these endgames.]

29.Kf3 [Better than: 29.Kd2 Rh1 30.h3 Rh2 31.Rxb5 Rxg2 32.Ke2 Rh2 33.Rb3 Rh1 and Black should be OK thanks to the active pieces.]

29...e4+ 30.Kg3 Kc5 [Unfortunately the position cannot be simplified with: 30...e3 due to: 31.Rxb5 e2 32.Kf3±]

31.Rxe7 Re2 32.Re5+ [A nasty in-between check.]

32...Kc6 [Keeping the material ballance with: 32...Kb4 33.a3+ Ka4 (33...Ka5!? gives draw chances.) 34.b3+ Kxb3 35.Rxb5+ Kxa3 36.Rb7+– should be lost for Black.]

33.b4 Rxa2 34.Rxe4 Kd5 35.f3 Rc2 36.Rh4 h5 37.Re4

The critical moment of the game and maybe the tournament. Wesley So won a pawn thanks to his clever play. However due to the reduced material the position is still a draw.]

37...Rc4? [The natural desire to do somthing in the time trouble spoils the defense. All Black needed was to wait:]

[37...Rb2 38.h4 Rc2 39.Kh3 and only when the king is far away to go: (39.Re7 Rc4 40.Rg7 Rxb4 41.Rxg6 Ra4 42.Rg5+ Kc4 43.Rxh5 b4 44.Rh7 b3 45.Rc7+ Kd3 46.Rb7 Kc2 and the Black's remaining pawn secures the draw. (46...Kc3) ) 39...Rc4!; 37...Rd2 would also suffice for a draw.]

38.Kf4 [Now White wins at least two tempoes to advance his king's side pawns and this proves decisive.]

38...Rc2 39.Re5+! Kc6 [Alas, the queen endgame after: 39...Kc4 40.Rc5+ Kb3 41.Rxc2 Kxc2 42.Kg5 Kc3 43.Kxg6 Kxb4 44.f4 Kc3 45.f5 b4 46.f6 b3 47.f7 b2 48.f8Q b1Q+ 49.Qf5! is pretty hopeless.]

40.Re6+ Kd5 41.Rxg6 Rb2 42.h4 Kc4 [Frustration, but even against best defense White is winning:]

[42...Rxb4+ 43.Kg5 Rd4 44.g4 b4 45.gxh5 Kc4 46.f4 b3 47.h6 b2 48.Rb6 Rd5+ 49.f5 Rb5 50.Rxb5 Kxb5 51.h7 b1Q 52.h8Q+–]

43.g4 hxg4 44.fxg4 Rxb4 45.h5 Ra4 46.h6 Kc5+ 47.Kg5 [Summarizing the game- White got nothing out of the opening but did not let go, kept on pushing, used all the chances he had (including the better time management) and deservedly won. Congratulations for Wesley So for winning the tournament!]



Iva Annotates (2)

It is always nice to finish a tournament with a win, especially against a strong opponent, and in a convincing way:
Kashlinskaya,Alina (2377) - Videnova,Iva (2301) [E42]
EU-ch (w) Gaziantep (11.25), 13.03.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Nge2 c5 6.a3 Ba5 7.Bd2 [7.Rb1 is the most common continuation.]

7...0–0 8.g3 [8.Nf4 is another try, but Akopian showed how is Black supposed to play. 8...cxd4 9.exd4 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 d5 11.Qf3 Bb7 12.Bd3 Nbd7 13.cxd5 Nxd5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.Qh3 f5 16.0–0 Rf6 17.Bd2 Rg6 18.f3 Nb8 19.Rac1 Nc6 20.Be3 Qf6і 21.Bc4 Nxd4 22.Bxd5 exd5 23.Rcd1 Ne2+ 24.Kh1 Re8 25.f4 Ng3+! 26.hxg3 Rxe3 Hammes,M 2399-Akopian,V 2679/ Kallithea GRE 2008, 0–1]

8...Bb7 9.d5 b5

typical for the variation.]

10.Nxb5 exd5 11.Bg2 [11.Nd6 doesn't lead to something better: 11...Bc6 12.cxd5 Bxd5 13.Rg1 Nc6 and Black is ahead in development.]

11...Bc6 12.Nbc3? [Loss of 2 tempi (Nc3–b5–c3) in the opening is quite dangerous.]

[12.0–0 dxc4 13.Bxa5 Qxa5 14.Nd6 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 Qb6 16.Rc1 Qxb2 17.Rxc4 Na6 and the game is about equal, despite of the pawn more for Black.]

12...dxc4 13.e4 Re8 14.0–0 Bxc3 [Of course not 14...Nxe4? 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.Bxe4 Rxe4 17.Bxa5 Qxa5 18.Qd5± winning one of the rooks.]

15.Nxc3 Nxe4 16.Nxe4 Bxe4

17.Ba5! [White finds clever defensive resource.]

17...Qc8 [‹17...Qxa5?! 18.Bxe4 Nc6 (‹18...Rxe4? is weaker again: 19.Qd5 Nc6 20.Qxe4І with advantage for White.) 19.Qxd7 Rxe4 20.Qxc6 and the double "c" pawns devalue Black's material advantage.; It's never too late to lose: 17...Qf6? 18.Re1 Qc6 19.f3 Qb5 20.fxe4 Qxa5 21.e5 Nc6 22.Qxd7±]

18.Bxe4 Rxe4 19.Qf3 [Better was 19.Qd5 Qc6 20.Rfd1 a6!?і with the idea Ra7. (20...Re6 21.Rac1! with stubborn defense. (White mustn't allow his opponent to develop: 21.Qxc4 d6 and after Nd7 the last undeveloped piece - the Ra8 will join the game.) ) ]

19...d5 20.Rad1 Nc6 [20...Qe6?! 21.Rxd5 Qxd5 22.Rd1±]

21.Rxd5 Qe6 22.Rxc5 Nd4

23.Qh5 [23.Qd1 Ne2+ 24.Kh1 (24.Kg2 Rh4!–+) 24...Qh3–+ and the threat Rh4 is killing.]

23...Re8 [23...g6?! allows 24.Qd5 and White is fine after 24...Rb8 25.f3 (‹25.Bb4? Qg4 26.h3 Qf3 27.Rxc4 Ne2+ 28.Kh2 Nxg3 29.Rxe4 Nxe4‚) 25...Ne2+ 26.Kg2 the only move and now: 26...Rxb2!

beautiful combination, ending draw with perpetual check: 27.Qa8+ Kg7 28.fxe4 Nxg3+ 29.Kxg3 (29.Kg1 Ne2+ 30.Kh1 Ng3+ 31.Kg1 Ne2+=) 29...Qd6+ 30.e5 Qxc5 31.Bc3 Qe3+ 32.Qf3 Qg5+ 33.Kh3 Qh6+ 34.Kg4 Qh5+ 35.Kf4 Qf5+ 36.Ke3 Qd3+=]

24.Kg2 Nb3 25.Rb5 Nd4 [Stronger is 25...g6 winning immediately after 26.Qd5 a6–+]

26.Rc5 Re2 27.Qd5? [White misses her best chance- 27.Bc3! Qe4+ 28.Kh3 Nb3 and although the king on h3 looks dubious, Black has no direct threat.]

27...Nb3 28.Qxe6 fxe6 29.Kf3 [29.Rg5 h6 30.Rb5 (30.Kf3 Nd4+) 30...a6 31.Rh5 g6]

29...Rxb2 30.Rg5 e5

[30...h6 31.Rxg7+ Kxg7 32.Bc3+ Kg6 33.Bxb2 Nd2+]

31.Bc3 Rc2 32.Be1 Nd4+ 33.Kg2 c3



Iva Annotates

It is not everyday that you see a rook trapped at the center of the board. WGM Iva Videnova was kind enough to annotate the following marvelous game:
Videnova,Iva (2301) - Bezgodova,Maria (2200) [C92]
EU-ch (w) Gaziantep (10.35), 12.03.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Be6

Quite rare line - Kholmov Variation in Ruy Lopez. May be the most frequent follower among Grandmasters is Predrag Nikolic.]

10.d4 Bxb3 11.axb3 Qc8 12.d5 Nb8 [12...Nd8 is another option: 13.c4 c6 14.Nc3 b4 15.Na4! Qc7 16.dxc6 Nxc6 17.Bg5 Nd7 18.Bxe7 Nxe7 19.Qd2 targeting pawns b4 and d6. 19...a5 20.Rad1 and White is somewhat better.]

13.c4 Nbd7 14.Nc3 Nc5 White keeps some advantage in case of [14...b4 15.Na4!? aiming c4–c5.]

15.b4 Ncd7 16.cxb5 axb5 17.Bd2

Better was the more active: [17.Be3!? Rxa1 18.Qxa1 c5 19.bxc5 Nxc5 20.Qa7 with advantage for White.]

17...c5 18.dxc6 Rxa1 [18...Qxc6 19.Ra5 is good for White.]

19.Qxa1 Qxc6 20.Qd1 Rc8 21.Qe2 Qc4 22.Nxb5 Qxe2 [22...Nxe4? loses in view of 23.Qxc4 Rxc4 24.b3±]

23.Rxe2 Rc4 Black misses a good chance-[23...Rc2 24.Ne1 Rxb2 25.Nd3 Rb3 26.Nc1 Rb1 27.Na3 Ra1 28.Nc2 Rb1 29.Na3= and draw could be fixed.]

24.Re3 Rxe4 25.Rc3

The rook is suddenly in danger despite the many squares that it possibly hits. The problem is that almost all of them are already taken... 25...d5 26.Rc8+ Nf8 The rook is trapped in case of:[26...Bf8 27.Nd6 Re2 28.Kf1]

27.Na7 Bxb4 28.Nc6 [28.Bxb4 Rxb4 29.Nc6 Rb7 the only move 30.Nfxe5 and although Black's position looks crumpled, after 30...g6= White pressure would hardly bring it to the win.]

28...Bd6 [28...Bxd2?? 29.Ne7+]

29.b3! [trying to surround the rook on e4.]

[29.Nfxe5 Rxe5 30.Nxe5 Bxe5 31.Bb4 N6d7 32.Bxf8 Nxf8 33.b4 f5 34.b5 Kf7 35.b6 Nd7 36.b7 Ke7]

29...N6d7 30.Kf1 f6 31.Ba5

31...Rf4 32.Bd2 Re4 [32...Rf5 33.Ng1 with the idea g2–g4. 33...Rh5 is the only move, as if- (33...Bc5 34.Be3 Bxe3 35.Ne7+ Kf7 36.Nxf5±) 34.g4 Rh4 35.Nf3 (35.Kg2 e4 36.Nd4 g6 37.f3 Kf7 38.Be1 Rh6 39.Bd2 Rh4=) 35...Rxh3 36.Kg2 Rxf3 37.Kxf3 and White is better. Despite the fact that Black has 2 pawns for the exchange, "b"-pawn may cause problems.]

33.g3 [taking away the last squares from the rook on e4.]

33...Nb6 [Better was 33...d4 34.Ne1 threatening f3. 34...Nc5 (34...Nb6 35.Rd8 Bc7 36.Re8±) 35.Bb4 (‹35.f3? Nxb3 36.fxe4 Nxd2+ 37.Ke2 Nxe4 and only Black can try to win.) 35...Rxe1+ 36.Bxe1 Nxb3 37.Rd8 Bc7 (37...Bc5 38.f4±) 38.Rd5 Ne6 39.Bb4 Black has two pawns for the exchange and should normally be out of trouble. However, as the knight on b3 is cut from the main camp Black still needs to prove equality.]

34.Rd8 Bc7 35.Re8 Bd6 [35...Nbd7 36.Bb4 Kf7 37.Re7+ Kg6 38.Ba3 f5 39.Nd2]

36.Ba5 Kf7 37.Rxf8+?! [Inaccurate play in a key moment that could have costed half point.]

[37.Rd8 was winning immediately: 37...Bc7 38.Bxb6 Bxd8 (38...Bxb6 39.Rxd5 Ke6 40.Rb5) 39.Bxd8 Ke6 40.Be7+– Ng6 41.Bc5 Kd7 42.Na5]

37...Bxf8 38.Bxb6 Bb4?! [With clever manoeuvre Black could save the game: 38...Ke6 39.Ba5 Kd7 40.Nb8+ Kc8 41.Nc6= funny, but the knight cannot escape.]

39.Be3 Bc3 40.Bd2 d4 41.Bxc3 [41.Nd8+ Ke7 42.Nb7]

41...dxc3 42.Ne1 Ke6 43.Nc2 Kd5 44.N6b4+ Kc5 45.Nd3+ Kd5 46.f3

Mission accomplished - the rook is finally captured.]


Sofia-Zagreb (The Bloody Friendship)

It was probably the successful experience that Bankia had the last year which suggested the organization of yet another mass chess match. Or maybe it was the natural desire of the people to see each other in person rather than play on the net?
Anyways, the little town which is situated just seven kilometers away from the capital Sofia hosted the match between the capitals of Bulgaria and Croatia. Zagreb is much further than Belgrade and the event also coincided with the big Albena open in Bulgaria and the Mitropa Cup (true, the latter starts on 30-th of May, but some of the players decided to stay and prepare for the event). Therefore the number of the boards were reduced- “only” fifty compared to the hundred from the previous match against Belgrade.

This should not fool you though as the Croatians brought their heavy artirelly headed by the reigning champion Mladen Palac, the former World Youth Champion Hrvoje Stevic, the living legend Krunoslav Hulak and three more strong GMs- A. Brkic, A. Jankovic and R. Zelcic.
The Sofia squad was even more impressive with twelve GMs and three WGMs. The team was headed by top GM Kiril Georgiev and the tenth world women champion Antoaneta Stefanova.
The start of the match was delayed for about an hour. We were waiting for the Sofia mayor Y. Fandukova to open the event. Sofia suffered earthquake and floods these days and as a bridge felt down she had more important things to care about that day. Still, as her colleague, the Zagreb mayor M. Bandic stayed at the opening ceremony-everything is repairable as long as there are no victims. The politicians combined the nice with the useful and after the symbolic start of the event 1.e4 (Fandukova) 1…e5 (Bandic) went on to sign some important contracts for co-operation between the capitals. I wonder when our mayor will start to play the Queen’s gambit at last…
The top six boards were relayed online and saw uncompromised battle. The time limit predisposed such play and was twenty five minutes per game and additional ten seconds per move. K. Georgiev won first with a little but elegant combination against Palac:

20...Qxh2+! [20...Qxh2+ 21.Kxh2 Ng4+ 22.Kg1 Nxe3] 0-1

The last game to finish was Stefanova-Stevic in which the Croatian GM had to act like a real gentleman. We won here 4-2 and the overall match 30-20. A friendly match but a thrilling one!
A special guest of the event was Veselin Topalov and most of the participants used the chance to chat with him or to make a memorable photo. Soccer was represented by the prominent football player of Levki Sofia H. Yovov (a regular guest of all the chess events).
ECU president Danailov was naturally there too and used the case to announce the Mega match on 1000 boards Sofia-Belgrade on November!
Trio Soprano entertained the participants at the opening ceremony and the official lunch ad both the teams received cups and souvenirs from the officials.
After seventy years Sofia took revenge for the defeat in the friendly match Croatia-Bulgaria.

Bojkov,Dejan (BUL) - Jankovic,Alojzije (CRO)
Sofia - Zagreb Bankya (BUL) (1.1), 28.05.2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0–0 Nge7 5.b3 Ng6 6.Bb2 f6 7.Re1 Be7 8.c3 0–0 9.d4 d5 10.Nbd2 cxd4 11.cxd4 Bd7 12.a3 Bd6 13.Bf1 Nce7 14.b4 a5 15.e5 fxe5 16.dxe5 Bc7 17.Nb3 Ba4 18.Ng5 Nf4 19.g3 Neg6 20.gxf4 Nxf4 21.Nf3 Qe8 22.Nfd4 Bb6 23.Re3 Qf7 24.Qg4 Nh3+ 25.Rxh3 Qxf2+ 26.Kh1 Qxb2 27.Bd3 Bxd4 [27...Bxb3

28.Qxg7+ Kxg7 29.Rxh7+ Kg8 30.Rg1+ Qg2+ 31.Rxg2#]

28.Bxh7+ Kf7 29.Rf3+



The Game for the Title

The Bulgarian Individual championship in Panagyurishte welcomed a new female champion. Iva Videnova have always been one of the contenders for the medals in the past championship and have already won medals; none of them was a gold one though.
This tournament started more than well for her and she scored seven wins in her first seven games! Still, the defeat in the last-but-one led her to a situation when she could not afford loss of other point in the final game. A draw would be sufficient for a tie and an additional match for the title.
This is how the last game went with the notes by the winner:

Nikolova,Adriana (2293) - Videnova,Iva (2301) [B22]
BUL-ch (w) 61st Panagyurishte (9), 28.04.2012

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 g6 [A rare variation of Sicilian Alapin, played from time to time by Radjabov, Dreev, Almasi, Babula.]

5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Na3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qe4+ 8.Be3 0–0 9.0–0 [If White goes for material 9.dxc5 Ng4 Black has compensation for the sacrificed pawn. In example: 10.Qc2 (10.Qd2 Nxe3 11.Qxe3 Qxe3+ 12.fxe3 Nd7 White cannot keep the pawn up and easily gets a worse position, because of his demolished pawn structure and the lack in development.) 10...Qxc2 11.Nxc2 Nxe3 12.Nxe3 Nd7 13.Nd5 e6 14.Ne7+ Kh8 15.c6 Nb6 16.Be2 bxc6 17.Nxc6 Bb7 with initiative- 18.Na5 Rab8 19.Nxb7 Rxb7 20.a4 Nd5 and despite the pawn up, White is the one who has problems.]

9...cxd4 10.cxd4?!

May be the first key-moment in the game. White could recapture in 4 ways and Adriana chose the worst, in my opinion. Many books are written about the positive and negative sides of the isolated pawn and for sure in this particular position creating IQP doesn't seem to favour White. The knight on a3 is misplaced, after recapturing 10.c:d4 the obvious place for him is the c3–square.]

[10.Bxd4; 10.Nxd4; 10.Qxd4]

10...a6?! [takes away the b5–square for the knight, but makes a weak point on b6.]

[Better was 10...Nc6 developing naturally.]

11.Ne5?! [A rock solid rule: if you have an isolated pawn do not exchange pieces! The knight on e5 just longs to be exchanged.]

[White could use the drawbacks of the last Black move this way: 11.Bd3 Qd5 12.Nc4 and the misplaced piece enters the game 12...Nbd7 13.h3 b5 14.Na5ч with mutual chances.]

11...Ng4? [Is 10...a6 wasn't fatal, the second lost of a tempo already is!]

[Developing a piece 11...Nc6 is always the better option: 12.Nxc6 (12.Bd3 Qd5 13.Nac4 (worse is-13.f4?! Nxe5 14.dxe5 (14.fxe5 Ng4і 15.Qe2 Be6 16.Bc4 Qe4 17.Bxe6 Nxe3 18.Rxf7 Rxf7 19.Nc4 Qxd4 20.Nxe3 Raf8 with Black's advantage) 14...Ng4 15.Qe2 Rd8 16.Rad1 Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Be6 18.Nc4 Qd4і) 13...Nxd4 14.Bxg6 Nf5 15.Bxf5 Bxf5 16.Bd4 Ng4 taking the initiative: 17.Nxg4 Bxg4 18.Qxg4 Qxd4 19.Qxd4 Bxd4 20.Rad1 Rfd8 with chances only for Black.) 12...Qxc6 13.Rc1 Qd6 hanging around the IQ pawn.]

12.Bd3?! [The second very important key move wasn't imressive neither. Black is by no means worse after it.]

[White could find a deep tactical motif: 12.Nxf7! Rxf7 13.Bxf7+ Kxf7 14.Nc4!

Calm move, threatening f3 and Nb6. 14...Qd5 (14...Be6 15.f3 Qxe3+ 16.Nxe3 Nxe3 17.Qd3 Nxf1 18.d5 Bf5 19.Qb3 b5 20.Rxf1+– Although Black has enough material for the Queen, the lack of coordination between his pieces bothers the defensive task.) 15.Rc1! This move is hard to find when calculating 12.N:f7, but practically wins the game. 15...Bf6 the only move as (‹15...Nc6?? 16.Nb6 Qd6 17.g3+–) 16.Nb6 Qd6 17.g3 Qxb6 18.Rxc8 Nxe3 19.fxe3 Qe6 20.Qb3 Qxb3 21.axb3+– and Black is lost.]

12...Nxe3 13.Bxe4 Nxd1 14.Rfxd1 Ra7!? [Precise move.]

[Although Black is not worse even after 14...Nd7 15.Nxd7 Bxd7 16.Bxb7 Rab8 17.Bxa6 Rxb2 18.Nc4 Rb4 19.a3 Ra4 20.Nb6 Rxa6 21.Nxd7 Rfa8 and White must be careful to keep the balance.]

15.Nac4 b5 16.Na5 Be6 [16...f6 17.Bd5+ (17.Nec6 Nxc6 18.Nxc6 Rc7 19.Bf3 (19.d5? is a mistake in view of 19...f5 with advantage) 19...e6 20.Rac1 Re8) 17...e6 18.Nec6 Nxc6 19.Bxc6 f5=; 16...Rc7 17.Rac1 Rxc1 18.Rxc1 Be6 19.b3 Rd8 20.Nac6 Nxc6 21.Nxc6 Re8 22.d5 Bd7=]

17.Rac1 Re8 18.f4 f6 19.Nec6

19...Nxc6 20.Bxc6 [20.Nxc6 Rc7 21.d5 Bf7 22.Bf3 f5 23.b4 Kf8 and Black must be OK.]

20...Rd8 [20...Rb8 hampering the knight to get in play. 21.d5 Bf7]

21.Nb7 Rb8 22.Nc5 Bf7 23.d5 f5 24.b3 [24.b4?! a5 25.bxa5 Rxa5 and Black gets counterplay on the queenside.]

24...Bb2!? [The idea behind is placing the bishop on d6 - a better square, from which can take an eye on both flangs, hampering an eventual movement of d5–pawn.]

25.Rc2 Ba3 26.Ne6? [26.Re1 a5 27.Re3 a4 28.bxa4 Bxc5 29.Rxc5 bxa4=]

26...Bd6 [26...Bxe6 immediately is not so strong, because of 27.dxe6 Rc7 28.Rd7 the only move Rbc8 29.Rxc7 Rxc7 30.Kf2 Bd6 31.g3 Kg7 32.Ke3 Kf6і and Black takes the e6–pawn, but the chances to win are not so big with the opposite-coloured bishops on board.]

27.g3 [27.Re1 Bxe6 28.Rxe6 Bxf4і and although Black has a clear pawn up, the probable outcome is draw.]

27...Bxe6 28.dxe6 Rc7 29.Rdc1??

After this blunder White gives up the game.]

[Time trouble didn't let my opponent to find the right continuation. There were chances to rescue: 29.a4 Rbc8 (29...bxa4 30.bxa4 Rbc8 31.Rdc1 Ba3 32.Ra1 Rxc6 33.Rxc6 Rxc6 34.Rxa3 Rxe6 with slight advantage for Black.) 30.Rxd6 exd6 31.e7 (worse is-31.axb5? Kf8! 32.Re2 Ke7 when Black is close to winning) 31...Kg7 32.Re2 Rxc6 33.e8Q Rxe8 34.Rxe8 Rc1+ 35.Kg2 Rc2+ 36.Kg1 bxa4 37.bxa4 Ra2 38.Rd8 Rxa4 39.Rxd6 and after precise play by White the game is supposed to end draw.]

29...Rbc8 30.b4 Bxb4 31.Rb1 Bd6 [And title comes :)]



Viorel Bologan Annotates

The recently finished EICC in Plovdiv was a real feast for those of us who love the opened, aggressive chess. One of the usual suspects of such play was the Moldavian GM Viorel Bologan. He was kind enough to allow me to publish the following fabulous game with his notes:

Bologan Victor Viorel (MDA) - Mchedlishvili Micheil (GEO) [B10]
13th EICC round_8 Plovdiv BUL (8), 29.03.2012
[Bologan Victor Viorel (MDA)]

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 [Black is taking the chalenge and chooses a side line. I think the main idea of my opponent was to avoid my preparation - I must say he reached his goal!]

4.e5 Ne4 5.h3 [Prophilaxis which is mainly directed against the bishop on c8; the bad news about this move is that black can transpose into a comfortable french with a solved problem of the kingside knight. That, I understood only few days after the game.]

[5.Ne2 would be the most principled move which would pose a question on the knight status on e4: 5...Qb6 6.d4 c5 (6...e6 7.Nfg1 f6 8.f3 Ng5 9.Ng3 Nf7 10.exf6 gxf6 11.Nh5 Nd7 12.Ne2І) 7.dxc5 Qxc5 8.Ned4 Nc6 9.Bb5 Bd7 10.0–0 e6 11.Be3 Qb4 12.c4 Qxb2 13.cxd5 Nc3 14.dxe6 ! 14...Nxd1 (14...Bxe6 15.Bxc6+ bxc6 16.Qd3±) 15.exd7+ Kd8 16.Raxd1 Nxd4 17.Nxd4

despite the queen down White has a very serious atack which he later managed to convert into a full point, Svetushkin D 2554 - Landa K 2635 , 14.3.2010 11th EICC Men; 5.d4 it's another attempt which ignores the development of the bishop on g4 or f5: 5...Bf5

a) 5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg4 7.h3 Bh5 (7...Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e6 9.Be2) 8.e6 fxe6 9.Rb1 Qc7 10.Be2 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Nd7 12.0–0 with compensation;

b) 5...Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.e6 fxe6 8.Be2 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Nd7 11.0–0 e5 12.Bg4 and White has compensation for the pawn; 6.Bd3 (6.Nxe4 Bxe4 7.Ng5 Bg6 8.h4 h6 9.Nh3 e6 10.Nf4 Bf5 11.c3 c5 = Shumyatsky V 2352 - El Debs F 2502 , 29.11.2010 77th ch-BRA) 6...e6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Qe1 Nxc3 9.Bxf5 Nxa2 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Rxa2 with slight advantage for White.]

5...e6 6.d4 [Here for some time I was considering]

[6.d3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 and only now 8.d4 Nc6 9.Bd3 c4 10.Be2 However, comparing with the game I am a clear tempo down.]

6...c5 [6...Bb4 was also good enough 7.Bd2 Nxd2 8.Qxd2 0–0 9.Be2 c5 10.a3 Qa5 11.0–0 Bxc3 12.bxc3 b6 After the exchanges Black is getting rid of his pieces thus minimizing the space advantage of White. In the meanwhile he can start exploiting the white weaknesses on the queeneside.]

7.Bd3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 c4 [Now an interesting French with alive bishop on f8 arises, which is definitely in Black's favour.]

9.Be2 Be7 10.h4 Nc6 11.h5 h6 12.g3 [Here I felt unconfortable to find a good move and the main question was where to put the knight?]

[12.a4 Qa5 13.Bb2 Bd7 14.Nh4 0–0–0 15.f4 Rdg8 would be similar to the game]

12...Qa5 13.Qd2 Bd7 14.Nh4 0–0–0 15.a4 [My point is at some stage to exchange the black coloured bishops but even after that the weaknesses on the queens side together with black counterplay on the kingside would give me a motive for a headake.]

15...Rdg8 16.Bg4 Bg5! [The idea is to weaken the pawn on g3.]

17.f4 Be7 18.Kf2?! g5! [A typical breakthrough for this type of pawn structures.]

19.hxg6 fxg6 20.Nf3 [My point now is at least to keep the g file closed after exchanging on g5.]

20...Qd8 [Black had a pleasant choice here either to go for immediate:]

[20...g5 21.fxg5 hxg5 22.Rxh8 Rxh8 23.Kg2 Qd8 24.Ba3 Bxa3 25.Rxa3 Qe7 26.Ra1 Qh7; Or to play even stronger: 20...Nd8! To be honest I missed this idea completely - with the help of the knight Black's attack becomes realy dangerous.]

21.Qe2 Qf8 22.Kg2 Nd8 [Already here I had to realize that I am in trouble, but I reacted with the fast:]

23.a5 [, instead of more solid]

[23.Be3 Nf7 24.Raf1 Qg7 25.a5 holding the position]

23...Nf7 24.Rf1!

A critical moment of the game finaly I understood that I am completely strategicaly outplayed by my opponent and I am in deep trouble. After long thought I saw that the only way to stop black' attack is the idea of f5. The other point in my plan it was to combine that with idea of the sacrifice on c4.]

24...Qg7 25.Nd2 h5 [25...g5 26.f5 exf5 27.e6+–]

26.Bf3 [Perhaps:]

[26.Bh3 was stronger, but I was already focused on the attack 26...g5 27.Bxe6 Bxe6 28.f5 h4 29.g4 Nd8 30.a6 b5 31.fxe6 Nxe6 32.Kh2 Nf4 33.Qf3 Rf8 with unclear play.]



[26...h4 I would react with 27.g4 g5 (27...h3+ 28.Kh2) 28.f5 holding the files closed on the kingside.; But I was mostly afraid of: 26...Bb5 ! which I saw in my opponents face. After considerable thought Micheil declined it 27.a6 bxa6 28.Rh1 g5 29.f5 g4 30.Bxd5 exd5 31.f6 Bxf6 32.exf6 Qxf6 33.Rf1 Qg6 34.Qe7 Ng5 35.Rf6 Qg7 36.Qc5+ and the position is anything but clear.]

27.Nxc4?! [Objectively speaking:]

[27.f5 was a better move, but could not let the chance of sacrifice to run away from me- 27...g4 28.Bxd5 exd5 29.f6 Bxf6 30.a6 b6 31.Rxf6 h4 32.Nxc4 hxg3 33.Rxf7 Qxf7 34.Nd6+ Kc7 35.Nxf7 Rh2+ 36.Kf1 Rh1+ 37.Kg2 Rh2+=]

27...g4? [Allows a nice combination which was easy to avoid:]

[27...gxf4! The only real chance for Black to take the advantage and of course this corresponds with idea of opening the files: 28.Bxf4 Bg5 29.Kf2 h4 30.Ke1 hxg3 31.Bxg5 Qxg5 32.Bg2 dxc4 33.Rxf7 Rf8 34.Rf6 Rxf6 35.exf6 Qxf6µ; 27...h4 28.g4 gxf4 29.Bxf4І]

28.Bxd5! [One by one, White is destroying the strong pawn chain freeing the way for his pawns.]


29.Nb6+!! [A tempo! Black prepared very strong attack, so the only thing white has is time, time even on a price of two pieces!]

29...axb6 [29...Kd8 30.Nxd7 Kxd7 31.Qb5+ Kc7 32.a6 b6 33.Qxd5 Rb8 34.f5+–]

30.axb6 Kd8 [The other moves would not save neither:]

[30...Kb8 31.e6 Nd6 32.exd7 Qh7 33.Ba3 Qe4+ 34.Qxe4 dxe4 35.Ra2+–; 30...Bf5 31.Qb5 Kd8 32.Ra8++–; 30...Bd6 31.Ra8+ Bb8 32.f5+– followed by Bf4]

31.Ra8+ Bc8 32.Qb5! [This move escaped from the attention of my opponent as he confessed after the game.]

32...Nd6 33.Qxd5 Qf7 34.Qc5 Bf8 35.f5 Qd7 36.e6 Qc6+ 37.Qxc6 bxc6 38.f6

The triumph of the white pawns over the black pieces. Because of the pin on the eight rank Black can not do anything in order to stop the pawns being promoted.]

38...Rh7 39.f7 Rg6 40.Ba3 Rxe6 41.Bxd6