Coffee Break Chess
GM Alexander Baburin's online newsletter
It has been more than two months since the previous issue of CBC. I was very busy in the summer, and then the holiday season delayed my work on this issue. So now that I have some catching up to do, I would like to start with covering some of the summer events.
There were lots of interesting events this summer. Vladimir Kramnik finally lost a tournament game with a normal time control - to Mickey Adams in Dortmund. I think it was good for Vlad, as otherwise he might get obsessed with his long undefeated run. Kramnik won that super-tournament (dortmund.de/chess) and later brilliantly beat Peter Leko in their game on German TV. This must be good for his confidence before his match against Kasparov in October. I am sure it will be a very interesting event and I plan to see at least a few games live.
Svidler and M. Gurevich jointly won a strong tournament in Denmark
then Peter dominated a category XVI tournament in Biel (www.schachfestival-biel.ch) and it looked like the likeable GM from St. Petersburg was coming back to the top ten in the world. But then he played poorly in the Rubinstein Memorial in Polanica Zdrojn (rubinstein.netgate.com.pl).
The Rubinstein Memorial was a triumph for Boris Gelfand, who proved that he still can play at the highest level. Currently, Boris is doing well in the FIDE World Cup in China, battling in the semi-final against Vishy Anand. The FIDE World Cup is a new and very interesting event. Using knock-out format certainly makes it more attractive for spectators like myself - almost every day I follow games live on www.worldchesscup.com.
I think that the chess world will only win if FIDE would concentrate on
organising tournaments like this, rather than on dubious FIDE
Commerce plans. By the way, FIDEs Executive Director Emmanuel
Omuku replied to GM Seirawans open letter. You can find his answer
I do not think that the reply was adequate though, as in my opinion much
of Yassers criticism was not addressed. Of course, FIDE does some work
(like organising the chess Olympiad and the World Championship), but surely
it could do a much better job. It can also have better accountability and
more democracy within itself. Recently Seirawan posted a few messages at
the Inside Chess site, where he shares his view on chess politics in USA
and in the world. You can find this very interesting stuff at:
In protest to the FIDE policies Seirawan has withdrawn from the World Championship.
Recently my Web master Michael Dooley and I put a lot of new material on our site: more games for viewing in HTML and with Game Viewer, another book review, an interview with IM Danailov (both in English and Russian) and a letter from GM Hertneck. On the site (ababurin.tripod.com) you can also find a new endgame study by GM Karsten Mueller, more positions in the Chess Wonders section, revised and extended links, etc. Soon I will own my own domain, so expect some new interesting developments.
Coffee Break Chess is now available in Russian. Recently CBC added yet another language to its already long list. Curiously enough that language is my mother tongue! :-) GMchess from St. Petersburg (www.gmchess.com) translates CBC into Russian and then I edit the text in Russian. You can find CBC in Russian at: www.gmchess.com/ababurin while the English version is available there at: www.gmchess.com/ababurin/eng.
When I travel, many people come to me to say that they enjoy reading my book Winning Pawn Structures (Batsford 1999) and find it useful. I also receive loads of positive feedback via e-mail, for example like this one: Your book is simply the best chess book I have read in all my life. Thank you for writing it. (Luis Fernández, Spain). While I can think of better chess books myself, I am still quite proud of my work. So, many players ask me whether I will write a follow-up to that book. The answer is no, not at the moment. And if I ever do, it will not be for Batsford or its new owner Chrysalis. The manner in which Chrysalis claims to take over the intellectual rights to my work caused me a lot of distress. While I am not going to waste time and money battling against a mighty UK publisher in court, I ask the chess public to boycott Winning Pawn Structures! Simply do not buy it ... This request may sound strange, but this is the only way in which I can try to protect my rights. I plan making a revised version of my work for a different publisher.
People frequently ask me this question, so I want to answer it here. Yes, I do give lessons - both in person and over the phone/Internet. The rate is $50 per hour. I can also annotate games sent to me via e-mail. For more details please refer to ababurin.tripod.com/coaching.htm.
September and December might be a good time for lessons, as far as my schedule is concerned. I cannot have too many students (and I already have a few), so contact me early. Your level does not matter much - progress can be made at any level. Another idea is to have a workshop for a few players. I am prepared to travel and one such workshop is already planned for the end of September in Denmark.
I am also keen on organising a temporary chess school in Dublin, where chess fans can come for a few days and combine studying chess with visiting Ireland. Although this idea did not work out this summer (instead of an international camp, I had a workshop for the best Irish juniors, which went very well), I hope to have such a chess camp next year. If you are interested in taking part in such a session, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
I did not play much in the summer, taking part only in the Politiken Cup in Copenhagen and in one tournament in Dublin. The Politiken Cup (www.kbhsu.dk) was a nice tournament, though in my opinion 11 rounds with a day-off is too much nowadays - tournaments should be shorter and the rest days should be either before or after (better both!) the event. :-) I agreed to play in Copenhagen a long time ago, but clearly needed a break from chess when it was time to go to Denmark. Still, I decided to go to Denmark, as I like Copenhagen and have friends there. So, I treated the tournament as a chess holiday, which probably reflected in my rather poor result. Of course, being a professional I tried my best, but something was missing in my play ... Still, I played a few curious games there, some of which I am going to show now:
I must say that it was a special game for me, as I have a horrible score against Luke. Somehow this is my first draw against him. Hopefully, things will only get better! :-)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 g3 00 5 Bg2 d6 6 00 Nc6 7 Nc3 Rb8 8 d5 Na5 9 Nd2 Nd7 This is a rare move, which should not give Black fully equality, but which leads to little-known positions. 10 Qc2 Ne5 11 b3 c6 12 Bb2 b5 13 cxb5 I did not like the line 13 dxc6 bxc4 14 Nd5 Naxc6 15 f4, because of 15...e6!. 13...cxb5 14 h3 By playing on the kingside White hopes to use the fact that the a5-knight is inactive. 14...b4 N In the game Kharitonov-Mainka, Koszalin 1998, White got better chances after 14...Bf5 15 e4 Bd7 16 f4 Qb6+ 17 Kh2 Rfc8 18 fxe5 b4 19 Nf3 bxc3 20 Bxc3 Nb7 21 Qd2 Nc5 22 Bd4. Of course, it would be silly to pretend that I knew that game... 15 Nce4 e6!? 16 dxe6 Perhaps 16 f4 was better. I saw that after my move Black could play 16...f5, but did not consider it to be dangerous. 16...f5!? 17 f4 fxe4 18 Nxe4!? Played after a long thought. I realised that after 18 fxe5 d5 Black could be better, as all White's minor pieces are inactive. It's hard to say whether the piece sacrifice was correct, but in practice it's easier to play such positions with the initiative. 18...d5 19 Nc5 Nec6 20 Bxg7 Kxg7 21 Rad1 d4 22 f5. I also considered 22 e3. 22...gxf5? Better was 22...Qg5!. 23 Rxf5 Rxf5 24 Qxf5 Qf6 25 Qe4! d3?! I was going to meet 25...Qg6 with 26.Qd5! Qxg3 27.Rf1. Alas, later I forgot (!) about my idea to shift the rook to the f-file. 26 Rxd3 Rb5 Here Black, who had about 5 minutes left, offered a draw. I had almost 10 minutes, but after spending 7 of them I was not convinced that 27 Rd5 or 27 Nd7 were any good for White. So, keeping my score against McShane in mind, I took the draw. :-( Of course, I would have never done that, should I remember that just one move ago I was going to use the f-file. After 27 Rf3! Qd4+ 28 Qxd4+ Nxd4 29 Rf7+ Kg8 30 Rc7 Bxe6 31 e3! White wins.
Black has just played 48...Ne8-c7. My original intention was to play 49 Bd6?? here and I nearly made that move. But then I saw 49...b6+!. That came as a warning that in my current form I might blunder something. So, after a long thought I decided that the best way not to blunder the bishop was to sacrifice it!
49 Bxg7! Ne6+ 50.Kb6 Nxg7 51.Kxb7 h4?! Played very quickly, but this move loses without any resistance. Better was 51...Ne6, although after 52.a5 Nc5+ 53.Kb6 Na4+ 54.Kb5 Nc3+ 55.Kc4 Nd1 56.Kd4 White should win. 52.a5 Nf5 53.a6 Nd6+ 54.Kb8 Nb5 55.a7 Nxa7 56.Kxa7 Kc7 57.e4 Kd6 58.Kb6 Ke5 59.Kc5 Kf4 Or 59...Kxe4 60.Kd6 Kf4 61.Ke6 Kg3 62.Kf5 Kxg2 63.Kg4+-. 60.Kd4 Kg3 61.e5
This season I will play in the 4NCL again, where the competition got tougher with the emergence of another powerful team - IndexIT. The league starts in September and I hope that our team Wood Green will finally win it! For news on 4NCL and BL refer to: www.thechessoracle.com. Alas, my team from Delmenhorst quit BL (after finishing 3rd in 1999/2000!) and I was unable to find another team. Hopefully I will play there next season. In October I plan to play in a strong open in the Faroe Island and then play for Ireland in the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. And I will continue working on my site and CBC, so stay tuned!
Alexander Baburin, Dublin
I am very grateful to Igor Yagolnitser for his help with this project. For assistance regarding CBC, please contact Igor at: MOHCTP@ix.netcom.com.
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