Coffee Break Chess
GM Alexander Baburin's online newsletter
Lots of interesting events and developments took place in chess in the past couple of months and here I would like to share my opinion on some of them.
The match between Kasparov and Kramnik produced a big surprise: not only did Kramnik beat Kasparov, but he did it very convincingly. Kasparov became the only World Champion after Lasker who lost his title without winning even one game in the match. Kramnik missed a win in games 4 and 6, so the score could be even higher. When I asked my fellow GMs about Kramnik's chances in the match, they all said that Kasparov would win for sure. Personally I believed that Kramnik had some chances, despite his previous poor match history. However, I could not imagine that Kasparov would lose the way he did ...
I went to London to see games 8 and 9 and it was an enjoyable experience. Kasparov and Kramnik played in Riverside Studios, a TV studio located not too far from the centre of London. There are about 300 places available in the studio and when I was there the hall was almost full. Another 50-60 chess fans usually gathered in the canteen, where they could follow the game on TV screen. All spectators could listen to the commentary on their headphones. During those two games GMs Short, Speelman and Rowson were the commentators. I truly enjoyed listening to their conversations, which kept the spectators well informed about what was going on in the game.
I guess that a lot of people followed the match on the Internet, where some sites gave good coverage, for example Brain Games plc (www.braingames.net), Kasparov Chess (www.kasparovchess.com) and the London Chess Centre (www.chesscenter.com). I heard that Internet Chess Club also covered the event well. However, there was not any TV coverage of the match in Britain, which is a big mistake of the organisers of the match, who missed a good chance to popularise chess and promote their company. I heard that Brain Games plc did not seek TV coverage because they wanted more people to turn to their Web site. To me this argument sounds strange - more people would have learned about Brain Games plc and their Web site if the match was on TV!
It is not very clear what impact the match and its result will have on chess. Some people hope that there will be a reunion between the World Champion and FIDE now, but this probably does not quite fit the plans of Brain Games plc. By the way, this company has ambitious ideas, but it is too early to say how realistic they are. Certainly I am not convinced by its plan that everyone will be allowed to compete in the next World Championship over the Internet. Even when playing blitz on ICC some people cheat, using their computers, so why would they abandon it given a chance to play in the World Championship?! Personally, I have no interest in playing against somebodys Fritz!
Brain Games organisation has its own rating system. So, we have FIDE ratings, PCA ratings and now we get yet another rating system! Curiously enough, on this rating list Anand is only No. 7. Surely this has nothing to do with his refusal to play the match against Kasparov! At the same time Shirov takes the third spot and I hope that such a high placing will strengthen his position in the legal action which he took against Kasparov in Spain.
Immediately after game 15 Kasparov said that he wanted another match against Kramnik. I am not sure that sponsors will be easy to find though. The match, which we just saw, was less than exiting for a chess public, to put it mildly ... So, perhaps the ex-champ should use the idea of one of my friends, who suggested that Kasparov should immediately play a revenge match against ... Shirov! That would solve all the problems, wouldn't it?! :-) Another interesting thought; what will happen if Brain Game plc goes bust? So, let's wait and see what the next few months will bring. Something may happen at the FIDE Congress, which is taking place in Istanbul now. Alas, FIDE seems to be going ahead with its much criticised commercialisation plans ...
In the past few months I did some work on the Net and now I would like to announce the launch of Grandmaster Square - www.gmsquare.com. My personal Web site is there and I expect that gmsquare.com will become a home for Web sites of many GMs. I started with sites of Alexander Morozevich and Lev Psakhis. There is a lot of work to do with these sites still, but you can already see annotated games in Java or download games in pgn. Grandmasters' biographies, a photo gallery and a discussion forum are just some of the features of the Grandmaster Square. I plan to open a chess shop and chess auction there soon. Here I would like to thank my Web masters - Susan Strahan and Michael Dooley, without whom this project would be just impossible. At the moment I publish a daily report from the 34th Chess Olympiad on the site. There you can also see my notes to some of the games from the Kasparov-Kramnik match. So, have a look at the site and let me know what you think!
My other project is a daily chess newspaper called Chess Today. The idea is to provide news, instruction and well-annotated games every single day for a modest fee (about $15 for 4 months). Subscribers will receive an attachment in PDF format, which they can print out and then read Chess Today on a train or over a cup of coffee. Those who will subscribe before the 25th of December 2000 will enter a lottery with a chance to win a wooden chess set & board (worth over $130), a chess clock (worth about $70) or a book. So, you might get more than you paid for! :-) This is a rather bold project and I could not do it alone - IM Vladimir Barsky and GM Ruslan Scherbakov will be helping me, as will Graham Brown (technical editor). To find out more about this newspaper, please check our site - www.chesstoday.net.
In the last month or so I saw quite a few interesting sites, some of which I would like to recommend to you here.
The Royal Library in Hague, which has a great chess collection, has an exhibition
about women in chess. It is called Queen's Move and you can learn
more at the Library's Web site.
Kevin O'Connell puts his chess collection up for sale at the Phillips
Auction in London and live on the Net on 7 November. Details can be found
GM Mikhail Golubev writes about an incredible situation, which happened with
the zonal tournament in Ukraine. Basically, players were told before
the start that 3 winners would qualify for the World Championship in India.
Now GM Eingorn (who finished 3rd) is told that only 2 places are available
... You can find this material in English:
Ukraine Zonal Tournament
or in Russian:
In October I played in the Faeroes Islands in a small (30 players), but very strong tournament. The Faeroes Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean above Scotland and approximately half way between Iceland and Norway. The Faeroes Chess Federation and its sponsors provided attractive conditions for players and generous prizes (the first prize was about $5,000). The playing conditions were great: the top five games were demonstrated live on the Internet, while 3 games could be also followed on big screens. A perfect tournament for spectators, except that we did not have any! This is a problem with chess nowadays and I feel we must do something about it soon. I was reasonably happy with my play and result (+4-1=4; clear 3rd place). Two young and very promising GMs - Alexander Grischuk (Russia) and Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine; see his Web site at chess-sector.odessa.ua/ruslan.html) won the event with an amazing result: 7½ out of 9! Both of them had 8 GMs among their opponents and showed a rating performance of about 2822. Take note of these two names! Their current ratings are about 2650 and both of them might add more points at the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, where they are now playing. I am in Turkey as well, playing on board 1 for Ireland. So far it is going OK for me: +2-0=4. Here is one game from the Olympiad:
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 dxe5 6.fxe5 Nc6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Nc3 e6 9.Nf3 I don't get to play against the Four pawn Attack too often and so I decided to try a rare line: 9...Bg4 10.Qd2 Bb4 Black wants to play ...Na5 and ...c5. White can chase away this bishop (as he did), but this weakens the b3-square and Na5 becomes a real possibility. 11...Be7 12.Ne4 Qd7 13.b4 After 13.Be2 0-0-0 14.0-0-0 Bf5 15.Ng3 Bg6 16.h4 in the game Huebner-Hort, Biel 1987, Black delivered a nice blow - 16...Nb4. He eventually won after 17.b3 Nc2 18.c5 Qc6 19.Bd3 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 Nd5 21.Qf2 Bxd3 22.Rxd3 Qa6 23.Rhd1 Qxa3+. 13...Bxf3 14.gxf3 0-0-0! Apparently, this is a novelty. Previously Black played 14...Rd8 here. I think that my move is better, as Black's king is quite safe on the queenside. 15.Rd1 Bh4+ 16.Ng3 f6 17.b5 Ne7 18.Qa5 Kb8 19.Be2 Here Fedorov offered a draw, but I decided to play, despite being short of time. 19...Nf5 20.Bf2 Qf7 21.f4 g5!? 22.Nxf5 Bxf2+ 23.Kxf2 exf5 24.d5 fxe5 25.fxe5 g4 26.Qc3 h5 27.e6 Qe7 28.h3! Rhg8 29.hxg4 hxg4 30.Qd4 f4 31.Bd3 The tension is rising. Here both players were short of time, which partly explains some of the mistakes, which we made. For example, here 31...g3+ was worth considering. 31...Qg5 32.Be4 f3 33.c5 Nc8 34.Rh7 g3+ 35.Kxf3 g2 36.Rg1 Rdf8+ 37.Ke2? White had to play 37.Rf7!. 37...Qg4+ 38.Kd3 Rf3+! After 38...Rf1 39.Rxg2 Rf3+ White has an amazing move - 40.Qe3!. He is OK after 40...Rxe3+ 41.Kxe3 Qxe4+ 42.Kxe4 Rxg2. 39.Bxf3 Qxf3+ 40.Kd2 Rg4! Now White is busted, as his king is too exposed and both his rooks are vulnerable. 41.Qe3 Qxd5+ 42.Kc1 Re4 43.Qf2 Qc4+ 44.Qc2 Qf1+! 45.Qd1 Qf4+ 46.Kb1 Qf5
White resigned, as he either loses his h7-rook or gets checkmated after 47...Rb4++.
In the next issue of CBC I will talk more about the Olympiad in Istanbul - stay tuned!
Alexander Baburin, Istanbul, Turkey.
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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