Coffee Break Chess
GM Alexander Baburin's online newsletter
Dear Chess Friends! In this issue of CBC I would like to tell about my tournaments plans and to talk about one of chess giants of this century - Yugoslav GM Svetozar Gligoric.
Chess professionals usually get to travel a lot and my experience in the past few months confirms this - after a trip to India (April), I went to Cuba (May) and then to Russia (June), thus travelling between different time zones and experiencing different cultures. I like to travel and always look forward to see new places and meeting new people, as well as seeing old friends. More travelling is expecting me and here I'd like to provide links to information on tournaments, where I am going to participate.
Copenhagen Open, July 1999. I played in Denmark a few times and always enjoyed its quiet atmosphere and friendly people. In 1996 I made my final GM-norm there, so I am looking forward to come back to Copenhagen to play in its traditional annual open. You can find information about the tournament at: inet.uni-c.dk/~kbhsu/InvitationPol99eng.html. Before that tournament I will give 2 lectures and simuls in Denmark - see details at: www.dsu.dk.
British Championship, August 1999, Scarborough. For a number of years I've been eligible to play in the British Championship and this year I decided execute my rights. UK is one of the leading chess countries and I look forward to play in its championship, although most top English GMs will play in Vegas at the same time. See information about that tournament at: www.bcmchess.co.uk/news/bcfentrants.htm.
Mind Sports Olympiad, August 1999, London. Although London is only one-hour flight away, I have visited that splendid city only briefly. Now I have a chance for a better look, as I will play in the 2nd Mind Sports Olympiad there. Details of the event can be found at: www.bcmchess.co.uk/news/mso1999.htm.
3rd Bavarian Chess Open, Bad Wiessee, October 1999. I have not played in Germany for a good while, so I am looking forward to this strong open, which is advertised at: www.schach-am-tegernsee.de/oib1999.
8th Monarch Assurance Open, Isle of Man, November 1999. Probably I have played more opens in the Isle of Man than anyone else and this year I plan to do it again, as I enjoy that tournament and can only recommend it. This year it's going to be as strong as ever - see it for yourself at: www.bcmchess.co.uk/news/iom99.htm.
Perhaps that some of this information to be useful for you - I hope to meet my readers at some tournaments!
During my recent trip to Moscow I came to the 'Cosmos' hotel, where the Petrosian Memorial was in progress. It was nice to see that legendary chess players (among them Smyslov and Spassky) got yet another chance to meet each other over the board. I wished best luck in the event to Yugoslav Grandmaster Gligoric (76), who has impressive tournament record. He is many times champion of Yugoslavia, participant of 8 interzonals and 3 circles of Candidate matches, as well as being a winner of many international tournaments. Gligoric is also a fine chess journalist and writer and he was an arbiter at many events (e.g. Karpov-Kasparov 1984/85 match).
I feel that nowadays, when there are lots of tournaments played every month, when it's hard to remember even the names of contemporary GMs, it's particularly important to pay a tribute to those, who contributed considerably to the art of chess. Thus, I'd like to feature here the interview, which Gligoric gave to 64 earlier this year and which I helped to translate into English for Chess Monthly. There the interview was published in the June issue, accompanied with an article about Gligoric and 3 of his games. Here I want to show different examples - there is certainly no shortage of excellent games by Gligoric! So, have a look at 4 positions from Gligoric's games and try to find the best way to play. Please note that these positions are not about pure tactics, so there might be more than one good solution in each of them. I selected these particular examples because they illustrate Gligoric's inventive play:
R. Teschner - S. Gligoric, Helsinki OL, 1952
Black to play
S. Gligoric - N. Padevsky, Moscow OL, 1956
White to play
V. Smyslov - S. Gligoric, Warsaw, 1947
Black to play
S. Gligoric - S. Furman, Leningrad, 1957
White to play
You can check your solutions in the end of this issue, while now I'd like to present an interview with Svetozar Gligoric, conducted by WGM Maria Manakova, whose questions are in bold:
Svetozar Gligoric is not only a name but also a legend. What is left after the fame and glory?
Nothing! Ive been hearing the word legend for about 30 years. My late wife and I used to have a tradition: I would come home and ask: What is going to be served to the legend for dinner?.
In any other kind of sport a person who had achieved as much as you have in chess, would be well off.
I was born a few decades too early, otherwise I would be a millionaire.
Yugoslavia used to be the second most powerful country in chess (after the USSR). Now its representatives are not even in the top 100 in the world. Is this because your best players (D.Velimirovic, A.Matanovic, B.Ivkov, S.Marjanovic, M.Matulovic and yourself) neither created a chess school nor brought up a new generation?
Some of the players whom you mention work quite actively as chess trainers. As for myself, I would not have been able to create any kind of school as I cannot imagine what I would have taught there. I still need to learn myself. To learn throughout my whole life. I tried working as an instructor but did not like it. I can be a player, writer and commentator.
I heard that in your country there are plans to create a professional chess league.
If the economic situation had improved, these plans might have been realised. But it is only possible to create a professional chess league in a prosperous country with rich people.
How has the embargo against Yugoslavia affected chess life in your country and you personally?
I have always supported the idea of Great Yugoslavia and fought for its unitypolitical, economic, and cultural. A breakdown of a state is always a tragedy. I say to my Russian friends: "We are brothers in our misfortune!". Our sportsmen have had their average income reduced sharply: they cannot travel freely, organisers have stopped inviting them. Over the past few years we have had to confine ourselves to playing in internal tournaments. But is it possible to improve ones rating without leaving your country? Although, in my opinion, rating is just a measure of a players most recent results and not his real knowledge and potential.
You were on the commission, when professor Elo suggested his system ...
Then I supported this idea. But I could imagine that it would create casts within the chess community. A lot of strong players find themselves in a lower cast and its very hard for them to take the place they really deserve. Its necessary to be a chess fanatic and to have a great deal of energy in order to play in tournaments all the time.
You tried your hand at being an arbiter as well.
Yes, and I was soon disappointed.
Do you mean the first match between Karpov and Kasparov?
Exactly. I still dont know whether Garry Kasparov was pro or contra breaking up the match, but in all the problems he somehow accused me. Then I wanted to figure out what really happened and to prove that Kasparovs accusations were groundless. However, later on I realised that it would be better to forget it, as during any serious investigation a lot of dirt might have come out.
Now FIDE is proposing a different system for the World Championship.
This is, undoubtedly, a positive innovation. Perhaps, the creative side will rather suffer, but the sporting element of chess will benefit, which will help to popularise the game and make it more financially attractive for a professional. Anyway, the quality of the games is no longer a major concern whereas the income of a wide range of chess players can increase significantly, which did not seem realistic before. Its not fair when the world champion receives millions of dollars, while players of somewhat inferior strength get nothing. All of us are creators, all colleagues. Now there is a chance to make good money and this is great. If I should be invited to such a championship, I would certainly play.
Do you think that the quality of play deteriorates because of the tension which is characteristic of the knockout system?
No, but when a strong grandmaster loses the first game, he has to play for a win in the next one, which reduces his chances of showing his full potential.
Do you think that there should be an alternative organisation to FIDE?
In some sports there are various versions of world championships. Then a unification match with a huge prize fund is organised. Perhaps, such a scenario would be best for chess too.
What qualities must a sportsmen have in order to reach the very top?
He must have the spirit of a champion and nowadays also a supporting team and a computer.
Computers play in the same tournaments with humans with increasing frequency. What is your attitude towards this?
To me its like running in the same race as a car.
Has the stimulation to play chess changed since your time?
No, its the same: sporting and creative success. Of course, material rewards and lifestyle are equally important. Some people prefer travelling around playing tournaments to working in one place. For me, working in the same office all the time would be tantamount to imprisonment.
In modern chess, buying and selling points is a common practice. Did it also happen in your era?
That did happen, but a lot less frequently than now. People were more 'shy' about it. I cannot even imagine myself doing anything like this - for me sport must be absolutely clean or it will be not a sport.
Lately you have been playing quite a lot and rather successfully. Is it difficult for you to play a whole game without an adjournment?
No, I am in good physical shape. Despite my age I play five-a-side-football and tennis.
Is chess a drug for you?
No, I can quit at any time.
Did you ever try that?
I never had the chance. What would I have done then? Music? For music nobody would have paid, whereas people paid for chess. I simply had to play chess.
I cannot believe that was the main reason for you to play chess!
I must admit, yes. But, apart from this, chess is good for your health - your brain works harder and therefore your body functions better.
Do you think that chess will ever be exhausted?
Such a fear is justified, as there is so much information on chess now and there is an intensive search for the best moves. Recently I gave a simul and one kid played a fashionable line of the Grunfeld Defence against me. Then I said Chess is dead!. Chess may need a reform, for example as Fischer has proposed. Two versions of chess - Fischers randomised chess and the classical form - can exist alongside each other. Then its up to the players themselves which one they choose. Nowadays I prefer music to chess. In chess, harmony is of no interest to anyone nowadays and it is turning more and more into a sport. Music is eternal, while chess is limited.
Edgar Allen Poe wrote that concentration is the key in a struggle between two chess players. Do you agree with this?
Absolutely! Fischer was a genius of concentration. He thought about chess day and night. I also experienced an interesting case of concentration. It happened while I was playing in England. I got up from my board and noticed my wife. I realised that her face was familiar and I said 'Good afternoon!'. She ran away ... I think that in order to reach a really high level one needs maximum concentration - both during the game and in preparation.
Some people, having reached the top, leave the stage.
This depends on character. Those for whom its important to remain a 'legend', leave the scene. I did not play for a while - because of the illness of my wife and because of the difficult situation in my country - but my credo remains unchanged: you must always show your potential, at any age.
Does chess reward well those who give it their love, energy, time and, perhaps ... life?
I got a lot out of chess: I travelled around the world, learnt foreign languages, achieved material benefits - a big house, two cars, good pension ... But together with this, chess took up all my time. After the death of my wife I was left alone and realised that I had no private life and had never had it. I did not live, but couldnt see it because I was always too busy. I only came home between tournaments. Because of that I no longer like travelling.
Do you exploit your popularity?
Sometimes - when a policeman stops me on the road for speeding.
Should you start you life again, would you devote it to chess?
Chess would have been my hobby.
R. Teschner - S. Gligoric, Helsinki OL, 1952. 23...g5! This is a sudden blow - White must take the g5-pawn (with check!) and thus Black opens the g-file, which he can utilise later. 24 Qxg5+ Kh8 25 Nc2 Or 25 Ng4 Rg8 26 Qf4 Rb2 27 Qg3 Bxg4-+. 25...Bh3! 0-1
S. Gligoric - N. Padevsky, Moscow OL, 1956. 22 g4! This is not a move, which immediately comes to mind! 22...Qe6 [Perhaps, better was 22...h6 23 g5 hxg5 24 Qxg5 Qe6, although after 25 b5 White maintains his advantage. 23 h3 Qc6 24 b5! Qe6 25 Bxf6! gxf6 26 Nh4+- f5 27 Nxf5 Qe5 28 Bxd5 1-0
V. Smyslov - S. Gligoric, Warsaw 1947. 21...g5! This unexpected move forced a favourable endgame. 22 Qe3 Qxe3 23 fxe3 Rc2 24 Ne4 g4! 25 Bxg4 Nxg4 26 Rxd7 Rxe2 27 Rd2 Rxd2!? 28 Nxd2 Nxe3 29 Ra3 Nc4! 30 Nxc4 bxc4 31 Rc3 Rb8 32 Rc2 h6 33 Kf2 Rb3 34 h3?! Kg7 35 Rxc4 Rxb2+ 36 Kf3 Rb3+ 37 Kf4 h5! 38 h4 f6 39 Rc6 Kf7 40 Rc7+ Kg6 41 Rc8 e5+ 42 Ke4 Rb4+ 43 Kf3 Kf5 44 Rh8 e4+ 45 Kg2 Rb2+ 46 Kh3 Kg6 47 Re8 Re2 48 Re7 f5 49 Re6+ Kg7 50 Ra6 Rf2 51 Re6 Kf7 52 Re5 Kf6 53 Re8 Rd2-+ 54 Rf8+ Ke5 55 Re8+ 0-1
S. Gligoric - S. Furman, USSR-Yugoslavia, Leningrad, 1957. 18 g4! This great move starts a very dangerous attack. Obviously, Black had missed this idea of shifting the a3-rook to the h-file. 18...g6 19 Qe5 Bb6 20 d5! Bxd5 21 a5! Bc5 22 Bh6 f6 23 Qc7 Bf7 24 Bxf8 Rxf8 25 Rh3 Qc8 26 Qf4 Be6 27 Re1 Rf7 28 Bf1 g5 29 Qe4 Bd5 30 Qe8+ Qxe8 31 Rxe8+ Kg7 32 Bxc4 Bxc4 33 Rc3 Bxf2+ 34 Kxf2 Bb5 35 Rce3 f5 36 gxf5 Rxf5+ 37 Rf3 Rd5 38 Re7+ Kg6 39 Re6+ Kg7 40 Ke1 a6 41 Rf2 Rc5 42 Rd2 Kf7 43 Red6 Re5+ 44 Kf2 Kg7 45 Kf3 Bc4 46 R2d4 Be2+ 47 Kg3 Bh5 48 Rxc6 Rxa5 49 Rd7+ Bf7 50 Rcc7 Rf5 51 Kg4 Rf6 52 Kxg5 h6+ 53 Kg4 Kg6 54 Kg3 Bb3 55 Rg7+ Kf5 56 Rc5+ Ke6 57 Ra7 Rg6+ 58 Kf2 1-0
I guess that you've noticed what was in common in those 4 games - in all of them the g-pawn delivered a deadly blow. Studying Gligoric's games I noticed that he managed his pawns really well and thus I decided to show some examples of it.
I hope that you've enjoyed this issue and that even good summer weather (assuming
that you live in the Northern Hemisphere) will not put you off chess and
'Coffee Break Chess'! :)
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.
Alexander Baburin, Dublin.
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