Coffee Break Chess
GM Alexander Baburin's online newsletter
After two tournaments in England, I am back to Dublin and finally I have an opportunity to produce a proper issue of CBC. My readership is growing fast and I hope that you will enjoy this issue. Here I am going to look at recent events and show one of my games.
The championship in Las Vegas saw some surprises, as Elo-favourites were knocked out at various stages and the tournament produced an unexpected winner. Still, Khalifman has always been highly respected among chess professionals as a player of high class and big potential, who possibly did not get too many chances to show his true abilities. In Vegas he played good chess and showed a lot of psychological stubbornness, which is crucial in tournaments with a knock-out format. Khalifman's victory is well received among his colleagues.
After the championship Alexander gave a very balanced interview to a Russian newspaper, which I saw it on the Net. There he said that Kasparov is the strongest player in the world at present, but the tournament in Vegas was the only real world championship. He said that in Vegas high rating did not guarantee victory even to such strong players as Kramnik and Shirov, which is only normal in any sport - otherwise prizes could be distributed according to ratings. Khalifman says that he is as devoted to his 'Grandmaster Chess School' as ever and he will continue to develop it. You can find it at: www.gmchess.spb.ru/index.html. There is also an interview with Khalifman in English - at: www1.worldfide.com/chess/press36.html.
Many sites covered the Vegas championship and Kasparov followed it on his Web page - www.clubkasparov.ru/index0e.htm. Alas, he seems to find dubious joy in insulting other players. A few years ago Kasparov coined a term 'real chess player', making most players 'unreal', while recently he came with a name 'tourists'. I guess that such attitude only damages his image.
From what I heard from those, who played in Vegas, it's clear that GMs just want to have some system in the chess world, where they can show their professional abilities and also play for decent prizes. FIDE had lots of problems organising the championship in Vegas, but at least did managed it - let's hope that FIDE will get more efficient in the future. Meanwhile there are no news about the Kasparov-Anand match (at least, I have not see any).
Between 21st and 29th of August I played in this rather strong tournament (18 GMs) in London. There I played better than in the recent British Championship. Going into the final round, I was a point ahead of my rivals,. Alas, in round 9 I lost to Jon Speelman and thus failed to win the event outright. The results were as follows: 1-3. A. Baburin (IRL) (gold medal), L. Psakhis (ISR) (silver) and J. Speelman (ENG) (bronze) - 7 points out of 9. 4-7. M. Chandler (ENG), Y. Murey (ISR), I. Smirin (ISR), Y. Zilberman (ISR) 6½ out of 9.
I wrote about this tournament at: www.chesscafe.com/world/report/england.htm. There I annotated my game against GM Ibragimov and some other games from the event. My new book review is also out at 'Chess Cafe' - www.chesscafe.com/baburin/baburin.htm.
I'll participate in a live chat at: chess.about.com/mpchat.htm, conducted by David Dunbar, on Sunday the 26th of September at 16-00 Eastern US time. This is 21-00 London time or 22-00 Central European time. Everyone is welcome to the chat, so please take a note and let's meet there. You can familiarise yourself with the way such chats work by checking previous sessions: chess.about.com/library/weekly/aa050399.htm (chat with GM Rohde) and chess.about.com/library/weekly/aa053199.htm (chat with IM Silman). Prepare your questions and suggestions ready and let's discuss them!
Here I would like to show one of my games from London, which saw a very fashionable opening line, interesting middlegame and a very curious rook ending.
1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 a6 4 e3 e6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0-0 Nf6 7 Bb3 cxd4 8 exd4 Nc6 9 Nc3 Be7 10 Re1 0-0 11 a3 b5 Black often plays 11...Na5 12 Bc2 b5, but then White can sacrifice a pawn with 13 d5!?. 12 d5 exd5 13 Nxd5 Nxd5 14 Bxd5 After 14 Qxd5 in the game against GM Morovic in Havana this year I showed a very important novelty: 14...Na5! (14...Bb7 15 Qh5 leaves White with initiative). Ivan did not dare to take on a8 and after 15 Qxd8 Bxd8 16 Bd5 Bb7 17 Bxb7 Nxb7 18 Bf4 Bf6 19 Be5 Bxe5 20 Nxe5 the game was soon drawn. 14...Bb7 15 Ne5 After 15 Bf4 Bf6 16 Rc1 Rc8 17 b4 Qd7 18 Ng5 Bxg5 19 Bxg5 Rfe8 20 Rxe8+ Rxe8 21 Bf3 Qxd1+ 22 Rxd1 Ba8 23 Bf4 Ne7 24 Bxa8 Rxa8 25 Rd7 Ng6 Black equalised in the game Schandorff-Baburin, Copenhagen 1999, which later ended in a draw. 15...Nxe5 16 Bxb7 Ra7 17 Be4 Bf6 18 Be3 White also did not get any edge in the game Avrukh-Har Zvi, Tel Aviv 1999 after 18 Qb3 Rd7 19 Qh3 g6 20 Bh6 Bg7 21 Bxg7 Kxg7. 18...Rd7 19 Qc2 g6 20 Rad1 Nc4 21 Bc1 White has nothing after 21 Bc5 Re8 22 Rxd7 (22 Bc6? Rxe1+ 23 Rxe1 Rd2 24 Qe4 Bxb2 is bad for White.) 22...Qxd7 23 b3 Nd2. 21...Re8 22 Bf3? White fails to see that his back rank is weak... Better was 22 Bc6 Rxe1+ 23 Rxe1 Re7 24 Rxe7 Qxe7 25 g3=. 22...Bxb2! Also possible was 22...Rxe1+ 23 Rxe1 Bxb2 24 Bxb2 Rd2. 23 Bxb2 Nxb2 24 Rxe8+ Qxe8 25 Rf1 Nd3 26 Qc6 Qe6! I did not see anything decisive after 26...Ne5 27 Qxa6 Nxf3+ 28 gxf3 Rd5 29 Rc1. 27 Qc8+ Kg7 28 Bb7 Nc5 Here White had only two minutes left, but unfortunately I failed to make life harder for him. I saw the line 28...Nxf2! 29 Qc3+ f6 30 Qc6, but did not see that after 30...Qxc6 31 Bxc6 Rd6 32 Bxb5 I could play 32...Nh3+!, which should be winning for me after 33 gxh3 axb5 34 Rb1 Rd5 35 Rb4 f5 36 a4 bxa4 37 Rxa4 Kf6 38 Ra7 h6. 29 Qxc5 Rxb7 30 Rc1 Re7 31 h4 Qe5 32 Qb4 h5 33 g3 Re6 34 Rc8 Qe1+ 35 Kg2 Qe4+ 36 Kg1 Qxb4 37 axb4 Kf6 I doubt that Black can win after 37...Re4 38 Rc6 Rxb4 39 Rxa6 Rb2 40 Rb6 b4 41 Kg2 b3 42 Kf3 Kf8 43 Rb7. I think that I was right to keep the b4-pawn on the board. Although at present this pawn stops two of my pawns, later it can turn into a weakness itself. 38 Rc5 Rb6 39 Kf1 Ke6 40 Ke2 Kd6 41 Rc8 Rc6 42 Rf8 Ke7 43 Ra8 Ke6 44 Ra7 Kd5! I think this move is better than 44...Rc4 45 Rxa6+ Kf5 46 Ra7 f6 47 Rb7 Rxb4 48 Rb6 Rb3. Now after 45 Rxf7 Kc4 46 Rf4+ Kb3 Black threatens to sacrifice yet another pawn by ...a5 and to get his b-pawn rolling, while White can't play 47 g4, because of 47...Rc4! 48 Rf6 Rxg4 49 Rxa6 Kxb4. Thus, White preferred to stop the advance of Black's king: 45 Kd3 Rf6! 46 f4 Rd6 47 Rc7 f5 I believe that Black benefits from fixing pawns on the kingside. He could not utilise the f5-square anyway. Now even if Black sacrifices the g6-pawn, it will be very hard for White to create a passed pawn there. It's important that Black's rook defends both weak pawns on the same horizontal, leaving the king with some freedom to manoeuvre. 48 Rc8 Ke6+ 49 Kc3 Kd7 50 Rg8 Kc6 51 Rc8+ Kb6 52 Rb8+ Ka7 53 Rc8 Kb7 54 Rg8 Kc7 55 Ra8 Rc6+ 56 Kd4 After 56 Kb3 I would play 56...Kd6 57 Rd8+ Ke6, threatening to penetrate with the king along the d-file. For example: 58 Rd1 Rd6 59 Re1+ Kd5 60 Rd1+ Kc6 61 Rc1+ Kb6 62 Rc3 a5 or 58 Kb2 58...Rd6 59 Re8+ Kd5 60 Kc3 Re6 61 Rd8+ Ke4. 56...Kb7 57 Rg8 a5! It was hard to choose between this move and the line 57...Rc4+!? 58 Kd5 Rxb4 59 Rg7+ (59 Rxg6 Rb3 60 Rg5 a5 61 Rxf5 a4 62 Rxh5 a3 63 Rh7+ Kb6 64 Rh6+ Ka5 65 Rh8 Kb4 66 Ra8 Rxg3 is even worse) 59...Kb6 60 Rxg6+ Ka5. After 61 Rg5 Rb3 62 Rxh5 Rxg3 63 Rxf5 Kb4 black pawns are more dangerous than their counterparts, but 57...a5! looked even more attractive to me. 58 bxa5 b4 59 Kd5? Here White missed the last chance to put up more resistance with 59 Re8! Ka6 60 Kd5 Rc3 61 Re6+ Kxa5 62 Rxg6 b3. 59...b3 60 Rg7+ Rc7 61 Rxg6 Ka7! This is what White missed - now he can't stop the b-pawn. Moving the king to the corner does not look very aesthetic, but now Black's rook can support the b-pawn from behind. For example, White immediately loses after 62 Rb6 Rb7 63 Kc4 b2. 62 Ke5 Rc5+ 63 Kd4 Rb5 64 Kc4 White is also doomed after 64 Rb6 Rxb6 65 axb6+ Kxb6 66 Kc3 Kc5 67 Kxb3 Kd4 68 Kb4 Ke3 69 Kc5 Kf3 70 Kd5 Kxg3 71 Ke5 Kg4. 64...Rb8 65 Rg7+ Ka6 66 Rg6+ Kxa5 67 Rd6 b2 68 Rd5+ Ka6 69 Rd6+ Rb6 0-1
Time: 2.57 - 2.49
In my previous issue I showed two rook endgames and promised to cover them later. I will come back to them in the next issue of 'Coffee Break Chess'. Meanwhile I would like to hear your suggestions on how to make this newsletter better. Please share with me your ideas and suggestions! I am currently working on my Web page, so I hope to implement some of your suggestions there as well.
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.
Have a nice weekend!
Alexander Baburin, Dublin.
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