Coffee Break Chess
GM Alexander Baburin's online newsletter
Holidays are approaching fast, but I hope that you will still have some time to look at chess. If so, then I'd like to share with you my latest news, as the past three weeks were very busy for me, with lots of events.
On the 4th of December I played against computer program Rebel. We played on the ICC and the time control was 40 moves in 2 hours and then 1 hour each. The game ended in a draw after very interesting play. I am very pleased with the game, as I learnt that it's possible to play against computer even in positions, which are rich in tactics. Though in general I have no reasons to complain about my tactical vision, the prospect of playing someone who never errs and can spot your every tactical mistake, horrified me somehow. Therefore, I was quite nervous before the game and its beginning did not bring me any relief, as I found myself in a risky position. You can see that game with brief notes here, while more detailed analysis will soon follow at ababurin.tripod.com/bestgames.htm. If you'd like to learn more about Rebel, go to: www.rebel.nl.
Many chess pros play in team championships in various countries.
It provides additional income and also opportunities to meet strong opposition.
I play in UK and in Germany. In 4NCL I play for Wood Green, which is in the
2nd place after 4 rounds. You can find more details about 4NCL at:
In Germany I play for Delmenhorster SK and made my debut on the team on 11-12 December. In round 5 we beat Duisburg 4.5-3.5 (I drew on board 3 against GM Marciano). In round 6 we faced one of the favourites - Porz. As they have 7 GMs with rating over 2600, our prospects did not look too good. However, things went really well for us - Julian Hodgson beat Loek van Wely on board 2, I stood completely winning against FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman on board 3, while Stuart Conquest was winning against Jan Timman on board 4. Alas, I made a horrible slip on move 39, Timman also escaped with some brilliant defence and we missed our big chance ... Fortunately, Porz returned the favour on board 7 and the match ended in a draw. Now our team shares the lead with Porz and Solingen on 11 points (5 wins and 1 draw). You can find out more about BL at: www.schachbund.de/schachbl. German Magazine 'Schach-64' (www.schach-magazin.de) also gives some coverage. One interesting observation - those 32 players, who met in Bremen that weekend, represent Germany, Holland, England, Russia, Denmark, Armenia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Hungary and France - a truly international event! This is also what makes BL so notoriously strong.
Recently I spent a week in Russia, where I attended Russian Championship in the Central Chess Club in Moscow. The Russian Chess Federation seems to be in crisis and it failed to provide or attract adequate funding for the tournament, which has clearly affected its strength. The winner will get only about $1,000 and I suspect that 2 places in the next World Championship are the main attraction for the participants. The tournament is covered on the Club Kasparov site at: www.clubkasparov.ru/index0e.htm. While in Moscow, I met with people running InterChess Club - a very interesting new server with good interface. There are many chess servers nowadays and this server needs time to establish itself, but I can recommend you to visit InterChess Club already - you will find it at: www.interchess.com.
There is an awful lot of interesting chess stuff on the Net, so I'd like to share my recent findings: www.research.digital.com/SRC/personal/Tim_Mann/chess.html - page of Tim Mann, who seems to know a lot about computers and chess. Looking for annotated games on the Web, try members.xoom.com/geneven/chesswatch.html. For Internet digest and links visit www.very-best.de/ChessWorld.htm. If you have serious interest in chess literature, then check www.konbib.nl/kb/vak/schaak/intro-en.html - Web site of the Royal Library in Hague. This library has one of the best chess collections in the world. Looking for some humour? Then try www.sovlit.com/chess.html - you won't be disappointed!
Here are highlights of my game against Rebel.
1 d4 d5 2 c4 Nc6 I knew that Rebel played the Chigorin Defence before, but I did not make any special preparation. In fact, my preparation was very brief - I decided to play in my usual style and not to employ any special tactics. 3 cxd5 Qxd5 4 e3 e5 5 Nc3 Bb4 6 Bd2 Bxc3 7 Bxc3 exd4 8 Ne2 I believe that this plan, suggested by GM Suat Atalik, promises White some edge. 8...Nf6!? I hoped that computer would play 8...Nge7 9 Nxd4 Nxd4 10 Qxd4 Qxd4 11 Bxd4 f6, as in the game Lautier-Yermolinsky, Parnu 1998. Though Black drew that game comfortably, that would be a dream scenario against computer - White has two bishops in the endgame and no tactics! :-) 9 Nxd4 0-0 10 Nb5 Qg5 I started to get nervous around here ... I did not really expect that computer would sacrifice any material that easily. Thus, I realised that it must be theory, but alas I did not know it. 11 h4 Qg6 12 h5 Qg5 13 h6 Rd8!?N This appears to be a novelty. I expected 13...Bg4, which had been tested before (and which I did not know). 14 Qa4 Ng4 15 Be2 15 hxg7? loses after 15...Nxe3! 16 Qe4 Bf5-+ 17 Qxe3 Re8. 15...Nxh6 16 Nxc7 Qxg2 Again, not something I expected. 17 Rxh6 gxh6 18 Nxa8 Bh3 19 Qc4 Rxa8 20 0-0-0 Qxf2 21 Bg4 I also considered here 21 Qf4 Qxf4 22 exf4, but that would be too tame. 21...Qxe3+ 22 Kb1 Bxg4 23 Qxg4+ Qg5 24 Qd7 This is a very interesting position. I bet that any computer program believes that Black is just winning here. Yet, I thought that chances were about equal - White will get one pawn back and should have enough play, as Black's king is very exposed. 24...Rb8 25 a3! Rd8 26 Re1 Kf8 27 Qxb7 Qc5 28 Qc7 Here I was getting short of time and so the clock became my main concern. Otherwise I would have found 28 Rf1! Qc4 29 Rg1!, where White is better in my opinion. In the game I allowed Black's rook onto the 6th rank, where it's more active. 28...Qd6 29 Qb7 Qd7 30 Qb3 Qf5+ 31 Ka1 Rd6 32 Qc4 Re6 33 Rf1 Re4 34 Qa6 Qd7 35 Qb5 Rg4 36 Qc5+ Kg8 37 Re1 Rg6 38 Qf5 Qd8 39 Qd5 Qb8 Why not 39...Qc8? 40 Qd7 Kf8 41 b4 Of course, this move seriously weakens White's king, but I spent about 20 minutes on this move and you can be sure that I considered various pros and contras here. 41...a6 42 Bb2 Qd8 43 Qf5 Qc7 44 Qc5+ Qd6 45 Qc3 Around here I began to go wrong. 45...f6 46 Rc1 Ne7 47 Qf3 Kg7 48 Rd1 Qe6 49 Qb7? Qe2 50 Qd7 Rg2 51 Qd4 Rf2 52 Rc1 Kf7? A human being would have played 52...h5 here and would probably win the game. The pawn makes just one step forward, but this could be crucial later in the endgame. This is what I feared, but now I felt some relief and so after 53 a4 I boldly offered a draw! 53...Qd2?! In the endgame White should not have real problems. 54 b5 Qxd4 55 Bxd4 Rf4 56 Rc4 axb5 57 axb5 Nd5 58 Kb2 Rg4 59 Kb3 Kg6 60 b6 Nxb6 61 Bxb6 Rxc4 62 Kxc4 f5 63 Kd3 Kg5 64 Ke3 Kg4 65 Kf2 f4 draw
Have a nice weekend and enjoy the holiday! I hope to be back with CBC-20 in less than a week, but if I don't manage this, then Happy New Year to all of you and all the best in 2000!
Alexander Baburin, Dublin
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