My game versus the street hustler in San Francisco saw a new move in an old opening. NN-Bereolos San Francisco 2000 1.e4 e5 Is it psychologically better to play the double king pawn against someone who doesn't know your real strength? 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 My explanation for not playing the superior Bxd4 is that my brain wasn't warmed up enough yet. 5.Ng5 Nh6 Thought to be superior to the natural looking Ne5 since the days of Morphy because after 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ and 9.Qxc5 Black will have a developed knight on c6 instead of an undeveloped one on g8. Instead of this my opponent played a new move. 6.Nf3!? N What's this? He goes right back. The move is not without merit since Black has a misplaced knight on h6 and White now has the positional threat of 7.Bxh6. My first thought was the humorous counter-retreat 6...Ng8!? which shows that White's novelty is no show stopper. 6...Qf6 is another alternative, but now the queen and knight are both on awkward squares. White can probably castle and play c3 with a favorable version of the Scotch Gambit. 6...d6 allows white to double blacks pawns, but this is probably a dynamically equal position because of the bishop-pair. I went for the forward charge 6...Ng4 which allows 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Ng5+ and 9.Qg4 with a slight advantage to White. Instead my opponent chose 7.Bg5 and after 7...Be7 I managed to grind out a win in the endgame with my extra pawn.
One could argue that my opponent was just a weak player who had no concept of opening principles. That could be true, but I wanted to give a couple more examples of "taking a move back" in the opening. The first is a well known sequence in the Ziatsev variation of the Ruy Lopez where both players take moves back 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Ng5 Rf8 12.Nf3 many games featuring strong grandmasters have featured that sequence, some even ending in a triple repetition draw after the further 12...Re8 13.Ng5 Rf8 14.Nf3. Another example is in the Scotch game after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qd2 dxc6 7.Nc3 Be6 Garry Kasparov embarked on the following maneuver against Nigel Short in their 1993 match for the PCA championship 8.Na4 Rd8 9.Bd3 Bd4 10.O-O a6 11.Nc3 This idea was met with mixed reviews by the expert commentators. Some thought it was just weak since White spent 2 moves to provoke the move a6. Others thought the conception was much deeper and that objectively looking at the position after a6, the best move, not considering the earlier moves, was indeed Nc3. These are the types of things that make chess both difficult and intriguing. We are all taught to bring out all of our pieces before moving a piece twice and that a good plan is better than no plan at all. Yet, time and again we see counter examples where strong players break the rules. Most of those times they are completely justified, which is why they are strong players to begin with.
I was in San Francisco the past several days on business. This gave me a chance to check out the San Francisco chess scene. I first went to the Mechanics Institute Chess Club. I was a bit early, however, and they hadn't opened yet. So I wandered down to the intersection of Fifth and Market where I had seen people playing when I drove in. I beat a street hustler there, but only stayed for one game since I thought it was a bit cold to be playing outside. I then returned to the Mechanics Institute, which was now open. The chess room there is very nice. Large (about 50 boards all built into the tables), clean, quiet, and well-lit. Just about all you can ask for in a club. The walls were adorned with many chess photos and posters, both recent and historical. There were only 5 people there besides myself. 3 of them were using the 3 computer terminals there (one was playing a chess program, but the others just looked like they were surfing the web). An older gentleman was reading the chess columns from the newspapers that were posted on the builliten board. So that left only myself and another visitor to play a couple of casual games. Turns out the other visitor, Chris Turnbow, was also from Tennessee. However, since he was from Nashville on the other side of the state, we had never met. Kind of strange to go all the way to California to wind up playing someone from your home state, but the chess world is sometimes quirky like that. Overall, a pleasant trip from the chess perspective, certainly better than my last chess experience in the Bay Area at the Student Union in Berkeley (aka bongo capital of the world). The only thing I failed to do was to write down my web page address when I signed the guest book!
Topic 1 - Still Here. As you may have noticed from the lack of posting, I've been tied up with other things this week. This may continue for a bit. I did manage to add the correction to BCE position #198.
Topic 2 - Fischer Random Chess. The annual Frankfurt festival is going to include a Fischer random exhibition this year, although they have not announced the players. I think this is an interesting innovation, and I don't know why it hasn't caught on. I liked MIG's suggestion that the Amber tournament be run as a blind/Fischer random event instead of the current combination of blind/rapid. I've looked on the internet for more information about Fischer random organizations; I might be interested in trying it via email or regular mail, but alot of the links seem to be dead. If anyone has any information about Fischer random tournaments, I'd be interested in hearing from you.
Topic 3 - Woman vs. machine. The Xie Jun - Deep Junior match turned out to be a total fiasco. I'm not sure what the jinx is with Deep Junior playing on the internet, but this time there were ISP problems both in China and Israel along with other malfunctions with Deep Junior. Of the 4 games that were attempted to be played before they abandoned things, 2 were completed. These were split with a win apiece. Hopefully, Kasparov Chess can get the bugs worked out before they try this a third time.
Topic 4 - Kasparov vs. Anand. The Week in Chess is again reporting that negotiations for a World Championship match have resumed. I couldn't find much more detail. I think it is good that Kasparov is finally going to play a match, but as I've expressed before, I don't think Anand is currently the most deserving challenger.
I've decided to start posting the corrections to Ruben Fine's Basic Chess Endings. Follow the link above to reach the main index. Only one position so far, but more coming soon.
The Linares supertournament is history for another year. I thought it was rather dull than in years past because of a high number of draws. True, many of these were fighting draws, but there were several that were drawn just as things were getting interesting. The final round today was more of a wimper than a bang with 3 draws in less than 30 moves. Congratulations to Vlady Kramnik and Garry Kasparov, the joint winners with 6 out of 10. In one of the strangest final standings that I recall, the 4 other participants shared 3rd thru 6th with 4.5. Here's my recap of how the tournament went for the players in order of best to worst.
1. Vladimir Kramnik. A great result for Vlady. His first Linares win and his first regular tournament win since 1998 (he won the Amber blindfold/rapid in 1999). Oddly enough, despite not winning tournaments he has built an impressive undefeated streak at regular time controls that now stands at over 80 games. This may be approaching a record. His joint first here cements his status as the world #2 player. However, his poor results in matches against high-caliber competition (losses to Shirov, Gelfand, and Kamsky) make him a bit unattractive as a match opponent to Kasparov. I was somewhat suprised about Kramnik's record against "the elite". Prior to the tournament, he had an even or losing record against all of the other participants. He corrected that with a first round win over Khalifman, but probably needs to chalk up some more wins against Anand, Shirov, and Leko to really separate himself from them.
2. Alexander Khalifman. Things looked grim for the FIDE champion after a first round loss to Kramnik with White and Kasparov on deck for round 2. But he held himself together a had a very respectable even score the rest of the way including a win over Peter Leko, who had drubbed him in a match in January. Khalfiman certainly showed he can play with the big boys. Hopefully, this will open "the elite" up to a few more strong GMs. Besides Kramnik, Khalifman was the only other player to gain rating points.
3. Garry Kasparov. Co-winner of one of the strongest tournaments in history, but only 3rd in my rankings? It's tough to be king. After his blitzkreig in 1999 nothing short of superhuman efforts are expected from the Boss. +2 with draws in his last 6 games was disappointing to all his fans. Maybe the pack is starting to catch up.
4. Alexi Shirov. Probably ended up with a lower score than he deserved. Played fighting chess, as usual, in every game except for a quick last-round draw with Khalifman. I'd still like to see a Shirov-Kasparov match.
5. Peter Leko. A disappointing result, Leko was the only player not to win a game. Not cashing in on several promising positions only added to his reputation as a dull play-it-safe type of player.
6. Vishwanathan Anand. A real disaster for the Indian. His play seemed extremely flat. It looks like any thread of hope for a Kasparov-Anand match is gone. Vishy does not seem to be the same dominating player he was in 1998. A 9th round win over Khalifman saved him from winding up in the cellar.
As a closing thought, we seem to have reverted to the old days when the "World Champion" owned the title and defended it whenever and against whomever he pleased. Kasparov complains that there was no sponsor interest for matches against Shirov or Anand. I doubt that there would be any greater interest in an Kasparov-Kramnik match, since I think Kramnik is a less popular player than Shirov or Anand. Of course, others have their own views of why Kasparov can't find sponsors. Check out Yasser Seirawan's first Inside Chess Online publisher's message for Yaz' view of what the real story is.
Topic 1 - Woman vs. Machine. FIDE Women's Champion Xie Jun of China is going to take on computer champion Deep Junior in a six game match on kasparovchess.com starting on Wednesday. The match will be played at regular tournament time controls, which should give Xie Jun some chance, although I think she will be a heavy underdog. It will be interesting to see if Xie Jun employs "anti-computer" strategy or tries to play it straight. Hopefully, Deep Junior will not have the ISP problems that plagued it during the Kasparovchess.com Grand Prix.
Topic 2 - Dr. Martinovsky. A profile of Eugene Martinovsky is posted on a postal chess site for those who are interested.
Topic 3 - Pairing Programs. No one responded to my query on rec.games.chess.misc regarding "certification" of pairing programs by USCF. It is my guess that they have no such policy even though they openly sell such programs.
Topic 4 - Linares. Linares is looking like a two-horse race after six rounds. Kasparov and Kramnik are tied at +2, Leko is even, Shirov and Khalifman sit at -1, and Anand trails at -2. Round 8 will be the showdown Kramnik vs. Kasparov. Should be interesting to see what Kramnik brings for that game. His last two games with the Boss have featured somewhat dubious novelties that Kasparov was unable to refute over the board. Will Vlady play with fire a third time?
I've read a couple of independent reports on the internet that Dr. Eugene Martinovsky has passed away at age 68. I did not know him very well despite playing him 4 times (+1 -1 =2). He seemed to be a friendly sort who really loved chess. He was quite active internationally and in postal circles. I think many young players of my generation in the Chicago area looked upon him as a measuring stick since he was one of the few "older" masters who played consistently. I'm sure he'll be missed by many. Here is my final game against him. He pretty much outplayed me the entire way, as was his custom, but I managed to swindle a draw in the ending 3 pawns down.
White: Eugene Martinovsky
Black: Peter Bereolos
1995 US Amateur Team Championship - Midwest
1.g3 g6 2.Bg2 Bg7 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.O-O O-O 5.d4 d6 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.e4 e5 8.Re1 c6 9.a4 a5 10.h3 Re8 11.Be3 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nc5 13.Bf4 Nh5 14.Be3 Nf6 15.f3 Nfd7 16.Qd2 Ne5 17.b3 f5 After this move, Black always has problems with the weaknesses in his pawn structure 18.exf5 gxf5 19.Kh1 Bd7 20.Re2 Qf6 21.Rae1 Ng6 22.Bf2 h5 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Rxe8+ Bxe8 25.Nce2 b6 26.Nf4 Nxf4 27.Qxf4 Bd7 28.Be3 Kh7 29.h4 Bh6 30.Qxh6+ Qxh6 31.Bxh6 Kxh6 32.Bh3 Kg6 33.Ne2 b5 I thought I held an advantage here, but Martinovsky's reply threw a wet blanket over that idea 34.b4! Nb7 35.bxa5 Nxa5 36.axb5 cxb5 37.Nf4+ Kh6 38.Bf1 b4 39.Kg2 Bc6 40.Bd3 b3 41.cxb3 Nxb3 42.Ne6 Kg6 43.Kf2 Kf6 44.Nf4 Be8 45.Ke3 Ke5 46.Bc4 Nc5 47.Bg8 Nd7 48.Nd5 Suddenly, Black is in a mating net f4+ 49.gxf4+ Kf5 50.Bh7+ Ke6 51.Nc7+ Ke7 52.Nxe8 Probably a mistake, White shouldn't hurry to collect the h-pawn. I don't claim best play the rest of the way, but I think the ending should now be drawn.
Kxe8 53.Bg6+ Ke7 54.Bxh5 Nf6 55.Bg6 Ng8 56.Kd4 Kf6 57.Bc2 Ne7 58.Bb1 Kg7 59.f5 Kf6 60.f4 Kg7 61.h5 Ng8 62.Bc2 Kf6 63.Bb3 Nh6 64.Be6 Ke7 65.Ke4 Kf6 66.Kf3 Ke7 67.Kg3 Kf6 68.Kh4 d5 69.Kg3 d4 70.Kf3 d3 71.Ke3 Ng4+ 72.Kxd3 Kg7 73.Bb3 Kf6 74.Ke4 Kg7 75.Bd1 Nf2+ 76.Kd5 Nd3 77.Bf3 Nxf4+ 78.Ke5 Nh3 79.f6+ Kh6 80.Ke6 Ng5+ 81.Ke7 Kh7 82.Be4+ Kh8 83.h6 Kg8 84.Bg6 Kh8 85.Kd6 Kg8 86.Ke5 Kh8 87.Kf4 Ne6+ 88.Ke5 Nf8 89.Bf5 Kg8 90.h7+ Kh8 91.Kd6 Ng6 92.f7 Nf8 93.Ke7 Kg7 94.Be4 Kh8 95.Bc6 Nxh7 96.Be4 Nf8 97.Bd3 1/2-1/2
The Kasparov-World game has been over for several months now. The initial finger pointing seems to have given way to concrete chess analysis. I haven't really followed the post mortem very closely, but decided to take a review of the web to see where things stand on discovering the truth about this game.
An endgame tablebase has been constructed for most of the positions in the Q+P vs. Q+P ending. This answers the first question about this ending, namely would 58...Qf5 have held the game for the World? The answer is no although White must be precise. With best play by both sides, White mates in 79 moves starting with 59. Kh6 . See the online endgame database for all the gory details, or to test your own analysis of this position. You can also use that site to see the holes in the analysis published by Kasparov immediately after the game.
The next question is where did the World go wrong in this ending? Analysis by Irina Krush and Ken Regan now seems to indicate that the pawn sacrifice 54...b4 was the final blunder by Black. This move received close to 60% of the vote, which shows just how much under the influence of Krush the voters were at that point. The tablebase shows that White is winning after 55.Qxb4. The move recommended by two analysts, Felecan and Pahtz, 54...Qd3 gathered about 17.5% of the vote (including mine), but seems to still doesn't seem to be holding the position according to Krush and Regan. Ironically, the much maligned Etienne Bacrot's suggestion of 54...Qd5 has so far stood up to the analysts scrutiny. That move came third in the voting with about 13.5% of the vote. I wouldn't be suprised if futher discoveries are made in this ending, especially since the tablebases are only of limited help with the Black b-pawn still on the board.
Irina's site is the only one I've found with up to date analysis. Unfortunately, most of it of the "computer printout" variety that gives alot of variations and not many words. I know concrete analysis is the only way to find the truth in chess, but as a human, I don't get much out of alot of this analysis without discription of why certain moves win or draw or lose. I understand that with such a complex ending it is hard to do that and the analysis that is given is better than nothing or wrong analysis. The GM school, for example, does not seem to have made any updates since the game ended and still have the ridiculous annotation of ?? attached to 58...Qe4 . Jude Acer's comments at chesslab also seem to just be an archive of comments from the time of the match. I'd be interested to hear about any sites that are still actively analyzing this game.
If I've done everything correctly, readers using Netscape 4.0 or higher or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher should now see analysis in figurine algebraic notation. The page may have loaded a bit slowly this first time, but the speed should be back to normal on return visits. Readers with older browsers should still be able to read things in English algebraic. Let me know if you have any trouble with any of this. I plan to use this on the main page and then to expand it to the others.
Another defensive try in the game Bereolos-Nilsson (see 2/7/00 and 2/20/00) seems to have been put to rest. After 24. Qg6 a suggestion was 24...Ne6 hitting the Bd4 and trying to distract the queen from defense of Bh7. After, 25. Qxe6 Kxh7, however, White wins directly with 26.Qf5+ Kg8 27.Qg6 with a decisive attack. Instead, Black can try to muddy the waters with 25...Bc5 when White's extra piece will still be stuck on h7 and Black might be able to generate counterplay with ...cxb2. White can avoid all of this with the trick 25.Bg8! instead of taking the knight. The mate threat compels Black to play 25...Kxg8 but then White takes play back to the original line with 26.Qxe6+ Kh7 27.Qf5+. So, another try seems to bite the dust.
Linares hit the first rest day with Kasparov and Kramnik atop the leader board at +1, Shirov and Leko are even, and Anand and Khalifman sit at -1. Anand's play seems the most lackluster. After a couple of dull draws he lost with White to Shirov. The Petroff's defense has really reared it's ugly head for this tournament. Four of the first 9 games have seen it. Probably Leko-Kramnik tomorrow will increase it to 5. The recent plauge of this defense has at least forced White players to come up with some sharper lines and 2 of the 4 games have been decisive. Don't bet on Leko-Kramnik to increase that total. The statistician at kasparovchess.com tabbed that game as the most likely to be drawn in the entire tournament.
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