2010 Barcelona Sants Open
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The Israeli grandmaster Max Rodshtein achieved a convincing victory with 8.5 points out of a possible 10 at the strong open tournament in Barcelona. Four players scored 8 points, including black-horse FM Mitjans Perez , who scored an upset win in round 8 over Toronto GM Mark Bluvshtein.
21-year old Maxim Rodshtein is one of Israel’s brightest hopes, and is a frequent visitor to tournaments on the Iberian peninsula.
The best Canadian result was from Toronto IM Leonid Gerzhoy (born 1987), who finished in 8th position scoring a respectable 7.5 points, including a 9th round victory over fellow Torontonian Bluvshtein (game given below). Leonid’s score could have been even better as he had a winning game in the last round against GM Fier, but could only draw.
Excellent result in Barcelona.
GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD!
The 9th round game between Toronto players Mark and Leonid deserves a special award–for good sportsmanship! It is not often that one sees 2 players from the same country (let alone from the same city) play for the jugular near the end of a tournament , especially where a loss means being knocked out of contention. Congratulations to both gentlemen!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 27th MOVE
WHITE TO MOVE AND WIN!
22-year old Mark Bluvshtein
Mark’s first tournament in Europe since deciding to take a year off to dedicate himself 100% to chess did not give much sign of the tremendous chess talent he possesses. His play was atleast a category lower than normal. But this has a simple enough explanation: jet lag! Mark arrived the day before the tournament began, not a very ‘professional’ thing to do. When I first started playing in Europe I also experienced the negative effects of jet lag on my own play. From my own experience, I learned the hard way that I need about 1 week to adjust going from North America to Europe, and about half the time going from Europe to North America.
Ofcourse, not everyone reacts to crossing so many time zones the same way, and Mark will just have to find what works for him. In Barcelona , Mark’s play was sluggish and imprecise. He often overlooked simple moves–and not always tactical. He himself wrote on his excellent blog (http://markbluvshtein.wordpress.com/ ) that he noticed that he had difficulties sensing the initiative in his games. Nothing to worry about though, Mark (if you are reading this), your next tournament should be completely different! Consider Barcelona a great warm up event.
Mark was in contention, despite jetlag, for the top places until disaster struck in round 8, against the little known FIDE master Perez. Mark achieved a completely winning position when his opponent ‘forgot ‘ to resign and just play for tricks.
Here is the critical position after Black’s 33rd move:
It is hard to believe that a master level player would play on a piece and 3 pawns down for as long as Perez did. One could suggest that this is pure lack of sportsmanship, but I think a more appropriate explanation is that since FIDE introduced the fast time controls with 30 seconds increments per move, many players –once they have lost positions–don’t resign and just go into ‘blitz-game mode’, treating the game (and his opponent) with the same (lack of )respect as in a 5-minute game!
Be that as it may, Mark can not complain of too much bad luck, since he enjoyed some luck in the previous rounds! My own experience is that luck tends to be pretty fair over a long enough period of time. However, it is VERY painful to lose to a hustler, as Perez proves himself to be in this game…
Here Mark can put an end to any tricks with the precise 34.Qe2! when the Black Queen must retreat from her dangerous perch. If now Black continues 34…Qxc4, then 35.Qh5! ends the game with a direct attack against the Black Monarch. Or if instead 34…Rxa2 35.Rb2! forces simplification , obviously to White’s advantage.
INSTEAD, Mark miscalculated with 34.d6?? allowing Black the shot 34…Rxd3!! OUCH! After 35.Qxd3 Rxa2ch 36.Kg1 Qh5! (the move Mark must have overlooked) Black is just winning!
The tables have been turned. Mark has been hustled!
The legendary Bent Larsen, once in an interview, gave advice to a player who wanted to become a professional. He advised the aspiring grandmaster to give himself enough time to be fair to himself. Larsen suggested 5 years (!).
Ofcourse, the world has changed a lot since that interview (early 1970’s), but it is not any easier today than it was back then! Today 99% of tournaments are strong, competitive open tournaments with very little prize money (the Barcelona tournament had only 3 prizes more than 1,000 euros). Barcelona had about 20 GMs and as many IMs. Tournaments like Barcelona Sants should be looked upon as practice tournaments; events that help the player get into form and have strong opposition.
Only about the top 20 to 30 players in the world make any money at chess, and they jealously protect their position by sticking together and not letting in any new players. The chess world is anything but fair! That is why they play in tournaments with , sometimes, only 5 or 6 other players. I am quite certain that many 2700-plus ELO players would not be able to make any money playing in tournaments like Barcelona!
In Mark’s case, he needs to get his rating over 2700 if he wants to break into the top elite. I suggest that he keep studying the game daily while he plays from tournament to tournament, gaining experience and fine-tuning his skills. Tournaments like Barcelona are excellent for this purpose. The most important open tournaments will start in early 2011: Gibraltar , Cappelle and Moscow. If he wins all of these tournaments then he must be considered amongst the elite in the world.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS