SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Seems finally as though spring is around the corner. It has been a cold winter this year here in Guarda (altitude 1500 m) with quite a bit more snow than is normal. We are still not out of the woods, but I can feel it in my bones that the worse is over…now all of the Iberian peninsula is about to go on easter holidays. The ‘semana santa’, in particular, in Spain is about to begin. The traditional tournament in San Sebastian begins next weekend. I am not going to play, but I will report on this event as it progresses. Several of my students will take part.
Next month I will play in Angola. Possibly in May I will attend the Calgary Invitational (though this is still not 100%). Yes…spring is definitely around the corner!
CANDIDATES GAIN MOMENTUM OVER THE WEEK-END
Friday was a pretty boring day at the office, but Saturday and Sunday saw the players take the gloves off. The quality of play is not the best, but it is a trade-off between boring chess and playing enterprisingly in order to win. Ivanchuk seems to be playing recklessly, yesterday playing some ridiculous 9.h4 against one of the best players in the world:
Incredible! Does he really think that 10.Bxh7+ is going to scare his opponent? Aronian rightly ignored the ‘threat’ and soon had a winning position.
In round 1 Chucky (as he is affectionately called) played the Dutch defence. Yesterday the Trompovsky. Who knows, maybe we will see the Kings Gambit soon? Humour aside, Ivanchuk is always a dangerous adversary and adds colour to every tournament he plays in. Always a crowd pleaser, while he might not win this tournament, he may very well strongly influence the top finishers. Let us hope Ivanchuk does this by playing good chess…
Boris has lost both games this weekend. Time trouble (2 hours for 40 moves; then 1hr for 20; finally 15 minutes (plus 30spm) ) and–it seems–being out of form are the culprits. Yesterday he just drifted from an even position to a slightly worse position. Carlsen scored his first win thanks to this…However, we have not seen the real Gelfand yet! Stay tuned to Boris coming to life…
The most interesting chess thus far, and the best chess, has been played by Grischuk. Fighting chess from the very beginning! Tomorrow he meets Carlsen with Black. Should be a clash to watch.
SURPRISING SOVIET MINIATURES
Continuing with the theme ”Surprising Soviet Miniatures” started this past Saturday , today I take a look at some of the horrible one-move blunders by strong masters and grandmasters that were played in Soviet Champion finals or in the qualification events.
From Moscow 1950. After White’s 15th move. The game is just beginning…Here Black went astray:
15…Bxd5?! (unnecessary) 16.PxB
Now Black should simply retreat the Knight, but instead he continues with his ‘plan’:
BLACK TO PLAY AND LOSE!!
No doubt counting on 17. PxN? PxP regaining the piece.
Winning a piece cleanly, as the Bishop on g7 is not protected. Black played a few useless moves before throwing in the towel on move 23…
”Such a blunder could find you spending time as a guest in a GULAG, Comrade Sokolsky!”
Position after 21 moves , from Moscow 1948. A sharp game where Black was slightly better a few moves before but now things are not clear. Tolush strikes:
Taking the Knight is bad because it would open the e-file and give White a very dangerous attack. Perhaps Black’s best is the cold-blooded 22…Qg5, with reasonable chances to hold the game. INSTEAD, Black played a move that White could only have dreamed about:
BLACK TO PLAY AND LOSE!!
Stopping any nonsense on f6
Too much vodka, maybe?!
(born Apr-30-1921, died Nov-28-1989) Russia
Georgy Alexeyevich Ilivitsky, born in Akmolinsk (now Astana*), was one of the strongest Soviet Masters immediately following WW2. Awarded the IM title in 1955 he was 3rd= in the 1955 USSR Championship but only managed to place 10th in the Interzonal of that year. He was also a strong match player having beaten Isaac Boleslavsky in 1944, Alexey Suetin in 1950 and Ludek Pachman in 1956 in short matches.
Sadly, he took his own life in Sverdlovsk in 1989.
From Moscow, 1950. Black had just played 24…Kd7!?, taking the King off of the e-file. The position is very complex and probably balanced. Perhaps the cautious 25.Qg3 is to be recommended.
INSTEAD, probably still thinking that the Knight was pinned along the e-file, Suetin blunders badly:
WHITE TO PLAY AND LOSE!!
I have seen better sacrifices!
When White realized that the Knight is not pinned, he immediately resigned