SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
FRUSTRATIONS OF THE SUPER-RATED
Reigning Canadian champion GM Bator Sambuev
had an embarrassing face to face
with reality this past week at the just concluded Canadian Open in Toronto. Sporting his brand new artificially inflated Batman
rating of 2750 (CFC) , the Quebec resident finished somewhere down in the middle of the X-table, having lost his last 2 games and scoring only 1 pt in the final 4 games.
Sambuev finished with 5.5 pts, tied between 29th and 43rd positions
To be fair, however, Bator is a very
strong GM and deserves every point of his 2528 FIDE rating (though after this result he might be dangerously close to dipping below 2500)
In this year’s Canadian Open Bator played some enterprising chess and should have scored better. Witness his 8th round game against Bulgarian GM Bojkov.
According to a posting on a message board
, Sambuev arrived at the tournament hall 30 minutes late , having been caught in downtown traffic. Funny, I would have thought the Bat-mobile
would have faired better…
POSITION AFTER 20 MOVES:
GM SAMBUEV (FIDE-2528)
GM BOJKOV (FIDE-2544)
Despite being short of time, Sambuev had no problems in the opening and is now trying to gain the attack against the White King. In particular, Black’s Bishop controls the light squares around the White monarch. Ofcourse, the Black King is in no bed of roses either, having lost the right to castle early on and now stuck in the centre.
A realist would probably say that both sides stand badly! Probably the position is objectively equal, though very difficult to play as one single mistake could turn the game in the other’s favour. With each side having only 1 minor piece on the board , it is unlikely that either King is in great trouble. White should now play 21.Kb1, tucking his King into the corner before beginning active operations….not fearing the exchange on d4 since the White Knight can then hit the Black Bishop after 22.Nf5-ch and 23.Nxd4
21.Ne4 !? f5 22.Ng3 (22. Qh4-ch and 23. Nd2 should be considered as a serious option) 22…Kf8 23.PxP PxP 24.Kb1 Rd8 (Black dominates the important d-file) 25.Ka1
White’s back rank is not a problem as long as his 2 Rooks are connected; Black , however, has problems connecting his Rooks because of the exposed position of his King. In particular, Black must watch out for the Queen and Knight as this pair is known to be an extremely dangerous attacking combination. This means that Black should avoid taking the g-pawn as White would then gain another file for his Rook to get into play, leaving his with very active pieces.
Sambuev’s next moves try to induce the White pieces to exchange Queens. This is the correct approach, as trading Queens would reduce White’s attacking potential and ultimately allow Black to infiltrate along the d-file. White, naturally, does not want to exchange.
25…Qd6! 26.Qh4 Qe7!?
Very strong –and very ambitious–play by the Quebec GM! Sambuev offers a pawn inorder to induce the Queen exchange. Black gets enough compensation for the slight material deficit, and maintains some chances of making progress along the d-file should White make an inaccuracy. White probably has little choice but to accept since 27.Q (any) is met by 27…Qg5! Note that 26…Qd2 (threatening Qg5) would be met by 27.f4! followed by Qf6 and Nh5
27.QxQ-ch KxQ 28.Nxf5-ch Kf8 29.Ng3 f5! (limiting the activity of the White Knight) 30.Re5! (hitting the c-pawn) 30…Rd5! 31.Rxe6 Kf7 32.Re-e1 Rd8 33.f3 Kf6
A curious position. Even though White has 2 extra (!) pawns, he has no serious winning chances! The threat of a back rank mate limits the White Rooks; and the White Knight has no good outpost.
On the other hand, Black only has compensation! The White position is free of weaknesses and he can get some counterplay by advancing his Kingside pawns. Plus–we must bear in mind–White is the higher rated player: Bojkov is not the type of GM who misplays the defence. The next moves are easy to understand…
34. Ne2! Rd2 35. Nf4 R8d6 36. g3 a5 37. h4 a4 38. g4! fg 39. fg Bc4 40. Nh5-ch Kg6 41. Rhg1
White has enough counterplay on the Kingside. Correct now is just to wait with 41…Rd7 (or 41…Rd8) and after (for example) 42.Nf4-ch Kf6! 43.g5-ch PxP 44.PxP-ch Kf5 45.Ng2! (threatening Ne3-ch) Black must move his King back and we could expect a repetion of position to soon take place. Neither side can do anyting.
INSTEAD, in time trouble (remember those 30 minutes lost in the Bat-mobile in downtown Toronto traffic ?) Sambuev spoils a very well played middlegame and loses in one move!
41…Rb6 ?? 42.Re7! winning on the spot
All of a sudden Black is faced with an unstoppable mating attack.
42…Bf7 (forced) 43.Rf1!
There is nothing to do. If 43…R(b6)xb2 44.Rf6-ch is forced mate. If instead 43…R(d2) xb2 then 44.Nf4-ch Kf6 45. Nd5-ch is all over. Sambuev played 43…c4 and then resigned without waiting for White’s reply (44.Rf5! –threatening Nf4-ch)
Some amateurs on the message board (link above)–who did not understand the game at all– made some ill-thought out remarks about this defeat for the Canadian Champion, and Sambuev felt so strongly that he hastily wrote:
”First of all, I sacrificed pawns on f5 and e6. Second, I had winning position (??-editor) and lost because of zeitnot. Even in the end after Kf7 instead of Rb6?? White should be accurate to get a draw.
There was no any posts about my wins and so lively discussion about my loss. What’s wrong with you guys? You’re like vultures.”
Chess talk ”regulars”
___________________________________________________________________A BOTCHED AFFAIR
As pointed out above, 3 players tied for first place in the Open (Benjamin, Bojkov and Arrencibia) Congrats! Each earned $4,200. And Bindi Cheng earned his 3rd IM norm: congratulations also, Bindi!
…and his first 2 norms! (now big fans)
There is not much to say about this year’s Canadian Open organizers that has not been said by some on the message boards. While the tournament was technically well run (this should always be an absolute minimum, ofcourse), the organizers missed the boat when it came to promoting their event. Internet coverage was a disaster, and only towards the final rounds did they get their act together, putting on videos and pictures. Too little, too late!
Once more MONROI proved to be the wrong medium to host web coverage of leading tournaments. Their site often fails and has bugs that have not been resolved yet. But the organizers’ own website was totally dys-functional
, with the following message appearing on the official tournament web site
I am not going to rehash what has already been said numerous times this past week. Instead, I will limit my criticism to this: this Toronto group was predictably incompetent. Even with the experience of running last year’s event, they were not able to use the internet as a medium of promotion and salesmanship. As of this evening, none of the games can be downloaded from any major chess site. There was a small report during the event on chessbase, but it was only in spanish (!).
PHOTOS FROM THE TOURNAMENT
GM Mark Bluvshtein with his new ”zombie” stare. It only brought him 6.5 points…
Did the organizers check this man for electronic devices?
Stunning! But wait: is that an undeveloped Knight I see?
Five dollars if you can guess her favourite colour!
With pen in hand…
What is this? Another undeveloped Knight?
Wow! I am checkmated already! Thanks, CMA!
She barely reaches the table!
Hands: part 1
Hands: part 2Hands: part 3Hands: part 4Hey! Isn’t that a famous F.M ?Tournament winner Joel Benjamin in quiet reflectionHi Mom!Concentration! (Not the kid)
IM Lawrence Day
Irina Krush teaches chess:
”Today I am going to show you how to beat a male opponent….”
…there is no secret or trick involved , per se….
…I just started developing , moved this piece here…
…and then I pushed that pawn up the board , attacking the Queen….
…..then all of a sudden my opponent gobbled down my unprotected pawn….
…but it was really a clever trap that he fell into…
….and then I check-mated him in 2 moves! Men can be such idiots…”
THE AUDIENCE WATCHES, UNCONVINCED….