Sunday, May 27, 2007

Chess wind

Hi guys!

While waiting for my carpool for the wedding of our colleague, Ms. Nicole Zialcita, I decided to log in and try to post some from the Weekender by Manny Benitez. Of course, I'll try to link some chess news from the subscriptions I receive on a weekly basis.

Also, I read the BusinessWorld article of The BANG, titled, Scandinavian Melts, version hard copy courtesy of my mom's forgetfulness. I liked the article to tell... I just hope it is included in the issue of The Weekender this week. Or maybe I read the old issue of Chess Piece? We will see.

Kiddies’ tourney set on May 30

CALLING all boys and girls in Quezon City and neighboring cities and towns!

The Quezon Memorial Circle Chess Plaza Club will hold its first tournament for children, aged 14 and below, this coming Wednesday, May 30.

It will be a five-round rapid tournament with 25 minutes for each player to finish a game. Winners will receive books as prizes.

Players must register with the QMC Chess Plaza caretaker, Efren Arguelles. Registration is free. It will start today and close at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Games will begin at 1 p.m.

One of the very first to register was 2005 Asean blitz gold medalist Paulo Bersamina, 9, whose father Norlito emailed the Weekender to signify Pau’s intention to play at the tournament for kids.

All age-group champions, past or incumbent, are welcome for as long as they are not over 14 years old.

The QMC club’s board thought of this tournament as part of its monthly activities in order to give a chance to children in Metro Manila to “warm up” for the first leg (National Capital Region) of the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships scheduled for June 23-24 at SM Manila, behind City Hall.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old International Master Wesley So of Bacoor, Cavite, will stage a simultaneous exhibition against 30 players at Meralco in Pasig City on Saturday, June 2.

A brainchild of the elder Bersamina, the event is being organized by the Manila power company to help raise funds for the training of Wesley in his quest for the grandmaster’s title. He already has a GM norm to his credit.

It is also part of the Meralco chess team’s preparation for a match against the rest of the Lopez Group of Companies to be held sometime next month.

So is not expected to take part in the QMC kiddies’ tournament on Wednesday as he is also busy preparing for the “Battle of Shell Champions” to be held from June 18 to 20 on the ground floor of SM Mega Mall’s Atrium A in Mandaluyong City.

The event will mark the 15th anniversary of the two-tier—juniors (18 and below) and kiddies (14 and below)—Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships, the longest-running annual event for boys and girls in the country today.

Wesley was Shell kiddies champion in 2003. He was then nine years old and a Grade IV Pupil at Jesus Good Shepherd elementary school in Bacoor.

Albeit the youngest finalist at the time, he won the title by beating Mindanao’s Sneider Nebato in the final round.

Now an IM with one GM norm, Wesley will be in sophomore high school at St. Francis de Assisi College in Bacoor.

He currently holds two national crowns—that of the 2006-07 Pichay Cup National Open and of the 2007-08 National Juniors.

Cash prizes and trophies await Shell’s “champion of champions” and his runners-up.

It was Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation that built the concrete tables and benches for the Quezon Memorial Circle Chess Plaza in the late nineties.

The QMC Chess Plaza is said to be the only one of its kind, with its concrete tables and benches sheltered from the elements

QMC chess club registration starts

THE QMC Chess Plaza Club will start collecting the P100 registration fee from its members next week.

Payments must be made to Ms Cynthia “Chi” Nazario, club treasurer, tel. 453-0537

Little-known Naranja jewels

INTERNATIONAL Master Renato Naranja is probably best known today for his fantastic performance in the 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal where he drew with such titans as all-time great Bobby Fischer of the United States, Lajos Portisch of Hungary and former world champion Vassily Smyslov of the Soviet Union.

Not only that. Naranja, a computer expert who at that time was working for Meralco, had also five wins, one of which was against another all-time great, former US champion Samuel Reshevsky, the most famous child prodigy the world had seen.

Born in 1940 in Negros Occidental, Naranja caught national attention when he became the Philippine junior champion in 1958 and won the adult crown the following year at 19.

A studious player, he mastered the finer points of the English Opening with which he was almost invincible in local tournaments. With Black he would usually opt for the King’s Indian Defense.

During the martial-law regime, the self-assured computer wizard from Negros Occidental migrated to the United States, where he is still working as such in New York and occasionally still plays at the famous Marshall Chess Club in New York City.

I featured Naranja’s win over Reshevsky and draw with Fischer in this series last August. Today let’s take a look at two of his less-known wins in the Olympiad, where he represented the Philippines six times, 1964-74, missing only the 1972 Olympiad because of the proclamation of martial law.

In three of these global events, he played on board one (1964, 1966 and 1970).

• Uwe Kuettner (2183) - Renato Naranja (2420)
Rd. 1, World Under 20 Ch., Muenchenstein/Basel 1959
King’s Indian Defense (E65)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 c5 7.0–0 Nbd7 8.d5 Rb8 9.e4 a6 10.a4 b6 11.Ne1 Ne5 12.Qe2 Ne8 13.h3 e6 14.f4 Nd7 15.dxe6 fxe6 16.Nf3 Bb7 17.Ng5 Qe7 18.Bd2 Nc7 19.Rae1 Rbe8 20.Qd3 Bd4+! 21.Kh2 Qg7 Missing 21...Bf6 22.Rd1, with equality 22.Nf3 Bc6 23.Ne2 e5 24.fxe5 Nxe5 25.Nxe5 dxe5 26.b3 Ne6! 27.Bf3 Rd8 28.Qc2 h5 29.Qc1 Not 29.Nxd4?? because of 29...Nxd4 30.Qc3 Nxf3+ 31.Rxf3 Rxf3 32.Qxf3 Rxd2+ 33.Re2 Qd7! Kh7 30.g4 Rf7 31.gxh5 Rdf8 32.h6 Qf6 33.Bg2 Bf2!! 34.Be3?? Nf4?? Missing 34...Qh4 35.a5 Bxe4 36.Bxe4 Qxe4! 35.Rxf2! Qh4 36.Nxf4 Missing 36.Ref1! g5 37.Qc3!, and wins exf4 37.Ref1 Qg3+ 38.Kh1?? f3! 39.Bxf3??

After 39.Bxf3??

The final mistake 39.Kg1! was best, e.g., 39...Bxe4 40.Qc3!, with equal chances Now comes three whammies.

39…Rxf3! 40.Rxf3 Bxe4! The point of the exchange sac 41.Qd1 Rxf3! The coup de grace, and White resigns. 0–1

• Renato Naranja (2420) - Rene Letelier Martner
16th World Olympiad, Tel Aviv 1964
Symmetrical English (A35)

1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.e3 Nf6 7.Be2 0–0 8.0–0 d5 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.Bf3 Qc4 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Be2 Qc5 14.Qa4 Rb8 15.Bf3 Rb5 16.Rb1 Bf5 17.e4 Equalizing Be6 18.b4 Qc4 19.a3 g5 20.h3 h5 21.Bxh5 Better than 21.Qxa7 g4 22.a4 Rbb8! Qxe4 22.Bb2 Bxb2 23.Rxb2 g4 24.Bxg4 Bxg4 25.hxg4 Rg5? 25...a5! was the saving resource 26.Qxa7! Qxg4 27.f4 Rh5 [27...Rg6!?+-] 28.Qxe7 Kg7 29.Rf3 Rfh8 30.Kf2 Rf5 31.Rbb3 Rh6?? A horrible blunder under pressure 32.Rg3!

After 32.Rg3!

32…Rxf4+ Mere momentum 33.Kg1! No more checks, and Black resigns as his queen will now fall for a rook. 1–0

Kotov’s ‘Think Like a Grandmaster’

ONE book I like but which I haven’t read with total absorption because I bought it when I was in my late 60s is Alexander Kotov’s Think Like a Grandmaster. Besides, I never thought he was such a great player.

I have changed my mind after journalist Ignacio “Iggy” Dee gave the Weekender his views of Kotov both as author and as player.

“Kotov's book is designed to make a human player calculate with the accuracy of a machine. He makes use of his ‘tree of analysis’ method where the alternatives are pictured as branches of a tree.

“All possible continuations from a given position can be visualized as a tree in which variations and sub-variations are represented as branches and twigs,” writes Dee, a former varsity player (UST).

He also quotes from John Nunn’s Secrets of Practical Chess, to wit: “The tree of analysis can be inefficient. Sometimes one forgets to analyze a line completely and then you can confuse (it with) similar lines.”

Dee also cites former Soviet and now Polish GM Mikhail Krasenkov (quoting IM Boris Zlotnik) in Attack and Defense, by Dvoretsky and Yusupov as saying:

“In complex positions it is difficult to compile the list of candidate moves at the very outset of your calculations. In practice the candidates come to light during the process of fathoming the position..."

“A fine point in the analysis of one variation often dawns on you in the course of calculating a different line.”

As a player, Kotov had a distinguished record: former Moscow champion, Interzonal champion and two-time world title candidate.

Two of his finest games ought to describe best Kotov’s playing ability.

• Alexander Kotov - Paul Keres
Budapest 1950
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Saemisch (E24)

1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 Nc6 6.f3 b6 7.e4 Ba6 8.e5 Ng8 9.Nh3 Na5 10.Qa4 Ne7 11.Bd3 0–0 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4 d5 14.Bb1 g5 Not 14...Bxc4 because of 15.Qc2 g6 16.Bf6!, and White has a clear edge 15.Qc2² Ng6 16.Nf4 gxh4? 16...Qe8 was better 17.Nxg6! White is now way ahead Re8 18.Nh8! Re7 Of course not 18...Kxh8 because of 19.Qh7#! 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.f4! Nxc4 20...Nb3 21.Ra2 Bxc4 22.f5 gives White a huge advantage 21.f5 exf5 22.0–0 Bc8 23.Bxf5 Bxf5 24.Rxf5 Ke8 25.Rxf7! The start of a mating attack, better than 25.Qxh6?, e.g., 25…Kd7 26.Rxf7 Qxh8 27.e6+ Kc6 28.Qxh8 Rxh8 29.Rxe7 Kd6 30.Rd7+ Kc6. Take note of how White conducts the attack Kd7 26.Qf5+ Kc6 27.Qf6+ Kd7 28.e6+ Kc6 29.Rxe7 Not 29.Qxe7 because of 29…Qxe7 30.Rxe7 Rxh8, and Black would have active counterplay Qxh8 30.Rxc7+!!

After 30.Rxc7+!!

Decisive, e.g., 30…Kxc7 31.Qe7+ Kc6 32.Kd7#!; if 31…Kb8/Kc8 32.Rf1, threatening to win Black’s queen.

30…Kb5 31.Qe7 a5 32.Qd7+ Ka6 33.Rb1! The encirclement is complete and mate is inevitable. Try it out on the board! 1–0

• Yuri Averbakh - Alexander Kotov
Zurich 1953
Old Indian Defense (A55)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Nbd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Be7 6.Be2 0–0 7.0–0 c6 8.Qc2 Re8 9.Rd1 Bf8 10.Rb1 a5 11.d5 Nc5 12.Be3 Qc7 13.h3 Bd7 14.Rbc1 g6 15.Nd2 Rab8 16.Nb3 Nxb3 17.Qxb3 c5 18.Kh2 Kh8 19.Qc2 Ng8 20.Bg4 Nh6 21.Bxd7 Qxd7 22.Qd2 Ng8 23.g4 f5 24.f3 Be7 25.Rg1 Rf8 26.Rcf1 If 26.gxf5 gxf5 27.exf5 Rbe8! Rf7 27.gxf5 gxf5 28.Rg2 f4 29.Bf2 Rf6 30.Ne2??

After 30.Ne2??

A big blunder. Best was 30.h4!, ensuring equality. Now comes a deeply conceived double whammy from Black.

30…Qxh3+!! 31.Kxh3 Rh6+ 32.Kg4 Nf6+ 33.Kf5 Nd7 34.Rg5 Rf8+ 35.Kg4 Nf6+ 36.Kf5 Ng8+ 37.Kg4 Nf6+?? Now it’s Black’s turn to blunder. Better was 37...Bxg5 38.Qe1 Nf6+ 39.Kf5 Ng4+ 40.Kxg4, with Black still ahead, however 38.Kf5 Nxd5+ 39.Kg4 Nf6+ 40.Kf5 Ng8+ 41.Kg4 Bxg5 42.Kxg5 Rf7 43.Bh4 Not 43.Qxa5?? because of 43...Rg7+ 44.Kf5 Rf6#! Rg6+ 44.Kh5 Rfg7 45.Bg5 Rxg5+ 46.Kh4 Nf6 47.Ng3 Rxg3 48.Qxd6 R3g6 49.Qb8+ Rg8! 0–1

And, The BANG's 2 articles...

Aronian beats Kramnik

WORLD CUP champion GM Levon Aronian of Armenia defeated world champion Vladimir Kramnik in a rapid match held last May 4 to 6 in Yerevan, Armenia. The time control was 25 minutes for the whole game with an increment of 10 seconds per move. Two games were played every day.

Aronian and Kramnik exchanged wins on day one but then Aronian surprised the chess world with two victories on the second day. Thereafter he needed only half a point from the remaining two games to win the match. On the final day Kramnik threw caution to the winds and made a determined effort catch up. However, the Armenian was up to the task and fought back from two losing positions to cement the match win. Final score: 4-2 (three wins, two draws, one loss) in favor of Aronian.

Vladimir Kramnik (born June 25, 1975) is currently world champion and recognized as one of the strongest rapid players in the world, having won the Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament in Monaca earlier this year, and an eight-game rapid chess match against Peter Leko just shortly before this match.

Levon Aronian (born October 6, 1982) is no slouch either—he is a great talent who is recognized for his skill in virtually all time controls, be it standard, rapid or blitz. He is also the world FischerRandom champion.

The fourth game saw Aronian defeat Kramnik with the Shabalov Gambit. For those of you as Black who have the Semi-Slav in their opening repertoire, you might appreciate a quick round-up of the latest theory on this very dangerous line.

Aronian,Levon (2759) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2772) [D45]
Rapid Match Yerevan ARM (4), 05.05.2007
Semi-Slav, Shabalov Gambit

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4
Fifteen years ago this move was usually preceded by 7.h3, but then Shirov played 7.g4 immediately against Thorhallsson in Reykjavik 1992 and everybody realized that Black couldn't risk taking that pawn anyway, and pushing the g-pawn right away saved a tempo.

Even Garry Kasparov has given his stamp of approval to White's treatment—he himself used it in matches against the computer programs Deep Junior and X3D Fritz.

By the way, Shirov himself wrote that the move was Shabalov's idea, and that justified the name "Shabalov Gambit".


We don't have enough space to take them up, but both 7...Nxg4 and 7...Bb4 followed by 8...Ne4 have their adherents, with the latter being this writer's personal choice.


[8.g5 Nd5 9.Bxc4 e5 transposes into the line given in the next note]


Apart from this move Black has mainly tried 8...e5 9.g5 Nd5 10.Bd2 (10.Bxd5 cxd5 11.Nxd5 0–0 12.Bd2 Re8 Black's initiative is well worth the pawn. Browne,W (2456)-Shabalov,A (2624)/ Stratton Mountain 2004 0–1 (28); 10.Nxd5? cxd5 11.Bxd5 Qa5+ loses a piece) 10...exd4 11.Qe4+ Ne7.

At first glance the impression you will get is that Black is behind in development and White should be able to find a forceful way of getting an advantage. However, it is not so easy ... 12.Qxd4 Nf5 13.Qe4+ Ne7 14.Qc2 (14.0–0–0 Nc5) 14...Nb6 15.Be2 Bf5 See? White has problems on where to put his king.


Pinoy candidate-GM Roland Salvador has tried 9.Bd2 intending to play e3-e4 and to recapture with the bishop after ...Nxc3.

After 9...N7b6 10.Be2 f5 11.e4! fxe4 12.Nxe4 Qc7 13.Nxd6+ Qxd6 14.Ne5 Nb4 15.Qb3 Qd5 16.Qxd5 N4xd5 (16...exd5?? 17.Bxb4) 17.0–0 0–0 18.f4 Nd7 19.Nd3 N7f6 Black had a cramped position. 1–0 Salvador,R (2455)-la Manna,F (2119)/ Arco Op A 2006 1–0 (45).
9...Be7 10.Bd2 b6 11.Ng3

The move 11.0–0–0 is more usual here. Aronian's idea is to chase away the d5-knight.


Black cannot delay castling anymore. If he plays 11...Bb7 for example there could follow 12.e4 Nb4 13.Qb3 a5 (if 13...c5 14.a3 Nc6 15.d5! Nce5 16.dxe6 fxe6 17.0–0–0! White has a deadly bind) 14.a3 a4 15.Qc3 Na6 16.Nh5! White's edge is dangerous. Wells,P (2490)-Supatashvili,K (2435)/ Oberwart 1994 1–0 (40).

12.e4 Nb4 13.Qb3 c5

Compare this position with that of the previous note. Now, with Black's king castled, 14.a3 no longer works: 14...Nc6 15.d5 is met by 15...Nce5 16.dxe6 fxe6 17.Nxe5 (17.0–0–0?? Nxf3) 17...Nxe5 with a more than satisfactory position for Black.

14.Bxb4!? cxb4 15.0–0 a6

I can't understand all this prophylaxis. Perhaps 15...Bb7 is simpler and better.

Shifting to the attack. This will be followed up by Bd3, g4-g5 and Qf4. In the post-game conference Kramnik admitted that after he saw this move he knew that White had the advantage.

16...b5 17.Bd3 Bb7 18.g5 Rc8 19.Rad1 Qb6 20.Bb1 Rfd8

The idea is to play ...Nf8 to guard h7 against mating threats on the diagonal b1–h7.

21.h4 Nf8 22.h5 Rc7 23.Qf4 Bd6

Trying to induce White to push his e-pawn, after which Black's control of the long diagonal gives him fighting chances.

24.e5 Be7 25.Be4 Bc8 26.Bb1 Bb7 27.Be4 Bc8 28.Kh2 Rcd7 29.Bb1 Bb7 30.Ne4 Bxe4 31.Bxe4

Aronian’s plan is to simply play Rg1 and g5-g6!

31...g6 32.hxg6 Nxg6 33.Qe3 Bf8 34.Kg2

White's attack will be carried out on the h-file. He has to double rooks on the h-file.

34...Bg7 35.Rh1 Qb8 36.Rc1

Forever getting rid of threats associated with ...Bxe5!

36...Qa7 37.Rh3 Rxd4 38.Rd1! Nf4+ 39.Kh2 Ne2!?

After 39...Ne2

Desperation. 39...Nxh3 40.Kxh3 leaves White with a huge material advantage.


Black's position keeps getting worse.

40...Bxe5+ 41.Nxe5 Qc7 42.Bxh7+ Kf8 43.Rxe2 1–0

Gossip: There was a pre-match dinner buffet to draw the colors for the first game as well as some sort of opening festivities. This was a formal sit-down affair and several dignitaries were present. There was FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumshinov, the President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghukasyan and the President of the Armenian Chess Federation Serge Sargsyan.

If you pay attention to the pictures in the match website you will see that GM Vladimir Kramnik is accompanied by his wife of four months, French journalist Marie-Laure Germon. Aronian is not yet married, but brought along his girl friend, Filipino-Australian chess player WIM Arianne Caoili!

When they were spotted dancing during the Turin Olympiad both of them said they were just acquaintances from their world youth competition days who both decided to go to the Bermuda Party together. Now it looks like it is getting serious. Abangan!

Scandinavian Melts

NO, we are not talking about the Scandinavian Defense dissolving into nothingness—our topic for today is the Melts Variation of the Scandinavian, named after the Correspondence IM Michael Melts who wrote a book in 2001 about this new weapon. This line has since been used heavily by GM Sergei Tiviakov with good results.

Many years ago, during the 1998 Yangon zonal, GM Antonio’s bid to qualify for the interzonals was jeopardized when he lost the following game:

Antonio,Rogelio Jr (2540) - Roca,Petronio (2365) [B01]
zt 3.2 Yangon MYA (4), 11.12.1998

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Qe2 Bf5 7.Bd2 Qc7 8.Nf3 e6 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.h3 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd7 12.0–0–0 Qxe5 13.Qf3 0–0–0 14.Bg5 Re8 15.Rhe1 Qa5 16.Nb5 cxb5 17.Qxf5 Be7 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Qg4 Bxg5+ 20.Qxg5 Kb8 21.Qxg7 Nb6 22.Rxe6 Rxe6 23.Qxh8+ Nc8 24.a3 Qc7 25.Rd3 Qf4+ 26.Kb1 Re1+ 27.Ka2 Qc4+ 28.Rb3 a5 29.Qc3 Qf1 30.Qg3+ Ka7 31.Rd3 Nb6 32.Kb3 Re4 33.Ka2 Re1 34.Kb3 Nd5 35.a4 Re4 36.c3 bxa4+ 37.Kc2 Re1 38.Qg4 Qxf2+ 39.Rd2 Ne3+ 40.Kd3 Qf1+ 0–1

This story had a happy ending, GM Joey won his last three games (vs Myo Naing, Utut Adianto and Dao Thien Hai) to tie for first with Sharavdorj (Mongolia) and Liu Dede (Indonesia), and he even came up on top after the tie-breaks.

Back in the Philippines, this was also the time when I was intensively studying the Scandinavian, and GM Joey requested a study session to better acquaint himself with the tactical subtleties of this neglected but dangerous counter-attacking defense. We studied the lines for several weekends, after which, as was his wont, GM Joey retired to his bedroom for his own analysis. I know that he tested his conclusions by playing hundreds of blitz games under an anonymous name in the Internet Chess Club (ICC).

One day several weeks later I asked him what he thought of the Scandinavian, and to my surprise he broke into a big smile and told me that his conclusion was that the best way to play the Scandinavian is 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6!?

Now, I was aware that 3...Qd6 is very popular in the ICC, but that was only blitz and popularity cannot be equated with soundness for over-the-board competition, but GM Joey assured me that he analyzed and tested quite a lot of the possible ways by which White could try and refute the move, and Black always retained a playable position with counter-attacking chances.

This was the early part of 1999, the move 3...Qd6 was hardly ever seen then, and I just dismissed his remarks on its merits.

In 2001 Melts’ book came out and slowly players from all over the world embraced its playability. I remember scanning the games from Hotel Benidorm (Bali, Indonesia) and being impressed at the way Kurajica upset the ELO-favorite Judit Polgar:

Polgar,Judit (2685) - Kurajica,Bojan (2548) [B01]
Benidorm Hotel Bali (1), 29.11.2002
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Ne5 Nc6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Bf4 Be6!?

A surprise, but it has a good idea. Black intends to continue with ...g6, ...Bg7 and either 0–0–0 or 0–0. In the main line Black usually coninues 8...Bg4 9.f3 Be6, but Kurajica goes straight to e6 because he wants White's f-pawn to stay where it is, since now white's f1–bishop cannot move because of ...Qxg2.

9.Qd3 0–0–0 10.0–0–0 g6 11.Be2 Bg7 12.Be5 Rhe8 13.Bf3 Bh6+ 14.Kb1 Qc4 15.Qxc4 Bxc4 16.d5 Nd7 17.Bg3 Bg7 18.Ne4 Nf6 19.Nxf6 Bxf6 20.b3 Bb5 21.Rhe1 Bd7 22.c4 e6 23.d6 e5! 24.dxc7 Bf5+ 25.Kc1 Rxd1+ 26.Rxd1 Kxc7 27.Bd5 Bg5+ 28.Kb2 f6 29.f3 Be3 30.b4 g5 31.Be1 Bd4+ 32.Bc3 Bxc3+ 33.Kxc3 e4 34.Re1?

Here is where Judit errs. 34.g4 Bg6 35.fxe4 Bxe4 36.Rf1 Bxd5 37.cxd5 Re2 looks equal.

34...exf3! 35.Rf1 Re3+ 36.Kd2 Re2+ 37.Kc3 fxg2 38.Bxg2 Bg6 39.Bd5 f5 40.a4 f4 41.a5 Be4 42.Kd4 Bxd5 43.Kxd5 Rxh2 44.b5 axb5 45.cxb5 Ra2 46.Rc1+ Kb8 47.Kc5 Re2 48.Rd1 Re5+ 49.Kb6 Re6+ 50.Kc5 Rf6 51.Rd8+ Kc7 52.Rh8 Rf5+ 53.Kb4 Rf7 54.Kc5 b6+ 55.axb6+ Kb7 0–1

The upset result was not the only thing—it was the evenness of the struggle. Kurajica did not have to struggle through opening difficulties and equalize through a mistake by his opponent. Rather, he equalized early and fought on even terms until Judit erred.

The Melts Variation was on its way to GM acceptance, and Tiviakov’s advocacy of it worked wonders for its popularity. In the 2007 MTel Masters the Romanian GM Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu pulled off a major upset over former world champion Veselin Topalov using the Melts.

Topalov,Veselin (2772) - Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter (2693) [B01]
MTel Sofia BUL (1), 10.05.2007

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6
GM John Emms wrote a well-received book on the Scandinavian in the late 90s, and he had this to say about the text: "The queen is unfavorably placed on d6, compared to a5. First, there is no useful pin on the c3 knight, second the queen can be harassed by Bf4."

The way I see it the Black queen is no less vulnerable to attack on a5 as against d6.


The most popular way to continue is 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bc4, intending to follow-up with Nge2 and Bf4. In my opinion Black should play 5...a6 6.Nge2 b5 7.Bb3 Bb7 8.Bf4 Qb6! (8...Qd8 also looks ok) 9.f3 e6 10.Qd2 c5 It looks like Black has equalized here. 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.0–0–0 0–0 13.Kb1 Nc6 I am sure you will agree that Black has the better prospects - what more can you ask from an opening? Chulivska,V (2262)-Stanislavskaya,K/ Alushta 2005 1/2 (37).

4...Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.d4 g6 7.Bf4 Qb4 8.Nge2 Bg7

Taking the pawn now is too dangerous. One possible line: 8...Qxb2 9.d5! Nxd5 10.Bxd5 cxd5 11.Rb1 Qa3 12.Nb5.

9.Qc1 0–0 10.0–0 Bg4 11.a3 Qa5 12.h3 Bxe2 13.Nxe2 Nbd7 14.c4 e5 15.b4 Qc7 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Qc2 a5 18.Rae1 axb4 19.axb4 Rfe8 20.c5 Nd5 21.Bd2 Nd7 22.Qc4 N7f6 23.g4

Threatening 24.g5 forcing the knight away, after which 25.Bxd5 wins a pawn.


Black does nothing to prevent White's threat! It turns out that 24.g5 Nh7 25.Bxd5 cxd5 26.Qxd5 Red8 forces 27.Bf4 Rxd5 28.Bxc7 Nxg5 and Black has the better endgame due to white's split pawns.

24.Ng3 hxg4 25.hxg4 Qd7 26.g5 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 Ne8 28.Bf3 Nec7 29.Bg4 Qd8 30.Kg2 Nb5 31.Rd1 Ra1! 32.Rxa1 Bxa1

Nisipeanu now deftly maneuvers his pieces and takes over the center.

33.Bf3 Be5 34.Ne2 Ndc7 35.Be3 Ne6 36.Bg4 Nbc7 37.Qe4 Bg7 38.f4 Qd1 39.Kf2 Bc3 40.b5!?

White is playing too hard to win. Safer is 40.Nxc3 Qxg4 41.Qe5 but, of course, Topalov is not after "safer".

40...Qe1+ 41.Kg2 Nd5 42.bxc6 bxc6 43.Qd3?

After 43.Qd3

Here is the mistake. Black to play and win.


The bishop is quite safe from capture because of the potential fork ...N(any)xf4+

44.Bxe6 Nxe3+ 45.Kh2
[45.Kf3 Qh1+ 46.Kf2 Qg2+ 47.Ke1 Qf1+ 48.Kd2 Qd1#]
45...Qf2+ 46.Kh3 Qf3+ 47.Ng3 Qg2+

The following sequence is forced: 48.Kh4 Qh2+ 49.Bh3 Ng2+ 50.Kg4 Qxh3+ 51.Kxh3 Nxf4+ with a frivolous win. 0–1

Geeh! Thank God it's there!

Thank you all for your support

I WISH to thank readers who sent me words of encouragement as regards my present personal problems and the Weekender. I have chosen some that have lifted up my spirits and firmed up my resolve to continue publishing my newsletter.
FROM Leo Ausan Jr. of the Department of Foreign Affairs:

“Thanks a lot for Weekender69. As always, great job!

“I am sorry I also didn't notice the missing p11 in the last issue until you sent it. More thanks though for mustering additional effort just to complete the previous issue. I am touched at the sense of responsibility that the simple gesture manifests, something that can only emanate from one seasoned in responsible journalism.

However, I am more touched upon knowing that the Weekender may soon come to an end due to pressing personal circumstances you are currently in. Regrettably, from my end, I can only fervently hope and pray that these circumstances improve so that Weekender can stay much longer. Rest assured, whatever happens to the Weekender in the near future I shall forever cherish the moments when I received, read and got entertained by it. For these moments, I shall always remember you though we've just known each other and became friends briefly.

“But then for all we know God works in wondrous ways and maybe, just maybe, someone may finally decide to pick up wherever you may eventually decide to momentarily stop the Weekender.”

FROM Norlito Bersamina, father of Paulo:

“Maraming salamat ho sa Weekender, kahit marami kayong problems na hinaharap, you still find time to make it and send it to us.
“May our Good Lord bless you and your family always!”

FROM Jody Navarro, moderator of Butuan Yahoo Group:

“Just opened my email here in Butuan. If I had been home in Alabang and not travelling, I would have noticed the missing page. I read everything that you publish every issue because I choose which ones to post in our own CHESS CORNER in the BGForum discussion board.

“We would love to continue getting your CHESS WEEKENDER but please decide on what's best for you. You need to do what relaxes you and does not tax your energies….”

FROM Atty. Florand Garcia, father of Jan Emmanuel:

“Hope you will continue the publication just for the love of writing. I believe this will keep you active and sharp mentally. Wishing you and your family good health.”

I CAN only hope and pray for better health and strength so I can continue the Weekender and that in the event I have to shut it down, somebody else will pick up where I may have left off. It is also my hope that the NCFP’s Caravan will continue to serve the chess community “without fear or favor.”

Chess quotes

"The only thing chess players have in common is chess." —Lodewijk Prins, interview with Max Pam, 1972

“The development of beauty in chess never depends on you alone. No matter how much imagination and creativity you invest, you still do not create beauty. Your opponent must react at the same highest level…. I believe every chess player senses beauty, when he succeeds in creating situations, which contradict the expectations and the rules, and he succeeds in mastering this situation.” —GM Vladimir Kramnik, world champion

And we now try to scan the net news for chess...

The Candidates Matches is about to start, in 15 minutes. First round pairings were drawn from 2 chests, concealing a black and white sheep. Board 1 for round 1 match, Aronian vs. Carlsen. And here is the Official site for the updates and live games.

Ooooppps! Need to go now. By the way, Nicole, the soon-to-be-wedded friend of ours will tie the knot with Christian Javier, the son of Pastor Sixto Rufo Javier Jr. and Mrs. Violeta R. Javier. Nicole's parents, by the way, Congressman Eduardo C. Zialcita and Mrs. Claudine D.C. Zialcita.

Nicole told me, jokingly, she invited Surigao Del Sur Representative Congressman Prospero Pichay Jr. for me. Hahahah! The fact is, he is one of the sponsors (ninong) along with President GMA, Former President FVR and other congressmen and city mayors.

Anyways, let's see if can take a photo with him...

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