Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From the second round of the Bergen County Open 2009, we've got Kushner-Santana where black played 13...cd5, allowing white to penetrate with 14. Rc7. The bishop on b7 is threatened, but there is also indirect pressure on f7 due to the bishop on b3. How to defend? Keeping the white-squared bishop along the a8-h1 diagonal protects the rook on a8 against 15. Bd5. So, black played 14...Rd7 which turned out to be costly because of the game-ending 15. Rb7!

The position below is from my own game. My opponent seemed most distracted by the impending discovered check that he went for the perpetual. His move here was 32...Qe1+ and we agreed to a draw in two more moves. Black could have won the game by the very lovely move 32...Bh4+. I'm not going to spoon-feed you, just follow line of attack along the G and H file.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Bergen County Open 2009 started last Monday, the 9th, with three sections and forty-one players. It has been, for many years, a closed tournament. That means in order to compete you must be either a resident of New Jersey, work in NJ, or a member of the Dumont Chess Mates. This year, it is an open tournament with no restrictions. I don't think you even need to be a member of the club to play in the tournament. Anyway, we're a good club with friendly and respectful members, regular playdates, but we need to beef up our master level. Here's a point in my game where I have to decide to burn the bridges behind me or not.

My opponent has just played 15. Nd2-g6. I was expecting him to do someting about his bishop on b2, like 15. Bc1, or get this knight out to c4 or b3. To put the knight on f3 is to invite a sacrifice on g4. I had to think about this sac carefully, foreseeing how life will be for me after the white king ends up on h2 and h1. I decided it was worth the try. So, I went in with 15...Ng4 16. hg4? Accepting the sac is the worse white can do. White could have tried 17. Rh1, Nf6 18. Kh2 with the G file open for his rook. Play continued 17...Qg4+ 18. Kh1 Nf4 19. Rg1 Qh5 forcing 20. Nh2 Qe2 getting my minor piece back. With two pawns up and after the exchange of queens, my game was pretty much winning.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Here is GM Igor Kursonov's reply to the accusation of cheating by GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. It's a pretty good reply, not a rant nor a tyrade against his accuser. So far, Kursonov has shown all the class and dignity of an honest person. Mamedyarov still has to prove his case and not look like a very sore loser and a horse's ass. Mamedyarov, argue your case and prove your point instead of pinning labels on anyone who displeases you!

"Dear colleagues and chess fans! In response to the letter circulated in the press by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, I have to clarify the situation. I suggest you take a look at the game Mamedyarov-Kurnosov from round six of the Aeroflot Open, together with my brief comments. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 f5 10. h4 fxe4 11.h5 gxh5 - A well-known theoretical position, which I believe, favors black. Here my opponent made a move that was new to me - 12.d5 Ne5 13.Bh6 Nec4. I have also considered Rf7, but I did not like that, after taking Rh5, the Knight loses tempo [13 ... Rf7?! 14.Bxg7 Rxg7 15.Rxh5] 14.Qg5 Rf7. The only move 15.Bxc4. This seemed questionable to me, even though objectively it is not bad. 15 ... Nxc4. After the 40-minute thought on the previous move, my opponent offered a draw. But I felt that I had serious advantage and didn't see the grounds to accept the draw. 16.Rd4? - I thought that Qd6 would give me strong initiative. It turned out that Nb2 led to decisive advantage, but this move I had not considered. Imagine what would be the story had I previously analysed this variation at home!? 16 ... Qd6?! 17.Bxg7 Rxg7 - The only move! 18.Qxh5 Qf4 + - Also unique, the checkmate was threatening and the Knight was in danger. Now I invite all qualified chess players to set this position and withing three minutes find the next three simple moves for Black! I believe most if will be forced! 19.Kb1 Bf5 20.fxe4 Bg4 21.Nge2? loses immediately! [21.Qh6 Qf2] 21 ... Qd2! 0-1.

Black is in winning position. Here the opponent stopped the clock and, without shaking my hand or signing the formular, reached out to the arbiter's table. The rest of the story you already know... I believe that all players, regardless of title or rating, should respect themselves and their colleagues, instead of blaming them on computer assistance without reason. At the same time playing relatively weak!

Mamedyarov's claim that I took the coat and went to the toilet after each move, does not correspond to reality. On the first 12 moves, which we played relatively fast, I did get up from the table. When my opponent thought for 40 minutes on the move 15, I went twice to the smoking area which is only 2 meters from the hall entrance, and always full of players, arbiters, there was also a guard. And on few occasions I went to wash my face with cold water, but I never talked to anybody while doing so. The arbiters had no pretensions towards me, either before or after the protest.

Thereat, I simply did what I always do. While opponent thinks, it is much easier for me to contemplate about the position while walking and not looking at the board. As far as I know, most players do the same. Unfortunately, all this negativity affected my play later in the tournament ... I would also like to thank all those who supported me on the Internet or in private conversation!

I would suggest:1. Organizers of major tournaments to equip the entrance of the playing area with metal detectors and other means which would exclude the possibility of assistance, and would eliminate all baseless accusations and insults, which affect the image of the player.2. International chess organizations to develop a set of rules that would execute serious sanctions for those who use assistance, as well as for those who unjustly accuse the others of receiving the aid!

GM Igor Kurnosov, 28.02.2009 "