Monday, February 9, 2015


It is very rare that we play a game without mistakes. Always there is something to comment. Therefore it is weird to hear a player telling he is (fully) satisfied about his game or tournament. It is a normal process for every ambitious player to extract lessons. However I can imagine that some of those lessons sound like triflers. Critics can easily deteriorate into irritations as last happened on schaakfabriek

It is neither easy to say something meaningful without irritating anybody. When a microphone is put in front of your face then there is not time to come up with a perfect answer. Carlsen mentioned e.g. in a recent interview that he only realized afterwards how badly he annoyed some people by complaining while still winning games.

Those dissatisfactions are often intensified as we take victories as something for granted. The unfortunately stopped blog of Alina L'Ami described this subject briefly but powerfully. You worked hard so it is natural that you won. Or the opponent just played too bad which made the win unavoidable. The danger is real that we sink in a spiral of negative emotions which spoils every pleasure of playing chess.

So can we never be really happy in chess? I suspect everybody experienced a seldom moment of an extraordinary good fortune. You didn't expect at all the result but fate was favorable. At one glance you forget all the misfortunes as you are ecstatic. The British Grandmaster Nigel Short recorded recently that he was so happy after winning  in Myanmar that he was jumping up and down in his room. In the game he didn't exit well the opening but his much younger opponent lost the track in the complications.
[Event "Zaw Win Lay Memorial"] [Date "2014.11.29"] [Round "9"] [White "Short, Nigel"] [Black "Vakhidov, Jahongir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2661"] [PlyCount "77"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 4. f3 Qa5 5. c3 Nf6 6. d5 Qb6 7. b3 e6 8. e4 exd5 9. exd5 Bd6 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Qd2 O-O 12. Na3 d6 13. O-O-O Qd8 14. h4 a6 15. Ne2 b5 16. Ng3 Re8 17. Nc2 Nbd7 18. Nf5 Bf8 19. h5 h6 20. Bh4 Qa5 21. Kb2 Bb7 22. Nce3 c4 23. g4 Nh7 24. f4 cxb3 25. axb3 Nc5 26. Bd3 b4 27. cxb4 Nxd3 28. Qxd3 Qxb4 29. g5 hxg5 30. fxg5 g6 31. Nh6 Bxh6 32. gxh6 g5 33. Nc4 gxh4 34. Rhg1 Kf8 35. Rd2 Nf6 36. h7 Ke7 37. Qf5 Bxd5 38. Re2 Be6 39. Rxe6 1-0
For the analysis I refer to the first Chessbasereport of this tournament.

The tournament of Leuven I finished also with a bang. I defeated the Swedish grandmaster Ralf Akesson and got with 6/7 one of the main-prizes. Fate favored me. It already started with the preparation. Normally there is no time to prepare for the last round but I guessed correctly in advance the pairing. Ralf was still playing against Stefan Docx but I expected this would be a draw. Hovhanisian as the highest rated player would be paired upwards against Dgebuadze. I had the previous round black just like Stefan so the most logical was that I would have white and Ralf as opponent what also happened. As my previous game finished rather early ( see previous article) I still had a half hour to check a view things. In the end what I reviewed. also popped up at the board. An exchausted Ralf due to the marathon with Stefan was eventually not so invincible anymore for me.
[Event "Open Leuven 7de ronde"] [Date "2014"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Akesson, R."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B47"] [WhiteElo "2337"] [BlackElo "2470"] [PlyCount "73"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 {(In 2 earlier encounters Ralf chose for a6 but got each time into problems so not surprisingly he selects a different opening from this repertoire.)} 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be2 a6 7. O-O b5 8. Nxc6 Qxc6 {(I checked recapturing with the pawn last year as part of my preparation against the Belgian grandmaster Bart Michiels. It is more risky with the queen but the benefit is that the position keeps more dynamics so more chances remain to play for a win. Besides the pairings were only announced a few minutes before the start of the round so a dangerous preparation was not feared.)} 9. Bf3 Bb7 10. Bf4 {(This is not the most popular continuation but it is by far the best scoring one in practice. My opponent had bad luck as I did not wait for the pairings but I made a educated guess that I would have to play Ralf with white. On top I did look at this line in my preparation.)} Rc8 11. Re1 Bc5 $6 {(The logical move but I agree with my engines that the ugly Qc5 is a bit more accurate.)} 12. e5 $6 {(I also play the natural move but the computer shows very precise that the bold Nd5 is stronger and gives white a serious advantage.)} Qb6 13. Bxb7 Qxb7 $146 {(The first new move as I still found 1 game between amateurs with Bxf2 after which white also keeps an advantage and quickly converted this into a win.)} 14. Ne4 Ne7 {(The Belgian IM Stefan Docx recommended f5 after the game but after exf6 - Nxf6 - Qh5 black has even bigger problems than in the game.)} 15. Qf3 Qc6 $2 {(I hoped for this blunder but I did not expect that he would actually play this move. Now in fairness I have to add that Ralf was forced to defend a half point in the previous round by Stefan Docx till few minutes before the start of this game so he was anything but relaxed. Necessary was Nd5 with an inferior but surely not yet lost position.)} (15... Nd5 $1 16. Bd2 $5 Be7 17. Bg5 Bf8 18. Rac1 $14 ) 16. Be3 Bb4 17. c3 d5 18. Ng5 Ba5 19. Qxf7 Kd7 20. Qh5 {(My opponent rightly remarked afterwards that I could win on several occasions quicker. However there are no extra points for speed. The only thing important is if the win is jeopardized somewhere but that is not the case.)} Rcf8 21. a4 bxa4 22. Qd1 Bc7 23. Nf3 Nf5 24. Rxa4 Rb8 25. c4 Nxe3 26. Rxe3 Rxb2 27. cxd5 exd5 28. Nd4 Qg6 29. e6 Ke7 30. Ra1 Rc8 31. Qa4 Rb1 32. Re1 Rxa1 33. Rxa1 Qe8 {(Bxh2 was a nice try to set a trap because if white takes the bishop then black can suddenly give a perpetual check. On the other hand after the cool Kf1 white still is winning.)} (33... Bxh2 34. Kxh2 $4 Qh6 35. Kg1 Rc1 36. Rxc1 Qxc1 37. Kh2 Qh6 38. Kg3 Qg6 39. Kf4 Qe4 {(All only moves for black which are not that easy to find which maybe explains why Ralf did not try this.)} 40. Kg3 {(White has to retreat as Kg5 would lose after h6.)}) 34. Qa3 Kf6 35. Qf3 Ke5 36. Re1 Kd6 37. Qa3# {(I missed the win with Qa3 in my game against the Belgian grandmaster Dgebuadze in the 4th round so I liked this finish very much. Hovhanisian committed suicide in this last round against Dgebuadze so I only was shared second with 6/7 but these are details which could not temper my happiness. Besides 500 euro was also a first for me.)} 1-0
The mood was afterwards of course excellent. With a TPR of approximately 2500 and 500 prize money I don't go home everyday. I couldn't suppress a smile and a clenched fist. Maybe some people consider such behavior inappropriate and insulting for the opponent but if you are ecstatic then you anyway don't think properly. In any case I immediately asked for a tasty Leffe (beer) after the game after 4 days of abstention (only one as I still had to drive by car).

As a player you cherish such special moments but I wouldn't wait for it as it can take a long time before such thing happens. I also try to enjoy the many other small things which make chess so beautiful. On my blog you can find countless examples:  interferencesexcelsior,.. With some good will every player must be able to find something which he enjoys. With about 180 articles this blog is probably a good place to browse around and to realize how rich our game is.


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