Monday, July 27, 2015

Devilish originality

Resting and relaxing are at least as important than preparing in a tournament of multiple days. This can be difficult especially when you don't have a good answer to a nasty variation. However it surely is a doubtful strategy to prepare each day till midnight and the full morning which I guess Tanguy Ringoir will likely confirm after the past Belgium championship. No I am more sympathizing with the approach of the players from Zottegem. They prepare a few hours for each game but make sure sufficient time is left for having fun together. On the chessforum of Zottegem you can read about their most recent adventures in Dortmund where Glen De Schampheleire managed to stunt by winning the tournament: see final standings SCM (a pity that Schaakfabriek gets no support to write a report about this achievement).

So it is better not to study a (new) opening thoroughly during a tournament. Besides the allotted time is often insufficient in a game-preparation. I spent almost 2 weeks at my analysis of the Fraser-defense which I summarized in the previous article (I anyway had no other games to analyze anymore). Although I worked on a moderate tempo, still I don't believe somebody can execute this work in a half day (10 hours).

Another example of such analysis I made last year about a specific but important line in the Najdorf. I not only reviewed hundreds of otb- and correspondence games but I also verified the different critical lines by my engines. The very short summary can be viewed below.
[Event "Open Gent 6de ronde"] [Date "2014"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Stuer, M."] [Result "*"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2333"] [BlackElo "2130"] [PlyCount "31"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Be3 Qc7 10. a4 {(From my database of engine-games I discovered the very interesting move g4 which has not been played before by a human player at all.)} Be6 11. a5 {(In 2001 I once played Qd2 against Marc. A5 is more popular but often just transposes.)} Nbd7 12. Nd5 {(In my half hour preparation I had checked this move and decided to try it out. Today I think that it gives nothing for white. White should rather look at Qd2, Re1 or Bf3.)} (12. Bf3 $5 Rac8 13. Re1 Rfe8 14. Nd2 Bf8 15. Nf1 $13) (12. Qd2 $5 Rac8 13. Rfd1 Rfd8 14. Nc1 {(In 2001 I played Bf3 but Nc1 is surely better.)} h6 15. h3 Nc5 16. Bf3 Nh7 17. N1a2 $13) 12... Bxd5 $6 {(I hoped for this move. Although it is the most frequently played, it is a mistake.)} (12... Nxd5 $1 {(Some correspondence-games tell us that this is fully playable for black.)} 13. exd5 Bf5 14. c4 $5 Rac8 15. Rc1 $5 Bg6 16. Qd2 $5 Rfe8 $5 17. Rfe1 $5 f5 18. f4 $5 $13) 13. exd5 Rac8 14. c4 Ne4 15. f3 Nec5 16. Nd2 $14 {(White won the opening-battle as the threat b4 is hard to answer.)} *
Indeed this was based on my game against Marc Stuer played in Open Gent 2014. Because of that I decided to wait with the publication after the Open Gent which just finished see results 2015. I don't want to give my potential opponents too easily my conclusions of the many often boring hours of analysis.

Anyway hiding your analysis does not mean that you are protected from surprises even after such extensive research. As end of last year the Georgian grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze introduced a shocking novelty.
[Event "3rd Al Ain Chess Classic"] [Site "Al-Ain UAE"] [Date "2014.12.23"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Kuzubov, Y."] [Black "Nigalidze, G."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2701"] [BlackElo "2536"] [PlyCount "130"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Be3 Be6 10. a4 Nbd7 11. a5 Rc8 12. Qd2 Qc7 13. Rfd1 Nxe4 {(Rfd8 is the most common move as shown in my analysis but this piece-sacrifice in an enormous surprise.)} 14. Nxe4 Qxc2 15. Qxc2 Rxc2 16. Nc1 d5 17. Ng5 Bxg5 {(I found in my database of engine-games still 1 game with Rxb2 played by the unfamiliar program Bison 9.11 which was won by white. Again an example of why we should put more attention to these engine-games. The current top-engines rather prefer slightly Bxg5 with still some advantage for white.)} 18. Bxg5 Rxb2 19. Be7 Rc8 20. Bd3 Nc5 21. Bxc5 Rxc5 22. Bb1 Rcb5 23. Nd3 Re2 24. Kf1 Re4 25. Ne1 Reb4 26. f3 g5 27. Bd3 Rc5 28. Be2 e4 29. Rd2 {(Rdc1 was whites last chance to fight for some advantage. From now on-wards blacks pawn-mass starts to move forwards.)} f5 30. Rc2 Rxc2 31. Nxc2 Rb2 32. Nd4 Kf7 33. Ke1 Kf6 34. Kd1 Ke5 35. Kc1 Rb4 36. Nxe6 Kxe6 37. Kc2 {(On Chessbase it was correctly annotated that white gets into troubles after this move. Fxe4 followed up by Rb1 was necessary to maintain the balance.)} d4 38. g4 {(A very drastic decision to return the piece as the rook-endgame is very bad.)} d3 39. Bxd3 exd3 40. Kc3 { (This is too sophisticated.)} Rf4 41. Rb1 Rxf3 42. Rxb7 Rh3 43. Rb6 Ke5 44. gxf5 Kxf5 45. Rxa6 Rxh2 46. Kxd3 h5 47. Ra8 h4 48. Ke3 Kg4 49. a6 Ra2 50. a7 h3 51. Rd8 Rxa7 52. Kf2 Ra2 53. Kg1 Kg3 54. Rd3 Kh4 55. Rd4 g4 56. Rb4 Re2 57. Ra4 Kg3 58. Ra3 Kf4 59. Ra4 Kf3 60. Ra3 Re3 61. Ra1 g3 62. Rf1 Kg4 63. Rb1 h2 64. Kg2 Re2 65. Kh1 Kh3 0-1
The game was quickly spread via the media see e.g. Chessbase. Playing a new piece-sacrifice in a position known from more than 300 games and tested by the likes of Anand, Svidler, Gelfand and Mamedyarov looks like pure speculation. However winning with it against a strong grandmaster like Yuriy Kuzubov is another cup of tea.

No it is not another example of a deep home-analysis as the winner later explained to the author of the Chessbase-article. Besides my engines consider the sacrifice only as the 21st best move in the position as shown in the screeshot below:
13...Nxe4 only 21st choice by Stockfish 6
Extremely original, isn't it? Well it becomes devilish original if we know that the creative winner was caught cheating only 3 months ago. The news of the reigning champion from Georgia using a smartphone on the toilet gave an enormous shock in the chessworld via the media as can be seen e.g. on

It just proofs how easily any automatic system of detecting cheating can be sidestepped. You play a number of original moves but still you consult a few times a computer. The uncertainty clearly adds a lot to the fact that many players have become paranoia. Players are rightly or wrongly accused as was recently the case with the Romanian WGM Mihaela Sandu. 2 camps diametrically opposed to each other which is shown in the article and reactions on

Even in the past Open Gent I heard a player loudly requesting for extra control (frisking) and restrictions. Well it is not illogical if a player like the French grandmaster Sebastien Feller again participates after his expulsion of 2 years. On the other hand such measures don't fit at all in the atmosphere of the festivities. We have to wait to see how standard chess will survive. Next month Mihaele Sandu will play at Open Brasschaat. I am curious to find out what will happen but naturally I hope everything will run smoothly.


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