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Old March 13th 05, 02:02 PM
 
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Old Friends

This month we catch up with our old friends at Chess Informant and New
in Chess; as well as review a couple of recent titles on some classic
openings.

Chess Informant 91 by Aleksandar Matanovic et al., 2004 Sahovski
Informator, Figurine Algebraic Notation, Paperback, 389 pp., $36.00

Chess Informant 91 (CD-ROM) by Aleksandar Matanovic et al., 2004
Sahovski Informator, Figurine Algebraic Notation, CD-ROM, $24.95

Over the years the Chess Informant volumes have helped my chess
education tremendously. Not only did they keep me current on the latest
developments in chess theory, in the days before chess databases, they
also gave me access to games and annotations by all of the greatest
players of the day.

I still find the volumes immensely enjoyable and of great quality, but
the impenetrable shield that has kept them above criticism is beginning
to crack. Many of the top players have annotated games for this recent
volume, but several of them have only annotated one or two of their
games, and some names are missing altogether. Radjabov hasn't
annotated a single game; Peter Heine Nielsen, the leading Scandinavian
player, has never annotated a game for Chess Informant; Morozevich had
a great year last year, but not a single game annotated by him; nor
Topalov, the current # 3 in the ELO ratings. Is it that difficult to
get the top players to write for you these days, are they just lazy or
has active recruiting stopped? I'm saddened by the trend and it
really concerns me that see such a great publication may decline,
because I see the top names annotate their games in magazines, in other
yearbooks and on the Internet. Why can't these annotations still be
included?

I also very much enjoy the CD-ROM edition and find the database program
to be of great quality. I think that a lot of players are reluctant to
try it because they are busy with their current database program, be it
ChessBase or Chess Assistant. People are also unsure of the
compatibility between the data on the Chess Informant CDs and the other
database programs. One solution would be to offer the material in four
different formats, the CI Reader system from Chess Informant, the new
ChessBase format, the latest Chess Assistant format, and PGN. If that
was done then more people would be able to invest in these disks and
enjoy the material that some of us do not want to be without.

In the past we have looked at novelties that received a "!!N" in
the Informant, but this time we will examine the worst novelties; those
that received the questionable honor of the "?N." It surprises me
to see full time players, some even grandmasters, making such errors.
But the top players are playing a wider variety of openings, and often
with very little preparation time. So I'm sure they get surprised by
their opponent and suddenly find themselves in unknown territory
without a map, so to speak:

111: Sulskis (2582)-van Wely (2617)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6
8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Na3 b5 10.Nd5 f5 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.Bxb5 Bb7 13.exf5 Bg7
14.0-0?, which gives away the initiative White sacrificed for.

152: Areshchenko (2568)-Volokitin (2600)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 b5
8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.f4 Bb7 10.Bf3 Bc5+ 11.Kh1 Ne7 12.f5 exf5? 13.exf5 Nxf5
14.Bg4, and Black is already facing severe problems.

193: Smirnov (2601)- Rublevsky (2671)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qe2 a6
8.0-0-0 Qc7 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Rxd4 h6? 11.f4 b5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Nd7
14.Bg2 Rb8 and now White should have played 15.Bf4 with a clear
advantage.

204: Kraai (2446)-Golod (2552)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g4 h6 7.h3 a6 8.Bg2
Bd7 9.Be3 Nc6 10.Qe2 Qc7 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Kb1 g5 13.f4 gxf4 14.Bxf4
Be7 15.Nf3 b5?, which should have been punished by 16.Nd5!! exd5
17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.exd5 Bd6 19.Bxe5 Bxe5 20.d6 Qc5 21.Rd5 and White is
winning.

207: Volokitin (2638)-Rublevsky (2686)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Be2 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.0-0 Be7
8.f4 0-0 9.a4 Qc7 10.Kh1 b6 11.e5 dxe5 12.fxe5 Nfd7 13.Bf4 Bb7 14.Bd3
Nc5 15.Qg4 Nc6?


and now Volokitin uncorked an amazing attack: 16.Nd5!! exd5 17.e6 Qc8
18.Bh6 g6 19.Bxf8 Bxf8 20.exf7+ Kh8 21.Bf5 Qc7 22.Bxg6 Ne5 23.Qg3, and
Black was toast.

208: Bologan (2665)-Schlosser (2564)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.f4 Qc7
8.0-0 Be7 9.Be3 0-0 10.g4 d5 11.e5 Ne4 12.Bd3 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Qxc3
14.f5?, and now Black could have punished Bologan by just taking
14...exf5!, which leaves White at a loss because he cannot play 15 gxf5
on account of 15...Bc5! and Black is winning.

222: Karjakin (2591) - Kramnik (2770)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3
Nbd7 9.g4 Nb6 10.g5 Nh5 11.Qd2 Rc8 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Kb1 0-0 14.Rg1
Qc7 15.Qf2 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Qxc4 17.f4 Nxf4 18.Bxf4 exf4 19.Qxf4 Rfe8? 20.h4
Bf8 21.h5 g6 22.h6, and White is control, while Black soon got himself
into an even bigger mess.

237: Preuss (2376) - Golod (2551)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.Qe2 Ngf6
8.Neg5 Qe7 9.Ne5 Nxe5 10.dxe5 Nd7 11.Nxh7?, which was immediately
punished with 11...Rxh7!! 12.Bxh7 Qh4, and Black is already clearly
better.

298: Gi. Garcia (2461) - V. Mikhalevski (2551)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5
8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5 Qxg5 12.Qf3 0-0-0 13.Bxe6+
fxe6 14.Qxc6 Qxe5 15.b4 Qd5 16.Qxd5 exd5 17.bxc5 dxc3 18.Nb3 d4 19.Ba3
g6 20.Bb4 Bg7 21.a4 d3 22.axb5 d2 23.bxa6 c2 24.Nxd2 Bxa1 25.Rxa1 Rhe8
26.c6? which is a bit extreme, but as a matter of fact 26.Rc1! was
played in a game between Morozevich-Ponomariov and lead to equal
chances. In the game, Black just obtained a winning position.

340: Atalik (2570) - Naumann (2518)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 a6 7.Rc1 Bf5 8.Nf3
e6 9.Qb3 Ra7 10.Ne5 Nd7 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Be2 Be7 13.g4? which throws
away White's advantage that could have been maintained with 13.Na4 or
13.a4.

359: Acs (2548) - Korchnoi (2579)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Bb3 Nc6
8.Qe2 cxd4 9.Rd1 Be7 10.Nc3 0-0 11.exd4 Na5 12.Bc2 b5 13.Ne4 Bb7
14.Nc5 Bd5 15.Ne5 Nc6 16.Bg5 Rc8? and now White could just have won a
pawn after 17.Nxa6 h6 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Nxc6.

379: Halkias (2533) - Ki. Georgiev (2626)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 c5 7.e5 h6 8.exf6
hxg5 9.fxg7 Rg8 10.Qc2 cxd4? which was duly punished in the game after
11.Qh7 Ke7 12.0-0-0 d3 13.Bxd3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 cxd3 15.Rxd3 Qe8
16.Nxg5 f6 17.Ne4 Qf7 18.Nd6 Qxg7 19.Nxc8+ Kf7 20.Qe4, and White is
winning.

384: Sasikiran (2666) - Ponomariov (2722)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5
9.Be2 Bb7 10.Ne5 Bg7 11.f4? (11 0-0 is the normal) 11...Nfd7 12.Nxf7
Kxf7 13.Bh5+ and now instead of 13...Ke7?! Black should have played
13...Kg8! with a clear plus according to the analysis provided by
Sasikiran, who went on to win the game.

Finding these miserable novelties helps us to put things into
perspective because we see a wide range of strong players, including
World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, making a mess of things in the
opening, just as we are prone to do. But paradoxically such mistakes
are not necessarily punished by their opponent. In fact, they often
just as quickly throw away the advantage; so bad moves can be overcome
by good fighting skills.

Volume 91 is great as usual, but I hope they will actively recruit the
best players to annotate their games; otherwise it will inevitably lead
to a decline in both quality and value.

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