14th World Champion Alexander Khalifman present
Position of the day
Black to move and win.
Black to move and win.


In one game...

(about Russian Championship and not only)

Of all the data devoted to the recent Russian championship I.Odesskiy's reviews (www.e3e5.com) seemed most interesting to me. Atmosphere of the tournament accurately described, clear mini-interviews, interesting and sometimes non-typical description of the personnages...that is really well done, I recommend it! Even frequent «lirical digressions» harmonize well with the general picture. To my mind that's where knowledge of the peculiarities of the chess-game and the highest level of this spesific branch of journalizm are revealed. Thanks to Ilja Beniaminovich (and to Beniamin Naumovich too)!

One of the reviews (the 6th round) was particularly interesting for me. The part of it devoted to the players' freshest comments of the draw game Grischuk vers. Timofeev. Citation:

Artyom Timofeev : «Against Smirin they played 16.h3»

They played? Who «they»? The consultants? The Duke of Braunschweig and the Earl Isouard? Or in different games different people played 16.h3? Search immediately in the Chessbase. It seems there was the only Smirin's game, and the only chess-player who made 16.h3. He even has got a surname. That's when (I don't know whether appropriately or not) I remembered the Soviet chess books of the stagnation period (mostly the openings). There you could often come across the passages like «in one of the Gellers games...», «In one of the Sliva's games» (exactly in that manner) etc. And it didn't matter if the «principal enemy» V.Kortschnoj played another colour. These could be other «renegades, betrayers and dregs» such as Dzindzichashvili, Sosonko, Liberzon, Shamkovich, Alburt, Murey and so on. The objective reader may stop me. Artyom might have forgotten who played the white or from some considerations didn't want to mention the name. However what were the considerations???

But more interesting things come next. Citation:

Timofeev: «A novelty. I tried this move at home»

Zhelezny (to Grischuk): «Sasha, did you find this move at home or here at the chess-board?»

Grischuk: «don't remember».

«Bosh!» One more citation but still...! I don't believe that a strong 21-year-old grandmaster can suffer such lapses of memory. The reasons must be others...

Recalling literary bestsellers of the 21st century we find such characters as «You-know-who» or «He-Who-Must-Not-be-Named». A specific character, I must say. Grischuk surely remembers that You-know-who demonstrated to Sasha the strengthening of his game with Smirin during the training for the championship between Russia and Izrail and to be more exact for the game between Grischuk and Sutovsky. But he concidered it unnecessary to name the «You-Know-Who».

I remember Harry Potter used to say the name of the «You-Know-Who» prety often and no particular trouble happened to him. But Harry (Potter in this case) can do many things not allowed to other people, but could the skies (or the ceiling) crash down on Harry (NOT Potter in this case) if he dared (unlike the young grand masters) to name the «You-Know-Who» commenting one of his games at a press-centre. I believe not! They built it solid and strong. But that's not the point. Certainly after 16.Be5 Be5 17.Re5 Nbc4 the white must play 18.Re4, and after 18...Nb2 19.Qd2 Qb6 follows not 20.Qh6 Qf6, and «there's no mate» (A. Timofeev), but 20.d6 and no prospects for the black. Certainly 18...Nd6 is stronger, and now after 19.Rh4 (And that's the only way) there will be much interesting but the to my mind the white have better prospects. Taking into account that Grischuk is in good form I should admit that he could have a good chance to consolidate his position in the champion race. And here was what had to be.

On the day of the last round (and after it) many people asked me: « what would have happened if the difference of the Grischuk's points with Kasparov's was not 1.5 but 1 or 0.5 points?» I don't know what would have happened. But what I know for sure is that that game would have been more tense and this tension would have remained up to the end. «Try the difference» says in such cases the popular player of the first category from Saint-Petersburg.

Oh those citations. I must finish up. What could have happened is not important now. The fact is: Garry Kasparov won a sure victory in the supertournament. And the attempts to cut the prefix «super» from the tournament (after the Kramnik's and Karpov's refusal) I consider as hypocrisy and disrespect to the grandmasters who found time to take part in the championship. I'm sure if it was not a supertournament no obstacles could have prevented Morozevich and Svidler from getting lots of points. But now alas - only 50%.

We live in such unusual times, I must say.

Here are the first (though not firm) attempts to make some definite names unadvisable for usage.

A bad tendency.

Life is going to improve, and if it won't be good but it will surely become joyous soon.



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