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Istanbul Diary

Daily report by GM Alexander Baburin from Turkey

Day 1  Day 2 & 3  Day 4 Day 5
Day 6 & 7 Day 8 & 9 Day 10 Day 11 
Day 12 Day 13 & 14 Day 15

Day Eleven, 7th November 2000. For the some the US presidential election may be the highlight of the day, for many people down in Istanbul it was the 10th round of the Olympiad! :-) Our team did really well, beating Cyprus Qatar 31/2-1/2. Playing White on board one, I offered a draw to GM Kotronias after 8 moves, as I felt pretty sick. Fortunately he did not mind a quick draw and so I retired to my hotel room...

Unfortunately, our ladies team lost to Mexico.

By the way, I would like to mentioned that the Irish teams received some sponsorship from an Internet company This support is modest yet, but hopefully it will grow - the Irish chess badly needs something like this!

On the top tables Russia smashed Rumania 4-0 and jumped into the first place.

Russia. Other results from the top: Ukraine-Bulgaria 21/2-11/2, Hungary-USA 2-2 and Israel-Denmark 2-2.

After 10 rounds the standing is a follows: 1. Russia - 28 points

2. Germany - 271/2 points 3. Ukraine - 27 points 4. Armenia - 261/2 points 5-6. Hungary and Bulgaria - 251/2 points 7-9. Israel, USA and Bosnia - 241/2 points.

In women's Olympiad the 10th round did not change much in the leading group: China beat Ukraine 2-1, while Georgia defeated Romania with the same score. Now it is a race between China and Georgia. With 4 rounds to go the standing is:

1. China - 23 points, 2. Georgia - 221/2 points, 3-4 Russia and Netherlands - 20 points.

So far I am playing reasonably well here, as even in the game I lost I actually played OK and only one serious error ruined my winning chances. Here I would to show this curious game:

M. Al-Modiahki (2502) - A. Baburin (2590)  (View Game and notes in Game Viewer.)

1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 c4 Nb6 5 exd6 exd6 6 Be3 Be7 7 Bd3

I think that such 'simple' development does not give White any advantage.

7...Nc6 8 Nf3 Nb4! 9 Be2 Bf5 10 Na3

Now White's knight is pretty awkwardly placed on a3. 10...d5!

I felt that it was important to take away from White the possibility of d4-d5. Besides, Black does not have any other plan than to go ...d5 at some point.

11 c5 Nd7 12 00 00 13 Qb3 a5 14 Rac1

White wants to play Nb1 and a2-a3, therefore Black must hurry up:

14...b6! 15 Nb5

This is an interesting idea. I expected 15 cxb6, when I was going to play 15...Nxb6; 15...c6 is also possible.


After 15...bxc5 16 dxc5 c6 White would, of course, play 17 Nbd4.

16 Nd6 Bxd6

I also considered 16...Bg4 here, but then decided that it would be better to get rid of the d6-knight.

17 cxd6 c5!

This move and the following line is the only way to justify 16...Bxd6.

18 dxc5 bxc5 19 Bxc5 Bc2!

The line 19...Nxc5 20 Rxc5 Qxd6 21 Rfc1 is not what I played 16...Bxd6 for!

20 Qc3

This is yet another interesting solution, although this sacrifice is not forced. The variation 20 Rxc2 Nxc2 21 Qxc2 Rc8 is better for Black, but the line 21 Qxd5! Rc8 22 Bd4 Nxd4 23 Qxd4 is OK for White. Probably it is objectively stronger than what he played in the game.


I guess White would be happy after 20...Nxa2 21 Qxc2 Nxc1 22 Rxc1 Rc8 23 Qf5.

21 Bxb4 Rxc3 22 Bxc3 Be4 23 Bd4! Nf6!?

23...Re8!? was interesting too, but I had a particular manoeuvre in mind:

24 Rc6 Nh5

Black is trying to employ his knight. White must not allow the knight to f4, but this leads to weakening of his king.

25 g3! Qd7 26 Ne5 Here White offered a draw, but Black can and should play for a win. 26...Qh3 27 f3 Nxg3 28 hxg3 Qxg3+ 29 Kh1 Qh3+ 30 Kg1 Qg3+ 31 Kh1 Bf5!

32 Ng4

Perhaps, better was 32 f4, but such a move is easier to suggest than to make! Black is still better after 32...Be4+ 33 Bf3! f6 34 Bxe4 dxe4 35 Rc7 e3 36 Rxg7+ Qxg7 37 Rg1 Qxg1+ 38 Kxg1 fxe5 39 Bxe5.

32...Qh4+ 33 Kg2 h5??

I saw 33...Re8!, but decided that 33...h5 was winning by force. I guess that subconsciously I was afraid that somewhere White would have d6-d7 with a tempo. 33...Re8! would have given Black a big, if not winning, advantage after 34 Bd1 h5 35 Bf2 Qg5 36 f4 Qxf4 37 Nh2. Now White comes up with a great shot:

34 Bf6!!

I saw the line 34 Rh1? Qg5 35 Bf6 Qg6!. When I considered 31...Bf5!, I saw the idea of 34 Bf6!! too, but that was just a passing thought, which unfortunately did not quite register in my mind. Otherwise I would have played 33...Re8 without any thinking.

34...gxf6 35 Rh1 Qg5??

Black had to play 35...Qxh1+ 36 Kxh1 hxg4 37 fxg4 Be4+ 38 Kg1 Rd8, although the ending is very unpleasant.

36 Rxh5 Qd2 37 Nh6+ Kg7 38 Nxf5+ Kg6 39 Ng3

This knight is a fantastic worker! Now Black is lost.

39...Re8 40 Kf1 d4

After 40...Rxe2 41 Nxe2 Kxh5 42 d7 the d-pawn is unstoppable.

41 d7 Rxe2 42 Rxf6+ Kg7 43 Nf5+ Kxf6 44 d8Q+ Kg6 45 Qg8+ Kf6 46 Qg7+ 10

Come back tomorrow for my next report!

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted