Things are going well in the four sections (Women’s 50+, Women’s 65+, Men’s 50+, Men’s 65+) of the World Senior Championship, played at various nice hotels in the wooded spa town of Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic. At this juncture in the Men’s 50+, IM Nikolai Vlassov leads alone on 7/8 ahead of top seed Zurab Sturua and three more players on 6.5 – Reprintsev, Arkell and Bagaturov. Three players have 6/8 while your author is among a 16-player group on 5 points.
The path to the top for Russia’s Nikolai Vlassov included an extraordinary miniature against Iceland’s Henrik Danielsen in Round 5:
10.Qc1 g5? (10...Bh5! gives Black the better game) 11.Qxg5! Black resigns
In Round 7 action, I want to call attention to a classic “cheapo” stalemate which is more often seen in blitz than in classical play - the tragicomic end of the game Kalegin-Chudinovskikh.
Alexander Chudinovskih has just played the disastrous 59…Kd5??, which was met by 60.Rxh2! Draw
In the Men’s 65+, seven players share first with 6.5/8, including such well-known names as Evgeny Sveshnikov, Evgeny Vasiukov and Anatoly Vaisser. They’re followed by a group of eleven players just half a point behind.
Sveshnikov joined the leaders in Round 8 with a nice finish against German IM Boris Khanukov. 25…Rxb1? saw a difficult position collapse:
Sveshnikov pounced with: 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Nxf7+! Black resigns
In the Women’s 50+, WGM Elvira Berend is first with 6/8 with WGM Galina Strutinskaia and WFM Tatiana Bogumil trailing by half a point.
In the Women’s 65+, 75-year-old former Women’s World Champion GM Nona Gaprindashvili shares the lead on 6/8, together with WGM Elena Fatalibekova. Since there are fewer players, they will only play 9 rounds while the other sections play 11.
I have decided to distribute a survey to the players that will probably be of interest to many readers. I am asking them three simple questions and the answers will be useful to posterity (at least that is my hope). The arbiters are helping me by distributing the survey in Russian, English and German to the 65+ group, which is at a different hotel.
Let’s spotlight two players for now.
I knew Luismar from New York City days in the 1980s when he
frequented the famous “Game Room” chess and backgammon gambling club, which was
in the basement of a place at 74th Street and Broadway, Upper West Side. Many strong players frequented this club including
John Fedorowicz, Jon Tisdall, and the irrepressible boisterous man from Odessa,
Yakov Yukhtman. We also had Steve
Brandwein (a very strong player, but who did not play competitively) kibitzing
many games. Brito, GM Quinteros and I
had some fun adventures in New York City, that much is for sure.
I asked Brito what he has been up to in the intervening decades. He told me he has been all over the world playing chess and backgammon, including a brief stay in Australia. Now he is back in his home country of Brazil, playing on the same club as legendary GM Henrique Mecking. Speaking of Mecking, Brito told me the surprising news that Mecking is interested to move to the USA and so if readers know of a possible chess-related job for him (such as Grandmaster-in-Residence at a club) please message Luismar Brito on Facebook.
Getting back to the survey questions, I asked Brito three things.
1. What World Champion was most influential on you as a youth?
Brito: Bobby Fischer.
Interviewer: Nobody else?
Brito: No, only Bobby Fischer. He was a killer!
2. How many World Seniors have you played in?
Brito: This is my first one.
3. What is your most memorable game?
Brito: Versus Jonathan Speelman, Hastings Premiere, 1980-1981.
Author’s note: I looked this game up and it’s very entertaining to see how the white rooks are held totally at bay the entire game (well maybe not so entertaining for the losing side).
1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. ♘xd4 ♘f6 5. ♘c3 a6 6. ♗e2 e5 7. ♘b3 ♗e7 8. O-O ♗e6 9. f4 ♕c7 10. ♔h1 ♘bd7 11. a4 b6 12. f5 ♗c4 13. ♘d2 ♗xe2 14. ♕xe2 ♕b7 15. ♘c4 ♖c8 16. ♗g5 h6 17. ♗h4 O-O 18. ♖ad1 ♖c6 19. ♘d5 ♘xd5 20. exd5 ♖xc4 21. ♕xc4 ♖c8 22. ♕e4 ♗xh4 23. ♕xh4 ♘f6 24. ♕b4 ♖c5 25. ♖f3 a5 26. ♕b3 ♕a6 27. h3 ♖c4 28. ♔h2 ♘e4 29. ♕e3 ♘f6 30. b3 ♖xc2 31. ♖g3 ♔h7 32. ♖c1 ♖c5 33. ♖c4 ♕c8 34. ♖h4 ♕f8 35. ♕e2 ♕c8 36. ♕d2 ♕f8 37. b4 ♖xd5 38. ♕e3 axb4 39. ♕xb6 e4 40. a5 ♖d1 41. a6 d5 42. a7 ♖a1 43. ♕c7 ♕e8 44. ♕b8 b3 45. ♖xb3 ♕a4 46. ♖xh6+ gxh6 47. ♖b7 ♕e8 48. ♕d6 ♘g8 49. ♕xd5 ♖xa7 50. ♖b6 ♖d7 51. ♕b5 e3 52. ♖b8 ♕e7 53. f6 ♕d6+ 54. ♔h1 ♕d1+
I also decided to try this survey out on my breakfast tablemate, Nigerian player Obafunmilayo Agusto. He jokes that he is the highest rated player from the continent of Africa here, because he’s the only one!
1. Favorite World Champion?
Bobby Fischer - I grew up in the Fischer boom.
2. How many World Seniors?
This is my first. I had a playing gap of 34 years!
3. Most memorable game?
Versus a Hong Kong player Kaarlo Schepel. I was Black in the 1982 Lucerne Olympiad playing for the Nigerian team and accepted all the sacrifices he threw at me.
1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. ♘xd4 ♘f6 5. ♘c3 a6 6. ♗g5 e6 7. ♗d3 ♗e7 8. ♕e2 ♘bd7 9. f4 h6 10. ♗h4 ♘xe4 11. ♘xe4 ♗xh4+ 12. g3 ♗e7 13. f5 ♘c5 14. O-O-O ♘xd3+ 15. ♖xd3 e5 16. ♖f1 exd4 17. f6 gxf6 18. ♘xf6+ ♔f8 19. ♘d5 ♖h7 20. ♖xd4 ♗d7 21. h4 ♗c6 22. ♘f4 ♗f6 23. ♕d3 ♔g8 24. ♖xd6 ♕e7 25. ♖xf6 ♕xf6 26. ♘h5 ♕g6 27. ♘f6+ ♔h8 28. ♖f5 ♖g7 29. g4 ♖gg8 30. g5 ♖gd8 31. ♕f1 ♖d6 32. h5 ♕g7 33. c3 ♖ad8 34. ♕f4 hxg5 35. ♖xg5 ♕xf6 36. ♖f5 ♗a4 37. b3 ♕xc3+
Author’s note: Isn’t it funny that both Brito’s and Agusto’s most memorable games were Najdorfs?