Monday, June 11, 2007

The Old Bull Still Bite !

LAS VEGAS INTERNATIONAL CHESS FESTIVAL 2007 (7-11 June) just end yesterday. Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura finished a clear first to take home the Edmondson Cup . The festival attract many strong GM and title players such as GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Jaan Ehlvest, ,GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Gregory Serper, GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Dmitry Gurevich, GM Julio Becerra, GM Melikset Khachiyan, GM Emil Anka, , GM Merab Gagunashvili, GM Bosko Abramovic, IM Ben Finegold, IM Irina Krush, IM Amon Simutowe, IM David Vigorito, IM Mark Ginsburg and many more.
However, i don't want to highlight much on the champion instead i think that the main focus is on Korchnoi second placing. This is an interesting achievement considering his age. This old bull still bite !
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi born March 23, 1931 in Leningrad, USSR, is currently the oldest active grandmaster on the world tournament circuit. Korchnoi famous for his three lost matches against Anatoly Karpov for the World Chess Championship (two official matches in 1978 and 1981, and the 1974 Candidates' Final .

He is a four-time USSR chess champion (1960, 1962-63, 1964-65, 1970), two-time winner of the Interzonal tournaments, winner of two Candidates Tournaments (1977, 1980) and a five-time European champion. He also was a six-time member of Soviet teams that won the Chess Olympiad. In September 2006 he became the World Senior Chess Champion.
By the way, Korchnoi began the tournament with a surprising result on board one, as he only managed to escape with a draw from a losing position against the young Erkin Gurbauzade from Azerbaijan. Korchnoi was down a piece with very little compensation. Korchnoi a greatest fighters steer the game into drawish rook ending endgame.

Korchnoi - Erkin Gurbauzade , Round 1, 8.6.2007, Las Vegas International.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Nge2 Nbd7 7.Bg5 c5 8.Qd2 Re8 9.d5 a6 10.a4 Qa5 11.Ra3 Ne5 12.Nc1 e6 13.Be2 exd5 14.cxd5 Qc7 15.0-0 c4 16.Kh1 b6 17.N1a2 Bb7 18.Nb4 Rac8 19.Nc2 Nfd7 20.Bh6 Bh8 21.f4 Nd3 22.Ne3 b5 23.axb5 axb5 24.Nxb5 Qb6 25.Nxc4 Rxc4 26.Qxd3 Rcxe4 27.Nc3 Re3 .....

Korchnoi-Erkin Gurbauzade 1/2-1/2- 1st round. Photo from

.....the game continue and after 41.f5 gxf5 42.Bf4 Rc8 43.Ra7 fxg4 44.Bxd6 Bf5 45.hxg4 Bxg4 46.Bc7 [46.Bxc5 Rxc5 47. d6 Kf8-+ (47...Rxc4?! 48. d7 Bxd7 49 .Rxd7-+) ] 46...Be2 [46...Ne4-+ Erkin miss this move winning move which could ends the debate!] 47.Bb6 Bxc4 48.d6 Be6 Korchnoi an experience player knows that the winning chances decrease only for rook's and bishop's pawn pawns that are not connected ( a+c pawn and f+h pawn)in endgame with rook+2 pawns versus rook. So he willingly play for that position where as Erkin may not aware about the theory. ( Same with me, i refer this theory in rooks ending book :) ) 49.Bxc5 Rxc5 50.d7 Bxd7 51.Rxd7 Rg5 52.Kh3 Rg7 and the game enden in a draw on move 82.

However below is how Viktor Korchnoi dispatched GM Sharavdorj Dashzegve
with impressive isolated queen pawn play on round 5.

Sharavdorj - Korchnoi [D26] Round 5,

Las Vegas International 2007

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 c5 5.Bxc4 Nf6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Qe2 cxd4 8.Rd1 Be7 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.exd4 Bd7 11.Bg5!? 0-0 12.Nc3 Re8 13.Rd3 Rc8 14.Bb3 Bc6 15.Rad1 Nd5 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 17.Bxe7 Rxe7 18.Qh5 Rd7 19.Rh3 h6 20.Qe5 Qf8 21.Rg3 Rcd8 22.Rdd3 f6 23.Qh5 Bc4 24.Rdf3? Rxd4 25.h3 Kh8 26.Rg6 Bd3 27.Rxd3 Rxd3 28.Ne4 R8d4 0-1

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