Five stars for birthday boy Rustam Kasimdzhanov!

12/4/2007 – Born on December 5th 1979, the grandmaster from Uzbekistan won the FIDE world championship title in 2004, beating players like Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov and Adams. Kasimdzhanov is also a superb chess teacher, who explains chess ideas in an eloquent, lucid style, with a fine touch of humour. Edwin Lam has reviewed his Tactics DVD, and we have added a few charming family photos.

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From Cover to Cover

Five stars for birthday boy Rustam Kasimdzhanov!

By Edwin Lam Choong Wai

Born on December 5th 1979, Uzbekistan Grandmaster and FIDE World Champion from 2004 to 2005 GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov turns 28 today. Besides being one of the world’s elite chess players, Kasimdzhanov is also a prolific author. And, on this occasion of his birthday, From Cover to Cover will celebrate it by reviewing one of his many Chessbase training DVDs.


FIDE World Champion 2004-2005 and ChessBase author Rustam Kasimdzhanov

The Path to Tactical Strength

In this 22-part ChessBase training DVD, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov lectures on tactics in chess by citing various examples from his own games. In the introduction section, Kasimdzhanov gives a short definition of the term “tactics”. He cites an excellent quote by the great Tigran Petrosian: “Strategy is a piece of stone you are working on, and tactics is basically the instrument you use to cut the stone. So we should see tactics tas an instrument to help us to achieve what we want to achieve…”

Tactics are more than just checkmates

When one goes through the examples given in the training DVD, you will see the various kinds of tactical motifs: tactics that involve checks, direct attack pieces that are insufficiently protected – with Kasimdzhanov digging out examples from his own games. Amongst the 22 games on the DVD are Kasimdzhanov’s battles against such greats as Karpov, Korchnoi, Topalov, Grischuk, van Wely and Ftacnik, just to name a few. In discussing his game against Karpov, Kasimdzhanov had this to say: “There can also be tactics that do not work, or tactics which are refuted by other tactics…” – in reference to the possible 23rd move of Bd1 by Karpov, which could have helped the 12th World Champion maintain a healthy pawn lead in the endgame.

As slippery as a python

In his example against the Chinese Grandmaster Ye Jiangchuan, Kasimdzhanov reminisces as to how he was strategically outplayed by his opponent. And, were it not for a tactical opportunity, he would have lost the game. Kasimdzhanov had this to say: “Sometimes tactics are born out of need. The strategic character of this position is such that if you do not find something, then strategically you are lost…” Petrosian was certainly a master of using tactical means to wriggle his way out of difficult positions.

A tactical example against Grischuk demonstrated two important things: firstly, tactics can also occur during endgames, not just in middlegames; and secondly, even for a player of such high caliber as Grischuk, there is a chance of him even missing simple tactic of 47. Ne6+, which exploits his hanging Black Rook on b2.

With a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes of running time in this training DVD, GM Kasimdhanov gives a very thorough explanations of the “thought process” involved in arriving at a tactical solution in a position. He dissects each position by analyzing its static and dynamic elements, which point towards the tactical possibilities hidden beneath. But rationale analysis aside, a vivid imagination is necessary to see tactics – and the 22 examples in this DVD would certainly help the viewer to increase his or her imagination.

The Verdict

The chess training DVD above is a necessary tool for the aspiring chess player. Tactics must be the main focus of any chess player below the 2000 FIDE Elo mark, and this DVD is a five-star training tool for such players. Five-star to birthday boy Rustam Kasimdzhanov! As he celebrates his 28th birthday, let us all wish him many more chess successes in the future!


From Kasim's photo album

Rustam Kasimdzhanov (pronounced “Kah-zeem-jha-nov”), born on December 5, 1979, is a grandmaster from Uzbekistan. After numerous international successes he took part in the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2004, where he shocked the chess world by knocking out Alejandro Ramirez, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, Vasily Ivanchuk, Zoltán Almási, Alexander Grischuk and Veselin Topalov to meet Michael Adams and play for the title in the final. In this six-game match both players won two games, making a tie-break of rapid games necessary. Kasimdzhanov won the first game with black and drew the second, becoming the new FIDE champion and reigning from 2004-2005. In September-October 2005 Kasimdzhanov lost the title in the FIDE World Chess Championship tournament in San Luis, which was won by Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov.

After his 2004 win of the FIDE world championship, in a moment of weakness, Rustam gave us some photos from his family album. We looked after them for three years, waiting for an opportunity to spring them on him. Here, with his permission, they are.

Rustam and wife Firuza, in the Babur Park, Tashkent, around Navruz time, which is the Oriental New Year, in March 2003.

This is their son Azar, born in August 2002. The name Azar comes from the Angel of Fire in some really old Persian mythology.

Firuza Kasimdzhanova in a local costume in a photo shoot for a local magazine. We have got to know Firuza as an exceptionally warm-hearted, affectionate person, always cheerful, even in times when this has been difficult. The family lives in Germany, and she is fluent in German, the language in which we communicate.


Firuza – a great friend and person to have around

Frederic Friedel

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