Gelfand's book of memorable games

10/25/2007 – Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand isn't generally counted among the more dynamic players of our era. The reasons for this are his use of the Catalan and the Petroff, paired with an inadequate antipathy toward short draws. But overall it's a mistake, as we'll see in our Thursday night Playchess lecture by Dennis Monokroussos. Nine p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Although he has long been a Najdorf specialist, Mexico City runner-up (technically third, on tiebreak) Boris Gelfand isn't generally counted among the more dynamic players of our era. There are reasons for this – his use of the Catalan with white and the Petroff with black, together with his inadequate (from the fan's perspective) antipathy toward short draws. But overall it's a mistake, as we'll see. As for his opponent, Alexei Shirov, there's no doubt among chess fans about his love of crazy positions. And when you put the two together, the result is often mind-boggling, with both players having won brilliancies against each other.

This week's show will see such a game – but with a bit of a Halloween twist. This was the first of two games in their first round mini-match (played in the 1992 Immopar rapid event in Paris; the event was won by Kasparov, who defeated Anand in the final), and although Gelfand opened with the Catalan, the position soon became insanely complex. Gelfand sacrificed a pawn, then a rook, a piece, and another piece – and he probably should have given even more! In return he enjoyed a massive attack and an objectively won position.

But did he win? Aye, there's the rub. This game is another entry into the museum of missed brilliancies, but it's a wonderful game just the same – in fact, Gelfand includes it in his book of memorable games (a terrific book, by the way). It is truly a game worth seeing, and I hope you'll join me this Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET; you'll be glad you did! Just be prepared to see some really staggering tactics – this game's a roller coaster.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 01:00h GMT, 02:00 Paris/Berlin, 11:00h Sydney (on Friday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).


Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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