Let's play chess with the Uzbeks

11/2/2003 – Once a year the Uzbekistan Chess Federation and the state-owned TV station organise a chess match between a leading national grandmaster and the TV audience. The moves are exchanged on a weekly TV special. Now the organisers have invited ChessBase.com visitors to participate. Jamshid Begmatov tells us how.

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It has now become impossible for many millions of chess professionals and fans to even imagine chess without computers and the Internet. Tens of thousands of players play every day on different chess servers, improve their skills with sophisticated chess programs, and follow different chess events and news through the Internet. Any amateur can challenge a live grandmaster, they can even play a world-class virtual grandmaster who sits in the computer and patiently waits until you switch it on.

However, all that applies to the developed world, where computers and the Internet are as common as TV or newspapers. But what do chess fans do in the less developed countries, where many people cannot afford a computer, and access to the Internet is extremely expensive, and even if you have a computer, modern chess programs are not widely available. Do they just continue playing on the amateur level, never thinking of challenging a real grandmaster? No!

The Uzbekistan Chess Federation and the state-owned TV-1 have found an interesting solution to the problem: since 2001, they have been regularly organizing chess matches between the leading Uzbek grandmasters and thousands of chess fans through the TV. This is how it works: the TV audience mail their moves to the station, and the most common move is forwarded to the grandmaster, who then makes his reply move. All the moves are announced through the TV on a weekly basis in a special broadcast called “Your Opponent is a Grandmaster”.


Taping the weekly TV chess show

One may say these games take very long time. Right, but on the other hand, they are a very efficient tool of promoting chess, they involve many thousands of ordinary chess fans into a game against a strong grandmaster. Young players and children would benefit most from such games.



On the picture is my five-year-old son Kamran who sends his moves to TV every week.

Others would probably say that amateur players of any country would be too weak for a grandmaster, and he would easily beat them. Yes, when you play over the board, it is extremely hard to hold a game against a grandmaster, even if you are playing in a simul. But if you look at the two TV games that have been completed so far, you will change your opinion. Almost anyone interested in chess will know Rustam Kasimdzhanov, the world-class Uzbek grandmaster, who took the second place in the last World Cup in India, only losing to Vishy Anand in the final. It was him who played the first two games against that very TV audience and only drew both games. In the next installment we will publish both games, one of which saw a shocking theoretical novelty from the audience, with comprehensive analyses.


Top Uzbek grandmaster Rustam Kasimdzhanov

The current game is being played with another strong Uzbek grandmaster, the Champion of Uzbekistan, Saidali Yuldashev (he appears as Iuldachev in Chessbase databases), who has black pieces.

Saidali was born and grew up in a little town of Circhik. Built only in1932, the town was one of the chemical and defense industry centers of strategic importance to the former Soviet Union.

The Monument of Herons (right) represents soldiers who died in the World War II


The town is crossed by the river Chirchik, with unbelievably beautiful landscapes.

Chirchik has a very strong chess school which produced many strong players, such as grandmasters Sergey Zagrebelny and Mikhail Saltaev. Saidali has played in several Olympiads for Uzbekistan. In 1992 Manila Olympiad he contributed greatly to the success of the Uzbekistan team which took second place after Russia. In 1996 Moscow Olympiad he performed the best result (11 out of 14) on the third board. He currently lives in the city of Namangan, traditionally called the City of Flowers, the crossroads of the Russian, Western and traditional Uzbek cultures. Among many attributes of the modern life, you can still see signs of old traditions.


Uzbekistan now produces and exports modern cars, but you can see donkeys not only in the zoo.


The bride (centre) stepping towards the fiancé in a Namangan-style traditional wedding

The TV broadcasts are conducted by Akrom Tashkhojaev, an over-2300-rated Master who gave up his chess-player career to become an organizer.


Akrom Tashkhojaev, chess teacher and TV anchor

He sometimes does his TV-programs at different chess schools and clubs in Tashkent. Of course, it is always a great fun for kids, and they always ask him to give them a simul.

Last time the children turned out unexpectedly strong – he lost 1 and drew 3 of 12 games.


Fide Master, Asian Champion Anton Filippov is assists in providing competent analyses for TV-players.

The game is now entering the middlegame stage in the sharp Marshall Counterattack, and the grandmaster is down one pawn, but is hoping to develop a strong attack on the kingside.

Usbek TV audience – Yuldashev,S [C89]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6.

This is the current position, with White to move.

And now, on behalf of the Uzbekistan Chess Federation and GM Yuldashev, I would like to welcome all ChessBase.com readers to join the Uzbek TV audience to play against the grandmaster. You can submit your suggested moves in the form below (please use English notation only). Please remember that the most common move will be played each time. We will be regularly providing the latest updates on the game with analysis, on chessbase.com.

Submit your move here. And good luck!


Jamshid, FM Anton Filippov and Akrom Tashkhojaev


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