A dollar a game on Tamerlane square

by ChessBase
12/20/2003 – In the TV game Uzbekistan + ChessBase vs GM Saidali Yuldashev the latter has unleashed an eagerly awaited novelty. The organisers report that the Grandmaster is receiving his first marriage proposals (even before the novelty!). Sorry, ladies, Saidali is already taken and has three children. So, please, let's concentrate on the game.

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Usbek TV audience vs Saidali Yuldashev

By Jamshid Begmatov

Greetings from Tashkent!

Thanks again for your moves and interesting comments and we continue our game against GM Saidali Yuldashev, but first I would like to answer some of the most common questions coming from our ChessBase players. The good news is that we at last we started to receive more submissions from female payers from all over the world!

I’ll start with the funniest question that came from Izmir, Turkey: Fadime Alkan asks if the grandmaster is married, and if not, if it would be possible to have his email address. Dearest Fadime, I understand you have some warm feelings for Saidali, but hope the answer will not disappoint you. Yes, he is married and has three children – two daughters and a son.

Many of you asked me to provide more information about the TV coverage of the match, so here you are: it’s a weekly 25-minute TV program broadcasted mid-day every Sunday, which gathers thousands of people in front of their TVs. At present it’s on TV-1 which is the central state channel, but in January it moves to the newly established Sport-TV. There will now be a daily 15-minute chess program every morning, but the match will still be covered once a week so that the players have time to reply.

My partner Master Akrom Tashkhojaev (left) does the analysis of the game and I (middle) talk about our players, both Uzbek and ChessBase, read their interesting messages etc.

Many people also said they would be interested to know more about the chess community in Uzbekistan, but that will the topic of a separate article in the near future. For now, I bring you a picture of a very unusual player for Tashkent.

I was walking to my office through Tamerlane Square which is one of the most popular chess places in Tashkent, and just stopped to watch the game two men were playing on the bench. And suddenly the guy who lost paid the winner one US dollar. He was an American tourist!

Let’s now go back to our game. Almost everybody suggested taking the Bishop: 19.Rxd6 and the grandmaster responded 19…Bg4. I hope you will forgive me for I took the responsibility to make the obvious move without asking you this time, just in order to save a week. In the position after 19…Bg4, any move other than 20.Qf1 would lose the game immediately (20.Qe1?? Rae8 21.Qf1 Qxf1 22.Kxf1 Bh3+ 23.Kg1 Re1#, or 20.f3?? Rae8 21.Qf2 fxg3 +- etc.). I am sure all of you would suggest the same move. And here comes novelty!!! At last we have deviated from the well-known Pono-Anand game from Linares 2002, the grandmaster goes 20…Rae8, and here is the position we have now:

Uzbek TV/ChessBase Audiences – Saidali Yuldashev: 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 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3. 15.Re4 g5 16.Qe2 f5 17.Bxd5 cxd5 18.Re6 f4 19.Rxd6 Bg4 20.Qf1 Rae8

White has two main ideas here: to take the Queen or develop one of the queenside pieces. Again, to prevent any bias on your decisions, I am not providing any comments and results of my computer analysis, but my personal opinion is that White better be very very careful here. Please think well now and submit what you think is the best move here.


John, Crooks, Stilwell, KS USA
19. Rxd6. What else?! I will be interested to see what novelty the GM has come up with. I have looked at other ways of continuing the attack, and it appears that Anand's move order is the only way to get a draw. If he truly has something up his sleeve here, it will almost be a shame to "waste" it on us! This is the reason the others (G.K. for instance) avoid theoretically interesting lines when playing a game such as this.

Erik, Hoofddorp
The move f4 surprised me, because it meant sacrificing a bishop for black. The obvious move here is of course Rxd6, but I was afraid there might be a trap set up by black, like in move 16. However, I checked it with the Chessbase database, and Ponomariov played this move as well against Anand, so I guess it's not a blunder or something.

Ramón Jimenez, York, U.K.
I'm no expert in the Marshall (and not a real chess expert at all), but it seems to be Rxd6 is a forced move. I was looking for something that moved the game away from Ponomariov/Anand Linares 2002, but honestly I can't find it. Given that Black has rejected giving up two bishops for the rook, White's rook is now in a fragile position and it seems to be that, at least for the time being, there's no choice but to grab the bishop and follow the lines. I can't wait to see Black's announced novelty! This is great!

Eric Smith, Republic, MO, USA
Let's ride the tiger and go for it. We're getting pillaged, anyway. I think that Black has at least a draw (a la Pono, Anand). We can try Nd2 later and see what happens, but we've got some weak pawns on a2 and b2 and the knight on d2 can get into some nasty pins in some variations. But, we've got our silicon friends to help us defend, and they are definitely good at that. :)

Gary Ceb, Holland
Rxd6 is the only good move, based on the fact that retreat is useless, then Re6 wasn't a good move at all. So if we started with a plan, we need to continue this plan, and I'm afraid we have to win material at the cost of our own development. But if we are developed then black is doomed in the endgame. But we will prevail!

Jonas Lindsten, Haugesund, Norway
Let's take that annoying bishop and worry about f3 or fxg3 later. From what I see, white can handle them all. But as always, I might be very wrong..

Jeroen Neve, The Netherlands
With all due respect, but I think the GM blundered here. After f3 Qf1 Qxf1 Kxf1 Bh3+ Kg1 Rae8 Bd2 the attack falters (White places a rook on e5, after picking up two stray pawns), and I cannot see another plausible way to continue. Qf1 also defends all other threats.

Nicholas Klacsanzky, Edmonds, USA
19.Rxd6 is the only plausible move. I do see some counterplay from the grandmaster, but as I analyzed the position I found the attack leads nowhere after a while if Black puts up the right defense. I think this game is already in Usbek TV's hands!

Luis Romero, Mexico City
Unless I'm missing something I think that’s a free bishop isn't it, oh well, I guess is a "too good to be true" move from a GM but I truly don't see anything. I could only think of f3 as a possible continuation to which Qf1 should work fine.

David Clarke, Oregon, USA
The Grandmaster hangs a bishop? The Grandmaster sacrifices a bishop for an irresistible kingside attack? Which is it to be?? Let's take the bishop and find out!

Charles Zupanic, San Bernardino, Ca.
White will now have a material advantage. Can the threat of f3 and then g2 mate be delayed by playing White's queen to f1? Can Black afford a queen trade? Where will Black play his queen to next? Can white then complete development a piece up? Can Black apply any further pressure with two pawns exposed to attack and down a piece? Let's see how good this GM really is.

Agbonluai, Odiaua, Abuja, Nigeria
Aas I see it, we have no choice but to take the bishop, otherwise our position will be very bad indeed. It’s too bad our other rook is locked up, then we could have imagined a stronger game for white, well I guess it all depends on blacks next move though.

Thank you all and see you next week!

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