Bartel wins Polish Championship despite a disturbing thought

by ChessBase
2/27/2011 – Mateusz Bartel (2617) and Jolanta Zawadzka (2371) won the Polish Chess Championship men’s and women’s sections respectively. Both the winners came clear first, scoring 7/9. GM Bartel won the tournament for the second time in a succession and showed a respectable 2789 performance. That in spite of disturbing night-time thoughts. Pictorial report by Piotr Kaim.

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Mateusz Bartel wins Polish Championship

Report by Piotr Kaim
Photos by Sylwia Rudolf/Polish Chess Federation

The Championship was held in Warsaw from 12 February to 20 February 2011. Though the women’s section was a round robin with nine rounds, the men fought the same distance in a Swiss format with 22 participants.

Beginning of a round: most of the players are still optimistic

GM Mateusz Bartel won the men’s section convincingly (7.0/9), finishing a full point ahead of the field and suffering not a single loss. The next players, GMs Pawel Jaracz (2543) and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2726) scored 6/9, whereas the second prize went to Jaracz based on Buchholz tie-break points. In the women’s section, the victor WGM Jolanta Zawadzka (2371) scored 7.0/9 with not a single loss – just like her male counterpart. She left behind GM Monika Socko (2489), who scored 6.5/9 and WGM Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska (2254), who scored 5.5/9. Thus, in both sections, the tournament was a minor disappointment for the top seeds Wojtaszek and M. Socko, who came third and second, respectively.

Final standings



Player Rtng. Pts
1 GM Bartel, Mateusz 2617 7.0
2 GM Jaracz, Pawel 2543 6.0
3 GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2726 6.0
4 GM Socko, Bartosz 2660 5.5
5 GM Swiercz, Dariusz 2540 5.5
6 GM Olszewski, Michal 2532 5.5
7 GM Kempinski, Robert 2600 5.5
8 GM Mista, Aleksander 2565 5.5
9 GM Macieja, Bartlomiej 2636 5.0
10 IM Tazbir, Marcin 2527 5.0
11 GM Gajewski, Grzegorz 2569 4.5
12 IM Piorun, Kacper 2513 4.5
13 IM Krysztofiak, Marcin 2449 4.5
14 GM Miton, Kamil 2616 4.5
15 GM Jakubowski, Krzysztof 2502 4.5
16 IM Kanarek, Marcel 2405 4.0
17 GM Markowski, Tomasz 2625 4.0
18 IM Staniszewski, Piotr 2407 4.0
19 m Sadzikowski, Daniel 2389 3.5
20 IM Pakleza, Zbigniew 2495 2.0
21 IM Dragun, Kamil 2432 1.5
22 m Stoma, Pawel 2342 1.0

Women's section


Player Rtng. Pts
1 WGM Zawadzka, Jolanta 2371 7.0
2 GM Socko, Monika 2489 6.5
3 WGM Szczepkowska, Karina 2254 5.5
4 WGM Jaracz, Barbara 2274 5.0
5 WIM Worek, Joanna 2274 4.5
6 WIM Toma, Katarzyna 2238 4.0
7 WGM Dworakowska, Joanna 2334 4.0
8 WFM Kulon, Klaudia 2220 3.5
9 WGM Majdan-Gajewska, Joanna 2359 3.0
10 WFM Lach, Aleksandra 2172 2.0

When we asked him about his recipe for success, Mateusz Bartel responded like Ulf Andersson in his prime: “First of all I tried to sleep well. Without a good sleep, the head does not work properly.” However, one night during the tournament Mateusz was tormented by a disturbing thought, which made his recipe difficult to apply. “After the seventh round, which was very exhausting, I could not fall asleep for a long time. When I finally did, I awoke in the middle of the night because of a very strange dream. I dreamt that Marcin Gortat [the Polish first successful NBA player] had left the Phoenix Suns and moved to Toronto Raptors. I wondered if he would do well without help from Steve Nash…”

Once you learned about Mateusz’ key concern during the contest, please see how he disposed of GM Bartlomiej Macieja, a former European Champion.

Mateusz Bartel and his unbeatable Winawer French

Bartel,Mateusz (2617) - Macieja,Bartlomiej (2636) [D38]
ch POL Warsaw POL (6), 17.02.2011 [Comments by Mateusz Bartel]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5. I used this move order to surprise my opponent and to avoid his pet lines arising after 4.Nc3 when he usually plays 4...dxc4, or 4...c5. 4...h6. Now it was his turn to surprise me. I expected 4...dxc4 or; 4...Bb4+. 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.Nc3 Bb4. Surprise again. We finally reached the Ragozin Defence. Though it belongs to Bartek's repertoire, this particular setup (including h6 and the exchange on f6) had never been seen in his games before. As for me, I had not played it with white, but I had a number of times with black. 7.e3 0-0 8.Be2!? Anish Giri beat me with this move at the Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad 2010 and I drew a lesson. As compared to the line with 8.Bd3 dxc4, White does not have to recapture the pawn at once. 8...dxc4 9.0-0 b6?!

Twofold inaccuracy. Firstly, the move is dubious and gives me an edge. Secondly, my opponent, who is an incurable time-trouble afictionado, made it after prolonged thought, which left only 25 minutes on his clock (while I had my solid 1h 20 min). After the game he told me that he had once analysed the natural 9...c5 . However, while sitting over the board, his ambition was to play something different... 10.Ne5! The idea is to exploit the light square weakness created by 9...b6 and to get a command of the centre. 10...Bb7 11.f4! Consistent. Apart from other ideas, the f4-f5-f6 assault is also in the air. 11...Qe7 12.Bf3 c6. The bishops' exchange looks much worse. 13.Qc2!? I am not s ure if this is the best move, but I find it very interesting. Unexpectedly to my opponent I merely want to attack on the kingside. 13...Bxc3 14.bxc3 c5 15.f5 Bxf3 16.Rxf3 Nd7? In the post-mortem Bartek opined it was better to play 16...exf5 17.Qxf5 Qe6! and I belive he was right. After the text Black is in a serious trouble. 17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.f6!

It is always difficult to play against this kind of pawn. 18...e5. The move looks dubious, but the Black's task was far from being easy. At this moment my opponent had only several minutes on the clock. Nevertheless, he managed to understand that after the natural 18...g6 I had a powerful response 19.e4! preventing the Qd7-d5 defence and aiming to attack h6 through Qc2-d2. I did not see 19.e4! over the board, but thought my advantage could be kept otherwise. Most probably I was wrong. 19.Raf1

There are other ways to unfold the initiative, but I like this one. I bring another rook into action and create a number of threats, e.g. 20.fxg7 Kxg7 21. Rg3+ and 22. Rf6. 19...g6 20.Rh3?! Once the move was done I realised immediately that much stronger was 20.Qe4 aiming to transfer the queen to h4. I knew very well that h4 was the best square for Her Majesty, but at the crucial moment my mind was deadly fixed to the Qd2-f2-h4 itinerary. 20...Qg4 21.Rg3 Qh5

22.d5?! Careless. I thought the full point was just a matter of time and my concern for detail decreased. More to the point was 22.Rf5! forcing 22...g5 23.Rxe5 with a mass ive advantage. During the game I thought that Black could have played 22...Qh4 and missed that after 23.Rh3 Qe1+ there was a decisive 24.Re1 retort.; Therefore, in this sideline (after 22.Rf5 Qh4 23.Rh3 ) Black has to play 23...Qg4 and is going to be crushed after 24.Rxe5 with further tactics Rh3-g3xg6 supported by Re5-e7, if necessary. 22...Rfe8? This is almost capitulation. He should have sought for counterplay after 22...e4! when my advantage is mostly wasted, primarily due to a surprising activity of the black queen. 23.e4 Kh7 24.Qd2 g5 25.Rf5. Threatening 26.Rh3 and 27.Rxg5 curtains. Therefore, Black played 25...Rg8? Final mistake. Both players missed the strange looking defence 25...Kg6! when it is difficult to exploit the black queen's placement. 26.Rxe5 Qg6

27.Rexg5! This simple shot makes the game definitively over. 27...Qxg5 28.Rxg5 Rxg5 29.d6 Rd8 30.d7 b5 31.Qd6 b4 32.Qe7 bxc3 33.Qxd8 c2 34.Qh8+ Kxh8 [if 34...Kg6 then 35.Qg7+ Kh5 36.Qxf7+ and 37.Qxc4] 35.d8Q+ Kh7 36.Qd2 1-0.. [Click to replay]

WGM Jolanta Zawadzka won the women’s section with 2499 rating performance. After following her games, we selected the following elegant finish.

Jolanta Zawadzka delivers a mischievous smile

Zawadzka,J (2371) - Jaracz,B (2274) [C86]
ch-POL Women Warsaw POL (8), 19.02.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Qe2 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.0-0 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.Rd1 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.d3 Na5 12.Bc2 c5 13.Nbd2 Nc6 14.Nf1 Qc7 15.Ng3 Bg6 16.Nh4 Rfe8 17.Nhf5 Rad8 18.Qf3 h6 19.a4 d5 20.axb5 axb5 21.Nxe7+ Qxe7 22.exd5 Rxd5 23.Bb3 e4 24.Nxe4 Bxe4 25.dxe4 Rxd1+ 26.Bxd1 Nxe4 27.Bc2 Qe6 28.Be3 f5 29.Bxe4 fxe4 30.Qh5 Ne5 31.Bxc5 Nd3 32.Be3 Nxb2 33.Qxb5 Nd3 34.Ra6 Qf7 35.Qc6 Re7

36.Ra8+ Kh7 37.Qc8 Ne5. The Black should be lost anyway, but she could offer more resistance with 37...Qe6 38.Qh8+ Kg6 39.Rg8 Qe5 and then after the tempting 40.Qxh6+?! (40.Bd4!) 40...Kf7 41.Qh8 Rb7! 42.g3 Nxf2! the result is still unclear due to Black's counterplay. 38.Qh8+ Kg6 39.Rg8 Kh5

If you are about to write a mating manual and need some fresh example, take a look at this one. 40.Bxh6 Ng6 41.g4+ Kh4 42.Bf4+! 1-0. [Click to replay]

The most successful Polish player these days is Radoslaw Wojtaszek. Recently he has made to the 2700+ elite, an achievement that was unreachable for Poles except for Michal Krasenkow, who was listed twice at 2702 (in 2000). The February national Championship was Radek’s first tournament of this type after he had made the above leap. Therefore, he was perceived by many as a sure winner, even before the race started. We should note, however, that Radek himself kept a law profile and seemed to feel uneasy about his premature coronation. On top of the above, he was rather disappointed with his play up to the seventh round. An efficient finish (2/2) allowed him to take the third prize and to achieve the second rating performance (2714). The first game of this finish was a sharp encounter with a strong GM Kamil Miton.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek dissatisfied with his knight on c3

Miton,Kamil - Wojtaszek,Radoslaw [D43]
ch POL Warsaw POL (8), 19.02.2011 [Comments by Radoslaw Wojtaszek]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5. I did not expect this. Kamil usually plays 5.e3. 5...h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Ne5 Bg7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bd6 a6 14.Re1. We reached a sharp Moscow Variation position. My specific knowledge about the 14.Re1 line was limited to the fact that Viswanathan Anand played 14...Bf8 with Radjabov (Wijk aan Zee, 2008) and got a good game, though eventually lost. 14...Bf8 15.Bg3 Bg7 16.e5. He could have repeated by 16.Bd6 with a silent draw offer and I do not know what I would have done. Anyway, I was pleased to see the ambitious text move. 16...0-0. 16...c5 was another option, but I preferred to hide my king first. 17.Bf3 Qe7 18.Ne4 c5!?

I felt obliged to do this sharp move. After the passive 18...Rad8 I was afraid of 19.Nd6 Ba8 20.b3 when I have neither space, nor counter play and, besides, my queenside is going to be destroyed. On the other hand, the text move leads to wild complications of an unpredictable result. 19.Nxg5! hxg5 20.Bxb7 Rab8 21.Be4. 21.Bxa6? loses after 21...Rb6 when the bishop is trapped. 21...cxd4 22.Qh5!

Black has no problems after 22.Qxd4 Nc5 when I probably stand better. The text threatens 23.Qh7 mate, so I have to move the rook. But where to place it? It is clear that White are going to attack through f2-f4 or h2-h4 and my king may need to escape in the queenside direction. I assessed that 22...Rfd8!? serves the purpose best. Indeed, I was aware that white's Bg3 may soon occupy the diagonal h4-d8 and I will have to sacrifice the exchange. However, it was the least of my concerns. 23.h4. 23.f4 was also dangerous. While calculating over the board I felt uneasy about the line 23...gxf4 24.Bxf4 Qc5 25.Kh1, but missed that White had much stronger 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Bg6!! with a winning attack. Fortunately, I was not bound to resolve the problem over the board, but I would have had to seek for something better than 24... Qc5. ] 23...gxh4 24.Bxh4 Qc5

25.Bxd8?! A big relief! I was afraid of 25.Bh7+ Kf8 26.Qg5!? . The point is that Black cannot play 26...Nxe5? , because of 27.Rxe5! Qxe5 (27...Bxe5 28.Qg8#) 28.Qe7# . On the other hand, if Black does nothing, White unfolds an attack through Re1-e4, Ra1-e1 and Re4-g4. 25...Rxd8 26.Qh4! White has to play f2-f4, but if he does it at once 26.f4 , I can go 26...d3+ 27.Kh1 Qd4 and 28.Qh4 is met by 28...Nc5! with a clear advantage. So he played a zwischenzug 26.Qh4 in order to misplace my rook. However, at this moment, I already felt I stood better. 26...Re8 27.f4 d3+ 28.Kh1 Qd4

The assessment of the position should include the following factors: a) the black knight is ready to jump to c5, where it will be very strong; b) white pawn b2 is hanging and c) Black are just about to advance his pawns' phalanx. In overall, Black's advantage is pretty obvious. 29.Rad1 Nc5. The knight protects me against Bxd3 ideas and forces the bishop to leave the central outpost. 30.Bh7+. My opponent keeps the bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal, where it looks at the black pawns and might block them, if they were placed on c3 and d2. 30...Kf8 31.b3 c3

32.Qh3. Setting a last-ditch trap: if I play 32. ..c2? he might retort 33. Rxd3! Nxd3.34.Qxd3 liquidating to the ending with opposite-colored bishops, which may be drawish. But... 32...Rd8! I did not fall for it and my opponent resigned, since my pawns are unstoppable, e.g. 33.Rf1 c2 34.Rd2 Qxf4! 35. Rxf4 c1Q+ and Qxd2. Up to this game (of the 8th round) my play was of mixed quality, far from what I had expected. Therefore, having defeated a strong GM after interesting fight, increased my spirits highly. 0-1. [Click to replay]

This report is the first, but not the last, account of the Polish Chess Championship. Soon we will revisit this tournament to comment upon its brilliancies, instructive endings and … spectacular blunders. Please, stay tuned.

GM Monika Socko never stops looking at the centre; this time it gave her silver

WGM Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska started with 0.5/4,
but then scored 5/5 and took bronze

Relaxed Pawel Jaracz scored a 2701 performance and took silver

GM Robert Kempinski – absolutely nothing can distract him from the game

Prize winners Pawel Jaracz (left), Mateusz Bartel (left of centre) and Radoslaw
Wojtaszek (right) with Dorota Rzepecka, the Tournament Director


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