Chess moves in Iraq

by ChessBase
11/23/2003 – Last week the game between grandmaster Saidali Yuldashev and the Uzbek TV audience, assisted by visitors to this site, brought a moving letter from a child in India. This time two British soldiers in Iraq sent in a move and a picture. Isn't it amazing what a game of chess can do? Here are the details...

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Usbek TV audience vs Saidali Yuldashev

By Jamshid Begmatov

Hi again, dear chess friends, and after the exciting Kasparov – X3D Fritz match, we are back to our game with Champion of Uzbekistan, Grandmaster Saidali Yuldashev.

For those unaware, I would first like to say welcome to our game, and provide some background information. Once a year the Uzbekistan Chess Federation and the state-owned TV station organize a chess match between a leading national grandmaster and the TV audience. The moves are exchanged on a weekly TV special. Now we have invited visitors to participate in the game and many hundreds have shown their interest.

This game, indeed, is going to be no less exciting for us than any of the top-level super-grandmaster tournament games, simply because who is playing it is us, chess fans of the world, and among us we have all sorts of people – adults and children, university professors and doctors, policemen and businessmen, a disabled kid from India and now even soldiers in Iraq! Yes, we have received an email and a picture from two British soldiers who are now in Iraq. For some reason, they asked me not to publish their names.

Probably thinking “If the politicians could sort out their problems over the chessboard…”

And now, let’s take a look at the position we have. The grandmaster is playing with the black pieces and has opted for Marshall Attack in the Rui Lopes, gaining the initiative at the cost of a pawn:

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

With the last move, 15.Re4, White has entered a very sharp line of the Marshall Attack. In this line, the percentage of decisive games (won by either White or Black) is incredibly high – about 60%! In top-level tournaments White has done far better than Black. There are all reasons to think White has an advantage, especially if you look at the statistics: in this position White has achieved a 66% score. Looking at concrete examples, I would like to show you a recent game nicely won by White:

Ponomariov, Ruslan (2727) - Adams, Michael (2742) [C89]
Linares SuperGM, Round 9, 04.03.2002
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 Nf6 17.Nd2 Bf5 18.f3 c5 19.Qf2 c4 20.Bc2 h6 21.b3 cxb3 22.axb3 Rfc8 23.Bb2 Bb4 24.Re5 Bxc2 25.cxb4 Bg6 26.Rc5 Re8 27.Nf1 Rad8 28.d5 Nd7 29.Ne3 h5 30.f4 h4 31.f5 hxg3 32.hxg3 Bh5 33.d6 Re4 34.Rac1 Nxc5 35.bxc5 Kh7 36.Bf6 Rg8 37.d7 Rh4 38.Qg2 Bf3 39.Qxh3 Rxh3 40.Kf2 g4 41.Nf1 Rh5 42.d8Q Rxd8 43.Bxd8 Rxf5 44.Ne3 Rh5 45.Bh4 1–0.

Still, we should be very careful and think twice before entering our moves, because we are playing a strong grandmaster, and he is probably aware of the above game and has prepared something new.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that White’s move is selected on the basis of the majority of votes, and many of you said that the most common move is not always the best. But as we saw from the recent match, even today’s strongest human player and the strongest computer program cannot always select the best move. The question is, after all, is there such thing as the best move in chess?

Thank you soldiers, thank you everybody for your interest and participation! As usual, we bring you a selection of comments from ChessBase visitors, with our responses. And again, my apologies for many of you will not see their comments here, but you understand why, don’t you?

Mohammed Kaleel, Wingate, NC
I think what you guys are doing here is great. Thank you! I've always wanted to be able to participate in an event like this after Kasparov's famous game vs the world.

So here you are, dear chess friends! Let's give the grandmaster a good fight! And your thanks should first of all go to Frederic Friedel of ChessBase, who kindly agreed to organize this event, and who also discovered me as a chess journalist.

Mike Rosensaft, Philadelphia, USA
I suggest the move: Re4. After the article on ChessBase, could it be anything else?

Dear Mike and everybody, this and many other similar comments make me think that the analysis I provide highly influences your choice of the move, which I think is unacceptable. It should be your independent choice, and I will still be providing some analysis, but only after you make your move.

Ian Barnett, Port Antonio
Could a change of board color be made on the home page please, It is very difficult to identify the black pawns or pieces on the black squares.

To the attention of Mr. Friedel of ChessBase.

Mark Jordan, Bellingham, WA, USA
I suggest the move: Re4. Aside from it seeming to be the best move in my opening book, Fritz 8, after finishing an 18 ply search said it was the best move and gave a evaluation of +0.28.

Well in a losing position against Kasparov in game 3, Fritz 8 was giving an equal evaluation…

Ian Olsen, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan
I suggest the move: 15.Re4. This prevents the annoying Bg4, maintains control of the 'e' file, and prepares to possibly move the rook to h4, driving off the black queen.

Oh, we remember you found a checkmate in 132 last week. Fritz & friends would envy!

Ahmed Kadaoui, Agadir, Morocco
I suggest the move: 15. Re4. OK, Black and White are both good in the opening. Bologan and Leko always play this move in this variation.

So let's see how well it works for us. Bologan and Leko must know something!

Dimitris Kopsidas, Iraklio, Greece
I suggest the move: 15.Be3. White is winning here, trust me :)

Sorry, Dimitris, we missed the sure winning move : But let's still try to continue…

Vikram Viswanath, Bombay, India
I think it is wonderful of you to quote the letter from that small kid in India. The pictures that you have added are also lovely. Please keep it up.

Lovely kid, lovely pictures from a lovely country! By the way, Indians are among the most active participants in the game.

Here are some pictures to cheer up Arun from India:

See you next week!

Previous articles

Let's play chess with the Uzbeks
A chess set from Uzbekistan
A message from India

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