FIDE WCC R7-4: Just call me Qosimjonov!

by ChessBase
7/10/2004 – Everyone was expecting a draw, with Rustam Kasimdzhanov using the white pieces to calm things down after his loss to top seed Michael Adams in the previous round. But the 24-year-old Uzbek underdog came out fighting and won a fine game, which brings him within a heartbeat of the world championship title. High time we learnt how to pronounce his name.

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Just call me Qosimjonov!

In game four everybody was expecting a draw, which would have been sound match strategy, with the underdog Rustam Kasimdzhanov seeking to calm things down with the white pieces after his loss in the previous round. But this Uzbek does not conform to norms and conventional strategy. He struck back with a positional game that had Michael Adams permanently on the defensive, with every opportunity provided to make a mistake. That came decisively on move 30, after which Kasimdzhanov wrapped up the game with consummate ease.

The 24-year-old Grandmaster from Uzbekistan, who is currently living with wife and child in Germany, now has excellent chances of clinching the FIDE title. He leads by 2.5:1.5 with two games left. It is the right moment, we believe, to learn to pronounce his name.

In our research we unfortunately met with little cooperation from Russian players. Garry Kasparov, who is scheduled to play the winner of this championship as part of the reunification process, declared that he had no idea what the exact pronunciation was. "Ask an Uzbek," he said, "the name is probably of Turkish origin or something." We followed his advice and consulted our friend Jamshid Begmatov, the man who gave us the wonderful match Uzbek TV audience vs GM Saidali Yuldashev. Here is Jamshid's reply from Tashkent:

The English or international spelling of Uzbek (and of all former Soviet) names comes from the Soviet school of English, which certainly had quite a few bizarre and obsolete rules. For example, if you went to an English Language faculty in the Soviet time, you were only allowed to say “I haven’t got…” and never “I don’t have…”, or only “I shall go” and never “I will go” for future tense in the first person. Break these rules and you would just fail the exam.

One of those rules that relates to Rustam’s last name is that for lack of a “J” sound (as in Jack) in Russian, we spell it using two letters “дж”. The second letter “ж” is normally transliterated to the English “zh”, so adding that to “d” (д) we have this strange combination “dzh”. This could easily be replaced with a simple “j” (Kasimjanov) . I had the same problem when I got my first international passport. Guess what my first name read. Of course Dzhamshid!

In 1992 the Uzbekistan government adopted the Latin alphabet for Uzbek, and the spelling of Rustam’s last name here is different again. It is Qosimjonov and you can listen to the correct Uzbek and English pronunciations of the name.

We would like to add that in German, a language that Rustam is currently mastering, there is a similar situation. The German transliteration for the missing "j" sound is "dsch", so that Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book is called "Das Dschungelbuch". So Rustam's name would be transcribed "Kasimdschanov".

With that we are ready for any outcome of this world championship match, whatever it may be (Adams, incidentally, is pronounced "Adams").

Results of Semifinals

FIDE World Championship finals
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam UZB 2652
Adams, Michael ENG 2731


6 July Tuesday Final Match Game 1 14.30
7 July Wednesday Final Match Game 2 14.30
8 July Thursday Final Match Game 3 14.30
9 July Friday Rest Day
10 July Saturday Final Match Game 4 14.30
11 July Sunday Final Match Game 5 14.30
12 July Monday Final Match Game 6 14.30
13 July Tuesday Final Match Tie-breaks 12.30
13 July Tuesday Closing Ceremony 18.00

Note that local time in Tripoli is the same as in Central Europe. The start of the games is generally at 14:30h, which is GMT + 2 and translates to 13:30 London, 8:30 a.m. New York, 16:30 Moscow, 18:00 New Delhi, 20:30 Hong Kong, 21:30 Tokyo, 22:30 Melbourne, and 03:00 a.m. (on the next day) in the French Polynesia-Marquesas Islands of Taiohae.

Finals – Game four

A somewhat somber Michael Adams at the start of game four

Kasimdzhanov,R (2652) - Adams,M (2731) [C68]
FIDE WCh KO Tripoli LBA (7.4), 09.07.2004

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6. Mickey Adams shuns the Petroff, which had brought him grief in game two.

J'adoube! Kasimdzhanov adjusts his h-pawn after playing 2.Nf3

3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6. That Rustam Kasimdzhanov would go for a Ruy Lopez was no surprise, but the very positional Exchange Variation was somewhat unexpected.

What the...? Michael Adams contemplates Kasimdzhanov's 4.Bxc6

4...dxc6 5.0-0 Bg4 6.h3 h5 7.d3 Qf6 8.Be3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Qxf3 10.gxf3 Bd6 11.Nd2 Ne7 12.Rfb1 f5N. Clicking "Game – Annotation – Editorial Annotation" (Shift-Ctrl-R) in ChessBase 8 consults the reference database and in as second or two identifies Adams's novelty. In previous games Topalov had played 12...Ng6 and beaten Shirov in Madrid 1997; Ibar and Zudov had got draws with 12...g5 against Malbran (Vicente Lopez 2003) and Pogonina (Nizhnij Novgorod 1999); and Chabanon had lost to Marciano with 12...c5 in Meribel 1998.

The lonely struggle on the stage in Tripoli

13.b4 a5. Fritz was recommending 13...f4!? 14.a3 0-0 Adams thought for ten minutes on this critical move. 15.Nc4 axb4 16.axb4 b5 17.Na5 Ra6 18.c4 Ng6 19.Kf1 Rfa8 20.Bd2 fxe4 21.fxe4 Be7 22.c5 Bf6 23.Rd1 Kf7 24.Ke2 Ke8 The black king must avoid a check by Nxc6, because Rxc6 loses to Rxa8.

Please tell us there was a larger audience, somewhere in the back of the theatre

25.Ra3 takes the rook out of the diagonal of the Bf5 25...Nf8 26.d4 Kasimdzhanov has been working towards this breakthrough 26...Ne6 27.dxe5 Bxe5 28.Be3 Bb2? This was generally considered a wasted move 29.Rad3 Be5 30.Rg1.

The young GM from Uzbekistan has developed his position very nicely, with rooks on the open and half-open files. White has an advantage, but Black should be able to hold. 30...Rxa5? But this is not the way to do it. The exchange sacrifice is definitely inferior to 30...Ke7 and ...Rf8. 31.bxa5 Rxa5 32.f4!

Adams is in real trouble here, and one can only assume that he missed this tactical shot on move 30. 32...Bxf4 33.Rg6 Kf7 34.Rxe6 Kxe6 35.Bxf4. White has a bishop for two pawns and an easily won endgame. 35...Ra4 36.Kf3 Rc4 37.Be3 b4 38.Rd4 Rxd4 39.Bxd4 g5 40.Ke3 1-0.

Just in case this is the decisive game of the FIDE world championship match, here is the scoresheet as kept by Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

Pictures by courtesy of FIDE (©

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