Just saying no, and a simul in a pool

11/30/2003 – Last week we got a message from British soldiers, this time from a former drug addict who kicked the habit with chess. The game between the reigning Uzbek champion Saidali Yuldashev and the TV audience is growing in popularity, especially here at ChessBase.com. You will never guess the percentage of Uzbek votes versus Chessbase votes. Find out here...

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Usbek TV audience vs Saidali Yuldashev

By Jamshid Begmatov

Hi again and we are back to our game against grandmaster Saidali Yuldashev, the reigning Champion of Uzbekistan. You may remember from the previous articles that we have a great variety of people playing with us. It’s really amazing what chess can do! Last week two British soldiers serving in Iraq joined our game and we received many many messages of delight and gratitude for staging this match on the ChessBase server. This week another very interesting person joined us, and that is a former drug addict from the Netherlands who gave up drug use thanks to chess. Unfortunately, he did not send us his picture like those two soldiers. Here is his message in whole:

Hein, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Hi Jamshid. It is so great that you organized this match for chess fans of the world. I am definitely one of them and I assure you chess saved my life. I took my first drug injection at the age of fourteen, and at sixteen I was completely addicted to drugs. At that time, Jan Timman was doing quite well in the international chess arena and I just happened to see a TV show about him. I went mad about chess, started to learn, read books, do training. The better I understood chess, the stronger was growing my willpower to give up drugs. Shortly after I started to learn chess, I went to my local drug rehabilitation center to take treatment. The treatment was successful and now I am a prosperous businessman, the father of two nice daughters. It’s a great game!

Well, my congratulations, Hein. I hope this your message will encourage many other drug addicts to take treatment, and also stop many young people from starting to use drugs.

Now, let’s take a look at the game. 16 moves have been played so far, and the position is very sharp after Black sacrificed a pawn in Marshall attack. As many of you already know, White’s move is selected on the basis of majority of votes coming from ChessBase readers and Uzbek TV audience. This time the majority voted for 16.Qe2 and the grandmaster replied 16…f5.

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

I said in one of my previous articles that I would avoid any influence on your choice of the move. This time, reading your submissions was quite a shocking experience, since the first four messages I opened all suggested to take the pawn on g5. That move would make a perfect sense if we were playing blitz in the park, but we are playing a grandmaster, and after Qf5 he would capture one of the pieces and easily win the game. Fortunately, when I counted all the submissions, there were a few more Qe2's than Bxg5's.

Now as usual, let’s look at some of the most interesting comments that came from our ChessBase readers, with our responses:

Ian Finnie, Wellington, New Zealand
I suggest 16.Bxg5. What the heck grab the pawn! Fritz will get us out of any black attack!! Also stops 16...Nf6 and we threaten 17.Rh4 chasing away the Queen.

I hope our purpose here is to play a good game of chess, not just win by using Fritz. So I address Ian and many other chess friends who suggested Bxg5: while we highly appreciate each and every of your submissions, please think well before you submit your move because if a blunder like this makes the majority, we will have to play it. It will be no shame at all if we lose this game, but we shouldn't lose it this way, should we?

Michael Jones, Long Sutton, England
I suggest 16.Bxg5. There are probably thousands of reasons why white shouldn't grab the pawn but as a 1000-rated patzer I can't see them, so go for it! This also allows a possible follow-up of Rh4 to drive away the black queen.

On the other hand, isn't it nice that so many beginners are playing against a grandmaster!? I hope one day Michel Jones will become like Michael Adams…

Jay Mankey, Pittsburgh, Pa, USA
16.Bxg5 and 17.Rh4 trapping the Queen. Or am I missing something? I didn't see 16.Bxg5 in any other game either, thus making me question it , but it looks ok to me.

Gerrie Ceb, Holland of course!
16.a4 might well be a good novelty on the regular Qe2. I have investigated this move a long time ago, and I think it's the best. White has an advantage after Bf5, Nd2! Bxe4?! (Nf6, Re1) Nxe4, Be7, Nxg5, Bxg5, Bxg5 because he has the bishop pair and more pawns for a rook. I like this game so far!

Excellent move, but unfortunately, suggested by very few. Actually, it's quite often played in some other lines of the Marshall.

Arsen Matevossian, Burbank, USA
I suggest 16.a4! Mr. Yuldashev certainly won't be expecting this move. Whatever preparation he's got up his sleeve, he'll have to throw it out after this move. By the way, what is the percentage of Uzbek votes versus Chessbase votes? And how do we know certain members of the Uzbek audience aren't voting twice (once by mail, and once online)?

Dear Arsen. For the first question, every week we are receiving more and more submissions from ChessBase audience, so the percentage now makes about 1:50 (one from Uzbek TV audience versus 50 from ChessBase). For the second, the Uzbek TV audience have played several of such matches in the past, and certainly have developed a very solid chess culture and etiquette. I assure you, none of them would vote twice.

Ahmed Kadaoui (Moroccan student) Agadir, Morocco
I suggest 16.Qe2. Well, why Qe2 and not Qf3? Because I like sacrificing material! This is an aggressive move, yes sir! This is the most popular move nowadays! This is Pono's, Bologan's and Polgar's move! What else do you need? There is room for novelties and we have the Rook sacrifice! Let's sacrifice the rook and give the Grandmaster a memorable fight!!! Ok, I must calm down now. Sorry for my brief excitement.

Actually, this one was a 3-page masterpiece of chess analysis! Sorry Ahmed, I had to cut it down. If you can do such competent analysis, I am sure you could give a simul to Pono, Bologan and Polgar.

Wayne Mendryk, Edmonton,,Canada
I suggest 16.Qe2. In my chessbase database this move has the best performance rating for White (2676). GM Sax defeated GM Onischuk using this move in a game they played at the 2000 Slovian Team Chess Championship. Ponomarov defeated Adams at Linares 2002 using this move,and he drew with Anand in the same tournament in 28 moves using this move.Bologan used this move against Onischuk in the 2003 4th Karpov It, Poikovsky RUS in 28 moves. For interest sake the most popular move in this position in my 2150 game database for this ECO Code, is 16.Qf3 (however White has a lower performance rating (2468) than the move 16.Qe2. The move 16.Qe1 is also more popular than 16.Qe2 (however again White's performance rating using this move is lower (2330).

Thanks for stats, Wayne. I just had to remove the "if we go this, he could go that" part of your analysis, again to avoid any influence on readers' choice.

Ian Barnett, Port Antonio Jamaica
I suggest 16.Qe2 Qe2 is the most logical move as it is hard to find a better move in such a very open game where a position error could lead to immediate loss. It is very touching to see that chess is played by the soldiers in Iraq, I believe that if everyone in this world could play chess then we would have a free and safer world to live in, after all chess is a game of discipline!!! Thanks for granting my request about the changing of the board color.

So far Ian, you are one of the very few players whose suggested moves matched 100% of the moves played!

Now, just a little quiz for you to relax: can you recognize the guy giving a simul in the swimming pool?


See you next week,
Jamshid


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