Kasim beats Uzbek national team 4:1

2/1/2007 – Clock simuls are something special: the master has the same time as each of his opponents, to whom he has to attend individually. They can move whenever they want. Under such circumstances to face a team of five players, including a bevy of grandmasters, is a daunting task. It was undertaken by former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Report and interview.

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Kasim beats Uzbek national team 4:1

Report from Tashkent by Jamshid Begmatov

Everything started with a text message that woke me up on the Sunday morning at ten a.m., which is too early when you have been on Playchess until four a.m. the previous night. Mumbling to myself why the heck I didn’t switch off the phone before going to bed, I opened the message to see it was from my young friend Anton Filippov, an International Master. “Kasim is giving a simul today at 14.00. Would make a good report for ChessBase” read the text...

I immediately phoned the chess club to ask if there still was a board available for me to play in the simul. “But you are not in the national team” was the unexpected answer! I re-asked and they confirmed that the 2004 FIDE World Champ Rustam Kasimjanov was playing a simul against the rest of the Uzbek national team!

Some background info on Rustam Kasimjanov. I have already written about the spelling and pronunciation of his name. Here are his bio details:

Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbek spelling: Rustam Qosimjonov), born December 5, 1979, is a chess grandmaster from Uzbekistan, currently residing in Germany. Rustam’s best results include:

  • first in the 1998 Asian Championship;
  • second in the World Junior Chess Championship in 1999;
  • bronze medal with 9.5/12 performance on board one for Uzbekistan at the 2000 Chess Olympiad;
  • first at Essen 2001;
  • first at Pamplona 2002;
  • first with 8/9 at the Vlissingen Open 2003;
  • joint first with Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu with 6/9 at Pune 2005
  • first at 2006 Corsica Masters tournament.

Rustam has also played in the prestigious Wijk aan Zee tournament in 1999 and 2002, and at Linares in 2005, although not with outstanding results. But his best achievement so far is the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, which he won in a splendid manner, beating on the way Alejandro Ramirez, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, Vasily Ivanchuk, Zoltan Almasi, Alexander Grischuk Veselin Topalov, and Michael Adams. Rustam’s highest Elo was 2706 in the FIDE October 2001 list.

Back to the simul. The team included four members of the Uzbekistan men’s team: GM Saidali Yuldashev (Iuldachev in FIDE lists), current rating 2518; GM Shukhrat Safin, 2460; IM Anton Filippov, 2486; and IM Sergey Kayumov, 2438. This makes the average rating of Rustam’s opponents 2476 – not bad for a simul! To stir things up at the last moment, the under-20 girls’ champion of Uzbekistan Nafisa Muminova, Elo 2138, asked Rustam if she could join the show, and he agreed.

I talked both to players, other experts and spectators before the games started, and the expectations were quite conservative for Rustam. I confess, I personally thought he would have a hard time to achieve an even score. But the reality tends to sometimes differ from our guesses…

Believe me, three wins and two draws without a single loss is an absolutely superb result for such a simul!


Saidali Yuldashev defending a tough endgame, which eventually ended in a draw.
He is the chief coach of the Uzbek national team.


Saidali and Rustam have been friends and teammates for many years.


Rustam determined to win the game against Safin. He did.


IM Anton Filippov: well, let’s see what I can do here… Anton actually rejected Rustam’s draw offer when things were looking pretty unclear for both sides.


Bored? Asleep? Don't you believe it. Kasim thinking with his eyes closed.


IM Sergey Kayumov engrossed in his thoughts in a difficult position. It proved too difficult to save.


Nafisa Muminova. Things looked pretty good for this young girl at the beginning through the middlegame. Just look at her eyes. So optimistic about her position, she was looking right in Rustam’s face while he was thinking…


And Rustam was stopping by Nafisa for increasingly long. As he said after the game, at some point he did have to find “only” moves.


Nafisa is already looking sad, preparing to resign. But she gave Rustam the toughest game of the simul. Bravo Nafisa!


Also having trouble… Grandmaster Shukhrat Safin.

Rustam Kasimjanov 2682
½-½
Anton Filippov 2486
Nafisa Muminova 2138
0-1
Rustam Kasimjanov 2682
Rustam Kasimjanov 2682
½-½
Saidali Yuldashev 2518
Shukhrat Safin 2460
0-1
Rustam Kasimjanov 2682
Rustam Kasimjanov 2682
1-0
Sergey Kayumov 2438
Final score and individual results: 4:1 (+3 =2)

On the next day, just before Rustam left for Germany, I asked him for an interview. It was a brief one, but still interesting.

Jamshid: Rustam, thank you very much for your taking the time for this interview. I’m sure our ChessBase readers will read it with great interest. First question – how did the very idea of this simul arise? Whose idea was it?

Rustam: Last time I came to Tashkent, I talked to the Sports Minister, and we concluded that chess needs more promotion in our country. I can say that this is our first step in our chess promotion plans that we hope to implement in the next few years. I hope there will be many more very interesting events. It was also a very interesting experiment. I had never played such a simul before.

J: Ok, you achieved a great score today, but frankly, what were your expectations before the games?

R: I knew this was going to be a very tough match, and it was! But I was pleased with the score that I, frankly speaking, did not expect.

What would you say about individual games? Was any game particularly difficult?

Well, all of them were. I would specially point out my game with Nafisa. At some point I felt that I have to play very, very carefully to hold the game. Later, maybe she got too optimistic and overestimated her chances, which eventually brought her to defeat. But she has a great potential. Anton also played very well, and rejected my draw offer in an unclear position. The game with Saidali was interesting as usual. It is always interesting to play your coach (smile).

If an opportunity arises in the future, would you be interested to play a similar simul maybe internationally, over the Internet?

I’m not very much into Internet-based chess. It is great, and I do have a lot of fun playing online, but for serious matches, I would much rather see my opponent(s) in front of me. Not just for fears of cheating. I attach a lot of importance to psychology in chess, and there is no psychological communication in Internet chess.

Ok, let’s talk about some other things as well. Would you like to express your view about Topalov team and the situation?

Enough has been said. Can we skip that topic, please?

Sure. What are your plans for the foreseeable future?

Well, I have the world championship qualification tournament in Elista. My first opponent is Boris Gelfand. Then, if I proceed, I will play the winner of the Kamsky-Bacrot match. Then we shall see.

Thank you very much, also on behalf of ChessBase readers.

About the author

Jamshid Begmatov works for the European Commission’s office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as a consultant in economic affairs. He has a great passion for chess and digital photography.

Jamshid has also published a series of articles on our web-site, and done live TV coverage of the 2004 FIDE world championship in Libya, which was won by his compatriot Rustam Kasimjanov.

PS: Let me end with a short explanation of why the photos in this report are not very good, to put it mildly. On the day before the simul, I received my new semi-professional Pentax digital camera from the United States, which unfortunately came with a defected flash. I immediately wrote to the store I bought it from, and on Sunday I had an email from them asking me to send the camera back for exchange, without using it. I was torn between two choices: to shoot with (and also show off) my new camera at the simul and have the flash repaired at a later stage, or safely send it back for exchange, which I eventually did. So I was left having to use my ten year old PS camera. For those uninitiated, PS stands for ‘Point and Shoot’, a category of very basic cameras that normally provide acceptable quality photos in relatively good light, but as soon as lighting conditions become poorer, PS takes on another meaning – ‘Piece of Sh…’. Hence poor pictures, but I photoshopped them to the best of my ability.


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