Wedding beauties and chess in Samarkand

by ChessBase
12/7/2003 – The game beween the Uzbek champion Saidali Yuldashev and the TV audience + is entering a critical phase. The GM said that he had not expected such precise play from his opponent. Meanwhile young Khourshid from Samarkand has taken his bride, and our trusty reporter Jamshid Begmatov sent us pictures of the festive event.

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Usbek TV audience vs Saidali Yuldashev

By Jamshid Begmatov

Greetings from Uzbekistan!

The game between the Champion of Uzbekistan GM Saidali Yuldashev and Uzbek/ChessBase audiences seems to be entering its most exciting and critical phase – the middlegame. The grandmaster honestly said he was not expecting so strong and precise play from White! Another bit of good news is that the ChessBase audience participating in the game is rapidly expanding and we are receiving more and more submissions from all over the world, especially from the former Soviet countries! Last week the overwhelming majority of White’s votes were for 17.Bxd5 and Black of course responded cxd5 and here’s the position we have now:

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 17.Bxd5 cxd5

Here I would like to make an important note for all non-English-speaking players, especially those from Russia and Ukraine: for your comments and moves, even if in Russian, please use the standard English notation and Latin script, avoiding, if possible, using special characters and Cyrillic. While I perfectly understand Russian, your submissions come through the ChessBase server to a special email account and then to my computer, where I find them to be in the wrong encoding and often have a difficulty finding the right character set. Thank you.

Many of you will remember from one of my previous articles a young man called Khourshid from Samarkand who was getting married soon after then ongoing Ramadan holidays. Last week he invited me to his wedding and now I bring you pictures and impressions from a traditional Uzbek wedding.

If you happen to come to Uzbekistan and are invited to take part in a wedding ceremony, be prepared to eat a lot of food, especially Uzbek Plov! It will be very tasty, since Uzbek food developed during the time of Great Silk Road and has combined the best ancient tastes of Asia.

Don’t get surprised at the quantity of plov you see in the Kazan – it’s only about one tenth of the amount prepared for an average wedding party.

Samsa is another wonderful item of Uzbek cuisine – it’s prepared in special ovens called Tandyr.

Bread is given highest respect by Uzbeks. After trying it, many foreigners just can’t believe bread can be so tasty!

Wedding involves lots and lots and lots of dancing

Uzbek wedding beauties

When on visit in Uzbekistan in 1996, Prince Charles of Whales was very impressed by Uzbek wedding, where he was presented a set of traditional garments

Now, following our good tradition, I bring you a selection of your wonderful comments:

Mohammed Abu Ra'ad, Doha, Qatar
I'm a regular Chessbase reader but I never really gave much attention to this game. Perhaps because I read Chessbase articles at work so quickly before my boss notices I'm sitting idle (again). After a quick glance at the position, I think giving away an exchange for two pawns (or for the Bishop pair advantage) and for weakening black's dark squares isn't a bad idea! But this needs a lot of analysis of course and my boss is about to get me caught!!! Thanks Jamshid for this wonderful game...

Actually, thank you for your participation taking so much risk! If one day your boss catches you, just teach him to play chess and he will understand you.

Wayne Mendryk, Edmonton, Canada
I suggest 16.Bxd5+. This is the move Ponomariov chose to play against Anand in their game from Linares in 2002. The Black knight was well placed and our bishop was very passive and lacked mobility, so an exchange is acceptable even though this gives our opponent the two bishops. Our opponent will now be forced to accept an isolated d-pawn which will leave him with three pawn islands to our two, something we can take advantage of in the endgame.

Yes, many of the readers are referring to that very game, which ended in a draw. But honestly, personally I cannot wait for a different move, hopefully an interesting novelty that will make our game unique.

Stefano Freiesleben Sias, Jögerspris, Denmark
17.Bxd5+. This move saves the rook, and simplifies the game, furthermore gives Black an isolated pawn on d5. A good line would be: 17.Bxd5+ cxd5 18.Re6 in this position if Black decides to capture on e6, White recaptures with queen and gives a check winning the bishop on d6. The upside of the move is that it doesn't retreat like e.g. 18.Re3, that it is aggressive. The downside may be that the rook is overextended, but it doesn't seem like any danger to me in the current position. All in all I would call the position a little weird, black is behind on material, but white has additionally two undeveloped pieces. So the outcome is still exciting and a real challenge both to Yuldashev and to us.

Yes, it's a real challenge, but my personal impression is that it's more a challenge now for the grandmaster rather than to us. I was afraid of White going 17.Re6 instead of Bxd5, in which case it would have become a challenge to us.

Bruce Brodley, Murfreesboro, TN, USA
17.Bxd5. This move accomplishes several missions. It saves the Rook. It also isolates the c-pawn on d5 after the re-capture. The c-pawn has to capture since Kh8 allow the Bishop to capture and threaten the a8 Rook endangering the a-pawn. It also removes the Black Knight from a very powerful post.

I use many of the ChessBase readers' comments for our weekly program on the TV, and yours was one of them. Thank you.

Samuel, Athens, USA
17.Re6. This rather imposing move offers the white rook in exchange for two minor pieces, and likely a pawn (at least) after that. While it does offer black the tempo in terms of a kingside attack (advancing the f-pawn, for example), should black choose to sacrifice his black-squared bishop instead, it seems that white can easily avoid disaster with Qf1 at any time. The Sigmachess program (for Macintosh) gives this move a +2.84 in white's favor, although perhaps the computer does not see a positional advantage for white in this case.

What is wrong with the computer programs analyzing this position is that virtually all of them suggest that White has a huge advantage, which I think is not remotely correct. Next week I am going to publish a report on a very interesting computer tournament and we'll see how whether our readers' opinions change.

Ahmed, Kadaoui, Agadir, Morocco
17.Bd5+. I was disappointed by some voters' comments who suggested 16.Bxg5?? And what you said last time, Jamshid, is very frightening : "Fortunately, when I counted all the submissions, there were a FEW more Qe2's than Bxg5's" By the way, what was the Uzbek TV's submission for move 16? Do you know how many (in percentage) of them voted 16.Bxg5?

About the same as ChessBase readers. Dear Ahmed, we should not forget that among us we have many beginners as well as experienced players like you. Just remember the time when you just learnt chess...

I wonder if we aren't "polluting" this game. You said that "the Uzbek TV audience have played several of such matches in the past, and certainly have developed a very solid chess culture and etiquette". And what if one percent of Uzbek TV audience votes for a blunder and 58 percent of ChessBase voters vote for this same blunder... it will be played, because Uzbek TV audience represents only two percents of the total number of voters. I wonder if the Uzbek TV audience won't play better without us. I wonder if we shouldn't retire...

Just think what ice hockey is about? It's about brutality, and without that brutality it wouldn't be the hockey so much liked by so many millions. Same for chess, it's about mistakes, and without them all games would have ended in draws. I suggest you to look at this game from a slightly different angle - a friendly game played jointly by Uzbek TV audience and ChessBase readers against a recognized grandmaster. And the former includes many many amateurs and beginners who have the right to make their mistakes.


And lastly, the guy in the last week's picture was GM Pavel Blatny giving a swimming simul at the 1998 Cardoza US Open. Unfortunately, no one guessed it correctly. 100% (yes, hundred percent) of those who sent in a solution thought it was Garry Kasparov.

See you next week!

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