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Understand The Position 22: Play!

GM Ján Markoš | November 1, 2011 – 12:46One Comment | 651 views
Understand The Position 22: Play!

The European Club Cup is an extremely prestigious competition; it is a kind of Chess Champions League. But it is also similar to a roulette. This tournament was played using the Swiss-System in 7 rounds this year with the attendance of 65 teams. It is logical that there is not enough time for some of the top teams to play against each other. Much therefore depends on a lot in the last rounds; team captains pray every night to the goddess Caissa.

Translated by: Dusan Turcer

The feel of volatility of luck is even increased by the fact that the European Club Cup is played for the match points, not for the score as in the Olympics. While in the Olympics a near loss is not any tragedy, it is not the case here. Equal matches therefore bring very exciting moments and I would like to share one of them with you.

Third round, first table, the match between 11th ranked Bosnia and 1st ranked Socaro. At the fifth table, the ex-World Champion Kasimdzhanov surprisingly lost against IM Stojanovic, while the players on the first two tables agreed on draw. Time pressure. The following position arose on the 3rd chessboard, where the match Predojevic – Mamedjarov was taking place:

Predojevic, who had 8 seconds on the clock (players get the bonus of 30 seconds per move), offered a draw. Mamedjarov had a few minutes; he stood up responsibly and asked his captain, grandmaster Tukmakov, if he can accept the draw. During a few seconds they were discussing emotively. Finally, the captain made a clear decision: “Play!”

Obviously confused Mamedjarov returned to the table, shrugged and played 33…Ne4??.

This fancy move is a decisive mistake; Black will promote the pawn, however, he will lose a lot of material. The estimation of Tukmakov was correct; Black is winning after obscure 33…h5! But he has to see a very beautiful continuation 34.Bc2 hxg4 35.Bxf5 g3 36.Rxg3 Nb1!!.

The game continued quickly and in a clubable manner. Pieces were standing between the squares, nobody really cared:

34.fxe4 Ng3+ 35.Rxg3 Re1+ 36.Kg2 (Also 36.Nf1 Rxa1 37.Nge3 was easily winning) 36…Rxa1 37.Nxh6 Rf8 38.Nf7+ Rxf7 39.Bxf7 Rg1+ 40.Kxg1 d1Q+

Time pressure is gone; Black is totally lost. The game continued: 41.Nf1 Qd4+ 42.Ne3 h5 43.Bd5 Qxa4 44.Nf5 Qa1+ 45.Kf2 Qb2+ 46.Kf3 1-0


Socar team lost the match 2.5-3.5 and also the chance for winning gold medals. They won all the other matches, but 12 points were not enough for the 1st place because Russian team of Peterburg gained one point more. Two decisions during the time of less than one minute changed the flow of the whole tournament.

An observant reader will certainly realize one more interesting fact. From the above written it is clear that first two teams did not play against each other. They also did not play against the team, which ended up on the third place (I know something about that, coincidentally, it was our team: G-team Novy Bor).

Maybe it would be a good idea to prolong the  tournament by another 2 rounds next year…

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Comments (1)

  • Magali says:

    Hey Ping,It’s sad to not be in Beijing at your place but osrhewite everything is great. Chinese trains are better than Russians and the landscape is hilarious. Also I met loads of nice people on the train and it’s same for my hosts. It’s totally different experience than at yours but also great. Here it’s a bunch of US students and party time (:I got accepted for the mediation, it’s from December 19-30 and I booked a flight from Bangkok to Kolkata on 16th. Till then I will enjoy Vietnam (will get the visa on Monday and then go), Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Looking forward to the heat!Wow, a poem. Will I get to know it? Pls ask her. In exchange I might send her the picture we took at the station when I left ^^ and greetings to all, also your other cousin and the dog!Love, Fred

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