Dubai track stand.
The Arab people love show! Not surprisingly the highest building in the world was build in Dubai. There is also the only hotel in the world - Burj Al Arab, which characterizes itself as the seven star hotel. And let the seven stars be the hyperbole and an attempt to stand out of the range of the hotels which claim themselves six star resorts. But one must admit they have grounds for that. For those who don't trust the words I suggest to make own opinion.
Based on the motto "second place is nothing!" it is only natural that any event organized in UAE will never be banal. That's why the 12th DUBAI OPEN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP tournament was quite extraordinary. Before turning to the games and results let me tell you about the incentives. This tournament is closer to the American model than the European one. In Europe titled players are usually provided with reception, so that from the start their balance is not minus. On the other hand they can't win the fortune, because prizes are never too high. This is kind of safe philosophy of old Europe. Things look tighter but more tempting in America. Players there must risk their own money, but eventually may be awarded with significant sum of prize money. It's like chess realization of "American dream". So if to take Dubai Open, the travel expenses are quite high, one must invest some money initially. But even the 15th place will bring 800 USD, when the winner will earn 10 times bigger prize. Participation in such tournaments is especially useful for young players. It forces to play for a win, create over board, take risks. Of course you will stay in minus for couple of times, but after have the luck you'll be payed off handsomely. The main thing is to have no fear and believe in yourself!
The heroes of the Olympics from Armenia - Gabriel Sargissian and Tigran Petrosian on the foreground. They were fighting shoulder to shoulder here also.
Local flavour was present on the tournament of course. The first time I saw a break for pray during the game. Arbiter gives a signal - clocks are stopped and players leave the playing hall. The foreigners may drink coffee, smoke, or better breathe fresh air. Also the games between men and women sometimes didn't start with common handshake because of local traditions. But this didn't influence on the friendly atmosphere of the tournament. Not for vain Dubai is called cocktail of nations. 154 participants presented 32 countries! Among which 36 Grandmasters, 89 title players and only 4 unrated players. Also what struck me was underrated Elo of most of players because of lack of practice in the tournaments with Fide ELO calculated. Here you won't meet well-fed European fans who readily exchange Elo points for fun. Most of players arrive from India (where chess is extremely popular and lots of talents appear), Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, which can be easily explained geographically. The most popular chess player in the tournament was ... Boris Spassky, although you won't find him in the starting list. He came as a coach for one player, who played below the middle of ranking list though.
After the history and geography let's proceed with our 64 squares. Out of my games most memorable was one with Melkumyan who eventually shared first place. I know Grant for quite a long time. He even was a member of Lviv team on Ukrainian club championship. The game become very instructive in the sense of role of center and development in a chess game.
Grabinsky,Vladimir (2316) - Melkumyan,Hrant (2582) [A16]
Dubai open (2), 06.04.2010
So the lecture on the theme: "Modern way to play chess opening".
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.e4 Nxc3 Frankly, I expected more 4...Nb4 5.a3 Nd3+ 6.Bxd3 Qxd3 7.Qf3 transposing into Kalashnikov with reversed color. Misha Oleksienko played this variation as black successfully,so playing it white wouldn't be worse for sure. 5.dxc3 Qxd1+ 6.Kxd1
Black has a wide choice of where to start, but Grant Melkumyan makes the best move. 6...Nd7!! Black doesn't spend tempi to fight for the center with pawn moves, and begins the piece play. The knight has nothing to do on c6, where it is restricted by c3 pawn. Subtle and non-standard solution! Then it was my turn to think about where to put pieces. I was not satisfied by continuation 7.Be3 e5 and black inevitably will change favorable pair of bishops with help of Bc5. So I decided to start with 7.Bc4 and in response got 7...Nc5! Again, the most concrete move. Attacking the e4 pawn, Black wins time for his e5 and Be6. 8.f3 e5 9.Be3 a5 10.Kc2 f5
11.Rd1! I also decided to complete development with elements of tactics. Preparing after 11...fxe4 12.Rd5 11...f4 12.Bf2 c6!
Black is threatening to push my pieces on queenside with help of b5 and a4. I couldn't tolerate it anymore and finally decided to chase annoying Nc5 away. 13.b4 axb4 14.cxb4
And got painful strike 14...b5! I expected only 14...Be6 15.Bxe6 Nxe6 16.Kb3 with comfortable game. 15.bxc5 bxc4 16.Ra1
Another very instructive moment. I didn't especially delve how black will start his development. Which of bishops will go first, or maybe Ra5 to snack the pawn. But actually, despite the fact that all black pieces are yet on their initial positions, best move here is... 16...g5! The fact is that black long-range pieces are placed ideally already. Fantastically! The perfect illustration to explain children about rejection of stereotypes and prejudices! 17.Ne2 Possibly I had to stop Black's plan with 17.h3 17...g4
18.fxg4!? At first glance, a very strange move. But I was quite tired by ideal "development" of black pieces. I decided to lure the black bishop to release the field for a rook invasion on b7, and also cut the access to weak g2 pawn by means of enemy's bishop. Another reason for this capture was creating more mobile structure on the kingside. In case of slow 18.Nc3 there would follow 18...Rg8 and I have difficulties to push freeing g3. Since after fg Black will recapture with rook. 18...Bxg4 19.Nc3
19...Bh6?! The first mistake of my opponent in the game. The main point of this position is that black pieces are placed ideally on their initial positions. Yes, you
may believe me. After bishop leaves f8, attack from c5 is removed and thus white bishop is free. Better was the primitive 19 ... Rg8 20.Bh4 Taking advantage of
provided freedom. I create the threat of Bf6 and don't allow black rook to d8, where it would be needed after breakthrough f3. 20...Rf8 21.Rab1 Now I threaten to
invade on weakened square b7 21...f3 22.gxf3 Rxf3 23.Rhg1
White pieces gained freedom and I was full of optimism. But the fantastic opponent's move was an especially unpleasant surprise in my incipient time trouble. 23...Rd8!! It turns out I can't take anything. After 24.Rxg4 follows mate 24...Rd2+ 25.Kc1 Rxc3#; In case of 24.Bxd8 would come 24... Rf2+ and I'll have to give back all my gains. Not more helping is 24.Be1? because of 24...Rf2+!! after some of the rooks will invade into my positions.The right continuation had to be response sacrifice 24.Nd5!!
I did see this move but didn't have time to calculate all the lines. 24...Rxd5! (24...cxd5? 25.Rxg4! Ra8 26.exd5) 25.Rb8+! Kd7 26.exd5 Bf5+ 27.Kd1! exactly here. (bad
was 27.Kb2 c3+ 28.Ka1 cxd5) 27...cxd5 28.Rd8+ and black king can't run to 6th horizontal because of loss of the bishop.] 24.Rb7? Rd2+ 25.Kb1
25...Be3! The move, which I didn't forsee. I consoled myself with 25...Rxc3? 26.Rxg4 and my pieces are coordinating better. 26.Rb8+ Kf7 27.Rb7+ Rd7 28.Rxd7+ Bxd7 29.Rd1 Here good feeling of dynamics left Grant for a moment and he played slow 29...Be6? More aggressive would be to set x-ray 29...Bg4! 30.Kc2? What a slow move! The last chance was attacking strategy 30.Bg3!? Bd4 31.Ne2 30...Bxc5 31.Bg3 Bd4 32.Ne2 c5 33.Nxd4 exd4 34.Bd6
34...Bd7! Crushing all my hopes... 35.Rd2 c3 I was impressed by the manner of playing simple position in opening by my opponent and I really enjoyed this defeat.But
when Rybka started to approve white play, saying these were all best moves..At least I'll have what to show to students, in the meaning to teach them 0–1
For helping: track stand — the term originated from use of the technique by track cyclists prior to starting, or as a tactic in track sprinting whereby riders will initially ride very slowly and maneuver across the track in an effort to get their rival to take the lead so that they can then draft or slipstream behind, conserving energy for the final sprint.
Even with one eye closed Grant Melkumian sees more than the others.
There was a big tie of 1-8th place. Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan al Maktoum awarded the winner's cup to the 21 year old Iturrizaga Eduardo from Venezuela.
8 grandmasters scored 7 out of 9. These winners can be seen on the photo above.
Thus I will finish my story about mysterious city of Dubai and recommend my dear readers to visit the tournament necessarily. You'll find many things to enjoy and admire!