Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

1/30/01 - David Burris

I received a sad email yesterday from Knoxville Chess Club president, John Anthony, stating that David Burris had died of a heart attack at age 54. He had been in declining health since I had known him, and had been confined to a wheelchair for about a year. David was a very strong postal chess player, rated number 5 in the entire country. He was also the most recent US Postal Champion. David was also a strong OTB player who was Tennesee State Champion three consecutive years in the 1960's, the only player to ever accomplish that feat. Playing blitz with him I was always amazed at his wide knowledge of theory. His lectures at our chess club were always among the most well attended and he had several interesting views about certain chess positions. I had the pleasure of playing him two interesting games. He had often talked about forming a local study group, but his poor health prevented this from happening. I'm very glad that I played him the final game in our city championship this year (under strict interpretation of the rules I was entitled to a forfeit when he asked for a delay because of a cold) since we had joked during the drawing of pairings that it would be good that we played in the final round to decide the championship. Sadly, this turned out to be his final OTB encounter.

1/23/01 - Wijk aan Zee

The traditional Wijk aan Zee tournament is about two-thirds finished with 9 out of 13 rounds complete. This tournament looks to be very important from a historical perspective being the first tournament appearance of the new World Champion Vladimir Kramnik since winning the title. It is also the first appearance by Gary Kasparov since losing the title and by Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov since their battle for the FIDE crown. With Linares looking a bit diluted this year (neither Kramnik nor Anand will be playing although there will still be an interesting field, but that's a subject for another article) Wijk aan Zee looks to be very important in determining the pecking order at the top of world chess.

Alexei Shirov rocketed out to +5 score after 8 rounds, a full point clear of the field. However, in Round 9 Gary Kasparov caught up by defeating him in their individual encounter. It is amazing that for all the brilliant chess Shirov is capable of, he looks utterly helpless with the Black pieces against the Boss. Kasparov has shown no ill effects from the loss of his title although he did let promising positions against his two big rivals, Kramnik and Anand slip. Still he looks to be in good shape to win the tournament as Shirov still has to face Kramnik and Anand.

Vladimir Kramnik had been keeping up with Kasparov until round 9 when he was defeated by Alexander Morozevich. Along with Shirov, Morozevich has been playing some of the most interesting chess of the tournament with the exception of his unambitious draw with White against Kasparov (although given his zero wins, zero draws record against Kasparov prior to that game we can cut him a little slack. Both Kramnik and Morozevich are a full point behind the leaders.

Anand has been a bit of a disappointment sitting at +1 after 9 rounds. Perhaps he is tired from the FIDE KO, but that doesn't seem to be affecting Shirov. Vassily Ivanchuk and Michael Adams are also at +1, both playing solid chess.

Among the rest of the field, Peter Leko is at a suprising -1 along with two of the Dutch players, Timman and van Wely. Timman's chess hasn't seemed too inspired to me. Federov and Topalov have both been playing some interesting chess, but have taken some lumps and are at -2. Federov was faithful to the King's Gambit drawing against Anand, but after taking a drubbing in it from Ivanchuk he swithched to the Bishop's Opening to draw Kramnik. Piket has been a bit off form at -3 but can make it all worthwhile with a win with White against Kasparov tomorrow. Tiviakov seems in over his head at -5.

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1/17/01 - North Tennessee Winter Open

I started off 2001 on the right foot by tying for first place in the North Tennessee Winter Open this past weekend in Clarksville. I didn't think my play was that great, but I kept blunders to a minimum and took advantage of opportunities when I got them. This was the second edition of this Grand Prix event, and was much improved over the first edition. All of the complaints that I had about last year's event were taken care of: there were guaranteed prizes and the Pair Plus program was not used. Even the music from the hotel bar could not be heard in the playing area. The tournament was run very smoothly by Mark Ishee and his staff. There were a couple of problems with pairings when players were late withdrawals, but these were solved quickly and accurately. Despite a small increase in the entry fee by $5, I think the guaranteed prizes were a big reason that the tournament grew in size to 125 players. We have TCA to thank for that, since they sponsored the tournament this year. I heard the tournament made a small profit, so there seems to be a good chance that we will be treated to a third edition.

I thought the open section was a little bit weaker than last year, but not by much. Again, IM Tim Taylor, Todd Andrews, and myself were the three highest rated players. Bill Melvin brought the master count up to 4, down from 6 last year. In round 1, I had Black against Jim Musumeci. He got a bit of initiative out of the opening, but I managed to transpose to a favorable ending and eventually won a pawn. Still, things were difficult, especially since I was down to 5 minutes on the clock to his 20.

I'm not sure if this position is a forced win for Black, but there are good winning chances, and certainly no reason not to play on. I thought that with patience, Black should win, but I didn't have much time for that. I rushed my c-pawn forward too fast and he could have drawn. Instead, I was able to win with knight and c-pawn vs. bishop when his king got out of play exchanging the other set of pawns. IM Taylor took a half point bye and Andrews was held to a draw by Doug Hyatt, so I moved up to board 1 for round 2.

In round 2, I had White against Gerald Larson. I let a large opening advantage slip, and may have even been worse in the middlegame. I got through those difficulties and we entered an equal endgame with each of us having a rook, 3 pawns, and opposite colored bishops. I kept playing since all of my pieces were better placed and I held a 3 minute edge on the clock. My pressure eventually netted me a pawn, and then he completely collapsed with his clock running down, allowing me to mate. This was nice revenge for me since Larson had inflicted my first loss of 2000 in this same tournament last year. Melvin moved to 2-0 with relative ease when Tennessee Quick Chess Champion Jerry Spinrad fell into a trap in the Smith Morra Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Qc7 8.Qe2 Ng4 9.h3? Nd4 winning a queen for 2 knights). We were joined on two points by Alabama expert by way of Turkey Ozgur Aktunc who upset IM Taylor.

At this point I had played nearly 8 straight hours of chess and had missed lunch. I guess one suggestion I would have for the TD is to use the optional rule of taking off 5 minutes from digital clocks using a time delay. Even though a half hour between rounds was scheduled, we all know that tournament rounds generally do not start exactly on time. Compound this with the extra time because of the time delay clocks and long games that go down to the wire (as I had in the first two rounds) lead to a very short turn around time for the players. I decided food was an absolute priority at this point, so I went to the drive thru and wolfed down a couple of hamburgers. I finally arrived to the board about 15 minutes late to play Black against Melvin: 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.f4 d6 The "Modern" way to play is 3...d5 or 3...c5, but I have some experience with the Pirc and had a particular line in mind. 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 c5 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.e5 Ng4 8.e6 fxe6 I think Seirawan was the first to come up with this idea. If Black absolutely must play for a win then 8...Bxb5 9.exf7+ Kd7 is the way to go. This usually leads to a long manuvering game which I had had my fill of for the day. White now faces a decision to play a sharp, unclear middlegame with chances for both sides, or call it a quick night by forcing a draw. Melvin opted for the latter. 9.Ng5 Bxb5 10.Nxe6 10.Nxb5 or 10.Qxg4 are the best ways for White to try to continue the fight 10...Bxd4! the point 11.Nxd8 1/2-1/2 Black delivers perpetual check with Bf2-e3. Afterwards, Bill said that he took the draw partially motivated by tournament strategy since he expected Andrews to beat Aktunc which would set up Bereolos-Andrews while he would get paired down.

On Sunday, it looked like Melvin's strategy may have backfire since Aktunc held the draw against Andrews making the pairings Bereolos-Aktunc, Andrews-Melvin. However, for the second year in a row, Todd was MIA for Round 4, so Melvin got a free point. I kept the pace with a nice attacking win: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0-0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Nfd7?! Trying to hold up the e5 advance, but compare this to the Taimanov variation of the Benoni: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Nfd7 9.Be2 0-0 10.Nf3 which is the same position as the present game only Black has the move. Since that position is considered perfectly acceptable for White, it should be even better with a free move. 10.0-0 Re8 11.e5!? Of course 11.Nd2 is a better move here, since the pawn sacrifice does not take advantage of the move Nfd7. I took a psychological approach figuring that if he played a move like Nfd7 he was probably uncomfortable with the positions where White sacrifices a pawn. 11...dxe5 12.fxe5 Nxe5 13.Bf4 This position is more commonly reached by the move order 9...Re8 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Ng4 12.0-0 Nxe5 13.Bf4 13...Nxf3+ 14.Bxf3 Bd4+ the first step in the wrong direction. White often plays Kh1 without being forced to and here Black is also moving a defender away from his King. 15.Kh1 Na6?! The knight is hoping for a future via the c7 square, but my next move short circuits that and leaves the knight without much of a future. 16.d6 Qb6? Allowing my knight to leap forward with tempo. White's attack is certainly worth a few pawns. The Black pieces will mostly be spectators on the queenside while the White pieces maul the Black king. 17.Nd5 Qxb2 18.Rb1 Qxa2 19.Ne7+

19...Kg7 Both 19...Kf8 and 19...Kh8 fail to 20.Qxd4(+) with a quick mate. 19...Rxe7 20.dxe7 and White will win Black's b-pawn while retaining the passer on e7. The rest is brutal 20.Bd5 Qa3 21.Bc1 Qc3 22.Rxf7+ Kh8 23.Bd2 Qd3 24.Rb3 Bg4 25.Qxg4 Qxd2 26.Rxh7+ Kxh7 27.Qxg6+ 1-0

Entering the final round, the scores were Bereolos and Melvin 3.5, Spinrad, Fredrick Kliest 3. Normally, one would expect the 3.5's to play the 3's. Apparently, this would have caused the rest of the pairings in the small top section to become unworkable, so to Melvin's dismay he got Black against IM Taylor instead. I got into a spot of trouble early with Black against Spinrad: 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Qg4 g6 5.Qf3 Nf6 6.Nge2 Bf8!? I have several opening books that attribute this to Keres, but practical examples seem limited. 7.d3 Bg7? 7...h6 was necessary, but I talked myself out of it figuring I didn't need to play it until forced to. 8.Bg5 h6 the only way to avoid 9.Nd5 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Qxf6? Jerry was so intent on hoovering the pieces off the board that he missed the simple 10.Nb5 when Black can't cover both c7 and f7. Probably best then would be 10...Qxf3 11.gxf3 Kd8 12.Bxf7 g5, but Black's compensation seems a bit dubious. 10...Bxf6 11.Nd5 Bd8 and Black can claim a small edge thanks to the Bishop pair, but I was unable to do much to exploit this and had to settle for a draw. Taylor beat Melvin to knock him out of contention and Kleist beat Aktunc to come in the back door to tie me without playing anyone rated over 2100. I got a nice trophy on the tiebreaks.

1/11/01 - New FIDE Rating List

The January FIDE rating list is out. Despite only 3 months since the last list there was alot of activity in the top 100 because of several major events including the Olympiad and the FIDE Championship. One event that didn't make it was the Kasparov-Kramnik match. This really gives the rating list alot less value in my eyes. I don't know if FIDE refused to rate the match or if it was never submitted as Mark Crowther speculates on The Week in Chess site. So the who's number 1 question still has an easy answer Garry Kasparov(2849). It would have been real interesting to see how the ratings of number 2 Vishy Anand(2790) and World Champion Vladimir Kramnik(2772) came out. As a side note, on the World Chess Council rating list, they had Kramnik and Kasparov tied for the top spot at 2792, but their formula differs from FIDE's.

The top 10 saw a little shuffling as Morozevich(#6, 2745) and Shirov(#7, 2718) swapped places as did Topalov (#8, 2718) and Ivanchuk (#9, 2717). Boris Gelfand(2712) gained 29 points to rise from #16 to #10.

Among the big movers, Loek van Wely(#12, 2700) gained 57 points to join club 2700. If "King Loek" has a decent showing at Wijk aan Zee I think he put to rest for the time being the question of who is the best Dutch player. While van Wely's big jump adds some more luster to Wijk aan Zee, it is tempered by the big loser in the list Alexei Federov who dropped all the way out of the top 100 from #46 losing over 60 rating points. Despite losing Federov, the Alexes continued to assert themselves with the highest debut in the top 100, Alexandru Crisan(2635) of Romania in the number 52 spot. Alexander Rustemov (#64, 2553) and Alexander Baburin(#98, 2598) also join the top 100 to bring the total number of Alexes to 14 (Alexey Kuzmin also dropped out from #99 in October).

Among other notables, former World Champion (we can safely call him former now that he has settled his lawsuit with FIDE) Anatoly Karpov(2679) has dropped to 20th. The only woman on the list remain Judit Polgar(#23, 2676). Some young players are making their presence felt. Peter Leko(#6, 2745) is looking like an old timer at 21 compared to some of these guys. 17-year-old Ruslan Ponomariov(#21, 2677) is up 38 places. FIDE KO semi-finalist Alexander Grishcuk(#28, 2633), also 17, is up 58 places. Finally, 17-year-old Etienne Bacrot(#67, 2618) gained 5 points, but slipped 1 spot.

Yasser Seirawan (#45, 2640), Boris Gulko (#63, 2622), Alexander Shabalov (#80, 2609), and (Gregory Kaidanov #84, 2607) remain the only US players in the top 100, which now averages 2648. My own progress towards the FIDE Master title took an unexpected step in the right direction. I gained 6 rating points to 2313, putting me #150 among active US players. I was suprised that it said only 3 games, which I took to mean the Kings Island Open (I played 4 FIDE rated players there, but I don't think FIDE rated my game with Geist which was played at G/75). What seems to be missing is the US Open, where I expected a loss in points. I'm not sure what happened there, I thought it was supposed to be FIDE rated. I guess this helps balance out the 1999 Kings Island Open, where I think I gained a few points, but never saw it get rated. Such are the ways of FIDE. By my count, I now have 20 FIDE rated games, so I need to keep my rating above 2300 for 4 more games to qualify for the FM title. Looks like a goal for the year!

1/9/01 - Happy New Year

I'm back from vacation and an additional week off from updating this page. I hope everyone had a happy holiday season. Time to catch up on the world of chess!

Topic 1 - The World Series of Chess. Vishy Anand dominated Alexei Shirov in the finals of the FIDE KO event 3.5-0.5. A great breakthrough for Anand who had had his fair share of trouble in championship events. A great disappointment for Shirov (and his fans). This capped off a great second half of 2000 for Vishy, who won the quick chess event in Dortmund, the FIDE World Cup, and finally the FIDE championship. This will bring cries of a Kramnik-Anand Super Championship match to reunite the fractured world title. I'd give it about a 10% chance of happening in 2001 right now. Kramnik is still playing it cool saying that he is committed to Braingames to find him a challenger. Braingames has been quiet on their future plans regarding chess.

Topic 2 - The new FIDE time control. FIDE has unilaterally adopted a new standard time control where all games would be finished in less than 4 hours. This continues the trend of FIDE becoming more of a "sports" federation at the expense of classical chess. So far it doesn't look like the traditional tournaments (Hastings, Wijk aan Zee, Linares, etc.) are going to change their set time controls. I haven't seen any changes for Bill Goichberg's tournaments here in the US. FIDE has claimed that they will not rate tournaments that aren't played with their time control, but if none of the big organizers (or players!) agree to the new system, all FIDE will be left with is a rating list that doesn't mean a whole lot. I don't think it will come to that since FIDE has been know to make abrupt changes in direction.

Topic 3 - USCF ratings. There has been alot of controversy about the new USCF rating formula and the executive board's decision to award all players rated below 2000 two points per game in 2001. Both steps are designed to rebalance the rapidly deflating rating pool. The ratings committee blasted the executives board's fix in a recent letter to Chess Life. I'm not enough of an expert on ratings to know how well founded their complaints are, but here are my observations on ratings over the last few years. 1. The deflation problem has gotten way out of control. The average rating has dipped below 1000 (the goal is a bell curve around 1500). 2. The decision to lower rating floors a couple of years ago only increased this problem. It seemed to me that the lowering of floors quickly spread its way through the system bringing all active players down. 3. The new system is roughly the same as the one's used on the chess servers. To me, it seems like there is overinflation on, for example, ICC, where players like Morozevich are rated over 3000! 4. The two points per game bonus is going to inflate the pool and probably spread to all players. Is this a bad thing? I'm not so sure. I don't have the numbers that the rating committee does. I do know that I consider myself a better player than I was 10 years ago, but I couldn't prove it by my rating! In the June 1992 supplement (the furthest back on the USCF web site) my rating was 2348. In the December 2000 Annual List my rating was 2341. Not much change. Of course since ratings are all relative, these two numbers don't mean much, but no real chess player wants to believe that.

Topic 4 - Supertournaments. The traditional early year supertournaments should be especially interesting this year as many players will have something to prove. Wijk aan Zee will be the first major event (starting this coming weekend) for Kramnik and Kasparov since their match. A win by Kramnik would just cement his reputation as the top dog. Kasparov will be looking to re-establish his aura. Anand has new status as the FIDE champ, but didn't finish ahead of either Kramnik or Kasparov in any classical events last year. Shirov will be looking to bounce back from his disaster in Iran and show that he is still a legitimate challenger for the world title. Good showing by Adams, Leko, and Morozevich could also propel them into the superduper elite (which seems to now have 3 members Kramnik, Kasparov, and Anand). Unfortunately, it looks like Linares might not have quite the luster as it has had in the past. It will, as always, be a very important tournament, but it looks like a significant name will be missing: Kramnik. At last word, the organizers and Kramnik have not been able to come to terms on appearance fee (Kramnik, with his new status as World Champion wants more than he has gotten in the past. Seems right to me.). Maybe they'll work things out, but as of the moment, Kramnik is out of Linares.

Topic 5 - North Tennessee Winter Open. Don't forget the North Tennessee Winter Open in Clarksville this weekend. In response to some complaints last year the organizers (with some TCA backing I understand) have guaranteed all prizes for this Grand Prix tournament. Oh, yeah, I guess a word about the US Grand Prix is in order. I earlier reported that USCF had announced its termination. Since then, a bit of sponsorship has been found, so the 2001 tour will go on with severely reduced overall prizes (but prize requirements for individual tournaments remain the same.)

Topic 6 - Computer programs. I got my copy of Chessmaster 8000 before Christmas (I got it for free for being a beta tester). I haven't had much time to fool around with it yet, but it looks like a very good package. In addition to the playing program there are instructional files and a database (2 of my games made it 8-). The only complaint I've had with it so far (other than it smearing me in blitz) is the time on the analysis modules is limited to 999 seconds. I'm not sure why they did this, other programs will let you tell it to analyze, then go to infinity. I've been fooling around with the annotation features on Crafty. When I left for vacation I gave it a file with all my games from 2000 and told it to spend 10 minutes per move analyzing. It made it through about a dozen games and found a handful of interesting moves. I'll try to post some of these in the future.