Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

7/29/07 - July 2007 FIDE Rating List

The FIDE rating list came out earlier this month. As usual there was an initial list with errors, then a final list with corrections. Vishy Anand (2792) continues to hold the top place, creeping a bit closer to 2800 with 3.5/4 in the Bundesliga. Veselin Topalov (2769) and World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (2769) remain tied in the #2 spot, with Topalov again getting higher listing because of more games played. Topalov won the M-Tel Masters for the 3rd straight year, but actually lost 3 rating points this time. In the old days, if you took clear first in a tournament you couldn't lose rating points, but apparently that rule has gone away. Kramnik also lost 3 points, he drew with Jan Smeets (2538) in the Dutch League in his only game of the period. Vassily Ivanchuk (2762) was the big mover, up to 4th from 12th, with big performances in the Bundesliga, the Russian Team Championship, and an international event in Cuba. #5 Alexander Morozevich (2758) lost a bunch of points at Sarajevo where he was a big rating favorite, but finished with an even score, but made most of them back with 6/8 in the Russian Team Championship. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2757) held his #6 place with no rating change. He lost 5 points in the M-Tel Masters, but gained them back in the French League. Peter Leko (2751) got back over 2750 for the first time in a while with match wins over Mikhail Gurevich and Evgeny Bareev to qualify for the World Championship tournament. Levon Aronian makes it a record 8 at 2750 or higher. He also qualified for the World Championship tournament with match wins over Magnus Carlsen and Alexei Shirov, but actually lost a few points in the process. He also lost to Ivanchuk in the Bundesliga costing a few more points.

Gata Kamsky (2718, World #16) continues to be the top US player. He tied for first in the open at Foxwoods and was only 0.5 point behind Topalov at M-Tel. His road to the World Championship started successfully with a win over Etienne Bacrot, but he then succumbed to Boris Gelfand and did not qualify. US#2 Alexander Onischuk (2750, World #61) had a busy period. He finished equal second in the Karpov tournament in Poikovsky and was clear 2nd in the US Championship. However, he then dropped a bunch of points in the Russian Team Championship and the Ukrainian Open Championship. Onischuk's drop gave an opportunity for Hikaru Nakamura (2647, World #70), to move up, but he couldn't get it done, managing only 5/9 in the US Championship and 4.5/7 before withdrawing from Foxwoods. The big US gainer was the new US Champion Alexander Shabalov (2737, World #81). He was dominant at the Championship and gained 22 points for his effort. He tied for first in the Millennium Chess Festival and had solid results in the Liberty Bell Open and at Foxwoods. For some reason Yasser Seirawan (2734) is not listed on FIDE's top 100 list, he should have been #88. He once again played a couple of games in the Dutch League to maintain his rating status as active. Jaan Ehlvest (2629, World #91) rounds out the US players in the top 100. He was the most active US player this period with 44 games. Highlights for Jaan this period were clear first in the US Masters, and ties for first in the Liberty Bell Open and the Millennium Chess Festival. The rest of the US tope 10 is rounded out by Yuri Shulman (2610), Ildar Ibragimov (2599), Gregory Kaidanov (2597) and Alexander Stripunsky (2589).

I didn't play any FIDE rated events this period, so I remain at 2311. Standing still let me creep up one spot on the list to #153. FIDE has either moved or discontinued its calculation of world ranking for all players, so I'm not sure where I stand on that list.

7/1/07 - Emory/Castle Grand Prix

Last weekend was the annual Castle Chess Camp Grand Prix tournament at Emory University in Atlanta. As usual it was a strong tournament with 3 GMs and 3 IMs. I started with Black in Round 1 against David Hater. The name was familiar to me, but I couldn't place the face and neglected to ask him afterwards if we had played before. It turns out that we had, all the way back in the 1983 Region V Junior Invitational. I think 24 years between meetings is a record for me. We reached a pretty equal rook ending after 21. Rxe6

21... a5 I found another game that reached this position and continued 21... b5 with the idea of activating the rook with Rb8-b6-a6. That approach has the advantage of helping to fix White's weak queenside structure but takes one extra move to get the rook active. 22. Re1 Ra6 23. Rb1 Rc6 24. Rb3 I think it is better to play the immediate 24. Rxb7 24... a4 I could have tried to take advantage of his omission with 24... b6 25. Kf1 a4 26. Rb4 (remarkably the engine wants to play the laughable 26. Ra3? here, another example of the horizon effect). 26...Rxc3 27. Rxa4 Ke7 25. Rxb7 Rxc3 26. Kf1 Rc2 27. a3 After this move, I don't think Black has any realistic winning chances. It takes too long to bring the king to the queenside to assist in promoting the passed pawn. Meanwhile White can create counterplay by advancing his kingside pawns or attacking Black's pawns with his king. 27...Rc3 Trying to activate the king with 27... Ke7 is met by 28. Rb4. 28. Ke2 Rxa3 28... c5 29. dxc5 dxc5 30. Rc7 doesn't seem to pose White much difficulty either 29. Rxc7 Rb3 30. Ra7 a3 31. h3 Better is 31. h4 or 31. g4. 31... Rb2+ After this, White has no difficulties at all. Maybe 31...g5 was probably the last try to a least try to proclaim a nominal advantage. Now, the White king becomes active and White has no further difficulties. 32. Ke3 a2 33. g4 d5 Taking the king over to the queenside also seems too slow. 33... Ke8 34. f3 (34. f4 d5 35. f5 Kd8) 34... Kd8 35. Ke4 Kc8 36. Kd5 Kb8] 34. h4 g5 35. hxg5 hxg5 36. f3 Even my final "trap" was nothing 36. f4 Rb3+ 37. Kf2 =, but not 37. Kd2 Rg3! followed by Rg1 The game ended in a draw a few moves later.

In the Kentucky Open, I had avoided being paired with any of my Tennessee Tempo teammates, but in the second round here, I had White versus Gainer Phay. We also reached a rook ending fairly early after 24...Rxd3

25. Rxb7 Kf8 Not wanting to allow me a passed d-pawn, but I think 25...a5 26. Rxe7 a4 is also good enough for a draw 26. Kg2 26. Ra6 Rxf3 27. e5 Rd3 28. d6 exd6 29. exd6 gets White his passed d-pawn and keeps Black's a-pawn fixed, but White would be a pawn down and it is unclear how to make further progress after 29... Rd3 26... a5 27. Ra4 Ra6 A good move preparing to activate the rook via f6. It seems that he has about equalized now, but I found an idea that gave him chance to err. 28. f4 Rf6 29. e5 Rf5 30. Rxa5 Rxf4 31. d6 e6 This surprised me. Bad was 31... Rd2 32. dxe7+ Kg7 33. Kg3 and either capture on f2 is met by 34. Ra3 stopping perpetual and he can't stop me from queening. However, 31... exd6 32. e6 Rd2 seems to secure the draw. White can promote to a knight with check after 33. e7+ Kg7 but it doesn't seem to make a difference. 32. d7 I was quite proud of this move during the game, as I believed it lead to a forced win. 32. Ra7+ Kg7 33. d7 Rd2 is once again a draw. 32... Rfd4? The point of not checking on a8 is revealed by 32... Rd2 33. Kg3 Rfxf2 34. d8=Q+ with check. However, it seems that Black still has a draw here with 32... Kg7! so maybe White needs to look for another 32nd move if there is a win to be had. 33. Ra8+ Kg7 34. Rbb8! [1:0] Threatening to promote and meeting 34...Rxd7 with 35. Rg8+ Kh7 36. Rh8+ Kg7 37. Rag7#

I played my best game in Round 3 with White against William Stewart. A pawn sacrifice in the opening gave me a lot of pressure and he eventually opted to give up the exchange. He did get the bishop pair along with the pawn as compensation and I was still trying to work out a winning plan when he blundered after 27. Nf3

I had just played Nf3-g5-f3 and he could have repeated the position with 27...Bf8 or played a useful move like 27...b6 Instead, 27...Nf7? He had been blitzing out his moves prior to this, only using 24 minutes for his first 26 moves, but he spent 12 minutes on this lemon. 28. Re1 Kf8 29. Bg7+ Kxg7 30. Rxe7 Bc6 31. Ne5 I thought this was slightly more accurate than 31. Ng5 Kf6 32. Rxf7+ Kxg5 33. Rxh7 which would let him keep his queenside pawn majority. 31... Bd5 Now, 31...Kf6 is met by 32. Nxc6 32. Nxf7 Kf6 33. Rc7 Bxf7 34. Rxb7 Bxa2 35. Rxa7 Bf7 36. Rc7 c4 37. Kf2 h5 38. Rxf7+ [1:0]

The next morning, I was up to Board 2, for my annual appointment with GM Serper. I even joked with him while we were waiting for our 3rd round opponents that they had given me two Whites in a row so that I would have Black against him in the morning. However, GM Becerra had lost earlier in the tournament, so Gregory was up on Board 1, while I had Black vs. IM Jonathan Schroer. We reached a standard Kings Indian position after 14. a3

Instead of the normal 14...c6 I decided to get creative. 14...Nc5?! 15. Qc2 a5? The consistent followup, but White has a simple refutation 15... c6 16. b4 Ncd7 (16... Ne6 17. Nxe5) is unpleasant, but at least it is still a game. 16. Nd5 Nxd5 17. cxd5 This was the hole in my calculations. I had considered Nd5 on the prior move when cxd5 leaves the e-pawn loose, Qc2 covered the e-pawn and I didn't recalculate Nd5 when playing a5. 17... b6 Although I've been sacrificing the exchange a lot recently, even the two bishops versus rook and knight position after 17... Na6 18. Bxa6 Rxa6 19. Bc5 Qd8 20. Bxf8 Kxf8 (20... Qxf8 21. Qxc7; 20... Bxf8 21. Nxe5) 21. Rac1 c6 22. Rfd1 didn't seem to hold any promise 17... Nd7 18. Qxc7 is also a massacre. After the text it is a positional rout. 18. Bxc5 White is clearly better and won without much difficulties.

In the final round I had Black against Tony Cao. After 16. Bg5

My original intention was 16... c5 intending to secure the d3 square for my knight. However, I spotted a combination 16...Nxe4 17. fxe4 Qg4 18. Bxd8 Qxd1+ 19. Qf1 Qxf1+ 20. Kxf1 Rxd8 21. Rxa6 It isn't clear that Black's combination brought him an advantage. True, he has a nice outpost on e5 for the knight and White has 3 pawn islands, but the White rook is quite active and the knight can route itself to d4. 21... g6 22. Na3 d5? This is a bit much to ask from the position. It is about equal after 22... c6 23. Nc2 Kg7 24. Nd4 Rc8 25. Ke2 Kf6 23. Nxb5 dxe4 24. Ke2! Much better than 24. Nxc7 Rd2 with counterplay. Black is now facing an uphill struggle to try to draw, but I eventually got there after some inaccuracies on his part.