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coffee mug     Coffee Break Chess
No. 2, 17th of February 1999

© 1999 by GM Alexander Baburin

The first issue of CBC received quite positive response and I hope that with the help of my readers the whole project will take off nicely. Please recommend this newsletter to your friends - I will try to deal with every request.

While in CBC No. 1 we looked at some endings, here I would like to show a middle game position. Now, when hundreds of grandmaster games played every month (if not every week!), it is very easy to get lost in this ocean of chess information and to overlook some beautiful games. It was somewhat different when I was a junior - I used to browse through various magazines, playing over games on my chess set and putting the most interesting games or fragments in my copybooks. A computer display has replaced that set since then, but I still look into my "treasure" copybooks once in a while. Here is an example from one of them:

Laszlo Szabo - Gudmundur Sigurjonsson
Reykjavik 1968




White: Kg1, Qc2, Re1, Rf1, Bd2, Be2, Nb3, Nc3, pawns on a3, b4, e3, f2, g2, h2.

Black: Kg8, Qd7, Rc8, Re8, Bb7, Bb8, Ne5, Nf6, pawns on a6, b5, c6, f7, g7, h6.

Black to play.

After just a brief look at this position we can get a feeling that Black must have something here, as all White's pieces are far away of their king. Yet, it's not easy to find a right way to play for Black, as he has his problems too - namely, the c5-square and the idle bishop on b7. So, how should Black continue?

I hope that this position will be interesting for both club players and GMs alike. While you think of this puzzle, I'd like to talk about various aspects of CBC.

Computer problems. Some readers of CBC-1 could not see diagrams properly, which is quite annoying, of course. This seems to be a problem with compatibility (or rather incompatibility!) of our software. I use Internet Explorer 4 and MS Outlook Express, which comes with it. Those, who have the same software, should see the diagrams and be able to print them straight from the mailbox. Not being a computer wizard, I can only say that we have to live with some of these problems. Note that sending the newsletter as an attached Word file won't help, as then diagrams in HTML get lost, unless I also send a whole bunch of gif files. But if I use True Type fonts, many won't be able to see those either, as they may not have fonts for diagrams.

Format of the attachments. From now on I will attach Chess Base files in cbv format (Chess Base archive), as Chess Base Light is freely available from

Will I create my Web site? Many people suggested this and probably I will have my Web site at some point. Yet I believe that a Web page and a newsletter supplement each other quite nicely, so I intend to produce the newsletter for a long time.

My English. My command of English is less than perfect, but as I never claimed to be a linguist, I do not care much, as long as people can understand me. Unlike some other Russian chess emigrants, I do not pretend to think or dream in English. Russian is my first language and I am quite happy with that. I edit my newsletter myself and you might be able to see this, despite my extensive use of a spell-checker.

My tournament plans. This weekend I am off to Bunratty - a nice place in the West of Ireland, near Limerick and Shannon Airport. There is a very old (12th century, I believe) castle there, which is extremely popular among American tourists. I heard a story that one of them said that it was very clever to build a castle that close to the neighbouring motorway! The latter is a highway, if you live in US or an autobahn, if you reside in Germany! In Russia we call it 'avtostrada' (it sounds Italian), even though I am not aware of many such things, existing in my motherland.

Anyway, there is an annual and very nice tournament there. You can obtain some details from either from Gerry Graham or Ted Jennings, if you contact them at If you don't play there this year, perhaps you can make it there later - I recommend this tournament.

The tournament is also very strong, featuring every year several British GMs and yours truly. This year the top seeds are GMs Tiviakov, Baburin, Keen and Arkell. I will keep you posted about the results and also might have a game or two from that event in CBCs.

Now let's talk a little about chess and music. I often enjoy listening to the musical 'Chess', but apart from that work, there are not many songs about chess. Thus, I was particularly pleased to receive yesterday a birthday present from a friend in US - CD called 'Deeper Blues', with no less than 12 songs on chess! They were quite interesting - nice humour. If this is of interest to you, you can check out this site:


Now let's come back to our position - please compare your thoughts and ideas with what actually happened in the game:




21...c5!! Splendidly played! Black brings the b7-bishop to life, not minding to sacrifice some material for it. Here Silicon Mind (Fritz 5 in this case) favours 21...Ba7 and 21...Neg4. Both moves are good, but they are hardly decisive, for example after 21...Neg4 22 Bxg4 Nxg4 23 f4 Ba7 24 Nc5 Bxc5 25 bxc5 White is holding on and may count on the opposite squared bishops. 22 Nxc5 Rxc5 23 bxc5 Nf3+! (D)




One, hardly a very welcome guest has arrived to White's kingside. 24 Bxf3 Bxf3 Yet another annoying piece has landed on f3. 25 Ne2 This is White's best try, as he needs to cover his kingside. Obviously, 25 gxf3? loses on the spot to 25...Qh3 26 f4 Ng4, but 25 h3 does not save White either - after 25...Qc7! 26 g3 Qd7! 27 Kh2 Re5! (threatening 28...Qxh3+!) 28 h4 Rh5 Black's attack succeeds. 25...Ne4!! (D)




This is 'quiet' move make the whole idea with 21...c5!! particularly impressive, as Black had to trust that his attack would not fade away after 24 Ne2. Now White loses in all variations. 26 Ng3 This move loses prosaically. Computer suggests 26 Nd4 here, but this allows a number of sacrifices: 26...Bxh2+! 27 Kxh2 (27 Kh1 Bxg2+! 28 Kxg2 Qg4+ 29 Kh1 Qh3 isn't any better for White) 27...Bxg2! This is standard, but still quite beautiful. 28 Kxg2 Qg4+ 29 Kh1 Re5 winning. Computer also comes up with a witty reply - 26 Ba5. The point is that the bishop is no longer hanging and the c7-square is now under control. Yet, this move does not help White after 26...Ng5 (threatening nothing less but 27...Qh3!!) 27 Nf4 Qg4 and Black's attack is unstoppable - the threats of 28...Bxf4 or 28...Nh3+ cannot be met satisfactorily. 26...Nxd2 27 gxf3 Nxf3+ 28 Kg2 Qc6 29 e4 Nxe1+ 30 Rxe1 Bxg3 31 hxg3 Re5 (D)




The fire-works are over and Black is going to be rewarded with a healthy extra pawn.


32 Rd1 Rxc5 33 Rd8+ Kh7 34 Qe2 f5 35 Rd4 Rc4 36 Rxc4 Qxc4 37 Qxc4 bxc4 38 Kf3 g5 39 exf5 h5 40 Ke4 c3 (D)




As Black's pawns on the c- and h- files cannot be stopped, White resigned. 0-1

A beautiful game by Icelandic GM who, according to Chess Base's Player's Encyclopaedia, has been inactive (what a pity!) in chess since 1988.

This is it for now - stay tuned! If you have any questions or suggestions, please e-mail me at - your comments are always welcome!

With best regards,

Alexander Baburin, Dublin.

Copyright © 1999 by GM Alexander Baburin. All rights reserved.

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