© 1999,2000 by GM Alexander Baburin
As I've got caught between a lot of travelling, computer crashes and writing various articles, this issue is going to be on the light side. Here I will show a couple of curious games, which I played in St. Vincent (Italy) in February and cover some news.
CBC is one year old! Time really does fly - it seems that only recently I wrote that first issue, but now a whole year is gone, making CBC quite a mature publication. When I started my newsletter, I simply wanted to share some of my analysis with my friends. I suspected that some of it might be interested to a wider chess public too. Yet the reality was much more exiting than I could possibly hope for - in the last year I got in touch with more chess players and fans than in my whole previous career! Now the newsletter is hosted on a dozen of sites and is translated into Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Italian. I'd like to thank everyone who contacted me about CBC - your feedback has been very encouraging and I hope to keep CBC coming. Of course, I do not expect everyone to read every single issue, but if you enjoy at least some of them, my mission is accomplished!
There are many important developments in the chess world now and I hope to cover them in some detail soon. New in Chess published a hilarious article called 'Beijing 2024' in its last issue of 1999. This article (by somebody called Caissandra) is a brilliant parody on trends in modern chess - don't miss it! In general, I believe that at present NiC is the best chess magazine around, with good balance between analysis, interviews, stories and debates. One of them - a letter from Mark Dvoretsky (NiC No. 8/1999, page 8) - reminded me about my own bitter experience with Batsford. As this story is better known to chess professionals than to the general public perhaps some explanation is in order.
For many years Batsford was a very successful chess publisher, but things started to go wrong about 1-2 years ago. Last year it went into receivership, not paying royalties properly to many of its authors. Dvoretsky is not happy that the company, which bought Batsford from the receiver - Chrysalis Books Ltd., claims intellectual property to his works, written for Batsford. Although Batsford seem to forfeit its contracts with many writers, it maybe difficult (and costly) for them to challenge the current situation, particularly when many of them do not even live in UK. Dvoretsky recommends readers not to by his Batsford books and I'd like make a similar request. Although I hear many very positive things about my book Winning Pawn Structures (except for the title, but I had no control there!), I ask you NOT to buy it, should Chrysalis Books Ltd. reprint WPS (they no longer have it in stock). I was badly hurt by the old Batsford and simply do not want to have anything to do with its new owners. Batsford paid me only an advance (after much chasing!), sold lots of copies of my book and disappeared. Too bad, but then I thought that I least I would be the sole owner of my book. Apparently, not quite so. I heard that acquisitions like that are common in UK, but one still wonders how Batsford passed to its buyers intellectual rights, which Batsford itself had not paid for in full... Chrysalis kindly informed me that they saw a great potential for Batsford and that I would be delighted when they appoint their chess editor. I wonder why I am no so delighted...
Maybe this is because I believe that there is an emotional side in every business and it is equally important as a financial side. Thus, although Chrysalis Books Ltd. is going to pay for the copies of WPS, which they got in stock and for any further editions, I still repeat: DO NOT buy my book, as its painful for me even to see the name Batsford. I will certainly not write anything for Chrysalis, who counts me as their author using some technicalities. WPS was meant to be volume 1 of a much broader project, but I will not write any continuation for this publisher. Should I get my rights back, maybe I will continue this work. Fortunately, Batsford/Chrysalis is not the only publisher around.
If you wonder why books like this are uncommon, look at my story: end users will pay about $85,000 for my book, but its author got only about $1,600 so far. Yet, the book took many months of hard work to complete. In fact, it was much delayed, but one can hardly live and work on $400, which I received from Batsford as first payment. The book was printed in 1999, but Batsford mistakenly marked it 1998, which deprived the book a chance to be even considered for any book reward. To finish this story, I would like to advise new chess authors: write your (first) book not for the sake of money (as usually you won't get much), but to contribute something valuable to chess. Maybe you'll be luckier than I with your publisher!
The tournament in St. Vincent was very strong. I missed winning chances in a few games and finished half of point behind the winners. GMs Novikov, Razuvaev, Komarov, Hamdouchi, Tiviakov, Dorfman and Nevednichy all scored 6.5 out of 9. Here are two of my games from the event:
V. Lazarev (2493) - A. Baburin (2591) Open Saint Vincent (7), 18.02.2000
1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6 3 a3 Bb7 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Nf3 d5 6 Bg5 dxc4 7 Qa4+ Nbd7 8 Qxc4?! Be7 9 e3 0-0 10 Rd1?!
White is preparing for ...c5, but Black has other plans. 10...a6! 11 Be2 b5 12 Qa2?! Nd5 13 Bxe7 Qxe7 14 Rc1 c5 15 dxc5 Nxc5 16 0-0 Rac8 17 Rfd1 h6!
Black stands better and such quiet moves are particularly unpleasant for White here. 18 h3 Qf6 19 Rd4? (D)
19...Ne4! 20 Qb3 Ndxc3 21 bxc3 e5 22 Rdd1 Nxf2! 23 Kxf2 e4 24 Rd4 exf3 25 gxf3 Qe5 26 f4 Qf6 27 Rg1 Rfd8! (D)
White's d4-rook cemented his position, so it must be eliminated! 28 a4 Rxd4 29 cxd4 Be4 30 Bd1
Or 30 axb5 Qh4+ 31 Rg3 Rc2 and White cannot stop 32...Rxe2. 30...Qh4+ 31 Rg3 Rc6 32 axb5 Rg6 33 Bg4 Rxg4! 0-1
H. Hamdouchi (2513) - A. Baburin (2591) Open Saint Vincent (5), 16.02.2000
1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 Be2 e6 6 h3 Bh5 7 c4 Nb6 8 exd6 cxd6 9 Nc3 Be7 10 d5 e5 11 g4 Bg6 12 h4 h5 13 g5 N8d7 14 Be3 Rc8 15 b3 Nc5 16 Rg1 Nbd7 17 b4 e4 18 Nd2 Nd3+ 19 Kf1 Nxb4 20 Ndxe4 0-0 21 Bd4 Re8 22 a3 Na6 23 Bxh5 Rxc4 24 Be2 Qc8 25 h5 Bf5 26 Rg3 Bf8 27 Re3 Nb6? 28 Bxb6 Rcxe4 29 Nxe4 Bxe4 30 Bxa7 Qf5 31 Qd4 Nc5 32 Rg3 Bxd5 33 Bg4 Qxg5 34 Bf3 (D)
This tense position arose in a time trouble. White (reasonably) expected here 34...Qe5 35 Qxe5 Rxe5 36 Bxc5 dxc5 37 Bxd5 Rxd5 38 Rb1, where he would have good winning chances. Unfortunately for him, I simply did not see 34...Qe5, so my next move was had a strong psychological effect on him:
34...Qxg3!? 35 fxg3 Bxf3 36 Bxc5 dxc5 37 Qf4? Bxh5 38 Re1 Rxe1+ 39 Kxe1 Bg6 40 a4 Bd3 41 a5 Bb5 42 Qc7 Ba6 43 g4 g6 44 g5 c4 45 Kd2 Bb4+ 46 Kc2 Kg7 47 Qd8 Kh7 48 Qf6 Kg8 (D) 1/2-1/2
The final position is a curious fortress. All Black needs to do is to ward off White's king from the f6-square. This he can achieve. Black's c4-pawn acts as a useful shelter for his bishop.
Soon I will play in the US Masters and the National Open in US. Hopefully I'll have more interesting stuff after those tournaments - stay tuned!
Copyright © 1999,2000 by GM Alexander Baburin. All rights reserved.
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