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coffee mug     Coffee Break Chess
No. 3, 25th of February 1999

© 1999 by GM Alexander Baburin

Dear Chess Friends!

This is the 3rd issue of CBC and the whole project develops nicely: the list of readers grows fast and I am getting some new ideas for the future issues. Please advertise this newsletter among your chess friends - I will answer every inquiry about subscribing. Having more than 300 people on my mailing list, I now feel moral obligations to produce the newsletter on a regular base. This takes time, but I will try my best. Here I'd like to share with some chess information and also show one of my recent games.


The newsletter is best viewed with Internet Explorer 4. I fear that there are many people, who have problems reading diagrams. This is a pity and therefore I am considering making CBC also in PDF format - for viewing it with Adobe Acrobat Reader program. But this may require buying appropriate software (Acrobat Exchange), so I can't be sure when I'll do it.


Chess analysis contained in the newsletter is my original work, unless specified otherwise. I surely don't mind if people will use for it self-improvement, coaching, etc. They can also be posted on Web pages, as long as CBCs are not used it in printed publications without my permission and people do not charge for seeing it on line. Please feel free to post the newsletter on your Web site - just let me know about it and post my e-mail address there.

Chess Links

Recently I came across a few links, which you might like to check. For example I saw a Web site, which introduces many Ukrainian GMs, including the youngest GM in the world Ruslan Ponomariov. Check it at Then I went to Alexander Khalifman's "GM School". Alexander is not only a very strong GM, but he is also a very enterprising person - he's been an editor for a series of chess books and has been involved in Russian chess sites. If you'd like to see, for example, Khalifman's coverage of Linares'99, you can find his site at .

If you are interested in playing chess for norms, rating, etc., you may like to check or to contact Laszlo Nagy at He organises tournaments with FIDE rating and events with international norms. Laszlo will e-mail you his tournament program on request.

Humour In Chess

Most people like to laugh and I am no exception. There are many funny stories and anecdotes related to chess and I hope to make this 'humour corner' a permanent feature of CBC. Please send me your jokes and funny stories about chess - email me at and share them with other readers of CBC. Here comes our first story by English IM Chris Baker. We met last weekend in Bunratty and after I mentioned in a conversation US chess writer IM Jeremy Silman, Chris told me the following curious story:

Back in the mid-seventies I played in the London Evening Standard tournament and in the first round I had black against Jeremy, at that time he was already a strong 2300+ player while I was a spotty youth of around 2000 strength. The time control was relatively fast at 48 moves in 105 minutes followed by a 15 minute blitz finish and by move 21 we both had circa. 2-3 minutes left. As you can imagine with another 27 moves to play in the time left the "pace of the game" changed a little! We started to move at a great rate of knots, when all of a sudden a controller stepped in and took the clock stating that "You aren't allowed to play five minute chess in the tournament hall, especially with the tournament clocks!" By the time I got hold of him some 50 yards down the tournament hall and explained the situation my flag had gone - and he wanted to award my opponent a win on time! A certain amount of common sense eventually prevailed and a "higher authority" gave me "some time" and we restarted the game. To be perfectly honest by then "I'd gone" and the greater experience and composure of Jeremy came through, I seem to recall blundering a rook not long after we recommenced. Now my question goes - if controllers are there to save us from indiscretions and problems then who is there to save us from the controllers?! (Chris Baker)

Bunratty Open 1999

The tournament was won by GM Sergei Tiviakov, who now lives in Groningen, Holland. I know him since he was a little boy and meeting him in the Isle of Man last year, I told him about tournaments in Kilkenny and Bunratty, making those events even tougher. Yet, I believe that if you are afraid of competition, it's better now to play at all! Sergei was No. 1 on the starting list with his rating of 2627 and he was a bit luckier than the rest of us, scoring 5 out of 6 and pocketing IEP 500. A group of players finished on 4.5: 2-6. GMs K. Arkell (ENG) & A. Baburin (IRL), IM D. Gormally (ENG), FM M. Quinn (IRL) and Y. Rochev (RUS). The average rating of my opponents was 2376, which is not bad for a weekend tournament. I played there well enough and was quite happy with the result. The tournament attracted well over 200 people, who competed in various sections. The whole event was very enjoyable, thanks to local chess enthusiasts. Next year's tournament will take place in Bunratty on 18-20 of February; its details can be obtained from Gerry Graham at

Winning Pawn Structures (Batsford, 1999)

In Bunratty I learned from English chess journalist FM Tim Wall that my book is finally out. Tim told me that he was given a copy of the book for reviewing and that during the same day his copy was stolen in London metro. What can I say? People recognise good stuff when they see it! :-) Actually, we don't need Mr. Holmes case to catch the thief - just watch whose rating will sharply go up or drop down in the London area!

I am not a well-organised person, so it took me 3 long years to write that book. Not seeing any reviews yet, I am very pleased with its quality. :-) The book (256 pages) deals with Isolated d-Pawn, Hanging Pawns and the Isolated Pawn Couple (e.g. c6-d5). Working on the book proved to be beneficial for my chess, as my rating went up by about 100 points. Perhaps I should have tried to work on it a bit longer, aiming to play in Linares in 2000! :-)

Being a chess book dealer, I will certainly have many (autographed) copies of this book for sale. Details will follow shortly, but feel free to e-mail me now at if you would like to order a copy later.

Annotated Game

Now it's time for a game I played in Bunratty. I fear that after showing the game Szabo-Sigurjonsson, 1968 in CBC No. 2, my own game will look extremely dry. Yet, this is how I play chess and there is little I can do about it. It's well known that instructive games rarely occur between players of similar calibre - Kasparov may beat someone like Topalov brilliantly, but that may not be too instructive. It usually takes a gap in rating to produce games, which can be used as mini lessons. The following game may be a good example, as there reasonably strong GM (White) was playing vs. strong amateur (Black). If you will look at this game in Chess Base, if may be best to watch in 'training' mode (for notation).

Alexander Baburin (2586) - Mel O'Cinneide (2281) [E36]
Bunratty Open (2), 20.02.1999

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 (D)



6...0-0 This move is too simplistic, although I found surprisingly many games in Mega99 database, where Black employed it. The problem with the text is that it allows Bg5, which minimises Black's chances for immediate counter-play. In this variation Black has to use his better development by playing 6...Ne4 7 Qc2 and then either 7.c5 or 7.Nc6, followed by 8...e5. The only worthy alternative to those plans is Short's innovation - 6...dxc4 7 Qxc4 b6!?. In the game Baburin-Short, Isle of Man 1998, after 8 Bf4 Ba6 9 Qxc7 Qxc7 10 Bxc7 Nc6 11 Nf3 Rc8 12 Be5 Nxe5 13 dxe5 Nd7 14 b4 Bb7 Black obtained equal chances. Nowadays opening novelties become available for other interested players very quickly, thanks to the Internet. Shortly after that game, it was no one less than Kasparov, who used Short's idea. After 8 Nf3 Ba6 9 Qc2 Nbd7 10 Bg5 0-0 11 e4 Bxf1 12 Rxf1 h6 13 Bxf6 Nxf6 14 0-0-0 Rc8 15 Kb1 Qe7 16 Rfe1 Black eventually won in the game Kramnik-Kasparov, Moscow 1998. Later in Vera-Davies, Saint Vincent 1999, Black deviated with 12...Qe8 13 0-0-0 c5 14 d5 exd5 15 Bxf6 dxe4 16 Bc3 exf3 and he also won (though with a bit of luck). I believe that there will be more games played in this line, though I feel that White will find a way to secure an edge soon.

7 Bg5 Nbd7 Now White has wide and pleasant choice - moves like 8 Nf3, 8 Rc1 or 8 e3 all look good. The idea of my next move is to fix pawn formation in the centre, thus depriving Black any chance to play ...dxc4 and ...b6. 8 cxd5!? exd5 9 e3 Re8 10 Bd3 Nf8 11 Nf3 (D)



Now White threatens to play Bxf6, ruining Black's pawn formation on the kingside. Thus, Black had to play 11...c6. Here come my questions:


  1. What kind of plan would be available for White then?
  2. What kind of play should Black opt for?
  3. How should White continue after 11...c6?

Take a break here and think, while finishing your coffee - then come back to chess! :-)


Here come my answers:


  1. After 11...c6 White will probably go for the minority attack with b2-b4-b5. He can also play in the centre with Ne5 & f2-f4. Also the possibility of 0-0-0 and attack on the kingside should not be ruled out.
  2. Black's best plan is to play ...Ng6 and ...h6, hunting the g5-bishop.
  3. White should prepare to meet that plan with 12 Qc2! Ng6 13 h4!?, followed by 0-0-0. Also possible is 12 0-0 Ng6 13 Qc2, as then 13...h6?! can be met with 14 Bxh6! gxh6 (14...Ne4 15 Bf4 Nxf4 16 exf4 Qf6 17 g3 leaves White with extra pawn.) 15 Bxg6 fxg6 16 Qxg6+ Kh8 17 Ne5! Be6 18 f4 with very strong attack. However, after 13...Bg4! Black might be just OK and therefore 12 Qc2! & 13 h4 is better.

12 Bxf6! Trading one advantage (two bishops) for another (better pawn structure). 12...gxf6 13 0-0 Ng6 14 Rfc1 The other rook can be useful on the a-file. Besides of this, the f1-square might be needed for White's minor pieces. 14...c6 15 b4 a6 16 a4 Bg4 17 Nd2 Nh4 (D)



Here doubled pawns on the f-file deprive Black his 'normal play with rook lift (...Re8-e6-g6). Here I decided to avoid moves like Qc5, as with the queens on the board Black will always have to think about his king's safety, for example break in the centre with e3-e4 might be possible at some stage. 18 b5 The sooner White will start playing on the queenside, the better! Otherwise Black might get some play after ...Kh8 and ...Rg8. 18...axb5 19 axb5 Rac8 20 bxc6 bxc6 21 Ra6 Bd7 22 g3 Ng6 23 Nb3 Black is lost. 23...Re7 24 Nc5 This is better than the direct attempt to with the c6-pawn with 24 Na5. This dilemma - whether to attack/win a backward pawn or to blockade it - is a very common one, particularly in positions with the isolated d-pawn. 24...Be8 25 Rca1 White's plan is simple - he wants to exchange one pair of rooks and the to invade along the 8th rank with his major pieces. It might be possible to attack the c6-pawn with Bd3-c2-a4 later. 25...h5?! This creates yet another weakness, but it's hard to sit idle... 26 Bf5 Rb8 27 h4 Kg7 28 Ra8 Nf8 Now Black wants to challenge White's glorious knight with ...Ne6, so White should stop it. 29 Bc2! (D)



By shifting the pieces on the b1-h7 diagonal, White makes sure that Black's knight stays passive on f8. 29...Qd8 30 Rxb8 Qxb8 31 Qd3 Qc8 32 Qe2 Kh6 33 Qf3 That was a funny little manoeuvre - Qc3-d3-e2-f3. 33...Kg7 34 Qxh5 Bd7 35 Nxd7 Qxd7 36 Ra8 Re8 37 Rxe8 Qxe8 38 Qg4+ Kh8 39 Qf4 Qe7 40 h5 Nh7? 41 Qh6 1-0

More chess material will come soon - stay tuned! Your comments & suggestions are very welcome - please e-mail me at However, please avoid using 'Reply to Author' function with CBC, as that sends the newsletter back to me. Then it takes long time to download if there are many messages like this. It also makes it harder to print out your message later on.

With best regards,

Alexander Baburin, Dublin.

PS Today I learned that my server does not allow sending messages to more than 25 e-mail addresses at the same time. So, it's possible that many of the people on my list did not receive CBC-1 and CBC-2. Thus, I have to send them again - sorry for any inconvenience causes.

Alexander Baburin, Dublin.

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

The recipient is granted a limited license to re-send this Newsletter to another in electronic form, or post it on an electronic bulletin, board or World Wide Web site, as long as no fee is charged for such reproduction. Any such reproduction must contain this license and acknowledge the author's copyright. Such reproduction does not waive any rights to future reproduction by the copyright holder.