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coffee mug     Coffee Break Chess
No. 4, 6th of March 1999

© 1999 by GM Alexander Baburin

Dear Chess Friends!

This is the forth issue of my newsletter and from now on I plan to release CBC once a week, most likely on Fridays. Of course, sometimes I might fail to do so, for example, when I will travel. Before I proceed with some talk, let's have a look at the following position. Can you spot the best continuation (Black to play)?




White: Kh1, Qa1, Re1, Rf2, Na4, Ba6, Bc3, pawns b4, e4, f3, h2.

Black: Kg8, Qh3, Nf4, Nh5, Be7, Rb8, Rd8, pawns a7, f7, g7, h7. Black to play.

Ready? Then click here to check the answer

My Mailing List

IMPORTANT - please read carefully!! CBC community has grown beyond my personal E-mail capability and I am moving my mailing list to the Web. There everyone can join the list or to unsubscribe to CBC, which should allow me more time to concentrate on chess contents of the newsletter. Please note that your name can't be viewed by other readers and that only I can post to the list. Also, it's should be rather safe to give your e-mail address to that list. Here is some information on how you can join the list:

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Technical Support

If you have any technical problems regarding CBC, please contact Igor Yagolnitser at I am very grateful to Igor for the help he provides to this project.

Future of CBC

Will it go commercial? Here I would like to share my ideas about the CBC project, which is still in its nappies. Recently I saw an ad on the Web about chess newsletter, planned by US IM. Apparently, his newsletter will not be free and this is fair enough, as chess professionals need to make living too. I guess that there are many on-line publications like this already and that their number will grow. This is certainly good for chess, as more and more strong players will be able to share their knowledge with wider audience and to get some income from doing this. I suspect that many of my readers anticipate that very soon CBC will go commercial too. I'd like to assure you that this will not happen, at least not in the next few months! Introducing a subscription fee would cut off many people in various parts of the world and I do not want to do it. Of course, free CBC does not mean that I won Irish Lottery last week and therefore no longer need money. As working on CBC takes a lot of my time, I would be grateful if its readers will support this project by buying chess books, which I will offer in CBC from time to time. In the future I might be also interested in giving lectures and simuls in clubs, as well as in on-line lessons to individual students - if you have some ideas or suggestions, please e-mail me at Also, please encourage your chess friends to subscribe to the newsletter.

Coffee Break Chess on the Web

If you view the newsletter with Internet Explorer 4 & MS Outlook Express, you probably see everything quite well. For those who have problems seeing it from their e-mail box, now there is a simple solution, thanks to Ralph Marconi from Canada. Simply go to and enjoy CBC on line! This may be the best way to view the back issues of CBC. Yet, even if you prefer to see CBC there, please do not rush to leave my mailing list, as one extra e-mail a week should not be a big problem for anyone.

Chess Links

Ralph Marconi's home page might be of particular interest for those who play correspondence chess - visit it at Another useful link for CC fans is Tim Harding's Web page: Tim publishes 'Chess Mail' magazine and has written many chess books. Although I am not a big fan on CC, as I lack both patience and discipline, I contribute to his magazine from time to time. Tim was a technical editor for my book 'Winning Pawn Structures' and I suspect that sometimes I drove him crazy with my frequent changes to the text of that book. There is one site which I visit at least once a week - Mark Crowther's TWIC. It's a great site for news and downloads - you can see it at

Annotated Game

Now it's time for more chess. The game Baburin-O'Cinneide, which I showed in CBC-3, got favourable reception from many readers, as they found it quite instructive. Thus, I've been asked to show more games of that kind. While I will certainly keep providing annotated games, I can't promise that all of them will be equally instructive - my selection is very subjective! :) Anyway, here is yet another game, which soon should appear in 'Kingpin' magazine and might also appear in 'Inside Chess'. Naturally, I annotated that game from different prospective for those two periodicals. For those who never heard of 'Kingpin', here is what its editor - Jonathan Manley - has to say about it: "Kingpin is a forum where anyone can write anything about chess, with an emphasis on humour and entertainment. I am always looking for contributors." For your free sample copy of the magazine e-mail Jonathan at

Here comes the game, which I would like to show. It was played in the 8th round of the strong open, which took place in Vienna in October-November 1998. At that time two leaders were on +5, while a whole pack of players with +4 tried to catch up with them. It's well know that in big opens it's necessary to score 7 out of 9 or more, if you want that the closing ceremony to coincide with a pay-day for you. Both my opponent and I were fully aware of this necessity, but how to reach this objective is another matter. Usually, the player with White pieces feels more obliged to press for a win in such circumstances, knowing that in the next game he will have Black. This gives Black chances too, as White might push just a little too hard. Yet, my preparation for the game was not very encouraging - I quickly learned that my opponent - GM Vladimir Epishin, who now resides in Germany - has a very solid repertoire. With White he follows Karpov's systems, which reflects the fact that he was one of Karpov's seconds. For me that meant that grabbing the c4-pawn on move 2 would be met with 3 e4. I quickly refreshed my (poor) memory with the help of Chess Base and went to the game, wondering whether my QGA would pass the test. Fortunately, a very pleasant surprise was awaiting me...

Vladimir Epishin (2580) - Alexander Baburin (2590) [D20]
Vienna Open (8), 01.11.1998

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e4 Nc6 4 Be3 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 d5 Na5 7 Nf3 Bd6 This is Matthew Sadler's idea. White have not been particularly lucky in this line. Another possible move here is 7...a6. The following game is important for this line: 8 Nxe5 b5 9 Be2 Bb4 10 Qd4 0-0 11 0-0 Qe7 12 Nf3 c5 13 Qe5! Qxe5 14 Nxe5 Bxc3 15 bxc3 Nxe4 16 Bf3 f5?! 17 Bxe4 fxe4 18 Bxc5 Re8 19 f4 exf3 20 Nxf3 Nb7 21 Ba3±, Epishin-Lugovoi, St. Petersburg 1996. 8 Qa4+ Bd7! 9 Qxa5 a6




This is the point of Sadler's 7...Bd6 - White has to be careful not to lose his queen. The game where the move 7...Bd6 was tested for the first time went exceptionally well for Black - 10 Nb1? Nxe4 11 Kd1? c3 and here in the game Illescas-Sadler, Linares zt 1995, White resigned, being disgusted with his position. The position arising after the further 12 b4 b6 13 Qa3 a5 looks so ugly for White, that his early resignation is understandable. Here is a more recent example of White's suffering in this line - 10 Ne2 Nxe4 11 0-0-0 c3 12 b4 b6 13 Qa3 a5 14 Qb3 axb4 15 Qc4 f5 16 Kb1 Ra4 17 Qd3 Qa8 and White resigned in Joyce-Baburin, Bunratty Masters 1999. After 10 Bxc4 b6 11 Qxa6 Rxa6 12 Bxa6 0-0 13 0-0 Ng4 14 Bd2 f5 15 exf5 Bxf5 16 h3 Nf6 White was lucky to draw in the game Karpov-Lautier, Monaco rapid 1996. Also 10 Na4 b6 11 Nxb6 cxb6 12 Bxb6 Qe7 13 a3 c3 14 bxc3 Nxe4 gave Black enough compensation for a pawn in the game Stocek-Gonzalez Garcia, Koszeg 1997. GM Lubomir Ftachnik and Fritz 5 (you can check this!) strongly advocate here the move 10 b4, claiming that after 10...b6 11 Qa3 a5 12 Qc1 axb4 13 Ne2 White is winning. What can I say... Epishin tries the move, which he invented recently: 10 Bc5? b6 11 Bxd6 bxa5 12 Ba3




It's a very creative idea to sacrifice a queen for just 2 minor pieces, but I think that this idea does not work. During my preparation I saw the game Epishin-Vaulin, Maikop 1998, which went: 12...Rb8 13 Nxe5 Rb4 14 Bxc4 0-0 15 b3 Re8 16 f4 g5! And Black eventually won. I guessed that 10 Bc5? was just a one-off idea and that it would never be repeated. Yet, I took a few minutes with my German friend (his name is Fritz) to check the position after 12 Ba3. Fritz 5 quickly came up with 12...Bb5. I saw that 13 Nxe5? Nxe4! loses for White, found that in the meantime Black wants to play ...Nd7 and ...f6, so I was happy enough. I did not think that this position would happen in our game, but this is exactly what Epishin opted for!

12...Bb5 13 b3 This move was played instantly and it looked like Epishin was very happy with his preparation. It was time to start thinking on my own. 13...Nxe4!? This is probably the best, but 13...cxb3 14 Nxb5 Nxe4 is not bad for Black either. Another option is 13...Nh5, trying to hold on to the material. 14 Nxe4 cxb3 15 0-0-0? Better was 15 Nc3 although after 15...Rb8 White needs good advice, for example: 16 Nxe5 Qf6 17 Bxb5+ axb5 18 0-0 b4 19 Nc6 0-0 and Black wins. 15...bxa2




This is quite a spectacular position - not very often Black's d-pawn makes it to a2! For me this is yet another proof that QGA is better than, let's say, King's Indian! It's important to note that Black has managed to get what is known as the Irish Pawn Centre. This term was coined by Tony Miles in the late 70s. Though such pawns tend to be weak and don't live long, they provide some advantages too. As Eamon Keogh - Irish player, in whose games IPC happened a few times - put it: "You might get an awful lot of open files in such positions!". Here it's also true and Black might benefit from the b-file, but first he has to take care of his king. For those who like accuracy, I must say that as my a-pawns are not central, it might be more accurate to call them 'Irish Pawn Chain'. 16 Kb2 f6! After the forthcoming ...Kf7 Black will unite his rooks and make artificial castling. Black's pawns on f6 and e5 limit White's pieces greatly - once Black's king goes into a safe haven, the a3-bishop and the f3-knight will be practically useless. 17 Kxa2 Kf7 18 Rd2 Qd7 19 Bxb5 axb5




Now Black's pawns on the queenside are lined up again and ready to advance. 20 Rc1 b4 21 Bb2 Rhd8! 22 Rc6 Kg8 The rest is agony. 23 Nc5 Qg4 24 Ne6 Qxg2! This is the most energetic way to finish the game. 25 Nxd8 Rxd8 26 Ne1 Qe4 27 Rc1 a4




28 f3 Qe3 29 Rcd1 Qb3+ 30 Ka1 a3 31 Bc1 Qc3+ 32 Kb1 Ra8 0-1

As White cannot prevent 33...b3 or 33...a2+, he resigned. After drawing my next game, I tied for 2nd with 7 out of 9 with GMs Ibragimov, Smirin and Golod. The tournament was won by GM Igor Glek, who scored 7.5 points. Austria was the first Western country, which I visited (back in 1991) and I used to play there quite often. Of course, chess players cannot see as much as 'normal' tourists, but it was nice to come back to Vienna, a truly beautiful city. There I met again my old friend Hartmuth Beck and enjoyed the company of GMs Lev Psakhis, Peter Wells and Ilya Smirin - we often went together for walks and to some Chinese and Italian restaurants. I really look forward both to coming back to Vienna and seeing those guys again!


In the game Daly-Rochev, Bunratty 1999, Black played 28...Bh4 and won. However, he missed a neat checkmate: 28...Ng3+ 29 Kg1 Qg2+ 30 Rxg2 Nh3#. This reminds me of the following position I witnessed a few years ago:




White: Kh1, Qg5, Ng2, Ng3, pawns a5, h5. Black: Kh7, Nf2, Nf3, Bc6, pawns a6, f7, g7. This spectacular position occurred after 46.Nf2# in the game Cladouras - D. Gurevich, Biel open 1992. Click here to come back to the top of the issue.

This is it for now - stay tuned and recommend Coffee Break Chess to your friends!

Alexander Baburin, Dublin.

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

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