Lenk, Switzerland 2000
The Lenk swiss was a very pleasant event that also featured Attila Groszpeter, Andrey Sokolov, and others. I was working for Roche Pharma at the time in Basel Switzerland so it was a matter of a few Alpine train rides for me to get there. Here is a photo I took that shows the nice view from the playing lodge.
View from the Playing Lodge, Lenk, Switzerland, 2000
Here are veteran warriors GM Florin Gheorghiu (ROM) and GM Vladimir Tukmakov (UKR) doing battle in the Lenk swiss tournament, 2000. Of course, I need to dig up the Gheorghiu-Tukmakov game score for completeness. Maybe a reader has it.
Gheorghiu (left) – Tukmakov, Lenk, 2000
Here are 2 Lenk games I played.
GM Attila Groszpeter (HUN) – IM M. Ginsburg Sicilian Kan
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Nb3 Qc7 7. O-O Nf6 8. Kh1 Be7 9. f4 d6 10. Nc3 I personally like moving the c-pawn to c4 before the knight comes to c3.
10…Nc6 11. Qf3 O-O 12. Bd2 Bd7 13. Rae1 Nb4! It is always a good idea to get rid of the dangerous bishop on d3. In this case it works because 14. Nb5? opens up the a-file and white’s pawn on a2 will hang.
Position after 13…Nb4! Black has come out of the opening well.
14. Nd1 Nxd3 15. cxd3 a5 16. Ne3 a4 17. Nd4 White’s pieces look a little clumsy. Black has to figure out how to use his light squared bishop effectively.
17…a3 18. b3 Qb6 19. Ndc2 Qa6 20. Qe2 Bb5 Black seems to be doing good things but white has his chances.
21. Nb4 Qb6 22. Nc4 Qd8 23. Bc3
Position after 23. Bc3. Decision Time.
23…d5!? Leads to very sharp play. There is also 23… Re8 24. f5 exf5!? 25. Rxf5 Bd7! 26. Rff1 Be6! with a balanced game.
24. exd5 Nxd5 25. Nxd5 Qxd5 26. Qg4 g6 27. Qh3
Position after 27. Qh3. I step on a land mine.
27…Rad8? Black is careless and allows a strong breakthrough. Correct is 27… Qf5! and black is fine. It looks a little scary, but after 28. Qxf5 gxf5 29. Rf3 h5! (necessary to give the king some breathing room) 30. Rg3+ Kh7 31. Rg7+ Kh6 32. Re3 Rad8 33. Rh3?! (33. Rgg3! Kh7! to get out of the way of 34. Bg7; 34. Rh3 h4! and it’s equal) 33…Be8 34. Nb6 Bc6 35. Nc4 Rg8, black is even better.
28. f5! Of course. White is now on the attack.
28…Bg5 The problem is that black can’t play 28…Qxd3? 29. Rf3! Qd1 (nothing else) 30. fxg6 and white wins.
29. Qg3 Be7 30. f6 Bc5 31. Re5 Bxc4 This move is forced. During the game, I thought I had chances. But white is clearly winning.
32. Rxd5 Bxd5 33. Be5? The computer rudely points out 33. Qf4! which wins. There might follow 33…Rfe8 34. Bb4!! winning the a-pawn and the game after the technical 33…Bxb4 35. Qxb4 Bc6 36. Qxa3 Rxd3 37. Qc1 Rh3 38. Kg1 Rh5 39. a4. The text lets black struggle on.
33… Rfe8 34. h3 Bc6 35. d4 Bb4 36. Qe3 Bd5 37. Rc1 Rc8 38. Kh2 Rc6? Black should try 38…Ra8 to keep all the rooks on.
39. Rxc6 Bxc6 40. Qf4 White is winning again but it will need work.
40…Rd8?? In slight time trouble, black makes a bad blunder. He needed to play 40…Bd5 to keep a blockade. The variations now are instructive: 40… Bd5 41. Bd6! Bxd6 42. Qxd6 Ra8 (forced) 43. Qf4 Kh8 44. g4 Rc8 45. Qd6 Ra8 46. h4 h6! (Quite nice is the white king march after 46…Kg8 47. Kg3 Kh8 48. Kf4 Kg8 49. Qc7 Kh8 50. Ke5 Kg8 51. Qc1 Kh8 52. Kd6 Bc6 53. Qh6 Rg8 54. Ke7 Be8 55. Qc1 and wins) 47. Kg3 Kg8 48. Qc7 Bc6 and here black has quite an optically solid blockade. White’s king can travel all over the board, but how does he make progress? The answer is nice: 49. Kf4! Bd5
Position after 49…Bd5 (analysis). Breaking the blockade!
50. Qc1! The key move! 50…Bc6 51. Ke5 Kh7 52. Kd6! showing the long-range power of the queen. The white queen eyes a3 and h6 at the same time (beautifully placed on c1), while the white king threatens to go to e7. This variation (putting the queen on c1) is not the simplest in the world and black should have chosen this for maximum resistance.
41. d5! Of course. Now it’s all over in short order.
41…Rxd5 42. Qxb4 Rxe5 43. Qd6 1-0
Let’s see one more Alpine battle before moving on to Belgium and England.
Mark Ginsburg vs Thomas Saladin Lenk 2000. Hedgehog.
1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 b6 4. e4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Bd3! I get my preferred set-up.
7…e6 8. O-O
8… Nc6?! 8…Nbd7 is to be preferred. I as black made this type of mistake versus Murray Chandler, Lloyds Bank 1991, (the game is shown further down in this article) and lost badly. White now gains time to further his plans.
9. Nxc6! Bxc6 10. b3 a6 11. Bb2 Be7 12. Qe2 Bb7 13. f4! O-O
14. Rf3 g6 15. Rh3 Nd7 16. a4! White keeps black bottled up.
16…Bf6 17. Rd1 Rc8 By simple means, white has acquired a large advantage – space and initiative.
18. Bc2 Qc7 19. Rhd3 Black cannot meet well this regrouping.
19…Be7 20. e5! d5 Desperation already; this move is refuted.
21. cxd5 exd5 22. Rxd5 Bxd5 23. Nxd5 Bc5+ 24. Kh1 Qc6 25. Be4 Qe6 26. b4 Bxb4 27. Nxb4 Qc4 28. Bd3 Qxb4 29. e6! A nice breakthrough.
29…Nc5 30. e7! Excelsior!
30…Rfe8 31. Qe5 f6
32. Qxf6! This quickly forces mate.
32…Rxe7 33. Qh8+ Kf7 34. Qg7+ Ke8 35. Bxg6+ 1-0
Digression: Yakov Yukhtman!
In Lenk, Tukmakov was very entertaining, telling me many ribald stories about Yakov Yukhtman’s exploits in Odessa, the little grizzled fireplug that terrorized the New York city blitz scene in the 1980s. Apparently Tukmakov and Yukhtman went way back in their chess careers. Yukhtman scored many fine OTB wins in his career, vs World Champion Tal and others and was a very tough blitz customer in the first half of the 1980s. He would bedevil me when he was black with the insouciant 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ng8!? until I finally realized that 3. d4 d5 4. exd6 e.p.! was a good idea, so he couldn’t reach his favorable French structure (when I didn’t take en passant).
Some of Yukhtman’s running blitz patter included:
“Go back to school, moron.” (emphasis on the moron – after his opponent blunders). He would also come out with the shorter “Shitface!” after spotting a blunder.
“Two dollar, shitface?” (Yukhtman inviting a new opponent to sit down and play him).
“I go Lantic.” (This requires some explanation — Yukhtman indicating he is almost up enough money (in a 2 dollar match) to go to Atlantic City.) One time Yukthman said “I go Lantic” to Fedorowicz and Fedorowicz brought out a confusing rejoinder “I go Specific.” After some cogitation, Yukhtman fired back, “Moron.”
Hopefully I’m giving you a taste of the sheer wit of Yukhtman’s blitz commentaries. At some point, somebody was collecting his games and I don’t know what happened to that project. But I remember the collector, perhaps it was Brandwein, saying “I felt very sorry for his opponents” (because Yakov often swindled people).
Unfortunately Yukhtman suffered a congestive heart failure (the little fireplug smoked like a fiend) probably at or near the Game Room chess club on West 74th Street and Broadway, NYC, where he always hung out and the only person I know of that visited him before his demise was the Mechanic Institute’s own Steve Brandwein.
Eeklo, Belgium 1987
Now let’s go back to Eeklo, Belgium 1987. Eeklo is a nice little town near the border of Holland (Sas Van Gent, Holland is just over the border; both Eeklo and Sas Van Gent have hosted the ECI Junior tournament in years past).
Here we have future IM Herman Grooten (NLD), seated. On the left, Cesar Becx (NLD). Standing left, Han Jansson (NLD). I am standing on the right. Eeklo, Belgium, 1987.
I actually did better in the 1985 “ECI” version in Eeklo, coming first ahead of future GM Ferdinand Hellers. The next photo shows the 1985 version and its trophy.
The author (left) and Han Jansson in Eeklo, Belgium 1985. What a nice trophy and not too big.
An unacceptably small hotel room in Brussels before the event (artistic license taken).
Herman Grooten (left) and the author.
Lloyds Bank 1991
In Lloyds Bank 1991, I tried the “not shaving for a while” approach to try to “build up some luck.” This approach failed, as it did in Naestved, Denmark 1988, where Michael Wilder would introduce me to Sax and Ljubo as the “unshaven asshole.”
Michael Wilder at Naestved, Denmark 1988. Bicycles were a common mode to get around this little town.
Here I am in unshaven mode playing GM Murray Chandler. I’m telling you, it doesn’t work.
GM Murray Chandler (left) playing the schmuck, Lloyds Bank 1991. I am sitting next to GM Julian Hodgson.
For completeness, here is the game score featuring my poor play.
GM Chandler – IM Ginsburg, Lloyds Bank 1991
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O d6 7. c4 Be7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Qe2 Bd7? 10. b3 Nc6? One big ? covering moves 9 and 10. Every schoolboy knows this helps white.
11. Nxc6 Bxc6 12. Bb2 g6 13. Rad1 Re8 14. e5 Nh5 15.Be4! Yuck. This is the key motif that breaks down black’s position. See my hedgehog post (MG – GM Yudasin, World Open 2003) for more on the strength of this maneuver.
15…Qc7 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. exd6 Bxd6 18. g3 f5 19. Na4 e5 20. c5 Bf8 21. Nb6 Rad8 22. Qxa6 f4 23. Qc4+ Qf7 24. b4 e4 25. a4 Qxc4 26. Nxc4 Rd3 27. Rxd3 exd3 28. a5 Bg7 29. Rd1 f3 30. h3 Rb8 31. Bxg7 Rxb4 32. Nb6 Nxg7 33. a6 1-0
It was a pleasure to resign. Maybe time to shave?
It’s a good break from the tournament routine to do some kung-fu by the piers.
Ilya Gurevich (left)’s tiger style overcomes my praying mantis.
This Post Has to End
And finally we have a photo of two NYU international people who know how to play chess, I would imagine.
Irina Srubschik (left) and Barbara Albert, New York City November 1996.