Archive for the ‘Renzo Mantovani’ Category

The Classic 2000s: Chess in Switzerland

September 15, 2007

The Swiss “A” Teams are quite strong. Featuring players from the German and French leagues, the major cities such as Biel, Bern, and Zurich have well-known players like Robert Huebner, Andrey Sokolov, Lothar Vogt, home-grown talent Yannick Pelletier, and more. Six person matches take place on weekends and it’s very pleasant going around Switzerland on a train sightseeing. I got to play legend Dr. Robert Huebner in this league (and lose a long ending), when I dig up that game score I will post it at the end of this article.

Here are some games from my year 2000 League experience. My ‘Riehen’ club is a suburb of Basel. On our squad we also had strong 2500-player Roland Ekstrom (originally from Sweden).

NM Yvan Masserey (Geneva) vs Mark Ginsburg (Riehen)
Switzerland “Mannschaft Meisterschaft” A

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O Bb4 8. Qd3 Bxc3 9. bxc3 d6 An unusual sideline. Black forfeits the two bishops to gain some structural advantage.

10. Qg3 O-O


11. Bh6 Ne8 Although it looks weird, this is all part of the program. Black is OK.

12. a4 Nd7 13. Nb3 Ndf6 14. Bd3 e5 15. Bd2 Be6 16. a5 Rc8 17. Ra4 Qe7 18. Qh4 Rc7 19. f4 Now black simplifies, to reduce white’s attacking chances.


19… Ng4! 20. Qg3 exf4 21. Rxf4 Nef6 22. Nd4 Things look scary but black has a resource.


22… Nh5! 23. Nxe6 Nxg3 24. Nxc7 Qxc7 25. Rxg4 Nh5 26. Rg5 Nf6 27. Rc4 Qe7 28. Rf5 g6 29. Rf1 Ng4 30. Rb4 Qe5 31. Bf4 Qc5+ 32. Rd4 Ne5 33. Kh1 Qxc3 34. Rxd6 Nxd3 35. cxd3 Qxa5 36. Bh6


36… Rd8 37. e5 Rxd6 38. exd6 f6 39. Rc1 Kf7 40. h3 g5 41. Rc7+ Ke6 42. Bf8 b5 43. Rxh7 Qd8 44. Be7 Fortunately for me the white rook is in trouble so finally I am able to bring the point home for my team and we win narrowly, 3 1/2 – 2 1/2.


44… Qg8! 45. Rh6 Qg7 46. Rh5 b4 0-1


Not every game went this smoothly.

In the next game, my opponent came all the way up to Basel from the Italian-Swiss Alps, home to the picturesque towns of Locarno and Lugano.

IM Mark Ginsburg (Riehen) vs IM Renzo Mantovani (Locarno)
Switzerland Team A 2000

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qa4 Bd7 8. Qxc4 Bc6 9. Nc3 Nbd7 10. Rd1 Nb6 11. Qd3 Na4 12. Ne5 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Nxc3 14. bxc3 c5 15. Qf3 Qd5 16. Rb1 cxd4 17. cxd4 b6 18. Nc6 Bd6 19. Bf4 Rfc8 20. Rbc1 Ba3 21. Rc2 Qxf3+ 22. Kxf3 Nd5

White is a little better here. But watch what happens!

23. e4 Nxf4 24. gxf4 Kf8 25. Rd3 Bd6

I declined a draw around here, determined to press for a win on behalf of my squad.

26. d5 exd5 27. exd5 Rc7 28. a4 Re8 29. Re3 Bc5 30. Re5 Bd6 31. Re3 Bc5 32. Re5 Rd7 33. Ke4 g6 34. Rxe8+ Kxe8 35. Re2 Kf8 36. Ne5? f5+!

Oh no! This was not part of the plan. I lose miserably.

37. Kd3 Rxd5+ 38. Kc4 Rd4+ 39. Kb5 Rxf4 40. Nd3 a6+ 41. Kxa6 Rxa4+ 42. Kb5 Rh4 43. f4 Bg1 0-1 My team captain was not happy. We lost the match as well.


Moving on to Swiss “Swisses” (heh), we have these games:

GM Attila Groszpeter vs Mark Ginsburg
2000 Lenk Open, Lenk, Switzerland

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 Nc6 11. Qf3 O-O 12. Bd2 Bd7 13. Rae1 Nb4! 14. Nd1 Nxd3 15. cxd3 a5 16. Ne3 a4

Black is fine here. But I get careless!

17. Nd4 a3 18. b3 Qb6 19. Ndc2 Qa6 20. Qe2 Bb5 21. Nb4 Qb6 22. Nc4 Qd8 23. Bc3 d5 24. exd5 Nxd5 25. Nxd5 Qxd5 26. Qg4 g6 27. Qh3 Rad8 28. f5 Bg5 29. Qg3 Be7 30. f6 Bc5 31. Re5 Bxc4 32. Rxd5 Bxd5 33. Be5 Rfe8 34. h3 Bc6 35. d4 Bb4

I almost have a blockade – not quite.

36. Qe3 Bd5 37. Rc1 Rc8 38. Kh2 Rc6 39. Rxc6 Bxc6 40. Qf4 Rd8 41. d5! Rxd5 42. Qxb4 Rxe5 43. Qd6



And after that loss, I went on to score a few wins, then I had this big game versus a world-class player, a former FIDE Candidate:


IM Mark Ginsburg (2402) – GM Andrei Sokolov (2565)

Lenk 2000


1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 b6 4. Nc3 Bb7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Nh5 8. Be5 I decide to “punish” the famous GM. It’s not so easy!

8…f6 9. Qd3 fxe5 10. Qg6+ Ke7 11. Qxh5 exd4 12. Nxd4 Bg7 Black is fine. But I should not lose immediately!

13. O-O-O? Qf8! I didn’t notice that move!  

14. Qg6 Bxd4! 15. Rxd4 Nc6! I totally underestimated this sequence also.

16. Re4?? This is even worse. 16. Rd2 is necessary with a bad game.

16…Re8 17. f3 Kd8 18. Qh5 Qc5 19. h4 Ne5 20. hxg5 Bxe4


This is not the way to win a prize in a strong Swiss!