First Talking Chess match in Tehran

9.3.2013 – In an effort to turn chess into a spectator sport the Iranian Chess Federation (really!) is taking the initiative and staging an innovative match in which the players – former World Championship Challenger Nigel Short and GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, Iran’s strongest player – will explain their thought processes to the public during the game.
How to make chess a spectator sport? Talking Chess is the new way to broadcast chess. 

Former World Championship Challenger GM Nigel Short is playing a Talking Chess match, organized by the Iranian Chess Federation, from 8-12 March 2013 in Tehran against GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, Iran’s strongest player.  

More here.

This concept was tried before with great success. Here is an article on ChessBase about my game with Hikaru Nakamura. 

17-year-old U.S. Chess Champion Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura and World Women’s top-ranked Grandmaster Susan Polgar played a unique exhibition game during the Millennium Chess Festival on February 26, 2005, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. It was called the “GM Dinner / Exhibition Match” and featured the two grandmasters playing each other from separate rooms, each before a live audience with moves relayed by radio. They played on large demo boards and, between moves, explained to the audience what they were thinking about and why they are choosing certain options. The people present had a great opportunity to gain an insight into mind of a chess grandmaster.

Hikaru Nakamura is the current US Champion and the number one ranked US player; Susan Polgar is the former Women’s World Champion and five-time Olympic Champion, and the number one ranked woman player in the US. 

Polgar, Susan – Nakamura, Hikaru [D08]

Virginia Beach, VA [Commentary by Polgar, Susan]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5. The Albin counter gambit is quite rare in today’s grandmaster practice. Only very few GMs “dare” to play it. The Russian GM Morozevich is one of the very few who plays it occasionally and with success. Probably Hikaru is the second strongest player who once in a while surprises his opponents with it. 

Before this game, I anticipated primarily a more solid opening. However, I psychologically was ready for the Albin. The funny part is that just in the current (February 2005) issue of Chess Life, I wrote about this very opening! Therefore, it became a psychological battle too. I was wondering did he read my article or not?! And if he did, did he find a novelty? As I found after the game, he did! It is flattering that he is not the only GM who reads my article.

3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.g3 Nge7. In earlier years, Black used to play 5…Be6 or 5…Bg4 instead. This is the new idea of Morozevich. 

6.Bg2 Ng6 7.Bg5. Protecting the Pawn with 7.Bf4 allow 7.Nxf4 ruining White’s Pawn structure on the Kingside. [In some games, White returned the Pawn with 7.0-0 Ngxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxe5

7…Qd7. A strange looking move but the best choice. After 7…Be7 8.Bxe7 Black has problems to get the sacrificed Pawn back. 

8.e6. With this timely Pawn return, White forces Black’s f-pawn to the e file.

8…fxe6 9.0-0 e5 10.Nbd2. Also interesting was 10.Qa4 first as I suggested in my article. Apparently, that is what my opponent was hoping for but I surprised him with Nbd2. 

10…h6 11.Bh4 Bd6. In the Krasenkow-Morozevich game, Black developed the Bishop to e7. I don’t think that the game continuation is an improvement. 

12.c5! fine tactical way to use the Black Knight’s unprotected position. 

12…Bxc5. This came to me as a pleasant surprise. It also shocked the audience. A lot safer was the retreat with 12…Be7. It shows that Hikaru is not afraid of sharp games and he is not afraid of a challenge. 

13.Qc2. This move forks the Black’s Bishop on c5 and the Black Knight on g6. 

13…Nxh4. The only way to avoid losing a piece. 

14.Nxh4 Bb6. I did not even consider this retreat, only to d6, b4 or e7. 

15.Ng6 Rg8. Rook could not go to h7 because of a discovery “Knight jump”.

White is clearly better here. The dilemma is which of the tempting continuations to choose. 

16.Qc4. This the only idea I considered (along with a different execution with 16.Qb3). However, I found an additional interesting continuation after the game with 16.Nc4 for example 16…Qf5 17.Be4 Qf6 18.Bxc6+ bxc6 19.Ngxe5.

16…Qe6. The only way to save the Rook! After 16…Ne7, White would trade Knights and then simply capture the Rook on g8. 

17.Bxc6+. This is one of the critical positions of the game. I had the opportunity to win an exchange with 17.Bd5 Qxg6 18.Bxg8 but with the short time control I did not want to give Hikaru counter play with 18…Bh3. Then Black has a Pawn for the exchange and the light squares around my King’s castling position are missing my Bishop (which is stranded on g8). Another option was after 17.Bd5 Qxg6 to play then 18.Bxc6, I decided against it because of 18…Kf8. To my amazement, my opponent told me after the game that he planned to sacrifice the exchange anyway with 18…bxc6. If I had known that, I would have played the Bd5 variation.

17…bxc6 18.Nxe5 Qxc4 19.Ndxc4. This is the position I was hoping for. White has better Pawn structure and the Black Bishop on b6 is really out of play.

19…c5 20.Rfc1 a5. Perhaps better was 20…Be6. On the other hand, 20…Bb7 is not good because of 21.a4 (threatening to trap the Bishop with 22.a5) 21…a5 22.Nxb6 cxb6 and 23.Nc4 winning a Pawn.

21.e3! dxe3 22.Nxe3 Be6 23.Nd3? This was the mistake that lets most of the advantage fall out of my hands. The more accurate move was 23.Rd1 not allowing Black to castle.

23…0–0–0. I was so glad to win a Pawn that I underestimated Black’s counter play.

24.Nxc5 Bh3. This Bishop is becoming like an “annoying monster” constantly setting up back rank checkmate traps.

25.Rc2. Also 25.Rc3 was good. 

25…Rge8 26.Rac1 Kb8 27.a3. Preparing b2-b4.

27…a4! A very good move! After 28.Nxa4, Black answers with 28…Rxe3 29.fxe3 Bxe3+ 29.Kh1 Bxc1 30.Rxc1 Rd2.

28.Rc3. According to Fritz better was 28.Rc4 Rd2 29.Rb4.

28…Rd2 29.Nxa4. A blunder would be 29.R1c2, because of checkmate in two after 29…Rd1+!.

29…Bxe3 30.Rxe3 Rf8 31.Rb3+ Ka8 32.g4! Giving up a pawn to force to bishop away from its powerful position!

32…Bxg4 33.Rxc7 Rfxf2 34.Nb6+ Kb8 35.Nd5+ Ka8 and Black offered a draw ½–½ (White had 2’25” left and Black had 4’31” left)

White is still better after 36.Ne3 Bh3 37.Rc5 Rf7 38.Ra5+ Ra7 39.Nc4] ½-½

I took the draw because the organizer asked me to end the game as the event ran overtime and the next event had to be delayed until this game was finished. Overall, it was a great experience and I believe that it’s a great format for the audience.

More here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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