Greengard's ChessNinja.com

2007 Moscow Open

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Evgeny Najer won this strong event, taking the title on tiebreaks over Yemelin after both finished with 7.5/9. Don't miss the photo reports (links at the bottom) at the funky official website. Najer started out with six straight wins without encountering one of the favorites, earned a draw with top seed Malakhov, and finished with draws of 18 and 12 moves. The sharp of eye will notice that Malakhov missed a win in a P vs P endgame against Najer. Things were progressing toward a hard-fought draw when Black blundered with 57..e4 instead of the forced ..f5. 57.Kc4! was then winning, but Malakhov gave back the half point when he missed the natural 61.Kd4. The handy 65..f5 is the only move to draw. Still lots to learn with just two pawns on the board. Never forget it: chess is hard. (PGN below.) Lots of fun games to enjoy; start with Yemelin's final five. (There seem to be quite a few games missing from the files currently available.)

ChessBase picks up the story from the comments below: The B section was won by a 10-year-old from Ukraine. Illya Nyzhnyk scored 8.5/9. Yes, 10 years old. Video and pics at links below and at the CB article.

[Event "Open"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2007.02.02"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Malakhov, V."]
[Black "Najer, E."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2663"]
[BlackElo "2605"]
[PlyCount "131"]
[EventDate "2007.01.27"]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Bc5 5. c3 a6 6. Bb3 Ba7 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. h3
d6 9. Nf1 d5 10. Qe2 dxe4 11. dxe4 Be6 12. Ng3 Bxb3 13. axb3 Qd7 14. O-O Qe6
15. b4 h6 16. Nh4 Ne7 17. Qf3 Ng6 18. Nhf5 Rfd8 19. Be3 Bb6 20. Rad1 Kh7 21.
Bc1 Ne7 22. Kh2 Nxf5 23. Nxf5 c5 24. bxc5 Bxc5 25. g4 Qc6 26. Ng3 Be7 27. g5
hxg5 28. Bxg5 g6 29. Rg1 Rxd1 30. Qxd1 Qe6 31. Bc1 Rd8 32. Qf3 Rd7 33. Kg2 a5
34. Qe2 Qd6 35. Be3 Qc6 36. Bc1 Qd6 37. Qc4 Bd8 38. Be3 Qd3 39. Qxd3 Rxd3 40.
Kf3 Bb6 41. Ke2 Rd6 42. Ra1 Bxe3 43. Kxe3 b6 44. Ne2 Kh6 45. b4 axb4 46. cxb4
Kg5 47. Ra8 Rc6 48. Rb8 Rc4 49. h4+ Kxh4 50. Rxb6 Rxe4+ 51. Kd3 Kg5 52. Rxf6
Rxe2 53. Rxg6+ Kxg6 54. Kxe2 $11 Kf5 55. Kd3 Ke6 56. Kc4 Kd6 57. Kb5 e4 $2 (
57... f5 58. Kc4 Kc6 59. b5+ Kd6 $1 60. Kb4 e4) 58. Kc4 Kc6 59. Kd4 Kb5 60.
Kxe4 Kxb4 61. Ke5 $2 (61. Kd4 $1 $18 Kb5 62. Kd5 Kb6 63. Kd6 Kb7 64. f4 f5 65.
Ke5 Kc7 66. Kxf5 Kd7 67. Kf6) 61... Kc5 62. f3 Kc6 63. f4 Kd7 64. Kf6 Ke8 65.
Kg7 f5 $1 (65... Ke7 $2 66. f5 f6 67. Kg6 Ke8 68. Kxf6 Kf8 69. Ke6 Ke8 70. f6
Kf8 71. f7) 66. Kf6 1/2-1/2


Dear Mig

I think that you, and apparently everybody else, have completely missed the REAL news from the Moscow Open; i.e. the fact that the B-Open, an under 2300 event, has been won by a ten-year-old boy. Yes, no misprint, Illya Nyzhnyk, the winner, was born in 1996.

It must make Magnus and Karjacker feel old :-)

How strange?! Imagine being in your teens like certain top grandmasters and already having to look over your shoulder, so-to-speak?

Is this one of these stupid semi-rapid tournaments with increment? If so then it's hardly fair to blame the players since by move 61 it's effectively a lightning game. Still, it is truly astonishing how often grandmasters do 'blunder' in pawn endings, considering that the ones that arise in practice aren't usually even difficult by the fiendish standards of Mr Grigoriev and his gang.

Another Ukrainian youngster? Karjakin, Kuzubov, Lahno, Muzychuk and now Nyzhnyk.
The boy is killing on that youtube video, giving a simul with a teddybear in his hand.

I just think the blunders are easier to notice, the endgames being so forced(tablebases aside).

"Still lots to learn with just two pawns on the board. Never forget it: chess is hard."

I never cease to be amazed at how difficult king and pawn endgames are. They seem so simple but allow for immense complexity and beauty.

Here one strong GM (Najer) turns a draw into a loss with 57 ... e4? and then the other strong GM (Malakhov) gives the half-point right back with 61 Ke5?. Simply amazing.

I believe that during my unillustrious chess career, I have screwed-up more king and pawn endings than any other kind.

Linux fan,

Cradle robbing is not allowed!

greg, I just want the teddybear.
He has it here, too:


By the way, doesn't it qualify as doping?
I mean, imagine if Topalov was carrying a small plush Danailov figure to the chessboard, his opponents would complain to the arbiter, wouldn't they?

I know if I was playing the kid in a simul I'd want to pull a jon belushi on that teddy bear.

Incredible video about this boy and his teddy panda! Anybody willing to translate the Russian commentary and interview?

I suddenly recall a debate which I had with a colleague on whether Malakhov really ought to be 2700 (when he was, that is) and whether he would or would not beat Capablanca in a time-travel match. I was shouting for Malakhov in such an encounter, but I can’t help feeling that Capa would have found Kd4 even in a lightning game (and frankly even at the age of ten).

Time travel is perhaps the one thing that could lure Gazza out of retirement: could he resist an opportunity to play a match with the real Alekhine? Or with the Fischer of 1970-72?

"I mean, imagine if Topalov was carrying a small plush Danailov figure to the chessboard, his opponents would complain to the arbiter, wouldn't they?"

This led me to thinking...what plush figures would other famous chess players carry to the chessboard, if given a chance?

Karpov: Brezhnev
Kasparov: Fomenko
Leko: Neville Chamberlain
Fischer: Osama bin Laden
Smyslov: Shalyapin
Korchnoi: Solzhenitsyn
Adams: Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Short: Oscar Wilde

The commentary is not in Russian. It's in funny Russian (Ukranian). I think the kid says that his grandfather taught him chess, but he (grandfather) is a weak player. When asked who he considers to be a strong player, the kid replies: "my coach". I might get to play the kid at the Aeroflot "B" section starting next week. Suggestions on teddy bear sabotage methods are welcome.

I bet that teddy bear he is holding has a bluetooth device in it.

Yah, there were some good Edward Winter items on the "players today are much stronger" debate. How many advances have their been in middlegame play? A few, usually directly connected to the opening phase. (Minority attacks, for example.) Almost nothing in endgames. That's why I don't think the issue is Capablanca versus Kramnik, but that the #2000 today is probably much better than the #50 back then, whoever he was (which is the point).

But getting back to the "time travel matches," just because Capablanca wouldn't get more than equality out of the openings with outdated systems doesn't mean he and his opponent wouldn't just be playing chess after a dozen moves. I just don't see him making enough errors to lose more than he wins against a Malakhov. And we know he wouldn't have trouble with the new faster time controls!

Gosh, Mig, I've got to say I think that's utter nonsense. No advances in middlegame play?? You don't think we understand the exchange sacrifice better now than we did in 1930, for example? And as for the minority attack I should have thought that was one thing that was thoroughly understood in 1930, although I suppose we might defend it better these days.

But it's not really about great thematic breakthroughs in understanding, so much as knowing that in this set-up the knight belongs here, or that in this position you go ...Rxc3 and then develop; a thousand tiny things like that; a matter of chess culture, as a great man once said. It's like any intellectual field; developments have been made which it would take a long time to catch up with. Imagine what Capa would have thought of the Sveshnikov (or in fact just read what he said in 1910 - do I mean 1910? Schlechter-Lasker anyway). Or for that matter remember Alekhine saying that 3 d4 in the Sicilian was just a mistake and that 3 Be2 was right? You don't close that kind of gap in understanding quickly.

Look at Watson's Modern Chess Strategy, for instance. Overpraised and merely knocking straw men while saying what everyone knows, a lot of it, but still it makes a pretty good case for how the game's changed.

I always think that of the old champions Alekhine would have been the best equipped to cope. Hard work and an objective assessment of what needs to be done away from the board are qualities which are essential today and were less so back in the day, and these Alekhine had in abundance.

Congratulations to Illya Nyzhnyk. Childern love to play games, that is their "speciality", so it is no surprise that the adults who, instead of doing their thing, play games get what they deserve.
For chessplayers maturity begins when they "retire".

Amazing, from my "a few" just a few inches above you manage to say "no advances in middlegame play??" So "a few" = "none"? No wonder everyone else here is full of nonsense to you, rdh. You're trying so hard to be an insulting prat you don't even read. We all concede you have the prat part down very well. So if you'd please stop trying to prove it all the time it would make these comments a much more pleasant place to be. Thanks much.

Sure, the Sveshnikov, et al. There are plenty of opening set-ups they wouldn't have understood. We know this because we saw it happen. Pre-WWII players were quite baffled by things like the King's Indian, the Najdorf, and the subtleties of Taimanov's various systems. Even post-WWII players took a while to come to grips with them. This is conventional wisdom, not a revelation. (Soltis documented this transition very well in a pair of books that tracked the evolution of opening play.)

My point is that such gaps in understanding - largely based on opening systems - aren't going to be exposed in every actual game you play. Also, you can be strategically confused, even outplayed, in the opening and you aren't going to lose every game. You still have to make mistakes. Unplug Fritz's opening book and try beating it from a closed KID or open Sveshnikov position it obviously doesn't understand at all.

Today's players are obviously much stronger and knowledgeable on the whole, but that doesn't mean the talent factor can be so easily disregarded when you talk about the very top players of yesteryear. Capablanca, Alekhine, possibly even Morphy, would score points at Aeroflot. (Fischer and Kramnik have said as much but were perhaps being a little facetious.) As the old saying goes, chess is 99% tactics and I don't believe not being up to date on even a wide variety of opening and positional themes would entirely cancel out the OTB genius of players like Alekhine and Capablanca.

Come now, Mig, everyone has their own ideas of netiquette. Mine is to speak as though I were discussing things in a pub: if I think someone's talking nonsense, I say so; if they think I'm talking nonsense, I expect them to say that too. Yours is to bleat about that and call me an insulting prat - fine, this is the internet; I don't hold a grudge and I don't expect anyone else to.

I don't agree that it's just a question of opening systems (hence the few/none dichotomy; I was speaking of pure middlegame themes). Kasparov's ...Rxc3 wasn't a question of opening systems; just of knowing that this is the sort of thing you do in this sort of position.

Fritz hasn't got much to do with it: Capa or Alekhine would have looked pretty feeble against Fritz as well.

Of course tactics come into it, but today's guys are pretty good at tactics too. I think you've got it about right when you say that Capa or Alekhine 'would score points' at Aeroflot (or say Moscow, a fairly comparable event). Malakhov's managed 7/9 there; I think you'd find Capa and Alekhine mid-division. Which would rather suggest Malakhov could be fancied in a match, although of course a match is a different thing.

OK, back to the young bloke. Three things.

First, I see Kirsanfan beat me to it (could there be much competition for that handle, i mean is there a kirsanfan47?), but there is something in the photo on chessbase, something eerily reminiscent of Hikaru Nakamura's description of "the cat in the hat". Look at the way that teddy bear is staring in a strange fixed way at the board.

Second, the kid ain't even looking at the board.

Third, oh great, the new star of chess is named Illya Nyzhnyk. When someone with my linguistic skills tries to say that, other people say gesundheit.

rdh, you are right here.

Chess culture is empirically gathered knowledge. It is by trial and error of many GMs games that the "community" comes to discover that, say, the black king side attack in KID (de Plata variation) is faster and deadlier than white's Qs side, and viecerversa in the bayonet variation, and so on and adjust, avoid etc.

The today's players take a lot of strategic decisions based on this accumulated wisdom and there is no way anyone (genius to be) to arrive at the right conclusion by OTB analysis.

Faced (practicaly every other game in a top tournament) with modern (unknown to him) structures in the opening even Capabalanca would (by necessity) go wrong often and then let to try miracles saves.

But this won't be a likely outcome either since, as Kramnik noticed after Topa's 10.f4, it is easy to play exceptional moves when in superior positions.

I don't understand why people transliterate their names in a manner that would make it most difficult for people to pronounce them.

It's Ilya Nizhnik. (both i as in pita, not i as in like--short i is the term, isn't it?) That's much easier to say than Nyzhnyk, isn't it?


Maybe this is a good time to say that I've never understood the name "Yuriy". Why not "Yuri?" or "Yury?" Or is it pronounced Yur-ee-ee?

Hmm, I think most English speakers pronounce the i in pita as a long 'e', not a short 'i'. Maybe you should say i as in "pit".

I would like to maintain a minimum standard in order to encourage people to participate.

I agree that the long-term positional sacrifice is far better understood and applied today. I'm not convinced that it and other things like it would add up to a winning score in a match against someone with tremendous tactics and flawless technique. ..Rxc3 isn't modern just because players understand today that Black gains compensation. It didn't exist much before because few were playing opposite-side castling lines, if even the Sicilian at all.

There's a game Kasparov pointed out to me, Schultz-Alekhine from a 1914 simul, with an exchange sac on c3 in the Dragon to net the pawn on e4. The difference is that the white king was on g1 and not c1 where we would expect to find it today. Such examples are rarities, naturally, but I think it's as much a matter of lack of opportunities as a failure to comprehend these concepts. Most of the top players, especially the world champions, were well ahead of their times almost by definition. I think there's only one Capablanca game that's a Sicilian with opposite-side castling, Keres-Capa 1937, a Maroczy. The first 20 moves wouldn't have looked out of place at Corus. (Amusingly for our discussion, white's poor endgame technique let Capablanca escape with a draw.)

Just wandered into this game. I wonder why 7.a4 has gone out of fashion. It's been running at about a half-dozen tries per year.

[Event "Montevideo cons"]
[Site "Montevideo"]
[Date "1910.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Lynch,JA/Blixen,M"]
[Black "Lasker, Emanuel"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B33"]
[PlyCount "98"]
[EventDate "1910.??.??"]
[EventType "game"]
[EventRounds "1"]
[EventCountry "URU"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. a4 Be6 8.
Bg5 a6 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Na3 Rc8 11. Bd3 Bg7 12. O-O Ne7 13. Kh1 Ng6 14. Ne2 Bh6
15. b4 O-O 16. c4 Kh8 17. Ng3 Rg8 18. Nf5 Bf8 19. Ne3 Qd7 20. b5 Nf4 21. Nac2
Rg5 22. g3 Nxd3 23. Qxd3 f5 24. exf5 Bxf5 25. Nxf5 Qxf5 26. Qxf5 Rxf5 27. Ne3
Rf3 28. Kg2 e4 29. Rfd1 f5 30. Rd5 f4 31. gxf4 Rxf4 32. Rad1 Rc7 33. Rh5 Rg7+
34. Kf1 Rgf7 35. Rd2 Rf3 36. Re2 Bg7 37. Rh4 Be5 38. Rxe4 Bxh2 39. Kg2 Be5 40.
Ng4 Bg7 41. Re7 h5 42. Rxf7 Rxf7 43. Re8+ Kh7 44. Ne3 Bd4 45. bxa6 bxa6 46. Ra8
Ra7 47. Rxa7+ Bxa7 48. Nf5 Bc5 49. f4 Kg6 1/2-1/2


Honest answer: because that's how my brother chose to spell it on the documents. I might have gone with a Yuri and eliminated a lot of the times I had to respell my name.

Phonetically speaking, Yuriy IS more correct than Yuri, because there is an ending to the ee sound of i with a y sound similar to the one that ends the word "guy" for example. And then there is the fact that in Russian Yuriy ends with the equivalent of i and another letter, known as the short i for the y. So it's pronounced YOU-riy.

cs, it's a little longer than pit and shorter than pita--it's just not an i as in "like". How about both i are the same as the i in Kramnik?

Maybe we can convince the kid to use the approach that is implemented in India when seeking tech support? "Hello, my name is...Bob."

Time-travel matches? Speculate no further, gentlemen. It is a well documented FACT that Korchnoi conducted a correspondence game with the late lamented Maroczy. Korchnoi is able to corroborate, empirically, some of the key points we've discussed in this thread:

"During the opening phase Maroczy showed weakness. His play is old-fashioned. But I must confess that my last moves have not been too convincing. I am not sure I will win. He has compensated the faults of the opening by a strong end-game. In the end-game the ability of a player shows up and my opponent plays very well."

From http://jeff.zaadz.com/blog/2006/4/dead_chess_grandmaster_plays_victor_korchnoi

Speaking of well documented facts, I wonder who would win an argument between Kasparov and Korchnoi if Korchnoi claimed he played the dead Maroczy and Kasparov claimed that historians got it all wrong and that Korchnoi is actually younger than Maroczy.


Following Russianbear comment, does Garry really believe in that New Chronology stuff? Has he talked to you about it, Mig?
Just curious.

R: weird or what!

There are (at least) two desirable minimum standards, Mig, one of courtesy and one of what might be called competence (ie not posting illogical rubbish). Encouraging posting the latter is uncalled for.

However, on the present occasion, I was wrong, since I concede that what you were saying wasn't entirely nonsense and I picked some rather bad examples to illustrate my point. I suspect the truth is that it's very difficult to separate 'new middlegame ideas' from openings, just as it's very difficult to separate middlegame positions in general from
the openings they sprang from (and this is getting true later and later into the game). The examples Ovidiu picks illustrate this latter point.

Btw 7 a4 is out of fashion because 7...a6 8 Na3 Bg4 is very annoying.

And by the further way Capa was one of the very few people to say in 1910 that 6 Ndb5 had to be the correct move against the Svesh. This took a further - what, forty years? - to become an accepted truth.

So evidently the guy had something. But then there's the statistical argument; aren't the best out of a chess-playing population of say 1 million likely a priori to be more talented than the best out of whatever the pre-WW1 chess-playing population was? Was Capa even the most talented of his day? He'd been a pro for 20 years and was near the height of his powers when Sultan Khan emerged from the chess-playing desert that India was then and beat him, after all.

I would have thought, by the way, that the sort of sexist, nationalist and even racist drivel that you regularly allow to be posted on here, to say nothing of the childish abuse of the world champion which some of your less welcome guests specialise in, would be a greater disincentive to newcomers posting than anything I might do. You don't seem to mind that, though?


A clean, politically correct, chess blog (as you seem to advocate for) would be as boring as the songs instigating at abstinence before marriage. of the christian rock band. It would mean to drive away everybody for replacing them with some well behaved scholastic chess kids, their parents, and you.

Sultan Khan didn't emerge from the desert. It seems that he had been playing indian chess, possibly since childhood. He had to adapt to the european rules (the main difference being that in indian chess, a pawn can only move one square on the first move, not two) but likely his huge natural talent was a cultivated one.
At the same time with Sultan Khan, another servant brought by the same maharajah, a Miss Fatima, won the British Woman's Chess Championship.

I know, Ovidiu, but he hadn't travelled much in India and thus played the best players there (or the best other players), I don't think?

Actually the truth is I don't really know. There was a book about 30 years ago by RN Coles on Sultan Khan. It'd be quite interesting to try and get hold of a second-hand copy.

As to blogs, there's a place for strong opinions of course (and indeed IMHO for robust dismissal of fatuous opinions). Whether there's a place for the sort of women-should-stay-in-the-home stuff we've seen recently, or the more childish TOPALOV ROX stuff, is another matter. Personally I could live without that more easily than I could have done without sex before marriage.

I'd expect Capa, Alekhine et al would learn pretty quick. I think Garry learnt pretty quick on his feet during the first match v Karpov (I know, I know it's not a perfect analogy). I think the World Champs have better cognitive ability in Chess than we give them credit for.


Reading one of Mig's prior posts on this thread: February 7, 12:45, it sounds like you are one of the "less welcome guests." So why throw stones?

Mig's light touch on the censor button is one of the things that makes his blog such a fun place to play.

In case anyone's curious (I was!) I found a website with the Maroczy-Korchnoi game, where it can be played online, w. slight notes in German: http://www.rochadekuppenheim.de/meko/meko1a/m12.htm

In case anyone's interested (I was!) you can find and replay the Maroczy-Korchnoi game here: http://www.rochadekuppenheim.de/meko/meko1a/m12.htm

At any rate, it would certainly be amusing to see Tarrasch's or Alekhine's reaction to the John Watson Books (Secrets of modern chess strategy etc.).

While we're on the subject of GMs and the afterlife, I am reminded of this old chestnut:

Alekhine dies and comes to the Pearly Gates.

Saint Peter tells him, "Sorry, no chess players allowed."

Alekhine takes a peek inside the Gates and sees a colleague. "But there's Bogolyubov!"

Saint Peter (in an undertone): "He only thinks he's a chess player."


I wonder where I can see some PGN games of Illya are available.

I am always amazed/amused by these "How would modern player X, fare against long-dead player A". It is a non-question. They can never meet (unless space and time are weirder than we imagine). All anyone can ever do is become strong/successful compared to their contemporaries.

Ratings cannot give the answers either. There is a continual tension between ratings as indicators or relative strength of currently active players, and ratings as measures of absolute strength (perhaps not impossible in principle, but in practice? well chess is not athletics. A 2400 rating is not an objective measure like a 10 second 100 metres or 4 minute mile.

If Alfred Shrubb, or Paavo Nurmi (great distance runners of their times) had been born in the late 20th Century would they have been competitive against the Kenyans and Ethiopians of today? There is no way we can ever know. There can only be speculation with no way to objectively resolve differences.

As for Maroczy playing Korchnoi via a spirit medium. Well Maroczy died in 1951. Presumably he has spent some of the last 50-odd years keeping up-to-date with modern developments in Chess! :-)


Is Nyzhnyk a future world champion? How does he compare with Karjakin at the same age. Should I get my childhood teddy bear out of the attic?


I'm very interested in any evidence to show that (of course it's evident for me) Korchnoi never really played against the dead Maroczy: I just try to find the most plausible explanation of this mistification.

A big thank if someone could help me !

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 5, 2007 4:46 PM.

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