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Potkin Leads Euro Ch with 5/5

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I'm so delighted to be able to introduce the 'Potkin' tag to the Dirt's extensive list. I believe he was the original Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. No? Well, memo to JK, it's a great name for a wizard. Vladimir Potkin just took over clear first in the European Individual Championship by rolling his tanks through Savchenko's Budapest. (PGN below.) The 29-year-old Russian is better known for not being better known, one of the legion of very strong second-tier Russian GMs who don't get big invites because they first have to battle up the Elo chart over twenty or thirty other very strong Russians. Actually, he's better known for occasionally seconding Aronian. Potkin's current 2653 is only good enough for 95th on the rating list, yikes. Googling his last name first gets you a Los Angeles doctor and a college newspaper article on breakfast foods. Even searching for his full name isn't so simple. It pulls up this video, which totally made my day and is probably my favorite thing of the week. (Because Vladimir Potkin is also the name of a Russian who makes the things the guy is playing, which I won't name because I don't want to ruin the surprise. Really, go watch. I'll wait right here.)

Is Potkin going to win in Aix-les-Bains? The odds say no, but he's impressing so far and hey, isn't getting your own Dirt tag reward enough? Probably not, so let's root for the underdog. Especially since so many of the overdogs are boring us with short draws as they try to pick their spots and keep their chances for a home-stretch sprint in this long event. Winning is nice, but it's also a world championship qualification event, assuming Ilyumzhinov hasn't changed the rules again and now the only way to qualify is to grow a scraggly beard that makes you look like you kissed a yak. Speaking of large, hairy mammals, top seed Peter Svidler picked up a win in the 4th round when Mastrovasilis eventually ran out of pieces to throw away. Book him now for the next suicide chess championship. I can imagine Svidler taking piece after piece, slowly getting suspicious and looking around for a hidden camera. I guess he never read that you should beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Defending champ Ian 'ctrl+v' Nepomniachtchi lost in the 3rd and was looking to come back against Wells when he instead played one of those brilliant moves that turns out not to be so brilliant. (In my games, those are called "chess moves.") 46.Nf8??! looks great if Black pushes his f-pawn, but the steady 48..Rf5! holds the draw handily. Nice. 46.bxa5 may also end in a draw with both sides queening, but it looks tougher for Black. Another high seed, Jakovenko, ground out another pill of chessic Ambien against 15-year-old Hungarian GM Richard Rapport, whose arrival on the chess scene I seem to have missed entirely. I see he was born on March 25, so nice going ruining a child's birthday, Jakovenko.

[Event "12th ch-EUR"]
[Site "Aix-les-Bains FRA"]
[Date "2011.03.26"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Potkin, V."]
[Black "Savchenko, B."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A52"]
[WhiteElo "2653"]
[BlackElo "2616"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2011.03.21"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bb4+ 6. Nbd2 Qe7 7. e3 Ngxe5
8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Nf3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Rd8 13. Be2 Bd6 14.
Qc2 h5 15. Rad1 c6 16. Rd4 Bc7 17. h4 g6 18. Bg5 f6 19. f4 fxg5 20. fxe5 Qg7
21. Rf6 Bxe5 22. Rxg6 Qe7 23. Bxh5 Bh2+ 24. Kh1 1-0

[Event "12th ch-EUR"]
[Site "Aix-les-Bains FRA"]
[Date "2011.03.25"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Svidler, P."]
[Black "Mastrovasilis, A."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2730"]
[BlackElo "2547"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2011.03.21"]

1. g3 e5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. d4 e4 5. d5 cxd5 6. cxd5 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 e3 8. Bxb4
exf2+ 9. Kd2 Qb6 10. Ba3 d6 11. Nf3 Bf5 12. Nc3 O-O 13. Qb3 Qd8 14. Rhf1 Re8
15. Rxf2 Ng4 16. Ke1 Qe7 17. e4 Nd7 18. Re2 Bg6 19. Qxb7 Bh5 20. Qc7 Nge5 21.
Nxe5 Qxe5 22. Qxd7 Bxe2 23. Nxe2 Qg5 24. Qxd6 1-0


I like the Budapest, so it is with some sadness that I see another demolition of that defense.


just to let you know that the 'musical instrument' from the youtube video has been played in Sicily for ages:

- http://siciliamo.blogspot.com/2007/08/sicilian-item-of-day-marranzano.html


A couple of other notable Potkin facts: he was the Russian captain in the Russia-China match last year but had to play himself after Motylev got chicken pox, no less! http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6584 (I think he went on to be the only Russian to win his game in the first round...)

He's also, & this is the main thing, ctrl+v/Nepo's trainer/second at the moment.

Can't help but repost this in the appropriate thread - here's Shipov on that Svidler game: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/03/the-future-belongs-to-1-g3/

The kamikaze approach was probably the result of the shock of seeing Svidler play 1. g3!

Last link (I promise), here's Svidler talking about the Budapest: http://crestbook.com/en/node/1390

"gambiteer: Hello, Peter! I’m 14 years old and my level is about 1900 Elo. I’m very interested in the Budapest Gambit and I’ve been playing it for a long time. It’s well-known that you often played it in your childhood, and I’d like to know your opinion on it (how much did it help you in your chess development, is it correct, to what level is it possible to play it, and what would you play against it yourself?).

Svidler: I don’t think Black fully equalises in the Budapest, but it’s playable, or at least I only abandoned it after already having become an international master. For me the final straw was a game with Kramnik, where he played 4. e3 Nxe5 5. Nh3 and I realised that even against such an unassuming approach Black couldn’t fully resolve his opening problems. It’s hard to judge how much it helped my chess development – in my youth I played a lot of unassuming/half-correct openings, mainly in order to study less theory, and I suspect that such an approach didn’t work in my favour later on."

Thanks for that Mishanp. Yes, I do understand that it's a rarity at the upper levels, but I have seen it recently.

A funny thing: In my mail box today was a copy of New In Chess 2009 #5. I don't remember ordering it, but I'm always happy to get a copy of that magazine. Anyway, this one contains an article about Vlad Potkin and Boris Savchenko having an adventure in Cuba. Surely an odd coincidence (for me).

There are more surprises just behind Potkin. Three players have 4.5/5: French IM Wirig (who??) and Romanian GMs Parligras and Nisipeanu (well, I heard of him before). Today's top pairings are Nisipeanu-Potkin and Wirig-Parligras. Two players may have 5.5/6 at the end of today, will they also get a dirt tag? ,:)
Further behind, the big group of 28 players with 4/5 includes just two from nine 2700ers (Vallejo and Wojtaszek), French IM Bellaiche (who??) and a certain GM Feller - where did I come across his name recently?

Here are the placement of the 2700+ after six rounds:

#6 Vallejo Pons (2707) 5p,
#21 Wojtaszek (2711) 4.5p,
#23 Vitiugov (2720) 4.5p,
#54 Navara (2722) 4p,
#61 Nepomniachtchi (2729) 4p,
#73 Svidler (2730) 4p,
#89 Jakovenko (2718) 4p,
#95 Jobava (2707) 4p,
#114 Caruana (2716) 3.5p

A real swim in a shark tank.

That thing the homonymous is playing in Italy is called "scacciapensieri" (litterally meaning "it drives troubles away"), and is known as the typical musical instrument of the traditional Mafia accolite, the one with a "coppola" on his head and a short barrell gun, loaded with "lupara" ammos, under his arm.
WordReference.com translates it "Jew's harp".

In America, it is actually called a tongue harp.

Shipov on Feller - his chances of winning the appeal and what it's like for his opponents at the European Championship: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/03/how-can-you-play-against-feller/

When I see the name "Potkin", I keep thinking of this guy:


Potkin is actually a chubby-cheeked redhead.

Sergey Shipov on an experienced grandmaster getting torn to shreds by a young player rated 100+ points below him (with a little help from some frightening home analysis):


A salutory lesson on the limitations of textbooks. Lev Psakhis' excellent book on the Tarrasch doesn't even mention Martinovich's 9th move improvement although White could have avoided this line on moves 6,7 and 8. Good game though.

oops! salutary rather than salutory.

Don't ever do that again.

"What the press don't write about" - Sergey Shipov on chess and "bathroom" breaks, with not a mention of Kramnik or Topalov (erm, except from me!): http://bit.ly/eVMfoP

Tempting thought too.....but I think these guys use 'bots' and have a greater capacity for mischief than us individuals.

But who has more to lose? This is for fun. That's their business.

Sergey Shipov on the effect of having women at the European Championship (note: political correctness has never made quite the same inroads in Russia!) and analysing that stunning win by Judit Polgar: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/03/on-women/

It seems that Ragger might be a name to remember.

So are the other current leaders of the European Championship Potkin, Iordachescu, Parligras and Mamedov!? There's also Vitiugov, the only one who would have been considered a title candidate before the event. Most other 2700ers are in the chasing group by now, only Navara and Caruana still have a bad event by their standards.

Suddenly there are lots of Romanian chess players close to the top of the European Championship. Otherwise teh country doesn't have much of a chess history compared to for example Poland, Hungary or Latvia.

Shipov's latest letter from the European Championship - on the cheating allegations - includes Danailov showing him various gestures you could make to indicate computer moves to a player. How the world has changed :) http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/03/danailovs-dances/

Is it different from a Jew's Harp?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 26, 2011 6:23 PM.

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