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Mig on Chess
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Mig on Chess
(The index is now up. New-old articles will be added on a lunar cycle.)

In December, 1997, I started writing a column called Mig on Chess (original name, I know) for The Week In Chess (TWIC) website. It was an irreverent look at top-level chess events and elite players. It found an audience that was tired of dry chess writing, most of which was by and for Grandmasters. Okay, my analysis wasn't too great, but I wrote just about every day (!) during events and it was a fan writing for fans and enough people, including me, had fun to make it a success. In 1999 it moved to when I was running that site, and in 2002 it took up its current residence at I'm happy to say that MoC has always appeared at the most popular chess site of the moment! Just a coincidence? Well, probably.

I'm going to be archiving all my older article here at ChessNinja. (The newer ones are all at ChessBase, click here for an index.) I'll limit myself to only correcting typos; any factual errors will stand, although I'll try to correct them with footnotes. I'll add an index and my own "greatest hits" as well.

Without further ado, let's start with the one that started it all, even though it was an accident. It was posted to a chess message board and then TWIC editor Mark Crowther published it at my proposal. A pile of mail arrived in response, more good than bad, and the rest was history.

NB: The subtitles of the early TWIC articles, and any "MC" comments were by Mark Crowther.


Mig on Chess #1. December 12, 1997.
Mig gives an appreciation of Ivanchuk's play against Seirawan in round 2
(Originally appeared at TWIC)

Good old Vassily "Nerves of Fiberglass" Ivanchuk made his debut today against Yasser "This guy's 2700?" Seirawan. Seirawan played a rather rare line against Chukky's KID (5. Bd3) that he played in 1991 against Igor Ivanov in Los Angeles (draw, 51).

Ivanchuk followed Ivanov's play (could he actually have been prepared for this? I think not.) with 8. ... Nd7, but when Seirawan played 9. Be3 instead of 9. 0-0 as in the Ivanov game Ivanchuk, instead of simply transposing into that decent-looking line, tried to make White lose time with the early bishop development by trading it off with 9. ... Bh6. This handed over too many dark squares after 10. Qd2 Bxe3 11. Qxe3 and led to rapid disaster.

Ivanchuk eschewed normal black KID play (castling, playing ...f5, etc.) and instead embarked on an odd plan to exchange dark squared bishops (9. ... Bh6, creating roughly 18 billion weaknesses on his dark squares. Notice the snack on d6) and create queenside counterplay. That's right sports-fans, he gave up his kingside dark squares and decided to play on the queenside WITH BLACK IN A KING'S INDIAN.

Seirawan ignored his opponent's strange play and went about developing his pieces and taking squares with the earnest diligence of any 1800 elo player. He centralized his heavy pieces, prevented Black from castling, and when Ivanchuk just plain refused to save himself (at least a doomed defense by running to the queenside would have been entertaining and maybe he could have made it to move 25...), Seirawan opened up the center (15. f4) and blew him away.

Ivanchuk probably could have resigned around move 16, but perhaps he hoped Seirawan would miss one of the dozens of clear wins, or that maybe something really heavy would fall on him.

Black finally resigned in a when it became clear that he would lose around 13 pieces. This brings back memories of Kasparov crushing Anand with the Dragon, of Ivanchuk's own ugly loss to Kramnik in a miniature this year, and of my father employing the fool's mate on me when I was six.

I'd hate to take anything away from Yaz, but he probably played this entire game in around 10 minutes while eating lunch at the same time. I'm sure GNUChess running on a 386 would find all of White's moves beginning with 10. Qd2. Ivanchuk is going to spend a lot of money on shoes if he keeps shooting himself in the foot like this.

More amazingly, I believe this is Seirawan's first win against Ivanchuk *ever*, including Melody Amber speed and blindfold games! Let's see if Ivanchuk can get his drek together tomorrow and recover.

[Site "Groningen WC KO"]
[Date "1997.12.11"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Seirawan,Yasser"]
[Black "Ivanchuk,Vassily"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E70"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Bd3 e5 6. d5 a5 7. Nge2 Na6 8. f3 Nd7 9. Be3 Bh6 10. Qd2 Bxe3 11. Qxe3 c6 12. Qh6 Ndc5 13. Rd1 Qb6 14. Bb1 Ke7 15. f4 exf4 16. Rf1 Rf8 17. Qxf4 f6 18. dxc6 Qxc6 19. Nd4 Qe8 20. Nd5+ Kd8 21. Qxd6+ Bd7 22. Nb5 1-0



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