Report by the B.C.A. Team

The X World Individual Championships for the visually impaired took place between 19-30 November 2002. The tournament took place in the city of Istanbul (Turkey), in The Burhan Sport Complex, situated in the Asian part of the city. This complex was 4 stars category, with double rooms, mini-bar, central heating, TV and direct phone, according to the information they gained from the organisers. Although comfortable enough, the sports complex did not prove to be a satisfactory venue for such an event and the food which was provided was of a low quality. Being a Muslim state, no alcohol was sold on the complex and morning praying began at 5.25 in the morning. This inevitably led to some sleepless nights, and the general noise of water pipes and thin walls meant a tedious time for all.

Photo: Colin Chambers in play with Turkish national flag in the backgroundHowever, the English part managed to discover a local super market where refreshments could be bought and this proved an adequate solution, although it meant they were forced to be rather unsociable by being secretive in their rooms. Not that the entertainment during the event was something to be desired for, for only on one occasion was there anything arranged.

Despite all this though, the social factor was as enjoyable as on any other occasion, and considering they had to make their own entertainment, they achieved this without becoming too bored during the two weeks.

Being a sports complex, there were plenty of sporting facilities around, including an athletics track where daily exercise could be carried out upon. The playing hall itself turned out to be the basket ball hall, and although extremely spacious, it did prove to be rather echoic and sound carried a great deal during play.

Photo: Chris Ross (left) in play against Kai Bjerring (Denmark)

Returning to the beginning, Grand master Neil McDonald and Chris travelled to Istanbul via Switzerland and arrived relatively safely and smoothly without any hitches. Once arrived, the inevitable trouble began, when they had to wait several hours before being escorted to the venue. The other two members of the English party, player Colin Chambers and guide Julie Leonard, flew from London and arrived later in the afternoon, only to be met with the fact that there was nobody at the airport waiting for them. They, eventually, had to make their own arrangements to get to the hotel, which added to a long journey.

Nevertheless, all arrived eventually on the Tuesday, and play began immediately on the following day.

At the commencement of play, Gm Neil McDonald and Chris had very high expectations for Chris’ tournament, and although they didn't seriously regard his chances of winning the title as very high, they knew that Chris had greatly improved over the past four years since his previous attempt, and that his positional understanding was as good as any of the players participating in the event. A top 5 position was certainly obtainable. However, there were a number of very strong players in the event, many of them having a huge amount of experience. A full list of participants can be seen at the bottom of this report.

The current champion, IM Smirnov, was in attendance, as well as IM Krylov of
Russia, who was regarded as the clear favourite from the beginning. The Danish international master, Kai Bjerring was another very strong contender for the title as well as Dukaczewskii from Poland

Chris commented: “Having GM Neil McDonald along as my second greatly increased my chances, for we were able to prepare for my opponents, since the draw was produced the previous night, enabling us to have the morning to set ourselves up. This was possible since the round did not begin until 3.00 in the afternoon, concluding at 9.00. This meant 40 moves in 2 hours, with an hour allegro finish. Although this sounds a lot of time, the initial 40 moves control did become very difficult on occasions and could be put down to my eventual downfall. Nevertheless, one must learn to play the clock as well as the board, and only experience can aid him in this.”

Photo from left to right: Chris, Neil McDonald and Colin

In round 1, Chris was placed against Mr. Torres from

Columbia, who was unrated. Taking the black pieces, Chris had to face the King’s Indian attack, which is solid but rather unambitious for white. Chris fended off his opponent’s attacking intentions easily enough, and gradually outplayed him on the queen-side and through the centre, finally picking up the point at the time control.

Round 2 saw him with the white pieces against the eventual winner of the tournament, IM M.
JOUNUSOF from Kasistan. JOUNUSOF had won this particular championship in Spain in 1994, and was rated at 2246. After extensive morning preparation, Chris was fully prepared for his opponent, and was suitably delighted when his preparation proved correct. He quickly gained an opening advantage and slowly but surely outplayed his opponent, reaching a completely winning advantage. His opponent’s positional understanding was poor, but tactically, he kept his position together, although it must be stated that Chris could have squeezed him much more than he did during the game. If his style was not as solid and slow as it is, I’m sure he would have converted a very quick point. As it were, he built up slowly allowing his opponent to hold on, and gradually work his way back into the game. Inevitably, the time scramble tactics was his undoing, and in serious time trouble, he sacrificed unwisely, allowing his opponent to convert skilfully into a winning end-game.

As one can imagine, this very disappointing loss was a serious blow to Chris, for as he knew, and as after-match analysis proved, he had a crushing position against a rated opponent and failed to convert. he had to be strong and not break. Fortunately for Chris, his third round opponent was an unrated Indian, who proved solid enough, but who played very unambitiously, and allowed him to convert an easy point. The Indian himself was the youngest in the tournament and might have felt rather aggrieved at the loss, since he had prepared solidly for his opening, and had played the King’s Indian attack, obviously finding an improvement to Chris’ first round game. However, another major advantage of having a second is that one can analyse in depth one’s own games, and having realised his slight positional mistake in the first round game, Chris amended it in the third round, thereby surprising his prepared opponent.

The fourth round saw him once again with the black pieces against a strong Spanish contender called Palacios. Once again, opening preparation proved to be their advantage here, and after extensive study, Chris was able to surprise his opponent in the first few moves. However, maybe the amount of preparation had begun its toll on him, for certain variations became muddled in his mind and he mixed the variations up in the actual game, and landed himself in a very poor position. Fortunately, his opponent was unable to capitalise on this mistake, and once again, his courage stayed with him and he didn’t allow his game to collapse and defended solidly and eventually managed to wriggle his way out of a difficult position. After a few pretty positional subtleties, he found himself in a strong position, managing to win a pawn and converted it in a double rook ending.

This placed him on 3/4 and only half a point of the leading pack. Up to this point, there had been no great surprises in the tournament, and there was a large bunch of people at the top of the field. His loss in round 2 had taken him away from the leaders, but yet, they had slowed slightly, and he was only that one decisive win away from joining them once again. In a way, his loss in round 2 might have been a quiet blessing, since it had given him slightly easier opposition in round 3 and 4, whereas if he had won round 2, he would have had tougher opponents in the following rounds.

Round 5 saw him with the white pieces against a
Russian. Once more, opening preparation proved vital here and he quickly gained a very strong advantage. he slowly outplayed his opponent, although gaining a winning position always proved very difficult. His opponent held and struggled although playing his position must have been a very unpleasant job, but hold he did. Eventually, they reached an ending where Chris had a very good knight verses a bad bishop, which he is extremely strong in. However, in a certain position, he gambled on a possibility, which eventually, proved to become weak. he deliberately doubled and isolated his pawns in order to give his knight access to another square, which, if he had managed to get his knight there, it would have proved to be very strong indeed. Nevertheless, it must be stated that positionally, this is not to be recommended, and at the time, he considered it to be a worthy enough chance, for he couldn’t see a clear path to victory. After-game analysis proved that black could indeed hold the ending, although it would have been extremely difficult, and white was in no danger of losing. By playing the ending, he would have made his opponent suffer more a much lengthier amount of time, and the eventual pressure might have just cracked him. As it were, he entered this inferior position, and Chris has to admit, he was indeed lucky to hold the draw in the end, as his pawns proved tremendously weak in the end. However, he believed his opponent was happy enough to draw having had to suffer right the way through the opening stages.

Round 6 proved to be his gem of the tournament, and perhaps, it could be stated, his best game ever played, speaking from the quality of chess. His opponent,
Sakic, Croatia, plays an old line of the Ruy Lopez, and they were able to prepare extensively for this. In the end, he was able to play 17 moves of theory in the actual game, bringing him to a clear advantage. Having seen how previous grand masters had handled the position, and understood the positional particulars of the position, he was able to exploit his position to its utmost, and after a few more ineffective moves by Sakic, he was able to begin to convert his advantage by a very clever pawn sacrifice, which completely tied his opponent down. Pawn sacrificing for Chris is unusual in itself, but the positional quality was of the highest order, and afterwards, he did not continue with the sacrifices, after having offered the exchange, but simply kept control, and cut out all his opponent’s counter-play, tying black utterly. The control was so much that he was able to win a piece, and duly converted it in the end-game.
Even the top grandmasters would have been proud of this, since 17 moves of theory, followed by a nice pawn sack, and then keeping complete control – Nobody seeing the game, would know it was a 2101 playing it.

This brought Chris into round 7 on 4.5/5 with the black pieces against IM BJerring from
Denmark. His opponent is very highly rated and has lots of experience at tournament chess. In this game, Bjerring was able to surprise Chris first with an opening novelty, which he had never played before, placing Chris immediately on the back-foot. Fortunately for Chris Though, he had won a very nice game against a strong opponent 3 months previously in the Middlesbrough Congress in the exact variation, and one that is not very common, there by, surprising his opponent back.
A very intense and demanding struggle ensued, where his opponent did not press as much as he could of, perhaps in his opening play. It must be stated here that Bjerring had expressed the opinion that he regarded Chris’ end-game play to be weak and attempted to steer the game into an end-game, where he believed his greater experience would prevail. Chris was able to prevent this, and kept queens and rooks on the board, and gradually began to gain a slightly better position, where his opponent had a weak isolated queen-side pawn. Eventually, he was able to round this pawn up leaving him with a pawn advantage and the minor pieces of the board, as well as the rooks, leaving them with a queen and bishop ending. Theoretically, the final position is indeed drawn, but he could have played on for another hundred moves perhaps, to probe and see if white would have messed it up, but he agreed the draw believing that his opponent had the experience and knowledge to be able to draw without too much difficulty. Bjerring was reasonably happy with the draw.

Photo from left to right: Colin, Julie Leonard and Chris

So, this is where the big moment arose. Chris was on 5/7 in the8th round, one point of the leading pack. One win would draw him within half a point of the two leaders, who were playing against each other, namely Nizam (
Bulgaria) and TRKALJANOV (Macedonia), who were both unknown. Krylov, Smirnov and Dukaczewski had suffered surprising losses in the previous rounds, leaving the two leaders on 6/7 alone. It was presumed that top board would end as a draw, leaving the top two on 6.5/8 and giving the others a chance to catch up with them.

Therefore, Chris was in the perfect position. A win in the8th round would put him within half a point of the leading two, and a win in the last round would ensure him a medal on 7/9. he had the white pieces in round 8 against Toltec (
) and all he had to do is win. His opponent, although rated very high, has poor positional understanding, and very little ambition in the way he plays.

The scene was set, and the round began and he quickly gained a strong position. However, as the time control gradually approached, his strong position looked in danger of pitting out. His opponent, who has a reputation of holding on to his positions, and being very difficult to beat, held, and looked to be holding the draw. Chris had to win, whatever the cost. Henceforth, in the ending, he attempted to blast it all open and his gamble paid off, leaving him in an utterly won position.

Incredible! he had gained his winning position and was nearly there. Then the pressure unstuck him. On move 39, with two moves to play with seconds on the clock, he made the inevitable mistake. he blundered into a mating net and after the two little moves to the control, his king suffered badly. After 40 moves, he discovered himself to be in a lost position, and his opponent coolly finished him off.

So close, but yet so far. The chance was in his grasp and he was that one move from being in the top area, with one round to go. Disappointedg does not come close to how Chris felt.

With this loss, it dropped Chris completely out of the reckoning with one round to go. Sadly enough, he had absolutely nothing to play for in his last round, except for the fact that he had not suffered a loss with black yet, and had indeed had 3 wins and one draw. he could not allow that record go untainted, and a very scrappy and unentertaining draw against Gunajew in the final round placed him 17th place with 5.5/9.

Overall, this performance was good, although, as stated at the beginning, their expectations were very high. Even as Chris’ games prove, he had 8 winning positions out of his 9 games. This alone suggests something. However, this time, it was not to be, and he will just have to give it another go in four years time.

There were 4 eventual winners of the tournament: JOUNUSOF, Krylov, Nizam and Bjerring and were placed on tie-break in that order. It was rather unfortunate for Bjerring, who ended up on 7/9 alongside the other three, but was not placed and lost out on the tiebreak.

As for Colin, he turned in a perfectly respectable performance even if an unambitious one. He came away with 4/9 with one win, six draws and two losses. He began poorly with a loss against Rositsan (Lithuania), and followed this by a few quick draws in the following rounds. The draws were short, uninteresting but yet gave him points on the board. Round 5 saw his sole win against Vilas Boas (Brazil). Colin came unstuck once again in round 8 against the strong Polish player Wolak and with a last round draw, he clinched 54th place.

The B.C.A. Team
December 2002

Final Standings

Place Name Feder Rtg Loc   Score  Buch  M-Buch Progr
1-4 JOUNUSOF, Mouret (11) KAZ 2246 7.0 50.0 27.5 35.0
  KRYLOV, Sergey (1) RUS 2388 7.0 49.5 28.5 36.5
  NIZAM, Rasim (19) BUL 2182 7.0 4 29.0 36.5
  BJERRING, Kai (7) DEN 2265 7.0 46.0 26.0 36.0
5-8 ROSITSAN, Boris (9) LTU 2251 6.5 51.5  29.0 35.0
  TRKALJANOV, Vladimir (13) MKD 2215 6.5 50.0 29.5 36.5
  ZOLTEK, Tadeusz (5) POL 2291 6.5 50.0 27.5 31.5
    POHLERS, Juergen (24) GER 2144 6.5 44.0 25.0 31.5
9-16 DUKACZEWSKI, Piotr (3) POL 2342 6.0 51.5 30.0 36.0
  BERLINSKY, Vladimir (2) RUS 2384 6.0 49.0 27.5 33.5
  ZSILTZOVA-LISENKO, Lubov (6) UKR 2271 6.0 47.5 26.0 32.5
  DRAGHICI, Gavril (40) ESP 2077 6.0 47.0 26.0 28.0
  SUDER, Ryszard (10) POL 2247 6.0 46.0 26.0 30.5
  ENJUTO VELASCO, Roberto (93) ESP 2182 6.0 46.0 24.5 27.5
  PRIBEANU, Dacian (22) ROM 2151 6.0 45.5 25.0 30.0
  NASOBIN, Alexey (33) RUS 2103 6.0 45.0 25.5 29.5
17-26 ROSS, Chris (36) ENG 2101 5.5 51.5 28.5 30.5
   MARTINEZ GARCIA, Jose (92) ESP 2202 5.5 47.0 28.0 29.5
  GUNAJEW, Rafal (14) POL 2213 5.5 46.5 26.0 29.5
  MIKHALEV, Alexey (8) RUS 2258 5.5 46.0 25.5 31.5
  TORRES, Soulo De Jesis (81) COL 1800 5.5 43.5 24.0 25.0
  LINDENMAIR, Anton (26) GER 2132 5.5 43.5 23.5 26.5
  IVCINKO, Anatoly (62) UKR 1800 5.5 42.5 24.0 25.5
  KONEV, Victor (31) UKR 2121 5.5 40.5 23.0 26.5
  BIDIND, Hassanali (53) IRA 1800 5.5 40.5 22.0 22.0
  PALACIOS PEREZ, Manuel (16) ESP 2192 5.5 40.0 23.0 24.5
27-41 SMIRNOV, Sergei (4) RUS 2305 5.0 54.5 32.0 34.5
  GUIMADEEV, Anatoli (60) RUS 1800 5.0 51.0 28.0 31.5
  MLACNIK, Franc (32) SLO 2118 5.0 47.5 26.0 28.0
  CABARKAPA, Milenko (17) YUG 2182 5.0 47.0 27.0 30.5
  KUHLMANN, Peter (30) GER 2123 5.0 45.5 26.5 27.5
  AVRAM, Sretko (25) YUG 2137 5.0 45.5 25.5 29.5
  VULIN, Milorad (87) YUG 1800 5.0 44.5 24.5 25.5
  KASYMOV, Kamil (64) TRK 1800 5.0 44.5 24.0 23.5
  STROKOV, Anatoly (12)  RUS 2220 5.0 44.0 24.5 26.5
  GAPONENKO, Leonid (20) KAZ 2167 5.0 42.0 22.5 29.0
  SCHULZ, Gert (34) GER 2103 5.0 41.0 22.0 23.5
  WIKMAN, Bengt (88) FIN 1800 5.0 40.5 22.5 23.0
  KACHANOV, Alexander (38) RUS 2091 5.0 39.0 22.5 24.0
  BLASCO, Raul (94) ESP 2072 5.0 39.0 22.0 24.5
  TAVSOLI, Hassan (79) IRA 1800 5.0 35.0 20.0 20.0
42-52 ANTONINI, Franco (51) ITA 1800 4.5 46.0 26.0 24.0
  TSHUGAEVSKI, Panteley (83) BLR 1800 4.5 45.0 24.5 23.5
  SAKIC, Milutin (23) CRO 2150 4.5 43.0 24.5 27.5
  WOLAK, Tomasz (29) POL 2124 4.5 42.5 24.5 25.0
  ORVISKI, Vladimir (70) SVK 1800 4.5 40.0 21.5 20.0
  DEBOWSKA, Teresa (56) POL 1800 4.5 38.0 21.5 18.0
  MULLER, Manfred (21) GER 2160 4.5 38.0 21.0 24.5
  OZA, Racies (71) IND 1800 4.5 35.5 20.0 18.0
  ALTINOK, Kerim (50) TUR 1800 4.5 35.5 19.5 18.0
  EROS, Pal (35) HUN 2102 4.5 33.0 19.0 19.5
  REV, Miklos (41) HUN 2036 4.5 32.5 19.0 19.5
53-66 VOJAN, Istvan (28) HUN 2126 4.0 41.5 22.5 24.0
  CHAMBERS, Colin (54) ENG 1800 4.0 41.0 24.5  19.5
  NEMES, György (37) HUN 2093 4.0 40.5 22.5 22.5
  TONTERI, Ari (43) FIN 2002 4.0 40.0 22.5 21.0
  MAECKELBERGH, Mieke (67) BEL 1800 4.0 40.0 22.5 20.0
  NOVIKOVAS, Anatolijus (44) LTU 2000 4.0 39.0 22.0 20.5
  VAN DUUREN, Louis (89) BEL 1800 4.0 39.0 22.0 20.5
  SAFAHI, Malei (76) IRA 1800 4.0 38.5 20.5 20.0
  INGLES, Roberto (61) BRA 1800 4.0 36.5 21.0 18.0
  KAUZKY, Hartmut (42) AUT 2032 4.0 36.0 20.5 20.5
  DENES, Joseph (45) HUN 1904 4.0 36.0 20.0 19.5
  PAPADAPOULOS, Christos (55) GRE 1800 4.0 36.0 19.5 18.5
  SALAZAR, Antonio (77) PER 1800 4.0  35.5 19.5 17.5
  FILIPPOS, Voelaks (59) GRE 1800 4.0 35.0 19.5 17.5
67-76 ALTINOK, Selim (49)  TUR 1800 3.5 41.0 23.5 20.5
  AKSU, Mümin (47) TUR 1800 3.5 40.5 22.0 20.0
  USTUNEL, Ahmet (84) TUR 1800 3.5  36.5 20.0 18.5
  SONMEZ, Yunus (78) TUR 1800 3.5 35.5 21.0 14.0
  BAGAYATKAR, Madan (52) IND 1800 3.5 35.5 19.5 18.0
  PATIL, Shirish (27) IND 2129 3.5 35.0 19.0 18.5
  PATEL, Darshan (73) IND 1800 3.5 33.5 19.5 12.5
  MARTINS, Adroildo (68) BRA 1800 3.5 33.5 19.0 14.0
  ACLAN, Levent (46) TUR 1800 3.5 32.5 17.0 10.5
  KRAVCINKO, Vladimir (65) ISR 1800 3.5 31.0 17.5 13.0
77-83 ZAREZADEH, Laila (90) IRA 1800 3.0 37.0 21.5 16.0
  VIKEN, Ivar (85) NOR 1800 3.0 35.0 19.0 15.0
  KUS, Mehmet (66) TUR 1800 3.0 33.5  19.0 10.0
  DEMIREL, Ismail (57) TUR 1800 3.0 32.5 20.0 15.0
  PEKSENIM, Erhan (74) TUR 1800 3.0 32.5 19.0 14.0
  ODUNCU, Yasar (69) TUR 1800 3.0 32.0 17.5 10.0
  PANAGIOTIS, Konstantinov (72) GRE 1800 3.0 28.0 16.0 11.5
84-85 ALIZADE, Mohammad Reza (48) IRA 1800 2.5 35.0 18.0 13.0
  DIMITRIS, Illas (58) GRE 1800 2.5 31.5 16.5 11.0
86-89 KARAKOSELI, Sefik (63) TUR 1800 2.0 43.5 25.0 15.0
  PRYTZ, Otto (75) NOR 1800 2.0 34.0 19.0 9.5
  THOMSON, Hakan (80) SWE 1800 2.0 33.0 18.0 13.0
  VILAS BOAS, Crisolon (86) BRA 1800 2.0 32.0 17.5 11.0
90 OLSAR, Jaroslavo (91) CZE 1800 0.5 4.5 4.5 0.5
91-94 ENGÜN, Serdar (15) TUR 1800 0.0 4.5 4.5 0.0
  TRKALJANOV, (82) TRM 1800 0.0 4.0 4.0 0.0
  GÜNDAY, Hasan (39) TUR 1800 0.0 3.0 3.0 0.0
  ÇOLAK, Remzi (18) TUR 1800 0.0 1.5 1.5 0.0












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© B.C.A. 2002