Wednesday, 17 July 2019

052. Senior International Master

Black: Bj. Laursen - 6th European Team Ch., Preliminaries, 1999

The Senior International Master title was, if I remember correctly, created so that CC-IMs would have something else to play for, at a time when there were limited opportunities to make GM norms. I was a beneficiary of this myself. Even if, as with the IM title, I can't remember exactly how I qualified. Searching my databases I see I did have three further decent results in the years 1998-2002.

These were:
For a total score of +12 from 31 games, and without a single loss.

Previous posts already feature the North Sea Tournament (Game 28 and Game 31) and the Olympiad (Game 4), so here's a game from the European Teams. It has me on the White side of a Petroff.

I can't remember anything about this game. My notes have various “+= Nunn” assessments in the opening, from where I'm not sure. Possibly NCO, if it was out by then. There's also an obscure reference to E.Mnatsakanian-V.Maslov, USSR Spartakiad, Moscow 1963.

The natural 11 h5 was a novelty, against which my opponent enterprisingly castled short. It's not actually as bad as it looks, at least not with Stockfish in charge of the black pieces. Fortunately, Bjørn didn't have a rating of 3400+, and his queenside counterattack was ultimately unsuccessful.

Playing it through again now prompts no recollection either. My memory is not what it was. I had a game in the Sheffield Summer League a week or so ago which followed the same path as one against the same opponent three weeks earlier. Presumably he'd prepared something for me. If so, he was probably disappointed when I deviated early. But that wasn't due to any foresight or caution on my part. I'd simply forgotten what we'd played before and inadvertently went a different way on move eight.

Amnesia does have some advantages. Regrets, I've had a few, but then again...
I've forgotten what they were.

Monday, 1 July 2019

051. International Master

White: P. Sváĉek - 21st World Championship, semi-final 2, 1995

I can't remember what the criteria were for the CC-IM title back in 1995, but it was a performance of 8/14 in WC21/SF02 that clinched it for me.

Really? 8/14? Is that all? And in the Open Games I only managed 2/6, with four draws and two losses. It was 3/3 with 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+! that got me over the line.

The game below is a Scotch Four Knights with the slightly unusual 12 c4!?.

This seems to have been a pet line of Czech correspondence players around that time, including my opponent, who has another three games with it in the databases. It's not particularly testing, and I made an easy draw. In fact, Stockfish gives me the edge in the final position. Magnus Carlsen would probably play this on with the two bishops.

My best was against his homophonous namesake, CC-GM Anders Ingvar Carlsson. Everything just worked for me, and the way I was able to creep into his position on three half-lines (b3-b6, c3-f6, g3-g6) was very enjoyable. I think this is an IM-worthy game.