Kaufman on the World Senior: Midpoint Update
By GM Larry Kaufman   
October 31, 2010
logotorre.jpgWith five rounds (out of 11) of the World Senior completed and the free day in session, it's time for an update. I'm having a par result, with 4 points putting me in a massive tie for sixth place. It's the same score I had at this point when I won two years ago, so let's take that as a good omen. My loss came in round 3 against FM Helge Gundersen. I had a nice bishop pair advantage but foolishly attacked without first making a defensive move, needlessly allowing him a forced sequence culminating in a cute knight sacrifice. All my other games were pretty much won for me by move 20 or earlier, though converting my pawn plus was not trivial in two of them.

The only other American with a plus score is Jude Acers, who recovered nicely from his first round upset by winning his next three games and then drawing a GM (Chernikov). There was some comic relief at the end of this game, when Jude had rook and pawn vs. rook in an obviously drawn endgame, and both players continued to play quickly for many moves with no attempt to win by Jude. When the game was finally drawn Jude explained that he felt that the draw offer should come from the GM (which it eventually did), while the GM was observing the standard etiquette that the draw offer in such cases should come from the player with more material. The other American players all have 2 or 2.5 points.

Only one player has a perfect 5-0 score, GM Dusan Rajkovic, who also won the blitz tournament. As a 2443, Dusan is not among the favorites, but he upset top seed Tsechkovsky this round. Four GMs share second place with 4.5.: Vaisser, second seed Dydyshko, Timoscenko, and Jansa.

One sad note is that one of the players, Flotten Erling (November 20, 1937-October 28, 2010), a politician & former president of the Norwegian Chess Federation, had a heart attack during round three and passed away. Sometimes players who don't resign hopeless positions justify it with a joke that maybe the opponent will have a heart attack, but in Senior events such a possibility is quite real. You can read more about Erling on wikipedia.

I got a break in that apparently my rating was just above the middle of the 4 point pack, so I got paired with the lowest rated 4 pointer for round 6, Brazilian FM Lincoln Lucena, who is much better known as a chess politician (he ran for FIDE president a couple decades ago) than as a player. Still if he got 4 points out of 5 he can't be a patzer, and I will have Black! If I win the tough pairings will begin.

For some comic relief, here is a miniature I won in the blitz-
1.d4 Nf6 2c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 c6 6.Rc1 Nbd7 ?!
7.cxd5 Nxd5? 8.Nxd5 cxd5 9.Bc7
And black's queen is "checkmated."

WGM Tamar Khmiadashvili leads with 4 out of 4 in the nine round Women's section, which has 21 players. Four players are tied for second at 3, while favorite GM (and former Women's World Champion for many years) Nona Gaprindashvili has only 2.5. But as the only player over 2300, she still has every chance to recover.
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