IM Kaufman Reports from the World Senior
By IM Larry Kaufman   
November 3, 2008
After six of the eleven rounds at the World Senior Championship, October 28-November 11, Bad Zwischenahn, Germany, four players have 5 1/2 points, namely GMs Suba, Jansa, and Cebalo, and IM Onprienko. I'm one of eight players half a point behind the leaders, so I'm doing pretty well, although I surely should have won both the games I drew. I won round four after using a prepared Rybka-suggested novelty, although it only gave me a small edge.

Boris Gruzmann-Larry Kaufman
World Senior Open

1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.a3 Nh6 7.b4 cxd4 8.cxd4

Position after 8.cxd4

8..Nf5 9.Bb2 Bd7 10.Be2 Be7 11.0-0 h5!? TN

Position after 11...h5

Previously 11...0-0 was played but this allows 12.Bd3. 11...Rc8 was also played (by transposition) but I think that Rybka's h5 is better because it threatens to continue with ...g5 after which White no longer has g4 or h3 in reply, so White is virtually forced to continue 12.b5 after which Black is happy to play ...Na5 heading for an outpost on c4. Of course ...h5 is normal in this structure, but since White didn't play g4 before castling it seems unlikely that he will do so now, so the move ...h5 seems a bit bizarre until the real point (...g5 next) is seen. So I decided to try Rybka's idea, and it worked well enough. The game continued
12.b5 Na5 13.Nc3 Rc8 14.Na4 Qd8 15.Rc1 b6 16.Bd3 g6 17.Qe2 Nc4 and I eventually won in 80 moves, 1-0

Position after 17...Nc4

One thing puzzles me. Since the tournament is open (age-qualified), I wonder why it is so strong compared to (for example) a U.S. Open? The midpoint was well over 2000, vastly stronger than the midpoint of any major open US tournament (including all sections). If anything, I would expect an event for players over age 60 to be weaker than a normal open. There's probably some explanation. Maybe it's just the lack of class prizes.

There are seven other players here representing the U.S. IM Albert Kapengut, a well-known Soviet theoretician and trainer now plays for the U.S., and he has 4 out of 6, as does FM Eduard Zelkind. New Orleans' master Jude Acers has 3.5, Dan Mayers has 3 (an excellent score for the tournament's second oldest player at 85),Leonid Bondar has 2.5 and Natalya Zelkind has 2 points playing in the men's section (which is therefore misnamed, it should be called just the Senior Championship if it is open to women), and Esther Epstein has 4 out of 6 in the women's section, which has 36 players compared to the 300 in the "men's". I guess this shows why the women's age limit was set ten years younger than the men's; if the women had to be sixty there might not have been enough players to hold the event. Some people wondered how many prospective women players might be lost just due to reluctance to admit being over fifty ; I guess that's something we will never know. The tournament is well-run, and there are plenty of nice restaurants nearby, so if my results turn bad, I'll probably have only myself to blame. Anyway, five more rounds to go, and all the (relatively) easy pairings are in the past.

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