Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Close. Very close

I'm off, tomorrow, to play in the annual tournament in Benasque, the scene of my best game of last year. But the scene also of the game in which I came the closest I have ever dome to standing up to a grandmaster: the veteran Davorin Komljenovic of Croatia, pictured here celebrating. His rating actually appears to have gone up since then, a commendable feat for somebody in their sixties: probably not entirely because he was able to overcome the present writer, but every little helps.

My other games against grandmasters - there's been, I think, fewer than half-a-dozen - have been totally one-sided affairs. They include a trouncing by Tony Miles at Wolverhampton when he was, I believe, number 52 in the world, and a similarly unequal struggle against Mark Hebden in a final round at Coventry after I'd beaten an FM the round before. I did nearly knock over Jacob Aagaard once, but although he had achieved three norms his rating fell (and still falls) below the level required to receive the grandmaster title.

This one, though, was different - hard-fought, tight, the identity of the amateur and the grandmaster not evident from the moves alone. It was played on the same day as the World Cup Final and like that match, it was decided only at the very end. My girlfriend, who knows little of chess, said to me afterwards that she knew it must have been close - because there were so few pieces left on the board.


I must have been better coming out of the opening, perhaps much better - and in the ending, I missed a draw. Komljenovic was a relieved man at the finish. "Close", he said to me, in English. "Very close."

[Playthrough removed due to malware. I'll insert a new one one day! - ejh 15 August 2016]

12 comments:

Tom Chivers said...

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good luck, Justin.

Sorry I couldn't make it. Angus.

Jonathan B said...

All the best Justin.

I'm looking forward to the tournament report...

Anonymous said...

He was there with guitar and Bogdan the year I went. I seem to recall he has a mannerism of constanly flicking his hair during a game? It's a good job I didn't go to Benasque as I still have over 1,000 A Level Economics questions to mark! Still good luck Justin.
Andrew

ejh said...

He plays with pawns. The arbiter had to ask him to stop it, twice.

I trust people appreciate there's an implict find-the-draw competition in there?

Tom Chivers said...

I for two couldn't see it.

Jonathan B said...

could you have sacrificed your bishop for his last pawn at some point - with a theoretical draw if not a practica one?

ejh said...

Possibly but it shouldn't be necessary.

Hasta luego.

Anonymous said...

48. Bd5!

ejh said...

Supporting variations would be nice but basically yes, that's what the guy reckoned. If I'm not mistaken I could also have played it on move 45. I saw it, but didn't calculate it right - can't right now remember what I thought I saw...

Anonymous said...

STOP PRESS: Justin is joint leader after two rounds at Benasque 2007, having beaten Bulgarian Spas Kozhuharov (ELO 2477)...

AF.

ejh said...

That's joint leader of 85 players on 2/2....