1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 (SF 9 at depth 45 plays this, expecting 5…Bxc5 6 Nf3; or 5 Nf3 Bxc5 6 a3. At a lower depth SF plays 5 Bd3 Nd7 6 Nf3) Bxc5 6.Qg4 (6 b4 and 6 Nf3 have been played far more often but for SF the game move is best) 6…Ne7 (At a lower depth SF goes with 6…Bf8 but going deeper prefers 6…Ne7 expecting 7 Nf3 Nbc6 to follow) 7.Nf3 (Komodo, at a lower depth, plays 7 b4 h5 8 Qxg7. SF plays the game move with 7…0-0 8 b4 to follow)
7…Qb6 (SF 151218 at depth 48 plays 7…0-0 8 b4 Bb6; SF 10 at depth 42 goes with 7…Ng6 8 Bd3 Bd7. Neither of these moves has as yet been attempted in practice, by a human or A.I.)
Unlike most chess fans I look forward to the opening round of an Open event in lieu of the final round because the last round usually devolves into a song by Big Maybelle, better known from the 1957 rockabilly song by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Or as the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who has done a fair amount of shakin’ himself, has been heard to say, the last round usually turns into a “Big ‘ol group hug.” The first round is more interesting because of the huge rating disparity, affording the possibility of an upset. Players of my level, “weakies” according to Bobby Fischer, have a chance at glory. Lower rated players can benefit from playing over the games of other lower rated players in order to discern where they went wrong; what kind of mistakes they made. In addition, more “offbeat” openings are played in the opening round and not the “round up the usual suspect” openings. It may be true that one should play so-called “main lines,” but how interesting is it to play over a game when the same twenty moves have been trotted out yet again?
In the opening round of the recent 2015 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival Badrakh Galmandakh, representing Mongolia, rated 2240 by the FIDE, sat down behind the White pieces to battle GM Alexander Motylev, rated 2665, the 78th highest rating in the world. As he played his first move Badrakh reached for his Queen pawn, and moved it one square, to d3. This caused me to think of the famous game between World Champion Anatoly Karpov and English GM Tony Miles at the 1980 European Team championship when, in reply to Karpov’s first move of 1 e4, Tony answered with a move which shocked Karpov and stunned the chess world, 1…a6. The game ended in victory for the Englishman.
Upon reflection I also considered something contained in the regular column by GM Andy Soltis in the January issue of Chess Life magazine, “It seems to me that in non-standard positions, chess players have become significantly weaker,” GM Boris Gulko said in a recent Chesspro.com interview. “Because all their strength and energy goes into working with the computer.”
Badrakh Galmandakh faced three GM’s, and two IM’s, and battled them to a draw with the Mieses opening, scoring 2 1/2 out of 5 games. He was out rated by an average of 308 points and finished the tournament with a PR with White of 2548.
If you are curious, as was I, about how he played as Black, here are the games:
It is an established fact that it is much more difficult to play chess having the Black pieces. Still, Badrakh finished only -1 in his five games playing defense, for a PR of 2360. To put this result in perspective, Kenny Soloman recently earned a GM title and his FIDE rating was 2399 at the time. Badrakh Galmandakh finished the tournament in the middle of the field with a score of -1 and a PR of 2428. The new GM, Kenny Soloman also played in the Gilbralter Masters, and although he finished with an even score, ahead of Badrakh by 1/2 a point, Soloman’s PR was only 2320. (http://chess-results.com/tnr158561.aspx?lan=1&art=9&fed=RSA&turdet=YES&wi=821&snr=96).
I know nothing more about Badrakh Galmandakh than what I have been able to find online. He is 25 years of age and #17 in Mongolia. My hat is off the “Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh!