Some have asked why I do not annotate games. Each time I think of something the Discman wrote in an email, “Now any schmo with a smartphone can figure out the best move.” I figure most readers have access to a strong program and would refute most of the analysis of this schmo. In an email exchange with the Frisco Kid he wondered if he and Kazim Gulamali could have been GM’s now if they had had the right life experiences at the proper time, mentioning the work of Dean Keith Simonton, recommending I read anything I can find. I replied, “I often wondered out loud at the House of Pain what kinda player Kazim woulda turned out to be if he had been trained by IM Boris Kogan.” Kazim and his father, Mumtaz Yusef, were regulars at the House of Pain. Saturday nights meant Kung Pow Wow for Mumtaz and less spicy fare for the rest of the House. Mumtaz helped keep the House from going hungry. Kazim was called the “Little Grandmaster” for a reason. He understood chess on a different level even when young, and we all knew it. Kazim was always a gentleman, even when still considered a child. He was an adult as a player long before society considered him an adult.
This is the game score of Kazim’s game with GM Shabalov. I urge you to go over the game without a program and then return to the notes, kept while the game was ongoing and cleaned up a little for publication
FM Kazim Gulamali vs GM Alexander Shabalov
2014 World Open Rd 6
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 Rc8 7.O-O a6 8.a3 Nge7 9.Bd3 Ng6 10.g3 f6 11.Re1 Be7 12.Qc2 Kf7 13.Qe2 Rf8 14.h4 Kg8 15.h5 Nh8 16.Bf4 cxd4 17.cxd4 fxe5 18.dxe5 Be8 19.h6 g5 20.Nxg5 Bxg5 21.Qg4 Nf7 22.Qxe6 Nd4 23.Qg4 Nxh6 0-1
I questioned 9 Bd3. My thinking was that if a student showed this game I would tell him the move violates the principle of moving the same piece again before development is complete. The move 9 dxc5 suggests itself. If then 9…Ng6 10 b4 would follow.
When Kazim played 12 Qc2 I thought back to a conversation I had with IM Boris Kogan after showing him a game of mine that began 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Bd3 cxd4 6 0-0. In that game I had a chance to capture exf6 but eschewed the move. Black was able to move his pawn to f5 on the next move, leaving me with a lonesome pawn on e5, while the Black position was rock solid. In my game Black would have had to take on f6 with the g-pawn, leaving the Black King, “Drafty,” according to Boris. Although not the same exact position I cannot help wondering if Kazim should play 12 exf6.
With the above in mind, I wondered why Shabba did not play 12…f5.
I was flummoxed after Kazim played 13 Qe2. I realize that after IM John Watson published his stupendous, and award winning, book, “Rules? What rules?” (The name is actually, “Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy” and it was a classic when it was published), every player is trying to find the exception to the rule, and Black just moved his King, so maybe the Queen move is called for, but I would still take the pawn, playing exf6, because if I do not Black can play 13…cxd4 14 cxd4 fxe5 15 dxe5 and White has that lonesome e-pawn. So naturally Shabalov plays 13…Rf8. Hey, he’s the GM!
14 h4 is aggressive and it is a natural move with the Knight on g6, but I am playing exf6. In lieu of 16 Bf4 I am still playing pawn take pawn.
22 Qxe6 Oh no, Mr. Bill! This position is reminisce of some of the positions I had when taking my first chess steps. The attack would be raging but when I needed more troops they would be, like Union General George McClellan’s, languishing in the rear. At the Battle of Shapsburg in 1862, the bloodiest day of the War For Southern Independence, “McClellan refusing to act even though he had two full corps that had not seen action.” (From “The Grand Design,” by Donald Stoker) The move has got to be 22 Nbd2, with Nf3 threatened. I rejected taking the pawn because in many games I have seen things turn out badly when the attacker settled for only a lowly pawn. It may not be correct to take a pawn like that even if you put the King in check. This gives Black a move, whereas developing the Knight gives Black something to worry about. I am reminded of the book by FM Charley Hertan, “Forcing Moves.” White needs to force his opponent to react, not allow him to act.
Today it would be said that Kazim “Went down over three pawns,” when he played QxP. Back in my day one of the Road Warriors would have said, “He let go of the rope.” In showing one of his games, LM Brian McCarthy said, after making a dubious move, “I let a hand slip offa the rope here, but he allowed me to grab hold again with this move, and after his next questionable move I hit him with this move and now I was climbing again!” Translate that to today’s computer speak and it just does not have the same ring.
After checking the opening with the Chessbase database and 365Chess.com I, too, allowed a program to do its thing. I am happy to report the machine proved that Boris knew what he was talking about. If I understood this particular kind of position better than the combatants it is only because of the fact that when Hulk Kogan talked, I listened.
Kazim had what we call a Dierks Bentley, “What Was I Thinking” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMQxLyGyT-s) moment when he played QxP. We have all had a “Dierks” moment. I sure would have liked to have seen the game that would have followed the Knight move that, as the Legendary Georgia Ironman is so fond of saying, “Connects the Rooks!”