The following game against an old rival of mine from my youth days was my cleanest game in Albena. White’s overoptimistic attacking play in the opening was easily refuted by simple development.
Yovchev,A (2284) - Bojkov,D (2542)
BUL Teams (3.4), 09.06.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qc1?!
Alexi is an extremely sharp tactician. His dream now is to swap the bishops, weaken the fianchettoe position of my king, and to push the h pawn as far it gets. Therefore, exchanges are not part of his plan: [5.Qd2 Ne4 6.Nxe4 dxe4 7.Ne5 Nd7= or even(7...f6 8.Nc4 Be6) ] 5...Bf5! Hits the pawn on c2, and provokes White for his next move. 6.Nh4?! [6.Bh6? Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Bxc2] 6...Be6! One might argue that the bishop is not better placed on e6 than on c8, but this is not the case. This piece is targeting... the a2 pawn! 7.Bh6 Bxh6 8.Qxh6 Qd6 Thanks to the small development twist, Black is already better. The knight on h4 as well the queen on h6 are completely unprepared for an "attack". Moreover, they are obstructing White's normal development. 9.Qd2 Played after 40 minutes of thought. I can only imagine White's frustration. However, the other options are no better: [9.h3 Ne4 (9...c5!?) 10.Nxe4 dxe4 is better for Black; Even worse is: 9.e3 Nc6 10.0–0–0 Ng4 11.Qg7 0–0–0–+
The most obvious: 9.0–0–0? is in fact losing after: 9...Ng4 10.Qg7 Rf8] 9...Nc6 10.g3 Probably White needed to settle on the continuation: [10.0–0–0 0–0–0 11.e3 Ne4 12.Qe1 when Black is a little better anyways (12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.g3 Bxa2 is a clear pawn ahead for me
this is when the bishop is needed on e6!) 12...f5 although I would defenetely prefer to have the black pieces here.] 10...0–0–0 11.Bg2 h6 The knight on h4 is still a concern for the first player. 12.Nb5 Qd7 13.f4 Ne4 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.e3 The only move, as there is a double attack in case of the other pawn defense: [15.c3 Qd5] 15...g5 16.f5 Alexi decided to sacrifice a pawn. The alternative was not great either: [16.Ng2 Bg4 17.0–0
with a pleasant choice for Black- 17...gxf4 (17...Bf3 18.Ne1 g4) 18.Rxf4 f5 In both cases with great advantage.] 16...Bxf5 17.Nxf5 Qxf5 18.c4 a6 More energetic would have been: [18...Ne5 19.Qa5 Nd3+ 20.Kd1 (20.Kd2 Qf2+ 21.Kd1 Nxb2+ 22.Kc1 Nd3+ 23.Kd1 b6 24.Qxa7 Qf3+ 25.Kd2 Qg2+) 20...Qf3+ 21.Kc2 Qe2+ with immediate win.] 19.Rf1?! Qg4 20.Nc3 Ne5
21.Qe2 Nf3+ 22.Kd1 f5 23.Kc1 h5 Once that the h file is opened, black pieces will flood the opponent's position. 24.c5 c6 25.Nd1 [25.Qc4 Kb8 26.Qe6 h4 would not help either.] 25...Qh3 26.Rf2 h4 27.Rg2 hxg3 28.hxg3 Qh1 29.b4 Ne1 0–1
Naturally, not a great play by the first player, but a good example how to refute an overoptimistic play by your opponent.
Bulgarian Team Competitions took place once more in the beautiful resort of Albena between 2-8 Junes. Practically all the best Bulgarian players (except Topalov, Cheparinov and Stefanova) took part in the event. Eight teams competed in the top male and female divisions, and additional 10 teams in the second male division plus four female teams, with the total of 194 players. Among them were 25 GMs and 30 IMs. Male teams constitute from 6 players and two reserves, while female- 4 players and one substitute. The rate of play was an hour and a half for the whole game, and increment of thirty seconds per move. Sofia rules were applied, as well as the zero-lateness tolerance.
The weather was fine, and many of the games had to be decided in a constant time-trouble.
In the male section my team “Naiden Voinov”-Vidin managed to double the title from the previous year. We won almost all our matches, including the direct encounters against Lokomotiv Sofia (3.5-2.5), and Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the last but one round (4-2) which proved to be the decisive match. Before that there was also a thrilling encounter against Lokomotiv 2000, which ended 3-3, but which we could have easily lost. The leader of the team Alexander Delchev arrived for the decisive match against Lokomotiv from the French Team Championship, and managed to win two team championships within a couple of days. Further on the squad was represented by the GMs M.Nikolov, Vl. Georgiev, V. Nevednichii (practically the only foreign player in the male part this year), D. Bojkov, M.Petrov, and FM Hr. Velchev, E.Stefanov.
The second place was for Lokomotiv Plovdiv led by GMs Spasov,Chatalbashev,Petkov and Drenchev. They did though less good on the lowest boards. The most remarkable about their team was the absolute record by IM Ljuben Popov (Bachkata) who played his 56-th (!) team championship with the same team, and who won his 40-th medal with his club!
Bronze medals went for Lokomotiv Sofia. Their indisputable leader Kiril Georgiev scored fabulous 4.5/5. However the saying “One swallow does not make a summer” worked for this strong team, as the leader did not get enough support.
The strong team of Lokomotiv 2000 did not really have a chance for the medals, as in the decisive final round one of their key players could not arrive on time and was forfeited for a minute delay. Another unpleasant incident happened in round two, when Dian Dimov from Abritus who had his mobile phone off in his pocket, pressed it unconsciously while thinking. The mobile made a noise, and he had to be forfeited. The moral is always the same; do better not bring any phones with you, no matter if they are off, or on. There are still alarms, that might start, reminders, or it might make a random sound when the battery is low, there are too many negative possibilities.
The poker phenomenon did not pass Bulgaria, and the team of Abritus was constituted by active poker players, and sponsored by a more advanced others.
From the group relegated the teams of Spartak Pleven, and sadly, the previous title-contenders CSKA. Victory Blagoevgrad and Tunja Yambol are replacing them.
The ladies tournament witnessed the indisputable success of Shah XXI Sofia who comfortably won all their six matches, and drew the last one when the job was done. The team consisted from WIM E.Raeva and WGMs E.Djingarova, M.Velcheva and G.Olarasu, who is the top-scorer of the championship with 6.5/7. A curious fact is that all he ladies from the champion’s team are connected with the champions from the male one. E.Djingarova and A. Delchev, and V. Nevendnichii and G. Olarasu (families), E.Raeva and M. Nikolov (couple) and finally M.Velcheva and Hr. Velchev (brother and sister, and captains).
The silver medals went for Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) (WGM Vosika,and WIM Chilingirova,Yordanova and Genova), while the last-year champions from CSKA managed to grab the bronze despite the financial crisis.
Lokomotiv Sofia and Spartak Pleven XXI got relegated and will be replaced in the next year by Krakra Pernishki and Ivis-Plus Sofia.
Albena is a hot spot at the Bulgarian chess map. It is one of the greenest resorts in our country, and there are more things to be seen in the neighborhood, like the Blachik’s Botanical Garden and the Balchik Palace (mere 9 km away), cape Kaliakra, etc. Currently the world workers championships are taking place in Albena (chess is one of the disciplines). A strong tournament with more than 200 participants (subscribed so far) will take place in the resort at the end of the month (25.05-03.07).
Finally, in September the European Individual Youth championships will be played.
This mass match on 100 boards was prepared long time ago and took place on Saturday, 28 May, just a couple of hours before the finals of the Soccer Champion’s League. There was no special occasion; it was just the passion to our great game and the respect that we have towards each other as nations that made the event happen. The Bulgarian and Serbian people have many things in common: we have similar language, use the Cyrillic alphabet, have the same religion- Orthodox Christians, and we have cooperated greatly in various arias of life, and chess is naturally one of them. Quite remarkable is the case with the legendary Serbian GM Svetozar Gligorich, who first became Bulgarian champion (unofficially) in 1945 and only after that, won his many titles in his home Yugoslavia.
100 boards is a lot of people and we were symbolically separated in various categories. Beside the male and female boards there were also students, handicapped, youth and seniors over 55 and 60 years. Furthermore, the unusual categories of federation and club managements, politicians, teachers, businessmen, journalists and even holy men competed each other.
It was a great chance for the players to meet some of their friends that they have not seen with years. It was also great to see many of our living legends gathered together.
Bankia is a state in Sofia, famous for the mineral water and the green environment. It become one of the hottest spots on the Bulgarian chess map this year, as both the male and female championships were conducted here in April.
The mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandukova, the deputy mayor of Begrade as well as many other politicians paid attention to the event, and made the symbolical first move.
Bulgaria was represented by Kiril Georgiev on the first male board, and Antoaneta Stefanova on the top female board, who had just arrived from the WIECC in Georgia as a silver medalist. Serbia’s top boards were Ivan Ivanisevic and Natasa Bojkovic. A total of 33 GMs and numerous titled players took part in the match. The time limit was 25 minutes per game, with an increment of 10 seconds per move. The top boards were translated online.
On the top boards we appeared to be quite hospitable hosts. However, we managed to recover the losses thanks to the business/politics/management stuff to finally clinch the win with the slim edge 51.5/48.5
The executive director of the Bulgarian chess Federation Nikolay Velchev said that this was “The longest prepared match (6 months) which ended in just 60 minutes”, but brought numerous positive emotions to all the participants.
The next match will be played in Belgrade.