GM Mark Bluvshtein: Chess Rock Star!

Chess Lecture in Toronto, February 28

GM Mark Bluvshtein
GM Mark Bluvshtein at Annex Chess Club
© 2011 by the photographer David Cohen

On February 28, GM Mark Bluvshtein delivered a chess lecture at the Annex Chess Club in downtown Toronto. He analyzed two games – M. Bluvshtein-I. Ivanisevic, 2011 Tata Steel (13); and K. Nikolaidis-M. Bluvshtein, 2010 Corsica Masters (5) – and shared compelling insights into grandmaster chess play.

In the first game, Mark discussed his and Ivanisevic’s transposition battle in the opening, where both players surprised each other: Mark was not expecting 2…c5, but he declined to walk into probable Benko preparation and switched to a 4.g3 Nimzo Indian, where he was surprised by a rare 6…Qc7 line. He also discussed Ivanisevic’s passion for wild positions (where Mark was more than willing to go), and his own choice to sacrifice a whole knight “for nothing” with 16.Bg2 – just to arrive at a possibly equal position, but one where it was easier for his opponent to go wrong, while he himself got to play “risk-free” with a safe king. Grandmasters, we learnt, make mistakes, too; they don’t drop pieces, but their games are still filled with mistakes. In this game, Ivanisevic completely missed the pretty tactic of 22.Ra4, while Mark later exposed his king unnecessarily with 31.f4.

White: Mark Bluvshtein (2590)
Black: Ivan Ivanisevic (2630)

2011.01.14 Tata Steel Chess (13)

E20 Nimzo Indian: 4.g3

White: Konstantinos Nikolaidis (2318)
Black: Mark Bluvshtein (2590)

2010.10.24 Corsica Masters (5)

A60 Benoni

In the second game, Mark showed us how to beat lower-rated players: how to create unbalanced positions where “the price of each move is high” and how to constrain the opponent’s pieces to maintain positional dominance after a sacrifice. He also showed how his opponent was “making it easy for him” by letting him have everything he wanted and not setting any difficult problems for him to solve.

During question-and-answer sessions after each game, Mark discussed his training (the necessity but also the down-side of extensive opening preparation, and the importance of physical exercise, regular sleep, and “tactics for breakfast”); he reflected on his year of professional chess so far (“a big learning experience in every way”); and he announced his upcoming chess plans. After another month or so in Toronto (“it’s good to be home”), he is heading to Mexico for the Continental Chess Championship of the Americas, April 19-24; then to Philadelphia for the World Open, June 28-July 4; and then back home for the Canadian Open, July 9-17. He also touched on a number of other chess-related topics, such as the inflation of FIDE ratings, the lack of gyms in European hotels, and the difference between A-group and C-group grandmasters at Wijk aan Zee.

It was especially nice to see such a large number of young people out for the lecture – offering tactical suggestions during analysis, and enjoying Mark’s chess rock-star status in the intermission. Evidently, Mark enjoyed himself, too. Check his blog.

Thank you again, Mark, for supporting our chess club and putting on such an entertaining show!

[Event “73rd Tata Steel “]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2011.01.14”]
[Round “13”]
[White “Bluvshtein, Mark”]
[Black “Ivanisevic, Ivan”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E20”]
[WhiteElo “2590”]
[BlackElo “2630”]
[PlyCount “93”]
[EventCategory “11”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. g3 Qc7 7. Qd3 Nc6 8. Ndb5 Qb8 9. Bf4 e5 10. Bg5 a6 11. Bxf6 axb5 12. Bxg7 bxc4 13. Qb1 Rg8 14. Qxh7 Rxg7 15. Qxg7 d5 16. Bg2 d4 17. O-O dxc3 18. bxc3 Bxc3 19. Rac1 Nd4 20. Kh1 Bd2 21. Rxc4 Be6 22. Ra4 Ke7 23. Rxa8 Qxa8 24. Qxe5 Qa4 25. Qc7+ Bd7 26. Qc5+ Ke8 27. Bxb7 Ne6 28. Qd5 Ba5 29. Rc1 Qa3 30. Rd1 Qa4 31. f4 Bb6 32. Rd3 Nd4 33. Qe5+ Kd8 34. Qd6 Qa5 35. Kg2 Qb5 36. a4 Qb2 37. Bf3 Kc8 38. a5 Bc6 39. Kh3 Bd7+ 40. g4 Ba7 41. a6 Qa1 42. Kg2 Qb2 43. Qf8+ Kc7 44. Qxf7 Qb5 45. Rc3+ Kb6 46. Qf6+ Ka5 47. Qd6 1-0

[Event “Corsica Masters”]
[Date “2010.10.24”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Nikolaidis, Konstantinos”]
[Black “Bluvshtein, Mark”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A60”]
[WhiteElo “2318”]
[BlackElo “2590”]
[PlyCount “64”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 b5 6. Bg2 d6 7. e4 Nbd7 8. Ne2 g6 9. O-O Bg7 10. h3 O-O 11. g4 b4 12. a3 a5 13. axb4 cxb4 14. Be3 h5 15. Nd4 hxg4 16. hxg4 Ne5 17. f3 Ba6 18. Rf2 Nc4 19. Bc1 Qb6 20. Nc6 Bb5 21. Ne7+ Kh8 22. Bf1 Rfe8 23. Nc6 Nxe4 24. fxe4 Rxe4 25. Qf3 Re1 26. Qh3+ Kg8 27. Bg5 Rae8 28. Kg2 Ne3+ 29. Bxe3 R8xe3 30. Qh4 g5 31. Qxg5 Bxf1+ 32. Rxf1 R1e2+ 0-1

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