Under Medvedev's presidency Arkady Dvorkovich became a key economic adviser, and then again ,when Putin became acting president last year, he was appointed a Deputy-Prime Minister , following Medvedev's transition to Prime Minister's office. For the past several months there have been rumours of Dvorkovich's impending resignation due to growing tensions between Putin and Medvedev. Things have come to a head this week when Putin's guards prevented him attending a working meeting at Putin's Sochi retreat.
My regular readers no doubt recognize Arkady Dvorkovich as a chess player. His father was a well respected International Arbiter. Arkady is also currently a director of the Russian Chess Federation , and readers can find blog-articles about his performance in this capacity here ,here and here .
Anand, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, DVORKOVICH and Gelfand in Moscow.
Dvorkovich playing in a simul against Kramnik
According to the Moscow Times on Tuesday , Dvorkovich downplays the incident with Putin's security guards and even claims it never took place. He further insists that he has no intention to leave Medvedev's side before 2018 when his term of office ends.
"I knew that I would have to work six years, if I worked well and wasn't fired," Dvorkovich said, adding that he wouldn't leave by his own will.(Cited from yesterday's Moscow Times)
But sources close to the Kremlin suggest the possibility of a more rapid exit by Dvorkovich.Vladislav Surkov , once a key Putin adviser and considered the third most influential political figure in Russia after Putin and Medvedev until his changing camps over to Medvedev, was removed from office just two weeks ago, allegedly for annoying Putin. He was a Deputy Prime Minister, like Dvorkovich.
The charismatic Surkov with his equally charismatic wife, Natalia.
According to Reuters''Russian media and political analysts have long said a rift has opened up between Putin and Medvedev, his long-time ally and a former president, although both deny it. "Of course it's a strike against Medvedev," said Dmitry Oreshkin, an opposition-minded political analyst. "It turns out he was simply devoured. It will take some time and the prime minister will also be devoured."
In happier times. On the left side: Dvorkovich, Surkov, Medvedev and... Putin. Cabinet meeting last year.
There is something alluring--almost romantic-- about a passed pawn in the middle of the chess board that grabs our attention and stimulates our imagination. Can this lowly pawn --the least significant piece--become an unlikely hero and break-thru to the 8th rank to win the game for us?
The analogy with the story of David and Goliath is clear. Chess is filled with numerous games where this theme is central to the outcome. It is one of the reasons why the game of chess inspires us and millions like us...superior force does not always win; the underdog sometimes emerges victorious... against all odds!
I want to thank fellow-blogger Sebastian Fell for drawing my attention to the game featured below. Played in Argentina this past Saturday in the 1st Copa ZChessClock tournament held at the Club Mariano Moreno in Buenos Aires, this game features such a heroic pawn
POSITION AFTER 31 MOVES:
fm Perez, Maximiliano
Black is an FM rated 2330-plus while White is rated almost 300 points less. As in the story of David and Goliath, the game has not been going well for the much lower rated player. A pawn down for some time now, most have written off White's fate ...
HOWEVER, Black's last move (31...Rd8?!) shows an arrogant confidence that underestimates his oponente and gives him the chance to turn things around...
White grabs the opportunity to create a passed pawn...
32...RxQ 33.Re8+! Kh7 34.Ng5+! Kh6 35.PxR
Facing Rook , Knight and passed Pawn for the Queen, the Black pieces must play very accurately as the d-Pawn is just two squares away from promoting. Correct now is 35...Qf6! and Black should be able to control the passed Pawn.
After 36.Re7! Kg7! (not 36...Be6? 37.Rxe6!! PxR 38.d7! and the Pawn promotes and decides the game!) 38.Rxb7! Qxd6 39.Nxf7! Qf8!?--there is nothing better-- 40.Ne5+ Kh6 41.Nf7+ and neither side can avoid the perpetual check.
HOWEVER, once more Goliath underestimates David:
The Black Queen can not move: 36...Qf8 allows mate in 1, while 36...Qg8 is met by 37.f4!! followed by advancing the Pawn. Black's reply is forced...
36...PxN 37.PxP+ Kh7
The passed pawn is safely blockaded, or so it seems
A magnificent and unexpected move!
If now Black takes the Bishop then 40.g4!! cuts off the Bishop from covering the d7-square and the White pawn Queens by force!
Black's next moves are forced:
39...QxR 40.PxQ Be8
White's strong passed pawn gives him a won ending!
Now the simplest way to win is 41.Kf2 Kg7 ( or 41...d4 42.Ke2 b6 43.Kd3 c5 44.bxc5 bxc5 45.Bf1 Kg7 46.Kc4 Kf7 47.Kxc5 Kxe7 48.Bxa6 etc) 42.Be6 b6 43.Ke3 as in the previous note
MORAL OF THE STORY: David and Goliath, ofcourse!
You can play over the entire game HERE , plus all the other games from the tournament so far, OR follow the tournament on CHESS-RESULTS
This is not yet found in the Oxford dictionary, so itwas "Googled" and discovered to be a recently "coined"new word found on T-shirts on eBay: Read this one over slowly and absorb the facts that are within this definition!
I love this word and believe that it will become a recognized English word.
A gentleman's gentleman,Lothar Schmid passed away this weekend in Bamberg at the age of 85. Perhaps best known as the arbiter of the historic 1972 Fischer vs Spassky match (as well as the revenge match in 1992) Schmid was also a world class player in his own right, having won both the GM-title and the ICCF GM-title way back in 1959 when most of my readers were not yet even born!
Born in Dresden, Schmid played on the West German national team not less than 11 times between 1950 and 1974, winning 4 silver medals as well as 2 bronze medals. In correspondence chess he came in second (by a mere half-point) in the 1956-1959 World Correspondence Championship, behind the Russian grandmaster Ragozin.
Schmid congratulating Fischer on becoming World Champion in 1972!
Lothar Schmid also was chief arbiter at the 1971 Fischer vs Petrosian match, the 1977 Korchnoi vs Polugaevsky match, the 1978 Karpov vs Korchnoi match and the 1986 Karpov vs Kasparov match.
Margaret Thatcher, Kasparov, Karpov and Schmid (background) 1986
Lothar was actively involved in running his family's successful book-pubishing business. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, Schmid is reputed to possess the world's largest private library of chess books and magazines. He also collected chess boards, pieces , art work and other rare chess-related paraphernália.
''It’s housed in 7 rooms on the top 2 floors of his house in
Bamberg, Germany. On the ground floor you can find his publishing business
(Karl May-Verlag) and his living quarters are on the 1st floor.
He started collecting in the 1950s, when he was offered the
personal library of Rogmann. Since then, he has spent his time buying up other
people’s libraries, with over 50 other collections including that of Tarrasch!
It’s often said that the collection looks chaotic, but
Lothar, and only Lothar, knows where to find everything!'' LINK
He owned, for example, one of only 10 surviving copies of
the first printed book about chess, Luis Lucena’s Repetition of Love and the
Art of Playing Chess (Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez), published in
Salamanca in 1497.
He also possessed all eight editions of Questo libro e da
imparare giocare a scachi, published in Rome in 1512 by the Portuguese
apothecary Pedro Damiano (1470-1544). ( LINK
Grandmaster Lothar Schmid was a gifted positional player with a fine feel for tactics. Though his professional obligations did not allow him to travel and play as much as some of the other grandmasters of his time, Lothar crossed swords with virtually all the world champions of the latter part of the 20-th century, including Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, and Spassky.
He has played many famous games that have been published around the world, and I have found his classical style of playing to be very useful for training and teaching purposes. As White he had a fondness for 1.e4, while as Black he specialized in counterattacking systems such as the Benoni (Schmid Benoni!) and the Alekhine Defence and French Defence. His games did much to enrich the theory of these openings. Below is just a small sample of his efforts. ENJOY!
Radebeul, 1945. Black had just played 18...Bd4. The uncastled position of the Black monarch gives rise to a clever tactic that the young Schmid quickly pounces upon...
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN! ----------------------------------------
Germany, 1951. Position after 13 moves. The Black King has not yet castled and this proves to be his undoing...as usual, Schmid is quick with the execution!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
SouthSea (england) 1951. Black had just given check to the White King. Which side should the monarch hide?
Correct is now to play 19.Kf1, with a complex and evenly balanced game in progress. INSTEAD, White played what seemed at first to be a safer course:
That this move loses is , in itself, instructive. BUT the manner in which Schmid presses home his opportunity is nothing short of brilliant!
Threatening mate on f2! White's next move is forced as 20.PxN?? Bxe2 is a forced mate.
20. RxN PxR
The White back rank is weak. If now 21.Ra5 then simply 21...b5 wins (22.Rxb5? Bxf3+!), or even more stylish would be 21...Pxf3! 22.RxQ? PxB and there is no defence.
21.Ra1 Pxf3 22.Rg1 (everything else is equally hopeless)
Bamberg, 1968, perhaps Schmid's best tournament result (2nd place behind Keres; tied with world champion Petrosian). Position after 15 moves. The opening has been sloppily played by the Finnish grandmaster, but still--you would not expect the game to end so quickly!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Dusseldorf, 1951. Something has gone wrong in the opening for the Black pieces, with his King floating around. He had just played 23...h6, with the clear intention of hiding on h7.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Oberhausen, 1961. A sharp variation of the Sicilian where Black had just a move before pushed ...d5 and then ...Qb6, fighting for the initiative. Schmid was very adept in handling such complicated games and here he proves, beyond a doubt, to Black's misfortune that White is infact the master of the position! One of Schmid's best efforts!
Stockholm, 1952. I have not been able to confirm that this was from an actual tournament game --perhaps it was just an off-hand game-- as the official tournament record shows that Schmid was not a participant. PERHAPS one of my readers will be able to shed some light on this...
HOWEVER, the finish to this game is so remarkable that I can not resist but to include it! Schmid has sacrificed a piece to expose and attack the Black monarch. Petrosian's King has fled all the way to the Queenside where it finally appears to have found a safe-haven...ALMOST!