El Gran Maestro Alex Yermolinsky de los Estados Unidos fue uno de los fuertes competidores del Festival Internacional Ciudad de Arica 2018, la ilustre visita realizó un reporte de sus principales partidas que enfrentó y se publicó en el reconocido sitio norteamericano ICC, que a continuación compartimos
You know how you asked to choose a security question when you make an account online? One of the options is often, “what is the country you’d like to visit the most?” I chose that one with the answer, “Chile”.
It all started with a 9-hour-long flight from to Santiago. We left the winter in the United States and arrived in the summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Airbnb provided us with a fabulous apartment on the 6th floor overlooking the famous Plaza de Armas in downtown Santiago.
After taking our sights there the next day we took a bus trip to the port City of Valparaiso, where steep hills and views of the bay reminded me of my time in San Francisco.
Next was a 2.5 hour flight up North to Arica. Chile is that long a country, stretching north-south for over 5,000 kilometers, with a great variety of climatic zones present. Despite it being a port located on the 18th parallel, Arica isn’t your typical tropical paradise, its climate is more of a dry desert type with a lot of sunshine but very little humidity and precipitation.
Historically Arica has been a frontier town, disputed in the 9th Century wars with Chile’s neighbors Peru and Bolivia, and it has grown into an important commercial center, supporting a population of some 200,000 people.
11 Grandmasters in a 127-player field were headed by Alexei Shirov. Most of us started with 3/3, and then the real games began.
Gm Alex Yermolinsky (Eeuu) vs Gm Jose Martinez (Perú)
Even though I quickly self-destructed against Amonatov. I got favorable pairings in Rounds 5 and 6 and was back in the hunt. My highlight came in Round 7 when I downed a young Peruvian star Jose Martinez Alcantara, who wasn’t quite prepared to defend a theoretical Nimzo.
Gm Cristian Cruz (Peru) vs Gm Alex Yermolinsky (Eeuu)
I followed that with a setback against another GM from Peru, Cristhian Cruz. While White’s pawn sacrifice was as good as advertised, I felt my position was tenable. Problem was I missed the best counterattacking idea, based on a queen sacrifice, and yet I rejected a queen trade, which would have led to equal ending. A foolish decision in mutual time trouble, for which I paid dearly a few moves later.
Gm Alex Yermolinsky (Eeuu) vs Gm Kirill Stupak (Bielorrusia)
Unfazed I used the white pieces to go after Kirill Stupak of Belorus, the winner of last summer’s Korchnoi Memorial in St. Petersburg. The consequences of my daring play wouldn’t be clear, but Kirill surprised me by avoiding a principled line and accepting a somewhat worse position. Emboldened by this local success and the opponent’s shortage of time I played a couple of energetic moves and was rewarded by an extra pawn in the endgame. Here I used every ounce of my experience to calm myself down and deliberately chose a technical solution while quicker wins were available
7/9 I had and stood on the cusp of my best tournament performance in years. Even a GM norm was a possibility. Why would I need it, you might ask. Thing is, I believe GM titles shouldn’t be given for life. There are way too many guys who haven’t been within spitting distance from tournament chess in decades, yet they still boast their GM credentials. Incidentally (or maybe not so much) a lot of them got their titles under suspicious circumstances. If you are a real Grandmaster you should be able to confirm it by scoring a GM norm, read “show a 2600 performance”, once in 3-5 years. Exceptions maybe granted once they reach the age of …. (fill in the blanks).
Gm Alexei Shirov (España) vs Gm Alex Yermolinsky (Eeuu)
So, I was looking to get a high-rated opponent for the last round, and I got a bit more than I bargained for in Alexei Shirov. The Petroff got me a decent position. Alexei spent a lot of time and looked about ready to offer a draw, but then I hit the wall. Everything went blank in my mind, I was simply unable to see anything. Some five moves later I congratulated Alexei with a win and a tournament victory.
Despite this bitter end, overall the tournament was a sweet experience, and I want to thank everyone involved for helping me feel like a chessplayer again.
GM Alex Yermolinsky de origen soviético, 2 veces campeón de los EEUU, ha clasificado a la Copa del Mundo y representado a su país en las Olimpiadas Mundiales de Ajedrez. Es creador del bets seller “El Camino hacia el Progreso en Ajedrez”. El año 2018 con la selección de los Estados Unidos compitió en el mundial de ajedrez senior por equipos, resultando campeon.