“This Position Costs Not Less Than 500 Rubles”. Mark Dvoretsky’s Stories

Время публикации: 02.06.2012 16:51 | Последнее обновление: 20.11.2016 00:29

E.SUROV: Mark Izrailovich, do you know any unfair chess players?

М.DVORETSKY: Sure, I do.

Е.SUROV: Name them.

М.DVORETSKY: What for? Well, one can remember, for instance, a famous tournament in which two players were enhancing their ELO ratings. Four participants were playing in the tournament, two of them were selling games and the ratings, two others were buying them. Well, it’s really a very famous tournament, so it’s not even necessary to name those players, everyone knows them. There were a lot of stories similar to this. But, by the way, there are less this sort of incidents among the leading players. Namely, now the results of the Candidates tournament in Budapest is widely discussed – Bronstein, Boleslavsky, the role of Vainshtein in that story. But, first and foremost, the discussion is not only around the unfair chess, but about the attempts to organize it by outside forces.

E.SUROV: Around the system in which things like that could take place.

M.DVORETSKY: Yes, that’s it, because a lot of things depended on the system. In general, that’s a rare thing to happen among strong players; while I can tell you a lot of funny stories regarding to that problem which took place among not really strong players. It’s not about exposing anyone; moreover, the unfair players are well known in the chess world; however, not all of them.

E.SUROV: Well, the problem is that on the one hand, they’re known, but on the other hand it’s impossible to prove their unfairness completely. That’s why, this kind of situations arise, when people are supposed to know… That’s the same as the situation we have now with the party United Russia: everyone knows it didn’t gained the percentage which was announced, however, it seems impossible to prove it legally.

M.DVORETSKY: In this case, as I understand, it’s easy to prove, but there’s another problem, those proofs aren’t taken under advisement. I mean that’s a bit different. The proofs actually exist and a large amount of them.

E.SUROV: Yeah, that’s true. It’s harder in chess and it’s not really correct to draw parallels here. If someone has called another player and asked him to lose him a game, and no one has heard it… what can be done here?

M.DVORETSKY: Yes, but on the other hand… Okay, I will tell you one name, the story which was discussed during a long period of time. In 90’s Andrei Makarov was planned to come to the government of the Russian Chess Federation with Kasparov's support. So, before this he decided to enhance his chess qualification and get the title of either Master or IM, I don’t remember. There were two tournaments; and it’s not even about the fact that those tournaments weren’t played, but according to the rules, the player had to show his game in order to get the title. So, when the specialists were showed the games, they’ve found out that the games have already been played before. I mean it’s hard to have any clearer proof. Nevertheless, that wasn’t followed by any implications. The application was send to FIDE, which approved it; even with this kind of clear proofs.

E.SUROV: Well, there are 64 squares… Anything can happen.

M.DVORETSKY: Well, repetition of moves is quite frequent in the Spanish game; anything can happen in the opening, but the probability of repetition of the entire game doesn’t exist and that is evident.

E.SUROV: But you didn’t tell anything new Mark Izrailovich, because the name of Andrei Makarov has widely been known.

M.DVORETSKY: That’s true. But the story I’m going to tell you now is less known. I guess Borya Gulko told about it, but he didn’t mention the names. I know this story in details, it’s very funny. It’s about a Candidate Master from Odessa who tried to get the Master title.

E.SUROV: “A Candidate Master from Odessa” – this should be specified…

M.DVORETSKY: No, that’s not Ilya Odessky, that’s exactly a Candidate Master from Odessa – an influential wealthy person. There was a championship of the society Burevestnik [A Storm Petrel - CN] near Odessa. So, this Candidate Master decided to get the Master title. He provided himself with a good coaching support: a strong Master Konstantin Lerner served in the Army at that time, so he released Lerner from his job during the tournament; but the usual help was not enough, so they developed a system of signs, which would help Kostya to prompt his ward. Once Kostya hinted him a move, the ward didn’t understand why he had to play in that way and finally refused playing it. Later it turned out the move was very strong. After this they decided that the ward had to fulfill all the advices implicitly. In the next round Lerner suggested him sacrificing a pawn, the Candidate Master again didn’t understand why he had to play so, but this time he followed his coach’s advice. However, it didn’t bring him anything, so after all these adventures at the start of the tournament, the Candidate Master thought it wouldn’t be easy for him to get the title – that’s why he decided to buy the games. As a result, he lacked only half a point to get the title – he needed to draw against Gulko. Gulko was offered money, he was brought under pressure; however, Gulko refused selling a point flatly. So, the game had to be played. The game turned out to be very complicated; Gulko was almost a piece behind his rival, although he had a very sharp attack. When the game was rejourned Gulko was offered 300 rubles for a draw. Boris again rejected the offer. It was also said that player arrived to Lev Alburt in Odessa and putting up the position told him: “Look at this, what’s going on here? I have an extra piece, I’m offering him 300 rubles but he refuses!” Alburt looked at the position and said thoroughly: “This position costs not less than 500 rubles.” As a result that player lost against Gulko and fortunately couldn’t get the title, he moved to either USA or Canada, became a successful lawyer and his life is much better than it could be. […]

I can also tell you another funny story. In the final round of one of the tournaments Sveshnikov was playing against a Master or the Candidate Master, I think now he is even GM,  – Beim. Now he lives in Austria. So, Sveshnikov played Chelyabinsk variation with black (at those times it was a quite rare system). Beim was very nervous and was leaving the playing hall all the time. At one of the moments when he left the hall, Sveshnikov took the arbiter with him and followed Beim. It turned out that he was living in the same room as Lerner. The door was closed; they started to knock hearing some noises inside. The door was opened. Lerner was lying on the bad, Beim was sitting at the table in front of the chess set where the pieces were lumped together. Sveshnikov ran up to the table and showed that the pieces they’ve already exchanged during the game were still put near the chess set.   

E.SUROV: Bravo!

M.DVORETSKY: It was enough for the arbiter to register defeat to Beim. But still, I wasn’t there and I’m telling this story to you just as I was told it, that’s why, I can’t certify a hundred percent accurateness of the story; anyways, it is still very funny.


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