Saturday, March 27, 2010


Mas Hafizulhelmi is a positional player. Laszlo Nagy, a chess organizer has once comment that Mas played "...with clarity, positional understanding a'la Capablanca". This was when Mas wins his Saturday tournament in 90's with a perfect score.

His famous wins against Korchnoi is a positional squeeze, forcing even a great Korchnoi to launch a suicide counter attack, all in 20 moves.

Anyway, on and off, Mas do change his menu and treat us with a fiery dishes a'la Chef Tal, Chef Velimirovic etc. Below is one of such hot, fiery cuisine with some light annotations.

Take a deep breath...fasten your seat we go!

The Game.
Date:23rd July 2008
Tournament:Biel Masters 2008

Facing Mas in this game is GM Mikhail Ulibin, rated 140 ELO points higher, last year Biel winner and who can count on drawing with the likes of Kasparov, Kramnik and Shirov as his normal thing to do as we breath oxygen. Enough said!

White:Mas Hafizulhelmi
Black:Mikhail Ulibin
1.e4 c5

Mas opt to give his Grand Prix a rest

2. ... e6
3.d4 cd4
4.Nd4 a6
5.Bd3 Bc5
6.Nb3 Be7
7.0-0 d6
8.Qe2 Nd7
9.f4 Qc7
10.c4 Ngf6
11.Nc3 b6
12.Bd2 Bb7
13.Rae1 h5

3 months before this game, Fabiano Caruana played 13...0-0 against Hou Yifan and won in 107 moves. Ian Rogers, Mas coach, has also reach the position after 13 Rae1 in one of his game 10 years before this game,

14Kh1 h4
15Nd4 g6
16.b4 Nh5
17. Kg1 Bf6

Mas sacrifice a pawn, in order to sacrifice his knight!

18. ... de5
19. Ne6

See i told you!

Mas-Ulibin. After 19.Ne6!

19. ... Qd6
20.Nd5 fe6
21.Bg6 Kd8

Such a position where pieces just hanging in the air.

22.Nf6 Nhf6
23.fe5 Qd4
24.Be3 Qg4
25.Rf6 Nf6
26.ef6 Qe2
27. Re2 Kc7
28.Bf4 e5
29.Be5 Kd7
30.Bf5 Ke8
31.Bg6 Kd7

Mas two bishops works harmoniusly killing black's any hope of survival.

32. ... Raf8
Fritz announced mate in 12.

The Story
How could Mas make this win look so easy? Well, it did not easy actually.

Two weeks before Biel, Mas had the opportunity to train under the famous Hungarian coach (Laszlo Hazai) who has trained Polgars, Gelfand among others. No, Hazai did not accept walk ins. His student is strictly by invitation or by recommendation. Lucky for Mas, this training was arrange by Mas coach, Ian Rogers who believe Mas will benefit greatly from the session. (Question to ourself: How many of chess coach is willing to recommend his student, for the benefit of his student, to train with other chess coach?)

A chess training (drilling is perhaps more exact) with Hazai did make Mas more confident and prepared to face his opponent. His opening preparation is more deeper and accurate than before. According to Mas, most of his move against Ulibin has been prepared beforehand!

"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" Einstein