Catalan Chess Federation applies for separate FIDE membership status
This past Tuesday the Catalan Chess Federation applied for separate FIDE membership status. LINKYou can find some opinions about this HERE
This is not the first time that this application has been made. Apparently 12 years ago the Catalan Federation also applied ...but the application was rejected because FIDE insists that only states with UN seats can become separate FIDE members.
For my Canadian readers, the similarity with the Québec Chess Federation's application for separate FIDE membership status in the 1980's is clear. And FIDE also declined, along the exact lines as described above.
The people within the Catalan Chess Federation no doubt know that this week's application will also be rejected, but the separatist aspirations of many within Catalunya will not be discouraged. No doubt other sporting activities inside Catalunya are seeing similar applications made to the international bodies responsible.
For outsiders , such as myself, Spain is actually a very diverse community consisting of autonomous regions that even have their own separate languages (not Spanish--which is actually castellano). For exemple, Galiza speaks galego. Pais Basque speaks basque. Catalunya speaks catalan. The rest of Spain speak castellano. Basque and catalan have virtually nothing in common with castellano.
Furthermore, there are strong Independence movements inside both the Basque country and Catalunya. Economically, for the rest of Spain, allowing Independence would be a nightmare as the Basque country and Catalunya are the richest parts of Spain, both having just slightly less GDP-per capita ratios than Switzerland!
There are 3 million basques and 7.5 million catalans (Spain has a population of approximately 37 million) The Basques and Catalans argue that their taxes are going to support the rest of Spain, which they consider unfair.
Spain with/without Catalunya, compared with the rest of Europe. LINK
Fortunately for me, this is none of my business and so I don't take sides one way or the other! I consider Spain a great modern country with a long, fascinating and rich history. And I love the different cultures and languages I encounter when I am inside Spain--which is often. I think it is for the people living inside Spain to decide their future.
Ofcourse, when talking about Quebec's Independence aspirations, I have an opinion: I think Canada is stronger with Québec. If one day Québec decides to go its own way, however, then I would accept that decision.
WESLEY SO takes Calgary International!
Congrats to youngster Wesley So for a super performance at the Calgary International which took place between the 14th and 20th of May! Scoring 8 points from 9 games, he finished 2 points ahead of gm's Van Kampen, Hansen and Mikhalevski.
While So's performance can hardly be better, much as in the case of some of Fischer's greatest successes-- what happened on the board did not always reflect in the final score. So had a number of difficult positions and could have lost at one or two points. However, I would not call this luck...Wesley simply never gave up in any game, always made it difficult for his opponent and kept landing on his feet! This is why So is a great player...
Readers can find games to download HERE .Plus you can get much more coverage at Michael Yip's blog Canada Chess News
Below is So's very interesting victory over Mikhalevski
This is taking place right now until the 29th and features some pretty strong players, Navara being highest rated.LINKThe tournament is run as a round robbin and has ten players, including 7 Gm's!
Navara played a very instructive game against Cvek in the second round, featuring some very nice tactics--in an effort to take advantage of Cvek not having castled early:
POSITION AFTER WHITE'S 21st MOVE (21.g3)
The game continued very energetically
If now White retreats to the back rank (for example, 22.Ke1) then Black breaks thru decisively with 22...Rxc3 23.QxR d4! with a huge attack. Equally discouraging is 22.f3 when Black gets a clear edge with 22...Bxf3+! 23.KxB Qf5+!, recovering the piece and having an extra pawn. However, this is the best that White can do in this position....INSTEAD, Cvek thought he had better:
If now 23.PxR PxP 24.Nb5!? (what else?) 24...RxQ+ 25.NxQ Qa5+! and the White King will get cut down in the cross fire of the Queen-Bishop team.
Probably completely taken by surprise, Cvek collapsed completely with
Grand Prix in Greece this week! Photo of Kamsky (with the cap) playing Grischuk; Nakamura--dressing very italian-- kibitzing (!) Earlier this month FIDE proposed a dress-code that prohibits caps...what would happen if Kirsan saw Kamsky sporting a cap? Do you think he would flip out?
No! Kirsan saw the cap and did not say a word! Moral of the story: rules are made to be broken!
Continuing our dedication to the late Lothar Schmid, below are some very nice tactical positions from his games. Possessing a very classical style tempered with a fine feel for the initiative, it is therefore not surprising that many of the finishes to Schmid's games have that brilliant Paul Morphy shine to them!
From Gstaad, 1973. Position after 24 moves. Material is even but White holds a number of key trumps, including having the better coordinated and active pieces, control of the d-file and (most important here) it is his move!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Leipzig ol, 1960. White has been pressuring Black for a long time and finally an opportunity has arisen for the break-thru. Notice that virtually all of Black's pieces are undefended...usually not the thing to do when team-work is required to hold things together...
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Germany, 1967. Position after 29 moves. This position is the culmination of one of Schmid's best efforts, in my opinion. An unimpressively played opening followed by some truly extraordinary middlegame play, the student will do well to study Schmid's play starting from move 24.
Here it seems as though White has a lot of dangling , uncoordinated pieces. BUT this can not be farther from the truth!
Siegen ol, 1970. Position after 23 moves. This game reminds me of something from Paul Morphy! Both players have played very sharply and it seems that Schmid might have over extended. Black threatens ...a6, winning a piece, as White's Knight must defend the White Rook.
A closer look at the position reveals some interesting tactics; if 24.Qe5 (threatenng a nasty discovered check), then 24...Rd5! holds. Or if 24.Qf4 then 24...Ka8! and Black is hanging on.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
From a correspondence game, 1963. A super sharp French Defence has kept both players on their toes! Black has just played 28...Rxe3. If White now takes the Rook then 29...Qe4+ is atleast a perpetual check.
What I like about this example is that it seems as though the White King is the more vulnerable, an observation proven untrue by Schmid's continuation...
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN! ------------------------------------- CASTALDI,V
Bern, 1957. Pins and more pins! White has a wide choice of promising continuations, most good enough to win. HOWEVER, there is only one line that I am interested in!
WHITE TO PLAY AND MATE IN TWO MOVES! --------------------------------------------------------- BHEND,Ed
Venice, 1953. Black has played a risky, gambit-inspired middlegame but Schmid's last move (22.c4) is a serious error that gives Black the opportunity that he had been hoping for...
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Position after 21 moves of a correspondence game played in 1952. Schmid has played a great game, one that the student would do well to study. He must have felt very good when he played his next move and announced forced mate in 9-moves!
Heidelberg, 1949. Black has made no effort to hide his ambition to attack the White monarch, but Schmid seems to have everything under control. If now 27...Bc8!? (to theaten some sacrífice on h3) then the calm 28.Qd1! follows and White even stands better!
Curiously, the Black Bishop on b7 is VERY well placed...(hint!)
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN! -----------------------------------