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Graham's surprise by Leonid Shifman

... I was there, I was looking at the game... Graham's move 25.d1 really excited me... But wait, let's start from the beginning.

The whole story began at the end of 1996, when in one of online tournaments there was a game played by Eclipse (M. Giles & C. Springer) versus Logistello (M. Buro), in which, according to omniscient Thor, the move 25.d1 was used for the first time. Before that 25.f2 and 25.e7 had usually been played. Logistello won that game 33:31.

This game probably attracted Graham Brightwell's attention while he was preparing himself for the 97's WC in Athens. Anyways, he used that 25.d1 move twice: in the important game vs. Marc Tastet and in the crucial game vs. Makoto Suekuni. Marc responded 26.b1 27.e7 28.d7. According to Brutus this move loses, 28.f2 was stronger. The further sequence was not perfect, and eventhough Graham won 34:30 he could lose after 35.f8 with the same disc-count.

Could Makoto probably analyse that game before he played Graham? Doubtfully... His 26.f2 move drove him into great difficulties, and I think only the weariness prevented Graham from winning that game. The analysis of this game appears in OQ magazine,Winter 97-98.

Makoto admitted his mistake shortly after the game. He preferred 26.b1 in his game vs. Bintsa Andriani which was played during their flight from Athens to Paris. The game was probably played when the plane had already crossed the French border and that inspired Bintsa to win the World Champion, 33:31. the game continued 27.e7 28.f2 29.a4 (Eclipse had chosen 29.c7 here) 30.a5 (the losing mistake - the perfect sequence according to Brutus led to 35:29). Unfortunately the transcript of this game is not correct in the data base of Thor.

If you browse Thor's database today, you will find those 4 games only. It seems there's nothing more that could be said about the subject, but no... Apparently, Thor do not remember all the games, not even his own...

Not only Graham prepared himself for the WC. The author of these lines spent some time as well, for instance playing few games vs. Thor 3.36. In one of those games Thor surprised me by his 25.d1 move. The game continued 26.b1 27.e7 28.f2 29.a4 (so that Bintsa was not the first one to use this move) 30.a5 31.a7. The World Champion responded 32.d7 and lost 33:31. I preferred 32.e8 and lost 54:10 (the perfect sequence led to 36:28).

And this is not all yet! I was quite interested by 25.d1 move and spent certain ammount of time analysing it. Without arriving to certain conclusion I made the Forest 3.3 program (O. Casile) play the same position versus Thor. For the next 4 moves the game repeated Andriani-Suekuni game, but Forest chose 30.d7 and after 31.a3 32.a5 33.a7 34.e8 35.c8 36.d8 won 33:31. This was probably the perfect sequence.

As a conclusion, there was a game in Benjamin's tournament, where I tried to acquit Tastet's 28.d7, I was not familiar then with the game Brightwell vs. Tastet.

It seems to be all now...

Does anyone still feel like playing 25.d1?

Translation from Russian by Ilya Shifman.