Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(96) Dolmatov Vs Plaskett: European Junior Championship 1978-1979

When annotating the game Short vs Kramnik, Amsterdam 1993 for my New Statesman column of May 28th 1993 I made a reference to the type of ending that resulted.
Each side had Rook, Knight and some Pawns, but Short had a big advantage because of a cramping of his opponent’s pieces.

I wrote that I could empathise with Kramnik’s plight as in 1984 I had lost a similar ending to Short.
And I also mentioned that I had suffered another defeat in such a manner; in Groningen, Holland, at the European Junior Championships of 1978.
My opponent had been the Russian, Sergei Dolmatov. He had gone on to take the silver medal, and I the bronze.

The following year at the same event, when this photo was taken, I was to finish fourth -

This Dolmatov game was certain to be unknown to almost all of my readers for, to the best of my knowledge, it had only ever been published in the tournament book.

But something drew me to mention it, if only to fill up the page.

The next week I received a review copy of a book which was soon to be published by B.T.Batsfords: Training for the Tournament Player, by M.Dvoretsky and A.Jusupov.

Dvoretsky was Dolmatov’s trainer and had accompanied him in Groningen.
The frontispiece shows that the book was published in German in 1991, but I was certainly unaware of its existence.

One of the main techniques used by Dvoretsky with his pupils (he was regarded as the best chess trainer in the world) is that of a player annotating his own games.
Indeed, on page 73 there begins a chapter devoted to this method.
Dvoretsky mentions that during the period 1977-1980 Dolmatov decided to work on his positional play.
One method he used was to make "Positional sketches" of his games.

On page 93 Dvoretsky writes:
Now I will show you one of his best games from that period... played at the European Junior Championship 1978-1979... Sergei of course no longer remembers what he calculated at the time. But not long ago I came across Dolmatov’s notebook of positional sketches and found in it a description of this episode. Thanks to this notebook, this magnificent example has been preserved, and I can now show it to you.
Then commence his annotations to Dolmatov’s game with myself. It would seem from what Dvoretsky here writes that at least ten years had elapsed between the playing of the game and his chance rediscovery of Dolmatov’s notebook.

Apart from in the tournament book of the 1978-79 European Junior Championships, I have never seen another published reference to this game.

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