The final of the seven BCMS championship between Usmanov and Bet Harb is taking place in Iran. So it is only fitting that our online chess fans try to get their hands on some of the action. There are several players in this tournament, but it is clear who the favorites are. That being said, who do you think will come out on top? Here’s a review of both players, and some analysis to help you make your decision.
Both players started the game strong, with both playing very aggressive games. In the first few moves, Usmanov managed to put one of his pieces in an advantageous position on the flop, but he soon lost it to Bet Harb. An English evaluation of the situation indicated that Harb had simply placed his own piece in an open position on the board, allowing Usmanov the opportunity to easily take the initiative. Bet Harb even doubled up on his winning effort, earning himself a surprising double bonus at the end of the game.
This game seemed to favor Usmanov. He took full advantage of both white and black pawns and even used his last piece to take out Btyurzewski, who held a very weak pair of Rooks. However, after making just a couple of pawn advances, Usmanov soon found himself at a serious disadvantage. Btyurzewski made a series of solid tactical moves that nearly cost him the game; however, with an incredible follow-up play, he won the game in a stunning upset. The point was delivered loud and clear: if you can beat somebody with your queen, then you can certainly defeat someone with a better opening hand than you!
This game was another in the series that featured Usmanov at a severe disadvantage. He opened with a very poor opening position and soon after made poor trades, exposing himself to possible checkmates. But having made these blunders, Usmanov stuck with his plan, and kept up a relentless pressure on Btyurzewski… Eventually he got Btyurzewski to commit to a checkmate and then added the pin after Btyurzewski missed a crucial chance to save the game. This was the kind of game that had an ending already written for it. However, like many of Usmanov’s games, the end came unexpectedly, and Usmanov paid for his blunders with a painful loss.
One of Usmanov’s weaknesses as a player has always been his inability to convert his play to match up with other players. Even in relatively loose games, he has often failed to put his opponents on the same level as he does. This has led to a series of crushing losses to inferior opponents and has sometimes even resulted in him being beaten in matches played on the same level as his opponents. With only a handful of games online under his belt, it is doubtful that anyone else other than eventual world champions Gary Player or Andre Agassi will be able to challenge Usmanov at the top of the game anytime in the near future. If he continues to play this way, then he may well find himself out of commission for much of the next decade, while continuing to struggle against players just a bit better than he is.
There is certainly no question that both these games are great examples of what you should expect from a World Poker Tour tournament game. The beauty of them is that both of these players, despite their difficulties, have proven that they are indeed able to challenge even the top players in the game. However, this does not mean that the best player doesn’t have a chance of winning either. In other words, when you play online, you still get to benefit from one of the best games of poker to be played today.