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Enough energy for another 12 hours

First online participant Luke McShane wins in Kuppenheim

by Hartmut Metz, July 2002

more English chess articles by Hartmut Metz


   In 1965 Bobby Fischer played the Capablanca Memorial in Havana with Telex because he hadn't got a visa. Luke McShane hadn't any visa problems like Fischer in Kuba - but the travel from London into the south of Germany was too much for the young Grandmaster from England. So he has been the first man, who took part online in a real tournament. Spectators could see the 53 games live at Fritz 7 server from Chessbase. The german software company sponsored the well known 12 hours blitz in Kuppenheim (further informations see www.RochadeKuppenheim.de)! The 18 year old wunderkind won 1.000 Euro (including a Chessbase mega package) with a great result: 50,5/53! The former german blitz champion Robert Rabiega (Berlin/48,5), GM Vladimir Epishin (Russia/47), GM Klaus Bischoff (Germany/46,5) and GM Andrey Shchekatshev (Russia/45,5) followed some points behind.


Luke McShane

Luke McShane


What was your impression during the tournament?

Luke McShane: I enjoyed the tournament very much. Playing from home was quite comfortable, and I happened to be playing well, so I felt good.


Was it very strange to play 12 hours for the first time?

Mc Shane: Yes, it was strange. In a blitz tournament in Dordrecht I played about eight hours, but 12 hours is much longer! After a while I got used to it though, and I had plenty of energy remaining at the end. I could have played 12 more hours!


What's your comment about your opponents? Several top players in Kuppenheim think it was a big advantage to play online. E.g. some old players weren't able to play at internet. For players like Epishin and Bischoff it seems to be a disadvantage too.

Mc Shane: I agree that I had an advantage. For every game I am used to playing on the internet, whereas each of my opponents had to adjust to the new situation for only one game. But that's just how it turned out. I also thought before it started that playing all my games online might make me blunder more often. Yes, there were some complaints because I won a couple of games on time, instead of accepting draws. This is my attitude: If the game is a dead draw, I will accept a draw without question. This was not the case with Bischoff. He had a slight edge, and it seemed to me he spent some time trying to improve his position, then realised he was falling behind, and offered a draw. I declined, and tried to create some chances. Maybe in the final position I am losing, but it is definitely not a dead draw. Against Epishin it was a different situation. I was losing. But if he had offered a draw earlier, I would have accepted it, of course. By playing on to win, he takes the natural risk of losing on time. It turns out that in the final position he had mate in one. But he only offered a draw after he lost on time, as far as I could see. Imagine the same situation occurring over the board. There was another game I remember where I won on time, two pawns down. I think the reason I won was because I had a big advantage in the middlegame, and I made him think hard, which cost him time. Time is a very important factor in 4 minute games, of course. It shows a lot that I did not offer a single draw in any of my games, except in the last one where there was a totally obvious perpetual check on the board, and I was a rook down so I had to take it. I didn't accept any draws either, even when I risked losing. I played to win every game from the start by normal means. Also consider that I won by more than half a point. If I had given draws to Bischoff and Epischin, it would have made little difference to the final scores. In all except a few games I played better moves than my opponents. It turned out that I had a bit of luck with the clock in the other games. It might not have happened that way.


Are you ready to defend your title next year or was it too much and you never like to play such a tournament in future?

McShane: I did enjoy the tournament, and I will try to defend my title next year if I am asked to.


Would you prefer to play there at the board instead of playing online?

McShane: No. I think playing online did give me an advantage, and I cannot make any apologies for that.


Results after 53 games (136 participants): 1. GM Luke McShane (England) 50,5. 2. IM Robert Rabiega (Germany) 48,5, 3. GM Vladimir Epishin (Russia) 47, 4. GM Klaus Bischoff (Germany) 46,5, 5. GM Andrey Shchekatchev (Russia) 45,5, 6. IM Alexander Naumann (Germany) 44,5, 7. IM Vladimir Okhutnik (France) 42,5, 8. IM Srdjan Panzalovic (Yugoslavia), IM Todor Todorow (Bulgaria) je 40,5, 10. IM Zlatko Basagic (Slovenia) 40, 11. Igor Solomunovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) 39,5, 12. Michael Kuraszkiewicz (Germany) 37,5, 13. Darko Supancic (Slovenia) 36, 14. Karl-Heinz Scheidt (Germany) 35,5.

more about the tournament (including all McShane games)

der Text auf Deutsch

to the English Meko