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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Valiant Effort By Bouaziz

     Slim Bouaziz (born on April 16, 1950 in Tunis) was awarded the GM title in 1993 and since 2005 has been a chess coach. Between 1967 and 1987, he participated in five interzonal tournaments with his best result being in 1982 in Las Palmas where he finished in twelfth place. 
     From the mid-1960s Bouaziz represented Tunisia at the Olympiads between 1966 and 2006 and in 1989 he was among the members of the team representing Africa at the team world championship in Lucerne. He achieved his highest rating of 2515 in 1993 and became the first African player to be awarded the GM title. 

     Older readers will remember the fiasco surrounding the world championship from 1993 to 2005. If not you can read the Wikipedia article HERE. In 1999 the FIDE World Championship was held in Las Vegas between July 31 and August 28 in a series of short knockout matches. 
     The reigning champion was Anatoly Karpov who had no special privileges other than than he (like a number of leading players) was seeded into the second round. In protest at this, Karpov refused to play. Kasparov and Anand also refused to play because they were negotiating a rematch; they also criticized the format. 
     In the final Vladimir Akopian and Alexander Khalifman faced off in a short 6 game match. With a draw in the 6th game, Khalifman was crowned FIDE World Chess Champion. Khalifman was ranked 44th in the world at the time. Bouaziz participated in the event and was knocked out in the first round by Vasilios Kotronias by a score of 1.5 – 0.5.  
     Bouaziz, then an IM, played in the 1985 Interzonal in Tunis, but had to withdraw due to illness after six games and so his results were canceled. 
     He had a single draw (against Morovic) and had lost to Beliavsky, Hort, De Firmian, Suba and Hmadi. As you can see from the crosstable, the canceled games could have had an impact on the standings.

1) Yusupov 11.5 
2) Beliavsky 11.0 
3) Portisch 10.0 
4-5) Gavrikov and Chernin 9.5 
6) Hort, Sosonko and Dlugy 9.0 
7) De Firmian 8.5 
10-12) Nikolic, Suba and Miles 8.0 
13) Morovic 7.5 
14-15) Zapata and Ermenkov 6.5 4 
16) Afifi 3.5 
17) Hmadi 1.0 

     Had Hort and De Firmian wins against Bouaziz counted they both may have had a shot at qualifying by finishing in the top four places. As it was, Chernin defeated Gavrikov 3.5-2.5. 
     In the following game De Firmian scored a nice a fourth-round victory over Bouaziz in the 6.Bc4 variation of the Sicilian that was a favorite of Bobby Fischer. 
di Firmian

     Nick de Firmian (born July 26, 1957 in Fresno, California), is GM and three-time US champion, winning in 1987 (with Joel Benjamin), 1995, and 1998. He also tied for first in 2002, but Larry Christiansen won the playoff. 
     He is also a chess writer, most famous for his work in writing the 13th, 14th, and 15th editions of Modern Chess Openings. In 2006 he revised and expanded Capablanca’s classic Chess Fundamentals which was harshly criticized by chess historian Edward Winter, who claimed that de Firmian destroyed the book by changing Capablanca's writing and removing games from previous editions to include new games not played by Capablanca. 
     De Firmian earned the IM title in 1979 and the GM title in 1985 and has represented the United States at several Interzonals and played on the US Olympiad teams of 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1998, and 2000. Beginning in the 1990s, he lived in Denmark for several years. 
     He currently resides in California. His current USCF rating is 2575, down from a high of 2705 in 1994. His last rated event was a weekend Swiss in California in 2017. 

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