Person of day - 26 NOVEMBER 2023
Could the first chess titans and valiant Soviet champions imagine that once, on an elite level, whites would start on a regular basis with move 1.b3 or a sequence of moves 1.d4, 2.Cf4, 3.Kc3? Thanks to the efforts of the leaders of the school of hyper-modernism of the 21st century, these extravagant starting gambits, despite intense competition, now occupy a respectable place in the line of debuts. In their popularisation, a sizeable contribution belongs to Georgian grandmaster Baadur Jobava- a number of chess publications have started to call the humble move of pawn “b” Jobava’s opening, and the dashing development of the knight to c3 and bishop to f4- the Jobava-Grischuk Attack!
Baadur Alekseeivich Jobava was born on 26th November 1983. He spent his childhood in the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, in the city of Gali. Baadur was introduced to chess at the age of 4 by his father. His younger brother Beglar, who later fulfilled the criteria of an international master, became Baadur’s first sparring-partner. After the start of the Georgian-Abkhaz War, the family moved to Kharkov, although Jovaba continued to represent Georgia. There, the young chess player completed his primary education, but could not play for Ukraine with his brother- he had no citizenship. Their parents decided to return to Georgia at the turn of millennia.
In 1999, Baadur made a breakthrough: he won the qualifying rounds for the Georgian national team and fulfilled the master’s score at a tournament in Kharkov. However, it was the young chess player’s game against the computer in an exhibition match of the electronic beast against Kharkov’s best players that amazed the public the most. The machine beat grandmasters Neverov, Berelovich, drew with Savon, but the 15-year-old youngster skilfully applied an anti-computer strategy against it, closed his position and checkmated with the beloved King’s Indian. In the Juniors’ Olympiad of 1999, Georgia took 2nd place and its leader won 7 out of 9 games between leaders.
In 2001, he won the first of his three Georgian Championships among adults and became a grandmaster. The colourful chess player of an ultra-attacking style turned out to be a true revelation at the 2004 Olympiad in Calvia- he put in the best performance of the tournament, and the Georgians battled for medals until the final round. In total, Baadur took part in 8 Chess Olympiads, one of which saw him defeat the current world champion Magnus Carlsen.
He was the European champion of speed chess in 2011, the third medallist of the classical Old World Championship in 2009 and a regular competitor in World Cups. In 2014-2015, he performed as the nominee of Tbilisi in a series of FIDE Grand Priх. In matches, he defeated Jan Timman 4,5:1,5 and Radosław Wojtaszek 5:3. He is the champion of Georgia as a member of team “Tbilisi”, Croatia as a member of team “Zagreb” and a champion of Ukraine and prize-winner of the European Cup as part of “A Dan DZO-PGMB”.
He worked with the celebrated specialist Alexander Belyavsky, he worked with Vassily Ivanchuk and was the second of Veselin Topalov.
“Doubtless, Baadur is a unique phenomenon in the chess world. It’s not just his style, which cannot leave anyone indifferent who is interested in the arts of the “old masters”, but it’s the fact that Baadur adds to the chess community an inimitable Georgian complexion. His Caucasian blood, his passion and his internal kindness and boundless optimism make him the soul of any party!
Needless to say, Baadur had hidden chess reserves. Despite his image of an ultra-aggressive and combinative chess player, he is extremely strong in the positioning game. He owes many of his most beautiful victories to quiet moves and etude ideas in the endgame. Oh, and how Baadur works with knights! A sign of a true Jigit!
Furthermore, Baadur is an exceptional team player! At the time of his performances for “PGMB”, he took the team’s misfortunes hardest of all. At the same time, he can relieve the whole team’s tension with two to three phrases like no one else. It is on such chess players that the subtle matter that is called team spirit and unity is built.” (A. Maksimov)