January 2015 Grandmaster Spotlight: Tomas Oral

Hello everyone, to learn more about the people who comprise the 1476 (as of 1/13/14) names on the FIDE GM list; I am starting a new series called, “The Grandmaster Spotlight”. Each month I will choose (at random) one grandmaster from the list of names. I will do some analysis on his/her games and will present my findings to you the public. The selection process is random so there may be some GM’s that we all know well. With any luck, I’ll be able to show some people that many of you have never heard of. I will attempt to choose five games from each grandmaster. Those games are going to be the games I deem most exciting/interesting. If I’ve ever played any of these people on ICC or OTB, I will include the game, in its entirety, I PROMISE.

Kasparov - Oral
Kasparov – Oral

Without further ado this month’s GM is Tomas Oral from the Czech Republic. He sports a FIDE rating of 2498 and is the 18th highest rated player in his country. He earned the GM title in 1999 and the IM title in 1994. His handle on ICC is Taeo. We played a three-minute game on ICC on February 10, 2014. He punished me on the White side of a Sicilian. I want you all to know that the annotations are light on purpose. I’m not going to waste my life analyzing a three-minute game, which would be ridiculous.

Now on to the games that I’m sure he’s actually proud to say are his. First, I want to relate an anecdote that I found on chessbase.com. Garry Kasparov played two “clock simuls” against the Czech team winning 5.5-2.5. After Kasparov had already won one game and drew another it was just Oral and Babula left playing.

Down to his last two opponents, the Czech team was optimistic. Garry had erred badly on board four and with a flourish Oral had netted Garry’s Queen for Rook and Knight! Perhaps the Czech’s would manage 2-2? It wasn’t to be. Babula got his Rook trapped on the a5-square and in a Bishop’s of opposite colored position Garry played magnificently to score his second victory. This meant that all the pressure was on Oral to save the day. Garry held steady, doing his best to create a fortress of Rook and Knight versus Queen. Well into the sixth hour of play the experts were mixed in their view. GM Seirawan opined that Garry should win it as White but hold it as Black. “Kasparov didn’t become the World’s number one player by losing worse positions!” he said.

In the end, GM Seirawan was surprised. Oral earned an impressive victory to make the day a respectable 2 1/2 – 1 1/2 result.

Here is the game that he played against Kasparov titled by chessgames, “Oral Report”:

In looking through his games, I found that often he would avoid the main lines of the Sicilian in favor of the Bb5 lines and the b3 lines. His games with b3 are worth analyzing, as he knows the system well. Below is a nice example of him destroying Biolek in a Bb5 Sicilian.

Here is an amusing game he played against Biolek:

Here is another game that I found particularly entertaining. This game took place in the Czech Championship against a well-known opponent. On display is the attacking prowess of Oral with his b3 Sicilian.

Here’s a complete demolition of GM Neuman:

Finally, here is another b3 Sicilian game where he plays nicely to bring home the full point against GM Stocek:

After reviewing a few of his games, I found them to be quite entertaining. His offbeat lines against the Sicilian are worth looking in to. Tune in next month for the next Grandmaster Spotlight!

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