World Champion Boris Spasski as your second
Boris Spasski on the right and Daniel Yarur Elsaca on the left

World Champion Boris Spasski as your second

NM HanSchut

In July 2010 our family played on the Greek island of Crete in the FIDE Open in Rethymno. In the fourth round I was paired with white against Daniel Yarur Elsaca from Chili. With 1778 my opponent was rated almost 400 points below me. Daniel Yarur Elsaca is also almost 10 years my senior, so he was defintely not a talented underrated youth player. I expected it to be an easy game.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Bg7 5. c4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nh6

{This move surprised me. More common is it for black to set up his game with Nf6-d6 and 0-0 with a standard hedgehog position. I actually thought Nh6 was weak because white can attack the knight with Be3-Qd2 and considered f5 by black too slow and Nxd4 - Bxd4 - f5 too weakening for the black king.
The rating of my opponent influenced my objectivity. Although Nh6 is not the most often played move, it has been played by several grandmasters.} ({More common is:} 6... Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. b3 Nd7 14. Be3 Nc5 15. Rab1 Qb6 16. Rfc1)

7. Be2 O-O 8. Qd2 Nxd4 9. Bxd4 f5 10. Bxg7 Kxg7 11. h4!?

{I immediately started to attack black's king, trying to exploit his weaknesses on the dark squares and the awkward position of the knight. The move h4 is actually a new move. This position occurred in
several grand master games in which white continued with Qd4+. So I was completely wrong in attributing my opponents Nh6 to his low rating. He was still following theory and I was overestimating my position.}

(11. Qd4+ Kg8 12. e5 Nf7 13. Nc3 d6 14. exd6 e5 (14... Qxd6 15. Qxd6 Nxd6 16. f4 {1/2-1/2 (16)
Mednis,E-Lombardy,W New York,NY 1958}) 15. Qd5 Qxd6 16. O-O-O Qe7 17. h4 Be6 18. Qb5 Rfd8 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. cxd5 Rac8+ 21. Kb1 Qc5 22. h5 Qc2+ 23. Ka1 Rc5 24. Qd3 Qxd3 25. Bxd3 Rcxd5 26. hxg6 hxg6 27. Bc2 Rxd1+ 28. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 29. Bxd1 Kg7 30. b4 Kf6 31. Kb2 Nd6 32. Be2 g5 33. g4 f4 34. f3 e4 35. fxe4 Ke5 36. Bf3 Nb5 37. Be2 Nd6 38. Bf3 Nxe4 39. Kb3 Nd2+ {0-1 (39) Sebenik,M (2154)-Kogan,A
(2507) Ljubljana 1999})

11... fxe4 12. h5?!

{I thought the game was over after 11.h5. White threatens to take on g6 after which the knight on h6 is attacked by the queen and rook. g5 is not possible (queen takes) and after Nf5- hxg6 - hxg6 - g4 the knight has to give up the protection of square h6. But black had an unexpected counter attack that I completely missed.}

12... Qb6!

{Threathens to take on f2 and then close the d2-h6 diagonal with e3. After Qc3
black can exchange queens with Qf6 and stop white's attack,}

13. hxg6 Qxf2+ 14.Kd1 e3 15. Qd4+ Qf6 16. Qxf6+ exf6 17. gxh7 Kxh7?!

{Black is too materialistic. Think about the balance between material - time and space. See
my blog post about this balance: Imbalances between material, space and time. Black self pins his knight on h6 and delays the development of his bishop. Better was d5-Bf5-Bxh7 with a more harmonious setup.} (17... d5 18. cxd5 Bf5 19. Nc3 Bxh7)

18. Rh3 Re8?!

{Again too materialistic. The pawn move d5 was still the best.}

19. Bd3+ Kg7 20. Rg3+ Kf8 21. Rg6 Ng8 22. Nc3

{And white won quickly. All black's pieces are passive, White continued with Ke2-Nd5-Rh1 etc. My main lesson from this game: do not let the rating of your opponent cloud your objectivity.}


After all the games of my daughters had finished we went for dinner outside in the cozy streets of Crete. By sheer coincidence my opponent was having dinner next to me and he was accompanied by world champion Boris Spasski. While waiting for their food arrive they started to analyze the game we played today. Boris Spasski was travelling with my opponent and supported him as his second. I said hello to my opponent and Daniel Yarur invited me to join the analysis. Spasski's main feedback was that Daniel missed the chance for equality by focusing on the material balance with Kxh7 and Re8 instead of finalizing his development with d5 and Bf5. 

I was curious to find out the background of my opponent Daniel Yarur Elsaca and why he was able to afford Boris Spasski as his second. Daniel Yarur studied at the London School of Economics and at Harvard. He was superintendent of the SVS (the Chilean equivalent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) and director of several companies. 


From 1999 to 2010 he managed the estate of his cousin Jorge Yuror Bascunan. Jorge had all kinds of personal problems and was not able to manage the estate himself. Since 201, Jorge Yuror has been suing Daniel in Chile, the USA and the British Virgin Islands claiming that Daniel enriched himself by an amount of $60 million by transferring some of the Bascunan assets to himself. The litigation has been going on for nearly 10 years and even the lawyers are taking each other to court!

In January 2019 the Supreme Court of Chile ruled that the $60 million that Daniel took from Jorge can not be seen as a variable commission fee. Based on that final ruling Jorge is now trying to recuperate the $60 million from Daniel. 

Did Daniel Yarur pay Boris Spasski from the money he earned as a successful businessman or from the money he allegedly defrauded from his cousin Yorge? Time will tell.  I do know that there was much more to my opponent than I imagined when I set down opposite him to play our game. 'Never judge a book by it's cover'.