2007/11/30

Chess, art and Duchamp

Well, I know you are much more interested in the Fide World Cup, but I’m not going to write anything about that in today’s post. “Chess is art” is often said by many lovers of our sport/game/activity. Marcel Duchamp truly believed in that and when he was (almost) at the end of his life he presented himself as "a chess player within the realm of art".
Duchamp was a French artist, born in 1887, whose work and ideas had considerable influence on the development of post-World War II Western art. In 1918 Duchamp left his work on the Large Glass and the art scene, and went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for nine months, where he often played chess, and carved from wood the only chess set he himself made. He returned to Paris in 1919, where he lived until he returned to the United States in 1920. By the time he moved to Paris in 1923 he was no longer a practicing artist. Instead he played and studied chess, which he played for the rest of his life (he dead on October 2, 1968) to the near exclusion of all other activity. Duchamp's obsessive fascination with chess can be traced back much earlier to the themes of his major art pieces. The most immediately obvious of these is the chess position known as "tr├ębuchet" (the trap), which gave its title to the Readymade of 1917: a coat rack with four hooks, which is nailed to the floor, hooks uppermost.
The screening of the film "Jeu d'echecs avec Marcel Duchamp" (“A game of chess with Marcel Duchamp”), a documentary by Jean-Marie Drot, was the main point of interest of an event – called “Scaccomatto” (“Checkmate”) - which took place right yesterday in Bergamo's Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Bergamo is my home town). You can find the film on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SXyMAkZu1M (part 1 of 7) and it’s worth a look if you have some spare time in your week end. A double simul was given by two masters of Excelsior Chess Club, Paolo Mora and 15 y.o. Alessio Valsecchi, after the film: they played against (about) 30 opponents, but many more people watched the documentary (more than 150, I think). Does this mean that culture can help chess? I don’t know, but I hope events like that will be organized in Bergamo, in Italy and in the whole planet again :-)
And now here are some photos from the simul, a couple of famous photos with Duchamp playing chess (?!) and a couple of notable games played by the French artist.

Marcel Duchamp, a chess lover (photo by Max Ernst)


A... "naked" game: Eve Babitz
and Marcel Duchamp playing chess (Julian Wasser, 1963)


15 y.o. master Alessio Valsecchi in action


Excelsior club's [former?! :-)]
chess star: master Paolo Mora


Mora in action again


A panoramic view (more
or less...) of the simul


Koltanowski,Georges - Duchamp,Marcel [A50], Paris 1929
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d6 4. e4 b6 5. f4 Bb7 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. Nf3 e5 8. d5 g6 9. 0–0 exf4 10. Bxf4 Bg7 11. e5 dxe5 12. Nxe5 0–0 13. Qd2 Nxd5 14. Nxd7 Nxf4 15. Nxf8 Bd4+ 0–1

Marshall,Frank James - Duchamp,Marcel [D55], Hamburg (Olympiads) 1930
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.c4 e6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.Qc2 d5 7.e3 0–0 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nxd5 Bxd5 11.Bd3 h6 12.a3 c5 13.dxc5 Rc8 14.b4 bxc5 15.Rc1 Nd7 16.Ba6 Rc7 17.e4 Bb7 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.bxc5 Qxc5 20.0–0 Qxc2 21.Rxc2 Kf8 22.Rfc1 Ke7 23.Nd4 Ke8 24.f4 Rab8 25.e5 Nf8 26.Rc5 Rb1 27.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 28.Kf2 Rb7 29.Rc8+ Ke7 30.Ra8 Ng6 31.g3 Kd7 32.a4 Ne7 33.Nb5 Nc8 34.g4 Rxb5 35.axb5 Kc7 36.g5 hxg5 37.b6+ Kb7 38.Rxc8 Kxc8 0.5-0.5

2007/11/26

World Cup: no surprises in round 1

The World Chess Cup has started in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) and the first round has come to an end right this afternoon. There were just a few unexpected winners in those matches where opponents had a difference of 100 or more rating points. Ivanchuk (winner of the Blitz World Cup some days earlier), Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Aronian, Ahirov, Svidler, Carlsen and Jakovenko won both games against their respective opponents, Adams, Grischuk, Kamksy, Wang Yue and Bacrot won 1.5-0.5, while Alekseev, Akopian, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov got the better hand on tie-breaks. Among the Elo-favorites, Russian GM Konstantin Landa (rated 2676) left the World Cup in favor of Romanian GM Vladislav Nevednichy, as well as his compatriot Pavel Eljanov (2691), who made a draw in the first game and lost the second one to IM Hossain Enamulu (2514) from Bangladesh.
The match between Ernesto Inarkiev (RUS) and Fernando Peralta (ARG) was truly unique and dramatic. In the first game the South American had a completely won endgame (Knight and Bishop vs King), but overstepped the time limit and the game ended in a draw. The position of the second game looked quite unclear, when Peralta, again, ran out of time and lost.
Speaking about the second day of the first round, Chessdom.com site (www.chessdom.com - it worth a visit) writes that it was "marked by many interesting games... that the world could not see. Live games for the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk got stuck on the first moves and did not recover for hours". Really sad for such an important event, isn't it? Official site, by the way, is: http://www.ugra-chess.ru/eng/main_e.htm. You can also find results, games and news about the 2007 WCC on www.messaggeroscacchi.it, my Italian site (direct link: http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/coppa07.html).
Meanwhile, the 2007 Italian chess championship is taking place in Martina Franca (Taranto). 15 y.o. prodigy Fabiano Caruana leads with a perfect score after round 4; Im Sabino Brunello and GM Carlos Garcia Palermo follow a point behind. Official site (with a very good coverage): http://www.torneionline.com/cia2007. Results and games on my Italian site at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/italia/itach07.html.
And now here are some decisive moments and interesting games from Khanty-Mansiysk.

Ismagambetov,A. (2479) - Alekseev,E. (2716),
World Cup (1.1), 24.11.2007

The critical position. White wants to start an attack on the King side, Black on the Queen side. Who will arrive first?
19.g5 Ne8?
A serious mistake. After 19...Ng4 intending ...Nge5 Black has nothing to be afraid of.
20.Bf2
The immediate 20.Nd5 looks even stronger.
20...Qb8?
Second weak move in a row. 20...Qb7 was the correct defence.
21.Nd5 Bf8 22.Bb6 Bb7
After 22...Rd7 23.Bb5 Bb7 24.Nxa5 White has a decisive advantage.
23.Bxd8 Qxd8 24.Bb5 Nc7 25.Bxc6 Bxc6 26.Nd4 Bb7 27.Nf5 Nxd5 28.exd5 Kh8 29.Qf2 Rc8 30.h4
White is an exchange up and Black has no compensation, since his Bishops are all but active pieces.
30...Rc5 31.Ne3 Rc7 32.h5 Bc8 33.Rdf1 a4 34.Nf5 b3 35.cxb3 axb3 36.Nd4?!
Not the best move. 36.axb3 was absolutely possible.
36...bxa2+?
Black misses his last chance to continue fighting. After 36...Ba6 37.Re1 bxa2+ 38.Ka1 Bb7 White must win, but Black can play some more moves. Now it is all over.
37.Ka1 Kg8 38.g6 fxg6??
A really bad day for Alekseev. 38...f6 was a sad necessity.
39.hxg6 hxg6 40.Rh1 Qf6 41.Qh2 1–0
Black is going to lose his Queen, so he resigned.


El Gindy,E (2503) - Ponomariov,R (2705),
World Cup (1.1), 24.11.2007

Black is a pawn up, but his King is exposed and White can easily equalize...
56.d7+! Kxd7
A clever decision. 56...Kd8 is drawn as well: 57.Nd6 Qe6 58.Rd2 Kc7 59.Nb5+ Kd8 60.Nd6 etc.
57.Qd1+ Kc6 58.Qd6+ Kb5??
An incredible blunder for such an experienced player! After 58...Kb7 White has nothing more than a draw: 59.Qd7+ Kb8 (59...Ka6?? 60.Nd6 +-) 60.Qd5+ Kb7 etc. Now Black loses on the spot.
59.Qd7+ Ka5 60.Nd6 Qf1+
If 60...Qa6 then 61.Rc2 +-
61.Ka2 Ra8 62.Rc2 Qd3 63.Rc3
White misses a more brilliant way to finish the game: 63.Rxc5+! bxc5 64.Qc7+ Ka6 65.Qc6+ Ka5 66.Nb7#
63...Qe2 64.Rc4 1–0
Black can't avoid mate, so Pono resigned.


Rublevsky,S (2676) - Hera,I (2544) [B12], World Cup (1.1), 24.11.2007
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nd2 e6 5.Nb3 Nd7 6.Nf3 Bg6 7.Be2 Be7
The game Rublevsky - Morozevich, Dagomys 2007, continued 7...Nh6 8.0–0 Nf5 9.Bd2 h5 10.Rc1 Rc8 11.c4 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Be7 13.Ba5 Nb6 14.Nc5 Bxc5 15.dxc5 Qxd1 16.Rfxd1 Nd7 17.Bf1 Ne7 with good prospects for Black.
8.0–0 h5 9.Bd2 Nh6
In Meszaros - A.Vajda, Balatonlelle 2004, White obtained a clear advantage after 9...a6 10.c4 dxc4 11.Na5 Qc7?! 12.Nxc4 Nh6 13.Bg5!
10.c4 dxc4 11.Na5!
Now it becomes clear why Morozevich was in no hurry with development of the dark-squared bishop.
11...Rb8 12.Nxc4 Nf5
12...Nb6 13.Ba5 Be4 deserves attention.
13.Ba5 Nb6
13...b6 was an alternative to be considered, e.g.: 14.Bc3 0–0 15.Ne3 b5 with an unclear position.
14.Rc1 Qd5?!
Black doesn't feel the danger... Better was 14...0–0, with the possible continuation 15.Qb3 (15.Rc3!? intending Rb3) 15...Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Qxd4 17.Rfd1 Qc5 18.Nxb6 Qxe5!? 19.Nd7 Qxa5 20.Nxf8 Bxf8 21.Bd3 Bxd3 22.Rxd3 and Black has a good compensation for the exchange, although White has a slight advantage thanks to the possession of the d-file.
15.Bxb6 axb6 16.Nxb6 Qxa2?
A bad move. It wasn't too late to admit the mistake by playing 16...Qd8 17.Nc4 0–0 and White has an extra pawn, but Black can hold on.
17.d5!
Simple and brilliant.
17...Qa5
After 17...exd5?? 18.Na4! there is no defence against Ra1. 17...Qa7 is probably the best defence, but White has a huge advantage after 18.Nd7! Ra8 (18...Kxd7 19.dxc6+ Ke8 20.Qd7+ Kf8 21.c7 +-; 18...Rd8 19.Ra1 +-) 19.dxe6 fxe6 20.Qb3! Kxd7 21.Rfd1+ Kc7 22.Qxe6with a crushing attack.
18.dxc6 Rd8?
This move loses on the spot, but Black couldn't survive anyway, e.g.: 18...bxc6 19.Qd7+ Kf8 20.Nc8! Qd8 (20...Bb4 21.Ra1 Qd5 22.Qc7 +-) 21.Qxc6 +-; or 18...0–0 19.Nd7 bxc6 20.Nxf8 Bxf8 21.Rxc6 Rxb2 22.Bd3 and White must win.
19.Qd7+! Rxd7
If 19...Kf8 then 20.c7 Rxd7 21.Nxd7+ Kg8 22.c8Q+ Kh7 23.Qxb7 +-
20.cxd7+ Kf8 21.Rc8+ Bd8 22.Rxd8+ Ke7 23.Rxh8 Qxb6 24.Bb5! 1–0


Macieja,B (2606) - Laznicka,V (2610) [C10], World cup (1.1), 24.11.2007
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 c5 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Bxd7+ Qxd7 11.Qe2 cxd4 12.0–0–0 Bc5 13.Qe5 Be7 14.Nxd4 Qa4 15.Qc7 Rd8??
You can't say this is a novelty... this is just a blunder! In a previous game Black could easily equalize with 15...Qa6 16.Rhe1 Qb6 17.Qxb6 axb6 18.a3 0–0 19.f4 Nd5 20.Bxe7 Nxe7 21.f5 Nxf5 22.Nxf5 exf5 23.Re7 Rae8 24.Rxb7 Re2= (Paramonov-Kholmov, Minsk 2001).
16.Nf5! Rd7
After 16...exf5 17.Rxd8+ Bxd8 18.Re1+ (what else?) 18...Qe4 19.Rxe4+ fxe4 20.Qxb7 Black is hopeless.
17.Qc8+ Rd8
Alternatives were not better, e.g.: [17...Bd8 18.Nxg7+ Kf8 19.Bxf6 Qf4+ 20.Kb1 Qc7 (20...Qxf6 21.Nh5) 21.Qxc7 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Bxc7 23.Rd7 Bb6 24.Rxb7+-]
18.Nxg7+ 1–0
After 18...Kf8 19.Rxd8+ Black loses material, so Laznicka resigned.


Tkachiev,V (2661) - Balogh,C (2562) [D39], World Cup (1.2), 25.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.Bb5+ Bd7 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Bxd7+
This is a very popular variation. 12.Qb3 is probably more common at this point.
12...Nxd7 13.0–0 a6 14.Rb1 Qc7 15.Qh5 Nc5 16.Rb4 Qe5 17.Qh4
After 17.Qxe5 fxe5 18.Nb3 Nxb3 19.axb3 0–0–0 20.f4 exf4 21.Rc4+ Kb8 22.Rxf4 Rd7 23.Rd4 Rc7 24.Rd3 Rg8 25.Kf2 a5 the endgame is about equal (Gulko-Salov, Linares 1990).
17...Rd8!?
This is a new move. The game Gelfand - Jakovenko, Moscow 2007, continued 17...Qg5 18.Qh3 Qe5 19.Qh4 Qg5 20.Qh3 Qe5 21.Re1 Rd8 22.Qe3 Rg8 23.Nf3 Qc7 24.Rd4 Nd7 25.Red1 Ke7 26.g3 Ne5 and Black has a good counterplay.
18.Nf3! Qxc3 19.e5 f5
After 19...fxe5 20.Rc4 Qa5 21.Nxe5 White has very strong attack.
20.Rc4 Qa5 21.Ng5 Ne4
A natural move. After 21...Nd7 22.f4 h5 23.Rfc1 Black almost has no good moves.
22.Rxe4! fxe4 23.Qf4 Rf8
More precise was 23...Qc7, although after 24.Nxe4 h6 25.Nd6+ Kf8 26.Rc1 Qe7 27.Rc3 White will improve his position, while Black can just defend.
24.Nxh7?!
Stronger was 24.Nxe4 f5 25.Nd6+ Rxd6 26.exd6 Qd5 27.Rc1 and White must win.
24...Rh8 25.Ng5 Rf8?
The decisive mistake. Black had to play 25...Qc7 and after 26.Nxe4 b5 27.Nd6+ Kf8 28.h3 f5 he could put a stubborn defence.
26.Nxe4 Kd7 27.Rc1! Rc8 28.Nf6+ Ke7
After 28...Kd8 29.Qd4+ Qd5 30.Qb6+ Ke7 31.Rc7+ Black can't avoid mate.
29.Ng8+!
Final blow.
29...Kd7
This move loses on the spot, but after 29...Rxg8 30.Qf6+ Ke8 31.Rxc8+ Kd7 32.Rc1 Ke8 33.h3 White wins as well.
30.Qd4+ 1–0

2007/11/21

Fide GP, a serious affair?!

The next Fide Grand Prix, to be held in 2008 and 2009, promises to be a serious affair. First of all because “players won’t be allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents” (Sofia rule will be applied), and, second, since time control won’t be Fide’s “beloved” 90 minutes etc., but “120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards”.
The GP will consist of six tourneys, to be played in April, August and December: “These months have been selected to ensure there is no conflict with any other major event”. Twenty-one top world players “will be selected to compete in these tournaments”: each of them “will have 14 players playing over a schedule of 17 days”.
“The bidding process for the final selection of cities will commence in the second part of November 2007 and be finalized by January 2008”. “One players may be nominated by each host city and must be rated not less than 2550 in the last rating list prior to the final nomination or selection of players. If the host city does not have a player rated at least 2550 then the highest rated player from the Federation of the host city will be invited to play, subject to his rating not being lower than 2500”.
I hope an Italian city will host a tourney in future editions, but I know that 212,000 euros for a chess event (the “recommended” prize money) are not easy to be found in our country... You can read full details and regulations of the Fide GP at http://fide.com/official/handbook/pdf/dd10.pdf.
A couple of interesting competitions are going to start in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) and Martina Franca (Italy). The first of them is the 2007 World Chess Cup: round 1 will be played on November 24, Ivanchuk, Mamedyarov, Radjabov and Aronian are the leading players (official site: http://www.ugra-chess.ru/eng/main.html). The latter is the 2007 Italian championship, the strongest ever, with three GMs playing: Fabiano Caruana, Michele Godena and Carlos Garcia Palermo. Caruana is the Elo favorite, but defending champion Godena is a tough opponent for anyone. Round 1 on November 23 (official site: http://www.federscacchi.it/cia2007).
And now here are some interesting positions and games from the World blitz championship: the final stage of the event is a double round tourney with 20 players, which ends tomorrow in Moscow (Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Leko, Morozevich, Mamedyarov and many other superGMs are among the participants).

Korotylev,A (2600) - Mamedyarov,S (2752), Moscow (r. 8) 21.11.2007
White had a promising position one move earlier, but he made a big mistake and now he is lost. Mamedyarov wins by playing a brilliant combination.
27... Ng4!! 28.d8Q
Obviously not 28.Qxg4 exf2+ 29.Rxf2 Re1+ and mate on next move.
28... exf2+ 29.Rxf2 Rh1+! 30.Kxh1 Rxe2 0–1
White resigned in view of 31.Rxf4 (31.Rxe2 Qf1#) 31... Re1+ 32.Rf1 Rxf1#

Kramnik,V (2785) - Anand,V (2801) [D13], Moscow (r. 11) 21.11.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.d4 Nc6 6.Bf4 a6 7.Rc1 Bf5 8.e3 Rc8 9.Be2 e6 10.0–0 Be7 11.Qb3 Na5? (11... Qd7) 12.Qa4+ Nc6 13.Bxa6! Ra8
If 13... bxa6 then 14.Ne5 Qb6 15.Ne2 and White is clearly better.
14.Bxb7 Rxa4 15.Bxc6+ Kf8 16.Nxa4 Ne4? (16... Qa5) 17.Bb7 Nd6??
After 17... g5 Black can fight some more moves.
18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Rc6 Qd7 20.Rc8+ Bd8 21.Ne5 1–0
Black is defenceless, so Vishy resigned.

Ivanchuk,V (2787) - Carlsen,M (2714), Moscow (r. 13) 21.11.2007
37.Qxe8+!
A nice and decisive blow.
37... Kxe8 38.cxb6 f4 39.b7 fxg3+ 40.Kg2 1–0
Black can't prevent White from promoting his "b" pawn. Note that Chuky leads at the half way stage with 13.5/19, half a point clear of the defending champion Alexander Grischuk.

2007/11/18

A new trophy for super-Vlad

He lost his world champion title just a few weeks ago, but Vladimir Kramnik looks to be at his best now. The Russian superGM has secured victory in the 2007 Tal Memorial, which takes place in Moscow until tomorrow, with a round to go: he has 6 points out of 8 and Alexei Shirov follows on 4.5 (official site of the event: http://russiachess.org/eng/). This result is especially good for Vlad's moral in view of his match against Vishy Anand next year; speaking about that, according to a press release published on Fide website (www.fide.com), "whilst GM Vladimir Kramnik had accepted the conditions for the World Championship Match in 2008 and had signed the contract, GM Anand had raised several points". Kirsan Ilymuzhinov "asked Deputy President, Giorgios Makropoulos, to conduct negotiations with UEP, GM Anand and GM Kramnik to enable the contract to be signed". It looks like the Indian GM doesn't want to play the role of good and nice boy any longer: can you blame him?
And now here are some news from Italy. The 2007/2008 edition of the "Torneo di Capodanno" ("New year's day tourney" - December 29-January 6) in Reggio Emilia will be one of the strongest ever: a 16th category event with many well known GMs, all og them coming from different countries Zoltan Almasi (HUN - 2691), Konstantin Landa (RUS - 2669), Pentala Harikrishna (IND - 2668), Vugar Gashimov (AZE - 2663), David Navara (CZE - 2656), Sergey Tivjakov (NED - 2643), Ni Hua (CHN - 2641), Viktor Korchnoj (SUI - 2610), Mihail Marin (ROM - 2551), Michele Godena (ITA - 2535). Croatian GM Miso Cebalo will comment games live for the audience (not the web audience :-) ), Almasi will give a simul for local players at the end of the competition. Official site should be http://www.ippogrifoscacchi.it/.
And now here is a crushing victory by Kramnik in Moscow...

Kramnik,V. (2785) - Alekseev,E. (2716) [A60], Moscow, 16.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 b5
After 5...d6 6.Nc3 we would get a Modern-Benoni.
6.e4
This was Sosonko's favourite move in the '70s. Kramnik had previously played 6.Nd2 Nxd5 7.Bg2 Nc7 8.Bxa8 Nxa8 9.b4 c4 10.a4 Bxb4 11.Qc2 Bb7 12.Ngf3 a6 13.axb5 axb5 14.Qb2 Qf6 15.Qxb4 Qxa1 16.0–0 Qa6 and now the immediate 17.Ba3 would have been better than 17.Bb2 f6 18.Ba3 , played by Vlad (Kramnik-Aronian, Yerevan Rapid Match 2007). In both cases White has a strong initiative in return for the sacrificed material. Perhaps Alekseev found an improvement in the 6.Nd2 line, but Kramnik surprised him first.; White's most popular choice is 6.Bg2 and after 6...d6 White can choose between 7.e4 and 7.b4!? Nbd7 (7...Na6 8.bxc5 Nxc5 9.Nf3 g6 10.0–0 Bg7 11.Nd4 0–0 12.Nc3 a6 13.Nc6 Qc7 14.Be3 Bb7 15.Bd4 Rfe8 16.a4 bxa4 17.Bxc5 dxc5 18.Qxa4± Kasparov-Korchnoj, London 1983) 8.bxc5 dxc5 9.Nh3 Bd6 10.0–0 0–0 11.Bf4 Nb6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.Nf4 Re8 14.a3 Bd7 15.h4 h6 16.Nd2 g5 17.hxg5 hxg5 18.Nh3 Bxh3 19.Bxh3 Nbxd5–+ Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov, Batumi 2001.
6...Nxe4
The game Manor-Greenfeld, Rishon Le Zion 1996, continued 6...Bb7 7.Bg2 d6 8.a4 b4 9.Nd2 g6 10.Nc4 Ba6 11.Qc2 Bg7 12.Nf3 0–0 13.Nfd2 Nbd7 14.0–0 Nb6 15.Re1 Ng4 16.Ne3 Ne5 17.Bf1 c4 18.a5 Nbd7 19.Nexc4 Rc8 20.Qb3 Nc5 21.Qe3 Nxc4 22.Bxc4 Bxc4 23.Nxc4 Re8 24.Qf3 f5 25.Bf4 Nxe4=
7.Qe2 Qe7 8.Bg2 Nd6
Alekseev probably did not know (or remember) the old theory. Black should keep the knight on e4; the game Sosonko-Timman, Amsterdam 1980, continued 8...f5 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qxe2+ 11.Nxe2 Na6 12.0–0 Rb8 13.Bf4 d6 14.Bd2 Be7 15.Nf4 Kf7 and Black is better.
9.Be3 b4?!
9...Na6 10.Nh3 g6= looks more precise.
10.Bxc5 Qxe2+ 11.Nxe2 Na6 12.Bxd6!?
A new move. White helps Black to develop, but Kramnik probably felt that knights would be superior to bishops in a position where Black has a lot of weak squares. The game Sosonko-Olafsson, Wijk aan Zee 1977, continued 12.Bd4 Nf5 13.0–0 Bc5 14.Bxc5 Nxc5 15.Nd2 Ba6 16.Rfc1?! (16.Nb3!?; 16.Rfe1) 16...Nd3 17.Rc2 0–0 18.Bh3 Rfe8 19.Nb3 Re5 20.Ned4 Nxd4 21.Nxd4 Rd8 22.d6 g6 and now after 23.Bf1 White would have a slight edge.
12...Bxd6 13.Nd2 Rb8
After 13...Bb7 14.Nc4 Bc5 15.Nf4 White is slightly better anyway.
14.Nc4 Be7 15.d6 Bf6 16.Nf4 Nc5 17.0–0 Ba6 18.Nd5
18.Rfe1+ was an interesting alternative, e.g.: 18...Ne6 (18...Kd8 19.Ne5 Rf8 20.Rac1 Rb5 21.Nh5 is good only for White) 19.Ne5 Rb6 20.Rad1 Nxf4 21.gxf4 Bxe5 22.fxe5 and Black's position is difficult.
18...0–0
Obviously not 18...Bxc4?! 19.Nxf6+ gxf6 20.Rfc1 0–0 21.Rxc4 Ne6 and White is clearly better.
19.Nxf6+ gxf6 20.Bd5
20.Rfd1!? is probably better, but after 20...Bxc4 21.Rdc1 Bxa2!? Black can hold on, e.g.: 22.Rxa2 (22.Rxc5 Be6 23.Rxa7 Rb6 24.Bd5 Rxd6 25.Bxe6 fxe6=) 22...Nd3 23.Rb1 (23.Rd1 b3 24.Rxa7 Nxb2 25.Rb1 Nc4 26.Bd5 Nxd6 27.Rxd7 Rbd8 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Rxb3 looks drawish.) 23...Rb6 24.Rxa7 Rxd6 25.Rd1 Rc8 26.Ra8 Rxa8 27.Bxa8 Ra6 28.Rxd3 Rxa8 29.Rxd7 and White can try to convert his slight edge into a full point, but it is not as easy as it looks.
20...Na4?
A serious mistake. This knight was very well-placed on c5. Black should have tried 20...Rfc8
21.Rfc1! Rfe8 22.Ne3! Rb6
After 22...Nxb2 23.Rc7 White is better as well.
23.Rc7 Rxd6?
23...Bb5 and 23...Rd8 were both better alternatives. Now Black is almost hopeless.
24.Rd1! Kh8 25.Nf5
White dominates.
25...Rb6 26.Bxf7 Nxb2?
The last mistake in a desperate position: after 26...Rd8 27.Rdxd7 Rxd7 28.Rxd7 Rb8 29.Rxa7 Bd3 30.Rxa4 Bxf5 White wins anyway, but not as fast as in the game.
27.Rdxd7
Now White wins easily.
27...Re1+ 28.Kg2 Bf1+ 29.Kf3 Be2+ 30.Kf4 Rb8
If 30...Nd3+ then 31.Rxd3+-
31.Bc4 1–0

2007/11/15

Karpov on the way out?

After a (quite) long absence from chess scene, Anatoly Karpov has recently made his come-back. His third place in Gorenje last June was not a bad result, if you consider that his previous tourney was Essent 2003. But his last place in the "Chess Champions League", which took place 1st-15th November 2007 in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain, is a bit disappointing: and this is not because he scored 3 points out of 10, but because of his play. Wasting good positions and making some really big mistakes is not what you can expect from a chess legend like him, a superGM who has won 161 tournaments and has played in every Fide World Championship match from 1978 to 1998.
Since 2005 Karpov has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia and he has lately been involved in several humanitarian causes: all those activities must have brought him miles far from chess and I wonder if he would be able to beat his old (and oldest) rival Viktor Korchnoj nowadays.
Speaking about the "Chess Champions League", Veselin Topalov won the tourney with a convincing 7/10; he lost only one game with Judit Polgar, after giving her a free piece as an early Christmas present (you are a real gentleman, Veselin!). Ruslan Ponomariov took second place on 5.5, losing his last two games against Topalov and Kasimdzhanov; Nisipeanu and Polgar shared third on 5, Kasimdzhanov was fifth on 4.5 and Karpov, as already written, sixth and last on 3. The aim behind the tournament was to get funds to build up and/or send equipment to a Hospital in Mbuji-Mayi, one of the poorest regions in the Congo. Side events which aimed to raise this money included an auction: some of the best Spanish sportsmen donated some items to be sold and Topalov did the same, by donating the medal he got when he became World Junior Champion in Puerto Rico 1989. Official site of the event: http://www.ajedrez-hotelakua.com/.

Kasimdzhanov,R (2690) - Karpov,Ana (2670) [E37], Vitoria Gasteiz 13.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nc6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.e3
More common is 10.Nf3 Qa5+ (10...Bf5 11.b4 0–0 12.Bb2 b6 13.b5 bxc5 14.bxc6 Qa5+ 15.Nd2 Rab8 16.c7 Rb3 with complicated play, M. Gurevich-Franzoni, Luzern 1989) 11.Bd2 Qxc5 12.Qxc5 Nxc5 13.Be3 Nb3 14.Rd1 Be6 15.Rd3 Nba5 16.g3 0–0 17.Bg2 Rfd8 and the position looks about equal, S. Ivanov-Balashov, Elista 1995
10...Qa5+
Karpov either mixed up or didn't payheed to the minor alteration. 10...Bf5 is the strongest continuation: 11.Bd3 (11.Qd1 0–0 12.Nf3 Nxc5 13.b4 Qf6 14.Ra2 Ne4 15.Bb2 d4 16.exd4 Ng3 17.d5 Qe7+ 18.Be2 Nxh1 19.dxc6 Rfd8 20.Bd4 (Sula-Maksimovic, Kastoria 1996) and now after 20...bxc6 Black has a slight edge.) 11...Qg5 (11...Ne5 12.Nf3 Nxd3+ 13.Qxd3 Ng3 14.e4 Nxe4 15.0–0 0–0 16.Qd4= Kasimdzhanov - Asrian, Vandoeuvre 2007.) 12.f3!? (12.Kf1) 12...Qh4+ 13.Kf1 Ng3+ 14.hxg3 Bxd3+ 15.Qxd3 Qxh1 16.b4 (16.Qb5? 0–0–0 17.b4 d4 18.e4 f5 19.exf5? Rhe8 20.Bg5? d3–+ 21.Kf2 Re2+! 22.Nxe2 Qxa1 23.Bxd8? d2 0–1, Bromberger-Van den Doel, Bundesliga 2000) 16...0–0 17.Bb2 Rfe8 18.Kf2 Qh6 19.Ne2 with some compensation for the sacrificed exchange, Kasimdzhanov - Aronian, Mainz 2007.
11.b4!?
With his light-squared bishopdesigned to enter the game White isn'tobliged to play 11.Bd2 Nxd2 12.Qxd2 Qxc5=
11...Nxb4 12.axb4 Qxa1 13.Bb5+ Kf8 14.Ne2 a5
14...a6 (or 14... Bf6) also came into consideration, although after 15.Ba4 a5 16.b5 Bf5 17.c6 bxc6 18.b6! the position looks really complicated.
15.f3 Nf6 16.0–0
16.c6!? had to be considered.
16...Qe5?!
The first inaccuracy. Black had to play 16...axb4 and after 17.Bb2 Qa7 18.Ra1 Qb8 19.Ra4 White has some compensation, but he is not better.
17.e4! dxe4 18.Bf4
Now all White pieces are ready to attack the enemy King: Black's position is quite unpleasant.
18...Qf5 19.g4 Qg6 20.Qd2 Be6 21.Bb8!
A really elegant move!
21...Nd5??
A big mistake after which Karpov's position collapses soon. 21...Bd5 was the best alternative: after 22.Nf4 Qh6 23.Be5 (23.Bd6+ Kg8 24.Nxd5 Qxd2 25.Ne7+ Kf8 26.Ng6+=) 23...Bb3 24.Qd6+ Kg8 25.bxa5 Qg5 26.c6 bxc6 27.Bxc6 Ne8 28.Qc5 Rc8 29.a6 h5 White has the better chances, but Black can still fight; 21...Bd7 was weaker than ...Bd5, e.g.: 22.Nf4 Qh6 23.Bxd7 Nxd7 24.Bd6+ Kg8 25.Qd5 Nf6 26.Qxb7 Re8 27.bxa5 exf3 28.Qxf3 Qg5 29.a6 and passed pawns a and c are too strong.
22.Nf4
Simple and winning. Black can't take the knight because of Qd8#.
22...Qh6 23.Nxe6+ Qxe6
23...fxe6 was not better: 24.fxe4+ Nf6 25.g5 Qh5 (25...Qg6 26.Qd8+ Kf7 27.Qd7+ Kf8 28.Bd6+ Kg8 29.Qxe6+ Qf7 30.Bc4+-) 26.Be2!+-
24.Bd6+ Kg8 25.Bc4 exf3 26.Bxd5
Game over: in addition to his dangerous initiative White gains material.
26...Qxg4+ 27.Kh1 axb4 28.Bxf3 Qc4 29.Qg2 h5 30.Bd5 Qg4 31.Bxf7+ Kh7 32.Qc2+ g6 33.Bxg6+ 1–0
Black resigned in view of 33... Qxg6 34.Rf7+ Kh6 35.Bf4+.

2007/11/12

An (almost) immortal blitz game

Two really strong events are taking place in Moscow (Russia) and Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain). The Russian capital is the venue for the 2007 Tal Memorial (http://www.russiachess.org/), the Spanish town hosts the "Chess Champions League - Playing for a better world" (http://www.ajedrez-hotelakua.com/), a tournament that aims to get funds to build up or send equipment to a Hospital in Mbuji-Mayi, one of the poorest regions in Congo. Vladimir Kramnik plays the first, Veselin Topalov the latter: as usual, after their match in Elista last year and the so called "Toilet-gate", the two superGMs are happy if they do not have to play each other. Only one exception this year: the Wijk aan Zee supertourney last January. And next year? They are both awaited to play in Wijk aan Zee, again, but the first Fide Grand Prix will probably force them to meet more times. We'll see... Meanwhile, Kramnik shares the lead in Moscow with Mamedyarov and Carlsen after round 3 (they are all on 2 points); Topalov is placed second on 5/8 in Spain with two rounds to go: he will play Ponomariov, who leads the field on 5.5, right tomorrow.
And now let's come to the title of this post. In the past days I played some blitz (3 mins) games on Playchess server. On November 5, I found what I thought to be a really brilliant combination against a 14 years old boy from Uzbekistan. I hoped it could be remembered as "My immortal blitz game", but I was worng: I almost wasted a totally won position because of my craving for playing brilliant moves. So, here is the "pearl"...

Mione, D. (2254) - R. R. (2120) [C55], Playchess.com, 5.11.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.0–0 Bc5 5.c3 d6 6.d4 exd4
6...Bb6 is more accurate.
7.cxd4 Bb6 8.h3 h6 9.Re1 0–0 10.Nc3 a6 11.Bf4
Now White has more space to manoeuvre his pieces.
11...Ne7?!
A new move, and definitely not a good one, if the idea is Ne7-g6. 11...Ba5 is the main line here.
12.Qd2 Ng6?
A losing move. 12...Be6 was the correct way to prepare Ne7-g6.
13.Bxh6!
That's obvious!
13...gxh6?
13...Be6 , again, had to be played.
14.Qxh6 Nh8
14...d5 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Ng5! Qxg5 17.Qxg5 Ndf4 18.Rad1 was simply decisive in White's favor.
15.Re3!?
15.e5 was probably even stronger: after 15...Nh7 16.Nd5 (intending Nf6+ and Black is hopeless) 16...Ng6 17.Nxb6 cxb6 18.Qxg6+ Kh8 19.Bxf7+- White wins easily.
15...Be6
15...Nh7 was a bit better, although after 16.Nh4 Qg5 17.Rg3 Qxg3 18.fxg3 Bxd4+ 19.Kh2 Bg7 20.Qd2 White is winning anyway.
16.Ng5!?
Correct, but 16.Ne5!! was even more brilliant.
16...Bxc4 17.Rg3??
Awful! I thought the text move was brilliant, then I analyzed the position with a strong chess software... and I found that Black has an easy way to escape. 17.e5! was the best continuation: 17...dxe5 18.dxe5 Bd3 19.exf6 Qxf6 20.Qxf6 Bxe3 21.fxe3+- and White has a huge advantage.
17...Ng6 18.e5 dxe5 19.dxe5 Bxf2+?
The first mistake. After 19...Re8 has excellent winning (!) chances, e.g.: 20.Rd1 (20.Nxf7 Bxf7 (20...Bxf2+ is weaker: 21.Kh1 Bxf7 22.Rxg6+ Bxg6 23.Qxg6+ Kh8 24.exf6 Qd7 25.f7 Re6 26.Qh5+ Kg7 27.Qg4+ Kxf7 28.Rf1 is unclear) 21.Rxg6+ Bxg6 22.Qxg6+ Kh8 23.exf6 Qd7–+) 20...Qe7 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.Nge4 Qg7 23.Qg5 Bd4 and White has not enough compensation for the piece.
20.Kh1!
And not 20.Kxf2 Qd4+ 21.Re3 Nxe5–+ followed by ...Neg4+.
20...Nxe5??
That is the exact continuation I calculated when I played 17.Rg3??. I was lucky, because my young opponent saw it too :-) White has no more than a draw after 20...Re8 (20...Bxg3?? 21.exf6 and then mate) 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.Rf3 Qg7 23.Qxg7+ Kxg7 24.Rxf2=
21.Ne6+! Bxg3 22.Qg7# 1–0
The end. Nice mate, but unfortunately I can't consider this as "my immortal blitz game".

2007/11/06

Chuky's drama in Heraklio

No. I can't believe the player who played on top board for Ukraine in the 2007 European team championship, held in Heraklio (Crete - Greece) in October 28 to November 6, was the same Vassily Ivanchuk who convincingly won a huge number of games and strong tourneys in the first seven months of the present year. The same Ivanchuk who is (was?!) the second highest rated player of the world, with an impressive 2787 rating. He can't be our "Super-Chuky"! Why not? Well, just give a look to the games played by that (presumed) Ivanchuk in Greece: he was outplayed by Bacrot in only 24 moves with White pieces, he wasted a better position (being an exchange up!) against Mamedyarov, again on White side, he lost an equal endgame (until move 37, at least) with Michael Adams. So? Well, he finished with a poor 3/7 score and a 2623 performance, losing 16 points. In view of the 2007 Fide World Cup, this is not a good result for Chuky. Come on Vassily, you can do it!
About the European team championship, Russia won both the male and female sections, Armenia took silver and bronze respectively, Azerbaijan was third in the Men event and Poland second in the Women's. Italy was placed 28th, not a bad result if you consider that our guys were the 29th strongest team :-) Official site of the competition: http://www.greekchess.com/euro2007. My thanks to the www.chessdom.com staff (Goran Urosevic above all) for sending me a lot of photos from the event. You can find them on my Italian site, www.messaggeroscacchi.it, in the "Ultime notizie" ("Last news") section.
A couple of (quite) strong tourneys has just finished in Italy. Russian GM Oleg Korneev scored 7.5/9 and won the 8th Hotel Petra Festival, held in Rome in October 29 to November 4. His compatriot and Elo-favourite GM Vladimir Burmakin and Serbian GM Miroljub Lazic took second and third place respectively on 6.5. 140 players, official site: www.arrocco.net.
Ukrainian GM Georgy Timoshenko took clear first in the 2007 "Autunno veneziano" festival, held in Venice in November 1-4. He scored 5 points out of 6 and edged out by half a point Croatian IMs Marin Bosiocic and Milan Mrdja, GM Sergey Kasparov (BLR), FM Davor Ramesa (CRO) and young Italian master Alessandro Bonafede from Treviso, who will compete in the next Italian championship, to be held in Martina Franca (Taranto) in November 23 to December 4. That will be an 8 category event, with a 2435 rating average. Official site of "Autunno veneziano" festival: www.veneziascacchi.com.
And now here is a dramatic game played (and lost) by Chuky in Crete...

Ivanchuk,V (2787) - Mamedyarov,S (2752) [D97], Crete 4.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Qb3 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bg7 6.e4 0–0 7.Be2 c6 8.Nf3 b5 9.Qb3 Qa5 10.Bd2 b4 11.Na4 Nxe4 12.Bxb4
A well known variation. Now both 12...Qc7 and 12...Qd8 are played.
12...Qc7 13.0–0 Be6 14.Qc2 Nd6 15.Rfd1 a5 16.Ba3 Bd5 17.Nc3 Na6 18.Rac1 Qb8?
Not a smart move indeed. 18...Be6 gives Black an (about) equal game.
19.Ne5 Nb4
If 19...Re8 then 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Nc6 and White is clearly better.
20.Bxb4 axb4 21.Nxd5 cxd5 22.Nd7 Qc8 23.Nxf8 Qxc2 24.Rxc2 Kxf8 25.b3 Ne4
The critical position: White is an exchange up and Black has a very little compensation. You shouldn't believe Chuky can lose this game, but he did!
26.Rd3 e6 27.Kf1 Bf6 28.g4 Ra3 29.f4 Nc3
Well, let's say White's task is not as easy as it looks after his last moves: Black's knight is really strong now.
30.Rdd2 Kg7 31.Kg2 Bh4
After 31...Nxe2 32.Rxe2 Bxd4 33.Rc7 White can be satisfied with his position.
32.Kf1 Bd8 33.Kg2 Bh4 34.Kf1
I guess Chuky was trying to reach the first time control, but he has wasted a lot of his positional advantage and now Black has good drawing (but not winning!) chances.
34...Kg8?!
A serious inaccuracy. 34...Be7 is much better.
35.Rb2 Ra8 36.Rbc2 Ra3 37.Rb2 Kf8 38.Rbc2 Be7 39.Kg2 Kg7 40.Rb2?
40.g5 intending h4 gives White some more chances to get an advantage.
40...h6 41.Rbc2?!
The immediate 41.Kf3 looks more precise.
41...Bd6 42.Kf3??
Not now! 42.f5 is probably the only way to save the day, e.g.: 42...exf5 43.gxf5 Bf4 44.Rd3 Nxa2 45.fxg6 fxg6 46.Bf3 Nc3 and Black has full compensation for the exchange, but White would be able to draw the game without too many troubles.
42...g5 43.fxg5 hxg5 44.Bd3 f6 45.Rf2 e5
Unbelievable. Now it is Black who is trying to get more than a draw!
46.dxe5
46.Bf5 e4+ 47.Kg2 Bf4 was unpleasant as well.
46...fxe5 47.Bf5 e4+ 48.Kg2 Bf4 49.h4 Kf6??
Both players are playing quite bad: 49...d4 looks much better, although after 50.Rxc3 bxc3 51.Bxe4 Be3 52.Re2 gxh4 53.Kh3 White can fight for a draw (but Black must be winning).
50.h5
Now White is back in the game.
50...Ke5
50...Kg7 51.Rxf4! gxf4 52.g5 was even worst for Black.
51.h6 d4 52.h7 Ra8 53.a3??
No, Chuky, no! What's wrong with you? 53.Rfe2!! was not easy to be found even for a strong GM, but you are the #2 player in the world! After 53.Rfe2 Black has not many alternatives: 53...e3! [a) 53...Be3 54.a3! Nxe2 55.Rxe2 bxa3 56.Ra2 Rh8 (56...Bc1?? 57.Rc2 Bb2?? 58.Bc8+-; 56...d3 57.Rxa3 Rh8 58.Ra5+ Kd4 59.Ra4+ Kc3 60.Rxe4 Bd4 61.Kf1±) 57.Rxa3 Bd2 58.Ra6 Kd5 59.Ra7 Bc3 60.Rd7+ Ke5 61.Re7+ Kf6 62.Rxe4±; b) 53...Nxe2 54.Bc8+-; c) 53...d3 54.Rxc3 bxc3 (54...dxe2 55.Bc8!+-) 55.Rxe4+ Kd5 56.Rc4 Rxa2+ 57.Kf3 Be5 58.Bxd3+-] 54.Re1 Kf6 55.Rh1 Kg7 56.Bd3 and White can hardly lose such an endgame. After the text move, on the contrary, Black wins on the spot. Poor Chuky!
53...d3 54.axb4 dxc2 55.Rxc2 Kd4 56.b5 e3 57.b6
57.Kf3 e2 58.Rxe2 Nxe2 59.Kxe2 Be5 was hopeless as well.
57...e2 58.b7 Rh8 0–1
And White resigns. You shouldn't say that two of the top super-GMs in the world has played this (end)game...

2007/11/03

Crete, Black to move and win

Many interesting games have been played so far in Crete (Greece), where the 2007 European team championship is under way until November 6. I present here three of the most amazing ones of round 5: Black got the upper hand in all of them. In the first one, Bacrot surprised super-Chuky with a novelty on move 14; the Ukrainian GM was probably not in his best shape to fight a tough battle, so he offered a draw two moves later, but Etienne declined and won before move 30. You can find the game fully annotated on Bacrot's own web site, http://www.chess22.fr/, a must see for all chess enthusiasts. In the second, also played in the Ukraine-France match (2-2 the final result), young Sergey Karjakin easily got a strong initiative against European champion Vladislav Tkachiev and eventually outplayed him with a piece sacrifice. In the third and last game, Czech GM David Navara sacrificed his Queen for two minor pieces and developed a crushing attack against his opponent's king. You will find many brilliant moves as well as a lot of mistakes in all games...
Speaking about the event, Russia is the sole leader of the Men's event with a stunning 12/12 score, while Poland and Russia share the first place on 10/12 (both unbeaten) in the female section with 3 rounds to go. Official site: http://www.greekchess.com/euro2007/.
And now here are the annotated games...

Ivanchuk,V. (2787) - Bacrot,E. (2695) [D15], Crete 1.11.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.c5 Nbd7 6.Bf4 Nh5 7.Bd2 Nhf6 8.Qc2 g6 9.g3
"A recent idea that has posed some theoretical problems for Black" (Bacrot). More common is 9.Bf4 Bg7 10.e3 or 10.h3
9...e5 10.dxe5 Ng4 11.e6
"The most critical. If I remember correctly, Miton played 11.Na4 against me in the Spanish Team Championship in June" (Bacrot).
11...Nxc5! 12.exf7+ Kxf7 13.e4 Bg7 14.Bg2?!
Better is 14.h3 Nf6 15.Ng5+ Kg8 16.Be3 Qa5=
14...Bxc3!
"This is one of the novelties that I had prepared for my match against Kamsky. Finally my homework came in useful. Instead 14...Re8 was played in Sargissian-Laznicka, 2007" (Bacrot).
15.Bxc3 dxe4!?
Now 15...Re8 may be even better.
16.Bxh8
"This move was accompanied by a draw offer. This showed that he didn't know my 14th move. I struggled to remember my preparation exactly, but I knew that I wasn't risking anything so I naturally decided to continue" (Bacrot).
16...Nd3+ 17.Kf1 exf3 18.Bxf3 Ngxf2 19.Qb3+ Ke7 20.Bg7
"A natural move but not the best. Finding the correct line at the board is far from easy: 20.Qa3+! c5 21.Re1+! Nxe1 22.Qxc5+ Qd6 23.Bf6+ Ke6 24.Qxd6+ Kxd6 25.Kxf2 Nxf3 26.Kxf3 Be6 27.Rd1+ Kc6 28.Rc1+ Kb5 29.Ke4 Bxa2 30.Rc7= " (Bacrot).
20...Bh3+ 21.Bg2?!
"The exchange of bishops helps my attack. Best is 21.Kg1 Qd7 22.Bh6 Re8 23.Bg5+ Kf8 24.Bh6+ drawing, just as I had prepared at home" (Bacrot).
21...Qd7 22.Bxh3 Qxh3+ 23.Kg1 Qf5 24.Qxb7+??
This move loses immediately. White had to play 24.Re1+ with surviving chances, although after 24...Nxe1 25.Qxb7+ Kd6 (25...Ke6 26.Qxc6+ Kf7 27.Qb7+ Ke6 28.Qc6+=) 26.Qb4+ (26.Qxa8 Nh3#) 26...Kd5! (26...Kd7 27.Qb7+ Kd6 28.Qb4+=) 27.Qd4+ Ke6 28.Qc4+ Kd7 29.Qd4+ Kc7 30.Qxf2 Qe4 31.Qf4+ Qxf4 32.gxf4 Nd3 Black is better.
24...Kd6 25.Qb6?
Losing on the spot, but 25.h4 Qf3–+ was winning for Black anyway.
25...Qf3 26.Qd4+ Kc7 27.Be5+ Kc8 0–1
White can't avoid mate, so he resigned.


Tkachiev,V. (2661) - Karjakin,S. (2694) [D45] , Crete 1.11.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Bd2 e6 6.Qc2 Nbd7 7.Nc3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Be2
Probably not a new move, but 9.g3 b5 10.Bg2 Bb7 11.0–0 Rc8= (M. Gurevich-Morozevich, Wijk aan Zee 2002) is more common.
9...Be7 10.0–0 0–0 11.Rfd1 b5 12.Ne5
Interesting (and probably more precise) is 12.e4!?
12...cxd4
12...Qc7!? has also to be taken into consideration.
13.Nc6?!
You could think this is a strong move, but it will turn out to be a loss of time. Better is 13.exd4 Bb7 14.Bf4=
13...Qe8 14.exd4 Bd6 15.a3
15.Re1 Nb6 16.Bxb5? is not as good as it looks; after 16...Be6 17.Na4 (17.Ba4 Rc8) 17...axb5 18.Nxb6 Ra6 19.Ba5 Bc7 White loses material.
15...Nb6 16.Nb4 Bb7 17.Nd3 Ne4 18.Bf4 Bxf4 19.Nxf4 Rc8 20.Bf3 Na4
Black is more than fine in this position.
21.Nfe2
21.Nfxd5? doesn't work: 21...Bxd5 22.Bxe4 Nxc3 23.Bxh7+ Kh8 24.bxc3 g6 25.Bxg6 fxg6 and White's three pawns are not enough compensation for the piece. 21.Rd3!? was an interesting alternative to the text move.
21...Qd7 22.Rab1 Ng5
22...f5 or 22... Rfe8 look stronger.
23.Qd3 Nb6 24.h4 Nxf3+ 25.Qxf3 Nc4 26.Nc1
Too slow. 26.h5 h6 27.Ng3 looks more precise.
26...Qe7 27.Qg3 Nd2 28.Ra1 Ne4 29.Nxe4 dxe4 30.Nb3 Bd5 31.Nc5 Rc6 32.Qe5 Qd8 33.Nb7?
A bad mistake. After 33.Re1 Rh6 34.g3 f5 Black is slightly better, but White can hold on.
33...Qxh4!
Easy! White can't take the piece or he will lose very soon...
34.Qxd5??
The losing move: I guess Tkachiev was in time trouble. After 34.Nd6 e3! 35.Rf1 (35.fxe3 Bxg2 36.Qxg7+ Kxg7 37.Nf5+ Kh8 38.Nxh4 Be4–+) 35...Rc2 36.Qxe3 Qg4 37.Qh3 Qxh3 38.gxh3 Rc6 39.Nf5 Rg6+ 40.Ng3 f5–+ Black has a crushing attack; but 34.g3 holds on, e.g.: 34...Qg4 35.Nd6 Rd8 36.Nf5 f6 37.Qe7 Rcc8 38.Ne3 Qd7 and Black has good winning chances, but White is still alive.
34...Rh6 35.Kf1 Rf6 36.f3
After 36.Rd2 e3 37.g3 Qxg3 38.Qg2 Qxg2+ 39.Kxg2 exd2–+ White is hopeless as well.
36...exf3 37.gxf3 Qh2! 38.Qe4 Rg6 39.Qe3 Rg2 0–1
White can't avoid ...Qh1+ and mate, so he resigned.


Cheparinov,I. (2670) - Navara,D. (2656) [C88], Crete 1.11.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Qd7 11.Nc3 Rfe8
It should sound strange, but this looks to be a new move. 11...Rae8 is the common line.
12.a4
After 12.Ng5 Black can play 12...Nd8 intending ...Ne6.
12...b4 13.Ne2 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Ng3 Bf8 16.Bd2 a5 17.Ba2 Nd4?
A bit too optimistic. After 17...Rad8 Black is fine.
18.Nxe5 Qd6 19.Nf3?
White gives back the favour. After 19.Qg4! Rxe5 (19...Nxc2 20.Nf5+-) 20.Qxd4 Rae8 21.Rxe5 Qxe5 22.Qxe5 Rxe5 23.Ne4 Black is a pawn down without any compensation.
19...Rxe1+ 20.Bxe1 Nf4
Now Black has a strong initiative in return for the sacrificed pawn.
21.Nxd4 Qxd4 22.Qg4 Re8
Taking back the pawn was just bad: 22...Bxg2? 23.Nf5 Nxh3+ 24.Qxh3! Qxf2+ 25.Bxf2 Bxh3 26.Ng3 and White can play for a win.; 22...Qxb2?? 23.Qxf4 Qxa1?? 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Qg8#
23.Nf5 h5
Only move.
24.Nh6+?
Not the best choice. After 24.Nxd4 hxg4 25.hxg4 Nxg2 26.Bd2 Bc5 27.c3= Black is fine, but White is not losing.
24...Kh7 25.Qf5+ Kxh6 26.Bd2 Bd6
26...g5!? was an interesting alternative: after 27.h4 f6 28.Bg8 Re7 29.Be3 Qe5 30.hxg5+ fxg5 31.Qxf8+ Qg7 32.Qxg7+ Rxg7 33.Bc4 Nxg2 34.Bc5 Kg6 Black has some winning chances.
27.Bxf7 Qxf2+
A beautiful (and virtually forced) Queen sacrifice.
28.Kxf2 Re2+ 29.Kg1 Rxg2+?
Better was 29...Rxd2 30.Re1 g6 31.Re6 Rxg2+ 32.Kf1 Rg3 and White is in deep trouble. But this line was not easy to be calculated.
30.Kf1 Rxd2 31.Bg8??
Losing on the spot. 31.h4 is the only way to survive (and get a draw), e.g.: 31...Bg2+ (31...Rh2 32.Qg5+ Kh7 33.Qd8 Rh1+ 34.Kf2 Rh2+ (34...Bc5+ 35.d4+-) 35.Kf1 Rh1+=) 32.Ke1 Re2+ 33.Kd1 Bf3 34.Qg5+ Kh7 35.Qf5+ Kh8 36.Kc1 Re1+ (36...Bg4 37.Qxa5 Re1+ 38.Kd2 Re2+=) 37.Kd2 Re2+ (37...Rxa1?? 38.Qc8+ Kh7 39.Qg8+ Kh6 40.Qh8#) 38.Kc1 Re1+=
31...Bg2+ 32.Ke1 Re2+ 33.Kd1 Bf3
Black pieces are all ready to assault White king.
34.Qh7+ Kg5 35.Ra2?
Now Black forces mate, but 35.Qxg7+ Kh4 36.Kc1 Re1+ 37.Kd2 Rxa1–+ is also hopeless for White.
35...Rh2+ 36.Ke1 Nxd3+ 0–1
Now Black mates in two moves: 37.Qxd3 Bg3+ 38.Kf1 Rh1#. So White resigned.

And now here is the solution to the test of my last post.
Rajlich (2411) - Bosboom-Lanchava (2379), Crete 30.10.2007
White to play and win
22.Rh7+ 1–0 (22... Kxh7 23. Qf7+ followed by Rh1)