Alex Brunetti, an Italian in Sofia

The B-Day (Brunetti-Day) finally came and passed. Some hours ago our man in Sofia played against the former Fide champion and world number 2, Veselin Topalov. Brunetti, a candidate master from Como, in the Northern Italy, won the game “Play Like Topalov” during the 2006 M-Tel Masters, by guessing a total of 209 moves played by the Bulgarian GM. Alex is a computer programmer and he learned how to make the chess moves at the age of 12; his national rating is 2002. The demonstrative game was held in Sofia Hall of the Grand Hotel Sofia. The arbiter started the clocks at 18:30 Italian time and the players had half an hour each; the Bulgarian GM had his eyes bound. Brunetti put up a good resistance for about 20 moves, but he finally made a couple of mistakes and resigned at move 30; the game lasted about 36 minutes. Waiting for comments and impressions from Alex himself, here is his duel against Topalov, with some annotations.

Brunetti,A (2002) - Topalov,V (2772) [D02], Sofia 8.5.2007
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 c6 3.c3 Bf5 4.Qb3 Qc8 5.Bf4 e6 6.e3 Nf6 7.h3
A common move in a rare variation. White previously played 7.Nbd2 Be7 8.Be2 h6 9.h3 Nbd7 10.c4 Ne4 with chances for both sides (Balogh-Mashinskaya, Tatranska Lomnica 1997).
7...Be7 8.Nbd2 a5 9.a4 OO 10.Nh4
An interesting alternative was 10.g4 Bg6 11.Ne5 c5 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.Bg2 Nbd7 14.0–0 with an equal game.
10...Be4 11.f3
Brunetti has no respect for his opponent! And he plays for the initiative! Safer was 11.Be2 h6 12.Nhf3 Bf5 13.0–0 Nbd7 =.
Playing blindfold Topalov doesn't want to take any risk. Stronger was 11...Nh5! , e.g.: 12.OOO Bxh4 13.fxe4 Nxf4 14.exf4 Bg3 15.f5 exf5 16.exd5 Nd7 17.Bc4 Nf6 and Black is slightly better.
12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.Bd3
In accordance with 11.f3, White should have played 13.Kf2 with equal chances, e.g.: 13...Nh5 14.Bh2 c5 15.g4 Nf6 16.Be2=.
13...Nh5 14.Bh2?!
This move is inaccurate. Better was 14.Bxb8 Qxb8 15.0–0 Qg3 16.Rfe1 Qc7 17.Nf1 b6= and White is not worst.
14...Bh4+ 15.Kd1 Bg3
Now Black takes the initiative and White king will remain exposed for a long time...
White dark square bishop wants to come to a new life on the g1–a7 diagonal. A good alternative was 16.Kc2 Nd7 17.Bxg3 Nxg3 18.Rhe1 Qc7 19.Rad1 b6 and Black is (slightly) better, but White can hold on.
16...Nd7 17.e4?!
Another inaccuracy. Safer was 17.Rc1, e.g: 17...Qc7 18.Nf1 Bd6 19.g4 Nhf6 20.Nd2 e5 21.Bf2 c5 22.Bb5 and White must defend accurately, but he survives without too many problems.
Watching the game live, I wondered why Topalov didn't play 17...Nf4 18.Bf1 c5 with a strong pressure.
18.Be3 Nf4 19.Bf1
After 19.Bxf4 Bxf4 20.Re1 Nf6 21.e5 Nh5 22.g4 Bxd2 23.Kxd2 Nf4 followed by ...c5 Black has the initiative.
19...e5 20.Bxf4?
A weak move. White gives away his bishops pair and Black's initiative becomes even stronger. Better was 20.Kc2 exd4 21.cxd4 (21.Bxd4 Ne6) 21...c5; 20.Rc1 Nf6 21.Kc2 Rfe8 and Black is better, but White is still alive.
20...Bxf4 21.exd5 cxd5 22.Qxd5 Nb6 23.Qe4?
Unfortunately this is the decisive mistake. 23.Qc5 is the only chance to prolong the game, even if after the simple 23...Qd8 Black is just much better, while 23...Qxc5 is more complicated than it looks, e.g.: 24.dxc5 Rad8 25.cxb6 Rxd2+ 26.Kc1 Rxg2+ 27.Kb1 Rf2 28.Bc4 Rd8 (28...Rxf3 29.Rd1 Be3 30.Rd7 Bxb6 31.Rxb7 Be3 32.Kc2 Rxh3 33.Rb5 Rc8 34.Kb3 Rh4 35.Bd5 Bf2 36.Rf1 Rf4 37.Rxa5 g5 38.Rb5 g4 39.a5 and White has a strong counterplay) 29.Rf1 Rh2 30.Ka2 Rc8 31.Kb3 Rc6 32.Rad1 Rxb6+ 33.Bb5 f6 34.Rd8+ Kh7 35.Ra8 Rd6 36.Rxa5 Rdd2 37.Rb1 Rxh3 38.Ra7 b6 39.Bc6 Rhh2 40.Rb7 Be3 41.Kc4! and White has some chances to get a draw.
23...exd4 24.cxd4 Rfe8 25.Qd3 Nd5 26.Nc4
This loses a piece on the spot, but Black is winning anyway, e.g.: 26.Ne4 Rad8 27.Qb3 (27.Nc3 Nb4-+) 27...Ne3+ 28.Ke2 Nc2-+
26...Rad8 27.Be2
White has no defence, e.g.: 27.b3 Nb4 28.Qc3 Qc5-+
27...Qxc4 28.Qxc4 Ne3+ 29.Kd2 Nxc4+ 30.Kc3 Rxe2 0–1
Obviously 31.Kxc4 Rxb2 is without any hope for White, so Brunetti resigned. Congratulations anyway, Alex! You lasted 30 moves against the world number 2 and you fought very hard!

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