The 2007 Mtel Masters saw only one decisive game today, but it was a really important one. Leaders “Shak” Mamedyarov and Krishnan Sasikiran faced each other and the latter took the full point thanks to a big blunder by his opponent just after the first time control. So the Indian GM now leads on 4.5/7, while Mamedyarov, Topalov and Adams (these two drew their game after a tough battle) are in second place all on 3.5; Kamsky and Nisipeanu have 3 points. As I said yesterday, all can still happen and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gata will beat Sasikiran in tomorrow’s round, even if he has Black pieces. Official site: http://www.mtelmasters.com. Updated news in Italian, games and on-line viewer on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link to the Mtel section: http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/mtel07.html).
Some comments about Italian team performance in the 2007 Mitropa Cup have appeared on it.hobby.scacchi (“scacchi” means “chess”). I will add here just a few considerations: Italy was ranked #2 and placed second; Godena (2558), Caruana (2513) and Borgo (2418) scored a 2546, 2515 and 2452 rating performance respectively: this means their results were (more or less) the expected ones. Brunello (2454) had the better performance, 2575, while Mogranzini (2421) just didn’t play at his best and missed one big chance at least (against France), scoring a 2276 performance. Someone is not satisfied with this second place, because other teams (countries) didn’t line up their best players, while Italy (almost) did. And what does it mean? We obviously can’t pretend to win the next Olympiads: perhaps we will never win any team competition by the next 20 or even 30 years. But we are growing up and (for the first time after many years) we can now hope for a good place (top 20) even in the next or in the 2010 Olympiads. We do not have a national chess school and many efforts will have to be done if we want to become more competitive in chess! I finally congratulate with the Italian chess team for the silver medal: you did your job, hopefully you’ll do even better the next time!
A strong tournament will start on Saturday in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Morozevich, Short, I. Sokolov, Timofeev, Movsesian and Predojevic compete in the main XVII category event. The supertournament is organized in honor to May 22, when Bosnia and Herzegovina became a part of United Nations. Official site: http://www.skbosna.ba/skbosna/index.php.
And do not forget that Fide Candidate matches will start on May 27 in Elista, Russia. I hope Fide will remember, too: they announced the sponsor of the competition right yesterday, but official site is to be announced yet (or am I the only one who can’t find it?).
Waiting for so many tournaments to start, here is the important win by Sasikiran against “Shak” in the 2007 Mtel Masters.
Mamedyarov,S (2757) - Sasikiran,K (2690) [A21], Sofia 17.5.2007
1.c4 e5 2.g3 d6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 f5 6.e4 Nf6 7.Nge2 a5
Not an orthodox way to face White's opening. 7...Nc6 and 7...0–0 are the most common alternatives.
8.a3 was played in the game Laco-Srebrnic, Nova Gorica 1999, but after 8...c6 9.Rb1 0–0 10.0–0 Bd7 11.h3 Na6 12.Be3 Nc7 13.Na4 Ne6 14.exf5 gxf5 Black obtained equal chances.
8...gxf5 9.d4 0–0 10.Bg5 Qe8 11.0–0 h6 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.c5!?
A good way to get the initiative on the Queen side.
Obviously 13...exd4 14.Nd5 is good for White only.
14.Nb5 Qe7 15.Nec3 Qg7
15...exd4? now is even worse than on move 13, e.g.: 16.Nd5 Qg7 17.Nbxc7 Rb8 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Qb3+ d5 20.Rae1 Kh8 21.Nxd5 Qf7 22.Qb5+-
16.cxd6 cxd6 17.d5 Nd4 18.Nxd4
The immediate 18.Nxd6!? was perfectly possible, e.g.: 18...e4 (18...f4 19.Nxc8 Raxc8 20.d6+/-) 19.Rc1 Rd8 (19...Bd7 20.Ne2 Nxe2+ 21.Qxe2 Bxb2 22.Rb1 Be5 23.Nxb7 Rfc8 24.Rfc1 Qf7 25.Rxc8+ Rxc8 26.Qd2 Qg6 27.d6+/-; 19...Bg5 20.Rb1 Ra6 21.Nxc8 Rxc8 22.f3 e3 23.f4 Be7 24.Re1 Bc5 25.Kh1+/-) 20.Ndb5 (20.Nc4?! b5 21.Ne3 Bd7 with some compensation) 20...Nxb5 21.Nxb5 Bxb2 22.Rc7 Bd7 23.Rxb7 Rdb8 24.Rxb8+ Rxb8 25.a4 Bxb5 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.d6 Qd7 28.Qa4 Be5 29.Rd1+/-
18...exd4 19.Nb5 f4!?
Black sacrifices a pawn to get some counterplay on the King side. 19...Ra6 was an alternative, but after 20.Qd3 Rb6 21.a4 f4 22.Rfc1 Bd7 23.Be4 White is simply better.
20.Nxd6 Bg4 21.Qd3
After 21.Bf3 Bxf3 22.Qxf3 Be5 Black gets some good counter chances, e.g.: 23.Qe4 Bxd6 24.Qe6+ Kh7 25.Qxd6 Rad8 26.Qc5 Rf5 27.Qxa5 Rfxd5 28.Qd2 d3 with good play in return for the pawn.
22.Nxb7 was good too, e.g.: 22...f3 23.Bh1 Ra7 24.d6 Rxb7 25.dxe7 Rxe7 26.Rfe1 and White has better chances: after 26...Re3 there is the simple 27.Rxe3
22...f3 23.Bh1 Bc5 24.d6 Kh8 25.Rad1
25.Rfe1 was a good alternative
Is this a loss of time? After 26.Rfe1 Bxd6 (what else?) 27.Nxd6 Rxd6 28.Qa3! Rd5 (28...Rfd8 29.Bxf3+/-) 29.Re7 White has nothing to be afraid of.
Now 26...Bxd6 is not as good as before, e.g.: 27.Qxd4 Be5 28.Qxd8! Rxd8 29.Rxd8+ Kh7 30.Rd3 Qf7 31.Rfd1 Qf6 32.h3 Bxh3 33.Rxf3 and White has good winning chances.
27.Rfe1 Bf5 28.Qd2 Qf6 29.Re7 Bd7 30.Rde1
30.Nc7 was even better, e.g.: 30...Qg5 31.Ne6 Bxe6 32.Rxe6 Qxd2 33.Rxd2 Rc8 34.h4 and Black can just hope for a miracle.
30...Qg5 31.Qd3 Qf5 32.Qd2 Qg5 33.Qc2 Qf5 34.Qxf5?
Trading Queens is just good for Black! After 34.Qc1! White would have had the better chances, e.g.: 34...Qg5 35.Nc7 Bc5 36.Qc2 Qf5 37.Qd2 Qg5 38.Qd1 Bxd6 39.Rxd7 Rxd7 40.Ne6 Qf6 41.Nxf8 Bxf8 42.Qd3 with a promising endgame.
34...Rxf5 35.Nc7 d3
Now Black has a strong counterplay and can use used his powerful bishops at their best...
36.Rd1 Rc5 37.Bxf3 Rc2 38.Rf1 Bh3 39.Ne6 Bxf2+! 40.Kh1 Bxf1
Both players have just reached the first time control. This means Mamedyarov could have thought a long on his next move, but perhaps he didn't...
This move loses immediately! White would have forced a draw by 41.Nxd8 Bh3 42.Nf7+ Kg8 43.Nxh6+ Kf8 44.Rf7+ Ke8 45.Re7+ Kf8 and so on (45...Kd8?? 46.Nf7+ Kc8 47.Re8+ Kd7 48.Rd8+ Ke6 49.Ng5++-)
41...Bg2+ was more brilliant: 42.Bxg2 (42.Kxg2 Bc5+) 42...Rc1+ 43.Bf1 d2-+. The text move is good too, anyway, e.g.: 41…Rg8 42.Be4 (42.Re8 Bb6-+; 42.d8N Rxd8 43.Nxd8 Bh3-+) 42...Bg2+ 43.Bxg2 Rc1+ 44.Bf1 d2-+