Good and bad news from Mitropa Cup

Good news are that Italy finally came back to beat the strong Croatian team, after a loss and a draw in the previous two rounds of the 2007 Mitropa Cup. Bad news are that Fabiano Caruana lost with White pieces against Ante Saric and will have to win both his last two games to achieve the GM title (hoping the average rating of his opponents will be higher than 2475 at the end of the competition, which is absolutely possible). Italy keeps being second a point behind France, which leads on 18.5/28, and tomorrow’s match against Czech Republic (14 points) will be decisive both for Caruana and for the whole team: first place is still possible as well as Fabiano’s third GM norm. Today’s heroes were IMs Giulio Borgo and Sabino Brunello; the first completely outplayed his opponents, IM Marco Bosiocic, the latter won in brilliant style an opposite coloured bishops endgame against IM Ivan Saric. Congratulations! Official site: www.sakkversenyek.hu. Updated news on my Italian site by clicking here.
Azeri GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov leads at the halfway stage in the 2007 Mtel Masters. The round before the rest day produced quieter chess than usual: three draws were agreed in 27, 43 and 64 moves respectively (the first two by repetition, the last because lonely kings can’t mate each other :-) ). “Shak” leads with 3.5 points out of 5; Adams is on 3, Nisipeanu and Sasikiran on 2.5, Topalov on 2 and Kamsky on 1.5. 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).
Chessdom.com site (they’re doing a really great job! Congratulations!) reported yesterday some interesting news about Fide Grand Slam: “The Chess Grand Slam first edition (2008) is now completed, with five tournaments: Corus Wijk aan Zee (The Nederlands, January 11-27th), Linares (Spain, February 15th – March 9th), M-Tel Masters Sofia (Bulgaria, May 6-18th), Mexico City (June 21st – July 6th) and the Final Masters in Bilbao (Spain, September 15-27th). The Bilbao Final Masters will have the winners of the other four Grand Slam tournaments. The total prize fund of the Final Masters in Bilbao will be 400.000 euros approximately”. I hope all the strongest players will take part in the 2008 Grand Slam, but I think much will depend on the current World Championship Cycle and its own developments…
And now here is Brunello’s win: White didn’t play a convincing opening and Sabino punished him…

Saric,I (2463) - Brunello,S (2454) [C54], Szeged UNG 14.5.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 0–0 6.0–0 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.h3 Nb6 9.Bg5?!
This looks to be a (bad) novelty: 9.Bb5 was played before.
9...Qd6! 10.b4 Nxc4 11.bxc5 Qg6 12.dxc4 e4
Well done! White's Queen side pawns are now awful to be seen and very weak too.
13.Be3 exf3 14.Qxf3 Ne5 15.Qg3 Qxg3 16.fxg3 Nxc4
White's position is all but desirable.
17.Bf4 Rd8 18.Bxc7 Rd5 19.Bf4?!
19.c6 bxc6 20.a4 was a better way to fight for an equal endgame.
19...Be6 20.a4 g5 21.Bc1
All White pieces are on the first rank!
21...Rc8 22.Ra2?!
22.Na3 had to be considered.
22...Rcxc5 23.Re2 h6 24.Nd2
This way White loses a pawn, but he didn't have many alternatives.
24...Nxd2 25.Bxd2 Rc4 26.Be3 Re5 27.Rfe1 Rce4 28.Kf2 Rf5+ 29.Kg1 Rxa4
Brunello takes the pawn in the most favourable position.
30.Bd4 Rb5 31.h4
31.g4 deserves attention.
31...Rc4 32.Rf2
32.Re5 Rxe5 (32...a6 33.Rxb5 axb5 34.hxg5 hxg5 35.Bf6 Rc5 36.Re5 Rxe5 37.Bxe5 is a draw) 33.Rxe5 g4 34.Rh5 Kh7 35.Be3 Re4 36.Rxh6+ Kg7 37.Bg5 a5 38.Rh5 a4 39.Be7 f5 was very strong for Black anyway.
32...a5 33.Rf6 Kh7 34.Kf2 Rb2+ 35.Ke3
White is getting nervous and tries to activate his king.
35...Rxg2 36.Kf3 Rh2 37.hxg5 hxg5 38.Re5 Rh5
After 38...g4+ 39.Ke3 a4 40.Ra5 White would have had some counterplay.
39.g4 Rh3+ 40.Kg2 Rh6 41.Rf1 Rc8
41...a4 42.Rxg5 f6 43.Rb5 Rc7 44.Ra5 Bxg4 45.Rxf6 Rxf6 46.Bxf6 Bd1 was a good alternative.
42.Rxa5 Rg8 43.Kg3?
43.Rb1 was the only chance to keep on fighting for a draw, even if after 43...Rh4 44.Rxb7 Rxg4+ 45.Kf3 Kg6 Black would have had some winning chances anyway.
43...Rh4 44.Raf5
The only chance to survive, otherwise 44...Rxg4+ leads to a simple win for Black. In case of 44.Rxg5?? Rxg5 45.Kxh4 Rxg4+ 46.Kh5 f5 White has to sacrifice his rook on "f5" to avoid mate.
After 44...Bxf5 45.Rxf5 Kg6 46.Rf6+ Kg7 47.Rb6+ Kf8 48.Rxb7 Rg6 Black still had very good winning chances, but the text move looks stronger.
45.Kxg4 Kg6
White rooks now have no mobility.
46.Bf6 Rc8 47.Bxg5 Rxc3 48.Be7
White had no good moves.
48...Rc4+ 49.Kf3 Kxf5 50.Ke3+ Ke5
Now Black is two pawns up, but he still has to play the best moves to convert his advantage into a full point.
51.Bf6+ Kd6 52.Rb1 was a bit more precise.
51...Bd5 52.Bf8 Re4+ 53.Kd3 Rg4
Very strong play by Black: the immediate menace is ...Be4+ and Bxb1.
54.Ke3 Rg3+ 55.Kf2 Rg2+ 56.Ke3 f5 57.Bh6 Rg3+ 58.Kf2 Rg6
Sabino is improving his position move by move. Now White is almost lost.
59.Be3 f4 60.Bb6 Rg2+ 61.Kf1 Rc2 62.Bf2
62.Re1+ was more precise, but after 62...Kf6 63.Re8 f3 Black's position is won anyway.
62...Bc4+ 63.Kg2 b5
Black starts pushing the "b" pawn: the end is very close.
64.Re1+ Kf5 65.Re8 b4 66.Rf8+ Kg4 67.Rb8 b3 0–1
White couldn't prevent both ...b2, ...Ba2, ...b1=Q and ...b2, ...Bd5+ etc., so he resigned. A very convincing victory and a well played endgame by 17 y.o. IM Sabino Brunello.

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