Kings and Queens of the Royal game

Lots of interesting tournaments finished in the last few days: the 9th Dubai Open (United Arab Emirates), which took place 22 to 30 April, is undoubtely the strongest. GM Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia placed first with 7 points out of 9, winning by tie break over GMs Gadir Guesinov and Sarhan Guliev of Azerbaijan and Amir Bagheri of Iran. 126 players from 24 countries competed in the event, including 25 GM, 15 IM and 4 WGM. Official site: http://www.arabfide.com/Dubaiopen2007/index.htm.
Indian WGM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi finally won the 13th “Memorial Leonardo di Bona” open in Cutro (Italy), after a quick draw with German IM Mathias Roeder in the final round. She made a 2604 performance and I think she also obtained a GM norm, but I’m not sure. She played 7 GMs, scoring four wins, two draws and only one loss: is that enough? GM Milan Drasko from Montenegro and GM Arkadij Rotstein from Germany were second half a point behind her; Elo favourite GM Evgenij Agrest from Sweden placed only ninth at 5. Official site: http://scacchicutro.no-ip.info/.
Croatian GM Robert Zelcic won the first Lugano open (Switzerland), held April 29 to May 1 in the local CasinĂ². Zelcic edged out on tie-break GM Joseph Gallagher (Switzerland), GM Nenad Sulava (Croatia) and GM Michele Godena (Italy) after they all scored 5 points out of 6. Official site: http://www.scaccomatto.ch/eng/. Two players from Bergamo (the place where I live), IM Sabino Brunello (born in 1989) and candidate master Alessio Valsecchi (1992) played a really great tournament, placing 7th and 11th with 4.5 and 4 points respectively. This is not the first good result for Sabino (do you remember his success in Edinburgh, Scotland, last March?), but I think Valsecchi has made his best performance up to now. He beat GM Arthur Kogan from Israel and drew with IMs Anna Zozulia from Belgium and Tamaz Horvath from Hungary… Really not bad… Alessio won the provincial championship of Bergamo last year and he is now rated (only) 2135, but I’m sure he will become a master (or even a FM?!) very soon… Official site doesn’t provide any game of the tourney, but I would receive the Kogan-Valsecchi duel by tomorrow; if so, I will share it with you :-).
“La Regina del 2007” (literally: “The Queen of 2007”) has its first three winners. This is the initiative I’m promoting on my Italian site (www.messaggeroscacchi.it), where readers can elect the best game of each month (won by an Italian player). The best games of January, February and March are as follows: Cardani-Benvenga (Jan); Amingues-Godena (Feb); Ilincic-Caruana (Mar). I received some good games from non-professional players. The following positions happened in two of these games.

Barberi,A - Agrifoglio,F, Melegnano 02.02.2007
Black to play.

This position looks simply lost for Agrifoglio, but he found a very brilliant way to force the draw…
This knight is untouchable: 35.Nxe3 Qxe1+ 36.Nf1 Qxf1#; 35.Qxe3 Qg2#; 35.Rxe3 Qf1#
35.e7+ Kg7!
And not 35…Kxe7? 36.Qxb7+ Kf8 37.Qc8+ Kg7 38.Rg1+ and White wins because his Queen now controls the “h3” square.
36.Rg1+ Qxg1+!
The last sacrifice: White is forced to accept it and can’t escape from perpetual check.
37.Kxg1 Nh3+ 38.Kh1 Nf2+ 39.Kg1 Nh3+ 1/2 -1/2

Dufour,J – Viglino,A, Cannes 21.02.2007
Black to play.

White is a pawn up and has a strong play on the Queen side. But he completely forgot his King’s safety and Viglino is ready to prove it.
19...Rxb7! 20.Rxb7 Ng4 21.Nf1
“Or 21.Nf3 e4 22.dxe4 Bd4 23.Rxc7 Bxf2+ 24.Kh1 Nxh2 25.Kg2 (25.Nxh2 Bxg3) 25…Nxf3 26.Kxf2 Qh2+ 27.Ke3 f4+ 28.Kd3 Nge5+ 29.Kc2 Nd4+ followed by 30…Nxb3 -+” (Viglino).
21...f4 22.Ne4
“More stubborn was 22. f3, even if after Nxh2 23. Ne4 (23. Nxh2 fxg3) 23... fxg3 24. Nfxg3 Qh3 25. Kf2 (25. Rxc7 g4) 25... g4 Black has a strong attack” (Viglino).
22...fxg3 23. Nexg3
“Or 23. hxg3 Nxf2 (23... Qh3 24. Rxc7) 24. Nxf2 Qxe2 25. Bd4 exd4 26. Ra2 Qf3 27. Rxc7 Bh3 28. c5+ Kh7 29. Nxh3 Qxf1+ 30. Kh2 Ne5 with a quick mate. After 23. f3 Nf4 24. fxg4 Nxe2+ 25. Kg2 Qxg4 and 23. fxg3 Qh3 White is lost anyway” (Viglino).
23... Qh3 24. f3 Nh4 0-1

You can download these and more games on this page: http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/regina2007/index.html. Just remember that “Scarica” means “Download” :-)

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