Italy has never been so strong. In the first two rounds of the 2007 Mitropa Cup, which is taking place in Szeged (Hungary), our national team is leading by one point and a half over France and Czech Republic (with a total of 6.5 out of 8), while the Elo favourite local representative has scored only 3 points up to now. Well, we certainly haven’t beaten the toughest opponents, but a 4-0 against Switzerland and a 2.5-1.5 with Austria are not so bad results :-). Best of all, 14 years old Fabiano Caruana is on the road to his third and last GM norm: he won both his first two games against GM Florian Jenni (2518) and IM Martin Neubauer (2474). I guess team captain Fabio Bruno will let him play untill he has the chance to score a norm (this means that Caruana should play all nine games, without any rest). Tomorrow Italy will fight against Hungary and I’m sure this will be a really tough battle for both sides. Fabiano will probably play against GM Hoang Thanh Trang, with whom he lost in the March First Saturday: it’s time to take revenge… Other Italian team members are GM Michele Godena and IMs Sabino Brunello, Roberto Mogranzini and Giulio Borgo. Official site: http://www.sakkversenyek.hu/. Updated news in Italian on my site by clicking here. Do you think Italy will win the 2007 Mitropa Cup and/or Caruana will score his last GM norm? Post your opinions and forecasts by clicking on “comments”!
After the blindfold exhibition between Alex Brunetti (who will soon send me a detailed report) and Veselin Topalov, the 2007 Mtel Masters is going to start tomorrow in Sofia. The first round will see the following games: Topalov-Nisipeanu, Adams-Sasikiran and Mamedyarov-Kamsky. Meanwhile you can watch lots of videos from the Brunetti-Topalov duel on http://videos.chessdom.com. There’s also an interview with our hero :-). Official site of Mtel tourney: www.mtelmasters.com.
Another strong event will start very soon in Sarajevo, the 37th Bosna tournament, which will take place May 18th-28th 2007. Participants are: Alexander Morozevich (RUS 2762), Nigel Short (ENG 2691), Artyom Timofeev (RUS 2658), Ivan Sokolov (NED 2655), Sergei Movsesian (SVK 2642) and Borki Predojevic (BIH 2609). Official site: http://www.skbosna.ba.
And now here is Caruana’s win over Jenni in the 2007 Mitropa Cup.
Caruana,F (2513) - Jenni,F (2518) [C66], Szeged 8.5.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 d6 5.0–0 Bd7 6.c3 g6 7.Re1 Bg7
This should sound strange, but this is not a tipical position in this variation. At this point White played 8.d4 and 8.h3 in previous games; Caruana follows a similar plan, anyway.
8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Ba4 Nh5 10.Nf1 h6 11.h3 Kh7 12.Bc2 Qf6 13.Ne3 Nf4 14.Ng4 Qe7 15.d4 Rae8 16.Be3 a6 17.Qd2 g5
After some manoeuvres both sides still have all their pieces on the board and the position is about equal. But Caruana has an idea...
18.dxe5 dxe5 19.Bc5!?
White forces to trade bishops, but his menace is not real...
19...Qxc5 20.Qxd7 Ne7?
This is absolutely not necessary. White can't take on "c7" because of ... Re7, e.g.: 20...Kg8 21.Qxc7?? Re7 22.b4 Qxc3 23.Qb6 Qxc2–+ . The best continuation for Black was, anyway, 20...Qb5, menacing the "b2" pawn. A nice ending is 21.Qf5+ Ng6 22.Rad1 Re6!? 23.Bb3 Nce7 24.Nxg5+ hxg5 25.Qxg5 Rb6 26.h4 Qe8 27.Qh5+ Kg8 28.Qg5 Kh7 29.Qh5+ with a draw by repetition.
Now White takes a strong initiative.
21...Kh8 was more accurate.
After 22...h5!? 23.Ne3 Bf6 24.Nf5 Rd8 25.Nxe7+ Qxe7 (25...Kh8!? 26.Qxd8 Rxd8 27.Rxd8+ Kh7 28.Rf8 Bxe7 29.Rxf7+ Kg6 30.Rd1 with a big advantage for White) 26.Qxe7 Bxe7 27.Nxe5 Kg7 Black is a pawn down, but the opposite coloured bishops give him a little chance of surviving.
White's pressure is getting stronger and stronger every move.
23...Bf6 24.Nf5 Rd8?
24...h5 was definitely better.
25.Qxd8 Rxd8 26.Rxd8+ Kh7 27.Nxe7?!
27.Bxf7 looks even better.
27...Qxe7 28.Red1 Nf8 29.Nh2 Kg6
29...Qxd8 30.Rxd8 Bxd8 31.Bxf7 Kg7 32.Bb3 Nd7 33.Bc2 followed by Nf1, Ne3 is good for White, but Black can fight for a draw.
30.Rb8 followed by Ng4 was an alternative to be considered.
30...h5 31.Nf1 c6?!
31...Qc5 32.Ne3 Qc6 33.Bd5 Qb5 was better. Now Black's position becomes really unpleasant.
Too late: White has an extra tempo...
33.Nf5 Ne6 34.Rd6 Nf4?
The last mistake, but Black was lost anyway.
35.Rd7 Ne6 36.R1d6 g4 37.Bxe6 fxe6 38.Rxe6 g3
38...Qf8 39.hxg4 hxg4 40.Rdd6 was the last chance to avoid mate, but Jenni decides not to prolong his agony.
A nice picture, isn’t it?