Sofia: Topalov strikes back!

After losing two games in the first three rounds, Veselin Topalov finally took a revenge by beating Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran; a brilliant victory which gives his fans the hope for another comeback... Azeri GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew against Romanian GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and keeps lead with 3 points out of 4. According to Chessdom.com, Shak and Nisi agreed on draw without waiting for any arbiter (you have to do when you’re playing under the Sofia rule). Arbiter Boris Postovsky explained something to Mamedyarov after the game, but the later, during the press conference, claimed it was nothing relevant. Nisipeanu, in great mood as always, joked, “We could have repeated the position 10 times, but I guess we don't have to be that formal”. In the last game of the day Michael Adams missed a win with Black against Gata Kamsky and the two opponents finally drew at move 94. 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).
France beat Switzerland 3.5-0.5 and took the lead in the 2007 Mitropa Cup, which is taking place in Szeged (Hungary). Italy couldn’t take more than a draw (2-2) against Germany and is now in sole second place, a full point behind the new leader :-(. Our national team will face Croatia in tomorrow’s round and I hope Fabiano Caruana will have the top board: this should be his last chance to play his third GM, which is necessary to score a GM norm. Official site: www.sakkversenyek.hu. Updated news on my Italian site by clicking here.
Do you remember Marco Codenotti, the 10 years old boy who beat IM Ljubisavljevic some days ago in Elba Island? The boy finally scored 4.5 points out of 9, with a 2106 performance, which should also be his Fide rating in the next list. Not bad for such a young player! Croatian GM Miso Cebalo won the tournament with an astonishing 8.5/9 and a 2689 performance, Russian GM Igor Naumkin and Italian GM Lexy Ortega were second at 7.5. Full standings: http://www.scacchielba.it/.
Finally I have to congratulate with FM Antonio Rosino from Venice: he won the Italian senior championship with 8.5/9 (like Cebalo :-) ) and took his third title in a row! Well done! Giuseppe Laco from Gorizia was second at 7, missing the train for the first place in the last two rounds (where he scored only half a point). Full standings: http://www.hotelangelo.com/default.asp?pag=campionato.
And now here is Topalov’s win from Mtel Masters.

Sasikiran,K (2690) - Topalov,V (2772) [E92], Sofia 13.5.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0–0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 11.d5 Nd7 12.h3
12.Nd2 is a more common alternative: after 12...f5 13.exf5 Nf6 14.Nde4 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Bxf5 16.Bd3 g4 17.0–0 White has often obtained good results.
12...f5 13.exf5 Nc5 14.Nd2 Bxf5 15.0–0 e4 16.Nb3 b6
After 16...Nxb3 17.Qxb3 Bg6 18.Rae1 Re8 19.Qxb7 Nf5 20.Bg4 Rb8 21.Qa6 Rxb2 22.Bxf5 Bxf5 23.Nd1 Rb6 24.Qxa7 Bd4 25.Ne3 Bd7 26.Qa5 Qf6 27.Rb1 h5 28.Rxb6 Bxb6 29.Qd2 Black has a good pieces activity in return for the pawn, but White eventually won in the game Onischuk-Smirin, Togliatti 2003.
17.Qd2 looks more flexible, but Black has a good game anyway, e.g.: 17...Qf6 18.Rae1 Rae8 19.Nxc5 bxc5 20.Nb5 Re7 21.Nxa7 e3 22.fxe3 Qxb2 23.Qxb2 Bxb2 24.Nb5 Rxe3 25.Bf3 Bd4 26.Rxe3 Bxe3+ 27.Bf2 Bf4 with an equal endgame.
17...Qf6 18.Nc6 a5 19.f4?!
Inaccurate. 19.Rb1 was less risky, e.g.: 19...Bd7 20.Nb5 Rac8 21.Nba7 Ra8 22.Nb5 Rac8 with a draw by repetition.
19...Bd7 20.Nb5?!
Not the best try to get a counterplay. After 20.Qc1 Bxc6 21.dxc6 gxf4 22.Bxf4 Nf5 23.Kh2 Ne7 Black was slightly better, but White could hold on.
20...Bxc6 21.dxc6 Qxb2 22.Rb1 Qxa2 23.Nxc7?
This is a really bad move. 23.Bf2 was the only chance to survive, even if 23...Rac8 24.fxg5 Nf5 25.Rc1 Kh8 was still good for Black.
Now Topalov has a very strong attack.
24.Nxa8 Nxg3 25.Bg4 Nd3 26.c7 Nxf1 27.Qxf1 Qxc4 28.c8Q Rxc8 29.Bxc8 Qxc8 30.Nxb6 Qc5+ 31.Kh1 gxf4 was very good for Black anyway.
24...e3 25.Be1
This loses immediately, but White had no good defence, e.g.: 25.Qd5+ Kh8 26.Bd3 exf2+ 27.Rxf2 Bd4 28.Qxd4+ Nxd4 29.Rxa2 Rac8 30.Nd5 Nxd3 31.Rd1 Nb3 32.Rxd3 Nc1 33.Rad2 Nxd3 34.Rxd3 Rxc6 35.fxg5 Kg7–+
25...Nd4 26.Nxa8 Nxe2+ 27.Kh2 Nxf4 28.Rxf4 gxf4 29.Rxb6 f3 30.Qd5+
After 30.Qxf3 Rxf3 31.c7 Be5+ 32.Kg1 Qa1! 33.c8Q+ Rf8 34.Qg4+ Kh8 35.Qe2 Nd3 Black mates in 10 according to Rybka.
Well, now White can't avoid mate anyway.
31.Qxe6+ Kh8 32.Qg4 Be5+ 33.Kh1 f2 0–1
33...fxg2+ 34.Qxg2 Rf1+ 35.Qg1 Qh2# was more effective :-), but Black mates anyway, so Sasikiran resigned.

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