The third Mtel Masters has finally started today in Sofia, Bulgaria. After his blindfold win against Italian Alex Brunetti (who will be back to Italy tomorrow), Veselin Topalov made a terrible blunder and lost with White pieces against Romanian Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu in the first round. A clear example of how not to defend a slightly worst position :-( - just the opposite of what Caruana did -. But we all know that Veselin loves to start slowly, so he can make a more astonishing comeback :-) I bet Topalov will come to a new life in the second part of the event... at least I hope that for him! 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).
Before our “game of the day”, a brilliant win by... Caruana :-) in the second round of the 2007 Mitropa Cup, let’s just have a look to key positions of the above mentioned games Hoang Tranh Trang-Caruana (again!) and Topalov-Nisipeanu.
Black is two pawns down, but his Rook is very active and almost forces White king to leave the “g4” pawn unprotected at some point to avoid perpetual check.
62...Ra4+ 63. Kf5
After 63. Ke3 Ra5! (idea: ...Bxg4 and ...Rxh5) 64. Nf7 Ra3+ 65. Kd4 Ra4+ 66. Ke5 Rxg4 67. h6 Bc2 68. Rxg4 Kxg4 69. Kf6 Kh5 70. Kg7 Bb1 71. Ne5 Bc2 White can’t win anyway.
63... Ra5+ 64. Kg6 Bxg4 65. Nxg4 Kxg4 66. h6 Ra6+ 67. Kf7+ Kf5!
The best and the only one!
68. h7 Ra7+ 69. Kf8 Ra8+ 70. Ke7 Ra7+ 71. Kd8 Ra8+ 72. Kd7 Kf6 1/2-1/2
Now 73. Rg8 Ra7+ and ...Rxh7 is obviously a draw. Great Fabiano!
After the first time control Black is fine and has a strong initiative. Topalov doesn’t like to play passively and try to get some counter chances, but he misses a simple winning combination...
No, no, no! After 43.Qf3 Bd2 44.Bxd2 Qxd2 45.Bxe6 Nxf4+ 46.Qxf4 Qxe2+ 47.Kg3 Qxe6 Black had some winning chances, but White was not immediately lost!
Obviously the bishop couldn't be taken or White would have lost his Queen. And after 44.Bd2 Qf2+ 45.Kh3 Qf1+ 46.Kg3 Bf2+ 47.Kh2 Bg1+ 48.Kh1 Be3+ 49.Kh2 Qf2+ 50.Kh1 Nexf4 White has no defence to avoid mate.
44...Nxe3+ 45.Kh2 Qf2+ 46.Kh3 Qf3+
Nisi misses a forced mate (I saw it watching the game live :-) ), but he is winning anyway. 46...Qg2+ 47.Kh4 Qh2+ 48.Bh3 Qf2+ 49.Ng3 Qxf4+ and mate on the next move.
47.Ng3 Qg2+ 0–1
After 48.Kh4 Qh2+ 49. Bh3 Ng2+ 50.Kg4 Qxh3+ 51.Kxh3 Nxf4+ and then ...Nxd3 Black is just winning without any problem.
And now here is Caruana’s win over Neubauer: a brilliant game in his typical attacking style.
Caruana,F (2513) - Neubauer,M (2474) [C14], Szeged 9.5.2007
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 Nc6
This doesn't look a brilliant idea. Only Morozevich can play this move with good results at top level :-). Black usually puts some pressure on the White pawns center by playing 6...c5. The (quite) famous game Bronstein-Stahlberg, Candidates tournament 1950, went on 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.Nb5 0–0 9.Nc7 cxd4 10.Nxa8 f6 11.Qxd4 Nc6 12.Qd2 fxe5 13.0–0–0 Nf6 14.f3 Qd6 15.Ne2 Bd7 16.Nc3 Rxa8 17.Ne4 Qe7 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 and Black has a good compensation for the exchange.
The most common reply at this point is 7.Qg4, played even by Euwe 87 years ago! But the text move is ok, too, as Black has not played ...c5. In the game Nataf-Morozevich, 2000, White chose 7.Bxe7 and Moro soon obtained equal chances after 7...Qxe7 8.a3 Nb6 9.f4 Bd7 10.Qd2 0–0–0 11.Nf3 Kb8 12.h5 h6.
7...h6 and 7...0–0 have also been played, the latter in another game by Euwe in 1921.
A new move on my database. After 8.a3 f6 9.exf6 gxf6 10.Bh6 Bd6 11.Nb5 Qe7 12.a4 Rg8 13.Nxd6+ Qxd6 14.c3 Bd7 15.a5 Nc4 16.a6 b6 17.b3 N4a5 18.g3 0–0–0 the position is not clear but looks about equal, Hector-Carlsson, Linkoping 2001.
After 8...h6 9.Be3!? I would not advice Black to castle, e.g.: 9...0–0 10.Qd2 Nc4? 11.Bxc4 dxc4 12.Bxh6! gxh6 13.Qxh6 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Qxd4 15.Rh3 Qxe5+ 16.Kf1+-
The beginning of a (too) slow plan, but it is not simple to find an active counterplay for Black.
10.Rh3 h6 11.Be3 Na7 12.Rg3 Bf8
12...Kf8 is not better, but is more tipical in similar positions.
13.Ne2 Bb5 14.Nf4 Nd7?
A bad mistake! Black had to play the immediate 14...g6 followed as soon as possible by Qd7 and 0–0–0.
Another inaccuracy. After 15...c5 16.Bxb5 Nxb5 17.Nxg7+ Bxg7 18.Rxg7 Kf8 19.Rg4 cxd4 20.Bf4 White is much better, but Black can hold on.
The losing move. Still 16...c5 was the only chance to survive, even if 17.Rg4 cxd4 18.Bxd4 Nc6 19.Bc3 is very good for White, who is after all a pawn up!
17.Bxg6+ Ke7 18.Ng5!
The killer move!
18...Nb6 19.Nf7 Qb8 20.Nxh8 Bg7 21.Nf7 Qf8 was without hope for Black anyway.
19...Kxe6 20.Nxg7+ Ke7 21.Nf5+ Ke6 (21...Kf8 22.Qh5 and mate in a few moves) 22.Qg4+-
20.Nexg7 Rf8 21.f4 Kd8 22.f5 Kc8 23.Qg4 c5
Just a bit too late :-)
24.0–0–0 cxd4 25.Bf4 Nc6 26.f6 1–0
Black's position is absolutely desperate, so he resigned.