Former world champion Anatolij Karpov is still able to win. After drawing his first three games, the Russian GM achieved his first victory in the 2007 Gorenje tournament against Bulgarian Kiril Georgiev, to share the lead with Ivanisevic, Roiz and Atalik on 2.5 after round 4. Karpov won in deep bishop vs knight ending after creating three passed pawns: he demonstrated to be still a great positional player, although he hasn't been playing classical tournaments for a long time. Viorel Iordachescu won with Black pieces against Dusko Pavasovic (second loss in a row for the Slovenian GM), while Roiz missed good chances in the endgame against Predrag Nikolic and a draw was agreed on move 86 (this was the longest game of the day); Ivanisevic-Atalik ended in a draw too, after Atalik found the way to activate his Rook. Mihajlo Stojanovic and Branko Damljanovic also share the point after a very tough battle, lasted... 9 moves :-( They were probably tired of yesterday's fights, where they drew after 23 and 21 moves respectively... As I've already written, I'm not a fan of Sofia rules, but sometimes they should be really useful. Official site of the event: www.chessdom.com.
A strong tournament will start in Yalta (Ukraina) on Monday: the "Aerosvit 2007". Quite a few Candidates and their seconds play: Peter Svidler (RUS), Vasily Ivanchuk (UKR), Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS), Alexei Shirov (ESP), Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (ROM), Krishnan Sasikiran (IND), Pavel Eljanov (UKR), Sergey Karjakin (UKR), Sergei Rublevsky (RUS), Lenier Dominguez (CUB), Loek Van Wel (NED) and Alexander Onischuk (USA). Average rating 2694... Not bad indeed! Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
The European Union championship saw some surprising results in round 2: Italian FM Maurizio Brancaleoni and Slovakian wFM Zuzana Borosova drew against top seed GM Thomas Luther (Germany) and Irish GM Alexander Baburin respectively; Lithuanian wIM Deimante Daulyte beat her compatriot GM Sarunas Sulskis, while Enrico Pepino and Francesco Sorcinelli won Italian derbies against IM Fabio Bruno and wGM Olga Zimina respectively. Many players lead with a perfect score after round 2: Serbian GM Nikolas Sedlak, Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest, Italian GM Michele Godena, French GM Erik Prie, Croatian GM Miso Cebalo and Italian prodigy IM Fabiano Caruana are among them. Top round 2 duels: IM Moser vs GM Sedlak; GM Agrest vs IM C. Foisor; IM Piscopo vs GM Godena; FM D. Rombaldoni vs GM Prie. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
And now here is Karpov's win in Valjevo (Serbia). You may not like his style, but there's no doubt Anatolij is still a good fighter.
Karpov,An (2668) - Georgiev,Ki (2660) [E37], Valjevo 16.6.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nc6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Nf3 Qf6 11.e3 Bg4 12.Be2 0–0 13.Bd2
This appears to be a novelty. The game Bareev-Ivanchuk, Havana 2006, continued 13.0–0 Rfe8 14.Bd2 and Black got the initiative after 14...d4 15.Rad1 Nxd2 16.Qxd2 Rad8 17.Qc1 d3 18.Rxd3 Rxd3 19.Bxd3 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Ne5 21.Be4 Nxf3+ 22.Bxf3 Qxf3 with a dangerous attack in return for the pawn.
This move looks ugly, since it allows Black to ruin White's pawn structure, but it was almost necessary. Strong threat of 14...d4 (as in Bareev-Ivanchuk), ripping apart White's position, was hanging over Karpov's head. After the exchange on c3, Black has to lose some moves to regain the pawn and White can use this time to build some pressure against b7.
14...Qe7!? was an alternative to be considered: if 15.b4 then 15...Bxf3 16.Bxf3 (16.gxf3 Nxc3 17.Qxc3 d4 is even stronger for Black) 16...Nxc3 17.Qxc3 d4 18.Qb2 dxe3 19.0–0 Rad8 and Black is ok, so White would probably have to play the immediate O-O on move 15.
15.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 16.bxc3 Rac8 17.Rb1 Nd8
As expected, Karpov is eying b7 pawn. Georgiev will re-route his Knight Nc6-d8-e6 and insert Re8-e7 (protecting b7) to capture on c5.
18.Kd2 Re7 19.Rb4 Be6 20.Nd4 Rxc5 21.a4 Bd7 22.Ra1 g6 23.a5 a6
23...Bc8 had to be considered, but White would have kept a small advantage by 24.Bf3 anyway.
This looks to be a real inaccuracy. 24...Be6 would have been more precise.
Karpov is on his field now: permanent small advantage thanks to limited Black bishop.
25...Kf8 26.g4 Ke8 27.h4 Rc7 28.Be2 Re7?!
After 28...Nc6 29.f4 Re7 30.Bf3 Kd8! Black holds on. Now his position becomes really unpleasant.
29...Bc6 was passive, but the text move loses a pawn and a compensation is very hard to be found.
Karpov just wants to gain some time on his clock, but 30.f4 was clearly stronger.
30...Nc6 was a good alternative.
Georgiev refuses moves repetition and sacrifices a pawn for complications. Karpov wouldn't probably repeat, anyway: after 31...Re5 White can play 32.f4 Re7 33.Rxd5 Ne6 34.Bf3 Nc5 35.g5 with good winning chances.; 31...Bc6 was a good alternative again.
32.Rxd5 Nc5 33.f3 Be6 34.Re5
34.Rd6? would be met by 34...Bxg4 and now if 35.fxg4?? then 35...Ne4+ –+
34...f6 35.Nxe6 Nb3+
35...Rcd7+ would probably be a better attempt to fight for a draw, e.g.: 36.Kc2 Nxe6 37.Re4 f5 38.gxf5 gxf5 39.Re5 Nc7 40.Rxe7+ Rxe7 41.Bc4 (41.Kd2 is passive) 41...Rxe3 42.Rb1 Rxf3 43.Rxb7 Kd8 44.Rb8+ Kd7 45.Rh8 Rh3 46.Rxh7+ Kd6 and Black has some chances thanks to his "f" pawn.
36.Ke1 fxe5 37.Nxc7+ Rxc7 38.Ra3 Nc5 39.g5 h6 40.gxh6 Rh7 41.Kf2 Rxh6 42.Kg3
Now Karpov has achieved what he wanted: extra pawn and Bishop vs Knight in the endgame.
42...Rh7 43.Ra1 Nb3 44.Ra3 Nc5 45.Ra2 Rc7 46.Kg4 Ke7 47.c4 Kf6?!
The immediate 47...Rd7 was clearly better.
48.Rd2 Rd7 49.Rxd7 Nxd7 50.Bd3 b6
This move loses by force: 50...Nc5 51.Bc2 Kg7 would put up more resistance (but White has a decisive advantage anyway).
51.axb6 Nxb6 52.c5 Nd5 53.e4 Nc7 54.Bc4 a5
54...Ne6 55.Bxe6 Kxe6 56.f4 exf4 57.Kxf4 a5 58.Ke3 a4 59.Kd4 and 54...Nb5 55.f4 Nd4 56.fxe5+ Kxe5 57.Bxa6 Kxe4 58.Kg5 Ne6+ 59.Kxg6 would be hopeless anyway.
55.f4 a4 56.f5 gxf5+
If 56...a3 then 57.fxg6 Kxg6 58.c6 Ne8 59.h5+ Kf6 60.Ba2 Nc7 61.h6 Kg6 62.h7 Kxh7 63.Kf5 +-
57.exf5 e4 58.h5 e3 59.h6
Black's position is totally lost now.
59...Na6 60.c6 a3 61.Kf3 Nc7 62.Kxe3 1–0
And Georgiev finally resigned.