Great fight in Elista (and Lodi)

What a fight! Nobody can complain about today's round in the 2007 WCM. Two decisive games, Leko-Bareev 1-0 and Kamsky-Gelfand 0-1, and two draws, Aronian-Shirov and Grischuk-Rublevsky, after 68 e 49 moves respectively. Peter Leko completely outplayed his opponent to take a solid advantage (2.5-0.5) after only three games. The Hungarian obtained the initiative and Bareev scrambled under the pressure on move 41. Kamsky entered in severe time trouble before the first time control: he had 12 seconds for 6 moves. The American GM played some wrong moves in an equal position and went down on material, giving 1 point advantage to Boris Gelfand. Aronian - Shirov was the longest game of the day. White knight was stronger than Black bishop in the endgame and Levon was dominating, but he missed to win a rook and pawn against rook endgame, thus failing to take stable advantage. Grischuk and Rublevsky played an opposite color bishops endgame. Rublevsky fell into time trouble and was two pawns down before the time control, but he was able to hold the game to a draw at last (but Alexander missed chances). Official site of the event: http://globalchess.eu/main.php. You can find a WCM section on my Italian site, www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/candidati07.html).
A strong open tournament started today in Lodi, Italy. Ukrainian prodigy Sergey Karjakin was announced to play, but he wasn't paired in round 1, so I think he will only give the so-called "simultaneous exhibition under the stars" tomorrow evening (at 9.30 pm Italian time, +1GMT), in the beautiful San Francesco square. Many other strong players take part in the event, anyway: Ukrainian GM Sergey Fedorchuk (2603), Bulgarian GM Aleksander Delchev (2600), Belgian GM Vadim Malakhatko (2598), Croatian GMs Mladen Palac (2568) and Robert Zelcic (2554), Dutch GM Jan Werle (2556), Hungarian IM Laszlo Gonda (2501) and GM Attila Czebe (2500), Russian GM Igor Naumkin (2497), French IM Vladimir Okhotnik (2484), Italian IM Sabino Brunello (2454), Serbian GM Miroljub Lazic (2450) and so on. A press conference was held this morning in Lodi in order to present the event: special guest Patrick Ray Pugliese from "Striscia la Notizia", one of the most famous (and watched) Italian Tv programs. I will post some pictures from Karjakin's exhibition by a couple of days (perhaps even tomorrow). Official site: http://www.lenuvole.org/.
Fide and Global Chess completed negotiations on an agreement which authorizes Global Chess BV to act as Fide marketing support agent on worldwide basis. In accordance with the "Memorandum of Understanding" signed by both parties, "Global Chess has the rights to promote forthcoming Fide events including world chess championships and Chess Olympiads to corporate sponsors and organizers, as well as to apply quality control and monitoring measures in order to ensure the best possible conditions for the events". Only time can say if this move is a winning one... More details on the Fide official site: www.fide.com.

Leko,P (2738) - Bareev,E (2643) [B17], Elista 8.6.2007
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Qc7
10...Nf6 11.Qe2 Qc7 12.Bd2 b6 13.0–0–0 Bb7 is a more common variation, where White usually gets the initiative after 14.Ne5 c5 15.Bb5+ Ke7 16.dxc5 Qxc5 17.a3 and now if 17...Qxe5?? 18.Qxe5 Bxe5 19.Bb4+ +-
11.0–0 b6
This move will leave Bareev in a very inactive position. 11...c5 is probably better, e.g.: 12.Bd2 c4 13.Be2 Nf6 14.Qh4 Bd7 15.Ne5 Bxe5 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.Bf3 Bc6 18.Bxc6+ bxc6 19.Bc3 Qf5 20.Qxc4 0–0 21.Bxf6 Qxf6 22.b3 and both Almasi-Kallai (22...Rac8), Hungary ch 1995, and Almasi-Hulak (22...Rfd8), Tucepi 1996, ended in a draw.
12.Qg4 Kf8 13.Qh4 Bb7 14.Re1 Kg8
A novelty. The game Arakhamia-Speelman, England 1998, continued 14...Re8 15.Bd2 (15.Be3!?) 15...c5 16.Be4 Bxe4 17.Rxe4 Nf6 18.Re2 c4 19.Ne5 Bxe5 20.dxe5 Nd5=
15.Qh3 Re8 16.c4 Nf6
16...c5 17.d5 Ne5 18.Nxe5 Bxe5 had to be considered, even if White would have been slightly better anyway.
17.Bd2 c5 18.d5
18.Bc3 was a good alternative.
18...exd5 was not so bad, e.g.: 19.Rxe8+ Nxe8 20.cxd5 Nf6 (20...Bxd5 21.Re1 Nf6 22.Bc3 c4 23.Bc2) 21.Re1 c4 22.Bc2 Bxd5 (22...Nxd5 23.Re8+ Bf8 24.Qg3 Qxg3 25.hxg3) 23.Bc3 and White has a good positional compensation in return for the pawn, but Black can hold on with 23...Bc6 or 23...Kf8.
19.Bc3 g6 20.Qh4
Now White is definitely better.
20...Kg7 21.Nd2 Qd8 22.Bc2 Bc8
22...b5 23.b3 b4 24.Bb2 Nd7 25.Qh3 would have been good for White anyway.
23.Ba4 g5
If 23...Bd7 then 24.f4 Bxa4 25.fxe5 Be7 26.d6 Nd5 27.dxe7 Qxe7 28.Qxe7 Nxe7 29.e6+ f6 30.Ne4 Rhf8 31.b3 Bc6 32.Nd6 Rd8 33.Rad1 and White has excellent winning chances.
24.Qg3 Nh5
On 24...Bd7 White can reply by 25.Bc2 with the idea h2-h4.
25.Qf3 g4 26.Qd1 Re7 27.h3 Nf6 28.hxg4 Bxg4 29.f3 Bc8?!
29...Bd7 was probably more precise.
Leko is going to put some pressure both on the "e" file and the King side...
30...Nh5 31.Qe1 f6 32.Qh4 Nf4 33.Ne4 Rf7 34.g3 Ng6 35.Qh5 Bb8 36.Bc2
All White pieces but one (the Rook on "a1" :-) ) are placed on excellent squares.
36...Ne7 37.Rd1 Qe8 38.g4 was not better at all.
37.f4! Re8?
Bareev was probably in time trouble, so he didn't find the best defence in a difficult position. Black had to play 37...fxe4 38.Bxe4 Rf6 39.fxe5 Nxe5 40.Bxe5 Bxe5 41.Qxe5 Qd6 42.Qxd6 Rxd6 , although White would have had a totally winning endgame.
38.Nf2 Rf6
Not the best move, again. But after 38...Qf6 39.Rae1 Rfe7 40.Nd3 Kg8 41.Ba4 White has a decisive advantage anyway.
39.Rae1 e4
Now White wins on the spot.
40.Bxe4! fxe4 41.Nxe4 1–0
After 41.Nxe4 Ref8 (41...Rxe4 42.Rxe4 Bd7 43.f5+-) 42.Nxf6 Rxf6 43.Re8 Qd7 44.R1e6 White is totally winning, so Bareev resigned.

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