An Italian king for European Union

Long life the king! Italian GM Michele Godena won the European Union title by scoring 8 points out of 10 in the Eu championship, which ended today in Arvier. Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak took first place on tie break, but Serbia didn't run for medals, since it is not part of Eu yet. So, after some disappointing results in the last two months, Italian champion finally played at his best and could achieve a well-deserved gold medal in this strong competition. Congratulations, Michele!
German GM and Elo-favourite Thoms Luther was placed third (which means silver medal) on 7.5 along with young Italian IM Fabiano Caruana (bronze), Irish GM Alexander Baburin and Croatian GM Miso Cebalo. Lithuanian GM Sarunas Sulskis, Croatian GM Nenad Sulava and Spanish MF Marcos Llanez Vega. Italian IM Sabino Brunello, who scored a GM norm after round 9, lost his last game against Sulskis and was placed 10th on 6.5; his sister Marina, 13 years old, scored only half a point less than him. Very well indeed! Official site: www.scacchivda.com. Final report (in Italian) on my Italian site at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/dblog/articolo.asp?articolo=76.
Russian champion Evgeny Alekseev beat Azeri #1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to take over the lead in the Sparkassen chess Meeting. Alekseev is on 1.5/2 along with World champion Vladimir Kramnik, who won a nice ending against Boris Gelfand. The other games, Anand-Leko and Naiditsch-Carlsen, were both drawn. Next round will be on Tuesday. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. You can also find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
At the Presidential Board meeting, which is currently being held in Tallinn, Estonia, Fide has introduced a new Grand Prix series and a new world championship cycle. Fide made some special rules to govern the 2007-2009 stage, in order to give Topalov the chance to enter it. You can download the "New World Chess Championship Cycle rules" on the www.fide.com site. Some explanations are given on the www.chessbase.com site. Here is an excerpt: "Former Fide world champion Veselin Topalov gets to play an eight-game Challenger's Match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup. If Kramnik does not win the Mexico City world championship tournament he gets to play a match against the winner of Mexico, as a one-time right to challenge the new world champion. The winner of this match will play against the winner of the Challenger's Match. If Kramnik wins the World Championship tournament in Mexico City then he has to play Topalov directly for the world championship in 2008. In this case there will be no Challenger's Match. Instead the winner of the 2007 World Cup in Khanty-Mansyisk gets to play a world championship match against the winner of the Kramnik-Topalov match in 2009". In any case, there's a high possibility to see a Kramnik-Topalov re-match by the end of 2008...

Alekseev,E (2679) - Mamedyarov,S (2757) [B85], Dortmund 24.6.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 d6 7.0–0 Nf6 8.Be3 Bd7 9.a4 Be7 10.f4 0–0 11.Nb3 Rc8 12.a5 Nb4 13.Bf3 e5 14.Rf2 Qc7 15.Rd2 Be6 16.Bb6
This should be a new move according to my (old) database. 16.Ra4 is the main line here, e.g.: 16...Bxb3 17.Rxb4 (17.cxb3 d5? (17...Nc6=) 18.exd5 Bc5 19.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 20.Kh1 Rfe8?! 21.d6 Rcd8 22.Qg1 Qxg1+ 23.Kxg1 and White won, Mokry-Cebalo, Reggio Emilia 1991) 17...Bc4 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 exf4 20.Bb6 Qb8 21.Re2 Rce8 22.Rxf4 Nd7 with chances for both sides, Nunn-Dzindzichashvili, Thessaloniki 1984.
16...Qb8 17.f5 Bxb3
17...Bd7 had to be considered.
18.cxb3 Nd7 19.Be3 b5?!
19...Nc5 looks better.
20.axb6 Nxb6 21.Kh1
21.f6!? was an interesting alternative, e.g.: 21...Bxf6 (21...gxf6? 22.Bg4 with the idea Bf5, Qh5) 22.Rxd6 Na8 (22...Rc6 23.Rxc6 Nxc6 24.Rxa6) 23.Rxf6 gxf6 24.Bg4 Rfd8 25.Qe2 Rc6 26.Bd7 Rd6 27.Bf5 Nc7 28.Qh5 Kf8 29.Qxh7!? and White has a dangerous attack.
21...Rc6 22.Be2 Qb7 23.Bf1! Rfc8 24.Qg4 Nd7 25.Bc4 Nf6 26.Qf3 h6 27.Bf2 Rxc4?!
Black loses his nerves. A quiet defence like 27...Bd8 with the idea ...a5 or ...Bb6 was preferable.
28.bxc4 Rxc4 29.Bh4!
White has some initiative anyway and he is also an exchange up now.
29...Rd4 30.Rad1 Nc6 31.Bxf6 Bxf6 32.Nd5 Bg5 33.Rxd4 Nxd4 34.Qa3 Qc6 35.Qc3 Qb5 36.b4
Black can just wait for the end: he has no serious counterplay in this position.
36...Qe2 37.Qd3 Qa2 38.Rf1 h5 39.g3 f6 40.Kg1 h4
Repeating the position by 40...Ne2+ 41.Kh1 Nd4 was probably better, although after 42.Re1 White has a hugh advantage anyway.
41.Rf2 Qa1+
41...Qa4 42.Kg2 hxg3 43.hxg3 would only prolong the agony some more moves.
42.Kg2 Kh7 43.gxh4 Bf4 44.Kh3! Kh8 45.Ne7 1–0
A very convincing win by the young Russian champion!

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