After Leko and Kamsky, Grischuk advances to the next stage of the 2007 WCM by beating his compatriot Vladimir Malakhov (3.5-1.5). Again I was wrong when I wrote that he would have won on tie break (read my post of May 24), but I was right predicting his victory :-).
In all other matches the sixth and last game will be decisive: Sergei Rublevsky, Michael Adams and Evgeny Bareev lead by a point over Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexei Shirov and Judit Polgar (who crushed her opponent in today's game), so they just need a draw to qualify to round 2. Magnus Carlsen beat Levon Aronian to tie 2.5-all, while Boris Gelfand and Rustam Kasimdzhanov drew their fifth game in a row: these two duels - and the first one in particular - promise to have a really exciting end...
Last round games of the 1st phase will be: Aronian - Carlsen; Rublevsky - Ponomariov; Kasimdzhanov - Gelfand; Bareev - Polgar; Shirov - Adams. You can find comments on all games on the official site of the event: http://globalchess.eu/main.php. (just click on "Games" on the right panel and you will see...). You can find a WCM section on my Italian site, www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/candidati07.html).
Todor Todorov won against FM Patrick Van Hoolandt in round 7 and is still leading the A1 section of the 1st Perini Memorial in Senigallia, Italy. Bulgarian GM has now 5.5/7 and leads by half a point over Italian GM Igor Efimov, who beat Belgian FM Marc Geenen. Serbian GM Sinisa Drazic and French Im Vladimir Okhotnik are on 4.5, Greek GM Spyridon Skembris and German IM Olaf Heinsel on 4. The last one will face Todorov in tomorrow's round with White pieces; Efimov-Skembris will be another decisive game. Official site: http://digilander.libero.it/dragonscacchicv/festivalS07.html. You can download some games from the competition by clicking here.
The 3rd "Città di Lodi" International open will be one of the strongest tournament held in Italy during the first six months of this year. I've already told in a previous post that Ukrainian prodigy Sergey Karjakin (2686), his compatriots Sergey Fedorchuk (2603), Yuri Solodovnichenko (2580) and Stanislav Savchenko (2545), Bulgarian Aleksander Delchev (2600), Belgian Vadim Malakhatko (2598), Dutch Jan Werle (2556) and Macedonian Vladimir Georgiev (2540) will take part in the event; some more strong players have just been added to the list: Croatians Mladen Palac (2571) and Robert Zelcic (2554) and Israeli Zvulon Gofshtein (2545). 45 players with a 2200+ rating have already entered the main section of the competition: what are you waiting for? Entries are open until June 4. More than 200 players will compete and Karjakin will give a simultaneous exhibition "under the stars" on June 9 (at 9.30 p.m., after round 3), in the beautiful San Francesco square (I will take some pictures of this event and post them here). Official site: www.lenuvole.org.
And now here is our "game of the day"...
Polgar,Ju (2727) - Bareev,E (2643) [B11], Elista 1.6.2007
1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6 6.Be2 Nd7 7.d3 g6 8.0–0 Bg7 9.Bf4 Qb6
This move is a novelty according to my database, but the whole variation is quite rare in top class games. After all, Judit is forced to get a win and tries to surprise her rival. In a previous game Black continued 9...Ne7 10.Rfe1 0–0 11.Bf1 d4 12.Ne2 Qb6 13.Rab1 c5 14.g4 Qc6 Kharitonov-Cioara, Eforie Nord 1998.
10.Nd1 Ngf6 11.a4 a5 12.g4
After this move Susan, Judit's sister, gives the following comment on her blog (http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com): "The position is equal. But I like it because for the first time in the match, I see Judit being Judit. In a match, it is critically important that you surprise your opponents. This was why I played . e4 in my world championship match when I normally play 1.d4. Why? Psychology. It will make your opponent work harder to prepare and at the same time create self doubt. Being predictable is the worst sin in match play".
12...e5 13.Bd2 Nc5 14.g5
White sacrifices a pawn to open the position...
14...dxe4 15.dxe4 Nfd7?
...but Bareev declines the sacrifice, probably being afraid of complications. 15...Nfxe4 would have been the better choice, e.g.: 16.Be3 Nd6 17.Nc3 0–0 and now after 18.Ra3 Nf5 19.Rb3 Qa7 20.Bxc5 Qxc5 21.Rxb7 Rab8 Black is even slightly better.
16.Bc4 0–0 17.h4
Now White's position is fine and promising: Judit has the bishop pair and some attacking chances on the King side.
17...Ne6 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Qh3?!
19.Qg4, protecting the "e4" pawn, was better.
The only way to complicate the position.
20...Qxd2 21.Rad1 Qxc2 22.Rxd7 Qxb2?!
22...Qb3 would have been more cautious. The position is now unclear, but Bareev is going to lose his nerves...
23...Rf7 was the only way to hold the position! E.g.: 24.Qxe6 Raf8 25.hxg6 hxg6 26.Rd3 Qc2 27.Rh3 Rd8 28.Qxg6 Rd3 29.Qe6 Rxh3 30.Qc8+ Bf8 31.Qxh3 and White has probably nothing more than a draw.
24.Qxe6+ Kh8 25.Rxg7!
Now White wins by force!
25...Kxg7 26.Qh6+ Kg8
This move makes things easier for White, but after 26...Kf7 27.Rb1 Qxb1+ 28.Nxb1 Kg8 29.g6 hxg6 30.Qxg6+ Kh8 31.Qxh5+ Kg8 32.Qxe5 Black would have lost anyway.
27.g6 hxg6 28.Qxg6+ Kh8 29.Kh1
It's all over now.
And now Whites forces mate.
30.Qxh5+ Kg8 31.Rg1+ Kf8 32.Qh8+ Kf7 33.Qg7+ 1–0
Black resigns: 33...Ke8 34.Qxe5+ Kf8 35.Qxf4+ Ke8 36. Rg8+ Ke7 37.Rg7+ Ke8 38.Qf7+ and mate on next move.