Just another step, please!

He can do it! Sabino Brunello drew with Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest in round 8 of the European Union championship and he now needs a victory against Croatian GM Nenad Sulava (he will have Black pieces) in round 9 to score his first GM norm. In case of a draw, he will have another chance in round 10, where a victory should become the only possible result to reach the target. I'm sorry, anyway, because I think Sabino missed a very good opportunity against Agrest: he played Qc4?! on move 30 when he was short of time, but Rd1 was much stronger. What a pity! Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak beat Irish GM Alexander Baburin (who really did his worst to lose a completely won position :-( ) with Black and still leads alone on 7/8; Italian champion Michele Godena is the only player remaining only half a point behind him, while Brunello, Italian IM Carlo D'Amore, Agrest, German GM Thomas Luther, Croatian GM Miso Cebalo, Lithuanian GM Sarunas Sulskis and Sulava follow on 6. Ten players are on 5.5: among them FM Folco Castaldo from Ivrea and brothers Axel and Denis Rombaldoni from Pesaro. They can all score an IM norm (if I don't mind, it should be the third and last for Denis). Good fight and good luch to all of you! Official site of the tournament: www.scacchivda.com.
The Sparkassen Chess Meeting will start tomorrow in Dortmund, Germany. There were some rumours about a possible withdrawal by Vladimir Kramnik, because of a severe respiratory infection, but it seems that the world champion has recovered sufficiently to play the tourney. As I've already written, this is a category 20 event which includes the world's top ranked player: Viswanathan Anand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand and 16-year-old Magnus Carlsen - besides Kramnik, Arkadij Naiditsch and Evgeny Alekseev. You will find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (by tomorrow afternoon). Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/english/english.html.
Sergey Karjakin became the sole leader of the Aerosvit super-tournament after his victory over Alexey Shirov in round 5. The young Ukrainian GM is on 3.5/5, while his compatriot Vassily Ivanchuk follows on 3. The only other decisive game of the round was Rublevsky's victory over Sasikiran. Remaining four games were drawn; Svidler played with Van Wely and made his 5th draw in a row, while it was only the first for his opponent. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
And now just look at the following position: 13 years old Marina Brunello (sister of Sabino) showed her great talent by winning this endgame, where she forced her opponent to play defensive moves, so that he found himself in a zugzwang position.

Brunello,M (1924) - Maahs,E (2193), Arvier 22.6.2007

Black is an exchange down but has a pawn more. It looks like he can hold on and obtain an easy draw, but unfortunately for him this is not true... The game continued:
62.Rb7 h5 63.Rh7 h4 64.Ra7 Kd5 65.Ra4 Ke5 66.Re4+ Kf6 67.Kd3 Kf5 68.Re7 Kf6 69.Re8 Kf5 70.Kd4 Kf6 71.Kd5 Kf7 72.Re6 Kg7 73.Ke4
White's plan is now clear: Marina wants to reach a position where her opponent's king would be in a mating net, so that he would have to move his Bishop or pawns, losing on the spot.
73...Kg8 74.Kf5 Kf7 75.Re4 Kg7 76.Re7+ Kf8 77.Kf6 Kg8 78.Kg6 Kf8 79.Re4
The position has been reached and this means... zugzwang! Now Black can't play 79...Kg8 because of 80.Re8#.
79...e2 80.Rxe2 Bc1 81.Re5 Bf4 82.Rxg5 Bd2 83.Re5 Bc3 84.Re4 Bd2 85.Rxh4 Ke7 86.Re4+ 1–0
Black finally resigned. Great endgame by Marina!

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