dad, brothers, sisters and... an intruder :-) )
at the beginning of the game
in the next Fide list): fire on the board
Coming back to the tournament, what's going on in the main event of the Lodi festival, the A-group? Four players lead with a perfect score after round 3 - but you can't find any of the main favourites -: Russian GM Igor Naumkin, Croatian GM Mladen Palac and IM Milan Mrdja, Belgian IM Anna Zozulia. Ukrainian GM and top seed Sergey Fedorchuk share the fifth place on 2.5 with Belgian GM Vadim Malakhatko, Dutch GM Jan Werle and Italian IMs Sabino Brunello and Giulio Borgo among the others. Bulgarian GM Aleksander Delchev (2600) lost to Mrdja in the 3rd round and has only 2 points, the same of Croatian GM Robert Zelcic and Hungarian GM Attila Czebe. Congratulations to Alberto Dassisti, main organizer of this tournament, for this undisputed success. Now we are only waiting for the PGN files to be downloadable (links are all broken) :-)
Official site: www.lenuvole.org. You will find more pictures from the simultaneous exhibition on the Italian Blog of Messaggero Scacchi, at www.messaggeroscacchi.it/dblog.
Our "game of the day" was played (naturally) in Lodi. Croatian IM Mrdja is a difficult opponent for everyone when he plays at his best (he made a GM norm 17 months ago in Verona, if I don't mind, by beating many strong opponents). Ask to Aleksander Delchev, a former Bulgarian champion and a 2600 rated player...
Mrdja,M (2367) - Delchev,A (2600) [B57], Lodi, 9.6.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 Qb6
6...e6 is the main alternative.
7.Nb3 is a more common variation. One of the usual continuations is 7...e6 8.0–0 a6 9.a4 Qc7 10.a5 Be7 11.Be2 Nd7 etc.
8.0–0 is more frequent.
Pure Milan's style. This move (not a novelty, anyway) seems to prepare Be3, but Mrdja will put this bishop on g5! 9.h3 also prevents ...Ng4, but I don't think that would be a good move for Black in many positions arising from this variation. So, why 9.h3? Only Mrdja may answer this question. The immediate 9.0–0 is more common.
9...0–0 10.0–0 a6
10...Na5 11.Qd3 Bd7 has been also played.
The natural 11.Be3 was played in Djoric-Cabrilo, Nis 1995. The game continued 11...Qc7 12.f4 Na5 13.f5 b5 14.fxe6 fxe6 15.Nd5!? Nxd5 16.Rxf8+ Bxf8 17.exd5 e5 18.Qd3 Bb7 with an equal position. The text move looks to be a novelty.
11...Rd8 12.Qd3 h6 13.Be3
Finally. Black slightly weakened his position by playing 12... h6 and White's bishop now finds his appropriate square... What one could ask more?
13...Qc7 14.f4 b5 15.a3 Ne5
I don't think this is the best choice. After 15...Na5, followed by Nxb3 or Nb7-c5, Black would have probably got the initiative.
16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Nd5 exd5 18.exd5 e4
This was not necessary. I think the immediate 18...Bb7 19.Nc3 Rd7 (intending Rad8) would have been a bit more precise.
19.Qd4 Bb7 20.Nc3 Rac8 21.Rad1 Bd6 22.Rf5 Qe7 23.Rdf1 Bc5 24.Qd2 Rd6?
The first (very) bad move. In case of 24...Bxe3+ 25.Qxe3 Qc5 White would have kept good winning chances by playing 26.Qxc5 Rxc5 27.Rxf6 gxf6 28.Nxe4 Rcc8 29.Nxf6+ etc. So the best defence for Black would have probably been 24...a5 e.g.: 25.Rxf6 gxf6 26.Rf4 a4 27.Rxe4 Bxe3+ 28.Qxe3 Qc5 29.Qxc5 Rxc5 30.Ba2 and the position is about equal.
25.Bxc5 Rxc5 26.Qd4 Rc8 27.Re5 Qd8 28.Nxe4 Nxe4 29.Qxe4
White has played all the best moves.
The losing mistake, but a good defence was difficult to be find, e.g.: 29...a5 30.c3 a4 31.Re7! Bxd5 32.Bxd5 Rxd5 33.Rfxf7 Qb6+ 34.Kf1! Rg5 35.h4 Rg6 36.Qe5 and White has a strong pressure and is a pawn up.
After 30...Rb8 31.Re1 Black can't survive anyway, but the text move loses immediately.
31.Bxd5+ Rxd5 32.Rxf6!
A bad surprise!
32...Rd1+ would have prolonged the agony: 33.Kh2 Qxe7 34.Qxe7 gxf6 35.Qe6+ and White wins a rook.
33.Qe6+ Kh8 34.Rxh6+! 1–0
The final blow, now Black can't avoid mate: 34...gxh6 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.Qf7+ Kh8 37.Qh7# Go Mrdja, go!