We have two more winners in the 2007 Candidates matches. Evgeny Bareev and Sergei Rublevsky drew with Judit Polgar and Ruslan Ponomariov, respectively, to win their match 3.5-2.5 and qualify into Round 2. This means I was completely wrong when I wrote that Judit would have won her match, while I predicted the truth telling Sergei would have beaten Pono (who has to blame himself only for this loss, as he forced a drawn position in game 3 and this costed him the whole match). I'm on 4/5 (right predictions) at the moment...
Magnus Carlsen drew from a lost position to tie Levon Aronian 3-3; Alexey Shirov beat Michael Adams to equalize, while Boris Gelfand and Rustam Kasimjanov drew for the sixth time in a row. These three duels will see their conclusion tomorrow; rapid tie breaks will be played at 1pm Italian time (12 am GMT). In the meantime Gata Kamsky, who got his pass for the final stage of the event two days ago, turns 33 today (and I will turn 32 in 26 days...). He was born on June 2, 1974. Happy bithday, Gata!
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).
Todor Todorov is close to get the first place in the 1st "Perini Memorial", held in Senigallia, Italy. Bulgarian GM is on 6/8 and leads by half a point over Serbian GM Sinisa Drazic, French IM Vladimir Okhotnik and Italian GM Igor Efimov with a round to go. He will play Serbian IM Nenad Aleksic (who is on 4) with White pieces in the final round; other decisive games will be IM Heinzel (4.5)-IM Okhotnik, FM Van Hoolandt (4.5)-Drazic and Damia (4)-Efimov. Anything can happen, but (in my opinion) Todorov has the better chances of getting the first place. Official site: http://digilander.libero.it/dragonscacchicv/festivalS07.html. You can download some games from the competition by clicking here.
A curious news from the silicon chess world: Vasik Rajilich, author of Rybka, has formally challenged the winner of "the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007", which takes place during the final stage of the WCM in Elista. In his open letter to Fide (http://rybkachess.com/docs/ChallengeToFIDE.htm), Rajlich writes: "I am formally offering a $100,000 computer chess challenge from Rybka to Fide, who will be represented by the winner of the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007. My challenge consists of a 24 game match, at classical time controls, on unlimited hardware and with unlimited opening books, held at 2 games per day over twelve days, with Rybka giving a handicap of one point plus draw odds and thus requiring a score of 13 out of 24 or better to win the match. The prize fund of $100,000 should be a winner-takes-all, loser-pays-all proposition. As the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007 takes place during the Candidates Matches in Elista, it is appropriate that the winner's match vs Rybka be played in Mexico between September 12 and October 1, 2007, during the FIDE World Chess Championship". I think Fide won't take up this challenge, but, in my own opinion, Rybka is the strongest chess program at the moment and "she" should win any 24 games match against any computer by a large margin (even more than 13-11).
And now here is our game of the day...
Shirov,A (2699) - Adams,Mi (2734) [C43], Elista 2.6.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.dxe5
Shirov tries to surprise his opponent. The most common alternative is 5.Nxe5.
5...Nc6 is good too.
6.0–0 Bg4 7.Bxe4
A complete novelty (?!). 7.c4 was played in A. Larsen-Kerlin, Buenos Aires 1939, and a few other games.; 7.h3 Bh5 occured in Krupkova-Jurikova, Czech women champ. 1994.
7...dxe4 8.Qxd8+ Bxd8 9.Nd4 0–0 10.Nc3
The position is completely equal. Shirov, who has to get the full point, chooses a very strange way to fight for a win...
10...c5 11.Ndb5 Nc6 was (perhaps) a bit more precise.
Now after 11...c5 12.Ndb5 Be6 13.Bf4 White is slightly better, as Black has some problems in activating his pieces.
The first inaccuracy. Adams probably thought this position was completely drawn, but this is not true. Shirov's plan is working good... 12...Nc5 13.exf7+ Bxf7 was a better alternative, e.g.: 14.b4?! Bf6 15.Be3 Na6 16.Nxe4 Bxd4 17.Bxd4 Nxb4 and Black has nothing to be afraid of.
13.Nxe6 Re8 14.Nxd8 Raxd8 15.Bg5 Nf6 16.Rfe1 Bg6 17.Rad1 Kf8?
17...Rxd1 18.Rxd1 Kf7 was a more precise. White is improving his position move by move.
18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Nd5
Now Shirov simply gains a pawn.
After 19...Rd6 20.Nxc7 Rxd1 21.Rxd1 Rc8 22.Ne6+ Ke7 23.Nd4 Rc5 Black was worst anyway.
20.Nxe3 c5 21.Kf1 Rd4 22.c3 Bd3+ 23.Kg1 Rd6 24.Rd2 b5 25.Nc2 Red8 26.Red1 Ke7 27.Ne1
White just wants to simplify the position as much as possible in order to convert his material advantage into a full point.
27...Be4 28.Rxd6 Rxd6 29.Rxd6 Kxd6 30.Kf1 Kd5 31.Ke2 Bb1 32.a3 Kc4
It seems that Black has some counterplay on the Queen side. But this is not true.
33...Kb3 34.Kc1 Be4 35.f3 Bg6 would have been more stubborn, as White king can't take an active role in the battle. Now Shirov wins easily.
34.f3 Bg6 35.b4!
After this move White has no weaknesses and can finally convert his advantage.
This loses by force, but after 35...cxb4 36.axb4 , with the idea Nc2-Nd4 (or Ne3+) White's victory would have only been a matter of time.
36.bxc5 Kxa3 37.c6 Ka4 38.g4 Be8 39.c7 Bd7 40.Nd3 Ka5 41.Nc5 Bc8 42.Ne4 Kb6
After 35...Kb3 Black has only played forced moves up to now.
43.Nxf6 Kxc7 44.Nxh7 Kd6 45.h4
Adams' position is now hopeless.
45...a5 46.h5 Ke7 47.Ng5 Bb7 48.h6 Kf6 49.f4 1–0
Black resigns. White wins very easily now:49.f4 Kg6 50.h7 Kg7 51.f5 Bd5 52.f6+ Kh8 53.Kc2 Bc4 54.Kb2 Bd5 55.Ka3 Bc4 56.f7 Bxf7 57.Nxf7+ Kxh7 58.Nd6 b4+ 59.cxb4 axb4+ 60.Kxb4 Kg6 61.Ne4 +-.