Chess postcards from Bergamo

The 6th Bergamo International open has finally started this morning with a record participation of 126 players. Some of the main favourites got a very hard life: Latvian GM Viesturs Meijers, Makedonian GM Vladimir Georgiev, Bulgarian GM Todor Todorov and Serbian GM Miroljub Lazic drew one of their first two games against FM Maurizio Brancaleoni from Rimini and candidate masters Luca Canova from Bergamo, Francesco Sgaravatti from Padova and Luciano Fattorelli from Novara respectively; Philippino IM Rolly Martinez recovered from a lost position (in round 1) against Giampietro Amato from Messina, who made a terrible blunder in time trouble, and then lost against Alessandro Brigati from Piacenza (in round 2). Many young players take part in the tournament: Italian star Marco Codenotti from Pisa, 10 years old, is among the participants of the “A” group, while Violeta, the 7 years old daughter of Ukrainian wGM Inna Gaponenko, is playing one of her first chess events in the “B” group. Top boards of the 3rd round: Gaponenko-Krivoshey, Drazic-Salvador, Brigati-Meijers. Full results (sooner or later) at http://www.chesslab.bergamo.it/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19. Here are some pictures taken by Daniele Gamba, a journalist and photographer of “Il Nuovo Giornale di Bergamo”, the newspaper I work for.

Inna Gaponenko with Violeta and Vijesturs Meijers

The playing hall: "Palestra Angelini"

Italian young star Marco Codenotti

GM Sinisa Drazic, winner in 2005

Concentrated players

WGM Karolina Smokina

Chessplayers at work

The strong 8th International tourney is underway in Montreal, Canada. Eljanov, Harikrishna and Miton won their first game against Charbonneau, Sutovsky and Short respectively; Bluvshtein-Kamsky and Tiviakov-Ivanchuk were drawn. Official site: http://www.fqechecs.qc.ca. An even stronger event will start on Monday in Biel, Switzerland: this will be a 10 player round robin with Radjabov, Grischuk, Carlsen and J. Polgar among the others. Official site: http://www.bielchessfestival.ch.

Harikrishna,P (2664) - Sutovsky,E (2656) [D87], Montreal 19.7.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0–0 10.0–0 Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Rc1 e5
Not a common variation indeed. 12...cxd4 (12...Bb7!?) 13.cxd4 e6 14.Qd2 Bb7 is much more popular.
This looks to be a new move. 13.d5 c4 14.Bc2 Bd7 15.Rb1 Nb7= was played in the game Seifert-Zezulkin, Postbauer Heng 1999.
13...Be6 14.c4
After 14.cxb6 axb6 15.c4 Qb8 Black has enough compensation in return for the sacrificed pawn and should soon take it back.
14...bxc5 15.Bxc5 Bh6 16.f4!?
16.Rc2 Re8 17.Nc3 Nxc4 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Nd6 20.Re1 is an alternative to be considered, but the text move looks more dangerous for Black.
16...Re8 17.f5 Qc7 18.Bf2 Bxc4
18...Bxc1 is risky, e.g.: 19.fxe6 Bg5 20.h4 Bh6 21.exf7+ Qxf7 22.Nc3 Nxc4 23.Qe2 Nd6 24.Nb5 Nxb5 25.Bc4 Re6 26.Bxb5 Qe7 27.Bc4 Rc8 28.Qd3 and White has the initiative.
19.Bxc4 Nxc4
19...Bxc1 20.Bd5 is good for White.
20.Rc3 is better, but White tries to keep the initiative.
Now 20...Bxc1 looks possible: after 21.Nd5 Qd8 22.Qxc1 Nd6 23.Qe3!? White has to prove his sacrifice to be correct.
21.Nd5 Qxc1
21...Qd6 22.Qc2 Bxc1 23.Rxc1 Reb8 24.Qd2 Rb5 25.Bh4 gives White a strong attack.
22.Nf6+ Kg7
22...Kh8 looks a bit more precise.
23.Nxe8+ Rxe8 24.f6+ Kg8 25.Qxc1 Bxc1 26.Rxc1 Nd3 27.Rc3?!
27.Rc7 is even stronger.
27...Nxf2 28.Kxf2 h5 29.Rc6 Re6?
This natural move is a losing one! 29...g5 30.Ra6 Re6 31.Rxa7 Rxf6+ 32.Ke3 Rb6 would give Black excellent drawing chances (the position is about equal, after all).
30.Rxe6 fxe6 31.g4!
Simple and decisive!
What else?
32.Kg3 Kf7 33.Kxg4 Kxf6 34.Kh4! a5 35.a4 Ke7
Black has no good defence, e.g.: 35...Kf7 36.Kg5 Kg7 37.h3 Kf7 38.Kh6 g5 (38...Kf6 39.h4 Kf7 40.Kh7 Kf6 41.Kg8 g5 42.h5 g4 43.h6+-) 39.Kxg5 Kg7 40.h4 Kf7 41.Kh6 Kf6 42.Kh7 Kf7 43.h5 Kf6 44.Kg8+-
36.Kg5 Kf7 37.Kh6 Kf6 38.h4 Kf7 39.Kh7 Kf6 40.Kg8 1–0
Zugzwang. Black loses with both 40...Ke7 41.Kg7 and 40...g5 41.h5, so he resigned.

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