The Mexico City tourney will start on September 13. Waiting for the world championship, some interesting events are taking place (or have just finished) all over the world. GM Vladislav Tkachiev, winner of the 2007 European championship, and 17 y.o. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will play tomorrow a rapid play-off: the winner will be crowned new French chess king. They both scored 7.5 points out of 11 in the National championship, which ended today in Aix-les-Bains, edging out by half a point GM Andrei Sokolov. Official site: http://www.echecs.asso.fr.
Another king was crowned yesterday afternoon: Czech master Jaroslav Olsar won the IBCA European championship, which took place in Durham (England), with 8 points out of 9. Russian IM and Elo favorite Yuri Meshkov was placed second on 7.5, Ukrainian master Sergey Grigorchuk came in third place on 7. The only player from Italy, Mauro Fratini, scored 4 points. Official site: http://www.braillechess.org.uk/.
The fourth China vs Russia chess match takes place until August 31 in Nizhniy Novgorog, Russia. After 5 rounds of 10 China leads by 5 (!) points, 27.5-22.5. Dmitry Jakovenko (2735) and Wang Yue (2696) are the top rated players of the two teams. Official site: http://russiachess.org/.
In the Dutch city of Arnhem, famous for the "Bridge Too Far", a ten-player round robin is under way, led by 25-year-old Zambian IM Amon Simutowe: he has 6.5 points after 7 rounds, a half more than Indian GM Dibyendu Barua. The event is being staged in the NH Rijnhotel, which is also hosting an interesting exhibition on Chess and Art. Official site: http://www.euwe-stimulans.nl/.
The 2007 Presolana chess festival started yesterday in Castione della Presolana, Italy. After a quiet first round, without astonishing results, some surprises happened in round 2: Italian 17 y.o. FM Denis Rombaldoni from Pesaro, for example, beat Hungarian GM Csaba Horvath (ranked #5) with Black pieces, while his brother Axel, a master himself, won against Philipino IM Roland Salvador. Congratulations! Denis is fighting for his third and last IM norm: this undoubtedly is a good base... Official site: http://www.scaccobratto.com/2007.shtml.
Three players have a perfect score in the 2007 Porto San Giorgio (Italy) festival after 4 rounds: they are GMs Ante Brkic (CRO), Gawain Jones (ENG) and Ivan Farago (HUN). Nine players are just half a point behind; Elo favorite GM Sergei Fedorchuk from Ukraine lost to Romanian IM Andrei Nestor Cioara in round 3 and follow on 3. Official site: http://www.torneoscacchi.it/.
And now here is a nice (annotated) game from Porto San Giorgio, followed by the win by D. Rombaldoni against Horvath in Castione (no annotations).
Bontempi,Pi. (2349) - Rotstein,Ar. (2515) [B22], Porto San Giorgio 23.8.2007
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.Bd3
3.e5 is the most popular alternative, but Bontempi doesn't want to test his opponent's opening preparation.
3...Nc6 4.Nf3 d5 5.e5 c4
The immediate 5...Ng4 and 5...Nd7 are more common.
6.Bc2 Ng4 7.Ba4 Qc7 8.Qe2 Bd7
8...Bf5 was played in Sebag-Toma, Oropesa del Mar 1999; the game continued 9.Nd4 Bxb1 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Qxg4 Bd3 12.Qg3 Rc8 13.b3 Qa5 14.Ba3 h5 15.Bb4 Qa6 16.Qe3 e6 and a draw was agreed 30 moves later.; 8...g6 has also been seen in Mueller-Lampe, Oberliga Nord 1998; the game soon ended in a draw: 9.h3 Nh6 10.d4 Bf5 11.Bc2 Bxc2 12.Qxc2 Bg7 13.0–0 0–0 14.Bf4 e6 15.Qd2 Nf5 16.Na3 a6 1/2–1/2.
9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.h3 Nh6 11.b3
Finally a new move in a very rare variation! 11.g4 g6 12.d4 cxd3 13.Qxd3 Bg7 14.Bf4 e6 15.Qd2 Ng8 16.Na3 h5 17.Rg1 hxg4 18.hxg4 c5 19.0–0–0 Bc6= was played in Pickersgill-Avari, Hastings 2000.
11...cxb3 12.axb3 Rb8 13.b4 c5 14.bxc5 Qxc5
It looks like Black has a full equality, but he must pay attention anyway...
Probably the first inaccuracy. 15...Nf5 16.Ba3 Qb6 17.Kh1 h5 looked more precise.
There are no better alternatives, e.g.: 16...Qb5 17.c4! Qxc4 18.Qxc4 dxc4 19.Bxf8 Kxf8 20.Rxa7 Ke7 21.Nc3 Rhd8 22.Rfa1 and White has a better endgame; 16...Qb6 17.Bxf8 Rxf8 18.Na3 intending Nd4 or Rab1 and White is good.; 16...Bb5 17.d3 Qc7 18.Bxf8 Rxf8 19.Na3! Nf5 20.Rfb1 with a strong initiative.
17.c4 Bxa3 18.Nxa3 0–0 19.Rfc1 was good as well, but Bontempi wants more.
17...Qxa1 18.Na3 Qa2
18...Qxf1+? 19.Qxf1 Rxf8 20.Qa6 was good... but only for White.
Another dubious move. After 19...Rb6 20.Bc5 Rc6 21.Qb5 Rc8 22.Qb4 White has more than enough compensation for the sacrificed exchange, but Black can survive.
20.Nd4 was probably even stronger.
This should be the decisive mistake. After 20...Nf5 21.Bb4 Ne7 22.Nd4! (22.Qxa7 Nc6 23.Qa8+ Nd8) 22...Nc8 23.d3 White has a strong initiative, but Black hold on.
21.Bb4! Qa4 22.Qd6 Rxb4
Forced. 22...Kd8 23.Qb8+ Bc8 24.Nb5+-
23...Rf8 was a sad necessity. Now White wins almost immediately.
24.Qb8+ Qc8 25.Qxa7 0–0 26.b5 Nf5
26...f6 was not much better, e.g.: 27.b6 Nf7 28.exf6 gxf6 29.Rb1 Nd6 30.b7 Qb8 31.Qb6+-
27.b6 h5 28.Rb1 h4 29.b7 Qb8 30.Qb6 g6
30...Ba4 31.Nb5 Bxb5 32.Rxb5 followed by Ra5 was winning for White anyway.
Too many treats: Ra1–a8, Nb4-a6. Black resigns. A very convincing win by FM Piero Bontempi from Ancona.
Horvath,Cs. (2558) - Rombaldoni,De. (2383) [A13], Castione 24.8.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Qxc4 c5 7.0–0 a6 8.Qb3 Qc7 9.d4 b5 10.Bf4 Bd6 11.dxc5 Bxf4 12.gxf4 Qxc5 13.Ne5 Rb8 14.Nd2 Nxe5 15.Rac1 Qd4 16.fxe5 Qxe5 17.Nf3 Qf4 18.e3 Qa4 19.Ne5 0–0 20.Rc7 Qh4 21.Qd1 Bb7 22.Rxb7 Rxb7 23.Bxb7 Qg5+ 24.Kh1 Qxe5 25.Qd4 Qc7 26.Bf3 Rd8 27.Qb4 g6 28.Kg2 e5 29.a4 Rb8 30.Qc3 Qxc3 31.bxc3 bxa4 32.Ra1 e4 33.Be2 Rb2 34.Kf1 Nd5 35.Bxa6 Nxc3 36.Bc4 Rb4 37.Ba2 a3 38.Ke1 Rb2 0–1