Crete: the battle has started

The battle of Crete has started. 39 teams in the main section and 29 in the female group will fight until November 6 to take first place in the 2007 European team championship. Many top GMs (2700+) are playing: Ivanchuk, Topalov, Morozevich, Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Aronian, Shirov, Svidler, Adams, Alekseev, Grischuk, Carlsen, Akopian and Jakovenko. Daily reports on the official site (http://www.greekchess.com/euro2007/index.html) are wirtten by the Chessdom team (www.chessdom.com): thanks to Goran Urosevic & co. you can find some fresh photos of the Italian team in the "Last news" section of Messaggero Scacchi (http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/dblog/storico.asp?s=News). It's a bit early to say who can win the title, but I think Russia has the best chances after beating Armenia (Olympic champion) in round 2; defending champion is Holland, but they play without "king" Loek and it looks quite difficult they will win for the second time in a row.
Meanwhile some interesting tourneys has just finished around the world. Hikaru Nakamura from Usa won the Casino de Barcelona tournament with 7/9, a point clear of Cuban GM Lenier Dominguez (official site: http://www.escacs.cat/ciutat07/). British champion and Elo favorite GM Jacob Aagaard won the 29th Arco di Trento international festival (October 20-28): Aagaard took first place on tie break over Bulgarian master Tervel Serafimov, Australian IM Aleksandar Wohl and Russian GM Igor Naumkin, after they all scored 7 points out of 9. 150 players from 17 countries took part in the event (3 GMs, 4 IMs and 8 FMs among them). Official site: http://www.arcoworldchess.com/. Vladislav Tkachiev confirmed his supremacy in the Old Continent by winning the European blitz champ with 25.5/32 (consisting of 16 double rounds in effect), a point clear of Laurent Fressinet, who was in turn half a point further clear of Anatoly Karpov. If you don't remember, Tkachiev won the continental champ last April. Further details: http://www.echecs.asso.fr/.
And now here is a nice game from Crete and two tests to prove your chess skill...

Jobava,Ba. (2644) - Steingrimsson,H. (2533) [B43], Crete 28.10.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.Be2 b5 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bb7 7.0–0 Qc7 8.Re1 Nf6?!
8...Nc6 is more common (and probably more precise).
9.Bf3 d6 10.a4 bxa4
10...b4 is not so good as it looks: 11.Na2 a5 (11...e5 12.Nf5 g6 13.Bg5 Nbd7 14.Nh6 a5 15.c3 Qb6 16.cxb4 axb4 17.Rc1 is just a bit better.) 12.Nb5 Qd7?? (12...Qc8 is the only way to survive: after 13.c3 Nc6 14.Qxd6 Bxd6 15.Nxd6+ Kd7 16.Nxc8 Rhxc8± White is a pawn up, but Black can hold on.) 13.e5 Nd5 14.exd6 Bxd6 15.Bxd5 Bxd5 16.Qxd5 Bxh2+ 17.Kxh2 Qxd5 18.Nc7+ Kd7 19.Nxd5 exd5 20.Bf4+- Abraham-Renner, Koerbecke 2000.
11.Nd5 exd5
11...Nxd5 is probably even worse, as White doesn't lose material and has a strong initiative anyway; the game Dhar Barua-Sareen, Goodricke open 2000, continued 12.exd5 e5 13.Rxa4 Be7 14.Nf5 0–0 15.Be4 g6 16.Qf3 Bf6?? (16...f6 17.Re3 Bd8 gives Black a little chance to survive, although after 18.Qh3 White has probably a winning position anyway.) 17.Nh6+ Kg7 18.Ng4 Be7 19.Bh6+ Kh8 20.Bxf8 Bxf8 21.Bxg6 hxg6? 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Nf6+ 1–0 (23... Kg7 24. Ne8+).
12.exd5+ Kd8 13.Rxa4 Nxd5?
A serious mistake. After 13...Nbd7 14.Nc6+ Bxc6 15.dxc6 Nc5 16.Rb4 Rb8 17.Bd2 Rxb4 18.Bxb4 White is better, but Black is still alive, although he must be very careful; the game Najdoski-Solak, Internet 2002, soon ended after 18...Kc8?! (18...Ne6) 19.Qa1 (19.Bc3!) 19...Qb6?? (19...d5) 20.Ba5 Qa7 21.Bg4+ Ne6 22.Rxe6 fxe6 23.Bxe6+ Kb8 24.c7++-
Now White wins easily.
14...Nf6 looks more stubborn, although after 15.Bxb7 Qxb7 16.Rc4 Black is in deep trouble anyway.
15.Bxd5 Bxg5
15...Bxd5 16.Bxe7+ Kc8 17.Nf5+-
16.Rc4 Qb6?
After 16...Bxd5 17.Rxc7 Kxc7 18.Nb5+ axb5 19.Qxd5 Re8 20.Rb1 Nc6 21.Qxg5 Black is losing anyway, but he can hold on a few more moves.
17.Nf5 was even stronger, e.g.: 17...Ra7 (17...Bc8 18.Nxd6! Qxd6 19.Bb7 Qxd1 20.Rxc8+ Kd7 21.Rxd1++-) 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.Nxd6 Rc7 20.Nxf7+ Kc8 21.Qg4+ Nd7 22.Nxh8+-
17...Bf6 18.Ne6+ Ke7 19.Nxg7+ Kf8
19...Be5 would only prolong the agony a few moves: 20.Nf5+ Kf8 21.Qg4!+- intending Rxe5 etc.
20.Re8+ Kxg7 21.Qg4+ 1–0
Black can't avoid mate: 21... Kxf7 22. Qh5+ Kg7 23. Rg4+ etc.

And now it is your turn! I will give solutions in my next post.

Beliavsky (2646) - Efimov (2446), Crete 28.10.2007
White to play and win

Berend (2344) - Nevednichy (2531), Crete 29.10.2007
Black to play and win


Ryan Emmett said...

It's nice to see Wales represented in the men's event, even if they are finding the competition really tough so far, with three 4-0 losses! :(

Richard Jones' loss to Magnus Carlsen in the second round looked like an interesting game. If you have any analysis of that game I'd love to see it. :)

Mida said...

Hi Ryan!
Nice to see you keep reading my Blog :-) I do not have any analysis of the game you mention, but I can say you what I think. Richard put a really tought resistance if you consider the kind of player he was facing (a super-GM) and he probably had some drawing chances before 32...Nd4? (32...Kd7 looks safer: 33.Bxh7? is just bad because of 33... f5). Carlsen probably missed some stronger moves and Richard could keep fighting for a draw after 37... Rb7 (instead of the losing move: 37... h5??), e.g.: 38. Rc8+ Rxc8 39. Rxc8+ Kd7 40. Rh8 and White has good winning chances thanks to his "h" pawn, but Black can hold on.
Best wishes!

Ryan Emmett said...

Thanks Dario.

I hope that the Welsh boys keep their spirits up and I'm sure they will get some better results soon! :)