Luck and missed opportunities in Greece

A lot of interesting games were played in the first 3 rounds of the 2007 European team championship. I show here a couple of them: to be more precise, their crucial positions. In the first one, Azeri super GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov almost wasted a winning position after a brilliant Rook sacrifice, but his opponent, Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen, couldn’t find the correct defence and lost anyway. In the second one, Azeri wIM Nargiz Umudova was not as lucky as her compatriot: her position was really good after move 24, but she made a couple of terrible mistakes on moves 25 and 27. Luck often favours the brave. But not always.

Mamedyarov, S (2752) - Nielsen, P.H. (2626), Crete 30.10.2007
Black has just played a weak move (28...Rd2?) a couple of moves before the position you can see in the diagram. Now White has an easy way to achieve a won position by playing the simple 30. Bxe6 (intending Nf5+): after 30... Qd8 (30... Rxf2 31. Kxf2 Qf4+ 32. Nf3 fxe6 33. Rg4 +-) 31. Nf5+ Kg8 32. Nh6+ Kg7 33. Nxf7 there is not much Black can do to avoid a loss. Mamedyarov probably felt he had more and played the brilliant 30. Rxe6!!, but after 30... fxe6 31.Nxe6+ Kf7 he lost the way and gave the wrong check: 32.Nf4+?? - the correct move was 32.Nc7+ Ke7 (32...Kg7 33.Qe5 Rd1+ 34.Kh2 Rd7 35.Ne6+ Kf7 36.Nc5++-) 33.Re3+ Ne4 (33...Kd7 34.Qxf6 Rd1+ 35.Bf1 Qf8 36.Qb6 Bc6 37.Ne6+-) 34.Qe5+ Kd8 35.Rf3 and White wins -. Nielsen immediately gave the favour back by playing 32...Bd5?? (after 32...Ke7 33.Re3+ Be4 34. Nd3 Qd6 35. Qe1 Ra2 36. f3 Qd4 - intending ... Ra1 - 37. Kh2 Qd6+ 38. Kh1 Qd4 White must take the draw by repetition and play 39. Kh2) and the Azeri player won on the spot: 33.Nxd5 Nxd5 34.Rf3+ Kg8 35.Qe1 Rd4 36.Bxd5+ 1–0 (36... Rxd5 37. Qe6+ is without hope for Black).

Papadopoulou, V. (2218) - Umudova, N. (2188), Crete 30.10.2007
Black has reached a promising position and now 25...Re8 would give her good winning chances, since White has to play the sad 26. Rxd4 and after 26.... Rxd4 27. Qxb7 a5 Black is an exchange up and her pieces are very well placed. Unfortunately Umudova played the weak 25... Qxg3?; the game continued 26. Rxd4 (simple and strong) 26... Nxf3+ 27. Rxf3 Rxf3?? (horrible: 27... Qxf3 28. gxf3 Rxd4 29. Qxb7 Re8 was the only way to keep on fighting) 28. fxg3 1-0. Black probably calculated only 28. Qxg3 Rxg3 29. fxg3 and White is a pawn up, but she has not won yet.

And now here are the solutions to yesterday's tests.

Beliavsky (2646) - Efimov (2446), Crete 28.10.2007
White to play and win
24.Nxg6! Kxg6 25.e5+ f5 26.e6 Rff8 27.Nxf5 1–0

Berend (2344) - Nevednichy (2531), Crete 29.10.2007
Black to play and win
28... Rxb2+! 29.Kxb2 Qc2+ 30.Ka1 Ra8 31.a4 b3 32.Rd2 b2+ 33.Ka2 b1Q+ 0–1

And here is a new test for you.

Rajlich (2411) - Bosboom-Lanchava (2379), Crete 30.10.2007
White to play and win

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