Hi again! Yes, I'm still alive :-) (lucky me!). Three long weeks have passed since my last post and, well, I guess you know Vishy Anand is the new world champion and the top rated player of the planet; I think the Indian superGM deserves the title as well as the #1 place in the rating list, with 2801 points. You probably know that Linex Magic from Merida (Spain) won the European Club Championship, too, and that a strong blindfold tourney is underway in Bilbao, Spain, with Veselin Topalov, Magnus Carlsen, Bu Xiangzhi, Sergey Karjakin, Pentala Harikrishna and Judit Polgar. Speaking about the Hungarian superGM, she gave a simul ten days ago in Positano, Italy: she won 26 games, drew two and lost two. The Italian U14 female champion Roberta Messina was one of the winners: her game is really spectacular and deserves a look. You will find it with full annotations by IM Daniel Contin in the next issue of "Torre & Cavallo Scacco". Meanwhile you can watch it here...
Polgar,J. (2708) - Messina,R. (1840) [B81], Positano 6.10.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.gxf6 d4 12.Bc4 Bxf5 13.Qf3 Qd7 14.0–0–0 Nc6 15.Nd5 Bg4 16.Qg3 Bxd1 17.Rxd1 Bc5 18.b4 Ba7 19.Bg5 0–0–0 20.Ne7+ Kb8 21.Bxf7 Nxb4 22.Qxe5+ Ka8 23.Bb3 d3 24.c3 Nxa2+ 25.Bxa2 Qa4 26.Rd2 Qa3+ 27.Kb1 Bb8 28.Qe3 Qxc3 29.Nd5 Rxd5 30.Bxd5 Be5 31.Qxd3 Qa1+ 32.Kc2 Rc8+ 33.Bc4 Qa4+ 34.Kc1 Rxc4+ 35.Rc2 Qa1+ 36.Kd2 Rd4 37.Rc8+ Bb8 38.Bf4 Rxd3+ 39.Kxd3 Qf1+ 40.Ke4 Qe2+ 41.Kf5 Qb5+ 42.Ke6 Qb3+ 43.Ke7 Qb4+ 44.Ke8 Qxf4 45.f7 Qe5+ 0–1
The main reason for which I haven't written for such a long period is that I had to prepare... for my first tourney after three years :-) If you also consider that September, October and November are the toughest months at my work place, a little newspaper in Bergamo (too many sport games of every kind, even along the week)... well, I'm not Superman :-) I need some rest, from time to time! Speaking about the tourney, it was an 8 player round robin event in Corsico, near Milan, with an average rating of 2247. I can be more than satisfied with my result, 4.5 points out of 7 with two wins and five draws (I was placed second), but I didn't play many interesting games and I was already tired after the first battle of the second and last week-end of the tourney (which took place on October 6, 7, 13 and 14). FM and Elo favorite Michelangelo Scalcione from Bologna took the first place with 5 points: I played against him the most interesting game of my tourney, although many mistakes have been made by both of us. Full results of the event can be found at http://www.corsicoscacchi.com/torgen_torneo.php. Now here is the above mentioned game...
Mione,Dario (2254) - Scalcione,Michelangelo (2357) [C41], Corsico 13.10.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d4 Nbd7 6.dxe5
6.0–0 is the main choice here. The text move prepares the following sacrifice.
This is obviously a psycological choice. Scalcione is a great expert of the Philidor defence and I wanted to surprise him from the very beginning. This is the only target I've reached in this game :-(
7...Kxf7 8.Ng5+ Kg6
Well, this can't be considered a bad move, but it is risky compared to the "positional" alternative, 8...Kg8. After 8...Kg8 9.Ne6 Qe8 10.Nxc7 Qg6 11.Nxa8 Qxg2 12.Rf1 Nc5 13.Qe2 Bh3 14.Be3 Qxf1+ 15.Qxf1 Bxf1 16.Kxf1 Kf7 17.Nc7 Ncxe4 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Nd5 Rc8 20.Nxe7 Kxe7 21.c3 b6 22.Ke2 the endgame is about equal. I was well prepared on the above mentioned variation, but I was ready to meet 8...Kg6 as well, which allowed me to play the opening very quickly (until move 18), while my opponent spent a lot oftime.
White tries to mate his opponent's king with f4-f5 :-) Black is forced to take the pawn.
9...exf4 10.Ne6 Qg8
Now theory says 11.Nxc7, but I think the text move, a novelty I had prepared for this game, is stronger...
Now Black has to be really precise... The main treat is 12.Nxe7+ and Black can't take on "e6" because of 12.Nxf4+ Kf7 13.Nxe6 Kxe6 14.Qd3 and White is simply better (Black king should be very bad placed).
The most precise move, which my opponent found after a very long thought. Taking the knight on "d5" is possible, but not safe: after 11...Nxd5 12.Qxd5 Nf6 13.Nxf4+ Kh6 14.Ne6+ Kg6 White can choose between 15.Nf4+ with a draw by repetition or 15.Qg5+ Kf7 16.Nxc7 with huge complications (I think I would repeat moves :-) ).
A brave (and good) choice. After 12...Nxd5 13.Qg4+ White has a very promising position.
Here is my full pregame analysis:
a) 13...Kh6 14.Ne6!! Bb4+ 15.c3 Qxe6 (15...Be7 16.h4 Qxe6 17.Qxe6+ N7f6 18.Qe5 Kg6 19.exd5 Re8 20.Qg5+ Kf7 21.0–0 Bc5+ 22.Kh2+-) 16.Qxe6+ N7f6 17.Qe5 Re8 18.Bxf4+ Kg6 19.Qg5+ Kf7 20.Be5 h6 21.Qg3 Bc5 22.0–0–0 Nh5 23.Qf3+ Ndf6 24.Bxf6 Nxf6 25.Qf4 Rxe4 26.Qc7+ Be7 27.Rhe1 Rxe1 28.Rxe1 Nd5 29.Rf1+ Nf6 30.a4+- and Black has no good moves;
b) 13...Kf7?? 14.Qe6+ Kf8 15.Qe8#;
c) 13...Kf6 14.Nxd5+ Kf7 15.Bxf4 Nf6 (15...Bxf4 16.Qxf4+ Nf6 17.Qc7+ Bd7 18.Nxf6+-) 16.Qh4 Qd8 (16...Bxf4 17.Qxf4 Qd8 18.0–0–0+-) 17.Rf1!
c1) 17...Be7 18.Bg5 Be6 (18...Kg6 19.g4 h5 20.gxh5+ Kh7 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Rxf6+-; 18...Qd6 19.0–0–0 Qe5 20.Nxe7 Qxe7 21.e5 Qxe5 22.Rde1+-) 19.0–0–0 Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Qc7 21.e5 Rac8 22.Qe4 Qc4 23.Qxc4 Rxc4 24.exf6+-;
c2) 17...Nxd5 18.Bxd6+ Ke6 19.Qg3!! Nf6 (19...Qxd6 20.Qg4+ Ke5 21.Qxg7+ Kxe4 22.0–0–0) 20.0–0–0+-;
c3) 17...Be6 18.Bxd6 Bxd5 (18...Qxd6 19.Rxf6++-) 19.e5 Qa5+ 20.Bb4 Qb6 21.0–0–0 Qe3+ 22.Rd2 Qxe5 23.Bc3 Qe6 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Rxd5! Qxd5 26.Qxf6+ Kg8 27.Rf4 Qh5 28.Qe6+ Kg7 29.Rg4++-;
c4) 17...Bb4+ 18.c3 Be7 19.Bg5 Kg6 20.g4 h5 (20...h6 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.0–0–0 Qe8 23.e5 Bd8 24.exf6+-) 21.gxh5+ Kh7 22.h6! Nxd5 23.Rf7 Rg8 24.hxg7+ Kg6 25.Bxe7 Qb6 26.Rf3! Qg1+ 27.Kd2 Qg2+ 28.Rf2 Qg4 29.exd5 Qxh4 30.Bxh4+-;
12...Rb8 is just bad: 13.Bxf4 Bxf4 14.Ne7+ Kf7 15.Nxg8 Bxc7 16.Qd4! Ba5+ 17.b4 Bxb4+ 18.Qxb4 Rxg8 19.Qb3+ Kg6 20.0–0 and Black king is naked (and White treats 21.e5). You can check all these variations with your favorite chess program: it should be really instructive :-)
13.Ne7+ Kf7 14.Nxg8 Rxg8 15.Qd3 Ba5+?!
15...Nc5 is stronger. After 16.Qc4+ Ne6 17.0–0 (what else?) 17...g5 18.Bd2 Bd7 Black has full compensation for the sacrificed material and he can even start thinking how to win. To be honest, I would prefer to play on Black side in such a position :-)
My opponent had spent a lot of time to calculate the previous 7 moves and now he makes a big positional mistake. After 16...Nc5! 17.Qc4+ Be6 18.Qe2 (18.Qxc5? Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2?? Nxe4+–+) 18...Bxd2+ (18...Bg4 19.Qc4+ Be6 is an easy way to get a draw, but Black can fight for the initiative) 19.Qxd2 g5 20.e5 Rgd8 21.Qb4 Nfe4 chances are about equal, although White can be more satisfied than the above mentioned variation on move 15.
17.Qxd2 Re8 18.0–0–0
18.0–0 had also to be taken into consideration.
18...Rxe4 19.Rhe1 Rxe1 20.Rxe1 is good only for White.
A losing move. 19...Nc4 20.Qxf4 Ne5 21.Rhf1 Kg8 looks more stubborn.
After 20...h6 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.e5 White wins easily.
As my opponent pointed out in the postgame analysis, 21.Qa5 was a good alternative, but I consider the text move to be more precise.
White misses a much stronger move: 22.g4!! fxg3 23.Rhf1 Nf2 (23...Kg6 24.h5+ Kxh5 25.Rxf5 Kg6 26.Ra5+-) 24.Qb5 Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Be4 26.Qb3+ Bd5 27.Qxg3 Ne4 28.Qe5 gxh4 29.Rf1++- This variation is easy to be seen with a strong program, but not on chessboard... :-)
Now Black gets some counterplay in return for the material losses.
From now on my opponent could only count on time increment (+30 seconds per move)...
24.Qxa7 Nd7 25.Rd1!
My first good move! The treat is 26.Rxd7+ Bxd7 27.Rxh7+ Ke6 28.Qxb7. 25.Qxb7? is a mistake because of 25...Rxc2+ 26.Kb1 Rd2 27.Qb3+ Kg6 28.Ka1 Ndc5 and Black can be happy with his position.
25...Re7 is probably more precise, but this move is also dangerous...
A dubious move, but Black can count on White's blindness :-) 26...R8c7 was more precise.
It was time to take the "b7" pawn: 27.Qxb7+ R8c7 28.Qb4 f3 (28...Nf2 29.Rxh7+ Bxh7 30.Qxf4+ Ke8 31.Qxf2+-) 29.gxf3 Nf2 30.Qb3+ Kg7 31.Rd8 Nf7 32.Rh2 Nxd8 33.Rxf2 Ne6 34.Qd1 and White must win, although it is all but simple in a human game...
27...Ng3 was objectively better, but my opponent played this and the following moves in severe time trouble, so he can be justified. But I can't: I had more than one hour and I didn't find a simple defence after his 29th move.. . After 27...Ng3 28.Qxb7+ R8c7 29.Qb3+ Kg6 30.Rf2 Kxg5 31.Qg8+ Kh5 32.Qe8+ Bg6 33.Qa4 Rc4 34.Qa5 R4c5 I think Black has excellent practical chances to get a draw.
The only way to get some chances to survive. Brilliant, if you consider that Scalcione found it in less than one minute...
I understimated this move and I now played the horrible...
...almost automatically, because I thought it was forced. The correct defence was: 30.Kd2 Re8 31.c4 Nxc4+ 32.Kc3 Ne3 33.Rc1 and the position is still unclear, but White can keep on fighting for a win.
Giving back the favor! After 30...Rc4 White has to pray for a draw: 31.Qa7 (only move) 31...Rxc3+ 32.Kd2 Ra3! 33.Qxa3 Nc4+ 34.Kc3 Nxa3 35.Rd6 and Rybka says this is a perfect draw, but I would prefer to play on Black side, anyway :-)
31.Kd2 Nc4+ 32.Qxc4+!?
32.Ke1 is stronger, but I didn't want to take any more risk.
32...Rxc4 33.Rxb1 Bxb1 34.Rxb1 Ra4
34...Kg6 35.Rxb7 Kxg5 36.Rxh7 Ra4 37.Ke3 Rxa2 38.c4 was also hopeless for Black.
35.Rxb7+ Kg6 36.Rb5 Rxa2+ 37.Ke3
Now it is all over.
37...Rc2 38.Rc5 Kh5 39.Kf4 Kh4 40.Rc6 Kh3 41.Rh6+ Kg2 42.Rxh7 Rxc3 43.Kg4 1–0
43...Rxf3 loses on the spot: 44.Rh2+ Kxh2 45.Kxf3 +-. This is why Black resigned. A thrilling and undeserved win by White, but don't tell me the opening preparation is useless: it can be very useful, if your opponent has to think hard to find the correct moves in a sharp position :-)