Garry, a (happy) Russian in Milan...

I'm exhausted. I can't say it wasn't a nice evening at Dal Verme theatre. Kasparov spoke for about 15 minutes to the audience (about chess and... politics): he was in a very good mood and he was as brilliant and polite as usual. His young wife Dasha was with him: they had a baby about 8 months ago. Unfortunately this was not that kind of event where journalists can make questions (and receive anwers :-) ). So... here are the questions I couldn't make to Garry (and some pictures I took).

Garry speaking to his interpreter (his wife on the right)

1) From chessboard to politics, from a virtual battlefield to a less defined one but definitely more real. Who is or has been you toughest opponent: Karpov, Kramnik, Putin or who-ever?
2) About your "war" against Putin, you told to "Spiegel": "We are not playing chess, we're playing roulette". Do you think, apart from the next elections results, that "battle for democracy in Russia", as you call it, would be less "bloody" without him? And, in case your coalition didn't win elections, are you ready to fight more and again?

A brilliant speaker

3) You were on top of the Fide list for two decades. Last April you were in the "top 100" list of the most influential people on "Time magazine". What's your next target?
4) You titled your last book "How life imitates chess". An ambitious title, since chess become a comparison for life and not the opposite, as one should expect. Is that title a tribute to chess or a way to impress readers? (Just a note here: this book will be published in Italy by Mondadori, probably in the next few months).

Garry signing books: he was in a very good mood

5) Russia is in a big chaos. Fide, headed by a Russian politician, a friend of Putin's, is in a big chaos too. Don't you think you may come back to chess, in 10 or even 20 years, and become the Fide president? (When I asked him this question three years ago in Turin he answered something like: "My attention is all for Russian people now").
6) What do you think about the present confusion in the world championship cycle? Rules are changing almost once a month...

Garry (second from right) with all other guests:
the evening is almost finished

7) And what do you think about the cooperation between Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Bessel Kok? Would you ever cooperate so promptly with Putin or his coalition if they will win next elections?
8) Kramnik, Anand, Aronian, Leko, etc. who do you think will be the winner in Mexico city? And who do you think is the best active player of the world nowadays?

Leaving the scene: bye bye Garry

9) When you won a memorable game against Topalov in Wijk aan Zee 1999 you told your best game hadn't been played yet. You gave up professional chess, now. Can you tell what is your best game ever? And your most memorable tournament?
That's all. You can obviously use these questions if you find Kasparov on your way in the next few months :-)
I will report on this evening as soon as possible. I will leave for Rome on Monday morning and I won't be able to update this Blog (and my Italian site) for a few days, but I think I will have the possibility to write an article on my fiancée's lap-top along the week (I will have a new lap-top in a few weeks: my old one is dead :-) ). So stay tuned.
Vladimir Kramnik almost secured first place in the Sparkassen chess meeting, which will end tomorrow in Dortmund (Germany). Vlad won against local idol Arkadij Naiditsch in round 6, while Anand and Alekseev drew their game; Leko beat Gelfand with Black pieces and now share second place with them on 3.5 (Kramnik is on 4.5). Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. You can also find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
Here is our game of the day: please forgive me, I'm too tired for commenting anything.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Naiditsch,A (2654) [E04], Dortmund 30.6.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Qa4 Nd7 7.Qxc4 Nb6 8.Qb5 a6 9.Qd3 e5 10.Nxe5 Nb4 11.Qd1 Qxd4 12.Qxd4 Nc2+ 13.Kd1 Nxd4 14.Be3 Nf5 15.Bxb6 cxb6 16.Nc3 Bc5 17.e3 0–0 18.Ke2 Re8 19.Nd3 Rb8 20.Rhc1 Be6 21.Bd5 Bd7 22.Ne4 Bf8 23.Rc7 Rbd8 24.Nc3 Nd4+ 25.Kd2 Be6 26.exd4 Bxd5 27.Nxd5 Rxd5 28.Rxb7 b5 29.a4 Rxd4 30.axb5 Red8 31.bxa6 Rxd3+ 32.Ke1 Re8+ 33.Kf1 Rdd8 34.a7 Ra8 35.b4 Re7 36.Rxe7 Bxe7 37.b5 Bc5 38.Rc1 Bd4 39.Rc4 Bxa7 40.Ra4 Rb8 41.Rxa7 Kf8 42.Ra5 Ke7 43.Ke2 Rb6 44.Kd3 Rd6+ 45.Kc4 Rd2 46.b6 Kd6 47.Rb5 Rc2+ 1–0


Great battle for young fighters in Sicily

More than 660 "wunderkinds" will compete in the 2007 Italian U16 championship, to be held in Palermo (Sicily) from tomorrow to July 7. Master Axel Rombaldoni from Pesaro (one IM norm) and Italian female champion Roberta Brunello from Bergamo are clear favorite in the main U16 event (in male and female groups respectively). Sicily will be (that's obvious) the more represented region with 111 players; Emilia Romagna follows on 69, Marche on 63, Lazio on 48 and Piemonte on 47; only 33 participants from Lombardia, 16 of them coming from Bergamo (where I live) and only 13 from Milan (the second most populated Italian city after Rome). Official site: http://www.palermoscacchi.it/.
As expected, Ukrainian superGM Vassily Ivanchuk won the 2007 Aerosvit tournament, which ended today in Yalta (Ukraine). Chuky drew his last game against Svidler and scored 7.5 points out 11, a half more than his young compatriot Sergej Karjakin. Alexander Onischuk (USA), Peter Svidler (RUS), Loek Van Wely (NED) and Alexei Shirov (ESP) shared third place on 6, Cuban top GM Lenier Dominguez was placed fifth on 5.5. After three great months of chess, Chuky will be fourth in the July Fide list on 2762, just a few points behind Topalov and Kramnik (both on 2769, if I don't mind). Vishy Anand will arise to 2792 and consolidate his first place thanks to his good performance in the German Bundesliga. Official site of the Aerosvit tourney: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
The day has come: Garry Kasparov will be in Milan tomorrow (June 30). I know he's not very approachable in this period (he is a politician, don't you remember?) and he will not give any press conference, but I'll try to ask him a few questions, if possible (I'm an accredited journalist, after all :-) ). If not, he will give a lecture about "Competions", anyway, and you will read my report here by tomorrow or Sunday evening. Official site of the cultural event Kasparov will take part in: www.lamilanesiana.it.
And now here is our game of the day...

Sasikiran,K (2690) - Van Wely,L (2674) [D44], Yalta, 29.6.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.g3 Bb7 12.Bg2 Qb6 13.exf6 0–0–0
The extra-sharp Botvinnik System of the Slav Defence was much popular only a few year ago at top level, but is considered too risky for Black nowadays. Van Wely shows he is not afraid...
14.0–0 Bh6
14...c5 15.d5 b4 16.Na4 Qb5 17.a3 etc. is a more common variation.
15.Bxh6 Rxh6 16.b3
A rare move. 16.Qd2 and 16.Ne4 have been played more often.
16...cxb3 17.Ne4
17.axb3 Nxf6 18.Ne2 e5 19.Qc1 Rdh8 20.h4 exd4 21.Rd1 c5 22.Nxd4 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 Rh5 24.Nf3 was played in Del Rio Angelis-Dominguez, Ubeda 2001: White has better chances, but Black managed to get a draw. The game Hofmann-Bohne, Bad Bergzabern 1997, went 17.Qxb3 Nxf6 18.a4 b4 19.Ne2 a5=
17...Nxf6 18.Nc5 b2!
A strong novelty. Czerwonski- Kaszowski, Poland 2000, continued 18...bxa2 19.Rxa2 Nd7? 20.Qc1 and White soon got a huge advantage.
19.Rb1 e5 20.Qd2
20.Qf3 is interesting, e.g.: 20...exd4 21.Qf4 Rdh8 22.Qf5+ Kb8 23.Rxb2 Bc8 24.Qe5+ Qc7 25.Qxd4 and White is even slightly better.
20...Rh5 21.Qxb2
21.Rxb2 Rxd4 22.Qc3 b4 23.Qf3 Qxc5 24.Qxf6 was more complicated.
21...exd4 22.Nxb7 Kxb7 23.a4 a6 24.Rfc1 Nd5 25.a5
25.Qe2 Rh6 26.axb5 axb5 27.Rb3 is an interesting alternative for White.
25...Qxa5 26.Qxd4 Qb6
26...Qc7 looks even stronger.
27.Qg7 Rf5 28.Rb2 Qc7 29.Re2
29.Rbc2 is probably better.
29...Qd6 30.h4?
30.Qa1, followed by h4 on the next move, was much more precise.
30...Qf6! 31.Qg4
White's Queen is now unable to cooperate with her Rooks.
31...Re5 32.Rd2?!
32.Rxe5 Qxe5 33.h5 would give White more drawing chances.
32...Qe6 33.Qd4 Re1+ 34.Rxe1 Qxe1+ 35.Kh2 a5
Sasikiran's position is now almost desperate.
36.Rc2 a4 37.Be4 Qb4! 38.Qd3 Rd6 39.Bf3 Kb6 40.Qf5 Qb3 41.Bd1?
The last mistake in a very bad situation: 41.Rc1 is probably the best way to prolong the resistance.
41...Nc3 42.Rd2
42.Bf3 a3 43.Rc1 Qb2 wouldn't help.
42...Qe6 43.Qf4 Rxd2 44.Qxd2 Nxd1 45.Qxd1 a3
White should resign.
46.Qd4+ Kb7 47.h5 Qd5 48.Qh8 a2 49.h6 Qd1 50.Qf6 a1Q 51.Qxf7+ Kb6 0–1
And Sasikiran finally shook hands.


Chuky on the crest of a wave

The Dortmund supertournament took a rest day, but this doesn’t mean there was no excitement today in the chess world. In Yalta, Ukraine, Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk beat Spanish GM Alexei Shirov with Black pieces and took sole lead in the Aerosvit supertournament: he is now on 7/10 with only one round to go. His young compatriot Sergey Karjakin follows on 6.5, Russian superGM Peter Svidler (unbeaten) and Shirov share the third place on 5.5. It's just a pity that Chuky won't play the next World championship tournament in Mexico City. He is playing at his best in this period and he should be a very tough opponent for everyone (and even a serious candidate to win the title). Top games of the 11th and final round will be Ivanchuk-Svidler and Jakovenko-Karjakin. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
Sergei Tiviakov won the 2007 Dutch championship: he took the title by beating Daniel Stellwagen on a rapid tie-break (1.5-0.5), after both finished on 7.5/11. Ivan Sokolov and Friso Nijboer shared third place on 6.5, Jan Smeets and Erwin L’Ami were fifth on 6. GM Peng Zhaoqin dominated the Women’s event by scoring 8 points ou of 9 (unbeaten). Indian GM Humpy Konery took clear first in the main open with 7.5/9; Georgian GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili was placed second on 7. Official site: http://www.schaakbond.nl/nk2007/.
And now here is the brilliant win scored by Chuky today.

Shirov,A (2699) - Ivanchuk,V (2729) [C91], Yalta 28.6.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.d4
Not the favorite move at top level. The immediate 7.Re1 is much more popular.
7...Nxe4 8.dxe5 Nc5 9.Bd5 Bb7 10.Nc3 0–0 is the main continuation. With the text move Black tries to re-enter the main line.
8.c3 0–0 9.Re1
Shirov definitively deviates from the super-theoretical line 9.h3 Re8 10.Re1.
9...Bg4 10.Be3
10.d5 is more common; 10...Na5 11.Bc2 c6 12.h3 Bc8 13.dxc6 Qc7 14.Nbd2 Qxc6 15.Nf1 Nc4 16.Ng3 Re8 is quite a popular continuation.
10...exd4 11.cxd4 d5!?
11...Na5 12.Bc2 c5 is good as well.
12.e5 Ne4 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qd7 15.h3 Bh5 16.g4
An ambitious move. 16.Bc2 is the main alternative.
16...Bg6 17.Nd2 a5
This looks to be a new (and interesting) move. 17...f5, 17...Na5 and even 17...Bh4 have been played before.
18.f4 a4 19.Bc2 Bxc2 20.Qxc2 f5!?
The position is quite complicated now, but it looks like Black has completely equal chances.
21.exf6 Bxf6 22.Nf3 Rae8 23.Bf2
23.Ne5 was probably a better alternative.
A strong and ambitious move. Black now has a dangerous initiative.
Shirov spent a lot of time for this move, but 24.f5 hxg4 25.hxg4 g6 26.Bg3 gxf5 27.gxf5 looks more cautious.
24...Re4 25.Rxe4 dxe4 26.Nh2?
26.Ng5 Bxg5 27.Qxg5 hxg4 28.hxg4 leads to a complicated (but probably drawish) position. The text move is a serious mistake, after which Chuky wins almost by force.
A nice end effective blow.
27.cxd4 Bxd4 28.Rb1 e3 29.Bg3
29.Be1 Rxf4 30.Kg2 h4! was not better.
The decisive blow. Now White is completely hopeless.
30.Bxh4 Rxf4 31.Qd3 Qd5 32.Nf1
32.Rb4 c5 33.Rxd4 cxd4 34.Bg3 Rf6 would only prolong White's agony some more moves.; while 32.Rxb5 e2+ loses on the spot.
32...Rf2! 33.Nxe3
33.Bxf2 exf2+ 34.Kh2 Be5+ 35.Qg3 Bxg3+ 36.Nxg3 Qxa2 would lose anyway.
33...Rg2+ 34.Kh1
If 34.Kf1 then 34...Qf3+ 35.Ke1 Bc3+ 36.Qxc3 Qe2#
34...Qf3 0–1
White's only chance to avoid mate is 35. Nxg2, but 35... Qxd3 36. Kh2 (36. Re1 Qxh3#) 36... Qxb1 is not very promising :-), so Shirov resigned. An impressive win by Chuky and one of the best games of the whole tourney!


Vlad, an ill killer in Dortmund

His participation was in question only a few days before the tournament, because of a strong respiratory infection. But antibiotics enabled him to play. And now Vladimir Kramnik leads alone on 3/4 the 2007 Sparkassen Chess Meeting, held in Dortmund (Germany). The world champion defeated young Norvegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen in convincing style in round 4, while Russian champion Evgeny Alekseev couldn't get more than a draw against Hungarian top-GM Peter Leko; Israeli Boris Gelfand also shared the point with Azeri "Shakh" Mamedyarov; Vishy Anand outplayed Arkadij Naiditsch in the endgame and this means that he joined Alekseev on second place at 2.5. Tomorrow (my birthday :-) ) there will be the second and last rest day; round 5 games: Leko-Kramnik, Mamedyarov-Anand, Naiditsch-Alekseev and Carlsen-Gelfand. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. You can also find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
Ukrainian prodigy Sergey Karjakin still lead jointely with his compatriot Vassily Ivanchuk on 6/9 the 2007 Aerosvit supertournament, but Spanish GM Alexei Shirov, who beat Russian GM Dmitry Jakovenko with Black pieces in round 9, is now just half a point behind them. Alexander Onischuk, Lenier Dominguez, Loek Van Wely and Peter Svidler follow on 4.5. Shirov-Ivanchuk will be the main duel of round 10. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
Fide finally made a statement on his own site about the resignation of the first appeal committee of the 2006 match between Kramnik and Topalov. "There have been continuing accusations in interviews, articles and letters that the original members of the Appeals Committee of the World Championship Match between Topalov and Kramnik in Elista in 2006 abused the match regulations as well as the contract with players", you can read on www.fide.com. "The Presidential Board and the Fide President want to stress once again that the decisions of the Appeals Committee in the match were in accordance with the match regulations as well as the contracts and were meant to ensure equal playing conditions for both players. The resignation of the members of the Appeals Committee that time was made to ease the atmosphere and ensure that the match continued". Yes, well, but why has Fide published this statement only now?
Our game of the day is the easy win by Vlad against Carlsen in Dortmund.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Carlsen,M (2693) [E05], Dortmund 27.6.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.d4 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4
8.a4 is the main alternative.
8...b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2
The continuation 10.Bf4 Nc6 11.Rd1 Nb4 12.Qc1 Rc8 13.Nc3 Nbd5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 gives Black full equality.
10...Nc6 11.e3 Nb4 12.Bxb4 Bxb4 13.a3 Be7 14.Nbd2 Rc8 15.b4
15.Nb3 has also been played, but the text move looks more effective.
15...a5 16.Ne5 Nd5?
After 16...Bxg2 17.Kxg2 c6 18.Rab1 (18.Nd3!? axb4 19.axb4 Nd5 was played in Marin-Marciano, Bucharest 1993) 18...axb4 19.axb4 Nd5 20.Nd3 Qb6 21.Rfc1 White got a slight advantage in Zueger-Moor, Switzerland 2001. The text move is not a new idea, but I can't find it on my database. That doesn't look good on move 16, anyway.
17.Nb3! axb4
Almost forced. 17...a4 18.Na5 followed by Nac6 is better for White anyway.
A strong intermidiate move.
18...Ba8 19.Nac6 Bxc6?!
19...Qe8 (or 19...Qd6) was slightly better, although White keeps a better position after 20.Bxd5 exd5 21.Nxe7+! Qxe7 22.axb4 Qxb4 23.Rfb1 Qd6 24.Rxb5.
20.Nxc6 Qd7 21.Bxd5 exd5 22.axb4
White hasn't done anything special, but he has a big advantage now.
22...Ra8 23.Ra5 Rxa5 24.bxa5 Ra8 25.a6! was hopeless for Black.
23.Ra5 Bf8
Black can't do anything to protect the "b5" pawn. His position is almost lost!
The immediate 24.Rxb5 was also possible.
24...Qe6 25.Rxb5 Rb8
After 25...Bxb4 26.Rxb4 c5 27.dxc5 Qxe5 28.Rd1 White wins easily.
26.Rxb8 Rxb8 27.Qxc7 Bd6
27...Rxb4 28.Ra1 f6 29.Nd7 was also hopeless for Black.
28.Qa5! Bxb4?
28...Bxe5 29.dxe5 Qxe5 30.Rd1 wouldn't be much better, but the text move loses immediately.
Simple and decisive.
Forced. 29...Bxa5 30.Rxb8++-; 29...Bd6 30.Rxb8+ Bxb8 31.Qd8+ +-.
30.Qa4 1–0
Now after 30... Bd2 31. Rxb8+ Qxb8 32. Qd7 Qf8 33. Qxd5 Black is two pawns down without any compensation. So Carlsen resigned.


Old kings have lost their fighting spirit

Alexander Khalifman is the king of all (old) kings. The Russian GM and former world champion took clear first place in Bazna (Romania), where the "Kings tournament" ended today. Khalifman scored 7 points out of 10 by beating Rafael Vaganian in the last and decisive game: they were tied going into the final round. The Armenian GM was placed second on 6, Slovenian GM Alexander Beliavsky follows on 5.5. Unfortunately it was not a really exciting event: 43 games out of 55 ended in draws, 21 of them in 22 moves or less. Hungarian GM Zoltan Ribli (average moves per game: 23) and Swedish GM Ulf Andersson (a.m.p.g.: 21) both drew all their "battles". Beliavsky won only one game (against the winner) and share all other points, but he was much more fighting, with an average of 43 moves per game. This was a category 13 tournament. Official site: http://www.clubulregilor.ro/.
Vassily Ivanchuk beat Sergei Rublevsky in round 8 of the Aerosvit supertournament and joined compatriot Sergey Karjakin on 5.5/8, a point clear of Spanish GM Alexei Shirov. Five players follow on 4: Onischuk, Van Wely (who won against Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran), Dominguez, Svidler and Jakovenko. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
Gianpietro Pagnoncelli, president of FSI (Italian Chess Federation), was awarded with the "Silver Star for sports merits" by Coni (Italian National Olympic Committee). Pagnoncelli was born on February, 1950, near Bergamo (my hometown :-) ). He is a Fide International arbiter since 1998 and he is a great tournaments organizer, too (the Presolana Chess Festival is his best known creature). I know him since I was 15 or 16 (I will be 32 on June 28 :-) ) and I've sometimes played against his son Marco, a master class player. Congratulations, Gianpietro!
And now here is our game of the day, the decisive battle of the Kings tournament...

Khalifman,A (2624) - Vaganian,R (2590) [C09], Bazna 26.6.2007
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5
3...Nf6 is a totally different continuation.
4.Ngf3 Nc6
4...cxd4 5.exd5 Qxd5 is more popular, but this "old" line is perfectly playable. The main continuation is 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0–0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 etc.
5.exd5 exd5 6.Bb5 Bd6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.0–0 Nge7 9.Nb3 Bd6
9...Bb6 is an interesting alternative.
10.Re1 0–0 11.Bd3
11.Bg5 Bg4 leads to an approximately equal middlegame.
11...h6 12.h3 Nf5 13.c3 Qf6
13...Bc7 has also been played.
14.Bc2 Rd8 15.Qd3 g6 16.Nh2
Probably a new move. 16.Qd2 Bf8 17.Nh2 Qg7 and 16.Bd2 a5 17.a4 b6 are more common continuations.
16...h5 (to prevent Ng4) 17.Nf3 Nh4 18.Nbd4 was slightly better for White.
17.Kxh2 Nh4?
Such a blunder is rare for an experienced (and French expert) player like Vaganian...
18.Bxh6 Ne5??
When he played 17...Nh4, Vaganian probably intended to reply with 18...Qxf2 to 18.Bxh6, but he must have seen that White gets a huge advantage after this move, e.g.: 19.Re2 Qf6 20.Qd2 Nf5 21.Bg5 Qd6+ 22.Bf4 Qf8 23.Rae1 and Black is almost paralyzed. But the text move is even worse and loses immediately.
19.Qg3 Nef3+
19...Ng4+ 20.hxg4 g5 21.Bxg5 Qxg5 22.Re5 Qf6 23.Rae1 was not better.
20.gxf3 Nxf3+ 21.Kg2 1–0
After 21.Kg2 Nxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Bd7 (22...Qd6 23.Re8+; 22...Qb6 23.Qe5) 23.Bg5 Qh8 24.Bxd8 Rxd8 25.h4 White is simply a piece up, so Black resigned. Thanks to this miniature Khalifman took clear first place in the tournament.


Dear players, be kind please!

Chess players, be kind or... you'll lose the game! The Fide Presidential Board, held in Tallinn, decided on setting up behavioural norms in chess events. No, this is not a joke. The PB discussed "several recent cases in different chess tournaments where the attitude of players toward their opponent or officials, journalists etc. was not acceptable under conventional social behaviour". This is why Fide decided, at last, that "any player who does not shake hands with the opponent (or greets the opponent in a normal social manner in accordance with the conventional rules of their society) before the game starts in a Fide tournament or during a Fide match (and does not do it after being asked to do so by the arbiter) or deliberately insults his/her opponent or the officials of the event, will immediately and finally lose the relevant game". You can say this is ridiculous, I think it is a sad necessity. I'm personally aware of some episodes where players even insulted their opponents... Perhaps they just got nervous for some reasons and reacted in a wrong way (perhaps their opponent were a bit guilty themselves, too), I don't know: this doesn't justify them anyway. Remember you are playing chess, not football :-) You have to be sporty, whatever happens. If you can't stand a loss (because this is the main reason why a player gets nervous), just give up chess and try another sport. More details on www.fide.com.
The Sparkassen Chess Meeting had a rest day. Tomorrow's games will be Mamedyarov-Kramnik, Carlsen-Alekseev, Gelfand-Anand and Leko-Naiditsch. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. You can also find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
Round 7 of the Aerosvit supertournament was played in Yalta,Ukraine. Sergey Karjakin strengthened his lead by beating Loek Van Wely; Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexei Shirov also won against Pavel Eljanov and Krishnan Sasikiran respectively. Standings: Karjakin 5/7; Ivanchuk 4.5; Shirov 4; etc. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
And now here is Karjakin victory's...

Karjakin,S (2686) - Van Wely,L (2674) [B90], Yalta 25.6.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3
Karjakin usually plays 7.Nb3 at this point. The text move is a solid alternative.
7...Be7 8.Bc4 0–0 9.0–0 Nc6 10.Re1 b5 11.Bf1 Rb8 12.Bg5 Ng4 13.Bc1
Probably a new move. White deviates from the game Anand-Topalov, Morelia-Linares 2007, which continued 13.Bd2 Be6 14.Nd5 h6 15.h3 Nf6 16.c4 Qd7 17.b3 Bd8 18.Rc1 Bxd5 19.cxd5 Ne7 20.Bd3 Bb6 21.Nh4 g5 22.Nf3 Rfc8 23.Rxc8+ Rxc8 24.Nh2 Ng6 25.Ng4 1/2–1/2.
13...Qb6 14.Qd2 Nf6 15.h3 Re8 16.Qd1
It looks like White is a bit confused...
16...h6 17.b3 Bf8 18.a4 b4 19.Nd5 Nxd5 20.exd5 Na5?!
The first inaccuracy. After 20...Ne7 Black has completely equal chances.
21.Be3 Qc7 22.Nd2 f5 23.Nc4 Be7?!
Probably not the best choice: 23...Nxc4 24.Bxc4 Qf7 looks safer.
Now Black is in deep trouble.
This allows White to finish the game with a brilliant combination. 24...Rd8 and 24...Bd7 had to be considered.
25.Nxa5 Qxa5 26.Bxh6!
First blow!
Now Black loses by force. 26...Bd7 was the only way to survive, although White has a huge advantage after 27.Bg5.
27.Qg6+ Kh8 28.Qxh6+ Kg8 29.Qg6+ Kh8 30.Re3!
Now Black has to prevent Rg3.
Almost forced, but...
Second and decisive blow!
31...dxe5 32.Qh6+ Kg8 33.d6
Wonderful! White is one Rook and one Bishop down, but Black doesn' have a good defence!
This loses immediately, but after 33...Qd8 34.Bc4+ Rf7 35.dxe7 Qxe7 36.Qg6+ Kf8 37.Bxf7 Qxf7 38.Qd6+ Kg7 39.Qxb8 Black is hopeless anyway.; 33...Bxd6 loses even sooner: 34.Bc4+ Rf7 35.Qg6++-
34.Bc4 Bf5 35.dxe7 1–0
After 35...Qc5 36.Qg5+ White takes the Rook back with a totally winning position, so Black resigned. "I was lucky today!", commented Karjakin after the game.


An Italian king for European Union

Long life the king! Italian GM Michele Godena won the European Union title by scoring 8 points out of 10 in the Eu championship, which ended today in Arvier. Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak took first place on tie break, but Serbia didn't run for medals, since it is not part of Eu yet. So, after some disappointing results in the last two months, Italian champion finally played at his best and could achieve a well-deserved gold medal in this strong competition. Congratulations, Michele!
German GM and Elo-favourite Thoms Luther was placed third (which means silver medal) on 7.5 along with young Italian IM Fabiano Caruana (bronze), Irish GM Alexander Baburin and Croatian GM Miso Cebalo. Lithuanian GM Sarunas Sulskis, Croatian GM Nenad Sulava and Spanish MF Marcos Llanez Vega. Italian IM Sabino Brunello, who scored a GM norm after round 9, lost his last game against Sulskis and was placed 10th on 6.5; his sister Marina, 13 years old, scored only half a point less than him. Very well indeed! Official site: www.scacchivda.com. Final report (in Italian) on my Italian site at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/dblog/articolo.asp?articolo=76.
Russian champion Evgeny Alekseev beat Azeri #1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to take over the lead in the Sparkassen chess Meeting. Alekseev is on 1.5/2 along with World champion Vladimir Kramnik, who won a nice ending against Boris Gelfand. The other games, Anand-Leko and Naiditsch-Carlsen, were both drawn. Next round will be on Tuesday. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. You can also find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
At the Presidential Board meeting, which is currently being held in Tallinn, Estonia, Fide has introduced a new Grand Prix series and a new world championship cycle. Fide made some special rules to govern the 2007-2009 stage, in order to give Topalov the chance to enter it. You can download the "New World Chess Championship Cycle rules" on the www.fide.com site. Some explanations are given on the www.chessbase.com site. Here is an excerpt: "Former Fide world champion Veselin Topalov gets to play an eight-game Challenger's Match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup. If Kramnik does not win the Mexico City world championship tournament he gets to play a match against the winner of Mexico, as a one-time right to challenge the new world champion. The winner of this match will play against the winner of the Challenger's Match. If Kramnik wins the World Championship tournament in Mexico City then he has to play Topalov directly for the world championship in 2008. In this case there will be no Challenger's Match. Instead the winner of the 2007 World Cup in Khanty-Mansyisk gets to play a world championship match against the winner of the Kramnik-Topalov match in 2009". In any case, there's a high possibility to see a Kramnik-Topalov re-match by the end of 2008...

Alekseev,E (2679) - Mamedyarov,S (2757) [B85], Dortmund 24.6.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 d6 7.0–0 Nf6 8.Be3 Bd7 9.a4 Be7 10.f4 0–0 11.Nb3 Rc8 12.a5 Nb4 13.Bf3 e5 14.Rf2 Qc7 15.Rd2 Be6 16.Bb6
This should be a new move according to my (old) database. 16.Ra4 is the main line here, e.g.: 16...Bxb3 17.Rxb4 (17.cxb3 d5? (17...Nc6=) 18.exd5 Bc5 19.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 20.Kh1 Rfe8?! 21.d6 Rcd8 22.Qg1 Qxg1+ 23.Kxg1 and White won, Mokry-Cebalo, Reggio Emilia 1991) 17...Bc4 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 exf4 20.Bb6 Qb8 21.Re2 Rce8 22.Rxf4 Nd7 with chances for both sides, Nunn-Dzindzichashvili, Thessaloniki 1984.
16...Qb8 17.f5 Bxb3
17...Bd7 had to be considered.
18.cxb3 Nd7 19.Be3 b5?!
19...Nc5 looks better.
20.axb6 Nxb6 21.Kh1
21.f6!? was an interesting alternative, e.g.: 21...Bxf6 (21...gxf6? 22.Bg4 with the idea Bf5, Qh5) 22.Rxd6 Na8 (22...Rc6 23.Rxc6 Nxc6 24.Rxa6) 23.Rxf6 gxf6 24.Bg4 Rfd8 25.Qe2 Rc6 26.Bd7 Rd6 27.Bf5 Nc7 28.Qh5 Kf8 29.Qxh7!? and White has a dangerous attack.
21...Rc6 22.Be2 Qb7 23.Bf1! Rfc8 24.Qg4 Nd7 25.Bc4 Nf6 26.Qf3 h6 27.Bf2 Rxc4?!
Black loses his nerves. A quiet defence like 27...Bd8 with the idea ...a5 or ...Bb6 was preferable.
28.bxc4 Rxc4 29.Bh4!
White has some initiative anyway and he is also an exchange up now.
29...Rd4 30.Rad1 Nc6 31.Bxf6 Bxf6 32.Nd5 Bg5 33.Rxd4 Nxd4 34.Qa3 Qc6 35.Qc3 Qb5 36.b4
Black can just wait for the end: he has no serious counterplay in this position.
36...Qe2 37.Qd3 Qa2 38.Rf1 h5 39.g3 f6 40.Kg1 h4
Repeating the position by 40...Ne2+ 41.Kh1 Nd4 was probably better, although after 42.Re1 White has a hugh advantage anyway.
41.Rf2 Qa1+
41...Qa4 42.Kg2 hxg3 43.hxg3 would only prolong the agony some more moves.
42.Kg2 Kh7 43.gxh4 Bf4 44.Kh3! Kh8 45.Ne7 1–0
A very convincing win by the young Russian champion!


Sabino, a young future GM for Italy

I probably made a wrong calculation, or I just ignore some rules... Whatever happened, it seems that half a point was enough for Italian IM Sabino Brunello to score his first GM norm in the European Union championship... and he drew against Croatian GM Nenad Sulava! This means, according to official site, that he did it! Many congratulations, Sabino! And happy birthday in advance: he will be 18 years old on June 27. Another Italian idol, GM Michele Godena, beat Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest with Black pieces and now share first place with Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak (having a better tie-break) with only one round to go: they're both on 7.5/9. Croatian GM Miso Cebalo follows on 7, eight players are on 6.5: Brunello, German GM Thomas Luther, Slovakian GM Tomas Likavsky, Irish GM Alexander Baburin, French IM Vladimir Okhotnik and GM Erik Prie, Italian IM Fabiano Caruana and Sulava. Top boards of 10th and last round: Sedlak-Cebalo, Godena-Sulava, Prie-Luther, Baburin-Likavsky, Okhotnik-Caruana, Sulskis-Brunello. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
Veselin Topalov will not play in Mexico City, as Bulgarian Federation asked to Fide. But, according to a press release from Peter Rajcsanyi (Fide Pr and Marketing Director), "Topalov will have an eight-game Challenger Match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup in the year 2008 as part of the new WCCh cycle". According to the regulations, if "Kramnik wins the WCCh tournament in Mexico City 2007, a match between Kramnik and Topalov, the current and the previous world champions, will take place in 2008. In that case, the winner of the Kramnik-Topalov match will play against the winner of the 2007 World Cup". More details at: http://www.chessdom.com/news/topalov-wcc.
Azeri GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, number six in the world, beat German GM Arkadij Naiditsch in a tense 44-move battle and took sole lead in the 2007 Sparkassen Chess Meeting, which started today in Dortmund. Alla other games were drawn: Kramnik-Anand was a Slav which Anand held comfortably in 35 moves; Gelfand-Alekseev, a Symmetrical English, looked fine for Black, but was drawn in 23; Carlsen-Leko was an Anti-Marshall that ended in a 29-move draw. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. You can also find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
And now here is our game of the day...

Agrest,E (2561) - Godena,M (2558) [D43], Arvier 23.6.2007
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Ne5 h5!?
Probably a new move. 11...Bg7 is the main line here.
12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.Be5 Rh6 14.Qc1 Rg6 15.Rd1 Ng4 16.Bg3 f5
Godena is usually not an attacker, but in this game he shows he can be...
17.f3 Nh6 18.b3 cxb3 19.axb3 Kf7 20.Bf2 a6 21.Ra2 Be7 22.Bd3 g4 23.Be3 Rh8 24.f4 Rf8 25.Re2 Kg8 26.Bb1 Qc7?!
26...h4, keeping the initiative, was much stronger.
27.d5! fxe4?
27...Qb8 was more precise.
28.Bxe4 Nf5 29.dxc6?
After 29.dxe6 White has excellent winning chances, e.g.: 29...Nxe3 (29...Rxe6 30.Nd5! Qc8 31.Nxe7+ Nxe7 32.Bc5+-; 29...Qc8 30.Bxf5 Rxf5 31.Qc2 Rff6 32.f5+-) 30.Bxg6 Nxd1 31.Nd5+-
29...Bxc6 30.Na2?!
A weak move. 30.Nxb5 was the only way to fight for the initiative, e.g.: 30...axb5 31.Bf2 h4 32.g3 e5!? 33.Rc2 hxg3 34.hxg3 Bxe4!? 35.Rxc7 Rh6 36.Kf1 Rh1+ 37.Bg1 Nxg3+ 38.Kf2 Rxf4+ 39.Qxf4 exf4 40.Rxe7 Kf8 and the position is all but easy to understand. After 30.Na2, instead, Black can start a strong attack.
30...Nxe3 31.Qxe3 Bxe4 32.Qxe4 Qc5+ 33.Kh1 Qf5 would also give Black good winning chances.
31.fxe5 Qb7 32.Bxf5 Rxf5 33.Bc5?!
33.Qc2 Be4 34.Qd2 Rxe5 35.Bd4 Bg5 36.Qb2 would give White better chances to fight for a draw.
33...Bf3 34.Rf2
34.gxf3?? gxf3+–+
34...Rxe5 35.Bd4 Bxd1 36.Bxe5 Bxb3 37.Kh1 Qc6 38.Nc3 b4 39.Qb1 Bf7 40.Ne2 Qc5
Time control: Black has a totally won position.
41.Qf5 Qd5 42.Qxh5 Rg7 43.Rxf7
43.Qf5 Be6 44.Qh5 Bd7 was not better for White.
43...Qxf7 44.Qh6 Rh7 45.Qc6 Bf8 46.Kg1 Rh5 47.Bd4 Rf5 48.Ng3 Rd5 49.Ne2 b3 50.Qc8 Qf5 51.Qc4 Kh7?!
51...b2 52.Bxb2 Bc5+ 53.Bd4 Qe6 would win immediately.
52.Qxb3 Rb5 53.Qc3 Rb1+ 54.Nc1 Bh6 0–1
An important win for Godena, who now has excellent chances to be the 2007 EU champion.


Just another step, please!

He can do it! Sabino Brunello drew with Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest in round 8 of the European Union championship and he now needs a victory against Croatian GM Nenad Sulava (he will have Black pieces) in round 9 to score his first GM norm. In case of a draw, he will have another chance in round 10, where a victory should become the only possible result to reach the target. I'm sorry, anyway, because I think Sabino missed a very good opportunity against Agrest: he played Qc4?! on move 30 when he was short of time, but Rd1 was much stronger. What a pity! Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak beat Irish GM Alexander Baburin (who really did his worst to lose a completely won position :-( ) with Black and still leads alone on 7/8; Italian champion Michele Godena is the only player remaining only half a point behind him, while Brunello, Italian IM Carlo D'Amore, Agrest, German GM Thomas Luther, Croatian GM Miso Cebalo, Lithuanian GM Sarunas Sulskis and Sulava follow on 6. Ten players are on 5.5: among them FM Folco Castaldo from Ivrea and brothers Axel and Denis Rombaldoni from Pesaro. They can all score an IM norm (if I don't mind, it should be the third and last for Denis). Good fight and good luch to all of you! Official site of the tournament: www.scacchivda.com.
The Sparkassen Chess Meeting will start tomorrow in Dortmund, Germany. There were some rumours about a possible withdrawal by Vladimir Kramnik, because of a severe respiratory infection, but it seems that the world champion has recovered sufficiently to play the tourney. As I've already written, this is a category 20 event which includes the world's top ranked player: Viswanathan Anand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand and 16-year-old Magnus Carlsen - besides Kramnik, Arkadij Naiditsch and Evgeny Alekseev. You will find a Dortmund section on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (by tomorrow afternoon). Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/english/english.html.
Sergey Karjakin became the sole leader of the Aerosvit super-tournament after his victory over Alexey Shirov in round 5. The young Ukrainian GM is on 3.5/5, while his compatriot Vassily Ivanchuk follows on 3. The only other decisive game of the round was Rublevsky's victory over Sasikiran. Remaining four games were drawn; Svidler played with Van Wely and made his 5th draw in a row, while it was only the first for his opponent. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
And now just look at the following position: 13 years old Marina Brunello (sister of Sabino) showed her great talent by winning this endgame, where she forced her opponent to play defensive moves, so that he found himself in a zugzwang position.

Brunello,M (1924) - Maahs,E (2193), Arvier 22.6.2007

Black is an exchange down but has a pawn more. It looks like he can hold on and obtain an easy draw, but unfortunately for him this is not true... The game continued:
62.Rb7 h5 63.Rh7 h4 64.Ra7 Kd5 65.Ra4 Ke5 66.Re4+ Kf6 67.Kd3 Kf5 68.Re7 Kf6 69.Re8 Kf5 70.Kd4 Kf6 71.Kd5 Kf7 72.Re6 Kg7 73.Ke4
White's plan is now clear: Marina wants to reach a position where her opponent's king would be in a mating net, so that he would have to move his Bishop or pawns, losing on the spot.
73...Kg8 74.Kf5 Kf7 75.Re4 Kg7 76.Re7+ Kf8 77.Kf6 Kg8 78.Kg6 Kf8 79.Re4
The position has been reached and this means... zugzwang! Now Black can't play 79...Kg8 because of 80.Re8#.
79...e2 80.Rxe2 Bc1 81.Re5 Bf4 82.Rxg5 Bd2 83.Re5 Bc3 84.Re4 Bd2 85.Rxh4 Ke7 86.Re4+ 1–0
Black finally resigned. Great endgame by Marina!


Arvier: Brunello fights for GM norm

Go Sabino, go! The young IM Sabino Brunello, who lives in the surroundings of Bergamo (my town :-) ), share second place in the European Union championship in Arvier (Italy), after beating French GM Erik Prie in round 7. Brunello is on the way to his first GM norm: he will face Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest in tomorrow's round and, in case of a victory (but a draw should be good, too), he would be very close to this target. Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak still leads alone on 6 points, after a draw against Italian champion Michele Godena, but five players are just half a point behind him now: Godena and Brunello themselves, Irish GM Alexander Baburin, Agrest and Slovakian GM Tomas Likavsky. Top boards of round 8: Baburin-Sedlak; Brunello-Agrest; Godena-Likavsky; Borgo-Luther; Vocaturo-Sulava. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
Israeli GM Michael Roiz took first in the "Gorenje 2007" tournament, held in Valjevo (Serbia) in June 13 to today. Roiz scored 6.5 points out of 9, winning on tie break over Turkish GM Suat Atalik, both remaining unbeaten. Anatolij Karpov was placed third on 5.5: not a bad performance by the Russian GM and former world champion, who lost only to Roiz in round 7, but this way he will never come back in the top 20 list (you have to be on 2700 in this moment to own to the "tops" club), as he is on 2668 and he gained only 1 point from this tourney. Probably he is not even interested in that, anyway, since he drew his last round game against Slovenian GM Dusko Pavasovic (who was placed 9th-10th) after only 10 moves. Official site: www.chessdom.com.
Sergej Karjakin, Alexei Shirov and Vassily Ivanchuk share the lead on 2.5/4 in the Aerosvit supertournament in Yalta (Ukraine). Van Wely, after losing his first two games, was the only winner in round 4 (against Ukrainian Dmitry Jakovenko) and is now on 2 with six (!!) more players: Alexander Onischuk, Lenier Dominguez, Krishnan Sasikiran, Peter Svidler, Jakovenko and Pavel Eljanov. This means that anything can still happen. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
Poll for "The 2007 Queen - May" is now open: you can vote the best game of the last month at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/public/sondaggio/vota5.php, you can watch games at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/chessviewer/maggio07.html or download them at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/zip/maggio07.zip. Italian players can also start sending their June games.
And now here is today's brilliant win by Van Wely in the Aerosvit super-tournament.

Van Wely,L (2674) - Jakovenko,D (2708) [E15], Yalta 21.6.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 c6 8.e4 d5 9.Qe2!?
This move was first played by Belarussian player Viacheslav Dydyshko 25 years ago. 9.e5 is the main line here.
The game Dydyshko-Salov, URS ch 1982, continued 9...0–0 10.e5 Nfd7 11.Qe3 Re8 12.Bd3 c5 13.cxd5 cxd4 14.Qxd4 Bc5 15.Qe4 Bxd3 16.Qxd3 exd5 17.0–0–0 Nc6 18.Ng5 Nf8 19.f4 h6 20.Nf3 with chances for both sides.
10.Nxe4 Bb7 11.Neg5!
A (strong) new move. Both Dydyshko-Kruszynski, Rubinstein Mem 1993, and Sinkovics-Farago, Hungary 1986, continued 11.Bg2 c5 12.Nfg5 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Nc6 14.dxc5 and now 14...bxc5 and 14...Nd4!? look the best alternatives.
11...h6 12.Nxf7! Kxf7 13.Ne5+ Kg8 14.Bh3 Bc8 15.Ng6 White would have a very promising attack anyway.
12.Bh3 h6?!
Probably not a smart choice. White wants to sacrifice his piece anyway, why Black loses a tempo to force him to do that? 12...Nbd7 looks better, e.g.: 13.Nxf7 Rxf7 14.Bxe6 Nf8 15.Bxf7+ Kxf7 16.0–0 Kg8 17.Rfe1 Bd6 and Black holds on.
13.Nxe6! fxe6 14.Bxe6+ Kh8 15.Ne5
Now White has a powerful attack.
If 15...g5 then 16.Ng6+ Kg7 17.Nxf8 Bxf8 18.Qe3 with the idea h2-h4 and Black's defence is very hard.
16.0–0 Bd6 17.Ng6+ Kh7 18.Bf5!
18.Nxf8+ Bxf8 19.Rad1 was a clear way to get a permanent advantage, but Van Wely wants even more!
19.Be3 Qc3
Forced again.
20.Rad1 Ba3
20...Qb4 would give Van Wely a strong attack anyway: 21.Qd3! Bc7 22.Be6! Rxe6 23.Nf8+ Kh8 (23...Kg8 24.Nxe6 Qe7 25.Nxc7 Qxc7 26.Bf4 Qc8 27.Rfe1) 24.Nxe6 Qe7 25.Nxc7 Qxc7 26.Bf4 Qc8 27.Rfe1 and White is much better.
What a pity! Van Wely misses a win by force: 21.Ne7+ Kh8 22.Bd4! Qa5 (22...Qxd4 23.Ng6+ Kh7 24.Ne5+ Kg8 25.Rxd4+-; 22...Rxe7 23.Bxf6!+-) 23.c5! Nbd7 (23...bxc5 24.Bxf6+-; 23...Bxc5 24.Bxf6+-) 24.Bxd7+-
A horrible blunder: after 21...Na6 22.g4 Kg8 23.h4 Nb4! 24.g5 Nc2 25.gxf6 Qxf6 Black can continue fighting.
22.Bxc8 Rxc8 23.Qf5 Re8 24.Bd4 Qa5 25.c5!
Now Black's position is simply hopless.
The computer move 25...Bb2 was the only chance to prolong the resistance, although after 26.Bxb2 Qxc5 27.Be5 Kg8 28.b4! White wins anyway.
26.Ne7+ Rxe7 27.Bxf6 Rd7
Last mistake, but Black's position was lost.
28.Qg6 1–0
Now Jakovenko can't avoid mate, so he resigned.


A chess study from Turin

Two boys from Turin, Italy, sent to "Messaggero Scacchi" an instructive chess study: a 2R+3P vs 2R+3P endgame where White, with two pawns on the 7th rank, can't avoid a forced loss. I report here their creation... Oh, I almost forgot: authors of this studio are Joshua Cova (14 years old) and Manuel Miglietta (15): they both don't have a Fide rating, but if they keep so much enthusiasm for chess I'm sure they will become strong players very soon. Forgive possible mistakes in their analysis: only Rybka or Fritz can "think" better than human players :-)

Black to play and win

Here is the solution Joshua and Manuel give:
1...Ra2 2.Kd1 Rd2+ 3.Kc1
3.Ke1 b2 4.f8Q+ Rxf8 5.Rc7+ (5.Rb7 Re8+ 6.Kf1 c2 7.Rc7+ Kd6–+) 5...Kb6 6.Rxc3 b1Q+ 7.Kxd2 Qxh1–+
3...Kb4 4.f8Q+
4.Rg8 b2+ 5.Kb1 Kb3 6.Rg3 d4–+
4...Rxf8 5.Rb7+
5.h8Q b2+ 6.Kb1 Rxh8 7.Rxh8 Rd1+ 8.Kc2 b1Q#; 5.Rg4+ Ka3–+
5...Ka3 6.Rxb3+
6.h8Q b2+ 7.Rxb2 (7.Kb1 c2#) 7...cxb2+ 8.Kxd2 (8.Kb1 Rxh8 9.Rxh8 Rd1+ 10.Kc2 b1Q+ 11.Kc3 Rd3#) 8...Rxh8 9.Rxh8 b1Q–+
6...Kxb3 7.h8Q Ra2 8.Kd1
8.Qh7 Ra1+ 9.Qb1+ Rxb1+ 10.Kxb1 d4–+
8...Rxh8 9.Rxh8 Ra1+ 10.Ke2 Rxa4–+

In the 2007 European championship, Italian IM Giulio Borgo missed his great chance by losing a probably won game against Nikola Sedlak. This allowed the Serbian GM to take the solitary lead with 5.5/6; tomorrow he will face Italian champion GM Michele Godena, the only player who follows him half a point behind, thanks to his brilliant win against IM Carlo D’Amore. Anything can still happen, anyway, because fifteen players are on 4.5: among them you can find German GM Thomas Luther, Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest, Croatian GM Nenad Sulava, Lithuanian GM Sarunas Sulskis and some Italian players, IMs Fabiano Caruana, Sabino Brunello, Giulio Borgo, Pierluigi Piscopo and Daniele Vocaturo. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
I remember you that many other strong tournaments are in progress: see yesterday's post for links to official sites.
And now here is a short and nice win by Anatolij Karpov in round 8 of the Gorenje tournament in Valjevo, Serbia.

Karpov,A (2668) - Stojanovic,M (2588) [C10], Valjevo 20.6.2007
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.0–0 Ngf6 8.Ng3 Be7 9.Re1 0–0 10.Qe2 b6?!
A poor move. After 10...Re8 11.Bd2 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 c5 13.Qxb7 cxd4 (Hellers-Hodgson, Reykjavik 1990) the position is about equal.
11.Ba6!? Rb8 12.c4 Bb7?!
A serious mistake. The ugly 12...Ba8 looks safer.
13.Bxb7 Rxb7 14.Ne5
Karpov misses the chance to play 14.d5! and after 14...Bb4 15.dxe6 Re8 16.Ng5! fxe6 17.Nxe6 Qe7 18.Bd2 Qxe6 19.Qxe6+ Rxe6 20.Bxb4 White has a permanent advantage.
14...Nb8 15.Qf3 c6 16.Ne2! was better for White anyway. Now Karpov estabilishes a very strong knight on c6...
15.Nc6 Re8 16.Bg5 Bf8
It's not simple for Black to find a good defence, but 16...Bd6 was probably more precise.
A smart move: now the Nc6 becomes even stronger, and the Rb7 weaker.
17...Nxf6 18.Nh5 Nd7
18...Nxh5 19.Qxh5 Bd6 20.Rad1 was very strong for White anyway.
19.Qg4 Kh8 20.Re3 Nb8?!
20...g6 is more stubborn, but after 21.Rh3 f5 22.Qg5 Bd6 23.Nf4 Bxf4 24.Qxf4 Nf6 25.Qg5 Kg7 26.b4 White would keep a huge advantage.
21.Rg3 f5?
Another mistake: 21...e5 22.Nxe5 Qxg4 23.Rxg4 c5 was the only chance to put up a resistance.
22.Qh4! Nxc6??
A blunder in a lost position: 22...h6 is forced, although 23.Nf6! Be7 24.Nxe7 Rxe7 25.Rxg7! Kxg7 26.Nh5+ Kf8 27.Qf6+ Kg8 (27...Rf7 28.Qh8++-; 27...Ke8 28.Qh8+ Kd7 29.Nf6++-) 28.Qxe7 c5 29.Qf6 is hopeless for Black.
Now White mates by force.
23...gxf6 24.Qxf6+ Bg7 25.Qxg7#
The decisive blow.
24...gxh6 25.Rg8# 1–0


Bergamo, a tourney you will remember

Summer is usually very hot in Italy. I'm not speaking of weather, but about chess events. There are several tournaments along this season in our country and the list is growing and growing every year. Many events take place in tourist locations, where sea or mountains can be a good alternative to chess for your wives and sons; some others are held in beautiful cities, such as the Bergamo International Open :-), which - this year - takes place in July 20 to 22. Bergamo is the town where I live and I've been starting playing chess. So - obviously - my advice is: come and play, you won't regret it. Organizers (Gianvittorio Perico, Felice Scarpellini and Valdo Eynard above all) are trying their best to put up a memorable tournament (this is the 6th edition): many titled players will take part in the main 1800+ group, such as GMs Vladimir Georgiev (MKD), Erald Dervishi (ALB), Todor Todorov (BUL), Sergey Krivoshey (UKR), Viesturs Meijers (LAT), Sinisa Drazic (SRB), Mihail Ivanov (RUS) and wGM Inna Gaponenko (UKR). There are many more, but there's not enough space to name all of them :-). You can download the tournament brochure from here: http://www.chesslab.bergamo.it/open2007bilingue.pdf (both in Italian and English). For entries and more informations you can write to gianvper@tin.it (Perico) or felice.scarpellini@libero.it (Scarpellini). Winners of the previous editions are IM and three times Italian champion Bruno Belotti (2002), GM Erald Dervishi (2003), GM Vadim Malakhatko (2004), GM Sinisa Drazic (2005) and GM Milan Drasko (2006). I remember to all of you that Bergamo has a very well connected International airport (some destinations are London, Paris, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Oslo, Stokholm, Rome, Eindhoven, etc.). So, wherever you live, you will find a flight to come here. Hurry up!
Well, now let's come back to present events. After the first half of the tournament nobody is left with full score in the European Union championship, held in Arvier (Italy). Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak and Italian IM Giulio Borgo lead on 4.5/5 and will play each other in round 6. Twelve players are half a point behind them: GMs Thomas Luther, Evgenij Agrest, Michele Godena, Nenad Sulava, Alexander Baburin and young IMs Fabiano Caruana and Sabino Brunello are among the others. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
The Aerosvit super-tournament in Yalta, Ukraine, saw only one draw (Rublevsky-Svidler) in round 2: Alexei Shirov won his second game in a row and now leads alone on 2/2, half a point clear of Vassily Ivanchuk, Dmitry Jakovenko and Sergey Karjakin. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
Israeli GM Michael Roiz beat former world champions Anatolij Karpov in the "Gorenje 2007" tournament, held in Valjevo (Serbia), and share the lead on 5/7 with Turkish GM Suat Atalik, who won against Moldavian GM Viorel Iordachescu. Serbian GM Ivan Ivanisevic follows on 4.5, Karpov and Serbian GM Branko Damljanovic on 4. Official site: http://www.chessdom.com/.
Two more strong events are in progress: the "Kings Tournament" in Bazna (Romania), official site http://www.clubulregilor.ro/, and the Dutch championship in Hilversum, official site http://www.schaakbond.nl/nk2007. I also remember to all of you that the Sparkassen Chess Meeting starts in Dortmund next Saturday (June 23): Anand, Kramnik, Leko, Gelfand, Mamedyarov, Carlsen, Naiditsch and Alekseev will compete in this category 20 super-tournament; official site http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/english/english.html, you will also find a daily coverage on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it.
And now here is a crushing win by Karjakin in the Aerosvit super-tournament.

Eljanov,P. (2686) - Karjakin,S. (2686) [D15], Yalta 19.6.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.c5
This is absolutely not the best way to fight for the initiative. 6.b3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 and; 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Ne5 e6 are much more common.
6...Nbd7 7.a3
I don't know if this is a new move (it looks to be): for sure, it loses a tempo. 7.Bd3 and 7.Be2 make more sense.
7...a5 8.Bd3
Probably another inaccuracy. 8.Bd2 or; 8.Qc2 were more precise. 8...e5! Black starts fighting for the initiative!
9.dxe5 Ng4 10.e6 fxe6 11.Nd4 Nxc5 12.Be2
It looks that White has solved all his problems, but...
An intuitive and dangerous sacrifice, although probably not correct. 12...Ne5 13.f4 Nc4 14.Nxc6 Qb6 15.Nd4 Be7!? was a less risky way to fight for the initiative.
13.Kxf2 Bd6
13...Qf6+ had also to be considered.
Probably the best. After 14.Nxc6 Black can prove his sacrifice is good, e.g.: 14...0–0+ 15.Kg1 Qh4 and now 16.Bf3 (16.g3 Qf6! 17.Qf1 (17.Qe1 Nb3 18.Rb1 b4 19.Nb5 Bc5 and Black is much better) 17...Qg5 18.Qe1 Nb3 19.Rb1 Nxc1 20.Rxc1 Qxe3+ 21.Kg2 b4 gives Black excellent chances) should lead to a draw: 16...Ne4 17.Qe2 Ba6 18.Bxe4 dxe4 19.g3 Bxg3 20.hxg3 Qxg3+ 21.Qg2 Qe1+ 22.Kh2 Qh4+ 23.Kg1 Qe1+ 24.Kh2 Qh4+ =
14...0–0+ 15.Kg2 Bd7 16.Bd2?
A bad inaccuracy. Now Black can start a powerful attack. 16.Nb3 was more precise, e.g.: 16...Qb6 (16...Nxb3?! 17.Qxb3 b4 18.axb4 axb4 19.Rxa8 Qxa8 20.Nd1 c5 21.e4! and White has a slight edge) 17.Rf1 (17.Nxc5 Bxc5 18.Rf1 Rxf1 19.Qxf1 Rf8 20.Qe1 e5 with counterplay) 17...e5 (17...Na4!? 18.Bg4 Rxf1 19.Kxf1 Nxc3 20.bxc3 Rf8+ 21.Kg2 +/-; 17...Rxf1 18.Bxf1 Nxb3 19.Qxb3 Bc5 20.Bd3! +/-) 18.Nxc5 Bxc5 19.Re1! and White retains some winning chances.
16...e5 17.Nb3 Ne6
Now Black has full compensation.
18.Rf1 Rxf1 19.Kxf1 a4 20.Nc1 Qf6+ 21.Kg2 e4 would give Black a strong attack anyway.
18...a4 19.Nc1 Qg5! 20.h4 Qg6 21.h5?!
Another bad move. After 21.Bh5 Qf5 22.Qf3 Black can decide to draw immediately by 22...Qc2 23.Qd1 Qf5 24.Qf3 Qc2 or to fight for the full point by 22...Nc5, after which White can trade Queens with good drawing chances.
21...Qg5 22.Rh4?!
22.h6 would give Eljanov more chances of surviving, e.g.: 22...e4 23.Rh5 Qg6 24.Rh4 Be7 25.Bh5 Qg5 26.Bg4 and White holds on.
22...e4 23.Qe1?!
23.Be1 had to be considered: after 23...Qxe3 24.Qd2 Qxd2+ 25.Bxd2 Be7 26.Rh2 Bc5 Black retains some advantage, but White can hold on by 27.N1e2.
23...Nc5! 24.Bxd7 Nxd7 25.N1e2 Ne5 26.Qh1?!
The last inaccuracy in a horrible position: 26.Qd1 would prolong the resistance, although after 26...Rf3 27.Qh1 Nc4 28.Qh3 Raf8 White would lose anyway.
26...Nf3 27.Qh3
27.Be1 Nxh4+ 28.Qxh4 Qxe3 and White is paralysed.
27...Qf6! 28.Nf4 Nxd2 0–1
A very convincing win by the young Ukrainian prodigy.


Old glories playing in Romania

Many of you have probably never seen any of their games. But Ulf Andersson, Zoltan Ribli, Andrei Sokolov, Henrique Costa Mecking, Lajos Portisch and Mihai Suba were part of the chess world elite in the '70s and '80s. Now they are all playing the "Kings tournament" in Bazna, Romania; five more players complete the list of participants: former world champion Alexander Khalifman, former female world champion Maia Chiburdanidze, Slovenian GM Alexander Beliavsky, Dutch GM Jan Timman and Armenian GM Rafael Vaganian (still strong players, even if they lived better times). This is a category 13 event: not bad if you consider that average age of participants is between 50 and 60. Official site: http://www.clubulregilor.ro/.
The strong (category 18) Aerosvit tournament started today in Yalta, Ukraine. After losing their matches in the WCM last week, Alexei Shirov and Sergei Rublevsky played each other in the first round: the Spanish GM won on time on move 47 in a drawish position. Cuban GM Lenier Dominguez completely outplayed Dutch GM Loek Van Wely (the latter would probably better play in Hilversum, where the Ducth championship is underway) and Indian GM Krishnan Saikiran did the same with American GM Alexander Onischuk. All other games were drawn: Karjakin-Ivanchuk, Nisipeanu-Jakovenko and Svidler-Eljanov. Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
Two Italian IMs share the lead in the European Union championship, which takes place in Arvier (Italy) until June 24. Carlo D'Amore and Giulio Borgo won against FM Denis Rombaldoni and GM Tomas Likavsky in round 4 and still have a perfect score. Four players are half a point behind: Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak, Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest and Italian GM Michele Godena and IM Sabino Brunello. Curious news from the tournament bulletin: "Have you noticed that several “families” are playing this tournament? There are the Agrest’s (no less than three generations: the well known GM, his daughter, his son and… his father!), the Brunello brothers (Sabino, Roberta and Marina), the Foisor’s (mother Cristina and her two daughters), the Rombaldoni brothers (Denis and Axel), the Dritsakos’ (brother and sister) and, last but not least… the Astengo’s (Marcello and Corrado, who are cousins!)". Round 5 top boards: Sedlak-D'Amore, Agrest-Borgo (D'Amore and Borgo have both played with White pieces three times up to now: that's why they don't play each other), Brunello-Godena, Luther-Foisor S.F., Sulava-Vezzosi, Rombaldoni D.-Baburin, Castaldo-Sulskis, Cocchi-Prie. Official site: http://www.scacchivda.com/.
Last but not least, we can't forget the "Gorenje 2007" tournament in Valjevo, Serbia. Round 6 saw three draws and two decisive results: Ivanisevic-Iordachescu 1-0 and Nikolic-Stojanovic 1-0. Four players now share the lead on 4/6: Anatolij Karpov, Suat Atalik, Michael Roiz and Ivanisevic; Damljanovic follows on 3.5. Official site: www.chessdom.com. On this site you can also read an interview with Jan Werle, the young Ducth GM who won the Lodi Festival eight days ago (and he speaks about that tournament, among other things).

Dominguez,L (2678) - Van Wely,L (2674) [B90], Yalta 18.6.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.Rg1
This is not a new plan, but 12.g5 Nh5 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 is much more common.
12...b4 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 a5 15.g5 Nh5 16.Kb1 a4 17.Nc1 Qa5 18.Nd3
White has also played 18.Rg4 at this point. The game Sisniega-Sunye Neto, Linares 1992, continued 18...Rfb8 19.Rc4 Nf4 20.Bxf4 exf4 21.h4 Ne5 22.Rxf4 g6 and Black managed to get a draw.
18...Rfb8 19.Rg4
This is probably a new move in the text position, but not a new idea, as we saw in the previous note. 19.Nf2?! is too slow; the game Altrock-Elfert, Dresden 2002, continued 19...Nb6 20.Ne4 Kh8 21.Ng3 Nf4 22.Bxf4 exf4 23.Nf5 (23.Nh5!?) 23...Bf8 24.h4 Re8 and Black has a slight edge.
19...Nf4 20.Nxf4 exf4 21.Bxf4
A counterplay is not simple to be find for Black now...
21...Ne5 was the best way to fight for a draw.
22.Bg3 Bf8 23.Rc4 Nc5 24.Bf2 Bg7
It looks that Van Wely has some chances now, but Sasikiran is not of same idea.
25.Bxc5 dxc5 26.d6 a3 27.b3 Bd4 28.d7
"Passed pawns must be pushed"!
28...Rd8 29.Bh3 Ra6?
29...Qb6 was much more precise, although White retains some good winning chances anyway.
30.Re1 f5?
The decisive mistake. Black had to admit his previous inaccuracy and play 30...Raa8.
31.gxf6 was even stronger, but the text move is more than enough.
31...cxd4 32.Qxd4 1–0
Again, White had a better move, 32.Qe2, but Van Wely resigned, as he had no chances of surviving anyway.


Tough battles in Arvier and Valjevo

How many surprises and tough battles! Round 3 of the European Union championship in Arvier saw a lot of unexpected results on top boards. Some of the main favourites of the competition drew their games against lower rated opponents: Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest, home players GM Michele Godena, IM Fabiano Caruana and IM Daniele Vocaturo, Croatian GM Miso Cebalo and French IM Vladimir Okhotnik shared the point against Cristina Foisor from Romania, Pierluigi Piscopo and Andrea Cocchi from Italy, Spanish wGM Monica Calzetta, Italian FM Folco Castaldo and Belgian FM Friedrich Norbert respectively. And French GM Eric Prie even lost to young Italian FM Denis Rombaldoni, who now share the lead on 3/3 with Serbian GM Nikola Sedlak, Slovakian GM Thomas Likavsky and Italian IMs Carlo D’Amore, Sabino Brunello and Giulio Borgo. What a fight! Top boards of round 4: Sedlak-Brunello; Borgo-Likavsky; D’Amore-Rombaldoni. Official site with live games: www.scacchivda.com.
And what’s about the “Gorenje” tournament in Valjevo? Players and organizers probably red or heard of my complaints about early draws :-)... So we have four decisive games in round 5: Suat Atalik scored his first win ever against Predrag Nikolic; Michael Roiz tactically outplayed Mihajlo Stojanovic and Anatolij Karpov forced Viorel Iordachescu to give up after the threats on the back-rank. These three players extended their lead on 3.5 points; Ivan Ivanisevic (draw after 62 moves with Kiril Georgiev) and Branko Damljanovic (who played a perfect rook endgame to beat Pavasovic) are half a point behind. Official site: www.chessdom.com.
And now here is a nice win by Italian IM Carlo D'Amore in Arvier.

D'Amore,C. (2476) - Daulyte,D. (2224) [C55], Arvier 17.6.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 h6 5.c3 d6 6.Bb3 g6 7.Nbd2 Bg7 8.Nf1 0–0
A rare move. Black usually starts a central counter-attack by 8...d5 ; a common continuation is 9.Qe2 Be6 10.Ng3 and Black has completely equal chances after both 10...Qe7 (Gipslis-Eingorn, Tallinn 1980) and 10...0–0 (Ara. Minasian-Sorokoin, Ubeda 1999).
This way White prevents ...d5.
This should be a new move at this point, but not in such a variation. The game Saren-Tyni, Finland 1994, continued 9...Re8 10.0–0 Be6 11.Bxe6 Rxe6 12.c4 Nb8 13.b4 a5 14.bxa5 Rxa5 15.Bd2 Ra8 16.a4 Nbd7 17.Qc2 Nc5 18.Rfb1 Nfd7 and a draw was agreed here (1/2–1/2).
White doesn't hesitate and starts the attack on the "h" file...
Why not 10...Be6 ? 10...h5, to prevent 11.h5, was also to be considered.
In accordance to the previous move.
11...g5 was probably more cautious.
12.Nh4 Be6
Black had no better defensive chances. If 12...Nf4 then 13.g3 Ne6 (13...Nh3 14.Ng4 h5 15.Nxg6 Qd8 16.Nxf8 Bxg4 17.f3 Qf6 18.Qe2 Qxf3 19.Qxf3 Bxf3 20.Rf1 Bg2 21.Rxf7+-) 14.Nhf5 Qd8 (14...gxf5 15.Nxf5 Qf6 16.Bxh6 Bxh6 17.Rxh6 Qg5 18.Rh4 Qg6 19.Rg4 Ng5 20.f4+-) 15.Nxh6+ Bxh6 16.Rxh6 Kg7 17.Nf5+ Kg8 (17...gxf5 18.Qh5 Rh8 19.exf5+-) 18.Rh1 and White has a decisive attack.
13.Bxe6 Qxe6 14.Nhf5 Ne7 15.Rxh5!?
An interesting attempt to prove Black's defensive skill. White has not many pieces to attack his opponent's king at the moment, but they will soon come into action... Daulyte has to be very careful!
15...gxh5 16.Qxh5 Kh7
After 16...Rfe8?! 17.Ng4! Qg6 18.Nxg7 Kxg7 19.Bxh6+ Kg8 20.Qxg6+ fxg6 21.Nf6+ Kf7 22.Nxe8 Rxe8 23.Ke2 White is a pawn up in a better endgame, but Black should probably have some chances to get a draw.
17.Nxe7 Qxe7 18.Nd5 Qd8 19.Ke2 Qc8?
A bad inaccuracy. Black misses his only chance to fight for a draw: 19...f5! 20.exf5 (20.Bxh6 Bxh6 21.Rh1 Rf6 22.Qh4 Re6 23.Qh5 Rf6 24.Qh4=) 20...Qe8 21.Qg4 (21.Qxe8 Raxe8 22.Nxc7 Rc8 23.Nb5 d5=) 21...Qf7 22.f6 Bxf6 23.Bxh6 Bg7 24.Qxg7+ Qxg7 25.Bxg7 Rf7! (25...Kxg7 26.Nxc7 Rac8 27.Ne6++-) 26.Bf6 c6 27.Rh1+ Kg6 28.Bxe5 Re8 29.Ne3 Rxe5 with a drawish endgame.
A strong move!
20...f5 21.Rh1 fxe4??
Losing on the spot. 21...Qe6 was forced, even if after 22.Nxc7 Qg6 23.Qxg6+ Kxg6 24.Nxa8 Rxa8 (or 24...hxg5 25.Nc7 a6 26.Nd5 Rf7 27.a4) 25.Be7 fxe4 26.dxe4 Bf8 27.Bh4 White would have excellent winning chances anyway.
22.Bxh6 exd3+ 23.Ke1 Qf5
The last mistake in a desperate position.
24.Bg5+ 1–0
White mates by force in a few moves, so Black resigned.


Anatolij the great fights again

Former world champion Anatolij Karpov is still able to win. After drawing his first three games, the Russian GM achieved his first victory in the 2007 Gorenje tournament against Bulgarian Kiril Georgiev, to share the lead with Ivanisevic, Roiz and Atalik on 2.5 after round 4. Karpov won in deep bishop vs knight ending after creating three passed pawns: he demonstrated to be still a great positional player, although he hasn't been playing classical tournaments for a long time. Viorel Iordachescu won with Black pieces against Dusko Pavasovic (second loss in a row for the Slovenian GM), while Roiz missed good chances in the endgame against Predrag Nikolic and a draw was agreed on move 86 (this was the longest game of the day); Ivanisevic-Atalik ended in a draw too, after Atalik found the way to activate his Rook. Mihajlo Stojanovic and Branko Damljanovic also share the point after a very tough battle, lasted... 9 moves :-( They were probably tired of yesterday's fights, where they drew after 23 and 21 moves respectively... As I've already written, I'm not a fan of Sofia rules, but sometimes they should be really useful. Official site of the event: www.chessdom.com.
A strong tournament will start in Yalta (Ukraina) on Monday: the "Aerosvit 2007". Quite a few Candidates and their seconds play: Peter Svidler (RUS), Vasily Ivanchuk (UKR), Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS), Alexei Shirov (ESP), Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (ROM), Krishnan Sasikiran (IND), Pavel Eljanov (UKR), Sergey Karjakin (UKR), Sergei Rublevsky (RUS), Lenier Dominguez (CUB), Loek Van Wel (NED) and Alexander Onischuk (USA). Average rating 2694... Not bad indeed! Official site: http://www.ukrchess.org.ua/aerosvit2007/index_e.htm.
The European Union championship saw some surprising results in round 2: Italian FM Maurizio Brancaleoni and Slovakian wFM Zuzana Borosova drew against top seed GM Thomas Luther (Germany) and Irish GM Alexander Baburin respectively; Lithuanian wIM Deimante Daulyte beat her compatriot GM Sarunas Sulskis, while Enrico Pepino and Francesco Sorcinelli won Italian derbies against IM Fabio Bruno and wGM Olga Zimina respectively. Many players lead with a perfect score after round 2: Serbian GM Nikolas Sedlak, Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest, Italian GM Michele Godena, French GM Erik Prie, Croatian GM Miso Cebalo and Italian prodigy IM Fabiano Caruana are among them. Top round 2 duels: IM Moser vs GM Sedlak; GM Agrest vs IM C. Foisor; IM Piscopo vs GM Godena; FM D. Rombaldoni vs GM Prie. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
And now here is Karpov's win in Valjevo (Serbia). You may not like his style, but there's no doubt Anatolij is still a good fighter.

Karpov,An (2668) - Georgiev,Ki (2660) [E37], Valjevo 16.6.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nc6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Nf3 Qf6 11.e3 Bg4 12.Be2 0–0 13.Bd2
This appears to be a novelty. The game Bareev-Ivanchuk, Havana 2006, continued 13.0–0 Rfe8 14.Bd2 and Black got the initiative after 14...d4 15.Rad1 Nxd2 16.Qxd2 Rad8 17.Qc1 d3 18.Rxd3 Rxd3 19.Bxd3 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Ne5 21.Be4 Nxf3+ 22.Bxf3 Qxf3 with a dangerous attack in return for the pawn.
13...Rfe8 14.Bc3
This move looks ugly, since it allows Black to ruin White's pawn structure, but it was almost necessary. Strong threat of 14...d4 (as in Bareev-Ivanchuk), ripping apart White's position, was hanging over Karpov's head. After the exchange on c3, Black has to lose some moves to regain the pawn and White can use this time to build some pressure against b7.
14...Qe7!? was an alternative to be considered: if 15.b4 then 15...Bxf3 16.Bxf3 (16.gxf3 Nxc3 17.Qxc3 d4 is even stronger for Black) 16...Nxc3 17.Qxc3 d4 18.Qb2 dxe3 19.0–0 Rad8 and Black is ok, so White would probably have to play the immediate O-O on move 15.
15.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 16.bxc3 Rac8 17.Rb1 Nd8
As expected, Karpov is eying b7 pawn. Georgiev will re-route his Knight Nc6-d8-e6 and insert Re8-e7 (protecting b7) to capture on c5.
18.Kd2 Re7 19.Rb4 Be6 20.Nd4 Rxc5 21.a4 Bd7 22.Ra1 g6 23.a5 a6
23...Bc8 had to be considered, but White would have kept a small advantage by 24.Bf3 anyway.
24.Bf3 Re5?!
This looks to be a real inaccuracy. 24...Be6 would have been more precise.
Karpov is on his field now: permanent small advantage thanks to limited Black bishop.
25...Kf8 26.g4 Ke8 27.h4 Rc7 28.Be2 Re7?!
After 28...Nc6 29.f4 Re7 30.Bf3 Kd8! Black holds on. Now his position becomes really unpleasant.
29.Rd6 Re5?!
29...Bc6 was passive, but the text move loses a pawn and a compensation is very hard to be found.
Karpov just wants to gain some time on his clock, but 30.f4 was clearly stronger.
30...Nc6 was a good alternative.
31.Rd6 Ne6?!
Georgiev refuses moves repetition and sacrifices a pawn for complications. Karpov wouldn't probably repeat, anyway: after 31...Re5 White can play 32.f4 Re7 33.Rxd5 Ne6 34.Bf3 Nc5 35.g5 with good winning chances.; 31...Bc6 was a good alternative again.
32.Rxd5 Nc5 33.f3 Be6 34.Re5
34.Rd6? would be met by 34...Bxg4 and now if 35.fxg4?? then 35...Ne4+ –+
34...f6 35.Nxe6 Nb3+
35...Rcd7+ would probably be a better attempt to fight for a draw, e.g.: 36.Kc2 Nxe6 37.Re4 f5 38.gxf5 gxf5 39.Re5 Nc7 40.Rxe7+ Rxe7 41.Bc4 (41.Kd2 is passive) 41...Rxe3 42.Rb1 Rxf3 43.Rxb7 Kd8 44.Rb8+ Kd7 45.Rh8 Rh3 46.Rxh7+ Kd6 and Black has some chances thanks to his "f" pawn.
36.Ke1 fxe5 37.Nxc7+ Rxc7 38.Ra3 Nc5 39.g5 h6 40.gxh6 Rh7 41.Kf2 Rxh6 42.Kg3
Now Karpov has achieved what he wanted: extra pawn and Bishop vs Knight in the endgame.
42...Rh7 43.Ra1 Nb3 44.Ra3 Nc5 45.Ra2 Rc7 46.Kg4 Ke7 47.c4 Kf6?!
The immediate 47...Rd7 was clearly better.
48.Rd2 Rd7 49.Rxd7 Nxd7 50.Bd3 b6
This move loses by force: 50...Nc5 51.Bc2 Kg7 would put up more resistance (but White has a decisive advantage anyway).
51.axb6 Nxb6 52.c5 Nd5 53.e4 Nc7 54.Bc4 a5
54...Ne6 55.Bxe6 Kxe6 56.f4 exf4 57.Kxf4 a5 58.Ke3 a4 59.Kd4 and 54...Nb5 55.f4 Nd4 56.fxe5+ Kxe5 57.Bxa6 Kxe4 58.Kg5 Ne6+ 59.Kxg6 would be hopeless anyway.
55.f4 a4 56.f5 gxf5+
If 56...a3 then 57.fxg6 Kxg6 58.c6 Ne8 59.h5+ Kf6 60.Ba2 Nc7 61.h6 Kg6 62.h7 Kxh7 63.Kf5 +-
57.exf5 e4 58.h5 e3 59.h6
Black's position is totally lost now.
59...Na6 60.c6 a3 61.Kf3 Nc7 62.Kxe3 1–0
And Georgiev finally resigned.


When Sofia rules should be useful...

I'm not a fan of the Sofia rules, but I think sometimes they should be useful. Take, for example, round 3 of the Gorenje tournament in Valjevo, Serbia: all games were drawn and two of them finished after only 21 and 23 moves. In the latter, Iordachescu-Stojanovic, the position was still full of chances for White, who had some pressure on his opponent king-side. I sometimes do not understand professional players... Standings are obviously unchanged: Atalik, Ivanisevic and Roiz share the lead on 2/3, half a point over the field. Official site: www.chessdom.com.
Much more fight took place in Arvier, Aosta Valley, where the European Union championship started today. All the top seeds players won their battles excepting for Nenad Sulava, who drew against French Gerard Gorse (but I guess he wasn't even present at the playing venue, since his game is not available). The main surprises of round 1 came from two young Italian players: WFM Marianna Chierici (rating: 1996) and National female champion Roberta Brunello (1953, sister of Marina and IM Sabino) beat Spanish FM Marcos Llaneza Vega (2455) and Romanian WIM Sabina Francesca Foisor (2333) respectively. Congratulations! 112 players with 10 GMs, 11 IMs and 2 wGMs compete in the event. Official site: www.scacchivda.com.
Some news from Italy: the 2008 Master division of the National team championship will see 14 teams (instead of 10) competing in a 7 rounds (instead of 5) event. Many discussions were made about the old format on the competition: we'll see if the new one will be best. I think (and hope) the answer is yes. More details on www.federscacchi.it.

Brunello,R (1953) - Foisor,S (2333) [A42], Arvier 15.6.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.c4 d6 5.Nc3 Bg4 6.dxc5 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Bxf3
A new move in a very rare position. The game Yakovlev-Biriukov, Petrov memorial 2002, continued 7...dxc5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Ng5 Ke8 10.h3 Bd7 11.Be3 b6 12.f4 f6 13.Nf3 Nh6 14.Bd3 Nf7 with chances for both sides.
8.Qxf3 dxc5 9.e5
White pawns are weak, but the bishops pair and the space advantage in the center of the board are a very good compensation for that.
9...Nc6 10.Bf4 Qc8?!
10...Qa5 was better
11.Bd3 Qe6?!
The second weak move in a row. The ugly 11...f6 was more precise.
12.0–0! Nxe5?
A bad mistake (probably the losing one). Now White takes a strong initiative. 12...Rd8 would put up more resistence.
13.Qxb7 Rd8 14.Rfe1
14.Bc2 (with the idea Ba4+) was even stronger.
14...Qd7 15.Qxd7+ Nxd7 16.Be4
White dominates and Black can't avoid losing material (sooner or later...).
16...Nb6 was better, although 17.Rab1 (intending Rb5) 17...Kf8 18.Rb5 Nxc4 (18...Kg7 19.Rxc5 Nf6 20.Bf3 Rc8 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Rxe7 Rxc4 23.Be5 would be even worse) 19.Rxc5 Nd6 20.Bf3 Rd7 21.Rd1 would give White excellent winning chances anyway.
17.Bc6 Rc8
Losing an exchange. 17...0–0 18.Bh6 Rfe8 19.Rad1 was not much better anyway.
18.Bb7 Rd8 19.Bc7 e6 20.Rab1!
No hurry!
20...0–0 21.Bxd8 Rxd8 22.Red1 Rb8 23.Ba6 Nb6 24.a4 would have lost anyway.
21.Bxd8 Kxd8 22.Rb5 Kc7 23.Bf3 Nfd7 24.a4 a6 25.Ra5 Nb8 26.Rxc5+ Kd6 27.Ra5 Nxc4 28.Rd1+ Ke7 29.Rc5 Nb6 30.a5 N6d7 31.Rc7 Kd8 32.Ra7
This is almost zugzwang. Black has no good moves now.
32...Kc8 33.Bb7+ Kc7 34.Bxa6+ Kc6 35.c4 Ne5 36.Bb5+ Kc5 37.Rc7+ Nec6 38.a6 Kb6 39.Rb7+ Kc5 40.a7 Nxa7 41.Rxa7 f5 42.Rc7+ Kb6 43.Re7 1–0
And Black finally resigned. A very convincing victory by Roberta Brunello, one of the youngest female Italian champions ever (she is 16 years old).


Garry Kasparov: two days in Milan

We've got it! I mean the full program of Kasparov's visit in Milan, on June 30 and July 1. Here it is... As I've already written, Garry will be a special guest of "La Milanesiana", an important cultural event to take place in the main city of Northern Italy. He will speak about "Competitions" at "Dal Verme theater" (Via San Giovanni sul Muro 2) on June 30, starting at 9 p.m., and take part in an "Aperitif with the author" at Sala Buzzati (via Balzan 3) on July 1, starting at 12 a.m. After the "Aperitif", he will be at Romagnoli bookshop, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., to sign copies of his bestseller, "My great predecessors" (Italian edition of the first five volumes). I hope I will be in Milan on Saturday evening, at least, and have the chance to ask some questions to Garry. What would you ask? I'm waiting for your advices: write me at dario@strababos.it (I have some ideas, anyway...).
Turkish GM Suat Atalik, Serbian GM Ivan Ivanisevic and Israeli GM Michael Roiz lead by half a point (on 1.5/2) over the field in the "Gorenje 2007" tournament, held in Valjevo (Serbia). Atalik drew with Dusko Pavasovic in round 2, while Ivanisevic easily reached a level position with Black pieces against Karpov and Roiz crushed Viorel Iordachescu. Predrag Nikolic and Branko Damljanovic also made a draw, while Stojanovic stroke back after round 1 loss and won against Kiril Georgiev. Official site: www.chessdom.com.

Roiz,M (2605) - Iordachescu,V (2587) [A17], Valjevo 14.6.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0–0 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Qxc3 d6 7.e3 e5 8.d4
It should sound strange, but this is a rare move. 8.b4 and 8.d3 are more common.
8...Re8 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.b4 Bg4
A good alternative is 10...Nbd7; the game Liberzon-Taimanov, Yalta 1962, continued 11.Bb2 e4 (11...b6 12.Rd1 Qe7 13.Be2 Bb7 14.0–0 Rad8 15.Rfe1 c5 16.b5 a5 17.Nd2 Qe6 18.f3 Nf8 19.Nf1 Ng6= Forintos-Kupreichik, Kirovakan 1978) 12.Nd4 Ne5 13.h3 Bd7 14.Be2 Qc8 15.g4 c5 16.Nb3 cxb4 17.axb4 h6 18.Rg1 Nh7 19.h4 f6 with equal chances.
11.Bb2 Nc6
Iordachescu said after the game this is a very bad move that destroyed his game. He should be right, but this is not the losing move at all :-)
This looks to be a new move. The game Steiner-Rothamn, New York 1946, soon ended after 12.b5 Bxf3 (12...e4 13.bxc6 exf3 Baburin-Graf, Novosibirsk 1989, 14.Rg1 Re6 15.cxb7 Rb8 16.h3 Bf5 17.gxf3 and White has better chances) 13.gxf3 Nd4?? (13...Nb8 followed by ...Nbd7=) 14.0–0–0 1–0
12...Qe7 13.f3 Bh5 14.Be2 a5
14...Rad8 was probably a bit more more precise.
15.b5 Nb8 16.a4 Nbd7 17.g4 Bg6 18.Nb3
White has no hurry to start an attack by h2-h4, g4-g5 and so on.
18...b6 19.e4 h5 20.Ba3 Qe6 21.c5
White is gaining more and more space after each move.
This leaves White all the initiative. 21...Rad8 22.c6 (22.g5 Qh3! 23.gxf6 Nxf6 24.Bb2 Qg2 25.Rf1 Qxh2 with a drawish position) 22...Nxe4!? 23.fxe4 Nf6 was a good attempt to find some counterplay, although Roiz would have the better chances anyway.
22.h4 Ndf8 23.g5 Rad8 24.Bc4
24.Rc1 was even stronger.
24...Qc8 25.Bd5 Ne6
25...Bf5 was an alternative to be considered.
26.cxb6 Rxd5??
26...cxb6 27.Qxc8 Rxc8 28.Nd2 was obviously better for White, but the text move loses on the spot.
27.exd5 Nf4 28.Qc6?!
Why not 28.bxc7 ?
28...cxb6 was the only good move again.
29.d6 Nf8 30.dxc7 Nd3+ 31.Kd2 Qf5
Black's position is hopeless: he should resign immediately.
32.Qc4+ Kh7 33.b7 Qxf3 34.c8Q Qf2+ 35.Kc3 Nb2 36.Rac1 Ne6 37.Qxe8 Nxc4 38.Qxg6+
White can even sacrifice two Queens!
38...Kxg6 39.b8Q Ne3 40.Qe8+ Kf5 41.Qd7 Qf3 42.Kb2 1–0
And Black finally resigned.


Call me a chess profet :-)

It’s official now. I predicted all right winners for the WCM finals: Armenian Levon Aronian, Hungarian Peter Leko, Israeli Boris Gelfand and Russian Alexander Grischuk, who beat 2.5-0.5 his compatrioti Sergey Rublevsky in today’s tie break. And I did even more: I also predicted the right results for Aronian-Shirov (“Aronian wins 3.5-2.5 or 3.5-1.5”) and Grischuk-Rublevsky (“Grischuk wins 3.5-2.5 or on tie break”). And what’s about what I wrote on April 23? “It looks really hard to predict who will succeed in qualifying for the Mexico city competition. I would say Aronian, Leko, Grischuk (or Ponomariov) and Kamsky (or Gelfand)”. Well, I was not far from the truth :-). Final reports on the official site http://globalchess.eu/main.php and on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/candidati07.html).
The "Gorenje 2007" tournament started today in Valjevo, Serbia. Turkish GM Suat Atalik won convincingly his game against the only IM participant, Serbian Mihajlo Stojanovic; another Serbian player, GM Ivan Ivanisevic, scored the only other victory of the day against Slovenian GM Dusko Pavasovic. K. Georgiev-Roiz, Iordachescu-Damljanovic and Karpov-P. Nikolic all ended in a draw. Official site: http://www.chessdom.com/.
An interesting interview with Vladimir Kramnik (conducted during the Miskolc rapid chess match against Peter Leko in April ) was published on www.chessbase.com. Today the fourth and final part appeared on the site. Vlad speaks about his decision not to play game 5 of the world championship match against Topalov last year: the decision "was very emotional", he says. "Actually it was wrong, because finally they got what they wanted. You could see - many people told me that they saw the manager of Topalov, Danailov, after this, and they never saw him so happy as on this day. So finally I made this mistake and they achieved what they wanted to achieve: to make a scandal, and in the best case to stop the match. To stop the match and keep his title which he begs for. Unfortunately this provocation proved to be successful. Because of this I believe it was probably a mistake". You can read the full interview on the above mentioned site.

Atalik,S (2584) - Stojanovic,Mih (2588) [D35], Valjevo 13.6.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bf4 c6 7.h3 Ne4 8.Qc2
A new move according to my old database. The game Atalik-A. Mastrovasilis, Athens 2003, continued 8.Nxe4 dxe4 9.Nd2 Nf6 10.e3 Be6 (the immediate 10...Nd5 is a good alternative: 11.Be5 Bf5 12.a3 h5 13.Qc2 Qg5 14.0–0–0 Qg6 15.Rg1 f6?! 16.Bh2 Rd8 17.Be2 h4 18.g4 hxg3 19.Bxg3 Qh6 Seirawan-Speelman, Reykijavik 1991; after 20.Kb1 White would have a slight edge) 11.g3 Nd5 12.h4 f5 13.Be5 Qd7 14.a3 Nb6 15.Rc1 Bd6 16.Bxd6 Qxd6 17.Nc4 Nxc4 18.Bxc4 0–0–0=.
8...Bb4 9.a3 Qa5 10.Bd2 Nxd2 11.Nxd2 Be7
11...Nf6 12.e3 Bd6 comes into consideration as well.
12.e3 0–0 13.Bd3 Nf6 14.0–0 Re8 15.f4!?
White tries to scare his opponent. And he succeeds in doing that!
Black's aims to put his bishop on the a1–h8 diagonal by ...g6 and ...Bg7.
16.Rae1 Qd8 17.Nf3 c5?!
The first inaccuracy. 17...Bd6 was a bit more precise.
18.Ng5 g6 19.f5 Bg7?
The second bad inaccuracy. After 19...Bh6!? (probably the only good move) 20.fxg6!? (20.h4 Bxg5 21.hxg5 Ng4 22.fxg6 hxg6 23.Bxg6 leads to a draw after 23...Qd6 24.Bxf7+ Kg7 25.Rf4 Qxf4 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Qh5+ Kg7 28.Qg6+ Kh8=) 20...Bxg5 21.gxf7+ Kxf7 22.Bxh7 Kg7 White has to prove his sacrifice is good: 23.Qg6+ Kh8 24.Qxg5 Nxh7 25.Qh5 Re7 26.Nxd5 Rg7 27.Rf7 (27.Nf6 Qe7 28.dxc5 Rg5 29.Qh6 Qg7 30.Qxg7+ Kxg7 is drawish) 27...Qe8 28.Ref1 Be6 29.Rf8+ Qxf8 30.Rxf8+ Rxf8 31.Nf4 Bf5 32.dxc5 Kg8 would give Atalik some winning chances, but Black can probably hold on.
20.fxg6 fxg6
20...hxg6 was more accurate.
21.dxc5 Re5 22.Nf3 Re7 23.e4 dxe4 24.Nxe4 Nxe4 25.Bxe4
White is simply a pawn up and Black has no real compensation.
25...Be6 26.Ng5 Qd4+
If 26...Kh8 then 27.Bxb7 Qd4+ 28.Kh1 Rxb7 29.Nxe6+-
27.Kh1 Rae8
This is a losing move, but 27...Rf8 28.Rxf8+ Kxf8 29.Bxg6 hxg6 30.Nxe6+ Rxe6 31.Rxe6 Qxb2 32.Qxg6 would have lost as well.
28.Rd1 Qxb2 29.Nxe6 Rxe6 30.Qxb2 Bxb2 31.Bd5 Kg7 32.Bxe6 Rxe6 33.Rd7+ Kh6 34.a4 b6 35.Rd6 1–0
Black has no chances of getting a draw, so he resigned.


Aronian advances to Mexico City

Levon Aronian was the seventh player who qualified after drawing his sixth and last game against Alexey Shirov. The Opening choice of the Spanish GM with White (he played a Ruy Lopez) lacked energy and Aronian solved all the opening problems without any difficulty. In desperate search for winning chances, Alexei sacrificed a pawn. However, Levon calmly simplified the position and it revealed that only Black can expect to win the game. Therefore, Shirov offered a draw, which cleared Aronian's way to Mexico City.
The duel between the two Russian top Grandmasters Alexander Grishuk and Sergey Rublevsky will be decided in the tie breaks tomorrow. In game 6 Grischuk, with Black pieces, faced a choice after White's 16th move: either proceed to the tie-break by sacrificing a queen or sacrifice an exchange, obtaining strong initiative in a very complicated position. Alexander selected the safe way, forcing a draw by perpetual. I'm firm on my prediction: Grischuk will win.
Whatever will happen in the tie breaks, we can now be sure that in Mexico City we will see Kramnik, Anand, Svidler, Morozevich, Leko, Gelfand and Aronian. Veselin Topalov will have his last chance to enter the World Championship after the meeting in Talin starting June 22. I hope Fide will not change rules again...
Official site of the event: http://globalchess.eu/main.php. You can find a WCM section on my Italian site, www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/candidati07.html).
Excepting for WCM, this is a peaceful period for top GMs. But this peace will not last long. Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Magnus Carlsen, Boris Gelfand, Arkadij Naiditsch and Evgeny Alekseev will compete in the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (category 20) from 23rd June to 1st July 2007. Kramnik is the title defendant: the world champion won the Dortmund tournament no less than seven times. The rules for the tournament remain unchanged: there will be seven rounds, so that each of the eight grandmasters will play each opponent once. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de.
In the meantime a strong tournament (category 15) will start tomorrow in Valjevo (Slovenia). Anatolij Karpov's return is the main point of interest: a decent performance should restore him to the top 40. This will be Karpov's first round robin tournament with classical time control since Essent 2003. Other high rated contenders are Bulgarian GM Kiril Georgiev (ELO 2653), the former Dutch champion Predrag Nikolic from Bosnia (2631), Israeli GM Michael Roiz (ELO 2616) and Serbian GM Ivan Ivanisevic (2614). Official site: www.chessdom.com.
Our game of the day is the short but interesting theoretical duel between Rublevsky and Grischuk in the Scotch game.

Rublevsky,S (2680) - Grischuk,A (2717) [C45], Elista 12.6.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Qg3 h5!?
An idea of Evgeny Najer, which brought him success against Ni Hua (Ergun 2006). Despite losing the 4th game, Grischuk again selects the same line...
8.h4 Nh6 9.f3 d5 10.Nc3 Bd4
A strong improvement. In game 4,Grischuk played 10...Bb4, but after 11.Bd2 dxe4 12.0–0–0 e3 13.Bxe3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 0–0? (14...Nf5) 15.Qg5 Nf5 16.Qxf6 gxf6 17.Bf4 Rublevsky won the endgame.
11.Bd2 Rb8
Unlike the game 4, the rook can attack on the b-file.
12.0–0–0 Be5
Of course, not 12...dxe4?? because of 13.Bg5 and White wins.
Rublevsky wants to proceed to an endgame, in which Black's pawn weaknesses should give White better chances. In case of 13.f4 the bishop returns to 'd4' by 13...Bd4 and after 14.exd5 0–0 Black can start developing his pieces and takes the initiative.
Black wants to castle and then attack the king by either ...Qb4 or (if possible) by sacrificing a rook on b2.
14.exd5 0–0 15.Bc4 cxd5 16.Bxd5
Now Grischuk faces a difficult choice: either to finish the game in a draw by perpetual, or sacrifice an exchange and obtain strong initiative in a position that is difficult to assess. Unfortunately for chess lovers he choses the latter possibility...
Alexander doesn't want to take any risk and proceeds to tie breaks. 16...Rxb2!? 17.Kxb2 Qxd5 was a very interesting alternative, e.g.: 18.Rhe1 Nf5 (18...Bf5 19.Kc1 Qc5 20.Rxe5 Qxe5 21.Re1 Qa5 is unclear) 19.Rxe5 (19.g4? Qb7+ 20.Kc1 f6 21.Qg6 Bd6 22.Nb1 Qxf3 23.Bc3 (23.gxf5 Bxf5 24.Qg1? Ba3+ 25.Nxa3 Qxa3+ 26.Kb1 Rb8+ and then mate) 23...hxg4 and Black has excellent winning chances) 19...Qxe5 20.g4 (20.Qxh5 Be6 21.Ka1 Rd8 22.Qg5 f6 23.Qf4 Qa5 with a strong attack) 20...hxg4 21.fxg4 f6 22.Qf4 Nxh4 23.g5 Qxf4 24.Bxf4 Ng2 25.Bxc7 fxg5 and Black would have had some winning chances.
17.Nxd5 Bxb2+ 18.Kb1 Bc3+ 19.Kc1 Bb2+ 20.Kb1 Bc3+ 0.5-0.5