Have a wonderful holiday!

Yes, I'm leaving for holidays. I will be back on August 5, so this Blog and Italian web-zine Messaggero Scacchi (www.messaggeroscacchi.it) won't be updated again until that day. Before going to Sardinia, I have to report on Niccolò Ronchetti's and Fiammetta Panella's victories in the Italian U20 and Female championships respectively. Ronchetti, an 18 y.o. FM from Ravenna, conquered his third title in a row: he scored 7 points out of 9 and won on tie break over FM Denis Rombaldoni from Pesaro and Elo-favourite IM Sabino Brunello from Bergamo: they all remained unbeaten. FM Giuseppe Lettieri from Naples was placed fourth on 6, FM Danyll Dvirnyy from Treviso fifth on 5.5. Panella won her first title (but she was placed second in the previous two editions) by scoring 7 points out of 9, the same of wFM Maria De Rosa from Naples, who had a worst tie break. Marianna Chierici from Reggio Emilia took the third place on 6.5. Rombaldoni won the U18 title and got the qualification for the next Italian (absolute) championship. De Rosa and Chierici won the U20 and U18 Female titles respectively. Congratulations to all! Official site (very good job by arbiters Gerhard Bertagnolli and Giuseppe Scoleri Cardelli) with all games: http://www.fiuggiscacchi.eu/.
Meanwhile, two strong events are taking place in Montreal (Canada) and Biel (Switzerland). Dutch GM Sergei Tiviakov won his seventh game against Polish GM Kamil Miton and keeps being in sole lead in Montreal on 5.5; Vassily Ivanchuk follow on 5, Gata Kamsky and Pentala Harikrishna on 4.5. Official site: http://www.fqechecs.qc.ca/. Norwegian "wunderkind" Magnus Carlsen, American GM Alexander Onischuk and Russian GM Alexander Motylev share the lead in Biel on 2/3. Official site: http://www.bielchessfestival.ch/.
Finally some sad news (cheating, again) reported on the daily chess web-zine "Chess Today" (www.chesstoday.net). «An incident of cheating occurred some days ago in the Polish town of Police, during the Tadeusz Gniot Memorial (11.07–19.07). One of the participants, Krzysztof Ejsmont from the host country, was expelled from the tournament after 7 rounds for the reason of "unsportive play". 20 year old non-titled Krzysztof Ejsmont was not considered a favorite of the tournament, with his Elo rating of only 2367. After a win in the first round against a much weaker player he continued his victorious series by 5 wins in a row against stronger opponents, among them were GMs M.Grabarczyk and V.Malaniuk. The games themselves were excellent and full of sensational ideas. Suddenly it was discovered (independently by different participants) that many of Ejsmont's moves coincided with suggestions made by the program "Rybka", version 2.3.2. The detailed check-up of these 5 games showed that the percent of the coincidences was... 98%! [...] A thorough deliberation was carried out by a rather large group of people. As a result, a delegation was sent to Ejsmont with the following "proposal": either he leaves the tournament of his own free will which would not have serious consequences for him, or the organizers will report on his behaviour to the national chess federation (which could be more serious). The most interesting thing is that Ejsmont chose the first option and confessed that he cheated! However, some time later, after some phone conversations, he publicly complained about the organizers, which "didn't give him a possibility to play the tournament of his life" and "accused him without proof».
Finally (I almost forgot about that) I have to promote an event :-). A blitz tourney (5 minutes, 9 rounds) will take place in Torre Boldone - at the sports ground in Viale Lombardia -, just outside Bergamo (3-4 kilometers from the town center), on August 7: start at 9 pm, entries (5 euros) by 8.30 pm. If you want to pre-register for the tournament just send an e-mail to me (dario@strababos.it - I will check your e-mails when I'll be back from holidays) or call Ileana (3477442476). Come and play: there is a feast just a few meters from the tourney venue, so you can also eat and... drink :-)

Tiviakov,S (2648) - Miton,K (2648) [C87], Montreal 26.7.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0–0 Bd7 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 Be7 8.d4 0–0 9.d5 Nb8 10.Bc2 c6 11.Nxe5 dxe5 12.d6 Bg4 13.dxe7 Qxe7 14.Qd3 Nbd7 15.Nd2 Rfd8 16.Nf1 Be6 17.Ng3 Nf8 18.Qf3 Ne8 19.Be3 Qc7 20.Nf5 f6 21.h4 Nd6 22.b3 Kh8 23.c4 c5 24.Rad1 Bg8 25.h5 Ne6 26.h6 Nxf5 27.exf5 Nd4 28.Qe4 Rd6 29.Bb1?! Ne2+ 30.Rxe2 Rxd1+ 31.Kh2 Rad8 32.Bc2 R1d7 33.Qh4 Qd6 34.Be4 b6 35.hxg7+ Rxg7 36.Bh6 Rgd7 37.Re3 b5 38.cxb5 axb5 39.Rg3 b4 40.Rg4 Rc7 41.f4 Re7? (41...Ra7 =) 42.Rg3 Red7 43.Qg4 Qe7 44.fxe5 fxe5 45.Bc6 Qf6 46.Bg5 Qxc6 47.Bxd8 Qh6+ 48.Rh3 Qd6 49.Bg5 Rf7 50.Rh6 Qf8 51.Qh4 Kg7 52.Rg6+! 1–0


Caruana to play in Wijk aan Zee

The next edition of the Corus Chess Tournament will be held from 11-27 January 2008 in Wijk aan Zee. You should say it is too early to speak about that: you're probably right, but there are really good news for Italy, so I can't refrain from sharing them with my two or three readers :-). Italian GM Fabiano Caruana, who will turn 15 years old in six days (on July 30), will probably play in the C (or even the B?) group of the event. I don't know if an Italian player has ever taken part in this prestigious tournament... Good luck, Fabiano! Caruana will play his next tournament in Trieste (Italy) in September 1 to 8; he will also give a simul on Saturday 8. Official site of the Corus event: http://www.coruschess.com/.
Some other news from Italy. Many more tourneys ended last Sunday in our country besides Bergamo chess open. In Falconara, near Ancona, 18 y.o. IM Daniele Vocaturo from Rome and IM Pierluigi Piscopo from Lecce shared first place with 7 points out of 9 (both remained unbeaten). Eugenio Capuano from Campobasso and Norwegian FM Krystian Trygstad took third-fourth place on 6.5: thanks to this result, Capuano should obtain the Fide master title. Serbian IM Nenad Aleksic, candidate master Matteo Rotoni from Macerata, Norwegian master Thomas Robertsen and IM Fabio Bruno, former Italian chess champion, were placed fifth on 6, while French IM and Elo-favourite Vladimir Okhotnik couldn't get more than 5.5 points. 111 players competed in the event. Official site: http://digilander.libero.it/dragonscacchicv/festival07.html.
FM Michelangelo Scalcione from Bologna won the 14th Campobasso chess festival. He scored 16/18 (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw) and edged out by two points Russian GM and Elo-favourite Vladimir Lazarev and Croatian IM Milan Mrdja; Filipino FM Virgilio Vuelban, Italian wGM Olga Zimina and candidate master Saverio Gerardi from Frosinone shared fourth place on 13. 97 players competed in the event. Official site: http://xoomer.alice.it/djhdam/tornei.htm.
The U20 and Female Italian championships are going on in Fiuggi, not far from Rome. FM Denis Rombaldoni (2383) from Pesaro leads the U20 group with 5 points out of 6; FM Niccolò Ronchetti (2410) from Ravenna, IM and Elo-favourite Sabino Brunello (2475) from Bergamo and FM Danyyl Dvirnyy (2365) from Treviso follow on 4.5. Round 7 top boards: D. Rombaldoni-Dvirnyy, Brunello-Navarro and Frilli-Ronchetti. Fiammetta Panella from Rome leads the Female event on 5/6, followed by wFMs Marianna Chierici from Reggio Emilia (4.5 points) and wFM Maria De Rosa from Napoli (4). Official site for both competitions: http://www.fiuggiscacchi.eu/.
And now here is another nice win by Alessio Valsecchi from Bergamo in the U20 Italian championship. Well, his opponent resigned a bit prematurely, but Alessio's position was better, anyway.

Sellitti,Fed. (2171) - Valsecchi,Al. (2175) [B21], Fiuggi 22.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5
The most common reply. 2...Nc6 is the main alternative.
3.exd5 Nf6
The best continuation. Black sacrifices a pawn and gets a good counterplay in return.
4.Bb5+ Bd7 5.Bxd7+ Qxd7 6.c4 e6 7.Qe2 Bd6 8.f5
8.d3 and 8.dxe6 are more common.
8...0–0 9.fxe6 fxe6 10.dxe6 Qe7
10...Qe8 is the main alternative, but the text move looks more accurate.
11.Nf3 Nc6 12.Nc3
This is probably a new move. 12.0–0 is the main line, but after 12...Ng4 followed by ...Nge5 Black is slightly better, so the text move is not worst, at least.
12...Rae8 13.0–0 Ng4 14.Nd5 Qxe6 15.Qxe6+ Rxe6 is fine for Black as well.
13.Nxd4 cxd4 14.Nb5
After 14.Nd5? Nxd5 15.cxd5 Qg5 Black is much better; 14.Nd1 Rae8 15.0–0 Qxe6 16.Qxe6+ Rxe6 followed by ...Ng4 is also good for Black.
14...Bc5 15.d3 a6 16.Na3 Bb4+ 17.Bd2?
17.Kd1 looks the only way to survive: after 17...b5!? 18.cxb5 Bxa3 19.bxa3 Nd5 20.Bd2 axb5 White's position looks really ugly, but your silicon friends can show you he can survive, e.g.: 21.Rc1 Qxa3 (21...Rxa3 22.Qe5 Nc3+ 23.Bxc3 dxc3 24.Rxc3 Rxc3 25.Qxc3 Qxe6 26.Qb3 Qxb3+ 27.axb3 Rf2 28.g4 Rb2 29.Re1=) 22.Rf1 Rfe8 23.Rf7 Qa4+ 24.Ke1 Ra6 25.Rxg7+ Kxg7 26.Qe5+ Kg8 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Qe5+ with a perpetual check.
17...Bxd2+ 18.Kxd2 Ng4!!
A nice blow!
19.Raf1 Qg5+ 20.Kc2 Ne3+ is not much better for White, e.g.: 21.Kb3 Rxf1 22.Rxf1 Nxf1 23.Qxf1 Rf8 24.Qe2 Qe3 25.Qxe3 dxe3 26.Nc2 e2 27.Kc3 Re8 28.Kd2 Rxe6 and Black must win.
19...Rf2+ 20.Kc1
20.Ke1 loses even faster: 20...Raf8 21.c5 R8f4–+
20...Qb4 21.Qxd4 Qd2+ 22.Kb1 Raf8 0–1
And White (surprisingly) resigns: his position is all but good, but after 22...Raf8 he can prolong the resistance by playing 23.Rc1 , e.g.: 23...Rf1 (23...Qxc1+!? 24.Kxc1 Rxg2 25.Qg4 Rxg4 26.Kd2 Rg2+ 27.Kc3 Re2 is good for Black as well) 24.Qc3 Rxc1+ 25.Qxc1 Qxd3+ 26.Nc2 Rf1 27.b3 Rxc1+ 28.Kxc1 Qf1+ 29.Kb2 Qf6+ 30.Ka3 Qxe6 31.Rd1 Qe2 32.Rd8+ Kf7 33.Nb4 Qxg2 and Black must win, but the battle is not over yet.


Vladimir Georgiev king of Bergamo

Long life to the king of Bergamo! Makedonian GM and Elo favourite (with a 2567 rating) Vladimir Georgiev won the 6th International chess open, which ended this afternoon in my home town, after a really tough battle. He scored 5 points out of 6 (four wins and two draws, one of them against candidate master Luca Canova from... Bergamo) and edged out by half a point Filipino IM Roland Salvador (2452), Bulgarian GM Todor Todorov (2500), Ukrainian wGM Inna Gaponenko (2458) and her partner GM Viesturs Meijers (2483). Eight players follow on 4: Ukrainian GM Sergei Krivoshey (2500), Serbian GMs Sinisa Drazic (2480) and Miroljub Lazic (2465), Bulgarian GM Milko Popchev (2465), FM Maurizio Brancaleoni from Rimini (2256), best Italian player, Filipino IM Rolly Martinez (2430), Moldavian wGM Karolina Smokina (2205), Georgiev's partner, and Mauro Barletta from Turin (2257). Alberto Buzio from Verbania dominated the B-group with a final 5.5/6 score, while Lucas Luizaga from Bergamo won the U14 section on 6/7. Congratulations to all winners! This was probably the strongest edition ever (seven GMs, five IMs, one wGM, two FMs) and the one with the highest number of participants (125 from eleven countries). A tournament to remember. Only a "little" fault (big, in my opinion): no games available! Why? Why? Why? Well, I know the answer, but I'm not happy anyway... I hope I will be able to take part to the event sooner or later. And I also hope games will become available as soon as possible (by the next edition, at least!). You can read full results by clicking on the following links: A-group, B-group, U14-group. And here are some more pictures from the event...

The king: Makedonian GM Vladimir Georgiev

Luca Canova, who drew with Georgiev in round 1

Young star Marco Codenotti in action

GM Sinisa Drazic shows his book stand helped by Giru, my fiancée :-)

Stefano Ranfagni, best placed player of Bergamo,
with his coach and friend Marco Gazzetta :-)

Here is the astonishing draw that Luca Canova could get against Georgiev in round 1 (he was even sligthly better at the end of the game).

Georgiev,Vl. (2567) - Canova,L. (2082) [D53], Bergamo 20.7.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 e6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 Ne4 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.Nc3 Nd7 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.Qxe4 Qb4+ 11.Nd2 Qxb2 12.Rb1 Qa3 13.c5 0–0 14.Qc2 Qa5 15.Bd3 h6 16.0–0 e5 17.Nc4 Qc7 18.Nd6 exd4 19.exd4 b5 20.Bh7+ Kh8 21.Bf5 Nb6 22.Be4 Bd7 23.Rfe1 Rab8 24.Bf3 Nc8 25.Ne4 Be6 26.Re3 Rd8 27.Rbe1 Qd7 28.h3 Ne7 29.Nd6 Nf5 30.Nxf5 Bxf5 31.Be4 Be6 32.Ra3 Qxd4 33.Rxa7 Bc4 34.Bf3 Qxc5 35.Rxf7 Rd2 36.Qxd2 Bxf7 37.Be4 Qa3 38.Bb1 Bg8 39.Re3 Qf8 40.Rf3 Qe7 41.Re3 Qf6 42.Rg3 Bh7 43.Bxh7 Kxh7 44.Qc2+ Kh8 45.Rg6 Qa1+ 46.Kh2 Qe5+ 47.g3 c5 48.Rc6 c4 49.Qd2 Qe4 50.Qd6 Ra8 51.Rc7 Qf3 0.5-0.5


A chess tiger from Borneo

The 6th International open will end tomorrow in Bergamo. Makedonian GM and Elo favourite Vladimir Georgiev is on 3.5/4, with a half a point lead over ten players: Ukrainian GM Sergei Krivoshey and wGM Inna Gaponenko, Serbian IM Slavisa Peric, Bulgarian GMs Todor Todorov and Milko Popchev, Gianluca Calvi from Milan, Latvian GM Viesturs Meijers, Philipino IM Roland Salvador, Serbian GM Miroljub Lazic and Croatian FM Miroslav Pukovski. A lot of players follow on 2.5: Serbian GM Sinisa Drazic, Philipino IM Rolly Martinez, Italian IM Daniel Contin, Moldavian wGM Karolina Smokina and Italian "wunderkind" Marco Codenotti from Pisa (10 years old) are among them. Anything can still happen and the last two games will be decisive. Top boards of the 5th round: Georgiev-Krivoshey, Todorov-Popchev, Pukovski-Meijers, Peric-Lazic, Gaponenko-Salvador, Drazic-Calvi. Alberto Buzio from Verbania leads the "B" group with a perfect score (4/4); in this group a chess lover from Borneo, Malaysia, is playing: his name is Richard Kimbin, he is 32 years old (he was born in 1975, like me :-) ) and he hasn't played chess for ten years. He told me he will be living in Bergamo until September 2008 (he works in Terno d'Isola, not far from the town) and we have played some friendly blitz games (we got in touch after he read this blog): he still has a very good chess vision, if you consider that he hasn't been playing for a long time, and I'm sure he will become a really strong player if he studies a bit of theory. So, be careful when you play with him! And... good luck, Richard! Remember I'm waiting for an article about chess in Malaysia (or whatever you want)!
The 4th Americas Continental Championship was held in Cali, Colombia, in July 10 to 20. Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga scored 8/11 and won on tie break over GMs Varuzhan Akobian and Alexander Ivanov from United States, Brazilian GM Darcy Lima and Venezuelan IM Eduardo Iturrizaga; they all immediately qualified into the World Cup. Players who scored 7.5 points played tiebreaks for the two remaining spots: Argentinian GM Fernando Peralta and Brazilian IM Everaldo Matsuura won. Elo favourite GM Jaan Ehlvest from Usa was placed only 18th on 7 points, but there were many other strong GMs who didn't succeed in qualifying: Giovanni Vescovi from Brazil, Boris Gulko from Usa, Ruben Felgaer from Argetnina, Kevin Spraggett from Canada, etc. Official site: http://www.colombiadeportiva.com/continental.htm.
And now here is a short and brilliant win by Mexican IM Manuel Leon Hoyos in Cali.

Leon Hoyos,M. (2484) - Spraggett,K. (2585) [B42], Cali 20.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.0–0 d6
6...Qc7 7.Qe2 d6 8.c4 g6 9.Nc3 Bg7 etc. is the main alternative.
7.c4 b6
7...Be7, 7...g6 and 7...Bd7 are more common.
8.Nc3 Bb7 9.f4
9.Qe2 is also popular.
9...Be7 and 9...Nbd7 are the main continuations.
10.f5 gxf5 11.exf5 Rg8
Nothing new under the sun, but White has now a strong novelty to show...
A real shock for Spraggett, who soon loses his nerves. Before now 12. Nf3 and 12.g3 have been played.
Forced! If 12...Bxe4 then 13.Bxe4 d5 (13...Nxe4 14.fxe6 Ra7 15.exf7+ Rxf7 16.Rxf7 Kxf7 17.Qh5+ Rg6 18.Qd5++-) 14.cxd5 e5 15.Nf3 Bc5+ 16.Kh1 Qd6 (16...Nxe4 17.Qa4+ Nd7 18.Qxe4) 17.Bg5 Nbd7 18.Qd3 and White is much better.; After 12...Nxe4 13.fxe6 Rg7 14.exf7+ Rxf7 15.Rxf7 Kxf7 16.Qh5+ Kg8 17.Qg4+ Bg7 18.Bxe4 White wins easily.
13.Re1 is playable as well, but White wants to complicate the position.
13...fxe6 14.fxe6 Bxe4 15.Bxe4 Ra7 16.Qf3 Bg7?
A terrible mistake. 16...Rg4! 17.Bc2 Rag7 18.g3 Be7 19.Bh6 Qc8 (19...Rg8 20.Bxh7) 20.Bxg7 Rxg7 is unclear, but would probably lead to a draw. Now White wins easily.
17.Bg5 Rf8 18.Bxf6 Rxf6 19.Qh5+ Kf8 20.Rxf6+ Bxf6 21.Qh6+ Kg8 22.Rf1 1–0
After 22.Rf1 Qf8 (22...Bg5 23.e7!+-) 23.Rxf6 Qxh6 24.Rxh6 Black is completely hopeless, so he resigned.

And finally here is a little present for Richard... His round 4 victory in Bergamo (I can't say if I report the correct move order: I just saw the position after what I think are moves 13 and 17 and, then, the final combination).

Kimbin,R. - Fiorelli,P. [B77], Bergamo 21.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 a6 11.g4 Rc8 12.Bb3 h5 13.gxh5 Nxh5 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 15.0–0–0 b5 16.Bh6 e6 17.Bxg7 Nxg7? 18.h5! Nxh5? 19.Rxh5! gxh5 20.Qh6 f6 21.Bxe6+ Rf7 22.Rg1# 1–0


Chess postcards from Bergamo

The 6th Bergamo International open has finally started this morning with a record participation of 126 players. Some of the main favourites got a very hard life: Latvian GM Viesturs Meijers, Makedonian GM Vladimir Georgiev, Bulgarian GM Todor Todorov and Serbian GM Miroljub Lazic drew one of their first two games against FM Maurizio Brancaleoni from Rimini and candidate masters Luca Canova from Bergamo, Francesco Sgaravatti from Padova and Luciano Fattorelli from Novara respectively; Philippino IM Rolly Martinez recovered from a lost position (in round 1) against Giampietro Amato from Messina, who made a terrible blunder in time trouble, and then lost against Alessandro Brigati from Piacenza (in round 2). Many young players take part in the tournament: Italian star Marco Codenotti from Pisa, 10 years old, is among the participants of the “A” group, while Violeta, the 7 years old daughter of Ukrainian wGM Inna Gaponenko, is playing one of her first chess events in the “B” group. Top boards of the 3rd round: Gaponenko-Krivoshey, Drazic-Salvador, Brigati-Meijers. Full results (sooner or later) at http://www.chesslab.bergamo.it/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19. Here are some pictures taken by Daniele Gamba, a journalist and photographer of “Il Nuovo Giornale di Bergamo”, the newspaper I work for.

Inna Gaponenko with Violeta and Vijesturs Meijers

The playing hall: "Palestra Angelini"

Italian young star Marco Codenotti

GM Sinisa Drazic, winner in 2005

Concentrated players

WGM Karolina Smokina

Chessplayers at work

The strong 8th International tourney is underway in Montreal, Canada. Eljanov, Harikrishna and Miton won their first game against Charbonneau, Sutovsky and Short respectively; Bluvshtein-Kamsky and Tiviakov-Ivanchuk were drawn. Official site: http://www.fqechecs.qc.ca. An even stronger event will start on Monday in Biel, Switzerland: this will be a 10 player round robin with Radjabov, Grischuk, Carlsen and J. Polgar among the others. Official site: http://www.bielchessfestival.ch.

Harikrishna,P (2664) - Sutovsky,E (2656) [D87], Montreal 19.7.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0–0 10.0–0 Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Rc1 e5
Not a common variation indeed. 12...cxd4 (12...Bb7!?) 13.cxd4 e6 14.Qd2 Bb7 is much more popular.
This looks to be a new move. 13.d5 c4 14.Bc2 Bd7 15.Rb1 Nb7= was played in the game Seifert-Zezulkin, Postbauer Heng 1999.
13...Be6 14.c4
After 14.cxb6 axb6 15.c4 Qb8 Black has enough compensation in return for the sacrificed pawn and should soon take it back.
14...bxc5 15.Bxc5 Bh6 16.f4!?
16.Rc2 Re8 17.Nc3 Nxc4 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Nd6 20.Re1 is an alternative to be considered, but the text move looks more dangerous for Black.
16...Re8 17.f5 Qc7 18.Bf2 Bxc4
18...Bxc1 is risky, e.g.: 19.fxe6 Bg5 20.h4 Bh6 21.exf7+ Qxf7 22.Nc3 Nxc4 23.Qe2 Nd6 24.Nb5 Nxb5 25.Bc4 Re6 26.Bxb5 Qe7 27.Bc4 Rc8 28.Qd3 and White has the initiative.
19.Bxc4 Nxc4
19...Bxc1 20.Bd5 is good for White.
20.Rc3 is better, but White tries to keep the initiative.
Now 20...Bxc1 looks possible: after 21.Nd5 Qd8 22.Qxc1 Nd6 23.Qe3!? White has to prove his sacrifice to be correct.
21.Nd5 Qxc1
21...Qd6 22.Qc2 Bxc1 23.Rxc1 Reb8 24.Qd2 Rb5 25.Bh4 gives White a strong attack.
22.Nf6+ Kg7
22...Kh8 looks a bit more precise.
23.Nxe8+ Rxe8 24.f6+ Kg8 25.Qxc1 Bxc1 26.Rxc1 Nd3 27.Rc3?!
27.Rc7 is even stronger.
27...Nxf2 28.Kxf2 h5 29.Rc6 Re6?
This natural move is a losing one! 29...g5 30.Ra6 Re6 31.Rxa7 Rxf6+ 32.Ke3 Rb6 would give Black excellent drawing chances (the position is about equal, after all).
30.Rxe6 fxe6 31.g4!
Simple and decisive!
What else?
32.Kg3 Kf7 33.Kxg4 Kxf6 34.Kh4! a5 35.a4 Ke7
Black has no good defence, e.g.: 35...Kf7 36.Kg5 Kg7 37.h3 Kf7 38.Kh6 g5 (38...Kf6 39.h4 Kf7 40.Kh7 Kf6 41.Kg8 g5 42.h5 g4 43.h6+-) 39.Kxg5 Kg7 40.h4 Kf7 41.Kh6 Kf6 42.Kh7 Kf7 43.h5 Kf6 44.Kg8+-
36.Kg5 Kf7 37.Kh6 Kf6 38.h4 Kf7 39.Kh7 Kf6 40.Kg8 1–0
Zugzwang. Black loses with both 40...Ke7 41.Kg7 and 40...g5 41.h5, so he resigned.


Strange rules for Fide World Cup

The regulations for the 2007-2009 World Chess Championship Cycle have been published in the Fide Handbook on Fide website. Here are some interesting points: “there are 128 qualifiers” for the 2007 World Cup, with “five Fide president nominees” and “four organiser nominees”. Nothing new under the sun, but I think this is just absurd: if you are friend with Ilyumzhinov or organisers you can compete in the World championship cycle, even if you are a very weak player (this already happened some years ago, if I don’t mind). I hope Italy will organise the Fide World Cup sooner or later... :-) There are good news for journalists as well: “The players are required to make themselves available for short interviews, of not more than 10 minutes duration, immediately after the game”. If they fail to do so, “then the following penalty may be imposed by the Press Officer: 5% of his prize money shall be forfeited to the Organisers and a further 5% to FIDE for each breach. In cases of serious misconduct the player may be disqualified from the tournament and the World Chess Championship cycle”. I just say: wow! This is a very smart move from Fide. Bobby Fischer would have never become one of the greatest World champion of all times with such rules... About stipends: “a) Chairman of the Appeals Committee USD 10,000; b) Three members of the Appeals Committee USD 21,000 (I think this means USD 7,000 each); c) Chief Arbiter USD 8,000; ... g) Press Officer USD 5,000; h) Representative of Fide Medical Commission USD 3,000”. Not bad indeed... You can read full regulations at http://www.fide.com/official/handbook.asp?level=DD106.
The strong 8th Montreal International has started today. Players: Vassily Ivanchuk, Gata Kamsky, Nigel Short, Pavel Eljanov, Sergei Tiviakov, Emil Sutovsky, Kamil Miton, Pentala Harikrishna, Mark Bluvshtein and Pascal Charbonneau. Chuky is the clear favorite: if he wins this tournament he should even arise to third or second place in the next Fide rating list. Official site: http://www.fqechecs.qc.ca.
The Chess Classic Mainz takes place August 13th-19th 2007 at the Rheingoldhalle. Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian, Etienne Bacrot and Rustam Kasimdzhanov will play a mixed rapid chess and Chess960 event. These will take place along with the usual mixture of other events. Official site: http://www.chesstigers.de.
And now here is a brilliant win by Alessio Valsecchi from Bergamo in Fiuggi, near Rome, where the U20 Italian championship takes place until July 26.

Valsecchi,Al. (2175) - Cantoro,Da. (1853) [B33], Fiuggi 18.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5
The Sveshnikov variation.
6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.Bxb5
An interesting sacrifice, played even by Sveshnikov himself. 11.Bd3 is a more positional approach to this variation.
11...axb5 12.Nxb5 Ra4
The most common alternative.
13.Nbc7+ is much more popular; after 13...Kd7 14.0–0 Rxe4 15.Qh5 Ne7 16.Qxf7 Kc6 17.c4 Qd7 18.Na8 White has a good compensation.
13...Qa5+ is the main alternative.
14.0–0 Bg7
After 14...Rxe4 15.Nbc7+ Kd7 16.Qh5 White has a strong attack anyway.
This looks to be a new move. After 15.Ne3 Rd4 16.Qc2 Ne7 17.Nxd4 exd4 18.Nxf5 Nxf5 19.exf5 0–0 Black has better chances, but White could get a draw in the game I. Smirnov-Ustianovich, Alushta 2002.
15...Rxc1 16.Qxc1 Nd4?
A serious mistake. 16...Bb7 was almost forced; after 17.Ndc7+ Kf8 18.exf5 h5 19.Rd1 Rh6 20.Nd5 White has some compensation, but probably not enough.
Simple and effective. Now White can even fight for the full point!
17...Qxd6 18.Qxc8+ Qd8 19.Qc5!?
19.Nc7+ Ke7 20.Nd5+ Qxd5!? (20...Ke8 21.Nc7+=) 21.Qxh8 Ne2+ 22.Kh1 Bxh8 23.exd5 Nf4 looks ok for Black, who can stop White's passed pawns without many problems.
19...fxe4 20.b4 f5 21.b5 (intending b6 and Rb1) is a very sharp line.
20.Qa3 f6?
A questionable move. After 20...Bf6 21.Re1 fxe4 22.Qa4+ Kf8 23.Qxe4 White has the initiative, but Black can hold on.
Now Black's position is not easy.
The decisive mistake. 21...Bf8 is the only way to survive, although after 22.Qa6 Nc5 23.Qc6+ Kf7 24.exf5 Kg7 25.Rc4 White is much better.
22.Qa7+ Kg6 23.Ne7+ Kg5
This move loses by force, but after 23...Kh5 24.Nxf5 Kg6 25.h4 Qd2 26.h5+! Kg5 27.Rc3 White has a decisive advantage anyway.
A poor move. 24.h4+ Kh5 25.Nxf5 Qg8 26.Qd7 Bf8 27.f3 is much stronger.
24...f4 25.h4+! Kh5?
Losing immediately. 25...Kh6 would prolong the battle, although after 26.Nf5+ Kg6 27.h5+ Kxh5 28.Qb3 Ng5 29.Nxg7+ Kg6 30.Ne6 Qb8 31.Qxb8 Rxb8 32.Nxg5 fxg5 33.b3 White wins anyway.
26.Qf3+ Kxh4
If 26...Kh6 then 27.Nf5+ Kg6 28.Rc6+-
27.Qh3+ Kg5 28.Qf5+ Kh6 29.Qxe6 1–0
Black can't avoid mate, so he resigned. E.g.:29.Qxe6 Re8 30.Qh3+ Kg5 31.Nf5 h5 32.g4 hxg4 33.Qh4+ Kg6 34.Qxg4+ etc.


Bergamo head of the (chess) world

Latin people would say: "Bergamo caput mundi". The 6th International chess open will start in my home town on Friday morning. As I wrote in a previous post, this should be the strongest edition ever; there will probably be more than 120 participants, with eight GMs and two wGMs among them.

A press conference with Fabio Rustico (city council member and former football player), Gianpietro Pagnoncelli (president of Italian chess federation), Gianvittorio Perico, Felice Scarpellini, Valdo Eynard, Ettore Maffi (organizers) and Pierluigi Pizzaballa (member of Antoniana sport association and former goalkeeper of Atalanta football club) was held in Bergamo’s town hall this morning: they showed all peculiarities of the tournament and they are sure the present edition will be a great success. If you want to read more about the tourney you can read my previous post at http://midaschess.blogspot.com/2007/06/bergamo-tourney-you-will-remember.html. A full list of pre-registered players can be read at http://www.chesslab.bergamo.it/PREISCRITTIA07.PDF.
An even stronger tournament will take place in Castione della Presolana, 40 chilometers from Bergamo, at the end of August (23-31), as usual. More than 40 titled players (GMs and IMs) will play and this means the present edition will be the strongest ever (as for Bergamo open). Here are some names (exclusive news for Mida’s Chess Corner readers :-) ): Konstantin Landa (RUS – 2669), Sergei Tiviakov (NED – 2648), Igor Khenkin (GER – 2602), Vladimir Epishin (RUS – 2587), Vladimir Burmakin (RUS – 2581), Csaba Horvath (HUN – 2558), Erald Dervishi (ALB – 2553), Michele Godena (ITA – 2547), Miso Cebalo (CRO – 2533), Alberto David (LUX – 2529), Gyula Sax (HUN – 2522), Pawel Jaracz (BUL – 2495), Marko Tratar (SLO – 2491), Michael Hoffman (GER – 2481), Sabino Brunello (ITA – 2475), Giorgi Bagaturov (GEO – 2474), Jacob Aagaard (SCO - 2467), etc. Many collateral events will take place along the tournament (even a magician exhibition!), so don't miss that! Castione is a mountain and tourist place: your family won't get bored. Official site: www.scaccobratto.com.
The U20 and Female Italian championship has started today in Fiuggi. Top rated players in the U20 event: IM Sabino Brunello (2475), FM Niccolò Ronchetti (2410), FM Denis Rombaldoni (2383), FM Danyyl Dvirnyy (2365), FM Giuseppe Lettieri (2293), Axel Rombaldoni (2269 - Italian U16 champion). Top rated players in the Female event: wFM Maria De Rosa (2085), Marianna Arnetta (2032), wFM Marianna Chierici (2004), Fiammetta Panella (1968), Roberta Brunello (1957 - last year winner). Official site: http://www.fiuggiscacchi.eu/.
Here are some news from Fide at last. The FIDE Ethics Commission is to hold a public hearing on July 28, 2007, in Athens, Greece, to rule on the accusations leveled by Veselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov against Vladimir Kramnik during the 2006 World Championship match in Elista, Kalmykia, and against the organisers of the World Championship and the Fide President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in an interview with the Spanish news service ABC. You can read the full statement made by Roberto Rivello, Italian master and chairman of the Fide Ethics Commission, at http://www.fide.com/news/download/Ethic-Topalov.pdf.


Ian retires from competitive chess :-(

I'm very sad to write here, for those who doesn't already know, that Australian GM Ian Rogers, 47 years old, has announced his retirement from competitive chess. This happened a few days ago in Adelaide, in his home country, where Ian won the last tournament of his career with 6/7.
"Last Sunday, following the final round of the Checkmate Open in Adelaide, I announced my retirement from all forms of tournament chess", Rogers wrote in his column in yesterday's Sydney Sun-Herald. "The decision, made six days earlier, was not voluntary but was based on unanimous medical opinion that the stress of tournament chess had caused, and would continue to cause, serious health problems unless I stopped permanently". The Closet Grandmaster reports this statement at the following address, http://closetgrandmaster.blogspot.com/2007/07/for-rogers-rp-fans.html, but I haven't found it on Sun-Herald's site (http://sunherald.com.au/). May you help me?
Many Blogs and sites have also written about Ian's decision. Chessexpress says: "GM Ian Rogers, Australia's number 1 player for over 20 years, has won the Lidums Checkmate Open that has just been completed in Adelaide [...]. At the closing ceremony he then announced his retirement from competitive chess, due to health reasons. Unfortunately Ian has a medical condition that is exacerbated by the stress of tournament play and therefore cannot compete at the highest level. He played in the Adelaide tournament to fulfill a commitment he made to the organisers, knowing in advance that this would be his last tournament". Full story: http://chessexpress.blogspot.com/2007/07/gm-ian-rogers-retires-winner.html.
And the Australian Chess Federation site: "Grandmaster Ian Rogers stunned the audience at the prize-giving ceremony for the Lidums Checkmate Open by announcing his retirement from all tournament chess, effective immediately. His retirement was forced upon him by medical advice that was too positive to ignore. Ian had just won the event so at least he was able to retire on a winning note. Australian chess players will miss Ian on the tournament scene. Fortunately, he will still be able to write and coach, two activities that helped to create his reputation as arguably the most influential chess player Australia has produced". Etc. Full story: http://www.auschess.org.au/newsletter/issue/406.html.
You can read my previous post about Ian (a small tribute to him) at http://midaschess.blogspot.com/2007/05/ian-rogers-n-1-chess-globetrotter.html. Although he won't play competitive chess anymore, I'm sure Ian will remain a great chess journalist and trainer. And now I'm really waiting for his auto-biography (about his travels and games - possibly with a huge amount of anecdotes). Go Ian, go!


An unforgettable day (for many reasons)

This was a hot Sunday in Hungary, Italy and Canada. No, I don't mean because of the weather (which was quite hot too, here in Bergamo). The First Saturday-GM group, the Italian championship semifinal and the strong Ottawa open finally came to an end...
The hottest news come from Budapest, Hungary. The Italian-American IM Fabiano Caruana won the tourney with 7 points out of 9 and scored his third and last GM norm: he is the youngest Italian... and American :-) GM ever (Bobby Fischer and Hikary Nakamura were both 15 years old when they obtained the title). Caruana is 14 years, 11 months and 15 days old: he is the 12th youngest GM of all times, too. Many congratulations to Fabiano, his family and his trainers: you all did a really great job! Official site of the tourney: www.firstsaturday.hu.
A tough battle took place in Cortina (Italy), where a lot of IMs and FMs fought hard to qualify for the Italian championship Final (only five places available), for which GM Michele Godena and IMs Fabiano Caruana and Federico Manca were already qualified (these three were placed first, second and third respectively in the last year champ); three more players (if I don't mind) will be chosen by Fide rating, the twelth participant of the Final will be the winner of the U20 Italian championship, to be held in Fiuggi in July 18 to 26. Coming back to Cortina, eighteen y.o. Daniele Vocaturo from Roma scored 7/9 and edged out six players by half a point, thanks to his win against Elo-favorite IM Sabino Brunello in the last round. Brunello, FM Daniele Genocchio, IM Fabio Bruno, IM Daniel Contin, Alessandro Bonafede (a young Italian master) and FM Francesco Bentivegna shared second place on 6.5; the first four of them are also qualified (thanks to a better tie-break) for the Italian championship Final. Full results: http://www.montebellunascacchi.it/download/CORTINA 2007.doc. No games available (and this is a real pity).
Chinese GM Bu Xiangzhi took clear first in the strong 2007 Canadian open, held in Ottawa (capital city of Canada). Bu scored 8 points out of 10; English super-GM Nigel Short, Polish GM Kamil Miton, Indian GM Chanda Sandipan, Canadian IM Tomas Krnan and Russian GM Bator Sambuev shared second place on 7.5. More than 270 players competed in the event, 22 GMs and nine IMs among them. Official (blog) site: http://canchess.blogspot.com/.
And finally... many congrats and best wishes to Barbara and Andrea for their marriage! Andrea is a chess lover (a strong candidate master) and there were some other players at the bridesgroom's side in the church this morning: his father Roberto (who tought him to play chess), me and Devis, a candidate master himself (we were Andrea's best men). Congrats again and have a wonderful honeymoon (and life :-) )!!
And now here is a very nice game from Canadian open.

Kunte,Ab. (2519) - van Dijk,Ti. (2274) [D37], Ottawa 13.7.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qc2 Nc6 9.a3 Qa5 10.Nd2
10.0–0–0 is more common, but the text move is also quite popular.
10...Be7 11.Rd1 e5 12.Bg5 d4 13.Nb3 Qd8 14.Be2 a5 15.Na4 g6 is a popular continuation, played several times at top level (even by Kasparov - with Black pieces).
11.cxd5 exd5 12.Bd3 d4 13.0–0 Bxc3 14.Nc4 Qh5 15.bxc3 dxe3
15...Nd5 is the main alternative. Some games - Korchnoj-Lutz (1999) and Topalov-Kramnik (2001) among the others - continued 16.Bg3 dxe3 17.Rae1 Be6 18.fxe3 Rad8 19.Nd6 Ne5 and White has a slight edge.
Probably a new move. White sacrifices a pawn to open the "f" file and get some initiative and attacking chances. 16.Nxe3 Bd7 17.Rab1 is the main line at this point.
16...exf2+ 17.Rxf2 Be6 18.Ne5 Ng4
18...Rae8 looks more precise.
19.Nxg4 Bxg4 20.Rb1 Rad8?!
20...Bc8 (20...Na5?? 21.Rb5) is ugly, but it represents the only way to defend the "b7" pawn, althoughafter 21.Rb5 f5 22.Re2 White has a very good compensation anyway.
Why not 21.Rxb7 ?
Now 21...Bc8 was even better than on move 20. Black has already developed his "a8" Rook, so the "c8" square would be fine for his light square bishop. After 22.Rb5 f5 23.Bc7 Rde8 24.Bxf5 Rxf5 25.Rbxf5 Bxf5 26.Rxf5 Re1+ 27.Kh2 Qh6 the position is totally equal.
At least! White takes back the sacrificed pawn and keeps the better chances.
A weak move. 22...f6 intending both ...Rf7 and ...Ne5 was better.
23.Rb5 Qh4 24.Rc5 Nb8?!
Another dubious move. 24...Ne7 was more active. Now the Knight is out of play.
25.Qe2 Qe7?!
White prepares his pieces for the final assault.
26...Nd7 27.Bxh6 would lose on the spot, e.g.: 27...gxh6 28.Rxh6 Qd6 (28...Qg5 29.Rh5 Qg7 30.Qe3 Ne5 31.Bh7++-) 29.Qe4 Bf5 30.Rxd6 Bxe4 31.Bxe4+-
27.Bc2 Rfe8
27...f5 28.Bxh6! was not much better for Black.
28.Qf3 Nc6 29.Qg3 Kf8?
The final mistake, but 29...Ne7 30.Bxh6 Ng6 31.Bxg7! would be decisive anyway. Now White wins by playing a spectacular combination...
The first (and decisive) blow!
30...Ke7 was the only way to avoid an immediate mate, but after 31.Rxh6 Black is completely hopeless anyway.
31.Bxh6+ Kg8 32.Rg5+ Kh8 33.Bg7+ Kg8 34.Bf6+ Kf8 35.Bh7!
The final blow.
35...Qd1+ 36.Kh2 Qd6+ 37.g3 would only prolong the agony a few more moves.
36.Bg7# 1–0


Radjabov and Carlsen to play in Biel

I wrote just yesterday I'm waiting for more excitement. And it will probably arrive by the end of the month, since a couple of strong tournaments will take place in Pardubice (Czech Republic) and, above all, in Biel (Switzerland).
The 18th Festival Czech Open will be held in Pardubice until July 29. World School Teams Championship and European Chess Solving Championship will take place during this year’s festival. For the fourth time the chosen tournaments have been granted the status Open European Amateurs Championship. The festival will be played at Cez Arena and at the exhibition and social centre Ideon starting on Thursday 19. Last year’s grand master tournament had an excellent level and there were record –breaking 29 international fulfilled norms, which were 8 GM, 19 IM and 2 WIM norms. This year organizers will try to continue in this high quality. Full details: http://www.czechopen.net/index.php.
The 40th Biel Chess Festival takes place 21st July-3rd August. The main GM is very strong in spite of defending champion Alexander Morozevich deciding not to play due to health reasons (some treatment he needs and from which he'll need to recuperate before the world championship in Mexico City). Players will be: Teimour Radjabov (AZE 2746), Alexander Grischuk (RUS 2726), Magnus Carlsen (NOR 2710), Judit Polgar (HUN 2707), Bu Xiangzhi (CHN 2685), Loek Van Wely (NED 2679), Alexander Onischuk (USA 2650), Alexander Motylev (RUS 2648), Boris Avrukh (ISR 2645) and local idol Yannick Pelletier (SUI 2591). Official site: http://www.bielchessfestival.ch.
The 2007 Canadian Open Chess Championship takes place 7-15 July 2007 in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. After 7 rounds, GM Suat Atalik of Turkey is in clear first with 6 points, followed by GMs Bu Xiangzhi, Vadim Milov, Kamil Miton, Chanda Sandipan and Hoang Thong Tu. GMs Nigel Short, Sergei Tiviakov and a sleuth of other players are tied for 7-23 with 5 points. Event website: http://www.canchess.ca. Event blog: http://canchess.blogspot.com.
A reminder for Italian players: you can send your games for "The 2007 Queen - June" until July 20 (E-mail: redazione@messaggeroscacchi.it). Official page of the contest is: http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/regina2007/index.html. The winner of the most voted game sent by a reader will receive a book as prize.
Here is one of the games chosen for June contest by MS editorial staff (me :-) ).

Rombaldoni,D. (2368) - Bonugli,C. (2091) [B08], Arvier 16.6.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.Be3 c6 7.Qd2
7.a4 is more popular.
7...b5 8.Bd3 Bb7
8...Nbd7 is the main alternative.
9.Bh6 e6?
A new (and too passive) move. 9...b4 10.Ne2 c5 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.Ng3 Nbd7= has been seen before.
10.e5 dxe5 11.dxe5 Nd5 12.h4 Nxc3 13.bxc3
Now White has a dangerous initiative...
13...Nd7 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.h5 g5 16.h6+ Kh8 is more stubborn, although after 17.Qe3 f6 18.exf6 Qxf6 19.0–0 Rg8 20.Rfe1 White is better anyway.
14.h5 Bh8 15.Bg5 Qa5
15...Qc7 would lose anyway, e.g.: 16.Bf6 Bxf6 17.exf6 Nd7 18.Qg5 and White has a decisive attack.
16.hxg6 fxg6 17.Bxg6!
First blow!
17...hxg6 18.Rxh8+!
Second blow!
18...Kxh8 19.Bf6+ Kg8 20.Qh6!
Third and last blow. White loses his "a1" Rook, but Black can't survive.
20...Qxc3+ 21.Kf1 Qxa1+ 22.Ke2 1–0
Black can't avoid mate, so he resigned.


Waiting for more excitement

A lot of tournaments are taking place in this period, but no top GMs are playing. A couple of events ended in the last few days in Rome (Italy) and Andorra.
Romanian IM Ranko Szuhanek won the 12th European Maccabi Games, held in Rome in July 5 to 11. The Maccabi is the international Jewish Sports Organization, present on the 5 continents, in 50 countries and numbering more than 400 000 members. One GM, three IMs, one wGM and four FMs competed in the event. Szuhanek scored 6 points out of 7 and edged out by half a point Azeri master Samir Davidov, who beat Elo favorite GM Valery Beim in the last round. Georgian wGM Sopiko Khukhashvili (best placed woman), Russian IM Alexey Yuneev, Romanian IM Mihai-Lucian Grunberg and Slovakian master Martin Fraas shared the third place on 5 points. Full results: http://www.emg2007.roma.it/Results/wwwOpen/index.html.
Israeli IM Maxim Rodshtein, Serbian GM Branko Damljanovic and Spanish GM Salvador Del Rio shared first place in the 25th Andorra International open, held in June 30 to July 8. They all scored 7 points out of 9 and edged out by half a point five players: Artur Kogan (ISR), Kevin Spraggett (CAN), Oscar De La Riva (AND), Diego Flores (ARG) and Manuel Perez (SPA). Italian master Angelo Damia was placed 34th-46th on 5 points. 101 players took part in the event, 16 GMs and 12 IMs among them. Official site: http://www.escacsandorra.com/.
Waiting for more exciting action (and games) I finally wrote an article about Kasparov’s visit in Italy on my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/articoli/kaspamil.html). Don’t try to translate it by using Google language tools... It would be horrible...
Some news from Italy at last: the Italian championship semifinal takes place in Cortina until July 15. Ten IMs and fifteen FMs compete in the event (58 participants). IMs Sabino Brunello and Fabio Bruno share first place on 5 points after 6 rounds; IMs Roberto Mogranzini and Daniele Contin, FM Daniele Genocchio and young masters Axel Rombaldoni and Alessandro Bonafede follow on 4.5. Results: http://www.montebellunascacchi.it/download/CORTINA%2007.doc.
And now here is a game from the Maccabi tournament.

Angel, H. B. - Gerasimenyk, M. [D00], Rome 11.7.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4
The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, a dangerous weapon if you don't know how to face it...
Black takes up the challenge. 3...e6 would lead to a French defence.
4.f3 exf3
4...Bf5 and 4...e3 are the main alternatives.
5.Nxf3 g6
5...Bg4 and 5...e6 are more popular.
6.Bc4 Bg7 7.Bg5
The immediate 7.0–0 is more flexible.
7...0–0 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.Qd2
9.Qe1 is probably a bit more precise.
This looks to be a novelty. 9...c5 was the only move played before.
10.Bb3 c6 11.h3 Nbd5 12.Rae1 Bf5 13.Ne5 Qc7 14.Rxf5!?
This is probably not correct, but White has to complicate the position if he wants to get some compensation for the sacrificed pawn.
14...gxf5 15.Bh6 f4?
The first mistake. After 15...Bxh6 16.Qxh6 Kh8 White do not have enough compensation, e.g.: 17.Qg5 Qb6 18.Nf3 Rg8 19.Qxf5 e6 20.Qe5 Rg7 21.Nxd5 Nxd5 22.c4 Ne7 23.Ng5 Rf8 and Black is simply an exchange up.
16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Nxd5 Nxd5
17...cxd5 was probably better: after 18.Qxf4 Qd6 19.Qg5+ Kh8 20.c3 intending Bc2, White has the initiative, but Black can hold on.
18.Bxd5 cxd5 19.Qxf4 Qxc2
19...Qd6 was safer, e.g.: 20.Re3 Qf6 21.Qg3+ Kh8 22.Nd7 Qxd4 23.Nxf8 Rxf8 24.c3 Qf6 25.Qc7 Re8 26.Qxb7 Qb6 27.Qxb6 axb6 and White has only a slight edge in the endgame.
20.Qg5+ Kh8 21.Qxe7 Qd2??
A horrible mistake. After 21...f6 Black can easily fight for a draw, e.g.: 22.Re3 (22.Nf7+ Kg8 23.Re3 Qg6 24.Nd6 Qg7 25.Qe6+ Kh8 26.Qxd5 Rad8=) 22...Qc1+ 23.Kh2 Qxe3 24.Ng6+ hxg6 25.Qxe3 Kg7 26.Qe6 Rf7 27.Qxd5 Rc8=
22.Qf6+ Kg8 23.Rf1!
Well done!
23...Qxd4+ 24.Kh1 Rac8 25.Qg5+ Kh8 26.Rxf7! Rc1+
The only way to avoid mate.
27.Qxc1 1–0
Black is a piece down, so he resigned. A nice win by Mr. Angel (reported as Italian on the official site), if you consider he is a not rated player, while his opponent was a 2150 master.


Young Italian guns in action

A couple of months ago he was the youngest Italian player ever to beat a titled player (IM Ljubisavljevic) in an official tournament. Yesterday Marco Codenotti took a brilliant second place in the 6th Dubai Juniors chess open, held in July 2 to 10: he scored 7.5/9, half a point less than Indian FM and Elo-favorite Srinath Narayanan. Marco was ranked 8th in the competition and lost only one game, in the second round, against Azeri Khayala Abdulla (best placed among female players on 6.5). A really extraordinary result for him, if you consider that he was also placed first in the U10 section, with a 2.5 points margin over the second best placed player of his age. You can find full results at http://www.chess-results.com/tnr7062.aspx?lan=1 and some photos and comments on Marco's performance on his trainer's site, http://giovaniscacchistitoscani.blogspot.com/. Congratulations to Francesco Rinaldi for his excellent work with Marco and, obviously, many compliments to Marco, a really talented young player and hopefully a new Italian GM in the near future :-)
About talented young player, IM Fabiano Caruana, #1 Italian player in the July Fide list, is playing in Budapest. He lead on 3.5/4 in the GM group of the First Saturday tournament and he needs 7 points out of 9 to get his third and last GM norm: hopefully Italy will have a new grandmaster very soon... Official site of the tournament: http://www.firstsaturday.hu/.
Here is Caruana's crushing win against Hungarian GM Tibor Fogarasi in round 1.

Fogarasi,T. (2425) - Caruana,F. (2549) [B43], Budapest 7.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.0–0 Bc5 8.Nb3 Ba7
8...Be7 9.f4 d6 is more common.
9.Kh1 Nc6 10.Bg5
This looks to be a novelty. 10.f4 d6 was played in some recent games.
Caruana is not afraid of anything: his opponent't pieces are best developed, but his King is safe and an early attack against White castle looks an interesting idea.
11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.f4 d6 13.Be2 Bd7 14.Qd2 0–0–0
Black has completed his development too. Battle can start now.
15.Rad1 Be8
15...Bb8 was objectively better, but the dark square bishop will turn out to be well located on "a7" in a few moves.
16.f5 looks stronger, although Black can still organize a good counterplay by 16... Bb8 or even 16...d5 , e.g.: 17.exd5 exd5 18.Nxd5?! (18.Qf4 Ne7 19.Qh4!? Qe5 with an unclear position) 18...Rxd5! 19.Qxd5 Bb8 20.g3 h4 with a strong attack in return for the sacrificed exchange.
16...h4 17.h3 Rg8 18.Qe1 Ne7! 19.f5
After 19.Qxh4 Black has a good compensation: 19...f5 20.Qh7 Kb8 (intending ...Bc6) with chances for both sides.
19...Bc6 20.Nd4
After 20.fxe6 fxe6 21.Rxf6 Black can take the initiative by 21...Nf5 22.Bg4 Ng3+ 23.Kh2 Bd7!? etc.
20...Bxd4 21.Rxd4 d5 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.Rc4??
A terrible mistake. 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.Qxh4!? was the correct way to continue the battle, e.g.: 24...e5 25.Rc4 Nf4 26.Rfxf4 exf4 27.Bf3 and White can fight for a draw.
23...Rxg2! 0–1
Simple and brilliant. After23...Rxg2 24.Kxg2 Ne3+ 25.Kf2 Nxc4 26.Bxc4 Qh2+ 27.Ke3 Bxf3 White is hopeless, e.g.: 28.Kxf3 Qxh3+ 29.Kf2 Qxf5+ 30.Ke2 Qg4+–+


Human crushed by a computer. Again

Three months ago IM Larry Kaufman publicly made an offer to all top level players who think their brains were better than computer's microchips. "I will donate $ 1,000 of my own money", he wrote on http://rybkaforum.net, "to any grandmaster who can win a six game match from Rybka". The duel finally took place in Potomoc, United States, in July 5 to 8. Rybka's opponent was GM Jaan Ehlvest (Fide rating 2629), who had already lost a match at pawn odds against the same program last March. Terms of the challenge were as follows:
1. Prize Fund (from five Rybka fans): Match victory by Ehlvest - $11.000. Drawn Match - $3.100. Consolation prize for lost match - $1.500.
2. Opening book: Rybka is limited to a 3 move deep opening book.
3. Endgame Tablebases: None allowed.
4. Hardware limitation: Quadcore pc, limit of 512 MB for hash tables.
5. Color: Ehlvest gets White every game.
6. Time limit: Fide time control (90'+30" increment) for Ehlvest, 45'+15" for Rybka.
7. Breaks: five minute break twice each game on request by Ehlvest. Computer may reboot if frozen.
8. Schedule: First game, 5 p.m. July 5, next four games 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 6 and 7, final game 9 a.m. July 8. All times Eastern Daylight Time (Washington D.C./NY).
9. Playing location: Kaufman's home in Potomac, MD.
10. Expense money: $300 minimum guaranteed.
11. Match to be broadcast over the Internet, details TBA.

As you can see, Rybka had many handicaps; nonetheless, "he" totally dominated and won by 4.5-1.5, with three wins and three draws. A poor result for good Jaan, but I think that human players can only compete with other human players nowadays: chess programs are too strong for everyone! Just remember what happened to Kramnik last Winter...
Rybka's team is now waiting for an answer by Fide regarding their $100,000 challenge to Deep Junior, winner of the "Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge" which took place in Elista last June. But I think Ilyumzhinov will never give any answer...
And now here is a crushing win by Italian prodigy Marco Codenotti (10 y.o.) in the 6th Dubai Junior chess open: he shares second place on 6.5/8 with only one round to go and he will probably be the best U10 player whatever happens in the last game. You can find more details (in Italian) on Francesco Rinaldi's (his trainer) site, http://giovaniscacchistitoscani.blogspot.com/.

Codenotti,M. - Mehdi,Mam. [B23], Dubai 9.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 e6 4.Nf3 Nge7 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 g6
6...Nxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 8.Qf2 d5 looks better.
7.Ndb5 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Qxd5
White is a pawn up, but Black has some counterplay.
10...Qh4+ 11.g3 Qe7+ 12.Be2 Nb4
12...a6 13.Nc3 Bg7 would give Black good chances.
13.Qc4 Be6?
A bad mistake. 13...Bf5 14.Nc7+ Kd7 15.Nxa8 Nxc2+ 16.Kf2 Qc5+ 17.Kf3 Bg4+ 18.Kg2 Bxe2 19.Qxe2 Qc6+ 20.Qf3 Nxa1 would lead to a drawish endgame. Now White takes the initiative.
14.Nc7+ Kd8 15.Nxe6+ fxe6?
15...Qxe6 was better: after 16.Qxe6 fxe6 17.Kd1 White has excellent winning chances, but Black can hold on.
16.Qd4+ Ke8 17.Qxh8 Nxc2+ 18.Kf2 Qc5+ 19.Kg2 Nxa1 20.Qxh7 Qc2 21.Kf2 Bc5+ 22.Kf3
Black is now hopeless.
22...Qf5 23.Rd1! a6 24.Qg8+ Bf8 25.g4 Qf6?
25...Qf7 would prolong the resistance.
26.Bd3 Qg7 27.Qxe6+
27.Bxg6+ Ke7 28.f5!! was more brilliant.
27...Be7 28.Bxg6+ Kf8 29.Bd2
29.f5 intending Bh6 was even stronger, but White wins anyway.
29...Nc2 30.Bc3 1–0


Anand, Chuky and Maccabi Games

Here I am! Yes, I'm back! No, I didn't write anything in the last few days: the article about Kasparov's visit in Milan has remained into my mind. I took a six days total rest and now I'm ready for... two more weeks of holidays! Yes, I will leave for Sardinia on July 27, but do not worry: now I'm in Bergamo and I'm ready for three hot weeks of chess.
I was in Rome until July 5; on that day the chess tournament of the 12th European Maccabi Games has started in Acqua Acetosa Sports Complex. One GM, three IMs, one wGM and four FMs compete in the event. The Maccabi is the international Jewish Sports Organization, present on the 5 continents, in 50 countries and numbering more than 400 000 members. The present edition has 16 sports (Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bridge, Chess, Fencing, Football, Futsal, Golf, Karate, Squash, "Stracittadina", Table Tennis, Tennis, Ten-Pin Bowling, Volleyball), in 8 world class venues, a Sports staff of over 200, and almost 2000 athletes from 38 countries, making it the largest European Maccabi Games ever. The event will end on July 12. Results: http://www.emg2007.roma.it/ResultIndex.aspx.
A couple of strong rapid events took place in the last few days. Vishy Anand won the XX Ciudad de León tournament by beating Veselin Topalov (3-1) in the final match, as happened in 2006: this is his 7th title in the Spanish competition and the third in a row. Official site: http://www.advancedchessleon.com. Vassily Ivanchuk took the first place in The Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup, held in Odessa (Ukraine): he scored 7 points out of 9 and edged out Alexander Grischuk by half a point. Teimour Radjabov and Alexei Shirov were placed third on 5.5, followed by Boris Gelfand on 5. Official site: http://www.worldcup.pivdenny.com.
My congratulations to 15 y.o. master Axel Rombaldoni from Pesaro: he was placed first in the Italian U16 championship and won his 6th National youth title in a row. He achieved an IM norm last April and he is now rated 2269; I'm sure he will become International Master by a couple of years. Go Axel! Official site of the Italian U16 champ: http://www.palermoscacchi.it/.
And now here is our game of the day, a brilliant win by Anand against Topalov in Leon.

Anand,V (2792) - Topalov,V (2769) [B84], Leon 8.7.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Nbd7
The immediate 7...Qc7 is more common.
8.f4 is the main alternative.
8...b5 9.a4 b4 10.Nc6 Qc7 11.Nxb4 d5 12.Nxa6!?
12.Nba2 is too passive, while 12.Qd4 was played in Beliavsky-Stean, Moscow 1975; the game continued 12...Bc5 13.Ncxd5 exd5 14.Nxd5 Nxd5?! (14...Qb8) 15.Qxg7 Nxe3 16.Qxh8+ Nf8 17.fxe3 and White won.
12...Bxa6 13.exd5 Bd6
This looks to be a novelty. The game Faibisovich-Liberzon, Grozny 1969, continued 13...Be7 14.dxe6 fxe6 15.Bxa6 Rxa6 16.Qe2 Qc8 17.Nb5 0–0 18.Bg5 h6 19.Bh4 Rf7 and Black got slightly better chances and eventually won.
14.h3 exd5 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qxd5 Bb7 17.Qc4 Bc6
Black is a piece up, but White has three dangerous passed pawns on the Queen side. Chances are about equal at the moment, but Topalov is forced to win in order to level the match and soon loses his nerves...
18.b4 Qb7
18...Rc8 looks more precise, e.g.: 19.b5 Bh2+ 20.Kh1 Bxg2+ 21.Kxg2 Qb7+ 22.Qc6 Rxc6 23.bxc6 Qxc6+ 24.Kxh2 Qc7+ 25.Kg1 0–0 with an unclear endgame.
19.Rad1 Be7?
19...Bxb4 loses to 20.Rxd7 Bxd7 21.Bf3+-; but 19...Ne5 was better, e.g.: 20.Qd4 0–0–0 21.f4 Ng6 22.a5 Nh4 and Black has some counterplay. Now White takes the initiative.
20.b5 Bxg2
What else?
21.Rxd7! Kxd7
21...Qxd7 22.Kxg2 0–0 23.Bf3 is even worse.
22.Qd4+ Qd5 23.Rd1 Qxd4 24.Rxd4+ Ke6 25.Kxg2 was stronger.
Topalov misses his last chance to put up a tough resistance: 22...f5! was a better alternative, e.g.: 23.Qd4+ (23.Qxf5+ Ke8 24.Bh5+ g6 25.Bxg6+ hxg6 26.Qxg6+ Kf8 27.Bh6+ Rxh6 28.Qxh6+ Kf7 29.Qh5+ Kf8 30.Qh8+=; 23.Rd1+ Ke6 24.Qxg2 Qxg2+ 25.Kxg2 Rxa4 26.b6 Rb8 and Black can hold on) 23...Bd5 24.c4 Rxa4 (24...Bf6!? 25.Qd1 Ke6 26.cxd5+ Qxd5 27.b6 Qxd1 28.Bxd1 is good for White as well) 25.Qd1 Rb4 26.Bf3 Rxb5 27.Bxd5 Rxd5 28.cxd5 Qa6 and White can still fight for the full point, but Black has some drawing chances.
23.Qxg2 Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rxa4 25.b6
This pawn is now unstoppable.
25...Kd8 26.Rd1+ Kc8 27.Bg4+ Rxg4+ 28.hxg4 Rd8 29.Ra1 was also hopeless for Black.
26.Rd1 Bg5?
A big blunder in a lost position. 26...Bc5 would prolong the agony: 27.b7 Ke7 28.Rd5 Bxe3 29.Rxa5 Bf4 is a better attempt for Black, although 30.Bg4 intending Bc8 and Ra8 is decisive.
27.b7 Ke7 28.Bb6 Re5 29.Bd8+ 1–0
The text move is good enough, but 29.Rd8 Rxd8 30.Bxd8+ followed by b8Q was more spectacular. Topalov resigned anyway.


Caruana on top of the (U16) world

I told that yesterday and I repeat: I will report on Kasparov's lecture in Milan as soon as possible. I will leave for Rome tomorrow morning and I won't be able to update this Blog (and my Italian site www.messaggeroscacchi.it) 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. Keep connected. I know you will miss my very interesting posts :-) (yeah, sure...): you can read some articles I wrote for www.chess.com if you miss me so much (http://www.chess.com/members/view/mida is the direct link to my profile: you can find there the list of my posts).
And now let's speak about ratings... Fide released the July list and Italy can say "hurrà": 14 years old IM Fabiano Caruana is the most rated U16 player of the world! Famous "wunderkinds" such as Indian GM Parimarjan Negi and Chinese wGM Hou Yifan are behind him: congratulations, Fabiano! Caruana, with his 2549 rating, is also the #1 Italian player of the list, although GM Michele Godena is very close at 2547. And what's about the top players? Vishy Anand consolidates his lead arising at 2792 (+6), Vladimir Kramnik is on second place at 2769 (-3), Veselin Topalov is third at 2768 (-4). Super-Chuky is just a few points behind the Bulgarian at 2762 (+33). Michael Adams seems to have a twin brother: for some reasons he is both 14th and 25th in the list (but his "weaker brother" has no Fide title :-) ). Hopefully Fide will correct this mistake soon. More details on www.fide.com.
Vladimir Kramnik has defended his last-year title and scored 8th victory in Dortmund over the last 15 years. Vlad's participation was confirmed only one day before the start as he was struggling with respiratory infection. The illness left no scars on his determination: the World champion played nice games and used all the opportunities to score full points. Tied on second place were Russian champion Evgeny Alekseev, Vishy Anand and Peter Leko, all with single win and six draws. Kramnik, Anand and Leko are probably happy with their performances before the Mexico World Championsip. Fourth Mexico participant, Boris Gelfand, arrived in Dortmund after two exhausting Candidate matches and was not at his best: he was placed only seventh on 2.5 (two losses and five draws). Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/. Final report (in Italian) on my site www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/dortmund07.html).
Now I have to prepare my bag and I need to sleep at least six hours :-)... so, please forgive me: no annotated game, again.