Luck and missed opportunities in Greece

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is a new test for you.

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


Crete: the battle has started

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

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

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

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

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


Waiting for European team champ

What a great performance! Israeli GM Viktor Mikhalevski dominated the 4th Calvia International open, which ended yesterday in the Spanish city. He won his first seven games and made short draws in the last two, with a 2783 performance and a 8/9 final score. Not bad indeed... Canadian GM Kevin Spraggett finished in sole second place on 7, without any loss like the winner; Italian GM Michele Godena shared third place on 6.5 with a very good 2640 performance. Official site: http://www.calviafestival.com.
Godena will be a member of the Italian team which takes part to the European team chess championship, to be played in Crete (Greece) in October 27 to November 7. The remaining team members will be 15 y.o. GM Fabiano Caruana, IM Sabino Brunello, IM Carlo D'Amore and IM Federico Manca. The average rating of our top four boards is 2524, which means this is the strongest Italian team ever seen in an International competition. About 40 countries have confirmed their participation. The participants will include 7 of the World Top-10 GMs: Ivanchuk (UKR 2787, No. 2 in the world), Topalov (BUL 2769, No. 4), Morozevich (RUS 2755, No. 5-6), Mamedyarov (AZE 2752, No. 7), Radjabov (AZE 2742, No. 8), Aronian (ARM 2741, No. 9), Shirov (ESP 2739, No. 10). The Women's event will also feature world stars such as GMs Alexandra Kosteniuk, Maia Chiburdanidze, Tatiana Kosintseva, Antoaneta Stefanova, Elisabeth Paehtz and Almira Skripchenko. Official site of the event: http://www.euroteams2007.org.
Last but not least, a strong category 15 event is taking place in Barcelona, Spain. American GM Hikaru Nakamura leads on 5 points after 7 rounds, followed by Cuban GM Lenier Dominguez on 4.5, Spanish IM Josep Oms Pallise, Azeri GM Vugar Gashimov and Polish GM Michal Krasenkow on 4. Nakamura started with 3.5/4 and then 5/6, then he lost his only game so far against Oms Pallise in round 7. Official site: http://www.escacs.cat/ciutat07.
And now here is a brilliant win by Nakamura himself in Barcelona...

Krasenkow,M (2668) - Nakamura,H (2648) [A14], Barcelona 19.10.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0–0 0–0 6.b3 a5 7.Nc3 c6 8.d4 Nbd7
8...b6 is the main alternetive. The game Lautier-Kramnik, Cannes 1993, continued 9.Bb2 Ba6 10.Nd2 Ra7 11.Qc2 Rd7 12.e3 c5 13.Rfd1 cxd4 14.exd4 Nc6 15.Nb5 Nb4 16.Qb1 Bb7 17.a3 Na6 18.Qd3 Qa8 19.Qe2 Nc7 20.a4 Rc8 21.Rac1 Nxb5 22.axb5 Rdc7 and Black got the initiative and eventually won.
9.Bb2 is also playable; the game Dizdar-Drasko, Belgrade 1988, soon ended in a draw after 9...b6 10.Nd2 Ba6 11.e4 Rc8 12.Re1 e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Bxe5 dxc4 16.Nxc4 Bxc4 17.bxc4 Rxc4 18.Qe2 Qc8 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.e5 Rc2 21.Qe4 1/2–1/2.
9...Re8 10.Rd1 has also been played in a few games.
The most active choice. After 10.Rd1 Ba6 11.Nd2 b5 12.e3 Qc7 Black can easily equalize (Donchenko-Paramonov, Chigorin Mem. 2000).
10...Ba6 11.Nd2
11.e5 is more common and probably more precise. After 11...Ne8 12.Ne2 b5 13.c5 b4 14.a4 bxa3?! 15.Rxa3 White got an edge in the game Timman-Karner, Tallinn 1973.
This looks to be a new move. After 11...Rc8 12.Re1?! c5 13.dxc5 d4! 14.Na4 Nxc5 15.Nxc5 Bxc5 16.Qd3 e5 17.Bh3 Rb8 Black got a slight advantage in the game Renet-Bronstein, Oviedo 1992.
12.exd5 cxd4 13.Nb5 exd5
The best choice, but 13...Bxb5!? is an alternative to be considered. After 14.dxe6 fxe6 15.Bxa8 Qxa8 16.cxb5 Ne5 Black has a good compensation in return for the sacrificed exchange.
14.Nxd4 Rc8 15.Re1?!
This looks to be an inaccuracy. 15.Nf5 had to be considered.
Now Black puts a lot of pressure on the c4 pawn. White must be really very careful...
16.Bb2 Re8 17.Qd1
After 17.Rad1 Bc5 18.Rxe8+ Qxe8 19.Bc3 Nb6 Black has a strong initiative anyway.
17...bxc4 18.bxc4 Qb6 19.Rb1 dxc4 20.Nc6?
Hard to believe it, this is the decisive mistake... White had to play 20.Bc3 and after 20...Qc5 21.Qa4 Nd5 22.Bxa5 N7f6 Black had the better chances, but the game is not finished yet.
20...Rxc6 21.Bxf6?
Weak, but after 21.Rxe7 Rxe7 22.Bxf6 Nxf6 23.Rxb6 Rxb6 Black wins easily anyway.
A brilliant and very nice blow!
22.Kxf2 Bc5+ 23.Kf3
23.Bd4 Bxd4+ 24.Kf3 Rf6+ 25.Kg4 Ne5+ 26.Kg5 Bc8 27.Be4 Rf2 is losing as well.
23...Rxf6+ 24.Kg4 Ne5+ 25.Kg5
25.Rxe5 Bc8+ 26.Rf5 Bxf5+ 27.Kh4 Rh6+ 28.Kg5 Bc8 is not better for White.
25...Rg6+ 26.Kh5 f6
White can't avoid mate or huge material losses.
The only way to avoid mate was 27.Bd5+ Kh8 28.Kh4 Rh6+ 29.Qh5 , but after 29...g5+ 30.Kh3 Rxh5+ 31.Kg2 Rd8 White can resign.
27...Rxe5+ 28.Kh4 Bc8 0–1
Now White is loss: 29.Bd5+ Rxd5 30.g4 Rd3! 31.Qf3 Rxf3 32.Nxf3 Rxg4+ 33.Kh3 Rg5+ 34.Kh4 Bf2#. A beautiful combination by Nakamura!


Veselin, Vishy, Fabiano and more

Veselin Topalov couldn't recover from his bad start in Bilbao and was finally placed only fifth with 9 points out of 30 (players had 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw), with a poor 2585 performance. Well, you can say this was just a rapid blindfold tourney, but I think that if a top level GM can't prove his strengh in such a competition, it will be hard for him to prove it elsewhere. The event was astonishingly dominated by Chinese GM Bu Xiangzhi: he scored 21 points with 6 wins, 3 draws and only 1 loss, with a 2903 performance! Sergey Karjakin from Ukraine was second on 17, Magnus Carlsen from Norway took third place on 16. Official site: http://www.ajedrezbilbao.com/.
Meanwhile, a strong "classical" event (a double round robin tourney) has just finished in Hoogeveen (Holland). Azeri GM and Elo favourite Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won with 4.5 points out of 6, Dutch idol Loek Van Wely took second place by beating former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov from Ukraine in the last and decisive round and finished on 4 (Pono was third on 3.5). Armenian young star Zaven Andriasian, 2006 Junior World Champion, lost all his games: a very bad result that can only be explained with an awful preparation or a really bad form or some kind of illness. We hope the first or second option. Official site: http://www.essentchess.nl/.
We receive (from Ian "globetrotter" Rogers) and publish a photo by R. Ramu of Vishy Anand on his return to his home city of Chennai after winning in Mexico. Vishy waves the Indian tricolour flag as photographers jump to their feet at the start of the 5 km chariot ride. Just click on it to enlarge. Thank you very much Ian and Mr. Ramu!

Least but not last, we are pleased to inform you that Italian 15 y.o. GM Fabiano Caruana will take part to the 2007 Italian championship (to be played in Martina Franca in November 23 to December 4) and the Wijk aan Zee C group (in January 2008) with the sponsorship of "Torre & Cavallo Scacco!", a very well known Italian monthly chess magazine edited by IM Roberto Messa. "This economic contribution (3,000 euros) wants to be a sign of gratitude to a young man who is doing something wonderful with complete dedication and passion", Roberto writes in a press release (I hope my translation is not too bad). "Above all, it wants to be an example for other agencies or private firms that will assist in collecting the baton and help Fabiano Caruana in a more significant and lasting way, in order to achieve the highest goals, for which the best coaches are needed and all conditions that his family has managed to ensure him so far". Furthermore: "Next year Fabiano will be registered for the new "Torre & Cavallo Scacco!" Chess School, which will be located at the Municipal Library of Sarezzo (Brescia), where the National Library of Chess is established since 1996". Well, this looks to be a new era for Italian chess... You can read the full press release (in Italian) at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/dblog/articolo.asp?articolo=107. If you want to enter the "Torre & Cavallo Scacco!" Chess School just write an e-mail to info@messaggeroscacchi.it.
And now here is a position from a bullet game (1') I played yesterday :-) With only a few seconds on his clock, White could find a nice way not to lose on time... Can you find it too?

White to move

Post your solution (do not use chess programs: it is easy!) and you'll receive my congratulations :-).


Topalov: blindfold or blind?

Hi all! This is just a short post about Topalov's performance in Bilbao. Don't misunderstand me: I usually like Veselin's style and games, but sometimes he plays really awful moves... Take, for example, the above mentioned tourney. After four rounds he shares the fifth and last place with Judit Polgar and he has already lost two games, both of them due to unbelievable blunders. Yes, that's a blindfold tourney, but a superGM can't play like a weak blind player, anyway...
Here are the topic moments of Topalov's games...

Polgar J. (2708) - Topalov, V (2769), Bilbao 16.10.2007 (round 2)
Black to move. This is a "quiet" position after 14 moves of a Spanish opening; after 14...Bd7 Black is ok, e.g.: 15.Qd3 Re8 16.h3 exd4 17.cxd4 Qf6 etc. Black can even play 14...exd4 15.cxd4 Nb4, but the former world champion played the horrible...
...and resigned after the obvious
15.Nxg4 1-0 (15.Bxc6 is also winning). Astonishing...

The day after (today), again with Black pieces, Veselin had a good position against young Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna. Here it is...

Harikrishna, P. (2668) - Topalov, V. (2769), Bilbao 17.10.2007 (round 4)
Black to move. After 42...Qf7 White has nothing better than a draw (if he doesn't want to lose), e.g.: 43.Rxe5! fxe5 44.Bxe5 Kf8 45.Bxd4! Nb3 46.Qh8+ Ke7 47.Qe5+ Kd7 48.Qxb5+ R8c6 49.Qb7+ Rc7 50.Qb5+ Kc8 51.Bc3! with an equal position (!) according to Rybka. I wouldn't be surprised if White hadn't played 43.Rxe5! after 42...Qf7, getting a worst position after 43.Qg2 e4! 44.dxe4 d3 or 43.f3 Qb7 44.Rf2 Nb3. But Topalov made his first mistake by playing the immediate
and after
43.Rxc2 Rxc2 44.Qd5+ Qf7 45.Qxb5
is White who has winning chances, although after 45...Nc1 46.Kh2! Kf8! Black can hold on. The Bulgarian GM was probably a bit tired and played
Pentala was obviously happy to take the knight...
46.bxc5 1-0
...and Topalov resigned.
It is difficult to explain so many (big) mistakes by a top GM, even in blindfold games... What's wrong with you, Veselin? Wake up from your (chess) nightmare, please! Official site of the Bilbao tournament: http://www.ajedrezbilbao.com/.


Return to competition...

Hi again! Yes, I'm still alive :-) (lucky me!). Three long weeks have passed since my last post and, well, I guess you know Vishy Anand is the new world champion and the top rated player of the planet; I think the Indian superGM deserves the title as well as the #1 place in the rating list, with 2801 points. You probably know that Linex Magic from Merida (Spain) won the European Club Championship, too, and that a strong blindfold tourney is underway in Bilbao, Spain, with Veselin Topalov, Magnus Carlsen, Bu Xiangzhi, Sergey Karjakin, Pentala Harikrishna and Judit Polgar. Speaking about the Hungarian superGM, she gave a simul ten days ago in Positano, Italy: she won 26 games, drew two and lost two. The Italian U14 female champion Roberta Messina was one of the winners: her game is really spectacular and deserves a look. You will find it with full annotations by IM Daniel Contin in the next issue of "Torre & Cavallo Scacco". Meanwhile you can watch it here...

Polgar,J. (2708) - Messina,R. (1840) [B81], Positano 6.10.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.gxf6 d4 12.Bc4 Bxf5 13.Qf3 Qd7 14.0–0–0 Nc6 15.Nd5 Bg4 16.Qg3 Bxd1 17.Rxd1 Bc5 18.b4 Ba7 19.Bg5 0–0–0 20.Ne7+ Kb8 21.Bxf7 Nxb4 22.Qxe5+ Ka8 23.Bb3 d3 24.c3 Nxa2+ 25.Bxa2 Qa4 26.Rd2 Qa3+ 27.Kb1 Bb8 28.Qe3 Qxc3 29.Nd5 Rxd5 30.Bxd5 Be5 31.Qxd3 Qa1+ 32.Kc2 Rc8+ 33.Bc4 Qa4+ 34.Kc1 Rxc4+ 35.Rc2 Qa1+ 36.Kd2 Rd4 37.Rc8+ Bb8 38.Bf4 Rxd3+ 39.Kxd3 Qf1+ 40.Ke4 Qe2+ 41.Kf5 Qb5+ 42.Ke6 Qb3+ 43.Ke7 Qb4+ 44.Ke8 Qxf4 45.f7 Qe5+ 0–1

The main reason for which I haven't written for such a long period is that I had to prepare... for my first tourney after three years :-) If you also consider that September, October and November are the toughest months at my work place, a little newspaper in Bergamo (too many sport games of every kind, even along the week)... well, I'm not Superman :-) I need some rest, from time to time! Speaking about the tourney, it was an 8 player round robin event in Corsico, near Milan, with an average rating of 2247. I can be more than satisfied with my result, 4.5 points out of 7 with two wins and five draws (I was placed second), but I didn't play many interesting games and I was already tired after the first battle of the second and last week-end of the tourney (which took place on October 6, 7, 13 and 14). FM and Elo favorite Michelangelo Scalcione from Bologna took the first place with 5 points: I played against him the most interesting game of my tourney, although many mistakes have been made by both of us. Full results of the event can be found at http://www.corsicoscacchi.com/torgen_torneo.php. Now here is the above mentioned game...

Mione,Dario (2254) - Scalcione,Michelangelo (2357) [C41], Corsico 13.10.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d4 Nbd7 6.dxe5
6.0–0 is the main choice here. The text move prepares the following sacrifice.
6...dxe5 7.Bxf7+!?
This is obviously a psycological choice. Scalcione is a great expert of the Philidor defence and I wanted to surprise him from the very beginning. This is the only target I've reached in this game :-(
7...Kxf7 8.Ng5+ Kg6
Well, this can't be considered a bad move, but it is risky compared to the "positional" alternative, 8...Kg8. After 8...Kg8 9.Ne6 Qe8 10.Nxc7 Qg6 11.Nxa8 Qxg2 12.Rf1 Nc5 13.Qe2 Bh3 14.Be3 Qxf1+ 15.Qxf1 Bxf1 16.Kxf1 Kf7 17.Nc7 Ncxe4 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Nd5 Rc8 20.Nxe7 Kxe7 21.c3 b6 22.Ke2 the endgame is about equal. I was well prepared on the above mentioned variation, but I was ready to meet 8...Kg6 as well, which allowed me to play the opening very quickly (until move 18), while my opponent spent a lot oftime.
White tries to mate his opponent's king with f4-f5 :-) Black is forced to take the pawn.
9...exf4 10.Ne6 Qg8
Now theory says 11.Nxc7, but I think the text move, a novelty I had prepared for this game, is stronger...
Now Black has to be really precise... The main treat is 12.Nxe7+ and Black can't take on "e6" because of 12.Nxf4+ Kf7 13.Nxe6 Kxe6 14.Qd3 and White is simply better (Black king should be very bad placed).
The most precise move, which my opponent found after a very long thought. Taking the knight on "d5" is possible, but not safe: after 11...Nxd5 12.Qxd5 Nf6 13.Nxf4+ Kh6 14.Ne6+ Kg6 White can choose between 15.Nf4+ with a draw by repetition or 15.Qg5+ Kf7 16.Nxc7 with huge complications (I think I would repeat moves :-) ).
12.Nexc7 Bxc7!
A brave (and good) choice. After 12...Nxd5 13.Qg4+ White has a very promising position.
Here is my full pregame analysis:
a) 13...Kh6 14.Ne6!! Bb4+ 15.c3 Qxe6 (15...Be7 16.h4 Qxe6 17.Qxe6+ N7f6 18.Qe5 Kg6 19.exd5 Re8 20.Qg5+ Kf7 21.0–0 Bc5+ 22.Kh2+-) 16.Qxe6+ N7f6 17.Qe5 Re8 18.Bxf4+ Kg6 19.Qg5+ Kf7 20.Be5 h6 21.Qg3 Bc5 22.0–0–0 Nh5 23.Qf3+ Ndf6 24.Bxf6 Nxf6 25.Qf4 Rxe4 26.Qc7+ Be7 27.Rhe1 Rxe1 28.Rxe1 Nd5 29.Rf1+ Nf6 30.a4+- and Black has no good moves;
b) 13...Kf7?? 14.Qe6+ Kf8 15.Qe8#;
c) 13...Kf6 14.Nxd5+ Kf7 15.Bxf4 Nf6 (15...Bxf4 16.Qxf4+ Nf6 17.Qc7+ Bd7 18.Nxf6+-) 16.Qh4 Qd8 (16...Bxf4 17.Qxf4 Qd8 18.0–0–0+-) 17.Rf1!
c1) 17...Be7 18.Bg5 Be6 (18...Kg6 19.g4 h5 20.gxh5+ Kh7 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Rxf6+-; 18...Qd6 19.0–0–0 Qe5 20.Nxe7 Qxe7 21.e5 Qxe5 22.Rde1+-) 19.0–0–0 Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Qc7 21.e5 Rac8 22.Qe4 Qc4 23.Qxc4 Rxc4 24.exf6+-;
c2) 17...Nxd5 18.Bxd6+ Ke6 19.Qg3!! Nf6 (19...Qxd6 20.Qg4+ Ke5 21.Qxg7+ Kxe4 22.0–0–0) 20.0–0–0+-;
c3) 17...Be6 18.Bxd6 Bxd5 (18...Qxd6 19.Rxf6++-) 19.e5 Qa5+ 20.Bb4 Qb6 21.0–0–0 Qe3+ 22.Rd2 Qxe5 23.Bc3 Qe6 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Rxd5! Qxd5 26.Qxf6+ Kg8 27.Rf4 Qh5 28.Qe6+ Kg7 29.Rg4++-;
c4) 17...Bb4+ 18.c3 Be7 19.Bg5 Kg6 20.g4 h5 (20...h6 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.0–0–0 Qe8 23.e5 Bd8 24.exf6+-) 21.gxh5+ Kh7 22.h6! Nxd5 23.Rf7 Rg8 24.hxg7+ Kg6 25.Bxe7 Qb6 26.Rf3! Qg1+ 27.Kd2 Qg2+ 28.Rf2 Qg4 29.exd5 Qxh4 30.Bxh4+-;
12...Rb8 is just bad: 13.Bxf4 Bxf4 14.Ne7+ Kf7 15.Nxg8 Bxc7 16.Qd4! Ba5+ 17.b4 Bxb4+ 18.Qxb4 Rxg8 19.Qb3+ Kg6 20.0–0 and Black king is naked (and White treats 21.e5). You can check all these variations with your favorite chess program: it should be really instructive :-)

13.Ne7+ Kf7 14.Nxg8 Rxg8 15.Qd3 Ba5+?!
15...Nc5 is stronger. After 16.Qc4+ Ne6 17.0–0 (what else?) 17...g5 18.Bd2 Bd7 Black has full compensation for the sacrificed material and he can even start thinking how to win. To be honest, I would prefer to play on Black side in such a position :-)
16.Bd2 Bxd2+?
My opponent had spent a lot of time to calculate the previous 7 moves and now he makes a big positional mistake. After 16...Nc5! 17.Qc4+ Be6 18.Qe2 (18.Qxc5? Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2?? Nxe4+–+) 18...Bxd2+ (18...Bg4 19.Qc4+ Be6 is an easy way to get a draw, but Black can fight for the initiative) 19.Qxd2 g5 20.e5 Rgd8 21.Qb4 Nfe4 chances are about equal, although White can be more satisfied than the above mentioned variation on move 15.
17.Qxd2 Re8 18.0–0–0
18.0–0 had also to be taken into consideration.
18...Rxe4 19.Rhe1 Rxe1 20.Rxe1 is good only for White.
19.Rde1 g5?
A losing move. 19...Nc4 20.Qxf4 Ne5 21.Rhf1 Kg8 looks more stubborn.
20.h4 Nxe4
After 20...h6 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.e5 White wins easily.
As my opponent pointed out in the postgame analysis, 21.Qa5 was a good alternative, but I consider the text move to be more precise.
21...Bf5 22.hxg5?
White misses a much stronger move: 22.g4!! fxg3 23.Rhf1 Nf2 (23...Kg6 24.h5+ Kxh5 25.Rxf5 Kg6 26.Ra5+-) 24.Qb5 Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Be4 26.Qb3+ Bd5 27.Qxg3 Ne4 28.Qe5 gxh4 29.Rf1++- This variation is easy to be seen with a strong program, but not on chessboard... :-)
Now Black gets some counterplay in return for the material losses.
23.Qa5 Rc5
From now on my opponent could only count on time increment (+30 seconds per move)...
24.Qxa7 Nd7 25.Rd1!
My first good move! The treat is 26.Rxd7+ Bxd7 27.Rxh7+ Ke6 28.Qxb7. 25.Qxb7? is a mistake because of 25...Rxc2+ 26.Kb1 Rd2 27.Qb3+ Kg6 28.Ka1 Ndc5 and Black can be happy with his position.
25...Re7 is probably more precise, but this move is also dangerous...
26.c3 Ne5?!
A dubious move, but Black can count on White's blindness :-) 26...R8c7 was more precise.
It was time to take the "b7" pawn: 27.Qxb7+ R8c7 28.Qb4 f3 (28...Nf2 29.Rxh7+ Bxh7 30.Qxf4+ Ke8 31.Qxf2+-) 29.gxf3 Nf2 30.Qb3+ Kg7 31.Rd8 Nf7 32.Rh2 Nxd8 33.Rxf2 Ne6 34.Qd1 and White must win, although it is all but simple in a human game...
27...Ng3 was objectively better, but my opponent played this and the following moves in severe time trouble, so he can be justified. But I can't: I had more than one hour and I didn't find a simple defence after his 29th move.. . After 27...Ng3 28.Qxb7+ R8c7 29.Qb3+ Kg6 30.Rf2 Kxg5 31.Qg8+ Kh5 32.Qe8+ Bg6 33.Qa4 Rc4 34.Qa5 R4c5 I think Black has excellent practical chances to get a draw.
28.gxf3 Nxc3!?
The only way to get some chances to survive. Brilliant, if you consider that Scalcione found it in less than one minute...
29.bxc3 Rb5
I understimated this move and I now played the horrible...
...almost automatically, because I thought it was forced. The correct defence was: 30.Kd2 Re8 31.c4 Nxc4+ 32.Kc3 Ne3 33.Rc1 and the position is still unclear, but White can keep on fighting for a win.
Giving back the favor! After 30...Rc4 White has to pray for a draw: 31.Qa7 (only move) 31...Rxc3+ 32.Kd2 Ra3! 33.Qxa3 Nc4+ 34.Kc3 Nxa3 35.Rd6 and Rybka says this is a perfect draw, but I would prefer to play on Black side, anyway :-)
31.Kd2 Nc4+ 32.Qxc4+!?
32.Ke1 is stronger, but I didn't want to take any more risk.
32...Rxc4 33.Rxb1 Bxb1 34.Rxb1 Ra4
34...Kg6 35.Rxb7 Kxg5 36.Rxh7 Ra4 37.Ke3 Rxa2 38.c4 was also hopeless for Black.
35.Rxb7+ Kg6 36.Rb5 Rxa2+ 37.Ke3
Now it is all over.
37...Rc2 38.Rc5 Kh5 39.Kf4 Kh4 40.Rc6 Kh3 41.Rh6+ Kg2 42.Rxh7 Rxc3 43.Kg4 1–0
43...Rxf3 loses on the spot: 44.Rh2+ Kxh2 45.Kxf3 +-. This is why Black resigned. A thrilling and undeserved win by White, but don't tell me the opening preparation is useless: it can be very useful, if your opponent has to think hard to find the correct moves in a sharp position :-)