The 53rd edition of this traditional tournament which this year managed to reach even category 18, is one of the strongest ever. From 10 invited players five were already guests in this prestigious event, but other five are real newcomers. Among them, a player with the highest reputation in the chess world is certainly English GM Nigel Short, once Kasparov's challenger in the match for the World Champion title. It is interesting that he is also the first English player ever who came in Reggio Emilia. His start here is really a dream one. Being a bit favored by the fact that a drawing of lots gave him white in the first two games, he managed to take the lead with perfect score. While his win against Gashimov in the first round came after a very good game, today's win against Morozevich was a kind of game ideal for those who like horror movies.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. dxc5 This is one of the very old lines in the French Defence which was played already by the first World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz. In our days it is really a rare guest in tournaments . The reason? Well, according to Nigel, who made "post festum" comments in our anlysing room, he wanted to play something less known and besides this line makes him a lot of problems when playing black on the internet.
6... Nc6 7. a3 Bxc5 8. Qg4 With this move White declares his plan to organize an attack against Black's king.
8... O-O 9. Bd3 Qe7 With a clear plan to destroy white centre in a typical French style by playing f7-f6.
9... f5 10. Qh3 Qb6 11. Nge2 Bf2+ 12. Kf1 Nc5 13. b4 Nxd3 14. Na4 Qa6 15. Qxd3 Qxa4 16. Kxf2 is more or less equal.
10. Bd2 The alternative was 10. Nf3 f6 11. Qh4 h6 12. exf6 Nxf6 13. Qg3
10... f6 11. Qh4 h6 12. exf6 Nxf6 13. O-O-O 13. Nf3 e5 14. fxe5 Nxe5 15. O-O-O leads to the same position as in the game.
13... e5 14. fxe5 Nxe5 15. Nf3 Nxd3+ 16. cxd3 b5 Starting the action against white king who doesn't feel safe at all, but a normal developing move like
16... Bf5 was also worth considering. In both cases it is alreadey clear that White misplayed completely the opening.
17. Rhe1 Qb7 18. Be3 Bxe3+ 19. Rxe3 a5 20. Rde1 White would like very much to establish a grip on black squares, but after
20. Qd4 b4 21. axb4 axb4 22. Ne2 Ng4 his rook would be traped.
20... b4 21. Re7 Qb6 21... Qa6 was maybe even stronger. However, even after the text move White is objectively completely lost.
22. axb4 axb4 23. Nd1 Bg4 Black misses his first opportunity for a decisive blow: 23... Ne4! 24. R1xe4 (24. dxe4 Rxf3 25. gxf3 Ra1+)
24... dxe4 25. Rxe4 Ra1+ 26. Kd2 Ba6 27. Rxb4 Qg6
but 23... Ra1+ 24. Kd2 Qc5 was killing as well.
24. Kd2 b3 25. Ke2 White king is looking desperately for some place to hide.
25... Ra4 26. Qg3 Nh5 27. Qe5 Rf5 27... Bxf3+ 28. gxf3 Nf4+ followed by 29...Qg6, was an other missed forced win.
28. Qc3 Bxf3+ 29. gxf3 d4 Missing a third momentum, 29... Rh4 looks more to the point.
30. Re8+ Kh7 31. Qc8 Nf4+ 32. Kf1 Qb5 33. Nf2
With his last 4 moves Black managed to complicate his life considerably, and now in time trouble blunders a diabolical tactics:
33... Nxd3?? 34. Rh8+ Kg6 35. Qe6+ Kh5
35... Rf6 36. Qe4+ Qf5 37. Qxf5+ Rxf5 38. Nxd3 Rxf3+ 39. Ke2 Re3+ 40. Kd2 was hopeless as well.
36. Rb8!! After this tactical blow Black is just lost.
36... Qe5 37. Rxe5 Ra1+ 38. Re1 But not 38. Kg2?? Nf4+ 39. Kg3 Rg1#
38... Rxe1+ 39. Qxe1 Nxe1 40. Kxe1 Rxf3 41. Rd8 Re3+ 42. Kf1 Rc3 The last try to avoid the inevitable doesn't work.
43. bxc3 dxc3 43... b2 44. Rd5+ g5 45. Rb5 dxc3 46. Nd3
44. Nd3 La commedia, or should we say tragedia, e finita!
[GM Miso Cebalo]