Spanish IM scores 3rd GM norm in Barcelona
by Peter Doggers
Editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com
Spanish IM Daniel Alsina pleasantly surprised the chess scene this week by winning the Barcelona GM tournament outright, with a score of 6.5 out of 9. Along the way, Alsina defeated top seed and former top GM Alexei Dreev in one of the Russian’s pet variations.
As the only IM in the 10-player round-robin Magistral Ciutat de Barcelona, Daniel Alsina’s tournament was nothing less than a fairy-tale. In a group with GMs Alexey Dreev (2655), Alexander Fier (2653), Pavel Tregubov (2642), José Manuel López (2589), Ulf Andersson (2582), Jordi Magem (2564), Fernando Peralta (2557), Omar Almeida (2542) and Marc Narciso (2510), it was Alsina who took clear first with 6.5/9, winning the cup and the 1,500 Euro first prize.
Daniel Alsina, photo by Ana Matnadze
More importantly, Alsina scored his third and final GM norm, for which only 5/9 was necessary. The young International Master from Catalonia is a physics student at the University of Barcelona but still finds the time to play good chess!
Alsina’s win against top seed Alexey Dreev was arguably his best game of the tournament. He found an important improvement in one of Dreev’s pet lines: the 6…Bd7 Rauzer. This game was played on November 7th, and thanks to ChessVibes Openings its theoretical relevance has become clear already. In this week’s issue #45, as part of the section “This week’s harvest”, the game has been included with the following explanation:
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 Bd7 7. Qd2 Rc8 8. f4! Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Qa5 10. e5 dxe5 11. fxe5 e6 12. O-O-O Bc6 13. Nb5 Bxb5 14. exf6 Bc6 15. h4 g6 16. Bc4 Bc5 17. Qg4 h5 18. Qg3! O-O
19. Bd2! Qb6 20. Bxe6! Be4 21. Bxc8 Rxc8 22.Qb3
22…Qc6 23. Kb1 Bf2 24. Bc3 Bxg2 25. Rh2 Bg3 26. Rxg2 Qxg2 27. a3 Bxh4 28. Rd7 Rf8 29. Qc4 Qg4 30. Qd5 Qf5 31. Qd6 Qf1+ 32. Ka2 Qc4+ 33. b3 Qc8 34. Kb2 Bg5 35. a4 Bh6 36. Bb4 a5 37. Bc5 Qc6 38. Qxc6 bxc6 39. Bxf8 Bxf8 40. Rd8 c5 41. c3 h4 42. b4 cxb4 43. cxb4 h3 44. bxa5 g5 45. a6 h2 46. Rd1 Bc5 47. Rh1 Kh7 48. Rxh2+ Kg6 49. Rc2 1-0
About the game, ChessVibes Openings #45 (published yesterday) writes:
Dreev is mostly known for his Caro-Kann and French, but his 6… Bd7 Rauzer has been another one of his pet lines for many years, and serving him well. This may have come to an end though, since in their race for tournament victory in Barcelona, the young rising star Alsina Leal beat the maestro in the very main line. Firstly, on a side note, 7.Be2!? is a critical alternative, analyzed by Wells to a solid edge for White in “Experts vs the Sicilian”. 8.f4! is the most accurate move order, since 8.0-0-0 allows the exchange sacrifice on c3 two moves later, as was shown in Lopez Martinez-Almeida Quintana from the same tournament. What follows is a series of forced moves up to 18.Qg3!, which is incidentally recommended in the Rybka 3 book. With the novelty 19.Bd2! followed by 20.Bxe6! White improved on the move order, winning the exchange and after a tough battle the game as well.
Download PGN file with full annotations by IM Van Delft and IM Ris.
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Every week ChessVibes Openings brings you the latest opening news in your mailbox. The game Alsina-Dreev was one of the four games on page 3: This week’s harvest. ChessVibes Openings is a weekly PDF + PGN file and each issue contains:
Every issue consists of a PDF Magazine and the accompanying PGN file. The PDF consists of four pages (A4 size) with the following contents:
• What’s hot? A round-up of this week’s important opening developments, with statistics about the frequence and score of the week’s most important opening novelty (page 1)
• What’s not? Which openings are not recommended at the moment, according to the top players? And why not? (page 1)
• Game of the week Each week you’ll find the theoretically most important game analysed by our two IMs, with a detailed survey of the opening phase (page 2).
• This week’s harvest Four more new important opening ideas from this week (page 3) revealed and described with explanation of the opening and early middlegame (page 3).
• Opening expert Every week an opening expert is covered, explaining the GM’s expertise and showing a key game with annotations (page 4). Examples from the first two issues: Teimour Radjabov (King’s Indian with Black), Alexey Dreev (White: Nimzo-Indian; Black: Caro-Kann and Slav).
For more information we’d like to refer to our special page on ChessVibes Openings.