Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu won the sixth European Individual Championship Friday in Warsaw, scoring 10 points in 13 games. The Romanian grandmaster clinched the title in a dramatic last-round victory against the oldest grandmaster in the field, 51-year-old Alexander Beliavsky of Slovenia. Teimur Radjabov of Azerbaijan won the silver medal with 91/2 points. Levon Aronian of Armenia got the bronze after he won a tiebreak among seven players with nine points. The competition was extremely tough and included some 140 grandmasters among the 229 participants.
Ivanchuk's King Hunt
Defending champion Vassily Ivanchuk had very good chances to finish first again. The Ukrainian grandmaster had been in excellent form this year, and his results earned him fourth place among active players on the FIDE July rating list, ahead of world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. Ivanchuk shared the lead in Warsaw with two rounds to go, but two draws ended his hope to defend his title, and he finished sharing third place.
His brilliant victory against Sergei Movsesian of Slovakia featured a controversial pawn snatch in the Taimanov Sicilian. It allowed the Ukrainian star to finish the game with a vicious attack.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qc7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nxe4?! (It is still not clear whether black can grab this pawn and live. The overall results in this line are mixed.) 7.Nxe4 Qe5 8.Be3 (Ivanchuk prefers a long castling. In the game Grischuk-Hracek, Germany 2002, white got a strong attack with a kingside castling: 8.Nb5 Qxe4+ 9.Be2 Qe5 10.f4 Qb8 11.0-0 e6 12.f5 a6 13.Nc3 Bd6 14.Ne4 Bxh2+ 15.Kh1 Be5 16.f6 g6 17.Be3 d5 18.cxd5 exd5 19.Qxd5 0-0 20.Qd2 Rd8 21.Qc1 Be6 22.Bc5 and black resigned.) 8...Qxe4 9.Nb5 Qe5 10.Qd2 a6 11.f4 Qb8 (After snatching a pawn the queen is back home, but white gains valuable time.) 12.Nc3 e6 13.0-0-0 b5!? (Black has to fight for his freedom; otherwise he might be smothered on the dark squares, for example 13...Bb4 14.a3 Bxc3 15.Qxc3 0-0 16.c5 Rd8 17.Rd6 and black can't breathe.) 14.cxb5 axb5 15.Bxb5 Qc7 16.f5! (White needs to open the position before black castles.) 16...Be7 (A new move, covering the square d8. In the game Fontaine-Fressinet, France 1999, after 16...Bb4 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.a3 Na5, white missed 19.Bb6!, for example 19...Qxb6 20.Bxd7+ Kf7 21.Qf4+ Kg8 22.axb4 with white's advantage. Also16...Ba6 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Bxa6 Rxa6 19.Nb5! Qb7 20.Qd6! is dangerous for black.) 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Rhf1! (Preventing the kingside castling.) 18...Bf6 19.Bc5! Qe5 (Threatening 20...Bg5 to win the white queen, but Ivanchuk prepared a devastating answer.)
20.Rxf6! (Ivanchuk's rook runs amok, not allowing black to recover.) 20...Qxc5 (Capturing on f6 loses. For example, after 20...gxf6 21.Bxc6 dxc6 22.Qd8+ Kf7 23.Qxh8 Qxc5 24.Qxh7+ Ke8 25.Qg8+ Ke7 26.Qg7+ Ke8 27.Qxf6; or after 20...Qxf6 21.Ne4 Qe5 22.Bxc6 dxc6 23.Nd6+ Kf8 24.Rf1+ Kg8 25.Nc4, white wins.) 21.Rxe6+! dxe6 (Black has to take the rook. On 21...Kd8 22.Bxc6 wins; and after 21...Kf7 22.Qf4+ Kxe6 23.Re1+ Ne5 24.Bc4+ wins the black queen.) 22.Qd8+ Kf7 23.Qxh8 Qg5+ (After 23...Rxa2 24.Rf1+ Kg6 25.Bd3+ wins.) 24.Kb1 Bb7 25.Qxh7 (The black king is still in trouble, and white threatens 26.Rd7+.) 25...Qxg2 (Black is only a pawn down, but white can hunt down the black king.)
26.Rf1+ Ke7 27.Qh4+! Kd6 (After 27...Ke8 28.Qh5+ Kd8 29.Qf7! wins.) 28.Qf4+ e5 (Or 28...Kc5 29.Qc7!) 29.Rd1+ (Another way to victory is 29.Qf7.) 29...Kc7 30.Qf7+ Kb8 (After 30...Kb6 31.Nd5+ Ka5 32.Qc7+ Kxb5 33.Qb6+ Kc4 34.Ne3 mates.) 31.Qf8+ Kc7 (Or 31...Bc8 32.Qd6+ Kb7 33.Nd5 Bf5+ 34.Ka1 Rc8 35.Bxc6+ Rxc6 36.Qb4+ Kc8 37.Ne7+ and white wins.) 32.Nd5+ Qxd5 33.Qxg7+ (This "zwischenzug" wins the black queen.) Black resigns.
World's Top Ten
In an amazing coincidence, Vishy Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria share first place among active players on the FIDE July rating list with 2,788 points. The top spot still belongs to Garry Kasparov with 2,812 points, but he retired from professional chess in March. Next in line is Peter Leko of Hungary with 2,763 points, followed by Ivanchuk with 2,752 points. Kramnik has 2,744 points and Russia's Peter Svidler has 2,738 points. The best woman ever, Judit Polgar of Hungary, has 2,735 points. Etienne Bacrot of France has 2,729. Aronian and Boris Gelfand of Israel share the last spot with 2,724 points.
Great Book Guide
Alex Dunne's "Great Chess Books of the Twentieth Century in English," issued by McFarland & Company (www.mcfarlandpub.com), is an excellent guide to chess literature of the last century. It gives you hints what books to pick up for summer reading and helps you to find wonderful gems. The author provides you with information about the authors and their works and why he thinks the books are important. Today's diagram depicts William Shinkman's "mate in two" problem (White: Kc3,Qg2,Bf3,Ne1,Nf2,P:c2; Black: Ke3,Rh1,Ng1,Nh2,P:e2,f4). The solution is 1.Qf1! exf1Q 2.Nd1 mate; or 1...Nxf1 2.Ng4 mate; or 1...Ngxf3 2.Ng2 mate; or 1...Nh3 2.Qxe2 mate. It is printed in Dunne's book without the white pawn on c2. That would result in 1.Nc2 mate. The book is highly recommended.