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Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph

Malcolm Pein's daily chess column is available at the Telegraph's web site. You need to register, which is free. The daily chess column can be found by clicking the "Chess Club" link in the Arts section.

This article is used on the 4NCL web site with permission.

It was no surprise when Alexander Roshal’s Russian chess magazine ‘64’ announced that the Chess Oscar award for the best performance in 2005 went to the winner of the 2005 Fide championship Veselin Topalov who had a remarkable year during which he shared first with Garry Kasparov at Linares and also won the inaugural MTel Masters in his home city of Sofia with some dashing play.

This was Topalov’s first Oscar. Since ‘64’ took over the award eleven years ago Garry Kasparov has won five times, Vishy Anand four times and Vladimir Kramnik once. 361 journalists from 68 countries voted and 293 of them placed Topalov first.

Topalov will receive his award at the 2nd MTel Masters which starts in Sofia tomorrow.

The scores were: Topalov 4376 points, 2 Anand (India) - 3495 (31 first places), 3 Aronian (Armenia) - 2721 (10 first places), 4 Svidler (Russia) – 1881 (91), 5 Leko (Hungary) - 1187, 6 Morozevich (Russia) - 1025 (4), 7 Garry Kasparov (Russia) - 1001 (12), 8 Vasily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) - 968 (2), 9 Ponomariov (Ukraine) - 821, 10 M.Carlsen (Norway) - 433 (2).

Grandmaster John Emms played a nice game at the 4NCL final weekend. What is particularly impressive is the way Black plays very reasonable moves and gets into such trouble so quickly in a quiet opening line.

J Emms – D Ledger
4NCL Div1 Birmingham
Italian Game

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 (John told me after he had crushed me in short order with the Italian Game at Southend last year that he found it harder to memorise the sharp lines so he was playing more boring openings. Nothing boring about this line I reckon) 3...Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 (5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ [7...Nxe4!] 8.Nbxd2 d5 is the main line of the Giuoco Piano) 5...a6 (Black prepares to withdraw his bishop anticipating b2-b4 and d3-d4) 6.Bb3 d6 7.Nbd2 0–0 8.h3 Ba7 9.Nf1 (An interesting nuance. Traditionally White always castled here and then played Re1 and Nf1–g3 but the modern way is to leave the king in the middle longer in case Re1 proves to be a wasted tempo. Also Morozevich has shown that g2-g4 without castling is possible sometimes in this kind of position) 9...d5 (9...Ne7 10.Ng3 Ng6 is a less ambitious plan but reasonable for Black) 10.Qe2 Qd6 (10...Be6 looks sounder and if 11.Ng5 dxe4 12.Nxe6 exd3 13.Nxd8 dxe2 14.Nxc6 exf1Q+ 15.Rxf1 bxc6 or 10...Be6 11.Ng5 dxe4 12.Bxe6 exd3 13.Qd2 fxe6 14.Nxe6 Qd6 15.Nxf8 Ne4! wins; 10…Be6 11.Bg5 dxe4 12.dxe4 Bxb3 13.axb3 h6 14.Bh4 Qd6 15.Rd1 Qe6 is also solid) 11.Ng3 Na5 12.Bc2 dxe4 13.dxe4 Bd7 (13...Be6 14.Nh4 Bc4 15.Qf3 intending Bg5 and Nhf5 also gives a strong attack) 14.Nh4 Bb5 15.Qf3 Rfe8 16.Nhf5 Qf8 (Black can sense the danger and moves pieces into defensive positions) 17.h4! We will shortly see the hidden point of this move which appears to be a thrust designed to soften up the Black kingside after h5-h6) 17...Re6 (17...Kh8 18.Bg5 Re6 19.0–0–0 Ng8 20.h5 is better for White but Black can fight on) 18.Nxg7!! Kxg7 (18...Qxg7 19.Nf5 Qg6 20.h5! or 19...Qg4 20.Nh6+ and 19...Qf8 20.Bh6 also lose) 19.Bh6+! Kxh6 20.Nf5+ Kg6 21.Qg3+ Kh5 22.Qg5 mate 1–0




Final position after 22.Qg5 mate

Division 1

Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Guildford-A&DC 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
The ADs
Barbican 4NCL 2
Oxford 1
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Guildford-A&DC 2
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent

Division 2

Sambuca Sharks
Warwickshire Select 1
e2e4.org.uk 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
AMCA Dragons
Kings Head
Poisoned Pawns 2
Anglian Avengers
Wessex 1
Celtic Tigers 1
Bristol 1
White Rose 2
Brown Jack
Guildford-A&DC 3
FCA Solutions 1

Division 3

Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg
Sambuca Black Sheep
Cambridge Univ. 2
Wessex 2
Warwickshire Select 2
KJCA Kings
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
e2e4.org.uk 2
Nottinghamshire 1
Nottinghamshire 2
Oxford 2
AMCA Rhinos
Braille Chess Assoc.
AMCA Hippos
Glos. Gambits
Bristol 2
KJCA Knights
Guernsey Mates
Bristol 3
e2e4.org.uk 3
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2
Oxford 3
Guildford-A&DC 4
AMCA Cheetahs