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This article is used on the 4NCL web site with permission.
The Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov officially opened the fourth edition of the international M-Tel Masters at Sofiaís Central Military Club. For the first time there are two Bulgarians playing as Veselin Topalovís trainer Ivan Cheparinov is also in the six man field and to celebrate this, Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank announced a 40,000 pound bonus for either of them should they capture first prize.
The lure of an extra 1000,000 Bulgarian Lev certainly seemed to spur the pair on although they are two of the most uncompromising players in the world today. Topalov defeated Levon Aronian of Armenia with black to avenge a few recent reverses while Cheparinov outplayed Bu Xiangzhi of China.
Vassily Ivanchuk played an outstanding game, sacrificing the exchange in the endgame against Teimour Radjabov. Ivanchukís position looked impregnable and a draw was the likely result but Radjabov immediately returned the material and embarked on a misguided winning attempt which he later described as Ďcompletely ridiculousí. He was soon worse and his resistance ended in a king and pawn endgame.
The players are housed in a 10-ton glass "aquarium" that isolates them from the noise in the playing hall and any possible kind of outside interference.
Position after 30...Ke7
Blackís position is impregnable as the White rooks have no squares to penetrate on the d file and his bishop is a very bad piece. However if he had continued with Bg2-f3 and Kg1-f2-e3 he could just have waited. Black could try to get his knight to d4 but this would be very hard to arrange. Instead Radjabov continued
31.Rd5? Bxd5 32.Rxd5 Nf6 33.Rxc5 Kd6 34.Rb5 Ra7! 35.h4 (35.Rb8 Kc5 36.Rf8 c6 37.Kf2 Kd4) 35...Nd7 36.Rd5+ Ke7 37.Bh3 c6! 38.Rxd7+ Rxd7 39.Bxd7 Kxd7 (White is lost because Black can make a passed pawn on the kingside whereas Black's pawn duo stymie White's queenside pawns) 40.c5 h5 41.Kf2 g6 42.Ke2 f5 43.exf5 gxf5 44.Kd3 Ke6 45.Kc4 f4 46.gxf4 exf4 47.Kd4 Kf5 48.Kd3 f3 0-1
In some editions yesterday the result of the Guildford A&DC v Barbican 4NCL match from last weekend suggested the champions overcame Barbicanís first team, they defeated their second team.
Barbicanís first team played Guildford A&DCís second team and managed to win a couple of games including the one below. Jonathan Parker is Englandís strongest amateur player after Luke McShane. He is equal fifth on the English rating list with David Howell, Englandís top junior player.
J Parker - D Howell
4NCL Div 1 (11)
Barbican 4NCL 1 - Guildford A&DC 2
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e3 0-0 7.Bc4 Nb6 8.Bb3 c5 9.0-0 Bg4 (A rare sideline. Mamedyarov had success with the novelty 9...c4 10.Bc2 Nc6 11.Qe2 Bg4 but I would prefer 11.h3 here and if 11...e5 12.d5 Nb4 13.e4; 9...cxd4 10.exd4 is the main line) 10.dxc5 N6d7 11.h3 (11.e4!? Nxc5? 12.Bxf7+! Kxf7 13.Ng5+) 11...Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Nxc5 13.Rd1 Qc8 14.Nd5 Nc6 15.e4 (White should be a little better even though Black's bishop on g7 is a fine piece) 15...Re8 (15...e6 16.Nf6+ Bxf6 17.Qxf6 Nxe4 18.Qh4 Nc5 19.Bh6 is too strong but removing White's bishop pair looks reasonable 15...Nxb3 16.axb3 f5!?) 16.Bg5 Ne6 17.Bh4 Qb8 (17...Bxb2 18.Rab1 Be5 19.Ba4! puts Black under pressure) 18.Rac1 Qe5 19.Rxc6! bxc6 20.Nxe7+ Kh8 (20...Rxe7 21.Bxe7 Qxb2 22.Rd7 Qc1+ 23.Kh2 Be5+ 24.g3) 21.Nxc6 Qxb2 22.e5! (All Whiteís pieces are active and Black has to make too many concessions to defend the f7 pawn) 22...Rec8 (22...Rf8 23.Be7) 23.Bf6! (Stronger than 23.Qxf7 Rxc6 24.Bf6 Rc1!) 23...Rc7 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.Nd8! Bxf6 26.Qxa8 (26.exf6 also wins) 26...Qc2 27.Nf7+ 1-0
Final position after 27.Nf7 double check from knight and queen. After 27...Kg7 28.Qh8+ Kf7 29.Qxf6+ Ke8 30.Rd8 is mate
Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
Barbican 4NCL 2
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent
Warwickshire Select 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
Poisoned Pawns 2
Celtic Tigers 1
White Rose 2
FCA Solutions 1
Sambuca Black Sheep
Cambridge Univ. 2
Warwickshire Select 2
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
Braille Chess Assoc.
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2