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4 Más Rápido in Calatrava

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Four players tied for first at the Villa de Cañada de Calatrava rapid tournament last weekend. (Sí sí, I'm muy behind this week.) Shirov, Fridman, I Sokolov, and Gelfand all finished with 7.5/9. Favorites Anand, Ivanchuk, Polgar and Mamedyarov were all in the chasing pack at 7. Not many games are available, sadly. Shirov won the title on system tiebreaks and also won clear first in the Fischerandom side event. As previewed in the first item on this event, Shirov was looking very good right from the start. Ivanchuk took the blitz side event. Anand declined to play in the side tournaments. Polgar was rolling along but lost to Fridman in a key 7th round game. A dubious novelty (8..Qc8) in a dubious line of the QID (7..Na6?!) landed Black in deep trouble very quickly. 12.Bh3! exposed the problem with the queen on c8.

Some of the game scores are truncated or wrong. Was Fridman-Shirov in the final round really a six-move draw? Seems unlikely, even if they are Latvian compatriots. (Speaking of Fridman, he and US women's champion Anna Zatonskih just had a baby girl. If you're into baby pictures, scroll down the blog page of the Dutch team of which Fridman is a member. Slipping into People Magazine mode, the couple have known each other least since 2003. USCF site has more.) I really hate it when so many games just disappear. Blitz, all right, and preserving shuffle chess games is practically contrary to their purpose. But elite rapid chess often produces interesting ideas and beautiful play. The players tend to like it when games don't go out because they can hoard a little information.


Hmmm...Fridman's Daughter, Sofia, was born in New York. So, maybe, given the pedigree, we are looking at an "American-born" future GM! Polgar's game against Fridman got really ugly, really quickly. Maybe she was overambitious in her choice of openings, since a win would have put her in the lead. But she did manage to draw Vishy in the final round.

"...preserving shuffle chess games is practically contrary to their purpose."

Um, what?

Polgar played 7 ... Na6?!. She must have forgotten that she was playing the QID and not the KID. :-)

Shirov looks to be back in form just in time for the upcoming Candidates Matches. Really bad news for the other GMs.

Wow! This stunning 3rd round Shirov victory has more tactics than a whole tournament of Kramnik games.

[Event "II Rapid"]
[Site "Canada de Calatrava ESP"]
[Date "2007.04.06"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Tahirov, F."]
[Black "Shirov, A."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A21"]
[WhiteElo "2545"]
[BlackElo "2715"]
[PlyCount "42"]
[EventDate "2007.04.06"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. Qc2 Nf6 4. a3 Bxc3 5. Qxc3 Nc6 6. b4 O-O 7. e3 d5 8.
cxd5 Qxd5 9. b5 Nd4 10. exd4 exd4 11. Qc4 Re8+ 12. Kd1 Qh5+ 13. Be2 Qg6 14. Nf3
Be6 15. Qc2 d3 16. Qxd3 Bf5 17. Qc4 Rxe2 18. Nh4 Qh5 19. Qxe2 Bc2+ 20. Ke1 Re8
21. Qxe8+ Nxe8 0-1


Make sure you play over the Tahirov-Shirov game posted above. It is a beautiful tactical attacking gem, one of the best I have seen in a long time.

Shirov even plays the standard Sicilian Nd5! sacrifice with colors reversed (9 ... Nd4!). Fantastic game.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 11, 2007 2:31 PM.

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