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Only draw with Boris Gelfand

Quality Chess co-sponsors the Herbert Garrett Memorial grant in Italy, which supports up and coming talents; previously Vocaturo and Caruana, who are now GM’s. This year’s award was presented by World no. 6, Israeli GM Boris Gelfand. If you read Italian, you can find some information about the award here.

On the Sunday we all moved on to play the 12th edition of the 15-min rapid tournament in Rocca di Papa, a mountain village outside Rome. Gelfand was seeded 1st and won with 8.5/9. I was seeded 2nd and ended 9th, after blundering in almost every game, including the queen for nothing in round 4, after which my opponent tried to win rook vs. rook until I had enough and called the arbiter. In round 9 I blundered the exchange and later (in a winning position), also a knight. Final result 6.5/9. My best game was the following played against a local FM.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 b5 6. Bd3 d6 7. Be3 Nf6 8. O-O Be7 9. f4 Qc7 10. Qf3 Bb7 11. Rae1 Nbd7 12. a3 Rc8 13. Kh1 d5 14.e5 Ng8 15.Qh3 g6

16.Bxg6

16. Bxg6 fxg6 17. Nxe6 Qc4 18. f5 Qh4

19.f6

19. f6 Bxf6 20. exf6 Qxh3 21. f7+ Ke7 22. Bc5+ Nxc5 23. Nxc5+ Kd6 24. Nxb7+ Kc7 25. gxh3 Kxb7 26. f8=Q 1-0

I also had a good game against Gelfand (Black).

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Bd3 Nf6 8.Nxc6 Qxc6 9. O-O b5 10. f3 Bb7 11. Qe1 Qc7 12. Kh1 Be7 13. a3 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15. Bd4 O-O 16. Nxd5 Bxd5 17. Be5 Bd6 18. Bxd6 Qxd6 19. Qe2 Qb6 20. b3 Bc6 21.c4 Rfd8 22. Rfd1 Rd4 23. c5 Qxc5 24. Rac1 Qd6 25. Qc2 Rc8 26. Be4 e5 27. Re1 Qxa3 28. Bxc6 Qd6 29. Qc5 Qxc5 30. Rxc5 g6 31. Rcc1 Rd3 32. Bb7 Rxc1 33. Rxc1 a5 34. Rb1 a4 35. bxa4 bxa4

Aagaard-Gelfand1/2-1/2

White is probably winning, but with 30 seconds each, I felt loathe to ruin it all by being slow. There is a nice tactic on move 26 for Black. See if you can find it. Holding the mouse over the diagram will tell you the move.

26...Be8!

John solved it in 10 seconds, Andrew took 4 minutes.”This means John calculates 24 times as well as I do.” – A.Greet. “The pressure in this office is brutal.” J.Shaw. “Really? I never saw it.” B. Gelfand.

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