Reggio Emilia: Gashimov catches Vallejo

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Reggio Emilia: Gashimov catches Vallejo, two rounds to goIn the seventh round of the Torneo di Capodanno in Reggio Emilia Vugar Gashimov defeated Paco Vallejo with the black pieces. In doing so, the Azeri GM caught the Spaniard in the standings; both are on 4.5/7 now, with two rounds to go.

Vugar Gashimov | Photo official round 6 report (PDF)

General info

The 53rd Torneo di Capodanno takes place December 28 - January 6 in Reggio Emilia, Italy. It's a 10-player, single round-robin with Vallejo Pons, Short, Ivanchuk, Caruana, Onischuk, Movsesian, Navara, Godena, Gashimov, and Morozevich playing. Rounds start at 15:00 CET every day, except for January 6th when it starts at 12:00 CET.

Rounds 4-7

We left the tournament back in 2010, after the first three rounds had been played. As you might remember Paco Vallejo was leading the field with 2.5/3, after beating Godena and Navara and drawing with Ivanchuk.

On the last day of the year the Spaniard added another full point to his score, beating Short with Black. In fact by then he was already leading by 1.5 points! His 19...e4!? was very interesting and led to a strong pawn centre that proved more than enough compensation for the material investment. In the same round Gashimov outplayed Godena and finished off with a nice tactic.

The first day of the new year was a rest day, except for Morozevich and Navara, who couldn't play their first round game on the first day. The reason was the heavy snow that caused the Moscow airport, that served Morozevich's flight, to be closed. The Russian won a powerful game - quite a tactical squirmish - which meant his first win in the tournament.

Reggio Emilia: Gashimov catches Vallejo, two rounds to goIn the fifth round local hero Godena was holding for a long time against Ivanchuk, but in the end he started to make some inaccuracies and lost anyway. The rest of the games ended in draws, where Vallejo-Morozevich might have been relevant for the theory of the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Najdorf.

So far this was the only "quiet" round, as both yesterday and today there was a lot of spectacle. In round six Nigel Short played a really crazy game, sacrificing a pawn, a piece, another piece and then... another piece. From the start it looked pretty brilliant, but then his opponent Movsesian could just run away with his king and offer material back, which forced Short to resign at move 20 already.

Vugar Gashimov came up with a strong novelty (17.Rb3) in a topical line of the Caro-Kann, which gave him a big edge in an ending against Vassily Ivanchuk. The Ukrainian never got a chance to get into the game. Godena had another tough day at the office and lost to Navara. Morozevich had played very well against Onischuk, but blundered an important pawn just before the time control and could resign a few moves later.

And so after six rounds Vallejo was still leading with 4.5 points, followed by Movsesian, Gashimov and Onischuk with a full point less. Today, in the big clash Vallejo-Gashimov, the Spaniard lost his first game, thus allowing his opponent to catch him in the standings. The surprising 11...Ng4 worked out well for Black, but for a long time the game stayed within the draw margin. With a pawn sacrifice in return for a strong passer on the a-file Gashimov decided the game in his favour.

Short used Bronstein & Larsen's 4...Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 Caro-Kann to beat Godena - the opening was fine for White, but soon after the Italian got into trouble. Ivanchuk seemed inspired by Short's imaginative play in Reggio, and sacrificed a knight on f7 against Navara today. The young Czech grandmaster defended superbly, allowing several discovered checks and eventually winning an ending with an extra piece against three pawns.

With two rounds to go, Gashimov and Vallejo lead, but are closely followed by Movsesian, Onischuk and Navara. Anything can happen!

Reggio Emilia 2010 | Round 7 standings
Reggio Emilia 2010 | Round 7 standings


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