54th Reggio Emilia: An exciting start

by ChessBase
12/28/2011 – The 54th Reggio Emilia is both the last top event of 2011 and the first of 2012, and this year's lineup is as good as one could wish, with Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Nakamura, Caruana, Vitiugov, and Giri. In the very first round, Hikaru Nakamura defied classic rules to beat Nikita Vitiugov handily, while Fabiano Caruana blundered a won position to Alexander Morozevich. Round one report.

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The 54th Reggio Emilia is underway at Reggio Emilia, Italy, and runs from December 27, 2011 to January 6, 2012. The tournament is a six-player, double round-robin with ten rounds played at 50 moves for 100 minutes plus a 30-second increment per move. January 1st is a rest day. Games start at 3 PM Paris time (9 AM NY time).

54th Reggio Emilia off to an exciting start

By Martha Fierro and Augusto Caruso (accademia internazionale di scacchi)

The 54th edition of Reggio Emilia's tournament has begun and this year the tournament has double the prestige: great protagonists in the main event, and a parallel women’s tournament, in which three Italian stars will compete against three strong WGM from Eastern Europe.

Co-sponsor Ezio Montalbini and WGM Sopiko Guramishvili

Ippogrifo chess club from Reggio Emilia, the participation of the omnipresent Ezio Montalbini, and the Accademia Internazionale di Scacchi are organizing the whole event.

Bulgarian WGM Videnova, organizer Ferraroni, and WGM Anna Sharevich

In the main tournament we have three players from previous editions: Fabiano Caruana, who recently won the Italian championship in Perugia, with a crushing 10.0/11 and who is already knocking on the door of the world Top Ten, Vassily Ivanchuk, world number six, who is always ready to delight the audience with his creativity, Alexander Morozevich, who has came back among the giants of chess this year, the hard-fighting American Hikaru Nakamura, number ten in the world, who is living a golden period after arriving second behind Kramnik at the London Chess Classic and last but not least two rising stars: Nikita Vitiugov and the young Dutch GM Anish Giri.

19-year-old Fabiano Caruana won the Italian Championship for the fourth time this year

In the parallel tournament there are Marina Brunello who is leading the Italian forces composed by Maria De Rosa and the local player Marianna Chierici.

Ivanchuk has been extremely busy these last months... then again, when isn't he?

In the first round, the battle between veteran Ivanchuk and junior Giri was fascinating early on, and Ivanchuk appeared to be winning.

17-year-old Anish Giri broke into the 2700 club a few months ago

However, that is not how the game went, and after a series of exchanges (not all of them forced) the Dutch player had successfully withstood the pressure, and a draw was agreed upon. Analysis will tell us if and how White could have won.

24-year-old Nikita Vitiugov has been climbing steadily these last years

The first decisive result of the tournament was an extraordinary game in which Nakamura beat Vitiugov. White probably played a doubtful Bb5, but the crucial Black move was definitely Qf6.

Hikaru Nakamura: defying the classical rules

In defiance of classical rules on the structure, Black doubles his pawns on the f-file and a few move later his opponent was forced to capitulate. Old players' memories recalled the famous Smyslov-Reshevsky, Moscow 1948, where the great Russian champion played similar moves.

Morozevich has had an amazing comeback year in 2011 and
is a worth replacement of last year's winner Gashimov.

The most important game for the Italian audience was Caruana-Morozevich, which drew IM Giulio Borgo's attention in the analysis room.

The sharp Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez Spanish opening. After a theoretical pawn sacrifice in a Spanish Zaitsev, the Russian obtained good, but insufficient positional compensation, only enough for equality. At the crucial moment Caruana returned the pawn to gain an advantage, and the young Italian seemed headed to a deserved victory for his fine play. Alas, the ugly head of time-trouble appeared, and White lost control of the game and lost. Hopefully, he will recover from this unpleasant shock.

The Italian stars

The woman tournament: in the bout between De Rosa- Chierici Black sacrificed to play for the win, but it backfired and with good play De Rosa won. Marina had a bad day and lost an interesting game against Guramishvili. A mistake in calculation betrayed Videnova, who lost with white against Sharevich.

WGM Sopiko Guramishvili

It's just the first round but the matches are already extremely exciting. Two of the favorites have already won with black pieces. We will see what happens, we're just at the beginning...

Pictures by Roberto Mongranzini


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