54th Reggio Emilia: Spaceship Nakamura takes off

by ChessBase
1/1/2012 – It was an impressive turnaround when, in round four, Nakamura downed Giri in a game where the young Dutchman seemed out of sorts, while Morozevich lost his lead when he was defeated by Ivanchuk in an exciting game. This was only a prelude to round five when Nakamura and Ivanchuk had a thrilling battle, which gave the American the sole lead. Pictures and New Year wishes.

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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

Round four

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

It was a dramatic round with decisive games in the men’s section, and equally in the women’s. Anish Giri seemed a bit out of sorts and missed several straightforward tactics that he never would normally. The American gave him no respite, and scored the first win of the day.

Anish Giri swaps war stories with Sopiko Guramishvili... We hope not.

Although Nakamura’s result was significant, a lot depended on how the game between Ivanchuk and Morozevich went. If Morozevich won, he would maintain his lead, however Ivanchuk had other ideas, and the leaders have certainly not given each other any respite.

Ivanchuk played a d3 in his Spanish against Morozevich, and the game seemed to be quite balanced. Then the Ukrainian sacrificed a pawn on a4, gaining back the pawn in f6, and the game turned into a chaotic mess that only two great stars like them could untangle. In the end, Vassily also won, not only relegating Morozevich to third, but grabbing a share of first with Nakamura.

A delighted Ivanchuk lies on the couch

The game between Vitiugov and Caruana left theory in the very first moves, turning into a wild slugfest with Vitiugov sacrificing a piece on e6. Would Fabiano resist the Russian heat? Yes, seemed to be the answer! In Zeitnot the Russian found a way to complicate the situation for his opponent, but Fabiano overcame his opponent’s tenaciousness and closed the game with a much awaited win. Finally the Italian scores a win.

Sopiko gave another chess lesson, and this time her victim was Iva Videnova. With a nice pawn sacrifice, White ensured herself a winning position. The Georgian player continued her road to the win. Can anyone stop her?

Anna Sharevich with Maria de Rosa

Marianna Chierici lost to Marina Brunello, while Maria De Rosa got  a precious draw against Sharevich. The position had seemed bad for White, but Black lacked time to take the necessary risks and she suggested a draw.

Round five

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

We're at the last games of 2011 ! The most important game of the day focuses the audience's attention live and on the web, Nakamura and Ivanchuk, started off quite carefully, but then in the middle of the game they changed gears and things changed radically!

Hikaru Nakamura is now the sole leader going into the second half and new year

Ivanchuk took the initiative and after a shattering 25th move, b5 opened the position and weaknesses around the White king became evident. White's hope lay in an eventual endgame in which he could hope to survive, albeit with significant technical difficulties. Vassily refused to give up on his attacking chances and kept the queens on the board.

It was a worthy game between the leaders, with excitement and drama until the end

The game then went from hot to molten steel after the 34th move, when Black sacrificed a whole Rook to drive out the white king. During the last two moves before the time control Ivanchuk lost his last opportunity to salvage a draw before the tide turned and Nakamura took away an unexpected win.

Morozevich avenged his loss in the previous round and is close behind Nakamura

As a result, Hikaru Nakamura took the sole lead, while Morozevich moved into sole second by avenging his loss in round four with a strong win over Vitiugov.

Both youngsters lead the Top Rated Juniors

Anish Giri also woke up, and scored his first win at Fabiano Caruana’s expense. The Italian’s position was weak from the very opening , and Giri then created impressive piece activity is really impressive by the 19th move.

In the women’s tournament Marianna Chierici won by sheer determination and very hard play against Videnova, with a perfect finish to 2011!

Sharevich tries to react to Guramishvili's strength by sacrificing a pawn in the opening, however the payoff was less than she had hoped for. The Georgian player bravely risked an attack when she took the second pawn, and then followed up with a double piece sacrifice that seemed quite reckless: would it work? Yes seems to be the answer and after White’s 34.Rd6 which threatened Rxh6 mate it was all over! This tournament isnt’t without suspense!

Marina Brunello and Maria De Rosa had a hard fight. In the opening Black obtained a pawn but the White's answer on the 7th rank was enough to force Black to give back a the pawn to relieve the pressure. The ending was balanced and a just draw resulted.

New Year's dinner

The New Year's dinner was a fun affair with all the players

Anish Giri with his two younger sisters and Sopiko Guramishvili

Fabiano Caruana dressed for the festivity

The organizers and sponsors join in

Sultan Nakamura and his enviable entourage

The city was lit up with colorful fountains

These created a beautiful effect at night

A somewhat unorthodox group of Christmas carolers?

A warm greetings and well wishes by the Reggio Emilia group  

Pictures by Martha Fierro

Men's standings after five rounds

Men's standings after five rounds (traditional scoring)

Women's standings after five rounds

Women's standings after five rounds (traditional scoring)


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. Or you can get our latest Fritz 13 program, which includes six months free premium membership to Playchess.

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