Chatalbashev wins Bulgarian Championship in Pernik

by ChessBase
3/24/2007 – The women's section, played for the 56th time, was a cliff hanger, with four players battling and tying for first. Exciting chess. In the men's section there was no tension predicting the outcome. Elo favorite Boris Chatalbashev took the lead after the third round and never left any doubts as to his intentions after that. He won with 1.5 points more than the competition. Report and games.

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The Bulgarian Chess Championship 2007

Report by IM Dejan Bojkov

The Bulgarian Individual Championships took place in Pernik, a small town near Sofia, from March 10-20, 2007. This was the 56th Championship for women and 71st edition for men.

The venue of the Bulgarian Chess Championship

Just for the record: the women’s section saw incredibly interesting moments. At the start Elitsa Raeva took the lead after three consecutive wins. But in the forth round she lost to the future winner Margarita Voiska as white, and they shared the lead during the tournament “middlegame”.

The game Raeva-Bednikova in the final round

Raeva,Elitsa (2207) - Bednikova,Stefi (2068) [A43]
Pernik BUL, 56th Women Ch Pernik BUL (11.6), 20.03.2007
1.d4 c5 2.d5 d6 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.f4 Bg7 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bxb5 9.exf6 Bxf6 10.Nxb5 Qa5+ 11.Nc3 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Qxc3+ 13.Bd2 Qe5+ 14.Ne2 Qxd5 15.0-0 Nc6 16.Bc3 Qxd1 17.Raxd1 Rg8 18.Nf4 e6 19.Bf6 Ne7 20.Rd3 g5 21.Nh5 Rg6 22.c4 Ng8 23.Be5 f5 24.Rfd1 Ne7 25.Rd7 b6 26.Nf6+ Kf7

27.Rxe7+ Kxe7 28.Rd7+ 1-0 because of 28...Kf8 29.Bd6 mate.

The youngest player – Milena Stefanova

Most of the experienced players started slow, but there was always a big group of pursuers following the leaders. With important wins in round eight and nine Margarita Voiska ensured her an advance of a half point just before the final round. In the last round anything was possible. Adriana Nikolova, P. Chilingirova and Elitsa Raeva were half a point away. The glamour of the situation was strengthened by the pairing Nikolova-Voiska.

The decisive game Nikolova-Voiska from the final round

Nikolova,Adriana (2204) - Voiska,Margarita (2319) [B12]
Pernik BUL, 56th Women Ch Pernik BUL (11.2), 20.03.2007
1.e4 c6 2.d4 Na6 3.f4 d5 4.Nc3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nb4 6.Nf3 Bf5 7.Bd3 Nxd3+ 8.cxd3 e6 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Qe2 Be7 11.h3 h5 12.a3 Qb6 13.Ned2 Nd5 14.Nc4 Qc7 15.Qd2 a5 16.Nh2 h4 17.b3 b5 18.Ne5 f6 19.Neg4 Bd6 20.Rf3 Kf7 21.Nf1 c5 22.dxc5 Bxc5+ 23.d4 Bd6 24.Nge3 Nxe3 25.Qxe3 Qb7 26.Ra2 Rac8 27.Bd2 Bc7 28.Qf2 Bb6 29.Rc3 Qe4 30.Rxc8 Rxc8 31.Be3 Rc2 32.Rxc2 Qxc2 33.Qxc2 Bxc2 34.b4 axb4 35.axb4 Bd3 36.d5 Bc7 37.dxe6+ Kxe6 38.Nh2 Bd6 draw.

Ljubka Genova returned since some pause for giving birth to her second child. Her husband Petar Genov played here too, and gave her not only chess, but psychological help. Especially at the beginning when her start was not shiny. It is quite curious that their family won both the bronze medals at the championship.

Last round game between Lyubka Genova and Iva Videnova

Genova,Lyubka (2214) - Videnova,Iva (2175) [B50]
Pernik BUL, 56th Women Ch Pernik BUL (11.3), 20.03.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 a6 5.Bb3 e6 6.0-0 Be7 7.Re1 b6 8.c3 Bb7 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.Nf1 Nbd7 11.Bc2 Qc7 12.Qe2 Rac8 13.Ng3 b5 14.h3 Nb6 15.Nh2 d5 16.e5 Nfd7 17.Bf4 Rfe8 18.Rac1 Nf8 19.Nh5 Ng6 20.Bg3 Qd7 21.Ng4 d4 22.c4 Qc6 23.f3 a5 24.b3 a4 25.Qd2 axb3 26.axb3 Nd7 27.Ra1 Ra8 28.Reb1 b4 29.Bd1 Ra3 30.Rxa3 bxa3 31.Ra1 Ra8 32.Ra2 Nb8

33.Nxg7! Qc8 [33...Kxg7 34.Qh6+ Kh8 35.Nf6 Nf8 36.Nh5 and 37.Qg7#] 34.Nh5 Qf8 35.Qc1 Nd7 36.Rxa3 f5 37.exf6 Nxf6 38.Rxa8 Bxa8 39.Nhxf6+ Bxf6 40.Qh6 Bg7 41.Qg5 Bc6 42.h4 Qf5 43.Qd8+ Nf8 44.Be2 h5 45.Nf2 Bf6 46.Qc7 Be8 47.Ne4 1-0.

Voiska’s chose of the opening was surprising, but profitable: after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 she suddenly chose 2…Na6. Nikolova was completely unprepared for this, and already on move eight her position was likely to be lost, but she kept on fighting. Meanwhile, all the other candidates won their games, but the experienced Margarita counted that her tie-break is the best, decided not to risk and offered a draw still in winning position.

Thus four players tied for the first place, and Raeva was the unfortunate forth. Tears burst out on her face. Head up, Eli, the future is ahead of you! As a consolation both she and A. Nikolova have fulfilled IM norms.

Margarita Voiska won her ninth (!) title and thus leveled the number of her titles with Venka Asenova. Pavlina Chilingirova won the silver. She is very experienced player, one of the women who won silver medals for Bulgaria at the Thessalonica Olympiad in 1984.

Final standings of the women's championship

Men section: hat-trick for Boris Chatalbashev

Unlike in the women's section there was no tension predicting the outcome of the men's devision. The Elo favorite took the lead after the third round and never left any doubts to his intentions after that. Boris Chatalbashev won convincingly, 1.5 points ahead of the competition.

As he confessed after the championship Boris thought it had been quite a lucky tournament for him. He won some equal endgames, and twice his opponents rejected his draw offers, both losing their games later on. Anyway he was sure that even without his luck he would have won the tournament. This is his third national title, the first one he won in 1991, and Boris was one of the youngest Bulgarian champions ever. And in the same time, this tournament was a sweet revenge for his unconvincing performance two years ago.

Last-round game between Boris Chatalbashev and Petar Drenchev, a 10-move draw

Momchil Nikolov made an IM norm, and won the silver. His style is quite solid, just like the winner he did not lose a single game. Petar Genov took the bronze thanks to his better tie-break.

Two bronze medallists: Petar and Ruzhka Genov (not related)

Marian Bojchev, a young Bulgarian talent

Marian Bojchev was the discovery of the championship. The runner-up at the U14 World Championship in Belfort made an IM norm and deserved at least a medal. He was one of the players who refused the draw offer to the future champion. Three rounds before the end he was practically the only rival of Chatalbashev, a point away from him. But then the IM norm was achieved and he relaxed, losing two important games and finishing fourth. But the progress in his play is obvious, his sporting qualities- indisputable.

As a conclusion I would like to mention a trainer achievement. GM Vladimir Dimitrov finished fifth, but almost all of his students achieved high results- M. Nikolov, K. Rusev, A. Nikolova, M. Bojchev.

All photos by Radislav Atanasov


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