Tudo bem! Vescovi wins Fourways International in Bermuda

2/3/2004 – The one phrase you must know if you go to Brazil is "Tudo bem!" Often accompanied by a thumbs-up this is the universal expression for "okay", "cool", and "a Brazilian just won a category 16 tournament!" In dramatic fashion Giovanni Vescovi defeated Boris Gelfand in the final round to pass the Israeli and hoist the winner's trophy for the second year in a row. Full report and games.

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Vescovi repeats as Bermuda champ

Our congratulations to Brazilian GM Giovanni Vescovi and our apologies to Israeli GM Boris Gelfand. Vescovi took clear first in Bermuda for the second year in a row. (In 2002 he was "only" equal first.) His undefeated score of 7/10 left him on top of one of the strongest events in the Western hemisphere in recent memory. What's more, in the final round he trailed top seed Boris Gelfand by half a point and took the title by beating the redoubtable Israeli!

That's not why we are apologizing to Gelfand, although he deserves sympathy. He has long had a deserved reputation as a profound but peaceable player prone to a high percentage of short draws. In the final round he had black against Vescovi and a guaranteed share of first place with a draw. Gelfand, somewhat inexplicably but to the delight of fans of fighting chess everywhere, played a sharp piece sacrifice variation of the Slav!

The risk looked to be paying off but Vescovi outplayed him in the endgame to take the full point and jump past him in the standings. Our compliments to both players and to the organizers of this ambitious event. Nick Faulks and Nigel Freeman have put their hearts, time, and money where their chess is and made the annual Bermuda events very special.

Maybe the Brazilian has so much success here because he is already used to the temptations of the beach and balmy weather. One can imagine some of the other players being distracted by their first sight of the sun in months!

The usually combative Sergei Movsesian, now playing for Slovakia, scored a solid plus two without a loss. The three medal winners were quite a distance from the other half of the field. They lost only one game combined.

Iordachescu nabbed a win in the second round and couldn't score another. American champion Alexander Shabalov had a bumpy ride even for him. He played just a single draw (!) and that didn't come until the penultimate round! He was doing respectably well until losing three of his last four games.

Macieja demolished Shabalov's Dragon in the final round and still couldn't get out of last place. That's when you know you've had a lousy tournament for sure. At least it saved him from leaving beautiful Bermuda without a win.

Many of the games were wild and wooly, with the mistakes that come with such aggressive play. See below for some highlights and lowlights.

Final standings

View/download all gamesOfficial siteFourways Inn, BermudaFirst report

Vescovi-Shabalov after 33...Be3+

A keen eye for geometry is very helpful in chess, but even a startling and amusing bishop maneuver couldn't save Shabalov in his round eight game against Vescovi. We know about the Bermuda Triangle. But the quadrangle?

In the diagram the black bishop has just finished making four consecutive moves to land on e3 with check! That wasn't enough to compensate for White's extra pawn and central control.

34.Kg2+- h5? [34...g5 35.Ng4 gxf4 36.Nh6+ Kh8 37.Qe5+ Rg7 38.Nf5+-] 35.Rf1 [35.Ra5!? Rf6 36.Re7 Qc6 37.Rxb7 h4 38.Qxc6 Rxc6+-]

35...b5 36.Re5 bxc4 37.bxc4 h4 38.Rh5 Rf5 39.Rxf5 Rxf5 40.Ng4 Ra5? [¹40...hxg3 41.Nxe3 dxe3+-] 41.Rb1 1-0

[41.Rb1 Qc8 42.Rb7+- (42.Nxe3?! dxe3 43.Qxe3 Ra2+ 44.Kf3 Ra3+-) ;
41.Nxe3?! dxe3 42.Qxe3 Ra3+-]

Vescovi-Gelfand after 43.Rxe4

This is the critical game in the final round. White gave back the piece to reach this endgame. Black has many weaknesses but he made things too easy for White with his next move when 43...a5 would have held on awhile longer.

43...Rb8? [43...a5] 44.h4!± Separating the black pawns. b2 is safe enough. 44...gxh4 45.Rxf4 Kc5 46.b3! a5 [46...Nd3 47.Rc4+] 47.Rxh4 Rd8 48.Rh5+ Kb6 49.Kb2 Rc8 [49...Rd2+!? 50.Kc3 Rc2+ 51.Kd4 Rd2+ 52.Ke4 Rb2] 50.Rh6+ Kc5 51.Ka3 This king raid becomes decisive. 1-0 in 93

Macieja-Vescovi after 18.Rb1

Black has excellent compensation for the pawn already and he can even grab it back now with 18...Qxg2. Instead he finds a pretty way to use his control of the light squares to penetrate and exploit White's lack of development.

18...Bd3! [‹18...Qxg2 19.Qb3+ Kh8 20.Kd2-+] 19.Rb7 Bc2 20.Qe2 Rab8 21.Qc4+ [21.Rxb8 Rxb8 22.0-0 Bd3]

21...Kh8-+ 22.Rxb8 [22.Rb4 a5 23.Rxb8 Rxb8 24.0-0-+] 22...Rxb8 23.Ke2 [23.0-0 Bd3 24.Qc5 Bxf1 25.Qg5 Qxg5 26.Bxg5-+] 23...Rb2 24.Qc5 Bb3+ 25.Kf3 Bd5+ 26.Kf4 Qe4+ 27.Kg3 Qxg2+ 28.Kh4 Qxh1 0-1

[28...Qxh1 29.Qf8+ Bg8-+; 28...g5+ 29.Bxg5 Qxf2+ 30.Kh5 Qf3+ 31.Kh4 Qe4+ 32.Kh3 Be6+ 33.Qf5 Bxf5+ 34.Kg3 Rg2#]

Shabalov-Gelfand after 37.Rf2

After a crazy ride Black is playing for a win with his passed pawns and the white king trapped on the edge. Gelfand ignores the threat against f7. His king now goes on a march to d2, where it threatens to give mate with ..Kxc2!

37...e3! 38.Rfxf7+ Kd6 39.Rd7+ Kc6 40.Rc7+ Kd5 41.Rcd7+ Ke4-+ 42.Rde7 Kf3 43.Rxe6 Ke2 44.Rd7 Kd2 45.Rxe3 [45.Rxd4+?? Kxc2 Black forces checkmate!]

45...Kxe3 46.Rf7 Nd5 47.b5 [47.h5 Nxb4 48.h6 Nxc2+ 49.Ka2 Rb8 50.h7 d3-+] 47...Kd2 0-1 [47...Kd2 48.Ka2 Rxb5-+]


Topics Bermuda 2004
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