Lets return as promised to Open Tournament number 2, the European Individual Championship in Rijeka.  Here things defaulted back to my traditional open routine, as despite starting with 3.5/4 I was out of the money even before the last round began. This was a ridiculously strong event in relation to the prize fund, perhaps as several federation’s cover all the player’s expenses. The ECF doesn’t prioritize the event in the same way, so it isn’t a greatly appealing event for English players and this was the first time I had played. The event is one way to qualify for the World Cup but perhaps given the continually ‘evolving’ status of that event most players didn’t seem too interested in this preferring to throw the dice hoping for a big payday instead. In general the organisers did a decent job, but the bus transfers between the hotels and playing hall left a lot to be desired especially given the transfer fees they had received from the participants. The unseasonably cold weather with snow on some days didn’t add much to this aspect of the tournament either.

I did achieve one curiosity, my second round game reminded me of a game from the dim and distant past. John Emms achieved an impressively spectacular drop in computer evaluation (despite retaining a winning position) in his game with Fressinet back in the Istanbul Olympiad when he erred on his 30th move.

[pgn height=350 initialply=58] [Event "Istanbul olympiad (Men)"]
[Site "Istanbul"]
[Date "2000.11.09"]
[Round "12.4"]
[White "Emms, John M"]
[Black "Fressinet, Laurent"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B88"]
[WhiteElo "2527"]
[BlackElo "2536"]
[Annotator "Blog"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2000.10.28"]
[EventType "team"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "TUR"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2000.11.22"]
[WhiteTeam "England"]
[BlackTeam "France"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "ENG"]
[BlackTeamCountry "FRA"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. a4 Nc6 8. O-O
Be7 9. Be3 O-O 10. Kh1 Re8 11. Bb3 Bd7 12. f4 Rc8 13. f5 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5 15.
Be3 Bc6 16. Qd3 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. Bg5 Ng4 19. Qh3 Bxg5 20. Qxg4 Be3 21. f6
g6 22. Rf3 Bf4 23. Qh4 b4 24. Nd5 Bxd5 25. Bxd5 Rxc2 26. Raf1 h5 27. Rxf4 exf4
28. Qg5 Kh7 29. Bxf7 Rg8 30. h3 ({This move sends the digits diving like an
inverse national debt. The fun has been somewhat reduced by the increasingly
brutal precision of the machines. In the old days this move used to result in
a drop from roughly +22 to around +2.3, but now shortly afterward the metal
monster flashes up mate in 10 in next to no time. Here are a couple of lines:}
30. Bxg6+ Rxg6 31. Qxh5+ Kg8 32. Qxg6+ Kf8 33. Qg7+ Ke8 34. f7+ Kd7 35. f8=Q+
Kc6 36. Qxd8 f3 (36… Kb5 37. Qb7+ Ka4 38. Qa5+ Kxa5 39. Ra1#) 37. Qgc7+ Kb5
38. Qdd7+ Ka6 39. Qa4#) 30… Qf8 {
John went onto win the game after further adventures.} 31. Bxg8+ Qxg8 32. Rxf4
Qf7 33. e5 dxe5 34. Qxe5 b3 35. Rf1 Rd2 36. Rf3 Rd5 37. Qb8 Rf5 38. Qxb3 Qxf6
39. Rxf5 Qxf5 40. Qb7+ Kh6 41. Qb8 g5 42. Kh2 g4 43. hxg4 Qxg4 44. Qh8+ 1-0
[/pgn]

I was intrigued by this and was always on the lookout for similar “achievements”, but was unaware my second round game had thrown up a similar curiosity until I saw Mig mention it in his Blog.

In the game after some cooperative play from my opponent, I had managed to remedy a fairly dodgy opening and put the boot in on the kingside, strangely again it is the 30th move that sends the numbers tumbling like BP’s share price.

[pgn height=350 initialply=58][Event "EU-ch 11th"]
[Site "Rijeka"]
[Date "2010.03.07"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Jankovic, Alojzije"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B67"]
[WhiteElo "2704"]
[BlackElo "2569"]
[Annotator "Blog"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2010.03.06"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "CRO"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2010.03.20"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8.
O-O-O Bd7 9. f4 b5 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Nxc6 Bxc6 12. Qe3 Qe7 13. a3 Rb8 14. Bd3
Bg7 15. Qg3 O-O 16. Qh4 b4 17. axb4 Rxb4 18. Rhf1 Re8 19. Rde1 h6 20. Re3 a5
21. Rg3 Kh8 22. f5 e5 23. Rg4 Kh7 24. Rf3 Rg8 25. Rfg3 Qa7 26. Rxg7+ Rxg7 27.
Rh3 {Now there is no sensible way to defend the h6 pawn.} Qg1+ 28. Nd1 Kg8 29.
Qxh6 Kf8 30. Rg3 {After this lemon the assessment falls down to below +3} ({
The computer recommends instead ignoring the pinned rook with} 30. Qxf6 {
which it initially assesses somewhere in the region of +25 for White. Or if
you leave it a little more thinking time it seems to settle on mate in 7.} Qc5
(30… Rd4 31. Qd8+ Be8 32. f6 Qxd1+ 33. Kxd1 Rxd3+ 34. cxd3 Rh7 35. Qe7+ Kg8
36. Qxe8#) 31. Qd8+ Be8 32. f6 d5 33. fxg7+ Kg8 34. Qxe8+ Kxg7 35. Qh8+ Kg6 36.
Qh6#) ({My move isn’t even second choice which is} 30. b3) 30… Ra4 {
I hadn’t noticed this source of counter-play which explains the 30.b3recommendat
ion. I managed to win the game but with an undignified grovel instead of a
devastating attack.} 31. Kd2 Ra1 32. Qxg7+ Ke7 33. Qg4 d5 34. exd5 Bxd5 35. Re3
Qxh2 36. Be4 Ra4 37. Qf3 Rd4+ 38. Kc1 Rxe4 39. Rxe4 1-0
[/pgn]