Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
WHILE WE were bashing away in Hastings and Morozevich et al in Pamplona, a third closed tournament was under way in Reggio Emilia in the north of Italy. This traditional event, now in its 41st edition, was at one time immensely uniformly strong - and correspondingly endowed with the seasonal spirit of peace and goodwill.

Now it has slipped a little - down this time to just category 8 - average 2,435. But this (presumably financially necessary) loss in numerical category has been produced not by inviting all weaker players but rather by having a much more varied field, which this time ranged from the Armenian Smbat Lputian, rated 2,615, right down to the Italian Constantino Aldrovandi who is just 2,280 (presumably much more on the eagerly awaited list) but belied his bottom rating to surpass himself and end up with a plus score. The consequent imbalance has led to a great gain in bellicosity and this year they had no fewer than 27 decisive games out of 45 - a whacking 60 per cent.

The tournament developed into a race between the three top rated, with the Russian Evgeny Solozhenkin eventually running out clear first on 7. He was followed by Lputian and Komarov (Ukraine) 6.5 and Aldrovanni on 5. The other scores (all are Italian, apart from Tomescu who is Romanian) were Efimov 4.5, Vezzosi 4, Borgo, Tomescu and Drei 3 and Anceschi 2.5.

It would be foolish to judge a young player on any single result, but it's clear that Aldrovandi has improved at a great rate. He scored two wins and just a single loss to Lputian: and showed great toughness in defence, especially in a repulsive endgame in the last round against Vezzosi.

This is his deceptive win against Tomescu. White's bad queenside pawn structure looked a problem but after he achieved f4 - Black might have played ...g5!? earlier - White got space. At the end 30... Rb8 loses to 31 Bxc5+.

White: Constantino Aldrovandi

Black: Vlad Tomescu

Reggio Emilia 1999 (Round 6)

Exchange Spanish

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bb5 a6

4 Bxc6 dxc6

5 0-0 f6

6 d4 Bg4

7 dxe5 Qxd1

8 Rxd1 fxe5

9 Rd3 Bxf3

10 Rxf3 Nf6

11 Nc3 Bb4

12 Bg5 Bxc3

13 bxc3 Nd7

14 Rd1 Rf8

15 Rxf8+ Nxf8

16 Kf1 Ne6

17 Be3 Rd8

18 Rb1 b6

19 g3 Ke7

20 Ke2 Rf8

21 h4 c5

22 Rf1 c4

23 f4 Nd8

24 f5 Nf7

25 g4 Nd6

26 Kf3 h6

27 Rd1 Rh8

28 Bc1 Nf7

29 Ba3+ c5

30 Rb1 1-0