Eli Raeva-First Time Bulgarian Champion!

Female tournament was dominated by the young players. Elitza Raeva and Iva Videnova were joint leaders until round eight. Then Elitsa took half a point lead. Their game from the penultimate round had to be decisive (see the game after the text).
Elitsa wins the championship for the first time. Last year she participated at the ETCC in Crete and made a very good result, achieved an IM norm. If you remember from my last-year’s report for the Bulgarian Finals in Pernik she also shared the first place, but was the unlucky fourth. In this championship she decided the things within a spare round. Nevertheless she fought in the last game won, and finished with style. Iva Videnova achieved and IM norm as well and won a bronze medal. Together with Adriana Nikolova (fourth place, IM norm, and with chances for medals if she had won the last round) these three girls are Bulgaria’s best hopes for the moment. The latter two are students in National Sports Academy (profile chess) and all they are devoted to the play in this period of their life. At the same time a new generation is coming in the faces of Mariya Vladimirova and Sandra Trifonova-novice players at the finals, who did well. Experienced player Mariya Velcheva took the silver with successful final efforts.

Videnova,Iva (2188) - Raeva,Elitsa (2258) [C91]
57th Women Championship Plovdiv BUL (10.2), 23.03.2008

The decisive game of the tournament was played in the penultimative round. Iva Videnova and Elitsa Raeva were leading the field a whole point in front of the others. Neverthless Elitsa managed to go half a point in front of her rival, so Iva needed only a win. For some moment everything looked glorious for her. She won a pawn, and started gradually to convert it. But Elitsa showed the best fo her stubborness: 29.Nxc6 Qxc6 30.Ba2 Qc7 31.c4

More accurate is first to activate the rook: [31.Rd1 Qb7 and now the bishop: 32.c4 bxc4 33.Qxc4+- in the meanwhile black queen is chased away from its active position, as well as white's rook levaes the vulnerable e1 square.] 31...Ndf4! Best chance. 32.Bxf4 Critical moment for the whole tournament. One more innacuracy, and white loses her advantage. Better was the computer suggestion: [32.cxb5 Bc5 33.Bxe6

33...Nd3 this looks extremely risky, especially in the time-trouble, but does not work either: (33...Nxe6 34.Ne4; 33...Nxh3+ 34.Bxh3 Qxg3 35.Qxc5) 34.Bxf7+! Qxf7 35.Qg5 counterattacking the rook wins a decisive tempo 35...Qxf2+ (35...Rd7 36.Rf1 Bxf2+ 37.Kh2 …Bxg3+? 38.Qxg3 Qxf1 39.Qb8++-) 36.Kh2 Qd4 37.Rd1+-] 32...Nxf4 33.cxb5 Bc5 Now Black had achieved much! 34.Re3 There was a perpetual after: [34.Qc4

34...Nxh3+ 35.Kf1 Nxf2 36.b6 Qxb6 37.Re8+ Rxe8 38.Qxf7+ Kh8 39.Qxe8+ Kg7 40.Qf7+ Kh6 41.Qf4+=] 34...Qa7 35.Ne4 Probably Iva had to change the course of the game by the sharp sacrifice: [35.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 36.Qc4+ Nd5 37.Rf3+ Kg7 38.Ne4 Be7 39.Nc3 White has three pawns for the piece, and now she posses the initiative.] 35...Bxe3 36.Qxe3 Qxe3 37.fxe3 Nd3 38.b4 Ne5 [38...axb3 39.Bxb3 Kg7 40.a4 f5 with counterplay] 39.Nf6+?!

White goes astray and loses the game a few moves. Better was: [39.Bd5! With the idea Ne4-c3, and e3-e4 building a strong cental construction, which together with her passed pawns on the queens flank guarentees white from lost.] 39...Kg7 40.Nd5 f5 41.Nc3 Rd3 42.Nd5? The ugly looking: [42.Nb1 was the only move, but Black is already obvously better here.] 42...Rd2 [42...Rxa3 43.b6 Rxa2 44.b7 Nd7 is simplier.] 43.b6 Rxa2 44.b7 Nd7 45.b5 Rxa3 0–1
More pictures supplied by Iva you can find here:

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