Vasil Spasov Claims Sixth National Title

Men section saw three people competing for the gold. GM Vasil Spasov and IMs Krasimir Rusev and Milen Vasilev started very well and were leading the tournament constantly. Spasov did not play for a long time, but came well prepared, and managed to win some games due to a superb home preparation. Well prepared was Krasimir Rusev as well. He developed his opening repertoire, and now uses the French Defense. Milen Vasilev scored 7 points in the first nine games and concluded his GM title. He had to receive the title one year earlier, but some bureaucratic problems did not give him this chance. After his flashy start he lost in the next round to Rusev, and had chances only for second place. He was very lucky in the final round, managing to turn the tables against the youngest participant Valeri Lilov. This gave him the silver, since Rusev tried too hard to overcome against Radulski, had excellent winning chances; but later on burned all the bridges and failed even to draw, and was left third. A win in this game will give him the title due to his better tie-break. At the same time the experienced Spasov won his final game, and won the tournament solely. This is his sixth national title! Good words can be said about GM Vladimir Petkov’s desire to win all the games-usually he was the last player to finish his games, and the performance of the youngest player-Valeri Lilov, who recovered from his poor start, and showed excellent tactical skills.

Nikolov,Momchil (2500) - Spasov,Vasil (2579) [E81]
72nd Men Championship Plovdiv BUL (5.5), 17.03.2008
[Dejan Bojkov]
Probably the most interesting game in the tournament was played in round 5. As a devoted KID player I could not stand including it into the report. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Bg5 a6 7.Qd2 Nbd7 8.Nh3 c5 9.d5 b5 Benko ideas are quite effective against White's set-up, since he loses too much time for the moves f2-f3, and the maneouver Nh3-f2(d1). 10.Nf2 Qa5 11.cxb5 Nb6

12.Nfd1 Nikolov is no stranger to the arising position. Our game from the final in Svilengrad continued: [12.Be2 axb5 13.Nxb5 Bd7 14.Nc3 Rfb8 15.Nfd1 (15.0–0 probably is better- 15...Ne8 16.Rfb1 Na4 17.Nfd1

17...Rxb2!? 18.Rxb2 Nxc3 19.Nxc3 (19.Bc4 Na4 20.Qxa5 Rxa5 21.Rbb1) 19...Bd4+ 20.Kf1 Bxc3 equalized in the game Benitah,Y (2413)-Bojkov,D (2482)/Vandouver 2006 (29)) 15...e6 16.dxe6 Bxe6
And took the pawn here as well! 17.Qxd6 Na4 Black had a tremendous initiative after: 18.0–0 Nxb2 19.Rc1 Rd8 20.Qf4 Nh5 21.Qh4 Rdb8 22.Qe1 Nxd1 23.Bxd1 Rb2 24.Be3 Bd4 25.Rf2 Rxf2 26.Kxf2 Nf4 27.Qf1 Bxc3?“ but here I failed to conclude the game in stile with: (27...Qd8!–+

28.g3 Bxe3+ 29.Kxe3 Qd4+ 30.Kxf4 g5+ 31.Kxg5 Qe5+ 32.Kh4 Qf6+ 33.Kh5 Qg6+ 34.Kh4 Qh6#) 28.Bxf4 Bd2 29.Bxd2 Qxd2+ 30.Be2 Rxa2? One more mistake, after which I had to struggle for the draw. (30...Qd4+ 31.Kg3 Rxa2–+) 31.Qd1 1/2–1/2 Nikolov,M (2446)-Bojkov,D (2475)/ Svilengrad BUL 2006/The Week in Chess 591 (104)] 12...axb5 13.Nxb5 Bd7 14.Nbc3 e6 15.dxe6 Bxe6
16.Qxd6N A greedy novelty. Safer is: [16.Be2 though Black experienced no problems here as well. 16...d5 17.exd5 Nfxd5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.0–0 Rfb8 20.Bc4 Bd4+ 21.Kh1 Qxd2 22.Bxd2 Bxb2 23.Nxb2 Rxb2 24.Bh6 Ne3 25.Bxe3 1/2–1/2 Socko,B (2435)-Spisak,C (2320)/Krynica 1997/CBM 061 ext] 16...Na4 17.Qd2 For some time computer advocates: [17.Bd2 Rfd8 18.Nb5 Rxd6 19.Bxa5 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rxa5 21.Rd8+ Bf8 but Black is obviously better here.] 17...Rfd8 18.Qc2 c4 Black is two pawns down, but is much better developed. All his pieces are involved in the pressure he puts on White's position. No wonder that he soon starts a very dangerous attack. 19.Bd2
19...Rxd2!! [19...Nc5 with initiative was the positional approach, but the combination that Spasov chooses gives him dangerous attack, and excellent practical chances.] 20.Qxd2 Rd8 21.Qc2 Nxb2! 22.Qxb2 Nxe4! The point. Black opens the diagonal for the "Monster". Gufeld would be delighted to see that. 23.fxe4 Obviously weaker is: [23.Rc1 Rxd1+ 24.Kxd1 Nxc3+ 25.Rxc3 Bxc3 26.Qc1 Qe5–+] 23...Rxd1+ 24.Kxd1 Bxc3 25.Qb8+ only move [25.Qc1

loses on the spot after: 25...Bg4+ 26.Kc2 (26.Be2 Qa4+ 27.Qc2 Bxe2+) 26...Be5 27.Bxc4 Qc3+ 28.Kb1 Qxa1+ 29.Kc2 Qc3+ 30.Kb1 Qb4+ 31.Bb3 Qxe4+ 32.Qc2 Qd4 and Bf5 is inevitable.] 25...Kg7 26.Rc1
[26.Bxc4 is a move by Fritz, and he finds a draw here: 26...Bxc4 27.Rc1 Bd3 28.Rxc3 Qxc3 29.Qb3 Qa1+ 30.Kd2 Qxh1 31.Qc3+=] 26...Bg4+ 27.Kc2! After: [27.Be2 Qa4+ 28.Rc2 Bxe2+ 29.Kc1 Qa3+ 30.Kb1 Bd3 White is pinned all over the board. Bishops are obvously better (this position reminds me of one of Gligorich's wins), but White can still fight here: 31.Rd1

31...Bxe4!? there is no sense to relief White's deffense with: (31...Bd4 32.Rxd3 cxd3 (32...Qxd3 although White is struggling here as well.) 33.Rc8 is double-edged.) 32.Rd8 h5 33.Rh8 Qa4 34.Qf8+ Kf6 35.Qd6+ Kf5 36.Qc5+ Be5 37.Qf2+ Ke6 and I doubt that human can stand the pressure here.] 27...Be5
28.Qxe5+! Again only move. Momchil Nikolov is famous for his stubborness in defense. 28...Qxe5 29.Bxc4 Qxe4+ 30.Kb3 Qb7+ 31.Kc3 Qxg2 Black won back a queen for his sacrificed rooks, and a pawn, but defensive resources of White are not yet over. 32.a4 Bf3 Probbaly better is: [32...Qc6 33.Kb4 Qd6+ 34.Kb3 Qb6+ Black stops White's counterplay and then advances the pawns on the King's flank. 35.Ka3 g5] 33.Rhf1 f5 The same plan, but with an inactive queen lets White slip. 34.Rc2 Qh3 35.Kb4 Be4

36.Ra2 [36.Rd2 activating the rook would be more appropriate.] 36...Qh4 37.a5 White advances the pawn, but gives yet one more chanse for his rival. Better was: [37.Rd1] 37...Bd5 38.Rc1 Qe7+ 39.Kb5
[39.Ka4 Qc5 40.Bxd5 Qxc1 41.Kb5 Qf1+ 42.Bc4 Qb1+ 43.Kc5 Qg1+ 44.Kb5 f4 45.a6 Qa7 should be winning for Black, although with difficulties.] 39...Qe5 Missing the last chanse to play for a win. After: [39...Qd6 …40.a6? White has to go for the line above- (40.Ka4 Qc5 41.Bxd5 Qxc1 and so on.; 40.Rcc2 Bc6+ 41.Kb6 Ba4+–+) 40...Bc6+ 41.Kb6 Bd7+ 42.Kb7 Qc6+ 43.Kb8 Qb6+ 44.Ka8 Bc6#] 40.Kb4 Qd6+ 41.Kb3 f4 42.Rcc2 Qb8+ 43.Kc3 Qe5+ 44.Kb3 Qe3+ 45.Kb4 Qe7+ 46.Kb3 Qb7+ 47.Kc3 Qc6 48.Kb4 Qd6+ 49.Kb3

Draw agreed! Wonderful game!

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