One Bulgarian GM won a silver medal on his board at the ECC in Plovdiv. He managed to win a couple of difficult games against players rated over 2650 as black. Although his result was in some way a piece of luck, it should not be underestimated. After all, luck should be searched, chased and only then deserved. Have a look at this remarkable game to see what I mean:
Naiditsch,Arkadji (2674) - Nikolov,Momchil (2549) [B42]
EU Plovdiv 2010 (4), 20.10.2010
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.0–0 Qc7 7.Qe2 d6 8.c4 g6 9.Nc3 Bg7 10.Nf3 0–0 11.Rd1 Nc6 12.Bc2 Ng4 13.Ne1?!
13...f5?! [13...Nge5! 14.f4 Nd7 15.Nf3 Na5! 16.Bd3 Nb6! (16...b6=) 17.c5! dxc5 18.Be3 Nd7! 19.Rac1 c4 20.Bb1 b5 with good play] 14.h3 Nf6?! [14...Nge5 15.f4 Nf7 16.Nf3 Bd7=] 15.Nf3 Ne5 [15...fxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 Ne5 is better for White] 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.b3! Rf7 18.Ba3 Bf8 [18...Qa5 19.Na4 Bd7 20.b4 Qc7 21.Nc5±] 19.Bxf8 Rxf8 20.Qd2 Bd7 21.Qd6 Qxd6? [21...Rac8! 22.Rd3 a) 22.f4 exf4 23.e5 Nd5! This was the move that I missed while calculating the option: (21...Tac8!)- 24.Nxd5 (24.Qxc7 Rxc7 25.Nxd5 exd5 26.Rxd5 Re8) 24...exd5 25.Qxd5+ Rf7= 26.e6 Qb6+; b) 22.Rd2 b5!; 22...b5! 23.exf5 Qxd6 24.Rxd6 gxf5 25.Rxa6 bxc4 26.b4 Ra8=] 22.Rxd6 Kf7?! [22...Rad8? 23.Rad1 f4 (23...Kf7 24.f4!+-) 24.Na4+-; 22...Rae8!? 23.f4 Bc8! 24.fxe5 Nd7 25.Na4 Nxe5 26.Nb6±] 23.f4! Bc6 The only move 24.fxe5 Nd7 25.Re1 f4 26.Nd5! [26.Ne2 g5 27.Nd4 Nxe5 28.Nxe6 (28.Rxe6 Rae8±) 28...Rg8±] 26...f3!? [The alternatives do not leave Black any chances: 26...g5 27.Nc7 Nxe5 28.Rxe6 (28.Nxa8 Rxa8±) 28...Rae8 29.Rh6+-; 26...Nxe5 27.Nxf4 Bd7 28.c5! Rad8 (28...Ke7 29.Nd5+!+-) 29.Nd3+-] 27.Nc7 [27.gxf3?! Nxe5 28.Kg2 Rfd8 29.Rxd8 Rxd8 30.Kg3 g5 is just marginally better for the first player; 27.Rd1!+-] 27...Nxe5 28.Rxe6?! [28.Red1!+-; 28.Nxa8? f2+! 29.Kxf2 Ke7+ 30.Ke3 Kxd6 31.Rd1+ Kc5 32.Nc7 Rf6 33.Rd8 Bd7 is only slightly better for White] 28...Rad8!!
The best practical chance! In return for the sacrificed piece I limit all the white pieces, deprive the white king of pawn cover, get control over the second rank, and will have a strong passed pawn on f3. [28...Rae8!? 29.Rxe8 Bxe8 30.Rd1 fxg2 31.Kxg2 Ke7±; 28...Nd7? 29.Rf1! (29.Rxc6! Rac8 30.Rd1!+-; 29.Rd1!+-) ] 29.Rxe5 Rd2 30.Rc1 [Deserved attention: 30.gxf3!? Rxc2 31.Rd1 Rxa2 32.Ne6 Re8 33.Rd6± However, for a human being it is too difficult to leave the control over the second rank for a mere pawn.] 30...Rxg2+ 31.Kh1 Only move as: [31.Kf1? Bd7!–+] 31...Kf6!
There is noone else left on the board, and His Majesty rushes in for the g3 square, to attack. This is an idea without which 28...Tad8!! would not be possible.32.Re6+! [32.Ra5?! Rd2!! (During the game I was counting on the move: 32...b6! but after the subtle: 33.Rf1! Black can hardly save himself. The other continuations are not dangerous, for example: a) 33.Nd5+ Kg5 34.Nxb6+ (34.Rxa6 Kh4=) 34...Kh4 35.Bd3 Rd2 36.Bf1 Rf4 (36...Bxe4 37.Re5 Bf5 with an attack) 37.b4 Rxe4 38.Nd5 Kg3 39.Ra3 Bxd5 40.cxd5 Rxb4 41.Kg1 Rbb2 42.Rcc3 Rf2 43.Rc1 Rbd2 and only Black can play for a win; b) 33.Ra3 Rd2! 34.Bb1 Ke5! 35.Nd5 Bd7 with a clear edge; c) 33.Rxa6 Kg5! 34.Ne6+ Kh4 35.Nxf8 (35.Ra7 Kg3 36.Rg1 Kf2=) 35...Kg3 36.Rg1 Kf2=; 33...Rxc2 34.Rxf3+ Kg7 35.Ne6+ (35.Rxf8 Kxf8 36.Rxa6 Bxe4+ 37.Kg1) 35...Kh6 36.Rxf8 bxa5 37.Nc5 Re2 38.Kg1 a4 39.Rf2 Re1+ 40.Rf1 Re2 41.Rf6 Bxe4! 42.Nxe4! (42.Re6 Rxa2! 43.Rxe4 a3=) 42...Rxe4 43.Rxa6 axb3 44.axb3 Kg5!± And with correct play Black can escape, for instance: 45.c5 Re3 46.b4 Rb3 47.Rb6 Kf4 48.Rb7 Kf3 +/=) 33.Bb1 b6! (33...Rf7!?) 34.Nd5+ a) 34.Rxa6 Ke5! with devastating attack, here is a sample line: (34...Bd7!?) 35.Nd5 Bd7 36.Nxb6 Bxh3 37.Ra5+ Kf4 38.Rd5 Rxd5 39.cxd5 Kg3 40.Rc3 Bg2+ 41.Kg1 Rf4–+; b) 34.Ra3 Ke5-/+; 34...Kg5 35.Rxa6 (35.Nxb6+ Kh4-/+) 35...Bd7!? (35...f2 36.Rf1 Bd7 37.Kh2 Kh4 38.Ra7 Rf3=) 36.Ra7 Bxh3 and the attack is too strong.; 32.Rc5? Ke7 33.Nd5+ Kd6 34.Ra5 Rxc2 35.Rxc2 f2 36.Rc1 f1Q+ 37.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 38.Kg2 Re1=] 32...Kg5 33.Rg1! [The other moves lead to a draw: 33.Rxc6? bxc6 34.Ne6+ Kh4 35.Nxf8 Kg3 36.Rg1 Kf2=; 33.Re7? Kh4 34.Rg1 Kg3 35.Rxh7 Kf2=; 33.Bd3?! Kf4 34.Bf1 Rxa2 with unclear play] 33...Rxg1+!? [After: 33...Rf7 34.Rxg2+ fxg2+ 35.Kxg2 Rxc7 36.Kg3 Rd7 37.h4+ Kh6 38.Rf6± Black's position remains difficult. The move in the text is the best chance for Black.] 34.Kxg1 f2+ 35.Kf1 Bd7! 36.e5? This move lets the win slip away. [Hardly better was: 36.Bd1? Rf7! 37.Bg4 h5 38.Re5+ Kf4 39.Be6! Re7!=; The win is simple, and surprising: 36.Re5+!
36...Kh4 37.Ne6 Re8 38.Kxf2 Rxe6 39.Rxe6 Bxe6 40.e5! Bxh3 41.Be4 b6 42.b4 h5 43.c5 bxc5 44.bxc5 Bc8 45.c6 Kg4 46.Ke3+-] 36...Kh4! 37.Be4 [37.Rf6? Rxf6 38.exf6 Kg3–+] 37...Kg3 38.Bxb7?? But this move loses. [The only move was: 38.Bg2 Rf4 39.Rd6 Bf5! 40.Ne6 again the only move as (40.e6? Rf3!–+) 40...Rf3! 41.Nc5! Re3 42.Rd1! Bc2 43.e6 b6 44.Ne4+ Bxe4 45.Bxe4 Rxe4 46.Rd3+ Kh4= with a draw.] 38...Rf4–+
39.Bd5 [39.Bg2 Rd4 40.Rd6 Rxd6 41.exd6 Bf5–+] 39...Rd4 [39...Rf5!–+] 40.Rf6 [40.Ke2 Rf4 (40...Bxe6 41.Nxe6 Rxd5 42.cxd5 Kg2 43.Nf4+ Kg1–+) 41.Kf1 Rf5–+] 40...Rd1+ 41.Ke2 Re1+ 42.Kd2 Bf5 0–1