Sergey Tiviakov and Kateryna Lahno-European Champions

Kateryna Lahno became the first player to double her title in an EICC. Congratulations! Having half a point lead and White pieces she took a clever decision and secured her self at least a tie-break for the gold after a short draw. Board two also ended peacefully, and now the only one who could catch with the Ukranian was Pia Cramling. Alas, she could not succeed it.
Last round at the men event started as most of the observers predicted-quick draws on the first two boards, then on board four. Thus the central game of the round became the encounter between:
Tiviakov,S - Sutovsky ,E [B22]
9th European Individual Ch (m) round 3 Plovdiv BUL (11), 02.05.2008
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Tiviakov's pet Alapin line against the Sicilian. Recently he produced a chessbase DVD on the matter. 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Na3 In his video lections Tiviakov states that White is slightly better in this line. 6...Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nb5 Qd8 9.Nbxd4 Nd5 10.Bg5 Qb6

11.Bc4 [11.Qb3 does not pretend for opening advantage. 11...Bc5 12.Qxb6 Bxb6 13.Rd1 h6 14.Bc1 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Bd7 16.Bc4 Ba4 17.Bb5+ Bxb5 18.Nxb5 a6 19.Nd6+ Ke7 20.Nf5+ Kf6 21.Ng3 Rhd8 and Black had no problems at all. 0–1 Degraeve,J (2541)-Sokolov,A (2554)/Aix les Bains 2003/CBM 097 (61)] 11...Nxd4 [11...Nf6 12.0–0 Be7 13.Qe2 0–0 14.Rad1 a6 15.Rd2 Qc7 16.a4 Bd7 17.Nb3 ½–½ David,P (2440)-Bernal Moro,L (2380)/Odessa 1990/EXT 1997; 11...Qxb2? this pawn is poisoned. 12.Nb5 Be7 13.Rb1+-] 12.Nxd4 Bc5 [12...Qxb2? 13.Nb5 Bc5 14.0–0 is the same trap.; 12...h6 13.Bb5+ Bd7 14.Bxd7+ Kxd7 15.Qa4+ Kc7 16.Nb5+ is dangerous for Black] 13.Bxd5 Bxd4

14.0–0!? [14.Qxd4 Qxd4 15.cxd4 exd5=] 14...Bc5 Black plays safe, but maybe it was better to accept the pawn. After: [14...Bxc3!? 15.bxc3 exd5 16.Qa4+ (16.Qxd5 Be6 17.Qf3 0–0=) 16...Qc6 17.Rae1+ Be6 (17...Kf8 18.Qb4+ (18.Qa3+!?) 18...Kg8 19.Re7 with initiative) 18.Qa3 the position looks very dangerous, but Black can find a safe shelter for his king- 18...f6 19.f4 Qb6+ 20.Kh1 0–0–0and the position is unclear; 14...Bxf2+? 15.Rxf2 exd5 16.Qa4+ Qc6 17.Qa3‚ gives White terrific attack.] 15.Qe2 h6?! It looks like that the Israeli GM was afraid of b2-b4 idea and wanted to preserve e7 square for the bishop. But the pawn on h6 now becomes a target. [better is 15...0–0 and later Black can eventually chase the bishop even with f7-f6.] 16.Bf4 0–0 17.Bc4 Bd7 18.Rad1 Rad8

[18...Rfd8 looks more reasonable, but nevertheless Black finds it difficult to cope with the rook lift, for example: 19.Rd3 Be8 20.Rg3 Kf8 21.Qe5 is a huge advantage.] 19.Rd3! Bc8 [19...Be7 20.Rg3 changes nothing.; 19...Kh8 is not a receipt either: 20.Qh5 Bb5 21.Rg3 Bxc4 22.Rxg7 Bxf2+ 23.Kh1 Kxg7 24.Bxh6+ Kh7 25.Bg5+ Kg7 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.Bf6] 20.Rg3

20...Bd6 Black gives up a pawn. 21.Qg4 g6 [21...g5 22.Bxg5 f5 23.Bxd8+ fxg4 24.Rxg4+ Kf7 25.Bxb6+-] 22.Bxh6 Bxg3 23.Qxg3 Qc5 Black has no time to safe the rook: [23...Rfe8 24.Qe5 f6 25.Qxf6 Qc7 26.Qxg6+] 24.Bxf8 Kxf8 25.Bb3?! Tiviakov won a pawn, but this move is inaccurate. [25.Qf4±] 25...Kg7?!

Very unusual for Sutovsky. He did not use the chance to activate his pieces. After the natural: [25...Rd2 Black should survive: 26.Rb1 (26.h3 Rxb2 27.Rd1 Ke7 28.Qh4+ g5 and all three results are possible.) 26...Qf5 27.Rd1 Rxd1+ 28.Bxd1 Qb1 29.Qd6+ Ke8 and Black wins back the pawn.] 26.Qf4± Now it is back into control. 26...b6 27.Rd1 Rxd1+ 28.Bxd1 e5 29.Qd2 Be6 30.a3 Bd5 31.Bc2 Qc4 32.Bd3 Qc6 33.Qg5 e4 34.Qe5+ Kh7 35.Be2 Bc4

36.Bd1 Giving last chance for his opponent that he did not take: [36.Bxc4 Qxc4 37.h4 Qb3 38.Qf6 Kg8± White keeps winning chances but Black can fight.] 36...f5?! Black could try the bishop endgame: [36...Qd7!? 37.Qd4 Qxd4 38.cxd4 f5 39.h4 Kg7 King's march toward the d4 pawn is a threat, and Black can also try to shut his enemy king with the help of the e4 and f5 pawns.] 37.Qd4 Bf7 38.g3 Qe6 39.b3 g5 40.Qd2 Qf6 41.Qd4 Qe7 [41...Qxd4 42.cxd4 Kg7 43.Kf1 and the king goes to e3 in contrast with the previous line.] 42.b4 f4 43.Bg4 e3 44.fxe3 fxe3

45.Kf1! Last subtle manouver to the European Crown. 45...b5 46.Ke1 Bc4 47.Qd7 Qxd7 48.Bxd7 Kg6 49.Bg4 Kf6 50.Be2 Bd5 51.Bxb5 Bf3 52.h4 gxh4 53.gxh4 Ke5 54.Be2 Be4 55.h5 Kf4 56.c4 Ke5 57.c5 Kd4 58.h6 Ke5 59.b5 1–0
White won deserved win, and Sergey Tiviakov became European Individual Champion for first time in his career. Congratulations!
Pity for Emil Sutovsky the only consolation became his qualification for the World cup. Together with Victor Laznicka they are the 2 players who will not play tie-breaks tomorrow and qualify directly thanks to their superior Bucholz.

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