Saturday, November 30

Bologna tournament, Round 3: Rosselli wins again, takes lead with 3-0 score

Stefano Rosselli del Turco of Florence defeated Corrado Buono from the Black side of a Sicilian Defense to record his third victory in succession and assume the sole lead after three rounds of the Italia Scacchistica national tournament at Bologna.  Rosselli's chief rival, Milanese player Arturo Reggio, yielded his first draw of the tourney as second player in a Queen's Pawn Game vs. Alberto Batori and so fell one half-point behind the leader. The Black pieces dominated the day's proceedings, with the remaining contests Monteucci-Montessori, Belli-D'Amelio, and Ferraris-Benini each ending in victory for the sable forces. Giovanni Cenni, having the bye, was free to observe the play of his fellow competitors.

Standings after 3 rounds: Rosselli 3; Reggio 2 1/2; Benini 2; Batori, Montessori 1 1/2; Buono, Cenni*, D'Amelio*, Matteucci* 1; Ferraris 1/2; Belli 0.
Players marked with an asterisk * have already had the bye.

We present below the three game scores received from Bologna.

Rosselli gained an early superiority vs. Buono, with 8...Ba6 temporarily preventing his opponent from castling and 9...d5 establishing strong central influence.  The Florentine Master soon directed his forces against the opposing King-side and succeeded through continuous pressure in substantially weakening White's defenses in that sector.  Buono's 35.Qxd5, allowing the Black Queen's Rook to join the attack with gain of time, appears to have been an error, with 35.Kg2 suggested as a sturdier defensive try.  The White King, flushed out of its fragile shelter, soon came under the withering assault of Black's three heavy pieces, and Buono resigned at the 42nd move.


Batori vs. Reggio proved a rather quiet affair, with even the presence of opposite-side castling - White on the King-side, Black on the Queen's - failing to produce the hoped-for spirited battle.  A draw was agreed at the 32nd move in a position that to our eye still offered scope for further play.

The clash between Matteucci and Montessori, on the other hand, saw several violent reversals of fortune and finally came to a sudden end after a blunder by the former while in a winning position.  Early on Black overlooked the opportunity to gain the advantage with 16...Nxe5; White returned the favor at his 22nd turn, when 22.Rxf5 gxf5 23.b3 would have led to the win of two pieces for a Rook.  Matteucci's 27.Nd5 should have obliged his opponent to acquiesce in a draw by perpetual check after 27...Qxd5 28.Qg5+, but Montessori, striving for more, erred with 27...Rfe8? 28.Nf6+ Kf8, leaving White a choice of winning continuations, e.g. 29.Rc1, or 29.Qg5 (threatening 30.Nh7 mate), or 29.e6, threatening checkmate on f7 and preparing 30.Bc5+, as the White Queen now covers the c5 square.  The unfortunate Matteucci, however, hastily selected the immediate 29.Bc5+, apparently intending to answer 29...Qxc5 with 30.Nd7+ but failing to notice that the capture of the Bishop gave check to his own King.  White resigned immediately after 29...Qxc5+, an understandable decision under the circumstances, but one perhaps not objectively justified by the situation on the board. Our friend Herr Fritz, for example, has examined the position closely and believes that Matteucci could well have fought on; the variations included with the game score represent but a sampling of the many possible continuations adduced by that imaginative gentleman in support of his opinion. 

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