We don’t know about you, but in Cafe Batavia we’re enjoying the tournament to the max, and some even beyond! Almost all of the games have been quite interesting, and the atmosphere after the rounds is excellent as well. After the sixth round a spontaneous blitz tournament was organized that continued after closing time, and IM Robert Ris won the fitting first prize: a bottle of Johnnie Walker.
But let’s not forget that another good round was played during the day, in which two of the three GMs had to suffer a defeat.
Tournament leader Gerald Hertneck still leads by a full point after a quick draw with Robin van Kampen. The German grandmaster had chosen the rare 3…Nc6 line of the French. “In this tournament I try to play openings which my opponents cannot prepare well for. Robin didn’t play the most critical line, and normally I would have played on. But in the final position I cannot really avoid the repetition.”
Here a draw was agreed after 15. Nc7 Ra7 16. Nb5 Ra8.
IM Merijn van Delft got a clear advantage out of the opening against IM Christov Kleijn, but let it slip away. “If you cannot refute 13…Nc5 then you don’t deserve to win,” Van Delft said.
13… Nc5? This has been played a few times, but is just bad. 14. Nxc5 Qxc5 15. e5! dxe5 16. Ne4 Qc7 (16… Qa5 17. Nd6+ Kf8 18. g5 e4 19. Qxe4 Be7 20. Bc4 Qc7 21. Nxf7 Kxf7 22. f5 hxg5 23. fxe6+ Kg8 24. hxg5 Bxg5+ 25. Kb1 Qe7 26. Rd8+ 1-0 Negi,P (2445)-Efimenko,Z (2648)/San Marino 2006/CBM 112 ext) 17. Nd6+ (17. Nxf6+ gxf6 18. fxe5 Qxe5 19. Bh3 also gives White excellent compensation.) 17… Kf8
18. g5 The problem in such positions is that you have too many possibilities, and the minutes are ticking away on the clock. Here 18. Qa3! might have been even better:
a) 18… Be7 19. fxe5 Bd7 20. Bg2 followed by 21.Rhf1;
b) 18… Qe7 19. g5! hxg5 20. hxg5 Rxh1 21. gxf6 gxf6
22. Nf5!! and White wins.
c) Black’s best move is 18… Kg8 and then 19. Ne8 Qe7 20. Qxe7 Bxe7 21. fxe5 is a nice ending for White.
18… e4 19. Qxe4 Be7
Here Merijn played 20. Nxc8 and offered a draw. He missed that after 20. Nc4 Bd7 White has 21. Rxd7! Qxd7 22. Nb6 Qe8 23. Nxa8 Qxa8 24. g6 Qc8 which was in fact played in the game Kozhuharov,
S (2355)-Ljangov,P (2166)/Plovdiv 2004 and now 25. gxf7! gives White a clear plus.
So much for the draws; the other three games did end decisively. The first winner of the day, for a change, was IM Manuel Bosboom, who profited from a blunder by IM Robert Ris. It was quite unfortunate for the White player, who had forced his opponent to give an exchange earlier in the game.
Here it’s time to five back some material with 37. Rxg7+! Rxg7 38. Qxf6 and White should win. Instead, with not too much time trouble, Ris went 37. Ne1?? which lost to 37… Ne4!
a) 38. Qd8+ Rf8
b) 38. Qh5 Rf5 39. Qh6 Nxf2;
c) 38. Qh4 Qb2! 39. Qxe4 Qxf2+ 40. Kh1 Qf1+ 41. Kh2 Rf2+ 42. Ng2 Nf3+
d) 38. Rxg7+ (The game) 38… Rxg7 39. Qd8+ Kf7 40. Nf3 Nxg3 0-1
IM Benjamin Bok won convincingly against GM Niaz Murshed, although he got a lot of help in the end. But let’s first look a moment when Bok could have decided the game already:
White just took on f6, and Black had to take back with the g-pawn because a pin over the d-file combined with the idea of c6-c7. Here 33. c7 Rc8 34. Rc5! Re5 35. Nd6 is curtains, but Bok chose 33. Rxd5 Rxd5 34. c7 Bb7 35. c8Q+ Bxc8 36. Rxc8+ which should win too. In the end Murshed missed a way to fight on:
49… Kc4?? 50. c6 and Black resigned. Instead, 49… Kxa3 50. c6 Rd2 51. Bg4 Rc2 52. Nd4 Rc3 53. Be6 b4 54. g4 is probably winning as well.
The game of the day was Michiels-Thipsay, a comedy of errors because of mutual time trouble.
This position could be a nice puzzle for a book on attacking, because Black needs to play his moves on the right moment here. As so often in opening positions, the most flexible and therefore best move is the one you have to make anyway: 36… Ra4!
a) Now 37. Kg2? is easily refuted by 37… Nh4+.
b) 37. Re2 Qh4+ 38. Kg1 Ne5! (Only now.) 39. f4 Qg3+ 40. Rg2 Nf3+ 41. Kf1 Qh3 42. d7 Nh4 43. Rdd2 Nxg2 44. Rxg2 Rc4.
c) 37. Rf1 Qh4+ 38. Kg2 Ne5 39. Rd4 (39. e4 Ng6) 39… Rxd4 40. exd4 Ng6! with a winning attack.
The game went 36… Ne5? 37. Kg2! Only after the Nh4+ possibility is gone, White can do this. 36… Nxf3 Now it’s too later for 37… Ra4 because with knight already on e5 White can play 38. e4! Qh4 (38… Ng6 39. Rh1) 39. Rh1 +-. 38. Rf1
38… Ra4? With 38… Qh4! Black could have drawn the game: 39. Rxf3 Qxg4+ 40. Rg3 Qe2+ 41. Kh3 (41. Kh1? Ra4! 42. e4 Rxe4!-+) 41… Qh5+ 42. Kg2 Qe2+. 39. Qe6? Michiels refrained from 39. Rxf3! because he was afraid of 39… Rxg4+ 40.Kf2 Qh4+ 41. Ke2 Rg2+ 42. Kd3
42… Qc4+ 43. Qxc4 bxc4+ but besides 44. Ke4 White can play 44. Kxc4! Rxf3 45. d7. Back to the game:
39… Rf6? Black misses 39… Qh4 40. Rxf3 Rxg4+ 41. Kf1 Qh1+ 42. Ke2 Qxf3+ 43. Kd2 Rg2+ 44. Kc1
44… Qxd1+! 45. Kxd1 Rf1 mate. 40. Rxf3 Rxe6
The smoke has cleared and White was winning anyway.