Maybe it was the blitz tournament the night before, maybe it had to do with a general decline of motivation among some players, who will tell. Whatever the reason, after about an hour into the seventh round, already three games had ended peacefully. But what’s more important: the tournament will still see an exciting last weekend, as IMs Bart Michiels, Benjamin Bok and Robin van Kampen can still score a GM norm by winning their last two games.
There’s really not much to say about the games Thipsay-Van Delft (13 moves), Murshed-Ris (19 moves) and Hertneck-Michiels (13 moves). In the first two games, the two grandmasters both suffered a defeated in the previous round and perhaps didn’t feel too confident. IMs Van Delft and Ris probably hoped to do a bit better in Batavia, and by this point don’t mind scoring a quick draw with Black against a GM. And Hertneck, well, he just needs to score a few more draws to clinch the 1,000 Euro first prize.
IM Benjamin Bok scored a good win with Black against IM Christov Kleijn. For the second time in this tournament he went for the 4…Nge7 line of the Ruy Lopez, and Kleijn hadn’t done his homework well enough. “From the opening I was doing fine already,” said Bok. “I don’t like his set-up with Be2 and Nbd2 because of my …f5 idea; he should have put his knight on c3. In the ending I was better, and then he just blundered in the end.”
26…Rf7! “A good move,” said Bok. “He cannot take on d5 because of 27… Re5.” 27. Rac1 Re5! 28. f4 Ne2+ 29. Kh1 Nxc1 30. Rxc1
30… Rxg5! and White resigned because of 31. fxg5 Bxb2 and White cannot defend his knight and prevent mate at the same time.
This way Bok kept his chances to win a GM norm, and asked about this, he said he will “surely do his very best” to win it. Thanks to his draw with Hertneck, IM Bart Michiels also reached 4.5 points, and so he can also still end on the desired 6.5 points. The third IM who can do it is IM Robin van Kampen; he beat IM Manuel Bosboom on Friday.
Here things started to go downhill for Bosboom, who played 25. Bb2?. “He should have played something like 25. Kh2 or 25. Ng5,” said Van Kampen. “Now I could play 25… f6 which is something I tried to achieve anyway.” After 26. e4 Nb4 27. d4 exd4 28. Nxd4
Black continued strongly with 28… Be7! 29. Nf3 “Maybe he should have stayed true to his style with 29. Rxb4 cxb4 30. Kh2.” (Van Kampen). 29… Qxd2 30. Nxd2 Rcd8 31. Nf1 Be2
and the ending was just horrible for White.
The schedule for the three IMs in contention: Benjamin Bok plays with Black against Merijn van Delft and then with White against Robert Ris. Robin van Kampen plays with White against Niaz Murshed and then with Black against Christov Kleijn. Bart Michiels plays with White against Manuel Bosboom and then with Black against Niaz Murshed. Let’s see what happens!