Round 7: Illner increases lead

Achim Illner justified his ambitions with another win in Batavia’s 7th round. The German FM secured his IM norm and increased his lead to a full point as Mark Hebden lost to Thibaut Vandenbussche and Sipke Ernst drew with Keith Arkell. Illner needs to score 1 out of 2 in the final weekend to clinch a GM norm!

Although he only needed a draw for an IM norm, Illner wanted to play for a win against David Klein. “I have White, and he isn’t very stable here,” the German businessman said on Thursday. (We noticed that Achim is CFO of, a leading European dance music download portal!) And he succeeded:

Illner – Klein

In what seems like a standard Sicilian position (but things are never standard!) Black choses the wrong plan.
16… Rc7?!
With a queen on h5, one should continue with 16… e5! 17. Qb6 (After 17. h4 Black can go for 17 … Rc7 anyway) 17… Bxh3 18. Qxb7 Rfe8 19. Qxa6 Bd7 and now continue with 20…Ng4 and 21…f5 with strong counterplay.
17. Ba3! Rfc8?!
17… e5 was still the best chance.
18. e5!

Well calculated.
18 … Qxe5 19. Qxe5 dxe5 20. Bxe7 Rxc3 21. Bxb7!
The pointe, this is winning.
21 … Rxd3 22. Bxc8! Rc3 23. Bxa6 and White won.

Amazingly, with 5.5 points Illner is already a point clear of GMs Mark Hebden and Sipke Ernst, who have 4.5 points. Hebden lost to Thibaut Vandenbussche on Friday:

Vandenbussche – Hebden

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Nxe5 Qe7 6. f4 Nxb5 7. Nxb5 d6 8. Nf3 Qxe4+ 9. Kf2 Ng4+ 10. Kg3 Qg6 11. Nh4 Qf6 12. h3 g5 13. Qe2+ Ne5

14. Nf3N

It turns out that World Cup winner Peter Svidler recently had this crazy opening line on the board as well: 14. d4 gxf4+ 15. Kh2 Qxh4 16. dxe5 Qg3+ 17. Kg1 f3 18. Qxf3 Qxf3 19. gxf3 Kd7 20. exd6 Bxd6 21. Nxd6 Kxd6 and a draw was agreed in Popov-Svidler, Aix-les-Bains 2011.

14… gxf4+ 15. Kh2 Kd8 16. d4 Nxf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bh6 18. Bd2 a6 19. Nc3 Qxd4 20. Rhd1 Bf5 21. Be1 Qe5

22. Qh5
This is strong, but 22. Qxb7! was winning instantly: 22 … Kd7 (22… Rc8 23. Bh4+ f6 24. Rd5 Qe6 25. Re1) 23. Rd5 Qe6 24. Rad1+-.
22… Qe6 23. Bh4+ Kc8 24. Nd5 Be4

25. Nf6!
This wins a piece and Black won’t get enough pawns.
25 … Bg7 26. Nxe4 Bxb2 27. Rab1 Be5 28. Qf3 Rb8 29. Bf2 and White won.

Robin van Kampen won a good game against Hugo ten Hertog.

Van Kampen – Ten Hertog

In this Scheveningen, Keres Attack Black’s king isn’t that comfortable in the center, so Ten Hertog decides to give up his queen for quite a bit of material.
22… Rxh4!? 23. Bg5 Rxh1 24. Bxd8 Rxd1+ 25. Bxd1 Kxd8 26. Nb5 Nf7 27. Be2 g6 28. Qe3 Bh6 29. Qf2 Ke7 30. e5 Ncxe5 31. Ne4

31 … Bg7?!
Black should have tried 31… d5.
32. Nbxd6! Rh8
32… Nxd6 33. Qh4+
33. Nxf7 Nxf7 34. Bf3 and White won.

Arbiter Aart Strik

Keith Arkell and Sipke Ernst drew a relatively quiet game, but tail-enders Richard Vedder and Manuel Bosboom reached the same result quite differently:

Vedder – Bosboom

One can still recognize the structure of a Pirc Defence. The following push is thematic, and usually good for White, but here it’s not so clear. But it’s surely fun!
15. e6!? fxe6 16. Ng5 Nxe3 17. fxe3 Bh6 18. Nxe6 Bxe3+ 19. Kh1

19 …Qc6!?
Going for the a-pawn, which is dangerous. No doubt Vedder had seen the next move in advance.
20. d5! Qxa4

21. Bxg6+!?
Another idea was 21. Bc2 with the beautiful pointe 21… Qa5? 22. Qd3! and now both the bishop on e3 hangs and 23.Qxg6+ is threatened! Better is 21 … b3 22. Bxb3 Qb4 which is not so clear.
21… hxg6 22. Qd3

22 … Rxh3+!?
Spectacular! The alternative was 22… Nf6 23. Qxe3 Nxd5 but White has the annoying 24. Qf3! Qc6 25. N2d4! Qc8 26. Qd3.
23. gxh3 Ne5 24. Ng7+ Kd7 25. Qxe3 Rg8

26. Rxc5!?
Quickly played by Vedder.
26 … Rxg7 27. Rfc1 dxc5
There isn’t really a better move.
28. Qxe5

28 … Qb3!
Active defence!
29. Rxc5 Qxh3+ 30. Kg1 Qg4+ 31. Ng3 Ba6 32. Rc7+ Ke8 33. d6 Qd1+ 34. Kg2 Qd2+ 35. Kg1 Qd1+ 36. Kg2 Qd2+ draw. What a game!

Vedder, Bosboom and Klein can’t score norms anymore, but Vandenbussche and Ten Hertog are still in contention. Vandenbussche needs 1 out of 2 for his final IM norm while Ten Hertog needs 1.5 out of 2.

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