Eighth Round Report: IM norm for Jorden van Foreest – By IM Yochanan Afek

SONY DSCThe final stage of the tournament has attracted quite a few visitors to the lively venue, most prominent guests being the Dutch champion GM Dmitri Reinderman, grandmasters Loek van Wely, Hans Ree, Erwin L’Ami and Maarten Solleveld. IMs Manuel Bosboom and Robert Ris are blitzing regularly to the enjoyment of the cheering crowd. A very special guest here was Ton Sijbrands, former world champion for International draughts.

The eighth round was set for a central encounter Burg – Van Foreest as both players were still seeking their norm for an International title. This game promised a tough fight to the bitter end; however, to the surprise of all, it turned to be the shortest and the most peaceful one in the entire event. Black chose for the highly fashionable Berlin variation against the Ruy Lopez and white went for the quiet 4.d3 and did not get much out of the opening. It was Twan to offer a draw as early as on move 18 to the amazement of his opponent, who had anticipated a much longer Magnus style battle.

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SONY DSC01-Mar-2014 13:58, SONY SLT-A55V, 2.0, 50.0mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 1600
 
Jorden van Foreest

Jorden had obviously no reason to turn down the offer as splitting the point secured him his first IM norm with one round to go. Twan, on the other hand, will have to go in the last round all-out for a win with the black pieces against GM Ernst. A tough task for him no doubt and an exciting thriller for us all.

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SONY DSC01-Mar-2014 14:05, SONY SLT-A55V, 2.0, 50.0mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 1600
 
David Smerdon

The Australian GM David Smerdon scored an important point against English GM Simon Williams. Employing once again as white the Advance Variation of the French Defence black refrained from challenging the Milner-Barry Gambit [ 6…cxd4 7.cxd4 Qb6 8.00 Nxd4 as was seen in the game Smerdon- Peng in the third round] and white deviated starting from the seventh move to a side-line where black hurried to open up the centre for his own pawns.

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Black’s 18…Kf7 seems rather adventurous, while 18…e5 19. Qh4 e4 was an interesting alternative.

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26…Rxa4? Was the decisive error while the surprising 26…hxg5! 27. Qxh8 Rxa4 might have been an effective defence [28.Rb4 Ra8 29.Qh3 e4].
Following 27.Bxf6! Kxf6 [27…Qxf6 28.Rbxd5 is no better] black completely missed the crushing 28.Bd7! Qd6 29.Rbxd5! which demonstrates once again the advantage of an opposite-coloured bishop for the attacker when cooperating with the heavy artillery (compared to the drawish ending with such bishops).
Following this victory Smerdon is again alone at the lead half a point ahead of Burg.

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SONY DSC01-Mar-2014 14:03, SONY SLT-A55V, 2.0, 50.0mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 1000
 
Steven Geirnaert

The game Van Eijk – Geirnaert witnessed a rather positional approach to the King’s Gambit with its ultra-sharp and romantic reputation and soon reached the following roughly equal position:

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The game continued here 13.Nh4 Bxh4 14.Rxf4 Qc2 15.Rxh4 and both protagonists later shared the opinion that from now on matters proceeded with white having the upper hand owing to his bishop pair whereas black could do very little to change his final fate. Well, it’s probably just partly true. Allowing white the bishop pair was not forced at all in the first place. It seems that both players overlooked the simple resource 13…f3! After which 14.Rxf3 might have led to an amusing repetition following 14…Qxh4 15.Rf4 Qg5 16.Rf2 Qh4 17.Rf4 etc. while 14.Nxf3 simply allows 14…0-0 with comfortable equality.
Moreover, the bishop pair is often not the end of the story and black could possibly still put tougher resistance even at a late stage of the endgame:

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Black’s 40…b5? seems to have been the losing error. Better was 40…b6! For example 41.Bf6 h6 42.Bg7 Kxd6 43.Bb7 Ke7! 44. Bxh6 [44.Bxa6 Be4!] 44…Kf6 45.Bf8 Be6 46.a4 Nf5 and the game is far from its end.

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The game Van Delft – Ernst which saw a long ending could have curiously been strategically decided already in the …early opening!

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Black played here carelessly 9…Be7? [Correct was 9…cxd4 10.Dxd4 Nc6=] and white replied 10.Bf4 to put extra pressure on the dark squares. Following 10…0-0 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Bd6 Bxd6 13.Qxd6 Qb6 the position was level and the game was eventually drawn in the ending. Nevertheless the much more vigorous 10.d5! Would have seemingly given White a substantial advantage e.g.10…Nxd5 11.Ne5 Nxc3 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Nxg6 Ne2+ 14.Qxe2 hxg6 15.Bxb7 and wins or 10…exd5 11.Ng5! h6 12.Nxd5! or 10…Bxd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd5 12.Ne5 Nc6 13.Nxc6 dxc6 14.Qh5+ g6 15.Qe2 and white is clearly better. A brilliant missed opportunity!

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SONY DSC01-Mar-2014 14:05, SONY SLT-A55V, 2.0, 50.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 1600
 
Alina L’Ami

The female derby L’Ami – Peng saw an unusual set-up of the English opening with the Dutch first lady refusing to play simple and getting into trouble. Here is where black’s position started to deteriorate:

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25…Nd7?! [Instead 25…hxg4 26.Qxg4 Qd7! 27.Qg3!? f5! Seems to have allowed black the desired counter play] 26. Rf2 Qe8? 27. Raf1 hxg4 28.Qxg4 Rh5? [An unfortunate square for the Rook] 29.Rg2 Kh7 30.Nf3 Nf8 31.Ne2 Qd7 32.Qxd7 Nxd7 33.Ng3 White won the exchange and consequently the game. Nothing much to write home about…

The last round will start on Sunday at 12.00 with the pivotal games Ernst- Burg and Geinaert- Smerdon, to be followed by the prize-giving .You are all invited to follow the games online or even drop at the café for a drink or two if you happen to pass by.

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Comments

Eighth Round Report: IM norm for Jorden van Foreest – By IM Yochanan Afek — 2 Comments

  1. First of all my compliments to Yochanan Afek for the very nice report. If i may i would like to share a nice idea that i prepared against Steven Geirnaert. After (the expected and prepared) 13.Nh4 f3 14.Nxf3 0-0, at first sight it may seem that black is equalizing comfortably. However, after the amazing 15.a4!! (an idea of John Shaw that i hoped to get on the board), suddenly the white rook on the 3rd rank causes some problems for black and may very well give white an advantage.