14:31 The tournament is entering the decisive stage. Dimitri Reinderman has slowed down a bit after his phenomenal start, but is still very eager to win the tournament. Today he has white against Etienne Goudriaan. Jorden van Foreest can score his first grandmaster norm today if he beats Robby Kevlishvili.The other pairings are Gormally-Ootes, Zwirs-Heimann and Soors-Schmaltz. The round has started at 14:00, feel free to stop by at Café Batavia if you have the opportunity!
14:53 Jorden van Foreest and Robby Kevlishvili are having a heavy theoretical discussion in, again, the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn variation (compare earlier rounds). Right now they have this position:
With 13.Bg3!? Jorden chose a variation that is dismissed by Negi in his new book as not critical, but which was played by Radjabov against Grischuk exactly one week ago (1-0). Theory is constantly evolving in these sharp opening variations. Jorden is 15 years old and already knows how to study chess on his own. Robby is only just 13 years old and still has to learn this. 16…Qa1+ is the improvement on Radjabov-Grischuk, known from some correspondence games. The current position after 24.Kh2 is still known from one of these correspondence games: De Meye-Simakov, ICCF 2013 (this game was won by White as well). Don’t trust the online engine evaluations. You really need to let the engine run for a long time on your own computer to get reliable results (even better is to try and put in moves yourself and thus analyse interactively). I suspect the position is dynamically balanced, with White having compensation for the two pawns. From a practical point of view it may be easier to play for White, especially since Jorden by now is an hour up on time. But Robby is a tricky defender, so let’s see what happens.
15:13 With 26.Qe4 Van Foreest has introduced a novelty. The aforementioned correspondence game continued with 26.Qa1 Qb6 27.Rb2 Kc7 28.Nb3 with a dangerous initiative as well.
16:02 Jorden played the suprising hyper sharp 29.c4 (the computer wants to double rooks with 29.Rba2 or first 29.Qe2), which seems to be based on a miscalculation. Robby played the obvious 29…Bxd4 and now Jorden is thinking again, so possibly he now realises that he missed something.
16:25 It’s about time that we update you on the other games. Reinderman started his game against Goudriaan with 1.f4 and is playing a Dutch Defence with colours reversed. 10…e6 was the first new move and after a move like 15…Nf5 the position would be about balanced. Instead, 15…Ne8 was a bit passive and with 17.g4 Dimitri’s ambitions of grabbing the initiative became clear. Solid moves like 17…Nc6 or 18…Rc7 were required, because now the situation quickly escalated:
Here Reinderman showed he calculated well and played the winning 22.gxf6!, relying on a bunch of knight forks.
17:01 Daniel Gormally is not having his best tournament ever, but he keeps on fighting and managed to beat Lars Ootes in a very smooth attacking game. An interesting alternative for Black in the opening might be the provocative 8…0-0. A bit later 10…Nb6 may offer better chances for Black to stabilize the position. After twelve moves Gormally was already clearly better:
Here White started hunting down the black king with 13.Nd5! and nine moves later the game was over.
17:07 Jorden indeed miscalculated and has resigned. He relied on 31.Rxb5 axb5 32.Ra7+ but this is not mate after 32…Qxa7. Robby should be praised for his cool play in this game, since he knew the line until 19…Bxc5 and from that point on he was on his own. Furthermore, Robby now won three (!) games in a row and impressively fought his way back in the tournament after a difficult start. It is to be expected that these two young men will play many more exciting games in the future.
17:54 A true regression to the mean is taking place, since now also Nico Zwirs has won his game against Andreas Heimann. After this round eight from ten players will have a score of 3, 3.5 or 4 points.
17:56 Anish Giri just tuned in and expressed his praise for Robby’s play today. He gave 28…h5 two exclamation marks. So it seems we have another candidate for the brilliancy prize, while there is of course still one round to go.
18:27 Heimann failed to solve his opening problems against Zwirs. Possible improvements for Black include 10…Bb6 (which Jorden used to beat Delchev recently), 13…Bg6 and 15…Bg6. White let his edge slip away though, since he should have put a rook on d7 on either move 19 or 20. Once White put his rook on d7 after all, Black had to take another difficult decision:
Here Andreas pointed out the correct 22…Kf8! after the game. A bit later 26…cxb5 leads to a pawn ending that is still drawn with study like play, but that one was pretty hard to find. Nico went on to win the rook ending and now all players have at least won one game.
19:17 The last game of the day was Soors-Schmaltz. From a Sicilian Alapin White seemed to have an edge, but the position soon became pretty unclear. After a complicated positional struggle the following position emerged:
With 34…Rc8 Schmaltz lost the initiative, whereas after 34…b5! 35.axb5 Qxb5 White still has to prove his compensation for the pawn. Soors made the most of his chances and went on to win.
19:28 So today was yet another exciting day at Café Batavia in Amsterdam, without any draws and several surprises. Tomorrow the last round starts at 12:00. Jorden van Foreest needs a win for a GM norm (with Black against Andreas Heimann) and Robby Kevlishvili needs a win for an IM norm (with White against Stef Soors). See you then!
Report by Merijn van Delft, quality photos by Bas Beekhuizen.