14:15 Many people have caught the flu recently and unfortunately Lucas van Foreest is also forced to stay in bed today. That means an automatic point for Lars Schandorff. The game counts for the tournament standings, but not for rating. Get well soon Lucas!
14:49 Stef Soors from Belgium is doing very well so far with 4.5 out of 6. He needs 2 out of 3 from his remaining games for a GM norm. Today against Anne Haast he played his trusted Caro-Kann. 7…e6 combined with 12…Bd6 is a tricky topical line, which your reporter happens to have played with both colours. It’s still not clear what White’s best way of playing is. Anne’s 14.Bd2 was the first new move.
15:36 Thomas Willemze played a very sharp modern Philidor line against Arthur Pijpers, but forgot to include a crucial move halfway the variation:
Here Thomas played the immediate 12…g5, which loses by force (as happened in the game Van Haastert-Broekmeulen, Meesterklasse 2008). Black needs to include 12…Qe7 13.Kb2 and only then 13…g5, with the point that after 14.Bg3 (here and on the previous move White can deviate) 14…Nxg3 15.hxg3 Qxc7 16.Qf6 Black has the saving check 16…Qb6 followed by 17…c5 and the black queen helps in the defence. Arthur knew his theory well and won convincingly.
15:47 Moulthun Ly did his homework very well and comfortably drew the black side of a Catalan against Sabino Brunello.
It seems that Black is perfectly solid in this position, which may explain the current popularity of the other main line 8.a4. Brunello played a few more moves and offered a draw.
16:17 Anne Haast and Stef Soors both played accurately and didn’t make any mistakes.
In this position Soors maybe could have tried 22…Ng4 23.fxe5 (23.Rxh5 is met by the strong 23…f5! 24.fxe5 c5) 23…c5 when White still has to find 24.Rf1! cxd4 25.Rf4! followed by sacrificing both rooks to force a perpetual. Instead, he forced the exchange of queens with 22…Qe4, which led to a very equal position. In the final position Black wins back the pawn by force.
16:38 That leaves us with only one game, the one between Danny de Ruiter and Friso Nijboer. The 2.Nc3 variation of the Dutch Defence resulted in a very stubborn pawn structure, but with the provocative combination of 11.h4 and 12.0-0 White spiced things up. Black has accepted the challenge with 13…g5 and now we are looking at a very explosive position: