Welcome at the 11th edition of the Batavia tournament!
As we are trying three new things this year (Hand & Brain, new format, Stadsarchief), it is quite exciting to see how everything will work out. Last night the Hand & Brain tournament at the opening ceremony was well received. The amateur players teaming up with the professionals caused hilarious situations and created a great atmosphere. The winning team was Koen Leenhouts & Jos Teeuwen. A few hours ago we witnessed the first blitz tiebreak, which will be a daily recurring event, before the classical game. The players clearly had to get used to the new format and I’m sure tonight during dinner we’ll discuss this new experience. The classical game started ten minutes later than planned, because we had some minor problems with the live boards, but that is solved now. On Tuesday March 5th, we will play one round at a different venue, at the Stadsarchief, which is a brilliant location. At some point in the next days we will announce the special program we are putting together for the audience on Tuesday at the Stadsarchief.
Some players adapted quicker to the new tiebreak concept than others. Koen Leenhouts continued his winning streak from last night and convincingly beat Simon Williams 2-0. Simon lacked tactical alertness and blundered twice. John van der Wiel also convincingly beat Jasel Lopez with 2-0. John’s rating may be relatively low these days, he’s clearly still very strong. David Arutinian beat Rick Lahaye 1,5-0,5 in two very adventurous games. Max Warmerdam beat Felix Meissner 1,5-0,5 using a rather positional approach. Stefan Kuipers versus Arthur Pijpers was the only match ending 1-1 and thus reaching the armageddon stage. Both players dominated with White. In the armageddon game Arthur came out on top with Black. The tricky thing is that the increment starts only after move 60 in the armageddon game, so Arthur had to finish the game with only seconds on the clock, which he managed to do with amazing accuracy.
After a 15 minute break the players started their classical game. Koen Leenhouts and Simon Williams drew their game. Simon started with the funky Chigorin Defence, sacrificed a pawn and got rather vague compensation. “I tried to play it as safely as possible, but probably a bit too safe”, as Koen stated after the game.
Felix Meissner tried a very risky variation of the French Defence against Max Warmerdam, probably in order to avoid hardcore preparation, but this completely backfired. Max soon dominated on the dark squares and went on to win.
Stefan Kuipers also played the French Defence against Arthur Pijpers, but a much safer line, and gradually equalised. The queens came off and the moves were repeated. It was clear that both players were ready for battle, but this was the most natural outcome.
The game between David Arutinian and Rick Lahaye was not unlike their blitz tiebreak: very complicated and adventurous. “I certainly had the feeling that I had decent chances at various moments in the game, but at some point I lost control” is what Rick said, when I asked him about the game.
Jasel Lopez and John van der Wiel were the last ones to finish their game today. Jasel recovered very well from the tiebreak and managed to keep the grandmaster under pressure for the entire afternoon. John defended well and saved half a point in the endgame.
That’s it for today, tomorrow we’ll be back for round 2, pictures by Bas Beekhuizen and more. Follow Simon Williams and Jeroen van den Berg on Twitter for more impressions of the Batavia tournament.