13:47 Today is a crucial round for all players. Not just because tomorrow is the rest day, but also if we have a look at the pairings. First of all, tournament leaders Sabino Brunello and Friso Nijboer are facing eachother. Will they consolidate their lead or try to knock out the other one? The Italian grandmaster is playing white. Then we have Arthur Pijpers and Stef Soors playing eachother, the Dutchman has the white pieces. The winner of this game moves up to plus two (3.5 out of 5) and keeps reasonable chances for a GM norm (6.5 out of 9). Moulthun Ly is playing with White against Lucas van Foreest and also needs a win to stay in the running for a GM norm. Anne Haast desperately needs to get on the scoreboard just before the rest day, but her opponent Danny de Ruiter will try to get back to 50%. The remaining game between Lars Schandorff and Thomas Willemze will see a clash of styles: the theoretician versus the coffeehouse player.
14:24 Brunello-Nijboer is a Dutch Defence, and while in round 3 and 4 Nijboer was the one who had to think first (and ended up being an hour down on the clock), he now made his opponent think with the interesting 5…c6.
14:38 Pijpers-Soors is the main line of the Caro-Kann advance variation, as expected. The timing of 11.Ne1 may not be correct though. My personal notes indicate the novelty 11.c3!? as a good waiting move, strengthening White’s position in the centre.
14:43 Ly-Van Foreest is a Steinitz Deferred (4…d6) of the Ruy Lopez. White’s 5.c4 is a solid positional approach, but Black’s 5…f5 is probably just bad.
14:54 De Ruiter-Haast is the Bayonet Attack of the King’s Indian. White is supposed to play the prophylactic 15.Rb1. After Danny’s direct 15.Ne6, Anne should be doing fine. While I’m typing this, Danny has played 18.Nd5?, but that just leaves the e6 pawn hanging.
15:04 Schandorff-Willemze saw 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5, which is more positional than it may look at first sight. Black is solid so far.
15:20 It is not clear what Danny de Ruiter must have missed, but he doesn’t have compensation for the pawn. Anne Haast is pawn up with good control over the position:
15:27 Arthur Pijpers played 12.c3, but that’s not as strong as one move before. Stef Soors has equalized by now:
15:34 Thomas Willemze has fully equalized against Lars Schandorff with the help of the elegant b4 pawn break:
15:46 Lucas van Foreest’s 5…f5 may not have been good objectively speaking, but it certainly made the game very entertaining. After Moulthun Ly’s anti-developing reaction 8.Ng1 the position became a mess. The straightforward 8.Nfd2 Qg5 9.0-0 Bh3 10.g3 looks very good for White. Further improvements include 11.d5 for White and 11…Qh4 for Black. After the accurate 13.Bb1! White seems to get out on top after all:
16:02 Friso Nijboer is full of ambition today! With 10…Be6 he initiated a pawn sacrifice against Sabino Brunello, while starting some exchanges with 10…Nxe4 was a viable option. No quick draw at the top board today, as the Amsterdam grandmaster has just burned all bridges behind him:
16:37 Pijpers has given up his bishop pair in an attempt to keep control over the postion, but Soors now looks comfortable with his control over the c-file.
16:38 Ly will soon be able to bring his king into safety and then he will be a healthy pawn up.
17:00 Anne Haast kept control over the situation and scored her first full point against Danny de Ruiter.
17:04 Arthur Pijpers has lost control over the position, and Stef Soors is convincingly taking over.
17:06 Thomas Willemze looked perfectly solid for a long time, until he blundered with the careless 23…Ra8.
Here Lars Schandorff had no problems finding 24.d5 exd5 25.Nxd5 and White is instantly winning. Black resigned a few moves later.
17:14 Moulthun Ly returned his extra pawns and beat Lucas van Foreest in a direct attack.
17:18 At Pijpers-Soors, 28…d3 looked winning for Black, but by now there is still a lot to fight for.
17:22 Sabino Brunello has convincingly refuted the pawn sacrifice by Friso Nijboer, and after castling queenside the issue is decided: