14:32 Today is a very interesting round: who will win and thus enter the rest day with a good feeling? The grandmasters are all playing with White today and will be eager to teach their young counterparts a lesson. Schmaltz-Kevlishvili and Gormally-Zwirs are both very sharp Najdorf games and promise entertainment. Tournament leader Reinderman typically chose a less direct approach in the opening and went for 1.c4 e5 2.g3 against Soors. As my friend Frenk van Harreveld remarked, Dimitri is very good at making his opponents play below their usual level.
14:41 Ootes seems to be well prepared in the 9.d4 Ruy Lopez against Heimann and is half an hour up on time. Goudriaan’s handling of the white pieces against Van Foreest is somewhat mysterious, as for instance 7…b6 looks quite comfortable for Black. Following 7…Nbd7, White should probably go for 8.Nh4. With 8…e5 Jorden grabbed the initiative and by now seems to be clearly better.
16:00 It turned out that Etienne Goudriaan was freestyling right from the start, as he wasn’t prepared for 4…Bf5. His 11.g4? was already born out of desperation and after that things went from bad to worse.
That means Jorden van Foreest is back in contention with 3.5 out of 5.
16:32 Danny Gormally seems to be on his way to break his string of losses. With 15.Kb1 the game left the main track (15.f5 is the complex main line) and after a few more moves the following the critical position was reached:
Here Black could have grabbed the initiative with the typical pawn sacrifice 19…d5!, which frees his position. Instead, Nico landed in a bad endgame following 19…Qa5 20.h4 b3? 21.cxb3 axb3 22.Qxa5 Rxa5 23.Nxb3 and Black doesn’t have compensation for his sacrificed pawn.
16:48 The Najdorf battle in Schmaltz-Kevlishvili also saw many critical moments early in the game. On move 14 Black should probably hold back castling for a bit longer. On move 17 White has several alternatives to choose from. Starting with 21…Rb8 Black started some vague manoeuvring with his rooks (21…Red8 looks more to the point), but the position remained unclear, since White’s position wasn’t easy to handle either.
In this position Robby could have kept the tension with the cool 34…Ne6! (if White takes the rook Black has more than just a perpetual). Instead, after 34…Rxe4 the position was simplified somewhat and White kept a positional advantage based on the strong knight on e4.
17:55 Nico kept fighting and apparently Danny lost some of his confidence, since here White started repeating moves:
Instead of the repetition, White could have started his play on the queenside with 38.b3!, since Black doesn’t have a good way of taking on f6.
18:01 Stef Soors played a solid game with Black against tournament leader Dimitri Reinderman:
After a further six moves, including the exchange of queens, the peace was signed. The means Reinderman is still leading the tournament with 4.5 out of 5.
18:11 Once Roland Schmaltz got into control, Robby Kevlishvili quickly collapsed: Black lost a pawn on the queenside and with it the position.
18:35 The remaining game of the day is Ootes-Heimann. Although White had a clear time advantage after the opening, Black never had any real problems. In fact, with 17.h3 White started slipping (17.Bc1 is the solid alternative) and Black gradually took over the initiative. The dynamic 27.e6! still looks fine for White, but after 27.Bc2 White remains with a passive position. Heimann conserved his advantage well into the rook endgame, when the following position appeared:
Here it seems that Black should quickly start bringing his king into play with 45…Ke7, while after 45…b4 Ootes grabbed his chance with 46.Kf3! and is now close to drawing.
19:06 After 69 moves only two bare kings were left in Ootes-Heimann. This means that Lars is still doing very well and Andreas might be slightly disappointed because of the missed chances. Don’t forget that tomorrow is a rest day. Thursday at 14:00 we continue with the sixth round.
Report by Merijn van Delft, quality photo by Bas Beekhuizen, the other one by Merijn