12:45 The last round of the Batavia tournament has started two hours earlier than usual, at 12:00. Jorden van Foreest needs a win with black against Andreas Heimann for a grandmaster norm and Robby Kevlishvili needs a win with white against Stef Soors for a master norm. So we’re all set for an exciting last round! The weather is nice here in Amsterdam, so feel free to stop by at Café Batavia.
12:51 In order to play for a win, Jorden has played the sharp Taimanov Sicilian. Andreas answered with the very trendy 6.Be3 a6 7.Qf3. Here 7…Bd6 is considered to be a somewhat dubious choice, exactly because of White’s strong reply 9.g3!. The first critical moment was reached after 17 moves:
Here White can keep the intiative with 18.Rf1!. Instead, Heimann continued with 18.Bf3 Rac8 19.Qf4 Rfe8 20.R1d3 and this position is balanced. It won’t be easy to create good winning chances here with Black, but in chess anything is possible!
13:20 Robby has a hard time creating winning chances as well. Stef knows his Caro-Kann very well and has easily solved his opening problems. With 13…Qb6 Stef deviated from his second round game against Jorden. Robby’s 14.Ne4 is not considered to be a critical try. 14.Rhe1 0-0 15.Nf5 is the main line, while Negi prefers 14.c4 0-0 15.Bf4. By exchanging on f6 and playing Qe2, without waiting for Black to exchange on e4, White has lost a tempo. Interestingly, because of that, in the position after 19 moves Black has the extra tempo Rad8 compared to Van Foreest-Soors:
Here Robby had to find 20.Ne5! (which he did), not to be worse. By now the queens have come off and the position is equal.
13:44 Possibly 26…a5 by Soors was an inaccuracy (26…f6 27.Ng6 Rfe8 28.Kb1 Nd3! is a very concrete alternative), so maybe now Kevlishvili has some chances in the endgame based on his queenside majority. Heimann-Van Foreest still looks balanced.
13:55 Many times Dutch Champion Peng has just arrived in Café Batavia and remarked that Soors should have considered 24…Bxe5!?, since White is forced to take back with the pawn.
14:10 The brilliancy prize team is gathering: sponsor Bas from De Melker & Partners has arrived here in Café Batavia and so did jury member Manuel Bosboom. Via Facebook jury member Anish Giri has also tuned in a few minutes ago. The last round today also counts, so nothing has been decided yet.
14:17 Let’s not forget about the top pairing Ootes-Reinderman. The critical continuation against the Accelerated Dragon is supposed to be the Maroczy Bind 5.c4, but Lars was striving for a more tactical battle with 5.Nc3. Dimitri could have favourably transposed to the regular Dragon with 8…d6 (since White has committed himself to an early Bb3), but instead he prefered the trendy 8…e6!?. Here Lars introduced a fascinating and very sharp novelty with 9.h4!?. Dimitri reacted with the typical central counter 9…d5 and the following moves look correct from both sides. Note the clever queen manoeuvre Qf3-h3 by Ootes. After 14 moves the first critical moment was reached:
Here Lars played another spectacular move with 15.Bd4!, and now Black most likely should have gone for 15…Kf7, which keeps the balance in a still complicated position. Reinderman prefered to sacrifice an exchange with 15….Rf6!?, but White keeps refusing to take the exchange with moves like 17.0-0-0! and 18.Be5!. If Ootes continues like this, we have yet another candidate for the brilliancy prize!
14:42 Probably Heimann should have kept the balance with 30.Rxe3 Rxe3 31.Rd3, since his 30.Bd1 may be too passive. Now Jorden seems have an edge, both on the board and on the clock. In the meantime grandmasters Hans Ree and Jan Smeets have arrived to witness everything with their own eyes. The place is heating up again.
14:53 It looks like Soors has equalized in the rook endgame against Kevlishvili.
15:06 Correction: Robby may still have some chances after all. Bad news for the fans of Jorden: Andreas has taken over the initiative and now seems to be clearly better. It appears that Black should have gone for piece play with moves like Ne4 and Kg7, instead of pushing his kingside pawns.
15:34 Lars played truely brilliantly in the first part of the game, but by now he let Dimitri escape.
15:50 The players have all reached the first time control, so it’s time for an update/overview. Etienne Goudriaan beat Nico Zwirs and Schmaltz-Gormally ended in a draw. I hope to get back to these games later on. Jorden is losing by now and Robby still has some winning chances in his rook endgame. Ootes-Reinderman is dynamically balanced at this point:
The black king is running around the board, but is relatively safe.
16:38 Unfortunately no norms today, but Jorden van Foreest (who lost) and Robby Kevlishvili (who drew) will certainly make their norms at some point in the future. Here we’re going to prepare for the prize giving. Thanks to all of you for following and supporting the tournament, cheers!
Report by Merijn van Delft