Batavia 2016 Round 1

Photo: Lennart Ootes

Photo: Lennart Ootes

12:16 The 8th Batavia chess tournament was opened last night with a blitz tournament, which gives us following first round pairings:

Nijboer-Van Foreest
Willemze-Soors
Ly-Haast
Schandorff-De Ruiter
Brunello-Pijpers

14:09 The first round has started! We have some cool openings, including two King’s Indians, a Sicilian Taimanov and a Caro-Kann. Interestingly, Friso Nijboer repeats the 1.f4 he played against Lucas van Foreest in the blitz last night. Yesterday Lucas played 1…Nh6, today he opts for 1…b6.

14:51 Today’s top pairing is Brunello-Pijpers. Sabino convincingly won the blitz tournament last night with 8 out of 9 and is of course the number one seed. Arthur is the highest rated Dutchman playing for a GM norm. His blitz tournament didn’t go well at all, so this first round encounter is a very serious test. Fortunately for the Dutch fans, Arthur did his homework and seems to have a reasonable position from a King’s Indian Averbakh variation. Black has exchanged two pair of minor pieces, which should ease his task. Still some accuracy is needed though.

15:08 Nijboer-Van Foreest reached a funny symmetrical position after 7 moves, with all pieces and pawns still on the board. Friso played the first new move with 8.a3. Lucas has just played the central pawn thrust 8…d5, the position is becoming sharp now.

15:17 Danny de Ruiter did not play the optimal line for Black in the King’s Indian, versus Lars Schandorff’s double fianchetto variation, and is now under pressure. All grandmasters are playing White today and their opponents will surely feel this.

15:48 Stef Soors managed to equalize with his solid Caro-Kann, but knowing Thomas Willemze, the game is only just starting.

16:07 Moulthun Ly and Anne Haast took the game from a Sicilian Taimanov to a Classical Scheveningen. Whereas the main line runs 11…Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5, Anne went for 11…Na5. In the next few moves White managed to get the initiative.

16:32 It looks like Arthur Pijpers has found a concrete way to equalize the game versus Sabino Brunello. His 17…Ne5 may not have been necessary, but he found some good moves later on. A good job by the Dutchman so far.

16:38 Lucas van Foreest won the opening battle versus Friso Nijboer, since with 12…Ng4! he could have grabbed the initiative. In the current position after 17.Bxf1, White seems to be more comfortable, but with Nijboer’s time trouble looming, it’s anyone’s game.

16:48 The third player taking on a GM with Black today, Danny de Ruiter, is also still fully in the game. Lars Schandorff must have disliked some of the complications following 15.Qe3, but after the exchange of queens the game was level. Black could have just exchanged the final pair of rooks with 21…Rxd1. The current position is very equal, and while I’m typing this, the players have agreed to a draw.

17:24 From the equal position after the opening, Thomas Willemze managed to get a powerful attack against Stef Soors. It seems that White’s position was a bit easier to play anyway. Apparently, the best way for Black was 19…g5 20.h6 Re6. After 25 moves White was winning:

Willemze-Soors after 25…Kh8

Here White has many ways to win (e.g. 26.Nh6), although none of them is very trivial. With 26.Rxd7? bxa3 Willemze spoiled the win, but after 27.Qd2? axb2 he is actually mated himself and had to resign. What a dramatic finish.

17:33 Friso Nijboer managed to survive his time trouble and beat Lucas van Foreest. The young Dutchman played an inspired double positional pawn sacrifice, leading to the following position:

Nijboer-Van Foreest after 20.dxe6

Here the immediate 20…Bd5!, preventing the white rook from coming to a2, would have given Black full compensation. Judging from the time used, it seems that Lucas was a bit too eager to profit from Friso being low on time. With a temporary piece sacrifice the Amsterdam grandmaster neutralised Black’s activity and got his central pawns rolling.

17:42 Arthur Pijpers skillfully kept the draw against Sabino Brunello. The game was drawn with only two kings left on the board.

18:04 That leaves us with the final game today: Ly-Haast. The Dutch women champion has been under pressure for most of the game, but fought hard and had a reasonable position at some point. After 33…Bxe2 34.Qxe2 Ng6 Black seems to have enough compensation for the pawn. The current endgame position is most likely winning for the candidate grandmaster from Australia.

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