Batavia 2017 Round 3

15:09 While Feyenoord is playing PSV (Dutch soccer league), the third round of the Batavia chess tournament has begun. Just like in the first round, tournament leader Bobby Cheng is playing the Catalan, now against Hing Ting Lai, who is having a much rougher start in the tournament. Tal Baron is playing the Nimzo-Indian against Alexandr Fier and has been thinking for over half an hour now. Barry Brink is preserving the momentum by grabbing the initiative early on against Mark Timmermans. The youngsters Thomas Beerdsen and Lucas van Foreest choose the Italian Game as their battleground for today. Eric Lobron went for his solid English opening, but Koen Leenhouts is showing his aggressive intentions by playing h5.

15:14 It was a pleasure to have Yochanan Afek with us last night, who showed the solutions to the fascinating endgame studies he selected for this tournament. The studies can still be found on this website, in case you didn’t get the chance to try and solve them yet.

16:28 Tal Baron eventually ended up thinking for 34 minutes in the following position:

Diagram

Tal knew that he had done some home analyses in this position, but he couldn’t remember the details. Over the board he didn’t like 11…Bxc3 and 11…Bxc5, so he ended up playing the most ambitious 11…Qa5, which backfired badly. Alexandr Fier grabbed his chance and secured the win after 24 moves. The guys are now analysing the details, while Feyenoord secured the 2-1 win against PSV.

16:39 It should be said that Mark Timmermans’ opening choice against Barry Brink, a sideline of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, was a very risky one. Barry is playing very confidently and has a strategically winning position:

Diagram

16:57 Interestingly, Bobby Cheng managed to get the exact same kind of bind as in his first round game. The diagram on the left is the current position against Hing Ting Lai, the diagram on the right is from his game two days ago against Lucas van Foreest:

Diagram2Diagram

17:21 Barry Brink indeed won in a direct attack and is now on a most impressive 2.5 out of 3. Blitz is certainly not his forte (especially the modern 3+2 time control, if you have played 5+0 all your life), but in normal chess he is not to be underestimated. Mark Timmermans at least has the consolation that Feyenoord won.

17:47 Koen Leenhouts’ opening play was possibly a bit too creative, since Eric Lobron slowly but surely started to dominate the position:

Diagram

In this position (and also a few moves before), White could have played 26.f5!, basically with a winning position. As Eric got under time pressure, he decided to play it safe, but lost the initiative. By now they have made it to the time control and the endgame is equal.

17:59 Thomas Beerdsen and Lucas van Foreest had a fairly complicated dynamic battle. Initially, White seemed to be better (for instance 12.a4 looks natural), but after that Black took over (White’s king position and d-pawn being vulnerable). When they were approaching the time control, the position was back to equal, the complications were basically over and then something dramatic happened:

Diagram

Here Thomas didn’t sense any danger, played 39.Nxb6 almost instantly, only to discover that that loses a piece to 39…Qe1 40.Kg2 Bd4 and White resigned a few moves later. As Lucas remarked: “I cannot say I tricked you. You tricked yourself”.

18:29 Peter Boel visited Batavia today and gave us a copy of his new book “Drie paarden”. This book is an entertaining collection of chess stories, and since it’s written in Dutch, it will be the prize for the best Dutch player in the tournament.

18:45 Bobby Cheng won again with his trademark bind and is still in the lead with a perfect score: 3 out of 3. Again it was an impressive positional performance, just play over the game and feel how he does it.

18:57 Eric Lobron blundered an important pawn right after the time control. Offering an exchange of rooks with either 41.Rd4 or 42.Rd4 would have been fine.

19:23 Koen Leenhouts converted his material advantage against Eric Lobron. It has been a wild day of chess again, see you tomorrow!

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