Batavia 2017 Round 6

14:18 Welcome to round 6 of the Batavia tournament! Everyone seems to have enjoyed the rest day and seems to be well rested for the second half of the tournament.

14:35 Let’s have a look at the standings:

Crosstable
Bobby Cheng had a perfect 4 out of 4 start, but then pushed his luck a bit too much in the fifth round. He needs 2.5 out of the remaining 4 rounds for a GM norm, so he still has every chance to achieve that. Lucas van Foreest now has a performance of 2608 and needs 3 out of 4 for a GM norm. Barry Brink’s performance dropped under 2600 because of his loss in the fifth round, but he is still having a fantastic tournament so far.

Barry Brink. Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

Barry Brink. Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

14:52 After all the tactic madness and insane complications in the fifth round, we are back to solid positional chess. We have two Bogo-Indians (Bobby Cheng-Alexandr Fier and Eric Lobron-Thomas Beerdsen), a Symmetrical English (Hing Ting Lai-Tal Baron), a French Tarrasch (Lucas van Foreest-Mark Timmermans) and an Anti-Sicilian (Koen Leenhouts-Barry Brink).

Nestor Eric Lobron. Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

Nestor Eric Lobron. Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

15:06 The Symmetrical English at Hing Ting Lai-Tal Baron turned into an Accelerated Dragon with colours reversed. Avoiding exchanges with Nc7 is typical, since Black put up a Maroczy Bind and therefore has a space advantage. Hing Ting’s 11.Ne1 was a bit strange, normal would have been 11.a3. Exchanging on c6 is a typical idea in the English opening, but here I’m not convinced and Black seems to be better:

Diagram

15:25 Bobby Cheng also put up a Maroczy Bind against Alexandr Fier, but Black’s pieces seem to be better coordinated at the moment, which compensates for White’s space advantage. So the position is about equal I would say:

Diagram

15:47 Lucas van Foreest and Mark Timmermans have an open position after most central pawns were exchanged. These positions tend to be easier to play for White and indeed Mark has been thinking for quite a while now:

Diagram

16:14 Eric Lobron started very well against Thomas Beerdsen, with the knight manoeuvre Nbd2-f1-e3 before castling and the key move Bh3 (which worked tactically, as taking twice on f3 would allow Bg2-b7). Exchanging on g6 could have waited a bit longer though, as the immediate 19.cxd5 would have been good for White. Right now Black seems to have equalized:

Diagram

16:25 Mark Timmermans has blundered with 23…Nh5 (correct was 23…Rd8), allowing the tactical blow 24.Rxe5! winning two pieces against a rook, which was spotted by Lucas van Foreest.

16:27 Alexandr Fier is going all-in with h5 and g5, trying to maximize the pressure on Bobby Cheng, who is down to 9 minutes on the clock (plus increment). Objectively, I don’t think Alexandr’s wild play is justified, but let’s see what happens.

16:35 Koen Leenhouts versus Barry Brink started quietly, until Barry played the provocative 9…Ba6 and Koen accepted the challenge with 11.Qa4. The position is becoming increasingly complex and now Koen has sacrificed an exchange, with a very exciting position:

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17:11 Lucas van Foreest made no mistake and convincingly converted his winning advantage against Mark Timmermans. They are now analysing the game. Apart from the blunder it all seems correct.

17:19 Tal Baron continued well after the opening, up to the point where 23…f5 would have been strategically winning for Black. Instead, 23…c4 was too fancy and turned the position into a mess (detail: Hing Ting could have won with 31.Nxe5! along the way). Now anything can happen.

17:23 The same goes for Leenhouts-Brink. Koen won back the exchange and now it’s chances for both sides, with both players being under time pressure.

17:29 Also very messy was the time trouble stage at Lobron-Beerdsen, were chances went back and forth. Now that they made it too the time control, the position is dynamically balanced.

17:33 Who didn’t make it safely to the time control was Bobby Cheng. As we noted before, Alexandr Fier went all-in and he was rewarded for his courage. Here he sacrifice a piece on h4:

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Before taking back on h4, White had to give the exchange on d7, but still the black attack crashed through in the end. The game is still in progress, but Black is now clearly winning.

17:44 With 35.a3 and 36.Qxc3 Hing Ting collapsed after all, after which Tal’s bishops were just too strong: 0-1.

17:49 Barry Brink kept a very cool head in time trouble and now is clearly dominating against Koen Leenhouts:

Diagram

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