14:30 Dear chess friends, welcome to the eighth round of the Batavia tournament. It’s Saturday afternoon, the weather is good here in Amsterdam, feel free to visit us at Café Batavia. Let’s start with a look at the current standings:
Lucas van Foreest is the sole tournament leader with 5.5 out of 7 and needs 1 out of 2 from his remaining games to secure his second GM norm. Barry Brink needs 1.5 points and Bobby Cheng 2 points for a GM norm.
15:00 Lucas has a nice classical style with a sharp eye for tactical complications. Today with Black against Hing Ting Lai, true to his style, he developed his pieces in a very classical way:
15:03 Bobby Cheng sticks to his trusted Catalan against Mark Timmermans. Barry Brink went for the Vienna Variation (of the QGD) against Eric Lobron. Koen Leenhouts-Tal Baron is a sharp Sämisch Variation of the King’s Indian. Thomas Beerdsen-Alexandr Fier is an interesting Sicilian Kalashnikov.
15:37 Thomas Beerdsen quickly went out of book with the uncommon 7.g3 and five moves later Alexandr Fier came up with an amazing positional rook sacrifice 12…fxe4:
After something like 13.Nc7 Qg6 14.Nxa8 Nd4 Black has full compensation. Thomas wasn’t having any of it and played the controlled 13.Nxf6. Now the position is balanced.
15:43 Eric Lobron played the early novelty 7.Rd1 which was probably over the board inspiration. Barry Brink reacted well with 7…Rb8 and White’s compensation for the sacrificed pawn doesn’t look very convincing to me:
15:51 Koen Leenhouts has played a pretty positional exchange sacrifice against Tal Baron:
Probably Tal should have prevented this with 21…Ng7, since now White is dominating the position.
15:57 Bobby Cheng seems to have his usual positional edge in the Catalan, against Mark Timmermans:
16:22 Hing Ting failed to fight for the initiative with 16.Nf4 or 18.Nf4. I don’t understand why he gave up the bishop pair, for which he got nothing in return. By now Lucas has developed a strong initiative on the kingside:
16:43 I overestimated Lucas’ chances on the kingside, 26.g3! was good defence by Hing Ting. The position is now about equal.
16:57 Things are going fast now. Hing Ting has blundered with 34.Ra1 and resigned a few moves later. Grandmaster norm for Lucas van Foreest!
17:04 The attack of Koen Leenhouts has crashed through, look at the pretty final position:
17:09 Alexandr Fier has a tendency to overdo things. While 23…Bf3 would have been comfortable equality, the Brazilian GM played for more with 23…e4. Thomas Beerdsen reacted accurately and is now a healthy pawn up:
17:16 Eric Lobron kept investing more material to fuel his attack, but Barry Brink defended well and now has a winning position with three minor pieces versus rook and two pawns:
17:27 Bobby Cheng’s advantage kept increasing and he now has a winning advantage:
17:37 Mark Timmermans fought back just before the time control. Now Bobby Cheng is still better, but no longer winning. Thomas Beerdsen still has to work hard as well, to be able to beat Alexandr Fier. And thirdly, also Barry Brink lost a good part of his advantage against Eric Lobron. Barry should have grabbed the pawn with 39…Bxb2 with a winning position. Now the white a-pawn is becoming unpleasant:
18:27 Just when Alexandr Fier got compensation for the pawn, he blundered terribly with 48…Kh8, allowing a forced mate.
18:34 The position at Lobron-Brink remained very difficult to play for both sides. Barry was winning again around move 47, but just moments ago he blundered badly and resigned soon after.
18:38 Bobby Cheng is technically winning now.