The special tenth edition of the Batavia tournament has begun! Last night we had a fun start of the event, with many people attending the official opening and the blitz tournament. Alexandr Fier dominated the blitz with 7 out of 7. Even though he lost the last two rounds, he still was clear first. Friso Nijboer came in second. Ivan Sokolov needed some time getting used to the 3+2 time control (being used to the old 5+0), but recovered as the tournament proceeded. Robby Kevlishvili became fourth and Thomas Beerdsen fifth, so they will also have an extra white game in the main tournament.
The start of the first round has been very quiet so far. Ivan Sokolov versus Manuel Bosboom is a heavyweight 1.d4 player meeting a creative King’s Indian player. Manuel always goes his own way, so he quickly went out of book. Alexandr Fier went for an interesting Benoni with colours reversed against Anna Zatonski.
The youngsters prefer 1.e4 today, but they’re avoiding main line theory. Robby Kevlishvili played an offbeat line against Liam Vrolijk’s French Winawer and Thomas Beerdsen went for a sideline against Miguel Santos Ruiz’ Najdorf. Friso Nijboer typically doesn’t avoid theoretical battles and played the topical Bd3/Qe2 setup against the Petroff Defence of Alina Kashlinskaya. Russian girl playing the Russian opening. Slowly but surely, the battles are becoming more concrete now – we’ll keep you posted in the following hours.
Alexandr Fier is the first one to get the upper hand in his game against Anna Zatonskih:
In this position the Brazilian champion played 19.c5! creating a big square for his knight on d6. Soon after he reached an endgame a pawn up.
Action! Friso Nijboer has sacrificed a piece:
Here Friso played 15.Bxa6! with very exciting complications.
Thomas Beerdsen and Miguel Santos Ruiz played a quick draw:
Here it may seem that White is better due to the famous good knight versus bad bishop, but since Black has pressure along the c-file (c2 and e4 are weaknesses), he is perfectly fine.
Alexandr Fier has won his game.
Suddenly all games are finished, including some big upsets. We’ll update you as quickly as possible.
It seems that Ivan Sokolov had an edge after the opening, but the position was very tense, with all pieces still on the board. With 24.Nd4 he started to lose track:
Here Manuel Bosboom grabbed the initiative with 24…Qh5!. White needs to react modestly, as grabbing the pawn on b3 led to serious trouble. Bosboom played his trademark exchange sacrifice and went on to win convincingly.
Friso Nijboer’s piece sacrifice was correct, but with 19.Bf4? he lost track, while 19.Nb3 would have given White an interesting initiative. Alina Kashlinskaya defended very accurately and won deservedly. So two very experienced grandmasters lost their games with White today in the first round, the tournament has started with a bang.
Robby Kevlishvili’s play in the early middlegame was far from impressive:
Here Liam Vrolijk could have recaptured with 15…Qxf6 (he didn’t realise that he could meet 16.Nxd5 with 16…Qxf2), keeping the bishop pair and with it a large advantage. As the game continued, the position remained roughly balanced and the moves were repeated in the endgame. That’s it for today, a wild start of the tournament. See you tomorrow!