The ladies returned from their shopping tour, I returned from Belgium (solid draw with Black against Xander Wemmers, our team won) and Lennart is back to taking photos, so we are all set for round 4. Don’t forget that Yochanan Afek will be here today at 18:00 to show the endgame studies we published before, everyone is welcome to join.
Tournament leader Alexandr Fier went for the Grünfeld today, and Liam Vrolijk’s sideline 7.Bg5 doesn’t seem to have the desired effect, as Black’s position already looks easier to play.
The top encounter between Robby Kevlishvili and Ivan Sokolov sees the Scotch opening. Robby went for the fashionable 7.Bb5 and now seems to have an edge both on the board and on the clock. It will be very interesting to see whether the young man from Zoetermeer will be able to increase the pressure against the top grandmaster.
Manuel Bosboom started pushing ‘Harry’ again with the novelty 7.h4, but Anna Zatonskih reacted well with 7…h6 and centralising her pieces. Black may have an edge here (11…b5 looks like a good option), but with all pieces still on the board the position is very tense.
Friso Nijboer’s 7…h6 was probably too slow in the opening, since Thomas Beerdsen firmly grabbed the initiative with the thematic pawn sacrifice 14.f5! and now dominates the position.
I’m not sure why Miguel Santos Ruiz gave up his dark squared bishop against Alina Kashlinskaya, but by now the position is balanced again.
Thomas Beerdsen knows how to attack:
Here the nasty tactic 19.Be3! decided the game. Friso Nijboer is a great sportsman, so the players are now analysing in the bar.
Alexandr Fier let his positional advantage slip away:
Here 26…Ba3 misplaced the bishop, while 26…Bg7 keeps the pressure. Towards the end, things got worse, but Liam didn’t realise he was now having the advantage and was probably relieved that he survived.
Manuel Bosboom’s creative play has backfired and he is on the defence. Typically, he turned it into some sort of positional exchange sacrifice, so Anna Zatonskih still has some technical problems to overcome, in order to win the position:
Robby Kevlishvili couldn’t find a convincing plan for White:
Here he felt obliged to sacrifice a pawn with 26.e6, but never got enough compensation. Now Ivan Sokolov can keep pushing in the endgame forever.
Update from the Beerdsen-Nijboer analyses: 16…Nd4 is critical and can lead to very interesting variations.
Alina Kashlinskaya lost control along the way:
Here 22…Nd7 was unfortunate (22…Re8 was better), after which Miguel Santos Ruiz came out on top and eventually won material and with it the game.
Robby Kevlishvili managed to save half a point, but Manuel Bosboom is still suffering. Yochanan Afek has arrived, so I’ll close the blog for now. See you tomorrow!