Achim Illner won the 4th Batavia Chess Tournament with a round to spare. On Saturday the German FM defeated English grandmaster Mark Hebden to reach the splendid score of 6.5/8 (and a TPR of 2686!). Because Sipke Ernst drew with Manuel Bosboom, Illner’s lead is now 1.5 points with one more round to go. On top of that Illner tranformed his IM norm into a GM norm; Hugo ten Hertog and Thibaut Vandenbussche can still score an IM norm if they win on Sunday.
It was a bit of a strange game in which the German FM won the tournament and the norm. His opponent played a strange move in the opening, declined a draw in a worse position and later on blundered a piece. Did anyone ask Achim about his ability to hypnotice?
Hebden – Illner
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Be7 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bf4
A strange move; Black now has the extra move …h7-h6 in the 5.Bf4 line of the Queen’s Gambit Declined.
6 … O-O 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Rc1
A move like 8. g4!? is often seen these days and could be interesting here now that the pawn is on h6.
8… c5 9. cxd5 Nxd5 10. Bg3 cxd4 11. exd4 Qa5 12. Bd3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 b6 14. O-O Bb7 15. Re1 Rfd8 16. c4 Rac8 17. Bb1 Ba3 18. Qd3 Nf8 19. Rcd1 Bb2 20. d5 exd5
In a position where the computer likes Black very much already, Illner offered a draw, but Hebden declined.
This doesn’t really work.
21 … dxc4 22. Qxd8 Rxd8 23. Rxd8 Bf6 24. Bd6
24 … Bxe7 25. Bxe7 g6 26. Bxf8 Kh7 27. Rd1 Bxf3 28. gxf3 c3 29. Bd6 Qb5
30. Bf4?? Qa4 31. Rc1 Qxf4 32. Rxc3 Qg5+ 33. Kf1 Qe5 and Black won.
Illner told us that he scored his second IM norm just a few weeks ago in Moscow, at the Aeroflot Open, while his first dates back from somewhere in the 90s. He said he worked hard on the game, and did training with GM Daniel Fridman before the tournament. “It’s not a coincidence!” (Illner) Congratz to the winner!
Sipke Ernst didn’t reach an opening advantage and eventually drew his game with Manuel Bosboom. This was also the result in Klein-Van Kampen (a short but very sharp Najdorf) and Ten Hertog-Vedder (the ancient opening line 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d4 Bxd4 6. Nxd4 Nxd4 7. f4 d6 8. fxe5 dxe5 9. Bg5 which doesn’t give White very much).
Keith Arkell started badly, but had an excellent follow-up. (“I always do better later on, I never start well.”) He beat Thibaut Vandenbussche to reach a shared second place together with Sipke Ernst and Robin van Kampen. They all have 5/8.
Arkell – Vandenbussche
The opening hasn’t been a success for Black, and the following doesn’t really help.
26… Rxa7?! 27. Rxa7 Nb6 28. Ra3! Nxc4 29. Rxd3 and White won after a long struggle.