16:30 The first game of today has finished: IM Jorden van Foreest from Groningen managed to beat Nico Zwirs from Apeldoorn. It was a razor sharp Najdorf Poisoned Pawn variation, which is one of the very main lines in correspondence chess. For every normal game in this variation, ten correspondence games are being played. Nico didn’t expect his opponent to go this theoretical today and wasn’t entirely up to date. Jorden on the other hand had just read Negi’s new book on the Najdorf and soon was an hour up on the clock.
17:51 We just checked the theory of Van Foreest-Zwirs. Negi considers 24…f6 to be the critical move. After Nico’s 24…Nde5? White got a powerful initiative and Jorden converted convincingly.
18:45 The GM encounter between Dimitri Reinderman from Amsterdam and Roland Schmaltz from Mannheim was decided in favour of the Dutchman. A King’s Indian turned into a Benko Gambit and actually on move ten Black should probably go for 10…Ne5, the move favoured by Kasparov back in 1991. As the game proceeded Black gradually lost his compensation for the pawn after accurate play by Reinderman. 18…c4 had the disadvantage of allowing the white knight a route to c6 via d4. Somewhat later, 22…Nbd7 would have been more stubborn, since 23.Rd4 Qb6 24.b4 fails to 24…Rxc3!.
19:07 IM Andreas Heimann from Grenzach-Wyhlen managed to beat IM Stef Soors from Peer. White gave up the bishop pair early in the opening, but never really got anything in return. Soon it was Black playing for an advantage, but following the inaccurate 22…Lf6 the position became unclear again. Both players missed 24.Ra7! and after that it was the German who dominated the game and went on to win.
20:30 In the Dutch encounter between Etienne Goudriaan and Lars Ootes it was in fact White who got out of the opening with a nice advantage. The move 13.Be3 was based on a miscalculation, since in the following position Black had a shocking move, turning the tables:
The game still was quite a struggle, but Black eventually won the double rook endgame.
20:41 The last game to finish today was between experienced English grandmaster Daniel Gormally and young Dutch talent Robby Kevlishvili. It was a long and hard Najdorf struggle with chances for both sides that was only decided after the first time control.
White played very patiently and somehow managed to get his heavy pieces on the h-file, which was the introduction to a lethal mating attack.
21:01 The first day was a very exciting one, with five decisive games and truly hard-fought battles. Tomorrow the party continues at 14:00 Dutch time. See you then!
Report by Merijn van Delft, photos by Bas Beekhuizen (http://www.basbeekhuizenchessphoto.nl/).