Round 7 LIVE

Ivan Sokolov and Friso Nijboer analysing yesterday, and me blogging in the background 😉 Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

Welcome back at round 7 of the 10th dMP Batavia Amsterdam Chess Tournament. Clearly the big game of today is the encounter between the heavyweights Alexandr Fier and Ivan Sokolov. Friso Nijboer versus Miguel Santos Ruiz is two more 2500 players facing eachother. Anna Zatonskih has White against Robby Kevlishvili and Alina Kashlinskaya has the white pieces against Thomas Beerdsen. Last but not least, the oldest participant Manuel Bosboom is facing the youngest participant Liam Vrolijk.

Ivan Sokolov went for the oldskool Hübner Variation of the Nimzo-Indian, but Alexandr Fier seemed to be well prepared and as so often played rather quickly. Black’s strategy is to try to block the position as much as possible, to neutralise the white bishop pair:

Here in the spirit of the position Fier sacrificed a piece for two pawns with the cool 18.Bxg5! and seems to have the better chances for now. White’s longterm threat is setting his kingside pawn steamroller in motion. The position remains very complicated though. Exactly the exciting battle we were hoping for!

Thomas Beerdsen surprised with the English Defence, to which Alina Kashlinskaya reacted with the enterprising novelty 8.h4. The game had an early climax in the following position:

Here Alina blundered with 12.h6, allowing the pseudo sacrifice 12…Bxe5! and all Black’s pieces came to life, with a large advantage.

Miguel Santos Ruiz played his usual Najdorf and probably prepared well against 6.g3 since Friso Nijboer had played that before in this tournament (against Robby Kevlishvili). The bishop manoeuvre Bd8-a5 looked good and Black is comfortable:

Alexandr Fier should have started pushing his kingside pawns with 31.g4 when he had the chance. His 31.Kf2 was too slow and now Ivan Sokolov seems to succeed in blocking the pawns, with a large advantage for Black.

Robby Kevlishvili was playing a very impressive game today, until things became messy. Anna Zatonskih went for the Exchange Slav, but her 15.f4 was probably too committal, losing flexibility in her pawn structure (instead 15.Na4 was still known). Robby slowly, but surely got complete control over the position:

Here 31…b5 was spot on, but two moves later 33…Rb8 was a serious inaccuracy, missing the winning 33…Rc7.

Manuel Bosboom was playing an interesting positional game against Liam Vrolijk, until he became too enthousiastic about his attacking chances:

Here 24.Rg4 was a serious mistake, since Black simply replied 24…h5, pushing the rook right back to where it came from and taking a healthy pawn on b2 next. Shortly after the time control, Liam scored his first full point.

We now have the uncommon situation of only one game being finished after the time control. Ivan Sokolov missed a few good winning opportunities along the way and now the position looks balanced. And while I’m typing this, the players agreed to a draw:

Thomas Beerdsen should have won his game much faster, but still has a winning position in the rook endgame. Robby Kevlishvili should have won as well, but at this point the rook+knight endgame is equal. Miguel Santos Ruiz was clearly better, but now has to be a bit careful to save half a point.

The remaining games were all drawn in the end, but hard-fought draws. In two cases that was the most logical result, only Thomas Beerdsen was of course disappointed that he let the win slip away. For the neutral spectator it has been another day full of exciting chess. See you tomorrow!

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