The first concrete results of the tournament are a fact: yesterday both Jasel Lopez and Felix Meissner crossed the important 2400 rating barrier, which is a requirement for the IM title. Congratulations to both! Today they play eachother. Felix won the first blitz game with confident play, but halfway the second blitz game, the tables started to turn. Jasel took over the initiative and brought the score to 1-1. In the armageddon Jasel quickly got the initiave again and Felix had his queen trapped. The classical game has a more positional character, starting from the 2.d3 French.
Max Warmerdam was doing very well in the blitz so far, but today he lost the tiebreak against Arthur Pijpers with 1.5-0.5. Actually Max was doing quite well in the first game, but in blitz anything can happen, which makes it very spectacular to watch. In the main game they played a theoretical line from the Slow Slav that leads straight to an endgame. It may be a bit easier for White, but Black is very solid.
Koen Leenhouts and David Arutinian drew their first two blitz games and then had a spectacular showdown in the armageddon. While Koen was trying to break down David’s fortress, he suddenly blundered a full queen. The position they have right now in the classical game could also have arrived at from a Sicilian Alapin and looks perfectly balanced.
Simon Williams and Rick Lahaye played three exciting blitz games full of tactical motives. After the dust had settled, Rick came out as the winner of the armageddon. In the classical game, Simon’s 8…Be6 looks ill-timed, as after 9.Qb3 Black was pretty much forced to sacrifice the b7 pawn and fish in troubled waters.
Stefan Kuipers won both blitz games against John van der Wiel following the same pattern: a somewhat shaky start in the game, but then sacrificing material to grab the initiative and win in a direct attack against the king. In the classical game John went for the Kalashnikov Variation (a name invented by Rini Kuijf during an Olympiad back in the day). As this point the position looks equal.
Stefan Kuipers and John van der Wiel drew their game. There are certainly many subtilities, judging from the fact that they are still analying, but the actual game remained balanced and the moves were repeated.
David Arutinian and Koen Leenhouts also drew. Eventually, the game was positionally balanced again, but halfway both players missed a crucial tactical point:
Here White could have played 33.Rd2! winning.
Simon Williams tried everything he could, creating a lot of complications, but Rick Lahaye kept a cool head and eventually converted in a sharp endgame. Rick now has 2.5 out of 4 and already played all grandmasters.
Felix Meissner was on his way to create model game with the bishop pair against Jasel Lopez, but played it a bit too safe:
Here 47.g4 was too static, whereas the more straightforward 47.f4 gives White a winning advantage.
Finally, Max Warmerdam and Arthur Pijpers battled it out until the very end, with a pretty final position:
See you all tomorrow at the Stadsarchief!