Today saw the fifth round in Groningen, and slowly but surely it's becoming clear who will be fighting for the prize money. On board one GM Tiviakov obtained a small plus out of the opening, which he ended up taking all the way to the endgame. 'Tivi' got some winning chances after his creative 39... g5 thanks to his passed pawn and his bishop pair. The following position arose after 50. Nd7
The Dutch GM played 50... b3?!, which resulted in a drawn ending after 51. Nf6+ Kh8 52. h5. Instead, Tiviakov could have tried 50... Kg7 to avoid the previously mentioned drawn ending.
Board two saw a quick draw between IM Vrolijk and GM Ernst. The men from Rotterdam and Groningen agreed to split the point after move 15. Both were uncertain of the structure and the way the game would continue, so they drew in order to both still keep some chances for the prize money. IM Schoppen got the black pieces against GM Plat. Much like board one, these players also found themselves in an ending with opposite coloured bisshops. They aren't always draws, but today they were.
GM Roeland Pruijssers hasn't quite hit the pace yet. 'A draw last round, today I played extremely badly' as the Dutch grandmaster himself stated. Out of a French opening, Pruissers sacrificed two pawns, which he never saw back. He had to resign the game after 42 moves.
GM Alexey Kislinsky had a great game against GM Gleizerov. 'The Count', as Gleizerov is known, was outplayed in a Dzindhi-Indian in a slow maneuvering game. Not really noteworthy, but nonetheless important: GM Mikhal Krasenkow scored a straightforward win on FM Tobias Kabos
Last but not least: a segment of Joris Kokje's game against Lahayere.
We have already seen that Kokje is capable of doing wonderful things on a chessboard, but sometimes he does go astray. Black has a draw in reach after 55... Ke5 or 55... Kf5. Instead, Kokje went for 55... h5? which was answered by the straightforward 56. Kf4! The black king was eventually forced backwards without being able to achieve the exchange of some pawns. With now seven players on four points, we're seeing a mass brawl for the first place
Of course, the attention of the spectators is often focused on the A-group of the University match starting tomorrow. Which is justified, however the Compact tournament does also have a very strong field this year. Playing in the five round Swiss tournament are not only IM Stefan Beukema, but also FM Arno Bezemer and FM Siem van Dael. Ahead of 132 other players is IM Beukema, who won against Tim Grutter. Second seed Beukema also won against Murk Viersma, however the other FM, Siem van Dael, lost half a point against Edim Salihbegovic. He was lucky to get a draw in this game and will be looking to improve on his play tomorrow.
In group B, it is becoming more likely that the first prize will go to one of the two favourites on paper: Ruben Slagter and Pieter Tromp. Of course, it is dangerous to predict events ahead of time, but they seem to be playing on a consistently slightly higher level than the other players.
And finally, tomorrow (Thursday), the University Challenge between Ivan Sokolov and Lucas van Foreest will start, in what is promising to become a tight match with a lot of fireworks on the board.
- Benno de Jongh & Renze Rietveld -
Translation: Jorik Jonker
Photo: Bart Beijer