December the 26th is in the UK known as Boxing Day, which would be an apt way to describe this round's fighting chess.
The main attention was of course drawn to the top board, where Chigaev and Liu battled it out. The opening started similar to Popov - Liu from the third round, but this time a Nimzo-Indian structure appeared. Chigaev lured Liu into playing 15.cxd4 by retreating his bishop. After this the white bishop pair proved to be very dangerous. He won back his pawn with interest, and quickly demolished Black's king.
In January Sergei will go to Turkmenistan to lead the women's national team (picture by Bart Beijer)
Rui Gao - Sergei Tiviakov started as a tranquil Rubinstein varation of the French where Sergei didn't mind having a slightly more passive but solid position. The Chinese player steered into an endgame where he had the bishop pair, but misplayed the position with 17.Be4? Sergei took over the initiative, ruining White's kingside pawn structure. But things weren't over yet. The position after 27.Rh6 should objectively have been drawn after which Sergei had to go into an endgame with R+2p against B+3p. However, White's 31.b4? ment he had no fortress, and the c-pawn was soon lost. The rest was a matter of technique for the Russian GM. Have a look at the interview with Sergei below if you want a lesson in endgames (alas, only available in Dutch)! An analysis by Grigori Kodentsov (the guy on the left in the video) will be posted later.
Dutch GM Jan Werle was intent on getting revanche against Ivo Maris, against whom he lost in the last round last year. Maris had a difficult position out of the opening. Werle went for 27.Bxa4 in order to win a pawn, which gave Black got some unexpected chances. Maris won an exchange, but Werle played precisely and profited from his far advanced c-pawn.
Underdog Peter Ypma again showed no fear against a higher rated opponent, this time against Hugo ten Hertog. Surviving a dubious opening setup he slowly got the upperhand with some original moves and went on to win.
Lucas van Foreest (right) vs. Jinshi Bai (left) (picture by Jacques Jambon)
The games from the first ten boards in Group A:
A couple of sad faces in group B were seen soon after the start of round 5. Young players who got defeated quickly, sometimes by even younger players. Maybe that the warm Christmas weather confuses the kids a bit, let's just say that there's still room for improvement in the next four rounds. No sadness on Arthur Maters's face though. This young lad crashes through the B-group and took today his third higher rated opponent. As a 12-year old a TPR of 2069 is nothing to be ashamed about! In the middle section there were some battles between locals where the underdogs wouldn't let themselves be bluffed out (Jansen - Huizinga and Visser - Pouw for example). A draw against a stronger opponent who is known by your club members is always nice of course.
On to the top boards. There we saw a couple of draws which keeps the tension on the scoring board. On the second board the game between Jelic and Elgersma went up and down a bit. It was Jelic who got the first chance to a serious advantage, but 'the first assumption' just didn't cut it and it was back to square one. Then both players started taking risks; Jelic went for a material advantage and Elgersma chose the attack. The latter appeared at first to be more favourable, but Bruno was able to save his soul due to inaccuracies by Onno. So a draw was agreed. (Annotated game below).
The game on board one wasn't that tasty, except for the fact that Van Hamond let it be felt that the so far unbeaten Salihbegovic is not immune to danger. Here the peace was also signed, but if Fons had chosen the more subtle Bf4 instead of Bg5 maybe he could have kicked the tournament leader off of his cloud. But have a look for yourself in the viewer below! (Annotations of both games by tournament leader Koen Lambrechts):
What else happened in the B-group? Well, try ten Velde – van Foreest and Oort – Hofstra as mild entertainment.
Today the ever popular Compact groups kicked off. This year over 170 contestants are playing in the five round tournament, divided in four rating groups. In Compact A Amir Nicolai (2012) drew FM Arno Bezemer (2330) despite losing a pawn in the opening. Joop Hummel (2008) decided to sacrifice his queen for two pieces against FM Adrian Clemens (2195) for which he got some compensation, but it didn't prove to be enough in the end.
On board one in Compact C top seed tournament regular Michal Sterba from the Czech Republic (1739) had a bad start as he lost to Kenneth Muller (1609). An interesting moment occurred in the game between chess dads Stephan van der Hagen (1642) and Sake Jan de Boer (1572) when both missed that a mate in two was on the board. Something that their respective sons Loek van der Hagen and Eelke de Boer would have been unlikely to miss!