Jinshi Bai - Sergei Tiviakov was a rather uneventful game, you could say Bai took a 'bye', with his futile attempts to seek little pluses in a Catalan opening. Tivakov was never in danger, which means he stays in the lead of the tournament.
The Chigaev - Karthikeyan game was a long one. White accumulated some pluses, nothing fancy though. In the endgame, with pressure rising, the young talented Indian wasn’t able to hold a position with unequal bishops as White's king found a way into his position using the weakened white squares on the kingside. A pity for Karthikeyan, but a nice win for Chigaev!
Peter Ypma is playing a wonderful tournament. It seems like he is completely in his element here in Groningen. The big question of the day was: can he do it again? Already on IM norm course, a win against solid and cheerful Gleizerov would open perspective on a GM norm!! Ypma tried an exchange variation of the French opening. Did he want to play for a draw, or was this a strange strategy to try to get Gleizerov out of his comfort zone? Anyway, it was this typical 'boring maneuvering trying to exchange a bad bishop' stuff in this unromantic French opening. Gleizerov was the first to let the music play with c5. He got an eternal advantage after a devastating blunder of Ypma, who was foolish enough to take on f3 with his pawn instead of his Queen. After that the game was basically over, Gleizerov showed no mercy.
Gaunchu Liu tried with all his power to get a point today. With ingenious play he won a pawn. Sadly enough he somewhere spoiled his potentially flawless game and had to be happy with a draw. Deepan should be relieved that he didn't lose.
Sipke Ernst showing his game
The game between Lucas van Foreest and Sipke Ernst was a great game to watch. The master (Sipke used to be Lucas' trainer) prevailed. After a poor start Sipke is now completely back in business with 5 out of 7. FM Erik-Jan Hummel has annotated this game, an English version will be posted tomorrow.
Commentator FM Erik-Jan Hummel
Hero of the day was Casper Schoppen with his nice win over Ulybin. Ulybin's self-inflicting move 18.f4 did not bring the hoped-for dynamics for White. If Casper continues his excellent play, he is still in the running for an IM norm!
Maurice Schippers is playing a good tournament as well. Today however he drew the shortest straw against IM Hugo Ten Hertog, who played with confidence. Maybe an early c3 to compromise the center would have been better?
Werle and Krasenkow did actually win their games. Who knows, maybe these big boys still can play an important role at the end of the tournament?
Below the games from the top ten boards:
As the last round comes closer, the tension in the top increases. Would tournament leaders Van Hamond en Salihbegovic manage to stay ahead of pretenders to the throne Pieters, Elgersma, Jelic, Mostertman and Zuiderweg?
Fons van Hamond - Minko Pieters was for your reporter an incomprehensible game. White came out of the opening with a nice position: ahead in development and with a bishop pair. Fons however didn't continue forcefully and let his white-squared bishop be exchanged for a knight. He then started some vague operations on the kingside, but Pieters's pieces were placed excellently and there was little reason to panic. An exchange sac by white made things interesting again. The queens soon disappeared from the board, the time control was reached, and... the players agreed on a draw. Yet to me it is unclear what White can do in the final position to prevent the loss of his a-pawn. White would then have only one pawn as compensation for the exchange, and I think Black can play for a win without risk. Not a game that either player will be very content with.
On board two Edim Salihbegovic playing white reached a favourable endgame by taking a bishop and knight for a pawn and rook. Onno Elgersma kept playing actively with his rooks, and there was no easy way for White to increase his advantage. After the exchange of a couple of pawns there wasn't much to play for and a draw was the expected result. Edim's winning streak from the first five rounds has to come a halt. With this third draw in a row he has squandered his lead.
The first three opening moves in Tycho Bruggink - Bruno Jelic were quite unusual; with 3.Bd3 White in fact already gave the initiative away. Bruno didn't mind at all swapping queens as White's pieces didn't have much future, whereas Black could continue to develop nicely. Tycho then eased Bruno's task by refusing to activate his pieces on the queenside, and by weakening the protection around his king with g3. After 18...Nxf2 it was tactically over.
Johan Mostertman felt like going for it today with white against Edwin Zuiderweg, but his position maybe required some more subtelty. Edwin didn't have any problems punishing his opponent's all too enthousiastic play.
Board five saw a youthful tête-à-tête between Raymon Oord and Pieter van Foreest. Sadly for Pieter he made an early blunder by taking a poisoned pawn on c4 with his knight. Qa4 check, ouch! Piece gone, point for Raymon.
All this means that that the first position is now shared by four players with 5,5 out of 7: Van Hamond, Salihbegovic, Jelic and Zuiderweg. Following them with half a point less are Pieters, Elgersma, Oord and Maters.
De 'youth boat' players are had a difficult day in the Compact. Dries managed to make a draw, but Sjoerd lost his game. Jonas Hilwerda enjoyed success earlier this chess festival in his rapid match versus Afek, but in the Compact he hasn't been doing so well. Bent got a good lesson in quality vs. quantity; a pawn up but no chances to defend against the better coordinated pieces of Alje.
Arno Bezemer and Stefan Beukema proved dr. ELO right, but Pogan had to settle for a draw in his game against Clemens. That means that there is no one with a 100% score left in the group, which means it will stay exciting until the final round.
In the B group the top boards finished quickly. Ardin Bosboom was the only one to get the full point and can look forward to battle against Willem Sipkema with the black pieces.
Emma de Vries
The C group saw some very quick results, which put Ron and, more surprisingly, Elwin and Elmar on a 100% score. Emma de Vries won a decent game of chess today: "He didn't miss much," as Emma put it after the game. That means she is now half a point behind the leaders together with Jasper Dekker. Paul van Velthoven almost joined these two, but he couldn’t force his opponent into a decisive mistake in a knight+queen vs. queen ending.
And then there is group D; 4 ladies on the first 4 boards, but none of them were able to catch Daan Noordenbos. Dionne came close to winning against Louise Beukema, but didn't succeed. Famke did win, but remains on half a point behind the leader with perfect score.