Daniel Dardha equals the match

Round 5 has started!

A tough day today for the Open players -- 2 rounds! This morning 82 players started at 9.00h already (apart from those who are still hurrying towards the town hall at this moment), and round 6 will start, at the same time as the two match games, at 15.00h.

On board 1, Eelke de Boer faces the four years younger but 200 Elo points higher rated Bharath Subramaniyam.

Remember folks - even if you're not entirely awake, don't start fiddling with your opponent's king!


Early morning slipup

There's always one - Roger Labruyère just 'absent-mindedly' took a pawn on d4 with his queen on move 8, and now after 10.Ne5 he can resign.


No queens left on boards 1 and 2

The queens have come off on both boards 1 and 2; in both cases the White players, Eelke de Boer and Robert Hovhannisyan, look to have a solid advantage.


Thomas Beerdsen strikes!

Trust Thomas Beerdsen to find the most promising tactic in a position. Against Paul Hummel, the IM from Apeldoorn just struck home as follows after the weakening move 18...a6:

19.Rf7! Nxf7

19...Rd7 20.Rxg7 Rxg7 21.Qxg4+ Nxg4 22.Bxd6 wins more prosaically for White, with a piece up.

If 19...Rg8 20.Na4 Black will go down to the weakness of his dark squares.

20.Qxg4+ Qd7 21.Na4! Qxg4 22.Nb6 mate - bravo!


Hovhannisyan looks to be winning

Robert Hovhannisyan has been steering very prosaically towards a winning bishop ending, in which Daniel Fernandez' bishop is tied to the weak pawn on a7. If Black pushes his e-pawn there will be skewers on the h2-b8 diagonal after White brings up his king to b5. This looks like a matter of time.

Robert Hovhannisyan


The struggle between De Boer and Bharath on board 1 remains tense. Structurally, Black is better, but White's pieces are more active and De Boer still has a slight initiative.


Veteran Jaap Vogel on +2

Jaap Vogel won his second game in a row after three short draws. The 74-year-old veteran from Deventer, former Dutch Open champion, is still a very active player. Today, Tim Brouwer had no chance against him. Also the significantly younger Machteld van Foreest has just hauled in the loot after outplaying Christiaan Mol; the evil Bc6 spelled the downfall of White's king. And Roger Labruyère has tried to get back in the game for a bit, but Henning Holinka made no mistake and finished off efficiently.


Hovhannisyan wins, De Boer misses first great chance

Robert Hovhannisyan brought home his endgame advantage. 'It might have been an interesting indgame if Fernandez had found a better defence,' the Armenian GM said. It's not easy to find one though!

There was one moment on board one where De Boer could have obtained a winning advantage:

De Boer-Bharath

Here De Boer shouldn't have worried about that b-pawn and instead of 28.Be6 should have played 28.Rdd7 when after 28...Rxb3+ 29.Kg2 Rb2+ 30.Kg3 Black has to give a piece. After the text, a highly tactical phase ensued in which Black's 33...Kg7? was inaccurate, bringing his own king into the open and allowing the later 36.Bxh5 after which White is better again.

Bharath Subramaniyam H


Moroni held to a draw

Not always does the stronger player win in the ending: against Luca Moroni, Dutch player John Cornelisse was never really in danger in an opposite-coloured bishops ending with a pawn less. Evgeny Romanov has also had a pawn less for a while against tournament revelation Jakob Weihrauch, but the German could not prevent Black's king walking to b2 and collecting an important pawn there. This looks winning for the Norway-based GM.

Romanov with Weihrauch in front


Draw on board 1

It's a draw after all!

Eelke de Boer told us he had missed the reply 36...Bf6+! after 36.Bxh5 after which things became complicated. The moment where he thought he let his advantage slip came on the notorious (well, in the old increment-less days...) 39th move.

Here, De Boer played 39.e5 when Bharath very cleverly escaped to a draw with the manoeuvre 39...Rff2! followed by ...Rg2. White can make no progress since he has to avoid the mate threat ...g6-g5.

De Boer thought he should have played 39.Kg3 but what can White do after 39...Rb2 other than repeat with 40.Kh4 ? He could even have snacked a pawn with 39.Rxa7, but that runs into the same rook manoeuvre ...Rff2-g2 and White can't make progress -- almost study-like! If necessary, Black even has a tempo with ...Rg1.

19-year-old De Boer is having a great tournament anyway, after a 2-year pause. 'For no particular reason,' he said, 'it was just that with corona not much was going on and I didn't much feel like playing. Before this tournament I did, though I haven't really prepared.'


Endgames, endgames

Local player Andries Mellema and Adrian Clemens are doing well, both drawing in opposite-coloured bishop endgames (eventually) against, respectively, IM Nick Maatman and FM Onno Elgersma.

German player Sebastian Mueer has been better for hours but is now facing the curious endgame of two bishops vs knight against Tamer Ismail. It's a win, and it can be done within 40 moves, the experts say. Can it be done on the board? The Tablebases say a win in 25 after 90...Kc8. The 50 moves are over on move 121 but in the meantime White will win the knight somewhere, so then the counting can start anew.

Mueer-Ismail after 90...Kc8

For what it's worth, the quickest tablebase line is to try and force the black king away from the knight and conquer the knight: 91.Be1 Kd8 92.Bd2 Kc8 93.Bf1 Kb7 94.Bg2+ Kb6 95.Bg5 Kb5 96.Bd8 Ka6 97.Be4 Ka7 98.Kc7 Ka6 99.Kxb8 and then we can all do it, but these first seven moves...



On move 99 Mueer manages to catch Black's knight, so this looks good for him.

And it's done - well played by Mueer (on the right)!


That's a quite short break for us - back with you at three o'clock on this same blog, for the sixth round of the Open and the fifth round of the matches!


More new stuff

The four match players keep deviating. Today, in round 5, Daniel Dardha played 1.d4 for the first time, and after 1...Nf6 went for the Trompowsky. After 2...d5 and 3...c5 Warmerdam took back with the g-pawn after the trade on f6, which resulted in an interestingly unbalanced structure.

Luke McShane and Lucas van Foreest again played the Berlin Ruy Lopez, but this time McShane deviated early with 5.Re1, a line which is more popular nowadays than the old 'Berlin Wall' line 5.d4. After 5...Nd6 6.Bf1 Be7 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.d4 Bf6, the game Yoo-Robson in the twelfth round of the American Championship saw the highly interesting exchange sacrifice 10.Bd3 only yesterday, but the Englishman went for the standard 10.Re1.


Mellema sacs a piece vs GM Ernst

Our apologies -- our website has been out of order for sometime. Hopefully we'll be alright from here on.

Here's a nice position to resume our reports with. In a Winawer French against local hero Andries Mellema, GM Sipke Ernst played the rather careless 11.a4 which allowed an irritating knight sortie to b4:

Causing a problem Ernst solved in original style with 13.Kd2.

Two moves later the position was as follows:

Now Mellema could have tried the quiet way with 15...Nbc6, when the damage to White has been done, but instead he bravely went for the promising piece sac 15...fxe5!?.

Andries Mellema


Mueer accelerates

Sebastian Mueer probably had enough of long games after his marathon one against Ismail this morning. Against GM Daniel Fernandez, he is already deep in a rook ending after only two hours of play -- unfortunately this one is quite lost for him!

Daniel Fernandez (right), earlier today vs Hovhannisyan


The Berlin

Even though Luke McShane played another line of the Berlin today, the 5th match game with Lucas van Foreest still ended in a draw. Van Foreest, in a good mood, joked against his opponent: 'I was sick of playing the Berlin all the time, but I knew you would probably be more sick of it.' Mc Shane had to laugh.

Both players are very harmoniously discussing the Berlin not only on but also off the board, and they're not ready yet. 'There are so many plans for both sides,' Lucas said. Both players understand that people think the Berlin Wall is boring. 'Probably since the queens come off so early,' Luke said. 'Then people just turn off their minds and say it's boring. While here you have a position which is very unbalanced after ten moves: with different pawn structures and bishop pair versus bishop+knight, etcetera. The problem is that the games don't look exciting, but there is a great richness in ideas.'

About the game itself: McShane thought 13...a5 was a clever move, waiting for White to show his hand. In the following position he was at a loss.

'Actually I didn't want to play 17.Qb3 here because the queen doesn't look so good here. But after the reply ...b7-b6 I might put something on b5. If I'd played something like 17.Be3 Nf6 18.h3 (or 18.f3) 18...Qe8 then in every line I found something good for Black. He gets some pressure on my a4- and d5-pawns.'

Three moves later we arrive at the following position:

Here McShane played 20.Nb5 and Van Foreest was relieved. He wasn't quite sure of 20.Bb5, but in the post mortem this turned out to be harmless: 20...Re8 21.h3 (trying to control the board!) 21...h6 22.Bxd7 Qxd7 23.Bxf6 Bxf6 and now 24.Qc4 actually favours Black slightly after 24...Qf5!, since after 25.Nb5 Re7 White can't take on c7. Better seems to be 24.Qb5 but this is equal.

McShane thought Black's previous move 19...Qe7 was good. 'I would have liked to make some trades after e.g. 19...Qe8 20.Nb5, have my bishop on b5 and keep the black rook from e8, which might have given me something to play for.'

A funny moment could have arisen a little later:

Here McShane took on f6, while on the retreat 22.Bc1 Lucas had prepared a little joke: 22...Bh6! with the point 23.Bxh6 Ng4 24.g3 Qh5, winning back the piece -- still with a 0.00 position!


Drawing margins

Daniel Dardha won a pawn with a little trick in the early middlegame, but Max Warmerdam wasn't really worried since he had the bishop pair and active play. When Dardha forced the exchange of one of the bishops, Warmerdam had a little trick of his own, winning back the pawn and even keeping some pressure. Now he is even a pawn up in a bishop vs knight ending, but since he still has that doubled f-pawn any winning chances seem to be illusory. Max is still playing on for a bit, probably just to show Daniel who's the boss.

This might well be the first day with two draws in the matches.


Round-up of the Open

Bharath Subramaniyam is playing very strongly again, and he has been better against Robert Hovhannisyan for hours. The young Indian makes a great impression in this tournament.

On board 2, Evgeny Romanov attacked Nico Zwirs almost from the word go. The IM from Apeldoorn managed to stay afloat, but could never really escape from the pressure and eventually collapsed around move 40.

Thomas Beerdsen is back in business; he pushed Eelke de Boer back with an interesting exchange sacrifice.

Beerdsen-De Boer

27.Rxe6!? was already promising and eventually winning, but even more convincing would have been 27.Nxg7! Nxg7 28.Qxh6 Qf8 29.Bf6, e.g. 29...Rc6 30.Re7 and now 30...Bc8 31.Re8! would have been a nice finish.

Luca Moroni beat Machteld van Foreest with Black. He managed to trade his queen for two rooks which in the end proved stronger.

Luca Moroni


Andries Mellema didn't manage to push through his attack against Sipke Ernst. The latter said, 'After 16...e4 or 16...exd4 instead of his 16...0-0? I thought I would be totally dead.' Two moves later, after 17.Rf3 Nf5?! 18.dxe5 Qxe5 White was OK again already, and after that it went from bad to worse for Mellema.

Sipke Ernst


A big surprise is the play of John Cornelisse, who came on 4½ today by beating the talented Arthur de Winter. The latter again succumbed to a vulnerable rook on b8.


Bharath wins!

And the 15-year-old Indian now shares the lead with Evgeny Romanov in the Open.


Dardha draws even

After a real seasnake of a game, Daniel Dardha has drawn even in his match with Max Warmerdam. The latter thought he could exchange rooks on move 33 and play for a win, 'but in the resulting endgame it's Black who has to watch out.'

It probably went definitely wrong on move 63.

Here Warmerdam played 63...Kxa4? after which the king is too far away, and the knight gets too many squares. 63...Be3 might still have been good for a draw. Dardha finished off with good technique.