Snowdrops vs Oldhands part 2

Snowdrops vs Oldhands part 2

| 24 | Chess Players

If you missed it, the first half of this tournament report is here. And now for the decisive moment in the match--

The 5th round failed our expectations, and the Oldhands won again. Hort defeated Kulovana, who was fighting rather desperately in each game, but often got into time trouble, not to mention being generally outclassed. Muzychuk and Vaganian played an interesting game:


14...b3! 15.axb3? [White should have taken with a different pawn 15.cxb3 Nxd3+ 16.Qxd3 Nb4 17.Qb1 a5 =+ White will put knights on c3 and d4, defending stubbornly] 15...Nb4 16.Ned4 [No good is 16.Ne1 a5 17.Kb1 Ba6 with a strong initiative for Black] 16...Ncxd3+ 17.cxd3 a5 18.Nc2? [It was time to run with the king 18.Qe3 a4 19.Kd2 axb3 20.Ke2=+] 18...d4?! This interesting move opens up access to d4 and d5 and gives the bishop more space. However, much stronger was 18...Rb8  followed by Bа6 and Rfc8, where White would be under tremendous pressure 19.Nfxd4 Bb7 20.Qe3?! [Here White had a chance to stabilize the position by 20.Kb1 as Black needs time to play a4, and White will create counteplay with f5] 20...Bd5 [A better idea was to bring the rook into the game - 20...Rfc8] 21.Rd2 [The king can’t leave the fortress yet: 21.Kd2 Nxc2 22.Nxc2 Bxb3 23.Rc1 Rfd8] 21...a4 22.bxa4? I guess by this point both players were in time trouble, as they started making serious blunders [Must-play was 22.Nxb4 Qxb4 23.Kd1 axb3 24.Ke2=+] 22...Rxa4? [Winning was 22...Nxc2 23.Nxc2 (23.Rxc2 Rxa4–+) 23...Rfc8 24.Kd1 Bb3–+] 23.Kd1 Ra2? [Keeping up the pressure was 23...Rc8 24.Ke2 (24.Na3 Bb7 25.Qf2 Ba6 26.Rh3 Qd7=+24...Bxg2 25.Rg1 Bb7=+] 24.Ke2 Rxb2 25.Nxb4 Qxb4 26.Nf3 White has a solid position, so Black doesn’t have any real winning chances 26...Ra8 27.Rhd1 Rxd2+ 28.Rxd2 Ra4 29.g3 h6 30.Ne1 Qb1 31.Kf2 g6 32.Rc2 Kg7 33.Qc1 Qb4 34.Qd2 Qb6+ 35.Qe3 Qb1 36.Qc1 Qb6+ 37.Qe3 1/2


Muzychuk and Vaganian analyzing. WGM Yulia Kochetkova is also taking part

PhotoMartin Chrz  


So, we were down four points – 12:8. After the 6th round it was basically over. The Oldhands crushed us 3.5-0.5. Huebner won against Sachdev, Vaganian defeated Kulovana, and I lost to Gulko. Unfortunately, we didn’t put up much of a fight in this round.


26.Rxd5simple and flashy dxe5 [26...exd5 27.Bxd5+ Kh8 28.Ng6++-] 27.Rdxe5 Qf7 28.R1e2 Rd6 29.Qb3 Ne7 30.Rxe6 Rc8 31.h3 Kh8 32.Rxh6+ 1–0


Hort walking past the demonstration boards

Photo: Martin Chrz 


Now our goal was to win at least one round. Apart from two victories by Muzychuk, none of our players had won a single game.

Nonetheless, in round 7 and 8 we weren’t able to attain our goal. In round 7 Gulko deafeated Kulovana, while other games were drawn.


25.Qxh5? Strangely enough, this spectacular move is a blunder. White is winning a pawn, but losing most of the advantage. [After 25.h4! and then g4 White would have been seriously better] 25...f5 26.Qd1 f4 27.Ng4 Nhf6 Black has stabilized the position and drawn 1/2


Sachdev, Smekail and Konopko analyzing Tania’s game against Hort.

Photo: Martin Chrz 


On the final day, the Oldhands won 3-1, so the score of the match became 21-11. Huebner beat Kulovana, and Vaganian won vs Sachdev. I had a commanding advantage against Hort, but blundered a few times and let him escape with a draw.

Here’s a nice tactical shot from the 8th round:


19.Qxh5! 1–0


Photo: Martin Chrz 


So, just as expected, this time the Oldhands won the match and restored the parity: 2-2. While the score looks devastating, many of the games were quite intense and close. In fact, we missed a couple of chances. I doubt it was realistic to win overall (as the mathematical expectancy for our performance was 10.24 points; we got 11), but we might have kept the intrigue intact for a longer period of time. However, this time, unlike the previous editions, the veterans were all very well-prepared and in good chessic and physical shape.

Robert Huebner was the best player of the Oldhands team with 6/8, while among the Snowdrops Mariya Muzychuk got 5/8.



Photo: Martin Chrz 


It was a great pleasure to face such renowned grandmasters over the board, communicate with them and analyze games together. Each of our veteran opponents was willing to share experience, and that is a great opportunity for young players such as us.

I would also like to say special thanks to the team of organizers headed by Pavel Matocha. The tournament was held in a beautiful city and a wonderful atmosphere. The place was quite cozy, there was nothing to worry or complain about. Each day the spectators could watch the games live with commentary by David Navara, Sergei Movsesian (both rated 2700+!), Jan Smejkal, and Michal Konopko. A simul and book presentation by GM Genna Sosonko also took place. All the participants were glad to taste water from special mineral springs and the famous Czech beer. Overall, I wish the tournament further successes and a long history.

A few more photos:





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