There Can Be Only One: Bachmann Wins 10th Limburg Open

There Can Be Only One: Bachmann Wins 10th Limburg Open

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

The BPB Limburg Open, now the biggest open tournament in Europe during the Pentecost weekend, was won by second seed Axel Bachmann. The Paraguayan grandmaster scored 6.0/7 and finished ahead of five players on 5.5 points.

It was already the tenth edition of the tournament in Maastricht, The Netherlands. In the past decade the tournament has become one of the biggest of the country. This year a new record number of participants was set at 496.  

There's probably no bigger event in Europe (and possible worldwide) during the weekend of Pentecost — the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit for Christians, and “just another free holiday” on Monday for most of the Dutch.

In any case, this long weekend is perfectly suitable for a seven-round tournament. There's one game on Friday, two on Saturday, two on Sunday and two on Monday. The time control was two hours for the whole game with 15 seconds increment per move.

This year the organizers decided to work with four ratings groups, and the strongest was for players rated above 2050. The total prize fund was €9,500 ($10,754) with €2,250 ($2,547) going to the winner.

The A group had 129 players which included 16 GMs and 7 IMs. Six players were rated 2600 or above: Christian Bauer (France, 2634), Axel Bachmann (Paraguay, 2632), Tigran Gharamian (Armenia, 2627), Alexandr Fier (Brazil, 2624), Daniel Fridman (2614, Germany), and Bartosz Socko (Poland, 2600).

The first round saw a few upsets, starting with the top seed. Bauer was held to a draw by Dutch talent Hing Ting Lai, who had won the national U20 title for the second year in a row just a week before. The real David vs Goliath, which involved another French grandmaster, was Bob Beeke (2244) beating Anthony Wirig (2494) but unfortunately this game is not available at the time of writing.

The second round hardly saw any upsets. In a battle of former winners, GM Emanuel Berg quickly beat Belgian IM Mher Hovhannisyan in an opening Berg played himself for years (and even wrote books about):

Playing the French against Berg is asking for trouble. | Photo Zhaoqin Peng.

In the third round the eventual winner of the tournament was under a bit of pressure. In the following position he had just played 31...Nc6-b8 and so all his pieces are on the back rank. It's hard to imagine that he was going to win this, and rather quickly.

Meanwhile, the top seed won his second game in a row after starting with a draw. He set up a remarkable opening trap which was known to theory.

A nasty trick played by Christian Bauer. | Photo Zhaoqin Peng.

Another nice game was Daniel Fridman against the aforementioned Lai. The latter thought he didn't have to defend his c6-pawn yet, but the German grandmaster looked a bit deeper.

The two B's, Bachmann and Berg, were the ony two players to reach 4.0/4. Obviously they met for round five on top board for the true Highlander battle. There can be only one! The Paraguayan used the Botvinnik setup in the English, which is good enough for a small plus if Black plays pure King's Indian style. Still, Berg was doing OK until he suddenly blundered material.

Bachmann was finally held to a draw by Dutch GM Robin Swinkels in round six but he kept his half-point lead. Also in the last round Bachman drew his game, with Fier, and he ended clear first as none of the three players on five points managed to win.

Axel Bachmann wins in Maastricht. | Photo Zhaoqin Peng.

2016 Limburg Open | Final Standings (Top 20)

Pos ID T NAME Rtg PRtg Fed Pts DirE ARO.
1 2 GM Bachmann, Axel 2632 2722 PAR 6.0 0.0 2413.3
2 3 GM Gharamian, Tigran 2627 2738 FRA 5.5 0.0 2508.0
3 4 GM Fier, Alexandr 2624 2642 BRA 5.5 0.0 2411.7
4 8 GM Van Foreest, Jorden 2557 2635 NED 5.5 0.0 2404.9
5 15 GM Swinkels, Robin 2485 2624 NED 5.5 0.0 2394.4
6 1 GM Bauer, Christian 2634 2638 FRA 5.5 0.0 2364.5
7 7 GM Berg, Emanuel 2581 2569 SWE 5.0 0.0 2410.7
8 6 GM Socko, Bartosz 2600 2551 POL 5.0 0.0 2393.0
9 23 FM Van Dooren, Dirk 2365 2534 NED 5.0 0.0 2376.3
10 29 FM Lai, Hing Ting 2332 2524 NED 5.0 0.0 2365.9
11 5 GM Fridman, Daniel 2614 2481 GER 5.0 0.0 2322.9
12 13 GM Wirig, Anthony 2494 2476 FRA 5.0 0.0 2318.0
13 18 IM Feuerstack, Aljoscha 2452 2461 GER 5.0 0.0 2303.3
14 16 IM Hovhannisyan, Mher 2470 2460 BEL 5.0 0.0 2302.3
15 14 GM Dambacher, Martijn 2486 2431 NED 5.0 0.0 2273.4
16 17 IM Ducarmon, Quinten 2470 2391 NED 5.0 0.0 2232.9
17 9 GM Chatalbashev, Boris 2548 2520 BUL 4.5 0.0 2418.3
18 63 Bus, Tom 2178 2467 NED 4.5 0.0 2365.4
19 12 GM Schroeder, Jan-Christian 2508 2462 GER 4.5 0.0 2359.6
20 21 FM Warmerdam, Max 2387 2416 NED 4.5 0.0 2358.7

(Full final standings here.)

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