Black day for Experience team

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NH Chess Tournament 2010In the third round of the NH Chess Tournament the Rising Stars swept the Experience team 4-1. Hikaru Nakamura improved his personal score to 2½ from 3 with a win over Peter Heine Nielsen, Fabiano Caruana successfully exploited a strong opening novelty against Peter Svidler, and David Howell posted his second consecutive win in a wild time-trouble fight with Loek van Wely. The overall score after three rounds is 9½-5½ in favour of the Rising Stars.

The NH Chess Tournament takes place August 12-22 in hotel Krasnapolsky, in the heart of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. As always, the tournament is a confrontation between a team of five young ‘Rising Stars’ and a team of five ‘Experienced’ grandmasters.

Table of players

The two teams play a ‘Scheveningen’ tournament, which means that each player of one team plays against each of the players of the other team. They do so twice, once with the white pieces and once with the black pieces. The team that collects most points wins the tournament. The best player of the 'Rising Stars' team will be invited to the 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament in March 2011 in Nice, provided he or she scores over 50% in the NH Chess Tournament in Amsterdam.

Games round 3



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Round 3



Report by the official website

Hikaru Nakamura obtained a pleasant space advantage against Peter Heine Nielsen, who chose a rather passive line in the Queen’s Gambit Declined with 7…Nh5. However, the advantage the American grandmaster got he mostly squandered when he mixed up the move-order and went 23.Ne4 where he should have gone 23.Reb1. But then Nielsen returned the favour when he played 24…Ra3, and Nakamura, as he put it, ‘got lucky’. This time when he got the chance to put his knight on e4 he was ‘simply winning’ and indeed it was remarkable to see how soon the black position collapsed.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Fabiano Caruana had done some excellent preparation for his game against Peter Svidler. Not surprisingly a Grünfeld Defence appeared on the board, the Russian grandmaster’s specialty. On move 12 Svidler deviated from an earlier game against Caruana when instead of 12…e5, he went for the less usual 12…Be5. That didn’t bother the Italian number one too much, as he got the chance to play 16.Qe1, a strong novelty he had found two months ago. As his second Boris Avrukh said admiringly, ‘No engine suggests this move’. With 19.c4 (now 19…Rxd4 is impossible because of 20.Ne2) and 20.d5 White built up a strong centre and with pointed play he managed to win a pawn in the ensuing tactical complications. He could have struck a decisive blow with 33.Nh5+, but at this point he was getting nervous and running short of time because he failed to find a direct win. One move later, when checking all possible moves, he did find the knight sacrifice and here, too, this lead to a winning position. If you want to hear how in the remainder of the game he drove home his advantage (and more about the first part of the game as well) we strongly advise you to listen to Caruana’s commentary in the ‘live stream’ on our home page.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

The shortest game of the day, taking barely more than an hour, was the one between Wesley So and Boris Gelfand. The Israeli grandmaster encountered no problems in his pet Petroff Defence, showing once again how well-prepared he is in this opening. So apologetically remarked that they had taken an extra free day. He had been looking at all kinds of lines in his preparation, but had not been able to come up with anything concrete to worry Black. And indeed, against Gelfand’s precise play (for instance, in the post-mortem he pointed out that to his mind 15…Qxc3 is more precise than 15…Bxh2+ - which has also been seen a lot – because in that case he feels that White has some edge after 16.Kh1 Bd6 17.c4) he achieved nothing and after 21 moves the game ended in a repetition of moves.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Anish Giri seemed to have everything he could dream of in his game against Ljubomir Ljubojevic after he had played 14.Be3. In fact he was so happy with his position that he got carried away and decided to sacrifice a piece with 18.Qb3 believing that his pressure was such that he would get the piece back with interest anyway. However, 18.e4 or the mundane 18.Bb2 would have been wiser. As it turned out Giri didn’t get the piece back, but only some compensation for his material investment and nothing more. Now it was Ljubojevic who was playing for a win, but things were far from clear and the players failed to find a forced win for Black in their analysis after the game. What they did find was that Black’s knight combined with his queen posed enough counter-threats to stop White’s passed pawns from deciding the issue. With 46…Kg6 Ljubojevic could still have tried to play for a win (which most likely wasn’t there), but he agreed to a draw by allowing White a perpetual.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

The encounter between David Howell and Loek van Wely was a heavy Sicilian battle that cost both of them oceans of time. White won a pawn, but seemed to have sufficient compensation. Van Wely wasn’t happy with his manoeuvre 18…Kf8 and 19…Nh6, instead he believed 18…Nh6 trying to push …f5 would have been more to the point. He also agreed with Ljubomir Ljubojevic who told him that his queen would have been much better positioned on d7 than on c7. Black’s problems came to a head after 25 moves when he had to give a piece and could only hope that his kingside pawns would confuse his opponent. At that point Howell had 6 minutes left for the remaining 15 moves to the time-control against 8 for Van Wely. But White’s task wasn’t that difficult and after they had reached the time-control, the Dutch grandmaster resigned.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

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