Experience beats Rising Stars 3-2 in first round NH Chess Tournament (VIDEOS!)

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
NH Chess Tournament 2009Already in the first round of the NH Chess Tournament, the players of the Experience team have made their intentions clear: we're not going to suffer like last year (or suffer at all)! They beat the Rising Stars team 3-2; with victories for Svidler and Heine Nielsen. Videos of the opening and first round now available.

The NH Chess Tournament takes place August 20-31 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.


Round 1

Report by the official website

In the first round of the NH Chess Tournament the Experience team defeated the Rising stars 3-2, making it clear that in no way they intend to repeat last year’s debacle. Peter Svidler and Peter Heine Nielsen won their games against Hou Yifan and Daniel Stellwagen. Jan Smeets saved the honour of the Rising Stars by beating Alexander Beliavsky in the longest game of the day.

On the first day the Experience team had the white pieces in all five games, as was decided last night at the drawing of lots. The festive opening ceremony didn’t take place at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, which is the venue of the tournament, but at another NH hotel, the neighbouring NH Barbizon Palace. There, in the splendid Saint Olof Chapel (originally built in 1430 and thoroughly renovated in the 1990s), the players and guests were welcomed with a cocktail, a fine dinner and a spectacular performance of the New Classic Quartet, four gentlemen with great voices singing a variety of musical and classical songs. The drawing of lots was essentially a simple affair. The players were invited to come forward to pick one of ten ‘Cowparade’ cows that had either an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ glued to them. The Experience team picked the majority of ‘A’s and won the right to play white in the first round.

Peter Svidler defeated Hou Yifan in a game that to his mind at least showed on which team he belongs. ‘This was an old man’s game. I got absolutely nothing from the opening, but I kept asking questions.’ For a long time the Chinese grandmaster kept finding the right answers to these questions, but they took her a lot of time and when the moment came to calculate she lacked time to do so properly. When Black’s d-pawn appeared on d2 she should have taken it. But not liking the idea that Black would take her f-pawn she rejected the idea and ended up in a lost position.

NH Chess Tournament 2009

Peter Heine Nielsen and Daniel Stellwagen played a slightly irregular King’s Indian that seemed to be going fine for White. The Danish grandmaster created some positional trumps on the queenside and it wasn’t easy to see how Black’s kingside attack would develop. Interestingly Nielsen was rather pessimistic about his position in the post-mortem, but probably John Nunn’s verdict was closer to the truth when he described the game as a typical King’s Indian gone wrong. ‘You try some desperate tactics to justify your play and when they don’t work you resign.’ Indeed Stellwagen’s attacking actions starting with 18...g5 and 19...Nf4 lacked punch and when he realized on move 26 that he was simply a piece and a rook down without any compensation, he resigned.

The game between Alexander Beliavsky and Jan Smeets was the longest game of the day. After 68 moves and five and a half hours of play a dizzy Smeets walked out of the playing hall. He had won, but his first comment was: ‘This was no fun.’ After the opening he was doomed to passivity and he was greatly concerned about his chances. ‘You can look at your position endlessly, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not an inspiring position.’ The turning point came when Beliavsky allowed himself an intermediate move, 32.Rb6, where the calm 32.hxg4 would have left him with a solid plus. Now Black’s pieces came to life and this sudden activity proved too much for Beliavsky’s nerves. He fought on for a long time, but in the end he had to admit the inevitable.

The shortest game of the day was the one between Loek van Wely and Fabiano Caruana. From a Four-Knight English Opening White didn’t obtain any advantage and Black was never in any problems. After two hours and forty minutes of play Van Wely admitted that his approach had brought him nothing, played 22.Qe2 and offered a draw. As his opponent had no reason to disagree that was the result.

NH Chess Tournament 2009

The game between Ljubomir Ljubojevic and Hikaru Nakamura ended in a disappointment for the American Champion. True to style he was spoiling for a fight right from the start, even if he was playing with the black pieces. To stir up complications Nakamura played the double-edged Dutch Defence and was rewarded for his courage when he calculated more deeply in a complicated tactical skirmish. The exchange he had sacrificed he got back and he ended up in an endgame with an extra pawn, which was winning. But with his first win within reach he spoiled his chances with 38...Kf7, where 38...Kd8 would have decided the issue without too many complications. Nakamura kept trying, but after 60 moves he had to resign himself to half a point.

NH Chess Tournament 2009

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