Hou Yifan Trails In Hoogeveen Match

Hou Yifan Trails In Hoogeveen Match

At half time in Hoogeveen, the experienced grandmasters are on top against their younger opponents. Both Nigel Short and Ivan Sokolov lead their matches 2-1 versus Hou Yifan and Jorden van Foreest respectively.

It's too early to write off the older generation just yet. On Tuesday, both Short and Sokolov took a 2-1 lead, which is the score in both matches during the rest day. As compensation, both Hou and Van Foreest get to play White in two of the three remaining games.

After missing a win in the first game, Short played an "old man's draw" (as he put it) in the second. Hou wasn't able to break Black's French fortress. But in his second white game, Short struck for the first time.

In a Catalan, Hou made a positional mistake and tactical mistake as after the queen trade, White won a pawn by force.

"My technique was terrible," Short sighed. "I just got nervous."

"Well, you did play quite straightforwardly," Hou replied according to Peter Boel on the tournament website.

A delighted Nigel Short after his win in game three. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

The other match is most spectacular—three games and three white wins. We've seen the first, a King's Indian won by Sokolov. Shortly after analyzing with his opponent, Van Foreest returned to the press room to show the new weapon he had just bought!

Van Foreest, ready for his next black game. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

But first he had to play the white pieces in game two, and he came to the board well prepared. He seemed to have much better control than Sokolov of the subtleties of the Philidor, an opening he used successfully in the recent Dutch Championship (which he won).

A ruthless attack by Van Foreest. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

And then, on Tuesday Van Foreest had Black again in game three—indeed, it was another King's Indian. But somehow Vassilios Kotronias failed to help Van Foreest properly, or perhaps was it the Dutchman failing to understand all the necessary opening intricacies in just two days? In any case, Sokolov punished his opponent nicely for abandoning his king.

A fine game by Sokolov. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

In the open tournament, the two Indian GMs, Abhijeet Gupta and Lalith Babu, are leading with 5.0/5. Whereas the match players enjoy a rest day on Wednesday, the open has a grueling double round.


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