Last-minute substitute Hertneck in clear lead Batavia

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Last-minute substitute Hertneck in clear lead BataviaThe morning before the first round of the Batavia Chess Tournament in Amsterdam, Gerald Hertneck received a phone call. "Can you play?" His boss agreed, Hertneck went home, packed his bags and jumped on the train from Munich to Amsterdam. After five rounds the German grandmaster only conceded one draw.

The third Batavia Chess Tournament takes place 18-27 February 2011 in Café Batavia 1920 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The first two editions were IM groups, but thanks to sponsor Grolsch (a beer brewery) this year a GM group could be formed.


01. GM Hertneck, Gerald (GER, 2542) 02. IM Michiels, Bart (BEL, 2489) 03. GM Thipsay, Praveen (IND, 2461) 04. IM Bok, Benjamin (NED, 2453) 05. IM Van Kampen, Robin (NED, 2443) 06. IM Bosboom, Manuel (NED, 2438) 07. GM Murshed, Niaz (BAN, 2436) 08. IM Kleijn, Christov (NED, 2428) 09. IM Ris, Robert (NED, 2418) 10. IM Van Delft, Merijn (NED, 2387)

At the opening ceremony, cafe owner and organizer Peter Tames started with telling that just before the tournament one of the players had to cancel. On his way to the airport, GM Dibyendu Barua from India became unwell, and had to be taken into hospital with heart issues. (At the moment of writing he has already left hospital and is doing better.)

Tames at the opening ceremony

Peter Tames's speech at the opening ceremony

One can imagine it to be quite an effort to arrange a substitute at such short notice, especially someone who is strong enough to keep a GM norms possible for the seven IMs. However, relatively quickly the organizers managed: German GM Gerald Hertneck, in fact higher rated than Barua, agreed to play, thus increasing the average Elo from 2442 to 2450.


Gerald Hertneck

Hertneck: “I’m an IT project manager for the city of Munich. I was at work, and I got a phone call on Thursday morning. We exchanged some emails and quickly agreed. My boss said it was OK, I went home and packed my bags. After a seven and a half hours train ride I arrived at ten pm in Amsterdam Central station, quickly dropped by at the cafe and then went to bed.” And then, the next morning, the German Grandmaster was the first of all the players to arrive in Cafe Batavia!

Five out of nine rounds have been played (today is the first and only rest day), and despite a rough start, Hertneck scored 4.5 points. In the first round the German GM survived a lost position against IM Manuel Bosboom:

Hertneck-Bosboom Amsterdam 2011 Hertneck-Bosboom 32… Qxe6?? (32… Kf7-+) 33. Qxg6+ 1-0

Perhaps Hertneck's best move so far was his quick draw with GM Niaz Murshed in the second round, to get over that first round game and, well, to get used to the fact that he was actually playing a chess tournament! His best game, as he described it himself, he played yesterday against IM Robert Ris:

Hertneck-Ris Amsterdam 2011 Hertneck-Bosboom

From what seemed like an equal position, he reached a big advantage almost by force. 18. Ne4! cxd4 (18… Be7 was worth considering. Hertneck was planning 19. d5 but 19… exd5 20. Rxd5 Qc6 21. Qg4 g6 22. Rad1 Nb6 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8 24. Rxd8+ Bxd8 looks close to equal. 19. Rac1 “From now on a lot of forced moves follow.” (Hertneck) 19… Qa5 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Nxf6+ Nxf6 22. Rxd4!


This move involves a beautiful combination. 22… Rd8 (22… Qxa2 23. Qc2!! and the rook as to go, when White wins the queen with 24.Ra4. A devilish idea!) 23. Ra4 Qd5+ 24. e4 Qc5 25. Ba3! “A nice intermediate move.” (Hertneck) 25… Qb6 26. Be7 Rd7?! (26… Rc8 was more tenacious.)


27. Rb4! Qa5 28. Rb5 Qa6 29. Bxf6 gxf6 30. Qg4+ Kf8 31. Rh5 and White won. “It looked like he played everything right, and suddenly I am much better. This is the kind of game I like.” (Hertneck)

Hertneck vs Ris

Hertneck vs Ris (1-0, round 5)

Below you'll find all games for replay. However, the tournament website has much more info with daily round reports and photos. [Disclaimer: That site was all done by the author of this report.]

Game viewer

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Batavia Tournament 2011 | Round 5 Standings


Lots of 'gezelligheid' in Cafe Batavia, here with IM Bart Michiels, IM Merijn van Delft, IM Manuel Bosboom and kibitzer GM Dimitri Reinderman on Tuesday during round 5


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