NH: Giri beats Ljubojevic

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NH Chess Tournament 2010In the eighth round of the NH Chess Tournament the Rising Stars further increased their lead over the Experience team with a 3-2 win. In the only decisive game Anish Giri managed to outplay Ljubomir Ljubojevic with the black pieces.

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 8



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Round 8



Report by the official website

The game between Peter Heine Nielsen and Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw after a fourfold repetition. Indeed, a threefold repetition normally suffices for a draw, but Nakamura was so frustrated by the winning chances he had squandered that he first turned down a draw offer after the second repetition and only returned the offer when the same position had arisen for the fourth time. After the opening the game was more or less equal, but Nielsen wasn’t surprised that that didn’t stop Nakamura from continuing to try. The American grandmaster was rewarded for his combativeness when Nielsen attempted to shake off the building pressure with an exchange sacrifice that didn’t do him much good. Soon his position was lost and only a miracle could save him. That miracle Nakamura took care of when he let his rook be locked up on h6. Suddenly White was out of danger and he might even consider playing for a win. In fact, that was Nakamura’s last hope and when Nielsen realized that such a winning attempt was highly risky the inevitable end of the game was a draw.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Peter Svidler and Fabiano Caruana also had an adventurous afternoon. The Italian number one was allowed to show a novelty in a Ruy Lopez with 6…Bc5 that he had prepared some time ago. His 18…Bd7 was an improvement over 18…c4, which was played in a game Kasparov-Topalov in 1997. The novelty didn’t bring Caruana much joy as one move on he made a losing mistake! He should have played 19…Nf5 as after 19…Rb6 20.f5! he was in deep trouble. But the drama wasn’t over yet. With 24.Ba4 Svidler turned a winning position (which he would have had after 24.Bxd5) into a dubious position in which Black was winning. Or at least seemed to be winning with two extra pawns. But the game miraculously ended in a draw and, moreover, in the post-mortem the players failed to find a forced win for Black!

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Boris Gelfand and Wesley So tested each other judgement in a complicated Meran. The Israeli grandmaster tried to exploit the weakness of the white squares on the queenside, but his opponent played precisely and the position became totally equal. On move 25 Gelfand offered a draw and So had no objections.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Ljubomir Ljubojevic and Anish Giri had a lively discussion in the post-mortem about the correctness of pawn sacrifice that the young Dutch grandmaster had gone for to complicate matters in a solid Meran position. Ljubojevic was convinced that White’s position was to be preferred, but the lines they looked at and the verdict of the computer supported Giri’s judgement. Black had sufficient compensation and ended up in the driver’s seat after White’s knight manoeuvre Ne1-c2, which invited 23…Bxg2 and wild complications that favoured Black. Ljubojevic believed White would have had a clear advantage if he had gone 21.d5, but in that case 21…Rac8 gives Black good play. Giri got a wonderful attack and after the neat 29…Ne4 the fight was essentially over.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

The longest game of the day, lasting almost six hours and 88 moves, was the fight between Loek van Wely and David Howell. The tough tussle ended in another disappointment for Van Wely. The Dutch grandmaster played the middlegame very well and had a technically winning position for a good part of the game, but in the end he failed to capitalize on his opponent’s mistakes and had to settle for a draw.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

With two rounds to go the Rising Stars are leading 22-18 in the overall standings. In the fight for the ticket to the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament, Anish Giri is half a point ahead of Hikaru Nakamura and one full point ahead of Fabiano Caruana.

NH Chess Tournament 2010 | Round 8 Standings
NH Chess Tournament 2010 | Round 8 Standings


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