Rising Stars maintain two-point lead at halftime

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
NH Chess Tournament 2010In the fifth round of the NH Chess Tournament the Rising Stars and the Experience team split the points. Anish Giri’s win over Peter Heine Nielsen was compensated for by Boris Gelfand’s win over Hikaru Nakamura. Halfway through the event the Rising Stars lead 13½-11½.

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 5

Game viewer by ChessTempo


Round 5

Report by the official website

The longest game of the day, lasting 75 moves and five and a half hours was the protracted struggle between Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gelfand. In the opening Gelfand managed to reach a position from the Queen’s Gambit Accepted with an extra tempo. That put him in an optimistic mood and made him decide on an interesting exchange sacrifice. After the game he believed that White could have improved on 17.Bg3 with 17.Rfd1 which would have led to big complications in which he ‘hoped to survive’. In the middlegame Nakamura defended well and at some point he should have gone for a rook ending of four against three which would have been a sure draw. Instead, as Gelfand put it, the American grandmaster was ‘hesitating, got into time-trouble and messed up the position completely.’ In the end they reached an ending of Queen and Pawn (Gelfand) against Rook (Nakamura) which wasn’t too hard to win for the Israeli number one.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Fabiano Caruana missed an excellent chance to improve his score to plus-2 at the expense of Ljubomir Ljubojevic. The Italian grandmaster got an excellent position from a line against the Rubinstein Variation in the French Defence that he had been looking at recently. After the game he condemned Black’s 9…Nxe3 as ‘very risky’. On move 15 White could already have won a pawn with the tactic 15.Qb5+ Bd7 16.Qxb7, but Caruana believed that further strengthening his position with 15.0-0 was even better. White was soon winning, but he spoiled his chances with 30.R4d6 where he could have won easily with 30.Rxb7 Qxa2 31.h3. What Caruana had missed was that after 32…Qxb2, White cannot go 33.Qxh6 because of 33…Qb6+ and the white e6 pawn drops. White’s win evaporated and on move 43 the draw was a fact.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

The game between Wesley So and Loek van Wely lasted less than one and a half hours and didn’t get the spectators in raptures. The Philippine grandmaster was surprised by his opponent’s 3…a6, an old variation that was often played by Oleg Romanishin. Unfamiliar with this line, So didn’t find the best set-up for White and already on move 15 he decided that a repetition of moves was an acceptable end to the game for him. Van Wely was slightly surprised by So’s timidity and blamed it on his painful loss yesterday. Of course, there were ways to continue the game if So had really wanted to. Van Wely, on the other hand, wasn’t willing to sidestep the repetition either and he, too, was thinking of yesterday. ‘I already blew myself up against Giri, I didn’t want to run that risk again.’

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Anish Giri had more or less expected Peter Heine Nielsen to play another opening that his boss Vishy Anand used in the recent World Championship match and indeed he did. This time Nielsen went for a Grünfeld and Giri opted for a set-up with g3. With 8…c5, the Danish GM played the most critical line, but he got into trouble when he mixed up the moves. After 13…cxd4 14.exd4 Be6, Black is fine, but after the immediate 13…Be6 White won a pawn. However, Black had some compensation for this material loss, particularly because White also used up a lot of time. When he was asked after the game if he hadn’t been bothered by the fact that he was half an hour behind on the clock at a certain point, Giri quipped, ‘I’d rather have an extra pawn than an extra half hour.’ In the end it was Nielsen’s time-trouble that decided the game. With a few inaccuracies Giri had spoiled most of his advantage and with 35…Ba6 Nielsen would have been very close to a draw, but down to about a minute he erred with 35…Rc4 and soon he lost his queen and his position collapsed.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

David Howell and Peter Svidler played an opening that not only baffled the spectators, but also themselves. In a Scottish Opening, Howell couldn’t believe his eyes when Svidler went 10…d6, a move which he figured was impossible (in his preparation that morning he had only looked at 10…f6). When Howell failed to fully suppress his astonishment, Svidler also suddenly realized that he had missed that after 11.Qg4+ Black is losing the knight on d5. Howell started to calculate to see if his assessment had been correct and spent over an hour on his next move. He also considered the alternative 11.Ba3, but then he took the plunge and grabbed the knight, even if by then he had seen that things were not as easy as they had seemed. Svidler, much to his amazement, had come to the same conclusion, and when after 18 moves, in a position where White had good compensation for the exchange he was down, the Russian grandmaster offered a draw, Howell only needed to have a brief look at the board and the clock before he accepted.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

In the fight for the ticket to the 2011 Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament, 16-year-old Anish Giri is leading with 3½ from 5, half a point ahead of runner-up Fabiano Caruana. Tomorrow is a rest day. Round 6 will be played on Wednesday, August 18.


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