Sokolov wins last Essent Tournament

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Sokolov wins 12th EssentIt came as no surprise after he won all his games in the first half: Ivan Sokolov has won the 12th and last edition of the Essent Tournament in Hoogeveen. He ended on 5 /6 in the Crown Group, whereas in the Open Group there was a three-way tie between Nijboer, Fier and Haslinger.

The 12th Essent Tournament, which took place October 17-25 in Hoogeveen, The Netherlands was the last edition under its famous name. Dutch energy company Essent had already made clear a while ago that this year's tournament would be the last for them, but the good news is that during the prize giving, tournament director Jeroen van den Berg could already announce a new sponsor for 2009: insurance company Univ?ɬ©. They have committed themselves for one, and took an option for two more years.

Traditionally played with pieces and chess boards of glass, this year's Crown Group had GMs Ivan Sokolov (2650), Jan Smeets (2604), Ahmed Adly (2586) and Marie Sebag (2533). In our previous report we saw that Sokolov won all his first three games.

By drawing Sebag and Adly and beating Smeets again (Sokolov vs the current Dutch champion: 2-0) the Bosnian-born Dutch grandmaster was in a class of his own this year. Adly and Smeets finished on 2.5 and Sebag on 2. Here are all games of the second half:



[TABLE=435]



When we left the tournament, in the Open Group Alexandr Fier from Brazil had 5.5/6 and was leading by a full point. He was followed by GMs Nijboer, Gupta, Haslinger, Hort, Naumkin, Pavlovic and Agamaliev and IM Spoelman who were all on 4.5. Drawing his last three games, Fier had to allow Haslinger (ENG) and Nijboer (NED) to catch him for shared first - they both scored 2.5 points out of their last 3 rounds. In the end it was the Dutch grandmaster who finished with the best tiebreak.

Here's a selection of important games from the last three rounds:



[TABLE=436]



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