The angel on Friso’s shoulder

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Friso Nijboer already had a nice summer to look back on and prolonged it a bit more last week with a tournament victory on Mallorca. At Calvia, where the Olympiad of 2004 was held, he took sole first price in quite a strong field, thanks to a bit of help from above.

A lot of people wonder what happened to Nijboer recently. He passed fourty and started a nice march up the world rankings! Okay, he did win tournaments before, but usually he took about fifteen rating points twice at some tournaments in the summer, to loose thirty again in the next one. In 2006 he barely lost points and so he's close to a magnificent 2650.

In Calvia everything seemed to work for Friso. He actually did not win that much rating points because of his second round loss against Spaniard Borges Mateos (2431) who played a model game against Friso's new love, the Dutch Defense (the game is recommended for players with the white pieces who will meet Nijboer soon at the board!) But he won't mind because he won a big prize after winning two study-like endings in the final phase of the tournament.

Nijboer-Strikovic Calvia (08), 2006

White got a better ending after the opening but didn't make the most of it. Here Black's only move is 45...c5 after which the ending is drawn: 46. b5 Bb6! 47. Ne2+ Kd3 48. Ng1 e2 and the black king keeps on hunting the white knight. In the game White won after 45... Bb6? 46. Ne2+! Kd3 47. c5! Ba7 48. b5 Kxe2 49. b6 Bxb6 50. cxb6 and the queen ending was totally won.

Damljanovic-Nijboer Calvia (09), 2006

White must still feel sick about what happened to him in the last round in Calvia. Of course he should have won the ending, or at least draw it. That he managed to loose it is difficult to imagine. Here 45.h5 was the move of course instead of 45. Nxh7? After 45... Bxh7 46. h5 Bb1 47. g6 Kd6 48. Kg5 Ke7 49. h6 Kf8 50. Kf6 Kg8 it led to the following position.

White took his a-pawn and pushed it forwards, his grandmasterly sight directed to the black square a3 I guess, after which the angel on Friso's shoulder pushed the pawn a bit further. 51.a4? Not Damljanovic but Nijboer won the tournament with 51...a5! when he ate the pawn and cashed four thousand euros. After 51. a3 a5 52. h7+ Kh8 53. Kf7 Ba2+ 54. Kf6 c5 55. Ke5 Kg7 56. Ke4 Le6 57. Ke5 a very funny drawn position arises.

Nijboer ended on 6,5 out of 9 and left experienced grandmasters like Romanishin, Conquest, Tiviakov, Vallejo Pons and Bruzon behind him. Full final results Still only rankings after round 8 here. (Again a webmaster who joined the organizers to the cafe, immediately after the prize giving!?) Full final standings here.

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