The Experience team hits back

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NH Chess Tournament 2010In the fourth round of the NH Chess Tournament the Experience team convincingly hit back after yesterday’s 1-4 rout. Thanks to three wins by Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Peter Heine Nielsen and Peter Svidler, they defeated the Rising Stars 3½-1½ and brought back the tension. The overall score after four rounds is 11-9 in favour of the Rising Stars.

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 4



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Round 4



Report by the official website

The fourth round started with a photo-shoot on the occasion of chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen’s 76th birthday. The grandmasters taking part in this fifth NH Chess Tournament were asked to be present in the playing room ten minutes before the start of the round and there a good old group portrait was made of the players and the arbiter. Once these pictures for posterity had been taken it was time to start the round, which after yesterday’s slugfest again saw a lot of bloodshed.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Peter Svidler was doubly motivated for his game against Hikaru Nakamura. To begin with he had promised his friend Jan Gustafsson, who was doing the live commentary on the Internet Chess Club (ICC), to provide some entertainment, and secondly his overall score against the American is most encouraging. Last year he beat him twice at the NH tournament (true, Nakamura was ill during that tournament) and in between that tournament and this one he had also defeated him at the European Club Cup. The cause of Black’s problems was his overly ambitious play in a Caro-Kann. His queen sortie to b6 (less ambitious and safer is 9…Qb6) followed by an excursion into White’s queenside cost him a lot of time and didn’t bring him anything when he played 12…Nd5 instead of going for 12…Bxe4 13.Nxe4 Nd5 14.Rh3 Qa4 when at least he would have had a pawn for his passive position. After White regained the pawn his position was a dream. It isn’t every day that you get such great play so early in the game presented on a platter. Black definitely was in deep trouble after 19…Qd8, which left him completely tied up, where he still could have cherished some hopes after 19…Qb6 20.Qf4 0-0-0. Now Svidler’s only task was to remain concentrated and haul in the point, which he did after 37 moves.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Boris Gelfand and Fabiano Caruana conducted an interesting opening discussion. The Israeli grandmaster went for the rather rare 3.Bf4 against Black’s Slav set-up, but this failed to surprise his opponent, who happened to have been studying this possibility and came up with the strong novelty 7…c5. Now the critical continuation would have been 8.Nc3, which gives White satisfactory play, but involves a double pawn sacrifice. After 8.Na3 soon an ending arose that was slightly dangerous for White, but Gelfand was up to the task, sacrificed the exchange when he had to and was even pressing a bit at the end. However, with the precise 21…Kb8 and 22…Rhe8, Caruana secured the draw.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Ljubomir Ljubojevic recovered from his poor start with a win over Wesley So. The young grandmaster from the Philippines had absolutely no complaints after the opening and ambitiously went for more with 15…Bxd4, giving White doubled d-pawns. Black was still fine, but he overestimated his position and when he let his queen be sidelined on h3, he should have started looking for ways to save the game. Afterwards he was unhappy about 23…a3 and thought that at this point he should have tried to bring back his knight into play with 23…N2c4. Now he was forced to sacrifice his queen, but this act of desperation didn’t bring any relief and after 32 moves he had to resign.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

The clash between the number one rated Dutch player, Loek van Wely (2677), and his closest rival Anish Giri (2672) ended in a win for the Dutch junior. In the opening White tried to trick Black with his move-order, postponing Qc2, but it was Giri who profited from his plan with 6…e5, which gave him good play. Now White gets nothing if he plays slowly, so Giri was not surprised when Van Wely opted for the aggressive 9.g4. Before he went 10…e4, he briefly checked the piece sacrifice 11.Nxd5 and seeing it was ‘rubbish’ he proceeded with his original plan and wasn’t shocked when Van Wely went for the piece sacrifice anyway. Still, things weren’t that easy and during the game Giri wasn’t so sure if he was playing the best moves, but the lively post-mortem convinced him that he had played better than he had thought and that he had been winning all the way.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

Peter Heine Nielsen played the 4.Bg5 variation against the Grünfeld Defence of David Howell, a relatively calm approach compared to other main lines. Still, the players soon found themselves in a minefield of complications, where every move carried great weight. In this phase Nielsen managed to obtain the initiative and after Howell had played 21…Qf6 (the queen would have been better placed on d7), he won a pawn. This material plus proved decisive and although Black must have maintained some hopes of saving the game because of the opposite-coloured bishops, White converted his advantage without too many problems.

NH Chess Tournament 2010

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