Euwe Memorial 2011 – Peng takes Group One; Van Kampen Group Two

11/21/2011 – The 2011 Euwe Memorial just took place, and was a fitting tribute to the Dutch legend. Aside from two tournaments, the event also saw the release of ex-Candidate Paul van der Sterren's biography, and simuls by Jan Timman and Jennifer Shahade. 13-time Dutch Women's Champion, Zhaoqin Peng, won Group One, and Group Two was taken by 17-year-old Van Kampen. Reports and pictures.

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Euwe Memorial 2011


Day one – Kick off in Amsterdam

By Eric van Reem

It was quite a busy day in Amsterdam. The arrival of “Sinterklaas” an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long, full beard caused some massive traffic problems in the city. Sinterklaas traditionally arrives in the Netherlands each year in mid-November by steamboat from Spain. That’s a crazy story? Nah, not when you’re Dutch. Anyway, the participants of the simultaneous exhibition of Jan Timman arrived on time in the public library in Amsterdam and the Dutch grandmaster started his games against 24 opponents to open the Euwe tournament.


Timman helps promote chess by giving a simul

He had quite a tough time: he won 19 games, made one draw but lost four games. Timman was not really pleased with his 81.2 %  average and grumbled about having made some terrible blunders. His opponents Angelo Spiler, Niels van Dam, Martijn van der Eijk and Fred van Gunst did not care and were very happy with the result.

Here is a pretty finish in the game Jan Timman-Fred van Gunst:

The oldest player in the simul, 88 (!) year old Rien Quakkelaar told us after the game that he played in a simul against Euwe back in 1946. He won! He also played another world champion Botvinnik in a simul but he lost that one. The Timman simul was a nice kick-off of the events coming up this week in Amsterdam and there were a lot of non-chess playing spectators who were fascinated by the event. Good promotion of the game!


Allard Hoogland and Paul van der Sterren present van der Sterren's autobiography

After the ceremony, Paul van der Sterren presented his massive biography in the Dutch language “Zwart op wit”. New in Chess publisher Allard Hoogland handed over the first copy of the book.

Day two – Conquest arrived, Olafsson ill, Socko wins

By Eric van Reem

Stuart Conquest played his first game in the Euwe Tournament today against the player with the highest rating, 17-year old Robin van Kampen. Due to weather problems in London, Conquest could not arrive on time for the first round. “I planned to take the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland in the evening and stayed at the airport to get some work done. Then I suddenly heard a last call announcement for a flight to Amsterdam, so I ran to the gate and fortunately they had a seat for me”, Conquest explained. 


GM Stuart Conquest

Still, only three games were played today. Fridrik Olafsson already had some problems with his stomach on Monday and he even had to see a doctor on Tuesday. He could not play his game against Cramling today, so this game will be played on the rest day on Thursday, together with Conquest and Arakhamia who still play their first round game.

Conquest played a typical “English” opening, after 1.d4 d5 he played the move 2.Bg5. A lot of English grandmasters in the eighties and nineties played this highly popular move. If you want to learn something about this opening or 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5, check some older games of Hodgson, Adams, Short, Hebden or Norwood. In this game Conquest played the new move 10.Qa4 and Van Kampen had to solve some small problems. After 24…Nc5?! Conquest missed 25. Rxc5 Bxc5 26.Bxd8 Bxd4 27.Be7 with a better position for white. Both players were in time trouble though, and the young Dutchman could not convert his advantage. He missed the tactical blow 33…Nf4! which would have given him some chances in the endgame. The game ended in a draw after 35 moves.


Grandmaster analysis in the post-mortem

The game Van der Sterren-Peng also ended in a draw. In an English opening, Van der Sterren had a slightly better position, but after 18…a5 black could easily equalize. After 29 moves Van der Sterren offered a draw in a position which was “clearly better for black”, according to kiebitzer GM Dimitri Reinderman in the commentary room.

Monika Socko won a nice game against Kati Arakhamia-Grant. The Scottish champion mishandled the opening completely but somehow managed to get an acceptable position. However, in severe time trouble she lost an important pawn on e6 and the position went downhill pretty fast. Socko had no problem to score the full point.


Monika Socko points to the problem

On Wednesday afternoon 16 November, 14:00-17:30, on the children’s floor of the Public Central library we are organising an afternoon for all children who like chess or would like to know more about it. Jennifer Shahade arrived in Amsterdam today, and she will give a simul tomorrow. The film “Long live the Queen” will be screened and in the evening there is a lecture by Dr. Jos Uiterwijk. Uiterwijk delivers a lecture on digital developments since Euwe’s time as part of the “Digital Month” series organized by the Amsterdam public library.

Day four – White domination in Amsterdam

By Eric van Reem

On Wednesday, we finally saw four games in one room! No more sick or missing players in Amsterdam today.  Even Robin van Kampen, who said that he often gets lost in the Dutch capital, obviously used his new city guide and arrived on time. It was a good day to play with the white pieces today, because all games ended in convincing wins for White: 4-0.


Monika Socko leading after three rounds

Van Kampen, who had played with the black pieces in the first two rounds and came close to winning against Conquest and Socko, was eager to win his first game with white against Arakhamia-Grant. She chose a solid Philidor opening, but the strange rook manoeuvre Re8-e5-g5 gave white a pleasant game. Van Kampen won a pawn and converted his advantage convincingly in his nice attacking style. He actually was the only man that won a game against a woman today, because in the other games the stronger sex showed their strength.


Pia Cramling and Paul van der Sterren study their game in the post-mortem

In the game Cramling-Van der Sterren, the position seemed to be quite dull after 16 moves, but like her compatriot Ulf Andersson, Pia Cramling likes these positions and carefully improved her position. Van der Sterren told us after the game that he had underestimated 31. Nc6+! Cramling won a pawn, snatched another one and Van der Sterren resigned.


The statue of Max Euwe by Jose Fijnhout

Girl power in the game Peng-Olafsson as well: in a Kings Indian, both players played for a win, but the audience in the packed commentary room was a bit disappointed when Olafsson offered a repetition of moves. Peng, however, decided to play on and had to calculate when to play the decisive break-through move c4-c5. After she finally found the right moment, on move 43, Olafsson had to resign only a few moves later.

In the longest game of the day, Monica Socko had the upper hand against Stuart Conquest. Socko scored a fine 5,5/9 in the good team championship in Greece last week for her country Poland and seems to be in good form. In a long and complicated endgame she converted her advantage into a full point. Conquest told us that he played the Dutch opening, to honor the hosts. It is not always a good idea to be polite, obviously.


Jennifer Shahade gives a simul to kids

On the site you will find report, pictures and other information, e.g. pictures of the fun chess afternoon with Jennifer Shahade.

Day five – Two draws in Group One, two wins in Group Two

By Monique van de Griendt (translated by Marike Dokter)


Leaders Cramling and Peng are unable to gain an edge against
each other.

In group 1 the frontrunners Cramling and Peng kept each other in balance. In a Queen’s Gambit Accepted Cramling adopted a modest set-up. For a moment it looked as if Peng would gain the advantage. Looking back Peng didn’t like 18…f6: "I should have fixed the white pawn structure with b7-b5-b4." After this critical moment followed some pinpricks in time trouble, but the balance was never broken. 


Paul van der Sterren played Gata Kamsky in the candidates years back

Just as in round one, Van der Sterren and Olafsson had a Nimzo-Indian position on the board, Van der Sterren having the white pieces this time. With 7. … b6 Olafsson played a variation "from the last century", popularized by Paul Keres in the fifties. Van der Sterren was very disappointed that his memory failed him: "In the old days I could remember all those variations without effort!" In an attempt to comfort him, Olafsson put it to him that junior player Robin van Kampen probably didn’t know the system at all! Van der Sterren sacrificed a pawn for the initiative, but Ólafsson counter-attacked well. After 21. … Nc5 the black night had to be exchanged in order to prevent it dominating the white position from d3. After that Olafsson took all venom out of the position by playing 24. …f6. Van der Sterren thought he could make him nervous with 25. Qd7, but Olafsson didn’t budge and replied a tempo. After a forced exchange, the game ended in a repetition of moves. Commentator Arno Bezemer applauded team mate Van der Sterren, who joined the commentary to explain his game to the audience. "Olafsson scored 3.0/3 in earlier games with this variation. So you did very well to draw!"

In Group Two the games were more lively. Van Kampen surprised Socko in a Sicilian Dragon electing to play 9.g4, a variation he hadn’t played before. Soćko’s reply wasn’t adequate. She tried to get back in the main variation through a change of moves, but Van Kampen had anticipated that. He played the exceedingly strong 13. a3 and gained two pawns in the first twenty moves with half an hour’s advantage on the clock. Winning this was relatively easy. A disappointed Socko was impressed by Van Kampen’s opening knowledge: "I could have tried the French, but he’s very well prepared against that as well."


Arakhamia-Grant

Conquest had a better position against Arakhamia-Grant after the pawn attack 13. … f5 and 17. … d5, but the white position was not an easy nut to crack. When Arakhamia played Bf2, allowing 24. … e4! instead of the stronger Re1, a relieved Conquest decided the game with an exchange sacrifice and an attack on the king.

Day five – All square in Group One!

By Monique van de Griendt (translated by Ivo Timmermans)

In round five, Fridrik Ólafsson and Paul van der Sterren won their respective games, resulting in a ranking whereby all players in group 1 have scored 2.5/5. Monika Soćko beat Stuart Conquest in Group Two and Robin van Kampen
drew against Ketevan Arakhamia. Soćko and Van Kampen lead this group with only one round left.

Paul van der Sterren was determined to win today. After a Bogo-Indian opening he got the better structure, Pia Cramling ending up with an isolated pawn on d5. Around move 20, Van der Sterren successfully avoided a
repetition of moves. When Cramling played the tactical mistake 24…Bf5 her position collapsed. In the commentary room, Van der Sterren said he was delighted with his win: "The last game of chess I won was over one year ago!
And I had to wait eight years for that to happen.
"


GM Fridrik Ólafsson, who commented the famous Fischer-Spassky match in 1972,
showed he still has what it takes when he beat Zhaoqin Peng in round five. Peng has
been Dutch women's champion thirteen straight times.

For a long time, the battle between Zhaoqin Peng and Ólafsson remained balanced. In time trouble, Peng blundered with 31…Bc6 which cost a pawn without compensation. Had she only played 31…Qd6, the position would have
remained fully equal. Ólafsson, a seasoned player, did not allow the win to escape him. Peng attributed her mistake to a lack of night’s rest and the hard-fought draw with Cramling in round four. Peng: "I play for the points, Cramling for the game of chess. She just keeps on playing."

Against the Sicilian opening of Robin van Kampen, Arakhamia replied with the solid 3.Bb5+ after which she tried to simplify the position. Van Kampen did his best to keep the game going and even got the better position at some
point. Just before the time control he finally won a pawn but the resulting rook ending turned out to be draw.


Socko conquered Conquest in round five (we couldn't help ourselves)

Finally, English Conquest chose to play the English opening against Soćko. Around move 20 Soćko, playing black, was clearly better but could not find the right follow-up: after 27…f4 it was Conquest who gained a pawn. However,
in time trouble he missed a simple win; with 34.Ne6 he could have struck a decisive blow. Three moves later he blundered with 37.Qe2 after which he had to resign.

Day six – Peng wins Group one, van Kampen takes Group Two!

In the final round all the games were hard-fought. The encounter between Peng and van der Sterren was balanced until 17.. f6? 18. Nc4! after which Peng had a decisive advantage. Seeing no respite, van der Sterren chose to allow the asthetically pleasing finish after 27.. Qg4.

Cramling – Ólafsson was also a exciting game, and Black took over the advantage after 30.. Qc8, though Cramling held in the end.

In Group Two, Soćko carefully played carefully in the opening against Arakhamia and held the draw. In the game between van Kampen and Conquest the position was not clear until Conquest blundered in time pressure with 31.. Qa4? costing him the game after 32. Nc6!

Final standings in Group One

Final standings in Group Two


Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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