2016 Isle of Man Rd3 - Action all around

by Manuel Weeks
10/4/2016 – In a large open as strong as the Isle of Man, every round is a feast, every game a meal, with no shortage of exciting positions and exotic play. Round three saw many of the top players already facing stiff grandmaster competition with few of the lopsided pairings from the first two days. This led to some exciting bouts including hard fought draws at the top. Sharing his enthusiasm of all there was to see is Manuel Weeks, highlighting some of the best games with lots of quiz positions.

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Isle of Man Round three

By Manuel Weeks

Photos by Harry Gielen

What does a spectator do when watching a tournament from home, does he only look at the top games? Does he look for games of the most interesting players? Does he look for the most interesting games as they happen? A question for the readers: do you prefer to watch the super round robin where a draw is always considered an acceptable result or an open event where the super GM has to take a few more risks in order to win against his lower rated opponent? A bit like watching two top Champions league teams playing a tight 0-0 or an open game that the result could easily be 3-3. The 3-3 game may have many more errors but it is much more enjoyable to watch!

Sitting at home, watching the 3rd round of the Isle of Man tournament one can see that the first real GM to GM clashes are appearing even though often there is still a sizable rating difference between opponents. The general rule is that the really top players don’t mind drawing but few take huge risks in order to win. Hikaru Nakamura is an obvious exception having won many open tournaments as much through his huge will to win as his excellent chess.

Here are some examples and some of the thrills one can experience following this competitive chess bazaar on Playchess.

On board three was Women's World Champion Hou Yifan who was white versus the young Israeli GM Maxim Rodshtein. After four moves it reached this:

Hou Yifan - Maxim Rodshtein

Position after 4.Qb3

News does indeed travel fast since this was also the beginning of Peter Svidler versus Li Chao from the game in the Tal Memorial the previous day.

Hou Yifan showed how on top of her preparation she was, as she used an idea by Svidler, played the previous day

One can only assume Hou Yifan had been suitably impressed with the way Svidler played it although the amicable GM himself said he had thought for a while before entering the line. The reason, as Svidler explained, was that although this position resembled a Blumenfeld with an extra tempo for Black, he wasn’t sure what the tempo was good for!

Compare the previous position with the normal Blumenfeld above

If you were looking for original play as you scrolled down the long list of games you cannot help but stop at the name of Julio Granda Zuniga, the Peruvian GM, famous for his original play. It is said that he is rarely theoretical and simply seems to have his own theory with his own ideas. In round three he was black versus American IM Keaton Kiewra and the game looked like a retrograde puzzle. How did they reach that position with White to move?

Julio Granda Zuniga is a legend in South American chess, and nearly broke 2700 for the first time in his career earlier this year when he hit 2699. At the green age of 49!

Keaton Kiewra - Julio Granda Zuniga

Still, what was happening on board one? Fabio Caruana versus Swedish GM Nils Grandelius looked a normal Sicilian, everything normal, and seen thousands of times.

Fabio Caruana - Nils Grandelius

Position after eight moves...

Then one move can change the “feel” of the game, 9.g4 gives the position a feeling of excitement as some small bridges are burnt! Caruana spent 12 minutes on this move, not really analysing it but to make sure he was ready for what happens afterwards. To play such a position requires a certain amount of energy, and if you are a top player you know you have to be ready for a tiring calculating game.

Neither Nils Grandelius nor Fabiano Caruana backed away from a game they both knew would be tough

Fabio Caruana - Nils Grandelius

On board four you could see the battle of the young guns Vidit Santosh Gujrathi from India and Benjamin Bok from the Netherlands:

The game starts out as a Grunfeld with an early h4, and it was clear this was not going to be a quiet game either

Both Vidit Gujrathi and Benjamin Bok had good results in the Baku Olympiad

Vidit Gujrathi - Benjamin Bok

What of the top seeded Americans who were the heroes of the Baku Olympiad?

Wesley So was impressive in a positional crushing game against FM Alan Merry

It was instructive from the viewpoint that the idea of doubling the c-pawns for the fianchettoed bishop is a well known idea but So returned the favour (dark squared bishop) and came out with a large positional plus.

Wesley So - Alan Merry

Hikaru Nakamura did what super GMs do in open tournaments, look for a small advantage as white, give the opponent an isolated pawn, win bishop pair and then win the isolated pawn. Sounds easy doesn’t it but often when you lose a pawn you tend to get a little initiative for it. Jorden van Foreest definitely got something for his pawn and later on headed for a queen and bishops of opposite colours ending. Most people know of the drawing powers of bishops of opposite colours but with major pieces on the board (rooks and queens) it can also feel like you are attacking with an extra piece. The young Dutchman defended excellently but when he finally managed to trade queens he found himself two pawns down. Most bookmakers would have bet against him here when playing against the relentless Nakamura but after a quick analysis I still have not found a clear win, something to be left to the “endgame experts” who enjoy this sort of thing!

17-year-old Jorden van Foreest held a tough game against Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura - Jorden van Foreest

The other major upset of the day was Wang Hao losing as white in a moment of chess blindness against Lucas van Foreest. Hao played a line where he gives up a pawn for compensation and had various opportunities to take a repetition but took the risk to keep playing in a sharp position to be rewarded with a winning position only to blunder it way with the win in sight.

Wang Hao was unwilling to draw against his much lower-rated opponent, Lucas van Foreest, Jorden's younger brother

Play through the game to see whether you would also play the fatal error. It is hard to describe how Hao must be feeling, knock back the draw, play on, reach the winning position and then throw it all away and then you have to eat dinner, talk to your friends but all the time you are still trying to understand how you can play the losing move! Wang Hao is a very likable Chinese GM who has many fans around the world who will hope that he can quickly get over such a traumatic loss!

Wang Hao - Lucas van Foreest

Going into the fourth round there are only two players with a perfect score, the young Indian Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Alexey Shirov who would like to show that he was also pretty good at sacrificing a few pieces himself!

Alexei Shirov is only second to Tal as the Latvian who sacrifices the most

It is one problem of the large open that you cannot look at every game, there are so many to choose from, you look a day later to find a hidden gem on the lower boards. Ok, they may not be as “correct” as the Super GM games but there are not many Berlin defences to analyse either and for that we should be thankful!

A view of the top boards in the fantastic open

Top pairings and results of Round 3 (October 3, 2016)

No. Ti. Name Rtg Pts Res. Pts Ti. Name Rtg No.
1 GM Caruana Fabiano 2813 2 ½-½ 2 GM Grandelius Nils 2642 22
3 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2787 2 ½-½ 2 GM Van Foreest Jorden 2615 24
17 GM Hou Yifan 2649 2 ½-½ 2 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2687 8
9 GM Vidit Gujrathi 2686 2 1-0 2 GM Bok Benjamin 2594 26
11 GM Shirov Alexei 2679 2 1-0 2 GM Brunello Sabino 2566 31
21 GM Howell David W L 2644 2 ½-½ 2 GM Movsesian Sergei 2677 12
27 GM Lenderman Aleksandr 2593 2 ½-½ 2 GM Sargissian Gabriel 2670 14
2 GM So Wesley 2794 1-0 2 FM Merry Alan B 2388 66
36 GM Harika Dronavalli 2528 0-1 GM Adams Michael 2745 4
5 GM Eljanov Pavel 2741 1-0 GM Gagare Shardul 2480 43
38 GM Schroeder Jan-Ch. 2514 ½-½ GM Leko Peter 2709 6
13 GM Fressinet Laurent 2676 1-0 GM Khmelniker Ilya 2493 41
15 GM Melkumyan Hrant 2653 0-1 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2459 49
53 IM Kiewra Keaton F 2454 0-1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio 2648 18
19 GM Meier Georg 2648 ½-½ GM Romanishin Oleg 2456 51
50 IM Lou Yiping 2458 ½-½ GM Bachmann Axel 2645 20
23 GM Gupta Abhijeet 2626 1-0 IM Daulyte Deimante 2429 56
25 GM L'ami Erwin 2605 1-0 IM Karavade Eesha 2421 60
65 IM Kojima Shinya 2399 ½-½ GM Lalith Babu M R 2586 28
63 WIM Shvayger Yuliya 2405 ½-½ GM Donchenko Alexander 2581 29
30 GM Marin Mihail 2569 ½-½ IM Tania Sachdev 2414 62
34 GM Svane Rasmus 2552 ½-½ IM Mannion Stephen 2313 83
32 GM Aravindh Chithambaram 2564 1 1-0 GM Paehtz Thomas 2356 73
7 GM Wang Hao 2701 1 0-1 1   Van Foreest Lucas 2350 75

Full results of all 68 games

Top standings after three rounds

Rk.
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
rtg+/-
1
9
GM
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi
2686
3.0
7.2
 
11
GM
Shirov Alexei
2679
3.0
6.8
3
1
GM
Caruana Fabiano
2813
2.5
0.2
 
2
GM
So Wesley
2794
2.5
-1.6
 
3
GM
Nakamura Hikaru
2787
2.5
0.3
 
4
GM
Adams Michael
2745
2.5
0.3
 
5
GM
Eljanov Pavel
2741
2.5
-0.3
 
8
GM
Rodshtein Maxim
2687
2.5
3.4
 
10
GM
Naiditsch Arkadij
2684
2.5
3.6
 
12
GM
Movsesian Sergei
2677
2.5
3.1
 
13
GM
Fressinet Laurent
2676
2.5
0.9
 
14
GM
Sargissian Gabriel
2670
2.5
2.4
 
16
GM
Salem A.R. Saleh
2650
2.5
-0.1
 
17
GM
Hou Yifan
2649
2.5
4.0
 
18
GM
Granda Zuniga Julio E
2648
2.5
1.1
 
21
GM
Howell David W L
2644
2.5
3.7
 
22
GM
Grandelius Nils
2642
2.5
5.6
 
23
GM
Gupta Abhijeet
2626
2.5
0.9
 
24
GM
Van Foreest Jorden
2615
2.5
5.9
 
25
GM
L'ami Erwin
2605
2.5
0.9
 
27
GM
Lenderman Aleksandr
2593
2.5
4.7
 
49
IM
Paehtz Elisabeth
2459
2.5
11.3
23
6
GM
Leko Peter
2709
2.0
-5.6
 
19
GM
Meier Georg
2648
2.0
-4.2

Click for complete standings

Pairings of round 4 (October 4, 2016)

Bo.
No.
Ti.
Name
Rtg
Pts
Res.
Pts
Ti.
Name
Rtg
No.
1
11
GM
Shirov Alexei
2679
3
 
3
GM
Vidit Gujrathi
2686
9
2
16
GM
Salem A.R. Saleh
2650
 
GM
Caruana Fabiano
2813
1
3
18
GM
Granda Zuniga Julio
2648
 
GM
So Wesley
2794
2
4
22
GM
Grandelius Nils
2642
 
GM
Nakamura Hikaru
2787
3
5
4
GM
Adams Michael
2745
 
GM
Hou Yifan
2649
17
6
49
IM
Paehtz Elisabeth
2459
 
GM
Eljanov Pavel
2741
5
7
8
GM
Rodshtein Maxim
2687
 
GM
Howell David W L
2644
21
8
10
GM
Naiditsch Arkadij
2684
 
GM
Gupta Abhijeet
2626
23
9
12
GM
Movsesian Sergei
2677
 
GM
Lenderman Aleksandr
2593
27
10
24
GM
Van Foreest Jorden
2615
 
GM
Fressinet Laurent
2676
13
11
14
GM
Sargissian Gabriel
2670
 
GM
L'ami Erwin
2605
25
12
6
GM
Leko Peter
2709
2
 
2
IM
Trent Lawrence
2463
47
13
54
IM
Praggnanandhaa R
2442
2
 
2
GM
Meier Georg
2648
19
14
20
GM
Bachmann Axel
2645
2
 
2
GM
Romanishin Oleg
2456
51
15
26
GM
Bok Benjamin
2594
2
 
2
IM
Lou Yiping
2458
50
16
28
GM
Lalith Babu M R
2586
2
 
2
GM
Tarjan James E
2420
61
17
29
GM
Donchenko Alexander
2581
2
 
2
IM
Tania Sachdev
2414
62
18
64
IM
Das Arghyadip
2400
2
 
2
GM
Marin Mihail
2569
30
19
31
GM
Brunello Sabino
2566
2
 
2
WIM
Shvayger Yuliya
2405
63
20
67
IM
Houska Jovanka
2386
2
 
2
GM
Aravindh Chithambaram
2564
32

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Topics Isle of Man

Manuel has been an international arbiter, a national coach at various world Juniors, a press officer, the Director of various tournaments and has been to eleven Olympiads as captain of the Australian Open team. Straight after the last Olympiad a small group went immediately from Tromso to Mainz to see Manuel get married to his lovely wife Brigitta. They live in London.
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Ty Riprock Ty Riprock 10/4/2016 09:50
I would say Shirov is the greatest Latvian sacrificial maniac. Tal had many great sacrifices in his youth but after his title matches he played more solidly, and in fact holds the record for most consecutive games without loss AND the second most! Shirov has been sacrificing throughout his career.
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