Hoogeveen 2016: Short takes lead

by Alejandro Ramirez
10/20/2016 – Two decisive games in the matches of Hoogeveen, one involving a technical king walk from a Catalan and the other a total demolition by Sokolov against Van Foreest's King's Indian. Yifan really suffered straight from the opening when her novelty left her in an inferior position, and Short's technique was simpy great. In the Open section the Indian domination simply continues.

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The Hoogeveen Chess Tournament starts on Saturday, October 15 (opening ceremony) and ends on Saturday, October 22 2016. The tournament consists of the Hoogeveen Matches, the Hoogeveen Open and two amateur tournaments. All tournaments will take place in the attractive town hall of the Dutch city of Hoogeveen. In the chess café, well-known commentators will analyse the games with the audience. The games can also be followed live on Playchess and on the official website.

Hoogeveen Matches: Hou Yifan vs Nigel Short, Jorden van Foreest vs Ivan Sokolov.

Hoogeveen Open: Nine rounds will be played, with space for approximately 84 players who must have a minimal rating of 2000. The Hoogeveen Open is an international tournament, and consequently (grand-) master norms can be achieved. There is a total prize fund of €7,500 with a 1st prize of €3,000.

Amateur toernaments: Group I (= afternoon group): for players with a rating up to 2100. Group II (= morning group): also for players with a rating up to 2100. Each group can contain a maximum of 84 players. They play eight rounds. 1st prize for both groups is €250 each.

Rate of play: 40 moves in 90 minutes, 30 minutes extra time + an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

Hoogeveen Chess Tournament

All photos by Lennart Ootes

Short vs. Hou Yifan

We start off with the main event, in which the English player takes the lead just before halftime. The game showed that even a couple of imprecisions in the Catalan are enough to get into real trouble. Short's technique was flawless.

Nigel Short is pretty famous for a certain king march, and today he does it again

[Event "Short-Hou Yifan m"] [Site "Hoogeveen NED"] [Date "2016.10.18"] [Round "3"] [White "Short, Nigel D"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2670"] [BlackElo "2649"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2016.10.16"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 {Yifan has traditionally never been scared of going for solid lines, such as the open Catalan.} 7. Qc2 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bf4 (10. Bd2 {has volumes of theory dedicated to it, and 10.Bg5 is also popular, but Bf4 will always remain a try. It is completely out of fashion, however.}) 10... Nc6 11. Nc3 Nb4 12. Qc1 Qc8 {Interestingly, this move is already a novelty. Perhaps Yifan wasn't aware of the old theory, but I doubt that this move will make replace the more common and already tested 12...Rc8} (12... Rc8 13. Rd1 Nbd5 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 { eventually led to an Anand win in Carlsen-Anand, 2008.}) 13. a3 Nbd5 14. Nxd5 Nxd5 (14... Bxd5 15. Qxc7 {doesn't work anymore, clearly.}) 15. Bg5 {Short finds a way to keep pressure. Now Black cannot play c5, which is mildly annoying, and trading the dark-squared bishops is strategically bad.} f6 16. Bd2 c5 {Black plays her break, but because of the weakness of e6 this doesn't equalize fully.} 17. Ba5 f5 (17... cxd4 18. Nxd4 {already creates problems on e6.}) 18. dxc5 Qxc5 $6 {this makes life a lot easier for Short, as we will see soon} (18... Bxc5 19. Qd2 {keeps an edge.}) 19. Qxc5 Bxc5 20. Ng5 {If only that pawn was back on f7...} Rfe8 21. Rad1 {Here is the rub. Defending the knight on d5 is not as trivial as it seems. The bishop on a5 defends d8, while the knight on g5 is threatening to take on the next move. Black loses a pawn in every variation, now she must choose how to do it.} Ba7 $6 22. Nxe6 { A bit rushed.} (22. e3 $1 {Eliminates the problems with the e2 pawn, and now the win of the pawn is cleaner than in the game.}) 22... Rxe6 23. Rxd5 Rxe2 24. Bc3 {Short must have seen this far, realized he is winning a pawn, and felt he had enough to convert. However the rook on e2 is a bit annoying.} Bc6 $1 { The best way to continue survival. The bishop covers d7.} 25. Rxf5 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 Rf8 $6 (26... Rd8 {was another try, but this is obviously unpleasant.}) 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Kf3 $1 Rc2 29. Ke4 $1 {Nice technique. The bishop endgame is hopeless, so f2 is untouchable.} Re2+ (29... Rxf2 30. Rxf2+ Bxf2 31. Bd4 $1 Be1 32. Kd5 {and the pawns on the queenside fall like flies.}) (29... Bxf2 30. Kd3 $18) 30. Kd5 Kf7 31. Kc6 Re6+ 32. Kb7 $1 {The king march is complete. On b7 White's king paralyzes the enemy rook and is completely safe. The rest is easy for Nigel.} Bc5 33. Rd1 g5 34. Rd5 Be7 35. f4 gxf4 36. gxf4 Rh6 37. f5 Rxh2 38. Kxa6 Rc2 39. Rd7 Ke8 40. Rd2 Rxd2 41. Bxd2 h5 42. Kxb5 {Three passed pawns usually beat one.} h4 43. Kc6 Bf6 44. b4 Be5 45. Be3 h3 46. Bg1 Kf7 47. a4 Kf6 48. a5 Kxf5 49. a6 Bd4 50. Bh2 {Black is helpless against b4-b5, while playing Be5 loses.} (50. Bh2 Be5 51. a7) 1-0

Yifan is dealt the first blow, she has a day to prep and try to turn things around

Sokolov - van Foreest

Meanwhile the bloodbath in the other section continues. Sokolov's handling of the King's Indian with white was simply superb.

Good old style relaying

[Event "Van Foreest-Sokolov m"] [Site "Hoogeveen NED"] [Date "2016.10.18"] [Round "3"] [White "Sokolov, Ivan"] [Black "Van Foreest, Jorden"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2615"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2016.10.16"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. Be3 (6. Nf3 {has been analyzed ad infinitum, while I've seen 6.Bg5 get some popularity.}) 6... e5 7. d5 Na6 8. g4 {White puts a break on f5 before it's even a threat. A relatively positional approach to the position (White almost never tries to checkmate black on the kingside), and one that is certainly dangerous, even if relatively untried with this particular move order.} c6 (8... Nc5 {is probably better, simply to force f3 out of White first.}) 9. g5 Ne8 10. h4 f5 $5 11. gxf6 Nxf6 12. h5 {When I said White usually doesn't try to checkmate Black on the kingside, I didn't mean never. Since Black has committed to f5 and weakened some of his squares, Sokolov sees an opportuinty to launch his pawns forward. There are still no immediate threats in the center. Notice how it would favor Black if the pawn on f2 was on f3.} Qa5 13. hxg6 (13. Qd2 Nxh5 { is very far from clear, but playable.} (13... cxd5 $1 14. cxd5 Nxh5 {might be an improvement, to guarantee that the knight on c3 never recaptures on d5.})) 13... Nxe4 $1 {Brave but smart. Here if Van Foreest doesn't take on e4, he will be doomed to passivity.} (13... hxg6 14. Qd2 {with a large initiative.}) 14. gxh7+ Kh8 15. Nf3 $1 {Development above all!} Nxc3 16. bxc3 cxd5 17. Kf1 ( 17. cxd5 {is simply a waste of time:} Qxc3+ (17... Bf5 $5) 18. Kf1 Bf5 19. Nh4 Bc2 {and Black has counterplay.}) 17... Bf5 18. Nh4 dxc4 (18... Nc7 $5 19. Bd3 $1 (19. Bg4 Be4 {is the resource that the computer is trying to avoid.}) 19... e4 20. Be2 $1 {is a brilliant and computer-esque maneuver. The threat will be Bd4 or Bg4.}) (18... d4 19. cxd4 exd4 20. Bxd4 Bxd4 21. Qxd4+ Qe5 $16) 19. Bxc4 {is very bad for Black. Positionally he is busted in some endgames:} Rac8 $6 ( 19... Rad8 20. Nxf5 Rxf5 21. Qg4 $1) (19... d5 20. Nxf5 Rxf5 21. Qxd5 $18) 20. Be6 {The bishop is untouchable and the game is over.} Be4 21. Qg4 Bd3+ 22. Kg1 {White has way too many threats now} Rce8 23. Bf5 (23. Rd1 {was also clean.}) 23... Bxf5 24. Qxf5 $1 Rf6 (24... Rxf5 25. Ng6# {is unplayable, of course.}) 25. Bg5 {Salt in the wound.} Rfe6 26. Ng6+ Rxg6 27. Qxg6 Rf8 28. Be7 {White has a material advantage and a deadly attack.} Rxf2 1-0

Van Foreest will need to review this book more carefully

How Sokolov got to this position, not even he knows

Open Section

The open section is still dominated by the Indian players. Gupta and Lalith are the clear leaders, a full point ahead of the field. Lalith impressively defeated both Shyam and Ernst. Since Lalith and Gupta have already played each other, they will have to wait and see if one of the other players can knock their rival out of contention with three rounds left to go.

Leonardo Valdes is all the way from Costa Rica! His performance so far has been not good, however

Abhijeet Gupta in clear lead, and clear control

Sipke Ernst is in the pack of close followers

Rank Name Score Fed. Rating TPR
1 GM Gupta, Abhijeet 5.5 IND 2626 2812
2 GM Lalith Babu M R 5.5 IND 2586 2819
3 GM Sandipan, Chanda 4.5 IND 2593 2469
4 GM Shyam, Sundar M. 4.5 IND 2552 2517
5 GM Ernst, Sipke 4.5 NED 2540 2536
6 IM Karavade, Eesha 4.5 IND 2421 2406
7 IM Nitin, S. 4.5 IND 2410 2429
8 GM Werle, Jan 4.0 NED 2555 2508
9 GM Debashis, Das 4.0 IND 2478 2357
10 IM Ten Hertog, Hugo 4.0 NED 2468 2366

Results taken from the official website - top ten shown

Tournament Schedule

Date Matches Hoogeveen Open Amateur Analysis
Sat. 15 Oct. opening Round 1 (14.00) R1 (10.00/14.30)  
Sun. 16 Oct. Round 1 (14.00) Round 2 (14.00) R2(9.30/14.00) Jop Delemarre
Mon. 17 Oct. Round 2 (14.00) Rround 3 (14.00) R3 (9.30/14.00) Gert Ligterink
Tues. 18 Oct. Round 3 (14.00) Round 4 (14.00) R4 (9.30/14.00) Hans Bohm
Wed. 19 Oct. Rest day R5 (9.00) + R6 (15.00) R5 (9.30/14.00)  
Thurs. 20 Oct. Round 4 (14.00) Round 7(14.00) R6 (9.30/14.00) Cor van Wijgerden
Fri. 21 Oct. Round 5 (14.00) Round 8 (14.00) R7 (9.30/14.00) Robert Ris
Sat. 22 Oct. R6 (12.00), closing Round 9 (12.00) R8 (9.30/14.00) Joris Brenninkmeijer


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the 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 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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