NH Amsterdam: 'Experience' GMs win by 27½-22½

by ChessBase
9/1/2009 – The Rising Stars made one last attempt to catch the Experience team. But their 3-2 victory in the penultimate round was not enough. In the final round Experience struck back with a 3½-1½ win. Best player overall, with 6.5/10 and a 2752 performance: Peter Heine Nielsen. Jan Smeets of the Rising Stars won an invitation to next year's Amber tournament. Report with pictures by John Nunn.

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The 4th NH Chess Tournament runs from Thursday, August 20, and runs through August 31 in the five-star NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky smack in the centre of Amsterdam. It is a double round robin team event, with five Rising Stars facing five Experienced players.

Round nine: In the penultimate round the Rising Stars posted a 3-2 win over the Experience team. There were three decisive games. Fabiano Caruana defeated none other than Peter Svidler with the black pieces to close in on his colleague Rising Star Jan Smeets in the race for the Amber ticket. In the final round a draw will suffice for Smeets in his game against Van Wely, as he has one full point more than Caruana, who will face Ljubomir Ljubojevic. The second win for the Rising Stars was scored by Daniel Stellwagen, who inflicted Loek van Wely’s first loss. Alexander Beliavsky contributed the only win for the Experience team by beating Hou Yifan.

Round 10 saw the Experience team secured overall victory with a 3½-1½ defeat of the Rising Stars. The final standings are 27½-22½. The wins on the final day were scored by Peter Svidler, who defeated Hikaru Nakamura in a flashy attack, and the top-scorer of the Experience team, Peter Heine Nielsen, who outplayed Hou Yifan.

Round nine – Aug. 30  
Svidler – Caruana
Nielsen – Nakamura
Beliavsky – Hou Yifan
van Wely – Stellwagen
Ljubojevic – Smeets
Round ten – Aug. 31  
Nakamura – Svidler
Hou Yifan – Nielsen
Stellwagen – Beliavsky
Smeets – van Wely
Caruana - Ljubojevic

Nakamura,Hi (2710) - Svidler,P (2739) [E60]
3rd NH Chess Tournament Amsterdam NED (10), 31.08.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 Nc6 4.d5 Ne5 5.e4 d6 6.Ne2 Bg7 7.Nec3 0-0 8.Be2 e6 9.f4 Ned7 10.0-0 exd5 11.cxd5 Re8 12.Bf3 Nc5 13.Re1 h5 14.h3 b5 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nfd7 17.e6 Ne5 18.Nxb5 Ncd3 19.exf7+ Kxf7 20.Rf1 Kg8 21.Be4 Nxc1 22.Qxc1 c6 23.N5c3 Ba6 24.Re1? Nakamura probably should have moved the rook to d1.

24...Ng4 25.Qd2 Qb6+ 26.Kh1 Nf2+ (nice, but 26...Bh6 was simpler and quicker) 27.Kh2 Nxe4 28.Nxe4 Rxe4 29.Rxe4 Qxb2 30.d6 Rd8 31.d7 Be5+ 32.g3 Rxd7 0-1.

Final standings (after ten rounds)
Experience individual score
Nielsen    6½
Svidler 6
Ljubojevic 5½
Beliavsky 5
Van Wely 4½
  Rising Stars individual score
Smeets     6
Caruana 5
Stellwagen 4½
Hou Yifan 3½
Nakamura 3½

Total: 27.5


Total: 22.5

Jan Smeets secured the coveted ticket to the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament with a quick draw against his countryman Loek van Wely. The Dutch Champion scored six points from ten games, finishing ahead of Fabiano Caruana (five points) and Daniel Stellwagen (4½ points). Next year, in March, Smeets will make his Amber debut in Nice. Previous qualifiers from the NH Tournament to the Amber Tournament were Magnus Carlsen (2006), Sergey Karjakin (2007) and Wang Yue (2008).

Rank, points and performance

Pictorial impressions from the NH tournament

By GM Dr John Nunn

Fabiano Caruana gives "the look"...

...but it does't help against Alexander Beliavsky, who scored a convincing win

Hou Yifan's "look" is different

Yifan with her mother in the lobby of the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Dutch GM Loek van Wely in a good mood

So is Daniel Stellwagen, who normally looks quite serious

Happy with his result? More likely Peter Svidler his delighted with England's success at cricket

Jan Smeets after his last-round draw which secured him a place in the 2010 Amber tournament

Not satisfied?? You finshed as best 'experienced' player and best overall player,
with 6.5/10 points and a 2752 performance, Peter Heine!

The tournament in Amsterdam attracted many GM visitors, especially those from the more 'experienced' end of the spectrum, eager to meet their old colleagues.

GM Nick de Firmian stopped over on his way to Denmark

GM Vlastimil Hort is a reglar visitor to the NH Hotels tournament

Predrag Nikolic isn't so active these days, but is still a strong GM

GM Gennadi Sosonko provided commentary during the event

GM Yasser Seirawan lives in Amsterdam and plays only in the Dutch league these days


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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