NH Chess - Rising Stars strike back in rounds 7 and 8

by ChessBase
8/21/2010 – The Rising Stars stopped the bleeding, after the Experience had reduced their lead to a single point, by winning the next two rounds. The stories of the rounds were Van Wely's 17-move loss to Nakamura after a bizarre memory hiccup, though punctuated by a nice tactic, and Giri's nice win over Ljubo, which regained him the sole lead. Nakamura is only a half point behind. Report for rounds 7 and 8.

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The tournament is a double round-robin Schveningen type match in which the players of each team plays each and every player of the other team twice for a total of ten rounds.

1. Rate of play: At least 40 moves in two hours, followed by 30 minutes for the remaining moves.
In this second period 30 seconds are added on the clock per move.

2. Prize-fund: each player of the winning team receives € 2000, the players of the losing team receive € 1000 each. In case of a 25 – 25 tie, each player receives € 1500.
In addition each player receives € 500 for each point he scores.

3. Special prizes for the ‘Rising Stars’ team: the player with the highest score will be invited to the 2011 Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament in Nice, provided he or she scores over 50% in the NH Chess Tournament in Amsterdam. In case his or her score is 50% or less, he (she) and a partner of his choice will be invited to attend the 2011 Amber tournament as a guest. In case two players reach the same (best) score, a blitz tiebreaker will decide who will be invited to the 2011 Amber tournament as a player or a guest.
The runner-up of the ‘Rising Stars’ team will be invited to attend the 2011 Amber tournament with a partner of his choice during the final week of the event.
The number 3 ‘Rising Star’ will receive a Sony Vaio Notebook

Round seven

Round seven – Thursday Aug. 19
Nakamura – van Wely
Caruana – Nielsen
So – Svidler
Giri – Gelfand
Howell – Ljubojevic

In the seventh round of the NH Chess Tournament the Rising Stars increased their lead over the Experience team to three points after the ambitious youngsters won 3.5-1.5.

The clash of the titans, Gelfand against Giri, was a stalemate.

The board that initially attracted the most attention, deservedly, was the game between the lead scorers from both teams, Giri against Gelfand. Perhaps because of Giri’s known expertise in the Petroff, Gelfand returned to his old love the Najdorf. A tense struggle developed in which Gelfand made a typical Sicilian exchange sacrifice and got full compensation, but nothing more. Shortly after the time-control they shook hands.

Wesley So wasn’t too ambitious in his white game against Peter Svidler and mainly used the advantage of the first move to make a draw. The game between David Howell and Ljubomir Ljubojevic was a slow affair. Once again the Serbian grandmaster burned through his clock, and by move 25 he only had three minutes left to reach the time control on move 40. His extravagant use of time made many fear that he might lose a second time on time against Howell, but mutual errors in a complicated game eventually ended in a draw.

Fabiano Caruana and Peter Heine Nielsen ended up in a double-edged position after the opening. Black had a bad bishop, but White had some worries about the safety of his king. White got an overwhelming position when he let his central pawns roll and once he got his f-pawn on f6 it looked as if Black would soon collapse. Though Caruana initially missed the winning plan at the board, in return, Nielsen failed to find the best resistance allowing the young Italian to haul the point home.

Caruana against Nielsen

Caruana,F (2697) - Nielsen,PH (2700) [E00]
4th NH Chess Tournament Amsterdam NED (7), 19.08.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Be7 5.Bg2 d5 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 b6 10.Rd1 Bb7 11.Nc3 dxc4 12.Nd2 Nd5 13.Nxc4 Nxf4 14.gxf4 Qc7 15.e3 Rad8 16.Rab1 c5 17.d5 exd5 18.Bxd5 Nf6 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.a4 Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 Rd8 22.Rxd8+ Bxd8 23.Qd3 Bc7 24.e4 g6 25.e5 Nh5 26.Nd5 Bd8 27.f5 Qd7 28.f6 Kf8 29.b3 Bc7 30.Qe4 Bb8 31.Nde3 Qd8 32.Nd5 Qd7 33.Nde3 Qd8 34.h4 h6 35.Nd5 Qd7 36.Nde3 Qd8 37.Kh1 Qc8 38.Kg2 Qe8 39.Kf3 Qd7 40.Ke2 Kg8

41.Qg4? 41.Ke1! This move may seem odd at first, but the idea is quite simply to allow Nd5 without allowing the tactic Qxd5 Qxd5 and Nf4+. It is also the first step in the winning plan. 41...Qd8 42.Nd5! Qd7 43.Ne7+ Kh7 (43...Kf8? 44.Qe3 Ke8 45.Qxh6 Qb7 46.Nxg6) 44.Qd5! Qxd5 (44...Qe6) 45.Nxd5 g5 46.hxg5 hxg5 and Black is helpless. The knight has nowhere to go, and the bishop has no way to escape. Ex: 47.Ke2 g4 (47...Kg6 48.Ne7+ Kh7 49.Nc6) 48.Ke3 Kh8 49.Ke4 g3 50.Kf3 gxf2 51.Kxf2 Kh7 52.Kf3 Kg6 53.Kg4 Zugzwang. 41...Qd8?! After 41...Qb7 White would still play 42.f4 Qc6 43.f5 Kf8 44.fxg6 fxg6 45.Qf3!+- (45.Qxg6?? Nf4+) ; The blockading move 41...Qe6! would make it much harder for White though. 42.Kd3 Qe8 43.f4 Kh7 42.f4 a6 43.f5 Qe8 44.fxg6 fxg6 45.Nd5 Kf7 46.Ne7 Nxf6 47.Qxg6+ Kxe7 48.Qxf6+ Kd7 49.Nxb6+ Kc7 50.Nd5+ Kd7 51.Nb6+ Kc7 52.Qd6+ Kb7 53.Qd7+ Qxd7 54.Nxd7 Ba7 55.Kd3 Kc6 56.Nf6 1-0 [Click to Replay]

The shortest game of the day and easily the shortest win of this fifth NH Tournament was the one between Hikaru Nakamura and Loek van Wely. After a mere 17 moves and less than one and a half hours the Dutch number one had to resign. Still, probably even more remarkable than the brevity of the game was the story behind it.

In his game against Nakamura, van Wely followed his own NIC annotations to the T,
unfortunately they were the ones to the losing line. Ouch.

In the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Najdorf the players followed the game Smith-Laznicka from the recent World Open in Philadelphia. It was obvious both knew the game, however Van Wely had even annotated it for the forthcoming issue of New In Chess! He inexplicably played 12....Nd7, precisely the move he had commented could not be played, and it was only on move 16 that he realized something had gone seriously wrong. One move later he resigned. Since he had also lost in a rather dubious manner in Round 4 against Anish Giri, Nakamura’s main rival at the moment for the Amber ticket, he quipped, ‘Now at least I gave both guys a free point, they’re equal again.

Nakamura,Hi (2729) - Van Wely,L (2677) [B94]
4th NH Chess Tournament Amsterdam NED (7), 19.08.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.Bxf6 Nxf6 11.e5 dxe5 12.fxe5

12...Nd7? In his own annotations, van Wely had actually concluded that this lost, and to add insult to injury, the line he gave was precisely the one he played here in the game. 12...Ng4! is the only move. 13.Nd5 Qc5 14.Nb3 Qc6 15.Na5 Qd7+/= 13.Nd5! Qc5 14.Nb3 Qc6 15.Na5 Qc5 16.Nxb7 Qc6

17.Rb6!! Black resigned because he loses his queen after 17.Rb6. If 17...Nxb6 (17...Qa4 18.Nc7#) 18.Nf6+ gxf6 19.Qd8# 1-0 [Click to Replay]

Round eight

Round eight – Friday Aug. 20
Nielsen – Nakamura
Svidler – Caruana
Gelfand – So
Ljubojevic – Giri
van Wely – Howell

In the eighth round of the NH Chess Tournament the Rising Stars further increased their lead over the Experience team with a 3-2 win.

The game between Peter Heine Nielsen and Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw after a fourfold repetition. Indeed, a threefold repetition normally suffices for a draw, but Nakamura was so frustrated by the winning chances he had squandered that he first turned down a draw offer after the second repetition and only returned the offer when the same position had arisen for the fourth time.

Threefold repetition, fourfold repetition... who's counting?

Peter Svidler and Fabiano Caruana also had an adventurous afternoon. The Italian number one played a good novelty in a Ruy Lopez with 6…Bc5, but then blundered terribly on the very next move. A few moves later Svidler returned the favor, but unable to capitalize on it, they eventually drew.

Boris Gelfand and Wesley So tested each other judgement in a complicated Meran. The Israeli grandmaster tried to exploit the white square weaknesses on the queenside, but his opponent played precisely and on move 25 they drew. The longest game of the day, lasting almost six hours and 88 moves, was the fight between Loek van Wely and David Howell. The Dutch grandmaster played the middlegame very well and had a technically winning position for a good part of the game, but in the end he failed to capitalize on his opponent’s mistakes and had to settle for a draw.

With his win over Ljubojevic, Anish Giri retook sole lead in the Rising Stars team.

Anish Giri managed to outplay Ljubomir Ljubojevic with the black pieces in a solid Meran after the young Dutch grandmaster sacrificed a pawn to complicate matters for his opponent. Ljubojevic was convinced that White’s position was to be preferred, but the lines they looked at and the verdict of the computer supported Giri’s judgement. Giri built a wonderful attack and with his win, retook the lead in the Rising Stars.

Ljubojevic,L (2572) - Giri,A (2672) [D43]
4th NH Chess Tournament Amsterdam NED (8), 20.08.2010

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Qc2 dxc4 8.e3 b5 9.a4 Bb7 10.axb5 cxb5 11.Nxb5 Bb4+ 12.Nc3 0-0 13.Be2 Rc8 14.0-0 Nd7 15.Rfc1 a5 16.Qd1 e5 17.Na4 Qg6 18.Bxc4 exd4 19.exd4 Rd8 20.Qb3 Qf5 20...Nf6? 21.Bxf7+ Qxf7 22.Qxf7+ Kxf7 23.Rc7+ Rd7 24.Ne5+ (Giri) 21.Ne1?! (Giri) 21...Rab8 22.Nc2 Bd2 23.Rd1 Bxg2! 24.Bxf7+ Kh8 25.Qe6 Qxc2 26.Kxg2 Nf6 27.Qc4 Qe4+ 28.f3 Qh4 29.Kh1

Giri finishes with a very nice shot. 29...Ne4!! 30.Rg1 Nf2+ 31.Kg2 Rxd4 32.Qe6 Bf4 33.Kf1 Nd1! 0-1 [Click to Replay]

With two rounds to go the Rising Stars are leading 22-18 in the overall standings. In the fight for the ticket to the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament, Anish Giri is half a point ahead of Hikaru Nakamura and a full point ahead of Fabiano Caruana.

Standings after eight rounds
Experience individual score
Gelfand    5.5
Svidler 4.0
Nielsen 3.0
van Wely 3.0
Ljubovich 2.5
  Rising Stars individual score
Giri       5.5
Nakamura 5.0 Caruana 4.5
Howell 3.5
So 3.5

Total: 18


Total: 22

Photos by NH Chess.


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