Shipwrecked in the Benoni

by André Schulz
11/30/2015 – The Canadian grandmaster Eric Hansen (Elo 2577) was favorite to win the Cultural Village tournament in Wijk aan Zee and to get invited to play in the Tata Steel Challenger tournament in January 2016. Hansen started with 5.5/6 but then something went wrong in his game against the young Georgian Nino Khomeriki. Now Nijat Abasov will play the Challengers in Wijk.

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The Cultural Village tournament in Wijk aan Zee is, of course, not as big and as prestigious as the Tata Steel tournament but it still has a certain tradition. Young players like it because the winner of the Cultural Village tournament is invited to play in the Tata Steel Challengers.

This year tournament favorite Eric Hansen had the best start. After six rounds the Canadian led the field with 5.5/6. Only Nijat Abasov could draw against Hansen and followed with 5.0/6, half a point behind the Canadian.

In the seventh round Hansen had to play the 17-year old Georgian Nino Khomeriki. Hansen started aggressively and countered Khomeriki's Benoni with the Four-Pawns-Attack. However, something went wrong for White and his attacking sacrifice soon led to nothing. It seems as if Hansen mixed up two lines in the opening.

Nino Khomeriki knows no fear



This loss of the tournament leader gave Nijat Abasov the chance to catch up with Hansen. The next round Hansen drew against Robert Ris while Abasov won his game to become sole leader. In the ninth and final round Abasov defended his lead, won the tournament and qualified for the Tata Steel Challengers .

Robert Ris

Nijat Abasov

Nijat Abasov - Demre Kerigan

All games



Artistry during the closing ceremony


And after the tournament: Chess!

Photos: Tournament page

Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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Tony Yiminsky Tony Yiminsky 12/1/2015 05:40
That sucks for Hansen...I feel like he beat himself, considering how aggressively he played. I feel like 9.a4 would have been so much safer for him while maintaining the winning chances he obviously desired. Just a massive misplay, but I'm sure he'll come back stronger next time!