Sigeman Rd.2: Erik the Victorious!

by Srinath Narayanan
5/12/2017 – Round two of TePe Sigeman & Co. Chess Tournament saw the reigning Swedish Champion Erik Blomqvist bounce back from yesterday's loss and defeat the top seed Pavel Eljanov. Baadur Jobava is now leading the tournament after a super-charged victory against Nigel Short. India's Harika Dronavalli signed peace with Nils Grandelius after missing a couple of chances to win. Report with grandmaster analysis.

Trompowsky for the attacking player Trompowsky for the attacking player

Tap into your creative mind and start the game on a fresh note. The Trompowsky (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) is an opening outside of conventional wisdom. Create challenges and make your opponent solve problems early on.


Sigeman Rd2: Erik the Victorious!

Photos by Lars OA Hedlund

More than a thousand years ago, Eric the Victorious, the first king of Sweden, successfully repelled an invasion from the south in the battle of Fýrisvellir (wait, how do you pronounce this?). 1033 years later, Erik once again turned up victorious, against the Ukrainian invader, the first seed and Ukraine’s top rated player, Pavel Eljanov.

Erik Blomqvist (2546) is the reigning Swedish and Nordic champion. 

Eljanov tried the French Defense for the first time in his life, and Erik responded with a Tarrasch instead of the usual Winawer. I presume that after 6 moves, Eljanov was out of the book and had a huge time disadvantage. He gradually got outplayed, and after he traded his dark squared bishop, there was no coming back into the game.

Erik is no stranger to such giant scalps, having inflicted a crushing and convincing defeat to Li Chao (2751 at that time) just over a year ago. However, this win beats his own record for the highest rated victory for a Swede in standard time control.

[Event "Tepe-Sigeman Chess 2017"] [Site "Malmo"] [Date "2017.05.11"] [Round "2"] [White "Blomqvist, Erik"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C03"] [WhiteElo "2546"] [BlackElo "2755"] [Annotator "Srinath,Narayanan"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventCountry "SWE"] [SourceTitle ""] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 e6 $5 {According to Mega Database 17, this is the first ever time Eljanov has tried French.} 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 $5 {Erik has predominantly preferred 3.Nc3 in the past, however, since 2017 he has exclusively used this move.} Be7 4. e5 $1 (4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 c5 6. e5 Nfd7 7. c3 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. dxc5 {was how the previous game of Erik had went in this variation against Libiszewski in 2015. Pavel had probably prepared something here.}) 4... c5 5. c3 Nc6 6. Bd3 h5 7. Ndf3 {The mainline after 4.e5, yet Pavel sank into thought for about 30 minutes here.} Bd7 8. Ne2 {[%csl Ge2,Gf3] Of course, as is obvious, the placement of knights on f3,e2 as opposed to f3,d2 protects the important strategic point d4 much more securely. The position seems much more pleasant for White.} cxd4 9. cxd4 (9. Nexd4 Nh6 10. Qe2 {is preferred by the computer. I am guessing that the reason is to not allow Nb4 and the subsequent activation of the light square bishop.}) 9... Nb4 10. Bb1 Bb5 11. O-O Rc8 12. Re1 g5 13. Nc3 Ba6 14. Qa4+ $2 (14. Be3 $142 Nc6 15. Nd2 $14) 14... Nc6 15. Be3 Qb6 16. Qc2 g4 17. Nd2 Nb4 $2 (17... Nh6 $142 18. Nde4 $1 dxe4 19. d5 Qa5 20. dxc6 Nf5 $1 $132 {And I believe Black has adequate counterplay here.}) 18. Qd1 Nd3 19. Bxd3 Bxd3 20. Nb3 Bc4 21. Rc1 $2 (21. Nc5 $142) 21... Nh6 $2 (21... Bxb3 {The dark square bishop is important. The light square bishop less so.} 22. axb3 Rc6 $11) 22. Nc5 Bxc5 $2 {The decisive mistake. With Black's pawn formation, the dark square bishop is the only protector. Exchanging it is like Daenerys trading one of her dragons.} 23. Na4 $1 Qc6 24. Nxc5 b6 25. Bxh6 Rxh6 26. b3 {leads to a safe pawn up, but I guess Nd3 was more technically accurate. } (26. Nd3 Qa8 27. Nf4 {[%csl Rh6][%cal Ra3f8,Rh4d8,Gd1d3,Gd3g3,Gg3h4,Gd3a3] would've been a huge strategic advantage. Imagine White's Queen on h4/g5. The c-file is the 'second front' and the a3-f8 diagonal is also a possible opening. }) 26... bxc5 27. bxc4 Rg6 28. cxd5 Qxd5 29. Qa4+ Kf8 30. dxc5 h4 31. Red1 $1 { impressive move, nipping Black's counter-play in the bud.} Qxe5 {The Queen had to be moved from the a8-h1 diagonal, and Black's counter-play is extinguished.} 32. c6 Kg7 33. Qxa7 g3 34. Qd4 gxh2+ 35. Kh1 Qxd4 36. Rxd4 e5 37. Rdc4 Rf6 38. R1c2 Rc7 39. Kxh2 Kf8 40. Kh3 Rg6 41. a4 Ke7 42. a5 Kd6 43. a6 f5 44. Rd2+ Ke6 45. a7 Rg8 46. Rxh4 1-0

Jobava repeated the Trompowsky with 3.Nd2 and Short got an acceptable position from the opening.

Things started going downhill for Short when he played 23...Rg7 instead of 23...c5. His final chance was to force an exchange of queens with 32...Qe7. With the win, Jobava has now emerged as early leader of the tournament. 

Nigel had set the bar high with a beautiful victory (without needing a Viagra) in the first round but fell short of expectations today:

[Event "Tepe-Sigeman Chess 2017"] [Site "Malmo"] [Date "2017.05.11"] [Round "2"] [White "Jobava, Baadur"] [Black "Short, Nigel D"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2713"] [BlackElo "2688"] [Annotator "Srinath,Narayanan"] [PlyCount "141"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventCountry "SWE"] [SourceTitle ""] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. Nd2 h6 4. Bh4 c5 5. c3 cxd4 {(12). Jobava's opening choice should hardly come as a surprise as he had played the same line yesterday. Perhaps being predictable is the 'new unpredictable' in modern chess?} 6. cxd4 Nc6 7. Ngf3 {already in no man's land, but possibly prepared.} g5 (7... Qb6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. d5 exd5 10. e3 {seems not that clear.}) 8. Bg3 Nh5 (8... g4 9. Ne5 Nxd4 10. e3 Nf5 11. Nxg4 Bg7 12. Rc1 Nxg3 13. hxg3 Nxg4 14. Qxg4 $13) 9. e3 Nxg3 10. hxg3 Bg7 11. Bb5 O-O 12. Rc1 f5 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. O-O {An interesting balance, Black has the pair of bishops, White has an excellent pawn structure, ideal against Black's bishops.} Bb7 15. Re1 d6 16. Qb3 Qd7 17. Qa4 Rf7 18. b4 g4 19. Nh4 Bf6 (19... c5 20. Qxd7 Rxd7 21. bxc5 dxc5 22. Rxc5 Bf8 23. Rc2 Kg7 $44 {was worth considering, opening up the position and letting the bishop's breathe. It's important to keep the h4-knight out of the game as far as possible.}) 20. Qb3 Kh7 21. Nc4 Raf8 22. Na5 Ba8 23. Qd3 {[#]} Rg7 $2 (23... c5 $142 $1 24. dxc5 dxc5 25. Qxd7 Rxd7 26. bxc5 Rd3 {[%cal Gf6c3] puts White in a difficult spot.} 27. Red1 Rxd1+ 28. Rxd1 Rd8 $1 $15 {[%csl Rh4] Black's play is based on the bad h4-knight and the pair of bishops on the open board.}) 24. e4 $1 Bg5 25. Rc2 c5 26. exf5 exf5 27. bxc5 $2 (27. d5 $1 cxb4 28. Re6 {[%csl Ra8] [#] was a simple operation, leading to a huge strategic advantage.}) 27... Bxh4 28. gxh4 Qd8 (28... Be4 29. Rxe4 fxe4 30. Qxe4+ Kh8 31. c6 Qd8 $1 {[%csl Ra5,Rh4]}) 29. Nb3 Be4 30. Rxe4 fxe4 31. Qxe4+ Kh8 32. g3 { [#] A very difficult position for Black, especially in time trouble.} Re8 $2 ( 32... Qe7 $142 {Considering Black's king position, Black had to swap the queens. Of course, it's also important that White doesn't get a dangerous protected paser. Here, White doesn't have enough time to achieve that.} 33. Qxe7 Rxe7 34. c6 (34. Kg2 Rc7 35. c6 d5 $11) 34... d5 $11) 33. Qf4 dxc5 34. Rxc5 Qb6 35. Rf5 {Black's king is very unsafe and the pawns are too weak. White has a straightforward, safe advantage. Rf5 ensures that Black can't attempt any tricks with the e8 rook.} Kg8 36. d5 Qb5 37. Kg2 Kh7 38. Nd4 Qc4 39. Ne6 Qxf4 40. Rxf4 Rgg8 41. Rf7+ Kg6 42. Rxa7 Ra8 43. Rc7 Rxa2 44. Nf4+ Kf5 45. Rf7+ Ke5 46. Re7+ Kf5 47. Re6 Rd2 48. Rxh6 Ra8 49. Nh5 Ra1 50. Rf6+ Ke5 51. Re6+ Kxd5 52. Rg6 Rdd1 53. Nf6+ Ke6 54. Nxg4+ Kf7 55. Ne5+ Ke7 56. Kh3 Ra2 57. f4 Ra3 58. h5 Rh1+ 59. Kg4 Rg1 60. Nf3 Rd1 61. Nh4 Kf7 62. Nf5 Rdd3 63. Kh4 Rf3 64. Nd6+ Kf8 65. f5 Rad3 66. g4 Rh3+ 67. Kg5 Rd4 68. Re6 Rg3 69. Kf6 Rxd6 70. Rxd6 Rxg4 71. Rd8# 1-0

Harika has a solid start with 1.0/2 points

Grandelius-Harika was a strange game. Harika got a stable advantage of bishop pair right from the opening and held the advantage for most part of the game. She had various ways to convert the advantage, but she wasted a couple of opportunities that could have won her the game on the spot.

[Event "Tepe-Sigeman Chess 2017"] [Site "Malmo"] [Date "2017.05.11"] [Round "2"] [White "Grandelius, Nils"] [Black "Harika, Dronavalli"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B23"] [WhiteElo "2665"] [BlackElo "2531"] [Annotator "Srinath,Narayanan"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventCountry "SWE"] [SourceTitle ""] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nf3 a6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. e5 e6 7. Be4 d5 8. exd6 Qxd6 9. Bxc6+ $2 {The idea seems very suspect. If White doesn't succeed in getting an overpowering initiative, Black simply has a strategically superior position.} Qxc6 10. O-O Nf6 11. d4 cxd4 12. Qxd4 b5 13. Ne5 Qc5 14. Rd1 Qxd4 15. Rxd4 Bc5 16. Rd3 Bb7 {[%csl Gb7,Gc5] I believe Black is just better here.} 17. Bg5 Be7 18. Rad1 Rc8 19. R1d2 h6 20. Bh4 g5 21. Bg3 Nd5 (21... Ne4 { would've won a pawn for good.} 22. Nxe4 Bxe4 23. Rd7 f6 24. Nf3 Bxc2 {[%cal Ge6e5]} 25. Ra7 e5 26. Rdd7 Rh7 $17) 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 23. Ng4 h5 24. Ne3 Be4 25. Rd4 Bc6 (25... f5 $5) 26. Be5 f6 27. Bd6 Bd8 28. Bc5 Kf7 29. c4 Bc7 (29... f5 30. cxb5 axb5 $17 {[%csl Re3][%cal Gf5f4]}) 30. Bd6 e5 31. R4d3 bxc4 32. Nxc4 Bb5 33. Bxc7 Bxc4 $2 (33... Rxc7 $142 34. Nd6+ Ke6 35. Nxb5 Rc1+ 36. Rd1 Rxd1+ 37. Rxd1 axb5 38. Kf1 Ra8 39. a3 b4 40. Rd3 bxa3 41. bxa3 f5 42. Ke2 f4 43. Rb3 Kf5 $15) 34. Rd7+ Kg6 35. R2d6 $4 {[#]} (35. b3 Bb5 36. Re7 Rhe8 37. Rxe8 Bxe8 38. Rc2 Bb5 39. f3 $11) 35... Rhe8 $2 (35... Bb5 $142 36. Re7 Rhe8 $1 $19 { [%csl Rc7] wins a piece on the spot.}) 36. g4 hxg4 37. Rd8 Rcxd8 $4 {[#]} ( 37... Rexd8 38. Bxd8 Be2 $1 {[%cal Ge2f3]} 39. f3 gxf3 40. Kf2 Rc2 $19) 38. Bxd8 Re6 39. Rxe6 Bxe6 40. a4 Bb3 41. a5 f5 42. Bc7 e4 43. Bd8 f4 44. Be7 Bc4 45. Bd8 Kf5 46. Be7 e3 47. fxe3 fxe3 48. Kg2 Kf4 49. Bf6 Bd5+ 50. Kf1 Bc4+ 51. Ke1 Bb5 1/2-1/2

Grandelius counting his lucky stars

Despite the missed chances, she still had an opportunity two moves later. She’ll not be happy about ruining her chances, but 1.0/2 with two blacks is still a very solid beginning!

Jobava has the early lead after two rounds, but we still have three more days and 9 more games of exciting chess to go!

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Srinath is a 23-year-old Indian Grandmaster. A former World Under 12 champion, at the age of fourteen he became an IM and had shown surprising and unswerving loyalty to the title ever since, until March 2017, when he crossed the 2500 mark and completed the requirements to become a grandmaster. He loves chess and likes to play in tournaments all around the globe.


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