Van Wely wins Noteboom Tournament (2)

by Sagar Shah
2/24/2015 – The 75th Daniel Noteboom Weekend Tournament was held in three different groups – for players above the rating of 1900, players between the rating of 1600 and 2000 and players below 1700. The main event was the “Corpus Vierkamp” which had four of Netherlands best chess players pitted against each other in a round-robin tournament. Part two of our tournament report.

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Brave Loek wins Corpus Vierkamp

The 75th Daniel Noteboom Weekend Tournament was held at the Corpus Congress Centre in the town of Leiden from the 13th to 15th of February 2015. The chief Sponsor for the event was Corpus. The tournament had three different groups. Group A was for players above the rating of 1900, group B for players between the rating of 1600 and 2000 and group C for players below 1700. All the three tournaments had six rounds. However, the main event was definitely the “Corpus Vierkamp” which had four of Netherlands best chess players pitted against each other in a round-robin tournament.

Part one of this report was published yesterday

Round three

Overnight leader Jan Timman was stopped in his tracks in the final round by Predrag Nikolic. After losing the first round to van Wely, Nikolic did really well to make a comeback and win both his remaining games. Thus he ended the tournament with 2.0/3. Everything now depended on the game between Smeets and van Wely. A catastrophic loss like the one van Wely experienced against Timman on the previous day would have destroyed the next game of any player. But Loek van Wely is not just any player. He has seen too many ups and downs in his illustrious career to be affected by them. He came out all guns blazing against Smeets and obtained a winning position.

Smeets has just moved his queen from g5 to f6. Van Wely can win the game by simply taking the knight: 36…dxc2. Now 37.Rxd7 loses to c1Q with a quick mate. What van Wely might have missed after 36…dxc2 is 37.Qh8+ Ke7 38. Qf6+ Ke8 39 Qh8+ and now the black queen interposes with 39…Qf8 and it is all over. Instead of taking the knight, black sacrificed his bishop with Bxg2+ and after a few moves the critical position was reached once again.

The players had already repeated the position twice with Kf8, Qh8+ and Ke7, Qf6+. The ball was in van Wely’s court. A draw would take him to 1.5/3 and would let Nikolic become the champion. He made an extremely courageous decision of continuing the game here with the move 44…Kd7, giving up both his f7 and e6 pawns with checks!

The crucial moment of the game. Van Wely had a difficult decision to make.
To take a draw or to continue. He chose the latter!

Fortune favours the brave is a maxim not created without basis! Both the kings were completely exposed and even a small mistake would prove fatal. Van Wely’s gamble worked out to perfection as Smeets couldn’t find the most accurate moves to maintain the balance. He blundered and Loek mated the white king! A grand finale!

There are some games which just give you the pleasure of playing. This was one of them!

[Event "75th Noteboom vierkamp"] [Site "Leiden NED"] [Date "2015.02.15"] [Round "3"] [White "Timman, Jan"] [Black "Nikolic, Predrag"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C03"] [WhiteElo "2553"] [BlackElo "2588"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2015.02.13"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 {Nikolic comes across as a player who has his own systems and sticks to it. For example we saw that in the Slav he played the move 10.Ne1!? against Smeets which is not so popular, but he seems to believe in it. Here Be7 is much more popular but nowhere compared to 3...Nf6 or 3...c5. } 4. Ngf3 (4. Qg4 {is an aggressive option.}) 4... Nf6 5. Bd3 (5. e5 {is the other main option here.}) 5... c5 $1 {A nice move hitting the centre in the spirit of the French Defence.} 6. exd5 Qxd5 {Basically what Black has achieved is a favourable version of the 3.Nd2 c5 line. In that position the White bishop develops on c4 with a tempo. Here it has already been developed to d3, so it makes no sense to waste a tempo in moving it again to c4.} 7. dxc5 Qxc5 8. O-O Nbd7 {It might seem that the knight could be more actively developed on c6. But it is better to place it on d7 mainly because from d7 it controls not only the e5 square but also c5. It also keeps the path open for the queen to drop back to c7 and in any case the bishop can always be developed via b6 and Bb7.} 9. Qe2 Qc7 10. c4 b6 11. Ne4 Bb7 {The thing I like about Nikolic's play is that he doesn't give undue importance to castling. He makes sure that if it is not necessary, he uses his time well in finishing his development.} 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bd2 {This might seem surprising but the natural Bh4 is met with} (13. Bh4 Nxe4 14. Bxe7 {is now met with the very surprising} Ng5 $1 $17) 13... O-O 14. Rad1 Ng4 {This is a common idea freeing the f-pawn to move ahead with a tempo. Though it is an open question whether this manoeuvre was any good.} ( 14... Rad8 {[%cal Gf6h5,Gh5f4] was a simple way to play.}) 15. Bb1 f5 16. Ng3 { The e6 pawn becomes a tad difficult to defend now.} Qc6 17. Bf4 (17. Be4 $3 { Timman misses this nice little tactic which would have given him a clear edge. This was not so easy to spot as you move a piece to a square that is already defended. But the calculations are not at all difficult.} fxe4 18. Nd4 Qc5 19. Qxg4 Qxd4 20. Bc3 $18) 17... Rae8 {Black is now doing fine.} 18. h3 ({The same tactic no longer works} 18. Be4 fxe4 19. Nd4 Qc8 20. Qxg4 Rxf4 $1 21. Qxf4 e5 $17) 18... Ngf6 19. Rfe1 Bb4 20. Bd2 Bxd2 21. Rxd2 Nc5 22. Qe5 (22. b4 $1 Nce4 (22... Ncd7 {is relatively better.}) 23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Nd4 $16) 22... Nce4 23. Rd4 (23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Nd4 Qxc4 25. Nb5 $44) 23... Ng5 $1 24. Nh4 Nf7 25. Qe2 ( 25. Qb5 $1) 25... e5 {The way in which these central pawn duo move ahead would have made Alekhine proud. This is in reference to his game against Yates from Hague, 1921.} 26. Rd2 f4 27. Ne4 Nxe4 28. Bxe4 Qxe4 29. Qxe4 Bxe4 30. Rxe4 Ng5 {Removing the blockader.} 31. Re1 e4 {The pawns look threatening, but with accurate play White can maintain the balance.} 32. Rd5 f3 33. Re3 fxg2 34. Kxg2 Rf6 35. Rf5 Rd6 36. Kg3 (36. Rd5 $1 $11) 36... Rd2 37. f4 Nf7 38. b3 Red8 39. Kg4 (39. Rd5 R8xd5 40. cxd5 Nd6 $17) (39. c5 bxc5 40. Rxc5 Rxa2 41. Kg4 {keeps the game interesting.}) 39... g5 $1 {Nikolic is alert and takes his chance.} 40. Ng6 Kg7 $1 41. Ne7 $2 {Lands in a mating net.} (41. Rxe4 Nd6 42. Re7+ Kxg6 43. Re6+ Kg7 44. Re7+ Kg8 45. Rd5 {gives White some fighting chances, although after} Rxd5 46. cxd5 Nf7 {it should really be a technical win.}) 41... h5+ $1 ( 41... h5+ 42. Kxh5 (42. Kg3 h4+ 43. Kg4 Rg2+ 44. Kh5 Rh8#) 42... Rh8+ 43. Kg4 Rg2+ 44. Rg3 Rh4# {A pretty mating variation!}) 0-1

The brave King Loek edged out Nikolic as he had beaten him
in their individual encounter and claimed the winner’s cup!

A pretty solid performance by the 54-year-old Predrag Nikolic

The A group had many strong players like:

Daniel Fridman (2651) finished fourth with 5.0/6 points

Sergey Fedorchuk (2643) finised 17th with 4.0/6 points

Viacheslav Ikonnikov (2558), 29th, with 3.5/6 points


IM Mark van der Werf (2400) was leading the tournament with a perfect score of 5.0/5
but had to settle for the third place after a last round loss to the eventual winner

But the tournament was won by GM Namig Guliyev (2536)
who scored 5.5/6 and went back home richer by €1400

Second place went to the strongest Dutch female player GM Peng Zhaoqin

The complete list of final standings can be seen here.

Philippe Friesen won the B Group

Winner of the C group: Jan Vriends

Experienced grandmaster John van der Wiel was the commentator for the games of the elite category

In the lounge many players would indulge in blitz and analysis.
Can you identify the lady in the orange jacket?

Of course, she none other than the 2014 Dutch Women Champion Anne Haast

Anne also gave a simul to nearly 35 young kids. She was joined in the simul by …

… Jorden van Foreest, the European Youth Champion in 2013, who gave a simul
on the other 35 boards – and won all his games.

Anne lost one game that was against the 13-year-old Jorre

The Noteboom Chess Festival was very well organized by Rudy Van Wessel and his team. The event had elite players, a beautiful venue, a world class commentator and many interesting side events. On a parting note I would like to leave the readers with the game which won the “beautiful game” prize of the event.

[Event "75e Noteboomtoernooi"] [Site "CORPUS Oegstgeest"] [Date "2015.02.14"] [Round "2"] [White "Kazarian, A.M."] [Black "Hoynck van Papendrecht, F."] [Result "1-0"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb6 4. d4 d6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. exd6 exd6 7. h3 Bh5 8. Be3 Be7 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Bd3 Bg6 11. Bxg6 hxg6 12. Qb3 N8d7 13. h4 Nf6 14. O-O-O a5 15. Ng5 a4 16. Qd3 Ng4 17. f3 Nxe3 18. Qxe3 a3 19. b3 Re8 20. Qf4 Bf6 21. Rh2 c5 22. Rdh1 Nd7 23. h5 Nf8 24. Nde4 Qa5 25. hxg6 Nxg6 {[#]White executes a very pretty mating pattern now.} 26. Rh8+ $1 Nxh8 27. Rxh8+ Kxh8 28. Qh2+ Kg8 29. Nxf6+ $1 Kf8 (29... gxf6 30. Qh7+ Kf8 31. Qxf7#) 30. Qxd6+ Re7 31. Ngh7# { This was definitely worthy of a beauty prize.} 1-0

Pictures by Folkert Geersma

If you are interested to learn the Noteboom Variation the following DVD is perfect for you:

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The Semi-Slav defense (1.d4 d5 followed by ...e7-e6 and ...c7-c6) is one of the most popular opening set-ups for Black. Black can follow two entirely different concepts. One includes an early ...Ng8-f6 and leads to a number of popular and deeply analysed systems: the Meran, the Anti-Meran, the Botvinnik, the Moscow, the Anti- Moscow, the Westphalian, etc. The other, in which Black refrains from ...Ng8-f6 at an early stage, is presented by GM Michal Krasenkow on this DVD. Black keeps a choice between two double-edged interesting systems: the Noteboom variation (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 dxc4) and the Stonewall (...f7-f5) if White plays an early e2-e3. Of course Black’s decision to refrain from an early ...Ng8-f6 gives White other options, the most important being the Slav gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 etc.). Therefore Black’s set-up may lead to a whole range of different and interesting positions, which help the black player to broaden his strategic and tactical understanding. This makes the Noteboom/Stonewall opening repertoire a particularly good choice for young, aspiring players.

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You can use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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