Before the 4th round, GM Stefansson led with GM Hjörvar Grétarsson with 2,5 out of 3. They met in todays round where Stefansson secured an important win which puts him in the sole lead again in the Icelandic Championship.
Stefansson opened with 1.Nf3 and in a Triangle/Semi-Slav positoin with 4.Qc2 Hannes improvised with the move Ng5 early in the opening. The move looked somewhat strange but had the clear plan of preventing the …c5 break which is black’s main aim in this opening.
Black was probably doing fine in what followed but Stefansson said after the game he thought black should have perhaps castled instead of 15…b4. Following that move, white cunningly sacrificed a pawn and threatened to saddle black with complete positional domination by planting a knight on c5…
This prompted Gretarsson to sacrifice his pawn right back to avoid being left with a dead bishop on b7. Just a few moves later Stefansson left his GM compatriot completely crippled and dominated in this position:
A very nice positional effort by GM Stefansson and a game which probably leaves GM Grétarsson scracthing his head because his mistakes are really hard to pinpoint.
The other Gretarsson, Helgi Áss drew against Gudmundur Gislason in a Slav. Helgi had the black pieces and chose the …Na6 line in the Slav which is solid but not as common as the mainlines. White held a slight edge but black was always without weaknesses and even managed to grab a pawn in the middlegame but in the final position couldn’t find a way forward and was short on time. A draw was therefore agreed.
Another rather uneventful and actually a lot more uneventful despite it’s length was FM Einar Hjalti Jensson against GM Hedinn Steingrimsson. Steingrimsson had to win this game to have any chances to catch up at the top but never got anywhere against Jensson and this game almost at no point could have been considered anything other than equal. If anything white could claim a microscopical edge but with symmetical pawns “nothing to be done” as they say.
Henrik Danielsen won his 2nd game in a row after missing some chances in the first two rounds and he is now within shouting distance. Henrik today had white vs IM Thorfinnsson and after 1.c4 the English Opening, his opponent answered with 1…b6 the English defense!
Play was original and the position seemed rather quiet and without pawn breaks. After the position stabilized, Henrik maneuvred skillfully and held a slight positional edge when Bragi mad a horrible blunder with …Qg4?? instead of ..Qf7 which leaves all to play for.
There was no way to recover from this blunder and Bragi had to resign.
Joining Henrik with 3 points is IM Gudmundur Kjartansson who played a very nice positional game today against GM Thorhallsson. Gummi called it one of his best games immediately afterwards and it sure was.
From the English Opening, Gummi with white reached this position where only white can win since his knight is always better than black’s bishop which can only defend.
Still the feeling is that black should be able to defend with “correct play” but in practise it is always going to be really difficult to defend.
After making slow and steady progress Gummi capped of an accurately played endgame with Kd8! in this position which wins important time and drives the black king away because the threat is Kc8 and then mating with the knight.
Magnus Teitsson grabbed the sole lead in the candidates section when he played a nice game against FM Sigurdur Sigfusson. Teitsson is the only player on 4 out of 4 but will not manage 5 out of 5 since he has already taken a bye in the 5th round! So it’s guaranteed that Teitsson will be at least joint leader after next round!
On 3,5 we find rating favourite FM David Kjartansson along with Sævar Bjarnason and Lenka Ptacnikova.
Lenka also leads the Women’s Icelandic Championship but she survived a scare today when she had a really difficult position out of the opening and was at one point close to -5 but tenaciously stuck around and capitalized on mistakes by her opponent and survived and in the end even won!
Tuesday is a rest day in the tournament but play will resume on wednesday. As always the game are live on icelandicchesschampionship.com and there is also live commentary by FM Ingvar Johannesson.
Round 4 Masters Games:
Round 4 Candidates games:
Part 1 of Commentary from round 4
Part 2 of Commentary from round 4