Chasing the leader – Round 7 report

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Today Gudmundur Kjartansson managed to not only hold on to his lead but also add to it sa his nearest rival only drew while Gummi once again won and moved up to +4. At the moment the leaderboard can be summed up like this:

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Before we wonder a bit about the chances in the remaining rounds, lets have a look at todays action.

FM Einar Hjalti Jensson 2350 – GM Hannes Stefansson 2548

Hannes really needed to bounce back in this tournament after two straight losses dropped him down to third after a slow start. Today he had black against the most often well prepared FM Einar Hjalti. This time around Einar made a rare mistake in the opening and Hannes finished his game off rather quickly.

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Here in a well known line the Rubinstein variation of the Nimzo (4.e3) and one that Sokolov calls the mainline in his great book the Strategic Nimzo-Indian

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A great book which we have to plug since Ivan has been here so many times and is good friends with many Icelandic players.

…anyway in the position above we have transferred to page 274 of Ivan’s book and 10.Qe2?! is a dubious move transposing after 10…dxc4 11.Bxc4 to 11.Qe2?! in the book. There Ivan says white has a bad version of a known idea after 11…e5 12.d5 e4 13.dxc6 Ng4!

From there play followed his line in the book until Einar went 16.Qf4 (16.Qe4 was mentioned in the book but is also bad) after which play followed the old game Enevoldsen-Larsen. At the playing venue GM Helgi Olafsson was watching the game. Helgi is well known for his exceptional memory and he immediately recalled the Larsen game recognized that the game followed the same path and he even qouted the game as being played in 1956. Arbiter Omar Salma quickly verified the correctness of Olafsson’s memory which comes as no surprise to the writer of these lines!

Larsen on the right

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This position arose in the game and also the Enevoldsen-Larsen game. Enevoldsen took on d8 and eventually lost after struggling on for some moves but in todays games Einar overlooked something and was immediately losing after 18.Bb2?  The weakness around white’s king and the black pieces playing on the white squares proved too much and resignation followed after only 22 moves!

Easy day at the office for Hannes and tomorrow he has a golden opportunity to catch up playing black against Kjartansson!

GM Throstur Thorhallsson 2437 – GM Henrik Danielsen 2483

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Throstur was coming off two consecutive wins and still was the only player who hadn’t conceded a draw in the tournament. Henrik sat in 2nd place and was coming off a disappointing loss vs Steingrimsson.

These two recently played in a tournament in Denmark with the same colors and there Henrik managed to win. That win was however after Throstur overplayed his hand when he had a perpetual check in hand.

This time around Henrik offered an early perpetual

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After repeating Nf6-h5-f6 vs Qf3-g3-f3 Throstur decided to play on (just like in Denmark!) with Qh2. In what followed white held a space advantage but black was very solid.

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After some exchanges the critical moment was here. Black has a choice here. He could play on with the plan of doubling the rook on the d-file and placing his bishop on g7 with pressure on d4. This pressure however can be rather easily neutralized by white also doubling and at the same time increasing his space advantage with b4. Henrik probably didn’t fancy his chances of winning there and so forced a draw with 26…Bxg5. Since Qg3-h3-g3 follows a draw was agreed once move 30 was reached (the minimum unless there is a repition but here move 30 came first).

GM Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson 2530 – GM Helgi Ass Gretarsson 2462

The battle of the Gretarsson’! Hjörvar was only one years old when Helgi became World Junior Champion in 1994. To my knowledge they haven’t met at the board in a classical game but perhaps the odd blitz game here and there.

Nothing surprising in this game as Hjorvar went for an Avrukh approved line versus Helgi’s solid Slav defense. Black stayed quite solid in what followed and both sides maneuvered (that f%#% word!) heavily with little swings in the evaluation till white had a golden opportunity it seemed around move 40 in Helgi’s timetrouble.

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Here Hjorvar could probably have played 41.Rc1 with the idea of simply attacking the weak f5 pawn. This seems really difficult for black to deal with but Hjorvar missed his chance here and also earlier when Bh5 right away instead of Rh1 was probably a better option.

Instead Helgi even got the chances in the endgame when he had an extra pawn. Pieces were exchanged and eventually a clearly drawn position arose on the board.

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This was the position after move 66. White easily wins the f-pawn from here so a draw could be agreed here. Rather amusingly the game somehow continued till move 127!

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Here Hjorvar could finally use the 50-move rule. This 127 move game along with his 3rd round versus Einar Hjalti (101 moves) means that Hjorvar has now played two 100+ move games in the same tournment which must be rather weird (I’d guess I have less than 5 in my career)

GM Hedinn Steingrimsson 2537 – FM Gudmundur Gislason 2319

Hedinn Steingrimsson won his 3rd game in a row in this tournament and joined the “lion pack” on 4.5 out of 7 chasing the leader.

In todays game there was a Grunfeld which is along with the King’s Indian Gislason’s main weapon against c4/d4. White didn’t get more than a nominal edge in this game until a blunder by Gudmundur here:

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After 22…f5? The move 23.Na7 wins material since the rook on c8 can’t protect the knight on c4. The game was quickly over after that.

It should be mentioned that Gislason had some upsetting news in the middle of the game and had to return to his hometown right after the game and has been forced to withdraw from the tournament for the last two rounds. We wish Gummi all the best.

IM Bragi Thorfinnsson – IM Gudmundur Kjartansson

Bragi had his chance here as a win would tie him up at the top with Gummi along with others. Bragi started with 1.Nf3 and intended to meet 1…f5 with 2.d3, an interesting approach dating from the first edition of the SOS books. This is also what Magnus Carlsen used in a famous game by Magnus Carlsen:


Gummi however went with 2…Nc6 and the position was slightly different.

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Here Bragi decided to sacrifice a pawn on c2 and played 10.Kd2 with the idea of activating the rook. This concept however didn’t seem to work as black had a secure center with the d-pawn along with his extra pawn.

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Around here the position felt close to completely winning for black and Gudmundur managed to simplify from here to a pawn up ending although the feeling was he should have had a bigger advantage.

 

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The ending he managed to convert with the nice breakthrough idea 37…c4 and black won nicely. White did sacrifice his knight for the f-pawn and was just a few tempos away from getting to the black a-pawns but once again Gummi was in control and secured the win.

Despite the full point lead, Gummi faces a tough test tomorrow when he is white against 12-time champion Hannes Stefansson who got back on track today.

Steingrimsson will look closely at that game while he trieds to catch up with his 4th straight win. That will be tough when he has the black pieces versus old youth rival Helgi Gretarsson. These two were quite promising youth talents with Steingrimsson winning U12 World Juniors and many times they faced off in their younger playing days.

Danielsen who seemed to be happy with a draw today perhaps had things mapped out. He’ll play FM Einar Hjalti tomorrow and will do whatever it takes to win and then faces off against GM Stefansson in the last round in what could be potentially a very important game.

The scenarios are many….the only things that’s clear is that the tournament will not be decided until the final round!

Candidates & Women’s Championship

In the candidates section there were some very interesting games and results!

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Top seed FM David Kjartansson faced off with the black pieces against leader Magnus (quite a powerful name these days in chess!) Teitsson.

The King’s Indian it was and the middlegame turned into a Maroczy bind type structure but without the light squared bishops. The position seemed alsmost completely balanced for most of the middlegame and into the endgame. The position was reduced to R+N+3p vs R+B+3p on the same wing. Black had some slight chances but objectively it was probably drawn.

Black pressed on a bit but while pressing made a blunder which could have allowed white an easy win had he noticed. Having defended for a while, Magnus missed his chance and instead blundered when the game was starting to look rather drawish again. David took his chance happily and caught up to the leader.

This result allowed FM Sigurdur Sigfusson to grab the lead when he outplayed veteran Gylfi Thorhallsson in the Ruy Lopez.

One result that stood out was the young Bjorn Holm Birkisson managing a draw against IM Saevar Bjarnason. Bjorn with the black pieces was in a winning position but was clearly nervous on the brink of his first result against a titled player. After missing some chances he decided to force a draw while up a pawn. A great result for Bjorn Holm and one that gives him great confidence. Now having bagged the result he can confidently go for more next time!

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Lenka still leads the Women’s Championship with 5,5 (also good for joint 2nd in the tournament) and is chased by Hallgerdur and Elsa Maria on 4.5.

Lenka will play with White against Sigurdur Dadi and could put herself into a good position to qualify for the Masters next year with a win!

Tomorrow we are once again on the weekend schedule, 13:00 local time but remember Sunday we start at 11:00! Exciting two rounds remaining!!

The Games from today:

Masters

Candidates

The archives of todays broadcast:

 

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