For a moment things seemed to become tense, but until the last moment he had everything under control. The best player in the Open won the tournament again, just like last year: grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta from India.
Photo: Lennart Ootes
Half a point against Lucas van Foreest was enough for Gupta to remain ahead of the rest of the field.
Van Foreest - Gupta
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0–0–0 Bd7 9.f4 b5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Nxc6 Bxc6 12.f5 Qb6
In most cases White continued with 13.fxe6 fxe6 14.Qf4. Van Foreest had wanted to play 13.Kb1 here, but he mixed up the moves.
It’s clear that White wants to go for the weak e6-pawn, but Black could simply play 13...Bxe4. However, Gupta was unbalanced for a moment.
14.fxe6 fxe6 15.Nd4 Bd7 16.Kb1 and 17.Be2 looks favourable for White.
14...h5 15.fxe6 fxe6 16.Nf4!?
16.Nd4 Bd7 17.Be2 prevents Black’s reply, and gives White some targets.
The endgame that now arises does not promise White much. The other attempt was 17.Qxd6 Qxd6 18.Rxd6 Bxf4 19.Rxc6 Kd7, after which White has a healthy plus pawn. Black also has some pressure here, but it seems less than in the game. ‘This position is a draw’, Lucas thought.
17...Bxd2 18.Nxc5 dxc5 19.Rxd2
Van Foreest had missed this excellent move. White’s only active piece is exchanged (due to the mate threat), and Black can choose the moment when he takes back his pawn. Van Foreest had only reckoned with 19...Bxe4 20.Bd3 ‘and then I still have a little something, but it’s not much.’
20.Rxd8+ Kxd8 21.Rg1 h4 22.a4 c4 23.axb5 axb5 24.g3 Ke7 25.Bg2 Ke6 26.Kc1 hxg3 27.hxg3 Rh2 28.g4 Ke5 29.Bf3 Kf4
30.Rf1! Ke3 31.Bd1 Tf2 32.Rg1 Bxe4 33.g5
It looks very threatening for White, but this move allows him to break free.
33...f5 34.Rg3+ Kf4 35.Rg1 Ke3 36.Rg3+ Kf4 37.Rg1 Rg2 38.Rxg2 Bxg2 39.Kd2
This looks a little masochistic, but also after 39.g6 Kg5 40.g7 Bd5 White loses the g-pawn. It’s a draw anyway.
39...Kxg5 40.Ke3 f4+ 41.Kf2 Bc6 42.c3 Kf5 43.Bh5 Ke5 44.Bf7 Kf6 45.Bh5 Ke6 46.Bg6 Kd6 47.Bh5 Kc5 48.Bf3 Bd5 49.Ke2 Kd6 50.Bh5 Bc6 51.Kf2 Be4 52.Bd1 Kc5 53.Bf3 Bc2 54.Ba8 Bd1 55.Bf3 Bc2 56.Ba8 Bd1 57.Bf3 ½-½
And thus Gupta was again the deserved tournament winner – for the second time in succession. Never before seen in Hoogeveen!
For Lucas van Foreest this meant ‘just’ an IM norm. He was glad he hadn’t lost anyway. ‘That wouldn’t have been a good thing.’
Lucas van Foreest, Photo: Lennart Ootes
Babu Lalith hadn’t really recovered from yesterday’s collapse against Lucas. Today again things went wrong for him against Chanda Sandipan, who ended up unshared second with this victory. And ‘old hand’ Oleg Romanishin still achieved shared third place after a shaky start, with a hard-fought win over Jan Werle.
Babu Lalith. Photo: Lennart Ootes
Romanishin - Werle
A highly treacherous position for Black. Best is something like 35...Qb1, but then White remains a pawn up. Capturing on f4 is no good...
But why not?
A deadly little move. It’s immediately over.
After 36...Rf8, 37.Rxg7! wins nicely.
37.Ra8+ Bf8 38.Rxf8+ Kg7 39.Qxf4 1–0
There were two more happy young players. Rakesh Kumar Jena, who, just like Lucas van Foreest, is still only 15, achieved his master norm with ease, and today almost caught Sipke Ernst. The latter escaped in a rook vs rook + f- and h-pawn ending. A win would probably even have gained Jena a GM norm.
14-year-old Casper Schoppen also made an IM norm. He was under pressure for a long time against Hugo van Hengel, and he had almost equalized when his opponent exceeded the time limit. Maaike Keetman too made an excellent impression today by holding a difficult endgame against grandmaster Debashis Das to a draw, and ending on plus-2 in this strong field.
Congratulations to all these winners!!
Prijswinnaars Amateur II. Photo: Lennart Ootes
Lola den Dunnen. Photo: Lennart Ootes