Warmerdam takes the lead

Same openings, other nuances

Both match games featured the same openings as in round 1, but it didn't take long for Luke MShane and Max Warmerdam to deviate. The latter tried 6...a5 instead of 6...a6 from Game 1, after which the b2-b4 push is no longer possible.

Out of the (too?!) many possibilities White has against Kramnik's notorious Berliner, McShane again opted for 10.Nc3 but after the knight trade on h4 deviated with 12.Be3 and 13.Ne2 instead of 12.Re1 from the first game.


Watch for Machteld

At the opening of round 3 of the Open, where Machteld van Foreest first appeared after a brief illness, tournament secretary Jeroen Bottema gave her, on behalf of tournament director Loek van Wely, a digital watch as a present because she recently won the bronze medal in the Girls U16 World Championship. 'Don't wear it during the game!', chief arbiter Frans Peeters warned her -- yes, it's one of those watches! And just recently Bottema had informed a local paper that the Hoogeveen Tournament is extra alert on cheating this year since it's such a precarious subject in chess at the moment.

Machteld in round 2, still without a watch

And just so you won't forget: next Wednesday the Open will have two rounds, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.



In their games, Luke Mc Shane and Lucas van Foreest remind us of a couple of walruses engaging in a fight for their territory. They keep hacking away at each other in slow-motion. The end of such a long battle can be very bloody, and that's just how things went in their two previous games.


First full point for Duncan Klaren

Seventeen-year-old Duncan Klaren was the winner of the first decisive game of today, in the Open. His opponent Mick Godding played sharply, sacrificing his rook on a8 and perhaps hoping to trap White's queen. This was refuted with a nice trick, but there were more options for Duncan to win. It was over on move 14.


Mistake Dardha?

Like in Game 1, Max Warmerdam brought his c6-knight to f4 but in this situation Daniel Dardha seems to have undertaken action in the centre in time. The position looked very drawish, with both sides' queens eyeing several weak pawns. Daniel's 24th move Re1 may be inaccurate since now not only b2 but also a4 is hanging after 24...Ne6. Perhaps he is planning the pawn sac 25.d5!? to obtain active play.


A beautiful trick

Wim Heemskerk is losing against Italian GM Luca Moroni. At one point, he lost a pawn and then missed a very beautiful counter:

Instead of 17...Be4 he could have played 17...Nd4!! here with the point 18.exd4 (18.Rxc8?? Nxe2+) 18...Rxc5 19.dxc5 Rxe2 20.b3 Be4 with so much counterplay that Black will probably win back his pawn. An engine line, of course!


A nice motif

Arthur de Winter, the 14-year-old king of the Dutch summer opens, is on 2 out of 2 and has a very pleasant advantage today against 18-year-old William Shakhverdian. However, it could have been much more if he had seen the following elegant motif:

17.cxd6 cxd6 (17...Rxd6 18.Qb5 and the e5-pawn is too weak) 18.f4!! (of course, 18.Qd2 Nh7 19.Rh6 should win too) 18...exf4 (18...gxf4 19.Bh4 followed by 20.g3 is also horrible) 19.Bf2 and moving the bishop to d4, with a lethal attack.


No blood

The 'walrus fight' McShane-Van Foreest did not end bloody today: everything remained within bounds. The players said afterwards that there are very many possibilities for both sides in this variation, without the balance tipping in any way. It was drawn in 30 moves.


Warmerdam winning

Max Warmerdam seems to be winning now. Daniel Dardha has played d4-d5 probably too late, now the dutchman is even two pawns up with a solid position.


Post-mortem Luke-Lucas

Indeed, there was no-one really getting lost in the Berlin labyrinth today. Both McShane and Van Foreest have been playing this line for years, and apart from some subtleties there was never a lot for Black to worry about. 'You just have to have the feel for such positions,' Van Foreest said. 'I think 26.c5 was pretty crucial, otherwise Black plays 26...Bb4 and gets some more play. As it went, both flanks were locked with pawn moves and there was not a lot to be done.

Perhaps the nicest moment in this game came on move 18.

Here Van Foreest played 18...Be6, 'and not 18...Bf5 in view of 19.g4!'


Hovhannisyan is back in business

Tournament favourite Robert Hovhannisyan is on 2½ out of 3. In a quiet game where the queens came off quickly (which is often dangerously reassuring for the weaker player) he gradually pushed Tim Brouwer off the board. Luca Moroni, who we talked about earlier, has already won and is on 3.


Osama Arabi played another good game today against his second GM, Daniel Fernandez. Not until the rook ending could the Englishman develop some pressure, and then things went wrong in an instructive way.


40.Kg3? 40.Rd3 Rxe2+ 41.Kg3 was a draw. 40...Rd2! Forcing the white rook to budge after which the d-pawn has free passage. 41.Ra5 41.Rd3 Rxd3 42.exd3 Kf6 and White ends up in zugzwang. 41...Rxe2 42.Rxa4 d5 43.Rd4 Rd2 Once more, kicking away the rook. 44.Rb4 d4 And now the rook and two pawns could do it all by themselves.

Daniel Fernandez in round 2


Shakhverdian holds

After missing his chance on move 17/18, things gradually went downhill for Arthur de Winter. William Shakhverdian kept afloat in one way or another, and in a raging time scramble it all ended in a draw, much to Arthur's frustration. He is a very ambitious young guy!

William Shakhverdian


No worries for Max

Max Warmerdam took the lead today in his match with Daniel Dardha, and he claimed not to have suffered from any 'psychological disadvantage' as we suggested after yesterday's game: 'I've been able to put pressure on him in all games so far, and that I couldn't win the first two games did not bother me. Sometimes you just have little to work with.'

We enter the game at move 24, a moment we talked about before:

'Daniel had missed my previous move 23...Dd5-b3,' Max said, 'and now he had to be careful. On 24.Ra3 I have 24...Qb4.' Maybe the most solid defence is 24.Qa3, but that is not a move you are happy to play as White.

Warmerdam agreed that on the next move, the pawn sacrifice 25.d5 might have been interesting: 'I will be up a pawn, but his pieces are more active. This would certainly have remained within the margins.'

The only idea Black had to worry about for a bit appeared on move 28.

Here, Dardha played 28.Rf3? after which Black could slowly consolidate. More crucial would have been the exchange sacrifice 28.dxe6 gxf5 29.Bc4, said Warmerdam. 'I heard it was about plus 1.5, but in practice this is not easy to play.' Probably best here is 29...Qc1+ 30.Kh2 Qf4+ 31.Kg1 h6!, not worrying about the one check on f7 and eliminating any perpetuals. White has not enough compensation for the material.


Hummel surprises and joins the leaders in Open

Paul Hummel, a good club player, surpried everyone today in the Open with a fine game against Nick Maatman. The game was dead even all the way, but it became even better for Hummel when Maatman made a horrible mistake in a totally drawn pawn ending.


Instead of 52.Kf3 or even 52.Ke3, Maatman, perhaps frustrated with the inevitable draw, short-circuited with 52.Kg5?? when after 52...Ke5 53.Kg6 f4 Black's king was much quicker than White's. A quite tragic accident.

With this, Hummel is now on 3 out of 3, along with four other leaders: Luca Moroni, Barath Subramaniyam, Onno Elgersma and Eelke de Boer.