Shankland beats Svidler, no upsets yet in the Open

Verslag Dag 2

Vind alle toernooifoto's van dag 2 hier. Foto's van Harry Gielen: opening en dag 2.

Summarizing today: it was a very interesting start of both matches. After some original play in both games, White was better in both Shankland-Svidler and Fedoseev-Van Foreest. But how much better was differing with almost every move. In the end Van Foreest held the draw by a great effort, while Svidler couldn't make it against Shankland.

In the Open group there were again no surprises, although the work is becoming harder for the grandmasters. The only small upset was Eelke de Boer's win against Indian IM P Iniyan, but this can hardly be a surprise because the 15-year-old player from Groningen is having a very good year so far.

Today the four match players were presented to the Open players and the public by tournament director Loek van Wely before the first round of the matches, and the second round of the Open. Van Wely presented former Dutch champion Jorden van Foreest for his fourth match here, praised rising star Fedoseev for his fighting mentality, called Peter Svidler an 'extremely gifted player who keeps a high level despite not working a lot on his chess', and last but not least another 'rising star', Sam Shankland, the current US champion as well as American Continental champion. Shankland made his final GM norm years ago by making a short draw against... Van Wely, in Berkeley 2011.

The tournament director also presented Hans Pees, CEO of the company DGT, which provides all the live boards for the matches, the Open, and a few boards of the Amateur tournament as well - without asking anything in return! Pees was going to make the first move on the board of Shankland-Svidler, but Sam was so eager to make his first move that he had already started before Pees could reach the board.

Peter Svidler also seemed a little surprised that Sam Shankland was moving so fast! (photo Harry Gielen)

Both games started with 1.d4 and Shankland answered Svidler's notorious 2...g6, aiming for his pet Grünfeld, with 3.f3.

Hilwerda on the attack...?

It seems that 15-year-old Jonas Hilwerda will be in the picture again today. His opponent, Kasper Bleeker, wanted to grab the centre with 10...f5, probably assuming that 11.Bxf5 was no good in view of 11...Rf8. However, Hilwerda captured anyway, and after the rook move he can make a promising piece sac with 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Bxg6+ after which the black king will be chased all over the board.

New paths in the 'Grünfeld'

Can we still call it that? The game Shankland-Svidler is following a completely untrodden path already. When the American took on c5 instead of playing the more 'regular' 4.d5, Svidler reacted with the gambit 4...e6 5.Be3 b6!?.

This move was first played by Grischuk against Caruana at the Baku Grand Prix in 2014! Caruana didn't accept the pawn immediately and played 6.Nc3, and after 6...Ba6 the same moves were played as here: 7.cxb6 axb6 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4. Shankland-Svidler is without the moves 6.Nc3 Ba6, and on move 8, after 8.Bh4, Svidler played the totally novel 8...d5!?. Highly interesting stuff from the outset!

Principled Nimzo struggle

The other match game, Fedoseev-Van Foreest, is also interesting.

Fedoseev (right) and Van Foreest receive the final instructions from arbiter Frans Peeters (mid) (photo Harry Gielen)

The young man from St Petersburg treated a Nimzo-Indian carefully with the slow development moves 5.Nge2, 6.Bd2 and 7.Ng3. This gave Van Foreest the chance to play the interesting 5...Re8, with possibilities of pushing his d-pawn to d4, when White's king may get into trouble. After 10...e5 a critical position was reached:

Fedoseev-Van Foreest


White can also hold after 11.Qh4 d4! 12.0-0-0 Ng4 13.Qxd8 Rxd8 14.Be1, but after 14...Nc6 Black is fine.


Now 11...d4? doesn't quite work because of 12.0-0-0!, although Black may even have good compensation for the pawn after 12...Nc6 13.exd4 exd4 14.Bxd4 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 Qa5. But also the text looks good for Black.


An interesting idea that was also suggested in commentator Robert Ris' audience. The intention is 12...d4 13.Bb2 and after 13...dxe3 14.fxe3!? when White's bishop pair will start to tell despite his structural deficit. The computer prefers the more natural 12.cxd5. But that might become boring after 12...Qxd5 13.Qxd5, and that wasn't in the contract for both players!

First point of the day for Kryakvin

Russian GM Dmitry Kryakvin fairly quickly beat local FM Luuk van Kooten in round 2 of the Open. ,,My opponent just gave a pawn", Kryakvin explained. He modestly didn't add that White was already in trouble anyway: in the queenless middlegame Black's pieces were much more active than White's.

Safarli follows suit

Eltaj Safarli also won quickly with black: another local hero, Stefan Colijn, had to resign after 22 moves. Safarli gave a pawn for active piece play.


Here the Azeri GM played the fluid 14...Nd7! and after 15.h3 Ne5 16.Qa6 Be6 17.Qxa7 Nxc4 not only did Black gain his pawn back, but the foundation under White's position had been blown away. The rest was smooth sailing for Safarli.

Slight plus for Shankland

Sam Shankland has managed to hold on to the pawn Peter Svidler gambited in the opening. There was some Black counterplay against the e3-pawn, but Black's d5-pawn was always going to fall. In the endgame with 2 rooks + knight on both sides Svidler has some Benko-like counterplay for the pawn, but will it be enough to hold?

Much more equal is the other match game. Vladimir Fedoseev allowed his Bc3 to be exchanged for Black's strong knight on c6, losing the bishop pair, after which the position looked quite equal. There followed some careful manoeuvring, but so far our Dutch hope seems to be doing very nicely with black (equalizing that is, of course).

The four match players before the start of the round. To the left tournament director Loek van Wely (photo Harry Gielen)

First Dutch wins: De Boer and Kevlishvili

Eelke de Boer en Robby Kevlishvili chalked up the first Dutch wins of this round: De Boer (15) as well as Kevlishvili (17) went pawn-grabbing in the right way and converted coolly. Kevlishvili was even four pawns up in the final position. Both players are on 2/2 right now.

>A turnaround in the matches?

There seems to be a slow turnaround going on in both matches. Whereas Peter Svidler looks to be increasing his chances for a draw in the double-rook ending with a pawn less, Vladimir Fedoseev has started to grind in the R+P ending against Jorden van Foreest, and now it looks as if the Dutchman is going to have to give a pawn as too many of his foot-soldiers are loose.

Amin on his way to win

Top-seed Bassem Amin has met with some very tough resistance from German player Robert Baskin, who is playing for the second consecutive time here, I believe. Under pressure, Baskin sacrificed his queen for rook + knight and seemed to be putting up a kind of fortress, but with some careful manoeuvring the Egypt GM forced a decisive breakthrough:


Everything is now exactly in the right place for 58.e4! and Black had to take with the rook (58...dxe4? 59.Qf5+; 58...Nxe4 59.Qxd5 and Black has to stay on the e-file to defend the knight and so has to give up the a6-pawn anyway):

58...Rxe4 59.Kxa6

And White's b-pawn should decide.

Bassem Amin in full concentration (during round 1)

Tough resistance by ladies

The (grand-)masters don't get their pawns easily against various lady players. Gadir Guseinov and Evgeny Romanov were always better against Anna Warakomska and Elena Tomilova respectively, but Erik van den Doel had almost nothing for a long time against Sonja Maria Bluhm, Jorden van Foreest's girlfriend, although the pressure is now mounting in the rook + opposite-coloured bishops ending. Thomas Beerdsen is also having a very long day against Serbian WIM Tijana Blagojevic. Now the Dutch IM has rook plus a- and c-pawn versus rook, which looks to be winning since Black is passive and White's pawns are far advanced. But it's really hard to say in this endgame.

Update: in the end Beerdsen did bring home the point.

Another turnaround...?

It looks like there has been another shift. Jorden van Foreest is defending tenaciously and seems to be close to equality again, whereas Peter Svidler now has his pawn on h6 endangered. He cannot well defend it as then his king comes under fire of the two white rooks...

Amin wins, and Van den Doel too?

Robert Baskin has had to resign against Bassem Amin in a hopeless endgame of queen versus knight + two pawns. Erik van den Doel has, with the patience of an angel, collected two pawns and seems to be winning too now.

Another tough day for Erik van den Doel

Van Foreest keeps the draw

After a great defensive effort, Jorden van Foreest held the draw with black against Fedoseev. The endgame was very tricky.

Fedoseev-Van Foreest

Here White probably missed his best chance to advance his e-pawn with 50.e5! (instead of the game move 50.Rb8) 50...Rc7 (50...Nxa3 51.e6 Re7 52.Rc5, catching the knight. Then White follows up with Nf7+ and Ke5, pushing the e-pawn through) 51. e6 Kg7 52. a4 Kf6 and now Black gets pushed back with 53.Rb8 followed by e3-e4 etc.

Both players thought after the game that five moves later...

55.e5 was not good at this point 'as this pawn becomes weak'. The alternative 55.Rd8! would have given better winning chances, e.g. 55...Nc5 56.e5+ Kf5 57.Kh4 Nd7 58.Rc8! when 58...g5+ looks best (due to the pin on either the 5th or the 7th rank), and now 59.Nxg5 Rxe5 60.e4+ Kg6 61.Rg8+ Kf6 62.Kxh5. After 55...Kf7 White had to trade the rooks and there was no win.

A very tense game in which Van Foreest played, in any case, the opening and the endgame well. 'I gave him too many chances in the opening', Fedoseev said. And Van Foreest: 'I was in a bit of time-trouble and panicked a little. In the end I held the game but I don't know if it was because of my good defence or because of his bad play.'

Fedoseev and Van Foreest at the onset of their hard-fought draw.

Shankland wins!

The result was known already some time ago... but we've made some analysis of this incredibly tricky double-rook endgame - for what it's worth. Unfortunately the players were quickly gone so we couldn't get any reactions from them (yet).



Stronger may have been 32.Ke2! with the idea 32...Nxh2 33.Rf8 Ra7 (33...f5 34.g3+ Ke5 35.Re8+ Re6 36.f4+ Kxe4 37.Rxe6+; or 33...f6 34.Rxf6+ Rxf6 35.Nxf6 Kg3 36.Ke1) 34.Rfd8 Re7 35.g3+ Kf5 36.Kf2 and Black has to give material.

32...Kxe4 33.a4 Rac5 34.h3 Rc3 35.Re8+ Kf4 36.Rd4+ Kg5 37.Re5+ Kf6 38.Rb5 Rc2+ 39.Kg3 Re6 40.Rd3 Kg7

Threatening 41...Ree2... but is it really a threat?


Here even something like 41.Rf3 Ree2 42.Rxb6 g5 43.Rf1 was possible (41.Kf3 g5 42.g3 Rh2 is less clear).

41...Rb2 42.h4

Tickling Black on the kingside. It's surprising how irritating this can be, even though it doesn't bring any immediate dividends.

42...Ree2 43.Rg3 Re6 44.h5 Rd6 45.Rb4 g5

Some experts ventured that Black perhaps should not have reacted with this move. Now the h6-pawn becomes just a tiny bit weaker.



Opening the door for the white rooks! Shankland is quick to take profit.

47.Rc3! Re2 48.Rb4 Kf7 49.Rbc4

49.Rc7+ Re7 50. Rxe7+ should be winning too. In the single-rook ending Black has much less chances to draw, in general, because he cannot create counter-threats against the white king.

49...Ke6 50.Rc8 Rdd2 51.Rg3 Kf7 52.Rh8 Rf2 53.Rh7+

And Black resigned because of 53...Kf8 54.Rb7 Rd6 55.Rc3 Rd8 56.Rcc7 etc.

The sole winner of today!