After bouncing back from our disappointments of Round 3 it seemed good wins were all that was needed to get us back into the swing of things. Especially Junta, after consecutive defeats to GM opposition, desperately needed a steady game in which to regain his rhythm. And this is exactly what he got, paired with a 2100 player. After stumbling through the opening phase with some uncertainty, he reached his typical, rather dubious Sicilian Kan position as Black - advancing pawns on both flanks with ...h5?! and ...b5!? leaving the king "safely" in the center for the most part of the game. On this occasion he invited a healthy knight sacrifice on d5, but White failed to follow up his sacrifice and missed drawing opportunities, allowing Black time to consolidate and convert his material advantage.
|Ikeda VS Neverov (GM) Round 4|
Andrew was also playing a 2100 rated opponent, after a rather dubious looking Bd3 from his opponent in the King's Indian Samisch, Black simple got the upper hand. He went on to control the game, throwing in some sacrifices (which weren't quite as brilliant as his highly blogworthy masterpiece from Round 4, but equally effective) and soon executed a back rank checkmate in two following his opponent's time trouble blunder.
This round I was paired against my third GM opponent Marijan Petrov (2534) with the white pieces. This was my best chance to play for a win, to reach a respectable score. The opening was a Pirc, whereby I played a rather strange looking g3!? with the inclusion of a knight already on f3 rather than e2. This simply allows Black to reach a rather comfortable position, but my opening could be called a success, gaining almost a 40 minutes advantage on the clock over the first 10 moves or so. I continued to push, cutting down all opportunities for him to castle to safety. However, after his ...Qb4 to desperately trade off my Qc3 for an endgame, I hesitated momentarily and then made a naive decision to allow the trade, thinking I could win one of his weak pawns on a4 or c6. In fact in almost 100% of cases I would play Qd3! without thinking, avoiding the swap and simply maintaining the onslaught, but it seems pressure can sometimes force one to play irrational moves. After the swap, winning became difficult and a draw was agreed in time trouble. This leaves us all on 3/5 which is respectable but we definitely hope to score some more decisive results in the following games.
The pairings for the Round 6 tomorrow (it is a rest day today):
Board 9: Andrew - GM Andrey Vovk (2551) [live board]
Board 10: Junta - GM Daan Brandenburg (2538) [live board]
Board 12: FM Reiner Odendahl (2375) - Moulthun
The games will be from 1pm Amsterdam time (9pm Sydney time).