Eindhoven 1 – Voerendaal 2 6-2
After our painful defeat against Dordrecht, it was time to set the records straight against Voerendaal 2. Our second team was scheduled to play against Voerendaal 3, and this had an unexpected influence on our match. Voerendaal 2 left board 2 open (so that we could not enjoy from the stylistic efforts of Luuk) and transferred two of its players to Voerendaal 3. As a consequence, I met a substitute on board 8. My opponent played a line of the Slav that I never encountered before in a serious game and had trouble to deal with in simultaneous display games. I therefore decided not to hope for any advantage from the opening and exchanged queens to arrive at a safe, equal position from which I hoped to slowly outplay my opponent. This was undoubtedly a practical, sensible approach but after an inferior move of my opponent I could not resist abandoning my cautious strategy and lashed out a premature advance of my e-pawn. My opponent immediately refuted this through an unexpected pawn exchange and offered a draw one move later. This was a difficult situation for me to deal with. It is not my habit to accept draw offers after 13 moves when I am play White against a weaker opponent. Of course I wanted to play on, but I saw a very strong move for my opponent. I could not ask Bas as team captain whether I could accept the draw offer, since both of us had less than 20 minutes on our clock. Meanwhile Frans had sacrificed a pawn against the solid Henk Temmink. I knew this sacrifice from a nice game Spiridonov – Geller somewhere in the seventies. Unfortunately, Temmink found after the board a better move so that the game ended in a draw by repetition like in Kirov – Geller.
Another draw was obtained by Jos. I was slightly worried when Jos had to plain Bd7-e8 in one of his favourite lines, but I was unduly worried. It just meant that Jos had no winning chances; within a few moves he comfortably obtained a draw. The other boards looked OK and since with the exception of Ankit we had a considerable ELO advantage at the remaining boards. So I decided to go for a safe team result rather than a personal gamble and accept the draw offer. As it turned out, my opponent had not seen the strong move that I feared and it even took him some time to understand how strong the move that I suggested actually was.
On board 6 two theoretically well-prepared gambiteers met. Last year I had to deal with a King’s gambit from Bob Merx. This year it was the turn of Josué to play the Evans gambit. If Bob had decided to castle queenside, then he would have obtained a slightly better position. However, he decided to castle kingside which offered good chances to Josué. After missing a strong opportunity, Josué won an exchange but Bob had enough compensation so that this game also ended in a draw.
In spite of all these draws, the remaining boards looked promising for us. Ankit had successfully defended an attack of FM Jürgen Kaufeld in a sharp Sicilian, and was taking over the initiative. Moreover, his opponent had only 30 seconds left while he had to make more than 15 moves to reach the time control. This was less dramatic than it looked because of the 30 seconds time increment per move, but nevertheless this offered good chances for Ankit. At the same time Julien was slowly recovering from the pressure on his queenside, after being lured into a prepared side line of the Sicilian. At board 1 Bas was engaged in a tough fight with the sly Tom Bus. Instead of following up a2-a3 with the typical English pawn advance b2-b4, Tom played b2-b3 which allowed Bas to develop an annoying pressure on the weakness at b3. The only concern at that point was that both Julien and Bas were somewhat short of time. Ankit had plenty of time and showed that in spite of his age he is already is quite experienced. Although his opponent was short of time, he did not rush but used his time to find a way to improve his position. This was not easy so after a few more Ankit had less than 20 minutes while he could not find a way to make progress. Then Kaufeld called the referee because he noted a very strange phenomenon: Ankit’s remaining time on the clock had suddenly gone up to 50 minutes, which was plainly impossible. Of course Kaufeld was right to mention this to the referee, but it also served him well because he only had 30 seconds left on his clock while it took the referee more than 10 minutes to solve the mystery. It finally turned out that someone put 30 as the number of moves before the first time control, so the clock gave Ankit his automatic 30 minutes extra after reaching the first time control. Ankit admirably kept his calm. When play was resumed, he realized that Kaufeld was taking over the initiative and that he had lost control over the game. He showed a keen insight in psychology by offering a draw. Of course, Ankit expected Kaufeld to decline the draw offer (which he indeed did) so he set up a subtle tactical threat. Kaufeld felt that he had to forcefully take the initiative to justify declining the draw and possibly underestimated the fighting spirit of Ankit. As Nunn said in his book “Practical Chess”: LPDO – Loose Pieces Drop Off. An active move of Kaufeld left a rook undefended, which was refuted by Ankit through a subtle clearance followed by a discovered attack. Kaufeld made one more move and then resigned. A big success for Ankit! It was the first loss ever of Kaufeld for Voerendaal. Unfortunately, Kaufeld was so upset by his loss that he could not set himself to analyse the game with Ankit.
Meanwhile Julien had gone into full speed (i.e., completely took over the initiative and completely outplayed his opponent in the time trouble phase. Bas was also doing well. At some point Bas had to make several moves before the time control with 2 or 3 minutes time left on his clock. In spite of this, he calmly stood up to check the situation at the board of Julien. It was a clear sign to me that Bas had figured it all out and had obtained a clear advantage. Indeed, Bas only needed a few more moves after the time control to gain a full point. In the post-mortem Tom was trying to show that his position was not that bad, but Bas also convincingly won the analysis. So all in all, we obtained a nice 6-2 victory. Later that evening we received some more good news. The leader in our group (Vianen) had unexpectedly lost against Dordrecht, so that with two points behind Vianen and one point behind Veldhoven we still are in the race for the championship (Veldhoven has to play both us and Vianen in the remaining rounds).
Alessandro Di Bucchianico
|1.||FM Bas van de Plassche||2391||Tom Bus||2134||1||0|
|2.||FM Luuk van Kooten||2360||NO||1||0||Regl.|
|3.||Julien Sohier||2253||Marcel Winkels||1965||1||0|
|4.||Ankit Majhi||2136||FM Jürgen Kaufeld||2336||1||0|
|5.||IM Frans Kuijpers||2224||Henk Temmink||2187||½||½|
|6.||Josué Velázquez Martínez||2196||Bob Merx||2102||½||½|
|7.||Jos Sutmuller||2191||Luc Zimmermann||2080||½||½|
|8.||Alessandro di Bucchianico||2078||Eric Jan Morren||1786||½||½|