Press Release by Peter Boel
It’s a good tradition in the Remco Heite tournament: as so often, the first round was highly spectacular in all respects. Erwin l’Ami was lucky enough to find himself in a position in which he had already shown how it should be played, and Gawain Jones didn’t find a real improvement for White. Loek van Wely landed in a terrible position soon after the opening, but just like two years ago in the opening round he almost ended up beating Fridman. That would have been a great tragedy for Fridman – although in the end he won that tournament!
The draw between Dimitri Reinderman and Sipke Ernst could never be boring, of course, and it wasn’t.
First today’s only decision.
Jones – l’Ami
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bd7
It was a long time ago that L’Ami had this on the board. With hindsight he thought that 7…Bc5 was better here. But according to Jones, who had studied the variation thoroughly, that wasn’t the case. There can follow, for instance, 8.Be3 Bd7 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Nd2 and White obtains control of c5, contrary to this game.
8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.0–0 Bc5 10.f3 Ng5 11.Be3 Bb6
A tense struggle ensues. White will try to attack with f3–f4–f5, and Black will strike in the centre with …c6–c5 and …d5–d4.
12…c5!? is also interesting, for example: 13.Nb3 (13.Nf3 Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 Bf5) 13…d4 14.Bf2 Ne4 and the white knight is worse on b3 than on f3…
13.Nd2 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 c5 15.Nf3
… at least, that seems to be what Jones thought in this position.
15…d4 16.Bf2 Bc6
L’Ami remembered a game he played nine years ago, which continued 17.f5 Qd5 18.Qg5 h6 19.Qxg7 0–0–0 20.Bg3 h5 21.Qf6 – a striking resemblance with today’s game! 21…Rdg8 22.c4 dxc3 23.Rad1 c4+ 24.Kh1 Qe4 25.Rde1 Qd5 26.Rd1 Qb5 27.bxc3 h4 28.Bxh4 (28.Nxh4) 28…Kb7 (28…Qb2!) 29.Rd2 Rh7 30.Bf2 Rhg7 (30…Rh3) 31.Bxb6 axb6 32.e6? (analysis diagram)
32…Rxg2! 33.Rxg2 Bxf3 34.exf7 Bxg2+ 35.Kg1 Rg4 36.Qg6 (36.f8Q Bf3+ 37.Kf2 Qb2+ 38.Kxf3 Qg2+ 39.Ke3 Re4#) 36…Qc5+ 37.Rf2 Bh3+ 0–1, Wong Zi Jing-L’Ami, Amsterdam 2005. ‘Of course it was hard to remember all this. Gawain inserted 17.a4, which cannot be bad.’
17…a5 18.f5 Qd5
Jones also goes for the pawn. Above all White is threatening 20.Bh4 here, but l’Ami remembered how he had to react.
With hindsight, both rivals suspected that perhaps White shouldn’t take the pawn after all. The computer gives the far-sighted 19.b3, keeping the black pawns in check.
19…h6! 20.Qxg7 0–0–0
Now Black has a battery of tremendous pieces for the pawn.
Jones thought that 21.Bh4 might have been better: ‘After 21…Rdg8 22.Qf6 maybe I can stop his attack with e5–e6 sometime.’ Indeed this seems to be the case after, for example, 22…Kb7 23.Kh1 c4 24.e6 fxe6 25.Qxe6 Qxe6 26.fxe6, but after 26…Rg4 Black still has excellent compensation for the pawn.
Here is a difference with the above-mentioned game. Now the rook on h8 isn’t hanging if Black plays the g-rook, but the downside is that the …h6–h5–h4 advance is less well supported.
Also here the players looked at 22.Bh4, to which Black’s best reaction is 22…Rde8!. After that, taking on e5 is in the air.
An annoying move, after which White has to reckon with the pawn push to h4 all the time. Moreover, in various lines the white move Qxh6 came on the board, which could hardly be played on the previous move on account of 23…d3+ and 24…dxc2. The alternative was the immediate 23…d3.
White has to do something, and he can only do it on the queenside.
24…cxb3 25.cxb3 d3! 26.Qh6
In reply to 26.Rac1, someone in the commentary room suggested 26…d2 27.Rcd1 Qe4, but then White again has 28.e6! fxe6 (otherwise 29.exf7 and 30.Qe6+ anyway) 29.Qxe6+ and perhaps he can hold. That is the maximum White can achieve in this position, since due to threats like …Qxf3 all his pieces are condemned to the defence. Only the queen can still fool around a little.
On 27.Qxh5 l’Ami had planned 27…d2 28.Rad1 Be3, with total domination.
28…Rxb4 29.Qg5 Rh8
The capture on a4 was already strong, but l’Ami sticks to the possibility of …h5–h4.
30.Qg7 Qd8 31.e6 h4! 32.Be5 Rg8 33.Qxf7 h3
Now that the support of the Nf3 disappears, it is of course over.
In his calculations, Jones had hoped to save himself here with 34.gxh3 and then a quick Be5-g3, but then Black wins elegantly with 34…Rg1+! 35.Rxg1 Bxf3+ 36.Rg2 Bxg2+ 37.Kxg2 Qd5+ and White gets mated.
34…Rb2! 35.gxh3 Qd5 36.Qh5
A classic case of overburdening. A real gentleman, Jones allows the mate.
37.Qxg5 Qxf3+ 38.Rxf3 Bxf3#
The greatness of a great player is especially visible in games in which he is greatly lost. In such cases a player like Van Wely is made of steel. Doing nothing and yet not losing, there are very few people who can get away with that.
Van Wely – Fridman
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 4.0–0 Be7 5.c4 0–0 6.d4 dxc4 7.Qc2 b5 8.a4 b4 9.Qxc4
More popular alternatives are 9.Nbd2 and 9.Ne5.
9…Ba6 10.Qc2 Nbd7 11.Rd1?!
Something must have gone wrong in Van Wely’s preparation. Better seems to be 11.Ne5.
Van Wely was wrongfooted by this move. He had expected 12…cxd4 and now 13.Bxa8!?, which, by the way, also seems to favour Black: 13…Nxe5 14.Bg2 d3 15.exd3 Bxd3 with beautiful compensation for the exchange.
Played à tempo, and now Van Wely showed some confusion. White wants to achieve something along the d-file, but now Black will be first along the c-file.
14.Rxd4 Qe8 15.Bg5!? h6 16.Nxe7+
White’s previous move was also based on a miscalculation. Van Wely: ‘Originally I wanted to play 16.Bxf6 here, but then I lose a piece after 16…Bxf6 17.Rxb4 Ne5.’
16…Qxe7 17.Bxf6 Bxf6
Fridman gave the interesting alternative 17…Qxf6 18.Qd2 Rfd8!. Taking twice on d7 now loses to 20…Qxb2, and 19.Rxb4 runs into 19…Ne5 20.Qe1 Bxe2! 21.Qxe2 Rc1+ 22.Bf1 Re1.
18.Qd1 e5 19.Rd2 Rc5 20.Qe1 Rfc8
Nothing but ‘happy moves’ for Black. It’s incredible that Van Wely gets out of this alive.
21.b3 e4 22.e3
Of course this is good enough, but here René Olthof, who visited the tournament, came up with the winning line 22…Qe5! 23.Raa2 Qh5! with terrible trouble on the back rank, for instance: 24.Rd1 Qxd1 25.Qxd1 Rc1 26.Rd2 and now 26…Be2!.
23.Rd1 Nd5 24.Bf1 Bc2 25.Rd4 Bxb3 26.Nd2 Bc2 27.Bc4 Nc3 28.Qf1 R5c7 29.a5 Rd8 30.Nb3 Bxb3 31.Rxd8+ Qxd8 32.Bxb3
Fridman has played marvellously up to here, but this move is a sign that he starts flagging slightly. ‘Why would I exchange queens?’, he asked himself afterwards. White’s position is still bad, but there is a glimmer of hope now.
33.Kg2 Qxf1+ 34.Kxf1 a6 35.Ke1 Kf8 36.Kd2
And this was really not very handy. With 36…Ke7 Black could have started a king march to c5 and b5, when White runs out of good moves. The text move just loses a few tempi.
37.Kc2 Ke7 38.Kb2 f5 39.h3 Kd6 40.g4!
Fridman thought this wasn’t possible, but he hadn’t seen White’s 43rd move.
40…fxg4 41.hxg4 Kc6 42.Bf7 Rg5
42…Kb5! still gave good chances here: 43.Be8+ Kc4 44.Bf7+ Kd3 45.Kb3 Rc7 46.Bg8 Ke2 47.Bc4+ Kxf2 48.Bxa6 Nd5 49.Bc4 Nxe3 50.Ra2+ Kg3 51.Be2 Rc3+ (51…Nxg4 52.a6 is very dangerous) 52.Kxb4 Nd5+ 53.Kb5 Rc1 and White will have to work hard for the draw.
Now White’s worst troubles are over. There followed a nervous time scramble. At a certain point, Van Wely even saw chances for a win. ‘But that would have been crazy’, Fridman laughed, thinking back two years, when he lost quite unfortunately against the same opponent in the first round.
43…Nb5 44.Kb3 Rxg4 45.Kxb4 Nc7 46.Rh1!?
46.Rc1! was better, to which Fridman would have been forced to reply 46…Kb7. Now Black gets some chances again.
46…Rg2 47.Rh4 Rxf2 48.Rxe4 h5
49.Re5! g6 50.Rc5+ Kd6 51.Rg5 Rf6 52.e4
Now White’s problems are over.
52…Ke7 53.Rc5 Kd7 54.Rg5 Rc6 55.e5 Ke7 56.Rg1 Kf8 57.Rf1+ Kg7? 58.Rf7+ Kh6
White could win with the surprising 59.Rf6!, viz. 59…Rxf6 60.exf6 g5 61.f7 Kg7 62.Kc5! and White has time to catch the knight: 62…g4 63.Kd6 Kf8 (63…g3 64.Ke7!) 64.Kxc7 g3 65.Bf1 Kxf7 66.Kb6 etc.
60.Rd8 Ng7 61.Rd6! still offered White winning chances.
Now Van Wely decided to offer a draw, which was accepted. The position remains quite exciting. There could follow: 61…Rc7 62.Bxa6 h3 63.Bd3 Rg7 64.a6 h2 65.Be4 Ra7 66.Rxg6+ Kh5 67.Rg8 Nc7 68.Rh8+ Kg4 69.Rxh2 Kf4 and the last white pawns will fall.
With Sipke Ernst something had also gone wrong in his preparation.
Reinderman – Ernst
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Nge2 Nf6 5.d3 d5
‘I had looked at this position for ten minutes, but without 6.cxd5 exd5’, the player from Damwoude said. ‘During the game I suddenly thought: what if White takes first and then plays 7.e5 ? So then I decided to sac a pawn.’
6.cxd5 exd5 7.e5 d4
7…Nfd7 8.d4 c5 shouldn’t be a problem, so perhaps 8.Bf4!?.
8.exf6 dxc3 9.fxg7 Bxg7 10.Nxc3
To this White has an annoying reply. ‘But what else could he play?’ Reinderman asked. It turns out that a game has been played with 10…Qh4. After 11.Qa4+? (better 11.Qe2+) 11…Qxa4 12.Nxa4 Nc6 13.Bg5 Rg8 14.h4 Bd4 Black was eventually proved right in Gorse-Rausis, Winterthur 2011.
Commentator Gert Ligterink suggested the interesting 11…Qe7!?. After the exchange of queens Black also seems to have sufficient compensation.
12.Bg5 f6 13.Qh5+ Ng6 14.Be3 Qd7!?
14…0–0 15.0–0–0 f5 doesn’t look bad.
15.0–0–0 0–0–0 16.Be2 f5 17.Bg5
There was the clever 17.d4! Kb8 (17…f4?? 18.Bg4) 18.Bg5 and now Black cannot trade on c3, but after 18…Rde8 White still has to play 19.Bf3, when Black has sufficient compensation.
17…Bxg2! 18.Rhg1 Bxc3
In the commentary room, 18…Qc6!? was suggested. After 19.Bxd8 Black obtains a draw with 19…Bxc3 20.Qxf5+ Kxd8 21.bxc3 Qxc3+. But White can also try 19.Kb1!?, and anyway, Ernst wanted more.
19.bxc3 Bd5 20.Rd2 Rde8 21.Kb1 Kb8 22.Rc1 f4 23.c4 Bb7 24.Bg4 Qd6 25.Qh6 Rhf8 26.Rcd1
Ernst: ‘Here I started to play a couple of clumsy, vague queen moves, throwing away my advantage.’ Strong was 26…Bc6!, for example: 27.Bh5 Ba4 (or the more quiet 27…Rf7) 28.Rc1 and now 28…Re1!, or 28…Rf5 29.Bxg6 Re1! 30.Bxf5? Qb4+ 31.Rb2 Rxc1+ 32.Kxc1 Qe1#.
27.Bh5 Qe5?! 28.h4
Now Black has to pull the emergency brake already due to the pressure on g6 and h7.
28…Qh8 29.Bxg6 hxg6 30.Qxh8
30.Qxg6 Bf3 31.Rc1 Qd4 would be flirting with disaster again.
30…Rxh8 31.Bxf4 Rxh4 32.Be3 Rg4
Black still has some slight pressure, but the drawing margin is large now.
33.d4 Bf3 34.Rc1 Rg2 35.Bf4 Rg4 36.Be3 Kb7 37.Kb2 Rh8 38.d5 Rhh4 39.d6 cxd6 40.Rxd6 Rxc4 41.Rxc4 Rxc4 ½–½