The round started off very slowly. Marcus finished only after 2 hours of playing. After a good opening he managed to win a piece. In the endgame he tried to checkmate his opponent instead of just promoting his pawn. His opponent managed to take all his pawns while avoiding the checkmate and Marcus had to settle for a draw.
Gabriel had to face his co-leader, who was also undefeated so far. Knowing his preparation was solid, he confidently started the game. His opponent deviated from the preparation, but it didn’t scare Gabriel. On the contrary, when his opponent left his queen too far out, Gabriel managed to trap it. The technical phase took a big longer than necessary, but the win was never in danger.
Gabriel beat tournament winner Andersen Yang
Boris’ goal for today was to play more active chess. In his Fried Liver he sacrificed a pawn to get his pieces to active squares. When he spotted a battery, he opened the d-file for a long, forced exchange which left him a pawn up. His opponent was kind enough to add an extra rook, which was gladly taken by Boris.
Finding a way to beat James
The longest game of the day was between roommates James and Gerent. In the dreaded Catalan Gerent quickly grabbed the initiative. Slowly increasing his advantage, it seemed like a convincing game. What could go wrong with 2 pawns up in the endgame? Using the clock and his rook’s activity, James manage to pose some difficulties for Gerent. The final position was so complicated that Gerent decided not to risk it and settle for a draw.
After 5 long days everybody was getting tired, and it showed. Marcus got another good position from the opening. Instead of starting his attacking plan he tried to go for a “cheap trick”, but weakening his kingside in the process. His opponent side-stepped his trick and exploited all the weaknesses. After 1.5 hours Marcus had to throw in the towel.
Gabriel also got everything he wanted out of the opening. At two moments he had the opportunity to win his opponents d-pawn. Instead, in a moment off chess-blindness, he blundered his bishop. His first loss allowed two competitors to catch up with him. With still 3 rounds to go, anything can happen.
Boris knew what he had to do: win, so he would be playing the rating favorite next morning. Claiming not to know the Benko-Gambit, he managed to find the right plan. When his opponent tried to win back the pawn on a2, Boris just simply trapped the bishop there. Boris knew he couldn’t win the bishop immediately, but made sure that black had to invest so many resources into protecting it, that eventually he would be able to win on the rest of the board. A simple tactic decided the game. After the unfortunate loss in the second round, he is back at the top with 5/6.
Boris is ready
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