Open round 2


Second round was a morning round and first half of a double round, but still no complaints about the fighting spirit: In the early afternoon we counted in eight players at 2.0/2 in the GM group – and ten players at 2.0/2 in the Open!

The young Polish team had another very good round on the top boards in the GM group. Third rated GM Szymon Gumularz (2587) established a queenside space advantage and instructively increased the pressure with a powerful c5-break as white against Norwegian IM Mads Vestby-Ellingsen (2357). White´s passed pawn at d6 well before 40 moves gave him a decisive advantage. Fourth rated IM Pawel Teclaf (2575) as black against IM Andrew Kayonde (2361) greedily/bravely snatched a pawn in the middle game. Despite an inferior pawn structure, Teflaf succeeded to win the endgame with bishop and six pawns against knight and five pawns.

The two top rated GMs got a harder day start on the second day. In the first GM duel of this tournament, top rated GM Konstantin Tarlev (2598) as white in a Benkö Gambit against GM Alexander Fishbein (2366) returned the extra pawn for a queenside initiative. The American senior GM however defended well and black for some moves was a pawn up. Then a draw was agreed after 23 moves as the players were about to reach a very drawish rooks and minor pieces position. Black in the final position was a pawn up, but with no winning chances as he had two isolated d-pawns. Meanwhile on the second board, 46 year old and still unpredictable IM John Paul Wallace (2370) came much better from the opening as white against the young lion GM Suri Vaibhav (2595). White following a tactical 22.Nxe6! had a winning attack. As white missed the best continuations afterwards, black escaped into a messy endgame with rook, knight and five pawns against rook, bishop, knigt and one pawn. White´s pawn armada reportedly for some moves in the fifth hour again gave him a winning position. Vaibhav however fought on bravely and reached a drawn endgame with rook and knight versus rook and three pawns.

Croatian GM Davorin Kuljasevic (2553) and his pair of bishops on the fifth board had a winning advantage before 20 moves as white against American FM Varun Krishnan (2341). Although black fought on well the rook endgame two hours later still was a safe win for white due to his passed kingside pawns. Sixth board duel between Danish IM Rasmus Skytte (2356) and Lithuanian GM Titas Stremavicius (2541) on the other hand was a tight Caro-Kann battle, in which black had a slight pressure from the start of the rook and minor piece endgame. After winning a pawn, he succeeded to squeeze a full point out of a borderline rook endgame. White here might have had the draw within reach until he sacrificed a second pawn to reach a not watertight fortress.

The seventh board Sicilian duel between Swedish-Ukrainian GM Platon Galperin (2528) and German veteran IM Oliver Brendel (2334) was reported a possible sensation after two hours, as black had the more active pieces and the better pawn structure in the endgame with two rooks, bishop and five pawns against two rooks, knight and five pawns. Running seriously short of time black however lost first the initiative and then a pawn. Brendel after the time control reinstalled himself very well and succeeded to force a dead drawn endgame with rook and h-pawn versus rook. Galperin´s travel companion Vitaly Sivuk (2489) also got a long and tense battle as white against highly talented 16 year old FM Shahil Shehzad (2310). White due to his four against two kingside majority here however had a fairly trivial win with «only» one pawn more in the rook endgame.

Shazil´s 14 year old Stavanger teammate, FM Aksel Bu Kvaløy (2321), in the meantime held a lasting endgame pressure as white against the German «super-FM» Marius Fromm (2457). White returned his extra pawn and for a few moves around the time control had a winning attack with rook, bishop and two pawns against rook, knight and two pawns. Fromm however fought on well and got the help needed to scrape a draw. The Norwegian title candidates did not do too well this round as IM Tor Fredrik Kaasen (2480) was in deep trouble as black against American WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (2340). White here still had a winning attack with queen, rook and six pawns on each side after the first time control. As she overlooked a brilliant winning plan starting with 43.f4!!, black within a few moves could force a draw by counterchecks against the white king. Indian IM Vaishali Rameshbabu (2418) following this is the only female player at 2.0/2, after winning another nice attacking game as white against Sondre Lillestøl Melaa (2231).

Today´s comeback kid on the top boards was Danish CM Mikkel Vinh Lofgaard (2258), concluded dead and more or less buried as he after 23 moves had exchanged most other pieces and left the young Israelian IM Hayhli Sokolovsky (2461) with a decisive passed pawn at a5. Black here made a good decision when sacrificing a pawn to exchange off the passed a-pawn. Due to his active pieces he later proved able to defend with rook, knight and three pawns against rook, bishop and four pawns.

The ELO differences were below 200 points in most of the GM group games this round. Following this naturally we saw more suprising results, but no real sensation. Yesterday´s nine year old sensation man Sarbalia Aarav (1718) today came close to a very surprising draw, but in the end still lost the rook endgame with three against four kingside pawns as black against Polish FM Marcin Molenda (2406). Lithuanian CM Paulius Juknis (2115) although having passed 35 appears to be underrated, and noted his second GM-draw as white in a rather safe game against GM Lothar Vogt (2314). 13 year old Tromsø player Sivert Schance Tørfoss (1833) defintely is underrated and also continues his line of surprising draws, today following a tense four hours battle against his clubmate Evsuld Myagmarsuren (2181). Althoug almost all of them were long and hard fought, the second round in the end had 17 out of 36 games drawn. One surprising game result was Norwegian Halvard Haug Flatebø (1948) defeating the talented Danish junior Vitus Bondo Medhus (2126) following a memorable queen sacrifice at f8. Another surprise was 12 year old Victor Lilliehöök (1882) coming out with a piece more in the endgame following a tactical battle as black against  the experienced German master player Stefan Erdmann (2123).

Eight players following this are sharing the lead at 2.0/2 in the GM group. Top board pairings for round 3 are GM Sivuk–GM Gumularz, IM Teclaf–IM Vaishali, IM Pajeken–GM Kuljasevic and GM Stremavicius–FM Molenda. It illustrates fairly well the situation so far in this very international tournament that six federations are represented on the top four boards. The host federation Norway is not one of them, while Poland is the only country with more than one player on the top boards.

The Open again saw a surprise win on the third board, as local 17 year old Vetle Støren (1534) won a piece by attack as white against German Lucas Pruetting (1702). Vetle´s twin brother Håkon Støren (1586) in the meantime lost a long uphill struggle as black on the first board against veteran Ole Smeby (1928). The second board duel between Henrik Lauvsnes Nilsen (1535) and Christian Strahl (1918) had much of the same development, although lasting one hour longer. Curiously first rated Smeby and second rated Strahl in the end today reached practically the same won endgame with rook, bishop and pawn versus rook.

Fourth board winner Rajesh Jeyanth (1469) and fifth board winner Sarah Sima Derlich (1522) both defeated higher rated opponents, although a difference of 100–200 points for obviously underrated juniors below 1800 should not be trusted. Today´s longest and most interesting game here came on the seventh board as 14 year old Danish Caroline Lindegaard Bruntse (1459) twice ran short of time, but still controlled her pieces very well and won a five hours maraton game as white against Noa Brakestad (1626). White after the first time control here was a bishop and two pawns up in the queen and bishop endgame, but still had a long road to win it as her queen was stuck at a1 to stop black´s passed pawns at a2. Caroline´s twin sister Kathrine Lindegaard Bruntse (1603) also won an interesting endgame, instructively punishing a too loose piece sacrifice from her very young Turk opponent Gokey Serbes  (1338).

The Open also is very international and the second round here was extremely hard fought, with only two out of 22 games drawn. Following this we still have ten players with a perfect score at 2.0/2! Notably no less than four talented young female players can be found in this group. Ten year old Sophie Damiano (1303) following her sensational first round win got black against the unrated young Kazak player Omar Yertay and won convincingly.