THE LAHLUM SHORT REPORT 5
This round, in contrast to the two previous ones, the game of sixth rated GM Titas Stremavicius was the only game on the top five boards to end up a draw! GM Suri Vaibhav, IM Pawel Teclaf, GM Platon Galperin, GM Erik Blomqvist and FM Marius Fromm later all won their games in a rather convincing way. This very capable group of young male titleholers are now sharing the second place with GM Vitaly Sivuk at 4.0/5 – half a point behind Stremavicius. The best female players had a less successful round, while the young local IM norm candidates had another good one.
The first round board duel between Lithuanian GM Titas Stremavicius (2541) and Swedish-Ukrainian GM Vitaly Sivuk (2489) made a promising Semi-Slav start, as Stremavicius went for the Marshall Gambit with 4.e4!? and sacrificed a pawn for a lasting initiative. Then white however suddenly offered a draw which black accepted after 11 moves. The decision was easy to understand as Sivuk at 3.5/4 was black against a higher rated opponent, while Stremavicius had 4.0/4 and finished his fourth round game only some 90 minutes before the start of the fifth round.
Second board on the other hand was a hard fought Indian duel between GM Suri Vaibhav (2595) and IM Vaishali Rameshbabu (2418). Following an apparently safe English opening the game soon accelerated as white after 16 moves had won the black h-pawn, but left his king in a double edged position at h6. Both players here spent much time, but white made the better use of it as black´s compensation for the pawn gradually vanished. During mutual time pressure in the third and fourth hour, white picked up two more pawns and kept the more dangeorus attack – landing more or less safely in a won queen and rook position after the first time control. Stremavicius is still leading alone, but he will get a critical test as black against second rated Vaibhav in round 6.
The small and strong Indian woman team did not do very well this round, as WIM Savtha Shri Baskar (2418) on the third board lost as black against IM Pawel Teclaf (2575). Savitha probably should look over this Queen´s Gambit Tarrasch line before the next test on the board, as white due to his better structure soon got a pleasant advantage. Black fought on well and after 40 moves appeared to have fair drawing chances in the endgame with rook, bishop, knight and six pawns on each side. Accepting a knight exchange at c5 might have been a decisive strategic mistake from black, as white later soon got a too strong pressure against the black queenside pawns. Solid Teclaf following this win is on schedule for a GM norm. Although he already has achieved four GM norms, Teclaf still needs one norm from an International Swiss tournament to qualify for the title – hence the upcoming rounds will be very important for him. WGM norm chances no longer are relevant for Savitha, as she made both her last WGM-norm and first IM norm at Fagernes last month. Despite losing this difficult black game, she is midway around schedule for a second IM norm in Stavanger.
Fourth board duel between IM Mads Vestby-Ellingsen (2357) and GM Platon Galperin (2528) was a positional King´s Indian fianchetto, in which white first had an apparently promising space advantage. Following some strange exchanges from white, black however was allowed to take over the initiative and keep a loose extra pawn at c4. Galperin later did not look back and before 40 moves had started a decisive attack against the white king. GM Erik Blomqvist (1521) as white against FM Kacper Tomaszewski (2313) also won by a nice kingside attack, starting with a flying h-pawn soon after the Caro-Kann opening. Tomaszewski at 3.0/5 despite this loss is well in the run for an IM-norm.
Sixth board IM duel between German Jakob Pajeken (2417) and Israelian Yahil Sokolovsky (2461) started up with a closed Ruy Lopez opening, in which white first kept an edge after the position opened. 28.exd5? instead of the natural 28.Rxd5 however was a strategic mistake, after which black for some moves had a promising initative on both wings. Pajeken woke up in time and succeeded to get tactical counterplay on the queenside. Within a few moves after the first time control, the young lions settled for a drawn endgame with rook and three pawns against bishop and five pawns. Both players are doing very well, but both following this draw are also lagging somewhat behind schedule for a GM-norm. German FM Marius Fromm (2457) meanwhile completed a very good double round by winning as white against Zambian IM Andrew Kayonde (2361). White appeared to have the much better preparation for this Sicilian O´Kelly duel, and soon got a winning initative as black too greedily snatched a cyanid pawn with 10.— Qxb2. Although white failed to find the best attacking continuation afterwards he still reached an endgame with queen for rook and bishop – safely won as black had the weaker pawns. Fromm at 4.0/5 following this is well ahead schedule for an IM norm he is not needing, and in the run for a GM norm he is all the more interested to reach.
First rated GM Konstantin Tarlev (2598) after the first round has had a hard time to win games in Stavanger, but today succeeded with a King´s Indian set up as black against the London system of the young Norwegian Sondre Melaa (2231). White her got more or less no compensation after sacrificing pawns at b2 and c3, and before 25 moves black was just two pawns up in the double rook endgame. Veteran GM Lothar Vogt (2314) first did fine as white in a Modern opening against almost 50 year younger and higher rated GM Szymon Gumularz (2587). All the knights here left within the first 23 moves, leaving a position in which black´s extra pawn about balanced his dubious pawn structure. As black after 26 moves went for an exchange sacrifice at d3, white for three moves wisely left the rook there. Then at move 30 he suddenly took the rook with his bishop under bad circumstances. White within a few moves had to return the exchange and black soon demonstrated a winning attack in the remaining rook and bishop endgame.
The local young IM candidates had another very good round. 16 year old FM Shazil Shehzad (2310) as white against FM Stanislav Zylka (2415) went for interesting complications, sacrificing a rook at h1 to lock out black´s light squared bishop and play for a direct attack against the king at e8. Messy from the start, this gave a jackpot as black failed to find the critical defence. White before 20 moves reached a totally winning winning position with two minor pieces and two pawns for a rook. Shehzad is around schedule for his second IM norm following this key win, while 14 year old Aksel Bu Kvaløy (2321) is around schedule for his third norm after defeating WFM Ronit Levitan with the black pieces (2220). IM Tor Fredrik Kaasen (2480) won by a nice attack as white against WFM Michelle Katkov (2142), but still needs a very strong second half to make a GM norm out of this. Kaasen´s girlfriend Valentina Verbin (2112) however is in the run for her first WIM-norm following a strong draw as white against WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (2340) today.
Round 5 was a bit reduced as nine players in the GM group used this chance to request a walk over draw. That of course was very understandable following two double rounds in a row, and many players also wanted to follow the blitz tournament of the super group. The fighting spirit was still remarkably good among the present players, with 23 out of 32 games in the GM group getting a winner.
In the Open, second rated Christian Strahl (1918) got a very good start as white against 17 year Vetle Støren (1534). White went for an aggressive Italian line with 4.d4 and got a direct kingside attack, winning an exchange with a tactical 12.Nb6! (threatening the rook at a8 and a mate at f7). White for sure later had a won position, but black fought on well and Strahl after sacrificing back the exchange proved unable to win the remaining queen and rook position with an extra pawn. The young lions used their chances on the other top boards today. 19 year old Rajesh Jeyanth (1469) soon developed a strong initiative and won material within 25 moves as white against third rated Michael Bergmann (1856). Stavanger junior Jonas Gryte (1626) won another convincing game as black against unpredictable David Hellesøy (1606). A new challenger registered for the top board as the very young Turk Gokay Serbes (1338) punished so far solid Caroline Lindegaard Bruntse (1459) for inaccurate play in the opening. White in this Queen´s Gambit opening won a pawn following an accurate 8.Qb3!, and before 30 moves picked up a second pawn with a winning advantage.
By far not the best game in this group today, the most charming and somehow most important duel still took place between Osman Yertai and Kolbjørn Bø (1041) at board 20 (out of 20, as four players in the Open also had requested a walk over draw). Osman, still not having celebrated his fifth birthday, by far is our youngest participant. Living in Kazakhstan he also can be found in the list of players with the longest travel, and was very happy finally to receive his visa very few days before this tournament. 53 year older Kolbjørn despite his low ELO might qualify as the most impressive player here, as he is deaf and virtually blind. White by the way won a piece following tactical complications and after 27 moves won the game due to mate at g7. We hope all other participants enjoy playing the tournament as much as Osman and Kolbjørn appearently do – despite their so far modest sum of points.