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Euwe Memorial 2011 (4-5)

Euwe Memorial Round 4 and 5 reports

Pia Cramling against Peng Zhaoqin. Photo © Nadja Voorham

Pia Cramling against Peng Zhaoqin. Photo © Nadja Voorham |

Euwe Memorial reports for rounds 4-5 by Monique van de Griendt. In Group 1 all the players are tied on 2.5/5. Group 2 Robin van Kampen and Monika Socko had 3.5/5.

Round 4: 2 Draws in Group 1, 2 Wins in Group 2

Cramling against Peng

Cramling against Peng.from Round 4. Photo © Nadja Voorham

In group 1 the frontrunners Cramling and Peng kept each other in balance. In a Queen's Gambit Accepted Cramling adopted a modest set-up. For a moment it looked as if Peng would gain the advantage. Looking back Peng didn't like 18...f6: 'I should have fixed the white pawn structure with b7-b5-b4.' After this critical moment followed some pinpricks in time trouble, but the balance was never broken. 

Paul van der Sterren

Paul van der Sterren. Photo © Nadja Voorham

Just as in round 1, Van der Sterren and Olafsson had a Nimzo-Indian position on the board, Van der Sterren having the white pieces this time. With 7...b6 Olafsson played a variation 'from the last century', popularized by Paul Keres in the fifties. Van der Sterren was very disappointed that his memory failed him: 'In the old days I could remember all those variations without effort!' In an attempt to comfort him, Olafsson put it to him that junior player Robin van Kampen probably didn't know the system at all! Van der Sterren sacrificed a pawn for the initiative, but Olafsson counter-attacked well. After 21...Nc5 the black night had to be exchanged in order to prevent it dominating the white position from d3. After that Olafsson took all venom out of the position by playing 24...f6. Van der Sterren thought he could make him nervous with 25. Dd7, but Olafsson didn't budge and replied a tempo. After a forced exchange, the game ended in a repetition of moves. Commentator Arno Bezemer applauded team mate Van der Sterren, who joined the commentary to explain his game to the audience. ' Olafsson scored 3 out of 3 in earlier games with this variation. So you did very well to draw!'

In group 2 the games were more lively. Van Kampen surprised Socko in a Sicilian Dragon electing to play 9.g4, a variation he hadn't played before. Socko's reply wasn't adequate. She tried to get back in the main variation through a change of moves, but Van Kampen had anticipated that. He played the exceedingly strong 13. a3 and gained two pawns in the first twenty moves with half an hour's advantage on the clock. Winning this was relatively easy. A disappointed Socko was impressed by Van Kampen's opening knowledge: 'I could have tried the French, but he's very well prepared against that as well.' 

Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant. Photo © Nadja Voorham

Conquest had a better position against Arakhamia-Grant after the pawn attack 13...f5 and 17...d5, but the white position was not an easy nut to crack. When Arakhamia played Bf2, allowing 24...e4! instead of the stronger Re1, a relieved Conquest decided the game with an exchange sacrifice and an attack on the king.

(Monique van de Griendt, English version by Marike Dokter)

Euwe tournament round 5 All square in group 1!

Olafsson against Peng

Olafsson against Peng. Photo © Nadja Voorham

In round 5, Fridrik Olafsson and Paul van der Sterren won their respective games, resulting in a ranking whereby all players in group 1 have scored 2½ out of 5. Monika Socko beat Stuart Conquest in group 2 and Robin van Kampen drew against Ketevan Arakhamia. Socko and Van Kampen lead this group with only one round left.

Paul van der Sterren was determined to win today. After a Bogo-Indian opening he got the better structure, Pia Cramling ending up with an isolated pawn on d5. Around move 20, Van der Sterren successfully avoided a repetition of moves. When Cramling played the tactical mistake 24...Bf5 her position collapsed. In the commentary room, Van der Sterren said he was delighted with his win: 'The last game of chess I won was over one year ago! And I had to wait eight years for that to happen.'

For a long time, the battle between Zhaoqin Peng and Olafsson remained balanced. In time trouble, Peng blundered with 31...Bc6 which cost a pawn without compensation. Had she only played 31...Qd6, the position would have remained fully equal. Olafsson, a seasoned player, did not allow the win to escape him. Peng attributed her mistake to a lack of night's rest and the hard-fought draw with Cramling in round 4. Peng: 'I play for the points, Cramling for the game of chess. She just keeps on playing.'

Against the Sicilian opening of Robin van Kampen, Arakhamia replied with the solid 3.Bb5+ after which she tried to simplify the position. Van Kampen did his best to keep the game going and even got the better position at some point. Just before the time control he finally won a pawn but the resulting rook ending turned out to be draw.

Stuart Conquest

Stuart Conquest. Photo © Nadja Voorham

Finally, English Conquest chose to play the English opening against Socko. Around move 20 Socko, playing black, was clearly better but could not find the right follow-up: after 27...f4 it was Conquest who gained a pawn. However, in time trouble he missed a simple win; with 34.Ne6 he could have struck a decisive blow. Three moves later he blundered with 37.Qe2 after which he had to resign.

(Monique van de Griendt/Ivo Timmermans)

Max Euwe Mem Gp1 Amsterdam (NED), 14-20 xi 2011 cat. IX (2454)
1 2 3 4
1. Van Der Sterren, Paul g NED 2514 * * 0 1 ½ ½ ½ . 2445
2. Cramling, Pia g SWE 2495 1 0 * * ½ . ½ ½ 2442
3. Olafsson, Fridrik g ISL 2428 ½ ½ ½ . * * 0 1 2456
4. Peng, Zhaoqin g NED 2379 ½ . ½ ½ 1 0 * * 2472
Round 1 (November 14, 2011)
Olafsson, Fridrik - Van Der Sterren, Paul ½-½ 20 E54 Nimzo Indian
Peng, Zhaoqin - Cramling, Pia ½-½ 53 A33 English Symmetrical
Round 2 (November 15, 2011)
Van Der Sterren, Paul - Peng, Zhaoqin ½-½ 29 A29 English Four Knights
Olafsson, Fridrik - Cramling, Pia ½-½ 21 A35 English Symmetrical
Round 3 (November 16, 2011)
Cramling, Pia - Van Der Sterren, Paul 1-0 43 D55 Queens Gambit Old Lasker Variation
Peng, Zhaoqin - Olafsson, Fridrik 1-0 52 E90 King's Indian Classical
Round 4 (November 18, 2011)
Van Der Sterren, Paul - Olafsson, Fridrik ½-½ 30 E53 Nimzo Indian
Cramling, Pia - Peng, Zhaoqin ½-½ 51 D25 QGA
Round 5 (November 19, 2011)
Van Der Sterren, Paul - Cramling, Pia 1-0 30 E11 Bogo Indian Defence
Olafsson, Fridrik - Peng, Zhaoqin 1-0 76 D23 QGA
Max Euwe Mem Gp2 Amsterdam (NED), 14-20 xi 2011 cat. X (2500)
1 2 3 4
1. Van Kampen, Robin g NED 2558 * * ½ 1 ½ . 1 ½ 2622
2. Socko, Monika g POL 2479 ½ 0 * * 1 1 1 . 2669
3. Conquest, Stuart C g ENG 2521 ½ . 0 0 * * ½ 1 2 2408
4. Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan g SCO 2443 0 ½ 0 . ½ 0 * * 1 2287
Round 1 (November 14, 2011)
Socko, Monika - Van Kampen, Robin ½-½ 62 D11 Slav Defence
Conquest, Stuart C - Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan ½-½ 62 B00 Owen or Nimzowitsch Defence
Round 2 (November 15, 2011)
Conquest, Stuart C - Van Kampen, Robin ½-½ 35 D00 Queen's Pawn Game
Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan - Socko, Monika 0-1 50 B70 Sicilian Dragon
Round 3 (November 16, 2011)
Van Kampen, Robin - Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan 1-0 53 C41 Philidor's Defence
Socko, Monika - Conquest, Stuart C 1-0 79 A80 Dutch
Round 4 (November 18, 2011)
Van Kampen, Robin - Socko, Monika 1-0 41 B76 Sicilian Modern Dragon
Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan - Conquest, Stuart C 0-1 40 C50 Giuoco Piano
Round 5 (November 19, 2011)
Conquest, Stuart C - Socko, Monika 0-1 42 A18 English Opening
Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan - Van Kampen, Robin ½-½ 63 B51 Sicilian Rossolimo

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