Anton Demchenko took advantage of a draw on the first board in the game between Keymer and Mamedov to take the outright lead with only two rounds remaining at the Reykjavik Open / European Chess Championship.
Rauf Mamedov repeated his rare 7…h6!? in the King’s Indian against Keymer.
Maybe this is the new “meta” to just get a game with black!? In any case, despite Keymer having been seemingly somewhat prepared, he was not able to pose Mamedov any serious problems. Despite the draw, Mamedov and Keymer are still 2nd and 3rd with 7 points out of 9.
This opened the door for Demchenko. He reached a seemingly innocent position vs the Sicilian. He had the bishop pair but at some stage, Romanov with black must have been at least ok. However, we ended up in an endgame with equal pawns but Demchenko’s bishop was far superior to Romanov’s knight. Another game where Demchenko demonstrates the superiority of the bishop as a piece…in fact, he also has shown the potential of the knights, but he tends to do that with black. So the key is to stop his knights when Demchenko is black but beware of his bishops when he is white!
This win propels Domchenko to the lead with an amazing 7,5 out of 9. His 2800+ performance is increasing his rating by a very nice 28 points thus far!
The third board, a game between Nidjat Mamedov and Alexey Sarana looked relatively creative. Despite the creativity somehow the result was a draw. Perhaps white should have kept playing in the final position?
The next five games also ended in draws, most of them without incident. Nonetheless, Nisipeanu had to defend rook vs rook and bishop against Pantsulaia.
Grandelius surprised a lot of people and probably also his opponent by playing the London system. Still, despite probably being +1 in the computer, Nils was unable to capitalize and yet another draw on the top boards was the result.
Three players took advantage of all the draws and elevated themselves to joint fourth place with clutch wins.
Daniele Vocaturo managed to hang around long enough in a tough position to eventually take it over. Important win with the black pieces for the crafty Italian!
Bogdan-Daniel Deac also managed to join the joint 4th group but had to nurture a pawn advantage he had to work hard for.
Finally, Daniel Fridman probably had the most convincing win out of all the players reaching 6,5 points with a win. He beat former European Champion Ivan Saric and his win seemed fairly clean!
Other results in the 9th round
Standings after round 9
Round 10 pairings