With the top board clashes getting tougher and tougher every round it was inevitable to see some draws on the top boards. However we still have fiver players with a full house on 4 points out of 4 games.
The tournament favourite, #1 seed and highest rated player of all time at the Reykjavik Open, Anish Giri didn’t disappoint. The Dutch #1 faced the current Dutch champion, Jorden van Foreest in a very interesting clash. The first critical moment was after 21.Nxd5. Giri had played aggresively in the opening with an early g4 thrust but in this position Giri showed nice calculation allowing the seemingly uncomfortable 21…Nh4
After a forced sequence Giri had found that he had 25.Ng4!
Giri had a material advantage with two minor pieces vs a rook but lots of technical problems in converting. He however found a way to convert a played lots of high class moves.
42.Rg1! was nice, with some Ng5 ideas and this idea allowed white to activate and co-ordinate his forces.
Alejandro Ramirez and Alexander Donchenko held their higher rated opponents, Andreikin and Almasi (respectively) to a draw.
The next decisive win was on board 4 by Gawain Jones. Gawain, true to his style went for dynamic play, accepting doubled a-pawns in exchange for the bishop pair.
Gawain had nice pressure and capitalized on the blunder 26…Bd3
27.d6! decided the game in just a couple of moves.
Solid effort by Gawain who seems to be in good form after his recent win in Dubai.
Gawain of course is a big veteran of the Reykjavik Open and the Icelandic trips, having made countless trip to the land of fire and ice. Nils Grandelius from Sweden can probably match him in number of trips to Iceland and he matched Gawain with a full house with a very nice endgame win. Securing a small edge out of the black side of Spanish, eventually Nils got an endgame where he was up the excahnge. He managed to liquidate to this:
….and execute the technical but classical plan of sheltering the king to the other side of the board before walking his king to the other one and sacrificing his rook. Really nice textbook stuff by Nils who incidentally will meet his good friend Gawain in the fifth round.
Next up to join the leaders was the interesting Indian player Vidit.
Vidit player the veteran Icelandic GM Johann Hjartarson who had stared quite well. Vidit played the Najdorf and managed to steer the game into a position type that Johann surely wasn’t aiming for.
Despite gaining a pawn, white was in big trouble as all the floodgates opened and the black position sprung to life bringing unbearable pressue on white after 21 moves.
Johann didn’t find a way to defend and probably there wasn’t one with all the black piece active and bearing down on the white king.
The fifth player to join the leading pack was last years winner, Abhijeet Gubta who seems intent on repeating his success from a year ago! Abhijeet beat Tatev Abrahamian who is having a great tournament so far.
Other interesting results included internet “Chessbrah” sensation Aman Hambleton beating the legendary Alexei Shirov with the black pieces!
Check out Aman’s explanation of his nice game and excellent scalp.
Some other interesting games included a nice attacking win by Sergei Movsesian and also the game between Sue Maroroa Jones and Bragi Thorfinnsson caught the eye of spectators. Sue, despite being outrated by 300+ points did everything correct in this game except convert the wining endgame and allowed Bragi to escape with a miraculous draw.
In the 5th round, Vidit will square of against Anish Giri with the white pieces while Grandelius and Jones face off as already mentioned. Andreikin has white againts Gupta and the leading Icelandic, Hannes Stefansson has black against Baadur Jobava. Interesting round tomorrow as the leaderboard starts to take shape.