Round 7

In this round we were drawn against the Dutch team HMC Calder, a team we had played previously in the European Club Cup back in 2005 in Italy. Its fair to say we were surprised to be drawn with such a strong team, they had two GMs on the top 2 boards and an IM on board 5, especially when we were going to start the match a point down.

On board 1 Petr was very confident of a result against Fridman 2660 (gulp!) before the game. He told me he would play a slightly offbeat line of the Caro Kann and would get a draw for sure. He was as good as his word and in fact held a slightly better position for much of the game but it ended in a draw. Petr was the highest scorer on the team and, even though he felt he wasnt playing his best chess, scoring 4 points on board 1 against strong opposition shows his strength.

On board 2 Jan was playing  a kid who looked about 10 (he’s actually 15). Unfortunately for Jan he is also a strong GM (Giri). Jan played a very sharp line of the Slav and the kid, who was most likely booked up to the eyeballs, didnt really look too troubled at any point and duly brought home the point.

On board 3 John was playing another youngster (not quite as young as Giri though) and he played a quiet line of the Sicilian as white (kings indian attack) but never really got going as his opponent seemed to hold all the aces and gradually took control. A disappointing end for John to a tournament that promised a lot at the start. It seemed to go wrong for him after round 3 when he had a win and two draws against decent opposition but things went awry then.

On board 4 I was playing Michiel Abeln who I had played 4 years ago in the same event in St Vincent in the foothills of the Alps in Northern Italy. That time I was white and lost in a Sicilian where things were unclear for a while. This time I was black and played the black side of a 4 knights english nicely to leave myself with a huge advantage and any number of ways to convert it e.g. Bd5 but  instead I got a rush of blood to the head and played Ng4. Most likely its still winning after this but things got quite tricky fast and in the end he was able to bail out with a perpetual. I must run this through Fritz as there were savage complications at some points.

Nick was playing a player with great experience (IM Gerard Welling) on board 5. Nick had the white bits and although he had refrained from his favourite Blackmar Diemer gambit all tournament he decided to give it a whirl against one of the few strong players who has actually played the damn thing! I think it  went 1e4 d5 2d4 de 3Nc3 Nf6 (apologies if I got the move order wrong!) 4.f3 ef 5Nxf3 Bf5 6 Bc4 c6 7Ne5 e6 80-0 Bxc2 (!?) I dont think this can be quite right although apparently Welling had analysed this years ago (70’s?) and came to the conclusion that Black was better after 9Nxf7! Bxd1 10Nxd8 Kxd8 11Rxd1 however I think I would rather have the white bits here, he has definite play for the pawn and most likely black will have to give up an exchange at some point. In the end and after a 100 odd moves or so the exhausted protagonists ended up in a position where Welling had two knights against nicks h pawn. Nick had actually given up his rook for Wellings g pawn but due to the presence of the h pawn he was actually lost as Petr Neuman informed us while we watched the game. He had almost the exact same position against Babula before and Babula had been unable to win. In fact its very difficult for Black to convert this position especially if short on time and in fact Nick hung in there to garner a draw which was a very respectable result against this calibre of player.

We defaulted board 6 so the final match score was 4.5 to 1.5 It could have been worse (could have been better too though!). Still they were quite a strong team, actually as 21st seeds they were the highest ranked team that we played in the whole event. When the dust settled we found ourselves in 50th place, exactly where we were seeded at the start however looking at those around us we played tougher opposition than some of them did. Being minus a board for the last three rounds also made things difficult and possibly we would have finished higher with a full complement. Overall though we can be reasonably happy with our performance.

Below is a picture from the start of Round 7 showing the battle of the German teams Baden-Baden versus Bremen on board 6

Baden Baden vs Bremen

Baden Baden vs Werder Bremen

Baden Baden won comprehensively 5.5 to 0.5. The player nearest the camera in the white shirt is Werder Bremens Finnish GM Tomi Nyback

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