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In the fourth round of the NH Chess Tournament the Rising Stars again increased their lead over the Experience team to a new total of 11Ѕ-8Ѕ. Dutch grandmaster Daniel Stellwagen took the lead in the individual standings with a win over Ljubomir Ljubojevic. Former leader Jan Smeets lost precious ground in the hunt for the coveted Monaco ticket when he completely ruined a winning position against Artur Jussupow. Tomorrow the Experience team will try to fight back when they have the white pieces in all games.

Round IV /Friday August 25-th/:
13.30	Cheparinov - Beliavsky	1/2 - 1/2
Karjakin - Nikolic 1 - 0
Negi - Khalifman 1/2 - 1/2
Smeets - Jussupow 0 - 1
Stellwagen - Ljubojevic 1 - 0

The most spectacular game of the day was Daniel Stellwagen’s rout of Ljubomir Ljubojevic. The Serbian grandmaster surprised his Dutch opponent by repeating the opening they played last year in the NH Chess Tournament. But his deviation from that game, 9…exd5, (last year he played 9…Nxd5) could hardly be called an improvement. And he had more surprises in store. With 10…a6 he lost a valuable tempo, which was followed by the risky 11…Na5. Stellwagen began to enjoy his position and when the opportunity arose to sacrifice a piece, he didn’t hesitate too long. Yet, his optimism suffered a slight setback after Black’s 15…Nc5, when suddenly he wasn’t so sure anymore that he was going to win without much effort. His main problem was that after his intended 16.Rhe1+ Black has 16…Kd7! and he didn’t see clearly how to continue. Therefore he opted for 16.Qe2, a move that turned out well after Black’s 17…h6. The strong knight manoeuvre 19.Ne3-20.Nf5 essentially clinched the issue and four moves later Ljubojevic resigned, not waiting for 24…Kc8 25.Qa8+ Qb8 26.Rd8+ and wins.

For a long time the course of the game between Jan Smeets and Artur Jussupow seemed to indicate that the Dutchman would strengthen his lead in the individual standings. After the opening he was fully satisfied with his position, an assessment that was shared by his opponent. In his pet defence, the Open Ruy, the German grandmaster tried a sideline, 11…Nd3 and 12…Nxc1, that Smeets had played himself as Black in two games, only to come to the conclusion that White has an excellent method to reach a promising position. After these moves Smeets’ advantage was undisputable, but in hindsight he opined that perhaps he had been playing too cautiously to convert his advantage. Instead of 34.Kg3 he should have pushed 34.e6, because now Jussupow hit him with 34…Rc4!. Suddenly the tables were turned and Smeets failed to adjust to the new situation. With 38.b3 he still could have fought on, but after his blunder 38.Qh6?, hoping for a mate that didn’t exist, he soon had to resign.

The third win of the day was posted by Sergey Karjakin who after a long struggle managed to defeat Predrag Nikolic. The Ukrainian top-seed had an edge all through the game, but it wasn’t clear if he was going to make substantial progress. With a pawn sacrifice he increased the tension and was paid for his investment when Nikolic erred on move 40. Instead of 40…Rh6, he went 40…Kf8, allowing 41.c7! which pocketed a piece and the game.

Ivan Cheparinov left the playing room with a barely hidden sigh after he had failed to get an advantage in his game against Alexander Beliavsky. ‘Another draw’, was the Bulgarian’s disappointed comment. In a Queen’s Indian variation on which he must have spent hundreds of hours together with Veselin Topalov, he couldn’t make any headway and never caused his opponent real worries. Perhaps he could have played 20.Bb4, but he wasn’t quite sure about the exchange sacrifice, 20…Bxd4 21.cxb6 Qxb6 22.Bxf8, that Black could try in that case. Cheparinov plodded on for another twenty moves but then there was no real reason anymore to sidestep a repetition of moves.

The shortest game of the round was the one between Parimarjan Negi and Alexander Khalifman that lasted almost 100 minutes and a mere 19 moves. One may argue that the young Indian wanted to avoid big risks after yesterday’s loss, and of course, Khalifman had the ‘excuse’ of playing with the black pieces, but it was clear from both players’ faces that they weren’t too proud of this ‘performance’. Khalifman joked, ‘So, it is becoming clear that I am the replacement of Ulf Andersson’, referring to peace-loving attitude of the Swede in last year’s NH Chess Tournament. ‘But you know what happened to Ulf’, quipped a bystander, ‘he wasn’t invited back!’ Khalifman spread his arms, understanding the remark, but also asking for some understanding for his decision not to sidestep the repetition of moves that his opponent offered. Perhaps he will reveal more of his great talent when he plays with the white pieces again tomorrow.

The ‘Experience’ team:
1 Alexander Beliavsky	Slovenia	2653
2 Predrag Nikolic Bosnia 2646
3 Alexander Khalifman Russia 2632
4 Artur Jussupow Germany 2583
5 Ljubomir Ljubojevic Serbia 2550

‘Rising Stars’ team:
1 Sergey Karjakin	Ukraine		2678
2 Ivan Cheparinov Bulgaria 2657
3 Daniel Stellwagen The Netherlands 2631
4 Jan Smeets The Netherlands 2538
5 Parimarjan Negi India 2529

Individual standings /after Round IV/:
Jussupow	3
Stellwagen 3
Karjakin 2
smeets 2.5
Cheparinov 2
Khalifman 2
Beliavsky 1.5
Negi 1.5
Ljubojevic 1
Nikolic 1

Team standings /after Round IV/:
Rising stars	11.5
Experience 8.5

Original article at the NH Chess Tournament site: http://nhchess.quinsy.net/
(1693 reads)

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