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In the fifth round of the NH Chess Tournament the Experience team has demonstrated that the fight for victory is far from decided. One day before the rest day they posted a dashing 3Ѕ-1Ѕ win. Halfway through the event the Rising Stars are leading with the smallest of margins, 13-12. In the individual standings Artur Jussupow has taken the sole lead. In the fight for the ticket to Monaco, three juniors are leading the pack, Sergey Karjakin, Jan Smeets and Daniel Stellwagen. Round 6, with all Rising Stars behind the white pieces, will be played on Tuesday, August 28.

Round IV /Sunday August 26-th/:
13.30	Beliavsky - Karjakin	1/2 - 1/2
Nikolic - Negi 1 - 0
Khalifman - Smeets 1/2 - 1/2
Jussupow - Stellwagen 1 - 0
Ljubojevic - Cheparinov 1/2 - 1/2

Artur Jussupow seems to be developing a new specialty: crossing the plans of the Dutch hopes. After he floored Jan Smeets yesterday (who at that point was leading the individual rankings, but misplayed a promising position), the German grandmaster took the new leader Daniel Stellwagen to task today. They played a very sharp Meran in which Jussupow lost a tempo, but knew that the fight remained highly complicated. After the game he praised his opponent’s play in this phase (‘he played some very fine chess’), but also stressed that it was hard to say who was better and why. In the press room the general feeling was that Stellwagen was taking over the initiative, but Jussupow pointed out that that was only partly true. By the time his bishop got to d3 it was a murderous piece (perhaps Black should have eliminated it when it was still on c4 at the cost of an exchange), and when the Dutchman went pawn snatching on the queenside he overstepped the mark. After White’s 40.Qxh5 it was clear that Jussupow was winning. Stellwagen tried to hang on for a couple more moves, but to no avail.

The second win of the Experience team was scored by Predrag Nikolic who got the better of Parimarjan Negi in a tense game. The Bosnian grandmaster also spoke words of praise about his young opponent: ‘I was slightly better after the opening, but he defended excellently.’ But Negi also committed some inaccuracies, the last one being 38…Bxf2 where he should have tried his chances in an opposite-bishop ending with 38…Re7. Now he was lost and Nikolic duly converted his advantage to score his first win.

The Experience team came very close to a third win in the game between Ljubomir Ljubojevic and Ivan Cheparinov. Eager to fight for his first win the Bulgarian threw caution to the winds (‘If you want to win you have to take risks’), but he went a bit too far in his enthusiasm. Or rather we should compliment Ljubojevic on his play, as did Cheparinov after the game: ‘He played very well in the opening’. Still their opinions differed about the second half of the game when the Serbian grandmaster failed to convert his advantage and had to settle for a draw. Ljubojevic felt that he had missed a sure win, but Cheparinov believed he had never been really lost. Yet, he agreed that it had been a close shave: ‘It’s clear that again I was very close to losing.’

Sergey Karjakin joined the front-runners in the Rising Stars competition for the ticket to Monaco with a draw against Alexander Beliavsky. For a long time it seemed that he might even take the soled lead as he managed to get a better position despite the handicap of the black pieces. In the post-mortem Beliavsky told him that the critical moment was Black’s 41st move, where instead of the move he played, 41…a5, he should have tried 41…Nd2 and White would have faced a difficult defensive task. Now the game ended in a draw after 59 hard-fought moves.

Alexander Khalifman continued his peaceful streak with a draw against Jan Smeets. After 22 moves (maintaining an average of 22.8 moves per game) the Russian grandmaster offered a draw in a position where one could hardly expect Black to go for broke. Most active plans would play in White’s hands. Still, Khalifman felt that there was not much reason for him to play on either: ‘It’s not that I am only a tiny little bit better, I don’t think I am better at all.’ Let’s hope that the rest day will inspire the Russian grandmaster to show more of his creative side in the second half of the tournament.

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 V/:
Jussupow	4    
Karjakin 3
Smeets 3
Stellwagen 3
Cheparinov 2.5
Khalifman 2.5
Beliavsky 2
Nikolic 2
Ljubojevic 1.5
Negi 1.5

Team standings /after Round V/:
Rising Stars	13
Experience 12

Original article at the NH Chess Tournament site: http://nhchess.quinsy.net/
(1325 reads)

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