Groningen In Review

The tournament ended much better than it started. Here are the standings from the tournaments website.

Nr Naam Score Federatie M/V Rating TPR
1 GM Bojkov, Dejan 6.5 BUL M 2542 2631
2 IM Nyzhnyk, Illya 6.5 UKR M 2535 2671
3 GM Bluvshtein, Mark 6.5 CAN M 2587 2606
4 IM Brandenburg, Daan 6.5 NED M 2515 2639
5 GM Ernst, Sipke 6.5 NED M 2590 2628
6 IM Van Kampen, Robin 6.5 NED M 2454 2627
7 GM Andriasian, Zaven 5.5 ARM M 2585 2540
8 GM Prohaszka, Peter 5.5 HUN M 2536 2550
9 GM Gupta, Abhijeet 5.5 IND M 2600 2550
10 GM Rotstein, Arkadij 5.5 GER M 2538 2551
11 IM Lobzhanidze, Davit 5.5 GEO M 2496 2471
12 IM Grover, Sahaj 5.5 IND M 2432 2475
13 IM Bok, Benjamin 5.5 NED M 2458 2390
14 GM Baklan, Vladimir 5.5 UKR M 2613 2502
15 FM Naroditsky, Daniel 5.5 USA M 2425 2474
16 IM Van Oosterom, Chiel 5.5 NED M 2426 2398
17 Baghdasaryan, Vahe 5.0 ARM M 2303 2474
18 GM Werle, Jan 5.0 NED M 2578 2466
19 GM Romanishin, Oleg M 5.0 UKR M 2534 2437
20 GM Nijboer, Friso 5.0 NED M 2583 2423

It’s a very interesting picture at the top. There was a six way tie for first place at 6.5/9, followed by a 10(!) way tie for 7th place with 5.5/9. It’s peculiar that nobody finished with 6/9, between the long ties. I have the worst performance rating out of the tying group due to my first round loss and second round pairing against a player rated below 2100. I managed to play four of the five other co-winners.

The standings also show how evenly matched the event was, with many draws. The even field and rating minimum of 2100 in the top section made it possible to achieve norms. Three GM Norms were clinched in the event: IM Nyzhnyk’s third, IM Brandenburg’s second and IM Van Kampen’s second. Nyzhnyk’s norm will qualify him for the GM title and make him the youngest GM in the world!

The tournament was an overall success for me. The event marked my first tournament win since becoming a professional. There was always the fear of not winning any tournaments. It’s not like my competition will get any easier in the near future!

There were pluses and minuses about my play. The collapse in the first round showed a lack of intensity in a dynamic position where I was hanging on by a thread. There was no sense of urgency in my play. The second game was also a bit of a disappointment as I let my advantage slip, believing that precision is not necessary to build my advantage.

Then things turned a lot more positive. The third round showed a very positional win which was based on a positional bind surrounding the c5 square and the weak c6 pawn. The finish was the icing on the cake. The fourth round was a very sharp battle where my opponent collapsed under pressure, with mistakes on both sides. My opponent made the last, and most critical, mistake. The fifth round showed a real endgame grind where I made something out of nothing, in good style.

I got a good position out of the opening in the sixth round but then failed to put out my opponent’s initiative. This was a lost opportunity. The seventh round showed little promise after getting an equal position after the opening with not many realistic winning chances for both sides. The long battle did not change anything.

The eighth round was a great game. After getting a clear advantage in the opening I executed well to finish in style. A clean win, with opening preparation getting a lot of the credit. The ninth round was a quick draw to secure first place.

After having some time to reflect and analyze my games, I noticed that my play was full of diversity. My wins were all different in the event, from a positional win in the third round to a razor sharp win in the fourth, to an endgame grind in the fifth, to good opening preparation in the eighth. I was able to show good skill in all parts of the game in this tournament. I hope I will be able to show such universality in my future tournaments as well, because it is impossible to have success in chess unless you play what the position asks for, instead of playing for a number of personal strengths. It’s also interesting to note that I did not have a worse position in any of my games after the first round!

The Groningen event had a daily bulletin online. It was in Dutch. Below are photos, with description above. A Tournament Book is also coming, for which I have analyzed my game against Baklan.

The winners (photo taken from the daily bulletin). From left to right Brandenburg, Nyzhnyk, Ernst, Bojkov (and son), Van Kampen, and myself (somewhat distracted).

IM Nyzhnyk being interviewed by local television. I was interviewed minutes earlier…

Bojkov-Bluvshtein.

Gupta on third board and Van Kampen vs Andriasian on fourth.

Tournament Logo.

View of the playing hall from the bleachers.

Arbiter area.

Top 8 boards, all equipped with DGT Boards.

And so ends my report on Groningen. I came back a week ago and I will be leaving in less than a week for my next journey. I will post a few more times before I leave…

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