World Championship Tallinn 2017 semifinals

The finalists of the world championship are known. Anikeev, Atse, Baliakin, Chizhov, Georgiev, Van IJzendoorn, Ivanov, Shvartsman, Valneris, Vatutin, Virny and Wolff managed to survive the tough qualification. Below some highlights of the preliminaries are given.

Yuriy Anikeev - Arnaud Cordier 2-0 (2017)
Yuriy Anikeev - Arnaud Cordier 2-0 (2017)

Anikeev laid the groundwork for his qualification in his game with Cordier. 22.42-37! 17-22 23.28x17 11x22 24.33-29 19-23 25.48-42 23x34 26.39x30 14-19 27.43-39 3-9 28.39-33 6-11? This is a very dangerous move. 29.32-28! 11-17 30.30-24 19x30 31.25x34 9-14? And now it is losing. Black had to defend with 13-19 32.34-29 and now the surprising move 2-7!! and 33.29-23? is not possible due to 18x29 34.33x11 16x7 35.27x18 12x43 B+ 32.34-29 18-23 33.27x20? 23x43 34.42-38

Zhiyong Xiong - Ncho Joel Atse 0-2 (2017)
Zhiyong Xiong - Ncho Joel Atse 0-2

After 32.40-34? Atse overpowered his Chinese opponent using 13-18! 33.34-29 9-13! 34.29x20 25x14 35.33-29* 13-19 36.37-31 (here 36.39-33 11-17 37.43-39 26-31 38.37x26 17-22 39.28x17 19x37 also doesn't look good for white) 26x37 37.32x41 8-13 38.39-33(?) 2-7 and now Xiong sacrificed a piece with 39.27-22, because 39.43-39? was prohibited by the combination 19-24 40.29x9 18x29 41.33x24 11-17 42.9x18 12x34 B+ 18x27 40.43-39 12-17 41.28-22 19x28 42.22x31 16-21 43.33x22 17x28 44.41-37

Frank Teer - Alexander Baliakin 0-2 (2017)
Frank Teer - Alexander Baliakin 0-2

Baliakin started very convincingly against his fellow countrymen Teer. 13-19! It was a little surprising to exchange the piece on 24 here, but it will turn out to be the start of a very successful strategy. 30.24x13 9x18 31.49-44? A problem for white was that 31.48-42? is not possible due to 20-24 32.29x20 15x24 33.49-44 21-26 B+ But after this move white will have trouble to develop the pieces of his right wing. 21-26! 32.38-32 26x37 33.32x41 2-7! 34.36-31 7-11! 35.41-36? This seems the decisive mistake. But also after 35.40-35 8-13 white is under a lot of pressure. 11-16 36.40-35 16-21 37.48-42 8-13 38.45-40 13-19 The situation is absolutely hopeless for white. 39.42-37 19-24 40.31-26 4-10 41.28-23 10-14 42.36-31 21-27 43.35-30 27x36 44.30x10 15x4 45.23-19 22-27 46.37-31 17-22

Alexey Chizhov - Igor Kirzner 2-0 (2017)
Alexey Chizhov - Igor Kirzner 2-0

Chizhov started with an important win against Kirzner. In this position black has a slight disadvantage due to his weak center. Important is that the logical move 13-19? isn't possible here due to the combination 24.27-21 etc. In the game Kirzner doesn't make really big mistakes, but he simply has no answer to the highly technical play of his opponent. 14-20 25.25x14 9x20 26.35-30 13-19 27.40-35 8-13 28.39-34 2-8 29.33-29 20-24 30.29x20 15x24 31.43-39 24-29 32.38-33 29x40 33.35x44 17-22 34.41-36 22x31 35.36x27 11-17 36.33-28 3-9 37.39-34 9-14 Somewhere in this phase of the game black makes the decisive mistake. 38.44-40 17-22 39.28x17 12x21 40.42-38 8-12 41.38-33 23-29? And after this move it is definitely over. 42.33x24 19-23 43.47-41! 23-28 44.32x23 18x20 45.34-29 21x32 46.37x28 6-11 47.30-24 20-25 48.40-35? A rare mistake of the white player. After the logical 48.28-23 25-30 (what else?) 49.24x35 13-19 50.29-24 19x28 51.35-30 the game is over. 12-18 49.41-36 11-17? But here black should have made a draw with 16-21 50.48-43 11-17 51.43-39 14-19 etc. 50.28-23 16-21 51.23x12 17x8 52.29-23 25-30 53.24-20 14x25 54.35x24 21-27 55.48-42 27-32 56.42-37 32x41 57.36x47 25-30 58.24x35 8-12 59.47-42

Alessio Scaggiante - Alexander Georgiev 0-2 (2017)
Alessio Scaggiante - Alexander Georgiev 0-2

At this moment it looked like Georgiev still some work to do. But Scaggiante, who played a very good tournament, quickly lost after 37.33-29 3-9 38.29-24 9-14 39.34-30? 14-19 40.24x2 22-28 41.2x32 28x50

Martijn van IJzendoorn - Jan Groenendijk 1-1 (2017)
Martijn van IJzendoorn - Jan Groenendijk 1-1

Van IJzendoorn had quite a tough program, but his early wins against two weaker opponents were just enough to secure a place in the final. In the 6th round he fought a very tough battle with Groenendijk. 13-19 29.24x13 18x9 This backward exchange looks quite dangerous, but it seems the best plan for black. 30.28-23 20-24 31.29x20 15x24 32.47-42 7-11 33.48-43 2-7! 34.42-37! 14-20 35.37-32! 22-28 36.32x21 28x19 37.33-28! It looks very good for white now. But despite his time trouble Groenendijk finds a way out of this difficult situation. 9-13 38.38-33 13-18 39.43-38 8-13! 40.34-29 4-9 41.40-35 25-30! 42.31-27 30-34!! 43.39x30 (also 43.29x40 18-22 44.27x18 12x45 45.21x1 45-50 46.1-6 50x17 47.26-21 17x26 48.6x25 leads to a draw) 20-25 44.29x20 25x34 45.20-15 9-14 46.35-30 34x25 47.33-29 14-20 48.15x24 19x30 49.21-16 30-35 50.27-21 13-19 51.38-33 19-24 52.29x20 25x14 53.36-31 14-19 54.33-29 18-22 55.29-23 22x33 56.23x14 33-38

Oscar Lognon - Artem Ivanov 0-2 (2017)
Oscar Lognon - Artem Ivanov 0-2

Ivanov had some ups and downs in the semi finals. He could have lost against Valneris, he almost won against Groenendijk, and against Trofimov he blundered in a very good position. An important step towards the final was the combination against Lognon after 25.47-41? 23-29! 26.34x23 17-21 27.27x18 13x22 28.28x17 19x28 29.33x22 24-30 30.35x24 14-19 31.24x13 9x36 32.43-38 2-7 33.38-32 7-11 34.49-44 11x22 35.32-28 22x33 36.39x28 8-12 37.48-42 12-17 38.42-38 6-11 39.38-32 17-21 40.44-39 11-16 41.39-34? Here the position was still a draw after 41.28-23 21-26 42.23-18 3-8 43.32-27 4-9 44.39-34 3-8 42.28-23 21-26 43.34-29 26-31 44.37x26 36-41 45.23-19 41-47 46.29-23 47-36 47.19-14 36-41 48.32-28 8-13

Alexander Shvartsman - Guno Burleson 2-0 (2017)
Alexander Shvartsman - Guno Burleson 2-0

Shvartsman started the tournament well against Burleson. And after he quickly reached +2 against Heusdens it seemed his qualification would be a formality. But ultimately it came down to a nerve wrecking last round, in which he was dependent on the results of others. 7-11(?) 25.27-22! Now Burleson probably wasn't looking forward to the complications after 2-7. And 2-8 26.22-18 13x33 27.38x7 11x2 28.32-28 4-9 29.31-27 didn't look very attractive as well. 12-18? But this move is already losing. 26.44-39 18x27 27.32x12 23x32 28.38x27 2-8 29.43-38 8x17 30.42-37! Black must have missed this simple plan in his calculations. 4-9 31.37-32 17-22 32.27x18 13x22 33.39-33 3-8 34.45-40 8-12 35.48-42 12-17 and here Burleson probably lost on time. But his position was lost anyway, for example 35.31-27 22x31 36.26x37 17-22 37.37-31 etc.

Jan Groenendijk - Guntis Valneris 0-2 (2017)
Jan Groenendijk - Guntis Valneris 0-2

Valneris played a very solid tournament. His best game was against Groenendijk. 25.36-31!? At this moment Groenendijk had only one minute left, but that is business as usual for him. 17-21! 26.39-34! 11-17! 27.34-29 23x34 28.40x29 13-19 29.33-28 17-22 30.28x17 19-23 31.41-36 23x34 32.27-22 18x27 33.31x22 9-13 34.44-39 34x43 35.48x39 10-14 36.39-33? This turns out to be dangerous, but it was definitely not easy to see why. The proper defence was 36.38-33! 12-18 37.17-12 18x29 38.12x3 21-27 39.3x21 16x27 21-27 37.22x31 12x21 38.33-29 6-11! 39.31-27? This is losing. The logical 39.32-28? was also dangerous due to 11-17! (with the threat 4-10 40.15x4 17-22 41.4x27 21x34) 40.38-32 13-19! 41.31-27 8-13 (to bring the threat 35-40 42.45x34 14-20 43.15x24 19x39 into play) 42.29-23 13-18 43.23x12 17x8 44.42-38 19-24 but this is still a draw. 13-19! 40.27-22 8-13 41.32-28 21-27! 42.22x31 35-40 43.45x34 14-20 44.15x24 19x39 45.31-27 39-44 46.38-32 44-49 47.28-23 16-21 48.27x7 49x2 49.42-38 2-16 50.37-32 16-21

Christian Niami - Evgeni Vatutin 0-2 (2017)
Christian Niami - Evgeni Vatutin 0-2

Vatutin set an important step towards the final after a subtle mistake of Niami. 44.40-35? This is losing. White could make a draw using 44.40-34 21-26 45.42-37 17-22 46.37-32 26-31 47.36x27 22x31 48.32-28 3-8 49.28-23 8-12 50.23-19 14x23 51.24-20 etc. 21-26 45.35-30 The problem for white is that 45.42-37 is losing now due to 17-22 46.37-32 26-31 47.36x27 22x31 48.32-28 31-37 49.28-23 37-41 50.23x12 13-18 51.12x23 41-47 B+. 17-21! 46.42-37 21-27 47.30-25 3-9! The threat 27-31 48.36x27 18-23 49.29x18 13x42 is decisive. 48.36-31 27x36 49.24-20 18-23 50.29x18 13x22 51.20-15 22-27 52.25-20 14x25 53.15-10 9-14 54.10x19 27-31 55.37-32 36-41 56.32-27 31x22 57.19-13 41-46 58.13-8 22-27 59.8-2 27-31 60.45-40 31-36 61.2-7 46-19 62.7-2 19-23 63.40-35 36-41

Vadim Virny - Ron Heusdens 2-0 (2017)
Vadim Virny - Ron Heusdens 2-0

Virny did good business when his opponent Heusdens didn't react correctly to 25.28-22! 12-17? After 12-18 26.44-40 11-17 27.22x11 6x17 28.33-28 17-22 29.28x17 21x12 the position would be equal. 26.33-28 13-18 27.22x13 9x18 28.28-22! 17x28 29.38-33 3-9 30.33x13 9x18 31.42-38! 23-29 (necessary due to the threat 32.37-31 26x28 33.38-33 21x32 34.33x13 19x8 35.30x37) 32.39-33 4-9 33.30-25 9-13 34.43-39 11-17 35.44-40 17-22 36.48-42 22x31 37.36x27 6-11 38.33-28 18-23 39.40-34 29x40 40.45x34 11-17 41.38-33 13-18 42.42-38 17-22? Black is under heavy pressure, but here the sacrifice 26-31 43.27x36 18-22 was a good way to make a draw. 43.28x17 21x12 44.34-30 23-29 45.33-28 18-23 46.28-22 12-17? The last chance for black was 23-28 47.32x34 24-29 48.34x23 19x17 49.39-33 12-18 50.33-28 16-21 51.27x16 18-22 52.28-23 22-27. It is just enough for a draw after 53.30-24 27-31 54.25-20 31x33 55.20x9 33-39 etc. 47.22x11 16x7 48.39-33 7-11 49.33-28 14-20 50.25x14 19x10 51.30x19 23x14 52.28-22 29-34 53.22-18 15-20 54.18-13 20-24 55.13-8 24-30 56.35x24 34-40 57.8-3 40-44 58.3x20 44-49

Wouter Wolff - Raido Värik 2-0 (2017)
Wouter Wolff - Raido Värik 2-0

The biggest surprise was the qualification of the young Wouter Wolff. In his game with Värik initially things didn't go well. But he showed a great fighting spirit, and was rewarded for it with a victory. 25.41-37? This move is inaccurate. 14-19! 26.40-35 19x30 27.35x24 9-14! 28.37-32 13-18! 29.43-38 18-23 30.29x18 20x40 31.44x35 The white outpost is safe, but black has a clear advantage. 14-19 32.39-34 15-20 33.49-43 10-15 34.47-42 8-12 35.33-29 12x23 36.29x18 2-8 37.38-33 19-24 38.34-29 4-9 39.43-38 6-11 40.29-23! It is no longer clear who has the best opportunities. 11-17 41.36-31 16-21 42.31-26 9-14 43.42-37 25-30 44.37-31 30-34 45.50-45 8-13 46.18x9 14x3 47.23-18 3-8 48.31-27 8-12 49.27x16 12x23 50.33-28 34-39(?) A safe way to make a draw was 23-29 51.32-27 34-39 52.27-22 39-44 53.22x2 20-25 54.2x30 25x34 51.28x30 20-25? This is losing. With 39-44 52.30-25 20-24 53.25-20 44-50 54.20x29 15-20 a draw was still possible. 52.32-27 25x34 53.38-33 39x28 54.35-30 34x25 55.27-22 17-21 56.26x17 28-33 57.17-11 25-30 58.11x2 30-34 59.2-35 33-38 60.35-49 38-42 61.22-17 42-48 62.17-11 15-20 63.11-6 20-24 64.6-1 24-29 65.1-6 48-26 66.6-44 26-3 67.49-38 3-12 68.38x20 12-1 69.20-25

Wouter Wolff - Roel Boomstra 1-1 (2017)
Wouter Wolff - Roel Boomstra 1-1

World champion Boomstra certainly didn't play bad, but he lacked precision at the decisive moments. In the first round he failed to apply the finishing touch against Värik. This turned out to be a costly mistake, since in this type of Swiss system an early draw needs to be compensated with two victories. In the eight round he did get an opportunity to secure a place in the final in his game against Wolff. 39.42-38? 9-14! 40.27-21!? Perhaps Wolff intended to play 40.35-30 20-24 41.30-25 here, but this is quite dangerous after 17-21 42.26x17 11x31 43.36x27 12-17 16x27 41.32x21 23x32 42.38x27 11-16 43.33-29? 19-24! 44.39-33 13-18? A Boomstra in his best form would never have missed the winning 13-19! 45.44-40 8-13 46.43-38 13-18 47.40-34 19-23 45.44-39 8-13 46.39-34 14-19 47.34-30 6-11 48.30-25

Leopold Kouogueu Kouomou - Jan Groenendijk 0-2 (2017)
Leopold Kouogueu Kouomou - Jan Groenendijk 0-2

Another favorite who missed the final is Jan Groenendijk. He had an excellent start, since already in the third round he arrived at +2. 43.42-37 13-18 44.32-27(?) The last two white moves are not wrong, but it seems that Kouogueu underestimated the next black move. 24-30! 45.44-40 19-23! 46.37-32? This is losing. White needed to play 46.33-29 30-35 47.39-33 35x44 48.34-30 23x34 49.30x50 to make a draw. 30-35! 47.31-26 22x31 48.26x37 35x44 49.39x50 23-29! 50.34x21 16x29 The remaining 3x3 position is lost for white. The strong defender on 3, in combination with the 7 tempi lead for black are decisive. 51.37-32 29-33 52.32-27 3-8 53.27-22 8-12 54.50-44 25-30 55.47-42 30-34 56.42-37 33-38 57.37-31 38-42 Plus two in the second round is usually enough, but Groenendijk was very eager to win another game. In the seventh round against Valneris (see above) his risky strategy backfired onto him, and in the remaining two games he wasn't able to recover from this defeat.

© Wieger Wesselink http://10x10.org